Wednesday, October 31, 2007

History of the Jack-o-lantern

There are many lores and legends surrounding the origin of the Jack-O-Lantern. The most popular tale is that of a ne'er-do-well Irishman name Jack. Well known for his drunken meanness, Jack got so intoxicated on a Halloween that his soul began to leave his body. The Devil saw an opportunity to claim a victim and promptly came to earth. Jack was desperate to avoid his fate so he begged the Devil to allow him one last drink. The Devil consented but stated that Jack would have to pay for his drink because the Devil carried no money. Jack claimed to only have a sixpence left and asked that the Devil assume the shape of a sixpence to pay for the drink. Then, tab paid, the Devil could change back to himself. The Devil considered the request reasonable and changed himself into a sixpence. Jack immediately grabbed the coin and put it in his wallet, which had a cross-shaped catch. The Devil was unable to get out and began ranting and cursing. They then made a deal that the Devil would be released if he agreed to let Jack alone for one year. The Devil agreed and Jack set forth to reform is behavior over the next year.

It wasn't long before Jack slipped back into his mean, drunken ways and the next All Hallows Eve the Devil appeared to Jack and demanded his soul. Once again, Jack was desperate to save himself and did so by tricking the Devil. He suggested to the Devil that he may want one of the delicious apples hanging in a tree nearby. He offered to allow the Devil to climb on his shoulders to reach the apples. Once the Devil was in the tree, Jack pulled out a pocket knife and carved a cross in the tree trunk. The Devil could not get out of the tree. Furious and desperate, the Devil offered Jack ten years of peace in exchange for freeing him. Jack insisted that The Devil never bother him again and he would be freed. The Devil resentfully agreed. Jack then returned to his old ways but before the next Halloween, his body gave out and he passed. He was turned away at the gates of Heaven because of the meanness in his life. The Devil refused him at the gates of hell, stating that he would never bother him again and told him to return from whence he came. To help Jack see on his journey, the Devil threw him a burning lump of coal from hell. Jack put the ember inside of a turnip and it has been Jack's light on his eternal wanderings ever since. To protect oneself from Jack on All Hallows Eve, jack-o-lanterns were placed on porches and in windows, in hopes that Jack would take the light if needed instead of bothering anyone.

So where do people go to get the perfect pumpkin for carving?

Well, thanks to hundreds of local farmers throughout the US there is always an ample supply of pumpkins in a variety of shapes and sizes at grocery stores and farmers markets. One such farmer is Richard Schmidt of West Jordan, Utah. Richard and his son Ryan grew 525 tons of pumpkins this year in an effort to feed your hunger for a halloween Jack-o-lantern. You can read more about Richard's pumpkin production process here.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Jokes

All kids love silly jokes and they love adults that share them.

The beauty of a one-liner is that kids can remember them. Here's a handful of Halloween one-liners that you can share with your children, nieces, nephews, grandkids, or neighborhood children. Once you do, they will share them with their friends and so on and so on... and you will have planted the seeds for hundreds of smiles today!

Why did the vampire go to the orthodontist?
To improve his bite...

What do you get when you cross a vampire and a snowman?

Why do witches use brooms to fly on?
Because vacuum cleaners are too heavy...

How do witches keep their hair in place while flying?
With scare spray...

What do you get when you cross a werewolf and a vampire?A fur coat that fangs around your neck...

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?
No, they eat the fingers separately...

Why don't skeletons ever go out on the town?
Because they don't have any body to go out with...

What do ghosts add to their morning cereal?

What is a vampire's favorite sport?

What is a vampire's favorite holiday?

What would a monster's psychiatrist be called?

What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
"Do you believe in people?"

What do you call someone who puts poison in a person's corn flakes?
A cereal killer...

Why do mummies have trouble keeping friends?
They're so wrapped up in themselves...

What kind of streets do zombies like the best?
Dead ends...

What does the papa ghost say to his family when driving?
Fasten your sheet belts...

What is a vampire's favorite mode of transportation?
A blood vessel...

What is a ghost's favorite mode of transportation?
A scareplane...

What type of dog do vampire's like the best?

What is a ghoul's favorite flavor?

What does a vampire never order at a restaurant?
A stake sandwich...

What is a skeleton's favorite musical instrument?
A trombone...

What do birds give out on Halloween night?

Why do vampires need mouthwash?
They have bat breath...

What's a vampire's favorite fast food?
A guy with very high blood pressure...

