September 29, 2004

Earthquake Prediction Update

If you follow this blog, you’ll remember I predicted seismic activity and it happened within 72 hours of my prediction, over in Japan.

However, with all the seismic activity going on around me (central California continues to shake and now Mt. St. Helens just north of me is coming alive) I need to quote myself from my follow-up post on September 5th.

But, for some reason, because of the intensity of the "thing" that happens to me before earthquakes, I don’t think those two earthquakes are going to be the end of it. I believe we have some more coming up in the next 24 hours or so. But because seismic activity is so dependent on many things, it could be that what I experienced is the set up for something really major in the near future. Who knows… it’s such an inexact science. But don’t be surprised if we get another big jolt somewhere before it quiets down.

Seeing as how I am living between Mt. St. Helens and the valley of CA (I live in Portland, OR), it’s just interesting, that’s all. This thing that happens to me before seismic activity was so intense (it’s never been so intense) that I had to conclude that it would result in an intense seismic activity or series of activities. Stay tuned…

 

Update: And it came to pass

OFF-TOPIC: Blair’s Eloquence

I know Blair and Bush share the same principled style of leadership. I just wish President Bush was able to articulate it as well as Blair. Wow. Blair is an absolutely amazing man and leader. England is extremely fortunate to have him at the helm during these trying times.

Here is an excerpt of his recent speech, I’m assuming to Parliament. I’m only sharing the part about Iraq and America:

But on the issues we have just discussed - the normal run of politics, you feel, the country feels reasonably confident.

The problem of trust isn’t primarily that, is it?

It is over the decisions I have taken, the judgements about our future security I have made since I stood here in this hall, about to address the TUC on September 11th three years ago.

And since then, as with every other country and its leaders the world over, those with America, those against it, political life has been dominated in a way we never foresaw.

There was talk before this conference that I wanted to put aside discussion of Iraq.

That was never my intention.

I want to deal with it head on.

The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong.

I acknowledge that and accept it.

I simply point out, such evidence was agreed by the whole international community, not least because Saddam had used such weapons against his own people and neighbouring countries.

And the problem is, I can apologise for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can’t, sincerely at least, apologise for removing Saddam.

The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power.

But at the heart of this, is a belief that the basic judgment I have made since September 11th, including on Iraq, is wrong, that by our actions we have made matters worse not better.

I know this issue has divided the country.

I entirely understand why many disagree.

I know, too, that as people see me struggling with it, they think he’s stopped caring about us; or worse he’s just pandering to George Bush and what’s more in a cause that’s irrelevant to us.

It’s been hard for you.

Like the delegate who told me: “I’ve defended you so well to everyone I’ve almost convinced myself.”

Do I know I’m right?

Judgements aren’t the same as facts.

Instinct is not science.

I’m like any other human being, as fallible and as capable of being wrong.

I only know what I believe.

There are two views of what is happening in the world today.

One view is that there are isolated individuals, extremists, engaged in essentially isolated acts of terrorism.

That what is happening is not qualitatively different from the terrorism we have always lived with.

If you believe this, we carry on the same path as before 11th September.

We try not to provoke them and hope in time they will wither.

The other view is that this is a wholly new phenomenon, worldwide global terrorism based on a perversion of the true, peaceful and honourable faith of Islam; that’s its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassehs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.

If you take this view, you believe September 11th changed the world; that Bali, Beslan, Madrid and scores of other atrocities that never make the news are part of the same threat and the only path to take is to confront this terrorism, remove it root and branch and at all costs stop them acquiring the weapons to kill on a massive scale because these terrorists would not hesitate to use them.

Likewise take the first view, then when you see the terror brought to Iraq you say: there, we told you; look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.

But if you take the second view, you don’t believe the terrorists are in Iraq to liberate it.

They’re not protesting about the rights of women - what, the same people who stopped Afghan girls going to school, made women wear the Burka and beat them in the streets of Kabul, who now assassinate women just for daring to register to vote in Afghanistan’s first ever democratic ballot, though four million have done so?

They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence.

They are in Iraq for the very reason we should be.

They have chosen this battleground because they know success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents.

They know that.

That’s why they are there.

That is why we should be there and whatever disagreements we have had, should unite in our determination to stand by the Iraqi people until the job is done.

And, of course, at first the consequence is more fighting.

But Iraq was not a safe country before March 2003.

Few had heard of the Taliban before September 11th 2001.

Afghanistan was not a nation at peace.

So it’s not that I care more about foreign affairs than the state of our economy, NHS, schools or crime.

