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October’s topic:  

The “Cottage Industry” has caught up with me (finally)

20-plus years working in a remote setting … and wouldn’t change a thing! 


Well, it took a while, but what can I say:  I TOLD you so!  Well, not entirely.  I spent much of my time since 1999 believing I had to keep some sort of secret or something. I asked myself: 

  • Will they ever find out that I tend to wear shorts and sandals during my business calls and videos? 
  • Do you they know that have no interest in driving downtown for any reason at all?  Including closing giant deals? 
  • Will they be mortified if one of my little ones barges into my home office and vomits mac and cheese all over my desk in real time?  Did I care even if something like that happened? 

The answer to the above and many other questions, is, well, NO.  I didn’t care.  I don’t care today either.  And I probably won’t care at any time in the future.  I mean, let’s face it:  Nobody I know out-works me.  In fact, I haven’t been on a real vacation since the end of 2017.  Oh yeah, we probably shouldn’t even count that one because I was finalizing my book, Sorry, 50 is NOT the New 30, during that trip. 

I look around and see Congress on break most of the calendar year.  I see neighbors who can barely roll out of bed by noon and spend their weeknights getting high and drinking all night.  I come across those on social media pretending they’re working, but still, can’t figure out what they’re even working on.  Working on their tans

I suppose, though, it took the Covid pandemic to convince more than a few professionals to “hang up their car keys” and settle into whatever makeshift workspace they could create within their 4 walls.  And looking around, it’s hard to see many other benefits of this whole health scare period in the United States and beyond.   

However, one thing I do know is the cottage industry is here to stay and that’s a good thing because it will keep me plugging along, my sanity in check, and, of course, my dry-cleaning bill will remain where it belongs – in the home office shredder! Ciao! 

So, what’s your story? 

We’ll catch up with you again in about 30 days … I’m out! 

-A.N. 

A Closer Look …👀👀👀

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It’s practically another fall season, and I don’t know about YOU, but to US, it still feels like we’re inches from the summer sun! Some other areas of concern:  

Whereas most of the above is nature’s doing, we must also be much more vigilant in how we are contributing to the increasing strength and duration of each.  We need to do a much better job of collectively working towards solutions to these problems – as opposed to exacerbating them.    

  • Should our infrastructure plans “adjust” according to the frequency and severity of these events? 
  • What do YOU intend to do about these problems?   
  • What am I going to do? 

These are the questions that need to be asked and addressed.  Otherwise, we are kidding ourselves while we idly stand by as observers of our own demise.   

Any ideas?  

-A.N. 

A Closer Look👀👀👀✔✔✔

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Title: W-T-F happened? 

Topic: Wasn’t Covid in our rear window … #GuessNOT  

Why is everyone testing positive NOW!?  I thought we were heading outta this “thing?” I thought the stands were going to be filled with something OTHER than “flat-Stanleys?”  I thought we were heading to the ball parks and arenas and concert venues again.  I thought we were heading back to some Broadway shows?  I thought I was sending my kids off to college to meet real people and professors.  You want me to wait ANOTHER YEAR?!! 

I guess, much like YOU, I THOUGHT a lot of things were happening, or about to happen at least.  But, like, you, I was wrong.  Again.  Or, was I right, and some of the stupidity around me was wrong? Hmm… Either way, we’re all sharing the same space, the same air, water, and, unfortunately, the same collective results. 

You mean the Bros. Bezos didn’t invite you and your bro to get outta Dodge and into space too?  Me neither.  Maybe next time, Geofredo.  In the meantime, I just wanna watch my damn football team this month.  I wanna see my favorite players and coach enter Canton in a few days.  We won’t spend too much time on them, but they are mine, and I’ve waited long enough to see them (since 2020).  And, I’ve remained masked and distant and silent, and….if I don’t get my way, I’m gonna have to be duct-taped to my office chair (not unlike some of these rabid air travelers).  People, we need to relax and agree that if we don’t follow the same protocols, we will remain in this lunatic space until we run out of—water…What? Now, we’re running out of THAT too?  You’re #KillinMe ! 

