The LETSaholic Twist
- Everything you always wanted to know about LETS
... but didn't know who to ask.

About the book

This is the information James Taris shared with LETS groups all over the world on his international LETS tours between 2002-2004.

Home / All About LETS / LETS Favours / LETS Online
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A word from James Taris
Editorials 2004 - 2008


16 Dec 2008

Wishing all the
New Year



This is an idea you can try as a special Christmas event for your LETS group.

[exerpt taken from pgs. 34-35 of
The LETSaholic Twist

LETS auctions are also trading events where members can pick-up goods for LETS points. These goods are brought by members and the total amount bid by a member at auction is retained by the owner of the item.

Apart from the use of LETS points, everything else is run like a normal auction.

To be successful, a LETS auction must have large numbers of bidders in the audience – as not everyone bids on everything – so this type of event is best suited to groups with well over a hundred members.

If you have never had a LETS auction in your group, I can strongly recommend it. Members are asked to bring things from home to be auctioned off for LETS points. Some of the more valuable items have a reserve amount which needs to be met before a bid is finally accepted, but most of the items have no reserve at all, and are given for whatever bid can be obtained.

This is a great way for members to clear out unwanted items from their homes, and it’s an excellent way for members to pick up unbelievable bargains without paying any cash. And when you combine it with some food and drinks brought in by the members, it becomes a very enjoyable and social evening as well.

When I was in Wales in November 2003, I was fortunate to be invited to a LETS auction held by my hosting group, South Poweys LETS. Then without any advance warning, I was asked to take on the role of LETS auctioneer. I would never have done this before, but I was keen to try.

John Rogers, the group’s regular auctioneer, started it off superbly, and he was soon checking to see if I still wanted to give it a go. I sure did. I started off hesitantly, but finished with a bang! And seeing I got a few laughs and sold nearly everything, I guess I did pretty well for a beginner.

Happy trading in 2009!


Christmas Party Jokes

Did you hear about the man who went to the fancy dress party as a bone?
A dog ate him in the hall!

Did you hear about the party with lots of fireworks, balloons & crackers?
It went with a bang!

What did the guest sing at the Eskimo's Christmas party?
Freeze a jolly fellow!

What party game did Jekyll like best?
Hyde and Seek!

What would you do if you saw Dracula, Frankenstein & The Swamp Thing?
Hope they were going as a fancy dress party!

Why couldn't the butterfly go to the Chistmas Ball?
It was a moth ball!

How did the chickens dance at the Christmas party?
Chick to chick!

Did you hear about Dracula's Christmas party?
It was a scream!

What did Dracula say at the Christmas party?
Fancy a bite?

Why couldn't the skeleton go to the Christmas Party?
He had no body to go with!

Christmas Eve Jokes

What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?
It's Christmas, Eve!

How do you make an idiot laugh on boxing day?
Tell him a joke on Christmas Eve!

What do you have in December that you don't have in any other month?
The letter "D"!

What does Father Christmas suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
Santa Claustrophobia!

What do you call a letter sent up the chimney on Christmas Eve?
Black mail!

Who delievers cat's Christmas presents?
Santa Paws!

Why does Father Christmas go down the chimney?
Because it soots him!

Who delievers elephants's Christmas presents?
Elephanta Claus!

How many chimneys does Father Christmas go down?

Why is Santa like a bear on Christmas Eve?
Because he's Sooty!

Christmas Greeting Jokes

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Mary who?
Mary Christmas!

What did one Angel say to the other?
Halo there!

How do cats greet each other at Christmas?
"A furry merry Christmas & Happy mew year"!

What do elephants sing at Christmas?
No el-ephants, no el-ephants!

What does Dracula write on his Christmas cards?
Best vicious of the season!

What do angry mice send to each other at Christmas?
Cross mouse cards!

How do sheep greet each other at Christmas?
A merry Christmas to ewe!

What does Father Christmas write on his Christmas cards?

Christmas Dinner Jokes

Mum, can I have a dog for Christmas?
No you can have turkey like everyone else!

We had grandma for Christmas dinner?
Really, we had turkey!

What beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake?

What did the big cracker say to the little cracker?
My pop is bigger than yours!

Who is never hungry at Christmas?
The turkey - he's always stuffed!

What bird has wings but cannot fly?
Roast turkey!

What's the best thing to put into a Christmas cake?
Your teeth!

Whats happens if you eat the Christmas decorations ?
You get tinsel-itus!

What do vampires put on their turkey at Christmas?

Reindeer Jokes

What do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees?

How can Santa's sleigh possibly fly through the air?
You would too if you were pulled by flying reindeer!

What would a reindeer do if it lost its tail?
She'd go to a re-tail shop for a new one!

Why is Prancer always wet?
Because he's a rain-deer!

Why does Scrooge love all of the reindeer?
Because every buck is dear to him!

Which of Santa's reindeer has bad manners?

What do you call a reindeer wearing ear muffs?
Anything you want because he can't hear you!

What do reindeer always say before telling you a joke?
This one will sleigh you!

How does Rudolph know when Christmas is coming?
He looks at his calen-deer!

What do you give a reindeer with an upset tummy?

How do you get into Donner's house?
You ring the deer-bell!

What's red and white and gives presents to gazelles?

How many reindeer does it take to change a light bulb?
Eight! One to screw in the light bulb and seven to hold Rudolph down! [very funny!]

Did Rudolph go to a regular school?
No, he was elf-taught!

Why did Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer cross the road?
Because he was tied to a chicken!

Why do reindeer wear fur coats?
Because they look silly in snowsuits!

Elf Jokes

How many elves does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten! One to change the light bulb and nine to stand on each other's shoulders!

Why did Santa's helper see the doctor?
Because he had a low elf-esteem!

How long should an elf's legs be?
Just long enough to reach the ground!

What did the elf say was the first step in using a Christmas computer?
"First, YULE LOGon"!

Why did the elf put his bed into the fireplace?
He wanted to sleep like a log!

What's the first thing elves learn in school?
The elf-abet!

Who sings "Blue Christmas" and makes toy guitars?

How do elves greet each other?
"Small world, isn't it?"

Santa rides in a sleigh. What do elves ride in?
Mini vans!

Snow Jokes

What happened when the snowgirl fell out with the snowboy?
She gave him the cold shoulder!

What do snowmen wear on their heads?
Ice caps!

What do snowmen eat for lunch?

Where do snowmen go to dance?

How do snowmen travel around?
By iceicle!

What sort of ball doesn't bounce?
A snowball!

How do you know when there is a snowman in your bed?
You wake up wet!

What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?
Frost bite!

How do you call an Eskimo cow?
An Eskimoo!

More Christmas Jokes

What do monkeys sing at Christmas?
Jungle Bells, Jungle bells..!

Why are Christmas trees like bad knitters?
They both drop their needles!

What's Christmas called in England?
Yule Britannia!

What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas?
Thanks, I'll never part with it!

Why is a burning candle like being thirsty?
Beacause a little water ends both of them!

What do you get if you cross an apple with a Christmas tree?
A pineapple!

What do you give a train driver for Christmas?
Platform shoes!

What did the big candle say to the little candle?
I'm going out tonight!

What happens to you at Christmas?
Yule be happy!

How long does it take to burn a candle down?
About a wick!

 6 Nov 2008

Where Does a LETS Group Get its Funding?

Dear James,

I have read your book and found it a great inspiration!

Just a couple of questions.

Firstly, you don't mention funding. Does each Lets group fund itself and if so how?

Secondly, when you next come to England I would love to host you and have some help at giving our Lets group a boost. We are in Dorchester, Dorset, which is the south of England. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes Katy (Murrell )


Hi Katy,

Thank you for your invitation to visit you. It would be my pleasure to come to Dorchester on my next LETS tour.

I've been asked many times about the "LETS funding" question. I know it's a serious issue but I've never seen the need for it because I believe that FUNDING WILL SOUND THE DEATH KNELL OF YOUR LETS GROUP!

But before I tell you why, let me share some quotes from my book, The LETSaholic Twist.

LETS ... is a group of people from a small community who all agree to exchange goods and services with each other without the need for cash. (Ch.1-pg.8)

I considered members who asked for part payment in cash from LETS members, as taking advantage of the LETS system – even if they did not realise it. The effect of such trading, if it was allowed to continue, was to corrupt the whole system so that every other member saw LETS as an opportunity to earn more cash too. My view was that in order to be truly effective, a LETS group would have to operate in a one hundred percent non-cash environment.

I thought LETS members should trade for one hundred percent LETS points and zero cash: it showed the Receiver that the Giver was trying to be helpful and not profit-motivated.

Our committee members were rewarded for their contribution, but not in cash, in LETS points.

Fortunately, the LETS groups I was involved with were supported by Neighbourhood (Community) Houses and non-profit organisations, so we had no overheads.

As a core group you will hold a foundation meeting ... You will: ... -Decide on a business address for your LETS group. (This could be temporarily in a member’s home.)
... -Agree on the annual membership fees and monthly account-keeping fees.
-Agree to amount of LETS points awarded to committee members for performing their roles.

(Appendix 1-pg.186-187)

To summarise, I believe that when your LETS group operates outside the cash society it can, not only survive, but flourish!

Everything that funding would be used for can be provided by the LETS members.

Yes, the LETS groups I was a member of operated out of Neighbourhood (Community) Houses, but they didn't fund us. Each became a LETS member and offered the use of their premises, phone and photocopying to the group in exchange for goods and services provided by other LETS members.

When a group doesn't have the benefit of a non-profit organisation as a member, any of the other members (or several) can take on that and offer the use of their home/s as an office, or for LETS meetings and events.

LETS is not a charity. Every member has the right (and should be encouraged) to be rewarded IN LETS POINTS for providing any goods and services.

To do otherwise would be to take advantage of that member and possibly lose them completely once they feel they've been "used" and unappreciated.

Some costs, however, will usually need to be paid by cash: postage, stationery, photocopying, etc. But these costs are very small by comparison and should be taken into account when setting the Membership Registration and Monthly Account-Keeping Fees.

So basically, a LETS group should fund itself.

Why? (more about the death knell) ...

Because "funding" is always a short-term solution usually given to a group to "help get it started".

And it works superbly (5 days/week, Mon-Fri from 9am-5pm), often getting many members registered quickly because the LETS office, overheads and full-time Co-ordinator are usually covered by that funding.

So when the group has grown to about 200 members the funders say, "Hey! You guys don't need us any more. Your group's large enough to take care of itself".

Actually, this is true. But in reality, a couple of things happen.

First of all, everyone panics because they wonder how they're now going to pay the rent for the office. The landlord has been paid cash for the past year or two and will certainly find another tenant if they're not offered cash any more.

Secondly, the full-time co-ordinator, and the strength behind the LETS group's success, quits!

She only performed that duty because it was income-generating. It was her job! Why should she now do it for LETS points? All she's thinking about now is that she's got to find another job.

The LETS members feel the same way. Why should any of them take on the Co-ordinator's role (a full-time position) for LETS points when that position was being paid quite handsomely in cash?

So, yes, funding is a possibility and will help get your LETS group get started, but it brings with it the seeds of your group's demise.

In conclusion ...

I urge you to start your LETS group as a self-funding system - in whatever shape or size it presents itself at the time - operated by a dedicated team of committee members who care about the welfare and advancement of all their members.

This is the only way to ensure the happiness and satisfaction of your members and, ultimately, the long-term success of your LETS group.

Happy trading!

Exotic Foods

A Texan stopped at a local restaurant following a day of sight seeing in Mexico.

While sipping his tequila, he noticed a sizzling, scrumptious looking platter being served at the next table. Not only did it look good, the smell was wonderful.

He asked the waiter, "What is that you just served?"

The waiter replied, "Ah senor, you have excellent taste! Those are called Cojones de Toro, bull's testicles from the bull fight this morning. A delicacy!"

The cowboy said, "What the heck bring me an order."

