Why A Coffee Machine?

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Having a coffee machine in your kitchen will always be beneficial. Why is that you may ask? There are many reasons why it a good idea to have a coffee machine in your kitchen, one of the principal reasons is that you will always have a variety of different coffees available for your brew. Whether you prefer a cappuccino or latte – you’ll be sure to find the drink you want regardless of the coffee machine you have at home.

Let’s face it, it’s only your coffee machine that can produce the perfect brew, one cup at a time every single time, and can repeatedly make a brew exactly how you want it over and over again. You can test this out to easily by comparing a cup of coffee freshly brewed from the kettle to one that has been brewed from a machine. Each time you do this test, the coffee brewed by the machine will be better both aromatically and by taste that that from a kettle.

We all live busy lives from one degree to another and having a coffee machine on hand will mean it being one of the best friends you’ll ever have. To be able to just wander across to your kitchen, press a single button and have the best coffee you’ve ever tasted delivered to you in seconds can be, for many people, a lifeline.

I personally enjoy the coffee that’s delivered by Bosch Tassimo machines. There’s just something about what the Tassimo pods deliver that just hit the spot every single time for me. And with the easy to use Tassimo machines that are available on the market – not to mention the wide choice and variety of Tassimo discs that are available, I get the coffee I want, when I want it. I once got given a Tassimo as a gift and I haven’t looked back since.

In fairness, there are a number of good solid coffee machines on the market and I don’t want to just focus on the one – whether it’s what comes from Gaggia, DeLonghi or Krups – you’ll be sure to be installing something akin to your best buddy in the kitchen no matter the model you make.

You do need to be mindful of the coffee you get for your machine, which might determine what model you go for. I mentioned early about the Bosch Tassimo and the Tassimo pods. Tassimo refers to the make of the coffee and they do a line of Costa coffees that replicate what you get from the coffee shop on the high street. However, other make of coffee machine might not work with the Tassimo pods that are available – for instance, the Gaggia Classic use Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods which are a general, all purpose line of coffee that many other makes use – while the Krups Melody coffee machine uses a line of coffee from Dolce Gusto.

It might not be that important to you, but if there is a brand of coffee you absolutely love, then you need to be sure you get a coffee machine that will give you that coffee. But hey! Coffee is coffee isn’t it?

As mentioned earlier – coffee for some people can be something of a lifeline to the real world, or something that wakes you up first thing in the morning and so having a coffee machine at hand that will give you your caffeine hit when you need it can be a real God send.

And they are so easy to use, also. Once you have it switched on and full of water – you simply insert a coffee pod into the machine (some let you load multiple discs), press one button and let the coffee machine go to work. In my experience, with my Bosch Tassimo – I get my coffee in 20 seconds, fresh, delicious and exactly how I want it to be, time after time. My best friend? You bet!

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Demon Hauntings

A demon is considered to be a powerful, supernatural being that is generally malevolent (wishing or appearing to wish evil to others) in character. The word demon comes from the Greek word daimon, which means a divine or semi-divine power that determined a person’s fate. Some believe demons are angels who have fallen from grace or have chosen to take the cross over to the dark side, so to speak.

Demons are evil, supernatural beings of intelligence, wit, and immense power. They have the power to invade our homes, attach themselves to objects, and inflict torture both mentally and emotionally by attacking or even possessing the human body.

Demons are usually portrayed as large, muscular, human-like creatures. They are usually thought to be red, winged, and even surrounded by fire. They can take on any form they want, but mostly commonly it is a half man, half animal form.

In many cases, demons are summoned by someone using a Ouija board, or tinkering with some form to magic, witchcraft,or demon worship that perhaps they shouldn’t be tinkering with. They most likely don’t know what they could be getting themselves into.

Demonic hauntings are commonly represented by a stench similar to rotting flesh or sulfuric acid. The air in the area will feel thick and the temperature will drastically change, typically becoming warmer, although intense coldness is sometimes present. Growling sounds seem to come from everywhere all at once. The sounds of menacing laughter or disembodies voices speaking in foreign tongues, usually Latin, can often be heard. The demon may make verbal threats or throw objects. They like to push, shove, hit, and scratch. They may cause nightmares, consistent bad luck, and overwhelming senses of hate, anger, and evil. A demon’s main goal seems to be to break down a person’s free will so they can possess them.

Demons have the ability to morph into any shape they want. They can change from a human form to an inhuman form before your very eyes. They are neither male nor female, but will change to whatever meets their need at the time. Demons are commonly seen as black masses standing in doorways or in the corner of the room.

Demon hauntings usually start in a subtle way. Faucets dripping, scratches in the walls, thumping sounds. These behaviors are typically the same behaviors displayed by a poltergeist, but more extreme. It’s common for several entities to exist in one location with a strong evil presence seemingly controlling the others and not allowing them to cross over.

It is believed that demons hate humans and think them very lowly and stupid. Demons should never be challenged, unless you want a crash course on how weak you really are. Most demonic entities like a challenge and are incredibly conniving; they may have you believing they are good spirits or may appear to have gone away, only to confront you again at the least expected and most vulnerable moment.

Short of an exorcism, which is usually successful, some believe it may be possible to actually command a demon to leave. Be persistent, show no fear and tell it to get out. They will leave, although not necessarily right away, but keep trying. Also, it’s been said that demons don’t like to be ignored. If it can’t get you to fear it, then the game is over. Like say they, ignore it and it will go away. It’s worth a shot at least.

Something else that might help is smudging. To smudge your house, open the windows and light a bundle of dried sage. Sage is believed to clear away negative energy and spirits. Catch the ashes with a plate held underneath the bundle and walk around your home to cleanse it with the sage smoke. It is also said that sprinkling holy water throughout the house might work too.

Demons have lived for thousands of years and will be here long after we’re gone. Although it’s possible to get a demon to leave a place with the above mentioned methods, but they may not necessarily be destroyed. They may just find a new place to terrorize.

