Sunday, August 31, 2014

Education Sector: Some Practical Suggestions For Interior Design

Approaching interior design for the education sector demands a careful approach. Whereas in your own home you can let your taste guide your way and your budget set your limits, buying for a room you will not use presents very different considerations. This article offers a brief look at what you need to consider when buying for interiors in a residential education setting.

Taste
The first casualty of buying interiors that others are to live in is your own taste. When choosing the right look you need to jettison your taste, or at least as much as you can. Consider the age-group of the residents and how much time they will spend in the accommodation. Hotel room design is a good starting point, as although this will be the resident's home for a while it still retains the generic needs of a hotel room, in that the main aim is to be as neutral as possible. You cannot possibly cater to all tastes so it is better to at least offend as few as possible. If you have a child of the same age-group or a member of your wider family that is a student then ask them to take a look at some ideas of fabrics and colours to see what they like, or failing that find out what they really dislike. There are specialist companies that supply both the hotel industry and the education sector and these websites can be not only a good starting point but a cost-effective source for your needs.

Safety
There are strict fire regulations around what is called 'sleeping accommodation' when it is provided as a service. Make sure you have read the current regulations and follow the rules on fire-retardant bedding, curtains and furniture. Again, a reputable company that is set up to supply to the hotel or education sector will have all products clearly marked for their fire-retardant qualities.

Function
The key phrase here is 'hard-wearing'. Children and young adults have rarely ever bought their own bedding or curtains and this means they will not respect its cost or its care. There is no point in putting your faith in rules, except the rule that you should plan for disrespect of the room you provide. Buy products that are hard-wearing and even if the initial cost is higher this will save money in the long-term.

Also, keep in mind that the rooms you will buy for are, in part, for studying. If it is a higher education setting then the room will be a primary location for the student's reading and computer use. Colours, lighting and the placement of furniture should fit the function of a room where reading will be a daily activity. For a private boarding school environment little extras like black-out curtain linings can add something to the design of a room, demonstrating consideration for a child who might struggle to sleep away from home.

Costs
In the current economic times cost consideration is more important than ever. If you are fitting out a number of rooms then of course it is best to buy in bulk from one supplier. The more items you can source from one place the stronger you can negotiate on price. All rooms needn't be the same, though, you can theme rooms by breaking them into three or four groups so that adjoining rooms are differently accented in colours and fabric patterns. Fire retardant fabrics can be expensive when bought from the household name shops, so again look to firms that understand the budget constraints of buying for the education sector.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

UKRAINE vs. RUSSIA: Ball's In Your Court, NATO

Now is time for NATO to put up or shut up. Easy enough to be Big Bad NATO when all you're doing is pushing around dinky little Balkan countries - this is about fighting THE RUSSIAN BEAR and THIS is the reason why NATO was formed in the first place . . . S.L.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

NATO Secretary General statement after the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission:

We have just held an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, following the serious escalation of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The meeting was held at Ukraine’s request.

Despite Moscow’s hollow denials, it is now clear that Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border into eastern and south-eastern Ukraine. This is not an isolated action, but part of a dangerous pattern over many months to destabilise Ukraine as a sovereign nation.

Russian forces are engaged in direct military operations inside Ukraine. Russia continues to supply the separatists with tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and rocket launchers. Russia has fired on Ukraine from both Russian territory and within Ukraine itself. Moreover, Russia continues to maintain thousands of combat-ready troops close to Ukraine’s borders. This is a blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It defies all diplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution.

Today, we expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine. At the Wales Summit next week, we will meet President Poroshenko to make clear NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s continued disregard of its international obligations. We urge Russia to cease its illegal military actions, stop its support to armed separatists, and take immediate and verifiable steps towards de-escalation of this grave crisis.

Looks like it's time to put your money where your mouth is NATO or take your bat and ball and go home . . . money talks and bullshit walks . . .

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Friday, August 29, 2014

WWI in GAZA

After my first tour in the Holy Land in 1983, I acquired a Bible that included maps of the ancient kingdoms all the way back to the time of Moses. The Kingdom of Gaza is depicted in all of them. It was at this time I first came to appreciate that the Beginning of the World occurred in the Middle East, and that the End of the World will take place there . . . S.L.

The Camel Corps in Beersheba

The First World War in Gaza and the Battle for Palestine

The oasis of Gaza — the last outpost before the Sinai desert — has for thousands of years been a strategic objective for conquerors of all kinds. Any Middle Eastern empire had to control Gaza in order to confront Egypt, and any campaign towards the Nile Valley had to be launched westward from Gaza. From Alexander the Great in 332 bc to the Ottomans in 1516, control of Gaza was a prerequisite for confronting Egypt.

‘Muster on the Plain of Esdraelon, preparatory to the attack on the Canal.’

