Movitation Monday – Why you will fail to have a great career by Economist Larry Smith

Throughout his three-decade career here at the University of Waterloo, Larry Smith has inspired legions of students to take up the mantle of economics with his passionate and homespun tales of economic wizardry. A renowned story-teller, teacher and youth leadership champion, Larry has also coached and mentored countless numbers of students on start-up business management and career development strategies.

Having taught introductory microeconomics, macroeconomics and entrepreneurship classes, he recently celebrated assigning his 29,000th grade earlier this year.

Recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, Larry has also coached several of his former students to help them position and develop their businesses, the most famous of which is Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the revolutionary BlackBerry wireless mobile smartphone. Larry also sits on the advisory panels of start-ups to provide his guidance on financing and negotiation with investors and venture capitalists.

Happy National Kick Butts Day!!! – What are you doing to kick the habit?



Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to:

  1. Raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community;
  2. Encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and
  3. Urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.

Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996.


The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. To achieve our mission, we:

  1. Promote public policies proven to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. These include higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and stop-smoking programs, and tough regulation of tobacco products and marketing.
  2. Expose and counter tobacco industry efforts to market to children and mislead the public.
  3. Strengthen tobacco control efforts in the United States and worldwide by providing support and information to our many partners.
  4. Mobilize organizations and individuals to join the fight against tobacco.
  5. Empower a tobacco-free generation by fostering youth leadership and activism.
  6. Inform the public, policy makers and the media about tobacco’s devastating consequences and the effectiveness of the policies we support.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that accepts no government or tobacco industry funding. We rely on contributions from individuals, philanthropic foundations, corporations and other non-profit organizations.

Get more information from Kick Butts Day

My Friendship, My Mistake & What I’ve Learnt by Anthony Bozzola (BLW Contributor)


Throughout my life I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of friends from a number of different places at a number of different times. I’ve moved around so naturally some have come, some have gone, some are still here and some aren’t. I’ve never really been bothered when any of them have disappeared except in the case that I’m about to talk about. The friendship in question may not have ended quite the way that it should have but what it did do was confirm a belief that I’ve always had; that we meet some people in our lives for a reason and even if we don’t realise it at the time, we’re supposed to learn something from these people. I think I may have recently figured out what it was that I was meant to learn.

The person in question was totally different from pretty much any close friend I’ve had before or since and I think that’s perhaps what made them so special. Standing at barely 5 foot, hailing from a city I’d never heard of in a country I’ve never been to; this person was a far-cry from the 6,3, kind-of lanky white boy that writes what your reading. Yet from the second our hands came into contact and our eyes locked onto each other’s (complete with that thing where you linger on each-other for what feels like an hour) I think we both knew we were going to be close.

Not only were our physical appearances a direct contrast but so were our initial personalities. I, on one hand, was chatty, loud and maybe a little too brash and obnoxious for my own good. She on the other hand was shy, softly spoken and sometimes a little too unsure of herself for hers. Yet we clicked; almost instantly we were bantering and making jokes that any outsider wouldn’t understand and maybe even think were a little strange or offensive. By one month we were hugging when parting ways. By three months we knew things about each other that we didn’t tell a lot of our closest friends and colleagues. By 4 months we were holding hands in public, using any excuse to make physical contact and doing other weird ‘they-may-be-just-friends-now-but-its-building-up-to-something-more’ type s*it reserved for crappy rom-coms. By four and a half, maybe five, months we’d seen each other at our best and worst and knew we could show each other every side of who we were without fear of judgement.

The amazing thing about friendships of this nature is that the parties involved often have an uncanny ability of bringing the best out of each other. I became more thoughtful, less inpatient (maybe it’s a cultural thing but she could put saints to shame!) and felt like I could take on the world. All the while she became more sure of herself, more talkative and witty, her vocabulary broadened hugely (picking up a lot of my conversational Welsh slang along the way) and she seemed to rarely not be smiling, even with the impending pressures that were waiting around the corner for her.

Unfortunately even as much as we tried to ignore them these pressures got bigger and uglier as they got closer. Due to matters involving ridiculous legislation way above either of our control she would soon have to leave my country (that she contributed more to than many people born in it) and return to the one mentioned above. We made the most of the time we had left; we went out to eat, partied a little, went for coffee, cooked each other meals, took up a night class together, signed up for Zumba (for nothing, since the instructor fell pregnant before we ever actually went!), I even met her mother. Inevitably and without a Polaroid in sight things started to develop. After almost a year of being around each other and interacting at least a few days of every week I was ready to move past the ‘Friendship Stage’ and, for what it’s worth, I believe she was pretty high on me as well. We even admitted to each other that in different circumstances we would both be more than willing to give each other a chance at being ‘more-than-friends’. To cut a long story short and due in most part to the issue described above this was not to be.

