SMARTER Goal Setting – A Key to Making It Great!

In the past, I’ve written about SMART goal setting, but after much reading and thought, I realize now that goals need to be SMARTER in order to be most successful.

SMARTER goals, broken down:

S – Goals must be Specific and the more specific the better. State your goal in as exact of terms as possible.

M – Targets should be Measurable. That which you measure will be treasured, so think about what will be the measurement of your achievement of your goal.

A – Goals should have Accountability. Who or what are you accountable to for the goal?

R – Goals must be Realistic. Unrealistic goals will lead to discouragement.

T – Targets should be Time based. Decide your time-table for completion, and stick to it.

E – Goals should be Exciting. Exciting goals will be met far sooner than boring, bland goals.

R – Goals should be Recorded, in a place where you can look at it every day.

OK, so let’s break down one of my goals for 2006, and see how this works in action.

I will earn by Competent Toast Master (CTM) designation by December 1st, 2006.

Specific – Yes, this is very specific. It says exactly what I am going to do.

Measurable – Yes, this is measurable. CTM designation is something that takes 10 speeches to do in Toastmasters, so if I do these 10 speeches, this goal will be achieved.

Accountability – I’m sharing it with you, so I’m accountable to all of you. I’m also including this in my goals at work, as public speaking is part of what I do, and letting my Toastmasters Mentor know about my goal (I’m sending him this post), so I am accountable to many others.

Realistic – This is absolutely a realistic goal for me. I have given 2 speeches in 2005, so I have to increase my output 4 times. I can do this, but it will take effort.

Exciting – Definitely an exciting goal for me to achieve. As a new Toastmaster, I will be able to improve my speaking ability by doing this, and it will also help our club achieve more distinguished status.

Recorded – I wrote it down here, I’ll be putting it on a note card with my other goals, it will be in my HR system at work, and I’ll review it every day to remind myself of its importance.

So what goals are you setting in 2006? How can I help you set SMARTER goals? Let me know because I’d love to help you make it great!



8 Easy Musical Instruments That You Can Learn To Play Quickly

There is really nothing in the world like music. There have been studies to show the amazing effect that is has on the human brain, such as the link between music and spatial intelligence. The only thing that can compare with listening to music is the ability to make our own music.

Not everyone is as gifted as the rest when it comes to playing music. Not all of us have the time, or want to invest the time in learning to play a complicated instrument such as the piano. That does not mean that we don’t all want to be able to play an instrument. There are easy musical instruments that you can learn to play quickly. Here are eight:

1. Drums. If you have a pretty good sense of rhythm, drums are a fairly easy musical instrument that you can learn to play quickly. You won’t be great, but you can sure have fun. There are many kinds of drums, from the congo drum to the high hat to the bass drum to the snare drum. Drums, along with the tambourine, belong to the percussion family. Which means the hitting of one body against another; the drum is also played with the hands or a person can use one to two sticks. It is just a matter of counting beats as you play, either mechanically or by feeling the beat.

2. Tambourines. This easy musical instrument is made up of a shallow hand held drum, usually made from a circular piece of wood and calf skin or plastic that is stretched across the top. You play it with your hands, stroking or shaking the jingle or rubbing, shaking or striking the drum head with your knuckles. Play what feels good.

3. Bongos. Another percussion instrument that is easy to learn to play are the bongos. Bongos are a type of drum made up of two sections, one of which is larger then the other. The drums are attached to one another. Played by placing the bongos between the knees, they produce a high pitched sound. When the bongos are placed between the knees correctly, the larger drum will be to the right. Traditionally, they are played by striking the tops with your fingers and palms. There are times when the bongos are played with sticks and brushes. It is possible to alter the sound from the bongos by placing one hand on the top of the drum and then beat it with the other hand.

4. Comb buzzer. We can look at a couple wind instruments that are also easy musical instruments that you can learn to play quickly. One of my favorites would be the comb buzzer. This instrument is truly one anyone that can breathe can play. It is not only easy; you can make it at home. You take a pocket comb and tissue paper. Hold the tissue paper against the comb and hum through the tissue paper. This produces a buzzing sound and it tickles the lips.

