Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Playing Golf Lessons Opus

The Top 10 Life Lessons Your Child Can Learn from Playing Golf

During the last seven years, I have watched my son and his friends grow up in the world of Junior Golf. This amazing sport has brought out the best in these young men, and has taught them so many valuable life lessons. I am forever impressed, in particular to the following ten qualities that I have observed my son develop as a bi-product of the great game of golf.

1. Humility and Respect
Golf requires that you show courtesy to others and that you communicate with respect. In the Junior Golf tournaments across the country, it is well stated that good sportsmanship must be exhibited at all times and that all play is ended with an exchange of a hand shake.

2. Punctuality
When the tournament schedule states "Tee time is at 9:00," this means that you are to be on the tee box at 8:55. If you are late to the tee box, you are automatically disqualified, no questions asked. While this can be a tough lesson to learn, it is one that works brilliantly and has instilled in my son the importance of being on time for not only every tournament but every event in life.

3. Confession
Golf is a game of honor, and recognizing that a transgression has occurred and taking responsibility for the transgression is a part of the game. This one act instills integrity and fairness to all concerned.

4. Safety
Golf balls and clubs are very hard and dangerous instruments, and one of the first and foremost rules of golf is safety. My son has been instructed again and again to not take practice swings in the direction of another person, not to swing clubs when someone else is walking by, and never to hit into a group playing in front of him. These rules of safety have filtered into other aspects of his life, including biking, swimming, and safety in the home.

5. Quiet
Golf requires an amazing amount of concentration, and quiet is required at all times on the golf course. While this takes practice for young kids, it is a life skill that teaches constraint and respect for others.

6. Visioning
The night before and the morning of a tournament, my son sits quietly and mentally and visually plays the course. This skill is teaching him how to "see the end in mind," which is key to goal achievement.

7. Problem Solving
Rain, wind, trees, multiple sand traps, and deep rough can make for a challenging day of tournament play. These are a normal part of golf and can be an amazing opportunity for clever problem solving and personal growth.

8. Focus
Golf is a tough sport. It requires that you not only know the physics of hitting the ball (and what club to use when) but requires intense mental and emotional concentration. Silencing the inner critic after a "bad shot" is crucial to regaining clear focus, which is an advanced skill to learn but one that can take you very far in life.

9. Practice, Persistence, and Listening
In golf, instant success is very rare. My son has become a great golfer through daily practice, persistence, and through being open to listening to his mentors. In life, it is important to know that we rarely reach our goal in one "stroke." By practicing, making corrections along the way, being open to coaching, and being persistent, we can tackle most of life's tough challenges.

10. Graciousness
One of the most important life lessons my son has learned from golf is to be gracious and respectful to adults. At the end of each tournament, he and his competitors thank and shake the hands of the tournament chairmen and follow this up with a handwritten note of thanks.

Bea Fields is an Executive Coach and a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach. She is also a Consultant, Trainer, Public Speaker and author of the Five Star Leader e-course. Her area of expertise is that of Leadership Development and Marketing for Executives, Managers, Small Business Owners, and Political Leaders:

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Spring Bulbs Poem

Mulch Your Spring Bulbs In The Fall For A Beautiful Spring Display

Flower bulbs need a good, long, winters sleep. Like some people we know, if they wake up before they are fully rested, they get kind of cranky, and then they don’t bloom well at all.

Actually what happens is during a mild winter, the soil stays too warm, and the bulbs begin to come out of dormancy early. They start to grow, and once the tips emerge above the soil line, they are subject to freezing if the temperatures dip back down below freezing. And that’s usually what happens. After the bulbs have emerged, they freeze and then don’t bloom at all, or if they do it’s a very sad display.

Another reason this happens is because the bulbs are not planted deep enough. They may have been deep enough when you planted them, but as the soil goes through the freezing and thawing process, the bulbs can actually work their way up in the ground.

One way to keep your flower bulbs sleeping longer, which will protect them from freezing, is to mulch the bed. In the fall just apply a 3-4” layer of well composted mulch. This layer of mulch will do a couple of things. It will maintain a higher moisture content in the soil, which is good, as long as the soil isn’t too soggy. Well composted mulch also adds valuable organic matter to the planting bed. Organic matter makes a great natural fertilizer.

