Deliberations on Decorative Glass

The artistic decorative glass products are shaped of liquid glass. This liquidity allows an artist to create various, rich in shape products-real pieces of art. Glass can be called a medium for artists. It is impossible to talk about decorative art glass without mentioning the Murano glassmaking history. Their tradition of precision in glassworks is maintained since the 13th century. Due to its uniqueness Murano glass is often referred to as “cristallo”.

There are two opinions on how Murano, the island in the Venetian Lagoon became a centre of glassmaking. It is being said that in 1291 the Venetian Republic, fearing that fire used by glassmakers might burn down Venice’s wood buildings, ordered its glass artists to move their foundries to Murano. This way the glassmakers became the noblest citizens of this island. Another, more frequently suggested opinion, is that the move was made to isolate the glassblowing masters and prevent them from sharing their knowledge with foreigners. Glass making became a trade exclusively for those born on the island of Murano, and whoever glassmaker left the Venetian State was condemned to death as a traitor.

In the 1400s, the Italian island of Murano became the centre of glass luxury. Many new glass making techniques were developed there and Murano played a main role in the export trade of dinnerware, mirrors and other luxurious items. A distinguishing feature of glass pieces made by Venetians was their content and a technique of making. Local quartz pebbles were almost pure silica ground into clear sand and combined with soda ash obtained from the Levant.

The contemporary Venetian glass art flourished in the 50ths and 60ths of the 20th century. Murano is still a Mecca for artists and glass lovers. The Murano School remains one of the most important in the world, and the art of glassmaking, just like centuries ago is still handed down from father to son. However, not only the Italians became famous of their glass making skills. It is worth to mention that the Czech Republic Region of Bohemia and Moravia is a significant source of European glass making traditions. From the earliest days, the Czechs were setting tone in European and world art of glass making.

The United States are famous for making artistic glass items as well. The American glassworks tradition comes from the colonial times, when green glass house ware was produced. Currently, there are a lot of individual artists, and the art in glass is practiced and taught in the universities. Beginning in the 19th century, a variety of extravagant glass items started to become an important part of the decorative art. Particularly significant impact on development of decorative glass had the Art Nouveau movement. The members produced coloured pieces, often in cameo glass (a form of glass art involving etching and carving through fused layers of differently coloured glass; the main characteristic are white figures carved on black background), as well as using the lustre technique.

With the 20th century came an era of revolutionary technology. Machines were developed which replaced traditional mouth blowing with a semi-automatic process, and transformed the craft into an industry. A new mould-etch process was invented which allowed to reduce manufacturing costs. This led to cheap glassware in the 1930s, later called “Depression glass”. Classical man-made glassblowing maintaining the tradition and knowledge of ancient glassblowers became an art. Today’s glassblower still utilizes the basic blowpipe, but now they have a vast number of supplementary tools to aid in working the material.

Here are the most common techniques to produce glass art:

– blowing: a glassblower works at a furnace full of molten glass using metal rods and hand tools to blow and shape almost any form of glass;

– kiln-casting: can be done at the furnace at the torch or in a kiln; generally the artist makes a mould out of refractory, sand, or plaster and silica which can be filled with either clear glass or coloured or patterned glass;

– fusing, slumping: usually glass is only heated enough to impress a shape or a texture onto the piece, or to stick several pieces of glass together without glue;

– flame working: the artist generally works at a bench using rods and tubes of glass, shaping with hand tools to create their work;

– hot sculpting; – cold-working; The most common glass objects include vessels such as bowls, glass vases, bottles, etc. as well as paperweights, beads, sculptures and installation art. They are great as home accessories or gifts.

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Brush Clearing Workout Program

Since my mother’s death, my 92-year-old father Erwin Thompson has taken on clearing brush on our 100-acre place, Evergreen Heights, in a major way. This project is in addition to completing several new novels, calling square-dances, and hosting a weekly musical open house.

Since I grew up in the era of the Jane Fonda workout, a breakthrough for mature women, I’ve been teasing my father that his brush-clearing project is his workout program. Unfortunately, his workout probably doesn’t have the same commercial potential as Jane’s because not that many folks have a 100-acre parcel to workout on.

Still, the principles behind what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, and the enormous benefits we’ve seen in his health in the last year hold promise. His heart, lungs, voice, outlook, and sleep have all improved since he’s been dedicating himself to the Brush-Clearing Workout Program.

Janet: Pop, how long have you been clearing brush?

Erwin: Since I was big enough to hold an axe I guess.

Janet: What was it that called to you to begin clearing brush in the wide-scale way you have been in the last year or so?