The waiter replied, "I am so sorry senor. There is only one serving per day because there is only one bull fight each morning. If you come early and place your order, we will be sure to save you this delicacy."

The next morning, the cowboy returned, placed his order, and that evening was served the one and only special delicacy of the day.

After a few bites, inspecting his platter, he called to the waiter and said, "These are delicious, but they are much, much smaller than the ones I saw you serve yesterday."

The waiter shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Si, Senor. Sometimes the bull wins."

28 Jun 2008

LETS Untwisted

As you might've imagined, I've read a few articles and books about LETS and I can tell you now that The LETSaholic Twist must surely be one of the most informative, motivational, and simplest to read LETS books available today. And all of it is based on personal experience ... not theory.

If you want to get more out of LETS ... even to the point of making it a life-changing experience ... then "you gotta read this book"!

Chapter One - My Story, tells you how it changed my life. It's over 12 pages, so I won't copy it all here. Just click on this link.

Chapter Three - Offers, shows you how to select the goods and services you'll be offering through LETS and in the process increasing the number and variety of offers for the benefit of all LETS members.

Here's a sample:



I was introduced to one of the best Offers I have ever come across when I was in London on my 400-Day LETS Odyssey in 2003. I was invited to speak to the Camden LETS group. It was a cosy meeting in a member’s apartment with maybe eight or ten members sitting on chairs and cushions in the lounge room. That night Phillida, our host, showed me their LETS newsletter and directory.

“One of our new members didn’t know what to list in her Offers because she was very versatile and could handle anything from secretarial work to house cleaning. She felt she would be happier to consider all requests made to her from LETS members. So, instead of making a lengthy but incomplete list, we came up with a new listing: Try Me. It has since become very popular and now there are ten members listed in the Try Me category.”

What a great idea, and very much in the spirit of LETS!


Happy trading!

Medley of Jokes

FBI Assassin

The FBI had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews and testing were done, there were 3 finalists; two men and a woman.

For the final test, the FBI agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.

"We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances.

Inside the room you will find your wife sitting in a chair . . . Kill her!"

The man said, "You can't be serious. I could never shoot my wife."

The agent said, "Then you're not the right man for this job. Take your wife and go home."

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes. The man came out with tears in his eyes, "I tried, but I can't kill my wife."

The agent said, "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife home."

Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one after another. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls.
After a few minutes, all was quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the woman, wiping the sweat from her brow.

"This gun is loaded with blanks," she said. "I had to beat him to death with the chair!"

Women are crazy. Don't mess with them.


Unusual Pet

This guy was lonely and so he decided life would be more fun if he had a pet. So he went to the pet store and told the owner that he wanted to buy an unusual pet.

After some discussion he finally bought a centipede, (100-leg bug), which came in a little white box to use for his house.

He took the box home, found a good location for it, and decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar for a drink.

So he asked the centipede in the box, "Would you like to go to Frank's place with me and have a beer?"

But there was no answer from his new Pet.

This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few more minutes and then asked him again, "How about going to the bar and having a drink with me?"

But again there was no answer from his new friend and pet.

So he waited another few minutes. Thinking about the situation, he decided to ask him one more time.

This time putting his face up against the centipede's house and shouting, "Hey, in there! Would you like to go to Frank's place and have a drink with me?

Atiny little voice came out of the box: "I heard you the first time! I'm putting on my frigging shoes!"


Tomato Patch Bodies

An old Italian man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his tomato garden, but it was very hard work as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over because you would be happy to dig the plot for me.

Love, Dad

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Dad,

Don't dig up that garden. That's where I buried the bodies.

Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you, Vinnie


ID ten T error

I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Rich, my grandson, the new High-School-Grad-18year-old who knows everything. His bedroom looks like Mission Control. So I asked him to come over. Rich clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong’?

He replied, 'It was an ID ten T error.'

I didn't want to appear stupid, but he knows me better than I do.

Nonetheless I enquired, 'An, ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.'

Rich just grinned.... 'Papa, Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?'

'No,' I replied.

'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.'

So I wrote it down.


Can you solve this puzzle?

You are riding on a beautiful white horse.

On your left side is a drop off.

On your right side are several ostriches being chased by a lion.

In front of you are four large gazelles, which won't get out of your way and you can't seem to overtake them.

Behind you is a stampede of horses.

What must you do to get out of this highly dangerous situation?

For the answer click and drag your mouse from star to star.

*Get your drunk butt off the merry-go-round!*


SUMMER Exercise program for 2008

You might want to take it easy at first, then do it faster as you become more proficient. It may be too strenuous for some.

Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program!


That's enough for the first day.

Great job.

Have a Chocolate.

Fat James to Slim Jim

(UPDATE: On 17 April 2008, 15 months and 9 days after starting my diet, I weighed 76.4 kgs, 20.5 kgs less than when I started!)

How I lost 21 kgs
in 18 weeks
obtained naturally: without any diet pills, packaged food plans, weekly diet consultations ... AND NO EXERCISE!)


As you know, losing weight can be very difficult. In fact, my current weight loss is the only time in over 30 years where I've had sustained success for more than 7weeks. Actually, I'm so pleased with myself I've written a report about, How I lost 21 kgs in 18 weeks. A critical part of this are my before and after photos (above).

My before photo (96.9 kgs) was taken at a pool party in October 2006. I kept this weight until January 8, 2007 – the day I began my weight loss program.

My after photo (75.9 kgs) was taken on June 23, 2007. Actually, I got down to this weight on May 11 – less than 18 weeks after beginning my weight loss program.

The interesting part about this is that the weight loss was obtained naturally: without any diet pills, packaged food plans, weekly diet consultations or exercise! I've since begun exercising to tone up my muscles, and I'm feeling much better about that. But it hasn't made any difference to my weight loss, which I'm now maintaining.

I think you can clearly see the difference from the photos. I've even kept daily records of my food intake and weight (against popular opinion, I weigh myself daily), which I have charted to keep track of my own progress.

For only

... you can get my report:
How I lost 21 kgs in 18 weeks and start losing weight immediately!

CLICK ABOVE to purchase your report on How I lost 21 kgs in 18 weeks

17 Apr 2008

Language Exchange

Well, after being in Shanghai for over 3 years (yes, it's been that long!) I've got back into my trading lifestyle with ... LANGUAGE EXCHANGE.

When I meet people here and tell them I've been in China since September 2004, they automatically presume I can speek fluent Chinese. But that's just not the case.

For 18 months I was writing and publishing books (18 in total) and then I began teaching English (at all levels: from ages 3-adult) in Chinese schools and English language centres (such as English First) where they didn't need me to speak Chinese ... just English!

Nevertheless, I recently became determined to master this deceptively simple language (yep, simple!) when I was fortunate to come across people offering LANGUAGE EXCHANGE. That is, I teach them English for an hour and they teach me Chinese for an hour.

I've already learnt about 100 words and a few very simple sentences. In fact, I have no problems asking for prices from sellers and can understand any amount, in Chinese currency, given to me.

My goal is to speak Chinese confidently, at a social level, by the end of the year ... and I have 4 LANGUAGE EXCHANGE teacher/students to help me achieve that goal.

Chinese will be my 4th language! (I speak English, Greek and some French.)

Zaijian (Goodbye),

And happy trading!


Learn Chinese in 5 Minutes
(You MUST read them aloud)

Eng: That's not right.
Chi: Sum Ting Wong.

Eng: Are you harboring a fugitive?
Chi: Hu yu hai ding?

Eng: See me ASAP.
Chi: Kum hia nao.

Eng: Small horse.
Chi: Tai ni po ni.

Eng: Did you go to the beach?
Chi: Wai yu so tan?

Eng: I think you need a facelift.
Chi: Chin tu fat.

Eng: It's very dark in here.
Chi: Wai so dim?

Eng: I thought you were on a diet?
Chi: Wai yu mun ching?

Eng: This is a tow away zone.
Chi: No pah king.

Eng: Our meeting is scheduled for next week.
Chi: Wai yu kum nao?

Eng: Staying out of sight.
Chi: Lei ying lo.

Eng: He's cleaning his automobile.
Chi: Wa shing ka.

Eng: Your body odour is offensive.
Chi: Yu stin ki pu.


Wishing everyone in the LETS Community a very Happy New Year.

Happy trading!


Catholic Horses

One day while he was at the track playing the ponies and all but losing his shirt, Mitch noticed a priest who stepped out onto the track and blessed the forehead of one of the horses lining up for the 4th race.

Lo and behold, that horse - a very long shot - won the race. Before the next race, as the horses began lining up, Mitch watched with interest the old priest step onto the track.

Sure enough, as the 5th race horses came to the starting gate the priest made a blessing on the forehead of one of the horses.

Mitch made a beeline for a betting window and placed a small bet on the horse. Again, even though it was another long shot, the horse the priest had blessed won the race.

Mitch collected his winnings, and anxiously waited to see which horse the priest would bless for the 6th race. The priest again blessed a horse.

Mitch bet big on it, and it won. Mitch was elated. As the races continued the priest kept blessing long shot horses, and each one ended up coming in first.

Bye and bye, Mitch was pulling in some serious money. By the last race, he knew his wildest dreams were going to come true. He made a quick dash to the ATM, withdrew all his savings, and awaited the priest's blessing that would tell him which horse to bet on.

True to his pattern, the priest stepped onto the track for the last race and blessed the forehead of an old nag that was the longest shot of the day. Mitch also observed the priest blessing the eyes, ears, and hooves of the old nag.

Mitch knew he had a winner and bet every cent he owned on the old nag. He then watched dumbfounded as the old nag come in dead last. Mitch, in a state of shock, made his way down to the track area where the priest was.

Confronting the old priest he demanded, "Father! What happened? All day long you blessed horses and they all won. Then in the last race, the horse you blessed lost by a Kentucky mile.

Now, thanks to you I've lost every cent of my savings - all of it!".

The priest nodded wisely and with sympathy. "Son," he said, "that's the problem with you Protestants, you can't tell the difference between a simple blessing and the last rites."

1 Aug 2007

LETS Book, CD, DVD and Software Library

What books, CDs, DVDs and software are available on LETS?

This is a question I've been asked from time to time over the years, so now I think it's time to compile a comprehensive list of all the books, CDs, DVDs and software available about LETS.

If you have produced any of these LETS tools, or know of them, then please contact me at so I can include it/them in my LETS Book, CD, DVD and Software Library.

Please send me the details, link or free sample product (download or post). If you can also send me a product description and review, I'll include these as well for the benefit of my LETS-Linkup members and visitors.

Happy trading!


Automobile Air Conditioning Inventors

The three Goldberg brothers, Norman, Hyman, and Maximillian invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner.

On July 17th, 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97º. The 3 brothers walked into old man Henry Ford's office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that 3 gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.

Henry was curious and invited them into his office. They refused and instead asked that he come out to the parking lot to their car.

They persuaded him to get into the car which was about 130º - turned on the air-conditioner and cooled the car off immediately.

The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them 3 million dollars for the patent.

The brothers refused saying they would settle for 2 million but they wanted the recognition by having a label "The Goldberg Air-Conditioner" on the dashboard of each car that it was installed in.

Now old man Ford was more than just a little bit anti-Semitic, and there was no way he was going to put the Goldbergs' name on 2 million Ford cars.

They haggled back and forth for about 2 hours and finally agreed on 4 million dollars and that just their first names would be shown.

And so, even today, all Ford air-conditioners show on the controls the names "Norm", "Hi", and "Max".

6 May 2007

Pay Anyone with Barter, Online Barter Resources

Press Release

NEW YORK - XO Limited ("XO"), today launched its new "pay anyone" feature, where members of any barter exchange can send barter dollars to anyone who has a mobile phone or email, even non-barter exchange members. The feature is designed to make barter more "liquid" and, in conjunction with the companies swipe card, telephone, mobile, internet banking and e-commerce platform has been designed to make barter more accessible to the wider community.

