Moving to Australia – Top Tips For South Africans


Do not get lost

GPS's or SatNavs are becoming very popular as a means of finding your way around when you are driving. They retail from about $ 200.00. If you have already bought a GPS in South Africa, you can download all the Australia maps for about $ 100.00. A map book or "Street Directory" costs under $ 30.00. These are invaluable for getting to know the suburbs and layout of your city, even if you have a GPS. The two most popular ones are Gregorys and UBD, both produced by Universal publishers. "Whereis" and "Google maps" are web based route planners. They are useful when planning a trip to check the distance and how long it will take.

Protect yourself from the sun

Australia has a very high rate of skin cancer. Even with all the warnings a lot of people expose themselves to too much sun in the middle of the day. Primary schools have a "no hat no play" policy for all students. The Cancer Council has a wide range of products to help prevent damage from the sun. You will see a lot of kids wearing rash vests (rashies) on the beach and at swimming pools.


If you bring an older TV from SA it might not work. Although Australia also uses the analogue PAL system, the audio signal is a different frequency so you will get a picture but no sound. TV channels in Australia are also broadcast in a digital signal. (Analogue is to be phased out by the end of 2013). To receive this signal you can buy a digital set top box for about $ 80, and as long as your TV has an audio and video RCA input you can connect it up. The picture is superior because it is digital: no ghosting or fuzziness. You need a decent aerial on the roof, but most houses and apartments already have one. Most new LCD or Plasma TVs in Australia come with a built in digital tuner but check this if you decide to buy one.


Your normal FM / AM radio that you bring with will work perfectly. As of August 2009, Digital radio has been launched in the major cities. This means that if you have a digital radio, even the AM stations such as ABC Sydney can be received in digital format, so the quality is much better. They are still expensive, (prices start $ 150.00 around) but prices should start coming down in the short term.

Filling up with petrol

There are no petrol pump attendants in most metropolitan areas, it's all self-serve. Some smaller towns still have pump attendants. It is a bit daunting at first, but take someone who is experienced the first time you go to fill up. Once you have filled up, remember the number of the pump, go inside to the counter and pay. You can pay with cash or card. There is no price standardisation on petrol. The price fluctuates throughout the week, and in Sydney it is generally cheaper on Tuesdays and early Wednesday mornings. The service stations ( "servo's") also have shops similar to those in South Africa where you can buy basic foodstuffs, necessities (like chocolate) and the newspapers. The large supermarket chains like Coles and Woolworths also own about 80% of the petrol stations around Sydney. They have fuel discount offers to encourage you to shop at their grocery stores then buy petrol at their outlets. If you spend more than $ 30.00 at the Supermarket at any one time, you get a discount voucher which entitles you to a 4c per litre discount when you pay for your petrol. On Tuesdays all around Sydney you will see cars queuing right into the street at Woolworths and Coles / Shell petrol stations, and the independents are almost empty. Do not get sucked into this mindset. Even if you have a large car like a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore with a 70 L tank, and even if you were filling up from empty, you would only save 70 x 4c = $ 2.80. If you fill up twice a month like me, you would only $ save 5.60 a month! If you drive a large 4×4 with a 100 L tank, you would save $ 4.00 if you filled up from empty. With a small car and a 45 L tank you would only save $ 1.80. In my opinion it's not worth the hassle to queue, I prefer to go to an outlet that is not as busy and pay a bit more.

Water usage

Depending on the level of restrictions, you may or may not be allowed to water your garden with a hand held hose and a trigger type nozzle. In Sydney at the time of writing, level 3 restrictions are in force so hand-held hoses can be used for gardens on specific days before 10 am and after 4pm. Buckets can be used at any time. You can be fined if you are caught watering out of permitted hours. Again, depending on the water restrictions in your area you may be allowed to wash your car with a hose, as long has it has a trigger type nozzle. There are commercial car wash bays where you can wash your car yourself, or the automated kind that is common in South Africa.

Doing your Washing

If you come from a city like Johannesburg where the air is relatively dry, you may find humidity a problem even in Sydney. (Brisbane is much worse, more like Durban). A clothes drying rack and a tumble drier are essential. Products such as "Damp Rid" to be very useful to put in cupboards to absorb any excess moisture and prevent musty smells.

Furniture and appliances

Try to bring all your own furniture, (as long as it is free of wood borers and other pests) but do not worry too much about small appliances such as toasters, steam irons and kettles. They are relatively cheap because of the strong Australian Dollar, and because many of the appliances are made in China. Appliances made in Italy or Germany cost a bit more. Washing machines, fridges and tumble driers cost a little more but are still good value. The voltage in Australia is the same as in South Africa, but the plugs are different. Bring a few multiplugs with you from SA, then replace the South African style plug on the end of the cable with an Australian one. This way, you can plug your old appliances into the multiplug without having to change all of your plugs at once. When you are more settled in you can start changing the plugs on individual appliances.

Daylight saving

This is a great concept that is observed in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory and has been synchronised across these states. Western Australia began a three year trial of daylight saving in December 2006 but in a recent referendum, people of WA (mainly the rural population) voted overwhelmingly against it becoming permanent. Queensland and the Northern Territory do not observe daylight saving. Daylight saving starts on the first Sunday in October and ends on the first Sunday in April. The clocks are advanced one hour in October then put back one hour in April. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but the benefit is that in summer it only gets dark around 8.00 pm, so people can go to the beach after work, play outdoor sport, work in the garden and so on.


Most councils have very good public libraries with many resources. Once you register you can access your account online and reserve or renew books. Many libraries have a type of "post box" outside so that you can return books after hours. Most libraries have computers with internet access and some are now "WiFi" enabled so you can bring your own laptop if it has a built in wireless device.


Many of the main arterial roads in the major cities have tolls. Most toll roads have done away with manned toll booths: they only have an automatic toll system. It is a very good idea to get an E tag. The device sticks to the inside of your windscreen and is linked to your registration number. You can apply online and the device will be posted to you (Oh … did I mention how reliable and secure Australia Post is?). When you first apply for one, you pay a deposit and an initial "top up". When the balance drops to a certain value it is topped up from your nominated credit card or current account. In other words when you drive past a toll sensor, your tag beeps and the value of the toll is debited from your account automatically. You get a pdf statement emailed monthly to you.

Very first world!


Source by Vic Chatterton

Virginia Woolf and 'A Room of One's Own'


Virginia Woolf published her extended essay, the six-chapter, 'A Room of One's Own', in 1929, based on a series of lectures she had delivered the previous year at Girton and Newnham, the two women's Colleges at the University of Cambridge. By then, an established and esteemed novelist, the theme she was exploring was 'Women and Fiction'. Published just ten years after women had gained suffrage in Britain, the book is regarded as a precursor to the voluminous feminist literary activity in the later years of the 20th century.

