November 22, 2010

REAL TALK

Create real communication - RealTalk with the people who matter in your life.

I would like to personally recommend this to everyone who follows this blog. The organizers and presenters are personal friends and offer you the opportunity to truly make a difference in your own life and the lives you are surrounded by.

http://www.realtalk-now.com/

Please pass this along to others in your circle.

September 12, 2010

WRITE YOUR BOOK NOW

There are no longer any barriers to writing your book. With a little help along the way, almost anyone can create a readable, informative and entertaining book and be able to reach their audience. If that is something you have been dreaming about, take a look at the video I just posted about a great, upcoming workshop.


September 7, 2010

GORD'S GAME FOR ALZHEIMER'S

Alzheimer's Disease devastates families and has remained a "hidden problem" in households for centuries. Once the source of bittersweet humor, Alzheimer's is starting to get the attention that it needs. As the population ages, we can all expect to be touched by this at some point. A few courageous people are bringing it out into the open including our friends, the Strandlunds. Congratulations to Gord and Brenda for making a difference in the world!

September 5, 2010

RAINY DAY

Today's nature quote seems very appropriate as it continues to rain here. The summer in Western Canada continues to be wet and cold while the rest of the world suffers from incredible heat. Labour Day weekend seems to filled with, well...labour, since there is not much we can do outside other than complain.

Just an update to some friends who have been following this space for some time (and if you haven't been following - why have you not subscribed to get the updates???).  You may remember that we were putting together a golf tournament called Gord's Game, with proceeds going to Alzheimer's research. This was created to acknowledge the challenges faced by my friend Gord and his family and it was held last Thursday. Thursday turned out to be a postcard perfect day in the Rockies with absolutely ideal golf conditions. According to the pro shop staff, it was one of about 5 days all season that was this nice.

The event went off without a hitch and we raised over $21,000.00 that has been donated to the Alzheimer's Society of Calgary to continue research into a disease that will touch each of us in some way - if it hasn't already. Thanks to all of the friends and associates who helped out with donations and attending the event and here is hoping that we will do it again next year.

August 23, 2010

VIDEO UPDATES

I have updated some of my videos and that requires republishing them. I apologize if you have received a notice of a new video and found something that you have already looked at. I was trying to edit out some of the "weird" moments at the beginning, which I just learned to do. One person described those awkward seconds of silence as "creepy" and we just could not have that - could we?

August 20, 2010

INSPIRATION

Inspiration is that deeper part of our spirit that emerges when we give ourselves permission to live our dreams

August 17, 2010

JUST SAY YES

The adventure in life often begins with the word, "yes." I was asked a few months ago to be a guest speaker at 8 different Calgary Library branches this fall and said yes. The topic is based on my book of a few years ago, "THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time." What they are interested in is the adventure and how it affected me and what changes have occurred in my life as a result.

I have been busy creating and promoting a new workshop called "Write your book in 48 days" and have not given the Library talks much thought over the summer but a few ideas are beginning to percolate. All adventures have the word, YES at the beginning whether they are outdoor travel trips, life changing decisions or simply expanding the horizons of our mind. Many of my audience members will be seniors and I think I will title my talk, "JUST SAY YES" and encourage them to join the conversation that is going on all around us.

Many of us spend our later years watching the conversation as it grows larger and larger through new media sources with new ideas and methods of distribution. Yes, I am talking about the internet and Facebook and the hundreds of other conversations that are being held on YouTube and other places like blogs. We do not need to understand how it works, but just know that it does, and it allows all of us, young and old, to participate in the world and be part of the conversation.

Rather than stand idly by and watch television, I will invite and encourage my audience to join in and JUST SAY YES.

August 6, 2010

STORY BEHIND THE PICTURE

As a book writing coach, I am intrigued by the stories of people and their pursuits. A business person wants to increase sales or introduce a new product or service and often realizes that writing a book will create authority and credibility to support the endeavor. Professional speakers usually have a unique story to tell and a book is a vehicle that lends instant cache to their speaking topics and results in a nice additional source of income and more speaking engagements. My office wall is covered with pictures of various times and events and like the ones on your wall, there are stories behind all of them. the video that I have posted explains one of the stories on my wall.

">

August 3, 2010

YES OR NO

WHAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IN YOUR LIFE IF YOU HEARD "YES" MORE OFTEN THAN "NO?"

WHAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IN THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU IF THEY HEARD "YES" FROM YOU, MORE OFTEN THAN "NO?"

as a friend of mine says, "Yes is the answer, what's the question?"

July 29, 2010

BOOK WORKSHOP CALGARY

The BOOK Workshop will be held in Calgary on August 21 and again on September 21 at different locations. If you have been thinking about the benefits of being an author but are not sure where or how to start, then this is the ideal half day workshop to get you moving toward your dream.

Both events can be found on EventBrite and here are the links to the August workshop and the September workshop. If you are going to be in Calgary on either of these dates and are interested in a Book Workshop designed to get you focused, motivated, inspired and organized, then we hope to see you there.

July 22, 2010

MRI

I have been on the list for a bit to get an MRI on my shoulders due to a nagging vacation injury caused by luggage that was too heavy - and you know who is to blame for that!!!
Anyway, I was booked for December but also on the cancellation list and they called this morning with the option of going in immediately - which I did.

