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Expert Author Peter Demmon

If you are reading this article, chances are that you have been looking around online for a definitive answer to the question in the title. If there is any one thing that I can tell you, it is this: It is perfectly fine to bathe your dog. The "how often" part of the question is as individual as you or your pet dog however. It is good to keep in mind that dogs aren't like humans. They don't require a daily rinse off.

Where you keep your dog is a big part of this whole topic. If your dog is an outside dog, or spends a lot of time outside, then the chances of him getting into something dirty are greater than if you keep him inside. But sometimes, it doesn't matter where the dog stays because that doggy smell might still be a problem.

If you are considering bathing your dog, then probably your dog has gotten into something that needs to be washed off of him, or that doggy smell has finally gotten to you. Another reason might be that someone in your household is allergic to dog dander, that would definitely be great reason to bathe your dog. Whatever the case may be, there are two important factors that you have to remember when bathing a dog.

1. Use a dog-friendly shampoo. There has been a lot of research over the past several years regarding what shampoos are good for a dog and what are not. The general finding is that human grade shampoo, soaps, and conditioners are not good for your dog at all. They will tamper with, compromise and possibly eradicate the natural oils in your dog's coat. Detergents are very rough on dog skin. It is worth your time to do the legwork and find some dog-friendly shampoo and conditioner for your dog's coat. This will help to not strip all of the dog's natural oils out when you wash his coat.

2. Put cotton balls in your dog's ears! You don't need to jam them in, but put them directly underneath the ear flap. That is all you need to absorb any extra water. It is amazing how few people follow this very simple and time-honored strategy. Dogs are extremely prone to ear infections. Sometimes dogs fight this step of the process though. If you cannot get your dog to tolerate the cotton balls, then be extremely careful about how you clean your dog's head. A routine bath shouldn't become a trip to the vet's office.

Some owners bathe their dogs every three months. Other dog owners do the bathing ritual every two to three weeks. Some feel that they should never bathe their dogs unless it is unavoidable. I even talked to a professional dog breeder who shows his dogs about this subject. He told me that when they are being shown, his dogs are bathed about once a week. When they aren't, it might be once a month. The different kinds of dogs (short hair, long hair, curly hair, heavy undercoat, etc) really play into this as well. I talked to a guy with a short-haired dog who bathes her once every 3 months. I talked to a woman who takes her dogs to the beach daily. She bathes closer to once every two weeks. Her rationale is that she sleeps with her dogs, and she hates that dirty ocean doggy smell in her bed!

One of the most interesting things that dog owners told me time and time again was that the doggy smell that is getting on your nerves might have nothing to do with the dog simply being dirty, but it might also have to do with diet. If you are feeding your dog decent food that isn't grain based, then the dog's digestive system is healthier and if that is the case, then the dog will be less smelly. The arguments against grains in dog food are paramount. Yet dog food companies still pump corn, wheat and soy into their dog foods as a cheap filler. Check the ingredients on the side of the dog food that you get for your dog.

The original argument has been that too much bathing would strip your dog's coats of essential oils. If your dog's natural fur oils have been stripped away, there is a lot of potential for dry, itchy skin, and a dull coat. However, there are a couple of specially made products just for this kind of situation. There are specially made dog shampoos that do their best to leave the essential coat oils on the dog and not washing down the drain. Another common solution for cleaning your dog's fur pet wipes. If your dog is getting that doggy smell, or if you are worried about too much dander or shed hair, a pet wipe might be the proper solution. Pet wipes are also good for removing filth from your dog's paws, if he has stepped on something that is dirty. Pet wipes will also clean the dog's coat and pull out any loose hairs or offensive material. Plus, pet wipes tend to smell pretty good too (make sure that you get organic pet wipes!), so your dog will be smelling fresh.

There is no concrete answer to the question of how often your dog should be bathed. It basically boils down to your tolerance level when the dog's smell starts to get "too doggy." The only absolute that this article can give you is that it is indeed OK to bathe your dog. Just be sure that you use the right products when you do. Stay away from human soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and actual detergents. Dogs have extremely sensitive skin, and the wrong cleanser will dry them out. Also, pay attention to your dog's diet and consider getting away from one that is grain based. Sometimes that doggy smell is a result of diet and not dirt!

