How Much Do Caribbean Cruises Cost?

Perhaps now, more than any other time is the right time to take a Caribbean cruise. In the wake of some of the recent negative publicity about cruise lines and the frequency of bad weather, etc. cruising has never been more affordable.

The problems are mounting for cruise lines and to counteract the concerns, cruise companies are dramatically “cutting” prices, offering Caribbean trips for as little as $529 per person (traveling in August). If you prefer traveling in the fall, deals can be had for as little as $749 per person.

Other reasons for lower cruise prices are the new ships that are taking bookings away from older, smaller ships. For example the Royal Caribbean’s new mega “Freedom of the Seas” ship is the largest cruise ship in the world with room for 3,600 passengers. It has every imaginable amenity including a 1,215 square foot presidential suite. The popularity of sailing on this treasure ship draws passengers away from other ships; thus the prices go down on the smaller ships.

Also lending to lower rates, are the bizarre incidence that have occurred while cruise ships have been at sea. These include bad press about sanitary conditions aboard ship, strange viruses that have affected hundreds of passengers, passengers who have been murdered or simply disappeared and even a pirate attack on a Carnival cruise ship.

Of course, there are high-end cruises that you can indulge in. You can spend thousands by booking a space on the Royal Caribbean “Freedom of the Seas.” When you spend more, you obviously get more in the way of room accommodations and extras that are included when you tour the many ports that are included in your cruise experience.

Walking with Dad

I think of my father when I walk. Probably it is because he loved to be outdoors, and he taught me early on to notice my surroundings. A few days ago, weather conditions combined to create a remarkable Texas sky. The way the thick, white clouds rode the wind across the blue, blue sky, made me wish I could be a red-tailed hawk so I could fly with them. Dad seemed closer that day.

My route is always the same. Since my feet have memorized where they need to go, my mind is freed to notice what’s around me, to keep up with my neighborhood. One day, I set out just as a downpour had moved east. When I reached a spot between two culverts, the noise of water rushing from the street into the underground pipes stopped me in my tracks. I closed my eyes. It felt like I was in the midst of a waterfall.

I know all the dogs on my route. Dad once told me that a dog’s bark is its greeting, and that it’s only polite to return the hello. So I speak to all my doggy friends. “Hi, sweetie! What a good dog,” I say. And remarkably, the dogs stop barking and just watch me as I pass by.

When it is very cold, I march and sing or whistle a little tune to help me keep my pace, and I think of Dad. I learned to march in his band, and I can still whistle every note of the piccolo part to “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Dad told me that seeing someone giving to someone else thrilled him so much he often had tears. He felt the same about unexpected gifts. For years, he wore a flannel shirt that someone had donated to the victims of Hurricane Carla, proud that a stranger could care that much.

When I walk and remember Dad’s wisdom, I know he still lives.

“There is no judgment when we die.

Judgment belongs to Earth-thinking, discarded when the body is shed.

Beyond the veil of Death is understanding, and comfort, and release.

Empty of appraisal or measurement, the Infinite encircles the beloved, and calls him home.”

from Foolish Wisdom

What Do Adornments Say About You?

The power of first impressions can be very strong. Before someone opens their mouth or even looks you in the eyes, you begin evaluating the exterior signals they’re sending, and you begin forming opinions about them: what they do for a living, what type of person they are, how much money they have.

Right or wrong, it’s true. What you wear on your body, and how you wear it say a lot about you. Sometimes people interpret those signals incorrectly, but wouldn’t you want to know how you’re being perceived, even if it’s not accurate?

Tattoos are a rite of passage for the strong-minded. Tattoos can express very personal feelings about a topic or simply be a way to celebrate something of interest. Their permanency makes the statement seem stronger because there is no easy way to change your mind once made.

Makeup is a way to express our feelings or project a certain mood. The recent “smoky eye” look has been very popular with women and projects an image of allure yet confidence when paired with nude lips. A poorly made up face can suggest the person doesn’t care or is simply uninformed about their faux pas.

Hairstyles say quite a bit about us. Think of the woman you know who still wears mall bangs and has a perm. Do you have confidence that she’s current with trends and topics? I didn’t think so. What about the woman with high hair? It’s easy to think she’s a chatty Cathy or vacuous.

Belly button rings can be a private way to explore hidden interests. Belly button rings can be as demure as a stud or barbell or as enticing as a dangling Playboy Bunny ring. Belly button rings may be an easy low-commitment way to explore your wild side, even if you teach 7th grade English.

Unravelling the Phad

As the sun makes its sojourn downward, the delicately folded Phad is unraveled. A Phad is a 15-20 foot horizontal piece of cloth on which an entire folk tale is depicted. The stories commemorate deeds of local heroes. Usually the stories revolve around 2 main folk heroes – Pabuji and Devnarayan-ji.

Devnarayan-ji was a 10th century A.D hero and was known to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His story is said to be very similar to that of Krishna’s. Pabuji, on the other hand, was a 14th century A.D hero. He was a local Rajasthani who abandoned his wife at the marriage pyre to keep up his promise of helping a woman from the Charan community save her cows. During his attempt to save the last calf, he died in the battle. According to the folk tale, Pabuji is said to have ridden his horse for close to 10km after his head was slain. A temple was erected where his body finally fell dead. Both the men are titled as ‘Cattle Heroes’ who vehemently fought for the cows of their community and ended up giving up their lives in the attempt. Cattle heroes are collectively called Bhomiyo. Only some Bhomiyo become famous and achieve divine status.

Today, renowned Phad painting artists like Prakash Joshi, are expanding and exploring the art form further by creating Phad paintings that narrate tales of Durga, Sati, Ramayana, Mahaveer, Buddha and even the Krishna-Leela series.

Till date the origin of the Phad remains a mystery. This is because once a Phad becomes old and worn out it is destroyed by ceremoniously submerging it into the sacred lake of Pushkar. This is ritual is known as Thandi Karna. Hence the earliest specimens of Phad paintings remain unavailable to us. The oldest Phad painting available today belong to the late 19th century.

