Dog boarding hotels have become an integral part of our lives now, as travel gets easier, being away from home on business becomes more common, and our ever more hectic lives require someone to look after pooch whilst you are doing other things.
So unless your furry friend is to stay with friends or family (or have someone come and stay with them), the alternative is to send pooch on their own little holiday.
In the past boarding kennels were a bit of a cold affair, simply a place where you could deposit your dog safe in the knowledge that they were kept indoors, being fed, and someone was checking that they were ok whilst you were away. But, as with everything in life, these kennels have upgraded, providing better facilities, more options and more attractive surroundings for our canine friends so that their holiday is not so much a short sentence in prison, but a nice holiday in a luxury resort. Dog boarding hotels pamper and take care of your dog much like you will be in your holiday hotel – and why shouldn’t they? They are members of the family to, and deserve the same comforts you are getting whilst you sun yourself.
So, how do you go about finding good dog boarding hotels for your dog?
The most obvious way is to either ask your friends, family, or even your vet if they have any recommendations – or if they know of places you should avoid.
If that approach doesn’t work, you always have the Internet – search for Dog Boarding Hotels, Dog Resorts or Pet Resorts, and try and find one that isn’t too far from you (you don’t need the trouble of driving 500km the day before your holiday to deliver pooch to their luxury resort).
When you have found what looks like a good resort for your dog you should either go and visit it, or get on the phone to them; there are things you need to know before you put your dog in their hands:
What will they be fed – how often?
Will they be walked regularly?
Do they stay in their own space or share a space with other dogs?
Does the hotel maintain a 24 hour staff qualified to deal with animals?
Can your pet bring their own things (pooch likes their favourite basket and toys – it will make them feel less isolated when they are away from their family).
Going away for business or a holiday requires planning for you (booking hotels, arranging flights etc.), it should also involve planning for your dog. Find them a comfortable place to stay, where they will be well looked after, because you know you will worry about them whilst you are lounging by the pool. Put your mind at ease and put pooch in a good dog boarding hotel – they deserve a nice holiday as much as you do.Pin It
When you say to someone that you have an on-line job, they normally smile and say “very nice”, whilst privately thinking, “He is the guy sending me all of those junk emails”. Advertising, emails, and data entry are the commonly perceived notions that people think of when you mention online work.
Of course those sort of jobs do exist and a lot of people do them (if you have a blog you will notice all of those comment praising your site, whilst linking back to a service or a shop; who do you think posts those comments ?)
However, genuine online jobs are also possible and are becoming more popular as the spread of fast internet grows, and more people realize that earning a living online is actually possible, and sometimes preferable (no travelling, work from the comfort of home, work when you wish, are all factors that attract people online).
Below are just some of the genuine online jobs you could opt for, without getting into the spam market:
Machine translations are getting better and better every day – but they still fail when they encounter idioms, cultural expressions or complex sentences, and a human is required to complete the job accurately.
If you speak (and write) at least two languages fluently, you can get genuine online jobs from people who provide translations to their clients. Signing up to an agency that handles such work is usually free, and the agency will send you assignments as and when they get them, paying you a fee normally per page or for a set number of words.
The more diverse your linguistic abilities are the more in-demand you’ll be and the more jobs you will get. (E.g. There are lots of Italian/English translators, but not many Chinese/Italian ones).
Such agencies, will of course take commission for your work, so the amount you get is going to be relatively low. But, if you have enough contacts you can also set yourself up as a freelance translator where people contact you directly so you can charge your own fee.
Online learning is growing, not only in the classroom with computer based training (CBT), but also in peoples’ homes. Nowadays you can study everything from English to Quantum mechanics from the comfort of your own home.
If you are a teacher genuine online jobs are available to you by schools, or agencies that require you to either teach (via a chat system, email or video) or to mark assignments submitted by students of the school.
If you search the internet you will find lots of these types of job available, particularly for language lessons where talking is essential. You can also get recommendations from friends who introduce you to less published schools who require similar (these usually pay better as they work on an introduction basis only and expect qualified tutors).