Sadly, and I chalk this down to inexperience (I’d never really felt the ‘love’ thing before), fear of loss and maybe even trust issues I did not react well to this stimulus. We argued and fell out over an issue that on hind-sight wasn’t really there in a scenario that I’m not too proud to admit was at least 60 maybe even 70% my fault where I jumped to a conclusion that I had no right or basis to jump to. This was particularly distressing as it resulted in this person, who I honestly adored and who was already under an immense amount of pressure and needed my support more than ever, scolding me and despite my protests (I’ve never ‘begged’ for anything but I came mighty close over this) denying me the chance to say goodbye to her properly before taking off to a place that isn’t exactly nearby, it’s not even the same continent and I haven’t seen her since.

After spending far too much time drinking, smoking cigarettes (maybe the odd other thing) and listening to Bruno Mars I pulled my head out of the gutter and got my life back on track. I did the upset thing, the angry thing, the ‘Quick, I need to get laid by somebody right now!’ thing and all points in between. Truth is with a clear mind I finally understood that this girl and my time with her was meant to teach me something.

At the end of our time together I spent too long reading into things that weren’t there when I should have been focusing on the positives. The laughs, the talks, the immense sense of trust and protectiveness that we seemed to have over each other and the fact that she bought a warmth and positivity into my life that would take a long time to learn to live without.

The point I’m trying, so very badly, to make is that if you have a close friend or family member; even if they do something that kind of p*sses you off or puts some doubt in your mind never let that be the thing that defines your relationship and never be so inward thinking that you forget about what they’re going through when they do these things. This is what I did and I paid the price. I’ll be saying goodbye to my family and my best friends in around 6 weeks and even though they do things that bug me and I’m sure I do the same to them, I’d never let anything negative overshadow the good stuff as it’s this stuff that matters; appreciate what the relationship is and don’t squander it over what you want it to be.

I’ll likely never see the girl discussed in this piece again but from the bottom of my heart I wish her the best and thank her for the time she spent in my life. I loved that girl, I really did…

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

Check out other great articles from Anthony Bozzola

Happy National Handbag Day!!! – What your handbag says about you by Charles Gross

Happy National Chess Day – The many benefits of playing Chess


  1. Promotes brain growth:Games like chess that challenge the brain actually stimulate the growth of dendrites, the bodies that send out signals from the brain’s neuron cells. With more dendrites, neural communication within the brain improves and becomes faster. Think of your brain like a computer processor. The tree-like branches of dendrites fire signals that communicate to other neurons, which makes that computer processor operate at a fast, optimal state. Interaction with people in challenging activities also fuels dendrite growth, and chess is a perfect example.
  2. It exercises both sides of the brain: A German study indicated that when chess players were asked to identify chess positions and geometric shapes, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain became highly active. Their reaction times to the simple shapes were the same, but the experts were using both sides of their brains to more quickly respond to the chess position questions.
  3. Raises your IQ: Do smart people play chess, or does chess make people smart? At least one scientific study has shown that playing the game can actually raise a person’s IQ. A study of 4,000 Venezuelan students produced significant rises in the IQ scores of both boys and girls after four months of chess instruction. So grab a chess board and improve your IQ!
  4. Helps prevent Alzheimer’s: As we age, it becomes increasingly important to give the brain a workout, just as you would every other major muscle group, in order to keep it healthy and fit. A recent study featured in The New England Journal of Medicinefound that people over 75 who engage in brain-games like chess are less likely to develop dementia than their non-board-game-playing peers. The saying “use it or lose it” certainly applies here, as a sedentary brain can decrease brain power. All the more reason to play chess before you turn 75.
  5. Sparks your creativity: Playing chess helps unleash your originality, since it activates the right side of the brain, the side responsible for creativity. One four-year study had students from grades 7 to 9 play chess, use computers, or do other activities once a week for 32 weeks to see which activity fostered the most growth in creative thinking. The chess group scored higher in all measures of creativity, with originality being their biggest area of gain.
  6. Increases problem-solving skills: A chess match requires fast thinking and problem-solving on the fly because your opponent is constantly changing the parameters. A 1992 study conducted on 450 fifth-grade students in New Brunswick indicated that those who learned to play chess scored significantly higher on standardized tests compared to those who did not play chess.
  7. Teaches planning and foresight: One of the last parts of the brain to develop during adolescence is the prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for judgment, planning and self-control. Because playing chess requires strategic and critical thinking, it helps promote prefrontal cortex development and helps teenagers make better decisions in all areas of life, perhaps keeping them from making an irresponsible, risky choice.
  8. Optimizes memory improvement:Chess players know that playing chess improves your memory, mainly because of the complex rules you have to remember, as well as the memory recall needed when trying to avoid previous mistakes or remembering a certain opponent’s playing style. Good chess players have exceptional memory performance and recall. A study of Pennsylvania sixth-graders found that students who had never before played chess improved their memories and verbal skills after playing.
  9. Improves recovery from stroke or disability: Chess develops fine motor skills in individuals who have disability or have suffered a stroke or other physically debilitating accident. This form of rehabilitation requires the motion of chess pieces in different directions (forward, backward, diagonally forward motion, diagonally backward motion), which can help develop and fine tune a patient’s motor skills, while the mental effort required to play the game can improve cognitive and communication skills. Playing can also stimulate deep concentration and calm, helping to center and relax patients

