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Combining Credit Card Debt

Combining Credit Card Debt

Elevated - October 15, 2017 (Explore Dec 1, 2017)
Source: Flickr

We know that it’s good to consolidate credit card debt (at least that is what we keep hearing from everyone). In fact, the first step towards addressing the problem of credit card debt is to consolidate credit card debt. Now, what do you do to consolidate credit card debt? Should you just go with that attractive ad in the newspaper that says ‘…the lowest APR in the town is available here’?

The first thing, really, is to keep your eyes and ears open. There are always a number of offers available for you to choose from. The credit card suppliers keep coming with new and more attractive offers asking you to consolidate credit card debt with them. However, you must note that the APR quoted in bold, e.g. 0% APR, is applicable only for a short term (3-9 months). The long term (or the standard) APR is different. So, when you go looking for a credit card to consolidate credit card debt, you must be keenly looking for these 3 things (in terms of APR) – introductory APR, introductory APR period and the standard APR. Let’s see how each one is important.

Introductory APR is probably the most attractive thing to look for when you are looking to consolidate credit card debt. If you consolidate credit card debt to a card that has a low introductory APR e.g. 0%, the first thing you get is a breather/relief in terms of the rate at which your credit card debt has been growing. Based on how long that 0% APR period is (generally you will look to consolidate credit card debt with a credit card supplier who offers 0% initial APR), you will at least be able to temporarily break the growth rate of your credit card debt. More the introductory period, the better it is. However, you should not ignore the standard APR when you consolidate credit card debt. This is the interest rate that will be applied to your balance after the expiry of the introductory low APR period that was given to lure you to consolidate credit card debt with that credit card supplier. If the standard APR is too high and you know that you will not be able to clear off the entire credit card debt during the low APR period, that credit card is probably not the best for you to consolidate credit card debt to. However, if you think that you will be able to clear off the entire credit card debt during that period, you can make some compromises on the standard APR of the credit card to which you consolidate credit card debt.

The card that synchronizes with your current and future financial position (and needs), is the one you should consolidate credit card debt to.

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Tails, You Win

Tails, You Win

Red Panda
Source: Flickr

Like you, I’ve been toying lately with the idea of growing a
tail. Nothing too elaborate mind you, just something long
enough and furry enough that when I wag it, you can tell I’m
The truth is, I wish everybody had one.
Think about it. Never again would you have to sit and wonder
whether or not your husband really likes your family. If you
saw his tail wagging, you’d know. Granted, this kind of
evolutionary upgrade would require that most of us purchase an
entirely new set of pants, but on the whole, I think it would be
worth the adjustment.
The one place where what I’m suggesting would help the most of
course, is E-Newsletters. I say this because in our current,
tail-free business world, there’s no easy and obvious way to
directly measure how much readers like and appreciate what we’re
sending each month. Unlike its more trackable marketing cousins
— things like direct mail, Google ads or telemarketing — most
of what’s going on with your E-Newsletter occurs behind the
scenes, in the home, office and mind of your reader.
The fact is, to measure the effectiveness of your E-Newsletter,
you’ve got to look in a number of different places and, like
assembling a puzzle, it’s left to you to arrange the pieces into
something meaningful.
With that in mind, and in descending order of importance, here’s
what I recommend you pay attention to:
1. Is your phone ringing / inbox dinging with clients? We all
want to create and publish a great newsletter, but that’s not an
end in itself. The point of all this after all, is to attract
“good clients” — defined as companies and people with whom we
want to do business. If publishing your newsletter creates this
kind of activity, skip the rest of today’s issue and go buy
yourself some doggie treats. Your newsletter is getting the job
2. Is your phone ringing / inbox dinging with non-client offers?
Calls from journalists, invitations to speak or appear on
industry panels, questions from colleagues, etc.
related to your standing as expert — while admittedly not
client work per se — is still a sign that you are viewed as an
authority in your field. If your newsletter is positioning you
in this way, you’re definitely on the right track (i.e. buy the
doggie treats, but maybe don’t eat them yet).
3. Are people you’ve never heard of adding themselves to your
mailing list? It’s great (and recommended) to acquire new
subscribers by asking people you meet if they’d like to be on
your list, but the true test of quality is when strangers
request your stuff. With nobody twisting their arm (except
maybe one of your current readers enthusiastically forwarding an
issue — another good sign), this is about as pure an indication
that your newsletter is valued in the “information marketplace”
as you’ll find.
4. Are readers interacting with your newsletter? When I say
“interacting,” I’m lumping together both e-mail comments sent
back to you when you publish, and clicks made on the various
links within the newsletter. Both of these are good, often
early signs of future clients. In my experience, people tend to
snoop around and feel you out before they pick up the phone and
hire you.
So while “interaction” by itself doesn’t necessarily mean
anything (lots of people just like to interact, but will never
become clients), if you’ve got the opposite situation — no
clicks and no e-mail from readers — your message may be falling
on deaf ears.
5. What’s your e-mail open rate? I mention this one because I
know you’re paying close attention to it, although frankly it’s
not a very accurate measure of what’s going on. As a result of
a few technical developments over the last couple of years
(click here to read my newsletter from last year for more
details — scroll down to the “Interesting Tidbit” section),
this number has so much noise in it that it offers only a blurry
glimpse of how much your newsletter is really being opened. So
I’d keep an eye on open rate, but only in the context of all
these other pieces of the puzzle.
6. What’s your opt-out rate? Lots of people swear by this
statistic, and in particular, how low it usually is: “Our
newsletter must be good because we hardly ever get any
unsubscribes.” I don’t know. To me that makes about as much
sense as gauging the quality of your piano playing by tracking
how many rocks your neighbors throw through the window. Just
because your newsletter isn’t bad enough to complain about or
request removal from, it doesn’t mean anybody’s reading it.
With e-mail, it’s just as easy for the recipient to click delete
or assign your newsletter to the junk mail folder as it is to
unsubscribe. A low opt-out rate may only be measuring what it’s
measuring (if you get my drift).
Bottom Line: An E-Newsletter is an incredibly powerful and
effective marketing tool. However, because it contributes to
your business on so many different levels, in so many different
ways, and across a long period of time, it’s hard to put your
finger on one metric that tells the entire story.
If it’s bringing you the clients you want, that’s terrific —
keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s not, pay attention to
these other measures, and see if you can get a handle on
possible areas for improvement. Time for me to get my tail out
of here. . .