Erwin: I got tired of it reaching out to swipe us off the tractor as we mowed the field.

Janet: You also had a memory of what the place looked like when you were a boy, and a vision of what you hoped it would look like again if you applied yourself with concerted effort.

Erwin: Yes. It will never look like it did when I was a boy.

My Grandfather Riehl had three steady hired men. The tillable soil was all tilled. The rougher ground was planted in chestnut trees which were grafted varieties that my grandfather had produced; first by cross pollination and then by grafting the wood of the promising seedlings onto other unproved seedlings. These he had planted on the hills that were too steep and rough to farm. To keep the weeds down he pastured sheep on this area.

Janet: Tell us why the brush is there is the first place. Since you are the professor of brush-ology, give us the basics.

Erwin:There are two kinds of land classification, and then of course all of the shades in between. The residents of the good, flat, all-tillable lands in central Illinois are living in The Prairie The other end of the scale is The Forest.

The folks on The Prairie do not have much of a brush problem. They farm right up to the fence rows and in many cases there are no fences.There is no ready source of seeds for the brush growth, as the farmers are almost in a world by themselves.

Ideally, what you want in The Forest is fine, big trees. These big trees discourage the growth of brush by their tall shaded environment with a thick mat of pine needles accrued from the passing years. This discourages the growth of brush.

Between these base points, there is what is called The Edge. This is where we are. The seeds of the brush are carried by the birds, the wind, the rains which wash the seeds on down the hills and along the banks of the streams.

The railroads used to clean out their box cars and throw the leavings along the right of way out here in the country where they figured nobody would even notice. We did. That is how wild oats came into our part of the country. This is an ornery weed that is totally worthless and very persistent in re-seeding itself.

The thing that is really bad about the brush along the edge of the fields is that the trees reach out for the light of the field, and grow in that direction. Often they are so low that they hit the operator when mowing the field unless they just layout another ten feet, and this of course takes that much away from the open ground and adds to the underbrush.

Janet: How do you cut brush?

Erwin: In older times there was just one way, and that was a good sharp axe. Today, to at least partially offset some of the disadvantages that we have inherited in what some people call “progress,” we have the chain saw. I also use the pruning shears that my aunt and uncle used in their grafting work. Between these two great tools I can handle anything that has appeared in front of me so far.

The major trouble comes when the vines wrap around the larger trees. Sometimes the tops become so inter-twined that the tree will not fall even after it is cut.

Two possible solutions in addition to just leaving it hang and hope that it will fall some day. Sometimes on the smaller ones I make a cut about four feet above the ground level, and this will drop the tree trunk four feet nearer the ground. Sometimes it works.The safer way is to hook the tractor onto the mess and keep pulling until it comes apart.

So we have the brush on the ground. I have a big flat bed trailer for my tractor. We load the brush on the trailer and take it to a burning pile. It takes work. I have a neighbor who is built like Paul Bunyan’s ox. I call him my “pet elephant.” I have another neighbor who lives near the burning pile. He keeps it burned.

That is how I do it. I recommend brush clearing for health and mental health. There is a firm satisfaction in seeing the erstwhile messy edge of the field become once more looking like a field.

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History of Standing Liberty Quarter

The radical change in our coinage that was taking place in the early 20th century was not quite done by 1916. With the new Lincoln cent and Buffalo nickel now in circulation, and changes to gold coinage, it was now time for a change in silver, specifically, the dime, quarter and half dollar to undergo a facelift and eliminate the uninteresting Barber designs. In late 1915 a design competition was announced to replace the designs on the dime, quarter and half dollar. In 1916, Mint Director Robert Woolley told Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber that Hermon Atkins MacNeil’s design had been accepted for the quarter and that MacNeil would be visiting the Mint to obtain information about preparing the needed relief models. As Walter Breen writes in his book entitled Complete Encyclopedia of U.S and Colonial Coins, “Barber was as usual, completely uncooperative.” Assistant engraver George Morgan, who would later become chief engraver upon Barber’s death, was apparently more helpful. In late May of 1916, with Morgan’s help, MacNeil’s models that could be used for fie preparation were approved.

The first Standing Liberty Quarter coins came of the Philadelphia presses on December 16, 1916 and the series continued through 1930. A mere 52,000 pieces were minted in those last two weeks of 1916 and were released to the public along with 1917 dated coins in early 1917. Legend has it that shortly after the release there was a public outcry over the exposed right breast of Lady Liberty. Others complained that the small eagle looked like a pigeon. Whether this led to the design change is not well documented as there were also stacking issues with the Type I coins. In any event, the design was changed in 1917 to cover the right breast with chain-mail as well as minor changes to the back of the coin which moved three stars beneath the eagle, thereby raising and centering the eagle. Thus was born the Type II Standing Liberty Quarter.

