Outside Magazine's Best Places to Work, 2011

50 Best Places to Work


    Just when we need it most, along comes a wave of enlightened companies that believe success starts with smiling employees. Which means lunchtime bike rides, flexible hours, and bringing the dog to the office can now be part of your job description. Presenting Outside's 50 Best Places to Work.
    50. Tabar
    49. Quality Bicycle Products
    48. Eddie Bauer
    47. Realeflow
    46. Nixon
    45. Deckers Outdoor
    44. Camelbak
    43. MiresBall
    42. Smartwool

    41. Livestrong
    40. Brooks Sports
    39. Carmichael Lynch
    38. Patagonia
    37. The Honest Kitchen
    36. Pacific Market International
    35. Intrepid Travel
    34. Keen
    33. Zozi
    32. Smith Optics
    31. Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor
    30. NatureBridge
    29. Osprey Packs
    28. NOLS
    27. Santa Cruz Bicycles
    26. Fuse
    25. Max Borges Agency
    24. Virgin Galactic
    23. Chesapeake Energy Corporation
    22. River Design Group
    21. Geographic Expeditions
    20. USANA Health Sciences
    19. Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners
    18. IslandWood
    17. Paradigm Group
    16. MercuryCSC
    15. Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing
    13. New Belgium Brewing
    12. TRX
    11. Kashi
    10. Collie+McVoy
    9. Parliament
    8. Skullcandy
    7. Groundspeak
    6. Superfeet Worldwide
    5. Clif Bar
    4. Boa Technology
    3. Sterling-Rice Group
    2. EMPSi
    1. Natural Habitat Adventures
     The yearlong selection ­process for Outside’s Best Places to Work began with outreach, supported by the Outdoor Industry ­Association (, in which we got the word out to ­eligible applicants: nonprofit and for-profit ­organizations with at least 15 employees working in the United States. Our ­research partner, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania–based Best Companies Group (, then sent registrants employer questionnaires and confidential employee-satisfaction surveys to collect information about benefits, compensation, policies, job satisfaction, environmental initiatives, and ­community-service programs. Results were analyzed by Best Companies Group ­experts, who selected the 50 companies, ranking them according to which best-­enabled employees to balance productivity with an active and socially and ecologically conscious lifestyle.


    Research Study For IBS Sufferers

    Do you suffer from IBS and want to know why?

    The UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders is recruiting volunteer subjects with IBS, to participate in a health research study that is looking at a broad range of genetic and environmental factors that may cause or influence Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
    Participation requires either a single overnight visit (for out of state subjects) or two outpatient vists, at the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, during which you will complete:
    • A 3.5 hour hydrogen breath test for bacterial overgrowth and lactose (milk) intolerance. You will also complete psychological and medical history questionnaires at the same time.
    • A test of the sensitivity of your bowel by placing a small plastic tube (width of a pencil) with a balloon on it into your rectum, a basic blood count (CBC) and C-reactive protein test (which is a marker for inflammation).
    • Taking a blood sample for basic blood count (CBC) and C-reactive protein test (which is a marker for inflammation)
    • Taking another blood sample for genetic testing
    Upon completion of the study you will receive $250 for your time and participation. 


    Great Article from IFFGD, (Signs, Symptoms, Tips of IBS and Gastric Distress)

    Happy Tummies, Happy Holidays

    Tips for reducing stress and symptoms this holiday season 

    Extra helpings of travel, food, and stress make the holidays a trying time of year for everyone, especially if you have a digestive disorder. IFFGD has several suggestions for how to make your holidays less likely to lead to digestive upset.

    Tips for Avoiding Holiday Heartburn

    • Don't lie down within 3 hours of eating. That's when acid production is at its peak, so plan early dinners and avoid bedtime snacks.
    • Avoid large meals, especially late in the day. Try to make your main meal the mid-day meal.
    • Be extra cautious around the holiday foods that most commonly aggravate symptoms: chocolate, caffeine, onions, fried or fatty foods, alcoholic beverages and even peppermint may cause reflux.
    • Chronic heartburn can often be a symptom of something far more serious – Gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD). Relief of symptoms after a two-week trial therapy with a proton pump inhibitor (a medication that inhibits gastric acid secretion) is an indication that GERD is the cause.

