Sunday, September 4, 2016


Hard to believe it's been two years since I have updated but there has been a lot going on in my life that I cannot share on the web. Well I choose not to share most of it to be honest.

Mom passed away in June of 2014 and I have had my own health issues but things are getting better. I am getting together with friends locally and driving again.

Expect regular updates going forward. At least one every two weeks or so. And if I am slacking on it then please shoot me a message and let me know!

Now back to a cuppa!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Watch the Global Premiere of Origins the Movie - for free.

Watch the Global Premiere of Origins the Movie: From November 13th through November 22nd, watch the feature-length movie Origins for FREE from filmmaker Pedram Shojai. #OriginsFilm @Well_Org

So yes - I am shilling this. Actually I am not getting anything for it but I did watch it last night and wanted to share the link with everyone I could reach. If you are interested in health (your own or that of someone else) then you should take the 1 hour and 45 minutes to watch this film, not only for the content but also for the photography.

If you do watch it then please let me know what you think. What parts appealed to you? Are you already doing some of the things mentioned in the film or did the film inspire you to do something (or something more?) Or did you watch it and say "Meh - it's not for me" Just curious.

I have made some changes in my life over the last 3 years and practice some of what is mentioned in the film. I need to add more into my life and over time will do so as things settle down.

OK. That's it for now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Product Review: SpeedStickGEAR

I belong to an online community called Influenster. The following paragraph, which is taken directly from their website’s “About” page will tell you a bit about them and their “purpose-in-life.” For more information you can visit
“Influenster is a free-to-join community of trendsetters, social media masterminds, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences.
The Influenster site is a hub where members meet to learn about new products from our favorite brands as well as review the products they already use in their day-to-day lives!
Influenster invites its most active members to participate in exclusive VoxBox programs where members receive complimentary products to test and review. In exchange, we ask our members to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media!”

That said - here is the obligatory legal disclaimer that is required here in the U.S. when one does a review of a product they have received at no cost:

 I recently received #SpeedStickGEAR samples from @Influenster and have been trying them. The package that arrived contained two full size products of their new antiperspirant “Drycore” deodorant line.

The two scents were Fresh Force which had the scent of a rather strong Irish Spring soap bar and the other which is called Clean Peak. I personally found the latter scent more palatable and not as overwhelming.

Unfortunately in the past I have had issues with solid stick antiperspirants and this time was no different. I developed an itch under my arms after two days when I used the first stick and while it went away after a few days, when I tried the other stick it happened again. I believe that it was the active ingredient which is called “aluminum zirconium terachlorohydrex gly.” 

That said, your mileage may vary and you may find these products work well for you especially if you tend to sweat heavily. It is a shame as I could see myself using the Clean Peak instead of my current underarm deodorant.

The container is designed similarly to any underarm solid stick deodorant/antiperspirant sold in North America with one major positive exception – the sides have a ridged silver grip. This grip is very handy if you have wet or wet soapy hands when you get out of the shower as the container will not slip out of your hands and down to the floor.

So you might wish to try it and comment below whether or not you like it and if it works for you. Because I could not continue to use these products I passed them on to a friend of mine who plays a lot of basketball and who skis a lot during the winter. He does sweat like crazy. His feedback was that the products work great and that he would certainly consider purchasing them when he needs more. So that’s a positive thing to know for those of you that are extremely active.

You can find out more information and possibly find some coupons (you know that coupon availability always varies on different manufacturer websites) at their website:

Until next time – enjoy your cuppa!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Welcome back! To me that is...

Wow - is it already more than a year since I've posted? I can't believe it! Well - actually I can. I've had some major things going on in my life and yes - Mom is still alive at 93 years old! Her health has declined somewhat and she now has hospice along with help. But she is still chipper most of the time albeit more tired than before.

It's cold out there tonight 10 degrees F or -12.2 C which, with the windchill feels like -11 F or -23.9 C and that's right now. It is snowing but with some moisture in the air giving the ground an icy gloss. There is a Wind Chill Advisory that has been posted by the Weather Service with a prediction of temperatures going down to -29 F / 33.9 C tonight. A good night to stay inside!

I will try to write more regularly. I need to do so. As I have said in the past - this site is for me to write about anything and everything and I will be doing so - from product reviews to generally anything!

