Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Snow, Snow, Snow

I woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow. The ground is white.

My thoughts wander to the commute to work and what the traffic will be like. Safety is always foremost in my mind when winter storms hit. I'd love to have the sort of day-gig that allows me to stay at home on such occasions. Too bad that is not the case.

This reminds me of a similar situation I had years ago. During that storm, I wrote this poem and posted it on my blog. I am going to post it here, now.


by Mickey Maguire

Snow is softly falling
past my window to the ground
Each flake a thing of beauty
that lands without a sound

The meadow is now covered
in a blanket colored white
It glistens like a crystal dish
sparkling in the night

When the storm, at last, is gone
and the moon is shining bright
Trees encased in icy coats
make for an awesome sight

I do not have the time to sit
and savor winter's beauty
I am reminded by the clock
that I must do my duty

For when the day commences
and I must venture out
the snow and ice will hinder me
along my chosen route

I've little time and won't enjoy
the beauty of the snow
In truth it's not so beautiful
when off to work I go

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Rules for Business Success

The business world is one of competition. Opportunity is given to the best and the brightest. In this world, nobody gets a trophy for just showing up. Any position of lasting value is worth earning. If someone just hands it to you, then you don't want it.

Andrew Carnegie once said this: "Anything in this world worth having is worth
working for." That includes career opportunities.

If you want to succeed in business, think and act on these things:

Stop looking to the stock market and start making business generate income in
excess of expenses.

Stop looking to get-rich-quick marketing schemes and start learning about how
businesses of the past became profitable.

Stop pulling yourself in so many directions and focus on what is before you, but,
don't lose sight of what will be standing there tomorrow, a month from now, a
year from now, or even a decade.

If you make something, make it profitable. If you can't, make something else.

If you want to go into business, arm yourself with information and make sure you know what to expect.

Try to control the level of stress in your life.

Learn to turn off your cell phone.

Learn to say no when people ask for your time... know your limitations.

If you are in a bad job situation, look for something healthier today.

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest. Choose the career that is best suited to your strengths and try to strengthen your weaknesses.

Spend less time with passive entertainment and read a lot more. If you already
read a lot, look at what you read. Can you find things that will help you build a
better future?

Never, never, never give up! (borrowed from Winston Churchill)

Always look for the bright side of every situation.

See every challenge as an opportunity to succeed and grow.

If you want to succeed in life, and you prepare to meet whatever challenges that come along, you will overcome every adversity. If you doubt, then find a way to convince yourself that you can do it, or you will not succeed. You have to believe and visualize your eventual success or you will fail. Your only limitations are self-imposed.

Everyone has native abilities― you are born with them. When you discover them you have found the path you were meant to follow. People used to refer to these as “God given talents.”

I have referred to such talents, in the past, as raw talents; meaning, they need to be refined. For example, I became a “world-class fly tyer” when I was still in my mid-twenties. By the time I was thirty-one years old my work was on exhibit in Livingston Manor at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum. I started tying flies when I was about ten or twelve years old. I took a raw talent and, through hard work and determination, I cultivated the skills I needed to become one of the best fly tyers in the business. It worked for me and it can work for you, too.

How you determine what it is that you were destined to do varies with people. I
can tell you from personal experience that passion has a lot to do with whether or not you will succeed. You have to WANT success. You have to work for it.

The KEY to success is this: You must first BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.


Monday, December 4, 2017

What Do You Want?

Goals are the very basis of any success. ~Earl Nightingale

The single most important advice I can give for living a good life is for you to answer this simple question: What do you want?

If you want to accomplish anything in this world, you have to first make it a goal. My own advice on this is to make a list of the things you would like to do in the course of your life. WRITE THEM ON PAPER.

By writing your goals on a list you are committing them to a tangible form via pen and paper. Ink on the page is the first step in turning a thought into a reality. Once you have enumerated your goals you can start to focus on them one-by-one.