It’s simply that I believe democracy there means security here; and that if I don’t care and act on this terrorist threat, then the day will come when all our good work on the issues that decide people’s lives will be undone because the stability on which our economy, in an era of globalisation, depends, will vanish.

I never expected this to happen on that bright dawn of 1 May 1997.

I never anticipated spending time on working out how terrorists trained in a remote part of the Hindu Kush could end up present on British streets threatening our way of life.

And the irony for me is that I, as a progressive politician, know that despite the opposition of so much of progressive politics to what I’ve done, the only lasting way to defeat this terrorism is through progressive politics.

Salvation will not come solely from a gunship.

Military action will be futile unless we address the conditions in which this terrorism breeds and the causes it preys upon.

That is why it is worth staying the course to bring democracy Iraq and Afghanistan, because then people the world over will see that this is not and has never been some new war of religion; but the oldest struggle humankind knows, between liberty or oppression, tolerance or hate; between government by terror or by the rule of law.

And let us demonstrate to Muslims here in Britain that these are values we apply to all our citizens, and change the law to make religious discrimination unlawful as we do with race, gender and disability.

This party knows the depth of my commitment to the Middle East peace process and shares my frustration at the lack of progress.

After November I will make its revival a personal priority.

Two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in an enduring peace would do more to defeat this terrorism than bullets alone can ever do.

Britain is now, committed for the first time in our history to the UN aid target of 0.7 per cent.

Next year as president of the G8 along with action on climate change, we will try for consensus on a new plan for Africa, that not only on aid and trade but on conflict resolution, on fighting corruption, on the killer diseases Aids, malaria and TB, on education, water, infrastructure.

A plan to lift that continent in hope and lift from ourselves the shame that so many human beings live and die in misery when we know together we could stop it; and when unchecked this misery some time, somewhere in the future will threaten us.

But understand this reality.

Little of it will happen except in alliance with the United States of America.

And here am I, told by the pro-Europeans to give up on America and the Atlanticists to forget about Europe.

And yet I know Britain must be at the centre of a Europe now 25 nations reunited after centuries of conflict the biggest economic market and most powerful political union in the world and I know that to retreat from its counsels would be utter self-defeating folly.

And I know to cast out the transatlantic alliance would be disastrous for Britain.

And I believe so strongly that if Europe and America could only put aside their differences and united around a common cause, the future could be different and better.

September 27, 2004

Halloween Business Opportunity

The scary season is fast approaching. I’ve got an idea you can use to make some money this season.

Sell those really nifty costumes. Here’s a place that sells all those neat ones like a large piece of pizza and a can of spam. My personal favorite is the one made for a couple. The man is a big electrical plug and the woman is the wall outlet. Pretty funny stuff.

So, how to sell these things. Easy. First, you have to sign up to be an affiliate of the website that sells these thing. (To become an affiliate, click here and scroll down to the “affiliate/webmaster” link at the bottom of the page.) Then purchase a memorable domain like wackocostumes.com (not taken by the way) and have it put on a big handheld sign. Point the domain to your affiliate link. Then just purchase the most outlandish one of the costumes (through your affiliate link so you can get your first commission) and then stand on a busy corner with your sign, directing people to your domain (which goes directly to their website via your affiliate link).

Viola! You have yourself a viable seasonal business. The total cost to get it up and running is about $100 (domain, forwarding of domain, sign and costume.) Their commissions are 25% and the average costume price is around $40. So, for each sale you’re making about $10.

If you stand at a busy corner, making a fool of yourself (thereby attracting attention of course), you can assume 500 to 2000 people will see you per hour depending on how busy of a corner you pick. If you do it for 8 hours, that’s 4,000 to 16,000 people seeing you… most of which are going to want or know someone who wants a great costume for Halloween. If you get just .1% of 8000 people to buy something, you’ve made your investment back in one day.

It beats panhandling and is maybe a bit more fun than what you are currently doing to pay the bills… right?

Martha Stewart’s Prisoner Number Already Taken

I just saw a link from Drudge that touts Martha Stewart’s prison number is going to be 55170-054. So, being the opportunistic person I am, I immediately went to godaddy.com to see if I could register it in dot com form and IT’S ALREADY TAKEN. Can you believe that? Somebody beat me to it.

The whois wasn’t working when I attempted to see who owns it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it were Omnimedia (her company) that has snatched it up.

Funny stuff.