 This is more about the power of visualization than anything else. They strapped me down, put headphones over my ears and slid me down the tunnel. Please God, give me a coffin with some room to move when the day comes, but I decided to ignore the confined space, close my eyes and imagine a morning that I spent in Hawaii a few years ago. My wife stayed in bed and I went down to the lobby and bought a coffee and headed through the open doors to Waikiki beach. Beside the pool was an open air bar and no one but staff in the vicinity so I saddled up to a bar stool, opened my book (Hawaii by Michener, interestingly enough) and proceeded to enjoy the warm ocean breeze, the smell of beach sand and an hour of quiet relaxation, Bob-style.

I used that memory this morning to ward off the inclination towards claustrophobia and it worked like a charm. Now, all I need to do is stretch the time from the 40 minutes in the MRI machine to 40 years of real life. 

July 19, 2010

DOING OR THINKING

We live in a culture that assigns a very large premium to DOING and a very small premium to THINKING

July 14, 2010

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?

It is quite amazing how many people want to write a book. One of the first things I ask them is, "What's your book about?" That's when the talk starts, even from the people who are already well into the process of writing. I usually get some sort of long winded explanation of the problems, solutions, opinions and personal philosophy of the would-be writer.

The reason I ask this question first is because if you cannot answer it before my eyes glaze over from boredom, then you are not writing anything that someone will read. A brilliant business coach that I know says that explanations kill deals. It is certainly true in the book writing business. The answer needs to be one sentence long and leave space for the listener to be curious enough to ask another question, instead of remarking about the weather or your long lost second cousin - anything to get you off whatever the subject of your book is.

Many first-time writers write the book first and then try to find an answer - it is backwards. Answer the question "What's your book about first?" with a one sentence answer and the whole writing process goes forward much easier and you won't bore your party guests to tears. Interestingly enough (true confession time) I did not know that when I wrote The West Coast Trail: one step at a time or I would have made it much stronger in the adventure department and left the preparation and trail guide stuff behind. Of course, the fun thing for me now is that I get to speak about the adventure to various groups and the trail information is a bonus instead of the focus.

July 13, 2010

WRITING FROM HELL

Writers are a strange lot. They are motivated by things that the average person probably does not know exists like offbeat noises or swirls of color, or all sorts of strange things that go bump in the night.

Someone I know has had a very tough life to date, which includes alcohol and drugs and lots of court dates and jail time. Through it all, those who know and love him, have always felt a spark that glowed, however dimly at times, but glowed nonetheless. I just had a call from his mother informing me that he has just completed his first semester of college and that one of his teachers has recommended that he follow a path towards creative writing.

If he decides to pursue this route, then he can finally find a purpose for those years in the wilderness as he draws upon the experience to fuel his creative juices. He won't be the first writer that had to escape hell first, before finding the passion of their life.

In this case, I really hope that he finds peace and success - good luck.

July 12, 2010

WRITE YOUR BOOK IN 48 DAYS


take your book from dream to reality

The B. O. O. K. Workshop
write yours in 48 days

Do you have a story to tell about a life-changing event?
Do you have a mission to create change in the world?
Do you want to leave a written legacy?
Are you looking for more recognition in your profession?
Would a book bring you or your business more credibility?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this half-day workshop, presented by author Bob Bannon, will have you organized, focused, excited and inspired to fulfill your dream of writing a book. You will leave with the tools, know-how and roadmap to successfully start and complete your writing project. The entire program has been designed to move your non fiction book from thought to reality with ease and joy, knowing that you are realizing a life-long goal.

Course content includes:
  • the dynamic 48-day B.O.O.K. system program
  • creating an effective roadmap so that you know what to do every day
  • the secrets to a successful process that you can use again and again
  • creating a support system that will make writing easy and fun
  • how to laser target your book's message and audience
  • using the 7 characteristics of a best-selling title to create yours
  • learn how to create your book to maximize ancillary earnings
  • tips, pointers and insider info to help you launch your success
Workshop being presented in Calgary on Saturday, August 21, 2010

cost: 299.00     register here now    space is limited

June 11, 2010

AIN'T PERFECT - SO WHAT

A friend of mine recently posted his first video on YouTube promoting a program that he offers to the world. I just viewed it and it got me to thinking - go ahead, take your best shot!

He is an entertaining and engaging speaker when in the classroom and has spoken professionally for years but YouTube is a brand new animal for him. It did not surprise me that there was the odd stumble but it did not detract from the experience. Most people viewing a video will connect with a person who shows their human side. On the other hand, the world is also full of people - most of them friends and acquaintances - who will look at our efforts and find the faults, the criticisms, the mistakes and focus on them.

It does not matter whether we are speakers, trainers, writers or artists, the world is full of critics looking for the opportunity to edit and correct - it must make them feel important. I think this has happened to most of us and it keeps many people from taking their creativity into the world - sadly.

So here's my point, when someone points us to their most recent effort, we should applaud and encourage them - there is plenty of time later for editing. Nothing will have been lost by a sincere effort to capture our thoughts and ideas and present them to the world - warts and all. Waiting for perfection holds back more brilliant ideas than were ever created by the correctors.

We all need a coach or mentor who will cheerlead us to greatness and encourage us to step out and just do it. Are you the cheerleader or the critic? Way to go HJ - nice job!

