Lifestyle Artistry and the Allure of Sex, Politics and Religion

Well, the Middle East is in turmoil and Madison, WI is not exactly tranquil, either. Should we not think of ways to connect the wellness philosophy that deals with quality of life for individuals with the quality of societies that affects the prospects of quality for all inhabitants. I think we should. In this essay, I discuss an approach to life that I call ‘lifestyle artistry” and discuss the allure of sex, politics and religion as top rank matters to discuss and debate as part of good living! I belief lifestyle artistry encompasses all the usual health-related subjects, such as exercise and fitness, nutrition, appearance and aging, adaptations and challenges and, of course, lifestyle habits. All are part of the physical domain of wellness. There are also two other wellness domains or dimensions–the mental domain and the meaning and purpose domain.

Wellness essays and discussions should seek to influence in positive ways the way people think and lead to modest gains in life quality and satisfaction. This does not change the world, or cure cancer, or defeat venal politicians who have sold out to religious extremists and big business, but it works for me. However, I admit to occasions when feelings of grandiosity lead me to wonder if, just maybe, I could go for more. Health is important, health covers nearly everything (note the broad topics in the mental and meaning domains) but, frankly, the older I get, the more I want to discuss the three topics that REALLY matter. Unfortunately, these three are usually off limits in polite society, they are almost NEVER addressed at health-related sites and they each have a tendency to generate controversy and passion. What’s more, that’s what I like about them! I refer, of course, to sex, politics and religion!

Since my purpose here is “to promote ‘lifestyle artistry’ or a healthy way of thinking and behaving,” I often conclude I HAVE to write about sex, politics and religion. These are vital areas of life in all societies, and especially so in our United States at this time, as we begin the lead up to the 2012 presidential election. It seems I most enjoy my work when I link lifestyle artistry to sex, politics and/or religion.

Let me give an example. Consider the following excerpts from Francis Wheen’s book entitled “Idiot Proof: Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power Brokers, Media Morons And The Erosion Of Common Sense” (Public Affairs, 2004):

* Books about Nostradamus, a 16th century astrologer, made the bestseller lists after 9/11.
* Enlightenment values of reason, secularism and scientific empiricism have come under fierce assault during the last 25 years.
* A high regard for history and progress has been replaced by cults, quackery, gurus, irrational panics, moral confusion and an epidemic of gibberish.
* A recent Gallup poll found only 11 percent of Americans accept the standard scientific account of evolution; 47 percent maintain “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the past 10,000 years or so.”
* A different poll is cited revealing that 49 percent of Americans believe in demonic possession, 36 percent in telepathy and 25 percent in astrology.

Wheen concludes: “The sleep of reason brings forth monsters…the proliferation of obscurant bunkum is a menace to the Enlightenment legacy bequeathed to America by Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Where is H.L. Mencken when we need him?” How can I, a secular humanist devoted to critical thinking, personal responsibility and freedom, NOT write about sex, politics and religion if I am to connect with my purpose of promoting ‘lifestyle artistry’ — a healthy way of thinking and behaving? I’m reminded of a remark by Christian Corber: “When one buys some of my artwork I hope it is because they will wish to learn from it and not because they think it will match their drapes!” Living day after day in a manner consistent with wellness principles is not easy. If it were, everyone would be fit, well nourished, stress free, and otherwise creatively engaged and enjoying life to the fullest. But, this Utopian thought is scarcely imaginable, let alone even remotely feasible, for more reasons than there is space here to describe. Most people will settle for survival, getting by, and mediocrity. Few seek to overcome the odds against excellence. Some dabble at wellness, perhaps to match the drapes (impress others).

I believe you are an artist if you can overcome the multiple obstacles to self-management. To do so is truly something special. How do some people manage such a thing? As Yul Brunner, playing the King of Siam so famously noted to Deborah Kerr in the role of his American tutor, “Is a wonderment!” (The King And I)

If you do it, if you succeed at sustaining a wellness lifestyle more often than not, do you think this means you are probably smarter than other people? Maybe, but I would not go with that as the most likely factor in your success. Here is another possible explanation — maybe it’s because you are more virtuous than the rest, that is, blessed with higher morality than the vast majority who fail to make such wise choices in support of their health. What do you think of that idea? I don’t buy it. Nope–don’t think this is the case, either.

Well, what then? What accounts for the fact that some folks do so much better at sustaining good intentions to develop their talents? What explains the success of those who manage to grow and prosper, to exercise vigorously and enjoy it, eat wisely, manage stress, find exciting work that displays their talents, enjoy the quest for meaning, and otherwise make a difference and prosper physically and psychologically? Don’t you just hate these people! Just kidding — why hate them? Wouldn’t it be more functional to simply do what they have done? What do you think?

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Online Video Marketing – Is YouTube the Right Answer?

