Black Cadillac (2003)

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Black Cadillac is a 2003 thriller film distributed by MTI Home Video, First Look International, and Artist View Entertainment. It stars Randy Quaid as Charlie Harmon, Shane Johnson as Scott, Josh Hammond as CJ, and Jason Dohring as Robbie. The writers are John Murlowski and Mark Aldis. The director is John Murlowski.

Three boys, Scott, CJ, and Robbie, stop at a Wisconsin roadhouse on their way back to Minnesota. They get into a fight and leave the bar. Not long after, a black car, a Cadillac, begins to follow and stalk them. Some time later, they pick up Deputy Sheriff Charlie Harmon, whose car had died on him. He believes the black Caddy wants a drag race and challenges the driver of the boys' car, Scott. Afterward Scott, believing Charlie to be the reason the car is after them, kicks him out of the car. The deputy is apparently gunned down. But the car continues to pursue the boys and seemingly becomes more hostile. The boys begin to fear for their lives.

Black Cadillac is loosely based on a true story. But the word "loosely" should be emphasized here. Director John Murlowski experienced an event similar to this. Typically when it is stated that a movie is based on a true story, that story is usually of some historical significance and not just an ordeal one of the directors witnessed. For example, slasher icon Freddy Krueger was based on a bully from Wes Craven's school. In that sense, could not one say that A Nightmare On Elm Street was vaguely based on something real? All fictional works, whether it be films or books, are based somewhat on truth. Using that logic, could not just about every story be considered "based on a true story"?

The previous paragraph notwithstanding, Black Cadillac is still a great film. A black Cadillac stalks three young men through the back roads of rural Wisconsin. Having the story take place in the heart of a midwestern winter just added to the suspense. As many natives of the midwest do, I dread having car trouble in the middle of nowhere on a winter's night. It's cold, the roads are icy and snowy, and it's hard to see in the darkness. It is generally a very unpleasant experience. These boys had some extra heat (no pun intended) put on them by the black Caddy that was stalking them. Because of the constant advances of the hostile car, they were forced to put a lot of pressure on their car's engine, increasing the chances of having trouble later on and, obviously, they can not outrun the Cadillac on foot.

To wrap, Black Cadillac is a constant thrill ride from beginning to end. It will keep viewers on the edges of their seats!

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Source by Kevin Dillehay

How to Make Your House Look Bigger From the Street

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As an Architect, in designing new homes for clients, they first come to me with standard tastes you would see on any house in any neighborhood. What I try to do is to expand their architectural vocabulary and be bold in what they're trying to do, without spending a lot more money. Part of that is to make their house look bigger from the street and live bigger inside. You can get a lot of "wow" factor if you try some simple things in your home design.

1. Make your house longer, not square. Most people want to make their houses more square in design, in the preconceived notion of saving costs. While this may be overall true, it also makes your house very small looking (and boring). For a 2500 square foot house instead of designing it 50 foot by 50 foot, make your house longer like 75 foot long by 33 wide. You'd be surprised how much more elegant and more expensive it looks for not that much more money. It also gives you a bonus of giving windows into almost every room in your home, giving light and visual space to them.

2. Use the Split level home concept. The split level home was more prevalent in the 1960's than it is today, but it has a lot of advantages if you modernize it. The Split Level pulls the basement out of the ground. In most of the northern part of the country (I'm from Indiana), you need at least a 30 "or deeper footing to get below the local frost line. Well, let that be the staring point of your basement (or as I like to call it, the Lower Level). That means the Lower Level is 2 feet below grade, which means you can have full size windows. The Lower Level foundation wall is 30 "tall, the rest of the wall height can be wood instead of concrete (whether 8 'or 9' tall) which saves costs. If you use 8 'tall lower level (to reduce costs) there is a design I like to use to eliminate bulkheads for HVAC; … incorporate the ducts in a floor truss system. I love to use 16 '' high floor trusses, 24 "on center, and keeping the trusses in the same orientation throughout the house. It gives plenty of space for the HVAC ducts in the floor truss system, and no bulkheads, meaning less cost since you have flat ceilings and no extra framing for those bulkheads. If you need space for the HVAC to "step over" each other, do that in the mechanical room.

3. With the split level home, The 2nd Floor (or the "Main Level" as I like to call it) it anywhere from 7 to 9 feet above grade, not only giving it a commanding view of the property all around, it also looks like a 2 story building, for a 1 story price. You can leave windows open at night because the window sills are 10 feet above grade. You have a lot of visual privacy because people on the street do not have a direct view into the house. When you sit down they can not see you, even if you have lots of windows. On the Main Level I love to use vaulted roof trusses on the Main Level to give more visual height in the rooms.

4. Use wide overhangs. Wide overhangs were more prevalent during the Prairie Style period This may seem strange, but wide overhangs (like 4 'wide) make you house look bigger both inside and outside. As I stated above, I love vaulted roof trusses. I start with an 8 'tall wall (rather than 9'). With a 4 foot overhang and vaulted roof trusses, the wall height on the inside is now 10 '(8' wall, 2 'in the roof truss), with the ceiling peak at 15'. This is because the roof started "going up" further away from the exterior wall. I'm getting 10 to 15 foot ceilings for an 8 foot tall wall price. The wide overhangs also help in summer, by shielding the windows in shade, keeping direct sunlight outside.