 

Expert Author Rebecca Shelly

The reasons for blood in your dog's urine or stool may not be a serious health concern. Is your dog outside quite a bit and does he or she have access to twigs, sharp objects of plastic or even garden tools that may have splintered causing injury to the lining of the intestinal track. This type of bleeding would likely last only a day or two. Did your dog eat an animal or have a wound somewhere else on his body that they may have licked, thus ingesting blood? Even rawhide treats can swell inside your dog's stomach causing intestinal distress as it passed through the digestive system. Be aware rawhide cannot be digested at all.

Blood color also can give you an indication. Have you noticed if the blood was a bright red or was it dark red, almost black? Bright red blood is generally from the colon or rectum. Blood that becomes darker has been digested (higher in the intestinal track, or stomach) thus causing it to become discolored. Many times it is hard to tell if the blood is in the urine or feces, so collect a sample of both the feces and urine and take it to your veterinarian for testing.

Some reasons for blood in your dog's urine or stool can include a minor problem like an allergy or a more serious health concern like cancer or dog bladder stones. The following list shows the broad range of causes of blood in the urine or stool.

--Straining because of constipation

--Food allergies which can lead to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) also called Colitis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

--Parasites

--Polyps which are not cancerous

--Parvovirus

--Bladder cancer and other diseases

--dog bladder stones

--Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Many times blood in your dog's urine can be blamed on dog bladder stones or a UTI infection. Your veterinarian can run the correct tests to determine the cause of the blood, the treatment and how to prevent future problems. You can also take the steps necessary to prevent further dog bladder stones by using the correct diet that is prescribed along with supplements.

Supplements that help to maintain or improve your pets' immune system can help fight off infections and delay future disease. If your dog does not have a strong immune system, and are prone to dog bladder stones and infections, they will be unable to avoid continued urinary problems; or for that matter other health issues like cancer.

 

Expert Author Peter Demmon

When considering a new dog food, there are several items that should be on the list. Your dog's food should be free of overly processed meats, high levels of plant protein, cheap vegetables, and cancer-causing preservatives. Unfortunately, a lot of the pet food industry is built around easy profits as a result of compromises in those four areas. In most cases, it isn't a moral issue, but it is good to consider the company that you purchase your pet food from and what their philosophy is on the products that they make available for purchase.

First a lot of consideration should be used regarding the type of meat going into the product. If the meat is labeled as a "meal"on the side of the package (for example, "chicken meal") a dog owner should be aware that this is not the kind of chicken that he would sit down to eat at the dinner table. Chicken meal is basically the remains of a chicken that has been parted out. The parts of the chicken that we are familiar with (the breast and the leg meat) tend to be mostly missing. What is left is a some chicken meat and skin. A lot of skin actually. The most disturbing part of a chicken meal though has to do with a significant portion of what else is thrown into the vat and cooked before it becomes the high-protein pellets known as chicken meal.

4-D animals could be a high percentage of the meat meal in the food you serve your pet. A 4-D animal, is an animal that was either dead, dying, diseased or disabled. Some feel that if dogs were left to their own devices in the wild, that 4-D animal matter is precisely the type of meat that they would consume. The answer is debatable. But the question remains, how much does the use of 4-D animals push the profit margins of corporate pet food companies up?

Whether pet owners know about meat meal or not, might be beside the point. The only real issue that I see here is the integrity of the pet food companies themselves. If 4-D meats can be purchased for significantly less than regular meat, then what is to stop a pet food company from using as much 4-D product as possible to keep their margins up? 4-D meats might very well be one of the most profit making aspects of pet food. In short, a pet owner should have a good comprehension of the philosophy behind the company that makes the pet foods that you buy.

While researching this article, I did in fact contact the FDA. After a bit of back and forth, I did receive confirmation of what is said in the above two paragraphs. The FDA zeroed in on the definition a bit more, citing that these foods shouldn't be in a state of decomposition and should contain zero toxins or chemical substances. Most interesting was the argument that the FDA allows this usage of 4-D animals because they see a benefit in using the meat product, rather than wasting it.

There are a few pet food companies that make their pet foods with free-range, table-grade poultry, however. What does this mean? A big part of it (perhaps the biggest of all) is that the chickens are allowed to do what chickens do for the bulk of their lives until they are gathered for pet food. But this is reflected with the cost of the pet food. Obviously, if you care about your animal, the higher grade, possibly pricier pet foods shouldn't be a deterrent. It seems obvious that in the long run, these foods are better for your pet anyway.

