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Silly Laws About Food

What you’ll see below is from an artificial intelligence investigation. the facts have not been checked.

In Idaho, USA, it’s illegal to give your sweetheart a box of candy weighing more than 50 pounds (22.6 kg).

In Singapore, it’s illegal to chew gum.

In Wisconsin, USA, it’s illegal to serve apple pie in public restaurants without cheese.

In Italy, it’s illegal to eat or drink near a historic monument.

In South Korea, it’s illegal to eat dogs.

In Georgia, USA, it’s illegal to eat fried chicken with utensils.

In Alabama, USA, it’s illegal to sell peanuts after sundown on Wednesdays.

In Japan, it’s illegal to be served food by a person with a tattoo.

In England, it’s illegal to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances.

In Kansas, USA, it’s illegal to serve wine in teacups.

In Belgium, it’s illegal to eat French fries with mayonnaise on Thursdays.

In Italy, it’s illegal to make or sell spaghetti bolognese.

In Rhode Island, USA, it’s illegal to bite off someone’s leg.

In Nebraska, USA, it’s illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they’re simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.

In Denmark, it’s illegal to disrupt the peace with noisy eating.

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More Visitors For Your Website

Introduction

Having built hundreds of websites, and helping my clients bring targeted visitors to their websites since 1995, I’ve learned a thing or two about website marketing.

Rather than doing it all for my clients, I started coaching them in how to do it themselves. After all, many of the techniques I’m about to divulge are easy to do. Some are remarkably effective.

My most successful client went from 3 visitors a month, one of which was her mother, to over 14,000 visitors per day. It took her less than 20 minutes, and cost her no money. Now, your success may not be as spectacular as that, but you’re still likely to do fine, maybe even remarkably well!

I’ll tell you exactly what she did a little later on. In fact, I’m going to present a whole bunch of techniques. You don’t have to do them all. Just pick and choose the ones that resonate with you. For instance, you may not be a master programmer. You may not even know HTML or WordPress. No problem, many of these can be done by people who can barely work a computer.

You may notice I said ‘targeted visitors.’ By that I mean people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. For instance, if you’re selling harnesses for Saint Bernard dogs, your targeted market is Saint Bernard owners. You don’t necessarily want ten million visitors who don’t even own dogs. You’ll do much better with 100,000 people who actually have Saint Bernards and want to buy your harnesses.

So let’s jump in. Stay tuned all the way through, skipping over what you already know, because at the end of this ebook, I’m going to tell you how about to get your visitors to take your action step. After all, you want your 100,000 visitors to all buy your product, contact you, or do whatever you want them to do. I’ve got some great tips and techniques for guiding people to your action steps.

On-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Table of Contents

For the techniques in this first section, you will need some web design experience, or you can pass this information on to your webmaster. In fact, if he doesn’t have access to this ebook, he’s really missing out. You may want your webmaster to buy a subscription.

Note: Don’t share your subscription. When our automated software finds two people signed on with the same account, it may cancel that account.

1. Try to get a descriptive domain name. For instance StBernardHarnesses.com helps people remember your domain name, and is the first big clue to search engines as to what your website is about.

How do you know what’s available? Go to WhoIs.com to test domain names you’d like to use. If the name you want is taken, WhoIs will offer suggestions for other, available names.

1a. You can leverage AI to help find a domain name. Look at this example from ChatGPT:

You
How can i express in a domain name ‘saint bernard dog harnesses?’

ChatGPT
You could express “Saint Bernard dog harnesses” in a domain name in several ways. Here are a few suggestions:

SaintBernardHarnesses.com
BernardHarnessed.com
BigDogHarnesses.com
SaintBernardGear.com
SaintHarness.com
BernardStrap.com
SaintBernardGearHub.com
HarnessesForSaintBernards.com
SaintBernardStraps.com
SaintBernardTackle.com

Remember to check the availability of these domain names and ensure they are not already registered by someone else. Also, consider choosing a domain name that is easy to remember and type, and preferably includes relevant keywords for better search engine optimization (SEO).