June 2, 2010

DON'T COMPLAIN

The Big Idea — Don’t Complain

“Complaining is the absolute worst possible thing you could do for your health or your wealth. The worst! … For the next seven days, I challenge you not to complain at all.”
~ T. Harv Eker from Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind
This is another great one. Do you complain a lot? You know what you’re doing when you complain? You’re basically telling the Universe that you’re powerless. That you’d prefer to complain about something you don’t like rather than ask yourself the question, “Hmmm… What do I want? And how can I get it?!?!”
Don’t be a victim. (EVER!!)
May I repeat that? Don’t be a victim. (EVER!!)
Remember, “There is no such thing as a really rich victim.” To help you out with this, why not try on a little exercise T. Harv suggests? The next time (and the time after that and…) you complain, take your finger and slide it across your throat – like you’re slitting your throat. Gross? Yah. Exactly the point. Because that’s basically what you’re doing every time you complain!!!
“You can be a victim or you can be rich, but you can’t be both. Listen up! Every time, and I mean every time, you blame, justify, or complain, you are slitting your financial throat.”
~ T. Harv Eker from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

yes I know I am plagiarizing from Brian Johnson at Philopher's Notes but check his site out - good stuff everyday

May 31, 2010

PREPARE FOR DIGITAL DEATH

How to Prepare for Your Digital Death

mskniss Contributor
By Amy Kniss, eHow Contributing Writer
(41 Ratings)

Prepare for your digital death.
Prepare for your digital death.
iStock, ianmcdonnell
Your mother always warned you to wear clean underwear, lest you (or she) be humiliated when you're caught dead in dirty drawers. Dying before clearing away your dirty digital laundry (like unfiltered IM, politically incorrect emails and overall TMI) is just as bad if not worse, since it colors how everyone in your social network remembers you.

Those of us stretched thin over social networks -- with multiple email accounts and never-ending status updates -- have much to lose if we don't take the proper precautions to protect our online legacy. Unless we plan ahead we risk being (at best) being forgotten or (at worst) over-exposed in front of our fellow social networkers. (Imagine mum finding her way in to your "Direct Message" tweets to your former flame.)

Dressing as a vampire, zombie or other specimen of undead on Halloween provides a playfully haunting reminder of our own mortality. Vampires and zombies fear neither death nor social shunning; if only the rest of us were so lucky.

But for mere mortals who need to think ahead, read on for instructions on prepping for your own digital death. If you want to keep your family from realizing that you really were the black sheep and save your postmortem reputation -- online -- keep reading and embrace your digital death like a zombie on Halloween.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Instructions

Things You'll Need:

  • Safety deposit box
  • List of passwords and login info for social networks and online accounts
  • Trusted person
  • Final Status Update
  1. Step 1
    Appraise your digital assets today. Write down which social networking sites you belong to, what you use each one for and how often you use each. Rank them from highest to lowest, in terms of their priority in your life.

    If you've invested half of your waking hours on Facebook last year, then it probably ranks at the top of your digital priority list. If you're a workaholic and LinkedIn is where you live online then it would be your priority. If your loyal Twitter or blog followers would worry if you suddenly ceased posting, then these are audiences you should plan to have notified of your death.
  2. Step 2
    Protect your loved ones from learning more than they need to about your personal proclivities after you die: create a "black box" for the secrets you want to keep indefinitely. Begin by archiving your email and private messages into a single email account; take the account's secrets (and password) to the grave by continuing to filter sketchy, pervy or overly personal e-communications to this secret account.
  3. Step 3
    Use an alias to set up the account. You'll be protected even if your dearly departed catch wind of the account: it's difficult to prove next-of-kin status if the account isn't registered to you. Even a copy of your death certificate and proof of power of attorney won't be enough to obtain the password to your secret account or a copy of the email, according to the terms of use by major email service providers.
  4. Step 4
    Filter digital messages you want to preserve and keep private, in perpetuity, to the alias email account. Make sure to delete sent messages from the account you use to forward the messages. Also, delete all instant message conversations you do not want archived or relayed to your next of kin. Clearing your inbox and IM records of anything you may find embarrassing or too risqué to share with family or friends, even after death, makes it easier to rest in peace.
  5. Step 5
    Select a friend or family member (or lawyer) you trust to notify your virtual friends of your non-virtual death. You'll need to decide whether you will designate the person for the task in your will or shall rely on a less formal agreement; whichever you choose, it's best to ask your designee if he or she is up to the task of notifying members of your social network of your death.
  6. Step 6
    Finally, write your "Final Status Update." This post will be used to notify acquaintances that don't warrant a call, email or funeral invite (like LinkedIn contacts, Facebook friends that don't make the cut for personal notification, members of your Fantasy Football league, and other digital hangers-on) to notify them of your death. Your Final Status Update should reflect your personality and serve as an epitaph for your online legacy. Keep it short and sincere, unless you're known for being a caustic jerk online, in which case members of your social network may come together to celebrate your passing rather than mourn you.
  7. Step 7
    Make sure whomever you select to carry out your last wishes online has access to your Final Status Update when the time comes, knows where and when to post it and understands who to reach out to among your closer online contacts, and how to notify them personally (call, email, in person) of your death. Also, provide a list and contact information for those digital contacts you want notified of your death via a personal email or phone call. Make sure to specify the method of notification you prefer, if it matters to you.
  8. Step 8
    Remember to accompany the text of the post with a list of sites where your Final Status Update should be posted. This will require that you inventory your login information: usernames and passwords for all your online accounts so that your designee can easily perform the notifications, with access to your login info. Update this document on a regular basis; whether your updates occur once a week (if you owe money to the mob or have a terminal illness) or once a year (if you're healthy and aren't worried about getting hit by a bus tomorrow or next week) is up to you. Store this document in a safety deposit box or with your other sensitive documents.
Tips & Warnings
  • Include the photo sharing sites you use and a note about how many photos you've uploaded; this is less important if you have copies of the photos stored on your computer, where relatives can still access them after you die.
  • If you don't trust your designee 100%, you may opt to leave your login info in a safety deposit box and store the key to the safety deposit box in an envelope with the designee's name on it, with your other sensitive documents. That will ensure the designee gets the login info, but not before you die.
  • Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail will provide CD copies of your emails to a relative who can provide a copy of your death certificate and show of power of attorney, but not the password to your account.

