How to Go From Product Peddler to Professional As a Financial Advisor

According to Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, one of the hardest things for many traditional salespeople to do is stop acting like a seller and instead sees the world from the buyer’s perspective. Now, this doesn’t mean trying to manipulate the buyer by seeing things from their point of view. What it means is a shift in perspective. It means abandoning the old views of buyer vs. seller and in its place; you must share the buyer’s concerns. It means shifting your thinking in two respects.

* Shift from persuading to understanding

* Shift from a product focus to a buyer focus

Top salespeople see the world from the buyer’s point of view. This helps them understand the needs of the buyer. So instead of worrying about persuading, they seek to understand. This leads to a natural tendency to ask more questions thereby uncovering more needs. As a result, the top salespeople don’t talk prematurely about product. Their clients see them as sincere which breaks down many of the walls we face when trying to persuade clients before understanding their situation.

Think of a bridge that connects products to consumers. You are that bridge. As a result, you have to understand both — product and customer. Which end is the most important?

* Most salespeople are more comfortable and proficient at understanding their products than at understanding buyers.

* Very successful salespeople have adequate product knowledge, but superior knowledge of customers.

* Salespeople with the highest product knowledge don’t make the most sales.

* If forced to make a choice, buyers are more likely to deal with those who best understand their needs than with those who best understand products or services.

How do you achieve a better understanding of your clients?

* Keep up with business and industry trends that affect your clients.

* Read current business journals as well as product manuals.

* Have a real curiosity about what’s going on inside the buyer’s world and ask a lot of questions about changes in their lives as well as their hopes and dreams.

From Chapter 12 of SPIN Selling, “Sharpening Your Skills”

“Why do we never get an answer when we’re knocking at the door? – The Moody Blues

It could be because we are knocking on the wrong door. Or are we knocking too loudly? SPIN is an acronym for a type of questioning/profiling used by top salespeople. S stands for “Situation”; P for “Problem”; I for “Implication” and N for “Need-payoff.

First let’s take a look at “Situation” questions. These are the type of questions that are essential early in the sales process. If you are meeting the prospect for the first time, you obviously need together data. These are also the type of questions that most new salespeople feel comfortable using. They are typically non-threatening to the client, but there are some risks associated with a “laundry list” approach to profiling with such questions as, where do you work? Do you own a home? Do you have a checking account? The problem with this “checklist” style of questioning is that the prospect will become bored if you ask too many. The thing that separates the successful salesperson from the rest of the pack is how they listen to the answers to these questions and the way they limit the number of questions at a given time. As they gather information they move in the direction of a perceived problem.

If your client or prospect can’t understand the reasons behind the questions you are asking they will quickly grow bored and the likelihood of a sale or cross-sell opportunity quickly dies. Let’s look at the difference between Situation questions and Problem questions.

Situation Questions

Problem Questions

Do you have an investment account?

Have you been satisfied with the performance of your investments?

Do you have a checking account at another bank?

What checking account features does your other bank offer that keeps your business?

Do you own a home?

Are you satisfied with the rate on your home loan?

Are you interested in looking at alternatives to your CD?

What is the purpose of the funds in your CD account? Is it long-term or short-term?

Where are you employed? How long have you been there?

Does your employer offer a 401(k) or other retirement plan?

As you can see, the Situation questions will gather the facts. The Problem questions can gather the same type of information but move you into a relationship mode where the prospect sees you as a problem solver.

“One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

By now we should have a clear picture of how to uncover our clients’ problems by asking questions in a manner that will reveal them. As difficult as it may be at times, we also discovered that we shouldn’t offer solutions until we know what the problem is. This is accomplished through a combination of Situation questions and Problem questions. We can then develop the client’s need with Implication and Need-Payoff questions. If we employ this strategy with all of our clients then we should hear significantly fewer objections and close more sales.

If you find that you are hearing more objections than you like, there’s a good chance that you are offering solutions before you uncover the problem. Many times we are the ones causing all of the objections. A recent television commercial for a health care provider discussed the phenomena referred to as “the real purpose of the visit” or RPV. Doctors have to ask a lot of questions to uncover the RPV because patients just like clients and prospects will reluctantly give up the real problem they need help with. Just as a doctor could be liable for malpractice if he/she prescribes a medication without understanding the problem so can a financial advisor for offering a solution before understanding the need.

Think about the typical CD customer. Given the low interest rate environment we are experiencing it may seem surprising that more of our members with CDs are not flocking into the branches to meet with our Financial Consultants to take advantage of better investment alternatives. So when you call them in the course of your Block Time during the day you probably come away frustrated at their resistance to your great ideas.

Keep in mind; you are not going to sell anything over the phone. Your goal is to get an appointment. When it comes to people and their money they want to have a trusting relationship with the person giving them financial advice. So if you have not uncovered a need, you are not going to get an appointment. And let’s be realistic, there are some CD customers who just won’t budge in spite of the great job that you do. Let’s look at two ways to avoid unnecessary objections.

1. Objections early in the call. The research done by Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling, shows that customers usually do not object to questions unless you become rude or otherwise offensive. Most of the time objections arise from solutions that don’t fit the member’s needs. If you find that you are getting a lot of objections early in the call it means that instead of asking questions you have been offering solutions and features. Try to keep from offering solutions until you uncover the real need.

2. Objections about value. If your members don’t perceive the value of what you are suggesting then you will get objections. It’s a sign that you are not developing the need strongly enough. For example, the CD customer raises the concern about NCUA insurance. You immediately launch into a discussion about how their $300,000 won’t be 100% insured anyway and the NCUA could go out of business just like any insurance company. You tell them the fixed annuity is safe and pays more interest than their CD, blah, blah, blah. You notice that your prospect is even more determined and throws out a number of objections and you find your sale slipping away. What the member is really telling you is that you have not demonstrated value with your proposed solution. Their concern is safety because they need that money for long-term care.

A better approach would be to confirm their concern about safety. Then proceed to uncover the need for that CD money (long-term care) and discuss how your solution addresses both needs by demonstrating how your proposed solution addresses both needs. Cut down on the use of features and concentrate on the use of Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff questions.

Four Stages of a Sales Call

1. Obtaining Commitment starts before the discussion, by setting objectives that will lead to a realistic commitment.

2. Obtaining Commitment is easiest if you’ve developed strong needs in the Investigating stage and have demonstrated the capability to meet them

3. Obtaining Commitment has three steps:

* Check that you’ve addressed key concerns

* Summarize the benefits

* Propose a realistic commitment

Top 7 Types of Architectural Styles

Architecture is defined as an art of building designer architectures in the form of buildings and other physical structures like homes, offices, hotels, resorts, and commercial buildings. This incredible art also involves the use of science and technical knowledge n order to give a form and structure to creativity and imagination. This mixture of art and science implement a design that transforms into a functional and aesthetically pleasing architecture.

1. Adirondack Architecture: This type of architecture gives a rugged finish to the structure design. This outstanding craftsmanship is mainly used for structures like rustic cabins, boathouses, custom homes, and log cabins. The architectural style introduced by William West Durant dates back to the 1880s that spread through the Adirondack Mountains, eventually to throughout the mountainous areas from the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains.

2. Adam Style: The Adam style is named after a renowned British architect Robert Adam. The design was originated from the Neoclassical design in the eighteenth century that revolutionized the industry with a fresh and graceful design. The design is more popular in England and America, most evident during the structural buildings constructed between 1790s to the 1830s.

