Saturday, February 27, 2010

Building a Fishing Rod

By: Stacy Nitschke, Contributor

Fishing rod building has been a hobby for many people for a long time. Though most people would not really consider the idea because it is easier to go the store and buy a cheap fishing rod to get out by the water and catch some fish, building a rod is very rewarding. Yet for those who like to perfect their adventure, or just like to express themselves through the look of their rod, here is a brief summation of what is involved in the most basic building of a fishing rod.

First of all, one needs to decide what type of fishing is to be done with the rod. For example, pan fish could be the prey to be pursued. So, an ultra light or light action spinning rod blank is chosen. There are several hundred options for a blank from many different companies, whether it be a change in color of the rod or artwork, action, power, length, response, or any other facet of personal choice. Also, consideration must be taken into the guides to be placed on the rod blank, along with the handle, reel seat and fore grip.

A light action blank has been chosen, and a cork handle and fore grip will be placed on the blank along with a reel seat. The handle and fore grip length can be considered regarding the torque of the fish being caught. Since smaller fish are being pursued a lot of torque would not be required, so a shorter handle would work. Perhaps a six inch handle and a inch and a half fore grip would be fine. The reel seat will generally be a standard size.

Depending on the length of the rod, several guides must be placed to keep the fishing line in control. If there are too many guides, the rod may be unbalanced and heavy at the tip. If there are too few, line slap may be experienced which slows down the line and reduces the distance the rod will cast. A good rule of thumb is that the length of the rod, plus one and a tip top are what should work best for any given rod. Since it is a personal preference though, one person may like more guides whereas another person may like fewer guides.

When all the components are ready, the first thing to do it to find the spine of the rod blank. There are many different ways to find the spine of the rod. The final outcome being sought is to find the natural bend of the rod, the outside of that natural bend would be the spine, or spline as some call it. Epoxy the handle, reel seat and fore grip in place on the spine of the rod, keeping in mind the placement of the center of the reel seat for where the reel will be when fishing.

Guides would be placed on the inside of the spine for a spinning rod. Space them out to a comfortable distance overall and then do some test casting with the rod. Securing the guides so that they can be moved while testing things out is easily done with either small pieces of tape, or rubber bands.

After everything is centered on the spine, the guides are tested for placement and maximum casting distance is obtained, it is time to commit to the changes. Using thread specifically designed for building fishing rods, the guides have the thread wound around the foot to keep the placement. After all the guides are wrapped, they can be double checked to ensure they are centered on the spine and straightened if need be.

The moment of truth has arrived. Using a special epoxy over the threads on each guide foot will hold the guides permanently in place. The rod must be continuously turned while the epoxy dries, so it is placed in a rod turner. Rod turners come in many different RPM's. The mid range speeds of about 8-20 RPM's probably work the best. If the rod turns too slow, the epoxy can sag. But if the rod turns too fast, the epoxy may not dry evenly.

Depending on the epoxy used, it may be dry in less than an hour, or it could take several hours. It is mostly a matter of personal preference as to what to use. There are two part epoxies and there are special one part sealers that can be used.

The tip top is attached using a specific tip top glue, or the epoxy used on the handle assembly can be used also to put it in place. The nice part about the tip top glue is that it can be heated and the tip top can be adjusted again if it is not on the spine correctly. But the tip top glue also dries very quickly so it must be arranged quite fast. Heating it up too many times may cause damage to the end of the rod blank.

There is a brief general description of building a fishing rod. There are many websites out there that offer a lot of helpful advice. Two decades ago each rod crafter was basically on their own to find the answers to a lot of questions. Today, there are websites and books and many more people who can give advice and guidance on the different areas of expertise such as marbling, flocking, weaving, wrapping or using lathes to make handles and reel seats. The options are endless when it comes to personalize a fishing rod for someone.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Fly a Kite

By: Laura Evans, Staff Writer

Want to know how to fly a kite? Grab your kite and string and start running.

How to Fly a Kite

Actually, flying a kite is a little more complicated. But, don’t sweat it. It’s easy to fly a kite with a little practice.