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Prevention and Detection of Dog Ear Infections

Prevention and Detection of Dog Ear Infections

ATH-E70 in-ear Monitors
Source: Flickr

Ear infections are a fairly common ailment for most dogs — the problem is, you might not realize that there is a problem until its a painful problem for your dog.


Do you see your dog shaking it’s head a little too often? Does your dog rub it’s ears with it’s paws, on the carpet, on the furniture, on your leg? Does your dog love it a little too much when you scratch it ears? These are all possible signs of an ear infection.

Did your dog used to love getting it’s ears scratched but now shies away from you when you reach for it’s ears? That’s a sure sign of an ear infection.

Here are two other signs of this particular trouble: You see what looks like dirt in your dogs ears and wonder what its been up to. Your dog has an unusually bad smell — even shortly after a bath.

That probably isn’t dirt in the dogs ears (unless its been messing around in some very dirty places) — its probably a build-up of ear wax and, if it is ear wax, that’s probably also the cause for the mysterious odor.

An excess of smelly ear wax would, in most cases, be caused by inflamed (infected) ceruminous glands (wax glands) in it’s ears. When these glands get infected they discharge extra amounts of ear wax. The excess ear wax causes the dogs ears to itch at first, that’s why the rubbing and the blissful look when you scratch it’s ears. After a while, if you don’t spot the problem and get the dog to a vet, the wax buildup will become painful and the dog won’t want you to touch its ears and the dog will become listless and probably not want to do anything except lay around — waiting for the pain to go away.

The scenario described above is a typical outer ear infection and outer ear infections are by far the most common dog ear infections. The medical name is Otits Externa — simply meaning “infection in the outer ear.” Just to complicate matters, you should know that dogs with ear infections often wind up with another problem — ear mites.


Your dog needs you to protect it from the pain of an ear infection and here’s how you can do it: don’t wait for the signs of an ear infection, check your dog’s ears at least once a week.

-Feel the skin on the inside (least haired side) of each ear. The skin should feel perfectly smooth — if this skin feels rough or grainy you might already have an ear infection problem on your hands.

-Look into the ear — you should see a normal (not red or swollen) looking ear canal. Worst case: you’ll see some type of yellow or dark discharge or possibly pus draining from the ear.

-Smell the ear — you should not smell anything unpleasant.

-If you see any signs of an ear infection, get your dog to a veterinarian.

-If you see a bit of wax or dirt in the ear but it doesn’t seem to be bothering the dog, clean it’s ears. Even if the ear looks clean and clear, and you haven’t cleaned the dog’s ears for a week or so, clean the ears.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

If you are not already cleaning your dogs ears on a regular basis, it may try to get away from you because it’s not sure what you are doing and afraid that whatever it is will hurt. Calm the dog down by petting it and talking gently to it — your tone of voice is always the key to your dog’s reactions. Once you’ve started cleaning it’s ears on a regular basis the do will get used to it and even appreciate the extra attention.

