Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Friday, February 18, 2011

Midlife Humour - The Stella Awards

It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'! For those  unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico , where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That' s right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stellas for the past year:


Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Start scratching!


Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbour's hubcaps.

Scratch some more...


Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just burgled by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open.
Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish.
Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep scratching. There are more....

Double hand scratching after this one..


Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you're getting a bald spot..


Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching....


Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000.....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.  

Ok. Here we go!!


This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was:  Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.
On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.
Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned.
Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Are we, as a society, getting more stupid.....
or are more members of Congress serving on juries these days?

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Article Marketing on Steroids

This post is slightly different from my usual posts. I’ve recently come across a great way to multiply the number of links to my site and I thought I’d share it with you. If you are into article marketing, this is for you.

Spin Distribute has created a unique article distribution system. It takes your article, creates 1000s of unique versions of it, and sends these unique articles to 1000s of relevant websites. This way you get 1000s of links from relevant websites, and Google loves you.

I have started using this and it really does work. My Google ranking has definitely improved.

You’ll find the details here: Spin Distribute

Aaron Suster, the founder of Spin Distribute is about to launch a new product called SmileySEO. It is a set of tools to help you to manage your website (and keep an eye on your competitors):

  • If there is something wrong with your website, the system will immediately send you an email about it. 
  • If you exchange links with someone, the system will monitor your partner to make sure the links to your website are still published. 
  • You can track your position in search engines.
  • You can create an analysis of your own website, or your competitor’s website. 
  • You can find the best keywords to expand your business.

Details of SmilySEO are here: Smiley SEO

Yes, these are affiliate links. Regular readers will know that I rarely promote products and when I do, they are products that I know will work.

Try them and see for yourself!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Reignite the Spark in Midlife Relationships

Guest post by Devon Solinger Berger, CPC, ELI-MP

Midlife is often a period of time where people experience major transitions. It is perfectly normal even when it seems outrageous. If you can remember just that one statement, you are already headed down the track to peace and tranquility. The good news is that by the time you reach midlife, you have lived enough to have acquired some valuable knowledge. The key is how you utilize this knowledge to help you to not only survive, but thrive in this chapter of life.

One of the biggest relationship transitions that most people are not aware of involves the possibility that both yours and your partner’s essential human needs have shifted.  There are several human needs we all have and if all of them are being met, we are experiencing blissful fulfillment. If only some of them are being met, we are happy and content. However, if none of them are being met within the relationship, it is human nature to seek to have them met elsewhere. 

This is the list most widely accepted by relationship experts: 

- to feel loved or bonded with another person, 
- to feel important or valued, 
- security and comfort, 
- spontaneity or variety, 
- to grow and develop, 
- to make a contribution to others.

If you take a look at the list, you might begin to identify with a couple of these more than the others. If you take an even closer look at your life, you might even see how the importance of these has shifted. When you first got together with your partner, your needs may have been completely different and the reason the relationship seemed to work so well was that you were able to meet each other needs-- sometimes without even realizing it!

People’s needs change over time and we sometimes are not aware of this fact. Since we aren’t aware of it, we certainly can’t clue our partners in on the change either. 
Unconsciously, you both began seeking to have your new needs met in other ways, because your partner was not satisfying them for you.

For example, when women become mothers they can often have their need for love and bonding met in the relationship with their children. One possible consequence of this is that her partner feels excluded and unloved. To compensate, he seeks to have that need met by spending more time at work or with friends and avoids the home.

Sound familiar?  Have no fear!  The awareness alone empowers you to make a change and to save your relationship!

First, figure out what your most important needs are and how they are currently being met or not met. Then, share openly with your partner. Figure out what his or her needs are and make an effort to fulfill those needs within your relationship. This might sound a little unfair to you, but remember that it is incredibly effective AND it is the key to taking your relationship to the next level of everlasting and blissful love!

Devon Solinger Berger, CPC, ELI-MP    Art of Relationship Life Coaching

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do you suffer from Panic Attacks?

Your heart starts beating fast. You start sweating. The walls start closing in and you feel light headed. You want to run away from the feelings and sensations but your body cannot move.

Sound familiar? If you’ve ever had a panic attack then you know they can sneak up on you when you least expect it. And chances are you want to know why you had one. Many midlifers suffer from panic attacks or anxiety caused by a number of reasons which are highlighted below.

Speculating will get you nowhere. (And might even cause more panic attacks.)

What you need are some good solid facts. Here are the most common reasons for panic attacks.

#1 Major life transitions. We’re talking about moving, divorce or marriage, job loss, money worries or having a baby. There are expectations and tremendous anxiety placed on these events.

#2 Fears/Phobias. If you have a fear of heights for example and go to the top of the Empire State Building, a panic attack may occur.

#3 Health & Nutrition Problems. Interestingly enough there are many nutrient deficiencies and health conditions that cause panic attacks including:
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Zinc or magnesium deficiencies
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Stimulants like caffeine
  • Medication withdrawal
Panic attacks are your body’s way of setting off the alarm systems. They’re letting you know something isn’t right. If you’re being chased by a bear then it makes sense to panic. If you’re simply driving to work or shopping, your alarm system is malfunctioning.

There are real, natural, ways you can manage and eliminate your panic attacks. I recently came across Paul David, who has written a book on this subject. An ex-sufferer himself, Paul explains what he went through and how he overcame his fears. Visit Overcome Your Anxieties to learn more about eliminating the anxiety and panic attacks in your life

To Your Good Health & Happiness!

Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (, a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here