5. Incorporate decks and screen porches into the design. Do not make decks and screen porches an afterthought, but incorporate them into the design, that is, put brick or siding on them, put a roof over them, and make the openings look like windows, but do not put in the glass . And consider putting them on the front of the house, not the rear. I designed a house for my parents which was 1300 square feet on the Main Level, but added the screen porch on the front of the house. The house was 72 feet long in the front (24 'screen porch, 16' Great Room, 8 'Entry, 24' Garage) and it looks huge. (If you want to see it, go to my Web Site (Web address down below), Home Page, near the middle of the page, "Click Here for More House Photos", and it's the 1st photo. The screen porch is to the left) The Screen Porch interior is finished in moisture resistant drywall, so interior feels like any other room in the house, (it also has vaulted ceilings) but it's not heated or cooled. It is the most lived in space of the home. Having the screen porch or deck on the front of the home gives you more community with your neighbors, while it can give you more privacy. On my home, the deck has a solid wall from grade to 42 "above the deck floor. This gives visual privacy when sitting down, but when I stand up, I can converse with then neighbors (42" is also leaning height for your elbows ). As a bonus, with the split level home, the space below the deck (since it has siding and the floor 7 'above grade) and the roof above the deck, I have an 18 wide 28 foot long shed below the deck for lawn mowers , bikes, tools, which I do not have to keep in the garage.

6. Downplay the garage. There's nothing visually pleasing about a garage. The most important rooms of the home (Great Room, Dining Room, maybe the Screen Porch) should have the most visual presence on your home. Having a monster 24 foot by 36 foot garage sticking out the front of you house is not good looking. Set it back from the front of the home, and if you can, put toward the rear of the house. Use a side entry on the garage doors if you can. And put lots of normal windows like the rest of the house. Try to make it look like any other room from the street. By down playing the garage and making look like another room on your home, it'll make your house seem bigger when it really is not. If you're one of the homeowners who eventually turn their garage into living space, having the garage look like a normal room from the outside makes it easy for this conversions. Just remove the garage doors and install window sizes like the rest of your home.

7. Use lots of repetitive windows. By using the same window size over and over in a long pattern, it'll make the house seem longer. And these do not need to be operable windows. Fixed windows are less expensive the operable windows.

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Source by Brian Keith Young

Book Review, In the Neighborhood by Peter Lovenheim, Searching For Community One Sleepover at a Time

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Peter Lovenheim lives in an affluent Rochester, New York suburb. In February 2000, a murder-suicide involving a physician couple occurred in a house on his street. Two children ran from the house after 10 pm shouting that their father had killed their mother. No one in the neighborhood knew the family well, which had lived there for seven years. Lovenheim was bewildered how a street of 36 homes lacked a sense of community. He desired to know the people whose houses he passed each day, beyond their professions or number of children. He wanted to know the depth of their experience and their essence. Lovenheim knew from childhood sleepovers and summer house exchanges that waking in their beds, fixing meals in their kitchen and walking their neighborhoods provided insight conversation alone could not do. His mission would require a sleepover. Some residents declined; and yet, many said yes. In The Neighborhood: The Search For Community on An American Street One Sleepover At A Time, is Lovenheim's near-decade experience to embrace his neighborhood.

Eighty-one-year-old Lou was the first resident to honor Lovenheim's request to sleep overnight. Lou, a retired surgeon, lost Edie, his wife of 52 years, five years ago and misses her dearly. They raised six children who now live throughout the US Lou welcomes Lovenheim's company, as his schnauzer, Heidi is his only companion. Lovenheim accompanies Lou to the local Y where he exercises. There, his regular workout buddies laud Lou's arrival. He appreciates their acclaim, reminding him of his popularity during his surgeon days. Yet, when he returns home to an empty house, as Lou says, "My life is zero."

Forty-something Patti, lives just doors down from Lou and they're unconnected. Patti, a radiologist, diagnosed her own aggressive form of breast cancer. She abandoned medicine to undergo chemotherapy. Lovenheim befriends Patti, a divorced mother of two pre-teen daughters. She too accepts his sleepover request. Lovenheim witnesses her health decline over time and helps whenever he can.

Grace, nearly 90, had walked Lovenheim's neighborhood almost everyday for forty years without acknowledgment. She lived in a nearby town but chose to exercise among the Rochester suburb's beautiful surroundings. Residents named her "The Walker" from afar. Lovenheim approached Grace during one of her strolls and explained his book project. She invited him to her apartment where he learned her fascinating background. She once lived in New York City and was an accomplished pianist and harpist. Once while walking, she fell. She crawled across the street back to her car and drove herself to the emergency room. Lovenheim questions if a place where an elderly woman falls and is unattended to can fairly be called a "neighborhood."

Married couple, Deb 32, and Doug, 42 represent the younger faces of Lovenheim's street. Lovenheim spends the night and senses a more self-sufficient couple. Both are on the fast track in corporate America, childless, and trying to conceive. They're active members of the local country club. Deb tells Lovenheim she once needed vanilla for cookies and made Dave drive in a snowstorm to buy some. Ideally, he thought, she should have been able to borrow some from him as her neighbor.

Lovenheim rides with Brian, the newspaper deliveryman at 4:00 am to experience his street from a different perspective. He also walks along Postman Ralph's delivery truck (Postal regulations prevent vehicle passengers) as he does his daily route. Ralph chronicles helping residents, including recognizing the signs of stroke in a customer and calling for help. Lovenheim believes Ralph knows more about his neighbors than they do: "I began to realize that in some ways he was a better neighbor to us than we were to each other."

