BLAINESWORLD #899

Section 2, part 2

(1) Mary C. in NC: Wondering if you saw Philomena yet. I gather you didn’t like Dallas Buyers Club that much. (Trying to decide which one to see.)

Response: PHILOMENA, for sure. But if you get the chance, catch THE BOOK THIEF first. We enjoyed that even more.

Also, if you want to learn more about the real Philomena, please click:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/world/europe/a-forced-adoption-a-lifetime-quest-and-a-longing-that-never-waned.html

Update: Mary then did see Philomena. Here was her reaction:

We saw Philomena and really liked it. Judi Dench was perfectly believable in the role of a mother whose child was ripped from her. We got pretty torqued with the church….and I was raised Catholic! Shows how backward their thinking has been and often continues to be.

(2) Susan F. in NC: A concerned mother’s letter to teenage girls:

http://www.viralnova.com/a-concerned-mothers-letter/

(3) Terry V. in NC: I particularly liked 12 C!!

(4) Colleen D. in PA: Thanks for the Lucy information. I had heard about it a couple of months ago, but did not know the air date.

(5) Lynn M. in NC: Thank you for your newsletters.  It is always fun to see what you are doing.  I forgot to tell you that I have a blog where Einstein is having conversations with other physicists, mathematicians, even a geneticist … and it is all happening in the afterlife.  I’m having a lot of fun with it.  Einstein is also exploring the question … Who am I?  If you want to check it out, I am including a link.  The third newsletter is up now.  In the first one Einstein is having conversations with Godel, Schrodinger, Marie Curie …  Oh, and there is an ‘Old One’ who comes in and out. 🙂  Here is the link:   ConversationsWithanOldOne.Com.

(6) Henry W. in NY: Went to “Nebraska” yesterday, the movie not the state, thankfully. Alexander Payne’s (The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt) latest slice of Americana depicts Woody, played magnificently by Bruce Dern, as an aging, semi-lucid, alcoholic, who actually believes he has won a million dollars in a sweepstakes. To claim his “prize,” Woody and his youngest son (Will Forte) set off on a road trip from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska with a painful, weekend visit to family and former friends in the desolate and dreary, rural, Nebraska town where Woody grew up. Hard to imagine a blander way of life. Really believing that Woody is about to become a millionaire, the town makes Woody an instant celebrity, which results in some unpleasant encounters. If you enjoy Alexander Payne’s movies [he is from Nebraska and lives there part of the year], as I do, you’ll probably like this film. Otherwise, this Cornhusker movie may not your cup of tea.

(7) Sharee C. in FL: Sometimes your reviews of movies don’t always agree with mine.  We just saw Nebraska.  I will be interested to see your review.

Bruce Dern was tremendous and the movie is now on my top ten. Had a little bit of everything in it.

One more thing. I loved Sliding Doors too. How about my all time fave, Cinema Paradiso?

Note: I haven’t seen NEBRASKA yet, but now want to–especially after reading the above two comments. Also, I’ve always been a big Bruce Dern fan. As to my not always agreeing with Sharee–or Henry, for that matter–on reviews, that’s what going to movies is all about–seeing them, then discussing them afterward.

(8) BJ L. in NC: Absolutely amazing! I just successfully obtained health insurance through the website after two unsuccessful attempts.

HERE’S the trick: If you’re struggling with your application, delete it and you can start over. That’s what I did, and it was smooth sailing all the way through being able to pay my first months premium online.

(9) Rabbi Mel Glazer in CO: Guess what?

My newly published book is on sale
for a limited time only…

The paperback was priced at $14.95, today it’s $11.69.
The Kindle edition was priced at $9.99, today it’s $7.99!

A GPS For Grief and Healing: 3 Powerful Steps to Help You Move From Mourning to Morning 

It is the perfect gift for those who have suffered a loss and want to move forward.
And who doesn’t want that?
I call it “the gift that will keep on giving…”
Don’t wait, order it today for your friends and family who need it.
Read the opening chapters for free, check out the testimonials, and I know you’ll enjoy the book!

Many thanks, and Happy 2014!

(10) James J. Gibson in PA: Greetings from Gibson & Mayer CPA’s. Firstrust Bank nominated us as “favorite business” and we need your help to make it happen!

The 20 Finalists have been selected. Now it’s up to you.Log in to vote for your favorite local business and a chance to win an iPad! Four sweepstakes winners will receive an iPad just for voting.
Vote for your favorite business and they could
Win a Grand Prize of $15,000
to split with a charity of their choice.www.bizfirstawards.comNow get the votes send it to everyone!! Plese vote for Gibson & Mayer!

