Companies That Damage Your $300 Bat and the Correct Bat Shaving Techniques

Bat shaving is a bat modification that decreases the thickness of a bat’s inner barrel. The end cap is removed and a digital precision lathe “shaves” the inside of the barrel. The decrease of alloy or composite material allows the barrel to flex more at the point of impact, which translates to greater batted ball speed. The greater ball speed can add 40-50 feet with shaving alone, add bat rolling prior to shaving and that number goes up even higher.

There are many people who open up a bat and shave the inside with a drill hone (or drum sander). A hone will create “hot spots” and “dead spots” through out the shaved barrel. A hot spot is where the spot is shaved too much and the barrel will flex more. This sounds good because we want more flex for more distance, right? Not exactly, the hot spot will cause a weak spot on the barrel and increase the chance of cracking significantly. There are predetermined widths for bat shaving, which test the limits of the bat as far as strength and durability. Sanding past these limits will cause your bat to break prematurely. The dead spots are just the opposite of hot spots; they cause the bat to flex less, which causes a decrease in distance. A bat straight from the factory will often have inconsistencies of 5-10 thousands of an inch along the barrel already. The precision lathing of your bat will actually create the most accurate wall available. A constant wall allows the bat to have the same flex around the bat for increased distance and better durability (remember, a shaved bat is less durable). The main point is that sanding the inside of a barrel will never be consistent or precise, only a lathe can do that.

Most people who shave on eBay (and even some on the internet) utilize a drill hone (drum sander); this is why you will see cheap prices on eBay for bat shaving services. The lathe should have a digital read out to lessen the chance of inaccuracies. One pass through the lathe is not as accurate as taking out material in 2-3 passes. It would be like using coarse grit sand paper as opposed to a fine grit sand paper. The fine grit will take longer but it produces a better product. When the bat is taken out of the lathe it will have lost 1-2 ounces of material depending on the manufacturer of the bat (different bats have different specifications). That weight needs to be put back into the bat at the handle and end cap, an extra amount can usually be put into the cap for an end load. If you did not know, all manufacturers create their barrels to weigh the same. They put metal weight into the handle and extra resin into the end cap to weight the bat anywhere from 26 ounces to 30 ounces. After the weight is added back the end cap is put back on using the correct glue, substandard glue could result in the end cap separating and even popping off.

Medieval Castles – An Essay

Castles remind us of a time that was full of adventure and romance. Castles remind us of a time in history in which there was a lack of government and order. Although there was not mass confusion and anarchy, there was less order. Castles were the basis of feudalism. Castles can be seen as a manifestation of feudal society. Feudalism started with the rise of castles and ended with their end. The castle set the tone as the only homestead that nobility would live in during this time. Castles were influenced by and influenced many medieval cathedrals in Europe. Although castles served many purposes, their primary purpose was military. At that time, people were not protected by merely shutting and locking a regular wooden door. They needed the protection of castles and their knights. The lords and constables of castles needed serfs to work the land to make revenue in order to pay rent to the more important nobles. Given the following evidence, it is relatively obvious why castles and castle building played an instrumental role in the development of Western Europe.

Castles are unique to a time in history known as medieval times. The word medieval in our times is an insult to anything as is the word feudal. Through the haze and ruins, one can imagine dungeons, chivalrous knights, and mighty Lords who ruled the land and protected the common peasant from barbarians and other invaders. The rise of castles marked the rise of feudalism. This was all started by the crusades. The majority of the knights and nobles went to liberate the holy land from the Muslims. The Crusades influenced castle builders back in Europe. Ideas were gathered from Muslim and Byzantine fortifications. Because of the lack of protection in Europe, a castle’s strength needed to be increased because of the ever-present threat of a Muslim invasion. The end of Feudalism also marked the end of the middle ages and hence the end of the great castle era.

Castles integrated the combination of residence and fortress. The first castle dates back to King Sargon II of Khorsabad in ancient Egypt. He erected a grand palace for himself to protect him and his subjects. The first recorded references to castles was the Edict of Pistes by Charles the Bald, king of the West Franks. “We will and expressly command that whoever at this time has made castles and fortifications and enclosures without our out permission shall have them demolished by the First of August” (Brown Architecture of Castles 13). Other castle laws were the Norman Institutions handed down by William the Conqueror after he took over England. One law says that no one shall raise castles in Normandy without the Duke’s license.

An ideal castle site was one that had natural obstacles for defense such as steep hillsides and water. Castles that were built on rocks or islands were especially effective. An example of this is Bodiam in Sussex which was the home of Sir Edward Dalyngrigge in 1385. A moat offered good protection, but building on a lake or river offered better protection. The site should not be too remote. It should have water and building material readily available nearby. A site should have a good climate, good pasture, and ample fertile land. If a castle had all these things, it would increase its chances of surviving a siege.

A large majority of early castles followed the motte and bailey design. These designs utilized earth and timber. A motte and bailey design is a design where the keep is on a hill or motte behind the bailey which is the open area of the castle similar to a town square. A bridge usually connected the motte to the bailey. The motte was a great mound of earth or rock. Sometimes it was artificial, but the majority of the time it was authentic. At its base there was a deep trench that resembled a moat. This was used as defense. Surrounding the motte was a wall of timber. The motte also contained the keep which is where the lord of the manor and his family lived. The keep was the innermost part of the castle. It was the last defense against attack. The keep has also been referred to as the donjon. This is where the French got the word dungeon meaning the jail or place to hold prisoners. Surrounding the entire premises was a wooden fence that was at least ten feet in height. These wooden stakes were then implanted in the ground for support. The fence sometimes stood upon posts to allow men to get through. During a siege, the perimeter would be covered with wet animal skins to curb the threat of arson. Most motte and bailey castles were built before William the Conqueror’s conquest in 1066.

