Are You Superstitious?

Do your throw salt over your shoulder, avoid walking under ladders or leave something behind for good luck when you move house? Do you ever wish upon a star? Superstitions have been handed down from generation to generation from time immemorial. Here are some you may recognise and some which may be new to you. Some you’ll believe, some you’ll reject others you can have fun with.

Apples: You’ve heard: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Or, that if you peel an apple in one long strip and recite the letters of the alphabet as you do so, the letter you have reached when the peel breaks is the first initial of a future lover! Or, if you slice an apple in two, without cutting a seed your wish for love will come true.

Bats: If a bat comes near you, someone is trying to bewitch or betray you. If one hits you or enters your house it is a sign of a death or bad luck to someone you love.

Bees: Bees bring news and must be told of any death. If bees buzz before the first of spring it means more cold weather to come. If they stay in their hive it means rain.

Bridges: If you make a wish whilst crossing a bridge your wish will be granted within a year. It’s also considered good luck if you happen to be walking under a bridge when a train passes overhead, more so if the whistle blows.

Brooms: If you sweep a broom under someone’s feet that person will have bad luck for a year. Keep a broom behind the door to sweep witches away. If a child starts to sweep you can expect visitors and never step over a fallen broom – pick it up.

Birds: If a bird flies into your home it usually means good luck or good news to come. If the bird is black then bad news is on its way. To rob a bird’s nest is to bring sorrow. If you hear an owl, expect news of a death. Shooting a bird means you’ll have bad luck for the rest of the year.

Candles: Many superstitions have been forgotten since the arrival of electricity, but we still put candles on a cake and make a wish when we blow them out. Did you know that a strong straight flame means the arrival of a stranger?

Cats: If a cat washes its face and paws more than three times you can expect company. Black cats bring luck, grey cats even more luck but white cats bring sickness. Some people believe that if a cat follows you, you can expect some money soon. If a black cat crosses your path it is said to bring bad luck – yet there are ways to counteract this, one is to go home and start out again; another is to take 12 steps backwards!

Christmas: A child born on Christmas day is supposed to be lucky and able to understand the language of animals. In the northern hemisphere a white Christmas means fewer deaths in the year ahead, a lack of snow means the opposite.

Clover: Finding a four-leafed clover is lucky. Putting it into your left shoe guarantees this luck.

Coins: It’s considered lucky to carry a coin bearing the year of your birth. The Scot’s believe if you put a coin in each shoe on New Years Day you’ll have money all year.

Dogs: Many people believe that a howling dog is the sign of death. If a Strange dog comes into your house it is considered lucky although some people believe the opposite. A dog lying at the doorway looking out is a sure sign of a visitor. If your dog is looking in then someone is about to leave for the day,

Eyes, ears, eyebrows: All have the same meaning when they itch or irritate. Right signifies spite so if you right ear burns, itches, or rings it means someone is saying bad things about you. Left is for love, so if it’s your left ear, eye, and eyebrow itching or twitching someone is talking lovingly about you.

Fingernails: It’s considered lucky to cut your fingernails on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but unlucky on a Friday. When you cut your nails make sure you dispose of the clippings so no-one can cast a spell over you.

Flowers: Saying it with flowers carries a whole new meaning when you consider the following: Carnations are for fidelity; daisies say you’re sorry; honeysuckle means constancy; lilies say “you are the only one for me;” roses say I love you; violets indicate hope and marigolds represent wisdom.

Gloves: Dropping your gloves means a disappointment. You can avoid this by allowing someone else to pick them up for you.

Hair: Cutting your hair when there’s a new moon means it will grow faster. A cowlick is considered lucky. Some people believe rain makes your hair grow faster. A stray hair on your shoulder means a letter before the end of the week. If you drop your comb whilst combing your hair it means you will have an argument with the first person you come across.

Hands: If the left palm itches you’ll receive money, if your right hand itches it’s time to pay out money. Another superstition says; when two people share the same basin to wash their hands they’ll have a quarrel before the day is out.

Hats: It’s considered unlucky to wear a hat indoors or to place a hat on a bed.

Horses: Two white horses are considered lucky. Horseshoes are said to bring good luck if hung above the door with the ends pointing upwards. Most horseshoes have seven nail holes – number seven is believed to be protective.

Houses: When visiting a house never leave by the same door you entered, if this is not possible then don’t let yourself be led out the door! If a door opens by itself you can expect a visitor. If you happen to lock yourself out and manage to climb in through a window, you should open the door then climb back out the window and re-enter through the door, otherwise you will be hounded by bad luck for the rest of the year.

Insects: Busy ants predict bad weather. Ladybirds bring good luck. Killing spiders brings rain. Finding a spider on your clothes means a letter, money or both.

Journeys: If you turn back after setting out you can expect frustrations throughout the day. To avoid this, turn around three times before returning home, then – if you can, take a different route to your destination. Some say it’s an omen if you begin a journey on the 13th of the month – but whether it’s a good or bad omen is not mentioned.

Mirrors: Breaking a mirror means seven years bad luck (we’ve all heard this one). Did you know it’s considered unlucky to look into a mirror by candlelight? Once a bride has dressed she should not look backwards into the mirror. Don’t look into the mirror holding an animal.

Moon: Some say it is unlucky to look at the moon over your left shoulder. A halo around the moon means rain. It’s considered good luck if you first see the moon through the branches of a tree.

Nails: If you find a nail with its point facing towards you then good luck will be yours for the rest of the day.

New Year’s Day: Having empty pockets on this day means having little or no money throughout the year, but drinking the last drop from any bottle is considered good luck! Having someone tall and dark as the first to visit you is considered lucky…

Noses: Some say an itchy nose means you’ll be kissed by a fool; others say you are getting ready for a fight. Body Language devotees will say you are lying. If your nose bleeds for no apparent reason some say you are in love!!

Numbers: Who amongst us can say he or she hasn’t got a lucky number or two?

Opals: These are thought to be unlucky yet if you were born in Libra this is your birthstone.

Peacock Feathers: Traditionally, the feathers of the Peacock are considered unlucky.

Playing Cards: Dropping the cards can bring bad luck. Cards considered unlucky include the Nine of Diamonds (the curse of Scotland). The Four of Clubs (called the devil’s bedpost); and the Ace of Spades (often referred to as the death card if drawn whilst cutting the cards). To change your luck, ask for a new deck – or get up from the table, turn around three times and rejoin the game ( you might look a bit stupid doing this at the Casino but “who cares.”

Peapods: If you find a pod with nine peas it is considered a good omen – so make a wish, throwing the pod over your right shoulder as you do.

Pins: See a pin, pick it up, all day long have good luck. How many times have you recited this little rhyme?

Pictures:When a picture falls it means bad luck. If it’s a photograph or painting of someone, tragedy could soon befall that person.

Rabbits Foot:Unlucky for the rabbit but considered lucky by many.

Rainbows: Make a wish when you see a rainbow and your wish will come true. If you see a rainbow on a Saturday, good luck is on its way to you.

Rats: We all know that rats leave a sinking ship, but rats leaving a house have the same meaning! To catch two rats in a trap is considered lucky!

Rings: A birthstone ring is said to bring good luck. It’s considered bad luck to remove your wedding ring in public.

Shirts: Putting your shirt on inside out means a bad day ahead, but if you leave it on and wear it inside out it is supposed to bring good luck.