In spite of the lack of a formal academic background, Virginia Woolf was a well-read autodidact. She uses a narrative form of an imaginary young woman named Mary given any of three surnames, researching the topic of 'Women and Fiction'. She concludes that minimally a woman needs 'a room of her own' (lockable) and some cash to live on (500 a year in Mary's case). What she is clearly saying, after a careful historical analysis of lives led by men and women in relation to each other in the past, and up to the day of her deliberations, is that women are deprived of artistic and literary expression because of their economic , personal, and social subordination by men, and not because of a lack of innate ability or talent.

The purpose of this essay is to analyse, and comment upon the author's extensive use of binary categories beginning with the central, historically loaded, categorization of the differences between men and women. Although two sets of binaries, reason / emotion, and fiction / fact, are delved into in this essay, Woolf's awareness of the complexities of apparent binary categories is far more extensive and will be examined more closely in the following paragraphs.

Although there does not appear to be 'opposites' in nature, dualism seems to be deeply rooted in language and human thinking. Binary opposites or polarizations are not always logical opposites but are necessary for the units of language to have value and meaning. Following Saussurean structuralism, it is generally held that 'binary opposition is one of the most important principles governing the structure of language', while 'paired contrasts' are not always 'opposites', in any exact sense, they are believed to be necessary as a means of ordering the 'dynamic complexity of experience'. Most linguists believe that 'binary opposition is a child's first logical operation'. Another powerful influence on binary thinking in the West was Descartes' mind-body dualism.

Binary thinking is also hierarchical. One of the two terms is considered positive and the other negative. Religious thinking can not exist without the polarisation of guilt and innocence. Structuralists believe that the world is organised into male / female constructs, roles, words and ideas. For example, masculinity (phallus) is associated with dominance and femininity (vagina) with passivity. Post-structuralists seek to deconstruct the whole edifice of binary thinking, not allowing one to be intrinsically superior to the other, giving instances of binary opposition contradicting itself and undermining its own authority.

However, there is increasingly a consensus forming that such 'antitheses' are aspects of a deeper unity and 'all so-called opposites such as reason / emotion and spirit / substance is merely' apparent 'binary opposites' (Forceville, 1996). Woolf's essay, having utilised a plethora of binaries in her exposition, concludes with the acceptance of that 'deeper unity' in her acknowledgement of 'manwomanly' and 'woman-manly' qualities in human nature.

Enough has been said about the fundamental significance of binary thinking in the use of language until recent times that it is no wonder that Woolf's essay is filled with many instances of the complexities between apparent binaries. Of course, the main concern when talking of 'Women and Fiction' is of defining and delineating the subject. Woolf shows that this is no easy matter. In the course of her investigations by reading books written by men on women, she unearths many 'fictions' like the insistence on the inferiority of women on all fronts. Such views are not based on 'fact'. Woolf dramatizes the effect of discrimination and disempowerment of women by asking the reader to imagine an equally gifted sister of Shakespeare. Prevented from achieving any of her creative aims and ambitions, Judith Shakespeare commits suicide only after what women from time immemorial were expected and permitted to do, give birth.

Since Woolf's lectures are given from a personal point of view and has no pretensions to being academic, she implores her audience not to expect a neat conclusion. She uses a fictional device to present her argument based very much on facts she gathers at the British Museum Library. At the Oxbridge college she visits, presumably by invitation, figures like the Beadle, Fellows and Scholars whom she introduces almost casually in Chapter One return at the end, emphasising their relevance to the narrative and her subject matter. She was debarred from trespassing on their 'turf', both literally and metaphorically. She was also not admitted to a library there because of her sex. She confronts and questions binaries such as illusion and truth. She also dichotomizes pre-war and post-war sensibilities. She describes the trees and the river at Oxbridge as vague and resigned at sunset, while becoming glorious and expectant in the morning. She also addresses the binary qualities of 'laughter' and 'anguish'. Her thought processes are clear and well articulated mainly because of her use of such binary signifiers.

The binary theme continues with her contrasting the sumptuous lunch given at a well-endowed male preserve at Oxbridge with the rather 'poor' meal for dinner at a female college. While gold and silver are said to be 'buried' within the 500-year old grand buildings patronised by Kings and nobles, the women's college built in the 1860s had a struggle to raise the initial 30,000. She contrasts the safety and prosperity of men against the poverty and insecurity of women throughout history reflected in every facet of their lives.

In Chapter Two, she deals with the binaries of interest and confusion as well as amusement versus boredom allied with the roles of masculinity and femininity. When she speaks of the freedom from fear and bitterness that the inheritance from Mary's deceased aunt gave her, she can also contrast that with the pity and tolerance ( 'toleration') she feels for womankind from her position of freedom. Reflecting on the culinary pleasures she enjoyed the previous day, she wonders why men drink wine while women drink water. She also contrasts two types of anger she felt over Prof von X's peroration over 'The Mental, Moral and Physical Inferiority of the Female Sex'. Her anger at the treatment of women at first was a complex emotion of disgust while it then transforms into a 'simple and open' anger that she could use constructively.

By the time she reaches Chapter Three, she has not unearthed any facts, but only opinions totally detrimental to women (fiction). She now turns to historians (fact). She refers to Prof. Trevelyan's 'History of England'. There she finds the abominable treatment of women by men during Elizabethan times regarded as the norm. Wife-beating was a regular practice. Marriages were pre-arranged to suit the men. Contrastingly, women who were portrayed in literature possessed personality and dignity denied to the ordinary middle-class woman. Women 'burnt like beacons in works of all the poets from the beginning of time.' While women in literature, like Antigone, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth and Emma Bovary could be 'heroic or mean', 'splendid or sordid', 'infinitely beautiful or hideous in the extreme', the average woman was a complete nonentity, hidden from view . Binaries abound in this chapter as in 'women are imaginatively of the highest importance' while 'practically she was completely insignificant'.

When we reach Chapter Four, we come across the struggles of Lady Winchilsea with poetry, with Aphra Behn having more success with her plays. This further supports Woolf's insights into why and how women were denied free expression. Woolf first uses the word 'incandescent' with which she describes the creative mind, as a quote from Lady Winchilsea. She needed for her mind to have 'consumed all impediments and become incandescent.' But unfortunately it was 'harassed and distracted with hates and grievances'. Aphra Behn was the first woman in England to make a living by her writing, although her personal life is not said to have been worthy of emulation. However, Behn opened the way for the 18th century women novelists like the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and George Eliot. In describing them and the novels of the early 19th century Woolf speaks of their virtues in binary terms as swift not slovenly, expressive without being precious.

In Chapter Five Woolf introduces a representative contemporary woman fiction writer she calls Mary Carmichael. This is an imaginary figure chosen to show what is lost in writing from a position of defensiveness and protest. Woolf lauds the fact that Carmichael is no longer self-conscious of being female in her imaginative writing. There are binaries like 'heavenly goodness' and 'hellish depravity', compared with writing that is 'serious, profound and luminous' with others, 'lazy-minded and conventional'. She advises contemporary women writers to 'illumine your own soul with its profundities and its shallows, and its vanities and its generosities'. Although Carmichael's fiction may be 'pulped by the publisher in ten year's time', Woolf is confident that her successors in another 'hundred years' would have achieved their full and glorious potential.