2. Try to get a .com extension. Some of the other extensions like .biz, .us, or .info do not trigger automatic linking in social media and elsewhere. For instance, if you write stbernardharnesses.site in a Facebook post, it may not be linked, but stbernardharnesses.com will be linked automatically as soon as you write it. It may turn blue and be underlined, letting people know they can simply click it, and they’ll be taken to your website. People also tend to take domain names that end in .com more seriously.

3. What if the name you want is taken? Let’s say stbernardharnesses.com is not available. There are some tricks that will work nearly as well. You can use dashes, or add something to the name. For instance st-bernard-harnesses.com or stbernardharnesses5000.com. There are some people will tell you that especially long names, or ones that are hard to type on a phone, such as with dashes are a bad idea. As it turns out, that seldom matters. Most domain names are simply copied and pasted these days.

4. According to experts, your home page should have about 300 words. Woven into those words are the keywords people are likely to enter into search engines when looking for what you have to offer. Keywords can actually be phrases. The term should be ‘key phrases’ but it turns out everyone says ‘keywords.’ For instance, ‘Inuit Throat Singing’ is a keyword.

300 words is a loose concept. Some successful websites have very few words on the home page, while others have thousands of words.

5. Make use of the <h1> tag. This shows a large title. There should be one <h1> tag on every page, or at least your home page. It should contain a title that once again tells readers and search engines in just a few words what your website is about.

6. You can have one or more <h2> and smaller headings on your pages.

7. Use images, even if generic images. I mean, how do you picture an insurance product, or a self-improvement concept? You can just find pictures of happy people. Your website visitors will be more likely to stay and read your material if pictures are interspersed. (See how I used the crowd image above?)

7a. You can get public domain images from Pexels.com, and other sources. Make sure they are truly public domain. I have had three clients who were hassled legally for use of copyrighted images. Most such cases are merely nuisances. For instance, one client was used for use of a cartoon image from a television show. A hot-shot lawyer representing the TV show sued my client, and received a grand $300. However, until the resolution of the case after several months, my client was quite worried and paid quite a bit in legal fees.

You can also get images from Wikimedia Commons but you need to either add attribution, or make sure the images are clearly marked, ‘public domain,’ ‘free use,’ or ‘coo.’

8. In HTML, the scripting language of webpages, every picture has an ‘alt’ tag. This was originally designed for very low bandwidth situations or for people with vision impairment in which the picture could not be seen, so alternative text would be presented in its place. With many images these days, the alt tag is left blank, like alt=””. However, you can fill this with keyword content. This has two advantages: The small one is that people who really are vision impaired will have some idea what you’re showing. The bigger advantage is the search engines will pick up what’s in your alt tags. This makes little difference in overall search results. However, there are people who will switch to a list of images when using search engines. The search engines cannot interpret what’s in a picture without an alt tag, but if you have included content, then your picture will show up in image search results. This can make a bigger impart in bringing visitors than you may at first imagine.

9. Add meta tags. Some search engines’ documentation generally says that meta tags carry little or no weight, but some of the experts will tell you they are still important. There’s a lot of guess work of this sort in search engine optimization. Search engines are always evolving to try to beat people who are trying to gain unfair advantage.

For instance, you may think you can hide keywords by using a text color the same as your website’s background color. The search engines will actually demote your site in results if you do things like that.

The two meta tags that are most important are <meta keywords> and <meta description>.

The list of keywords can be long, with each being separated by a comma. For instance for our St. Bernard harnesses example, it might be something like this:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”dog harness,dog collar,St. Bernard harness,St Bernard harness,St Bernard collar,St Bernard collar”>

The description meta tag can be up to 260 characters. Some experts will tell you that 255 characters is the limit. This should be a human-readable description weaving in as many relevant keywords as you can. This meta tag’s content is what will show up in search results where people will see your domain name, and followed by what’s in your meta tag.

If you’re working with WordPress, and if you’re not using an SEO plugin, you can write your meta tags directly into a child theme’s header.php file.