Update: In doing some research, I came across the following:

Her prison number is 55170-054. The number “55170″ is a zipcode in St. Paul, MN. Interestingly enough, the apostle Paul (St. Paul) was also falsly imprisoned (okay… perhaps she wasn’t, but let’s run with it, shall we?) To go even deeper here, the last three digits of her number is “054″ or “54″. It was in the year 54 A.D., Nero became Roman Emperor and was the reigning Emperor when St. Paul was put to death.

September 26, 2004

Selling T-Shirts

One of my current projects is selling t-shirts with political messages. It’s obviously a good time to sell those types of shirts.

I happen to be fairly handy with some of the latest graphic programs, so I’ve designed them myself. I’ve put an extra touch to them as well. Since I own a collectible business, this is a natural for me. I’ve positioned these to be collectible t-shirts. Only X number will be made before they retire.

I currently am selling two designs. Here and here. I use Cafepress to have the shirts made. However, I take the order myself, using my own cart system instead of having Cafepress take the orders. I like this better since I get the money immediately and since I order at least 15 at a time, I get a substantial discount whereas I wouldn’t get that if people were going to my Cafepress store individually and ordering.

Of course, the down side is, I have to wait to get the shirts from Cafepress and then repackage each shirt and send them individually to each customer. But, that’s not so difficult since my main business deals with doing that anyway.

The shirts are priced a little higher than your typical t-shirt, but they are limited editions AND each is numbered on the back shoulder area. This is a unique thing with shirts and I believe is a good “unique sales position” (for all you business eggheads out there… haha.) Plus, it’s free shipping.

To get the word out about one of the shirts (the “Red Shirt”), I’ve taken an ad out on some conservative blogs. You can see the ads here, here and here. I’m averaging a 1.9% clickthrough rate at IMAO, a 1.3% clickthrough at redstate.org and a piss poor .32% clickthrough at Protein Wisdom. I know why the lower clickthrough though. Protein Wisdom has so many blogads and I’m second from the bottom of the massive pile… well, duh! The others I have great placement and VIOLA, good clickthrough. Amazing how that works.

Lesson learned.

I’ve also spent $75 on AdWords which was a complete waste of money. Not one sale through them. Kind of disappointing.

I’m also going to be sending direct mail to some Republican donors advertising the “Run with Bush” shirt to see how that goes over. I mentioned this idea a while back. So, I’m going to try it myself.

I’ll report back to tell you how this foray into t-shirt sales goes after I’ve had some time to succeed (or fail?) at it. :-)

September 23, 2004

What’s Your Immigrant Story?

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the immigrant story. How a family of immigrants come from another country, all live in a one bedroom apartment, get menial jobs, save, open a business of their own, all of them work hard while continuing to scrimp… etc, etc.

As native Americans (I mean those of us born here, not the indigenous variety) we are so used to having all the nice things in life and in most cases, not willing to sacrifice to get ahead.

You probably already know where I’m going with this.

What’s your immigrant story? Unless you have a spouse who makes a ton of money and you can afford to just experiment with your business concepts and still live the good life, you should be seriously contemplating sacrificing to get where you want.

Do you own a house you can barely pay the mortgage on? You need to sell it and rent a place that you’re seriously uncomfortable living in, but it’ll do. Put the money you got from the sale of your home in a savings account for emergencies. Don’t tie up capital on another home before getting to the point in your life where your business can support you comfortably. I once lived in a 2 bedroom apartment where my study was situated in my daughter’s walk in closet. Wasn’t anything to be proud of, but it worked fine.

Do you have two car payments every month? You need to sell both of them and buy two beater cars with cash so you don’t have the payments. Used cars now-a-days are very reliable. You’ll be fine. I own a 1994 Lexus LS400 for which I paid cash and it’s VERY nice to drive still and the best part is… no car payments!

Do you have a gym membership? Cancel it and do push ups in your one bedroom apartment.

Do you have two cell phones costing you more than $60 a month. Cancel it. Get two Virgin mobile accounts that only require you to use $6 a month each for each phone and stop using your cell phones for lengthy conversations.

Wear your shoes until you get holes in them. Have them repaired if possible. Ladies, you only need three pairs of shoes. One black, one brown and some tennis shoes. Men, two pairs. One black or brown casual and one pair of tennis shoes. (I don’t even own the tennis shoe and I just replaced my four year old brown casuals because my toes were finally visible.)

I wear the same jacket I bought… uh, well, I can’t remember when I bought, it’s so old.

Supercuts, not Beverly Hill’s Hair Studio. (Okay, I can’t get my wife to abide by this one, but it’s worth a try.)

Walmart for just about everything you can’t get at Costco. Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure you can’t get cooties from the other shoppers at Walmart.