A 3-4” layer of mulch also acts as an insulator. It will keep the soil from freezing for a while, which is good because you don’t want the bulbs going through a series of short cycles of freezing and thawing. Then when the temperatures drop below freezing and stay there for a while, the soil does eventually freeze. Then the mulch actually works in reverse and keeps the soil from thawing out too early. Keeping it in a frozen state is actually good because the bulbs remain dormant for a longer period of time.

When they finally do wake up it is spring time, and hopefully by the time they emerge from the ground the danger of a hard freeze is past and they will not be damaged. If you can keep them from freezing, they will flower beautifully. The extra organic matter will help to nourish the bulbs when they are done blooming, and the cycle starts all over again.

We also plant annual flowers in the same beds with our spring bulbs. By the time the danger of frost is past and it’s time to plant the annuals, the top of the bulbs have died back and are ready to be removed. The mulch that is added in the fall also helps to nourish the annual flowers, as well as improve the soil permanently.

Anytime you add well composted organic matter to your planting beds, you are bound to realize multiple benefits. The key words here are "well composted". Fresh material is not good.

Michael J. McGroarty is the author of the popular gardening book "Free Landscape Plants!" as well as the owner and author of the gardening website Visit the website and sign up for his free gardening newsletter, and learn how to start your own money making backyard nursery on 1/20 acre or less.

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Best Guitar Serenade

Electric, Classical, Acoustic - Which Guitar Is Best For You?

No one could really pinpoint the exact year as to when the guitar was created. The lute, harp and lyre are the three stringed instruments from which guitars evolved. The features of guitars vary for each musical period. The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments today to bring out soothing music or to perk up one's energy level. Bands and gigs will not be complete without guitars. Guitars are also used as a means to free hidden and unexpressed feelings and emotions or it can as well be a medium to spend time meaningfully together with loved ones and peers.

There are various types of guitars that can suit the intended purpose of the user such as the twelve strings guitars, six strings, classical guitars and electric guitars. Twelve strings made up the twelve strings guitar to achieve a rich tone compared with the standard six string guitars. The courses of strings are played together though the sound produced are different from the other. On the bass course are two strings tuned an octave apart and on the treble courses are the other pairs of strings that are tuned together. The third string in the third course can be tuned by using unison strings or the distinct high-pitched octave guitars strings. The style of standard six string guitars can allow the user to have easy contact on the higher frets on the finger board. This type needs an access on the frets to produce the desired sounds and effects.

Classical guitars of the olden days have cat gut which later on developed into nylon strings. These types of guitars have a flat fingerboard and wide neck. Other guitars experts suggest that classical guitars are the best types for beginners since it has greater string gauge and lighter string tension but still the decision is on the buyer since the classic guitar may not suit their preferences and style. Classic songs and music are best played using classical guitars.

Electric guitars are made up of different materials and use various components to produce the needed sound. Alder, Mahogany, Walnut, Maple and Ash are the commonly used types for the body of electric guitars. The woods and the construction, the types of strings, quality of components used, length of cables and the overall condition of the environment determine the quality of the sound produced. Electric guitars are used in various forms and styles of music may it be pop, country, rock and roll, jazz or blues.

In buying guitars, the user must make sure that the chosen guitar will match his budget, playing style and skills. An electric guitar is easier to play compared with an acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars can produce audible sounds without using amplifiers. It makes use of either the nylon or wound steel rings. There are also acoustic and electric guitars that can be played with the presence or absence of an amplifier.

Package deals are at times offered for beginners which may include a guitar together with other options like a tuner, pics, strap and case. The soundboard of the guitars must be carefully inspected to determine the type of sound produced. Producers of good quality guitars are usually the well-known companies in the industry like Taylor, Gibson, Yamaha, Fender, Ovation, Martin and Ibanez. There are wide selections of style and design to choose from to match the buyer's distinctness and uniqueness.

David Arnold Livingston is a music lover and enjoys guitars. Visit for lots of great information about guitars.