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Section 4, Reviews

C. A TWIST OF LYME (Archway Publishing) by Andrea H. Caesar is the true story of a woman who contracted Lyme disease as a child, but did not have it diagnosed until she was 36.

It presents an almost day-by-day account of what this entailed. The account is funny, at spots, but harrowing in many others. And overall, the tale is a very moving one.

The author provides many useful suggestions along the way; among them:    * One thing I had done, that I suggest anyone dealing with chronic illness does, is to walk in armed with an entire life health history written out, as well as a complete list of medications and dosages. Doing this allowed me to take control of my own health and showed them (and other doctors since) that I am in control of my information and am ready to be approached as a serious patient.

And:

* Listen. It’s the best thing you can do for someone like me. It’s really a skill that most people never truly learn. I don’t need anyone on a soap box. Just be there for me. Just listen. Just notice me. And if it’s too depressing for you, then don’t feel you need to offer hope. Just walk away. Because that is what I need right now. I don’t need people who are uncomfortable around me. I just need someone to sit beside me and get it. Play Scrabble with me. Just know that I am where I am it blows and that’s okay. It’s part of my path, my lesson. I need a friend right now. I just wish I knew who that friend was, because right now it’s Mini and it’s certainly too much for her to bear.

What was especially scary was the amount of money that the author has had to pay for her treatment:

* I’m not even going to begin to try to come up with the amount of money my family has spent over the years trying to diagnose and treat me. I am afraid to even think about it.  I am pretty sure I could buy a nice house in cash with that sum. But let’s get a little real, just in case there is some person of influence out there who cares about how lives are being ruined by chronic Lyme.

By the end of the book, Caesar was finally making progress in her attempt to get better. She is not there completely, but she is on her way. I wish her well.

D. Heard WINNING EVERY TIME: HOW TO USE THE SKILLS OF A LAWYER IN THE TRIALS OF LIFE (Random House Audio), written and read by Lis Wiehl.

The author, a former federal  prosecutor and popular legal commentator, explains how to make use of lawyerly thinking in everyday life. She shows how this can be helpful in such situations as  as getting a raise, communicating better with your partner or becoming a more effective parent.
The key is to utilize the following eight easy-to-use rules of persuasion:
Know What You Want: The Theory of the Case-outline your premise clearly and establish your objective accordingly.
Choose and Cultivate Your Audience: Voir Dire- bring your case to the person who “calls the shots” and know the perfect time and place to do so.
Marshal Your Evidence: Discovery-assemble all the facts that support your cause, even information that may challenge your objective.
Advocate with Confidence: Making the Case-present your opening argument and offer your evidence calmly and methodically.
Counter the Claims: Cross-examination-challenge your opponent’s allegations consistently, but gently, through a series of “yes or no” questions.
Stay True to Your Case: Avoid the Seven Deadly Spins-keep your argument authentic by avoiding false inferences, hearsay, and subjectivity.
Advocate with Heart: Let Me Tell You a Story-make your case personal with a special story that will convey your message in a memorable way.
Sum It Up: The Closing Argument-deliver a fervent and succinct summation of your theory and evidence . . . and close the deal.
I liked how she gave examples of the above from her professional experience, as well as from such high profile trials as O.J. Simplson’s. In the latter, she contends, the lesson is that one must present a story of the case that’s based on fact and reasoning, rather than appearing pushy and aggressive to a jury.
 
In another instance, she detailed how a frustrated father got his son to do nightly homework by keeping emotions in check and maintaining control of the discussion–something that’s often easier said than done.
If you’re not a lawyer, but would like to know how to do so when the need arises, then WINNING  is the book for you.
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Section 11, Thought for the day

