Jul 14 2018






The National Federation of Independent Business proclaims NOW is the first time in 45 years that confidence levels of US small business owners are prompting a growth and expansion attitude.


So, the time to grow is NOW.

But beware the temptation to charge full-steam ahead because pursuing more business or professional practice growth now probably means you’ll need to be pulling weeds first!

You’ll need to make more elbow room for your new or planned crops/flowers/products/services to gain more sunshine, and an increased share of watering.

And, remember that no matter how clear things appear above ground, nothing can grow when underground weed roots are commandeering the water supply, and strangling what you are trying to plant!

So, even with more sunshine, unless below-the-surface water routes are not also freed up, you will have done only half the job… ending up with half the possible results.


Well then, where do you start?

Just pulling harder on your weeds often only serves only to delay failure because the roots that remain (after the aboveground portions snap off) simply get larger and even more aggressive.

Odds are you already have a pretty good idea of where you want to end up, but before you set specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated goals in writing, step back from what you’re doing right now and assess your business’s ability to rise to the occasion.

In other words, honor the famous old quotes from Robert J. McKain: “There is no achievement without goals” and Earl Nightingale: “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” And most importantly: Start with an honest appraisal of your SELF.

How capable are you and how much do you really want to spend the energy to make a difference for your SELF, your family, your employees, your customer/patient/client base?

How many people are presently employed by your business or professional practice?

Have each of them demonstrated a capability to rise to the occasion? If yours is a “family” business, how invasive is that influence on where you want to go?

Make a Yes/No/Maybe list.

Who among the “no” and “maybe” people are “weeds”? (i.e., they need to move or shift their attitudes somehow to allow more sunshine in… or they need to simply be removed by the roots because they are taking up too much space and water to continue with your new growth ambitions and directions.)

Decide how flexible/adaptable/energetic/motivated each of them is?

And what you think it will take to get each moving in the right direction.

Remember that weeds DO have a use

. . . when they are added to the mulch pile.




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Jan 13 2016

Business AND Family Freedom Now!

Entrepreneurial Leadership?



… Practice “The 5 Freedoms”


World renown family therapist and author Virginia Satir spoke with me once after a workshop she ran at the University of California. She told me that small business growth and strength, and family growth and strength could both be most readily achieved with the acceptance and conscientious practice of what she aptly called “The 5 Freedoms.”

I share these with you here, now, not as some plaque to hang on your wall, or slogan to bang into your head, but as a road to travel. You may want to slow your brain down and digest each, then ask yourself how your family, small business or professional practice might grow stronger, quicker, by following your commitment to pursue this avenue.


The 5 Freedoms

by Virginia Satir

To see and hear

what is here,

instead of what should be,

 was, or will be.


To say what one

feels and thinks,

instead of what one should.


To feel

what one feels,

instead of what one ought.


To ask

for what one wants,

instead of always waiting

for permission.


To take risks

in one’s own behalf,

instead of choosing to be

only “secure” and

not rocking the boat.


How and when and where can you use this road to help guide your business and family development interests? Please be sure to let me know if this message works for you, if it helps you think big, and to share it (together with your own thoughts if you choose) by clicking on your choice of social media buttons shown below.

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Hal@Businessworks.US     931.854.0474

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Jan 18 2013

The 6th of 10 Things Nobody Tells Entrepreneurs



In today’s instant gratification world, many professional healthcare practices, B to B firms, and customer service business owners hear some version of this question with increasing regularity. Not a bad thing to be asked. Huh? Well. because there’s always room for an answer when you know what the question is.

In fact, NOT hearing some version of “Whaddayadonfermelately?” is far worse than being asked because the unasked question itself portends a “not much” answer.

Savvy proactive service business owners and managers never allow any form of this question to surface in the first place. Their secret? Regular, ongoing “How Goes It?” inventory exchanges. Meetings and discussions (note NOT text messages or emails, which are too superficial) that chunk up and evaluate workflow, deliverables, and performance.