    Healthy Thinking During the Holidays

    Barbara Bradley Bolen offers a number of detailed suggestions for reducing the impact of IBS during the holidays.

    Practice active self-care. Practicing these new skills will help you to keep your focus on your own well-being rather than just being caught up with all of the myriad tasks that this time of year seems to require:
    • Plan ahead
    • Practice relaxation exercises
    • Practice kind and gentle feeding
    • Tell the caring people in your life about your IBS
    • Speak up about any special needs that you have
    • Take steps to protect yourself from critical people

    IBS Travel Tips

    Travel can be very difficult for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers, who fear they may not be able to control their symptoms when away from home. If you are one of these persons, here are some travel tips from IFFGD designed to help you avoid and manage symptoms, and help create a sense of being more in control when traveling.

    • Allow enough time in the morning to get to the airport on time without worry. When traveling to and from your destination, bring an extra bag with a change of clothes in the event that your luggage is lost.
    • Traveling by plane can be difficult for those who suffer from bowel symptoms. Ask to sit as close to the restroom as possible. Also, sit on an aisle for easy and fast access so you will not have to ask others to move.
    • Divide your medication(s) into two containers; keep one in your hotel room and one with you at all times.
    • If you are making a long drive to get to and from your destination, know how much distance there is between rest areas or highway exits with available restrooms. Map your walking and driving routes ahead of time and determine how to get from point A to point B as quickly and directly as possible.

    Gastroparesis Travel Tips

    While managing gastroparesis at home can be difficult, traveling poses an even greater challenge. Crystal Zaborowski Saltrelli offers suggestions that make it possible to enjoy time away with family and friends without compromising symptom management.

    Before You Go
    • Be sure to take your needs into account when making travel arrangements.
    • Keep an on-going list of gastroparesis-friendly foods that you know you can safely eat. This will come in handy when dining away from home.
    Travel Day
    • Regardless of how you're traveling, bring your own food and pack twice as much you think you’ll need. Delays are unpredictable and you can never be sure there will be gastroparesis-friendly options along the way.
    • You may find that you’re more prone to motion sickness than you were prior to having gastroparesis. Have a variety of nausea remedies on hand, just in case.
    Once You Arrive
    • Continue to follow your regular schedule, both in terms of diet and lifestyle activities. For example, if you typically practice yoga or relaxation exercises in the morning, plan that into your daily routine.
    • Maximize nutrition in every bite and sip you take. This is not the time to consume empty foods that fill you up without providing any nutrients. Without proper nutrition, you’re less likely to have the energy to fully enjoy your vacation.

    Read more of Crystal's tips: Traveling with Gastroparesis

    Can Probiotics Prevent Traveller's Diarrhea?

    Dr. Peter Whorwell answers this question in our Clinical Corner:

    Question – I will soon be travelling to several countries where finding safe drinking water will be a challenge. In the event I eat or drink something that would cause traveler’s diarrhea would it be wise to preventatively start taking a probiotic? Is it alright to take loperamide at the same time as taking a probiotic?
    Answer – There is some evidence that taking a probiotic can help prevent travellers’ diarrhea although probiotics are notoriously variable in terms of their activity...