In the past, before the advent of answering machines, people used to sign up to a telephone answering services that would take calls and tell them about them when they checked in with the service later.
This type of service has been resurrected on the internet creating genuine online jobs for virtual assistants.
The idea is that someone pays you to read and reply to their emails, take phone calls, manage their diary etc. and inform them of anything important, or provide information without your virtual employee having to be disturbed (almost the same as a personal assistant does in an office, but online).
Again this type of job can be through an agency or via your own contacts.
Companies all over the world have internet sites, and strive to make sure that the sites are up-to-date and constantly changing (a static site is seen as dead and normally attracts fewer visitors).
Some of these companies employ a public relations department to post relevant news and articles on their site, while others choose to offer genuine online jobs to people (or agencies) not connected to the company.
As an on-line writer you will normally be given a number of jobs informing you of the topic, which keywords have to be used and how long the article should be. You then go away, research the topic and write the article, for which you get paid (normally per article or set number of words).
The company in questions keeps their site dynamic, and you get paid to write from home.
Mobile phone/tablet applications are everywhere, and more appear every second.
This presents a problem to the mobile application developers as they need to both keep designing and writing more apps and testing the ones they have to make sure that they work. Which leads to another area of genuine online jobs; outsourcing the testing to a third party.
Some software companies will pay you to test their latest app and report back any findings, flaws, or potential improvements, and even write reviews, allowing their staff to continue writing and improving what they have.
For the software company it is ideal, they pay for testers when they need them, and for you; you get paid for playing with the latest app.
The above are just a small selection of the genuine online jobs you can get if you are ready to work from home and have an internet connection. Online working is a growing area as companies are starting to realize that there is a huge un-tapped resource on the Internet that can do jobs quicker and cheaper than their own staff, and these are people who do not need long term contracts, or expensive office space to work in.
Remember, however, that as you search for genuine online jobs, so are thousands of others. This means that the wages or fees you are offered are going to be lower than full-time office work, as companies choose the best option for the lowest cost.Pin It
Almost everyone has been there, the position where you need some cash and you need it now. Bookshops are full of books on how to make quick money; the Internet is full of suggestions for you when you need to make money fast.
Some people, when they need to make money fast resort to crime. Try not to think of this as an option, there are many betters ways of doing it that don’t end up with you in prison.
Look around your house, in the cupboards, in all of those boxes you have in the garage. Do you actually still use all of it, or actually need it? Well, if you need to make money fast, make a sacrifice and sell that stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day for ten years. You can do this at a local market, a car boot sale, or even on-line using e-bay.
You were never going to touch that vase you picked up in Tenerife ten years ago – sell it.
Metal detectors used to be very common, and although you don’t see them every day now, they are still very useful. If you have one and need to make money fast, go to public places when they are least crowded and have a hunt, you’d be amazed at what you can find; a lost zippo, bracelet, ring, or even just some loose change – you can sell all of it. (Make sure you use your metal detector on public land, objects found on private land are the property of the landowner)
Buy low, sell high:
Commonly known as “flipping”, this is a very lucrative activity if you need to make money fast and have the eye for a bargain.
You keep your eyes open and whenever you see something that is considerably cheaper than you expected it to be, you buy it, take it home, clean it up a bit, then sell it (see “Sell something” for places to sell).
You don’t have to restrict your activities to antique shops, or car auctions. Bargains can be found everywhere. Buy Christmas decorations, or anything seasonal, after the season is over, then sell them next season. Visit the local markets and car boot sales and pick up something someone want to get rid of and find a market for it, and then sell it at a profit.
Recycling is big business now with the whole world, seemingly, making sure that everything is recycled. However, some people forget about recycling when they are not at home and discard things into bins, or on the street that can be recycled. If you need to make money fast, get a pair of rubber gloves, and a sack and have a walk around a usually crowded public place (Beaches, markets, or open air concerts are ideal). Pick up discarded bottles, cans, plastic etc. and put them in your sack, then when you have a full sack, take it home, sort the contents and take them down to your local recycling center and get paid for delivery someone else’s rubbish.
