Cheaper Tea Than Teavana – Where To Buy Inexpensive, High-Quality Loose-Leaf Tea

Teavana is a popular chain of tea stores in the United States. Although the teas sold by Teavana are consistently above-average quality, there is concern that Teavana’s prices are high. My personal opinion is that although Teavana does sell top-notch tea, I also think that it is possible to obtain similar products from other companies for lower prices.

This article outlines some of the other sources of buying high-quality loose leaf tea, sources that are cheaper than Teavana. Inexpensive does not necessarily mean low quality. I have tried to cover a broad range of prices in this article, so I will cover companies priced slightly lower than Teavana to those offering more bargain buys, but I will focus on companies that sell high-quality loose-leaf tea for reasonable prices.

Upton Tea Imports:

Upton is a very different sort of company from Teavana; it focuses on pure teas and single-origin teas, rather than blends. Its true strengths lie in black teas from India, such as Darjeeling and Assam, although it has quite a selection from China as well. Upton has many offerings which are priced well under $10 for 100-120grams, or about 1/4 a pound.

Ahmad Tea:

Ahmad is a brand of tea, based in London, which is marketed primarily towards a middle-eastern audience. Ahmad is the most popular brand of tea in Iran, and is widely available in boxes in middle-eastern stores. I find it to be an excellent choice for strong black and green teas; many of their offerings are under $10 a pound, yet have impressive quality for this price.

Sustainablity-focused companies: Rishi, Arbor Teas, Shanti Teas:

Three companies that I also like to recommend are Rishi Tea, Arbor Teas, and Shanti Teas. These companies tend to have significantly higher prices than Upton or Ahmad, but the higher prices are associated with an increased selection of organic certified and fair trade certified teas. These companies are all leaders in sustainability. Rishi, being the oldest of the three, is the best-known and the one whose teas I have had the most experience with. If you are going to pay top dollar for your tea, I would recommend buying from one of these companies; many of their teas are still cheaper than Teavana, but you will be paying to empower the tea producers, protect the environment, and preserve local traditions of production in developing countries rather than just paying for the high rents in high-end shopping malls that you are paying for when you buy Teavana’s tea.

In summary:

Teavana’s teas are high quality, but are also high-priced, and are in my opinion, overpriced. There is no company exactly like Teavana, but there are many good alternatives from which you can buy loose-leaf tea at reasonable prices. My personal recommendations of companies to buy from include Upton, Ahmad Tea, and the sustainability-focused companies like Rishi, Arbor, and Shanti Tea, which have a lot of organic and fair trade certified offerings.

Source by Alex Zorach

How to Obtain Title For Abandoned Real Estate Through Adverse Possession in the State of California

What is Adverse Possession? How can I obtain title to real estate?

In a nutshell adverse possession is a process where a person or an investor can obtain the ownership or title of real property from another person because the owner has abandoned the property. This is done by simply taking possession of that property in the manner prescribed by state law.

In doing so, you can, literally acquire ownership or title of the real property for just paying the back delinquent real estate taxes and the cost to file a quiet title lawsuit establishing that you obtained title to the property through adverse possession. In other words, you can take title of valuable property for a incredible discount.

The Law of Adverse Possession

The laws governing adverse possession is local state (or, in Canada, territorial law); consequently an Abandoned property investor must look into the specific laws of a specific state or Canadian territory where the real property is located. Since the laws are different dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can often be confusing, anyone wishing to take title to real property through adverse possession should contact a knowledgeable attorney before attempting to do so.

In order for you to begin understanding the requirements of Adverse Possession let’s look at a specific example. Below is a closer look at th California Adverse Possession law. We will use this law to identify and explain some of the more common terms used in Adverse Possession.

California Adverse Possession Law

Briefly, California state law states that Real Estate investors wanting to obtain title to another person’s real property through adverse possession MUST satisfy all the following Requirements:

1.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was held under either (1) a claim of right or (2) under color of title:

2.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was actual, open and notorious;

3.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was hostile, adverse an exclusive;

4.That the Abandoned property investor’s possession was continuous and uninterrupted for a period of five years;

5.That the Abandoned property investor paid th real property taxes during that five-year period.

Possession must be held under either (1) a claim of right or (2) under color of title.

The California statutes governing adverse possession and as well as the statutes of most other states make a distinction between claiming adverse possession based upon a “claim of title founded upon a written instrument or judgment or decree” (often referred to as a claim under color title) and claiming adverse possession based upon “a claim of title exclusive of any other right, but not founded upon a written instrument, judgement, or decree” (often referred to as a claim as either a claim of right, see California Code of civil procedures Section 322 and 323. As to such claim under claim o right, see Code of Civil Procedures Section 324 and 325.

Basically a claim of adverse possession based upon color color of title is one where the claimant(Abandoned Property Investor) took in good faith possession under a deed (or some other written instrument) or judicial decree that appeared to transfer good title, but was defective. For example, a tax sale investor might take adverse possession through color of title for real estate bought at a California county tax-defaulted sale where the sale was conducted improperly and, consequently, the deed was void.

“Claim of Right” or “Claim of Title”

Abandoned property investors attempting to take title to real estate through the doctrine of adverse possession are generally more interested in taking such title through “claim of right” or “claim of title”. Under this doctrine, an investor merely needs to take actual possession of the property and hold that possession as required by appropriate jurisdictional law.

As might be expected, the requirements to establish adverse possession under a claim of right are (under California law and under the law of most all other states) are more strenuous than those associated with claiming under color of title.

In order to be accurate as the specific requirements for a claim of right refer to the specific state statutes. Again, to be safe consult with a knowledgeable attorney in the county where the property is located.

Possession must be actual

As will be seen below, an abandoned property investor claiming possession under the doctrine of adverse possession does not have to personally occupy or live on the real estate to be in actual possession of the property. However, actually living on the real estate is probably the strongest and clearest evidence that possession is actual.

Possession by tenant as actual possession

Real property can be occupied, lived on, and actually possessed by a tenant under a tenancy agreement. Take, for instance, if you look at the California appellate case of Traeger v. Friedman (1947) 79 CA 2d 151. In that case, the adverse possession claimant took possession of a apartment building through tenants and, then, managed and rented for five years. She evn paid the real property taxes out of the rent. The California court held that she had met the actual possession requirement needed to perfect title under adverce possession.

