Are Air Miles And Hotel Reward Schemes Worth The Lack Of Sleep?

There are many pros to frequent travelling, such as the great benefits to be gained from membership of the numerous frequent flier and hotel reward schemes which soon mount up if you are always on the move. But, an intriguing article recently appeared in the New York Times that points out the real disadvantage of being a member of the frequent traveler’s club, namely lack of sleep on long-haul commercial flights.The NY Times has found that, after poor customer service, the biggest complaint coming from frequent travelers is that they can’t catch enough sleep while they are flying. In fact it is becoming such a problem that travelers are resorting to extreme action to get a few hours of shut-eye. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines are becoming very popular, thanks mainly to the fact they are now a third smaller than they were a few years ago and therefore easier to carry onboard. The machine works by pumping air through a mask, keeping the user’s airways open while they sleep, preventing sleep apnea and other similar ailments.Other frequent travelers resort to alcohol in an attempt to bring on sleep. According to the N Y Times one un-named passenger on an 18-hour flight to Asia said: “I watched two movies, ate three meals, got drunk twice, slept for five hours and I still wasn’t there! Plus, when I did arrive I had a hangover.” Indeed, it is that hangover element, combined with the fact that alcohol-induced sleep is not fulfilling, that prompts sleep expert Greg Belenky, director of the University of Washington’s Sleep & Performance research center to dismiss it. He instead suggests that other drugs such as prescription sleep tablets or natural remedies such as melatonin supplements should be used to get a good rest.However, taking a prescription sleeping drug that lasts seven hours on a five hour flight could prove a problem, so should only be used for long haul flights. It is generally acknowledged that sleeping in a vertical position causes the body to produce adrenalin-type compounds in order to keep the blood supply flowing and they prevent fitful sleep, so bagging an upgrade to flat-beds in business or first class is the best solution for frequent travelers; but that is an expensive option that many bosses will not sanction.So, while frequent travelers may have trouble sleeping while they fly, they should be able to catch up using one of their numerous free night’s accommodation acquired through their hotel reward scheme memberships; either that, or beg their boss for an upgrade to business or first class while they fly!

Payday Loans – Rip Off Or Godsend?

Payday loans have been around ever since there were people with money to loan and people who wanted to borrow money.  Sometimes they were called loan sharks, sometimes pawn brokers and today they are called payday loan stores. 
Paycheck loans are unsecured, short term, and typically are not greater than $1500 and usually much less.  The payday loan is designed to tide a person over when their money runs out before their paycheck arrives.  Consequently these loans are for 7 to 14 days.
If an unexpected bill hits before payday, people with good credit simply put it on their credit card.  If you don’t have credit, or you have bad credit, and you don’t have the cash, how is that bill paid?  If it wasn’t for payday loans, that bill wouldn’t be paid.  If the loans are providing a valuable service, why then do some people call them a rip off?
When a person is charged over 500% APR for a loan, many people will call it a rip off.  Consumer advocates say the rates charged are usurious and unsupported.  The industry says it needs the rates to cover the 25% default rate and the cost of running businesses in depressed areas.  As a practical matter, a payday loan can cost $30 for every $100 borrowed.  Couple this high rate with the fact that most of the payday loan locations are in poor neighborhoods, and it would appear that they are predatory lenders.
How do payday loan companies get away with such high interest rates?  Who would agree to those kinds of terms?  83% of the payday shops are located within 1/4 mile of distressed communities.  Compare that to 51% of credit unions and only 34% of banks.  Payday loans can charge that kind of interest because nobody else is serving that community. 
The poor in this country are sometimes referred to as the unbanked.  That is to say the banking industry does little to provide them with the same services as they do wealthier consumers.
Conventional banks are not competing for this lucrative lending market, yet.  The loan amounts are too small and the turn around is too short.  Also payday loan companies have made applying and approval exceptionally easy compared to a bank application and approval process.  With a payday loan the applicant simply has to verify his ID, have a checking account, and have proof of employment.  Applications are usually approved same day and the funds are wired to the applicant’s bank the next day.
Payday loan customers don’t see the loans as a rip off.  Firstly, where else can a person with bad credit get a loan to cover emergency needs?  Secondly, payday loan customers don’t view the loans as an everyday resource but one that they will only use rarely.  It’s like buying a $4 cup of coffee in an airport knowing you can get it for $1.50 at McDonalds but you’re trapped in the airport.  You want the coffee so you buy it.  Paying $60 two weeks from now in order to get $200 today so you can pay the utility bill is just the cost of doing business.
With unemployment nearly at 10%, payday loans are now tapping into a new market via the internet.  Scores of payday loan companies are now reaching the formerly good credit customers who now find that there credit has taken a dive and are unable to obtain conventional lending.  Online loans work the same way as the shop loans and are fast, convenient and offer the financial support that is not available otherwise.
If you find yourself in this “new” market category and you are considering using a payday loan make sure you do your research.  Interest rates between companies will probably not be different because they will charge the most allowed by your state law.  The place to look for differences is in service fees and features.  Read the terms and conditions carefully and fully understand the consequences of not paying the loan back on time.  Make sure you can afford the loan.

