Down Town Amarillo

Down Town Amarillo

Friday, July 29, 2011

8 simple tips for keeping cool without AC

Summer is here, and that means heat. While 84% of U.S. homes use air conditioners, we can save money by using them less; after all, the typical U.S. home spends 17% of its annual energy bill on cooling — about $375.

We can save energy, too, which on the hottest summer days can have immediate payoffs: avoiding an electricity blackout caused by an overloaded power grid and lessening the load of air pollution emitted by power plants. The Daily Green has tried to find the best ways to stay cool without using the air conditioner. These tips are also useful when the electricity does go out and you are without the use of your air conditioner.

We start with some home and yard improvements that can keep your home cooler now and in the years to come, then give you some easy, cheap tips you can use right now to cool off. And remember, even if you have and use an air conditioner, these tips can help you reduce your need for it, saving energy and money.


1. Install attic insulation

While attic fans may not help significantly to cool your home, attic insulation can help a lot. Insulation keeps cooler air in your home from escaping through the ceiling. If you have central air, also seal ducts — especially at vents and registers, where you could be losing up to 20% of your cooled air. Although the tax benefits aren't as generous as they were, you can still get a tax credit worth 10% of the materials cost, up to $500.


2. Plant trees strategically

Your house gets hot because the sun beats down on it on hot summer days. Let nature help reduce your energy bills: Plant deciduous trees on the east and west sides of your home. In the summer, their broad leaves will shade your house, while in the winter, bare branches won't stop the sun's warmth from reaching your walls. Also consider planting trees or shrubs to shade high-heat areas — air conditioning units that emit heat, for instance, and driveways and walkways that absorb it.

Of course, sitting under a shady tree on a hot summer day isn't a bad way to pass the time, wherever the tree stands.

All year awnings


3. Install awnings

Just as window shades and shrubbery work to shield your home from the sun's rays, awnings can save you money on energy bills by cutting down on the heat your house absorbs. This is a purchase to make if you like the look.


4. Close your windows

It may seem counterintuitive, but on hot summer days, opening the windows will often make your home warmer, not cooler. Open your windows only at night if the air outside is cooler than inside, and close them — along with blinds and shades — before the sun hits your house in the morning.

When night falls, open windows wide, particularly those oriented toward prevailing winds, so you can take advantage of cross ventilation. This will allow cool night air to circulate, and prevent a good deal of the sun's heat from reaching indoors. You may also put houseplants — particularly larger potted trees — in front of sunny windows to absorb some of the sun's energy.


5. Use fans strategically

The fact is, many people don't know how to use fans effectively. Here are three ways fans can help:

Ceiling fans can create a pleasant breeze to cool a room significantly. Be sure that you have the fan running in the right direction: In the summer, you should feel the breeze blowing down. And remember, ceiling fans cool people, not rooms, so turn it off when you leave the room. If you're buying new ceiling fans, make sure you buy Energy Star fans that use 50% less energy than comparable models — a choice that will pay off in the long run.

Stand-alone fans placed directly in front of you, it's no surprise, help keep you cool. Add a spritz bottle and you can dramatically change your temperature; as the water evaporates off your skin, your body sheds heat.

A do-it-yourself wind tunnel is the third option; if there's a cool breeze, particularly at night, set one fan facing in on the side of your home receiving the wind, and another facing out on the opposite end of the house. You'll maximize the cooling power of a natural breeze.


6. Eat cold meals

Just as drinking a nice cold cocktail cools your body, eating cold food helps keep your internal temperature lower on a hot day. Try a simple watermelon salad, for instance, or a cold soup. If you do cook, use the grill or the microwave, or else you'll heat up your kitchen from using the oven and stove. And remember, kitchen appliances aren't the only devices that give off heat; limiting your use of electronics and lighting will help keep your home cooler, too.


