Historical Places in Florida – History and Culture in the Sunshine State

Most tourists seem to gravitate towards the crowded, expensive theme parks or the teeming hot beaches, but if you're looking to get off the beaten path when traveling to Florida, history and some of the more cultural offerings of the Sunshine State should be considered . From northern Florida with the Southern hospitality of the Panhandle to the exciting cultural influences at the bottom tip of the state, a vacation in Florida offers endless possibilities of unusual places to visit.

Each coast, in fact, from the Atlantic to the Pacific with the Gulf Coast included, exudes history relating not only to America, but globally as well. From the Keys to Tallahassee, the importance of the dynamic story of Florida and the history of the state is immediately evident and the locals hope to share its countless cultural assets with you.

Where to Go and What to Do During Your Vacation in Florida:

Tropical Treasures in the Keys

Key West, slightly off the coast of Florida and connected by a bridge, is a continuously sunny destination that has entranced everyone from President Harry Truman and Tennessee Williams to Ernest Hemingway and the US Navy. The famed author Hemingway, after a vacation to Florida, subsequently decided to live in Key West, and his home has now been turned into a museum with the descendants of his polydactyl cat still roaming the grounds.

With the close proximity of the ocean, the locals and tourists alike enjoy activities that incorporate the blue water of the sea, including ship salvaging and diving for ancient sunken treasures. Many US presidents, including Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt, bolstered local lore and Florida history by calling Key West home in the winter months at the Southernmost House Grand Hotel and Museum.

Early Industrialists in Fort Myers

Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford decided to call Fort Myers home in the winter months after taking a vacation to Florida. Edison's home, called "Seminole Lodge," has been accurately renovated to reflect the time period in which it was built and resided in, and includes one of the first modern swimming pools in Florida history and his laboratory much as he would have had it, remaining a fine example of one of the best historical places in Florida.

Located adjacent to Edison's graciously designed house is "The Mangoes," Henry Ford's recently refurbished winter home. After a vacation to Florida, Ford decided that Fort Myers would be better than the Michigan cold. A garage full of restored antique Ford automobiles rounds out the serene atmosphere. Both historical homes have lush gardens along the Caloosahatchee River.

The Contrasts of Palm Beach

From industrial influences to charming gardens, Palm Beach is a sun-lit city of contrasts. Henry Flagler linked the cities of Florida after realizing that a sophisticated system of transportation could help revitalize the state and bring more tourists to vacation in Florida. Starting in the late 1880s, Flagler began purchasing railroads, combining the routes, and installing more tracks up and down the coastlines and eventually well in between. The Henry Flagler Museum, located in his grand winter home called "Whitehall," heralds his accomplishments and his idea of ​​bringing the first vacationers to the state for profit, a first in Florida history.

Located outside of the city limits in Delray Beach, the sweeping and serene Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens brings Japan to the coast of Florida. Exhibits include galleries highlighting ancient and modern Japanese art and culture, tea ceremonies, festival celebrations, tasting events, and special displays in the gardens. While on your vacation in Florida, the Morikami is a must see.

Family Fun in Sunny Sarasota

Sarasota is another hotbed of historical places in Florida. The city has a detailed cultural history complete with Native American and Spanish influences. Historic Spanish Point, highlighting 5,000 years of Florida history, features prehistoric Indian mounds, living history performances, archaeological tours, a butterfly garden, and pioneer-era buildings. Cruises in historically inspired vessels sail Sarasota Bay for an entertaining finale to your vacation in Florida.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling Museum of the American Circus are centered on the home of the museum's namesakes who designed their sprawling mansion to mimic European architecture, a fine example of one of the more elaborate historical places in Florida. Ca d'Zan, completed in 1926, saw the biggest and most expensive parties of the early 20th century in Sarasota. The art museum, from the Ringling's collection, displays both old and new American, European, and Asian works of art. The circus museum, which was opened to the public in 1948 and has since become a popular stop during a vacation to Florida, has a large collection of handbills, posters, costumes, and props from the early days of the circus. Also on the grounds is a miniature circus constructed by Howard Tibbals, who was integral to designing the tiny circus set that is now a part of Florida history.

