Category Archives: Business

There Ought To Be A Law

In 1950, one out of every twenty people needed a license to engage in their profession or occupation.  Today, one out of every three people need  such a license.  Folks with a libertarian mind set see this as government overreach. They may be correct. Others see this as a natural result of the development of technology and/or the result of increasing instances of harm to the public by unscrupulous practitioners. They may be correct, too.

Regulation of any profession requiring a license is a balancing act. Regulatory boards are most often comprised of  of individuals who are active practitioners of the professions they regulate.  As a member of such a board, you have to balance the need to protect the public interest without restricting trade.  Sometimes boards fail at this. Recently, a Board of Dentistry in  a southern US state sent cease and desist letters to businesses in malls that were offering teeth whitening services.  The teeth whiteners protested, and the case ended up in the Supreme Court. The Court agreed with the teeth whiteners, and stated that the dentists were only concerned with profit for dentists, not with the public interest.  This has spurred an anti-regulatory movement, which complicates things for we who are really concerned with the public interest as well as with economic growth.

The problem with regulation is that no one wants it until they want it. If you recall, there were some hot air ballooning accidents last summer, and the immediate reaction was “Why weren’t these balloon companies regulated?!”  I attended a conference of regulatory boards for my own profession last week  I learned that, in Washington State, boxing announcers must be licensed.  That struck me as one of the funniest things I had heard in a long time. I have no idea  why that type of license is necessary. Government is the great equalizer, as 45 has yet to understand.  No one is above the law. The tension for regulation is uncomfortable, but necessary, in my opinion.

What laws would you pass if you could? What laws would you strike down? Why do you think boxing announcers need to be licensed?

 

Little Rebellions

My Uncle Wink (his real name is Arthur but he’s an Arthur Junior, so he’s always been known as Wink) is a dentist. As you can imagine, this means that dental health and hygiene was a huge deal in my house when I was growing up.  Brushing, flossing, two check-ups a year – the whole shebang.

And Crest toothpaste was the ONLY toothpaste allowed, decreed by Uncle Wink. And when I was younger, there weren’t any variations… no special flavors, no gels, no nothing.  This wasn’t too big a deal until I was in high school and different kind of toothpaste began to show up on grocery store shelves and the ads for fancy formulas that made your teeth shine and sparkle began to proliferate on tv and in magazines. But it didn’t matter to my Uncle Wink (and therefore to my mother).  Crest was the only sanctified toothpaste for us.

So when I moved into my first apartment in Northfield, one of the first things I bought for myself was a tube of Aquafresh. It came out of the tube in three stripes of white, red and aqua – an unheard of thing back then.  Every night when I brushed my teeth, I felt a little thrill of rebellion run down my spine!

 

These days I buy toothpaste by price or coupon, but if there isn’t much difference between pricing the day I’m standing in the toothpaste aisle, I always reach for Aquafresh. And I still feel that little thrill each night!

When have you rebelled?

MONEY IS NOT THE ONLY MOTIVATION

Being an author whose books have “yet to achieve” major bestseller status isn’t particularly rewarding in the monetary sense. Currently, my greatest rewards come from meeting avid readers, advocating for literacy and the love of reading, and making friends with other writers around the world.

That being said, the biggest motivator for me is helping my favorite charity through sales of my books. All these perks are worth far more than any money I hope to someday earn from my book sales.

GIVING DAY

I recently had the privilege of making a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern MN for $297 generated from book sales in 2017. I donate one dollar to BBBS for every copy of Castle Danger I sell–print or eBook. I raised additional dollars by asking people to round up the purchase price of the print book to $20 when they buy a copy. I sold 190 books in 2017. Nearly every person who bought a book from me in person gladly rounded up the extra $1.80 to an even $20.

I’m pleased to announce my sales increased from 2016, so I was able to donate more money to BBBS this year. I hope to continue that upward sales trend in 2018. I expect sales will be boosted when Straight River is published (as soon as is humanly possible!!) With steady sales of Castle Danger continuing this year added to new sales of Straight River later this year, I hope to reach a $400 donation for 2018.

(Point of interest: even if I factor back in my BBBS donations, I’ve still only covered about 60% of the total cost of producing, editing, formatting, printing, and promoting Castle Danger. And I don’t even want to think about all the coffee and pastries I’ve purchased to fuel my writing energy! Warning: Think twice before becoming a writer for the income. 🙂 )

What do you do (or what have you done) that surprised you by generating more personal rewards than you expected than financial rewards?

P.S.–If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Big Brother, Big Sister, or Big Couple, check out the national BBBS website or click on the Southern MN link above.

Blatant self-promotion: Hey, Babooners, I’ve got several signing appearances scheduled in the Twin Cities and greater MN (and WI) this year. The first one is in Rosemount on Saturday, March 24. I’ll also be in Hudson, WI, and Hopkins, Morristown, Owatonna, Hackensack, and Mankato later this year. To get all the details, go to chrisnorbury.com or like my FB author page.