Walter the Archdeacon wrote a biography of John, bishop of Therouanne about 1130. In it he describes Merchem Castle near Dixmude: “There was, near the porch of the church, a fortress which we may call a castle… exceedingly high, built after the custom of that land by the lord of the town many years before. For it is the habit of the magnates and nobles of those parts… to raise a mound of earth as high as they can and surround it with a ditch as broad as possible. The top of this mound they completely enclose with a palisade of hewn logs bound close together like a wall, with towers set in its circuit so far as the site permits. In the middle of the space within the palisade they build a residence, or, dominating everything, keep” (Brown Architecture of Castles 21)

Castle designers saw a need for improvement because wood and earth were not strong and were not effective protection against fire. There was also a need for bigger, grander castles because noble visitors did not travel alone so a castle would have to have enough room for the occasional visitor and his or her group. The architects who designed castles were known as master masons. They saw that stone would be a more effective building material. Although it was cold and hard to work with, it provided the much needed protection against fire. These newer castles are called enclosure castles. Like motte and dailey designs, enclosures castles had a wall protecting the perimeter of the manor. However these castles were not built upon hills or mottes. The keep of the castle was incorporated into the wall surrounding the property. These castles still had a bailey. With this new style of castles came a new construction material. Stone became the only material to build one’s castle out of because it made castles much stronger against attack. The tower of London is an example of a masonry castle. The ideal stone for castles was the fine limestone of Caen in Normandy. This limestone was soft when first quarried, but gradually became hard as it was exposed to air. To insulate against the cold stone walls of castles, the women made tapestries for the walls. The tapestries almost always contained a story relating to the castle. One of the most famous tapestries is the Bayeux Tapestry. It depicts the Norman knights before Hastings in 1066. Since they were now using stone, castle builders were able to integrate defenses into the castles.

Castles needed to have defenses. They were not made impregnable. They were made so that it would take an enormous amount of artillery and money to take the castle. They were made so that it would take a large amount of time to take a castle. The castle of Newcastle at Tyne was far from impregnable in 1173, but it was strong enough to make an ill-prepared Scottish King William think twice about a siege: “Well sees the king of Scotland that he will never complete the conquest of Newcastle on Tyne without military engines” (Ibid 80). Some defenses used by castles were machiolations. Machiolations were projecting battlements to protect against arrows and other weapons. They were at the top of the wall surrounding the castle. Arrowslits or arrow loops were slits that were cut into stone to allow sharpshooters a place to shoot. They were angled so that the sharpshooter was protected from oncoming projectiles. Another defense used was Greek fire. This was an incendiary device that was used against wooden attack machines. The ingredients of Greek fire are a mystery. It is thought that it contained some of the following components: crude oil, refined oil, naphtha, pitch, resin, sulfur, quicklime, and bitumen. This deadly mixture was put on an arrow and then shot onto one of the attacking machines and it gave explosive results. Greek fire was probably developed in the seventh century by the Byzantines for naval warfare. Greek fire was a morale builder for the defenders during a siege. The Lord of Joinville described Greek fire as “This Greek fire was suck that seen from the front as it darted towards us it appeared as large as a vessel of verjuice, and the tail of the fire that streamed behind it was as long as the shaft of a great lance. The noise it made in coming was like that of a thunderbolt falling from the skies; it seemed like a dragon flying through the air. The light this huge, flaming mass shed all around it was so bright that you could see right through the camp as clearly as if it were day. Three times that night the enemy slung Greek fire at us from their petraries, and three times they shot it from their arbalestres a tour” (Ibid 88).

Weapons were used against castles during a siege included the trebuchet, mangonel, belfry, ballista, ram, and bore. The trebuchet was a big machine that flung artillery like a catapult. The mangonel was similar to the trebuchet but smaller and more maneuverable. Its strength was based on the tautness of the hemp, rope, or tightly twisted animal sinew. Artillery used by these weapons include rocks, fireballs, and dead animals to spread disease. The belfry was a mobile tower which was built higher than the castle walls in order to scale them during siege. The ballista was essentially a large crossbow that hurled rocks and other large boulders. The ram was a device that did what its name says. It was used to knock the portcullis or gate down. The bore was a device used by the attackers during a tactic known as mining. They mined from their camps to the castle walls. They would set up a support then start a fire to break down the castle walls. The defenders of the castle also used this tactic to counter the attackers siege. They would watch the moat to see the vibrations caused by the attackers shovels. Then they would start a counter mine. This was the most effective tactic used in a siege but it was the most dangerous. It was dark, had contaminated or little air and there was always a threat that the tunnel would cave in or be caved in by the castle’s garrison.

Castles were not just fortresses but also residences of the nobility. It is this balance of military and residential qualities which make a castle so different from other fortifications. Castles had all the best furnishings and colors. They had chapels because Europe was a Christian continent. They occasionally had more than one. On the castle property were things like gardens, parks, vineyards, dovecotes, fishponds, mills, and stables. Castle were not as primitive as we think them to be. They had some of the conveniences that we have today. They had a form of a toilet. It was a toilet made of stone. People who wished to use it had to bring some material to protect themselves from the cold stone. The waste would eventually drain to a river by way of an underground pool. These cesspits would often have to be cleaned out by dung farmers.

Not all castles were extravagant fortresses that housed kings and all his subjects. Many castles were just built for the lord, his family and a few servants. Other castles that were not well protected or had no threat of attack were called fortified manors. The design of a castle was taken very seriously by the lords. There is reference to Aubree, wife of the Count of Bayeux, executing on the spot, Lanfred, her master mason after he completed her castle. She did this because she was so pleased with it that she didn’t want him to build one like it for anyone else.

Castles were the basis of feudalism. They controlled the land and all within it. A castle was a lord’s response to a mounted cavalry charge. Castles were effective centers of military power and territorial lordship whether or not the king or prince was there. Castles are an important part to history. They are phenomenal structures that still influence modern houses today.

Landscaping Tips For an Irregularly Shaped Lot

Landscaping an irregular shaped lot can be frustrating to most people, but it does not have to be. The uniqueness of it is what makes it stand out providing many more design options. As in any project, you need to consider what type of landscape you are looking for. The possibilities range from low maintenance evergreen plants to a tropical one. Selecting the type of plants you will be using is very important.

As we all know, it does get expensive purchasing plants and it is to your advantage to save your plant purchase receipts, especially from major retailers. They provide replacements within one year of purchase if the plant does not succeed. A good blend of plant types is 5% annuals, 15% of tropicals, 30% perennials and 50% evergreens. The reason for this breakdown of percentages is that annuals will only survive one year. Though some tropicals need to be kept in a green house for the winter, many of them will come back in spring, providing they have some protection from wind chill and are properly mulched. Perennials are very resilient and will come back every year. Then there are the evergreens that provide color year round.

