Determining the Best Type of Fastener to Use For Outdoor Furniture Construction

If you want to learn about selecting hardware for your next outdoor furniture project, then you’ll want to read this article. Specifically, I’ll be telling you about what type of hardware will perform best, why the type of metal used for fasteners and the finish used are important considerations, and how properly protecting or limiting exposure of your furniture to wet and winter conditions can increase life span. After you’re done with this article you will understand that the best choice of hardware for your outdoor furniture project is dependent on furniture style, material used for construction, selected location for the furniture and budget.

Selecting proper hardware for your furniture will help ensure a long life span, as well as improve the overall appearance of your furniture. Part of the problem is knowing what hardware to select when there are so many options available at the hardware store. The typical Lowes or Home Depot carries a huge selection of stainless steel, hot dipped galvanized, bright galvanized, plain steel, coated steel and brass bolts, nuts, washers and screws. Each type of fastener is suitable for certain applications, but not all are ideal for outdoor furniture applications. 

In fact, choosing the wrong fasteners can greatly shorten the lifespan of your furniture, contribute to rot of wood furniture, cause unsightly staining, and even make your furniture unsafe to use. 

One thing that needs to be noted right up front is, do not ever use unprotected steel fasteners for outdoor furniture, They will rust very quickly, and the steel will react with the tannic acid in the wood causing streaks and staining. The tannic acid actually speeds up the corrosion of the fasteners. Have you ever seen a wooden fence with black streaks running down the boards from the nails? This fence was installed with the wrong type of fasteners. The same thing will happen to your furniture. Even worse, as the fasteners rust, they will speed up the decay process of the wood around the rusted fasteners, ruining your furniture and making it potentially unsafe to use.

Hot Dipped Galvanized

Screws and bolts treated by hot dipped galvanizing are specifically designed for use outdoors. Electroplated galvanized or bright galvanized fasteners ultimately will not hold up as well as the hot dipped galvanized hardware. Zinc is used as a coating in both methods, and acts as a barrier against the elements and the tannic acids in the wood. 

I strongly recommend only using screws or bolts in the construction of outdoor furniture, however. The galvanized finish on nails, either electroplated or hot dipped, can easily become damaged while hammering them in, exposing the nail head to the elements and allowing them to begin rusting quickly. 

Adequate care must be taken when installing galvanized screws. Drill pilot holes in hardwoods, and be sure to use a bit that is not worn and susceptible to skipping in the screw head. For whatever reason, the galvanized screws seem to not be as well tempered as other steel fasteners, and are more likely to either snap off or have the heads strip out while installing them. Due to the allowance required for the hot dipped coating, galvanized bolts do not have as tight of tolerance on the threads, and are more likely to strip if over tightened.

Hot dipped galvanized fasteners are a fine choice for many outdoor furniture applications, including Adirondack Chairs, but are not the best choice for use in woods, such as teak.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the best choice for use in woods with higher levels of tannic acid, such as teak. Stainless steel is an alloy or blend of steel, nickel and chrome. The ratio of the other metals with the steel determine the weather and corrosion resistance of stainless steel. Because the steel is mixed with other softer metals, the stainless steel is not as strong, so predrilling of screw holes is highly recommended in all applications, and essential in hardwoods such as teak and mahogany. The added corrosion resistance more than outweighs any shortcomings that the metal may have, especially in outdoor furniture applications. 

While stainless steel fasteners are the most rust resistant, they are also the most expensive of the options we are discussing. However, using stainless steel fasteners will add years of life to your furniture. In the respect, they are an investment that will pay out for years to come.

Brass

I have seen brass used in some commercially produced outdoor furniture, but do not recommend it. While brass does not form red rust, and is well suited for many wet applications such as toilets and sinks, it does tarnish and corrode. It is also very susceptible to the tannic acids in wood, which will cause it to fail more quickly. Brass screws in particular do not have sufficient strength for outdoor furniture applications.

Outdoor or deck screws

In the past several years a number of manufacturers have introduced outdoor fastening products specifically marketed for deck building. These will typically be green, gray, tan or brown. These screws are either ceramic or plastic coated to delay the metal reacting with the wood acids. The specific coating methods are proprietary to each manufacturer, and can be a combination of electroplated galvanizing and plastic, or a baked on ceramic.

I have used these fasteners in furniture applications and they perform just fine. Unfortunately, I have not come across bolts with this type of finish. The brand of screw I used was Deck Mate, and they were available in tan and brown, so that the color can be selected to better match the wood being used. These screws are ceramic coated, and the manufacturer provided a coated bit for installation, which was designed to not damage the ceramic coating at the screw head. If you choose this type of fastener, be sure to compare the cost with stainless steel, as the price will vary. If the stainless steel is reasonably comparable in cost, it would be the recommended fastener. 

Always be sure to read the manufacturers specifications on the box to be sure that the screws are suitable for your application. 

Other Considerations

If you are building furniture that will be located on a covered porch or patio where it will be protected from the elements, the concern will be the interaction between the wood and the fasteners, much more so than the weather. Furniture that will be exposed to the elements all year, such as a garden bench, or an Adirondack chair in the corner of your garden, will have to be constructed with much more care and concern to ensure that they hold up more than just one or two winters.

Additional considerations must be made beyond just the choice of what type of fastener to use, though this is very important. For example, fasteners should not be located where water where collect and sit on the fasteners for an extended period of time. The screws that attach the seat slats to an Adirondack chair are a prime example- typically these screws will be countersunk below the surface of the wood. This will allow water to collect in the screw holes, shortening the life span of all but stainless steel fasteners, and prolonging the exposure of the wood to water, which will increase the rate of decay. In applications where the furniture will be exposed to the elements year round the screw heads should be driven flush with the surface of the surrounding wood. 

Construction and design of the furniture are also important considerations. Are the horizontal surfaces of the furniture constructed in such a way that will allow them to shed water, rather than collect it? Think of a picnic table with a slatted or board top. The gaps between the boards allow water a way to run off the top and not pool up. 

Conclusion

Stainless steel is usually the best choice for outdoor furniture applications, though the cost may be prohibitive for some. There are other less expensive fastener options available that will perform acceptably. Do not use unprotected steel fasteners for outdoor furniture applications under any circumstances. Know where and how you intend to use your furniture and design it for the conditions it will be subjected to.

American Mobsters – Louis Pioggi (Louie the Lump) – The Man Who Killed Kid Twist

Louis Pioggi, affectionately called Louie the Lump, was a diminutive and dapper Italian Five Point Gang member, who thrust himself into the spotlight one starry night in Coney Island, when he snuffed the life out of Kind Twist, the boss of the former Monk Eastman Jewish Lower East Side gang. Twist’s gang and the Five Pointers were in a constant battle for the Lower East Side rackets, and under Twist’s reign, his gang had made great inroads into the Five Pointer’s territory. The ire was so great between both gangs, they made the Hatfields and the McCoys seem like choir boys singing in a church.

Born in 1889 on the Lower East Side, Pioggi was basically a footnote in the history of the American gangster. He was a small timer, who as fate would have it, fell in love with the same dance hall girl, the more illustrious Kid Twist ( Maxwell Zwerbach) was seeing on the side.

It was the custom at the start of the 20th Century for gangsters who had more than a few bucks in their pockets, to break free from the dumps and dives on the Lower East Side and “go out on the town,” to the wondrous expanses of Coney Island in Brooklyn. On May, 14, 1908, Pioggi took a trip out to Coney to see Carroll Terry, a gorgeous Coney Island dance hall girl. who was the regular squeeze of Twist’s. Unknown to Pioggi, Twist was also in Coney Island to see Miss Terry, and was accompanied by his bodyguard Cyclone Louie, real name Vach Lewis. Cyclone Louie was a killer for Twist, but was better known as a Coney Island circus strongman, who bent large pieces steel around his neck for a living.

Pioggi went to the dance hall Terry worked in and enticed her to have a few dances with him, which was her job anyway. Pioggi became hopelessly lovesick and before he left, he begged Terry to promise him she’d comeback to New York City with him after her shift ended. Saying anything to get rid of Pioggi, Terry said she would, but only if Pioggi left at once, so she could do her job without his undue interference.

The real reason Terry gave Pioggi the bum’s rush was because she expected to see Kid Twist shorty. And that she did, when just moments after Pioggi left, Twist and Cyclone Louie made their grand entrance. She joined them at a table and after a few drinks, her lips loosened and she told Twist about Pioggi’s amorous advances. Soon after, Pioggi returned to the dance hall and he saw Twist holding hands with Terry, and Cyclone Louie standing guard. Knowing he had been had, Pioggi wandered into into a dive on Surf Avenue to drown his sorrows on the second floor of the saloon. Minutes later, Twist and Cyclone Louie burst into the saloon and confronted Pioggi.

