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The Tools of Life

The Tools of LifeLife is full of ups and downs and we all know that. It is a person’s ability to retain a sense of humor or a positive spirit when things get a little tough that sets them apart from the crowd. Life also deals up some very different hands at times and it’s a wonder when you see people in the depths of despair, yet still happy. I’ve traveled to many parts of the world and seen the rich, the comfortable the poor and the desperate.

I was on a beach in Nice, France at one time and was surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women, young and old, their friends and boyfriends and all enjoying the sunshine and the beach. Everybody appeared okay, some happy, some sad. Then, another time I was on a beach in the Philippines on which many kids were playing, enjoying the time with their families. They had nothing, not even swimming costumes with everybody swimming in their clothing. These people were ecstatically happy.

The conclusion I have come to during my travels is that material things mean very little when applied to the concept of happiness. Where am I going with this short story? Well, it so happened that an old friend of mine passed away not so long ago. Upon hearing of his death, I immediately joined his family and other friends in condolences. After the funeral, his wife told me that her husband had specifically asked me to look after the selling of many of his possessions that he would never need again and certainly, his wife, would not use. My friend was a handy man of the highest order.

As a tradesman, he had all the tools you needed to repair cars, make and repair furniture, fix plumbing problems, renovate and restore homes, carry out minor electrical work, painting and even tools required for tiling. My old friend never hired anybody to do anything for him. Also, he was always available to help a friend do odd jobs around their own homes.

To sell all these things, I needed to find out what they cost new so I could get some idea as to what price to ask online in advertisements or among our friends. It was necessary to get the optimum amount so that his widow would have a nice kitty of cash available for the future. The best way was to go online to websites that sold and advertised similar products, then subtract an amount for the wear and tear on the item we had for sale. One of the more unusual things to research was a good wood lathe, not something you would find in a lot of workshops.

So we priced drills, nail guns, power saws, cordless drills, planers and as mentioned, the mini wood lathe. There was a soldering iron, heat gun, paint mixer, brushes, power screwdriver, engineering hammer, sets of Sidchrome spanners, electrical wire, fuses, power switches, jigsaw, bench and hand grinder and a power saw to mention a few. So many wonderful tools, no longer useful to the new owner. Sad.

Top Five Violinists of All Time

Top Five Violinists of All TimeArguably one of the most loved musical instruments is the violin. The hypnotizing and calming music produced by this stringed instrument continues to draw some of the greatest talents from around the world. It’s not surprising that many want to learn how to play the violin. Sites like Violinio prove to be useful for those aspiring to become a violinist.

Through the years, we have seen and heard great violinists play amazing performances. Each of these violinists is unique in every way, so making this list of “the best of the best” has been quite a challenge.

  1. Niccolo Paganini

He played the violin so well that many say even the Devil went to see all his recitals. During the mid-1800’s Paganini travelled and performed across Europe, leaving audiences at awe with his every performance. He had an unparalleled dexterity and accuracy, and was capable of playing the most difficult pieces on a single string. His musical prowess was legendary that after his death, doctors studied his wrists and arms to see if anatomy has anything to do with why he was so good. Perhaps, the secret is that he practiced 10 hours every day.

  1. Arcangelo Corelli

Born during the mid-1600, Corelli was famous throughout the Western Europe. He tutored many great violinists. In fact, majority of the violin techniques you hear today trace back to Corelli. One thing peculiar about this Italian violinist is that the highest string in his music never went above D. While he could play higher notes, he just thought screeching sound wasn’t pleasing to the ears no matter how good it was played. Handel commented Corelli’s remarkable violin skills, particularly how he could run through scales, faster than anyone else, and strike perfect leaps from different octaves.

  1. Antonio Vivaldi

The closest rival of Corelli, Vivaldi was a virtuoso known for his unparalleled technical artistry. He was a great composer but his health condition prevented him from learning wind instrument. Vivaldi mastered how to play the violin and from then on made some of the best musical masterpieces of all time.

  1. Pablo de Sarasate

Like many other musical prodigies, Sarasate started playing the violin at a very young age. He was five when he first played the stringed instrument and eight when he held his first public concert. At that time, Sarasate was the youngest to win the Paris conservatory’s highest honor. He was instrumental in popularizing Spanish music.

  1. Fritz Kreisler

At the young age of seven, Kreisler was admitted into the Paris conservatory and went on to win the highest prize at the age of twelve. He toured the world and made performances in different countries. He was among the first musicians to achieve international fame through the gramophone. Kreisler’s musical prowess was notable and earned him praise from across the world.

Many of the best violinists started learning to play the violin at a very young age. For parents who want their children to learn violin, they can access information about the best violins for kids online. There are review sites, self-help websites and tutorials that you can access. Who knows, maybe your kid might be the next violin prodigy?

