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Audition and Predictions for the 7th Season of America's Got Talent: Turf (Alonzo Jones)

Alonzo Jones, who goes by the name "Turf," has come up as a street performer to gain national exposure through America's Got Talent. I have seen a few contortionist dancers on various TV programs. But Turf is the one who seems poised to make a deep run on Season 7 of AGT. All three judges put him through to the Las Vegas audition round after his San Francisco audition. Of course, he went and cried in the interview piece after his performance. That is usually got for a lot more votes if he makes the live voting rounds.

The producers also seem to love Turf. He was the last act to perform in the San Francisco episode, which aired on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Based on that and the feedback from his act, I predict that he will easily make the voting rounds. They spent way too much time on his street-performer backstory to not give the public a chance to vote for him.

Winning Predictions:

Even though there are several more initial audition rounds to air, I am confident in predicting that Turf will make a round or two in the live voting rounds if he is selected for that phase of the competition. However, I am also confident in making a prediction that he will not win.

I suppose a dancer will win one day on America's Got Talent. But until that happens, it is easy to just pick another singer than to make a wild pick on a contortionist dancer such as Turf.

I actually think the contortionist part of his act is not that impressive. Someone being born flexible like that is not really a talent. However, he has obviously worked some on his overall dancing skills. His slow-motion moonwalk,for example, is pretty fantastic. That general talent level plus his backstory should get him enough votes to at least survive one or two live voting rounds.

But dancers all meet the same fate on AGT. To put it bluntly, they lose and often even fail to make the finale. To improve his chances, Turf will have to do a lot more in the area of choreography and telling a story. His audition was just a street-performer-like exhibition. Dance teams that make the finale are far more unique and develop a show instead of just displaying raw dancing skills.

It is certainly possible for Turf to make the Top 10 with more interesting choreography, stage arrangement and other factors. Hairo Torres made it to the Top 10 as a solo dancer. Getting to the finale, though, is a hurdle that will be hard to overcome. Singers are still going to have the advantage, and more unique dancing acts have the edge over raw talent.

Unless he makes

dramatic changes,

my prediction

is that Turf

will not make

the finale of

America's Got Talent 7.
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Tips about Prenuptial Agreements

Nothing can take the heat out of a romance faster than the words, “Prenuptial Agreement.” However, in the long run, there is nothing quite like the comfort of knowing you have planned for the future and are protected. The trouble for most, when it comes to prenuptial agreements, is that there is a lack of understanding as to what they can and cannot do.

It is a commonly held belief that only the fabulously wealthy need a prenuptial agreement; however, that is far from the truth. Sure Donald Trump has millions he may want to protect, but there are plenty of people that have worked for years building a nest egg, a retirement account or purchasing a home that they want to make sure is protected. Perhaps most importantly, a prenuptial does not mean the parties are ever planning to divorce and it may be nice to know before the wedding if your spouse refuses to sign such an agreement.

If you have assets you acquired before your marriage, have children from a prior marriage, expect to acquire any money or property, have a business that is about to take off, own real estate, want to address alimony or are expecting any other kind of financial windfall, you could benefit from a prenuptial agreement. By being aware of a few basic concepts, you can better understand the workings of prenuptial agreements and when you may benefit from one. If you have the protection of a prenuptial agreement, you can control where your property goes and avoid having a judge or court determine how property that may arguably be separate is divided.

First, what can a prenuptial agreement protect? That is largely dependent upon the parties and how they want to structure an agreement. It is quite common for the parties to look at several factors when putting together a prenuptial agreement. Initially, the parties may look at the present time to determine what they each own and, perhaps what, if anything, they may have acquired together during their relationship. Frequently, a prenuptial agreement will identify all of the parties’ separate property and set out that any identified property shall remain separate should the parties divorce. The parties can also take advantage of the process to address how they will treat property acquired after they are married and how it will be treated in the event of a divorce. As the parties work through the agreement process, they largely have the ability to treat property in any fashion upon which they can agree.

A second area that the parties will want to address is how property acquired after the marriage will be treated. A common approach is to set out that any property acquired entirely by one spouse through their own efforts, is their separate property, regardless of use during the marriage. The parties may also set out that any property acquired during the marriage be treated as marital property subject to some sort of division under the applicable laws of the appropriate jurisdiction, or upon a schedule determined by the parties, should they divorce. As prenuptial agreements are very unique to the parties, the specific content of a prenuptial agreement is dependent on the particular assets of the parties and how they determine to address them. On this note, beware of the attorney who offers or suggests a form prenuptial agreement, a “one size fits all.” These can only offer false security and ensure problems down the road.

