Book Review – The Crystal Castle by Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls proves in her astonishing memoir that poor parenting and abject poverty do not necessarily condemn children to a bleak future of the same. In Scribner’s 2005 “Castle of Glass”, Walls reveals the intimate details of her upbringing within a dysfunctional but loving family.

“The Glass Castle” immediately grabs you with an opening scene in which Walls, as an adult in New York City, sees her mother rummaging through a garbage container from the window of her taxi. Her mother is homeless, one of those bag ladies we all see, but now you suddenly have to wonder how she would feel if that was your mother hanging out on the fringes of our society.

From this shocking moment, Walls transports you to his first memory. She is three years old and suffers a terrible burn to her torso when her dress catches fire while boiling hot dogs on the stove. There is a long stay at the local hospital near where his family currently lives in Arizona while Walls recovers. To the hospital staff, parental negligence is obvious, but Jeannette does not associate the murmur of disapproval around her with her parents.

If any action by social services is planned, we will never know because his father, Rex Walls, plans an early discharge from the hospital in his trademark “Rex Walls style.” This means that you will grab your little one and skip the hospital bill that you have no intention or means to pay.

Jeannette takes her father, mother, older sister, and younger brother, and the family hits the road. It begins just one of many trips the Walls family ends up in rickety shacks and trailers throughout the deserts of Nevada, Arizona, and California. They stay somewhere for a while until Rex can’t pay the rent or doesn’t want to and they leave town and do it again.

Rex inspired the book’s title with the carefully crafted paper plans for his “castle of glass” that he hopes to one day build. She often reassures her children with the promise of this fantastic home. It’s going to be a solar powered house, but you need to raise the money to build it first, which involves numerous gold prospecting schemes that are doomed to fail. Because panning for gold never pays the bills, Rex also finds work as an electrician or handyman. He’s smart and mechanically talented, but his earnings are inevitably washed away by flash floods of drinking that leave his family perpetually destitute.

In an immersive narrative that plunges you deeper into an almost unimaginable existence of deprivation, we see how Jeannette and her siblings deal with their destructively alcoholic father and beg their mother to function and give them food. The mother, in fact, has a teaching degree, but can rarely crawl into employability. Although the various rural areas where they live are always desperate for a qualified teacher, the mother cannot bear the work and only occasionally keeps it, with the help of her children who get her out of bed.

The mother’s infrequent paychecks seldom make their way into the noisy bellies of her children. Rex will invariably claim his wife’s salary and go about squandering it.

This desperate state continues for years as the children of the Walls sleep in cardboard boxes instead of beds, endure intense fights between their parents and eat whatever they find. Their mother teaches them to swallow spoiled food by holding their noses.

But even amid these horrors of poverty and alcoholism, Jeannette Walls expresses genuine love within her family. They are loyal to each other, and Rex, in his sober moments, is wise, encouraging, and tender with his children.

In his memoirs, Walls brilliantly elaborates on his experiences so that we can see the transformation of consciousness that takes place as he grows older. As a child, she does not criticize her parents. She loves them and doesn’t realize how terribly private her life is. But as she and her siblings mature, they definitely realize that their parents’ shortcomings are not acceptable.

Jeannette’s teenage years are spent in West Virginia, where her father retires to his hometown after going completely broke in Arizona. Life for the Walls in West Virginia is gruesome as they occupy a shack at “93 Little Hobart Street.” The roof is leaking. The plumbing is not working. The Walls family buries their garbage and sewage in small holes that they dig. They hardly ever have food. Jeannette goes through high school pulling leftover sandwiches out of the trash, and Rex plays the town drunk. As misery defines their lives, Jeannette’s mother does the most infuriating things. When Jeannette and her brother find a diamond ring, they immediately want to sell it for food, but her mother keeps it to “boost her self-esteem.” And so they continue to starve.

As Jeannette Walls tells the story of her shameful upbringing, you will admire her perseverance and that of her siblings. The children of The Walls finally take charge of their own lives and support each other in normal adult life in a beautiful display of sibling closeness.

Each page of “The Crystal Castle” will surprise you with the shameless and selfish actions of parents who cannot and do not want to even try to take care of their children or themselves. Despite his gruesome parents, Walls rarely scolds them with his writing. His love for his parents is often manifested in painful dismay.

