Creativity, Self Help and Stuart Smalley

In his book “Brainstorming: Unleashing Your Creative Self,” Don Hahn says that a lot of creativity books come off sounding like a Stuart Smalley self-help quote: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Maybe that should be expected. Creativity is the highest expression of a person’s humanity.

Creativity is at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for self-actualization. Those, who believe in God, also believe that humans are formed in His image to go forth and do math or procreate, which is an act of core creation.

People are at their best when they’re being creative. They flow, they sparkle, they embrace their inner child, they play, and they laugh and find the humor. They love, they forgive, and they ultimately revel in the happiness that creativity reveals in the sore of their own being.

So, while Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” is about becoming your best self, it’s also about becoming more creative. Because your best self is one that is actively participating in making something new. Go out and sing your song, paint a picture, experiment, and write up a storm. You’ll be better for it and so will the rest of the world. Penguinate!

Want to up your creative game? Get a copy of “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories


Seven Episodes in: ‘Salvation’ and the last days

“I get to decide how I spend my last days.” Jillian storms off after her boyfriend, Liam, reveals the details of the work that he is doing at Tanz Industries to save the world. These are details that only 41 Americans at the Pentagon know and just a few outside of the Pentagon. She’s angry because Liam has revealed this information after about a month of knowing which coincides with a month into their relationship, and he made the decision for her.

“I get to decide how I spend my last days.” What Jillian doesn’t get, and she’s not the only one, is that these are our last days. We don’t have any more than we have. Whether it’s one because someone decides to shoot us or 146 because of an impending asteroid strike or 186 when the asteroid was just discovered or it’s a year or five years or 20 years, these are all our last days.

We don’t know how many days we have here; even if we did, it shouldn’t change anything. We should be living our lives like today is one of our last days. It’s certainly the last Jan. 31, 2019, I’ll ever see. If you look at your calendar, it’s the last date with that number designation that you’ll ever see. No one wants to face their mortality. We have to plan for our future even if there’s the possibility that it never happens, but these are our last days.

“I get to decide how I spend my last days.” Yes, you, too, get to decide how you spend your last days. Today is your last day. Tomorrow is your last day. Three days from now is your last day. Maybe you have more or fewer, you don’t know. The only thing that you do know is that these are your last days and you choose how you’re going to spend them. Spend them with friends, spend them with family. Spend them making life better for the rest of the world. Then when someone or something tells you your time is up, you won’t have to worry about getting mad at someone you love because they withheld a truth from you, especially if that truth is about the number of days left for the rest of the planet.

For more about our last days, check out the essay “The Last Good Day” in “Penguinate: Essays and Short Stories.”

Have You Ever Seen a Sad Person with a Stuffed Penguin?

Our penguins make us happy. Every time I walk into the living room and see it full with my wife’s new creations, my smile gets brighter, and I’m filled with a sense of love. While we can’t promise that you’ll be happy for the rest of your life because of one of our penguins, but we can say that your penguin friend will be ready to listen to you and help you face the most difficult situations.

Our penguins can provide you comfort and a non-judgmental ear to hear your concerns and worries. They can also provide you with a playmate for those days when you just want to enjoy life. All you need is to connect with your inner child, bring your imagination and open yourself to the experiences you treasured as a young person. Let our penguins revive your childlike qualities that help make like more joyful, creative and fun.

Order a handmade penguin today to improve your mood. If you have a specific clothing style in mind, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

Our penguins are made from faux fur and felt. They’re filled with holofiber. If you’re still not sure, read these 25 reasons you need a stuffed penguin.

Waving  stuffed penguins
Waving penguins

Four episodes in: ‘Salvation’ and the MVP

Now at over 7.5 billion people the world’s population is staggering large. It’s an incomprehensible number; as people, we aren’t equipped to understand what that number means. Now, imagine having to whittle that number down to 160 people who would carry on the human race on Mars or elsewhere in space. That is one of the premises of the series “Salvation.” According to the show, 160 people is the minimum viable population to ensure that the species can continue.

In order for this small number to work, the chosen travelers would need to be genetically diverse, fertile, and heterosexual. The population would need to include 80 men and 80 women. There’s a good chance that marriages would need to be arranged and monitored as time went on in order to prevent in-breeding.