It’s great that you want to use online video marketing in your online business! Now you need to decide just how to do that. A natural first step might be YouTube, Viddler or some of the other public video sharing sites. But you won’t know if YouTube or these other options will be good for your business (and your bottom line) until you look closely at what you hope to achieve through online video marketing.

Is your goal for using video marketing to get people to notice you on the internet? To build your list?

That is actually a really effective way to use public video hosting sites like YouTube and Viddler. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people search for videos to answer their questions, show them how to do something, or even just provide entertainment. And search engines love these video sites. Pay close attention the next time you do a search on Google, for example. It’s very likely that your search result will return two YouTube videos, often on page 1 of the search engine results. Then look at the dates the videos were put on YouTube – often the videos shown are years old! So you know that a good video on a public site can get great search engine placement for a long, long time.

Who are you branding?

When you place your video on a public site, most often when someone watches your video, a watermark of the site will show up through the whole video. Go check out a YouTube video, and pay attention to the YouTube mark you see the whole time. Ask yourself who is being branded here? Your business… or YouTube. Then watch what else happens during and after watching that video. The public site is suggesting other videos your viewer should watch – and most of them (maybe even all of them) are someone else’s videos! So your viewer will likely be drawn away from your brand – your videos – and on to someone else’s videos. If that is OK, then it’s fine to use YouTube or other video sharing service. If not, then you will want to consider other options for your online video marketing.

Do you have a business… or a hobby?

YouTube and other public sites work perfectly for hobby sites. You are probably most interested in having people be able to easily find your videos, so you can connect around your shared interest. There is probably nothing proprietary about the information you are sharing about your hobby. And it’s also more than likely OK if anyone and everyone watches your video.

But if you have an online business, then you will need to rethink using a public site for most of your videos. Chances are, you will want to capture people’s attention and then keep them on your site. Help them to continue to consume your content. Get them to opt in to your list. You can do this most effectively if your videos play on your website or blog, and if the branding (watermark) on the videos your logo and only your logo. Also, if you host your own videos, you can redirect your viewers automatically to an opt-in or sales page at the end of the video.

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What Is Co-Employment and How Can It Benefit Your Business? Part 1

Employers encounter a wide range of business jargon and terms throughout their day. Some are less common than the next. “Co-employment” is one such term. What exactly is co-employment, and how can it benefit your business?The term co-employment loosely refers to any relationship in which an employee is employed by more than one employer. While this may sound strange or uncommon, it in fact happens more than one might expect. This relationship typically falls into one of three categories:
Professional Employer Outsourcing (or Organization)
1) Joint-EmployerWhen an employee works for two employers simultaneously, and in the best of interest of both employers, these businesses are known as joint-employers.An example of this type of relationship made the news recently when a manager for two small regional airlines sued one of his employers for FMLA violations. This employer only had 30 employees and therefor fell below the minimum FMLA threshold of 50 employees. The employer denied the claim on these grounds. However, the litigant simultaneously worked for another airline, which employed over 300 employees – well over the FMLA limit. The courts determined that the employee was co-employed equally by both businesses – both logos appeared on his business card, he represented both companies in negotiations, and his name appeared on both business directories. The court found the employee’s FMLA rights were indeed violated as the co-employer relationship between the businesses pushed their total over the 50 employee limit.This type of relationship may in fact pose more of a risk to one employer or the other, as their combined employee size may expose them certain employment regulations that only apply to higher employee thresholds. Employers who co-employ workers should weigh the benefits of this type of relationship against some of the increased risks they may face.2) Employer-of-RecordAnother co-employment relationship can found with temporary staffing or contingent workforce relationships. This is also known as Employer-of-Record (EOR).In these relationships, the staffing or contingent workforce firm acts as the EOR which legally employs their clients’ temporary or contingent workforce. The EOR hires and provides temporary staff to their clients, usually for short-term projects or seasonal work. In so doing, the EOR assumes all the core employment responsibilities typically shouldered by the business. This includes administering much of the IRS and HR regulatory compliance related to employees. The EOR issues their pay-checks, pays the associated payroll taxes, files the relevant quarterly and year-end taxes, covers the employees with workers’ compensation insurance, manages the employee benefits and administers unemployment claims and insurance.Through this type employment relationship, the EOR protects its clients from a wide range of employment regulations and risks. The EOR manages workers’ compensation claims, hires, on-boards and terminates employees, performs background checks, and handles general employee relations activities for the contingent workforce.For employers who need short-term staff but don’t want the hassle of recruiting, hiring and managing these employees, the Employer-of-Record route may be the perfect solution.3) Professional Employer OutsourcingThe third and most beneficial co-employment relationship falls under the category of Professional Employer Organizations, or PEOs, which we will discuss in our next article.

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