Mermaid’s August 2018 WordPress Tea Party

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (pixelated)

A blogger on WordPress had a great idea for a splendid blog post and I want to indulge it–WordPress blogger The Little Mermaid is having her second-ever “tea party.”

 

The Little Mermaid, on one hand, is a Disney film character, who you have probably seen in the animated feature if you have an interest in Disney.  My own family has the videotape of the film because I have a younger sister.  In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel, seeks her escape from the sea, but, furthermore, The Little Mermaid is the name of a blogger who has had a delightful idea, that being to host WordPress “tea parties.”

 

The Little Mermaid writes that her first tea party, last month, was open-ended in terms of what content she wanted to read, but for August, The Little Mermaid has invited participants to post about books they enjoy, about which I thought I could circuitously add something to the conversation.

 

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/08/22/join-in-the-fun-join-in-the-august-2018-tea-party/

 

I am late in any case, but I’ve joined in by enjoying some of the tea party guests’ blog responses and by weblogging the August invite to the tea party and tweeting it.

 

As to what books I might read, most often I enjoy nonfiction, on such a subject as the business behind Google, for example, or of the blockchain.  Another kind of book I enjoy is the type that references techniques and strategies for personal change and success.  I like both physical volumes and books on my Kindle.

 

As I’m sure you’re aware, the accessibility of books in 2018 is completely staggering.  If you are a full-ahead author on the Internet I think you know that Twitter has seen a gold rush of self-published titles.

 

  • DIGITAL GOLD

 

The last book I got to read is not of this kind, however, not an eBook.  It is, in fact, a book that is near-academic, but interesting all the same.  The title is DIGITAL GOLD, written by Nathaniel Popper.  It is the story of the development of Blockchain and Bitcoin.

 

The blockchain is, I understand, a mega-trend.  I wanted to come to an understanding of what blockchain is about.  The blockchain is the process of cryptocurrency mining that could dramatically affect the long-term value of data currencies like bitcoin.

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Photographer: Icons8 team

All about bitcoin’s origins and its eventual emergence and success, Popper’s book interested me quite a bit.  I found it very satisfactory.

 

  • The Stranger

 

Reflecting in a different light, my favorite book isn’t nonfiction; it’s instead a famous novel.  Its appeal is legendary.  I have read it a couple of times, the perennial favorite The Stranger by the late Albert Camus.

 

This novel of Camus’ is an existential novel, in terms of its thematic elements, with the plot about a man who grieves his late mother in a markedly strange way, which you might characterize as embittered and perhaps confused, too.

 

Existentialist fiction usually tackles questions of the meaning of life, such as in The Stranger, looking at why the main character’s grief is necessary and how it is that it’s enacted in the character’s specific manner after his mother’s death.

 

  • Casino Royale

 

Reflecting again more on what makes a good novel, I think I’d argue that the most overrated book I ever read is Casino Royale, by the late Brit Ian Fleming.  Casino Royale, Fleming’s first novel about MI6 agent James Bond, 007, is the spy appearing in the film adaptation of the Fleming novel starring Daniel Craig as 007.  While Casino Royale is certainly an agreeable read, to think that with its publication one of the most successful film franchises ever would result, including film roles by several actors playing the character James Bond, leads me to characterize Casino Royale as perhaps indeed overrated.

 

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Photographer: Lukas

Casino Royale is about the spy 007 targeting an enemy’s gambling habits in order to complicate the enemy’s financial resources at the casino tables, thus rendering him less effective an enemy.  That Ian Fleming wrote the enemy as a Russian, I believe, is prescient of today’s turbulent world scene.

 

Fleming was drawing inspiration from the historical Cold War, and that is why the sign is there, that Le Chiffre, the name of the villain who 007 challenges at the card tables in Casino Royale, is Russian.  Even the other day, August 21, the Trump administration’s Paul Manafort was demolished for his thieving and his conspiring with Russian political agents.

 

What You Feel, You Can Heal

 

To go on, The Little Mermaid tactfully asks in her August tea party blog post the question of which book most distinctly impacted your life.  It is of a personal nature, to name a book that positively impacted you, but I think of What You Feel, You Can Heal, John Gray’s first book, published in the nineteen-nineties.  When I was a twenty-something I sat in at a conference to hear a speaker give his thoughts on wellbeing.  The gentleman gave advice on dealing with personal difficulties–he recommended John Gray.