“I just seen Carroll,” Twist said. “And she said youse in the biggest bum she knows. So she says you are an active cuss, always jumpin’ around. Let’s see how active youse is.” Twist pointed to the open window. “Take a jump out of the window.”

Now Pioggi was in no mood for the twenty-five-foot dive, but when Twist made a move for the revolver in his belt, Pioggi quickly jumped out of the window. He landed on all fours and later found out his had fractured his ankle. Pioggi limped to a telephone and called Paul Kelly, the boss of the Five Points gang. Pioggi told Kelly what had transpired concerning Kid Twist.

“I’ve got to cook him,” Pioggi told Kelly.

Kelly agreed with Pioggi’s assessment. “Sure you got to cook him,” Kelly said. “I’ll send a fleet down. When my boys get there you get these bums in the street and open up with your cannons.”

Kelly’s boys arrived an hour later and when they did, they saw Twist and Cyclone Louie having a grand old time in Terry’s dance hall, laughing and talking loudly about Pioggi’s daring dive. Terry had vacated the premises for a while and was nowhere to be seen. Pioggi sent a kid inside with a note telling Twist that Terry was waiting for him outside. As soon as they made it to the sidewalk, Twist head a voice call him from the side. “Over this way Kid,” Pioggi yelled. Before Twist could react, Pioggi put one in his head, killing him instantly. Cyclone Louie stood with his mouth open for a second, then he started to run. Pioggi and the Five Pointers chased him, pumping bullets at a dazzling rate. Finally, shot five times in the chest and back, Cyclone Louie fell dead as a rock to the pavement.

Pioggi, still outraged, refused to stop shooting. As luck would have it, Terry showed up seconds later, and just for the fun of it, Pioggi pumped a slug into her hip. Terry fell on top of the dead Twist, but lived to dance another day. As Pioggi jumped into a getaway car, a cop showed up at the scene. Pioggi fired again. This bullet knocked the cop’s helmet right off his head, but otherwise did him no damage.

Pioggi made his getaway and went into hiding, while Kelly contacted Tammany Hall, to see if he could negotiate Pioggi a favorable deal.

A few days later, Pioggi turned himself in and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He also testified that he had acted completely alone, which was quite disingenuous of him, since scores of people had seen the Coney Island executions.

Pioggi was sentenced to eleven months in Elmira State Prison. He left the courthouse sneering. “What’s eleven months?” Pioggi said. “I could do that standin’ on me head.”

Scenic Drives of Florida’s Space Coast – South Tropical Trail, Merritt Island to Indian Harbor Beach

Back in the late 1960s when I first moved to Florida, South Tropical Trail was a narrow winding two lane roadway starting at the West end of Mather’s Bridge which connects Indian Harbor Beach to the South tip of Merritt Island, and wound along the western edge of the island northward to the more populated center of Merritt Island near State Road 520. Mather’s Bridge at the time was an old wooden bridge that I spent my youth fishing from and at the west end on Merritt Island sat the old Mather’s bridge Fish Camp. Along the trail, large homes nestled among large properties on the east side of the road stretched from the Banana River shore westward across the trail to the Indian River. These “estates” were broken up by undeveloped properties with jungle-like vegetation, giving a mysterious otherworldly aura to this part of the island. There were also several urban legends about the Trail, including the “Haunted House”, an ancient, dilapidated, and abandoned nursing home allegedly still haunted by the residents who died there. There was the “Madman with the Machete”, a supposedly insane man who prowled the trail on foot at night, looking for unsuspecting teenagers parked in vacant lots. Then there was the “Girl in the Glass Coffin”, whereas the story goes, a man raises his blind daughter until she dies tragically in her young teens. The father, distraught over her death and lifetime of blindness entombs his daughter’s body above ground on their property in a glass coffin so that “she will not have to spend eternity in darkness as she spent her short life”. Then there was our own version of “Dead Man’s Curve”, a section of the trail where a higher than normal number fatal traffic accidents occurred, usually younger drivers showing off late at night. The alleged “Haunted House” was there, ghosts or not, as was “Dead Man’s Curve, a narrow curve on the edge of the Indian River Lagoon lined with thick trees. The “Girl in the Glass Coffin” was a story you always heard third hand, I never met anybody who had actually seen her or could tell exactly where she was, and I never personally met the “Machete Madman”.

However, with that said, the drive between State Road 520 in Merritt Island Southward to Mather’s Bridge, which connects the South tip of Merritt Island to Indian Harbor Beach is one of the most interesting drives along the Space Coast of East central Florida, and can be driven in three sections, however in my opinion it gets better the farther south you go with the southernmost section being the best.

The northernmost access is from State Road 520 Causeway at the first stoplight east of the Indian River Bridge from Cocoa. If approaching from the east it will be the next stoplight west of the intersection of 520 and South Courtenay Parkway. Heading South from 520, South Tropical Trail will wind through mostly residential neighborhoods for the first 3 miles, but once past that, the trail runs along the eastern shoreline of the Indian River lagoon offering expansive views of this most biologically diverse estuary while to the east of the road, high end home-sites dominate. This will continue for a little over 2 miles at which point the trail turns to the east to meet up with South Courtenay Parkway, where it again turns to the south and South Courtenay Parkway or State Road 3 becomes South Tropical Trail or County Road 3.

The second leg, which can be accessed by directly by South Courtenay Parkway if you wish to bypass the first leg, will at first go through residential on both sides of the road but very quickly begins to hug the Banana River to the east offering great views of this beautiful river, while to the west, beautiful homes on expansive lots are the rule.

The third or southernmost leg starts as the trail passes underneath Pineda Causeway and can be accessed or exited at this point. This is also the most scenic portion of the drive as the trail now begins to hug the Indian River Lagoon shoreline to the west. The island is thinner here and many of the homeowners along this stretch own the property from the Banana River to the Indian River and tropical foliage abounds while attractive gazebos and docks line the shoreline. The views are spectacular, especially towards sunset. South Tropical Trail ends at Mather’s Bridge and at this point the island is not much wider than the road, as it turns to the east across the bridge, becoming Banana River Drive entering Indian Harbor Beach.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Versus Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE) – Auto Glass

But I Thought You Said This Windshield Was Original Equipment?

Here is a common story for a consumer. A person has a brand new or leased vehicle and a piece of glass becomes damaged. They call an auto glass company and the consumer is told OEE is an original equipment equivalent replacement piece for their vehicle. But when the auto glass technician shows up to complete the replacement, the piece of glass does not actually have the vehicle makers OEM manufacturer logo.

OEM – Original parts installed by the vehicle’s maker during the assembly of your vehicle.

OEE – Parts produced for installation in the “aftermarket” by third party companies.

What Is OEM Auto Glass? (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

When a new vehicle is designed the vehicle maker can use an existing windshield part from an older model vehicle, or they can create a whole new windshield and part number. If the decision is made to create a whole new windshield the vehicle maker contracts a glass manufacturer to create the part. The glass manufacturer and vehicle maker create a unique mold and a unique molding/firing process to produce the OEM windshield (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The parts are installed when the vehicle is assembled at the vehicle makers factory.

OEM parts are available for purchase through your local dealership or through an auto glass company. Do be aware that OEM installations through a dealer will be significantly higher priced than choosing a third party company for the replacement. OEM parts are typically more expensive than OEE. In fact, OEM can cost over 100% more. Although Carlite (Ford) windshields are extremely affordable!

What Is OEE or OE Auto Glass? (Original Equipment Equivalent)

After a new vehicle has reached dealerships and is sold to consumers, third party glass manufacturers will actually acquire OEM glass and reverse engineer a mold to manufacture their own aftermarket glass parts. This mold is created after they digitize an outline of the part. Then the companies create a firing process to bend and shape the glass. OEE aftermarket parts are slightly different in size, they have slight differences in the bend of the glass, and the glass may have high distortion when viewed from a side angle. All of these differences may be minimal or dramatic depending on the manufacturer. The cheaper the glass, the cheaper the manufacturing was.

Removal Of The Manufacturer Logo

Some auto glass installation companies remove the windshields manufacturer logo to fool consumers into thinking its actually OEM. Remember to never buy glass without a manufacturer product label. The label is usually about 1 square inch in size and is located in the bottom areas of the windshield right above the painted black ceramic band. The manufacturer logo includes information about where the glass was manufactured, and has information for the Department of Transportation. Removing the logo is illegal.