Any power ruling Egypt had to control Gaza in order to break through Palestine and the wider Levant, which is why the Pharaohs, the Ptolemaic dynasty, the Mameluks and even Bonaparte in 1799 sent expeditions from Egypt to conquer Gaza, before marching north along the Mediterranean coast. The strategic road through Gaza was called ‘Horus’s Path’ by the Egyptians, ‘Via Maris’ by the Romans and the ‘Sultan’s Way’ by the Mameluks.

World War One witnessed the last clash between two empires fighting for control of Gaza as part of the struggle for Palestine and the wider Middle East. The Ottomans concluded a secret alliance in August 1914 with Germany. Sultan Mehmed V had the formal status of Caliph, but was by then the creature of the Young Turks, who devised with Berlin a baroque version of ‘jihad made in Germany’: the Caliph would declare jihad against the French, British and Russian ‘infidels’, while German agents would disseminate this declaration in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, hoping to foment trouble in their adversaries’ colonies.

Berlin had nevertheless overestimated the prestige of the Ottoman Caliph among non-Turkish Muslims. ‘Jihad made in Germany’ proved a flop but London was in no mood for further strategic disturbance and imposed a fully-fledged protectorate over Egypt, after thirty-two years of British domination. The Jerusalem-based Jamal Pasha sent an Ottoman army through the Sinai down to the Suez Canal. It was defeated there in February 1915 and withdrew to the relative safety of Gaza, leaving only a few Ottoman outposts in the desert peninsula.

An Ottoman machine gun corps defending the Gaza line during the Second Battle of Gaza, April 1917.

In March 1916 General Archibald Murray assembled an Egyptian expeditionary force that comprised significant Australian and New Zealand contingents. Nine months later, the British conquest of El-Arish completed the restoration of imperial rule over Sinai. A coastal railway was built to provision the Allied troops camping at the gates of Gaza, with water pipes running across the desert from the Canal. But Murray failed miserably in two frontal assaults on Gaza, in March and April 1917, suffering more than 10,000 losses (twice as many as were inflicted on its defenders).

Murray was replaced in June, following the Battle of Arras, by General Edmund Allenby. The new commander linked up with the Arab insurgents who had conquered Aqaba and were harassing Ottoman troops in the Negev desert. (This Bedouin army was led by British advisors, notably T.E. Lawrence a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia - S.L.)

Allenby planned a coordinated assault on Gaza and Beersheba, the main oasis of the Negev. From 27-31 October, Gaza was pounded with artillery and ordinance from battleships and planes. Beersheba fell on 1 November and a week later the British army forced its way into Gaza.

The city was devastated by British bombing, but also by the Ottoman practice of destroying local buildings in order to fortify their defences, and for many years after Gaza remained a depressing and ruined ghost city. Allenby entered Gaza on 9 November, the same day the British Foreign Office announced the ‘Balfour Declaration’ endorsed a week earlier: ‘His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment of a national home in Palestine for the Jewish people’. One battle for Palestine was over in Gaza, another was about to begin.

Gaza in ruins after the Third Battle, 1917. (Library of Congress)

Jean-Pierre Filiu is Professor of Middle East Studies at Sciences Po in Paris and the author of Gaza: A History.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Buying Art For Your Home

It often seems to me that we view works of art in a particularly unique and individual manner. You may look at a particular piece and really love it, but a friend or family member may take a real dislike to the same composition. This is, in a way, part of what makes art so fascinating.

It might also be said, however, that it does throw up a few problems. I think that one of these can be seen when you are choosing items for your own home. This can certainly be a difficult task, partly because you will usually have multiple aims in mind.

On the one hand, you'll undoubtedly be looking to select something that you like and that you believe that you will enjoy for some time to come. You certainly don't want to decorate your own home with an item that you really don't like!

But it's also easy to see how some people stumble into the issue of making really poor decisions in this area. This comes about due to thoughts about pleasing others. Instead of thinking about our own wishes, it becomes fairly easy to start considering others.

Although this may be seen as being a healthy approach to life, it's also not without its difficulties. What happens if you see a painting, for example, that you really love? Is it enough to buy it and to ensure that it is placed in a suitable position within your own home?

What happens if you have a fear of the fact that visitors to your home may not think that you have made a suitable selection? I think that there are a number of issues that are raised here. One of them is that it's always difficult to second-guess the reactions of others.

In a sense, this recalls a point that I made at the very outset of this article. If we all have different reactions to artworks, then how can you possibly predict how other individuals will react? But this is not the only issue that is to be considered.

You also need to realise that it will be impossible to please everyone who sees an individual piece. In fact, it's worth remembering that plenty of people won't like the item that you select. When it comes to art, this is very much the reality of the situation.