 

What You Feel You Can Heal blog post
Opening paragraph for my What You Feel You Can Heal eBook

Gray’s best-known book (and there are a series of them) is Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, a book about relationships.  You know the speaker at the conference referred to social relationships suggesting something like that.  It isn’t Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus that interested me, although I subsequently read that one a couple of times.  Gray’s first book, What You Feel, You Can Heal, is about goalsetting through one’s lifetime and other matters of positive productivity, impacting me much more substantially than Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

 

John Gray, though young when he wrote What You Feel, You Can Heal, is recounting what he learned before emerging as an author.  He fleshes out his view of several stages of life that Gray observes in many other people, all at once in What You Feel, You Can Heal, bringing these ideas together to form this book.

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (pixelated)
Science fictions novels (the photo has been pixelated)

One last note:  although it may seem juvenile, while not expressly for young adults, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams, and the four novels Adams wrote to follow his success, are the books I would most earnestly recommend to someone new.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is funny and strange, a blend of science fiction and humor.

 

Both in the novel and in the film adaptation, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the story of hapless Brit Arthur Dent, who hitchhikes to the stars the day that the Vogons, who are dimwitted, horrible monsters, demolish the Earth.  From there it is up to Arthur to get by in travels through the skies.

 

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a resource Arthur has to comprehend his troubles:  the Guide is an encyclopedia describing everything in the universe.  It is as if Douglas Adams, though writing for comic purposes, foresaw the development of the world wide web.

 

I have enjoyed The Little Mermaid’s tea party and I wish her well, as I do everybody else who thought to join in.  I appreciate every opportunity I have to contribute, and when there is some response to something I have written, I am always flattered.  You are welcome to “like,” follow, and/or comment as you see fit.  See you in September!

Pausing to read The 4-Hour Work Week

Church building at cemetery grounds

I wrote this a couple of months ago, but the other day I heard remarks by Gary Veynerchuk, who I watch a little of some Monday mornings when I am starting the week with an hour of “Motivation Monday,” against the dream of a passive income.  There is a Youtube video available that gives an idea of what Gary believes. 

THE ONLY “Passive Income” Video You Need To Watch – Gary Veynerchuk |Motivational Rant 

I already knew not to try to tell people what to say about content marketing on social media, because it’s a pointless maneuver, but I do want to refer to Gary’s position on passive income and note that his passion could be relevant to the decision to invest time in reading Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Work Week.

I have read the Ferriss book three times over the years, and I think it’s an enjoyable read, but I wanted to curate what I wrote a couple of months back with the caveat that the dream of a 4-hour work week may not be right for you.

Summer 2018

I ran into a disagreement, a stumbling block, but made a decision.

 

One of my uncles called me out for posting to our Facebook business page at a level above what he felt was my comprehension.  I guess I was insulted, but maybe what he was getting at was true–I decided to make good on the advice and to improve my strategy for Facebook–https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Church building at cemetery grounds
Louth United Church, St. Catharines

Being a very small page on Facebook is a hard bargain–to be competitive requires strong content, and there isn’t money to spend to drive it.

 

So, in the several days since my uncle’s observation, I revisited The 4-Hour Work Week for the third time.

 

It’s a 2007 book by Timothy Ferriss that is a how-to on putting together a life of travel and wealth, particularly in light of opportunities afforded by the Internet.  This is about getting past the need for a fulltime job.

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I realize 2007 is a long time ago, but it is an inspiring read if you the reader are reflecting on what you’re doing in the course of your career that might be unsatisfying for you.

 

I was holding down a job the second half of 2007, which is when I was feeling comfortable but uninspired.  4-Hour Work Week author Timothy Ferriss recounts how he never could keep a job, although he is well-known for doing all kinds of amazing activities, including writing the bestselling book that I read again for the third time.

 

Admittedly, I am comfortable volunteering at the cemetery which I feel serves a purpose, owing to its continued interest by visitors who have loved ones resting there and who find the tendered grounds a suitable destination for introspection and solace.