Engineers skilled in spaceship repairs, survivalists with skills in establishing camps and places to live, and doctors skilled in combat medicine would be some of the people the program could consider. Creative types may be desirable for their ability to solve problems in unique ways, but they would need to have more than just their artistic skills.

With this set of criteria, old people and children wouldn’t make the cut. Poorly educated people wouldn’t get on the ship. People who claim a sexual identity, other than hetero, would be left behind. Those with genetic diseases or genetic disease history in their families wouldn’t be able to take the trip. If it would be a true choosing of the best of the best, every person would face a battery of tests that would eliminate him or her or allow that person to move on to the next level.

The question that this type of plan demands is how would the influential people who don’t meet the criteria be kept off the ship. Would the inventor be allowed to travel, regardless of any other quality? Would the president of the U.S. or the ruler of the country be allowed to go? If this ark were a last-ditch effort to save the human race and Earth was facing destruction, would the billion-dollar investor have a spot on the ark with no further testing? Would a country like the U.S. reach out to other countries to find the best people to put on the ark, or would it only save Americans?

Another thing to consider is that genetic diversity would entail finding people that don’t resemble each other. This would make everyone uncomfortable since human beings like to hang with people who resemble themselves. It would also make it possible for people on the ark to form groups of like with like, which could sabotage the genetic diversity of the group. “Salvation” has a group of number crunchers on a committee with an unknown science fiction writer to provide the heart; It’ll be interesting to see how they decide who lives and who dies.

So, how would you go about selecting 160 people to board a space ark? If you were able to save 1600 people in ten arks, how would you divvy them up? Assuming there were a clear 160 best and 160 second best would you mix them or would you keep the best with the best and the second best with the second best and so on?

25 Reasons You Need a Stuffed Penguin

1. Penguins are very positive.😃

2. They are funny.🤣

3. Penguins are good companions and confidantes.

4. They love warm hugs. Look, they run to hug you!🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧

5. Penguins provide emotional security.

6. They create joy and improve your mood.

7. They are cute. And we mean supercute!

8. They are inspiring!

You want to be big and furious... then you realize you have a different power.

9. You’ll be happy. Have you ever seen a sad person with a penguin?

10. They look nice in any room.

11. They’re all exclusive and unique.

12. You can put your penguin in your purse and travel with him…

A purse penguin

13. …or you can put your penguin in your car and travel!

14. You can share stories with them.

15. They are super soft!

16. You know exactly, what’s in your penguin’s head — stuffing!

17. Can’t adult today? Penguin!

18. Declare your creative intent with a penguin mascot.

Penguinate! Book Cover

19. Connect with your inner child.🐣

20. Practice your presentation.

21. You don’t need to walk him.🐩

22. They’re perfect playmates.

23. Your kids will love them!

24. You can watch movies together.

25. They are adorable!

stuffed penguins waving

Three Episodes in: ‘Salvation’ Decreases Faith in Humanity

Three episodes into “Salvation” and I can’t believe how stupid the characters are. The premise of the show is there is a planet killing asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. It has a 97 percent chance of colliding with our planet creating and extinction level event. The U.S. government has known about it for three months, and ordered a rocket from the Tanz company to send up a gravity tractor. The rocket has to retrofitted to work for what the government wants, and in testing, the retrofits don’t work right and the rocket blows up. The gravity tractor is out as far as the government is concerned.

In the meantime, a college student’s algorithm found the asteroid. The student informs his professor, who disappears. The student gets close to Darius Tanz, head of the Tanz company, and tells him what’s going on. Tanz contacts the Department of Defense. Both the student and Tanz get added to the secret group that is trying to find ways to deal with the asteroid. With the gravity tractor out, one of the men has proposed running the IO satellite into the asteroid to knock it off course.

The student and Tanz point out that doing so won’t move the asteroid. It would instead create a lot of meteorites that would rain down on Earth with no telling where they would land. The man, who proposed the idea, concedes the point and asks if Tanz has a better idea. Tanz proposes the invention of an electromagnetic engine which doesn’t exist. They agree on that solution for the moment.

