PEO Group Health Insurance Premium Renewal Rates Increase

Professional Employers Experience Double Digit Increases Again

Group health insurance premium renewals are going out and the reports are not encouraging. It’s that time of the year when employee leasing companies and professional employers send small business owners their new health rates for the coming year. Employers across the nation are being told what to expect, and it’s not exactly what they want to hear. Especially now, when the economy is starting to stabilize.

Many of our small business clients who have been relying on their PEO partner to keep their health insurance rates low, are finding out that it’s no longer the case. Business owners with some of America’s best known and largest human resource outsourcing firms, Administaff, ADP Totalsource, and TriNet / Gevity HR have experienced another round of double digit increases. CFO’s and HR managers have complained about increases from Alphastaff HR, another “Top 10” provider. Their clients renew in September, and a few said they received cost masters with 35% rate increases across the board from Aetna.

Bait and Switch?

Many of our small business clients are learning that some of their health plan choices have been replaced with new healthcare plans that offer more limited networks with fewer in-network providers, or of medical plans that are restricted by geographical location. Just last week we were contacted by a primary care practice with 3 offices in West Virginia. They told us how their current PEO had just informed them that an entire network of plans was being eliminated. The majority of their employees will be left with just one option, and a very expensive one at that. Needless to say, they are now looking to us to help the doctors find a better option for their staff.

It May Only Be RoundOne?

The worst may be yet to come. September through January is when over 75% of group health insurance plans are set to renew. This includes most of the nation’s largest and most successful staff leasing, HR outsourcing, and professional employer services firms. Yet to announce their new health plan renewals are leading HR and employee benefits providers Advantec HR, Oasis Outsourcing, and SCI Staffing Concepts, who are scheduled to renew in the month of October, Frank Crum’s health rates are good until November, and Accord HR and Fortune Business Solutions renew in January 2011.

It is important to note that while these industry giants, and their highly compensated employee benefits advisors, are still battling it out with their health insurers, the fate of hundreds of thousands of small and midsize businesses are being decided. Combined, these PEOs and employee leasing companies represent about two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) business owners and about five million (5,000,000) employees nationwide. Let’s hope for the best.

10 Quotes From Gandhi and How to Practice Them for a Better Life

There are those who mark History and the consciousnesses. Faces that pass through History, and yet leave their mark in the minds of men. Light bearers, people who shared their passion with the world and inspired future generations. Gandhi was one of those people. A man of faith and a man of peace, the way he lived his life, the way he chose to live his personal legend and to be faithful to his dream is now a tangible proof of the capacity we all possess to lift above our daily lives to embrace our highest potential.

To begin this new year, I want to share with you 10 quotes of Gandhi that I find particularly vibrant. These quotes which were so strong yesterday have kept their depth and are still relevant today. In this article I decided to analyze them to bring out their pearls of wisdom and see how they can help us in our daily lives.

« Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes»

We all seek freedom. This is surely one of our favorite topics when we claim something, and it has been since our youth. We demanded the right to be free to go out, free to be who we want, free to express ourselves… Yet somehow the majority of us is still trapped. And the jailer is none other than our own conscience. We will be truly free when we will learn to forgive us our mistakes. Each of our actions, each of our mistakes shapes our reactions and haunts our minds. That’s karma. To be free is to learn to forgive, it is to accept that error is human, it is to be able to release from the karmic cycles that our past actions have seed in our mind. True freedom is thus found first within us rather than outside.

«Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony»

The majority of our problems in our lives are born from a dichotomy between our aspirations and how we want to be perceived by those around us and the way that we act in the world. In this quote, Gandhi spoke of happiness but we can ask ourselves what is actually happiness. In my opinion, happiness cannot be defined in terms of property owned or daily situations. Happiness refers to an inner state, it speaks of profound joy and harmony. Happiness is attained when our look at our reality make echoes to a sunrise on a placid lake. And this inner balance, the peace to which we aspire can be achieved when we align our lives with our dreams. When we success in liberating ourselves from the important role we play in society, from the opinion of our family, from the actions needed in order to be accepted by any group of individuals. From experience, happiness lies in highlighting our true essence beyond the roles that we impose ourselves in order to be accepted and to achieve the goals that society has established as models of success and “standards”.

«Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it»

Through the dance of the season and due to the impermanence of all things, nothing matters. Everything is inexorably cast away in the sands of time. Yet each of our actions, as simple as it is, carries within it the seeds of the future. We are all in our own way builders of History. The way with which we act in our life, our desire to remain faithful to our dreams, the courage that drives our every action or statement is like a stone thrown into a lake. The wave that we generate propagates itself in circles along the infinite canvas that shapes our world. If we place ourselves at the “material” level, Gandhi was right when he says that everything we do is “insignificant”. But on a spiritual or energetic level there is no small actions. And I think that’s what Gandhi mean in the second part of his sentence. Each of your actions has the potential to inspire your neighbor, your family. I know that each of you have the power to profoundly change the world. Your presence on Earth is no accident. You are a gift to the world, a seed that has the potential to break the chains of this world and bring light. In each one of you sleeps a hero.

«You must be the change you want to see in the world»

Following the principles of Hawaiian Huna, the outside world is a reflection of our inner world. I share this point of view. If Gandhi had been content to watch the outside world as it was, he would have sat there and cried and then would have drowned his sorrows in alcohol. But he understood that to create a world of peace and justice, he must first embody this model he was looking for with his whole heart. So Gandhi had worked on himself. Then he awoke and became the embodiment of peace. If you want that in your office peace and harmony prevail, start to embody the peace with your colleagues even the more difficult ones. If you want your marriage to be a manifestation of cosmic love then look at your partner through the eyes of love. Every time we say “if that person or that situation was different then things would have been better” then we are wrong. Because we will never have the power to change the way others act. But we can influence ourselves by becoming the change we wish to demonstrate.

«Nobody can hurt me without my permission»

As I said earlier, you’ll never have control over others. You can never control people’s reactions as a musician can write notes on a score. Life is inherently unpredictable. By cons you have the power to decide the impact that people and situations have on you. Inner peace does not depend on external events but rather on the way you react. Every moment we have a choice. The choice to participate in the dramas of the existence or the choice of seeing the illusory nature of this world. This does not mean you should withdraw from existence. But we can agree to see reality for what it is: a dream we have consented to live during our incarnation. When you dream you are in an infinite number of funny or sad situations believing that they are real. Then you laugh when you wake up remembering the show you have just dreamt. In the end the reality is identical. Gandhi was first and foremost a spiritual man who constantly sought God. He understood the illusory nature of this world but also understood it was his duty to improve the global dream of humanity.

«Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love»

In life we all face obstacles, whether in our personal or professional life. There are two ways to address these obstacles: the frontal way or through love. The conflict way causes the collision of two masses of energy and generally no one is spared. If in your job you decide to tackle a competitor or colleague who opposes you by force there is little chance that your reputation will be unscathed. You could win your fight and in the short term you will surely feel that you are victorious. But in the long term, know that every attack you launch will end up hurting you. But know that any enemy, any problem can be dissolved by the energy of love. The Hawaiians have even developed an entire system around this concept: the ho’oponopono. Forgiveness and true love have the power to dissolve any barriers and raise energy.

«Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, than I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning»

All great achievements are first born in the mind of a man. Our mind is surely the most powerful instrument that this planet has ever known. Thanks to him we have the ability to reinvent ourselves constantly. By combining vision, determination and a right action, every man is capable of achieving any goal. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise or make you think you cannot become what you aspire to be. The key, however, is that your action have to make echoes to your true vision, the one that touches the center of your heart.

