Plantar Fasciitis and Thyroid Dysfunction

Plantar fasciitis is characterized by sharp heel pain occurring at the first step in the morning or upon rising after periods of rest. Fasciitis is caused by microscopic tears in the plantar fascia, a long connective tissue structure in the bottom of the foot. The tearing of the fascial band results in inflammation and eventual deterioration. The plantar fascia is composed of mostly collagen, but also elastin and long carbohydrates chains called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs. The organized network of collagen adds to it’s strength, the elastin allows for stretching and the GAGs attract water, improving resiliency.

Musculoskeletal disorders often occur in association with thyroid disease, particularly with hypothyroidism. Common musculoskeletal complaints in patients with hypothryoidism are muscle tenderness, generalized joint pain, cramping and weakness. Specific musculoskeletal disorders, such as adhesive capsulitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, have been linked to hypothyroidism. It is theorized that hypothyroidism may cause plantar fasciitis for the same reason other musculoskeletal conditions occur in hypothyroid patients. The disorders result from low thyroid levels causing deposits within the connective tissue. Thyroid hormone inhibits fibroblast production and secretion of collagen, elastin and GAGs, all substances important in connective tissue structure. Low levels of thyroid hormone result in the overproduction of these substances, particularly GAGs, which attract water.

Increased deposits of GAGs and the additional water increase the space between the collagen fibers. This disrupts the collagen network and compromises the integrity of the plantar fascia structure. The weakening of the plantar fascia increases it’s susceptibility to microscopic tears. Microscopic tearing occurs when the plantar fascia is placed under excess stress. This commonly occurs with biomechanical conditions, but in a weakened plantar fascia, may occur under normal conditions. The tearing results in inflammation and pain. Due to the early disorganization of the collagen network, progression from plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition as a result of tearing, to plantar fasciosis, a degenerative condition, may occur more quickly. Plantar fasciosis is a more difficult condition to treat, which makes early diagnosis and treatment crucial.

Eliminating the stress on the plantar fascia is an important early treatment. This can be accomplished by wearing supportive shoes and inserts and avoiding barefoot walking. Heel lifts, or shoes with a small heel, will also take stress of the arch. Heel cups may help alleviate symptoms, but will no decrease the stress on the plantar fascia or improve the condition. Weight loss will decrease stress on the arch, unfortunately weight gain is common in patients with hypothyroidism and weight loss tends to be difficult. Stretching both the calf and the arch are important in the healing process and specific stretching regimens should be initiated immediately after diagnosis. A night splint can facilitate healing and eliminate morning heel pain by stretching the plantar fascia throughout the night.

Plugging DIY Mortar Tubes

Fireworks that are launched into the air typically are fired out of mortar tubes, many tubes that come with consumer fireworks are not reusable or are made out of flimsy cardboard. This is why many pyrotechnic enthusiasts like to make their own mortar tubes.

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is the safest materials you can choose when making your own mortars for firework shells. While the HDPE tubing itself offers durability through the ability to withstand higher levels of shock and heat, there are safety and performance measures that you need to take when making the mortar. Namely, this step is plugging the bottom of the tube to prevent gases creating during the lift charge from escaping out.

If lift charge gases leak out from the tube during the igniting, your shell will either “flowerpot” and explode in the mortar or not reach full accent before bursting. When using the recommended size HDPE tube (1 7/8″ interior diameter), the plug in the bottom should be made from approximately 1″ thick wood cut to fit the shape. Pre-made plugs are available from some firework supply outlets. However, making you own mortar tube plugs is easy and takes just a small amount of time.

Supplies needed to make HDPE plugs include scraps of wood around 1″ thick, a hole saw with 1 7/8″ diameter, hand-held drill or drill press, and glue. Before you start drilling, stick the drill bit into the tube, just to make sure your finished product is going to fit the tube. Practice makes perfect, so you may have to repeat the drilling process a few times until you get a good plug. After you’ve got the hang of it, you can knock out a bunch of these plugs very quickly – then you’ll have to pop the plugs out of the wood with a screwdriver.

The next step is to push the plugs snuggly down into the tube, making sure there is no loose space around the edges. Use glue to create an air-tight seal between the wood and plastic as well as the pilot hole left in the middle of your plug during the drilling process. However, applying the glue is mainly for air-tightness, not to keep the wood in perfect place. You’ll also need to send a screw or staple-gun staples into the plug from the outside for maximum security; this should be done before the glue completely dries.

Let your newly plugged mortar tubes dry overnight and then you’ll be ready to shoot off plenty of awesome aerial effects at your next pyrotechnic show! Launching fireworks from your mortar tube will be a blast, you’ll feel like a real pro!

Should You Go on a Dating Hiatus?

Sometimes we need a hiatus from dating. A “hiatus” is a break in something that normally has continuity. You may have heard this term used in conjunction with television shows: “The show is going on hiatus until shooting starts for next season.” That means the actors and crew are taking a break until work starts again.

The Brick Wall

So how do you know it’s time to consider a dating hiatus? It’s when you’ve been dating for many months or years and still seem no closer to meeting the right person than when you started. It’s when you’ve been dating a succession of people but nothing of substance develops with any of them. Are you beginning to feel like you’re just beating your head against a brick wall? It will feel better if you simply decide to STOP.

You’ve gotten yourself in a rut. You keep doing the same things to meet new people but every relationship just peters out and goes nowhere. You’re starting to feel so frustrated that’s it’s affecting your relationships with family and friends. You’re just grumpy and negative much of the time. You’re losing hope of ever finding someone to love and becoming cynical and sarcastic about your future. Instead of moving forward you’re going into a tailspin.

Before you let this state of mind deteriorate into a full-blown depression, there is something you can do to change it: go on hiatus! If you’re on a losing streak and it keeps getting worse instead of better, then do what any smart coach does for a player in that situation. Take yourself out of the game for a while.

Break the Pattern

When what you have been doing just isn’t working, it’s time to stop, break the pattern and do something different. If you are sliding into a state of misery and frustration, this may be the time when you are unhappy enough to consider doing some personal growth and spiritual work. Sad but true, most of us do not take steps to change until the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same.

This is the time when you are most motivated to find a connection to God or Spirit or Higher Power or whatever you call the unseen force that created our world. This is the time when you are most open to learning a new way to think and a new set of principles to believe in and live by that will take you out of your misery and put you back in charge of your life.

If this is where you are today, don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t found the love relationship you so ardently desire. Even the best boxer in the world sometimes has to go down for the count before he can get back up and start fighting again. Give yourself a break and take a break from the dating scene.

Going On Hiatus

Once you make up your mind firmly and decide you are going on a dating hiatus, you will immediately start to feel a little better. That’s because you have taken control of your life again and have stopped looking for someone else to make you feel okay. Next time some well-meaning friend asks you who you’re dating you don’t have to feel like a loser or a second-class citizen because you’re alone. You can just say, “Oh, I’m on hiatus right now. I’ve decided not to date for a while.” It’s a choice you have made, not an unwanted situation you found yourself in. You are in control and you’re feeling better!

Now’s the time to take that class you’ve been meaning to take, start going to church, find a therapist or counselor or support group. Read a book or two about spiritual principles, study the bible or other scriptures that interest you. Go back to your religious roots or explore some different philosophy that intrigues you. Try a yoga or meditation or dance class. Take the hours and hours you used to spend online at the dating sites and invest them into yourself instead.