Depending which direction your door entry faces, you should consider what type of shade protection you will be needing and whether you will be getting the morning light from the east or hottest part of the day from the west. That being the case, the planting of trees in this areas is advisable. Things to consider in selecting a tree is: potential growth, longevity and invasiveness of roots. Take into consideration what underground utilities are within the root growth area, such as water and sewer lines. If your property already has established trees in the path of your lines, it is best they be removed. It will be much more expensive having those lines repaired on an ongoing bases since the tree roots will continue to expand.

If your property has a gradual to steep downgrade, you can minimize soil erosion by grading your yard to varies levels. This can be done by either building retaining walls or as simple as planting evergreen shrubs in strategic areas. An example of this is my pie shaped property which is located next to a river. I put in place 80 pound cement bags at the back of the property to minimize soil erosion. I simply stacked the bags criss cross up to 4 feet high and then water them down. This method is very viable and the least expensive.

For properties of high traffic noise, I recommend the planting of Wax Leaf Privet shrubs which are evergreen and will grown up to 10 feet. Though there are varies type of Privets, the wax leaf has deep rich green leaves and is very easy to work with. Other plants that can be included are Red Leaf Photinia which can be maintained as a bush or trained as trees reaching 20 feet. Depending on the area that you live in and possible restrictions of home owner association guidelines, installation of an 8 foot treated lumber fence is recommended. This height serves several purposes. It creates a deterrent to possible property theft and the privacy you deserve. A fence of this height will also protect your plants in the winter from wind chill and will keep your back yard at least 10 degrees cooler in the summer, minimizing water evaporation. Also, by landscaping walkways you attract birds which contribute a tropical atmosphere.

On my pie shaped lot, I planted Green Ash trees on the North side which provided protection from rain storms which usually come from the North West. To the south, I planted evergreen shrubs getting protection from the constant south wind. For color, I have numerous Crepe Myrtle trees of varying colors which at this point reach 30 feet. They provide an abundance of color visible from a great distance. Since most people do not spend their day in the front yard for enjoyment, it is to your benefit that you have a small front yard. True, that the front yard is judged by potential home buyers and you should keep it well maintained, however, the emphasis of landscaping should be at the back.

With all the work it takes in creating a landscape worthy of coming home to everyday, you can add a touch of class to your yard by constructing patio arbors and gazebos. On my property I constructed a 16 foot radius gazebo, 4 foot off the ground, at the corner of the lot. This strategic location provides an overview of the yard and lures you to it to enjoy a morning coffee or a weekend cook out. As a landscape enthusiast, my knowledge based website provides ideas of landscape designs.

His Most Famous Painting (The Parasol) – Francisco Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes of Spain was a very famous painter and printmaker of the eighteenth century. His immense popularity is attributed to his European style of painting, fetching the appreciation of the European kings and queens. Goya’s “The Parasol” or “the Quitasol,” painted in 1777, is by far his most successful painting. Most of his paintings were centered on women, including this one. Goya created “The Parasol” when the Prince and the Princess of Asturias called him to Madrid to paint cartoons for their dining room tapestry in the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid. A copy of “The Parasol” was woven into wool for hanging in the palace.

This oil on linen painting, measuring 104 cm x 152 cm, is known for its brilliant color scheme and brightness. “The Parasol” or “The Quitasol” depicts a pretty, young woman sitting on a hillock with a folded fan in her right hand. Dressed in the then French style, she is wearing a bright yellow skirt with a blue blouse lined with fur, and a dark brown shawl. A red scarf adorns her head. On her lap, rests a little black and white puppy. Next to her, stands a young man dressed in Majo or Maja style. He is wearing a brown coat with a light red waistcoat. He holds a bright green ‘parasol’ (umbrella) right above the woman’s countenance. The left arm of the man is folded to rest on his waist. The folded fan, the ‘parasol,’ and the puppy suggest that the woman follows French fashion and belongs to a royal family, which creates an air of vanity about her. In the background, the leafy branches of a tall tree, bending opposite to the two human figures, depict windy weather. Towards the right side of the damsel is a high stonewall. Therefore, Goya has purposely placed all the bright colors, such as green, blue, red, and yellow in the center of the picture to create a cheerful effect, which was exactly compliant to the desires of the royal family. The flirtatious smile of the protagonist along with her direct gaze adds to the vivaciousness of the painting and gives a classic touch to it.

Francisco’s pictures were always appreciated for their light and shadow effect. His creation of light on canvas was magnificent and this helped him capture a warm and cozy environment in his paintings. In “The Parasol” or “The Quitasol,” too he has used lead white paint to create brightness and shadow lines. The elegance and the beauty of this painting, dipped in ‘Classicism,’ always had people flocking to admire it at the Prado Museum (Museo del Prado) in Madrid, where it is currently displayed.

Teens, Jobs and School: The Pros and Cons

Most teens realize at a fairly young age the old adage that “money equals power.” Money equals designer clothes, a car and insurance, and in many cases, a certain amount of freedom. And in order to get money, many teens get part-time jobs.

While the benefits and/or drawbacks of teens and part-time jobs have been researched, studied and debated since at least 1979, the teens, jobs and affects on schoolwork verdict is still out. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 50 percent of American teenagers hold informal jobs, such as babysitting or yard work, by age 12. And by age 15, nearly two-thirds of American teens have had some kind of employment. And many researchers, including those on government panels like the National Commission on Youth praise part-time work and say it contributes to the transition from youth to adulthood.

Parents and educators alike have, for decades, said that part-time jobs teach children how to be responsible and manage money. But Temple University researcher Laurence Steinberg found that only 11 percent of students report saving most of their money for college, and only three percent contribute to household living expenses. “The bulk of teen’s money goes to clothing, cars, entertainment, and in some cases, drugs and alcohol,” according to results of a study published in Harvard Education Letter in 1998.