So where does this leave you? My own feeling here is that you should make decisions that are based on your own views. This does, at least, ensure that things are kept nice and simple.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

COLONEL MAGGIE

Martha Raye was a true friend to Special Forces . . . We Love Her . . .

Lt. Colonel Martha "Maggie" Raye

Martha Raye (August 27, 1916 – October 19, 1994) was an American comic actress and singer who performed in movies, and later on television. She was honored in 1969 with an Academy Award as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient for her volunteer efforts and services to the troops.

Beyond being an entertainer who went to the camps that no other entertainers went to, Martha Raye was also a trained nurse who interrupted her shows to render medical aid to the wounded. She would go to any Fire Base anywhere in Vietnam and visit the troops and bring bear no fear always supported the teams.

Why Did The Guys Love Her?

Martha Raye did USO tours where some celebrities refused to go out of fear in Vietnam . . . and who could blame them, right? Well Martha Raye won the hearts and souls of the Green Berets while she was there, later in life the Governor of California made her an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the California National Guard, in honor of her service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. After Vietnam, when the American public had turned their backs on the Veterans, Colonel Maggie had a standing invitation to any Green Berets to stop by her home in L.A. and she would fix coffee and just chat for a while. During those dark days, this personal touch meant so much to so many.

WHAT A GREAT AMERICAN WOMAN SHE WAS

Here's one example from the foggy recesses of an old trooper's memory banks: Colonel Maggie was visiting the A and B camps of D Co in the Delta and the S-4 Air Ops was assigned to be her escort officer. She had visited Cai Cai A-431 and moved on to RON somewhere else. They were hit that night. When she heard the news the next day, she ORDERED her slick to go back to Cai Cai so she could see if they needed her. She was a qualified nurse. The escort radioed back for instructions and IIRC, the CO (Colonel Bob Hassinger) said HE wasn't going to countermand Maggie and he didn't think it would be a good idea for anyone else to try either. She ALWAYS put the men first.

A Brother Remembers:She was scheduled to visit our Team in Vietnam. Two things: we had to have a bottle of Vodka dedicated just for her and magic markers handy. If she wanted to write on the walls, to let her.

When Colonel Maggie died, she was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Bragg, in accordance with her wishes. The Green Berets lined up to be her honorary pall bearers. Guys placed so many Special Forces coins in her coffin that they had a hard time lifting it up at her wake.

Colonel Maggie - picture taken at VungTau, Viet Nam in 1967 around January or February.

Politically, Raye was conservative affirming her political views by informing an interviewer, "I am a Republican because I believe in the constitution, strength in national defense, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility as the concrete foundation for American government. They reinforce the resolve that the United States is the greatest country in the world and we can all be eternally grateful to our founding fathers for the beautiful legacy they left us today."

When Col. Maggie died, I was working at SERE (Evasion/Survival) and Richmond Nail told us all kinds of crazy stories about her visits out to the firebases in Vietnam, and how she loved to drink and play cards with the troops. All the Nam-era vets taught us to respect Col Maggie for the way she supported SF during, and especially after the war. There is a shrine to Colonel Maggie at the Special Forces Museum at Fort Bragg; a replica of the living room of her home in Bel Air, where she entertained so many returned soldiers, seeking their way after their return from Vietnam.

Colonel Maggie is a Hero of Special Forces.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Monday, August 25, 2014

Choosing A Shower For Your Bathroom

As the New Year approaches, many of you will be thinking about remodeling your bathroom. If you’re tired of your dated unappealing bathroom design then a complete refurbishment may be just what the doctor ordered. The shower is the focal point of any bathroom, and so adding a new one can add a real wow factor. Let us take a look at the best showers out there for you and your home.

One popular option for a bathroom shower is the corner enclosure. These showers are curved and contemporary and are the epitome of modern bathroom fashion. Choose clear glass and chrome handles that compliment the enclosure perfectly. You’ll love washing away the stresses of the day in this stylish enclosure Another positive to this option is that it will also appeal to potential buyers who are looking for a spot of contemporary style. This is an important consideration should you wish to sell your home at some point in the future.

A quadrant steam enclosure can be a more interesting option. If you’re after a little luxury from your new bathroom then a steam enclosure can be an ideal choice. These attractive cubicles are not only great for showering but they also provide a high quality steam system enabling you to enjoy a sauna in the comfort of your own bathroom! Saunas provide great health benefits and can help you to unwind and relax tired muscles at the end of a long day. A sauna in you home is another buzz factor that could sell a home.

If you need to make the most of the space available in your bathroom then a storage enclosure may be the right choice for you. Storage shower enclosures look great but their main selling point is their storage shelving units which are built into the enclosures themselves. You can easily store your shower gels, shampoos and other bits and pieces as well as your towel which will all accessible from inside the enclosure. This is a great option if your bathroom is small in size as it will limit the amount of clutter within the room and remove the need for chunky storage units. This will create much needed space within the room.