3. Art Nouveau Style: Art Nouveau is a French term for ‘New Style’ and was introduced as an outcome of the efforts put in by known European artists who held a revolt against formal and classical design. This innovative design style was originated in Pairs in the eighteenth century. The design of the buildings often has asymmetrical shapes, arches, mosaics, stained glass, Japanese motifs, and decorative surfaces like curving, floral motifs and plant-like embellishments.

4. Indian Architecture: Indian architectural designs reflect the diverse culture and religious tradition of the country. This style of design has its own uniqueness and significance in the form of structure, design, and decorative surfaces. Ancient Indian Architecture was influenced by the western design form, especially from the Buddhist stupa to the Colonial Era. The style is simple, distinctive, and flowing in design.

5. Islamic Architecture: Islamic architecture mainly includes structure design like the tombs, mosques, and forts. The typical design includes domes, geometric shapes, towers, and Islamic calligraphy.

6. Ottonian Architecture: Ottonian architecture was evolved in the 10th century during the reign of Emperor Otto. It took its inspiration from various existing structure design mainly from the Carolingian and Byzantine architecture.

7. Victorian Architecture: Victorian architecture is a style of architecture that was popularly used in Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was characterized by massive construction, decorative surfaces, simplicity, and fluidity. Balloon framing freed buildings, timber-framed box forms, odd corners, overhangs, and irregular floor plans are some of the characteristic features of the Victorian architecture.

Is Heavy Squatting Really Necessary For a Bodybuilder?

What is Heavy Squatting?

Heavy Barbell Squatting has been a topic of great debate among lifting enthusiasts. Barbell Squatting involves placing a great amount of iron weights onto a barbell bar positioned on the rear your shoulders and having your body slowly go down by bending on your knees. It has been the mainstay of bodybuilding programs within the past decade.

During the mid to late 90s the resurgence of Dorian Yates as an abbreviated training proponent put the limelight the squat again. Being one of the Three Big Lifts along with the dead lift and bench press, the squat was considered to be an essential part any training regimen.  The squat is a lift that is difficult to perform with the prescribed heavy weight form. This has led to it to being classified as a real bodybuilder’s exercise.

Being Parrot-Preached

“If you want increase your arms by an inch then start squatting heavy!” These were the words of a famous bodybuilding champion. The internet forums being as they are, parroted this mantra for years and years. Legions of newbie 150 pound lifters started taking this as gospel and ridiculed whoever said that squats shouldn’t be heavy and done all out. “Squat ’til you drop,” was often a phrase used to answer someone looking to go over a plateau. If you had any weaknesses in any body part it was thought that the squat would magically eliminate this weakness. “Perform squats religiously and watch your chest grow,” was quite common to hear.

Repetitive Craze

This went on and on for almost a decade as the rabid internet newbie bodybuilders continued to preach on the squat. This was highly apparent when 8-time Olympia Champion; Ronnie Coleman was seen squatting 800 pounds in a video just a few weeks before the Mr. Olympia competition. Some attributed his domination to never backing down on extremely heavy lifts. This included the dead lift, bench press and squat. It was absurd that his fellow competitors were considered sissies and weaklings because they never really went all out on the barbell squat.

Lots of Bodybuilders Were not Squatting

As the bodybuilding cycle continued, the squat started to become less and less of a focus to the e-bodybuilders. With the fall of the unbelievable king Ronnie Coleman the squat mantra seemed to have waned. Then super celebrity bodybuilder, Bob Cicherillo voiced out publicly that squats were not the “be-all, end-all” of leg exercises. This has seemed to place a gag order on squat mania. Dexter Jackson also put a lid on the squat sensation that has swept the bodybuilding community for years by winning the 2008 Mr. Olympia. Dexter Jackson is not known to be a heavy squatter.

The Verdict

The bodybuilding scene is a funny one. When a dominant bodybuilder arrives in the scene he magically transforms the basic tenets of bodybuilding. His domination seems to fuel the desire of under developed bodybuilding fans to place his success on a single bodybuilding principle. And this is what exactly happened during the last few decades with the barbell squat. The past two decades were dominated by strength focused athletes: Ronnie Coleman and Dorian Yates. And being a hardcore strength exercise the squat mantra followed their successes.

These two Olympians no doubt used the heavy squat as part of their arsenal to dominate bodybuilding. But others have done the same with relatively lighter barbell squats. Recent champions Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson are not known for extremely heavy weight training methods.

How does this affect the normal everyday bodybuilder? Use the squat as part of your arsenal. Never blindly follow the fad that comes in the bodybuilding industry. Like the e-bodybuilders in most forums, fads come and go. Develop your leg muscles with the squat along with a comfortable leg press machine and less stressful leg extension.

If you want your chest to grow, hit the bench press.

A Culture of Philanthropy: 10 Tips to Ensure Your Organization Has One

Mahatma Gandhi said “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Nowhere is this clearer than in non-profit organizations. For a non-profit, in order to bring vision into reality, its staff, volunteers and donors, must take action first and lead by example, demonstrating their own commitment.

This commitment is the basis for a culture of philanthropy. It is the platform from which a non-profit can ask the rest of the world to join them in their efforts. In essence, it all begins inside.

So, how, exactly, can a culture of philanthropy be nurtured and take hold in an organization? Following are 10 time-tested tips:

1. Define a Culture of Philanthropy.

A formal definition of the term says it is a culture that synergistically motivates a giving response and investment from those who can relate the organization’s mission and worthiness. The word “philanthropy” comes from the Greek words philos meaning loving, and anthropus meaning human kind, combining to convey “love of humanity”. The word culture means simply a collection of an organization’s core values, beliefs and behavior norms. So, a culture of philanthropy promotes the love of mankind…caring for others.

A philanthropic culture says to the rest of the world “we exist to fulfill a gap or need that is significant to advance a cause that is critical – will you join us?

2. Understand the characteristics of a philanthropic culture.

Organizations that have embraced a philanthropic culture see philanthropy as an opportunity to advance their very worthy mission, and they’re excited about presenting this opportunity to the world. Following are characteristics to look for:

  • Everyone behaves as an ambassador, helping to identify new friends and partners.
  • The organization operates in a donor-centric fashion, making it easy and comfortable for donors and creating a dialogue.
  • Everyone can articulate a case for giving and describe how contributions are used.
  • Beneficiaries are viewed as the focus of the organization and invited to share their stories.
  • The leadership of the organization is visibly involved in leading fund raising efforts.
  • Board members are personally invested and contribute financially.

Ask yourself this important question: does fund raising permeate all levels of my organization? Successful fund development starts on the inside with the people who care most about the organization.

3. Educate the organization about their role in Development.

Ninety percent of the work that is done in Development is preparation, and only ten percent is actually asking. The truth is, no organization could ever hire enough development staff to adequately develop all the potential donors in the donor universe, and yield maximum fund raising results. Organizations need an army of people involved in that ninety percent work to ensure that asks will produce positive results. That is where the culture of philanthropy plays such a crucial role…it is where the army is built.

4. Give joyously!

Staff, volunteers and others closest to the organization must give first. And it should be a stretch gift. The idea here is to demonstrate that your organization merits philanthropic support. Challenge staff, volunteers and others to make your organization one of their top three philanthropic investments.

5. Share your stories.

Encourage supporters to speak from the heart and know the facts about why supporting your organization is an investment worth thoughtful consideration.