Steinberg says, “Students who work longer hours report diminished engagement in schooling, lowered school performance, increased psychological distress, higher drug and alcohol use, higher rates of delinquency and greater autonomy from parental control.” A 1997 study by David Stern, director of the National Research Center for Vocational Education at the University of California, Berkeley, proves Steinberg’s viewpoint. In research conducted over 20 years, students who worked more than 15 hours per week had lower grades, did less homework, had higher dropout rates and were less likely to go to college than students who worked under 15 hours per week.

But Jerald Bachman at the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Project, warns not to jump to cause and effect conclusions. “I would argue that most of the problems that correlate with working long hours are more fundamentally caused,” he says. “That may contribute the to spiral, but I think the spiral is well underway at the time they elect to work the long hours.”

Though the drawbacks to a busy, part-time job are many, so are the benefits. A teenager’s job can teach work skills that school does not, and it can instill in the teen new confidence, sense of responsibility and independence. Earning money will enable your teen to buy things and to manage money. An after-school job can also provide adult supervision, especially if you work longer hours than those in a typical school day. And the right job may provide networking possibilities and set your child on a rewarding lifetime career path.

But before your child gets a job, there are some things you should know. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, “Minors under 14 years of age may not be employed or permitted to work in any occupation, except children employed on farms or in domestic service in private homes.” Children under the age of 14 can also work on farms, be golf caddies, newspaper carriers or juvenile performers in the entertainment industry. But special permits may need to be required.

Also according to many state labor laws, teens aged 14 and 15 are not permitted to work more than four hours per day during the school year and not before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (During the summer, the amount of hours of work per day can be increased to eight.) Children under the age of 16 are prohibited, by Pennsylvania law, for example, from working in bowling centers (unless as snack bar attendants, scorers or control desk clerks), building heavy work, highway work, anywhere liquor is sold or dispensed, manufacturing, on scaffolds or ladders and window cleaning.

For 16 and 17 year olds, the some state laws say, “minors are not to work before 6 a.m. or after midnight on school days and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.” Also, not more than eight hours per day and 28 hours per school week. (During the summer, the only restrictions on 16 and 17 year olds, is that they can work no more than eight hours per day or 44 hours per week.) Young adults under the age of 18 are prohibited from working in billiard rooms; doing electrical work; operating elevators; performing crane and hoisting operations; excavating; operating machinery that does woodworking, bakery mixing, cleaning, oiling or punch pressing; roofing; welding; and doing demolition.

Your teen securing a job is a big step on the road to maturity. Be sure to discuss the pros and the cons with him or her. You may also want to agree to a job on a trial basis, such as “you can work x number of hours a week this grading period and then we will decide if you can keep working, based on your grades.” Maintaining good grades, continuing extra curricular activities and keeping a social life will be important to your child’s psychological health and development. Also, prepare a budget with your child, setting limits on spending and enforcing a percentage-of- paycheck-into-savings policy. Good money management skills, acquired when young, will last a lifetime. Part-time jobs can be a wonderful experience, with the right supervision and parental guidance.

Fundamental Attribution Error – Basic Explanation With Some Examples

In a simple way, the fundamental attribution error happens when people observe and then judge the negative actions of others. In doing so, the observer often underestimates the social pressures that cause the other person to act in such a way.

A good and simple example of the fundamental attribution error can happen like this:

On a specific day a waitress is talking rudely to her customers. The customers now think that she is a really bad person. What the customers don’t realize is that usually most people find the waitress friendly but today the waitress is experiencing one of the hardest days in her life. Her husband just left her for another woman, and she just lost her son in a car wreck. If the customers were aware of the problems the waitress just had, they actually wouldn’t mind her negative attitude as much considering her current state.

So the error was the customers assuming the waitress is a much worse person than she really is. Or that she is always a rude waitress.

Another example deals with young people getting in to bad habits such as smoking. It is often easy to underestimate the pressure young people go through just so they can be accepted among their peers. I have seen adults call young teens stupid for smoking at 15. The fundamental attribution error in here is this: These teens are not stupid, many of them are actually quite smart and get good grades in school. The reason they picked up smoking at such a young age was simply to be accepted by their peers who also smoke. This does not mean smoking is good for them, it just means there is an error of perception when an outsider judges the teen’s actions. The outsider does this without taking in to account the pressures that are causing the teen to act this way.

I often thought that money and power makes people more arrogant, selfish, and prideful above others. I thought it was part of their character. I often forget to think about the pressures that society places on these people to be perfect. This pressure and demand influence the behavior of these people that I perceive negative therefore thinking it is a part of their character. I also thought that the more money people start making the harder it is to give a certain percent away. After all, it is harder to give away $50,000 instead of $500. From a percentage point of view the two amounts are the same if the guy giving the bigger amount makes a hundred times more. I am sure for most people it is still harder to give away the bigger amount regardless of their income. You could do a lot more with $50,000. Therefore I always thought the more money people make the more greedy they can get. But with the fundamental attribution error, this way of thinking is wrong.

The fundamental attribution error makes a good point when we look at the bigger picture. I began to see the social pressure that today’s culture places on a millionaire or a powerful leader. The idea is if you have tons of money and/or powerful, you are smarter and therefore have less weaknesses, closer to perfection. A guy who makes $30 million a year is a human being with strengths and weaknesses. Most people who make that much money realize people look up to them. Therefore they cannot show any weakness whatsoever. This can alter their actions to show pride and ignore certain class of people. They will try to hide any weakness they have because they probably get the idea that is what society demands from them. The reality is, many millionaires and powerful political leaders have financial or leadership success, but they have so many flaws in other areas of their lives. This means they all have problems and weaknesses like everyone else. The only difference is these leaders have a pressure to be perfect because of their position.

Here is another example of the fundamental attribution error personally in my life.

In my first two years of college there was a student, he had long hair, he was wearing a black trench coat all the time and would never take off his sunglasses even indoors. Very few people would socialize with him. Even though I first saw him as weird, I thought the people in the class were jerks for not socializing with him. I gave him rides home because he didn’t have a car. We kind of became school buddies and after I got to know him, in my opinion he was the coolest guy in the class. When looking at the Fundamental Attribution I don’t think the other people in the class were jerks. I see that social influence pressured them not to associate with people who didn’t look like them, who were not part of their “norm”. It wasn’t cool for them to associate with someone who looked like they just walked of a Jerry Springer show.

