If You Thought Like Your Customer – You Wouldn’t Be Recalling The Pet Food

Do you think now that pet owners would be prepared to pay more for pet foods made only with North American ingredients? Or under strict government control? Read that question one more time if you have pets. This is the question on the mind of every pet owner and those who retail pet foods these last few days. We have an epidemic of companies who had their pet food made by one firm. However in the time it took me to start writing this column — only up to this point — the situation has changed again. As of two minutes ago, Purina has recalled Alpo. The recall affects all sizes and varieties of Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date codes, but not food made in Canada.

U.S.-based Purina said that wheat gluten containing melamine, a chemical used in fertilizers in Asia and to make plastics and laminates, was provided for the manufacturing of the dog food by the same company that also supplied Menu Foods.The contamination occurred in a limited production quantity at only one of Purina’s 17 pet food manufacturing facilities in the U.S., the company said. Although this Purina recall affects wet food, even other brands of dry food are now being recalled as well.

One of the very first things I was taught in business school was not to put all your eggs in one basket. If you invest in the stock market, same thing right? Diversity your potential risks. What happened to these pet food companies? I can understand some of the big box retailers who needed someone to make them private label dog food (Wal-Mart’s ‘Ol Roy just strikes too close to home for me!) so naturally they would go to a firm that does nothing but make pet foods for others. These major retailers are not in the food production business; they are retailers who need a house brand. But how do the major brand names like Purina, Hills-Science Diet, Iams and others like Proctor and Gamble, get caught up in this? Answer: they must be using the same company to make or supply their products.

Obviously this same supplier-company is buying in huge quantities (in this case, from China) to get better prices; or maybe there was a shortage of wheat gluten here. No matter how you cut the wheat, however, this always results in almost every product they make being comprised of similar if not the very same ingredients, purchased from the same original suppliers.This is likely how contaminated wheat gluten, imported from China, got into every different kind of over 100 different pet foods sold in North America! Why worry, it’s only for cats or dogs, right? It’s not for human consumption. But what if it was? If one of those sick pets was yours, how would you feel? If you had believed these well-known brand names’ marketing messages of ‘highest quality’, ‘best ingredients’, ‘made with care’ and such, would you ever trust that brand again?

Years ago, I had three dogs and one cat. I worked with a partner to market a high quality, expensive, all natural ingredients dog/cat food using network marketing, instead of the usual retail distribution system. This was long before the better quality pet food market had fully developed. Stupidly, not once did I inquire as to where they obtained their ingredients or who supplied them. If they had told me that they obtained their ‘wheat gluten or whatever’ from an essentially unregulated source like China, I would have passed, no matter how inexpensive the ‘whatever ingredient’ was. I was naïve not to ask. As a marketer, I was lucky that time. Most of the time we are lucky. This is what happens, however, when we’re too busy to dig deep and find out just who is supplying and making the products we in turn sell to our own customers.

I know of pet owners who will never buy pet food from a retail outlet ever again; only from their own Vet. Imagine the strain that will now be on Vets to really “know” what they too are selling their patients. Imagine the pressure the Veterinary Information Network — a special web site that represents more than 30,000 Vets and vetinerary students — will put on any maker of pet food who wants to have his products sold by Vets in the future.Never just look away and not know exactly what is going into things; or who is making the products you sell to your customers. Never take the easier, cheaper path of going along with the crowd. Take the time to find alternative suppliers; split your business up, using at least two or three different suppliers, so you diversify your market and financial risk. Lastly, remember to think like your customer. If you don’t, your customers will never forget you….when you surely mess up.

History of Ear Gauging in Tribal Civilizations

A study of the history of ear gauging indicates the practice to be as old as recorded human history. For males, this form of ear piercing has been a symbol of status, while for women, in addition to being used as means of bodily decoration, it has also been employed to signify the attainment of womanhood.

Ear gauging, which is also referred to as ear stretching, is the stretching of ear lobe piercings to larger diameters than that of the original piercing. It is a form of body enhancement or beautification that many young western people adopt to look ‘different’ from the usual crowd. However, this is not a modern form of body piercing, since it has been around for as long as archaeological records exist.

In many cases, ear gauging has been used historically to indicate the standing of members of a specific tribe, and in many respects this is still the situation today. Stretched piercings have been, and still are, a reflection on the individual’s sexual capability and also their superiority over other males in the tribe. The larger the stretching, the more important the individual.

Otzi the Iceman is a prime example of mummies known to have stretched ears. This is the earliest known example of ear gauging, Otzi having 7-11 mm ear piercings during 3300 BC. It has been suggested that the stretching of the ears noted in depictions of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, may have been caused by the weight of the gold jewelry he wore, but this is mere supposition.

It is supported, however, by the fact that the Masai tribe of Kenya and the Lahu and Karen-Paduang people of Thailand use this ‘gravity’ technique to stretch their piercings. Let us have a look at the ear gauging practices used today by various cultures.

A. Mursi Tribal Women

The Mursi is an Ethiopian tribe where the women are obliged to wear plates in their gauged ears and on their bottom lip. About a year prior to her marriage, or at about 15 years of age, a Mursi girl’s lip will be pierced by her mother and a wooden peg pushed through the incision.

Once healed, the peg is changed for a larger diameter one. Eventually, the peg is replaced by a plate of clay or wood, and this plate is successively changed for larger diameter ones until the required diameter is attained – from around 8 – 22 cm in diameter (3 – 9 inches). Once these plates have been secured, she receives a higher degree of respect than those without them, and is known as a ‘Bhansanai’.

These lip and ear plates need not be worn permanently, but are an expected adornment during special occasions such as during weddings and other celebrations, and when they serve food to men. Today, young women can generally make their own decision as to whether or not they follow this tradition.

B. The Masai People of Kenya

The practice of ear gauging has been common among Masai men and women for thousands of years. In recent years, however, most young men have not been following this custom, although you will still find many Masai women wearing ear decorations made from stones, cross-cut elephant tusks, wood and animal bones.

The original piercing is carried out using a thorn, sharpened twig or a sharp knife point. Once healed, ear gauging is then carried out by wearing increasingly heavy jewellery that pulls the lobe down and stretches the piercing. This is the traditional way of gauging ears in the more primitive cultures, although many Masai today will use proper ear gauging techniques, such as their own versions of insertion tapers or taper spikes. Beads are a common form of ornamentation, although plugs made from bone, tusks and wood are also used.

C. The African Fulani Tribe

Fulani women from Nigeria and Central Africa tend to use smaller diameter ear gauges, and decorate them using large gold domes or hoops carrying earrings. A Fulani child will have her ears pierced at around 3 years old, although they may not be stretched until she is older. The gauges used by Fulani women are relatively small compared to the Masai and Mursi, although the jewellery can be larger.

D. Asian Hill Tribes

Of the various hill tribes, the only two known to practice ear gauging are the Lahu from Thailand, and the Karen-Padaung (Longnecks) from Myanmar (Burma) and also the Phrae province in Thailand. That latter tribe are best known for their neck rings, offering the appearance of long necks, but both cultures believe the ear to be sacred and the more jewellery they can wear on the better. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery they believe possible.

E. Mexican and Central American Civilizations

In Mayan and Aztec society, ear gauging was regarded as desirable for males. There are many Mayan representations of men with flares and ear plugs (ear spools) in gauged ears, and the material used was indicative of the social standing of the wearer. Jade ear plugs were worn by the higher classes, while the rest would use bone, stone, wood and other materials. In central Mexico, the craftsmanship of the Aztecs is evident in the ear gauging plugs and ornaments of gold and silver, though the lower classes would adorn their stretches earlobes with shells, copper and wood among many other imaginative materials.