    Read more of Linda's suggestions: Living With and Managing Fecal Incontinence
    (follow IFFGD on facebook)


    After Christmas Sale Recommendations; Great Therapy Books and Aids


    Avoiding the News, per Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Nietzsche


    So Nietzsche WAS right: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, scientists find

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    Last updated at 11:40 AM on 19th December 2011

    Small amounts of trauma can make us more resilient, a new study has found
    Small amounts of trauma can make us more resilient, a new study has found
    He said what doesn’t kill  you makes you stronger –  and it seems that philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was right.
    Scientists have found that although traumatic experiences such as losing a loved one can be psychologically damaging, small amounts of trauma can make us more resilient.
    In one study, those who experienced many difficult life events were found to be more distressed in general – but the same was true of some who had not faced any.
    Those who had experienced some difficulties were the best off.
    Other research revealed that people with chronic back pain were more mobile if  they had experienced some serious adversity.
    Sufferers who had encountered either a lot or none at all were  more impaired.
    Researcher Mark Seery, a psychologist at the University at Buffalo in the U.S., said: ‘A lot of ideas that seem like common sense aren’t supported by scientific evidence.

    ‘Indeed, a lot of solid psychology research shows that having miserable life experiences is bad for you.
    Wise man: Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher has been proven right
    Wise man: Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher has been proven right
    ‘Serious events – like the death of a child or parent, a natural disaster, being physically attacked, experiencing sexual abuse, or being forcibly separated from your family – can cause psychological problems. 
    ‘In fact, some research has suggested that the best way to go through life is having nothing ever happen to you. But not only is that unrealistic, it’s not necessarily healthy.’
    He suggested that those who go through difficult experiences are given a chance to develop an ability to cope with such situations in the future. 
    ‘The idea is that negative life experiences can toughen people, making them better able to manage subsequent difficulties,’ he said.
    Although he stressed that ‘negative events have negative effects’, Dr Seery added: ‘I really look at this as being a silver lining. Just because something bad has happened to someone doesn’t mean they’re doomed to be damaged from that point on.’
    His report on adversity and resilience appears in the latest issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.


    Special Needs Parenting, From

    "1.  Not knowing is a lot harder than knowing.   Yes, there is a lot we can do via therapy to help our children walk, talk, learn, etc.  But the hardest thing to admit is that most of it is simply up to their brain and its wiring.  There are no certain predictors that a special needs child will develop speech, be able to read, be potty-trained, or become self-sufficient .  Good signs, yes.  But nothing is certain.  The not knowing can drive you crazy if you let it.
    2.  The internet is a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, there is valuable information out there.  Yet, information overload can get you stuck.  You end up reading too many awful things — that often don’t apply to your child at all — and it can deplete your hope and make you paranoid.
    3.  Connecting to the special-needs community (whether it be acquaintances, support groups, or the internet) can be both a lifesaver and bummer.  It is vital to find people who know what you are going through.  Yet, sometimes it can produce even more negative feelings.  Since there is always someone who has it worse than you, it can make you feel guilty for complaining.  And, since there is always someone else who has it much better, you can sometimes forget that, when it comes to parenting, stress and worry are relative.  Those people are just as immersed in their concern over their children as you are and, understandably, aren’t grateful simply because it could be worse.  It can always be worse.
    4.  Holidays  and special events magnify the situation.  Birthday parties are no longer joyful events.  Your special needs child is in an unfamiliar setting, one with all kinds of new dangers.  You actually have to observe typical children alongside your child, so his delays  and social difficulties are painfully obvious.  People naturally want to know what to buy your child.  And you might not know.  He might not play with toys.  And you will have to endure the present opening and cake cutting that your child is tuning out in front of everyone present.  No matter what is said and done, there is an air of sadness.  Ditto for Christmas.
    5.  Well-intentioned people will silence you and add to your frustration.  They don’t mean to, but it is human nature to comfort and soothe.  Invariably, they will attempt to do so in awful ways.  Some will deny there is a problem and say that everything will be just fine.  By denying there is even a problem, they effectively silence you and leave you isolated in your own mind.  Some will try to remind you how grateful you should feel.  And, while gratitude is a great thing, being reminded that you aren’t just makes you feel worse.
    6.  Picking your battles will take on a whole new meaning.  A lot of folks will look at you like you are crazy for “giving in” to a 24/7 diet consisting of nothing but chicken nuggets and crackers.  Even more will judge you for “giving in” to what they view as tantrums and being spoiled.  You, however, know that therapy, joint attention activities, and getting to school are the real nonnegotiables.
    7.  People will surprise you.  Causal acquaintances will step up to be better friends than the friends you most believed you could count on.  There is nothing like becoming a special needs parent to give one clarity.
    8.  Doctors and other experts really don’t know everything.  Your pediatrician and other persons doing behavioral screening may not see what you are so worried about and may try to convince you nothing is wrong.  They may encourage you to wait and see.  You will want to believe them and may forget that childhood development really isn’t their speciality.
    9.  If you aren’t a naturally assertive person, you will have to become one.   People ranging from loved ones to Early Steps to the school system will give you a lot of reasons why they can’t meet your child’s needs.  Even if it goes against your nature, you will have to fight for him.  You will have to insist — which is both harder and easier than you might expect.
    10.  It’s easy to neglect others when you are caught up with the needs of one child.  You can forget the importance of date night with your spouse.  You might forget a friend or loved one’s birthday.  You might realize that your typically developing children aren’t getting enough attention from you.  And you might realize you are not taking care of yourself and are about to fall apart.  You will have to figure out a way to stay both connected and together.  This is hardest thing to learn and do of all.
    11.  You will develop an appreciation for the little things.  There are moments of interaction and progress that will steal your breath.  Hugs and kisses are unbelievably precious.  And you will understand why this little soul was given to you. It’s because you are a perfect match for one another.  And that is what sustains you through everything else." See full link and article here


