One method of preserving meat for prolonged storage is to smoke it. There are compounds in hardwood smoke that provide antioxidant and antimicrobial protections as well as the distinctive taste and aroma. This process, born out of necessity, has grown into a tradition for many families and a commercial enterprise for others (beef jerky).

Types of Woods Used for Smoking Meat

Generally, hardwood chips are used to smoke meat. Hardwoods contain much less resin than softwoods such as pine, where the resins impart an unpleasant flavor. Even in hardwoods the quality of flavor varies.

Mesquite has good flavor while other, softer hardwoods are lacking. This is sometimes attributed to the higher burning heat of mesquite, which could produce more of those compounds that may contribute to the flavoring of the meat.


Smoking Meats for Preservation

Smoke itself may not have originally been seen as a way to preserve meat. However, it has been shown that heat used to dry out foods will preserve meat longer. Meat and fish will not go rancid as quickly when dried, and smoke lends that smoky aroma and taste to otherwise dry bland meat. The constituents of smoke, like phenols, slow rancidity.

Other compounds such as formaldehyde produce an antibacterial effect which helps to slow the breakdown of organic material by bacteria. Smoking meats is not a complete preservation method since the smoke does not penetrate the meat; which means its effects are on the surface only. Thorough drying will complete the process of preservation.


Health Concerns About Smoked Meats

Phenols and formaldehyde occur because of the incomplete burning of gases. Though these compounds have beneficial effects, they are also carcinogenic (cancer causing). Meats and fish absorb other compounds through smoke such as nitrates. This in turn, could change to nitrites in the body, causing low blood oxygenation.

Liquid smoke is an alternative to traditional meat smoking. During the production of liquid smoke many of the carcinogens are removed, making it a safer alternative. Marinate the dried meat in liquid smoke to get the smoky flavor minus the carcinogens.

Economy of Smoked Meats

Having a method to preserve food without refrigeration takes a smaller slice out of the financial pie. Knowledge of these kinds of methods; which were once very common to everyone, will pay off in big dividends in the areas of greater financial and personal independence.

Earlier generations smoked meats and fish to put by when needed. The next generation can pick up where they left off – ushering frugality back into fashion.

Camping is a wonderful way to bring the family together. Driving for miles to a distant camping destination and packing everything from bedding to food can be stressful and expensive. Families can save money and eliminate packing troubles by creating an unforgettable camping experience in their backyard.

Before the backyard camping trip begins, lay the ground rules. Designate a time that the camping trip is to begin. When the time approaches this means all family members must shut off the computer, television, cell phones and other electronic devices and head outside.

During the backyard camping trip, keep the focus on spending time together and having fun. Only allow access to inside the home to use the rest room or to grab additional clothing, otherwise the house is off limits.

Camping Supplies for a Backyard Camping Vacation

To enjoy camping at its best, a tent, sleeping bags and pillows are essential gear to have on this frugal family vacation. To guide the way after dark, each camper should have a flashlight, glow stick or lantern available. Other supplies that may come in handy include a grill, fire pit, outdoor candles, bug spray, outdoor seating and table.

To make the camping vacation a success, plan the menu ahead of time. Be prepared to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand. To discourage campers from going inside to grab items from the refrigerator, consider packing a cooler full of drinks and leaving outside near the camp site. All family members should be involved in putting together the snack and menu items for the camping trip. Be sure to remember the graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows for smores.


Camp Out for Inexpensive Family Fun

Before preparing dinner for the evening, select a suitable site for the tent. Work together as a family to put the tent up and get it ready for sleeping in later that evening. Young children can get involved by placing their favorite blanket or stuffed animal inside and selecting their special sleeping spot.

To create the right camping ambience, build a fire in a portable fire pit. If a fire pit is not available, use a group of candles or outdoor lanterns. Be sure to keep fire safety in mind. Other ways to light the night sky are to line the patio or deck with outdoor Christmas lights to create a fun and inviting atmosphere. Or create a glowing fake fire by using several glow sticks and placing on the ground together.

As the sun begins to set, be sure to have everything necessary to enjoy a comfortable night sleeping under the stars. Make smores around the fire or enjoy favorite family snacks together. Sit together and tell stories under the stars or sing camp fire songs. Talk about other family vacations and recall favorite moments.

