Help Your Friends Keep Their Mind Working!

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT! ... One that keeps on giving long after the holidays pass. Science has proven that keeping the mind active and working is key to health and happiness as one grows older. And there has never been a more fun way to do that than Bananagrams.

Bananagrams is simple to play for one, two, three or more players. It is a little like Scrabble, except each player builds his or her own words, laid out like a crossword puzzle, that he or she can change as they go along to use all of their letters. Building words increases vocabulary and improves memory, and it is FUN! We play nearly every evening before dinner. Some pistachio nuts, a glass of wine, and Bananagrams. It's a hoot!

An inexpensive gift that will last and last. Buy for all your family and friends. Fun for all ages. Order now, because this is this year's "hot ticket" gift idea. Just click on Bananagrams. You will be glad you did, and so will your friends.


Tom Hays

Music Makes The World Go 'round

My first memory of music was of sensing the steady, rhythmic thump, thump, thump of my mother’s heartbeat, as I snuggled warmly and safely in her womb. Later, she cradled me in her arms, held me to her breast and I heard the same familiar rhythm. As we swayed back and forth she murmured soft sounds that added melody and lyrics and it became a lullaby, comforting me to sleep.

And, while you might not remember back quite that far, surely you feel that same, familiar rhythm pulsing through your own veins, pushing life through your body, animating your every move.

Yes, music is as old as human life, and the appreciation, enjoyment, and creation of it continues to bring joy, understanding, and emotional release to our lives.

Whether you write music, perform it, dance to it, study it, or just like to hum along, Platinum Pearls® has something for you on the music picks web page Click around the page for sources of inspiration if you are a songwriter, or to further enhance your understanding or enjoyment of music as a creator or as a listener.

As to Mom’s heart . . . it had a good beat, I gave it an 85.

Building Pearls - Important Today!!

One of the important steps to achieving a fulfilling, more rewarding life is to realize the ramifications of this simple observation: A PEARL is the only natural gemstone that can be made in a human lifetime. A tiny grain of sand or piece of dirt gets inside the shell of an oyster. That creature’s way of dealing with an irritation is to coat it over, over and over, until it becomes a smooth thing of deep beauty, the pearl.

Much like the oyster, we too must manage life’s irritants, those things that get into our shell. And, like the oyster, we have to work at dealing with those irritants, learn to cope, to smooth and round, polish, maybe even enjoy, so that eventually, they become us and we become them.

All that we are as a person is a collection of those “pearls”, how we’ve dealt with the problems in our life, how we look at them now, the opportunities we’ve taken to build things of beauty out of what at first seemed like adversities.

You will find helpful information at PLATINUM PEARLS® is designed to sharpen your pearl building tools. To arm you. To help you with the changes, the bumps, the rough spots of the next era.

We are all pearls ... now going platinum. Welcome to your new life.

Like to paint outdoors?

One of the most fun aspects of searching out and providing content for the Platinum Pearls® web pages is the opportunity to recommend sources that I personally know to be good.

In the case of this DVD, I have worked with two of the three featured artists, Matt Smith and Kenn Backhaus. Both have taught at the artistically prestigious Scottsdale Artists School.
I studied with each of them there, both in the studio and in the desert surround. I can heartily recommend the experience and their instructional abilities.

The first three episodes of Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape feature artists Matt Smith, Jean LeGassick, and Kenn Backhaus as they paint in Alaska. The trio paints Mt. McKinley on a rare, glorious September afternoon complete with a visit from a blonde grizzly.
Next our three artists tackle the Tongass Rain Forest, renowned for towering old growth cedar, hanging moss and incessant rainfall, proving that it takes tenacity, good gear, and considerable know-how to paint in a rain forest.
The last stop is beautiful Resurrection Bay, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. With the towering Chugach Mountains as a backdrop, the artists paint in a derelict boatyard.

Historical perspective is provided through the Plein Air paintings created by George Brown while climbing Mt. McKinley as a member of the 1974 Bradford Washburn Mt. McKinley Expedition, and an introduction to Alaskan Plein Air artists and adventurers Eustace Ziegler, Ted Lambert and iconoclastic painter Sidney Laurence whose paintings from the early 1900s have come to epitomize the Alaskan landscape. I can enthusiastically recommend this DVD Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape - Alaska Episodes.
Please visit the Visual Arts pages at for more information about painting, photography or your favorite creative outlet.

Picture This

As a teenager, I was given a Yashica twin lens reflex camera. It used 120 film, big rolls with 12 shots on each one. I loved looking at the world through the viewfinder. That large glass screen with an almost frosted appearance opened an entirely new world for me.

Later, as I entered the advertising business, I graduated to a Pentax 35 mm and started adding lenses of different lengths to shoot wide angle, telephoto and extremely close up subjects. Through my years in the advertising and audio/visual production business I gave that old Pentax a real work out, shooting thousands and thousands of pictures in studios, outdoors, in factories and on sales floors. I even did a wedding once (afterward, I was even able to keep my friendship with the bride and groom, thank goodness). Every shoot was moving day. Camera, film, lenses, filters, tripod, lights, power cords, spare batteries, and that was traveling light!

Now, I carry everything I need in my shirt pocket, a very small, light digital Sony with a Carl Zeiss lens, rechargeable battery and a 2 GB Memory Sick. If I decide I would like to put a video, as well as photos, on a webpage, I just turn a wheel on the camera and fire away. I can take literally hundreds of shots without rewinding or reloading, the digital quality is excellent for what I want, and I can instantly upload to my computer and share the photos immediately online. Who would have thought!

The quality of the photography? Well, that's up to the eye of the beholder. I think the framing, subject and scene layout of the picture is dependent more on the photographer than the equipment. Great photos can be made with a pin hole camera in the hands of a creative photographer, and the best equipment in the world will still turn out doubtful snapshots in the hands of someone without an eye for the visual.

My advice, shoot lots of pictures. Look at them carefully and try to decide what would have made them better. Experiment with lighting and framing, and ask yourself if the subject is something that will make an unusual or outstanding picture. Do you need to shoot from a higher angle or get on the floor and shoot from that perspective? If you saw the picture in a gallery, would you buy it? Then, go out and shoot some more.

There are a lot of photographers better than me, and you. But I bet we can enjoy photography just as much as they do. Keep shooting!

Whether you are a seasoned professional, a dedicated hobbist, or simply want to explore photography, you will find helpful information at Come take a look around!