It is also possible for the parties to address things such as permanent or temporary spousal support following any separation. However the parties cannot waive child support as, regardless of their intent or desires, the state will allow and set a child support obligation to make sure any children are adequately cared for; however, the parties can agree to excess child support or responsibility for college expenses. It is also possible for the parties to agree upon custodial arrangements.

For a prenuptial agreement to be bona fide, there are certain requirements that must be met, though these requirements may vary from state to state. Even still, there are several requirements that are applicable in most states. The first is that the agreement be formally executed. In laymen’s terms, this means that the prenuptial agreement jotted down on the back of a napkin and initialed by the parties is not worth the paper it is written on. In most states, both parties must have separate legal representation to advise them of their rights and to review the agreement. It is also quite common for both parties to be required to make a full and complete financial disclosure so the other party can understand what they may be giving up. Most importantly, the agreement must be signed in a formal fashion with witnesses and perhaps a Notary Public. It is also a good idea to execute more than one copy of the prenuptial agreement with each spouse and a neutral party keeping a copy as well. Many would be surprised at the number of people who go through the emotional rollercoaster ride of executing a prenuptial agreement then over the years, losing the agreement, being unable to locate it when they need it. Keep a copy in a safe place.

Ultimately, the manner that is best suited to starting the process of formulating a prenuptial agreement is to have a meeting with a qualified and experienced divorce attorney. Be prepared to identify the property you hold, property you may be acquiring, you earnings and other issues relevant to your present and potential financial position.

After you have an understanding of the issues relevant to the prenuptial agreement you will want to approach the issue with your future spouse. This is perhaps the most case specific part of the process; however, there is one rule that generally applies. The earlier in your relationship you broach the subject, the better. You do not want to bring up the subject for the first time in the days before your wedding. This can cause a host of problems such as a coercion claim on the part of your future spouse, not to mention that you may suddenly find yourself without a fiancée as your wedding approaches.

Most importantly, be honest and be fair; however, remember, when a prenuptial agreement is being drafted, the majority of the time one party has assets that are being protected and one spouse is giving up a claim to this property. With this being the case, it is frequently a reality that one party has everything to lose and one has everything to gain from a challenge to the agreement. Your attorney can address certain techniques and approaches to protect you from this scenario; however, challenges to prenuptial agreements are something you should be prepared to deal with. You also want to avoid dealing with frivolous issues such as religious preferences or personal issues such as requirements for hair style or weight gain. If such provisions are included in a prenuptial agreement and the agreement is challenged, you run the risk of having the entire agreement voided.

It is common place for the agreement to state that the consideration for the entire agreement is the marriage of the parties, meaning that for the agreement to be valid, you must get married. No marriage, no agreement. As well, after the agreement is signed and you are married, after some time, you may want to consider a review and revision. For instance, if certain a certain amount of alimony was agreed to, or certain property was addressed in a certain manner, after a period of marriage, you may want to revise the agreement to be more generous. As well, it is also common place to put in a “termination clause” or “sunset provision” that calls for the expiration of the agreement if a set amount of time passes without the agreement coming into effect.

This article is not offered as, nor is it to be construed, as legal advice, nor does it create any relationship, attorney/client or other, between the author and the reader. To obtain any legal advice, consult an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.


Stock Performance Review: Capital One Financial Corp. (COF)

With the current economic condition of most U.S. communities, a common category of products consumed is financial products. As a result many financial companies that are traded publicly are experiencing growth. If you are interested in investing in a financial company, then you may want to consider Capital One Financial Corp (COF) as it is one of the most popular financial companies that is traded. However, before you spend your money on this stock you should learn a little but about it.

What Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) Does

Capital One is a financial corporation that offers its customers a wide variety of financial products. They are well known as a credit card company, however, they also offer investment, retirement, small business loans, personal loans, and mortgage products. This is a very well known company, and it has a strong financial history behind it.

52 Week Performance Review

During the 52 week period ending on 08/22/06 COF’s value fluctuated between 71.15 and 90.04. On 08/22/06 the stock ranged from 71.99 and 73.17. The fluctuations of high and lows during this 52 week period were probably influenced by the economic problems faced by the U.S., as well as the increase in the federal interest rates. However, as the economy stabilizes it is projected that COF’s value should increase again, and improve to a value of 100.41 within a year. This means that at a value in the low $70s, this may be the best time to buy this stock.

Historical Performance Review – The Last Five Years

COF saw its last major dip between 2002 and 2003. Then between 2003 and 2005 the stock experienced an increasing trend. Then between 2005 and 2006 the stock stabilized with only moderate fluctuations. In 2006 the stock fluctuated up and down, however, it did not get above the $75 mark as of 08/22/06.

