Monthly Archives: July 2015

  • Severe Weather Shreds Chattanooga This Summer

    We’ve been getting hit HARD the last few weeks with a crazy amount of severe weather. Thunderstorms, gale force winds, and lighting that’s been striking the ground like crazy. While the water was much needed to dispel the awful heat, the enormous amount of bugs, and the gross amounts of pollen that populate our area, we could all do without the damage that’s been caused. Power outages and destroyed homes and vehicles are among some of the casualties.

    This brings me to the topic of this post….tree care. Many homeowners do not properly care for their landscapes until it’s too late. With some proper maintenance around your yard you can save yourself a lot of time and money for when bad weather and high winds decide to strike your area. There are hundreds of landscape and tree care companies in the Chattanooga area, but I want to point out the very best one. After all this is a blog about information that is hard to find and if you’ve ever tried to get tree service in this area you will know what I’m talking about. We’re overrun with overpriced services trying to charge an arm, a leg, and a vital organ just to remove a dead organism from your land. Fortunately for you (and unfortunately for me) I’ve had a lot of experience in this arena and can provide you with some guiding light.

    For starters you’ll want to stay away from anyone who’s advertising their tree care services on craigslist. There is a reason they don’t have a website and it’s not because they don’t have a computer! More often than not you’re going to end up with some crack head at your house with a dull chainsaw from his shed and some non load-bearing rope and half a clue. Start by doing a yahoo or google search for the tree service closest to you. Look at their websites and see who spent money having theirs developed and who did theirs them-self. You can tell a lot about a company by their online presence. I could delve further into explaining how to utilize those unlimited search engine searches that come with your internet connection, but hopefully you’ve got that part down.

    What I want to do is recommend my top choice for tree service in the Chattanooga area. I’ve personally used Chattanooga Tree Care on many occasions and have always been beyond pleased with the quality and price of their services. Their owner is a really good guy and does everything at a fair price with no hidden fees. Him and his team have over 10 years experience and are some of the best and fastest in the business. He’s removed a large damaged tree from my yard in only a few hours and never leaves a mess behind. In fact you can’t even tell there was damage or a tree service was even there. Tell them BelowStreetLevel referred you!

    Until next time,


  • Killing Spree Strikes Chattanooga

    In case you haven’t been following the news we just had another crazy 20 something year old go on a killing spree taking the life of four military personnel and a Chattanooga police officer before they fatally ended his rampage. This is a terrible tragedy that has made national news and sparked quite the controversy here in town. The shooters name was Mohammad Abdulazeez and apparently his parents were on the terror watch list. He even joked in his year book that his name causes national security alerts, what does your name do?

    He openly practiced Islam, but was not what anyone close to him would consider a radical. There are text messages of him opposing ISIS and calling them a stupid group that is completely against Islam. The people close to him that have been interviewed are more than shocked to learn that he was shooter because of him extremely normal and caring demeanor. That raises a lot of questions…why did this happen, what were his motives, was this just someone snapping or was there a longer more drawn out plan here? Perhaps we will never know, but there are many people speculating.

    The FBI has been raiding his relative’s homes trying acquire as much intel as they can to determine if there is a possible future threat and to learn more information about this attack. Was this a suicide mission by a deranged lunatic or was this a carefully orchestrated plan by some influential, but still unknown sources? He was manic depressive and had a history of drug abuse (but so do millions of people that don’t go shooting up military recruitment centers) His parents tried to get him substance abuse treatment and remove the guns from his home, but he refused citing that he was an adult.

    This is a gruesome story that leaves us all wondering why…that question may never be answered. Let’s just hope this never happens again (yea…right, this is exactly why everyone should have a concealed carry permit!) If I was there I would have saved a few lives by taking one.