If you need to make money fast, there are ways to do it for almost everyone. You just need put a little thought into it and come up with a plan, then get out and do it.
If none of your plans work, then there is always looking under every piece of furniture in your house for loose change – it gets into the strangest of places.Pin It
Everyone wants to be a millionaire don’t they? There have been songs about it, numerous game shows focusing on it, reams and reams of books supposedly telling you how to do it, and it is even part of our everyday language ”Oh, If I had a Million dollars”.
“We would all retire if we had a million dollars” – how many times have you heard that?
But could you actually retire on a million dollars in today’s society?
Before we look at the options available for you to use your money, let’s have a look at a few statistics taken from today’s news.
At today’s exchange rates a million dollars is worth, approximately:
Average price of a four bedroom house:
(So, first you see that if you are going to buy yourself (and possibly your family) a home, you are going to use roughly half of that million straight away – that scraps the general myth of “If I won a million I would get us a new house, and one for each of my children” – you wouldn’t be able to afford it.)
US$81,000 per year
Average cost of living:
US$30,000 per year
(The above figures do not include salary and sales tax)
So, now let us look at ways to use your million so that you can live comfortably and never work again (or not).
Let’s assume that you are comfortable living with 80% of what you live on now. Your Million will last you about 10 to 15 years if you use the capital amount just to pay you a fixed amount every month. (Inflation and interest earned from the bank would effectively cancel each other out giving you no more to play with and no less)
Of course using your million like that is not wise, now let’s look at ways of investing your million so that you could live comfortably and not have to touch the capital amount.
(From this point on the figures will all be in US$)
A lot of professionals trying to sell you a retirement fund will bandy the figure of 8% in the air as they are trying to get your signature. (That’s $80,000 a year) Unfortunately the real figure is closer to 5 or 6% and can vary widely (see diagram below).
This money will be considered as earnings and will have tax deducted from it – let’s assume 20% tax. Your $60,000 just went down to$ 48,000 (that’s just over half of your current salary).
Now we have to facture Inflation – or spending power, your$ 48,000 today can, obviously buy $48,000 worth of goods. Assuming an average inflation rate of 2% (it may be higher or lower) – in 25 years your $48,000 is going to be able to buy you roughly $26,000 worth of goods – your retirement salary may remain the same over the course of your retirement, but your spending power is going to drop and drop – after 25 years you will have roughly a third of the spending power you have now.
So, realistically, using pension funds you are not going to living the luxury life you thought you were when you came into your million, you will be able to afford to live, but forget those twice yearly trips to the Bahamas)
You could use your million to buy, say 4 apartments at $250,000 each, and then rent them out. To obtain your current salary you would need to charge $1,687 per month for each apartment (that doesn’t facture in things like maintenance, time un-rented, agency fees, legal costs etc.) – but at least your salary would remain the same as your rent would increase with inflation.
(The current average rent for an apartment in America is US$1,008 per month – you are going to have to charge over the top prices to get your required income, or accept a yearly rental income of roughly $48,000 – just over half of your current salary)
Financial and stock Markets:
You could of course go to a stock or financial market agent and let them take care of your money and provide you with the returns – but as recent years have shown both markets are extremely volatile and you could end up losing a large percentage of you initial investment. Not a good idea if you want to settle into a nice routine retirement, with a guaranteed monthly income.
Below is a graph from the Dow index – just to show you how turbulent the markets have been over the last century or so.
It is a strong held belief that gold is a sure fire investment, it will always retain its value.
Look at the figures below:
Between 2002 and 2012 gold prices decreased from $400.00 to $353.15.
Between 1992 and 2012 gold prices increased from $333.00 to $353.15.
(Assuming you take the long term view – your million would be worth $1,060,510)
That has netted you $60,000 over twenty years – not a lot to live on, so gold is out of the question.
The above are just a few ways of spending or investing your million dollars to cater for your retirement, there are far more, and a plethora of advisors out there who would love to get their hands on your million and guarantee a luxury life for you for the rest of your days.