As I type this, my four year old pair of glasses are patched together with electrical tape. Can’t find it within me to replace them yet. (This was the seed for my post a few days ago about eyeglass sales. Still haven’t gotten around to selling the kidney to afford buying a new pair. Geesh! You’d think they were made of gold.)

Cheapest broadband you can find. In my area, that’s DSL. Yes, you can get dialup but if your business depends on the internet, this isn’t something you can afford to compromise on.

Credit cards are evil. I’ll say this again, credit cards are evil. Have one and only for travelling. All other purchases should be done with your debit card. This is the one thing that will enslave you to poverty status for the rest of your miserable life. I actually think they should be outlawed or at least only available to 21+ year olds.

As austere as the above measures seem, they still pale in comparison to what many immigrants do when they get here to survive and get ahead.

If you aren’t rich already for whatever reason, and you’re trying to grow a successfull business, you OWE it to yourself to create your own immigrant story. One that will make people cringe when you tell it around the pool of your gorgeous custom built home (for which you paid cash) 10 years from now.

There’s another name for it. Live below your means and your means will grow exponentially. I mean WAY below your means. Your goal should be to live 50% below what you are bringing in a year. This gives you plenty of room to nurture and succeed at your own business.

Personal Mailman

With the explosion of online purchasing, this means there are plenty of packages coming to people’s doors with no one home to accept them.

Why not become a local private postal delivery person? What you would do is provide your clients a “shipping” address that they can input when they order something to be shipped to them. That shipping address is YOUR address. Perhaps a private box at Mailbox Etc or even your home address if you know someone will always be home to receive things.

The customer can be instructed to always put “XYZ Company” in the company field (XYZ being YOUR company name) and then in the person field, they would put their name. So, when you get it you can tell exactly which of your customers it’s coming to.

Depending on the comfort level of the customer, you can either have a key to their front door or perhaps a garage door opener control… somehow you arrange to be able to drop off packages at their house safely so they never have to worry about missing a package.

For this, you charge $3.00 each time you have to deliver something to their home. They can automatically use the address whenever they order something and you bill them at the end of the month for however many packages you receive and deliver to them during that month.

If you plan your delivery routes well, I would imagine you can make 40 - 50 deliveries a day. You won’t get rich, but you’ll make a living. (If you do it with your spouse, that’s double the deliveries you can do in one day.)

The challenge of course (as is always in business) is getting customers. I think a door-to-door, door hanger campaign might be in order. Especially since you want your customers located in a tight geographic area, to minimize your travel time when delivering packages.

The ease of use is a great selling feature. All they have to do is sign-up and give you a key (or coordinate whatever way they want you to get them the package) and then all they have to do is have the address on hand when they order something. At some point, most people will have that address inserted into their “address books” at their favorite online stores (like Amazon) and all they do is automatically have it delivered to that address when they want to make sure their package arrives and gets to them without a delivery hassle. I’m sure some things won’t be worth it and they’ll just use the regular method of delivery. But if you get enough people putting a premium on not having to worry about a delay in getting their item, that’s all you need.

There are some legal issues here you might want to consult a blood sucking lawyer over. Like the legalities of receiving someone else’s mail… etc. You’ll also want to get bonded since you will have a key to people’s houses, in some cases.

P.S. I’ve completed the move. I have moved my vast (sarcasm) business empire into my house and now the garage is packed full of santas and such. So, I’m in the middle of trying to operate my business while at the same time getting everything organized. This is the reason for the vast empty stretches of time between blog posts. Just too busy. Certainly not a lack of ideas, however. :-)

September 21, 2004

OFF-TOPIC: President Bush Prays with a White House Visitor

Okay… off topic. But I felt it was pretty important.

This is a letter written by a guy about his visit to the White House. I did a search on the internet to see if it was a hoax. I found that it wasn’t. There’s a site that specializes in checking sources to prove or disprove emails that go around the internet. Here is the page that confirms it is true:

http://upload.truthorfiction.com/rumors/v/vincent.htm

Senator Kerry better hope this doesn’t make it too far around the internet. Yowza!

——————————————————-

This is from a man, Bruce Vincent, from Montana who received an award from the President.

He writes: I’ve written the following narrative to chronicle the day of the award ceremony in DC. I’m still working on a press release but the White House press corps has yet to provide a photo to go with it. When the photo comes I’ll ship it out. When you get done reading this you’ll understand the dilemma I face in telling this story beyond my circle of close friends.

