Community Service From Boyscouts-Its All About That

 

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Community service from Boyscouts is an integral part of what the Boy Scouting organization is all about. The projects selected give the Scout a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

Community service from Boyscouts is an important part of being a loyal and trustworthy. No matter how long or short the project is, it can have a major impact on the whole town and allow all the Scouts involved to develop leadership skills, learn to work as a part of a team, and make a big difference in their neighborhood.

Most cities have parks that the people of that city can go to relax and have fun, or go hiking and biking, skating or what have you. One great idea for the Scouts is to give their city a better looking area to do all of these things.

Making the parks within the city more attractive will most likely be an ongoing project that could take years to complete. Start by talking to the leaders of the city and get permission to clear a nature trail for walking, hiking and biking. Then add some plantings of native plants or let some of the area go back to wild, help it along by planting wildflower seeds.

Give a neighborhood school a freshening up by repainting the exterior, mending fences, and sprucing up the landscaping.

Put up fences around area athletic fields and help get them ready for the next season.

Churches in cities or towns can always use some help of some kind or another. Go talk to the minister and get some ideas on things that need to be fixed.

Engage with local leaders to make a difference in many lives. Present to them an informational program on just exactly the types of things the Boy Scouts have been responsible for in the past and what they are willing to do for the city, parks and neighborhoods in the area in the future. Let the local leaders have a crack at coming up with things that the troops can do around town.

Organize meal delivery for shut-ins and fun events for nursing home residents. Create a mentoring program for younger boys or a tutoring program for struggling students.

Start a weekend soup kitchen for the needy or create a carpool program for local workers. Initiate an informational presentation on Boy Scout projects and let the community know how they can contribute.

Create a list of home projects that the Boy Scouts are willing to complete, then hold an auction and complete the work for the highest bidder then donate any proceeds to a local charity.

Organize a fitness day to help raise awareness about the importance of physical health.

Install new seating for public areas like new benches in the parks and along those brand new nature trials you cleared.

Volunteer to stock shelves and sort food at the local food pantry. Set up donation boxes all over town and collect the food at the end of each week.

Assemble backpacks full of school supplies for children from needy families or full of blankets and necessities for the homeless as a part of your community service from Boyscouts.

Cheap Underwater Camera Housing

 

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When it comes to digital cameras there are a lot of options for you to choose from. The option becoming more and more popular are underwater cameras. No longer do you really have to rely on cheap underwater camera housing to allow you to snap photos under the sea. Now days underwater digital cameras are built to operate underwater, affording you far more versatility in your picture taking.

However even if you decide to buy yourself an underwater camera, there are still a lot of things you need to take into consideration. When you are looking at your underwater cameras, the first thing to consider is their sealing. Sealing is what allows them to operate underwater to begin with and it is the first and only line of defense should it be submerged, so you want to make sure it is top notch.

This becomes even more important on cameras with a lot of openings, such as those with removable lenses and USB ports. You want to make sure your camera has excellent sealing so that it will not break on your first dive. Sealing is also effect by the depth at which your camera is submerged. Cameras are rated based on just how deep they can go. With a cheap underwater camera housing you could only take your digital camera a few meters underwater, but with a proper underwater camera you could go much, much further.

The main concern with depth is the water pressure. Cameras are fairly fragile and it would not take much for it’s sealing to break or the more sensitive parts to break. This is why you need to be aware of just how far down your camera is able to go so that you do not accidently exceed this depth and break it.

Another thing you should be aware of is it’s size and shape. For most digital cameras these are merely aesthetics, maybe a little convenience issues. But with underwater cameras they become far more important as you will want to get a camera that is the right size and shape so that you can hold it easily while swimming.

If you get a camera that is too big or too small, you might drop it and recovering it could be quite the pain. This is also why you should make sure to have to strapped securely to yourself when diving.

Something else to be aware of is that underwater cameras are prone to being damaged by things like sand or chlorine. While cheap underwater camera housing can protect from this, an actual underwater camera has very little defense. It is best to keep your camera out of pools and to thoroughly clean it after every dive you make.

Underwater digital cameras can open up a whole new world of photography. All those fond moments at the beach, or especially for those who like to go diving. But even for those land lovers out there it can still be a good purchase as underwater cameras are highly durable and that water proofing may come in handy one day, and since they essentially the same price as a normal camera, there really is no reason not to buy one.

Warehouse Clubs Are The Place To Buy Coffee For Less

 

 

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If you want to buy coffee for less, you could join a warehouse club and buy a case of the same old coffee you buy at the supermarket. You’ll get a discount ranging from a few pennies to several cents per can. You could buy cheap, store-brand coffee and hope that when you get it home and brew it that you’ll actually be able to drink it. Or you could switch to a slightly cheaper name brand than the one you typically drink, and hope you like it. You can forget about buying specialty coffees or coffee in a coffee shop if you’re interested in saving money on coffee.