Any of these shower options for your bathroom would make great additions to your quality of life and would also help in maintaining or increasing the price of your property.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Qualifying Customers - The Key to Successful Sales For Your Service Business

Some people are natural salespeople, while others have to work at it. No matter which category you fall under, there is an abundance of material written to improve your skills in sales and selling. In addition to reading this article, a person new to selling should read other sales materials and attend sales training and seminars. The more you learn, the better a sales person you will become.

As previously noted in my previous article on Marketing Your Handyman Business, a typical sales process for a home improvement business requires the following steps.

  • Marketing
  • Qualifying
  • Selling
  • Getting Hired!

Through your marketing efforts, you are attracting people with a home repair or home improvement need. Then through qualifying, you are ensuring that your prospective customer has the money and the motivation to hire you to get his or her project done.

Qualifying means to ensure that someone will make a good customer. Not everyone who contacts you will make a good customer, so it is best to assess the prospective customer's 'qualities' before deeming them appropriate to do business with your company. Qualifying is very important, as you only have so much time and energy for selling. You want to be sure that you are selling to the most appropriate individuals. The Operations section of this guide has a discussion on "What jobs to avoid" that will further help you to qualify prospective customers.

Much of the work of selling is learning about your customers, understanding their needs, and determining whether or not they are qualified to buy what you are selling. This last step is crucial. If they are not qualified, then it doesn't matter if you can sell your services, as they do not have the ability to buy them. Each business will need to define for itself what a qualified customer means. An example of a simple approach is that a prospective customer will qualify if he has a need, a budget and a realistic time frame to get the project completed.

Simply needing or wanting a home repair or improvement is not enough. Many prospects want things they can't afford, or have unrealistic budgets. In order to determine if the customer can afford your services, make sure that he has set a budget sufficient to accomplish the proposed project.

Customers also need to have a realistic time frame for when they want the project done. A prospect who can't tell you when he wants the project completed isn't serious about starting it in the first place.

Asking open-ended questions, those that require more than a one word or yes/no reply, will help in the process of eliciting the information you need. A closed-ended question is one that typically has a one-word response. For example: Do you like this shade of green? --The likely response is either yes or no.

Try asking questions such as the ones outlined below

  • What is your end goal for this project?
  • What would you like your (bathroom, kitchen, basement, deck, bedroom... ) to look like when it is complete?
  • Have you seen other examples that you like? You may have seen something in a magazine or in a friend or neighbor's home that you like.

Here are sample questions to help you determine if your prospect has a sufficient budget:

  • What is you budget range for this project?
  • What (colors, brand, model, style, etc.) have you selected for this part of the project?
  • Are you planning on paying for this project all at once, or will you be financing it?

These sample questions can help you determine the prospect's time frame and readiness to start project:

  • Can I see your paint color samples?
  • What ideas do you really like?
  • How soon do you want this project completed?
  • What (colors, brand, model, style, etc.) have you selected for this part of the project?

The responses to these questions will give you a better understanding of your prospect's wants and needs, and the information to qualify your prospective customers.

HORSE SOLDIERS of 9/11 - BERGDAHL TIE-IN

War reporter Alex Quade reveals the story behind the US Army Special Forces' capture of one of the Taliban-5:


Alex Quade persuaded the elite Operators to go on the record, assess the high risk detainee's exchange for POW, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and whether the released Taliban leader will attack U.S. interests again. One highly decorated Green Beret who originally helped capture him is now leading US counter-terrorism figure who worked behind the scenes on the recent exchange. His former Special Forces “Horse Soldiers” teammates share details with Alex, not heard elsewhere. Quade’s exclusive reveals the Taliban leader’s connection to convicted "American Taliban" Johnny Walker Lindh, and CIA Agent Mike Spann, the first American killed in action in the war in Afghanistan. You’ll also learn of the released Taliban leader’s ties to notorious former warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum – currently a vice presidential candidate in Afghanistan. Read the full story at www.alexquade.com


Alex Quade Sends:

Hope you have a moment to watch and share my new video on the story behind the Special Operations Forces’ original capture of one of the Taliban-5, recently exchanged for POW Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl. (On my website: http://www.alexquade.com). *Those of you who’ve followed the “Horse Soldiers” will be interested in this latest chapter of their story. I truly appreciate it, thank you! - Alex


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WAR STORY

They say the only difference between a War Story and a Fairy Tale is a Fairy Tale begins with 'Once Upon A Time', and a War Story begins with 'There We Were, No Shit . . .'

This happened early in the 00's - I was back at Bragg for some TDY deal . . . S.L.