Ear gauging has been carried out worldwide, and among other notable areas involved in this practice are Japan, where the Ainu used ear jewellery made from shells, bone and a ball and ring known as Ninkari. There are many other cultures worldwide where ear gauging was a part of their life, and even today many people regard ear stretching as a fashion statement and a way of expressing their own personality and individuality.

Adventures in Cheese Making – Walk this Whey

I've had homemade cheeses before and loved how they tasted, but I never got around to making cheese myself. So one day recently, I mustered up the courage and began the process of learning how to make a simple cheese.

Making cheese is a lot simpler than one might think – at least when it comes to making a simple cheese. You can make it just by heating milk and adding vinegar, which is quite similar to the way I improve on a recipe requiring blutermilk. When I make imitation buttermilk, all I do is add lemon to the milk until it curdles, the only difference is that when it comes to making cheese, you harvest the curdled part. The solid substance is called the curd, the leftover liquid is called whey – the same curds and whey Miss Muffet enjoyed.

This seemed a little too easy and this type of cheese is fairly soft, with an almost cottage cheese-like consistency. I searched a little further to find a way to make a firmer cheese?

The answer came … Rennet! Rennet is traditionally made from the stomach of a calf, it is salted after the beast is slaughtered. You can buy rennet easily through various cheese-making supply websites. I was too impatient to wait to get the real stuff, but I found out that there were other forms of rennet that would give the same results. After looking for what seemed like an eternity, I found a recipe for vegetarian rennet. I took about a pound of nettle leaves, a couple of ounces of hops, and some yarrow flowers, put then in a pot and covered it with just enough water to immerse the plants. I bought it to a simmer and then let it sit for a while to steep. I then drained it and added about a cup of salt.

Another thing that helps in cheese-making is conditioning the milk. Through my research I found that I had to add live cultures … but where to get them? The answer ended up being simpler, buttermilk and yogurt. In the same pot as the milk, I poured a half-gallon of milk, one quart of buttermilk, and a whole container of yogurt. I put in half a pint of heavy cream for good measure. I let this sit for a good two hours and guess what? It began to curdle. I wanted thicker curds though, so I poured a half-cup of my homemade rennet in and the curds got thicker in just a matter of minutes. To promote the growth of the bacteria in the yogurt, I let it sit a while, warm it slightly over the stove, careful to not even bring it to a simmer.

I could now see the curds and the whey. The whey was a pale yellowish hue and the curds looked a little bit like scrambled egg whites. I then lined a colander with cheesecloth and proceeded to filter the curds from the whey. I put the curds into a bowl and added salt to further help the removal of excess liquid. Next, I returned it to the colander lined with a fresh layer of cheesecloth. I was anxious to taste it, and wow, it actually tasted like cheese!

The next step is optional – putting your cheese in a mold and pressing it. To make my press, I rummaged around the kitchen to see what I could use. I took an old plastic sherbet container and put a bunch of holes in it. I then placed my cheese curd filled cheesecloth inside and placed it in a large bowl and but a plate on top of my curds. Now the problem was having enough weight to press it. I placed two big cans of tomatoes on top and, voilà, it worked. After pressing it, I put the cheese into the refrigerator and let it set. It tasted a lot like cheddar.

Next time I try to make cheese, I probably use this same recipe but will try to improve upon it. When I master this one, then I think I'll feel a little more like trying a different style of cheese. Happy cheese making!

Frequently Asked Questions About House Arrest

House arrest is a court-ordered, officer-supervised penalty that is sentenced to certain offenders in lieu of jail time. When sentenced to such penalty, a person must remain within the set boundaries of their home at all times, but may be given limited travel privileges for work, school, or doctor’s appointments. Both adults and minors can be sentenced to house arrest, and they are all put on temporary probation during the duration of the sentence. Probation can include routine meetings with a probation officer, random drug screenings, community service, therapy, counseling, victim impact panels, educational drug courses, and more.

Although the name seems pretty clear, there is much more to a house arrest sentence than just home confinement. If you or someone you love is facing house arrest, it is helpful to get some answers to some common questions in order to put your mind at ease and clear up any confusion you had about the terms and conditions of house arrest. Continue reading to review the most frequently asked questions about home confinement to do just that!

What are the General Rules of House Arrest?

Every person’s case is different, and subject to varying regulations. However, the general rules of house arrest include no drugs or alcohol in the residence, no drug or alcohol consumption, a probation officer can come by the home at any time to check for drugs or alcohol or to perform a random drug test, adherence to a set curfew, and all orders of probation (i.e. community service, rehabilitation, etc.).

How are You Monitored?

A person on house arrest wears an electronic sensoring device on their ankle at all times. This device is coupled with another that is connected to a person’s home phone. The device will record the dates and times of all traveling within and outside of the set boundaries. If any of these records show that a person traveled outside of their boundaries during a time that was not permitted, the probation officer is notified and the person is violated. Tampering with the device will also be recorded and considered a violation.

What Happens if You Violate its Terms?

If someone breaks any of the rules of their sentence, they are subject to being ordered to a probation violation hearing in court. This means you not only face the previous charges, but now face additional ones as well. Sometimes, a probation officer will give a warning the first time, but it is important to understand that the terms are taken very seriously and one minor infraction will be penalized.

Do You Need a Lawyer if You Violate?

In most cases, yes. The penalties for such violations are taken very seriously, and the penalties a person faces for them are very harsh as well. Your criminal defense lawyer already knows your case and will defend you once again to minimize the penalties you face for violating. They are your only hope at avoiding the maximum charges for a violation.

Plannet Marketing Review – Is This Travel Company The Real Deal?

So lately, I’ve been getting a few messages about a new Travel-based Network Marketing company called Plannet Marketing. And chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about joining and you’re doing some last minute research on the company. If that’s the case, then look no further. In this Plannet Marketing Review, I’ll cover all the essential details you’ll need before you join. With that said, I do want to disclose that I am not a Plannet Marketing distributor. In all honesty, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other if you join so you know you’ll be getting a truly unbiased review.

Who Is Plannet Marketing?

Plannet Marketing is a company that sells travel through a Network Marketing business model. The company is based out of Atlanta, Georgia and as of this writing Plannet Marketing is just over 6 months old. The company was founded by Donald Bradley, formerly of YTB and Paycation Travel. Bradley brings with him 20 years of experience in Network Marketing. Before starting Plannet Marketing, Bradley was the Master Distributor and #1 Income Earner in Paycation Travel. He literally had everyone in Paycation in his downline and was responsible for bringing in the company’s top leadership group. I’m not sure what happened, but around the time Craig Jerabeck and Barry Donalson left 5linx and joined Paycation was the same time Bradley decided to leave. Maybe he didn’t feel good about those guys joining and being sponsored by the company when he was the Master Distributor. Who knows? And who really cares? Regardless of the reason, it looks like Bradley was willing to walk away from everything he built to start from scratch again. Overall, the company looks pretty solid. And while it’s too early to tell if they’ll even be around for the long haul because they’re only a few months old, Bradley and the other members of the Corporate team bring a ton of experience in Network Marketing and Travel, which is a good thing.

How Do You Make Money With Plannet Marketing?