Lovenheim validates his neighboring efforts by introducing Patti to Lou. Lou welcomes the opportunity to drive Patti to her doctor's appointments; making him feel needed. Lovenheim borrows sidewalk salt from Deb; and she agrees to take Patti's daughter to the skating rink as her health deteriorates. When Lovenheim's romantic interest ends, he turns to Lou for comfort. They share breakfast almost daily for two weeks as Lovenheim readjusts. "That it would end up being me who would find shelter at a neighbor's house is something that never occurred to me when I started my journey, yet there it was," says Lovenheim.

Lovenheim deserves credit for taking on such an assertive project. He displayed immense patience as he befriended his neighbors for some time before requesting to sleepover. He faced rejections too by those weary of his intentions.

In an age of social media where we're quick to boast 50,000+ Twitter "followers," reading Lovenheim's narrative poses the question: Do we in fact know our next door neighbor?

Thought-provoking For questions about neighborhoods, view with In The Neighborhood Reading , Berkshire's Guide: Http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/in_the_neighborhood.html .

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Source by Timothy Zaun

Boxing Pay-Per-View A Rip-Off

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Bernard Hopkins just took a portion of the light heavyweight belt from Antonio Tarver in a one-sided beating in Atlantic City. Hopkins proves again that he is one of the better fighters in boxing history.
On the same night, Miguel Cotto defeated Paul Malignaggi to keep his share of the belt in the junior welterweight division in a rugged bout at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Question. How many people know these bouts took place? How many people watched this live? Overall, not many.

Boxing is a sport that usually costs quite a bit of dough to see live. Tickets often range from $ 30 or $ 40 to upward of $ 2,500. Thus, most people are pushed out and see it on television.

To make matters worse, most "non-pay" television networks like ABC or CBS have basically stopped showing boxing. Cable channels like ESPN, HBO or Showtime have stepped in and have become the big boxing providers of the day. HBO in particular is legendary in the boxing community. The network has shown and still shows the biggest fights year after year. This has helped the sport as HBO is the biggest pay network. However, nothing is like "free" television.

Unfortunately, another creature has stepped into this. It is known as "Pay-Per-View."

Of course, "Pay-Per-View" was a concept that would promote the best of everything. That was how it started out. People would lay down their hard-earned dollars for "premium" events. As usual, time is always on the side of the vultures and the quality of these events is today anywhere from mediocre to disastrous. The Hopkins-Tarver fight was $ 50. The Cotto-Malinaggi fight $ 40 was. Too much.

Worse, various promoters have labeled people as "suckers" for buying events that did not work out too well. Guys like promoters Bob Arum and Don King just shrug when people complain they've gotten taken.

PPV events are very clever in that they build-up the main event and put less and less into the undercard which for any true boxing fan is a big deal. Therefore, less money is paid to the undercard fighters and more goes into the promoter's pockets. Fans? Yes, you get screwed again. The undercard will often have washed-up fighters or a sideshow like "Butterbean" who is (was) "King of the Four-Rounders." Female fights will sometimes be thrown into the PPV madness due to the fact female fighters, with rare exception, make less money than their male counterparts. In some cases, a title fight will be between guys from a very low weight-class since they are paid less. Such fighters could "head-butt" you in the street and you would have no idea who they are.

Obviously money is being made. But at what cost? Less and less people are being exposed to boxing because of PPV. Basically, the hard-core fan is shelling out more and more. And only the few are making dollars off of this concept. Tons of fighters are not even known because many of the big fights are going to PPV. Again, no exposure from CBS, ABC or FOX. Anyway, how many boxers get to fight on PPV? Not many.

HBO is now heavily involved in the PPV concept. Basically, they show the main event from the PPV telecast on their channel the following week, but no undercard. So, it seems a lot of people just wait the following week to see the event.

Boxing was once among the elite of all sports. Now it is without question a "niche" sport. Bad promotions, limited access to major networks, high-costs and now, Pay-Per-View, is limiting its exposure to the masses of people. Too bad because on a good night it can compete against any other sport in the world in terms of build-up, excitement, drama and ferocity. Hopefully, PPV will slowly get back to their original intentions-great main events with a solid undercard at a reasonable cost. $ 50? See ya.

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Source by Robert Carberry

High Street Shopping Versus Internet Shopping

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When you think of shopping, do you associate high street shopping or internet shopping as your preferred medium? There are of course, advantages and disadvantages to both but which one is better overall? This may be dependent on your personal preference or which is the most convenient for purchasing goods at a given time. This can also be determined by availability. Some goods may only be obtainable either online or from a physical shop.

Twenty four hour convenience

In today's hectic twenty-four hour society when everything is driven by convenience and time the internet can be an invaluable source when used properly. When many people seem to have a distinct lack of time, the internet is often used for the purchase of goods. It can also provide a valuable first port of call if a consumer is seeking information but looking to actually buy a product in-store or at a physical place instead of online. A good example of this is buying a car. Often information is searched for regarding potential purchases online but then the actual point of sale comes from a dealership. This is also true of buying property. Information can often be gleaned from an estate agency or property website beforehand but the actual purchase is made on the high street. The internet can also be good if you are time restricted. If you know exactly what you are looking for, need something quickly but do not have the time to go to the high street during your normal working week, you can order something online and it can arrive the next day.

The internet can save time

It can definitely be beneficial to do some of your shopping online. For example, you can save at least an hour per week if you select your grocery shopping online and have it delivered to your property. The only downside to this is the fee incurred for the delivery every week. Purchasing items such as books and CDs online can also save time. In many cases items such as these can also be cheaper to purchase online than on the high street. The internet can also be a fantastic resource for the research and the purchase of non-everyday products such as sex toys, birthday or Christmas presents and jewellery. Online banking can also be a far more convenient way of transferring money from one account to another then going into a high street bank or building society.