Flash forward to the next meeting because the president is getting nervous and wants an update. The man, who proposed the ramming of the asteroid, comes back with the same proposal, but this time, he’s done the calculations: the created meteors would rain down on Russia, China and Korea killing an estimated 1.4 billion people. They have two windows. The first is in seven days, the next is in 60 days. Rather than give Tanz and his team 60 days to build and perfect their EM engine, they decide to go with the first window because it gives them two chances to get it right.

What? The false logic here is that they have two chances. Unless they have two satellites in orbit around IO, they have only one chance. Waiting for the second window wouldn’t change anything. If they didn’t get it right the first time, there is no second chance. The IO satellite would be careening into space, and there’s no backup. You have one satellite and one chance. Wait for the second window.

However, there’s a larger problem. Russia and China have active space programs. Chances are they’re going to find out about this asteroid and what the U.S. did. If they do, there’s a good chance, they’ll see the destruction of the asteroid as an act of war and decide to use their missiles to blow the U.S. up. The political wonks and military people should understand that’s the natural reaction of any person in power and that this secret asteroid information is going to get out. At the very least, some spy is going to find out. More likely someone’s going to let something slip.

If colliding with the asteroid is the only choice, this group needs to make sure it has a plan to evacuate the countries that are going to be affected before it decides on this plan of action. That means the information about the asteroid needs to be brought before the United Nations and nations need to know what’s coming. Even more importantly, the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on “smart” people or space. In fact, with the defunding of NASA, the U.S. isn’t the leader in space exploration any more. The asteroid could be used to bring countries together; instead of as a way to fill the American ego.

The Mummy of Nuclear Waste

In “the Mummy” (2017), Tom Cruise is a rogue army officer looking for ancient artifacts to sell on the black market. He gets caught in a tough spot, calls in an air strike, and blows a hole in the street of an insurgent occupied town that reveals a screaming face. His commanding officer gets there along with a woman who specializes in protecting antiquities. They discover a giant screaming bust, which she recognizes as Egyptian. Cruise, his partner and the woman go into the hole.

There the woman narrates what she sees: A rope with hieroglyphs to warn against evil spirit submerged in a pool of mercury being used to weaken its power, watchers faced inward (rather than outward) guarding against the pool, a set of chains (not for bringing the object up but instead, for keeping it down). We find out later that she knows monsters exist, and this is one of the most ancient. Even with all of these warnings and the knowledge of why the cavern looks the way it does, Cruise shoots the rope, activates the lifting mechanism and reveals the sarcophagus, which is taken aboard a military aircraft as a sandstorm threatens to engulf the plane.

Many of the other Mummy movies that came before involve a team seeking treasure in the desert and continuing to proceed despite warnings of natives, tribes put in place to guard against the release of the evil, and bad things happening to the team before they even enter the chamber.

There is a popular myth about the curse of Tutankhamun. Many people believe there was a curse written on his tomb and Howard Carter went in anyway. Even though there has been no curse inscribed on the tomb, it’s representative of what people will do for knowledge, history, fortune and glory. The truths exposed in these films and this legend include people are curious and people are greedy. And these are the reasons why burying nuclear waste won’t work.

Nuclear waste is deadly for 250,000 years. That’s longer than any languages will survive. Burying it with statues and pictograms detailing its deadliness may be treated as superstition from a less developed society. Or it may not be readable to explorers who have no context for the depictions. Worse, it may entice the future explorers to learn more about the inhabitants who lived amongst the strange drawings. At that point, the horror and joke will be on them. Assuming the mummy of nuclear waste isn’t unwrapped by natural disasters or our own people with malevolent intent.

Speakers’ Club Jan. 26, 2019: The Sights of America

Speaker’s Club rules.

Word Crimes Karaoke:

Minister’s Cat “C”.

American Sights Word Game.

American Sights Drawings.

American sights:

Weird things in America:

From the Vladivostock Consulate: Здравствуйте,

Отдел по связям с общественностью рад известить вас о новых программах, в которых могут принять участие российские компании, некоммерческие организации, выпускники обменных программ, молодые журналисты и студенты.