The actual compensation plan provides several ways for distributors to get paid. But the crown jewel of the compensation plan is the 3X9 Matrix. With a Matrix model, it’s critical that you get a spot early on if you want to capitalize on spillover. If you’re positioned underneath a strong builder, you can benefit from their efforts as they place people under you while they’re filling up their Matrix. With a fully filled 3X9 Matrix, you’ll have 29,523 distributors underneath you. If they’re all active and you get $4 monthly from each distributor, you can make up to $118,092 monthly. In addition to your Matrix pay, you can also earn a 10% Match on the Matrix pay of your personally sponsored distributors.

In addition to the Matrix, the company provides monthly bonuses to Directors. Here’s a simple breakdown of how the Director bonuses work:

1 Star Director – 100 active distributors – $500/month

2 Star Director – 300 active distributors – $1,000/month

3 Star Director – 500 active distributors – $2,000/month

4 Star Director – 1,500 active distributors – $5,000/month

5 Star Director – 4,000 active distributors – $10,000/month

6 Star Director – 10,000 active distributors – $16,000/month

7 Star Director – 25,000 active distributors – $30,000/month

8 Star Director – 50,000 active distributors – $50,000/month

9 Star Director – 100,000 active distributors – $100,000/month

Between the Matrix Pay, the 10% Match on your personals and the Director Bonuses, it’s pretty clear that there’s plenty of money on the back end. If you’re a strong team builder and you have a knack for creating good culture, Plannet Marketing might be a very lucrative opportunity for you.

Should You Join Plannet Marketing?

Well, only you can truly answer that. The company certainly looks solid. Travel is a very marketable service that’s easy to talk about. And the compensation plan is generous and lucrative. All those things together should guarantee success, right? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. At the end of the day, it is your ability to sponsor people into your business on a consistent basis that will lead to your success. This is why I recommend that you learn Attraction Marketing. If you can position yourself in front of prospects that are already looking for what you’re offering, you’ll have no problem getting leads online. And if you have an abundance of quality leads, there’s no telling how successful you can be.

Toxic Degreaser Chemicals – Three Reasons Not to Use Them

If your company works in the industrial sector, industrial cleaners and degreasers are probably a necessity. But that doesn’t mean that you have to endure the effects of dangerous degreaser chemicals. There are thousands of dangerous chemicals found in traditional cleaners and degreasers, some of the most common of which are methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, toluene, glycol ethers, and numerous fluorinated and chlorinated solvents. Until recently, the use of these and other chemicals was necessary to attain high cleaning power. But today, eco friendly solvent supplies offer environmentally preferred solutions that clean as well or better than their toxic counterparts. If you currently use toxic cleaners, switching to environmentally preferred cleaners could do more than save the environment; it could also save your company. Below, examine three reasons why.

The Danger of Hazardous Air Pollutants

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) are chemicals that evaporate from toxic solutions, harming both the environment and the health of those who inhale them. Some companies attempt to negate HAPs by implementing a superior ventilation system. But if a toxic solution can be smelled-and it always can be-then the presence of HAPs is still there. In the short term, HAPs decrease productivity by causing respiratory distress, vertigo, and stomach sickness. But in the long-term, chronic conditions and illnesses caused by prolonged exposure to HAPs can lead to lawsuits damage a company’s finances and reputation. If you don’t think that toxic material can come back to haunt companies that use them, remember the asbestos debacle, which was costly enough to put some companies out of business.

The Collateral Expense of Toxic Chemicals

Some companies continue to use toxic degreaser chemicals because environmentally safe degreasers cost more. But when you calculate the cost of chemical waste removal, using a fully organic biodegradable degreaser can result in a lower chemical waste disposal bill that saves more money than buying cheaper toxic degreasers, especially if a company performs degreasing on a daily basis. Today, most companies are preoccupied with cost savings and their environmental stance. Switching to biodegradable cleaning solutions can improve both.

The Threat of EPA Regulations

Even if you decide to keep using toxic cleaners, the EPA will eventually regulate or prohibit their use in industrial and commercial settings by regulating or prohibiting one or more or the chemicals they contain. EPA regulations are announced well in advance of their effective dates to allow companies to research appropriate replacements. Companies that fail to do so end up in two unenviable situations: they have a stock of toxic cleaner that they can no longer use or use in sufficient quantities, and they’re forced to implement one or more replacement solutions with no research in place.

Le Creuset Casserole Ceramic

The Le Creuset Company has been serving the masses for quite a while now, giving them the best that they could offer. Now, another innovation has been released. This is the le Creuset casserole ceramic. A dish that you could place straightly to the oven and remove it and place directly on the table. Yes, you heard it right. This is only one of the various innovative properties of the ceramic. So if you want to learn more about It, I have just the right information to give you. This would definitely save you from all the trouble you might get when searching for it yourself since the internet is a very misdirecting place if you don’t know how to deal with it. That is why you should really read this. Don’t worry, by the time you finished reading this article, you will be enlightened about this product and I’m pretty much sure that you would be convinced to the point that you would buy one for yourself. Besides, the le Creuset casserole ceramic is worth your every penny. So if I were you, I would gladly sit down, with a smile on my face, grab a glass of juice or whatever it is that you would prefer, and read this article.

Le Creuset casserole ceramic comes in two sizes. There is the large – sized one, the one in which you could cook dishes that needs a large container such as; curry dishes, slow – cooked chili and other foods that needs this kind of space. And also, you have the smaller one, where you could cook a pot pie or any individual dishes. These sizes all come with a lid to safely and securely cover it while cooking or while serving it on the table, for that extra surprise.

The best thing about le Creuset casserole ceramic is that you could literally take it from the freezer and place it on the oven without worrying that it would break. Yes, that is a fact. It has no problem with it, you can do that anytime you want and it would not complain. It is also dishwasher – safe, so you could just place it on the dishwasher when you are feeling a bit lazy and it is also microwaveable as well, if you need to pre – heat something on the microwave. Who wouldn’t want a ceramic dish as powerful as this? The versatility of the le Creuset casserole ceramic is unmatched indeed and despite of all this toughness, it never sacrificed the looks. These items are also attractive to look at if you check it out. So what else are you looking for? Everything that you need is in Le Creuset. Get one if you want to have a long lasting Ceramic dish in your kitchen that would fit any scenario of cooking that you might face. From ovens, to freezer and to any other volatile situations, you can be sure that the le creuset casserole ceramic would be up for the challenge.

Warm Up Golf Putting Drill

Like every other professional sport, golfers too need to go through a pre-game warm-up. Indeed proper warm up is the key difference between the approach of tour pros and amateurs to the game of golf. By allocating sufficient time for warm-up, tour professionals ensure they are fully prepared to do their best on the golf green. Amateurs will do well to get to the course early which will allow them time to complete the entire warm up routine at a leisurely pace. In fact, the warm-up drill sets the tempo for the day.

When you spend time warming up on the green, you will be well prepared for the speed of the greens. In addition, you will also be starting your golf outing with a smooth tempo. It makes little sense to visit the golf range, stretch and limber up for the opening drive, and then wait for a quarter of an hour almost motionless on the green.

Here is a golf putting drill for the practice green. During the first few minutes of your golf putting drill, putt to a tee or a coin from a distance of twenty and thirty feet. Putt from a variety of angles and watch how the ball rolls. Speed ​​control is a critical aspect in golf putting technique. Any time you spend judging the pace of the course will reap you good dividends by improving your game. You should spend five minutes rolling putts to a tee or coin from ten feet. Here is a golf putting tip: I would advise you not to putt at the cup. The advantage is that if you roll putts at a small target like a tee or coin, the hole will appear huge and you would easily be able to achieve your target. Your confidence will obviously increase with every success. You can conclude your warm up session by sitting 25 six-inch putts straight up hill.