«You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result»

Often we are afraid to act because we are afraid to fail, we fear that our hopes will be shattered like a raft in the raging waves. But the truth is that if we do not act then our dreams will gradually shrink until they disappear completely. It is an illusion to believe that failures are killing our dreams. What kills them is the fact that we had abandoned them. But in fact failures help us to grow. They help us to redefine some of our dreams, to express them better. So believe in your dreams and take action. Maybe it will take six months to achieve them or 15 years. But it is not important because time passes inexorably. And when those 15 years will come, would you prefer to enjoy your efforts or would you prefer to say “15 years ago I should have hold on to my dreams because if so, today I would have seen them manifested?”

«Life as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever»

The greatest illusion of this world is to believe that we are not yet ready to become what we are destined to be. We believe that when we have developed and acquired such competence then we can become that person we aspire to be. Here is a trap that life handed us because at this rate we will never reach our destination. The key to success in life is to understand that we already have everything within us to become this special being. Step by step, by acting in line with our highest potential, making each day that passes an important day, we build the shortest path to our realization. Of course you have to work, learn, grow over time. But life is not something that awaits us. We will not “live” in 10 years when we have the house of our dreams. We live today, now, at this precise moment. By cons each day we must take time to cultivate our soul to become a better person. Growing up is one of the greatest gifts we were given. The more we grow, the more we take height to enjoy the scenery that life gives us.

«To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest »

The more intransigent judge that can be crossed in our lives is our own consciousness. And the biggest crime that consciousness is stalking is lie. There can be no happiness if we compromise our values in order to achieve certain goals. To betray our principles to get a contract, to cheat on our partner, to refuse our own sexuality… Every time we lie to ourselves, it is a bit of ourselves that we kill. We lose sight of our very essence through the illusions of the roles we want to play for the approval of society. The world needs people who embody the principles of loyalty, fidelity to their dreams. Throughout history, people have sought out these lights in the night, these models show to the lost souls the way back home. Everyone can play this role for his family or at a larger scale. To begin to stand up for your ideals, to start living your principles is an essential step for you on the way to your achievement.

British Colonial Rangoon/Yangon Sight Seeing

Hello and good morning. I hope you are ready for our today’s ‘British Colonial Rangoon Sight Seeing’.

All of the colonial buildings we will visit are located in downtown Yangon, in other words, former British Colonial Rangoon proper, and are positioned relatively close to one another. The simple grit pattern of the city’s layout makes it easy to find ones way around. That’s why the best way to explore Colonial Rangoon is by foot. Another reason for walking instead of using a car is that the permanent traffic jams and a chronic lack of parking space in this area makes the car being more curse than blessing. We cannot and need not to see all colonial buildings for this would be much too much for one day and this article. The tour I have planned for today includes 30 major buildings that bear testimony to Rangoon’s present days Yangon’s glorious colonial past. All of them belong to the most precious jewels of British Colonial Rangoon’s treasure trove. And, please, if you want to do yourself a favour make plenty of photos of them because it will definitely be the last time that you have the chance to see the buildings as they are. In the not so far future there will a yet unknown number of them be completely disappeared, totally run down or ‘restored’ in a way that leaves nothing of their partly still existing, leave alone former, colonial charm. We will of course see a lot of other partly still beautiful old colonial buildings that have interesting stories to tell but have to keep focussed on those I have selected for our tour; we will otherwise be too much distracted and not get ready today. Please stay close together, mind your steps and do not stray from the group. OK, the starting point of our walk through British Colonial Rangoon will be the former Rangoon General Hospital. From there we continue to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, located in direct neighbourhood of the Scott Market, then to the former Burmah Railways Headquarters, the former Rangoon Railway Station, and so on. When we arrive at the buildings I will give you some related basic information. There is of course an awful lot more to say about the buildings and their history but this article does not provide enough space for all these details. Further very important information related to this you will find at the end of this article.

General Hospital

So, ladies and gentlemen, now we have arrived at the Yangon, formerly (Rangoon) General Hospital where our today’s ‘Colonial Yangon Sight Seeing Tour’ begins. We are here on Bogyoke Aung San Road, the former Commissioner’s Road. In front of us you can see on the other side of the road the Hospital, built from 1899 to 1905 and opened on 07 May the same year. It is here were Aung San – who was hospitalised to be treated for the injuries he sustained in 1942 during the Burma Campaign – meets his later wife Daw Khin Kyi who serves here as senior nurse. Later their third child will be a daughter, which they will give the name Aung San Su Kyi. The Yangon General hospital also is the site were Burmese soldiers commit a massacre during the uprising in 1988 by indiscriminately killing a large number of hospital patience, because they believe that said patience have sustained their wounds during the demonstrations. Please make now your photos and let us then continue eastwards on Aung San Road (former Commissioner’s Road) to the Holy Trinity Cathedral at the corner of Aung San Road (former Montgomery Road) and Shwedagon Pagoda Road, the former Pagoda Road. Now you are confused about the street names? Well, this side of Aung San Road is the former Commissioner’s Road and from the cross-roads at the cathedral on it is the former Montgomery Road.

Cathedral Of The Holy Trinity

Right in front of us we have now the primary Anglican cathedral in Burma; the Holy Trinity Cathedral on No. 446 Bogyoke Aung San Road. It is one of Rangoon’s earliest colonial buildings. The Holy Trinity Cathedral is on the Yangon Heritage List. Now it is time to move on to the former Scott Market, now Bogyoke Aung San Market. Its main entrance is about 500 feet/155 metres down Aung San Road from here in eastern direction. We will be there in a few minutes.

Scott Market

Now we have reached the main entrance to the long centre hall of the Scott Market at Bogyoke Aung San Road (former Montgomery Road), since 1948 called Bogyoke Market (by locals Bogyoke Zay (zay meaning market), after the Burmese national hero Bogyoke (General) Aung San. Not widely known is that his real name (birth name) was Htein Lin; Aung San is the name he has taken on at the time he was student leader. The market is built on the premises of a former tram terminus, was opened in 1926 and named after Mr. Garvin Scott, who was from 1917 to 1930 (17 years) Chief Executive Officer of the Rangoon Corporation and during his tenure twice president of the Rangoon Municipality.

The Bogyoke Aung San Market is on the Yangon Heritage List. OK, let’s continue our tour. When we get out of the market we turn left on the Aung San Road, and pass the FMT building and the Zawgyi Restaurant. Then we will see the Grand May Yaa Hta Executive Residence building and our actual point of interest, the former Burma Railways Headquarters at the corner of Aung San Road and Sule Pagoda Road.

Former Burma Railways Headquarters

Here it is, the former Burma Railways Headquarters building complex at the corner of former Montgomery Road, now Aung San Road and Sule Pagoda Road. In 1896 three railway companies merged into one railway company under contract with the Secretary of State for India; the state-owned ‘Burmah Railways Company’ has come into being and moves into this new headquarters.

Central Railway Station

Now we are on Sule Pagoda Road and over there on the right side you can already see the railway tracks and the backside of the railway station. In front of us on the other side of the bridge on which we are now walking you see the Methodist Church (Scots Kirk) and over there on the right hand side the Aung San Sports Grounds & Stadium. Let us now turn right into Kun Chan Road and look at the railway station from its front side. We continue to Phayre Street now Pansodan Street; the stairs there in front of us lead up to the fly-over. On Pansodan Street we turn right, cross the bridge, continue to Bogyoke Aung San Road, turn left, and follow the Aung San Road till Bo Aung Kyaw Road, former Sparks Road. There at the corner of Bo Aung Kyaw Road and Aung San Road is the St. Mary’s Cathedral located, which is our next British colonial point of interest.

