Monday, November 17, 2008

Earn and Write

One of the easiest and more entertaining ways to make money working online is to take paid surveys. Companies pay for your opinions on their products, from what you have used to products you might purchase.

Getting paid for your opinion is as simple as signing up with paid survey companies and taking surveys. Most paid survey companies will send you an email with a link to go to the survey. Once you complete the survey, you are paid, usually by check or PayPal. Some surveys are paid through points that you can redeem for merchandise or awards, although this is not as common.

The one main problem in looking for businesses who pay to take online surveys is that there are businesses who are scamming people into sending them money. While there is nothing wrong with paying to join a survey membership site or purchasing information such as a book or ebook showing you who pays you to take surveys, you should never pay to actually take a survey. Legitimate survey companies pay you, you don't pay them.

You can sign up with as many survey companies as you want to. The more you are signed with, the more chances you have of getting a survey which means more money in your pocket. Most surveys take 10-30 minutes to complete.

There are a lot of reputable companies who will pay you for what you think. One of the most popular ones is PineCone Research. They pay a flat $5 per survey that you take...not bad at all for something that might take you ten minutes to complete. The downside is that you cannot sign up with them on their website.
You have to find a banner somewhere online that they have placed on another website and sign up from there. But the banner is always moving. And they give no hint as to where on the vast World Wide Web this banner could be at any given time which leads one to wonder who anyone ever signs up with them. In the past, it's been reported that banners have been spotted on sites pertaining to freebies, bargains, shopping codes, and the like.
One of the most important things about taking online surveys is that most of these companies require that you not talk about the surveys to others. Some of the surveys offered are for new products that are not on the market yet, so telling others about these products could be a grounds for being removed from a survey panel. Be sure to read the confidentiality clause, if there is one.

Most of all, being paid to complete surveys, giving your opinion, is a fun way to make extra money and let companies know what you think of their products. Most of all, it's profitable!


In our current workplace today, there are a variety of people with whom we interact with. From the highest rank to the lowest, the oldest to the youngest, people from all different departments and of different years of experience, it is almost impossible to please everyone or get into their good books all the time. This article breaks them into 4 broad categories and teaches you how to generally deal with each of them so that even if you are not the apple-of-everyone's-eye, at least you would not be the target board for insults, extra duties and behind-the-back talk.

The Old or Experienced Folks

Believe or not, sometimes you enter a company fresh but are ranked above people who have been there for ages. There might be a simmering resentment boiling within those staff against you for jumping the gun. More often than not, they would pounce at every chance to test your abilities and your patience. The key to gain their favour is to recognise their longstanding service and to find as much opportunity to affirm them for their work.

A great way to do so is to learn from them at every opportunity at your job and commend them for their expertise. They would feel appreciated in what they do and at the same time, you get to learn the tricks of the trade. In a way, you would gain their respect for your humility even when you are more senior in rank. If played out well, the respect will be reciprocal.

The Energetic and Ambitious Youths

Brash, reckless and overly ambitious. Or sometimes, timid, quiet and antisocial. Young entrants usually display extreme behaviours in a new working environment. The most important thing they seek is careful guidance at the start of their career. If you are able to convince them that what you say and do are focused on them and their career, these people will look up to you and continually seek you for advice. More often than not, they need encouragement and support. Render them these and in the future if they do succeed and supersede you in rank, you can be sure that some of them will pull you up with them.

The Most Junior Staff
Do not underestimate the significance of this group of people. They can range from your office cleaners to the admininstration staff that does your simple paper work. The grapevine is the most pervasive when it reaches this group. Whilst top-down feedback imposes authority and determines your measured success in your career ladder, it is the bottom-up feedback that builds the momentum of what others think of you as a capable or nice person (of which such feedback would permeate up to the top). This group of people channels bottom-up feedback.

For all the work they do, they are more often than not taken for granted. Give them due respect plus a little bit more and you win them to your side. Sometimes, you would never know what other kinds of help you would need from them besides paperwork.

