Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another good PBS documentary...

This is a good summary of what was, became and is right now... PBS seems to be an unbiased source of information, so I give them credit for the story...

Episode 1
A global economy, energized by technological change and unprecedented flows of people and money, collapses in the wake of a terrorist attack .... The year is 1914.

Episode 2

As the 1980s begin and the Cold War grinds on, the existing world order appears firmly in place. Yet beneath the surface powerful currents are carving away at the economic foundations.

Episode 3

With communism discredited, more and more nations harness their fortunes to the global free-market. China, Southeast Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and Latin America all compete to attract the developed world's investment capital, and tariff barriers fall. In the United States Republican and Democratic administrations both embrace unfettered globalization over the objections of organized labor.

read the rest of the Episodes here

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Seven Ways to Get Holiday Happiness With Less Money

Seven Ways to Get Holiday Happiness With Less Money

By Jay MacDonald

OK, despite your best intentions, you never quite got around to saving for the holidays, and now that the festivities are approaching, you're not exactly flush with cash.

Cheer up! With a little creativity, you can still save your holidays. Who knows, you might even have a warmer, closer gathering with family and friends without the credit card hangover that comes from holiday overspending.

The federal government's Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, Colo., has a bunch of ideas, and using them as a stepping-off point it's possible to find a number of ways to have all the fun you want this holiday season without going broke.

Here are some methods you can choose to use to save your holidays:

* The 'card-n-all' rule: If your liquidity has only temporarily dried up, you may still have time to buy now and pay later. Depending on how much time you think you'll need to acquire the money you expect to spend, you might check into low introductory APR credit cards that offer zero percent for three to six months. Pay it off, cancel the card, ho ho ho. If you need less cushion, say a month or so, check the closing date on your last credit card statement. Let's say it closes on the 20th of the month. Window-shop for your presents now or even put them on layaway until after Dec. 20, then charge them. You won't receive the bill until February.

* The payday shopper: Organize your shopping list, then buy only one gift per pay period. You'll hardly miss the money, and you'll be less likely to succumb to overbuying at the mall.

* The man in the moon: Go moonlighting. That's right, take a second job or an extra shift at work. There's still time to earn extra money for those holiday gifts.

* The my mouse to your house: Let your fingers do your shopping. You're more likely to purchase meaningful presents and less likely to fall victim to capricious holi-daze spending.

* The bag lady: Kids, bless them, have not been brainwashed into believing that the only fit gift is one that comes sealed in industrial packaging. Perfectly good new and nearly new toys, games, clothing and cool stuff abound at garage and yard sales, at your budget, without sales tax.

* The who knew: Used CDs make great gifts for the whole family and fill the house with a joyful noise. You'll get two to three discs for the cost of one at the mall.

* The pretty as my picture: Don't blow your time and money shopping for individual gifts for everyone; give each of them the one gift that only you can give: a photo of yourself. For under $50 and a few smiles, you can delight far-flung aunts and uncles with how well your orthodontia turned out.

Unthink Your Old Traditional Ways
By taking these tips, maybe you'll scrimp by this holiday season. But what about next year, and the year after that? If it's rampant holiday commercialism that's got you down, maybe you need to start a few new family traditions, ones that won't leave you cash-poor the rest of the year.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Holiday shopping ideas...

This article came to me in a newsletter I am subscribed to:
* Self Improvement and Personal Growth Weekly Newsletter * Issue # 378
Week of December 6-7, 2005
Publisher: David Riklan -

*** Article: The Most Important Gifts of All – By Pauline Wallin, Ph.D.

In This Season of Gift-Buying, Don't Ignore The Most Important Gifts of

In this season of holiday gift buying, advertisers bombard us with
messages, some of them contradictory. One ad tells us that the best way
for men to show love is to spend three months' salary on a piece of
diamond jewelry. On the other hand, MasterCard commercials remind us that
there are some things ("Priceless" moments) that monëy can't buy.
"Oh, that's a sweet sentiment," you might say, "but can it really
substitute for the latest video game or hot toy?" Very few children raised
in this materialistic culture would say, "Gee mom, thanks for making my
favorite meal. What a great Christmas gift!"
Yet 20 years from nöw, these same children probably won't remember the
items they got for the current Christmas. They will, however, recall the
special games that their family played together, the time that their older
brother took them to a movie, or the way their parents tucked them in at
These are the little moments, which over time, have a huge impact.
Unfortunately people tend to take them for granted. With so much emphasis
on holiday shopping, and on buying the perfect gift, we can losë sight of
the importance of the less flashy, but "priceless" gifts: gifts such as
thoughtfulness and gratitude that we can give to one another all year
round. A diamond may be forever, but its value is nothing compared to a
lïfetime of moments that monëy can't buy.
I'm not suggesting that you forego the presents this holiday season, but
don't worry so much about how "perfect" they are. Go ahead and buy some
gifts, but more importantly, resolve to focus your energy on helping
others feel valued and appreciated. They will remember your acts of
thoughtfulness and compassion long after the material gifts are gone.
Hëre are some examples of small gestures that can help people around you
feel valued:
1. Show your appreciation with a thank-you, a smile or a hug (or all
three). It takes just a moment, but it can make a person's day.
2. Practice a random act of kindness every day. Make this your "gift" to a
stranger. For example, let someone in front of you in line. Hold a door
open for someone. Smile and greet people you pass at work. These acts take
only a few seconds or less, yet they create a mood that can last for
3. Call up someone you haven't spoken to in a while, just to catch up on
how they are. You've probably been meaning to do this for a long time. Nöw
is a good time.
4. If you have children, give one child at a time your full attention for
an afternoon: Go for a walk; go to the library; or just sit and read or
draw together. The activity itself isn't as important as sharing time and
interacting together. Going to a movie or watching a video doesn't count.
5. Write a note of appreciation to someone who is important to you. Don't
be surprised if that person keeps the note for years to come.
6. Think of the way you'd like to be remembered by those around you, and
give of yourself accordingly throughout the year. The added benefit for
you is that you'll be in a more positive frame of mind overall.

About the Author:
Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. is a psychologist in Camp Hill, PA, and author of
"Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-defeating Behavior"
(Beyond Words Publishing, 2001).

Visit for more information, and subscribe to her
frëe, monthly Inner Brat Newsletter.

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