St. Mary’s Cathedral/Cathedral Of Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception

Well, my friends, this was quite a little walk but we have made it. Here you see Myanmar’s largest cathedral, the Saint Mary’s Cathedral at No. 372, Bo Aung Kyaw Street. We will now cross the Archbishop’s Residence compound located behind the cathedral’s compound. They have a very nice garden and the Archbishop’s Residence is a beautiful building. It is normally not allowed to take this way in order to get to Thein Byu Road, the former Judah Ezekiel Road, but I know some people here and we can for once use this shortcut. So, we have crossed the Archbishop’s Residence compound and are standing in front of it on Thein Byu Road. We turn right and a few steps further down the street you can see one of the sports grounds of the former St. Paul’s English High School. At the corner we turn right again onto the former Frazer/Bigandet Street, now Anawrahta Road from which we will see the school’s main entrance and main building.

St. Paul’s English High School/B.E.H.S. 6 Botataung

We are in front of the former St. Pauls English High School. The former St. Paul’s English High School is on the Yangon Heritage List. Let’s continue to the former Secretariat Building opposite of the main entrance to the former St. Paul’s High School. Just cross the former Dalhousie Street, now Maha Bandoola Road and make some photos from the school. Then we walk the few yards back to the cross roads, turn right and walk down Thein Byu Road, the former Judah Ezekiel Road, alongside the Secretariat Building till we reach its main entrance.

Secretariat Building

So we are now at the corner Maha Bandoola Road and Thein Byu Road. The building over there on the other side of Thein Byu Road is the former British Government Press Building on No. 228 Thein Byu Road.. Well, here we are now; on former Judah Ezekiel Road, now at No. 300 Thein Byu Road in front of the main entrance to the Secretariat Building. It is without doubt former Rangoon’s largest and most spectacular and impressive British colonial building filling the space of an entire block. The Secretariat is bordered here in the east by the former Judah Ezekiel Road, now Thein Byu Road, left from us, in the south, by the former Dalhousie Street, now Maha Bandoola Road, right from us, in the north, by the former Bigandet Street, now Anawrahta Road and on the side opposite from us, the west, by the former Sparks Street, now Bo Aung Kyaw Street. The construction begins in 1889 and the first phase is completed in 1902; the second is completed in 1905 and ‘The Secretariat’ is officially opened the same year. After independence on 4 January 1948 the building houses offices of ministers of the Burmese government for which reason it is from 1948 to 1972 by locals called Government Secretariat and from1972 on till now Ministers’ Office. But it is not only the fact that ‘The Secretariat’ is the place from which all of British Burma was governed and all administrative power is executed that makes it such an immensely important part of Burmese history; it also is the place were on 19 July 1947 at 10:30 am the de facto prime minister Aung San was assassinated in the ground floor room at the north-east corner of the building together with 6 ministers of his cabinet. The room in which Aung San and the members of his cabinet were assassinated has been turned into a memorial place. The Secretariat is on the Yangon Heritage List.

General Post Office

Here we are. This building (No. 39-41 Bo Aung Kyaw Street) at the corner of Strand Road and former Sparks Street, now Bo Aung Kyaw Street, must not be mistaken for the original post office from colonial Rangoon times. That has been located further down on Strand Road between Sule Pagoda Street and Mogul Street. It was an exact copy of the Bombay post office and as such an extremely beautiful, heavily ornamented building but does unfortunately not exist anymore. This building is completed in 1885 and serves as Burma headquarters of the trading and agent firm Bulloch Brothers. Later an annex along Sparks Street was added and completed in 1908. The Yangon General Post Office is on the Yangon Heritage List. The next building of our tour is the one adjacent to the left of the GPO, the J&F Graham & Co. building.

J&F Graham And Co. Building

Yes, this here is the former J & F Graham & Co. shipping and insurance company’s building at No. 80 Strand Road and, no, your eyes do not play tricks on you for the building is after Burma’s independence in January 1948 becoming home to the British Embassy. The building was established in 1898 and is on the Yangon Heritage List. Now we continue walking down Strand Road in western direction. We are crossing 39th Street and Seikkantha Street and then we will arrive at our next heritage building the Strand Hotel just a few steps away from the Graham & Co. building.

Strand Hotel

We have made it and are now standing at No. 92 Strand Road in front of the famous Strand Hotel, which got its name from the street on which it is located. From the architectural point of view the building as it presents itself before us has unfortunately lost much of its original grandeur and it is not anymore the shiny architectural gem it used to be during Rangoon’s colonial era when it was one of the famous luxury hotels of the Sarkies Brothers hotel chain of first class hotels. However, owing to its name and glorious past the Strand Hotel remains well worth to be included into a tour through the British Colonial Rangoon. The Strand Hotel is on the Yangon Heritage List.

Bombay-Burmah Trading Corporation Building

Here it is, the nowadays rather insignificant looking building over there on the other side of the Strand Road on No. 104 Strand Road is the former headquarter of a company that has played an enormously significant role in Burma’s history; the Bombay-Burmah Trading Corporation Limited. This building is completed around the 1920s and I could not find out where the BBTC’s earlier Rangoon office was. The company is also known as Bombay Burmah Trading Company and was founded by the Wallace Brothers from Edinburgh, Scotland. After Burma Airways (now Myanmar Airways) is founded the company moves into this building and uses it as office. The Building is not on the Yangon City Heritage List. Let’s go to the building next door across 37th Street.

Port Authority/Port Trust Authority Building

This is the Rangoon Port Authority building adjacent to the Bombay-Burma Trading Corporation Building. It is located at No. 2-20 Pansodan Street ( corner of former Phayre Road, now Pansodan Street and Strand Road). The building replaces the former Rangoon Port Trust Authority Building and occupies the entire space between Pansodan Road and 37th Street. The building’s construction is completed in 1928. The building is on the Yangon City Heritage List. We do now cross the Pansodan Road to take a look at the former Accounts General’s Office and Currency Department Building.

Account General’s Office And Currency Department

Here at No. 1 Pansodan Street (corner of Strand Road and former Phayre Street, now Pansodan Road) you see the former government financial centre of British Burma. During the last 35 years of British times (with exception of some 3 years of Japanese occupation) all accounts concerning the colony’s income and expenditure are managed here). It is the 3-storey former Accounts General’s Office and Currency Department Building; one of the big wheels in the machinery of British administration. The Account General’s Office building is completed in 1912. The building’s backside wing on Bank Street located opposite the building of the former Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China is housing the Currency Department and directly hit by a Japanese bomb. It is never rebuild and may serve as warning example for senseless destruction. After Independence the building was used by the Burmese government as civil court. Since the government moved to the new capital Nay Pyi Taw the building is as a court and its future remains uncertain. We are now back at the front facade of the Account General’s Office at the entrance located at the corner tower. The Account General’s Office is on the Yangon City Heritage List. The building next door is the Customs House Building.

Customs House

This impressive Customs House at No. 132 Strand Road was construction from 1913 and is completed in 1915. In October 1915 the building is officially opened and put into service. The building still serves its original purpose and is on the Yangon Heritage List. Now let us move a few steps farther down the Strand Road so that we are in front of the building left from the Customs House, which is the former Police Commissioner’s Building. The street between these 2 buildings is the Maha Bandoola Garden Street and the street on the left hand side of the building is the Sule Pagoda Road.

Police Commissioner’s Building

Here we are. The monumental 5-storey Police Commissioner’s Building opposite from us is a masonry building constructed within almost 5 years from 3 March to October 1931 when the building was officially opened and put into service. The massive building is occupying the entire space of the block stretching from former Barr Street, now Maha Bandoola Garden Street to Sule Pagoda Road and is comprising the police commissioner’s offices and the New Law Court offices, the court rooms of civil and criminal District Court and the Rangoon magistracy. Since November 2005, when the Burmese/Myanmar government moved to Nay Pyi Taw, the building is abandoned. We will now cross the Strand Road and walk northwards along Sule Pagoda Road. The Main entrance to this building is on the other side of the complex on No. 56-66 Bank Street.