May 20, 2010

BLUEPRINT YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS


“All I’m saying is that to liberate the potential of your mind, body and soul, you must first expand your imagination. You see, things are always created twice: first in the workshop of the mind and then, and only then, in reality. I call this process ‘blueprinting’ because anything you create in your outer world began as a simple blueprint in your inner world.”
~ Robin Sharma from The Monk Who Stole His Ferrari

May 15, 2010

ADVENTURE OF LIFE

"Time spent in the pursuit of adventure leads to more productivity, job satisfaction and profit, in all ways."
Bob Bannon
May 15, 2010

May 10, 2010

SAFE KIDS ONLINE

Cyber bullying, online predators, porn sites, sexting, texting while driving - the media seems to be full of stories about these issues and the devastation they are wreaking in our children's lives. Many lives are being destroyed in both a physical and emotional sense and as parents, many of us have felt powerless to prevent it. Parents everywhere have felt lost because we do not understand or comprehend it and simply pray that our own children are not being subjected to these threats.

  • 4 in 10 kids have been bullied online
  • 1 in 5 kids "admit" to sexting
  • 7 in 10 kids have received pornography
  • 2 X more kids are killed while texting and driving than drinking
  • 1 in 5 kids have been sexually solicited online
Police and child protection agencies suspect that these statistics are low and schools report a significant increase in the number of students who are suffering from depression and anxiety and attribute much of it to these problems. You and I used to pass written notes; today kids are texting from one side of the classroom to the other and the teachers are teaching to thin air. As parents, we have seen, firsthand, how our kids use their cellphones at the dinner table, while in restaurants, while doing homework or during family discussions
- is it any different at school do you suppose? 

The internet may very well be the greatest creation since the wheel but if we allow the dark underbelly of society to take control and ruin even one more life, then we all lose. Parents, teachers, grandparents - all of us have a vested interest in protecting children from the ravages of this insidious  tide of danger that lurks behind the anonymity of a computer screen. 

Banning or attempting to control access to the internet, creating laws that ban texting in vehicles, disallowing our kids from using their phones or social networks for porn or sexual curiosity, instructing them not to text with strangers - forget it - it does not work. Remember your own teen years when your parents forbade you from smoking, drinking, marijuana, underage sex - how did that work out? So, we know some of the problems but what can we do about it? There is a way for parents to regain some control and help their children to deal with these issues.

Find out more here.

If you think that you have "good" kids and therefore they are not subjected to these dangers, then pull your head out of the sand and think again. This is not about good kids or bad kids, this is about ALL kids. Check your TV listings and find a show on NBC - Dateline and check the episodes called "To Catch a Predator." This can happen to any child and you must know that even your child, might not tell their parents because they are afraid or because they simply are not sophisticated enough to recognize the danger.

You can prevent this from happening and take back your parental control and responsibility by going here.

April 20, 2010

WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT?

It is 2:30 AM. You are sound asleep. Everyone else in your home is away on this night. You are all alone. In the middle of a dreamless sleep, a heavy pounding on the front door, a distant glow of red pulsating through the curtains and in the distance, the sound of a wailing siren gets louder. You can smell something acrid on the air and your heart leaps into your throat as you struggle from deep sleep to confused consciousness and try to make sense of the noise and the feeling of panic assaulting your senses. You can barely make out the loud voice at the front door yelling, "Fire!" You take a deep breath in the hopes of finding some calm and creating some sense from this place of unreality and your throat fills with the taste of smoke and you involuntarily begin to cough and grab at a bathrobe hanging on the back of the bedroom door.

Another breath, through your nose this time and some of the smoke smell is filtered out and you begin to regain some semblance of common sense - you begin to think, "What do I need to do?" You listen more carefully to the voice at the front door warning you to leave your house immediately, the entire structure is engulfed and you need to get out immediately. Another shallow breath and you realize that you have a few seconds to save what is most important to you. Your family, pets included, are safe. It is only yourself and a house full of things.

The question is, in these few seconds, what do you take with you? A wallet or purse - OK, but what else. If you have 60 seconds to rescue what is most important from your years on this earth, what would you take?

April 15, 2010

CHANGE THE WORLD

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


APPLE ad copy

April 14, 2010

NETWORKING FOR FUN AND PROFIT

Networking events scare the heck out of me! I went to my first one in over a decade yesterday at noon and managed to survive. A group of 30 or so marketing and sales types met for lunch in order to hear a guest speaker talk about expanding your customer base. Imagine my surprise when the first two things our of her mouth were the "Law of Attraction" and the writings of Esther Hicks - WOW, has marketing ever changed in the past few years. I was caught completely by surprise when someone, a professional corporate speaker/trainer, has the courage to open with those two items. By the way, just in case you do not know me, I wholeheartedly agree with both references in this wondrous new world.