Barter exchange members can transfer funds to either :
- Other members in the same barter exchange
- Members of other linked barter exchanges (those within their pooled or direct credit limits)
- Any other business or individual who has a valid e-mail addresses or SMS capable mobile phone

When funds are transferred by a barter exchange member to a non- member they receive an email or SMS message advising them of the pending payment.
- The non-member recipient clicks a link, fills out a few details and they immediately become enrolled as a member of your exchange
- The payment will be instantly received and they can use the funds earned with any other barter exchange member or to pay anyone else online.

Accepting recipients automatically become a member of the barter
exchange where the payment originated from. Exchanges can set, eliminate, reduce or put a time-limit on the fees for Pay-Anyone payment recipients and set credit limits as required.

The company also recently announced an online barter exchange library resource centre which include:
- Administration forms and guides for new exchanges
- Flyers explaining barter for assorted industries
- Information about barter exchanges for community currencies
- Resources to allow commercial barter exchanges to expand into the community currency arena
- Welcome pack and information kit templates
- Reports explaining barter, its history, and the market across the globe
- Training materials and CD ROM Resources

All resource files are provided free of charge, with all files able
to be edited and customized by barter exchanges for their own use.
The website for XO Limited is

# END #

About XO Limited
Founded in 2002, XO is Asia Pacific's premier barter and counter- trade systems developer. It offers a neutral Internet based platform
that enables traders to trade with one another using a "virtual" currency through electronic and traditional means. XO"s systems are
designed to enable barter exchange operators to reduce their costs whilst increasing their overall trade volumes. Some of the key
functionalities of their trading platform includes: Internet banking, txt/sms banking, internet trading, IVR (telephone) banking, EFTPOS (electronic point of sale) cards and direct interfaces with traditional banking methods. The software is complete with full CRM,
automated brokering and saved search systems along with a host of proprietary solutions designed to reduce costs and increase transactions for exchanges and their members.

Barter exchanges can choose to host the software themselves or take advantage of XO's inhouse hosting solution, thereby allowing them to use plastic swipe cards and telephone banking in addition to the
standard software platform. The software is understood to be one of the only of its kind worldwide.

Existing exchanges can host the software themselves or utilize XO's fully redundant bank-grade hosting services, thereby taking advantage of the additional ability to utilize swipe cards with their customers both nationally and internationally.

Contact Details for Press Release
Press release prepared by XO Limited.

XO Limited
Media Representative Division
New York, USA
Phone: +1 (646) 213-1091
Fax: +1 (646) 304-2673

And here's an international web site similar to LETS.

How It Got Started

God Said, "Adam, I want you to do something for me."

Adam said, "Gladly, Lord, what do you want me to do?"

God said, "Go down into that valley."

Adam said, "What's a valley?"

God explained it to him.

Then God said, "Cross the river."

Adam said, "What's a river?"

God explained that to him, and then said, "Go over to the hill......."

Adam said, "What is a hill?"

So, God explained to Adam what a hill was.

He told Adam, "On the other side of the hill you will find a cave"

Adam said, "What's a cave?"

After God explained, he said, "In the cave you will find a Woman."

Adam said, "What's a woman?"

So God explained that to him, too.

Then, God said, "I want you to reproduce."

Adam said, "How do I do that?"

God first said (under his breath), "Geez....."

And then, just like everything else, God explained that to Adam, as well.

So, Adam goes down into the valley, across the river, and over the hill, into the cave, and finds the woman.

Then, in about five minutes, he was back.

God, his patience wearing thin, said angrily, "What is it now?"

And Adam said...

"What's a headache?

4 October 2006

Finnegan ... a lesson on how to live in harmony

For me, LETS is not only a lifestyle, it's also a life philosophy.

Recently I was sent this lovely picture story of how a young orphaned squirrel was adopted by a small expectant-mother dog just a couple of days before giving birth.

The pictures and commentary show a caring relationship and bonding which every human being would be proud of.

So here is the story of "Finnegan, Giselle and puppies" in its entirety.

Happy living,


What can we learn from Finnegan, Giselle and puppies?

For about as long as she can remember, Debby says, friends and strangers have brought her animals in need. So it wasn't much of a surprise when someone asked her if she'd care for a newborn squirrel found at the base of a tree somewhere.

Debby Cantlon, who plans to release Finnegan, the young squirrel, back into the wild,
bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her house.

When Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself
with an unlikely nurse's aide: her pregnant Papillon, Mademoiselle Giselle.

Finnegan was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies.

Cantlon and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel's
cage twice to her own bedside before she gave birth.

Cantlon was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow
the squirrel out and the inter-species bonding began.

Finnegan rides a puppy mosh pit of sorts, burrowing in for warmth after
feeding, and eventually working his way beneath his new litter mates.

Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos
and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups.

Now, Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his "siblings" in a
mosh pit of puppies, rolling atop their bodies and sinking in deeply for a nap.

Finnegan and his new litter mates, five Papillon puppies,
get along together as if they were meant to.

Finnegan naps after feeding.

Finnegan makes himself at home with his new litter mates,
nuzzling nose-to-nose for a nap after feeding.

This is a precious example of being accepted no matter where you come from.

We should all learn from Finnegan and the gang to get along with one another... no matter what "species" we are.

 Van Gogh's Family Tree

His dizzy aunt ... Verti Gogh

The brother who ate prunes ... Gotta Gogh

The brother who worked at a convenience store ... Stop N Gogh

The grandfather from Yugoslavia ... U Gogh

The cousin from Illinois ... Chica Gogh

His magician uncle ... Where-Diddy Gogh

His Mexican cousin ... A Mee Gogh

The Mexican cousin's American half-brother ... Gring Gogh

The nephew who drove a stage coach ... Wells-Far Gogh

The constipated uncle ... Cant Gogh

The ballroom dancing aunt ... Tang Gogh

The bird lover uncle ... Flamin Gogh

His nephew psychoanalyst ... E Gogh

The fruit loving cousin ... Man Gogh

An aunt who taught positive thinking ... Way-To Gogh

The little bouncy nephew ... Poe Gogh

A sister who loved disco ... Go Gogh

And his niece who travels the country in a van ... Winnie Bay Gogh

. . And there ya Gogh!

22 June 2006

Bernard Lietaer's New Book

The LETSaholic Twist, my 204 page book about my personal experiences with LETS, continues to attract attention from people all over the world. In fact, just recently I gave approval for part of my book to be quoted in Bernard Lietaer's new book, OF HUMAN WEALTH: New Money for a New World!

OF HUMAN WEALTH: New Money for a New World
by Bernard Lietaer and Stephen Belgin

Publication date: TBA
World distribution.

Norway Shows Interest in
The LETSaholic Twist

Dear James

I loved reading your ebook, great job, and very helpful ideas to get us started with LETS here in Moss, Norway. I read that you had visited Ås, which is just down the road.

I wanted to print my ebook so I could read it on paper, however the book is not set up well to print on inkjets. When you print there is a strong black border which just eats ink and the text appears in a faded blue.

Is there any chance of sending a .txt or .doc format so I can print easily? I will not print it more than once, only to read it myself and to lend to a few people who I am presenting LETS to in our community.

I will then suggest that they buy your e-book too!

Kind Regards,

Adam O'Toole
Moss, Norway


Hi Adam,

I'm glad you're enjoying my book.

You may already know that this ebook is published in soft and hard cover versions too. In fact, a couple of days ago I increased the prices so that buyers could also receive the ebook as a non-password protected .PDF file (so you'll be able to give copies to all your
members!) and it would also be perfect for printing.

If you decide to buy a hard or soft cover book, I would be happy to send you a signed copy. This would also include a free .PDF ebook. So you can keep the bound copy for your LETS library (to pass around) and give .PDF copies to all your new members that have computers.

You can go to

for more details.

Wishing you lots of luck with your new venture.



Dear James

I just bought another copy of your LETS ebook. I would like to have a PDF version as you suggested so that I can give copies to people. I paid for it via my other email on PayPal...

I will buy a soft cover in time but we have our first information evening on Tuesday night so I was hoping to make a few copies for people to read about LETS.

Actually this meeting will be to find a core group to organise the LETS as you suggested but also to recruit members...


New PDF version of The LETSaholic Twist

By popular demand, The LETSaholic Twist is now available as a non-password protected .PDF ebook!

For just $9.99 you can purchase a copy for your LETS group and then give FREE COPIES to all your members!

This is my way of saying "THANK YOU" to the LETS community and helping the LETS movement grow globally. In this way I hope to help millions of other LETS members experience the same benefits that I did with LETS.

FIFA World Cup 2006

I don't know what times the FIFA World Cup football (soccer) matches are televised in your country, but here in China we're all bleary-eyed because the first match is screened at 9pm and the others follow at midnight and then 3am!

At this stage, after the first 2 matches, I'm happy to see Australia in second position in Group F ... and if we win or draw against Croatia tomorrow, we'll get into the next round FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AUSTRALIA'S HISTORY! (Very exciting!)

Happy trading, James

  Five Corporate Lessons

Corporate Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob.

After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 dollars and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"

"It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies. Great!" the husband says, "Did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Corporate Lesson 2

A priest offered a lift to a nun. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest apologized, "Sorry sister but the flesh is weak."

Arriving at the convent, the nun went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Corporate Lesson 3

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish." "Me first! Me first!" says the admin. clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."

Poof! She's gone.

"Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas, and the love of my life."

Poof! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Corporate Lesson 4

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A rabbit asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?"

The crow answered: "Sure, why not."

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. A fox jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.

Corporate Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

Soon he was spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

19 March 2006

Wolfgang's TWIKEmobile

It's always great to hear back from the LETS hosts who accommodated me on my 4 international LETS tours. These are friendships that I've made and I'll treasure for the rest of my life.

One of these friends is Wolfgang Gerster from Braunfels, Germany. He sent me a beautiful poem, which accompanied a picturesque winter photo he had taken.

I was so impressed that I sent him the following email. Other email correspondence are also included.

His TWIKEmobile poem is published below.


Thanks for the birthday wishes, Wolfgang.

And thanks for the poem. It is a great poem, and it described the photo perfectly.

Did you take the photo of the snow dog?

Actually, now that I have seen your poetic skills, how would you like to write a poem about your beloved TWIKE-mobile? A scant reference to me, somewhere, would be a real buzz! ... and I'll place it in my books along with your story, "The Greenest Braunfelser". It could be as short or long as you like ... I'll leave that up to you.

If you like, I could also feature it somewhere on, so everyone can read it.

BTW, are you still "president" of Branfels?



[from Wolfgang]

I did, indeed [take the photo]. Lore took one on real old fashioned photographic film, too.

[regarding my suggestion for a TWKEmobile poem]
We'll see if the muse hits me again. Thanx for the compliment.

Hey, I never was [president]. There'll be a local election on 26 March, and I shall be helping to push the green ticket, that's all.

It's a pleasure to find you're doing so very well. I am so sorry your special [$50 LETS] offer won't function here because of the language.

BTW (to quote you), Lore and I spent some ten days on the Greek island of Kefalonia. Tourism works all right, in English, but Greek would have worked a good deal better.



Give my regards to Lore, Wolfgang. And I hope that muse hits you good and proper!

BTW, I spent a few days on Kefalonia in 2001. It was supposed to be a working trip, but it ended up being a disaster. The only good thing about it was that I got a few good stories out of it, which ended up in my book, Athens to Santorini. [see]

All the best with the election.



Dear James,

It wasn't a muse that kissed but a bug that bit. So here is a decidedly dry, non-humourous didactic bit of rhyming covering both the TWIKE and James, the man who was taken for a ride on day three.

The opening verse was hijacked from Samuel Hoffenstein's "The Gnu", which goes like this:

The gnu is a remarka-bul
(from all descriptions) ani-mul.
Yet how remarka-bul must you
appear to the excentric gnu?
There's something wrong with all of us,
let's ask the hippopotamus.