You can start with the big picture. Make a list of life-long goals. Then, make a list of short-term goals, interim goals between where you are right now and where your ultimate goals will take you.

Think of your life-long goals as you final destination. Your short-term, interim goals, are the stepping stones that help you navigate on solid ground as you plod your way to the finish line.

Without goals, we accomplish nothing

Goals enable us to focus. We see results as we complete tasks on the way to our ultimate goal. The interim goals are important in order to see progress. Without those, it is easy to get discouraged. The longer it takes to achieve those interim goals, the easier it is to give up on them, so, make those goals attainable.

Visualization is the Key

Clearly, if you can imagine yourself enjoying the fruits of your labor, if you can see yourself succeeding in accomplishing your goals, then, you are already on the road to success.

If you are unsure about how to envision your future, my book Get Happy, Write Away will walk you through the process. My follow-up book, Ninja Mind Tricks, will help you create a positive plan of action in order to turn those dreams into realities.

At this point you should think about what you want to accomplish.
Commit those goals to paper with pen and ink.
Create a list of interim goals on the path to your final destination.
Create your plan of action.

The first step is always the hardest

You might have to do some research on what is required in order to achieve certain goals. Your plan of action will depend on what it is that you really want.

Remember this: You are the captain of your own destiny. It is all up to you. Where you go in life and how you get there is a matter of whether you create goals, focus on them, and work to complete them. The Universe will not simply drop them into your lap. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Your path lies before you.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Time for Change

I have had Tricorn Publications, a domain on the internet, for many years. The hosting company, Netfirms, just jacked up the price by over 50 percent, so, I am ending the relationship with Netfirms. The site is scheduled to go dark as of January 9, 2018 (I've made up my mind).

I had a blog for my book, Get Happy, Write Away, that I started in 2009 that gathered 135,000 readers. It was hacked on Netfirms servers through no fault of my own and a backdoor was placed on every file. Netfirms' solution to the issue was to sell me their security services. That was the first thing to taint our business relationship.

My reaction was to pull the entire WordPress blog from the site and upload a hard-coded, HTML based site like the one I originally created for Tricorn Publications in 2001 when I sold books directly to the public.

Netfirms "salesman" was shocked when I rejected their offer and did what I did to my website, but, I made it virtually hack-proof in the process. Take that!

Since the time of the hack I have had this blog on "Blogger" (thank you Google) and everything is running smoothly. I have other blogs, too.

What's In Store...

I will gradually move all of the content from Ukulele Player Magazine to a dedicated blog on Blogger.

I will move all of the old DSLR-MAG site to a dedicated photography blog on Blogger.

I have switched my e-mail address to a newly created one on my Earthlink account and I have also converted the old "Magfly" site to an author page to promote my books and connect people with all of the various blogs.

You will be able to download the Ukulele Player Magazine issues via the blog and will eventually find new content there.

I believe that positive-thinking and positive action is always the best course to take. All of these changes will, in the end, be better for my readers, better for me, and will save money.

Positively Mickey

Happy Thanksgiving

On this Thanksgiving Day, I want to celebrate the beauty of this planet. I am grateful that I have always been able to photograph wildlife, waterfalls, and the world around me.

My parents have never taken the time to enjoy the beauty of nature, even though they appreciate landscape photography. I made this little video to share with them later today.

What an Exorbitant Price!

I was looking up weekend events in the Columbus, Ohio area and came across Franklin Park Conservatory. These days, general admission is $14 per adult.

Franklin Park Conservatory is an interesting place. The main facility is segmented in “biomes” that include the following: Himalayan Mountain, Rain-forest, Desert, and a Pacific Island Water Garden. In addition, there are orchids, bonsai, a palm room, and lots of flowering plants of all types.

I can’t help but feel that the people who could benefit the most from visiting the conservatory, inner city poor kids, will most likely never see the beautiful exhibits because they cannot afford the price of admission. It saddens me because when my son was a little guy, the place was FREE. We went there many times and I took pictures.