Cromwell in Ireland

Oliver Cromwell led a Parliamentary invasion of Ireland in 1649. The parliament had disposed of Charles I and abolished the monarchy, and it now wished to turn its attentions upon the Irish Confederate Catholics. Cromwell’s hostility was religious as well as political, he was passionately opposed to the Roman Catholic Church which he perceived as denying the primacy of the Bible in favour of papal and clerical authority and he blamed them for persecution of Protestants in Europe and indeed of Ulster planters in 1641. He was only nine months in Ireland but his campaign was very effective, before his arrival Parliament only possessed outposts at Dublin and Derry, at his departure they controlled most of the eastern and northern parts of the country.

Cromwell’s brutality on the royal garrison and the townspeople of Drogheda as well as the defenders of Wexford became permanently engraved in the folk memory of the Irish. As did the terms of surrender, men in arms were granted freedom to emigrate to the Continent and more than 30,000 accepted this offer. The poor classes were issued with a general pardon, it was the wealth of the country that the government of England was interested in. Any Catholic landowners who had been involved in the rebellion lost all their estates and property rights, those who hadn’t were only allowed retain a proportion of their lands but it was not to be same land.

Ireland was divided into two parts, firstly Connaught and Clare to which all those who had established their innocence were to be sent and secondly was the rest of Ireland in which confiscated lands were used to pay off the government’s creditors – the men who had lent money or supplies and the officers and soldiers who had served without adequate pay. It was not so much a plantation as a complete transference of wealth, power and resources from Catholics to Protestants, the Cromwellian settlement completely transformed the character of the landowning aristocracy of Ireland.

The Riddle of Shakespeare

Ask anybody who was William Shakespeare and you are certain to get the answer that he was a great English playwright.

But is it the correct answer?

  • Was Shakespeare really what he is supposed to be?
  • Did he write the plays that he is credited with?
  • These are the questions that have been puzzling the literary circles since 18th century.

Why such doubts about such a well-known literary figure?

The answer to this question lies in some facts about Shakespeare himself.

Vast Knowledge

Shakespeare used more than 20,000 words in his plays which display a knowledge of law, medicine, history and the ways of the court in addition to a deep understanding of human nature. But where did he learn all this? Shakespeare never went to any school or university. At best he might have attended the grammar school which could hardly impart this much knowledge to him.

He couldn’t have got this knowledge from books even. For in Shakespeare’s time books were rarities. There were no public libraries. Even the great Oxford University library had only a few hundred books which were considered so precious that they were kept chained to shelves.

Familiarity With Italy

Shakespeare never ventured beyond the English shores. Even then some of his plays set in Italy display a very intimate knowledge of the lay of that land. So how did Shakespeare know about the places, mountains, directions and even roads of a foreign country without ever going there? He could not have learned all this from maps which in his time were very much elementary.

Delayed Authorship Claim

Still another puzzling fact is that there was no mention of Shakespeare on the first plays that are said to be written by him. His name appeared in print for the first time on Love’s Labour Lost in 1598, full five years after his first work came out. Why this anonymity? Why did Shakespeare delay so long to claim the authorship of his works?

The Puzzle of Shakespeare’s Will

18 plays of Shakespeare came out only after his death. But the surprising thing about this is that there is no mention of them in Shakespeare’s will which is a very detailed document listing his properties with instructions about how to deal with them. But nowhere in it does Shakespeare allude to his unpublished plays which certainly were his most prized possessions.

Does the silence of Shakespeare about these plays mean that they were not his after all? And if that was so, who wrote them?

Shakespeare Substitutes

As there are no clear answers to the riddle of Shakespeare, the doubting scholars are of the view that somebody else has written the plays that are credited to William Shakespeare.

Suggested substitutes of Shakespeare include Edward de Vere, the talented Earl of Oxford; Francis Bacon, the great philosophic genius; Mary Sidney, the Countess of Pembroke; and Christopher Marlowe. All of them were learned, widely traveled and prominent literary figures of the day and might have had a reason for writing under an assumed name.

But there is no agreement among the scholars about any of these substitutes. On the other side of the fence are scholars who have no doubts about Shakespeare at all. In fact they assert that Shakespeare indeed wrote the plays and there should not be any question regarding his authorship claim at all.

So what is the truth about Shakespeare? Nobody knows for certain. The debate is going on. The jury is out and likely to remain so for a long time to come

Who Was Catherine of Valois?

When most people think of Tudor queens, they imagine Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon, and other queen consorts who were unfortunate enough to have married Henry VIII. Hidden among these queens is Catherine of Valois, and if it wasn’t for her, we would not have the Tudor dynasty to enjoy at all.

Catherine of Valois began her life in Paris, France, at the beginning of the 15th-century. Her parents were Charles VI and Isabeau of Bavaria. Unfortunately for Catherine, her father suffered considerably from mental illness. From time-to-time, this illness caused him to not recognize his wife. At one stage, he killed several courtiers after causing a fire at a ball.

While Catherine’s father was mentally unwell, her mother was forced to protect his throne. Early modern historians writing between the 16th and 19th centuries interpreted her actions as being tantamount to child neglect and brandished her as a bad mother. However, contemporary accounts if Isabeau tell a different story. She regularly gave her children toys, and even sought an education for the girls, which was an unusual move at the time.

In 1419, The Treaty of Troyes determined that Catherine of Valois would marry Henry V. At the time, England and France had been embroiled in the Hundred Years War, which saw the English constantly struggle to gain control of land in France. The Treaty saw Henry successfully establish himself as next in line to the French throne, and he gained a bride.

By 1421, Catherine of Valois had given birth to Henry VI. Unfortunately, her husband died of dysentery while on a peace keeping mission in France not long after. This left Catherine alone in England, under the protection of her husband’s family.

By the late 1420s, Catherine met Owen Tudor. How she met him has been disputed, but there are some romantic stories floating about. Some claim that she saw him washing by a lake, and made her way down there dressed as a common woman to introduce herself to him. Others claim he fell into her lap while dancing clumsily at a ball. Regardless of how they met, they did, and they were secretly married sometime around the end of the 1420s.