6. Connect others.

The Donor Development Cycle takes a donor from discovery to having a philanthropic profile. This is done primarily through conversations with the prospective donor about values, interests, and motivations. It’s done in exchanges that focus on the prospective donor and not on the organization and its objectives. Fund development requires everyone’s involvement. Relationship building takes a long time.

7. Show gratitude.

With frequent, authentic, personal acknowledgment!

8. Increase engagement to increase investment.

Our constituents are those closest to us…they are familiar with our mission…they may have heard our story. So, constituents make up the best of our universe of potential donors. But how do we move them from simply knowing us to supporting us?

The answer is this: the more we engage them, the more likely they are to make a gift.

9. Prepare your ambassadors.

Help staff, volunteers and donor advocates feel prepared for conversations by arming them with the case for support or “elevator speech” about your organization. If you have an annual report, it’s another excellent reference tool for discussions with prospective supporters.

10. Apply the rules of fund raising.

A review of the basic rules of fund raising is always helpful in guiding our work as fund raiders. Here are my favorite three go-to rules:

  • If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
  • People give to people.
  • It’s easier to renew support than acquire new support.

As we’ve established, a strong culture of philanthropy will support an organization’s fund raising efforts becauseeveryone is involved in fund development.

In non-profit organizations, a philanthropic culture has an attitude that champions relationship building, which is the very essence and foundation of successful fund raising. In this culture, you’ll see an inclusive approach to fund raising that emanates from the heart of the organization and is embraced by every person in the organization. There is a clear understanding and respect for the way in which philanthropy helps an organization advance its mission.

Creating a culture of philanthropy begins with those closest to your organization, and it is truly the first step toward building a strong fund development program.

Common CCTV DVR DIY Mistakes

This article will attempt to reveal some of the more common mistakes to avoid when creating your own CCTV DVR.

  1. Budget:

    Many DIY’ers simply do not budget enough money for projects like this. When looking at cameras, look at the specs. A $200 security camera and a $50 security camera are going to be very different in terms of image quality and light response. Also look at CCTV DVR features. Places like Costco offer surveillance systems for under $500 but those surveillance systems don’t have anywhere near the features of professional grade systems like Video Insight. Those systems can even be missing basic features like video motion detection. You may want to look for surveillance packages that combine everything you need to put a system together, including the CCTV DVR, security cameras, security camera lens’s, mounts, power supplies, and cable. Packages like that can start at about $2000 and go up to $10,000 depending on the number of security cameras needed.

  2. Surveillance Camera Placement:

    Surveillance camera placement is one of the most important factors in an effective surveillance camera system. Ask yourself the questions professionals do: How is the light coming in? How will this change at night? What am I trying to see? How do people move through the area? What kind of blind spots will there be? What kind of surveillance camera lens do I need to use? Do I need to use multiple surveillance cameras to cover this area? Would a side view be better for this then a straight on view?

  3. Selecting the right security cameras:

    When looking at security cameras, understand what you are trying to do. Are you looking for license plate recognition? If so, then you need to select a camera lens that will allow the plate to be at least 1/3 of the image. This means that a surveillance camera with a wider field of view can not do license plate recognition. The same goes for facial recognition. If you are trying to cover a parking lot with a narrow entrance, you will have to use two surveillance cameras. Very wide entrances can make this very, very hard.

  4. Selecting the right camera lens:

    Selecting the right camera lens is pretty easy. Note where you are going to place the camera and select the point where you want the best picture. Measure the distance from there to the camera. That is your focal distance. Then measure the width of the picture you want to see. Once you have these numbers you can feed them into a CCTV lens calculator. Looking at the F-stop will give an idea of how well that lens will work at night.

  5. Infrared or No?:

    Infrared cameras are wonderful for covering areas of complete darkness. But many of the all-in-one camera/emitter units are fairly limited in range. This chart can help with deciding if you need to go the infrared route or not.

    • Direct sunlight: 100,000 – 130,000 lux
    • Full daylight, indirect sunlight: 10,000 – 20,000 lux
    • Overcast day: 1,000 lux
    • Indoor office: 200 – 400 lux
    • Very dark day: 100 lux
    • Twilight: 10 lux
    • Deep twilight: 1 lux
    • Full moon: 0.1 lux
    • Quarter moon: 0.01 lux
    • Moonless clear night sky: 0.001 lux
    • Moonless overcast night sky: 0.0001 lux
  6. Focusing the video camera:

    This is a simple and easy trick to help with focusing the video cameras. Use a BNC to RCA plug and a small television set to focus the video camera. The ideal time to focus the video cameras is in twilight because it will give the best compromise between the light and dark settings of the auto-iris lens.

  7. Cable types:

    There are a few types of cable called RG-59. Copper vs. Aluminum sheet and 75% braid vs. 95% braid. For CCTV system work, you should always use copper shielding. Aluminum shielding is meant for modulated signals like cable and allows too much interference for CCTV systems. 75% braid and 95% braid measure how tightly and how much copper is used in the copper sheathing. 95% copper braided cable is more expensive but worth the extra expense. It is much more effective at preventing interference, and much more forgiving of mistakes. We only sell 95% braid copper shielded RG-59

  8. Cable runs and Ground loops:

    Coax cable should be kept at least 12″ away from any power lines and power conduits. The AC power creates a field of interference that will appear like snow on the screen. This can create havoc with motion detection. Ground loops can be caused by securing cameras to metal structures that have a different electrical ground then the power supply. This will cause bands to move through the screen. Solving this is a matter of eliminating contact between the cameras and the source of the ground.

  9. Sony Cameras:

    Sony has a line of CCTV surveillance cameras, but all of them are clearly marked Sony. You will see a lot of sites offer “Sony” cameras when they don’t say Sony on them. The reason for this is that Sony makes about 75% of the worlds CCD chips, which are used in everything from Camcorders to digital cameras to CCTV security cameras. The CCD is an important part of the security camera and has an impact on the resolution, but the electronics behind the CCD also have a big role in how good your image is.

  10. What determines how good my image is?:

    How good your image is depends on quite a few things. It depends on how good your lens is, how well it is focused, what the resolution is, and how good the S/N (Signal to noise) ratio is. When looking at a camera, you generally want both the highest resolution and the highest S/N ratio you can find. The Signal to noise ratio is a Logarithmic scale so the difference between 46 dB and 48 dB is a rather large difference. If forced to select between a camera with a slightly lower resolution and a high S/N ratio or a camera with a higher resolution and lower S/N ratio, try to select the one with the better S/N ratio if you are doing longer (500 ft+) cable runs. For shorter runs going with the higher resolution is okay.

  11. How many FPS do I need?:

    Many manufacturers and distributors will try to push their highest frame rate DVR’s and Cards on you because those items have the best profit margins. But high frame rates may not be in your best interests from both a storage and budgetary perspective. For most applications 3 to 7 fps is fine. If your goal is to identify theft or vandals then 3 fps is almost always enough. The only time one should consider more then 15 fps is if you have to watch for sleight-of-hand like watching a register. The reason to avoid higher frame rates is that they take up more drive space, reducing the total storage time of the system. It can also divert budget away from selecting the right cameras which is far more important and more likely to generate usable evidence then a higher frame rate.

  12. Audio Recording:

    Don’t do it! In many states it is illegal, period. It does not matter if it is your home or other private property. The law only cares about if the people being recorded are aware that they are being recorded. A number of people tend to think “Well, I’ll put it in anyway, it’s not like someone is going to report me.” The problem with that line of logic is that if you ever submit video as evidence to a court and you are in violation of your state’s laws or federal laws, then you have just given proof to the courts that you also committed a crime. The best possible outcome is that the court throws out the recording and you don’t go to jail. But if you can’t use your recordings to help convict a person that has wronged you then what good was the money you spent?