What Are The Main Differences Between OEM and OEE.

1. Side View Clarity – All glass that is bent during manufacturing has some distortion when viewed from a side angle. This can be described as waves or waviness. Aftermarket glass is pressed, molded and fired during manufacturing in a slightly different way than the original process set by the vehicle maker. As a result of the difference in manufacturing the aftermarket process typically creates more distortion in glass when viewed from a side angle. Sometimes its a lot more!

2. Safety – Both types of glass meet all federal safety standards and also go through testing at such places as AMECA, Automotive Manufacturer’s Equipment Compliance Agency Inc.. Because both types meet certain safety guidelines, many auto glass installation companies push the argument that aftermarket is equivalent to the vehicle makers original replacement equipment simply based on this one similarity.

3. Glass Thickness – The federal government actually has mandates on the thickness of a windshield. Most windshields are between 2-3mm (millimeters) thick. OEE glass may have a.01mm or more difference in thickness. This may result in the idea that aftermarket is more cheap. Although this is still as safe and equivalent to OEM, I find it is different none the less and may have a higher risk of cracking from debris impacts.

4. Black Ceramic Paint Design – Both types of glass will typically have the same exact paint designs around the edges of the glass, although there are a few unique OEM windshields out there. This black design only hides areas from view (ex: under the dashboard, behind side pillars) and it protects the urethane glass adhesive from UV emitted by the sun. UV will degrade the adhesive which will result in the glass falling out or coming loose. One of the few differences found in paints bands may be, the vehicle maker or vehicle model logos embedded in the design. An example is a Ford Mustang windshield. The OEM windshield includes a picture of the Mustang logo above the rear view mirror bracket in the third visor.

5. The Manufacturer/Vehicle Maker Logo – OEM windshields have a logo that matches all of the other pieces of glass on your vehicle. This is the easiest to see if a piece of glass has been changed before, or to confirm if an auto glass company has ordered the right glass for you. The logo will either have the vehicle maker logo or the original vendor logo.

6. Rear View Mirror Brackets And Sensors – Aftermarket windshields (OEE) use a different process to adhere the mirror brackets to the glass. I find that their quality of adhesion and location is not as accurate as OEM parts. In fact, aftermarket distributors repeatedly drip glue on the glass below the bracket which may stain the black ceramic band on the interior side of the glass. When it comes to sensor components such as a rain sensors, the problem it not as rampant. But on a BMW windshield, a mirror bracket not correctly aligned may hinder the re-installation of the mirror’s plastic cover assembly which hides the sensor and bracket.

So Which Windshield Should I Choose, OEM or OEE?

The biggest impact on your decision will be budget. OEM parts are almost always higher priced. Most consumers simply choose OEE because they have no choice, everyone needs to save a few bucks. Don’t be scared of choosing aftermarket glass though because safety is mostly impacted by the technician installing the windshield correctly, not the glass itself. But if you really love your vehicle and expect the best quality, you should choose OEM. And if you are leasing your vehicle, your dealer may have restrictions on what type of glass is acceptable upon returning the vehicle. You may get a fee added if you have an aftermarket glass installed. Call your dealer for more information.

Tips For Vertical Blinds in Angled Top Windows

Anytime you have an angled top window, it poses a difficulty when ordering horizontal or vertical blinds and shades. While some manufactures make angled head rails to help out with the problem, you do have other options to consider. Here we will discuss some options and give you some tips on getting the proper fit.

Guide to Measuring Angled Top Windows

1. Measure the width of the window frame.

2. When measuring the angle top for blinds or any other window treatment, you will want to take three separate measurements.

*a. Measure the width from the bottom.

*b. Measure the width from middle.

*c. Measure the width from the top.

3. Measure the height of the window.

*a. Measure from the bottom of the window all the way to the start of the angled top

*b. This means you will NOT measure the angle portion of the window.

*c. This measurement is the HEIGHT of you blinds.

Guide to Mounting the Vertical Blinds

1. First, make sure you have side mount brackets. You will need these to properly fit the window.

2. Attach the brackets to the window frame.

*a. Attach the brackets to the sides.

*b. Attach the bracket to the shorter side first, just where the angle starts.

*c. Attach the other bracket directly across from the shorter bracket.

*d. Use a level to make sure the brackets are installed at a level height.

*e. This will keep your head rail level.

Exposed Area of Window

In most cases, the top portion of the window is high enough that you can leave it uncovered and still maintain your privacy. However, you do not have to leave it uncovered.

Some companies offer a cut piece to fit the exposed area. The top covering can be matched to meet the same fabric, wood, aluminum or what have you, to the original vertical blinds. When the exposed spot is big enough, this can create a beautiful design. However, it will not open.

This option is especially useful and decorative for windows that are not angled but arched instead. Oftentimes, you can get a fan like effect over the blinds, which really set off the look and feel of the window.

Finding More Help for Angled Windows

If you have concerns about how to measure or what would look best then contact the company. A customer service representative should be able to answer all your questions.

The Miracle of The Impact Driver

When they first came out years ago, impact drivers were very popular in Japan but it took a while for Americans to realize what a terrific advantage impact drivers have over an electric drill when it comes to driving long screws into wood, especially decking. American companies like Porter Cable caught on to the idea and started competing with impact drivers offered by overseas companies. The idea for impact drivers was born long ago with the inventions of (1) the impact wrench, used in every automotive garage, and (2) the hammer drill used to power masonry bits into concrete and other extremely hard materials.

The technology that allows them to do this is sometimes referred to as “hammer and anvil” meaning that, unlike the simple twisting action of an electric drill, the impact driver literally “pounds” the screwdriver bit around as if being repeatedly being hit by a hammer. This action gives these woodworking tools tremendous power that simply would not be possible if the same screwdriver bit were chucked up in an electric drill with the same size motor and battery. An additional advantage is that there are hex shank drill bits available so that your impact driver can double as a quick-change cordless drill thus becoming one of your most versatile woodworking tools.

The first time I picked up an impact driver, a 12-volt Makita, I thought it looked, to me, like a toy. I then tried it out by driving a 3-inch deck screw into a 4″ x 4″ piece of fir. I was amazed as I watched (and felt) the tiny machine effortlessly drive the screw home, sinking the head below the surface of the wood. I had to remember to keep a lot of hand pressure against the tool so that the screw driver bit did not pop out of the screw head and strip it. From that moment forward, I have never been without one of these amazing machines at my side.

Over the years, these drivers have been improved to the point of near perfection and this includes the batteries that power them. Battery size has grown from 9.6 volts to 18 volts and more. More than that, battery life has been greatly extended from what it was with the advent of Lithium Ion technology and subsequent improvements on that. In fact, a significant part of the cost of any impact driver, whether it comes from Makita Tools, Bosch or DeWalt is the battery or batteries that come with it.

You may have noticed that most manufacturers of cordless woodworking tools have started selling so-called “bare tool bodies” meaning that they come with no battery or charger included and a greatly reduced price tag. The reason for this is that most manufacturers (but not all) have discovered that if they make all their tools run on the same 18-volt Lithium Ion battery, they can sell more bare tool bodies while locking in their customers to their brand. End users love this because they do not have to keep laying out hard-earned money for shelves full of different batteries and chargers but, rather can just buy the bare woodworking tools that share the same battery.

Several manufacturers like Makita Tools have included two or more speed ranges in their impact drivers. Sometimes, too much power is not always a good thing. You can destroy small screw heads and break screw shafts. The more power used, the less battery life. Just because you have a 400 HP motor under the hood of your car does not mean that you drive around town with the accelerator pedal to the floor.

While a 12 or 14.4 volt impact driver will suffice for most jobs, an 18 volt model is well worth the small increase in price.

The Concept Of Melting Pot As An American Identity

Melting pot, the combination of people from different cultures, races and religions in one multi-ethnic society, is undoubtedly one of the most important features of the American Identity. It is one of the elements that led to the growth of the population of the United States specifically during the large-scale immigrations at the beginning of the 20th century. In this paper, I am going to have an overall view about the opposing ideas toward this metaphor.

The term, melting pot, got its name in 1908 after the first performance of a play called “The Melting Pot” in Washington DC by Israel Zangwill. The immigrant protagonist of the play announced: “Understand that America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming! A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians-into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.”

One must bear in mind that the idea of melting pot is associated with “model” immigrants who came to the United States legally and through the Ellis Island. They are labeled as model immigrants because they were successful workers who could forget their historic identities and absorb the ways of the host society. That is to say, African Americans and Native Americans are not taken into account. Although African Americans have fully integrated into American culture, the inter-marriage between whites and non-whites was not permitted in many US states until 1967(under anti-miscegenation laws). This issue, excluding African Americans and Native Americans form the melting pot process, is of intense debate nowadays.