Why did the Vampire subscribe to the Wall Street Journal?
He heard it had great circulation...

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Halloween Fun

Spooky Tongue Twister Phrases
  • He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
  • Creepy crawler critters crawl through creepy crawly craters
  • Dracula digs dreary, dark dungeons.
  • Ghostly ghouls gather gleefully to golf on ghostly golf courses.
  • Gobbling gorgoyles gobbled gobbling goblins
  • Horribly hoarse hoot owls hoot howls of horror in halloween haunted houses.
  • If big black bats could blow bubbles, how big of bubbles would big black bats blow?
  • If two witches would watch two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
  • Professional Pumpkin Pickers are prone to pick the plumpest pumpkins.
  • Transylvanian Tree Trimmers are trained to trim the tallest Transylvanian trees.
  • Several spooky slimy spiders spun sulking by the sea
  • The ochre ogre ogled the poker.
  • Six slippery snails, slid slowly seaward.
  • Which witch wished which wicked wish?

Halloween Drinks and Practical Jokes

A big bowl of punch is the perfect prop for gory and ghastly Halloween trickery. There are lots of ways to make your party punch extra eerie!

Make a slime ring from green punch.

Freeze green punch in a gelatin mold along with plastic bugs, spiders and eyeballs. And place a few small glow sticks underneath the punch bowl: when the lights are turned down, the brew will radiate in a mysterious and unearthly fashion.

Float life-size zombie hands made from ice.

  • Buy a couple of latex or rubber gloves. Wash them thoroughly with dish soap and turn them inside out. Carefully pour in water. Fasten tightly at the wrist with a rubber band.

  • The shape will turn out best if you hang the gloves, fingers down, from your freezer shelf. Plan to freeze your uncanny hands for at least one full day.

  • When it's party time, run warm water over the gloves very briefly--just long enough to loosen the gloves from the ice--and carefully peel them off the frozen hands. The ice fingers break off easily, but that's okay--the disembodied digits just add to the "zombie" effect.

Turn your punchbowl into a steamy, smoky witch's cauldron.
Nothing makes a party spookier than an ominous witch's brew.

  • First, visit your local supermarket's fresh fish counter and ask if they carry dry ice; if they don't, they may be able to tell you where you can purchase some.

  • Mix up a punch of your favorite fruit juices in a large bowl and place it inside an even larger bowl, pot or cauldron.

  • Throw on your best witch or warlock costume and add (using tongs or extra-heavy-duty gloves) chunks of dry ice to the bigger container. This allows you to create that delightful creeping mist without putting dry ice directly into the punch, which can be extremely dangerous.

  • When you're ready to create some magic, simply pour some hot water over the dry ice. Continue to add hot water and dry ice as needed.
    Note: Never ingest dry ice! Be very careful when using dry ice. Always keep it out of reach of children and never touch it with bare skin; use tongs or extra-heavy-duty gloves.

I love a practical joke as much as anyone. In the spirit of Halloween spookiness here's a video of some classical practical jokes.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant, but not a favorite author. He's picked out a favorite place to feed his body, but he doesn't have a favorite place to feed his mind!" - Jim Rohn

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday's Finds

It's time for another issue of Fridays Finds. The one day each week when I share with you some of the many unique places I find on the web. The sites listed could vary in content from funny to educational, or bizarre to just plain enjoyable. Some might be commercial sites selling unusual items and others might be freely sharing whatever information they have. I'll include a description with the link to give you an idea of what to expect if I have the time. Otherwise you'll be on your own. But, in most cases you should be able to figure out what to expect by the name of the site although some may surprise you. So climb aboard, fasten your seatbelts, keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times but please have fun!

101 Halloween ideas

Scary music to download

Haunted places

Scary stories

50 Scariest Movies

Brief history of the Salem Witch Trials

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday's Thinkers

I've made this a regular feature. Every Thursday I post at least one, but probably more, questions to get you thinking. Leave your thoughts or comment on others responses. Let's have a dialog! Here's todays questions:

1. Which month of the year do you think would best describe your personality?

2. If you could ask God any single question, what would it be?

3. Foreclosure filings across the United States nearly doubled last month (compared with those from September of 2006), as financially strapped homeowners already behind on mortgage payments defaulted on their loans or came closer to losing their homes to foreclosure. Without naming names, do you know anyone impacted by or who is facing foreclosure?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Haunted How-To's