Another issue that should be considered when on the market for a new dog food is the carbohydrate ingredients that are included. This is where a lot of dog owners part ways with varied philosophies. Some feel that dogs are technically carnivores, and should have meals that are strictly meat-based, or extremely close to that of a carnivorous diet. Some pet food companies have focused on the protein aspect of this and use cheaper vegetable proteins (such as soy) in order to make the guaranteed analysis of their product look like there is much more meat protein than there really is. The label on the side of the dog food bag is crucial. Pet food companies have also made their extensive ingredient lists available online, all a potential customer has to do is use Google to find the company and the information. This is a good thing, and could be a key issue in the health of your dog.

Dog allergies have skyrocketed over recent years, and the inclusion of filler ingredients such as corn, soy and wheat coincides with all of the various grain allergies that dogs have come down with of late. If you take a cursory look at the ingredients in the pet foods at your local supermarket, you will find that some of these pet food companies are so blatant about their inclusion of these lesser grains that these grains are at times the first on the ingredients list! Mild allergies in your pet dog, while not life threatening, can make his life miserable. Some filler ingredients that pet food companies are notorious for adding corn, wheat and soy to their dog food products. While these ingredients aren't bad in and of themselves as a regular part of your dog's diet, they can prove to be problematic. Some of the more common allergic reactions to pet foods are nose congestion, hot spots and rashes, lots of unnecessary scratching and licking and general lethargic behavior.

The addition of inexpensive grains and vegetables to dog food isn't the only culprit for dog allergies though. Artificial colors, artificial flavors and some preservatives can also add to the allergies of your dog. Pet foods have to use some sort of preservative agent in order to ensure that the product stays relatively fresh through transit and then on the shelf for a substantial amount of time. There are some pet food companies that recognize these artificial flavors, colors and preservatives as potential allergens and these companies use organic, even holistic alternatives (specifically with regards to preservatives) in order to make sure that their customer's pets don't have to deal with chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients.

The theory behind using unhealthy preservatives in pet food (allegedly) is that these chemicals won't really affect the pet because of their limited quantity. It seems that for some companies, the fact that the food is preserved is much more important than the toxicity that the chemicals may possess. Some of the more dangerous chemicals that can be used as a preservative are BHA and BHT, which are potentially cancer-causing. BHA is known to cause cancer in humans. Furthermore, both preservatives are toxic to the liver and kidneys. Even if some of the preservatives aren't outright cancer-causing agents, chemicals like ethoxyquin (another favored preservative) can be found in a pet's liver and tissues months after consuming it. Ethoxyquin is technically a pesticide. There has been a general request by the FDA to reduce the amounts of ethoxyquin used in pet foods, but the fact that it still remains and is still indeed being used by some. Pet owners really should check the ingredients on the side of the bag of pet food that they feed their animal.

There are several natural preservatives that can be used in order to maintain a pet food's freshness. Such botanicals as fennel, peppermint, fenugreek, vitamin E, and rosemary are used in pet foods that are steering away from chemicals and other man-made processes in order to preserve food.

Looking for a new dog food for your pet can be difficult, but with the right comprehension of the potential dangers that are being packaged, a diligent pet owner can make the right decisions. A thinking consumer will pay close attention to the meat product, plant protein, vegetables, and preservatives. Also, it is a good idea to research the company that you buy from. Sometimes independent companies are a lot better and wholesome than corporate companies.

 

Expert Author Peter Demmon

Hopefully, you will never have to deal with a pet dog that has a brain tumor. If you ever do, this article should give a decent thumbnail sketch about what your pet might go through. A brain tumor exhibits specific symptoms, is relatively manageable, but is an incurable affliction. A brain tumor might be one of the saddest misfortunes that a dog can suffer through. There are several different methods for treating a dog with such a tumor, but the reality is that your dog will never be the same again.

Technically, the words "brain tumor" means a growth in the brain. Unfortunately, this definition has been sullied with the assumption that it is only cancer related. However, a brain tumor can simply mean an abnormal growth of tissue on the brain. A primary brain tumor is the result of brain cells growing abnormally within the brain and its membranes. The other kind is a cancer that has spread to the brain from elsewhere in the body. In the case of a cancerous tumor, there is no true cure that guarantee 100% remission. In fact, most brain tumors cannot be cured, but can only be treated.