10. If you’re providing a product or service to a specific area, you can greatly boost search results with a line, typically at the bottom of your pages, like this one, which applies to where I live:

Serving San Anselmo, Fairfax, Woodacre, Lagunitas, Nicasio, Forest Knolls, Point Reyes, Olema, and the rest of West Marin County.


Redwoods in West Marin County, California

That way, if someone googles your service plus the town they live in, you may be at the very top of search results.

11. Provide things like a sitemap. Most people think of ‘sitemap’ as a list of links to the pages in your site, typically at the bottom of your pages. The sitemap the search engines want is a file that’s invisible to end users, but the search engines use to understand the architecture of your website. It’s not essential, but helps with search results.

12. If you’re working with WordPress, you can add Yoast SEO, a free plugin that builds sitemaps automatically, notifies search engines of changes to your website, and gives you guidance on SEO procedures such as writing the meta tags.

There are a few more, less important SEO tricks, but these are the basics. Beware of ‘professionals’ who will try to sell you “SEO Optimization” for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Most of it is smoke and mirrors.

I once had a client who had been paying $2,000/month for “SEO Maintenance” for two years. I asked how well it was warking. She told me that as far as she could tell, not a single client came from that SEO maintenance.

No such thing as ongoing maintenance would make sense, unless the content of the website is changing on a regular basis.

13. You might borrow keywords from other fields. One of the best is to mention locations. For instance, “Here’s a picture of a St. Bernard wearing one of our harnesses in Balboa Park, San Diego.” Or, “Here’s a picture of Martha Steward’s St Bernard wearing one of our harnesses.” These of course leverage Balboa Park, San Diego, and Martha Stewart.”

14: What if you can’t get all possible keywords into your pages? You might consider adding a blog to your website. There, you can add pictures of St. Bernards with your harnesses accompanying various owners in various locations. That way, you can leverage the names of hundreds of celebrities or locations. Or for that matter, you can write simple textual posts such as, “We recently discovered the Mount Pillar Ski Resort uses our harnesses.”

15. Notify the search engines of changes to your website. WordPress has a built-in mechanism for this, as does the Yoast SEO, All-In-One SEO, Jetpack, and other such plugins. You can also do it manually at Pingomatic.com. That website refers to all websites as blogs, but you can disregard that, enter your domain name, and check four checkboxes. It then tells over 100 search engines that your website has changed and should be re-indexed.

Ping-O-Matic, part of your SEO plan
Ping-O-Matic

16. You can add social media links. You’ve probably noticed them typically at the bottom of many website pages. They’re even at the bottom of this page. They are icons representing Facebook, X, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.

You may be surprised to discover that most people misunderstand the best use of these icons. They think that these are links to their own pages in social media. In other words, if you’re maintaining a business page on Facebook, or a feed on X, you should link to that. In most cases, that’s not so. It does nothing for you. You already have the people on your website. Why distract them? The only exception would be if your website is static, but you have ongoing news on your social media. For instance, if you’re offering classes on your website, but the actual up-to-date scheduling is on social media, then yes, by all means, link people to your social media sites.

However, the more useful approach is to give people a link to their own social media pages. These icons can not only link people to their own social media presences, but can carry an excerpt from your page and a link. They then have the option, as easy as the click of a button, to create a post on their own page with a link to your website. In most cases, they can post an excerpt from your website verbatim, or they can edit to add their own flavor. Imagine the potential: As more and more people add posts or their social media about your website, your visitor count can grow exponentially. The downside is that almost everyone ignores those social icons at the bottom of your website pages.

17. Post interesting, useful or eccentric content. An example is a website for high-tech radio antennae. This website provided charts and graphs of interest to radio professionals, so it became the go-to website for that sort of information. They ended up with pretty much all the people who needed their antennae, so of course they sold a lot of antennae. To put it in the context of St. Bernard harnesses, if you could add some content about the care and feeding of St. Bernards, you’ll eventually build a reliable collection of well-targeted visitors. Or, you might simply build a gallery of St. Bernard photos. People who love these big dogs, and I’m sure there are lots of them, would enjoy your gallery, bookmark your website, and come back often.

