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Getting to the Point | The Exkalibur Newsletter | July 14, 2017

It’s been an interesting week, so we’re Getting to the Point with valuable insights to help you Become a More Effective Leader along with a wide range of information from the worlds of medicine, science, technology and popular culture.

Start by taking the quiz in our Spotlight segment to see what you really know about the human body. Then you can catch up on the evolution of Spam … yeah … both kinds … and wash that down with your third cup of coffee, which will reportedly make you even healthier than you already are.

Then, turn to the Featured Article where we talk about how the 2 Minute Rule can help you rule your domain. In the Business Brief, you’ll also find out the #1 thing that people want their CEOs to improve, a quick primer on signs that a recession may be on the horizon, how you can improve the decision-making in your organization and what companies can do when the founder’s culture starts to fail. If you’re ready to start Geeking Out, you’ll discover elevators that go sideways and scientific tools made from paper.

When you’re ready for a quick turn Around the Web, I’ll offer some free, spot-on marital advice, you’ll learn what a vinculum is and get a further update on the insurance fraud accompanying the opioid epidemic. If it’s too hot where you are, revisiting the ice bucket challenge might help where you’ll also learn about the value that may start in the southern end of a northbound goat.

I still can’t stop laughing at the story in our Humor section … and you may still be laughing when you learn about the latest “sport” that isn’t. You’ll probably stop laughing, though, when you get to my latest rant in The Political Landscape, but I just couldn’t help myself. Of course, there’s critical updates on the Emmy nominations announced yesterday and … finally … the return of Game of Thrones on Sunday. I’ll also share my latest mystery novel find and we’ll celebrate the tremendous legacy of 102 year-old Herman Wouk.

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The human body is full of oddities

How well do you know the peculiarities of the human body? Take our quiz to find out.

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Last week was the 80th Anniversary of Spam … not what you find in your inbox, but what comes in a can with a provenance that remains a mystery … although that spam in your inbox IS the offspring of its porky parent.

I don’t know about you, but we ate a ton of this growing up … spam and cheese sandwiches, spam and eggs, etc. We thought it was pretty delicious grilled up … but its reputation is somewhat dicier than that.

Don’t miss history at Spam, Lovely Spam! Mystery Meat Celebrates 80th Spam-iversary.

“Spam was widely used by the U.S. Army, with over 100 million pounds (45 million kilograms) shipped overseas to feed Allied troops during World War II, according to a timeline on the Spam website.”

“To date, more than 8 billion cans of Spam have been sold worldwide; its packaging was donated to the Smithsonian Institution; and the product’s name has become synonymous with unsolicited junk email.

“Letters from U.S. soldiers sent to Hormel and to military newspapers at the time described Spam as “meat loaf without basic training”, “ham that didn’t pass its physical” and “the real reason war was hell”.

“Today, Spam’s appeal shows no signs of waning; about 12.8 cans of Spam products are consumed worldwide every second, according to the product website. In Hawaii alone, people eat approximately 7 million cans of Spam each year, and their annual Spam festival, Waikiki Spam Jam, attracts an estimated 25,000 people, according to the festival website.”

If you’ve got a lot of free time, you can even appease your insatiable hunger for all things Spam at the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota, which opened in 2016.

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I Think I’ll Have Another Cuppa Joe

In one article, Drink coffee? It won’t hurt you, and may reduce your risk of an early death, there’s this:

“In investigating more than 40,000 deaths from this group, the team found that participants who fell into the highest 25% of coffee consumers had a lower risk of death due to any cause compared to non-coffee drinkers.”

Want even better news about your caffeine habit? Read Coffee cuts risk of dying from stroke and heart disease, study suggests.

“The first study looked at coffee consumption among more than 185,000 white and non-white participants, recruited in the early 1990s and followed up for an average of over 16 years. The results revealed that drinking one cup of coffee a day was linked to a 12% lower risk of death at any age, from any cause while those drinking two or three cups a day had an 18% lower risk, with the association not linked to ethnicity.”

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The 2 Minute Rule … Rules … Until It Doesn’t

You may be using something like the “Two Minute Rule” to help you get quick things done quickly … but what are you doing with everything else?

You’ll Be Surprised When You Try This Experiment

You might be thinking,

“Two Minutes? You can’t get anything done in 2 minutes? What’s this guy thinking?”

I get it. So here’s a little experiment I want you to try.

  • Stop doing anything.
  • Set a timer for 2 minutes.
  • How long does that feel?

It feels even longer than 2 Minutes, doesn’t it?

The key is that you can get important tasks DONE in a couple of minutes if you’re prepared to take advantage of it … but you’ll also see when you take a look at Why You Should Implement the 2 Minute Rule … and When You Shouldn’t, that it’s a one trick pony.

The more important question is what are you doing to get control of and manage everything else that doesn’t fit that simple rule?

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I want to help you become a More Effective Leader … and I know first-hand that improvements in your Personal Productivity can make a big difference in your ability to Get Things Done.

Check out my FREE mini-course, 5 Tools I Can’t Live Without and get ready to up your game. I’ve used these tools every day for years, and they’ve made a huge difference in boosting my productivity and keeping me on top of my game.