First, find the right place to fly your kite. Look for an open area away from houses and power lines. Remember that trees have a tendency to eat kites. Avoid flying kites close to an airport and over roads. If you can, give yourself a lot of space between others who are flying kites. It’s can be easy to get tangled up in someone else’s kite, particularly if you are a beginner.

Next, you need the right type of weather. Never, ever, ever try to fly a kite in a storm, particularly if there is lightning involved. You may literally become a dead ringer for a lightning rod holding a kite.

Wind is what whooshes the world of wonderfully wiggling kites. However, wind can be problematic. If there is too much wind, you can crash and burn your kite. If there is too little wind, there will be very little whooshing. Although the right mile-per-hour wind will vary according to the type of kite that you are flying, your best bet is a medium strength wind of somewhere between five and 25 miles per hour.

If you have a single line kite, you may be able to get your kite up into the air by yourself. However, it may be easier if you have a helper. Determine the way that the wind is blowing. Have your helper hold the kite in the air facing you. Leaving some loose kite string, turn and run into the wind. As the string tightens and the kite starts to catch air, have the helper release the kite. If you don’t have a person assistant, try a bush or a post to substitute for the helper.

Kites away!

"One of the most obvious facts about grownups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child." - Randall Jarrell

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prince Charles Tells Us to Get Woolly Again

by Bonnie Alter, London

Prince Charles has a new project. He is pushing wool as a fashionable and eco-friendly fabric for clothes. That may seem odd as many of us wear wool sweaters as a matter of course. But it turns out that's not quite the case. With the trend for throwaway instant fashion, cheap and synthetic fabrics have taken over the market.

People are looking up-market to cashmere now and wool is perceived as not so desirable. Some think that it is too bulky, too itchy, and too hard to wash. Time for an image change and who better than the Prince of Wales who himself has received the award of World's Best-Dressed Man by the British edition of Esquire more story at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Having Enough to Retire On – What We Can Learn From Squirrels

by Alisa Singer – Boomer Humor Columnist
Special to Baby Boomer[Knowledge Center]™

Back in the days when we were all fat and comfortable, wrapped in the security of our bloated brokerage accounts (who knew then that it was bubble wrap!), people would talk about the “Number”. In Baby Boomer parlance the “Number” is the amount of money you need to have in the bank to be able to retire and still maintain the lifestyle you so richly deserve and to which you have become accustomed. Of course that’s all academic now since none of us will be able to retire, ever, but back then I tried to think whom else do we know that faces similar issues that might be able to provide a guiding philosophy for this thorny question. And I thought of squirrels because they are obliged to make decisions like this every year during their entire adult lives.

You see, when squirrels gather acorns and nuts for the long winter they hide them either in one huge hole or, as the common gray squirrel does, in several hundred different places, exercising behavior known as “scatter hoarding” (what investment advisors would call portfolio diversification). The purpose of the hoards is to allow the squirrels to rest quietly in their nests during the winter, leisurely cracking nuts while watching reruns of American Idol, without ever having to shovel the walk or put up with unpleasant commuting conditions. Snuggled together, they leave their nests only as necessary to “carry out” from their various food caches (presumably the ones that don’t deliver).

The specific thing I wondered about squirrels is how they calculate their “Number”. In other words, how does a particular squirrel figure out how many acorns and nuts he needs to maintain his standard of living during his season of “retirement” and can we borrow this instinct to help us to calculate when we finally have enough “nuts” so that we can stop hoarding and head home to our own comfortable nests.

I proceeded to research the subject in the way all of the finest academicians do, I Googled “squirrels gathering nuts”. The result was disappointing. Rather than relying on some extraordinary scientific phenomenon it appears, according to, that squirrels simply “…gather food until there’s no more to gather. They are rather greedy.” (Yet another parallel to humankind, but not what I was hoping to find.) Okay, so the squirrel doesn’t know any more than we do when it’s time to get out of the rat race, even though he is, more-or-less, a rat.