Before I met my husband I took a two year dating hiatus and did just what I’m suggesting you do. That’s why I know it works. What a relief it was to get myself out of the mindset of most singles: “looking, looking, always looking.” I pulled in my “singles antenna” that was always on the lookout for any man that might be a possibility. I stopped making decisions about whether to go to any event based on how many single men might be there. I accepted my state of singleness and enjoyed all the good things about it.

Making Changes

I delved into the universal spiritual principles taught in Religious Science and Unity churches and discovered that I actually had the power to change how I think and what I believe. I created a whole new life for myself and learned how to be happy and whole as a single person. I let the old feelings of “not good enough” drop away and replaced them with believing and knowing that my happiness did not depend on having a partner.

Also, I came to realize that holding on to resentments from the past can block you from attracting good things into your life today. Learning to release bitterness and resentment is a necessary step, but one that many people are unwilling to take. If you are having difficulty finding and keeping a good partner today, chances are there’s some anger over a past hurt buried in you that’s part of the cause.

You don’t have to “forgive” and pretend that whatever they did wasn’t wrong, but unless you release those angry feelings, and stop giving them your attention, you’ll never be free of their influence. Doing this emotional work may not be much fun and you may resent the fact that you even have to do it! But if you have the courage you can find a way and it will make a tremendous difference in your next relationship. I can vouch for that.

When I was secure in the knowledge that I am enough and don’t need anyone else to be happy then I was able to go back into dating and attract a great mate in less than a year. Turns out that the solution to the problem was within myself. Once I released my old resentments and learned to appreciate all the good things about my life, I attracted some really good men into my life. Now I’m happily married a man who is a perfect partner for me.

This dating hiatus idea may seem too radical and extreme to you right now. However, the more people you date and the more unhappy you get, the more it will start to make sense to you. If all you do is take a break for a while, but don’t do anything to make needed changes within yourself during that time, then you can’t expect to get better results when you start dating again. A dating hiatus works only if you work it!

How Long?

How long should it take? There are no hard and fast rules about this. It all depends on how much change and growth you need before you are able to produce a different outcome for yourself. My guess would be a minimum of six months to an average of several years.

Does this sound impossible for you right now? If you can’t stand the thought of not having a date for six months, then you are in a precarious state of mind, depending way too much on being in a relationship to make you feel okay. A dating hiatus could be just what you need, but you may not be ready to accept that yet. It requires patience and the determination to stick with it for however long it takes. In our culture of instant gratification and the quick-fix, people don’t like hearing this, but it is the truth.

Let these ideas sink in and roll around in your subconscious for a while. Few people will joyfully jump up after reading this and shout, “Yes, I’m going on a dating hiatus tomorrow!” Give it some time and when the time is right for you (or when you are sufficiently miserable and frustrated), you will know. When it’s done with the right motivation, a dating hiatus along with some personal growth work can be your ticket to a better future. You’ll go back into the dating game with a real possibility of winning next time.

What Do Apartments in Dallas Check For When They Run Your Application?

Apartments in each state and, even in each city within the same state, have their own different qualification procedures when reviewing the application of a potential new renter. Take the state of Texas as an example. The largest metropolitan areas in this state with the highest concentration of apartment communities are Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. There are thousands of various apartment complexes in each of these cities. You would think they would have the same requirements for approval when running an Application for a new renter since they are all located within the same state of Texas. However, Dallas has very unique requirements that are different from Houston and San Antonio as well as different from other cities and other states.

Apartments in the illustrious city of Dallas check four (4) major areas in order to approve your Application: criminal background, income/job, rental history, and credit. It is the combination of these specific 4 areas that make Dallas requirements unique as a city, as well as how lenient or strict they are within each of the 4 areas.

For instance, In Houston, located only 239 miles away from Dallas, there are some apartments that consider your debt and your debt to income ratios as well as Social Security fraud history, when checking your Application. These are items that are never checked by Dallas apartments when they run your Application. Also, Dallas is more lenient than Houston when doing a criminal background check when it comes to fraud and financial crimes. Several apartments in Dallas will still work with you if you have a misdemeanor or felony in those categories, whereas in Houston these two areas are almost always causes for denial of your application.

As another example of how unique Dallas qualification requirements are, consider how Dallas differs from another major city, San Antonio. In the city of Dallas, apartments do not check how long you have worked at a particular job. The length of your employment history is not a consideration. As long as you HAVE employment and income that can be verified, most apartments will approve your application. In fact, you can have a brand new job, or even be transferring here to Dallas from another location, and all you need is a “Hire Letter” from the new employee showing your start date and your rate of pay. This is different from San Antonio. Most apartments in San Antonio want to see at least 6 months of employment history.

So, as you can see, Dallas has unique requirements that they check for when running an apartment application. Here are the specific requirements that Dallas apartments look for in more detail:

1. The first area that the best Apartments in Dallas check is your income qualifications. They almost always require that you earn three (3) times whatever your rent amount is. Other cities and states may require that you earn 2.5 times, or even 3.5 times the rent amount, but almost all properties across the board in Dallas check to see that you earn 3 times minimum. For example, if your rent is $1000, they want to see proof that you earn at least $3000 a month. You can provide this proof of income in the form of paycheck stubs. If you are self employed, you can provide bank statements and the most recent year’s tax statements. If you are new moving into the Dallas area and have been transferred from your job, or you are just starting a brand new job, you can provide a letter from your employer on company letterhead from the HR department or the hiring manager. The letter should state that you are being relocated and what your income will be.

Many cities, such as Houston and San Antonio, check to see how long you have worked for a particular employer, and therefore will not accept a “New Hire Letter”. Dallas does not do this. As long as you have the Hire Letter, you can be accepted with a brand new job. More than likely, however, the new apartments will call the company and ask for verbal verification of the letter, and it must be signed by someone with authority, such as the Hiring Manager. They may or may not ask for the letter to be notarized.

What kind of income will the Dallas apartments consider? In addition to income from a business you own or from employment, you can also include funds that you receive as child support, disability, retirement, investments, etc. Any and all income that is legal and is provable will be considered.

What if you are retired and do not have income? Some areas would require you to move to a retirement community or senior facility. But most apartments in Dallas are flexible in this regard. They will just require a copy of your bank statements to verify that you have enough funds to cover the cost of the rent for each month of the lease. For example, if your rent is $1000 a month, and you sign a 12 month lease, they will check to see if you at least have $12,000 in savings. They will also consider any Social Security money that you receive as monthly income. And if all else fails, they will accept a co-signer. Because Dallas is flexible in working with retired individuals, many enjoy the freedom and dignity of renting their own apartment without having to move into a retirement home for seniors. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Money Magazine voted Dallas as one of the best places to retire in 2006 and 2007.

2. The second area that the best apartments in Dallas always check is your past rental history. They want to know if you have ever broken a lease or been evicted. They will check with the current apartments you are living in now, even if they are in another state, to verify that you are leaving on good terms. It may be tempting to try to “stretch the truth” and hide the fact that you owe past apartments money, but resist the urge. The credit check that they pull on you will reveal any debts that you owe to past properties. In Dallas, any past debts to properties that are still unpaid, even if they are many years ago, will mean an automatic denial if it shows up on your credit. The Manager does not have control over making the final decision in this regard. This is because most apartments in Dallas are managed by large Property Management Companies who make all the corporate decisions for their properties. They set the rules, and the rule is always to check for any property debts and automatically deny an application if such a debt appears. Other cities with a higher percentage of privately owned small apartment communities, such as San Antonio or Houston, may be more flexible in this regard since they maintain more control over who they accept or deny and the Manager may be allowed to make the final ruling.