7. Shut off the lights

While modern lighting, such as compact fluorescents and LEDs, is more efficient, incandescent light bulbs can produce as much heat as they do light. Energy Star-rated light bulbs produce 75% less heat, so consider that when replacing bulbs. It's always a good idea to shut off lights to save energy, and on hot summer days, it can also affect the temperature of the room. The same goes for many electronics, so consider unplugging any device that isn't needed because many electronics remain hot even in standby mode.


8. Take a cold shower or go swimming

It may sound obvious, but it's worth saying: If you're hot, cool off your core temperature by immersing yourself in cold water. Unless there's 100% humidity, the evaporation of water off your skin will further cool you once you emerge from the water. For a shortcut, use water and ice cubes to keep your wrists cool. Because your blood vessels are so close to the skin there, you'll feel cooler by applying cold directly to your blood

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7 Tips On Keeping Your Home Looking Nice When Selling.

Here’s some advice to help keep that budget down and get the home looking nice:
1.   Ask for help.


      Even if you don’t get a pro, a second set of eyes that haven’t lived at the property is helpful. They haven’t seen all the changes and improvements you’ve made over the years, and won’t miss the deterioration and disrepair that you experienced over years and didn’t really notice. A fresh perspective will tell you what to focus on.
2.  Make breathing room.

      Moving things around is free. (Although storing them elsewhere probably isn’t.) Rooms that have a lot of furniture may look cozy to you, but crowded to potential buyers. Spacing things out makes a room look bigger, and lets buyers mentally fill in the gaps with their own stuff.

3.  Be sparse, not Spartan.

      Perhaps worse than clutter is nothing at all. An empty room is not going to excite anyone, and it will draw more attention to the condition of the walls, floor, and ceiling. While a tidy decor shouldn’t be used to hide defects, it may save you the expense of redoing an unappealing paint job. Think of a pleasant-looking budget hotel room: There are simple decorations that catch your eye, but they’re spaced out. Flowers look nicer than random decorative objects but will require care.

4.  Minimize personal stuff.

      In the bathroom, clear the countertops and shower of excessive bottles, brushes, and cosmetics and use simple, color-coordinated towels. Take down personal photos, including off the fridge (magnets too). Pack up the knick-knacks scattered across the shelves and dressers. You don’t necessarily need to rent a storage unit for all this: You can keep it in the garage, as long as it’s tidy.

5.  Make things shine.
      Polish furniture. Clean windows, fixtures, doorknobs, fans, and lights. This is simple and cheap but makes a big visual difference.

6.   Think twice about big customizations.

      Replacing the carpet or repainting may seem logical, but not everybody has the same taste and the buyer may want to change things again anyway. You should consider a change if age or crazy style are issues. If you do, go for simple, neutral colors.

 7.  Create curb appeal.

Don’t focus on the inside and forget outside. First impressions matter. Clear out the tools and junk (especially on the patio and front porch), mow the lawn, and trim the hedges. Fresh mulch may spruce things up cheaply, and if you don’t want to paint the whole house, paint the trim, door, and shutters. (Your city may even offer enough free paint for the job; some give away limited quantities.) If it’s in the budget, the next step may be some pro landscaping or a simple garden

Friday, July 22, 2011

4 Tips When Buying An Air Conditioning Unit In Texas.

When it's summer, you may not notice the blazing heat – which likely means you have an air conditioner. And a good one, at that! For those who don't own an air conditioning unit and survive through the hot months with fans, ice packs and sleeping with your head resting in the open refrigerator door, maybe you should think about biting the bullet and buying one.

That's exactly what Stormy Naggy did. Naggy, 30, who recently moved to Huston, found herself needing to buy an air conditioner to help survive the notoriously steamy summers. "Everywhere else I've lived had already had them installed," she explains, adding that the refreshing blast of cool air was a necessity because "it's hot as hell." Naggy, a first-time air-conditioner buyer, had no real idea of what to buy and admits to only doing just a little research online. "I ended up buying one from a friend for $40," Naggy says, though it doesn't really work all that well in her apartment. "It doesn't cool the entire apartment; it just circulates the air."