I found this in a tome among the reject books of the English seminar library in my student days. Pity I didn't pinch it, for I've never found it again. It's full of similar gems. Could the LETS worldwide link system help me lay my hands on another copy? However, here goes:

[The TWIKEmobile poem followed. You can read it below.]

Happy trading, James

Wolgang Gerster and his environmentally-friendly TWIKEmobile.
You can read his story in the editorial above.

The TWIKEmobile
by Wolfgang Gerster

The TWIKE is a remarka-bul
(from all descriptions) ve-he-cul:
you need no oil, you need no gas,
no petrol, diesel, all that jazz,
and if you've solar on your roof
you may be sure to stand aloof
of all that fossil-guzzling lot
that cause our atmosphere to rot,
to wit, the average motor car
that folks are driving near and far.
A model of simplicity,
TWIKE runs on electricity.

You want to join me for a ride?
Come on, James, settle by my side.
We've got three wheels and seats for two
that you will fit in like a shoe.
Pull down our pilot's canopy
and start the count-down. Now, let's see,
how do we start the engine? Got the key?
Don't need one. Press two switches, see?
The panel glows in greenish mode
now key in your four-digit code,
and off we go as smooth as grease
enjoying TWIKE's exhaustless peace.

Hey, where's your pedal, stop it, mate,
we surely must accelerate
to safely join the traffic flow!
No wheel, and there's a bend below!
I say, don't lose your comp, and chuckle,
there's many a mickle makes a muckle.
I use this walking stick to show
whichever way we want to go,
and in the handle's polished pit
an ac- and decel'rator sit.
Thus, speed is at my fingertips.
Man, put a smile upon your lips.

And calmly cruising through the curves
puts some demands on people's nerves
each sharp right turn is somewhat rummy,
my elbow lands in James's tummy.
At some point, after half an hour,
a red light shows we're short of power.
Our weight combined with rough terrain
has caused an unexpected drain.
So, what to do? drive on until
you find some chap who's kind and will
sell you a kilo off his socket
- some change (in case) should line your pocket.

Two hours will do to fill her up
for fifty miles or more.
Time to see sights or have a cup
of coffee in a store.
Then get on board, close hatch, and strike
out for new realms and roads by TWIKE!


You can read more about Wolfgang, The Greenest Braunfelser, in the ebooks, Global Quest for Local LETS or The Globetrotting LETSaholic.

Do you have a song or poem on LETS? If so, send it to me. I'd love to publish it on my website.

Blondes' Revenge Against Brunettes

A gorgeous young blonde goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it. "Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me." The brunette took her finger, pushed on her left arm and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed. Everywhere she touched made her scream.
The doctor said, "You're not really a blonde, are you? "Well, no" she said, "I'm actually a brunette." "I thought so," the doctor said. "Your finger is broken."

Two Brunettes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking........
And one brunette says to the other, "Which do you think is farther away..........Florida or the moon?" The other brunette turns and says "Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida...?????"

A police officer stops a brunette for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her license. She replied in a huff, "I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!"

There's this brunette out for a walk. She comes to a river and sees another brunette on the opposite bank. "Yoo-hoo!" she shouts, "How can I get to the other side?" The second brunette looks up the river then down the river and shouts back, "You ARE on the other side."

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the brunette behind the wheel was knitting! Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his
bullhorn and yelled, "PULL OVER!" "NO!" the brunette yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"

A Russian, an American, and a brunette were talking one day. The Russian said, "We were the first in space!" The American said, "We were the first on the moon!" The brunette said, "So what? We're going to be the first on the sun!" The Russian and the American looked at each other and
shook their heads. "You can't land on the sun, you idiot! You'll burn up!" said the Russian. To which the brunette replied, "We're not stupid like you blondes we're going at night!!

A brunette was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was her turn. She rolled the dice and she landed on Science & Nature. Her question was," If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?" She thought for a time and then asked, "Is it on or off?"

Brunette girl was visiting her brunette friend who had aquired two
new dogs, and asked her what their names were. The brunette
responded by saying that one was named Rolex and and one was named Timex. Her friend said, "Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?"
"HELLLOOOOOOO......," answered the brunette They're watch dogs!"

Q. What's black and blue and brown and laying in a ditch?
A. A brunette who's told too many blonde jokes.

Q. What do you call going on a blind date with a brunette?
A. Brown-bagging it.

Q. What's the real reason a brunette keeps her figure?
A. No one else wants it.

Q. What do you call a brunette in a room full of blondes?
A. Invisible.

Q. What's a brunette's mating call?
A. "Has the blonde left yet? "

Q. Why didn't Indians scalp brunettes?
A. The hair from a buffalo's butt was more manageable.

Q. Why is brunette considered an evil color?
A. When was the last time you saw a blonde witch?

Q. What do brunettes miss most about a great party?
A. The invitation

Q. What do you call a good looking man with a brunette?
A. A hostage

Q. Who makes bras for brunettes?
A. Fisher-Price

Q. Why are brunettes so proud of their hair?
A. It matches their moustache.

10 February 2006


I’ve just finished reading Utopia.

What a revelation! This book was written in 1515 by Sir Thomas More (even though he was knighted, in the end, King Henry VIII still chopped off his head!) and has been the role model for many countries and societies ever since – all adding their own twist to the Utopia model and experiencing different levels of success.

When I began the book, I had no idea what lay in store for me. My understanding of Utopia didn’t go much further than thinking it was a kind of paradise, full-stop.

But as I read, I realised that in so many ways, it was like a big LETS group!

Everyone in Utopia works and everyone prospers. But there is no money! Even gold and silver are valueless. In fact, they consider precious metals to be so worthless “they make their chamber pots and close-stools of gold and silver”!

They all work in areas that are helpful to their local communities and deliver their produce to the market place. In exchange they collect whatever they need for their families. They don’t have any desire to take more than they can use because there is no benefit to them. As there is no money, they cannot sell any excess for personal gain. Anyway, if they are ever short on anything, they know they can always go back to the market and get more of whatever they need.

One particular passage also caught my attention because it related so closely to my recent LETS travels around the world, where I exchanged my speaking services for accommodation, meals, etc …

“If any man has a mind to travel only over the precinct of his own city, he may freely do it, with his father's permission and his wife's consent; but when he comes into any of the country houses, if he expects to be entertained by them, he must labour with them and conform to their rules; and if he does this, he may freely go over the whole precinct, being then as useful to the city to which he belongs as if he were still within it. Thus you see that there are no idle persons among them, nor pretences of excusing any from labour.”

It is understandable why this book - written nearly 500 years ago – has attracted a continuous readership all these years. It is a book full of hope … for us and for our future.

If you would like to read it, you can get a non-password protected .PDF copy (suitable for use on all computers) from for only $1.99. This is a non-copyright ebook, so you can read it (or copy it) and pass it on.

Hoping that LETS can become the Utopia it can truly be for you,

Happy trading, James

Kids are fun!

The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an
urgent problem with one of the main computers, dialed the employee's
home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper.


"Is your daddy home?" he asked.

"Yes," whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?"

The child whispered, "No."

Surprised, and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your
Mommy there?"


"May I talk with her?"

Again the small voice whispered, "No."

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message , the boss asked, "Is anybody! Else there?"

"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, "May I speak with the policeman?"

"No, he's busy" , whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?"

"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the whispered

Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a
helicopter through the ear piece on the phone the boss asked, "What is
that noise?"

"A hello-copper" answered the whispering voice.

"What is going on there?" asked the boss, now truly alarmed.

In an awed whispering voice the child answered, "The search team just
landed the hello-copper."

Alarmed, concerned, and even more then just a little frustrated the boss asked, "What are they searching for?"

Still whispering, the young voice replied along with a muffled giggle: "Me."



25 January 2006

Special LETS Group Offer

It's my birthday tomorrow. I'll be 51. These past few years have been almost surreal for me.

I have travelled around the world as a public speaker, written and published books. I've even written and performed a play around the world as well.

Now I'm starting an online publishing business and working on other web sites as well.

This is all a far cry from my life as it was just 10 years ago.

Today I am living my dreams, knowing that everything is possible if I believe ... truly believe. (I got that line from my play, The Glory Of Athens!)

I just want you to know that if it wasn't for LETS, none of these opportunities would have presented themselves to me.

LETS gave me the opportunity to become a public speaker. First, locally, then internationally on 5 continents around the world.

LETS gave me the opportunity to become a writer, initially for my LETS group's newsletter, then onward to writing and publishing 18 books.

LETS gave me the opportunity to design web sites. I graduated from Newsletter Co-ordinator for my first LETS group to Web Site Co-ordinator for another LETS group.

All of the time I was excited about my achievements. All of the time I gave my time freely and received generous support from the LETS group committee and other members as well.

I hoped for the best and ended up with so much more than I ever expected. It's seems almost unbelievable, even to myself.

My personal story and how I saw LETS at its best are described in full detail in my payback to the LETS community, my book, The LETSaholic Twist.

Since releasing it over a year ago, the sales have trickled through at a slow but consistant rate. With over 1500 LETS groups around the world, I am sure that the "good oil on LETS" (as one of my readers described it) has still a long way to go before it makes the positive impact I know it is capable of.

So, on this day, as a Birthday Gift to all the LETS community, I am offering, The LETSaholic Twist SPECIAL GROUP OFFER. (see offer at top of this homepage).

It is excellent value, giving your group 50 ebooks for your members, plus a soft cover copy for your LETS library, all for only US$50 (international postage included).

I'm not sure how it will go, so it's only being offered until the end of next month (February).

I am enjoying my life now, and I would love to continue doing what I love best; writing, publishing, developing web sites and supporting the LETS community - which I'll be forever grateful.

Your support helps me to help you and all the LETS communities around the world.

I'm not getting rich. I'm just trying to get by, doing the things I love best ... and LETS is at the top of the list.

Oh, The LETSaholic Twist will really benefit your group too ... I promise!

Happy trading, James


About the book

The Ostrich...

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him.

The waitress asks for their orders. The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich, "What's yours?"

"I'll have the same," says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $9.40
please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A
hamburger, fries, and a coke."

The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until, the two enter again.

"The usual?" asks the waitress.

"No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad,
says the man.

"Same," says the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62".

Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it
on the table.

The waitress can't hold back her curiosity any longer.

"Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?"

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes.

My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"

"That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "But, sir, what's with the ostrich?"

The man sighs, pauses, and answers.

"My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say."

31 December 2005

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. I'm still writing and publishing my books in Shanghai, so Christmas was a little low-key here.

Mind you, the Chinese have their own way of recognising the Westerners' Christmas festival, as the following photo - which I took - illustrates quite clearly (painted on the the side of a department store in the heart of Shanghai).

I guess, for me, the highlight of this year has been the publication of my books. Firstly, as ebooks (I have 18 ebooks) and secondly, as bound books (I have 10 books available as hard covers and/or soft covers).

The last book I published was the much awaited, The LETSaholic Twist. I am pleased to say the orders have already begun, and hope that my book can help LETS groups around the world where I have, and haven't, been ... yet!

The LETSaholic Twist went through one more "final edit" before publication, and another book cover design as well.

It's a book that I am sure you will refer to again and again, gleening new implementable ideas from every one of its 204 pages.

You can purchase your copy from this link... CLICK HERE

Wishing you and your LETS group all the best for 2006, and hoping that we may cross paths (for the first, second or third time) at some time in the near future.

P.S. All copies of The LETSaholic Twist purchased from my web site are despatched by me personally, so I would be happy to sign a dedication to you or your LETS group.

Happy trading, James

The Monk Who Found The Truth

A new young monk arrives at the monastery and as with all new monks he is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.

So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son."

So, he goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscript is held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot. So, the young monk gets worried and goes downstairs to look for him.

He sees him banging his head against the wall, and wailing,
"We forgot the "R"! "We forgot the "R"! "We forgot the "R"! "We forgot the "R"!

