Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Diet And Exercise: A Couple of Tips

Eating well is not that hard if it's done right.  Rather than shocking the body with a drastic cut in your food intake, it's much better to get your nutrition without the calories.  That way, the body isn't led to believe that there's a food shortage and it must batten down the hatches by storing fat.  

Social Eating!

One purpose of change in diet should be to get rid of any cravings you have for sweet and/or salty junk food.  Of course, this is very hard to accomplish if you've been eating such food your whole life, which most of us have done.  We know it's bad for us but our physical craving overcomes our knowledge that junk food is bad.  'A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.'

Thus, are you tempted by bag of chips?  A bowl of candy?  A king size chocolate bar?  Fries?  The food spread at a Superbowl party?

If you are at home, you should be able to resist that after a proper fast.  If you're at a party or at a friend's house for a visit, it's much more difficult.  If you are a family gathering or BBQ, it's even more hard to say no!

Treat these events as your indulgence.  It can be like being a social drinker.  If you only drink alcohol at gatherings, treat junk foods the same way.  You can eat them when you're at a social event with other people but not when you're at home or on your own.

Don't do this at home!

The main point is not to deprive yourself of enjoyable food. Eat healthy but have the occasional not-so-healthy treat to satisfy your mental craving. This makes socializing all the more fun!

Here's another tip.  If you like to buy treats such as potato chips or ice cream, don't buy your favorite flavor.  That is, if you prefer salt and vinegar chips over barbecue, but barbecue.  If you would rather have vanilla ice cream over chocolate, then buy chocolate!   You'll still enjoy the chips or ice cream but you'll have less of it.  No need for a second helping!

Avoid or Use Moderation with 'White Foods'

These are mainly processed foods which should be avoided or eaten in moderation.

They include:

a) White bread and white flour

b) Sugar

c) Pasta

d) Dairy (in excess)

e) Processed white rice

Core Exercise

One reason I changed my diet was to reduce the paunch I had in my mid-section. It took 5 inches off that area but I also realized that I had to do core exercises. My workouts were mostly about strength training (bench press, bicep curls) with only a few sit-ups done as an afterthought.

Mistake!  Core is defined as 'a central and often foundational part usually distinct from the enveloping part'.  The core of the body's strength is the foundation of the strength of the legs and arms.

I have been doing various core workouts now, which can be difficult at first if you've neglected the core like I have.  It's get easier and you'll feel a lot better as you go along!  You can try the following 30-day ab challenge to get your core in shape.

Diet and exercise are the hallmarks of good health but they don't have to be such hard work that you give up after a short time.  Any exercise is better than nothing and a diet low on sugar and processed foods will do wonders for the body.  There are many diet books and resources but it's often common sense, moderation and a little effort that will go a long way to better, and soon optimal, health!

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Friday, 17 July 2015

Google Shares Soar To An All-Time High

Reaching a new high, the share price for Google (Alphabet) rose more than $47 on Tuesday, July 24 to reach a new high of $1258.15.  This brings the company's market valuation to almost $860 Billion, again with range of Apple.

This surge came after Google's 2nd-quarter results beat Wall Street's expectations, despite the $5 Billion fine imposed by the European Union.  Revenue was almost $33 Billion, driven by ad sales, and the company's profit was $3.2 Billion.

"We delivered another quarter of very strong performance," Ruth Porat, Alphabet's chief financial officer, said in a press release. "Our investments are driving great experiences for users, strong results for advertisers, and new business opportunities for Google and Alphabet."

Is a market valuation of $1 Trillion with reach?  Stay tuned!


The share price for Google's parent company Alphabet peaked at more that $1,221 on Wednesday, July 18 before settling at $1212.9  to reach a new high.  This enabled the company to reach a valuation of over $837 billion.   This brings the company to within less than $100 billion of Apple's market cap. Will the company pass Apple in total valuation this year and is the $1 trillion level within reach?

From January 2018:

According to Business Insider, Alphabet  recently generated $27.77 billion in revenue, up 24% from a year ago" thanks to its mobile search advertising business and YouTube videos.  The Nasdaq itself rose more than 144 points to reach a record high of 6701.26.  It will be interesting to see if Alphabet or Apple will soon reach a valuation of $1 Trillion.


