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It has happened again, and again in a very big way. I am sure you have heard the news that General Motors is closing plants and letting some 30,000 people go. Some they will be able to relocate, some they wont.Ford has started announcing they will be "cutting back" and will have more to say about it in February. When asked if the cuts will go deep enough, Bill Ford said he thinks they will. This is all devastating news that we should all be concerned about. The manuf...

Now It Is Ford Motors Turn

Now It Is Ford Motors TurnIt has happened again, and again in a very big way. I am sure you have heard the news that General Motors is closing plants and letting some 30,000 people go. Some they will be able to relocate, some they wont.Ford has started announcing they will be "cutting back" and will have more to say about it in February. When asked if the cuts will go deep enough, Bill Ford said he thinks they will. This is all devastating news that we should all be concerned about. The manufacturing sector of our economy is the one sector that provides for our society in any country, a ladder that allows us to move from lower class economies to middle and upper middle class economies. Without manufacturing, it becomes more and more difficult for families to pull themselves up and obtain their dreams.Most manufacturing jobs provide up to nine other jobs in the local economy. Think about the local drug stores, dry cleaners, car washes, gardeners, fast food restaurants, independent auto mechanics, and so on, that are going to see their customer base diminish and their services not used as frequently. This will be a direct result of their local patrons no longer have the discretionary income they once had. Most of those that are being laid off will now start to learn how to get it done themselves. After all, they will now have the time. Many will begin working on their own cars, taking care of their own lawns, cooking and eating in more often than not. And with fewer end products being produced, suppliers and their employees are affected in the same fashion.What of our younger generations that are coming up through school. What direction do they take upon graduation? What field do they now study in college? And to learn a trade is still a good bet, but unless they move to an area where there is more discretionary income, what do they learn a trade in?These are tough situations and difficult questions. These actions affect us whether we live nearby or not, whether we were the ones laid off or still working, and whether we live in the United States or not. There will be huge impacts. How much will the Federal Government be able to do to help us? I spoke with some friends who live in Marathon Florida who were devastated in the last hurricane and they related that FEMA has notified them that they are temporarily out of money due in large part to hurricane Katrina. They indicated that FEMA told them they need to go back to congress to get more moneys approved.There are some individuals who had some foresight and started a home based business that provided them residual income. It may have sounded kind of corny then, or out of vogue, but there are those families, husband and or wife: single parent, or head of household that DID do something way back when and have been enjoying discretionary income month after month from their home business. To those who were prepared, you will have a little less worry and frustration than those that did not.For those that did not have a home based business and consequently no monthly residual income, it is never too late to start one. You can start one up for relatively little cost, and it will not dig into your new budgeted spending pattern if you start a business where the products would be those that you consume in your household each month (all businesses need to have products or services sold. If not, then they are a scam. Run away from them as fast as you can).As independent adults that are getting caught in this layoff trap and having less and less security, there is some analyses that may be difficult, but nevertheless need to now take place. For those of us not directly caught (yet), this analysis process would still be good for us to examine as well. First, hopefully those employees getting laid off have put back some savings. After all, this has happened before, so hopefully there was foresight that something like this could happen again and there was at least some preparation.Second, take a real hard look at what areas you would be able to trim, immediately if you have to, in order to slow down the cash outflows every month. Look at these areas closely. If you have teenage children, you might want to involve them in the process. Have them help to contribute ideas that will help the family weather this storm. Explain to them that as parents, you will do everything you can to make this a temporary situation and explain to them you appreciate their help and input.Third, write down your plans. This is so important. Set some short term goals that will help you to get through this time. Also make sure to include your written finances from step 2 here as well. One technique to use is to sit down and write out where the money is currently being spent now. Keep in mind that most of us dont have the patience to do this, or are not honest enough with ourselves when we write it down. This is an important enough step that it is worth repeating. Look at the list and decide what, if any, areas you can trim down for the interim period. Dont look at it as I can go without this because this will begin to breed anger, after all, you worked hard for X amount of years and you deserve this (whatever this is). And anger will do you, and or your family and friends no good at all. This is not the end of the world and you and your family will survive it. YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT! But if you have the wrong mindset, it will make the process you are getting ready to go through much more difficult than it needs to be. Once you have it all written down, talk to your spouse, or if a single parent, talk to your children and try and solicit their support in making those new plans happen. If the family has goals, and everyone in the family participates, this temporary setback will be brief and the family values and relationships will remain intact. If there are no goals, or they are not specific, then everyone does what they think they should do and in reality, nothing gets accomplished except feelings of contempt and frustration for one another.Keep in mind that this has happened to people and families in the past and it will be experienced by people and families in the future. You may find that your life begins moving in a direction you had not originally intended it to, or the changes that take place in you or your family are changes you would not have thought possible before. That will be ok. Again, the most important thing to remember is that you did just fine up to this point and you will do just fine after this. There is a life after (insert you company name here). Sometimes many believe that a power greater than they are found it necessary to challenge them to learn and experience new situations that will further develop their true selves, or the people they were intended to be. Some will shrug their shoulders and say ok, lets move on. Situations have a way of correcting themselves in time, but usually not without some direct input from us. What this means is if we are to have a positive outcome, we need to have positive input. If we experience a negative outcome, then we obviously have input negative actions, feelings and or emotions.Remember, this is not the worst thing that could have happened. If you were not ready for this one, then get ready for the next one. Seriously examine your spending patterns. Take a hard look at where your money is going. Employ a technique called delayed gratification, meaning wait and save the money for the item, or do what is necessary now in order to have the item or pleasure in the future.And if you do not have a side business, a home based business, or a part time business, realistically pursue that. There are too many opportunities that are out there for bright people that are hard working in nature, to sit on the sidelines and not be able to participate in the Great American Dream.