Military Origins in Pensacola

Home of the Blue Angels, Pensacola, a must see on a vacation to Florida, is proud to be the home of naval aviation. More than 150 restored aircraft from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are displayed at the National Museum of Naval Aviation where visitors can experience the flight simulator or learn more about naval aviation in Florida history and the rest of world in the Memorial Theater. In addition, the museum features an IMAX screen, a tour of the restoration hangar, cockpit trainers, and Blue Angels events on select days.

Located nearby is historic Fort Pickens, which was constructed in 1834 and used well into the 1940s. The Fort, significant in Florida history, had been influential during the Civil War, and in the mid-1880s, the famous Apache warrior, Geronimo, was incarcerated at the Fort, where he became a sideshow for the tourists on vacation in Florida. A Visitor Center showcases memorabilia, art, and books enhancing the history of the Fort.

The Panhandle's Gorgeous Gulf

Surprisingly, Apalachicola, the secluded, charming town on the Gulf Coast that is mired in Florida history, offers many options of things to see and do. The Camp Gordon Johnston Museum provides a glimpse into the life of World War II soldiers and their intensive training. Opened in 1942, the camp, a permanent reminder of the military's impact on Florida history, trained America's amphibious soldiers before they left for war, and remnants of the training grounds and camp still survive. Exhibits include photographs, articles, and knickknacks from the camp's heyday.

In the town's center, the historic old district features over 900 buildings, constructed as far back as the early 1800s, that are listed on the National Register. Walking tours allow visitors to explore each location in depth and include an old cotton warehouse, three parks, and rows of live oak trees and magnolias. A Visitors Center provides maps, ideas, and directions for experiencing Apalachicola's historic downtown while on your vacation in Florida.

History from Coast to Coast

When on a vacation in Florida, the Sunshine State offers much more than just beautiful beaches and warm weather. From coast to coast, Florida and the history of its people and culture still influence its society and lifestyle. You shouldn't be worried about the endless choices on where to go or what to do – if you're looking for history of any kind, Florida has it!

SC Gamecocks Start the 2012 Football Season With a Top 10 Ranking

The University of South Carolina has started their 2012 football season with a Top 10 ranking. The Gamecocks are coming off a record 11 win season in 2011. Ranked # 9 in preseason polls, the Gamecocks kicked off the season with a win on the road over Southeastern Conference rival Vanderbilt. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore scored two touchdowns and rushed for 110 yards to lead the Gamecocks to a 17-13 win over the Commodores in Nashville. This was the 13th straight year that South Carolina has won its season opener.

The Gamecocks will host East Carolina in their home opener on September 8. This will be the first of three games played at home in Columbia. East Carolina, a non-conference opponent, is coming off a decisive 35-13 victory over Appalachian State in their season opener. South Carolina will play another non-conference game on September 15 against the University of Alabama Birmingham. The Gamecocks are also at home on September 22 in their first conference match up against Missouri. The Tigers are one of two new SEC member schools for 2012. This game coincides with Parents Weekend.

Week 5 of the season will find the Gamecocks playing Kentucky on September 29 in Lexington. The Wildcats are another SEC rival. South Carolina will face the # 7 ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Columbia on October 6. The Gamecocks edged out Georgia 45-42 last season in one of only two regular season losses for the Bulldogs. Weeks 7 and 8 will be tough SEC away games for South Carolina. The Gamecocks are scheduled to play LSU on October 13 and Florida on October 20. Preseason polls have ranked LSU at # 3 and Florida at # 24. South Carolina will host conference rival Tennessee on October 27. The Gamecocks rolled over the Vols 14-3 last year. South Carolina is idle on November 3.

Homecoming is scheduled for November 10 against Arkansas. The annual Homecoming Parade will be held on Friday, November 9 at 3pm. Other Homecoming events will include spirit activities and alumni reunions. The last home game will be November 17 versus Wofford College. The last regular season match up is scheduled for November 24 at Clemson.

Williams-Brice Stadium, which seats more than 80,000 fans, is located at 1125 George Rogers Blvd. The Gamecocks new parking facility, located at 1001 Bluff Rd., Will be available for 2012 games. Overflow and visitor parking is available in the Capital City Stadium Parking Lot at 301 S. Assembly St. Single game ticket prices range from $ 30 for the Wofford game to $ 70 for the Georgia game.