Shoes: It is considered bad luck to put new shoes on a table, but lucky to throw an old shoe at a newlywed – one of the reasons shoes are traditional tied to the wedding car.

Skirts:Kissing the upturned hem of a skirt is supposed to bring luck to the wearer. If your petticoat hangs below your skirt you must make a wish before adjusting it or you will have a bad day ahead.

Slippers: It is supposed to be unlucky to cross your slippers as it brings a bad encounter into the house.

Scissors: If you drop a pair of scissors you should tread on them gently before picking them up to avoid arguments. Hanging your scissors on a nail or hook brings good luck. If someone gives you a pair of scissors, give them a coin in return.

Snails: To see a lot of snails, or snails crawling to higher ground, is a sure sign of rain.

Spoons: Dropping a spoon means a visitor. Dropping a large soon means a whole family or visitors. Dropping a knife means a strange man will call. Dropping a fork means the arrival of a woman.

Stars: If you wish upon a star your wish will come true. A shooting star brings good luck.

Thirteen: The number 13 has a long history and has been considered unlucky throughout most of it. If 13 people gather at any one time it is said one will be dead within 12 months! Friday the 13th is considered unlucky by some – others say it is a day on which to try out every superstition in an effort to break any jinx.

Towels: How many believe that if you drop a towel a visitor will arrive?

Umbrella:It’s considered very unlucky to leave an umbrella open or to open it indoors.

Weddings: Losing a wedding ring can mean losing a husband / wife. If a cat sneezes in the brides home on her big day it means rain.

Wishbones: Many of us have pulled upon a wishbone and made a wish as we snapped off the larger part. Another superstition is that person who gets the short piece will marry first or, if both people are married already, attract a lover.

Wood: How often have you: “touched wood “when you want something to come true?

No matter whether you believe in superstitions or not, you have to admit at one time or another you have either thrown salt over your shoulder, touched wood or wondered if, by walking under a ladder you are tempting fate.

Chiminea Safety – What You Need to Know

Chiminea Safety

Chimineas (also commonly spelled chimenea and chimnea) are free standing fireplaces that look a lot like a pot bellied stove. They are a wonderful addition to your outdoor living space providing warmth on cool nights, and are an attractive feature in themselves. They do not present any dangers that cannot be prevented as long as you follow a few simple safety rules and use a dollop of common sense.

Outdoor Chimineas and safety

The first thing you are going to want to do before even purchasing one of these outside fireplaces is to find out if it is legal to burn any type of outside fire in the area where you live. Since these fireplaces are self contained they are often allowed even in areas where fire pits are prohibited. However, it is always best to check and make sure that using one is legal in your area

It sounds obvious but please read the book that comes with the chiminea and follow all the safety advice that is recommended by the manufacturer and use these fireplaces the way in which they are intended. So many potential problems can be anticipated by just looking through the guidance provided.

You are then going to want to find an area of your garden or patio that has no overhanging branches or shrubs close by as this presents an immediate fire hazard. This is also important if you have a cast iron chiminea as you will not want to move it far due to its weight. The area should also be flat to avoid any chance of the chiminea tipping over as clay versions can easily crack and cast iron models are also prone to damage.

The guidance notes will also contain assembly instructions which are important if you are putting together a cast iron chiminea. You should make sure all the necessary parts are present and assemble the item close to location you intend to use it. As a rule of thumb always get a friend to help you carry a cast iron chiminea or ask the shipping company to put it where you want it when they deliver it to your home. In some cases they may even be able to help you assemble it too.

Also ensure that your chiminea comes with a suitable spark guard if the fire is exposed. On most modern cast iron and steel chimenea this is a standard feature.

If you are planning on using the chiminea on a patio or an area of decking then either placing bricks in a three foot parameter around the fireplace or using a specially designed fire pit pad is a good idea. These heavy duty mats are perfect for keeping your deck or patio looking new as they protect the surface from embers and ash.

Whether you use a clay, cast Iron or steel chiminea it is going to get hot so if you have small children or pets placing a safety screen around your outside fireplace is the simplest and most effective way of ensuring they don’t come in contact with the surface. Metal chiminea especially can get very hot and could easily burn the skin if touched. There are special safety screens designed and sold just for this purpose and they are an inexpensive way of avoiding any unfortunate accidents. Obviously telling your children of the dangers of fire and hot surfaces is also highly recommended.

Keep useful tools to hand so that you do not have to touch any part of the chimenea with anything unsuitable. Typical tool sets include a poker, tongs, brush and a small shovel. You should also keep a bucket or water hose close by in the case of an emergency and a pair of thick heavy-duty gloves as well.

Never use petrol or other similar accelerant to start a fire in a chiminea. This is a quick way to get seriously burnt. Instead use firelighters like you would when lighting a bbq. Natural firelighters, such as Ocote, from Central America give a pleasing aroma when lit and are popular way to start a fire in a chiminea. Other options include fire logs made of fibre and wax which are easy to light and can burn for up to two hours.

Indoor Chiminea Safety

Always remember that chimineas even those manufactured for indoor use are free standing and have no outside outlet for smokes and fumes. Therefore, burning wood in a chiminea if you plan to use it indoors is not advised. As an alternative, it is recommended that you use alcohol gel inserts as they burn cleanly and without harmful fumes or smoke. In fact, the only by product of using them is water.

4X4 Lifted Diesel Trucks: Successful Buying Negotiation Tips

For new 4×4 lifted diesel trucks, a dealership would be the first point of contact. Certain models are typically available with body spacer type lift kits with lifts from one to four inches. Purchasing this type of 4×4 truck with a lift already installed is a quick way to get the vehicle you are seeking.

Research special incentives and other offers from the manufacturer before visiting the dealership. You want to know what your options are before talking to the sales person. The sales person will be aware of these offers as well, but knowing them in advance can help give you an advantage during price discussions.

Another option is to find 4×4 lifted trucks for sale by owner. These may have diesel powered engines, or they might use gasoline or other fuel. Diesel engines are typically preferred for towing or other heavy duty applications because they produce more power at lower engine speed than comparable gasoline engines.

When looking at a diesel trucks for sale, it is important to test drive the vehicle. Pay attention to any poor handling or odd sounds, as these can indicate underlying problems with the vehicle. Then tell your mechanic about anything you noticed. The mechanic should inspect the vehicle carefully to look for any issues.

The test drive and inspection will typically reveal most major existing problems with the used truck. Then these items can make for good discussion with the seller during negotiation on the price. Sometimes the seller is not aware of the existing problems with the vehicle.

Also make note of any maintenance records. If maintenance records are not available, you can only assume that major maintenance was not performed. Diesel engines can introduce fair amounts of soot into the engine oil, so it is important that the engine oil was changed regularly with a quality heavy duty engine oil. The engine oil needs to meet the manufacturer’s specifications, especially on late model diesel trucks that have exhaust particulate filters. And this requirement is even more important if the engine is turbocharged.

Also watch for modifications that might have been made to the diesel truck. For example, propane injection and performance tuners made by companies such as Bully Dog are popular with diesel enthusiasts. If the truck has an automatic transmission, these modifications can cause it to slip.

The clutch packs in the transmission can withstand only so much torque before they slip, and diesel engines produce relatively high amounts of torque at low speeds already. The addition of performance tuners can push the torque above what the automatic transmission can handle.