But it’s not impossible to buy coffee for less money if you know where to look. Online coffee stores are a great option for coffee lovers. Not only can you save money on everything from your everyday brand to your favorite gourmet coffee, but you can shop a wide variety of different brands and types of coffee and save money while doing so.

You won’t have to hide the coffee pot when you have company to save money on coffee. Now you can benefit from the special things offered at online stores. Very often you can sign up for a mailing list so that the vendor can email you about their upcoming sales and special offers.

When shopping at the online store, you use those codes to get discounts, buy-one-get-one-free offers or even outright free items, depending on that store’s particular promotion. While these work like supermarket coupons, usually online ?coupons? and mailing list offers like these will get you coffee for less money and you don’t even have to clip the coupon or use gas to drive to the store.

Since there’s not an actual building that has to be paid for to allow shoppers to come in and browse, that huge expense is eliminated. There’s no need to buy insurance to cover the store against lawsuits if someone should be hurt on the property. There’s no need to worry about the items in the store being shoplifted, or for the store to be robbed while it’s closed.

There are usually fewer employees in an online store because there’s no need for someone to run a register or sweep up at the end of the day. You’ll get coffee for less because there’s simply no large overhead costs like those that are found in brick and mortar stores.

Where online stores excel is their variety. There are no walls or limited shelf space to deal with. You can find coffee for less from all over the world, hundreds and hundreds of different varieties, all within one store. And because the costs of running an online store are so much less than a regular store, you can get even the most exotic and specialty coffee beans, coffee-making equipment, and the most expensive blends of coffee for less money than you’d probably pay at your local grocery.

Did you check your Spam Folder?

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While watching a recent episode of The Office, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. During a meeting, the character Andy says to his co-workers, “Ok, I have emailed you all the critical data so be sure to check your spam folder.”

Oh, if only I had a dime for everytime, we said to someone in our office, or to a customer, “Did you check your spam folder?”

It’s so much of an accepted problem now, companies anticipate that the information a customer requests may be filtered to spam. So in response, websites, sales material, new customer information and often telephone staff are briefed to include information on how to whiltelist, or mark email as acceptable.

For the most part we love our email don’t we? We rely on it to communicate with customers, family members, co-workers and conduct business. Email is better than voice mail, you can send it when convenient for you, from anywhere in the world. But will the person you are sending it to actually get it?

Maybe.

If you don’t know that someone sent you something, how will you know that you didn’t get it?

Despite the best efforts and money invested by ISP’s and Mail Service providers, the spam still gets through. You can’t find that important email from your customer, and you swear you never got the flight confirmation for your next trip. You check your email, then check again. Still nothing, but the “enhancement” emails still get through. Amazing!

It seems the spammers have won the war on junk email. Yes, some serial spammers have been caught, but take one look in your junk or spam email box and it’s busting with all kinds of offers and tidbits, malware, phishing schemes, and more. The simple task of opening an email attachment can unleash hell on your computer, harvest it and turn it into a Bot. Almost makes you want to watch The Terminator movie again. What was that Sarah Connor said about Skynet and self-aware computers taking over the human race?

I guess a positive way to look at it is this. The spammers, and the baddies of the Internet are helping to create jobs. As they release viruses and malware through email that infect computers it increases sales of Virus Protection Software, and increases calls to the Geek Squad at your local computer shop. The spammers keep the Internet police occupied and are contributing to economic recovery.

Most of us know to check our spam folder when an expected emailed does not arrive. Sometimes Email providers like Google’s Gmail, make it a little difficult to check for misdirected email. For some reason, Gmail, (which otherwise is a great program) has hidden the Spam folder under the MORE tab. Rather than having a very obvious folder called Spam that users can see clearly then check, instead users have to click on MORE, than on the Spam sub-folder. Only then can users see what legitimate email has been filtered unnecessarily. Some ISP’s block the spam before it even gets to your email box. This cuts down on spam but also means you may not get email that you actually DO want to receive, but your provider has deemed it not worthy for delivery or has blacklisted a domain.

Yes, spam is a fact if life. Just like we hate junk faxes, and telemarketers, and flyers in our mail boxes, we now we find our email boxes crammed with junk.

For most of us in an office environment we have come to accept junk email, as annoying but a part of life. The delete button is always a click away. It’s just not worth getting upset about.

** What do you think? Is spam the problem it once was? Submit a comment below we’d like to know what you think.

Sales Tip: Always Be Closing (ABC). The one simple rule that will help increase your sales.

 

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I don’t know who came up with the phrase, “Always Be Closing” but it’s brilliant. In sales circles it’s known more simply as ABC.

If you are in sales, this simple catchy phrase will help keep you on track to making sales.

Here’s some insight into sales and how to increase the number of sales YOU make.

Buyers like to get the sales person off track.