Atlanta Falcons Football

The Atlanta Falcon's 2010 season is off to an exciting start. Third year Atlanta quarter back Matt Ryan has led the team to impressive wins in two of their first three games. Atlanta's defeat of the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints last weekend has given Falcon fans plenty to cheer about.

Although the Falcons lost their first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime, their next two games have been big wins. The Falcons outplayed the Arizona Cardinals in their 41-7 win on September 19. Last Sunday's 27-24 upset of New Orleans was accomplished with a Matt Bryant field goal in overtime. This was an impressive win on the road in the Superdome. The Falcons' next game will be against the San Francisco 49ers at home in the Georgia Dome.

The Atlanta Falcons joined the National Football League in 1966 as an expansion team. The Falcons played their first season at the brand new Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. After several dismal early seasons, the team had their first winning season in 1971. After several more disappointing seasons, the Falcons finally earned a spot in the playoffs in 1978. They made the playoffs again in 1980, finishing the regular season with a 12- 4 record, their best up to that point. The team struggled through more disappointing seasons for the next decade and a half, before finally having a breakout season in 1998. That year they won the NFC Championship for the first time in franchise history, advancing to the Super Bowl. They suffered a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII. In December 2001 Arthur Blank, the co-founder of Home Depot, purchased the franchise. In 2008 and 2009 the Falcons finally achieved the first back to back winning seasons in franchise history.

Mike Smith is in his third season as the Falcons head coach. His strong coaching background includes eleven years in the NFL. He spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Before his years in the NFL, Smith spent twelve years coaching college football at Tennessee Tech.

The Falcons have played their home games in the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta since 1992. The Dome has a seating capacity of over 71,000. Exciting new pregame activities this season are designed to encourage fans to arrive early and enjoy their game day experience. The Falcons have seven remaining home games this season.

Package Cruise Tours – Know the Positives and Negatives

Other related costs like food, drinks and entertainment increase the vacation package cost. Tourists who are interested in going for a cruise vacation need not have to get perturbed about the costs.

Under the cruise tour package, the tour operator takes care of your food, drinks and other entertainment costs. It is imperative that you do your research and then take a call whether you want to opt for a complete cruise package. Once you have done a detailed study, it becomes simpler and easier and you would be able to check for yourself the positives and negatives associated with this package thing.

The greatest positive of the complete cruise package is that all your requirements are catered to. Many of the all inclusive packages cover the basics. Lovers of drinks can have a real good time and feasting on cruise food without having to pay anything extra. You are also permitted free entry to video galleries and theaters.

It really sounds amazing that you can have unlimited food, drinks and entertainment. But many cruise packages do have these schemes. Not many of the cruise tour operators offer free alcohol drinks. You might have to pay from your pocket for drinks. It is important that you read the fine prints thoroughly so that there is no confusion, once you board the cruise.

Your food at the cruise hotel may not be charged under the cruise package but you might have to pay for the nibbles and munchies. Small meals when bought on board need to be paid. Hence, you could have a large meal which is obviously going to be covered under the cruise package and avoid going in for smaller meals or snacks. This would reduce your extra expenditure on food.

Another very important positive of a cruise tour is that they are perfect for families. They offer extensive children activities and entertainment which are thoroughly supervised. This gives parents the opportunity to enjoy their trip without having to bother about hiring a childcare. Tour trips also make the children happy by offering a variety of delicacy through their children menu.

It is important to note that many cruise shops do not necessarily cover entertainment related costs. There are restrictions put on entertainment. You may not necessarily have to pay for the dance floor or pub, but if you want to try out casino games, then you need to loosen your purse strings.

Jamison Bedding Review: Sleep On It Before You Choose

Based in Franklin, Tennessee, Jamison Bedding offers one of the most comprehensive mattress collections in the world. With a range of mattress types and numerous collections Jamison can meet all your needs, whether you prefer a soft fluffy mattress or a hard orthopedic base to sleep on. You will travel a long way to find somebody who was dissatisfied with a mattress manufactured by this firm.

Jamison Bedding: Product Range

Here is a small selection of the types of mattress that give Jamison Bedding its deserved high reputation:

Connell Coil Spring Mattress Type

A coil spring offers strength and rigidity, and the more steel used in the coil the stronger the spring. Jamison bedding coils contain 15% – 20% more steel in their spring than its competitors. This leads to longer life, less spring noise and more stability while sleeping.