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Satellite v Cable Verse

Satellite v Cable: The Winner Is...

The Dish On Satellite TV Versus Cable TV

A fierce battle is carrying on between satellite TV and cable TV in America. While cable has lots of option with numerous providers, satellite also has lots of choices but only two providers – DishNetwork and DirectTV. The choice between the services is such a close call that it boils down to preference. Some cable fans quickly point out that satellite is a fair-weather friend and some satellite fans boast of satellites versatility in channels. You be the judge and weigh each side.

In the United States, satellite TV subscribers have a choice between Direct TV and DishNetwork. Cable TV providers, on the other hand, are more abundant. Most cable subscribers choose either basic cable or digital cable. Digital cable has many more options than basic cable. Both satellite and cable hook up with DSL Internet service, HDTV, TiVo, parental control and other fun features. However, to get these services, you'll need extra equipment. Satellite TV scores one up on cable in this round: high definition reception automatically comes through satellite TV, whereas cable TV currently makes customers pay extra for this reception. This advantage will soon end once HD is mandatory on all new sets and all channels will come through HD. The time-line for this change in the United States is anticipated by the year 2007.

The more options the better, according to many subscribers. Satellite wins hands down in this arena, although cable undoubtedly carries lots of channels. Many fans of satellite TV believe its reception is crisper and love the fact you can interact with many channels. You can also watch a satellite sports channel and turn off the broadcaster or watch a sports event and leave out commercials. Cable TV may soon catch up since it's trying out a few new interactive channels such as Time Warner Cable's interactive games and sports news.

Cable TV doesn't limit all you TVs to broadcasting the same channel on every TV. You can watch different channels on different TVs. This isn't so easy to do with satellite TV. You need a separate receptor box to get a different reception than what's showing on a different TV. However, one receptor box can be hooked up to as many as 6 sets. The satellite TV providers are now offering these boxes for free rather than charging for additional boxes in the past. Even though cable TV comes through a cable line hooked up to your TV, cable seems to win in this department.

While weather can sometimes affect cable reception, a lot more can interfere with satellite TV signals. A satellite TV dish needs to be obstruction-free to the south of where it's placed (reception of satellite TV comes from the South). Most subscribers have their dish located either on their roof or porch. While some homeowner associations and landlords try to ban this placement, homeowners and renters have FCC regulations on their side.

No one can say for sure who's winning in the battle between cable and satellite. The call appears very close. Whichever service you decide has more to do with your preference for one option or another since the costs even look close and the issues look pretty upfront. So, which side are you on?

Frederick Greystone is the owner of RGW Satellite Inc which one of the best resources for information on satellites on the internet. Be to take a look at his complete archive of articles

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Ho Ho Holidays Ode

Preparing For the Holidays: Ho Ho Ho... or Bah Humbug!

Some of my clients dread the holiday season because it often represents stress, pressure, expectations, guilt, disappointment, pain, loneliness, exhaustion... and the list goes on.

This is a choice. We choose who we spend time with. We choose what activities we say yes and no to. We choose where we go. Your holiday season can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose to make it, and it can be a lot of fun if you plan accordingly.

Take some time this week to think about what's most important to you this season, and then do a little planning. Here are some suggestions to help.

Create a list of holiday rituals that are important to you.

Seek your family's input on holiday decisions. Ask family members what they liked and disliked about last year's holidays. Write down the most important elements and activities you wish to include this year, and plan to make it happen.

Keeping time-consuming and irrelevant traditions or rituals "just because we've always done it that way" can increase stress. Keep only those traditions that have meaning to you, or create some new ones.

Give yourself permission to be in the moment and enjoy the smells, sounds, feel, and tastes that are unique to this season of the year.

Make a list of those you want to spend time with during the holidays.

Who nourishes you? Who are the family members, friends, and colleagues you enjoy being with?

Do you want to do any entertaining? If so, when and with whom? Plan ahead and ask for help if you want it. True friends and loved ones will not care how many hours you slaved over the stove. Spending time with you is what they'll cherish most. You don't have to be Martha Stewart to throw a great party!