The Advantages Of Using An Auditorium For Special Events

Are you in charge of organizing events throughout the year, but you don’t know where to hold them? If this is your dilemma, why not think about an auditorium?

By doing a little bit of research, you’ll most likely be successful in locating an auditorium in your very own city or at least very near by. These places specialize in venue rentals and other services.

There are a myriad of events that can be hosted in an auditorium. Here is an extensive list.

– Weddings

– Lectures

– Trade shows, conferences and conventions

– Concerts and performances

– Memorials

– Student functions, such as graduations

– Special church services

– Proms

– Birthday and anniversary parties

Most auditoriums are operated in an efficient and professional manner. A friendly, trained staff helps to make sure your occasion is a memorable one for each of your guests.

They will be equipped with any sound, stage or lighting you could ever need. Plus, they generally come with box office capability for any ticket requirements.

Nowadays, with up-to-date computer technology, most auditoriums can compose and send out Email messages directly to each of your guests or employees. With a secure Internet link, they’ll have the convenience of purchasing their tickets directly online. After purchase, tickets can even be delivered to them through their Email address, saving time and money.

It’s all so free and easy and offers a great advantage your guests. Many auditoriums even offer a discount for large groups. Special needs of guests are also taken into account, as wheelchairs and elevator services are provided.

Other special requirements, such as the usage of alcohol, should be checked prior to the hosting of an event. Events hosting places usually need to have an alcohol license before serving, so make sure this is in place or can be obtained in order to prevent any surprises on your special day.

You will also need to book well in advance of your need of the auditorium. This will require planning on your part, and it’s vital you don’t wait until the last minute.

Most auditoriums have specified hours of operation for events. It’s a good idea to inform your guests of the hours in advance and abide by them to create an atmosphere of harmony with the hardworking staff.

Another great advantage of using one of these places is that you, as the planner, will not be responsible for cleaning up after it’s all over. This bonus, plus security needs, special setup, theft or damage are all included in any financial arrangements at the time of reservation.

Whatever the occasion, it’s a smart move to host your next social gathering or activity in an auditorium. It will not only give you the advantage of having your events in a convenient location, but you’ll also be able to add a touch of class to each special occasion.

Welding Certification Tests For Aviation and Aerospace Repair Stations

American Welding Society D17.1 “Specification for Fusion Welding for Aerospace Applications” is the industry standard for becoming a certified welder for fabricating or repairing aircraft parts.

Back in the day, MIL std 5021 was the standard and cluster welds of tubing spliced to plate where the standard test given to certify welders.

Then MIL std 1595a came along and addressed different metal types and newer processes like electron beam and laser. Mil std 1595a was later renamed AMS 1595a with no changes in the document other than name.

AWS D17.1 is the latest and greatest specification for certifying welders and serves not only as a standard for certifying welders, but also a specification for all welding processes used in the aviation and aerospace industries.

Basically here is how the welding certification part works:

Metals are categorized into 8 categories or groups. (1. carbon low alloy, 2. iron based stainless steels, 3. nickel alloys, 4. aluminum, 5. magnesium, 6. titanium, 7. cobalt alloys, 8. refractory alloys like columbium, tantalum etc.)

metal groups 1,2,and 3 are further separated into a and b categories with the b category considered the most difficult to weld.

Groove welds and fillet welds are used to certify welders. Usually a test joint in the.032″ -.050″ thickness range is used for the welding certification tests but AWS D17.1 has provisions for all thicknesses of metals.

Usually 2 inch by 5 inch plates are used for the groove weld tests in this thickness.

Groove welds are often x rayed, but bend testing is sometimes used

Fillet welds (tee joints) are required in order for the welder to be qualified to weld a fillet weld below.063″

Groove welds qualify for fillet welds too for everything over.063″

Tips for passing an aerospace welding certification test:

  • Make sure your vision is good. ( AWS D17.1 even requires a vision test)
  • Use extra magnification for the thin stuff. Even with good vision, seeing a puddle on inconel 718 that is.032″ thick can be difficult. If you cant see it, you cant weld it.
  • Keep your tungsten electrodes sharp and clean
  • Keep as close an arc and you dare without dipping your wick.
  • If you dip your wick, stop and change electrodes.
  • Clean the metal and file the sheared edge of any groove weld, especially aluminum, magnesium, and titanium.
  • Follow the WPS if one is provided. Sometimes the test inspector looks for your ability to follow technical instructions as well as your ability to pass a welding test.

The Conscious and Subconscious Mind Must Harmonize

The conscious and the subconscious mind must harmonize in order for our life to exist.

In the 1950’s, there was a line in a popular song which very effectively illustrated this concept- ‘you can’t have one without the other’. For example, when we see any object such as a ‘table’, the conscious mind operating in the state of awareness sees the object. Without even thinking about it, the memory bank located in the subconscious mind, which holds the key for that symbol, quickly kicks in to give the conscious mind the ability to name the object.

It is the conscious part of our mind which controls voluntary movements such as lifting an arm or a leg. While at the same time, the subconscious part of the mind, which is the seat of all involuntary action, supplies the strength to the extremity we desire to move. If for some reason we begin breathing rapidly, our consciousness has the power to direct the brain to slow the rate of breathing and proceed to continue with the activity that has been taking place. Once breathing rate has slowed, we continue the activity and without even being aware of it, the subconscious mind has restored the rate of breathing to its normal state and maintains that rate as we continue to pursue the said activity.

The center of all our emotions resides in the subconscious part of the mind. For example, if one were to stand at the edge of a cliff, the conscious mind registers fear and begins to reason about all the things that could possibly happen if another step is taken. While ththat is going through the whole range of fear reactions, the subconsciousness is automatically working to restore harmony by the use of logic. It knows when to react to a situation and sends the correct response to the conscious mind.

It is interesting to note that it is not the subconscious mind which directs our actions and thoughts, but rather that this is one of the functions of the conscious mind. For example, if we decide to break a habit, such as to stop smoking, the conscious mind, which is the center of higher thinking, makes the decision. Once a decision is made, it would seem that we could immediately be free of the habit. But as we all know, many people who try to stop smoking often experience relapses where they fall back into the clutches of the habit. The reason we ‘backslide’ is because while the conscious mind has made a decision, the subconscious mind which is always working in the ‘automatic’ mode, is so attuned to the action taking place, it automatically resists the change.

In the case of approaching a hot stove for example, the conscious mind needs the subconscious mind in order to protect one from experiencing the pain which accompanies the touching of the stove. While the conscious mind is aware that the stove is hot, it is the memory bank of the subconscious mind which instantly kicks in with the ‘no touch’ response. Just thinking about a simple process such as touching the stove should trigger our thinking skills to conclude not only that the conscious mind and the subconscious mind must harmonize, but why as well!

Traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex Barbacoa – It’s Not Barbecue But It’s Close, With a Few Twists

Barbacoa is extremely popular in many parts of Mexico and the United States. States close to the border know barbacoa as a delicious meat item, available only on the weekends as a special Sunday breakfast meal. Others eat barbacoa with regularity, enjoying it any time or any day.