In 1430, Edmund Tudor was born. It was thanks to Edmund’s birth that the Tudor dynasty was later established. As Edmund went onto marry Margaret Beaufort, he established the Tudor dynasty when his son Henry VII was born.

In 1436, Catherine of Valois retired to Bermondsey Abbey. Some claim this happened because her marriage was discovered. Others believe that this happened because she suffered from a mental break down. In 1437, she died.

Anne Boleyn – The Years Before Henry

Anne Boleyn, was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn and Lady Elizabeth Howard. Anne’s mother, Lady Elizabeth, was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, trusted advisor to both Henry VII and Henry VIII. The actual date of Anne’s birth is not known.

Most sources place it somewhere between 1501 and 1507; while others have placed it as early as 1499, or as late as 1512. Those scholars placing the date as 1501, cite a letter from 1514. This letter, written while she was still in the Netherlands, is in French, and addressed to her father, in England. At this time, Anne was a maid-of-honor to the Archduchess Margaret, of Austria; and since a girl had to be at least thirteen to serve in this position, the letter seems to give support to a birth date, not later than 1501.

After serving the Archduchess, Anne was sent to France to join her sister, Mary, in the retinue of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, who had recently been married to Louis XII. On the death of Louis, Mary Tudor returned to England, and she took Mary Boleyn with her.

Anne, however, remained in France for several years as lady-in-waiting to the new Queen Claude. This stay at the French court, gave Anne her taste for French fashion, music, and art. The clothes that she brought home to England, would prove to be a great influence upon the style of Renaissance clothing adopted by the ladies of the English court. It was also while in France, that Anne became a devoted follower of Renaissance humanism, which she continued to study and practice for the rest of her life. By the time she returned to England, Anne had spent so many of her formative years under French influence, that for all intents and purposes, she was essentially, a French girl.

There has been much disagreement on the subject of Anne’s beauty. Accounts describing her as having numerous warts and moles, a goiter on her neck, and six fingers on one hand, can generally be attributed to her enemies at court. More often it is said, that although not beautiful, she had a lovely olive complexion, silky straight auburn-brown hair, and large dark unusual eyes, so brown, that they seemed black. Some contemporary accounts describe her as medium height, with small breasts, and the feature most noted, next to her eyes, being her long, graceful neck.

Anne’s darker skin and hair, and her decidedly French airs, would have set her apart from the other ladies of the court; most of whom had the pale, fair-skinned looks, thought beautiful, at that time. Whatever the truth about her looks may have been, one thing is certain, that drawing upon the experience of her years spent at the French court, whatever charms she had, Anne knew how to use them to their full advantage.

Anne returned to England in late 1521, or early 1522; the earliest known mention of her at court, is in the roles of a masque ball, held March 1, 1522. At this time, she was in the service of Queen Katherine of Aragon, and was expecting to be married to a distant Irish cousin, James Butler. This arrangement was an attempt to secure the title and estates of the Earldom of Ormonde for the Boleyn family. Anne’s paternal grandmother, Mary Boleyn, and her great-aunt, Anne St. Leger were co-heiresses under the will of their late father, the 7th Earl of Ormonde.

This was now being challenged by James Butler’s father, Piers. Fearing a dispute such as this could lead to civil war in Ireland, Anne’s grandfather, the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, along with Henry VIII, had proposed the marriage as a way to keep the peace. Anne’s father, Thomas Boleyn, possibly hoping for an even more advantageous union, never really worked to promote this match. This may have been one reason that negotiations fell through, and the wedding never took place.

Later that same year, Anne met and was courted by Lord Henry Percy, whom some believe was the true love of Anne’s life. Whether there was anything of a sexual nature in the relationship between Anne and Percy, is a subject of much controversy. What is known, is that the two quickly became almost inseparable, spending much time together, laughing, talking, playing music and games. For some reason, when Cardinal Wolsey became aware of the depth of their attachment, he persuaded Percy’s father, the Earl of Northumberland, against the suitability of the match. In 1523, their relationship was ended when Percy’s father refused to accept their engagement. Anne never forgave Wolsey for his interference.

While suffering the heartbreak of her broken romance with Percy, Anne was comforted by the attentions of the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt. Several of his poems were written for, or about Anne. It appears that Wyatt, who was separated from his wife, was genuinely smitten with Anne, and would have like to have married her, had that been possible. Anne’s feelings for him though, seem to have always been more platonic in nature.

By 1525, Anne was firmly established at court. She had a large circle of male and female friends, who enjoyed the same pursuits as herself. With her wit and intelligence, she was often the center of attention for discussions and debates. She would share her views on Humanism, and tried to encourage this type of enlightened Renaissance thinking. She appeared content with her role at court, and the minor flirtations being carried out. She seemed unconcerned that she was neither married, nor being seriously pursued. All of this, of course, was about to change. Once noticed by Henry VIII, she was soon to become the object of his obsession, and life for Anne Boleyn would never be the same.

Kitchen Ideas on a Budget

While at one point in time the kitchen was primarily viewed as a service area for cooking, now days the kitchen has turned into a room that is multi-functional and central to many of the activities in the family. The past century has brought about the emergence of both function and interior design within the room we call a kitchen.

When it comes to kitchen remodeling and other kitchen ideas, it can take a huge budget to remodel and update the interior design within this room. Believe it or not, the average costs for remodeling kitchens in the past few years have topped $25,000. It definitely is no wonder that the kitchen has been considered one of the most expensive remodeling projects that most homeowners undertake.

If you are one of the many people wanting to remodel your kitchen, inspired by the beautiful photos of lovely kitchens on television and in magazines, you may feel that your budget is keeping your dream kitchen out of reach. However, even if you don’t have a huge budget, you do have some options. There are a variety of ways that you can remodel and update your kitchen without totally going broke.

Believe it or not, kitchen remodeling and ideas do not always have to be very expensive. You may be shocked at the variety of ways that you can get a beautiful kitchen while still saving money and staying within your limited budget.

While you may not want to undertake an entire kitchen remodeling project, there are a variety of great kitchen ideas that can update the way your kitchen looks, even without spending a great deal of money. The following are some great kitchen ideas that will improve the look of your kitchen without breaking your budget.