These usually daily or weekly assessments (which generally best occur on Monday mornings to set up the week ahead) are typically followed by a call to action — adjustments in the timing, speed, quality, quantity, agility, relevance, attitude, goals, roles, responsibilities . . . whatever steps will help ensure productive forward motion from point to point.

And when you were a kid (no doubt possessing prototypical entrepreneurial characteristics such as resentment of authority in school and reluctance to follow rules), you might have thought report cards were nonsense — or perhaps unpleasant harbingers of parental lectures?

But “report card” dynamics in service businesses –especially when they’re self-imposed– have saved many client accounts and relationships from collapse. Instead, as  some family elder likely forewarned us as children when we had clearly overstepped or under-achieved, it’s a good thing to “nip it in the bud” when it comes to following a problem direction.

When you, the service provider, take the initiative to nip problems “in the bud,” by requesting regular, ongoing feedback and assessment from your client/customer/patient, you are exercising a form of positive preventive maintenance. And this is not even to mention the other values attached to the client’s impression of your commitment.

Asking for feedback is an admirable posture all by itself but, more importantly, you are opening the communication expressway to allow for more give and take, and a healthier more communicative and more rewarding relationship that operates from a position of strength and confidence, instead of one of cowering and covering your butt.

How do YOU feel about doing business with s0meone who makes assumptions instead of asks? Or someone who disappears when the going gets tough or when you have issues to discuss? Hmmm?


# # #

Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open Minds Open Doors

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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

God Bless You and Thank You for Your Visit!

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Dec 10 2012

The 5th of 10 Things Nobody Tells Entrepreneurs




(From: ’70s rock group “YES” in their hit song, “I’ve seen all good people”)


Besides the number one ailment of entrepreneurs –being under-capitalized– a close second place is awarded to the All-American crushing entrepreneurial ego! This business venture is my idea. I can do it better than anybody. I want people working with me who will ask how high when I say “Jump!” Yup! BTLS (“Born To Lose Syndrome”) it’s called.

Generally speaking, and it’s unfortunate, most people who start, buy or inherit a business or professional practice tend to think the opposite of proven success experience, at least at the outset, and completely blow off the idea of hiring and surrounding themselves with those who are better, smarter, wiser and more experienced than they are. 

Don’t rely on my opinion. Ask any successful business owner or manager you know. You’ll find that those who truly make a difference with the pursuit of their ideas are those who surround themselves with excellence. It’s the mark of a true leader. If you have an ego problem, work at it. If you don’t, it will kill your business or practice.

Accept the fact that someone who has studied and practiced law or accounting or IT or training or marketing or operations, or finance is probably better equipped to make and recommend decisions in their areas of core competence than you are, even though you are great, have great ideas, and are probably a better salesperson than you could ever hire

Rule of thumb for successful startups and departmental streamlining: Find and hire the best, smartest people you can in every area of the business that you do not have exceptional command of. Support them. Encourage them. Challenge them. Reward them. And, above all, respect them and listen hard to their recommendations.




Although it is commonly misunderstood –and many attribute the categorization of being “a jack of all trades” to the word, “entrepreneurship”– entrepreneurship is in fact a really unique form of leadership. It’s unique because it carries the added burden and challenge of being creative while it benefits by the opportunities that creativity produces.

Carry, in other words, entrepreneurial spirit into all that you do while you drop the limitations that entrepreneurial ego fosters. Surround yourself with high quality, high energy people who know more than you and focus –not on competing with them, but–  on being their leader and the spokesperson for your brand. Success will come MUCH quicker.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open Minds Open Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

God Bless You and Thank You for Your Visit!

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Aug 18 2012


When to personalize


your message?



Please. If you’re still asking this question, I hope someone else is doing your marketing for you. The answer of course, is “Always!” When do you NOT personalize a message? When you want no results!