After a few years in circulation it became apparent that the date was wearing off way to fast. Unlike the Buffalo Nickel, someone at the mint did make changes and in 1925, the date area was lowered as to be protected by the rim of the coin resulting longer wear on the date field. Thus was born Type III which many consider a subtype.

In production for only fifteen years, the Standing Liberty quarter suffered an early demise. 1932 marked the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth was introduced as a circulating commemorative which is still in circulation today.



As one of our most beautiful coins, Standing Liberty quarters garner quite a following. A complete set in circulated condition, except for the 1916, can be had with only a few coins going for over $100 in circulated condition. Many of the later dates (1925 and after) in decent condition can be had for under $5.00. When grading this series for higher end coins, look to the right knee and center of the shield on the obverse and the eagle’s breast and left wing on the reverse as these will show wear before other areas. Additionally, very well struck coins will be graded as Full Head (FH). Coins graded as FH are much scarcer and will demand a substantial premium over non FH in the same grade. In order to be graded FH the coin must show three leaves in Liberty’s hair, the hairline along Liberty’s brow must be complete and the ear indentation must be evident.

Key/Semi Key Dates

Without a doubt, the key for the series for the common collector is the 1916 coin. With a mintage of only 52,000 it would seem that this coin should be quite rare. And while it is, it is not has hard to obtain, for a price, as it would seem. As with most new series, collectors and the general public hoarded the first coins of new issues. A G4 coin still retails for about $3500, so it is not cheap. In terms of scarcity in high grades, the 1916 date has more FH MS-67 coins graded by PCGS than any other date expect the 1930-P and 1930-S. Still, the 1916 will cost you more due to its popularity. A MS67 FH lists for over $90,000.00

The year 1917 consisted of Type I and Type II coins. Although the 1917-D Type II had a higher mintage (6.2 million vs. 1.5 million), the 1917-D type II in good (G4) condition retails for $40.00 vs. the 1917D Type I which goes for around $28. Since there were so very few 1916 coins, and they were produced in Philadelphia only, the folks out west probably thought 1917 was the first year and hoarded the first coins, that being Type I and ignored Type II coins of the same year. This price differential is also apparent in the 1917-S Types. Philadelphia minted far more coins in both Types in 1917 than the other two mints so there is not a big difference in price for this mint/date.

For the common collector, filling the earlier dates, those before 1925 can become costly. Coins in G4 grades are usually not that eye appealing and can still cost you well over $100 such as the 1919 D & S, 1921 and 1923-S. Obtaining these in higher grades will reach near $1000 and well over $1000 for the 1923-S. For most other dates prior to 1925, consider spending $50-100 per coin. As we get into coins dated 1925 and after, prices drop considerably. This primarily due to the change to the date that enabled to withstand more wear. As previously mentioned coins dated 1924 and before wore the date out quickly. Coins dated 1925 and after were better preserved. It was not uncommon to find dated Standing Liberty quarters in circulation as late as the 1950’s. There one exception though to those 1925 and later quarters. The 1927-S was the 2nd lowest produced coin of the series with a mintage of only 396,000. Although this is a very low mintage, you can still obtain a F-12 coin for less than $100. Coins above that grade jump in price considerably. It is interesting to note that the famed 1932 D and S Washington quarters had higher mintages than the 1927-S yet you can get a G4 1927-S for less than $35.00 yet the 1932 D or 1932 S will cost you around $150. This anomaly changes though for higher grades as the 1927 S skyrockets in price while the 1932 quarters go up in price gradually until you reach mint state coins.

As with many series of the day, Philadelphia was the main producer of coins while the Denver mints and San Francisco mints had lower production totals making mint-marked coins “generally” more difficult to find and more expensive.


The only highly recognized error in the series is the 1918/17 overdate. This coin in FH Mint State condition exceeds the prices of the 1916 coin. (in MS-65 FH the 1916 lists for $35,000 while the 1918/17 lists for $300,000). PCGS has not yet certified a FH ms-65 FH 1918/17 overdate and has certified only 34 FH coins. In G4 condition the coins lists for $1,700.

There have been other reported errors/varieties such as small/large mint marks for the 1928-s. If you are into collecting errors and varieties for the Standing Liberty quarters then the book for you is Standing Liberty Quarters: Varieties and Errors, written by Robert Knauss.


There were no official proofs produced for the Standing Liberty quarter although several satin-finish proofs of 1916 and 1917 are reported to exist.

