Teaching Aid or Tennis Court Bench? An Easy to Use Learning Tool

We wanted to share with you an interesting way to use your Tennis Court Bench as a Learning Tool. Many court benches have parallel rails that provide a useful track for the ball. These types of benches are a great tool for a drill we have been taught. One of the tennis professionals we work with has developed a neat drill, that you can practice alone or with a friend, that can help your stroke. These drills are for mainly for beginners, and larger children, but the advanced player might find some use as well.

Here’s the progression.

With the bench flat:

1. Place ball in front of students strings and have them walk or push the ball along the bench till it falls into a basket at the end of the bench. Do this with forehand and backhands.

2. Place the ball in front of the students strings and have them push the ball so it rolls on its own (no moving feet) into a basket at the end of the bench.

3. Roll the ball to the student from one side of the bench. Student stops the balls with racket then rolls it back up the bench (no moving feet).

4. Roll the ball to the student from one side of the bench. This time the student swings racquet instead of stops it so ball rolls back up the bench.

Use this same progression but create a slope with the bench by stacking something underneath it. Place the bench right in front of the net so student can have success getting the ball over the net. This will allow the student to get the feel for how to push forward and upward to create arc over the net.

Repeat these drills 2-3 times for 1-3 minutes each. Use this drill for a light warm up and to break up your practice sessions.

For a fun competitive game, try to make as many as you can in the bucket or over the net in a row.

Another great use for the bench is a conditioning tool. To get an amazing cardio workout that can boost performance and explosiveness on the court do this drill when you are tired or to warm up. If you do this to warm up AND when you are done playing, you will see better performance all around. Always remember, Cardio IS King, in all sports.

Here’s the progression.

1. Slowly step up to the bench with one foot. Press yourself up with one leg and do not let your second foot touch the bench. Go back to the floor with both feet. Step back up with the same leg and repeat process. Do this 10 times, then switch legs. Do 3-5 sets on each leg gradually building your speed. Always keep a pace that is controlled and safe for your abilities.

2. Slowly step up to the bench with one foot. Bring your other foot up so you are standing on the bench momentarily. As your second foot touches bring your first foot back to the ground. Then bring your other foot back to the ground. Repeat this process 10 times alternating legs. Do 3-5 sets gradually building your speed. Always keep a pace that is controlled and safe for your abilities.

3. This drill may not be for everyone but is a must if you are a serious athlete. Start standing about 2 feet away from the bench. With both feet jump onto the seat of the bench and steady yourself. Jump back down. Do this 10 times. Do 3-5 sets gradually building your speed. Always keep a pace that is controlled and safe for your abilities.

4. For someone who is really athletic you can do 2 footed jumps over the bench to build power throughout your torsoe and legs. This can be dangerous. If you are uncertain of your abilities, do not attempt.

Tennis court benches are designed by tennis players and are perfect for use on a tennis court. There are tennis benches that are ideal for public places and others that are built for residential use. For this drill you need a special bench that you can view in the link below. Use these tips to think up some more ways to improve your game with a tennis court bench! See the Tennis Court Bench we recommend using. We think you will find this tennis drill useful and fun. Try it today and let is know what you think. Thanks for taking the time to read our article!

Five Reasons Why You Should Take Up Archery

Archery Enthusiasts will tell you that you have to be a special kind of person to take up archery. After all, it would seem to be going against the grain to learn to use a weapon that has been rendered obsolete by the use of modern day guns and technology. However, if you look closer, you will find that archery offers a great deal that other sports simply lack in comparison. Although the individual reasons someone likes Archery may vary, almost everywhere agrees with the following five benefits:

1. It is something novel and original. With so many hobbies and activities to choose from, archery certainly is a unique choice. Many people have not experienced archery since their days of past summer and scout camps. For this reason, the opportunity to try out this sport will get your creative juices flowing as you try to learn how to shoot like the best. With currently only few people experienced with archery, you are sure to have an interesting conversation topic when people find out you have taken up the sport.

2. It lets you try your luck as a modern day Robin Hood. For traditionalists, archery is a great way to see how past ancestors lived while trying their luck with a bow and arrow. This can be an initially humbling experience which will give you a new found respect of what your past ancestors have done, but also great satisfaction in knowing you too can master this skill.

3. It is not as physically intensive as some other sports. Although archery does require some physical strength, compared to other sports, it is less physically intensive. Many people who have lost the use of their legs have been able to stay active because of archery. This aspect of the sport has great appeal for those who like to compete, but aren’t necessarily as interested in risking injury or a serious sweat in more physically intensive activities.

4. Several options to choose from to match your own competitive desires and interests. Archery enthusiasts can take up target archery, archery hunting, field archery, or even bowfishing. Target archery allows you to shoot at bulls-eye targets and possibly compete in contests with other archers. Archery hunting allows you the chance to take down a big buck or bear with a bow. Field archery lets you shoot at different 3d targets of animals and other blocks and cubes for points at vary distances. Finally, bowfishing lets you go fishing with a bow. As you can imagine, each of these activities is slightly different, but they do offer you a chance to find one that best fits your personality and interests.

5. It can be challenging or it can be for fun. You get to control how competitive and challenging you want the sport to be. You can enter into contests that match your talent against other archers or you can practice for fun and not keep score. Whatever your competitive desires are, you will be sure to like the advantage of being able to go outdoors and let a few arrows fly. What you do beyond this, will be up to you.

The joy of archery is in its simplicity and complexity. At its base level, it is simply a bow and arrow, but to use these tools well, takes practice and a desire to improve. This fascinating dichotomy is what pulls more and more people into the sport each year and is why you will end up enjoying it too.

Bartholin Cyst Essential Oil Treatment

What is a Bartholin gland?