But as you can see even with good interest returns your actual standard of living, the second you stop work and start relying on the million dollars to keep you, is going to drop, and keep dropping over the years, so those promises of your sunset years being whiled away in peace and tranquillity with no money worries what-so-ever are a little exaggerated.
So the next time you hear the song, “who wants to be a millionaire”, or watch the show of the same name, think to yourself “Billionaire – now billionaire would work”.Pin It
Being an absentee owner is sometimes seen as a good way of generating income from your property. You may have to work away for a year or two and decide to rent out your property, or you may have invested in properties with the sole purpose of renting them out and generating yourself a steady income. But what things must you do if you’re to be one?
Just because you have rented the place out doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for building and third party damages – you are. You, not your tenant must maintain the appropriate insurance.
Some insurance companies require that you take out special insurance if you are to rent the property.
Insurance and not renting:
If you are not renting your property and it is to remain empty you have to check your insurance documents. Some policies state that the policy is invalidated if the owner is absent for more than 30 days.
Renting “Furnished” property:
If you are renting out your property as “furnished” you are liable for the upkeep or replacement of any broken or malfunctioning furnishings – e.g. It is your responsibility to replace the refrigerator if it goes wrong.
You are liable for the replacement or repair of any part of your building that is dangerous or would fail a building inspection (such as maintaining fire escapes, allowing proper access etc.)
As the owner of the property you are liable for any land or building taxes – not the person renting the property. (In England it is called Council Tax, and you can actually have to pay more council tax if you are not living there than if you were)
If your property is mortgaged, or not totally in your ownership you are required to inform the lending company, or joint owners that you no longer live there and are renting the property.
Regaining your Property:
There are two points here: renters and squatters.
If you have rented your property and require your property back before the tenancy is over – you must negotiate with the tenants, you do not have a legal right to evict them.
If you have rented and the tenants have not kept up with the rent, you must seek a solution through the civil courts – you cannot just evict them.
If you have returned to find your property has been taken over by squatters you should contact the police and see what is possible to do about the situation (regulations vary from country to country)
Any monies you earn from renting your property should be declared as such (seek advice from an accountant if you are unsure of what you have to declare)
You need to check with the appropriate authorities to see where you are registered to vote, just because you own property in a certain place doesn’t mean you have a vote there.
You are allowed to enter your property with a view to inspect it as long as you give your tenants adequate notice.
If you wish to sell your property and it has tenants you must inform them of your intention to sell, and either wait until their tenancy has expired, or negotiate an alternative with them before you sell. If you are lucky, you can sell with sitting tenants as long as both the tenants and the buyer agree to honour the existing tenancy agreement.
You are strongly advised to inform any institutions that are involved with your property of your current address (Insurance companies, local land registries etc.) so that if a problem arises the letter informing you of it doesn’t sit in a letter box for 3 months unanswered.
If you have tenants you can inform them of your address, or arrange a post forwarding service (check your local postal systems to see how to go about this)Pin It
Original article :
Summary of article:
A Greek football player has been banned for life for exhibiting a supposedly Nazi salute after scoring a winning goal. He said he didn’t realize the significance of the gesture.
This story worries me for a number of reasons:
Firstly, are we still that touchy about the Nazi gesture that we are willing to prohibit rising stars from their careers for using it ?
The “Nazi” salute was around long before the Nazis, and a straight arm in the air has long been perceived as a gesture of “great – fantastic – brilliant” – much like a punch into the air would be. Had he raised his arm 10 degrees there wouldn’t have been any fuss, he just happened to hit the corresponding angle that was used by the Nazis during the 2nd world war.
Is this sensitivity purely because of the connection between the salute and the atrocities conducted by its users in the war, or is it something a little closer to home. Are the Greek media jumping on the salute and associating it with the worrying rise of neo-nazism in Greece, and summarily punishing anyone who even looks like they may be leaning in that direction ?
The other side of the coin that worries me is that the player said he was not aware of the significance of the gesture.
Do our children not know of the history of the 2nd world war? Are they not told of what happened, and why we are so nervous about seeing signs of the Nazi in public?