The moment with the President in the Oval Office was incredible. I want to protect the memory because it was an intensely private moment between two men. At the same time I’d like to share it on a broader scale because I’d like others to know what I know about the man sitting at the desk in the Oval Office. For now, I’ll just tell it to you folks.

As you know, our efforts concerning the reintroduction of our rural, resource providing cultures to the ever more urbane society of our nation has been honored with an award from the President and First Lady Bush.

Nominated by the Forest Service for the first ever Preserve America President’s Award was our cultural exchange program Provider PalsT and our restoration of an abandoned CCC built Forest Service ranger station (Raven Ranger Station) for use as a learning center for students from throughout the nation that are now engaged in our cultural exchange.

The award was given at a White House ceremony on Monday, May 3. Guests at the East Room ceremony (the Rose Garden was going to be used but it rained) included Secretary of Interior Gorton, Secretary of Agriculture Venneman, Undersecretary Mark Rey, Chief Bosworth, President’s Advisory Council for Preserve America, and others. The East Wing was closed to the public for the event and those who attended enjoyed brunch and live chamber music.

Provider PalsT was able to bring members of our board of directors, staff from our partner Communities for a Great Northwest, our Kootenai Forest Supervisor and Forest Archaeologist, and two officials from our major sponsor Ford Motor Company. Thankfully, I was also able to bring PJ and all four children. In the East Room, Secretaries Venneman and Gorton spoke as did First Lady Bush and Preserve America’s Chairman John Nau.

The First Lady then gave autographed copies of a White House book to award winners in this ceremony and posed for pictures. When the ceremony concluded, the First Lady stayed for a bit in the Green Room and chatted and posed for pictures. She was then escorted outside to meet the President and board a Marine One helicopter waiting to whisk them off to the airport.

For me, however, the biggest event of the day had already happened when the East Room Ceremony started up. While the East Room ceremony was being prepared, the four national award winners and the entities that nominated them were taken to the Oval Office for the official award presentation by President Bush and First Lady Bush. There were eight of us in total.

Stepping into the Oval Office, each of us was introduced to the President and Mrs. Bush. We shook hands and participated in small talk. When the President was told that we were from Libby, Montana, I reminded him that Marc Racicot is our native son and the President offered his warm thoughts about Governor Racicot.

I have to tell you, I was blown away by two things upon entering the office. First, the Oval Office sense of ‘place’ is unreal. The President later shared a story of Russian President Putin entering the room prepared to tackle the President in a tough negotiation and upon entering the atheist muttered his first words to the President and they were “Oh, my God.” I concurred. I could feel the history in my bones. Second, the man that inhabits the office engaged me with a firm handshake and a look that can only be described as penetrating. Warm, alive, fully engaged, disarmingly penetrating. I was admittedly concerned about meeting the man.

I think all of us have an inner hope that the most powerful man in our country is worthy of the responsibility and authority that we bestow upon them through our vote. I admit that part of me was afraid that I would be let down by the moment - that the person and the place could not meet the lofty expectations of my fantasy world. This says nothing about my esteem for President Bush but just my practical realization that reality may not match my ‘dream.’

Once inside the office, President Bush got right down to business and, standing in front of his desk, handed out the awards one at a time while posing for photos with the winners and Mrs. Bush. With the mission accomplished, the President and Mrs. Bush relaxed and initiated a lengthy, informal conversation about a number of things with our entire small group.

He and the First Lady talked about such things as the rug in the office. It is traditionally designed by the First Lady to make a statement about the President, and Mrs. Bush chose a brilliant yellow sunburst pattern to reflect ‘hope.’

President Bush talked about the absolute need to believe that with hard work and faith in God there is every reason to start each day in the Oval Office with hope.

He and the First Lady were asked about the impact of the Presidency on their marriage and, with an arm casually wrapped around Laura, he said that he thought the place may be hard on weak marriages but that it had the ability to make strong marriages even stronger and that he was blessed with a strong one. When asked what the biggest challenge of the Presidency was, he talked about the daily frustration of partisan politics. ‘This from a politician,’ he said. He said that when he was elected he promised that he would do in DC what he had done in Texas and that was build alliances and coalitions that bridged party lines in order to move the nation forward. He had quickly learned that there are those in the nation’s capital that would rather see the nation dismantled than work together to achieve a common good. That, he said is a bitter and continuing disappointment.

The President talked about the artwork and other items of interest in the room. For instance the desk he uses is the one that was given to the U.S. by Queen Victoria and used by FDR and JFK. In fact FDR had a front panel added to the desk to cover the mid section because FDR did not want the country to know he was in a wheelchair. President Bush laughed and said, “My how things have changed, FDR hid a wheelchair and if I eat a pretzel and get a tingle in my arm it’s front page news around the globe.”

