January 31, 2012

What is Children’s Literature?

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It may seem strange to think that there is some question as to what constitutes a children’s book for many after all this would seem like a question with an obvious answer. A children’s book was after all created for children. However Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain one of the books considered to be classical children’s literature was originally intended for adults and as indeed received some past censorship because of how interpret it was considered for children. The Grimm’s fairy tales also where written initially for adults, yet they where bought for children. This situation of children taking over what was supposed to be an book for adults has led to many problems. After all society then complains that the story was not appropriate for children, and so attacks to book. Further the book not being appropriate for children perhaps does cause some social problems. Yet we still seem to consider many such books as children’s literature.

Why is it books written for adults become children’s books? Or at least books read by children. Although it is perhaps impossible to state all the reasons for this situation, I would forward three theories on ways in which this can occur.

The first reason is that a book offers a fantastic reality, an imaginative story, children like such stories and so for whatever reason it is presumed that such imaginativeness is in the realm of children’s literature. This could for example be the case with Gulliver’s Travels and of course the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. In many ways I would argue it’s sad that if a story is fun and imaginative it is automatically pushed off into the realm of children. Not that children’s literature is lesser, indeed this imaginativeness has helped in many ways to make it superior to that created for adults. Rather it is sad that adults do not presume that such creative genius is worth more of their time.

Another reason which a book might become children’s literature is that it is about a child, for some reason a child character makes people automatically assume a child should read it, as if they are the only ones who can relate to a child. This is a ridiculous notion of course, we where all children and besides of which all such books where written by intelligent adults.

The final reason I will propose is that many books and works of art intended for adults become children’s as a means of expanding their reach or extending their life. This is why for example one will find the works of Jane Austen in the children’s literature section at the book store with a little charm.

This still does not answer the question of what is children’s literature. Part of the problem here may be that we have not yet truly defined the question, broad questions have broad answers. The question may be what should parents have their children read, or what should educators and those studying children’s literature study in order to learn about the impact of literature on children? In the case of the first question the answer is in regards to the parents beliefs and their kids reaction to things. If a parent does not believe their kid should be exposed to something then it does not constitute children’s literature for that kid. This definition of course makes the whole field of children’s books very difficult as there are so many differing views on what is acceptable for children to read.

However this problem would beg the question, is the purpose of the definition to help people study children’s literature or to help parents decide which books their kids can read? In the case of the purpose for study children’s literature would constitute all books which children regularly read. After all the purpose of study is to determine what is acceptable to read and what impact such readings have on children, as will as ways to make future books better. For this purpose to be effective all books which children read must be included.

Part of the difficulty of course with determining what constitutes children’s literature is that there is some debate as to what children are.

After all different cultures have at times believed many different things about children. However I would point out that this in and of itself is exactly the point, childhood is viewed as different by different cultures. It is then a cultural definition, one which our society can answer and change. Certainly it is difficult for people to accept this idea, and for many the idea that the culture determines someone’s role is tantamount to prejudice, however when it comes to defining a state and an impact we are indeed looking at cultural variables. One cannot for example assume that a picture book based on the Impressionist style, and with Swedish Motifs would have the same impact on Americans as it does Japanese or Swedes. It is culture which determines the role literature plays in our lives so it is through a cultures definitions of something that that thing should be defined. Further accepting one cultures definition of what defines children and not another’s is prejudice.

In American culture this definition of child has been constructed in a way as Minors to the age of 18, however not all of these ages are considered children per say, they are teenagers, pre-teens, Elementary, Preschool, Toddlers and more. However as a society we have defined these groups and so a wish to understand their demographic must begin with the societies definitions of them. Arguing that a culture is wrong is often a mute point, just as literature is a social construct many of the emotions and impact surrounding it are too.

Children’s literature then according to my definition and the definition which will be found throughout this site is literature which impacts directly through reading a fairly decent percentage of the population which is considered children by the culture it is from.

Or in the case of cross-cultural analysis such impacts will extend to ages determined by the culture with the oldest children or the largest definition of them. Why? Because in many cases especially historical ones children where considered adults fairly young, yet if we want to compare differences in impact between 8 year olds we must study both sets of 8 year olds. It is important to stress that this is not a means to push one cultures definition on another it is merely a research construct intended to help study literature, so that we can better understand its impact.

Ty Hulse has degree’s in art and psychology with both with a children’s and a cross-cultural focus. He is currently working to create the site Zeluna.net which discusses Children’s Literature and Picture Books, as will as Fairy Tales.

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January 30, 2012

Fashion Marketing – Fashion Stores Meet Niche Marketing, Pareto, and the Long Tail

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Fashion Marketing news: A slew of studies, data, and articles seem to point out the growing success of niche sites, especially in the fashion industry. Hype or Fact? How can big online retailers and local fashion stores benefit from internet niches?

I like reading about pragmatic ideas to boost online sales of fashion goods, from apparel to accessories. I think that too much time is wasted in theorizing about internet marketing, and not acting about it.

Yet, I am going to talk about hard-core statisical studies and hype. Why?

Because I found in this month’s INC. magazine an article about niche marketing that made me connect together a lot of issues facing local apparel stores as well as big online fashion retailers.

Make money online by not carrying best-sellers

First, the article titled “A world without bestsellers” dabbles with buying patterns specific to internet consumers.

These patterns make up the Long Tail. You may or you may not know about it. For a concise explanation, go the Long Tail page on Wikipedia. Let’s just say that consumers can find and buy online products that a regular store could not carry. For instance, 40% of ’s book sales reportedly consist in unknown titles that your regular Barnes and Noble cannot afford to carry in the bookstore next door.

The same seem to apply to fashion goods. For instance, in the INC. article, Zappos’ Tony Hsieh says that:

“Today the company sells more than three million products across 1,000 brands. The top 20 percent of products account for half of revenue, the bottom 80 percent, the other half.”

So, at Zappos, the 20 best-selling items represent only 50% of the revenues. This is a far-cry from the usual 80/20 rule that usually applies offline, when the top 20 best-sellers make up 80% of the revenues. The 80/20 rule is drawn from the works of economist Pareto.

Online sales of fashion goods make Pareto Principle redundant

This is the gist of a February 2007 study called “Goodbye Pareto Principle, Hello Long Tail: The Effect of Search Costs on the Concentration of Product Sales.” It was written by researchers at the Sloan School of Management at the MIT. Better, this study is based on “several years of sales data at a private-label women’s clothing company that offered the same merchandise through its catalog and its Internet store.”

Fashion goods are really at the forefront of this trend. Think about all the sites of the specialty sites that have sprung up, from sites selling discontinued lines of products to sites selling only to a sub-demographic. Buyers will turn to the web for hard-to-find glasses or for styles that regular retailers would deem too original to carry.

A company called Niche Retail is specialized in doing just that. The company says that they actually avoid carrying best-sellers, as big retailers can usually manage to kill the business by discounting the most sought-after items. By the way, Niche Retail’s logo reprents the Long Tail graph.

Style is a personal matter. Fashion professionals did not wait for the Long Tail theory to launch niche product lines. But the internet does offer interesting further niche opportunities:

- established brands and big online retailers can find relevant niche sites for some of their product lines

- local fashion stores are indeed niches themselves; they can use the internet to get more exposure

Big brands and retailers going after niche consumers

This very site spends time presenting you new fashion blogs, new fashion sites, and new fashion communities (see Fashion 2.0). Because fashion can get very personal, it has always been a good conversation topic. Now, the internet allows you to become a fashion critique in a snap. Big fashion actors can go after these niche sites to get their attention.

For instance, niche TV channels are popping up on the internet, due to the low barrier of entry, as reported in this article of the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper gives the example of clothing chain Express sponsoring the Ford Models web tv. I would add the example of “Ask a Gay Man”, the colorful and popular fashion critique show on YouTube (see my previous note on the subject), which has gotten founder William Sledd a TV deal with Bravo.