By encasing the coil spring base in top grade recycled foam, and including a number of comfort layers including visco memory foam, and a high quality fabric cover, Jamison uses the Connell spring system in their Arbor collection. It is also used in the single-sided Equalizer mattress, designed for minimum partner disruption, and in the Vita Pedic collection which includes a two-sided mattress designed to relieve pain, improve comfort and manage moisture.

JGel ™ Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam conforms to your sleeping shape for maximum comfort. A problem with most such foams is that they do not enable a good flow of air, and tend to become warm which causes sleep disturbance and night sweating. It is never pleasant to wake in the middle of the night covered in sweat, particularly when it's cold.

For these reasons, the JGel ™ foam mattress developed by Jamison Bedding is used exclusively by the firm, and is combined with its novel ventilating and cooling system in the Gelcomfort range to offer a firm bed with 300% more active air flow. This mattress keeps you cool while reducing painful pressure points, a combination that gives you a great night's sleep on a soft, medium or hard mattress type.

Jamison Smart Coils

Smart coils are specifically designed to neutralize movement from your partner in both single and double-sided mattresses. The coils are connected in the mattress with alternating right and left turning springs, so that movement of one spring is neutralized by the opposite movement of the other.

This enables you to share the bed with a partner without you moving around as they do. With an ordinary mattress, you would be disturbed with each movement made by your partner. This spring system is available in the Jamison Bedding Equalizer and Vita Pedic ranges.

Inner Springs and Pocketed Springs

The springs described above are known as inner springs, where each spring is joined to its neighbors so that when one moves its neighbors will also move. The Cornell coil and Smart coils are this type of spring, although Jamison has reduced the movement to a minimum – in the first case by strengthening the springs, and in the second by alternating the coiling.

A second type of spring is the pocketed spring, where each spring is fixed in its own fabric pocket. In this way, the springs move independently since they are not attached to each other, and movement is restricted to an absolute minimum. Jamison includes the pocketed spring in its Crest collection – the firm's flagship collection.

General Comments

This company focuses on mattresses that are offered in a range of collections utilizing various types of foam and coil springs. Included in the collection are those above, plus a hypoallergenic Talalay latex mattress suitable for allergy sufferers. The mattresses are well made, and each is very comfortable to lie on.

Each mattress collection is constructed using a combination of comfort layers on a spring or foam support system. For example, the Crest collection consists of a pocketed spring support encased in foam, with layers of comfort foam including Talalay latex and visco memory foam layers. This offers the ultimate in movement isolation between partners. The Equalizer collection consists of a single-sided support system of foam-encased Smart coils covered by comfort layers of convoluted foam in a range of softness grades.

Bedding Review: Conclusion

Jamison Bedding offers an excellent range of mattresses, some based on unique spring systems and comfort layers. They offer excellent value for money, and tend to be less expensive than comparable mattresses. This is largely because they do not have to spend a great deal on advertising: their Marriott hotel contract is a great advert itself.

One thing noticed when compiling this Jamison Bedding review is that the firm uses the same materials as other manufacturers, but of a higher quality. It also pays specific attention to the mattress sides by strengthening them up. The high quality covering fabrics are also a definite plus. Visit a Marriott hotel and you can sleep on it before you choose!

Elvis Presley – The King Of Rock And Roll

Elvis Presley was a poor Southern boy who became the king of rock and roll, a Hollywood movie star, and a cultural icon of the 20th century, adored by fans the world over. From humble beginnings, his story is the ultimate fulfillment of the American dream, of rags to riches.

There were so many special things about Elvis. He was only one of a kind. His good looks, charisma and irresistible Southern charm captivated the hearts of millions worldwide, his name, image and versatile voice made him instantly recognizable and, his singing, movies, television appearances and record-breaking live concert performances brought a lot of happiness and endeared him to so many the world over. He was also, a great American who served his country in the US Army and a devout Christian. The legacy that he created in the 1950's lives on and will be remembered throughout the ages because the magic that was, and is, Elvis will shine bright forever.

Known the world over by his first name or simply, the king, he became a symbol for the young generation and created a whole new social revolution. He went on to capture the hearts and minds of young and old around the world and had an immeasurable effect on music, language, fashion and attitudes. From him, a whole generation took its lifestyle. And, underneath the superstar image and worldwide adulation, there was a real human being who was devoted to his mother and, who had God in his heart.

