THE STUFF YOUR MOMMA NEVER TAUGHT YOU!
Here you will find everything that you never learned!

   HOW TO...
Win
 a Fistfight

First, you need to know a few things:


You are going to get hit.
When you get hit, it does not feel good.
​​
Knowing and accepting those two things as fact will free your mind up enough to begin thinking about much more important stuff, like strategy and technique. If you’re petrified with fear over how much it’s going to hurt when the big bad guy hits you, you’re going to be out of focus. Thus, you'll be much more vulnerable to taking damage than if you can just accept the reality of the situation and move past it... And perhaps, walk into the situation with a bit of confidence.

Confidence CANNOT be overvalued in a fight situation. If you walk in knowing you will win, your chances of winning are far greater... If for no other reason than the fact that you will gain a psychological edge on your opponent. If you don’t have confidence, fake it. Seriously, it’s important.

If you’re fighting in an enclosed area, position yourself so that there is an exit to your rear. If you cannot, try to get an exit positioned to your strong side (right side, if you’re right handed, left side if you’re left-handed). The ability to retreat can make the difference between getting punched and getting beat. It’s helpful to remember that “retreat” does not always mean “flee” - sometimes, you have to back off a bit to get your act together.

If you’re a student or a frequenter of bars, you need to know that there is a very high likelihood that your fight is going to take place in the center of a huge ring of people who are chanting, yelling, screaming and whatnot. If this is the case, get to the door and get in position before they can seal it off as a crowd of spectators.

Lastly, if you’re up against two or more guys, someone with a weapon, or other crazy situation, don’t be a hero - get the hell out of there.



 Deliver
Bad
News
The introduction is very important. It sets the context for the bad news, and context has a lot to do with how bad news is received. Instead of jumping straight into the bad, try leading with something positive. Describe what went well or a beneficial outcome. Or explain something positive about the future. The bad news itself should go in the middle of your message. If there are five paragraphs, the bad news should hide in the middle of the third. Your goal is not so much to hide or minimize the fact of the bad news, so much as it is to place it in context and make it part of an overall message. You need to introduce it, and you need to leave them with it explained and in context, so the bad news should go in the middle.

Once delivered, the bad news should be followed by the remedy, lesson learned, or course of action that will result in future prevention or improvement. You should consider making a commitment to taking some kind of corrective action. Turn your weakness into a strength. However, your response must be credible and verifiable.

Conclude by showing that you care. It could be nothing more than an apology, but it should show genuine empathy. You have mastered the art when your handling of the situation earns you respect and you are seen as someone who can be relied on when things go bad. And it's OK to tell the reader that this is what you hope will result in the long run. You want your reader to recognize that everyone has to deliver bad news sometimes, that you are making an effort to do it right, and that if the shoe was on the other foot, they would be saying and doing the same things.

The key to delivering bad news is trust. When you have bad news to deliver, it often means that your trust has already been damaged. If your message is not credible or you fail to live up to your commitments to make positive changes, the result can make things worse instead of better. If your delivery of bad news is deceitful or lacks credibility, it will be like pouring gasoline on the fire. If the reader's trust in you is damaged, it can be earned back, but only if you are willing to make the effort.
                                          What you'll need:
Your handbook, which shows you where to attach the jack
Your spare wheel – make sure it’s got enough tread and is properly inflated
Your vehicle jack
A wheel wrench with extension bar and locking wheel-nut adaptor (if fitted)
At least one wheel chock – something to stop your car from rolling when it’s up on the jack
Gloves – there’s a good chance your wheel/
tire will be dirty
Something to kneel on, like an old towel – the ground will be dirty too
A sharp knife or cutters to remove any cable ties used to hold your wheel trims in place
A torch
A reflective jacket and strong, sensible shoes for your own safety

                                            Before you lift your vehicle:
Plan ahead – you don’t want your vehicle to be raised for longer than it has to be
Switch off your engine and turn on your hazard lights
Apply the handbrake and engage first gear (or 'P' if you’re driving an automatic)
Put your chock under the wheel diagonally opposite the one you’re replacing
Remove your spare wheel from the boot well/carrier. If the carrier is under your vehicle, it might be a bit rusty and difficult to move
Lay your spare on the ground. Choose a spot that will be convenient for fitting
Remove your wheel trim (if fitted) – you may have to cut cable ties and/or lever the trim off
Place the jack in the lifting point closest to the wheel you’re changing
Make sure the jack head engages properly (as shown in your handbook) and extend the jack until it just starts to lift the vehicle on its springs. Don't lift your vehicle any further yet
Loosen the wheel nuts (most need to be twisted anticlockwise) using the vehicle's wheel wrench and locking wheel nut adapter if needed. There might be protective covers over the locking wheel nuts
Keep your back straight and body weight evenly distributed on both feet. Apply effort downwards in a controlled way, so that when the nut finally 'gives' you won't lose your balance