Many amateurs often complain that the greens on the course are quite different from the practice greens and it is adversely affecting their golf putting technique. Actually, the only difference between the two greens is the pressure to perform at the course. In fact the grass at the practice green is cut at the same height using the same mower. The practice green is usually also constructed in the same manner as the greens. I tell them that it is simply mental golf at play. The pressure to perform comes into play on the course and makes the greens seem different.

For More information on putting, check out this collection of putting tips: Golf Putting Technique

Choosing Your Pneumatic Pin Nailer

A pneumatic pin nailer is a universally awesome tool lending a helping hand to everyone from serious carpenters to weekend-warriors. Because these tools are so versatile though, there are, by consequence, many to choose from. Finding the pinner that best compliments you and your individual specifications can be a chore, so I’ve compiled some information on the industry’s most heavy-duty, light-duty, and affordably priced pneumatic pin nailers. Researching the best of the best, these reviews are designed to help you find the best air pin nailer for your needs.

For the most heavy-duty pneumatic nailing, Senco’s line of pneumatic tools is one that truly never fails to impress; with innovation, design, and all-around style, Senco nailers, like the FinishPro 11, a 23 gauge pin nailer, remain in a league of their own. Perfect for your most detailed and intricate projects, this micro pinner is both lightweight and powerful with the extra punch for effective use in harder materials. Additionally, pins fasten securely and leave behind them a virtually invisible hole with no splitting to your materials. Not only is the tool durable with an aluminum housing and tough components, but it is also designed for optimal operator comfort.

The pinner drives 23 gauge, headless micro pins from 1″ – 2″ in length with the power to slide through tough materials while also not splitting or marring your projects and as the tool weighs only 2.9 lbs, it is extremely comfortable to operate throughout awkward or continuous work. Ultimately, with comfort, precision, and power, the pinner is ideal for molding, cabinets, trim, and etc, and pricing at about $240 – $250, the nailer is definitely an investment, but one that will continuously deliver professional, powerful, high-performance results.

Senco’s FinsihPro10 (23 gauge) pin nailer is another example of Senco’s line of brilliant pneumatic machines. At only 2.35 lbs the tool is ultra compact and lightweight to ensure strained, awkward, or continuous use is simpler and more comfortable for operators. Ideal for the most intricate finish, trim, and remodeling work, the FinishPro 10 fastens securely while still only making a virtually imperceptible hole in your materials. a hardened steel driver contributes to overall longevity, and with a smooth metal cap to protect your working materials, the pinner, with durabilty and delicate precision, yields results impeccable to the slightest detail. To ensure you are safe from a frustratingly empty magazine, the tool has a low load indicator, and is designed to load easily. The nailer shoots 1/2″ – 1″ fasteners, and with the help of a rear exhaust system,your work is protected from damaging oil and dust. Altogether, this pin nailer is built with sophistication for smooth, powerful, comfortable use in even hard woods and rough materials, and pricing at just about $130, the nailer is a smart, affordable addition to your tool repertoire.

Porter-Cable is another superior performer in the world of pneumatics; built with durable innovation, and brilliant speed and power, Porter-Cable’s PIN100 1″ pin nailer is uncommonly awesome in a variety of tough applications. Shooting 23 gauge micro pin nails from 1/2″ to 1″ long, the tool automatically adjusts to different fastener lengths to ensure that your pins are not only permanently tight, but always in the right place as well. Additionally, the tool’s bottom load magazine holds 170 micro pin nails, and because it also has a nail reload indicator, empty magazines will be the least of your worries. The nailer is extremely lightweight weighing only 2 lbs; this compact design provides optimized access into tight spaces, corners, and awkward spots – ultimately keeping you more comfortable and your materials more protected from the potential dents or dings of a bulkier tool. The pinner’s rear exhaust port channels debris, tool oil, and other contaminates away from your workpieces, and pricing from about $100 – $110, the tool is both professionally awesome and quite affordable.

On another hand, while this Air Locker tool is best suited for light-duty users and light-duty applications, the Air Locker P630 (23 gauge) micro pin nailer is a great tool at an astounding value. The tool’s components are built for durability and because the tool comes both with a case, as well as a replacement driver and o-ring kit, craftsmen can be certain the tool will remain kicking for a good, long while. The nailer automatically adjusts for fastener lengths from 1/2″ through 1-3/16″, rendering the tool always accurate as well as simple to operate for any degree of user. The P630 features a bottom load magazine and an adjustable exhaust to ensure oil and any other contaminates are directed away from your working materials, and although this nailer doesn’t necessarily perform on par with heavy-duty Senco or Porter-Cable models, the tool definitely carries its own weight. Ultimately, pricing at $59, the P630 offers light users a strong tool with the drive to complete light applications with notable high-performance and a ridiculously low price.

In the end, one of these pneumatic pin nailers is certain to meet your individual needs and specifications. With the power to keep your pins professionally secured, and the precision to do it cleanly and delicately, one of these pinners is your ticket to professional, beautiful results.

The Most Popular Front Door Material Options

The entry door to your homeought to be inviting and beautiful. The front door that you choose for your home can actually determine the general appearance of your home and hence it helps to make all considerations when making your selection. Apart from thinking about the size of the door, the design, aesthetic features and security features on the door, you should also think about the appropriate material for this important door. Usually the choices made are a matter of preference, but it helps to know the options you have and the pros and cons of each so you can make a wise decision in the end.

Wood

It is the most common, beautiful and versatile material you can select for the front door but it is not maintenance free. When you choose this material, you must think about keeping the wood protected from moisture damage and also regularly repainting works and such repairs every once in a while. Solid woods make heavier beautiful woods and they can be expensive compared to those made with laminates and plywood. Compared to other door materials, wood is generally a more expensive option and requires more maintenance, but its timeless beauty really can not be compared. Wood doors are very appealing and create a traditional warm feel to any home.

Fiberglass

This material mimics real wood and it can be designed in a variety of ways to get you beautiful fiberglass doors. The best thing about this material is that it has very few requirements as far as maintenance goes compared to wood. This material does not contract or expand due to weather changes like wood does and it makes it hard for intruders to penetrate. It makes an amazing choice for this in humid harsh climates. You can have it stained to match walnut, cherry and oak wood varieties hanging on what finish you find most appealing for your entry door.

Steel

If you are thinking about durability and security, then this is the perfect material to consider for your front door. It forms a stronger intruder barrier than wood and fiberglass and it does not warp or crack. Repairing dents or any dings is also very easy and you can have the door designed beautifully to add a stunning touch to your home. Steel doors that come coated with baked on polyester finish may need repainting periodically, but the material is generally low maintenance. There are so many styles and designs you can choose from depending on the feel or style you want to give to your home.

Aluminum

It is lightweight but durable enough to serve your home for years to come. Doors that come with enamel finish that is baked on rarely need repainting and you will not have to worry about rust. The material is easy to work with and since you can choose from dozens of styles depending on what you find most suitable for your home. Today it is actually very possible to find aluminum doors that have wood grain finishes that eliminate the cold metallic feel of your door.

Voice Over Microphones – How to Choose the Best One For You and Your Budget

The biggest mistake voice over artists make – and that includes some professionals – is using the wrong microphone. It can wreck your work. If you market yourself on Voice123.com or Voices.com, the wrong microphone will insure you do not get hired, or if you do, that you will not get hired by that same person again.