Vital Statistics Summary

Key Coin Info

Designed by: Hermon A. MacNeil

Issue dates: 1916-1917

Composition: 0.900 part silver, 0.100 part copper

Diameter: 23.4 mm

Weight: 96.45 grains

Edge: Reeded

Business strike mintage: 12,253,200

Proof mintage: None

Designed by: Hermon A. MacNeil

Issue dates: 1917-1930

Composition: 0.900 part silver, 0.100 part copper

Diameter: 23.4 mm

Weight: 96.45 grains

Edge: Reeded

Business strike mintage: 214,516,400

Proof mintage: None

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How Sewing Needles Are Made

Was the invention of the wheel really what changed the future of mankind? Consider this. The man who invented the wheel was wearing animal skins that had been sewn together with a needle.

Being able to sew skins together to craft clothing for warmth and protection enabled Stone Age men to remain in northern areas of the globe, thus breaking away from their nomadic existence.

The needle has always been a simple tool. Whether it is made of bone or metal, the concept remains the same – a pointed instrument that pulls a thread through some type of material. The key elements being a sharp enough point to poke through the material (be it fabric, leather or something else) and a hole or hook to carry the thread.

During the Bronze Age, needles were developed that were made from metal instead of the primitive bone or horn. Access to early metal needles was limited by cost, since only gold and bronze were used to manufacture them.

Once iron was developed, manufacturers could make lower cost needles, thus allowing farmers’ wives to afford these much-improved tools for sewing.

Records indicate that the Spanish became proficient at making excellent sewing needles, and guarded their secrets well, slowing down the spread of manufacturing to other parts of the world. Eventually, though, the English developed a process that continues to be the high bar for modern needles.

The process and the number of steps required to make a needle – even today – is amazing.

Beginning with a coil of wire, the first step was to cut the wire into 3 inch lengths and then straighten the curve. This seems like it would be simple, yet it required that the wire be heated, pressed and then cooled.

Once cooled, the wire was turned over to a grinder who made points at both ends of the wire. Because this step required a water wheel, early needle makers lived in villages near streams or rivers where they could harness the water for energy to run their water wheels.

As you can imagine, the work of a needle grinder was fairly deadly. Standing over a grindstone breathing particles of jagged steel from the needle and stone dust, these men refused to take any safety precautions since they believed it limited the number of newcomers to the trade. That it did, but it also limited their life expectancy.

Once the points were ground on the ends of the wire, it was taken to the stamping shop where two eyes and two gutters were stamped in the middle, and the eye was punched out.

Using fine wires between the new eyes of the needles, they were separated, the burrs were ground off the ends, and the needles were ready for tempering and finishing.

Tempering was done by heating the needles on trays, then dunking them in oil, making them brittle. The metal is heated and turned by hand with hatchet-like tools, causing it to turn colors from pale red to blue and then to a straw color.

When the tempering was right, the heat was removed and the needles were ready for the more finishing.

Needles were felt (yes, by hand) to find small warps. If there were any, the needle was tapped with a small hammer on a tiny anvil to straighten it out. Every day for eight hours a day for 8 days, the needles were rolled in a heavy canvas with oil, soap and emery which made them smooth and shiny.

Then they were dumped into a copper pan filled with soapsuds to be cleaned. The needles were then rinsed and dried in a bin of sawdust.

The challenge at that point was to remove the needles from the sawdust, line them up so they were even and then clump them together so they could be sized. After the needles were sorted into various sizes, they were weighed and put into equal-sized bundles, called a “company.”

But the process was still not yet complete!

In the final steps, the heads were heated to give them a blue tint and to soften them in order to countersink the eyes. Countersinking was to ensure smoothness so the needle would not shred the thread.

Once the countersinking was complete, skilled grinders once again polished the heads and points of the needles until the desired quality was achieved. Finally, the needles were packaged and sold.

Although completely automated, modern needles are still made from coiled wire, the pieces cut into the length of two needles, and points are ground on both ends of the piece. Two eye shapes are then stamped in the center of the piece, the holes are punched out and the needles are separated.

Modern needles are tempered and frequently electroplated with nickel. Often the eye portion is gilded, creating a kind of gold look.

There are actually about 70 processes that wire goes through to transform it into a needle!

It’s amazing what it takes to create a short, straight, pointy thing with a hole in one end.

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Embroidery Patches – Are They Fashionable Or Practical?

These types of patches became quite popular a few decades back since it can be easily attached to any types of fabric and a highly convenient way identifying a certain organization or company. A quick look at its history, embroidery patches were initially made in large factory machines that have the same size of the ancient looms that was used centuries ago. Embroidery Patches were useful in correcting wholes and tears in uniforms and military wear and now just about anyone, for any purpose uses different Patches. Not only that, embroidery patches can easily be seen everywhere, it is making its strong presence known even in the local gasoline stations and manufacturing plants.