5. Kazoo. If you are having fun with the comb buzzer, then try the kazoo. The kazoo is also a fun instrument that is played by humming. The kazoo adds a humming noise. People play the kazoo by closing your lips around the kazoo and singing into it. Most people that try to hum into the kazoo are not very successful. But if you sing into it, for example, repeating the word do, do, do, do in to the kazoo you get that wonderful humming sound.

6. Recorder. The next step up from the kazoo, is the recorder. It is a fun and easy to learn instrument that you can learn to play quickly. To play the recorder, you hold it outward from your lips, unlike the traditional flute that is held sideways. You then blow or breath, really, into the recorder, and the pitch or note that is played varies by the open finger holes. You can use all parts of your mouth to manipulate the sound from the recorder. In particular, use the tongue and the diaphragm to help control air flow, hence lengthening the time a note is held and how many different notes are played on a breath. Quality recorders come in many sizes and are made of wood. There are also plastic recorders, used widely in schools, and sometimes also known as a “tonette”. Tin whistles and ocarinas are similar types of recorders.

7. Xylophone. Often used in the orchestra as a serious instrument, the xylophone is a like a piano keyboard that you strike with mallets. With the larger, lower-sounding bars on the left, the notes of the xylophone are laid out much like a piano keyboard. Striking the bars with hard mallets produces a bright, sharp sound. Xylophones made of wood can be very expensive, but for fun and quick learning, a small xylophone made of metal or metal and plastic is ideal, and are used in many schools.

8. Autoharp. The autoharp is a musical instrument having a series of chord bars attached to dampers which, when depressed, mute all the strings other than those that form the chord you want to play. The autoharp is not really a harp at all, but in reality is a zither.

As you can see, just because you are limited on time or possibly ability does not mean that you can not play an instrument for your own enjoyment. There are easy musical instruments that you can learn to play quickly. Percussion instruments and wind instruments make for easy learning and quick fun. Enjoy the benefits of making music and find a new talent or at least a new hobby.



Scottish Cuisine

Scottish cuisine refers to the precise set of cooking traditions and practices related to Scotland. It has certain special characteristics and is loved by food buffs across the globe. Cuisine of Scotland has evolved through the long standing history of the country and has come to comprise an important dimension of its culture. Scottish cuisine is renowned for the widespread use of local produce.

The traditional food is based on local produce such as oats for porridge and oatcake biscuits (bannocks), salted, or smoked meat and game. Fish is a staple and the city of Aberdeen has been known for its cured fish since the 13th Century. Certain special dishes such as Scotch broth are considered healthy, whereas other dishes are rich in fat and contribute to the high rate of heart disease and obesity in this country.

Some of the most popular appetizers are Scotch smoked salmon, Finnan haddie, or Haddie-stuffed artichokes. Soups in Scotland are usually served at lunch. You will come across wonderful combinations of flavors such as Scottish tomato and apple soup which can be served either hot or cold. Scottish salads are very healthy made of vegetables, fruits or even a mixture of fruits and vegetables or vegetables with meat. Some are even made with fish and seaweed

Extremely popular dishes include fish and chips, and indeed the battered and fried haggis supper remains a hot favorite. They have been joined in more recent years by outlets selling pizzas, Turkish-style kebabs (though generally with no resemblance to the original Anatolian dish), pakoras and other handy foodstuffs.

Scotland, and the west coast in particular, is infamous for the amount of deep-fried food consumed, and for being the home of such dishes as the deep-fried pizza and deep fried Mars bar. Deep fried doner kebabs have also become quite popular in Glasgow.

Scottish cuisine is famous throughout the world because of its mouth-watering taste and exotic flavors. So what are you waiting for? Just go and grab any Scottish dish and find out for yourself!



How to Switch to an Upright Golf Swing Plane and the Benefits it Has to Your Distance and Accuracy

As a golf instructor I can see no reason why golfers should not adopt an upright swing plane regardless of their physique or flexibility.