Brain tumors can affect the forebrain, the brainstem and the cerebellum (just above the brainstem). That is to say, the front of the brain, the back of the brain and the tube that leads to the brain. Tumors affect each area of the brain differently. If a tumor is plaguing a dog's brain, there is a general series of symptoms that can take place depending on the location of the tumor. It is wise to suspect a brain tumor if your dog is over 5 years old and has developed any negative neurological signs. A seizure is one of the key signs that your dog is suffering from a neurological disorder. Other visible neurological disorders might be the loss of balance, wobbly walking, difficulty swallowing, facial paralysis, head tilting leaning in a direction, loss of sight or hearing, loss of balance, head-shaking, difficulty jumping, spastic motions, eyes opening and closing strangely, weakness, a general lack of proper coordination, or even paralysis. If any of these behaviors are exhibited with an older dog, it is a good idea to at least check-in with a vet and see what might be afoot.

Neurological disorders are rather easy to define, but there is a subset of other behaviors that could start that would take a much more discerning owner to connect the dots in a brain tumor direction. Some of these symptoms might include the loss of memories (not following commands so well), an obvious onset of depression, an increased or decreased appetite or thirst, uninspired aggression, vomiting, irritability, loss of bladder control,, and even can all be potential signals. Sometimes the dog acts like they are actually in pain, whimpering. One of the most interesting symptoms however, is the pressing of their head against hard surfaces (possibly to ease pressure?).

There are no known preventative measures for a brain tumor. They just happen. Age seems to be a common denominator though, with 95% of canine mengiomas (slow growing tumors that put pressure on the brain) occurring in dogs over 7 years old. Sometimes, the dog might go for a substantial amount of time with a tumor on their brain unbeknownst to the dog's owner. Because such tumors are slow growing, the brain is in a position to adjust and possibly offset negative symptoms for a period of time.

It is unfortunate that dogs can't talk and owners are left to make a determination if the behavior is serious based on their dog's behavior. A dog owner shouldn't blame themselves or their lifestyle for the tumor. Nor should they hold it against themselves for not knowing sooner. The onset of behaviors such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph can happen quickly or slowly over a period of time. Furthermore, a benefit to your dog is the fact that your dog has no idea what is happening.

The only way to truly be sure that your dog has a tumor on his brain is to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) administered, which is basically a brain scan. A tissue biopsy is needed to determine if the tumor is cancerous. It is also a good idea to get your dog a complete physical and some routine blood work. Without treatment the average survival time for a brain tumor is 6-10 months. With some treatment, a dog's life can be increased up to 2 more years. Solutions are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and Palliative (pain relieving, usually steroids such as dexamethasone, prednisone, and methylprednisolone to stop the swelling) care, also, a regimen of anti-epileptic drugs to control seizures. Possible solutions are surgery (where the tumor is cut out), radiation therapy, and chemotherapy

While there isn't a preventative method or even a clear-cut definition as to the causes of brain tumors in dogs, we can use the causes for human brain tumors as a template. While some may be a bit extreme, the general assumption is that brain tumors in humans are caused by the following: genetics, radiation exposure, serious head injuries, pesticides, cancer-causing solvents, electromagnetic fields, and possibly even nitrosamines (found in processed meats). The theories are so broad that some feel that brain tumors could be the result of any number or combination of diet, environment, genetic, chemical or immune system factors.

One of the ugliest things a dog owner can go through with their pet is dealing with a brain tumor. There are a lot of signs that point to the existence of a brain tumor, but the diagnosis is what a dog owner needs. Unfortunately, the solutions are merely extensions in time and not an absolute solution. There are several different methods for treating a dog with a brain tumor, and hopefully someday there will be more than just a list of symptoms and methods to manage such a disease.

 

Expert Author Rebecca Shelly

Don't you wish your cat could just talk to you when he or she is not feeling well? Of course the opposite happens because by design cats try to hide their illness so predators do not hunt them for dinner! It is up to you, as their protector, to find out if they are ill. A veterinarian visit might be in order especially if there are symptoms of pain or lethargic traits such as hiding and sleeping continuously.

When your cat has glassy eyes, a fever, and won't respond to you as usual, medication may be needed for an infection that has gone on too long or some other illness that needs immediate attention. Your cat may have ingested a foreign object or poison. Warfarin is a danger to pets and an ingredient in mouse and rat poison often used in households and outdoor neighborhoods.

