Selecting the Right Travel Clock

A travel clock can be a lifesaver for the business person constantly on the go. The right clock is compact so that it travels easily and is reliable enough to wake up the sleepiest traveler so that you do not miss an important appointment or meeting.

There are many clocks available from several well-known brands such as Bai Design, Bulova, Chass, Dakota Watch Company, Eagle Creek, Elgin, Equity, Howard Miller, iHome, Lingo, Oregon Scientific, SDI, Seiko, Timex, Westclox and Wincraft. Many are simple designs costing less than $10, but there also clocks with more elaborate features, but these come with an expense of up to $50.

For instance, Bulova’s Reliable II travel clock is enclosed in a black case with large numerals for easy reading. It also features a 30-hour key rewind and bell alarm all for around $25. If you prefer digital numbers, Seiko has the Get Up and Glow alarm clock. The LCD features an automatic calendar along with snooze optional alarm. The clock can also stand on its black metallic carrying case and the dial lights up when you press the top. This clock costs less than $25.

Most of the travel clocks you see will come with a brightly lit back display for easy reading. In fact, this is a primary feature in the Advance Clock Company’s travel alarm clock that not only has a blue backlight on demand but also a red flashing alarm for the deep sleeper. The 7/10-inch LCD can be easily seen and is protected by a cover for safe and easy travel. This product costs less than $10.

If style is important for you, then the Howard Miller Crescendo travel alarm clock may be right for you. This pocket clock as a sleek chrome finish on its round design. The classic hinged cap can cover the white dial with luminous hands. It also has a chime alarm function all for about $50.

Bai Design’s Rondo is another brand that carries cool round designs in colors such as black, chartreuse, gunmetal, red, satin silver, turquoise and white. This compact clock features a luminous dial and has a built-in circular stand that easily folds for storage in the leatherette slip case. Constructed of ABS thermoplastic and an acrylic lens, this clock can withstand the demands of travel and costs only $30. With so many designs from which to choose, you are sure to find the right travel clock to fit all your needs.

Learn More About Herman Miller Aeron Chair

The uniquely original Aeron chair line of quality office furniture boasts unmatched construction in the usual design of ergonomic office chair development. With the introduction of its distinctive construction elements, the Aeron ergonomic chair remains unchallenged by other, more standard office seating products. When designers Donald Chadwick and Bill Stumpf considered the design for the Aeron, they took into consideration all aspects of comfort, social respect and product reliability.

From this careful consideration which speaks to today’s busy lifestyle while borrowing from the many cues found in general ergonomic office chair design, Chadwick and Stumpf revealed their “pellicle” fabric. A mesh made from a DuPont polyester elastomeric product, the pellicle fabric seats and backing of the Aeron chair provides its owner with a sturdy yet supportive and breathable elastic flexion.

Chadwick and Stumpf reasoned that a gently supportive mesh which gives with each bodily movement while offering the user breathability, would better support the user’s individual frame than the usual padding or cushions considered to be the market standard. By replacing the seating and backs of the usual office chair cushions and padding with this pellicle fabric, the Aeron desk chair gave birth to an exceptionally comfortable and distinctive seating experience.

This popular chair is a standout among its more conventional peers as well as its other ergonomic desk chair rivals. Recognized and awarded numerous times within the influential business and furniture manufacturing industries, the Aeron chair began as and still remains the pinnacle of ergonomic office chair design.

Earning the, “Designs Greatest Hits” title by Your Company Magazine in 1999, the Herman Miller Aeron continued its journey along the less traveled ergonomic path where form and function meld into simple comfort and sleek design. Also named in 1999 as “Design of the Decade Gold Winner” by the Industrial Designers Society of America and Business Week Magazine, the Aeron office chair was rated among the top by industry leaders and came out the clear winner again.

The 1998 prestigious “International Plastics Consumer Product and Design” award from the Society of Plastics Engineers went to the Aeron desk chair in recognition of its creative concepts and use of molded plastics. The international audience took notice of the Aeron chair by way of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1996. This association awarded the Aeron office chair with the “Gold Prize” thus bringing the Aeron office chair influence to a higher level of competitive reach.

‘Burke’s the Butcher, Hare’s the Thief’: The Life of Serial Killer William Burke

William Burke was born in his native Ireland in 1792 and, even though his parents were poor, they believed in educating their children. When he finished his schooling he joined the militia, though after seven years his unit was disbanded and he went back to his childhood home to be a servant for a land owner. Leaving his home town and abandoning his wife and two children in 1817, he travelled to Scotland to work on the construction of the Union Canal.