  13. CSI:

    As a general rule of thumb, anything you’ve seen done on television or in the Movies with video enhancement is simply not possible in the real world. You can’t make data appear where there is none. There is no magic trick to make that work.

Recipes Using Booze: Savoury Dishes With Alcohol As an Ingredient

Most people are familiar with boozey desserts, such as brandy soaked Christmas pudding, vodka jelly or Irish Cream cheesecake-but I like to see the look on dinner party guests’ faces when I inform them that their savoury starter or main has an unusual alcoholic ingredient. Quirky recipes are interesting to cook and amusing to serve, and cooking using booze opens up a whole host of possibilities.

In cooking using booze, much of the alcohol burns off, leaving you with the flavour but not the intoxicating effects-though the degree to which this is so is debatable, so use your own judgement if cooking for minors or those who are alcohol-averse.

There are lots of options out there (and in fact even an online cookbook Cooking with Booze) but these are four of my personal favourites:

Pernod, the liquorice/ anise liqueur, has a bit of the ‘Marmite’ about it-people tend to like it or hate it. I personally don’t care to drink it straight, but have found that it adds a very unusual and delicious flavour in some cooking. Oysters Rockefeller is a famed Cajun starter most commonly associated with New Orleans. However I prefer to make it with crab. Buy the best crab you can as a less robustly-flavoured meat will be overpowered by the other ingredients. The recipe can also be made substituting shrimp. The recipe for “Crab Rockefeller” at the Crab Shack is a good starting point.

Vodka isn’t just for tonic! Although its flavour is subtle when used in savoury cooking, it can add a nice depth to certain dishes, my favourite being pasta sauces. Nigella Lawson suggests penne alla vodka, which is a lovely vegetarian main (and I have found that the sauce in this recipe also nicely compliments meatballs). Personally I prefer to go easy on the tomatoes for a desliciously creamy dish.

Chicken cooked in wine, such as coq au vin, is a sophisticated main, but personally I prefer the more rustic and homey combination of chicken and apple cider. In particular I love Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall’s recipe for chicken and cider stew with rosemary and dumplings. The slow cooking process makes for a wonderfully tender meat in a slightly sweet cider sauce, complimented by the slightly salty and peppery dumplings.

Cooking with Guinness is great, though I usually purchase double the amount required as much of it ends up gone from the kitchen and into peoples’ glasses if I turn my head for too long! Nothing beats a lovely Guinness and steak pie, and the best recipe I’ve found is straight from the source, on the Guinness website. On the website they also suggest using leftovers in a pancake with smoked cheddar cheese, which is quick and tasty.

Combining food and alcohol in a single dish is sheer brilliance; there is little room for error in putting two of life’s greatest things together… Plus it’s a treat to see the look on your guests’ faces when you tell them they’ll be eating vodka for dinner…

Some Basic Information About Steel

Steel is a mixture of carbon and iron. Carbon hardens the iron to make it into this element. It has been used for many different things since the 1600s, while there is some proof that components like it were being used as early as 300 B.C. It is stronger and harder than iron but it is less formable. Iron is smelted to a point that there is not as much carbon, and therefore it becomes harder than it was.

Today, large structures are reinforced and built with frames constructed with this strong component. It is the basis for the creation of razors, springs, wiring, many tools and heavy equipment. Railroad tracks have been laid with reinforced durable steel since they have been needed.

Structured steel is long stretches of length formed into certain shapes, with bends and turns in many directions. These are used to form the frames of very tall buildings and are usually also reinforced with other elements, like concrete, to make them even stronger. Sometimes the use of concrete will be greater and sometimes the use of steel will be greater. It generally fluctuates according to the market prices at the time.

When it is used for the framework in buildings and other structures, it is important to test it to fire resistant standards. These codes ensure the safety of the people who use these buildings.

Airports and bridges are supported by these strong frames. The weight of the large structures that rest or move over them require extra strength and durability. This importance of this element should not be underestimated, as it is reported as one of the strongest forms of support that can be used. Since the development of swords and knives, it has been one of the most popularly used elements to create a sharp blade that, once shaped, is very difficult to bend or break.

This component is vital to the car industry in every nation on the planet. It is the foundation of every framework in all the cars that are made today. The automotive industry is always searching for higher strength steels and better ways to use and bend this product to make it to the specifications required. The car making industry strives to make sure the steels that are used to produce their vehicles is durable and strong while maintaining a lighter and more environmentally friendly structuring.

Unfortunately, the global economic crisis has put some amount of pressure on the steel industry. It is reported that the growth of the manufacturing and distributing companies have returned lower than expected profits in the last few years. Unless a change occurs in the global economy, it may be looking at some difficulties in the future.

Steel was very expensive back when it was first discovered. It replaced wrought iron fairly quickly, despite this fact. With the advent of plastic and the reduction of costs associated with developing and smelting this component, its cost has come down to a point that makes it one of the cheapest commodities available worldwide in today’s modern equipment and technology industries.

Switchwords Can Help You Get Fit

It’s a well established fact that getting and staying fit is best for you. While we live in this body we may as well live in it feeling good and looking good. Not many people will argue with that. There is, however, one problem. Getting fit is not the most exciting thing in the world and so it takes motivation to get fit and even more motivation to stay fit.

Weight issues are not only about food intake,but more about mindset. You could eat hot dogs all day and as long as you stay under your resting caloric metabolic rate, you will lose weight. Since the issues is one of mindset, the only way to get fit is to reprogram the Subconscious mind.

The Subconscious mind is a recorder and collector of all your life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly. This collection of information is the root of all our habits, every single one of them. This includes our eating habits. As the poor eating habits become entrenched, they get harder to break. It’s for this reason it is often hard to make healthy choices when it comes to our fitness. Although it seems like a bad thing, the subconscious mind is doing this out of convenience. Since we introduced these negative thoughts and constantly reinforced them, the subconscious mind is doing us a favor by making them routine. This routine of course leads to an expanding waistline. These routines can lead to far far worse things such as debilitating addictions. The only way to “reset” the subconscious mind so it doesn’t continue to reinforce these habits is to reprogram it or at least short circuit the habit loop. One way to do this is with Switchwords.

Switchwords are single words and are often found in various and unlimited combinations. They are one-word affirmations. Unlike the traditional affirmations that contain statements that your subconscious does not believe is true, Switchwords, bypass the interpretive aspect of your mind and engages the subconscious mind directly, thus making the desired result a bit more automatic and without resistance.

Switchwords penetrate the subconscious mind in ways that allow them to work synergistically and more effectively than just affirmations alone. They work together to make sure the subconscious mind’s tendency to entrench bad habits is not activated. This means that you can make changes in your fitness level without the subconscious trying to get you back to your baseline. They are, for lack of a better term, powerful.

Here are just a few Switchwords you can say right now to help get you motivated. You can say them in your mind or out loud. Whatever you way you think is best. I will provide a list and what each switchword means.

ADD: This is to increase what you have, no matter what it is.

BE: This is a powerful one, this will help you to achieve good health.

BRING: This is a manifestation Switchword, it helps you unite with your goal, helps you finish what you started.

BUBBLE: This Switchword is really good at helping you expand your perceived limits, will help you push through your workout when you are fatigued.

CANCEL: Use this Switchword to eliminate negative thoughts and conditions. When you feel you are about to give up, this word is great to cancel those thoughts

CHARM: This will help you manifest your heart’s desire.