It’s amusing to try to imagine how the squirrel might handle the unanticipated loss of a significant portion of his portfolio of savings as a result of a forest recession or other Act of God. Would he immediately cut back on berries and nuts and switch to fungi, twigs and bark? Put the second nest up for sale? And is there such a thing as a bailout for squirrels and, if so, what would that look like? Would “They” somehow replenish the caches of squirrels that had imprudently loaned their hoards to other squirrels who wanted to buy nice fur-lined nests they couldn’t afford and, if so, exactly who would “They” be? (Those are trick questions. The truth is there is no “They” since squirrels have no federal government to fall back on, which is bad news for them but then again, they presumably keep 100% of their income.)

There are other interesting facts about squirrels that I came across in my research, and I found the comparisons between male squirrels and male humans to be especially striking. For example, it appears that, like men, male squirrels require twice as much time as females to groom themselves. (Squirrels are the cleanest of rodents.) I can just see the female squirrel now, front legs folded, tapping her little paws and swishing her tail irritably – “You ready yet Rocky? Mother’s been waiting in the hollow of the tree for twenty minutes already!” And, this next tidbit will come as no surprise, the male squirrel also seems to be “commitment challenged”, abandoning the female promptly after mating, leaving her to raise the young alone. (He doesn’t even hang around to do Lamaze class with her or cut the umbilical cord.)

But the most impressive information I unearthed about the squirrel is that, though his brain is roughly the size of a walnut, when spring arrives he is generally able to locate approximately 50% of the hundreds of places where he hid his hoard of nuts during the previous fall! I’m sure you can guess where I’m heading with this. How can this rodent, with his teeny hippocampus, remember where he hid all those teeny nuts six months earlier when you and I can’t remember half the time which section in the mall parking lot we left our giant SUV, even though it was only an hour ago and we didn’t hide it under several layers of dirt.
But surely the squirrel’s enhanced memory skills are not an indication that he is more highly evolved than we are, because if that were the case, he would not be leaping from one treetop to another, kamikaze-style, without the benefit of a net (or at least a bungee cord), not to mention life insurance. But come to think of it, perhaps the average squirrel is slightly more intelligent than mankind. After all, his investment loss ratio is roughly equivalent to what mine has been over the last year, and his fees are definitely a lot lower.

At the end of the day, sadly, it does not appear there is much we can learn from the ubiquitous squirrels that share our backyards, parks and the occasional attic. But there is one pretty important lesson we humans could certainly teach those squirrels, and they would do well to listen up. It goes like this: when you’re standing on your hind legs in the middle of a road and you see four large round black rubbery things rolling towards you at an alarming speed, don’t just stand there staring - drop the nuts and run like hell! the full article here

About Alisa Singer
Alisa Singer’s humorous essays have appeared in a variety of print and online newspapers and magazines across the country and in Canada. She is the author of the books I Still Wanna Be A…, an illustrated collection of whimsical poetic fantasies in which she “morphs” herself into her childhood heroes, and My Baby Boomer Memory Album, an album to memorialize the first grand child, social security check, chin hair and other milestones of the second half of the boomer’s life. You can learn more about her work by visiting her website: or contacting her at
Alisa is a member of our Boomer Authority™ community of experts.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Health and Wellness Expert declares February 15th National Health Day

- National Health Day -

Take the Day Off for the Sake of Your Health and print your doctor's note while you're at it!

Mayor of Ottawa proclaims it for Nation's Capital

OTTAWA, February 10, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - For the 6th year in a row, well known Ottawa Chiropractor and health expert Dr. John Zielonka has declared Monday February 15th to be officially known as National Health Day. The Mayor of the city of Ottawa, Larry O'Brien, has joined Dr. Zielonka's quest in proclaiming National Health Day for the nation's capital.

The public is invited to Dr. Zielonka's website at to print a doctor's note encouraging that people take the day off.

A prorogued parliament means Dr. Zielonka won't write to every MP this year but he will be on various news media and has closed his office for the day giving his employees the day off with pay. Dr. Zielonka wrote to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty more than 5 years ago with the idea. "I'm pleased to see Ontario has finally taken me up on the idea although they have chosen to call it Family Day".

Canadians are encouraged to do anything healthy on this day including learning the actual definition of the word health.

