The Insurance Agency Elevator Pitch

An insurance agency elevator pitch is a succinct summary used to quickly describe your insurance agency, products and services. It should include your unique agency value proposition, and must be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride, in about 30 to 60 seconds. This can be much harder than many agents might initially think, and should be scripted, vetted, rehearsed, and timed. The elevator pitch is a truly important and fundamental component of your insurance agency marketing and insurance agency prospecting efforts.

A great exercise for agents or agency executives is to ask a variety of people in your agency to tell you their version of the agency elevator pitch. Don’t be surprised if the pitch varies dramatically from person to person. Does the pitch adequately describe your value proposition? Does it highlight the products, services and solutions which best showcase your agency expertise? Did the litany of pitches even sound remotely alike?

Some years ago, I met with the executive team and senior managers of a small company, which at that time employed less than 100 people. I asked each of the dozen people I met to provide me with an elevator pitch about their organization. Some people were taken completely by surprise. Others sat and thought, and struggled to articulate an elevator pitch, or even describe their value proposition. The pitches I heard varied drastically.

Elevator pitches are an important digital asset for every agency. They should be vetted, scripted, practiced, and preached. I call it an asset, as it is a fundamental component in the marketing of any agency. And every member of an insurance agency, from agent to receptionist, to customer service representative to executive team should be able to promptly and professionally deliver their insurance agency elevator pitch.

Your sales and marketing efforts are built upon a well articulated and easily repeatable value proposition, which should be a microcosm of your elevator pitch. If you cannot communicate your value proposition in less than 30 seconds, or stumble when trying to express it, it’s time to write it down, rehearse it and communicate your value proposition with everyone in your agency. Once that is done, turn it into a 30 to 60 second elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect, try repeating both of these in monthly management meetings and sales meetings, and it’s important to note that your elevator pitch might vary based on your target niches (P&C versus Group Benefits for example).

Here are a few best practices when it comes to your insurance elevator pitch:

  • Be succinct – 30 seconds is much better than 60 seconds (you may not have 60 seconds!)
  • Create empathy – For example, “We work exclusively with New York contractors” or “we work with trucking companies with 5 to 50 power units” or we specialize in groups between 50 and 150 participating employees”
  • Verticalize – a vertical pitch is easier to differentiate, allowing you to better articulate your unique pitch. “We insure restaurants addressing their unique risks.”
  • Be different – “save money” and “great service’ is something everyone says. What are your top 3, unique differentiators?
  • Transfer enthusiasm! You have to believe it for them to believe it.
  • Close with a call to action – what’s the next step for your prospect

Let’s review a sample pitch, which would run 30 to 40 seconds depending upon cadence:

We’ve been helping trucking companies with their insurance and risk related needs for over 50 years. Everyone at our agency is a trucking fleet expert, in areas including hazmat, specialty cargo, certificate fulfillment, HOS, group health, and owner operator services. Because of our access to extensive markets and deep industry expertise, we provide creative coverages at the best possible rates, and help protect our clients’ bottom line. We know trucking insurance is one of your most important expenditures, and our creative coverage approach will help meet your unique requirements. Can we set up a 15 minute meeting to discuss your specific needs?

Your elevator pitch might be designed to include industry jargon to convince prospects of your deep expertise, it might highlight your most important products and services, your top differentiators, or your service centric approach. Regardless of what your final elevator pitch includes, practice makes perfect, it should roll off your tongue effortlessly. Remember, 30 to 60 seconds is all you get before your most important prospect walks out of the elevator, and your opportunity may be gone forever.

Using A Belly Plate On Your Reborn

There are a variety of options when it comes to adding a belly plate to your reborn. Using a factory doll,  you will need to remove the arms and legs and cut the belly and chest area out of it and place it on your reborns stuffed body. Taking a sharp blade you will need to cut to size so it fits snugly over your completed doll. Belly and back plates are also now available through companies that sell the reborn kits and can be purchased on their own or as part of a kit. These plates can be painted at the same time you paint your doll, keeping the layers consistent with what you are applying to the rest of the body. A blank belly plate purchased from a reborning supplier will have holes in it at either side. If you however choose to use a toy doll, you will need to strip the factory paint and drill these holes into it. When you have finished the detail and skin layering and have sealed your baby, it is time to put your doll together, stuffing the bodysuit of the doll in preparation for the belly plate to be attached.

There are two ways of attaching the belly plate to your doll, you can take a piece of wire and wrap it around the back of the doll, entering the holes from the side and tying up again at the back. Be careful to cut this off carefully so there are no sharp edges. Repeat this for both the top and bottom sets of holes. If you use thin enough wire, tie it off and cut it correctly, it won’t be seen through the clothing.  The other option is to sew the bodysuit into place by hand, this will reduce any movement in the plate and is more aesthetically pleasing from the back. Both methods work well in holding the plate in place to appear as though it has always been there.

These belly and back plates add another dimension to the realism of these reborns that set them apart from those with just a doesuede bodysuit. Collectors are quite focussed on collecting  babies with the plates attached due to the lifelike appearance that the plain body kits perhaps don’t. When holding a reborn with plates the difference is a more realistic feel and clothing that sits a little more appropriately for a newborn. Another option if you don’t wish to add a belly plate is a silicone slip known as a chicken fillet. These can also provide definition in the stomach and bottom area and also create a realistic feel for the baby.

Circulating Wood-Burning Stoves – Two Adjustable Settings For Using Them Efficiently

The circulating wood-burning stove and its similar counterpart, the circulating fireplace insert, put out a cozy dry heat. This dry heat can help prevent cold-weather illnesses. These stoves work most efficiently when the draft and damper settings are correctly balanced.

