Monthly Archives: July 2012

‘Don’t laugh at my jokes too much’. Thoughts on senior nookie, assisted living,love after eighty, and unexpected bliss at the end of life.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note: Suddenly, I burst into a song that made us both laugh. In my croaky voice celebrated worldwide for its almost incredible ability to hit every single note wrong, there I was positively warbling one of the most beautiful tunes ever written,

“Don’t throw bouquets at me/ Don’t please my folks too much/ Don’t laugh at my jokes too much/ People will say we’re in love!”

And then, as unexpected as I had been when I lurched into song, he responded in kind:

“Don’t sigh and gaze at me/ Your sighs are so like mine/ Your eyes mustn’t glow like mine/ People will say we’re in love!”

It was my father. It was a recent Saturday during one of our regular “tour d’horizon” briefings on the state of the known world and the current disposition of all its inhabitants. He was relating the latest installment of “love among the ruins,” the latest red-hot gossip from what he will call “the institution”, the assisted living facility where he and my step-mother Miss Ellie now reside. And, as usual, nothing, absolutely nothing, was lost in the telling of this sizzling soap opera, an opus with more twists, turns and unexpected strands than “Desperate Housewives.”

Today’s “Extra! Extra! Hear all about it!” installment was the latest in the continuing saga of two pillars of the senior establishment, Mrs. Winterbotham, a slip of a lass at 88, and her “sweet boy” Ronnie, lithe and plausible at 90. Before continuing, I feel duty bound to tell you what follows is sensual to a degree, a matter of grand passion, skullduggery, labyrinthine conspiracies, and frequent naps and bathroom breaks by all concerned as well as gossip, at once malicious, envying, poignant, unrelenting, and always worth the telling.

But before that happens, you must re-hear “People Will Say We’re In Love” (for I suspect you already know and cherish it as I do). You’ll find this loveliest of love songs in any search engine. It was written in 1943 by Oscar Hammerstein II and composed by Richard Rodgers for the first modern musical that ever was, “Oklahoma!” Go listen now. It’ll make you feel very young and hopeful all over again… and that is the point of this story… and the song.

What my father told me.

My regular phone conversation had to be postponed a bit because, as he told me, he and Miss Ellie had a very special and delicate mission to undertake; he was sure I’d understand the necessity to reschedule. I murmured concurrence, and they went out to gather the latest amatory intelligence from their dear friend Amanda Winterbotham, there to dispense unstinting empathy, understanding, and the wisdom that we are all supposed to get when aging, but mostly never do.

We muddle. We age. We muddle some more. We die. Most annoying. That is why as we age we need good friends more than ever… because we didn’t learn quite as much along the way as we need or as we over confidently thought we had. This is why all known languages feature such pungent expressions as these: “There’s no fool like an old fool.” “A man growing old is a child again.” (Sophocles). “Age is a high price to pay for maturity.” (Tom Stoppard). And… but you get the drift…

These are the facts.

Amanda Winterbotham is a woman of education, sense, solid principles, her own teeth and a nice little nest egg in rock-solid securities which proved their true worth by not collapsing in the recent economic melt-down. She also bakes often and lavishly and has the ability to tempt compliments out of even the most jaded and pernickety of world-weary epicureans. She is also a woman and therein lies the rub… for such a woman, for all that she’s barely on the sunny side of 90, still likes a kiss and a cuddle, though she feels embarrassed at her age to own up to it. Why should she?

After all, her well-heeled, utterly respectable parents, Top Drawer, (for she is a Winterbotham of the Oyster Bay Winterbothams) christened her “Amanda”. This as every student of the Latin language knows means “She who must be loved”. The tense, I remind you, is the hortatory imperative. Make a note of it. I put it to you: what chance did she have with dapper Ronnie near at hand and desirable, a hunk at 140 pounds dripping wet, with a penchant for the grape and an eye for the ladies. So long as she is the lady in question and her “sweet boy” means every sweet thing he has said to her Amanda is satisfied. Basta.

On this basis, Ronnie and his walker are regularly seen en route to Amanda’s nicely appointed apartment, ensconced in that apartment (with the once ever open door now often closed), or exiting from that apartment at all hours, a crumb of blueberry scone on his lips — and a smile.

There this tale should have ended, two people hitherto facing each new dawn as listlessly as the last — now enraptured with each other, engrossed, glad to be alive. Yes, it should have ended there… but it most assuredly did not.

“People will say we’re in love.”

People talk. That’s what we do. We talk when we’re happy. We talk when we’re sad. We talk when we’re lonely. We talk when we’re not. We spend most every waking moment thinking about what we have just been told… talking… or contemplating the very next thing we intend to say and the undeniably fortunate individual to whom we intend to say it. Talking is our metier… and each and every day we pursue it… especially when we have a piece of glorious intelligence we just cannot bear to keep to ourselves.