The Bartholin gland is a tiny organ on each of the labia minora (vaginal lips) just outside the opening to the vagina. If the vagina were the face of a clock, the Bartholin glands would be found at about 4 and 8 o’clock. Normally they are so tiny that they are invisible. During sexual arousal the Bartholin gland releases a lubricating fluid. A Barholin gland cyst develops when the gland becomes blocked. The gland can become blocked for a variety of reasons, such as an infection, inflammation, long term irritation, or poor circulation. When blockage occurs a round swelling called a cyst forms that can grow to the size of an orange, though most only get as large as the size of a golf ball. Cysts can become tender though not always.

I made a blend of pure essential oils for my friend to try in a Sitz bath. The key essential oils I used in the
Bartholin Gland Essential Oil Formula:

Cypress (astringent to increase circulation and assist drainage)
Juniperberry (detoxifier)
Lavender, High Altitude (anti-inflammatory)


To a 15ml bottle add: 125 drops each of Cypress and Juniperberry, and 50 drops of Lavender


Add 3-4 drops Bartholin Gland essential oil formula in a carrier of Epson salts (1/2 cup) added to a Sitz bath. Soak for 10-15 minutes, once a day. If you don’t notice a change in the cyst or symptoms of discomfort within a few hours after your soak you may repeat.


I asked my friend to please let me know how things went over the next few days. She wrote back to me several days later thanking me for the Bartholin Cyst essential oil formula, and reporting that the Bartholin Cyst had completely healed. She told me the gland started draining within one day after beginning treatment and had completely healed by the third day after beginning treatment, and has never returned (more than a year ago now). It was very simple to treat it. She used three Sitz baths with the Bartholin Cyst formula of essential oils in Epson salts 3 times daily for 3 days. She also mixed the Bartholin Cyst formula with light coconut oil and applied after bathing. She told me the marble sized Bartholin Cyst reduced in size and went away permanently (more than a year ago now). She encouraged me to let others know about the Bartholin cyst formula. She told me that on the web there was so much fear about having a Bartholin gland cyst or infected gland, and seeming resignation to having it lanced by a doctor to solve the problem.

CAUTION: Because of its stimulating effect on the kidneys, Juniper berry oil should not be used during pregnancy. Avoid Juniper berry in cases of acute kidney or bladder infections or with kidney disease.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are preganant I recommend that you do not use essential oils during your first trimester, and after that, only use essential oils under the direct supervision of a professionally trained certified clinical aromatherapist.

Aromatherapy is Nature’s Medicine in its purest and most essential form. Aromatic Oils are the very soul of a plant. Even a drop or two can produce significant results for your body, mind and spirit. Properly administered essential oils are a natural, safe and effective way to enhance your health and well-being and may produce satisfying results where other methods have failed. Please consult with your physician regarding serious health concerns and do not attempt to self diagnose.

Blisters And Bunions: Soothe Them Fast!

At this time of year many of my patients are attending holiday parties. This can mean being on your feet for long periods of time, standing, dancing, walking, in new, stiff dress shoes and high heels which can cause a real pain in the foot, namely that of blisters and bunions!

Especially if your foot is sweating and the shoe rubs against the back of your heel, tops/sides of your toes, as can happen when dancing, you’re almost certain to get a blister.

In addition, the pressure that newer, stiffer shoes place on the bones of our feet can aggravate the second most common foot ailment my patients complain of – bunions!

Just in time for all those holiday parties then, I’d like to share with you some tips on how to both prevent these painful foot ailments and how to minimize the discomfort from them.


Blisters usually form from a combination of friction, motion and heat. Even if you have good socks or panty-hose between your foot and your shoe, frequent rubbing of the shoe against your skin creates fluids to build up in that area to create a buffer between your skin and the shoe. When the blister breaks, we feel the real discomfort from the raw skin hitting our shoe.

Of course, the number #1 cause of blisters is ill-fitting shoes to begin with. We see those designer shoes in the window and think they’ll look great with our holiday suits and dresses. However, when we try them on, they’re just a tad tight in the toe box, or at the back of our heel, or side of our foot, but we like them so much, they’re just the right style and color, we rationalize that they’ll stretch out and be fine by the time our parties roll around. Not exactly.

Too tight shoes can create even more rubbing when your foot may need to slide in and out of the shoe during certain motions, like going up on your toes, or turning your feet, in certain dance moves, walking uphill or downhill, or just walking in general for an extended time. Pretty soon, you’ve created a blister, maybe even a few! Here’s how to handle them:

Band-Aids: Carry a handful in your jacket pocket or your purse. They’re the best immediate fix for a blister.

Old Shoes: Bring along an old, comfortable pair of shoes if you must change into them.

Don’t Pop It: Once you open a blister and drain it, the overlying skin peels back exposing the red, raw skin beneath it and can get infected. It also makes it hurt more. Wrap a Band-Aid, even 2, firmly around the blister without draining it. This provides extra padding against the shoe.

Stretch Your Shoes: Stretch your shoe right in the place where it is rubbing.


While blisters are usually temporary, bunions can stay around for a while and worsen in their condition. Usually what causes bunions are, like blisters, ill-fitting shoes in the first place! In addition, just the shape of the shoe can cause/aggravate bunions, namely too-narrow toe boxes that push the toes together such as occurs in cowboy boots or pointy high heels. A bunion is a bony bump at the base of your big toe and causes the toe to lean toward the other toes.

Bunions, like blisters, are caused by stress and pressure, but this time against the bone/joint itself, rather than the overlying skin. The foot tries to compensate by building up fluid at the point of “rub”. This also creates inflammation in the deeper tissues. The bone also starts to over-grow at this point, almost as an attempt to push the foot away from the area of the rub.

The development of a bunion means that there is excessive pronation, or turning, in the rearfoot which causes friction and pressure against the bones of the forefoot and bunions to form. Poorly fitting, or ill-supporting, shoes can cause this pronation of the foot.

Here’s what helps bunions:

Roomy Shoes – shoes need enough space around the bunion to prevent further rubbing against the already toughened callous overlying the bunion. Look for a wider toe box. Stretch any new shoes with shoe stretchers to provide extra room over the bunion area.

