Scything Clutter

Every day another study, more information, another set of recommendations. Something new to digest pops up every day, whether we’re talking food, eating, exercise, illness, mental health, relationships, how to manage your household, environmental dangers…on and on.

Naturally we develop a skin to protect us from this avalanche. Few of us (actually, a very few in my opinion, including me) have any way to discern the junk from the judicious. So we ignore, meaning we ignore the good and the bad.

I apply a few clear rules. My personal guidelines attempt to reduce as much as possible to first principles.

  1. With food, the less manufacturing input the better.
  2. With stuff around the house, the more natural the better.
  3. With diet, less is more. Choose quality, ensure moderation.
  4. Any exercise is better than none, and habit-forming exercise is best.
  5. Relationships start with me: character, honesty, forthrightness.
  6. When I reasonably control all I can about myself, bad will still happen.
  7. Grace is the act of being the best under all circumstances.
  8. We all die. The sooner we make good with that, the better.

Life’s Dilemmas

December 26 2 2104

I am looking for a bookshelf and some occasional tables. Before braving the world of Craigslist, I thought I’d check out a local guy…who advertises a ton on Craigslist.

Perhaps he’s looking for chumps like me.

My finding about second-hand furniture places; they are not cheap. And here’s the dilemma: even if you found something you wanted, at a price that you accept, you must then pay the (extortionate) cost of transporting the thing to your place.

Raymond gets you coming and going. Either I need to buy a pickup truck OR get clever by buying new and availing myself of free shipping.

Dilemma? I guess not.

Feeling Your Oats

More than one percent better
More than one percent better


The company I represent continues to surprise me in small but meaningful ways.

With my current night-time job, breakfast is a bit of a conundrum. I’m always hungry by the time I get home at around 8:00 am, but I’m also super-ready for bed. I just know that if I don’t have something to eat, I’ll wake up prematurely. That’s a recipe for disaster, because there’s no telling if I’ll ever get back to sleep. Sure, I can survive for a day or two on three or four hours in a twenty-four hour period, but it can get messy after that.

The evolution of my breakfast (in this job) went something like this:

  • Toast with peanut butter or jam

That became obsolete when I figured that all that sugar wasn’t good. So I moved on to:

  • Ramen noodles with some protein, for instance a little chicken or a chickpea patty, which was satisfying for a while, but quickly paled when I realized just how many calories are in those noodles.
  • Granola with milk was next, until I saw the amount of sugar in that stuff too, so that…
  • Whole Oats with Flax (from my company’s healthy food range) came to my rescue. This is easily the best choice, because it fills me up, without all the calories.

Here’s the important part: You’d think oats with flax would be a standard item. They’re not. Compared with regular, supermarket brands, our product has:

  • 66% more fiber
  • 25% more protein
  • 46% less sodium
  • 33% less sugar
  • more whole grains, and is an excellent source of ALA Omega-3, an important anti-oxidant.

I don’t like using the microwave, so I add a little boiling water from the kettle, a dash of milk after five minutes, and some fresh fruit (pineapple at the moment) for interest.

Okay, you say, it’s a better breakfast cereal, big deal. But let’s think of it this way. If you have breakfast at home five times a week, and you live for another forty years, that’s over 10,000 breakfasts. My point is that even a marginally better, less sugary, more nutritious breakfast will have an immense difference on your health when you add up the numbers.

The one-percent differences don’t look like much day-to-day, but they are unbelievably powerful over time.



You can see straight through.
You can see straight through.

When in doubt, look in the mirror.

If I think a particular way about something, others do too. It’ll be an unknown percentage of any population, but I’m not deluded enough to think my ideas are any different from the bloke or bloke-ette ahead in the coffee line. He or she is wondering the same thing as me: Why is the coffee line taking so long?

Selling to me is actually pretty easy. I’m interested in new and different and shiny, but I am annoyed by the subterfuge of tricky sales maneuvers. The first new car I bought, a Mazda MX-5, back in 1993, was my first experience of “the grind”. In the car business, the grind is the time-wasting and frustration-inducing process that some salespeople use to manipulate you into taking their finance deal, or otherwise get more money. It didn’t work on me, because I had cash, and knew a fair price for the car. The guy had no leverage. I left feeling he was a fool for not being honest with me. His loss.

Now that I do selling for myself, I took that lesson to heart. I’m as upfront as possible. Yes, this is a request to give you a sales presentation. Of course I’m planning on making money by selling. Naturally I want you as a customer. What’s the point of me doing this otherwise?

The corollary of this brutal honesty is the following:

  • The products I sell are ones I use and love myself. Yes, love.
  • I believe my company’s products can (and more than likely will) improve your life.
  • I know my company’s products are at least as good as any supermarket brand.
  • I know my company’s products are a better value than any supermarket brand.
  • I know my company’s products are better for you, better for your household, and better for the planet.


Hello. I’m Tim. Are you interested in my sales presentation?