People assume that all Embroidery Patches are the same. However this is not true. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Embroidery Patches are very different from one another. They are available in many different colors, styles and fabrics. Patches can be made to be stain resistant or can be made to attach by ironing. There are many different options the secret is to know what you want in the patches you purchase.

There are so many different options it is hard to list them all. Embroidery Patches can be used as fashion statements and also as a useful form of advertising. It is completely up to you what purpose your patches are going to fulfill.

Nowadays, there is an abundance of designs available in embroidery patches that you can choose from. There are a lot of people who are sporting personalized patches in their jeans and Clothes s as an accent or a way of expressing themselves. So if you are thinking of a great way to embellish your garments or add more character to your otherwise bland piece of clothing, an embroidery patch would be a convenient and cheap accessory that you can use. You can even order a customized one, or provide your own design for a more personal touch.

Embroidery patches can either be a useful method of making your worn out clothes last a tad bit longer or they can be a fashion statement. You be the judge of that. But I ask you, why can’t they be both? A fashion statement and a way to make your clothes last a little longer?

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Selling Coins – Merits And Demerits Of Selling To Dealers

Coin collection can be a deal of fun. This spare-time activity which goes back to BC 2500 is very much larger now as people are at present are able to accumulate money from other countries as well.

Whenever a person determines to discard a few of the pennies from the accumulation, it’s essential to acknowledge its value by viewing a coin catalog or cost guide. There are much more ways to perform this and one of it is searching for a coin trader to do trade with.

There are many coin dealers present. Some might be got by inquiring the local mint club or a coin collector who might afford a good reference while other people can be discovered in a coin exhibition or at an auction. These people sponsor such events awaiting a good purchase to add to a surviving accumulation. Many of these individuals would be found in the net, too.

To be very sure that the individual is acquiring a benevolent cost from a coin trader, it’s a superior idea to pay a visit to more than just single place to find who’s ready to purchase it at the maximum price. If the individual feels that the cost is very low, then maybe it’s better to wait till a different time as the value of these coins depends upon scarcity, demand and condition.

Some think that executing business with coin traders is not a very good idea as this person may offer to purchase the coins at a lower cost. This belief is wrong as there is a great deal of ways to assure that the person would be very honest.

To avoid being cheated by someone who calls himself as a dealer, it’s essential to ascertain that this person should be a member of Professional Numismatist’s Guild, compulsorily. This organization consists of the world’s noted collectors of age-old coins and paper currency. As there are rigorous rules that members follow, one could be very sure that the dealing would be safe.

Coin traders are not merely there to bargain something; these people might also extend for selling a coin which is useful to others. By knowing the dealer, an understanding may be reached that might benefit both the parties, which doesn’t always end buying, but also bartering and trading.

Everyone have the potential to make money even if it begins with only a couple of coins. By learning where to get these rare coins and performing business with an esteemed dealer, you can be very sure about making a profit or at least a small fortune.

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Appealing Women Collectibles For Making a Statement

It’s a blessing to be a woman. It’s just that one should know how to celebrate womanhood. A woman could be known best with her shopping list. A man is supposed to earn and a women is suppose to burn it – this statement would be best liked by their male counterparts. There are numerous serves that talk of women spending a zillion times more as compared to that of men. Well, the simple reason is that the boys’ toys are so expensive that almost every one can’t afford only a particular sect of the society could afford it. Were as for women, a huge variety of shopping alternatives are available that are not inexpensive but it’s correct to say that they are relatively inexpensive.

There could be so many things that could be used by the modern women to make a statement. The collectibles that a woman would like to have to make a statement would greatly depend upon her individual personality and style. The most important thing is attitude. If you have the right attitude you could carry any thing and every thing with grace. If you have the desired attitude what ever you wear would be trendsetting and fashionable. The list of things appealing women collectible items could be endless. However below are some of the most appealing collectors for a woman –


Some women just have this flair for shoe. Though this shoe weakness in women can’t be scientifically proven but is evident for sure. According to a very famous saying “a person is known by his shoes” could hold good for women. Over and above the style & color – an expensive branded shoe is defiantly required to make a statement. There are so many design houses exclusively designing shoes for women, to an extent that there are shoe boutiques as well in case you want the shoe to be personalized with the dress you have.


A woman makes a very strong statement about her personality with the kind of perfume she wears. One could analyze the personality of a women it scientifically as well by the perfume she wears. Designer perfumes are available to choose form. A wrong perfume choice could prove embarrassing.