The Towering Ones Above

This group is one that most people are focused upon and yet, people mess up by playing the game the wrong way. Apple-polishing or boot-licking are outdated ways of pleasing your boss. And true bosses see through the facade easily. The best way to get to them is to do it indirectly. Whilst being capable captures the eyes of the top bosses, it is the opinions of others of you that seals their impression of you.

The best way to get to a boss is to be a good boss (or rather, a leader) to your peers. If he sees himself in you, the chances of you climbing are higher. More so if others affirm your abilities in front of him without your intervention. Such endorsement of your capability will surely bring you to new heights.

Obama and Guns

From Wisconsin to Colorado to Texas, several states are reporting record gun sales, or at least record numbers of requests for background checks for gun sales. There are reports of long lines at gun stores, guns and ammunition "flying off the shelves" all over the U.S., including my home area of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. According to the L.A. Times and other media, this is a nationwide phenomenon.

Some have dismissed this trend as just a reaction to the opening of hunting season or the downturn in the economy. My take: the opening of hunting season in the south and midwest, especially, did not just become a big deal in 2008. Many schools in this part of the country have "deer days" at the start of gun deer season and have for years. This recession, which is what it is regardless of what Phil Gramm or anyone else wants to call it, is certainly not the first of its' kind in recent memory.

No, this is a reaction from much of rural America to the election of Barack Obama, in my opinion. What do I base this opinion on? I live in a city of around 80,000 people, but there are over 200,000 in the immediate area, probably. In this part of the country, not just in rural parts outside Fort Smith, but in this city, there are many hunting enthusiasts. Even many Doctors and white collar professionals hunt, and I come in daily contact with many of them. Now, I'm not what you'd call an expert marksman or anything, don't belong to the NRA due to their extreme political stances, but I do know how to shoot a gun and support hunters' rights and the right for people to defend their family and property, within reason.

However, crime or a weak economy is not the reason for this development. Many gun owners are concerned that Barack Obama will put new restrictions on handguns, assault rifles and certain kinds of ammo. This would account for most of the increase, one would think. What's disturbing is the number of people who have been quoted, who have told me directly, or that I have overheard, saying that they fear a "race war" or that somehow, Barack Obama's election as President means a massive muslim invasion of our shores.
Recently in a local Wal-Mart Supercenter, a man was loudly proclaiming in the checkout line that Obama was "a muslim" and "some-bidy (sic) oughta shoot that 'sum-bitch'. If I could have gotten his license number, I would have reported him. I know, such crackpots are on the fringes of society and in no way represent most of the good citizens of our area. However, in the days since Nov. 4, there has been a definite increase in the number of crude, racially oriented "jokes" and moronic comments such as the Wal-Mart guy.

It would be foolish for Barack Obama to attempt to restrict gun rights at the start of his administration, especially. With the economy in the dumper, rising unemployment, the financial crisis, health care, Iraq, and so many others issues on his plate, Obama would lose all credibility, and could indeed spark social unrest. In a speech in Ohio, a state I've traveled a few times, Barack Obama stated clearly that he's not "going to come after your rifle, your shotgun, or your handgun". There are many hunters in Ohio and people there expect one to be true to his word.

One of the great ironies in this year's election was the number of hunters and gun owners in OH, PA, and other midwestern and even some southern states, who supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries. In the past, Hillary was considered a "she-devil" who would confiscate guns, promote witchcraft, force everyone to drive on the wrong side of the road, and support the designated hitter rule, according to the "good ol' boys" who held such views. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was considered by most of the country as mainstream. "That one", Barack Obama, was considered the "dangerous" candidate for President.