The advantage of the high street

If you have the time to have a good browse, the high street can be a better option. If you buy clothing from the high street, trying the items on in a changing room prior to purchasing ensures that the garments are the correct fit. If you are purchasing clothing online, unless you have the exact same item in your possession, you can not guarantee that it will fit. If you buy the item online from a reputable online retailer and it does not fit you can of course send it back and in most cases exchange or refund it. If however you want to surprise a loved one with some sexy lingerie, as long as you know what size they take, then either option should work just as well. Whatever you want or need to purchase as a consumer, the high street offers the advantage of allowing you to view the actual product whether it be a book, a CD, shoes or clothing etc. The high street is also highly convenient if you want to quickly buy a sandwich and / or a drink from a cafe or a newsagent and take it away with you. It also acts as a browsing ground. For example, you may wish to purchase a new electrical item such as a television and have seen it at a cheaper price online but want to see it in the flesh beforehand. As mentioned earlier, the same can also be said for the internet.

Overall there are advantages and disadvantages to buying goods online or from the high street. If you are time restricted for whatever reason, the internet can be more convenient. However, if you have time to browse and want to see the goods before you buy them, the high street can have the upper hand. Essentially it is dependent on personal preference as to what works the best for the individual.

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Source by Amy Shepherd

Writing Essays – The New View in Cather's Short Story, Paul's Case

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As we analyze Willa Cather's short story, "Paul's Case," we must recall that it is more than twice as long as Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and more than three times as long as Joyce's "Clay." Thus, as we would expect, the length of the story provides many opportunities for richness of detail and some looseness involving the use of the strong old view value statement and the new view reversal at the end of the story. When you write your essay on the story, take that into account.

The good news – despite all that rich detail, the clarity of the core new view in Paul's Case still finds a way to make this long, rich-in-detail story understandable.

Step # 1: At the beginning of a short story, a strong value statement, an old view, is given by or about the main character.

As the story begins, Paul is in a meeting with his school principal and several of his teachers, being interviewed to see whether he should be allowed off his suspension and back into school- When questioned by the Principal as to why he was there Paul stated , politely enough, that he wanted to come back to school. This was a lie, but Paul was quite accustomed to lying; found it, indeed, indispensable for overcoming friction.

Paul did not really want to come back to school because he did not like or respect anyone there. The principal and teachers, who were not fond of the idea, either, formed a ring of tormentors about Paul as they interviewed him, peppering him with hostile questions.

Their negative evaluation and attitude toward Paul is expressed by the narrator in a strong value statement:

His teachers … [stated] their respective charges … with such a rancor and aggrievedness … this was not a usual case ….

A strong, memorable, and vivid symbol is also mentioned- His teachers felt this afternoon that his whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his flippantly red carnation flower.

After Paul left the meeting, having been accepted back into school by the principal, a teacher made ​​a second strong value statement about Paul: I do not really believe that smile of his comes altogether from insolence; there's something sort of haunted about it . There is something wrong about the fellow.

To this point, we have several strong value statements about Paul, as seen through the eyes of his teachers and the principal. We have been told that,

  • Paul was quite accustomed to lying & needed it to overcome friction.
  • Paul's was not a usual case.
  • Paul has a sort of hysterically defiant, contemptuous manner.
  • Paul's whole attitude was symbolized by his shrug and his flippant, red carnation flower.
  • There is something wrong about Paul.

And so now we have acquired two solid parts of the old view strong value statement:

… Not a usual case … something wrong about the fellow.

The final part of the old view strong value statement does not occur until the middle section of the story. (Talk about looseness in utilizing the old view-new view relationship!)

When Paul was kicked out of school, his father put him to work as a clerk at a company called Denny and Carson's. His father also closed Paul's access to Carnegie Hall and the theater troupe. The members of the theater troupe were vastly amused when they found out about Paul's many creative stories involving them, and their evaluation fulfills the final portion of the old view strong value statement: They agreed with the faculty and with his father that Paul's was a bad case.

We can now see all the parts of the strong value statement:

  • This was not a usual case.
  • There is something wrong about Paul.
  • Paul's was a bad case.

And since that ties in nicely with the title of the story, on the matter of the old view I rest my – errr, Paul's – case.

Step # 2: In the middle of a short story, the old view is supported or undercut with descriptions, conflicts, and resolutions that set up the new view at the end.

DESCRIPTION: One description plays a major role in supporting the old view. Paul lived on Cordelia street, and, after late-night concerts, Paul never went up Cordelia Street without a shudder of loathing. He approached it with the nerveless sense of defeat, the hopeless feeling of sinking back forever into ugliness and commonness that he had always had when he came home. He experienced all the physical depression which follows a debauch; the loathing of respectable beds, of common food, of a house penetrated by kitchen odors.

The description and the name of the street are not coincidental. Cordelia is the name of the rejected daughter in Shakespeare's play, "King Lear." It is plain that Paul feels rejected by his father, as Cordelia was by hers. And Paul, in turn, rejects the poverty of his home, the plainness of his life, and the dullness of his life at school, preferring the exotic, unreal life of art, music, and theater to the harsh realities of his real life.

CONFLICT: From various incidents, we find conflict supporting the old view as Paul grapples with his father's wrath and rejection by constantly lying to him about why he is late coming home, where he has been, or where he is going. For instance, one Sunday he can not stand his ugly home, so he tells his father he's going to a friend's house to study.