Elvis' unique sound and style made him a success in many different kinds of music genres such as rock and roll, country, gospel, rhythm and blues and ballads. He is the best-selling artist in the history of popular music having sold over 1.3 billion records worldwide, more than any other musical artist or group in the world. And, 1.5 billion people worldwide watched him in his Aloha from Hawaii special in 1973. His home, Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee is one of the most visited homes today attracting over 600,000 visitors annually and is the most famous home in America after the White House . In 1991, Graceland was placed on the National Register Of Historical Places.

No other entertainer has inspired so much tribute and adulation. Why are there so many Elvis impersonators around the world today? (about 78,000 worldwide) This is a testament to Elvis' immense influence and iconic status. Also, in 1993, the US Postal Service issued an Elvis Presley commemorative postage stamp. It is the most widely publicized stamp issue in the history of the US Postal Service and, is the top-selling commemorative postage stamp of all time. And, he is the only entertainer to have been inducted into three separate music Halls of Fame-the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

The Early Years
Elvis was born on January, 8, 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression, into a poor but, close-knit, working class family, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was one of twins. His brother, Jesse Garon Presley was stillborn. For Vernon and Gladys, their only son was the center of their lives. During his childhood he sang in church with his parents and raised to have strong faith in God. The beautiful, gospel music of his childhood became an important influence on him as did the country and blues of America's Deep South in which he was raised. It was the combination of these different styles that was to provide his unique musical identity.

On his eleventh birthday, young Elvis was given a guitar, as a gift by his parents. In 1948, Elvis and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee in search of a better life and, at sixteen, he cultivated a new image by combing his hair back and growing sideburns. He graduated from Humes High School in 1953.

His entry into the music business began in 1953 when he paid to record a demo of the song My Happiness, as a gift for his mother. The studio manager, Marion Keisker, noted Elvis' unusual vocal style and informed Sun Record's owner, Sam Phillips of his potential. Sam got Elvis together with country guitarist, Scotty Moore and bass player, Bill Black and he began his career as one of the first performers of rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues.

In 1954, Elvis recorded his debut disc "That's All Right" at Sun Records which becomes a local hit and, in 1955, Colonel Tom Parker became his manager. In 1956 Elvis cuts his first album, "Elvis Presley" for new label RCA and it becomes a number 1 smash as did his first hit record Heartbreak Hotel in the same year. Also in 1956, the singer's first movie, Love Me Tender, is released in cinemas across the United States.The rest is history. He became an international sensation and rose to become the world's greatest rock and roll superstar and a legend. Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu in 1967 and their daughter, Lisa Marie was born in 1968. Elvis is, and always will be the king. There has never been anyone like him and never will be.

Terrific Work From Home Jobs

Undoubtedly, anyone with an email account has received Work From Home! Make A Fortune! ads touting what are almost certainly scams. Pay us and we'll tell you how to make zillions at home stuffing envelopes. Never happen … Does that mean, though, there are no real, legitimate work from home? Of course not. As a matter of fact, many, many home-based jobs exist with more being added every day.

The reason is simple. Our modern computers, even our smartphones, are immensely powerful machines which can do almost everything done by machines in an office. Many home offices are also equipped with fax machines, becoming every day more obsolete, as well as all-in-one printers which will copy, scan, fax and whistle Yankee Doodle. These machines, once the province of costly office setups, are now cheap and abundant. Equipped with these tools and maybe a camera or a flip camcorder, also cheap cheap, the average homebody is ready to find home employment.

Here are a few likely scenarios. How about a customer service rep? You may have noticed that customer service reps today seem to have no geographic relationship to the home office. Some I've queried are in Halifx, Cork, Bangalore, Tennessee, Manila and points in between. What do you need to get going in this gig? How about a computer, an email account, a telephone or possibly two phones, including a landline, a headset and a comfortable chair. Oh, yes, and a good command of English. It's this latter that is sending companies back home to the USA due to popular demand.

The pay for these jobs isn't great at about $ 9 per hour with, of course, no benefits, but that's at least grocery money. How do you get such a job? Some potential employers, such as hotel chains, airlines or internet businesses might hire direct. Other positions are available from virtual call center operators.