If you found blood in your cat's stool it may or may not be something that is life threatening. It could be as simple as constipation. This occurs frequently when there is a lack of moisture in their diet or they simply are not drinking enough water. When your cat is constipated, tissue in the rectum becomes irritated and small tears can cause blood to appear when they finally do pass a stool. Hemorrhoids can cause bleeding in the rectum especially if the diet is lacking in fiber and water content. Many of today's commercial cat foods are lacking in moisture and "real" food, i.e. meat. If your cat is eating only dry food they are probably dehydrated which leads to many problems like constipation and urinary tract infections, along with other illnesses. Change your cat's diet to include canned food (which contains much-needed moisture) approved by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) so that you know your cat is receiving optimum nutrients for health. Always make sure your cat has fresh clean water available. Cats love those fountains that keep the water circulating so you may want to invest in one especially if your cat has constipation and urinary tract problems.

Reasons for blood in cat stool can also be caused by colitis or inflammation of the colon. Many times this is a result of dairy products, prepared human food that may have spices or additives, food allergies, intestinal parasites, bowel diseases and bacterial infections like Salmonella or E. coli can all cause inflammation in the colon.

Another factor for blood in cat stool could be stress. Are your kids chasing the cat? Does he have a place to relax and hide from unwanted loud noises? Is he petted and played with on a daily basis so he feels loved? Has something in your household changed? Cats do not like change and can develop stress and odd behaviors because of it.

You may also want to supplement their diet with something that contains vitamins or herbal remedies which will help them maintain a healthy immune and digestive system thus helping them to fight off infections and reduce stress.

 

Expert Author NB Humble

Although here I am going to refer specifically to radio controlled helicopters, much of what I have written in this article can be applied to nearly all remote control models.

Almost everyone will have, I am sure, heard that radio controlled helicopters are the most amazing fun. They are totally exhilarating to fly. It is the most exciting, thrilling and at the same time challenging hobby that you can engage in. You only have to take a look at any one of the many YouTube videos of a 'professional' flying aerobatics in an RC helicopter to appreciate this. I guarantee you that the first time you see one you will stand back in jaw-dropping wonder. Even a very average pilot is great to watch.

This is one hobby that you can certainly get totally engrossed in, and that is something that almost everyone benefits from today. Let's face it, we all need something to take us away from the daily stresses and strains of life; away from our worries of work, family and finances to name but a few. Most of us can only take a get away from it all break once or twice a year but anyone can find half an hour or an hour every day to lose themselves in their favourite pastime and just go down to the park or over to the local flying field to get the blades whirring on one of your favourite helicopters. Maybe you have a micro-helicopter, in which case you can even fly it indoors. On those long, cold dark winter nights you can get on the flight simulator to attempt some of those advanced moves you have seen professionals pulling off on those videos. Then come Spring you have it wired into your nervous system so that you can smoothly reel it off without faltering when you go back down to the flying field.

Make no mistake, it can be a most demanding hobby but so, so rewarding. That is in the simple nature of achieving anything that is a challenge and this is a hobby where there is always another challenge, always another goal to achieve, ever another level to pursue. If you take a look at the face of anyone who has just hovered a collective pitch helicopter or successfully flown inverted for the first time you will see the immense sense of achievement written all over it. Yet whilst it can be most demanding and require great levels of concentration, once you have the basics well honed, you can fly within your capacity and find it very relaxing.

With radio controlled helicopters there is always another level you can take it to and with this hobby technology is always advancing, brings in an extra aspect of learning. Not only keeping up-to-date with the new technologies and how it works but more importantly perhaps the impact it has on the performance of flying. For example the new flybarless breed of helicopters just fly differently to the previous flybar type helicopters and the introduction of this has led to a need to adapt to these different flying characteristics. It is an ever-changing hobby.

The benefits however have now been shown to go well beyond what you might realistically have expected. A classical music station recently announced on the news that studies had shown that learning to play a musical instrument helped to prevent age related deterioration in mental function, such as senile dementia. I would propose that the same is true of flying radio controlled helicopters or planes, or driving a radio controlled car or boat for that matter. The motor neuron skills, hand-eye coordination, sharp reflex actions required and left brain-right brain interaction of coordinating simultaneously independent movements of the two hands is highly stimulating to the brain and will help develop and maintain mental function.

It is also my belief that the stimulation and pleasure of flying helps to lift mood and thence helps avert depression. The relaxation and release from the stress factors of life may have a broad effect on health, including lowering blood pressure. This is only my opinion but there is sufficient anecdotal and observational evidence to make it a reasonable proposition.