It was lunchtime and I had a hankering for some Taco Bell so that's were we ended up, on Yadkin Road. I'm in line waiting for my turn at the counter, when suddenly this young blonde ponytail girlie soldier in front of me with a MEDDAC patch on her shoulder turns and points to my Combat Diver badge on my BDUs.


"Excuse me Sergeant, WHAT'S THAT???"

I've been waiting for an opportunity like this for over ten years. I couldn't resist.

"Space Shuttle Door Gunner."

"REALLY ? ? ?"

She took the hook, now I had to play the line.

"Uh, yeah. It was a program they introduced back during the Reagan Administration. Part of his Star Wars Initiative, the thing that ended up bankrupting the Soviet Union. The operation was codenamed BRILLIANT PEBBLES. You've probably heard of it, it's since been declassified."

Young Blonde Ponytail Girlie was looking at me like a goldfish, mouth wide open. I knew I had her totally hooked, so it was time to reel her in.

"They never deployed us, but we completed the training, to include backseat rides in the SR-71 - that's astronaut qualified right there - so a limited number of us were awarded the badge and orders."


Poor girl was transfixed. I had her totally under the spell. The Special Force mystique - there's nothing like it, our version of Jedi Mind Tricks.

I was spouting 100% pure unadulterated Bullshit. But I'm not a Bullshitter, I simply couldn't keep up the Bullshit. I finally said, "Do you believe me?"

Young Blonde Ponytail Girlie went red right up to the hairline.

Hell, all I ever did was THIS:


I often wonder how far I would have made it with her if I'd kept up the charade. She was really cute.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Advantages Of Hiring An Interior Designer In London

We are all individuals but, when it comes to the home, we often have very similar desires. And hiring an interior designer in London can help us achieve it.

When we think of our living space, we want our surroundings to be pleasing to our tastes, practical to our needs and interesting to those who visit. It doesn't matter whether you love chintz or have a passion for minimalism, a home that is in line with our favourite trends and evocative to our senses is something that everyone desires.

However, when it comes down to it, not everyone is capable of taking the canvas of a space and turning it into our dream home. Whether it is a lack of inspiration, time or knowledge, interior design can be a challenge to the layman.

This is where the advantages of hiring an interior designer come into play. Rather than struggle with the limited resources at your fingertips, you can select an expert at a competitive rate who will transform the space you like into a home that you will love for many years to come.

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a professional designer is the time involved in getting the job right.

If you are juggling a job with family and friends, along with other obligations like exercising and maintaining personal financial records, time is at a premium. Decorating tends to come in snatched bursts when you've managed to drop the kids off with Gran for a few hours and run the Saturday DIY-shop gauntlet. This can make the task stretch out for weeks, if not months; by which time the look you were aiming for is lost and you settle for simply getting the job done.

However, hiring a dedicated professional interior designer removes much of this stress. Coming up with ideas, sourcing materials and arranging for the practical tasks to be done can all be taken care of by your interior designer – leaving more time for you to get on with everyday life and look forward to relaxing in your new surroundings.

When it comes to actually generating designs, layouts and themes, most people can instantly identify that they like a particular style, but wouldn’t have a clue of how to create it for themselves.

Imagination and inspiration are as essential to home design as it is to fashion and art. Similarly, if you don't know about the latest techniques in paint or applique, or are dazed when asked the difference between voile and chiffon, you may well end up sticking to staid decorating combinations that soon look dull and dated.

Hiring an interior designer will allow you to embrace a brand new style – or see a trend you've always loved with a twist that is suited to your individual tastes.

Professional knowledge of the industry is not just beneficial when it comes to thinking up new ideas for the home – it is essential when it comes to keeping the overall costs of interior design down.

While hiring a dedicated designer may seem to some like an extravagance, it can often end up being a money-saving exercise. Those who work in the industry every day know the best contractors and cheapest suppliers who will be reliable, fair and provide excellent value for money.

An interior designer is not a costly extravagance – they are an investment in value for money that your home will greatly benefit from.

So if you're thinking about renovating your property or even just breathing new life into a bathroom or bedroom, think about calling in a professional to make the very most of what you've got.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

NAZARENE

This is an Arabic letter which is being painted on Christians' homes in Mosel, Iraq . . .


. . . to identify them as Christians. They have been given the ultimatum to leave, pay a heavy tax, convert, or die by the sword. I wish any good Muslims left on Earth would stand up to this. We need to show the world that this is not Islam. We need to show them that SILENCE IS A SIGN OF ACCEPTANCE. Let's all stand up the way people stood up when race was an issue in our country. Oddly enough, this Arabic letter is the letter N, which begins to spell the word Nazarene (Christian).