This is another addition a woman might have. Rather a woman is expected to have an obsession with the branded, designer and worthlessly expensive handbags. It’s more of an accessory rather than a utility. Any price is less for a bag that is unique. Holds your stuff well and is branded. Women wouldn’t step off spending twice their monthly salary for a handbag to make a style statement.

Fashion Jewelry

Jewelry is some thing that has been always close to a women’s’ heart, young or old; modern women or traditional women. You would not find any one who would deny their love for jewelry. These days fashion jewelry has come up because of the designer touch they have. Fashion jewelry has its own identity and it could go with any kind of attire. It is so powerful when it comes to making a statement that it can make you look stunning even if the dress that you wear with it isn’t that great. A wide variety with a great range of prices is offered by such designer fashion jewelry. It’s affordable for all; yes the right attitude to war it and a great eye to select is required to make a statement.

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The "I" Word is Coming to a Town Near You

Hello Inflation, it has been awhile, I see you on your way back again. Inflation? What inflation? Oh things like; Energy, diesel fuel, Aviation Fuel, Gasoline, Natural Gas, Milk, Wheat, Corn, Beef, Poultry, Hogs, Soy Beans, Building materials, paper, housing, Auto Prices, Health Care, Insurance, etc. You know the basics. Also considering the wholesale inflation, which comes from fuel costs being passed on, government regulations infringing on productivity and additional fees and fines to replace the taxes and incentives. When wholesale prices go up, those are passed onto the consumer.

How do we know all this? This is not a guess by any means. We have studied these issues for quite a while. Here is why we think this. Well as far as agriculture, we know from the droughts in the major farming regions and we can tell by the commodities market. We have seen the high temperatures and lack of water with Wheat and Corn in ID, MT, ND, SD, NE, KS. In other markets floods have hurt some crops. Also drought hurting the growing of feed for Cattle, meaning beef prices will go up. Canada MAD COW now our Mad Cow problem, problems with Japan’s increased tariffs on beef. Hogs and Beef in KS cannot get the water they need. Also in farming we have seen areas where the Sierra Club is suing so many projects to stop or slow building of new reservoirs in NM, ID, CO, AZ, NV, OR, CA. Also the specialty crops are running low and not enough to meet demand, things like berries (see bear lake issues) and issues in Winnepeg and BC, grapes (2 buck chuck run supplies low), etc as well as issues with depleted soil in Central Valley CA, Desert Farmers along the AZ and CA border cannot use that amount of water since CA and AZ will need it for new housing areas, golf courses and other uses (see the Colorado river situation) Farmers VS Developers and housing in PHX, Tucson, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, many are predicting a bubble burst, we have seen issues in the REITs which was a little bit of a shake up.

Natural Gas from the lack of new wells being drilled, for instance off the coast of Maine and the Gulf. Lack of ability to gear up in infrastructure fast enough to supply this winter’s need even though it should be a relatively non-violent winter as far as that goes-however few Hurricanes on West Coast last year showed us a lowered Jet Stream and lower latitude airflows, La Nina comes next and that means drought continued and water prices will go up and many business which use water will be worried and charge more too for their services. I have also been studying the EU droughts and heat and the issues with their exports meaning supply will not equal demand. Humanitarian needs are at issue as well. Meanwhile the Super Crops are being blocked by EU and WTO and much of those crops may not be able to be used in all markets. Some really bad deals here for humanity. Fruit in FL and the everglades issues are getting to be a bigger deal.

Dairy Farmers in ID are up 12% but they want more money and the National Dairy Association is also pushing forward. Increased demand is putting the dairy farmers feeling that they can charge more and will soon need to upgrade. The fires in ID, MT are using up much water supplies very early and fire season has another 2.5 months left. Also CO, NM, WY not out of the season yet. What about the threat of Bird Flu?

With Building materials we are seeing increased government regulation, timber tariffs on imported from Canada. Paper industry is in trouble and the replanted forests and forest farms are usually fast growing trees good for paper, not building grade timber. Housing spikes caused this, many areas growing fast.

