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Scripting Saturdays, week 6: Cross-platform Content

Flourishes to bring on-line closer to the polish of a printed work.

As we wrap up this six-week series, we’ve alternated between pure writing topics and the marketing for that writing. In this final installment, we invite you to sign-up for the Elegant eMail Web Cookbook: free just for subscribers. This has pre­vi­ously only been available via the Elegant eMail seminars, so consider this a Lenten gift! As an extra bonus: multi-lingual hyphenation, to deliver responsive line-fitting across multiple devices!

In the cookbook terms will be fully explained, while we just give top-line teasers & bread-crumb hints here.

superscript & overbar examplesElegant superscripts, covered in this 6th week don’t distort your line height, and so avoid ugly and hard-to-read gaps in your text. Start with vertical-align:38%; to give topline height on both Opera and Firefox. Adjust as needed for your target audience. (We actually used 28% here, so your mileage may vary!) It’s easier to use “text-top” instead of per­cent­age (but not pixel-perfect). The superscript is achieved thusly:

6<span style="font-size: 0.95em; font-variant: small-caps; line-height: 0.95em; vertical-align: 28%;">th<span>



Overline characters (special positioning unicode) such as the example Dokkōdō, tuck the diacritic glyph overbar snugly above the letter o, again so that the line height is not disturbed as it would be with CSS.

As faintly visible in the image above, the overline is achieved with the overbar|overline html entity ̄ following the letter it will overline:  Dokko&#772;do&#772.

They’re also used in the square root symbol. Compare: √4 and √4 via


Vulgar fractions

Custom-code your own when not covered by Unicode entities, such as available at Compare the hand-crafted 16 with its Unicode equivalent: ⅙. The hand-crafted code is: <span style=&147;font-size: 55%; vertical-align:28%;&148;>1</span>&frasl;&nbsp;<span style=&147;font-size: 55%;&148;>6</span>



STEM (hover over the word to see the acronym spelt out!) is achieved by <acronym style="font-size: 1.125em; font-variant: small-caps; line-height: 0.95em; text-transform: lowercase;" title="science, technology, engineering and maths (as the Brits would say with a plural)">STEM</acronym>

To learn more advanced techniques such as scalable bullets, (pure css, no images), service marks, and the advanced techniques of how to insert your email “read more” tag within a sentence, sign-up for the Elegant eMail™ cookbook. It’s free! That rumor about Spiro Agnew impersonators calling you at dinnertime is just #fakenews.

So keep #amwriting, whilst learning a bit of coding to polish your multi-channel communications.

Scripting Saturdays: creating your bibliography

by BonnieRobin Mariela Watau

In our fifth week of Scripting Saturdays, we cover creating your bibliography in seconds versus days. Just the sort of scaling your time invested covered in Scaling Time, which hit #13 on Amazon Kindle in its launch week! We are honored and delighted to have multiple recommendations by Richard Cushing, a sought-after consultant in supply chain optimization, to tweet out his enthusiastic endorsements for our new business parable equipping leaders to scale their attention from 20 seconds to 20 years.  Our first 5-star review comes from London banker Moorad Choudhry, where he writes “worth reading this for the quotes alone, I particularly identify with the ‘learning to love’ mantra.”


Getting Hyperlinks

This Visual Basic (VBA) Script, Get Hyperlinks, is both short and powerful, (you want the code by strongm (MIS) of 4 Dec 12 06:10). Yet it will fail under MS-Word 2010 if you have Word-embedded Table of Contents fields, so run this before you create|embed your ToC.

Paul Beverley has a great intro, Beginners Start Here on getting comfortable with macros and installing your first one.

Here is an example of the results of running, Get Hyperlinks: It generated the complete link bibliography for a 400+ page document in just a few seconds!

scripting saturday get hyperlinks macro

Until next time, happy writing!

The surprisingly convoluted journey of getting ‘helpmeet’ in a tweet!

by Matt Weilert

We were supposed to switch back to marketing for this 3rd week of Scripting Saturdays, but this was my week & this was just way too cool to keep to myself. Sharing is caring, even after we are out of 4th grade, right?

So in the just launched business fable Scaling Time, (see in DE, ESFR, UK, US), our hero Basil is software contractor, who is financially-independent from a series of wildly successful patents. None of the money matters when his wife died tragically young, leaving him as a widower in his thirties with five adorable children. Years before the children were born, his brilliantly savvy wife Fennel engaged a governess, Mrs. Monika Pritchard, to manage the funny farm they call home.

Mona, as those who have earned the right call her, is a polyglot finance wizard, fluent in five spoken languages as well as the language of international trust administration. It is she who manages the multi-layered trusts protecting the children’s financial futures, as well as the families international investments and the budget of a bustling household! In her spare time…(which Mom is not ready to bludgeon me about now?…), she manages the household staff, while she mentors five active young people, allowing Basil to focus on work, so that his off-work time is truly free to be a father.