18. Ask people to support your website by bookmarking it and telling their friends and associates. You can simply add text somewhere on your website asking people to do so.

19. Is your website running fast enough? I had a client with an online store that was getting no sales. I checked, and her pages were taking on average 21 seconds to appear. No wonder no one bought anything! I migrated her website to another hosting company, and suddenly, with no other changes, her website was being presented in less than one second. A remarkable number of hosting companies oversell their capacity, resulting in slow websites. Not only that, when you complain, they may try to upsell you, and sometimes that still doesn’t speed up your website significantly.

The hosting company I’ve been recommending for the past four years is Siteground.com. They have plans that start as low as $34 for the first entire year, which includes free email accounts, free automated daily backups and free SSL, services for which some other hosting companies charge extra.

20. You can check your page speed at www.webpagetest.org. When you run a test, look at the fourth column, ‘Speed Index,’ to get an idea of how long people have to wait to see your home page. You might check at various times of the day since the number can vary. If it’s particularly slow, it’s costing you big-time.




Jeff Napier, curator, 500Ways.comI hope you have enjoyed or benefited from this so far. Can I trust you to make a small payment in order to read further? $8 is suggested, but any amount, even $1, will support ongoing additions to 500Ways. Thanks! – Jeff Napier, curator




Off-Page SEO

Table of Contents

You can only go so far with SEO. Not only that, it takes a while to kick in. Rumor has it that the Google spiders, for instance, crawl the entire web about once every eight weeks. Note that if there is no link anywhere on the web to your own website, it won’t be crawled. Without a link, the search engines, which jump from link to link, will not discover your site.

So, what can you do?

Off-page SEO has become a nebulous term that isn’t necessarily SEO at all. It’s any combination of techniques that don’t involve actually editing your website.

As it turns out, you can do as much or more through social media than what can be done with SEO. Social media means the websites where the public can post and see posts by others. Some of the big ones are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter) and Pinterest.

The true way to use social icons

1. Creating accounts with all these sites is free and easy. You can choose one or two, or post concurrently on many social venues.

With most of the social media sites, you can start by creating a profile. In your profile you should post a link to your website, and optionally add a little bio as to what you do, or why people should visit your site, and add relevant pictures. That, in itself, will bring some visitors to your website.

2. The magic really begins when you start making posts. This is free and easy to do. You can do it as often as you like. For instance two former presidents of the United States used to post on X (formerly Twitter) up to 20 times per day. Each post should carry a link to your website.

These links are called ‘backlinks’ and can have a surprising effect on SEO. It turns out that if two websites are equal in all ways, except one has more backlinks than another, it will be higher in search results. This is a good way for the search engines to understand the value of a website. If many people have linked to it, then it must be important and therefore should go higher in search results, right?

Not all backlinks are equal. Early on, people assumed the search engines merely counted backlinks. So, they started making websites that were merely lists of links, with no value in their own right. These are called ‘black hat backlinks’ and the search engines actually demote your site’s position in search results if they find these. Legitimate posting in social media creates ‘white hat backlinks.’ Even so, they are not as strong as backlinks from other, non-social media sites. I’ll talk more about that later.

3. You could simply make textual posts, but if you add pictures, you’ll get much more attention. You can find public domain pictures at Pexels.com and Wikimedia Commons among other sources.

4. Memes takes pictures one step further. These incorporate a bit of text in the pictures to better capture the attention of the people you want to come to your website. If you’re not experienced with Photoshop, Corel Paint, Gimp, or other image editing softawer, you’ll find there are some free meme generators online.

5. If you have the capability, you can make videos to post on X, Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and other venues. Videos can be very powerful compared to textual content or static images. YouTube can be a particularly great place to post.

6. Whether you are posting pictures, memes or videos, take advantage of the description that accompanies your posts. Of course you want to capture your targeted audience and cause them to want to see your website. Make sure to incorporate your important keywords into your descriptions.