Yet, if you go online to search “golf swing plane” you will see multiple explanations about the subject and just as many differing versions about what is correct and what is not correct.

As I will show shortly from a purely mechanics and physics point of view, the benefits in distance and accuracy far outweigh those of a flatter swing plane and for those reasons alone I recommend and teach the concepts of adopting a more upright swing for all my students.

Swing plane angles are usually associated with a golfer’s height.

Golfers who are shorter in height are said to have a flatter swing plane.

It is also common to see golfers adopt a flat swing motion due to characteristics of their physique that limit the range of their swing flexibility, such as their chest and mid section size.

On the other hand taller golfers naturally swing with a more upright swing plane simply because of the increased height of their shoulders from the ground.

But, the physical characteristics of a golfer are not the only things that govern their swing plane angle.

What also determines swing plane is how they position themselves in their setup, and how they rotate their shoulders on the backswing…

Swing Plane Angle

Before I get into the specifics of an upright swing let me first define how the angle of the swing plane is often understood.

I say that because I am sure like most passionate golfers you have read Ben Hogan’s book “Five lessons. The modern fundamentals of golf” and his explanation of swing plane is probably one that is stuck firmly in your mind.

Here is his explanation…

Try to image a golfer forming a right angled triangle in their setup position.

The vertical side of the triangle is formed from the top of their shoulders/neck to the ground around their feet position. The horizontal side is formed from the club head and ball position to that point on the ground that meets the vertical side of the triangle.

The hypotenuse, or long side of the triangle, is determined from the club head to the point on their shoulders.

The classic understanding of the angle of the swing plane is that it is the angle between the hypotenuse and the horizontal side of this triangle. (Remember the plate of glass illustration in Hogan’s book resting on the golfers shoulder…)

You can now imagine how this angle would increase or decrease due to the height of the golfer and why swing plane is often associated with the golfers shoulder height.

The reason why I say this is how swing plane angle is often determined is that there is a big assumption with this theory that is incorrect most of the time…

What it assumes is that the club head swing path follows this same angle throughout the backswing so that the high point of the swing lies on an extended line that is drawn from the ball through the top of the shoulders to the hands at the top of the swing…

The reality is that the angle at which the swing “actually” rotates can be totally different resulting in the hands reaching the top point of the swing either below or above the point of the “Hogan plate glass definition.”

The reason for this is that the swing plane angle is not only influenced by your setup, it is mostly determined by the plane around which your shoulders rotate.

Your setup might show one swing plane angle that may be entirely different from the actual plane of rotation of your shoulders.

Here’s why…

Rotational Planes of your Shoulders

To understand your shoulder rotation motion, stand upright in front of a mirror. Hold your arms out straight from each side. You can rotate your shoulders in a horizontal plane around the axis of your spine… which is easy to do.

Now try and rotate your shoulders in a vertical plane by lifting your right arm and dropping your left arm so that you maintain a straight line from hand to hand across your shoulders. The axis of rotation in this plane is a point on your chest just below your chin….this motion is not very easy to execute.

The reality of your shoulder turn on the backswing is that it is operating in a combination of both vertical and horizontal motion.

As you would expect, a shoulder turn that is moving more in the horizontal plane will create a flatter swing plane.

One that is operating more in a vertical plane will produce a more upright swing plane.

So when we go back to the classic Hogan explanation of the swing plane being governed by the setup and height of the golfer, the only way that a golfer will be on that same plane at the top of their swing is if the combined horizontal and vertical movements of their shoulder turn happens to match that angle.

This seldom occurs…

Having this understanding that swing plane is affected more by your shoulder rotation than your setup and height allows you to make adjustments to your backswing to gain some of the benefits from an upright swing path.

Here are some of the key reasons why I always recommend a more upright swing plane that are based on the mechanics and physics of the swing.

Improved Consistency of your Swing Accuracy

The first reason affects the accuracy and ball flight path of your shot.

If you have ever reviewed my free video on the “Understanding the mechanics of common swing faults” where I outline the physics of why your shots “fly” in the manner the do , the outcome of all your golf shots boils down to two major factors:

o The direction your shoulders are aiming at the point of contact with the ball

o The orientation of your club head face at the point of contact with the ball

The flatter your swing plane the more your shoulders are moving in the horizontal plane.