That little desk faux front is hinged by the way, and is the door that we all have seen John-John sticking his head from behind in the famous photo of JFK at work.

The President also noted that much of the artwork in the office is from Texas or about Texas. He said that it made sense for him to have it in his office because Texas is part of who he is. He talked about family and
place and faith helping to build the person you end up being and noted that the Oval Office reflected who he is. He noted that it would be a mistake to come to the Oval Office and entertain a mission to ‘find yourself.’

He said that with all of the pressures and responsibilities that go with the job, you’d best know who you are when you put your nameplate on the desk in the Oval Office. He said he knows who he is and now America has had four years to learn about who he is. If they like what they see, he may have another four years. If not, then he may be going back to Texas.

After about 30 or 35 minutes, it was time to go. By then we were all relaxed and I felt as if I had just had an excellent visit with a friend.

The President and First Lady made one more pass down the line of awardees, shaking hands and offering congratulations. When the President shook my hand I said, “thank you Mr. President and God bless you and your family.”

He was already in motion to the next person in line, but he stopped abruptly, turned fully back to me, gave me a piercing look, renewed the vigor of his handshake and said, “Thank you - and God bless you and yours as well.”

On our way out of the office we were to leave by the glass doors on the west side of the office. I was the last person in the exit line. As I shook his hand one final time, President Bush said, “I’ll be sure to tell Marc hello and give him your regards.” I then did something that surprised even me. I said to him, “Mr. President, I know you are a busy man and your time is precious. I also know you to be a man of strong faith and have a favor to ask you.” As he shook my hand he looked me in the eye and said, “Just name it.”

I told him that my step-Mom was at that moment in a hospital in Kalispell, Montana, having a tumor removed from her skull and it would mean a great deal to me if he would consider adding her to his prayers that day. He grabbed me by the arm and took me back toward his desk as he said, “So that’s it. I could tell that something is weighing heavy on your heart today. I could see it in your eyes. This explains it.” From the top drawer of his desk he retrieved a pen and a note card with his seal on it and asked, “How do you spell her name?”

He then jotted a note to her while discussing the importance of family and the strength of prayer. When he handed me the card, he asked about the surgery and the prognosis. I told him we were hoping that it is not a recurrence of an earlier cancer and that if it is they can get it all with this surgery. He said, “If it’s okay with you, we’ll take care of the prayer right now. Would you pray with me?” I told him yes and he turned to the staff that remained in the office and hand motioned the folks to step back or leave.

He said, “Bruce and I would like some private time for a prayer.” As they left he turned back to me and took my hands in his. I was prepared to do a traditional prayer stance - standing with each other with heads bowed. Instead, he reached for my head with his right hand and pulling gently forward, he placed my head on his shoulder. With his left arm on my mid back, he pulled me to him in a prayerful embrace. He started to pray softly. I started to cry. He continued his prayer for Loretta and for God’s perfect will to be done. I cried some more. My body shook a bit as I cried and he just held tighter. He closed by asking God’s blessing on Loretta and the family during the coming months. I stepped away from our embrace, wiped my eyes, swiped at the tears I’d left on his shoulder, and looked into the eyes of our President. I thanked him as best I could and told him that me and my family would continue praying for he and his.

As I write this account down and reflect upon what it means, I have to tell you that all I really know is that his simple act left me humbled and believing. I so hoped that the man I thought him to be was the man that he is. I know that our nation needs a man such as this in the Oval Office.

George W. Bush is the real deal. I’ve read Internet stories about the President praying with troops in hospitals and other such uplifting accounts. Each time I read them I hope them to be true and not an Internet perpetuated myth. This one, I know to be true. I was there. He is real. He has a pile of incredible stuff on his plate each day - and yet he is tuned in so well to the here and now that he ’sensed’ something heavy on my heart. He took time out of his life to care, to share, and to seek God’s blessing for my family in a simple man-to-man, father-to-father, son-to-son, husband-to-husband, Christian-to-Christian prayerful embrace.

He’s not what I had hoped he would be. He is, in fact, so very very much more.

September 17, 2004

Should We Leave Iraq, Soon?

This is a great article about the widsom of staying put in Iraq for now. It’s written by a classics professor and military historian. He gives a really good perspective on the Iraq war as compared to other wars in the past.

Now THIS is Remarkable

Now this is a way to sell things on ebay. Check out the other auctions for this seller as well. It’s not a fluke.