                                          Lifting the vehicle:
Raise the jack until the wheel is just off the ground
Remove the loose wheel nuts while keeping the wheel in position with your knee or foot
Leave the top one until last, so you can use both hands to lift the wheel away from the hub
When fitting the spare:
You’re basically following the removal method in reverse
Secure the wheel by loosely refitting the top wheel nut first
Tighten the remaining wheel nuts by hand, firstly in stages and in a diagonal sequence
Don't oil the wheel nuts before refitting them, since this will make them more likely to work loose
Lower the jack carefully until the wheel just touches the ground and won’t turn
Now tighten the wheel nuts fully with the wheel wrench, again in a diagonal sequence
Put the damaged wheel in the boot well or carrier

Replace or repair the damaged tire
Change
a
Tire 
1. Face association
Examine a person's face discreetly when you are introduced. Try to find an unusual feature, whether ears, hairline, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, chin, complexion, etc.Create an association between that characteristic, the face, and the name in your mind. The association may be to link the person with someone else you know with the same name. Alternatively, it may be to associate a rhyme or image of the name with the person's face or defining the feature.


2. Repetition
When you are introduced, ask for the person to repeat their name. Use the name yourself as often as possible (without overdoing it!). If it is unusual, ask how it is spelled or where it comes from, and if appropriate, exchange cards. Keep in mind that the more often you hear and see the name, the more likely it is to sink in.
Also, after you have left that person's company, review the name in your mind several times. If you are particularly keen you might decide to write it down and make notes.


The methods suggested for remembering names are fairly simple and obvious, but are useful. Association either with images of a name or with other people can really help. Repetition and review help to confirm your memory.
An important thing to stress is practice, patience, and progressive improvement.
location may be to link the person with someone else you know with the same name. Alternatively, it may be to associate a rhyme or image of the name with the person's face or defining the feature.

Remember Names
 
Handle
the
Police
1) Calm down.

2) Keep your hands visible

3) Shut up

4) Have your identification handy

5) Find out if you’re being detained

6) Do not consent to illegal searches

7) Do not resist arrest or even give the impression that you will

8) Do not become “Super Negro” or “Billy Badass.”

10) Use your eyes, ears, and memory.

At the end of the day, both you and the police officer want the same thing: to go home at night. No cop wakes up in the morning thinking, “I’m gonna shoot myself a Black kid,” and no Black kid wakes up in the morning thinking, “I’m gonna get myself smoked by a cop.” By no means is this a guarantee of fair treatment by police either. Some cops out there are rogues that even other cops don’t like. Others are pinnacles of public service and would even give their lives to save yours. Most fall somewhere in between. But the best way to keep out of trouble with the law is to keep your nose clean, have a basic knowledge of your rights, and know how to act if you ever do encounter the police.
Do
Push-Ups ​ Properly
Proper Pushup Technique
Get in the correct push-up starting position by setting your palms on the floor just outside the width of your shoulders with your fingers pointed straight ahead. Begin with your arms extended and all your weight on your hands and toes with your feet flexed. Your torso and thighs should create a straight line. Engage your core, glutes, and quadriceps to maintain this straight-body position as you bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor. Once your elbows are bent to 90 degrees, straighten them again to raise your body back up and complete the rep.
Important Tips
As you’re performing pushups, your body should remain perfectly straight the entire time. Keep your core tight so that your hips don’t sag toward the floor or lift up toward the ceiling. When lowering toward the floor, your elbows should flare out just a couple of inches away from your torso. If you find they’re flaring out too wide, check to see that your hands are just barely wider than your shoulders and your fingers are pointed straight ahead. Avoid holding your breath while doing pushups. Inhale as you lower toward the floor and exhale as you push yourself back up.
Changing the Intensity of Your Pushups
If you find pushups too challenging or not challenging enough, you can modify them to increase or decrease their difficulty. For those unable to go more than halfway down without losing control and dropping to the floor or for those who have difficulty keeping their hips from raising or sagging, pushups can be done from the knees rather than the toes. If you do pushups from the knees, be sure that your torso and thighs still create a perfectly straight line. Once you're able to do 20 straight pushups from the knees, move on to regular pushups from the toes.
If you can do 30 or more regular pushups in a row, it's time to make the exercise more challenging. You can wear a weighted vest or alter your hand positions. By bringing your hands in closer together, you force your shoulders and triceps to take on more of the load rather than your stronger chest muscles. You can also place your toes on an elevated surface, like a step, or add a bit of instability by doing pushups with your hands or feet placed on top of an exercise ball.
Pushup Challenge
Add push-ups to your workout schedule two or three days per week with one to two days off between workouts. Start with a five to 10-minute dynamic warm-up consisting of light jogging, arm circles, and arm hugs. Perform three to five sets of pushups, with each set consisting of as many repetitions as you can do while maintaining proper technique. Rest 90 seconds in between sets.
Keep your pushup workouts exciting with regular pushup challenges. Regularly test yourself to see how many pushups you can do without stopping. You can also challenge yourself to complete as many pushups as you can in one minute. Keep track of the number of pushups you complete as you go, only counting the ones that you do with correct technique. You can stop and rest throughout the one minute, but keep the clock ticking. Test yourself every month to monitor your progress.
 Paint
a
Room 
What You'll Need
Want a new look for your home, but afraid you don't have the time to tackle a big project? Painting could be the perfect solution for you. Not only is it one of the least expensive ways to drastically alter your decor, but it's also one of the quickest. With paint, you can change the look of a single room in just a few hours, or your whole home in a single weekend.  Even if you don't think you have time to tackle a large painting project, think again! Read on to discover a few simple ways to complete your painting project lickety-split.