Halloween is coming and since it's one of my favorite holidays I'm putting my regular Tuesday feature of eBay Tips & Tricks aside to focus on some Haunting How-To Tips:

The Bubbling Cauldron
Want a real witches’ brew? Mix soap-bubble solution with dry ice, or use liquid nitrogen for bubbles that release fog when they pop. In the following video, PopSci’s contributing mad scientist, Theodore Gray, uses the help of a few young assistants to create cauldrons of toil and trouble.
Here’s how it’s done:
There are many ways to make a bubbling cauldron of witch's brew. As with all magic, some preparation is required for the spell to work properly. The three most practical methods for creating a bubbling cauldron are:

Liquid nitrogen
Dry ice
Mechanical injection of compressed air or, preferably, helium

  • All magic potions begin with hot water. If you don't have a fire under your cauldron, it's OK to just fill it with hot water from the tap—the hotter the better. To this, add magic-potion ingredients such as chili powder (for its blood-red color), cayenne pepper (for its strong magical smell) and any other spices, herbs, dried leaves, sticks, bones, wolfsbane or eyes of newt you may have lying around. Bulk chili powder, etc., can be purchased at warehouse clubs quite inexpensively.

  • If you want overflowing bubbles, add several good squirts of dishwashing liquid. For some reason, regular (non-Ultra) Dawn is renowned in the bubble industry as the best for producing suds.

  • A note on cauldrons: Cast iron is the proper material for cauldrons, but for the potions discussed here, pretty much anything will do. Plastic buckets, cooking pots—anything that will hold at least a few gallons of water is fine. Your cauldron should be about half full (or half empty, depending on how you look at it).

  • After mixing up the stock (cragged sticks and 6- to 10-year-olds are best for mixing), you’re ready to add the magic.

  • Liquid nitrogen, available from any welding-supply shop (provided you have a certified transportation Dewar to carry it in), is by far the most dramatic bubble maker. A few quarts of it dumped rapidly into a cauldron of hot, soapy water can create a billowing tower of bubbles several feet high in an instant (stand back). Much fun is had by all, but it doesn't last very long.

  • Dry ice is much easier to get. Some larger grocery stores and supermarkets actually sell dry ice from chests just like the ones selling regular ice. Call around to find a place that sells it. Ten or 15 pounds should be plenty, and it costs about $1 per pound. Bring it home in a cooler, and use within a day. (Do not try to store dry ice in a freezer. Your freezer is boiling hot compared to the dry ice, which will last longer left alone in a Styrofoam cooler.) Do not lick the dry ice, and handle it with gloves at all times.
  • Use a hammer to break up the block of dry ice, and add about five pounds at a time to the cauldron. It will bubble gently for quite a while, the bubbles full of spooky smoke. If you have soap in the brew, it will slowly bubble over and spill out in a most satisfying way. If the water gets cold, add hot water.

  • The last, and most complicated, method of bubbling a cauldron involves injecting compressed air or other gas using a coil of copper pipe with small holes drilled in it. Air from a compressor works great if you want a basically unending stream of bubbles overflowing the cauldron and making a gigantic mess (which is, I should remind you, a good thing if you're six).

  • But the ne plus ultra of bubbling cauldrons is, without a doubt, the helium-bubble cauldron. The same copper-pipe bubbler can be connected to a regulator attached to a commercial helium cylinder (available at the same welding-supply shops you get liquid nitrogen from, and from party-supply stores, though they will not have the right regulator). Turn the helium on just fast enough for the bubbles to rise about one or two inches per second.
  • Any child who has not seen this before will be absolutely floored by it, as will many adults. Do note: It does not work very well in high winds, and the more you stir or otherwise mess with the bubbles, the less well they float. It's best to leave them alone or just slice them off when you think they are ready to go free. (Just try to enforce that rule once the kids get involved.) Also note that this is an expensive hobby: A full 240-cubic-foot tank (the largest commonly available size) will last about 15 minutes and cost about $80 to fill.

Other ideas:

$20 Fog Chiller - instructions for building a pipe-based fog chiller.

$30 Mummy - instructions for making a wrapped mummy (PDF format).

Baby Alien Specimen - instructions for making an alien-in-jar prop.

Dummies - basic instructions for creating static dummies.

Easy Eyes - instructions for making realistic eyes from deodorant balls.

Eye-Bead Demons - Instructions for making eyes-in-the-bushes out of tin cans.