Here's what an expert has to say about choosing the right AC unit to beat the heat and not make the same mistake as Naggy:

1. Calculate how many BTUs you need

Abby Buford, a member of the public relations team at Lowe's, warns that despite the temptation to just swing by the local hardware store and pick up whatever air conditioning unit is on sale, it actually takes a bit of planning and foresight to find the right air conditioner. She explains that the most important thing to consider when buying an air conditioner is to figure out the square footage of the room in which you plan to install the unit.

First, multiply the room's width by the room's length. Then use a chart from Energy Star to figure out the amount of British thermal units (BTUs) needed. Be sure to view the special notes about the number of windows, sunlight, and if the unit is to be used in a kitchen -- all of which affect the amount of BTUs needed. "BTUs are important because selecting the proper size is a critical component of the units performance," Buford explains.

2. Buy the unit with the listed amount of BTUs you need. No more, no less.

After determining the amount of BTUs you'll need, you can then pick out your air conditioner. The box should display its BTU output along with listing its other features, such as fan speeds, remotes, programs, etc. And just because a unit has larger BTU output than you need doesn't mean you'll reap the rewards of a cooler room. "An air conditioning unit that's too large will cycle on and off too frequently, using too much energy and causing unnecessary wear on the electrical components," says Buford. You'll also end up paying for a bigger unit not only at the store's cash register but also farther down the road, when you receive your first shockingly large electricity bill.

3. Buy an energy efficient air conditioner. Even if it costs more, you'll save money in the long run.

"The amount of money is generally based on the size of the unit," explains Buford, explaining that the bigger the AC unit, the more it will cost. "And the size will also determine the amount of money spent on utilities." It's advised to stick with an air conditioner that has met government restrictions as an energy efficient appliance and has been labeled with the Energy Star logo. "The majority of units are Energy Star, which can cost slightly more than a non-Energy Star unit," says Buford. But you'll more than likely make up the difference in price with your electric bill.

4. Read the instructions and don't forget to keep up on maintenance.

Before you install the unit, Buford recommends thoroughly reading the installation guide, as well as checking to make sure the window can hold it and that nothing blocks the airflow. She also suggests that you check the unit's filter regularly -- "A dirty filter can decrease the efficiency of the AC unit."

Following these tips and advice will hopefully find you basking in the cool, refreshing chill of your new air conditioner and help you enjoy your summer while at home. Naggy will have to go through the whole process of buying an air conditioner again next summer to get one that suits her needs best, but she's optimistic. "At least next time I'll know what to do," she says.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees home loans for vets that make it possible to buy a house with little or no money down. But some requirements of the loans intended to protect buyers also create hurdles for them.

VA Loans Come With Strict Terms

It's in almost everyone's interest for someone to buy up foreclosed homes. It's good for neighborhoods and banks, the economy benefits, and the buyer gets a home to live in.

But buying a foreclosed home or one in short sale can be difficult for veterans and those who want to use a VA loan. When veteran Eric Warner was looking for a home in Palmer, Alaska, a third of the homes were foreclosures.

"But there was no point in looking at them because they'd tell us up front, 'No, no VA loans,' " Warner says.
The VA and the Federal Housing Administration have long offered loan deals designed to help veterans and middle-class buyers. The VA guarantees up to 25 percent of the loan, which makes it possible for buyers like Warner to put no money down.

But the subprime crisis gave loans without a down payment a bad name. Now, vets are drawn to the VA because it offers the best deal in the market. But many sellers are reluctant to entertain offers from buyers with the loans because the VA requires certain conditions, including that the house be in great condition.

In today's market, with so many foreclosures for sale, this caveat often turns out to be a deal breaker. That was the case for most of the homes Warner looked at.

"There's very few times I've felt embarrassed for being a veteran," he says. "But finding that, in many ways, it was becoming a stumbling block to securing a good home for my family was sort of shocking and embarrassing."

VA: Terms Are In Vet's Best Interest

We have talked among ourselves about, 'Well, are we protecting somebody out of a home?'
Even in areas where foreclosures make up the bulk of what's on the market — like in southern Florida — real estate agents say clients have trouble trying to buy distressed homes with VA or FHA loans. They can't compete with investors offering all cash, or the process drags out so long that buyers just give up.