STORMBRINGER SENDS



Friday, August 15, 2014

Look Around Your Property During Your Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Project

Give your home a much-needed improvement project that saves you money today and increases your home's value tomorrow. One of the best ways to raise your property's value is to do some energy efficiency home improvement projects.

A home improvement project is best done when you keep an eye out for future property value and the way it will be affected by the project. While you can find advice telling your differently, it is prudent and wise to at least consider the way your projects today will increase your property's value. When you start to consider the future price tag you will likely educate yourself more and choose the best material.

Making your home more energy efficient is future thinking and a positive for property values. You will be saving money each month on energy bills as well as increasing the overall value to your property. Here are some tips when focusing your next home improvement project on cutting energy costs.

1. Look up. Heat escapes through the roof during the winter when you are trying to warm the home. Installation is often sub-par and can easily be improved without costing a ton of money. When the home is built you may not have the best insulation installed, opting instead to spend you money elsewhere. Now is the time to give it an upgrade. Start by improving the installation, but don't stop there. You can also consider roofing your home again, replacing the old shingles for new ones. Over time they can become worn out and can contribute to high costs for your energy bills.

2. Look around. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, also known as the HVAC system, is all around you. The vents and air ducts all around the home comprise a large and somewhat complex system of air movement that is used to warm or cool your home to make it comfortable to live in. By replacing or repairing your HVAC system, you will save an average of 20% on each energy bill. You can get in touch with your nearest home improvement store for advice in this area, as it is a complex and relatively difficult project to complete. You will likely need to hire contractors out to work on your HVAC system.

3. Look outside. By planting bushes and trees around your home, you are quickly and easily increasing the natural insulation your home experiences. It will keep your home cooler during those hot summers and help keep warmth in during the winter. It also benefits the environment. Saving energy helps the environment on its own, as you are using less fossil fuels and doing your part to protect natural resources. By adding trees and plants, you are again helping the environment by increasing the presence of oxygen-producing organisms and making the yard more aesthetically pleasing.

Remember that cutting energy costs is not only beneficial to each and every monthly energy bill in the near future. Cutting energy costs through home improvement projects will also increase your home's market value that could benefit you years down the road.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BANDWIDTH ISSUES



Please forgive me loyal readers . . . juggling too many chainsaws and some domestic issues . . . its August and everybody else gets to take a vacation - I never get a vacation. I can't say its a slow news cycle; there's all too much going on in the news and I'm a part of the story. Too busy working 12 hour days - still serving God & country - when I get a breathe of fresh air I'll hit it again and keep y'all informed. In the meantime if you're not following @sean_linnane on Twitter you're simply missing half the story . . . give me a week to get my head straight . . . Love ya, mean it . . . S.L.

Home Building Coach - Ten Reasons You Should Hire a Home Building Coach For Your Remodel Or New Home

Stop ... before you go too far with your home improvement plans. Use caution before you build. To have the best success, you need a professional on your side who is working for you. You need an experienced home building coach.

You're probably familiar with the concept of a buyers agent when it comes to purchasing a home. It's even more important to have this type of representation when you plan to build or remodel. The stakes are just as high or higher. You want what you want in your home. You want to control your costs. You want to understand the process and know how to solve problems. Most of all, you want a great experience!

Here are the Dream Home Creation "Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Building Coach"

1) Getting to the Starting Gate:
One of the most difficult challenges for most people who want to build or remodel themselves is knowing how to start and whom to trust. A good home building coach can be the key to launching your project. They give you confidence and procedures that propel you forward.

2) Financing Resources and Qualification:
While financing options change all the time, having an industry professional guide you can be a solution through the maze. As this article is written, the financial industry is in the process of change. Watch for future articles and visit Dream Home Creation and other websites for updates. Whatever solutions are forthcoming, a quality home building coach can advise you.

3) Building Professional Resources:
This advantage alone is worth hiring a coach. Throughout the entire process of building, you'll need the services of countless professionals in coordinating labor, buying materials, designing solutions, and arranging deliveries and a whole host of other things. Your coach is your best source to access the best people and companies.

4) Preparing Home Plans & Blueprints:
Naturally, when you want to create your dream home there will be floor plans and blueprints. You can use architects, residential designers, interior designers, floor plan books, online sources and many other professionals. It is my experience that having a coach can help you fine tune your search as well as pick the best professionals to help you get exactly what you want in your home.

5) Budgeting and Costing out Project:
Before any project is started, and before any financing can be secured, you'll have to accurately cost out your project. Building from scratch or doing a remodel, costing out a project is very involved and a professional coach should be able to do this with you. People find this to be a huge relief.

6) Submitting Plans to Authorities:
Many have complained that they don't know the requirements for submitting plans to their local building departments. It is a complicated process for sure. Between your coach, the architect and the information the authorities will help you with, you'll be in good shape. The coach will be a real stress reducer and time saver.