What can you do if you do owe a past apartment community and you are searching for an apartment in the Dallas area? Well, it all depends upon whether or not it shows up on your credit report. If you aren’t sure if it shows up on your credit, you might first pull your own free credit report and look to see if it is there. Make sure to pull the credit from all three reporting agencies since you aren’t sure which one the apartments will use. If the incident is mentioned nowhere on your credit, then you may choose not to bring up the past, especially if you have had good rental history SINCE that occurrence. If it does show up on your credit, then you will not get approved at any apartment complex in Dallas. Your only option is to go back to that prior property that you owe funds to and pay them off. Be sure to receive a receipt or letter that shows your debt is paid in full so you can present this letter to the new Dallas apartments. Even with the receipt or letter, not every property in Dallas will work with you. A skilled Dallas Apartment Locator will be of great assistance in guiding you to the properties that are a little more lenient in this regard.

3. The third area that the Dallas Best Apartments check is your credit. As we mentioned above, they are mainly looking to see if you owe any past apartments money. However, Dallas is unique because they also will check to see if you owe past utility bills, mainly the electric company. The reason they check this is because you will not be able to turn on your electricity at the new apartment if you still owe the utility company money. So you will have to pay off any debts to the electric company prior to filling out the apartment application. In fact, some Dallas apartments even require you to call the power company and schedule the date for them to turn on the electricity to your new apartment, and get a confirmation number to prove it is scheduled, before they will give the final approval to your Application. Apartments in other cities are not as strict in this area as Dallas.

Another item they will look for on your credit, besides just past apartment debts and utility debts are housing debts. Perhaps you use to own your own home, and now you are moving into an apartment. The apartments will check to see your payment history with the mortgage company and will look for property debts and foreclosures. If a foreclosure shows up, then they may not be able to work with you. It depends on how many years ago the incident happened. An Apartment Locator familiar with Dallas apartments will be in the best position to assist you.

4. The last area that apartments in Dallas always check is your criminal background. Although most cities and states run background checks on applicants, each city is different in how they react to the findings. Dallas apartments run a background check that goes back indefinitely. It will show any past misdemeanors or felonies that you have ever received in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if the occurrence happened 30 years ago. It will still show up. Most apartments in Dallas automatically will decline your application if any felony shows up. However, they can be flexible in a few areas where other cities are not.

For example, if the felony or misdemeanor is for something that does not involve harm to another human and does not involve theft, approximately 10% of the Dallas apartments will work with you. Some examples of misdemeanors or felonies that SOME properties may be more flexible with are: check writing fraud, drinking while driving, possession of marijuana, etc. Other cities are not flexible enough to consider any exceptions and will deny an application for any crime, regardless of its nature.

If you have a non-violent glitch on your background criminal record, you need a qualified Apartment Locator in Dallas who has knowledge of second chance properties to assist you in finding the 10% who might work with your situation. If your particular offense is not one that any apartment property in Dallas will accept, then the Locator will let you know. In that case, your best bet is to find a privately owned house that is for rent by the owner. These can be found in the newspaper. Do not apply for a rent house that is represented by a Real Estate Agent, or they will have the same background check that the apartments have, and you will run into the same problem. Only rent houses that are for lease by the owner offer more flexibility.

As you can see, apartments in Dallas have very specific requirements when it comes to their qualifications for approval of your application. Always retain the assistance of a trustworthy and experienced Dallas apartment locator when searching for the best apartments Dallas has to offer. Not only will their free service save you countless hours of blind searching, but they will also make sure that you get the best apartment in Dallas for your particular situation. Visit today to get your free apartment search assistance!

Carpet Stretching – All You Need to Know (To Not Do It Yourself)

Why Carpet Stretching is necessary:

Carpet stretching is, generally, done in two different situations: During the initial installation and for a carpet repair. The initial stretch, during installation, ensures that the carpet is taught, secure, and even across the entire floor covering. Taught carpet will stay in place and stay smooth and flat to the floor where it belongs.

What causes carpets to ripple or buckle:

  • Poor installation: The carpet may have been improperly installed. In most cases of a bad installation the installer didn’t use a power stretcher properly or at all.
  • Excessive wear due to traffic: Sometimes a carpet will need to be re-stretched because of wheelchairs, walkers, tricycles, etc. Even when installed to perfection it can become loose from excessive wear.
  • Sliding heavy furniture: Carpet is made of layers of fabric. When heavy furniture slides across the carpet it’s likely that it will cause rippling.
  • Latex: if the latex holding the backing together deteriorates it’s called delamination, the carpet essentially loses its grip on itself, resulting in buckling and loss of fiber.
  • Improper padding for carpet type. Certain pile types require specific padding types; if these are paired improperly, the right amount of grip and support may not be present, resulting in carpet buckles. Make sure you consult a trained professional or manufacturer’s guide when purchasing carpet so you get the right padding to accompany it.

If your Carpet is Rippling:

(to stretch or not to stretch)

If you have carpet that looks more like the ocean than a flat carpet, you may have a problem. As soon as it begins to loosen up and become rippled, it wears faster. The bigger the ripples, the faster the ripples grow. This is because carpet is designed to lay flat and not move at all. When you walk on carpet ripples it causes the carpet to move up and down, further loosening it.

If your carpet is loose it’s time to take action. In most cases, carpet stretching can fix the ripples and buckles, and there’s no need to waste money replacing the carpet because of how it lays.

Carpet stretching is a common type of carpet repair that essentially involves pulling the carpet up from around one or more edges of the room, re-stretching it to proper tightness, cutting the carpet to the proper length, tacking back down into place and finally tucking it in along the edge.

Like any type of carpet repair, stretching carpet is more involved than it seems to be. Stretching carpet isn’t just a matter of smoothing out ripples and re-securing, or pulling at the edges by hand as you would a bed sheet. Carpet stretching comes with its own tools and techniques that help you do the job right.

Essential Carpet Stretching Tools

A professional who repairs carpet for a living will have all of these tools on hand. If you decide to try and stretch carpet yourself, most or all of these tools should be available for rental or purchase at a relatively reasonable price. Even contracting out your carpet stretching is far more cost-effective than replacing the carpet, so either way, these tools, in your hands or someone else’s, save you quite a bit of money.

Partial list

  • Knee stretcher. A knee stretcher, also known as a kicker, is a special tool that has a grip on one end, to attach to the carpet, and a pad on the other end, for you to ‘kick’ with your quadriceps, (do not kick with your knee!
  • Power carpet stretcher. In the trade we usually call this too our stretcher. The stretcher is the most important tool for stretching carpet. It’s specially designed to adjust to any size room and help stretch carpet much more effectively than anyone could do by hand (or by knee). A power carpet stretcher features a very long pole with a carpet grip on one end, a wall brace on the other, and a handle lever in the middle. Don’t even try to stretch a carpet without one. This is the most expensive tool most of us carpet people have.
  • Carpet or slotted blade knife. Involved in almost every carpet repair task you can imagine, a good carpet knife will never let you down. In the case of carpet stretching, the knife is used to trim excess carpet from the edge after it’s been pulled tight.
  • Staple gun. An industrial carpet staple gun isn’t a regular staple gun. The staples are far narrower so that they fit between the nap. Carpet staple guns aren’t always necessary for carpet stretching, but it’s good to have on hand just to make sure. Because a properly stretched carpet is pretty tight, the tack strip alone may not hold it down satisfactorily, in which case the staple gun eliminates any doubt.
  • Stair tool. A chisel like tool used for tucking carpet in after cutting it to the right size.
  • Awl. Looks like an ice pick, used to dis-attach carpet from the tack strip
  • Hammer.