But you not have to be big to go after these niche sites. For instance, Ujeans, a made-to-order jeans company sponsors competitions on social network site StyleMob (“a new community for street fashion inspiration”).

Local fashion stores are so niche

I see here a chance for local apparel stores as well: a niche can be geographic.

A local store owner may be the best person to know what senior citizens like wearing in the Boca Raton area. Why not put up a website, where you can share your expertise? When local people use Google to find information about clothes they like, they will find your website, enjoy your expertise, and visit your shop.

Marketers are encouraging local stores to go online and advertise. A book called Marketing your retail store in the internet age does a great job of giving pragmatic and inexpensive tips to local store owners. Meanwhile, Google is pushing local ads heavily. Its AdWords system allows you to display your ad only to people searching from your zip code. Moreover, Google Maps allows you to mention your store in the popular map system, so that when people search for “women’s fashion, 97108″, your store shows up.

No wonder that local advertising on the internet is booming. According to eMarketer, local online advertising spending in the US will reach $2.9 billion in 2007. Local search is great for a local fashion store or a geographical niche site. One of the best resources about the subject, with how-to-s and advice, is Clickz’s Local Search column.

Fashion sales are booming online and online fashion marketing may be one of the hottest topics right now.

Thibault Masson is the creator of Fashion-Fox.com, the site where Fashion meets Online Marketing.

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January 27, 2012

How to Find Good Childcare Service

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America is a mobile society. Extended families more often than not live hours or days away from each other, or if they do live close to each other, grandma or grandpa may still be in the workforce. Unlike 40 or 50 years ago, today’s parents are raising their children without much help from extended families. More households have both parents working or are headed by a single parent who works. How do these households find good childcare?

One option is to run a help wanted ad in the newspaper. This can be costly and time consuming. In addition to paying for the ad space in the paper, you will have to answer questions about the job on the phone, collect resumes, read through them and then interview potential candidates. Another option is asking friends to recommend a childcare provider to you. Or, you could answer ads in the newspaper advertising childcare services. All of these options require meeting with the prospective provider, but even at this point you cannot be sure that they are representing themselves truthfully unless you run a background check, which will also cost you money.

There is an easier, less costly, less time consuming way to find childcare. Thanks to the internet, childcare services have emerged to help solve the childcare problem. Childcare services act as a clearinghouse where childcare providers and families can connect.

Each childcare provider who signs up with the service completes a profile which includes a picture of the provider, availability, type of care provided (nanny, babysitter, au pair, last minute care, special needs care), experience with children, rate, age, gender, location and contact information. People looking for childcare can browse the providers and/or post a their own profile.

Information can be searched by zip code to locate providers who serve a given area. It is free to search and browse childcare providers, but the provider’s contact information will only be shown once the person searching for childcare becomes a paying member of the site. On becoming a paying member of the online childcare service, families gain access to provider contact information, can do free background checks through the service, as well as check the provider’s references.

Whether the childcare need is a live-in au pair, a regular babysitter or a babysitter who will take care of sick children, using an online childcare service streamlines the process of finding childcare and minimizes the risk for families and providers alike.

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Sports Cars – Distinction With Performance

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When talking about sports cars, it is important to make the distinction between cars which have been produced solely for this purpose, and normal road-going vehicles which have been modified to achieve sports car performance. One notable example of such a vehicle is the popular Golf GTI series.

Generally speaking, the term ‘sports car’ refers to vehicles which have the following characteristics:

  • 2 seats
  • 2 doors
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Light-weight
  • Low ground clearance
  • A powerful engine (although this is not essential)

Many classic British sports cars such as the MG series have lacked powerful engines. However, due to their light frame and chassis, they still managed to attain exceptional levels of ride, handling and performance.

True sports cars are vehicles which have been specially designed to be fun to drive, with great handling and ride together with high performance. In many cases, these qualities are attained at the expense of practicality, driver comfort and fuel economy. However, many modern sports cars allow the driver the full sports car experience, without compromising on practicality, reliability or comfort.

Sports cars come in a number of guises. In their simplest form, they are designed for an uncompromising ‘pure’ racing experience. One of the best examples of this type of sports car is the Lotus Elise. Although lacking in the kind of specification and equipment one would normally expect from a road-going car, the Elise is one of the most fun to drive cars around.

At the other end of the scale, luxurious models such as those offered by Aston Martin and Bentley have spectacular performance, whilst at the same time offering a truly luxurious and decadent driving experience.

Traditionally, owning a sports car was a costly affair. Early incarnations were less than reliable and were notoriously temperamental. They also lacked the refinements we have come to expect from modern vehicles.

Nowadays, due to advances in technology, sports cars are as trustworthy and comfortable as passenger cars. This means that their owners can quite happily use them everyday.

British sports cars

Although none of the British sports car manufacturers are now independently and privately owned, Britain can still be proud of its illustrious motorsport heritage. Luxury British marques include Aston Martin, Bentley and Jaguar, while those looking for that pure racing experience need look no further than the stables of Lotus and TVR

Italian sports cars

Nobody makes sports cars with more passion and flair than the Italians. Select have a full range from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati.

German sports cars

German cars are famed for their build quality and reliability, not qualities one would normally associate with a sports car! However, Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes have a range of luxury cars which are as fun to drive as they are dependable.

Japanese sports cars

Combining fine racing pedigree with the technology and innovation we’ve come to expect from Japanese manufacturers, Honda’s S200 and Subaru’s Impreza are perfect for those who want a fun driving experience, without compromising on everyday dependability

Many of us have dreamed of owning a sports car. Thanks to Select Vehicle Leasing’s range of affordable sports car leasing you can make this dream a reality.


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January 26, 2012

Informative Speech on Migraine in Children

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Picture this. Your 9-year old daughter staggers to the breakfast table; hands on head, and moans plaintively, “I can’t go to school today. I have a headache.”

“Nonsense,” you say. You give her an aspirin with breakfast and say, “Off you go. You’ll feel better when your history test is over.”

But what if this happens every few weeks? Might it be migraine? Is there such a thing as migraine in children?

Betsy’s Migraines – a true story

My introduction to the possibility of migraine in children came when I was teaching fourth grade in Massachusetts. That’s when I met 9-year old Betsy. Betsy was a pretty child, but headaches kept her from making either friends or academic progress. Betsy claimed to experience regular bouts of migraine in children. Her doting mother vowed that Betsy’s attacks were real, but I was skeptical, since they always coincided with things Betsy disliked.

Even more suspicious was Betsy’s behavior during attacks. She began with plausible head-holding and tears. She begged for her mother to come and get her. Then, her act always went over the top. Looking around the room to be sure she had attention, Betsy shook her head violently from side to side. “You have to do this when you have migraine,” she announced loudly. She hit her head, and turned on the waterworks – always keeping a shrewd eye on her audience. When her mother arrived, Betsy abruptly stopped shaking her head, and moaned piteously. The curtain fell as her mother wrapped Betsy in her arms and ushered her from the room.

True Migraine in Children

While I never received professional confirmation that Betsy suffered migraine in children, I did learn that the condition is authentic. Its name is “migraine in children”, even when it refers to only one child.

Facts about Migraine in Children

Migraine affects people of all ages, social classes, races, and cultures. It is most prevalent between ages 20 and 50, but migraine in children hits younger generations. Often misdiagnosed initially as a “headache excuse” to avoid unpleasant tasks, migraine in children is real. Let me give you seven facts.

* Migraine often runs in families.

* Young babies and preschoolers can suffer migraine in children.

* Migraine in children begins earlier in boys than in girls.

* Up to 6 years, boys are affected equally or slightly more than girls.

* At elementary school level, 10 percent suffer migraine in children.

* The prevalence of migraines increases during secondary school.

* 20-30% of young women and 10-20% of young men experience migraines.

Migraine in children attacks every age from birth to age 20.

Symptoms of Migraine in Children

So, since your young daughter may be suffering migraine in children, and not simply avoiding a test, we need to look for signs. What are the symptoms of migraine in children?