7) Ongoing Management of Project:
Not only is the coach going to give you a process to get started but she or he will have the entire project scoped out and presented in a manageable format. Then, as the project moves forward, you'll be able to manage all the processes easily using a process management system each day. Your success depends on a good process management system.

8) Trouble Shooting:
Every single project is subjected to problems, challenges, and situations that need special attention by someone whose "been there, done that". As an owner builder, this is the kind of help you'll rely on. Troubles can be minimized. Troubles can be avoided!

9) Keeping You On Time and On Budget:
This needs little explanation. Keeping on time and budget speaks for itself. The knowledge and foresight of a good coach will keep you on the straight and narrow.

10) Saving Money:
If you avoid making one major mistake by using a coach you have saved money! Mistakes can be hugely expensive. More than most realize. Lost time, lost money, and aggravation mount up fast when things go wrong. So, the use of a coach is not a cost at all.

I have other articles that will give you more information. Keep up your research to help you make the most of your building project!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Home Improvement Projects on a Budget

Do you want to make some home repairs on your home but just do not know where you should start because money is so tight? Well do not worry because you are not the only one there are others out there that are in the same tight spot. There are ways however that you can make home improvement projects without a huge budget.

Most generally the cost of home improvement is placed into two different categories. The first category has to do with the cost that is involved that comes with having to hire professionals to help you with your home remodeling costs. The other category involves the money that is involved with all the supplies and tools that you are going to need to complete the project. In knowing this the key to keeping your home improvements within budget would be to find ways to save money in each of these categories.

When you are looking at ways that you can reduce the cost of hiring a professional you need to think about what types of home improvement projects that you feel that you can handle on your own. If you feel that you can do the project on your own but you are lacking a few simple skills than ask a friend or family member to help. There are also a wide variety of books and DVD's that will be able to walk you through a wide range of home improvement ideas. This will be a great way that you can keep your home improvement costs to a bare minimum.

Although you may not realize it you can even cut corners on the building materials and tools category as well. One of the best ways that you can do this is through comparison shop. Check with a couple of different home improvement stores in your area and see which one will be able to offer you more for less. You can also achieve this through searching through the internet. When you choose to go this route you will have the ability to compare a number of different building sites at once to see which one is offering the best deals. Also a lot of online material warehouses will offer you discounts if you purchase a certain amount or they even may offer free shipping which can become a huge savings for you.

Another great way that you can save money is to scale down your plans a bit. Instead of an elaborate home remodeling project, go instead for the mid range project idea. With just a little creative though you will be well on your way to a great home improvement project and you didn't even have to blow your budget.

Friday, August 8, 2014

IRAQ UPDATE


This a.m. the Pentagon confirmed that two F-18 fighters dropped 500lb laser guided bombs on an ISIS mobile artillery battery firing at Erbil. US Army Special Forces operators from 3rd and 5th Special Forces are on the ground in Iraq - they must have been the laser designators. Stay safe brothers.

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GUNS OF AUGUST

First World War Centenary: Lamps to go out across Britain to Commemorate Dead.

A century after Foreign Secretary Edward Grey ominously observed on the eve of the First World War that “the lamps are going out all over Europe” homes, offices and public buildings in Britain and around the globe will dim the lights in memory of the start of the conflict.

Read about it HERE

Final moments: The Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand with his wife Sophie in Sarajevo minutes before their assassination at the hands of Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip.


Arresting Princip’s fellow conspirator Nedeljko Cabrinovic after a failed attempt to kill the Archduke on the same day.

I have stood on that very same spot and looked at the bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated - S.L.



Crowds in central London cheer Britain’s declaration of war on Germany



The innocents: New recruits, with bicycles, training with the British Army in 1914.



1914: A lone soldier with a bicycle stands amid the remains of a German motor convoy which lines a country lane after an attack by French field guns in the battle of the Aisne in France



German infantry advance through Belgium in August 1914


Civilians near the Austrian lines in Serbia are strung up – probably as a reprisal for guerrilla resistance to the invaders.


Captured soldiers of the Russian 2nd Army after their defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg.


Wounded and exhausted British and Belgian soldiers retreating after the Battle of Mons.


Things started to get ugly, early - S.L.



Supporting troops of the 1st Australian Division walking on a duckboard track near Hooge, in the Ypres Sector




Early indications that this thing wasn't exactly going to be a walk in the park . . .

STORMBRINGER SENDS

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How Should You Arrange a Perfect Home Improvement Project?

Spending money for home improvement project is not only a matter of buying materials, drawing the design and then hiring a contractor to make everything runs perfectly. You should understand that there is something more essential than such thing. Improving your home will let you to play with your creativity and explore your idea, thus you can make the home as a representation of style, preference and personality.