Can any message that you ever receive (except maybe a threat or a summons ;<) be too personalized? Well how do you think your prospects feel when they get your emails and Tweets and direct mail addressed to: Dear Occupant, or Dear Computer User (Duh!), or Dear Follower, or Dear Homeowner, or Dear Friend, or Dear Voter?

You might ask instead:

Why would a business or professional practice

owner throw money out the window?


What’s in a name? It’s the most important thing you have! When a business or professional practice refuses to take the trouble or go to the expense to find out what it is, or refuses to use it in communicating, or won’t take the time and make the effort to spell it or say it correctly, that entity is not worth dealing with. Period. No exceptions.

“Dear Valued Customer”? Finger down throat! Pffffft! That’s BS and you know it! If you can’t be more personalized than that, you’re not serious about being in business. Get a government job! (Not much of anything needs to be personalized there.) If the customer is so “valuable,” prove the point; get it right!

Your prospects and customers are no different than you in how they perceive the integrity and authenticity of a business or professional practice based on the accuracy and diligence of how a communication is addressed. If your name is Smith and a message comes to you addressed to Smythe, are you about to open it or read any further? Of course not.

And if it’s pronounced “Smitt” on the phone

 . . .”CLICK! Buzzzzzz:

If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and . . .”


Making doubly sure of the exact accuracy of the name that you personalize (and address your communications to), no doubt takes longer and probably costs more, but–in the end–odds are it will get through and be noticed instead of being trashed without even being opened. Oh, and the more complicated the name is, the more likely you gain a friend by spelling it right!

This goes for email addresses and phone calls as well. You don”t know how to pronounce a name? Ask! There are enough tools available via Internet search engines today that there’s no longer any excuse for misrepresenting, mispronouncing, misdirecting, or misspelling a prospect or customer name, or title, or company affiliation. Personalizing your message sells!

If you, in other words, are reduced to having to say “Dear Friend,” be assured you are not. Stop wasting your time and money.

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HAL ALPIAR Writer/Consultant 302.933.0911 TheWriterWorks.com, LLC
National Award-Winning Author & Brand Marketer – Record Client Sales

Open Minds Open Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 04 2010

When Reality Sucks!

Tired of Reality?


Ache for Fake?


Comes a time for every professional practice and business owner or manager to step up into the world of make-believe, and take a brain break from daily work realities and nightly reality TV.

I’m not talking a week in the islands or weekend at Disney World or some quality after-dinner minutes with kids or pets. These are all wonderful brain breaks recommended for every working human.

No, I’m talking about introducing a new ingredient in your daily schedule. You already read, right? But do you read right?

Are you filling your head with world news, industry news, market news, balance sheets, income statements, cash flow analyses, and all those advice articles: “How To Be A Better Leader”; “Saving Your Business From Financial Collapse”; “Why Motivating Customers AND Employees Is Like Juggling Seagulls”?

Ah, and even in the car, and late night TV, is it more business news?

Are you getting like one of those Washington DC-area C-Span junkies?


There is more to the world and more to your life than that. There is also more to your business than what you absorb from dwelling on business. And what might that be? Try INNOVATION!

Innovation doesn’t happen when you lock yourself up in a closet for a bunch of hours and suddenly come sweeping out with the magical answer (Note this analogy, those of you who retain creative services, which involves the same dynamic).

Innovation, it should be said, ONLY STARTS with a good idea. Ditch-diggers can come up with good ideas. For innovation to set in, you need a brain break!

Innovation means taking an idea

all the way through to fruition.

It requires comprehensive analysis of the product or service, the market, the competition, the creation and production options, the developmental costs and timelines, the human and operational resources needed, and so on and on, up to the point of launch countdown, and projections that go beyond that.

To foster and nurture innovation and innovative thinking requires a different mindset than is typically engaged on any given workday. The kind of free-spirited thinking that you evidenced when you started your business or professional practice or managerial job.

That attitude is not born of trade journals, online and traditional business media sources, or the rest of what you do every day!