A Phad is ideally only painted during the monsoon season. This is done with the belief that the folk lords are asleep during this time. Traditionally it is painted only by people of a special cast – Chippa, also called Joshi. Ideally only vegetable colors are used as paint for the Phad. This is because the natural colors remain fresh for a long duration. However, today the scarcities of these natural dyes compel Phad artists to use artificial or synthetic colors. While painting a Phad, only one color can be used at one time. Only once the complete usage of this color is done can the next color begin to be applied.

The initiation of a Phad painting is marked by a ceremony dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. Once a rough draft of the folk tale is drawn and perfected on the khadi cloth, all the figures are given a base color of yellow. This is called kachcha. Finally, the youngest virgin girl of the artist’s family is summoned. She makes the very first stroke on the Phad. This ritual is followed by a distribution of sweets.

Every available inch of the khadi cloth is covered with figures. Although the characters are harmoniously painted across the cloth, the significance given to each character depends on the social status and the role that the character plays in the story. Another intriguing feature of a Phad is that, the characters never face the audience. All character represented on the cloth face each other.

A Phad painter does not paint the eyes of the main figure until he hands it over to the Bhopa. The Bhopa is the performer-priest who uses the Phad to perform the tale depicted on it. At the time of handing over of the Phad to the Bhopa, the painter draws the eyes of the main character and adds the name of the Bhopa to the Phad.

Traditionally, the art of painting a Phad was never taught to girls. The painters feared that the skill would stray out of their family when women who were taught the art were sent after marriage into other families. The men would pick up the skill as they would be handed paint and cloth while they were young to experiment and learn with. Most young boys would spend a lot of time around their fathers and thus automatically be gifted with a flair for the art.

Once the Phad is handed over to the Bhopa, the exquisitely painted Phad is brought alive with music, dance and narration. The Bhopas belong to the Bhopa caste and are the men who perform the tale depicted on the Phad. The Bhopa usually adorns a red baga (Skirt), Safa (Turban), a red bagatari (A long Shirt) and ties Ghunghroo(anklets with bells) to his ankles. He uses traditional instruments like the ravanhatta or jantar to sing the folk songs. He is assisted by his wife, the Bhopi, who holds an oil lamp and illuminates different parts of the Phad as the Bhopa sings and dances. Using the intricately designed Phad the Bhopa, the performer priest begins the Phad Bachna – ‘Narration of the legend’. The Bhopa usually begins the narration by singing the lura, which refers to hymns of the folk hero. The performance begins once the sun sets and continues till sunrise. It takes up to 4-7 nights of performances to complete the narration of a single tale. Traditionally the Bhopa and Bhopi used to travel from one village to another, pitching their Phad at a central location in the village and performing it for locals.

Unfortunately, today India is left with only about 13 traditional Phad painting artists. People do not understand the value or the intricate work that goes into making a Phad. Prakash Joshi is currently the best known Phad artist in the world. He hails from one of the only surviving families of Phad artists – the Joshi clan. In 2009, he received the National Award (President Award) for his contribution to the dying art form. Prakash Joshi dedicates his time to teaching this traditional art form at Joshi Kala Mandir in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. He travels to 5-6 cities in a year to conduct exhibitions and workshops. Most Phad artists today earn income from exhibitions, workshops and classes. Artists like Prakash Joshi are heartbroken at the current social value of Phad paintings. He believes that the government must put more effort in the form of funding and sponsorship to Phad artists. Phad artists are often called by the government to conduct 3-4month workshops in teaching the art. However, these artists are bound for this time period by a contract that restricts them to take up any other external work in terms of workshops or exhibitions. Prakash Joshi claims that this arrangement is not financially viable for Phad artists as most of their income and networking happen during exhibitions and workshops.

Also, the market today does not give sufficient exposure to the Phad art form. For most consumers the cloth becomes a mere add-on accessory to the interiors of a room. “Majority of my customers today select a Phad based on whether it matches their wall colors or not. I teach my students this sacred tradition in a hope to revive the art in its true sense”, claims Prakash Joshi.

It is a pity to note that such a rich cultural legacy is vanishing at such a rapid rate. The creation and presentation of the Phad is more than just an entertaining activity. The entire procedure from the first stroke on the cloth to the last step of the Bhopa is done undertaken with a spiritual dedication. During the performance of the Phad the Bhopa becomes a priest and the Phad becomes a mobile shrine.

How to Lose Weight Without Exercise Or Pills

Learn how to lose weight without exercise or pills. Imagine what you could do with the knowledge of fast weight loss! First off, losing fat is not as hard as you may believe. It takes dedication and consistent effort on your part. The key is to never give up. You can not get the results you are looking for without working out.

There are many ways you can lose weight and some are very easy to implement. But the best method by far is a combination of a full body strength building workout, and a cardiovascular workout.

Weight lifting is crucial for fat loss. When you work your muscles you burn fat. It is the fastest way you can strip fat and get that lean body everyone wants. The best strength training exercises are a full body workout that includes your legs and core muscles.

Cardiovascular is the second best. Make sure to include this in your workouts after strength training. That way you wont waste all your energy on one method. I like to use weight lifting as a warm up for cardiovascular training. This keeps your muscles limber.

If you are wondering how to lose weight without exercise or pills eat lots of vegetables. Vegetables are full of fiber and are a source of vitamins. Fiber burns fat very fast. You will find yourself losing lots of fat when eating an abundant amount of vegetables. The only down side to eating lots of vegetables is you will have to use the rest room often.

Benefits of Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety

Shyness has been looked down upon in our culture. To be shy is equivalent to being publicly incapacitated. But is it true that all shy people suffer from social anxiety? The answer is simply no. Some people are withdrawn and “shy” by nature, others, however, experience anxiety in social situations. The latter group definitely benefit from reducing their shyness and consequently their social anxiety.