So What exactly is barbacoa? It is not “barbecue” in Spanish, as many believe. In central Mexico, it means goat or lamb meat wrapped in large leaves and roasted on hot coals. In Texas, Mexican ranch hands used cattle heads for this roasting method. Basically, they wrapped the heads in the leaves (later it was foil), and buried them in the ground with hot coals. Restaurants had even adopted similar methods of cooking these heads (cabezas).

As the years went by, restaurants had to quit burying the heads because of health codes. Now, they roast and steam the heads in ovens, which has actually been beneficial to the restaurants. A much larger group of fans has taken a liking to this kind of cooking method.

To cook authentic barbacoa at home, it will take a very good relationship with your butcher or slaughter house manager. But fortunately for you, the head of a cow is often thrown away in many parts of the United States. Your relationship with your butcher will prevent this, and allow you to purchase the heads at very low prices, or even free in some cases.

So once you have secured a good source of cattle heads, how will you cook this at home? One of the very best methods of cooking a cow’s head for barbacoa is to steam, or roast it in a large, electric turkey roaster. It works perfectly, and will produce some of the finest barbacoa since the “burying in dirt” age.

Follow these techniques for perfect barbacoa results. This will make about 2 pounds of meat, or enough to feed 6 to 8 hungry breakfast diners. Now do not become hesitant about using these techniques. You will be doing this because of your love of interesting foods, and barbacoa is just one of them.


One 20 to 25 pound cow’s head, skinned and cleaned

1 cup dry rub (recipe below)

2 Onions, cut in half

18″ heavy-duty aluminum foil

Rinse the head well out with a hose. Cut out the tongue (if still there), and reserve for another interesting meal. Sprinkle the dry rub all over the head and place it, forehead down, in an 18-quart roaster. If it does not fit well, angle it to make it fit.

Add 8 cups of water and the onions, then cover. If the roaster lid does not fit, place two sheets of wide foil over the top of the roaster and seal it.

Turn the roaster oven to 350 degrees F., and heat for about one hour, until the water is boiling rapidly. Reduce the heat to 250 degrees and allow the head to steam for about 12 hours, or overnight. The cheek meat should easily pull off the bone when it is done. At this time, pull off all of the meat and discard the jaw bones. You will then find another large piece of meat inside. Remove that meat and any other that is still attached to the bones.

Cut away any excess fat, cartilage, or blackened meat, but do not over-clean the meat. It is the tiny bits of fat that gives barbacoa a unique texture.

Chop the meat and put it in a bowl. Wet it down with a little of the cooking liquid to keep it moist. Serve immediately as a filling for hot flour or corn tortillas. Garnish with your choice of the items below, or add your own.

Dry Rub Recipe:

3 tablespoons salt

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion

Mix all ingredients together.


Lime quarters

Chopped onion

fresh cilantro, chopped

Your favorite salsa

What Is the Best Type of Study Table for Your Kids?

There are many types of study tables for young kids and teenagers. These range from multifunctional tables which are plastic and can be used as a dinner table as well as a study table, to those specifically designed to make studying efficient and comfortable.

Choosing the right one for your child can be a daunting task. You face a lot of questions from your kid. They want to know whether the table has good storage space for their many iPods, laptops, games, books and toys. The most important question is whether or not it will last for at least the next ten years. Here are a few options that you can consider.

Beadboard study table: This one comes with a very rigid panel that is made out of fiberglass or slag wool. The material is pretty durable, will last for years and it imparts a modern look. If your child is young and in junior school, you may want to buy a beadboard table with lots of drawers so that all their stuff can be stored easily. It doesn’t make sense to buy one with three drawers only.

Wooden study table: Wooden shelves are very popular. You can buy ones with minimal shelves if your kid is older and has fewer subjects to study (like in high school), or you can buy one with multiple shelves. If you have a spacious kid’s room then you can go for a larger size, but if you have space constraints, it makes sense to buy something which is compact and has more drawers.

From easily assembled study tables and chairs to customizable school furniture, there is a wide variety of sets available. Give the kids a comfortable place with the best table and chair to make studying effective.

If you are planning to buy a study table, you may have contacted a carpenter. But are you aware of the type of wood they would use for making it? You would not want a study table made of poor quality wood. If it is colored and stained it may look good but it would not be as durable as you would want. So why not order online? Online shops give clear information about their products and this is clearly stated on their websites for all to see. Contact details should be on reputable websites so that you can ask for further details. First though, you will be able to have a thorough browse through the products shown. Ordering is easy; all it takes is a click.

Advanced Body Weight Workout – Extremely Challenging For Those Looking to Shake Up Their Workout

Do you get bored going to the gym, spending long hours, doing the same workouts day in and day out? Do you find your happy with your body for the most part, but have hit a plateau? If so, then it is time to challenge yourself with an intense body weight workout which is sure to shock your body and in turn, produce results.

When you get into a rut working out and yes, we’ve all been there, your body stops responding. In essence, your body becomes efficient at doing the same workout and like anything, if you don’t push yourself or change it up, your body adjusts. Each time we repeat a particular workout, our body adapts to meet the demand, becomes more efficient and in turn, you stop seeing the results you saw when you started working out. It is very important to change things up.

So, I am providing you with a challenging workout (not for beginners) that is perfect for shaking up your routine. I love to do this type of workout on my cardio days. I may do for example, hill sprints in the morning and then in the afternoon do a routine like this (on the weekend usually, when I have the time). I feel great and it definitely has made me stronger and more fit, as well as it keeps my workouts more interesting and extremely challenging.

Get out of your head that the only way to look good is by pushing heavy weights for hours in the gym. While I do love lifting hard, I also know how important it is to mix up the routine to keep your body guessing. Bodyweight exercises are one of the best ways to burn fat while making you stronger, leaner and more energetic.


The workout I have provided is sure to challenge even the most fit. Do each exercise below, back to back, with no rest. When you finish the circuit, rest for about 1 minute (depending on your fitness level) and repeat 2-3 more times. The whole workout should take about a half hour.

If you feel some of the exercises are not challenging enough without weight, feel free to use dumbbells. However, don’t go heavy, because this routine demands a lot from you and allows little rest.

1) Bulgarian Split squats: 20 each leg

2) Pull up/Knee Raise: 8

3) 1 Leg Squats: 10 on each leg

4) Elevated Pushup: 10 each side

5) Inverted Rows (underhand grip): 10-15

6) Front Lunges (alternating): 10 each leg

7) Decline close grip pushups: 15 reps

8) 1 leg stability ball leg curl: 15 each leg

9) Dumbbell swings: 45 secs.

10) Burpees/ chinup: 10


1. Bulgarian Split squat: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart facing away from a bench. Place the instep of one foot on the bench (shoe laces). Step forward with the other foot, taking a larger than normal step.

Contract your glutes and abs and keep your chest up. Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Push up to the start position remaining in the split squat. Perform all reps for one leg and then switch.

2. Pull ups/Knee raise: Grab bar with an overhand grip (palms facing outward). Pull your body up until chest reaches bar level. As you pull yourself up, bring your knees up toward your chest. Slowly lower yourself without swinging or using momentum and repeat. (this not only works your Lats and biceps, but it also works your abs).

3. 1 Leg Squats: Stand on a bench with both feet. Hold a wall if you need to balance yourself, but don’t use it for assistance. Let one foot hang off the back of the bench and start movement by pushing your hips back as if you were sitting in a chair. Lower yourself as far as you can (until thigh is parallel with floor) Stick your glutes out, brace your abs and keep your chest up. Use your buttocks, hamstrings and quadriceps to return to the start position. Complete all reps on one leg and then repeat on the other.

