Thursday, June 24, 2010

Repairing a Punctured Tire

By Mark J. Donovan

This past weekend my son reported that the previous day he noticed that there was a warning light on in the car. After going out to check we quickly discovered that the front passenger side tire was flatter than a pancake.

After swapping out the flat tire with the spare tire and seeing there was a nail hole in the tire, I ran down to the local garage. Unfortunately it was closed for the day. So, with little other choice, I ran over to a hardware store and picked up one of those $5 kits for repairing a punctured tire.

Suffice it to say, within 5 minutes I had repaired the flat tire and within 30 minutes I was back home with the tire reinstalled on the car.

The tire repair kit consisted of two tools. One basically was a threaded reamer that you slid into the hole and pushed and rotated a few times in the nail hole. The second tool was for installing a rubber plug. After reaming out the nail hole, all I needed to do was insert the plug into the end of the other tool, apply some adhesive glue to the rubber plug that came with the kit, and push the tool with the plug attached to it into the tire. After sinking the plug into the tire, I quickly pulled the tool out of the nail hole, leaving the plug in place.

The plug should be placed into the tire about 2/3rds of the length of the folded plug.

After repairing the punctured tire, I immediately filled it up with air and it was ready to reinstall on the car.

So with my new found skill, the next time I have a flat tire I plan to skip the garage.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sorry Sir, I need to Inspect your Head

By Mark J. Donovan

Yesterday while going through airline security I experienced yet a new low in airline travel. I had just gone through one of the new X-ray backscatter imaging machines and was told to stand aside and wait. While I stood next to a TSA employee, he was on his radio going back and forth with one of his colleagues on what to do with me. At first, I was not sure what the issue was. The TSA did not attempt to wand me down or explain to me what the issue was. Finally, after a minute or so of back and forth conversations on his radio, he finally spoke to me and said, “This is going to sound funny, but sorry sir, I need to inspect your head”. At 6’ 4” I was apparently too tall for the X-ray machine and consequently my head didn’t get scanned. As a result, he had to do an “inspection of my head”. My first reaction to him was “are you kidding, I’m not wearing anything on my head”. To myself, I thought what is he going to do, pat down my head? Instead he said, “No problem” and then proceeded to walk around me visually inspecting my head. A couple of seconds later I was allowed to proceed on to my gate.

Though the TSA employee acted professionally and we both got a good laugh out of the incident, this episode was just another example in my mind of the pure stupidity of our current security processes through airports. In an attempt to not offend a few, we instead abuse all by putting every air traveler through the ringer. Besides the wasted time of millions of air travelers every day we are now being nearly stripped of all personal dignity. The new X-ray scanners require a person to strip down to a level not typically required of the basic metal detectors. For example, belts, shoes, and wallets MUST come off to go through the new X-ray scanners, where as with the traditional metal detectors much of the time you could leave these items on. In addition, when standing in one of the new X-ray scanners, you need to turn sideways, spread your legs, and put your hands over your head. Do these words sound familiar to you? Do they make you feel a little nervous or wonder where we are headed as a “free country or people”?

The other concern I have is that though the TSA’s website talks about the low level of radiation doses each person is receiving with the backscatter X-ray machines I was surprised that there were no placards on or near the machines stating this. Ironically there was a large placard stating “No snow globes aloud in carryon baggage anymore”. Yes, the little glass balls you shake with the little snowflakes in them.

I also wonder, that even though the radiation doses were low per individual per scan, what the total dose accumulated over hundreds or even thousands of flights throughout a person’s lifetime could be. X-ray radiation accumulates in the body, so how many airport X-ray scans can a person go through before the total X-ray radiation exposure IS a concern. And how about for the TSA employees who stand hour after hour near the machines. Are they safe? Finally, what is the X-ray radiation exposure level that air travelers, as a whole, are being subjected to, all for the sake of not offending a few?

Though my latest air travel experience produced a laugh, it also raised my frustration and concerns again for the United States policy on airline security. I find it ironic, that in the age of incredibly intelligent search engine and database technologies, that smarter and less obtrusive ways of screening air travelers cannot be performed. I also find it ironic, that in order to protect the rights of a few “risk travelers” that all travelers must be subjected to abuse and a loss of dignity. I have no doubt, with the current Crow Magnum approach to airport security it won’t be long before we are fully undressing at airports and standing in line to walk through a door marked with a rubber glove placard.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Installing Crown Molding" Ebook Price Reduction

By Mark J. Donovan

I recently reduced the price on the "Installing Crown Molding Ebook" from $19 down to the low price of $15.

Crown molding adds old fashion beauty and charm to a home like no other type of interior trim. Crown molding is ideal for living rooms, dining rooms, dens and libraries. It's also used commonly in kitchens and hallways.

Before tackling your own crown molding installation project, check out our "Installing Crown Molding Ebook". It teaches you all of the carpentry skills you'll need to complete a professional looking crown molding project, and without wasting a fortune on scrap crown molding material. It is a 20 page Ebook that fully documents the process of installing crown molding and it is loaded with complementary instructional pictures.