Things are not what they seem, and the fundamental attribution error points that out in a very scientific way if you do more research on it.

Unemployed? You Can Get a Cheap $5,000 Installment Loan

Used to be that getting a loan of any amount with a decent interest rate was an arduous process. That’s not the case anymore. So many folks out there have had their credit ratings knocked around because of the global economic turmoil. Many private lenders have noticed this and have come forth in droves to fill the market demand. The competition is so hot that even unemployed folks have a good chance of landing a substantial loan.

No Job, Under-Employed, Potential Job, or Fully Employed

Having a job, even a low-paying job, of course makes it a lot easier to get a loan. If you are going to be employed soon, lenders are willing to help as well. You may even find a lender who will wait a month or so until you are finally employed before they demand any payment. This will give you money to care for yourself or your family until your first paycheck kicks in.

Brick and Mortar Institutions Are Not the Answer

Though banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have lowered their annual percentage rates (a.p.r.), they tend to be rather skeptical when confronted with an unemployed potential borrower. You need to check other venues. Check out the yellow pages, the newspapers, or go online to find private lenders who are willing to take a chance on the unemployed and willing to offer a cheap $5,000 installment loan.

Check Online Lenders for the Best Cheap Installment Loans

If you have access to the internet, go online and punch unemployed loans into your browser. You will be rewarded with a vast array of private lenders who can offer you a loan. You have to be sure the lenders you consider are bona fide, have credentials, and you may even want to check them out with the Better Business Bureau.

Pick and Choose the Best Installment Loan for the Unemployed

Once you have found a number of good lenders, consider interest rates and repayment terms. Of course, you want to choose the lender offering the lowest interest rates as well as repayment plans that you will be able to handle. The nice thing about working with lenders online is that you can probably complete the whole process and have fresh cash in your account within 24 hours. Any credentials the lender may need can be faxed or scanned.

Other Considerations for the Unemployed

Sometimes things just do not happen. If you are jobless, your savings depleted, and the prospects do not look good for employment, you might have to make some last ditch moves. You may want to consider selling some of your valuable possessions or offer them as collateral on a loan.

When using collateral, lenders feel more comfortable and you may will probably get interest rates far below what is usually offered to unemployed folks. And this can make a vast difference in your ability to repay.

If push comes to shove, you may want to take valuable possessions, such as jewelry, art, coins, etc., to a pawn shop. Do not take possessions worth more than $1,000. Some lenders will lend money on the title of a late model car so check those out, too. Just remember, if you default on the loan, the lender can seize the property and sell it to cover the cost of the loan.

Look to the Future when Landing a Cheap Installment Loan

If you have manage to land a $5,000 loan while you are unemployed, please remember to take the time to scrutinize the contract, read the fine print, and make sure you are getting the best interest and terms possible. Even a difference of 1% on the a.p.r. can save you hundreds in interest rates. Also, pay attention to fees, sometimes they can become outrageous.

Advantages And Disadvantages of the Short-Term And Long-Term Lease

Understanding the short-term and long-term lease is beneficial when considering your next rental. There are pros and cons to both types of leases. Taking into account your needs and plans are important when considering which lease is best for you.

The first thing to consider is how long you intend to stay in your rental. If you are not planning on a long stay, a short lease agreement may be your best option. But the fact that your landlord can increase your rent more rapidly than a long-term contract or change other lease terms can make a shorter lease less desirable.

With a short-term lease, the tenant does not have to worry about being locked into a long contract. However, with a short-term lease the landlord can make changes to the lease at more frequent intervals including increased rental rates.

Theses lease gives both the tenant and landlord flexibilities. The tenant has the ability to move whenever they want or need. Conversely, the landlord has the flexibility to change the leasing terms more often.

Long-term leases are good for a more stable landlord-tenant relationship. Though the agreement is not as flexible as the short-term agreement, there are many advantages to this type of lease agreement.

In most cases, the rent for a long-term agreement is lower than the rent of a short-term agreement, which can be a big advantage to the tenant. In addition, landlords rarely raise the rent until a current lease agreement has expired.

This more stable lease agreement allows the tenant to better budget for their rent which is an advantage to the tenant. An advantage to the landlord is that a long-term lease generally provides for a lower turnover rate resulting in shorter vacancy periods and less advertising expenses.

Short-term and long-term leases both have advantages and disadvantages to all involved. Considering your needs as the tenant or landlord is important when deciding which lease option is best for you. No matter which you choose, always ensure an agreement is done in writing.

How to Get Rid of Trash Can Smell

Trash can odors are difficult odors to remove for most cleaning products. Trash cans, trash bins, garbage cans, trash compactors, garbage disposals, roll out containers and trash dumpsters all have consistent, persistent and lingering odors after you remove the trash and refuse from the receptacle.

It is not an easy task however, to remove trash can smells, especially within a confined area, for instance in the refrigerator, in the trunk at the back of your car, in the wardrobe or in a poorly ventilated tiny room nearest the can.

Garbage is such a general term that is it difficult for most cleaning and air freshening products to be able to produce a cleaning product for effective garbage odor removal. Trash can smells can permeate anywhere, especially considering that it can contain some of the deadliest and most stubborn smells in one place.

Don’t be surprised that most the things that can remove the bad smell can easily be found in your kitchen. You can also use the combination of any of the tips below together to effectively remove any bad trash can smell. Try those tips and you will say goodbye to trash can smells forever.

Trash Can Smell Removal

* Trash Can Cleanup: Hose down the can on a sunny day. Pour one gallon of water mixed with three cups of bleach into the rinsed trash can. Agitate the bleach and water mixture in the can. Let it sit for one hour, stirring the bleach every ten minutes.

Use a long-handled brush to scrub the sides of the can. Pour out the bleach and water. Be sure you scrub the lid as well. Let the can and lid dry in a sunny spot. The ultraviolet light from the sun kills the odor-causing organisms. Be sure to let the can dry before adding any new trash.

* Charcoal: Charcoal is on the top of the list of smell deodorizers as it is one of the best absorbent agents that can soak up the bad odor. Charcoal is also widely used as water filters and in most odor-removing commercial products. You can put a medium-sized chunk of charcoal inside your smelly patio for instance, and leave it there for a couple of days. You will notice that it can effectively remove the trash can smell.