Possession is deemed actual if lands is “protected by a substantial enclosure”, “usually cultivated or improved”

If the adverse possession is claimed based on a claim of right, then California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 324 and 325 apply.

A abandoned property investor’s possession is deemed to be in actual, open and notorious possession of specific real property under a claim of right when that person has either

1.”protected” that property “by a substantial inclosure” OR

2.That person has “usually cultivated” OR

3.Has “improved” tht property.

If the real property being taken through adverse possession is a lot and acreage and cannot be actually possessed (i.e., lived on) then that property must be either “protected…by a substantial inclosure”, “usually cultivated”, or “usually improved”.

If the property is protected by a substantial inclosure, then the inclosure must be “substantial” enough to give the true owner notice of the investor’s Claim of adverse possession during the entire prescriptive period. Older Cases hold that the inclosure must be substantial enough and remain so throughout the prescriptive period of five years and protect all sides of the property claimed from intrusion by cattle or other animals. If the inclosure is so damaged as not to be able to protect all sides of the property from such intrusion, then the Abandoned property investor or claimant must promptly repair that damage inclosure or risk being found by the court to have not met this requirement.

Meeting ANY one of the three alternative, meets the actual possession requirements for adverse possession even though the Abandoned property investor or claimant does not live on the property.

Additionally, California cases have held that although “grazing” or “pasturage” is not mentioned in the Code of Civil Procedure Section 325 reproduced above, it is a method whereby an investor can take actual possession.

Possession Must Be Open And Notorious

Basically, an owner of real estate will not lose that real estate through the doctrine of adverse possession unless the manner in which the investor holds actual possession would provide reasonable notice of that possession if the owner inspected the property. Repairs and improvements made to houses such as painting the ouside of the house, keeping up the outside ground, etc. are examples of such actions.

However, an owner can lose title to real estate through adverse possession even through he or she is never actually aware of the possession because the owner never visited the real estate to discover the improvements made by the abandoned property investor.

Possession Was Hostile, Adverse And Exclusive.

Basically, if the abandoned property investor or claimant is in possession under color of title, then that possession is deemed to be adverse and hostile to the true owner and it is not necessary to offer any further proof.

However if the Abandoned property investor or claimant is in possession under claim of title, then the claimant must prove that the possession was hostile and adverse. The word “hostile” does not mean that the possession was “overtly antagonistic” to the owner; it means simply that such possession is “inconsistent” with that of the true owner.)

It must be shown that the possession was in violation of the true owner’s property rights and that it should give rise in the owner a reason to begin an action to terminate the Abandoned property investor or claimant’s possession or use.

Possession of the property with the owner’s permission is not hostile or adverse. see California Civil Code Section 813 which provides a better legal explanation of this process.

Basically what the California Civil Code Section 813 means that the owner of the property can give permission for the use of that property by the general public or specific individuals. The statute further states that: “In the event of use by other than the general public, any such notices, to be effective, shall also be served by registered mail on the user.

The claimant’s use must also be exclusive, use of that property by the legal owner or any other person except the claimant or abandoned property investor or a tenant of the claimant or abandoned property investor holding possession on behalf of that person will probably defeat a claim of title through adverse possession.

Possession Was Continuous And Uninterrupted For Five Years.

This requirement can be found in Civil Code Section 1007 when read together with Code of Civil Procedure Sections 318, 319, 321, 322, and 325. Most specifically, Code of Civil procedure Sections 325 provides:

“provided, however, that in no case shall adverse possession be considered established under the provisions of any section or sections of this code, unless it shall be shown that the land has been occupied and claimed for the period of five years continuosly, and the party or persons, their predecessors and grantor’s, have paid all the taxes, state, county, or municipal, which have been levied and assessed upon such land.”

The requirement does not mean, however, that the investor must be physically on the land every day for five years. For instance, if actual possession of a home or other rental real estate is held by tenants on behalf of the adverse possessor or abandoned property investor, then ordinary vacancies will not disrupt the continuity of the possession.

So, if an investor were to take possession of rental property, for example, and there were normal vacancies that occur, these vacancies would not be considered a violation if the five year occupancy requirement. It also means that the investor does not have to live on the property to make this claim. That means you can claim adverse possession at multiple properties as long as the property is safe and liveable for tenants. That means a positive cash flow while waiting in the prescribed period and also without your physical stay at your property.

Claimant Paid The Real Property Taxes During That Five Year Period.

See Code of Civil Procedure Section 325 which governs this requirement

The Abandoned property investor or claimant must prove that he or she has paid all taxes that have been levied and assessed against the real property claimed during the entire five year period. A failure to pay taxes assessed for any one year will defeat a claim for adverse possession. Then the claimant must also pay any delinquent taxes outstanding for years prior to the start of the claim for adverse possession. For more details please refer to the case of Los Angeles v. Coffey (1963) 243 CA 2d 121,125.

Under the law of the state of California, if a Abandoned property investor meets all the requirements of the law of adverse possession under claim of title, then that person becomes the true legal owner of the real estate that has been abandoned. If the legal title of the real property was held by the former owner with no outstanding liens that superceeds the tax lien, then the investor will have acquired the real estate for, basically, just five or more years worth of back delinquent real property taxes or for just a small investment.

So, What Should A Abandoned Real Property Investor Look For?

The two most important principles of the law of adverse possession is that a Abandoned real property investor wants to see are the following:

1.The ability to take adverse possession under Claim of right or claim of title as opposed to color of title and

2.A relatively short prescriptive period. The period of time the Abandoned property investor must adversely possess the real property before that investor can obtain title to the real property.

You are probably asking yourself, Why?

Because in the state of California, the period or prescriptive period is five years based upon the California Code of Civil Procedure. However in some states the period can last from 10, 15 or 20 years until you get title through adverse possession.

Source by Josue Zengotita

15 August 1945: USS Concord Fires Last Shot of WWII – 15 August 2015 Marks the 70th Anniversary

Other war ships claimed to have fired the last shot of World War II, but that distinction goes to the USS Concord CL-10, a four-stack light cruiser named for the Massachusetts town where the first ordered shot of the American Revolution-“the shot heard ’round the world”-was fired.