#CmonMan !

Oh well, I’m done venting…see you in the fall…hopefully…I’ll be the #DryThirstyOne  

A.N. 

A Closer Look … Misuse-of-words-English-People-Incorrect-Wrong-

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A “Blast from the Past” Edition (so much fun, we’ll re-publish it!) 

Flubbing our words and phrases?   

nother vs. another (“That’s a whole nother world”) 

Uh, NO it is not.  But it IS a whole incorrect sentence.  I’ve sat in professional meetings, witnessed intelligent people on television and interacting on large city streets misuse this term over and over.  How about “a whole OTHER” perhaps? It’s easy to remember because all you have to do to not be wrong is simply drop one tiny letter, the “a” 

uncharted vs. unchartered (“We’re in uncharted territory”) 

Here lies another constant.  It is used with such frequency that even we may, at times, become confused as to which is the correct choice.  When navigating areas (or waters) that are unfamiliar are we “in uncharted waters” or are we in “unchartered waters?”   

I always believed, being part of the general “charter” community, that the correct usage would be unchartered; meaning “not ever having sailed through these waters.”  However, if we think of “uncharted” waters, we could reflect on our childhood where gold, treasures & stuff existed – and envision other option of “attempting to navigate a map without any defined charts.”   Who knows…? 

pacificly vs. specifically (“I was pacificly talking about the last time I saw him”) 

We probably first heard this one around the holiday dinner table spouted from the mouth of our Aunt Ida.  ‘Pacificly’ is NOT a word.  Just noticing all of the red underlining will tell you that spellcheck specifically disagrees with you.  However, “pacifically” IS an actual word, but is still incorrect if used in this situation.  It may refer to a large body of the earth’s ocean separating numerous islands that we would love to charter (or chart). 

relevant vs. relative (“It’s all relevant!!”) 

No, it is NOT.  My understanding is of ‘relevant’ is that which is pertinent to or important to something else.  ‘Relative’ is more of an “it depends” or “relates to.”  See? It’s easy to remember… 

supposably vs. supposedly  (“She was supposably the one…”) 

Supposably is just horrible all the way around.  (Again, see all of the red in spellcheck if you don’t trust me) It sounds like you took the wrong advice of your Uncle Vito from that fantasy sports commercial.  However, it is a never-ending misuse of a pretty cool word…supposedly.  “Supposable” is supposedly a word, whereas “supposably” is a sign of, well, incorrect grammar. 

misconfuse vs. misconstrue  (“He misconfused what I said to him”) 

This was one I heard about a decade or more ago on one of those live court television programs where an actual hitman in a criminal case testified using (or misusing) one big word after another.  It was so amazing that I couldn’t turn the television off and was late to the office as a result.  However, it continues to be a source of humor that my spouse and I still occasionally giggle about to this day. 

One final note 

Back in high school (a few years back), I recall a hilarious moment in English class when our teacher informed us that one of her students required a tongue-lashing for incorrectly using a transition.  In a nutshell, the student stated his idea in one sentence but then attempted to transition it with a new sentence beginning with “Another words” instead of “In other words.” Though I felt bad that the teacher publicly shamed him (she’d probably be fired for it in today’s class), I must admit that I laughed at it as much (and as loudly) as anyone.   

A ‘word to the wise’ (Oops, I mean “words” to the wise) 

  • K.I.S.S. (no, not the Gene Simmons variety) 
  • K-E-E-P 
  • I-T 
  • S-I-M-P-L-E 
  • S-I-M-P-L-E-T-O-N 

Anything you have to say? 

-A.N. 

A Closer Look … Stocks-Inexperience-Investors-Hedge Funds-Day Trading-

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Some Causes of the Stock Market Volatility Craze 

Topic:  That ‘silly, crazy stock market’ this month   

Categories: Economics, Financials, and Social Psychology    

Between a rock and a hard place? You probably spent some of the past few weeks rummaging through the onslaught of news concerning the stock market.  In just a few days, there were swings from single digits to over thousands of percentage gains. What is the most amazing part? Ironically, these public companies did absolutely NOTHING different to cause this phenomenon. In fact, some of the biggest debt funds pounced on this situation to dump old, crappy positions they had. This generated some outlandish profits (for those who could get out in time!)   