Stu Unger: Rise and Fall of a Poker Genius

Stu Unger: Rise and Fall of a Poker Genius

Stu Unger is one of the biggest superstars to have immerged from the professional poker world. Besides being a true poker genius and a three time World Series of Poker champion, "Stu Unger" had a fascinating life story. It was not surprising that after his death Stu was the subject of a biography and a biopic. Stu Unger lived the life of a rock star including the quick rise to fame, the drugs, the comeback and the unavoidable death at an early age. Here you can read about the life story of the legendary poker player Stu Unger. The BeginningStuart Errol Ungar was born in 1953 to a Jewish family who lived in Manhattan on the Lower East Side. Stus father was a well known bookmaker and his mother was too ill to fight against her sons fascination with gambling. After the death of his father, 13 years old Stu had found a father figure at his neighbor Victor Romano, one of the infamous Genovese family soldiers. Stu and Romano had at least one thing in common: they both had an incredibly sharp memory, which was mainly used in poker and gin games. By that time, Stu was already an accomplished gin player who had gained vast experience in winning gin tournaments. Stu dropped out of school to become a full time gin rummy player. The Genovese family had benefited from Stus talent. In return, they provided him protection from other gamblers who found themselves offended by his harsh and arrogant playing style. The RiseAs a professional gin player, Stu had managed to beat all the professional gin poker players around. According to the rumors, Stu caused Harry Yonkie Stein, one of the best players around to stop playing gin completely after beating him in a gin match. Since he was out of proper competition, Stu decided to focus on playing poker professionally. In 1976, he and his girlfriend relocated to Las Vegas where they got married and had a girl, Stephanie. In 1980, Stu won the "World Series of Poker" Main Event after beating experienced poker pros such as Doyle Bronson. Stu was the youngest WSOP champion in history and was nicknamed The Kid. Even though Stu won the 1981 WSOP Main Event, he still considered himself more a gin and rummy player than a poker player. After winning his first WSOP championship title, he was quoted saying that the poker world would meet better no limit players than him, but no one will ever be able to play gin rummy better than he does. At the same time, Stu had tried to use his skill to grab money at the blackjack table. Nevertheless, the casinos were not happy with Stus presence around the blackjack tables and he was constantly barred. In 1982, he was fined by the New Jersey Gaming Commission for cheating, although Stu has not done anything illegal but using his natural skill and phenomenal memory. The FallIn 1990, Stu made another appearance to the WSOP. This time, he was heavily into drugs. He was a chip leader for the first three days of the event and then disappeared. He was found lying at his hotel room, unconscious from a drug overdose. However, it did not stop him from finishing ninth and earning enough money for his future cocaine supply. The ComebackAfter seven years of disappearing from the "professional poker" circle, Stu had returned to the WSOP. In 1997, he was broke, with damaged nostrils from cocaine abuse, addicted to horseracing and sports gambling, but still in shape to beat all the new contestants and gain back his WSOP Championship title. The local media was happy to embrace The Comeback Kid, but his success did not last long.The DeathStu Unger did not attend the 1998 World Series of Poker since he could not get the money to pay the entry fee. Seven months after Scotty Nguyen won the 1998 WSOP, Stu Ungar was found dead at his motel room in Las Vegas with 800 dollars in his pocket. Apparently, he died of a heart condition caused by years of drug abuse. The BiographyRead: One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey The Kid Ungar, The Worlds Greatest Poker Player written by Nolan Dalla, Peter Alson, Mike Sexton.Watch: High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story directed by A. W. Vidmer and starring Michael Imperioli, Christopher Moltisanti of The Sopranos, as Stu Unger