1. PAIN: First of all, migraine in children is very painful, with severe throbbing in the head. Your daughter will probably report pain in the forehead, or the middle of the head, rather than just one side.

2. PALLOR: Typically, migraine in children will cause sufferers to appear ill and pale. There may be dark rings around the eyes.

3. QUIETNESS: A child suffering migraine in children will be very quiet. You may have trouble getting your child to say more than, “My head hurts.” He or she will choose to sit or lie in aching silence.

4. STILLNESS: Unlike Betsy in the schoolroom, children with migraines do not want to move any part of their bodies. They certainly do not want to shake their heads. If a headache complaint is followed by a running off to play, do not suspect migraine in children.

5. NAUSEA: For those taking notes, we’re on the fifth symptom now. Your child may complain of feeling sick in the stomach. He or she may not want to eat anything, and may vomit.

6. ABDOMINAL PAIN: In very young children, the main symptoms of migraine in children are abdominal pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

7. VISUAL DISTURBANCES: Some children experience changes in vision during an attack of migraine in children. They may have blurry vision, see flashes of light, or describe zigzag patterns in front of their eyes.

8. PHOTOPHOBIA: Your child may complain of light being too bright, and may want to go to a dark room. For those who like to sound knowledgeable, this light sensitivity is known as photophobia.

9. PHONOPHOBIA: Moving to the eighth symptom, migraine in children may cause them to hold their ears, or complain that you’re talking too loudly. Instead of turning up the television volume, they turn it down or off. This is sound sensitivity, also known as phonophobia.

10. OSMOPHOBIA: Migraine in children will sometimes cause sensitivity to smells. Even if you aren’t cooking liver-and-onions, your child may complain that dinner smells awful. For those who want the technical term, smell sensitivity is known as osmophobia.

11. MOTION SICKNESS: Those who suffer migraine in children have a tendency toward travel sickness. Even when not in a vehicle, a sufferer may complain of dizziness.

12. CONFUSION: Finally, and this is the last symptom we will look at, if your son or daughter is suffering migraine in children, he or she is likely to exhibit confusion and trouble concentrating. You might tell your teenager, “You aren’t thinking straight.”

Is It Migraine in Children?

There you have 12 symptoms. Some will exhibit all – others will exhibit a few. Some will have authentic migraine in children – some will not. How do you tell?

PATTERN: First, note whether your child’s attacks follow a regular, intermittent pattern. Migraine in children comes back again and again, following a pattern. Look for headaches that are very severe, lasting a few hours, and followed by an interval of no symptoms. Days or weeks later, a similar attack occurs, followed by another symptom-free interval. Migraine in children has a rhythm.

FAMILY HISTORY: Check to see if there is a history of migraine in your family. There may be a tendency toward migraine in children.

PHYSICIAN: Ask your doctor. A doctor will focus on ruling out other serious diseases or underlying conditions. If there are none, you will have the doctor’s reassurance, and a plan for effective treatment. I am not a professional, and my information must always be checked with your health care professional.

If your child’s attacks are migraine in children, you can provide relief.

Relief of Migraine in Children

* SLEEP: Sleep is the most important factor when it comes to migraine in children. In many cases, several hours of sleep in a dark, quiet room is all that is required.

* ICE PACK: Try placing a cold compress on your child’s head as he or she lies in a dark, quiet room.

* OTC: With your physician’s approval, use over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.

* PRECRIPTION: Your physician may want to prescribe a medication for recurring attacks of migraine in children.

* WARM BATH: A hot Epsom salt bath may help an older child or teenager.

The most effective of these is usually sleep.

How Migraine Affects Your Children

In closing, I’d like to tell you about Thomas.

Thomas was a mischievous, high-maintenance little boy. From the time he could toddle, Thomas was on the go. Morning to night, he seemed never to stop. He talked incessantly, played loudly. Everything Thomas did was at top speed and volume.

Then, one bright autumn day in his eighth year, Thomas didn’t want to eat breakfast. Pale and listless, he lay on the couch, eyes closed. When his buddy called that the school bus was coming, Thomas covered his ears and moaned. When Mother opened the curtains to let in sunshine, Thomas covered his eyes. It was his first migraine.

Thomas lost that day. He missed the introduction of multiplication at school. He missed a film in history class. He missed an afternoon hayride with his cub scout pack.

Thomas lost many days after that. He lost days to migraine in children, and he lost symptom-free days out of fear. He began moving more quietly, more slowly. As additional migraines came and went, his bubbly laughter was gradually replaced by sadness and worry.

Thomas’ story is fictional, but it describes the experience of many who suffer migraine in children.

If you think your son or daughter may have migraine in children, I urge you to take him or her to your family doctor. Check for underlying problems, and discuss treatment possibilities.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore migraine in children. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve their quality of life.

© 2007, Anna Hart. Migraines are a part of Anna Hart’s family history, and although she personally does not suffer from them, Anna can sympathize with those who do. For that reason, she has turned her teaching and speaking skills to informing others about migraines. She posts regular migraine-oriented articles at: http://www.migrainereliefblog.com . If this article on migraine in children has been helpful to you, Anna invites you to read more about migraine relief [http://www.migrainereliefblog.com/relief-for-migraine-headaches/migraine-relief-through-migraine-pressure-points-21] in her current and upcoming blog entries.

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January 19, 2012

College Football – Why Bowl Games Are Such a Big Deal – They Bring Prestige and $139 Million

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If you are not a college football fan and could care less if you never see a bowl game in your life, you might wonder what all of the fuss is about. If you have a red-blooded male in your life, just ask him.

There will be 34 NCAA bowl games this year and the fuss in each one will be about prestige and money, big money, as in more than a collective $139 million for the participating teams and their respective conferences.

The actual bowl payouts reflected below add up to $127+ million, but the actual $139+ million figure arises because of some additional payouts for participating teams beyond the automatic qualifiers from the 6 major BCS conferences-the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-10 and Southeastern.

A team must win 6 games to be bowl-eligible, according to NCAA standards. Some of the qualifying teams automatically receive bowl bids, and others are asked to participate in the less significant bowl games.

Just about every news organization that publishes the bowl-game lineups does so by the date of the contest, the first (on December 19th) to the last (the Bowl Championship Series title game on January 7th).

I choose to do it this year by the importance of the bowl based on its payout first, and then the prominence of the game based on its participants. The first 5 bowl games listed comprise the prestigious BCS super-contests with the biggest payouts.

Here is the complete lineup for the 2009 season (which stretches into 2010).

1) $17 million – The BCS National Championship Game between Alabama (13-0) and Texas (13-0) on Jan. 7.

2) $17 million – Sugar Bowl with Florida (12-1) and Cincinnati (12-0) on Jan. 1.

3) $17 million – Fiesta Bowl with Texas Christian (12-0) and Boise State (13-0) on Jan. 4.

4) $17 million – Rose Bowl with Oregon (10-2) and Ohio State (10-2) on Jan. 1.

5) $17 million – Orange Bowl with Georgia Tech (11-2) and Iowa (10-2) on Jan. 5.

6) $4.25 million – Capital One Bowl with Penn State (10-2) and Louisiana State (9-3) on Jan. 1.

7) $3.3 million – Outback Bowl with Northwestern (8-4) and Auburn (7-5) on Jan. 1.

$3.005 million – Chick-fil-A Bowl with Virginia Tech (9-3) and Tennessee (7-5) on Dec. 31.

9) $3 million – Cotton Bowl with Oklahoma State (9-3) and Mississippi (8-4) on Jan. 2.

10) $2.5 million – Gator Bowl with West Virginia (9-3) and Florida State (6-6) on Jan. 1.

11) $2.35 million – Holiday Bowl with Nebraska (9-4) and Arizona (8-4) on Dec. 30.

12) $2.25 million – Champs Sports Bowl with Miami, FL (9-3) and Wisconsin (9-3) on Dec. 29.