* Baking soda: This is also a good absorbent. Put a generous amount of baking soda in an uncovered container (the size of the container depends on the size of the confined area) and leave it for several days. Remove the baking soda and replace it with new one and leave it for a couple of days. Continue replacing the baking soda until it has cleared the trash can smell.

* Spring Fever: The best way to get rid of the trash can smell? Get rid of it from the source. Be more prudent with your waste materials. Put things away as soon as you’re done using them. Throw things away as soon you know you won’t use them. Everyday maintenance is the key to a breathable, livable home.

This may all seem anal and tiring, but if you really want to avoid your home smelling like a dumpster, then you better shape up and not throw your trash all around as if your home is a dumpster. Be responsible of your trash for your own sake, or don’t be and suffer the consequences.

Trash Can Smell Masking

If you can’t beat them, hide them; that’s the whole idea behind perfumes and some such products, isn’t it? The methods below basically mask the smell with another more powerful odor rather than remove the smell, so you should be sure you are going to be happy with the result.

* Vanilla Essence: Pour several drops of vanilla essence on a couple of cotton wools. Toss the cotton wools inside the confined spaces nearest your trash can. Leave them for several days and you will notice that the area smells nice, or at least smells nicer.

* Lemon or Lime Peels: Just put some lemon or lime peels into an uncovered container and leave them inside the confined area for a couple of days. The citrus smell will naturally replace the bad trash can smell.

* Mint Extract: If you favor neither the smell of citrus nor vanilla, you can perhaps use mint extract instead. Pour several drops of mint extract on a couple of cotton wools. Toss the cotton wools inside the confined space and leave them for a couple of days.

* Coffee: Ground coffee has a nice, crisp natural aroma. Just put about a cup of ground coffee in a flat, uncovered container. Place the container inside the confined space for several days. If the bad smell is extremely horrible, put more ground coffee. The area will smell of fresh coffee for many days.

* Tea: If you don’t like coffee, you can use tea bags instead. Just place 2-3 tea bags inside the confined space. The tea leaves in the bags will not only absorb the trash can smell but will also release the natural aroma of tea.

* Orange peels: Get an orange and poke it with a sharp object like a needle or fork to form small holes. Place each of the cloves inside these small holes until most of the orange surfaces are covered. It may look like a hedgehog with the cloves jutting out of the orange fruit. Leave it in the confined area for a couple of days. The area will smell nice with the said combinations.

* Pandan Leaf: It is easy to get pandan leaf in tropical countries as it is widely used in Southeast Asian cooking to add aroma to dishes. Its pleasant aroma also acts as natural air freshener. Just take a few strips of the pandan leaves and tie them into knots. Place the leaves inside the confined space and leave them until the leaves are withered or dried up. Replace the leaves regularly until the trash can smell goes away.

Significance Of HVAC And Its Function

Heating Ventilation and Air-conditioning system or HVAC as it is popularly known as is an important aspect of a building. Most of the people may know the meaning of HVAC but very few realize the importance of consulting a HVAC Company for installation and maintenance of the unit. To hold and retain an optimum temperature within a building it is necessary to install a HVAC system by consulting a professional HVAC company. If the system is not properly installed then you will not be able to get the maximum utility out of your HVAC system.

The primary function of this system is to maintain a comfortable and ideal temperature where it is installed. This system controls indoor humidity, airflow and temperature thus making the space more comfortable. HVAC has over the years proved to be the most efficient and eco friendly solution for controlling temperature in homes and commercial spaces. HVAC system aims at improving the quality of air circulating within the building apart from its basic temperature control functions.

Now let us go through the three main functions of HVAC system

If it is freezing outside then you definitely will need a system to keep you warm inside. Heating helps to keep the room warm and is the most effective way to get relief from extreme cold climates. Heating is an important function of HVAC system. Heating can be done in two ways; you can either go for a local heater or a centralized heater. If you want a cost effective system for heating then it will be better for you to go for a central heating system. Central heating system functions using radiators, heat pumps and furnaces.

In HVAC the V stands for ventilation and is another important functionality of the system. Proper ventilation is necessary for circulation of fresh and pure air within the building. HVAC system cleanses the air circulating within the building by eliminating impurities. The system vents out carbon dioxide and lets in oxygen thus making the circulating air within the building pure and clean. Breathing clean and fresh air makes you more comfortable and healthier.

The AC in HVAC stands for Air conditioning which is another primary function of the system. When it comes to cooling your home or office during the summer the best way to do so is by installing HVAC Air conditioning system. This system not only cools the temperature within your building or home but also will block all impurities. The most prominent feature of this system is that it cools evenly by eliminating hot spots thus maintaining an even temperature through the space it is made to function.

HVAC units not only function efficiently but are also energy efficient, thus helping you to save a few bucks on energy bills. To get the best out of your HVAC system you need to service it form time to time. HVAC service companies can offer you professional services for maintaining your HVAC system whenever required. You can find a number of reputed HVAC companies in your area either though online or from a directory. Short list a few of them and contact them to provide you an estimate. Compare the cost and the service provided to decide which company to hire to get a HVAC system installed in your home or building.

With a traditional heating or cooling system you will be missing the benefits of HVAC system. The technology in HVAC controls the temperature and humidity to a comfortable level thus improving the quality of air along with its basic function of maintaining the right temperature within the building or home.

By using such a system you are saving energy and in a way contributing to a greener environment. For a cleaner air and a healthier life all you have to do is consult a HVAC company and get a HVAC unit installed in your home or office and if you already have it then go for regular maintenance for increasing the efficiency of the system. Check the filters and clean the drains for an improved indoor air quality. A technician specialized in the field can help you to improve the performance of your HVAC system with the essential maintenance and repair works.

How Much Does Dry Ice Blasting Cost?

There are some things better left to the ‘professionals,’ am I right?

  • Brain Surgery
  • Bomb Squad
  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire Fighting
  • Assaulting the Bin Laden Compound…

You get the picture…

When you call in the ‘Pro’s’ things just tend to get ‘taken care of’ in a way that you and I just couldn’t ever seem to pull together.