Carpet Stretching: Do Your Homework First

It’s important to keep a few other things in mind when your carpet repair task is to stretch carpet.

Just as carpet manufacturers specify the appropriate padding type for individual carpet types, so they also specify appropriate carpet stretching methods and amounts. What’s right for some types may not be appropriate for others. For example, tufted carpet with a jute fiber backing needs to be a bit tighter than tufted fiber with a synthetic fiber backing. And some woven carpets will stretch in one direction but not the other. Consult manufacturer instructions or a carpet repair specialist so you have all the facts before you get started. After all, knowing what you’re working with is just as important as knowing what you’re doing.

The following is an over-simplified tutorial. If you don’t already know what you’re doing then you will be better off just hiring a pro. If you decide that you want to tackle stretching your own carpet I suggest that you take your time, use your head, keep your blades sharp, don’t try to just kick it tight with a knee kicker and most of all be careful.

Carpet Stretching Technique

The first step is to empty the room of furniture. If you really know what you’re doing then you can probably work around some furniture but if you’re a novice I suggest that you do yourself a favor and empty the room.

Determine which direction the carpet needs to be pulled. In most cases the carpet only needs to be pulled one direction.

Remove any metal strips that will be in the way. Some flat metal strips need to have nails removed. Another type of metal strip is called a clamp down metal. To free the carpet from the clamp down metal, pry it open (just a little bit) with a flat chisel or a stair tool. There are too many different types of metal strips to describe here so you’ll just have to figure it out.

Use an awl to lift the edge of the carpet. Go to a corner of the room and poke the awl right through the carpet about 6″ from the wall. From here you will be able to pull the carpet up. If you don’t have an awl you can probably use a pair of pliers.

Now it’s time to unpack the carpet stretcher. Set it up so that the foot end is up against the baseboard and the head is a few inches from the wall that you are stretching towards. The power stretcher is more than strong enough to rip carpet so be careful to only stretch the carpet just enough to remove the wrinkles (and maybe just a little bit more). Over stretching carpet isn’t a good idea because you will create ripples going the other direction. So again, only stretch the carpet as much as you need to in order to remover the ripples.

Use the kicker to make small adjustments.

Start at the center of the room and stretch the carpet at a slight angle towards the corners. Each time you push on the handle of the power stretcher you will pull the carpet.

Cut the carpet from the back using the slotted blade knife. You should cut it so that it is still going to belong enough to tuck into the groove between the tack strip and the wall. If you cut the carpet a little bit too short, you can probably stretch it a little bit more. If you cut it too long to tuck it in properly, then just cut some more.

Before moving on to the next area, push the carpet into the nails that stick out of the tack strip. If the carpet is hard to get it to stick to the tack strip then use the carpet staple gun.

If you use the staple gun, be sure to get the point of the gun down between the nap so that you are only stapling the backing to the tack strip and not stapling the nap down. Continue across the room stretching, cutting, tacking and tucking. Replace any metal transitions and viola!

Chevy Camaro – A Small, Vicious Animal That Eats Mustangs

While engineers and designers feverishly worked overtime on the development of a four-passenger sports car they code-named the F-car, the Chevy public relations, marketing and advertising team prepared the world for the introduction of a car they called the Panther.

All through the summer of 1965 virtually every aspect of the vehicle’s design and development, from preliminary design sketches to clay models, was photographed and carefully documented. Chevy used the assets to create a 30 -minute movie The Camaro, which was later shown on TV and in movie theaters. They also introduced women’s clothing called the Camaro Collection and even a Camaro road race game.

In November, Chevy sales executives and creative people previewed prototype models at the GM Tech Center. Campbell-Ewald, Chevy’s venerable ad agency, immediately began work on catalogs, direct mail and sales promotion materials, along with print, outdoor and TV/radio advertising. In April 1966, at the New York Auto Show Press Conference, Chevrolet sales executives admitted no name had been chosen for the new vehicle, but did announce that pricing of 1967 model will be in the Corvair-Chevy II range.

Throughout early 1966 Chevy agonized over a name for its Mustang-killer. GM’s upper management was nervous about the aggressive connotations of the Panther name. A similar bout of cold feet would later cause the Pontiac version, code named the Banshee, to be renamed Firebird. Over its short lifetime, the F-car had been called by many names including Wildcat, Chaparral, Commander and Nova. It’s also rumored that Chevy considered using the letters “GM” in the name, and came up with G-Mini, which evolved into GeMini and finally Gemini. However, GM’s upper management vetoed the idea, fearing the car might be a failure.

Automotive legend has it that someone at Chevrolet finally proposed the name Camaro and upper management quickly agreed. Although the name has no real meaning, GM researchers reportedly found the word in a French dictionary as a slang term for “friend” or “companion.” It’s rumored that Ford Motor Company researchers also discovered other definitions, including “a shrimp-like creature” and an arcane term for “loose bowels.”

Because a number or pre-launch materials had already been released using the Panther name, Chevy’s most pressing challenge was to now rename their new Mustang killer, the Camaro.

On June 21, 1966, around 200 automotive journalists received a telegram from General Motors stating, “Please be available at noon of June 28 for important press conference. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. Details will follow.” The mysterious telegram was signed, John L. Cutter – Chevrolet Public Relations – SEPAW Secretary. The next day, journalists received another mysterious telegram stating, “Society for the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World will hold first and last meeting on June 28.” Once again, the telegram was signed, John L. Cutter – Chevrolet Public Relations – SEPAW Secretary.

Finally, on June 28, 1966, General Motors held a live press conference in Detroit’s Statler-Hilton Hotel. It was the first time in history that 14 cities were hooked up in real time for a press conference via telephone lines. Elliot M. “Pete” Estes, who replaced “Bunkie” Knudsen as Chevrolet General Manager in July 1965, started the news conference by declaring all participants were now charter members of the Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World (SEPAW.) Estes confidently announced that Camaro was chosen as the name for Chevy’s new four-passenger sports car to honor the tradition of beginning Chevy model names with the letter C such as the Corvette, Corvair, Chevelle, and Chevy II. Most automotive insiders agreed it was a ridiculous statement, given the fact that the Chevy Impala was then the best-selling car in the world. Estes then went on to explain that the Camaro name was, “derived from a French word meaning comrade or pal and suggests the comradeship of good friends as a personal car should be to its owner.” Automotive legend also has it that, after the press conference, when a member of the automotive press asked, “what is a Camaro?” a Chevrolet product manager quickly answered by saying, “a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”

Shortly after the press conference, editors from major magazines were invited to the GM Proving Grounds for a hands-on driving experience, hot laps with professional drivers and briefing on all aspects of the Camaro. Dealers saw the Camaro for the first time in August, at the Chevrolet Sales Convention in Detroit. LIFE Magazine teaser ads appeared in early September. On September 25, the first Camaro ads appeared in national newspapers. On September 28, 1966, Chevrolet launched an unprecedented ad blitz consisting of newspapers, magazines, radio, television, outdoor and television advertising.

The very first Chevy Camaro television commercial can still be seen on YouTube. It features a white Camaro RS/SS with the distinctive bumble-bee nose band emerging from a volcano. The voice over proudly introduces “The fiery new Camaro from Chevrolet… something you’ve never seen before.”