“I had no idea I was present for this historic event,” Thaddeus Buczko of Salem, Massachusetts, told me in a recent interiew, “until I read about it many years later in a veterans’ magazine.” At the time, 19-year-old Buczko was serving in the U. S. Navy aboard the USS Bearss (pronounced “barce”). The Bearss was one of the destroyers that comprised Task Force 92 serving in the Northern Pacific Ocean, along with the light cruisers Concord, Richmond, and Trenton.

By 15 August 1945, Nazi Germany had surrendered to the Allied Forces in Europe (8 May), and atomic bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima (6 August) and Nagasaki, Japan (9 August). Did Buczko and his shipmates have a sense that the war was ending? “No,” Buczko says. “We heard that the Germans had surrendered, but we were all the way over in the Pacific. We were still at war. We heard about the bombs being dropped in August, but we were unaware of the consequences and had no idea what was going to happen next. We were still under orders.”

On 15 August 1945, Task Force 92 bombarded shipping and shore installations in the Japanese Kuril Islands. The Concord was tasked with opening fire on Shasukotan Island, firing “salvo after salvo” with her six-inch “twin guns” and the five-inch guns of the Task Force’s destroyers, including the Bearss, according to the account by Fred A. Lumb that Thaddeus Buczko read years later.

Lumb continues: “At last Capt. C. A. Rumble, commanding the Concord and the little task group, gave the ceasefire order. The destroyers’ guns became silent. About a minute later, Lt. Comdr. Daniel Brand, the gunnery officer, high aloft in forward fire control, saw to it that one more round was fired by the Concord.” Because the last shot had mis-fired just before the ceasefire went into effect, the ship had to receive special permission from the Task Force Commander to fire one last time rather than retrieve the ammunition manually. That was the last shot of the war.

Ensign Robert P. Crossley of the Concord described what happened next: “News of Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam Surrender terms… was received aboard the Concord by radio as she steamed toward the Aleutians following the Navy’s final offensive strike against Japanese territory… the shot heard ’round the world from the Musket of the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington on April 19, 1775 had re-echoed with even greater fury and meaning as this proud bearer of the minuteman tradition fired the final naval gun salvo of World War II, a few seconds after 8:06 p. m. (Japan time).”

Fred Lumb concludes: “Within the hour, Ens. Robert Crossley was in the coding room, just off the radio shack, typing Concord’s claim to having fired the last American shot of the war.” The Navy soon verified their claim.

The crew aboard the Bearss received the news of Japan’s surrender by loud speaker, with very few details. Buczko recalls, “Even when we were informed that the Japanese had surrendered, we wondered if the Japanese ships and pilots out there knew it. We were still ever-vigilant. We could still be attacked.”

As for hearing the war was over? “We were all just matter-of-fact,” Buczko says. We were very tired. There was no elation, no jubilation, like you hear about everyone in the States.” In the Aleutian Islands, the Bearss and the Concord repaired damage to the ships, re-supplied, re-armed, and prepared for orders. They prepared for boarding parties. “We knew we were going in,” Buczko explains, “but we didn’t know when or how.”

On 2 September 1945, the Japanese and Americans signed the official surrender document aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

In the Aleutian Islands, orders came for the Bearss and the Hood, another destroyer in the Task Force, to rendezvous with a Japanese ship carrying the emissaries who would sign U. S. Naval Emergency Occupation Order No. 1. The Order would turn over the Ominato Guard District Area to the United States, specifically: “That portion of the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido between Latitudes Forty Degrees and Thirty minutes and Forty-two Degrees North and between Longitudes 139 degrees and 142 degrees East is hereby declared the Ominato Guard District Emergency Occupation Zone.”

The Bearss and Hood rendezvoused with the Japanese delegation’s ship in the Tsugaru Straits, “a fifteen-mile-wide body of water separating the northern coast of Honshu and the Island of Hokaido,” Quartermaster Edwin E. Douglass wrote in his account of the day.

QM Douglass continues: “The Japanese crew had painted a white cross on their ship’s funnel, the emblem of surrender. As the ships approached each other, it was indeed a tense moment for every man aboard until the Japanese raised the international code of flags giving us assurance her intentions were strictly peace loving.” Even so, while one of the Hood’s small boats went out to transport the emissaries to the Bearss, the Bearss and the Hood circled the Japanese ship, guns trained on their potential target. The Bearss also took on U. S. Marines and media personnel. While everyone boarded the Bearss, Buczko was top-side manning two 36″ search lights, observing it all, but having “no idea of what was going on,” he remembers.

The Japanese ship guided the Bearss and the Hood through the heavily mined Tsugaru Straights into Matsu Bay for occupation duty. “When we pulled in,” Buczko recalls, “I remember observing Japanese people abandoning the city in haste for the mountains, carry their belongings or using anything with wheels. I think were in fear of the occupation forces.”

The United States and Japan signed Emergency Occupation Order No. 1 on 9 September 1945 aboard the USS Panamint, the flagship of Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, Commander, North Pacific Force and Area. Among the Order’s instructions, the Japanese would provide:

  • Lists of all Japanese “land, air, and anti-craft units, showing locations and strength in officers and men”
  • Lists of all aircraft (military, naval, and civilian), naval vessels, and merchant ships, their type, condition, and locations
  • Detailed information, including maps, of “all mines, minefields and other obstacles to movement by land, sea or air”
  • “Locations and descriptions of all military installations and establishments… together with plans and drawings of all such fortifications, installations and establishments”
  • “Locations of all camps and other places of detention of all United Nations prisoners of war”

Further stipulations regarded minesweeping, and the provision of transportation, labor, materials, and facilities as directed by Admiral Fletcher.

In his introductory remarks to the Occupation Order, Admiral Fletcher expressed his hope that the occupation would proceed without “any incident that would only increase the sufferings of the Japanese people.”

Concluding his personal account of the signing, QM Douglass wrote: “Another drastic and useless war had ended, another lesson had been learned testifying that man wraps himself in a blanket of ideals and luxuries, then with a match sets the world on fire, finding he was destroying himself as well with the seeking of leadership and fame.”