Back to the networking part; I guess that I would never make a good politician since the idea of glad-handing my way through a room full of strangers both terrifies and bores me to tears, at the same time. I would rather meet 5 or 6 people and hear a bit of their story than find comfort in how many business cards I managed to collect and distribute. The story is the essence of my interest in something like this and well, in fact it is the story that is always the most interesting for me. If I chose to look at myself closely, I would realize that the only writing projects I like, reveal a story, perhaps reveal an inner truth or create a connection through the struggles and success of the main characters, real or fictional, corporate or dramatic. I find it interesting that today's marketing is moving in the same direction of finding a connection through the authentic exchange of information that reveals a bit of who the individuals really are, at a core level.

I would never be sought our for my networking techniques since I seem to be more of an observer than participant but what I see in a room full of strangers is three types: A) also an appropriate letter for this group who move effortlessly through the entire room and offer a few sentence to each conversation, introduce who they are and elicit the same information from everyone else, exchange business cards and quickly disappear to find the next group to repeat the process. For some reason, they remind me of those speed-dating shows they show on TV from time to time. B) the second group enter into conversation with a few people that seem to fit the same description of not quite knowing why they are there and just want to meet somebody/anybody that they can carry on a conversation with. They are happy to tell the story of their own business and seem genuinely interested in their conversational counterpart but mostly, they are relieved to have a warm body to share the general discomfort with. C) this group retires to the back of the room, questions their own sanity and decision making process for being here in the first place and just hopes to God that someone will wander over and introduce themselves and not leave too quickly. They enviously survey the room and admire the exploits of groups A and B and generally end up making some sort of mercy-connection with another group C member.

I float somewhere between the last 2 groups and am always a little amazed when someone seems interested in what I do, but the easiest way to extend a conversation is to be interested in what your conversational partner is doing in their own life or business. The event host invited everyone to introduce themselves to the group at large after we were seated for lunch. He used a nice ice-breaker when he asked each of us to say what 3 things we would bring if we knew we would be stranded on a deserted island. Many people watched too many of those survivor shows but I chose to bring a fully loaded Kindle, a surfboard and a bottomless bottle of red wine. Now, if I could just work on my name-remembering skills a bit, perhaps I will not wait another decade before attending my next event - see you on the hustings.

April 8, 2010

THINK BIG


“Think Big and you’ll live big. You’ll live big in happiness. You’ll live big in accomplishment. Big in income. Big in friends. Big in respect… Start now, right now, to discover how to make your thinking make magic for you. Start out with this thought of the great philosopher Disraeli: ‘Life is too short to be little.’”

~ David J. Schwartz from The Magic of Thinking Big

April 2, 2010

OVERACHIEVMENT


"...people who want to maximize their potential throw caution at the wind and ignore the pleas of parents, coaches, spouses, and bosses to be ‘realistic.’ Realistic people do not accomplish extraordinary things because the odds of success stymie them. The best performers ignore the odds. ... instead of limiting themselves to what’s probable, the best will pursue the heart-pounding, exciting, really big, difference-making dreams—so long as catching them might be possible.”
~ Dr. John Eliot from Overachievement

March 31, 2010

HAPPY EASTER

          All I need to know     
          I learned from the Easter Bunny!
         Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
         Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
        There's no such thing as too much candy.
        A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.
        Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
        Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
        Some body parts should be floppy.
        Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.
       Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.
       The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
       To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.
       The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.
       May the joy of the season fill your heart.
                                  
                                         Happy Easter!

March 23, 2010

READING LIST 2010

Winter

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill *****
Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert ****
Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey ***
Mexico by James Michener ***
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski ****
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson***
The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux****
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron*****

March 1, 2010

PROFILES IN POSSIBILITY

Possibility is a word that paints a picture of potential and probability; an image that includes everything from finding fame and fortune to the cure for cancer. What moves one person to achieve their greatness while another is content with mediocrity? What are the factors that differentiate people who achieve their potential from those that search without finding it? When I read a good book, it is a good book because of what the writer reveals about the human condition. It is good because it goes behind the facts to reveal the story about the motivations, inspirations and courage that the characters acquire in their quest to overcome obstacles.

Each of us has the seeds of greatness within us - they are called possibilities. The real story about the giants who walk among us is not told in the biographical facts of their upbringing or even the circumstances of their successes but rather, it is in the reason that their particular seeds of possibility germinated. When we learn these things, we are inspired to search for what would help us grow our own seeds of possibility into our dreams of what could be reality. We become better people through the act of seeing others achieve great things through perseverence, skill and fortitude. This is a large part of the reason for the success of the Olympic Games.

Athletes toil in relative obscurity for four years and then step into glory for two weeks with the eyes of the world following their every move. A few thrive and emerge into the spotlight by finding the defining force in their lives that propels them to the finish line ahead of their competitor. The glare of the television camera illuminates this moment of success. But, it is the story behind the moment that makes these athletes heroes and it is this story that inspires other people to take a step toward their own greatness. This is the appeal of sports in general. The average young person finds within themselves the seed of possibility and nurtures this to a gold medal. The story does not happen on the day of the event, even though it is often a great story. The real story starts in the 5 AM training sessions before school; it starts in the brisk morning air with a dive into the pool or pulling on skates and stepping on to a cold hockey rink. It is found in the athlete that stays late and takes that extra 10, 20 or 50 shots at the basketball hoop after everyone else has gone home.