    Kegel Exercises for Men...Who Knew?


    Kegel exercises for men: Understand the benefits

    Mayo Clinic

    Kegel exercises for men can help prevent or control urinary incontinence and possibly improve sexual performance. Here's a guide to doing Kegel exercises correctly.

    By Mayo Clinic staff Think Kegel exercises are just for women? Think again. Kegel exercises for men can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and bowel and affect sexual function. With practice, Kegel exercises for men can be done discreetly just about anytime — whether you're relaxing on the couch or driving your car. Before you start doing Kegel exercises, find out how to locate the correct muscles and understand the proper technique.

    Benefits of Kegel exercises for men

    Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including a radical prostatectomy and conditions such as diabetes. Kegel exercises for men can help prevent, treat or delay some of the symptoms caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, such as urine leakage. You may benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you have:
    • Urinary or fecal incontinence
    • Dribble following urination
    Limited research suggests that Kegel exercises for men may also benefit some men who have erectile dysfunction.

    How to do Kegel exercises for men

    It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and understand how to contract and relax them. Here are some pointers:
    • Find the right muscles. To make sure you know how to contract your pelvic floor muscles, tightly squeeze the muscles that help prevent you from passing gas or try to stop the flow of urine while you're using the toilet. If you look in the mirror, the base of your penis will move closer to your abdomen and your testicles will rise.
    • Perfect your technique. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and lie down. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for three seconds, then relax for three seconds. Try it a few times in a row but don't overdo it. When your muscles get stronger, try doing Kegel exercises while sitting, standing or walking.
    • Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
    • Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as brushing your teeth.
    Kegel exercises can also be done after you finish voiding, to get rid of the last few drops of urine or to return any feces that haven't been voided up to the rectum. You might also contract your pelvic floor muscles just before and during any activity that puts pressure on your abdomen, such as sneezing, coughing, laughing or heavy lifting. In addition, you might tighten your pelvic floor muscles during sexual activity to maintain an erection or delay ejaculation.


    December 25th is just another day...