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Employees Don’t Seem Too Fond Of Their Leaders

There’s been a lot of publicity lately about UBER and its leadership crisis, but similar issues appear to be far more widespread.

Here’s one thing you’ll learn by reading How Tech Employees Really Feel About Their Bosses:

“One in three tech employees feel that their bosses have a negative impact on company culture, according to a survey of 20,000 workers in the tech industry.

You’ll want to take a deeper look at this survey to learn the #1 thing that people want their CEOs to improve.


Are The Good Times Coming To An End?

The Wall Street Journal recently published Why Soaring Assets and Low Unemployment Mean It’s Time to Start Worrying.

The premise is that most of the preconditions for a recession are present in the economy. Do you see these in your business?

  • A labor market at full strength
  • Frothy Asset Prices
  • Tightening Central Banks, and
  • A Pervasive Sense of Calm


Does Your Organization Struggle to Make Decisions?

First, the good news:

“Swelling stockpiles of data, advanced analytics, and intelligent algorithms are providing organizations with powerful new inputs and methods for making all manner of decisions.”

Now for the bad news.

“ In many large global companies, growing organizational complexity, anchored in strong product, functional, and regional axes, has clouded accountabilities. That means leaders are less able to delegate decisions cleanly, and the number of decision makers has risen.”

Some valuable food for thought in Untangling your organization’s decision making.


Amazon’s Annual Prime Day Was Tuesday

Look How Big I’ve Grown, Mommy?

In Amazon Prime is on pace to become more popular than cable TV, you may be stunned to learn that the number of Amazon prime members is expected to exceed cable subscribers sometime soon.

“According to estimates from Morningstar, nearly 79 million U.S. households now have an Amazon Prime membership*, up from around 66 million at the end of last year.”


You’ve Got Three Choices: Lead, Learn or Leave

After retaking the reins of the enterprise he founded, Michael Dell complained:

  • “People were afraid to make changes to the business model I left them, but I [had] changed that business model six times. A business must stay fresh and change with the context. It is not a religion to be worshipped.”

In When Founders Flounder—Either Lead, Learn or Leave, you’ll learn how successful founders like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg work to avoid the cultural challenges created by founders.


Not Sure There’s A Chair That Great …

… but they make a pretty convincing case in A Sleek Chair That’ll Make You Want To Actually Go To Work.

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The Next Elevator You Ride May Be Going … Sideways?

The future of elevators is now the present, and it’s pretty damned wild.”

“[This new system] ditches the cables that suspend conventional elevator cars in favor of magnetic levitation, the same technology used in high-speed trains and the proposed HyperLoop. Strong magnets on every Multi car work with a magnetized coil running along the elevator hoistway’s guide rails to make the cars float. Turning these coils on and off creates magnetic fields strong enough to pull the car in various directions.”


Can You Really Make Scientific Tools Out Of Paper?

In Lifesaving scientific tools made of paper, you’ll read about inventor Manu Prakash, who turns everyday materials into powerful scientific devices, from paper microscopes to a clever new mosquito tracker

“From the TED Fellows stage, he demos Paperfuge, a hand-powered centrifuge inspired by a spinning toy that costs 20 cents to make and can do the work of a $1,000 machine, no electricity required.” Watch TED

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I Know A Guy Who Uses This Stuff

The creation of Argan Oil, known in cosmetic circles as “liquid gold”, sells for up to $300/liter.

I think my friend may stop using it now that I’ve told him which end of a Moroccan goat is used to create it..


Don’t Say I Never Gave You Any Free Marital Advice

A recent CBS piece told the story of childhood sweethearts Dale and Alice Rockey who were married for a remarkable 81 years, making them the Longest Married Couple when they were interviewed back in 2015.

When Alice was asked the secret of their long marriage, she replied:

“I always let him have my way”

Yup. That sounds about right!


Snapple Factoid

The horizontal line between two numbers in a fraction is called a …

VINCULUM

Wow. Now you’re really learning some free stuff, huh … and probably worthy just about what you’re paying for it!


The Opioid Epidemic Also Gives Birth to Insurance Fraud

Sadly, we’re building quite a library of opioid epidemic and other addiction revelations.

In Desperate for addiction treatment, patients are pawns in lucrative insurance fraud scheme, here’s one thing you’ll learn:

  • “They are being sent to treatment centers hundreds of miles from home for expensive, but often shoddy, care that is paid for by premium health insurance benefits procured with fake addresses.”


Here’s Some Good News About the Ice Bucket Challenge

You’ll remember the ice bucket challenge, which took off in 2014. I’m sure you remember it vividly if you were standing under one of the buckets.

The good news is that it raised $115 million for various ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) charities.

In The ice bucket challenge, made famous by ALS patient Pete Frates, raised millions. Here’s how the money was used, you’ll see it’s become a case study for other charities.


Even More Good News About BioMedical Research

The National Institutes of Health, the country’s primary funder of biomedical research, got $34.6 billion from taxpayers this year and doled out big chunks of that to scientists at universities, hospitals, and companies across the country.