Here we'll look at the three types of microphones most often used, their strengths and weaknesses, cost, and how to determine which one (s) to go for.

We'll talk about the types, then look at specific brands, models, and prices.

Before we start, the most important thing I can say to you is that your microphone is the most important part of your entire audio chain, no exceptions. You can have the most fabulous gear in the world downstream from the mic, but if the mic does not cut it, it does not really matter about the rest of that gear. On the other hand, a terrific microphone followed by average-priced gear will give you a superior audio product.

What are you looking to do? Are you looking for a mic that's smooth and sweet, or hard-edged and in-your-face? Are you male or female? If you want to do movie trailers and screaming car dealer ads, you need a different mic than if you're doing "guy or girl next door" – realistic – voice work, or standard announce voice work. Here are the types of mics to consider:

Dynamic

Dynamic microphones are what you see in radio stations and are what live vocalists (singers) most often use. They're rugged, reasonably good-sounding, and okay for most voices, meaning one might not sound absolutely fabulous on your particular voice, but it will not sound awful, which is not true of other types, including some very expensive microphones. A dynamic also is not nuanced. The part that pics up your voice, the diaphragm, is connected to a coil of wire; Air movement from sound makes the coil move between the poles of a magnet. The sound has to overcome the mass of the coil, and very small sounds do not get through.

This does not make them bad. Rush Limbaugh's Golden EIB microphone is a dynamic, and, again, most radio stations use them. They are good general-purpose mics, and many voice over pros use them. They are equally good for male and female voices, and you can do most any type of style with them.

If you're on a budget, a dynamic is the only choice, because the other two cost a lot more for ones that are worth it. There are cheap versions of the other two, and you do not want one!

So if dynamics are so useful, why spend more for a condenser or ribbon?

Condenser

A condenser microphone, of which there are two types, transistor and tube ("valve" in Europe), does not have the moving coil of wire attached to its diaphragm. It modifies an electrical current generated by an external power supply (found in most computer interfaces or with an external power supply, see your dealer for info, or internal batteries). Without the mechanical resistance of a dynamic mic's coil to overcome, a condenser is far more sensitive to nuance, and therefore sounds much more intimate.

Condensers come in two flavors: transistor and tube. A tube condenser, which is an expensive instrument (there are cheap ones and they make good paperweights but not microphones), is almost always the very best way to go. They sound very intimate and full, and have a great up-front sound without being aggressive. They are quite subject to problems from non-vocal speech components – 'f', 's', 'p' – and require a pop screen (see your dealer). Tube mics also produce what's called harmonic distortion, which we do not consciously hear but is responsible for what's called "tube warmth" (nothing to do with temperature!) And sounds quite intimate.

Condensers come in two other flavors: large diaphragm and small diaphragm. Large diaphragms are for when you want a big, intimate sound. Small diaphragms are said to be more accurate. However, the right one for you is the one that sounds best after making several-minute recordings with each and seeing if one is more fatiguing or if one just plain sounds better to you than the other. There are no rules. Both kinds are used for voiceover.

Many voice over artists prefert tube condensers over transistorized ones, but in all cases, what sounds best on your particular voice is what you should get. How to choose a mic? We'll get to that in a minute.

Ribbon

Here's the third type, in a class by itself: the ribbon microphone. While dynamics and condensers 'hear' with diaphragms, a ribbon microphone "hears" with a short, narrow, and very thin piece of corrugated aluminum suspended between two poles of a strong magnet.

You've seen the big, pickle-shaped microphones on Letterman's and Larry King's desks. They are RCA Model 77 ribbon microphones (used as props in this case), invented, I believe, in the 1930's. They were found everywhere for half a century. RCA quit making ribbons in the 1970's, and an enterprising genius named Wes Dooley bought all of RCA's stock ribbons (the ribbons themselves) and probably single-handedly re-introduced the ribbon microphone to the US market. His company is called AEA, and even the AEA logo is so designed as to closely resembled RCA's logo.

Ribbon mics are warm and smooth, jazz guys like to record with them, they're very nice for ladies' voices, and for certain male voices they add a nice satisfing depth. They also have a low output, which means that you have to crank up the input on your system to get a decent level from them. But raising the input results what's called the noise floor, and you can end up with a recording where you can hear hiss in the background. Wes and other ribbon mic manufacturers deal with this problem well, however, and some companies are making preamplifiers (talk with your dealer about this) designed specifically for ribbon mics.

Whether a ribbon – or any mic, for that matter – will sound good on your voice can not be known without actually trying one out. Ribbons are quite sensitive to moving air; If you blow into one to test to see if it's on, there's an excellent chance you'll destroy the ribbon. When ribbons were in common studio use, they were 'bagged' – a fitted bag was put over them – just to move them from place to place in the studio, to avoid ribbon damage from the air passing across them as they were moved .

Brands

Dynamics

There are a million brands, which of course goes for condensers, but not that many ribbon brands.

Not to worry, because there are several industry standards with which it's hard to go wrong. Here are the three most popular dynamics, and they probably outsell all the rest put together:

Electro-Voice RE20
Sennheiser 421U (see dealer about the specific one for your purpose)
Shure SM7
———
Shure SM57 / SM58 – less expensive and can be used if you do not have the money for the others

These mics, except for the last two, are in the $ 350- $ 700 range. Although each has a characteristic 'sound,' they are pretty close together in that respect. Each is well-made and dependable over the long haul, as in decades.

The Sennheiser, and, I believe, the SM7, have what are called proximate effects: if you get right on top of them they accentuate the lows. Many announcers in radio stations like to eat them; They want that deep "Voice of God" sound. They're better used at a distance of 6-10. "The RE20 is known for its lack of the proximate effect. I personally like it better than the others. Electro-Voice has called the RE27, which users either Further, the RE20 was also made under a different model name, PL20. The finish color is a bit different, but it's the same mic. The PL line of mics was made for mending drums and musical Instruments and is no longer in production. I found a PL20 for $ 150 and am still jumping up and down, for the average used price of a PL20 or RE20 is double that.

For price-to-quality, none of these mics can be beat.

Condensers

Two flavors, here: transistorized and tube. As mentioned above, a tube condenser, like any well-designed tube device, generates overtones, which our ears perceive as "warmth." I say well-designed, because ever since tubes were "rediscovered" about 25 years ago, a lot of low-priced gear with a tube or two in them has hit the market, but they are not necessarily designed by people who understand exactly what They do nor how to design a tube circuit for best effect. This section deals with condensers in general.

Probably the most-recognized condenser mic name in the world is Neumann (pronounced NOI-man), and its most popular model is called a U-87. They sell new for around $ 3500, around $ 2000 or less used. A Neumann either sounds incredible on your voice or it sounds honky. It is the microphone National Public Radio uses exclusively.

It is found in just about every recording studio of any size. It will love your voice or hate it.

There are more expensive Neumanns, and a series of low-priced models prefixed with the letters TLM. A good number of voiceover artists use TLMs (<$ 1000); In my opinion they are not nearly as natural-sounding as the U-87 or a good dynamic. I had one but sold it after a few months. It could sound really good to your particular ear, however. I make this point because tastes different, and it is surely true that one voice can sound bad on a certain mic and superb on the next voice. So how does one choose? We'll get to that in a sec.

First, you must use a pop screen on a condenser. This device stops those blasts of air from non-vocal speech components, most notably "P" sounds, which which condensers are especially sensitive. Put your hand in front of your mouth and say "P." Feel the air? If that blast hits a condenser, let's just say you do not want to be wearing headphones at the time. Now, it's a good idea to talk across (at 45 degrees) not straight into, any microphone, because all of them will react badly to P pops; It is just that condensers REALLY react to them. Many RE20 users put pop screens in front of their mics even though most people do not use pop screens with dynamics.