13) $2.25 million – Alamo Bowl with Texas Tech (8-4) and Michigan State (6-6) on Jan. 2.

14) $1.9 million – Sun Bowl with Stanford (8-4) and Oklahoma (7-5) on Dec. 31.

15) $1.7 million – Liberty Bowl with East Carolina (9-4) and Arkansas (7-5) on Jan. 2.

16) $1.6 million – Music City Bowl with Clemson (8-5) and Kentucky (7-5) on Dec. 27.

17) $1.35 million – Insight Bowl with Iowa State (6-6) and Minnesota (6-6) on Dec.31.

18) $1.1 million – Independence Bowl with Georgia (7-5) and Texas A&M (6-6) on Dec. 28.

19) $1 million – Las Vegas Bowl with Brigham Young (10-2) and Oregon State (8-4) on Dec. 22.

20) $1 million – Meineke Car Care Bowl with Pittsburgh (9-3) and North Carolina (8-4) on Dec. 26.

21) $1 million – St. Petersburg Bowl with Rutgers (8-4) and Central Florida (8-4) on Dec. 19.

22) $1 million – EagleBank Bowl with Temple (9-3) and UCLA (6-6) on Dec. 29.

23) $850,000 – Emerald Bowl with Southern California (8-4) and Boston College (8-4) on Dec. 26.

24) $750,000 – GMAC Bowl with Central Michigan (11-2) and Troy (9-3) on Jan. 6.

25) $750,000 – Poinsettia Bowl with Utah (9-3) and California (8-4) on Dec. 23.

26) $750,000 – Little Caesars Pizza Bowl with Ohio (9-4) and Marshall (6-6) on Dec. 26.

27) $750,000 – New Mexico Bowl with Fresno State (8-4) and Wyoming (6-6) on Dec. 19.

28) $750,000 – Humanitarian Bowl with Idaho (7-5) and Bowling Green (7-5) on Dec. 30.

29) $750,000 – International Bowl with South Florida (7-5) and Northern Illinois (7-5) on Jan. 2.

30) $700,000 – Texas Bowl with Missouri (8-4) and Navy (8-4) on Dec. 31.

31) $600,000 – Armed Forces Bowl with Houston (10-3) and Air Force (7-5) on Dec. 31.

32) $398,000 – Hawaii Bowl with Nevada (8-4) and Southern Methodist (7-5) on Dec. 24.

33) $325,000 – New Orleans Bowl with Middle Tennessee (9-3) an Southern Mississippi (7-5) on Dec. 20.

34) $300,000 – Papjohns.com Bowl with South Carolina (7-5) and Connecticut (7-5) on Jan. 2.

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

Read more of my football coverage, including:

“Ed Bagley’s Top 25 Poll” for Week 14-you get rankings plus humor. Would you believe that Florida is ranked 6th and Southern California 23rd? Don’t laugh, find out why.

“Why Bowl Games Are Such a Big Deal: They Bring Prestige and $139+ Million”


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January 18, 2012

Car Modification – Modifying Your Car – A Global Trend

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Modifying your car has been a popular pastime for many years. By modifying your car you are able to put your own unique personal touches on the vehicle to make it stand out from the rest. There are many cosmetic modifications that don’t make the car run any different, but then that’s not the point 90 percent of the time! More often car modification is done just to make your car look better or give it a more aggressive race like appearance. These types of modification are simple and will make your car stand out from the rest with very little work. As for the cost of car modifications, that is an altogether different story. Parts are freely available off the shelf from companies such as Spareco, Koni and Spax. For example you can buy Spax suspension, Janspeed exhausts, Momo rims and steering wheels, body kits, light alloy pedals, leather or led lit gear knobs, Corbeau race seats and even race harnesses.

Getting a new set of wheels for your vehicle is a popular choice. There are many alloy wheel styles to choose from. Another popular modification is having your windows tinted. Tinted windows can help keep the glare from the sun out and also makes it harder for others to see into the car. I.C.E or In Car Entertainment is vital to any car modification project. Enhancing your cars audio is extremely popular and the range of products and options available provide DIY car modifiers with a world of choices. Products to choose from include the popular iPod Car Adapter kits, USB, CD & MP3 Stereos and , multi CD changers, front and rear parking sensors (some have video), plus the leads, tv screens and tools required to fit everything. Leading brands include: JVC, Dension, Panasonic, Connects2, Dashmount, Parrot, Alpine, Autoleads, Kenwood, Pioneer & Sony.

Today car navigation systems such as Motevo, TomTom, Garmin and Pioneer navigation systems are key ingredients when modifying a car. Even satellite or GPS Navigation systems come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. The main types of in-car navigation systems are in-dash mounted navigation systems, portable GPS systems, hand held systems, motorcycle and marine systems and finally the remote navigation systems where the GPS system is plugged in to your car radio for instance. When buying a new GPS system its often better to opt for higher resolution screens as they make the map information easier to see. Large memory and a decent control chip make for smooth and efficient operating, the last thing you need is slow loading and in accurate positioning. Most GPS systems have large touch screens, working with a stylus can be tricky so it does help and lastly pay particular attention to how visible and mobile you wish your model to be. If it’s a permanent fixture in your car then bigger models are great, but if you need to take it in doors after use, a smaller model may be the answer. Car security is a factor not only when modifying your vehicle but also when insuring a car with lots of expensive audio equipment in it. Phone you current car insurance company and find out what you can do before your insurance starts costing you more. They will no doubt also require an upgrade to your car security system and there are simply so many companies out there the likes of Viper, Tracker and Clifford. They all sell various systems such as standard car alarms, remote car start systems and GPS tracking systems. GPS stands for Global Positioning Systems. Professional fitment is recommended and car security shoppers should always insist on a certificate of fitment from the dealer fitting the car security system.

If you want to give your car a sporty look without spending a fortune you can have racing mesh fitted for the front bumper of your car. This looks good and can also improve the airflow around the engine compartment. “Eyebrow extensions” is another way to customise your car. These extensions are usually plastic and are fitted to your car’s head lamps. You can get these in a variety of colours and are relatively inexpensive. Car engine mapping is also relatively cheap to have done and performance gains can be substantial. It is recommended that you have engine mapping performed by competent, well known companies as they are best able to advise you of other crucial safety features you should improve when doing so. Up-rated brakes being one of them and more expensive tyres make for better high speed performance and traction to handle the additional engine power. Consider upgrading the oil you use in your engine when you have this done and use an high quality performance air filter, fuel filter and also replace all perished water and oil hoses frequently, if you haven’t already done so. Engine mapping or chipping is basically re-programming your cars CPU and it is given new instructions on how to fuel your engine. The more power you ask for the more gas / petrol your mapping will request along with other parameters such as increasing the airflow to the engine by tricking the motor into thinking the air is colder, this produces more power. All this power comes at a cost though. Most cars that have upgraded their engine management systems do so for more power, not efficiency and in doing so use more fuel and rev higher too. Cam belts should be replaced more frequently and if you plan any engine modifications have a word with the manufacturers about what you plan to do.

There are many things that can be done to modify a car. An entire industry has been created by the need for body styling, engine tuning, lowered suspension and big bore exhausts. Any part of a car can be modified and making modifications is a statement of individuality and personal style. The most popular cars for modifying are usually small, low insurance group hatches. Always update your car insurance company with the latest modifications to ensure your cover is not withdrawn due to something you thought may be ok which they do not. Other insurances like car breakdown cover and gap insurance cover should not be affected by modifying your car, unlike your car warranty policy which will almost certainly be affected. Give your car warranty company a call and make sure your cover will still be provided before you make any changes.

Popular Cars to Modify


All of the cars from Peugeot are popular cars to modify. You can even modify the 106, 206, and 306 pugs. The Peugeot 306 GTi is one of the most popular hatches to modify and tune. You can find a wide range of 306 body kits and tuning parts. Second hand Peugeot vehicles are reasonable and can be found almost everywhere. The insurance group starts off low so it makes it affordable for most. These cars have the potential to make a street racer that you can be proud of.