Multiculturalist View of the Melting Pot Theory

Multicuturalists are known by the coinage of the term “salad bowl”, or what Canadians call “cultural mosaic”, which means the immigrants do keep their national and cultural characteristics when they integrate into a new society.

Multiculturalists are those who support programs like bilingual education and affirmative action in order to support minority immigrant groups. In other words, they do not agree with the idea of assimilation for immigrants.

The reason behind this lies in the fact that multiculturalists, who have got a strong sense of nationalism, believe that an imposed assimilation can give way to the rise of opposing integration groups. They believe that assimilation makes immigrants lose their original cultural or even linguistic identity.

They also comment that this process of assimilation has created a gap between different members of an immigrant family, as the use of the native language in English classes in the United States has highly been disapproved of. This leads to having more immigrant children who are reluctant to talk in their mother-tongue language at home with their parents.

Assimilationist View of the Melting Pot Theory:

Despite the multiculturalists who view the melting-pot theory as oppressive, the assimilationists argue that it is favorable for both the country and its people economically only and only on the condition that immigration is under control.

Assimilationists believe that this multi-ethnic country has been created because of its success to build one national identity. They argue that giving special privileges to those from different ethnicities creates hatred between the majority group. They believe the government is responsible for helping immigrants to get in line with the mainstream culture.

Assimilationists believe that paying attention to the cultures and customs of the immigrants is impossible to follow, as large numbers of immigrants are coming from third world countries and therefore different backgrounds. That is why they do not agree with multiculturlaists. Besides, they say that even meeting the needs of immigrants will be very costly.

A Moderate View of the Melting-Pot Theory:

What is suggested here by some scholars is that there can be a balance between multiculturalist’s and assimilationist’s points of view. They argue that immigrants do not need to put away their original culture completely. They can consider themselves as citizens of the host country first and as citizens of the country in which they were born second. This idea implies that though they practice their cultural traditions, when it comes to choosing between the two countries, they will serve the interests of the host country as it is of overriding importance to them.

They comment that while English is the main language spoken in schools, there must be optional courses for foreign languages. Advocators of this view claim that when the government supports such cultural practices within the immigrant minority groups, the immigrants will automatically share a love of the host country.

Does the Melting Pot Boil over?

According to some scholars, yes. There have been claims that The United States is beyond its limit to accept any more immigrants, specifically more Mexican immigrants. Apparently as Mexicans are coming to the country in large numbers, they feel very comfortable with their own culture and not only have they assimilated into the American culture and identity, but also they are seen as a threat to American culture and identity as they are changing them dramatically.

In conclusion, although it is crystal clear to all that US history is that of immigration, the American identity is doomed to change if immigration control and most importantly border control (in case of Mexicans) are neglected.

Sadequain’s Art – Influences and Inspirations

Sadequain is a great thematic painter of Pakistan. He has worked in various styles ranging from linear to ‘painterly’ ones. Since he is a thematic painter with personal and individual observations of life, he opts to depict grotesque elements from inner and outer world, to find truth and reality. In this pursuit, he paints his canvases with figures which actually are characters taken from religion, history, mythology and literature, with backgrounds suggesting either the time period they belong to or the inward feelings they are spellbound with. The diversity in Sadequain’s work, both in technique and in thought, encompasses the wide range of influences and inspirations owing to different reasons and circumstances, the artist comes across throughout his life.

This paper will analyze the influences and inspirations that effected Sadequain’s art, intrinsically as well as extrinsically, to find out the sources and origins which generally cover mythology, religion, philosophy, drama and literature. This study will also unfold the influences of art movements or styles that inspired Sadequain’s art.

These inspirations and influences have served and fed Sadequain’s art in a manner that enables him to extract his themes from a variety of subject matters from gods and goddesses to the great thinkers and philosophers of Greece and Persia, in terms of characters, while in connection with literature, he touched Sophocles on one end and Shakespeare, Iqbal and Ghalib on the other. Whereas by composing his frames in a theatrical way, Sadequain has put on show conceptual as well as corporeal aspect of drama in life, an element that Baroque art is famous for.

Most of Sadequain’s paintings display elements like; exaggeration, horror, metamorphosis, drama and myth in their themes while as far as figures or characters are concerned, he has looked back into history, religion and mythology (regardless of origins i.e. Greek or Indian) to portray characters that can enrich and elaborate his themes, for this purpose Sadequain has painted, celestial figures, philosophers; who had great ideology and impact like Aristotle, Socrates, Ibn-i Khaldun, scientists ranging from early periods of enlightenment like Ibn-i Haisam, al-Khwarzami, or Ibn-i Sina, to the modern era of twentieth century known for new theories, where his brush personifies Einstein or Karl Marx.

Taking his themes into consideration first, we can find him a lover and admirer of the darker and crude form of life contrary to the beautiful, subtle and aromatic aspects. Since this concept of grotesque or malamat2 is not a new one in this part of the world as it has been discussed and displayed on various levels by different schools of Sufism that has got popularity in the subcontinent.

According to Akber Naqvi:

“Sadequain’s art enacted the drama of malamat in its Zahiri3 and batini4aspects-the coincidence and confusion of appearance and reality as awareness of truth in the definition of the self.”

(Naqvi 370-71)

The concept of Malamat has been in vogue in the Sufi tradition here in the subcontinent, where Sufis were not of view to adapt themselves to the clear and straight rules of life, rather they groped the reality through grotesque and more ritual way of life where, dance, music, intoxication and supernatural ambiance was created and strongly believed.

With this approach in life, Sadequain is expected to reveal the realities of life through dance, drama, and rituals in an ambiance, far fetched from the physical world and close to the mystic vagueness. These subjects help him in carrying out paintings with subjects matter taken from mythologies, and enactment of the rituals, which ultimately causes him in putting dynamism within his frame along with the concepts he painted upon.

In his thirst to paint themes under the inspirations and influences he has admired throughout his life, Sadequain is seen quenching his desires, through romantic and modern painting styles and concepts when he paints with self-conscious approach and themes (a romantic attitude) at one place while with abstract expressionism and symbolic style at the other. He also follows modern art techniques, wherever needed to give expression to his inner and individual thoughts.

As his interest has never faded out of mythological and religious concepts and literary epics and stories, from where his characterization has gotten enriched, he is also found indulged in emphasis, exaggeration, hyperbole, horror, theatricality (action, drama, movement), and dynamism which reminds us of the art of baroque style. Collectively, Sadequain was inspired from diverse influences that prevailed either in European art and literature or in the Eastern tradition of grotesque mysticism (Malamat).

Historically, man has recorded his rituals, dance and religious practices of great importance in the form of cave painting; the oldest form of expression. Most of the cave paintings do possess the chronicle elements ever since those paintings have captured a performance or an activity that was related to some ritual or religious doctrine, or the adventures and hunt scenes, which can give the impression that man has always been curious to record whatsoever was around his physical and emotional existence. This practice has been the most common and respected one even in the Stone Age in the subcontinent, which has enabled us to have an idea of life and beliefs that those people were leading and following.

The earliest images in the caves of Bhimbetka with simplicity in drawing, linearity and movement of the figures, suggest the dance or hunt movements of the characters; an expression that was later partially adopted by Sadequain.

Another ancient but comparatively modern concept of religious themes and personification of sacred figures through different forms of visual art could be found in the times of Buddha. The visual expression of Jataka Stories5, which were carved in stone at the Stupa of Sanchi and Amravati, or painted on the rocks of Ajanta Caves, served the religious beliefs to be converted from intangible form to the tangible shape. These stories, at the same time provided materials for actors and dancers of Ashoka6 period (268-233 BC) to act upon.

“Jataka stories can be described as an ‘encyclopedia of contemporary Indian life’ in all its aspects. These stories describe various previous births of Gautam Buddha and instructive episodes relating to them…. According to Buddhist tradition, the number of these stories is 550 out of which about 547 are available in a collection. Their delineation in stone forms a major part of early Buddhist art down from Ashokan times. Many Jataka stories are artistically engraved on the stone railings and toranas of Buddhist monuments such as those at Bharhut, Sanchi and Amravati stupas and are painted on the walls of Ajanta canves. They present an approximate panorama of Indian life between 600 BC to 300 BC.”