RESOLUTION: But he goes instead to hang out with his friend, Charley Edwards, the leading juvenile of the permanent stock company which played at one of the downtown theaters. So Paul resolved his conflicts by lying, going outside reality and associating with people who live the unreal, exotic life of art, music, and theater: Matters went steadily worse with Paul at school. In the itch to let his instructors know how heartily he despised them and their homilies, and how thoroughly he was appreciated elsewhere, he mentioned once or twice that he had no time to fool with theorems; adding-with a twitch of the eyebrows and a touch of that nervous bravado which so perplexed them-that he was helping the people down at the stock company; they were old friends of his.

CONFLICT: Paul was kicked out of school , and his father put him to work as a clerk at a company called Denny and Carson's. His father also closed Paul's access to Carnegie Hall and the theater troupe. Paul hated and internally resisted the situation.

RESOLUTION: With his real life of fantasy closed to him, Paul resolves his conflict by lying (as usual, outside of reality) about a deposit he was supposed to make for his employer, stealing about three thousand dollars. And he went to New York to live the life of the gloriously rich. In those days, three thousand dollars went a long ways.

Step # 3. At the end of a short story, a new view reversal of the old view is usually revealed.

At the end of the story, Paul has gone to New York where he is surrounded by many people, sort of a ring of admirers who give him respect, the reverse of the ring of tormentors at the story's beginning, even though the respect at the end is based on his false, stolen wealth. And Paul plays his new role by showing his own respect toward everyone in New York at the end, quite the reverse from how he had been flippantly treating others at the beginning of the story.

The title, "Paul's Case, " and the use of not a usual case and a bad case in the beginning and the middle all refer to something never specifically verbalized within the story. But the meaning is shown very clearly – Paul has problems with growing up, with school, with home, with identity, with finding himself, and with belonging.

Actually, it is not unusual for a young man to have such problems growing up. In Paul's case, however, it was not a usual case – it was more than that, it was a bad case. But the ending reveals that Paul's case was a lot worse than merely bad – it was deadly, it was fatal, since it ended with Paul's suicide. So we see that the ending of the story emphasizes a drastic expansion of the old view to a new view that is adding, not only reversing, showing that Paul's case was far more serious and far more dangerous or bad than anyone had realized or imagined.

On the other hand, at the beginning of the story Paul was daydreaming his fantasies about the theater, whereas at the end of the story he was actually living the privileged life of the respected wealthy – even if only for a short time – not merely fantasizing it. That reversal is what counted most – at least, from Paul's point of view.

Whether you choose in your essay to emphasize the new view reversal of Paul's situation or the reversal for his teachers, his father, and others at the very end, our analysis of the new view core does provide the lens through which we can clearly see through all the details to the new view reversal and expansion at the end.

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Source by William Drew Jr

Buying Parking Lots and Parking Garages: Finding the Most Profitable Locations

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There are plenty of successful investors out there, but many work so hard that it's hardly worth the money-because they're never freed up to enjoy the fruits of their labor! It's far more worth it to find an investment strategy that would allow you to make considerably more money and create more time to be able to reinvest, spend that money, travel, enjoy time with family, or have fun with that "Bucket List".

Owning a parking lot or parking garage is a great investment because they can offer you two things: free time and exponential amounts of income. Finding these gems is the hard part because most existing "cash cow" lots are sold before they are even listed. And most are purchased by other parking lot owners-they know what they have, and they want more. If you can find these potential parking lots and garages before anyone else, you can find these extremely rewarding profits too.

Think ahead

Most parking lot locations were never designed to be just that. Parking lots are built out of necessity, plain and simple. Someone would never build a parking lot and then proceed to build something that draws people who need to park; never is! It sounds simple, but you need to be ahead of the building curve and search for land before it holds great value. You can do this by recalling where you would need to park a car. Think for a second: Where do people really need to park? Let's brainstorm: shopping malls, schools, sporting events, entertainment districts, government centers … the list goes on.

Now let's look at these ideas: malls will provide parking for customers because they want shoppers (so scratch that); schools do the same, but there always seems to be no parking at some schools (possibility here). Every time I see a concert, I end up paying to park; keeper. Last time I got a traffic ticket, it took me 30 minutes to find a parking place at the courthouse to fight that traffic ticket. Ding, ding, ding-got a good one here. Where have you needed to park? Where have you paid to park? I used the same thought process and search techniques you just practiced to purchase a one acre plot of seemingly worthless land across from a new 380 million dollar courthouse that was yet to be built. The property owner had the land for 30+ years and did nothing with it, including not reading any local newspaper that clearly highlighted the new courthouse: funding was approved, a date for the ground breaking ceremony had been set, and the severe lack of parking was already projected in the overly-crowded area!

Harness the power of Google

Seems so simple, right? After all, who has not Googled something? Google, the most popular search engine in the world, is a robust mechanism for quickly finding what you need on the web. Unfortunately, a standard Google search of "parking lot for sale" will currently return around 14.6 million results that are all but worthless to you. Words like "sale" and "parking lot" come up in a million different searches and you will never find a parking lot by trying to wade through 100 pages of mediocre results. So, put Google to work for you by mastering Google's phrase search and terms you want to exclude. Searching for [ "parking lot for sale" – "parking lot sale"] will only search the exact phrase, "parking lot for sale", and will exclude the pesky "parking lot sale", which we have no desire to attend. Instead of the 14.6 million search results, you now have a more digestible 262 results. Search techniques like this will allow you to quickly and effectively drill down to exactly what you are looking for (even locations) without ever signing up for a commercial listing service, or contacting a time-wasting broker. Finding commercial listings may be the easiest research to conduct, but it will give you the weakest results because some of these properties are listed by a broker – which is what you want to avoid at all costs.