Read The Warranty, It Will Save Some Money.

Read The Warranty, It Will Save Some Money.

When consumers buy a car, the seller or manufacturer pledges to vouch for the car. This is a warranty. Federal law enforces warranties to be always available to buyers. It should be made clear to the consumer even when they are just searching for what car to buy or if they are just browsing the internet. Coverage differs. Therefore, warranties should be checked together with the design, value, quality and other car characteristics.Warrantees and guarantees often confuse people that are trying to differentiate the two. These two words, although quite similar, have distinct differences in the area of home improvement. First, the basic terminologies are somewhat different. Warranty is usually attributed to manufacturers while guarantees refer to the labor.Warrantees are usually pro-rated. This means that the coverage agreements could change as time goes on. Guarantees from the labor sector mostly are inclusive. Here are some examples:1. Siding should have a warranty not to crack, sag or buckle. 2. The intensity of colors will not diminish for 3 points or more.3. Warrantees are transferable to different owners and then changed to 5 years.4. Require registration.5. Effects of stains brought about by chemicals or too much mildew due to need for cleaning is not under the warranty.Warrantees usually offer satisfactory coverage but are not one hundred percent.What is the coverage of guarantee under one year labor?Example, a product or service falters in just the first year. It will be changed or fixed without charge. To sum it up, if a high priced product is purchased, the coverage will be 100%. As product price decreases, so does the value of the coverage. It is not the manufacturers fault that less coverage is given for cheap products. Product information and warranty or guarantee inclusions should be thoroughly understood by the potential buyers before signing anything. Always be on the lookout for contractors that adhere to specific brands for a long time. Chances are they have valid reasons why they remain loyal. Everyone is like a faithful contractor who looks for good service. These contractors are always on stand by to give service. Warranties and product quality concerns also keep good contractors on their toes. On the other hand, bad contractors do not care at all for product quality and warranty. They are always scouting for the cheapest product on sale and totally disregarding the warrantees and services that it could entail in the future. What are written warranties?Written warranties are not compulsory under the law but are commonly found in major purchases. Here are some tips to consider in looking for warranties. What is the amount of time provided by the warranty?Always make sure to take note of the beginning and expiration of warranties and also the terms that may nullify it. Who is the person in charge of providing the warranty?The coverage will be provided either by the manufacturer or seller so it should be made sure which of these two. What are the specific steps to be undertaken when there is a product failure?Check if the company, provider or seller will fix the product, change it with a new one or give the money back. What are the parts and specific product failures covered by the warranty?Buyers should thoroughly examine if there are product parts or kinds that are not part of the warranty coverage. Examples are warranties that ask for payment for work done during the repair process. Be wary of inclusions that could be potentially costly or inconvenient. An example of this is transporting a heavy or huge product to a factory for repair or the product should be given back with its original case intact. Are consequential damages covered by the warranty?There are warranties that do not include damages affected by the product or based on the time and money spent in repairing the damages. An example of this is when a newly bought freezer bogs down and the food is spoiled. The seller or manufacturer is not compelled to pay for the food. What are the warranty limitations?There are warranties that only give the warranty coverage if the status of the product is maintained as cited in the condition. Certain warranties specify products like washing machines to be used for home use only. If the washing machine is used in a commercial enterprise and breaks down, no warranty will be given. Buyers should always read the warranty or guarantee terms before purchasing any product if they want to make the most out of their hard earned money.