7. Consider obscure keywords. For instance, if your post utilizes the keyword ‘dog,’ it will be in competition with 10,000 other posts containing ‘dog’ posted on the same day. No one will ever see it. So, maybe it would be bettor to use keywords like ‘St. Bernard,’ and ‘Saint Bernard.’ Even that may be lost in the shuffle. You might instead try to incorporate keywords like ‘St. Bernard health,’ or ‘cute St. Bernard’ or ‘St. Bernard puppy,’ or ‘St. Bernard training.’ Now, you have a post that if people enter any of those terms, it will be seen.

8. Add hashtags. These are keywords that start with #. If your keyword is a phrase containing multiple words, such as “St. Bernard Puppy” remove the spaces and punctuation. To make your hashtag more human-readable, you can capitalize the first letter of each word after the first, like so: #stBernardPuppy.

Many people don’t fully understand hashtags. They may believe that they are just another way to express keywords. It turns out they have a real function. Let’s say someone has posted something about St. Bernards, and they included the hashtag #stBernard. Now, a visitor sees that post and is particularly interested in St. Bernards. That user may click the hashtag, and will be taken to a list of all the recent posts containing the hashtag. That way, they may come across your post that they otherwise would never have seen. You might think of hashtags as a way or sharing new viewers. You’ve gotta give to get – but the tradeoff can be big. I often put a series of hashtags at the end of my post descriptions, like so:

We found that the best time to introduce St. Bernard puppies to harnesses is when they are around 8 weeks old. See more about harness training at StBernardHarnesses.com (#stBernard, #stBernardPuppy, #stBernardHarness)

It is said that some social media venues will shadow ban posts with more than three hashtags. Shadow banning means that you can happily create posts all day long, but the public will never see them. I have published many posts with more hashtags, and so far as I can tell, I have not been shadow banned. Still, it’s something to consider.

Most social venues including Facebook, Instagram, X, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn utilize hashtags.

9. Go crazy. The average social media post is seen by only a handful of people. However, if you can make a post that is interesting, cute, or positively eccentric within reason, it could potentially go viral. If you get it just right, everyone will click their [Like] buttons, upvote your post, or promote it in various ways, and you could end up with literally millions of people coming to your website overnight. The reality is that this seldom happens. Another reality is you can keep posting until one of your posts catches on. You may not get millions of visitors, but maybe 100,000? Or maybe just six, but the exact right six that will license your patent, become your business partner, or take an action step that makes you wealthy.

10. Boost certain posts. With some of the social media sites, notably Facebook, you can pay a little money, and suddenly a post that might have been seen by six people will be seen by 6,000 people. You can experiment with boosting on a small scale until you find something that works. Starting with a post that seems to get good organic results, meaning no money was paid to the venue, you might boost it modestly, such as for $5 per day for four days. Most of your experiments are likely to fail, but suddenly, you may boost a post that brings you a lot of business. When that happens, you can raise the amount your willing to pay, and realize potentially great results.

11. Consider outright advertising. You can run similar small experiments with Google AdWords and other advertising paradigms. You must be prepared that most will bring dismal results. However, if you try a number of experiments, some possibly highly eccentric, suddenly you may come across something successful.

12. You can post on several sites concurrently. For instance, you may have discovered this very ebook originally through one of my posts on X, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest. Because the various sites have different image aspect ratio requirements, and different text requirements, I have learned to make all my memes square, at least 600 x 600 pixels, and keep my text under 255 characters to accommodate X. Then, I’ll simply upload my meme and text to all five sites, one after another.

Below, are some example social media posts. Stay tuned, because below that, I’ll give you some ideas for making your website more effective, now that you’ll be having more visitors.