The officers and crew of the Bearss held a flag raising ceremony at the Ominato Base. QM Douglass observed, “The ancient empire today stands beneath the flags of the United Nations. A destroyer and her crew received a ‘well done’ as the stars and stripes were raised over Ominato, proving that nations combined shall oppress all who intend to destroy the human race.”

Heading Home and Conclusions

After a period of occupation duty, the USS Concord sailed for Boston to participate in Navy Day on 27 October 1945. According to the Navy, she was the first Navy cruiser named for a Massachusetts city or town to visit the Commonwealth since the surrender of Japan. Some 18,000 people lined up in Boston to board the ship and view the turret of the “twin six” that fired the last shot of the war. (The gun and mount are now on view at the Naval Museum in Washington, D. C.) Visitors also saw a bronze replica of the famous Concord Minuteman Statue, a memento of the first “shot heard ’round the world” of the Revolutionary War and the ship’s “mascot.”

The Concord received one Battle Star for her service in the Kuril Islands Operation. After visiting Boston, she returned to her home port of Philadelphia where she was decommissioned on 12 December 1945 and sold 21 January 1947.

Following her occupation duty, the USS Bearss sailed for Hakodate, Hokkaido, to Yokosuka in Tokyo Bay, and then returned to the States via the destroyer base in Hawaii to San Diego, California. From there, the Bearss passed through the Panama Canal and arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, on 23 December 1945. She had participated in eight sea strikes with no casualties. The Bearss was brought back into service in 1951, decommissioned in 1963, and eventually sold for scrap.

After a 30-day leave, allowing him to return home to Salem for Christmas of 1945, Thaddeus Buczko (today, age 89) was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Midway until he retired from active duty.

He went on to receive a B. A. from Norwich University (with honors) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Army. While pursuing his law degree at Boston University, in June 1949 Buczko was commissioned by the U. S. Army to serve as a Reserve Officer with the 304th Armored Calvary Regiment. He was recalled to active duty in 1952, during the Korean War, where he served as a Unit Tank Commander with the 3rd Armored Division and as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate for the Division. After the war, Buczko served with Civil Affairs units (military government). He commanded the 357th Civil Affairs Area B Headquarters. He also served as Chief of Staff of the 94th Army Reserve Command, which was comprised of more than 12,000 citizen-soldier reservists in over 100 reserve units in New England. In 1979, Buczko retired at the rank of Colonel after 30 years of service in the Army. For his service, he received the Legion of Merit medal.

Thaddeus Buczko has served as a Salem City Councilor, Massachusetts State Representative, Post Master of Salem (appointed by President John F. Kennedy), Massachusetts State Auditor, and First Justice of the Essex County Probate and Family Court. He is credited with bringing Pope John Paul II to Boston in 1979. He continues to reside in Salem.

Source by Bonnie Hurd Smith

Every Farm Business, No Matter How Small, Needs PC-Based Record Keeping & Accounts Automation

The Reasons Some Business Owners Give Against Adopting Computers ACTUALLY Provide Perfect Justifications For Them To Do So!

The irony about most of the excuses these business owners give for not wanting to adopt computers, is that those reasons in themselves provide GREAT JUSTIFICATION for the owners to employ computer-aided monitoring of their business’ performance. Among other benefits, such as time saving and increased human resources productivity, doing so facilitates better informed and timely decision making! This is because the use of computers (via software automation) enhances more COMPREHENSIVE analysis.

With proper planning, including use of standard manual data recording formats which subsequently serve as “source” documents for making computer entries, the perception of “difficulty” in the use of computer automation can be removed from the minds of many.

The use of computers DOES NOT have to cost you an arm and a leg. You do not for instance have to go about it in the manner a multinational would ! I do ALL my work on a computer that I have now owned for four years. With a 256MB RAM, 40GB Hard Drive, and other standard features, it cost me less than N70,000(N135 naira = $1.00 US Dollar approx as at time of writing this) to get it, and today would cost round about the same amount or possibly less, what with all the competition. Many business owners out here will probably find that THIS type of computer system specification I use will be just right for them.

So what does N70,000 over a four year period come to? Very little, when you think about what you will be able to do. Consider also that I STILL have no plans to replace the computer any time soon because I know I can get it upgraded to deliver higher performance, at a fraction of the cost of purchase.

Aside from the computer, you need nothing more than your hands (for typing your records); a spreadsheet application like MS Excel(to post your data into, for subsequent analysis); or you could use a custom spreadsheet software I can build for you to make posting your data for analysis and accounts preparation EVEN easier.

What we are talking about here is a LONG TERM solution that will pay for itself many times over by SAVING you hundreds of hours of effort/time PLUS it will eliminate the pain of having to worry about making sense of what’s happening in your farm business.

For instance, some farm owners cannot even be sure if they are making profits or running at a loss, because the thought of sitting down to do ALL the needed calculations is just too DAUNTING. That’s a problem you are not likely to have if you adopt the SIMPLE computer based automation I have described above for YOUR farm business.

Computation Of Your Farm KPIs Will Take MUCH LESS Time & Effort When Automated

In order to really get maximum value from computing the five(5) Key indicators we describe as essential for monitoring your business’ performance, the use of computer based automation cannot be over-emphasised.

If you really want to operate your business in a manner that ensures you don’t get overwhelmed by the day to day requirements, you MUST as a matter of priority incorporate computer based automation into your routine data recording, analysis and accounts preparation.

Just imagine how useful it would be, to be able to click your mouse and have displayed on your computer screen ALL the important financial data, especially the five(5) KPIs described here!

You would spend LESS of your time punching a calculator (or asking your operatives/manager to do it), LESS time wondering if ANY data was missed or if there was a wrong input or incorrect calculation method employed. Instead you would be able to focus MORE on thinking about the computed performance indicators against the background of farm management decisions/actions you took over the course of the period for which they were estimated.

What you learn as a result will guide you in taking future decisions – and over time you will be able to ensure MORE consistency in your farm business operations – leading to consistency in output, and by implication, income.