Just prior to the official June 29th launch date, a press package with photos, specifications, and line stories were released to newspapers and magazines across the country. Over 100 members of the press were invited to participate in a gymkhana driving competition at the GM Proving Grounds. The same type of event was held one week later in Los Angeles. A group of editors were also selected to drive top-optioned Camaro RS/SS models from Detroit to their home cities so they could publish, “I drove it personally,” feature articles in their local newspapers. Finally, on September 29, 1966, the Chevrolet Camaro was released to the public.

Mustang’s two and a half year head start in the market did little blunt America’s eagerness to see the new Camaro. Chevy dealerships across the country were filled to overflowing with curious and willing buyers. Dealerships were issued special window trim, urged to black-out their windows and extend their showroom hours. Long lines formed to even glimpse the new vehicle. Those waiting in line were also more than willing to debate the merits of Mustang and the still unseen Camaro. It’s rumored that local police were often called help control the crowds.

Once inside dealerships in most metro areas, buyers were treated to not one but three Camaro models. Chevy made every effort to provide their largest dealers with a base sport coupe, Camaro RS and a Camaro SS convertible. The tactic was an extension of the creative approach used in Chevy’s national ads which showed all three Camaro models under a tag line, “How much Camaro you want depends on how much driver you want to be.”

The sticker price of $2,466 for a Camaro base coupe and $2,704 for a base convertible was fully competitive with Ford’s pricing of their 1967 Mustang models which was $2,461 for the standard coupe, $2,692 for a standard fastback and $2,898 for a standard convertible.

Taking a page from Mustang’s success in earning added profit from options and accessories, the Camaro could be ordered with nearly 80 factory options and 40 dealer accessories. Buyers could also option up to a larger 250-inch version of the standard straight six engine, a choice of 327-cubic-inch small-block V8s fed by either a two-barrel or a four-barrel carburetor and two versions of the 396-cubic-inch big-block V8. In order to keep the new Camaro from taking sales away from the Corvette, a corporate edict forbade equipping it with engines larger than 400 cid. Transmission options included a four-speed manual, a two-speed “Powerglide” and in late 1967 the new three-speed “Turbo Hydra-Matic 350”.

The first 1967 Camaro built at the Norwood, Ohio, plant had a VIN ending in N100001; the first built at the Van Nuys, California, plant had a VIN ending in L100001. The 1967 Camaro was the only model year to have its VIN tag mounted on the door hinge pillar. VIN tags on later models were moved so they would be visible through the windshield. 1967 was the only model year to feature side vent windows. 1968 saw the introduction of a fresh-air inlet system called Astro Ventilation. The bumblebee nose stripe included in the SS package also became available as a separate option in March 1968.

As factory-fresh Camaros rolled off the assembly lines at Norwood and Van Nuys, the Chevy team worked just as hard to keep Camaro in the public eye. Camaro, in fact, was chosen as the Official Pace Car for the 1967 Indianapolis 500. A white Camaro RS convertible with a 396 V8 engine, not normally available for that package, and a distinctive blue bumble-bee stripe around the nose paced the field. Over 100 special reproductions of the pace car were also produced as promotional vehicles for Chevy dealerships across the country.

A total of 41,100 new Camaro’s were registered in the 1966 calendar-year and an additional 204,862 in 1967. Ford, on the other hand, sold almost a half million Mustangs in 1967. Still, the battle lines were drawn. Chevy knew they had a winner and devised a bold strategy. If they couldn’t beat Mustang on the showroom floor, they would at least beat it at the track. And while GM wasn’t officially into racing, that didn’t stop Chevrolet engineers from developing the Z/28, one of the most potent and powerful performance packages of all time. But, that’s still another story.

Advantages Of Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS) Lines Over The Modern Telephony

In most parts of the world, plain old telephone services POTS lines, commonly known as landlines, have remained the major form of connection to telephony networks for both businesses and residential users. This is a voice grade phone service dating back to the late 19th century. Though technology has brought a lot of changes, these have capabilities that modern telephony like ISDN, cell phones and VoIP do not.

This could be a major reason that despite introduction of advanced telephony service, most offices and residents still maintain their POTS network. These provide a full-duplex voiceband channel where human voice can travel both ways, concurrently. Other provisions are operator services like conference calling, subscriber dialing and call progress tones. These form the basics of any phone service.

In addition, those with landlines network today can order broadband service if they need their computer systems to run faster. In this case, POTS will act as a basis for the new service since one can now connect to the provider through the existing phone line. Once you add the broadband, your business uses the same cable network for both phone and internet.

It is also good to note that the plain old telephone services lines are very consistent compared to modern telephony. This ensures that your business is not getting irregular cut outs at any time of the day. This is a common problem with the newly introduced technologies like the cellular phones and Voice-over-Internet-Protocol.

Users should note that, both cellular phones and VoIP are greatly affected by weather changes. Other disruptions on these kinds of telephony communication include cell tower location problems, satellite positions and even power interruptions. On the other hand, POTs are highly stable as they will not even need power to operate especially if using it for calls only.

Another advantage of using landlines is that, in case of an emergency where people have to contact 911, the operator can easily tell where this is coming from. This way, the caller can receive immediate help. However, this is not the case with most types of VoIP or GSM phones. With VoIP, ability to instantly track a caller will depend on the service provider. Use of GPS tracking for cellular phones without the service is through cell tower triangulation which may take a lot of time. This means one is not going to receive timely assistance from 911.

There is no special instruction required to operate the POTS equipment. Most of its features are basic and familiar to most people who have made calls before. This means a business will not spend resources training employees on how to operate it. However, this is not so for modern communication systems. Some cell systems may require special training for people to operate.

The above are some of the benefits of using the plain old telephone services POTS lines. Since this can also integrate easily with new technologies, it is vital to keep it along the advanced communication systems. One does not have to completely do away with this kind of network. It can save your business a great deal of money and time especially during an emergency.

What Is the Difference Between Romex 12/2 and SOOW 12/2?

There are many differences between Romex® and SOOW cables because they were engineered to fit different applications. Some applications are indoors, some are outdoors, some are underground and some have a large amount of daily impact that the copper will need protection from.

Romex® 12/2 wire is designed with one strand of solid 12 AWG copper while SOOW 12/2 has 65 copper strands in each of the conductors designed specifically for flexibility. Since Romex® is more commonly snaked through walls and conduit it’s much easier for installers to have a stiff cable that holds its form while being pushed up a wall. On the other hand SOOW is a type of portable cord which is the same cable used to build extension cords. Having a flexible extension cord is always a bonus because it helps the coiling and uncoiling process along with carrying it from one location to the next.

The next major difference is the jacket of each cable. Romex® NMB cable has a thin PVC jacket simply manufactured to send multiple wires from point A to point B at once. It has no added protection towards moisture or chemicals that the outdoors could bring. SOOW cable has a thick rubber jacket built for flexibility, ware and tare from being constantly handled and resistance to water, oils and gasses due to being used outdoors.

SOOW is one of the few cables that does NOT come with an additional ground wire on top of the designated number of conductors. Romex® 12 AWG 2 conductor will come with a 3rd wire as a bare copper ground wire. SOOW 12 2 cable comes with a total of 2 wires that are insulated and that’s it.

Two similarities between the cables are their voltage rating of 600 volts and their amperage rating. Since a 12 AWG wire is a 12 AWG wire whether it has 1 strand of copper or 65 strands it will carry the same amount of AMPS.