-Get an ear wash solution made specially for pets. Get it from a pet supply store or from your vet.

-Apply some ear wash solution to the inside of the dogs ears with a cotton ball or cotton-tipped swab. (Careful! Don’t have the cotton ball or swab dripping wet — you don’t want to get anything down in the ear canal.)

About now, your dog will want to shake it’s head to get the excess moisture out of it’s ears — it’s OK — let him or her shake it out.

-Take a fresh cotton tab with more of the ear-wash solution on it and clean the inside of the ear, around the folds and places where ear wax might build up.

Don’t get into cleaning deep down into the ear canal — that’s for a veterinarian to do. If you see any build-up of ear wax deep down, let your vet take care of it.

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Some Reasons Why Babies Cry

Some Reasons Why Babies Cry


Crying is a normal event in the lives of all babies. When a baby comes out of the woomb the first thing to do is crying. By the first cry he will take some air in to the lungs for the first time in their life.After delivery if the baby doesnot cry then it should be initiated by slightly pinching or gently strocking the feet. From this it is clear that the healthy baby should cry and it is a normal physiological event ,still some times it can upset the mother or family members.

We all know that a baby can’t tell his needs or troubles in words. The only way for him to communicate with others is by crying.Babies show some other signs like feet kicking,hand waving and head turning ect.But the best way to take the attention of others is by crying.

Excessive crying may not have a firm definition because the crying habit changes from baby to baby and some babies can be calmed easily but some are difficult to sooth.If crying is distressing for the mother and home nurse it can be called excessive.Many a times baby become quiet by giving breast milk or by carrying with a gentle rocking.Sudden onset of excessive crying means baby is distressed and needs attention.The causes of crying extends from simple reasons to life threatening conditions.Hence crying of a baby should not be ignored.

Most of the time it is difficult to find the cause of the cry. Common causes are discussed here for awareness.

Common reasons for crying:

1. Hunger:–

A hungry baby will cry till he gets the milk. Here the old saying comes true’crying baby gets the milk’.

2. Wetting:–

Urination and defecation causes some discomfort and results in crying till his parts are cleaned and made dry .

3. Company:–

Majority of the kids need somebody near. If they feel lonely they cry.When their favourite doll slips away from the grip they cry for help.

4. Tired:–

When the baby is tired after a journey and unable to sleep just cry simply.They feel tired in uncomfortable sourroundings and due to unhealthy climate.

5. Heat – Cold:–

If they feel too hot or too cold they become restless and cry. Child is comfortable in a room with good ventilation.

6. Tight Clothes:–

Tight cloaths especially during warm climate is intolerable for kids.Tight elastic of the the dress can also produce soreness in the hip region.

7. Dark room:–

When the baby wakes up from sleep he needs some dim light.If there is darkness he will disturb the sleep of parents by crying.Ofcourse he will be irritated by strong light resulting in cry.

8. Mosquito:–

Yes, these creatures disturb the sleep by their blood sucking and makes the baby cry.

9. Nasal blockage:–

Child may not be able to sleep when they have a cold and go on crying till the passage is open.

10. Phlegm in throat:–

This also causes difficult breathing resulting in cry.Often a typical sound can be heard with each breath.

11. General aching:–

Generalised body ache with restlessness is seen in flu and prodromal stages of some infectious diseases can result in continuous cry.

12. Habitual Crying:—Some babies cry without any real cause ending the parents in agony.Many a times doctor is called for help.

13. Nappy rash:– If a tight and wet nappy is kept for a long time results in this conditon.

Rash can also be due to some allergic reaction to the elastic material of the nappy. When the rash appears it causes soreness and baby become sleepless and cry. All other skin lesions like eczema,ecthyma ,candidiasis ect also causes same problems.

14. Ear Ache:–

Ear infection is common in wet climate.The infection may spread from the throat. Ear infection can result in rupture of ear drum causing discharge of pus. Ear ache usually becomes worse at night when lying down. Child will become restless with cry and may not allow you to touch the ear. Some children with earache rub the affected ear frequently.

15. Colic:–

When the baby cry continuously most of us diagnose it as colic.This roblem is still a topic for debate because exact cause for colic is not known and diagnosis is also difficult to confirm.Colic may be associated with rumbling and distention of abdomen.Child often feels better when lying on abdomen.Some children may not allow you to touch the abdomen.If the child cries continuously doctors help is needed.

16. Infections:–

All infections causes some kind of pain or irritation resulting in cry.Infection may be anywhere in the body.Usually it is associated with fever, redness and swelling.

17. Reactions to certain food:–

It is said that one man’s food is another man’s poison. Some food articles can produce some allergic reactions. Allergy is manifested in the form of redness, breathlessness,gastric symptons and continuous cry.