Improve the Lighting – One of the most cost effective kitchen ideas to get a modern look is to update the lighting in your kitchen. There are a variety of economical ways that you can change the lighting to give your kitchen a great look. Halogen lights may be a great idea as well, but if you choose them, consider the ones that bounce off the ceiling. Many come with a dimmer that will allow you to choose the amount of light you need. Task lighting is also inexpensive to install in your kitchen. This type of lighting is great above the sink or above counter tops as well. If you want to make a fashion statement or highlight a specific part of your kitchen, accent lighting may be a great choice.

Use Some Paint – If you want a new kitchen look, one of the best kitchen ideas is to add a few coats of paint. Paint is fairly inexpensive, and you can totally change the look of your kitchen with a bit of paint. Consider painting your kitchen cabinets. You can add some color to your drab kitchen, just by painting your cabinets. When it comes to your kitchen walls, you can get creative with the paint as well for a modern look. Sponging, rag rolling, or even mottling are great painting techniques that will add some texture and class to your kitchen.

New Accessories – Believe it or not, something as simple as adding new accessories can make a huge difference in your kitchen. Just getting new pulls and knobs for cabinets and drawers will add a new look in your kitchen. You can find these pulls and knobs in stone, resin, glass, wood, rubber, and metal. There are also a variety of styles that you can choose from too, so pick accessories that give you a nice modern touch.

So, as you can see, when it comes to kitchen remodeling and ideas, you don’t have to spend thousands to get a great look. If you want a new look in your kitchen without having to spend a great deal of money, why not use these budget friendly ideas for a kitchen that is multi functional and beautiful as well.

Different Types of Fishing Using Fishing Poles

There are a few place to fish, you could fish from the shore of a river or in a small pond or lake. Any where there is a natural body of water with everything to sustain life, there are fish and other aquatic animals. Whether you are ice fishing, river or stream fishing, from a boat, or in a lake or pond, you will need the right gear an fishing poles. You will need a regular pole (not a fly fishing rod) and reel for the fishing we are doing here, you can use a spinning reel (more experienced) or bait casting reel (less experienced).

Here are some techniques used when fishing

Still Fishing– Still fishing can be done from any where, you can fish from the shore, a dock or pier, or an anchored boat. It can be done at the bottom or near the bottom of any lake, pond, or still part of a river or stream.

Drift Fishing– Drift fishing is done in a boat and this can help you reach other areas and habitats you could not reach from a shore or dock. Drift fishing is when you let the current or wind movements control your boat. You can use live bait or lures-bobbers or cast and reel, drift fishing can let you do a variety of fishing styles for different species.

Live Lining– This also requires a boat but you anchor it in a river or stream. You can use live or other kinds of bait, all you want to do is keep it just off the bottom. You will be able to get your bait into spots you normally could not. Spots like cracks, holes, and drop offs, these are a few places where fish like to hide.

Trolling– This is kind of like live lining but reverse. This you use a trolling motor on your boat and drop your line into the water and let the motor create the movement. A trolling motor is almost silent so you will not scare the fish. You can even troll off of the shore or long pier, this is not as effective as on a boat but still works to some degree. The bait and depth all depends on what you are fishing for.

Jigging– This can be done from anywhere, it is the action you do with the fishing pole. You create a bouncing or back and forth movement after you cast out and let your jig sink to the bottom or close. Then just tip your fishing pole up about a foot and then let it down again, that is it. This takes a little practice so do not get frustrated, just keep practicing.

Ice Fishing– This is where you drill (never cut) a hole in the ice and fish through it. Some do it in a permanent shack, portable shack, or just in the open air. You do not need a fancy fishing pole for this type of fishing. This is a little more of a waiting game since the fish are much less active in the winter. It is nice to have company, a heater, and something to do in the down time.

Here are a few places to look for the fish and when :

  • Cliffs and drop offs make good spots to find fish. You will want to look for over hangs on the cliffs or rocks at the base of the cliff (if you can see in the water). A shear cliff or steep shore bank with no coverage will not have fish at it. Shallow water gradually leading to deeper water with a drop off will bring fish from deeper water to that edge. They will be looking for food so this will be a good place to fish.
  • Weed beds, lily pads, and sunken object are real good places to look for fish. They provide good shelter for little fish as well as big fish. Insects and other creatures use lily pads and weed beds to lay eggs, this will bring smaller fish in turn bringing bigger fish. Lily pads also create shade, so look here on a hot day.
  • Outside bends in rivers are a good place to look for fish. The fish are looking for food there because the current pushes all the smaller prey to the edge. Look for one with a tree or rocks in it to slow down the current, more food will collect there.
  • Rock pockets are a good place for fish. They like the clam water that is created when water splits around the rock. They will face up stream on the down stream side of the rock, right behind it.
  • They like inlets and merging areas also. They will at the point where the two streams or rivers meet or in the calmest area of the inlet.
  • Under cuts are an excellent place to look for the big fish. This is where the river or stream has cut out a area under the shore area, this is the perfect cover from all predators.

In the spring and fall you are not going to get much biting until the water warms up. Remember to fish on the downwind side of where ever you are this way the warm water will be blowing towards you.

In the summer it is best to fish before and after mid-day. The fish head to the bottom or where ever it is cool to avoid the hotter water, so if you are going to fish during the mid day make sure you fish the shady spots or deep areas.

Alternative Fishing Styles

There we were, me and my new fishing apprentice at the lake. I was teaching him the rudiments of handling the rod and putting the bait and we were trying to catch a lake trout while discussing everything from sports to the most effective technique to escape from boring clothes-shopping with our wives. I got some good ideas, I must confess.

At some point he asked me if there were some other fishing techniques or alternative styles. “Is it always just a fishing rod, reel, bait, and waiting in sport fishing?” he asked.

Of course it is the most common way to fish but it is not the only way to fish. In sport fishing, there are different techniques and tools for fishing depending on the type of fish you want to catch. There are even games you can play with friends or family.

