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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top Tech Ways to Get a Job, DIY Picnic Tables, NeighborGoods

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin
A digest of urban survival resources
ISSN 2161-5543

In This Issue:
1.       Mom and Pop Teach You About Success
2.      Top Tech ways to get a job
3.      Free DIY picnic table plans
4.      What happens when the US defaults?
5.      More tricks for getting it free, NeighborGoods
"The trouble with most folks
isn't so much their ignorance,
as knowing so many things
that ain't so."

-- Josh Billings

Electronic Reading vs. Book Reading
Groucho Marks said,
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
I read that Kindle reader sales have now overtaken book sales, or something to that effect.  I know Amazon and others push this electronic reading format, but I’m not convinced.  It’s been apparent for several years that younger people don’t read much, everything is delivered to them electronically.
Most of them cannot write either.  This inability includes not being able to construct a proper sentence, poor grammar and misspelled words.  A personally written note has gone the way of the typewriter for most folks.
The publishing conferences and trade magazines all focus on electronic publishing today and how they might make a profit from it.  Sure, there are some advantages to using a Kindle such as the amount of books one can store (around 3200 I believe).  However, if I lose a book, I’ve not lost $150 for the reader.  Also, I don’t need batteries to operate a book!
On another note, the weather here finally broke long enough for me to start tilling the soil for our garden.  We hope to begin planting this week; late spring equals late crops but I’m already looking forward to home grown veggies!
I also got our outdoor grill back up to snuff for the season – outdoor cooking sure beats heating up the house on those hot summer days!
Oh, and by the way, the world did not end in May as had been predicted. 
Mowing Magic
Mow your lawn often—a couple of inches at a time and no more than 1/3 the total blade length—rather than waiting until the grass is as high as an elephant’s eye. It’s less stressful for the grass. Besides, the short, unseen, leftover clippings do not have to be bagged, and they will eventually decompose and return valuable nutrients to the soil.
PM’s ‘Betty Schocker’ Compendium of useful resources
Best way to remove sensitive data from old computers-before you sell your computer.
Easy, online retail store site setup
Top 10 Tech Ways to Get a Job - Great for new Grads
The top ten ways to find, apply for, and capture your dream job. Nine of ten are web-based. Nine of ten are free. And ten of ten deserve a click.
Some options we chose for their job boards. Everybody knows the standards. CareerBuilder. Monster. Indeed. We’re not discounting them; in fact, two related entries—Indeed Resume and Interviews (for iPhone)—secured spots in the tally, but not for job searches alone. For job boards, we targeted industry-specific sites that cater to our readership: AdMonsters for advertising, Dice for technology, and for media, journalism, and publishing. (, a professional network created especially for job seekers to keep in touch with each other and to search for jobs, and for employers to post those jobs.
Need a new picnic table? You''ll be amazed at the variety of designs that you can build from free plans.
Fresh herbs will last longer if you place them in a dry paper towel and then in a plastic bag before refrigerating them. searched the web to present all of the best DIY picnic table plans available. They came up with an amazing selection of thirty-two different designs and seperated them into different categories: Award Winning Picnic Table Designs; Hexagonal and Octagonal Picnic Table Plans; Classic Picnic Table Plans; Benches Separate from the Table; and Picnic Tables For Kids.

They also added DIY picnic table building videos, hints on what types of wood to use and information on exterior finishes for your table.