As you can see from this article it’s easier to discuss the differences between the two cables than it is to discuss the similarities. If you’re confused about the type of protection your electrical wire needs than you should speak to your supplier or wire and cable. They are great at understanding the different approvals of each cable and whether it can be used in certain locations or not. Your electrician can help you figure out the size of the cable you need to meet the NEC code when the installation gets inspected.

Cost Per Funded Loan – Building a Book of Business

There are many essential metrics that must be considered when a determination is made on how to spend valuable marketing dollars. The acceptable cost per funded loan varies depending on where an individual sits in the organizational chart and how much of a stakeholder one is in the long term growth of the company. Successful lead generation firms are aware of this and for this reason there products are designed to cater to different segments of the mortgage professional population.

A mortgage banker will seek to increase volume and can tolerate slimmer margins immediately sees the benefit of of increase overall lead volume. A cost per funded loan of $400 to $700 per funded loan is acceptable and very profitable, because the bank will draws revenue from the originated loan in more than one way.

There are a number of different ways to market a reverse mortgage. However, they fall into two basic categories: 1.) Waiting for a qualifying senior homeowner to walk through your door with and request the product from you or 2.) Market to the target demographic in a clear and informational manner and let them know the product is available.

Waiting In the Office for Warm Referrals: Lowest Cost Per Funded Loan
The easiest is to rely on warm referrals from past clients. In the reverse mortgage industry this would amount to simply waiting for someone who has previously reverse mortgage there home to go to a friend or family member and to extol the virtues of the FHA HECM or private equity loan that the recently received.

Ideally, they will have excellent comments to share regarding the company that provided the loan as well as the benefits of the loan itself. In this scenario the cost per funded loan is nearly zero and the profit margin associated with the loan is high.The downside to being dependent entirely on warm referrals of this type, particularly for growth oriented firms is easy to see.

First, senior homeowners tend to keep financial matters private and may not discuss financial matters openly. Second, for many seniors, their personal network of trusted people is shrinking as opposed to growing each year. Third reverse mortgages have been available for decades in one form or another and prior to the massive increases in home values associated with the real estate bubble, which substantially reduced the loan-to-value of many properties and increased the available equity, very few loans were done when this was the primary means of communication.

A quick visit to the FHA website or review of the year-by-year statistics reveals this to be undeniable.

Marketing Programs: Growth-Oriented Referrals
Growth oriented firms, particularly those with an exit strategy that includes being bought out by a larger firm or group of investors, will require more than just walk-in to build their businesses. Even large banks and financial institutions market heavily in the communities their agents service.

Anyone familiar with the reverse mortgage industry understands that eventual sale of the business entity or the portfolio is a key characteristic business plans. The portfolios developed by Home Equity Conversion Mortgage and Fannie Mae Homekeeper originators have value in securities marketplace that is greater than many traditional mortgage products, because the loan itself is government insured for the protection of the lender and the homeowner.

Marketing represents a business expense and as long as the revenue returned exceeds the cash outlay or credit obligation the outcome is positive. Marketing is one of the key components of any successful business and marketing significantly impact the ability of the sales force to perform.

Firms with 15 or more agent originating reverse mortgages on a daily basis need to make sure that their agents are consistently supplied with a steady stream of leads to follow-up on and will need to make projections regarding future performance of their sales force. A sales force without leads is doomed. A sales force with leads has an opportunity. And, a company that has a low cost per funded loan is more profitable.

Targeted States Affect Cost Per Funded Loan:
All states are not created equal when it comes to reverse mortgages. States, such as North Carolina, have a lot less competition, whereas, California, which has had the most reverse mortgage transactions has the most competition. The recent changes in the traditional mortgage market and pending financial crises the the Federal Reserve is working to avert have made many of the high volume states very difficult to work in, due substantial changes in appraised property values.

The challenges the brokers and lenders face are also faced by the lead generation companies they use and prices are set accordingly. A lead in North Carolina or Georgia will be cost, because the marketing firms will need to make a lower expenditure to produce the type of lead product the customer requires. The leads in California or Maryland on the other hand will require more marketing effort to produce. In California, the cost per funded loan could easily be $800 as opposed to North Carolina or Idaho where the cost per funded loan could be as low as $400.

If your firm has the ability to serve in multiple states at the same time, it is good idea to spread the marketing expenditure across the states in a manner that balance the total cost of your lead program against know factors, such as: Penetration by Market Size, New Market Opportunity, Average Available Equity for Eligible Homeowners, Lending Limits, and Legislative Requirements of the State.

Makeover and Remodel Your Motorhome or RV

Ten Good Reasons to Remodel Your RV:

1.Remodeling is the most economical way to get a true upgrade. As opposed to trading in your RV, remodeling enables you to add the features you need and the look you’ve always wanted at a mere fraction of the cost of a new RV.

2.Remodeling is the process of customizing and decorating an RV to suit your specific lifestyle as well as your personal tastes. There’s no other way to accomplish this task.

3.Tasteful and competent remodeling adds value to an RV. This added value ultimately results in a higher selling price. Remodeled RVs also tend to sell faster because interested buyers don’t want to miss out on an irreplaceable item.

4.Remodeled RVs tend to be of a higher quality than those that that haven’t. Remodeling, when done properly, is a successful collusion of creativity, quality materials, and workmanship. While some companies claim to accomplish this feat at the factory, it’s hard to compete with a proud owner that has all the time in the world.

5.The primary difference between a $175,000 RV and a $375,000 RV is the interior. Shrewd owners use skillful interior remodeling and selective upgrades to create a luxury RV at a fraction of the cost of a new high-end model.

6.Remodeling is extremely enjoyable as well as rewarding. Whether you’re changing the style, or adding new features, remodeling projects are often filled with excitement and anticipation of a new living space.

7.Even though high-end RVs cost considerably more than a typical home, many lack even the most basic amenities including dishwashers, garbage disposals, book shelves, desks, and Internet access.

8.Remodeled RVs have significantly more storage space than new models. RV manufacturers don’t have the time to install closet organizers, drawer dividers, rotating shelves, and pull-out cabinet inserts.

9.Even though there are more than two million full-time RVers, there’s no such thing as a special model for full-timers. The qualities that make a good full-timing RV have to be implemented by its owners.

10.A huge number of people routinely remodel their RVs. The five most commonly performed remodeling projects are:

a. Replacing or upgrading the flooring

b. Reupholstering the furniture

c. Upgrading the window treatments

d. Painting or wallpapering the walls

e. Replacing the dinette with a table and set of chairs

Is "Gap, On, Down (GOD)" Blocking Better Than "Severe Angle Blocking (SAB)" for Youth Football?

This topic garners a lot of attention on football coaching forums and sites related to football drills. There is a lot of debate about which system of blocking is preferable for youth boys playing football. I have my opinion.

Both systems contain basic “tenets” or “rules” to be followed to make sure the EFFECTIVENESS of the system. So either system can be used. The issue becomes one of implementation – practice time with the techniques required, coaching preference, what the kids that you have on your team can do. Let’s discuss these issues.

Practice Time & Required Techniques

GOD – Gap, On, Down

This system is more focused on “what you do to who at a specific place” not details on “technique”. This is a big difference when considering practice time. In the GOD system an offensive lineman is literally asking himself, “what is the placement of the defensive lineman or linebacker so I know where/who to go block?”. So you may be asking what is Gap, On, Down? I will explain.

Inside Gap Defender

We first ask our offensive lineman to FIRST see if he has a defender aligned in the “inside gap”, within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage, to his place on the offensive line. If he does, he must block him after the snap – of course emphasizing quick first two steps and getting low. If he does not have a defender aligned in the “inside gap”, he simply moves on to the SECOND blocking rule.