Are you invited to holiday parties that you really don't want to go to, but you've gone in the past because you should? Be at choice -- don't play the victim! This is not about whom you should see, but rather whom you choose to spend time with.

Mail your greeting cards, holiday letters, and packages early.

Some time-saving tips:
- Write a short holiday letter that covers the highlights; copy it on holiday paper and add a note at the end to personalize it. Make a collage of pictures to photocopy on the back side of the letter.
- Use self-adhesive return labels. These labels are inexpensive and often come with festive holiday designs. One great online source for these is Walter Drake at Colorful Images is another source. They can be reached at 800-458-7999.
- If you have your addresses on a computerized database, consider printing out your mailing list on clear address labels. Years ago, an old college friend commented that she thought it was tacky to use address labels on holiday cards and letters. I told her that my choice was to either use labels or not mail our annual holiday letter to the 250 people on our list. Now that she has a young family, I've noticed she has started using address labels, too!
- E-mail a holiday letter to those with whom you correspond electronically. You can easily personalize this for each recipient. Attach color photos highlighting the past year. Another alternative is to create a holiday web page, and include the link to it in a personalized e-mail message.
- Mail packages early to avoid longer lines at the post office and ensure they will arrive in time. Or, better yet, sign up with and avoid the lines altogether. You can mail large packages without standing in any lines -- as long as you have an accurate way to weigh them before you purchase postage online.

Thoughtfully plan your gift-giving.

Give from the heart... not out of obligation. Decide whom you choose to give to and make a list. This will help you avoid overspending through impulse buying.

If you think back to the most cherished gifts you have received, they are often homemade or from the heart. A gift of time -- such as a gift certificate redeemable for an activity you can do together -- can be very meaningful. Among the most prized gifts I've ever received have been homemade cards with a heartfelt note written inside. Value goes far beyond the cost of the gift.

A great resource for homemade gift ideas is a book called The Perfect Mix. It contains creative edible gift ideas, including wrapping suggestions and tag instructions, along with a source guide for supplies. The book offers more than 90 recipes for soups, breads, muffins, cookies, and other gifts. The gifts I've created from this book have been very well received and appreciated.

Instead of exchanging gifts with friends, consider having a holiday or post-holiday party with them.

Avoid parking hassles, gridlock traffic around the malls, and long lines at the register by shopping online and through catalogs. A number of retail stores now offer merchandise online, as well. If you are purchasing a gift that needs to be mailed, you can arrange to have it sent directly to the recipient, thus avoiding the extra steps of wrapping, labeling, and mailing the gift.

Spread out your purchase of gifts over the weeks of November and early December. It's easier on the budget, and less stressful than waiting until the last minute.

Wrapping gifts can take a lot of time. Instead of wrapping all of them, use a gift bag with a nice bow tied at the top, or use a decorated gift box.

Consider giving an alternative gift to a friend or loved one by giving to a charity in their name. One of my favorite charities is Heifer Project International. Through living gifts of animals, HPI is helping families worldwide to become self-reliant. You can buy an animal that can change the life of a hungry family and at the same time honor family and friends. Visit HPI's "gift catalog" at

Spread the holiday cheer with those in need.

Volunteer to serve a holiday meal to the homeless, work in a soup kitchen, or work at a food bank.

Adopt a family for the holidays and provide them with gifts or holiday foods. Many churches and non-profit organizations can match you with a needy family.

Look for a Giving Tree in your local retail stores. The tree is filled with cards that list a specific gift desired by someone in need. You select a card off the tree, purchase the suggested gift listed on the card, and return the gift to the tree with the card attached. The store wraps the gift and delivers it to the intended recipient.

The end of the tax year is a great time to review your budget and consider a year-end gift to your favorite charities. This can represent a significant tax deduction if you itemize, while doing great things locally and globally.

Use your calendar.