Bank Of Bengal Building

Having arrived at the corner of Strand Road and Sule Pagoda Road we have on our left the premises of the former Bank of Bengal. This very beautiful building is located at 15-19 Sule Pagoda Road. It was completed in 1914. It houses now the offices of the Myanma Economic Branch 3.

Reserve Bank Of India Building

We have now moved on to 24-26 Sule Pagoda Road were the former Reserve Bank of India is located. The building was completed in 1936 and stands diagonally across the former Bank of Bengal Building. The building is now housing the offices of the Central Bank of Myanmar. A few steps farther up on Sule Pagoda Road we have reached the corner of Sule Pagoda Road and Merchant Street and turn right. Left from us you see the Fytche Square, now Maha Bandoola Garden with the Independence Memorial Monument. We go now over to the Maha Bandoola Garden side and turn left into the Maha Bandoola Garden Street, the former Barr Street and continue to the former High Court Building on Maha Bandoola Garden Street.

High Court/Supreme Court

We are now standing opposite the more than 110 years old Rangoon High Court building’s front side at the former Barr Street, now Maha Bandoola Garden Street. The main entrance is facing the former Fytche Square Garden, now Maha Bandoola Garden with the Independence Monument from where we are now looking at the building. It was (with exception of the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945) from 1911 to 1947 home to the highest court of British Burma. The former main entrance on this side is closed. The building’s back side is located at former Phayre Road, now No. 89-133 Pansodan Road. The Rangoon High Court is also known as Rangoon Chief Court or Supreme Court. The building complex forms like many British colonial building complexes a square (or alternative a rectangle) that is enclosing an inner court with lawn and garden. Let’s go back in southerly direction towards Merchant Street. We will go around the block to the other side of the High Court. Adjacent to it is the Rangoon Central Telegraph Office. On our way we will stop at the former Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation Building, the former Mercantile Bank of India Building and the former Oppenheimer & Co Building.

Hongkong & Shanghai Bank Corporation Rangoon

Now we are at the corner of former Barr Street, now Maha Bandoola Garden Street and Merchant Street. The building at this corner is the former Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation’s (HSBC) Building Rangoon. If you like you can make a photo. So, now we continue along Merchant Street. The building next to the former HSBC building is the former Mercantile Bank Of India Building.

Mercantile Bank Of India Building Rangoon

Here we are at No. 554 Merchant Street. Other than that it is in a very poor state not much can be said with respect to this building. Next to the former bank building is the former Oppenheimer Building.

Oppenheimer & Co. Building

We are now standing under the portico of the former Oppenheimer & Co Building on No. 556 Merchant Road. We continue to walk westwards on Merchant Street to the next crossroads Merchant Street and Pansodan Road. There we turn left on Pansodan Road and walk up to the backside of the former Rangoon High Court. We have reached the crossroads. Before we turn left into Pansodan we take a look at the yellow-beige coloured building diagonally opposite from as. That is the former Sofaer & Co. Building that was built in 1906. Let’s continue to the former High Court.

Oriental Life Assurance Building

This is No. 545-547 Merchant Street between 36th Street and Pansodan and the building is the former Rangoon offices of the Calcutta/India based Oriental Life Assurance. The building was completed in 1914 and is although being 100 years old at the time of this writing still a real jewel in the string of colonial buildings on Merchant Street. The building is now occupied by the Indian Embassy. Please make your photos and then we continue a few steps westwards to the crossroads Merchant Street and Pansodan Road. There we turn left on Pansodan Road and walk up to the backside of the former Rangoon High Court.

High Court (Back Side)

We have arrived at the back side of the Rangoon High Court on 89-133 Pansodan Street. This building part alongside Pansodan Road is more symmetric than the front part on the Maha Bandoola Garden Street side. In contrast to the front facade here the main entrance has a huge roofed space outside the main support walls of the building (porch) the top of which is serving as a veranda with stone balustrade. Also, here the front facing gable roof is decorated with a triangular pediment. Since the High Court is in 2006 moved to the new capital Nay Pyi Taw this building is abandoned. The building is on the Yangon Heritage List. Let us now take a look at the adjacent building, the Rangoon Central Telegraph Office.

Central Telegraph Office/Government Telegraph Office

Here we are; opposite the former Government Telegraph Office also known as Rangoon Central Telegraph Office nowadays called Central Telegraph Office. It is located at No. 125-133 Pansodan Street (corner of former Dalhousie Road, now Maha Bandoola Road and former Phayre Road, now Pansodan Road) and another good example for the beauty of Edwardian architecture. The construction began in 1913 and the building was completed in 1917. It is an exact copy of the Government Telegraph Office in Calcutta, now Kolkata/India. The building is on the Yangon Heritage List. OK, now we turn left and continue on Maha Bandoola Road to the Sule Pagoda. You can already see the pagoda ahead of us. We will go straight to the Sule Pagoda because from there we have a good look at the last colonial buildings of our tour.

We have arrived on former Fytche Square with our backs turned to the Sule Pagoda right behind us and have actually reached the end of our ‘Colonial Rangoon Sight Seeing Tour.

We are now on former Fytche Square with the Sule Pagoda right behind us. To our left is the former Rangoon City Hall, located across from us to the left is the former Rowe & Co. Building, opposite this building is the Immanuel Baptist Church and to our right opposite the Maha Bandoola Garden with the Independence Memorial is the former Fytche Square Building. We start with the Rangoon City Hall and continue clock-wise.

City Hall

This enormous building complex is standing at Maha Bandoola Street on the site of the old Rangoon Municipal building, which was much smaller. It has a basically rectangular floor plan oriented in east to west direction with entrances at cut-off corners. The south-west corner is cut off to adjust to the former Fytche Square shape. The construction begins in 1925 and is completed in 1935. In 1936 the Rangoon City Hall is officially opened by the Governor of Burma, His Excellency Sir Archibald Cochrane and is since then serving as municipal building.

Rowe & Co. Building

Opposite the former Barr Street, now Maha Bandoola Garden Street side of the City Hall you see the former Rowe & Co. Building at No. 416 Maha Bandoola Road. It is the third and last building of Rowe & Co. in Rangoon. In 1901 this new plot of land at the corner Barr Street, now Maha Bandoola Garden Street and Dalhousie Street, now Maha Bandoola Road is found. The construction of the building is completed in 1910.

Immanuel Baptist Church

The original Immanuel Baptist Church building is completed in 1895 and is thus one of Rangoon’s/Yangon’s oldest churches. The church is almost completely destroyed during the Japanese occupation and this new church building is completed in 1952. It is located at No. 411 Maha Bandoola Road (corner of former Barr Street, now Maha Bandoola Garden Street and former Dalhousie Street, now Maha Bandoola Road). Its main entrance is facing the former Fytche Square, now Sule Pagoda Square. The Immanuel Baptist Church is on the Yangon Heritage List. Let us now walk a little bit clock-wise around the Sule Pagoda in order to have a better view on the former Fytche Square Building.

Fytche Square Building, Sharraz Building

So, there it is, the 3-storey former Fytche Square Building, also known as Sharraz Building. It was completed in 1918 and it is located at 77-91 Sule Pagoda Road. In 1946 the companies stopped their businesses and in early 1947 the building was till 1962 occupied by the Civil Supply Board Offices. In the process of implementation of the governments nationalisation programme the building was allotted to the Trade Corporation and then used as office of the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism till the government moved to the new capital Nay Pyi Taw. Now we have to continue walking clockwise half way around the Sule Pagoda in order to see the Sunni Jumah Bengali Mosque..