Automate your search

Once you have brainstormed ideas where you and others pay to park, you can once again put Google to work for you by using Google Alerts. Enter your key words with the correct phrasing and exclusions, and set up when you would like to receive the information. You can even place location keywords to search only those geographic areas where you are most interested. Entering "new courthouse proposed in X County" will alert you to any new information with those keywords. Alerts will also email you your desired results as often as you like. I have found outstanding deals waiting for me in my inbox on many occasions, all automated from Google alerts.

"Visit" the area

Once you have found your million dollar idea by searching areas where you would pay to park (eg, land across the street from a university that is doubling their campus buildings and parking is already scarce), you can visit the area from the comforts of your own home using Google Maps (Are you seeing a theme here?). This will show you all you need to know about the area. For example, using Google maps, I was able to visit a potential lot 1,500 miles away. I wanted to look at it because it fit my parameters (ie, I knew it desperately needed parking from news articles and upcoming construction that I researched with the tips above). I knew a piece of land was vacant from a quick Google Maps search and clicking on the view satellite tab, but I did not know what it really looked like-as it would if I were there. Using Google Maps Street View, I was able to see that indeed the lot was empty, and the surrounding lots were packed full of cars, in-you guessed it-paid parking lots!

Find the land owner

You found your dream spot, and you are ready to buy it and retire early. Hold up, because finding and contacting the land owner can be exhausting. If you have access to anyone in the title insurance or escrow industry, they will be more than happy to run an address and find the owner on record for you (obviously hoping for the account when you pursue a purchase). If not, you can simply search the county assessor's website for the county where the property is located. Most are automated and you can search by address, map search, or parcel numbers.

Contact the land owner

It may seem old fashioned, but once you find the contact information of the property owner, contact the owner with a hand-addressed letter dropped in the mail. Do not attempt to call, email or meet the owner; simply write a letter. If you are only looking at a few potential parking lots, you can hand write them; if you are looking at many, a printed letter will work as long as you sign it. A simple one line statement that you are interested in buying the property from them, you are not a real estate agent, and you will not waste their time seems to get the best response. Marketing research studies all agree a hand-addressed letter will be opened (and read) 10 to 1 over a computer-printed label.

At this point, you will hopefully have an anxious owner contact you and offer to sell his seemingly useless land. Land that you know from your research is going to be in high demand in the coming months or year. Crafting the deal is the topic of a different article, but now you know where to find and how to research potential parking lots and garages before anyone else. Armed with this valuable information, you will be able to reap the profits that a well-placed lot can bring. Good Luck!

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Source by Lance N Miller

How Real Estate Agents Can Make Additional BPO Income

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If you are like almost every Real Estate Agent I know, you are looking for all the additional income you can get. If that's the case, take it from me, it can happen with BPOs.

What's a BPO and why are they important to know about? BPO stands for Broker Price Opinion and that is exactly what they are; an opinion about the actual market value of a property. A financial institution may require a BPO for one of several reasons ranging from verifying info for homeowner's insurance to foreclosure.

The process of completing a BPO is very similar to a competitive market analysis of a home you are listing or buying. Most BPO Companies will require you to submit at least two and sometimes three similar comps. Therefore, you must have access to a local MLS in order to get that information. You will provide square footage, age, condition, neighborhood information, etc.

There are two types of BPOs; one is a drive by the other a full interior evaluation and comp.

The drive by is much quicker, requiring clear pictures of usually the front, side and street view of the home. The interior evaluation also requires these photos and more. You will take pictures of each room of the house, including the garage. You will take pictures of any damaged areas or areas needing repair. Walk around the home and get photos of the back yard, foundation, etc. You can always eliminate pictures when you get back home, but it will be very expensive to go back and take a picture you wished you had taken.

Your camera equipment must be capable of taking clear pictures in low light; often the power will be off at the property location. Your best bet is to use an auxiliary flash attachment. If you camera does not have a hot shoe flash attachment, perhaps a slave flash will work as well. Also shoot at least 5 mega pixel or more, you will likely need to crop your image to show repair or damaged areas and you can retain detail better with a high-resolution picture.

An important tip to remember when taking photos is to make sure no people are in the picture, especially a picture of someone that can be recognized. Another tip, NEVER take pictures of children. Not only will the BPO Company likely refuse them, you may cause concern within the neighborhood.
When you receive a BPO and * before * you accept it, check the property location on a map. If you can not find the address on a map, in my opinion, forget about it. You will spend much more time locating the property and you only are paid for producing BPOs and not for locating property.

Always be aware for your personal safety. Often you will be in parts of town that may not be a safe as others. If in doubt, call the Police to check vacant property before you go inside if you feel at all uneasy.

Also recommended is a data phone with email and internet access, I use a BlackBerry and highly recommend that you consider one. Many BPO Companies will broadcast a request to several agents in your area; the first one to respond gets it. If you only have email access at your office, you will often be too late in responding.

If you have at least two years Real Estate experience, willing to drive a little, and do some research you will likely find BPOs a good source of additional income. Your BPO income will not match a home sale, but if you build up a client list, it just may very well keep the bills paid until a sale comes in.

Important: Dealing in BPOs usually requires a Real Estate License in your state along with at least two years experience.

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Source by John Robertson

Ozone Generator Buying Guide

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If you're a homeowner and your home has recently suffered water damage, smoke damage, mold infestation, or the dreaded "smell of death" from an expired rodent in a crawl space, then you've probably read that an ozone generator might just be the answer to your problems. However, with so many different types of ozone machines on the market, how is one to decipher between fact, fiction, and pure unadulterated BS? I have a few tips that will help you avoid getting ripped off and help you make a wise ozone generator buying decision.