Circulating stove or insert description

This stove or insert operates similarly. They are both made of iron or plate steel. They have hinged doors for adding wood to their fire chambers. The wood fuel is placed on raised grates on the floor of these chambers, which also have outer metal jackets through which built-in electric fans circulate the room air. The hot metal plates on the chamber-side of these jackets warm the room air passing next to them, which, in turn, are blown back into the room continuously. For safety and efficiency reasons, this stove or insert is controlled thermostatically. That is, the circulating fans do not turn on until the warming jackets reach preset temperatures.

Term definitions

  • Draft. The small adjustable opening on the lower side of the fire-chamber that allows air to be pulled into the chamber for burning purposes (the more air entering the chamber, the hotter and larger the flames).
  • Damper. The adjustable flap on top of the stove or in the chimney flue that controls the amount of smoke, ash, and vapor leaving the fire-chamber up through the flue or smokestack-pipe. It also helps to control the amount of air entering the fire chamber through the lower-placed draft opening.
  • Warming jacket. The enclosed space around the fire-chamber through which the room air is circulated and warmed.
  • Air vents. The louvered openings for the room air to enter and exit the warming jacket in a circulated manner.

Two main settings for burning the wood efficiently

The most efficient way to use the wood stove is to adjust the draft and damper combination to the minimum air and smoke flows needed to maintain a slow constant burn. When these two settings are in the correct balance, the wood smolders slowly under low flames while providing adequate heat at the same time. In other words, the wood needs to slowly combust and turn into hot coals with as little flame as possible. This slow burning process allows the wood fuel to last for a maximum burn time.

Also, the heat produced at these settings is not wasted by overheating the room or by going up the chimney flue unnecessarily. These two settings might differ slightly for the different kinds of wood being burned. Yet, they are easy to adjust with a little practice. Generally, the dry well-seasoned hard woods, like, oak or walnut will burn efficiently, consistently. However, other kinds of wood will also work by adjusting these two settings slightly, especially if that wood supply is low-cost or free.

Electric Cookers: A New Age to the NuWave

Electricity revolutionized cooking by taking it from all day jobs to those that only take a matter of minutes. Referred to as electric cookers, electric powered cooking devices can include stoves, slow cookers, rice steamers, toasters, and even electric tea kettles. These devices allow us to control the heating and cooking temperatures to meet our needs.

Stoves were designed to apply direct heat through heating coils to replace cooking over an open fire. Over the decades, stoves transformed from fuel-burning appliances to their modern versions which rely on natural gas or electricity. Those that require gas are known to be more cost-efficient while electric stoves tend to cook food more evenly. As stoves became more desirable, advances were made that included glass-ceramic cooktops in place of the iron heating coils. Not only were these more stylish and easier to clean, but by use of infrared radiation heated and cooled down more quickly (making them safer). Another improvement was the invention of the induction stove which utilizes electromagnetic induction that doesn’t produce flames or heat in the surrounding areas. Induction stoves reduce risk of injury significantly while also being more energy efficient.

Although most western homes come with a stove installed, there are many people who find it simpler to rely on smaller electric cooking appliances to meet their needs. Use of smaller appliances also saves on electricity costs and pose more energy-efficient ways to prepare food.

The slow cooker, or crock pot, is a popular electric cooking device that allows people to throw their meat and vegetables into one device and let the appliance take care of the rest. Slow cookers can be placed on any counter-top and plugged into any standard outlet for power. Simple models have high and low temperatures while others have a digital interface that allows users to choose among numerous levels of heat. While slow cookers are not popular for their speed, thus the name, they do offer easy clean-up and energy efficiency.

Steamers are another popular counter-top electric cooker. Steamers are often used for cooking rice, but can also cook many other foods. Steam cookers lock in certain amounts of air and liquid to produce steam. This hot steam circulates within the vessel to cook the food. Medical experts often recommend steaming food as the best way to cook since this method maintains the most nutrients in food over other cooking methods. Steamers, like slow cookers, also release less heat into the surrounding area.

Manufacturers and individual inventors continue to develop electric cookers and create new cookers that combine advantageous features of various cookers. Recent market releases include appliances like the Sanyo 3-in-1 Multi-Cooker which advertises the ability to steam, grill and slow-cook all with one device. Similar counter-top electric cookers, like the NuWave Infrared Oven, boast of combining conduction, convection and infrared technology to cook food faster and more efficiently. The NuWave Oven boasts of 15% faster cooking times to 85% more energy efficiency over a conventional oven.

As technology advances and demand grows, electric cookers will continue to change for the better. In a world where people continue to look for ways to eat healthier, cook quicker and lessen kitchen clean-up, the future of electric cookers is almost limitless. Electric cookers will continue to improve in size, portability and functionality while promoting energy conservation in a society that is becoming more and more aware of the need for eco-friendly devices. As we sit back and channel surf, we see one commercial after another that presents a product that takes the electric cooker to a new level and continues to challenge existing models.

Do Solar Panels Damage Roofing?

One of the complications people ask when thinking about solar panel installation is will they actually damage their roof? This is a common refrain and though solar panels can be placed anywhere there is direct sunlight, the roof is the best place to put this since there are no covers/shadows in different types of the day.

Panels do not damage roofing but if the roof is already old or damaged any amount of weight placed on it will definitely take a toll on it. But if your roof is well maintained it should withstand around 8-10 pounds per square foot of weight on it. This is more than enough for the weight of the panels so it should not damage the roof.

What’s important to note is the placement of the panels in your roof since each roof is designed differently and will require a different solar panel setup to ensure that the panels don’t fall off or the weight is distributed evenly on your roofs.

The usual setup people do when making their own solar energy system is to place them on beams and securing them properly with proper load distribution You can have this setup by your local handyman. Just make sure your roof is inspected properly and solar roof setups have been around for over 20 years.

If you are doubtful about the strength of your roof you can either have your roofing replaced before installing the panels or an alternative is to get a ground mounted panel system which has the same rules as a roof mounted system: Direct Sunlight at all times of the day and clear of trees and will not be covered during the early and later times of the day.

Shed Plans With Hardiplank – Is This The Best Way to Go?