Sunni Jumah Bengali Mosque

The building over there at 93 Sule Pagoda Road is the Sunni Jamah Bengali Mosque. The mosque was founded and financed by parts of the community of immigrants from Bengal. Now, please look upwards Sule Pagoda Road to where I am pointing. You see the gray building with the tower on the left hand side some 200 yards ahead of us? Well, that is the Rangoon Municipal Central Fire Station and the last British Colonial Building of our British Colonial Rangoon Sightseeing Tour.

Municipal Central Fire Station

This is the Central Fire Station, formerly the Rangoon Municipality Central Fire Station at 137-139 Sule Pagoda Road. It was completed 1912. In 1883 the Rangoon Municipal Committee had a fire brigade established and started to build fire stations in townships. The top of this tower served as permanent lookout for back then it was possible to overlook a wide area because most building were not higher than 2 storeys. This fire station is to this day – more than 100 years after its completion – in use.

Things to Know About Boiling Rings and Burners

Are you looking for some boiling rings and burners that you can use in your house, backyard or for your next outing with your friends? If yes, then this article will provide some insights and things to know about these products. However, before you look for specific items, do you really know what you are looking for in the first place? Though the course of your search, you will encounter terms like burners, stoves and boiling rings. With that, do you understand the differences between these categories? If you do know, then you can proceed buying the item you want. If not, then you need to know them first before buying outdoor gas stoves, for example.

What are burners?

Firstly, gas burners are different from gas stoves. This is because the gas burner is a kind of device that is primarily designed in order to generate flame that will heat up something. This is done using a gaseous fuel like acetylene, as well as natural gas or even propane. There are some types of this that are built with air inlet. This is so that the air can be mixed with fuel gas in order to produce complete combustion. Different fuel that is being used for this consequently results to variable flame temperature. Hence, the precision of the work could be different as well. These burners are usually being utilized in soldering and welding.

What are stoves?

Secondly, in contrary, gas stoves are primarily being used in cooking rather than in soldering, welding or brazing. The fuel source that is being used in order to utilize this for cooking could either be a natural gas, propane, butane, as well as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and other forms of flammable gas. These may vary in sizes and features. Some are designed for domestic application while there are camping gas stoves that are for outdoor utilization. For the latter purpose, this is usually small and light, which could weigh as light as three kilograms for better portability and mobility.

What are the boiling rings?

Thirdly, the gas boiling rings are distinct from gas burners or stoves. This is because it is like a skeleton cooker, which is the reason why it is called as boiling ring. It has no other boxy built or cover that we can usually find or see in domestically used stoves. Well, the boiling rings are designed that way because it is specifically intended for outdoor or commercial cooking. Nevertheless, it still has the same function and components as the stoves. It still has the LPG hose, as well as the regulators and the like. This can also be used with a propane, butane or LPG as fuel.

How to Repair an Ionic Breeze Air Purifier – Easy Steps to Help Your Air Purifier Last Longer

The ionic breeze air purifier is one of the compact models of air cleaners usually installed in homes and offices.

It works without a filter or fan producing no noise at all. The ionic air purifier has an ionizer built in that produces electric charge with the help of plates. This attracts all types of pollutants in the air. The electric charge produced between the plates forces the air to pass through, nullifying the need of any fan. The ionic air purifier is good for installing in offices and other places where a quiet environment is required.

Before delving into how to get your ionic purifier repaired, here are a number of precautions that can make your system last longer, avoiding any repairs. The ionic purifier needs to be cleaned frequently. The cleaning procedure is itself simple but any negligence in cleaning the purifier as regularly as required can shorten the life of your device. Ideally you should clean it every 7 or 8 days and one should not wait for the unit to prompt the user that it needs a clean.

The ionic purifier, for obvious reasons is sensitive to any electrostatic charge near it. All electrical appliances that transmit signals should be kept away from it; otherwise the ionizer can be damaged easily. Also, a separate socket should be allocated to the purifier for power and no other appliance should be plugged in it.

The most common repair required when your ionizer stops working is related to the two wires found inside the unit that become detached if there is a problem. These are high voltage wires that burn and the circuit breaks. This happens due to negligence in cleaning the unit. They are not easy to repair and it is not advisable to try replacing or repairing them yourself.

What you need to do is to find someone specializing in repairing these units and he or she can fix the problem for you.

If You Want to Save Space, Consider Sliding Closet Doors

Sliding closet doors are the favorite door type of homeowners who want to save space. A sliding or bypass door does not require a front clearance to open or close. Additionally, they come in many styles such as wooden, louvered, French, mirrored or glass.

Your choices of sliding closet doors are numerous that it could be confusing and overwhelming finding one that answers your needs. It would be smart then to examine carefully each sliding closet door available on the market.

NUporte 48 In. x 80 In. White 2110 Series 1-Panel Grand Door from Aura Home Design:

This door meets the demands of the modern lifestyle with fashionable designs that complement contemporary to casual home décor. It is made attractive and durable by rich finishes and its high quality and stylish look add vitality and warmth to your home. The door is pre-assembled for easy installation and comes with track and hardware, matching fascia, floor guide and dial adjust rollers. The dimensions are 3.4375 inches in depth, 81 inches in height and 49 inches in width. Door thickness is 2.25 inches.

Prime-Line Products Black Painted Aluminum Sliding Glass Door Handle Pull Set:

The door features a standard handle set, extruded aluminum interior pull, exterior pull in black, mortise latch and surface mounted. The hole center measures 3 and 15/16 inches.

Manor Court 72″ White Laguna Bottom-Roll Interior Mirror Sliding Door:

This mirrored interior door has a medium frame measuring 72 inches. The door is constructed from bright white steel and comes with safety back mirror. The mirror style is plain with clear tint. Finished opening width is 72 inches and height is 80 and ½ inches

KingStar 24 Inches Gold Top-Roll Interior Mirror Sliding Door:

This door comes with one-piece track and safety-backed clear mirror. It is adjustable for easy installation. It has two panels, 3mm-thick mirror, top roller and steel frame. It fits finish openings of 48 inches in width and 80 inches in height.

Closet Doors from The Sliding Door Co.:

The company offers sliding closet doors that can be used for your wardrobe, linen closet or guest room. The doors can instantly enhance your living space with elegance and style. Glass options are clear, frosted, opaque, linen, mirrored and milky. Available framework finishes are silver, maple, wenge, white, walnut and black. Design choices are Quattro, trio, Tokyo, duo T, combo and pentagon. The framework width is available in either ½-inch or 3 inches while the extrusion wall thickness is.050mm. The company guarantees that its doors are constructed of the highest quality materials to last for a long period of time. The door comes with upper roller guide and bottom wheels. The door operates the smoothest and the quietest, making it the envy of many in the industry.

Sliding Wardrobe Door System from Johnson Door:

This door is manufactured from kiln dried timbers, professional finished in antique pine, mahogany stained meranti, clear pine or white oak. It features a molded leading edge, raised panels made of medium density fiberboard with timber veneer. The available style is full mirror with solid wood framing. The door fits an opening height of 90 inches and widths of 24 inches, 30 inches and 36 inches.

Spare yourself the trouble of going from one store to another to find the right sliding closet door for you by accessing the Internet. Sliding closet doors in a variety of different sizes, materials, color and finishes are available from many online retailers at affordable prices.

Growing Rosemary – Set It and Almost Forget It

I love growing Rosemary! The narrow leaves which actually look like needles have a spicy, resinous fragrance. They are hardy, forgiving, and don’t require a lot of attention. This plant is close to ‘Set It and Forget It’ in the amount of attention it needs.

Contrary to popular belief, for the most part Rosemary can be grown outdoors all year. This is a hardy perennial evergreen and can with stand winter temperatures above 5°F or -15°C. In the Northeast and Northern Plains states it may need to be taken indoors during the winter or given protection.