If you have been to some extent inspired by this article to dive into or progress in this pastime then my intention has been realized. Enjoy your hobby. Have fun.

 

Expert Author Clive A Wedderburn

We live in a modern world where chemicals and other unwanted substances are placed into and onto our body without so much as a polite request. Many of the cosmetics and detergents we use are applied with a blind trust in the manufacturer's integrity not to tamper with the delicate balance of our bodies. We don't ask questions. We are not even vaguely concerned.

Then we wonder why we develop chronic dry skin disorders.

OK, so you bought some shampoo. Your hair was dirty; you wanted something that would give it a nice wash. What you did not expect to buy, however, was a product that contained ingredients that are known carcinogens, petrochemicals or involve artificial preservatives for that matter. In this way you allow the manufacturing giants access to our personal ecosystem without assessing any damage prolonged exposure will cause.

We would not do this in other areas of our lives. For example, you know when your computer notifies you that the webpage you are about to access may contain harmful viruses? Usually a pop-up box flags that your actions may not be beneficial to the computers operating system. Forewarned, you stay well away, resulting in zero contamination. Well, why aren't we as diligent with our own operating systems?

It may come as news when you realise that the cosmetics industry does not create new brands merely to suit the needs of the individual. It tests its products to suit the population as a whole. As you know, you can't possibly please all of the people all the time. Subsequently there are many who fall through the cracks in their rigid testing regimes. A product tested under their guidelines may have a limited effect on 95% of the population, but what about the remaining five percent?

Well they have a reaction of some kind. It might come out in a rash and it probably escaped their attention that the shampoo they bought from the supermarket was, in fact, the cause.

Thus, a shampoo with ingredients their body probably never needed in the first instance, gave them an affliction they definitely did not want and suddenly they are stuck with a debilitating dry skin condition like eczema or dermatitis.

Baffled and distressed, they visit the doctor and get a prescription for an eczema cream, but with equally damaging ingredients, to cope with the rash caused by the shampoo. Unwittingly, they continue with their normal routine and wash their hair, inflaming the outbreak further and still leaving them no wiser as to the cause or a possible cure.

So while you are searching for a cure for eczema, dermatitis or another chronic skin disorder, you might want to consider actively treating the problem at source, by addressing the way you consume.

Be responsible for your well-being; don't just leave it to the pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies to decide what is best for you. Be vigilant and inquisitive about the ingredients your products contain. Allow your natural curiosity free reign and investigate the properties of your favourite soaps and detergents. They may not even be your favourites. They may be in your bathroom because you never searched for alternatives, until now that is, when you looked in the bathroom mirror at that patch of dry skin on your face and wondered where it all went wrong.

 

Expert Author Andrew Wahlberg

As a full time performing Harp-guitarist for the past forty years, I have had the opportunity to explore the many potentialities of creating music on this wonderful, diverse and under-appreciated instrument. In just the past few years, there has been an enormous resurgence in interest in the harp-guitar, and there are now many new players performing on the instrument, offering a cornucopia of diverse styles and approaches. It is with this heightened awareness of the harp-guitar in mind that I feel impelled to share much of what I have learned over the span of my career, particularly in the area of string activation technique.

So what is a harp-guitar? The simplified version of the generally accepted definition of a harp-guitar is a guitar shaped instrument with both fretted and unfretted (sometimes referred to as floating) strings, that can be plucked, strummed or otherwise activated by the player. The number of unfretted strings can be as high as the physical limitations of the instrument allow, however to be called a harp-guitar there must be at the very least one floating string somewhere on the instrument, that is to say a string that cannot be pressed down on a fretboard of any kind during performance in order to produce a note different from the note it is tuned to. That is not to say that other methods cannot be employed to cause the floating strings pitch or timbre to be altered: only that there is no fretboard available to press the string against to shorten the string, thereby raising it's pitch.