Since June of this year, Alphabet (Google) share prices have fluctuated and hit a low of about $920.  However, the company's share price reached a new all-time high of $1,005.65 on October 11 after rising more than $17.00.  According to an article at Business Insider, the "tech giant has put itself in front of the shifts in mobile, video and cloud computing, setting itself ahead of competition in areas slated for the most growth in the coming years."  Is a market valuation of $1 Trillion far off?  It will be a very interesting competition to observe between Apple and Google as they race toward that milestone figure.


As of June 7, 2017, the share price of Alphabet (Google) closed at an all-time high of $1001.59 after rising almost $5 on Wednesday.  This brought it's market capitalization to over $680 billion, second only to Apple.  Net profit was up 29% from the 1st Quarter in 2016 on revenue of almost $25 billion.  Advertising on YouTube and Google search continued to be strong and shows little sign of slowing down.  

Google's share price did reach $1,200 prior to its stock split in 2014 so it's a remarkable achievement to reach the $1,000 level again after becoming Alphabet.  The company does not pay dividends but investors have been very happy with the ever-increasing value of their shares.

Google's value has risen so high that even Warren Buffett now regrets he didn't invest in the company.  You can read more about it in this article,


Google's (Alphabet) share price rose at all-time high of $858.45 on Wednesday January 25, the same day that the Dow Jones broke through the 20,000 barrier.  The company's earnings report comes out on Thursday and predictions are for almost $21 billion in net revenue, which could put Google's share price even higher.

Google has been doing very well with YouTube, its mobile advertising and the introduction of the Pixel phone, which some forecast to sell 7 million units this year.  Google's share price is expected to reach $1,000 this year by some forecasters but Thursday's earnings report will add some more light.  Stay tuned!

Previous Articles


Google's revenue rose 21% from last year to $21.5 billion, resulting in a net income of almost $6 billion, itself an increase of 28%.  This reflects the company's success with mobile advertising as well as its gains with such projects as Nest, Verily, Fiber and Google's driverless cars.  According to CEO Sundar Pichai, "The strength of the quarter is about mobile, (which has) changed the way people consume information. Our investment in mobile underlines everything we do…[from] search and YouTube to Android and advertising. Mobile is the engine that drives everything.  (With our) deep investments in machine learning and [artificial intelligence], we're building the engine that drives our future."

Apple closed at $104.21, giving it a market value of  just over $569 billion, compared to Google's $538+ billion.  Google certainly has a lot of momentum after this past week and it will be interesting to see if it will overtake Apple in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!


November 20, 2015:

Alphabet's share price rose more than $18 on Friday to close at $756.60.  This is an all-time high and gives a company a market valuation of $526.8 billion, second only to Apple.

As the chart shows, the company's share price has steadily increased (with a couple of dips) since its IPO back in 2004.  The stock split once, so those who bought the shares in the company at the initial price of $85 have seen an 1800% return.


After changing its name to Alphabet, Google had a busy week in October.  Some highlights included:

1) Net revenue for the 3rd quarter of 2015 were up 13% from last year to $18.7 billion.  Net income was up 44% to $3.9 billion.

2)  Mobile ad clicks were up 23% from the same quarter from last year.  Mobile advertising has become an important source of revenue as people increasing rely on smart phones for their internet use.

3) Alphabet will buy back $5,099,019,513.59 in Google stock, which will lead to a surge in the stock`s value

4) Chief financial officer Ruth Porat was quoted as saying, `"With six products now having more than 1 billion users globally, we're excited about the opportunities ahead of Google, and across Alphabet,".  Other highlights included a figure of one million Apps for Work customers being reached and schools activating an average of 30,000 Chromebooks every day.

4) To compete with companies such as Netflix and Spotify, Google announced YouTube Red which lets viewers watch videos ad-free for $9.99 per month.  You can read more at their official blog.

October 2, 2015 marks the official day that Google becomes 'Alphabet', It will trade under that name on Monday as the company will wait until the markets close on Friday before making it all official.