Definitely, budget is another important thing to think about. Spending money to bring the best design will make you see that your expense is a really worthy investment. In fact, people determine budget by using two methods. First, they make a list about the areas they want to improve and finally calculate the amount of money they should have spent. The second alternative is to determine the amount of money they have and make a list about the things they can do with such amount of money. Which one do you like best? Doing the project should be done carefully, thus you should make sure that you would have arranged the best preparation.

If you want to have the great home improvement project but only have limited budget, try to get the loan. It is always important to learn more about terms and policies before deciding the best creditor you would work with. Some requirements will be asked by the creditor and you should fulfill them to get the approval for your loan proposal. If you are not really sure about your decision, it is great to ask your friends or family members who have ever taken the loan to support their project.

The new design is the center point of the project. You should not sacrifice the health and environmental aspects. The design should be well-considered. What should you think properly? The electrical system, ventilation and the temperature inside your house are the essential matters. Try to give the great concern toward the basic aspects as the priority, and then you can talk about secondary things such as the style, color and some other things.

If you hire someone to do the entire project, make sure to tell him or her about the project you wish to do. You can also consult with them about the best design which is suitable with your home condition. He or she will calculate everything and let you know about it. The great combination of your idea and the right calculation on everything will bring the great final result for your project.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ON GAZA

I have friends in Israel. I have worked there, and I have been to Gaza. Here are a few words about sharing and attribution and truth on Gaza - written by a close friend whom I've known since the Seventies - S.L.

I have lived in Israel since 1989, loathe our settlement expansion policy, support a two-state solution, and have despaired over the situation in Gaza.

Articles, op/eds, and now videos that I share here are eyewitness accounts by respected journalists who have been or an in Gaza now. They have been my friends and colleagues for more than 20 years - men and women that I know and trust.

Hamas Threatening Journalists in Gaza who Expose Abuse of Civilians

Reporters are bullied, have equipment confiscated, barred from sensitive sites… but they don’t report it. ‘They’re too scared,’ says Israeli official, lamenting capitulation to harassment

Regarding Hamas and their own Shifa hospital: "Shifa has indeed “become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices,” the Washington Post reported on July 15. The Wall Street Journal‘s Middle East correspondent, Nick Casey, wrote on Twitter that Hamas uses Shifa “as a safe place to see media” but removed the post afterwards.

Yesterday my daughter went to a funeral for a friend from her class, a boy she's known since 7th grade. He and two other kids were killed when they entered a booby-trapped UNWRA clinic to destroy a tunnel leading from the clinic to a massive network underground. I am including just two videos that show tunnels, one from a mosque, and another in the bathroom of a private home. There are dozens of videos like these showing tunnels that lead from schools and living rooms, mosques and clinics--just as there are still dozens more tunnels. All of them were constructed at a staggering cost with aid from abroad--not to mention building materials provided by Israel, earmarked for the construction of homes, schools, clinics, etc. This has been documented time and again.


While operating in Gaza against Hamas, IDF soldiers found a mosque that contained many weapons. Furthermore, two tunnel openings were found in the bottom floor, which was also the prayer area.

The Gaza Strip is a beautiful stretch along the Mediterranean coast, with enormous potential for growth and self-sufficiency. This has NEVER, EVER been a goal of Hamas, despite the billions of dollars in aid that it collects each year from Israel and many countries around the world. Ordinary Gazans see none of this aid - most live in abject poverty, while Hamas commanders live in and operate from the comparative luxury of their private compounds. That is when, of course they are not hiding out underground, or in Qatar.

Most Israelis are SICKENED by the death of innocent civilians in Gaza. Our conflict, and the struggle to do what is right is played out every day in Israeli media and on the street.

The decimation of Gaza is not and never has been Israel's goal. We do believe that education and prosperity offer the ONLY hope for the people of Gaza.

Rockets Found in a UNRWA School for a Third Time


Palestinians at an UNRWA school after fleeing their homes following an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 18, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Today another ceasefire has been announced, and I just want to quote--or paraphrase, really, Khaled Mashaal's speech from two weeks ago, in which he said "any ceasefire is temporary . . . it will last until we have completed more tunnels, amassed more missiles, and can attack again to kill and drive out the occupiers . . ."

The first paragraph of Hamas' charter - which you can find just about anywhere if you look for it - calls for the destruction of Israel. Hamas has refused to renounce this objective. It must remain in the charter, says Mashaal, "for internal reasons".

Israel DOES not occupy the Gaza Strip, or the West Bank. Mashaal and Hamas - want Israelis, Jews, OUT OF ISRAEL.

Ceasefire or not - I, we, are not going anywhere.

- From K.K. in Tel Aviv