Creating unforgettable family vacations doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a little planning and creativity, a fun, family get-away can be as close as your backyard. The only cost of this frugal vacation idea is the groceries, if a tent is already available for use.

Making beads is inexpensive. There is quite a bit of preparation required, but the versatility of the craft makes it well worth the effort. The students will need to be patient as there will be 6 stages of preparation as they design, assemble and package their Mother's Day Gift Set.

Preparing the Materials and the Area

For students to be able to do justice to this project, they will need a working area and some storage space. Read through these recipes to make a list of the materials needed to create the beads.

How To Make Paper Beads is a blog about a no fuss way to make extremely cost effective beads. The blog, Making Beads With Salt Clay (found by scrolling up above the post), gives directions for beads that are more chunky and rustic. Clay items, on the other hand, are durable, but making and firing them is also quite time consuming. When reading the article How To Make Clay Beads, remember that you must allow more time than you would need for the other two.

Make sure you read the instructions thoroughly before choosing which medium you will use. How much work you can manage and the time required for process will greatly influence the quality of the project. Don't cut yourself short of time.

Designing the Gift Set

Decide on the look and feel you want. Do you want an old fashioned antique feel, something rustic, modern and flamboyant, or chic and elegant? Firm decisions about style need to be made at the designing stage so that the appropriate materials can be purchased. Shape and size will be influenced by the image you wish to portray. Sleek and stylish will most likely be assembled from slim and tiny beads, while a modern look will be more chunky and flamboyant and colourful.

Have the students draw a picture of the desired outcome. Make sure you encourage students to draw the connecting threads, clasps and hooks. Leave nothing to chance, especially if the students have not experienced a project like this before.

Ask them to bring a picture of their mother to school so that they can draw the jewelry draped around her neck and draw on her earrings. This will greatly influence the way they design the jewelry. It will confirm with confidence that this gift set will be just right for mother.

Making the Gift Set

Follow the recipes cited above. if you want to add spice and flair, make several types of beads and mix and match. Make sure that you are clear about how the beads will be strung together. Items that could be fashioned into sets are bracelets, necklaces, earrings, chokers and paper mache rings. Designed from matching beads, they will look stunning when packaged.

Packaging the Gift

If the class has plenty of time, the students could make an attractive paper mache box and line it with felt. Maybe they could decoupage photos of mother onto the lid. What a heart warming gift giving idea!

If time is scant, they could simply arrange the jewelry onto a card by punching holes through the board. They could then tie the pieces onto it in an attractive arrangement. By taping clear or lightly coloured cellophane over the arrangement, they would add a touch of class to a beautiful display.

Making the Card

Tying Ribbon Through Gift Cards gives other Mother's Day ideas and compliments this Mother's Day project. The ribbons would serve as one last chance to embellish the tender moment by fixing some more beads to the ribbons trailing from the cards.

For some out there, the stereotypical spa meal involves raw celery, carrots and obscure berries. One visit to Alton Ontario’s Millcroft Inn & Spa, and in particular to Chef Roberto Fracchioni’s tasting menu, is enough to dispel this myth.

A Room With A View

Seated in a beautifully appointed sun room, overlooking a gently flowing Credit River through the vast windows, the dining room is an ideal venue for sunset salutations prior to an evening of feasting under the country moonlight. The service is attentive yet personable, the atmosphere warm and inviting, giving the fine dining experience a friendly sheen. As one who feels that the bread basket is a fine indicator of the evening to come, it is pleasing that in this instance, the smoked potato bread and nut butter forecast quite the night.

The amuse bouche of venison tenderloin and berry pistachio compote is fruity, earthy and its freshness carries promises of spring, especially with the accompanying effervescence of Henry of Pelham’s Catherine Cuvée. Chef Roberto’s first offering is pork done three ways, which include a smoky tenderloin delicately balanced with apple jelly, a pork belly with shallots and a rillette on candy-striped beets.