My Rosemary plants are outdoor plants. They occasionally get a little frost bite on their tips when the temperature drops below 20°F. When this happens I wait until after the last hard spring frost and then prune the dead tips off. This also spurs new growth. This is also the time I will give it a little fertilizer.

You can cut the plant back each spring, and new growth will come from the bottom. Some gardeners like to do this to keep their Rosemary maintained. I only cut off the damaged branches.

I have several of these aromatic plants of different varieties, as they are used for culinary, medicinal, ornamental, and aromatic purposes. They can be moved around, dug up, and transplanted to a new area and will do fine if done with a little care.

I have a Rosemary Officinalis shrub that is 3′ tall and 12 years old and is surrounded with strawberry plants. They were planted at the same time and are companion plants. No, I don’t dig it up each fall and put in the greenhouse. It stays in the garden year-round and does quite well. The temperature does get down to zero occasionally but only lasts a few days and we do have intermittent snow throughout the winter.

Two years ago, the Rosemary plant was dug up and transplanted. The key is to dig deep and get as much of the root ball as you can without disturbing it. The herb garden it was in was soon to become the foundation for a house so it had to be moved along with the strawberries growing at its base.

I have a backhoe so it was easy to dig up the plant and move it. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to plant it for a few days. I had put a wet gunny sack (burlap like material) around its base and root ball. To be honest, I was so involved in learning how to dig a foundation with the tractor that I completely forgot about my Rosemary plant for 3 days.

When I was ready to plant it, I used my little Mantis tiller to dig and prepare the hole. Why the tiller instead of the backhoe – because I wanted to till, pulverize, and sift the soil as I dug the hole. Little tillers like the Mantis tiller are great for this type of work.

I live in the Pacific NW and the ground is rocky and turns into clay after digging down a good 18 inches. The little tiller does a great job of digging the hole and tilling up the soil at the same time. The hole was dug twice as wide and deep as the Rosemary’s root ball. Next a layer of my potting medium was placed in the hole and watered. After the water was absorbed the Rosemary plant with its companion strawberry plants was set in the hole and positioned to look its best for its placement in the yard. A little more water was added and when absorbed my potting medium was placed in and around the root ball, tamped in, and watered again.

You may think I overwatered the plant, no. The plant’s root ball was quite dry and needed the water that was put in the hole; this wasn’t overwatering. If the root ball had retained a fair amount of moisture, I wouldn’t have used as much water in the hole.

Rosemary prefers a light, sandy, well-drained soil and full sun. Full sun I have; the light sandy soil, I have to make. This is can be accomplished by mixing sand and compost into your soil and mixing it into a fine granular or pulverized medium.

You can do this with by:

  • Buying a planting medium of that type
  • Mixing the sand, compost, and soil together

I like to place the soil along with sand and compost in the front loader of my tractor or a large wheelbarrow and then use the little tiller to mix it up into a nice granular potting medium. This was used to plant the Rosemary.

I also pruned it back a little bit just to shape it. The Rosemary plant never suffered any transplant shock due to having its entire root ball dug up and protected until I had a chance to plant it. I should also note here that this was done in November which is the perfect time to move the plants as it is less traumatic on them. Fall is the time to move them; however cuttings and layering can be done in either the spring or fall.

My plant is thriving and likes its new home.

Rosemary also likes a PH around 5.0. I place a ring of coffee grounds about 5 inches from the main stem of the plant. This keeps the PH just right and also works as a slow release fertilizer and keeps the slugs off my plants.

Don’t be afraid to move your Rosemary around. Keep it pruned and it will put out new growth. Depending upon where you live give it extra protection in the winter. You can also grow Rosemary in a pot planted in the ground and in the fall dig up the pot and move it to a protected area. You can also plant trailing Rosemary in a hanging basket and move it to a protected area as needed.

I have a friend in Montana who covers their 5 foot tall plant with burlap and places several flakes of straw around the base of her plant before the first snow. She covers it with a blanket when the temperature and wind chill is extreme. She says this works and she hasn’t had any problems in 5 years.

The main problem with growing Rosemary is overwatering. Go easy on the water unless you live in the south or have a severe drought. This is one of the herbs which doesn’t seem to be affected by pests or diseases.

If you haven’t tried growing Rosemary, try it you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to grow and what a wonderful addition it makes to your landscape and garden. This is as easy as it gets.

Please visit Growing Rosemary for an in-depth look at this wonderful herb. Happy Gardening!

Watch Free Movies Online and Explore Various Genres

Most people love to watch comedy, horror, action, adventure, or drama movies. These categories do well at the box office and in terms of DVD sales. There also happen to films that belong to other genres. If you ever watch free movies online, you may want to give them a try.

Classic Movies. The mid-20th century is also known as the Golden Age of Hollywood, which produced quite a number of films considered to be defining moments in cinematic history. Stars such as Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn and directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles are just some of the legends of the cinema who dominated this era.

Biographical Movies. These movies tell the life story of real people such as entertainers, heroes, monarchs, scientists, philanthropists, etc. They do not purport to reveal every single detail of a person’s life but rather center upon a predominant theme and important highlights. Biographies are sometimes dramatized and feature reenactment scenes to further illuminate the personality life of that person. They also touch upon the various historical and social realities at the time.

Family Movies. These films focus on a wider audience, i.e. families. The scenes, themes and dialogue presented in family-oriented movies are generally wholesome and either rated PG (Parental Guidance) or G (General Audience) so as not to leave any negative influence on the children who are watching. Oftentimes, these movies impart moral lessons such as the importance of listening to your parents, the joy of being with your family, and the fact that no matter what happens to you, your family will never leave you. They also tackle family problems that the characters will need to resolve themselves in order to live happily ever after.

Fantasy Movies. These films create a sort of escape for viewers. Fantasy movies often deal with magic and the supernatural and are often filled with wonderful creatures like dwarves, fairies, leprechauns, elves, wizards, etc. They always have some element of drama and purport to teach lessons about life, love and sacrifice to heighten the plot.

Animated Films. These films appeal to children and the young-at-heart but can also be targeted at more mature audiences. Animated films are made with advanced graphics and CGI effects and feature fictitious characters dubbed by real persons, mostly famous actors. A lot of animated films are based on fairy tales and characters in comics; some go so far as to parody classic fairy tales or even retell them from a revisionist point of view. Today, you can find a lot animated films when you watch free movies online.

All About LED Strips 4 – The Eternal Debate – SMD3528 Vs SMD5050

SMD 3528 vs SMD 5050, those are the two types of chips most used in strips nowadays, and it is essential to distinguish which one is used in each case because that will impact on the price but of course also on the performance. So what are their features and differences?

SMD 3528 strips LED flexible are a medium output, low heat LED die. In 5 meter reels with 300 chips they generally generate between 120 to 220lm/m (in Pure White) which is enough to project an even light level approximately 300mm (1′) from where it is mounted. Some manufacturers offer Ultra White versions which can offer up to 360lm/m. The average power consumption for this type of LED SMD Strip is 5W/m. However, big manufacturers offer also higher density reels, with 600 chips per 5 meter reel, which deliver up to 440lm/m (in Pure White), which can go even higher to 720lm/m for manufacturers with Ultra White versions. The power consumption in this case is around 10W/m. Most 3528 LED strips can be cut every 3 LED modules, or 50mm (2″) for 300 chip reels and 25mm (1″) for 600 chip reels. SMD3528 is a single color LED strip lighting solution. In terms of price, they are the cheaper option.