This means they are only “aiming” at the target at a point just before contact and shortly after contact. That is because the club head motion is moving more “across” the target line like a baseball swing rather than towards the target line like a putting swing.

Outside of this very small region the direction your shoulders are aiming is further to the right of the target on the down swing and further to the left of the target on the follow through (opposite for lefties).

The success of a flatter swing plane requires a high degree of “timing” and balance in the swing through the contact point since there is very little margin for error.

The level of “ball spin” generated by a poorly timed swing also determines the accuracy of the shot.

The relative difference between the shoulder swing plane and the orientation of the club face at the point of contact determines the amount of spin generated on the ball.

The more the shoulders are moving “across” the target line the greater the ball spin created leading to exaggerated hooks or slices.

On the other hand an upright swing is produced by the shoulders moving more in the vertical plane which means the time the shoulders are moving down the target line is a lot longer during the swing.

The result is that the club head moves down the target line over a larger region of the swing giving a higher margin of error for timing and balance problems.

The impact on ball spin is also reduced, because the shoulders swing less “across” the target line at contact for a poorly timed shot.

In both cases the consistency of your swing accuracy will improve the more upright your swing plane angle…

Higher Swing Power and Distance

Observe all of the big hitters on tour and one of the common features you will notice is most adopt an upright swing.

I wrote about this in a previous Turnberry newsletter but it is worth reviewing the reasons why an upright swing plane generates more power for the swing:

o The hands and club head will be higher off the ground at the top of the swing generating more “potential energy” for the swing. When you think of the energy that can be created by hoisting a 20-30lb weight above your shoulders and dropping it, you will understand where increased energy comes for the swing. That weight being the combined weight of your club and arms.

o You use your powerful muscles down your right side and the top of your left shoulder which can generate more power for the swing than using the power of your lower back muscles rotating around the base of your spine in a flatter swing.

Improved Balance

Your balance during the backswing and downswing is affected by the centrifical force of rotating the club head as it is in motion and on what angle that force is acting on your trunk.

The centrifical force generated by the club head moving in a circular path acts to pull your shoulders forward toward the ball which can affect the stability of your trunk during your swing.

To give you and exaggerated example of the effect this might have on your balance, try to imagine the action of an athlete throwing the hammer.

In this case the athlete has to overcome the enormous centrifical force needed to rotate the hammer by “leaning back” in order to stay balanced during the spin.

A flatter swing plane has a similar impact on the balance of the golfer who has to counter the effect of the centrifical force need to rotate the club head with the lower back muscles in order to hold the trunk in position during the swing.

During an upright swing this centrifical force is being generated more up through the trunk and legs from the ground generating less effect on your lower back muscles allowing your trunk to remain more stable.

How to Generate an Upright Swing

As much as you might expect your setup to impact the plane angle, it impacted more by your shoulder rotation.

I encourage you to start your swing with a “downward rotation” of your left shoulder…

Many golfers initiate their swing by moving their hands.

For golfers who may be stiff in their trunk flexibility, shoulders or may have a few inches more around their mid section than they would like, starting the swing with their hands encourages them to “wrap” their swing around their body causing a flat swing plane.

That is because their shoulders are moving more in the horizontal plane.

The net swing results can be excessive slicing, with the ball starting the flight path heavily to the left, or pushing the ball to the right.

This is because the region where the club head is moving down the target line is very small lowering the margin of error for accuracy in the swing as I covered earlier.

Start your swing by a downward movement of the left shoulder and you will counter this problem.

It ensures your swing begins with more of a vertical rotation of the shoulders. By doing so your shoulders will be rotating more down the target line.

Mirror Exercise for Correct Setup

The other area that will affect your swing plane is your setup.

I encourage you to practice this swing initiation drill with your left shoulder turn in front of a mirror at home.

As you turn watch your hand motion. Adjust your setup in order to make it easier to turn vertically and move your hands along a more upright swing plane.