Plan Ahead
In the early days, it seemed like I was always overlooking something I needed to pick up during my painting shopping trip. As a result, I found myself making time-consuming trips back to the store. Fortunately, I quickly learned the value of planning ahead.  Before you go shopping, figure out exactly what you need, including supplies and tools. Take inventory of what you already have, and make a list of everything you don't. Be sure to include the basics like paint brushes, rollers, extra roller covers, roller pans, drop cloths, spackle, and of course the paint. Use an online paint calculator to determine how much paint you'll need, and when in doubt, buy extra.

Use the Right Tools
New painters may think that all rollers and brushes are created equal, regardless of their price. In an effort to save a few bucks, I made this exact mistake. Now, however, I understand the value of a quality paint brush, and I'm much more willing to shell out a few extra bucks when I need to.
Quality brushes are worth their weight in gold. They cost extra because they last longer than their cheaper counterparts, don't shed brush hairs, and are less likely to leave unsightly brush marks that are hard to cover. This means you'll spend less time going back over your work trying to conceal the marks, and more time enjoying your new room.

Use Quality Paint and Primer
Like painting tools, not all paint is created equal. Some cheap paint is cheap for a reason - it takes several coats to get good coverage. Quality paints, on the other hand, will cover your walls much better, meaning you'll waste less time slapping on additional coats of paint.  If you're trying to cover dark or bright walls, a good color-blocking primer can be a lifesaver. For the best results, use a primer that has been tinted to match your new paint color. And if you're taking a walk from color to white, use a dark primer to conceal the old color better.
Choose a Similar Color
For some reason, this is always one of the reasons why my painting projects take much longer than I'd like. Instead of working with the old color, I always seem to be working against it. However, making a drastic change will take much more time, so I say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
Instead of trying to cover your wall with a completely different color of paint, opt for a different hue or shade of the current wall color. It will take much less time and effort to cover since small mistakes and bleed-throughs are much less noticeable.

Prep Only the Important Areas
Extensive painting prep eats up a good chunk of time for any painting project. While you shouldn't skip the prep completely, you most likely don't have to prep as much as you think.
Particularly dirty or greasy walls may require a good degreaser and a little scrubbing, but there's no need to exert as much effort on relatively clean walls. Instead, quickly go over walls and trim with a damp cloth to remove loose dirt, dust, and cobwebs. Drop cloths should also be used to cover floors and large pieces of furniture, but you can most likely fix the painter's tape. It takes entirely too much time to cover all of the trim. With a steady hand, an angled trim brush, and a little practice, you'll get equally good results by cutting in.

Don't Clean Up During Breaks
I thought my father, a timber-framed and home builder, was just a little insane when I walked into his workshop and saw his expensive paint covered brushes wrapped in plastic. Then I got to thinking about just how much time I wasted painstakingly cleaning my paint brushes every time I took a break.
I've once again taken my father's advice, and instead of spending a great deal of time washing brushes and rollers between breaks, I now wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. If you make sure that your brushes and rollers are wrapped airtight, they won't dry out and they'll be ready for use when break time's over.