Cheap Foam Walls - instructions on how to cut/paint foam blocks to make a faux brick/rock wall

FrankenHand Table - basic instructions for an animated wiggling severed arm on a mad scientist table.

Haunted Books - basic instructions for making a row of books that move in and out of a bookshelf.

Spooky Old Sign - instructions for making a weathered sign.

Witch Kitchen Jars - instructions for making with potion jars and labels.

More Haunting How-To's are here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Challenge You.. to join the race!

That's right.. leave the rat race and join the race to true financial freedom. We have a weekly contest to see who can pick the best stocks in the real stock market. Use our imaginary, virtual money and see if you can make it grow! It's FREE, it's FUN, and it's for CASH!

Join the Weekly Challenge Here

Total Prize Pool: $2,500 weekly. See distribution of prize money in chart above.
How to play: You start with $100,000 in Fantasy Bucks. If you have one of the 10 highest portfolios at the end of the week, you win real cash prizes.
You can register and enter the tournament any time during the week. Sometimes those who start on the last day or two win top cash prizes as easily those who started on the first day.

The first thing you should do when you join BigSmarty WallStreet is set up your personal profile. With your own screen name you can be anonymous as you wish to be. Many players want to be known because it helps them network and make new friends. It’s your choice. Just be sure you upload your picture or any image you wish the community to identify with you. It’s fun. It’s free. And it’s for cash!

Can you convince yourself that you're ready to invest a chunk of your hard-earned money in the stock market? Here's how: Set up a FREE practice portfolio in BigSmarty Wallstreet, our online virtual stock exchange where you'll trade with play money and have a lot of fun in stock trading tournaments.

Want more? - join our Shootout Tournament
Total Prize Pool: $6,125 per tournament. The top winner can accumulate up to $2,450.
How to play: Each player starts the heads-up match with $100,000 Fantasy Bucks each week. The player with the higher portfolio at the end of the week advances to the next round like the brackets of the NCAA.
Any player who fails to trade during the week cannot move forward even if his or her opponent ends the week with a negative portfolio.
Players advance until we have a “Sweet 16” going head to head and then they start winning cash prizes according to the schedule below.

Could it get any easier? Actually, yes. But you'll need to register (for free) and login to learn how!

Conquer Doubt by Vic Johnson (excerpted from Day by Day with James Allen)

"Thoughts of doubt and fear can never accomplish anything. They always lead to failure." - As A Man Thinketh
There is significant economic evidence that the Great Depression might have been avoided but for the "panic" that swept over the country (and the world) after the 1929 stock market crash. What should have been no more than a deep recession altered our world forever because of the prevailing “thoughts of doubt and fear.”
So great were the thought of fear that President Roosevelt felt compelled to deliver a speech about it. By the way, FDR's speech with his now famous, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," was suggested to him by Napoleon Hill, author of the classic, Think and Grow Rich.
If the thoughts of many can bring such great tragedy to our world, is it any wonder that our personal thoughts can do so much damage to our "individual world." When we spend inordinate amounts of time fearing some thing or event in the future, many times that which we fear comes upon us. When it does, we wring our hands in despair and wonder why it had to happen to us, when in reality, we are responsible for our troubles.Bob Proctor says that the process begins first with a thought of doubt, which causes an emotion of fear, which manifests itself physically as anxiety. Anxiety robs us of our power, our energy and our purpose. Severe anxiety can even undermine our health. And it's all brought on by a thought of doubt.
I have found three things that help me conquer doubt. First, change your mind about the doubt, and keep it changed. If you have a doubt about whether you're going to have enough money to make it to the end of the month, change your mind about it. Whenever the doubt creeps in, affirm to yourself that "I always find a way to have enough of what I need." I love what Emmet Fox says about this, "If you will change your mind concerning anything and absolutely keep it changed, that thing must and will change too. It is the keeping up of the change in thought that is difficult. It calls for vigilance and determination."The second thing that overcomes fear and doubt is action. "Do the thing you fear and fear will disappear" is more than a nice rhyming aphorism. It's some simple wisdom that always works!
And the third and most important thing to overcoming doubt and fear is Faith. Fear and Faith are directly opposite views of the future and they cannot co-exist. My Faith is in a Creator who has given me dominion over all things. Your Faith may be elsewhere, but know this: Faith and fear cannot be present at the same time.
And that's worth thinking about.
Vic Johnson
(Recently Vic Johnson put on a 3 day event that included Jim Rohn, Bob Proctor, Vic Johnson, Lisa Jimenez, Ron White, Chris Widener, Bob Burg, John Dilemme, Christopher Guerriero and more )

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Halloween Photography Tips

Photographing Lit Pumpkins

The ritual of turning an ordinary pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern is one of the most photogenic parts of Halloween. You can document the whole process and preserve your memories for years by following these tips for taking quality pictures. -Start your series of Halloween photographs right at the pumpkin patch (or grocery store)

--Go for the candid shots, instead of the posed ones.