But You Do NOT Even Need To Own A Computer To Automate Your Farm Business Records Keeping/Accounts

YES – that’s right, you don’t! Let me explain why :

1. Not everyone who visits/uses cyber cafes and business centers owns a PC at home – especially here in Nigeria/Africa.

2. Yet most users of cafes and business centers will often produce letters, reports and other documents while in those places, which they will print for use in their work and/or businesses. Sometimes they email the finished documents to associates via the Internet. These are everyday people just like you and I. You probably do the same thing from time to time too!

3. In order to do the above ALL they need to have is MONEY as little as N150 to N200 (N135 = $1.00 US Dollar approx) to gain about ONE hour of access to an Internet connected PC or – one not online which they would use for typing/preparing their documents.

4. The only other thing they would want to own is some removable storage device(like a floppy disk or better still a flash drive etc) on which copies of the documents they produce at the end of their stay in the cafe or Business center can be stored – for retrieval at a later date.

Going by the above therefore, if you don’t feel convinced enough to invest in a computer for your business today, it is obvious that THAT does not stop you from using computer-based software to automate your farm records keeping/analyses and accounts preparation.

I have seen people sit for upwards of four(4) hours at a stretch in a cyber cafe, typing handwritten data from a paper based spreadsheet source containing various tables into a computer-based Excel spreadsheet – adding formula generated totals and other summaries before emailing the completed document to a waiting party in some other geographical locations!

Hopefully those who choose to work this way would have done the maths and can justify having to work that way. It is however DEFINITELY better than having to depend on manual, paper-based and/or calculator-aided preparation of business records/accounts!

Summary – There Really Is No Justifiable Reason NOT To Automate Your Farm Business’ Records & Accounts

You stand to gain MUCH more than you could possibly lose – both in the short and long term by adopting computer-based automation for your farm (and any other) business.

And when we talk about the “long run”, even the person visiting cafes and business centers to work, will eventually be forced to weigh the inconvenience of doing so, PLUS the attendant costs over time, against the many benefits derivable from working on his/her own computer without being under psychological pressure to finish on time so as to avoid having to pay for an extra hour!

In the long run therefore, owning a PC for your business – even if just ONE – will do you, and your business a whole lot of good.

BUT, you can always start by working from a cafe or business center – where using a custom software built for you can even help you work FASTER so you can finish in less time, and therefore PAY LESS to the cafe owner!

Or BETTER STILL, you could do your work in a friend’s place (where you may be able to use a computer for FREE!). Any approach you adopt, so long as it helps you get started with using computer-based automation for your farm business records keeping/accounts, WILL work better than if you continued with manual/calculator-aided methods!

Source by Tayo Solagbade

The Best Personal Trainer Certification (Part 3)

Specialized Certifications for Personal Trainers & Strength Coaches: PICP

I just took the Poliquin International Certification Program (PICP) level 1 Strength Coach Certification in New York City ($650, 3 days). It was really good information.

I learned about the certification through a mentor, Joe Dowdell. I trust his opinion because he is very committed to continuing education and has taken pretty much every respectable certification.

Charles Poliquin is a famous strength coach who has trained more Olympians than any other strength coach I can think of (except maybe Mike Boyle).

If you read Part. 1 of this series, you know that there are a lot of good certifications out there, and there is no one best certification for everyone. It all depends on who you want to work with and your career path.

But, if you want to work with athletes to increase performance, this certification is up there with the NSCA’s C.S.C.S. and the Athlete’s Performance mini-internship (both of which I have taken, and honestly, even though NSCA is the most respected, I feel like I got more practical knowledge from Poliquin and Athlete’s Performance.)

There are several things that I loved about this certification, and a couple of things that I think could be improved.

Pros

* The level 1 strength coach certification focuses on manipulating acute training variable (sets, reps, tempo, and rest) for highly effective program design. These may seem like basics, but no other certification covers it like Poliquin. It’s amazing how few people really understand how to manipulate time under tension, tempo, and rest for specific goals and sports. They also emphasize creating precise descriptions of every exercise, to ensure the most amount of variation and adaptation (Squat vs Barbell Back Squat Shoulder Width Stance).

* I loved how much research they provided as evidence, although they could have done a better job summarizing it. I have found that the best certifications specialize in one area. (Too many certifications try to be a jack of all trades, and end up being a master of none.)

* The information easily transfers to practical application, and is applicable to your general population clients. If you want to learn program design, in particular for power, strength, or fat loss, this certification is great.

* They provide a good methodology and protocol for testing maximal strength, although somewhat incomplete (see below). Based on this test, they provide a nice formula, based on studies, for assessing the balance of strength throughout the upper body. (Ex. If you lift xxx on the bench press, you should be able to do 8rm of external rotation with 8.6% of that bench press weight, and if you can’t there is an imbalance etc).

* The course instructors were friendly, knowledgeable, and generous with their attention.

* You have to take a test before being admitted to the class, in addition to a test at the end. I like this! Only committed trainers show up, and they show up with a good understanding of the basic material, so nobody asks stupid questions.

Cons

* One of the instructors didn’t understand BASIC biomechanics. Either that, or we had a major miss communication.

* Some of the pictures in the manual were misleading and/or confusing.

* The little demo on stretching was a waste of time at best, and misleading at worst. Stick to what you are good at, leave the stretching to certifications that focus on that!

* We were quizzed on Cluster Training and German Body training, which is very cool stuff, but we only glossed over it during the lecture. I would like to have spent more time on these specific programs, but there is a lot of good info about them online too.

* Some of the topics in the manual could be worded better. Initially, they do an ok job of defining the different strength qualities (limit strength, maximal strength, absolute strength, speed strength, strength endurance), but aren’t as clear when they refer to these qualities later on in the manual.

* They were clearly negligent and not following their own methodology when they chose a trainer to demonstrate the 1rm testing protocol for the bench press. The specifically chose someone who appeared to be out of structural alignment, and then tested him to his limit, without ever asking him if he has been working out consistently for the last 12 weeks (which is their own protocol).

* Furthermore, they should change their protocol and ask what kind of workout has been done over the last 12 weeks, because a person could be working out for 12 weeks and still not be ready for a 1rm bench press. RULE # 1 in personal training is do no harm. The trainer came in the next day and couldn’t participate in certain lifts, and my understanding was that he had joint pain, not just muscular soreness. Not cool and not necessary. I later talked to another trainer who said he was injured in a PICP certification.