CRYSTAL: This is a powerful Switchword that will help you clarify any situation or things. It helps you look to the future; both mentally and through clairvoyance. I use this one to clarify intentions when I feel blocked. It keeps me focused on my fitness goals.

DIVINE: This creates miracles of all types. Use it with any of the other Switchwords and you will notice the difference.

HALFWAY: When you are not in the mood to finish your workout, this one is great. It helps time fly.

MOVE: This one is amazingly effective if keeping your energy up during workouts. I use it with UP.

ON: This is a very powerful Switchword to help you get new ideas on how to get fit.

OFF: This one is used quit an unwanted habit AND it helps you go to sleep. This Switchword does help me sleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can rely on “OFF” to help me get back to sleep quickly. I love it.

STRETCH: This will help you prolong a good feeling, event or a sense of well-being you are experiencing. It will also help you grow intellectually, spiritually and physically. By grow I mean become better

TINY: For fitness purposes this is great to reduce size, in other words it will help you lose weight.

TOGETHER: This is considered to be THE Master Switchword to help you master any activity. Get things all together. It is also used to become single-minded when you need to be. It’s the most powerful Switchword in the list.

UP: This one dispels negative moods and gives you extra energy. I use this with MOVE.

5 of the Ten Things to Avoid While Attempting Astral Projection

When someone who has learned something in particular and is trying to help others experience that particular something, it helps to point out all the obstacles, pitfalls, mistakes, and pretty much anything that might hinder the progress of success. Astral Projection is that particular something which we will be discussing as well as those things that deprive others from experiencing the Astral Plane.

Little known things like Pepper, which can keep you grounded in the body, can actually prevent someone from Astral Projection. Even for those who are experienced in astral projections & can do so at will, may still not be aware of some of these practical yet unnecessary boundaries.

These limitations are just everyday things which in and of themselves are not bad at all. Knowledge being the key, “In the know” they can be utilized for your benefit. Many are commonly known to prevent access to the inner planes while others may be more obscure. That is one more reason to collect them all here so as to serve the purpose of a resource of references so to speak.

After all, astral projection is difficult enough. Knowing those things to avoid will save us all our hard work.

So here are the ten things to avoid while attempting astral projection.

Number one and probably the most important is FEAR, As is stated in the Bible “Fear is failure and the forerunner of failure, therefore courage is a virtue.” & “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” If you have any fear even those which you may not be aware, it will stop you from leaving your body. Fear is the root of most of the evils man finds trouble with.

Then Number two which is very important to find out about and equally challenging, Magnetism. There are electromagnetic currents and energy fields all over the place. In fact if you are in or near a large city the chances are high in finding a place without an electromagnetic energy field. Telephone wires, and power-lines, expel a large amount of Current.

This is also another reason why serious students are taken to staying as far away from man’s thoughts as is possible. Far out into the wilderness or desert, mountains what have you. Places like these are usually the cleanest environment most suited for the tasks.

These are heavy in nature and can have the effect of keeping you there where they are and leaving no trace as to why. Although if one is creative and skilled, these ‘currents‘ of energy can be harnessed and/or used with great advantage. The important thing is to learn about them and finding their direction and measure of power.

Number Three is foods and drink. There are certain foods that are not desirable to astral projection and others that are. It is up to the individual to learn their own Astral Allergies so to speak. Everyone is unique in this, however there are some standards that work pretty well the same for most everyone.

Things like pepper, spices, hot sauces, hot foods and peppers tend to ground the spirit to the body. Alcohol is known to be, (quoting some old obscure guru) “the mestruum for the astral plane” and should not be drank for at least a month before hand.

Number four is not being properly prepared. In short, avoid being sloppy. Bad work can have horrifying consequences. This is to be taken as literal as it can be figurative. In both directions and in every way. You must be in good health have had proper sleep, rest, exercise, well fed with healthy foods.

Clean & organized mentally, with all stress related issues abated as much as is possible. It should be understood that the direction in which you sleep is important too. It would not hurt to have kept a good dream diary or journal as a means to keep your dreams in order.

Number five might sound strange but its true that unreliable expectations can prevent a real Astral projection. Listening too much to what other people tell you about what you will experience can and often will deny you of any real experience whatsoever.

Staying away from any and all Image and Facades of society. An evil that the world indulges in too much of the time is Vanity. It will do you well not to flatter your mind in too much of a way as to dilute the observance of truth for the sake of your pride.

So there you have it. It was a bit longer than intended but these are five of the ten things to avoid when Attempting Astral Projection.

No More Dry Turkey Recipes – Cook a Juicy and Tender Turkey That Everyone Will Never Forget

Turkey is the Main dish when it comes to thanksgiving. So you want it to be the best looking and the most tender, juiciest eye appealing dish on the table. People will never forget that juicy turkey. I take pleasure in preparing my turkey. I love turkey it’s one of the healthiest meats to eat. To keep my turkey nice and moist I use my butter seasoning juice. Ok, here we go.

You will need: A Turkey

Butter

Roasting Pan

Aluminum Foil

Season salt

Garlic powder

Onion Powder

Pepper

First let your turkey defrosts all night. You can let it defrost in the fridge. Once it is defrosted, take it out of the wrapper and rinse thoroughly. Turn oven on 300 to 350 degrees. Unloop the legs from the skin and remove the heart, liver and etc pack from inside of the turkey. You will need a roasting pan for the turkey. Place the turkey in the pan and poke holes into the turkey. Poke holes all over the turkey, the legs, wings, breast and butt. If you’re using an aluminum roasting pan, be careful not to poke a hole in i. It takes a turkey three and a half to four hours to cook. Depending on how much the turkey weighs.

The Butter Seasoning Juice

You need a stick and a half of butter. Melt butter in medium bowl in microwave or on the top of the stove in a small pot. If you are melting the butter on the stove make sure you turn the eye on the stove down to low heat. If you are melting the butter in the microwave. Use a microwaveable bowl with a top to melt it. It will not take the butter long to melt in the microwave, so put the microwave on 30 seconds.

Pour three tbsp of seasoning salt, tbsp of garlic powder, onion powder and a tsp of pepper into the butter and stir. Pour the seasoning all over the turkey while rubbing it. Rub it to make sure the butter juice gets all over the turkey and through the holes. This will keep the turkey moist and make it tender. Place the top of the roasting pan over the turkey and put it in the oven. If you have an aluminum pan that does not have a top use aluminum foil to cover the turkey. Cover it tight; fold the foil under the rim of the pan so that it does not come loose.

Every half an hour to forty minutes baste the turkey with the butter juice that it is cooking in. This keeps it from drying out. Keep basting until turkey is done, the turkey usually comes with a pop out timer that’ll pop out to let you know when it’s done. That’s it you are finished and you can congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anna Maria Island Florida – Seven Best Places To See Sunset

Anna Maria Island has been a favorite Florida beach vacation spot more than a hundred years. Although the fun in the sun is usually all about the beach daze, watching the sun settle in for the night can be a magical experience.

Here are some of the best places to watch sunset on AMI:

1. Bean Point: Bean Point is located on the northern-most point of the island and named in honor of the earliest setter of Anna Maria Island George Bean. Bean Point has breathtaking views in every direction. To the east is Tampa Bay and the west is the Gulf of Mexico and above is a big beautiful sky filled with clouds that illuminate in blues and pinks in reds as the sun settles into the sea.