In Chapter Six Woolf describes a man and woman approaching each other from opposite sides of the street. The setting is a London street viewed by the author from her apartment window. They get into a taxi and are driven away. For Woolf this is a symbol of the binaries coming together. The strain she had being going through over the last two days eased, and she now has an insight into the 'unity of mind'. As Coleridge had said, great minds are androgynous. The true creator is 'incandescent' and 'undivided'. Sex-consciousness stands in the way of creativity. She says that 'it is fatal for anyone who writes to think of their sex.' She finally arrives at the conclusion that good writing flows from a marriage of opposites. Gender, masculinity / femininity is no longer relevant. Honest, creative and lasting fiction arises from a mind that is uncluttered and can face facts.

Virginia Woolf has engaged in a thorough examination of many binary concepts including masculinity / femininity, reason / emotion, and fact / fiction in her extended essay ostensibly dealing with women and fiction. This brief analysis reveals her arriving at the conclusion that it is the androgynous mind, which is 'naturally creative, incandescent and undivided' that can arrive at 'truth' by 'bringing together many varieties of error'. Her understanding of the vagaries and complexities of binary thinking reflected in this book shows her to have been one of the pioneering, formative minds of her time.


Source by Migel Jayasinghe

Timeshare Buyer's Remorse – Costly Mistakes When Buying a Timeshare on Vacation


Every year people like you and I take much needed vacations at beautiful vacation destinations around the world. We all seek change from our daily lives in places that will allow us to find peace and tranquility spotted with enough exciting activities to raise our spirits and bring joy to our lives.

The vacation of your dreams can be a financial nightmare if you fall prey to buying a costly timeshare on vacation!

While on these glorious respites many of us encounter the main street peddlers and hotel lobby kiosks offering free or low cost sport adventures, theatre tickets or the like. The deals are real and can be a lot of fun. Who would not want to go on a helicopter ride to a remote waterfall on Maui for $ 29? But be aware, there is a catch!

In exchange for these deals you are required to give up 2-6 hours of your prime vacation time to visit a timeshare resort and participate in a timeshare sales pitch staged with fun emotional tugs on your heart, champaign toasts and not so obvious social pear pressure . Your experience is choreographed from the moment you arrive with the goal of having you feel excited to have paid $ 20,000 to $ 50,000 or more for the right to spend one or two weeks a year for life at their glorious resort not to mention all the added features and benefits that are piled on to close the deal.

With deference to Winston Churchill, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never buy a timeshare at Retail during one of these sales pitches! Go ahead and partake of their free or low cost bribes to get you into their presentation but I implore you to NEVER buy a timeshare at Retail on vacation.

A real world example of a friend who did not follow my advice and lost $ 19,000!

My friend, let's call him Keith to protect his real identity, and his family of four headed south to Florida for a well deserved vacation near a well known family entertainment complex. Keith and his wife, wanting to show their children a good time, stopped by the activity center at their hotel and were offered a tremendous deal on prime local activity parks that the kids would really enjoy. They agreed to the "2 hour presentation" the next day.

You know the story; they bought the timeshare with a view of the pool at a very nice local resort. Excited they were already planning their visit next year and all the things they would do again as they enjoyed their stay at this fabulous resort.

Now Keith knew I owned several timeshares and upon his return home he promptly tells me about his prize timeshare purchase. My first words to Keith were, "If you do not do another thing I ever ask you please use the grace period you have by law and cancel your timeshare purchase today, in fact right now, please, please, please!" In our discussion I found out Keith paid cash for the timeshare (from an inheritance) and he and his family still had that dear in a headlight focus on all the joy their $ 25,000% 2B Retail purchase would bring to them. And they did get the unit with the view of the pool!

Suffice to say Keith was not listening well when I explained how I was positive I could find him a similar timeshare to buy, if not the same timeshare resort, for pennies on the dollar. Keith at least agreed to mention our conversation with his wife that evening but I knew in my mind he bought the choreographed presentation hook, line and sinker.

That evening I did some online research and within 10 minutes I found a re-sale unit in the same resort for about $ 6,000. Do the math. $ 25,000 minus $ 6,000 equals a $ 19,000 cash savings. Keith could buy 3 more weeks at same resort and have a full month for his $ 25,000. So I emailed the details to Keith and to my dismay but with no surprise I got the response, "Well we talked it over and I am sure you found a good deal but the family was really excited and we did get the pool view, and we did have the money, so we are going to keep the one we bought. Thanks for your help anyway. "

No amount of logic was going to change Keith's emotional decision. With a little more research I am convinced I could have found him the same or comparable resort at $ 2,000 or $ 3,000. Sad but true I lost yet another battle. You see this scenario is played out over and over each and every day and I feel for the millions of dollars that are spent on Retail timeshare purchases when just down the street or online you can purchase the same or comparable timeshare units at pennies on the dollar .

Buyer's remorse is your best opportunity to save thousands of dollars.

Within a couple of years, circumstances change for a high percentage of timeshare owners. These changes cause these owners to re-evaluate their need for a timeshare, especially if they financed the retail cost. They soon find out that the glorious timeshare they bought 2 years ago for say $ 25,000 can now only be sold for at the most $ 10,000 if they are really lucky. So if they financed they are upside down, owing more than they could get for the timeshare (does this sound familiar relative to the circumstances of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown?).

Distraught with this reality, a high percentage of these upside down timeshare owners abandon their timeshare obligations and most end up on the timeshare re-sale market, for sale by lenders, real estate brokers and third party agents, hence the opportunity for you and I to buy these same excellent timeshare properties at pennies on the dollar.

I know about buying timeshares on the re-sale market because that is what I have done several times over. The Islands of Maui, Hawaii and Kauai as well as mainland locations Scottsdale, Arizona, Horseshoe Valley, Canada and other great locations, all bought NOT at Retail. In fact I bought them at $ 2,000 or less and as low as $ 99. That's Pennies on the Dollar! Some will tell you that timeshares are a poor investment. I have to agree that they are not an investment like buying real property. As a vacation tool timeshares are a great investment if, and only if, you buy them at pennies on the dollar.

Save your cash and buy on re- sale market!

Make wise decisions as you seek the ultimate joys of vacations in fabulous locations around the globe. Pack your emotions about timeshares while on vacation and keep your wallet closed. Wait until you are home to seek out opportunities to buy the same or substantially similar resort properties on the re-sale market allowing you to save lots of cash or buy even more timeshares. Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never, Never buy a timeshare at retail during one of these sales pitches while on what should be a fun vacation!


Source by Terry Allison

Book Review – Vanessa Greatorex's Wilmslow Through Time


Wilmslow Through Time by Vanessa Greatorex (Amberley Publishing £ 9.99)

Wilmslow, home to almost 40 000 people , including celebrities such as Alex Ferguson and Coronation Street's Bill Roach, is the subject of a new book, Wilmslow Through Time, by Chester author and historian, Vanessa Greatorex. Using photographs from 1890 onwards, plus captions, the recent history of the bijou Cheshire town is captured in storybook form.