Burke met Helen McDougal, a Scots woman, while working on the Union Canal and after they met he gave up construction work to work variously as a laborer, weaver, baker, and cobbler. By 1827, Burke and McDougal had been cohabiting together as common law spouses for a number of years and were generally perceived to be a respectable, married couple who had settled down with Burke finally opting for a career as a shoe maker. He was able to read and write and was charming and outgoing.

In late 1827 Burke and McDougal moved to Tanner’s Close in the West Port area of Edinburgh. It was here that William Burke would meet William Hare, a man with which he would become infamously linked in history, when he and McDougal moved into the lodging house run by Hare’s wife Margaret. The two couples became friendly but no-one could have suspected that the friendship would eventually lead to murder.

When a tenant at the lodging house died of natural causes owing Hare £4 in rent Burke helped Hare to dispose of the man’s body. Instead of burying him, they took the body to Edinburgh University Medical School searching for a buyer for the corpse in order to attempt to recoup the money owed to Hare. After little success, they happened upon a student of an anatomist named Dr. Robert Knox, who told them that Knox would pay good money for a cadaver and they sold the body for £7.10, the equivalent of $1,130.00 today.

Burke and Hare realized they could make a large amount of money supplying cadavers to medical schools and when the next opportunity presented itself to do this, their murder spree began. Burke and Hare’s first murder victim was a sick tenant named Joe the miller. They plied him with whisky before suffocating him. Joe was to be the first of sixteen victims who would lose their lives at the hands of Burke and Hare. For the most part, Burke and Hare targeted people who were unlikely to be missed, such as beggars and prostitutes, as their victims but they were not above murdering their own acquaintances. A cousin of Helen McDougal, Burke’s common law wife, lost her life at his hands.

Burke and Hare’s murder spree lasted for twelve months but it came to an abrupt end in October 1828 when a woman named Ann Gray became suspicious of them and discovered a body hidden under a bed in their house. Despite being offered the sum of huge sum of £10 to keep quiet, Mrs Gray refused and alerted the authorities. However, by the time police arrived at the scene the body had been transported to the medical school. Items belonging to other victims were discovered at the house but the evidence that the two men had actually committed murder was largely circumstantial. In order to secure a conviction, therefore, and satisfy a public that was baying for blood, the Lord Advocate Sir William Rae offered Hare immunity from prosecution if he testified against his friend, William Burke.

Burke was sentenced to death in December 1828 and hanged on January 28, 1829. Immediately after his death Burke’s death mask was cast and some of his skin was tanned and preserved. After wards, in a fitting act of posthumous punishment, his body was dissected at the Edinburgh University Medical School. His skeleton was preserved as an exhibit.

Hare was released along with McDougal, though they did not escape lightly. McDougal was attacked by an angry mob and just escaped being hanged herself, before fleeing Edinburgh, never to be heard of again. Hare was released from prison in February 1829 and also disappeared into history.

William Burke’s decision to enter into a murderous partnership with William Hare is puzzling. Why would a skilled man who seemed to have a good, stable, home life resort to such disturbing criminality? It is highly unusual for the criminal acts of a serial murderer to be driven purely by profit. It is unlikely that we will ever find an answer for William Burke’s choice. However, his name and that of William Hare will never be forgotten and we can only hope their descendants were able to escape their torrid history.

Leona Tyrie is the producer of “The Body Merchants: The Shocking Truth about Anatomy Murder”, a documentary which recounts the horrifying true story of the serial killers Burke and Hare, examines the socio-legal problems of Georgian Britain which not only spawned the body trade, but also gave rise to murder… and culminates by exposing the terrible truth that such crimes are not confined to history.

Best Travel Writing – Top 10 Travel Novels

It’s hard to find great travel writing, but it’s out there. Part of the reason for this is that so much travel writing is also considered nature writing or narrative non-fiction. Part of the reason is that the field is so competitive because of a lot of good authors competing for a relatively small market space. But there is a wide array of great travel fiction out there, and here is my list of the best ten travel novels I’ve read over the past couple years.

10) Through Painted Deserts, by Donald Miller. This is one I actually found in the “Christian Non-Fiction” section, which can be unfair. There’s no question Miller is a Christian, but he’s a writer first and foremost, he’s not preachy, and his questioning of his own faith, of reasons for existence, of who and what he is or is becoming is reminiscent of the fantastic soul searching that came from the travel writing of the Beat generation. Miller’s account of his trip is great, going through the moments of beauty, the necessity of good road trip music, and admitting his moments of embarrassment and fear as freely as any other part of his journey.

9) Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald. The early reading of this book can be hard, because after the first few chapters there’s a lot of the Western perspective, the whining of living conditions and poverty, the type of scorn you don’t care to read from travel writing. I’m glad I read the rest, because like “Through Painted Deserts,” “Holy Cow” is about the author’s journey. Sarah evolves and changes chapter to chapter in front of you as she sheds the scornful nature of an atheist “too smart” to fall for superstition, and she opens up, traveling through India and sampling all the different religious beliefs and practices as she becomes a humble Theist who learns happiness, learns to grow, and learns that alien cultures can have a lot to offer the open traveler.

8) Into the Wild by John Krakauer. I first caught sight of this book at a Barnes and Noble on one of the feature tables. I was on winter break from Alaska and visiting family in Iowa. I picked up the book, sat down, and read the entire work in one sitting. Travel book, journalistic book, nature book, adventure book-whatever you call it, this is one heck of a read, and the debate this book causes is deep and passionate. As a wanderlust traveler, I understand the drive the main character feels, as an Alaskan, I understand the native perspective of irritation, of the lack of understanding that nature is brutal and especially Alaska needs to be respected as such.

7) Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town, by Paul Theroux. Paul Theroux is at his best in “Dark Star Safar,” where his skills of observation and his dry wit are on full display. Paul takes readers the length of Africa via overcrowded rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train in a journey that is hard to forget. There are moments of beauty, but there are also many moments of misery and danger. This is a narration of Africa that goes beyond the skin deep to dare to look at the deeper core of what is often referred to as “The Dark Continent.”

6) Blue Highways: A Journey Into America, by William Least Heat-Moon. This is an auto-biographical travel journey taken by Heat-Mean in 1978. After separating from his wife and losing his job, Heat-Moon decided to take an extended road trip around the United States, sticking to “Blue Highways,” a term to refer to small out of the way roads connecting rural America (which were drawn in blue in the old Rand McNally atlases). So Heat-Moon outfits his van, named “Ghost Dancing” and takes off on a 3-month soul-searching tour of the United States. The book chronicles the 13,000 mile journey and the people he meets along the way, as he steers clear of cities and interstates, avoiding fast food and exploring local American culture on a journey that is just as amazing today as when he first took the journey.

5) The Lost Continent, by Bill Bryson. There are tons of fantastic Bill Bryson books out there, and any one of them could hold this spot here. “The Lost Continent” is Bryson’s trip across America, visiting some common places (the grand canyon), but also exploring the back roads and looking for that familiarity that helps him remember home.

4) Wanderlust: Real-Life Tales of Adventures and Romance by Pico Iyer. Probably one of the best travel writing collections released in recent memory, this collection is under the name Pico Iyer, who helped to edit this collection. These stories come from the “Wanderlust” section of and create a varied tapestry of travel writing that will keep the reader flipping from one writer to another.

3) A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. This is one of the all time modern classics in travel literature, as Peter Jenkins recalls the story of his 1973-1975 walk from New York to New Orleans. For many readers, this remains a rare travel book that grips you and keeps you. Known as a travel writer who will walk anywhere, including Alaska and China, Peter Jenkins says, “I started out searching for myself and my country and found both.” That sums up what travel writing should be all about.

2) Travels w/ Charlie by John Steinbeck. This was a novel that helped John Steinbeck win a Nobel Prize in Literature. “Travels with Charlie” is a fantastic travel narrative that gets to the heart of travel, the point of the trip, and the strange confrontation and realization that the places and people you remember are gone once you are. As he revisits the places of his youth that many of his books are based on, he realizes on seeing old friends that they’re as uncomfortable with him being back as he is with being there. A great story about travel, about home, about mourning lost history, about aging, and about America-this should be required reading for every high school student.

1) The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac. The beat generation was full of great travel narratives, and Jack Kerouac was the master of powerful, moving, passionate language that unfolded stories like few people have ever managed. While “On the Road” is the most often pointed to travel narrative by Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums” is a better book. Full of passion, interesting characters and stories, and the kind of passionate language and powerful prose that made the beat generation writers popular, this Kerouac book is extraordinary and deserving of its number one spot.

From the Pipeline – The Jaik Miller Band

The Jaik Miller Band is from Brooklyn, New York. The Band is quite unique and has jammed out with many famous musicians, including members of Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors and Tim Reynolds to just name a few. I was able to catch up with Jaik Miller during his busy schedule and ask a few questions.

The members of the Jaik miller band include JP Bowersock on guitar (also producer of eponymous debut CD), Garth MacAleavey on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Jaik Miller on guitar, vocals, and some glockenspiel, Brian Murphey on the bass, Christopher Markwood Miller on the drums and Max Tucker on drums, percussion, and vocals.