 

However, I did again to my delight find 4-Hour Work Week an impassioned read.

 

Ferriss argues for the importance of the spirit of independence.  This is instead of job security, Ferriss arguing that work for the sake of work is a pointless grind and that you would be better traveling across the world, for example.  That, he affirms, is a far better investment of time and resources, than being buried, you could put it, in the demands of what might be eighty hours of work a week.

 

Some of the ideas Ferris had for the book remain relevant, like targeting ads with Google to create product sales to get you out of the gate and in charge.  Ads like those Internet offers remain a profitable activity for people to make money at when they have a product niche and a matching headspace that’s geared to online sales with the Internet.

 

Ferris refers in his book to Pareto’s Law, the concept that 20% of your efforts achieve 80% of the results you get.  It is a quirky theorem that is popular in self-management circles.  For example, Ferriss thought of ways that 20% of his interactions with clients produced 80% of the sales he needed–and invented methods to bring down the time spent chasing the 20% without sacrificing the 80% payoff.

 

While possibly hard to measure, you could tap into Pareto’s Law in areas of your own life that need expansion, while synchronously cutting back on activities that only mean spinning your wheels.  Ferriss in the book explores how.

 

Ferriss’ ideas include avoiding taking phone calls by getting people to email you rather than call, and then to check email only twice a day, at noon and at four.  This gets the most important communications done instead of letting them control too much of your time.

 

Most important, Ferriss finds that a life away from the office should never be about getting back to work.  He believes in automating as much as possible, and you probably already know that automation is a vital time-saving strategy to everybody who’s pressed for time.

 

In the first few chapters, Ferriss recommends a five-day information fast–no more news sites, magazines, or books, and only an hour of television viewing in the evening instead of the several that he says most people watch.  Five days of this with the help of his book and you’re on your way.

 

He also illustrates a Dreamline and points out some ways you can reduce your present list of expenses so that you can readily find the money to tick off some of the items you have on your bucket list.

 

It is a pleasant dream to think of a life like that.

Skitter Photo
Photographer: Skitter Photo

If you need some tips to deal with a job that’s turned out to be soul-crushing, this book is a good source of inspiration.  The writing is both insightful and easy to digest.  What we do with our time is what we are, and a bit of fun and freedom might be the ingredients you need to reconnect with your purpose outside of work.

 

I am illustrating this post with a shot I took of my copy of the Ferriss book and also a photo of Louth United Church, on the cemetery grounds where I work in an operations capacity.

 

And, please, you are more than welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.

Remember, your happiness is important.

10 Guidelines for Charitable Giving Facilitated by the Government

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October 17, 2018 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“let us remember that ending poverty is not a matter of charity but a question of justice.”
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

A few weeks ago Facebook faced a big data breach, which isn’t helping, I understand, in efforts to keep people’s trust invested in the social media platform.

 

I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the existing structure for receiving donations when I published this post this summer.  I meant to say that the volunteers who run Maple Lawn Cemetery, where I work, don’t presently ask for donations on Facebook, because we are only a small page and we don’t have the budget with which to work.

Facebook’s Big Data Breach Could Benefit These 3 Companies

Perhaps in the future, but admittedly unlikely, we could bring onboard someone younger to help with carrying out our operations with the help of Facebook, but at the present I am aware of the mess Facebook has run into owing to its exposed dealings with Cambridge Analytica and what that has done to Facebook’s credibility as a social media platform and to its use for small business (and in recent news the data breach).  I want to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt that they will continue to improve their situation and remain effective as a tool for small business.  I am optimistic that it will remain a good idea to publicize our work on Facebook.

 

Now is almost certainly not the best time to try to begin raising funds on Facebook, as the bad publicity is undeniable, I feel, but with Giving Tuesday still ahead in November I do want to keep my hand in the game in case the situation changes for the better.  A little more money could certainly serve our needs.  I am more concerned that Facebook will continue to grow to mean that the business page for our not-for-profit remains useful… https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Source

Facebook Fundraising Tools Now Allow Monthly Giving

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Photographer: Rawpixel.com

I am involved with a small business.  We operate a cemetery which otherwise has no one to care for it.