Now that you're clear about your intentions, calendar them in. Writing them down for follow-up on a specific date will help you to remember to do it and will keep things from falling to the last minute. Here is a list of activities you can pencil in on your calendar:
- Schedule family meeting to discuss plans and intentions for the holiday season
- Make airline, hotel, and rental car arrangements (if traveling out of town for the holidays)-- ASAP!
- Holiday decorating (indoor, outdoor, office, etc.)
- Finalize holiday entertainment plan and guest list
- Mail invitations or call to invite others to events you have planned
- Meal planning and preparation (can some cooking be done ahead of time and frozen?)
- Prepare gift list
- Holiday gift making/holiday baking
- Gift selection & purchase
- Gift wrapping
- Prepare mailing list or database for holiday cards/letters/e-mails
- Prepare holiday cards, letters, e-mails, Website
- Mail cards, letters, packages
- Gather information about volunteer opportunities and calendar in activities you choose to do
- Finalize charitable giving plan for 2000

Happy holiday organizing!

Kathy Paauw, President of Paauwerfully Organized, specializes in helping busy executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs declutter their schedules, spaces and minds. She is a certified business/personal coach and professional organizer. Contact her by visiting her website at and learn how you can Find ANYTHING in 5 Seconds - Guaranteed!

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Distance Learning Same Time Poem

Distance Learning: How To Work And Study At The Same Time

Distance learning students seem to enjoy the best of everything. They get their education without actually needing to attend classes, and at the same time are able to keep their jobs and get a paycheck. In fact, this is one of the more prominent distance learning benefits that attract many students to make this their choice of education. In addition to that, distance learning students also gain the advantage of flexibility where they are able to study at their own pace without adhering to class schedules.

However, amidst these perks, distance learning requires a lot of discipline and motivation from students. When we are juggling between a job and studies, it is very easy to lose track of our priorities and fail to keep up to mark. Moreover, distance learning students do not have the advantage of getting their learning drive renewed whenever they interact with lecturers or peers in classes.

Therefore, how can distance learning students then overcome this challenge? The first thing that a student must have is good time management. Everyone has 24 hours and it is up to us to utilize our time in the best way possible. Set up a daily or weekly plan for yourself and ensure that you set aside time for your studies daily. If you have a family, let them know about your schedule so that they know when you should not be disturbed. Divide your time appropriately between your work, your family and your studies. Of course, discipline is important here as any schedule will not do any good if it is not followed.

Getting yourself motivated is also essential towards distance learning success. One of the ways to do this is to stay in contact with your classmates. With the internet today, it is often easy to stay in touch through email, instant messenger as well as internet phone. Discussing projects or assignments with your teammates will help you stay on track and keeps you and your teammates accountable for one another.

Setting goals and rewarding yourself when you attain them are great self-motivating habits. Start by drawing a chart on the milestones that you need to reach in order to complete your course. Strike out each goal as you complete them and reward yourself accordingly. There is a certain satisfaction whenever we see ourselves progressing and this becomes a motivating force for us to face the next hurdle.

Additionally, it is ever essential for a distance learning student to set up a quiet place for study away from home life distractions, such as the television, phone calls or other family members. Organize an off-limits study area or lock yourself in a quiet room to ensure optimum focus. Apart from that, a good chair, a strong table and adequate space are also essential elements in creating a conducive environment.

Finally, although distance learning is a great and effective learning concept, much of its effectiveness is dependent on the habits and determination of the individual. The full advantages of distance learning can only be gained through hard work, discipline and determination for success.

Rose Musyoka is an article contributor at where you find answers, information and advice on distance learning colleges, accredited online degrees and online courses.

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OverDrive e-Publishing Serenade

Jamaican OverDrive - LCD's in LDC's

OverDrive - an e-commerce, software conversion and e-publishing applications leader - has just expanded an e-book technology centre by adding 200 e-book editors. This happened in Montego Bay, Jamaica - one of the less privileged spots on earth. The centre now provides a vertical e-publishing service - from manuscript editing to conversion to Quark (for POD), Adobe, and MS Reader ebook formats. Thus, it is not confined to the classic sweatshop cum production centre so common in Less Developed Countries (LDC's). It is a full fledged operation with access to cutting edge technology.

The Jamaican OverDrive is the harbinger of things to come and the outcome of a confluence of a few trends.