I asked Jaik a popular listener question, when and how the band was formed. Jaik replied, “TRUStY was put together in the spring of 2005 to showcase some of my tunes at NOLA jazz fest. We were essentially a guitar/bass duo with me singing and Michael Ferrero (brother of o.g. bassist Marco) on video projections. We got some awesome gigs and did a sweet recording with Matt Stein. Met max at our first LES show at sidewalk…. Upon scoring a cameo on USA’s “Monk” we met Max’s school chum Garth, moved him to NYC from LA, made the record with JP and *poof*… JMBizzle was born!! Took two seconds.”

I asked Jaik, “Why did you decide on the Jaik Miller band as the Band’s name? Have you changed the band’s name in the past?” Jaik responded, “Har! Jaik Miller Band was the last thing I wanted to call this or any other band I have ever been a part of. The band was originally called ‘TRUSTY’; despite its case sensitive nature the intellectual property ownership was challenged by another (tho defunct) “trusty”, a 1990’s pop punk band from Tennessee, I believe….we then changed our name to “Yama Bandit” but nobody understood what we were saying (mama bendit? Jorma pendant? Shwarma Conduit?) and upon the suggestion of our original bass player’s girlfriend’s buddy who she ran into at the Fillmore, I reluctantly acquiesced to the will of the band and JMB (the name) was born (again).”

I asked Jaik, “What genre of music do you consider your work to be?” He replied, ” I have always been a genre-buster; one of those real pains in the butt in the eyes of the marketing department. The JMB thing is fairly easy to pigeon hole…it’s classic rock. Garth and JP totally jam. It’s like having Slash and Jerry in the same band. Totally fkn rawk! Which is funny to me because I am so punk rock in my heart and SOUL in my loins.”

I asked, “Who are some of your major influences?” Jaik says, “As a songwriter I owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many 20th century tunesmiths… I particularly admire the work of Chris Whitley, Bob Marley, Patti Smith, Suzanne Vega, Husker Du, Garcia/Hunter and John Lennon. My favorite singers include Otis Redding, Donny Hathaway, Marley again (his phrasing…damn!) and i guess Nina Simone. My all time favorite guitar hero is mister Warren Haynes!”

Jaik says the main themes or topics for most of the Bands songs are “Um, lots of songs about angels and aliens. Oh, and girls. and dogs, of course!”

I asked “What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Has the band been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?” Jaik says, ” Hmmm… Okay the obvious thing would probably be doing our best to survive in these trying economic times. But then again; we are living the dream. So there you go!”

I asked Jaik what are the most notable venues he has played in and he relied, “I have performed in many big rooms such as Roseland in NYC and outdoor venues like SPAC and Merriweather Post Pavillion. As JMB I guess the coolest gig we have done thus far was an Obama rally last fall with Crosby/Nash and Bruce Hornsby.”

The songs the band performs most are 4447, California, Another Good Look, Faceless, Social Disease, Lil seed Boogie as well as some covers too!

I asked “How have listeners responded to your debut album?” Jaik says, “So far so awesome. JP absolutely killed it on the production end, bringing that trashy Bowersock to these otherwise pristine tracks. The songs don’t suck and we executed them pretty well. I figure that’s how we keep getting on all those “top albums of the year” lists.”

I asked, “Is anything new in the works for the JMB?” Jaik replied, “We just recorded a new version of The Who’s “join together” for a new company called Planet Muzic which is hellbent on changing the recorded music biz once and for all…and for the better. We starting to work on our next album while planning a major release of our debut for autumn. Personally I am working with a young woman who is one of the sickest talents on the face of this earth. I’m learning new stuff every day.”

Finally I asked Jaik, “Is their anything you would like your fans/ future fans to know?” He said, “When you sing, you remember how to fly. Oh yeah, and this… sparrows eat chicken.”

I Went to a Bachelor Party

Of course I was not the one who was paying for any of this, so it not like I was going to complain about how much money got spent. I mean this was a really over the top bachelor party. I know that a lot of this guy’s friends are rich and apparently a number of them chipped in until they had a lot of money together. They found this Toronto party bus rental place and got three of those things for the night. The first thing that they did was to go from one club to the next, we did a lot of drinking and of course this is the sort of club where they have adult entertainment. I must admit that I was really impressed by the quality of the entertainers. That is not something you could call me an expert in. What is really the point of staring at a girl when that is the only thing that you can do. Continue reading “I Went to a Bachelor Party”