SMD 5050 flexible strip LED are a high power, higher heat SMD LED option. They are also commonly referred as triple core strips (when looking closely three different areas can be identified on the chip). Strips using this type of SMD LED flexible strip usually have a wider variety of options, being the most common the normal density reels with 30 chips per meter (360lm/m in Pure White) and a power consumption of around 7,5W/m but some manufacturers offer also higher densities, normally in shorter reels, such as 3 meter, with 60 chips per meter, delivering an astonishing 720lm/m in Pure White with a Power Consumption of around 14,5W/m. As we can see, SMD 5050 can offer a light output over 3 times that of the 3528 strip and therefore the 5050 LED is well suited for lighting up areas that may be subject to high levels of ambient light. 5050 LED strip can also be used as a replacement for fluorescent tube in general task lighting and in light boxes. As a result, logically, they are more expensive, but for installations with high luminosity requirements they are preferred since their cost per lumen is generally lower.

Moreover, the 5050 strip is available in both single color and RGB color change models. The color change version requires additional control but can produce millions of different colors, so finding the right shade or combination is a simple matter of programming.

What type of SMD is better? The answer is simple, it depends. For basic lighting projects with low luminosity requirements, monocolor and when cost is the key factor, then SMD3528 prevails. For more demanding projects or RGB installations, then SMD5050 is the obvious choice.

Is Barb Wire Fencing the Only Alternative For Protecting Your Property?

Barbed wire (or barb wire) fencing has long been one of the common materials used to protect property boundaries and contain animals. This type of fencing is made from twisted strands of wire that has razor sharp burrs lining the surface. These barbed protrusions have proven to be useful at deterring cattle and livestock from challenging the fence.

The sharp barbs can snag or pierce their skin and this will generally cause the animals to refrain from trying to push against the fencing. Most livestock quickly learns to give the barb wire border respect and they maintain a safe distance from the punishing wire. Even people and predators can be deterred from entering an area that is surrounded by barb wire fencing.

Depending upon the way the fence is structured and the material used the barbs may be several feet apart on each strand or they may be separated by just a few inches. This kind of fencing is pulled taut against the posts before it is secured which gives the fencing strands almost no flexibility and makes this a difficult barrier to cross. The fences may use one wire, or several lengths of wire to create a barrier that will be difficult to cross.

In addition to causing pain and injury to animals, a barb wire fence can do the same to humans who inadvertently come in contact with it. Even repairing and maintenance can be dangerous and time consuming. There are many people who feel that the benefits of barb wire fencing are offset by these problems.

Have you been wondering, “Is barb wire fence the alternative for protecting your property?” There are some alternatives to using barb wire fencing on your property that is more humane to the animals and can offer the same type of high protection features. You may want to consider electric, steel or woven wire fences for your needs. All of these can be used to effectively safeguard livestock and mark your property lines.

There are some very high quality woven wire fences that are now available. Many of these are made from high tensile wire and they will last longer and look better than some of the wire fencing that you may be more familiar with. Animals are easy to contain within these fence borders and they are not harmed if they make contact with the wire. These can be used as temporary or permanent fences in any kind of location.

Electric fences can be made from wires or concealed in rope and tape strands. These fences will deliver a low level jolt of electricity if contact is made with the wires. This is usually deterrent enough to keep your animals within their area of confinement. These types of fences will also help keep intruders or predators at bay. Some of these models are even operated by solar power which decreases the cost.

Steel fences can be very expensive but they are also safe and durable. These are generally used for smaller fencing jobs and the strength of this material is undeniable. Steel fencing is often used for horses, and if it is properly installed and maintained it can last through many years.

Freight Management – Optimizing Efficiency in Shipping Goods

Freight Management is a strategic system to optimize the efficiency of freight and commercial transport. When you think about it, the numbers of big rig trucks you see on the major thoroughfares they seem countless. We realize that the trucks are transporting goods and more than likely transporting the majority of goods. We don’t realize however what the system that lies behind all that transport is. It’s like a huge puzzle where each piece fits together perfectly and intrinsically. That’s where logistics plays a key role. Logistics takes into consideration shipping practices as a whole which includes the shipment size, vehicle type, mode of transportation, facility sites, and frequency of shipping.

So many factors come into play for freight management, with the priority being to minimize freight costs. Take into consideration the dramatic increase in fuel prices leading up a year ago and how they greatly affected shipping costs involved with transporting products and goods. Suppliers passed on their increased freight costs either by increasing the cost of the goods directly, or indirectly by charging surcharges on shipping. In the end, consumers paid more for items in stores or at restaurants. The bottom line is the bottom line. Freight management helps to keep freight costs lower which directly affects the bottom line and the price paid by all of us for goods and supplies.

There are a number of approaches to implement freight management in the transportation of goods. When possible shippers are encouraged to utilize either water or rail systems. Standard trucking of goods can cost as much as ten times more then shipping by water or railroads. Other ways to optimize shipping through logistics and freight management include optimizing truck loads by improving the routing and scheduling to avoid empty trucks on return trips. Organizing regional deliveries to reduce trips, not only saves on energy expense, but also the benefits to the environment while minimizing freight costs to the shippers. The two go hand in hand when you consider the costs involved in the energy utilized and the pollution expended during the process of shipping.

Freight costs are a considerable expense to take in to account when one who produces goods determines a fair yet profitable price to charge for their product. Freight management is the tool used to not only help minimize that expense but also help the in the determination of the set price. A freight management company can provide an analysis to the manufacturer the exact cost per product of the anticipated freight cost.

Not only does shipping involve shipping your product across the country and around the world, but also the regional delivery of your goods into the hands of the final destination or the consumer. It’s a web of events that has evolved into a major undertaking too great for an individual producer or smaller company to take on. Again, it all goes back to efficiency and minimizing freight cost which is the purpose of freight management.

Basic Craft Techniques – How to Decoupage Like a Pro

Decoupage is an easy, creative, and satisfying craft medium. With minimal materials, you can decorate nearly any surface or object easily and with professional results.

Simply defined, decoupage is the art of cutting out designs from paper or other flat material, then applying in a decorative pattern to a surface and coating with lacquer or glue.

Dating from 12th century Asia, decoupage gained tremendous popularity in Victorian England where fashionable floral, cherub, and heart motifs were applied to furniture, screens, and lamps. The word decoupage came into use in the 20th century and is based on the French word decouper, or “to cut”.

Modern-day decoupage crafters have successfully applied designs to paper, wood, metal, glass, terra cotta, plastic, wax candles, ceramic, cardboard, egg shells, stone materials, and more. Virtually any surface, with correct preparation, can be decoupaged.

Basic Decoupage Supplies

  • A clean and dust-free surface or object to decorate
  • Decorative images
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Collage glue or medium such as Mod Podge OR watered-down white glue
  • Foam brush
  • Tweezers
  • Brayer (optional)
  • Fine grit sandpaper (for certain surfaces)
  • Varnish (optional)

Surface Preparation

  • Painted wood surfaces – Lightly sand surface with a fine grit sandpaper. Wipe completely clean before decoupaging.
  • Unfinished wood surfaces – Decoupage materials can be applied directly to clean and dust free unfinished wood surfaces. If color is desired, paint the wood first and let dry for at least 24 hours. If paint is tacky at all, do not decoupage. Paint must be completely dry for this technique to work.
  • Slick plastic surfaces – Materials will not adhere well to slick plastic, so provide some “tooth” by sanding with fine grit sandpaper and wiping completely clean. If in doubt, test first.
  • Stone or rock – Thoroughly clean surface of dirt or dust and cry completely. The flatter and smoother the surface, the easier it will be to decoupage, especially for beginners.

Sources for decorative images

Most flat materials can work for decoupage. Consider these sources: wrapping paper, tissue paper, scrapbooking paper, seed packets, menus, ticket stubs, napkins, wallpaper, old book pages, magazines, pressed flowers, ribbon, photographs, greeting cards, fabric, stickers, posters, calendars, maps, doilies and more.