Citroen Saxo

The Citroen Saxo is one of the most modified cars because there is loads of modifying parts available. You can find everything from body kits to suspension. A popular choice for modifying is the Saxo VTR because it can go from 0 to 60 in less than ten seconds. It also is very fuel efficient and takes corners well. There are plenty of places to get parts and garages that work on them. You can modify a Citroen Saxo to be a real head turner.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the cheapest and easiest cars to modify. They are also very cheap to insure even when they have been modified. Parts are readily available and they are reasonably priced. The Corsa B is a definite favourite for modifying.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic has always been a popular car to modify. It has grown in popularity due to the film, “The Fast and The Furious.” The Honda Civic EK is one of the more popular hatches to modify. You can find a wide variety of Honda Civic body kits and tuning parts.

VW Golf

The VW Golf can be modified to look cool and there are plenty of parts available for the later Golf’s. Volkswagen Golf VR6 is a poplar car to modify and there are plenty of body kits and tuning parts available.

Famous Cars

Some modified cars have become popular because of being in a film or on a TV show. Some are noted for their superior performance and some are known for the celebrity driving them. Below are a few of the cars that are considered icons today.

1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Fastback was the star of the 2000 film “Gone in 60 Seconds.” In this film the car does some unbelievable stunts, including jumping over 15 feet of cars.

1963 Volkswagen Beetle became famous in the “Herbie” series films. Herbie was a little Beetle with a Porsche 356 engine who gave the big boys a run for their money.

1969 Dodge Charger became a muscle car icon through the television series, “The Dukes of Hazzard.” It had a confederate flag painted on the roof and the doors were welded shut. The modified Charger R/T, called the General Lee seemed to be always airborn.

1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was made popular by the television series, “Knight Rider.” The modified Trans Am known as KITT was a hyper intelligent crime fighting automobile. This car could do everything including, see, hear and smell.

1974 Ford Gran Torino was made famous in the television series, “Starsky and Hutch.” It was a powerful muscle car with a 351 Cleveland and 4 barrel Holley carburetor. It was driven hard by two California detectives in the series.

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was made famous in the series of “Smokey and the Bandit” films. It was a powerful 6.6 liter 200hp muscle car that everyone wants to own.

1970 Dodge Charger was just one of the many fast modified cars in the film, “The Fast and The Furious.” This is a classic move that all gear heads love to watch over and over.

2003 Mini Cooper S-R53 was made famous in the 2003 film, “The Italian Job.” This little mite packed a supercharged 1.6L Tritect engines and was involved in some intense chase scenes.

1979 Ferrari 308 GTS was made into an icon by the television series, “Magnum PI.” The mid-engine V8Ferrari was featured in the original series. The show and the amazing performance of the 255hp GTS made people flock to the nearest dealer to buy one in the 1980′s.

There is a downside to modifying your car. If you don’t have a specialist or someone experienced in modifying your particular make and model of car, you may be wasting your money. You need to select the right combination of modification to gain the most out of your car. If you select the wrong combination you will have spent a lot of money for nothing. Another thing you should remember is modifications to your car may affect the warranty. It will also make your insurance premiums higher. You also have to be aware that some engine modifications can violate regulations and emission laws. You have to make sure that any modifications to your car are safe and won’t disrupt the reliability and stability of the vehicle. Sometimes modified engines are often touchy and require premium fuel.

It is easy to get caught up in the whole modification process and end up modifying the car too much. The rule of thumb should be; less is more. Otherwise you will spend huge amounts of money, which could add up to more than the car is worth. Also, if it is over modified it can be hard to sell and most dealers won’t offer a deal to do a trade in for the car. Just keep these factors in mind when you are going to modify your car to express your style and personality.

Enjoy your new car!

Click4 Gap Insurance and Click4 Car Warranty are part of the Click4Group and sell car warranties and Gap insurance direct to the public.

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January 16, 2012

Children Furniture – Adorn Your Child’s Bedroom

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Are you planning to revamp your child’s room? Are you looking out for things which will make your child’s room bright and trendy? Have you ever given a thought for children’s furniture, kids’ toy boxes? Not much, right?

Furniture and toys will be the best option to start with the renovation of your kid’s bedroom. Always look out for things which are going to help your child to learn faster, bring those toys which will encourage them, which will fire their imagination and every creative aspect of their life. The first thing you can to do is to plan out the things and then start working on it. Make sure how you are going to do it, what things are you going to place in their rooms, which colors you are going to put on their walls, and the color of the children’s furniture. Have you ever thought from where you are going purchase all these things and what will be the expense?

Try to make your child’s room special by using decorative things like cartoon print bed sheet, colorful flowers, etc. Many parents want to give the best to their children no matter if it is little expensive. A variety of kids furniture are available in the market like tea party tables, rocking toys, wooden toys, educational toys, art activity desk, bookshelf, toy box etc. These things not only make their room attractive but also help them to learn lot of things for example; tea table will be helpful in learning table manner, bookshelf will help them to keep their books in an organized way, after playing children put their toys all over the room so don’t you think toy box will be helpful to them to keep their toys back after playing. Toys are the best thing which will help your child to learn lot of things in their day to day life.

Now this is not all about making your child’s room look special but it’s also about what quality kids furniture and kids toy boxes are you using. Parents look out for those kids furniture which are not harmful to their children. Lots of toys are made of plastic which contains toxins in it and those are harmful for the health of the children. These toys and kids furniture should be of better quality and try to use wooden furniture in their rooms which will last for long time and will not prove harmful to their health.

You can find this furniture in well known shops of wooden kids furniture where you will get lot of varieties. Try not to buy inferior quality things due to lesser cost. If not possible, use a few things in the room but of good quality. There are number of stores dealing with children’s furniture in the internet market so just enter your search and purchase appropriate furniture for your child’s bedroom.

Bart Albert is the author of this article on Childrens furniture [http://www.oldfashionedtoyshop.co.uk/component/virtuemart/?page=shop.browse&category_id=8].

Find more information about Childrens toy boxes [http://www.oldfashionedtoyshop.co.uk/component/virtuemart/?page=shop.browse&category_id=12] here.

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January 13, 2012

Weight Loss and Team Sports

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Many people have the misconception that the major concern of people engaged in team sports is gaining weight. The image of the three hundred pound player leads many people to see it from this perspective. The truth is that most athletes are more concerned with weight loss than with weight gain. The reason for this is fairly simple. It is very easy to gain weight. It is a little harder to get those pounds off you once you have gained them.

Athletes have ideal playing weights, and they spend a great deal of time in weight rooms. Of course, much of this time is devoted to building strength and muscle tone, but often times it is spent shedding pounds. The fact that muscles actually weigh more than fatty tissue makes this an ongoing problem. As fat is replaced by muscle, the total weight will actually spike upwards at first. Although being heavier due to excess muscle seems to be the goal for an athlete, most often just the opposite is going to be true.

Team Sports that involve a great deal of running like basketball, soccer, rugby, and even track are good examples of this fact. Although weight and muscles might be good for the center on the basketball team when he is trying to push people aside to get a lay up inside the paint, he is going to have to carry that excess weight up and down the length of the court, too. Unless the player in soccer or hockey is wearing the goalkeeper gloves and staying in front of the goal, he is going to have to run or skate from end to end as well. This is where the concept of ideal weight comes into play.

Ideal weight can be best defined by the exact weight at which an athlete can gain the most advantage from his weight without it becoming a handicap to the ideal performance and level of fatigue involved in participation in a team sport. In order to maintain this ideal weight and at the same time to insure maximum athletic ability, it is not wise to use dieting for weight loss. The subsequent loss of energy that dieting could produce is not going to help the athlete perform to expected standards. A well balanced and energy rich diet is going to be much better. Weight loss must be accomplished by exercise and diet should refer only to the selection of the healthiest foods rather than to not eating food at all.