Here are a few pointers to help you:

o Let your arms hang vertically down in the stance with your hands positioned no more than six inches away from your leg

o Keep your back straight from the hips up. Do not let your shoulder hunch forward

o If you are large chested you may want to lean forward more in the stance to give your arms more clearance to move straight back rather than wrap around your body

As you go through this routine you are likely to feel muscle stiffness in the back swing that you are not used to…especially in your left shoulder.

That is because it is much easier to rotate your shoulders horizontally around your spine than to rotate them vertically.

This is normal since the motion in the vertical plane uses different muscles in your golf swing.

Shoulder Flexibility

Many golfers are just too stiff in the shoulders to do this effectively and when they first try an upright swing plane on the range they find the results disappointing.

Should this occur, shorten your backswing considerably because the stiffness of your golf muscles in the upright swing plane is causing other areas of your swing to breakdown.

Caution: Never allow your left elbow to break when trying to swing more upright. You will defeat the purpose of the adjustment to a higher swing plane and only cause yourself more timing problems.

An exercise I recommend to improve shoulder flexibility in the vertical plane is to take a broom handle and place it across your shoulders and then wrap your elbows and arms over the top of the handle.

For some people this may be a stretching exercise in itself, so do it gently without stressing the shoulder muscles.

Now move the handle straight down one side as far as you can go, and hold for 60 seconds. As you hold the stretch, do not allow your hips to move sideways in the opposite direction as this will counter the stretch.

Likewise keep your trunk upright and straight as much as possible during the stretch.

Now do the same motion in the opposite direction.

After a few days of this stretch, you will find your distance on the range will improve as you begin to extend your backswing more. However, you should see marked improvement your accuracy consistency right from the start the more you swing down the target line.

Good Luck!

Regards,

Les



Baby Bedding

Baby bedding is an often-overlooked aspect of setting up a nursery, yet it is critically important for your baby’s health and safety. When buying furniture and accessories for the baby’s room, safety is the most overriding concern. Buy the best quality merchandise you can afford and you’ll get years of service from your baby furniture, bedding and other items.

So, what do you need for the baby’s room? Before you buy bedding, you’ll need a crib, changing table, chest of drawers or dresser, and a comfortable chair. Other items to consider are diaper holders, toy boxes, baby monitors, mobiles, clothes hampers, night-lights, wastebaskets and clocks.

When shopping for baby bedding, look for 100% cotton products for comfort, durability and washability. Although it’s important for the bedding to fit in with the overall color scheme and theme of the nursery, the baby’s comfort is paramount. Younger babies spend a lot of time in the nursery because they sleep a lot. Think of baby bedding as a factor in your baby’s development.

The mattress, for example, should be firm but not hard, and should fit tightly into the crib so there’s no danger of the baby’s head or limbs getting wedged between the mattress and sides of the crib. Sheets should be tight-fitting, with fitted corners that hug the mattress’s corners. You might want to consider using some type of waterproof sheet protector, since diapers might leak overnight. The height of the mattress should be adjustable so you don’t have to reach a long distance to pick up a newborn baby. As the baby grows and begins move around, you can lower the mattress, so the crib bars will protect the baby.

Baby bedding can have a huge impact on your baby’s comfort and sleep cycle. Choose it carefully and with safety uppermost in your mind.



How to Fix the Rabbit Corkscrew by Yourself

Those that have a rabbit corkscrew in their homes, will see that in time, it starts acting strangely and instead of rotating the cork upwards it will do the opposite. This basically means that the cork will not pop out anymore, and instead it will be pushed in or broken inside the bottle. If you have noticed this situation, then you have to know how to fix the rabbit corkscrew, and the next steps will help you with this.

Step 1: You have to see how the rabbit corkscrew works when placed on top of the wine bottle. Its two side pins will clamp on the sides of the bottle, and then have to be in the right position, below the handles, so that the screw will not be allowed to rotate in the wrong direction.