You may read this last part and say “Whoa, no way am I doing this certification” but I think you should reconsider, it is a very valuable certification, just know your own limits and don’t do anything you think is risky (and keep the ego in check! I know it is hard when there are other trainers around).

We all had to do a 1rm test to get experience; I chose the pull up because I am a rock climber. I was able to do 1 pull-up with 90lbs loaded on me, chin over bar. There are several exercises to choose from, so you should be able to find one you are comfortable with, and if not, you can and should pass.

Biomechanics

Regarding the biomechanics issue, one of the instructors mentioned he does 1 and ¼ reps on bench press with girls with the ¼ rep at the top of the motion, because this part of the motion overloads the triceps and girls care about the back of their arms looking good.

Totally cool with me. This instructor had mentioned that he is very precise in tracking his programs and exercises, so I asked was if he ever manipulated their intention on the bar to overload their triceps also?

In other words, you can push out against the friction of the barbell with your triceps, your hands aren’t going to move, but the line of force caused by the friction, when combined with the line of force of the barbell (gravity) creates a resultant with a different line of force that changes the force angle’s at the axes of rotation of the shoulder joint and elbow joint. (Not a typo, axes is the plural of axis. Who knew?)

With intention, you can make the lowest part of bench press harder for the triceps, and the top part harder for the chest. Can you do this and still lift maximal weight? No! Can you just lift a barbell with only your triceps? No! But that was not my question.

His response was “I would love for you to come do chest with me sometime” as if who could bench the most would settle who knew the most (It doesn’t, duh).

Whoa there cowboy, first off, I was just asking a question, second off, I would be honored to workout with you because you know a lot, even if you don’t understand basic biomechanics, and thirdly, you are welcome to do one of my empire state building stair workouts with me. I can get up 86 flights in UNDER 15minutes, I would love to watch your face as you try and keep up, although to do that I would have to slow down, and slow ain’t my style buddy. Either way, neither of these workouts would settle anything, I was just trying to learn from his perspective without losing my perspective.

His final response was “Yeah, you could probably do that, but why not just do a triceps exercise instead of modifying a bench press?” Really, didn’t we start this conversation because you said you liked modifying a bench press with 1 and ¼ reps to hit the triceps more? Sheesh! I wasn’t going to push, because it wasn’t a seminar about biomechanics and I didn’t want to be one of those trainers who take over a lecture to prove their point. Anyway, this instructor has a lot of potential, but he is young and testy! I liked him to say the least:)

I hope you enjoyed this post, and will consider this certification. Also, if you want to be able to rip apart knowledgeable instructors, text books, and pretty much everyone else in the gym about biomechanics or exercise mechanics, you should strongly consider the Resistance Training Specialist certification.

What is your favorite certification? Why? What information helped you pick a certification? Is there any topic you want to learn about in particular? Would you take the PICP certification?

Leave me some questions in the comments and I will get right back to you. SHOW ME YOU ARE ALIVE!

Until next time, keep your business fit.

Johnny Fitness

Source by Jonathan Angelilli

The Fish We Cook, Porgy and Pompano

POMPANO

It can be called butterfish, cobbler fish, permit or palmetto. No matter what name you give it, the Florida pompano is considered one of the best tasting fish in the ocean. It is a very popular fish in the Florida area both commercially and for sports fishing. Found in the warm waters of the south Atlantic from Cape Cod to Brazil, the it should not be confused with the California pompano which is actually a member of the butterfish family and not a pompano at all. It is a fast growing fish, reaching 8-12 inches in its first year and has a life expectancy of 3 to 4 years. Because of its fast growth and great taste, farming the pompano is becoming very popular. The average harvest size for farmed pompano is 1 to 1.5 pounds. It has a silvery body, metallic blue above and golden-yellow below with a deeply forked tail and wid caught average 1 ½ to 3 pounds. The pompano has been known to reach 9 pounds and 26 inches in length. It is a fairly expensive fish because of high demand and commercial fishing restrictions. The pompano has a flesh that is very flakey, very firm, and fairly high in fat and has a delicious rich flavor. It remains moist with a pearly white color after cooking. The best way to cook pompano is to bake, broil, sauté, pan fry or oven fry.

PORGY

A small fish known as the saltwater pan fish, the porgy or scup which it is commonly called is very popular with sport and commercial fishermen along the Atlantic coast from Maine to South Carolina. The name “porgy” comes from an American Indian word for “fertilizer”, a common use for the fish because of its abundance in early America. It has a silver blue back with dull silver sides and 12 to 15 faint vertical stripes. The porgy averages 1 to 2 pounds and 12 to 14 inches in length but can grow to 3 or 4 pounds. They can live up to 20 years. Some of the regional names it can be found under are, scup, maidens, fair maidens, convict, paugy, prison fish, sargo and sea bream. The porgies tender, flakey meat is mild in flavor and moderate in fat content. They have many bones and are difficult to fillet, therefore they are commonly sold whole. The best way to cook porgy is to bake, deep fry, pan fry, sauté or steam.

Source by Tom J Bergerson

A Review of the Best Quality Dance Pads for Serious DDR Players

Dance Dance Revolution has evolved to be one of the trendiest games. There is a huge following and people always await the next release. For the people that have lived under a rock or in Amish areas DDR is a game where players dance to a song by stepping to the beat and pressing arrows on the dance pad in conjunction to the arrows that appear on the screen. The Dance Pad that you play on is very important. If you are a serious player or you foresee a large amount of usage you need to consider a top end pad. I would like to provide you with the latest info on the Best pads available.

The following review will cover the following Dance Pads…

  • ION Master
  • ION Pro
  • Energy Arcade

First up is the DDR ION Master Pad

After numerous designing, engineering, prototyping and testing sessions, the newly designed commercial grade iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad has finally arrived. Our goal is to develop the industry’s greatest DDR arcade metal dance pad for both exercising and gaming purposes. The iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad is excellent for both beginners and aggressive advanced players; most importantly, the iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad is designed for fitness exercise players. The iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad utilizes Soft Bounce Advanced Technology; it is designed to extend DDR game play. Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) games require heavy stomping and players can become fatigue easily. The soft bounce effect absorbs your energy from your ankle, resulting in less stomping on the rigid arrow panel. You can now extend DDR game play, have a longer exercises and burn more calories at the same time.