2. Coquina Beach: On the southern tip of AMI is Coquina Beach Park. With ample parking and massive beaches, Coquina is a great place to see sunset as the water’s expressive blues and greens are especially visible from the beach.

3. Sunset Sail: Experience sunset like never before from a sailboat. At sea, the setting sun’s reflection is shown across all of the sky and the surrounding waters. Spice Charter Sailing and Anna Maria Sailing and Boat Rentals are two well experienced charters.

4. Cortez Beach: There are no longer any piers on the Gulf side of Anna Maria Island. However, there are three erosion groins lining Cortez Beach on the southern portion of the island. While these groins are not for walking or sitting on, they do attract a many pelicans and seagulls, which are especially majestic in flight in front of the setting sun.

5. Sandbar/BeachHouse: If you prefer to enjoy the close of the day with a drink in your hand, there are a couple of great options. Sister restaurants Sandbar and BeachHouse both have great sunset drink specials and optimum sitting areas for watching the final moments of daylight.

6. Manatee County Beach: For the most traditional beach experience, Manatee County Beach is it. Parking is located at the intersection of Gulf Dr. and US Hwy 64. Manatee County Beach is the most heavily trafficked location on the beach, and the best place to watch sunset and people watch at the same time.

7. Near Love Ones: There’s really no bad place to see sunset on Anna Maria Island once you’ve made it to the beach. Enjoying a sunset to the fullest is often more about who you’re with than where your’re at. So be sure to bring your share your AMI sunset with your loved one.

Click here for more information on Anna Maria Island deals, hotels, restaurants and activities.

Ten Commandments of Intercultural Communication

More and more companies around the world are hopping national borders to conduct business. Regardless of the organization you join, you are likely to be dealing with people who come from various national, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Communicating across language and cultural barriers at home will also challenge your skills. Without leaving your own country, you’re likely to come into contact with people from a variety of backgrounds who work in your company, industry, and community.

Communicating with people from other cultures can be challenging. At the same time, your ability to foster successful communication between people of differing cultures will bolster your success in business and career. To overcome cultural barriers to effective communication, you must first learn what culture actually means. Culture is a shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms for behavior.
Subcultures, in turn, are distinct groups that exist within a major culture.

Cultures differ in several ways that affect communication:

• Stability: conditions in the culture may be stable or may be changing either slowly or rapidly;

• Complexity: cultures vary in the accessibility of information.

• Composition: some cultures are made up of many diverse subcultures and generally, the fewer the subcultures in a person’s background, the easier it is to communicate, because you have fewer potential differences to consider;

• Acceptance: cultures carry in their attitudes toward outsiders, some are openly hostile, some maintain a detached aloofness, and others are friendly, and cooperative toward strangers.

By bridging these differences, you can successfully achieve intercultural communication. However, the four elements of culture are very general in nature. They don’t say much about how to communicate with persons from other cultures. Here are the so called ten commandments of intercultural communication.

I. Be aware of differing social values;

II. Be aware of differing status symbols and how to demonstrate them;

III. Be aware of decision making customs: not all people like to make decisions quickly and efficiently;

IV. Be aware of concepts of time: not all people like to see time as money;

V. Be aware of personal space: people from different cultures have different ‘comfort zones’;

VI. Be aware of cultural context: people from certain cultures (called ‘high-context cultures) rely less on verbal communication and more on the context of nonverbal actions and environmental settings to convey meaning. People from low-context cultures like the USA rely more on verbal communication and less on circumstances and implied meaning to convey meaning;

VII. Be aware of body language: learn the basic differences in the way people supplement their words with body movement;

VIII. Be aware of different etiquette rules or manners: what is polite in one culture may be considered rude in another;

IX. Be aware of legal and ethical behavior;

X. Be aware of language barriers: English is the most prevalent language in international business, but it’s a mistake to assume that everyone understands it.

Learning as much as possible about another culture will enhance your ability to communicate with its members. Read books and articles about the culture and talk to people who have done business with that culture’s members. Concentrate on learning something about the culture’s history, religion, politics, values, and customs. Find out about a country’s subcultures, especially its business subculture, and any special rules of protocol.

Here are some tips when communication interculturally

• Take responsibility for communication

• Withhold judgments

• Show respect

• Empathize

• Tolerate ambiguity

• Look beyond the superficial

• Be patient and persistent

• Recognize your own cultural biases

• Be flexible

• Emphasize common ground

• Send clear messages

• Increase your cultural sensitivity

• Deal with the individual

• Learn when to be direct

Nitric Oxide: Will It Help You Lose Weight & Burn Fat

Nitric Oxide, also know as “N.O.”, is one of the latest supplements to hit the market, promising lean muscle tone and a sculpted body, enhancing the weight loss and fat burning appearance.

Can this supplement in fact help you to tone up, lose weight, and burn body fat?

If you believe what all the magazines are saying , then I have some land in the Everglades I’d like to sell you.

The bottom line behind nitric oxide supplements (when you shuffle through all the “mumbo-jumbo” sales pitch and hype that are in the ads that promote these products) is that it is a “vasodilator”, which simply means that it supposedly dilates, or opens up, your blood vessels.

This “opening” up wider of the blood vessels supposedly will allow more blood to flow to the working muscles, which will supposedly “enhance” the pump, which will supposedly engorge them and make them larger, helping you build lean muscle tissue, which helps speed up your metabolic rate, which in turn will speed up any weight loss or fat burning that goes on.

Well, there are 2 major points that have to be considered here when evaluating how well they truly are in helping you:

1) Does nitric oxide really open up the blood vessels?

2) Is getting a “massive pump” important if you are trying to build lean, toned muscle to raise the metabolic rate and burn fat and lose weight?

If and how much nitric oxide dilates your blood vessels is still a topic in discussion.

There have been no un-biased, independent, peer-reviewed studies done on this to make it conclusive.

So, we really can’t say “yes” or “no”.

However, let’s play “make believe” and pretend that “yes”, nitric oxide supplements do allow more blood to flow into a working muscle.

If that’s the case, then let’s consider the next point.

Do you need to get a big blood pump into the muscle to develop or tone it?

Will it help the weight loss / fat burning process?

Just about everyone thinks that “yes”, you must get a pump in a muscle to build it.

However, when you are training a muscle in reality you aren’t pushing or sending more blood to the muscle.

What’s actually happening is that when the fibers contract the area inside of the muscle gets smaller, which results in the blood that’s already in there to become trapped and the pressure increased.

So, in reality, there isn’t more blood going into the muscle, there’s actually less since the blood that’s in there is trapped, cannot leave, nor allow fresh blood to enter.

That’s also why as you continue to do reps you begin to feel the “burning” sensation in the working muscle.

That’s a major sign that there is no oxygen anymore inside the blood that’s in the muscle.

When there is no oxygen in the blood it creates a chemical called lactic acid.

Lactic acid is what causes this “burning” feeling.

There is no oxygen in the blood because fresh blood can’t get in there with new oxygen and nutrients!

Plus, you can do 1000 reps of an exercise using a 20 pound dumbbell and get a major pump.

But I guarantee you that you won’t build as toned of a muscle as if you were to use heavier weight, even though it may not make it easier to get as big a “pump”.

So all of this “hoopla” about nitric oxide supplements allowing you to get a better pump to build more lean muscle mass, enhancing the metabolism, weight loss, and fat burning systems is nothing but hype!!!!

It won’t help you lose one ounce of fat / weight.