Surely, in Greece of all places, the history of what happened during the war is the stuff of family history, told again and again lest it ever be forgotten.
How can a 19 year old live to that ripe age and claim not to know what that salute used to signify?
I find myself asking the question, “how much have our children been told of the war?”, “how much of it do they connect with?”, and how much do they put down to “things that grandpa saw”?
How long before it is totally forgotten, and allowed to happen again?
Just my musings.
What is the Term life Insurance.
First of all, let’s clear up a linguistic misunderstanding; insurance versus assurance.
Traditionally, Insurance is where a party (the policy holder) pays an insurer an amount, or series of amounts to insure against a possible event happening. If the event happens the insurer agrees to pay the policy holder a sum of money. For example; you insure your car against an accident. The accident may not happen, but if it does the policy holder can claim an amount from their insurance company for the damages. Insurance is like a bet, you (the policy holder) are paying money betting that an accident will happen, whilst the insurance company is taking the money in a bet that it won’t happen.
Assurance (from the word “to assure”) is where an event is going to happen, there is no doubt. In this case the policy holder pays the assurance company a sum or series of sums so that when the event happens (it will) the assurance company pays out an agreed sum of money. Assurance is more like a savings plan, you (the policy holder) are effectively saving your premiums, so that when the event happens you get back them all back plus any interest the assurance company may have earned on them.
When it comes to life however, there is a problem. We know we are going to die (it is assured), but we don’t know when. So a large proportion of companies selling assurance packages (they will pay you when you die, not if) call their policies insurance because they don’t know when the event will happen.
Hence the term life insurance.
Life insurance is a financial instrument where you agree to pay a series of premiums, up until the point where you die, and the insurance company agrees that at the point of your death they will pay your next of kin a certain amount of money.
Of course life insurance comes in a variety of flavours:
There are policies where the money is only paid out at the time of your death to your next of kin. This money can be used to settle the deceased’s financial matters (paying off loans, taxes etc.), paying for funeral expenses, or just to give the next of kin a lump sum so that the death of the policy holder does not burden them financially.
Some policies exist where the policy holder can receive payments based on the amount already paid into the insurance scheme before their death, to cover things like disability costs, specialist care costs for the elderly, or just to boost their pension in their old age. These policies typically pay out less money at the time of death as money has already been extracted from the overall total paid.
Other policies may be temporary, you insure against your death for a set period of time (for example you are travelling abroad and insure your life for the period that you are away).
There are common limits to all life insurance policies:
- No benefits or amounts will be paid to the policy holder’s next of kin if their death is the result of suicide.
- Death during war is not covered in normal insurance policies (specialized policies are available for this)
- An Insurance company will not pay out if fraud is proven (e.g. You take out a policy on your spouse, knowing full well that they have a terminal disease, but hide those facts at the time of signing the policy).
- Curiously, civil disturbances and riots also nullify a life insurance claim.
Murder is a common method of obtaining a large sum of money in books and films when it comes to life insurance. The beneficiary of the policy arranges for the policy holder to be killed so that they can become rich. However, this falls foul to two legal problems:
- Firstly, it is insurance fraud, you – the 2nd hand murderer deliberately tried to force the claim with an unnatural ending of the insurance policy.
- Secondly, it is against the law for anyone to receive any monetary gains from an illegal act they have committed.
So, in conclusion, Life insurance is a method whereby someone can: make sure that their next of kin are taken care of in the event of their death, cover their lives when they are entering into an unknown area (temporary life insurance, particularly related to travel), or a form of savings that can provide for them in the event of disability due to accident or old-age.Pin It
These days, a sound rule for using Latin abbreviations (such as e.g., etc., et al., and i.e.) is not to use them at all.
Such abbreviations were popular when Latin was the universal academic language in Europe and America. That’s no longer the case. Because so few people study Latin anymore, expressions that once were common have fallen into disuse or misuse.
In our time, Latin abbreviations are generally appropriate only in special circumstances that prize brevity, as in footnotes, bibliographies, and technical lists. But if we must use Latin abbreviations, we should learn how to use them correctly.