They like to ask questions, lots of questions.

They ask:

Does it come in blue?

What’s the guarantee?

Buyers like to stall, hedge, avoid.

They say:

I have to ask my wife.

I want to look around.

I think I can get a better deal somewhere else.

Buyers like to know that their business matters, that they are getting some personal attention to earn their business.

But sales people, know the ABC’s of sales – Always Be Closing.

Smart, successful sales people know that happy customers and good sales people go hand in hand.

They know that spending a little extra time with a serious buyer, or creating a personalized offer can be exactly what is needed to clinch a sale.

The buyer wants their questions answered so they can make the decision to buy. The smart salesperson wants to answer those questions and move the person ever closer to buying.

My colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Lant talks about the sales dance. He likens the sales process to a type of courtship. The sales person approaches, the buyer is shy, aloof. The sales person comes closer, offers the right words, and assurances. The buyer plays hard to get but shows interest. The sales person is more engaging, tries harder with a better offer, always moving toward the close.

ABC – Always be Closing means this:

Answering relevant questions, eliminating obstacles to the sale being made, helping with payment plans, reassuring the buyer, making special offers, sweetening the deal, whatever it takes to get the sale.

Closing the sale means finding out from the customer, what it will take to get them to buy NOW, not next week, or next month. The best sales people are listeners. They listen to what the buyer wants and they determine a way to get it for them so the sale is made, today. You can HEAR someone who wants to buy, if you stop talking long enough to listen.

ABC means doing your job right so the customer gets a great deal and you make a great sale!

Most of us have been on the receiving end of a poor sales person, and we also remember that warm happy feeling when you’ve made a purchase that you feel good about. We like to feel special, a good sales person can make that happen or alternatively with the wrong approach can make you walk away.

Happy customer’s who feel they got a good deal can be a repeat customer or a customer for life. Unhappy customers help you learn what you could perhaps be doing better. The right approach with an unhappy customer can convert them into a happy one! In fact, they may end up being your best customer because they see you actually cared and tried to make better a problem situation.

Got a sticky note? Write ABC on a sticky note, and post it on your computer. It will help remind you when you are talking to a customer, or answering an email, or sending a quote, or posting an offer, remember to Always Be Closing.

*** We invite your comments below.

How Yelp can help your local business generate business!

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As Groupon and other Bulk-Buy sites lose favour with merchants, business owners are going back to basics to generate traffic and new business.

Yelp.com is a reviews website that allows members to post reviews (good and bad) about different types of business. The site is structured into geographical areas which is beneficial for both users of the site and for businesses.

Yelp.com provides an easy way to see what people are saying about a specific business of interest. Recent surveys report that review sites are very popular among consumers (especially 35 and under) who will frequently use these kinds of sites to search for a business, then decide whether or not to use a service or business.

–> Benefits for the Consumer

Search for businesses by category or key words, in your specific area for hours, contact information, or website address.

Yelp allows you to find smaller businesses that might not yet be indexed on Google Maps

Browse what people are saying about a specific business or service, or add your own review.

The “talk” element of the site allows for more detailed specifics on a business or service.

Easily share your reviews on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

–> Benefits for the Business

63 million people have visited yelp in the last 30 days – that is some kind of MASSIVE – FREE exposure for your local business. People who may never otherwise have heard of your business or perhaps forgotten about you can get acquainted with you.

Any local business with a physical presence can benefit from being listed at Yelp.

Business owners can add their own business listing (if not already listed) to ensure that their contact information is accurate. They can also add photos and message customers.

Business owners (or Managers) can reply publicly to reviews or comments posted about their business.

Business owners can pay for premium advertising, called Yelp Ads.

Business owners can see what people are saying about their business and pinpoint for correction, problem or services issues in their operation.

Recently Yelp has added Events listings as well. So if you are organizing an event, submit it and get instant exposure. Visitors to Yelp, in your location will see your listing as Yelp will scan the geographical location of the member logging in, so events in their area show up.

Yelp has integrated several social media sites (FaceBook, Twitter etc) into the site so when users access these, or refer friends to the site, business owners get the benefits of even more promotion.

– Review of Yelp

For the most part, review sites like Yelp.com are GOOD for local business. The exposure for a business, is tremendous and difficult to not be seen as valuable. You get free exposure by reviews being posted, new customers are introduced to what you offer, former customers are reminded that you are still there. You as the owner or manager get come control over content, by adding your own business, then commenting often, posting pictures etc. Social media allows businesses to engage with their customers in a positive way.

Yes, there are some possible disadvantages. People can write negative reviews about your business. But if you run a solid operation these will be overshadowed by the good comments that people post. Some businesses have been known to pay people to write good reviews or offer other perks. Statistical averages will most often work in your favour if you are an honest business, doing your best to provide a quality service for your customers. Remember, negative reviews can be responded to by the business owner, or manager. Customers understand that no business is perfect. False, or off-the-wall reviews stand out as such and are often filtered, removed or rated lower in terms of helpfulness. What matters to consumers is that a business owner makes an effort to resolve problems.