Natalie Aranda writes on weight loss and fitness. Team Sports that involve a great deal of running like basketball, soccer, rugby, and even track are good examples of this fact. Football balls are gift ideas for men and boys. Although weight and muscles might be good for the center on the basketball team when he is trying to push people aside to get a lay up inside the paint, he is going to have to carry that excess weight up and down the length of the court, too. Unless the player in soccer or hockey is wearing the goalkeeper gloves and staying in front of the goal, he is going to have to run or skate from end to end as well. This is where the concept of ideal weight comes into play.

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Movie Poster Collecting

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There is a great deal of history behind movie posters and movie poster collecting. Jules Cheret, who created 2 movie posters in the 1890′s, was the artist given credit for creating the first movie posters. By the end of the first decade of the 1900′s, movies had become a great source of public entertainment. In this time period, the movie poster would become a standard size known as the one sheet measuring 27″ x 41″.

In the early days, the names of actors did not appear on the posters, which the movie studios liked, because it meant paying actors less money. It was in this early period in movie history, however, that movie studios realized movie stars were as much of an attraction to the moviegoer as the movie itself. Thus, the movie star was born, and movie posters began showcasing actors’ names along with the title of the movie.

By the 1920′s, the golden age of silent movies, movie posters became more artistic and spectacular, with accomplished artists being hired by movie studios to paint portraits of the stars for posters. By the late 1920′s, movie poster images became sharper due to a new printing process developed by the Morgan Litho Company.

In the 1930′s, also known in the movie industry as “The Golden Age of Movies”, another style of movie poster was created, the half sheet. Major movies would sometimes get more than the two styles. However, due to the depression, many movie materials were being created more cheaply, causing a loss of quality in movie posters.

The dawn of World War II in 1941 saw many of the movie stars heading off to war and war was the major theme of movies at that time. The movie industry cut advertising costs and used cheaper paper for posters due to the paper shortage of wartime.

By the 1970′s, movie posters used photography, occasionally using drawing and painting styles. Movie posters at this time were being printed on a clay-coated paper, which gave them a glossy finish. Star Wars and Star Trek posters were the most popular posters of the time and are still collected by many today.

In the 1980′s, the age of the special effects blockbuster, the mini sheet was invented, and video stores became popular, thus the video store poster was created. Today, reprints of movie posters are mass-produced and sold in many stores or are just a click away on the Internet.There are several types of movie posters. Because of their rarity, the avid movie poster collector has concentrated on movie poster or theater art. These are the posters that are delivered and displayed by the movie theaters and then intended to be thrown away. Another type of movie poster is the commercial poster, which is mass-produced for direct sale to the public. Video posters are distributed to video rental stores for advertising material. Cable and TV posters are use as promotional material for TV stations for their programming. Like theater art, video posters and cable and TV posters are not produced for the public. Although not as valuable as theater art, these types of posters are still popular among collectors. Special promotion posters promote a movie along with a product. Finally, there are anniversary issues, limited editions, and special releases that are released in limited quantities and are gaining favor with the theatre art collector. Other types of movie posters include advance posters that promote a movie well ahead of the movie’s release. The award poster, which indicates that a movie has won an Academy award. The combo poster, advertising two movies instead of just one. The popular double-sided poster that has art on both sides, with the artwork reversed on one side of the poster. There are featurette posters highlighting short films or cartoons, review posters for when a movie gets a good review, serial posters for movie serials, and special distribution posters.

With the popularity of movie posters has come the necessity to create various sizes of posters. The first and most widely used poster is the one sheet, which is usually 27″ x 41″. The subway, also known as the two sheet, is larger but not exactly two times the size of the one sheet. The 3 sheet is three times the size of the one sheet measuring at 41″ x 81″. The 6 sheet is six times the size of the one sheet measuring of 81″ x 81″. There is also a 12 sheet approximately twelve times the size of a one sheet, and the colossal sized 24 sheet measuring 246″ x by 108″. Other sizes include the mini sheet, which is usually much smaller than the one sheet and comes in a variety of sizes, and the stock sheet issued for cartoons or other shorts.

As with all collectibles, condition is a great factor when placing a value on posters. A movie poster’s value is determined by demand, rarity, and condition. Poster collectors use the same grade system used by comic book collectors: mint (perfect), near mint, very good, good, fair, and poor.

For those who want to be serious movie poster collectors, you will need to know some things about taking care of your movie poster art.

Tips to retain the total collectable value of movie posters

Never alter the appearance of a poster. Do not fold, bend, tear, or punch holes in it even to hang it on your wall.

Never place a movie poster in direct sunlight. UV lights can also be harmful.

Don’t write on your poster, even on the back. Marks on the back can sometimes be seen from the other side, taking away from the poster’s value.

Never put tape on the front of a poster even to repair tears. If you do use tape, use acid free tape available from an art supply shop, and place the tape on the back. For expensive movie art take it to a professional to be restored. Posters can be restored the same way rare comic books are professionally restored.

When shipping posters use thick poster tubes or bubble envelopes.

For long time storage, frame, or place the poster in a plastic bag or tube, and keep it in a cool dry climate.

When framing a poster do not dry mount it, and use an acid free backing board.

Now that you know a little more about movie posters and movie poster collecting, go ahead, start collecting!

Posterlovers.com – Search through the world’s largest available collection of posters, fine art prints and photos. Liven up your walls with wall posters and art prints.

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January 7, 2012

PHP Programming – How to Do it on Your Desktop

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One of the main problems for the newcomer to PHP programming is that PHP is a server orientated program. This means that all the PHP scripts have to be uploaded to the server before they can be tested. This can be a major put off for the new PHP Programmer who is reluctant to jeopardise his website by running incomplete scripts.

A way round this is to use Wampserver, an open source windows web development environment. Wampserver allows you to reproduce your server environment on your own desktop thus eliminating the problem of having to upload your scripts to your website to test them.

Wampserver allows you to use Apache, PHP and the MySql database. To implement the latter it also comes with PHPMyAdmin which allows you to easily manage your databases.

That means you don’t need to download Apache, MySql and PHP separately.

So, first goto the Wampserver website and download the latest version of Wampserver and install it. Installing Wampserver is very simple; most of the time you don’t even have to change any installation options from the default. There is one possible problem that users of Skype may have, Wampserver attempts to use the same port as Skype, this can be seen when the icon is not completely white . So quit Skype while you install Wampserver and then reload Skype which will now choose another port. Once Wampserver is installed you can launch it from the start menu or from the desktop icon (if you chose to create one)., you can see the Wampserver icon in the system notification area. The icon colour shows its status (online/offline). Clicking on this icon reveals a menu:

Localhost phpMyAdmin SQLiteManager www directory Apache PHP MySQL

Start All Services Stop All Services Restart All Services

This allows you to manage Wampserver and access all services. When you install Wampserver, all the files are copied in the directory you choose. Config files are then modified to point to that directory.

A directory folder entitled wamp is created with a www folder within it. This will be your document root. It is in the www folder that all your projects will be stored.

As you can see from the menu you can easily view your www directory from the menu

With Wampserver, you will now be able to reproduce your production environment on your personal computer. This now allows you to run and test your PHP Scripts, create databases and test adding, modifying and deleting records in the privacy of your own PC

More information can be found on Wampserver’s website

Now that you have learned something about basic HTML programming go to http://www.reallybasic.com where you can learn basic HTML, PHP, CSS and MySQL

Tony Prodger

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January 5, 2012

How To Prepare A Business Plan That Guarantees Big Profits

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It is always said “If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail”

Success in business comes as a result of planning. You have to have a detailed, written plan that shows what the ultimate goal is, the reason for the goal, and each milestone that must be passed in order to reach your goal.

A business plan is written definition of, and operational plan for achieving your goal. You need a complete but success tool in order to define your basic product, income objectives and specific operating procedures. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN to attract investors, obtain financing and hold onto the confidence of your creditors, particularly in times of cash flow shortages–in this instance, the amount of money you have on hand compared with the expenses that must be met.