Shed Plans with hardiplank siding, no doubt, offers great benefits to you as a property owner. However, the question remains if using hardiplank or fiber cement as a siding is the best way to go in your situation.

First, let me begin by saying that there numerous benefits in using hardiplank siding. This kind of material consist of a combination of cement-like materials as well as cellulose fibers. This combination of materials makes lends durability, beauty as well as value in a sense that you won’t have to worry about repainting costs for many years to come.

Aside from this, there are also other properties of hardiplank which makes it a very good material for your shed. Here are some these:

Fire Resistant

Hardiplanks, although is not fireproof, has a fire resistant property. This does not mean total security of your property against fire. No materials will ever do that – unless, you count solid brick walls. What hardiplank does is that, unlike vinyl with its petroleum composition or wood which is flammable, this material does not feed the fire. Thus you will have lots of time to keep the fire under your control should the worst thing happen.

Insect Resistant

Compared to wood, hardiplank are insect resistant. When you use this kind of material, insects such as ants or termites won’t be so much of an issue. This is because the cellulose fiber found in hardiplank is not so much to catch the interest of the insects.

Go Green

When you use hardiplank, you’ll be able to do your share in protecting the environment and going along with the green movement that has been trending these days. This is because, the sand and cement used in making hardiplank are in abundance while the cellulose fiber is not that much and it does not come from wood that are considered endangered. In this aspect, hardiplank is a much better option.

These are the advantages of using fiber cement or hardiplanks. On with the downside of using this material, you need to consider the following:


Hardiplanks is not cheap. At least, it is not if you compare it to its popular counterpart which is vinyl. On the average, fiber cement wold cost three times the total cost of using vinyl siding.


For the reason stated above, vinyl is easily more popular than hardiplanks. Thus, finding contractors to install vinyl siding is so much easier than finding a competent one for hardiplanks installation. Which leaves you with the option of doing it yourself if you have the capacity to do such.

Why Evaluation is Critical to Your Marketing Plan

There is an old saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. This statement says it all about the importance of evaluation in a marketing plan. Every marketing plan has a basic outline that includes things such as; a situation analysis, SWOT analysis, a pricing strategy, a point of differentiation, and evaluation of programs among other things. And, unless your business only intends to exist for one year, the evaluation piece may be the most important part as it precludes next year’s plan.

The first questions I ask anyone writing a marketing plan is, what worked in your last plan and how do you know it worked? If a tactic was effective last year, it typically will be as effective next year. But you need to know for sure that the results were generated from that specific action and that action didn’t cost you more than the results generated for your business. From this information you are equipped to make better decisions for a more efficient plan.

There are 4 critical roles evaluation plays in a marketing plan;

1. Investment justification shows you your return on investment for a program. Typically this is more difficult than weighing the amount you spent on a program against the amount of sales increased due to that program. Clouding the cost / benefit comparison is the fact that increased sales may be coming from multiple sources not attributable to you marketing investment. And, some marketing programs are designed to increase awareness or improve brand equity rather than directly impact sales. In these cases, it is important to try to define key performance indicators, or results that lead to sales, and put a value to them prior to actually performing the evaluation. If you can objectively do this, then you can always calculate a cost vs. a benefit.

2. Improve efficiency of programs you intend on repeating. If your evaluation of a program did not show a positive return on investment, it may need adjustment rather than thrown away. For example, imagine you are a restaurant promoting a value entree on a coupon in a local newspaper. That coupon is driving new customers into your store, but the success of the value entree is lowering your average check and causing you to lose profits. The coupon tactic may be worth keeping if you can still drive those customers into your store with a higher priced item. Adjust the offer on the coupon may be the best action.

3. Prioritize programs, or in other words, select the programs that are driving better results. This is a good problem to have. If all of your programs are resulting in positive returns, then use the formula to select the programs returning the best results. Most businesses do not have unlimited resources when it comes to marketing dollars, so this becomes even more important to assure the best overall marketing plan is in place.

4. Public relations are so much more effective when you have a positive story to tell. If a business growth message is important to convey to your customers or investors, nothing is more convincing that cold hard facts. Evaluation allows you to be as specific as you want with your financial results. And in today’s business environment, everyone wants to see financial results.

Evaluation methods can be done in a variety of ways, but the most common include top line measures through sales analysis or market share analysis, bottom line measures through cost and profit analysis or efficiency ratios, or finally awareness and brand improvements through marketing effectiveness rating reviews or key performance indicators. Any of these methods will lend you insight to your marketing plan’s effectiveness.

If you have not given much thought to evaluation, don’t worry, you are not alone. Not every marketing professional wants to be measured. Any thorough marketing plan will have flaws, or less effective programs. Don’t look at them as failures, rather see them as key learning elements that lead to better decision in next year’s plan.

Fixing a Loose Wood Screw – Four Ways to Do it Yourself

A common home improvement task is maintenance of connections made with wood screw fasteners. Specifically, they tend to come loose on things that are frequently used. Whether it’s a door hinge, lock set, wall mounted banister, door stop or coat hook – once they start to work themselves loose, they only get worse, so you must take action.

Here are four suggestions for getting wood screw fasteners tight again:

  • Plug the hole with wood matches or toothpicks. It’s simple and effective. It really amounts to jamming soft wood into the hole to take up the space that is creating looseness. Wooden match sticks (not the heads) are a soft wood that make plugging the hole easy. You can also splinter a piece of lumber as well. Simply tap in enough wood pieces to fit snugly in the hole and break them off flush with the surface. Then, replace the screw and tighten it in place.
  • Drive a wooden golf tee into the hole. This works much like suggestion #1 above, except the golf tee is usually made from hardwood, so it’s good for jobs where you have a larger and deeper hole to plug, and the wood screws are larger than average.
  • Use wood glue. For screws that are just starting to get loose, you can insert a little wood glue into the hole to bond the screw to the adjacent wood. Apply the glue with a syringe, small nail or toothpick, and tighten up the screw. This is known as “screwed and glued” and it’s not uncommon for making good tight connections. Think of it as “lock-tite” for wood.
  • Find a larger or longer screw. This is a variation on plugging the hole. Instead of using wood to plug the hole, you find a wider diameter screw or a longer screw. In either case, the larger/longer screw will find new wood to bite into. Just be certain that the larger/longer screw is compatible with what you’re securing with it and the depth of the wood you’re screwing into.