Now home to luxury car sales rooms, and the rich and famous (detached homes there can cost anything up to £ 6m), the town's former milling industry factories, and humble worker's dwellings, earn their place in Greatorex's century of images and comment. Modern Wilmslow's prosperity and comforts come at the cost of significant visual interference in the form of road markings, cars, lampposts and telegraph cabling, and some pretty awful modern architecture, as the pictures of Church Street show. However, the author is careful to delineate the reasons – usually dereliction, sanitation or fire damage in previous decades – for new build and demolition. Overall, a clear picture of continuity is presented in the book, with the key points of architectural interest and natural beauty being preserved through time, and forming the basis of Wilmslow's reputation of well-established exclusivity.

Award-winner Greatorex's typically succinct prose conveys a wealth of interesting and indeed entertaining snippets. On the Grove Street Jaw-Droppers page, for example, a 1970 photograph of the only camel to have walked the Wilmslow streets sits beside a recent shot of the equally strange-looking Barclays bank, which the author archly describes as more of a "seaside pavilion than a bank ". A very real sense of personal engagement with the town, and its people, is evident throughout. The reader can not but share the author's huge disappointment upon failing to locate a breathtakingly beautiful scene – the regimented line of riverside winter poplars, along with their symmetrical still water reflection – of a 1905 T.Baddely sepia photograph.

As a writer of thrillers myself, I was especially interested to see that, in true Midsomer Murder tradition, there is a dark flipside to the bucolic idyll suggested by photographs such as the Wilmslow Carnival pipers and horse drawn floats bearing costumed villagers. In 1984, Wilmslow made international headlines as the site of the Lindow Man, whose astonishingly well-preserved body was found in peaty, common ground just outside of Wilmslow.

Greatorex finishes her book with an arresting image of the dig for his remains, complete with inset of a pathetic, crumpled, high-born, young man who had been ritualistically murdered and his body dumped in the Wilmslow mud. The shadow cast by his tragedy reaches through time: in addition to Lindow Man, the excavations unearthed a skull fragment which prompted local man Peter Reyn-Bardt confess to the murder of his wife in the 1950's. He was convicted, even though the skull fragment belonged to an Iron Age (some archaeologists argue, Roman) Wilmslow woman.

Wilmslow Through Time is more than a well -presented, highly readable work. It is a labour of love by a highly accomplished researcher and writer whose clear affinity and affection for the landscape of her childhood is evident in this meticulously sourced and well-presented series of anecdotes and images.


Source by Charlotte Pickering

The Discreet Millionaire


Who do you consider rich? At what income are you considered rich? For now we'll put aside the platitudes that say you're rich if you have your health, a happy caring family, close supportive friends and many interests. Of course these are the reasons we live for and money can not buy those treasures. But as Spike Mulligan once said "Money does bring you a more pleasant form of misery."

These characteristics of the vast majority of millionaires in the United States may surprise you:

  • Live in a less than $ 400,000 house.
  • More likely wearing a Timex watch.
  • Pay $ 15 or less for a bottle of wine.
  • Never paid more than $ 400 for a suit.
  • More likely to drive an Acura than a BMW.
  • Spend little on trendy brands and luxury items

Figures from the Tax Policy Center say if your annual household income is $ 107,628, you are in the top 20% of income earners. If you exceed $ 148,687, you are in the top 10%. The top 5% earn over $ 208,810. And if your household income is over $ 521,411, congratulations. You are one of those "1% ers" and likely demonized by those who view hard work and risk-taking as a matter of luck or good genes. However, like a company, your personal balance sheet should be the determining factor. If you make $ 200,000 a year it does you no good if you're spending $ 210,000.

You may in fact just appear rich instead of actually being rich.

For example the Take – recent news about to NBA legend 's Alan Iverson. Shockingly, a man who before age 35 had amassed a fortune more than the average person will see in a lifetime had blown it all. To quote from the article: "Iverson blew through his money at an alarming rate on gaudy jewelry, expensive cars, and other frivolous purchases. In 2012, a Georgia judge garnished his wages to satisfy a $ 859,896.46 debt to a jeweler."

Huh? Almost a million dollars to a single jeweler! Here is a man who not only looked rich but actually was rich. But because the desire to look rich overwhelmed him, he is now begging for change on the street. He does stand to get $ 30 million from a trust, but not until age 55. It will be interesting to see if he learns his lesson, if he can survive until then. My guess is that $ 30 million will be gone before he reaches "official" retirement age.

This is why net worth is a far better gauge of true wealth than income. The Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances indicates a net worth of $ 415,700 puts you in the top 20% of households. You are in the top 10% if your net worth is $ 952,200. (Dr. Thomas J. Stanley – author of The Millionaire Next Door – says that one in eight American households has a net worth of $ 1 million or more. That's close) If your net worth totals $ 1,863,800, you are in the top 5%. And if you have a household net worth of $ 6,816,200, ta daa- you are in the top 1% … and possibly frowned upon by redistributionists who resent folks that live beneath their means, save regularly and handle their financial affairs prudently.

Most millionaires are quite the opposite of being big spenders. They spend far less than they can afford on all commonly owned assets. The want to-be's, on the other hand, (people with average or higher than average income but little net worth) are merely "aspirational." They buy expensive clothes, top-shelf wines, luxury cars and often more house than they can comfortably afford.

It's ironic the very same thing that makes them APPEAR rich prevents them from ever BEING rich.

How then do you become rich if you are not currently? The basic formula is pretty simple: Maximize your income (by upgrading your education or job skills). Minimize your liabilities (by living beneath your means). Save the difference in an IRA or 401K (I know easier said than done.) And follow proven investment principles.

Sure you must learn to be frugal. But eventually becoming financially free, to be able to do and go wherever you want, not have to depend on a bonehead of a boss or the federal government is what I consider rich. What a feeling.

Some people refuse to change, but the bottom line is clear: If you want to be rich, you have to stop appearing like it and actually start living like the many real millionaires you will not see on TV.


Source by Joe Sabatucci

Mobsters in America – Boss Tweed – The Most Crooked Politician in New York City's History


William "Boss" Tweed was so outlandishly a crooked politician, what he did in elected office in New York City was almost too devilish to believe. He stole so much cash from the New York City coffers, by 1870, Tweed had become the third largest land owner in the entire city.

William Tweed, a third generation Scottish-Irishman, was born on April 3, 1823 at 24 Cherry Street on the Lower East Side. His father was a chair maker and the young Tweed tired to follow in his father's footsteps, but the lure of the streets was too much for him to overcome. He ran with a motley crew of juvenile delinquents called the "Cherry Street Gang," who wrecked havoc on local merchants, by stealing their wares and selling them on the street's black market. Soon Tweed became boss of the "Cherry Hill Gang," and he (as did most gang members of that day) joined various volunteer fire companies, which were a springboard for men with big political ambitions. Tweed helped found American Fire Engine Company No. 6, which was called the Big Six. During his time in the volunteer fire business, Tweed forged friendships with people of all ancestries; Irish, Scottish, Germans, anyone who could help him climb the ladder of public services, with only one thing in mind, steal often and steal big.