(Varadpande 116)

Since visual art is a record of events that have got immense importance in modern times, painting in particular captures figures, scenes, subjects or emotions that have been in existence prior to the moment of their rendering by the artist; so, there is possibility of overlapping of characteristics from one genre to the other. Therefore, the mythological and religious stories, characters, and moral values can get place in the paintings whenever they are rendered regardless of time. Art could adopt its characters and atmosphere from the religious doctrines, mythological concepts, literary ideas and folklore, which would be in fashion at the time, that art has been produced. As the extrinsic references have shown this quality of art as inevitable, Sadequain’s art, on specific ideas of mythology (Indian or Greek), religion and poetic expressions of Iqbal7, Ghalib8 and Faiz9, clearly indicates the contrast and diversity of nature in connection with social and religious life, related to certain circumstances.

Characters have always been the main feature in visual expression, in painting; they embody tragic and joyous emotions, representing life itself. But owing to its strong appeal and gripping nature, tragedy has got pivotal place in the life of human beings and a strong motivational force for any kind of natural expression.

Aristotle argued in the Poetics that tragedy:

“is a representation, not of men, but of action and life, of ‘happiness and unhappiness’ and that ‘happiness and unhappiness’ are bound up with action”

(Aristotle 39-40)

As tragedy, according to Aristotle, is the most important factor behind any creation or expression which leads one to ‘catharsis10’ and enhances the total impact of ‘happiness’ or ‘unhappiness’, the embodiment of these emotions are; characters who represent these emotions through their gestures, facial expressions and movements. Any kind of expression in art gives so much importance to the characters that are going to represent the subject or the theme of the artwork. In painting, characters are represented through figures and portraits, which reflect the desired emotions and convey them to the audience through the formal quality and variation of colour, texture, chiaroscuro, line and composition.

What importance of human expressions, in visual art, is well defined as under by Goodman:

“what is expressed is metaphorically exemplified”

(Goodman 85)

Through an art such as figurative or portrait painting, expression is achieved by imitating a figure or portrait of a well-known or ordinary person or character. Keeping in view the fact that human concerns are always behind any kind of artwork, one can assume the subject matter of a certain era.

Sadequain has dealt with his paintings in terms of characters, facial expressions, distortion, movement, texture, chiaroscuro and a planned and directed atmosphere, created through the collective representation of all the mentioned elements on a larger scale. His characters, in most of his paintings are ‘alive’ and dynamic in nature, busy in their work or duties. They do not seem to be posing or idle for the sake of painting only. He has also used facial expression of his characters within the frame to enhance his expression of the theme that is behind that painting. By distorting figures and other elements of the painting, Sadequain has always tried to get the desired effects of human struggle, and has put his idea or theme on a high pedestal in a loud style; as on stage, with the distortion of sound effect, the director of an act creates ambiguity to clear or prominent his theme or subject. His figures are actually characters of his themes and individuals full of energy, painted to convey movement or activity, according to the subject. Sometimes in his desire of conveying his concept or theme to the viewer with energy, Sadequain has also added symbolic expression with little or more exaggeration which has, in many of his paintings and drawings, created an ‘abstract expression’ based on ones innate and psychological experiences that can put his work under the label of ‘modern art’ while his self-centered approach has fashioned ‘romantic’ approach at the same time.

Texture and chiaroscuro are the vital elements of a painting to create the atmosphere or ambiance, Sadequain with his cross hatching brush, using dark and light areas, creates low degree of chiaroscuro. His paintings do no possess the dramatic light effects or light and dark contrasts as of some baroque style paintings by Caravaggio11, but even then his textures create an effect of ‘light and dark’ to suggest the positive and negative aspects of his themes. He is a romantic at some place, and modern at the other or both, at the same time. If we take him as ‘romanticist’ first, he is found to fall in this category due to some reasons.

As Jacquez Barzen states:

“As against poetic diction and ‘noble’ words, the romanticists admitted all words; as against the exclusive use of a selected Graeco-Roman mythology, they took in the Celtic and the Germanic; as against the uniform setting and tone of classical tragedy, they studied and reproduced the observable diversities known as ‘local color’. As against the antique subjects of and the set scale of pictorial merits prescribed by the Academy, they took in the whole world, seen and unseen, and the whole range of colors.”

(Barzun 59)

By analyzing these qualities of romanticists, we come to a point that romanticists were against restrictions and geographical bounds, first in terms of information and knowledge and later, in their expression, they were with an opinion that myths, legends, poetic expressions, pictorial merits and concepts were universal and they had nothing to do with a certain ethnicity.

By these standards, we can call Sadequain a romantic, as he adopts everything whatever he thinks to fulfill his pictorial and conceptual requirements. He goes for the mythology regardless of its origin; he takes on the journey to diverse ethnicities and derivation while painting his canvasses. He is also an observer of the whole world and universal pains, the humanity is exposed to, and rather than classical set patterns, he has also taken up the ‘observable diversities’ in creating his ‘local color’.

Barzun has commented between classic and romantic as:

“In common speech certainly, the sentiments aroused by the word ‘classical’ are those of repose and serenity, while the connotations of ‘romantic’ suggest restlessness and disorder.”

(Barzun 37)

If we apply the conditions of restlessness and disorder on Sadequain’s art and personality, the same result we can find which may advocate us to call him a romanticist. As we find his work against the static and acclaimed standards of academic art (even in a developing country like Pakistan), disorder, especially within his distorted figures, crudeness of form, and the dynamism, and the shades of restlessness, force us to label him as ‘greatly inspired by romanticists’ if not a romanticist himself. Sadequain’s own conception of life, which is also very much individual; the grotesque or Malamati, has caused a great deal of self-centeredness when he paints self-portraits within a painting or a drawing. The symbol of ‘cactus’ he has used for his life also refers to the individuality covered by the ego of a self-centered individual, who seems inspired of the romantic approach of inner and individual expression. The admiration of restlessness has made him quoting Iqbals concept of true Muslim (Mard-e Momin) in pictorial way; a well-known aspect of Sadequain’s work regarding inscription based painting. Other than Iqbal, he also painted upon the ideology presented in Ghalib’s verse, which is a direct extraction from the Persian tradition of egoistic literary expression, of which Ghalib has been proud.

In other words, contrary to the stationary and idle attitude (which is demarked as ‘classic’ in the west), Sadequain prefers movement and dynamism, and for that, he even goes for the associated disorder, that is obvious in his figurative distortion, this practice has proved him immensely inspired by the impatience romanticists are known for.

Moreover, Sadequain is also a modern artist, one of the reasons for this is his period, as he was born just after the World War I and saw World War II in his youth in a colonial country where agitation was on its peak by that time. He started work when the entire world was experiencing revolutionary changes, ideological as well as geographical, with new economic and philosophical theories were helping Communism12 and Socialism13 to spread around the globe. Individuality and self-respect was the new world order and it was farewell to slavery. Either it was physical or intellectual. Freedom of thought, expression, and beliefs made self-consciousness a common and accepted doctrine that strengthened the concept of ‘abstract expressionism’ and individual perception.

“The first striking trait of the modern ego is self-consciousness, I say self-consciousness rather than self-awareness, because I believe that in spite of much heart-searching, the modern ego is more concerned with the way it appears in others’ eyes than with learning fully about itself and admitting its troubles fearlessly. The romantics were introspective, too, but they did not fear ridicule as we do, which is why we accuse them of indecently exposing their innermost souls.”

(Barzun 117)

So, Sadequain is influenced and inspired by the modern ideology of self-consciousness as well. And if we could try, in the light of quoted paragraph, to put him under the category of self-consciousness or self-awareness, he would fall in the former one. But since he accepted so many diverse influences, it will be hard to categorize him under one label, but keeping his time in consideration and the approach he adopted towards life, we could say that he was more inspired by the romantic and modern ideology of painting at the same time while his work was a crucible of different inspirations and influences, regardless of origins and ethnicities.

Other than his paintings, the drawings and sketches in ‘pen and ink’ could also be categorized with the same qualities that could be identified as extracted from historical, mythological, religious or literary backgrounds. In his sketches, one might not find the chiaroscuro or the ‘painterliness’ due to the linearity of the technique, but the entire range of pivotal conceptual elements, he has used in his paintings, could be found in extremely skilled fashion.

A drawing in pen and ink under the title ‘Some other things to care about (1966)’ displays probability and action in its composition which, in two groups, exhibit the arrangement of an atmosphere where something is going to happen. The artist has given proper space between the two groups that may suggest the likelihood for some action as two figures are arranged in the right corner and three webbed figures in the left, but all in such a perspective that the space within and around them is visible to the onlooker. The webbed figures put on show the drama and the grotesque approach of the artist who seems concerned in portraying the pain of human beings since their birth to the eternal abode. A religious and mythical concept mostly portrayed and depicted in scriptures, mythologies and literature or in the form of holy ritual dance or the proper theatre in Athens performing Sophocles’ play.