First, there is the insatiable appetite big publishers (such as McGraw-Hill, Random House, and Harper Collins) have developed to converting their hitherto inertial backlists into e-books. Gone are the days when e-books were perceived as merely a novel form of packaging. Publishers understood the cash potential this new distribution channel offers and the value added to stale print tomes in the conversion process. This epiphany is especially manifest in education and textbook publishing.

Then there is the maturation of industry standards, readers and audiences. Both the supply side (title lists) and the demand side (readership) have increased. Giants like Microsoft have successfully entered the fray with new e-book reader applications, clearer fonts, and massive marketing. Retailers - such as Barnes and Noble - opened their gates to e-books. A host of independent publishers make good use of the negligible-cost distribution channel that the Internet is. Competition and positioning are already fierce - a good sign.

The Internet used to be an English, affluent middle-class, white collar, male phenomenon. It has long lost these attributes. The digital divides that opened up with the early adoption of the Net by academe and business - are narrowing. Already there are more women than men users and English is the language of less than half of all web sites. The wireless Net will grant developing countries the chance to catch up.

Astute entrepreneurs are bound to take advantage of the business-friendly profile of the manpower and investment-hungry governments of some developing countries. It is not uncommon to find a mastery of English, a college degree in the sciences, readiness to work outlandish hours at a fraction of wages in Germany or the USA - all combined in one employee in these deprived countries. India has sprouted a whole industry based on these competitive endowments.

Here is how Steve Potash, OverDrive's CEO, explains his daring move in OverDrive's press release dated May 22, 2001:

"Everyone we are partnering with in the US and worldwide has been very excited and delighted by the tremendous success and quality of eBook production from OverDrive Jamaica. Jamaica has tremendous untapped talent in its young people. Jamaica is the largest English-speaking nation in the Caribbean and their educational and technical programs provide us with a wealth of quality candidates for careers in electronic publishing. We could not have had this success without the support and responsiveness of the Jamaican government and its agencies. At every stage the agencies assisted us in opening our technology centre and staffing it with trained and competent eBook professionals. OverDrive Jamaica will be pioneering many of the advances for extending books, reference materials, textbooks, literature and journals into new digital channels - and will shortly become the foremost centre for eBook automation serving both US and international markets".

Druanne Martin, OverDrive's Director of publishing services elaborates:

"With Jamaica and Cleveland, Ohio sharing the same time zone (EST), we have our US and Jamaican production teams in sync. Jamaica provides a beautiful and warm climate, literally, for us to build long-term partnerships and to invite our publishing and content clients to come and visit their books in production".

The Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce and Technology, the Hon. Phillip Paulwell reciprocates:

"We are proud that OverDrive has selected Jamaica to extend its leadership in eBook technology. OverDrive is benefiting from the investments Jamaica has made in developing the needed infrastructure for IT companies to locate and build skilled workforces here."

There is nothing new in outsourcing back office work (insurance claims processing, air ticket reservations, medical records maintenance) to third world countries, such as (the notable example) India. Research and Development is routinely farmed out to aspiring first world countries such as Israel and Ireland. But OverDrive's Jamaican facility is an example of something more sophisticated and more durable. Western firms are discovering the immense pools of skills, talent, innovation, and top notch scientific and other education often offered even by the poorest of nations. These multinationals entrust the locals now with more than keyboarding and responding to customer queries using fake names. The Jamaican venture is a business partnership. In a way, it is a topsy-turvy world. Digital animation is produced in India and consumed in the States. The low compensation of scientists attracts the technology and R&D arms of the likes of General Electric to Asia and Intel to Israel. In other words, there are budding signs of a reversing brain drain - from West to East.

E-publishing is at the forefront of software engineering, e-consumerism, intellectual property technologies, payment systems, conversion applications, the mobile Internet, and, basically, every important trend in network and computing and digital content. Its migration to warmer and cheaper climates may be inevitable. OverDrive sounds happy enough.

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia. His web site:

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Buying Used Car Opus

Steps to Buying a Used Car With Confidence

Industry statistics show that almost three times as many people buy used cars as buy new.