For more details visit Yelp.com

What do you think of Review Sites? Helpful or not helpful? What Review sites do you like?

Promotion is OXYGEN for your business. Here’s how to breathe life into yours and boost those sales.

Newbie affiliate marketers make the common mistake of underestimating just how much promotion it takes to generate sales.

To further complicate things, sometimes even when they understand the value of promoting they don’t get the results they want, and this can be for any number of reasons which I will discuss here.

Let’s tackle the first issue, promotion. How much is enough?

Think of it this way, promotion is as vital to the life of your business as BREATHING is to you keeping YOU alive.

Notice that big companies never STOP promoting? Why does Coke need to spend 5 MILLION on a Super Bowl Ad? Doesn’t everyone know what Coke is? The reason is simple. You must keep your product, your brand, your service in the eyes of the buyer. Stop, and the buyer buys something else from someone else. Each morning while watching the morning local news, the commercials I see repeatedly are for McDonald’s breakfast wraps. McDonald’s wants their brand to be what I remember as I’m heading out the door, I can just stop there on my way to grab breakfast.

Now let’s look at affiliate marketing in this same context. You can be trying to make sales from any number of affiliate products or services, business opportunities, advertising, Amazon, movies, website hosting, traffic, pet products, leads, books, toys, and so forth. You’ve got lots of competition. This means you must promote constantly, the reality that successful marketers know and embrace is, that you can’t ever stop.

This may come as a surprise to some. Often I see new marketers, go hard promoting for a week or two, then take time off, then they are back blasting off a few posts, their interest wanes and that’s it they’re done. Average business life expectancy for new marketers can be as brief as 30 days. Too many people expect instant spectacular results from a half-assed effort. You want to make more sales? Learn about effective marketing strategy and adapt a system for marketing – then stick with it. Promote more products, promote more often, promote in the places where you will get the BEST results. There is money to be made – a lot of money – from reputable online sources – not just today but for years to come if you learn how to be a smart marketer.

The good news is that once you have a system for promoting it doesn’t take you as long to do it. You can spend some time early in the morning or late in the evening on your lap top sending out your ads, doing your postings, updating your social media accounts. One of the advantages of being an affiliate marketer is that the company handles orders and customer service, this allows you to focus 100% on advertising and promotion.

Now let’s talk about the where, what and how of promotion that will bring you results.

Get accounts at:

Linked In
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Once you have the accounts set up don’t forget about them. Try to post at least every 48 hours. What to you post? Product reviews. Testimonials. Articles. Recommendations and so forth. Blatant ads won’t work in most places so be creative and be clever.

Get acccounts at popular Safelists and Exchanges. Safelists are free to join, you can earn advertising credits, or pay for low cost advertising targeting the home business market. Safelists are very effective for promotion of landing pages so be sure to include an offer, a lead form, and an optin.

Here’s a few to get you started

http://www.TrafficCenter.com
ListJoe.com
Referral Frenzy
http://www.DragonSurfer.com
http://www.QuantumSafelist.com
ViralInBox.com
MisterSafelist.com
Do a Bing Search for more – there are lots and lots of options for Safelist marketing.

Classified Ad sites are worth your time and so too are Online Forums.
Do a Google search to find sites that are free to join and post.

Speaking of Google, as a small affiliate marketer with limited advertising dollars, forget about buying Google Ads unless you have a bottomless pit of money to spend on advertising. It is far better value to buy low cost solo ads, classifieds, login ads, banner ads and sponsor ads at sites related to your market, such as the Safelists mentioned above.

Blogs. You can get a free blog but I don’t recommend it as you have no ownership or control. The company providing your free blog can simply remove it whenever they like if they don’t agree with something posted on the blog, or if their policies change. Better to get your own hosted blog, with an actual website address branded to you. Hosted blogs are inexpensive and using WordPress makes it very easy even for non techies to manage their own blog. For example my hosted blog is http://www.SandiHunter.com and this is a WordPress Blog that is easily managed and updated. What can you post to your blog? Everything? Why blog? To get better search engine ranking and to brand yourself, and to generate leads. If your blog is niche based, meaning the content is specific to a certain topic this is even better for search engine indexing and ranking. On your blog you can post your products for sale, your services, your reviews, your recommendations, articles, images, offers, news, and more. They key to blogging is to post new original content on a regular basis.