Did you know that attorneys and law firms are constantly looking for virtual potential jurors? This is not your civic duty, but rather a dry-run group for attorneys. How would someone in your demographic view this type of case or this defendant? That's what they want to know before the trial, and they are willing to pay their make-believe jurors for their time. Again, pay is not great, but every few bucks counts, right? Check out online jury companies, such as EJury or OnlineJury. Qualifications are the same as for a regular juror-no felons, please.

Maybe you had an office job, know the Microsoft Office suite like the palm of your hand, but got laid off or injured or whatever. Have you ever thought about becoming a virtual assistant? You offer your services or pick a job from employer postings. The job could be as simple as making a spreadsheet look more presentable to helping an author put together a book. Or, it might be cold calling, lead checking, or any of a number of other tasks. Today, many entrepreneurs use virtual assistants; some use nothing but. Think of entrepreneurs with heavy paperwork such as real estate agents, investors, internet marketers or any of a variety of others. If you have special qualifications, such as paralegal, accounting or medical, then you are golden.

Since you are your own employer as a virtual assistant, you set the fees or accept the fee offered. This is your opportunity to start your own online business offering your services to others. Just remember that as in customer service rep jobs, competition comes not only from North America but from other countries where English is spoken. Today that includes India and the Philippines. Again, many employers prefer native English-speakers who are culturally similar to themselves and will pay a premium for their services.

Where do you find such jobs? Google-virtual assistant. It may take awhile to attract a following, but impress even one steady employer and you can guarantee yourself quite a bit of extra income.

These are just a few of the many legitimate job opportunities for those who prefer to work at home. Of course, it's still work. Wearing jammies and drinking coffee may be, though, a far easier way to make a few dollars than "dressing for success" and trying to beat the traffic on a long commute.

Heading For College? Watch Out For Bed Bugs!

Early morning classes, difficult professors, interminable lectures, endless reading lists, yucky dorm food – college students may moan and groan, but somehow they manage to cope with most of the aggravations of college life. But bed bugs? Sharing a dorm room with these tiny nocturnal vampires can push even the most laid-back college student to his limits.

Bed bugs are making a comeback in America and college campuses are not immune from attack. In the past year outbreaks have occurred at university and college campuses in Ohio, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, California, Michigan and Tennessee. And those are just the schools that have made the national news. Many schools try to keep news of a bed bug infestation hush hush. It’s not exactly a good selling point for incoming students.

Bed bug infestations have increased dramatically over the past five years so it’s not unusual for college campuses with their highly mobile populations to be affected. Bed bug reports by pest control companies increased by 71% between 2000 and 2005, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). In a national survey of pest control companies, University of Kentucky entomologist Michael Potter, a noted bed bug expert, found, “A whopping 91% of respondents reported their organizations had encountered bed bug infestations in the past two years. Only 37% said they encountered bed bugs more than five years ago.”

Bed bugs have been reported in all 50 states, primarily in homes, apartments, hotels and motels. However, 2% of the infestations reported in the past year have been in college dormitories. “The last 12 months have been particularly active,” Cindy Mannes, NPMA director of public affairs, noted last spring. “They are showing up like never before in hotels, hospitals, college dormitories, and multi-family housing units, as well as single-family homes.”

An age-old scourge, bed bugs, like lice and fleas, were common bedfellows before World War II. The development of DDT-based pesticides after the war allowed America to stamp out these nuisance pests; however, bed bugs are still common in many parts of the world. The banning of DDT in the early 1970s, coupled with increased worldwide travel and the rise of pesticide-resistant bugs, has caused a resurgence of bed bugs worldwide.

While they don’t transmit disease, bed bugs can traumatize their victims. About the size of an apple seed, bed bugs have flattened oval, wingless bodies that are light to reddish-brown in color. Feeding on human blood for three to 10 minutes at a time, the nocturnal pests carry a psychological punch out of proportion to their size. “They come in the dark; they feed on you; they scurry away when you turn the light on,” said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California-Davis. Not all victims react to bed bugs, but their bites can leave itchy, red welts. Victims can become nervous and jumpy, constantly feeling phantom bites and crawling skin. “I have people who call me in tears,” said entomologist Richard Pollack of Harvard University. “They’re in hysterics.”