Too funny.

Amazon - Secret Tunnels AND Secret Discounts

I just read over at Greedy Girl that Amazon is giving unadvertised discounts to their customers who they know (by way of cookies) are using their new search engine, A9, on a regular basis. It’s not much, but it’s enough to make people start talking about it, which, in turn, drives more traffic to their search engine. In my opinion, this is a good way to pay for traffic without having to pay cash. Great idea, Jeff (Bezos). Great idea.

People have been predicting his company’s demise since Amazon started. He’s still going strong. Of course, if his secret shipping tunnels plan turns out to be true, Amazon will be the first trillion dollar company. (It’ll even surpass Walmart by leaps and bounds.) Think of the possiblities. They could become not only the biggest retailer on planet earth, but the biggest transporter of goods and put at least one of the other carriers out of business if not more than one.

Read my site blurb above. In it, I refer to being “remarkable.” We so often don’t think of this term in the proper way. To be “remarkable”, you must do things that will compel others to “remark” about you or what you are doing. It’s the literal meaning of the term, “remarkable.” Google and Amazon are really good at this. Yahoo has fallen by the wayside but used to be good at this. What are you doing in your business or life in general that compels others to remark about you or what you are doing? If there’s nothing to remark about, spend some time asking yourself how you can generate remarkability. It’ll pay off in spades.

September 14, 2004

Some Great Entrepreneur Quotes

About.com has an article with some great entrepreneur quotes. Some of my favorites:

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.
- Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Enterprises

“I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”
- Thomas Edison

“My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’. That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job.”
- Ted Turner, broadcasting entrepreneur

September 13, 2004

Must Read for Democrats

I came across a blog this morning. She’s a lifelong Democrat and she basically goes off. But I think it’s a good read for my Democrat readers out there who may be one of those seemingly millions of Americans who seem to hate Bush for some reason.

If you have a couple minutes, read her latest post and the over 100 comments she got on the post, too. Incredible.

http://ariagoesdown.blogspot.com/2004/09/elephant-in-room-i-have-mentioned-to.html

Local In-Home Eyeglass Representative

Sorry… been away longer than ususal from blogging. I have been moving not only my home but my office as well. All at the same time and still trying to get work done in the process. What a nightmare.

This latest business idea of mine came to me during my move. My glasses broke a few days back. They were over 4 years old, so they were ready to be replaced anyway. I went in for an eye exam and the doc mentioned I should consider getting bi-focals this time to sharpen my closeup sight. After falling out of the chair with a heart attack (bi-focals are for old people, right?) I took his advice and checked into them.

Turns out, glasses are REALLY expensive. Especially ones that preserve your dignity and hide the bi-focal line (called progressive lenses, for all you, ahem.. youngsters.)

So, after having another heart attack upon seeing the prices we’re talking about, I thought I would take to the internet to see if I could find some proverbial hole-in-the-wall with lower overhead that could supply me with some glasses at a significant discount. Turns out, you CAN get glasses online for cheaper than your average eyeglass store in the mall… etc. HOWEVER, and it’s a big however, eyeglass purchasing is a decidedly hands-on task. You want to try on a million pair to make sure none of them make you look like your grandpa or something.

Plus, all the measurements of your nose bridge, the space between your beady little eyes… etc, etc, etc.

As is usual for me, I immediately started brainstorming how I could use this difference in eyeglasses cost between the internet and the local prices to support a business of some sort without giving up the service you get with a local store.

Here’s what I came up with. I’m sure my clever readers can expound on my idea.

Get in contact with several of these online eyewear outfits and see which of them can give you the best deal if you resold their products. Offer to be a local sales rep for them. For instance, I live in the Portland, OR metro area. We have about 1.2 million people in the entire metro area. I could offer to cover this entire area for them. Essentially, I would get from them a sample of each frame they offer. I would carry them in some sort of portable case (this would have to be researched and perhaps designed specifically for this use) and then you would go to people’s homes and allow them to try on all the pairs they want and do their measurements… etc. They place their order with you and you send it along to the company. The company sends the eyeglasses either directly to the people or to you and you can come back to do the fitting.

I saw the difference in prices to be almost 50% off the local eyeglass stores. I’m sure there’s plenty of profit to pay yourself nicely and still provide a cheaper price than the local stores. Remember, these places in the mall have to support a LOT of overhead, so you know they have a HUGE margin on their products.

If you partner with the right company, you can go on to do the same thing in other cities, setting up more reps selling their products and perhaps become a part of their field management team, setting up reps in cities across the US… etc.