Let’s look at four Latin abbreviations that still appear in modern English–and that are often confused with one another.
1) e.g. (for example)
Example: ”One and the same thing can at the same time be good, bad, and indifferent, e.g., music is good to the melancholy, bad to those who mourn, and neither good nor bad to the deaf.”
What e.g. stands for in Latin: exempli gratia
What e.g. means in English: for example
How e.g. is punctuated: with periods after e and g, followed by a comma
How e.g. is used: to introduce examples
How e.g. should not be used: as a synonym for etc. or to introduce an all-inclusive list.
How e.g. can be avoided: use “for example” or “for instance” instead.
2) etc. (and so on)
Example: ”None of my own experiences ever finds its way into my work. However, the stages of my life–motherhood, middle age, etc. –often influence my subject matter.”
What etc. stands for in Latin: et cetera
What etc. means in English: and other things
How etc. is punctuated: with a period at the end
How etc. is used: in informal or technical writing, to suggest the logical continuation of a list of things (not, as a general rule, of people)
How etc. should not be used:
How etc. can be avoided: specify all of the items in a list or use “and so on.”
3) et al. (and others)
Example: ”Why is it that any time any of us mentions that women can be something other than just mothers, teachers, nurses,
et al., some mother, teacher, nurse,et al. comes in demanding that we re-affirm that it’s okay to be a mother, teacher, nurse,
et al.?” (Shelley Powers)
What et al. stands for in Latin: et alii
What et al. means in English: and others
How et al. is punctuated: with a period after the l but not after the t
How et al. is used: in bibliographic citations or in informal or technical writing to suggest the logical continuation of a list of people (not things)
How et al. should not be used:
How et al. can be avoided: specify all of the items in a list or use “and so on.”
4) i.e. (that is)
Example: ”Software is like entropy. It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing, and obeys the second law of thermodynamics;
i.e., it always increases.” (Norman R. Augustine)
What i.e. stands for in Latin: id est
What i.e. means in English: that is
How i.e. is punctuated: with periods after i and e, followed by a commaHow i.e. is used: to introduce an explanatory phrase or clause
How i.e. should not be used: as a synonym forbecause
How i.e. can be avoided: use “that is” instead.
In Italian most vowels are pronounced, whereas in English a lot of them are combined with the consonants on either side ( or the word before or after ) and become either very soft or unspoken.
Sometimes the vowel disappears and the consonant following it changes.
This is the case in words that end in “-ed”.
Listen to how the following sentences would be pronounced by an Italian, using the Italian pronunciation rules.
- I walked to the shops.
- I played snooker with my friends.
- I decided to go home early.
Now listen again to the English pronunciation.
- I walked to the shops.
- I played snooker with my friends.
- I decided to go home early.
As you can hear there are three distinct endings.
- “d” (without the “e”)
- “t” (without the “e”)
- & “id” ( the “e” and the “d” are pronounced – Italian style.
So how do you know which ending to use ?
Simple – there are 3 simple rules.
- If a word has a hard ending (work,ask,stop) – the “-ed” form uses the “t” ending.
- If a word has a soft ending (Playyyyyy, Videooooo, Minnnnnne) – the “-ed” form uses the “d” ending.
- If a word finishes with a “d” or “t” sound ( decide, invite, seat ) – the “-ed” form uses the “id” ending.
A simple way to practise the correct ending of these words is to think of them as two words ( play….d )
If you try and think of them as one word you will end up with the Italian pronunciation “playEd”.
When you start practising, place a distinct gap between the word and its ending.
- I play……..d until I was ask……t to come home, I decide………id I should go.
(It sounds ridiculous – but stay with me)
Now reduce the gaps.
- I play…d until I was ask..t to come home, I decide…id I should go.
Keep repeating those until you are happy that there are two words, then when you are happy shorten the gap again.
- I play.d until I was ask.t to come home, I decide.id I should go.
That should now be correct.
Listen to the following to get the idea.
- I walked down to the shops.
- I played snooker with my friends.
- I decided to go home early.