It is not the fact that some people are motivated to do the extra things necessary to achieve success; it is discovering why this particular person in this particular time and place. That is the story that interests me, and that is the story that sends other people out to achieve their own greatness in whatever endeavour they choose from athletics to medicine to business. Possibility exists within each of us and the fuel that powers its realization is emotion. When we see the hardships that athletes endure in order to achieve a few seconds on the podium, it appeals to our own emotions. It is this same emotion that drives that same athlete to go through the hurdles of life and succeed despite the odds. Hearing, seeing and reading the stories of people who have achieved their dreams inspires all of us to move one step closer to our own. These are the stories that change the world and they are truly Profiles in Possibility.

February 24, 2010

VANCOUVER WINTER OLYMPICS

The Vancouver Winter Olympics present a very big, very public and very easy target for all sorts of malcontents. There are the protesters on the outside, the detractors in the media, the critics on all sides who love to pour water on a party. The Winter Olympics have not been without their tragic moments from the death of a competitor to the injured athletes, disappointed fans and personal family moments for athletes and spectators both. Notwithstanding all of that, I for one, have been absolutely thrilled with the games, the athletes, the competition and the spectacle. Congratulations Vancouver, you have done a terrific job in the public glare. The President and CEO of the games, John Furlong has been a class act from day one and deserves credit for maintaining composure and demonstrating what good grace means in the face of events beyond his control.
CTV and the other Canadian networks, TSN and Sportsnet have done a fabulous job in presenting the events and stories of the Olympics and while I maintain my right to be a complete skeptic when I feel like it - but not right now. Brian Williams has been the media face of the Olympics forever it seems and I know that some people do not like his "in-your-face style - and I mean "in your face" in a good way - I think he does an outstanding job. He seems to hit just the right note of news, personal committment and insider, all at the same time. Sometimes he almost seems to be a little too familiar in his style but for the most part, he provides a human face to the Games and gets it right. Keep it up Brian - you are authentic and an unabashed fan of Canadian athletes - good for you! The Olympic coverage has been first rate and some of the features on the athletes provide the viewer with a story that is very compelling and gives us an insight to people that we really don't know much about otherwise. Rick Hansen was an inspired choice to host The Difference Makers series of vignettes that have been known to spark more than a few tears around the country - excellent job.
I suppose that as a die hard hockey fanatic, I should reserve opinion on the Olympics until we see how the Canadian team does, but that is my point - I do not want any singular event to influence my overall impression of the professionalism that these games have presented. There have been many emotional tugs, most of which have gone beyond the sport itself to the humanity that has been on display. It feels really good to understand a little better what the athletes and their families and coaches are feeling and experiencing and I am absolutely impressed and thrilled with Canada's pride and willingness to wave the flag - great job.
The "Own the Podium Program" has come under fire from some cynical sources but I do not think we should be too quick to judge. What is wrong with stating that we - we athletes, we citizens, we fans want to be successful? I know that it has not been the Canadian way in the past but it is time that it was. Some circles are dubbing the program a failure because we are not in first place in the medal hunt - baloney! Who out there expected that our nation of 30+ million was going to garner more medals than our friends and competitors south of the border with a population of 300+ million? It is absolutely a step in the right direction - way to go Canada.
So, way to go Vancouver, way to go CTV and associates and WAY TO GO CANADIAN ATHLETES!!!! We are proud of you for your inspiring efforts and courage. You are all GOLD.

February 21, 2010

COMING SOON

Sometimes it just takes longer than I think it will. I decided many months ago that my website was not serving me particularly well and that it needed to be updated desperately. At some point in time ( New Year's Intentions, maybe?) (last year???) I also decided to take the technology leap and learn how to operate things like cellphone cameras, microwave clocks and word processing software. It was not difficult to learn that the average person could also build and upload a webpage. Not difficult to learn that it was possible, putting it into practice on the other hand...
I found a site builder that sounded good and proceeded to purchase it and even advised some friends to do the same - they did and wow what a job they did - look here. I started, restarted, got frustrated, rerestarted, changed my mind, rererestarted and on it has gone for almost a year. I finally put my mind to the task - and the exclusion of most others - and last weekend dedicated, or barricaded myself to working in my office. The results are supposed to be up and running tomorrow and I am quite proud of the attempt. I hope you will make a note to take a look at www.RobertJBannon.com when you get a chance. If something is not working right, I will by busy again trying to fix it, change it and restart it. Enjoy!

February 13, 2010

CHIVALRY REVERSES WITH AGE

Another sign of getting a little older occurred today. I was at the grocery store picking up a few things and when I arrived at my car in the parking lot, a mother and daughter were climbing into the van next to me. This presented no particular problem for anyone but I waited a moment to let them back out - the parking lot equivalent to holding the door open or walking on the outside of the sidewalk - the mother looked over at me and smiled while waving me forward.
It was very nice of her and I accepted her courtesy but I got to thinking, when does the role reverse? She was sitting in a minivan and perched significantly higher than I, since I was in a low slung vehicle whose roof reached her window level. It would have been much easier for her to exit first but I could sense some sort of respect for the old guy as she waved me on - or was it a dismissal? I now have to watch for those occasions when the roles reverse and will probably also need to create a test to determine when I am being looked upon as older and therefore somewhat harmless. Do you ever get the idea that I could have been a writer for some of the Seinfeld episodes about nothing? Not the humor thing, just the nothing thing. By the way, for those of you keeping track, I still take the divider that we use on the grocery store conveyor belt and turn it over - it still drives people nuts - another Seinfeld episode.