Aside from an overall directional policy for the production, sales effort and profit goals of your product–your basic “travel guide” to business success–the most important purpose your business plan will serve, will be the basis or foundation of any financial proposals you submit. Many entrepreneurs are under the mistaken impression that a business plan is the same as a financial proposal, or that a financial proposal constitutes a business plan. This is just a misunderstanding of the uses of these two separate and different business success aids.

The business plan is a long range “map” to guide your business to the goal you’ve set for it. The plan details the what, why, where, how and when, of your business–the success planning of your company.

Your financial proposal is a request for money based upon your business plan–your business history and objectives.

Understand the differences. They are closely related, but they are not interchangeable.

Writing and putting together a “winning” business plan takes study, research and time, so don’t try to do it all in just one or two days.

The easiest way to start with a loose leaf notebook, plenty of paper, pencils, pencil sharpener, and several erasers. Once you get your mind “in gear” and begin thinking about your business plan, “10,000 thoughts and ideas per minute” will begin racing thru your mind…So, it’s a good idea when you aren’t actually working on your business plan, to carry a pocket notebook and jot down those business ideas as they come to you–ideas for sales promotion, recruiting distributors, and any other thoughts on how to operate and/or build your business.

Later, when you’re actually working on your business plan, you can take out this “idea notebook” evaluate your ideas, rework them, refine them, and integrate them into the overall “big picture” of your business plan.

The best business plans for even the smallest businesses run 25 to 30 pages or more, so you’ll need to “title” each page and arrange the different aspects of your business plan into “chapters.” The format should pretty much run as follows:

Title Page Statement of Purpose Table of Contents Business Description Market Analysis Competition Business Location Management Current Financial Records Explanation of Plans For Growth Projected Profit & Loss/Operating Figures Explanation of Financing for Growth Documentation Summary of Business & Outlook for The Future Listing of Business & personal References

This is a logical organization of the information every business plan should cover. I’ll explain each of these chapters titles in greater detail, but first, let me elaborate upon the reasons for proper organization of your business plan.

Having a set of “questions to answer” about your business forces you to take an objective and critical look at your ideas. Putting it all down on paper allows you to change, erase and refine everything to function in the manner of a smoothly oiled machine. You’ll be able to spot weakness and strengthen them before they develop into major problems. Overall, you’ll be developing an operating manual for your business–a valuable tool which will keep your business on track, and guide you in the profitable management of your business.

Because it’s your idea, and your business, it’s very important that YOU do the planning. This is YOUR business plan, so YOU develop it, and put it all down on paper just the way YOU want it to read. Seek out the advice of other people; talk with, listen to, and observe, other people running similar businesses; enlist the advice of your accountant and attorney–but at the bottom line, don’t ever forget it has to be YOUR BUSINESS PLAN!

Remember too, that statistics show the greatest causes of business failure to be poor management and lack of planning–without a plan by which to operate, no one can manage; and without a direction in which to aim its efforts, no business can attain any real success.

On the very first page, which is the title page, put down the name of your business-ABC ACTION–with your business address underneath. Now, skip a couple of lines, and write it all in capital letters: PRINCIPAL OWNER–followed by your name if you’re the principal owner. On your finished report, you would want to center this information on the page, with the words “principal owner” off-set to the left about five spaces.

Examples: ABC ACTION 1234 SW 5th Ave. Anywhere, USA 00000


That’s all you’ll have on this page except the page number -1-

Following your title page is the page for your statement purpose. This should be a simple statement of your primary business function, such as: We are a service business engaged in the business of selling business success manuals and other information by mail.

The title of the page should be in all capital letters across the top of the page, centered on your final draft–skip a few lines and write the statement of purpose. This should be direct, clear and short–never more than (2) sentences in length.

Then you should skip a few lines, and from the left hand margin of the paper, write out a sub-heading in all capital letters, such as: EXPLANATION OF PURPOSE.

From, and within this sub-heading you can briefly explain your statement of purpose, such as: Our surveys have found most entrepreneurs to be “sadly” lacking in basic information that will enable them to achieve success. This market is estimated at more than a 100 million persons, with at least half of these people actively “searching” for sources that provide the kind of information they want, and need.

With our business, advertising and publishing experience, it is our goal to capture at least half of this market of information seekers, with our publication. MONEY MAKING MAGIC! Our market research indicates we can achieve this goal and realize a profit of $1,000,000 per year within the next 5 years…

The above example is generally the way you should write your “explanation of purpose,” and in subtle definition, why you need an explanation. Point to remember: Keep it short. Very few business purpose explanations justify more than a half page long.

Next comes your table of contents page. Don’t really worry about this until you’ve got the entire plan completed and ready for final typing. It’s a good idea though, to list the subject (chapter titles) as I have, and then check off each one as you complete that part of your plan.

By having a list of the points you want to cover, you’ll also be able to skip around and work on each phase of your business plan as an idea or the interest in organizing that particular phase, stimulates you. In other words, you won’t have to make your thinking or your planning conform to the chronological order of the “chapters” of your business plan–another reason for the loose leaf notebook.

In describing your business, it’s best to begin where your statement purpose leaves off. Describe your product, the production process, who has responsibility for what, and most importantly, what makes your product or service unique–what gives it an edge in your market. You can briefly summarize your business beginnings, present position and potential for future success, as well.

Next, describe the buyers you’re trying to reach–why they need and want or will buy your product–and the results of any tests or surveys you may have conducted. Once you’ve defined your market, go on to explain how you intend to reach that market–how you’ll these prospects to your product or service and induce them to buy. You might want to break this chapter down into sections such as..publicity and promotions, advertising plans, direct sales force, and dealer/distributor programs. Each section would then be an outline of your plans and policies.

Moving into the next chapter on competition, identify who your competitors are–their weakness and strong points–explain how you intend to capitalize on those weaknesses and match or better the strong points. Talk to as many of your “indirect” competitors as possible–those operating in different cities and states.

One of the easiest ways of gathering a lot of useful information about your competitors is by developing a series of survey questions and sending these questionnaires out to each of them. Later on, you might want to compile the answers to these questionnaires into some form of directory or report on this type of business.

It’s also advisable to contact the trade associations and publications serving your proposed type of business. For information on trade associations and specific trade publications, visit your public library, and after explaining what you want ask for the librarian’s help.

The chapter on management should be an elaboration on the people operating the business. Those people that actually run the business, their job, titles, duties, responsibilities and background resume’s. It’s important that you “paint” a strong picture of your top management people because the people coming to work for you or investing in your business, will be “investing in these people” as much as your product ideas. Individual tenacity, mature judgement under fire, and innovative problem-solving have “won over” more people than all the AAA Credit Ratings and astronomical sales figures put together.

People becoming involved with any new venture want to know that the person in charge–the guy running the business knows what he’s doing, will not lose his cool when problems arise, and has what it takes to make money for all of them> After showing the “muscle” of this person, go on to outline the other key positions within your business; who the persons are you’ve selected to handle those jobs and the sources as well as availability of any help you might need.

If you’ve been in business of any kind scale, the next chapter is a picture of your financial status–a review of your operating costs and income from the business to date. Generally, this is a listing of your profit & loss statements for the six months, plus copies of your business income tax records for each of the previous three years the business has been an entity.

The chapter on the explanation of your plans for the future growth of your business is just that–an explanation of how you plan to keep your business growing–a detailed guide of what you’re going to do, and how you’re going to increase your profits. These plans should show your goals for the coming year, two years, and three years. By breaking your objectives down into annual milestones, your plan will be accepted as more realistic and be more understandable as a part of your ultimate success.

Following this explanation, you’ll need to itemize the projected cost and income figures of your three year plan. I’ll take a lot of research, an undoubtedly a good deal of erasing, but it’s very important that you list these figures based upon thorough investigation. You may have to adjust some of your plans downward, but once you’ve got these two chapters on paper, your whole business plan will fall into line and begin to make sense. You’ll have a precise “map” of where you’re headed, how much it’s going to cost, when you can expect to start making money, and how much.