After five months, Warner finally did buy a house. But he says the drama didn't help his post-traumatic stress disorder, and he frequently considered giving up on the loan in the middle of the night: "Usually at about 1 o'clock in the morning after one or two hours of my wife crying and saying, 'Why is it this hard?' " he says.

The VA says it created the requirements to help vets and protect them from sinking money into a rundown house they later might not be able to afford. Bill White, assistant director of loan policy for the VA's Veterans Benefits Administration, says he has considered what it means to potential home buyers.

"We have talked among ourselves about, 'Well, are we protecting somebody out of a home?,' " White says.
White acknowledges that the VA has gotten some complaints about the unintended consequences of its rules. But, he says, the VA has no intention of changing its requirements.

Homes Need Families, Families Need Homes
 Emily Winslow isn't sure what to blame for having to endure half a year of bank approvals, inspections and paperwork. During those six months, Winslow moved her family five times — from a hotel to a friend's house, back to another hotel. Then, at nine months pregnant and still waiting, she frantically searched for a rental.

"No one could accommodate us, because our stipulations were so challenging," Winslow says. "Here we were, just waiting on the deal. And we have a month, maybe, until this goes through. 'I'm having a baby in two weeks, we've got to receive our household goods, we don't have a pet — can you please help us out?' And they said 'No, I'm sorry I can't.' "

The rental finally came through, but meanwhile their offer was still in limbo. The house they wanted didn't pass the VA's inspection because of a termite problem.

If common sense were used, we wouldn't have had to go through this.
"We were just so, so brokenhearted so many times because it appeared that the whole deal was going to fall through," she says.

In January, Winslow's family bought a house in Augusta, Ga. She says she still feels embittered.

"If common sense were used, we wouldn't have had to go through this," she says. "And it breaks my heart for other people that have to go through this, too, that you know, maybe there's a wife out there whose husband is deployed. And she's going through this by herself and she doesn't know what to do. It's just — my heart breaks for people like that."

Winslow says she understands the good intent behind the VA's rules, but she doesn't understand how there could be so many homes needing families, while so many families need homes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

3 Ways to Save on Home Costs.

1. Negotiate on repairs and upkeep

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Price trend: Contractors, still facing a slumping real estate market, will strike a deal to get your business. In a May survey by consumer review website Angie's List, 81% of contractors say they'd negotiate labor costs; more than a quarter say they'd drop prices by more than 10%. Service providers like house cleaners and landscapers are cutting rates, too.

How to save: Get multiple price quotes. You'll have the most bargaining power if you can be flexible about the timing of your project. If a builder won't drop his price, see whether he'll upgrade you to higher-end fixtures, says Steve Gonzalez, author of "Before You Hire a Contractor: A Construction Guidebook for Consumers."

2. Trim the cost of borrowing

Price trend:: The average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 4.7% in May, down from 5.1% in February; it's expected to hit 5.8% next year, says the Mortgage Bankers Association. Some borrowers will pay more even sooner when jumbo loan limits expire this fall.

How to save: The recent rate dip has opened up another refinancing window. To save on closing costs, request a good-faith estimate before you apply. You can negotiate any fees the lender charges. You'll have the most wiggle room on adjustable-rate and jumbo mortgages.

Remodeling your home? Watch out for scams

3. Get a deal on furniture

Discount Furniture in Louisiana

Price trend: Higher shipping and materials costs are pushing furniture prices up, says Kimberly Causey, author of "The Furniture Factory Outlet Guide."

How to save: When sales slow in the summer, many mom-and-pop shops will make deals to move inventory, says Causey. Ask for 20% off, and don't settle for less than 10%. Gently used floor models can go for 25% off. Sign up for e-mails from furniture shopping sites like and, where a $2,970 Noir brand sofa recently sold for $1,499.  To top of page

Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting a mortgage can be tough these days

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Getting a mortgage can be tough these days -- even people with near-perfect credit have been rejected for loans.