Finding The Right Mazda Dealer

Finding The Right Mazda Dealer

How do I find a Mazda dealer that is reliable and located in my area? We all have our preferences, and mine is Mazda vehicles. So for my next car, I want to visit the best Mazda dealer I can to get what I need. However, I need to figure out what the best way to locate one is. Turns out, there are several things you can do to find a Mazda dealer in your area without just driving around aimlessly.The first place to start a search is in the yellow pages. If you go to your local yellow pages and open it up to automobiles you will likely find it is a huge section. Generally the dealers are listed in the section based on alphabetical listings by dealership. Mazda dealers will be in the M section. If you live in a larger metro area, there will likely be several Mazda dealers, so write down phone numbers and contact information. You can also go to your local yellow pages online and type in a search f Mazda dealer.Another way to find a Mazda dealer in your area is to check out the Mazda website. Most car manufacturers list affiliate dealers on their site along with contact information. The good thing about this method is that you can probably browse some of the vehicles on line before heading out to the Mazda dealer. When you have an idea what you are looking for, shopping for almost anything becomes easier.You can also find a Mazda dealer through word of mouth. As people you know who have a Mazda where they got it. Also, ask them about their experience so that you will know if it a dealer that you would enjoy dealing with.Finding out which Mazda dealers are reputable and easy to work with is also important. As people you know have worked with them for their opinion of the service, experience, and people who work at that Mazda dealer. The other way to check out the reputation of the dealership is to check out consumer websites online. There are consumer sites that will review the actual Mazda cars, Mazda dealers, or sometimes even specific managers. Do your research to make sure that your Mazda dealership experience will be one you enjoy, not one you look back on with spite.Once you have found the Mazda dealers in your area, and once you have checked out their reputations online and with friends and acquaintances, you are ready to make a decision. Choose your Mazda dealer for what you find important and with what seems like will work best for you. If you do that, you should end up happy with your results.Most everyone has their own car preferences in terms of manufacturer. If Mazda is your favorite, there are some steps you should take to make sure you find the right Mazda dealer for you. First off, take some time to find out who is in your area with the yellow pages either print or online. From there, ask around about the Mazda dealers you are considering. Do they have a good reputation? Then, simply make a decision that you feel like makes the best sense for you.

Replacement Windshields-More Than A Dollars-And-Cents Decision

Chances are it's happened to you-an errant stone cracks your windshield. Now what? Replacing a damaged windshield is more than just a dollars-and-cents decision. According to a leading windshield manufacturer, your windshield not only helps protect you and your car's occupants from the elements, it also plays a major role in your safety. Here are some important points to remember: • The windshield is a key structural element of your car.• Proper adhesive selection is critical to installation and structural integrity.• Original equipment windshields meet federal safety standards.• The visual quality of original equipment windshields is first rate-not necessarily true for knock-off versions. • Knock-off windshields may not provide the same level of UV light protection, which could lead to accelerated fading of your vehicle's upholstery and interior surfaces.The windshield engineers at Carlite have some tips to keep in mind at windshield replacement time. Ask for an original equipment windshield and factory-quality adhesives/sealants, installed by AGRSS-certified professionals. Laws in some states require that your installer inform you when replacing your glass with a non-original part. Original equipment windshields fit best and maintain the structural integrity of your vehicle, which is critical in case of an accident. Original equipment windshields typically have better optical quality. Distortion affects the way the driver sees the road-and other cars. Windshield wipers are designed to work best with factory windshields which have designed-in curvatures. Knock-off windshields tend to have less curvature, which can result in flat spots where the wipers may skip or not clear the glass as effectively. Knock-off windshields sometimes are made with thinner glass that can allow more noise in, which is particularly irritating to owners of upscale automobiles who paid for, and expect, a quiet ride. Also, an improperly installed windshield could pop loose when the passenger air bag deploys, potentially reducing its ability to protect the passenger.So when that stone chip or crack shows up on your windshield, be sure to protect yourself, and all those who ride with you, by insisting on a brand-for-brand replacement windshield like Carlite branded windshields. It's up to you to decide which kind of replacement windshield you want.