On Defender

If no defender aligns in the “inside gap”, then he moves on to his SECOND rule – Is the defender aligned “on/over” me, within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage? If he is, then the offensive lineman must block him after the snap. If he does not have a defender aligned “on/over” him, he simply moves on to the THIRD blocking rule.

Down the Line Inside Defender

If no defender aligns on/over him, then he moves on to his THIRD rule – I must look for the defender located inside down the line – either on/over my offensive neighbor OR in a gap INSIDE my offensive neighbor. I HELP my neighbor to block him! This is a double team block ALWAYS!

What We NEVER Have As a Rule

We never have our offensive linemen looking to block a defender aligned outside their body. In other words, we NEVER ask our offensive linemen to “reach” block. This is a very hard block to execute. We have our backs in the backfield handle these more “athletic” blocks. At most, a pulling guard may be asked to execute a “reach” or “kick-out” block, but never any other offensive lineman. This is because we know our pulling guard is able to execute this block.

Also, we never have our offensive linemen going to the “second level” to block linebackers – except our pulling guard. Linebackers are more athletic and linemen have a hard time trying to get to “moving” linebackers that are often located 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Blitzing Linebackers & The “Down” Double Team Block

I should explain that defensive teams do blitz – oh, shocker! So how would you handle this with the GOD blocking scheme where a linebacker could “penetrate” your offensive line on a blitz? Here is what we teach. If an offensive lineman is simply executing a “one-on-one” GAP or ON block, they would NEVER come off that block to “get” the blitzing linebacker; this would let their defensive lineman go free – not good! So they only situation where we “get” a blitzing linebacker is on a “down-double team” block. Which one “gets” the linebacker? ALWAYS the inside lineman of the double team & ONLY if the linebacker blitzes to the INSIDE of this double team block; if he blitzes to the outside – trying to fight over our offensive line wall – we will have one of our backs, by play design, block him in the alley/funnel! Obviously, you will have to work on this recognition with your offensive linemen that execute double team blocks so they know that ONLY the “inside blocker” releases to block a blitzing linebacker when he tries to blitz to the inside gap. Again, this is all about practice, practice, practice!

Summary of GOD

Now you may be thinking, “how is my offensive line going to really know who to block?” in a real defensive front situation. Well, like anything else in football you have to practice things over & over. Specifically, the best tactic is showing your offensive line the most common and likely defensive fronts they will see in games – including likely linebacker blitzes. Set these up in practice for them; talk about the front, ask them who they would block for each front, have them walk to each person they would block, then run through it at half speed, then at full speed. Do this for every defensive front they would likely see. Make sure they really get it! Of course you will be checking for proper blocking fundamentals too – explosion off the cadence/snap, quick feet, proper pulling of the guard, and staying low. The GOD rules really are simple and the specific “play tags/line calls” take only 1 week to install – no matter what offensive system you chose to run.

The Hero Journey Motif As a Tool for Reading and Writing

Quite often teachers in middle school and high school find themselves teaching the grade level language arts curriculum from a conservative and sometimes minimalist point of view. What that means is that many follow generic lesson plans devised by a team, a textbook company, or themselves that cover only the very basic or minimal reading comprehension and writing skills. The reasons for this vary:

• They are required to follow a preordained set of standards.

• They aren’t sure their students can achieve such a higher level of thinking and so do not take the risk of advancing beyond the suggested plan.

• They use methods with which they are comfortable.

• They may be unfamiliar with the available tools they can use to guide students successfully to higher levels of analysis.

If the reader identifies with any of these circumstances, please read on. Throughout my many years of research and classroom experience, one archetype in particular stands out as a foundation for guiding my students to in-depth analysis of literature. That tool is the monomyth, or hero’s journey story pattern. Once students understand the basic components of this archetypal motif, they can analyze a story more easily using a specific set of criteria, but they can also use this tool for writing their own short fiction, a task which I ask them to do as a required entry for writing competition each fall semester. Whether students use this pattern in reading or writing, the hero journey archetype adds clarity and interest and depth to the task.

Although the hero journey motif is ancient, the oldest story structure in literary history that begins with Gilgamesh, it was Joseph Campbell’s seminal work with world mythology that produced the most enlightening interpretation of the archetypes in the hero’s journey. As with all of Campbell’s work, he leads us to see that the stories of mythology are really our own stories, the symbolic pieces of our own lives. Imagine how beneficial such relevant studies can be for students in both reading and writing. So let’s get started.

According to Campbell, the hero is called to an adventure, but sometimes he or she either refuses the call for personal reasons or doesn’t recognize the call. What follows is an event that helps to change the hero’s mind, and he decides to take up the gauntlet. Rarely does the hero go it alone. Help soon shows up in the form of friends, loved ones, even total strangers to accompany the hero to the first threshold crossing into the kingdom of darkness. The hero and his companions leave the world of common day to face the dangers looming in symbolic and even actual darkness. The hero tricks, seduces, destroys, or escapes from the threshold guardian in order to pass into the new world.

As the hero begins this new leg of the journey, she must face tests and trials as she is initiated into the danger. Ogres and demons must be conquered until the hero finds the elixir, the boon-either concrete or abstract–that will change the lives of everyone, including the hero. The supreme ordeal thrusts the hero into the most difficult battle. Named for the Biblical character Jonah who is swallowed by a whale, the supreme ordeal is often referred to as being in the belly of the whale and going on the night sea journey, and also as the archetypal image, facing a life threatening situation in the inmost cave, literal or figurative. The meaning is clear: the hero experiences rebirth in the symbolic womb. This event is the single most defining event that turns the typical adventure story into a quest for good. The hero is not the same person he was when he began the journey.

The hero must now return home with the elixir. Her flight takes various forms. The hero often flees from danger but sometimes he is dismissed, driven out, or escorted home along with his followers. On his return, the sharing of the elixir-the boon, the treasure-improves life for at least the hero and remaining companions if not everyone in their world.

A number of experts believe the monomyth is the underlying structure for the most popular and also most financially successful novels and films today. While this is an interesting and provocative idea, I have found the stories listed here illustrate the elements of the hero’s journey quite well for my students’ reading and writing benefit. This is only a small sampling of what is available. Once you begin to look for the motif in other works, you’ll see what I mean.

• The Last Book in the Universe by Philip Pullman

• The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

• Any of the Harry Potter series

• True Grit (I use the John Wayne film.)

• Jason and the Argonauts (I use Edith Hamilton’s Mythology.)

• The Odyssey (Again from Edith Hamilton)

• Theseus and the Minotaur (Edith Hamilton)

• Children on their Birthdays by Truman Capote (film version)

• To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

• Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

• The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

• Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

• Night by Elie Wiesel

• The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

• Blessings by Anna Quindlen

Good readers make good writers; thus, the monomyth motif can serve as an excellent structure for the short stories I ask students to write for the Scholastic Art & Writing competition. Although this writing contest for grades 7 – 12 is worth devoting precious teaching time to, this article will not delve into the details of the contest. I urge the reader to look at scholasticart& for more information. What I will explain here is how I use the monomyth structure to prepare students to write their short fiction entries.

The initial action:

• Call to adventure

• Refusal of the call

• Setting out with helpers

Building the action and moving the plot forward:

• Crossing the threshold

• Encountering dangers and conflicts

• The supreme ordeal: facing the main character’s greatest fear or challenge, perhaps even death (usually symbolic death, but sometimes actual death)

Building the close with flight/elixir/return

• The main character flees old ways, dangers, fears, and he/she is a changed person. Life is going to be different and usually better for the main character and perhaps even other people in his life. The main character or hero has returned home, literally or figuratively, with the symbolic elixir that solves the initial problem.