So now you understand that to earn consistent online income you must commit to promoting consistently. What you may not know is where to start, and exactly what to do. That’s where we can help you. Now it’s time for you to put a system in place so you can achieve the results you want. Successful marketers promote constantly to breathe LIFE into their business. They are hungry for leads because leads result in sales. They understand that a business only grows when continually watered, nurtured and fed. They learn how and where to market effectively by getting help in this process using a system that works, a proven system like the one developed over many years at Worldprofit. This is a comprehensive training system that teaches you the marketing skills required to achieve your goals for growing your successful online business. Find out more about how Worldprofit can help you grow your profitable online business at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

About the Author.

Sandi Hunter, is Co-Founder and President of Worldprofit Inc. Started in 1994, Worldprofit has helped people worldwide grow their own online business with comprehensive training, support and resources from newbies to more seasoned affiliate marketers.

Note: If you are reading this and not yet a Worldprofit member, you’re missing out on valuable training to help you learn how to earn at home from reputable online sources. Worldprofit provides training, resources, software and support for people who want to learn how to earn at home from reputable online sources. Find out why for over 20 years now Worldprofit has been the # 1 popular choice for online home business training. Join over two million people worldwide who trust Worldprofit for online training and support at http://homeprofitcoach.com/associates

‘We need a little Christmas.’ Why I’m working hard right this minute to make Christmas 2011 the best ever.

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. I was young then, blessed with that overflowing feeling of high animal spirits and joy to the world. It was 1967, I was in New York City for the first time, about to sail to Europe on the SS Aurelia … The future seemed boundless, was boundless, and I had only good wishes and to spare for everyone, everywhere.

The only snare was that I couldn’t get tickets for “Mame” (music and lyrics by Jerry Herman); the hit musical based on one of my mother’s favorite books, “Auntie Mame” by Patrick Dennis (1955). Bummer. But not down hearted I somehow managed to get a program and discovered when Angela Lansbury, the star, the toast of Broadway, was likely to leave the Winter Garden Theatre. .. and just where I could stand for the best chance of getting her autograph.

I well recall the moment she came out the stage door, she was smaller than she appeared on stage… and I remember how the collar of her coat brushed against my cheek… and her scent as she bent down to autograph the program, a little crushed in my hand. It was lush, seductive, delicious… And I was happy…

I have that program still, in good condition, too, a reminder when the song I’ve chosen for today’s theme music — “We need a little Christmas” — was just a peppy, high-stepping, belt-it-out number, not an absolute need for all of us. Start, however, by going to any search engine… get the tune… then let ‘er rip… it’s going to get your blood going, your feet tapping, and maybe even bring a tear to your eye, you sentimental softie you…

“For I’ve grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older!”

These words pretty much sum up events since that magic moment at the door of the Winter Garden Theatre — and I don’t merely mean for you and me, either. I mean for America and for our deeply troubled world. And that is why I am already at work to ensure this Christmas in this year of general dismay and gloom is the best ever. We need it — for the good of home, hearth, soul, and, yes, the economy.

I began this week.

It is September 25, 2011 as I write, and my dear and valued helpers, Aime Joseph and his soothing wife Mercedes, have commenced Operation Christmas. We started with a herculean task meant to occur twice each year but often “forgotten” — polishing the silver. It is arduous, it is wearying, it is dull… and it is a necessary deed in creating the “wow factor” that is such an essential part of Christmas for me and mine.

The question is, why have we started so early… just what are we doing it for?

Over the last few years I have noticed the inception and development of an invidious trend in me and many others: scaling back, pruning, diminishing the high festival of Christmas. This is a very bad thing… and this year I decided to take constructive action before I bear an even closer approximation to Ebenezer Scrooge. This called for drastic action… and my better self answered the call.

Unmarried, no (known) children. Katie Segal made a fortune on “Married with Children”(1987) in which she played the ultimate suburban vulgarian wife, Peg. She thought the holiday was for maxing out her credit cards and causing pain to her hapless bills-paying husband. It was funny… because, of course, we weren’t like Peg, no way. But we are… and not, I hasten to add, because we enjoy the consumer aspect of the event.

I have always thought the sanctimonious folks who decry the blatant commercialism of Christmas and seek to revert to prior usages, pure and holy, misread the original text and allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by Puritans. Now, lest you think I am anti-Puritan, be aware I am of Puritan heritage myself. And it pains me to admit, the Puritans got Christmas all wrong and missed its message.

The culprit in the matter was Oliver Cromwell, a man who, saying enough is enough, helped King Charles I to eternity in 1649 through the simple expedient (as Charles told his horrified children) by separating His Majesty’s head from His Majesty’s body. The Lord Protector, more powerful than most kings, then lead an effort to root out all vestiges of the traditional high-living English Christmas. And so for 10 years (until his successor son Richard got kicked out in 1659) Cromwell and company worked to make everyone just as miserable and gloomy at Christmas as possible. That was the right and proper thing to do.