4. Elevated Pushups: Get in pushup position Place one hand on the floor and the other elevated 4-6 off the ground (on a step, medicine ball, etc.) Hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower yourself down until you are 2 inches off the floor. Push through chest, shoulders and triceps to return to start position. Do all reps on one side and then switch so other arm is elevated.

5. Inverted Row Underhand grip): Set a bar hip height on a smith machine or squat rack. Lie underneath bar and grab it with an underhand grip (palms facing you) shoulder width apart. Pull your chest up to the bar with your upper bicps and lats. Keep body in a straight line from shoulders to heels. (easier version: put bottom of feet on floor)

6. Front Lunges (alternating): Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. (Hold dumbbells in hands if needed). Step forward with your right leg, taking a slightly larger than normal step. Keep your left toe on the ground for balance with the knee bent. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your body upright and lower back flat. Push with your right leg to return to the starting position.

7. Decline Close Grip Pushups: Put your feet on a bench or step, hands on the floor. Keep abs braced and body in a straight line from toes (knees) to shoulders. Place hands on floor, shoulder-width apart and keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Slowly lower yourself down keeping elbows tucked in the whole time. Push through your chest, shoulders and triceps to return to the start position.

8. One leg stability ball hamstring curl: Lie on your back and place your feet on a stability ball. Brace your abs and glutes and bridge your hips up by contracting your glutes. Keep only one foot on the ball and raise the other one up in the air. Keep your abs braced and contract your hamstring, rolling the ball toward your hips with only one leg while keeping your hips bridged. Slowly return to the start position with your hips bridged the whole time.

9. Dumbbell Swings: Hold a dumbbell with both hands. Start with legs slightly bent holding the dumbbell between legs. Keeping arms straight, swing the dumbbell up to shoulder height. Return to starting position and repeat.

10. Burpees/chin up: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend down into a squat position Kick your legs back together into a plank position, Jump your knees in toward your elbows in a squat position. Stand up and jump in the air and grab the chin up bar overhead. Palms facing forward and do a chin up. Let go and repeat. (this is an extremely challenging exercise. If you can’t do chin ups, just do burpees and work yourself up to this exercise.

What Is the Tennessee Plan for Medicare Supplemental Policies?

When you retire, you are faced with some important personal decisions. That is why the State of Tennessee and POMCO are working together to make one of those decisions (Medicare supplemental healthcare) easier for you. As a retiree, you may be eligible for The Tennessee Plan. This Plan is designed specifically for retired state employees, teachers and local government employees and their eligible spouses and dependents. The Tennessee Plan Can Help Fill the Medicare Coverage Gap If you have Medicare coverage, you likely need The Tennessee Plan to help cover some of the expenses that Medicare does not. The Tennessee Plan helps fill most of the coverage gaps that Medicare creates.

If you are eligible, you can enroll in The Tennessee Plan coverage, commonly known as Medigap Coverage. The Tennessee Plan is a standard Medicare supplemental policy designed to fill in the coverage gaps in your Medicare Part A & B coverage.

What Kind of Gaps Do  Medicare Parts A & B Have?

In 2010, some of the charges Medicare requires you to pay include the following:

•  A $1,100 deductible out of your own pocket each time you are hospitalized.

•  Then $275 a day for the 61st to the 90th day in the hospital and $550 a day thereafter up to a 60 day lifetime reserve maximum.   Plus a $155 deductible for approved doctors’ bills and outpatient expenses and then you must pay an additional 20% of the Medicare approved charges after that.

You may be responsible for any amount over the Medicare approved charges from providers who do not accept Medicare assignment. Even with Medicare coverage, your out- of-pocket expenses can add up fast and cause financial difficulty. Coverage under The Tennessee Plan can help fill some of these gaps. There are 10 standard approved (by federal law) Medicare supplemental policies that can be offered. The Tennessee Plan offers benefits comparable to the Medicare Supplemental Standard Plan D.

Who is Eligible to Enroll?

Any retired State of Tennessee employee or Local Education certified teaching staff receiving a monthly retirement allowance from the Tennessee Consoli- dated Retirement System (TCRS), or higher education optional retirement plan who is eligible for Medicare Part A may apply for coverage under this Plan. Retired Local Education support staff and Local Government participants eligible for Medicare Part A who receive a monthly retirement allowance from the TCRS are also eligible to apply for coverage. Your legal married spouse and eligible dependents may also apply. If you qualify and enroll for coverage within 60 days of your initial eligibility, you cannot be denied coverage because of your age or health.

Who Administers  The Tennessee Plan?

The Tennessee Plan features Medicare supplemental coverage sponsored by the State of Tennessee with claims administered by POMCO. The Plan offers you quality coverage at lower group premium rates. Since the monthly premiums are not based on age, they will not increase just because you get older. Premium rates may increase due to increasing costs, which would happen with any plan. Best of all, if you have more than 15 years of service as a State of Tennessee employee or teacher, the State of Tennessee will pay part of your cost for your Plan coverage.

Less Paperwork – Because  Providers File Claims With The Plan, you don’t need to worry about paperwork! Most claims are filed for you by your doctors and hospitals if they have your Medicare and The Tennessee Plan member identification numbers. Claims are then sent directly to POMCO after Medicare has completed their part. This works out well for everyone. The providers are paid quickly and you avoid all the paperwork.

Of course, you should compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance quotes in Tennessee at

Mezzanine Construction – 9 Things You Should Know

A mezzanine is a good investment. A mezzanine floor is a very easy way to create extra, very low cost productive space. Constructing your mezzanine should be very straight forward in engineering terms, however there are varying opinions on design. People with vested interests in wanting to deal with your project, often as part of other works that they may be doing at the time, can easily persuade you to embark on a course which falls well short of your expectations. You should not be derailed by this, there are certain fundamentals that if deployed will ensure you don’t fall into the trap of going with popular opinion which is not the same as expert advice.

There are over 40 combinations and facilitations a mezzanine can bring to your business and they can be expensive in the wrong hands causing delays and unnecessary frustrations. A mezzanine floor should provide flexible, low cost productive business space and armed with these eight fundamentals your mezzanine construction is much more likely to maximise its contribution. My fastest payback time for a mezzanine floor construction project was under 3 months. These are the eight useful things to know to achieve rapid pay back results.

First Thing to know: Why would I want a Mezzanine? A mezzanine makes great people space so, showrooms, retail, restaurant, office, storage, production, workshop, exhibitions, museums, schools, libraries, gymnasiums and leisure are all good working examples. They are an easy retro fit and can be taken down again with relative ease making them good for landlord, tenant and private ownership as an obvious choice for developing temporary or permanent space provision. Landlords frequently will provide these facilities incentivising the cost into the lease.

Second thing to know: Is there potential and what will a Mezzanine cost? Once you are in your building, warehouse or factory unit or even shopping mall or out of town location, if nobody has occupied it before you, then you will have perhaps some basic hospitality plumbed in and some services and a lot of floor space. Here in the UK it is common place for architects and property developers to use steel frameworks because they can go higher more economically. In warehouses the construction is often a series of frames called portal frames onto which cladding rails and the building skin is fixed. If your property is not already divided up for you then you will be staring up at rafters and in a portal frame building you should have up to 6m at the eave and a meter or more additional height at the apex in the middle. If you look up at the eave rafter at the side of the building inside you will see a funny little triangular bracket between the rafter and the column – we call this the haunch and it is generally about 5m plus to the underside.