Having Fun with Food and the Night’s Best Dish

Fracchioni has fun with his ingredients and draws inspiration from various cuisines, including his Asian-inspired Arctic Char with soba noodles in a salty nam jim sauce, fantastically balanced by the smoky sweet finish of a roasted red pepper. Genuinely interested in where his food comes from, he is truly excited to learn that he can source locally made soba noodles in Mississauga and immediately starts firing off questions – where, how and when. Although his inspirations may vary, the menu maintains its cohesion by maintaining straightforward flavours and simplicity. This is nowhere more evident than in the (arguably) best dish of the evening, his traditional handmade Pisarei pasta. A straightforward recipe by his own admission (if you’re a professional chef maybe), Chef Roberto learned how to make the Milanese bread dumplings (reminiscent of gnocchi) from his Zia Zelinda. He is almost apologetic at receiving the accolades, dismissing the dish as “so simple and easy to make” (again, if you’re a professional cook maybe). Served with nutty flageolet beans and earthy porcini and king mushrooms, then rounded off with a glass of Tiefenbrunner Pinot Gris, this simple “peasant” dish is an absolute delight.

We’re Game!

The balance of the tasting menu includes locally sourced venison, including a foie gras topped mini-burger as well as fantastic elk tenderloin served with black trumpet mushrooms and a duck confit stuffed sweet pepper. As the meal tapers down, a generous wedge of Spanish idiazabal cheese from the Basque region is proffered, its nutty saltiness balanced with a truffled compote of berries. In a nod to the restaurant’s willingness to support local endeavours, our wine pairing for the cheese course is a Cabernet Franc from the Niagara College Teaching Winery.

And just as you think that you can absolutely do no more, dessert arrives in the shape of a deconstructed apple pie served with whisky ice cream, granola and honey “pearls”. Throughout the meal, a very attentive Patrick Field ensures that diners are happy and proves to have a wealth of “vinformation”. The evening is topped off with a glass of rare 1974 Rivesaltes Ambre’ hor’d Age, its port-like smoothness providing the perfect and decadent finale to a pampered evening.

Ask the Joe Workingman (Or Joe Unemployment) to name an overpaid profession and two careers might come to mind: musicians and athletes. Never mind that ninety-nine percent of professional musicians aren’t able to make a decent living from playing music or ninety-nine percent of athletes don’t make it to the rarified air of major professional athletics. When Shaquille O’Neal averages $57534.25 a day to play a game (1) most kids played at the local gym the word “overpaid” is justifiable. These days, overpaid is a really bad word, so bad that those who fortunate few who are still making gaggles of money are almost embarrassed to show it off.

A lot of college basketball coaches fall into that same category, even when the athletic departments at their schools are feeling the crunch and tightening their belts. True, Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari still have blank checks to work with, much like Mick Jagger or Mariah Carey. Those four people have earned the right to spend money like water because they make their programs and record companies money like water.

However, some coaches are playing along with their athletic departments’ requests to cut the fat. According to Pat Forde (2), Rutgers head basketball coach Fred Hill made a 75-minute one-way commute to Philly for a basketball camp, drove back home that night then repeated the process the next day. This saved his school hotel charges. Arizona State head basketball coach Herb Sendek completed a mandatory twelve-day furlough but worked during the entire period for free. By comparison imagine the All-American Rejects driving themselves to the next gig and shacking up with friends before the subsequent show.

What could be scary is the fate of the smaller fish of the college basketball pond. Dana O’Neil wrote a terrific article for ESPN in February 2008 that detailed the trials of Alcorn State, a member of the Southwestern Athletic conference. (3) At the time the recession was getting started. We’re still deep into it and it doesn’t look good for the foreseeable future.

Is it possible that some of the SWAC schools might have to throw in the towel? That’s a bit of a reach but it’s tough to see how schools on that level can tighten their belts anymore. It’s the same with musicians that are hoping to reach the rarified air of gold and platinum albums. How much longer do they go before saying ‘It’s been fun, it’s been real, but it hasn’t been real fun.”

People are exposed to a myriad of toxic chemicals everyday often from unsuspecting sources, including personal care products. While it is hard to believe that anything that can be applied to or absorbed into the body through skin, hair or nails could contain harmful ingredients, no premarket safety testing is required for the cosmetics industry.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “nearly 90 percent of the 10,500 ingredients FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has determined are used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR), the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution.” While chemicals continue to be used, recent studies have found links between additives in beauty products and health problems such as the feminization of male babies and breast tumor tissue.