Another painting ‘Two Graces (from aesthetics) 1970’, in pen and ink is like gratitude by Sadequain to the great western painting ‘Three Graces’. As the idea of this painting is the same as of the mythological painting by Rapheal in the early sixteenth century or by Picasso, later in the twentieth century. The movement, drama, and the characterization come by design within the frame. The stretch and the elasticity of the female bodies are endorsed as well as captured by arranging them in dance-like postures. The festivity and the lyricism have made this drawing a rhythmic performance. This work speaks high of the Western influence, Sadequain may have been under as one of many inspirations he has been exposed to.

Another pen and ink ‘The snake charmer (from observation 1970)’displays the aboriginal subject but Sadequain has, with folk subject and sensuous rendering, attracted the viewer. Moreover the combination of female body and the twirling snake, the concept of Vishkannya14seems obvious behind the painter’s imagination. The character of Vishkannya is associated with dance, while the curling, twisting and creeping movements of the snake, along with the venomous myth regarding Hinduism, help in creating a conceptual story as soon as one looks upon it. All these aspects make this painting ‘Thespian15’ in its physical as well as conceptual approach. Sadequain’s involvement in the Hindu myth and the grotesque attitude towards life, attracted him towards horrifying, dynamic and exaggerated topics and themes (a semi baroque influence), especially when he was not illustrating poetry as his first choice.

Two more pen and ink drawings ‘Soul and Body (from society and the stranger 1970)’ and ‘The Webbed (1966)’, also demonstrate the thematic drama and the symbolic rendering by the artist. In ‘Soul and Body’, the painter by personifying the non-corporeal subject of soul into corporeal existence of body through conceptually abstract and practically tangible practice of painting, has successfully put forth a vibrant show which may be considered a step towards self-realization or self-consciousness, as a romanticist, while through exploring the depths of inner world with reference to the outer one, he could be seen as an artist inspired by the modern theories of ‘expressionism’ based on the Freudian16 theories of psychology.

‘The Webbed’ is also a drawing with an overstatement by the artist, being caught in the desolation. Here too the painter has embodied an abstract feeling through a concrete symbol of web. The human struggle has been put in focus with the suggested movements through the cognate linearity. His comprehension of life is on a subtle point where he wants to give voice to his gruesome experiences, for that the painter is found busy in painting distorted figures, putting voice to his innate feelings and experiences, the artist has always been vulnerable of.

Akber Naqvi has stated this experience of Sadequain in these words:

“He dealt with truth and illusion at more than an aesthetic level; he remained engaged, throughout his life, in pain and in sickness.”

(Naqvi 365)

Other than his sketches and drawings, his paintings also display influences of diverse origins as stated in the beginning of this paper. One painting ‘Quest for knowledge (1959)’ presents distorted figures, dramatic arrangement (composition), and movement. Especially the characters clad in Egyptian robes on the horse back, going after the book of knowledge, depict an exaggerated approach of the artist which ultimately has added dynamism within the frame and the effect that the figure on a galloping horse will just get out of the frame from the left side, implies an event being enacted. Symbolic, romantic and expressionistic approach could be seen at a time while Sadequain’s work seems greatly inspired by mentioned art movements.

Another painting ‘The eternal female (1962-63)’ with distortion of the female body into a monstrous creeping creature advocates the mythological characterization, especially with reference to the aboriginal Hindu culture where the gods, goddesses and demons are portrayed with distortion and exaggeration in human or animal anatomy. The mythological treatment put on show the dramatic rituals, which have been part of sacred Hindu traditions as the Hindus have depicted almost each and every myth of Ramayana17 or Mahabharata18 in the form of famous dance-drama like Kathikali19 or Bharatnattyam20. The rudiments of ‘Natak21’, with supernatural characters and the element of horror, as the bizarre theme behind the painter’s mind, are obvious in this piece of work. Moreover, metaphorical and exaggerated approach and theatrical mode help us understanding the linkage of Sadequain’s perception with Indian traditions of expression and the forms of expressions all together, at an intrinsic and extrinsic analytical level.

A large mural painting at the State Bank Building Karachi under the title of ‘The treasures of time’ displays the historical and chronological qualities. This painting seems a tribute to human achievements and evolution with portraiture of geniuses from history, covering time periods from the Stone Age to the modern world. The panel painting is divided into four groups exhibiting four different eras of enlightened humanity through virtue and wisdom. In this painting, Sadequain looks greatly inspired by the revolutionary paintings of the modern art where the core reasons and the conceptual renderings were given more space.

Starting from the ancient world, Sadequain has painted the characters of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Archimedes, Herodotus, Sophocles and Confucius. This group shows the philosophers busy in pondering, writers and mathematicians tiring for their goals, the atmosphere created by the background, suggest the city of Athens and some part of China. The whole painting seems like an act of the drama where the well-known thinkers and philosophers are performing, reminding the all famous line by Shakespeare;

“All the world’s stage.”

The second group in the same gigantic painting exhibits the famous Buddha and the Galileo, an astrologist. The painter has emphasized on the details in dress, architecture and texture, while the style seems very western in this panel since detailed realism is obvious.

Third group or act of this huge painting consists of the wizards from Arabia and Persian, the origin and cradle of the Muslim doctrine and ideology. With Avicenna, Al-Khwarzmi, Ibn al-Hasam, Ibn al-Hayan, Farabi, Firdausi, Al-Kundi, Ibn-i Rushd, Rumi, Al-Idrees and Ibn-i Khaldun, busy in their respective activities, the painter looks as if he is under nostalgic infatuations and trying to glorify the events and persons of the era bygone, here again the painter has adopted a romantic attitude and have also practiced it in a romantic manner, where he also seems looking for his own individuality within these great personalities. In this group, it appears that the composition, characters and their costumes have been changed according to the painter’s own conceived requirements. Here on the upper areas behind the figures, light is cast on dramatically to spot them and their importance, which reminds us the dramatic light effects of Caravaggio in his biblical and thematic paintings of late sixteenth century.

In the fourth group of this panel, the painter has tried to cast his spot light on the genius of the western world, famous figures like, Leonardo da Vinci, Newton and Goethe put diversity and an evolved historical chronology of the European pursuit of wisdom through art, philosophy and science. The architectural background here changes as the set changes behind the performers while the theatrically postured figures put forward the idea of change in embryonic time.

Keeping the pace alive, Sadequain paints the sixth group with Iqbal, Einstein, Tagore, Karl Marx, Walt Whiteman and Darwin, as the spotlight is cast to highlight the 20th century modern theories of wisdom and philosophy around the globe. The whole panel, in figure arrangement, kinesics, postures, facial expressions, and the chronology, put forward a sense of dynamic composition and ambiance, within the whole panel and from one group to the other.

No artist could conceive an idea without prior concepts and knowledge that prevails through his mind and thoughts therefore, inspirations and influences are inevitable. One generation after experiencing diversity of life in thoughts and action, pass on the evolved wisdom and knowledge to its descendants. Sadequin was born when the entire world was on the brim of change in terms of economic and political scenario as two world wars have changed the shape and the course of the history and geographical boundaries of the globe. New theories, based on science and technology were in fashion and modern ideas in philosophy and psychology were challenging the centuries old traditions. All these elements were casting deep shadows on almost all branches of knowledge and all forms of art. Sadequain has witnessed the modern art movement at its zenith and the beginning of the post modern. But at the same time, owing to his own circumstances and geographical and conceptual linkages, he observed the indigenous traditions of expression, which were deeply rooted in the soil of Indus Valley.

Religious doctrines of Islam and Hinduism also inspired him with its association with the richness of Persian traditions and the rhythms of Vedic experiences, respectively. The diversity of cultures that the subcontinent absorbed to the maximum, with an acculturation of Arabian, Persian and local Jain, Hindu and Buddhist ethnicities, also inspired his concepts to a level of grotesque evolution. In view of the fact that subcontinent was under the British rule, Sadequain, under the western influential art movements like, romanticism, modernism and tinges of Baroque elements like horror, exaggeration, metamorphosis and theatricality, moved on to blend the western influences with the indigenous concepts derived from the epics like Mahabharta and Ramayna, while the Persian poetic ideology of Rumi and Firdausi reached him through the verses of Iqbal and Ghalib.