Asymmetric vs Symmetric Vehicle Lifts Which Is Right For Me

When purchasing a surface mounted two-post automotive lift, it is important to decide what type of lift you will need to best suit the vehicles you want to pick up. An automotive lift is a tool and just as you know that a pneumatic wrench is better than a monkey wrench for changing tires, it is important for you to determine which type of lift is best suited for each type of vehicle. Symmetrical Vehicle Lifts Approximately 30 years ago, when cars were built out of steel, men were strong and women wore skirts..The symmetrical lift was designed as an alternative to the hydraulic inground lift. The lift wasn't known as "symmetrical" right off the bat; it was called a surface lift because it bolted to the concrete floor, rather than being installed through the floor. At the time of its inception, the surface lift was being designed (often times poorly) to pick up rear wheel drive vehicles that had a pretty good front to rear balance. The cars were big and heavy and mechanics relatively skinny and strong. In order to balance these behemoths six feet up in the air, the columns were placed across from each other and the arms were all of equal length. Some lifts were connected from side-to-side overhead; a base plate connected others down below. One thing was certain about these lifts; if you were a mechanic with a beer belly trying to get out of the car after it had been driven into place, you were going to have a tough time. Since the lift was balancing the vehicle between front and back, the column needed to be located somewhat close to the center of the vehicle. What else is in the center of the vehicle? We all know the answer to that! The doors! What happens when doors meet columns? Door dings! It took the lift manufacturers a while to figure it out, but eventually they did. Currently, very few lifts are sold as "symmetrical" lifts. The ones that are sold are usually being sold for a particular purpose, such as working on vans or trucks. (Vans and trucks have the door in front of the centerline of the vehicle, so a column really doesn't get in the way.) Some customers will purchase a symmetrical lift because they want a "drive thru" capability, and sure enough, the symmetrical lift usually gives a few more inches in that regard. Sure Fire Ways to Tell a Symmetrical Lift: The columns face each other. Front arm length is the same as rear arm length. The lift states "symmetrical". You have a difficult time getting out of the car when you drive in. You don't have a difficult time getting out of the truck when you drive in. You have an account with a body shop to repair door dings. Asymmetric Vehicle Lifts Sometimes Europeans are smarter than Americans. I don't like to admit it, but it's true. It turns out, some guy named Gnter was using his symmetrical lift (not a Rotary Lift, mind you), when he realized that those last two lagers had pushed his belly past the point of no return. That's right, he was stuck in the car and couldn't get out. Since he had some time to sit and think, he did what most mechanics do with their free time; he tried to design a better lift so that he wouldn't have to lose his bought and paid for beer belly. What Gunter came up with seemed to be a pretty good design. By making the rear arms of the lift longer than the front arms, the vehicle would theoretically sit far enough back to allow him to open the doors. Not only that, since most of the cars being manufactured in Gunter's day were front wheel drive, the balance of the vehicle on the car lift would be better. (Gunter had never forgotten the time that he had pulled the engine out of a car, only to have the car flip backwards off the lift due to the newly created weight distribution imbalance). It would also help to reduce the number of times he had to have a customer's door fixed after dinging the door on the column. Gunter's design worked for about two years. He still dinged a door occasionally, but he was able to continue growing his belly and was always able to get out of the vehicle. One day however, Gunter raised a car with his vehicle lift and heard a horrendous squealing noise, metal on metal. He also noticed that the arms of his lift were shaking and rocking and he stopped to make sure that the vehicle didn't bounce off the lifting pads. After some serious investigative work (and several snaps of his suspenders), he noticed that there were metal shavings on the floor near the columns. It soon became apparent that when he had changed the load center of the lift by extending the