To help consumers make informed decisions in the process, the experts at CarMax, America's leading used car retailer, have put together a basic list of the things to check when buying a used car.

1. Check the vehicle's safety features.

Consider a vehicle with air bags and anti-lock brakes. Not only will they make a car safer, but insurance companies sometimes give discounts on their rates for cars with these features.

2. Inspect the mileage.

Mileage is a good indicator of the vehicle's age, and the average consumer will drive from 12,000 miles to 15,000 miles each year. A late model used car may be more cost-effective and come with many features you may not be able to afford in a new car.

3. Check the mechanical condition of the vehicle.

If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, have a mechanic you trust check it for you. Fluids, lights, belts, power steering, the charging system, the air conditioner, the engine cooling system, the brakes and the suspension should all be carefully inspected for any defects and wear. And don't forget to test drive the car.

4. Examine the tires.

Uneven tread wear can be a sign that the car may need an alignment, or that it has damage to its suspension. Make sure the spare tire is in working condition with no damage or excessive wear.

5. Watch for frame damage.

Seriously damaged cars may be repaired, re-titled and sold in some cases, masking a vehicle that may not be structurally sound. When looking at a used car, check for:
- rust around the fenders and bumpers, around lights, under doors and in wheel wells
- cracks, dents and mismatched body panels

Cars that have been previously damaged may be more likely to have mechanical problems, and do not withstand accidents as well as cars that are structurally sound.

6. Check for cosmetic problems.

Common signs of wear and tear in used cars include cigarette burns, dirty upholstery, smoke stains, and paint scratches and chips.

7. Carefully read and understand the terms of any warranty offered on the car.

Don't hesitate to ask questions of your salesperson, and be wary of hidden conditions and exclusions that may be in the fine print. A reputable dealer will answer your questions completely and explain the details of the warranty.

8. Check the price.

The actual price of the car is only one of many factors that will determine your total price. Don't forget to compare financing rates, warranty costs, trade-in values and processing fees. The different features on the vehicle can also make a price difference. For example, a car with an automatic transmission is usually going to be slightly higher in price than the same car with a manual transmission. Research the vehicle you are considering, and find out what comparable prices are for similar vehicles in your area.

9. Look for a reputable dealership.

Ask around, and talk to previous customers of the dealer to find out what their experiences were like. A good dealer is more likely to be fair and up-front in price, value and condition of its vehicles, and won't pressure you to buy a vehicle you don't want. Hassles should never be part of buying a used car. Be prepared, and know what you're looking for.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CarMax, the Auto Superstore, first opened its doors in 1993 in Richmond, Va. Based on input from thousands of consumers, it was designed to provide a convenient, hassle-free way to buy high quality used cars at low, no-haggle prices. Today, CarMax has locations in more than 20 major cities across the country, with both used-car superstores and new-car franchises throughout the United States. CarMax is also online at

Courtesy ARA Content,

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Good Proof Reading Verse

Don't Rely on your Spellchecker - or - The Importance of Good Proof Reading

Weather posting a page to your Website, writing a letter to a customer, or submitting an article for publication, it is extremely important to demonstrate how professional you are. Not only does a series of spelling and grammatical errors show a discourtesy to your readers, it makes you look amateurish. Potential customers will lose any trust they may have had in your business. Only a week or so ago, I read a classified ad asking me to visit their "sight" - needless to say I did not bother. If someone does not take care over their advertising, how reliable is the rest of their business?

Perhaps you are not very good at spelling - or typing - and your articles and letters are riddled with mistakes (probably when you were working for an employer you had a secretary to type your male) so, what are you going to do?

The first thing, but NOT the only thing, is to use your spellchecker. This is fine to get rid of the typos and obvious spelling mistakes, but does not correct any instances of you typing in the wrong word e.g. there (denoting a place) or their (belonging to them).

So, read your work back after you have written it. Many people find that actually reading out loud is a great way of spotting errors. If it is an important item, print it off and read it a little while after you have typed it. Ideally, get someone else to reed it and mark off any errors. When I was involved in publishing, it was always a strict rule, even with the most experienced writers, to get someone else to check their work. It is surprising how often one is unable to spot one's own mistakes.