 

 

HUH!?

Today’s post comes from Ben.

Down by the barn is a small, 75 gallon water tank with a tank heater in it. And by ‘Tank Heater’ I mean it keeps the water just warm enough to keep it from freezing. I’ve never tested it, but it might be 34 degree’s for all I know.

I’m doing my chores one morning. And while I’m doing my chores, I put the chickens water buckets that have frozen, in that tank and leave them for a few minutes.
Then usually the ice around the edges has melted just enough that I can knock it out of the buckets.

This one particular morning while working I notice a smell from the tank. Kind of stinky, like sewage. And I thought to myself, “Huh! That’s odd” and I go about my chores. A few minutes later I’m back with another bucket of ice that I put in the tank and then I go around back to the pole barn and get a bucket of straw for the egg boxes. And when I get back, this bucket of ice has melted about half an inch all the way around and I thought “Huh! that’s interesting.”
And I dump out the ice and refill the bucket and continue my chores.
A little bit later, I’m in the tractor working down there and I notice the tank is steaming more than usual.
And I think “Huh! That’s weird.” And I go about my way.

Ah–  but then I come back and take a second look. And I put my hand in the water and it’s like a hot tub! A dirty, stinky, hot tub but still; way hotter than it should be.
Evidently there is something wrong with this tank heater.

Got a new one and all is well. And I thought to myself, “Took ya long enough to pick up on those hints.”

What’s the last thing that made you say “HUH!”?  

Sensory Processing

I  frequently run into children in my psychology practice who have issues with how things feel, taste, or sound. These children do not have diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (although many of those people have significant sensory problems).  No, the children to whom I refer are just really irritated and bothered by things in their sensory worlds.  They have problems with the textures of foods, with seams in their socks, and with dirt on their hands. They crave tight clothes and heavy blankets, or else they don’t like wearing clothes at all.  Some can’t abide loud noises.  Some can’t bear to have anything like a tooth-brush in their mouths, or else they have an intense need for oral stimulation and need to chew on things.  I refer them to Occupational Therapists who do all sorts of mysterious and wonderful things with them to reduce their sensory stress  and make them less irritable.

I, too, have some sensory issues. I remember as child that I wouldn’t wear any article of clothing that had a tag in it. Mom had to cut them off. They were itchy and scratchy and I couldn’t stop thinking about them if they were still inside my clothes. I also remember wearing what are called “rumba pants” as a very little girl. They were  decorative panties with lace on the backside.  They itched like crazy and it was impossible to sit down without having them scratch my legs.

I prefer loose clothes to tight clothes.   I never liked it when my mom would wash my bedding, since I liked things soft against my skin, and the freshly laundered  sheets were scratchy.  I can’t stand to feel that there is anything under my fingernails. This partially accounts for my unbreakable bad habit of chewing my nails. My son tells me that whenever he touches cardboard with his fingertips, it is like hearing nails on a black board for him.

I don’t know why I am seeing so many children with this issue.  I think  other children had sensory issues when I was young, but that no one asked the right questions to find out.  Perhaps life wasn’t quite as complicated  then and it was easier to learn to cope.  Perhaps we are doing something environmentally  or in our child rearing practices that is causing more problems like this. I don’t know the answer. I just know I am glad there is help for all that sensory irritability now.

What sensory issues do you have? Do you know someone with sensory issues?

Good Value

An update from my home town: The Rock County Star Herald reported last week that the arts, defined as the Tri-State Band Festival, the new Rock County Historical Society Museum, the Herreid War Museum, the Brandenburg Art Gallery, the Green Earth Players (a local acting company that performs at the historic Palace Theatre), the Beer Fest, and various performances at the high school and at other venues, brought $2,000,000 into Luverne’s economy last year. I think that is pretty remarkable for a town of 4500 people so far from the Twin Cities.

If the arts can have such a big economic impact, why are they often viewed as expendable?  How have the arts impacted your life? What good news have you heard lately?

A Poverty of Imagination

My agency,  like most of the  Human Service Centers in my State, is understaffed.  We can’t seem to find any psychologists or psychiatrists or other mental health professionals  to come and work for us.  The problem is state-wide, even in the more urban areas.  There even is a paucity of private-sector mental health professionals in the western side of the State.

We certainly have tried to attract people, what with student loan forgiveness, great benefits, and competitive salaries.   No one wants to work in a rural state. My husband and I think people seem to have a poverty of imagination of what life could be like here.  I turn to the Baboons for suggestions.

How would you entice people to move to a remote, rural area to live and work?  What do you think are people’s misconceptions about rural life?  How would you speak to the realities of rural life?