One of Murphy’s laws says that if something can be used for something else besides its original use, someone will do it. Some techniques or methods are more dangerous or fun than others.

Before I could explain him about some fun ways to fish as well as others too dangerous to practice for a starter, I don’t know why it came to my mind a piece from the New Testament that says that Jesus is reported to have said to his disciples: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19). Then I said that in those times, fishing with a net in a group was considered an honest effort to make a living. I don’t know if he is a religious man, but he agreed with that idea.

Some of you might not like the techniques discussed here. Others will love them; it is a mater of diversity and sportsmanship.

One of the first fishing techniques we discussed and one I like, is Hand
Fishing, also known as Trout Tickling or Noodling if you are fishing
catfish. Noodling doesn’t require any kind of fishing tool but your hand
and it is fun, just try it sometime. It is also possible to fish lobsters
when you are diving or “Pearl” Fishing.

A variant of it is the Hand-Line Fishing. You just need a line and a small piece of wood or something to roll the line. I’ve seen this done at some beaches in Mexico but, as far as I know, this is illegal in Kansas.

Another “ancestral” way to fish is Spear Fishing. Traditional Spear
Fishing is restricted to shallow waters, but the development of the spear
gun has made this method much more efficient. Fishing can be done with an
ordinary spear or a specialized variant such as an eel spear or with a
long or short trident. You can be at a river shore or in the water with
basic or complete scuba equipment. A variant of this is “Bow Fishing”
which might not be fun if you keep losing arrows!!

Net Fishing is another method of sport fishing. All fishing nets are
meshes that are usually knotted by a relatively thin thread. Modern nets
are usually made of nylon, although nets made of wool or silk thread were
common until recently and are still used in certain areas. The casting net is circular and the diameter varies. The way to use it is sinking it at the same time you make a forward motion from surface-down to bottom and then up. There is a chance that you catch something else, but hey, some coracles are as good as fish, besides this is also the way they are caught.

Trawling is a fishing method that involves pulling a fishing net through
the water behind one or more boats. In Mexico there is a place where the
nets simulate butterflies wings and fish like this. A gill net catches
fish which try to pass through it by snagging on the gill covers. Thus
trapped, the fish can neither advance trough the net nor retreat.

I find Kite Fishing very exotic. It was invented in China and then learned by people in New Guinea and other Pacific Islands. It is a very
non-traditional way of fishing for a newbie getting into the fishing
world. It was used by people who did not have a boat to fish, but also was very handy when fishing conditions were difficult or the fishing places were inaccessible or dangerous.

Ice Fishing, do I have to say more? Just get a line, a hook and open a
hole in the ice, just don’t put your hand in it!

Fish Trapping is another way for fishing. There are two types of traps:
the semi-permanent and the permanent. Depending on the type of fish you
want to get, the traps can be several feet long to relatively short. An
example is dam fishing by building a temporary dam in such a way that
makes it easier to catch the fish. Other types are the tripods used in the Congo and the weir structures or baskets used in medieval times. The
baskets or weir structures are built according to the fish to catch

Another “natural” way to fish, involves trained animals like cormorant,
remoras and dogs.

Fishing using toxins is not a healthy way for catching fish. There are
some natural toxins found in some plants, and the main idea is to paralyze the fish so you can easily catch it by hand. The fish either dies right after suffocating or later in transport. This is not only dangerous because you can get poisoned too, but it is illegal.

In my opinion, using explosives are not only dangerous for you if you
don’t know how to handle explosives, but also for the environment. It
kills by direct hit or shockwave. The worst thing about it is that it is not selective.

Another dangerous practice is electro-fishing. It sounds like a new dance,
but actually is a fishing technique that involves electricity. Depending
on the type of fish, you can select the voltage (a bit of electrical
knowledge would be good) to stun the fish. The problem is that you can
also injure a diver and he can get really mad at you. The device is supposed to be secure for water usage since it has a dead-man-switch in case you fall in the water.

So my Padawan learner might want to get into other fishing techniques. And I hope he does as long as he doesn’t blow up a lake or electrocute someone else, after all, fishing is a gentlemen’s sport based on honest effort.

Melting Chocolate the Right Way

If you’ve ever tried to make your own chocolate confections at home, then you know how fickle chocolate can be. Indeed, working with chocolate should require a college degree in chemistry. It’s all about choosing a good quality chocolate, precise temperatures and most importantly, patience, patience, patience. Making your own confections is a lot of fun and it’s a great way to gift the people in your life with something delicious and unique. Homemade chocolates make great gifts for family, friends, co-workers, even those who are most difficult to shop for. You need to know a few things before you embark on this adventure, but the results are truly rewarding.

Here are 7 key things to remember when melting chocolate:

1) Use low heat. Chocolate is very delicate. High heat causes the chocolate to heat too quickly.

2) Do not overheat as this will cause the chocolate to scorch. If the chocolate scorches, it changes the taste and consistency.

3) Stir chocolate constantly. This is especially important with milk and white chocolate.

4) Burned chocolate becomes grainy.

5) Never add water or let water come in contact with the chocolate. Water is chocolate’s biggest enemy. When water or even vapor gets in the chocolate, it causes the chocolate to seize and become hard and lumpy.

6) If the chocolate does seize, add a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening to try to salvage it. Don’t use butter as it contains water.

7) If you think you melted the chocolate just the right amount, chances are you overheated it. Remove it from the heat immediately and transfer the chocolate to a cool metal bowl to allow the chocolate to cool quickly.

There are two easy methods to melting chocolate that I like to use myself.

In a Microwave

This is the quickest method, but it’s the one with the most room for error. The reason for that is that there is a tendency to overheat the chocolate in the microwave due to high temperatures. This is especially true for white chocolate. The best way to avoid this is by taking your time and watching the chocolate carefully.