For instance, zealous Puritans, rigid, unbending, inflexible, muffed the matter of the Three Wise Men, princes of the Orient. Each, if you’ll recall, brought the Christ child very expensive gifts. These included gold (imagine if they’d held it), frankincense and myhrr. Unless these royalties just happened to have some extra gifts in their treasure trove (possible, but unlikely) each had to make a trip to the bazaar (which is what people called malls in those days) to scrutinize what was available and mull over their options.

This is exactly what the non-kingly people do nowadays at Christmas, parking their cars (easier to handle than malodorous camels which spit), returning over and over to get just the right gift, the gift that will say loudly and clearly, “I care.” So, where’s the problem? Christmas, in short, has had a pronounced commercial aspect from the first moment. People should get over it and get on with the real business of the event: love!

Whether you consider the matter from the vantage point of God to man — “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16) —

… or from the vantage point of human relations, the fact is that Christmas is the prime event of every year based on, all about, and dedicated to love. And we humans after this storm-tossed year should embrace the event and enjoy it for what it is: a chance to love one another, be kind to each other, embrace our diversity, and give the embedded rancors of our deeply fissured planet a rest… even if we know, as we do, they’ll be back in the new year. Even a little solace helps. We need it, we must have it, and we deserve it.

And because I have been, shall we say, neglectful both about giving and taking love, I have a huge love deficit to make up for… and so Christmas 2011 must be done right in every nuance and detail… and this takes time, care, and thoughtfulness.

Cleaning the silver is just the beginning.

And then like the score says, “Candles in the window/Carols at the spinet.”

And gifts for all… and not merely anything grabbed at the eleventh hour Christmas Eve either… for the gift must be as special as the beloved who gets it…

All this takes time… meticulous attention to detail… and, most of all, love…

And it is this love, in short supply in years past, suppressed, which is the most important thing of all… This year will be different, for this year that love will flow without stint… as a resolute declaration to everyone, everywhere that this is a place where humanity is made welcome and where we know the true meaning of Christmas… and mean to have it! Share it! And renew it…

Knowing this, can you wonder why I am starting so early here? The wonder is that you have not commenced early, for your need is pressing, too.

The moans, groans, complaints and pontifications have begun as the Christmas marketing season of 2011 commences. Which side are you on?

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Every year, it seems, the opening date for Christmas marketing creeps forward, adding days, not just hours, to the already lengthy selling season. This year my cadre of Christmas watchers reported seasonal catalog and store sightings as early as Labor Day, September 8 . But you can count on this: as people worldwide read this article, they will surely report even earlier sightings. This happens every year… and as it does one of the interminable debates of our times reignites: when is this much too much Christmas?

Ask this query in a crowded room and, hey presto, there will be pandemonium, mayhem, and strident calls for the public lynching of the people who so tamper with and wantonly extend the most important and revered holiday of the year. Christmas creep is here… and you have an opinion on this matter; I’m sure of that. Everybody does.

Christmas is the promised land — for merchants everywhere. That’s the problem.

Christmas purists, and their number is legion, never tire of beating up the merchants who are, they aver, at the bottom of Christmas creep. From this moment of the year forward, a large percentage of Americans will get up on any soap box to hand and excoriate, insult, belittle and besmirch people who earlier in the year they knew and attested to be good, hard-working, service-providing, tax-paying citizens. But where Christmas creep is the issue, truth and justice are early casualties.

People will creep… it’s as American as apple pie.

Know any folks from California? Or Oklahoma? I do. They are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They are also the descendants of creepers.

Take California for instance. There a grand gentleman named John Augustus Sutter was peacefully minding his own business when James W. Marshall on January 24, 1848 discovered gold on Sutter’s land, at Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento. The nation didn’t say, “Good for you, Mr. Sutter.” No way. Instead they took to creeping on to old man Sutter’s land, a little bit here, a little bit there… until the creepers had everything and Mr. Sutter had nothing but lawsuits and a footnote in history. A little bit of gold in them thar hills and a whole lot of creeping got us the State of California, and that’s a fact.

Or consider the folks in Oklahoma. They’re not called Sooners for nothing. In 1889, the federal government organized the great land rush, whereby folks who wanted land could get it free by racing for it against other land-hungry folks. Problem is, a good many of the wanters couldn’t be bothered to wait… and so they crept out early and grabbed the good stuff. Yup, they were creepers and some of the best families of the state started that way, and that, too, is a fact. Creeping pays, and only a Grinch would disagree.

But Grinches proliferate the closer Christmas comes and its insistent, unrelenting messages.

Although there have been plenty of Grinches in our history, lives, and culture, the actual character debued in the 1957 children’s book by Dr. Seuss, who was by all accounts a Grinch himself. It was titled “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and was adopted into a popular television special in 1966. In an instant people with anti-holiday spirit and growly disposition were indelibly tagged as partisans of that scowling hermit with green fur, red eyes, and boots who lives in an isolated cave near Whoville.