However, for those who don’t own any stocks, I hear you. Who cares, right?!  Well, the rest of us care. Unfortunately, it caught our attention instantly. This might be due to many of a certain age recall being caught up in this “spin cycle” very similar to this in our investing past.  In fact, if your stomach didn’t roil a bit, and your brow didn’t raise, you must be a first-time trader. You have no scar tissue built up from previous downturns.  You haven’t been burned…yet. 

Moreover, if you recall in spring, 2001, there was a ton of hoopla regarding “surging dotcom stocks.” It seemed like you didn’t even need an ounce of ability to make profitable picks during that time.  Just buy, buy, buy (Thanks, Jim Cramer!) Subsequently, there was a different kind of BOOM!  There was a “crash-landing.” In little time, the markets tanked. Everyone ran for the hills, and many brokers ducked their calls. We were shirtless, stuck, and scared!    

Nevertheless, I’m not naïve enough to think that the ‘dotcom bubble of 2001’ is anywhere near the same as the last two weeks have been. But I tell you, when you see some of the publicly traded stocks like GameStop (GME) and AMC Theaters (AMC), it forces a reflection moment. These stocks went from (practically) zero to amazing heights. Then, they returned to earth again in mere days. Unfortunately, it rhymes with some of our tortured past like 1987’s Black Monday, spring 2001, and September 2008.  I agree, all had different characteristics. We won’t get into them all, but each created a form of sheer terror in the marketplace at the time!   

Thankfully, at least for today, it seems like the storm has mostly passed. We’re back to the “old, regular froth” that we’ve become accustomed to from the past several fiscal years.  We’ll just keep our chinstraps fastened, our eye on the ball, and continue onward, right?  I mean, what else can we do?  Happy investing, folks!  

Any ideas?    

-A.N.     

Feeling a little nauseated?

Supporting links  

Bloomberg 

CNBC Business 

Business Insider 

A Closer Look …

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Area(s):  Education, Business, Psychology 

Topic: Reliance on remote technology for school, work, and emotional well-being … 

Issue: Are we putting so much emphasis on virtual technology that we may find ourselves paralyzed when it’s time to ‘come back into the real world?’  Let’s get something straight from the outset.  I have no special insights or secrets for what the heck we are expected to do from 2021 onward.  However, like nearly all of you out there, I find myself thinking, discussing, and, occasionally, well, fretting about the repercussions of this new world we’ve had to carve out for ourselves in order to move forward however quickly or slowly we perceive we are.  The most recurrent thought is about this Zoom/ GoToMeeting/ TikTok ‘stuff.’  Whether we’re trying to get through a lecture, business meeting, family call, or, creating the next (wink, wink) viral video sensation (we’re all at some point toying with our 15 minutes of fame, right?) – we should also wonder what exactly all of this means. We instead seem to mindlessly download, log in and share every nook and cranny of our lives with – well, who knows who?!  In other words, are we potentially exposing ourselves to future legal matters (IP/ property theft, civil liability, etc.) while making use of this technology?   

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A Closer Look … Baseball, meet Covid

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Topic: PLAY BALL!! (just don’t spit or argue…and get Covid tested often!!)

Issue: Can baseball players really refrain from spitting?! Or, arguing? Or …

I guess it’s a valiant effort to think we can “field” a troupe of MLB players and count on them to refrain from spitting before, during, and after a game. However, do you think it’s perhaps a bit far-fetched we can achieve such a lofty goal? 

I mean, these guys (I do know a little bit about them) have been “takin’ a dip,” “puttin’ in a chaw,” and otherwise hockin’ loogies since practically tee ball. In fact, I could tell you some stories about guys who filled up 2-liter soda bottles with the “after-sauce” of Apple JackSkoalCopenhagen, or … well, take your pick, big boy.  