Anything over 5m is good, under 5m you will need professional help. If you are building this structure make sure you have at least 6m to this point and then you can install a mezzanine floor if you ever want one completely unrestricted by the haunch. There are many reasons for not building to this height, but low level production units won’t work as warehouses later so unless you really can’t afford it go higher, use the height, because you will add value through broader appeal than if you stay low. Anyway all that said, why it is free space is because you have bought or rented the floor space so the headroom is technically free in property terms. Mezzanine floors have a price spread of £90 to £250 per square meter, less than half of the new build price so it is relatively cheap to develop. Not only that unless it is more than about half to two thirds of the total floor area it may be exempt from council tax, particularly if it is a removable structure as it is regarded as an item of plant. So read on…

Third thing to know: Do I need planing permission for a Mezzanine? No, you do not need planning consent, unless you are altering the outside appearance of your building with windows for example, but you do need building regulations in England and Wales and a warrant in Scotland and this is what you need to know about them:

  1. You need proof that the supporting concrete floor is structurally up to the imposed loadings.
  2. You need to have a designated approved route off the floor and out of the building to satisfy fire regulations.
  3. You need to ensure the floor can withstand fire for up to an hour if people are working on it.
  4. You need drawings of the proposed works.
  5. You need a block plan and a site plan.
  6. You must provide structural calculations demonstrating the steel work and decking will take the design loads.

There are a few other items which arise out of this, but these are the main ones. In England and Wales you can proceed ahead of the building regulations, but be warned that if during this statutory process changes are ordered it may result in expensive re-work for which you will be charged. In Scotland you need the warrant first and any qualified structural engineer can sign off the warrant. If you are at the design phase you will need to ensure that foundations are provided for any floor supporting columns, these go down before the floor is poured. If you don’t have this facility you will need to check the ground can take the weight without your floor cracking up.

The fourth thing to know: How long will it all take to construct a Mezzanine? Well, if there are no hiccups from receipt of approvals 2 to 4 weeks for little floors 8 to 12 weeks for floors up to football pitch size and somewhere in between for the rest. Planning will take 6 weeks if you know what you are doing, longer if you don’t and building regulations 2 to 3 weeks if you use an agent, 6 weeks if you don’t. Add design and planning time in for yourself and getting in prices etc. If you have weak ground you may have to add 6 weeks for design and 6 weeks for ground works, so don’t start winding up your supporting teams about deadlines. It takes 28 days for concrete to reach specific hardness no matter how much pressure you are under, unless you add expensive resins and this is not always advisable. Additionally, there will be sampling and design work to do so allow plenty of time for orderly progress and a job well done. Even with all this it will still be an economical solution for you.

The fifth thing to know: Who should I buy it from? There are specialists. You can have a concrete mezzanine put in at the design phase, they can be quieter, better for wet processes or plant rooms and span larger spaces but they usually cost a lot more. For the heavy stuff or special design spans the contractor may have a good solution. I would avoid contractors for all retro-fits and go instead to specialists. I would also encourage you to thoroughly investigate the benefits of having the mezzanine separate from the main shell, 9 times out of 10 it will serve you better. Buy them from storage specialists or better still materials handling engineers then you will get help with all the other aspects too.

The sixth thing to know: Should I buy second hand? The chipboard decking rarely comes up well when dismantling the floor. There are minimally three construction methods and several material specifications, all doing different jobs. Once materials are oprhaned from the main build even the experts have trouble with them. Hot rolled sections are designed to a span to take specific loadings with specific properties. I have yet to meet anyone who bought a second hand floor able to account for this information or who knows whether or not their construction is a 360, 250, or centre build design, what the service or dead load is, or provide any structural calculations for the floor other than very rarely the original calculations which were provided case specific for that application and not the current application all after it had obviously stood in someone’s yard for six months.

If you move a floor you need the manufacturer to re-approve the calculations and issue a certificate of verification. You are highly unlikely to find a second hand floor in the possession of someone qualified to provide this support. I have found people actually pay more for used floors than new ones. It costs about 25% of the cost of a new floor to take it down and pack it correctly for dry storage, properly inspected and labeled up. It costs the same to re-install it. You will spend a further 30% to 40% with a reputable salvage company re-assembling the specification for your application including correct structural information. Unless you are prepared to do the work yourself and know the location and history of the floor and put it back up identically to the way it came down, avoid it. The only real value is scrap or architectural salvage for re-use by experts.

The seventh thing to know: How can I tell I am being sold a new mezzanine and not a used one? Yes, I am afraid this does happen. All you can do is take up references, ask about the issues raised above and always obtain 3 quotes, remembering if something is too good to be true it probably is just that. If you are in doubt, you can’t hide marks and damaged materials and don’t part with any money until you have all the correct technical information for the authorities.

The eighth thing you need to know: How do I know if my mezzanine design is right? Often the floor will be made to suit an application, this can range from packing materials through to a night club. Whatever it is, if you are assisted by a materials handling engineer then plans will have been drawn up illustrating the activities with specific loading information detailed to be accommodated at the production phase of the project. Specifically this will include:

  • Finishing details of the decking to adjoining structures with no gaps
  • Floor supports and hot rolled sections sympathetically and regularly spaced
  • Deflection ratings assessed for you for the application (you don’t want it to feel like a trampoline)
  • Methods of feeding goods, services and facilities required on or off or to and from the floor
  • A full access statement and provision for personal welfare on the floor
  • The finished floor height and any structural technicalities taken care of for you
  • Finishing details for doors, carpets or special surfaces aligned to existing structures

There are many other things as well, it all comes under the heading of attention to detail.

The ninth thing to know: What sort of equipment should I consider to go with a mezzanine? The easiest answer is a list of equipment commonly supplied with mezzanine applications:

  • Steel, stainless steel and timber and steel staircases
  • Steel fire escapes
  • Cat ladders
  • Lifts
  • Goods lifts
  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Lifting tables
  • Storage systems including racking
  • Pallet loading gates
  • Conveyors
  • Chutes
  • Hoists
  • Mobile pallet stackers with electric lifts (cheaper than lifts)
  • Handrails
  • Partitions
  • Doors
  • Ceilings
  • Fire retardant materials

Some more storage ideas These 9 guides will help you decide how you want to proceed with your new mezzanine floor project, but there are alternative ways to use headroom, for example raised storage platforms for bulkier items which can’t be conveniently stored in shelving or pallet racking. Two tier systems are alternatives too, you can use pallet racking or shelving sections to construct storage space and flooring into the headroom of your building.

The Wonderful Advantages of an Offset Patio Umbrella

Maybe you are ready to escape the cabin fever or maybe you have just finished upgrading your patio and you are now ready to purchase a patio umbrella. You may be struggling with the decision as to whether you save money and go with a standard large patio market umbrella or whether you splurge for the casual elegance and upgrade to an offset patio umbrella, it is a tough choice to make. I have great news in that your decision may become a lot easier, the price of offset patio umbrellas are no longer out of reach. Due to the increasing popularity of offset umbrellas the price has steadily declined.