No, it must be told… and told at once. Nowhere is this more true than in the senior residences we call “assisted living” where there is ample time, hawk-like vision, and a desire to know all… and tell all. Gossip is omnipresent, unending, told with aplomb, laced with wit, shrewdness, exquisite malice and diabolical humor. This was the price for Ronnie and the pleasure of his company. Was Amanda, dear Amanda, prepared to pay it?

Dear Amanda was bewitched, bothered and bewildered by… her children (who gave long looks of despair while bleating endless variations of “Mama, at your age!”). By… old friends who knew her late husband. They reminded her that Queen Victoria always remained true to Prince Albert… why couldn’t she do as much? The serving staff (composed of young people distinguished by tattoos and ear rings) weighed in and said “Go for it!”) But the minister who came with a message of brotherhood, redemption and the necessity to tithe gave her stern looks and sterner admonitions to stay chaste for Jehovah. What had begun as an affaire of the heart was now a burgeoning scandal. And so she asked my father and Miss Ellie to come for some of her delectable short bread (the secret was a drop of fine sherry in the dough) and advice.

Clarity amidst cacophony. My father at his best.

My father for close to 90 years has been known as a sympathetic friend, a ready ear, discrete, a man of strong views but greater empathy; above all fair, someone who would tell you the truth as he understood it without lording over you, making you feel inadequate, weak, a fool. As such Amanda Winterbotham wanted his opinion… and Miss Ellie wanted him to give it. Why?

First for the sake of helping dear Amanda, who was by now severely stressed and embarrassed by a very private matter now anything but. But perhaps more for my father’s sake. How’s that?

Because since moving into assisted living just a few months ago, my father has felt disoriented, depressed, despondent, regarding this residence not as a home but a holding tank for the Grim Reaper… He was in dismay, unhappy, burdened by thoughts of an eternity too fast coming, way too fast… a man who had spent his life helping others was now too focused on himself.

Did Miss Ellie, perhaps, whisper a timely word in Miss Amanda’s ear? If so, I shouldn’t be surprised for women throughout the ages have known just what to do in such situations. This is why I can see so clearly in my mind’s eye my father and Miss Ellie, proceeding slowly down the hall, stately, each with a cane and consummate dignity. Amanda’s door was open… Ellie entered first. Was there at that moment a special look that passed between the ladies? I cannot say… but my father later told me it felt good to be helpful again… and how did Mrs. Winterbotham know chocolate chip cookies with extra chocolate chips were his favorite? How indeed… But I could imagine Miss Ellie singing…

“Don’t take my arm too much/Don’t keep your hand in mind/ Your hand feels so grand in mine/ People will say we’re in love./

And so they are and do not care who knows…

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

On Figs.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s Program Note. Tommy at the Montrose Spa up the street was in a pother when I walked in the other day. “Where have you been?”, he blurted out. Clearly, I had done something or, more accurately, failed to do something, but what? Tommy’s index finger pointed at my dereliction. It was a box of Mission Figs. “I got three boxes of them a couple days ago,” he said. “And I thought sure you would have come in and snatched them up.”

He positively pouted, his point irrefutable… I was, after all, his absolute best fig customer. I got the last box (for the day) and made my point, too. “You could have called me…” Oh, yes, he should have… but in the event, the figs in question went precisely where they were destined to go, “Down the hatch.”

Fig Newtons

My first encounter with the fig I devour with avidity and the greatest possible satisfaction was not felicitous. Quite the reverse. For you see, I have always hated Fig Newtons and nothing you say to me will change my adamant mind. So don’t even try. Still, as this is an article about figs mention must be made of Nabisco, which buys as many figs as anyone, only to waste them by baking a trademarked version of the ancient fig roll pastry filled with fig paste.

It might as well be wallpaper paste as otherwise; they taste about the same. Still, since invented by Philadelphia baker and self-proclaimed fig lover Charles Roser in 1891, its characteristic chewiness has been a staple of school lunch boxes as has its unusual shape. And yes, in the interests of civic boosterism I feel bound to tell you that the Cambridgeport, Massachusetts-based Kennedy Biscuit Company purchased the Roser recipe. As I am writing to you near Cambridgeport, I feel compelled to tell you. What’s more because I can never give too many encomia to my city, state, and neighborhood you are now being told these unappetizing “Newtons” were named after Newton, Mass, just down the road a piece. Thus, I have done my duty. But never, ever ask me to eat a Fig Newton or change my lifelong opinion that the cookie is an abomination and a colossal waste of otherwise delectable figs.

“I don’t care a fig about that.”