Much more happens throughout these astonishing memoirs than is mentioned here. “The Crystal Castle” is fascinating and an impossible book to put down. It is truly a storytelling masterpiece and far superior to the typical bestseller.

Lifestyle Fashion

Get rid of bad breath naturally with the essence of life: WATER!

Bad breath is an unacceptable situation. Not only does it spoil your professional life, it also has a profound and negative impact on your social life. Indirectly, your self-esteem and zest for life are miserably lowered. This condition is nothing new. People throughout the centuries have been suffering from bad mouth odor.

A brief observation on how bad breath is produced will not be out of place. At any given time, a large number of bacteria are present in the mouth. In people who have fresh, natural breath, these microorganisms are inactive. However, these microorganisms become activated when they are catalyzed by decaying food particle debris among dental cavities, unsanitary oral care, dry mouth, plaque and tartar, tobacco use, unregulated use of antibiotics, alcohol consumption, a unbalanced diet, liver and gastric disorders.

Get rid of bad breath naturally

If you are a victim of bad breath, help is at your fingertips. In fact, you can decisively get rid of this discomfort through natural means. There are many natural cures for mouth odor. Some of these natural recipes can cure your affliction in weeks, if not days.

Most of the time, keeping a clean and healthy mouth is the basic solution. Make sure your tongue is kept clean by rubbing the yellowish-white coating that you have with special attention towards your posterior dorsal segment. Also, brushing your teeth after every meal should fix the situation. Switching to a balanced, regular and healthy diet and drinking plenty of water will suffice.

Water is the very essence of life. So the more you consume it, the better for you. By doing so, your oral cavity remains moist and cool at all times, leaving no room for bacteria that thrive on decay to get a firm footing. Typically, it is suggested that one should drink half their body weight in regulated ounces every 24 hours. An example here would be that a person weighing 150 pounds needs an intake of approximately 75 ounces of this life-giving miracle. Your body must be well hydrated at all times.

All of this greatly helps neutralize the acidic formations that are friendly to bacteria in your mouth and leaves your breath fresh, natural, and neutral. Plus, you have an added option of consuming organic alkaline-based ingredients that are available in your kitchen, from time to time.

By observing the above-mentioned suggestions, you will not only eliminate bad breath, but improve your quality of life to radically change for the better. Always keep your mouth free of bad breath. Live life big and live it to its zenith.

Real Estate

Proof of funds for commercial real estate investors

Creative financing

When a commercial real estate investor is looking to purchase an income-generating property using any number of creative financing methods, one of the most important keys to their success is their ability to provide an adequate and verifiable proof of funds (POF) both to the seller as the lender. Verification of funds can improve investors’ credibility with the seller, as well as satisfy the requirement of lenders to know that the borrower has the necessary funds to complete their transaction.

Funds Test

There are a few acceptable ways for lenders and sellers to display POF to close your commercial real estate transaction:

  • Bank statements or bank verification
  • Brokerage or verification statements
  • Escrow account verification

“Bank Verification” This is the most acceptable and widely used method of confirming that investors can complete the proposed deal. As such, the money must be deposited into a bank account and confirmed by bank statements or letter from the banker. This is a “hard” (versus soft) verification method, because the money is deposited into an account in the buyer’s name to serve as proof that the buyer can complete the transaction.

“Brokerage Account Verification” Like bank accounts, brokerage accounts show acceptable means of completing a purchase transaction. Likewise, statements or a letter from the representative of the brokerage firm shall comply with the requirement of proving adequate financial soundness. This is also a “difficult” method.

“Escrow Account Verification” This is the only method that can be hard or soft proof of the assets required, as the escrow agent simply needs to write a letter of confirmation that the borrower has the necessary assets. finances available to complete the transaction. It becomes difficult when the money is transferred to an escrow waiting for the closing.


Finally, there are companies whose sole purpose is to provide evidence of the financial capacity of Commercial Real Estate Investors to complete their transactions. Many of them provide “Proof of Funds” and Transactional Financing. POF is required at the beginning of the deal and Transactional Financing is for the closing day only. Both methods are a necessary part of the investor arsenal when using creative financing.

