Monday, July 25, 2016

12 Ways to Pay Off Student Loan Debt-- Fast

Today’s typical college student graduates with over $20,000 in student loan debt. Unless that student sticks to a rapid repayment program, he can expect to pay thousands more in interest over the course of a 10-year repayment term. Although student loans are considered “good debt,” the combined cost of interest, penalties and deferment fees can actually exceed the cost of an entire college semester. It is not easy to pay off student loans quickly, but it is definitely manageable. You can repay your student loans in as little as one year as long as you work hard, stay focused and follow these steps:

1. Commit to a rapid repayment plan. If your student loan bills are $200 per month, force yourself to pay at least double that.

2. Make a budget and stick to it. The first paycheck from your first job out of college may be more money than you’ve ever seen in your life. Resist to the urge to run out and spend it.

3. Remind yourself that financial freedom is more important than that new pair of shoes anytime you get the urge to deviate from your budget.

4. Hold off on big purchases as long as possible. Unless you’re still running a computer in MS-DOS, you don’t need a new laptop until after your loans are repaid, no matter how old your computer is.

5. Move back in with your parents the first year after college if they permit it. This may be difficult for both you and your parents, but all of the money that you save from not renting an apartment can go straight toward repaying your student loans. Just don’t take advantage of their hospitality. Offer money for food, water, and electricity.

6. If you can’t live with your parents, find roommates to split the cost of rent. Choose the cheapest apartment that you feel safe living in.

7. Learn how to cook and start packing lunches. A large, homemade pot of spaghetti costs less than $5 and can provide meals for days. Going out to eat 5 days per week can cost over $5,000 a year. If you put that $5,000 towards your loans, you could cut years off of your repayment obligations.

8. Don’t buy any new clothes unless you need them for work. If you must buy new clothes, look at thrift stores and bargain hunt at the clearance rack. Before you turn your nose up, think about it this: paying off your student loans in less than two years means that you could have an extra $6,000 of unpaid interest to blow on new clothes.

9. Find ways to have fun for free. Instead of going to the movies, borrow them for free from your local library. Look for free concerts around your city.

10. Long commutes from your parents’ house to work are still cheaper than paying rent. Take good care of your car and change the oil on time. It’s cheaper to pay for regular vehicle maintenance than to buy a new transmission.

11. Try to work more than 40 hours per week. Ask your boss for overtime. Pick up a part time job if your schedule permits it. All of the extra income should go straight toward your student loans.

12. Find ways to stay motivated. Tell your friends not to tempt you with mall trips. Make a list of things you will do with all of the interest money you’ve saved. Cross off all the days on a calendar until your last student loan bill is due.

It is not easy to pay off your student loans quicly, but it is definitely doable, even if your first job out of college doesn’t pay as much as you hoped it would. The biggest factor is motivation. Knowing that you can be free from your debt obligations in as little as 1 year rather than 10 years can make all the difference in the world.

Tags:12 Ways to Pay Off Student Loan Debt– Fast

12 Ways to Prevent Highway Hypnosis While Driving

Have you ever driven somewhere without knowing exactly how you got there? Known as “highway hypnosis”, “zoning out”, or “white line fever”, this strange trance-like state happens when tired motorists drive on long boring roadways for long periods of time. Highway hypnosis is extremely dangerous since it leaves you completely unaware of your surroundings.

I used to fight highway hypnosis quite a bit as a college student with a long commute between home and school. Here are a few of the strategies I use back then (and still use today) to prevent highway hypnosis from kicking in.

A good night sleep
One of the triggers of highway hypnosis is a lack of sleep. Getting to bed at a decent time the night before a trip will keep you more alert and responsive on your road trip.

Start early
The mind is fresher and more alert in the morning which is why it’s best to get out on the road as early as possible. I discovered that I stayed awake and alert much longer on the days I would leave between 4-5 am than days where I got a later start.

Don’t drive on a full stomach
Big meals (think Thanksgiving!) can induce drowsiness which is why it’s a smart idea to eat small meals before setting off on a long trip.

Roll down the windows
Fresh air and frigid temps will also keep you alert. During the winters, rolling down the windows will keep you awake. For summer drives, crank up the AC to the highest setting and adjust the vents so that the cold air will blast on your face.

Adjust your route so that it takes you through small towns
Even though freeways are the fastest ways to get from Point A to Point B, the landscape is so monotonous that it’s hard to avoid zoning out. To break up the monotony, I will exit the freeway and catch the frontage roads where there is much more to see.

Turn up the music
Cranking up the radio is also a great way to keep awake. Stay away from smooth jazz and the NPR channels however, and listen to a great rock station instead.

Sit up straight
A slouched driving position makes it easier to fall asleep while driving than sitting upright. I drive with the seats tilted slightly forward which keeps me upright and attentive.

Turn off the cruise control
The more you can do for yourselves, the sharper your mind will stay. Switching off the cruise control, the GPS, the heated seats and another other gizmos will make it easier to stay focused on your driving.

Keep your eyes active
Scanning the scenery as you drive will also help prevent highway hypnosis. An easy way to force eye movement is by playing the car game known as “Alphabet” in which you find things in the landscape that start with A, then B, and so on.