Proposals, Negotiations and Bidding . . . 4 Key Points
by Marvin Sadovsky*The 4 KeysOver the last 38 years as a consultant I have worked with many companies who obtain a large percentage of their business through a proposal or bidding process. If you are faced with the challenge of obtaining work or services, selling products based on proposals or biding and your percentage of “wins” are not what you would like then the following 4 key distinctions are extremely important and if you do not follow them the chances are almost certain you will loss an opportunity to serve a customer or client.I can recall many stories of past company failures that were shifted into wins when the 4 distinctions were practiced. Many of the companies blame the loss on PRICING against competitors who are willing to take minimal profits to just get the business. Yes, there are those kinds of challenges. Yet I will say something that you may not believe: “Final decisions are not totally based on the PRICE.” So, what is the final decision based upon? If you are dealing with a computer evaluation and purchasing department that is charged with only PRICE than your chances are reduced if you have no contact with the final user and decision maker. If that’s the case I would say that you may have a better chance of winning by playing the LOTTO. Following are the 4 distinctions:1. The contact person or sales individual must start the proposal or bidding process by obtaining more information than what the Request for Proposal (RFP) offers. There is an important Outcome Model for gathering and specifically identifying the 8 important factors for any outcome yet the one most important responsibility for the contact sales professional is to identify the real motivation behind the request. What is it that moved the company to make the request? This is called Motivational Criteria and most likely will be what moves the customer to a final decision. I have found that in cases where the proposals are not successful the missing distinction is not having a clear understanding of the customers motivational triggers. There normally are more than one. The failure of a proposal or the winning of a proposal begins with the relationship contact and gathering of information. It is important to translate the gathered information into the framing of the proposal and still stay within the requested guide lines. The magic of the words! What is your procedure and how do you approach a negotiating opportunity?2. The customer did not feel comfortable with the contact person. There was a relationship disconnect, rapport was not created resulting in an uneasy feeling by the customer.3. The budget expressed by the customer was not what they really desired and the service and product needed more clarification. The information did not offer the real criteria or hidden purpose for the needs or wants of the customer. Think about positioning yourself as a “consultative provider” and not the vendors sales person. You may not believe this aspect yet it is surprising what can be identified in a relationship connection.4. The customer contact person was not the decision maker. If you are not talking with the real decision maker then you are “throwing paper and time against the wall” hoping you luck out. A losing proposal has a life cycle in the minds of the customer. An impression is made based on the paper that represents you.I have been asked over the years to help companies re-evaluate their proposals while they were in the process. I have even been asked to listen in on the meetings with the customer in order to help identify the key points which are missed in many cases. Here are 2 cases which turned the loss to a win. One was a $5,000,000+ contract and another was a $2.5 billion-5 year contract. The difference in a win from a loss was the Motivational Criteria and the framing of the proposal. There have also been smaller wins. I was only a facilitator in the process. My clients are the winners because they were open to hearing [taking action] and not just listening.  All proposals and representations on paper or in person represent how others perceive you.Wishing you a great Holiday and a 2014 year of continued wins.

* Reprinted with the gracious permission of Marvin, a sought after Executive Coach, speaker and seminar facilitator specializing in Human Behavior and Communications Mastery. He has over 35 years helping professionals achieve amazing results in Leadership and Sales! For more information, please click: http:///leadershipstrategy.ms or email him at: ms@leadershipstrategy.ms.

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Section 12A, NC event

A real “FISH FRENZY” is building among both WNC individuals and businesses!

On January 28th from about 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (with a terrific networking period from 5:30 to 6:30) at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in downtown Asheville, an incredible Lessons in Leadership event will fire-up you to dive into 2014 with passion, energy and excellence!

Harry Paul, the author of the ENORMOUS hit best-seller FISH will be here for an event you won’t want to miss.

LIL Harry Paul

For only $20 per person, all in attendance will learn, grow and ignite as never before.  

Registering is a breeze! Simply go to: www.wncleaders.com today and follow the easy enrollment instructions.  Or, if you prefer, send an email directly to Keith Challenger at kccusa@gmail.com and let him know how many participants you would like to register.  Keith will take exquisite care of you!

And how exciting that our registration coordinator is ALSO the opening speaker on January 28th.  His presentation on “LACK of Time Management” will knock your socks off!

LIL2 Keith with book

PS. Please also like Lessons in Leadership – Asheville on Facebook by clicking: http://tinyurl.com/m5nnxhq. That way, you’ll get both the latest information on the event and motivational messages.

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Section 12B, PA/NJ event

Michael Hennessey in PA:

Dear Friends,

Here is the Book Group lineup for Spring 2014.

We meet in the Rollins Center Room 114 (on the ground floor) at Bucks County Community College, Newtown, from 7:30 TO 9:00 P.M.  All are welcome to join us on the second Thursday of each month to share your thoughts and questions about any or all of the selections. For snow or bad weather information, call 215-968‑8000. On the radio, the College code for snow closing is 2760. For more information, call 215-968-8164 or send email to:  hennesse@bucks.edu 

(Click title links to go to Amazon.com.)