    Christmas is just another day, even for the most religious. Reduce expectations and breathe deeply.
    Do your best, take a nap, or a hot bath; head to the beach for a cold walk with your kids, avoid the last minute urge to grab "one more thing."
    Thousands of folks are still paying off their buying debt from Christmas 2010!  
    Don't feed the madness...instead, visualize the most calm and relaxed person you know. Then say, "What would he/she do?"
    Anchor to the image of this calm person and remember the feeling that you want to bring to your job or your family. Be the person who is warm, gentle, and in the moment. Don't be the pretzel lady above. :)


    Boing Boing Blog, Cesaria Evora Has Died, 1941-2011

    This is one of the most widely viewed blogs on the internet. Take a look at Boing Boing. I'm a fan now after reviewing it and seeing that one of my favorite singers has passed, Cesaria Evora had passed away in her home town of Cabo Verde. Why didn't anyone else report that? She was the beautiful "barefoot diva" who sang in many languages. Her music was perfect for meditation, children, or romance. My girlfriend always said that Cesaria's voice was perfect for the months of pregnancy - calming, imaginative, worldly. 
    Thank you, Cesaria.


    History of Ballet

    I am not a ballerina, or know anything about ballet, but I recently heard this fabulous interview on NPR and wanted to pass it along. The author, a previous Prima Ballerina, speaks about culture, art, and history...she is knowledgeable and interesting. I hope to get the book soon as well.
    Listen Here

    December 16, 2011
    This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2010. Apollo's Angels is now available in paperback.
    It is ballet season, which means many companies are performing The Nutcracker for the holidays and preparing their big shows for the winter months. Everywhere you turn these days, you can see toe shoes — but there is a deep and fascinating history to the art form that few people know.
    In her new book Apollo's Angels, historian Jennifer Homans — a former professional ballet dancer herself — traces ballet's evolution over the past 400 years, and examines how changes in ballet parallel changing ideas about class structure, gender, costume, the ideal body and what the body can physically do. The book chronicles ballet's transition from the aristocratic courtier world in Europe through its place as a professional discipline in the Imperial Court of Russia, and finally as a technique performed on stages throughout the world.
    Apollo's Angels
    A History of Ballet

    Ballet's origins, Homans explains, grew out of the Renaissance court cultures of Italy and France. Dancers would perform at the royal courts — and then invite the audience members to participate.
    "It was a dance that was done by courtiers and kings and princes at court in social situations," she says. "It was not a theatrical art set off from social life."
    The first ballet dancers did not wear tutus or dance in satin shoes, but they did formalize the footwork patterns — known as first, second, third, fourth and fifth position — that are still used today.
    "Louis XIV realized that if his art form was going to be disseminated throughout his realm and even to other European countries, he would have to find a way to write it down," Homans explains. "So he asked [choreographer] Pierre Beauchamp to write some these positions. The positions themselves are the grammars of ballet, they're the ABC's, the classical building blocks of ballet."
    In ballet's early days, men were expected to perform the more extravagant and intricate footwork. It wasn't until years later, during the French Revolution, that female dancers became stars.
    "During the French Revolution, the aristocratic male dancer was really discredited," she says. "The hatred and bitter animosity toward the aristocracy had direct consequences for ballet. Why should you have this aristocratic art? If you're going to take down the aristocracy, why not take down ballet, too?"
    "It was given an elevated form, so instead of stomping around, it became an image of the ethereal, a wispy sylph or somebody who can leave the ground or fly into the air."


    Homemade Egg Nog - Yummmers

    Easy Eggnog Recipe Ingredients
    6 eggs
    3 cups milk
    8 tablespoons sugar
    3 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
    Easy Eggnog Recipe Directions

    In a large bowl, beat the eggs using an electric beater (if available).
    By turn, add milk & sugar.
    Continue beating until mixture thickens slightly.
    Add in the vanilla essence & ground nutmeg.
    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (at least 3 hours).

    Serves: 8.



    molasses and dark brown sugar...yummy.
    That Crazy Richard Branson - Galactic
    Booking trips to space now!