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying
uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"

With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word is celebrate!"

29 October 2005

My Turn To Play Host

In his China Trip Report, Thomas Greco gave a succinct account of his 'James Taris experience'. The only relevant omission I can think of is when we were crossing a typically busy Shanghai road. I saw a sizeable gap in the traffic approaching, so I began to run across beckoning the others to follow. Unfortunately, Tom didn’t share my confidence as he reluctantly ran after me screaming, “We’re all gonna get killed”!

[Response from Tom ...
Readers might be interested to know that I consider the urban traffic in China (in both Shanghai and Wuhan) to be the most chaotic I've ever seen -- cars, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians all competing for the same space in an amazing process that almost defies description. If they have traffic laws, no one seems to observe them, and pedestrians exhibit what is either tremendous confidence in the skill and sobriety of motor vehicle drivers or a level of foolhardiness that is unparalleled in my experience. Cheers, Tom ]

Anyway, this is part of Tom’s China Trip Report


I arranged my flights from the U.S. so that I had a few days to spend in Shanghai at both the beginning and end of my trip. The time spent there was quite enjoyable. I was fortunate that I had a correspondent there, Australian author, actor, and world-traveler, James Taris, who graciously helped me find my way around and get oriented to the local Chinese culture. We had not known each other very well and had not previously met in person, but found that we had much in common and enjoyed each other's company. James has made several trips to Shanghai, has been living there for the past few months, and plans to remain there until the middle of next year. He has made some good contacts with local people who were happy to spend time with us and show us around, giving them an opportunity to practice their English.

James met my flight from San Francisco at the Pudong airport and escorted me to the shuttle bus and my hotel. I'd have had a hard time finding it without his help. The shuttle, luckily, stopped in front of Shanghai Mansion, just across the street from the Pujiang Hotel where I had already booked a room through the internet site of Hostelling International. Using the internet turned out to be a wise move since the rate I got was much better than the rate that was offered on the spot. The Pujiang Hotel, formerly called the Astor House Hotel, is no flop house for teenage travelers but a vintage hotel that carries its age gracefully. Described as "the first western style hotel in China," it has a long history and boasts having had in its heyday such illustrious guests as Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein.

James and his Chinese friend Rachel met me again the next day for some sightseeing and shopping. Rachel is in the process of becoming a licensed tour guide and has already been a great help to some highly placed foreigners. She has a bright and breezy personality and knows her way around the city, and was a delight to be with.

One of our stops was the "Fakes Market" where there are dozens of stalls that sell knock-offs of various brand name, designer merchandise, including shirts and shoes, plus jewelry, watches, and many other things. James and I allowed Rachel to do our hard bargaining for us (in Chinese) with the merchants and we were amazed at the low prices we were able to get on some pretty nice stuff.

I also arranged through another contact in the U.S. to connect with Frank Sang who runs the Shanghai Barter Company, a commercial trade exchange. The "barter" industry is relatively new in China so the potential for growth is huge. Frank and I seemed to agree on the basic principles relating to the proper operation for such exchanges, so I have a strong sense that he will be successful in quickly building his business.

After completing my assignment at HUST in Wuhan, I flew back to Shanghai where I enjoyed another three days. Once again, James managed to connect with several of his Chinese friends who showed us around and proved to be good company. We enjoyed taking the ferry across the river to Pudong with two young ladies (college students) from the "English corner" who were eager to practice their English. We went up into the Oriental Pearl tower where we got a bird's eye view of Shanghai and Pudong (I learned that Pudong means "east of the river;" Pu Xi means "west of the river," i.e. old Shanghai) and took some awesome pictures. English corner, by the way, is a regular prearranged gathering where Chinese get together to speak English. They are very grateful to have a native English speaker show up, so James has been very popular with them.

The next day Rachel took us to a shop where we bought new movie DVD's for 8 yuan each (equivalent to about one dollar). I was happy that she suggested that we have dinner at the Pizza Hut, since I was by that time pretty maxed out on Chinese food. The Pizza Hut in Shanghai is unlike any I've seen in the Sates, it's quite the plush restaurant with good food and immaculate bathrooms; expensive by Chinese standards, but a good model for them to emulate. Bathrooms in China are often disgustingly dirty and lack both toilet paper and soap. That seems to be changing rapidly, though, as China is making a great effort to modernize. One article in the English language newspaper reported that the Shanghai municipal government is planning to build 1,200 new markets all around the city and to outfit them with modern, hygienic toilet facilities.

After dinner, we wandered over to the bar at 5 on the Bund where we found the pool table unused and waiting for us. Rachel, who had never played before, caught on quickly. 5 on the Bund is a classy, expensive place but we got there in time for happy hour so we got to play pool for free and enjoyed two-for-one drinks so it ended up costing us only 80 yuan. [US$10]

On Tuesday, we met two other people from the English corner, David, a businessman who owns a car, and No No, a young lady friend of his, who drove us out to the newer area of Pudong, which is mostly residential and filled with high rise apartment houses, a couple fancy hotels and a few restaurants. There's also a nice park, Century Park, which we spent a couple hours exploring. There's a ponsai (what the Japanese call "bonsai") garden and a small lake, and some nice trees and foliage. Surrounded by the burgeoning new city, it appears that Century Park will soon fulfill a role similar to that of Central Park in New York.

We finished the evening with dinner at a "hot pot" Chinese restaurant, which was quite an experience. The basic format is that each table has a propane burner in the middle on which is placed a pot of broth. You then select from a variety of meat and vegetable offerings brought to your table, which you cook one after another in the broth. Our pot came with a whole duck and a variety of herbs and spices. I managed to prevail upon my companions to avoid selecting most of the Chinese favorites (which to me and most westerners seem weird), so it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable dinner.

On the morning of my departure, September 28, James met me at the Captain Hostel, where I was staying. As I was checking out, I overheard the woman next to me asking directions to the MagLev train station. Since that was our destination also, I introduced myself. Barbara turned out to be a consultant and professor of management from California who has taught several times in China and was booked to return on the same flight to San Francisco. The three of us agreed to share a taxi to the MagLev station in Pudong where we would board the ultra-modern "magnetic levitation" train that goes to the Pudong airport. The train ride is expensive by Chinese standards (50 yuan or about $6.25) but it's a thrilling experience. Reaching a top speed of about 260 miles per hour [431 kilometres per hour], the trip to the airport takes less than 8 minutes.


As you can tell from Tom's recollections, we all had a great time. So if you are heading out to China and would like to stop over in Shanghai for a few days, I'd love to show you around as well. After all, I've been welcomed all over the world by some of the greatest LETS hosts you could hope for (you can read about them in my LETS Tours books: Global Quest for Local LETS, Land of the LETS Green Dollar and 400-Day LETS Odyssey) so it's great to change roles and play 'host' for a change.

Happy trading, James

English in European Union in next 5 years.

European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining ou" and after ziz fifz yer,
ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu
understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

28 Aug 2005

International LETS Connections

When I made a decision to come to China for a year – so I could concentrate on just writing and publishing – I thought my only face-to-face LETS contacts would be with Chinese people.

After all, China isn’t one of your popular tourist destinations.

However, I’ve recently been pleasantly surprised to hear from LETS people who have asked to meet me in Shanghai!

Last week I met with Sebastiano Scròfina, a 22-year-old Italian researcher in the field of alternative currencies. We had an interesting conversation in a Starbucks Coffee shop (in the heart of the city) and then ended the night by going to a Tango class in the evening! Those Italians certainly know how to mix business with pleasure.

He asked if I had ever been to Italy, and when I told him I hadn’t, he instantly offered to host me in his home in Rome on my next world tour – even though I had only met him a couple of hours earlier!

I never cease to be amazed at how much like a “family” LETS is, and has been, for me.

In a few days I will also be meeting with Thomas Greco. Tom is a world-renowned authority on money and founder of Reinventing Money.

As well as being an expert on the money system, Tom is also a published author, so I’m looking forward to getting some tips from him on writing and publishing.

A couple of days ago Tom asked if I knew of anyone who had Flash experience (using a computer, not a trench coat!).

Here’s what he wrote:

… Do you know anyone who is skilled at doing Flash animation? I think that may be a good way to teach the concept of mutual credit clearing.

Here's what I have in mind:

I was just discussing this in an email to John Zube.

Here's what I said:

... it is very important that we use the best available visual materials, simulations, games, etc. to educate the masses.

I am envisioning a Flash presentation that shows the fluctuations in a set of accounts (perhaps 20 or 30 in number) as a set of hypothetical transactions (maybe 100 in number) are executed. All the paired transaction data could first be presented in a spreadsheet, then a bar-graph animation would show the account balances bouncing up and down. Total amounts of value cleared would also be registered for each account and for the total system demonstrating very clearly that no money is necessary. … Tom

[In his next email he wrote:]

Les Squires has developed a "ticket system" to keep track of work done on collaborative projects. I've just begun to learn how to use it. ... Tom

So, you will be rewarded for your efforts with “tickets”.

I’m sure he’ll explain how you’ll be able to use them. So if you, or someone you know, can help Tom with his Flash work, please contact me and I will forward your email on to him.

And this week I am being interviewed by XinMing Evening Post, the largest circulating Chinese newspaper in Shanghai.

As you can see, I’m not so anonymous or isolated as I had expected to be.


(another Billionaire Joke from

Be Nice To Your Nurse

A billionaire had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. He was a royal pain in the butt to the nurses because he bossed them around just like he did his staff. None of the hospital staff wanted to have anything to do with him.

The head nurse was the only one who could stand up to him. She came into his room and announced, "I have to take your temperature."

After complaining for several minutes, the billionaire finally settled down, crossed his arms and opened his mouth.

"No, I'm sorry, the nurse stated, "but for this reading, I can't use an oral thermometer."

This started another round of complaining, but eventually he rolled over and bared his backside.

After feeling the nurse insert the thermometer, the billionaire heard her announce, "I have to get something. Now you stay JUST LIKE THAT until I get back!"

She leaves the door to his room open on her way out. The billionaire curses under his breath as he hears people walking past his door, laughing.

After a half hour, the billionaire's doctor comes into the room.

"What's going on here?" asked the doctor.

Angrily, the billionaire answers, "What's the matter, Doc? Haven't you ever seen someone having their temperature taken?"

After a pause, the doctor confesses, "Yes, but Not with a carnation."

5 July 2005

Final-Edit Versions of LETS ebooks Now Available

Thanks to everyone who sent in corrections and suggestions for improving the pre-final edit versions of The LETSaholic Twist and The Globetrotting LETSaholic. Your input has made both books much more presentable, accurate and useful for future readers.

In fact, I’m so pleased with the results that unless I get an order for at least 1,000 books I won’t be printing bound copies of either book!

Offering these books as downloadable ebooks has also solved the posting and transportation headache that I envisaged having with orders coming from every corner of the globe. Three cheers for the internet!

For those who have been waiting for printed copies, all is not lost. The new ebooks have been designed to be printer friendly. So you can print a very good quality version of both ebooks.

The number of improvements I made are really too numerous to mention and sometimes a little embarrassing too – like the 724 spelling and grammar corrections I made in The LETSaholic Twist alone! I couldn’t believe how careless I’d been.

I've even added additional stories to both books. In Chapter 3 of The LETSaholic Twist, the "More On Business Members" segment relays a discussion I had with a LETS member regarding the pros and cons of businesses using LETS.

In this article I share my views about businesses benefitting from trading EGAFS - Excess Goods And Future Services.

It's a thought-provoking issue worth consideration by all LETS organisations. In fact, it's worth purchasing the book for this story alone.

The new story I added in The Globetrotting LETSaholic is called "Gold Nuggets For Goldring Members".

It 's about my experience with Guenter Koch, founder of the Goldring system which pays it's members in GOLD! I know it's true because I got paid a gold nugget for doing some editing while I was there! Actually, it's included in Chapter 1, so you can even get it with the FREE sample download.