Synthetic Ingredients to Avoid

An average of 126 ingredients are applied to the skin daily and are subsequently absorbed into the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), “preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products are the second-most-common cause of skin reactions.” Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics and author of What’s in Your Cosmetics?, identifies ten chemicals consumers should avoid in the Natural Ingredients Dictionary:


  • parabens – Used to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life in body care products, cosmetics and food, this chemical can cause allergic reactions and rashes. Studies indicate parabens are estrogenic and may also increase the risk for breast tumors, disrupt hormones and be connected to reproductive problems. Look for methyl-, propyl-, butyl- and ethylparaben on labels.
  • diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) – These ammonia compounds are used as emulsifiers and foaming agents, and can create allergic reactions, irritate eyes, and dry out hair and skin. When used in products containing nitrates, DEA and TEA can form a by-product that causes cancer.
  • diazolidinyl UREA and imidazolidinyl UREA – Widely used despite the fact that the AAD has found them to cause allergic skin reactions, both of these chemicals are known to release formaldehyde, which can be toxic.
  • sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS) – A detergent used as a cleaning and foaming agent in shampoo and toothpaste, SLS is often made from petroleum and can be disguised on labels with the phrase “comes from coconuts.” CIR acknowledges that this substance can cause eye and skin irritation.
  • petroleum jelly – An inexpensive substance used to soothe skin. It can disrupt the body’s self-moisturizing ability leading to dryness and chapping, the same problems it is designed to alleviate. Many people have experienced this reaction when using petroleum-based lip balms.
  • propylene glycol – PEG or PPG as this substances is often labeled, is used for moisture retention. It can cause allergic reactions, hives and eczema.
  • PVP/VA copolymer – A chemical found in hairsprays, styling products and other cosmetics, PVP/VA copolymer is made from petroleum. If particles are inhaled, it can cause damage to the lungs in sensitive individuals.
  • stearalkonium chloride – An alternative to proteins and herbals used in hair conditioners and creams, it was originally developed as a fabric softener. It is a toxic ammonium compound that can cause allergic reactions.
  • synthetic colors – Synthetic colors used to create cosmetic shades and hair dyes can be carcinogenic. Avoid products that list FD&C or D&C followed by a number in the ingredients list.
  • synthetic fragrances – Also known as phthalates, these chemicals have been shown to cause birth defects and low sperm count in adult men. Synthetic fragrances can also cause such things as headaches, dizziness, rashes and skin irritation. Look for the following labels on ingredient lists: “fragrance,” DEHP, DINP, BzBP, DBP, DEP or DMP.

Cosmetic Chemicals Environmental Impact

Beyond the health risks that cosmetic chemicals pose, these ingredients also have an adverse affect on the environment. According to the EWG, ingredients from personal care products are absorbed into the body through the skin and end up in human waste or are washed down the drain when people shower, or wash the face. A number of studies have found these chemicals in rivers and streams, and have linked them to disruptions in the hormones in fish.

In addition to the impact to aquatic wildlife, these additives are also related to oil consumption. The same refineries that produce gas also manufacture petroleum-based preservatives used in body care products, some of which can be made from a petrochemical waste called coal tar. Avoid ingredients made from petroleum to protect the body and environment.

While synthetic additives in body care products are cause for concern, there are a number of things people can do to avoid these ingredients including use fewer products, research cosmetics using the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, read labels and choose non-toxic formulations. By making more educated purchases, consumers can minimize the number of chemicals absorbed by the body, and reduce potential health and environmental risks.

Which Hogwarts House Do You Truly Belong To! - ProProfs Quiz

Which Hogwarts House Do You Truly Belong To! - ProProfs Quiz

Calling all Harry Potter fans! Have you ever wondered which house the sorting hat would put you in if you attended Hogwarts School? Take this fun Hogwarts quiz to find out if you will end up in Ravenclaw with Luna Lovegood, Slytherin with Draco Malfoy, Hufflepuff with Cedric Diggory or Gryffindor with Harry Potter himself.

What is my Hogwarts House Quiz

Question One: Which aspect do you value most in a fellow student?

  1. Purity
  2. Intelligence
  3. Bravery
  4. Tolerance

Question Two: Which animal would you rather be?