Tours Travel

Florida vacation destinations

Florida is the place known for its beauty and fun-filled vacations. As you have already decided to go on vacation to Florida, the main requirement becomes a travel guide, which introduces you to the attractions and how to visit them all.

Florida, the sunny state is not only limited to the beauty of the beaches, the clear water and the sparkling snow, but much more. It is a state with diverse culture and beautiful people. Its rich arts and culture allow you to rediscover yourself and its splendid beauty revitalizes your mind. The ‘Sunshine State’ can be explored in three parts, South Florida, Central Florida, and North Florida.

North Florida is made up of beautiful cities and beaches. These cities give you the luxury of enjoying various water sports and recreational activities such as fishing.

Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, Miami and Key Largo are the major cities in South Florida. These cities are known for the beautiful beaches and nightlife. The number one beach in the world, Black Beach, is located in Miami. Miami and St. Petersburg are also popular as centers of arts and entertainment.

Central Florida features Tampa Bay, the home of Busch Gardens, and Orlando, the home of Disney World. You can also find Sea World in Orlando. In the east of Orlando is the popular Daytona Beach. From Daytona Beach, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is a short drive away. Florida vacations offer an exciting, exciting, and exciting experience. So pack your bags and explore the world of water and sand.

Arts Entertainments

8:07 AM – Beer, hot girls and hot tubs – What more could a guy ask for?

The city of Longview, Texas, is located off Interstate 20, a little over a hundred miles east of Dallas. It’s a city of about 70,000 people, and lately a lot of them have been talking about what’s going on at a local business called Don’s Fly Thru Beer Barn.

You see, Don had a problem. His business requires people to sit in their car and drive through a long, garage-like building where customers can buy beer without getting out of their car. But when the traffic slowed down a bit, people got impatient and left, not buying Don’s beer.

Don must have sat down and thought about what he learned at Disney World. Now those people have a system. If you’ve been there, you know that the stagnant lines for rides and other attractions are made more bearable thanks to television monitors with things to see, and even cartoonists and other acts that distract people in the crowd while they are in line. Disney rule: If you entertain the people in line, they are not so irritable about how long it is taking them.

So Don put in a jacuzzi. A very nice one, from the look of the photos. Then he got some girls in the tub so now the people waiting in line would have someone to talk to. Or at least mind you, if they were shy about that kind of thing.

Now this is strictly a G-rated hot tub, no naked women, just very attractive women in swimsuits, straw hats, and big, friendly smiles. The ladies are known as “Don’s Darlings” and they are causing a stir in the city, as well as improving Don’s business. He says the hot tub trick is making him a lot of money.

A local TV station even posted a video feature on Fly Thru Beer Barn and of course the local newspaper is happy to provide some images.

If you’re interested in seeing Don’s new marketing idea in action, we have links to the hot tub video and images on our website.

Don Talley is the very creative owner of Beer Barn. She says that most of the women are single mothers and she is helping them by offering them honest work. An ad in a local newspaper said it was offering health benefits and even cosmetic surgery. They work eight hours a day, and Don seems to have no problem finding women who are willing to fill the bathtub. And no wonder, how many jobs can you find where you get paid to sit all day in a hot tub in the sun, tanning and flirting with men?

It turns out that sex sells, or at least keeps male customers long enough to buy beer. But this is not a hot tub, no one is naked and is considered quite harmless by most people in the area. You will probably see more skin in a pool.

Always an entrepreneur, Don says that sometimes his Fly Thru Beer Barn clients get a gift too: once a week he gives the women a day off and tends to the bathtub with handsome men.


Technology ROI: process mapping

(I want to thank Kathie Topel for her contribution to this article).

The state of project management

In 2015, a survey by portfolio management provider Innotas showed that 55% of IT projects had failed in the past 12 months. By 2017, just two years later, the numbers had improved and only 6% of projects were considered failures. Today, IT projects are delivered on time and on budget, yet up to 24% are considered “underperforming”; projects that do not provide the necessary business benefits. Frankly, projects that don’t deliver commercial benefits might as well not get implemented in the first place. The money spent on those projects could have been better used elsewhere.

So why is this “underperformance” occurring?