Cheap condensers: a big no-no.

Cheap condensers are all over the market. You can buy a microphone with a nice spider shock mount and in a beautiful aluminum flight case all for $ 75. Um, I do not thin 'so, Looooxy. They are unnaturally bright at the top end and boomy at the bottom.

The really nefarious part of this is that, if you're just starting out, your ear is easily fooled into thinking that this sounds good. It does sound sort of exciting, but it is extremely fatiguing to listen to a recording made on one. As Phil Spector famously put it, "It's all in the middle." Americans like to crank up the treble and bass. If you have a mic delivering lots of highs and lows, and someone boosts the highs and lows on their music system, your work will sound worse than awful. Expensive microphones have rolled-off low ends and smooth high ends. Upon first using one you may even think, "Wow, what's the big deal about this thing? It's boring." No, it's natural. Unboosted highs and lows. In other words, it sounds like you, not you-through-a-microphone. That's as it should be.

Remember, you are competing with people who own high-end condensers, and that's how they sound. I'll take a $ 400 dynamic over a $ 400 condenser just about every time.

Ribbon microphones

I have experience with exactly one ribbon: an AEA R84. It sounds really good. It's an updated version of an industry-standard RCA ribbon, the Model 44, invented long ago and used forever, like the 77. It's tres cool-looking, and comes with a snarky-looking padded, fitted maroon bag for transport and protection. It's about $ 990.

There are other ribbons that have excellent reputations, more hitting the market all the time, see your dealer. I'm not aware of ribbons being used that much for voiceover, but I think it's because a great number of people do not know about them. I think it's also due as much to inertia as anything – everyone learns what everyone else is using and continues suit. Also, ribbons do not have the in-your-face sound that dynamics and especially condensers have.

How to choose the right mic for you

The really best way is to call a professional recording studio and book an hour or so of their time, and have them set up an array of mics around you and test read you, each mic going to a different track of a recording. It's infinitely better to match the mic to your particular (and unique) voice than to get just anything and try to make it fit using equalization (Google "equalization for voiceover" and read it!). I recommend you test no fewer than five mics, making sure to include all the ones listed above except the Shure SM57 / 58. When you listen to yourself recorded on each one, the best one will usually make itself plain, and it's a good idea To ask the recording engineer's opinion, for s / he knows what to listen for. My method is to listen to the records of the first two, choose a winner, compare it to the third one, choose a winner, compare it to the fourth, and so on. Then do it again, only have the engineer mix up the playback order.

Do not try this test in an amateur home studio. They almost certainly will not have the mics you need to make the test meaningful, and the person recording you will almost certainly not be competent to evaluate which mic to use for voiceover; Most home studios exist for the purpose of recording music and sung vocal, not voice acting and voiceover.

What if you do not have a studio within 50 or 100 miles, or their rates are too high (although I think paying $ 100 to test several thousand dollars' worth of microphones will save you unbelievable heads, sending mics back, etc.)?

Here's what to do: if your budget allows, buy either a Neumann U-87 or a Lawson L-47 MPII. The Lawson is around $ 2000, or $ 1500 bucks less than the Neumann. The Lawson is the mic I have used for nearly 10 years. It sounds like Disney, but even more importantly, I have yet to record a voice on it that has not sounded really good.

It is sold factory-direct through a fella named Gene Lawson in Nashville, at Lawsonmicrophones.com. If you call them, you can talk right to Gene. He's a great guy.

Absent that kind of budget, get an Electro-Voice RE20, Shure SM7, or Sennheiser 421U (they come with a couple of variations so tell your dealer that you're using it for VO.

If you're not sure whether you really want to be a VO artist but would like to give it a trial shot, get a Shure SM57 or 58. They are $ 100 dynamics. As I said before, they are okay, and never sound bad on anyone's voice.

Where to get it?

If you're going to get an RE20 or Sennheiser or Shure, get it from your local music store (the best choice because service is right there, no mailorder hassles). If you do not have one, go online to one of the big catalog outlets such as Sweetwater, Full Compass, Zzounds, or Guitar Center. They have fairly liberal return policies and are easy to work with. They sell a lot of stuff and have competitive reputations to maintain. Plus, their prices are usually identical from piece to piece so they have to make up for it with really good service, all to our advantage.

If you've got the bucks for a $ 1500 – $ 2000 + condenser, go online to SoundPure.com. (Lawson are sold factory-direct only at Lawsonmicrophones.com) Sound Pure has professional sound recordists to talk to, and at those prices you need to talk to pros. Not that the catalog stores do not have pros, but their level of expertise varies. I've talked to guys who knew nothing about what I wanted and guys who knew a lot; At Sound Pure they're all pros and they are really interested in getting you what you need and not a penny more.

Tell them everything you want to do, what other gear you have, what to buy if you do not have any gear yet. They really give a great big rip about their customers and about the pro audio business in general. I can not say enough good about them. In case you're wondering about all this nice stuff I'm saying about Lawson and Sound Pure: not only am I not getting paid by them, they do not know I'm writing this article!

To sum up: If there's a pro studio near you, book an hour and test their dynamics and condensers using the method above.

When you're ready to buy, if you want to spend $ 200- $ 700, get a dynamic: Electro-Voice RE20, Shure SM7, or Sennheiser 421U. Check your local music store first – everything's so much easier that way. From $ 1500 and above (which your local store probably will not have) get a tube condenser: Lawson L-47 MPII from Lawsonmicrophones.com, or for others, go to SoundPure.com and call them. Re the RE20, EV also makes an RE27. Some people really like them, some people really do not. I'd go with the RE20.

I've worked for years to get a good sound and am writing this to try to save you some time in finding your great sound.

Understanding Sealing Material and Food Grade Concrete Sealer

Concrete counter tops are stain poor and need high maintenance. The sealers have come a long way from the simple wax and acrylic sealers to most modern epoxy sealers. With the right sealer, you can have a stain-resistant, heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, Food Grade Concrete Sealer , easy to clean, easy to maintain and smooth counter top.

Bare concrete is porous and vulnerable to staining and chemical attack. Liquids will soak into the surface, carrying stains into the concrete itself. Acidic substances like vinegar and lemon juice will dissolve the cement paste.

Sealing material characteristics that are important to clients are:

• Enhance the appearance of the concrete without degrading the look or feel
• Non-porous
• Completely resist stains from food, oil, and other household substances
• Resist heat from hot pots and pans
• Resist UV degradation and yellowing from sunlight
• Scratch-proof
Food Grade Concrete Sealer
• Easily cleaned using common household cleaning products
• Provide long term protection without the need for frequent maintenance
• Easy to repair & maintain

Sealing Materials: Sealers have two groups namely Penetrating sealers and Topical sealers.

Penetrating sealers come in the form of liquids that are applied to bare concrete, soak in, and then once wiped off and dried, are usually almost invisible.

Densifiers are water-based chemicals that react with the cement paste in the concrete. The reaction generates cementing agents that increase the strength of the surface concrete and fill the pores. The cementing agents that are generated during hardening often serve to provide some color enhancement. Densifiers are often applied before repellents.

Repellents are a concrete treatment that changes the surface tension characteristics of the concrete so that liquids bead up easily. They create a hydrophobic water-shedding effect when applied to the concrete.