  1. Snake
  2. Eagle
  3. Lion
  4. Badger

Question Three: Would you rather learn about…

  1. Potions
  2. Charms
  3. Transfiguration
  4. Herbology

Question Four: Which colour do you prefer?

  1. Green
  2. Blue
  3. Red
  4. Yellow

Question Five: Which element?

  1. Water
  2. Air
  3. Fire
  4. Earth

Question Six: Which relic would you rather keep?

  1. Locket
  2. Diadem
  3. Sword
  4. Goblet

Question Seven: Which way would you rather die?

  1. Suicide
  2. Stabbed
  3. Beheaded
  4. Natural death

Question Eight: Whose tales would interest you the most?

  1. The Bloody Baron
  2. The Grey Lady
  3. Nearly Headless Nick
  4. The Fat Friar

Question Nine: Which would you rather be?

  1. One of the first to speak Parsletongue (to snakes)
  2. A person with ‘wit beyond measure’
  3. An accomplished dueller
  4. An excellent chef

Question Ten: Which magical creature would you rather look out for/aid?

  1. Basilisk
  2. Thestrals
  3. Werewolves/Animagi
  4. House-Elves

Question Eleven: Which task would you find easiest during the Tri-Wizard Tournament?

  1. The Mer Challenge.
  2. The Riddles between Challenges.
  3. The Dragon Challenge
  4. The Maze Challenge.

Answers to the What is my Hogwarts House Quiz

Mostly 1: If you had gone to Hogwarts, you would have been placed in Slytherin. When choosing students to belong to Slytherin, they value ambition, cunning, leadership and resourcefulness, and especially purity of blood. Some members of Slytherin include Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle and Pansy Parkinson. Slytherin was also house to the infamous Tom Riddle (later known as Lord Voldemort, or You-Know-Who), who in fact was not a full blood wizard. In the second book, a Gryffindor (none other than Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter’s wife) was controlled by Tom Riddle’s spirit to once again open up the Chamber of Secrets designed by Salazar Slytherin, releasing the basilisk. The relic of Slytherin was made into a horcrux by Tom Riddle.

Mostly 2: If you had gone to Hogwarts, you would have been placed in Ravenclaw. When choosing students to belong to Ravenclaw, they value intelligence, creativity, learning and wit. Some students in Ravenclaw are Cho Chang and Luna Lovegood, both members of Dumbledore’s Army. In the seventh book, the Ravenclaw mystery was discovered. Rowena Ravenclaw’s relic itself was a horcrux made by Tom Riddle, which had been left in a forest in Albania by the ghost of Ravenclaw, The Grey Lady, formerly known as Helena Ravenclaw.

Mostly 3: If you had gone to Hogwarts, you would have been placed in Gryffindor. When choosing students to belong to Gryffindor, they value bravery, courage, loyalty, nerve and chivalry. The whole Weasley family had been placed in Gryffindor, as had Hermione and Harry. Some less known characters placed into Gryffindor were Neville Longbottom and Rubeus Hagrid (before he was expelled) and Colin and Dennis Creevey. The Gryffindor relic, the Sword of Gryffindor (made of special silver by goblins) was indestructible, and though there was confusion as to which of the two swords found were real (one fake found in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts) the sword could destroy Voldemorts horcruxs.

Mostly 4: If you had gone to Hogwarts, you would have been placed in Hufflepuff. When choosing students to belong to Hufflepuff, they value hard work, tolerance, loyalty and fair play. Some of the students in Hufflepuff were Cedric Diggory (the real Hogwarts representative for the Tri-Wizard Tournament) and Hannah Abott (a member of Dumbledore’s Army).

More quizzes on Hogwarts Houses, Harry Potter Trivia and Your Personality

For a very different kind of quiz on which house are you in Hogwarts, try the sorting hat quiz. If Harry Potter trivia is what interests you, try fun quizzes on the Harry Potter books and films. There is also what Harry Potter character are you? Or if you want to find out more about the real you, try the visual online personality test.

Accounting for dummies. A fictional scenario that helps to simplify financial statements.

There are businesses and then there are profitable businesses. It’s important to know the difference. In an attempt to keep things simple, take the example of Sally’s Children’s Party Catering Service and her attempt to understand what’s really going on. You need to keep track.