One of the key elements is the lack of executive sponsorship. Too often, a large multi-year project is started with great fanfare and with the laser focus of the executive sponsor. Unfortunately, a crisis occurs (could anyone have predicted Covid-19 in 2020?), Or some other major event and the executive sponsor loses its focus on the big project.

But there are ways to minimize, if not eliminate, this from happening.

Business alignment

When a company is aligned, that means that all levels and players are clear about the purpose of the organization and make decisions accordingly. The company’s resources, strategies, management systems and communications are aligned with that purpose.

You would think that any IT project would align with the Business, but this is not the case. I think this happens because it takes a lot of work to really understand how IT features and capabilities can enable a business to achieve its strategic goals, and this hard work doesn’t happen. While the executive may be quite knowledgeable about the technology, it is the vendor and front-line workers who best understand the current process and the capabilities of the new software or system.

However, the front-line worker may not have a good understanding of how software capabilities can help achieve key business goals.

The key to a successful IT project, one that greatly benefits the business, is to take the business drivers, the critical success factors, of a company and discover how these drivers can be broken down into metrics (key performance indicators) that will drive the business forward. Metrics that can provide clear actions that need to be taken.

Each industry has its own critical success factors; We will examine two industries below.

Let’s take the example of an airline. One of the key factors for the profitability of an airline is the response time at the gate. Why is this important? The faster the aircraft change occurs at the gate, the more aircraft will be able to use that gate. The more planes use that gate, the more flights will take place. More flights mean more profit. In addition, a faster response time increases customer satisfaction from departure or landing on time.

In the case of a fast food restaurant, drive-through duration is a critical success factor. Customers don’t want to sit in a drive-through for 20 minutes. It doesn’t matter if there are 3 cars or 30 cars in the drive-through, no customer wants to wait more than a few minutes. Experiencing a long wait time means that the customer will go to a different fast food restaurant next time. The shorter the length of service, the more customers can be served and the more profitable the restaurant will be.

First step to business alignment: creating a process map

Let’s dive into the fast food restaurant illustration. Fast food restaurants (also known as quick service restaurants) get more than 50% of their income from drive-through, so shortening the duration is key to a successful restaurant. The first step in reducing transit time is to map out the current transit process. At a high level it is:

1. Taking the order

2. Taking the money

3. Preparing the food

4. Delivery of food (handing it to the person).

So how do you shorten the drive-through time in these 4 areas? Would service time decrease if the teller were twice as fast? While it may be desirable to have a faster cashier, the amount of time saved would be negligible (along with the greater possibility of error taking orders). The best approach is to step back and look at the process holistically using process mapping.

Process mapping along with the duration of each process will reveal that the order taking process can be divided into two subparts. 1) The customer decides what he wants 2) verbalizes the order. The second part is pretty quick for most clients. Whether 3 or 6 items are ordered, the time difference is slight. But the first part, that the client decides what he wants, especially if it is a family with small children, can take many minutes. With a single tour, the entire line stops, until Junior decides if he wants a Happy Meal or a Big Mac (in the case of McDonalds). But with two passing lanes, Junior (lane 1) can take as long as he wants. People in lane 2 are happy as they are not lagging behind and can jump ahead of junior because they ordered first.

Anything that contributes to critical success factors should be viewed as an area for improvement.

In future articles, we will discuss how technology can be used for critical success factors.


The new ABT Volkswagen Tiguan with concave truck wheels and engine tuning

One of the most popular segments in the automotive market is the CUV or compact utility vehicle. Like the SUV, the CUV offers a greater amount of space and luggage capacity, but with better fuel economy and a more car-like ride quality. These features have made them quite popular in the automotive market, leading many companies to invest in CUV models. Volkswagen was a company that has tried to tap into the CUV market with its new Tiguan. Based on the Golf chassis, the Tiguan offers SUV-like capability with a sportier feel. But there are still those who crave even more sport, which is why the ABT Sportsline team created a new upgrade program for the Volkswagen Tiguan that gives it even better performance and style. The program includes new engine tuning software, chassis modifications, concave truck wheels, and new exterior styling enhancements.