History of Saeco Products and the Company

This history is not only about a company, but about a Swiss engineer who had a vision. In 1976, Sergio Zappella established GSL, a company producing espresso coffee machines for home use mainly made for third parties.

Five years later, Sergio and Arthur Schmed, a Swiss engineer, created Saeco S.r.l. with its registered office at Gaggio Montano in the province of Bologna. They decided to operate their business under a proprietary brand name and dedicated considerable time and resources to perfecting technology. The result was the production of the first fully-automatic espresso coffee machine in 1985. This innovation quickly became a major market success because of its broad implications for filling a void in consumer demand. The following year, Sergio Zappella and Giovanni Zaccanti established Cosmec S.p.A.; S.p.A,same as Inc.;for the specific purpose of producing coffee machine parts and eventually prompted the Group to bring all production in-house.

In 1986, improvements were made to the management and control of the sales network for international expansion. From 1989-1993, Cosmec inaugurated production of various espresso coffee and automated vending machines.

In 1995 and 1996, Saeco began marketing its “climate” and “steam” products. In October of 1999, for global reorganization, Cosmec changed its name to the Saeco International Group and assumed the role of the holding company. In December 1999, the Group acquired the control of Gaggia S.p.A. in U.S.The acquisition of Gaggia, a historical brand in the professional coffee machines sector, allowed Saeco to reinforce its position in this market segment and further increase its sales capacity.

In 2009, Saeco was the European leader in automatic espresso coffee machines manufacturing with a 30% market share. Saeco as a company designed, manufactured and distributed automatic, manual and capsule espresso coffee machines for home and professional use, both under its own brands, Saeco and Gaggia, or on behalf of third-party brands, OEMs and Lavazza. Saeco also manufactured beverage and snack vending machines. Saeco, headquartered in Gaggio Montano, Bologna, Italy, had around 1,400 employees. In March, they closed their doors with estimated sales of 318 million Euros.

On May 25, 2009, Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands, listed on four stock exchanges, announced that it has reached a binding agreement to acquire Saeco International Group S.p.A., the Italian-based leading espresso machine maker, which is controlled by PAI partners who have in-depth knowledge of its target markets.

Today, Sergio Zappella is Chairman, Giovanni Zaccanti is Vice Chairman and Arthur Schmed are Directors on the Executive Committee of Saeco International Group, which is part of Philips Saeco. Today, Philips Saeco continues to market the high quality Saeco espresso machines, coffee makers and accessory products.

Angelic Realms – Angel of the Moon Ophaniel

In this Earthly Realm, the Moon dictates the rise and fall of the tides. It marks the passing of time and travels the night skies, waxing and waning completing an ancient and timeless cycle every thirty-days.

There is a sense of order within the Heavens and it is the same here in this Earthly Realm of dense physical energy.

The moon is a symbol of Divine Order on all levels and in all directions of time and space as we know and understand it.

With each passing phase of the Moon, different energies give rise to different energetic intensities and emotions.

They are cycles of introspection and self-reflection, growth and expansion, rest and detachment.

Our life and energy flow with more grace and ease when we pay attention to the natural ebb and flow within the Cycle of Divine Order.

Ophaniel is the Angel of Divine Order, Angel of the Moon. She helps us manage the infinite cycles we experience at any given moment.

Many people practice rituals and sacred ceremonies under the fullness of the Moon as it transitions into the next cycle of completion and renewal once again.

Where there is a sense of order, there is also a sense of calm. In the center of all things there is a desire for oneness with cosmic consciousness as everything unfolds within and without.

Being in the flow of Divine Order deepens our connection with our inner-self, that part of us that craves that something more, that deeper and higher connection with our infinite and unlimited potential.

Going with the flow instead of against it, allows intuitive guidance to magically show-up in our lives and everything seems to just simply fall into place around us effortlessly.

Ophaniel is here to help us flow within the cycles of Divine Order managing emotions and energy that support us and our purpose in all ways.

When we let go, surrendering to the natural flow of the Heavens and the Universe, there is less stress and drama in our daily experience.

Ask the Angel of Moon to help you regulate and manage your internal cycles of work, rest and play. This cycle is different for each one of us and yet there is a sense of symmetry that flows within and through each of us.

This flow connects us to one another as if in a cosmic dance filled with rhythm and balance… this is Divine Order.

Of course we have the gift of choice to go with the natural flow or pushing against what we know to be truth, causing resistance, lack and delay. The choice is always ours to make.

Fiberglass or Polyethylene – Which Is Better for an Ice Box?

Cool boxes are certainly a convenient commodity to have when the weather is hot. Whether your ice chest is for keeping drinks cool or for ensuring foods such as meat and dairy products remain safe to eat, or even to prevent humidity building up within the delicate workings of expensive electronic gadgets, in the long run you are going to save money by using an ice box. Taking food and drink with you when you go out enables you to go further afield where fewer fast food chains flip burgers – in fact, you can take your own burgers in your cool box and flip your own for lunch.

A visit to the website of one Australian supplier has revealed the results of the tests they carried out under controlled conditions, showing that the ice boxes they tested would keep commercial party ice in a frozen condition from between 7 to 10 days in the four boxes they tested. Although this test wasn’t specifically designed to show whether fiberglass was more efficient than polyethylene or vice versa, one of the boxes tested was the 80 liter fiberglass box which was found to keep ice frozen until the end of the 10th day. The other ice boxes included in this test were plastic boxes around the same size.

Whether there is a large difference between fiberglass and polyethylene is debatable as the other cooler that kept ice frozen until the end of the 10th day was an 85 litre plastic polyethylene box. Meanwhile, the rest of the boxes kept the ice frozen until the end of the 7th day. This suggests that the efficiency might have more to do with the insulation than with the materials the box is manufactured from. There are certainly downsides to fiberglass ice chests, although benefits present themselves as well.

The most profound problem with fiberglass ice boxes is that they damage more easily than their polyethylene counterparts. Fiberglass is more brittle, making it more prone to crack, which may let water enter the insulation cavity. This will result in the box losing some of its insulating qualities. Another problem relating to reduced insulation is the lid which is often not constructed along the extra thick lines found in polyethylene lids. Having said that, however, fiberglass ice boxes are easier to clean and they look attractive. Many people would purchase a fiberglass cooler box for its appearance, as the gloss finish presents a smooth and aesthetic appeal which is often lacking in the polyethylene ice boxes.

Once you start looking for an ice box you will notice that, whether you look at modern polyethylene ice boxes or fiberglass ones, they are both attractively made. There is often a larger range of polyethylene boxes to choose from, with the fiberglass boxes usually available in a smaller range. Common sizes for fiberglass ice boxes are, 50 liters, 80 liters, and 110 liters. They are also available in a rectangular shape that is long enough to accommodate the length of those extra-long fish.

Modern boxes will usually keep ice frozen for up to 9 days. This is because insulation is paramount, with attention and detail given to the lid seal as well as to the quality of the latches, each of which are usually corrosion-proof and can be easily replaced. Another benefit found on many fiberglass ice boxes is the non-skid thermoplastic elastomer feet that have been designed to prevent the cool box from moving around. These elastomer feet have been designed so that they don’t mark the surface they are standing on. This is just another example of the modern cooler box manufacturer’s attention to detail.