Three friends are standing talking at a backyard party, while a fourth friend is close enough to overhear the conservation. Sally Jester runs The Children’s’ Party Catering Service. One of her friends, Jerry Cynic, doesn’t think what she is doing can be considered a business while Jim Jovial, a second friend, supports her. A third friend, Harry Nosey, is close enough to hear them but not close enough to engage in the conservation. It’s informative to listen in on the conservation. Imagine the questions that can be asked in evaluating Sally’s party catering business and apply them to any ideas that you may be contemplating as a business opportunity.

Status of Sally’s Business

It starts with Jerry thinking that Sally is getting fleeced in her business. To him it’s more of a charity than a business. Sally, protecting her baby, says she’s not being fleeced; that people pay her very well for what she does. She charge $5.00 per child and, in her mind she makes a fair profit for every party that she organizes.


“You know, there was no one else in this community doing this type of work when I started. Now, there’s barely a children’s birthday party, an Easter or Halloween party put on without my help. I don’t mind if I say so. I’m a success!”

While Jim appeases her by saying that the main thing in life is to be happy and enjoy doing what you’re doing, and if you’re making a profit, that’s a bonus, Jerry persists.

“But you’re not making money at all, or at least, are you sure you’re making money? Have you ever sat down and calculated what you earn against what it costs you in money, material and time, and seen what that means?”

After bickering back and forth, each defending their own argument, Jim attempts to clarify things. “If you’re charging people money for goods and services, you’re running a business. If you’re making a profit doing it, you’re running a profitable business.” But the bickering continues.

“She’s running a charity organization,” insists Jerry.

Sally protests. “But I like what I’m doing.”

“Well,” says Jerry, “you should charge more for your parties.”

“And lose my clients and my involvement?”

“Think about it.”

“She’s thought about it,” says Jim in support.

“I like what I’m doing,” Sally continues to insist and walks away.

Sally is intercepted by Harry Nosey. Harry wonders if she feels as strongly about what she’s saying as she’s making out and she admits she doesn’t have enough information to really have a strong opinion about the whole situation and needs help. Thence the suggestion of an accountant.

“Well,” says Harry, “I’ve arranged to bring in an accountant to have a look at the business that you started. What do you call that business?”

“The Children’s Party Catering Service…”

“Right…! Well, you’re exactly in the same position as many small business people who don’t have all the data they need to form an opinion of their actual status. Why don’t you go and see the accountant, Norm Numbers, and he’ll explain a few things.”

“Okay, I’ll go.”


Sally is about to be introduced to two types of statements:

  • a balance sheet
  • a profit and loss statement

The scene changes to a family room. Bob and Sally Jester are sitting at the bar talking with Jim Jovial prior to the arrival of Norm Numbers, an accountant, when the doorbell rings. It’s the accountant.

Norm and Sally go to a table and Norm invites her to sit down, then explains that Sally’s husband, Bob asked him to assess the business she’s running, and to see how profitable it is.

“Oh! Well what’s my profit?” she spits.

“Well, let’s start off by noting that, based on some grocery slips of some stuff you asked Bob to get you recently, you spend about $2O on the average on food for each party.

“I guess so, I don’t know.”

“And then you consume about $5 to $6 on party materials like hats, whistles, little presents, and so on. Yeh…?”

“I guess so.”

“That’s about $25. Let’s call it $26. You charge $35 per party on the average, right?”


“That leaves $9.”

“So that’s my profit?” asks Sally.

“No…! You see, you use your car to get there, so you drive a certain number of miles, and gas is expensive. The standard car mileage for business use is usually calculated at $0.50 a mile nowadays.


“So that’s a bit more off that $9. Also, you have a pile of stuff in your pantry; hats, knives, forks, spoons, stirs, and bits of furniture that you use at your parties?”

“Yes… but that’s just stuff from home”

“$500 worth…! If you had that $900 invested, you’d be making interest. Now… that’s a bit more off your $9 in profit. But it isn’t profit, you see, because you work about 12 to 19 hours on each party, don’t you?”

“Ya… but…”

“So when you’re calculating your profitability, you should pay yourself some money for the time you work before you calculate your profit, say $0.50 an hour?”

“$0.50 an hour…?”

“That gets it down to zero. You haven’t made a profit at all.”