Orthotics – these are custom made stabilizers for the foot that keep the rearfoot from turning and causing further pressure/rubbing against bones in the forefoot.

Bunion pads – sold at pharmacies, these are inexpensive gel-pads that fit over the calloused bunion area and prevents further rubbing against your shoe.

Topical pain relievers – over the counter rub-in gel pain relievers can help.

Toe Separators – silicone toe separator between the big toe and second toe stops them from rubbing up against each other.

Podiatrist care – a podiatrist can remove excess callous on the bunion to provide more comfort to the area before you put you get into your holiday shoes.

Vitamin Therapy – antioxidants A, C, E, D, decreases inflammation/pain.

Surgery – surgical removal of bunions help – but they can reappear if you don’t also treat the cause of them.

I want you to enjoy the holidays as much as possible without foot woes. The best way to do this is to make sure that any footwear you may buy really does fit your feet properly as nothing dampens a festive mood as a screaming pair of painful feet! Try a few of the suggestions here in order to prevent pain or discomfort from blisters and bunions before they begin!

Jay Brachfeld, M.D.

Improve Your Baseball Swing by Learning How to Throw the Bat

Learning to Throw-the-Bat-Head (NOT “swing” the bat) is the foundation of a professional baseball-training program. It is also the 1st thing that you should do to develop your swing.

Top Hand:

You should learn to feel that throwing action from the top hand. You should feel the top hand throw or whip the bat head through the zone. As the ball is being delivered towards home plate, you should think about throwing the barrel “behind” the baseball. The pitcher is throwing the ball at you and you’ve got to throw the barrel back at the ball.

There are three movements that you must perfect when working on your top hand movements.

1. The first is throwing the barrel along the golf plane; truly feeling your hands whip the zone.

2. The second is throwing the barrel along the baseball plane and feeling the same whip in your hands through the zone.

3. The third is actually throwing the bat down the opposite field line.

Perform these three movements with both a regular grip as well as a split grip. A split grip means your hands are slightly separated an inch or so. These are simple movements and should be easy to learn, but doing them right is very important in developing your feel for throwing the barrel.

A brief review each of these movements:

1. Golf Plane:

The first movement you should use to develop this thrower’s feel is to take the bat along the golf plane. Using the golf plane keeps the bat light and this allows you to stay loose and relaxed. At the bottom of your swing, you simply throw your top hand past your bottom.

-When performing this drill, you just want to take that lead arm up and then just allow it to fall straight down. Before your lead arm gets to your front foot, you should feel your hands start to work and feel the bat whip through the zone.

– Notice how the lead arm stops before it gets to the foot and then all that’s working through there are the hands and the bat.

-It’s very important that you feel this whipping sensation and as that lead arm is going to stop before the foot, the lead hand works under, the top hand works over, as the bat head whips through and then the lead arm begins to move.

-When doing this drill and, in general as a hitter, you want to have a good, firm grip on the bat, but you always want to have nice, loose, relaxed wrists – – good grip, loose wrists.

Split grip:

It’s often a good idea to separate the hands an inch or two so that you can really feel what each hand is doing independently. If you do this, you really become aware how the top hand is throwing the barrel past the bottom hand.

Add stride to movement:

Once the hands are feeling good and you can really feel the throw in the hands, you can add some footwork, i.e. add a stride or a step into your throw.

– Throwing the barrel along the golf plane is a great movement to use in the on-deck circle or between pitches. It helps keep the batter stay relaxed and ensures that the hands are working properly.

2. Baseball plane:

The next movement you should master to feel the throw of the barrel is to simply take the same movement from the golf plane up to the baseball plane.

-Again, it is important that you get a good grip on the bat and keep very loose wrists.

– You should also feel the lead arm get to a point behind the front foot, and then it stops moving forward and allows the top hand to throw past the bottom to create that whip effect.

Note: When performing these dry swings, hitters should incorporate the top-hand release. It gives the batter the sensation of getting rid of the barrel, throwing the barrel at the ball and not “hanging onto it” afterwards. Hanging onto the bat throughout the entire swing can sometimes give the batter a very spinning, turning feel to his movement, which you don’t want.

A Major point of emphasis: don’t release until the top hand finishes. By finish, we mean contact with the ball AND the movement of the top-hand over-and-past the bottom-hand. We will also see the back-arm finish extension just after contact as the top hand gets over and past the bottom. We will not want to release the top-hand until we have completed these movements of the back arm/hand.

Split grip: again, just like on the golf plane, it’s a good idea to separate the hands an inch, maybe even two. The split grip allows you to feel what each hand is doing. Isolating the top-hand accentuates the throwing “feel”.

3. One arm throws:

Removing the bottom-hand and throwing the barrel along the baseball plane with just one arm can really help a player develop a feel of throwing the bat at the ball.

– Just attach the lead hand at the back-shoulder and feel the barrel in your top hand. Then simply step and make a side-arm throw of the barrel along the baseball plane. Start with dry swings.

-You will want to feel your hand whip through the zone. That whipping is felt as the top hand goes over the top just after what would have been contact with the ball.

-When performing a one-arm barrel throw, you want to try to stay square on the front side. Attaching the lead hand to the back shoulder would help with that.

-We really want to feel more tilt than turn on that front shoulder.

Note: In the early stages, however, it’s much more important that we concern ourselves with feeling the throw as opposed to developing perfect form. It’s a great movement for feeling side-arm throwing action of the high-level hitting pattern.

After we’ve developed a feel of the top hand throwing the barrel of the ball and the hand whipping the barrel through the zone, we can move on to the final movement for developing a feel and belief that we are “Throwing the Barrel”.

4. Throw the bat itself.

You want to make sure that you set up in a safe area in an open field or perhaps a position in front of the net. Be sure that anyone with you is not in front or to the side of you, but rather well behind you.

-The first time we throw bats, we’re not concerned with our mechanics. The purpose of this movement is to feel and see that the actions that you use to swing a bat are highly similar to the actions that you would use to throw it.