Have your heard this age-old expression? It means that your level of interest is so low in the the matter under discussion it hardly signifies at all. But I am sure that doesn’t apply to the fig itself. I am certain you do care a fig about the fig and desire to know absolutely everything about it, and so I am about to dramatically increase your knowledge of Ficus, a genus of about 850 species of woody trees. The common fig (and the adjective nettles this most popular of Ficus tree) is called Ficus carica. Make a note of it. These things count in life.

Ficus carica is native to the Middle East. People developing an instant affinity for figs took them on their travels. Soon they were everywhere from Portugal to Afghanistan. People of acutely different cultural and political views found themselves united in their love of figs. Amity must start somewhere. From the 15th century onwards it was grown in areas including Northern Europe and the New World. This had two important results.

First, Europeans, especially the English, turned mere figs into culinary perfection. Each Christmas their figgy puddings became sinfully delicious architectural monuments, the grander you ordered, the higher your social standing (and likelihood for gout and other conditions of the well-to-do.) Figs were Introduced into England by Cardinal Reginald Pole. Burnt at the stake in 1558, he may have been the first notable to grill figs, a delicacy. Yes, figs were moving in the highest society including a featured position in a particularly rambunctious Christmas carol, “We wish you a Merry Christmas”. The important and lyric line as far as figs are concerned is this: “Now bring us some figgy pudding/And bring it right here”, and people did as they were bade. Delicious.

The second result occurred when figs landed in California. It was a match made in heaven, facilitated by Fra Junipero Serra (d. 1784), the man who more than anyone was responsible for the quaint little missions. Thus we may call him the officiating agent in the marriage between the sweet taste of luscious figs and the unmatched agricultural land and climate of the Golden State. The padres savored the figs and no doubt ate more than was good for them; (figs are like that.) And so Mission Figs were born… thereby provoking the great debate between the figs that grew in Cyprus (“the original”) and those caressed by the goddess Cali. Which was truly superior? Now lest you say you don’t care a fig about this, I tell you this: figs no less than the rest of us bicker about their position in life… and there isn’t a fig grown who will tell you ca sera sera. The competition is real and each side aims to win.

Me, judge.

I am one of the few people you will ever meet who has indulged himself, copiously, ravenously, not wisely but too well, with both claimants. Because I lived in California from1962; (in Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles, one of Serra’s most dubious achievements) I disdained the local figs (for all their glorious aspects). People are like that, overlooking perfection merely because it is readily available. And thus I began my love affaire with figs in Cyprus, the place my long-ago Crusader ancestors found refuge at the de Lusignan Court after being summarily ejected from the Holy Land they conquered and misunderstood.

It did not take much of a leap to imagine that my devout but unlucky kinsmen made themselves as comfortable as possible in the harbor at Limassol and buying a heaping basket of figs for a pittance proceeded to spend a glorious afternoon devouring its contents, spitting stems into the cerulean beauty of the Mediterranean. It was not a bad way to spend centuries of exile. Perhaps the figs, exclusively local produce, helped make it all bearable, la dolce far niente being some small consolation for the now lost Via Dolorosa tread by Our Saviour and promising believers eternal life and redemption. Figs offer their own sweet balm… and we must take it as we can.

Celebrity fig eaters.

The argument for preferment of Cyprus figs over their succulent California rivals goes like this. Not only are we the original deal, but we have been chosen and then eaten by an almost unbelievable cadre of VERY Important People. Here learned figs wax encyclopedic as they recall their celebrated eaters through the ages and the daunting array of figgy references, viz. The Holy Bible, in the Garden of Eden (where figs are rightly put out by the fact that their goodness is overshadowed for eternity by the egregious apple).This opinion is shared by every fig, outraged by injustice. Modest by nature, figs consider it only fitting and proper that their foliage, in the form of a leaf, should be used to perplex and shield youngsters of tender age, whose first baffling question to parents is: what did you do with your leaf, Mama? It is an almost unanswerable query.

The figs of Cyprus are renowned throughout the mythological, classical and historic records. How they were used in the Jewish Passover celebration… how the legendary founders of the Eternal City and its empire, Romulus and Remus, were suckled by a she-wolf under a fig tree. (She-wolf milk being difficult to gather, the wolves seeing no reason to share, this notable figgy cocktail did not catch on.) How Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, sat under a fig tree (apparently a popular past time for historic figures) and changed the world. It is not recorded whether he ate of this fruit. We can only hope he did, for millions depend on his own well-being and a mental clarity enhanced by figs .

Cleopatra, some figs, and an asp.

Learned figs, the most numerous kind, all know that Egypt’s iconic Queen Cleopatra deprived young Octavian Caesar of her body and renown by the simple expedient of placing an asp in a basket of ripened figs, pinching the serpent which retaliated by biting her majesty and ruining the figs. (Shakespeare is graphic on this revolting fact.) Perhaps for this reason concoctions involving asps and figs have been rare.