  • Mensa International – What It’s All About

    If you have looked around this blog, you will notice I mention being a member of Mensa International, for short just plain Mensa.  Some people have never heard of this organization of brilliant minds, filled with people from all over the world.  If you weren’t put in honors courses in High School or College, if you didn’t belong to the “smart kid” group in Elementary School where they pull you out of class to test your IQ, I doubt that this was group was ever introduced to you.  Mensa International is a group open to any individual, anywhere in the world, that can prove their IQ is in the top 2% of the population worldwide.  We are a large number of faces and stories, with varying talents and contributions to the world.  Not all of us come from fancy or privileged backgrounds, but each of us has taken the time to develop our intellect to a point at which the majority of people will never reach.  The word Mensa means “table” in Latin.  The group uses this title in reference to the group being open to anyone in the world with the high IQ.  It is irrelevant what race you are, your age, education level, or where you come from in the world.

    Mensa is made so that this rare group of people can come together to form relationships and enjoy activities together.   After all, what is better than one extremely smart person?  A whole bunch of the working together!

    To give you a little background, Mensa started in Europe- England, specifically.  In 1946 two very talented individuals named Roland Berrill and Dr. Lance Ware wanted to create a group where they could socialize and collaborate with people of their same mindset.  Each of them had extremely high IQs, so this became the qualification for entrance.  What made their idea so awesome to me, is that they made the membership free of any political agenda, radical ideology, or religious affiliation. Instead, as a whole, we focus on serving as an immediate way for people to find the brightest individuals on Earth, for the benefit of all.  We also promote research in the world, and much like those group activities the “smart kids” in school took part in, we support a wide array of intellectually challenging opportunities for members.

    Mensa is comprised of people from 100 different countries around the world. Each continent on Earth, except Antarctica, has its own organization.  Many people find a familial feeling in the group, while others see it as a loose social gathering.  In this way it is brilliant, in its ability to serve as many different things to many different people, meeting all kinds of communal needs.  Often, members meet their best friends in the group, or even their husband or wife.  We are a lively bunch, and because of our high intelligence, can talk about almost anything!  If you belong to the organization, you get the honor of being referred to as a “Mensan.”   There are lifelong members (some as young as 2 years old), but most of our members are between 20 and 60 years old.  Most of us are just like anyone else.  We are teachers, artists, doctors, and even truck drivers.  The types of employment in the group vary widely from one person to the next.  Some of us are even famous!  Maybe you have heard of some of these well known Mensans: Terance Black (screenwriter), Donald Petersen (former chair of Ford Motor Company), and Geena Davis (Academy Award winning actress).

    Because IQ tests vary widely in their equivalency to each other, Mensa uses a percentile goal to grade each applicant.  No matter which IQ test was administered, the applicant must have scored higher than 98% of people taking the test.  There is also a specific Mensa test that can be administered; this is how I got into the organization.  You can also take a pre-test in your own home, to get ready, in some countries.  The pre-test scores are submitted and if they are high enough you are invited to take the supervised official Mensa test.  There are also, fun Mensa online tests that will not gain you entry into the organization, but are a fun way of getting an idea of what the organization is all about.  It is referred to as a Mensa Workout.  If this sounds like something you are interested in, check with a Mensa office and they can help you have the test administered, officially.

    You might be wondering why someone would want to join the organization.  There are meetings and conferences to attend where, as I mentioned above, you can meet people from all walks of life who are of similar intellect.  Also, our national magazine and newsletters are chocked full of intriguing activities and articles for our members.  Mensa has different interest groups you can belong to called SIG, which stands for Special Interest Group.  There are 200 of them in a wide array of topics from chocolate to African Violets.  If there is not one to suite you, start your own!   “Mensa World Journal” will keep you abreast of what members are doing throughout the world.  “Isolated M,” the group’s newsletter, is also available to keep you informed.  Mensa even puts out a scholarly research journal to the general public called the Mensa Research Journal.  It has a very low sticker price, but delivers high quality, informative research.  In some countries, Mensa has credit card offers for their members and even insurance.  What I am most proud of in this organization are the ways we contribute to society through volunteer actions and the many scholarships and resource programs provided to gifted children.

    Next time you find yourself around a group of highly intelligent people, ask around, you might just have met the next Mensa member in your midst!