Now you can benefit from the added usable real estate underneath an offset umbrella compared to the same size market umbrella. The difference has everything to do with pole placement. In the standard market model the support pole arises from the base and rises to connect with the center of the umbrella. The offset umbrellas are often times referred to as a cantilever umbrella and has a pole that extends up from the base off to the side of the umbrella and then angles out over the area to be shaded making all of the space under the umbrella usable space.

Most of the offset poles are constructed of aluminum providing strong support without the added weight. This comes in handy if you need to maneuver the umbrella around the patio area. Hopefully, you will not need to move the unit around since most come with tilting mechanisms that allow you to change the angle of shade without moving the entire umbrella and stand.

A word of caution with regard to cantilever or offset models is that they are more apt to tip over in high winds than their market umbrella counterparts. This can be compensated by making sure the base of the stand is weighted down. The majority of bases come prefilled with sand or hollow allowing you the opportunity to fill them with sand.

If you are going to spend the additional money on an offset patio umbrella you should really consider upgrading the fabric choice to a Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella is known throughout the industry as the premier outdoor fabric in umbrellas, awnings, and outdoor furniture cushions. It resists sun bleaching and fading from general use and will extend the life of your patio umbrella. It is definitely worth the additional expense to help protect your investment.

If you have a little money left over you can consider a couple upgrades. By opting for a stand with wheels you are saving your back from the twice a year storing and retrieving of the offset umbrella. Another great option is fiberoptic or LED lighting. Many offset patio umbrella manufacturers have add-on lighting kits to give your patio space the extra casual elegance.

I hope you have enjoyed this article outlining the wonderful benefits of an offset or cantilever umbrella. Stay tuned for more upcoming articles expounding on additional features and benefits.

Product Review – The Streetwise SW1000 1 Million Volt Stun Gun

The Streetwise 1000K stun gun model is one of the strongest on the market. According to the manufacturer, it is capable of administering a 1,000,000 volt charge. To keep the unit non-lethal, the amperage is quite low by design. It is a rather tall unit as it holds three 9 volt batteries. (Less powerful stun guns typically take one battery.) It is 8 1/4 inches tall, 2 1/4 inches wide and 1 1/8 inches thick. The unit’s case is a matte black plastic as are all stun guns of this nature. It features a master on-off switch and a firing rocker switch. This switch must be held to fire the gun. Once you lift your finger off the switch, the firing stops. Also included is a 130db alarm.

The Streetwise SW1000 features a disable pin with loop that you attach to the underside of the unit. You put the loop around your wrist. If an attacker snatches the gun away from you, the pin will pull out of the unit and it will be completely disabled,. That way the attacker cannot use the gun on you.

Perhaps “gun” is a misnomer because this tall rectangular device looks nothing like a gun. Would stun guns be less controversial if they weren’t called guns at all? Perhaps. It should be noted that stun guns like this one fire nothing through the air (except a spark between its two electrodes). It is not a TASER. The unit must be held to the aggressor’s skin or clothing to be effective. The effects are temporary and non-lethal unlike a firearm.

As befitting a high voltage unit, this device sports two 3/17 inch diameter electrodes quite a bit wider than lesser units. The snapping sound when activated is louder with a stronger visible spark. The intimidation factor is high. It is known that some aggressors will immediately flee when confronted with the menacing sound and site of the arcing electrodes.

This device includes a 130 db alarm which is unusual in a traditionally shaped stun gun. The alarm button is right underneath the toggle on/fire switch for easy accessibility. It is suggested to try the alarm first in an actual encounter as this may be enough to scare off your enemy.

In summary the Streetwise SW1000 stun gun is an impressive high voltage unit. The case is sturdy and comes with a nylon holster with belt loop. Installing three 9 volt batteries take a bit of finagling to fit inside the unit but once in, they stay put. The manufacturer recommends using name brand alkaline batteries for reliable performance.


Streetwise has now updated the SW1000 to the rechargeable SWT5000R Toucdown model. It features the same tall profile but it has much more power and a built-in LED flashlight.

American Mobsters – The Bowery Boy Street Gang

The Bowery Boys were an anti-Catholic, anti Irish Gang of the 1840’s through 1860’s, that fought tooth and nail with the other gangs, most notably the Dead Rabbits from the Five Points Area. Unlike the other gangs of its era, who were just plain thugs, crooks, robbers and murderers, the Bowery Boys, who ruled the Bowery area just north of the Five Points, were mostly butchers and mechanics, bar bouncers, or small businessman. They wore a uniform of sorts, with red shirts and black trousers, the pants of which were shoved inside calf-skin boots. Most of the men had oil slicked hair covered by black stove-pipe hats.

The Bowery Boys were ardent volunteer firemen, who aligned themselves with the Know-Nothing, or American political party, which lasted from 1849 to 1856, and later the Democratic Party. All of the big politicians of the time, including Boss Tweed and future first President George Washington, were at one time volunteer firemen in Lower Manhattan. The Bowery Boys were attached to various firehouses, with names like the White Ghost, Black Joke, Dry Bones and Red Rover. Each of the other downtown gangs, like the Dead Rabbits, Roach Guards and the Plug Uglies, were also affiliated with various fire houses too, and the completion over who would arrive first at a fire was fierce and sometimes bloody. The Bowery Boys were said to love their fire engines almost as much as the loved their women, and the worse thing that could happen, was to arrive at a fire and find that all the fire hydrants had already been taken by other firehouses.

The Bowery Boys had a trick to prevent this embarrassment from happening. As soon as a fire alarm sounded, the biggest Bowery Boy around would grab an empty barrel from a grocery store and run to the fire plug closest to the burning building. He would turn the barrel over, cover the fire hydrant with the barrel, sit on it and defend his position, by fighting men from other firehouses, who were trying to remove him and the barrel from the fire hydrant. It was said that sometimes the fights for the fire hydrants were so ferocious, the Bowery Boys didn’t have time to actually extinguish the fires.

The most famous Bowery Boy of his time was “Butcher” Bill Poole, a butcher by trade and a volunteer at Red Rover Fire Engine Company #34, at Hudson and Christopher Streets. Poole was a bear-knuckle fighter of much renown. His arch-enemy was John Morrissey, an Irish immigrant and strong-arm-man for Tammany Hall. Morrissey fancied himself a fighter too and he challenged Poole to a bare-knuckles fight. Poole hated the Irish and Catholics with a passion ( Morrissey was both), and he gladly accepted accepted the challenge.

The two men squared off on July 26, 1854, at the Amos Street Dock near Christopher Street. As Morrissey extended his hand to fight, Poole feinted him, and instead grabbed Morrissey is a frontal bear hug. He lifted Morrissey up into the air and squeezed the breath out of him for a full five minutes. Wiser heads jumped in and separated the men, before Poole crushed Morrissey to death. Morrissey was hurt so bad, he couldn’t walk the streets of New York for a full six months, but when he did, it was curtains for Poole. On February 25, 1855, Lew Baker, a friend of Morrissey, shot Poole at Stanwix Hall, a bar on Broadway near Prince Street. Poole lingered on for a little more than a week, but he finally died on March 8, 1855.