Most shy people have trouble networking. Nowadays, this could be devastating, not only to their social lives, but also to their careers. While the saying goes ‘nice guys finish last’, but in reality it would be more accurate to say that ‘shy guys finish last.’ Overcoming your anxiety in social situations could mean more job opportunities, or even more success at your present job. Consider all the successful people in your workplace; you know those who seem to ‘move up the ladder’ faster than the rest. Are they well-connected and socially gifted? More often than not this will be the case. Being able to attend company cocktails in style, and perhaps even telling a few jokes to make your boss laugh, helps in adding to your image as a confident, well-liked, person which, in turn, earns you bonus points in your career.

The more obvious, but nonetheless important, advantage is the increase in the number of friends that you have. It is true that many shy people have meaningful, lasting, long-term friends-you know, like the friend they met back in middle school-but they often lack the casual, sometimes more fun, acquaintances. While having a best friend you can confide in is essential for your mental health, having a few friends you can go out and have worry-free fun with is truly refreshing and has long-term benefits on your mood and disposition. It is a vicious cycle: the more friends you have, the more likable you feel-and that makes you happier. And the happier you feel, the more likely you are to seek social contacts from outside your regular circle.

Perhaps the most important advantage to beating social anxiety and overcoming shyness is the soaring self-esteem that comes with overcoming our own shortcomings. Shy people often suffer from low self-esteem because of the social isolation they feel and the anxiety that comes with attending social situations. This lack of self-esteem may even lead to a constant, low-grade, unhappiness with their current social situation. If this goes on for long enough, it could lead to depression-especially if the person that suffers from social anxiety is not blessed with a support network in his/her life. Because of the nature of shyness and social anxiety, people around you might make you feel like it is your fault; it is all in your hands; or that “you should just get out more.” You end up feeling that there is something innately wrong with you.

But, when you overcome your shyness and you beat your social anxiety, you will be overjoyed with the new sense of control you have over your life. Indeed, your life will be much happier with your new-found confidence in social situations.

Crutching Chest Pain – What They Don’t Tell You About Using Crutches

My winter of skiing mid-week with my Seniors ski pass came to a halt when I made a careless move at the top of the highest run. I went down hard on my hip on the frozen surface at the top of the Mt. Lincoln at Sugar Bowl, my favorite ski resort near Lake Tahoe, CA. Sliding downhill headfirst, I grabbed my right ski to flop myself over to get my skis downhill. I gently experimented with what would move and what wouldn’t. I asked my ski buddy, Harold, to get the ski patrol and tell them I need help.

The ski patrol arrived and checked me out – “what day is it, what’s your name, did you hit your head, where do you hurt”, and so on. I told them I could not move, and that my right hip and leg hurt.

What skill and courage those guys have! My location was quite steep, and there wasn’t enough loose snow to plant a pole, much less get a foothold to load me into the sled litter. But they did it, and I kept my leg and hip in place. They strapped me in, covered me up, and away we went. My ski buddy later told me he couldn’t keep up with us. What a ride that was!

Shivering and shaking, I was admitted into the resort clinic and onto a bed. Because it was mid-week, and they didn’t have a doctor present, they couldn’t take an x-ray to define my injury. I could not put weight on the leg, and I didn’t want to move it. They loaded me up in my SUV, and Harold drove me down to Truckee to the hospital.

I was admitted through Emergency. More questions. “No, I don’t have any insurance.” I hoped for a strained muscle, and low cost. The x-ray was inconclusive, so they did a CT scan and confirmed that I had fractured the neck of my right femur – the place where the leg bone joins the pelvic bone. The doctor told me there is no alternative; I must have it repaired immediately. This is the point where I broke down and hid my face in my hands.

“Is there any alternative, Doctor?,” I asked, just in case.

“No. You need surgery tonight,” he replied.

About six hours after the fall I was prepped for surgery. I was told it would take about twenty minutes, and could choose to be awake with a spinal block, or have general anesthesia. I woke up and they were done, cleaning up, sending me out of OR to a room for the night. I was happy to have it finished.

Post-op patients receive the best nursing care. In this case it meant lots of attention from a young, handsome male nurse, lots of company from staff. As many blankets as I wanted. More pain meds. Super! Then the day nurse came on. That was a different story. It was time to get off my duff and start walking. The occupational therapist came, the physical therapist came. Time to get out of bed.

The pain meds made me nauseated when I got up. They brought crutches and made sure they were the right height. The occupational therapist helped me hobble over to the toilet, so I thought I was doing just fine. She tried to get me to take a shower, but I wasn’t interested. I just wanted to lay down and sleep again. I didn’t realize these were little “life skills” tests that one needs to accomplish to get a good report on the medical chart leading to discharge.

The physical therapy technician worked with me to teach me the proper use of the crutches. Don’t hang by your armpits on the top of the crutch, hold yourself up with your hands. I had two sessions assigned that day, and if I didn’t pass the stair test, I would have to stay another night. That idea sent dollar signs zinging through my brain with imagery of even bigger hospital bills. Conscious of the fact that I am uninsured, I had to get out of there!

Through the haze of medication I had a thought. The meds are making me sick, change the pain med, so I can stand up and walk on the crutches, up and down the stairs, and get out of Dodge! That worked well enough and in time for my second physical therapy session. Hobbling down the hall to the therapy staircase, still feeling ill, I passed the stair exercise test and called my friend to take me home.

Thanks to my ski buddy for being my 24/7 caregiver following surgery. If not for his patience and generosity, I would have been at home, in the snow, alone, and unable to drive. My sister also came a week later to stay several days. If not for those two, I would have been up the proverbial creek.

About ten days after surgery, feeling pretty good and crutching well, my sister and I went out for a hamburger. I started feeling a bit of pain on the left side of my ribs, under my left arm. By the time we got home I was feeling in need of a cold pack or hot pack, so tried the cold first. That didn’t relieve the pain, which was now affecting my breathing. I tried a hot pack and immediately felt an increase in the pain and difficulty in breathing. The pain that it caused was huge. I don’t think the fracture caused as much pain as this. Breathing shallow to keep from causing more pain, I hobbled off to bed to lay down and find a position that I could tolerate. I thought I had a broken rib or my lung had collapsed! I’ve never experienced those conditions, but I thought something like that must be the cause. I was relieved to know it would pass as Peggi recalled her experience with the same type of pain two years earlier for a broken leg.