So all-in-all , I’m very happy to finally present the LETS world with a couple of professional quality ebook publications.

You can sample both of them by clicking on their “FREE sample download” buttons.

So, please … enjoy!

Happy trading, James

(another Billionaire Joke from

VW v. Rolls Royce

A man from Texas, driving a Volkswagen Beetle, pulls up next to a billionaire in a Rolls Royce at a stop sign. Their windows are open and he yells at the billionaire, "Hey, you got a telephone in that Rolls?"

The billionaire says, "Yes, of course I do."

"I got one too... see?” the Texan says.

"Uh, huh, yes, that's very nice."

"You got a fax machine?" asks the Texan.

"Why, actually, yes, I do."

"I do too! See? It's right here!" brags the Texan.

The light is just about to turn green and the guy in the Volkswagen says, "So, do you have a double bed in back there?"

The billionaire replies, "NO! Do you?"

"Yep, got my double bed right in back here," the Texan replies.

The light turns and the Volkswagen takes off.

Well, the billionaire is not about to be one-upped, so he immediately goes to a customizing shop and orders them to put a double bed in back of his Rolls.

About two weeks later, the job is finally done. He picks up his Rolls and drives all over town looking for the Volkswagen beetle with the Texas plates. Finally, he finds it parked alongside the road, so the billionaire pulls his Rolls up next to it.

The windows on the Volkswagen are all fogged up ...

(it's OK to continue ... it's a clean joke.)

... and he feels somewhat awkward about it, but the billionaire gets out of his newly modified Rolls and taps on the foggy window of the Volkswagen.

The man in the Volkswagen finally opens the window a crack and peeks out.

The billionaire says, "Hey, remember me?"

"Yeah, yeah, I remember you," replies the Texan, "What's up?"

"Check this out...I got a double bed installed in my Rolls."


19 June 2005

International LETS Coming Soon

Just thought I’d share some exciting news about the LETS movement internationally. Here’s the correspondence that’s taken place recently …


(from Yvan, Canada)

Hi James, My name is Yvan Petit-Pas and I am taking part in starting a LETS compliant community currency in Brantford. Our currency is valued at 12 Canadian dollars for one hour of unskilled labour. Our handle is "The Brantford Time Bank" of "Time Bank Brantford". Our aim is to eventually make this a global currency. As we are in a preliminary stage right now, I am in search for some help. First of all we are in need of an efficient, bug-free software that would record our transactions, as well as register members on-line and list members' goods and services. If you could give me any suggestions I would appreciate it. We are not really situated on line right now so I can't really direct you to any information. If you have any questions we are happy to talk further. Good fortune, Yvan


(from me to Yvan and Tim Jenkin)

Hi Yvan, Your best option for an online LETS operating system would be the one used in South Africa and designed by Tim Jenkin. His email address is Good luck with your new LETS system. James


(from Tim Jenkin)

Hi James, Thanks for sending these on to me. I hope we can get these folks on board. We already have two Australian groups starting up on our system (Logan and Katoomba). There are now 19 groups nationwide (and internationally!) linked in a single network. The Cape Town group alone has almost 1,200 members and growing strongly. The group recently passed the mark of trading the equivalent of one million worth in the national currency. While this is nothing extraordinary in monetary terms, it amounts to a lot of trading considering that most trades are for relatively small amounts. Regards, Tim Jenkin


If you’re interested in seeing this excellent online LETS system, there’s a free demonstration on the CES web site

Happy trading, James

A Jazz Chord

Stevie Wonder is playing his first gig in Tokyo and the place is absolutely packed to the rafters. In a bid to break the ice with his new audience he asks if anyone would like him to play a request. A little old Japanese man jumps out of his seat in the first row and shouts at the top of his voice "Play a Jazz chord! Play a jazz chord!"

Amazed that this guy knows about the jazz influences in Stevie's varied career, the blind impresario starts to play an E minor scale and then goes into a difficult jazz melody for about 10 minutes. When he finishes the whole place goes wild. The little old man jumps up again and shouts "No, no, play a Jazz chord, play a Jazz chord".

A bit miffed by this, Stevie, being the professional that he is, dives straight into a jazz improvisation with his band around the flat minor chord and really tears the place apart.

The crowd goes wild with this impromptu show of his technical expertise.

The little old man jumps up again. "No, no. Play a Jazz chord, play a jazz chord".

Well and truly bothered that this little guy doesn't seem to appreciate his playing ability. Stevie says to him from the stage "OK smartie. You get up here and do it!"

The little old man climbs up onto the stage, takes hold of the mike and starts to sing .....
"A jazz chord to say I ruv you..."

19 April 2005

Launching LETS in China

> Hi James, Are you working with Complementary Currencies in China? Regards from Indonesia, Stephen

[Stephen DeMeulenaere, Asia Coordinator, Strohalm Foundation for Integrated Economics, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia]

Hi Stephen,

On my last visit to China, I met some English-speaking Chinese at an English Corner meeting (a gathering of people who meet on Sundays and spend 2-4 hours improving their English by speaking with each other only in English).

At this meeting I mentioned that I'd written a couple of books about
LETS. Immediately I had to explain what LETS was all about and a couple of my audience showed an interest in reading my book, The LETSaholic Twist: A guide to improving your lifestyle through LETS.

The outcome of that is that there is now a keen interest in launching a LETS group in Shanghai!

I helped to launch LETS in Cape Town, South Africa, so launching LETS in China should just be a re-run of that (I hope). The difference is that I only had 4 days in Cape Town, but I have 12 months in Shanghai! And I guess I'll need it because I don't have the luxury of relying on an established organization like SANE (in South Africa) to make LETS a reality after my departure.

The first meeting will be on May 1. Fortunately the interest has come from English-speaking Chinese so I won't have a language barrier to overcome.

Hopefully it'll be a positive meeting and the beginning of LETS in China. Can you imagine how huge LETS could be in a country with a population of 1.3 billion people? Or, indeed, in a city with 16 million people?

I'll keep you posted on how things develop.



> James, I've often wondered about the prospects for mutual credit and complementary currencies in China. I wonder what is possible under their currency political situation. I expect to be in China during the month of September ... Regarding your 12 months in China, is this upcoming? What will you be doing? Tom Greco

[Thomas H. Greco, Jr., Reinventing Money,,
Tucson, Arizona, USA]

Hi Tom,

I'm not aware of the Chinese currency political situation. I'll check the internet and see what I can find out about it (if you already have a link, I'd appreciate it).

If you have read my book, The LETSaholic Twist, you'll notice I don't like to view LETS points as an alternative currency, but rather like units on a scorecard for favours given and received. That's my "twist" on the normal LETS system.

Apparently there are 700-800 Time Banks operating in China (for old age care) so I'm hoping LETS will be compared with those rather than to a community currency.

I'm already in China. I arrived in Shanghai on April 4 and will stay until April 1 next year. This is my 6th visit to China. I'm back again to prepare another 15 eBooks for ePublication (I completed 5 on my last trip here).

Let me know if you plan to come to Shanghai in September and I'll arrange to meet with you.



Jack wakes up at home with a huge hangover he can't believe. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table ... And, next to them, a single red rose!

Jack sits down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Jack looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly
clean. So is the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror, and
notices! a! note on the table: "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping--Love you!"

He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Jack asks, "son, what happened last night?"

"Well, you came home after 3 A.M., drunk and out of your mind. You broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and got that black eye when you ran
into the door."

"So, why is everything in such perfect order, so clean, I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"

His son replies, "Oh THAT!... Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, lady, I'm married!"

Broken furniture - $85.26
Hot Breakfast - $4.20
Red Rose bud -$3.00
Two Aspirins -$.38

Saying the right thing, at the right time.........Priceless!

2nd February 2005

The Globetrotting LETSaholic

My second book on LETS is now complete and FREE for your use (click on link below):

The Globetrotting LETSaholic

This is my big "THANK YOU" to the 63 LETS hosts, in 15 countries, on 5 continents, over 4 international LETS tours.

A compilation of all my travel stories, including a list of all my LETS hosts; groups and individuals.

Thanking you all for an incredible experience,

James Taris (writing from Shanghai, China)

Some of the WORST jokes ever

1. Two blondes walk into a building.......... you'd think at least one of them would have seen it

2. Phone answering machine message - "...If you want to buy marijuana, press the hash key..."

3. A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only Clingfilm for shorts. The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts."

4. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

5. I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. He said, "No, the steaks are too high."

6. My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.

7. A man came round in hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!" The doctor replied "I know you can't, I've cut your arms off".

8. I went to a seafood disco last week...and pulled a muscle.

9. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. They lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it.

10. Our ice cream man was found lying on the floor of his van covered with hundreds and thousands. Police say that he topped himself.

11. Man goes to the doctor, with a strawberry growing out of his head. Doc says "I'll give you some cream to put on it."

12. 'Doc I can't stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home' "That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome. ' Is it common? ' "It's not unusual."

13. A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet. "My dog is cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him?" "Well," said the vet, "let's have a look at him" So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then he checks his teeth. Finally, he says, "I'm going to have to put him down." "What? Because he's cross-eyed?" "No, because he's really heavy"

14. Guy goes into the doctor's. "Doc, I've got a cricket ball stuck up my backside." ..."How's that?" "Don't you start."

15. Two elephants walk off a cliff...boom, boom!

16. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

17. So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can you give me a lift?" I said "Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it.'

18. Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. There are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mum or my Dad, or my older Brother Colin, or my younger Brother Ho-Cha-Chu? But I think it's Colin.

19. Two fat blokes in a pub, one says to the other "Your round." The other one says "So are you, you fat bast**d!"

20. Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, and the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.

21. "You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.' So that was nice."

22. A man walked into the doctors, he said, "I've hurt my arm in several places" The doctor said, "Well don't go there anymore"

23. Ireland's worst air disaster occurred early this morning when a small two-seater Cessna plane crashed into a cemetery. Irish search and rescue workers have recovered 1826 bodies so far and expect that number to climb as digging continues into the night...

31st December 2004

The LETSaholic Twist

My first book on LETS is now complete and FREE for your use (click on link below):

The LETSaholic Twist

This version is the pre-final-edit version. Once you have read it, I would appreciate any suggestions you may have for improvement. I am also looking for testimonials to use in my printed book. Anything from a one-sentence comment to a full book review will be considered for use in promoting my book to LETS communities around the world.

If you hosted me on one of my LETS tours, you can also use this opportunity to share a personal story or incident you recall from that visit.

Due to many LETS members preferring a level of anonymity, your writer's credit will be restricted to "first name and initial, and name of LETS group, city and country" (eg Robert D, HamLETS, Melbourne, Australia) unless you would prefer a more - or less - identifying reference. In that case, send me your own writer's credit and I will use it "as is".

Several people have been mentioned by name in this book, but where I haven't been sure of the person's wishes, I have stuck to using just their first name. If your name appears in this book (you may be surprised to see it there) please let me know if you'd prefer me to also use your surname, or any other details (eg your LETS committee role). In the same respect, if I have related a story that you were involved in without mentioning your name, please let me know if you would prefer me to identify you in that story.

These are the people and groups mentioned so far in this book:

AUSTRALIA -Brunswick LETS; Coburg and District LETS: Sue (LETS
co-ordinator), Helen, James N, Lynette, Peter; Melbourne LETS: Bill,
Henk; Moreland LETS; North Melbourne LETS: Ross, Doone, Malcolm, Amy, Peter, Bev, Robert.

CANADA - KW Barterworks: Kit, Pauline Finch.



NEW ZEALAND - Wairarapa Green Dollar Exchange: Helen Dew, Ruth; Timaru Alternative Trading System.


SCOTLAND - North Fife LETS: Phil Beaumont (LETS co-ordinator).

WALES - South Poweys LETS: John Rogers.

Next week I will be looking for printers, so hopefully it will be ready to print by February 14. That means I will need any feedback by January 31, so I will have time to make the final edit and design the page layouts and cover artwork.