You watch and see, shortly all of these “N.O.” supplements are going to fade into the shadows and some new powder or pill is going to be the new “talk of the town”, I guarantee it!

Copyright (c) 2006 Jonathan Perez

Why Kaizen Fails (And The Secrets To Its Success)

Its true – the majority of attempts to apply kaizen, the Japanese management concept of continuous improvement, fail, and fail miserably.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that kaizen itself fails. In fact I’m a big fan and promoter of kaizen having written a book on the subject and numerous articles. I even called my consulting firm Complete Kaizen in order to further promote and train managers in how to use this fascinating tool for business success.

What I am saying however is that the way kaizen, or lean as it is more commonly and sometimes incorrectly referred to, is applied is often the cause for failure. This article will hopefully show you what true kaizen is and how to avoid failure in future applications.

For a start kaizen has been described as a “state of mind.” No, not by me but by kaizen guru Masaaki Imai, the man responsible for bringing kaizen to western attention in the late 1980’s following the publication of his book by the same name.

Unfortunately many of us see it only from an operational point of view. A point of view that is very superficial. Kaizen is first and for most about cultural change and unless that happens any attempt to apply the many tools and techniques that have accumulated under its umbrella will fail.

Kaizen requires us to firstly stop thinking in short-term, goal orientated ways. To be fully effective in delivering sustainable benefits we need to switch our attention to the long-term goals of the company. Thats were the cultural change comes in and what needs to happen right at the start of our kaizen campaigns but sadly doesn’t in many cases. An example of this is when you talk to companies who failed in their attempts only to hear them proclaim that “We tried that a few years ago but it doesn’t work in our environment.” That’s just plain crap!

Get Organized

Step one to ensure a cultural shift that focuses on long-term growth and stability is to organise our immediate work areas to promote efficiency and productivity in all we do. The best way to do this is to apply the 5S tool.

The name 5S comes from five words each beginning with the letter ‘S.’ Originally these were Japanese words (no surprises there) but can be translated into English as:

  • Sort
  • Straighten
  • Shine
  • Standardise
  • Sustain

Each ‘S’ is a step that helps you create an efficient working environment. All items in the immediate vicinity are the essential items, those needed on a daily basis. Less used items of equipment are stored away, out of sight.

Another aspect of 5S deals with visual management. Walkways are clearly marked out on the floor. Work areas are clearly divided and storage areas are kept orderly and visually marked according to contents.

5S has shown to improve the physical surroundings and improve the overall efficiency of a department as well as the safety aspects, staff morale, quality and productivity and creates a much more professional look and feel about the place.

Create A “Can Do” Mindset

Secondly we must develop within our workforce a “can do” mentality. We must motivate them and make them feel apart of the solution and long-term success of the business. Involving them in activities like the 5S campaign mentioned above is a great start in generating dynamic teams as is the application of suggestion systems.

I know when I say suggestion systems many of you will be groaning. You’ve tried it before right? But in what context was it applied? Was it tried because it was the latest fashionable thing to do? Or was part of an overall strategy as I am suggesting here?

Staff suggestion systems have proven themselves over many decades that when applied as part of a whole method they help increase staff commitment and lift morale. Try them in conjunction with 5S and see the difference.

Get It In Writing

Lastly, seek out the best way to do any job and make it the standard. Write it down so that it can be referred to and everyone can understand what is required of them in a particular job. In other words we standardize best practice.

Many people when they think of best practice think of benchmarking. Find the leader in your field and apply what they are doing to your operations. By doing so you will emulate their success. Right? Most definitely wrong.

Benchmarking is an old world technique that is out of date and sadly still popular. When benchmarking was developed the business world moved at a much slower pace. Today we cannot afford the time to research our competitors ways and develop our own implementation plans. All benchmarking will do is to make your company as good in a year or twos time as your competitors are today.

A better way is to use your staff as described above. They have all the expertise to better their jobs and create cutting edge improvements. Improvements even your competitors may not have thought of.

So finally if you want to implement kaizen, and I strongly urge you to, remember these three basic building blocks and you will find your attempts to apply this Japanese method will succeed both now and in the future.

Cruising the Great South Bay on the Lauren Kristy

Long Island’s summertime heart is pumped by its beaches, bays, and boats, and during a cruise on its Great South Bay, I was able to take its pulse.

Area activity, as evidenced by the parking lot overflow at the Bay Shore Marina on a hot, crystal blue Saturday in late-June, had taken root on both land and sea. A family dragged a cooler from their car to the sand. The occasional wave of a colorful beach towel hinted at the red, white, and blue threads stitching the country together and the soon-to-be-celebrated Fourth of July. Sweet scents of suntan lotion rode the airwaves like olfactory surfers.

The silver silhouette of the Robert Moses Causeway, spanning the Great South Bay with its characteristic camel’s hump bridge, retained its tether from Long Island proper to Jones Beach. Ivory white wakes, like powerful fountains, sprang from the myriad of motor and fishing boats plying summer’s “expressway.”

By 16:30, the brisk breeze crossing the parking lot from the dark blue and navy gray water to the boat bobbing marina tamed the otherwise sultry, 91-degree temperature with its wind-filled whip.

Bay Shore itself was both created and defined by the waters that provided its very name. Harvesting fish, oysters, and salt hay, its early colonists earned their living by capitalizing on its very treasures, and by 1776, its artisans had equally earned a reputation-in this case, for their small boat-building skills. The fruits of their labor had played their own part in the Revolutionary War against the British.

But it took connections to put the town on the map, and those connections-to other areas-had both aquatic and land chains. In the former case, scheduled service to Fire Island, now a narrow ribbon of mostly summer communities, commenced in 1862, and a Long Island Railroad link with Manhattan cultivated a continual crop of city-escaping tourists whose sprout to this seaside resort some two decades later took form as business: people lined its gas-lit streets, stayed in its hotels and summer estates, and took to the water in its sailing boats. The community quickly earned the reputation as the “garden spot of Long Island.”

After World War II, permanent residents replaced temporary tourists, as they disconnected from mounting Manhattan and formed seaside suburbia.

Located on the widest point of the Great South Bay, Bay Shore today preserves both its architectural and maritime heritage.

Centerpiecing its marina, and appearing out-of-place, is a torpedo dedicated to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the US Submarine Service during the Second World War.

Also appearing out-of-place (and era) amidst the otherwise ubiquitous fiberglass expressions of sleek, motor-propelled speed of the slip-tucked boats, was the 65-foot, dual-decked, turn-of-the-century wooden riverboat sporting a wind-nudged paddlewheel on its stern and designated the “Lauren Kristy.” It was on this vessel that I would feel the rhythm of Long Island’s summer beat and, by the collecting crowd, I would not be alone in my quest.

A check next to my name on the clipboard-attached reservation list, South Bay Paddle Wheel Cruises’ mobile office, preceded my step aboard and step up the wooden steps to my assigned, “starboard two” table for the three-hour cruise-the table itself only one removed from the upper deck’s highly polished Paddlewheel Bar and a magnet for the boat’s passengers, whose party mood settled on to the boat as quickly as I had settled into my seat.

As DJ-provided music-albeit initially with a soft beat-pumped its way across the deck, the entangle of octopus tentacles stretched from the dozens surrounding the bar reached for the raw vegetables, dips, cheeses, pepperoni, and crackers long before the engine was pumped with fuel. Wafts of alcohol rode the refreshing breeze all the way to the door-accessed, although narrow, outside deck at the stern.