Bed bugs are especially difficult to control in multi-unit buildings like dormitories. The tiny insects multiply rapidly; females typically laying 500 eggs during their six- to 12-month lifespan. A few bed bugs can lead to a major infestation in just a short time. Not attracted to filth or food, bed bugs hitch a ride into a building on luggage, clothing, bedding, boxes or used or rental furniture. They spread easily on students’ clothing and belongings, in reconditioned mattresses purchased by some colleges, and through building air ducts, electrical and plumbing conduits, elevator shafts and wall voids. If a bed bug infestation is found in a room, it is likely that adjacent rooms and rooms on the floors above and below will also be infected.

Atlanta filmmaker Kyle Tekiela was shocked by the response when he posted a bed bug film noir on YouTube. “Students from all over the country sent me videos of their dorm rooms,” Tekiela said. “This one guy did a 360 where the ceiling meets the walls and there was a three-inch band of bed bugs all the way around.”

Tough to kill, bed bugs have a hard cuticle for protection and can live for more than a year without feeding. They hide in tiny cracks and crevices near their victims’ beds. Household insecticides won’t kill bed bugs and can actually cause them to spread. An increasing number of bed bugs have been found to be resistant to commonly used professional insecticides. Experts are turning to new methods of extermination including Cryonite which kills bed bugs and their eggs by quick freezing. Bed bug-proof encasements that keep bed bugs from infesting mattresses are also in demand.

Bed bug signs to look for when you move into your dorm room:

Check the mattress, particularly seams and welts, for live bugs and dark fecal or blood stains.

Look for fecal smears or pea-sized pearly egg deposits on walls behind furniture, along baseboards, around electrical plates and vents, and in plaster cracks.

Look for whitish nymph molts and old exoskeletons along baseboards.

If you get bed bugs, what to do when you go home:

Don’t unpack in the bedroom. Take clothing and linens directly from the suitcase to the washer.

Jump in the shower and put clothing in the washer.

Wash clothes in hot water and dry at hottest setting.

Seal unwashable items in plastic bags and heat to 120 degrees for 2 hours or freeze at 20 to 30 degrees for 2 weeks.

Vacuum suitcases and backpacks and store away from bedroom. Double bag the vacuum bag in plastic and immediately dispose of in an outdoor trash receptacle.

Check sheets daily for signs of bed bugs and call in a pest control expert if you see any.

Famous Killers – Prominent Murderers of the 1800s

Throughout history, murderers have always seemed to rivet the attention of the public. Hapless victims, their calculated killers, and all the gruesome details of the crime seem to fascinate most people, and the trials are oftentimes sensational events that attract the masses. Killers committing their heinous crimes during the 19th century were no different than the ones of today, but a few of these criminals stand out in history.

Champ Ferguson – The story of Champ Ferguson is set in the mountains of Tennessee during the height of the American Civil War. For reasons not completely clear, Ferguson became a staunch supporter of the Rebel cause; some say Union soldiers raped his wife and daughter, while others say that the Confederacy promised him clemency on an existing murder charge if he promised his support. Whatever his reasons were, Ferguson became one of the most notorious and feared guerrillas in Tennessee, and also one of the most prolific killers of Union soldiers and supporters in the area. Noted for his sadistic tendencies when he found a new victim, Ferguson is estimated to have killed over 100 people, though he was only tried for the murders of 53. Ferguson was arrested and tried for murder in May of 1865, creating something of a spectacle for a public eager to see him sentenced to death. Though Ferguson freely admitted to committing the many murders, he maintained that his acts were part of military activities and he only killed those who would have killed him. Ferguson was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to hang on October 20, 1865. His death closed the chapter of one of the South’s most notorious guerrilla fighters, feared by some and revered by others.