The first aspect of the Volkswagen Tiguan model range that the ABT Sportsline team focused on were diesel and gasoline engines. Three 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbodiesel engines are available in the Volkswagen Tiguan with outputs of 110, 140 and 170 horsepower as standard. With the ABT Power package including a variety of modifications including a software tuning, the engines end up producing a total of 140, 170 and 195 horsepower in total for better acceleration and top speed performance. Next was the line of gasoline engines, three of which displace 1.4 liters and the top-of-the-line displaces 2.0 liters and uses a turbocharger. The 1.4-liter engines producing a stock of 122, 150 and 160 horsepower generate a total of 160, 180 and 210 horsepower after the ABT Power upgrade package with software adjustments. The latest 2.0 TFSI turbocharged engine with 180 horsepower power output sends a total of 230 horsepower to the truck’s four concave wheels after the ABT Power upgrade.

The next step was to update the exterior design of the Volkswagen Tiguan. Here, ABT Sportsline engineers and designers teamed up to create a sleek, sporty look using new bodywork. The front fascia uses a new grille and spoiler lip to create downforce, while each side of the CUV features new door inserts, vents, and side skirts that sit between the truck’s new concave wheels. The rear of the Tiguan is finished off with a new bumper insert and a roof spoiler.

The final upgrade package was for the Tiguan chassis. ABT Sportsline installed a set of new sport lowering springs to lower the overall center of gravity for better handling dynamics and a new set of wheel spacers on the front and rear axles. They then installed a set of concave truck wheels that give the Tiguan a more muscular stance and then fitted them with new high-performance tires for better grip.

Digital Marketing

The nuts and bolts of a business plan

Do you need investors? Looking for a loan? Do you want to apply for a scholarship? Or is it just time to do a self-review of your business? Are you expanding your business? Looking for new markets? Looking for the next level in your business? Are these all the times you need a business plan? What are the nuts and bolts of a business plan?

All business plans have more or less the same sections, some even have the same content.

However, when they get to the investor’s or lender’s table, some stay where they are and some move onto the “I’ll read it later” pile or worse, the trash can! So how can you make your business plan readable and memorable for the best reasons?

Let’s see what the core of a business plan really is. A business plan is a methodology that defines and integrates the activities that are necessary for a business idea to become a company and provides expectations that demonstrate that it will be profitable. That is, it is the hook to get an investor and tell him that your idea is innovative and will be very profitable. Keep those two important words in mind: innovative and profitable. No investor will be interested in a company that will not be profitable enough to return your investment plus a very healthy profit. Now what might be an interesting word: innovative. For a company to be successful it must have something that is different from all other companies working in the same market. After all, if your company is going to be the same as all the others, they will hardly budge and let you take their customers. No, your company must have something different that keeps these customers away from what they buy all the time. So innovative in some way, be it products, business model or service.

Let’s add another word that you need to demonstrate within your business plan: feasible. Your investor or lender wants to see that your business is viable. If you do a Google search on the “Internet bubble” of around 1995, you will see that thousands of investors invested and slowed down the new Internet companies that promised to make them millions of dollars in easy profits. The memories are long and investors now hope to see that the startups will be viable in the visible future so that they continue to receive an income stream and have a good chance of recouping their loan or investment.

Your business plan should be a communication tool that sells an original idea that serves to attract and convince people that you have the ability to implement the plan by establishing and managing the business.

At the beginning we highlight other reasons for business planning. In addition to fundraising, your business plan is also the best tool for evaluating the viability of your business.

So that’s the NUTS of a business plan, let’s take a look at the BOLTS that hold it together:

Professional: Internally it should be well structured with an index, page numbers, headings and bulleted paragraphs explaining complex issues. Lots of graphics break the boredom of too many words. Externally, it should be expertly bound and have a colorful and attractive cover. It stands to reason that full company details and contact information are on the cover as well.

Tempting. Written in a way that encourages the reader to evaluate the possibilities of entering the business. Take care of the writing style, be concise but not short and certainly not so verbose that fatigue draws attention. Get to the point, extract extraneous information that doesn’t support your business planning or business model. Avoid jargon, and if you must use initials, make sure the first example is spelled completely with the initials in parentheses below.

Dynamic. You have to be creative, but in some moderation. It is best if you tell a story but not one that is in the fiction section of a library. If your proposed business doesn’t invite big blooms, save them. It can be counterproductive to distract the reader. Creativity is important as long as it highlights something about the business and is there to hold the reader’s attention. Creativity should only be used to paint a picture of how the company will operate in the future.