“The fig is a secretive fruit.”

Figs are not a prudish fruit. They pride themselves on their liberality of outlook, truly fruit of the world. But even advanced figs still dance gingerly around the matter of D.H. Lawrence’s 1920 success de scandale, “Figs”.

“The fig is a secretive fruit. As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic; And it seems male. But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is feminine.”

You need a fig leaf for the remainder and a place no one can find you whilst reading.

Beside this wealth of imagery, literary references and the known dietary preferences of gods and princes, Cali offers only one argument for its Mission Figs: unrivalled taste. And this, as Tommy knew, will always be paramount… which was the reason he should have called me forthwith, figs not yet on the counter. I would have bargained for the lot and thanked Lawrence for telling me how to eat them.

“Just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.

Envoi.

Before going to Tommy’s today to see if there are Mission Figs available, if so pouncing to get all that he has, I recommend as the music for this article “Liaisons” from Stephen Sondheim’s splendid 1973 show “A Little Night Music.” Find it in any search engine. Hermione Ginggold is perfectly ancient, world-weary and sardonic as Madame Armfeldt. Her disgust at the descending standards of contemporary life is palpable. “What once was a sumptuous feast is figs. No — not even figs — raisins!” And that simply won’t do.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today.
Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

Why the 2012 presidential campaign is boring me witless… and why that’s bad for the Great Republic. A sound off.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. I have been a political animal my whole life, my entire life since birth, February 16, 1947. I mean, I was chairman of the Puffer School Republican Party in 1960. When Illinois Governor William G. Stratton came down on the school playground for some platitudes, I was the guy who was taken up in his excellency’s helicopter. The local paper blazoned “Local Ladd flies high,” being a play on my middle name (“Ladd”).

The fact that Governor Stratton was wiped out in his bid for a third term (thereby helping hand John F. Kennedy Illinois and the White House) and later made the obligatory stay in the Big House the way most Illinois governors do, in no way diminished my personal thrill. For I was the most political of animals… beguiled by America’s real national pastime and blood sport — politics — never happier than when sticking pins in the huge maps that turned my adolescent bedroom into Campaign Central, its very walls covered in ephemera — buttons, posters, autographed photos and brochures featuring the greatest slogans every written — and ignored. Everything — absolutely everything — about politics thrilled me. That was then…

… this is now. But before I survey the lugubrious aspect of political affairs, before I hold up system and candidates to justifiable obloquy and disgust… before I offer a panoply of needed reforms and recommendations, I shall give you today’s music, for if this rollicking set-piece of Americana cannot improve the atmosphere and help revive and reinvigorate, then we are well and truly doomed. And so, with the greatest possible hope, I give you… “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” even more American than the apple pie nobody’s grandmother makes home made anymore.

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

This 1908 Tin Pan Alley song was written by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer. The first notable thing you need to know is neither of its creators had ever attended even a single game prior to writing it, thus providing justifiable license for politicians (and that would be every politician) who talk vehemently and so well about matters they have never seen and know nothing about. (By the way Von Tilzer didn’t see his first baseball game until 20 years after his iconic achievement; it took Norworth even longer, 32 years. They helped immortalize a game that clearly neither saw much point of even attending.) Go now to any search engine and find it. Personally I prefer the original 1908 Edison recording by Edward Meeker. He sings it with just the rousing gusto and tongue-in-cheek enthusiasm required.

The boys of Cambridge.

It is now time to tell you something about the presidential candidates you have probably never known or considered before, namely that these men are both card-carrying members of the best and the brightest, that is they are both Harvard boys, Harvard grads. But they were instructed by and matured in two quite different faculties, Law and Business. Once you understand this you begin to understand their manifest strengths — and weaknesses… and our national predicament.

Barrack Obama was a star at Harvard Law School, right across the street from where I’m writing you. As such he became adept at what clever lawyers do: he learned not to make pies but to divide pies. In other words, he was trained to be expert at dividing what is not his; what he had done nothing to create. Instead, lawyers prosper by taking a sum of anything and making a deal with it, a deal that will give his client as much of what’s being cut up as possible; thereby increasing his commission… and wealth.

Lawyers, especially Harvard trained lawyers, know nothing about the grubby, demanding, even squalid work of building wealth. But when partners fall out, marriages fail, squabbling children fight each other for more than their share, no one is more equipped to fight for you using the tools which, in the right manicured hands, can and will be devastating to opponents. Here the pen (and precedent) are truly mightier than the sword. Barrack Obama is the master of masters here.

On the other side of the River Charles lies the citadel of capitalism and unimaginable wealth, Harvard Business School. Here Mitt Romney, plutocrat, learned the essential secrets that turned him into one of history’s richest people. The game went something like this: find a business, review its operations carefully, then surgically remove what is not profitable (including excess labor) to create profit. Then sell the reorganized, vastly more efficient enterprise for maximum — and fastest — return on investment. It was all about what capitalism is always all about — money. Creating jobs, employing people and improving their lives had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Now these supremely gifted men are charged with the pressing task of persuading “we the people” that they have what it takes to lead a fractured, factious nation at a perilous time. And so far we are underwhelmed…. and increasingly impatient. As sardonic Miss Peggy Lee sang so well, lyric acid in her voice, “Is that all there is?” Because if that’s all there is, then let’s keep dancing.

Going through the motions, enthusiasm tepid at best.

In 1948 an execrated little man from Independence, Missouri, a man who by an accident of history was President of the United States wrote his sister a letter which said volumes. He told her he was going to go out across this great nation and present himself to the majesty of the people, show them who he was… and learn more and more still about who they were and what they wanted from him. He choose to do this on America’s railroads, the greatest on Earth. Thus, fully committed, with astonishing energy and high good humor and desire to connect, Harry Truman boarded the Ferdinand Magellan and, at even the tiniest whistle stop, gave them hell…

The nation responded by giving him a smile, a hand shake, and the presidency.

Sadly the candidates have drawn the absolutely wrong conclusion from this event. Harry Truman won not because he whistle-stopped but because he had personal convictions, because he did everything possible to connect with Citizens of the Great Republic, and because he came across as a man of integrity, credibility, and a man who did not just expatiate and make promises, but who actually said what he meant and meant what he said, pledging, not merely promising.

Is there anyone out of rompers who believes that about our candidates as they too “whistle stop”; this time ordinarily in supremely appointed air-conditioned buses, usually in the key state of Ohio? If so, I don’t know this person. And neither do you.

As a result, I have come to the infinitely sad conclusion that neither candidate believes in anything, anything at all, except what is directly related to seizing the White House, the most bully pulpit in the world, and neither one knows how to use it to grasp minds, create visions, and achieve the great successes we expect of our hailed to chief.

That why I am disheartened, dismayed, and increasingly despondent about these men and their vapid campaigns. And I remind them of this: that the truly great create precedents and do not merely follow them. They seize the future and then use the unparalleled resources of both their person and office to achieve success and make this Great Republic greater still. Until this happens, fewer will care, fewer will vote, and more, like me, will become disenchanted by a process that continues to produce so much less than we need and which our Citizens deserve.

In the meantime…

“Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd: Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I never get back”

… especially if there’s not a better prize in this box.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.

5 huge copywriting errors you are STILL making! And it’scosting you BIG!

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

You’ve told me over and over again that you want to succeed at marketing, because you know that folks who do reap the greatest rewards in business. You also know that one key area of marketing — copywriting — must be mastered, and as soon as possible.

Copywriting, after all, is the ability to select and present the words that get people to stop, pay attention to what you’re saying and then buy. Master this, and you get the big bucks; fail to do so and you don’t.

This article reviews the 5 top copywriting errors. Stop making these today; start doing things the right way, the customer-centered way,and I guarantee you you’re going to be richer, faster. I know that’s what you want… so let’s get started turning you into the well-heeled marketer you want.

#1 Copywriting is about moving mammals.

Let’s be clear with each other. Copywriting is always about getting the people you are contacting to TAKE ACTION. Either you want these mammals to tell you they are interested in your proposition (providing you with the complete follow up details you require)… OR you want them to buy what you’re selling on the spot.

Often inexperienced copywriters add a third category: telling people what you’ve got, expecting that when the reader knows enough she’ll buy.

AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS.

The objective is NEVER, EVER merely to tell your customer good stuff about your product. That’s a waste of time and money. As stated, and herewith emphasized, copywriting means selecting and presenting the right words that turn folks either into prospects… or buyers… It’s about selling, never just telling.

#2 Mastering just 4 words delivers copy that sells.

Top copywriters are well paid because they know the secret of getting people to stop what they’re doing… and focus on what you want . Just 4 words can deliver this absolutely crucial result: YOU GET BENEFIT NOW. Let’s look at each crucial word, the better to understand their importance.

YOU — There’s only 1 person who matters when you’re writing copy; that is the person you’re writing to motivate to act. You must ALWAYS know who that person is. There must be an exact fit between the copy you are writing and the person you are writing for. Yes, the fit must be snug as a glove.

GET — People respond and people buy to improve their circumstances. Thus all of marketing is predicated on motivating people to respond to be better off, in other words to “get” the desired benefit.

BENEFIT — To succeed in marketing and in writing copy that sells you MUST understand (and write down) every single benefit your product delivers. AND you must be specific about these benefits. The harder, sharper, clearer your benefits, the faster your customers will respond and in the greater numbers you desire.