“I remember getting crutches after I broke my leg. Within a week I went to get up from the couch and I couldn’t take a deep breath. I wondered if I had been injured somewhere else. The pain was barely manageable and I spent the rest of the day on the couch breathing shallowly and taking aspirin. It was an uncomfortable night and the next day I moved very carefully.” Peggi said,

“I found out a few days later that I had caused my upper left back area to spasm due to over-use of my muscles, I had also pulled the rib heads out of alignment in the chest area and felt relief when my physical therapist, who knew what had happened, adjusted my back. I still had to be careful for the next several days. It is curious that no one in the medical field mentioned that this could be a problem. Surely I am not the first!”

Trying to use my crutches properly, I had pressed the crutch into my rib cage resulting in tenderness, and strained muscles causing muscle spasm. The instructions for using crutches did not mention this side effect. I’m so glad my sister was with me and knew what the problem was. I had to breath shallow, not move around much, and wait it out. I was in bed for 18 hours before I could get up and move around. It was a week before the pain in my rib muscles subsided.

I called the doctor’s office a week or so later to inquire about another matter, and asked if they had patients with my rib pain and breathing difficulties. The nurse sounded alarmed, and said I should have come in, it could have been something serious like a heart attack. She had not heard of other patients with this problem. I thought this strange, as my sister and I had both experienced it. Later, I searched online for similar experiences, but didn’t find anything like our chest-rib pain.

Researching my injury, I learned:

· Instances of leg injuries (from ski accidents) have decreased markedly. “The overall rate of injuries over the last four decades has dropped by 50%, and broken legs have decreased by 95% since the early 1970s. 1

· The femur, or thigh bone, is the largest and strongest bone in the human body. It is surrounded by lots of tissue like the quad muscles and a large “femural” artery that carries a lot of blood. Because of this, it takes a lot of force to fracture a femur and it is also very dangerous. 2

Four weeks after surgery I am using one crutch, going up and down stairs, and driving. I feel improvement every day. There is pain with overuse and movement is restricted. I intend to be on the golf course in a few months!

Because I am unemployed I have been developing two businesses that I promote online. My work is done from home. I have not been able to think effectively during the time I was using pain medication, nor was I able to sit at my computer for long periods of time. I expect to take about six weeks to recover enough to get back into my home-based work full-time.

The hospital and doctors bills are over $33,000. The hospital has a financial assistance program, and I have applied.

I wrote this article to share my experience with others who suffer injuries requiring the use of crutches. I would like to know if others have had this chest-rib pain experience, how they handled it, and what their doctors and professionals had to say. My contact information is in the resource box below.

Selling Your Candles – Operating a Successful Market Stall

The Market Scene

One of the best places to attract customers to your business is markets. Markets are found in all suburbs and regional areas of Australia, so there should be no problem in finding one that suits you.

Remember, markets are hard work. There are no shortcuts to running a successful market stall. There are early starts and long days, but done correctly you can be very successful.

Having been both a stall holder and a Market Manager of 3 markets I have seen both the good and bad of stalls. How your display looks at the market can make the difference between going home with much less stock and money in your pocket or going home miserable.

Here are some tips on running a successful market stall. The most important thing to realize is that you have plenty of competition and they are not only other candle makers. Anyone who is vying for a customers’ money, is your competition. So what can you do?

Here are some ideas on how to get their attention.

1/ Have your signage professionally done. Hand written signs don’t look professional. If you want to save money, print them yourself on your home printer and laminate them.

2/ It’s not hard to make your stand attractive with so many candles. You have the colors, the jars, the fragrances. Everything you need to make it appealing. If you are able to make a good first impression, then customers will always remember you. Remember most customers choose the candle they want by the fragrance.

3/ Make sure you have the right attitude. No one wants to approach a person who is hiding behind their newspaper or looks absolutely miserable. Customers go to a market because they see it as a day out, to enjoy themselves.

4/ Keep your stall tidy. Keep all boxes and packaging out of site.

5/ Try not to eat or drink at your stall. I know everyone gets hungry, but have the courtesy to at least stop eating. Stall holders are generally very obliging people, so most would be happy to look after your stall for a few minutes to give you a break. Remember, that it is your stall not theirs so have the courtesy of not being be too long. If they get a customer at their own stall whose do your think will take preference?

6/ Be aware of your customers. Don’t ignore them. If you are already in discussions with one customer, then acknowledge other customers by telling them you will be with them in a minute. Ignoring them is a great way to lose customers.

The person who may buy is the person listening rather than the one you were directly talking to.

7/ If you have a uniform or T-shirt that has your logo, wear it. It shows that you are proud of your business and you are instantly identifiable and it’s a great way to promote your business.

8/ Some customers are reluctant to approach you if you seem too aggressive. It’s a good idea to try your approach on family and friends first to see what they think.

9/ If they are reluctant to talk, offer them your brochure or business card. Let them know how to contact you and how to place an order. Allow them time to browse through your information and let them know that you are available to answer any questions they have.

10/ It seems silly to have to say this, but be friendly and make them feel welcome. Wearing a name tag makes a big difference. It makes a customers feel more at ease if they know who they are dealing with. Once a customer either makes a purchase or seems interested enough ask them if they would like to be added to your data base. Make sure that there is some benefit to this, such as special offers and discounts.

11/ Make sure that you can answer any questions.

12/ Follow through if you get inquiries. If customers give you their email address, make the most of it. Keep in touch with your customers. Send them a postcard!

13/ Presentation is so important to a successful money making business. Whether you are doing a market, a candle making demonstration, a class or a corporate presentation, wedding fair, or an exhibition, you should invest in the correct presentation materials.