Have a Painting Party
Painting parties are my favorite type of party. After all, tedious tasks, like painting, are much more interesting when you're tackling them with a fun bunch of people. Not to mention, they go much faster with the extra manpower.  All you have to do is provide snacks and drinks, crank up the stereo, and toss a brush or roller in everyone's hands. After the job's done and all evidence of the paint fight is washed away, treat everyone to a delicious meal for their hard work.
Step 1
Take a deep breath. Holding your breath tightens the diaphragm and makes your smile look tight and forced.

Step 2
Think happy thoughts. To look happy, let your mind go to something light and funny.

Step 3
Relax your facial muscles, and your neck, shoulders, and mind.Any kind of strain will show in the photograph.

Step 4
Trust the photographer to make you look good. Tell her if you are uncomfortable with the pose or the setting.

Step 5
Laugh with sincerity. The most genuine smile comes with a laugh that makes your eyes sparkle.

Step 6
Energize the photo. Dance or try a variety of movements.

Step 7
Practice your smile. Spend some time in front of the mirror. Find the smile you love and remember how it feels.
Smile for the Camera
With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person's impression of you is formed. This first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for all the relationships that follow.
So, whether they are in your career or social life, it's important to know how to create a good first impression. This article provides some useful tips to help you do this.
Be on Time
Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your "good excuse" for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.
Be Yourself, Be at Ease
If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that's a sure way to create the wrong impression. If you are calm and confident, so the other person will feel more at ease, and so have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one. See our article on Centering to find out how to calm that adrenaline!
Present Yourself Appropriately
Of course, physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.
But it certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression. (Unless you are interviewing with your local model agency, of course!)
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No. The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so the "picture" you first present says much about you to the person you are meeting. Is your appearance saying the right things to help create the right first impression?
Start with the way you dress. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting, what is the appropriate business attire? Suit, blazer, casual? And ask yourself what the person you'll be meeting is likely to wear – if your contact is in advertising or the music industry, a pinstripe business suit may not strike the right note!
For business and social meetings, the appropriate dress also varies between countries and cultures, so it's something that you should pay particular attention to when in an unfamiliar setting or country. Make sure you know the traditions and norms.
And what about your grooming? Clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. A good haircut or shave. Clean and tidy clothes. Neat and tidy make up. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel "the part".
Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel "the part", and so feel more calm and confident. Add all of this up and you are well on your way to creating a good first impression.
A Word About Individuality
The good news is you can usually create a good impression without total conformity or losing your individuality. Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to "fit in" to some degree. But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation. If in a business setting, wear appropriate business attire. If at a formal evening social event, wear appropriate evening attire. And express your individuality appropriately within that context.
A Winning Smile!
As the saying goes, "Smile and the world smiles too." So there's nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions. But don't go overboard with this – people who take this too far can seem insincere and smarmy, or can be seen to be "lightweights."
Be Open and Confident
When it comes to making the first impression, body language, as well as appearance, speaks much louder than words.
Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake. All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better at ease.
Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check. And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease. See our article on relaxation techniques for help with this.
Small Talk Goes a Long Way
Conversations are based on verbal give and take. It may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, does he play golf? Does she work with a local charitable foundation?
Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.
Be Positive
Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.
Be Courteous and Attentive
It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior help make a good first impression. In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. So be on your best behavior!
One modern manner worth mentioning is "turn off your mobile phone". What first impression will you create if you are already speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time? Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention. Anything less and you'll create a less than good first impression.
Make a Good First Impression
Detect
a
Lie
I believe you can identify a lie or a liar by asking a person 6 simple questions:

How do you know this? – This is the very first question you should ask someone when they tell you something that you are unsure of.  It immediately uncovers the source of the information and should give insight into whether the bulk of it is based on scientific fact or educated opinion.  Although it seems like a very simple question, it is one of the most demanding questions you could ask someone.  It informs them that you are not a pushover and forces them to backup their claims.
What are the major concerns or risks? – Anybody who has performed the proper research on a topic for which they claim to be an expert should also be able to explain their major concerns in vivid detail.  No plan is perfect.  There will always be some level of concern or risk.  If the person claims there is zero risk and no concerns, they are lying to you.
Why do you think others might have an opposing view? – There are always a few different ways to interpret a specific set of data.  No matter what side of the argument a person is on, you can be sure that at least one other person has an opposing view.  Once again, if someone has done the proper research they should have a pretty good idea of what creates this opposing view.  Thus, they shouldn’t have any problem explaining it, even if their explanation is merely an educated hypothesis.
C an you please explain this in layman’s terms? – A person might use complex terminology in order to sneak a lie past your better judgment.  The idea is that their complex terminology will throw you off, and instead of questioning the information, you move on to prevent yourself from looking naive.  Never look past something you don’t understand.  Get the facts straight.  Make them explain themselves 20 times if necessary until you understand what they are saying.  Until you understand the information, presume that they are wrong even if they sound smart.
Do you mind if I sleep on it? – A lie, no matter how complex, is always paper thin from a certain angle.  If you have enough time to analyze the information and look at it from every angle you will eventually see the truth.  When someone lies and looks for you to buy into the information they usually want you to agree on the spot.  They already know that their story won’t check out if you have enough time to analyze it.  If someone is unwilling to let you sleep on the information in order to properly digest it, they are probably lying. 
Truth will still be truth in the morning, so there is no reason to rush things unless it isn’t the truth.
How confident am I in this person? – This is a simple question that you have to ask yourself.  You should try to determine if this person has any credible references.  Sort out the reasons why you should believe them and why you should not believe them.  Do you personally know anyone who has dealt with this person before?  Think about it mindfully, what does your gut instinct tell you?
Hold
a
Baby
Of the many ways to cradle your baby, the best one depends on both your moods. A few to try: 

Rock-a-bye baby 
Hold your baby in the crook of either arm, slightly inclined. Steady him with the lower part of your arm and your hand. Use your free arm to give him a bit of extra support where needed. This snug and secure hold allow an infant to curl up in a comforting fetal position. 

Colic cinch 
Lie your baby face down along your forearm, the side of his head in your hand, his arms (and legs) straddling your arm like an airplane. Put your other hand on his back. You can also try moving your arm up and down to give him a tummy massage. 

Hello, world 
Support your baby's back against your chest by placing one arm under his bottom and the other across his chest. This hold is good for babies who like to see what's going on around them. 

Astronaut position 
Sit down with your knees propped up and lay your baby face up, his head resting on your knees and his feet nestled on your tummy. Holding your baby this way gives you maximum interaction  -- as well as some arm relief! 

Jump Start
a
Car
1. Another car, running
2. Jumper cables
3. Safety glasses
4. Wire brush (optional for cleaning connections)
You'll need to park the running car next to the dead car in such a way that the jumper cables can reach both batteries.
Often facing each other is the best option. If you aren't sure where the batteries are under each hood, take a peek* before you park.
Important TIP:
*Never drive with your hood raised. Not only do you have no visibility, you could damage your hood components or the hood itself.
Don't be nervous about your battery connections, but also know that it's very important that you do not mix up the cables or you can do serious damage! With both cars parked next to each other, turn both keys to the OFF position. Not only will this protect your car's electrical system from any surges, it's always safer under the hood with the engine off.
Here are the connection steps:
Be sure both ignition switches are in the OFF position.

Locate the "+" (positive) and "-" (negative) sides of each battery. They should be clearly marked on the battery itself. On newer cars the positive (+) side often has a red cover over the battery post and wires.
Attache the red cable to the "+" side of the good battery
Attach the other end of the red cable to the "+" side of the dead battery
Attach the black cable to the "-" side of the good battery
Attach the other end of the black cable to a section of unpainted metal on the dead car. This can be as small as the head of a bolt located nearby.
Important TIPS:
*Attach the jumper cable to the most secure attachment point you can find on the car's permanent battery cables. If they are corroded, it may help to wiggle the jumper cable end around a bit while it's attached to the car's cables or battery.
*You might be tempted to attach it to the "-" side of the dead battery, but this isn't recommended. In the old days, batteries leaked small amounts of acid, which could turn into flammable gas around the battery.
This gas could explode if the cable caused a spark just above the battery.
*I have seen some people clamp the negative cable onto the rubber cable covering of the positive side while they walk across to the other car. This is a NO NO. If one of those sharp teeth were to pierce the rubber cover and reach the wires inside, you could do serious electrical damage to one or both vehicles!
First, start the car with the good battery, and leave it running. If the battery in the dead was was really badly drained, it may help to leave them connected for a minute with the good car running before you try to start the dead car. 
Turn the key in the dead car to start and it should fire right up! If you continue to have starting problems, you might need to install a new battery. You can disconnect the jumper cables right away.
Select
Good Produce 

Artichoke
Select globes that are deep green, with a tight leaf formation, and those that feel heavy for their size.  A good test of freshness is to press the leaves against each other which should produce a squeaking sound.  Browning of the tips can indicate age, but can also indicate frost damage.
Fall and winter artichokes may be darker or bronze-tipped or have a whitish, blistered appearance due to exposure to light frost.  This is called “winter-kissed.”  Look for the tender green on the inside of petals.  Many consider these frosted artichokes to be the most tender with intense flavor.  Avoid artichokes which are wilting, drying or have mold.