The downfall of the Bowery Boys started during the savage three-day New York City Draft Riots of 1863. Incensed at the imminent possibility being drafted into the war down south they wanted to do nothing with, thousands of gang members took to the streets of New York City on July 13, looting and burning down stores and houses, and violently killing Negroes, whom they blamed as the cause of their predicament. The Bowery Boys, in actions normally adverse to their nature, were an integral part of these deadly riots, where hundred of people were killed and thousands more injured. The New York State militia was called in to quell the riots, and when the dust settled three days later, the drafting of New York City men into the armed forces continued.

Many Bowery Boys were drafted into the war. Some died, some returned badly injured, or missing arms and legs, and others joined rival gangs. By the end of the 1860’s, the Bowery Boys ceased to exist, but other gangs rose from their ashes to take their place.

Am I the Narcissist? A Look at Inverted Narcissism

In my work with victims of narcissistic abuse I am more often than not asked the same question: “How do I know I’m not the Narcissist?”

When I asked my own therapist this question so many years ago she answered “If you were the narcissist you wouldn’t be asking that question, because narcissist’s won’t see that the problem is with them.” They are too busy projecting the issues onto those around them.

However our own narcissism is an issue worth exploring in more detail. For example: Why do we ask that question to begin with. What is it that makes us feel we are the narcissist?

In talking to a client today I had a big realization. She was telling me how she was always disappointed in her previous boyfriends or partners. They just didn’t measure up to her expectations. As we dug a little deeper she explained how she has wavered between feelings of superiority and feelings of inferiority. She has built her own illusion or idea of who she was which in her own reality placed herself upon a pedestal. So in a sense she was doing the same thing a narcissistic personality would do. She sheltered herself from her feelings of inferiority by placing herself upon a pedestal. That pedestal created a false confidence.

So when the narcissistic personality comes into her life her false confidence is initially mirrored by the narcissist who reflects to her the image worthy of the pedestal she has placed herself upon. But as the relationship progresses her feelings of inferiority are triggered as he projects his own inferiority upon her. Now she is experiencing the feeling of having her mate disappointed in her inadequacy just as she has been disappointed in past partners for their inadequacy.

What is the difference than between the narcissistic partner and the one who feels abused? Compassion and Empathy! The client I was talking to today, identified with her partners feelings of superiority and also with his feelings of inadequacy. She had empathy for him. She didn’t want to see him hurt because she knows how painful it is to experience those same kinds of feelings. A pathological narcissist could give a rip about his partners hurt feelings. He is only concerned with himself and his own needs.

The inverted narcissist, as Sam Vaknin calls it, is the perfect match for the pathological narcissist. Because when their false selves meet, the illusion of who they believe themselves to be is reinforced to a point where it may feel like Cinderella meeting her prince who takes her out of her hell hole, where she is made to wear rags and sweep ashes all day. Suddenly she is swept off her feet, she fits the glass slipper perfectly, and is carried off to the Castle adorned with beautiful gowns and riches fit for the queen she is.

Perhaps in this fairy tale, Cinderella always fantasized herself to be a queen, but she lived the reality of being an ash maiden. She was ridiculed and condemned by those around her and made to feel unworthy of the good things in life. But she would show them someday. She would show them she was really a queen.

For those of us who come from painful childhoods where we were somehow made to feel inferior, we can easily create fantasy worlds where we escape into never never land. We imagine ourselves as fairy princesses and imagine our prince riding up on a white horse and sweeping us off our feet, carrying us from our humble reality to a great castle where we are treated as a queen should be treated.

In the psychic realm the psychosis of the pathological narcissist is a great match for the fantasy world of the inverted narcissist. Because in the world of make believe a great fantasy is created where the King and the Queen of never never land get together and ride off into the sunset. It is such a beautiful love story, in the beginning.

But all glass slippers eventually break and so do the glass houses the “ideal” couple reside in. There love is not built on anything real, but rather an illusion of perfection created by both parties. She is saying “be my prince” and he is saying “be my queen.” But once they settle into the Castle the true selves begin to emerge. The feelings of inferiority begin to surface. Both partners don’t really want to be found out, less they risk losing their status upon that pedestal. “What if she finds out I’m really a frog?” He might think. And she might wonder “what if he knows the truth of me, that I’m only an ash sweeper?”

The narcissistic dance is really a dance of ego’s. It is an escape from the true self. For the true self has never been discovered and cultivated. The narcissistic facade is a preservation of the ego that needs to appear larger than it is. From that wounded little child he inflates his lowly sense of self into something others would envy. He strives for greatness, not for the sake of the task but for revenge against those who would mock him for his inferiority.

We see this scenario played out often in the movies where the ugly geek grows into the beautiful swan or the handsome prince and is the envy of those who used to taunt him. But inside he may still feel like the ugly duckling. A true pathological narcissist is so clever at hiding from that ugly duckling within that he hides it from himself. He is no longer really aware of those feelings. He is cut off from them. Where his victim is likely very much in touch with those feelings. She feels the depth of the pain being triggered by his poor treatment and lack of consideration for her. It triggers all those feelings of unworthiness that she has been running from most of her life.

If the inverted narcissist doesn’t grab this opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth she will likely just fall back into her old ways and re-create a similar scenario. But the opportunity is there for a great transformation. One that comes from truly embracing the self and becoming real! We peel away the layers of who we are not and cultivate the truth of who we are. This begins with embracing that little wounded child who has been rejected, taunted, teased and made to feel inferior in so many ways. We can begin by having compassion for that child within in the same way we found ourselves having compassion for the narcissist in our lives.

Once we own that rejected part of ourselves there is no longer a need to hide her from the world behind a fantasy illusion. We no longer need to be seen as “the queen” but are alright with just being ordinary. Ironically once we accept our ordinary-ness we actually do begin to stand out, for real. Because we stop trying to be something we are not and start accepting who we really are. Our true selves always carry the greatest light.

As I work with more and more victims of narcissistic abuse I begin to see Narcissism as the catalyst for personal transformation. The narcissistic abuse spirals us into our deepest, most fragile aspect of self, the wounded, rejected child within. I used to believe we were just taking on the projection of the narcissist, but I’m coming to realize this isn’t true. This is the very part of the narcissist we identify with. He too has the same cast away, lost, rejected inner child, covered over by an illusion of grandiosity. So our work is not to simply stop taking on the projections of the narcissist in our lives, but rather allowing ourselves to make that decent into the deepest, darkest places within our psyche and rescuing that rejected child within.

Ironically once we accept our inadequacies, we no longer feel so inadequate. We come to understand that nobody is perfect, including us. We make mistakes, we have faults, we have areas where we are ashamed of ourselves, and now we simply admit these realizations to ourselves. Instead of taking the inventory of the narcissist in our lives we take our own inventory and list the areas where we have deceived ourselves. When we finally see that being imperfect is being real, we accept ourselves just the way we are and stop trying to be something we are not.

Becoming real is a process. I call it growing up. We peel away those layers of who we are not, in order to refine who we really are. And…we come to see ourselves as beautiful even with our flaws. In actuality it is our flaws that make us unique and beautiful. Perfection is the illusion!

We may be angry initially that we are cast into the deep pain of self reflection and personal growth while the narcissist is off in another fairy tale; but instead of envying him for his ignorance, we should instead thank him for the gift he has given us. He has brought us to our true selves. The pain of discovery may be great initially, but it is well worth the journey, because now we can truly live and we can truly love. Once we accept the imperfections in ourselves we can accept the imperfections of our future mates and have a much greater opportunity for real love.