So sit back, grab your cuppa and enjoy the ride!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Many ex-pats also celebrate it as do other people around the world. Like the toy shopping rush at Christmas the American Thanksgiving has slowly become a global tradition. So I want to wish all my friends who celebrate it "Happy Thanksgiving." 

However I also ask that you take a moment at your table and think about the full history of the holiday as well as the impact on that the arrival of the settlers had - not only on the development of what would become the USA but also on the native Americans who were here and how their history and lives were changed. 

For every action there is always a reaction. Let us all prepare to start 2013 and move forward being more aware of that.Let us learn from history and make this planet a better place. Doing so can be a small ting as simple as starting to recycle or compost. (Did you know that many coffee shops will give you their used grounds for your compost pile?) It can be a bigger thing - such as supporting and working towards peace or helping those less fortunate than you or volunteering. The point is to just do something. It's more than just "teaching the children" but also about learning from them and their innocence as well.

So - are you celebrating Thanksgiving? The other Thanksgiving "tradition" is not as much fun. This is the busiest day of the year for hospital Emergency Rooms as people arrive from having heart attacks. Let's try and not celebrate that tradition.

Some simple rules and things to remember - a/k/a the 10 Commandments of Thanksgiving:

1. Thou shalt enjoy the food but celebrate the people you are with.
2. Thou sh
alt eat in moderation. Have a little bit of everything you like instead of a lot.
3. Thou shalt remember that this meal has a lot of high fat content from the appetizers and eggnog to the final bit of dessert with the fresh whipped cream.
4. Thou shalt leave that "just one more bite" where it belongs - on the plate - NOT in your belly. When you are full - that's it - you are full so stop eating.
5. Thou shalt remember that it is a holiday usually celebrated with a lot of family and friends. That inherently means higher stress levels. Avoid those arguments and political debates as much as possible.
6. Thou shalt remember that Black Friday is a marketing ploy and not an Olympic sporting event in which you have to participate. Stores are counting on the leftover food high to get you to go more into debt.
7. Thou shalt remember that leftovers can indeed be frozen for a couple of months so you have no need to eat turkey for the next 10 days.
8. Thou shalt not fast until the Thanksgiving meal. It is healthier to eat a small to medium breakfast and then not eat as much food at the feast.
9. Thou shalt take a walk or do some other form of MODERATE exercise before or after your meal. Do not overdo it - especially after the meal as you could end up in the E.R. as the body tries to figure out what to do.
10. Thou shalt, despite all these caveats, enjoy the day and the people you are sharing it with and reflect upon all you do have and the history behind the holiday. Then figure out what you can do to make the world a better place.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Invisible Money

I know I've been M.I.A. for a while. This has been due to health issues. Writing has just been too taxing. However I did feel it important to start doing something with the blog again so today I will be featuring a post by my good friend Andy Marken.

 Andy is a publicist in California who specializes in high-tech. His insights into the entire electronics industry and the directions it has taken/will take are always interesting and make for great conversation. 

Periodically he releases a missive such as the one that follows and going forward I shall share some of these with you. Your responses and discussion are always welcome.