On surrounding yourself with good advice audio books

On surrounding yourself with good advice audio booksThis post is based on a true story. This story began to reach its climax as early as the middle of last year. At the time of writing this post and by the time you are reading it, the climax is still playing itself out. By the time you’ve posted your comment in reaction to what is written here or at least gone off to gather your own thoughts, a new story would have begun and the first chapter of this brand new story would be in its drafting stage. Take it with a pinch of salt at your own peril if you are one of those who need good solid advice in life or spread the word about this story which, happy to be saying it, does have a good ending.

Titles can be misleading  

The Woodworking Tools Lab could easily be converted into a good advice audio book. In hindsight, the website’s title could be a bit misleading for those who are not close or attentive readers of note. Nevertheless, it talks about sourcing reliable wood routers for all domestic and artistic wood manufacturing. It could very well be dispersing creative and inspirational ideas on what to make next. But by now, we believe that you’ve grasped the point we’re trying to make here.

On surrounding yourself with good advice audio booksWhere good advice audio books are concerned (here we don’t have the titles to hand, only names) we’d like to recommend some themes for you to help get your new year off to a good start. Things being the way they are on a universal scale, we think this will be essential listening material for the weeks and months ahead. It also ties in nicely with the true story we mentioned at the beginning.

The audio books we’re recommending for you today

For starters, get hold of Suze Orman’s titles, anything recorded by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter (of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame) and biographical and anecdotal audio books on the legendary Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, the Apple innovator, Steve Jobs, and our very own Sir Richard Branson. These are all great must-have titles on how to plan and manage your finances, create a great source of income for yourself in the future and inspirational and motivational stories on what it takes to be your own boss.

Do this before you are left stranded like this middle-aged gentleman was. For many years, he spent his life working in a ‘secure’ job as an insurance clerk until one day the multinational company to which he had devoted most of his life to, had declared him redundant. Fortunately, he made a start on changing his career path but unfortunately he had a history of not being able to manage his financial affairs and, until recently, had nothing to speak of in his pockets.

His new story began with sobering advice from his elderly parents. Their opening lines to him were highlighted by the question; what will you do when we are no longer here to care for you.

Music as therapy for preterm babies

lullaby-1048483_960_720It is common knowledge that babies love lullabies. But not many know that lullaby has been used to keep preterm babies well and alive. Music has been proven as a vital part in helping sustain prematurely born babies who have difficulty in breathing and eating.  While there have been several technological advances and neonatal survival kits present, music is a simple by effective way to help the babies recover, in a physical and dramatic way.

Music therapy is a way to help slow down the heart rate of the babies and help them sleep and feed better. The enhancement brought about by the music makes the babies gain more weight speeding up their recovery.

A study done by the American Academy of Pediatric Journal on the music genre that gives the most promising effect revealed that live music designed therapeutically  as well as lullabies preferred by parents and sung personally have a greater influence on the respiratory and heart rates. Further, the study also revealed that feeding behaviors were improved considerably. The premature babies studied also showed longer periods of quiet alertness.

Further studies done on the effect of the music on preterm babies showed that recovery was quickened and the babies left hospital sooner. Soothing music helps babies adapt to their new environment in a better way making the music an effective medicine for them.

Parents are trained to sing lullabies to their babies with the help of professional music therapists and the effect produced in very promising. Music whether it is loud or soothing helps to keep our moods balanced well. For instance, while driving most people hear music via either radio or CD player. While driving at night, music helps to keep you awake. Having proper lighting, especially LED lights like those at LEDLIGHTSPLANET help to increase visibility and drive safely.

Babies in general love lullabies but this liking has a deeper effect than what has been revealed. The lullabies actually play a key role in the complete healing of the babies. For babies born with heart defects music sung by music therapists helped heal the condition and calmed the breathing of the babies. Lullabies left to echo in the neonatal intensive care region leave behind lasting effects on the babies even after they are discharged from the hospital care.

Many music forms have been used on the preterm babies including music that replicated womb noises, capella singing without any instruments or just instrumental music. Irrespective of the music the infants were exposed to, the music elicited positive effect in terms of pain response.

Some of the important effects recorded by exposure to the above music types include reduced pulse rate, rapid recovery physically and increase in circulatory oxygen levels. The excited state was also more reduced with the music exposure. The most significant effect however remains the rapid reduction in pain response and improved sucking.

Music however required to be played for a short span of less than 15 minutes for a session to prevent the infants from being subject to a sensory overload. Weight gain was also an important result of music exposure. A heightened metabolism was brought about by the music stimulation leading to better weight gain.