Latest Newsletter (June, 14, 2010)

By Mark J. Donovan

Yesterday I released my latest newsletter. In it I include a new Puzzler Contest Question. Send me your correct answer to the Puzzler Question and you have a chance to win a $100 Home Depot gift certificate and a free can of KILZ Clean Start zero VOC primer.

Besides the Puzzler contest, there are several other interesting home improvement topics discussed that you will want to read about, including a video on how to install a new garage door opener, and an article on fireplace firebacks.

So check out my newsletter at Newsletter today!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Calculator

Get Estimated Roofing Costs in Just Seconds

By mark J. Donovan

I just completed an asphalt shingle roofing cost calculator that I have posted on The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Calculator is a free tool for homeowners to quickly get an idea of how much it is going to cost them to have their roof reshingled. All that you need to do to use the roofing cost calculator is answer a few simple questions and hit the calculate button. Within seconds, your internet browser will refresh and provide you with an estimated asphalt shingle roofing cost estimate. You can also easily go back and change responses to the questions to produce additional asphalt shingle roofing cost estimates.

The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Calculator complement’s’s highly popular Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet has been out for several years and has helped many homeowners hire the right roofing contractor for their particular roofing project. The Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet includes:

  • A "Request for Quote" Roofing Contractor Checklist
  • Expected Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimates
  • Extensive asphalt shingle roofing guidance tips, to ensure a shingled roof that will not leak and stand up to the worst of wind conditions.

So if your home’s asphalt shingled roof is in rough shape, make sure to check out’s Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Calculator and Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet today!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Is it the Right Time to Buy a New Home?

Evaluate both the Federal and your own Personal Financial Prospects Before Buying a New Home

By Mark J. Donovan

The housing market has been in a tail spin for about 3 years now. On average, selling home prices are down nearly 30% from their peak. Mortgage rates are still at their lowest levels in nearly 50 years. So is now the right time to buy a new home? Is now the time to take the plunge and scale up to the bigger or more luxurious home? In some cases the answer is a definite, absolutely! On the other hand, it also depends upon your particular situation, e.g. your employment status? It also depends on your timeline on how long you plan on holding onto the new home.

So the answer on buying a new home is still somewhat grey in many peoples’ minds today, and that is why the housing market has continued to languish. Very few people have confidence in the staying power of their employment, if they even have employment. With 10% unemployment officially, and more like 17-18% unofficially, there are many people either out of work or know of a friend or neighbor that is.

So to determine if this is the right time to buy a new home for you, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first.

First, are you ultimately long term optimistic about the country’s future? If you are, then it may make sense to buy that new home now. If you’re not, then you might want to hunker down to a European austerity program lifestyle.

My personal view is that though our federal, state, and local governments have been spending with unwanted abandoned for the past 18 to 24 months, the American public is finally sobering up to the fact that they were sold a utopian fantasy by the latest group of progressive charlatans. I suspect center America will not put up with this much longer and through the power of the voting booth begin to rectify this problem in November. So being an optimist, I suspect our current financial and unemployment crisis will not stand, and thus the housing market will significantly improve in the next couple of years.

Second, are you optimistic about your own future employment? If you’re comfortable with your present employment situation for the next couple of years, then now may be a good time to buy the new home. Again, with a change in federal political leadership, we should expect to see a re-investment in corporations and entrepreneurs by 2011/2012. By offering tax incentives and investments into emerging business opportunities the U.S. should begin to see sustainable growth in the next 3 to 5 years, thus ensuring your employability out to and beyond 2015. If, on the other hand, you’re current employment is tenuous then now may not be a good time to buy the new home. It may make more sense to hold off a couple of years until the employment picture becomes a bit more clearer.

Third, is your family growing? If it is, then now is probably a very good time to buy a new home. Unless we go into a depression, which could happen if things don’t change at the federal level this fall – but I’m optimistic they will, this is the time to buy the new home. If you have steady employment and a growing family, the chances of finding home prices and borrowing rates this cheap may not happen again in your lifetime.

So evaluate your own financial situation and ask yourself if you believe the country will change its course to a more financially prudent one. If you are bullish on both of these accounts, then buy the new home and hold on for the ride. It could be a little choppy in the next year or two, but 5 years from now I think the picture will be much brighter. Let’s hope so for all our sakes!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

No Surprise Home Sale Contract Signings were Up In April

By Mark J. Donovan

So is anyone really surprised that home sale contract signings were up in April. Anyone with a pulse and was in the market for buying a home new the home purchase federal tax credit was about to expire on 5/1/10. To qualify for the federal hand out, a purchase and sales contract needed to be signed by this date.

Though some in the real estate industry are touting this positive factoid as signs of things to come in the hard hit real estate market, I'm not so sure. With the federal tax credit now expired, what's the compelling reason to go out and buy a new home. Interest rates have been at record lows for months and home sales and prices have languished at best. Until the employment picture becomes brighter I'm hard pressed to believe that this uptick in home sale contract signings is sustainable. As a matter of fact, I won't be at all surprised to see that actual home sale contract signings dropped in May and will stay flat through June.

Time will tell, but until the job market improves don't expect any explosive improvement in home sales.