H. H. Holmes – Known by many as America’s first documented serial killer, H. H. Holmes is responsible for the deaths of as many as 100 people, though he confessed to only 27 of those murders. Born in New Hampshire in 1860 under the name Herman Webster Mudgett, Holmes is best known for the time he spent in Chicago during the World’s Fair in 1893. After graduating from medical school in Michigan, Holmes moved to Chicago to practice pharmacy. Dispensing medicine, however, was not high on his priority list, and instead he became involved in a number of shady business deals swindling people out of their money. In 1893, construction began on The Castle, which would serve as his home/office, a hotel for visitors to the fair, and ultimately, his killing grounds. The building was three stories high, covered an entire city block, and had a floorplan that would confound even the most experienced architect. The third floor was a sort of labyrinth, with windowless rooms, doors opening to nowhere, stairs leading to nowhere, and many more oddities. This was where Holmes committed his murders, torturing his victims and sending their bodies down secret passageways to the basement where they were either burned or dissected and sold to medical schools. When the World’s Fair concluded, Holmes left Chicago looking for more opportunities to increase his wealth and his victim count. When he was caught in an insurance fraud scheme with his associate Benjamin Pitezel, who he had killed along with three of Pitezel’s children, Holmes was tracked and finally arrested in Boston. After his arrest, The Castle was searched and authorities began uncovering evidence of some of the most gruesome crimes ever committed. After a trial lasting only five days, Holmes was convicted of murder and sentenced to the gallows on May 7, 1896. The story of H. H. Holmes is perhaps one of the most disturbing, yet fascinating, ventures into the mind of a killer.

Octavius Barron – While Octavius Barron didn’t earn quite as much notoriety as the two killers above, he is notable because at the young age of 18, he was responsible for the first murder in the city of Rochester, New York. William Lyman was a respected man in the city, with a successful job and growing family. On the night of October 20, 1837, he left his office to return home to his wife and four children. He never made it. As Lyman walked toward his house, he was shot in the back of the head at point blank range, robbed of several hundred dollars, and left dead in an alley. Hearing the shot, a young boy living in a house nearby alerted his father, who then called police. While authorities were busy collecting evidence at the crime scene, Barron was at the local tavern waving Lyman’s money around and boasting of the murder to his friends. It didn’t take long for this cavalier attitude to come to an end, however, as Barron was arrested just hours after pulling the trigger. The case against him was strong, and as he was already known around town as being a habitual gambler and drinker, the young man was easily convicted of the murder. Octavius Barron hung for his crime on June 7, 1838, and with his death justice was served. But the tale doesn’t stop here; though William Lyman’s life had ended, his story continued.

You can learn more about Octavius Barron, William Lyman, and the surprising details of these men’s fates in the documentary “Visions: True Stories of the Supernatural” by Ad-Hoc Productions. Go to http://www.ad-hoc-productions.com/trailers.html for more information.

Enjoy the Wilderness at the Smokies With Secluded Smoky Mountain Cabins

The Smokies-the Great Smoky Mountains mountain range spanning Tennessee and North Carolina is a wonder of nature. Home to 187,000 acres of old growth forest, the range is one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America. It is also home to the densest black bear population and the most diverse salamander population in the Eastern United States.

If you plan to truly enjoy and experience the wilderness and nature the way it was intended to be, a few nights stay in a secluded Smoky Mountain cabin is the way to go. Do not let the word “secluded” scare you though, these cabins are safe, completely monitored, and (some) come full with amenities. These cabins are businesses and the people behind them are professionals-they will not let anyone in harm’s way.

The seclusion experience comes right after you and your family have settled in the cabin. You will be left alone in a quiet and peaceful spot amidst the trees, maybe atop a hill, with a nice view of part of the mountain range. At night, nothing will remind you of the busy and cluttered metropolis life you left behind, and the only sounds you will hear are those of nature’s most amazing creatures.

Forget about being closely-monitored as it will not get in the way of your serene atmosphere. It is only there for emergencies or if you need something. It is part of what you pay for; it is a service that is mostly there for your peace of mind.

The cabins offered these days come in many different styles, sizes, and prices. There are those that can accommodate even the biggest of families, while the others are more-suited for honeymooners and backpackers. Renting a cabin has also now been made easy because of online booking.

When in the Smokies, be sure to arrange for visits to the other tourist destinations and attractions like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park offers fun attractions and activities such as hiking and fishing. The Smokies is also home to the legendary Smokey Mountain Knife Works -the world’s largest knife store and museum, and, more recently, to Tennessee’s largest water park resort, so you might want to plan for those as well.

The Smokies is a great place to be in-it is a fun experience for families both big and small, for honeymooners, and even for backpackers. Make sure you allot enough time for a trip because you would not want to miss the numerous attractions due to time constraints. And after a tiring day from all the fun sights and activities, nothing beats retiring the day in a secluded mountain cabin.