rear arms, he had caused excessive wear on the load bearings that ride inside the column. Soon, all of Gnter's beer drinking buddies (who had copied Gunter's idea) were shaking their heads and refusing to buy Gunter beer anymore. Gunter was not a happy man. Thankfully, those smart engineers in the United States don't drink beer while they are trying to solve a problem. (Most of the time.) They had seen Gunter's design and saw the problem right away. They also realized that their solution would have an added benefit to the beer belly problem. Rotate the columns to face the new load center and you automatically get extended door-opening clearance. Ever wonder why American automotive lift engineers have big beer bellies? Because they CAN! Enough about Gunter; A TRUE asymmetric lift has columns that are rotated 30 degrees to point the load center of the lift in the general direction of the load center of the car as it is being lifted AND front arms that are shorter than the rear. A semi-asymmetric lift only has the front arms shorter than the rear, without addressing the load bearing issue. Very few manufacturers take the time to make this distinction on their auto lifts. The good majority of two-post auto lifts that are advertised as "asymmetric" are the exact same as the symmetric auto lift with different arm lengths. Does this concept work? Of course it will for a while. But remember what happened to Gunter and his buddies, you will experience severe wear on the bearings (or slider blocks) over time. We highly recommend purchasing a TRUE asymmetric lift when you purchase this design. A quality auto lift manufacturer will also include a wheel-spotting dish to help you or your techs spot vehicles properly when positioning the vehicle. Sure Fire Ways to Tell a True Asymmetric Lift: Columns are rotated 30 degrees from each other, facing the load center of the vehicle. Front arms of the automotive lift are shorter than the rear arms. You have a beer belly bigger than Gunter's and don't have a problem. A Rotary Lift engineer tells you it's a True Asymmetric Lift. Reduction in bill from the body shop allows for a bigger beer belly. Sure Fire Ways to Tell a "Semi-Asymmetric" Lift: The columns face each other, rather than the load center of the car. The front arms of the vehicle lift are shorter than the rear arms. The lift squeals, shakes and whines when lifting a load. You have metal shavings on the floor near the column. You bought the lift so you wouldn't bang the door on the column, but continue to bang the door on the column. You pay a company like mine to replace slider blocks every few years. "Versymmetric" Design Auto Lift If you have been really doing your research, you will have probably heard the term "Versymmetric" thrown out there from a few manufacturers. The theory behind this term is that they have designed an automotive lift that is capable of being both symmetrical and asymmetric at the same time. One opinion is that this design takes the worst situations of two different types of lifts and combines them to really confuse a technician. First off, a symmetrical auto lift will cause door dings and clearance problems with cars, no question. Second, an "asymmetric" lift that doesn't have columns rotated will still cause door dings. Third, if the technician isn't properly trained on how to set up each and every vehicle properly, the lift will be used improperly. The end result will be an unsafe lifting situation with the vehicle, door dings and excessive bearing wear. Some of these lifts are listed with the ALI and pass 3rd party testing. They can be constructed well and the sales people selling the concept really have their pitch down. Having seen the products used improperly in the shops and having serviced numerous "Versymmetric" lifts that have had failed bearings (slider blocks), our opinion isn't very positive. We here at Standard Industrial & Automotive Equipment are happy to discuss various issues regarding automotive lifts, quality and what is best suited for your shop. Feel free to contact us if we can be of any assistance.

Summary

It has happened again, and again in a very big way. I am sure you have heard the news that General Motors is closing plants and letting some 30,000 people go. Some they will be able to relocate, some they wont.Ford has started announcing they will be "cutting back" and will have more to say about it in February. When asked if the cuts will go deep enough, Bill Ford said he thinks they will. This is all devastating news that we should all be concerned about. The manuf...