So by painting myths, religious doctrines (although through Malamat), poetic ideas, and epic characters, in symbolic, romantic and modern way and technique, Sadequain has given vent to varied inspirations and influences that were always behind his collective as well as individual conscience. Even in his aboriginal approach, since he is a Bengali by origin, educated in India and settled in Karachi (Pakistan), he experienced all the shades of diverse cultures; he had been living in, from Bengali-Muslim to Hindu-Indian to Muslim-Pakistani. A crucible, he became, as an artist within his approach and thought. That is why his works do not present a single shade of one individual when seen collectively.

Energy Saving GLS Light Bulbs

The term GLS, when applied to lighting, literally means ‘General Lighting Service’; the name is usually applied to an incandescent bulb with a traditional bulb shape. However the growth in popularity of power saving bulbs has meant that there are a wide range of energy efficient equivalents available.

Replacing traditional incandescent bulbs in the home or business with energy efficient bulbs is one of the easiest ways to save energy, the environment and money. The cost of electricity bills can be reduced significantly, while also knowing that a difference is being made on a larger scale.

The GLS bulb is just one type of light bulb that is now available as an energy saving bulb or CFL, (Compact Fluorescent Lamp), Up until recent times CFLs were only available in a few shapes such as the spiral shaped bulb. However, these eco friendly bulbs in their recent form are a much better product than when they were first introduced.

Many different shapes now exist, with the GLS energy saver being very popular as it can act as a direct replacement for the traditional incandescent GLS. In most households this is a change that makes sense. Some say the newer energy saver bulbs look better and add more character to certain light fittings.

Whereas the first low energy bulbs to be introduced flickered when switched on and tended to be dull due to a low Lumen value, a vast improvement has been made.GLS Light Bulbs are now available in various sizes, wattages, lumens values, bases and colour temperatures. These variations make the modern energy efficient light bulb more versatile. For example, a cosy warm white bulb with a colour temperature of about 2700 Kelvins is an ideal choice for households, whereas a daylight white bulb (6500 Kelvins) better suits an office or larger business premises,

Most GLS bulbs are available with an ES and BC base, (Edison Screw or Bayonet Cap). They are usually available in 11 watt and 15 watt options, 15 watts low energy being equivalent to around 60 watts incandescent. The Lumens value is a highly important factor, with a higher Lumen value meaning a stronger light output.

Energy Saving GLS Light Bulbs are a popular power saving replacement in Europe. Most have an average lifespan of at least 8000 hours and can save 75% to 80% of energy used. Large financial savings can be made by the switch to energy saving bulbs.

How To Play Cruel Solitaire

Did you know there are hundreds, if not thousands of solitaire games? You may have heard of some of the more popular ones, such as Freecell, Klondike, Pyramid, or Spider Solitaire.

But there are LOTS of other solitaire games as well. One of my favourites is a little-

known game called Cruel Solitaire.

The aim of cruel solitaire is to build 4 ascending suit sequences in the foundation

zone.

The opening tableau is made up of 4 foundation stacks (Each containing an Ace), a

talon, and 12 manoeuvre stacks, each containing 4 cards.

You can move cards in the foundation stack onto cards of the same suit, and one

more in rank.

For example, you can move a 3 of Clubs onto a 4 of Clubs, or a Queen of Hearts

onto a King of Hearts, and a 2 of Spades onto a 3 of Spades.

REDEALING IN CRUEL SOLITAIRE…

The talon in Cruel Solitaire is unlike the talon in other solitaire games. It doesn’t

actually deal out any more cards.

Instead, it redeals the cards in the manoeuvre stacks, so that each stack has 4

cards. The order of the cards stays the same, starting at the leftmost stack, with the

bottom cards on a stack going to the top of the next stack.

CRUEL SOLITAIRE STRATEGY…

Understanding how the redeal works is the key to doing well in Cruel Solitaire.

You should focus on only redealing when you have to. The more you play, the more

you’ll start to discover certain patterns that occur when you redeal. (HINT: A Card on

top will stay on top, if all the stacks to the left of it have 4 cards).

Once you understand these patterns, you will be able to have control over which

cards will shuffle around when you redeal. When you get to this stage of

understanding, winning cruel solitaire becomes much easier… just focus on moving

the rightmost cards to the talon first, and try and leave some leftmost cards in

reserve for when you run out of moves. The best case scenario for this is to have a 2

at the top leftmost column. If this happens, don’t move the 2 to the talon, until you

have exhausted all other moves and redeals.

If you play solitaire, and you would like to try a different game for a change, then

give Cruel Solitaire a go… I’m sure you’ll find it a lot of fun!

Yes, You Can Build Muscle-Lose Fat at the Same Time

When I was just a youngster in my twenties, I desperately wanted to gain muscle mass. Like many guys at that age, I longed to have big arms, wide shoulders, powerful and sweeping thighs, and a V-shape that tapered down to a small waist.

Unfortunately, that’s not how I looked. When I glance at old pictures, it appears that I was fooling myself into believing I looked less like the Pillsbury Doughboy than I really did. What was wrong? I pumped iron, downed high quantities of protein, ingested carbs during the so-called “two-hour window” after my workout. And most importantly in my mind; I kept my calorie intake high because all the available information said I needed to “bulk up” – to eat many more calories than I was burning so I could gain that desired muscle mass.

Now in my forties, I’m easily gaining natural muscle that I longed for twenty years ago. Not only that, I’m doing it while staying lean. Just recently, I decided to lean down even further – getting my body fat down in the mid-single digits. I was actually gaining strength and muscle while doing it.

How can that be? We’re told over and over that in order to gain muscle size, we need to eat a lot. Oh… and if you have a “fast metabolism” (i.e. blessed with really low body fat), they’ll tell you to turn yourself into a gorging pig because that’s the magic bullet for “getting big”… right? Well, that will get you “big”, but not with the kind of size that helps you land dates on Saturday night.

The fast metabolism people are being told to eat a lot more calories than they burn so they can gain muscle. They are assured by their muscle building gurus that they’ll go to a different phase after they’ve gained the muscle; a phase in which they’ll burn the fat.

Those with unwanted body fat are being told they’ll need to focus on losing the fat before they can gain any appreciable muscle. It’s said that the restrictive diet they’ll need to adhere to will prevent them from gaining muscle size.

So here’s a quiz question: If the skinny person can’t gain muscle without eating a lot of excess calories and the fat person got fat by eating excess calories, how is the former fat person ever going to gain muscle without gaining back fat and how is the skinny person going to lose fat once he’s “bulked up” without ending up skinny again? Maybe someone’s feeding us something other than food.

The answer: Fat and muscle are completely different tissues sitting side-by-side on the body. Don’t confuse the method by which one is gained or lost with how the other one is. If you’re slender and you shovel down truckloads of extra calories while inadvertently missing the ideal muscle breakdown/recuperation ratio, you’ll just end up fat.

Here’s a question for the “fast metabolism group”. Have you ever followed the advice of bodybuilding experts and didn’t gain the muscle you expected? You know the advice I’m talking about; eat A LOT of food, train “HEAVY” (relative term – how about “make heavy weights into light ones”?), use big compound exercises, try to sit on your ass as much as possible, and uh… set your alarm to go off in the middle of your sleep so you can chug some 2AM whey protein. Ugh… I don’t know about you, but you’ll never pull me out of a good night’s sleep just to force down some chalky powder.

Would you like to know what doing tons of compound exercises, forced reps, three, four and five-day splits and eating a lot of calories did for me? It turned me from a slim guy into a fat guy. When it was time to lose the fat, the muscle gains were disappointing. Anyone who’s been to my website can attest; whatever muscle was lying dormant under my body fat – it didn’t amount to much.

So the big question: How did I recently gain strength and muscle size while getting super lean?

I did it by eating slightly more protein than usual. I used 45 minutes of low-intensity cardio work to burn fat as soon as I got up in the morning. Above all, I made sure my muscles continued to be trained and recuperated at the ideal ratio and in my unorthodox manner. That’s what’s more important than adhering to some precise caloric regimen.

I’ll never again listen to anyone who claims you can only do one or the other; you CAN gain muscle and lose fat (or remain lean) simultaneously.

History of Hydraulic Jacks

Hydraulic jacks are widely used all across the globe. They have a lot of relevance in the present era, as they have made an incredible contribution in making our life much more comfortable than it was before. These jacks have outweighed conventional screw jacks that were in use at some point of time. They consist of two cylinders joined together. It works on the principle of Pascal’s law which suggests that when there is an increase in pressure at any point in a container of fluid, there is an equal increase in pressure at every other point in the container.