--When it comes to photographing the actual carving process, make sure you capture the sloppy moments along with the artistic ones!

--Many people take their photos so the lighted design is all that you see, close-up. The best pictures are those in which you can see the design in relation to the actual pumpkin. Besides, seeing some of the orange pumpkin in the photograph adds some depth, as well as color! So, ideally, you will want to try to capture the glow of the light from within the pumpkin, while still being able to see the outside of the pumpkin itself.

--Resist the urge to use a flash! Instead, put even more light than usual inside your pumpkin. If you decide to take a few shots with a flash, try to make sure your flash isn't directed head-on at the pumpkin. Try placing your hand part-way over the flash to lessen the amount of light that actually hits your pumpkin. Just remember this: The less light you use, the steadier you will have to be with the camera to capture the photograph without blur.

--Remember to move in close and practically fill the entire frame with the pumpkin itself. You just barely want to be able to tell the location where the photograph was actually shot.

--For a unique background, try placing your carved pumpkin amidst some leafy vines in your backyard, or huddled within colorful flowers or shrubs. For these shots, you will want to include a bit more of the background than usual, as these items will add color and depth to your photo.

--Take pictures of your lit pumpkin at different times of the day (and night). The ones that turn out the best will most likely be those you take when it's not completely dark outside.

--For a different look, take a few pictures with an outside light (lamp, porch light, etc.) illuminating the outside of the pumpkin, preferably from the SIDE rather than head-on. This will result in a very subtle lighting effect.

--For a really creative "firey" look, place your lit pumpkin in the fireplace and make a small fire from a few sheets of newspaper directly behind it. Again, don't use a flash. The result is a truly Halloweenesce photo of your Jack-o-lantern.

--Capturing your pumpkin from different angles is also a good idea.

--The trick to good Halloween photography is simple: Take LOTS of shots! The more you take, the more you increase your odds of capturing the "money shot"... the ones suitable for framing.

--For the absolute BEST shots, you should mount your camera on a tripod and use a zoom lens. This will change the focal distance, blurring the background while keeping the pumpkin itself sharp.

How to Get the Best Photos of Kids in Halloween Costumes

Some pre-photo reminders: If you're using a film camera, make sure you have ISO 400 or 800 loaded. And, if you're using a digital camera, then remember to insert a fresh set of batteries (or charge up your battery the night before)!

-When you take a picture of your favorite trick-or-treater in costume, have someone shine a flashlight from off to one side of the child or from below. This will produce a unique lighting effect for your pictures.

-The biggest mistake people make is to shoot from too far back. You don't always have to shoot from head-to-toe (especially since shoes are often the weakest part of a costume). Instead, get in close and fill the frame. ...and, take some shots where you fill the frame with just the child's head and shoulders.

-Usually, you'll want to avoid red-eye in your Halloween photographs of people, but if you're shooting a vampire or some other spooky character, the red-eye will add a great effect!

-Don't always shoot from adult-level looking down on the little ones. Take some shots from a child's-eye-level too. You'll have to bend down low in order to capture the child's perspective. Or for a really cool perspective, lie down somewhere near the child and take the shot.

-Make sure to take a photo of your favorite creature with and without the mask. You'll appreciate it later.

-Use an interesting background instead of a bare wall as a backdrop for your photos. Trees, big bushes, and vines make for a spooky setting.

-Capture kids in costume from lots of different angles. ...including from down low, up high, and some from kids-eye level.

-Take pictures of costumed kids both before and after they've gone trick-or-treating. One will show their costume and makeup neat and intact and their energy level high, filled with anticipation about going door-to-door. The other will reveal their true personality and how they looked when they returned home at the end of the evening; most likely exhausted, grumpy and ready to call it a night!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday's Fabulous Finds

Sorry that I'm posting this so late in the day.. but better late than never right?