Folks, in short, Barack Obama is way too smart a politician to let the country get overrun, or try to take away the guns of law-abiding citizens, in spite of that slip about voters who "cling to guns and religion". Not that he would do that, anyway. Barack Obama is not a muslim, in spite of his middle name. It would not be in his interest to enslave white people or any of the other wild, baseless accusations that have been made. The "black helicopter" crowd spreading this sort of tripe remind me of some who said in the 80's that Ronald Wilson Reagan was the anti-christ, due to six letters comprising each of his three names. Oh yeah, Barack Hussein Obama is 6-7-5, check for yourself.

As "politically incorrect" as it is considered to be to talk or write about some of these things, it is my view that the sooner we get a lot of this stuff out in the open, the better off we'll all be. Barack Obama was elected, not just of a part of the country, or just certain groups, but as President of the United States, a duty I believe Obama takes seriously.

I don't agree with some of Barack Obama's positions, but the man was duly elected President and deserves a chance to govern the country, within our system of checks and balances. I hope for all our sakes that he does a good job as President and I believe he will.

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Palin Effect

I am a registered Democrat. No, I'm not one of "those" Democrats - I just don't think Donald Duck has shown he has what it takes to be mayor of Disneyland, let alone President of the United States. I am also a woman.

Sarah Palin, basically a newcomer to the national political arena, impresses me. She told the nation that, as Governor of Alaska, she had no fear of taking on the "good-old boys". This statement is believable to me for a reason many may have overlooked.

Sarah Palin was wearing a skirt when she spoke those words.

I do not live my life in skirts and dresses. To the best of my knowledge, the last time I wore a dress was Gramma's funeral in June 2004. I live my life in jeans and shorts, and I wore the occasional pair of khakis when my former job required.

However, a mother of five told me she is tired of the good old boys' network and she will not play ball with them. Wearing a skirt while doing so indicates she definitely does not belong to the good old boys, and will not pretend to be one of them. Sarah Palin is not afraid to let people know she is a woman.

I spent many years in an industry dominated by the good-old boy attorneys. I was not an attorney, but I was successful. I knew my stuff. I could argue with any of them, and usually won. When I knew I would be sitting down with a male attorney, I made a point of wearing a dress or a skirt. I wanted to be sure they knew that I was a woman, I was playing on their court, and I could play very well.

I have confidence in Hillary Clinton as a politician, but not as a woman. Clinton, in her usual pantsuits, made me believe she was part of the good-old boys. She made me believe that she was one of "them". She gave me the impression that she would be very comfortable sitting in a cigar-smoke filled room, laughing at the little guy while fighting for big business - no matter the rhetoric she spewed.

Sarah Palin makes me believe that she really does have the "little guy's" best interests at heart. Sarah Palin makes me remember that a woman can remain a woman and still battle with men.

Sarah Palin, if the Republican Party wins the November election, will hold no real power. Her greatest responsibility will be casting the deciding vote in the event the Senate is tied. The other thought, of course, is that she would assume the Presidency in the event the President is unable to complete his term. I'm not altogether convinced she is ready for that responsibility.

Sarah Palin has convinced me, however, that she has great potential. She has accomplished some great things in her short tenure as Governor of Alaska. On the evening of September 3, 2008, Sarah Palin accomplished something more important than all of those.

Sarah Palin reminded the world that a woman could remain a woman, and still battle the good old boys.

My top 3 black Friday sale so far

Black Friday ads are being leaked and released, and some stores have really stepped up their sale items and discounts this year! Here are some of the better Black Friday ads that really stood out to me thus far:

Target - Target has a long list of clothing and toys that will be on sale. From $9.99 jeans and $5 tops, you can definitely fill up your cart and not break the bank. For the photographer on your gift list, there will be a Kodak 10MP digital camera on sale for $89. Keep your husband from getting lost by buying him a Magellan 1200 for $99.99. A really great value is a Dyson DC07 vacuum with a free $100 gift card for $349!! Various Cds and DVDs are listed for sale from $5.98 to $13. An 8GB Apple iPod with free $15 gift card is available for $145.