Sure things get done; and they get done properly, safely and with the utmost care…

But What’s This Gonna Cost Me?

The costs of contract cleaning is sometimes hard to predict. But any true professional should be able to give you an honest and reliable estimate.

A Professional Estimate should include the following basic, minimum specifications:

  1. What does the proposal cover (i.e. what will be cleaned, specifically)?
  2. How is the work going to be completed (how many crew members, crews, how much equipment on site, who will be the responsible supervisor/contact person/contractor representative on site)?
  3. Unit pricing (how much am I paying per day, per section, per unit, per room, per square foot etc… )
  4. How much is the total job going to cost and what exactly am I getting for that dollar amount?
  5. What safety procedures are going to be followed and who is responsible for jobsite compliance?
  6. What is the time-line for completing the project?

Aside from price, items #2 and #6 on this list may possibly be the most important items for us to consider. Because, believe it or not -dry ice blasting is not that much different from other contracted services in that it is driven by hourly costs and considerations.

Of course, we are concerned with price and of course we are concerned with safety…

But if we’ve done our homework and chosen a competent, well-regarded and recommended professional contractor… those items are ‘in the bag’ and by the end of this article you’ll know exactly what to expect for those services.

What we really ought to be concerned with now is…

How is this job going to progress? What does it ‘look like’?

  • What’s the ‘Time-Line’ for completion?
  • Who we can rely on to pull the whole thing together?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the schedule?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the budget?

Which of course brings us back to the question:

How Much Does Dry Ice Blasting Cost?

Here is a ‘possible breakdown’ of professional blast cleaning costs in the Detroit, MI. Cleveland, OH. & Toledo, OH. market:

Dry Ice Blasting Team – $314.60 per hour

Includes all tools, equipment and consumable materials; a qualified staff trained in all dry ice blasting applications using all applicable OSHA safety precautions, personal protection equipment and procedures:

  • Supervisor $28.75/hr
  • Technician $25.75/hr
  • Labor (ea) $18.75/hr
  • Aero40-HP $30.00/hr
  • After-cooler $15.00/hr
  • 375 CFM/150PSI (min) Air Compressor $28.25/hr
  • Consumables $95.50/hr
  • Overhead @ 7% $36.30/hr
  • Profit @ 7% $36.30/hr

TOTAL Hourly Rate: $314.60/hr

*These cost estimates are based on prevailing wages, typical conditions and typical cleaning requirements. All projects are unique and require individual assessment and estimates.

Please contact us for a customized solution to your cleaning and dry ice blasting needs.

Biblical Business Names: Company and Product Names Inspired by the Bible

Not long ago novelist Marilynne Robinson published an article in the New York Times about Biblical references in literature, which got me thinking about Bible-inspired company names and product names.

Surprisingly, there aren’t that many.

Robinson pointed out in her article, “Biblical allusions can suggest a degree of seriousness or significance.” They have gravity and resonance and indicate a complexity of experience, she noted.

I believe these points can apply also when Biblical allusions appear in business names. Because of widespread education in religious faith, Bible-inspired names often draw on a well of familiarity. They have more potential for long-term relevance and recognition than references from movies, songs and other elements of popular culture.

If you are running a secular business, you might want to avoid a religious flavor. However, as you’ll see in most of the examples below, Biblical references don’t necessarily come across as either sectarian or devout.

Biblically derived names fall into these categories:

1. Characters from the Bible. For example:

* Samsonite – After Samson, the Old Testament’s legendary strong man.

* Lot’s Wife Gourmet Sea Salt – A reference to the woman married to Abraham’s nephew, who was warned not to look back as they fled the fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah. She did, though, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

* Bezalel Coins – In the Book of Exodus, Bezalel was a master artisan chosen to craft the Ark of the Covenant and other sacred objects.

2. Words, phrases or concepts from the Bible, especially from the Book of Proverbs, but also from other parts of the Bible.

* Iron Men – A two-man construction company in Michigan named for Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

* Apples of Gold – An online jewelry company that explicitly notes a reference to Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold, in settings of silver.”

* Forbidden Fruit – A store in Austin, Texas that sells (ahem) adult toys, named after the scene in the Garden of Eden where naughty Eve persuades Adam to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, which God forbade them to consume.

3. Chapter or verse numbers. This kind of Biblical reference surprised me, as most people can’t cite chapter and verse by memory for familiar Bible passages. However, when explained, these allusions have resonance.

* Fitness 9:27 – A personal training company whose name points to I Corinthians 9:27: “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

* Thirty-One – A direct sales company offering purses, tote bags and organizational products, whose mission of celebrating, encouraging and rewarding women parallels the evocation of the Woman of Valor in Proverbs 31.

In North America, Biblical references – especially those from the Old Testament – tend to have an ecumenical flavor and don’t necessarily identify you with a particular religion. However, internationally that may be less true.

While discussing company names with a man intending to set up headquarters in Dubai with a company name in English, I asked him about using the name Solomon to evoke wisdom. “No, that would be perceived as Jewish. Islam has the same figure but refers to him as Suleiman.” And naturally, in India or Indonesia, King Solomon may not evoke any associations at all.

How to Increase Your Reading Retention Rate

Our reading retention rate depends on how active we are in the learning process. It is so common for someone to sit and read a whole chapter or section of information, and at the end, not remember any of it. Usually that person goes back and starts all over again. This is so frustrating! Not to mention the amount of time wasted. There are certain things that we can do to improve our reading retention rate and avoid unnecessary re-reading.

Before settling in to start reading the first page, take a few minutes to develop a strategy plan. Firstly, why the decision to read this information? Determine if it is work that you need to study in great detail or perhaps you are searching for more specific information. The other question that needs to be asked, is what you will be needing the information for. Perhaps for study purposes or for wanting to learn how something is done. Maybe you are simply interested in the topic. By asking these questions we prepare our brain and remind ourselves exactly what it was that we want to be remembering. The purpose for the reading is now established.

Much more of the information is remembered if we are more active in our reading. This will involve making summaries while you are reading. There are various ways to make summaries, depending on the individual’s preferences, although all summaries should contain only keywords. Do not re-write the textbook! Decide before reading which will be the best summarizing technique to use.