As the story progresses, Saffron and Basil meet, court and fall in love. Here’s where the cool code as well as some of the marketing planning in this week’s episode of Scripting Saturday’s come together!

The two shall be as one

Ezer kenegdo is one of the great phrases in marriage workshops and has been a staple of discussion for years. Our purpose in this Scripting Saturday is to build on BonnieRobin’s pre-coded tweets example twitter-blue-bird-icon to learn how to include a Hebrew quote into our tweet! Wow, if that is not the coolest, you can just go home. Or spend your Sunday watching 22 men chase a stuffed pig bladder up & down a mis-marked soccer pitch.

Basically the short version of the journey is three steps:

  • Copy a source for the quote. (Unless of course, you are fluent in Hebrew, then you know what to do. 🙂 )
  • Paste the source into a conversion tool.
  • Apply the Percent-encoded string into the pre-coded tweet structure BonnieRobin demonstrated last week.

So Mark Francois might have the best example for us, using the very text in the web address!


Look closely at the address bar when you pull up his 22 July 2013 blog post in a separate tab. Leaving the cursor in the link, now right-click (or control-click for MacOS) and use ‘inspect element’ to look at the actual link you clicked above: the long-string of seems-to-be-gibberish that took us smartly to our destination. Ideal example that appearances can be deceiving, yes?

screen capture showing 'inspect element' feature of developer tools. The percent-encoded Hebrew is shown in the URL.

By the way, if you are mouseless, or just one of those elephantine people who has murophobia you may turn to Saint Gertrude of Nivelles.

So on with crafting our marketing tweet!

Step 1: copy the Hebrew,

Step 2: convert it to the form usable in our tweets, the best conversion tool I’ve found so far is a github app.

Paste the Hebrew you copied into the 2nd text area, titled Characters. Then simply hit convert. In a blink of an eye your text is converted to the long string we will use to embed the proper right-to-left Hebrew in our left-to-right tweets!

What are page encodings?

Hebrew and English used different page encodings in the Unicode schema, yet many languages work in harmony with the UTF-8 browser encoding, which is what our tech team at @rockeeldigital recommends you use for the vast majority of your literary writing work. If we want to be truly inclusive, which has nothing to do with gender (54:1 #epic #fail) and everything to do with how we communicate, then learning a wee bit about Unicode Transformation Format, 8-bit is in order:

Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit is a variable-width encoding that can represent every character in the Unicode character set. It was designed for backward compatibility with ASCII.

Joel Spolsky’s bare minimum article is also referenced at the UTF-8 site.

Percent Encoding is how we make our Hebrew ready to be embedded in a tweet. The 5th heading down from where we pasted the Hebrew text will be a *very* long string indeed. This is our proverbial pot of gold! We will copy this very long string:


into the embedding template BonnieRobin taught last week. For the actual embedding, I’m going to use a tweet I sent earlier today,

The long right squiggle is a single character standing for the “Long & Winding Road” which all marriages traverse. Effective spousalship is a schooling in self-mastery (§2339). The up-paired arrows, side-by-side represent the most diligent biblical scholarship, which identify that the grammar and etymology of one-who-undergirds is not only more than just equal but a mentor, trusted companion and guide to the best version of ourselves. To encode this is the same process, yet I will show a way that takes 2-steps, because the encoding task is trivially short.

The mondo cool site, html arrows gives us the unicode for both

Use the great tool and save a step, just directly input into the address bar from hex value to utf-8 conversion:\u[hex value here]

So simply adding the ‘percent sign’ (%) is all that is involved in the scary-sounding percent-encoding! Be Not Afraid!

  • tweet-ready long right squiggle: %e2%9f%bf
  • tweet-ready up paired arrows: %e2%87%88

Why do we work this hard?

Might you just as well as why the bluebird sings? If we want attention in a good way, we must invest in creatively distinguishing our messaging in a world deafened and defined by noise. Like a cat after catnip, entice your readers with a layered sense of discovery, rather than bashing them over the head like most in-your-face marketing campaigns. Yes or Yes? It really is that simple. And for those who love their work, the journey is never long. It is an adventure…

So we’ve reached Grandma’s house! It’s time to give our present!

Assemble the pieces of this tweet:

  1. The preamble:
  2. The long right squiggle: %e2%9f%bf
  3. Conventional text: road2 success. %23Talent must b ‘undergird’ (Remember the chart BonnieRobin gave for hashtag %23 & colon %3A)
  4. Hebrew text: %D7%A2%D6%B5%D7%96%D6%B6%D7%A8%20%D7%9B%D6%B0%D6%BC%D7%A0%D6%B6%D7%92%D6%B0%D7%93%D6%BC%D7%95%D6%B9
  5. Conventional text: w/%23mentors
  6. The up pair arrows (with colon): %e2%87%88%3A
  7. Closing Verses: 1Cor12: 4731

And put it all together to get it ready to stuff the bluebird so your readers can gobble it up!