The point is that a good argument can be made that spitting is just as (if not more) linked to baseball than both apple pie and hot dogs are to the American culture. Baseball players spit … period.  Even the ones who don’t chew tobacco.  It’s part of the game folks. 

To add insult to injury, players will also be commanded to “not argue” with the field umpires and be available for plenty of Covid testing. Baseball and testing?! C’mon, man! Did you see what happened during the (steroid era) 90s and early 2000s? Again, testing and baseball haven’t mixed too well in the past. Let’s just leave that argument for a different day. 

Okay, so even if we can clear the above hurdles, we must also understand that, in lieu of screaming and adoring fans, the stands will be filled with … cardboard cutouts of fans. Yes, I said it, cardboard! If ever there was a reason to spit on something, this may be it.  

In this technological age, couldn’t we have come up with something more life like? How about holograms that are programmed to behave like regular fans? Or how about cartoons of fans who drink gallons of beer, scream obscenities at the top of their lungs, and hurl batteries (and other unmentionables) onto the field – without provocation?  Sounds kind of fun, huh? 

Or, how about this? How about making the holograms, well, (fake) spit! That way, the players will feel more at home for the opener … wait a second, did the rules committee just tell baseballers that they can’t adjust their, uh, “pant legs” either?  What is this world coming to?!! 

What do YOU think? 

-A.N. 

Seriously though, stay safe my readers! 

A Closer Look

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Topic: Reopening vs. Testing (Covid-19)

Issue: Is it better to risk an economic collapse using a more deliberate approach in reopening America (with a broader national testing program), or, try to get us ‘back to normal’ as quickly as possible and risk another spike in infections and deaths?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/09/trump-reopening-america-coronavirus

What do YOU think?

Let us know …

A Closer Look …

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Topic: Lockdown (and its aftermath plan)

Issue: Is an “Around the World Itinerary” next?

After this lockdown ends (sometime before the end of time, I imagine), I’ve decided to book a trip around the world. Who’s with me?! Nope, just pulling your leg, but sounds pretty tasty, huh?

It’s just that, you know, being a lifelong “travelin’ man,’ I’m struggling with the “everyday backyard scene.” No, it’s not quite Groundhog Day, but pretty close.

In fact, I just posted a video of what appeared to be my full grown, ash tree uprooting and exiting my backyard. For reals…I think.

Okay, maybe it was my imagination or something. Anyhow, the point is that we are at the point of, well, seeing fleeing trees! And, no, it’s not worth the risk of contracting anything outside the home, but it’s something to take a closer look at, right?!

And, until then, I guess the only outdoor fun will be watering the plants…Woo….Hoo.

Hang in there, my friends. And I’ll try the same.

Let us know how you’re doing out there

-A.N.

Photo credit: BAN Solutions/ BAN Consulting ©2020 (presented in ‘cartoon style’)

A Closer Look

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Arena: Healthcare and Politics (and why they don’t mix), Vol. III

Topic: How do we manage to blame the ‘other party’ during a global pandemic?  

I understand all too well that America in 2020 is in the midst of a political tug o’ war over, well, almost everything.  We have demonstrated that we can brawl about just about anything: from guns and ammo, to impeachment, and just about every bit of minutiae worded in a congressional bill.   

But, the coronavirus, seriously?  I mean, do we really think that this little bugger even cares whether you are pro-life or not?  Or, how about whether you have open carry permissions in your state?  Or, whether you voted for Hillary or Trump in 2016?  The obvious answer is NO, it does NOT. 

It only cares about finding a way into your bloodstream (and mine, too) and causing enough harm to hopefully derail us from future family births, graduations, weddings, and the like.  The virus is the real enemy, not your next door neighbor (with the Bernie bumper sticker you may despise). 

Let’s try to bear all this mind moving forward.   Remember, the people who #StayAtHome aren’t lazy, foolish or have an aversion to sunlight.  They are, hopefully as you are too, trying to get this monster to go away.  For good.  So, let’s try to bury the egos, the bravado, and, in some cases, the reckless disregard for stay at home orders.   

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