Drive over the rumble strips
Those grooves pressed into the side of the freeway? They are called “rumble strips” and are placed there to jolt awake sleepy truck drivers who have drifted to the shoulder. Whenever I feel myself starting to zone out, I will move my right tires over the rumble strips and stay there until the next exit.

Stop every few hours and walk
Whether I feel fatigued or not, I have always made it a practice to get out of the car every few hours and take a brief 5 minute walk around the parking lot. Not only does this prevent my muscles from cramping up, it boosts the adrenaline which will keep me awake.

Take a catnap
If you find yourself still slipping into periods of highway hypnosis after trying all these tips, then it’s time to pull over and take a catnap. While you will lose a little time in sleeping, it’s a small price to pay for arriving at your destination alive.

More by this contributor:

Winter driving tips for Classic VW Beetle owners

Driving rules that seniors might not know
How to keep fit on a family road trip

Tags:12 Ways to Prevent Highway Hypnosis While Driving

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

The Plot

The teenage girl, Virginia (Ginny), receives a message and some letters from her deceased aunt, Margaret (Peg). Peg takes her on a journey where Ginny must do certain tasks. Ginny writes about the people she meets, and her adventures over seas. Ginny also finds out some surprising information her beloved Aunt Peg never told anyone.

The Setting

The beginning of the novel takes place in New York, and Ginny travels to London. London isn’t the only country she travels to.

The Novel

The novel is a quick, easy read that’s basically for teenagers, but if you want something fun to read, read 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Here’s the plot from http://ift.tt/2aGMZ9D:

“Here’s the deal: Aunt Peg, the New York artist and the person Ginny Blackstone depended on to make her life interesting, took off to Europe without a word three years ago. Aside from a few postcards, Ginny hasn’t heard much. Then she gets a horrible phone call that changes everything.

But the story is only beginning. Soon after, Ginny receives one little blue envelope from Aunt Peg containing a thousand dollars and some very strange instructions…

And with that, she is sent off to pick up a package containing twelve similar envelopes, which she can open one by one, as instructed. Each letter contains a task that Ginny must perform.

Soon, the mild-mannered and quiet Ginny (who’s barely made it out of New Jersey before) finds herself running from London to Paris to Rome, and beyond. Along the way, she collects a number of new friends, including: a manager from Harrods department store who runs errands for the rich and famous, a handsome but maddening thief-turned-playwright, a celebrity painter who tattoos the names of her dead pets on her body, and the angriest vegetable salesman in all of France.

As time goes on, Ginny realizes that her aunt has sent her on a mission, and that there is something big waiting for her in the thirteenth envelope. All she has to do is make it from place to place and complete all of the tasks that have been set before her. “

Reviews and Awards (from http://ift.tt/2aGMZ9D)

13 Little Blue Envelopes has received the following awards and reviews:

“Equal parts poignant, funny, and inspiring.”
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Johnson’s writing is sophisticated and humorous, her characterizations pitch perfect … A sure hit with fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”
Kirkus Reviews

Fall 2005 Book Sense Pick
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2005

If you want to see the world but can’t afford to travel, then this is the book that will take you around the world. Johnson’s writing describes the countries exactly like you would imagine them if you traveled there.

Tags:13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Eco-Friendly Uses for Empty Baby Wipe Containers

Baby wipes, whether they are the eco-friendly Seventh Generation brand or the Huggies Brand, still come in those nifty plastic box containers. As parents that are trying to go green we often use refillable baby wipes (and now potty training wipes) in our boxes, but there are times when purchasing the box is more economical than the refills or occasionally refills are not available at the store. So what can we do with all these boxes that can really stack up in our households and our landfills?

Try these ideas for new uses on old baby wipe boxes and containers:

Use your baby wipe container boxes to create building blocks for the kids. You can cover them with primary or pastel colored contact paper, the flat box size baby wipe containers work best for this project.

Use it for storage of scrapbooking materials like photos, stickers, embellishments and scraps of paper.

Store smaller toys in baby wipe containers. They are perfect for Matchbox Cars, small blocks Lego’s and other toys. Help your child learn sorting skills by placing a picture of the toy to be stored on the box with a label.

Try using your baby wipe container as a coupon box. Using index cards with tabs to separate the different categories then place coupons inside. This not only keeps the box out of the landfill but allows you to store those over sized coupons and actually see them without folding them in half.

Store art supplies like markers, crayons, paints and paint brushes.

Store craft supplies like beads, or jewelry making materials.

They are perfect for organizing office supplies like post it notes, pens, pencils, thank you cards and stamps.

Use empty baby wipe containers to store cloth or disposable diapers in your diaper bag. By using a baby wipe box you can keep the dry diapers dry and then if needed store a wet diaper in there until you can get home to wash it. Of course, disinfect the box with each use.

Empty baby wipe containers make excellent storage containers for the car. Drop some small trash bags in there, add lotion, hand sanitizer, small first aid kit and a tube of lipstick and you are ready to go. You can also quickly grab the box from the car to take on those unexpected visits to the park.

Store yarns for knitting or for quilting squares. You can either pull the yarn through the already established opening, or make one yourself on the side to pull the yarn through.

Create your own stamp pad. Place a sponge in the bottom of the baby wipe box and wet the sponge with washable tempura paints. The smaller size ones for those potty training are perfect for this idea and you can take them on the go!

In our house we also use them to store puzzles in so the pieces don’t get mixed up with each other. My friend who is a special needs teacher says they are great for sending home wet clothing from school, so consider donating them to a preschool or other school.

So, before you throw your plastic used baby wipe container in the trash or even in the curbside recycling take a look around and find discover your own ways to reduce, reuse and recycle baby wipe containers. After all, as parents we need all the help we can get staying organized.

Source: Personal Experience and discussion with a teacher

Tags:13 Eco-Friendly Uses for Empty Baby Wipe Containers

13 Reasons President Obama Will Win Re-Election

Have you ever heard of Allan Lichtman? Probably not, but apparently he has been “predicting” the winner of every single presidential race since Ronald Reagan’s Re-election in 1984, and has never been wrong to date. He is now predicting that President Obama has nothing to worry about because his formula has declared he will win re-election.

Mr. Allan Lichtman, known for his book The Keys to the White House has a formula that consists of thirteen “keys,” which Mr. Lichtman declares obama has won 8 of the keys. If six or more keys go against the party in power, that party will lose. I will not list the keys, what Mr. Lichtman has decided on the key and whether or not I agree and my reason why.

1. Party Mandate: We both agree that President Obama loses this key due to his historic loss in 2010.

2. Contest: We both agree again President Obama wins this category because he has no competition from within his own party. (Count so far is 1-1)

3. Incumbency: Obviously President Obama is the incumbent, he wins again.

4. Third Party: Mr. Lichtman gives this point to President Obama, however I disagree on this point because I believe a third party would help Obama, not hurt him.

5. Short-term economy: Mr. Lichtman is “undecided” about this, but it seems to be obviously against Obama. (By my count Obama is down 2-3, Mr. Lichtman has him 3-2)

6. Long-term economy: We both agree that President Obama loses this key.

7. Policy Change: Mr. Lichtman argues that President Obama has been enormously successful in pushing his political agenda. I’ve been known to argue this same point. While I believe his policies have been disastrous for our economy, there can be no doubt that he has been very successful in pushing forward his political agenda.

8. Social unrest: Allan Lichtman claims there is no social unrest; I simply reply with, “can you say Tea Party?”

9. Scandal: I agree with Professor Lichtman, there have not been any major scandals in regard to President Obama, at least none that have been harmful to him. (My count: 4-5, Lichtman count: 6-3)

10. Foreign/Military Failure: I will agree with this one to a point. While I would contend Obama has failed to act many time in areas such as Iran, a failure to act does not translate as a failure in of itself.

11. Foreign/military success: I will again agree that President Obama wins this because of the capture of Osama Bin Laden. (My count: 6-5, Lichtman count: 8-3)

12. Incumbent charisma: I will agree that President Obama has not lead on any of the major issues, allowing his party to do the dirty work for him. He loses this key.

13. Challenger Charisma: The professor believes the challengers have no charisma, but I disagree. Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and many “hated” conservatives on the GOP fields have plenty of charisma. I’d agree this point would go to Obama if Mitt Romney ends up winning the nomination.

So there you have it. The final count from the Professor is the president wins 9 keys and loses 4, by my count however; the president has won 6 keys and lost 7. Please feel free to comment and let us know whether you agree or disagree. I’m very interested to hear you thoughts, thanks again for reading!

Tags:13 Reasons President Obama Will Win Re-Election

127 Hours - Visceral and Intense!

Once again, Danny Boyle proves that he doesn’t make the same movie twice. Having tackled heroin with “Trainspotting,” youth alienation with “The Beach,” zombies (or viruses if you will) with “28 Days Later,” and Bollywood with his Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” Danny now moves on to another genre that has until now eluded him: the docudrama. “127 Hour” sees Danny bringing his brand of visual magic to the heroic and horrifically true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, and he amazingly turns it into a life affirming story that demonstrates just how powerful the will to live is.

You probably know the whole story about Aron by now; he was hiking through Robbers Roost in Utah back in 2003 when a boulder became dislodged from what looked like a secure position, and he ends up falling into a crevice where the boulder pins his arm down and traps him. At that point, the movie’s title comes up on the screen, indicating the start of his ordeal of being trapped without any help nearby. In a deeply unsettling shot, we see just how alone he is as the camera pulls back from him screaming for help to a view from the sky, showing that he doesn’t even register as a speck on the rocky terrain. Aron was stuck in that cavern for five days before he resorted to the unthinkable of cutting off his arm with a dull (and we’re talking REALLY dull) knife that came as a gift with the flashlight he bought, and he hiked eight miles to where he was found by others and brought to safety.

Now with all that in mind, this doesn’t sound like a filmable story, especially when you know the outcome. What could possibly be so interesting about a man who is stuck in one place for close to a week? Well, in the hands of Danny Boyle, who has never been one to back down from a challenge, he makes a most intense and visceral journey out of this man’s dire situation that takes turns you don’t see coming. Throughout its 94 minute running time, Danny locks us right into Aron’s plight as we watch his supplies dwindle, being overcome by an inevitable sense of hopelessness, having hallucinations dealing with the people in and out of his life, and the sheer terror of realizing that no one knows where he is. Most people let others know where they are headed, but Aron didn’t even bother to leave a note for anyone, not even his mother. Taking this unfortunate fact into account, Aron only has one word to describe it:

“OOPS!!!”

At the center of “127 Hours” is James Franco who stars as Aron Ralston. In a career that was marked early on by some instantly forgettable movies like “Annapolis,” we became increasingly aware of his strong talent as an actor in the “Spiderman” trilogy (he was the only truly great thing about the third) and “Pineapple Express,” the latter which set him loose to go for crazy comic heights. With “127 Hours,” Franco gives his best performance to date, not to mention one of the greatest of 2010. Aside from the beginning where he runs into a couple of cute female hikers (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn), this is pretty much a solo show for him in the same way much of “Castaway” was for Tom Hanks. But whereas Tom Hanks was stuck on an island with nowhere to go, Franco is simply stuck and ain’t going anywhere.

What I really loved about Franco’s performance is how natural he comes across onscreen. Not once do you capture him striving for those Oscar happy moments where the emotion of the scene is played more than the action of it. James could have been all blubbering with tears about how unfair this was while snot drips out of his nose like Russell Crowe in “Gladiator” (no offense to Russell intended for he was great). James nails the confident bravo of Aron Ralston and of his love for hiking. When he crashes on his bike, he still comes out of it laughing as if it were no big deal. Then he nails every wave of emotion as he is stuck in a crevice as he tries to free himself, and even though we know what will happen, we are as desperate as him to escape this incident with every body part intact.

While Tom Hanks had a volley ball to talk to, James instead has a video camera. Throughout his increasingly precarious situation, we watch as he documents everything; the efforts he makes to free himself, and of how much water and food he has left. James sells every moment and makes the audience feel every single emotion Aron went through. Seeing him take that last sip of water is a despairing image, and watching him grab that fleeting moment of sunlight is very distressing for it reminds of how certain things can be short lived and fully appreciated until it’s too late. Nothing is shied away from in “127 Hours,” and Franco’s performance is all the more extraordinary for it. You share his desperation to survive even up to the point where he is forced to drink his own urine. He’s in no position to filter it like Kevin Costner did in “Waterworld,” but as gross as it seems, you are thankful that he has something, anything to drink. Heck, what would you do if you were Aron Ralston?

With “127 Hours,” Danny Boyle accomplishes what Ron Howard did with both “Apollo 13”; he makes riveting entertainment out of a story we all know the outcome to. Along with the brilliant cinematographers Anthony Dod Mantle (criminally robbed of an Oscar last year for his work on “Antichrist”) and Enrique Chediak, they capture every little detail beautifully and make each moment seem like the difference between life and death. If one supply gets out of his reach like a knife or his bottle of water, game over. Seeing him desperately reaching for objects that are seemingly out of his grasp threatens to be seriously grueling. Boyle and company keep the audience on the edge of their seats, never ever giving them enough time to breathe.

Also along for the ride with Danny Boyle on is A.R. Rahman, his Oscar winning composer from “Slumdog Millionaire.” Rahman provides a propulsive score that makes us feel the same excitement that Aron felt when he headed out to Robbers Roost. The music plays a very intricate part in illustrating the fun loving nature of Aron, and of how it plays into his desperation to live through the worst of times. In short, I am buying this soundtrack as soon as it comes out!

Then that moment comes of Aron finally freeing himself in the worst way possible. From what I have read, the amputation scene presented was medically accurate, and it was all shot in one take. It is an understandably excruciating scene to sit through, and it represents some of the most supremely intense and visceral filmmaking I have seen in a movie since Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem For A Dream.” Seriously, I found myself digging my nails into my hand as he kept sawing away. I’m actually astonished that I didn’t break the skin! But when it was finished, him being freed felt like a huge relief and also surprisingly liberating. The audience applauded when the moment had ended, and I was clapping right along with them. Leave it to Danny Boyle to create a happy ending out of a seriously graphic situation!

Now look, you may think I have given away this entire whole movie from the review I have written. Trust me, I have not. “127 Hours” is an experience more than anything else, and it is simultaneously very intense and strangely uplifting. Having seen it, all those crazy news stories about people passing out while watching it seem very believable. It shows that Danny Boyle is still at the peak of his powers as a filmmaker, and that James Franco’s talent as an actor can no longer de denied. It’s amazing filmmaking, and I actually found myself smiling at the end of it all, feeling the elation of Aron’s hard fought freedom and how he escaped against all odds. The movie’s tagline of how there is no force more powerful than the will to live could not be more accurate.

Actually, that does seem to be the common theme in Danny Boyle’s movies; the will to live and to do something better with your life. Be it Ewan McGregor getting clean in “Trainspotting” or Cillian Murphy defeating zombies (or the Rage virus) in “28 Days Later,” the characters in his movies start off in the most dire of circumstances and somehow manage to pull themselves upright to face another day.

This is one of the best films of 2010. Now if you will excuse me, I need to cut my nails…

**** out of ****

Tags:127 Hours - Visceral and Intense!

13 Frugal Ways to Have Fun With Your Kids This Summer

Summer time, and the living is easy…for about the first two weeks. Then the novelty of long, lazy hours wears off and the cry goes up: “We’re bored!” Here are 15 frugal ways to have fun with your kids.

1. Board games. Set up a tournament. Make it “best of three games.” Give prizes. Seek out board games at garage sales and thrift stores and don’t be shy about trying new ones.

2. Make your own board game. So your son is fascinated by army ants? Encourage him to make his own “Invading Ant Army” board game, complete with tokens of his choice, a design of his own invention, and rules he sets.

3. Blow bubbles. You can make your own out of dish soap.

4. Cook something. Don’t worry about the mess and in the worse case scenario, don’t force everyone to eat the inedible. Cook with a purpose, though. Your kids want to contribute.

5. Take them to the grocery store. Again, do this with a purpose. They need to figure out a way to purchase one complete family meal for $2 per person or less. Remind them that a “meal” needs to include protein and a fruit or vegetable-the “Buy One Get One Free” Cheez Puffs don’t count.

6. Go to the planetarium if there’s one in your town.

7. Make up a “fort kit” with a blanket, three cushions or pillows, two sticks, some snack food and whatever else you want to throw in there-get creative. Explain that they are to make a fort that can be used for camping overnight and then let them engineer and scheme to their heart’s content.

8. Spend some time teaching them a practical skill. Sewing, working with tools, home repair, and baking are all skills that will serve your kids well when they grow up.

9. Start a business. What can your kids do to make money? Show them how to draw up a plan for their business and encourage them to get to work.

10. Origami. You’ll find instructions online. Low cost, a nice mental workout, and fun besides.

11. Head to the library. Sure, you know about the story hour for toddlers and the free DVDs, but your public library likely has a lot more to offer. My son grew up playing in the local library’s chess club. Perhaps there are reading circles for teens or reading contests to keep your kids busy when it’s too hot to play outside. Ask the librarian for information.

12. Discover drama. While you’re at the library, get a book or two of plays. Encourage your kids to explore them one scene at a time, working together to assign parts, assemble props, and rehearse. Talk about what they’re reading and compliment them on their dramatic skill.

And one bonus idea:

13. Science fair! Everybody hates the science fair, demanding intensity and huge chunks of time during the busy school year. Perhaps your kids would be interested in doing the main research portion of next year’s science project during the summer? There’s plenty of time for growing stuff, making chemical reactions occur repeatedly, and researching new projects if the original ideas don’t pan out.

There’s no need to dread the “I’m bored” summer doldrums, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to entertain your kids. Enjoy this summer and make memories without breaking the bank.

Tags:13 Frugal Ways to Have Fun With Your Kids This Summer

13 Reasons Why You'll Want to Buy a MagicJack

magicJack ads are everywhere and look so enticing you can’t wait to take advantage of their free trial offer. But is magicJack really as magical as it promises to be?

When I saw magicJack offering for a FREE TRIAL, I cringed. After all, other products offer free trials and then wipe out your bank account while you await your first order, but I decided to try magicJack anyway, especially since AT&T soared an additional $10 a month because I wouldn’t take advantage of their U-verse option – an option that isn’t even offered in my location.

So, after using the product, let me give you 13 reasons why you should purchase a magicJack.

Reason to Buy magicJack #1

magicJack’s free trial is just that, a free trial. You get 30 days to test a magicJack before you commit to buying it.

Reason to Buy magicJack #2

The magicJack comes with simple instructions. Those instructions allow you to make your first phone call within minutes.

Reason to Buy magicJack #3

magicJack actually works! You plug your telephone cord into magicJack, plug magicJack into the USB port of your computer or laptop, double click the application icon, follow instructions onscreen (or on the package that arrived with your magicJack), and you’re up and running.

Reason to Buy magicJack #4

The voice quality on your magicJack is as good as the quality of your phone.

Reason to Buy magicJack #5

For the first year, you pay only for the magicJack itself, which today is just under $40.

Reason to Buy magicJack #6

For subsequent years, you pay only $19.95 a YEAR! Yes, that’s right – I said a YEAR!

Reason to Buy magicJack #7

As a magicJack customer, you are given an even better offer – right now, for example, magicJack is offering its customers a 5-year plan for only $69.95. So instead of paying $19.95 a year, customers pay only $13.99 a year for 5 years. Who wouldn’t want a phone bill to be only $1.17 a MONTH?

Reason to Buy magicJack #8

magicJack calls to Canada from the United States are free, as are calls to some other countries.

Reason to Buy magicJack #9

magicJack comes with all the options you would want in a phone: local & long distance calling, directory assistance, voice mail, call waiting, three-way calling, and call forwarding.

Reason to Buy magicJack #10

You can save up to 95% with international calling, even if you use your cell phone.

Reason to Buy magicJack #11

You receive emails every time somebody leaves you a voice mail message.

Reason to Buy magicJack #12

You can bring your phone around the country with you. Just make sure you register each location.

Reason to Buy magicJack #13

No monthly bills!

Does magicJack have any flaws?

That’s a hard question to answer. Admittedly I had some problems hooking up my magicJack. But the problems had more to do with me than with my magicJack. My phone was a cordless phone. magicJack’s website warns that certain phones may not work with magicJack. Mine didn’t.

So I went to Walgreens and found an inexpensive $15 AT&T phone with a cord. Problem solved.

The first call I made was to my mother. The call did not go through. Though I tried numerous times, I never connected with my mom. Unbeknown to me, she had left her phone off the hook.

The next couple of calls I made worked very well. The sound quality was perfect, even on my cheap phone, and the fact that I am paying less than $1.20 a month to use my phone is an added bonus.

But magicJack does have some bonafide problems: 9-1-1 doesn’t always work with magicJack, so magicJack suggests users have a backup plan in case they need to dial 9-1-1. Most people own cell phones, so 9-1-1 may not be an issue for them.

Another potential problem is that magicJack must be hooked up to the computer in order to work. If you put your computer to sleep or close your laptop, magicJack will not work insofar as you will not be able to receive or place calls. It will continue to accept voice mail messages, however.

Another problem, if you can cal it that, because this “problem” is also a benefit as stated in #12 above, is that every time you change locations, you must register your new location in order for magicJack to work.

The most annoying problem (for me) is magicJack’s lack of customer service telephone support (though magicJack offers online support). I would have loved to have seen a 1-800 number where I could have talked to an actual person, other than finagling my way through their website to locate answers to my questions. Customer care can be contacted through THIS magicJack LINK.

All in all though, I’m very happy with my purchase and even more excited about all the money I won’t have to spend on exorbitant phone bills!

The $39.95 fee is supposed to be offered for only a limited time, so if you want to get rid of your telephone bills and you want to get in on the magic, visit magicJack at their website and watch the video.

Additional information: Daniel M. Borislow is the inventor of magicJack.

Tags:13 Reasons Why You’ll Want to Buy a MagicJack

13 Ways of Looking at a Book

13 Ways of Looking at a Book

I
Pages bookmarked,
Whole sections highlighted:
The textbook

II
Passed from friend to friend,
Spread from mouth to mouth:
Twilight

III
Silent, full of knowledge,
Shared openly:
The science manual

IV
Thesaurus’s best friend,
And the smartest one too:
The dictionary

V
Yellowing pages,
Love stamped in between:
The photo book

VI
Recipes passed down
From mom to daughter:
The cook book

VII
How to Write for Dummies,
It’s not there to judge:
The self-help book

VIII
Scribbled with musings,
Names and phone numbers:
The notebook

IX
Inspiring laughter,
Bridging generations:
The comic book

X
Burned pages
In a fiery inferno:
The banned book

XI
Clay scratchings
Conveying messages:
The first book

XII
Lit-up screen,
Thin as paper:
The e-book

XIII
Letters, words, sentences
Form ideas, thoughts, actions:
All books

Tags:13 Ways of Looking at a Book

13 Deadliest of Everything List

This is a list of the deadliest things that you sometimes wonder about but did not know where to go to find the answer.

1. The world’s deadliest time of the year to be admitted into the hospital is December. The most deaths occur in the hospitals on Christmas and the few weeks prior to it. A study done by Duke University in 2004 reports that for this holiday month the mortality rate in hospitals go up by 2%. The belief is this is due to the preoccupied minds of the health workers. They are too busy thinking about the up and coming holiday.

2. The world’s deadliest prison is Kwang Prison in in Thailand. It has been nick named the “Bangkok Hilton” . The first few months of their sentences the prisoners stay chained in leg irons. The prisoners often break down and insanity understandable sets in. The Director of Prisons, Khun Nattee, follows the culture of the country’s people who do not believe in making the prisoners comfortable. They are there to do prison time and prison time they surely do. There is virtually no medical care for the sick prisoners who live shackled in deplorable conditions.

3. The world’s deadliest living creature is the mosquito. The mosquito transfers disease to more than 70 million people each year and claims 2 million lives. This is more than all of the deadliest creatures put together kill. They are a deadly insect.

4. The world’s deadliest poison comes from a Golden Poison Frog. They are small creatures that are found in Central and South America. Their poison is so deadly that you can die from even touching it. One frog has enough poison on board to kill 10 people.

5. The world’s most toxic deadliest city is Chernobyl, Ukraine. The fallout from the nuclear disaster lives on in this city. This city was the site of the worlds worst nuclear disaster. This disaster has caused more than 9 thousand people to get cancer and die. The city has a much lower life expectancy than most world cities.

6. The world’s deadliest road is called “The Highway of Death ” in La Paz, Bolivia. The road is from Kwait to Basra. Each year the deaths on this road are between 200 and 300 people. It is steep and narrow. There are numerous miles of cliffs that hundreds of cars and buses fall off of each year. It is a very poor part of the world. The road has made a name for itself and it now attracts thousands of thrill seekers each year. It’s native given name is Yungas Road.

7. The world’s deadliest skin cancer is Malignant Melanoma. This skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer found in our nations 20-30 year old age bracket. It is diagnosed twice as much as breast cancer for that age group. It is prevalent due to tanning beds and sun bathing.

8. The world’s deadliest serial killer is Thug Behram. He was a man born in India who committed 931 murders. He was caught by the British Officials in 1840 and hung. He was on the loose and strangling his victims for 40 years. He used a Rumal to strangle his victims. A Rumal is a large handkerchief.

9. The world’s deadliest disease is Ischaemic Heart Disease. This disease reduces blood flow to the heart. This is caused by coronary artery disease, smoking, aging, high cholesterol, and other factors. It is the most common cause of death among adults in the developed world.

10. The Nation’s deadliest holiday to drive is July 4th. More fatalities happen for the July 4th holiday than any other day of the year. The statistics cover the 3rd and 4th of July. A majority of these fatalities have alcohol or substances involved.

11. The Nation’s deadliest day of the week for suicides is Wednesday. 25% of all suicides in this nation happen on Wednesday. This suggests the stress in the middle of the work week could be a contributing factor. This information comes from a five year study done across the United States of suicide deaths.

12. The Nation’s deadliest month to drive is October. You would think it would be the icy roads of winter time. October has the highest death rates per distant driven. The safest month is March (added bonus.)

13. The deadliest Atlantic Hurricane occured before hurricanes were named. It was called “The Great Hurricane”. It hit October 10-16 in 1780, there were 22,000 deaths on the islands of Martinique, Barbados, and St. Eustatius.

References:
Dave’s Daily, Amazing
FactsZimbio Top !0 Lists
Wikipedia, Yungas Rd.
Currant, “Most Deadliest Form Of Skin Cancer
MSNBC The Most Deadliest Day of the Week

Tags:13 Deadliest of Everything List

13 Fun Facts About the Highly Popular Number Game, Sudoku

Sudoku became a highly popular numbers crossword of sorts in 2005, but it was really invented decades ago – at least as we know it today.

Many of us play it. I figure out a Sudoku puzzle every day in the newspaper. But how many of us know the following fun facts about Sudoku?

1. The name “Sudoku” stems from two Japanese words: “su”, which means “number,” and doku, which means “single.” Translated, it mostly means “single numbers only.”

2. Speaking of the name Sudoku, did you know that the Japanese don’t call it that? They call it by the name Sudoku’s original creator gave it: Number Place.

3. Actually, Sudoku isn’t a Japanese game it all. It’s American invented. Howard Garns created it as Number Place in 1979 but died in 1989 before Japanese publisher Nikoli got a hold of it. The game didn’t really take off until 2004 though, when Wayne Gould convinced The Times in London to publish it.

4. Wayne Gould, New Zealander and retired Hong Kong judge, calls himself the stepfather of Sudoku. He stumbled upon a Sudoku book in Tokyo while vacationing there.

5. British Airways absolutely forbids its flight attendants from solving Sudoku puzzles during either takeoff or landing.

6. Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword editor, told Fortune in October 2005 that “the craze, judging by history, will last four, five, six months, and then it will taper off.” He changed his mind by the May/June 2006 issue of Psychology Today and admitted that Sudoku had the staying power of crossword puzzles.

7. There are 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 possible combinations for completing a 9-by-9 Sudoku grid, but only 5,472,730,538 of them really count for different solutions. Needlessly to say, you need a handful of lifetimes to solve all of them.

8. When Sudoku became a world hit in 2005, it is estimated that it is the biggest phenomenon since the Rubik’s Cube in the 1980s.

9. Sudoku is a logic game and involves absolutely no math. Sometimes Sudoku puzzles even come with pictures, letters or symbols instead of numbers.

10. No one knows exactly how many Sudoku players there are around the world due to the various ways to play, such as online or in the paper.

11. The First World Sudoku Championship was held in Italy in 2006 and has been held annually since in different locations.
Playing Sudoku regularly can have benefits, like boosting your concentration and focus, preventing or easing depression and possibly even preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to some studies.

12. Sudoku is good for anyone and any age and helps develop mental abilities as well as keeps them in good condition.

13. Sudoku is considered highly addictive, but since there aren’t any harmful side effects (and in fact a list of great side effects), go right ahead and get addicted!

Sources:
9 Great Sudoku Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
The History of Sudoku

Tags:13 Fun Facts About the Highly Popular Number Game, Sudoku

13 Stocks for the Coming "Obamaconomy"

Mixing stocks and politics is always risky. But heck, in stock trading, what isn’t? If you can’t have some fun while picking stocks…

Forget stem cells, alternative energy, or high speed rail – the early darlings of Obama’s nascent presidency. Time to come down to earth and face the fundamental change.

99c. Only Stores (NDN)
The new WalMart of the new Obama era?

Dime Community Bancshares (DCOM)
As the name suggests, a good solid bank for the remainder of your nest egg.

Female Health Co. (FHCO)
Free female condoms for African women through a contract with WHO. (Yes, WHO – the guys who spread the swine flu panic.) Huge growth potential: wait till ObamaCare expands free condoms to the entire world.

iPath Global Carbon ETF (GRN)
If we can’t or save the jobs (or capitalism for that matter), can we at least save the world from global warming? India? Anybody? Hello?

K12 (LRN)

As the crumbling gang-infested public schools struggle with budget cuts, have you considered home schooling for your kids?

LivePerson (LPSN)

The ultimate recession stock: unemployed professionals setting up shop online, charging by the minute.

Medifast (MED)

Dieting never goes out of style. Not with the US population getting morbidly obese. Until Congress makes obesity a disease or fatty foods illegal, a little dieting won’t hurt.

Orchids Paper Products (TIS)

Private label toilet paper from recycled wastepaper. Things just don’t get any greener, do they? Cheaper, too. A good defensive play as well if you know what I mean.

Providence Service Corp (PRSC)

A welfare services provider benefiting from the swelling unemployment and welfare rolls.

Rick’s Cabaret (RICK)

A publicly traded strip joint operator. Two things: (1) strip joints never go out of style; and (2) may be a growing source of employment to new unemployed.

Ruger (RGR) / Smith & Wesson (SWHC)

Firearm sales are surging, even though nobody can explain why. Could it be the fear that the state budget cuts in police protection and the freeing of thousands of prisoners are putting greater emphasis on self-defense?

Tata Motors (TTM)

A $2,000 car. The way things are going, that’s all we all may be able to afford soon. Sure beats Government Motors’ newly introduced Cadillac fragrance – fresh out of bankruptcy!

A small bonus – 3 short candidates too:

Lockheed Martin (LMT)

The cancellation of the F-22 suggests more defense cuts to support our troops may be coming.

MarineMax (HZO)

It may be a good time to buy a luxury boat if you are a stinking capitalist pig but the current penny-pinching environment and the looming wealth redistribution do not bode well for luxury boat sellers.

UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

The largest health insurer in the US. ObamaCare may put these guys out of business.

Tags:13 Stocks for the Coming “Obamaconomy”

13 TV Draculas

Count Dracula has been a movie character for decades, but he’s also been depicted on television many times over the years. Whether as the main character or a guest appearance, Dracula is always unforgettable. These thirteen actors have played Count Dracula on television.

Rudolf Martin – In 2000, season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer kicked off with “Buffy vs. Dracula,” an episode featuring Rudolf Martin as Count Dracula himself. After fighting and slaying vampires for several years, Buffy was stunned to come face-to-face with such a famous vamp, and she soon fell under his spell.

Dan Castellaneta – In addition to his ongoing role as Homer Simpson on The Simpsons, Dan Castellaneta provides the voices for several other characters in the animated series. One of these is the voice of Dracula in the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episodes.

Todd Stashwick – Todd Stashwick appeared as Dracula in “Monster Movie,” a fourth-season episode of Supernatural from 2008. Although the Winchester brothers regularly do battle with vampires, werewolves, and other monsters, that’s not exactly what was happening here. Is this episode, a shapeshifter was taking the form of monsters from old movies. Stashwick played the shapeshifter’s version of Dracula.

Keith-Lee Castle – On the 2006 CBBC series Young Dracula, Keith-Lee Castle played Count Dracula. In this series, based on the children’s book by Michael Lawrence, the Count has relocated from Transylvania to England with his children, Vlad and Ingrid. Castle’s version of Dracula isn’t quite what you’d expect.

Michael Nouri – In 1979, Michael Nouri starred in The Curse of Dracula. In this show, Count Dracula resided in San Francisco, where he was a professor of East European history. Nouri’s Dracula was sexy and dangerous. The Curse of Dracula was one of three serialized segments airing as part of NBC’s Cliffhangers. Each episode of Cliffhangers consisted of three short serialized shows. After Cliffhangers was cancelled, The Curse of Dracula segments were compiled and aired as a made-for-TV movie.

Phil Lamarr – On The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Phil Lamarr provided the voice of Dracula, an old friend of Grim’s from way, way back.

Judd Hirsch – Judd Hirsch starred as Dracula in The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t. This 30-minute Halloween special from 1979, also known as The Night Dracula Saved the World, won a Primetime Emmy Award.

Al Lewis – On the campy comedy The Munsters, Al Lewis played a mad scientist who just happened to be able to turn into a bat. Although known as Grandpa Munster, he was actually Lily’s father, not Herman’s, and his last name wasn’t Munster; it was Dracula. In fact, nutty Grandpa Munster was Count Dracula himself.

Geordie Johnson – Dracula is a billionaire industrialist–or at least he was in Dracula: The Series, a 1990 show starring Geordie Johnson as Alexander Lucard. Of course, everyone knows that A. Lucard spells Dracula in reverse.

John StephensonThe Flintstones even had a version of Dracula. John Stephenson provided the voice for Count Rockula in The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone, as well as in an episode of The New Fred and Barney Show.

Joe Flaherty – Edan Gross was the title character in Little Dracula, a 1991 animated show based on the book series, but Joe Flaherty provided the voice of his dad, Big Dracula.

Robert Bockstael – Robert Bockstael voiced the role of Count Dracula in 1994’s Monster Force, an animated series set in the future. In this show, Dracula led the Creatures of the Night against the Monster Force.

Bent BorgesenDraculas Ring (Dracula’s Ring in English) was a Danish miniseries from 1978 starring Bent Borgesen. In this show, Dracula started out in Malta–in his coffin–but when some Danish vacationers removed the ring from the coffin, the vampire followed them back to Denmark.

Tags:13 TV Draculas

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