Надеемся, что идущая ниже информация может представлять интерес для ваc, ваших коллег или знакомых.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) – Глобальный предпринимательский саммит пройдет 4-5 июня 2019 года в Гааге, Нидерланды, и соберет 2000 самых вдохновенных предпринимателей, инвесторов и других участников со всего мира, работающих в таких секторах как сельское хозяйство, связь и компьютерные технологии, энергетика, здравоохранение и водные ресурсы. Саммит, спонсорами которого выступают правительства Нидерландов и Соединенных Штатов, рассмотрит способы создания благоприятных условий для успеха предпринимателей и их вклада в рост мировой экономики.

Если ваше инновационное решение не просто концепция, а действующий, готовый к реализации на рынке бизнес-проект, саммит дает возможность представить его крупнейшим инвесторам и лидерам вышеперечисленных отраслей.

Предприниматели с инвестиционными предложениями, могут получить дополнительную информацию и зарегистрироваться на сайте:

Интересующиеся также могут принять участие в глобальном диалоге, используя официальных хэштег #GES2019

Select USA Investment Summit 2019 – Глобальный предпринимательский саммит пройдет 10-12 июня 2019 года в Вашингтоне, США. Более 3000 участников из 70 международных рынков, 1000 глобальных разработчиков из 52 штатов примут участие в саммите. Российские инверсторы и предприниматели приглашаются к участию. Саммит поможет международным инвесторам и предпринимателям наладить связи и найти возможности для открытия новых предприятий и расширения существующих операций в США. Участники встретятся с членами Правительства, губернаторами, мэрами и агентствами по экономическому развитию страны. Более подробную информацию о Саммите «Select USA-2019» смотрите на сайте:

The 2019 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund – отличная возможность для выпускников обменных программ получить до 25 000 долларов на реализацию инновационных проектов в одном из пяти приоритетных направлений. Прием заявок начинается 1 февраля. Но начать работу над проектом можно уже сейчас! Для получения информации о программе пройдите по ссылке:

Media Exchange for Global Achievement Program (MEGA) – это программа для молодых журналистов, работающих в СМИ или иных коммуникационных платформах, а также для студентов, изучающих журналистику. Финалисты программы познакомятся с разнообразными средствами массовой информации США и их ролью в жизни страны, посетив редакции, приняв участие в семинарах и практических занятиях. В конкурсе могут принять участие молодые люди от 18 до 22 лет, с хорошим знанием английского языка, которые могут продемонстрировать свои достижения в журналистике и имеющие возможность поехать в США на четыре недели с 22 июня по 21 июля 2019. Программа оплачивает все расходы, связанные с поездкой. Информация и заявка на сайте: Прием заявок до 28 февраля 2019.

Small and Large Grants “Annual Project Statement” – ежегодный конкурс на соискание финансирования в формате малых и больших грантов. Программа направлена на укрепление связей между Россией и США. Успешные проекты демонстрируют общие ценности, способствуют развитию двустороннего сотрудничества, улучшению уважения и взаимопонимания и между нашими народами. Сумма одного гранта может варьироваться от 25 000 до 75 000 долларов США. Крайний срок подачи заявок – 15 июля 2019 года. Информацию о конкурсе, приоритетных направлениях, стратегических темах и процедуре подаче заявок можно получить по ссылке:

Peer to Peer Program – Программа Российско-Американского Партнерского Диалога предоставляет финансовые и нефинансовые средства организациям США и России для осуществления совместных проектов. Программа представляет интерес для российских организаций, интересующихся возможностью сотрудничества с коллегами из США в таких областях как предпринимательство, наука и технологии, социальная интеграция, общественное здоровье и взаимодействие в области искусств. Объем финансирования – до 75 000 долларов США. Крайний срок подачи заявки – 15 февраля 2019 года. Информация о программе :

Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship – интенсивная четырехнедельная обменная программа для молодых людей от 16 до 18 лет, с хорошим знанием английского языка, интересующихся тем, как видят друг друга граждане США и европейских стран, и имеющих возможность поехать в США в июне-июле 2019г. Цель программы – содействие развитию отношений сотрудничества и взаимопонимания молодых американцев и европейцев. Финалисты из Европы и США примут участие в обсуждении глобальных проблем, представляющих взаимный интерес, тренингах, семинарах, ознакомительных поездках и культурных мероприятиях. По итогам программы участники подготовят совместный проект. Программа оплачивает все расходы, связанные с поездкой. Более подробная информация на сайте:

Конечный срок подачи документов 8 марта 2019г.