Click on the link to test it! road2 success. %23Talent must b ‘undergird’ %D7%A2%D6%B5%D7%96%D6%B6%D7%A8%20%D7%9B%D6%B0%D6%BC%D7%A0%D6%B6%D7%92%D6%B0%D7%93%D6%BC%D7%95%D6%B9 w/%23mentors %e2%87%88%3A 1Cor12:4,7,31

Open this long link in a new tab, to test that you are less than 140 characters, as well as to verify every thing looks like it should. If all is well, you should have 51 characters left!

showing positioning within the URL of the embedded tweet components

Notice on the far left, the troubling empty box in the URL does resolve into the squiggle arrow in the tweet text area. To the right, the Hebrew does resolve in the address bar, as well as the up-paired arrows to the far right.

Plenty of room for a new book launch reference (like this one), or hashtags, etc. Your campaign strategy obviously guides what you will put in this valuable mental real estate of your reader, client, customer or prospect’s mind(s).

So you have the capacity for amazing creativity when you tell them, then tell them a surprise is in store, then make the surprise worth waiting for! May your long & winding road lead to customer success:  twitter-blue-bird-icon

Until next time: Keep writing, keep creating, keep having fun!

Saturday Scripting launches with “Save to 5 places”

As authors, editors and publishers ourselves here at STI Press and our business fable imprint, Skerja Press, we are pretty fanatical about backups. This simple script in VBA (Visual Basic, MS-Office), will open the Save As dialog box, allowing you to set your title, then save to five locations (simply add more or delete some to change from five). Or, just set one and hit cancel to the other four choices. (#smirk)

I highly recommend you increment your work such as:


or some version that suits your fancy. If the piece you are writing is called My Dog Spot, your filename might be mydogspot.mw2.aj6.doc, which tells us in the work flow that Tony wrote six drafts and this is Matt’s second edit.

Our internal work process is that we save in five separate locations, because the risk of losing all five is vanishingly small. Lose a single copy? It is not if but when. Lose two? Far less likely, but still too much effort invested for chance. Current fluctuations, Word decides to barf, some moron places a magnet next to your hard drive—the more important the project, the weirder the accidents.

Save to at least three distinct locations: a couple of different folders on your local hard drive, perhaps you might save to the so-called cloud, (which is just a cute name for shared hosting; been around since long before the internet launched), one to an external backup, or network drive, maybe another to a thumb drive. Your mileage may vary, the important take-home is that this simple script makes it easy to employ good data discipline.

Save to 5 Places script

So here is the script, then how to install and run it.

Sub SaveTo5Locations()
' Thanks to and
' for showing the way to craft this up.
' Created by Matt Weilert, on 5Jan17
With Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)
.Name = "G:\[path1]\\" & ActiveDocument.Name
End With
With Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)
.Name = "F:\[path2]\\" & ActiveDocument.Name
End With
With Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)
.Name = "E:\[path3]\\" & ActiveDocument.Name
End With
With Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)
.Name = "D:\[path4]\\" & ActiveDocument.Name
End With
With Dialogs(wdDialogFileSaveAs)
.Name = "C:\[path5]\\" & ActiveDocument.Name
End With
End Sub

And here is how to install and use this dandy time & mental-energy saver:

  1. On a Windows system, with Office loaded, hit Ctl-F8 to open the macro dialog box.
  2. Delete whatever is in the top-line, type “Dummy” (without the quotes) and hit to 5 places script macro dialog box
  3. In the Visual Basic Editor that pops open, highlight everything from the topline Sub Dummy() to End Sub and paste the script
  4. Adjust the path locations appropriate to your situation. Your cloud provider will have directions on how to save to your share on the cloud.
  5. You can leave the window open or just minimize it. Switch back to your document and hit Ctl-F8 again to reopen the macro dialog box, where, if all went well and the creeks did not rise, stranding dozens of helpless pilgrims [Hey! stick to one story at a time!]. Oh, sorry. (#woohoo). You will see SaveTo5Locations in the macro choice list.
  6. Hit run, it will open a dialog box with your existing document name. It will automatically ask you if you want to overwrite an existing file, if you are not incrementing for this particular save.
  7. Hit save and Bob’s Your Uncle! You’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your work is securely backed up and you can focus on your writing.

Until next time, keep the quills moving and the ideas flowing!