Innovation comes about

from a mental shake-up!

It surfaces when you challenge yourself to look somewhere else besides the worlds of reality that cling to your shirtsleeves 5-7 days a week.

Yes, indulge yourself with travel and friend and family visits, and playing with your kids or pets (or the neighbor’s kids or pets). Take more photographs. Paint. Draw. Write. Get out of the rut.

One of the best ways to take this daily journey to increased productivity and innovative thinking is to do more reading — but not business stuff. Stop choosing excuses. Replace some of that reality overload with visits to fantasyland.

Go buy two FICTION books that look interesting to you. You might even find it surprising that you really CAN enjoy a novel. Set aside 20, 30, 60 minutes a day for it!

Anything from comics to Nelson DeMille’s serious humor stories, or Annie Proulx’s probes into America’s heartland, to Harry Potter books (you thought these were just for kids?), Richard Russo’s and Kent Haruf’s mainstream Americana stories, or a good mystery or suspense thriller. Just NOT business. And NOT nonfiction. And shelve the biographies and memoirs.

Your head needs to swim in make-believe. 


Do this conscientiously for just three weeks — your business cannot help but grow quicker and more brilliantly. Dangerous side effects: Your family, friends, and associates will actually enjoy being around you more. And (Aha!) less stress ( !) and new leadership opportunities!


931.854.0474 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 25 2010




Dear Doctor –

When I wrote DOCTOR BUSINESS© (the book, a 5-star Amazon selection), it was six years before the 9/11 that changed the world. It was at a time when medical and surgical skills were measured by case experience and mortality numbers, not “patient volume.”

Having survived the struggle to be allowed to practice medicine gave you what many called a “license to steal.” 

In the mid-90s, and before that, where you did your internship and residency actually mattered. Public outcries for better bedside manners were surfacing more frequently. The extent of your family’s wholesomeness or dysfunctionality was a much-admired or maligned affair. Your vacations were flamboyant.

With whom you played golf on Fridays was a measure of your community prominence.

You stuck up for other doctors even when they were wrong (and even those you didn’t like). Because doctors then were doctors. And while everyone around you watched and listened to you, even when you least knew it, and whether they liked you or not, you were never disobeyed.

In short, you were God. 


But all that has changed. Now there’s computerized rigmarole, electronic record-keeping, patient emails and texting, Google and Bing. There’s supposed to be less, but it seems now there’s more paperwork.

Your liability insurance premiums could choke a horse. Society’s contentious mindset chews up your precious time (you have no inventory, right?) in legal tangles.

And the bumbling federal government hasn’t even a clue about how to run healthcare, or the need for nurturing free-market competition in order for healthcare to survive as a profession.

Your professional practice and what’s left of your personal life are so dictated by know-nothing politicians that there’s not much room to wiggle free, except onto a shrink’s couch or into an early grave.


Let’s face reality.


Like professional sports, medicine has become big business. The difference is that professional athletes have agents to handle their business needs. You have you, and you never learned business.

Maybe you’re entrepreneurially-minded, but it’s highly unlikely that you ‘ve developed enough expertise in finance, marketing, human resources, management, and customer service in addition to medical skills to make the final cut as a businessperson. Yet you are a businessperson. You might hate it, but it’s who you have to be in order to survive as a doctor.

This means you need to rely on others who are probably not as reliable as you. (Medicine does, after all, teach reliability.)

Here’s the bottom line:

You can find qualified and proven lawyers and accountants and marketing (practice development) experts (and, no, these are not people who deliver subs and popcorn and ethnic luncheons to referring physician offices!), and you can find a good leadership manager type to be your office manager or practice administrator, but if your grasp of human resources and human relations and customer service isn’t working, none of the other business helper arrangements will work.


Concentrate your business learning on strengthening your communication skills.

You don’t need to run for office. You need to facilitate having others run your office for you.   