Step 2: Once the two pins have been identified, you should focus on the movement of the corkscrew’s handles. When you push them, they should securely place the pins on each side on the bottle. If they aren’t, then the inside bushing that helps them to do that might be deteriorated. This bushing is a small plastic circle that is placed on the inside.

Step 3: The bushing of the rabbit corkscrew should be covered, depending on the model, beneath the pins. You have to take the covers off and then evaluate the state in which the bushings are. In most cases, they travel to the outside of their enclosing area, which makes it difficult for the screw to pull the cork out.

Step 4: If this is the case, and the bushings are placed upper, then all you need to do is to push them back into their original position and the rabbit corkscrew should be fixed. To do this, use any type of tool that comes in handy, which can fit into the housing and can be used to push the bushings backwards. Once you manage to do this, using even a regular kitchen knife, the corkscrew is ready for normal usage again.



The Dimensions of a Wine Bottle

If you are considering transforming your basement into a home wine cellar, you are not alone. The installation of home wine cellars is a booming business, especially in the luxury home market. When mapping out your wine cellar, you might want to know the size of a standard wine bottle. Ninety percent of your home wine collection will probably consist of standard-sized bottles.

The first dimension to consider is the height of a standard wine bottle. Some racking companies make their racks only ten inches deep, which does not protect the full 11½-inch height of a standard bottle. Be sure to accommodate the full height of a standard wine bottle, because you don’t want your precious wine bottles sticking their necks out.

The Other Dimensions of a Wine Bottle

A standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters of wine and stands approximately 11.5 inches tall. At the base, its diameter is 27/8 to 3 inches. From the bottom up, its sides are straight, but near the top, at about three-quarters of the height, it has a rounded shoulder.. This is often called a Bordeaux bottle because it is the usual size and shape for a bottle of red wine from that region of France.

The contents of a standard bottle equal approximately 25 ounces, so if you are pouring five-ounce servings, one bottle will yield about five glasses of wine. The size of one serving is arbitrary, but according to The American Medical Association, “… A standard drink is any drink that contains about half an ounce (13.7 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in five ounces of wine.”

Non-Standard Wine Bottle Sizes

Splits and Halfs: Some bottlers and vineyards offer smaller sizes equivalent to half of a bottle or even a quarter of a bottle. A “split” is a quarter of a standard bottle, holding about six ounces of wine–a little more than one serving. Splits are 7 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter. A half, as you might guess, is half the volume of a standard bottle, holding 13 ounces of wine. It stands 9½ inches tall with a diameter at the base of 2¼”.

Magnum: A magnum of wine is equivalent to two bottles, or about 50 ounces. The magnum stands 13½ inches tall and requires a special rack in your wine cellar. The base of the magnum is 4 inches in diameter.

Jeroboam: If you are entertaining lots of friends, you might want to open a Jeroboam. This is the big brother of the magnum. A Jeroboam bottle holds three liters of wine, equal to four standard bottles, or 20 glasses.

The Shapes of Wine Bottles

The abrupt “shoulder” of the Bordeaux bottle may have evolved to help catch sediment on aged wines. Although this may be true, the shapes of wine bottles has more to do with their region of origin than with a functional characteristic. Different wine growing regions gradually developed their own bottle shapes, and there is no requirement for a certain type of wine to occupy a certain shape of bottle. To avoid consumer confusion, most bottlers stick to the conventions.

Besides the Bordeaux bottle, one other shape commonly used for red wine is the Burgundy bottle. It has more sloping shoulders and a slightly wider base. It is also 11½ inches tall, but has a diameter of 3½ inches at the base. Since Chardonnay is also made in Burgundy, you will find this varietal in a Burgundy-shaped bottle. The same is true for Pinot Noir.

A taller, more slender bottle is used by German wine makers. These long-necked bottles might hold the sweet dessert wines of that region, including Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The fourth type of bottle is used in the Champagne region and is a heavier, wider-based bottle which has to be able to stand the pressure of the bubbles within.

Bonus Question: What’s a Punt?