Why do we write?

updated 4 Jan 2016

Every successful author understands that writing is a business involving their craftsmanship in the art of time travel. As we are people of community – it’s wired into our DNA to share, to relate, to build bridges of understanding – we write not for ourselves, that’s just narcissism expressed in ink (or electrons as in our case!).

We write to enthrall, to capture our reader’s attention, pulling them out of the fog of modern media into the transformation from “searching” (Hebrew: dodim, לַחשׁוֹק), to secure and self-giving (Hebrew: ahabà, אַהֲבָה). Celebrate our newest business fable by signing up for a character sketch from the forthcoming Dividing by Zero.

Sign up above for a free chapter

Welcome to our first chapter giveaway! There’s no contest, just sign-up above (blue bar) to get your choice of one of 12 chapters in the current character sketches of

Dividing by Zero is the 4th volume in the Blue Two™ saga of business fables from Skerja Press.
Image: Rock Eel Digital

Dividing by Zero, part of the Blue Two series of business fables. These are works in progress so if you see typos or have comments on structure, content, etc. we’re all ears! (or more likely eyes, unless you reach out via Skype…)

What you get: While the chapters are primarily in English (with some foreign text in a European setting), from where you sit, you might call your gift various names:

  • » chapitre libre (FR)
  • » capítulo gratis (ES)
  • » capitol gratuit (RO)
  • » rozdziału książki darmo (PL)
  • » ελεύθερο κεφάλαιο (GR)
  • »(HE) פרק בחינם
  • kapitolu ktieb b’xejn (MT)
  • »(AR) الفصل مجانا
  • » бесплатная книга глава (RU)
  • » free chapter (EN) (free book chapter in some translations above)

If we get a wildly successful response, we’ll have to automate the fulfillment. At this point, we’re purposefully increasing customer friction (à la Ash Maurya), following Paul Graham’s advice to do things that do not scale, (with a counterpoint by Stella Garber).

Sample chapters are gradually being loaded on Scriggler for preview & comment:

Ch 1: Waterfall

Where we meet the Iverson family and experience them welcoming Felix Dickerson into the fold as Felix and Vivian are courting.

Ch 2: Proposal

Where Felix turns a 15 second marriage proposal into a 15 day treasure hunt, culminating in an acapella concert. By overwhelming the senses (short-term), Felix creates time-release memories that unfold a richer, more rewarding experience as their love matures. Their engagement party celebrates the feastday of St. Charbel Maklouf, on the 24th of July.

As a Lebanese Maronite monk, St. Charbel and his fellow present-day Lebanese Catholics provide us an Arabic viewpoint refreshingly more wholesome than the terrorist images constantly fed over mass media.

Ch 3: Honeymoon

Where Vivian praises her parents’ subtle genius in the way they shielded her from teen girl angst, keeping her formative years of 14-24 focused on faith, family and inspired mentor-based fellowship.

Ch 4: Design

Where Felix’s designs for Vivian’s competition dress in a big band jazz dance contest, and his understanding of Theology of the Body as the language of love, takes Vivian’s breath away.

Ch 5: Breakfast

Where we meet Greg and Melissa as they build their new life together in the textile technology center of Łódź, Poland.

Ch 6: Endowed

Where Vivian and Melissa collaborate on disruptively innovative designs for women’s activewear.

Ch 7: Reacquainted

Where Chris and Hillary reconnect from originally meeting at Greg and Melissa’s wedding three years prior. Hillary presents a new STEM-focused communications model over several lunches, events and dinners.

Ch 8: Endeavors

ying-yang talk logo
Image: Rock Eel Digital
In modern equal-opportunity fashion, Hillary treats Chris to Sunday brunch at the very exclusive venue Endeavors, where they continue to develop action plans for her ‘Speak Your Customer’s Language’ project that is central to driving engagement at scale.

Ch 9: Love & Laughter

Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man overlaid with the STI Press logo
Image: Rock Eel Digital

While baking several varieties of bread in Chris’s gourmet kitchen, they devise a plan to square the circle of male-female communications, in business, sports and family life, with a lighthouse motif that gives an easy-to-follow practice for translating between relationship-centered and transaction-centered speech.

Ch 10: Dinner & Dancing

Where curried chicken provides the start to a captivating evening that closes with Bergman & LeGrand.

Ch 11: Just a walk in the park

Over a series of walks and a picnic, Chris and Hillary discuss the merits of an unlevel playing field.

Ch 12: Crossing the Bridge

Detailed mentorship notes reviewing the concepts covered in each of the chapters, unifying the aspects of business intimacy around the axes of servant-hearted leadership (feeling), interactions (transparency) and trust.

So why do we create?