 

This blog is nominally tied to it.  I believe blogging is an opportunity to be involved with others who are similarly inclined to write blog posts.

 

I am the junior employee, and I help with grounds keeping.  I also assist work inside the disbanded church which is on the grounds of the cemetery, and provide some of the cemetery’s presence on the Internet (on Facebook, and also here:  www.maplelawncemetery.org).

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Peter and Linda

The senior employee is Peter.

 

Occasionally volunteers lend a hand with the maintenance work.  We have had work done by my nephew Mack, by family friends Bill and Gerard, and by my father’s brothers Paul and Dave.

 

We began in 2012, six years after the church closed its doors for the last time.  The cemetery is small.

 

To write this post, I researched federal Canadian controversies over nonprofits.  LIVE WELL, DO GOOD‘s David McConkey has provided specifics about giving or receiving charitable donations.

What he is saying on his website inspired what I thought about making donations.

 

  1. One of the reasons that we see ourselves a little like volunteers is that, although typically we would accept donations, we are not a registered charity.  In Canada, it is my understanding that only donations to registered charities qualify for an income tax credit.  This means that there is less incentive for parties interested in what we do to bestow us with any kind of gift.

 

  1. This isn’t a big problem, as there isn’t a lot of overhead to go with maintaining a cemetery of this size, but it does make campaigns such as November’s annual Giving Tuesday affair somewhat troubled waters.  We can’t return the favor of a donation with an income tax deduction.

 

  1. Statistics Canada has found that almost everyone (ninety-four percent of those fifteen years old and older) makes charitable donations.  Sometimes these can be valuable art items.
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Abstract expressionism
  1. Despite not being able to provide a tax break, I imagine we would consider accepting donations.  While we are a touch cautious about the possibility of a federal audit, I will probably make some noise again about Giving Tuesday come November.

 

  1. I don’t like to spin my wheels, but nothing good comes easy.  Perhaps by repeating an interest in Giving Tuesday, I will start to unlock chains that keep us out of what works about Giving Tuesday.  We’re working at a cemetery, which demands solemn thinking and which is literally a retreat for visitors who miss their loved ones.

 

  1. Statistics Canada has found that donors who plan ahead give more than others.  As we are involved year-round with people choosing their final resting place or the resting place of their loved ones, perhaps this is something we could investigate if we were looking at how to raise funds for the cemetery.  That being said, to date we have not had a problem caring for the church and cemetery, so we are not under any pressure to need to strenuously keep up the maintenance of the place running smoothly.

 

  1. CanadaHelps.org is a registered charity that facilitates online donations.  They work with thousands of charities.  They issue receipts and forward your donation to a charity you specify, less a three percent transaction fee.

 

Source

Charitable Donations: Top Ten Canadian Tax Tips

 

David McConkey found inspiration in the pages of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, by Bill Clinton.  Three points specifically raised that David McConkey emphasizes are explained below.

 

  1. Most people on Earth live in a democracy.  Bill Clinton emphasizes that involvement in civil society is quite accessible to more people now than ever.

 

  1. Globalization and technology have made the fortunes of powerful millionaires and billionaires, Clinton writes.  These same individuals are frequently prominent philanthropists.

 

  1. The Internet is certainly steadfast in the opportunity to make civil action. Together, small donors can have a huge impact.

 

Source

Review of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

 

Although my dad is a senior citizen, I can foresee us working until any set point in the future.  I really don’t know at this time how far into the future we should project, but as helping with the cemetery is the best bet I have for autonomy and independence, I will do the best I can to keep working at caring for the cemetery and for the disbanded church.  I also intend to keep an active presence on Facebook, and here on WordPress.

 

Bill Clinton’s book helped inspire David McConkey’s thoughts on income tax credits and how to take advantage of them.  I invite you to visit us on Facebook.  You may also ask any question you might have of me here on WordPress, over on Quora, or on Twitter.

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Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

If you have a question which I might possibly be able to answer for you, I would be glad to help.  I appreciate that you took the time to visit.