Topical sealers make up the most of the sealers on the market as listed below:

Wax is the most basic sealer. Generally, a high-quality floor wax that contains carnauba and beeswax, or just pure beeswax, is used. Automotive paste wax should not be used for sealing because of the additives it contains.

Acrylic is a solvent based or water based, are the next most basic and common concrete sealers. Acrylic sealers are easy to use, available easily and reliably inexpensively. They are widely used for sealing floors and driveways, and provide modest protection. Acrylics generally provide heat resistance but are UV resistant.

Epoxy is a two-component chemical system and you need to mix them to form the coat. The chemical reaction is irreversible, and the end result is a very durable, very hard surface. Epoxies are expensive chemicals and one need to follow a proper process to apply them. There are three basic types of epoxies: solvent based, water based and 100% solids. They are key to a Food Grade Concrete Sealer. They are widely used in industrial kitchens.

Urethane are the type of sealers that has many of the Ideal Sealer characteristics. Some are a single part, and others are two part. Urethane, in general, are stain and heat resistant, provide good UV resistance, very tough and scratch resistant. They provide a glossy finish also.

5 Top Tips To Make Your Money Go Further On Holiday

We all deserve a break, but not the bills that often follow us home! Choosing the right holiday finances and services can save you money and give you more to spend on having fun.

1.Card Charges

Just because we are overseas there is no reason why we should have to pay our banks excessive charges to use our banking facilities. Many high street banks have been steadily raising the rates for using credit and debit cards abroad. Analysts from a top online comparison site have revealed that UK customers this year will be charged around £204 million on credit card purchases and £151 million withdrawing foreign currency with their cards.

Exchange rate administration fees are costing the UK holidaymaker more money every year. Many experts believe that banks are using overseas profits to recoup the heavy penalty charges they have suffered recently. Check the fees on your credit and debit cards before you go and if they are high consider applying to another provider which offers a lower rate.

If you pay by credit card you have the advantage of protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Look out for cash withdrawal charges, it’s never a good idea to use your credit card because of the high fees imposed. Don’t let your cards out of your sight, such as paying in restaurants – insist they process your payment in front of you.

2. Mobile Charges

Using your mobile’s ‘roaming’ abroad service can be very expensive. Check your contract carefully before packing your mobile.There are plans to cap these high charges, but it won’t come into effect until after this years summer holiday. Mobile call charges under the ‘Eurotariff’ should then drop by as much as 75%. Beware as text messaging will not be covered by the new laws.

There are companies that now offer mobile phones that send and receive calls via a wireless connection over the internet rather than using mobile networks. Another option is to buy a foreign ‘Pay as you Go’ SIM card to cut down exorbitant UK charges. If you have broadband and have access to your computer it is also possible to make low-cost international calls using systems such as Skype.

3. Cash Costs

The cheapest way to get foreign currency is to order it online in the UK. As always, it pays to shop around as new currency exchange deals come up all the time. Check how much cash is covered on your travel insurance.

4. Conversion Cons

Watch out for retailers overseas converting purchases into sterling and adding a fee, it’s usually better to pay in the currency of the country.

5. Zero Interest Transfer

If you spent more than you meant to on holiday don’t ‘play ostrich’ and ignore the high interest credit card statements, it’s easy now to transfer to a zero interest credit card and pay off your debt without the interest building up.

Debt Problems – You Can Laugh at Them if You Follow This Simple Spiritual Plan

We’ll start the engines today by looking at a popular scripture the book of Luke 6:38

Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” NKJ

Please take these 2 prayer points with fire in your spirit:

o I retrieve all my properties from satanic banks in the name of Jesus

o O Lord restore seven-fold everything I have lost as a result of spiritual ignorance.

The Bishop and the Vision

I know a bishop who wanted to build a 50,000 seat worship hall in 1999. The unusual thing about it was… he expected to do it from start to finish without borrowing a dime from anyone… not even from the bank.

He also set a target of 12 months for completion.

Now this kind of project had never before been undertaken by anyone in his part of the world. So everyone watched with interest… expecting him to fail.

Well he did not just succeed… he succeeded brilliantly.

The entire project, which took the size of 4 football fields, was completed in 11 months – one month ahead of schedule!

And this happened in a place, a geography where as much as 90% of the people were living far below the poverty line.

He has since made further progress and established a full-fledged university there.

Such “impossible” feats excite me… so I decided to dig a little into the background of this bishop to learn how he did it.

Here’s a few of the interesting facts I uncovered:

o This man of God is a chronic, incurable giver. He has been that way for 30 years. There’s a story of how he gave away the only money his wife had reserved to buy baby food for their 6-month-old infant… to a church member who had an urgent financial need!

o Half of that time (30 years) he and his family were living in abject poverty… and he kept right on giving.

o Before his ministry exploded in signs and wonders he was fasting every day for 3 years (yes, you read that right).

o His might just be one of the longest dining tables around – it’s designed to sit at least 40 people at a time. And at least 40 people have lunch in his home every single day … as we speak.

That’s right. This man lives and breathes the well-known message we’ve all heard, “You can’t out-give God.”

What sets him apart however is that he doesn’t just stop there.

He takes things to the next level… and herein lies a deep secret.

The Next Level

He creates relationships… with people big and small, poor and rich, young and old.

He believes that essentially all relationships in life act like “arteries” or pipelines in the spiritual realm.

For instance when God blesses you He usually does it through someone. The relationship with that person is really the pipeline through which the blessings come to you.

Relationships are the key to everything!

No wonder the Lord Jesus said we should do unto others as we want them to do to us.

When they asked Him (Jesus) about the greatest commandment in the book He gave them two:

The first is about relationship… with God

The second is about relationship … with people

Please pay close attention here:

All your relationships are pipelines through which God will use to bless you.

But a blockage can occur in a relationship.

For instance a blockage can occur in a marriage relationship. When this particular artery is blocked, love and passion can no longer flow between a husband and wife.

Call it a heart attack, or a death in a marriage.

Your various business relationships are also arteries… connecting employers and employees, bosses and staff, sellers and buyers.

The money that flows to you through your business transactions or the work you do travels through these arteries.

When they are clogged… then money fails to flow to you.

In many cases severe blockages might also transfer into the physical arteries of the body… resulting in physical illness.

All the relationships between people, between business partners, between husband and wife, between brother and sister, between parents and children – are spiritual arteries that can become blocked and cause “disease.”

Each time you interact with someone in your life – friend or stranger, family member, fellow worker – please remember that you are affecting the arteries in your life that extends out into the world… the exact same pipelines that blessings will flow through to you.

If you fail to watch over the relationships in your life… and allow blockages to continue to grow unchecked… “disease” might set in.

This disease can manifest itself as:

Debt

Poverty

Divorce

Kids on drugs

Anxiety

A dysfunctional family

Or even a heart attack

Any of these can happen –

– in spite of your praying

– in spite of your giving

If you do everything else right but allow blockages in your relationships your miracles may not manifest speedily enough.

At this level please close your eyes and take these prayers with a holy cry unto the Lord:

o Fire of God burn away every blockage in my spiritual pipes in the name of Jesus

o Every power creating relationship problems in my life, be buried be buried be buried in the mighty name of Jesus.

o Anything in my life scaring away my divine helpers, get out now in the name of Jesus.

You now understand why the Bible warns us about things like anger, evil communication, gossip, hatred, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, jealousy, etc.?

It is for our own good!

Letting go of anger, revenge, envy, worry, fear, etc. and working earnestly to build sound relationships is a crucial secret to getting your desires to flow into your life… day in day out.