NOW — There’s only one time period in marketing and copywriting… and that time frame is — NOW! Yesterday is history; tomorrow doesn’t exist. All there is, then, is NOW…the present, truly a gift to you!

#3 Make an offer… then make a better one.

As I write, the world is in the grip of economic doldrums which frighten customers and make them pause before taking action. Thus, uncertainties create caution; caution creates more caution… and more caution produces more uncertainties. What’s a good marketer to do in such a climate? Sit down and cry?

Certainly not. Make an offer… then improve the offer as often as it takes until you’ve got the offer that will put money in your pocket at once… and carry your business on until better times come.

The offer, the improved offer, the enhanced offer, does this IF you do it right. Here’s what you need to do…

* Keep thorough records of all your offers that worked. Update and use them again.

* Look for good offers constantly, including what your competitors are doing.

* When you find offers (and copy) that look good to you, clip and save them.

Finally, test offers, keep good records on how they worked… then improve the offer to get even better results.

ALL copywriters, all marketers, are in the testing business. That’s how we learn what works (and so use again) and what doesn’t (and so trash).

#4 Before you write a word, breathe deep and stretch.

You are about to start writing the best copy of your life, copy that will ring up response after response and sale after sale… because your skills, thanks to this article, have dramatically improved since the last time you were at this point.

Now, prepare yourself further for what you must do. Get up from your computer. Breathe deep…. stretch… put oxygen in your lungs and thereby assist your brain to prepare for the important work at hand.

Copywriting is an action game. It is all about energy! Motivating! Uplifting! Inspiring! And above all else helping people and improving their lives. This is a great responsibility, and you owe it to your customers to do it right. After all, you are improving their lives… as well as enhancing your own.

Makes sure your energy level is high. Remember, you are all about energy and energizing folks to MOOOOOOOVE and take action. This necessitates fuel. You cannot write high energy copy if your body and mind are hungry, unsatisfied and under fueled.

#5. Now start writing… always remembering that the most important part of writing is re-writing!

Open with your best offer. Make it clean, crisp, motivating, incredible!

Then follow with the benefits, in priority order (leading with the best one). Each benefit should be short, punchy, powerful, persuasive.

Then restate the offer… so you’re sure the prospect gets it. Remember, offers get people to respond who had no intention of doing so.

Follow with product features, always stressing what it can do and how easy it is.

Reprise your offer in two more places… as a post script and also on the envelope if you’re mailing.

Last point: evaluate what happened and why.

Copywriting, like life itself, is an ongoing business needing constant review, analysis, rethinking, improving. Thus, no copywriting you do is actually finished until you scrutinize what happened and why. You may not like doing this, but it is essential and no project is over until this is done. But when it is, it’s time to congratulate yourself. You now know more… and, if you’ve followed these directions, have done better. Keep up the good work… and congratulation: you’re a real copywriter, on the road to being an expert copywriter, with all the rewards. You deserve them!

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc. at www.worldprofit.com, providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com. Check out Info Cash -> http://khdfshops.cpc100.hop.clickbank.net

The joy and lifelong comfort in a parent’s voice. Some thoughts.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. It happened when I was deep in a brown study on some suitably recondite conundrum of cosmic significance. There, walking along the uneven sidewalk that lines the Common, there right in front of me I saw two lucky people who only had eyes for each other. Their presence was arresting; taking me immediately out of myself, focusing full attention on them, two people learning just how exciting and fulfilling togetherness can be.

You’re skipping ahead of me now I daresay. You’re expecting one young thing entwined with another, in love perhaps, or making good progress thereto. But if you think this, you’d be wrong, quite utterly mistaken. For the two people I saw, and could not take my eyes off, were a young father and his young daughter. He looked to be on the sunny side of thirty; she was three or four. And a more enraptured couple I did not see that day… nor had I seen for long before. They only had eyes for each other.

The young father was in the process of enchanting his daughter; he was very much in the middle of not merely telling her a story… but acting it out. His animals were not just words from his mouth. They lived! They moved! They entranced! He didn’t merely talk of their movements… he moved as they would in life, going where they meant to go…. and to show her deep and sincere appreciation for his constant efforts and exertions… she laughed, completely, merrily, with a glee she had already mastered… and which she spent liberally, recompense for her adored father.

No wonder I couldn’t take my eyes off this scene of radiance and sunshine. I could only wish them both one thing to make what they had perfect… and that was the gift of clear memory.

Unbidden tears.

After a minute or two my way diverged from theirs; they went on without thought or recognition or acknowledgement that such a one as me even lived. And whether it was because of this thought or one like it, I felt tears. It’s the kind of thing that happens to too many silly old buffers if they’ve dined unwisely but too well or dwelt too long on things that might have been… and why they squandered so many opportunities, because they were certain they’d come again, but didn’t.