Forming a parent company called 'Alphabet' allows Google to let its independent businesses have more freedom and move faster in today's fast-paced world of technology.  Nest and Google X, for example, can follow their own separate trajectories while Android, YouTube and Google Search will remain as Alphabet's core business.

Monday will definitely be an interesting day as Alphabet makes its debut.

Google's statement about today's news can be find at its Investors Relations page.

Google had another memorable day on Monday, August 10 with the creation of Google Alphabet, which is basically a collection of companies with the largest one being Google itself.  'Alphabet' is even used as a basis for the company's URL, which is now abc.xyz.

Why did the co-founders of Google take this radical step?  Larry Page writes about it in his blog at:


Google has branched from being simply a search engine company into one that has ventured into such technologies as self-driving cars and Google Glass.  Calico was formed by Google to literally cure death while Android and YouTube have transformed the way that we use phones and watch videos.

What does this mean for Google?  As Larry Page writes:

"We are excited about...

  • Getting more ambitious things done.
  • Taking the long-term view.
  • Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish.
  • Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see.
  • Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing.
  • Making Google even better through greater focus.
  • And hopefully... as a result of all this, improving the lives of as many people as we can."


Google had a memorable day on Friday, July 17 as its stock surged more than $100 in early morning trading to cross the $700 barrier for the first time.  The company's quarterly report exceeded Wall Street's expectations and allayed fears about declining revenue from Google's desktop search or threats to YouTube from Facebook.

Google's Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat is well-known for keeping corporate expenses in check and industry experts have confidence that she will continue to keep a close eye on Google's balance sheet.  There is a question about whether Google will one day pay dividends to its shareholders but that has been put aside for the time being as investors enjoy the huge increase in the value of their shares.

Brokerages such as JP Morgan predict that Google's share price could exceed $800 within 12 months, which would make Google worth more than $500 billion, joining Apple as the only two corporations with a market cap of more than half a trillion dollars.

YouTube is still YouTube (viewing hours increased 60% from last year), mobile ad revenue is catching up to desktop and Google's desktop search is still extremely strong.  These factors along with items such as its self-driving cars will keep Google a vital and newsworthy corporation for a long time to come.


Google's initial share price was at $85 back in August of 2004.  According to a CNN article at the time, "The company's timing isn't ideal... Tech stocks have tumbled this summer, despite their recent mini-rally, on concerns that profit growth may have peaked. Internet stocks have been hit especially hard due to questions about extremely high valuations."

The CNN article makes reference to other companies such as LookSmart, FindWhat.com and AskJeeves.  Investing in those companies back in 2004 would definitely not have had the return enjoyed by those who took a chance on Google.  Back then it was seen as a search engine, great for finding items on the internet, while now it's involved in many ventures such as Google Glass, Google Fiber, Google+, Hangout, Play and much more.

As the chart shows, Google's share price have enjoyed significant gains since its debut in 2004. The future does look to hold a lot of promise for those willing to hold onto their shares. Look for more news at this site in the upcoming weeks.

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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Inspirational Quotes About Success

"Nothing succeeds like success!"

Success can be described in one way as the opposite of failure althought there are many shades of grey in between these two concepts.  In an earlier post, I talked about Overcoming the Fear of Failure through quotes by famous people.

In this blog, you can read some quotes by famous people about achieving success.  Most successful people will tell you that a lot of hard work is involved along with a bit of luck.  It is there for the taking to those who put in the effort and know what they want.

 Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.
David Brinkley

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Henry Ford

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
Booker T. Washington

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
Abraham Lincoln

Action is the foundational key to all success.
Pablo Picasso

Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.
Oscar Wilde

One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.
Benjamin Disraeli

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
Dale Carnegie

They succeed, because they think they can.

There are also quotes such as "I'm rich because I won the lottery!" or "I inherited my parents' success!" but these apply only to the fortunate few. Read about the people you admire who have achieved success and the methods they used to achieve it. There's a good chance that you can apply the same principles and do likewise. Take a chance and work hard!

Steven Ratnik

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Some Personal Weight Loss Tips

After dropping from 223 pounds to 207, it's been almost too much of a good thing! I can still do the same weights while I'm in training so the weight loss has not really involved muscle. It was more about the excess poundage lost, especially around the belly!