Now exuberant Christmas lovers had just what they needed to characterize and lambast the nay sayers, “Don’t be a Grinch,” causing the justly labeled Grinches to writhe and squirm. Just as they deserve. We all know it’s fun — and de rigueur — to pick on each and every Grinch we know.

It’s a question of dates.

After the fall in 1815 of Napoleon and his gimcrack empire, a peace conference was convened in Vienna to divvy up the spoils. Participants included Russia, England, Prussia, Austria and — drum roll — the France now ruled again by its Bourbon dynasty and represented by the Prince de Talleyrand. One day Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who always made such a bad impression as he rattled on about God and morality, was being particularly insufferable on the matter of how to divide the Kingdom of Saxony, which had, in his imperial view, stayed loyal to Napoleon a little too long. Its king, he insisted, should be losing half his country, or more.

Talleyrand, polished, aristocratic to his manicured fingertips, the ultimate cynic and realist, scanned his colleagues, each of whom (but the English) had made deals with Bonaparte, and renigged on them, snapped out that toxic phrase, “That, sire, is a question of dates.”

And so it is with our Scrooges, our Grinches.

The person who wants no Christmas festivities at all, just strict, gloomy adherence to what they suppose has been ordained and sanctified…. are Scrooges to the people who want the Christmas season to exist for a day or two, but not more. These, in turn, get dubbed as Grinches by those who want more… and there are always those who do. And so it goes…

… merchants trying (especially nowadays) to make up for one punk month after another, delving deeper into the calendar….

… thereby fueling yelps of outrage and righteousness from folks who raise the cry of too much self-seeking commercialism too early…

… thereby forcing those who might even agree in theory, to push the adamant seasonal marketing forward and forward again, as an act of mercantile preservation and profit.

Each says, “Enough is enough”; each points fingers and mouths frantic imprecations; each postures, preens, pouts, and always acts and speaks as if truth lived in their house and only their house. So there!

Whoa! The baby at the center of Christmas has indeed been thrown out with the bath water, and this will never do. Thus some thoughts of reconciliation, offered humbly and with trepidation.

Christmas has had a significant commercial aspect since the three wise men of the Orient, who came so far and at such inconvenience, approached the manger and offered their expensive presents. Did they just happen to find such offerings — gold, frankincense, and myrrh — in their saddlebags? Doubtful. More likely, they had gone shopping at one of the great bazaars along the way; such bazaars, blazing with the riches of the rich lands of the East, were the malls of their times… even unto parking their camels, always malodorous and mean spirited. In such a place, even the most fastidious desires of the most demanding could be met, including those who shopped for the King of Kings, for whom they employed their most discriminating tastes and ample means, never rushed. Thus, commercialism and Christmas go hand in hand… as they always have.

These suggestions will help you cope with and better enjoy this best of all holidays:

1) Let every man set his own acceptable level for just the amount of Christmas he desires. A laissez faire attitude is not just useful, but mandatory. Stop worrying about whether the man next door is asking too much or too little from the holiday and instead concentrate on making yours the best ever.

2) Leave the merchants alone. They have had a bad year; even if we think they are going over board, let them get on with it without our jeremiads, lamentations and snide remarks. Where would we be at Christmas, after all, without them?

3) Remember Henry Ford II’s celebrated line, “Never complain, never explain”. Since the very inception of Christmas the Thought Police have attempted to coerce uniformity. Mr. Ford was right… you owe it to no one and nobody to adhere; simply believe in your own way and style. As the song says, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas…”

4) Select a few of your favorite Christmas carols and seasonal preferences and load them into your audio player. You’ll be a lot happier when you enter some establishment with music you detest, no matter how venerable, if you can hear the tunes you particularly like.

And one more thing, whether the Christmas you celebrate is long or short, the single day itself, or the 12 days with five gold rings and lords a-leaping, or something else altogether, remember this: the gift you should most give and be most fortunate to receive is love… it is the only true and essential element. All else pales beside it.

One of the proudest days of my life… the day I give you Internet success through a unique gift you can only get from me!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Today is a red-letter day for me… one of the most important days of my life. For such a day nothing short of one of our weary world’s greatest masterpieces, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” (1824), will do . Please play it before you read this article. You cannot but feel the thrill and exultation. If a human being can do this, human beings can do anything. Find it in any search engine and turn up the volume. Then you’ll know how I am feeling now as I prepare to give you a gift only I can give and which has taken me a lifetime to perfect.

Deaf… sublime.

When great Beethoven sat down to compose his 9th Symphony, of which the “Ode to Joy” is perhaps the most celebrated part, he was stone deaf. Yet in his capacious, extraordinary brain the music rang out to thrill the world. He could have said, “a deaf person cannot compose,” everyone would have understood such a conclusion and offered the usual words of sympathy… but that is not the way of people with a mission to improve the world. They recognize no obstacle! Do not give way to defeatism! And reach deep into themselves to find what they alone can give the world and its people who rely upon such genius for relief! Instruction! And improvement! For you see those who have such a gift must give such a gift… and today I give such a gift, the greatest I have ever given, to each of you.