Replacing Cash Will Be Slow, Painful, Inevitable

“The whole world's frightened to death! So, I see Kemp couldn't sleep, he had to go downstairs, he was frightened. I put my trust in Kemp, I told him my secret and he gave me his word of honor.” --  “The Invisible Man,” Universal Pictures, 1933
Eons ago, the wife and I were in Carmel and found a metal sculpture of Don Quixote we really wanted, but we didn’t have the cash with us and she hadn’t replaced the checks.
The shop owner reached in a drawer and brought out a counter check – fill in the bank name, the amount, sign it.
That was it…done.
We were reminded of that instance when an acquaintance in England told us that back in early 1970s Ireland went without a banking system for six and a half months when the bank employees went on strike.
A funny thing happened.
People, companies resorted to IOUs and bartering to settle payments; and according to the Irish Central Bank, the level of economic activity continued to increase.
We doubt that that level of “faith” in a person’s word will ever return, but weirder things have happened.
Even for a relatively short period, people got along without bank accounts, checks and cash withdrawals from ATMs.
The truth is, the technical aspects of money and banking is limited.
Another acquaintance alerted us to a book by David Wolman, “The End of Money.”
In researching the book, Wolman lived without cash for a year while circling the globe to research the book.
So your banker, broker, tech toy seller won’t have a heart attack, we should note that the book isn’t about giving up money, but replacing it with electronic payments
Electronic and mobile money is inevitable.
Phone Flood
Worldwide, there are more mobile phones than people occupying the planet.
Smartphones are all the buzz because you can do so much with them – text, check email, watch movies, take/send pictures, listen to music, surf the web; and oh yeah, make a call.
What’s more logical than to add all your really personal stuff – ID, PIN numbers, passwords, bank info and contacts?
True, you don’t need all that stuff on your phone to add electronic banking – cheap feature phones outsell smartphones worldwide.
People in Africa and Asia get along just fine sending/receiving micropayments, calling/talking to each other.
There’s even a dwindling population of retro folks who pride themselves on resisting the rush to get an iPhone (not our kids, but) -- so they can figure out what town they are in, what restaurants are around, what the weather is and the need to sling birds at targets.
No one mugs these folks for their phone because fer gawd sake, who wants to steal a flip-phone?
But they do miss out on mobile shopping, which increased from 75 percent to 93 percent last year.
Swipe, Go 
Mobile shopping has only begun to slowly catch on with Gen Yers, but a few leading-edge retailers such as Starbucks have been successful in getting customers to use their smartphones to pay for goods/services.  Retailers see the advantage of having their specific mobile money application because it brings them closer to the customer to offer coupons, special offers and faster service.
Of course, completing a purchase in the Americas still isn’t as popular as it is in Finland, Japan and other countries. In those parts of the world, people have used phones as ‘virtual’ credit cards for years, paying for everything from parking to bottles of soda and gadgets to dinner.
In the Americas, we’re dipping our phones in the water, using the device for electronic boarding passes, going to movies/concerts, buying a cup of coffee. 
Store Visit
Still, the most common action according to Ipsos – 55 percent of the respondents – is to go to a store in person after the smartphone search.
Mobile purchases are the first step toward mobile money, but even that is slow in coming.
Mobile Shopping 
People are increasingly using their mobile devices – tablets, smartphones – to do product and outlet research.  The predominant solution so far is to find the store/product/best price and make the purchase in the store.  Source – comScore
The Harris poll recently reported:
-        Only 5% responded that they have scanned their phone for admission to a movie, or to board a plane
-        Only 3% have scanned their phone to pay for retail items, enter a concert, or buy a cup of coffee
-        40% replied they had never scanned their phone for any purpose
-        45% said they do not own a smartphone with this capability
-        Just 5% and 10% of so-called ‘Echo Boomers’ (Gen Y) have ever scanned their phones for transactions
-        25% were ‘not at all comfortable‘ with the idea of using smartphone as a gift card
-        39% were comfortable using their smartphone as a gift card
-        47% said they were not comfortable with the concept
-        14% weren’t sure
-        63% said they were not comfortable using a smart phone app that would store credit card information for electronic transactions
-        47% of respondents were comfortable using a smart phone scan for movie theater and concert admissions
-        Men are more receptive to smartphone commerce apps than women
-        Younger adults (not surprisingly) are more at ease with the process than older adults
And on-phone purchases are only the first step in moving to mobile money.
The biggest hold back is security and privacy.
As the Invisible Man warned, “All right, you fools. You've brought it on yourselves! Everything would have come right if you'd only left me alone. You've driven me near madness with your peering through the keyholes and gaping through the curtains. And now you'll suffer for it!”
Of course, up until now bad guys/gals haven’t been much interested in tapping into phones but smartphones – with iOS, Android OS, Windows – is a whole different opportunity.
Due to the difficulty of updating software and patching vulnerabilities on mobile phones, malware writers have started to get busy.
Attacks Just Beginning 
Mobile phone malware and cyber theft is just beginning to appear; and most security analysts say it will rapidly increase as people begin to widely use smartphones as their key personal/company information on the devices.  With the growing use of smartphones for almost everything, consumers will become more vulnerable to attack.  Source – Lookout
According to Lookout Mobile Security’s Mobile Threat Report, Android smartphone owners are twice as likely to encounter malware as they were six months ago.
Lookout notes that botnet networks – integrating thousands of mobile devices into a network to distribute spam, steal private info, install other malware like DroidDream, Geimini – are only beginning to scale.
No Game 
While Grand Theft Auto is an adrenalin-raising, addictive game at home or on the go, its mobile version warns smartphone users they can’t be too careful.
Cracking the Code
But one security analyst said the bad guys/gals are only just beginning.
It’s a lot like Willy Sutton’s response when asked “Why do you rob banks?”
Pretty obvious...“Because that’s where the money is!”
Today’s cyber criminals are no different…that’s where you are. 
Mobile Pickpocketing (SMS/call fraud) – charging phone bills – is already racking up millions for these people with things like GGTracker, RuFraud and other creative efforts. 
The biggest problem – cyber crooks think of it as opportunity – is that all those gazillion mobile apps are developed by folks who have little/no understanding/consideration for data privacy or confidentiality.
And trust us; you don’t have a clue on what types of information is collected, how it is used, how it is retained!
Or, as the farmer said, “Excuse me, sir. There's breathing in my barn.”
That’s probably why people like Juniper Research forecast that mobile payments for digital and physical goods, mobile money transfers and NFC-enabled contactless transactions will almost triple from $240 billion in 2011 to $670 billion in 2015.
Testing the Waters 
Almost every retailer is trying to incorporate mobile devices into their customer contact/sales activity.  It includes making mobile devices – initially iPads, iPod Touches – as well as mobile configured-websites; and increasingly, they are testing solutions for checkout with the smartphone.  Over the next few years, a wide range of options will be available until two or three are tapped by retailers and consumers.  Source - AisleBuyer
Retailers are already seeing the advantages of on-phone purchases and the data they can acquire when people use their mobile devices for payments.
The service providers, Google, Apple, Microsoft have been educating/helping them move people to the convenience and “benefits” of using your all-purpose smartphone for just everything.
On-phone purchases/electronic cash won’t come quickly; and it will be chaotic between now and then. After all, “everyone” – banks, credit card companies, PayPal, stores -- will want a piece of the action.
Of course, there is also the little issue of making you feel totally comfortable with it as well.
False Security
There are really smart people like Giovanni Vigna, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who studies security and malware. He said it’s only a matter of time before mobile security will be as second nature to consumers as computer security.
Yeah, Willy Sutton liked bankers with that attitude.
Consumers are a little more cautious, less optimistic.
Yes But 
While younger consumers who do virtually everything with their smartphone can appreciate the advantage of using the smartphone and tablet as a means of paying for goods/services, mobile payment is still a work in progress.  Security, privacy and payment standards are just a few of the issues standing in the way of widespread usage.  Source – Prosper Mobile Insights