In 1850, Tweed ran unsuccessfully for assistant alderman on the Democratic ticket. But a year later was elected alderman, a non-paying job, but with unlimited power for anyone smart enough and crooked enough to take advantage of its perks. Just scant weeks after he became an alderman, Tweed brokered a deal to buy land on Wards Island for a new potters field. The asking price was $ 30,000, but Tweed paid $ 103,450 of the city's money for the land, then split the difference between himself and several other elected civic-minded officials.

In 1855, Tweed was elected to the city board of elections, which was another cash cow for the greedy Tweed. He sold city textbooks for his own profit and sold teacher's jobs to whomever had the money to buy one. In once instance, he peddled a teacher's position to a crippled schoolmarm for $ 75, even though the job only paid $ 300 a year. In 1857, Tweed was appointed to the New York County Board of Supervisors, which propelled Tweed into a much more profitable form of thievery. He formed what was known as the "Tweed Ring," which was nothing more than Tweed and his buddies controlling every job and work permit in the entire city of New York. Every contractor, artisan and merchant, who wanted to do business with the city, had to cough up cash, and they coughed up plenty. It is estimated that Tweed's board of supervisors pocketed 15% of every dollar spent on construction in New York City.

Concerning Tweed and his cronies, American lawyer and diarist George Templeton Strong wrote in 1860, "Our city government is rotten to the core."

By 1865, Tweed's wealth had grown to impressive proportions, as did his girth. Standing 5 feet 11 inches, Tweed's weight ballooned to 320 pounds. His reputation for eating was legendary and he consumed enormous amounts of the finest foods. He floundered around town like a whale out of water, with a huge diamond stuck right in the middle of his fancy shirt, flouting his tremendous wealth.

It is estimated, from 1865 to 1871, Tweed's gang stole as much as 200 million dollars from the New York City treasury. They did this by over-billing the city for everything imaginable. They paid out of the city's coffers $ 10,000 for $ 75 worth of pencils; $ 171,000 for $ 4,000 worth of tables and chairs, and $ 1,826,000 for the plastering of a municipal building that cost only $ 50,000 to plaster. Tweed also gave citizenship to over 60,000 immigrant, none of whom could read or write, but who could vote for Tweed and his cohorts on election day.

Tweed's downfall began on December 25, 1869, when Harper's Weekly published a cartoon of Tweed and his gang breaking into a huge box, with the caption "Taxpayers 'and Tenants' Hard Cash." Upon seeing the cartoon, Tweeds reportedly said, "Stop them damned pictures. I do not care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents do not know how to read, but they can not help seeing them damned pictures! "

With the pressure mounting to unveil the extent of Tweed's corruption, a blue ribbon panel, headed by future Presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden, was formed to investigate New York City's financial documents. When the books were checked, it was discovered that money had gone directly from city contractors into Tweed's pocket. The next day, Boss Tweed was arrested.

His first trial, in January 1873, ended in a hung jury – a jury many people thought was bought by Tweed's money. But in November of that same year, Tweed was convicted on 204 out of 220 counts and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was incarcerated at the Ludlow Street Jail, but was allowed home visits. During one such visit, Tweed fled the country and traveled to Spain, where he worked as a seaman on a commercial ship. He was recognized, because his picture was frequently in the newspapers, and returned to America. He again was imprisoned at the Ludlow Street Jail; this time with no home visits allowed.

On April 12, 1878, Boss Tweed died in the Ludlow Street Jail from a severe case of pneumonia. He was buried in Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery, and due to Tweed's outlandish treachery, New York Mayor Smith Ely would not allow the City Hall flag to be flown at half staff in Tweed's memory.

No one could account for what became of Boss Tweed's vast amounts of ill-gotten gains, since there were no reports of a Wells Fargo stagecoach following his horse-drawn hearse.


Source by Joseph Bruno

Mobsters – George Appo – The Most Famous Pickpocket in the History of New York City


His father was a crazed Chinese murderer, and his mother – an Irish alcoholic. In spite of his lack of proper family upbringing, George Appo's mission in life was to be the quintessential "Good Fellow."

George Appo's definition of the phrase "Good Fellow," was a man who was an expert thief, one who would not cooperate with authorities, and who absolutely refused to testify in court, even against their enemies. Appo wrote in his 99-page autobiography, which was never published, "What constitutes a 'Good Fellow' in the eyes and estimation of the underworld is a nervy crook, a money getter and a spender. A 'Good Fellow' valiantly accepts the consequences and punishment of an arrest, even if the crime was committed by another. A 'Good Fellow' was a member of a fraternity of thieves. "

In the late 1840's, George Appo's father Quimbo Appo, ran his own tea business in New York City, before he moved to New Haven, Connecticut. In 1855, Quimbo Appo met Catherine Fitzpatrick, an Irish immigrant who was only in America a few short years. They married, and in 1856, Catherine Appo gave birth to two children. The first reportedly died in childbirth, but the second was described as "A handsome, healthy boy, very sprightly, as white as his mother, a Yankee boy to all appearances, with only the Chinaman's breadth between his eyes."

Shortly after George Appo was born, his father returned with his family to New York City. After working as a tea tester for several companies, in 1859, Quimbo Appo opened his own tea store on Third Avenue, between Seventh and Eighth Streets.

Quimbo Appo had a violent temper, made worse by his wife's incessant drunkenness. On March 8, 1859, Quimbo Appo came home from work and found his wife, as usual, three sheets to the wind. He began beating Catherine Appo, so viciously, the landlady of their building, Mary Fletcher, and two other tenants Margaret Butler and Mary Gavigan, interceded and tried to stop the beating. Quimbo Appo became so enraged, he pulled out a knife and stabbed Fletcher twice in the chest. Fletcher fell fatally wounded to the floor, screaming, "My God." Quimbo Appo then stabbed Gavigan in the arm, and Butler in the head.

Quimbo Appo ran to another Chinese boardinghouse, but was soon found by the police hiding under a bed. After he was arrested, Quimbo Appo told the police, "Yes, I killed her.

The front page of the Herald Tribune read the following day, "Murder in the Fourth Ward."

Quimbo Appo's trial took place on April 11, 1859. It took the jury less than one hour to reach a verdict of guilty. Even though the prosecutor, District Attorney Nelson J. Waterbury, recommended life imprisonment, a month later, Judge Davies sentenced Quimbo Appo to the death penalty. However, Quimbo Appo's lawyer appealed the case, and on May 8, 1860, Gov. Morgan commuted Quimbo Appo's death sentence, and instead gave them a 10-year term in the state penitentiary at Sing Sing.

However, Quimbo Appo's 10-year bit evolved into a life sentence, because of Quimbo Appo's penchant for violence, and also because he was basically a lunatic. As a result of several violent incidents, and bizarre behavior on his part, Quimbo Appo never became a free man again. He died at the Watteawan Hospital for the Criminally Insane on June, 23, 1912.