Markets can be a great start to any business, so take the time to do your research and make the most of your opportunities.

Learn About The Sudden Popularity of Moscow Mule and Moscow Mule Copper Mugs

Unless you were hiding under a rock lately, you must have noticed the frenzy over the Moscow mule, a cocktail that uses ginger beer and lime which is served in Moscow mule copper mug. So is this the new fad in town? Or it is here to stay? Based on the continuous demand in the bars that I visited, I can certainly say, it is here to stay.

This recipe was extremely popular in 1940’s. Celebrities in Hollywood started drinking and as usual, the public followed them and made this a popular cocktail. But over a period of time, it slowly lost its appeal like any other trend. After a popular television personality recommended it on her show, it regained its lost craze.

The History of Moscow Mule and Copper Mugs

The creation of the Moscow mule was credited to a chance meeting of three friends in Chatham bar in 1941. One of the three friends was John A. Morgan, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products who also owned the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant. The second one was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, and the third one was John G. Martin of Heublein, a spirits and food distributor.

Later on, several recipes were created to prepare the Moscow mule. Martin and Kunett mixed ginger beer, alcohol, lemon juice and ice into a concoction using mugs.

The three friends named the mixture Moscow mule. Martin even ordered specially engraved mule mugs to market the new cocktail. The copper mugs with the mule logo would later become inseparable from the drink and contributed to the success of the Smirnoff Company.

Resurgence of Moscow Mule Copper Mugs

These mugs have seen a tremendous resurgence in popularity over the last few years. In certain parts of the country, the bar attendants are holding the patrons’ ID, to make sure they aren’t taking the mugs with them. Today these mugs have an ultra-stylish modern look. Some have a smooth shiny surface and others have a hammered copper look. They also come in different shapes like barrel shapes and drum shapes.

What Are These Mule Mugs Are Made Of?

A majority of today’s mugs are copper-plated outside and lacquered for a long-lasting beautiful look. The inside might have a nickel or tin or stainless steel lining. However, the Moscow mule mugs that are made of 100% copper are also available, but be prepared to spend more.

If you don’t consume alcohol beverages, you can use these mugs with non-alcoholic drinks like soda and lemon juice too. Ginger beer, which is one of the mule ingredients, has also seen an increase in popularity as more and more people are embracing the Moscow mule mug trend.

If you are wondering what makes the Moscow mule so special in copper mugs, you might just need to try it for yourself!

The Different Types of Tires and Their Purposes

Are you wondering about the different types of tires and their purposes? This introduction will cover the basics and help you decide what kinds of tires are right for your car.

First, what’s the purpose of a tire in general? Well, the tire is basically a cushion between the road and your car. Most tires you see these days will be pneumatic, meaning they’re oval shaped, and made of inflated wires and cords. They’re made mainly from rubber and fabric. They also include a selection of compound chemicals, and these chemicals may differ between the various manufacturers.

The different types of tires and their purposes arose in direct response to the needs of drivers. Different tires exist for every type of weather and performance need. Whether you drive an RV, station wagon, or sports car, you will be able to find the ideal tires to help your vehicle’s performance.

Learn About 3 Different Types of Tires

  1. All Season Tires
    All season tires are common in countries that have two distinct cold and hot seasons. They are meant to perform adequately in any month of the year. One benefit is that they are easy to use and convenient, but on the other hand, the drawback is that these tires are not designed to be high-performers in either winter or summer. They are pretty average. These are the kind of tires that most people have on their cars, and for most of us nothing more fancy is needed. If you live in a muddy or snowy area, however, you may need the extra traction provided by mud and snow tires. Keep reading to learn more about those.
  2. Mud and Snow Tires
    Mud and snow tires are specifically engineered for low temperatures, using a special chemical make-up. They have a soft tread compound to ensure a good grip on snow or ice. When you look at a mud or snow tire, you will see more grooves in the tread pattern than in all season tires; these additional grooves provide extra grip for slick surfaces. You will also notice M&S or M+S marked on the tire, telling you that it is designed to be a mud and snow tire.

    • More About Snow Tires: Some snow tires have metal studs. Again, the metal studs are just one more way to increase traction in extremely wet and icy conditions. They work by roughening the ice on the road as you are driving along. You won’t typically see metal studs on an ordinary car, as they do tend to damage a road surface over long periods of time. They are a specialty item that you may see on tires used for ice racing and other sports.
    • More About Mud Tires: These tires have very large chunky tread patterns that help clear out any mud that gets trapped in the tires. Mud tires tend to be wider than the other different types of tires. This is so the weight will be distributed over a wider area. As you can imagine, this helps your vehicle avoid sinking into the mud – always a good thing!
  3. High Performance Tires
    High performance tires are not needed on your average car. You would want to invest in a good set of high performance tires if you own a sports car or do a lot of racing. These kinds of tires have a softer rubber compound than other kinds. This softness gives them better traction control, which is key for high speed cornering. In contrast with snow tires and mud tires, high performance tires have shallow treads. The idea is that you want your tires to have increased road contact so you can go faster. Now these tires won’t last you a long time, because you tend to work them pretty hard.

Now you know all about three different types of tires and their purposes. Just be sure to know the road rules around tires to avoid getting a ticket. You can also use devices like speed camera detectors to save money and keep your license.

Last Longer in Bed Now – Last Longer in 6 Easy Steps

Knowing how to last longer in bed now is important. Trying to figure out what to do to stop the ejaculation just seconds before you climax is simply too late. You need to already know what to do when you are at this point in order to stop it.

You have to be prepared and be a step ahead if you have issues with premature ejaculation.

Be ready to use your bag of tricks to last longer in bed and keep your partner wanting more. Know exactly what to do when you feel like you are about to ejaculate and want to prolong it instead.

6 simple tips on how to last longer in bed now

1) Be sensitive

Pay close attention to yourself and be aware of how sensitive you are and how close you are to ejaculating. By doing this, you can stop your orgasm by slowing down your thrust and take deep breaths to ‘reset your body’. Another way of stopping your orgasm is to break up your rhythm by throwing in a position change.