What does a toaster oven have in common with a pond fountain? Absolutely nothing! You can’t even buy a toaster oven at discount-pumps.biz. But you can get floating pond fountains, waterfall pumps, pondDye, and all sorts of other things to enhance your acreage on a pond or lake. (#pump, #fountain, #pondFountain)


At the House of Bread in Anchorage, Alaska, they baked a 100-pound cinnamon roll. You can have fun like that in your own franchise #bakery. Find out all about it at HouseOfBreadFranchise.com (#businessOpportunity, #franchise, #franchiseOpportunity, #baking, #bread, #bakery)


Docking your sailboat, fishing boat, speed boat or any kind of recreational boat is fine until the day another boat comes too close or bad weather sets in. It’s easy to fix with a mooring whip. Get your mooring whip and other marine supplies at DockingProducts.com. (#marine, #mooring, #mooringWhip, #boat, #boating, #sailboat, #speedboat, #fishingBoat)


Can’t talk to your family and friends? We understand you. Welcome to the safe, friendly, and informative community of lightworkers helping each other to get through the spiritual awakening process at HigherSelfPortal.com. (#spiritual, #spiritualAwakening, #family, #friends, #relationships)


She doesn’t know what’s expected of her. Can she bark or not? How does she walk with a leash? Who’s in charge? Dogs need to know this stuff. Obedience Training is the answer, but dog training is expensive, right? Not if you do it yourself. Check out the puppy training videos at trainingforpuppy.com (#dogTraining, #dog, #puppy, #puppyTraining, #obedienceTraining)


As shown here, four ounces of organic, biodegradable pond dye starts a wonderful transition in your lake or pond. It’s completely non-toxic and It’s much more than just a pretty color. Find out what it does at discount-pumps.biz/pond-dye.php – where you can also get floating pond fountains, waterfall pumps and more. (#pondDye, #pond, #lake, #fountain, #floatingFountain, #pondFountain)


When it comes to painting your house, you probably don’t want this guy to do it. It’s better to hire a professional painting contractor. If you’re lucky enough to live around San Jose, Campbell, Almeden or Saratoga, California, you can contact MikeLundPainting.com at (408) 514-5415 (#paintingContractor, #paintingYourHouse, #SanJose, #Campbell, #Almeden, #Saratoga, #California)


Making Your Website More Effective

If your website is like like most, the whole reason for its existent is to cause people to take an action step, typically to buy your product or contact you.

Unless you have a very unique product or service, they’re not going to take action right away. So you have to funnel these your visitors into an action step.

1. First, grab them. The average attention span on the Internet is said to be 1.5 seconds. So, you don’t want to try to sell your visitors on the action step right away. Instead, the first thing they see on your website should be something that convinces them they should stay tuned a little longer. They should invest some time to learn what you’re up to. That can be an intriguing picture, or a big header. It should be ‘above the fold.’ That’s an old news paper term meaning just like it sounds, something they can see without unfolding the paper. In website terms, that means something they can see right away without scrolling. So, place something above the fold that catches their attention. A tactic that can work well is to ask a question that makes them wonder. A scratch that needs to be itched. An example I was thinking of for this very thing you’re reading, was “What’s Wrong With Your Website?”

2. After you’ve got them invested enough to spend a few minutes on your website, you can start guiding them down toward your action step. If your product or service is obvious and they just came to your website to get your contact info, you’re all set. Make sure your contact info is readily visible. If you publish your phone number, it should be clickable on mobile devices (<a href=tel:123-456-7890;’>(123) 456-7890).

Avoid the common mistake of presenting a contact form without also showing your email address. It is true that spammers could get your email address and run with it, but on the other hand, contact forms often don’t work right, or quit working with GMail or other services change the rules about what seem to be machine-generated emails, and some people find contact forms objectionable.

Also, don’t assume everyone can click on you email address to launch their email client. Make sure your actual email address is visible in case they need to copy and paste it.

3. Be careful about over-selling. A current trend is really long pages that have section after section extolling the wonderful virtues of the product to the point where it seems like hype or snake oil, and people will leave.

4. If you’re selling a service, make sure your picture, or the picture of someone that the visitors will be contacting, is on the website. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a movie star, or even if you are downright ugly. Once they’ve seen you, they’re much more likely to pick up the phone, or send that email.