-Focus on the step and throw aspect of the movement.

-So that we don’t feel too much spin in these throws, we want to throw our bats down the opposite field line and as we release the bat, our hands and our body should be in the direction of the throw, again, down the opposite field line.

– Focus on feeling the one fluid movement aspect of the throw. It’s one fluid movement. In other words, we don’t start and stop when we throw. We don’t want to do that when we swing either. It’s one fluid movement.

Note: The step you take and the movements that the rest of your body makes, including your arms, all act to give speed to the bat head. The highest-level swing patterns most closely align with the high-level throwing patterns.

Again, don’t worry about perfect form on these throws. This is not an every session drill, but rather a movement to help you understand that the swing is essentially a throw. You can go back to it from time to time, especially if you feel yourself getting away from the smooth throwing pattern.

Green Bamboo: Strength in Flexibility

Those who have watched the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" would be familiar with the imagery of bamboo: flexible yet firm, tender yet strong. These unique qualities make the bamboo fit snugly into ancient Chinese philosophy and endow the health benefits of the bamboo with an air of wisdom and grace.


In China, the highly revered bamboo reflects celestial unity in ancient art, such as ethereal paintings of misty mountains with bamboo leaves, delicious bamboo weavings and bamboo baskets.

The strength of bamboo is apparent when the fury of the atomic bomb unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War Two only damaged bamboo marginally. It was also one of the first plants to reappear after the deadly war, thus occupying a special place in the hearts of the Japanese. Visitors to Japan will be charmed by the melodious sound of nature when a breeze rustles through bamboo-made wind chimes.

In Hawaii, where bamboo is known as "ohe", bamboo crafts have been elevated to an art, with intricate designs of delicate tapa stamps carved from split bamboo.

Before the invention of wheels, bamboo provided stout shafts for carrying baskets woven from bamboo fibers, hence revealing its wide spectrum of uses.


Bamboo has strong survival skills. Like grass, it grows quickly and is able to propagate by itself. Like wood, it is strong and can be found through the world. Although bamboo only needs minimal water to sustain itself, as little as 20 inches of rain for some species, most large bamboos grow quicker when exposed to full sunlight.

Growing profusely in poverty-ridden and resource-scare areas, bamboo is like a gift to humanity, giving the most of itself during its short lifespan of a few years.

The height of bamboo variants from 30cm dwarf plants to hovering timber bamboos of over 40m.

Bamboos are classified according to the type of roots. Runners, which belong mainly to tropical bamboos, spread exuberantly while clumpers, which belong to temperate bamboos, expand slowly from the original planting. There are also root systems that combine the two types.

Bamboo leaves come in a large variety. There are soft velvety leaves, leaves with saw-toothed edges and leaves with tiny wisps of hair-like adornments around the bases of the stems and culm (stem) sheaths.

Health Notes

Bamboo, a vital element in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has a temperament that ranges from mild to cooling. So although specific health benefits differ according to the various parts and flavors of the bamboo, generally, bamboo is able to help detoxify, repel insects, eliminate heatiness, clear phlegm, curb vomiting, restore vitality and quench thirst. Small wonder then that the bamboo is the panda's favorite. In fact, with plenty of crude protein, bamboo is also used frequently as animal fodder.

Bel'Air's green bamboo essential oil is the result of comprehensive research. From the joints of bamboo stems, a beneficial essence known as bamboo sil is extracted. It contains abundant amounts of silice, which is a rich store of calcium. After aromatherapy with green bamboo essential oil, calcium would be replenished and bones would be strengthened. This innovative essential oil can also alleviate old age problems such as backache and rheumatism, as well as enhance substance contents in children and adolescents, hence boosting their growth.

5 Famous Animals At London Zoo

1. Jumbo the Elephant

The original Jumbo was an African bull elephant who arrived at the Zoo in 1865. He rapidly became enormously popular and, for nearly twenty years, gave thousands of rides to delighted children. He was seen as a national institution and there was outrage when the Zoo proposed to sell Jumbo to the American showman Phineas T Barnum. The wily Barnum, scenting publicity, encouraged the controversy and Jumbomania swept Britain. Letters were written to The Times and other newspapers. Lawsuits were threatened. Even the Queen appealed to the Zoo not to go ahead with the sale. Jumbo made his own contribution to the unfolding saga by refusing to enter the box in which he was supposed to make his transatlantic passage. Barnum, however, was adamant that the sale should go ahead. Jumbo, who was to be accompanied by his favourite keeper, was eventually tempted into his travelling cage and was shipped to the United States to become as big a star in New York as he had been in London. Tragedy, however, was waiting in the wings. Three years after making the journey across the Atlantic, Jumbo was killed in a train accident when travelling with the Barnum show. Barnum, never one to lose an opportunity for profit, had Jumbo stuffed and continued to display him around the country for several more years.

2. Guy the Gorilla

Guy the Gorilla, so called because he arrived in the Zoo on Guy Fawkes Day 1947, remained one of the most popular attractions for more than thirty years. He grew from a tiny baby to a giant adult male in captivity but his fearsome appearance disguised a sweet temperament. When he died of a heart attack in 1978, following an operation to remove a tooth, he was mourned by many who had seen him over the years. The Zoo commissioned the sculptor William Timym to create a more-than-lifesize statue of Guy which still stands near the main entrance.

3. Goldie the Golden Eagle

The Zoo’s great escape occurred in 1965 when a golden eagle known as Goldie exited his cage as keepers were cleaning it and headed for the trees in Regent’s Park. For nearly twelve days he eluded all would-be captors and became a national celebrity. He appeared on the front pages of all the newspapers and traffic jams were caused by the thousands of cars carrying people to the Park to watch him enjoying his freedom. He was even mentioned in a debate in House of Commons, where his name was greeted with cheers and shouts of approval. Goldie was eventually recaptured when he was lured by the prospect of his favourite food. Deputy Head Keeper Joe McCorry tied a dead rabbit to a rope near one of the eagle’s regular haunts and, when Goldie swooped down to tuck in, McCorry seized him.