2) 15 minute Masturbation

When you masturbate, be sure to take your time. Too many men do a quick one when it comes to masturbating. As a result they will transfer this fast ejaculation habit into their bedroom. You need to condition your body and penis to last longer in bed by practicing at least 15 minute masturbation. Train your mind to have longer ejaculation period.

3) Deep Thrusts

Reduce the stimulation on your penis by thrusting deep inside her and staying deep inside. This is a wonderful technique to prolong your ejaculation and last longer in bed whilst at the same time giving her immense pleasure every time you do this.

4) Relax your thoughts

The more nervous and anxious you are the more chance you will have a premature ejaculation. Stress hormones caused by nervous or anxiety actually helps to trigger premature ejaculation. So take that extra effort to relax during sexual intercourse. You will be surprise at the outcome and you no longer need to ask how to last longer in bed now

5) Stroke the Roof of your Mouth

Sounds crazy I know, but this trick does work. Whenever you find that you are about to ejaculate, stroke the roof of your mouth using your tongue. This will distract you from your orgasm. The senses stimulated on the roof of your mouth will transfer the focused energy on your penis away to your mouth.

6) Don’t Rush

There is no need to thrust your partner at 200 mph in order to give her pleasure. She enjoys it fast just as slow. Besides by doing it slow, it shows that you are in control and you care for her needs at the same time. The advantage for you is that you will also be able to prolong your ejaculation.

So there it is. 6 simple tricks on how to last longer in bed now.

Large Format Printing Services

In the online printing industry, large format printing services are in great demand owing to the fact that high quality printing is made available at affordable prices. Large format printing is one of the most effective means of marketing your products and services through meaningful images and messages.

You can display large format posters and banners anywhere you wish to display them, indoor and outdoor. Large format printing is an excellent option for obtaining large photographic-quality images, courtroom graphics, tradeshow banners and graphics, outdoor banner display, presentations, research posters for medical and scientific presentations, in-store point-of-purchase displays, retail store displays, business or personal artwork display, event signs, promotional signage and more. You can use these prints as wallpapers to decorate your living as well as working spaces.

There are many commercial printing companies in the United Kingdom extending the best of services to a wide range of clients. Large format printing can be done on a variety of substrates including photographic paper, plastic, film, vinyl, translucent materials and cloth. Combining the skill of talented artists and state-of-the-art large format printers, the service providers print excellent quality images in vivid colors, sizes, shapes and styles that you require. Usually top quality, fade-resistant inks are used to print long lasting and stunning high definition images for durable outdoor posters.

With large format posters and banners, you can create a big impact for your business, large or small. When you choose large format printing services, it would be ideal to go for one that allows you the option of customization. Some of the best and established large format printing companies accept photos, paintings and artwork from customers, to make the large format prints.

It is of great importance that the company you choose guarantees optimum levels of quality standards in performance and innovation, throughout the printing services.

Kids Educational Craft Ideas – Alternatives to Using a Paint Brush

Painting opens up a world of colour and communication for children and is a wonderful way for them to create. There are many simple and exciting alternatives to using a paint brush.

String painting is easy and is a great way for children to pattern paint. You just wrap some string around a small wooden block (this could be a building block that your children play with). A square or rectangle shape is better, but make sure that it is big enough for the child to hold easily. To aid in your child’s learning, it is best to have a variety of different sizes handy. Prepare some paint and pour it into some old polystyrene trays or any tray that you can afford to use for lots of painting activities. Dip the block into the paint and press on the paper and you’re done!

Marble painting is another way for children to have fun and also learn hand eye coordination whilst creating different patterns. Prepare some paint and put it in a container that has deep sides, such as an old baking tray or a shallow cardboard box. The top of a shoe box is an excellent example providing that it is still strong and intact. Put some paper in the bottom of the tray with a small amount of paint (you can use two or three different colours at a time). Drop a marble in the tray and let the children move the marble backwards and forwards, sideways etc. to create their own work of art.

Finger painting develops the child’s sensory skills as they feel and touch the paint. Put some paint on an old table and let the children put their hands in it and make their own designs. If you do not have an old table that you can use, then you can always put some plastic on the table and this will suffice.

Please bear in mind that most paints are easily washed off surfaces and hands with hot soapy water but please check the instructions to be certain! Once the children have finished their painting, put a piece of paper on top and peel it off. Put it somewhere to dry and then they have a print of their art work to show to family and friends.

Here are some other quick tips and alternatives that your children may enjoy that can also be used for printing…

  • Cotton bud painting can encourage children to paint in a different way, which develops fine motor skills.
  • Cotton wool has a different feel and texture to it.
  • Paint rollers are fun to use on large rectangular areas. So this would be ideal for example, if you are planning on painting a red cardboard bus.
  • Cotton reels and corks can be used for pattern painting.
  • Sponges cut into different shapes can be a great way to recycle and you can use both their rough and smooth sides in painting. Some examples of shapes you can use are rectangles and circles and a diamond or star. You can also purchase sponge shapes from a good toy shop, or you can order them from educational supply magazines.
  • Other ideas include the cardboard rolls inside household foil and plastic wrap, plastic forks or jar lids.

Just remember to let those creative juices flow.

The Difference Between A Storage Facility and A Warehouse

Storage warehouses are commonly, confused with storage facility. However, these two are different from each other. The former is used for industrial purpose while the latter may be used for personal or business needs. A storage warehouse is a commercial building that is used for storage of goods. It is usually, located in an industrial area since it is not meant for personal use. These warehouses are of use to wholesalers, retailers, exporters, manufacturers, transporters and so on. Moreover, warehouses have loading docks too. Unlike the regular storage units, these warehouses have forklifts and cranes for loading and unloading bulk products. In fact, these warehouses come with climate-controlled facility to store perishable items.