After his father's incarceration, George Appo and his mother returned to their slum apartment on Oliver Street. Soon after, Catherine Appo decided to take her son, and his younger sister, on the ship The Golden Gate, to visit Catherine's brother in San Francisco. However, the ship was caught in a violent storm and sank. Both Appo's mother and sister perished, but Appo somehow survived.

Appo wrote, "I can not explain how I was saved, only that a sailor brought me to New York and left me with a very poor family named Allen."

The Allen family lived in the rear-yard tenement alley "Donovan's Lane," also called "Murderer's Alley," located on a tiny strip of hidden dirt, with the tenements so close together, hardly any daylight could penetrate into the alley.

Appo wrote, "One entrance was on Baxter and the other entrance was on Pearl Street. Poor people of all nationalities lived on this Donovan's Lane. It was a common sight to see every morning at least 6 to 10 drunken men and women sleeping off the effects of the five-cent rum bought at 'Black Mike's,' which was located at 14 Baxter Street. Next door to Mike's was a second-hand clothing store owned by a man named Cohen, who was a fence, where all the crooks used to get rid of their stolen goods. Up over Cohen's store was where all the Chinamen of the city lived. At the time there were only about 60 Chinamen in all the city and then the lane was called Chinatown. "

Donovan's Lane, or if you wish – Chinatown, was in the heart of New York City's worst slum called "The Five Points." In this cesspool of humanity, Appo learned the tricks of the trade that enabled him to make a decent living in a life of crime. Appo, at about the age of 10, became part of a group of scavengers, which the people at that time called "street urchins," "arabs," "street rats," or gutter-snipes. "While Appo was making an honest buck at low level jobs, like shinning shoes, sweeping sidewalks, and selling newspapers, Appo also perfected his true love – the art of picking pockets.

It was quite easy for a young boy selling newspapers, to pick the pocket of an unsuspecting mark. Appo used the guise of the "newspaper dodge," a ruse, in which, while he was ostensibly selling newspapers, Appo, with one hand, would wave the newspaper in a customer's face, then with the other hand, he'd pick the victim's pocket.

Appo's pickpocketing mentor was a master craftsman named Jim Caulfield. Caulfield once told a policeman, "If you will stand for a newspaper under your chin, I can take your watch, your watch and chain, and even your socks."

In the winter of 1871, Appo was caught picking the pocket of a downtown businessman. The businessman grabbed Appo by the neck, and handed him off to a passing policeman saying, "This boy just robbed $ 28 from my vest pocket."

Appo pleaded guilty before Judge Joseph Dowling. The judge sentenced Appo to an undetermined time on floating reform school, which was located on the naval vessel The Mercury. The Mercury housed on board 242 boys, who were convicted of such crimes as vagrancy, truancy, and larceny. On board The Mercury, boys learned seafaring skills, such as navigation, seamanship, military drills, and making all different kinds of rope knots, which were essential in a seafaring life. There were also classes for the boys in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Yet, life on The Mercury was anything but idyllic. The food was barely edible. The water was filthy, and contagious germs permeated the ship.

In 1872, the Mercury made a 9-month trip to and from Barbados. Upon its return to Harts Island, off the coast of Manhattan, Appo and several other boys escaped from the vessel by lowering themselves down by a rope to a rowboat. After they arrived at shore in downtown Manhattan, Appo hustled back to Donovan's Lane and commenced picking pockets again.

In 1874, Appo was caught by a policeman picking the pockets of a Wall Street executive. Appo tried to flee the scene, but a passing detective followed him in hot pursuit, firing his pistol at Appo. Appo was hit once in the stomach, but he managed to escape.

Appo staggered into a building at 300 Pearl Street, and went to apartment that was occupied by the Maher family. While Mrs. Maher hid Appo under a bed, she ordered her son to go out in front of the apartment building to see if any policeman were in the area. When the coast was clear, Appo fled the apartment, and received treatment at St. Luke's hospital, from a physician who was friends with one of Appo's confederates. The bullet in Appo's stomach was removed, and soon Appo was back on the streets, doing what he had been doing before. Six months later, Apple was caught picking pockets again. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to two years and six months in Sing Sing prison.

At Sing Sing, Appo was united with his father, who went in and out of lucidity. The senior Appo was normal most days, but on his bad days, he was delirious, and he said things like "I am King of the World."

In Sing Sing, Appo was given job in the laundry room as a "presser" of shirts. After Appo accidentally burned one of the shirts, Appo's teeth were knocked out by one of the guards. Then three guards took Appo to the guard room, handcuffed him from behind, and forced him to lay face down on a paddle board table. There Appo was given nine sharp lashes with an oar on his back and spine, rendering him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, the head keeper said to Appo, "Do you think you can go back and do your work all right now? If you do not, we have a way to make you."

Appo told the keeper, "You punished me for nothing, and the next time I am brought here you will punish me for something."

Appo stumbled back to laundry shop. He immediately took the shirts that were on his table waiting to be ironed, and put them inside a hot stove, where they soon were reduced to ashes. After his dirty deed was discovered, Appo was brought back to guard room. When he was asked why he did what he had done, Appo refused to answer. Appo was immediately taken to one of the "dark cells," where he was imprisoned for 14 days. During those 14 days, Appo was given 2 ounces of bread and a glass of water every 24 hours.

After serving 30 months in Sing Sing prison, Appo was released on April 2, 1876. Surprise, surprise, he immediately went back to picking pockets. In the next eight years, Appo was arrested twice more for pickpocketing, and returned to jail in both instances, the last time on Blackwell's Island. Appo escaped from Blackwell's Island, by shimmying down a rope from the ship where he was working, to the water down below. Appo jumped into a small rowboat and rowed until he docked in downtown Manhattan. Appo immediately sunk the boat, and made his way to Mulberry Street, where he was able to borrow some clothes. The next day Appo absconded to Philadelphia.

Appo did very well picking pockets in Philadelphia, but the lure of his old streets in downtown Manhattan, especially the opium dens, was too much for Appo to resist. Back in the sixth Ward, Appo decided to deviate from his usual pickpocketing and engage himself in the flimflam business. Appo's chief swindle was giving store owners the wrong change for $ 10 or $ 20 bill. This racket went fine for a while, until Appo was caught in a jewelry shop shorting the owner. However, through the machinations of the nefarious law firm of Howe and Hummel, Appo was somehow able to escape prison time.

In the early 1890's, catching pickpocketers and flimflam men became the favorite pastime of the New York City police. So Appo decided to try a new scheme: a scheme where he was less likely to be arrested. This scheme was called "The Green Goods Swindle."