The Intricacies of Planting a Rock Garden

With most kinds of gardening or landscaping, the gardener may exercise a rather wide range of choices when it comes to treatment; he may make his planting formal, informal, natural, highly decorative, or more picturesque.With a rock garden however, formal treatment is precluded. Neither the materials used in the construction of the rock garden nor the plants which will occupy it, lend themselves to any formal arrangement. Straight lines, regular angles or curves, the trimmed plants, statuary, fountains, and all that sort of thing are so foreign to the whole conception of the rock garden that any attempt to introduce them would appear ludicrous. A rock garden is the most natural kind of garden there is, chiefly designed to be constructed with materials that are already present. A lot of fuss is just not appropriate or necessary.One may, however, choose between a naturalistic treatment and what may be termed “the Japanese style,” the chief difference being that in the Japanese style an effort is made to reproduce a miniature landscape. This requires an excellent sense of proportion and a knowledge and use of a wide variety of plant material. The satisfactory execution of a Japanese rock garden is much more difficult than that of a rock garden which will appear satisfactorily natural looking. Unless the services of a landscape architect are available, it is better to try the simpler form first.It will become apparent that in planning a rock garden even a simple one, that the gardener will be presented with the choice of a number of different types. It is a sensible route to take to plan what type of rock garden that is desired beforehand so that time, resources, and materials are not wasted.The first step in success with rock gardening, as with other types of gardening, is to have a definite objective before starting. It is not practical to plan a rock garden in every little detail before one begins the construction; but a fairly definite idea as to what is to be attempted there should be.One of the most critical elements that should be taken into consideration in determining the type of rock garden to be made is space available:A rock garden may be built on a few square yards of ground, or cover a considerable area. The expense is not, necessarily, in direct proportion to the size, particularly if there are natural features that can be taken advantage of. On a small place, however, the size of the rock garden should not be out of proportion to the other elements of planting. Where outcropping ledges or rocks flourish, it is sometimes possible to convert the whole place into a naturalistic garden. Where this may be done it is economical as well as one of the most attractive of all methods of treatment.The character of location is another critical element that should be considered prior to beginning. Where the rock garden must be built artificially, “from the ground up,” it should not be made too conspicuous. Small rock gardens, fairly well done themselves, but planted squarely in the middle of the front-lawn area and look even more out of place than the old-fashioned geometrical flower bed which has, happily, pretty much become obsolete.For a small rock garden a corner of the grounds, preferably flanked by evergreens or by a thicket of shrubs and providing some seclusion as well as protection and shade usually offers the best opportunity. A conservatively placed patio water fall never hurts either.Time available for taking care of the rock garden is another consideration. If its construction is simple, and the plants in it are such that they will largely care for themselves, the rock garden will require very little time. A more elaborate scheme and the inclusion of varieties which easily perish or must be protected from more rampant growers, require just as much care as any other kind of a garden.The most important thing, however, is to plant a rock garden which will please you. Before starting your own rock garden you should by all means make the effort to visit several rock gardens so as to see firsthand for yourself the results which are possible. Observe elaborate gardens, complete with garden fountains and outdoor water features, as well as more basic gardens.A number of the leading parks now have excellent rock gardens. Some of the nurseries specializing in rock plants have been wise enough to create small gardens on their own premises illustrating in a practical way what the possibilities can be. Various garden magazines, from time to time, also illustrate great examples of rock gardening.