Jan 9:   Come to Me: Stories by Amy Bloom

From Publishers Weekly:

Bloom’s remarkably consistent first collection of stories includes her award-winning “Silver Water,” a sad remembrance of a mentally ill sister and the family that loves yet cannot help her. The story includes elements common to Bloom’s work: female protagonists whose lives are changed through psychological trauma, often involving therapists or people embarked on therapy. This makes sense, since Bloom herself is a practicing therapist. She deftly explores the complexity of the therapist-patient relationship (“Song of Solomon” and the aptly titled, ironic “Psychoanalysis Changed My Life”); the subtle brutality of troubled families (“Love Is Not a Pie,” “Sleepwalking,” “When the Year Grows Old”); and the strange compromises struck by couples to maintain tenuous emotional connections (“Sleepwalking”). Taken together, however, Bloom’s insights into human love and obsession tend to blur into a long and rather uniform psychoanalytic lesson, undercut occasionally by revelations. She’s at her best in showing how people really think, as in a description of a self-effacing housewife’s distracted thoughts during sex in “The Sight of You,” or in the title story, in which Bloom achieves a soaring complexity in characters whose strange behavior eludes any simple psychological explanation.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Feb 13:  Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From Booklist

*Starred Review* To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Smart, irreverent, and outspoken, she reluctantly left Nigeria on a college scholarship. Her aunty Uju, the pampered mistress of a general in Lagos, is now struggling on her own in the U.S., trying to secure her medical license. Ifemelu’s discouraging job search brings on desperation and depression until a babysitting gig leads to a cashmere-and-champagne romance with a wealthy white man. Astonished at the labyrinthine racial strictures she’s confronted with, Ifemelu, defining herself as a “Non-American Black,” launches an audacious, provocative, and instantly popular blog in which she explores what she calls Racial Disorder Syndrome. Meanwhile, her abandoned true love, Obinze, is suffering his own cold miseries as an unwanted African in London. MacArthur fellow Adichie (The Thing around Your Neck, 2009) is a word-by-word virtuoso with a sure grasp of social conundrums in Nigeria, East Coast America, and England; an omnivorous eye for resonant detail; a gift for authentic characters; pyrotechnic wit; and deep humanitarianism. Americanah is a courageous, world-class novel about independence, integrity, community, and love and what it takes to become a “full human being.” –Donna Seaman

Mar 13:  The Good Lord Bird: A Novel by James McBride

Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Abolitionist John Brown calls her “Little Onion,” but her real name is Henry. A slave in Kansas mistaken for a girl due to the sackcloth smock he was wearing when Brown shot his master, the light-skinned, curly-haired 12-year-old ends up living as a young woman, most often encamped with Brown’s renegade band of freedom warriors as they traverse the country, raising arms and ammunition for their battle against slavery. Though they travel to Rochester, New York, to meet with Frederick Douglass and Canada to enlist the help of Harriet Tubman, Brown and his ragtag army fail to muster sufficient support for their mission to liberate African Americans, heading inexorably to the infamously bloody and pathetic raid on Harpers Ferry. Dramatizing Brown’s pursuit of racial freedom and insane belief in his own divine infallibility through the eyes of a child fearful of becoming a man, best-selling McBride (Song Yet Sung, 2008) presents a sizzling historical novel that is an evocative escapade and a provocative pastiche of Larry McMurtry’s salty western satires and William Styron’s seminal insurrection masterpiece, The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967). McBride works Little Onion’s low-down patois to great effect, using the savvy but scared innocent to bring a fresh immediacy to this sobering chapter in American history. –Carol Haggas

Apr 10:  Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

Amazon Book Description:  The New York Times ​bestseller and winner of the Whitbread Award.

Composed toward the end of the first millennium, Beowulf is the elegiac narrative of the adventures of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the seemingly invincible monster Grendel and, later, from Grendel’s mother. He then returns to his own country and dies in old age in a vivid fight against a dragon. The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on in the exhausted aftermath. In the contours of this story, at once remote and uncannily familiar at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney finds a resonance that summons power to the poetry from deep beneath its surface. Drawn to what he has called the “four-squareness of the utterance” in ​Beowulf​ and its immense emotional credibility, Heaney gives these epic qualities new and convincing reality for the contemporary reader.

May 8:  The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Amazon Book Description: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

June 12:  We Need New Names: A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo

From Booklist

In Bulawayo’s engaging and often disturbing semiautobiographical first novel, 10-year-old Darling describes, with childlike candor and a penetrating grasp of language, first, her life in Zimbabwe during its so-called Lost Decade and then her life as a teenager in present-day America. What is at once delightful and disturbing is the fact that young Darling and her friends are so resilient amidst chaos. Darling must cope with absentee parents gone to who-knows-where, seeking jobs and a better life; abusive adults; and murdering bands of self-appointed police in a country gone horribly wrong. Yet she evinces a sense of chauvinism regarding her corrupt homeland when she joins her aunt in America. There she discovers a country that has fallen into a different kind of chaos, primarily economic. She and her new family struggle while America fails to live up to her hopes. Ultimately what lingers is Bulawayo’s poignant insights into how a person decides what to embrace and what to surrender when adapting to a new culture in a new land. –Donna Chavez

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Section 12C, National events

Evan Guilford-Blake in GA:

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