Harp-guitars have been around for centuries, with most experts agreeing that they originated in Europe starting around the seventeenth century, created for players seeking extended dynamic range beyond what a standard six string guitar would be capable of producing. Most of the known examples of instruments from that early period in the development of the harp-guitar were custom built by an individual luthier for a particular artist, and the appearance and capabilities of these instruments varied widely. Although there were many prolific luthiers during this period, it was around 1900 in the United States that mass produced harp-guitars began to appear. Builders such as Chris Knutsen, Carl and August Larson, Orville Gibson and others helped popularize the instrument in the first third of the twentieth century. Many hundreds of harp-guitars were manufactured during this period. However, due to the onset of the Great Depression during the 1930's, interest seemed to wane and production of harp-guitars came to a virtual halt. It was not for almost another 50 years that the harp-guitar finally began to find a new audience. I myself found my first harp-guitar, a 1912 Larson Style 7, moldering unplayed in the corner of a pawn shop in Los Angeles, California in 1971. It was then that my lifelong affair with the harp-guitar began.

During my career as a performer on the harp-guitar, I have developed my own bass string technique, as well as methods of combination standard and sub bass playing. Although harp-guitars usually can have both strings tuned lower than the standard six strings of a guitar, called sub bass, and strings tuned higher, called super trebles, my focus lies with the sub basses. Although the sub basses can be tuned in any way deemed necessary by the player, there is the general acceptance in the harp-guitar community that it is preferable to tune the lowest of the six bass strings down as close to an octave below the low E on the standard neck as possible. One of the limitations of the Larson twelve string harp-guitar is that there are only six bass strings available to span a full twelve notes to create a complete octave of bass available below the low E string of the fretted strings. Many harp-guitarists, myself included, tune the strings starting from lowest to highest as follows: FGABCD. This leaves out the sharps and flats, which presents a special challenge. How does one strike a string in order to get an Ab, when there is no fretboard on the bass section? There are a number of designs devices placed near the string tuner, known as sharping levers, that make it possible to quickly alter the pitch of a string by a half step, therefore making it possible to raise the pitch of the G string to Ab fairly quickly. But during a performance, it is often not quickly enough, especially if you need that same string to produce a G on the very next eighth note. One must reach up to the headstock area in order to activate this lever, requiring a player to take a hand away from the playing plane.

It is here that my technique, which just for fun I call the sharping bump, comes into play. In the wrist, just below the pinkie finger, where the palm meets the wrist joint, is a bone called the Triquetrum. When that hard lump made by this bone is pressed against any of the bass strings just ahead of the bridge saddle and the string is then plucked, a muted note one half step above the note the string is tuned to will sound. In other words, if an Ab is desired, simply press the "bump" about one half inch in front of where the G bass string crosses the bridge saddle, and voila, you get an Ab. The technique takes practice, but it helps fill in the missing notes in the bass section of the Larson style harp-guitar.

 

Expert Author Oscar D Arias

Do you love Japanese food and wish that you could create some of those great Japanese dishes like shrimp tempura, katsudon curry, or yakitori, but don't know where to get some of the necessary ingredients to complete these recipes?

The first thing you might want to try is to visit your local supermarket. Almost every large supermarket contains an aisle of ethnic foods, right? Well, if you live in Hawaii, you might be in luck due to the high concentration of Japanese immigrants to that state over the years; however, for the rest of the country, all you will find in the supermarket are a few packs of Ramen noodles, some bottles of soy sauce, and maybe a bottle of teriyaki sauce if you are lucky.

A step up from the supermarket would be a visit to the local Asian market. While at first this might seem like a good idea, again it depends on what area of the country you live in. Asian markets in Hawaii and California have quite a bit of great Japanese food, condiments, spices, or whatever else you might require. You will find that Asian markets in the rest of the country will be hit or miss.

Most of the Asian markets where I live are run by families from Vietnam or Thailand. Still, these Asian markets will have a better selection of Japanese food than the average supermarket. I have had some success finding Japanese Kewpie brand mayonnaise as well as Vermont Curry roux (despite the name, this curry roux is 100% Japanese), as well as some Japanese snacks like Pocky at these markets.

If you live in a small town with no Asian population to speak of, even an Asian market may be out of your reach. So where do you go when you are trying to find the necessary ingredients to make the perfect Japanese dish?

The internet of course! These days there are many websites where you can buy Japanese food online. They offer everything from Japanese spices, authentic Japanese teas, even Japanese snacks and candy. In fact, you can find even the most obscure ingredients to complete your recipes, like Japanese bread crumbs, and sheets of nori seaweed for those interested in making their own sushi.

Japanese food is not the only thing these online merchants offer! Some offer Japanese cookware, tea sets, bento boxes, even electronic goods such as rice cookers.