February 10, 2010

DEPRESSION ?


Al Sears, MD
11903 Southern Blvd., Ste. 208
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
February 10, 2010

Dear Robert,
Have you seen the TV commercial? The one where the guy isn’t getting results from one antidepressant, so he’s taking two?
Doctors hand out these drugs like candy.
When I started my practice, this was pretty rare. By the 90s, everyone was on Prozac. Today, patients walk in on two or three antidepressants. And a lot of the times, they’re on other addictive drugs, too.
This is a disturbing trend. We don’t really know what the dangers are when you mix these drugs.
An article in The Archives of General Psychiatry found that doctors today prescribe two or more drugs more often than a decade ago. And, in nine years’ time, the average number of meds per visit rose by over 40%.1
It’s great for business if you’re a psychiatrist. It keeps patients coming back for more.
But no one knows for sure how they interact. The few studies that are published show there are serious side effects.2
Take a look at the problems you face if you take just one antidepressant:
1. Addiction: You get withdrawals if you stop. Symptoms include depression and anxiety worse than the original depression.3

2. Stroke: A major study shows women taking antidepressants are 45% more likely to have a stroke. They are 32% more likely to die of any cause.4

3. Suicide: In 2003 and again in 2004, the FDA issued a health warning about suicide risk for children and adults taking psychiatric drugs.5

4. Pregnancy complications: Pregnant women and unborn children may suffer complications and birth defects.6

5. Motor skill impairment: You can develop permanent body movement disorders. Some lead to Parkinson’s disease.7 And you can cause a car accident. Up to 15% of accidents are caused by someone taking these drugs.8

6. Other side effects: Sexual side effects are common. So are weight gain, nausea, and diarrhea. 
Now multiply these reactions by two or three, depending on how many different drugs you’re on. And that doesn’t even take into consideration what else might happen when these chemicals are combined. It’s enough to make anyone depressed!
Get back to basics. If you’re on anti-depressants, talk to your doctor about weaning off of them under supervision. Then make positive changes in your life:
Step 1: Get some exercise. Regular exercise is an effective stress buster and mood elevator. It releases serotonin – the “feel good hormone” – in your brain.
Step 2: Eat a primal diet. Processed foods are filled with chemicals that affect hormones, brain function, and mood. Choose fresh and natural instead. Protein contains amino acids, which feed the brain and regulate emotions. Skip sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. They cause mood swings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Step 3: Go out in the sunshine. Use vitamin D as your natural antidepressant. Ten minutes in the sun a day gives you a whopping 10,000 IU and a sunny disposition.
Step 4: Take a multivitamin. And make sure you get enough B vitamins and minerals like magnesium and Omega-3s. These are important depression fighters.
If you’re still not getting enough relief, take a look at St John’s Wort. It’s a common flowering plant that’s proven to work just as well as a prescription with none of the side effects.9 It’s best to check with your doctor and take it under supervision.
SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is another. It’s been used in Europe to treat depression for over 20 years.10 You can get SAMe at your local health-food store. I recommend you take 200 mg a day to start. If after two weeks you’re not seeing considerable improvement, increase to 400 mg.
Two more supplements you might try are Relora and 5-HTP. Relora is made from two plants that have been used in Chinese medicine for 1,500 years. It rivals benzodiazapenes, but doesn’t make you sleepy.11
5-HTP (5-hydoxytryptophan) converts to serotonin, a feel-good chemical in the brain. Start by taking the minimum dose and work up slowly, 20 to 50 mg a day.12

For some people, hormones may be the cause. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman. A low testosterone level means fatigue, low energy, and depression. Estrogen and progesterone imbalances can do the same. Get your hormone levels tested. If your doctor finds an imbalance, consider natural hormone replacement therapy.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1. “National trends in Psychotropic Medication Polypharmacy in Office-Based Psychiatry.” Archives of General Psychiatry. Jan 2010.
2. Nemeroff, CB., DeVane, CL., Pollock, BG. “Newer antidepressants and the cytochrome P450 system.” Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153:311-320
3. Disalver, S., Greden, J., Snider, R. “Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndromes: Phenomenology and Pathology.” January 1987:2 (1).
4. Smoller J., Allison, M. et al. “Antidepressant Use and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality Among Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative Study.” Arch Intern Med, 2009; 169 (22): 2128-2139.
5. FDA Public Health Advisory: REPORTS OF SUICIDALITY IN PEDIATRIC PATIENTS BEING TREATED WITH ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS FOR MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER (MDD). October 27, 2003.
6. Pharmacologic management of psychiatric illness during pregnancy: dilemmas and guidelines. Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153:592-606.
7. Caley CF. “Extrapyramidal reactions and the selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors.” Ann Pharmacother. 1997 Dec;31(12):1481-9.
8. Eleanor Kibrick and Reginald G. Smart, “Psychotropic Drug Use and Driving Risk.” Can Fam Physician. 1972 October; 18(10): 47–52.
9. Linde K, et al. “St John’s wort for major depression.” Cochrane Reviews. 2008. 4:CD000448.
10. Roberto Delle Chiaie, Paolo Pancheri, and Pierluigi Scapicchio, “Efficacy and tolerability of oral and intramuscular S-adenosyl- L-methionine 1,4-butanedisulfonate (SAMe) in the treatment of major depression: comparison with imipramine in 2 ulticenter studies,” Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Nov 2002; 76: 1172S – 1176S.
11. Douglas S Kalman, Samantha Feldman, Robert Feldman. Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on stress levels in healthy women: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. 21 April 2008 Nutrition Journal 2008.
12. Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C. “Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD003198. 

