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Dates to Remember: October 20-31

October 20: Bela Lugosi, most notable for playing Dracula in the original 1931 black-and-white film, was born just eleven days before Halloween. Spooky, huh?

October 23rd: Scientist and general chemistry enthusiast know 10/23 to be the unofficial observance of Mole Day. The date 6:02 10/23 in the American style of writing dates and is the time and date representation from Avagadro's number which defines the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole of substance.

October 26th: Mother-In-Law day. Always the punch-line, finally she gets the attention she deserves.


Buying an extra condo or home can be a solid investment for both home owners and home renters alike. Consider that in some markets, homes are too expensive for many people to buy, so they rent a large home, and then buy a small house in a less convenient area, and then rent it out. In this way they benefit from home ownership, too. Here are five ways that real estate investing pays off.

Rental yield. Experienced investors take expenses, taxes and other costs into account, making sure there is enough coming in front rents to pay for everything going out, including loan servicing, maintenance, HOA fees, etc.

Appreciation. The value of rental properties normally appreciates over time. Increased value can mean selling and reinvesting in still higher value properties, or using an equity line of credit for other investments. Also, rents often increase along with rising values.

Leverage. Instead of paying $100,000 cash for one property, an investor can use that same cash as down payments for two or three properties. All leverage involves risk, so the successful investor must understand how leverage works.

Paying down the loan. The best way to pay down a mortgage loan is to have rents coming in that cover the mortgage. Some investors own ten to twenty small rental properties that just break even now, but in 15 to 20 years could be worth significantly more, and nearly paid off. Other investors use the equity to invest in more properties.

Property improvement. Investors look for properties that need improvement. Also called a "flip," these properties can be fixed and resold at a profit. Investors will calculate that the value of the improvements will exceed the cost. This is called ARV (after repair value).


Our knowledge of what’s healthy and not healthy changes all the time. Here are three substances that physicians once thought to be beneficial to our health:

· Soda. Pharmacists began adding herbs, medicines, and sugars to carbonated water in the 1800s, creating homemade “health drinks.” Nowadays, sodas are linked to obesity and diabetes.

· Cigarettes. Physicians once touted the benefits of a relaxing cigarette or two, prompted by tobacco companies and advertising executives. That ended in 1964 with the US Surgeon General’s report on smoking that linked tobacco use to cancer.

· Cocaine. Derived from the coca leaf and used as a stimulant, cocaine was famously touted by pioneering psychologist Sigmund Freud as a cure for depression and sexual dysfunction--until 1922, when it was made illegal.


Have you ever wondered how the practice of turning pumpkins into jack o’lanterns was born? The origin is quite fascinating.
O’lantern sounds Irish, and it is. The carved pumpkin faces that animate the Halloween landscape derive from an old Irish custom of creating lanterns from vegetables.

The Irish child’s typical Halloween flashlight was a hollowed-out turnip or potato with a candle inside, and when the Irish landed in America in the nineteenth century, they were quick to spot the possibilities of using pumpkins for the same purpose.