4. Obaysch the Hippopotamus

The first live hippopotamus to be seen in Europe since the time of the Roman Empire, Obaysch arrived at the Zoo as a one-year-old in 1850. He had been brought there by Sir Charles Murray, British Consul-General in Egypt and soon became the Zoo’s greatest attraction. Visitors to the Zoo more than doubled in the first year after Obaysch’s arrival. Victorian London went hippo mad. Cartoons appeared in Punch, silver models of Obaysch were sold in the shops and a ‘Hippopotamus Polka’ was one of the music hits of the season. Murray would occasionally visit his protege in the Zoo, calling to him in Arabic, and Obaysch would lumber towards the sound of his former master’s voice, grunting in recognition.

5. Belinda the Mexican Red-kneed Bird-eating Spider

Belinda, who died at the age of twenty-two in 1993, was one of the more surprising stars of London Zoo, appearing on TV programmes from Blue Peter to the national news and taking a lead role in one of the Zoo’s advertising campaigns. She was also used by hypnotherapists to help people overcome their arachnophobia.

Holiday apartment London

Skirting Board Heating As an Energy Saver – The Pros and the Cons

Skirting board heating purports to save energy for the home owner, by minimising the effort used by a boiler or heat source to achieve maximum temperature for a heating system. While this is broadly true, the claim needs to be examined in greater detail to find out just how much energy the system can save.

The skirting board system is designed with slender flow and return pipes, which require less water to fill and so less power to heat. The claim that a skirting heating system demands less of the boiler or heat source is therefore true.

However, the length or quantity of active heating in this system may be greater than the combined heated area of a traditional radiator system. So while the boiler or heat source is technically worked less hard to achieve the desired temperature, it may work for longer to push heat out to a greater overall area.

This increase in directly heated area is one of the big selling points for a skirting board radiator system. By heating more parts of a room directly (that is, with heat emanating from a proximate source rather than dissipating from a hot radiator at the other end of the room), the skirting system is potentially capable of delivering a more even room heat and working at a lower temperature than its radiator-based equivalent.

Of course the heated skirting system is effectively a radiator system too – just in miniature. So rather than concentrating all the heating power into one solid unit, which is required to kick that heat through the whole cubic area of the space it is supposed to heat, the skirting board version spreads it out.

In terms of simple physics, then, the energy requirements for both ought to be roughly the same. If the skirting board heating system is simply a collection of very small radiators, all of which draw power from the same boiler type and raise the average heat of the room to the same mean temperature; then the power they use to do it should be roughly identical.

The difference lies in the fact that the maximum temperature required to attain the heat mean is considerably lower, when the radiant heat source is spread throughout the room. This means that the boiler or central heating power source is not required to over-exert itself – and so uses a degree less fuel attaining the set temperatures. This is roughly analogous to the difference in fuel consumption between driving a car fast and driving it at a more measured pace.

The serious savings offered by the heated skirting board system happen when the property owner connects it to lower energy heat sources; and installs new insulation to go with the new system. By connecting heated skirting boards to a heat source with a lower maximum temperature (like an air source heat pump), the property owner curtails the amount of high energy output the system can deliver. The heat source can perfectly easily operate at lower mean temperatures because (as noted) the heated skirting boards themselves don’t need to be warmed up to the same degree to deliver the overall temperature required for the home.

The basic conclusion to draw, then, is this – a heated skirting board system has the capacity to save energy over more traditional central heating systems. But it needs help to reach its full potential. Thermostats and zoned heating controls help; as do new insulation and the inclusion of a low powered heat source at the heart of the installation. The more energy saving factors a home owner combines, the more noticeable the energy saving effect.

Outdoor Ceiling Fans – A Perfec Addition For Your Porch

Ceiling fans are no longer just for indoors, you can purchase an outdoor ceiling fan that is made especially for the purpose of using outside. An outdoor ceiling fan can easily be installed anywhere there is a ceiling. You can find out all the information you will need when you search online or browse at your local home improvement store for an outdoor ceiling fan.

An outdoor ceiling fan is the perfect addition to use on your covered porch or an outdoor patio. Imagine sitting outside on a day when not a leaf is stirring and your outdoor ceiling fan is hard at work to work whatever breeze it can find. You will be thankful on those hot and humid days that you had the foresight to install an outdoor ceiling fan.

If you do a lot of entertaining, your outdoor living space will be greatly enhanced by an outdoor ceiling fan. With all the styles and designs for you to choose from, you can transform your porch or patio’s look and feel with an outdoor ceiling fan. Your home may be the popular place to be on those close summer days for the simple fact that you have an excellent breeze where no one else has one.

Your outdoor ceiling fan may bring to mind lazy summer days spent sipping lemonade on the porch while the world swelters around you. You will never be sorry you installed an outdoor ceiling fan in your outdoor living spaces. It will provide you with a refreshing breeze just when you thought there was no air left to be had. You can spend memorable evenings sitting out on the porch enjoying your outdoor ceiling fan with your friends, family and neighbors.

An outdoor fan is made to withstand any type of weather. They are specially designed for use in damp or wet areas. When you purchase an outdoor ceiling fan, you will find yourself spending more time outside when the weather is uncomfortably warm because your outdoor ceiling fan will provide you with the cooling breezes you have been waiting for.

How To Search Google For Country Specific Results

Running an international online business with the capability to service people from any country means that you want your site to perform well not only in local country specific results but also global results. You may not realise this but doing a standard Google search and leaving the “full web” option selected doesn’t necessarily give you your website’s true location in the Google global results. It gives you the global results given your location.

For example, the results of doing a full web search in my home city of Brisbane Australia will be different to a full web search from Toronto Canada.