Asparagus
Asparagus is commonly sold in bundles of about a pound, standing upright in a tray of water.  Select bright green asparagus with closed, compact, firm tips. A rich green color should cover most of the spear.  Stalks should be almost as far down as the green extends.  Try to buy stalks that are equally thick so they cook evenly.  If the tips are slightly wilted, freshen them up by soaking them in cold water.  Avoid tips that are open and spread out moldy or decayed tips, or ribbed spears (spears with up-and-down ridges or that are not approximately round).  Those are all signs of aging and indicate tough asparagus and poor flavor.
Storing fresh asparagus – To make sure they keep their freshness, stand asparagus bundles in about 1-inch of water in a jar or shallow tray and keep them in the refrigerator.  Cook the asparagus spears with 2 or 3 days of purchase.

Broccoli
When purchasing broccoli, select ones where the stalks are tight and firm.  Look at the stalk and make sure it’s not tough.  The buds should be tightly closed and the leaves are crisp and very green.  The little ‘trees’ or florets should be dark green. Also note that if the broccoli tends to have a very strong smell or if the leaves have a slightly yellow color, it can often suggest that it is old.  Try and avoid broccoli where the buds are yellow in color.
Check out my informational web page on Broccoli.
Also, check out my article on Broccoli Raab/Rapini.

Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts develop as enlarged buds on a tall stem, one sprout appearing where each main leaf is attached.  The “sprouts” are cut off and, in most cases, are packed in small consumer containers, although some are packed loose, in bulk.  Although they are often available about 10 months of the year, peak supplies appear from October through December.
Look for a fresh, bright-green color, tight fitting outer leaves, firm body, and freedom from blemishes.  Avoid elongated beets with round, scaly areas on the top surface — these will be tough, fibrous, and strong-flavored.  Also avoid wilted, flabby beets — they have been exposed to the air too long.

Cabbage
Cabbage leaves should be firm. When selecting, choose only the heads that are compact and firm.  They should have fresh, crispy leaves that do not contain any markings or browning, which may be an indication of worm damage.  The head should only contain a few loose outer leaves.
The coloring of the leaves should reflect the variety you are purchasing.  In general, the darker green the leaves the more flavor they have.  The stem should be trimmed and look fresh, not dry and cracked.  Avoid purchasing pre-cut or shredded cabbage.  Once the cabbage is cut it begins to lose its vitamin C content, even if it is tightly packaged or well wrapped.

Carrots
When purchasing carrots, look for firm, plump carrots without rootlets.  They should be small, bright orange and smooth, without cracks.  Buy carrots in bunches, with their leafy green tops still attached.
Carrots lose moisture through their leafy green tops, so if you purchase them this way, remove the tops before wrapping carrots in plastic and storing.  Instead of throwing away the tops, which are full of nutrition, try adding them to soups or chopping them and adding to your salads.
Storing fresh carrots:  Carrots keep will for weeks in the refrigerator, although you will sacrifice sweetness and flavor if stored too long.

Cauliflower
When purchasing cauliflower, look for a clean, creamy white, compact card in which the bud clusters are not separated.  Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower should be avoided, as well as those in which small flowers appear.
Heads that are surrounded by many thick green leaves are better protected and will be fresher.  As its size is not related to its quality, choose one that best suits your needs.

Corn
Fully ripe sweet corn has bright green, moist husks.  The silk should be stiff, dark and moist.  You should be able to feel individual kernels by pressing gently against the husk. Fresh corn, if possible, should be cooked and served the day it is picked or purchased.
As soon as corn is picked, its sugar begins is gradual conversion to starch, which reduces the corn’s natural sweetness.  Corn will lose 25% or more of its sugar within 25 hours after harvesting it.  If for some reason corn is not being used immediately or has been purchased from the supermarket, add sugar to replace that which has been lost.  Add one teaspoon sugar for each quart of water.

Eggplant
Smaller, immature eggplants are best.  Full-size puffy ones may have hard seeds and can be bitter.  Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant that is heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots.  Gently push with your thumb or forefinger.  If the flesh gives slightly but then bounces back, it is ripe. If the indentation remains, it is overripe and the insides will be mushy.  If there is no give, the eggplant was picked too early.  Also, make sure an eggplant isn’t dry inside, knock on it with your knuckles.  If you hear a hollow sound, don’t buy it. NOTE: Whether or not there is an appreciable difference, I don’t know.