As a result of visiting the Columbus Metro Parks, Franklin Park Conservatory, and places like Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio, my son has a love of the outdoors. He is conservation-minded and loves various flora and fauna to this day.

The Columbus Zoo is a lot more expensive than it was when my son was a toddler, too. Now, THAT, I completely understand. The cost of care for the animals, upkeep of the grounds, and INSURANCE liability is incredibly high. My wife and I can spend a day at the Columbus Zoo for about what it would cost us to visit Franklin Park Conservatory and the zoo has a lot more to see and do. If given the choice, the zoo wins, hands down.

What bothers me most about the costs of family entertainment these days is that even educational places, like the conservatory and the zoo are not affordable for the people who would benefit from them the most. If poor families cannot afford to visit those sorts of attractions it is unlikely that their kids will ever develop an appreciation for trees, wildlife, and endangered species in particular. Not to mention they will likely never think about career opportunities in science or the wildlife and conservation industries.

This reminds me of the Sierra Club’s efforts to ban hikers in certain wildlife areas and national parks because lug-soled boots were “damaging” hiking trails within the parks. Take away the ability for people to enjoy those parks and nature preserves and they will never grow to understand the importance of conservation and preservation of wildlife. They will not think about the effects of clear-cutting forests along natal streams of salmonids in the Pacific Northwest, or the loss of vulnerable species like the spotted owl. They will not care about the harvest of elephants for their ivory tusks and rhinos for their horns.

Access to conservatories and wildlife areas should be open and affordable for the sake of future generations.

Here is the main building at Franklin Park Conservatory, if you’ve never seen it. If you want to visit, prepare to spend about $30 for two adults and about $7 per child.

Franklin Park Conservatory Main Building

Everybody Needs R&R at Times

Everybody needs rest and relaxation from time to time.

Life can be overwhelming. Between work schedules, events, city traffic, bills, bills, and more bills, everybody needs time to get away from it all and just forget about the stress of modern-day living.

Over the years I’ve discovered places that help me relax and shed the cares of the day. Wherever I have lived, I have somehow managed to find places to go and unwind. Some of those places were far from home, but most of the time they were within an hour from home and I could go there for a few hours and recharge my batteries, so to speak.

I have always been passionate about photography. When I go to these sanctuary areas, I take pictures. The resulting images help me stay focused on what is important to me, like the beauty of nature, my love of the outdoors, capturing those images to share with others, and counting my blessings.

My home is the woodlands of this beautiful planet. I love the mountains. I love prairies and grasslands. I love the marshes and estuaries. I love the beaches, smooth and sandy or rocky and rugged. It’s the sound of the waves. Waterfalls, I am totally hooked of waterfalls. If I could I’d bathe strip-stark naked under waterfalls. I love everything about them. I’ll be content to photograph them, or shoot video of them ’til the end of my days.

Nature is my sanctuary. The forests are my “safe place.” As long as I have these places of scenic beauty, I really don’t need much else; though, I must say that from the very beginning of my life with Mary Rose (my wife), I shared my love of the outdoors with her and she has made my life richer. On the day I proposed and she accepted, I took her here…

We took time, yesterday, to return to Old Man’s Cave and take a few pictures. We’ve been there many times and continue to take pictures because every day is unique with photography. The lighting is always different. The seasons bring subtle changes. No two images are exactly alike for a multitude of reasons.

If you have never been to Old Man’s Cave and you live in Ohio, put it on your list of MUST SEE locations. It is beautiful. Take a camera with you.

One more thing, My wife and I were the only people there carrying genuine cameras. Everyone takes pictures with cell phones these days. They are a poor substitute for a good DSLR.


Are we losing history because we no longer take pictures with film cameras? Are your precious memories backed up in case of hard drive failure or ransom-ware attacks? In thirty years, will you have a record of the events in your life or will you lose those memories because you trusted in technology?

Make back-ups of your pictures.