Strengths of COF

COF has several strengths as a stock. First the company is financial secure and stable. They are making a profit consistently and their projected growth potential is promising. Secondly there are a lot of people that use Capital One Financial Products. This company offers a wide selection of financial products that cater to every financial demographic in the United States. Finally, COF products are accepted by most vendors who accept credit cards making the product more valuable to customers and businesses.

Weaknesses of COF

Like most stocks the value of COF shares are vulnerable to current economic conditions. The future of this stock is also troubled by the possibilities of additional dips in its value caused by economic troubles, changing interest rates, and future restrictions created by the federal government.

For More Information

If you would like more information about this stock, or about Capital One Financial Corp., please post your requests below. Also if you are interested in another stock’s performance review you can request that below as well. Links to stock performance reviews, and requested information will be posted on this site when they become available so check back often.


UK Organization Aims to Aid Developing Countries With Your Donations

A unique UK-based organization accepts donations for gifts from registered charities, which in turn go to some very versatile causes world-wide. For instance, for 75 British pounds you can buy a SuperGoat. That’s right. These goats are specially bred for conditions in Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. These goats are indeed super because they are more resilient than your average goat and also breed faster, producing more milk than your average goat. GoodGifts has been around for three years and the generosity of donaters is in a word, SUPER!

The options range from one end of the financial spectrum to the other. If you’re looking to make a small donation but still have an impact, how about purchasing a bike for a midwife in a developing country for the low price of 35 British pounds. Having a bike enables midwives to visit more villages and keep the life cycle in motion. On the other hand, The Delivery World Trust can help you when you donate 2500 pounds and buy a 100 acre rainforest, which you get to name.

Here are some of the charities and services they provide:

The World Land Trust and the International Tree Foundation will deliver 2 mangrove seedlings or plant a quarter acre swamp in India and The Philipines.

APT will deliver a Kalashnikov, rocket launcher, small armored vehicle, or a tank for peace efforts in Sierra Leone.

Sight Savers International will set up operations to help restore the gift of sight.

Vetaid provides camels in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland for food, transport and income.

Friends of Tafo, Africa Now, and Keystone will provide a hive of bees, tools and training, and establish a beekeeping cooperative in Ghana, Kenya, and India.

Blue Cross will pay for an old dog to stay in a retirement rest home in the UK for three months.

Grencoda will use your donation to nurture cocoa plants and invest in cocoa processing in Grenada, West Indies where cocoa is in crisis.

Goats For Peace will provide donkey ploughs and donkeys in rural Africa where they provide basic transport, take the sick to hospital and carry animal fodder and water.

UNICEF provides a School-in-a-Box which contains a blackboard, exercise books, slates, chalk and posters for children caught in emergencies.

Vetaid will also provide a bike for a para-vet, bag of medicines, and para-vet training for rural communities in Somaliland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania where communities are dependent on their livestock.

Seeds For Africa furnishes seed kits, fruit trees, tools, and a fresh food garden in South Africa in an effort to better nutrition quantity and quality.

UNICEF will furnish a water pump to provide clean, safe water for the everyday needs of a village.

Help the women of India, through Barsana, India, by ordering saris and shawls to be distributed to widows and other poor women. Your donation will help these women earn a living wage.

Sloths need homes too. The World Land Trust can help us save 250 trees which are home to the Brown-throated three-toed sloth (which is so lazy that algae grows undisturbed on its fur) in the Eastern Brazilian jungle.

These are just a few of the charities and the services GoodGifts provide to countries throughout the world. GoodGifts is quite a unique organization. Be part of the solution. Already in their three-year tenure, 2,000 Rwandan war widows have been given goats. In Africa, 3,000 beekeepers have been equipped with hves.


Jimmy Hoffa: Have They Finally Found Him?

James Riddle Hoffa, more commonly known as Jimmy Hoffa, was born in Indiana to a poor family. From these humble beginnings, he rose to be perhaps the most prominent figure in labor union history. Hoffa’s father died when Hoffa was quite young and this led to Hoffa travel to Michigan where he began working in warehouses as on of the lowest workers in the shop. He got to see first hand how management treated the workers and laborers. Not long after this Hoffa organized a labor strike over the worker mistreatment. Having found his calling, his days as a worker were numbered as his union potential started to unfold. Hoffa rose through the ranks of the Teamster’s Union which was also know as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

By way of review, labor unions had developed in response to the mistreatment of workers and poor working conditions that had long plagued industry in the . The unions gave the common worker a collective voice on issues such as wages, retirement, work schedules and other issues related to the worker’s welfare. However, some would argue that the cure was not much better than the problem. The primary focus of the various unions was to work for and advocate the worker. However, all too often things such as graft, bribery, intimidation, embezzlement, outright violence and ties to organized crime quickly became a reality of the unions.