Write a main heading at the top of your page and then divide the page into three columns. The first column is usually for one main keyword, and the other two columns are for further keywords relating to the main one. The use of colors and small simple pictures wherever possible is much encouraged during summarizing. By breaking the keywords into columns, the work will be much easier to study later, and one can see at a glance what it is all about. Your reading retention rate will be far higher if you are making notes while you are reading.

The other summarizing technique is called the mind map, which is a huge success with millions of people worldwide. The mind map is the best idea for anyone who struggles to remember their work. The most important thing about the mind map, is that it is non-linear which facilitates the way our brains think. Start with the main concept in the centre of the page. This can be a word or a picture representing your main idea or topic. From this central point, branch out with the next main keyword. Then add further branches with more detailed keywords relating to the main one. Ideally each branch should have it’s own unique color and only one keyword per branch. Once again, the use of pictures greatly enhance retention. The mind map is a very easy way to capture information during the reading process. As it is not in linear form, additional facts can easily be added to any of the branches.

For a high reading retention rate we should ideally have been taught summarizing methods as a child. From as early as possible, children should learn how to effectively summarize their reading. They then learn to write ideas in their own words and study better in higher grades.

While reading, try to eliminate distractions. Your mind must focus attention on the task at hand. If you are constantly interrupted, reading retention rate will be low.

It is best to experiment with a few summarizing methods to find the one you like the most. Often the type of information will also determine the summarizing technique best used. Once you have become active in your reading, you will be pleasantly surprised at how your reading retention rate has increased.

Teak Shower Seat – How Do You Avoid Deceptive Descriptions And Get Genuine Teak?

When you have an superb product made with the authentic materials, it’s going to sell well and give first-class value, since it provides the perfect results for which it had been intended. Unfortunately for those who have a extremely successful invention, there will arrive imitators who will attempt to undercut the prices just to go after a portion of the action. Charles Caleb Colton said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” However when imitation is in the form of a distortion or a forgery, it destroys credibility, trust and takes away real wealth of the final consumer of any product. The made-up use of the expression ‘Teak’ for shower seats, bath mats, bath seats, etc. is not an exception.

Now we’d like to explain what is being passed off by marketers as “teak”, “wears or behaves like teak”, “stronger than teak” otherwise is “teak like” but is, in fact, not Teak:

Nyatoh wood:

This is a Class III timber subject to powder post beetle damage. Though protected with oil at the start, it needs yearly reapplication of the oils, in particular at joints and ends which can be subject to rot. This isn’t your choice timber for a teak shower bench reproduction nor a teak bath mat replica. Maintenance and rot likely exclude this wood for a bathing surroundings.

Shorea wood:

This lumber is advertised all around as being ‘teak like’, chiefly since it’s a closely related species. It goes without saying what they do not state is you can find roughly 360 recognized varieties of shorea of which 148 are listed as anywhere from perilously in danger of extinction to susceptible. As with other families, each one has its specific useful and inferior factors. A familiar wood offered in North America is presented as Philippine Mahogany, which isn’t mahogany the least bit but a mixture of woods in the family Shorea. You’ve doubtless seen it on flat door skins and paneling. Shorea, being a genus of timber covers such a broad spectrum of wooden materials, it would be tough to spot as an exact species of wood deceitfully labeled ‘teak’ and used to make up a shower/bath stool, shower organizer or bathroom accessories. If you find the label Tectona grandis (Common Teak), you’ve the precise identification of the genuine Teak for which you are searching.

Eucalyptus wood:

This wood does not have the dimensional stability of common teak and if not dried appropriately is destined to split, chip and crack. This wood is drenched by a high caliber penetrating oil to give it a ‘teak like’ appearing. Needless to say to preserve this look requires periodic washing and resealing. Please do not forget- this wood will as a rule is expected to be in lengthy contact with bare skin and so the premium penetrating oil may become part of you since your pores are enlarged because of the warmth of the shower/bath.

When you are trying to find a teak shower bench, a teak shower/bath stool, a teak shower/bath mat or an organizer or accessories, make sure that you are purchasing actual teak. Nothing to oil, nothing to maintain, just the best possible, most long-lasting, rot resistive tough material for a lifetime of bathing pleasure.

Facts About The Black Carpet Beetle

Beetles are not just crawling in your garden. They could also be present in your home, namely in your carpet or clothes. The beetle that normally invades homes and causes damage to carpets and clothes is the infamous black carpet beetle. Generally, this beetle tends to invade homes during spring and lives off woolen clothes, carpets and pet food.

You will be able to identify this beetle by knowing some facts about it. It is around 3 to 5 millimeters long, with an oval and elongated body. It has the ability to fly and that is how it gets into homes. The beetle is typically black in color and has minute hair on the body. However, there are some species of the carpet beetle that can be reddish brown in color instead of black.

The larvae of the black carpet beetle are around 12.5 to 13 millimeters in length. They are shaped like a carrot and are golden brown in color. However, the one characteristic feature that can help you identify the black carpet beetle larvae is the gold tuff of hair at the tapering end of the body. The larvae consume all items derived from animals, like hair of your pet, meat, leather, and wool. The larvae generally tend to invade kitchen cabinets and cupboards where winter clothes are kept.

Once mating finishes in spring, the female beetle will fly into a house and look for an appropriate place to lay her eggs. The eggs are whitish and small in size and the female will look to lay it close to a food source. After 6 to 11 days, if the temperature is warm, the eggs hatch and the larvae emerge. The larval stage lasts for around 258 to 639 days. After that, the adult black carpet beetle emerges and it can have a lifespan ranging from just a few weeks to many months.

Although the black carpet beetle does not bite or sting, it can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to allergens. More than that, the damage the beetle can wreak is quite high and hence, it is often viewed as a pest. Rather than using chemicals to get rid of the black carpet beetle, it is prudent to adopt eco-friendly measures. Put on a pair of gloves and pick up the beetles and dispose off them. You can even use your vacuum cleaner to pick up the beetles from the carpet or clothes. Drown the beetles in soap water to eliminate them. Then sprinkle diatomaceous earth or silica gel in the places where the black carpet beetles were found. This will kill any more beetles that you missed.