So to summarise, use your spellchecker, re-read the item yourself, print out and proof read and ideally get someone else to do the proof reading.

One last point, make allowances for the fact that some articles are written in "British" English, as opposed to "American" English. So if you see colour spelled color, or centre spelled center, the author has not misspelled the word, he is just likely to be American (or at least has the American version of English on his spellchecker.)

And finally, there are three deliberate mistakes in this article where I have intentionally used the wrong word (at least I HOPE there are only three!!) in order to demonstrate the point I am making. The first three readers to email me detailing the errors will each be given a FREE ad in my newsletter and in the classified sevtion of my Web Site.

Tony Murtagh has spent all his career involved in sales, sales management, marketing and PR. He was a UK National Sales Manger (Major Accounts) for a mobile communications company, had his own publishing company producing a monthly Business to Business magazine and has acted as a PR consultant for a number of small businesses. He is now sharing his wide experience of sales, marketing and promotion in his new web site

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Men Cheat Ode

Why Men Cheat

"Big, little or short or tall,
Wish I could have kept 'em all,
I loved 'em every one"
- T.G. Sheperd, I Loved 'Em Every One

I thumbed through the New York City Yellow pages under "Escort Services". There were twenty-five pages! "Escort" is just the way businesses get around saying "prostitutes". Clearly, the world's oldest profession is alive and well here in the Big Apple. I even feel I can safely say that not all the men who patronize these services are single.

Cheat is a silly word It's culturally centered. It implies that we've violated the rules of the game of fidelity. First off, take a look at the current divorce rate: 1 out of every 2 marriages fails. Why? Marital infidelity is the biggest reason. There are other cultures that openly allow a man to have more than one wife; the Muslims. One of the richest men on the planet today, The Sultan of Brunei has 100 wives! Right here in the United States, polygamy is openly practiced in Utah.

We exist as human beings on two levels; with bodies and minds. We attempt to enforce a set of Puritanical moral codes that contradict our physical desires. This is just another of the many ridiculous hypocrisies people try to impose upon themselves and others.

If we would only be honest with ourselves, then we'd acknowledge the fact that we are sexually attracted to more than one individual. This is not a violation of any love promise made to one woman, it's just instinct, that pre-loaded software package in our brains. On the purely physical plane, we have instinct and hormones constantly influencing our thoughts. This combination comes into play when a man sees an attractive woman walking by. She stimulates his senses. He doesn't know what she's thinking he only sees her physical attributes. They make him feel good.

He has fantasies of what it would be like to kiss her, to feel her body against his; to make love to her. Seconds after, a second thought, guilt, may come barging in. "I'm a married man" or "I've got a girlfriend" or "How could I betray her like that?" It's absurd that a man should feel guilt for something over which he has no control.

Let's not forget movies, television and printed media. James Bond, the ultimate womanizer, immediately comes to mind. What about these soap operas that millions of women sit glued to their televisions watching? The appeal of most of them is in watching the main characters have affairs. Now there's a show on Fox called "Temptation Island"(which should really be called "Sexual Survivor") where young couples are placed on an island. The men and women are separated to opposite sides inhabited by horny singles whose sole mission is to seduce these committed people. The ratings for this show have been phenomenal! And how about that riveting drama in the tabloids as well as mainstream newspapers that unfolded in the White House a few years ago? You remember, Bill Clinton and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky" Monica Lewinsky?

With the advent of the Internet, a whole new definition of cheating exists: Computer love affairs, the infidelity of your text. Men can cyber with women and vice versa.

Here is where the distinction must be drawn. Physical performance vs. emotional betrayal. Which do you think is more important? A man can patronize a hooker, and once he's completed the sexual act she becomes just a vague memory. He doesn't want to grow old with her. This is a very important point since men and women have fought, marriages have crumbled, and so much emotional agony are left in its wake.

The bottom line, is that men are and will continue to be attracted to other women and yes, women have and will continue to be attracted to other men too. When we can accept the reality, then maybe we'll have become more mature as a society.

Gregory Lions,

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