By engaging words to serve, we gain purchase (archaic use of the word) into the heart and soul of people we may never meet in the flesh. Our role as a race, our vocation as writers, is transform those we encounter, along the continuum of selfish-to-selfless. Remember that old-fashioned meaning of the word purchase when you’re (re-)designing your customer flows, week-to-week, fortnight-to-fortnight, quarter to quarter and managing expectations moment-to-moment.

It is literally true (pun fully intended!), that our purpose as writers echoes the purpose of the human family: to inspire, mold, shape and guide those we love to the best version of themselves.

Just like Ricardo Semler relates Arie de Geus’s joke of talking to his dog (, I learnt some of the most important things I know by listening to my German Shepard…

from N°6 of the encyclical Deus es Caritas

“According to the interpretation generally held today, the poems contained in [the Song of Songs] were originally love-songs… First here is the word dodim, a plural form suggesting a love that is still insecure, indeterminate and searching. This comes to be replaced by the word ahabà, which the Greek version of the Old Testament translates with the similar-sounding agape, which, as we have seen, becomes the typical expression for the biblical notion of love.”

Authors: All the best in your journey of learning to make time stand still for your readers.

Readers: Rejoice and savour the journey of those authors who make time stand still for you. Buy their books for your friends and loved ones. Host book feasts, parties and readings. Have fun making the world a better place because you’ve read good books and lived out what you’ve read.

Join our Reader’s Circle to discover how the Blue Two™ series can expand your horizons.

3-dimensional numeral twos, set in a cube so that the space between the individual numbers forms a heart
Image: Rock Eel Digital Design

Launching our Q3: 2014 theme ‘Cultural Fluency’ with the Blue Two book series Dividing by Zero

[updated 15 Feb 2016]

We’re excited to announce the first 5 titles in the Blue Two series. Like the Star Wars double trilogy, the first volume issued comes midway through the saga of the five titles. The first title issued in the Blue Two series, A Romance of Character launched this set of business fables with a rich and lively cast of characters drawn from around the globe to a special adventure camp in a Wisconsin National Forest.

Business fables are a special class of yarns we spin to mend the rends in our social fabric. These stories reflect back to key players of your value delivery circle, the myths that keep them (and us!) from achieving optimum outcomes.

Book cover concept for Dividing by Zero from Skerja Press
Image: Skerja Press
Set 5 years later, Dividing by Zero provides a rich narrative of how this unlikely team weaves their prior success into a tapestry of living, loving and leading with passion and purpose.

The Blue Two series helps you to see over the horizon and see around corners by raising your perspective. By climbing the steps of the lighthouse, you’ll learn:

  • » how subtle shifts in vantage point can unblock what you’re looking for,
  • » how understanding the differences between relational speech and transactional speech can accelerate your career,
  • » how to apply the timeless truth that “heart speaks to heart before mind is open to mind.”

Invest in your own potential.

Join the Reader’s Circle and be the first to discover how the Blue Two series can
expand your horizons. As a member of the Reader’s Circle, you’ll get the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the authors for ongoing development of the story!

The First Five Titles of the Blue Two series

Those with Ears, Let Them Hear Episode I: The origins of the epic Blue Two saga
Sean’s Quest Episode II: The Century of Progress
A Romance of Character, 2-volume set Episode III, Vol I: A Face on the Platform
A Romance of Character, also available individually Episode III, Vol II: Capture the Flag!
Dividing by Zero Episode IV: Reaching Singularity
Strauss’ 13 Winds Episode V: A Sailor’s Farewell

[ ^ ]

Double your productivity with Zapier & Unbounce

One of my favorite digital doyennes, Teri Simonton, (@pixelmongress), thought I was kidding when I said “sign up for our time-compression option” in my playful tweet recently.

Unlike the vast majority, it’s central to our role of discovering residual risks to ask questions or make recommendations that strike average people as outlandish, ridiculous and obscure. In lean startup terms, it’s a customer fit test. It’s also why our enterprise and larger clients must qualify for engagements.

Spyglass superimposed on Lighthouse with Japanese woodcut waves
Image: © 2012 Alexandra Ionescu, used by permission.
With the martial arts premise that only the humble can learn (skip to end of LI comment), we teach those who are willing to embark on a new path, how to layer their events as they progress up the steps of the lighthouse to rise out of the fog of social media selfies. With consistent and persistent discipline over 2-1/2 week intervals, they can learn to see past the horizon of chaotic froth in the modern media sea.

With timeless truths inspired by Duc in altum deployed in new ways, our Language Leverage program equips leaders with the courage to question the most basic assumptions about how they spend their most precious resource: their time. Here’s a case in point: Today a webinar annoucement comes out from two highly respected companies: Zapier & Unbounce. We’ll be following much of their advice moving forward.