"The optimal state of physical, mental and social well-being - and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

"If all Canadians, especially politicians and doctors understood what the word actually meant, and more importantly acted on it, our country would be a much better place."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Baby boomers as Entrepreneurs

Tips to make your own business come true

Are you a baby boomer nearing retirement? Or are you a boomer who has gotten fed up with helping pay for someone else’s Mercedes? Is it time for your own venture? I’m a baby boomer, too. I own businesses and I know how you feel. These tips will help get you started.

We baby boomers make terrific entrepreneurs because we have the three things necessary to kick off a successful enterprise: the drive, the creativity, and the funding. Those attributes and these tips can make for a killer small business recipe.

1. Take stock. Determine your unique area of expertise. What do you have to offer a consumer? What interest really stirs your blood? What can you do better than many other people?

While baby boomers may have a wealth of expertise in many areas, they have at least one or two skills or knowledge levels that exceed all others. Target those areas as potential sources for a small business venture.

2. Identify your target market, your customers. Boomers who go into business for themselves usually do so with a product or service connected to the industry in which they are currently employed. No one knows better than you if there is a niche in your business that is not being filled. Identify that need and then start polling your business contacts. Positive responses are a good sign that you may have found an untapped diamond mine.

3. Create a new or better product. Now that you know what the market needs, it’s time to tap in to those potential solutions that have been circling around your brain. You’ll toss out many as unsatisfactory, but you will find one that you can refine, and ultimately sell.

This product may even be a new way of thinking. Or it may be a way to teach newcomers your business. Many boomers have become successful entrepreneurs as consultants.

4. Set up your company: a sole proprietorship, a limited company, a partnership. Call upon the services of a good accountant and a lawyer to assist you in choosing the type of entrepreneurial venture that is best for you. But whatever you do, get started. A sole proprietorship is at least a first step.

5. Avoid overhead. Most baby boomers already have a home office. Let that be your womb as you kick off your new venture. Use your available monies to fund your new product, your advertising campaign, and your marketing materials; don’t rent office space and end up padding some landlord’s wallet instead.

6. Funding. Baby boomers are well established both personally and within their business communities. Call in your favors. Share your exciting plans with others who you feel are in your corner; encourage them to back their belief in you with money.

Rely on bankers and venture capitalists as a last resort. Also, check your government’s small business division; is it offering any starter business loans or grants to first-time entrepreneurs? If so, take advantage of this free or low interest money.

Boomers also have lots of equity in their homes and this can be tapped by collateral loans. But whatever you do, go as far as you can with your new venture without incurring debt.

7. Write up a business plan. Value your thoughts, your ideas and your new venture with the creation of a business plan. Many business plan templates are available on the Internet making this once tough task, very easy.

Don’t listen to the nay-sayers who may try to talk you out of going into business for yourself. Don’t believe them. Believe in yourself. If you feel you have an idea others will want, others will buy, then go for it. After all, you only live once and the opportunity to start your own business may never come again.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Organizations across Canada team up to improve the health of Canadians

$15.5 million invested in chronic disease prevention by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation

OTTAWA, February 3, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - More than 30 organizations from across Canada are uniting as partners in a series of initiatives designed to improve the health of Canadians by preventing chronic disease. A total of $15.5 million is being invested in seven collaborative coalitions addressing such issues as childhood obesity, screening for chronic disease by family doctors, and the unique needs of First Nations communities. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced the funding today to mark World Cancer Day, February 4th, and Heart Month. Joining her for the announcement was the lead coalition funder Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, along with funders Public Health Agency of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

"About two-thirds of deaths in Canada are due to chronic diseases. Many of these diseases, such as heart disease and many cancers, can be prevented through healthier lifestyles and healthier communities," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, federal Minister of Health. "Bringing together the many dedicated organizations working to prevent chronic disease will help to accelerate a vision we all share: healthier children and healthier Canadians in all parts of the country."