HELP SAVE THE ECONOMY . . . Support those

who endorse free market competition healthcare 

and job creation tax incentives for entrepreneurs! 


www.TWWsells.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 
Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Mar 11 2010

Let Salespeople Sell and Marketers Market!

Should “A-Rod” 


be negotiating


terms for Scott Boras


to play third base?


     With immediate apologies to all those “not a baseball fan” types who prefer brawn-over-brain sports that require heavy drinking to appreciate, and, oh yes, apologies also to all those who suffered great heartache at having to see Olympic curling competition come to an end.

     It’s just that even Herman’s Hermits have heard of baseball’s super-star Yankee slickster, and America’s champion sports agent (No, not the Tom Cruise character from the “Show me the money!” movie). And everyone knows that neither of these guys could do the other’s job with even a shred of success. Besides, it hooked you into reading this, right? 

     Well, this is not much ado about nothing because business owners and managers insist everyday on putting the avalanche of marketing burdens on the shoulders of salespeople who haven’t a clue about the most appropriate tools to use, nor any sense of the command of psychology needed to make those tools work effectively. And designating marketing people for sales roles can be an even bigger joke.

     Marketing is not sales. Sales is a function of marketing.

     Marketing is also the umbrella over all these other functions: pricing; packaging; online and offline promotion, merchandising, and advertising; online and offline public relations, community relations, investor relations, industry relations, business alumni relations, and much of customer relations; professional practice development; formalized networking, blogging, and social media activities; website design and development; and “buzz” (word-of-mouth) marketing.

     Sales has many parts to it. Not the least of these is that being a sales representative means running one’s own small sales performance business complete with bookkeeping and all the other migraine-promoters. But sales is sales.

     Marketers are the planners, organizers, strategists and creators. Salespeople are the movers and shakers. Salespeople are the lifeblood of every organization. Marketers provide the support services that bring prospects to the point of sale. Salespeople sell!

     If you want your salespeople to do a better job of selling, let them sell. Take away the responsibility for marketing that drains their energy, makes them crazy and is beyond their comprehension to begin with, and let them sell.

     Give the responsibility for marketing to people who are trained to do marketing. Let them come up with the words and pictures and designs and plans and budgets and strategies and slogans and jingles and branding lines and media plans and scripts and news releases and online program approaches.

     When their work succeeds at driving prospects to your door, reward them for the results; but then let your salespeople do their job! 

     Of course they all need to interact and share insights with one another. The more each team and individual knows about what makes the other(s) tick, the more successful all of them will be, and so will be your business. Your greatest challenge is to motivate everyone to do what they do best to take your business in the direction you want it to go. That’s leadership, and only you can do that!

Comment below or direct to Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT DayGet blog emails FREE via RSS feed OR $1 mo Amazon Kindle. Gr8 Gift 4 GRANDPARENTS: http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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Mar 08 2009

Professional Practices and Business as UNusual

Assuming it’s 2009


wherever you are…


     “Somethings never change,” we’ve heard, but they DO! Assuming it’s 2009 wherever you are, and  you’re at least vaguely interested in surviving– your business or professional practice development efforts must start to reach out for and embrace UNusual approaches to winning and keeping customers, clients and patients.  

     “Great!” you say, “but what ARE they?” Brrrrraaaaaaaat! Wrong question!

     What you need to know –because every doctor, lawyer and business owner is different from every other doctor, lawyer and business owner– is how to get started figuring out what UNusual approaches will work for YOU.

     The first step is to evaluate what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. [Even if the business or practice is a new one, you still know what qualities, characteristics, methodologies, approaches and behaviors have worked for you in your life to help you get to where you are; go with those to start!]

     Once you’ve isolated the strengths of your best past messages, make a brainstorm list of new and different ways you can apply those messages. Do not edit or critique your initial list; don’t talk yourself out of putting an idea down, even if it involves using carrier pigeons! Why? Because dumb ideas that you don’t eliminate along the way will lead to sensible worthwhile ones. Take a break. Then return with your critical red ink and eliminate, combine and consolidate thoughts.