Things That Matter the Most

Design – In case of warehouses, the design of the unit plays an important role. It can make a huge difference to the customer experience. Things like, on site assistance, warm and friendly staff, packing services, loading and offloading services can be very crucial. These basic services can make a customer happy and satisfied. The storage facility design is one of the most important things that matters.

Automation – There are moving and storage services that are fully automated. They do not require workers inside the facility. They are equipped with automated conveyors, cranes, programmable logic controllers, automation software, running and logistic software and pallet rack or carton flow.

Warehouse Style Retail Store – These days, retailers have ventured into warehouse style retail stores wherein the products are stored and sold from the same place. They do not use the regular types of shelves. Instead, retailers have combined the two aspects of retailing and storing and incorporated both of them into one. The high ceiling buildings display products on industrial racks. The lower racks are used for retail selling and the upper racks are used for storing. Indeed, it is a unique storage facility and has brought a revolutionary change in the moving storage services.

Self-storage warehouses are places where a customer can safe keep his personal belongings. In fact, they can be used by business organizations too, for storing documents and other important paperwork. It is certainly, different from a warehouse because in a warehouse, an industrialist will probably stock up similar items or products. However, regular moving storage services or personal storage facility will have a variety of items belonging to different customers. Hence, a regular facility has different types and sizes of units to suit different needs. Unlike a warehouse, that does not have different sizes and types of units. Even if it does have some variation, it will be very different from a regular unit.

It is interesting to note that warehouses have existed since several centuries whereas storage units are a recent development. Typically, the structure of a warehouse is very different from a regular unit. A warehouse will have concrete floor with high metal shelves. Regular storage facilities will have state of the art technology with beautiful interiors and exteriors, comfort being the focus.

Lessons Learned – The Flight 401 Disaster

The acronym CRM is commonly understood to stand for customer relations management. It has another meaning however in the aviation world, Crew Resource Management. The job of flying a commercial aircraft from one airport to another can be likened to a project; it has a start date (departure), an end date (arrival) and delivers a unique product or service namely the safe transport of the passengers at their destination. CRM became a hot topic and important discipline in the aviation industry after the crash of Eastern Airlines flight 401 in the Florida Everglades in 1972. The television show Mayday aired a piece on this tragedy recently and I think the lesson learned by the aviation industry is one that can be applied to the project management profession.

Flight 401 flew from JFK in New York to Miami the night of December 29th, 1972. The airplane was a Lockheed L1011-Tristar, which as state of the art at that time. The flight crew was led by the Captain, Robert Albin Loft, and included Flight Engineer Donald Louis Repo and Co-pilot Albert John Stockstill. In addition to the standard cabin crew were Warren Terry, a co-pilot, and Angelo Donadeo a maintenance specialist. These latter were “dead-heading” to Miami. Dead-heading is airline slang for hitching a free ride to return to their home base. The pilot had 32 years experience flying for Eastern, and the engineer had 25 years experience. Although the co-pilot had much less experience than Loft, he had more experience with the L1011 and previous flying experience in the air force. This was the team in control of the cabin.

Flight 401 received permission from the tower to take off at 9:20 pm that night and proceeded south over Norfolk Virginia then over Wilmington North Carolina and then out to sea for the rest of the flight. The planes navigation system would bring the plane to “Barricuda point” over the Atlantic and then it would start its turn westward over West Palm Beach and then south to Miami. Shortly after take-off Warren Terry decided to move from the cabin to a vacant seat in first class which left Angelo Donadeo the lone “dead-header” in the cabin. Co-pilot Stockstill flew the plane while pilot Loft operated the radio. This was standard procedure for Eastern and was the way in which it gave its co-pilots flying experience.

Eastern Flight 401 arrived at the Miami airport at about 11:20 pm, behind National airlines flight 607. The National plane was directed to land on runway 9 right leaving runway 9 right for the Eastern plane. Just before landing the crew on flight 607 radioed the tower that they were having trouble with the landing gear in the plane’s nose and were having to deploy it manually. They also asked that the airport have fire trucks ready for their landing in case they should experience trouble.

When it was Flight 401’s turn to land a few minutes later the signal light for their nose landing gear failed to turn on. Stockstill asked Loft if he wanted to circle until the problem was fixed. After conferring with the control tower, Loft instructed him to circle. When Stockstill asks about retracting the landing gear Loft instructs him to leave it down and then pushes on the throttles to compensate for the extra drag. Loft did this even though Stockstill was still flying the plane.

The problem light was located on the co-pilots side of the plane but Stockstill couldn’t reach the light because he was still flying the plane. The tower instructed Flight 401 to turn north and then west on a course that would take them over the Florida Everglades. The plane reached an altitude of 2,000 feet and then leveled out. Loft instructed Stockstill to put the plane on auto-pilot and then try to extract the light bulb so it could be replaced. Stockstill succeeded in extracting the panel holding the light and gave it to Repo so he could replace the bulb. Donadeo witnessed this transaction but says he did not see Repo replace the bulb with a spare. Repo attempts to replace the panel but inserts it sideways so the light is still inoperative. Loft orders Repo to inspect the landing gear visually from a small bay below the flight deck accessed through a trap door. As Repo is disappearing into the “hell hole” Stockstill is now struggling to remove the panel without success. The cockpit recorder captures the conversation which shows Loft’s frustration with the malfunctioning light and the rest of the crew’s laughter reveals that no-one is taking the incident seriously at this point. Stockstill is still struggling to extract the panel.

At this point an altitude warning is heard on the recorder but Loft and Stockstill are still completely focused on the landing gear light. Their discussion totally ignores the warning and focuses on the light, the likelihood it is merely burned out, and their certainty that the nose gear is down at this point. Repo appears through the trap door and announces that he cannot see whether the gear is down or not. Loft directs him to try again. Meanwhile, Stockstill has one hand on the steering yoke, which also controls the altitude of the plane by controlling the angle of the flaps, and one hand on the panel holding the light. Donadeo witnesses this as he moves to the bay to help Repo. Stockstill is heard on the recorder telling Loft that something has happened to the altitude. Loft’s last words are “Hey, what’s happening here?”