But for some lucky borrowers, things aren't as bad as the doom-and-gloom crowd says.

At a recent press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said lending standards for mortgages have tightened so considerably that "the bottom third of people who might have qualified for a prime mortgage in terms of, say, FICO scores a few years ago -- cannot qualify today."

Indeed, roughly one-in-four mortgage applicants was denied in 2010, up from about 18% in 2003, according to data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. And those are just the ones that apply -- many discouraged potential borrowers don't even bother to apply anymore

Yet, there is money to lend. Bob Ryan, the acting commissioner for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, recently said that mortgage money "is flowing, it's stable, it's tightened from the boom years, but it's there."

And many of those potential home buyers sitting on the sidelines may just have a shot at it -- as long as they take a few crucial steps.

"The belief is that you can't get a mortgage at all -- but you can," Keith Gumbinger, of the mortgage information provider HSH Associates.
What you need for traditional mortgages

Most of the major mortgage underwriters have only returned to the more prudent standards of the days before the housing bubble. Now, according to Tuck Bradford, a branch manager with lender Mortgage Master, borrowers usually must meet four criteria in order to get a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae (FNMA, Fortune 500) or Freddie Mac (FMCC, Fortune 500), the two government-run mortgage giants:
  • The ability to make a 20% down payment, plus closing costs.
  • A good credit score. Borrowers usually need a minimum credit score of 620.
  • Enough income to afford payments. The general rule of thumb: no more than 28% of your gross income should go toward housing costs.
  • A loan-to-value ratio of 80%. Lenders want the home value to far exceed the mortgage balance because if a borrower defaults, the bank sells the home to recoup the loss.
In today's market, however, even having all four of these factors in place doesn't always guarantee that you will get a loan.

Steve Habetz, a loan officer in Westport, Conn. had a client who was seeking to refinance but he had a single blemish scarring an otherwise spotless credit report. The client had a couple million dollars in assets, high income, ample home equity -- and a strong credit score of 700.

"This guy was a Boy Scout when it came to paying debts," said Habetz. "He had never been late."

Yet, Habetz couldn't get him a mortgage. The problem: an investment property the client had owned and tried to unload but couldn't (thanks to the housing bust). He eventually resorted to a short sale -- a deal in which the proceeds of the sale are insufficient to pay the amount owed on the mortgage and the bank agrees to forgive the losses.

Not only did the short sale lop 100 points or so off his credit score, but it also resulted in an automatic rejection of his refinance application.

"It's maddening," said Habetz. "Other than that one detail, he's very low risk. Because he had the short sale, he's out of the box for two years."
Increase your odds of landing a loan

But, for every client like Habertz's who gets rejected, there are those who have been much luckier at landing mortgage loans. And typically, they have turned to the Federal Housing Administration for help.
"The FHA is just about as free and easy as it was in the go-go days," said Gumbinger.


Squatter Nation: 5 years without a mortgage payment

Standards for these loans, insured by the FHA and issued by regular mortgage lenders, are flexible and aimed at making mortgage borrowing easier, especially for working-class Americans.

For years, the FHA had no minimum credit score requirement at all. Now though, it requires a minimum of 580 to qualify for a 3.5%-down loan and 500 for a 10%-down mortgage.

In practice, however, some banks will impose higher standards, according to Scott Sheldon, a loan officer with First California Mortgage in Sonoma County, Calif.

"We FHA lenders have to protect ourselves and we've been going with a 640 minimum for a 3.5% mortgage," he said.
How one high-risk borrower got
Sheldon had one client who seemed like an impossible case. The client was buying a home in Healdsburg, California, the heart of Sonoma's wine country. His credit score was just over 600, he was paying alimony and child support and he only had enough money for a small down payment. And there was one additional tiny problem: He had just emerged from bankruptcy in April 2009.

In other ways, he was low-risk borrower. He grossed $10,000 a month, ample enough to satisfy debt-to-income guidelines on the $315,000 home he was buying, and he was able to document a stable work history.