An initiative of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and funded under the banner of CLASP - which stands for Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention - the initiatives respond to the fact that many aspects of healthy living - such as maintaining a healthy body weight, quitting smoking and improving the quality of our environment - can reduce the risk for not only many cancers but also other chronic diseases like diabetes, lung disease and heart disease. Coalitions will incorporate scientific, practice and policy expertise, as well as evidence from both research studies and existing programs in their planning, and will build on chronic disease prevention efforts already underway in many provinces and territories.

"CLASP is the first of its kind to support organizations working together in this way to prevent chronic disease," said Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, Chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. "The results will benefit Canadians in a range of ways - from tackling childhood obesity to understanding the relationship between our health and the way we have organized our physical living and working environments. This team effort - drawing from and sharing expertise from across the country - truly demonstrates that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

The funded programs include those that will:

- Tackle childhood obesity by limiting the accessibility and appeal of unhealthy food choices, while also partnering with remote First Nations communities to assist in developing sustainable food strategies based on local dietary practices.

- Work with First Nations communities in two provinces to develop a culturally appropriate chronic disease prevention training program for community-based health workers to increase the delivery of chronic disease and cancer prevention.

- Harness electronic medical record systems and evidence-based approaches to increase prevention and screening for heart disease, diabetes and cancer in participating family doctors' offices.

A complete list of funded programs is available at

"These initiatives have the overall wellness of Canadians at their heart," said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which, in addition to co-funding two programs, is also a member of a separate coalition receiving funding. "We are proud to be part of a new and integrated approach that recognizes and celebrates that we can achieve more for chronic diseases that affect millions of Canadians, by working together."

The funding is the result of an open call for proposals, issued in June 2009 by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, which invited organizations from across Canada to create partnerships and build on coalitions that included representation from two or more provinces or territories, addressed the prevention of cancer as well as other chronic diseases, and added value to existing work by research, practice and policy specialists. An adjudication panel of objective research, practice and policy experts from across North America evaluated the proposals against a transparent list of review criteria. Of the $15.5 million being invested in CLASP, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is funding $12.5 million.

The CLASP concept was developed by lead funder Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society to engage several hundred Canadian research, practice and policy experts in pan-Canadian consultation meetings.

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an independent organization funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for all Canadians. We bring together cancer survivors, patients and families, cancer experts and government representatives to implement the first pan-Canadian cancer control strategy. Our vision is to be a driving force to achieve a focused approach that will help prevent cancer, enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer, lessen the likelihood of dying from cancer and increase the efficiency of cancer control in Canada. For more information about the Partnership and Canada's cancer control strategy, visit The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is also the driving force behind, an online community linking Canadians to cancer information, services and resources.

About the Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada is a Government of Canada agency with the primary goal of strengthening Canada's capacity to protect and improve the health of Canadians and helping reduce pressures on the health-care system. For more information, visit

Monday, February 1, 2010

Beloved radio broadcaster Andy Barrie announces departure from CBC Radio One 99.1's METRO MORNING

TORONTO, February 1, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Andy Barrie, the popular and respected host of CBC Radio One's 99.1 METRO MORNING announced on-air today his departure from Toronto's top rated morning radio program. Andy will host the show until March 1 and will continue to be a member of the CBC family in a re-imagined capacity. January 29, 2010 commemorated Andy's 15th anniversary as host of METRO MORNING, where he made his mark as a superior journalist, host, friend, colleague and mentor.

Later this month, METRO MORNING will announce a new host to present and represent the realities, experiences and issues that are important to the people of Canada's biggest city, through up-to-date news and information that Torontonians need to get going in the morning. METRO MORNING airs weekdays at 5:30 - 8:30 a.m.

"Andy is part of our station and that station is like an extended family," said Susan Marjetti, Managing Director CBC Toronto. "He will continue to be part of that family and certainly part of this station's rich history."

"After an amazing 15 years making great radio at Metro Morning, we're sad to see Andy give up the morning show microphone, and we're sure that's a view shared by his loyal audience," said Denise Donlon, executive director of CBC Radio. "We celebrate his legacy and honour the immense contribution he has made to CBC, to the broadcasting industry and to this city and community during his esteemed career. We're also looking forward to listening over the next few weeks - even his departure will make great radio."

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster, and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 28 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.