There is an indentation in the bottom of some wine and champagne bottles, and it’s not designed to fool the consumer about the amount of liquid in the bottle. This hollow area is called the punt, and there are several theories about why it is there. Some say it helped in the shipping of bottles in crates because they could be lined up with the top of one bottle nestled in the punt of another. A more likely theory is that when bottles were blown by hand, imperfections in the bottom could cause a bottle to be unsteady. To minimize the chances of a rocky bottle, the glass maker would indent the bottom. The word probably comes from punty or pontil, a glass-blowing tool.



Where Can I Drive My Go Kart? Seems Illegal in Most Places

Most people get glassy eyed when they see a go kart (people who love go karts that is) and tend to forget about where in the world they are going to drive their go-cart.

Sometimes the images in your mind go to race tracks and passing Ferraris, but “Really now! Are you going to be driving this thing on a race track?”

I received this email from a reader about go karts (and sadly it is a common question)

Hi, I got stopped by a police officer for operating my go kart on the sidewalk, and he said I could be charged with: Operating a vehicle without being licensed, driving to endanger, driving a non-certified vehicle, and told me I had to be over 18 to operate any gas powered anything. I understand now that I can’t drive a go kart anywhere pretty much but where should I go?

Because the question “Where Am I Going To Ride This Go Kart?” was not asked at the outset, now you have a very depressed individual, considering getting rid of the gokart all together.

One issue is about “Where” the other about “Age.”

I am not legal authority, but I can tell you some basics: Un=Liscensed motorized vehicles cannot drive on roads.

About the age, that varies from state to state.

You need to look into your state statutes and codes to get verification on legal data. Consult a local attorney for that informaton…

But that aside, it is a good idea to know where you will be driving this go kart.

In your driveway?

On your uncles farm?

(Obviously not on the street because that is against the law)

In cornfields?

In your yard?

Do you have a big enough yard to ride a go kart?

Are their laws against go karts in your neighborhood?

Have you permission to ride it in the parking lot across the street?

Riding a go kart involve more than just you on a gokart.

It affects people around you in the following ways:

– A go kart is a driving projectile.

– A “unknown talent” is setting its course.

– The coarse is not set, but can change from moment to moment.

In short a go kart coupled with a driver is like running with the bulls in Spain.

Those around the go kart have no clue as to whether it is going to strike them or not.

So before you get upset that you cannot drive it “anywhere” realize that people around you have to take on a burden. A burden of concern and care. Will they, or you get hurt?

There are Legalities

Additionally, the Go Kart is not legal on the roads for various reasons, primarily because of its low profile (people can’t see you) and its lack of many other essential road handling and accident preventitive components.

This set of questions is probably the most difficult to acknowledge, because there are so many obstacles. And I don’t mean trees and cars, I mean regulations about motor vehicles. You cannot just blast down the road with your go kart. Sounds like a fun idea, but in reality it is dangerous and against the law.

If you end up buying this go kart, or even making it, you may end up with a very depressing set of conclusions:

I can’t ride it anywhere!

And even if I could, I can’t put it in the car to get it where I want to ride (its too big)!

So ask the question first. Get an answer.

The answer maybe as simple as networking with some people to find a place to ride: ie your uncles farm! (but there is even more than just your uncle at stake there too… remember there are 10 questions, not six)

There are various go karting clubs out there and you can join them. You do not have to be a go kart racer to join these clubs, it is just place where you can enjoy the go kart. Be sure to get in contact with them in your area before investing in the go kart and all that goes with it (ie helmuts, gloves, suits, etc..)

And finally, I did some digging of my own on riding gokarts on trails. There are usually stipulations on what type of go kart you can ride on a trail. For example in the state I live in, the trails require that the go kart have suspension and a full roll cage by a reputable manufacturer. You will also need to get a permit. The age of the drivers is also limited.

So look into ATV trails and see what you come up with.



5 Tips To Writing A Good Business Plan

Starting up a business is an exciting time, but writing a business plan can seem daunting initially. However, being able to write a good business plan is an essential skill to have for any entrepreneur or new business looking to increase their chance of survival.