  • -Break your chocolate into small pieces. Don’t try to melt it all at once. Do it in batches.
  • Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. I like to use a glass container. I avoid using plastic as the plastic sometimes will affect the taste of the chocolate.
  • Place in microwave and heat for 1 minute.
  • Remove from microwave. You will notice that the chocolate has retained its shape. At this point, make sure to mix it thoroughly. If the chocolate needs more melting, heat in increments of 30 seconds.
  • Don’t let the chocolate completely melt in the microwave. If this happens, the chocolate has overheated and may even taste burned or scorched. It’s better to allow the chocolate to continue to melt outside of the microwave by mixing it. The melted chocolate will help to melt any pieces that have not melted.

In a Double Boiler

This method takes a little longer but it’s worth the time because you will be able to control the heat better. You can melt your whole batch in this case, but I recommend not melting more than 1lb. at a time.

  • Break your chocolate into small pieces and place in the top pan of the double boiler.
  • Fill the double boiler with about 2 inches of water, making sure that the water will not touch the top pan which contains the chocolate.
  • Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat.
  • Place the top pan with the chocolate on top of the pan with the water.
  • Use a spoon to mix the chocolate.
  • When using a double boiler, it is recommended that it be removed from the heat before placing the chocolate on top.
  • It is very important to keep the water away from the chocolate. As I mentioned earlier, water is chocolate’s biggest enemy. Even the vapor from the double boiler could potentially cause the chocolate to seize.
  • If you need more heat to melt the chocolate, you may then simmer the water and place the chocolate pan on top once again. Do this until your chocolate is completely melted.

These tips will surely help you melt chocolate appropriately and safely. Remember that working with chocolate is a test of patience and perseverance. If you scorch some chocolate, don’t worry. Throw it out and start over.

What is a Ghost?

The question “What is a ghost?” has been asked by millions of people for thousands of years. Every culture across the planet views ghosts differently. Some believe that ghosts are evil spirits that should be feared, while others believe that ghosts are here to help and protect the living.

Ghosts are generally thought of as the apparition ( the appearance of) or spirit of someone or some thing that is no longer living. Many theorize that a ghost is simply caught between the world of the living and the afterlife. Possibly confused about their own death. This is why many people believe that ghosts are often found in places of terrible tragedy and sudden death.

Other theories regard ghosts as just another form of energy. We are all made up of energy. Some scientists believe that energy doesn’t die, but simply changes form. Ghosts could be the same energy in a new form, without a physical body. Another theory is that ghosts are only imprints left on the atmosphere around us by what some call our “life force”.

Although there may be no definite explanation for what a ghost is, it is hard to deny that there is definitely something about them that has captured the minds of millions. With thousands of reported sightings and encounters for centuries, it is also hard to deny that ghosts just might be real. The thought of a ghost being real is scary to some and fascinating to others. Can they see us? Do they hear us when we speak?

There are different types of ghosts that people have reported encounters with as well. History will tell us that not all ghosts are considered friendly and some actually create feelings of sadness and terror.

A poltergeist is said to be one form of a ghost that is reported to move objects and make noises to let it’s presence be known. Poltergeists are often regarded as bad or evil spirits and are sometimes even associated with demons. A poltergeist is said to sometimes center around one person in a household. This person is usually someone who may be suffering from some form of emotional turmoil or change. Adolescents are often associated with this type of ghost.

Demons are often referred to as ghosts, but are theorized by many to be a completely different thing. Demons are most commonly believed to be fallen angels or forces of pure evil. Some believe that there are two basic forces that hold our world into place. One being in the form of goodness and purity, while the other takes the form of absolute darkness and evil. Demons are believed by some to a manifestation of that influence. They are also believed to have the power to inhabit the bodies of humans or animals.

Apparitions are the most common type of ghost and involve the appearance or sighting of someone that is no longer living. Apparitions can be full body or partial in appearance. Some apparitions are said to appear only in places that were familiar to them in life, while others remain a mystery. Some say that this type of ghost can appear to relatives or loved ones and have been said to warn of imminent danger.

There are many other types of ghosts and paranormal activity and the best way to get the answers that you may be seeking is to do some investigating of your own. Research and theorize for yourself. “What is a ghost?” just might be a question that can never be completely answered. People will continue to investigate and theorize, but we may not get the answer to this age old question until we become ghosts ourselves.

When The Cold Weather Comes

A decent greenhouse heater can make all the difference to your plants during midwinter to protect them from frost and ice. And the good news is is that you can pick up a decent heater for your greenhouse relatively cheaply.

Obviously, you need to assess your needs and relatively cheaply is dependent upon your greenhouse, it’s dimensions and what you’re growing. If you only have a smallish area to heat inside your greenhouse you can effortlessly pick up a greenhouse heater for the job for less than £30. If you have a larger greenhouse or need a bit more humph, then the price tag of a good greenhouse heater could run into the £100s. It’s significantly imperative, therefore, that you are sure of what you need for your greenhouse and your plants to ensure you get the right bit of kit.

The insulation on most plastic greenhouse have quite a low insulation value and so the purchase of the correct greenhouse heater is important to replace any lost heat. The use of either an electrical heating system, or paraffin heater, are in my view the best preference when looking to replace any heat loss. Furthermore, a thermostat is vital to make sure you can correctly control the temperature within your greenhouse and fortunately, most variants of heater come with one already installed.

If I stick my neck on the line, I’d advise against a propane gas heater – certainly if you’re just starting up – as you can spend quite an amount for a good model. Nevertheless, that’s just a subjective opinion on my part and I certainly won’t rule out a gas heater on the basis that it wasn’t up for the job (and gas heaters have potentially the lowest running costs). However, a decent paraffin heater doesn’t cost too much so they are worth looking at.

Talking of which, you do need to take into account the running cost of your greenhouse heating system. At the time of writing, the average electricity cost per unit is in the region of 15p (depending on your supplier and tariff) which means a 2000w heater will cost about 30p for every hour (60p for a 4000w etc). A paraffin greenhouse heater, however, could cost twice as much for the same length of time. That might have made your eyes swell – but the advantage of going with oil is that the heater will take time to cool and so you get “free” heat for a period of time after you’ve turned it off.

My own personal first choice is an electrical glasshouse heater as I like the “cheaper now” option as I don’t have avast budget and with the inbuilt thermostats on most products these days, I can keep the temperature within my own greenhouse just right, but don’t let that put you off a paraffin or gas heater if your need or budget stretches that far – each option does an excellent job of keeping the temperature of your glasshouse just right.