See all of the picnic table plans >>>
( )

Lowe’s offers free work shops, including just for kids
You should grill meat a few minutes on each side before basting to make sure you do not contaminate the brush with bacteria.
Mom and Pop Stores Can Teach us about Success
The secret to long-term success isn’t figuring out what works -- it’s figuring out how to keep things working when conditions change, as they inevitably do.
Few understand the importance of responding to change better than the owners of small businesses. New competitors... changing consumer tastes... and the endless ups and downs of the economy can cause a small company’s profits to disappear almost overnight. Unlike General Motors, mom-and-pop companies can’t count on a government bailout when things go wrong.
Veteran business journalist and corporate historian Robert Spector took a close look at dozens of successful small businesses to find out how they continued to survive and even thrive in the face of potentially ruinous changes. He discovered that what works for small-business owners often can work more broadly in people’s professional lives -- and even in their personal lives...
Team up with others. Bill Furst, owner of Furst the Florist in Dayton, faced a potentially ruinous change in the 1980s. Flower suppliers were increasingly ignoring his store’s needs in favor of larger clients. One Mother’s Day, Furst’s shop did not receive any shipments because larger clients bought up all of the distributors’ flowers.
Furst realized that if he was having trouble with his suppliers, other small flower shops must be having the same problem. He launched a wholesale flower distribution business to serve small florists and solve his own shop’s supply problem in the process. Furst’s wholesale division is now large enough to import flowers directly from South America, a sure sign of success in the flower industry.
Lesson: If you feel powerless to stop a change that’s working against you, either organize other victims of the change into a group... or, better yet, start a business to serve other victims’ needs. Together the group might be powerful enough to flex some muscle. If nothing else, speaking with others who share your problem can be a source of ideas and moral support.
Cultivate connections. It seems like a new coffeehouse opens every day in Seattle. Lora Lewis, owner of Hotwire Online Coffeehouse, found a way to keep her customers loyal despite this competitive environment. Lewis’s employees are instructed to get to know as many customers as possible, then greet them by name each time they walk through the door. Their greetings are loud enough that other employees hear the customers’ names and learn them, too. Being known by name fosters a sense of belonging that customers cannot find at other coffeehouses.
Lesson: Build as large a circle of acquaintances as possible. This starts with remembering people’s names and greeting them as friends each time you meet. People who feel a personal bond with you are likely to remain loyal to you and support you.

Stand out from the crowd. A decade ago, it seemed that demographic and economic changes would doom Galco’s Old World Grocery, a century-old family business. Galco’s was a traditional Italian corner grocery store in a Los Angeles suburb that no longer had many Italians. The shop couldn’t compete with the low prices offered by supermarkets and big-box discounters that had moved into the area.
Galco’s owner, John Nese, realized that the only way to overcome this price disadvantage was to offer products that the supermarkets and discounters did not stock. If he could find a product so distinctive that it was not available anywhere else in the region, the demographic changes in his neighborhood wouldn’t matter -- customers would go out of their way to find him.
Inspired by the success of microbrew beers, Nese began stocking a wide variety of sodas -- more than 450 from small independent bottlers -- and changed his store’s name to Galco’s Soda Pop Stop. This distinctive product line led to strong customer loyalty and national media attention, and Galco’s soon returned to profitability.
Lesson: Following the pack is not the safe course when a change is working against the pack. Better to be known as the only one who does something special. This distinctive status provides a degree of immunity from change.

Reduce debts and expenses. Few businesses are more vulnerable to change than restaurants. Customers stop eating out whenever the economy lags. And today’s hot restaurant often becomes tomorrow’s old news.
Sanford Restaurant in Milwaukee has survived for two decades, in part because it has minimal debt and low fixed costs. Owners Sandy and Angie D’Amato opened the restaurant in a vacant building owned by their family, and they lived upstairs, so they had no rent or mortgage payments. In the early days, they ran the entire restaurant by themselves, when necessary, so they didn’t have to pay salaries on slow nights.
Lesson: Debts and expenses that seem affordable when times are good can become anchors that pull us under when our finances or the economy takes a turn for the worse. Those with little debt and low expenses find it much easier to stay afloat.