Garlic
When selecting garlic, it should be big, plump and firm, tight silky skins with its paper-like covering intact, not spongy, soft, or shriveled.  Why buy small ones that are a pain to peel?  As with all ingredients for cooking, buy the best garlic you can afford.
Fresh garlic is readily available year round.  Garlic is available in forms other than fresh, such as powder, flakes, oil, and puree.
Also remember that a single bulb of garlic usually contains between ten and twenty individual cloves of garlic.  The individual cloves are covered with a fine pinkish/purple skin, and the head of cloves is then covered with white papery outer skin.

Green or String Beans
Green beans are available year-round, with a peak season of May to October.  Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans.  Green beans were once called string beans.
Today they are stringless; just break off the end as you wash them.  Leave whole or cut into desired lengths.  Choose slender beans that are crisp, bright-colored, and free of blemishes.
Also, check out Cooking Green Beans, Are Green Beans Healthy, and Romano Beans/Italian String Beans

Mushrooms
Fresh mushrooms have a firm texture.  They are delicate, highly perishable, and must be handled with care; they are sensitive to hot temperatures and rough shipping.  Many varieties of fresh mushrooms are seasonal.  Watch out for mushrooms that are moldy or soft.  You are looking for them to be clean and firm.
Avoid overripe mushrooms (shown by wide-open caps and dark, discolored gills underneath) and those with pitted or seriously discolored caps.

Onions
When buying onions, choose those that are heavy for their size with dry, papery skins, and that show no signs of spotting or moistness.  Avoid onions that are soft or sprouting.  Young onions are sweeter than old ones.  They should have absolutely NO SMELL whatever.  If they do, they are probably bruised somewhere under the skin and are on their way out.
A green onion can be classified as a type of scallion. Both can be used interchangeably. True scallions are identified by the fact that the sides of the base are straight, whereas the green onion is usually slightly curved, showing the beginnings of a bulb.

Peas
Garden peas are generally available from spring through the beginning of winter.  When purchasing garden peas, look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety, and smooth.  Their color should be a medium green.  Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided.  Additionally, do not choose pods that are puffy, water soaked or have mildew residue.  The pods should contain peas of sufficient number and size that there is not much empty room in the pod.  You can tell this by gently shaking the pod and noticing whether there is a slight rattling sound.
Peas taste best when cooked as soon as possible after picking or purchasing.
Check out Snow Pea/Chinese Pea Pod/Sugar Pea.

Potatoes
 Potatoes should be smooth, well shaped, and unbruised.  When selecting potatoes, choose new potatoes for boiling and salads.  They have thinner skins and are firmer.  With new potatoes, look for firm potatoes that are free from blemishes and sunburn (a green discoloration under the skin).  Some amount of skinned surface is normal, but potatoes with large skinned and discolored areas are undesirable.  For general-purpose and baking potatoes, look for reasonably smooth, firm potatoes free from blemishes, sunburn, and decay.
Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. The ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50 degrees F.  At this temperature, the potatoes will keep for several weeks.  Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, at a temperature below 40 degrees, F. will cause the potatoes to develop a sweet taste.  This is due to the conversion of starch to sugar, which causes potatoes to darken when cooked.  If you store potatoes at room temperature, use them within a week or so.
Check out my informational web pages on Potatoes, how to make Perfect Baked Potatoes and Perfect Mashed Potatoes.

Spinach
1 pound of fresh spinach leaves will cook down to about 1 cup cooked spinach. for a side dish of cooked spinach, figure 8 ounces raw spinach per serving.
Like all greens, spinach should be washed as soon as you buy it.  Loose spinach can be very gritty, so it must be thoroughly rinsed (it can’t be washed enough).  It grows in sandy soils that seem to cling to the growing leaves.
The easiest way to wash spinach is to put it into a sink or large container of cold water.  Remove stems by twisting or cutting spinach leaves off just above stem line and immerse in water.  Swish leaves around, then let them stand for a few minutes while dirt sinks to the bottom.  Thoroughly dry by using a salad spinner (my favorite way) or by blotting with paper towels.  Wrap in dry paper towels and seal in a plastic bag for storage.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes do not develop adequate flavor unless allowed to ripen on the vine.  Seek out locally grown tomatoes whenever possible.  They may not be as “pretty” as store bought, but beauty, of course, is only skin deep.  The fragrance is a better indicator of a good tomato than color.  Use your nose and smell the stem end.  The stem should retain the garden aroma of the plant itself – if it doesn’t, your tomato will lack flavor and, as far as I’m concerned, will be good only for decoration!
Since fresh tomatoes are summer fare and off-season tomatoes are rarely flavorful, substitute canned Italian plum tomatoes in cooked dishes.  Cook for ten minutes to reduce the liquid and enhance the taste.
Check out my informational web pages on Tomatoes and lots of Tomato Recipes and How To Peel Fresh Tomatoes, Metallic Taste in Tomatoes, Oven Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, Dehydrated Tomatoes.

Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits
It sounds like a mixed message: Drinking alcohol may offer some health benefits, especially for your heart. On the other hand, too much alcohol may increase your risk of health problems and damage your heart.
When it comes to alcohol, the key is moderation. Certainly, you don't have to drink any alcohol, and if you currently don't drink, don't start drinking for the possible health benefits. In some cases, it's safest to avoid alcohol entirely — the possible benefits don't outweigh the risks.
Here's a closer look at the connection between alcohol and your health.
Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, such as:
Reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease
Possibly reduce your risk of ischemic stroke (when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow)
Possibly reduce your risk of diabetes
Even so, the evidence about the health benefits of alcohol isn't certain, and alcohol may not benefit everyone who drinks.
Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Examples of one drink include:
Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
Moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit if you have existing risk factors for heart disease. However, you can take other steps to improve your heart health besides drinking — eating a healthy diet and exercising, for example, which have more robust research behind them.
Keep in mind that even moderate use isn't risk-free. For example, drinking and driving is never a good idea.
In certain situations, the risks of alcohol may outweigh the possible health benefits. For example, talk to your doctor about alcohol use if:
You're pregnant or trying to become pregnant
You've been diagnosed with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, or you have a strong family history of alcoholism
You have liver or pancreatic disease
You have heart failure or you've been told you have a weak heart
You take prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol
You've had a hemorrhagic stroke (when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures)
Heavy drinking is defined as more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week for women and for men older than age 65, and more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week for men age 65 and younger.
Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men.
While moderate alcohol use may offer some health benefits, heavy drinking — including binge drinking — has no health benefits. Excessive drinking can increase your risk of serious health problems, including:
Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus
Pancreatitis
Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease
Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure
Stroke
High blood pressure
Liver disease
Suicide
Accidental serious injury or death
Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
The latest dietary guidelines make it clear that no one should begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits. So don't feel pressured to drink alcohol. However, if you do drink alcohol and you're healthy, there's probably no need to stop as long as you drink responsibly and in moderation.
Parallel Park
Seek out space you feel comfortable that you can safely get your car into without crunching into another car. Drive around the block until you find a larger gap if you need to; you will need a space that's several feet longer than your car.
Check your rearview mirror and driver-side mirror as you approach the space to ensure another car is not riding on your tail. Signal toward space as you approach it, slow
down
, and stop. If another motorist rides up on your rear, simply maintain your position and keep signaling. You might even need to roll down your window and wave the other driver around; they might not have realized you're trying to park.
Line up your vehicle with the parked vehicle directly in front of your desired spot. Don't get too close on the side, or you might scrape the other car when you make your move. But you also don't want to be too far away―two or three feet will suffice. Position your vehicle parallel to the parked car, aligning your bumpers.
Check your surroundings. Use all your mirrors and check your blind spots for cars, bicyclists and pedestrians BEFORE you begin to reverse your car.
Put your vehicle in reverse. Look over your other shoulder at the space to assess the gap.
Release the brakes and slowly begin backing into the turn.
Turn the steering wheel when you see the front car's back bumper. When your back axle is aligned with the front car's bumper, turn your steering wheel all the way to the right (assuming you're parking on the right-hand side of the road).
Reverse until your car is at a 45-degree angle. Then, turn your steering wheel in the opposite direction. Imagine your car is creating an S shape as you are maneuvering into the spot.
Keep backing up until your car is in the spot. Be sure to take a few quick glances at the front of your car to make sure you don't hit the vehicle in front of your spot.
Pull forward to straighten out. Once you're in the spot, you can turn the steering wheel so your tires are parallel to the curb.
Voila! At this point, if all went well, you should be tucked nicely in the space and parallel parked. If you aren't, there's no harm done. Just signal that you're about to leave the curb, pull out and alongside the car in front of you, signal toward the curb again, and start over. You won't be the first person―and certainly not the last―who tries parallel parking a few times before getting it right.
Keep in mind that some states require your vehicle to be within a certain distance from the curb. The ideal distance when parallel parking, for the safety of you and your vehicle, is to be within a few inches of the curb. If you're not close enough, don't be afraid to start again.

And remember—practice makes perfect! 
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