 

To visually illustrate this post, I have included a couple of shots taken myself, and in addition a couple of stock photos intended to better illustrate some of the information, without being verbose.  Thank you for bearing with me.

About Gifts That Created Joy

The WordPress community provides a daily prompt to get bloggers thinking about what they can write and post. There is also a weekly photo challenge, accompanying the daily prompts, a weekly essay that invites photographers to put a new photo for others interested in the daily prompts to see.

This week’s essay, written by Ben Huberman, has the title “smile.” Ben says to illustrate a moment of joy.

For my birthday this year, the day of March I celebrate my birthday, my parents got me a nice new camera to supplant the one I was shooting with for years, often photos to show what we were doing at the not-for-profit for which I help provide operations. Even though it is already April, I am still learning how to shoot with the new camera, building on the knowledge I already had with the point-and-shoot model that was quite a few years old, several years anyway. I am finding out I am not as good a photographer as I thought, but I hope to improve– https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

A friend reminded me of times past when she showed me photos on her phone of a gentleman who was a good friend to me when he was alive, a man in his sixties named John. In the last several months of his life, we were close and he did me a few favors by getting me things for my home that I needed.

He was proud he was good at “finding” things if you asked him, and he knew for example that the Salvation Army thrift store discarded items which they didn’t feel they could sell to anyone and that he could grab the odd item of value that they didn’t see the value in. And he knew that sometimes neighbors in the complex would put out items for the garbage, which occasionally still had value in them for the purpose of reuse.

I do a lot of my work on a Windows 10 PC, but I never had speakers for it until the day John brought me a pair of computer speakers that positively thrilled me, speakers that both reminded me of the past when I was younger and more exuberant, and in the age of Windows 10, speakers, that gave me the ability to play music with Spotify, for example. It was the best of two worlds.

Of course, I smiled–I took a photo today of John’s gift to get me thinking music. You can see the speakers–and I don’t think the fact that they’re an older model means they’re “rusty.”

They sound nice. I’m not an audiophile, but music helps with a bum mood.

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You can’t say the gear’s rusty yet

You can see a lamp, as well, which true to form John got for me the same way, picking it up when it was headed for discard. John was real and he was cool and he knew how he could help me out.

I shouldn’t overlook my parents’ help, either–the first photo I took with the new camera, when I was still literally learning how to turn it on, was a photo of another lamp, which lights my way to this day, and my favourite chair, and believe it or not, it was John who outfitted me with both of these.

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A reading chair

Of course I miss John and everything he contributed, which was as about life lessons as about material goods. There is an adage that people come into our life for a day, a season or a lifetime, and if you see life in those terms you can enjoy gains that simply wouldn’t have been there if you never trusted.

What Alger Wrote about Silence

2018-01-19

By the time he died in 1899, Horatio Alger Jr. was the author of about a hundred volumes.  His popularity had dwindled, although his writing received favorable comments and a resurgence following his death.  Walter Sherwood’s Probation says, “There are times when silence is golden, and one of those times is at hand.”1

All of Alger’s novels rework the same plot:  a boy struggles to escape poverty.2 It’s not the age of silence. If one has any luck, he has a voice, with which to speak.

The Internet intertwines individual voices, and at times the roar is as one and other times it is dissident.

Humility’s not always to our advantage. When the human voice is silenced, it is the sound of silence, but not nearly as golden a silence as the failing Horatio Alger Jr. posited.

Don’t be inhibited by what is unkind luck and, therefore, misfortune.

Never hesitate when the iron is hot to be forward with this venture, and have a heart and be true. Feel welcome with your words.

Defy the repeal of net neutrality. When curating this the week of the fifteenth of January, 2018, from a post I did September 20, 2016, 20+ states were intent on suing for continuing net neutrality.

Do not let the US ISPs decide the future of the Internet. It is much better a level playing field. Small business can anticipate better odds of success if net neutrality is restored intact.

The weekly WordPress photo challenge Silence was presented Wednesday by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

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Equipment to render information from noise and silence

If you’re of the mind to “like” this post or “follow” my blog, that’s great. You’re welcome to comment as well.

Works Cited:

1 dictionary.sensagent.com/horatio%20alger%20jr/en-en/
2 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatio_Alger