The Green Goods Swindle was a three-pronged operation. It started with the "operators," or the bosses, who hired "writers," who wrote circulars to be sent to all parts of the country. The basis of these circulars was to entice people to agree to purchase counterfeit money. The green goods circular contained wording something similar to this:

"I am dealing it articles, paper goods – ones, twos, fives, tens, and 20s – (do you understand?). I can not be plainer until I know your heart is true to me. Then I will satisfy you that I can furnish you with with a fine, safe, and profitable article that can be used in any manner and for all purposes, and no danger. "

The writers would also include in the circular the prices for their goods. A typical price list would read: For $ 1200 in my goods (Assorted) I charge $ 100. For $ 2500 in my goods (Assorted) I charge $ 200. For $ 5000 in my goods (Assorted) I charge $ 350. For $ 10,000 in my goods (Assorted) I charge $ 600. "

These circulars were sent to people from around the country, who had invested in various lotteries. The feeling of the "operators" was that these were the type of people who most likely would do something illegal for monetary profit. Confederate soldiers were also sent circulars. New York City assistant district attorney Ambrose Purdy explained why, "Former Confederates were so emotionally embittered and economically indebted, that they viewed green goods as a good way to hurt the government."

Once communication had been established between the "marks" and the "operator," The marks were directed to take a train to New York City, or to the suburbs close to New York City. There the marks would meet the third cog in the Green Goods Swindle, who was called the "steerer."

The steerer, one of whom was George Appo, would meet the marks at the railroad station and take them to the operator, or the "turning point," who was waiting for the mark, either at a bogus storefront, or in a hotel room . The operator would show the marks a sample of his "counterfeit" money, which was actually legal tender. The mark being satisfied that the money he had been shown certainly looked legal, would give the operator the money that had been agreed upon to purchase the "queer bills." The operator would then put the bonus counterfeit money into a cheap suitcase. A diversion would then occur, temporarily deflecting the mark's attention. During this diversion, the "operator" would switch the suitcase, and replace it with an identical one given to him by one of his confederates. Of course, the second suitcase was filled would plain ordinary paper, and sometimes even sand.

A this point, the job of the steerer was to get the mark quickly out-of-town, before the mark realized he had been swindled. As added insurance, the operator sometimes employed the services a local cop, or detective, and sometimes even several local cops, or detectives. If the steerer had a problem with the marks, either on the way to the train station, or on the train before it left the station, the crooked cop, or detective would jump in and threatened the mark with arrest, if the mark didn ' t leave town immediately. The mark would have no recourse, since he had been attempting an illegal transaction in the first place.

One such illegal Green Goods Swindle almost cost George Appo his life. In February of 1893, Appo was working a Green Goods Swindle with Jim McNally as his operator. Appo was directed by McNally to meet two men at a hotel in Poughkeepsie, New York. Appo went to the New York Hotel in Poughkeepsie, and entered the room of two men named Hiram Cassel and Ira Hogshead, shady entrepreneurs from North Carolina. Appo gave the men a letter identifying Appo as the connection between the Old Gentleman (the operator) and the two men. Appo said that he would take the two men to the train station to board a train for Mott Haven, where they would see the counterfeit money they were purchasing. After the transaction was completed, Appo said he would take the men directly to the train station, pay their fare, and send them on their way back home. Appo told the men that on the way to the train station, they must walk 10 feet behind Appo, and they must speak to no one, including Appo.

When Appo arrived at the train station, he was met by Hiram Cassel, but Ira Hogshead had stopped just short of the station, and was talking to a policeman, the same policeman who recently had a problem with Jim McNally, over his cut in a previous swindle. Appo approached Hogshead and asked him why he was speaking to the policeman. Hogshead said, "I do not care to do business. I've changed my mind."

Appo walked the men back to the hotel room, where Hogshead insisted the deal was done, and he demanded that Appo leave the hotel room immediately. As Appo was shaking Cassel's hand, Hogshead shot Appo in the right temple. Appo was taken to the hospital hospital in critical condition. In a few days, Appo's right eye became infected and it had to be removed.

Cassel and Hogshead went on trial for shooting Appo. However, since Appo, staying true to the code of a "good fellow," refused to testify against the two men, which prompted the judge to release Cassel and Hogshead, with a simple $ 50 fine. Appo, however, was arrested for running the Green Goods Swindle, and was sentenced to three years and two months at hard labor. Plus, Appo was fined $ 250.

Luckily for Appo, after spending only a few months in Clinton prison, on November 28, 1893 the New York Court of Appeals overturned Appo's conviction.

Feeling betrayed by Jim McNally, and by green goods operators in general, Appo agreed to testify before the Lexow committee, which was looking into police corruption, and their involvement in the Green Goods Swindle in particular. Appo did not tell the committee anything they already did not know, but he was branded a rat on the streets of New York City, and was shunned by the very people he had done business with for many years.

George Appo caught a break, when in September of 1894, he was approached by George W. Lederer, a renowned theater producer. Lederer offered Appo a part in his new play entitled "In the Tenderloin," in which Appo's was to simply play himself, in a play about New York's underbelly. Appo toured the country in this play for several years, but when the play's run ended, Appo was stiffed by Lederer for $ 15,000 in unpaid salary. Appo, although he tried for several years, never did collect his money from Lederer.

At the start of the 20th century, George Appo decided to live a life free from crime. He worked as a car cleaner at Grand Central Terminal, and also as a handyman at Calvary Church, the Sallade dress factory, and in the home of millionaire reformer a Alexander Hadden. In 1915, Appo began working for the government, during its investigations of opium dens. Appo received a salary of six dollars a month, in addition to another six dollars a month for rent for his apartment. Soon, Appo's salary was increased to $ 10 a month.

In his final years, little was heard about George Appo. What is known, is that Appo lived in a small apartment in Hell's Kitchen, on the west side of Manhattan. On August 10, 1929 George Appo was admitted to the Manhattan State Hospital on Wards Island. By that time, Appo was nearly deaf, and almost entirely blind.

On May 17, 1930, even though he had been shot four times, stabbed twice (once in the throat), and brutally beaten in prison, George Appo died at the age of 73, from nothing more than the effects of old age.


Source by Joseph Bruno

5 Places Every Girl Should Visit With Her Gang While She's Single


Goa – For the Beach Break

Goa is always in full-on party mode and it is the young people who have the most fun here with the swimming, dancing, karaoke and drinking. Sip martinis in your LBDs at any of the North Goa night clubs open well past midnight and carry your bikinis for a dip at any of the amazing beaches. Go shopping with the girls, try seafood, visit the churches during daytime, and if you manage to time your visit with the December Sunburn festival you are surely in for a treat.

Jaipur – For the Cultural Extravaganza

When your clique is in a mood to enjoy some time exploring and immersing themselves in history, Jaipur's well preserved relics from the past make it the best place to go to. This colorful city will provide you something much more stimulating than the cocktails you will get at bars – it is like a sip of the cocktail of tradition, spellbinding monuments, and bazaars crammed with unusual goodies to discover.

Mumbai – For the Chick Fiesta

Mumbai has something for everyone to do. The foodies can try the amazing street food, the fashionistas can visit the trendy markets in Colaba or Bandra, the Bollywood junkies can view the stars' houses, and the thrill seekers can try rafting, kayaking, or rappelling. Drive to the seafronts and gorge and gossip all day, and then enjoy the extreme nightlife of this city which never sleeps.