Google gives results based on your location even when you are not stipulating a local result. You can click your local country only result button and get sites that are from your home country, usually determined by the domain name extension, for example .com.au for Australia, .ca for Canada, etc. or the IP address of your web hosting server, or you can click the web option and get global Internet results that vary depending on your computer’s location in the world (based on the IP address of the computer you are using to access the Internet).

Think Global

If your business can service the world then you really can’t ignore the American marketplace, or if you are in the USA don’t forget about Europe, Asia and the rest. Hence you need to know how well your site is performing in Google global search results and unfortunately simply ticking the “the web” option in Google when searching can be misleading because your ranking will be different if it was someone in a different country doing the exact same search.

What you want to know is when someone in the the UK does a Google search for one of your terms, how high is your website up in the search results? With this little trick you can figure it out.

The Code

All you need to do is add &gl=uk to the URL at the end of the Google search query.

For example:


This tells Google to spit out the results for the query based on UK servers.

I can’t guarantee 100% conclusively that this works as I expect it does, but it definitely does something and you should try it yourself and see if your site shows up in a different place in the results. The “gl” stands for Geographic Location and of course you can interchange the last letters to test different country results around the world.

Platforms – Trading Forex – I Make Tens Of Thousands Every Day

Most people lose all their money in forex, at least the first few times they load up their live account and try to profit from platforms trading. They start out with demo accounts with the platform, most probably with Meta-Trader 4 as it is the most widely used and they practice varying strategies and at least master the basics of platforms trading like opening and closing trades.

The first thing that strikes people when they go live is that all their cool handed emotions that were under control with their demo account has flown straight out the window and change into a completely different person. They start smoking 2 cigarettes at the same time and cannot leave the screen to eat of visit the toilet. Certainly going live even with a tiny $200 account is a very emotional awakening. In no time at all, they’ve lost all their money and don’t have enough equity in the account to open even a single micro-lot trade.

But even if the emotions were not a problem, the true reason that most people lose their money is that they operate under the same nonsense belief system that has been taught throughout the ages. And the main problem these people suffer with is the use of Stop Losses. The real issue is the Stop Loses settings do not stop losses – they only crystalize and confirm them. They lock in losses which seems to me to be a crazy way to hope to make a profit.

I do use the same methods to calculate a stop-loss position, often 50-80 pips away from the price of a trade – but I never enter the setting on a trade. In the alternative, what I do is open a pending Stop Order at the 50-80 pips, and so if a trade does go bad on me, the trade will always stay alive until it eventually does hit my profit target and the pending order goes live in the interim period just locking my equity to no further losses. Thereafter I have time to manage the trades, and to close both the hedged trades in profit. I refuse to accept any trade is a loser; I hedge my bets at safe levels and then make money on both of them.

Keeping Dinosaur Eels (Bichirs) In Tropical Freshwater Fish Tanks or Aquariums

Dinosaur eel

The dinosaur eel is the common name for the Grey Bichir, Polypterus Senegalus, though it is a fish and not an eel. There are more than a dozen species of this fish but the Grey Bichir or Senegalus Bichir is the most common and is popular among aquarists. This Bichir is covered in dark grey horizontal bands that become paler as the fish grows. Some Bichirs can reach over three feet in length, although most species, including the Senegalus Bichir, grow to around one foot.

Natural habitat

In their native habitat they can be found in lakes, rivers, floodplains and swamps in Africa, especially the Congo River and Nile. They are capable of surviving in waters with low oxygen content and can move in search of food or to find other wet areas in their home dries in time of drought.

Characteristic features

The misnomer of dinosaur eel (hereafter referred to as Bichir) comes from the prehistoric appearance of this elongated fish. Its snake-shaped body is covered by thick, bone-like scales made of an enamel-like substance called ganoine, which resembles the now extinct earliest ray-finned fishes. It has a distinctive series of up to 18 dorsal finlets, each one with a sharp spine, which are erected when it is agitated. The fleshly pectoral fins, which control the slow movement of the fish, are attached behind and below the gill openings. It is also able to travel over land using its strong pelvic fins. Bichirs can also breathe air via a lung-like modification to their swim bladder. Other characteristics include a pair of blowholes, a long lower jaw and external nostrils which protrude from the nose to enable the Bichir to hunt by smell since its eyesight is poor. Females tend to be larger than males, while adult males have thicker dorsal spines and broader anal fins.


Bichirs are predatory and essentially carnivorous and will attack and feed on small fish that are easy to swallow as well as slow-moving fish. They will also eat insects, crustaceans and frogs. Since they are nocturnal they will feed mainly at night.


After a series of energetic twisting movements, the male Bichir fertilizes the eggs by enveloping the female’s genital opening with his anal and caudal fin. He then scatters the eggs using thrashing movements of his tail. It is difficult, however, to get Bichirs to breed in captivity. Some aquarists have noted that even if a male and female are present, the male is often unresponsive and will not fertilize the eggs the female releases.

Aquarium size

Due to the length Bichirs grow and their need to breathe air, it is important they are housed in long tank aquariums that are not too deep, possibly even a fish tank table. Aim for an aquarium that is at least three times the adult size of the Bichir you have or plan to purchase. Choose fish tank aquariums that are no more than eighteen inches deep and do not fill completely with water. This is important as Bichirs need to be able to breathe from the air and therefore have to be able to swim quickly to the surface and back to the bottom where they dwell.

Being able to use oxygen from the air enables Bichirs to survive out of water for several hours. Given this and the fact that they have the instinct to move out of one place in search of food in another, it is recommended to have a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium!

Aquarium decor

A thin layer of soft sand or gravel is fine as substrate. Bichirs also like hiding places, especially as they prefer to stay out of the light during the day. So it is much more enjoyable for them to have robust plants, rocks and tunnels which allow them to display more natural behaviours. Plants attached to wood work best as Bichirs tend to displace plants rooted in the substrate because of their size and when searching for food.