Develop a reputation for exceptional quality. London hatters James Lock & Co. have stayed in business since 1676 -- quite a feat for a company in the fashion industry, where styles change every season. The family-owned business keeps up with the latest hat styles, but the key to its long-term success is something that hasn’t changed in more than 300 years -- Lock’s reputation for providing top-quality head wear. A customer who couldn’t recall Lock’s name or address once mailed his order to "The best hatters in the world, London." The postcard reached its destination. From Admiral Lord Nelson to hip-hop star AndrĂ© Benjamin, Lock’s customers patronize the store rather than trendier competitors because they can be confident that they are buying the best.
Lesson: No matter what changes, exceptional quality always is in demand.

Thanks to Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Robert Spector, a business historian and journalist based in Seattle. He is author of The Mom & Pop Store: How the Unsung Heroes of the American Economy Are Surviving and Thriving
The Nanny State Updates…
Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law…PDF outlining the criminalization of everything - must read.
President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government's debt would be about 67 miles high.
That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.
What will happen when the USA defaults?  Here you will find some likely scenarios:
Treasury Secretary Geithner sent a letter to Congress earlier this month with some of the answers. In it, Geithner describes a scenario in which …
A broad range of government payments are stopped, limited, or delayed, including military salaries, Social Security, and Medicare payments, interest on debt, unemployment benefits, and tax refunds.
Interest rates and borrowing costs move sharply higher, home values decline, and retirement savings for Americans are reduced.
Geithner even warns of “a financial crisis more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.”  Read more here:

A teen in North Dallas found $2000 in a parking lot and dutifully turned it into the police.  City officials told her if it went unclaimed for 90 days, it was hers.  After the time had elapsed, the city told her they decided to keep the money and put it into there general fund.  Public outcry was such that one citizen donated $4000 to the teen and the negative PR made the city finally turn over the rest of the bounty.

A Massachusetts teacher refused to display a student’s American Flag drawing because it might offend a classmate who is a Jehovah’s Witness.  The flag was drawn to honor his brother in the military…the flag is a form of idolatry for these folks - a pox on that teacher!

Police in North Carolina arrested a man and held him in jail for four days after police thought the 91 pounds of tortilla dough in his truck was cocaine.  A cheese enzyme delivered a false-positive on a drug test.  It took them four days to figure it out?
Instant potato flakes can be used to thicken gravies, chowders, soups and stews.

The Parting thought…More tricks to save money
Free and nearly free is a powerful concept for most of us.  We all want it for nothing.  We always suggest borrowing something vs. buying it whenever possible.  We’ve thought long and hard about buying a used truck or van as we seem to have a perpetual need to haul stuff!  Upon closer review, it’s kind of dumb for us to buy another vehicle.
The cost of insurance in MI is a killer and certainly provides roadblocks to the economy here.  There used to be a time when you could find a ‘beater’ car or truck cheap as many would drive those during winter months.  After the ‘cash for clunkers’ fiasco (most people did not buy a fuel efficient vehicle) the supply of cheap vehicles dried up, and remaining used vehicles went sky high in terms of price.
In the past, we rented a truck through Enterprise.  Nice truck and good service, but it’s close the $300 for a weekend (don’t even waste you time and money with U-Haul).  Few of our friends own trucks any longer as they opted for more fuel efficient vehicles.  Still, the need for a truck arises as would happen this past weekend while attending an outdoor auction.
We’ve been searching for a small sofa bed for our cabin and got one for $1 – yeah, a buck and it is a name brand in excellent condition.  We paid a fellow we met at the auction $10 to haul it to our home.  Upon speaking with the fellow we learned he’s willing to haul our stuff for us – a lot cheaper than renting a truck and we made a new friend.  He’s a part time meat processor nearby and has offered us deals on locally raised beef and game…what a deal.
As an aside, if you can’t get something cheap or free, consider buying a slightly damaged version of the item and you’ll usually save a lot more money.  Don’t forget to look on too as you can frequently find free stuff!
Finally, here’s another way to get the goods without breaking the bank (you can start your group too at this site)…Neighborgoods allows users to easily share their stuff.  Visit:
Another very useful site (called eBay of swapping only better) for barter-trade is:
Yours for living better on less, the Poor Man
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