Three Types Of Lawn Mowers

Cutting the grass is something that is often boring and uncomfortable, but must be done. Luckily we don’t have to do this with scissors and knives; we have complex machinery to do it for us. Even with machinery though, mowing the lawn still takes quite a while. So why not make that time entertaining by thinking about the scientific aspects of how they work on the inside?

A Lawn After A Lawn Mower Has Been To Work

First thing to consider is how the mower is powered. We have three options in this regards – we can go with the standard muscle powered lawn mower. You push it along the lawn, the wheels turn the blades and they cut as you go.

Secondly, there is the electric powered mower. An electrical charge rotates the cutting blade and cuts the grass. More often than not, these mowers are also push powered across the lawn although some of the more expensive models drive rear wheels.

Finally, there are petrol lawn mowers. These are the most powerful of lawn mowers and come with their own small combustion engine that powers the cutting blades and in a lot of cases, drive the back wheels and are self-propelled. Naturally, these are usually the most expensive of the three types of mower but if you shop around you can find some cheap petrol lawn mowers to buy.

All mowers operate on the same principle: hit the blades of grass with sharp blades at a high velocity. Different kinds of lawn mowers do this in different ways.

Because push mowers are the cheapest lawn mowers there are, they are also the simplest. The basic structure consists of a cylinder that encloses multiple rotary blades. The cylinder has wheels on its outer edges. These mowers are powered by human muscle, so they use no additional energy input. When the user pushers the mower, force is transferred down the connecting shaft and turns the wheels, which in turn move the blades in a circle. Push mowers make the cleanest cuts.

With other kinds of mowers, the blades are switched from moving in a circular rolling motion across the grass to moving in a horizontal circle while the mower is pushed across the yard. These mowers have gears that transfer force into turning the wheels. These are powered either by electrical current from the nearby house or by burning gasoline in an internal combustion engine. Electric mowers are the more efficient of the two. types, whereas burning gasoline generates more heat.

There is also a new variety of mowers: the robotic mowers. These advanced gadgets run on rechargeable batteries and require no supervision. One simply sets up a wire around the square area to be mowed and sets the root loose. One bot can successfully mow up to 5 acres of lawn!

Personally, I’d always go for a petrol lawn mower as you’ll never know when you need the extra power their engines can give. And if I had to stick my neck out, I’d vouch for the McCulloch M40-450c as it is both cheap and powerful and will do a good job of your lawn!

With that out of the way you can finally get to that overgrown grass. Hopefully you’ll have enough random facts about lawn mowers to keep your mind occupied during those long hot summer mowing days!

Aliens Did Not Build The Egyptian Pyramids

Aliens, ‘ancient astronauts’ or perhaps the ancient Egyptian ‘gods’ (really extraterrestrials) may have helped inspire the building of the Egyptian pyramids (like God inspires the building of cathedrals), but it was your basic human blood, sweat and tears that did the actual construction despite all the hardships. Here are some thoughts on why we have to pat ourselves on the back and not the backs of aliens for these impressive structures, one of which is the last one standing of the seven original ancient wonders of the world.

*One common theme in creation mythology is that the ‘gods’ created humans to serve them and do the hard yards in terms of sweat and toil. That alone is suggestive that the so-called ‘gods’ (that is, the ‘ancient astronauts’) did not sweat and toil and build the pyramids using whatever high-tech at their command; rather humans erected these massive structures as tombs (and as a stairway to the heavens in the afterlife) to honour their ‘gods’, of which the pharaoh was considered to be as one after death. So a tomb for the departed king was also a monument erected to the ‘gods’.

*Archaeological digs within sight of the Great Pyramids at Giza have uncovered ‘towns’ and cemeteries where the human labour force that planned and built the pyramids, and provided the required infrastructure (like food) lived and died and were buried, including, of course, the skeletal remains of those workers.

*Detailed medical analysis of those skeletons reveals the sorts of anatomical conditions and accidental injuries that would be commonly associated with; that which would result from the backbreaking sort of work associated with stonework; moving and positioning massive stone blocks.

*Images or reliefs in various temples, tombs and other structures depict scenes of large groups of men hauling massive stone blocks and/or doing the sorts of things that stonemasons do.

*Graffiti has been uncovered inside numerous ancient Egyptian pyramid sites left behind by the work gangs who did the hard yards. It’s a sort of ancient equivalent of the WWII “Kilroy Was Here” sort of thing.

*The pyramids show a natural evolution in styling from the simple mastaba to the more complex as in mastabas piled one on top of the other (the Step Pyramid), then finally to the true pyramid shape now so familiar to us in their design and structure, starting with the Red Pyramid at Dahshur. Pyramids are not all near identical clones that those at the Giza necropolis might suggest.

*Associated with that evolution, we find pyramids that ended up in an ‘oops’ condition; pyramids that suffered construction mishaps like the Pyramid of Meidum where the outer bits just sort of collapsed in a heap revealing the inner core. The Bent Pyramid was “bent” because it was realised half-way through that the original angle was too steep and the top half was constructed at a lesser angle. The pharaoh concerned was an unhappy camper about that ‘oops’ and so the Bet Pyramid was then abandoned unused. Aliens wouldn’t have made such trail-and-error mistakes.

*The pyramid shape is hardly something out-of-this-world. It’s a fundamental geometrical shape well-known to the ancients.

*Looking at images of the pyramids, both external and internal, you’d be pretty hard pressed to think of these as something high-tech. If ‘ancient astronauts’ can get from there to here in high-tech spaceships, and when they arrived they then built these pyramids, then you’d expect something a bit more futuristic ‘gosh-wow’, ‘golly-gee’, with flashing lights and lots of glass, chrome-and-steel, ceramics-and-plastics, all incorporated into that sort of architectural engineering that we employ today. Pure stone might be impressive, but high-tech it’s not.