The first thing you have to realize is that the ozone generator industry as a whole is not regulated by any government agency. More than half of the so called ozone generator manufacturers are nothing but Internet opportunists trying to cash in on a high priced, somewhat in demand product. These unscrupulous vendors make their overpriced ozone machines in their own garages, set-up a website that makes all kinds of outrageous claims as to the output capabilities of their ozone machines, then advertise their website in the Search Engines. A sure fire way to weed out a few of these vendors is to do a Google search of their business address then use the "street view" feature by dragging and dropping the "little man icon" onto the street right in front of their business address . If you see a residential home, you might want to steer clear of that vendor. Post why? It's easy to shut down your operations when you're doing business from home. When you invest in a business location, it shows you're in it for the long haul and it's harder to walk away from a "brink and mortar" location than it is from a home run business. Why should you care that the vendor is in business for the long haul? Because ozone generators are prone to fail due to the very corrosive nature of ozone and the damaging effects it has on the metal components within switches, timers, relays, etc. Same goes for eBay vendors who buy a lot of ozone machines without also investing in replacement parts. When their supply runs out, they're out of the ozone business, and you're left with an expensive door stop when your machine fails in due time.

Once you find an ozone machine that tickles your fancy and you're ready to invest your hard earned money, the next question one must ask themselves is "How do I know if this machine really puts out as much ozone as the vendor claims? Ozone generator manufacturers do not have to validate the ozone machines they sell to ensure they are producing the amount of ozone being claimed. I've seen some vendors claim 16,000 to 20,000 milligrams per hour yet when we tested those machines in our shop with our ozone meter, they produced 3000-5000 mg / h. That's quite a big difference between what is actually being produced and what is being claimed. How then can you make sure the ozone generator you purchase is actually producing the amount of ozone being advertised? Simple ! Ask the vendor the following questions in an e-mail (future fodder for a 100% money back should you test the machine and find the information provided was incorrect)

QUESTION # 1. How Many Volts is the Power Supply! An ozone generator creates ozone by creating an electrical spark that splits oxygen in the air. In order to accomplish this feat, you have to create a high voltage electrical spark. A simple rule I've observed in the lab and well recognized in the ozone industry is that a 3000 volt transformer can produce around 3000 mg / h of ozone per hour when attached to a high voltage ozone element or six or more MICA plates at 40 % humidity or less. Each Mica plate can produce a maximum of about 400 milligrams of ozone per hour IF it is properly installed due to the weak electrical spark it is capable of generating from the wire mesh. If you own a MICA plate ozone generator, view the plate in the dark. It will not light up very bright, very dimly as a matter of fact. The types of ozone plates that turn bright purple in the dark are called "High Voltage Ozone Elements" and they can produce around 3000-4000 mgh per plate when fed with a 3000-4000 volt power transformer. These types of plates glow purple, almost like UV lamp, in the dark. They create a very strong electrical spark that is much more efficient at producing ozone vs the old fashioned MICA plates. As a matter of fact a 4000 volt transformer and ozone element only uses about 35 watts of electricity, now that's efficient! Therefore, Tip # 1 is to ask the vendor to e-mail you in writing the exact voltage, amps, and watts used by their power transformers and how many and which type of ozone plates their machines use. If a vendor claims for instance their machine produces 16 to 20 thousand milligrams of ozone per hour but their machine only uses one 5000 volt transformer, then you'll things just do not add up.

QUESTION # 2. What type of ozone element does the ozone machine use? Believe it or not, some vendors will try and convince you that the ozone elements in their machines are "permanent" and will last forever. Folks, there's no such thing as a permanent ozone plate! If used in 90-100% humidity, even the expensive high voltage ozone plates will only last 20-40 hours. Ozone generators are not made to be used in 90% plus humidity! In humid areas, you must run the air conditioning or a dehumidifier in order to perform a shock treatment. Tip # 2 therefore is to think twice before buying an ozone generator from a vendor who does not offer replacement ozone plates or makes a machine that utilizes "MICA" plates.

Once you have those answers in writing, save the e-mail in case you need to use it to obtain a refund in the future. When you receive your ozone generator, have a local electrician friend of the family (or hire someone) to open your ozone generator and give it the once over and test the strength (in volts) of the power transformer. If you discover the stated voltage does not match the advertised voltage, ask for a refund. After all, what you're buying when you buy an ozone generator are high voltage power transformers, not a slick sales pitch! The honest vendors will clearly state their machines specifications on their websites and via e-mail if asked. They'll also provide you with a picture of the inside of their units and disclose the amount of plates, type used, etc. You should be weary of vendors who hold this information close to the vest or refuse to go on the record with this information.