If you are serious about praying to get out of debt, you will have to watch what you say about others… and how you react when others say terrible things about you.

And remember what I’ve said here:

o Create relationships and build bridges of understanding with folks you meet everyday.

o Give of your substance… and your time – be generous, so the channels can open and stay open.

Now here are the rest of the prayers to get out of debt.

o O Lord send me divine counselors who can help me with my finances

o Father, show me what to do so that financial crisis would not arise again in my business in the name of Jesus.

o Father, help me to formulate a plan of recovery to get me out of debt in Jesus’ name.

o Lord, give me wisdom to avoid unfavorable business situations in the name of Jesus.

o Lord, help me to erect safeguards to prevent financial failure.

o O Lord, create new and profitable opportunities for me.

o I refuse to be a borrower. I shall lend to many nations in the name of Jesus.

o I bind every spirit of impulse buying and worthless acquisitions in Jesus’ name

o Every spirit of greed operating in my life I bind and cast you out in the name of Jesus.

o All my money that has been siphoned away spiritually be restored to me 7-fold in the name of Jesus.

o Every power delaying my miracles be paralyzed in the name of Jesus.

o Anything in the spirit realm casting an evil eye on my life, receive total blindness in the name of Jesus.

o O Lord, begin to use those around me to bless me in a powerful new way in Jesus’ name.

Racial Prejudice

For the first six years of my schooling I had always known I was different in the sense that I was the only black child in my class and that there were few black children in the school when I was attending. But up to that point, because I was in a Christian school, I didn’t feel different at all. The Catholic nuns tried to instil a level of compassion and understanding among the children, which helped. But when I was 12 years old we moved to a smaller, rural town called Que Que. It was a mining and agricultural town, two and a half hours’ drive south of Harare on the Bulawayo Road. Que Que was such a small town that if you were driving to Bulawayo and blinked you could miss it. I’ve always called it a ‘one street no horse’ town.

My father got a fantastic job there as a chartered accountant working for Zimasco, one of the largest Chrome producing companies in Southern Africa, so the move was exciting and it meant new opportunities for my parents. But for us it meant having to cope with going to school in the public school system, which was a less sheltered environment. The year was 1979 and the neighbourhood we lived in was called Fitchley so the primary school I attended was Fitchley Primary School. I was the first black child at this school, and my sister who had just started high school was a pioneer too, the first black child at Que Que High School.

On my first day at school I fully experienced what it was like to be in a minority. The prejudice of the children showed up clearly on a daily basis. They all sniggered and laughed if I walked by and nobody would sit next to me in class. I decided to sit right up front near the teacher to get away from the sniggering and the stares. I soon discovered that was a big mistake because I became the target for small pebbles, bubble gum and wet paper darts shot from the barrels of their pens and aimed at the back of my head. Mrs Morris, a stern looking, white middle-aged lady, was my teacher. The teachers in the school were all white and they all chose to turn a blind eye and ignore my pleas for help to stop the teasing and abuse. It was very difficult to try to make friends, and in fact for the first two or three months no one would talk to me. Eventually I made a breakthrough when, after three months of verbal abuse from the children in my class with no protection from the teachers, I got involved in a fight.

In every group environment there is always one person who is the weaker of the species, and in this case it was a small white boy named Devin. Judging by his clothes, Devin came from a family of very low socio-economic status. He lived in a caravan at the caravan park. I remember that his jerseys were torn and tattered at the elbows and during winter when the boys wore trousers his were always two or three sizes too small for him. He was the butt of all the jokes in the school until I arrived, then attention shifted from Devin to me, something he thoroughly loved and enjoyed.

The verbal abuse that I had to endure was horrible. The children used to call me Kaffir, that horrid and derogatory word.

“Look at the Kaffir!” they jeered. “What is it doing in our school? Go home, Kaffir! This is our school.”

“She smells,” they would say, blocking their noses. I quietly wondered how they could smell me when none of them would come within two metres of me. And so it went on. Devin was always the first one to start as I walked into a room. I learned to escape into the world of books during break time because no one would play with me and I usually opted to stay in the safe haven of the classroom alone during our breaks. It was a blessing in disguise really as this escape fuelled my passion for reading, my vocabulary improved and I was always the top student in English.

One day I walked into the classroom and there were four or five children sitting there. Devin was playing at the blackboard drawing pictures. He looked around at everybody and started laughing and said, “Oh, the Kaffir has come to make the room smell again,” and everybody laughed. Children can be so cruel. And after three months of taking this abuse and quietly trying to endure what these children were putting me through, I decided that enough was enough.

I walked up to Devin and said, “What did you say?”

“I said you are a smelly Kaffir,” he said, with venom, spitting in my face as he spoke.

I wiped the spit off my face with the back of my hand and said calmly, “I dare you to say that again.”

“I said you are a smelly Kaffir,” he repeated, this time holding his nose. The laughter continued; they all thought it was very funny that Devin was being so insulting. Something in me snapped. I have never been involved in a physical fight again to this day, but something inside my head snapped in that classroom and I grabbed Devin by the neck and pushed him against the blackboard. Fortunately for me, Devin was just a little runt, but come to think of it, so was I. And I’m short, I always have been. Even at the age of 39 my 16 year-old son stands head and shoulders above me, so you can imagine what I looked like at 12. I was small, scrawny and thin, and got involved in a fistfight with a boy.

Soon everybody heard what was going on in the classroom and more children started pouring in to witness the fight. By now I had him pinned to the blackboard with one hand and with the other I started punching. I punched him so hard he started to cry. I punched, and I kicked.

The children were cheering and jeering,

“Hit her, Devin!” they shouted. “Kill her!” But I had him in a paralysing grip and he couldn’t move. It was good having three little brothers to fight with, my tomboy ways were definitely paying off. He screamed for help and before I knew it I was being torn away from him by one of the male teachers.

“What’s going on?” asked Mr Patrick. “Why are you fighting?”

“He called me a Kaffir again,” I said.

“Devin, did you say that?” Mr Patrick demanded.

“No sir, I didn’t say that to her,” he replied.

“Devin, tell the truth.”

Of course, Devin was not going to admit that he had said this to me, because all the children had been told by the headmaster at the last school assembly not to be insulting. I had been to the principal’s office several times to report the abuse, but no one had done anything about it.

The teacher turned around in the room and asked the other children, sternly “Did Devin call Getrude a Kaffir?” He glared at the spectators.

“Yes sir, he did,” came a small voice from the back of the room. It was Amanda Mackenzie, the little British girl who had just come to Rhodesia with her expatriate parents. I had always sensed that she wanted to speak to me but was too afraid of being mocked by the other children. Now for the first time at that school someone stood up for me and admitted that I had been insulted. We later became very good friends and we finished Fitchley Primary School together.

“Right,” Mr Patrick said to Devin. “You’re coming with me.” At this point Devin had a bleeding nose and he was crying, but Mr Patrick pulled him by the ear and took him to the principal’s office for some corporal punishment.

From that day things improved. I had earned my place and won respect from my fellow students. At the age of 12, I had to get involved in a fistfight in order to assert who I was, and that I had as much right as any other child to be there in that school. Looking back I can see I had claimed my small spot in the world of mankind. I had a right to be there, just like everybody else. Little did I know I still had a lot more to endure in high school.

Excerpt from my book “Born on the Continent – Ubuntu”, buy a copy on my website http://www.bornonthecontinent.com, 100% profit goes to the Africa Alive Foundation for HIV and AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe