Insurance For Motorhomes

If you need motorhome insurance, there are several important things to consider before signing a contract and handing over your money, especially when you consider that the cheapest quote is usually not the best value policy. Comprehensive insurance should be considered essential, even if it is not required by law. Think about this, if you can't afford fully comprehensive insurance, then you definitely can't afford not to have it. Consider the cost for any minor bump that damages your water tank or damage on a campsite that no-one owns up.

So, what does the right policy include? It must cover accidental damage, including that from storm and flood, and it should offer new for old where possible, especially if your motorhome is less than three years old. If you have a no-claims bonus, see what it will cost you to protect it. If may work out cheaper in the long term.

Ask yourself the following questions and have this list ready for each insurance company you contact. Then check your answers with the small print in each policy to make sure you're covered:

1. What will be the youngest and oldest ages of the drivers?
2. How long have they held a license?
3. What's their driving history? (Convictions, no-claims bonus etc)
4. Will it be used to get me to and from work?
5. Will I use if off road?
6. Where will it be stored?
7. What personal items do I want insuring as contents?
8. How many miles will I cover each year? Are there premium savings if I drive low mileage?
9. Will I be traveling abroad? To which countries?
10. How often and how long for?

Look hard at any breakdown cover included with your policy. Are there limits on the size of vehicle? Are you covered abroad? Will you be recovered to home or a garage? Do you have any say on where you're taken if you're miles from home? Will you be able to continue your travels?

Contents Insurance is especially important as, without realizing it, you can rack up huge value in clothes, equipment and standard home items. Check to what value your motorhome's contents are covered and make sure you mention high value items such as jewelery, cameras, audio / visual equipment, satellite systems or computers. Many policies will only cover higher value items if they're actually listed on your policy. You may have to take photos and have valuations before the insurance company will accept them.

To reduce premiums, you may find you pay a lower premium if you book online or get additional discounts for fitting extra security features, storing the motorhome in a secure location and volunteering to pay a higher excess. It's sometimes also worthwhile bundling your health, travel and pet insurance in with your motorhome insurance. Look for specialist motorhome insurers or clubs and associations that command volume discounts. In New Zealand for example, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association has negotiated highly discounted rates for it's members.

Getting the right cover is one thing. Making sure the Insurance Company will pay out in the event of a claim in a quick and professional manner is another. Ask about the claims process. Will the firm fill out a claims form for you? Is there a toll-free number from home and abroad? Lastly, don't take their word for it. With the growth in Social Media, look for customer feedback online in forums, blogs, Facebook and Twitter. If you follow all these tips, you know you're making the right Motorhome Insurance choice for your needs.

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Are The Latest Faux Beef Burgers Healthier?

Veggie burgers have been around for many decades and they generally cater to vegetarians and vegans who do not want to have any kind of meat. Such burgers may be made from ingredients like grains, beans (especially soybeans and tofu), nuts, seeds, or mushrooms. When it comes to taste and texture, veggie burgers seldom get the attention nor the rave reviews.

Then in 2019, plant-based meats suddenly sprang into the limelight. Two companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, introduced faux beef burgers that look and taste like beef. Also, young people prefer to eat less meat because they are concerned about the environmental impact of industrial animal agriculture.

More and more companies are making meatless meat tastes like meat. New brands of faux meats are cropping up across the market. Consumers are faced with more choices and decisions than ever before. Are the faux meats really healthier and better for the environment?

The following will look into the two most popular faux meat options on the market, Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger from Impossible Foods, and how they stack up with a grass-fed beef burger. Conventional beef burgers using meats from concentrated animal feeding operations is not recommended because of their inhumane growing methods, destruction to the environment, and use of antibiotics, hormones, and GMO feed.

Company Background

Beyond Meat

  • The company was started in 2009 by Ethan Brown to lessen humans’ reliance on livestock as a source of protein. Its stated core mission is to improve human health, have a positive impact on climate change, address global resource constraints, and improve animal welfare.
  • Beyond Meat has several plant-based products, including burger, ground meat, sausage, and crumbles.
  • The company had its IPO on May 2, 2019 at $25 and its share price shot up to almost $240 within 2-3 months. The share price has since come off from its peak but the company still commands a market capitalization of around $10 billion.
  • Beyond Meat is sold in grocery stores (such as Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts, and Whole Foods) and available in many fast-food chains (like Del Taco, A&W, Carl’s Jr., and Tim Hortons), restaurants, hotels, and universities.

Impossible Foods

  • The company was founded in 2011 by Stanford biochemistry professor, Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., who is driven by the desire to end the use of animals to make food and to make the global food system truly sustainable.
  • He spent years trying to understand everything people love about meat – from its sizzle and smell to its taste and nutrition. After several years of development, the first Impossible Burger was released in July 2016. In 2019, the company changed its formula and debuted a new Impossible Burger with new ingredients, which it claims to be tastier, juicer, and more nutritious.
  • The company intends to introduce other meats, dairy, and fish in the future – all from plants.
  • Impossible Foods is still a private company but with the latest round of funding in early 2019, the company is now valued at $2 billion.
  • Impossible Burgers are available in fast-food chains (such as Burger King) and many restaurants. It will soon be on sale in grocery stores as well.

Ingredients

Beyond Burger ingredients:

Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color).

Impossible Burger ingredients:

Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

  • The major difference between the two faux meat brands is the source of protein. Beyond Meat uses pea, rice, and mung bean proteins, whereas Impossible Burgers are made from a blend of soy and potato proteins. All these are processed proteins vs natural, unprocessed protein from real beef.
  • Beyond Burger contains beet juice which gives the burger a red color, imitating rare beef. Impossible Burger consists of heme, an iron-containing molecule found in all plants and animals. Heme is what makes our blood red and allows our blood the ability to carry oxygen. This ingredient gives the Impossible Burger a meaty flavor and makes it “bleed”.
  • Beyond Burger uses canola and coconut oils while Impossible Burger uses coconut and sunflower oils. Coconut oil is a healthy oil but canola and sunflower oils are not. They are higher in omega-6 fats, which are inflammatory for our bodies.
  • Both faux beef burgers contain quite a bit of sodium. Beyond Meat has 390 mg and Impossible Burger has 370 mg. A grass-fed beef burger has only 76 mg.
  • Both burgers include a number of additives. Apart from water, Beyond Burger has 17 ingredients and Impossible Burger has 12. A grass-fed beef burger has only one ingredient- beef. Impossible Burger is fortified with some vitamins (B, C, and E) and the mineral zinc, whereas grass-fed beef naturally contains omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Both faux beef burgers are vegan. Beyond Burger is non-GMO. Impossible Burger is Halal and Kosher but it contains GMO ingredients and used animal testing to evaluate the safety of its product.

Major Concerns

Genetic Engineering

Impossible Foods considers itself as a food technology company. Its approach is to look at proteins, textures, and flavors at a molecular level and find plant ingredients that behave the same way. They found that heme is the magic ingredient that makes meat taste like meat.

By using the heme-containing protein from the roots of soy plants called soy leghemoglobin, scientists at the company took the DNA from soy plants and inserted it into a genetically engineered yeast. The yeast went through fermentation, multiplied, and produced a lot of heme, the key ingredient that makes the burger “bleed”.

Impossible Foods claims that its genetically-modified burger is not toxic and safe to eat, based on the company’s rat feeding study. However, there are major concerns:-

  • Glyphosate load. 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. GM soy is loaded with glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. Recent court cases have demonstrated that glyphosate is a cancer-causing carcinogen. The consumer advocacy group Moms Across America revealed that recent testing by Health Research Institute Laboratories showed concerning levels of glyphosate in the Impossible Burger – it contained 11.3 ppb of glyphosate (Beyond Burger was 1 ppb). In rats, just 0.1 ppb of glyphosate has been shown to alter the gene function of over 4,000 genes in the livers and kidneys and cause severe organ damage.
  • Environmentally unsustainable. Glyphosate herbicide is extensively sprayed on GMO soy and corn crops that are commonly used for animal feed, which harms the health of animals, not to mention the humans who consume them. It has also decimated many bee colonies and almost 90% of the monarch butterflies and created super weeds that require even more toxic chemicals to control. The founder of Impossible Foods wanted to create a truly sustainable global food system. By opting to use GMO soy as a major ingredient and indirectly supporting the use of glyphosate, the company’s business model does not contribute to a sustainable environment at all.
  • Allergy from GM ingredients. The GM ingredients of the Impossible Burger, which includes a GM yeast and GM soy leghemoglobin proteins, may cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. These ingredients have never appeared in the human food supply before and have not been properly safety tested for long-term consumption.

Processed Foods With Additives

Both faux beef burgers contain processed protein with many additives. These burgers are created in a lab made from plant products and additives designed to emulate the taste and texture of real beef. Therefore, they cannot be considered as wholesome, real food.

Which Tastes Better?

The general opinion is that the Impossible Burger definitely tastes and looks more like beef, probably to the point that it can gross out the vegans. It charrs on the outside, has a pink center and is juicy.

The Beyond Burger has more of a coconut aftertaste and is not as beefy. The patty is a little bit spongier and the flavor of different veggie proteins is more apparent. The meat does not bleed or has the same kind of juiciness. It has the same consistency and flavor throughout despite being cooked on a grill.

Which Is Better For You And The Environment?

Impossible Burger

  • Contains GMO ingredients and has a high glyphosate load.
  • GMOs and the toxic chemicals used along with them pose a serious threat to the environment as well as our health.
  • GMO soy is a monoculture crop. Its agricultural model works against nature and depletes nutrients in the soil.
  • The company’s soy-based burger is still a carbon emitter. According to the World Food LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) Database, soybean has a footprint of 2 kg of carbon for every kg of food produced.

Beyond Burger

  • Has better ingredients than the Impossible Burger but it is still processed food with many additives.
  • The company’s pea protein burger is even a bigger carbon emitter. It produces 4 kg of carbon for every kg of food it produces.

Grass-Fed Beef Burger

  • Unless one is absolutely against eating meat, the grass-fed beef burger is still the healthiest option.
  • In terms of calories, the grass-fed beef burger is similar to the two faux beef burgers.
  • It has about the same amount of fat but the fat also contains omega-3 and conjugated linoleum acid, which have many health benefits.
  • It has substantially less sodium than the faux beef burgers.
  • According to a study done by Quantis, a global environmental consulting firm, the carbon emission of a small, truly regenerative and humane farm (White Oaks Pastures was used in this study) is negative 3.5 kg for each kg of fresh meat. Regenerative grazing allows for optimal resting time of the land to prevent overgrazing and enables regeneration of degraded land. This regenerative system effectively captures soil carbon, offsetting a majority of the emissions related to beef production. (For reference, the carbon footprint of conventional beef is 33 kg for each kg of fresh meat.)

In conclusion, the notion to have less meat and eat a more plant-based diet is a great one. However, this does not equate to eating more processed plant-based foods. One should instead focus on adding more fresh vegetables of different colors to the daily diet. If you are not a vegan, your source of protein should come from grass-fed animals and wild-caught seafood.

Food is life. Food holds the potential for both health and disease, depending on how it is grown and processed. As Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine”, said “Let food be thy medicine’.

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Before You Try the TRX Workout

On the off chance that the weight room is about as well known to you as a space station, TRX will be your new quality preparing closest companion. TRX makes different muscles of your own body to get solid. Yet, before you make the plunge, Crunch wellness director Mitch Rice separates the rudiments of this powerful workout rather than hammering weights Schwarzenegger-style, you’ll be pushing and pulling your way through a wellness schedule that is really fun. Come perceive how it functions!

Say farewell to barbells.

They’re cumbersome, difficult to move, and you won’t miss them.

Exercise centers are progressively offering these classes as a component of an extensive work out schedule. And (genuine insider tip) Crunch rec centers offer complimentary TRX classes-you simply need to inquire!

Come arranged for a test.

This may not be the ideal opportunity for short shorts or comfortable sweats. You ought to wear lightweight, non limiting, breathable TRX workout plan gear. Additionally, make a point to bring a towel and a lot of water in light of the fact that these body weight exercises will provoke you not at all like anything you’ve ever done some time recently.

You can begin at any level.

There’s space for stars and novices in this exercise. Another advantage of utilizing the TRX is that training can without much of a stretch be advanced or relapsed relying upon an individual’s capacities. On the off chance that you don’t have extraordinary parity, you can begin with a wide base of backing with two feet on the floor. As you get more grounded and your solidness enhances, you can work your way up to utilizing only a solitary leg.

Just do it. Spiderman workout

You’re not going to be dangling around, but rather you may feel a tiny bit like Spiderman. The TRX Suspension Trainer has made considerable progress since its parachute model planned by previous Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick. The new model is lightweight, versatile, and can dangle from an entryway mount, divider mount, or a mechanical S-Frame. Each TRX dangles from a primary carabiner that backings two six-foot straps with handles and foot supports on the closures. There are likewise cam clasps and change tabs to protract and abbreviate the straps on both sides.

The moves you’ll do in this TRX workout plan for beginners will likely be natural.

In any case, in the event that you have a cool mentor, they can likewise have magnificent names. Some understood resistance preparing workouts can be performed on the TRX, similar to push-ups, pull-ups, squats, jumps, and pushes. My most loved exercise is known as the New Kids on the Block. This is essentially a squat with a solitary arm line and 180 degree pivot. Begin with your feet shoulder width separated confronting the grapple point and one hand fussing the handle to the side of your mid-section with your shoulder withdrew. Twist both knees, broadening the arm holding the handle and dropping your butt down to the floor. Pivot from the hips going after the floor with your inverse hand. Drive through your heels, pulling from your arm holding the TRX. Complete the revolution and tap your inverse hand to the straps as high as would be prudent. NKOTB works your abdominal area, lower body, and your center. In the event that you truly need to push it, complete three arrangements of 15 reps on every side as quick as would be prudent.

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What Is Healthy Eating? Healthy Diet, Beauty and Wellbeing

Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good and have energy, these nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrition is important for everyone however we sometimes often slip into an unhealthy eating faze, we all do it. It can often depend on the type of work you do, family life or the lifestyle choices you are making.

Most people can improve their health by achieving long-term changes in the balance of foods that they eat.

Some individuals have additional nutritional needs, such as people with certain illnesses, on medication, in long term care such as the very elderly and children aged under 5. If there are any concerns a GP, dietitian or practice nurse should always be consulted.

Practical Tips:

• Where possible go for wholemeal or wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals, to increase your fibre intake.

Choosing beans and pulses adds variety and fibre to the diet and they can be used to make more expensive ingredients such as meat and poultry go further.

• Avoid having fried starchy foods too often such as chips and where possible go for healthy alternatives such as baked potatoes or oven chips.

• Avoid adding too much fat to starchy foods for example, adding butter to potatoes or having thickly spread butter or margarine on bread.

• Avoid adding rich sauces and dressings such as cream or cheese sauce on pasta go for a lower calorie version when possible.

• When increasing fibre in the diet increase your fluid intake by drinking plenty of water to avoid getting constipation and dehydration.

How to eat healthy

Eat these foods more often:

vegetables (especially ones that are dark green or orange)

fruit, whole grains (like barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, and wild rice)

lower-fat milk (skim, 1% or 2% milk) and milk alternatives like fortified soy beverages

fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout for omega 3 oils

lean meat (skin removed and fat trimmed)

meat alternatives (like beans, lentils and tofu)

Follow these simple and easy to remember steps to help you eat healthy:

– eat the recommended foods for your age, sex and activity levels.

– read food labels when shopping, compare and choose healthier foods

– limit foods and drinks that are high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium

– use an ‘Eat Well Plate’ for guidance and to help you remember the proportion of each food group in a healthy meal

Happy Healthy Eating!

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Reasons Why An Architect Should Design Your Residential Building Elevations

A building elevation is a drawing that shows each side of your building: the front, back, and the sides. The drawing is of great importance when you are applying for a zoning permit. This is because you can’t be given the permit if you don’t have the drawing.

The drawing should show the location of all the elements of a building. These are: windows, doors, and rooflines. It should also show the dimensions of windows and doors. For the drawings to be professionally done, you should hire the services of a professional architect.

Importance of Hiring an Architect to Do Residential Building Elevation

One of the main advantages of hiring a professional to draw the building elevation is that he/she will advise you on the features that will make your house look good. The professional will also advice you on the current designs in the market. Since many architects are knowledgeable of the current and future trends in the market, the professional will advice you on the best designs that you should go for if you want your house to look elegant in the future.

It has become necessary to construct energy efficient homes in order to save on the electricity bills. When you work with an architect, the professional will design your house to be energy efficient. For example, he will design the right place to place the solar panels. He will also design a specific area for heat storage. This can be a concrete floor slab that has been thickened to accommodate the storage.

The architect will also design your house to have as much light as possible. For example, he will design the doors and windows to face east where the sun rises.

Insulation is of great importance for your home to be energy efficient. The professional will design your home to have the best insulation that will ensure that your house is warm even during winter.

Terms That You Need To Be Conversant With

There are a number of terms that are mostly used by architects when designing elevations. You need to be conversant with them in order to understand what the professional is talking about. Some of the terms are:

Detailing: this includes the surrounding doors and windows. It also includes the porch railing, gable vents, and posts.

Facade: this is a fancy name that refers to the face of a building.

Fenestration: this is the design and placement of windows in your home. The design shows the type of windows that your house will have.

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Craftsmanship: the Meaning of Life

“Manage more, supervise less.”

– Bryce’s Law

When I got into the work force back in the mid-1970’s it seemed

everyone dressed in a suit and tie, drank black coffee, smoked

their brains out, and worked their butts off. Today, golf shirts

have replaced suits, herbal tea and bottled water have replaced

coffee, nobody is allowed to smoke, and rarely does anyone work

beyond 5:00pm. More importantly, we used to care about the work we

produced; there was a sense of craftsmanship, regardless of the job.

My Brother-in-law in Cincinnati conducted me on a tour of his company’s

machine-tool shop years ago and showed me how he could take a block of

aluminum and convert it into a high-precision machine tool. It was a

pleasure to watch him work, as it is to watch anyone who knows

what they are doing, be it a waitress, a programmer, a laborer or

a clerk.

Quality and service used to be considered paramount in this

country. If it wasn’t just right, you were expected to do it over

again until you got it right. We cared about what we produced

because it was a reflection of our personal character and

integrity. But somewhere along the line we lost our way and

craftsmanship has fallen by the wayside. Why? Probably because

we no longer care.

In today’s litigious society, employees are acutely aware that it is

difficult to be fired due to poor performance. They know they will

still get paid and receive benefits, regardless of the amount of effort

they put forth. Consequently, there is little to encourage people

to perform better. Money isn’t a motivating factor anymore. People

now expect bonuses, raises and other perks to be paid out regardless

of how well they perform during the year.

We’ve also become a nation content with doing small things. America

used to be known as a powerhouse that could tackle large projects,

such as building skyscrapers, designing innovative bridges and tunnels

spanning substantial bodies of water, engineering transcontinental

railroads and highway systems, conquering air and space travel, and

defending freedom not just once but in two world wars. If you really

wanted something done, you talked to the Americans and no one else. Now

we get excited over iPods, cell phones, and other electronic trinkets.

Many believe Craftsmanship is in decline due to the general apathy found

in today’s society. Maybe. I tend to believe it is due to an erosion

of our moral values. Let me give you an example. Having a child in college,

my interest was piqued recently by an article describing the pervasiveness of

cheating and plagiarism in our schools. It is not my intent to make a

political statement here but many of the students mentioned in the article

rationalized their cheating on the fact that one of our past Presidents

cheated and lied under oath, and got away with it. They figured if it is

okay for the Commander-in-Chief to act this way, it was an acceptable form

of behavior.

Arnold Toynbee, the famed English historian, observed, “Civilizations

die from suicide, not by murder.”
If the moral fabric of our society

dies, our story is told as evidenced by other great civilizations that

long preceded us. Our perspective needs to be realigned: Our personal

and professional lives must be viewed as one. As Toynbee remarked,

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” By

doing so, we identify more closely with our work and assume a greater

pride in workmanship. We do not need to hear this from our boss, but

rather from within. As strange as it may sound, I see Craftsmanship as

being patriotic in nature; doing a good quality job is part of leading

a good and honorable life and builds on the individual’s esteem, the

company he works for, and the country he lives in.

The biggest problem though is that we have forgotten how to manage

people. The manager’s primary goal is to create the proper work

environment for employees to produce the desired work products. This

is different than a supervisory capacity that directs how each person

performs the various tasks of a job. In fact, I encourage managers to

manage more and supervise less. I cringe when I see a manager try to

“micromanage” either a Fortune 500 company or a non-profit organization.

Yes, people need to be trained in order to properly

perform their work but following this, employees should be mature

enough to supervise themselves. In the old days, management stressed

discipline, accountability, and structure; three ugly words in today’s

workplace.

Understanding Craftsmanship

Some might say craftsmanship is a simple concept that we should

intuitively know. Not true; most people today have no comprehension as

to what makes up a good craftsman; they have either forgotten or it has

simply passed them by. Craftsmanship can be found in any field of endeavor

imaginable, be it in the product sector or service industry. Craftsmanship,

therefore, is universally applicable to any line of work.

Craftsmanship is not “workmanship”, nor is it synonymous with quality,

although the three concepts are closely related. Let’s begin by

giving “Craftsmanship” a definition: “The production and delivery

of quality goods or services from highly skilled workmen.”

Quality relates to the absence of errors or defects in the finished

product or service. In other words, finished goods operate

according to their specifications (customers get precisely what

they ordered). Such products are normally durable and require minimal

maintenance. Craftsmanship produces quality products. In the absence

of craftsmen, a rigorous methodology or assembly line process is

required to produce quality goods using workers without the expertise

of craftsmen. Such processes detail “Who” is to perform “What” work,

“When”, “Where”, “Why” and “How” (5W+H), thereby assuring a quality

product or service is produced. Such is the underlying rationale of

the ISO 9000 certification as used by many companies today. The point

is, quality is not the exclusive domain of the craftsman.

Craftsmanship is also a human trait. Some might argue a computer or

industrial robot can produce quality products and are, therefore,

craftsmen. However, we must remember these devices are programmed by

human beings in accordance with the rules of the craftsman. As such,

they are an extension or tool of the craftsman.

Craftsmanship can be found in either the overall work process or

a section of it. For example, there are craftsmen who are intimate

with all facets of building furniture, such as a table, a chair or

desk, and can implement the product from start to finish. However,

as products grow in complexity, it becomes difficult to find people

suitably qualified to build them from the womb to the tomb. Consider

military weapons alone, such as the complicated ships, tanks, and

airplanes we now use, with thousands or millions of parts to

assemble. Such complexity makes it impossible for a single person

to have the expertise to build the whole product. The same is true

in the service sector where different types of expertise and

capabilities may be required. In other words, craftsmen have a

specific scope of work. The scope of work may relate to other

types of craftsmen through a chain of work dependencies, e.g.,

Craftsmen A, B and C concentrate on separate sub-assemblies which

are eventually joined into a single product.

Attributes

So, what are the attributes of a craftsman? What makes a craftsman a

craftsman? There are three basic attributes described herein:

1. Possesses the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the work.

The craftsman is an expert in his field of endeavor; so much so that

he could easily serve as an instructor in the subject matter. But the

craftsman is also smart enough to know that education is not a one

time thing, that his world and field evolve as new tools and techniques

are introduced. As such, the craftsman is a student of his profession

and is constantly looking to improve himself. This is exercised through

such things as continued education, routine certification, studying books

and trade publications, and industrial groups. The craftsman willingly

participates in trade groups, often at his own expense, in order to network

with his peers.

It is Important to note that the craftsman does not need to be told

he needs periodic training to sharpen his skills. Instead, he takes the

personal initiative to stay on top of his game. Further, the craftsman

has no problem with a periodic job review; in fact, he welcomes it for

it might bring out a weakness in a skill he needs to sharpen.

2. Attention to detail.

The craftsman understands and respects the process of building/delivering

a product or service and is acutely aware of the penalties for cutting

corners. Earlier we discussed the need for a methodology that specifies

5W+H. The craftsman is intimate with all details of his scope of work,

so much so, he could probably write the methodology himself. Further,

his intimacy of the work process means he can produce a reliable estimate

of time and costs to perform the work.

Although many of the craftsman’s tasks may be repetitive, it doesn’t

mean he easily falls into a rut. Instead, he is constantly looking

for new tools and techniques to improve the work process. As such,

he plays the role of Industrial Engineer who is normally charged

with such a task.

The craftsman’s attention to detail also means that he demonstrates

patience in his work effort. Again, wary of cutting corners, the

craftsman must possess such patience in order to produce the product

the right way.

3. Views professional life as an extension of his personal life.

The craftsman identifies with the end product which is where

pride in workmanship comes from. In his mind, the craftsman has

been charged with the responsibility of producing something, and

wanting to satisfy the customer, puts forth his best effort to

produce it. In other words, craftsmen take their work

personally. This is a difficult trait to teach particularly in

today’s society where the focus is more on financial compensation

than on the work product itself. It may sound naive, but the

craftsman believes he will be suitably compensated for

producing superior results.

Years ago, Dick Butkus of the Chicago Bears (NFL) confounded sports

writers who could never understand why Butkus played as hard as he

did year after year for a losing football team. True, Dick loved the

game, but beyond that, the sports writers didn’t understand one thing

about the seven time All-Pro linebacker: Butkus took his job

personally. It was important to him that his opponents know that

they had been tackled by the best player; as he said, “When they

get up from the ground I want them to say ‘it must have been Butkus

that got me’.”
Dick Butkus was a craftsman.

The craftsman has a burning desire to produce a superior product/service

because he sees it as a reflection of himself. As such, the lines delineating

their personal life and professional life are blurred. This is a significant

characteristic that clearly separates a craftsman from the average worker. The

craftsman’s work is his life. He does not shirk responsibility, but rather

embraces it with confidence and embosses his name on the finished product.

Conversely, making a work related mistake of any kind pains a true craftsman.

Job titles are normally inconsequential to the craftsman who is more

interested in delivering a quality product/service enjoyed by the

customer. Instead, the craftsman takes pleasure in being touted as

the best in his craft. He appreciates recognition; when someone

makes a compliment about a product, the craftsman views it as a

personal compliment. This too runs contrary to today’s corporate

world where people desperately seek recognition through simple

job titles. Want someone with an inflated ego? Give them a title.

Want something done right? Call a craftsman.

Productivity

“Dependable”, “professional”, and “resourceful” are adjectives that

aptly describe the craftsman. He is not one who fabricates excuses but,

rather, always finds a way to get the job done. The craftsman is typically

your most productive employee. He is mindful of the concept of productivity

that we have touted for years:

Productivity = Effectiveness X Efficiency

Most people fallaciously equate productivity with efficiency, which simply

gauges how fast we can perform a given task. Effectiveness, on the other hand,

validates the necessity of the task itself. There is nothing more unproductive

than to do something efficiently that should not have been done at all. An

industrial robot, for example, can efficiently perform such tasks as welding. But

if you are welding the wrong thing, then it is counterproductive. Going back to

our description of a methodology, effectiveness defines “Who/What/When/Where/Why”,

efficiency defines “How.” The craftsman is well aware of the difference

between the two and knows how to apply both. As such, the craftsman is in tune

with his work environment and corporate culture.

So how do we make craftsmen?

Not easily. Because of the human dynamics involved with the craftsman,

you will need to be a pretty intuitive manager or industrial

psychologist to make it happen. Selecting suitable candidates is the

logical first step. Devise an aptitude test to determine the candidate’s

suitability to become a craftsman. After all, “you cannot make a silk

purse from a sow’s ear.” Aside from specific knowledge and experience

in a given field (e.g., programming, woodworking, construction, accounting,

etc.), here are some other important traits to look for:

  • Fertility of mind – judge his ability to learn, to adapt to changing
    conditions, and to look beyond his scope of work. Evaluate his
    professional curiosity.

  • Confidence – judge how well the candidate knows himself,
    particularly how well he knows his own limitations. He
    should admit his deficiencies and not fabricate excuses.

  • Dedication – judge his loyalty and determination to
    accomplish something. What is his attendance record?
    What outside clubs and organizations does he belong
    to and how active is he in them?

  • Entrepreneurial spirit – judge his personal initiative.
    Is he driven to succeed (but not to the point of reckless
    abandon)? Does he have a problem with accountability?
    This says a lot about assuming responsibility.

  • Attention to detail – judge his ability to focus on a subject.
    Does he have a problem with discipline or organization? A person’s
    dress, mannerisms, and speech says a lot about a person.

  • Reliability – judge his ability to assume responsibility and
    carry a task through to completion.

  • Resourcefulness – judge his ability to adapt to changing
    conditions and persevere to see a task through to completion.
    The candidate cannot be inflexible; he must be able to find
    solutions to solve problems.

  • Socialization skills – does he work better alone or as a team
    player? His position may depend on his answer.

When you have selected suitable candidates, here are three areas to

concentrate on:

  1. Develop their skills and knowledge by allowing such things as:
    participation in trade groups, outside certification and on-going
    training, subscriptions to trade journals, continued education,
    etc. Some companies even go as far as to develop an in-house
    school to teach the company’s way of doing things. If the in-house
    school is good, it will promote confidence through consistency. Even
    if people leave the company, they will recommend your company because
    they know the quality of the work produced. Supporting the education
    needs of our workers is not only smart, it is good business.

  2. Teach them the need for producing quality work; they should
    become intimate with all aspects of their work process (5W+H).
    Further, instill discipline and patience in their work effort.

  3. Change their attitude towards development so they become more
    focused on delivering a quality end-product. This is perhaps
    the most difficult element to teach. However, it can be realized
    by having them become intimate with the needs of the customer
    (have them visit or work with a customer for awhile – “let them
    walk in the customer’s shoes”). It may also be necessary to
    change their form of remuneration by going to a reward system
    for work produced (as opposed to guaranteed income regardless
    of what is produced). Changing the mode of financial compensation
    is highly controversial in today’s business world. But, as an
    example, can you imagine the change of attitude of today’s professional
    athletes if they were paid based on their accomplishments (e.g., runs
    or points scored, hits, rebounds, etc.) rather than having a
    guaranteed income? Their motivation and attitude towards
    their profession and team would change radically.

    Candidates must learn to respect their institution, the process
    by which they work, fellow human beings, and themselves. They must
    also learn not to be afraid to TRY; that they must put their best
    foot forward, win or lose. Bottom-line: they must learn that their
    work has meaning and worth. If they don’t enjoy their work, they
    shouldn’t be doing it.

“There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first,

that you are going to have a good time as long as you live – I have no

use for the sour-faced man – and next, that you are going to do

something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do the

things you set out to do.”


– President Theodore Roosevelt

Talk to schoolchildren in Oyster Bay, Christmas-time 1898

Certification

Teaching the elements listed above probably cannot be done in one

fell swoop. Further, companies simply don’t have the time or money to

wait for the craftsman to be produced. Instead, they must understand

the human spirit needs to be cultivated and be allowed to grow over

time. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that an in-house

certification program be devised specifying what the candidate should

know and what skills and talents he should demonstrate. This should be

divided into classes of progressive expertise; e.g., apprentice, intermediary,

and craftsman. The ancient builders in Egypt, Rome, and Greece understood

this concept and devised such classes of workmen. Other disciplines and

schools follow similar tactics (the various degrees or belts in martial

arts for example). Each degree is based on specific prerequisites to

master before moving on to the next level.

An in-house certification program has the added nuance of making

people feel special which greatly enhances their self esteem. If

they are made to feel like a vital part of the company, regardless if

their work of a large magnitude or trivial, they will strive to do

what is best for the company overall, not just themselves. Consequently,

their work adds meaning to their life.

There is one pitfall to all of this; today’s “go-go” management

style fails to see how craftsmanship adds value to the company. In

fact, there were companies back in the 1980’s that shut down such

programs simply to reduce costs. As a result, quality suffered,

repeat business was lost, products were more in need of repair,

absenteeism on the job escalated, etc. Want value? How does

a loyal customer base who has confidence in your products or

services sound? And what effect would employee harmony have,

particularly if they believed in the work they were producing? It

would be mind-boggling, all because we had faith in the human

spirit to produce superior results.

A final note: craftsmanship is not a one time thing. After it has

been instilled in people, it has to be cultivated and perpetuated. If

a manager slips even for a moment, it will go right out the window and

it will take time to bring it back to life. As for me, I like to post

motivational reminders kind of like the one recently spotted in the

Hickey Freeman manufacturing facility in New York,

“Excellence is Tolerated.”

Posted in Education | Comments Off on Craftsmanship: the Meaning of Life

ESL Activities With Little Preparation

How often do you find yourself preparing a class, racking your brain for something different, a new activity to liven up a group of tired students, or just to bring something fresh to the classroom? If you are like most teachers, thinking of something new and exciting every day is not easy, and often we simply don’t have the time (or energy!) So we revert to our tried and tested (and sometimes a little worn) ideas, or to following page after page of a textbook.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. A lot of ideas can be adapted to many different language points, giving you something that can be used again and again. If the activity has a clear focus, motivation (students need to know why they are doing something – adding an element of competition to an activity is one way to achieve this) and, of course, clear instructions, then you’re on to a winner.

There are many good resource books available with hundreds of quick and easy activities requiring little or no preparation. Have a hunt around your school’s resources for books such as “Five Minute Activities” by Penny Ur and Andrew Wright, or “Keep Talking” by Friederike Kippel. Don’t forget that your fellow teachers are good resources too – use them!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1 You may know “Backs to the Board”, where a representative from each of two teams faces away from the board, while his/her teammates try to explain the word that you have written on the board to him/her, without saying the word or any variations of it. Well, why not extend this to whole sentences? The teams have a minute to explain the sentence to their teammate, without using any of the words, or spelling them, or using gestures. You can adapt this to any tense or structure that you want to practise.

2 Sentence reduction: Write a long sentence or a short paragraph on the board, rich in vocabulary. In teams, students take it in turns to erase either one, two or three consecutive words. The sentence must still make sense, grammatically, afterwards. If it doesn’t, replace the words and move to the next team. Carry on until no further reduction is possible (your students will be amazed at how short the sentence can become, while retaining its grammatical sense!) The winning team is the one who removes the most words. (Variation: Do the opposite – start with one word and have students replace it with two or three, expanding the sentence).

3 For spelling and vocabulary practice, try this: Start with one letter on the board, say “S”. The first student then thinks of a word beginning with “S” and adds the next letter, for example “ST”. The next student then thinks of a word starting with “ST” and adds another letter, and so on. If someone in the group thinks there is no such word, he can challenge the writer to name his/her word. If there is no such word, the writer is out, but if he/she was thinking of a real word, then the challenger is out. The winner is the last student remaining.

4 If your students are imaginative, give each group four or five pictures cut out from magazines, and get them to create a picture story – you can keep the context very open, or have them focus on a particular tense or function. If you want to focus on oral communication, don’t let them write their story down! If you also want to evaluate their writing, have them write it down as they go along. When they’ve finished, have each group tell their story to the rest of the class.

5 As a “Getting to know you” exercise, ask students to write three things which are true about themselves, and two which are not true (but believable). Students take turns to read their sentences to the rest of the group, who must discuss, and ask questions to the reader, and try to find out which of his/her sentences are true. A good ice-breaker is to do this yourself first so that they get the idea – write the five things about you on the board. (Variation: Write five one-word facts about yourself on the board, for example “32”, “Liverpool”, “Three”, “Bloggs”, and have students, in pairs, try to guess the questions which will give them these answers.)

6 Another one for imaginative students: Dictate the first line of a different story to each of several groups. They have a few minutes to continue the story, and then pass their piece of paper to the next group, who read the story so far and add the next part. Carry on until the stories reach their original groups, who then conclude and read out the stories. To focus on a particular language point or item of vocabulary, you can do this orally as a chain story: Give the first sentence, then have the first student continue the story. They must at some point use the tense, or structure, or word (allocated beforehand), that you want to work on. Carry on until all the students have contributed.

7 For some energetic writing practice, divide the board into three columns, and give each column a header with three structures that you want to practise (for example “first, second, third conditional”, “yes/no questions, indirect questions, tag questions”, “present perfect simple, present perfect continuous, past simple”). Split students into pairs. One from each pair is the writer, the other is the runner. Give each pair many small slips of paper and some blu-tac, and tell them that they must construct as many grammatically correct sentences as they can, in each of the three categories, and stick them on the board (with their initials to identify them). Set a five or ten minute time limit. The writer writes a sentence, then the runner takes the slip of paper and sticks it on the board. Shout “CHANGE” every so often for them to swap roles. At the end, have all the pairs look at the sentences and evaluate them. If they find an incorrect one, they tell you, and that sentence is not counted towards that pair’s score. (Variation: You can make this activity more difficult by saying that each sentence must contain a minimum of 10 words, for example.)

8 Another favourite is to give each student a secret famous identity, which they stick to their back or forehead. They go around the class, asking yes/no questions to establish their identity. You could make sure they practise the past simple by making all the famous people dead (“Did I live in the USA?”), or present perfect, by making them alive (Have I acted in many films?), or future, by imagining that these famous people have not yet been born (Will I be an actor?).

9 Stand students up, and shout out two opposing ideas, or people, or concepts, or adjectives, or places. For exanple, “beach or mountains”, “Spielberg or Hitchcock”, “red or blue”, “Playstation or Nintendo” depending on the age/interests of your students. Point to one side of the room for one idea, the other side for the other. Students move to the side of the room they choose – pick a few students each time to explain the reasons for their choices. If you like, you can let it develop into a debate between the two groups.

10 Do a “grammar auction” or “gap fill auction” with mistakes that students have made (and that you’ve made a note of) or with a language area that you want to work on. Split students into teams, and allocate each team $100, or 10,000 yen or any amount you like. If you can photcopy some real money, so much the better. For the grammar auction, give each team a worksheet with 10 (or more) sentences (based on the mistakes they’ve made or the language area you’re working on). Some should be grammatically correct, others incorrect. Give teams some time to discuss whether they think the sentences are correct or not, and then have them gamble on that decision for each sentence. Then give them the answer – if their decision was right, they double the amount they gambled – if not, they lose their stake. For the gap fill, give them 10 or more gap fill sentences (again based on the area you’re practising or their mistakes) and this time they choose the correct word to go in the gap and gamble on it.

You can find variations on these activities, and many, many others in the books mentioned at the beginning of this article, among others. Try one of them today for something different in your ESL classes!

Posted in Marketing | Comments Off on ESL Activities With Little Preparation

Federal Financial Aid Pays For Success

Today, Racquel Molinari sits in a comfortable, nicely furnished office, serving clients who need to restructure or refinance their home loans. Not long ago, Raquel herself was nearly homeless and very much in need of any financing she could find for herself and her children.

On a hot summer night when she had gone without food for days so that her children could eat, on a night so hot she broke a sweat just wiping her brow yet she could not turn on the air conditioning because she had no power, Raquel loaded the kids into her old, broken down car and went to the library. There, she logged onto the internet and applied for an online degree program. She also applied for every kind of financial aid available for single mothers; she especially applied for federal grants in aid.

"Just three weeks later," Molinari reports, "I had become a finance major in a prestigious business program offered by a high-powered online university. My financial aid checks paid for school and gave me enough money that we could eat and turn on the lights. " Molinari says that, once she and the kids got through the first month of school, they had developed a system, and college grew easier and easier with each passing term.

Your story can read much like Racquel Molinari's.

Acknowledgment that the United States ranks twenty-third among twenty-five modern, industrialized nations in measures of overall academic attainment, the Obama administration has designated millions of dollars for single women, empowering them to complete their degrees. Raquel Molinari had the good sense to take them up on their offer. "Every single mother should capitalize on this once in a lifetime opportunity to earn a college degree," Molinari insists. "No matter how many excuses a woman may imagine, there really is no excuse for missing out.

To emulate Racquel's example, unmarried moms should look for schools and degree programs that fit their needs. "The better the fit, the greater your chances of success," Molinari points out. Look for a school and degree program that match your needs, wants, wishes, and values, because the experts say that "Institutional Fit" has the greatest impact on your persistence to graduation. Talk to current students and alumni; ask tough questions of your advisors and counselors. If you are not cut-out for traditional college or university study, choose an accelerated online program instead; accredited online universities qualify for all the same federal financial aid programs as schools with famous football teams. The geography and culture of the place ought to make you feel as though you belong; you easily should make friends, and you should like your courses and instructors. Most of all, you should like, trust, and respect your academic and financial advisors.

Posted in Finance | Comments Off on Federal Financial Aid Pays For Success

6 Tips on How to Find a Good Locksmith in Your Area

Even if you never hired the services of a locksmith, you will still need one someday. For instance, you may lose your car keys or you may lock yourself out of your home. As far as finding a good professional is concerned, you may find it a bit hard. The reason is that some locksmiths are good and others are not so good. So, it’s important that you do your homework prior to deciding on one. Below are a couple of tips that can help you to hunt a good one.

Get Recommendations

No matter what professional you want to find, you may want to get recommendations. As a matter of fact, getting recommendations from family members, friends and colleagues is a great idea.

Once you have got a few names, make sure you find out more about the professionals. This can assure you that you are going to deal with the best professional. You may not want to hire an inexperienced locksmith.

Search online

There is no doubt that you can find all types of information on the Internet. Aside from recommendations, we suggest that you perform research on the web as well. The majority of locksmiths have their websites where they provide information regarding their professional services.

Once you know the services they offer, don’t forget to check the customer reviews. Actually, reviews from the locksmith’s previous clients may give you a good idea of the service quality of the professional.

Check Qualifications

Professional locksmiths undergo strict training in order to get qualified. Actually, you are looking for a locksmith who can repair, install and do the upkeep of the locks without damaging your locks or other things.

So, It’s a good idea to ask the professionals for their educational qualifications. Hiring an unqualified professional is not a good idea at all.

License and Insurance

Make sure that the professional is licensed. In the same way, make sure that the locksmith has an insurance policy that covers both General Liability and the Workman’s Compensation.

Experience Matters

For any profession, experience is of the utmost importance. As a matter of fact, the demand for highly experienced locksmiths is on the rise in the here and now. The reason is that they have a higher level of reputation in the area.

According to most experts, it’s a good idea to look for a professional who has at least 5 years of experience in the field. Actually, experienced professionals know how to install and repair all kinds of locks in a professional manner.

Availability and Reliability

You may not want to hire a locksmith who won’t come to your rescue when you are in trouble. At times, it’s more important to find a locksmith who you can rely on. Reputation is not something that is the most important.

So, before you sign the agreement, make sure you know that the professional is reliable and available.

Long story short, you may want to make sure you use the tips given above to look for an experienced, qualified and reliable locksmith in your area.

Posted in Insurance | Comments Off on 6 Tips on How to Find a Good Locksmith in Your Area

Turn Any Pontoon Boat Into the Ultimate Travel Camper

Pontoon Boat Full Camper Enclosures are a canvas enclosure custom made to fit your make and model of Pontoon Boat. These enclosures will help protect your console instruments, pontoon furniture and carpeting throughout. The Pontoon Full Camper Enclosure makes the most of your pontoon boating experience. A fully enclosed deck using a Bimini Top and a Camper Back Top gives you overall deck headroom. This is the ideal enclosure for weekenders, travelers and entertaining on your pontoon boat. By adding optional screens and privacy curtains, you can turn your pontoon boat into the ultimate travel camper.

The Pontoon Boat Full Camper Enclosure does enclose the entire deck area of your pontoon boat which now really makes it a multi use boat. You can entertain family and friends as well a great way to have a business meeting with a client. This enclosure is ideal for dining onboard, think of all the ideas you could do to create any atmosphere you wish for a great evening of entertainment.

If you’re a real estate broker or agent selling waterfront properties, a The Pontoon Boat Full Camper Enclosure will be a great asset in helping you close a property sale. Keep your clients dry while you tour the lake looking at cottages and year round waterfront homes. Create an office on the water complete with cell phone, laptop computer, GPS etc.

The Pontoon Boat Full Camper Enclosure can also be used for an overnight stay similar to a tent if needed. Makes for an inexpensive weekend camping trip by boat and give you a break from the hot humid weather or brief rain showers.

By adding a custom made Pontoon Boat Full Camper Enclosure, you can now start up a private charter boat business for tours and self-guided fishing trips, and not have to be concerned about changes in the weather while you are on the lake.

If your to spend more time on your pontoon boat, look into a Pontoon Boat Enclosure with your local boat dealer, marina, boat canvas shop and online. Get expert advice on the right Pontoon Enclosure before purchasing. You will now be prepared for any change in whether and not put a damper on a planned day on the water.

The Pontoon Boat Full Camper Enclosure will make a true difference in your comfort while you are boating and extend your boating season deep into the fall.

Posted in Bussiness | Comments Off on Turn Any Pontoon Boat Into the Ultimate Travel Camper