If these methods don’t help, you’ll probably have to look at other alternatives like a mounting plate, using a plastic wall anchor, or using adhesive to put things in their place to stay.

The Advantages of Sensor Light Switches

Motion sensor light switches are becoming more popular in homes, and for good reason. Not only are they simple and inexpensive to install, but they can also save money, help conserve natural resources, and provide added safety and security in your home. Here are some good reasons why you might want to consider adding one or more motion sensitive light switches to your home.

Save Money

In most homes, a lot of money is wasted simply by people not shutting off the lights when they leave a room. In fact, sometimes lights are accidentally left on at bedtime, which means they waste electricity and money all night long. When you install a motion sensor light switch, it will automatically sense any movement in the room. This means the lights will go on automatically without you having to do a thing. After a certain amount of time, if no further motion is detected, the lights will also turn themselves off automatically. Because of this automation, motion sensor light switches are much more effective at saving money than simply trying to remember to turn the lights out when you leave the room. In fact, these switches will probably pay for themselves quickly because of the money they will save on your utility bill.

Help Protect the Environment

Of course, using too much electricity is not only bad for your utility bill – it is also detrimental to the environment. The automated nature of these switches will reduce the amount of electricity your family consumes, so you will be doing your part to live a “greener” lifestyle. Depending on the switch you buy, it might have features that allow you to prevent lights from being switched on during the daylight hours, which can also help to avoid accidentally using too much electricity. You can also increase the effectiveness of these switches by adjusting them to turn off after a shorter period of inactivity in the room.

Enhanced Safety

Good lighting can be very important to the safety of your family. Because these switches will automatically turn the lights on in a room when you enter, you will not have to worry about stumbling around in the dark or possibly tripping and falling because you did not take the time to turn on the light. These automated switches can also be very handy for people who have limited mobility, eliminating the need for them to have to fumble with light switches. They are also handy in homes with children who are not tall enough to easily reach the light switches. They can provide extra safety when you have your hands full, but need to turn on the lights to enter a room, such as when you are carrying laundry or groceries.

Home Security

When you have motion sensor light switches, the lights in your home will be continually turning off and on. This will of course be an indication that somebody is home, which can be a deterrent to potential burglars. With regular light switches, you might turn your room lights as soon as it gets dark, and essentially leave them on all evening. This inactivity could be perceived from outdoors as there being nobody home.

Dr. Walter Freeman’s Frontal Lobotomies at Athens (Ohio) State Hospital

Few chapters in the medical history of Athens County, Ohio, are more notorious or fascinating than that concerning Walter Freeman, M.D., and the more than 200 frontal lobotomies he performed at the Athens State Hospital in seven visits between 1953 and 1957.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, treatment for most inpatients in large state hospitals, like that in Athens, was limited to providing a safe and humane environment. Effective drugs for mental illnesses did not become available until the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1936 Egas Moniz, M.D., a Portuguese physician who eventually won a Nobel Prize for his work, reported the results of his earliest frontal lobotomies in a French medical journal. Dr. Walter Freeman, a neurologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who had met Dr. Moniz a year earlier, was impressed with the report. Within the same year Dr. Freeman teamed with a neurosurgeon to perform the operation, and over the next decade the partners operated on many more cases. However, Freeman became frustrated with the operation’s limitations. In 1946 he developed an alternative procedure that could be done more quickly, outside an operating room, and without anesthetic drugs.

He used electroconvulsive therapy to produce drugless anesthesia. After the patient’s convulsive movements subsided, Dr. Freeman operated.

Lifting an upper eyelid, he inserted a long, metal pick between the eyeball and the eyelid until it reached the bony roof of the eye-socket. He pounded the pick through the bone into the braincase where it entered a frontal lobe of the brain. He repeated the insertion procedure on the opposite side. Then, using the outer ends of the picks as handles, he made sweeping movements which severed and destroyed the frontal lobes. He finished before the patient awoke from the after-effects of the induced seizure.

Dr. Freeman performed this procedure in state hospitals nationwide that were understaffed, overflowing with patients, and very receptive to any new treatment that held promise. Every state hospital of that era could give electroconvulsive treatment, and the hospital did not have to provide an operating room. A minor procedure room sufficed.

Freeman met with families of patients, explained the risks and benefits of the procedure, and answered questions. Some families consented and others didn’t. Assisted by the local medical staff, and with a succession of patients filing into and out of the procedure room, Freeman typically operated on his entire case-load in just one day. Charging $25 per patient for his services, he departed within a few days for his next destination.

Freeman visited the Athens State Hospital more times than any of the other state hospitals in Ohio. On his first visit in 1953 he was treated as a minor celebrity. The Athens Messenger of November 16 reported his arrival with the headline “Lobotomies to be performed: surgery may relieve mental illness of many patients at state hospital.” A follow-up article on November 20–entitled “Dr. Freeman, pioneer in trans-orbital technique, demonstrates method: lobotomies are performed on 31 Athens State Hospital patients”–showed pictures of Freeman with the local staff, including Superintendent Charles Creed, Assistant Superintendent Hubert Fockler and Drs. Beatrice Postle Fockler, Wayne Dutton and Genevieve Garrett Dutton.

The surgeries were performed in the Receiving Hospital, a separate building constructed in 1950 which is now the eastern-most portion of the main building.