I know you are most likely on vacation now, but this is probably the best time of the year to spend some time reading about LETS, hopefully giving you some fresh new ideas to use in 2005.

Best wishes for the New Year,

James Taris (writing from Shanghai, China)

(not a joke this month - just a beautiful and inspirational story)

The Real Santa Claus

This is what Christmas should be all about. I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb:

"There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when
swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumour has been going around for years, and it makes me
mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

Off we went to Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

"Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only
eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people
scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.... I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbours, the kids at school, the people
who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker have a cough; he had no coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me Merry Christmas. That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

(a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible)

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumours about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

And I still have Grandma's Bible, with the coat's tag tucked inside: $19.95.

~author unknown
St. Nicholas was a man whose greatest gift
was to give us all the experience of being saints ....

24th November 2004

One Down, FiveTo Go

On my 400-day LETS Odyssey, I was fortunate enough to perform my play, The Glory of Athens, to several LETS groups around the world. If it wasn’t for these people my play may never have got off the ground.

Recently I committed to writing six books – all based on my LETS travels over the past 3 years.

Getting time and space to focus on my task has been essential to make this project a reality. I’m pleased to say that I’ve just finished writing my first book, “From Fantasy to Hollywood: The Glory of Athens story”. It’s not surprising that I’ve written it in the same city I wrote my play – Shanghai.

I am now even more confident my other books will also be written very quickly.

I have 5 more books on my agenda, and the next 2 will be my LETS books: The LETSaholic Twist and The Globe-Trotting LETSaholic.

My Travel Without Money collection will follow soon afterwards.

[full details of my books and list of chapter headings can be found at]

I must admit I’ve become somewhat of a “writing recluse”, so I’ve been rather slack with my email correspondence. However, I do intend to catch up with all my messages ... eventually.

Happy trading,
James Taris
(still writing from Shanghai, China)

(not a joke this month - just a beautiful and inspirational story)

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour
drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next
Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally
walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn!

The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in
this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car." How far will we have to drive?" "Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used
to this." After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn
down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were
planted in majestic, swirling patterns-great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each
different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well kept A frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was, The Daffodil Principle. For me, that moment was a life-changing experience.

I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an
obscure mountain top. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in
which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is,
learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time-often just one baby-step at a time - and learning to love the doing, learning to use the
accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things.
We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and
had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of
celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

--Author Unkown

7th October 2004


The LETSaholic Twist and The Globe-Trotting LETSaholic

I've already had several enquiries about pre-purchasing my LETS books and each one asked if they could pay part of the amount in LETS points. The truth is, even at the listed cash prices, I still won't cover my production costs.

These LETS books are not meant to be profit-makers. The LETSaholic Twist is a guide on how members can improve their lifestyles through LETS and strengthen their groups. And The Globe-Trotting LETSaholic is a show of appreciation for the LETS members who hosted me on my LETS tours around the world.

Both would be excellent additions to any LETS member's library as they will be full of useful ideas and inspirational experiences which I'm sure many members will be able to relate to.

So rather than asking for LETS points, I've decided to make these books available for FREE as eBooks! And I'm sure if we cross paths at some time in the future, you will be happy to repay the favour to me in some way.

If you would like to receive your FREE copy of The LETSaholic Twist and The Globe-Trotting LETSaholic, send me an email with your name and the name of your LETS group and I'll email them to you as soon as they're ready.

But don't despair if you'd prefer copies in real book form. I'll still be printing these books on paper.

See chapter contents for each book at

Happy trading,
James Taris (still writing from Shanghai, China)

As Women Grow Older ...

It is important for men to remember, that as women grow older it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they
were younger.
When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are oversensitive and there ain't nothing worse then an oversensitive woman.

My name is, Paul... Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Sue.

When I was laid off from my consulting job and took "early
retirement" in April, it became necessary for Sue to get a full-time job, both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed. Shortly after she started working I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the Golf Course about the same time she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don't yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch in the Men's Grill at the club so eating out is not reasonable. I'm ready for some home cooked grub when I hit that door...

She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now, it's not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner. I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won't clean themselves. I know she appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed. I really think my old business as a consultant helps a lot. I consider telling people what they ought to do one of my strong points...

And speaking of bed, her age really shows up there. I go out and golf all day, come in dead tired and after a two hour nap and a good meal, I'm ready, if you know what I mean. Age has gotten her so bad that she actually dozes off during lovemaking. But that's okay. Her satisfaction in that area is
important to a sensitive guy like me and if she enjoys sleeping during our little trysts, what the hey...

Now that she has gotten older, she does seem to get tired so much more quickly. Our washer and dryer are in the basement. Sometimes she says she just can't make another trip down those steps. I don't make a big issue of this; as she finishes up the laundry the next evening, I'm willing to overlook it. Not only that, but unless I need something ironed to wear to the Monday lodge meeting, or to Wednesday's or Saturday's poker club, or to Tuesday's or Thursday's bowling, or something like that, I will tell her to wait until the next evening to do the ironing. This gives her a little more time to do some of those odds and ends like shampooing the dog, vacuuming or dusting...

Also, if I had a really good day on the course and it was wet and muddy my clubs are a mess, so I let her clean them, you know..... get the grit off the grips and a little light soap on the club faces at a casual pace. My golf bag is heavy so I lift it out of the trunk for her. Women are delicate, have weak wrists and can't lift heavy stuff as good as men. But I did tell her I don't like to be wakened during my after golf nap, so rather than bother me, she can put them back in the boot when she's finished.

Another symptom of aging is complaining. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But boys, we take em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days. That way she won't have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn't hurt her any (if you know what I mean).

I like to think tact is one of my strong points. When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods. She had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the yard. I try not to make a scene. I'm a fair man. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me too, then take her break by my hammock. That way she can talk with me until I fall asleep.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Sue. I'm not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do, how frustrating women get as they get older. However, guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other...

Signed, Paul

Paul died suddenly Thursday, June 3. He was found with a Calloway extra long 50 inch Big Bertha Driver rammed up his rectum with only 2 inches of grip showing. His wife Sue was arrested, but the Grand Jury accepted her defence that he
accidentally sat on it and she was released on Friday, June 4.

18th July 2004

DAY 415?

Publisher Interested in my Travel Without Money book

Yes, I know. I was supposed to be back in Melbourne on July 4 (Day 401). But in order to take advantage of a cheaper plane ticket back to Melbourne ($48 instead of $195), I'll be coming back home on Tuesday morning, July 20, instead.

In the meantime, I've stayed an extra week in Logan, where I painted a front veranda/deck to earn my keep. And now I'm on sunny Bribie Island where I'm relaxing as a dish washing house guest and doing some photography for a web site.

Now let me tell you some very exciting news.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a publisher in Sydney who's interested in publishing my book, Travel Without Money.

Now the book has to be re-written so it's a combination how-to/travel adventure book, so I'll be writing a proposal to send them.

Their company is HUGE, so I'm sure it'll be successful if it's accepted. They meet on August 11 to discuss which books to publish, and mine will be on the list for consideration.

So my focus over the next few weeks will be to write a great proposal and attach a sample chapter. Then I'll just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

James Taris

What does love mean?

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca - age 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."
Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
Karen - age 7

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

And the final one --

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. (Now this will melt your heart.) The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."
(little boy - age 4)

30th June 2004

DAY 397

So what do I do on my travels?
Read the following testimonial, because it says it all, and in a much better way than I could ever say it.

Jessie Scott - Co-ordinator, LoganLETS, Brisbane, Australia)
June 28, 2004

"While we were doing the Brisbane Extra TV Interview (screened in Brisbane on Ch.9, Saturday, June 5, 2004), Francine (physiotherapist in BrisLETS) said that people with high credits need to find ways to spend it so that it keeps circulating. Why not get their house cleaned, massage, etc. to encourage others? The credits are 'nothings' or 'favours', and once you stop hoarding them as if they were 'dollars', your behaviour changes and the group becomes more active as you feel good about doing things to help someone else (as you would your mother, siblings, or best friend).

James, when he talked to groups, also talked about what he did while he was in his 2nd LETS group. No one was using his photography, and while he was ringing members, updating their skills for the newsletter he was writing, he found that people wanted mowing, rubbish removal, etc. He hated mowing and many other things members wanted, but enjoyed getting praise and friendship when he mowed someone else's lawn - later on his wife complained that he mowed everyone else's lawn but theirs - so he got his neighbour to do theirs (the neighbour enjoyed the praise). That sort of practical advice is what is motivating the Logan LETS, BrisLETS, Tamborine & Byron Bay now (from what I gathered in the conversations with people).

Logan LETS have changed our brochure using James' practical tips, are developing new update sheets and redesigning our directory into 2 sections, again using James' practical suggestions. Our group is excited, talking for once about what we can do rather than what we can't do and keeping our eyes firmly on the crux of LETS trading. We had all the other stuff, but what wasn't happening was the trades. Now the trades and new blood, ideas and skills from current members, are moving and everyone is enjoying being involved instead of a few resenting carrying something that has been slowly dying.

By James coming to share his passion for LETS, we have met numerous other people from other systems - some fantastic people out there - from all over Australia which unfortunately hasn't been generated by any other event. Yes, it has taken effort to organise and cost the local groups money to meet James' requirements, but his practical, no nonsense and professional attitude to imparting fresh vigor and focus to people (members or not, and across all levels of society) will be repaying itself many times over down the years and prevented the burnout that most of us have been feeling for the last couple of years (again speaking from conversations that I have had with various people from across Australia).

I would encourage everyone to focus on how to help each other TRADE, as that is the life blood of LETS systems, which leads to a healthy community, and keep a contact list going so that, as people move about and need information, it will be easy for them to link in and out.

James deliberately made the effort to leave each system with a zero balance. That has included painting rooms, etc. as well as helping with the paperwork, speaking, etc. So that systems would not be upset by his balance, most places set up an account and kept track. His main reason for travelling has been to spread the LETS message. That comes across loud and clear in his dealings with people. But he has also done many other things, and the book, Travel Without Money Handbook, is the latest. He is a very motivated person which rubs off onto others, and this comes across in his play, The Glory Of Athens, (which I saw) which encourages people to discover what it is that they are passionate about and follow it."

And a follow-up article ...

Hi All,

It has been an exciting time with James Taris’s Tour.
- We have a new simplified brochure.
- Changes to the directory so that it can be widely distributed – we need members to update their skills ...
- Members only get the contacts list.
- Everything is available on the Web, and you can join via the web too now.
- New categories have been added – need a partner for Tennis or Chess or want to go out dancing?
- New Committee roles have been added ...
- We have new members and new energy – Thanks James!!

(written by Jessie Scott, Logan LETS newsletter, July / August issue )

No Excuse Sunday

To make it possible for everyone to attend this Sunday, our church is going to have a "No Excuse Sunday."

Cots and hammocks will be placed in the aisle for those who say: Sunday is my only day to sleep in.

Eye drops and extra coffee will be provided for those with tired eyes from watching TV or partying late Saturday night.

Day care will be provided, as always, for those who find it difficult to worship with their children running amok among the pews.

There will be a special section with padded recliner chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard.

Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who feel ill.

We will have steel hard hats and fire retardant suits available for those who say: "The roof would cave in if I ever came to church," or "I would spontaneously combust if I ever set foot into a church."

One section will be decorated with trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature.

Scorecards and pens will be provided for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.

Blankets will be furnished for those who say the church is too cold and portable fans for those who say it is too hot.

Our musicians will play a variety of musical accompaniments for those who feel that the hymns are too dull or that the contemporary service is too contemporary or not contemporary enough.

And finally, the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas wreaths and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them.

See you on Sunday - no excuses!

27th April 2004

DAY 332
20 Day House Painting For 100% LETS

Last month, Kit, my LETS host in Kitchener (Ontario, Canada) asked, “Can you paint a room for me?”