At this point Sally gets up and leaves to talk to her husband, Bob at the bar. She’s upset that she’s only making $0.50 an hour and doesn’t want to work for that. She wants be a real businesswoman.

Norm, the accountant hears this as he too walks over to the bar. “Bob,” he says, “we’ve got this highly non-dramatic thing, the financial statement, to go through. Frankly, it’s boring.”

“I know,” replies Bob, “but I’m not trying to have you show how financial statements are made. I’m just trying to get you to show Sally why they’re useful; what benefits come from them.”

Sally relents and she and Norm join Bob and Jim at the bar.

“Jim, you’re looking worried,” says Bob. “What’s the matter?”

Well…” responds Jim, “to tell you the truth, I think the whole thing on financial statements is a waste of time.

“Now, you’re saying that partly because they’re a bit more complicated and you can’t understand them. How do you run your own personal business then?”

“My grandmother does it for me.”

“Could I interrupt a moment?” interjects Norm.

“Sure…” says Bob. “Everybody, this is Norm Numbers, an accountant friend of mine.”

“Well… listen up Jim,” says Norm. “They are not really all that complicated.”

“Maybe Norm is right,” suggests Jim. “Let’s me have one more attempt to understand it as well.”

Financial Statements: Balance Sheet

Statements can be confusing to some people, so Norm starts off slow, almost treating Sally and Jim like dummies. “There are two sorts of financial statements,” he begins.

“There are two types of financial statements,” Jim repeats. “I got it.”

“The first one is the balance sheet,” smiling at the thought of Jim repeating things.

“The balance sheet…”

“The balance sheet… That’s a statement made of what you own, and what you owe at a given point in time, so that you know exactly where you are at least at one moment: what you own, which is your inventory, the cash you have in the bank, the money people owe you—“

“The cash register…”

“Yeah, all that stuff: your equipment in the store.”

“All right…”

“That is what you own. That goes on the left hand side of the sheet.”


“On the other side, you’ve got what you owe: the bills you haven’t paid yet, and to that you have to add the owner’s equity.”

“And what’s the owner’s equity?”

“That’s what you’ve put into the business.”

“The cash register…”

“No… The money that you’ve put in that is still left in the business. So what you own…”


“Has to equal what you owe…”

“It has to equal what you owe.”

“It has to equal what you owe, plus your own equity.”

“All right…”

“Now, that tells you where you are at a certain spot. That’s a balance sheet.”

Financial Statements: Profit and Loss

“What’s the other thing?” asks Jim.

“The other thing is your profit and loss statement – Are you listening? Now, that covers a period of time, over, say, usually a period of 12 months. Now… that lists first of all, your earnings, your income- whether or not you’ve actually received it- during this period.”

“My salary…”

“No, no, that’s…”

“Not my salary…”

“No…. What the business did and will receive. What was paid and owed into the business by customers buying the goods…”


“Plus bank interest….Below that, you’ve got expenses that were necessary to achieve these earnings: buying the goods, paying the people who work for you, and so on, including paying your own salary. And what’s left over after is the profit.”

“The profit…”

“The profit,” interjects Sally.

“The profit for the period,” stresses Norm.

“Okay. That’s the profit for the period,” says Jim.

“So, you’ve got the balance which is at a point in time and the profit and loss statement which covers a period of time,” says Norm in summary (see images below).

“I think I got it,” says Jim.

“Me too,” says Sally.

When the first Paranormal Activity was released, it split the audience firmly into those who thought it was amazing and chilling, and those who thought it was absolute tosh. I stand as one of the people who thought it was an absolute masterpiece. And now, second time around, Oren Peli’s tale has been brought back with a vengeance.

Much as 2004’s Saw brought something new and fear-provoking to the world of horror; reinventing the genre for today’s audience with not just gore and scares, but an edge-of-your-seat narrative, so did 2007’s Paranormal Activity. Much like Saw, it was incredibly low budget, featured minimal cast and brought something epic to the abused and dried up horror genre of the 21st century. Of course, people saw that this was an excellent money-making opportunity; Saw was contracted into sequel after sequel, year after year: each year bringing an even worse film to the franchise.

