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Welcome to our January 2008 newsletter.

Well here it is 2008, whether I want it to be or not. Gosh 1941 seems so long ago. I was discussing with my Doctor my aversion to turning 66 but he informed me that the alternative is not something that I am really going to enjoy so I am learning to accept it.

Besides, that Social Security check every month is nice. To the young wippersnappers out there that are buying my exercise equipment, you had better hope I do not last too long so I can leave something left over in the fund for when you reach my age.

To make it easier on my fragile mind, I have decided that I am only 17. Of course, I have been 17 for 49 years now, but if Jack Benny could be 39 all of his life, then I can be 17 all of my life. Hmm, this is scary stuff. Half of the people reading this newsletter are young enough to never even have heard of Jack Benny. But the other half know how I feel. Since 17 sounds so much better than 66, then 17 I am.

As my business is now almost 40% exercise equipment, I am turning my attention this month to that segment of the company.

I have found a great British web site Sport Fitness Advisor

The goal of Sport Fitness Advisor is to offer high-quality information that motivated athletes and coaches can use - not just theory - but specific, usable training plans and sessions. With a commitment to keeping the site clean, free of banner ads and pop-ups, it's focus is clear - free sports training advice and programs for those who endeavor to be the best they can. Give them a try. You cannot get a better price than free. No popups, no hype, just good solid advice. Of course, to pay for the site, they have links, but you click on the links if you are interested and desire to do so. They do not pop up in your face while you are trying to read the articles.

They have a contact form for asking specific questions and guess what? They even reply to the questions.

Of course sometimes they have this unique way of spelling words, but one gets used to that on this side of the pond.

Careful there Billy Boy, some of the readers are British and Canadian.

You don't want one of them to reach through the keyboard, grab you by the neck and ensure that the Social Security fund no longer has a reason for sending checks to you.

Give them a try. I am sure that you will enjoy their friendly, informative site. I have used it to gather much needed information for the design of my equipment and other needs.

On January 31st I shall randomly pick an email address to receive a copy of Wil Wheaton's newest book, Happiest Days The Happiest Days of Our Lives. The winner will be announced in the February Newsletter. While on this subject, past readers will know about my love of Wil's writing. For those of you not familiar with Wil, he was Gordie in Rob Riener's STAND BY ME Gordie and Wesley Crusher in STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION Wesley Crusher

Wil has written his third book. As with his first two, the short stories in his newest book are retelling posts from his blog. He has expanded some, reworked some, but the bottom line is that the stories spring from the pages and grab your heartstrings. Every man whoever started out as a boy will have a hard time putting down this collection. It is a bit late for Christmas and Chanukah gifts, but treat yourself to a belated present anyway. You will be as impressed with the book as I was.

Wil has an interesting blog Wil Wheaton dot net in Exile that is quite fun to read. It is not the typical celebrity blog written by a ghost writer. It is Wil's own words written from his heart. It is also a place where you can order his book.

I am so impressed with Wil's writing that I have decided that I wanted to start this year by not only awarding The Happiest Days of our Lives next month, but I have pulled a random email address from the list and I am pleased to announce that Jim Buiti in Texas is the winner of a copy of Wil's JUST A GEEK.Just a Geek If Jim has opened this newsletter, send your address to me and I will ship the book out to you. I must hear from you before 31 Jan. If not, then I shall pick another name on 31 Jan. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

About 20 years ago, I had an exchange student from Norway. Pal was 15 years old and had been raised in Rossfijordstrammen, Norway, a little town of several hundred people several hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle. Before he came to America the largest town he had ever been to was Tromso, a town of about 35,000 people at the time that even had a traffic light. He had never been in temperature above 78 degrees f in his life. I believe that Tromso is south of the Arctic Circle.

He came to Los Angeles in mid-August during one of our normal heat waves. He had been on a plane from Oslo to L.A. for about 11 hours, came out and went through customs, all in a nice air conditioned atmosphere. I met him at the exit from customs. While waiting for his luggage I explained a few things to him about the heat and the people outside but he did not seem to grasp what I was talking about. I tried to explain to him that Los Angeles is a desert and can get very hot and that Norway had a population of about 4 million people and Los Angeles County had 2 million more people than the whole country of Norway. I tried to get him to grasp that there were about 20 million million people living in Southern California. We exited the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX into 106 degree heat and a teeming mass of people. Poor Pal almost melted. His knees buckled and I thought he was going to pass out. He grasped what I was talking about!!

Pal was the most even tempered kid who ever lived with me. He was a big boy, almost 6 feet tall and weighed about 165, taller than me but just about my weight. After the first shock of the crowds and the heat, nothing seemed to faze him. I took him to the Grand Canyon. He stood at the rim overlooking this majestic landscape, clasped his hands behind his back, moved his head from left to right, nodded and said "That's nice". Looking down on Manhattan from the top of the World Trade Center, with his hands clasped behind his back, he nodded his head and said "That's nice." He of course was on the high school soccer team, as was every exchange student I had, and like all of the Europeans, he would play circles around his American peers. He would score a goal and "That's nice" Everything to him was "That's nice". UNTIL just before it was time for him to go back to Norway. We went to Death Valley for the July 4th weekend. 128 degrees in the shade at Furnace Creek. That was the only time Pal ever got excited in his year in America.

Pal, his wife and kids and Rolf, a boy from Germany who also was with me that year are coming to visit me this summer.


Pal and family

Pal's daughter, 12 year old Solveig, Pal, Lief, a friend of Pal's mother, Pal's mother Anne, Pal's 17 year old son Sigborn and Pal's wife Gro.

And of course my first German boy, Rolf. One of the most interesting kids ever to live with me. More about Rolf in another letter.

Rolf Voigt

Rolf and his proud father, Dr. Joern Voigt in front of their home in Hoexter, Germany

I cannot wait until June 30th to see who is coming to visit. More about that statement in the next newsletter.

Well it is time to wrap this up. The Rose Parade will be starting in a few minutes and that means that a squadron of FA 18 Superhornet fighter planes will be flying right over my home on their way to Colorado Blvd to start the Parade. Hopefully I can get a photo of it. Happy New Year Everyone!

I am always eager to hear from the visitors to the site and the readers of this newsletter.

Click on this link to send an email to me.

Until next time, paraphrasing Charles Osgood, I will see you on the Internet.


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