Of course there’s a catch…

Participating in most webinars in real time is out of the question for those who are ruthlessly, unapologetically effective. Why? Media savvy people (or those in polychronic cultures) absorb information some 10-to-30 times faster than the average speaker talks, so we deploy a set of tools to make Hunter Boyle’s Unwebinar video, Beyond Lead Generation, viewable offline.

How do you slice your time?
Image: Rock Eel Digital
With the awesome VLC open source media player, media can be played at multiples of normal speed to truly compress the time it takes to glean the value he has to share. Additionally, having the video offline (for strictly private educational purposes, in keeping with Fair Use doctrine), provides unlimited granularity – you can replay a section or you can watch in 12 minute intervals, because the only chance you have to study is on your 15 minute breaks at work.

The founder of Photoreading, Paul R. Scheele, reports that the majority of the vital information in a resource is contained in only 11% of the document, video, etc., which is what makes executive summaries possible.

Interested in more data-dense navigational charts for the oceans of big data you swim through every day? Sign up for Perspectives from the Stair, where we equip organizations to drive profit (increase retained earnings for non-profits) by resolving the hidden risks in their operations. We wrap up our Q2: 2014 theme of Number Fluency with Perspectives Volume II, Issue 9. Happy Reading!

The Goodthistle Diaries
(A Glittering Carbon Fable)

Dear Mrs. Eleanor Beatrice Goodthistle,

In the post this afternoon the young man brought me your letter of 12th December 1768, for which I thank you kindly. When one reaches my age, some five score and three, one is happy to be remembered, much less to be sought out to give advice to one so young and lovely as yourself.

[As you read along, you can hear as he writes, the quill scratching along the parchment in your hands; you’d swear you can smell the sand that he threw on the ink to dry it before sealing with the family crest to prove its authenticity… You hear yourself speaking the parts of your letter he copied to comment on them…]

{…physical separation, financial, work, our new country, pregnancy… are sometimes overwhelming. I don’t want to say I have a depressive mood but sometimes I have this fear that makes me wonder how would it be to live a couple of days without stress and problems.}

Ah, the worries of a young wife! Is she pleasing her husband? Is she taking her place in the community of believers as one who shows others what it means to be a helpmate, a lifesaver? And what of romance, travel and children? Yes, these and a thousand other concerns can make life look dour, but there is hope, there is a way…

Carracci's painting of Christ encountering St. Peter
Image: Wikimedia, under Creative Commons
{…I do know Christ is asking us every day to help Him taking His Cross and be co-redemptors but He also knows how scared I am many times about all of these challenges so my help is almost zero.}

Courage is not the absence of fear (that might be called stupidity), NO! Courage is doing what you know is right, what you know you must do—in spite of your fear. Discipline is being a disciple when you don’t feel like it, when those around you are questioning or even outright hostile and you still embrace Your Cross for the sake of His Gift, His Cross, His Victory.

{…You are a brave and a faithful man (thank you for being such an inspiration to me, father!) so this is for asking your prayers to help your daughter to be brave and faithful, just like you and Mom.}

I thank you for the kind words, yet it is Horace, your hero of a husband who deserves the praise. Yes, I know he loves you with such a passion as I have not seen since, well probably since the Ottoman Patrona Halil uprising, but I digress. You are young, generous and charitable; I trust that you will forgive an elder who strays off topic?

{…Living with fear is lack of hope, right? Is this a sin? Hope not. Or having fear or thinking the worst is going to happen means I am crazy?}

As a deeply introspective woman, you think much, which is good. Blessed as I have been to have enjoyed time as a guest in your family’s home, what I would remark as a tonic or correction, a remedy if you will, is that you would be greatly blessed and I suggest, experience fewer of these depressing spells, if you would embrace your personal discipline.

You are right in saying love is a choice, so choose to love yourself, let your husband love you and most of all, let God shower down His Love on you right now! God will never abandon you, what happens so often is we abandon Him and then cry in travail, “Quo Vadis, Domine?”

Just 3 Things

Let’s start with just three things, we can address more as God wills that we should tarry here to serve Him. These three are food, frolic and faith. I really said that just for alliterative effect… By food I mean your life’s energy scheme in total:


  • what you eat & drink
  • herbs & tonics you take to bring your cells the nutrients they need
  • keeping your body in an active state through foods you choose and when you choose to say no, say no in peace (no goading)
  • getting (& keeping, more challenging, yes) your body in an alkaline state, to receive the positive outcomes that offers
  • burning more than you take in by adding effort throughout your day: having set exercises that you perform like breathing, they’re just part of who you are.
  • learning to like what’s good for you – and without draconian action – reduce or merely avoid those special weakness foods that are your nemesis (a little bit different from the above).


