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Archive for May, 2017

The Insider Movie

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 posted by Joan

Engraved River Stones

Recently, we watched a film starring Russell Crowe and Al Pacino about the 60 Minutes program and the tobacco industry.  Crowe plays the role of a recently fired senior executive with the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company.  As an insider, he is aware of the tricks the tobacco industry plays to keep smokers addicted to cigarette smoking.  Pacino, a producer with 60 Minutes succeeds in getting Crowe to think about blowing the whistle in the CBS program.  The B & W company uses everything they can think of to keep Crowe quiet, short of bombarding him with engraved river stones.

This is a great film story and great acting by the stars.  Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) is provided a good severance package by B &W, but he agrees to a nondisclosure clause preventing him from telling what he knows about the sinister pact within the industry to keep smokers hooked.  Lowell Bergman (Pacino) does all he can to help but eventually finds himself under pressure to bury the story.  You will have to watch the film to find out what happens.  It will be worth your time.

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Why use Charity Navigator Website?

Friday, May 26, 2017 posted by Joan

One Day at a Time Inspirational Stones

Some of us are destined for greatness as was the case of Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa.  Others are very successful as measured by celebrity status and wealth.  Most of us are just ordinary folks who live our lives with friends and family trying to deal with everyday problems.  To be inspired to do things for others still makes us important, even though we are not household names.  Inspirational stones can make the difference.

As an example, most of us celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays.  We send gifts, greeting cards or Greeting Stones and make telephone calls to make someone we know happy.  But what about the people who are down and out and have nowhere to turn?  We may not know them individually, but we can make their lives better, not just on special days, but often.  We donate to charities and hope our donations can make a difference.  However, there are professional fund raisers that keep a large portion of the funds they raise.  The money does not go to those that need it.  Use the Charity Navigator website to ensure your donations go where the money is needed.

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Creating Curb Appeal

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 posted by Joan
Friends Forever Engraved Rocks

Friend Forever Engraved Stones

Sometime houses look beautiful from the outside but are almost empty on the inside.  This is referred to as being house poor.  House warming gifts and personalized friendship gifts help to make things better, however a home should be enjoyable from the inside more than look great from the outside.  Curb appeal adds to the attraction because first impressions are everything.  Sometimes we see the landscaping but fail to see things like weeds, broken siding, broken downspouts and chipped paint. They destroy the luster when you get closer to the front door.

Unless you are planning to flip the house, you own, you can add to the landscaping gradually using a master landscape plan.  That way, you have extra funds available to make the interior homier.  Avoid taking out large loans to do everything at the same time.  It can be tempting, however, as we saw during the first decade of the 21st century, economics can change rapidly, and financial pressures are hard to deal with.

 

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All About Engraving Tools

Monday, May 22, 2017 posted by Martin

Engraved River Stones

There are all kinds of engraving machines for sale.  You will find laser engravers that barely scratch the surface and others that can cut deep enough to create engraved pocket stones.  There are also Dremel machines that cut into wood, plastics and soft metal.  They are great for engraving personal electronic to make them less likely to be stolen.

If you want to do precision engraving, it should not be done free hand.  You will need a device which sets up the work using a computer chip.  Most lasers are great for that.  Diamond tipped engraving tools are a must for engraving hard surfaces like precious stones, granite and other stones.  Monument makers often use a sandblasting technique for best results on new and already installed cemetery markers. If you need tools to engrave stones as a hobby, you can find laser engravers for less than a thousand dollars.

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Welcome Summer

Saturday, May 20, 2017 posted by Joan
Happy Chanukah Greeting Stones

Happy Hanukkah Engraved Rocks

For those who live in the northern states it has been chilly for an extended period.  Christmas and Chanukah greetings were months ago, but sometimes the temperatures are similar.  Summer begins on June 21, just a few days after Father’s Day.  If you have not put down preventatives on your lawn don’t be surprised to see early weeds and crabgrass.  If you haven’t decided on your vacation plans yet, there is still time.  However, if you plan on a cruise during the peak weeks, you might be disappointed.

If you plan to rent a shore house, plan on competition.  Whatever you like, I hope you have good weather.  That is especially true if you plan on cruising the Caribbean during August.  Summer storms and hurricanes begin just before summer, but August and September are very risky months.  If that is when you can get away, consider other alternatives like the mountains.  Several years ago, we stayed in Banff in the Canadian Rockies.  We worked in a visit to the Calgary Stampede rodeo and it was great.  Should you go, expect to see lots of wildlife and awesome scenery.