At this point, Flight 401 disappears from the controller’s radar screen. A hail from the controller to the airplane produces no answer. The airplane had crashed into the Florida Everglades about 18 miles west north-west of Miami. It hit the swamp at about 220 miles per hour and slid for 1/3 of a mile breaking up into 5 pieces before finally coming to rest. Out of a total 176 passengers and crew, 103 died in the crash. Due to the quick response time and heroic efforts by an airboat operator by the name of Robert Marquis, who happened to be on the scene, and the Coast Guard 73 passengers were rescued from the swamp.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for conducting investigations of all air incidents. Naturally more attention is paid to investigations of crashes where lives are lost like the Flight 401 accident and the NTSB brought all their considerable resources and expertise to bear on this crash. Their investigation began at the crash scene and they found the control panel almost entirely intact so were able to determine the exact time of the crash (11:42 pm), that the panel containing the nose gear indicator lights was jammed sideways in its receptacle and that the two light bulbs were indeed burned out. From the flight recorder they were able to determine that plane speed was 198 knots when the plan crashed and the throttles were in full forward position indicating that the crew had likely become aware of their situation at the last moment and tried to pull the plan up. The NTSB also had the assistance of Angelo Donadeo who had survived the crash.

Through the cockpit recorder, the physical evidence, and Donadeo’s testimony the NTSB were able to reconstruct the accident. The plane had approached for a landing and deployed the landing gear. The indicator lights for the nose gear failed to light which could mean that the nose gear failed to deploy or the lights were malfunctioning. The flight tower orders them to change course to a path over the everglades and maintain an altitude of 2,000 feet while Loft orders Repo to visually inspect the landing gear. Good so far. Next, Loft tells Stockstill (who has control of the plane) to engage the autopilot. The plane maintains its altitude, then drops 100 feet, levels out, and maintains that altitude for 2 minutes. After that the plan starts a gradual descent. This descent is so gradual the crew doesn’t notice and after 70 seconds the plane has only lost 250 of altitude. The 250 feet is sufficient to trigger a warning chime that can be clearly heard on the recorder but is ignored by the cabin crew, who are totally focused on trying to replace the burned out indicator lights.

The planes rate of descent, which had begun so gradually, gathers momentum. A further 50 seconds and the plane descends below the 101 foot level which triggers another alarm which the crew do notice, but by this time the plane is descending at a rate of 50 feet per second. Stockstill responds by giving the plane full throttle but the corrective action is too late and the plane crashes.

The autopilot is engaged by 2 switches on the control panel but can be disengaged by applying pressure on the control column (or yoke). The NTSB surmises that when Loft turned to Repo to tell him to visually inspect the nose gear he accidentally disengaged the autopilot by bumping the column. The autopilot does not become totally disengaged at this point but will maintain whatever altitude the pilot selects by pushing forward or drawing back on the column. Accidental bumps against the column account for the further descent of the plane.

The NTSB report recommended a number of technical improvements which might have prevented the tragedy. The visual inspection apparatus in the inspection bay proved to be too difficult to operate by Repo contributing to confusion in the cabin. The board recommended a change to the apparatus making it operable by one person (the pilot had to switch a light on which was located overhead, there was no evidence Loft did this). The altitude warning system sounds once and then flashes an orange light. At altitudes above 2500 feet this light flashes continuously, below 2500 feet it only flashes once. The board recommended it flash continuously at any altitude. The NTSB report noted the attention focused by the cabin crew on the burned out lights but made no further recommendations at that time. Subsequent incidents where pilot and/or crew error led to disaster, or near disaster, triggered the creation of Crew Resource Management (CRM) and a mini-industry sprang up to teach pilots how to maintain control of their crew and aircraft.

By this time you will be asking yourself “what in the world does all this have to do with me or any other project manager?” The answer, in a nutshell, is this: the same lack of focus by the leader which caused Flight 401 to crash can cause a project to crash. Project managers can learn some lessons from that tragedy and employ some CRM strategies of our own.

The fact that stands out above everything else in this tragedy is the focus of the entire cabin crew of that airplane, including the pilot, on two burned out light bulbs: total value $12. Cost of the lack of focus on flying the plane: a $15M airplane plus 103 lives. The lesson is clear; the project manager cannot lose focus on the overall project goals and objectives because of the failure of a minor task or deliverable. The pilot on an aircraft has overall responsibility for the success of the flight and the safety of the passengers and crew. The project manager has overall responsibility for the success of the project, although the responsibility seldom extends to personal safety. The pilot has command of the cabin crew and is responsible for assigning tasks to that crew in such a way that the airplane reaches its destination safely. The pilot cannot afford to lose focus on that responsibility because the crew is struggling to resolve a relatively minor technical issue. As it turned out, the landing gear was down and the plane could have landed safely. The crew either knew this, or strongly suspected it because they were examining ways of changing the light bulbs. If Loft had assigned the replacement of the bulbs to Stockstill or Donadeo (he was in Loft’s charge) he could have focused on flying the plane and averted the disaster.

Project managers should accept the responsibility of meeting the overall goals and objectives of the project. This means that when a build fails, or trouble reports mount, or a new application doesn’t meet performance expectations we cannot become so bogged down in correcting the situation that we lose sight of the overall project. We must make intelligent use of the resources given to us to meet project objectives. Assign investigation of the causes of the failure to someone on your team who has the necessary experience and knowledge and then trust them to deliver. If you haven’t got such a person on your team, approach your sponsor and ask for the resource. Don’t allow a sense of responsibility for fixing all the problems on your project to detract you from your primary responsibility: overall project success.

If ever you find yourself in the position of wanting to get down in the trenches and get your hands dirty resolving a technical problem that is plaguing your project, remember the experience of pilot Robert Loft. Don’t let your stakeholders down and crash the project by focusing on a $12 part rather than a multi-million dollar project.