  • Learn what you love, what moves you, what inspires you to work on the better you then doing that because of the rewards it offers, provided God is blessed by you doing it.
  • Develop fun through your exercise, so that it’s something you want to do.
  • choose joy, even when it doesn’t make sense by the world’s standards! We are in the world, not of the world, we’re just traveling through, our homeland is Heaven!


  • Learning and living that God wants to bless you, in body, mind and spirit; meaning that you CAN have more energy, more fun, need less sleep and still raise healthy, ethical, moral children as your life transforms in ways you can scarcely now imagine.
  • Leveraging the gifts of your nature: you feel profoundly connected and impacted by events around you, some of which matter, some don’t. With Horace, discuss what matters in the family mission and vision and if it doesn’t advance those, don’t do it!

My beloved daughter Beadie-Beadie, that may sound harsh, let me clarify it: at some point, just like the athlete & the warrior recognize that discipline in their craft is its own reward, so too can you!

  • Once you accomplish the basics, you can invest your energy in actually advancing your craft, actually getting better at what you set out in the beginning, often actually reaching your goal.
  • Broaden the scope of things that you consider basic. This is key to God being able to bless you more: when your vessel holds more, He can put more in it, simple as that!

I’ve personally heard Horace say this, so it’s not new:

doubt is a choice to put more faith in the prince of lies than in the Creator of the Universe. From what I know about gambling, it’s not a good idea to argue with the one who makes the rules…

So, wrapping up my dear, (it’s well into the evening as I write this. I got pulled away by other tasks. Forgive me that the ink will appear inconsistent), embrace your nature, yet marry it to your faith and weld it to the daily discipline of the will that is the hallmark of the Work. I feel secure knowing that Horace is spiritually by your side with every heartbeat, even when travel and business require him to be away.

Receive this hug and give my love to Horace my dearest child. I’m very proud of you Eleanor B and I have never been prouder than the day your name changed to Goodthistle. He is a good man, follow him.

With love,

Aristophanes (Dad)

Do we have the courage to question our assumptions?

In researching data and crowdsourcing collaborators for an upcoming book, The New Scarlet Letter, I’m awestruck by the sheer arrogance that is the central facet of this “save the environment” campaign.

Cover of "The New Scarlet Letter"
   Image: STI Press

Before one stops reading and leaves with the idea that your correspondent is a bit of a tosser, consider that those among us courageous enough to question our assumptions typically end up with much better data and much better results!

No thinking person with a shred of common sense, nor anyone with experience in systems thinking or lifecycle analysis, wants to harm the environment.

Are there unthinking people in the world, yes or yes? Unless we are able to ruthlessly challenge our own assumptions, we are potentially participants in the same groupthink that lead Greenpeace from activism to irrelevance, (See pro-GP article in Forbes.)

There are clear-cut reasons why co-founder Patrick Moore left the Greenpeace movement 15 yrs ago – among them, Greenpeace wanted to “ban chlorine” – which inconveniently for Al Gore, is a naturally occurring element of the periodic table.

Those who firmly assert that the “debate is settled” on climate change, were inconveniently forced to switch to this new term du jour, when local weather reports generated first snickers then howls of comic derision over the idea of “global warming” with the polar vortex and the “global warming survey ship” getting stuck in the ice.

A good litmus test of a true “movement” is when people of wildly divergent lifestyles can agree on overarching themes. One may observe a textbook case of this comparing Camille Paglia [1, 2] and Christina Hoff Sommers.

To wrap up, here are 2 of the most forehead-smacking comments worth questioning:

The fundamental issue has to be to reduce / reverse population control as we have gone past the tipping point in sustainability.
According to whom? What is their moral authority to mandate lifestyle choices for others (such as China’s enforced sterilization and in the US selective abortions by gender)?
We are nature, there is no distinction between me, you, a tree, the sea.
Wow. Not really sure how to begin an adequate response to such bollockspeak.

More than half of the world’s population believes in a Supreme Being. In Vegas, it’s rarely a good idea to bet against the house. The most comprehensive, collective umbrella perspective is the “Golden Rule” or do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In this context, the “save the environment” movement spectacularly fails because it does not address needs at the intimately local level of 1:1 personal relationships, but adopts a “corporate one-size-fits-all” that ends up just delivering a different form of tyranny; a a tired, worn-out actor dressed in ill-fitting clothes.

Bjørn Lomborg provides a well-documented alternative to information tyranny via his Skeptical Environmentalist site, books and films.

Yours in clarity,

Matt Weilert

Lean Startup Experiment: Radical Innovation in no-merchant fee webinar registration

This Elegant eMail™ webinar equips you to create messaging that resonates with your audience. Are you ‘Crafting Y.o.u.r. Message’ or just sending out emails? If your Grandma asked you, can you give real-world examples of the artistry of crafting Your Own Unique Resonating Message and why that message is worth your readers’ time and attention? The ‘Crafting a Message that Resonates’ Webinar delivers what you need to do just that!