Oil prices up due to manipulations in supply, Middle East issues, China coming on strong with needs of her own, Military needs effecting supply and demand issues, International Terrorists screwing with infrastructures, South American trade war paybacks, oil pipelines too few, Nimby-ism slowing output and inflows while the demand has increased, Airline fuel down and therefore price has too increase to pay for the direct cost loads. Our growth and consumerism has outpaced our supply and infrastructures. With energy the Blackout of 2003, rolling CA issues, generation plants being shut down, slowness of building new Nuclear Power Plants, issues in OR along the major Columbia River with Bonneville Power, issues with CA and SMUD, issues with upgrades needed in Coal Plants to meet EPA upgrades also same problems in VA, NC, SC, and the Tennessee River Valley Authority. Pipeline break in AZ and Phoenix they were paying nearly $2.00 per gallon, but now in CA they are at $2.65 per gallon. Sabotage in Iraq screws up supply for worldwide market. We are seeing OPEC moving forward to keep prices high, China coming online with needs, world demand is going up, takes too long to ramp up our own production and few companies wish too, for fear of dropping of prices too quickly, meanwhile we are seeing $2.46 gasoline on West Coast and $1.90 in San Antonio, no one expects these prices to come down, recessions follow high fuel prices by 6 months? So these are all issues and everything we buy has these high costs figured in. Construction, farming, transportation. Some school districts complaining about cost of buses and kids hurting budgets and at the same time increased prices mean more monies to state coffers which charge percentages of fuel prices as tax.

This article is in no way a doom and gloom showing, because I do see increased economic sunshine in many markets, but not all, those which have the burdens of drought, fires, shortages and manufacturing are going to see some more tough times. When energy goes up, some businesses running redline on low margins with lots of competition will see harder times and layoffs in the near future, while other sectors will be continuing the recovery.

These companies must raise prices, nearly all airlines have announced even additional higher fares this week, 14 of the largest trucking companies; the ones which haul the food, building materials, cars to dealerships and everything on every shelf in America. Railroad is increasing rates too. And Independent truck drivers holding on by a thread with insurance costs up too. We are also not going to be able to release the Military reserves in such uncertain times. So Inflation, there she blows and meanwhile interest rates will increase and money flows continue offshore.

What is of concern is that without increased wages, higher percentages of consumer incomes will be spent on food, gas, energy and other artificially inflated or supply and demand driven goods and services, yes that includes many sectors.

Now is a very important time in our nations history and in the business cycles at hand. We will get through this as it also hits other nations who sell to us, the trick is to come out of this present period with after burners blazing and set a course to the future prosperity and into the annals of destiny. Which we may write through our human spirit and will.

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Add Final Touches To Embellish Store Bought Cards!

Many people do have the skill and creativity to make wonderful cards all by themselves. This does not mean they always have the time to do so. Sometimes you just have to suppress your creativity and do with buying cards. But this does not end here. You can even add your own craft after buying brochure holders, brochure displays or different cards from local store.

Sprucing up those store-bought cards is easy. All you have to do is add or take away the elements according to your own liking. This best part is you can add great value to those inexpensive store bought cards. Read on to get some more ideas in this regard.

• If you have duplicate purchased cards then cut out sections from them. With the aid of paper techniques, use foam tape to elevate those cards. By bringing forth the layers of your card, more movements are given to it. You can even apply some shadows by brushing the ends of elevations with black paint. This adds an impressive natural effect.

• In case you find your card does not have enough embellishments then add more stickers and die- cuts to it. Believe it or not, you can get the most mileage from your card investment. By maintaining a craft folder, you can generate the most elegant cards for any occasion at all.

• If your card mainly comprises of printed elements then use charms and notions to make them prominent. With a finer hand and perfect color combinations, you can turn simple cards into show-stopping items. Glitter glues work the best to bring out certain minor details in your cards. Apply it wherever needed but make sure you are not overdoing them.

• You can also get creative by using the front portion of the card to stick to some older card stock. It is the best means to bring older cards into use. You can either take ideas from their designs or recycle them as a whole.

• Another idea is to take a blank card sheet and rearrange the pattern into a new design. A blank card work well as you have the option to embellish it at will. Certainly you will come across malleable items in some cards. They are just like some kind of jigsaw with which you can create all sorts of variations. After all unique themes are worthy of appreciation.

• With that done, you can move on to decorating envelopes. Outline them using some patterned paper. This will spice up the surprise the moment your friends will receive it. You can be creative with some stamps or perhaps pen doodles. This will add a fine touch but try not to hide the address in your attempt.

• Try to minimize the outer edge of the card and paste a strip from some old card to boost the contrast. Instead of a linear cut, you can use decorative scissors meant for the purpose.

By applying some of these techniques, you can add a completely different look to those custom cards purchased from the market.