1) Identify your audience. A good business plan should be written from the prospective of the audience. First, you need to decide on the purpose the plan. Are you trying to persuade an investor to take on your project or communicate the future plans for the company? The purpose of the business plan will affect the style and content so make sure you are clear on this before beginning. A good business plan needs to be tailored to the specific requirements of the target audience in order to be engaging.

2) Do your research. In order to be able to write a strong, comprehensive business plan you need to possess a sound knowledge of the market you are involved in. You need to actively conduct market research and ensure that your plan makes reference to your findings. It should include factors such as market size, the predicted growth path of said market and how you propose to gain access to it. For example, if you are planning on opening a bar then your business plan should include figures based on the local population, cost of suppliers, predictions about whether the bar industry is likely to grow or decline in the area and a review of the competitive environment.

3) Assess your competition. Understanding your competition is an essential component to understanding any business environment. Whatever the business you are looking to establish, you will always have competition in varying degrees. Perhaps you want to open a restaurant in an area that is already saturated with eateries; you then need to think about what is the unique selling point of your restaurant. Or maybe you have found a niche in the market, why is that? In order to make your business a success you should look to your competitors to see how they are managing their business or areas where they could improve. You also need to assess whether you can compete effectively with the existing businesses and how you plan to do so.

4) Attention to detail. A plan that is concise and clear reads professionally so don’t make yours too wordy. The reader needs enough detail and information to be able to make an informed decision. As with all professional documents, care must be taken to avoid spelling mistakes and use correct grammar and punctuation. A plan that makes absurd or unrealistic assumptions is of no use so stick to the facts and make sure you are making credible projections and accurate content at all times.

5) Cover all bases. Before embarking on your plan it is a good idea to undertake some research in to what a professional business plan should include. You can then use this as a check list to make sure you have covered all the relevant areas. Sections of the business plan should include information on the company, the product/service market, competition in the field, management team, marketing strategy, operations and financials.

Once you have done all this you should have a complete and detailed professional business plan. The most important thing to remember when developing the plan is to see it as a living document and include specifics regarding dates and specific responsibilities. Your plan will need constant reviews and updates and things change so expect it to be a work in process for a good stretch of time. It will all be worth it in the end, a well-written plan will help ensure that the business is fully focused on what is required to achieve the company’s goal.



How Do I Speed Up My Computer? Turn Programs Off at Startup

In an earlier article, we looked at the Startup Menu Fix. In this article, we look at a partial list of programs that you can turn off. This will save you the time of having to look them up yourself. The full list is available in my book.

Here are some common items to turn off (note that these will vary from computer to computer).

adobeupdatemanager.exe – Adobe Update Manager

This file checks the internet for updates to Adobe applications. If one is found, this application controls the download and installation. If stopped during an update, it could cause instabilities in the software. This is not a necessary service and can be turned off.

adobe gamma loader.exe – Adobe Gamma Loader

This is use with the Adobe Creative Suite and is used for color calibration. Don’t turn this off if color calibration is important to your results.

Speed Launcher

This program is meant to speed up the launch of the Acrobat application. This is not an essential process and can be turned off. The down side is a longer period of time to launch Acrobat when you want to use it.

acrotray.exe

The acrotray.exe process belongs to Adobe Acrobat. It’s a nonessential system process in place for ease of use. This can be turned off.

agrsmmsg.exe

This file runs with Softmodem assistant and offers additional configuration. It’s a non-essential process.

avgcc.exe

This is part of the Grisoft Internet Security Suite, in other works, your AVG virus protection software. This is necessary to protect your computer from virus attacks and should not be turned off.

bjpsmain.exe

This is a printer toolbox from Canon Inc. It’s a small application that launches Canon Inkjet printer utilities. It’s not a critical component. If you’re not using it, you can disable it.

cftmon.exe

This file is closely related to the Language Bar in MS Office. If you use this process, let it run. If it’s not important to you, you can turn this off.

When the computer restarts, you’ll see the following, which tells you that you’ve used the System Configuration Utility to make changes to the way that Windows starts. To accept these changes, enable the check-mark beside the statement, “Don’t show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility when Windows starts” and click on OK. Your new settings have been applied and this will speed up your computer.