The Magic Technique

Table of Contents

Finally, I’d like to tell you about the technique that brought my most successful client 14,000 visitors per day.

It’s link exchange, another case of giving to get. In its simplest form, you contact the webmasters at other sites, and ask whether they’d like to do a link exchange. That means you’ll place a link to their website on your own website, and expect them to do the same on their website for you.

You’re right to assume you’re building leaks. In other words, some users may click away from your site before they’d take your action step, but there are some things you can do about that.

You can add the target=’_new’ designation to each link link so that they’ll open in new tabs, leaving your website open in it’s original tab.

You can make a dedicated links page where you place all your reciprocal links. However, this is a little underhanded unless you mark it prominently, like adding it to your main menu, and giving it a name like ‘Additional Resources.’ You can also try to make associations where the links you’re adding to your website aren’t directly competing with you, yet the owners of the sites that are going to carry your link will not feel threatened by your link.

If you get place on an active website, the results can be amazing. And this is how my client got 14,000 visitors a day. It turns out she contacted a few webmasters, one of which happened to be working for a major news service. I don’t recall for sure, but I think it was USA Today. I doubt the webmaster was authorized to do that, but perhaps he didn’t know. I never followed up, but I’ll bet the link was removed after a week or two. By then, she had such a following on her own website, that the reciprocal link was no longer required.

That’s it. I hope you find this information very prosperous! – Jeff, 500Ways.com

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It’s Kind of a Funny Story



Spoiler alert: There’s no gunfire, no emergencies, no big-time scary scenes in this movie, but you’ll like it.

I had a friend who I visited in a place like this. The guy worked in my bicycle shop. He had been evicted from three homes because he somehow figured that the furnaces in each place were putting out dangerous fumes. I asked him about that, and all he could tell me is that the fumes were bad and they weren’t carbon monoxide.

When he called the fire department in the middle of the last place, there was nowhere left that he could rent. He ended up homeless. This was winter on the east coast of the United States. He equipped his bicycle with full winter camping gear, and ended up living in the woods.

Then, one night, he got the notion that the local mental ward in the university hospital, where he had been a few times before, wasn’t feeding the patients right. He claimed, perhaps rightly, that the food did not have enough nutrition. As the night shift orderlies tried to calm him and assure him that they’d pass the message along to the doctors in the morning, he became upset because he knew they were just placating him. He became more and more upset, and of course they had to commit him again.

When he didn’t show up for work for a few days, I started asking around and discovered that he was committed. I did visit, and the place was quite like in the movie. However, during the time I was there, I did not see anyone who was catatonic, violent, or looking crazy in any way. There were just people playing chess, conversing, watching TV or reading books.

There’s more to this story. I recorded the whole thing in Five Years in the Bike Shop.

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Secret Beach House Inside Box Truck


This guy, Scott, built what many might consider the ultimate recreational vehicle (RV), all in an 18-foot box truck. His whole home is in just a bit less than 144 square feet. He estimates the cost, including buying his used Isusu truck, at $85,000. That’s high, but as you can see, he spared no expense.

By building his own motorhome, he avoided many of the problems associated with typical RVs.

Many motorhomes are problematic because the manufacturers attempt to keep costs down by building on truck or van chassis that aren’t really up to the job. Then, the household appliances, plumbing and electrical systems are not really equipped to be shaken all the time as the vehicle drives down the road. By the time they are 60,000 to 65,000 miles (100,000 km) old, they are so broken down they are not cost-effective to keep running.

For instance, running an automotive V8 engine full out while going up hills warps the exhaust manifolds, tends toward overheating, blows gaskets, and may even burn the valves.

The ordinary household plumbing fittings will vibrate apart, resulting in gallons of water being pumped out across the carpeting, warping the cabinetry near the floor, and setting off irreparable mold growth.