6 or 7 or so, the softest hands, the most caressing voice.

Then my own memory yanked me as it so often does these days. And I was not pining about might-have-beens and loves I tossed away without thought, doubt or pangs. Instead I heard a voice I knew as well as my own, a voice that represented all I valued and had every reason to be grateful for. Her voice. And this voice didn’t just rise from memory. I heard it because she was there with me again… and everything was there, just as it should be. And just as it all sounded sixty years ago and more.

“My little love, do you feel a little better? I have something you’ll like.” And she always did. A book. A tale carefully considered before being read to me; sometimes one she knew I loved; sometimes one she was certain I would come to love, because she already did. Thus in her own soothing hands she would bring me, between covers, pages sometimes not yet cut, the unimaginable riches of the world, sometimes when I was ill; sometimes to sooth the way to dreamless slumber. And no matter how much she gave me, there was always more summoned by her practised magic. But the real magic did not come between covers with uncut pages; nor even with tales of mesmerizing effect. The supremest spell was the one wrought by her voice and a few deft movements which denoted care, craft, artistry and above all else, love.

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee.”

Given a moment or two, a hint and a clue, I could probably name everything she read to me… not just because of the lyric power of the authors’ words but because of her voice. Its cadence. Its resonance. Its sonority. Its shear beauty and allure. Each word counted and so she neglected no word. Each line counted and so she delivered each line. Each paragraph counted… and so not a single paragraph was overlooked or forgotten. Thus, she rendered one of our favorites; “The Song of Hiawatha” by my near neighbor on Brattle Street, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published to universal acclaim in 1855. I can hear her now… see her… she lives on as I hear her reading the words she loved:

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.”

But her magic was by no means exhausted, hardly even begun. For now she told me to close my eyes, to see the shores of Gitche Gumee, the shining Big-Sea-Water, the wigwam, and most of all Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon Nokomis. And as she bade, so I did until these were no longer mere words, but grand vistas, places of consequence and truth. Such was the magic of her voice.

“But there is no joy in Mudville.”

One of her favorites, which became one of mine, was “Casey at the Bat”, “A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888.” It was written by Ernest Thayer and first published in “The San Francisco Examiner” on June 3, 1888. No voice ever delivered it with greater gusto and the American idiom than she, perhaps because she was a zealous supporter of her hapless Cubbies, the Chicago Cubs. Thus, as she spoke she made every captivating gesture:

“Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.”

“And the highwayman came riding.”

Over the years, in sickness and in health, her voice unlocked one treasure chest after another… Thomas Gray, Tennyson, Frost, Sandburg, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Browning, Dylan Thomas… but this was always one of her favorites, for her dramatic sense worked well with Alfred Noyes, the great poet of the empire on which the sun never set, ruled by the Great White Queen after whom my grandmother was named. He published it in 1906, and it made him a world figure.

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding — Riding — riding — The highwayman came riding up to the old inn-door.”

And, as was now usual, she closed my eyes and opened my mind’s eye to see the ghostly galleon, the ribbon of moonlight, and the highwayman, “a bunch of lace at his chin”, the highwayman who kept riding, riding, riding. With every word, with every image, she helped make me the man I am today. Your children deserve as much from you, and as you love them, do so; for this is one certain way to ensure not just their constant improvement but that you and your voice descend to them and keep you a forever living presence in their lives.

Envoi.

For the musical accompaniment to this article, I’ve selected the brilliant suite composed by Nicholai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888. It is called “Scheherazade”. It’s the story of a shrewd woman whose ability to keep the Sultan amused by telling stories kept her alive. Based on “One Thousand and One Nights,” my mother loved it from its opening bass motif to every evocative note that follows. She was always happy to acknowledge the talents of other wizards and soothsayers. You’ll find it in any search engine. Go now and play it. Its richness enriches this article… and your life.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today.

Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com. Check out Traffic Blog Empire -> http://www.SuccessClicks.com/?rd=ml7IUrVl

‘Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.’ Independence Day Fifty Years Ago.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. July 4th, Independence Day commenced when 13 fractious colonies decided to sunder the greatest empire on earth… challenging every verity of governance in order to raise up a pristine nation where “all men are created equal.”

From this signal phrase, Godlike in its ringing clarity and unanswerable in its adamantine proposition, everything else has flowed… making Columbia truly the gem of the ocean and Independence Day an event calling for the full attention and participation of all.

For on July 4, 1776 a handful of righteous people, fortified by the mightiest ideas on Earth, changed everything… as every monarch and potentate everywhere soon came to know, to their eternal detriment… and as millions worldwide thrilled to discover and bless America as much as any Citizen of the Great Republic. Oh, yes, Columbia was the “shrine of each patriot’s devotion” from the very moment of each new patriot’s birth, when they became Citizens and as such those who had the responsibility for fostering their great creation, even unto death itself.