February 9, 2010

GORD'S GAME

Alzheimer's disease is marching through my friend Gord's brain towards its inevitable conclusion, leaving in its wake a path of destruction, fear, confusion, anger, tears and despair. One moment he is standing high atop a mountain and the next, sinking in quicksand, followed by the loneliness of standing in a forest of thick fog, wondering which way to turn. This is the reality of Alzheimer's and a reality he understands and faces with the support and love of his family and friends but in real time, a reality he faces alone. Now, already unable to read, drive a car, assemble shapes and colours into something understandable, unsure of what to order from a restaurant menu; he finds himself without the freedom of movement he has enjoyed his whole life. He can only leave his home when someone takes him for fear of getting lost and confused. He bears witness to this slide into hell with courage and a positive attitude while he watches, unable to stop the essence of himself from oozing between his fingers like mud in a thunderstorm of confusion.
Gord and the tower of strength that he is married to, have decided that they want to make a difference for other people who suffer from Alzheimer's by making their own story known and by organizing an annual golf tournament to raise funds to help those of us who might find ourselves fighting our own battle in years to come. The first annual Gord's Game for Alzheimer's will take place at the Kananaskis Country Golf Course on September 2, 2010 and a committee of volunteers is busy creating an event that will be worthy of Gord and Brenda's courage. Its purpose is twofold; to raise money for the effort to find a cure and secondly to raise awareness in you and I of the possibility that lurks in the recesses of our own minds.
While much is known about the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer's, such as using our brains to solve puzzles, keeping it stimulated every day by problem solving along with some emerging information about diet and nutrition, there is no cure for those people diagnosed. The result is a passive level of dismissal from many corners of the medical profession and there are very few resources devoted to caring for patients and their families, even though the incidence rate is expected to climb through the roof in the next decade or two. It is a disease left hidden behind the closed doors of old folks homes and the nervous butt of humour by those of us approaching that "age and stage." The sad reality is that there are now thousands of people in North America, in their 50's, who are already exhibiting the symptoms of this devastating disease and who are undiagnosed because everyone assumes that it is an old person's illness. Gord is now 60 and unfortunately there was evidence of something being amiss 5 or 6 years ago, but it was dismissed by all of us, including his doctor.
We have much to learn from Gord about Alzheimer's, about the need to watch out for each other, about the need for better facilities, training, testing and resources, about courage, about the care and feeding of our most precious resource and about living a life of love, honour and selflessness.
Gord's game for Alzheimer's - are you too?

February 7, 2010

NO READING FOR A WEEK?

I am currently working on a course called The Artist's Way found in a book by the same name, written by Julia Cameron. It has been a very powerful program to date but I may have just run into the proverbial "wall." The two biggest things that I have incorporated into my life so far are "morning pages," which is something done upon waking and requires the participant to write 3 pages of whatever comes into his head. It has been revealing, inspiring, frustrating and every other adjective you can imagine. The other required project is a weekly artist's date. This is something done alone and it requires the student to spend an hour or so during the week in a pursuit that supports, or reveals something artistic about oneself. Almost anything qualifies and I have done some things like spending time in an art gallery, going to a live music show and spending an afternoon at the library. And, that brings me to this week's exercise - no reading and no TV for a week! She says that this usually evokes the most anger and invective during the 12 weeks of the program and I can see why.
After allowing her student's to vent, Ms. Cameron then goes on to explain what might happen during the week of unusual and sadistic deprivation. In a nutshell, she says that when I run out of work to do and work that I want to do, I may find time to play. Just what the hell does that mean? I did have a few thoughts though. I know this will be a very tough week for me since I spend so much time reading, including emails. But I have noticed how few people actually read emails and if they do, they often simply ignore the contents. It is amazing how many responses are from people who haven't read the initial message. For instance, just a day or so ago, I sent an email to a photographer asking permission to use a couple of his photos in an online magazine article I am preparing for examiner.com. He replied last night that I could use them in my website with proper credit and a link back, which is normal but obviously, he didn't read the part where I told him in what context I wanted to use them and where. So, I really don't know if I have permission or not which would require another email from me and then the wait to hear a reply, if I do.
In order to ask again, I would need to read his email and so, this program gives me a great excuse to not do so. Also, if I am not replying to anyone else or seem to be out of connection; you now know why; the program says nothing about continuing to write but I just can'r read anything. Oh yeah, and the TV part - no Flames games and no support from anyone around here for a week without the boob tube. I may get my office cleaned up after all, and then what... the garage for God's sakes!!!

January 30, 2010

FAMOUS QUOTES

"I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues."
DUKE ELLINGTON

"A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind."
ALBERT SZENT-GYORGYI

"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."
ERICA JONG

January 28, 2010

OBSERVATIONS






1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.  
 
2. Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
 
3. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.
 
4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
 
5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.
 
6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
 
7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
 
8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?
 
9. Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.
 
10. No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.
 
11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
 
12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. It could be a right number.
 
13. Think about this ... No one ever says "It's only a game" when his team is winning.
 
14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.
 
15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like it.
 
16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.
 
17. Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of OLD LADIES running around with tattoos? (And RAP music will be the Golden Oldies!)
 
18. Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo.
 
19. After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.


THANKS CD