Wolfhard Baumgaertel, M.D., longtime general practitioner in Albany, Ohio, was present for Freeman’s third visit to Athens in October 1954. Dr. Baumgaertel watched the procedure on the day’s first patient, and then provided after-care for this patient and all the others who followed.

Despite his familiarity with surgery, Dr. Baumgaertel recalled being surprised by the procedure, saying, “I do not remember which made me more aghast while watching this–the hammering of the picks into the brain or the simultaneous movement of the picks’ handles in the doctor’s hands.”

Describing his after-care of Freeman’s patients, Dr. Baumgaertel said, “At regular intervals the patients arrived in the recovery room, my domain during this, to me, unknown and incomprehensible event. My main equipment consisted of several suction machines and oxygen, the latter being somewhat unnecessary. Vital signs were monitored until the patient woke up. We had no major complications. Some nasal drainage of cerebral liquor was not considered a problem.

“I do not remember any immediate or late post-operative deaths in the patients I attended to. Most returned to their floors in the asylum within one to two weeks. Of course, none of them were able to recall the event, but there were also no questions. I remember having been surprised to the point of being shaken when I discovered a total absence of wonder on the part of the patients as to what happened to them.”

Geneva Riley, R.N., who was director of nursing at the Athens State Hospital 1975-1993, witnessed the same procedure at another facility. She likened the noise made by the picks to the sound of cloth tearing.

In the mid-1990s the author encountered one of Dr. Freeman’s former patients at Doctors Hospital of Nelsonville in Nelsonville, Ohio. His computed tomographic (CT) scan showed large areas of damage to the frontal lobes. The radiologist, unaware of the patient’s prior history, interpreted the abnormalities as due to strokes.

But the patient and his wife had a different story to tell. Emotionally traumatized by combat in World War II, the man was an inpatient at Athens State Hospital in the 1950s when Dr. Freeman came to town. The patient was functioning at a low level, dropping to the ground at any sudden noise and smoking cigarettes beneath a blanket. His wife agreed to the procedure which was complicated by hemorrhage. Even so, he improved and was discharged from the hospital after three months. For many years he operated heavy equipment without difficulty except for an occasional seizure.

Asked if she had regrets, the patient’s wife said, “No. I still think I made the right decision.”

To see pictures related to this article, visit:

(C) 2005 by Gary Cordingley

How Not to Bankrupt Your Business This Recession

It was a member of one of my business networking groups who told me this tale when we were discussing the impact of the recession on our individual businesses. This story is so relevant to today’s economic climate….enjoy it.

There was once a barbecue restaurateur. But he was no ordinary purveyor of the humble rib for he used only the best spare ribs from only the finest, pigs in the land. The fries that accompanied his famous barbecue spare ribs were of equal quality, cut from the best potatoes available and fried in the most exclusive oil. He operated from small business premises not exactly on the restaurant strip and put out the advertising message on his frontage proudly stating that his barbecue spare ribs were the “best in the world, made with only the finest ingredients.”

As a result, his small business flourished and, in his own moderate way, he was financially successful. He had one son, his only child, and he wanted nothing but the best for him, so, using the money earned from his BBQ restaurant, he sent him away to university. His son did well, enjoying being exposed to such clever people and weighty opinions, and it was some time before he returned home to his father during a holiday. He waxed lyrical about subjects previously of great mystery to the father, demonstrating his newly acquired knowledge with great panache and style, and his reputation grew.

One evening, shortly before his return to university, the son took the father aside to discuss the family business. “Father”, he said, “there is talk of a great recession that is going to take place in the world, with even large corporations fighting for their very survival so think how this will affect a small business. Times will be hard and the only way to stay afloat is to cut costs drastically”. His father listened attentively as his son added, “everywhere I look, in the papers, the radio and in the halls and coffee bars of my university, the message is ‘cut cut, cut’. I urge you not to fall behind the trend. My advice to you is to cut costs to survive this recession”.

The father was by now in awe of his learned son, and he could not ignore advice from him, which was so well supported by the media and the discussions that take place within a recognised seat of learning. He drastically cut his orders of pork ribs and potatoes, chose a cheaper, more common frying oil, did the same with the wood chips for the BBQ smoker and changed the advertising message on his diner to reflect that he no longer used the finest ingredients.

Within only a few months, his business could no longer support him and his family, and he sold it to a BBQ restaurant franchise at a great loss and was forced to take early retirement. He called his son to tell him of the sad news, telling him he must stay at university, as his son had become so clever that he had foretold the difficulties the recession would bring. His final words to the educated offspring were: “what a wonderful thing a university education is.”

And the moral of this story?

Don’t believe all that you read and take control of your own destiny.

How to Do Yard Landscaping in an Easy Way

It is part of everyone’s goal to have a front yard that does not require too much work to maintain. You can have a professional to make your yard easy to manage or you can just do it by yourself. In both ways you can have a facade yard that will take less work to maintain its fantastic look throughout the year.

Make sure that this goal of having a wonderful front house yard landscape with a little maintenance is discussed carefully with a professional if you are going to hire one.

Cutting grasses out every time they grow will take too much time and effort just to keep the grasses from ruining the design of your landscaping design.

Fewer grasses would mean less effort and time to spend on your garden.

If you are a busy career person, it is best to discuss with an expert about the alternative ways to maintain the good look of your front garden even if you have a small lawn while exerting the minimum effort to keep your yard at its best structure.

Clover will actually do better than grass and most people find it a good idea because it will save your time and money. It does not require mowing as often as grasses do. Clover lawn will also do well in areas where droughts often occur.

They look good almost everywhere and the best part about the clover is you can have fun on your yard with you and your family without bugs ruining the moment because bugs hate clovers.

Your yard will also need watering and doing so might take a lot of your time and money. But now people are putting automatic irrigation systems as part of their front yard landscape design.

It will be easier for you to keep your plants on their best condition even during hot days of the year as this system will automatically water your plants.