Hoffa’s Teamsters were ultimately one of the largest unions in the country. The Teamster’s name came from their original work description where a teamster would run a team of oxen to pull a cart. However, the modern day version of the Teamster when Hoffa came to power was in shipping, trucking and the delivery of various goods which included the over-the-road transportation industry. When Hoffa took control of the Teamster’s in 1957, the former president had been sent to prison. Hoffa, however, didn’t let this concern him and he wasted no time in seeking to further the Teamster’s presence and scope. Hoffa saw the Teamster’s expand across the country and by the early 1960’s had succeeded in bringing nearly all of the over-the-road truckers in the country under one national contract. From here Hoffa decided to expand even further to include even airline pilots. However, this raised the concern of governmental regulators out of fear that having virtually all shipping and transportation in the country under the umbrella of one union would create a situation where a strike could potentially cripple the economy of the country. Hoffa’s plan for further expansion ultimately never happened.

However one of the main concerns that many had in regard to Hoffa was his ties to organized crime. It was these very ties to organized crime that allowed Hoffa to assume the control of the Teamsters and in return, Hoffa allowed organized crime to exert control over the union. Essentially this meant that through the Mafia’s control, they could force certain strikes or resort to blackmail to gain profits from different locals and businesses. As well, via kick backs and deals signed by the local unions with the Teamsters, Hoffa and the other union leaders grew rich while the individual workers suffered. However, Hoffa, the master tactician was able to play people against each other and did this to his initial benefit with the mafia.

However, Hoffa’s grasp on the unions started to falter. In 1967, Hoffa was convicted of attempting to bribe a grand juror and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison; however, his sentence was commuted by President Nixon to time served on the condition that he not be involved in Union activities for a period of 10 years.

Several years later when Hoffa was to meet with some mob leaders in Michigan, he disappeared from the Machus Red Fox restaurant near Detroit. Since his disappearance, the location of his body and his ultimate fate continue to fuel wide speculation and conspiracy theories that persist even today. While Hoffa would have secured his place in history due to his role in expanding the Teamsters; his true place in history has been cemented not because of anything that he did, but by his disappearance, likely murder and the continued search for his body.

Some of the more popular theories are that his body is in the New Jersey Turnpike, was dumped into one of the Great Lakes, buried under Giant’s Stadium, was put in a car that was compacted, was buried in either Michigan, New Jersey or New York or was even buried in Elvis’ grave. Several criminals with Mafia ties have reported that he was placed in the trunk of a car which was then destroyed and likely recycled. They went on to say that Hoffa was now a car bumper.

Since his disappearance in 1975, there have been a number of leads that have been pursued by authorities; however, none have developed to the point of a criminal indictment nor have they revealed the location of Hoffa’s remains. DNA belonging to Hoffa was found in a car whose owner had earlier said that Hoffa had never been in the car, but again, no indictment resulted.

Other leads from people with Mafia ties have recently been explored, but then dismissed without a great deal of attention. However, earlier this month, the FBI began examining a farm known as the Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford Township, Michigan, a community 45 miles northwest of Detroit. The FBI has had more than 40 agents and specialists searching the 85 acre farm and have recently begun taking down a large barn on the site to examine what may be underneath. The FBI is keeping silent on the subject, but aerial photos have shown a great deal of activity on the property.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that a 75 year old federal prisoner supplied information that lead to the search. It appears that the prisoner, who is in jail on marijuana charges, lived on the farm at the time of Hoffa’s disappearance. The farm is also only about 20 miles away from where Hoffa vanished. The Free Press has also reported that the prisoner had, as early as 1976, offered to provide information to the FBI on the location of Hoffa’s remains, but the FBI was not then interested. Even recently, the FBI was initially standoffish according to the paper so much so that the prisoner had to threaten to go to the media with the information. However the FBI ultimately listened and has begun their search. Apparently the prisoner and another man were present around the time of Hoffa’s disappearance when several others, with a backhoe dug a hole and placed a cylinder shaped object covered with plastic in the hole. One of the men present, Rolland McMaster, an associate of Hoffa’s, according to the prisoner, said words to the effect of, “there goes Hoffa.”

The current search has forensic specialists, cadaver sniffing dogs, ground penetrating radar and even a private contractor assisting in the demolition of structures on the property.

While it is impossible to say if Hoffa has finally been found, while the FBI is appears as of May 30th has suspended their search of the property, it is clear they are serious about looking for him when they receive a lead they believe is credible.

Hoffa’s son presently heads the Teamsters and his daughter is a judge in Missouri.

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