Coorg – For the Spa Holiday

After going through a tough break-up instead of binge-eating junk food, travel with your girls to Coorg. Renowned for its healing Ayurveda spas and resorts, give yourself a chance to do some recovery, contemplate, and revitalize yourself. After spending a few days in solace, you will leave Coorg much calmer, and happier.

Dharamshala – For the Trek Vacay

When you are looking for some spirituality, choose to vacation in Dharamshala. The city has a unique, transcendent quality with its monasteries, stupas, and temples. You can get your adrenaline pumping with the tough treks, and then cozily sit and talk in front of the fire and relax.

These are 5 absolutely fabulous places every single girl and her gang must travel to.destinations that make a budget traveller's dreams come true. Enjoy your travel trip.

A single girl in the city always needs to keep in touch with the latest trends in fashion, make-up, magazines, hobbies … everything really. And while trends come and go – friendships never seem to go out of style when you are young.


Source by Neha Jain

Barriers To Effective Communication – And How To Overcome Them


Just as multi-faceted communication itself is, the barriers to effective communication can be just as wide and deep. They can be physical or psychological, individual or social.

Some people have problems communicating which in turn brings the worse in others. If you have two people with good communication skills relating to each other, the conversation or the relation can be just as effective, wonderful and enjoyable as it can be. But the moment you pair one good communicator together with one bad, you create barriers to effective communication.

Some of the barriers are tangled into a problem of individual attitude. This can be the result of rebelling against poor communication coming from management in a work place environment, or parents at home, or a spouse, or friends in other personal areas.

Some people may have psychological problems from personal health or struggles. Communication barriers can come from language misunderstandings stemming from cultural differences, etc. They can be linguistics which is the use or misuse of uncommon or difficult words. They can be from types of personality which is a major player in creating barriers to effective communication.

All these can be found within personal, interpersonal, social, organizational, etc., making for a myriad of barriers to effective communication that one can avoid only through learning and training.

Some of the difficulties might be from a lack of sensitivity either from a sender or a receiver's point of view, or a lack of basic communication skills, or a lack of knowledge on a subject matter that one might be too proud to admit.

Other communication difficulties may be from emotional instabilities such as anger, hostility, resentfulness, fear, mood swings. All of these create conflicts and barriers to effective communication. As you can see, there is no limit to this subject list.

But the good news in all of it is that something can be done about overcoming these barriers. There is room for improving our communication skills, no matter at what level we are. Even a professor in communication can have problems communicating, because of one or another of the areas listed above.

The barriers to effective communication could be called just as well, the problems to effective communication. So we need to ask ourselves, what are the problems that I'm finding in communicating with others? As we list the problems, it is important to recognize which side those problems belong to. You might have a problem communicating with someone at work because he / she can not communicate.

Communication is a two-way street. If you are the only one communicating, it will be pretty difficult to resolve the problems. Then what do you do? Send the individual to a communication course? Teach them how to communicate every time there is a misunderstanding, a conflict or no communication at all? They may not be too receptive to the idea.

Sometimes, the only thing we can do in such cases is to ignore, give understanding, forgive and work around it. But with the problems or barriers to effective communication that fall squarely on us, the thing to do is to start working on them through taking courses and seminars, reading books, etc. Then the next most important factor is to put what we learn into relentless practice – one problem or barrier at a time./dmh


Source by Dr.

American Mobsters – The Gophers – The Five Hundred-Member Gang That Ruled Hell's Kitchen


The Gophers street gang was formed in the 1890's from a conglomerate of other Irish street gangs that patrolled the west side of Manhattan. They were given their name, because after they performed one misdeed, or another, they hid themselves in the cavernous neighborhood cellars to avoid arrest. The Gophers first ruled the area from Seventh to Eleventh Avenues, from Fourteenth Street to Forty Second Street, but later moved as far north as Fifty Seventh Street. Their numbers swelled and eventually reached over five hundred thugs, all murderous hooligans of the worst kind.

Their first base of operations was a notorious saloon called Battle Row, also the name of the area on 39th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue, where the Gophers committed most of their mayhem. Battle Row was owned by a thug named Mallet Murphy, who was given that nickname because he corrected drunks and other miscreants with a wooden mallet, instead of a bludgeon, which was the weapon of choice of that day.

Due to death, or imprisonment of their bosses, the Gophers went through several leaders. The most famous Gopher boss was Owney "The Killer" Madden, whose reign ended in 1913, when he was sent to the slammer for ten years, for killing Little Patsy Doyle, his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend, and an ambitious man intent on replacing Madden as the leader of the Gophers.

Another such boss was One Lung Curran, who originated a practice that determined the fashion wear of his gang. One day Curran, dismayed that his girlfriend did not have a proper winter coat, snuck up on a passing policeman, clubbed him over the head and stole his winter police coat. He gave the coat to his girlfriend, and after a few alterations, she produced a swell model, with a military cut. Other Gophers followed this trend, and soon there was an epidemic of police officers staggering back to their station house on West Forty Seventh Street, blood dripping from their heads and dressed only in their shirts, shoes and trousers. This prompted the police captain of that precinct to send groups of four and five cops into the Gophers' domain, to bludgeon enough Gophers that the sartorial vogue was soon over.

Another Gopher leader was Happy Jack Mulraney, so called, because his face seemed to be set into a permanent smile. This smile was not intended, but in fact caused by a quirky paralysis of Mulraney's face muscles. His cohorts enjoyed inciting the psychopathic killer Mulraney into a rage by telling him someone had made fun of his unintentional grin. One day, Paddy the Priest, a bar owner on Tenth Avenue and a close friend of Mulraney's, made the horrible mistake of asking Mulraney why he did not smile out of the other side of his face. Mulraney shot Paddy the Priest in the head, killing him instantly, then robbed his cash register. For his temporary lapse in judgment, Mulraney was sentenced to life in prison.

One day, in August of 1908, several Gophers wandered out of their West Side domain and smack into the middle of a shootout on the Lower East Side between Monk Eastman's gang and Paul Kelly's Five Pointers. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, the Gophers opened fire, shooting at members of both waring gangs. One Gopher later said, "A lot of guys were poppin 'at each other, so why should not we do a little poppin' ourselves?"

For years, the Gopher's main source of income was plundering the freight cars and train depot of the New York Central Railroad, which ran along Eleventh Avenue. The New York City police was unable, and sometimes unwilling, to stop these shenanigans. So the railroad organized its own "police force," which was comprised mostly of ex-cops, who had been brutalized by the Gophers in the past and were looking for revenge. The result was, the "special police" went into Hell's Kitchen, beating the Gophers from one end of the neighborhood to the other, or as one of the cops said, "From hell to breakfast." Sometimes they used clubs, and if needed, they fired guns. Being former policemen and well trained in firearms, they were the much better at gunplay than the Gophers.

In 1917, after the arrest of One Lung Curran, and with Madden still in jail and Mulraney in jail until his final breath, the Gophers gradually dissipated. By 1920, the Gophers street gang ceased to exist, only to be replaced in later years by another murderous group called "The Westies."


Source by Joseph Bruno