Another good thing is that you do not have to do watering by yourself like dragging the host to your yard or having a sprinkler to water your garden front.

You should hire a professional to install the automatic irrigation system in your front yard landscape to avoid leakages causing flood and excessive water to yard.

How To Become A Soldier

The future is bright. Life is great, but do you want to escape the stress, or go to college? If the problem of finances leaves you worried that you will not get the education you desire, becoming a soldier is the way to go! You might be thinking that it is hard, and I will simply agree with you. Nevertheless, you will be given the opportunity to learn the necessary skills and acquire the knowledge that will last a lifetime. What is it like being a soldier? When you are a U.S. soldier, you are a part of the best fighting force known to humankind. Soldiers spend a lot of their time training, working, and protecting peoples’ freedoms. Soldiers live normal lives after work; family and friends are always there for their beloved soldiers. I will now suggest a few ways that you could become a soldier.

One of the main ways in becoming a soldier is to find a recruiter: They will be your mentors and will provide necessary tools to enlist you into the army. You can go about this in a couple of ways: asking your college receptionist to assist you in getting in contact with the recruiting office, you can even check on the internet for the phone number of the recruiting office. After this is done, you are able to change your future. It is not going to be an easy sail, but it will be worth it in the end. After you speak to a recruiter and the army recruits you,

Processes of background check begin: Checking your background, high school diploma, and medical records are all necessary to make sure you are able to start working towards becoming the soldier.

You then go to Basic Combat Training: Basic Combat Training, or BCT, is a nine-week journey through hard work and dedication. This nine-week journey will build many characteristics that you might be lacking. They include: endurance, marksmanship, confidence, as well as communication skills. These skills are always important in our society. After you go through the nine-week BCT, you will graduate; becoming the soldier, you have always dreamed about becoming. In addition, there is advance individual training. Since there are many careers in the army, you will need specific training for that career that you chose. BCT was simply the overall training, which you need in order to keep your body and mind strong. You first need choose a career that you want to go into.

You then begin training with teachers who are knowledgeable in the particular field: Some of these fields include: Infantry School, Military Intelligence School, Military Police School, Chemical School, Transportation School, and many others. When you go through these schools, and eventually receive your degree, you will truly become a soldier of the Army. This will help you travel, develop as a person, and acquire the skills which you cannot acquire anywhere else. Consider this opportunity; you make money for college, meet new people, travel all over the world, and understanding the fundamentals of becoming strong not only in the mind, but physically as well.

Edge Beading A Stained Glass Copper Foil Project

Edge beading is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Just remember that every edge has three surfaces…the front surface of the edge, the back surface of the edge, and the outside edge which you see when you hold the panel vertical/perpendicular to your work surface. You are going to put solder on all 3 surfaces of the edge…front, back and outside edge.

Start by fluxing the front surface of the edge. Hold your iron so the tip faces the outside and your hand and the rest of the iron are over the glass. If you hold the iron from the outside facing in, most of the solder will run off due to the heat of the iron pulling the solder down. Go along and run solder on the front surface. Turn the panel over and repeat the above instructions on the back surface of the edge. Some solder will run over the edge on both sides. Do not worry about it, and do not worry about making the front and back surfaces perfectly smooth. When you are finished, all 3 surfaces will be smooth and round.

Finally, turn the panel so the edge is facing up (vertical to your work surface). I usually use Wedgies to hold it in position. Wedgies are wonderful little wedges made specifically for stained glass work. They hold your panels, lampshades, just about anything in position for soldering.

However, if the panel is round or oval, you will be constantly moving it so the spot you are working on is absolutely parallel to your work surface. If you tip it too far forward or backward, even just a little bit, the solder will run in that direction rather than staying put and forming a bead. If you are going to hold the panel in your hand while you bead up the edge, be sure to wear protective gloves, or hold the panel with a towel that will drape over your hand and arm to prevent burns from falling hot solder.

Flux the outside edge and using a touch and lift motion go along the edge with your soldering iron. There is usually enough solder that has run over from the front and back, so you will not have to apply any more. If there is not enough, add it wherever needed. Work along the edge slowly. The solder on all 3 surfaces will round up and give you a nice bead.

The touch and lift motion consists of touching down into the solder, all the way to the foil. As soon as the solder melts and flows, gently lift all the way out of it and touch down again close enough to the last touch so the iron is on the edge of where you last touched down. You will find a rhythm to it once you get comfortable with the technique.

When you have finished the outside edge, have a look at the other two surfaces just to make sure there are not any places that need fixing up. Ninety nine percent of the time, all three surfaces will be round and smooth after you have done the final touch/lift technique.

Electrical Plug Adapters

There are two essential aspects to take note of. At the first instance, it is important to note that the electrical power specifications may vary from country to country that you are visiting. Not many countries have a electrical power specification as you have at home, and hence you should have the right adapter with you when you travel abroad. Secondly, the kind of wall mounted power outlet sockets in most of the countries, are not usually the ones that you find at home. It is entirely different, and your device power input plug may not fit into that socket at all.

The mains power voltage specifications differ from country to country. For example, the electrical and electronic devices in U.S. operate on 120 Volts AC, but the United Kingdom has a 220 volts AC outlet, which is different from the one in the United States. Secondly, your device power input plug will never fit the power outlet sockets available in the United Kingdom. Therefore, if you are traveling from home to the United Kingdom, you do not only need an adapter for your device power input plug, but a voltage converter as well, of the type which would convert the 220 Volts AC electrical power output to 110 Volts AC for your device to work properly.