Water conditions

As they are tropical freshwater fish, Bichirs require a temperature of 75-85 F. They like a pH of 7 or slightly below and prefer water that is a little hard. Of course, it is important to perform frequent water changes to ensure the quality of water is good in your tropical freshwater aquariums.

Aquarium lighting

Bichirs are nocturnal so they will be typically lethargic during the day and active at night. Rather than switching the aquarium lights off complete, provide the semblance of a natural nightfall by installing a blue moonlight bulb so you too can experience some action from your Bichir!


Being carnivorous, Bichirs love to be fed baitfish, mussels, shrimps and bloodworms. They will also readily accept frozen foods. Some aquarists have tried to encourage them to take dry foods by only supplying them until their hunger overcomes them, and have found they can adapt OK. However, I would mention that this is not their natural diet.

Tank mates

Given the large size of Bichirs and their predatory nature, it is extremely important to match them with suitable tank mates. Do not keep them with fish smaller than three inches which can provide a ready meal! It is better to match Bichirs with bigger fish as they will not bother as much with fish they cannot swallow. Siamese Tigerfish, Angelfish, large Barbs, Cichlids and Knifefish are possible tank mates. It has been observed that suckermouth Catfish tend to suck on the skin of Bichirs which irritates them and so it is not advised to keep both types of bottom-dwelling fish. Also avoid matching them with overly aggressive species. In a very large fish tank it will be possible to keep several Bichirs together, provided they are around the same size. They should generally tolerate each other, apart from fighting over the food!

To keep or not to keep?

Bichirs are interesting specimen fish but do be aware of all the issues involved in keeping them, especially the size of the tank and the other tropical freshwater fish you have or plan to have. Bichirs also cost more to keep than other fish, though they are a very hardy breed. Keeping Bichirs in a suitable environment requires careful planning!

Your Tolerance for Cash Shortages – Bearable or Terrible?

If you lost 5% or more of your sales and it just can’t be explained how it occurred, would it bearable or terrible to the financial health of your business? Shortages in cash may be somewhat understandable. Cashiers handle cash transactions, credit cards, gift cards, checks, traveler’s checks, and any number of discounts and coupons. When transactions go awry for some reason, they must void, no sale, refund, discount, or reduce the price in some way. During interactions with the public they may encounter attempts at credit or gift card fraud, bad checks, counterfeit, price changing, quick change schemes, drive-offs, walk-offs or some other new scam of the day. The cashier is expected to know all of these transactions, handle them flawlessly, and yet have a perfect cash drawer at the end of the shift.

But what if they don’t? What if the cash is short? And how much does the cash till have to be short to get your attention? Some owners and/or managers create a policy that shortages must be paid back. There are many reasons why this is not a sound policy, and against the law in some states. Frequent cash drawer overages are not desirable either. Overages may be indicative of poor cash management or worse, manipulation of the cash operation and theft.

So, what amount of cash shortage, or overage, is acceptable within the framework of your business? Knowing that a perfectly balanced cash drawer is not practical in a blind remittance procedure, what is bearable? More importantly, are cash handling policies written, performance expectations clear, and disciplinary actions for excessive cash overages and shortages fair and consistent?

Establishing “Bearable”

  • Policies and procedures- Establish written policies, procedures, and expectations in handling transactions. They should include before and after shift count verification, single drawer accountability, manager authorizations for voids, refunds, over rings, and closing the cash drawer after every transaction. Calculators and unauthorized credit cards “skimming” devices near the cash registers must be prohibited and stated in policy.
  • Blind remittance – At the end of their shift, cashiers should not be privy to cash totals on the ‘Z’ tape as they countdown their cash till. They should report what they have in their till, minus the beginning bank.
  • Communicate Expectations – Communicate cash management and security related expectations via written memo, employee handbook, and as part of everyday operations.
  • Signed cashier policies – Have every cashier sign cash handling expectations. Retain in their individual personnel files.
  • Making Change -Teach cashiers the habit of counting back change to the customer.
  • Cash shortages and overages – Establish a tolerable dollar amount of cash shortage or overage. Some companies have established a $3-5 range per individual cash drawer per cashier depending on the number of cash transactions and total sales per shift. Set an aggregate amount over the course time as well; i.e. .1% of sales each month.
  • Establish acceptable level of exceptions – Set acceptable performance standards in the number and dollar amount in percentage to sales for voids, over rings, refunds, no sales, check average, and others that are pertinent to your business.
  • Cash drops – Managers should remove excess cash and large bills from the cash register and place in the safe.
  • Train – Train cashiers on how to handle all transactions, including handling suspected counterfeit, and the common scams involving credit/gift cards and quick change.

After policies and procedures are established, expectations are clearly communicated, and cashiers are properly trained, it’s time to routinely evaluate their performance. Emphasis should be placed on operating the cash function with minimal errors. When errors do occur and the cash handling performance is not within established guidelines, the appropriate action should be taken to correct the behavior or performance and get them in compliance. If the individual cashier’s performance is routinely outside of the established acceptable performance levels, they move into “terrible” and must be dealt with accordingly.

Dealing with Terrible

  • Formal cash management reviews- Establish a formal cash management performance review process. (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
  • Progressive Discipline – Implement progressive discipline process consisting of warnings, written reprimands, and terminations for poor cash handling performance that is not in compliance with acceptable standards.
  • Investigations – Investigate large unexplained shortages or overages to determine the cause. Unexplained large discrepancies should enter the progressive discipline process at a higher, more serious level, i.e. Suspension, Termination.
  • Retrain – Retrain cashiers that are not in compliance with performance standards.
  • Reassign – Reassign cashiers that are not in compliance with cash management standards to a non-cash position, if available.
  • Policies and procedures – Reevaluate policies and procedures relating to cash management, security processes, and disciplinary measures and make adjustments according to the needs of your business.

Handling customer transactions is a tough job, even for the most experienced, conscientious cashier. Mistakes happen and unexpected shortages and overages occur. The key to successful cash management operations is to have sound policies and procedures, clear expectations, routine audits, and fair and consistently applied progressive discipline. Your shortages will quickly respond from “terrible” to “bearable”, increase profitability, and make you more competitive in the marketplace.