Harris Research found that the cashless solution with electronic payments has a ways to go:
-        10% think it will happen in one to less than three years
-        18% think it will take between three and five years
-        21% stated it will happen in five to less than ten years
-        15% said the trend will take ten years or more
-        30% said electronic data stored on phones will never replace cash payments
Wolman was right in his book and cash will disappear globally not to IOUs but to your mobile device.
For most of us, it’s going to take time, lots of time.
When it does, lots will hear the Invisible Man whisper, “I failed. I meddled in things that man must leave alone.”

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Hi everyone! First and foremost I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season regardless of whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice or some other holiday. May 2012 be a year of prosperity, happiness, health, success and more for all of us!

So certain things happen this time of year in addition to lots of holiday parties, people announcing engagements, etc. One thing is that certain people look forward to the Christmas episode of a certain British show that has been around since 1963. To be a fan of Doctor Who is like no other fan of any other television show on the planet.

One can be a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5 and more but one becomes a FAN of Doctor Who.

So to those of you that are not familiar, here is a link that will give you a history of what has been called "the longest running science fiction show on television: Doctor Who Wikipedia entry

For those of you that are fans here is a wonderful resource for you: The Doctor Who Timeline

This is the official BBC website link: Doctor Who and here is the site for BBC America: Doctor Who - BBC America

So I hope this is good for all of you.

I'm off to watch the 2011 Christmas Special.

Tardis Ahoy!