    Masculinity, The Fisher King Wound

    Male Depression

    I'm an alpha male.
    I'm a real man.
    For a man who has experienced a "blow” or a psychic injury – this may be a physical trauma, or some intense experience that in some ways alters his opinion of himself - depression can be a typical consequence.

    ex. A physically strong man that has always defended himself well experiences humiliation in the workplace. "Why didn’t I leave the environment?" or “How did I allow that to happen?"

    ex. A young male who has prevailed in his pursuits, finds himself physically attacked by a group of males. He begins to live with self-criticism and doubt, "What I thought about myself is not true."

    ex. A male is physically injured while surfing/biking/working. Chronic pain ensues and his body becomes less reliable, less virile, possibly permanently disabled. Activities that he once enjoyed are gone and anxiety creeps into his social experiences. His image of himself is forever changed and he now sees himself as weak or limited.

    Men and women both have feminine and masculine aspects; and while we may not embrace the John Wayne macho masculine representation, the tough-guy image is alive and well, as it should be. Healthy masculine energy, the parts of a man that identify with his personal sense of competency and ability to self-preserve, is a necessary and exciting element in a male’s life.
    How does each man formulate his own sense of ideals? They are gathered from early childhood experiences, unique biology, God-given temperament, and social modeling. For a man who undergoes a trauma (accident, injury, death, loss) the process of re-formulating who and what he is can be treacherous.

    The Fisher King: The wounded masculine
    In the story of the Fisher King a young and naive prince is mortally wounded by an impulsive act of bravado. It is his masculinity that is injured and he is left "too badly wounded to live, but unable to die." Unable to feel warmth or pleasure, his only solace is in solitary fishing.
    Many men are wounded fisher kings now. This wound is to be seen on the face of almost any man who passes on the street; the ache of life, the anxiety, dread, loneliness, the corners of the mouth pointing down....It is the sense that life has lost its savor, or a fortune that one cannot enjoy, a marriage where there is an unbridgeable gulf between the partners, a fine body that no longer brings the runner's high that used to thrill one, the sound of applause that no longer affirms the performer. 

    Listen here to a terrific BBC airing on mythology and the Fisher King Wound


    Dum Spiro Spero
    While I Breathe, I Hope


    From NIMH, How Therapy Differs for Children and Adolescents

    Are psychotherapies different for children and adolescents?
    Psychotherapies can be adapted to the needs of children and adolescents, depending on the mental disorder. For example, the NIMH-funded Treatment of Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) found that CBT, when combined with antidepressant medication, was the most effective treatment over the short term for teens with major depression. CBT by itself was also an effective treatment, especially over the long term. Studies have found that individual and group-based CBT are effective treatments for child and adolescent anxiety disorders. Other studies have found that IPT is an effective treatment for child and adolescent depression.
    Psychosocial treatments that involve a child's parents and family also have been shown to be effective, especially for disruptive disorders such as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. Some effective treatments are designed to reduce the child's problem behaviors and improve parent-child interactions. Focusing on behavioral parent management training, parents are taught the skills they need to encourage and reward positive behaviors in their children. Similar training helps parents manage their child's attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This approach, which has been shown to be effective, can be combined with approaches directed at children to help them learn problem-solving, anger management and social interaction skills.

    Play therapy and emotion-identifying is a user-friendly way to approach a child suffering from school anxiety or trauma over a divorce-separation. Kids do not enjoy being put "on the spot" and have a difficult time pinpointing their emotions succinctly. Rapport with a therapist is critical for comfort level and minimizing anxiety during the session. Going slow and taking time to allow a child some familiarity in an office-setting, discussing feelings and difficult subjects, can be awkward and frightening. Often times a book can be very helpful in session, i..e "How I Feel Angry," as well drawing or completing face pictures.
    group of five people sitting in therapy session



    How to Say No

    Saying No - Healthy and Assertive

    I take the position that people are able to handle it when I say "no" without explanation. And most people can and do. They don't need my assistance in handling this response. Healthy people just move on. 
    So, it should be sufficient to simply say "no, thank you" the next time ______asks you to _____. Not "no thank you, I'm too busy" or "No thank you I'm not interested" or whatever the real reason is. 
    If a person persists after I have made my decision I sometimes say something like.
    "You know, ______I value our friendship and I want to us to continue to have a close trusting relationship but when you do not accept my decisions I think you are not listening to me and I feel tense and anxious (or whatever the feeling is). So please trust me when I say that this decision is final and that when I say "no" I really mean it. If you ask me I again I will have no choice but to think you do not take me at my word and this places me in the uncomfortable position of either defending my decision or saying yes just to make you happy. I do not want to do either."