This is also a PERFECT local keyword search business. You use google and overture’s local search pay per click engines to get your business. When someone from your local area searches for “eyeglasses” and all the other keywords associated with the business, you can have your ad say, “Cheaper than the local stores and we come to your home for a personalized fitting” or something like that. If you quoted cheaper prices than their local stores (which they would have already checked out, believe me) and they still get the nice service of being fitted and being able to try on a million pair to see how they look… etc, you’d get a TON of business, believe me.

The important part of this is the numbers. Can they support this type of business and still be able to undercut the local stores? I think the answer to this question is a resounding yes.

As a tack on… you could become an affiliate for 1-800-CONTACTS and make sure if your customer is wanting contact lenses that you turn them on to them through your affiliate link and get a residual commission each time they order, for life. That will add up over time as well.

Oh, and you’d get a ton of referrals with this business opportunity after doing it for a bit. It’s just the type of thing that people love to talk about… “they came to my home, let me try on everything, took my order there, delivered it and it was STILL cheaper than Lens Crafters (or whoever.)

As usual, remember me when you get rich with this idea! :-)

September 5, 2004

Earthquake Prediction Correct

I woke up this morning to what I expected, major earthquake activity. I went to bed last night convinced that the activity would happen in the next 24 hours and I was right. There were two sizeable quakes in Japan only 5 hours apart. They were even announced on Drudge’s news page, which is pretty much the litmus test for whether a quake is major enough to make it to the news or not.

But, for some reason, because of the intensity of the “thing” that happens to me before earthquakes, I don’t think those two earthquakes are going to be the end of it. I believe we have some more coming up in the next 24 hours or so. But because seismic activity is so dependent on many things, it could be that what I experienced is the set up for something really major in the near future. Who knows… it’s such an inexact science. But don’t be surprised if we get another big jolt somewhere before it quiets down.

Up to this point in my personal blog here at dansherman.com, I’ve tried to keep my two worlds separate. That is, between the book I wrote regarding my military experience and my personal entrepreneur interests. Only because I don’t want people thinking I wrote the book as a “business opportunity.” However, this ability I have to sense impending seismic activity is probably very related to my other ability, of which I write about in the book. So, it’s only fair you should know about them both if I am writing about just one.

I self-published my book in 1997. We’ve sold over 10,000 copies since then and it’s been shipped to over 60 countries. I’ve done over 200 radio, tv, magazine and newspaper interviews and I’ve spoken in front of countless people over the course of the last 7 years at lectures and conferences. My experience is quite well known in the ufo/alien aficionado world.

So, if you didn’t think I was loopy with the earthquake thing, you might change your mind now. Here’s my book’s website. Happy reading. :-)

September 2, 2004

I’m Predicting an Earthquake - Literally!

Hopefully, you’ve been reading my blog now for a while and you have come to realize that I’m reasonably sane, lucid and not prone to going off the deep end. :-)

With that said, I have given a lot of thought to this entry before posting it. Only because I don’t want my readers to think I’m loopy. But, based on my historical accuracy and the level at which this particular event has been presenting itself, I believe I should at least mention it. Get it down on paper, so to speak. I’m writing this at 9:00am (PDT), September 2, 2004.

Okay… what am I talking about? Since I was a child, I’ve been able to correlate something physical that happens to me leading up to seismic activity around the globe. I’ve recently been experiencing this physical "thing" and it’s been in spades. It’s stronger than it’s ever been in my life. In the past, I’d say a good 70% of the time, it has culminated with seismic activity large enough to at least make the news.

I’ve never been able to pin it down to location. Could be anywhere in the world. However, because of the intensity of this latest physical manifestation, it’s quite possible it might be closer to me than further away. (I live in the Pacific Northwest.) I know what you’re thinking… "there’s seismic activity everywhere all the time." Yes, but only a very few ever make it to the nightly news. That’s what I’m talking about.

Anyway, whenever I’ve told people about this thing I get, I always get eye rolling… etc. The problem is, it’s not 100% accurate, but because it’s been way better than 50/50, I believe there’s at least something to it.

What does this have to do with entrepreneurialism? Well… nothing really. :-) Just wanted to share this with my readers.

I just hope the intensity of the event doesn’t directly correlate with the intensity of the physical manifestation I’ve been experiencing. If it does, it will be absolutely devastating. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Okay, have I been relegated to your crazy list yet? :-)

Update 11:34 am PDT: I’ve been informed by a reader that there are other "rumblings" (pun intended) regarding impending earthquake activity. Interesting… very interesting.

Another update