Most importantly, the iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad is well designed in material and structure. Utilizing heavy duty stretched metal, the iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad is significantly stronger and thicker, with weights distributed to the perimeter, the iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad has increased stability and longer life span than any other metal dance pads in the market. Many metal pads in the market cannot absorb the heavy stomping, which results in bent or cracked arrows. With all these great improvements, the iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad will be your best bang for the buck.

The iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad also has enhanced thick metal panels, which are now raised so that you can sense your position on the metal dance pad. The raised buttons help those who tend to lose their positions on the dance pad, and make their game play even more precise. More over, the handle bar of the iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad has been greatly improved, and it provides extra stability and durability. This is perfect for advanced, aggressive players. The iON Master Arcade is suitable for both commercial, school, recreational facilities and home use.

The iON Master Arcade Metal Dance Pad is a master piece to master the Dance Dance Revolution game.

Next up is the ION Pro

This commercial graded iON Pro metal pad manufactures with the brake through new Tapeswitch sensor technology. The design of Tapeswitch is extremely sensitive product for electronic signaling and sensing applications. This is a similar sensor technology utilized in the DDR Arcade Machine. The new iON pro metal pad is incredibly heavy duty. Such a super quality metal pad is definitely the ideal solution for commercial or home use.

Next up is the Energy Arcade

This incredible dance pad features the super sensitive-definitely no more delay technology with our brand new look design and offers 3 in One multi-platform plug works flawlessly with the PS&PS2, Xbox, and PC via USB. From complete novices to experienced experts, you can now experience skill level that can match your abilities. Whether you are competing against the challenge of the game or you are seeking particular opponents to match your wits and dexterity, this Energy Series will provide you with a completely new and rich experience.

Source by Donald Martin

The Buying and Selling Costs of Real Estate Transactions in Kenya

As would be expected, there are several transactions involved in buying and selling property, which attract fees and taxes. In Kenya, you incur charges from the moment you begin searching for feasible investment ventures.

While some costs are set, such as registration and requisite search fees, many costs associated with buying and selling real estate in Kenya are highly variable and based on:

  • The type of real estate
  • Location of the property
  • Commissions and fees charged and earned by the various professionals (which are also often based on type and location of the property)
  • The type of transactions
  • Documents you want or need

The estimated sum for round trip transactions can range from 4.5% to 6.8% of the selling/buying price of the real estate.

Real-estate Agent Fees

  • Searching fees: rates vary depending on the type, size and cost of property with an urban apartment in upmarket neighborhood costing as much as Ksh5,000
  • Viewing fees: varies among real estate agents but usually ranges between Ksh500- 1000 for residential houses and over Kshs5,000 for commercial properties
  • Listing Fees: varies depending on size and location of property with landlords paying from 2% the value of the property
  • Agent’s commission (buyer & seller): 1.25% of the sale price

Property Requisite Search Fees

  • Preliminary requisite search fee: Ksh500
  • Costs of obtaining requisite completion documents (seller): Kshs500

Registration Costs

  • Registration fees: Ksh500
  • Banker’s cheque fee: Kshs600
  • Land rent clearance certificate: Kshs 7,500

Stamp Duties

Stamp duties are taxes tied to documents and real-estate sale/purchase transactions. It’s usually based on the sale price of the property.

  • Duly signed sales agreement: Ksh200 for original copy and Kshs20 for each copy
  • Property transfer (properties within municipalities): 4% flat rate
  • Property transfer (outside municipalities): 2% flat rate
  • Mortgage: 0.1% of the amount of mortgage
  • Property leased for less than 3 years: 1% flat rate
  • Property leased over a duration of 3yrs: 2% flat rate stamp duty

Taxes

  • Income tax (non-residents): 30% of gross rental income
  • Income tax (foreign companies): 37.50% flat rate
  • Annual property tax: varies across locations and property value but is usually 1% of the property value
  • Land tax: varies by location of the land and is most costly in major towns such as Nairobi with rates as high as 8%

Legal and Mortgage Fees

  • Legal charges related with taking mortgage

    • Depends on amount of mortgage you take (higher mortgages mean higher fees) but mostly the rates are between 0.5-1.5% of the value of property
  • Property insurance: varies with duration of loan repayment and lender
  • Mortgage life policy: charged at 0.3% and 0.6% of the mortgage loan per year
  • Mortgage negotiation fees: although it varies, most lenders ask for 1% of the mortgage amount
  • Mortgage indemnity insurance: often ranges between 5 – 10% of the value of property
  • Legal fees related with lawyer overseeing sale process: 1.5%

Other Important Costs

  • Survey fees: Ksh 5, 000 consultation fee.

    • Survey fees are determined by the survey work done
  • Valuation charges: usually Kshs5,000 consultation fee

    • However, the actual valuation fee depends on property value. For instance valuation charges for urban properties valued Ksh10 million means Ksh40,000
  • Residency permit fees: accompanied by non-refundable processing fees and the fees vary depending with the type of permit you need. For instance:
  1. Class D- Kshs200,000 annually with 10,000 non-refundable fees
  2. Class I- Kshs5,000 with Kshs1,000 non-refundable fee
  3. Class A- Kshs250, 000 and 10,000 non- refundable, etc.

Company setup costs: depends on type and size of company and its location

Utility reconnection fees include

  • Electricity deposit fees: standard Ksh2,500
  • Water deposit fees: standard Ksh1,000

Source by James E Harrison

Benefits of Recycled Paper Bags

Paper bags have come a long way, from flimsy and frail materials, to durable containers. There are different kinds varying in size, shape, design, bag handle and colour. The process in which they are produced and the type of paper from which these bags are made also differ. Recycled paper bags are a popular variety, that boast of resilience and water resistance.

These eco-friendly bags have been the better option for retail bagging for some time now. More and more people – manufacturers, suppliers, entrepreneurs and consumers – are gearing towards the use of paper bags. Shopping bags and carrier bags made of plastic have been popularly replaced by paper bags in many establishments. Now, the those bags have been further delimited to recycled ones.