It's time for another issue of Fridays Finds. The one day each week when I share with you some of the many unique places I find on the web. The sites listed could vary in content from funny to educational, or bizarre to just plain enjoyable. Some might be commercial sites selling unusual items and others might be freely sharing whatever information they have. I'll include a description with the link to give you an idea of what to expect if I have the time. Otherwise you'll be on your own. But, in most cases you should be able to figure out what to expect by the name of the site although some may surprise you. So climb aboard, fasten your seatbelts, keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times but please have fun!


2. Ping-o-Matic

3. Celeb Mug Shots & More...


5. Lego Church

6. Squirrel Obstacle Course - [video]

7. Solving Two Rubik's Cubes at the Same Time - [video]

8. Bored with blogging? - [cartoon]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursdays Thinkers

I've made this a regular feature. Every Thursday I post at least one, but probably more, questions to get you thinking. Leave your thoughts or comment on others responses. Let's have a dialog! Here's todays questions:

1. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

2. What was your favorite TV show as a child? Which TV show is the first you remember watching?

3. What happens if you get scared half to death, ...twice?

4. If you could have had the starring role in one movie already made, which movie would you pick?


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

eBay Tips and Tricks

Here's some ideas to help you determine what to sell:

1. Sell what you know first. If you're into fashion, sell that; if you're into golf, sell golf equipment, and so on.
2. Be observant. Watch for opportunities to obtain items (in quantity if possible) at a low price for resale. Often, they're right under your nose, such as merchandise your local retailer would liquidate. Make an offer to clear out the re-tailer's old or damaged stock.
3. Don't start out with just one product or product line. An effective way to build a customer base on eBay is to offer at least two separate types of items, between which you can cross promote and drive customers from one to the other.
4. Spend time on ebay browsing outside your normal categories. Find out what's hot at
5. Become a trading assistant and sell other people's items for a commission. As a Trading Assistant, you won't have the expense of building inventory, and you can build your business on eBay very quickly without having to spend a lot of capital.
6. Take some calculated risks. Being too careful can cost you. Do a little research on eBay, and trust your gut when you find potentially salable items.
7. If you're not familiar with the product you're trying to sell, educate yourself before you write the description. If you describe the item incorrectly, buyers may be leery of bidding. Even worse, buyers could decide not to bid on any of your future items if they're under the impression that you don't know what you're selling. The more correct information you have and use, the more credible you'll become in the buyers' eyes.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


"Always do right! This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. -- Mark Twain

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday's Fabulous Finds

It's time for another issue of Fridays Finds. The one day each week when I share with you some of the many unique places I find on the web. The sites listed could vary in content from funny to educational, or bizarre to just plain enjoyable. Some might be commercial sites selling unusual items and others might be freely sharing whatever information they have. I'll include a description with the link to give you an idea of what to expect if I have the time. Otherwise you'll be on your own. But, in most cases you should be able to figure out what to expect by the name of the site although some may surprise you. So climb aboard, fasten your seatbelts, keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times but please have fun!

4. -I'm glad they didn't have this when I was single and dating!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Strange eBay Feedback

You all know that I once worked for eBay and I still earn a substantual part of my income by selling on eBay. Here's another eBay user with feedback that you'll enjoy. Have fun reading it!

Strange eBay FEEDBACK

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday's Finds

It's time for another issue of Fridays Finds. The one day each week when I share with you some of the many unique places I find on the web. The sites listed could vary in content from funny to educational, or bizarre to just plain enjoyable. Some might be commercial sites selling unusual items and others might be freely sharing whatever information they have. I'll include a description with the link to give you an idea of what to expect if I have the time. Otherwise you'll be on your own. But, in most cases you should be able to figure out what to expect by the name of the site although some may surprise you.
So climb aboard, fasten your seatbelts, keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times but please have fun!


2. Comical-captions

3. Fun things to do

4. Optical illustions in architecture

5. Space, the final frontier

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10 Suggestions for Better eBay Descriptions

Ok, you posted an eBay ad and now you’ve got a potential buyer that has clicked on your item title, the next thing you want him or her to do is bid or buy the item you are offering! Your aim is to make the product so appealing that buyers can’t help but bid on it immediately.

Remember this VERY IMPORTANT rule to create a good listing:1. Describe your item as if there is no picture of the item for buyers to see. 2. Take pictures of your item as if there is no description for the buyers to read.