18. Hard stools:–

Constipated babies with hard stools may cry when they get the urge for stool.Some children hesitate to pass stool because of pain .

19. Gastro esophagial reflex:–

Here baby cries with spilling of food after feeding.If this continues it may be due to gastroesophageal reflex. This is due to failure of the lower part of esophagus to close after food causing regurgitation from the stomach.It is difficult to diagnose this condition and can be confirmed by giving antireflex medicines.

20. Dentition:–

During dentition child becomes restless with crying. Often associated with gastric troubles and diarrhoea.

Some rare reasons

1. Bowel obstruction:–

Bowel obstruction is associated with severe pain and vomiting.Abdomen is distended with rumbling sound.Baby is constipated with absence of flatus.

2. Septicemia:–

Invasion of pathogenic micro organisms in to the blood is called septicemia.Fever is associated with this condition.

3. Torsion of testes in male kids:–

When a male baby cries continuously his scrotum should be examined.Torsion of the testes produce severe pain which will be worse by touching the affected testes.When the testes is pressed upwards pain is releived.If this is not treated properly it can damage the affected testes due to lack of blood supply.

4. Meningitis:–

Initially there may not be fever,hence crying baby with alternate vacant stare and irritability should not be ignored. Fontanel is bulging. Neck rigidity and seizures may appear later.

5. Retention of urine:–

Children with retention of urine will have agonising pain making them restless.

7. Major injuries:–

Major injury to any parts of the body causes pain.Occasionally children will fall while arrying and results in head injury. Head injury is associated with reflex vomiting and convulsions.

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Keeping Active Pets Healthy During The Warm Weather

Keeping Active Pets Healthy During The Warm Weather

OpenEar. Arran 111
Source: Flickr

Getting back to nature may not always be the best thing for pets. In fact, medical claims data shows that as pets spend more time outside in warm weather, they are more likely to be injured, suffer from heat stroke or be affected by a number of other ailments.

Of course, that doesn’t mean pets need to be kept on a short leash just because it’s nice out. Pet owners just need to take some precautions.

“Pets are treated more frequently in the warm months due to their increased exposure to the outdoors. Warm weather exposes pets to more insects, higher temperatures and bodies of water, such as swimming pools, lakes and oceans,” says Dr. Carol McConnell, director of veterinary education and services for Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI). “High temperatures can lead to sunburn and heatstroke. Exposure to swimming pools can lead to ear infections or-worse-case scenario-a pet accidentally falling into a pool and drowning.”

Dr. McConnell says her company sees a significant spike in veterinary claims during the warmer months. In February of 2005, for instance, her company paid on 12 claims that involved a pet stepping on an object such as glass and injuring its paw. That number jumped to 76 claims in June and 87 in July. Some of these injuries most likely required surgery, which averages about $574 for canines and $337 for cats.

Dr. McConnell suggests offsetting those costs by keeping a watchful eye on your pet and by purchasing pet insurance.

“Protecting your dog or cat with a pet health insurance policy is not only a smart decision prior to warm weather months, but all year round,” she explains. Her company’s insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for thousands of medical problems and costly procedures relating to accidents, illness or injury. Optional Vaccination & Routine Care Coverage is available as well.

The following facts from Dr. McConnell explain some of the most common warm weather injuries to pets:

• Foreign Bodies-Foxtails, a type of grass with sharp points, are common in dry, warm months. The sharp points often become embedded into pet paws, ears, eyes or noses. As a penetrating foreign body, the foxtail inevitably causes an infection.

• Stings/Bites-Insects and spiders of all shapes and sizes come out of their hiding places in the warm weather months. Mosquitoes congregate near pools of water. Dr. McConnell recommends ridding your yard of even the shallowest pools of water (including the toddler’s pool) so mosquitoes don’t breed. Additionally, pet owners should keep their pets away from bees, wasps and woodpiles that may harbor spiders.

• Heatstroke-Dr. McConnell recommends keeping pets indoors as much as possible during the warmest hours of the day (usually 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Never leave your pet in the car unattended.

• Burns-Hot sidewalks can be downright painful for pets and could account for the rise in claims for burns, says Dr. McConnell. In addition to burns on the paws, sunburns are more common in hot months, especially on body areas not protected by fur or dark skin.

• Ear Infections-These are frequently caused by water getting trapped in a dog’s ear after swimming or bathing. If your pet is involved in water activities, speak to your veterinarian regarding specific ear-cleaning products that will help dry the ear canal after water exposure to prevent recurring ear infections.

• Near Drownings-Although relatively rare, cases of near drownings do increase in warm weather summer months. If this happens, be sure to keep the pet warm, and dry thoroughly with towels. Then, take the pet to the veterinarian immediately.