Released from its mooring restraints and imperceptibly inching away from the dock at 18:00, the “Lauren Kristy,” displaying its third-deck wheel house, dual stacks, and surrounding lattice window frames, seamlessly merged into the marina’s departure channel like an aircraft converging on a single runway at JFK during its evening departure peak.

Trailing a Fire Island ferry into the gray, corrugated Great South Bay, it rode its wake, laterally rocking, as the open water’s cool breeze wrestled for dominance with the music’s audible waves.

Maintaining a southwesterly heading beneath the early-evening’s dirty-white and metallic-gray quilt, which was penetrated by an orange ooze on its western horizon, the “Lauren Kristy” bit into the Great South Bay with its bow, inching toward the Robert Moses Causeway.

Sandwiched between Long Island’s south shore and Fire Island National Seashore, the Great South Bay itself, with a 26-mile length, three-mile width, and 151-square-mile area, is both the area’s largest south shore bay and New York State’s largest shallow saltwater bay. Injected with 5,231 gallons of water per second, it has an average 4.3-, but maximum 20-, foot depth, and provides a habitat for up to 85 species of fish.

Once a significant domain for Long Island baymen, it serves as a major marine transportation artery for fishing, pleasure, excursion, and ferry boats.

Slipping under the green-metallic Robert Moses Causeway Bridge at 18:45, the riverboat once again emerged into open waters, joining the scatter of craft whose sails, billowing to the point of bursting in the fierce wind, appeared like overblown tubes.

Spanning 8.10 miles between West Islip and Captree Island, the causeway itself proceeds, via the State Boat Channel Bridge, to Jones Beach Island and the western tip of Fire Island. The original, north- and southbound span, completed in 1951, was doubled when a second artery was constructed next to it.

The paddles on the “Lauren Kristy’s” stern-attached wheel, mostly pushed by the wind’s hand, managed to skim the water’s surface, each re-emerging from its temporary, although paltry, propulsion providing dip.

Integral to both sea and airborne craft, the wind provided lift to the periodic private airplanes following their departure paths in the sky from Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

Dinner, announcing itself in the form of main deck-escaping aromas and tickling the passengers’ ping-ponging stomach pangs, entailed a mixed green salad with creamy Italian and Russian dressings; dinner rolls; carved prime rib of beef, chicken francaise, seafood Newburg, rice pilaf, and broccoli; chocolate fudge cake and apple tartlets; and coffee.

Having amended its mostly-westerly to a current southeasterly heading, the paddlewheeler entered the Captree Island boat channel, threading its way through light green patches of eelgrass, dock-provisioned homes, and Captree State Park, with its kindred-spirit “Delta Lady” paddlewheel vessel and fleet of fishing boats.

Established in 1954, the 298-acre Captree State Park itself, located on the eastern tip of Jones Beach Island, is in the heart of the fishing grounds whose crop of fluke and flounder is supplemented by seabass and blackfish in the autumn. Facilitating this sport are two fishing piers, a boat launch ramp with parking for 64 boat trailers, and a basin for charter, scuba diving, excursion, and sightseeing vessels. Its other island- and water-related fowl include white pelicans, terns, gulls, common loons, black skimmers, and duck.

By 19:50, the Fire Island Lighthouse loomed in the distance.

In order to plug the hole through which numerous Long Island inlet-entering ships had fallen–resulting in the mishaps which did not quite let them “in”–lighthouses naturally rose from the once-barren land like overgrown concrete sentinels waving warning lanterns. The first, on Montauk Point, was built in 1796, while its Fire Island counterpart followed 29 years later, in 1825, rising from its edge after a construction project whose cost had fallen only 35 cents short of its $10,000 budget.

The 74-foot high, octagonal pyramid, covered with Connecticut River blue split stone, both guided transatlantic ships entering New York Harbor and served as a symbolic landmark for European immigrants arriving in the land of freedom and opportunity.

But its height quickly proved its own handicap, leaving its stunted growth to counteract its intended purpose, and in 1857 Congress appropriated $40,000 for an almost 100-foot taller structure on an 82-acre tract of land. Phoenix-like, it stretched from a terrace made of its first version’s stone.

Lit for the first time on November 1 of the following year, the red brick tower, painted a creamy yellow, employed a First Order Fresnel Lens, rising 168 feet to the occasion and subsequently passing the torch to modernity and electricity in 1938 after having employed a succession of intermittent fuels, such as whale, lard, and mineral oil.

But the plug to its purpose was pulled 35 years later when it was decommissioned on the last day of 1973 in exchange for a flash tube optic installed on the top of the Robert Moses State Park water tower. Its restricted, seaward direction of illumination, however, failed to promote the bay’s safety.

After $1.3 million had been raised by the 1982-formed Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, it was restored to its electricity-introducing guise, sporting the black-and-white bands introduced as far back as 1891. Re-lit on Memorial Day, May 28, 1986 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it once again became an official aid to navigation, its two, 1000-watt, counterclockwise rotating bulbs flashing every 7.5 seconds and visible more than 20 miles away.

Proceeding southeasterly, the “Lauren Kristy” brushed the Fire Island community of Kismet, which was just receiving an inbound ferry. Its westernmost one, which also encompassed Lighthouse Shores and Sea Bay Beach, it sported 250 beach houses–most of which were owned, but further rented, by Islip and Bay Shore residents-as well as two restaurant-bars, three guest houses, a grocery store, and a 30-slip basin. Its year-round residents numbered about two dozen.

The pre-dusk sun had parted the seas-or, in this case, the skies above them-revealing a scintillating orange which tinged the bay’s surface a tangerine, Swarovski crystal and injected the horizon with post-swelter plasma. The winds had been deflated to an evening-imminent calm, yet the dance floor on the “Lauren Kristy’s” upper deck vibrated with the collective feet that mimicked the music’s increasing beat and volume.

Turning to a northerly heading, the paddle wheeler thread its way between Sexton and West Fire islands, poised to close the three-mile gap to its Bay Shore origin, as the heavily-scented sea air confirmed the dance floor’s aquatic foundation. More than anything, however, the vibration responded to the beat of Long Island’s summertime heart, which pumped life on to the water that surrounded it and therefore gave it its “island” status.

Hovering above the western horizon like a rotorless helicopter, the cylindrical sun, a blood-red bullet, equally proved that that day’s denouement did little to dampen the pulse propagating across the Great South Bay, as several speed boats and yet another Fire Island ferry– part of the nautical equivalent of the “rush hour”–overtook the lumbering riverboat.

Impatience would have ordinarily overtaken me, as I longed to reach some destination. But, during the summer on Long Island, it was to here that I-and apparently countless others-went.

The big hand on my watch had reached the “30”-mark-as in “20:30”-indicating that only a half hour remained to close the distance to shore and end my temporary suspension from land. The dozen on the dance floor, fusing into a single, song-paralleling step, had no need for watches, as they elevated themselves to that timeless dimension created by sun, sea, music, and fun.

The last daylight minute of that last day of June flicked out as the rim of the sun dipped itself into the sea, creating the purple glow on the horizon behind the Captree Bridge.

Closing the last half mile to Bay Shore, the “Lauren Kristy” swallowed gulps of the now oily-black water with its bow, seeming caught in a sea-and-sky void presently pierced by the pinpoints of light defining the approaching coast ahead and the 7.5-second intervaled flashes emitted by the Fire Island Lighthouse behind.

Disconnecting from Long Island’s summertime dimension, it turned toward the Bay Shore Marina channel, threading its way back to the dock at 21:00-and pulling my plug on Long Island’s summertime heart.