Without wasting more time, lets explore what to include in your item descriptions as you sell on eBay:

1. Details. Be as specific as possible in your item description. Would you buy something if you are not at least 90% sure what the item is about? List any special features that comes with the item besides the basic details like size, condition, colors, make and model. Kill buyers’ doubts on the item and speed up sales by reducing the times they need to communicate with you asking questions. ...Be descriptive, but don't overdo it. Don't make your buyer spend more than 1-2 minutes reading your description.
2. List Any Imperfections. If there are any scratches, dents or just any flaws, remember to list them out too. Please do not think you can hide even the smallest stain on that Fila tank top you are selling. When your buyer found out, he may either leave you a negative, call you as a dishonest seller or worst, file a dispute to Paypal saying that item received is not as described. Even if the buyer kept quiet about it, think how this incident could affect your reputation as an eBay seller.
3. State The Benefits. State one or more features of the item and then combine it with one or more benefits. Your item may be the cheapest or the best on eBay, but until the buyers can relate how they can benefit from it, it is as good as the other 21,000,000 items on eBay which ended unsold. You need to appeal to the customers emotionally. A compelling item description on eBay sells 80% more.
4. Offer Warranties. Set yourself apart and let buyers see you as a professional seller. Make your items more valuable by offering warranties or guarantees. Having guarantees on the item makes buyers feel safer to purchase from you. Don’t you feel like that too as a buyer, even at the local superstore?
5. Offer A Return And Refund Policy. Offer an easy method for shoppers to return the items if they are not happy with it. It might sound silly. You might be thinking “What if 10 buyers bought my item and were not happy with it?” In that case, I’d suggest you thoroughly look at your item again. If that item is in such poor quality, consider not selling it. You must be confidence with what you sell. And over the course of selling on eBay, I have zero buyers asking me for a refund because they are not happy with it. Include your Refund Policy in your description.
6. Neatness counts. Although you need to provide as much information as possible regarding your Prada Wallet, keep in mind to keep everything spaced out evenly. Clutter makes it difficult for your eBay buyers to search for information. Put up proper headings like ‘Descriptions’, ‘Shipping’, ‘Payment’ and ‘Returns Policy’ for that specific piece of information. Avoid unneeded items like animated Gifs or colorful backgrounds. You need to keep the buyers eyes on the ‘Bid Now’ button! Use short paragraphs. People have short attention spans.
7. Call For Action. Always include a call for action like “Bid Now”, “Buy It Now”, “Sign Up Now” or “Click to Visit My Store” at the end of your description. Although this sounds simple, most people are not going to do something on their own until you ask them to. Create the urgency! A call for action is such a simple way and usually ignored by most eBay sellers.
8. Use Testimonials. People are greedy by nature and like to get what other people are getting. Some customers send you a message telling how happy they are with the items. Include those messages in your item description. Optionally, you may also add a portion of your positive feedbacks in your description.
9. Linking. Include links to your Store, Auction Listings, Feedbacks and other pages you have on eBay. Make it easy for your buyers to navigate around and let them stay on your auctions a little longer. A link to your store is like an invitation to browse your other items.. many buyer will click on it out of curiousity. One sale might become two. Remember, not to have link outside of eBay though. It is forbidden by eBay!
10. Keep A Positive Tone. Last but not least, sound optimistic in your tone of writing and avoid sentences that threaten buyers. Consider this statement in your eBay item description “Do not bid this item if you are not interested. Non-paying bidder will be reported to eBay and negative feedback will be left.” I know there are all sorts of eBay buyers. But would you think it is a good idea to give an impression that you are just a grumpy old man? Keep a positive and happy tone throughout your description.

Monday, October 1, 2007


This past summer we've been swapping out our pasture to some friends and neighbors. They bring their horses over to eat our grass down and we get shorter grass (and less hiding places for snakes). It's been a good deal for our neighbors and we've grown to love the horses.

As city kids we don't know much about the equine world but we want to learn. We have been talking about getting a couple horses of our own. So yesterday after church we drove down the other side of Beaumont to look at a couple horses.

That was when we met Lily. Lily is a little yearling filly that should have it all when she grows up sorrel in color with flaxen mane and tail. Lots of chrome trim. She has good breeding: Sire is 95% foundation Poco Last Command dam goes to Leo Goldseeker/Gold Seeker Bars. She'll make a great project horse for us. She is beautiful and bred right.

We talked about her on the way home and called the owners back to let them know we want her. I'll post some photos when I can. You're all going to love this little lady they call Lily.