For such a grand event a grand sound is needed. And so I give you one of the greatest of our national anthems, “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.” Lyrics and melody were written by Thomas a Becket, a fact his colleague David T. Shaw disputed, claiming the work as his own. Becket proved his authorship by means of his original handwritten composition. Shaw’s skullduggery did, however, prove one thing: that its tune, its lyrics, and the effect it had on people everywhere (starting with covetous Shaw) proved that it was one of America’s treasures, eminently suitable for “The home of the brave and the free.”

Go now to any search engine and find this stirring melody and its sharply etched words, a paean not merely to a geographical entity, but, far more important, to what these bountiful acres stand for in the affairs of men and their human destiny. Listen to the lyrics for they cut deep, incised in each Citizen, never to be forgotten, always to be cherished from sea to shining sea. I like the version orchestrated and sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It makes me proud to be an American. Go find it now and let the stupendous rhythms flow over you as heaven’s balm. For they are surely that.

Independence Day, July 4, 1962, Illinois.

Right from its first celebration Independence Day was meant to be the most important civic event of the year, the day when business stopped and the great events of the Great Republic were regarded, remembered, revered, recalled in every detail because each detail was a significant and honored part of the monumental event. Each counted. Every person associated with them counted. Even the smallest act deserved recognition and on July 4th such recognition was freely given. No more so than in Downers Grove, Illinois.

A village in Downers Grove and Lisle Townships, a model of post war homogeneity and life.

Picture for a moment a metropolis of some 12,000 souls (since grown to nearly 50,000) where the objective was unity, not divisiveness. Where there would be no titans of industry and plutuocrats of unimaginable wealth; neither would there be poverty whether blatant or hidden. Instead its residents would strive for similarity of income and of lifestyle, all men truly equal, the Declaration of Independence wrought in ranch homes and acres of grass for young Citizens like me to cut on a hot summer day.

Downers Grove (the lack of the expected apostrophe a quirk the town fathers were certain gave panache to their enterprise and refused to alter) was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer. He was a religious evangelist from New York. Other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, and Carpenter families, names given to the main streets, for townspeople liked their history, even though (or perhaps because) there was not so very much of it to learn and that quickly and proudly told.

How abolitionists had found zealous adherents in its free soil.

How there were houses still extant that served as stops on the Underground Railroad moving runaway slaves in dead of night to a new life, a free life.

How 119 soldiers served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

How the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1862, boosting its population as newcomers came to claim their portions of the leafy lanes, the quiet prosperity, neighbors who were neighborly and where local boys and girls grew up together, married each other and did not just pursue happiness, but found it.

It was these people who were now busily at work on what was to be not only my last Illinois Independence Day but the last such day we were all united, Citizens and world, offering “homage to thee”, Columbia, and our confident mission of freedom, liberty, progress, and brotherhood. It is achingly clear in my mind’s eye….

… the civic worthies (including my grandfather) gathered on the reviewing stand on Main Street, swapping stories and flasks of aged favorites. They were not merely the solons of our village but each a veteran who had helped America when America needed help. Behind them in the shade in hats and gloves sat their ladies, the women, however frail they may have looked, who had demonstrated grit and fortitude while their men were away on the nation’s far-flung battlefields. In those worrisome days they knew secret despair, but their genius kept it from the children who were their unceasing focus.

Then the bandmaster, resplendent in Ruritanian uniform, raised his baton to signify America and the great State of Illinois were on fete… and the band marched smartly ahead, down flag festooned Main Street and into the recesses of my mind. That day I watched them in high glee, happy… today I know that this was the last unclouded tableau before the President was killed… before the war sundered the nation and made acrimony, not amity, our daily portion. I know this, but all the patriotic residents of Dowers Grove, so many of whom celebrated the day by marching in the town’s parade, did not. They were marching, as we all march, into a future they must live to know, a future that challenged, threatened, and changed everything they believed in and to which they renewed their allegiance this day of remembrance, rededication, and high resolve.

One era ends, another begins, this is the way of people and the nations which reflect them.

Just days after Independence Day, my father removed his family from Downers Grove to accept a better job in Los Angeles. There, just a few months later on the school’s basketball court, I learned of the President’s assassination. This was the beginning of a train of epochal events. One of its many casualties was the scene so reminiscent of Currier & Ives I saw in all its beauty my last prairie Independence Day. Now gone forever. Columbia, the gem of the ocean, “The boast of the red, white and blue” sailed on to triumphs and tragedies but its great unities, unities that forged glorious destiny, were no longer present but merely aspects of history.

We need them so today. And cannot be truly great again, a cynosure for a world that needs it, until we are united again.

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today.

Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.