I've noticed some helpful things which assist in keeping the weight off.  It may not work for everyone but it's definitely not difficult and becomes easier with practice and habit.

1)  Associate Junk Food with Alcohol

That is, moderation.  Alcoholism is a disease but being a junkaholic also carries health risks.  If you drink a lot at home, that is a serious issue.  If you eat a lot of junk food at home, that is also a pretty serious health issue.  If you are only a social drinker, then treat eating the same way.

2) Whiten Your Teeth!

How does this work?  There are mouthwashes which promote teeth whitening and which you use inthe morning and in the evening.  So, brush your teeth and use the mouthwash after dinner. They often recommend not to eat after rinsing so this will help discourage late night snacking.

3) Drink a Glass of Water

If you have a non-hunger craving for junk food, drink a glass or two of water.  Your body should then associate these cravings with water.  It will also give you a replacement for the craving.

4) That Old Adage is True

Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince, eat dinner like a pauper.  You will burn off breakfast during the day with your activities (and lunch as well).  If you eat a heavy dinner, your body won't have a chance to burn it off as you will sleeping instead of being physically active.   Plus, the digestion processs overnight will keep from you having a good night's sleep, especially if you eat a lot of meat before bed.

5) Avoid or Use Moderation with 'White Foods'

These are mainly processed foods which should be avoided or eaten in moderation.

They include:

a) White bread and white flour

b) Sugar

c) Pasta

d) Dairy (in excess)

e) Processed white rice

Yes, it's hard to avoid those dinner rolls or toasted white bread, as well as those bowls of spaghetti or Fettuccine Alfredo.  However, these 'white' foods are often overly processed and stripped of all their nutrients.  They taste wonderful, yes, but they'll fatten you up without any nutritional gain.  It is better at least to eat brown rice and whole wheat bread (skip the butter!).

There have been thousands of books and tips written about dieting and weight loss.  Often, it's just a mindset that can be overcome with some practice.  The results, however, are well worth it!

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Friday, 10 July 2015

The World's Top 10 Economies: How To *Easily* Memorize Them

Memorizing the World's Top 10 Economies

It's very useful to know what the world's largest economies are and it's very useful to constantly exercise your mind, as the brain is also a muscle.  You can combine the two by memorizing the world's top 10 economies.  With this fun method, you'll know the list forward and backward and also be able to name any country's position.  Yes, it's fun!
The Top 10

First, here are the links to the numbers.  They rhyme for easier recall and a couple follow the childhood song "One, two, buckle my shoe..."

They are:

1. sun
2. shoe
3. tree
4. door
5. hive
6. sticks
7. heaven
8. skate
9. wine
10. pen

Now, we'll take a look at  the World's Top 10 economies by GDP (in $Billions).

They are:

1. United States (18.1)

2. China (11.2)
3. Japan (4.2)
4. Germany (3.4)
5. United Kingdom (2.9)
6. France (2.5)
7. India (2.3)
8. Brazil (1.9)
9. Italy (1.8)
10. Canada  (1.6)

Now, let's link the country with the memory aid for each number.

1. United States/sun - Imagine the American flag in the SUN

2. China/shoe - Imagine SHOES made in China, worn by Yao Ming

3. Japan/tree - Imagine a Japanese Bonsai TREE

4. Germany/door - Imagine a German DOOR sign or a German Shepherd at a DOOR (beware of dog!)

5. United Kingdom/hive - Imagine Queen Elizabeth looking at a bee HIVE (perhaps searching for her fellow Queen)

6. France/stick - Imagine the Eiffel Tower made of STICKS

7. India/heaven - Imagine the Taj Mahal in HEAVEN

8. Brazil/skate - Imagine Brazilian supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen SKATING with her daughter

9. Italy/wine - Imagine a bottle of Italian WINE

10. Canada/pen - Imagine Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky signing his one millionth autograph with a PEN

After you create these images, you'll find it very easy to recite the list from the top or bottom and to instantly recall any number. Quick, what's number 5?  Hive - United Kingdom

With the links, you can substitute other words for the numbers, such as one-gun or eight-gate but any word will do.  Have fun with the exercise and use it for any top 10 list that you can find useful!