Recycled paper bags, in addition to being ideal carriers and shopping bags, also make great gift bags, loot bags, souvenir packs, and giveaways themselves. Purchasing a bulk order is more cost effective than utilising these bags. They can be used for special occasions like Christmas, birthdays and company anniversary for gift-giving to clients and employees, and for company events in packaging giveaways, freebies and other essential items. For hundreds of pieces, you spend less than you would if you opt for plastic bags. More so, a great bargain for choosing the recycled kind.

More good news is that these bags allow for longer and multiple usage. With sizes and thicknesses that can accommodate heavy and big items, there’s no reason to worry of torn bags or unlatched handles in the middle of a shopping spree or damaged loot bags when handing out company goods to clients. Recycled paper bags are long-lasting and sturdy materials.

This kind of bags is safe and light to use. They can also be easily discarded if you do not wish to reuse them. True, those bags when used too many times will eventually wear out. Unlike plastic bags however, that cause health and environmental repercussions because of the toxins from the plastic when disposed of and recycled improperly, those bags including recycled paper bags pose no threat to us and the environment.

Using those bags is a good introduction to employees and clients that your business supports environmentally friendly products and contributes to environmental conservation. This establishes a positive image for your brand.

Your company doesn’t have to stage rallies or join conventions. Simple recycled paper bags speak volumes. They make a statement in both style and good cause. Utilise them for your business and you will be earning good points while doing something worthy. When coupled with strong advertising, bigger profits will follow for your business.

What are you waiting for? Start giving your gifts, packaging your products, and distributing your freebies in recycled paper bags that also have your company name. You’ll get a thumbs-up from consumers, the UN and Mother Earth. It’s the gift that just keeps giving.

Source by Paul Sung

7 Essential Steps For Effective Employee Training

Hiring new employees can be stressful enough. Once they show up on that first day of work you may feel like your job is over – but it’s just beginning. Making sure you provide appropriate training, from the “get go,” can make the difference between a long-term, loyal and effective employee and an ineffective slacker! Following are “7 Essentials” of effective staff training, simple techniques that can be easily implemented for maximum results.

1) Focus on Individual Staff Needs

Not every new – or existing – employee has the same training needs. A new employee with extensive experience doing the same type of work that will be done in their new job will obviously need less formal training than a new employee who has never specifically done this type of work before.

Too often training is designed to be “one size fits all.” Generic training can either be too basic for a new staff member causing them to wonder “is this job going to be challenging enough?” or too advanced causing them to worry “will I be able to succeed in this position?

The first step in any training process is to evaluate the individual needs of the trainee – where are they at in terms of their knowledge, skills and abilities related to this job? Where do they need to be? Training should focus on filling that gap.

2) Create a “Desire to Learn”

The most effective training is delivered to trainees who are motivated and interested – who have a “desire to learn.” In most cases, new employees do come to you with that desire. They’re fresh. They’re motivated. They want to succeed in their new position. But what if you’re re-training an employee for a different position? One that he/she may not necessarily be interested in? Or what if you’re training an employee on technology that he/she is intimated by? These situations can create anxiety and hamper the effectiveness of training.

How can you create a desire to learn? Here are some tips:

  • Listen to the employee’s concerns. If you can understand – and address – the employees’ worries and insecurities about training, you can remove a significant barrier to learning.
  • Provide examples of specific, tangible ways that the training will help the employee.
  • Involve the employee in establishing training objectives, timeframes and methods (more on these later).
  • Focus on “development” not “remediation.” Nobody likes to feel that they’re inadequate or lacking in critical skills and knowledge needed to perform in their jobs. But many people can be motivated by the prospect of developing new skills and abilities. Do whatever you can to avoid making trainees feel “incompetent” or “stupid.”

3) Make Learning “Fun”

Learning doesn’t have to be tedious. Professional trainers speak of “creating a learning environment.” This means many things, including the need to remove trainees from their day to day responsibilities so they can focus on the training and making sure there is enough variety built into the training that trainees will remain engaged. For example, a straight lecture for six hours isn’t “fun” for anybody – including the trainer. But lecture, combined with exercises, small group discussion, hands-on application of things learned, etc., will help to break up the monotony and ensure more effective outcomes.

4) Develop an Evaluation Plan

Training should never be done simply for the sake of training. Make sure that you have some method in place to evaluate the effectiveness of the training. Maybe this is a pre and post-test to determine whether specific concepts have been learned. Maybe it’s a post-evaluation done three to six months after the training to determine whether the training has “stuck.” Maybe it’s an evaluation of performance by supervisors and peers. In any event, make sure that you build in some means of measuring training effectiveness. And, if you find that the training has not been effective, take the time to reevaluate the methods and processes used and to make necessary adjustments.

5) Help Employees Apply Learning to the Job

Just learning concepts without understanding how those concepts apply to the “real job” is a waste of training time and money. Employees need to understand how what they’re learning applies to what they will be doing. One way of ensuring that this transfer will take place is to involve supervisors and coworkers in the training process. They should understand what is being done in training and should be “partners” in ensuring that the value of the training is supported and reinforced in the work setting. When supervisors “scoff” at the training or consider it a waste of time, never reinforcing to employees how what they learned applies to their jobs, it sends a signal that the training was useless – and undermines your investment (in time and dollars) in that employee.

6) Choose the “Right” Training Method

People have different learning styles and preferences. Some people read the instructions first, others refer to the instructions only after they’ve tried to “figure it out” on their own. Some prefer theory; others hands-on application. To the extent that you can (obviously it can get expensive to design individual programs for every employee…) make an effort to match training methods to learning preferences of employees.

7) Follow up and Evaluation

How many employees (and business owners!) have 3-ring binders from training sessions that they’ve never looked at after the training ended? Training is an ongoing process, not a discrete event that occurs once and is then forgotten. Make sure that you’re building in methods of following up on what was learned, evaluating the effectiveness of that learning, modifying future training, etc.

And, don’t assume that once you’ve “trained” an employee your job is done. You should be continually assessing your employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities and providing training, as necessary, throughout their employment.

Source by Linda Pophal