So people of course, expected the same abuse to happen to Paranormal Activity when it became an instant hit. And so, the abuse happened as it was signed for a sequel. People groaned. People flocked to see it. They were thrilled. And now there is a third addition contracted for the later months of this year. Bad thing, right? Maybe not.


Second time around

This second installment is incredibly adept with its story-telling, taking the franchise to a whole new narrative level. (Awesome!) The first film spelled out a relatively rich mythology for main character Katie’s (Katie Featherston) family history, surrounding their haunting by a demon, which came back in her adulthood, possessed her and forced her to kill her fiancé before she disappeared. In 2, we don’t simply have a repackaged version of this story, but an elaborative prequel and simultaneous plot that stretches the audience’s knowledge on the history of the demon and why it came to possess Katie’s family, which succeeds in slapping the tiresomely annual horror sequel of today.

Not only does the film succeed in scaring the audience with its plot, but it comes back again with its strikingly terrifying pace and style. The minimalistic nature in which the demon haunts again (or for the first time, for pedants out there) is just as scary as the first. A slamming door here, a falling pan there, and a hovering shadow everywhere. The way the Paranormal Activity franchise continues to absolutely chill its audience with minimalistic action is phenomenal in ratio to the response that it is given.

This being a prequel, it does create some slight inaccuracies or audience-finger-wagging material; its failure to inform the audience in the first film that the main character’s sister and her family were haunted only weeks prior is slightly annoying (especially considering the fact that the ending to the first was changed twice from Katie ending up dead – in order to make way for a sequel) but that can be overlooked.

Watching alone versus the theatre experience

I purposefully made the choice to not go and see this in the cinema (which is why it is being reviewed as a DVD) because I knew that if it was anything like the first film, I didn’t want to go and see it with a bunch of people; where they would see me beating the record for Furthest Thrown Popcorn or Highest Pitched Scream. Nope, I wanted to watch it in the middle of the night in a dark room again and be scared to the bone because that’s what I personally feel that this is what this film is for.

The film-making style; a voyeuristic journey feels so much more intense when watching this personally filmed story in the privacy of your own home – on top of the fact that it’ll creep the hell out of you even more when watching, regardless of whether or not you have company.

I am, of course, a little sketchy about there being a third film since this one seemed to tie up any loose ends and elaborate the story as far as it could go from the first. And I may not be so hesitant about the film if it weren’t contracted to feature Katie and Micah (Micah Sloat) again – Micah having been dead since the end of the first film. But given the immense quality that this sequel has achieved, I am willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt and get excited for the third – even if it is slowly becoming an annual horror film; the very thing I despise. Hell, I may even go see it in the cinema to see if I can beat that popcorn throwing record.

The Nintendo Wii will be available for the holidays, hitting store shelves November 19 with a price tag of $249.99 U.S.

At a press conference in New York yesterday, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said Nintendo's goal is to sell four million units before the end of 2006, keeping a constant flow to minimize stores running out of stock, something Xbox didn't manage to do.

Although Nintendo's biggest goal with the Wii seems to be to attract more non-gamers to gaming, the system is going to have something for everyone.

At a press conference in Japan, also held yesterday, 104 different titles were showcased.

"The widest range of launch titles ever," said Fils-Aime.

For the older crowd, the Internet connected Wii will be able to download classic NES, SNES and N64 console games.

"It's a great way to get 30 and 40-year-olds back in gaming," said Fils-Aime.

The games can be downloaded by spending Wii points, which can be obtained online or by purchasing a 2000 Wii point card for 20 dollars at a retail outlet.

NES games are 500 points while SNES and N64 games cost 800 and 1000 points respectively.

The Wii will also has features meant to act as a "pied piper" to get non-gamers playing the games.

One of those is the Mii channel. On the Mii channel, players can create an avatar of themselves, their friends or anyone else which can then be inserted into Wii games that support the Mii channel.

There's also the ability to view photos off an SD card, along with getting headline news, weather and a web browser on your TV screen through the Wii.

Then there's the already heavily discussed Wii controller that senses motion, allowing players to

act out the game, whether it be throwing a bowling ball or firing a bow and arrow.

The Wii will be going head-to-head with Sony's PlayStation 3 for the holiday season, but being less than half of PS3's price tag, it's clear which system will be bringing more new gamers on board.