Now you know what questions to ask an ozone machine vendor before making a purchase. I want to close out this "Ozone Generator Buying Guide" by giving you a few tips on how to save money on your purchase:

Tip # 1. Ask the vendor if they sell any used units or any "bare bones" ozone generators. Many ozone generator vendors will have spare parts on hand from returned or fixed units they can sell "on the down low" for a mere pittance of the retail price . Others might be able to sell you a "bare bones ozone generator" without any of the bells and whistles you can easily use to make your own ozone generator, especially if you're the "do-it-yourself" type. You might also want to check eBay to see if anyone is selling high voltage power transformers in the 3000-12,000 volt range or high voltage ozone elements that can be easily attached to the power transformer. Some ozone vendors want $ 1000 or more for their ozone generators, however, the fact of the matter is that ozone machines are pretty basic electronic components and they should not cost as much as a used car, especially if you buy the main components and " Do It Yourself. "

Tip # 2. Do not buy an ozone generator with too many "bells and whistles". Ozone as I've already mentioned is very corrosive over time to all metals except stainless steel. Unfortunately, all electronic switches, relays, etc needs to use regular metal in order to be conduce electricity. What we have therefore is a dilemma. The solution? Do not buy an ozone generator with all the bells and whistles! This would include an internal timer, ozone output dial (to turn the ozone up and down), etc. Just realize that if you do buy an ozone generator with these parts that eventually the ozone is going to destroy those parts and all it takes to shut down an ozone generator is to have one of the electrical components fail. If you want a timer, buy an external timer for $ 5 at Lowe's. If you want to be able to turn the ozone output up and down, buy a "repeat cycle timer" that can turn your ozone generator on for a few seconds ever x amount of minutes, and repeat that cycle indefinitely. Both of those items can be connected via an extension cord in another room to your ozone generator. Less is more when it comes to longevity in shock treatment ozone generators.

Tip # 3. Do not over do it when performing shock treatments! There is a reason the trained professionals that administer ozone shock treatments command thousands of dollars to perform shock treatments; they know what they're doing and how to safely and effectively perform a shock treatment without leaving your home smelling like ozone for weeks after the shock treatment! Besides being an ozone generator manufacturer, I also run a restoration business that employs ozone in some of our work. For mold remediation, ozone only plays a small role in riding the house of toxic mold for instance. Sheet rock has to be taken down and replaced, super high CFM air cleaners make sure the mold, when disturbed, is not re-distributed throughout the structure. Wet wood has to be dried. Leaky pipes have to be fixed, etc etc. Yes, shock levels of ozone will kill the mold, but that's just a small part of mold remediation, regardless of what some ozone vendors might advertise to help hawk their units.

The main mistake I see homeowners make when doing a shock treatment is not properly removing or covering all petroleum based products such as carpet foam, sofa cushions, etc. We use Kevlar to cover carpets and foam filled sofas, mattresses, etc. Kevlar is ozone resistant and will keep the foam from interacting with the ozone. Ozone will oxidize foam and rubber and cause a chemical-ozone smell that can linger for weeks. So tip # 3 is to not over do it with an ozone shock treatment! One or two hour shock treatments in furniture filled homes is advisable. You might have to perform several such shock treatments, but it's better to be safe than sorry when shocking a furniture filled home. Some vendors tell their clients to just turn the ozone generator on and let it run for a few days. I strongly advise against that practice.

Tip # 4. When you are ready to buy, call the vendor and order over the phone. Odds are at some point in time your ozone generator is going to need service. I do not know about you but I hate buying something on-line, having it break down, then not being able to speak with a live person for support without having to wait on hold for 30 minutes or worse yet, not being able to speak to a live person at all then not having my e-mails answered! You can nip this type of situation in the bud by first calling. If you can not easily get through and get a well informed live person to answer the phone to place your order, then consider buying elsewhere. This bit of advice goes for making any large ticket item purchase on the Internet.

If you want to save money and make a wise investment, ask the right questions before you buy your ozone generator and also consider incorporating some of my tip suggestions as well. The more you shop around, the more time you spend doing some Internet research, and most importantly, the more time you spend e-mailing and talk directly with the vendor, the more likely you are to make a wise investment and end up with a great ozone machine that lasts you a lifetime.

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Source by Mickey Alcantara

Power Pole Setter – Machines That Do the Work for You

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As cities expand and rural areas begin to open up to development, more and more rough terrain utility pole installations are being seen across the US When work is contracted out to companies who specialize in this type of job, the companies should be able to provide a power pole setter than can get the work done with smaller crews and more controlled precision. The machinery used should also be able to work through any kind of weather, including strong winds and ice. Poleset is a company who qualifies across the board, offering to get rough terrain jobs done in no time by utilizing our Xtreme Polesetter II hard-tracked trucks.

The Polesetter II has been engineered to work even in the harshest of inclement weathers and rough land terrain. The truck was tested by independent parties using computer generated analysis to ensure that it would live up to the claims made of its abilities. This impressive power pole setter is able to dig a hole to the appropriate depth with ease, effortlessly lift and place the nearly half-ton pole, and attach requisite wires seamlessly. Other pole setters may vary in size, making different machines right for different jobs, but before every job begins, engineering and design plans are thoroughly researched and implemented.

Before excavation of land begins for the power pole setter to drop in the towers, crews will be thinking about everything involved in the job, including the new installations, retrofitting or upgrading existing systems, consolidation, or realignments. Designers will do their best to ensure that work done in a neighborhood will block street and sidewalk access as little as possible and also do their best to ensure that the end result does not add up to a cluttered street view. Pre-planning allows for maximizing space for drops, reducing clutter, cutting, and trenching, and creating a job environment that is safer for the amount of planning to ensure that it will be so.

With the amazing modern machinery used today, it's no wonder that power pole setters have cut down both crew size and job time from years gone by. These trucks are able to be transported easily to and from job sites without ruining lawns and landscapes in the process, can hoist one to two workers 60 feet into the air to reach important work spaces with little fear of injury, and can be remotely operated to ensure safety in cases where extra precaution is required. Durable, weather touch, and quick, it make sense to have these trucks, especially trucks like the Xtreme Polesetter II, with you on any pole set job.

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Source by Jerry Seaman