Precise. Clarity is critical, but so is accuracy and truthfulness about the current state of your business and your future goals. The reader offers a bit of license, but they expect you to be honest about your numbers, customer numbers, and production status of your products.

Tidy. Guide your reader through your business plan and place supporting documentation in the report’s appendix. While key information should be in the main sections of the report, secondary data, market research results, professional résumés, and any letters of recommendation or favorable reports can be included in the annexes.

The last big SCREW that will hold your business plan together is CARE. Your business plan isn’t just something you have to rush to get your financing. It is the description of how your business looks now and how you want it to look in the future. Most business plans start with about 20 pages for a small business setting up in the world to a maximum of 50 pages for a business seeking significant funding. Whatever the size of your business plan, and you practice writing complex ideas succinctly, it should be written with care; after all, a good business plan is a roadmap to business success!

Health Fitness

Skimboarding as a fun sport to improve your fitness

Skimming is done by standing on the board while gliding across the shallow water surface of the beach. Tricks like ollies, fist twists, and pushes are often performed by both beginners and more experienced insiders.

If you love spending time on the beach and are looking for a fun way to get some exercise, skimboarding is your sport. It is a full body exercise that works all the muscles in your body, increasing your strength and endurance.

This sport can also be practiced on wet sand, which is ideal for beginners trying to perfect their technique. It’s a great way to gather a group of friends to enjoy exercise without feeling like you have to strain through a boring gym routine.

A technique known as flatland skimming requires you to stand up on your board and drive it to shore in the outflow waters of the previous wave. The best time to do this is at low tide, when the beach is most exposed.

Your first challenge with this sport will be learning to get on the moving board once you have thrown it to slide across the surface of the water. Once you have mastered this technique, you can move on to more difficult tricks.

A popular maneuver is known as Wrap, which involves learning to twist your body and shift your weight so that when you hit a wave, you and your board turn to ride the wave back to shore. More advanced skimmers can really ride the barrel of the wave all the way to shore.

Lifestyle Fashion

Human parasites: explanation of the 8 most common parasitic symptoms

When human parasites have invaded your body, it may not always be clear that they have. This article looks at the common symptoms that you are likely to experience during a parasitic invasion and explains why you are experiencing them and what is happening in your body. Once you learn to pay attention to these subtle clues and signals, you will be better prepared to detect and stop the harmful human parasite infections that can be at the root of many of your health problems.

Chronic fatigue: While the parasites are in your intestines, they effectively feed off the food you eat, stealing all the nutrients, minerals, proteins, vitamins, etc. of your food before your body has a chance to absorb it. This leaves you in a constant state of fatigue, sometimes accompanied by impaired memory and concentration.

Grinding your teeth at night: Abnormal grinding of the teeth at night has been linked to parasitic infections and may be the result of the body’s nervous system responding to foreign internal irritation.

Allergies: When parasites feed on and damage the intestinal lining, this allows large undigested particles to pass through membranes that would otherwise be impermeable. This, in turn, triggers the body’s immune response, signaling inflammatory agents that, in turn, trigger an allergic reaction.

Skin rash: Parasitic worms can cause inflammation, hives, rashes, and other itchy outbreaks on the skin that resemble an allergic reaction. Many parasites enter the human body through our protective skin and into the bloodstream.

Sleep disorder: Some intestinal parasites come out of and around the anus at night to lay eggs, causing an irritating and uncomfortable itch around the anus. These parasites, due to their nocturnal activity, tend to cause sleep disturbances.

Excess gas: Because intestinal parasites eat, they also release toxins within our intestines. Combined with inflammation caused by constant parasitic irritation of the body’s intestinal lining, the results tend to be continuous abdominal gas, bloating, and discomfort.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is often the body’s defensive response to rid itself of unwanted foreign organisms, but in some cases it may even be the parasites themselves that trigger the response to diarrhea. Parasites can cause a drop in chloride and sodium levels, resulting in watery stools.

Constipation: Some of the larger parasitic worms can literally block the intestines, leading to constipation and infrequent bowel movements. After a while, these stuck foods start to break down in your intestines and this can lead to serious health problems along with great discomfort.