Basic Decoupage Instructions

  1. Prepare the surface if needed. See prep tips above.
  2. Cut out images. Traditional decoupage included finely detailed and precise cutting, but modern designs often include torn images and patterns.
  3. Lay out design prior to decoupaging. The most appealing design may need overlapping cutouts.
  4. Coat surface with decoupage medium using foam brush.
  5. Coat back of cut out image with medium.
  6. Carefully apply to surface, pressing from middle of piece out to edges to minimize bubbles and wrinkles.
  7. Use a brayer to flatten image as much as possible. Fingers can be just as effective for this step.
  8. If bubbles form, carefully pop them with a pin and smooth out.
  9. Let piece dry. Apply a coat of decoupage medium to entire surface and let dry. Repeat until surface has several coats. The most professional finish has no, or minimal, raised edges from cutouts.
  10. If desired, varnish finished piece following instructions on bottle. This seals the design and provides a more finished look. It also protects objects that will receive a lot of use.
  11. For the most professional finished project, lightly sand and wipe clean in between varnishings until completely smooth.

Decoupage Tips

  • Let all substances dry thoroughly in between applications: paint, decoupage medium, and varnish.
  • Do not use ink jet printed images as the ink will smear. Make color photocopies instead.
  • Do not use original photographs so that they can be preserved. Make color photocopies.
  • Some materials such as napkins and very thin tissue paper are delicate and require a light touch to prevent tearing.
  • Decoupage medium comes in matte and glossy finish. Consider this for the final design.
  • Rinse sponge brushes immediately.

Decoupage is fun and easy. Try these basic decoupage techniques and create professional results.

What’s The Best Saw Blade For Laminate Flooring? You Might Be Surprised

The right saw blade for cutting laminate flooring like Pergo is not the one that came on your saw, or any other miter or table saw that’s sold. One common misconception is that an original equipment blade is good for just about anything. Another is that laminate flooring is wood: it’s not.

Let me relate a true story to illustrate the results of these mistaken ideas.

The flooring contractor working at the house I was renting was using a nice DeWalt bench-top table saw, with a standard DeWalt blade on it. It might have been the original, an exact replacement or maybe a step up in tooth count, but apparently he thought a DeWalt saw needs a DeWalt blade. A crazy idea, when there are so many other aftermarket brands that are a lot better.

Anyway, I watched in horror as he tried to cut a piece of laminate flooring, lengthwise. I could smell the smoke and hear the scream of the blade from a distance, and from closer I could see the sparks flying. And the saw was straining just to cut through that thin board.

Why? That blade was shot, duller than a butter knife. And I’d guess it was that way from about the third or fourth cut on laminate flooring he made with it. Keep in mind, this was a professional contractor, using a blade that was ready for the dumpster.

Different Materials Call For Different Blades

You see, laminate flooring will destroy a wood cutting blade with alternating top bevel (ATB) teeth in no time at all. The sharp points on this type of blade can’t handle anything that hard – they dull quickly and those tips are what the blade uses to cut cleanly through wood.

Another thing that happens is, when the glue that holds the flooring together gets hot from using a dull blade, it sticks to the sides of the carbide tips and gums them up. Obviously, that makes the cutting even harder for the saw.

There are many different types of saw blades, designed for cutting different materials. If you just make sure you’re using the right type before starting your project, you’ll get much better performance out of your saw and make the job go much better.

Now, what kind of blade should be used for cutting laminate flooring? I’ll give you a hint: most laminate flooring brands have aluminum oxide in their makeup. And the material itself is about as hard as metal.

How Can I Make My Penis Bigger?

A bigger, thicker penis is what most men would never refuse if someone offered them the solution. A big thick one will satisfy your woman like never before. How can I make my penis bigger a friend of mine asked me and since so many men have the same question, I decided to outline a few methods. The methods below are the ones being used today by men all over the world.

Surgery for penis enlargement should be last on your list of ways to increase your natural size. It is really expensive and you might not be able to get an erection or an orgasm after the procedure. Even though the possible side effects are that extreme, many men decide to undergo enlargement surgery.

The second option is making your penis larger with a penis pump. Pumping your “soldier” to the extreme can’t be good. They are meant to hold the blood in your penis, thus making it bigger. I have seen extreme cases where men have disfigured their penis beyond repair. Of course, that is the most severe case, but one can never be too careful. A lot of men also experience the inability to get and maintain normal erections without using the pump firs. So there are definitely a lot of things to consider here. This is the second, and also the second most popular method. The bottom line is, they can be completely safe, but if your not careful, they can cause a lot of damage.

Penis enlargement exercises are the third option, it is also the method gaining the most popularity at the moment. They are relatively safe, compared to other methods out there. Realistic, permanent gains, can be achieved with exercises. Promises of unrealistic gains, I have seen promises of gains up to 8 inches, should obviously be ignored. However, it is possible, and many men are achieving this, to significantly increase length and girth.

The most popular exercise is performed by massaging your penis with your lubricant of choice, coconut oil for example, until it is between flaccid and erect, the challenge is staying in that mode. If you get a full erection, simply wait and continue exercising when you are back to that mode. Use your thumb and index finger to grab your penis at the base and slowly slide your hands towards the head of your penis, you will notice the head of your penis filling up with blood. When you reach the glans, hold the position for approximately 10 seconds before doing it again. Do about 25-30 repetitions.

Another widely used exercise, consists of pulling to achieve increase in length. Grab your penis, with your palm facing up, and pull downwards, you should feel the stretch quickly. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds for each direction. Down, up, left and finally right. This exercise can add some length your penis. The important thing is to find the balance between a full stretch and discomfort. Perform this exercise for 8 minutes, so that each direction gets about 2 minutes of stretching. There are other advanced stretching techniques available, this one is popular for its simplicity and the fact that the whole exercise can be finished in under 10 minutes.

The focus still seems to be on pills and pumps among most males. While the safest, and more often than not the most effective method is ignored. Before spending a lot of money on expensive surgery and devices, consider naturally increasing your size with exercises like the ones above. With persistence, dedication and some time, you can realistically enlarge your penis. Significant gains in length, general erection hardness, and most importantly the circumference of your penis.

Teen Diet Plans – Can Teens Use the Medifast Diet to Lose Weight?

Are you are teen or do you have a teen in your household who needs to lose weight? If you have used Medifast yourself, or you’ve seen the ads for it on television, you might be wondering, “Can teens use the Medifast diet to lose weight?”

I expect you will be happy to learn that teens can use Medifast too. You will want to look over the program for teens though, because it isn’t the same as the adult diet plan.

The adult diet program is called the 5 and 1 plan. On this plan, you eat five Medifast meals each day as well as an additional meal that they’ve dubbed the lean and green meal. This is the only meal that you eat non-Medifast food and your servings are restricted to lean protein and fresh vegetables.

The teen plans, however, have a lot more regular food on them and they cut back on the number of Medifast products that are eaten throughout the day. The teen weight loss plan includes three Medifast meals per day, instead of five.

Because teenagers have different nutritional needs than adults, due to their growing and changing bodies, the Medifast diet for teens includes whole grains, fruits and dairy products. These are things you won’t see on the adult plan, but they are crucial for teens.

Of course, the teen plan also includes lean protein, such as lean meats and meatless proteins (such as beans and tofu), and lots of fresh vegetables. The fruits and vegetables part of the diet follows standard guidelines, five servings per day. Also, there are a few differences between the plans for teenage boys and teenage girls, with the boys’ plan adding some additional quantities of whole grains and fats.

A big aspect of the plan for teens is using the Medifast plan to make a lifestyle change, so there are lots of tips for eating a healthy diet and how to incorporate better meals into a teenager’s day. Plus, exercise and being active outdoors is important as well, so there are suggestions for adding more activity to each day. An hour a day of exercise or some kind of sports activity is the usual recommendation, but for sedentary teens, you may want to start just adding 30 minutes of exercise three to four times a week and add more time each week.