*Modern scholars and Egyptologists have shown plausible ways ancient humans could have used ‘primitive’ techniques that oriented the pyramids and levelled them with respect to the ground and constructed them to high levels of precisions of length and slope. No high-tech was required.

*What possible motive could ‘ancient astronauts’ have had to construct such things in any event? They weren’t tombs for aliens; they certainly weren’t apartments or office blocks for extra-terrestrials.

*No out-of-place artefacts have been discovered in or around the pyramids that can be associated with the time of the pyramids and the pyramid builders, the sort of tools and equipment you might find in any modern hardware store. And certainly nothing that looked like it should belong among the props on the “Star Trek” film or TV set has been documented.

*The only real out-of-place artefact I’m aware of that’s suggestive of some odd goings on is that little wooden ‘bird’ found within an ancient Egyptian tomb at Saqqara in 1898, dated to several centuries BCE, now at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Alas, it’s labelled a “bird” because it would be silly to label it an “airplane”, yet that’s exactly what it looks like, and scaled up models fly like a plane and are aerodynamically sound. That’s hardly evidence, far less proof, aliens were in ancient Egypt and therefore must have built the pyramids, but the game is afoot and explanations are required.

*Ancient Egyptians left behind an awful lot of images on the walls of tombs, temples, obelisks, stele, etc. of their gods, pharaohs, their everyday life at work and play, their family activities, warfare scenes, etc. Nothing leaps out as anything obviously ‘out of this world’ as in depictions of ‘The Greys’ or of flying saucers or any sort of celestial scenes like say the planet Saturn complete with rings or an accurate pictorial depiction of say our solar system. Some of their ‘gods’ do look more than just a little bit strange with their animal heads, but at least they are the heads of terrestrial animals depicted.

*However, an interesting image or relief at the Temple of [the goddess] Hathor at Dendera, Egypt shows two ancient Egyptians, apparently priests, each holding up what appears at first, second and even third glance to be an enormous light bulb complete with cable attachments at the rear end [2], though judging by other humans in the petroglyph nothing really is to scale. However, a light bulb by itself is useless. To be effective and do its light bulb thing, a massive infrastructure is required behind it. You’d need an electric power plant, or generator, or large batteries and electric wiring. There’s no power source shown and there’s no such electric generating infrastructure uncovered in the archaeological record. This image appears to be a one-off and the objects probably aren’t what they seem to be to our modern eyes. Only those depicted in the image, and perhaps the one who carved it and the intended audience would know what it really signifies.

*However, that image does raise an interesting question, and, IMHO, a bona-fide mystery. How were passageways in tombs (like the pyramids) and temples, sometimes kilometres in length when taking into account all the twists and turns; often tunnels (with multi side chambers) descending down to depths equivalent to a 30-story building, lighted? Experiments with reflecting mirrors using outside natural light fail after several hundred feet. There are all sorts of highly detailed inscriptions/hieroglyphs chiselled on the walls and ceilings; ditto paintings. Yet, if all was lit by burning torches, where’s all the smoke soot? Can you construct such elaborate passageways / chambers from solid rock and highly detailed paintings and carvings and inscriptions in total darkness except for candles/torches without leaving soot behind and ruining your eyesight to boot? Could you? I couldn’t. Somewhat related is a viable oxygen supply in some of those really deep tombs. There just wouldn’t have been enough to support many workers. Even archaeologists descending down today can find themselves in difficulty.

*Finally, much of what applies here applies equally to the pyramids associated with the various cultures of Mesoamerica. I see no evidence at all that humans couldn’t of constructed these structures.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are indeed many, many unsolved (but not unsolvable) anomalies or mysteries associated with the Egyptian pyramids (like lighting) that will keep Egyptologists and archaeologists and historians busy for generations yet, but invoking ‘ancient astronauts’ doesn’t seem to be very helpful in pushing forward such solutions that research will eventually solve and pin the handiwork where it belongs, on the human being. That said, I’m more than willing to concede that aliens might be associated with one or more reasons for humans building the pyramids, but that’s a far cry from saying aliens actually built the pyramids or gave humans our modern even futuristic (by our standards) technology to accomplish same.

P.S.: Contrary to typical and stereotyped Hollywood (and similar) depictions, slaves didn’t build the pyramids either. You had a voluntary labour force (in service to the pharaoh), a well fed, housed and looked after workforce.

The Importance of Gadgets to Our Everyday Lives

In today’s world where emphasis is on maximizing the little time at our disposal and doing so much more within the allotted time, there is no way efficiency can be guaranteed without the use of modern gadgets. You can imagine how life would be without smart phones, laptops, iPods, cell phones, microwave, notebooks and so on. How on earth can you connect with friends, family and colleagues at any time and any place without these everyday luxuries? It is indeed obvious that today’s society rely on them to make our lives richer and easier.

Even though communication gadgets are the most popular, they are not the only ones that increase our efficiency. When you wake up in the morning, you are most probably woken up by an alarm clock, unless you want to wake up late. Then you put on the television to catch the latest gist in town and while doing that, you have already plugged in your coffee making device. If you care about a little shove, your little shaver is there to do the job. Therefore, you will discover that before you leave home in the morning, you have used quite a number of devices before hitting the road and that is just for a start. Throughout your day till you get back to bed at night, there is no way you can avoid them.

Moreover, in the field of medicine, these appliances have improved our life expectancy. With the development of sophisticated machines for surgeries, diagnosis and preventative processes, the human race has never had it so good. For example, the simple blood pressure checking device is something anybody could own to monitor his/her blood pressure and make moves to stabilize it. Gone are the days when you need to get into a hospital before checking your blood pressure. In fact, there are simple appliances for checking your blood sugar if you care to do it and the process is very simple.

In crime management, the use of sophisticated devices has helped greatly in the fight against crime and also in the area of investigation. With CCTV, GPS tracker, surveillance devices and so many others, securing lives and properties has been made much easier. We are no longer in a society where crimes are committed with impunity and law enforcement agents now carry out their jobs with ease.

No matter who you are, where you are or what you do, as long as you live on this planet earth, your day is not complete without the use of a gadget. But if think otherwise, you are probably from the moon.