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Opening the Gates of Hell

On January 27, 1945 the Red Army advancing in Poland arrived in a sleepy town called Oswiecim. Next to it, they found Hell. As they crossed the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau, they saw discombobulated walking skeletons staring at them with empty eyes. Emaciated corpses were strewn everywhere. The stench of death was overwhelming. Over a million people-mostly Jews-had been murdered there. Auschwitz was the largest and deadliest of the 20,000 concentration camps built by the Germans to create a new world order free of Jews and political dissent.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which occurs on January 27, was designated by the United Nations to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. The date, which marks the day in which Auschwitz was liberated, was chosen as Auschwitz has become emblematic of the Holocaust. Of course one could ask the question of why the United Nations thought it necessary to select a new date, given that there already was another Holocaust Remembrance Day date which commemorates the revolt of the Warsaw Ghetto. But a more important question is to analyze what the meaning of the word “liberate” is in this context.

Obviously from a literal point of view the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz, in the sense that prior to their arrival the prisoners lived and died under the German boot and after the Red Army arrived those that were still capable of surviving were freed. From this perspective it’s also valid and true to say the American Army liberated Dachau, and the British liberated Bergen Belsen. But I would argue that we need to qualify the word “liberated”, because what the Allied armies did was remove the German occupiers everywhere in their path. None of the Allied armies had as a military objective the liberation of these camps. None of them specifically sent troops in the direction of the camps with the objective of liberating the prisoners there. No, the camps just happened to be in their path. As a matter of fact, most of the Allied troops were understandably dismayed at what they found, but actually they were surprised because they didn’t even know those camps were there and what they had been used for.

But this was not the case with the top military echelons, or of the highest political figures. Indeed, a long time before the Soviets arrived in Auschwitz a detailed report of the inner workings of the extermination camp was circulated in the Vatican, in Washington and London. A little over half a year before the liberation of the camp the Germans began the deportation and extermination of Hungary’s Jews. Many Jewish organizations pleaded with the Allied authorities so that they would bomb the railroad tracks going from Hungary to Auschwitz, and even the gas chambers. Churchill ordered his military to look into that very possibility, but was told that the railroad tracks and Auschwitz were outside the range of British bombers. The American Air Force gave similar excuses.

But the reality is that both the railroads and Auschwitz were indeed within range of American bombers. As a matter of fact, the Americans had already photographed Auschwitz from the air and conducted several bombing raids of the German industrial facilities surrounding Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stray bombs actually fell in Birkenau. So, the American Air Force definitely had the capability of severely hampering the German deportation efforts from Hungary and even of destroying the gas chambers, thus severely hampering the German extermination effort. But saving Jews was not an Allied military objective, and neither the railroad tracks nor the gas chambers were bombed. As the American Air Force dithered, over 10,000 human lives were consumed in the flames of Auschwitz every day.

These facts should give us pause when we consider the meaning of the “liberation” of the concentration and death camps.

As the world commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th, it’s also important to understand, and remember, what drove the Germans and their helpers in the various countries they invaded to perpetrate the Holocaust.

In Nazi Germany, the ancient hatred toward Jews had evolved into something secular and pseudo-scientific. This was something the post-Enlightenment, highly cultured German people could accept as a replacement for the ancient Christian anti-Judaism of their ancestors. By the time Hitler came to power German antisemitism was firmly grounded on the notions that Jews were racially inferior and for being a threat to Christian Germans and everything that was good. Ultimately, any message of hatred that conformed to the conception of Jews established by almost two thousand years of certain Christian teachings made sense and was acceptable.

Elsewhere in Europe, particularly in the East where the genocide took place and where the Germans found no shortage of auxiliaries for the genocidal duties that took place there, the situation was different. None of the locals who willfully collaborated in the execution of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” had been brainwashed by Nazi racial propaganda. In those countries the locals hated Jews for the same reasons other Europeans had hated Jews for centuries: for killing Jesus, for desecrating the Host, for poisoning wells, for bringing about the Black Plague, for killing young Christian boys to extract their blood to make Passover bread, for being minions of the Devil, for being greedy money-lenders, and any number of other baseless accusations.

But it’s not enough to understand and remember what the motivation of the perpetrators was, because the perpetrators would have been unable to execute their monstrous deeds if it hadn’t been for the fact that the majority of the populations of the world had the choice of acting to stop the genocide and chose not to. Even though it’s true that some chose to remain as silent bystanders out of fear of the Germans, many overcame the fear and acted to save people. We do not know with certainty why the American military authorities chose not to bomb Auschwitz, but we do know that many in the military establishment and the State Department were antisemitic and felt no compassion as millions of Jews were mercilessly slaughtered.

So, now that the world is paying attention to the consequences of this hatred when looking-in through the old electrified fence at Auschwitz-Birkenau, we should not forget where antisemitism came from, and recognize that despite the great progress in Jewish-Christian relations made since the Second Vatican Council, more work needs to be done.

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