Now that you know where you’re going, how much it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to be before you begin to recoup your investment, you’re ready to talk about how and where you’re going to get the money to finance your journey. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll want to use this chapter to list the possibilities and alternatives. Make a list of friends you can approach, and perhaps induce to put up some money as silent partners. Make a list of those people you might be able to sell as stockholders in your company–in many cases you can sell up to $300,000 worth of stock on a “private issue” basis without filing papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Check with a corporate or tax attorney in your area for more details. Make a list of relatives and friends that might help you with an outright loan to furnish money for the development of your business.

Then search out and make a list of venture capital organizations. Visit the Small Business Administration office in your area–pick up the loan application papers they have–read them, study them, and even fill them out on a preliminary basis–and finally, check the costs, determine which business publications would be best to advertise in, if you were to advertise for a partner or investor, and write an ad you’d want to use if you did decide to advertise for monetary help.

With listing of all the options available to your needs, all that’s left is the arranging of these options in the order you would want to use them when the time come to ask for money. When you’re researching these money sources, you’ll save time by noting the “contact” deal with when you want money, and whenever possible, by developing a working relationship with these people.

If your documentation section, you should have a credit report on yourself. Use the Yellow Pages or check at the credit department in your bank for the nearest credit reporting office. When you get your credit report, look it over and take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate any negative comments. Once these have been taken care of, ask for a revised copy of your report and include a copy of that in your business plan.

If you own any patents or copyrights, include copies of these. Any licenses to use someone else’s patent or copyright should also be included. If you own the distribution, wholesale or exclusive sales rights to a product, include copies of this documentation. You should also include copies of any leases, special agreements or other legal papers that might be pertinent to your business.

In conclusion, write out a brief, overall summary of your business- when the business was started, the purpose of the business, what makes your business different, how you’re going to gain a profitable share of the market, and your expected success during the coming 5 years..

The last page of your business plan is a “courtesy page” listing the names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references–persons who have known you closely for the past five years or longer–and companies or firms you’ve had business or credit dealings with during the past five years.

And, that’s it–your complete business plan. Before you send it out for formal typing, read it over once a day for a week or ten days. Take care of any changes or corrections, and then have it reviewed by an attorney and then, an accountant. It would also be a good idea to have it reviewed by a business consultant serving the business community to which your business will be related. After these reviews, and any last-minute changes you want to make, I’ll be ready for formal typing.

Type and print the entire plan on ordinary white bond paper. Make sure you proof-read it against the original. Check for any corrections and typographical errors–then one more time–read it through for clarity and the perfection you want of it.

Now you’re ready to have it printed and published for whatever use you have planned for it–distribution amongst your partners or stockholders as the business plan for putting together a winning financial proposal, or as a business operating manual.

Take it to a quality printer in your area, and have three copies printed. Don’t settle for photo-copying..Have it printed!

Photo-copying leaves a slight film on the paper, and will detract from the overall professionalism of your business plan, when presented to someone you’re trying to impress. So, after going to all this work to put together properly, go all the way and have it duplicated properly.

Next, stop by a stationery store, variety store or even a dime store, and pick up an ordinary, inexpensive bind-in theme cover for each copy of your business plan. Have the holes punched in the pages of your business report to fit these binders and then slip each copy into a binder of its own.

Now, you can relax, take a break and feel good about yourself..You have a complete and detailed business plan with which to operate a successful business of your own. A plan you can use as a basis for any financing proposal you may want to submit..And a precise road-map for the attainment of real success…

You just complete one of the important steps to fulfill of all your dreams of success.

Julia Tang publishes Smart Online Business Tips, a fresh
and informative newsletter dedicated to supporting people
like you! To find out the best online business opportunities,
and to discover hundreds more proven and practical internet
marketing secrets, plus FREE internet marketing products
worth over $200, visit: http://www.best-internet-businesses.com

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January 4, 2012

Get Fit With Tennis – Get a Backyard Tennis Court

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Having a backyard tennis court is much better than having to go to the local courts everyday. With a back yard tennis court, tennis lovers can play any time a partner is available. With the high gas prices of today, constructing a tennis court in the back yard proves to be economically feasible.


Having a back yard tennis court is fun for the entire family. It doesn’t matter if there is a tennis player in the family or not. The fact is that the sport provides a wonderful forum for exercise. Being that the game can be played with four players, a family of four can very easily enjoy a game of tennis on their own court.

When making the decision to embark upon tennis court construction, it must be realized that this is an important and a wise investment. It is also important to realize that there is tennis equipment involved and that the court and the equipment need to be maintained well. Tennis courts can be beautiful in a back yard if they are maintained properly


A backyard court gives a family a good workout and allows them to spend quality time together. Because of the fact that so many individuals are encountering health issues due to inactivity and many are battling obesity, adding something such as a back yard tennis court can help reverse the effects brought on by these issues.

A backyard court also makes for a great place to get together with friends and have a good time. Individuals can have barbecues and play a good game of tennis or have matches in the back yard. The possibilities are virtually endless. However, most of the benefits lie in what having a tennis court can do for the overall health of the entire family.

Tennis court construction

Tennis court construction isn’t as involved as it may look to some. It is good to have the area fenced in so that the tennis balls do not fly into a neighbor’s yard or into another area where they don’t belong. Fencing also keeps out intruders. You can use a privacy fence and you can even get a green vinyl cover to put around your tennis court.

There is also the fact that the concrete has to be poured at 4 inches. The compressive strength should also be 3,000 psi. Also, the water to cement ratio needs to be no more than.40 with a 6% air content. This is to give the concrete the right feel. Having the right feel is important to tennis court construction and to the overall game play because having concrete with the right air content makes for a lesser impact on the knees. The next step is to paint the concrete green or red. Many individuals use both of these colors. There is also the fact that the lines have to be painted onto the court. A tennis court is not a tennis court until it looks like one.

Some individuals even put stone retaining walls around their backyard court that only sits about two feet off of the ground. They do this to keep such elements as water out and to keep animals out. This is great at keeping the court in tip top shape.

And then of course there is the net. A tennis net is your last step. It is not hard to acquire and is quite affordable. They come in one height, so you don’t have to worry about any particular measurements or anything of that sort. After the net is put in place, you now have yourself a backyard court.

Tennis equipment

When a family is going to have a backyard court, it is important to have tennis court equipment. Tennis equipment consists of such items as windscreens to put around the court, the tennis net, trash cans for everyone to throw their trash, water coolers, net posts, tennis ball machines for solo games, tennis ball baskets to carry around all of the balls, and benches so that others can watch.

Players can also include numbers if they really want to feel as if they’re in a real match. They can even invest in tennis ball mowers to pick up the tennis balls faster. If a person doesn’t want a tennis ball basket, they can have a tennis ball cart. There are so many different types of tennis court equipment that can be used to make playing more enjoyable.

It is more or less up to the individual what type of tennis equipment they invest in. This is because different individuals have different levels of experience. Some also view it as a simple workout and others want their tennis court to look like it belongs at a professional match. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a hefty investment, but worth it to those who really want that game feel.

Love the game

It is hard to not love the game of tennis. It is exciting because of that adrenaline rush that comes about when the ball is returned. It also makes individuals feel really good after a game. That’s because the workout is incredible. And to think that it is possible to have a backyard tennis court is even more exciting. This means no more waiting for other players to get done at the court. Public courts usually have just a few courts open at a time, which means people have to wait for others to finish. Having a backyard tennis court fixes that problem.

Swati is a freelancer, a work from home mom, who loves to write. She is a postgraduate in English and an MBA. She has written on practically every niche on the web. She writes articles, blogs, web pages, reports, press releases, product descriptions, eBooks, sales letters and newsletters. Visit now if you need content for your business or personal needs.

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