It is recommended that, when-ever you plan your next visit abroad, take a look at the guide of the power outlet specifications available in the country or countries that you are visiting and prepare yourself to carry appropriate electrical accessories for those devices to work properly. There are indeed universal plug adapters available, which will comply with the power out input sockets of many countries, but the need of voltage converters cannot be ignored

A guide to international electric outlet specification is presented below:


Afghanistan 220V 50 Hz

Albania 20V* 50 Hz

Algeria 230V 50 Hz

American Samoa 120V 60 Hz

Andorra 230V 50Hz

Angola 220V 50 Hz

Anguilla 110V 60Hz

Antigua 230V* 60 Hz

Argentina 220V 50 Hz

Armenia 220V 50 Hz

Aruba 127V* 60 Hz

Australia 230V* 50 Hz

Austria 230V 50 Hz

Azerbaijan 220V 50 Hz

Azores 220V* 50 Hz

Bahamas 120V 60 Hz

Bahrain 230V* 50 Hz*

Balearic Islands 220V 50 Hz

Bangladesh 220V 50 Hz

Barbados 115V 50 Hz

Belarus 220V 50 Hz

Belgium 230V 50 Hz

Belize 110/220V 60 Hz

Benin 220V 50 Hz

Bermuda 120V 60 Hz

Bhutan 230V 50 Hz

Bolivia 220/230V* 50 Hz

Bosnia 220V 50 Hz

Botswana 231V 50 Hz

Brazil 110/220V* 60 Hz

Brunei 240V 50 Hz

Bulgaria 230V 50 Hz

Burkina Faso 220V 50 Hz

Burundi 220V 50 Hz

Cambodia 230V 50 Hz

Cameroon 220V 50 Hz

Canada 120V 60 Hz

Canary Islands 220V 50 Hz

Cape Verde 220V 50 Hz

Cayman Islands 120V 60 Hz

Central African Republic 220V 50 Hz

Chad 220V 50Hz

Channel Islands 230V 50 Hz

Chile 220V 50 Hz

China, People’s Republic of 220V 50 Hz

Colombia 110V 60Hz

Comoros 220V 50 Hz

Congo, People’s Rep. of 230V 50 Hz

Congo, Dem. Rep. of (former Zaire) 220V 50 Hz

Cook Islands 240V 50 Hz

Costa Rica 120V 60 Hz

Côte d’Ivoire

(Ivory Coast) 220V 50 Hz

Croatia 230V 50Hz

Cuba 110/220V 60Hz

Cyprus 240V 50 Hz

Czech Republic 230V 50 Hz

Denmark 230V 50 Hz

Djibouti 220V 50 Hz

Dominica 230V 50 Hz

Dominican Republic 110V 60 Hz

East Timor 220V 50 Hz

Ecuador 120-127V 60 Hz

Egypt 220V 50 Hz

El Salvador 115V 60 Hz

England (See United Kingdom)

Equatorial Guinea 220V* 50 Hz

Eritrea 230V 50 Hz

Estonia 230V 50 Hz

Ethiopia 220V 50 Hz

Faeroe Islands 220V 50 Hz

Falkland Islands 240V 50 Hz

Fiji 240V 50 Hz

Finland 230V 50 Hz

France 230V 50 Hz

French Guiana 220V 50 Hz

Gaza 230V 50 Hz

Gabon 220V 50 Hz

Gambia 230V 50 Hz

Germany 230V 50 Hz

Ghana 230V 50 Hz

Gibraltar 240V 50 Hz

Great Britain (See United Kingdom)

Greece 220V 50 Hz

Greenland 220V 50 Hz

Grenada (Windward Is.) 230V 50 Hz

Guadeloupe 230V 50 Hz

Guam 110V 60Hz

Guatemala 120V 60 Hz

Guinea 220V 50 Hz

Guinea-Bissau 220V 50 Hz

Guyana 240V* 60 Hz*

Haiti 110V 60 Hz

Honduras 110V 60 Hz

Hong Kong 220V* 50 Hz

Hungary 230V 50 Hz

Iceland 220V 50 Hz

India 230V 50 Hz

Indonesia 127/230V* 50 Hz

Iran 230V 50 Hz

Iraq 230V 50 Hz

Ireland (Eire) 230 50 Hz

Isle of Man 240V 50 Hz

Israel 230V 50 Hz

Italy 230V 50 Hz

Ivory Coast (See Côte d’Ivoire)

Jamaica 110V 50 Hz

Japan 100V 50/60 Hz*

Jordan 230V 50 Hz

Kenya 240V 50 Hz

Kazakhstan 220V 50 Hz

Kiribati 240V 50 Hz

Korea, South 220V 60 Hz

Kuwait 240V 50 Hz

Laos 230V 50 Hz

Latvia 220V 50 Hz

Lebanon 110/220V 50 Hz

Lesotho 220V 50 Hz

Liberia 120V 60 Hz

Libya 127V* 50 Hz

Lithuania 220V 50 Hz

Liechtenstein 230V 50 Hz

Luxembourg 220V 50 Hz

Macau 220V 50 Hz

Macedonia 220V 50 Hz

Madagascar 220V 50 Hz

Madeira 220V 50 Hz

Malawi 230V 50 Hz

Malaysia 240V 50 Hz

Maldives 230V 50 Hz

Mali 220V 50 Hz

Malta 240V 50 Hz

Martinique 220V 50 Hz

Mauritania 220V 50 Hz

Mauritius 230V 50 Hz

Mexico 127V 60 Hz

Micronesia (Federal States of) 120V 60 Hz

Monaco 127/220V 50 Hz

Mongolia 230V

Montserrat (Leeward Is.) 230V 60 Hz

Morocco 127/220V* 50 Hz

Mozambique 220V 50 Hz

Myanmar (formerly Burma) 230V 50 Hz

Namibia 220V 50 Hz

Nauru 240V 50 Hz

Nepal 230V 50 Hz

Netherlands 230V 50 Hz

Netherlands Antilles 127/220V* 50 Hz

New Caledonia 220V 50 Hz

New Zealand 230V 50 Hz

Nicaragua 120V 60 Hz

Niger 220V 50 Hz

Nigeria 240V 50 Hz

Northern Ireland (see United Kingdom)