 

 

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Money Management Tips

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 posted by Joan
Success Motivational Stones

Success Engraved Stones

There are so many scams that make the headlines that many folks are just plain scared to trust someone else to manage their hard, earned savings. Managing your own money without sufficient training can be a mistake.  Interest rates are so low that it might take a ton of motivational paperweights to improve their yield.  Listen to the commercials on radio and TV which can be tempting, but can you really trust the source?  Listening to friends can also be a mistake.  So, what is the best course to follow?

In my opinion, my money should always be in my name managed by a  money manager.   With Bernie Madoff, the money was controlled by him and he set up accounts for his clients.  If you wanted to get to your money, you had to request it.  I prefer my investments in a large brokerage firm like Fidelity or Charles Schwab.  Anytime I want money, I just write a check.  I view all mail from the brokerage firm to make sure I know what is happening even though I have great faith in my manager.  I don’t wish to spend all my time managing my money.

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Celebrating a Special Anniversary

Saturday, May 13, 2017 posted by Martin
Happy Annivesary Greeting Stone

Happy Anniversary Engraved Stones

Recently, we attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration.  It was a small group of about a dozen people and everyone seemed to have a great time.  It was held in a local restaurant; however, because we were in a private room, we did not have to compete with the noise level in the main area of the restaurant.  The wedding anniversary inscription on the celebration cake read “50 Wonderful Years”.  That about says it all.

The hosts made some remarks, however they were not speeches.  Instead, they talked about some of the funny things that happened to them over the last 50 years.  The remarks were only about 10 minutes so the guests were not in a captive audience and bored.  The guests all knew each other from prior occasions and there was mutual interest in finding out “what’s new”.

The Italian food was freshly prepared and great and the cake from Publix was also great.  The yellow cake with fudge icing and German chocolate center were fantastic.  If you have a special occasion coming up, consider a similar way to celebrate.

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Too Much Stuff

Thursday, May 11, 2017 posted by Martin
Engraved Motivational Stones

Engraved Inspirational Stones

Years ago, George Carlin did a routine on stuff.  He said that folks like to accumulate stuff just to look at it or to bury it somewhere, but never to toss it.  He said, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”  If you get gifts, you add them to your stuff.  If you get motivational stones to help you deal with the problem, you go out and buy a bigger house to put your stuff.   Now you have more room so you can collect more stuff.

Do we all have too much stuff?  It is much easier to collect stuff than to get rid of it.  Twenty years ago, we moved to a smaller house with a smaller basement.  In the old basement, I found stuff that I was going to repair when I found the time. We also had things like my wife’s wedding dress, the kids clothing when they were younger and cribs, etc.  We finally gave away some of our stuff to Goodwill and put the rest in a dumpster container.  Do you have too much stuff?

 

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Why We Like Consumer Reports

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 posted by Joan

 

Engraved River Stones

Reports is a unique magazine because it one of the very few that does not accept advertising.  They rate many popular products according to their usefulness and durability.  Also, they publish their information for the use of subscribers and do not permit manufacturers to advertise or promote their ratings without their permission.  They rate both expensive products like automobiles and low cost items like towel paper.  They don’t rate unusual things like engraved polished stones or waste baskets because there is not enough interest in them.

We have subscribed to Consumer Reports for more than forty years because it helps us to avoid buying mistakes.  Some of the public believe that if you pay more for a product you are buying a better product. That could be a costly mistake.  Others believe that buying cheap is best to save money.  Consumer Reports tests products using scientific methods and by collecting information from their large base of subscribers.  They send out questionnaires to learn more about product reliability and frequency of repair.  Because most folks are fair and honest, the information collected is accurate. Being a non-profit organization, they also solicit donations from the public.

 

 

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Father’s Day Thoughts

Friday, May 5, 2017 posted by Joan
Dad Rocks Greeting Stone

Dad Rocks Engraved Stones

Although Father’s Day is weeks away, I like to collect ideas on celebrating it.  Most of us still have our fathers, however in my case and with many others, Dad already passed away.  Now, Father’s Day is a celebration for my kids and grandkids.  Nonetheless, on this special day, I remember a personalized stone etching that I had given Dad which he treasured.  I think back to the great times I shared with my dad and I appreciate all he did for me while he was alive.

My dad was not a sports nut, but he took my sister and me to baseball games.  He knew it would make us happy and provide an experience that was unique.  Dad was not a fisherman, but he showed me how to fish.  He was not a carpenter or an electrician, but he showed me how to create things from wood and how to do basic wiring.  As I grew older, I realized that I was not a master of any craft, but I could fix things that were broken, work with basic hand tools, and appreciate the world more by reading about it.  Thank you, Dad.

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