Credit: Health Fitness Revolution

Family Guy – Brian and Stewie playing chess

A man is found surrounded by Doritos & Chips Ahoy cookies after calling 911 (Epic Fail of the Week)



According to CBS News, A 22-year-old Ohio man called 911 last Friday evening and told officers he was “too high” on marijuana.

According to the police report, when cops arrived at the man’s home, his grandfather directed them upstairs where they found the man moaning, curled in the fetal position, and “surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy cookies.”

CBS News obtained the audio of the 911 call. In the audio, the operator asks the man what he took, he eventually responds with saying it was weed.

The man told police he “smoked too much weed” and couldn’t feel his hands. He directed officers to his car, where they found a glass pipe with marijuana residue, rolling papers and a glass jar of pot.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Knowledge is Power – Know more than yourself


Survival of the Fittest – List of common Chemicals that are making you Fat & Depressed



We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.

Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.

To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.

  1. Growth Hormones & Antibiotics

Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely given to conventionally raised animals to fatten them up on less food. Residues from some of these drugs have been found in meat samples, so you very well could be eating these growth-promoting drugs every time you eat a steak. These drugs are believed to contribute to the obesity epidemic and are poorly regulated in the U.S.

How to avoid: Choose only certified organic grass-fed meat and dairy products (preferably local). Treatment with growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics isn’t permitted in organically grown animals. As an added benefit, organic grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may actually help you lose weight.

  1. Artificial & Natural Flavors

All of the chemicals that make processed food taste good — monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and natural flavors — are just cheap replacements for the real thing and can cause you to eat more than you would otherwise.

With the innocuous-sounding term “natural flavors,” companies can put whatever they want in your food that’s generally recognized as safe, including naturally occurring glutamate bi-products like MSG, known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food.

How to avoid: Steer clear of processed foods, particularly those that have artificial flavors, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate or other “processed free glutamic acid” additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners

Think you’re going to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet? Think again. Researchers have discovered that artificial sweeteners like those in Diet Coke, can affect gut bacteria, leading to more weight gain. If that isn’t bad enough, the artificial sweetener Aspartame has been linked to mood swings and depression.

How to avoid: Don’t eat anything with artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin) in the ingredient list. Limit your sugar intake overall, but choose unrefined sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey and dried fruits such as dates.

  1. Pesticides

Out of all the common pesticides Americans are regularly exposed to, the majority of them are “endocrine disruptors“, making them obesogens. Even in tiny amounts, endocrine disruptors have the ability to disrupt major weight controlling hormones (catecholamines), interfere with the natural hormone systems that regulate metabolism and lead to weight gain.

How to avoid: Minimize your exposure to pesticides by choosing certified organic produce and products. (Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.) If organic isn’t available, choose fresh produce that’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15″ list of produce with the least pesticide residue.

  1. Plastics

Whether it’s a bottle of salad dressing or container of leftovers, most of us are exposed to plastics on a daily basis. Many of these plastics contain substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA), known endocrine disruptors that have beendirectly linked to increased fat storage. These chemicals have the ability to leach into food and have infiltrated our society so much that they’ve been found 93% of urine samples tested in America.

How to avoid: Choose your water bottles, storage containers, straws and eating utensils wisely, and stock up on those made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. Glass jars make an affordable option for storing food.

Credit: Mind Body Green

Better Me by Elephant Journal (BLW Contributor)


Flickr/Bo Boswell

I stopped asking, “Why me?”

I stopped stating that life was unfair.

I stopped thinking that my luck couldn’t get any worse.

I stopped looking at myself as a walking magnet for all things unjust,

And I started saying, “Better me.”

Better me to deal with the darker things that life seemed to direct my way.

Better me to handle these demons—I’ve been battling monsters my whole life.

I’ve learned to navigate through chaos and obscurity.

I’ve learned to thrive with nothing.

I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and build castles from the stones that were thrown.

Better me to carry the weight of these burdens, than someone else who may stumble and falter.

Who better to slay dragons, than the girl who learned to be a warrior so early on?

I no longer allow the thought “Why me?” to creep into my consciousness—

Now, I simply say, “Better me”—because I’ve got this.

Photo: Flickr/Bo Boswell

Check out other great articles from Elephant Journal