Working As a Wedding Planner

We have been working on this for a week, but of course we have competing pressures from different parts of the family. I was working on something else the other day when I realized that the mother of the bride wanted me to look into the cost of Toronto party bus rentals for the wedding reception. I was not really sure what the reasoning behind that was, but when I talked to her she was talking about the fact that they were going to serve alcohol and that they did not want to have people driving away from the reception drunk. Continue reading “Working As a Wedding Planner”

You Can Go Home Again

When I was in high school I was a total band geek, frizzy hair, braces, the whole nine yards. I definitely was a late bloomer and I sure bloomed in college. I decided that if I ever got the chance to show the people in my home town how much I had changed I would. This silly plan included getting all dolled up and going to a professional stylist and I planned on getting one of those fancy Diamond limo party bus rentals. As the years have gone by though, I care less and less about what people think so I hadn’t planned on doing anything like that any time soon. Continue reading “You Can Go Home Again”

One Hitch in the Preparation

In anticipation of the mad dash of parents trying to make their children’s night a perfect one, I prepared for my daughter’s prom early. I helped her pick out a dress, rent a limo, and even booked a hair salon appointment months in advance. Everything was set, until one thing happened that threw the entire plan out of place. The limo company had been shut down by the government because of illegal business practices. This happened days before the prom, so I scrambled to find a replacement limo, and stumbled upon, where I rented a new limo.

I guess no matter how much you prepare for something, there is still a chance that something can go wrong, so it’s best to have a backup plan. Continue reading “One Hitch in the Preparation”

Ask Your Local Travel Guru: What’s New on the Travel Industry Wire?

As a travel guru for many years now, I have seen the travel industry wire adapt in so many ways. As you already know, we now live in a world with instant and infinite amounts of information, right at our fingertips. Like everything else, the travel industry has adapted, grown and cultivated a new identity with our present day world of information. Until beaches start disappearing and people can be teleported across continents, there will ALWAYS be the want and need to visit our regular and new destinations.

The travel industry plays a substantial role in the global economy. During 2015, the travel industry wire forecasts global GDP to grow by 3.7% and employment by 2.6%. This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the global economy, which is due to grow by 2.9% in 2015. By the end of 2015, the Travel & Tourism sector will contribute US$7,860 billion, 10% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector will account for 284 million jobs, 9.5% of total employment, or one in eleven of all jobs on the planet. By 2025, the global travel & tourism sector is projected to contribute 357 million jobs and generate $11.4 Trillion dollars. Ask your favorite travel guru and he will show you the various components all contributing to these massive amounts. Let’s check out what the travel industry wire says:

Hotel Industry

Among all the sub sectors of the travel & tourism industry, Hotels is one of the biggest fragments. The travel industry wire explains that hotels generated a global of $457 billion dollars in 2014. Your travel guru has most likely coordinated a recent trip within the Intercontinental Hotels Group. The company contributed the highest revenues, earning $22.8 billion dollars. In the United States alone, the total revenue within the hotel industry climbed to $163 billion dollars. The majority of tourists visiting the United States of America (65.1%) choose to stay in a hotel, where the average daily is a healthy $121.30.

Aviation industry

Although the major corporations, leading sector, seem to always changing names and planes, the industry cultivated a whopping $783 billion US dollars in 2014. Your travel guru may have whispered about some of the airlines not performing, but the industry continues to grow at rate of 7.4% every year. The travel industry wire indicates that Europeans, Americans, Chinese & Brazilians combine for the highest market contributors.

Cruise Industry

Cruises have steadily become a popular choice of travel the past few years. These are an easy sell for your local travel guru… The luxurious ocean liners, offering food, fun & music for the entire family have created a loyal gathering that continues to grow. Due to the growth rate of 6.55% every year, Cruise lines have postured their company growth strategies, by building larger capacity ships, ship diversification, more local ports and more destinations. The travel industry wire indicates that the average cruise traveler spends approximately $1728.00 every year, with over 22 million people jumping on the floating palace. The cruise industry contributes about $39.6 billion dollars in 2014, and is poised for a solid 6-7% increase.

Online Travel Market

Any travel guru, coupled with the travel industry wire statistics, will tell you that the online travel industry has EXPLODED over the past 5 years and will only continue to skyrocket. As more and more people use smartphones and as these smartphones continue to develop into personal super computers, the more information we have, the more we want. Online travel revenue reached $340 billion dollars back in 2011, worldwide and 39% consisted of American bookings. Obviously, the deluge of data & information has contributed to the online travel industry, but hotels and hotel broker websites have been the main proponents to this boom. As everything turns to online information, bookings, etc… the travel agencies, travel gurus and everyone associated with the industry has jumped in. Rarely do you see a corporation dependent on the travel & tourism industry, that hasn’t adapted to the online market.