In The 10 scientists who got the biggest federal research grants this year , you’ll find a list of the 10 individual labs getting the most funding this year from the NIH. Only one of the top grants went to to a project led by a woman, a reflection of women’s historic underrepresentation in NIH grants.

A lot of progress was made, particularly involving Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Why Dads Drink

A father passing by his son’s bedroom was astonished to 
see that his
 bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he
 saw an 
envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was
 addressed to
 ’Dad.’


With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope with
 trembling
 hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing
 you. I had to
 elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a
 scene with Mom and
 you.
 
 I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so
 nice.
 But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her
 piercing,
 tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is
 much older than I
 am.

But it’s not only the passion, Dad. She’s
 pregnant.
 
Stacy said that we will be very happy.
 
 She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood
 for the
 whole winter.
 
 We share a dream of having many more children.

Oh, How I Love That Stacy

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana
 doesn’t really
 hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves and
 trading it with the other
 people who live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy.
 
In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure
 for AIDS
 so Stacy can get better. She deserves it.

Don’t worry Dad. I’m 15 and I know how to take care
 of myself.
 
 Someday I’m sure that we will be back to visit so that
 you can get
 to know your grandchildren.

Love, Your Son John

PS. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at
 Tommy’s house.
 
 I Just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in
 life than
 the Report Card that’s in my center desk drawer.
 I love you.
 
Call me when it’s safe to come home

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Death By A Thousand Cuts

The relentless and endless “death by a thousand cuts” surrounding the alleged connections between the Trump Campaign and Russia are wearing my patience as thin as a silicon wafer.

Every day, one of the loud voices of either that NY Times or WaPo, take a minuscule tidbit of information and raise it to a fever pitch by trumpeting it on the front page. So many of these sniffling young journalists are so eager to be the next Woodward or Bernstein with some kind of Watergate revelation, that they fail to see the irrelevance of the bone they’ve got in their jaw.

Another Tempest in a Teapot

The most recent tirades over Donald Trump Jr.’s emails and his 20 minute meeting with a Russian lawyer are but one more example. You’d think that “opposition research” was a Trump invention and no one on the other side would ever consider such a proposition? Ha! Every campaign in modern memory had an entire wing devoted to opposition research and would have welcomed any tidbit from any direction.

In retrospect, maybe a meeting with a Russian lawyer was stupid, but there is no “collusion” and no apparent connection to the Russian government … but so what if there was? Nothing was found, nothing was published and nothing was done?

C’mon, people. Quit chasing your Pulitzer dreams and venting on your hatred of the President. I get you hate that he won, but won he did. Since even a modicum of support seems impossible, how about turning your attention to a subject that will make a difference in people’s lives?

No wonder Shakespeare’s wonderful, Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy.

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The Emmy Nominations Were Announced Yesterday

I’m happy to report that some of my favorite shows and actors were recognized this year. I don’t pay much attention to comedies since Seinfeld, but here are some of my favorites shows and nominees.

If you like drama that’s a little edgy, you won’t go wrong with any of these.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

  • Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madoff if The Wizard of Lies was awesome
  • Riz Ahmed and John Turturro in The Night Of

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

  • Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

  • Of course, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards
  • Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in the terrific series, The Americans


F-I-N-A-L-L-Y … Game of Thrones is BACK!

If you’re like the estimated 90% of us, you don’t remember much of anything that’s happened and on your life, couldn’t connect the dots on the families.

Nonetheless, you’ll be tuned in on Sunday when Game of Thrones finally returns.

There are countless websites devoted to GOT, but in Game Of Thrones: How They Make The World’s Most Popular Show, Time has an extensive article, with other references, that is a good way to get back in the saddle

“The battle was filmed in what was once a Belfast quarry, drained, flattened out with 11,000 square meters of concrete and painted over with a camouflage effect—all of which took six months and required special ecological surveys.”

“Even as the series has grown in every conceivable way over the years—it shoots around the globe; each episode now boasts a budget of at least $10 million ….”

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Is This a Sport?

It ain’t easy … it’s kind of a blur … but is it a sport?

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The Switch by Joseph Finder | Herman Wouk at 102

I’ve always enjoyed Joseph Finder’s books and I don’t think I’ve missed any.

Like most writers in this genre, he’s created a recurring hero, Nick Heller, a Special Forces intelligence investigator (who does not appear here), but the majority of his novels are standalones.

In The Switch, a simple mix up throws one innocent man into the crosshairs of sinister government secrets and ruthless political ambitions.

  • “Michael Tanner is on his way home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong MacBook in the TSA security line at LAX. He doesn’t notice the mix-up until he arrives home in Boston, but by then it’s too late. Tanner’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the owner is a US senator and that the laptop contains top secret files.” (JosephFinder.com)


Herman Wouk is Still Writing at the Age of 102

You may not remember Herman Wouk, but if you’re a fan of this genre, you’ve probably read one or both of The Caine Mutiny or The Winds of War, that great story of World War II that debuted in 1971 and became a huge TV series in 1983.

Herman Wouk is still writing at the age of 102, and when I watched him in this video update, he remains as articulate in speech and writing as you can imagine for anyone, let alone anyone near his age. Remarkable!

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