When looking for a website to buy Japanese food online, your best bet is to seek out the websites that specialize in Japanese cuisine. These online retailers know what ingredients are necessary for a wide variety of Japanese recipes and will always have these items available for purchase.

Don't have a recipe for your favorite dish? The best Japanese online grocers will have free recipes available online for almost any Japanese dish you can imagine.

 

Expert Author Aaron S Peterson

Great VESA approved Flat Screen Wall Mounts/ Articulating

Articulating Mounts have become the most versatile wall mounting equipment available. They have the capabilities to swivel in any direction you want. This style of bracket will make a unique, and difficult mounting job a piece of cake. The MV-ARM-L Articulating wall mount shown above supports flat screen TV's of all types with sizes ranging from 13" to 30" inch screens. This mount is VESA approved and holds up to 30 pounds.

VESA approved wall mount for 27-47 inch flat screens(90 lbs capacity)

The MV-ARM-M Articulating mount is a step up from the MV-ARM-L. It has a larger weight capacity and holds larger screen sizes. This mount holds 27" to 47" flat screen TV's of any kind with a weight capacity maximum of 90 pounds. Its is VESA approved and guaranteed to satisfy.

The mother of all Articulating mounts/ 40-65" screens(150 lbs cap.)

The MV-ARM-XL Articulating mount is one of the best mounts available. It has a 150 lbs. weight capacity and will hold flat screen TV's ranging between 40 and 65 inches. This equipment swivels in all directions and even pulls away from the wall. It also retracts back until your TV is flush. This mount is also VESA approved. Get it cheaper than Wall Mart.

For any unique mounting situation you may be in!

I recently hanged my 37 inch LCD flat screen TV in my bedroom. I had an interesting situation on my hands because the only spot that the TV would look and perform best was if positioned in the corner just right. The only Flat screen wall mounts capable of mounting in such a unique position are the Articulating brackets. They are easily adjusted to any angle and therefore making my unique corner positioning a success. Another thing cool is that I can maneuver the TV flat against the wall almost all the way flush.

Why choose a mount that is VESA approved?

VESA is an acronym that stands for Video Electronics Standards Association. You should never use a mount that is not VESA approved. If you asked me I don't see why the heck you would want to. If you enjoy your nice new flat panel TV and want to enjoy it for years to come then I suggest using a qualified wall mount bracket. The mount should be clearly labeled as a VESA approved mount.

 

Expert Author Rachel A. Bennett

Wine Tasting Basics

Most of us love tasting and drinking wine. Have you ever wondered, though, what wine tasting actually entails? What the difference is between drinking and tasting? Why do people swirl, sniff, and sip? What are they looking for? Don't worry, when it comes to learning about wine tasting, you've come to the right place.

The main difference between tasting and drinking wine is that tasting is active, while drinking is passive. This doesn't mean, however, that tasting needs to be stiff or formal. The only reason you're doing it actively is for sensory memorization, which is actually something you already do every day. For example, think of a food you love. Now pick a food you don't necessarily love. The reason you can instantaneously think of those two things without them in front of you is because of sensory memory. With wine, you are doing the same thing, you are tasting to build a mental database of what you like and why.

There are four steps to wine tasting: sight, smell, taste and assessment.

Step Number One: Sight
• Clear or murky will tell you if it is filtered or not
• More ruby usually means more acidity, more garnet means less
• The more a wine loses color towards its rim the older it usually is
• Legs tell you about a wine's viscosity or thickness, not quality

Step Number Two: Smell
• Is the wine clean? "Corked" wine usually reeks of wet cardboard or an attic
• Certain aromas are usually linked with certain wines, like cassis with Cabernet Sauvignon and lychee with Gewürztraminer
• What do you smell?

Step Number Three: Taste
• Sweetness is the most obvious - sugar
• Sourness is felt in the back cheeks like sucking on a lemon
• Bitterness remains fairly constant through taste
• Tannin dries inside of lips
• Body and viscosity tied mostly to sugar and alcohol
• Finish - how long does the wine last?

Step Number Four: Assessment
• Do you like it?
• Why? Why not?

Watch this video to see the above four steps illustrated: http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=GRhGz_K8QH4

As you can see, tasting wine shouldn't be intimidating or pretentious. There's no reason why figuring out what you like and what you don't like in a wine should be anything but fun. So start tasting! Following the above four steps will lead you on a path to finding your perfect wine and maybe discovering a few you didn't realize you would like along the way.

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