History

The origin of hydraulic jacks can be dated several years ago when Richard Dudgeon, the owner and inventor of hydraulic jacks, started a machine shop. In the year 1851, he was granted a patent for his hydraulic jack. In the year 1855, he literally amazed onlookers in New York when he drove from his abode to his place of work in a steam carriage. It produced a very weird noise that disturbed the horses and so its usage was limited to a single street. Richard made a claim that his invention had the power to carry near about 10 people on a single barrel of anthracite coal at a speed of 14 m.p.h. Dudgeon deserves a special credit for his innumerable inventions including the roller boiler tube expanders, filter press jacks, pulling jacks, heavy plate hydraulic hole punches and various kinds of lifting jacks.

Common Types

Floor Jacks: These jacks are primarily used to lift heavy equipments from the surface of the floor. It is more often used to change the tyres of vehicles. Floor jack is known by different names such as garage jack and car jack. Nowadays, you can find more powerful jacks in the market that use hydraulic power for maximum lift.

Hydraulic Bottle Jacks: Hydraulic bottle are versatile since they can be placed in tight spots and provides good leverage. They have a longer handle as compared to rest of the hydraulic jacks and push up against a lever that gives a lift to the main lift arm. With their use, it is possible to give a greater lift per stroke. They are extensively used in the construction of buildings and repairing the foundation of houses. It has also been found to be very useful in search and rescue operations.

Long Ram Jacks: In simple terms, it is a hydraulic jack with a long size ram. Its lever handle is quite easy to use. It is primarily used for performing various types of repairing work.

Shop Press jacks: They are of great use in press jobs where there arises a need to generate tremendous pressure with minimum effort.

Another popular form of jack that enjoys high demand in the market is the Porta Power Jack.

Get Rid of Your Inner Coward in 6 Easy Steps!

It was not too long ago that I found myself (ex-coward) at a family dinner in a cute restaurant downtown. The waiter brought me what I had ordered (which was salmon by the way) and soon afterwards I realized it was not cooked as much as I had asked. I still finished my dinner but certainly didn’t enjoy it as much. I thought about letting him know but my inner coward didn’t let me.

I am sure you’ve found yourself in a similar situation in the past. You want to speak up but something inside you says you should play “nice”. But what if playing nice ends up against you and makes people think you cannot stand up for yourself.

I am not talking about being over-aggressive but a certain amount of assertiveness will certainly make you gain the respect of your surroundings. Maybe even the admiration of the other gender.

So here are 6 easy steps to get rid of your inner coward that worked great for me:

1. Initiate conversation. Although this might seem like a huge hurdle to overcome it really is easy. Start by talking to people in the elevator. I wouldn’t recommend commenting on anything personal, just casual conversation about something general. Personal comments will make you look weird and too aggressive. Talk about something in your building, or ask a question about the area you live. Something in these lines. This will help you overcome the inhibition of starting a conversation and give you confidence.

2. Look at people in the eyes. The one sign that will mark you as a coward is avoiding eye contact. You will look like you are lying or have something to hide. It works in the opposite way too. Look at people straight in the eyes and the last thing they will think about you is that you are weak or a coward. Now don’t overdo it and don’t stare for too long because it can turn against you.

3. Next time you walk in the street hold your head up and make eye contact. It might seem silly but some subtle signs like these can say a lot about your personality. They can not only affect the people around you but also your own self-esteem. Again avoid prolonged eye contact but try to look at them until THEY decide to look elsewhere. Like a game.

4. Express your desires. Most of us that have not suppressed our “inner coward” yet think that expressing our desires will make us sound rude and aggressive. This couldn’t be any further from true. Letting other people know what your opinion is and what you want from them will not only make you sound honest but gain their respect too. It is OK to do what you want and avoid what you don’t like. But listen to them too and show respect to their wishes.

5. Do not apologize too often. “I am sorry, can I ask you something…” or “Sorry to bother you, but…”. Nothing wrong with talking like this except for the fact that you start a conversation by putting yourself at an inferior position. How about being in an equal position? “Good morning, can I ask you something…” or “I noticed that…” would make you sound more confident. It is all about subliminal messages you pass to the other person. He might not even notice why, but he will probably think you don’t have a very strong character. STOP giving messages that make you look like a coward when you aren’t!

6. Join the local gym. Not only will it make you look better and feel better about yourself. It will boost your adrenaline and make you more aggressive. If you think I’m wrong, give it a try and see why it will make you forget you ever acted like you were a coward when you are NOT!

Last piece of advice: Don’t expect all those tricks to work just because you practiced once. Give it some time. At least one month I would say. Building a stronger character can take a lifetime but you’ll see yourself changing very soon and be PROUD of it.

The Lang Model 60 BBQ Smoker

At the time we wrote “Competition BBQ Secrets”, we were using the Lang Model 60 exclusively. So all the tips in the book will work on this barbeque smoker in addition to all others. The Lang Model 60 is a very nice smoker. If you don’t mind the little bit of extra work involved in running a traditional, wood burning, offset barbeque smoker, then the Lang smoker is the way to go. Some people will only cook on traditional style offset smokers, so smokers that run on propane or pellets like the Traeger pellet smokers are out of the question. Hard core, barbeque to the bone, traditional BBQers will always cook on an offset smoker because they can use all natural wood which produces the best smoke flavor. A lot of the best barbeque teams do use pellet smokers and some of them even use charcoal, so I guess it is an argument that will never be settled.

The Lang Model 60 barbeque smoker is unique in that it has a metal plate that runs just above the firebox opening all the way to the other end of the smoker. At the other end, there is a two inch opening the entire width of the barbeque smoker. So the heat and smoke travels under the metal plate, to the other end, up and over the meat, and then out the smoke stack which is on the same side of the smoker as the firebox. This accomplishes two things…

1) The smoke is distributed more evenly throughout the cooking chamber.

2) The heat is also distributed more evenly thus eliminating those troublesome hot and cold spots found in a more traditional offset barbeque smoker which does not have the plate (the smoke and heat would just travel from the firebox directly into the cooking chamber and then out the smoke stack which is on the opposite side of the barbeque smoker).

Here’s some points to remember…

* The steel plate heats up and thus provides a more even heat source under the meat.

* There is a lip at the other end of the steel plate so you can close off the drain valve and fill the plate with water and you’ve got yourself a big water pan. This really produces some nice and tender barbeque.

* The end of the plate near the firebox and the plate sides are welded completely shut to the side of the cooking chamber.

* There is a drain valve that runs from the steel plate through the bottom of the tank.

* Usually, no water or dripping ever get into the bottom of the tank.

* Drippings from your meat will vaporize on the steel plate (if you have not filled it with water) thus producing a moist cooking environment in your barbeque smoker.

Cast Iron Skillets: Round Vs Squared

If you are a serious camper and love to cook delicious meals by the campsite, then you know the importance of having a good cast iron skillet. But did you know that the shape of the skillet can make a difference, not just in how well it heats, but also how much you can cook at one time.

If you are a great campsite cook, but only have round skillets in your arsenal of cookware, then maybe it is time you consider adding a square skillet to your collection of cast iron cookware for the campsite. When it comes to cooking food outdoors on a skillet, a square one is the way to go.

Because of the squared corners on a square skillet, you are able to hold and cook more food than you could in a round skillet. One good example of why square is better than a round skillet is when you are cooking bacon. Sure, you can cook bacon in any shape skillet, but a square skillet is going to be your best option. With a round skillet, you have to worry about how you are going to fit those long pieces of bacon into the short sides of a round skillet. But, when you are using square cast iron cookware, you are able to fit just as many pieces of bacon on the sides of the skillet as you are in the middle. Square skillets are not just perfect for bacon. You can also use them to cook chicken breasts, fish fillets or for the real outdoors person, the fresh catch of the day.

Sure, you can use a square cast iron cookware inside, but a round skillet usually works best. The main reason is because today’s stoves all have round burners instead of square burners. Since stove burners are round, what happens is that a square skillet will not heat as evenly as a round cast iron skillet. Because the corners of a square skillet stick out past the burner, the corners of a square skillet will not be as evenly heated as the middle the skillet, which could result in food sticking or food not cooking to the appropriate temperature. This is why square cast iron cookware is best used for cooking over a campfire. The heat of the fire is not confined to a specific shape, meaning a square skillet will heat more evenly over the campfire than over a round burner.

Cast iron skillets can be used pretty much anywhere you go. Whether you choose to stay at home and cook over the stove or head out to your favorite campsite, you will be able to create some delicious meals with your cast iron cookware. The only tough decision you will have to make is deciding if you want to leave your round skillet at home and bring your new square skillet. Or, on the other hand, why not just bring both.