The client knew he had to raise his credit score above the 600 level in order to improve his chances. So he paid a credit repair service, Lexington Law, about $500 to find and correct errors in his records. That helped boost his score above 640.


How foreclosure impacts your credit score

The client got the loan and closed on a home a couple weeks ago. The bankruptcy made it tough -- but not impossible.

As Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the FHA explained, the agency is willing to overlook a blemish on a credit report -- even a big one -- if other factors are favorable.

In today's unforgiving housing market, that's music to a borrower's ears.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Staging Your Home Decor for Under $100


Everyone knows that the housing market is down nationwide, but did you know that staging or decorating your home can not only give you a competitive advantage in the market, but add 10-15 percent to the price you get for your home? Staging isn't something you need to hire a professional to do. You can do it yourself - and for under $100. In fact, most areas can be staged for nothing! Yes, you heard right. Nothing. Here are my 5 tips for staging on a budget:


1. Pack up, Clean up and Pick up. (Price: Free)

Pack up your personal items and photos. Also, pack all but essential clothing. The less you have cluttering rooms, closets and and storage space, the larger that space will appear. And space sells.
Remove accessories, rugs, plants and miscellaneous clutter from all rooms. Leave space for a buyer to imagine filling with his/her own furniture.

Finally, clean, clean and then clean some more! When I say clean, I mean taking the toothbrush and a q-tip where the toilet meets the tile, the baseboards, the faucets, the refrigerator, doorknocker, and even the top closet shelf. And don't forget to clean or power wash the outside of your home as well. Clean up toys, weeds, and debris

2. Lighten up. (Price: Free)

Pictures of  well lit room, attached kitchen, bathroom, reserved parking, semi furnished
Open the curtains and turn on all the lights (at least while you are showing the house). Light makes a space seem bigger and less claustrophobic. It lets the space breathe! Having less furniture and clutter also makes a room feel lighter. Remember the light feeling when painting or adding accessories as well.
Repair all cracks, holes, and dings with caulk and spackle. The buyer will only see neglect if these tasks are left undone. Go through the home with a friend and ask them to point out any problem areas. Be sure to pick a friend that will not spare your feelings, but will be totally honest. They will notice things that you won't, simply because you see it every day and tend to overlook problems. And remember, if your friend notices a problem area, your buyers will too!

4. Cover up. (Price for Oops paint: $5 a gallon)

Cover up the walls with neutral paint. Neutral does NOT mean just beige. Paint the walls in an earthtone shade. You can find paint that was not quite the right color for the buyer at your home improvement store. It's usually called "ooops" paint. Look there first before spending money on paint. Another person's "not quite perfect" could be your "just right".


living room decorating ideas

Before you move the furniture back into rooms, draw a graph to figure out where to place items to take advantage of at least one focal point. If there is no architectural focal point, create one with a piece of furniture or art. And be sure to move the furniture away from the walls! Ensure that buyers have a clear path to wonder through your home. No furniture or miscellaneous "stuff" should block access to walking lanes. Stage furniture with easy conversation areas and plenty of light nearby.

Staging your home may not guarantee your home will sell, but taking these steps will increase the chances buyers will have a positive impression of your home. And that, dear reader, means that staging your home is the best investment you can make.

Let me know how y'all like this posting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The year is 1909
One hundred and two years ago. 
What a difference a little over a century makes! 
Here are some statistics for the Year 1909 :

The average life expectancy was  47 years.
Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles
of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the  Eiffel  Tower!
The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour.
The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year ..
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, 
a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME .
Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which
were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard. '
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair  once a month, and used
Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from
Entering into their country for any reason.

Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza 
2. Tuberculosis 
3. Diarrhea 
4. Heart disease 
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea  hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and 
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health'
( Shocking? DUH! )

Eighteen percent of households had at least  one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE   U.S.A.! 
Plus one more sad thought; 95 percent of the taxes we have now did not exist in 1909

Pretty amazing stuff!