For more information on security, safety, loss and crime prevention for restaurants, visit www.LossBusters.com. For daily tips on restaurant loss prevention, follow on Twitter @LossBusters

Bamboo Flooring – Is It Better Than Cork Flooring?

Bamboo flooring is unlike any other material when it comes to covering a floor. Many homeowners are just now discovering why bamboo is becoming such a popular choice in new home construction as well as older homes. But is bamboo flooring a better choice than cork flooring? That all depends upon what characteristics the homeowner is looking for in a new floor.

Is the homeowner looking for a softer feel from the floor. If so, cork flooring is a terrific choice. Cork is a very soft material and has a nice sponge like effect when walking or standing on it. Cork also has a nice bounce back effect when something is dropped on it such as kids toys. However, because cork is a softer material than bamboo, it is easily scratched. When compared to cork, bamboo flooring is a much harder surface. It has most of the same properties as hardwood floors.

Another property that makes cork a terrific flooring choice is its capability to provide very good sound insulation. This makes cork an excellent choice for upstairs rooms in two story homes as well as specialized rooms such as home gyms and kids play rooms. Again, bamboo flooring has the same properties as hardwood floors and as such can be very noisy. Bamboo floors will often need to have sound insulation installed to reduce the noise level throughout the house.

There are some disadvantages to cork flooring when compared to bamboo wood flooring. The first disadvantage is that cork needs to be sealed to provide waterproofing and protection from dirt. Cork flooring makes a terrific floor choice for a bathroom or kitchen but it must be sealed to prevent any leakage from spills or cleaning. Another disadvantage of cork flooring is the limited number of patterns or colors. Many types of resilient flooring have numerous designs and colors to choose from but cork is limited in this aspect. Learn more about cork flooring by clicking on the link at http://www.wood-flooring-depot.com/cork_flooring.html.

When compared to bamboo floors, cork can be an excellent alternative for many homeowners. Bamboo flooring is much more popular and has some terrific properties that make it one of the floors of choice in new homes. However, cork flooring also has many great qualities as a flooring choice. There may be the need to use both types of flooring within the home depending on the needs and use of each room.

Printer Ink Cartridges – The History

You are working at your computer and trying to print out important documents and all at once you find you are out of ink. Years ago that would have presented a big problem. Printers used ribbons or daisy wheels to print on paper. Let’s take a look at the evolution of printer ink cartridges.

In 1984 ink jet printers and printer cartridges were introduced. Printing documents was now easier and so was changing printer cartridges. After years of changing ribbons, adding toner ink to reservoirs within the computer.

The dot matrix method used a ribbon. The industry found new ways to make printing easier and more convenient. There is the drop on demand method where the ink squirts onto the paper through tiny nozzles. The amount of ink dropped the page is controlled by the software driver that controls which nozzle fires and when.

By 1990 ink jet print cartridges was widely accepted. Printer cartridges can now print in color as well as in black and white for document. Inkjet printer cartridges can print on just about any sized paper, on fabric and on film. Ink jet printers are used in a variety of settings worldwide and is a popular choice for printing.

Each brand of printer uses a specific type of cartridge. Ink jet cartridges are given an identification number and the models that can use this particular cartridge, is listed. There are a wide variety of cartridges available and you should check your printer’s manual to see exactly what cartridges are available to you.

If you are trying to save money, you can purchase refill kits that allow you to fill the cartridges yourself. Not everyone is a fan of these kits however, the quality of the printing isn’t as good, and in some cases the cartridges when re-installed can fail to operate.

You can get reconditioned and refilled cartridges from some retailers and sometimes from the manufacturer. Compatible cartridges are cartridges that are made according to the exact specs of the original manufacturer. The drawback here is that not every cartridge has a compatible one.

In choosing a printer check the type of cartridge it will use. You will need to determine if the cartridge is appropriate for the type of printing and the volume of printing you will be doing. You will have to do some research and you can find much of this information on the internet, through the manufacturer or through stores that deal in the particular printer you are looking at.

Discount ink cartridges are available online. All you have to do is type ink cartridges or printer cartridges into your search engine. Some sites offer amazing discounts. Again you are going to have to search for the deal that is best for you. Pay attention to the cartridge top when purchasing them. Check the sides of the box for a list of models the cartridge will work in.

There is a time line below that has some really interesting facts.

This would make a great list of answers for a trivia game. I cannot imagine the hard work that created the ink jet printer cartridge, as we know it. It is easy to understand why cartridges are expensive.

1452 – Gutenberg used oil-based ink, moveable type, and an old winepress to make the first printing press.

Martin Luther began the Protestant reformation making extensive use of the printing press.

1714 – The typewriter was born. Schematics that were done by Mills were discovered however, there is no proof that any typewriters were actually made.

1874 – Christopher Sholes, Samuel Soule, and Carlos Glidden made a keyboard that became known as the “qwerty” because of the first five keys on the top row of the keyboard.

1894 – Franz Wagner developed a typewriter that is very similar to the ones made today. He created a design that let the typists watch as they were typing. Previously, paper would go through a roller as you typed and you could not see what you typed until you were done.

1897 – Underwood (by John Underwood) was the prototypical typewriter of its day.

1939 – Charles Carlson developed electrography, which is the first dry writing technique developed in the United States.

1949 – Haloid Company began to commercially developed electrography for the first time.

1959 – Xerox 914 hit the market and forced other businesses to update their communication systems.

1969 – Xerox first introduced dry printing (laser printing) by Gary Starkweather.

1078 – Xerox put out the world’s first business laser printer the Xerox 9700. It copied documents at the speed of 120 ppm (pages per minute)

1979 – The IBM 3800 could print out 20,000 lines per minute.

1980’s – The use of toner cartridges became obsolete.

1984 – Hewlett-Packard released the first home-based desktop laser printer.