The struggling world… and the profound promise of the Internet.

I have now been on the Internet over 18 years, about a third of my life. During these years I have witnessed humanity’s struggle to make sense of this monumental invention which has the undoubted power and demonstrated potential to connect people everywhere and enable them to say what they want to say without shackle or inhibition.

Now think a moment: for the first time, the very first time, in the long cycles of humanity each person can, with the simple expedient of an Internet connection, present himself, in all his wonderful uniqueness, to others who have the ardent desire to do the same, without the pernicious intrusion of any of the world’s Thought Police who have intervened with impunity and malice in all previous epochs.

The Internet brooks no interference… no one telling you what you can do…when you can do it. Yes, for the first time in human history each person has a voice that can be heard… that must be heard…. and so transform the world — for good and ill.

Is it any wonder then that I have selected “Ode to Joy” and recommended that you play it now… for on our troubled planet we need all the help we can get and the Internet is here to provide it.

Commerce…

From the very first minute far sighted folk saw that such a means of connection could prove to be a superb means of commerce. But how? Most didn’t know and so, without guidance, commenced a struggle which left them frustrated, confounded, angry and, too often, embittered. How, they wondered, could this astonishing invention produce a golden outcome for them? It was a question that millions asked — and continue to ask — but which only a comparative handful have ever answered successfully. With the almost daily assistance of my cherished partners George Kosch and Sandi Hunter, I have found such success… and been given the opportunity to give it to others. Today we celebrate that opportunity and its ability to uplift! Enrich! And empower people worldwide.

It all started with a blank sheet of paper.

I am not just a writer, but a published writer, which is a very different thing. To write to connect should be every writer’s objective… and it has certainly been my objective since my first article appeared in print 59 years ago, when I was 5 years old. You may well imagine what a heady thing it must be for that child, any child to experience such excitement. Once you’ve had it, you spend the rest of your life wanting more and doing what is necessary to get it. In this regard I have been most fortunate… having written thousands of articles and 18 books, mostly on business themes. My word has been carried — and frequently, too — on radio, television and on the lecture circuit. But my connection with the Internet has radically transformed the entire matter of content and given me the means to give you substantial advantage every single day.

How?

As I have often said and frequently written and emphasized, “the list is the business, the business is the list.” Thus each person desiring to succeed in business must spend a significant amount of time building a list, and this activity must be a part of each and every day that you desire to remain in business and increase your profit.

But maintaining your list, growing your list cannot, on the Internet, be your sole objective; that would be protecting your list and ensuring that you can use it daily to email ad copy to your subscribers. The problem is, if you only email ads day after day to these subscribers, they will quickly become disenchanted, even disgusted, with you… and manifest their displeasure by unsubscribing your list, thereby depriving them of all benefits you offer and yourself of their golden custom.

This is the exact situation in which most Web marketers find themselves… and why so many of these people are killing their lists, thereby killing their profits.

Here’s where I — and Bill Gates — enter the scene and why you need to pay attention to our message. Gates has famously and enigmatically said of the Internet, “Content is king.” What does he mean? Just that people will not put up with an unceasing avalanche of ad copy; they need more, much more. They need content… and if you create a blog and give them this content you can accompany it — every day — with the ad copy that generates the revenue. Problem is, most people cannot write engaging, meaningful copy and cannot afford the cost of hiring the people who could create such copy for them; it’s just too expensive.

That’s where I come in… I can and will produce such copy — for free. And today we recognize and celebrate the completion of the first 365 articles, one for every day of the year. These articles, all about 1500 words in length, are timely, intelligent, often provocative, always informative and, my signature and pride, beautifully written. Let me explain the importance of these articles and why you are fortunate to have them: they save your all-important lists from being destroyed by your subscribers, people who want more than a steady diet of ads and as such are invaluable.

Let us be very clear with each other: if you email nothing but ads, you will kill your list and thus obliterate your business. Thus, you have these options. Email the ads anyway and test my thesis (suicidal); try to write such copy every single day yourself (highly unlikely given your writing skills). Or you could hire the necessary talent to do the work, thereby breaking the bank. Or…

You could use the copy I have created for you… and which I give to you, thereby enabling your list and with it your business to grow and flourish while I provide the necessary (and always beautifully written) copy. And that is why we are celebrating today… not just for what I have written… or how well I have written — but because with these often lyric articles I am keeping your online business on the profit path.

“You millions I embrace you,” and give you the best of which I am capable for our mutual joy — freude! So now finish as we began… with Beethoven and his “Ode to Joy”. For we, now working together, have everything to be joyful about! Let the celestial sound soar… as we do — together! Freude!