WHO: Those ambitious people who want to grow their email writing skill and message quality. If you want quick and easy, go elsewhere. Finely-honed effective messaging is worth the work!

WHAT: Creating messages that resonate with your audience takes both ear and voice. We have to stop talking to hear. Listen with your ear and your heart, because heart speaks to heart before mind is open to mind (cor ad cor & all that). Creating a resonant voice, spoken or written, takes both style and substance, a fact lost on most marketers… (ahem!)

WHY: Voicing the right notes to harmonize with the song your audience longs to hear is so far beyond the pale of mere analytics it creates the coveted “lean startup unfair advantage.” While some technical proficiency is a must, allowing data to overshadow message is like singing a note perfectly in tune, but from the wrong song!

HOW: Broad themes focus our efforts on clarity, discrete details deliver that clarity to our audience. Many of the important details in creating messages that resonate with your audience are at the sub-word level and go unnoticed, yet they create the overtones that bring or break the harmony we all need to feel understood.

Join us for a peek into the world of Elegant eMail™ and learn to craft the music behind your words as a song other people will want to sing.

WHEN: We have a *very* different value proposition, so too our schedule: we will host this 1-hour webinar for only $20 (USD) per person when 60 people have prepaid and registered.

The Lean Startup Experiment is in the registration portion.

Having taken the survey, you’ve decided that you are willing to participate in radical innovation for the sake of exploring new pathways. Here’s a real world example: Let’s host a webinar with no merchant processing fees!

Our threshold is 60 in-branch registrations from hopefully more than 10 states. The price is set ridiculously low for the experiment, but in aggregate, it covers the development and admin costs for hosting. If we get 60 total registrations, we’ll host the webinar. If the count falls short, we’ll conduct skype sessions with any registrants to fulfill our commitments. In counting registrants, we’ll not follow the example of Gen 18.

Here’s all you do:

For anyone who lives near a Chase branch, walk in on Saturday the 28th, Monday the 30th or Tuesday the 1st and tell the teller you want to deposit $20 into the account for Systems Thinking Institute LLC, in Cedar Creek, Texas, 78612. (You shouldn’t need the account number, that is part of the test for this deposit exercise!) That should be all the information they need. If they give you static, tell them you’re part of a test to pay for a webinar without merchant fees and their refusal to accept a deposit will be recorded and tracked as a branch fail.

For those not near a branch, simply pay online via spacebox for the webinar (remember the goal is 60 brick-n-mortar in-person payments from 10 states!) then register on the Rock Eel Digital webinar page (the secure payment page will send you there automatically). The simplest way to confirm your in-person payment is to snap an image of the deposit and email it to register (at)

In-branch registrants get the following extra gifts:

  • 5 phone coaching sessions 1:1 (or group if you prefer), with Matt Weilert, in our unique 12-minute format for laser focus on your email specifics. That hour alone is a $300 (USD) value, so your ROI is off the charts if you’re an analytics type.
  • Unlimited email support for 19 days, one cycle in the “Now to Then & Back Again” Personal Productivity Practice, introduced in our Senior Executives Retreat, 19 Days to Business Intimacy: A fortnight plus five.
  • A free book of your choice (pre-press PDF not dead tree edition) from our launch catalog.

All that for $20 plus the webinar is what @RDCushing calls a Mafia Offer: an offer you can’t refuse! We suspect a great many will, because the no-merchant-fee practical test is a radically simple, yet disruptively innovative idea that questions many of our assumptions about banking and so-called “personal convenience” in a lean startup experiment.

Those wigged out by the practical implementation of the no-merchant-fee exercise, have the option of paying online conventionally, they just don’t get the extra goodies.

Let’s recap:

The Elegant eMail™ webinar will leverage your capacity to craft messages that resonate with your audience. The payment has both an on-line (snooze) and an off-line option (wowza!).

What you do

What you get

  • Mailchimp-tested CSS for building your brand: the specifics for
    • service mark
    • trademark
    • registered trademark (“circle-R”)
  • and your readers’ understanding with the
    • acronym element.
  • “Threshold techniques” to help your readers over the inertia of composing a comment with fully pre-formatted email:
    • addressees
    • subject line
    • body content

so that it auto-populates merely by clicking on the mailto: link.

This is the heart of elegance for emailing: granting your readers that precious push over the threshold to actually comment on a given topic of the day. This pre-formatting technique is 1 more arrow in the quiver full of concepts we call Elegant eMail™.

The secret to emails that resonate goes beyond good writing: it’s crafting the music behind your words as a song other people will want to sing.

We hope you’ll join us in this radically innovative in-branch payment experiment!

and that you’ll join us for the webinar however you choose to pay.