JCPenney - JCPenney is another Black Friday hotspot for cheap clothing. The majority of clothing apparel on their ad is below $50! I see many items 50% off. Reebok shoes are $25, boys shirts are $8, sweaters for $15 and up, Levis for $32 and up, outerwear for her is 65% off, Southpole hoodies for $20 - these are just a few off the extensive list of JCPenney Black Friday items that are sure to please every fashionable person you have to gift! Furthermore, JCPenney's stock of comforters are 50-65% off and their jewelry is deeply discounted for the day. You just can't miss JCPenney on your Black Friday route!

Bath & Body Works - If you spend $40 at Bath and Body Works, you'll get a $100 Limited Edition VIP Gift Bag for only $15. I don't know about you, but that would make a special young lady very happy, or you could keep it for yourself. Ha!

Happy Shopping.

Turkey games

If you have children in the lower grades, the odds are good that soon they bring home coloring pages of pilgrims, Indians, pilgrim hat cutouts, and of course simplified stories that retell the history of thanksgiving. Yet when was the last time someone talked turkey? In an effort to provide a Thanksgiving trivia game that talks turkey, here are 10 Thanksgiving trivia questions in which the bird features front and center.

Was turkey on the original Thanksgiving menu?

Just by asking the question, you are already tempted to answer "no," but not so fast! The answer is actually a resounding "maybe." According to HNN, the first feast included "venison and wild fowl," which may or may not refer to turkey - although it is considered unlikely.

Which has less fat and calories: white or dark meat?

If you may believe the Bangkok Post, it is the white meat that is less fatty and calorie laden. Just as an aside, after eating a meal consisting of mashed potatoes, candied yams, buttered rolls, stuffing, pies, and various other goodies, the difference in fat and calories is unlikely to matter.

What contributions did turkeys make to Sesame Street?

According to the University of Illinois extension, turkeys sacrificed their feathers to clothe Sesame Street's Big Bird. No, he is not a turkey, but the feathers were actually taken from those birds, colored yellow, and attached to a costume; a little something extra for the Big Bird loving kids to be thankful for.

Who hailed the turkey a "bird of courage" that would "not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards?"

Benjamin Franklin, who was not pleased that the bald eagle was made the national bird, penned these words in a letter to his daughter. Read the entire missive at the Click on Detroit site.

What is the turkey gobble?

Male turkeys gobble to attract mates, hens do not gobble. Thus, if your Thanksgiving turkey is a hen and not a tom, there is no need to keep shouting "gobble gobble" to mark the occasion.

How many turkeys do we eat during Thanksgiving festivities?
Okay, nobody can really answer this question - after all, do you count lunchmeat and canned meat? Yet according to the Baltimore MD the numbers of birds dressed and readied for cooking are 45 million.

How do you thaw a turkey?

Ah yes, the question that has stunned millions of cooks. The answer is simple: thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator and calculate one full day of thawing time for every four pounds of turkey weight. Thus, a 12 pound turkey needs as least three days in the refrigerator to thaw. If you keep the fridge on the high side of cool, add an extra day.

To stuff or not to stuff?

Even as the answer to this question should be left up to the cook - and those who follow Alton Brown's antics know that "stuffing is evil" and the cavity could be used much more productively for aromatics - the one thing the Baltimore MD wants you to remember is to not stuff the bird the night before cooking it. If you must stuff, do so right before cooking; doing it any earlier will lead to a heightened contamination potential and a trip to the emergency room on Black Friday or before.

Should you baste the turkey?

No! Not only will the constant oven door opening and closing contribute to heat loss, uneven cooking, and a host of other problems, but if you have properly rubbed the skin of the turkey with oil, there is absolutely no reason to baste it.

What is the weight of the heaviest fully cooked turkey?

Purdue quotes the Guinness Book of Records and suggests that the heaviest Thanksgiving turkey ever weighed in at 86 pounds. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be pointed out that this was a fully cooked bird that included with the dressing, but not other parts that would not normally be found in a cooked bird.