Whereas manufactured homes (formerly called ‘mobile homes’) have to be made with proper and safe materials, it is legal to build motorhomes and trailers with just about any kind of cheap materials. There have been numerous reports of new RV owners having ongoing flu-like symptoms from out-gassing of formaldehyde from the paneling, cabinetry and upholstery. We don’t even want to consider the long-term effects.

Many RVs come with labels that say ‘not for full-time use.’

You might think you’re covered with a nice warranty when you buy a new RV. Unfortunately, you may discover that the dealer has had you sign paperwork stating that the dealer is not responsible for warranty work. That’s left to the manufacturer. But who is the manufacturer? If the refrigerator breaks, it’s the company that made it. If the paneling starts coming apart, it’s the coach builder. If the roof leaks, is that the coach builder or the chassis maker? You may find you have to drive a thousand miles to have the warranty work done by the manufacturer.

Worse, especially if you buy a half-million dollar diesel pusher (a large motorhome with a diesel engine in the rear), that repairs are not only expensive, but you may not easily find a shop willing to do the work. For instance, if the shifter quits working, it might be the push-button panel in the dashboard, but it might be the transmission, or it might be in the ten meters of wiring somewhere under the floor between the front and back. It is not uncommon for repairs, even on a new unit, to take literally months to have completed.

Maybe you should buy a used RV and using some of the money you saved to fix it up. That’s a good idea in general until you find out how much some of the repairs may cost. For instance, replacing a transmission in an RV can be twice as costly as in a car because it is so much more difficult to reach. Then, you might also discover that many RV parks will turn down anyone with a rig older than 15 years.

There have been numerous cases of motorhomes and trailers falling apart on the road, leaving the owner stranded without even a tow truck large enough to move it. Sometimes that straps that hold in tanks under the floor fail. In some cases, the paneling that makes up the sides of the vehicle has been known to work loose then blow off in the wind.

Among the most significant breakdowns from a practical point of view are slide out sections that won’t slide back in, or hydraulic levelers stuck in the down position. Your RV isn’t going anywhere when this happens.

Enough with the negativity already! On the plus side, you are living a lighter footprint on the earth if you’re a full-time RVer. Instead of commuting many miles to and from work, you can park your RV near to where you work. Instead of heating a 4,000 square-foot McMansion, you’re only heating a couple hundred square feet. So, even though the insulation is much thinner in an RV, you’re still leaving a smaller carbon footprint. If you’re not connected to city services, you have very little water, electricity and propane on board. You can learn to make these supplies last weeks, again reducing waste and pollution. Because you have limited storage, you’re less likely to buy and consume things.

Finally, there’s expense. If you’re in a financial bind, you might consider buying an older RV, knowing you’ll probably have to fix things from time to time, then find a good RV park or private property, where the rent is only a few hundred dollars per month.

Many of the RV parks need managers. The manager checks people in and out, offers a bit of security, and maintains the facilities such as mowing the lawn and helping people back in their trailers. This is in trade for free living.

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Octopus vs Underwater Maze

This is a remarkably endearing and educational video. Mark Rober taught us many interesting facts about octopi. The plural can also also be octopuses. He did point out that their blue blood is copper-based, and that they have three hearts. What he didn’t mention is that all three hearts beat with independent rhythms. Among their many defenses, such as camouflage and squirting water out of their jet to swim away very quickly, is the ability to squirt a cloud of ink, thereby obscuring their view from enemies. The largest octopi, living off the coast of Washington State on the west coast of the United States, have been known to grow to beyond 30 feet across (9.1 meters) and weigh as much as 600 pounds (272 kg) Their eyes can be as big as 15 inches (38cm) in diameter.

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Cats and Cucumbers

Why are cats so afraid of cucumbers? The common theory is that cucumbers look like snakes, and cats have evolved a natural fear of snakes. Cats see only in black and white with red, so the green color of a cucumber does nothing to de-worry the cats.

Another factor worth considering is that the cucumbers are often placed while the cats are obliviously eating or sleeping. When the cat suddenly sees the cucumber, all they know in that instant is that something possibly ominous has appeared that they were not expecting.