Norway 230V 50 Hz

Okinawa 100V* 60 Hz

Oman 240V* 50 Hz

Pakistan 230V 50 Hz

Palmyra Atoll 120V 60Hz

Panama 110V* 60 Hz

Papua New Guinea 240V 50 Hz

Paraguay 220V 50 Hz

Peru 220V* 60 Hz*

Philippines 220V 60 Hz

Poland 230V 50 Hz

Portugal 230V 50 Hz

Puerto Rico 120V 60 Hz

Qatar 240V 50 Hz

Réunion Island 220V 50Hz

Romania 230V 50 Hz

Russian Federation 220V 50 Hz

Rwanda 230V 50 Hz

St. Kitts and Nevis (Leeward Is.) 230V 60 Hz

St. Lucia (Windward Is.) 240V 50 Hz

St. Vincent (Windward Is.) 230V 50 Hz

Saudi Arabia 127/220V 60 Hz

Scotland (See United Kingdom)

Senegal 230V 50 Hz

Serbia-Montenegro 220V 50 Hz

Seychelles 240V 50 Hz

Sierra Leone 230V 50 Hz

Singapore 230V 50 Hz

Slovak Republic 230V 50 Hz

Slovenia 220V 50 Hz

Somalia 220V* 50 Hz

South Africa 220/230V* 50 Hz

Spain 230V 50 Hz

Sri Lanka 230V 50 Hz

Sudan 230V 50 Hz

Suriname 127V 60 Hz

Swaziland 230V 50 Hz

Sweden 230V 50 Hz

Switzerland 230V 50 Hz

Syria 220V 50 Hz

Tahiti 110/220V 60 Hz

Tajikistan 220V 50 Hz

Taiwan 110V 60 Hz

Tanzania 230V 50 Hz

Thailand 220V 50 Hz

Togo 220V* 50 Hz

Tonga 240V 50 Hz

Trinidad & Tobago 115V 60 Hz

Tunisia 230V 50 Hz

Turkey 230V 50 Hz

Turkmenistan 220V 50 Hz

Uganda 240V 50 Hz

Ukraine 220V 50 Hz

United Arab Emirates 220V* 50 Hz

United Kingdom 230V* 50 Hz

United States of America 120V 60 Hz

Uruguay 220V 50 Hz

Uzbekistan 220V 50 Hz

Vanuatu 230V 50 Hz

Venezuela 120V 60 Hz

Vietnam 127/220V* 50 Hz

Virgin Islands (British and U.S.) 115V 60 Hz

Wales (See United Kingdom)

Western Samoa 230V 50 Hz

Yemen, Rep. of 220/230V 50 Hz

Yugoslavia (Former) 220V 50 Hz

Zambia 230V 50 Hz

Zimbabwe 220V 50 Hz

Primary sources: Electric Current Abroad (1998 edition), U.S. Department of Commerce, National Technical Information Service; World Electricity Supplies and Electrical Plugs; an International Survey, (both 1993), British Standards Institute. Additionally, since this table was first posted in late 1995, numerous revisions have (and continue to be) made as a result of personal observations or reports from other travelers.

For further references please visit

Now, it is not the question of having the right adapter with you when you visit abroad. You must be also concerned with the electrical power specification that is available in the country of your visit. Looking at the guide above, it is clearly understood that your electrical and electronic devices will require not only plug adapters but also a built-in or separate voltage converter. If you are planning a visit to the United Kingdom, you will need a device which converts the electrical power of 230 Volts Alternating Current (AC) to 110 Volts AC before you can apply that power to your equipment.. These converters need to be of the right specification of providing the right output alternating current and the frequency as well for your equipment to work correctly.

If you need to charge your digital camera in Beijing, you will need an adapter which lets you plug in your charger on the wall socket. That’s not all. Beijing has an electrical power output of 220 Volts AC with 50 Hz frequency and your charger can only accept an input voltage of 120 Volts AC and 60Hz. Hz, which is the short form of Hertz, is the number of cycles the alternating voltage goes through one cycle. This AC output voltage is normally a sine-wave, alternating between a positive and a negative level. This is a smooth variation with time as the other variant, and completion of one such cycle in one second is termed as 1Hz. Therefore, a 110 Volt AC of 60 Hz has 60 cycles in one second.

Remaining on the aspect of charging your digital camera in Beijing, you do not only need a plug adapter but also the right voltage converter, which will give you a 120 Volts AC, 60 Hz output from an input of 220 Volts AC of 50 Hz, which is the standard electrical power in China. The converted AC voltage applied to your charger produces a much lower Direct Current (DC) voltage output to your digital camera, for charging the camera’s re-chargeable battery. Application of the direct 220 Volts AC output, without a converter will not only destroy the charger unit but may also damage your digital camera, if it is plugged into the charger,

Therefore, when you travel abroad, it is desirable that you check the electrical power specification of the country or countries that you are visiting. At the same time you should determine the plug adapter that you would be wanting. For this purpose you may like to visit for more information.

Voltage converters are available in different specifications, which mainly depend upon the purpose of its application. For example, a voltage converter for your digital camera recharging unit will be much smaller than the one you would need to turn on your iron, if you have one with you. The varying sizes of such converters depend upon the kind of alternating current or wattage that you would require to either turn on the charger or the iron. The wattage along with the specification of input and output voltages are generally specified on the body of the converter units that you are buying.

There are adapters available which cater for multi-voltage operation. For example, the adapter itself will give you an option to be switched from 110 Volts AC output to 230 volts AC output. This is done through a toggle, at times appearing as a screw head on the converter body itself. But then again you may need a plug adapter to plug this mini-converter in the electrical power source available in the country that you are visiting. In certain countries the electrical power may have surges. Surges are high frequency levels of very high voltages, suddenly appearing at the output of the power source for a fraction of a millisecond or even micro-second. There are such adapters which are available with surge protection. Please bear in mind, thunderstorms can produce these electrical surges which may damage your equipment.

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