Opportunity Funds – программа поддерживает студентов, поступающих в американские вузы, но не имеющих собственных средств на обучение и не участвующих в программах обмена, финансируемых правительством США. Крайний срок подачи заявки – 11 февраля 2019 года. Детальная информация о программе: По вопросам, связанным с программой, также обращайтесь к консультантам центров EducationUSA Russia по email: В теме письма укажите: “Opportunity Funds 2019”. В информационных центрах EducationUSA Russia можно получить и другую точную, своевременную и точную информацию о разнообразных возможностях обучения в Америке – это официальный источник информации о высшем образовании в США.

Vladivostok English Conversation Club – Приглашаем на ежемесячные встречи Клуба разговорного английского языка. Для того, чтобы стать участником этой группы и получать регулярные оповещения, пройдите ссылке и оставьте запрос на вступление в группу “Vladivostok English Conversation Club”. Встречи клуба, как правило, проходят в одном из городских кафе в формате свободного общения с носителями языка. Уровень знания английского особого значения не имеет – если не уверены и хотите поначалу быть просто слушателем – all are welcome!

Vladivostok English Film Club – Для того, чтобы вступить в группу и получать регулярные оповещения, пройдите по ссылке и оставьте запрос на вступление в группу “Vladivostok English Film Club”. Это мероприятие – просмотр раз в месяц американского фильма на языке оригинала с английскими субтитрами – проходит раз в месяц в Генконсульства США. Хорошая возможность потренировать восприятие языка на слух и навыки разговорного общения – перед началом фильма кто-то из работников консульства представляет его аудитории, а после фильма обсуждает его на английском языке.

Vladivostok English Book Club – Приглашаем на ежемесячные встречи клуба. Количество участников ограничено – 16 человек. Для того, чтобы стать членом клуба, пришлите письмо на адрес и сообщите следующую информацию: 1) ФИО; 2) Род занятий (если вы студент, сообщите специализацию и уровень – например, бакалавриат); 3. Список книг, которые вы прочитали на английском языке; 4. Пояснение, почему вы хотите стать членом читательского клуба (100-300 слов); 5. Уровень вашего знания английского. Если вы сдавали TOEFL/IELTS, другие тесты, сообщите их результаты, или же дайте свою собственную оценку ваших знаний.

Отдел по вопросам культуры, печати и образования

Генеральное Консульство США

Владивосток, Россия



Animal Safety in Alaska: Moose in the Driveway

As the manager for a larger organization in Alaska, I would sometimes get a strange call. For my team, I didn’t have problems if someone needed a day off or had to come in late as long as it wasn’t a habit. My employees never took advantage of this, probably because they were part-time and needed the money. They were also a good group. When I got this call, however, I did a double take.

“Um, hello, Shad.” I could tell who it was though he identified himself anyway. “Yeah, I’m going to be late coming into work. There’s a moose in my driveway.”

What could I say? Having a moose or bear in the driveway was a good reason not to come into work. Moose are unpredictable, and no one wants to antagonize a bear. So, I said the only thing I could, “Okay, well, when the moose is gone, come on in. I’ll leave an evening shift spot open for you.”

“Great. Thanks.” He couldn’t tell me when the moose would leave. I knew he needed his hours. This seemed like a good compromise. More importantly, no one was put in any danger in order to get to work.

It wasn’t the first time I had heard someone use a wildlife excuse. In fact, when I was an employee at a different organization, I had faced off with a moose in my yard and decided to call into work instead of hope the moose didn’t kick me or my car. I was new to Alaska, so when I talked to my boss, he told me it was better to stay at home rather than risk agitating the moose. I should stay home until the moose was gone. That was one of the best things about Alaska. People tried to take care of each other.

Fortunately, I never had to worry about facing a penguin in my driveway because there are no penguins in Alaska. I should know; I wrote the book. You can preorder the eBook from Amazon, or get a hard copy coloring book here on If you want more stories, check out “Tales at an Alaskan Cabin” on Amazon.