     Online social networks like Twitter www.Twitter.com are quickly providing (for FREE) a massive referral base for those willing to invest some budgeted time and energy. www.BizBrag.com allows you (for FREE) to post a free news release about some newsworthy aspect of your business or professional practice every day if you choose.

     BizBrag even lets you set these up so they are emailed to prime customers or clients or patients. Or you can send your own personalized emails out urging your contacts to tune you in (to your releases, or your videos that you can put on www.YouTube.com and other sites). With a webcam, you can produce (for FREE) your own mini-series of lectures or seminars and email them out or post them.

     If you have a website, you probably also have (a FREE) blog capability built into it. And even if you don’t, blog sites are basically free or close to free anyway. No time to write blogs? Hire a professional blog writer who can capture your style and “voice” and represent topics you choose, for you! 

     And blogs need not be great literary works. I know an eye surgeon who’s a wizbang photographer and uses his blog site to show off his photos, along with one-line captions urging check-ups, etc. Another fills blog entries with great motivational quotes and appointment reminders.

     Professionals dependent on referrals from other professionals can develop blog posts (and ultimately deliver bound together printouts) on areas involving their specialties and special interests. An orthopedic surgeon with a special interest in sports medicine can generate referrals with booklets made of blog posts on rotator cuff or tennis elbow treatments and exercises for coaches, trainers and physical therapists. 

     Positive impressions of being an accepted authority can also be made with mailings to personal injury lawyers. All of the above become potential referrers to the surgeon. And there’s not a business alive that can’t stand to do more catering to past and present customers –the best source of business– with UNusual approaches.    halalpiar

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    ADD TO THE DAILY GROWING 7-Word Story started 178 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.

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Jan 12 2009


What better way to boost your


business than to learn how to


write killer copy and content?


     Okay, a slight departure tonight to fit in a couple of news items . . .

     The Delaware Technical & Community College Spring “Business & Professional Development” promotional booklet and the College’s “Personal Development” promotional booklet both arrived today, announcing upcoming course offerings, including two I’m scheduled to teach that a number of you have asked about.  Here are the two course offering descriptions:

     Business & Professional Development

1)  BETTER BUSINESS WORDS WORK!  Learn how to boost your business and professional practice revenues with better writing!  Focus will be on writing business plan narratives, strategic marketing plans, business correspondence, reports, creative marketing and advertising for all traditional and non-traditional media applications (Website, email, print ads, news releases, broadcast commercials, brochures, billboards, direct mail, “elevator speeches”).  For owners, managers, entrepreneurs (15 hours, 1.5 CEUs); 2/4-3/11; Wednesdays; 5:30-8pm; 6 sessions. Georgetown, Delaware Campus.  $195 EYC212 231-2  Registration Info: 302.854.6966  www.dtcc.edu/owens/ccp

     Personal Development

2)  IMAGERY WITH WORDS.  Explore ways to paint fiction and nonfiction pictures with words.  Proven methods for strengthening your creative writing skills will be shared.  Sessions include stress and time management how-to’s for writers.  Tap your inner resources and sharpen your writing wits.  All levels of writing skills are welcome.  Participants will present one-minute weekly reports and bring a work-in-progress for personalized coaching  (10 hours); Wednesdays; 5:30-8pm; 4 sessions. Creative Writing Center of Delaware in Lewes, Delaware.  $119. ENO 289 271-2  Registration Info: 302.854.6966  www.dtcc.edu/owens/ccp

     Please share this information with anyone you think might be interested who lives in Delaware or the Eastern Shore of Maryland, or (especially in the case of the IMAGERY WITH WORDS sessions, anyone who lives in the Cape May, NJ area who might commute via the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.  Thank you for your ongoing support.  Tomorrow night is back to business as usual.  Have a GREAT Tuesday!  halalpiar 

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Check out and contribute to the daily growing 7-Word Story started 124 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to the “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.

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