    Alternative written response...
    Dear __________,
    When I say yes to anything substantial, it is after careful consideration with a the firm intention to fulfill the commitment. This is something I take very seriously as I am true to my word. Please know that I apply this same thoughtful process when I make a decision to say no, as I have to your recent request to _________. I wish you success in this endeavor but please accept my decision to not participate in your worthy project.
    Warm regards,

    this comes courtesy of my dear friend, Tim Lucey, who knows a thing or two about saying no. 



    Bad Nativity Scenes, Dad Should Model Reading, Single Dads

    A Day in the Life of Single Fathering 

    "7:00 pm – I have finished cleaning up the kitchen, and I am settled in to watch a bit of TV until I go to bed but must first referee the nightly fight over who gets the laptop, despite the fact that there are two other computers in the house. “I have to write a paper”. “NO HE DOESN’T! ALL HE DOES IS WATCH STUPID VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE AND CHAT WITH HIS IDIOT FRIENDS!” Wise King Solomon gives them both the laptop for an hour. “YOU’RE THE WORST FATHER IN THE WORLD! I HATE YOU!” My ex-wife pops in to drop off a couple of things for the kids and tell me how tired she is.
    9:00 pm – I pry the youngest off the Xbox and make him prepare for bed. After the third attempt and several threats to throw the effing Xbox in the trash once and for all, he signs off.
    9:20 – I find the boy in the kitchen eating cold pizza and saying, “Two minutes, two minutes.” I stand over him in the bathroom to make sure he actually brushes his teeth and then stand outside his room to make sure he does not take his cell phone and iPod to bed with him."

    If Your Boy Won't Read

    Chill out and get down with what he loves, starting with the comics.

    If you're the parent of one, it's no surprise to you that tween and teen boys read less and tend to score lower on standardized reading tests than girls. You know that your son has things he finds far more interesting than actually reading a book. He never asks for a book, and often complains bitterly about the ones assigned at school. In fact, he tells you he'd rather die than read classics like Little House on the Prairie or The Diary of Anne Frank.
    • Make Reading Useful, Fun, and Funny
      Don't despair. A new generation of experts on boys and reading finally has some cures. "Any boy can and will get excited about reading, if you make it useful, fun, and funny," says John Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and founder of the popular Web site"We have to give them more choices, and especially more nonfiction. Boys like to read for a purpose, to find out how to do things, like how to build a dirt bike or skateboard. That's just not encouraged enough."
    • Start With What He Loves
      So if you have a kid who hates books, where do you begin? All three experts agree that it's crucial to begin at the beginning, with what your son loves. "Kids will read when you focus on what they love. If a kid is a sports kid, I'm going to do my darnedest to find a book about a sport that kid loves," says Lisa Von Drasek, head children's librarian at Bank Street College of Education in New York City. "If he loves bikes, I'm going to look for books about bikes, bicycling, anything that feeds that interest."

      Humor is another winner with boys. "Humor is underrated on school reading lists, but boys love it," says Sciezska, whose own hit, The Stinky Cheese Man, is a playful book that pokes fun at classic fairytales. "Calvin and Hobbes, Lemony Snicket, those books get them excited about reading, because it's fun."

      Other ideas from the experts:
      • Model reading. Studies show that when parents read and have books around, both boys and girls are more likely to be readers.
      • Give your boy a book. Choose one that's related to a hobby, an interest, or is just fun.
      • Don't give up. "Sooner or later, using comics, magazines, anything that connects to an interest or a passion, you can hook any child on reading. It's all a matter of patience," says Von Drasek.
    and...funnies for the day:
    Holy Batman, Robin!
    Really Bad Nativity Scenes


    Asking for help is the difference between comfort and misery.