Now, you’ve got to keep this in perspective.

My stay in Kitchener was originally supposed to be for only one week, January 11-18. But 9 and a half weeks later, I was still there! And apart from a couple of weeks spent in Welland, Brantford, Montreal, Granby, Ottawa and Toronto, I’d spent the rest of my time in Kitchener. And it looked like I’d be there for another 7 weeks. That would make it over 3 months!

Now I’m not in the habit of staying in the same place for such a long time. My average stay with a host is about one week. But things just turned out that way when my plans to visit South America fell through a couple of months ago.

You can read the whole story in my e-book, My 400 Day LETS Odyssey,
Wk. 36- Everything Turns Out For The Best (or more fondly known as Shit Happens)

Not only that, but my host also organized 2 performances of my play in Kitchener, 3 speaking engagements with local Toastmasters groups, a Murder-Mystery night, a winter camping weekend with 37 other crazy Canadians, a visit to an Emu farm, a lift to Montreal (6 hour drive!), 2 lifts to Toronto and back, cross-country skiing and an ice-hockey game. PLUS, my day-to-day needs, as was originally requested when I first made contact with KW Barterworks, the LETS group Kit belongs to.

These stories are also covered in my e-book, so check out Wks. 33-41 at )

My commitment with KW Barterworks ended after my first week, so all of these ‘extras’ had been provided by my host.

And when my next couple of hosts cancelled my visits with them, Kit immediately offered to host me a while longer, because I was the ideal travel guest!

I washed the dishes every day.
I regularly shoveled snow from the paths and driveway around the house.
I registered a domain name for a business web site.
I also provided the web hosting.
I gave web page design tuition.
And I was good company to have around, always having something positive to say.

And the more I did for my host, the more my host did for me.

You see,
it’s all about caring and sharing.

And having said that, I decided that I was not going to paint a room. I was going to paint the entire freakin' ground floor! That’s 4 rooms and a staircase. Stripping paint off all the woodwork (doors, windows, skirting boards, and staircase), filling in cracks in the plaster, then painting the ceilings and floors.

I mean, why wouldn’t I?

[I finished the painting yesterday. I have 2 stories, Wk. 42 - It's All About Caring And Sharing, and Wk. 43 - Not Quite Van Gogh, complete with Before and After photos in my e-book, My 400 Day LETS Odyssey, at ]

The Value Of Undies!
(re-printed from the Queensland Club’s November Torque Tube)

Be careful what you wear (or don’t wear) when working under your vehicle … especially in public.

From the Sydney Morning Herald comes this story of a central west couple who drove their car to K-Mart (supermarket) only to have it break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car there in the lot.

The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned private parts into glaringly public ones. Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hands UP his shorts and tucked everything back in place.

On regaining her feet she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband, who had been standing idly by. The mechanic however, had to have three stiches in his head.

4th March 2004

DAY 269 - Changes to

Over the last few weeks I've been able to spend time working on my web sites.

LETS-Linkup is undergoing a few changes.

I've removed the Swap Shop and LETS Accommodation Directory listings because these tended to become out of date very quickly. But keep sending me your offers and wants because I'll be posting them to my database with my LETS-Linkup Newsletters. This will keep them current and it will also ensure that everyone gets to see them.

And if you had a current listing with the Swap Shop or the LETS Accommodation Directory, and you'd like me to forward it to my LETS-Linkup database, then please send it to me and I'll forward it on for you.

I'm also removing my listings to LETS groups which are regularly updated by another web group. Of course, I'll be linking to those web groups, so you'll still have access to their LETS groups, but they'll always be more up-to-date than what they've been in the past.

So shortly you'll be seeing a more streamlined LETS-Linkup. I may even give my site a facelift because it's been looking like this for over 2 years now, and as they say, a change is as good as a holiday, and we can all surely use one of those.

Which leads me to my latest web site

Everywhere I go, I'm constantly being asked how I can afford to travel around the world for 400 days. Do I have a stash of money hidden somewhere?

Well, for those of you who don't already know, I'm travelling the world without any money. I've got a round-the-world plane ticket in my pocket, and all my daily expenses (accommodation, meals, domestic transport, sight-seeing, interpreters, internet access, etc) are provided by my LETS hosts in exchange for my speaking services, but also (on occasion) my desktop publishing and web design services as well.

So now I've launched my Travel Without Money web site to show you the nitty-gritty of how I organised 6 overseas trips (China, Europe & Sth. Africa, Japan, New Zealand, World) where I've been welcomed by hosts who've agreed to look after all my needs so I could TRAVEL WITHOUT MONEY. And when you register with myTravel Without Money Group (from the Travel Without Money homepage I will show you how you can travel without money too.

And my other web site is about my play, The Glory Of Athens (complete with script, testimonials and photos) which I'm about to take on tour through America. I've already got bookings for New York City and Los Angeles, and I'm working on giving performances in Orlando, Miami, San Francisco and Honolulu as well.

This has been an unexpected bonus which has only become possible with the support of the LETS groups which have hosted me in the 11 countries I've visited so far.

When I left Australia 269 days ago, I knew that I would possibly have a life-changing experience during my 400 day world tour, and I believe that my play is it. In fact, Lorne White, my Canadian LETS tour organiser from LETSniagara keeps insisting that The Glory Of Athens could be the next 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'.

Maybe ... maybe not. But it'll be an exciting journey no matter what develops. And the same excitement is waiting for you when you decide to take your future in your own hands, dare to dream, and ...

travel without money.

The All Bran Scam

The couple were 85 years old, and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies. Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven. They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favourite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, "Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now."

The old man asked St. Peter how much all this was going to cost.

"Why, nothing," Peter replied, "remember, this is your reward in Heaven."

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built
on Earth.

"What are the greens fees?", grumbled the old man.

"This is heaven," St. Peter replied. "You can play for free, every day."

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic desserts, free flowing beverages.

"Don't even ask," said St. Peter to the man. "This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy."

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.

"Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?" he asked.

"That's the best part," St. Peter replied. "You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!"

The old man pushed, "No gym to work out at?"

"Not unless you want to," was the answer.

"No testing my sugar or blood pressure or..."

"Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself."

The old man glared at his wife and said, "You and your bloody All Bran. We could have been here ten years ago!"

6th February 2004

DAY 252
Everything Turns Out For The Best

I nearly called this article, Shit Happens, and this is why …

Due to a lack of finances, I’ve had to cancel my trips to Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia.

When I began my world tour, I knew that my visits to South America and Morocco would have to be at an additional cost, because I couldn’t fit them into my already bulging round-the-world flight ticket.

And it didn’t help that I had no means of getting a bank balance from my bank in Melbourne, Australia. So, knowing that soon I would have to make some rather sizeable airfare payments, I managed to contact my bank by email and get internet access to my account.

Well, that’s when all hell broke loose, because I had barely enough money to buy myself a bus ticket, let alone travel though 4 countries in another continent.

I hadn’t realized how quickly my funds would be drained with the added expense of Morocco, a couple of visits back to Holland (where my computer was finally repaired), and ongoing payments to my ISP, domain name registrations and web hosting.

But this little nightmare went a bit further. My trip to Madison, USA, was scheduled to begin from February 7, but because my next destinations were supposed to be South America, I’d have nowhere to go and nobody waiting to host me until my visit to Hawaii in April.

And even though my host in Kitchener, Canada, assured me that I could be hosted for a few more weeks, I didn’t have the money required to get to Madison from Toronto and back again. So Madison had to be cancelled too!

In fact, as I still haven’t got a recent confirmation from my host in Hawaii, then maybe that won’t eventuate either. So I’ll have traveled to 11 countries in my first 200 days of my 400 Day LETS Odyssey, and only to one more in my last 200! Luckily, as an Australian citizen, I can stay in Canada for up to 6 months without a visa, otherwise that would’ve been another headache.

But I believe that everything turns out for the best, because like everyone else on this planet, I have total control with how things turn out in my life.

I’ve already given 6 performances of The Glory Of Athens in Canada, and while I’m here I plan to give dozens more to schools, businesses and organisations. But at last I’ll have enough time to promote my play properly, and thus get larger audiences.

I’ve also been invited to go to Ottawa and Montreal with Tom ‘Usury-Free’ Kennedy, from Ottawa LETS, to give presentations to LETS members in those areas too.

And I’ll be developing a couple of web sites as well. One will be which will promote people from all over the world in whatever they do. And the other will be to produce a business web site for my Kitchener LETS host in exchange for hosting me. I’ve also been told that there could be some house painting involved as well. So it looks like I’ll still be busy, and productive, even though I won’t be traveling as much.

But I do hope that my trip to Hawaii still eventuates. And just today I sent an email to the Greek Community in Los Angeles, USA, hoping to perform my play for them in exchange for a trip to Disneyland and Hollywood, so that’s a strong possibility too.

And as I look out of the window now, the streets are still covered with several feet of snow, but the sun is out and it has just stopped drizzling. The first rain I’ve seen in 5 weeks. So it’s a beautiful day, and the future looks bright ahead. And it would be a gross misrepresentation to call this article, Shit Happens.

Pilots Gripe Sheet

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics any problem they had with the airplane during the flight. The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then explain in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken. The pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humour.

Here are some actual maintenance problems submitted by pilots and the solutions recorded by maintenance engineers.

(P = The problem logged by the pilot.)
(S = The solution and action taken by the engineer.)

P: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet-per-minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're there for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

15th January 2004

DAY 230
Working My Butt Off In Canada

I’ve been in Canada for 4 weeks now, and these Canadians are getting maximum mileage out of James … and so they should.

I was with LETS Niagara for 3 ½ weeks, and they kept me very busy …

I was interviewed for both newspaper (The Tribune) and TV (Channel 10).

I gave 2 presentations to LETS Niagara members.

I gave talks to the public (Port Erie Rotary Club, Oak Centre, Port Care Soup Kitchen, Jubilee Seniors)

I gave LETS presentations to 2 school classes (Year 12 – Confederation High School and Grade 5 – Oakridge Primary School)

I pitched the LETS cause to 2 government agencies (Welland Legal Services, Welland Community Services)

I gave a church sermon on LETS (All Saints United Church)

And I gave 2 performances of my play, The Glory Of Athens (Year 12 students - Confederation High School and LETS Niagara)

And Kitchener-Waterloo are following suit …

I gave a presentation in Kitchener to KW Barterworks members.

I gave a presentation on 'Community Currencies and Global Change' to Waterloo University students.

And I've got another talk happening tonight which will be at the Kitchener Public Library (for the general public).

I also had a newspaper article published in the KW Record yesterday (complete with colour photo!) and I've just had a phone interview with 570 News Radio (9.30-10.00am).

So it looks like Barterworks, like LETS Niagara, have decided to make this Aussie guy work his butt off while he's here. But I'm loving every minute of it!

James Taris

This Looks Like Yours

A man staggers into an emergency room with a concussion, multiple bruises, two black eyes and a five iron wrapped around his neck.

Naturally, the doctor asks him what happened.

"Well," the man says, "it's like this; I was playing a quiet round of golf with my wife, when at a difficult hole, we both sliced our balls into a pasture of cows. We went to look for them, and while I was fossicking around, I noticed one of the cows had something white on its rear end. I walked over and lifted up the tail, and sure enough, there was a golf ball with my wife's monogram on it--stuck right in the middle of the cow's rear.

.....That's when I made my big mistake."

"What did you do?" the doctor asks.

"Well." the man replied, "I lifted the cow's tail and yelled to my wife, 'Hey, this looks like yours!'

I don't remember much after that."


Please send corrections or updates to current email address as shown on homepage.

Other James Taris web sites

You can help support (and James) by purchasing a copy of his book, The LETSaholic Twist, now available in hardcover, softcover and ebook.

Why not buy a printed copy and rotate it amongst your LETS members?

CLICK HERE for more information about The LETSaholic Twist.

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