J.P. Donleavy’s ‘Fairy Tale’ Lights Up St. Patrick’s Day

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I remember once reading a blurb for J.P. Donleavy’s 1955 novel The Ginger Man—the author’s first—that commended it by saying this was the book that your boozy sister would love.

This made me wonder if your abstemious sister would also dig it. That novel told the tale of Sebastian Dangerfield, a rakehell of an American ex-pat up to various forms of lascivious and licentious gamboling in Dublin, which made a certain amount of congruous autobiographical sense. Donleavy was born in Brooklyn and went to school at Trinity College. The novel, which will split your nerves and tendons from where they are supposed to be fastened, is hilarious. And, like any good comic novel, it’s also deeply sobering. Guts of life and all that jazz.

Donleavy gets lumped in strange categories. He doesn’t get comfortably lumped in with the Irish stalwarts like Joyce, Beckett, Yeats, and attempts to place him with the Kitchen Sink realists of the late ’50s and early ’60s always feels forced. There are not a lot of picaresque realists, but there aren’t a lot of better novels for St. Patrick’s Day than Donleavy’s 1973 effort, A Fairy Tale of New York. It is the book of his that is better than The Ginger Man, a shillelagh to the head that both gives your soul a buzz worthy of a holiday of day drinking, and knocks it sober in fierce epiphany the next morning.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Tel Aviv sets up LED lights to combat ‘smartphone zombies’

TEL AVIV, Israel — Tel Aviv has taken a small step toward protecting the lives of “smartphone zombies.” The municipality has installed special LED sidewalk lights at a busy crosswalk to alert distracted pedestrians staring at their phones when they can walk and when they should stop. Tomer Dror, head of the traffic management division…
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Concert Review: Kacey Musgraves, America’s Next Superstar, Lights Up New York’s Beacon Theatre

The cheering was so loud that Kacey Musgraves turned to her band with her mouth agape. She’d been baiting the crowd good-naturedly, talking about how loud the Philadelphia audience had been the night before. But when the house lights at New York’s Beacon Theatre went up mid-show for a “let’s get a look at you” […]

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The best places to see the Northern Lights

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Have you heard or read about the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of the greatest shows displayed by Mother Nature. They occur when there is a collision between solar particles and gases in the atmosphere. They may last for a few minutes or even several days. Many people dream of viewing this incredible spectacle, and choose a vacation destination for this purpose. Does this sound like you?

Check out some of the best places to see the Northern Lights below.

1. Fairbanks, Alaska

This is one of the best places from which you can view the Northern Lights. The dark nights, clear skies, and cold weather offer you ideal aurora viewing conditions.

If you are worried about the cold temperatures, you can view the lights near the steaming hot springs. You can often see the aurora from anywhere in Alaska. However, the best viewing site is at Fairbanks which is located in the “auroral oval”.

The Northern Lights are available for your viewing pleasure throughout the year. However, the best time is during the winter months.

2. Reykjavik, Iceland

This is one of the cheapest and most accessible sites for you to view the Northern Lights. However, you may need to leave the cities to get dark skies. This offers you a clear, uninterrupted view.

There are many Northern Lights tours available. You can opt for a tour in a four-wheel drive vehicle or a boat cruise, from which you can admire the Aurora, in all its glory.

3. Canada

Most of Canada falls under the “auroral oval”. However, you will be guaranteed the best Northern Lights view in the sparsely populated province of Yukon. There is virtually no light pollution in this area, thus offering you a fantastic view of the lights.

To avoid the harsh winter conditions, it would be best if you go during the autumn season. You can also try visiting during the March equinox. During this time, there is an increase in solar activity and this will give you an unforgettable view of the lights.

4. Norway

This is one of the most magical places you can check out the Northern Lights. Norway is a comfortable place to view them, and you can choose from a variety of aurora viewing options. It is also quite easy for you to get around this beautiful country.

The best place to view the aurora is Tromso. Other places you can try out include Harstad and the Lofoten Islands. An ideal time to visit would be between October and March.

5. Finland

From September to March, the lights shine almost every other night in Finland. You can view the aurora from just about anywhere, so long as you are away from the cities. However, be warned as, during these months, it can get quite cold.

You can even opt to view the lights from a glass igloo as you keep warm in bed.

The Northern Lights are a sight to behold. If you get the chance, you can visit any one of these places to see this amazing natural spectacle.

So go on ahead and plan that well-deserved vacation. Make a point of visiting the best places to see the Northern Lights.

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Best cities around the globe to witness the Northern Lights

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Few sights are more beautiful than the Northern Lights. Caused by the collision of solar particles and gases, they will easily take your breath away. However, finding somewhere to see them can be tricky. You have to be in the right part of the world to get a good view of them. Luckily, we know exactly where these places are.

Kakslauttanen (Finland)

Finland sits in a perfect location to see the Northern Lights which is why the locals have cashed in on the phenomenon. There are specially designed glass igloos in Kakslauttanen that allow tourists to gaze up at the Lights without having to bear the brunt of the country’s cold weather. Although the light show is impossible to miss in the winter, Finland isn’t exactly known for being warm.

Tärendö (Sweden)

Considering parts of Sweden don’t see sunlight for days at a time, the country makes an ideal choice for viewing the Northern Lights. Places like Tärendö top the list as the best locations to set up camp and do some stargazing, though you can see the Lights in most parts of the north. The benefit of traveling to Sweden for the phenomenon is that temperatures don’t drop as much as other places during the winter. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not cold there – you’ll still need to wrap up warm.

Tromsø (Norway)

Northern Lights or not, you should visit Norway anyway. The country is one of the most beautiful in Europe, and it’s bursting with natural wonders. It’s simple to navigate and full of towering mountains and peaceful fjords that will look great on your camera roll. Once the sun sets and the night is in full swing, you can get great shots of the vibrant Lights from all over the country. Why not stop off in somewhere like Tromsø for a few hours of stargazing. As long as it’s winter, you should have a perfect view of one of nature’s greatest wonders.

Fairbanks (Alaska)

If you want to see the Northern Lights, you don’t even have to leave the US. All you’ve got to do is get yourself over to Alaska where conditions are optimal for seeing the Lights. Although it can be chilly here at night, the prevalence of hot springs means you can enjoy the wonder of nature while staying nice and warm. While Fairbanks is generally considered the best place in the state to see the show, you can glimpse the Northern Lights from almost everywhere in Alaska.

Nuuk (Greenland)

If you want to enjoy the Northern Lights somewhere that isn’t a tourist trap, then you might want to consider visiting Nuuk in Greenland. It’s less popular with visitors, mainly because it’s not as developed as other countries. However, if you don’t mind more rural living, then this might be the place to go. Plus, with all the icebergs in the ocean, there’s plenty more to see here than just the Lights.

Natural wonders don’t get much more beautiful than the Northern Lights. If you’re desperate to see them, you’ll need to add one of these cities to your travel list.

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Coach Lights Up Shanghai

SHANGHAI — As far as bygone New York City eras go, the Seventies with its disco balls and grungy graffiti-splattered walls is one of the most fondly remembered — and it was this slice of life that Coach re-created at the West Bund Art Center, parking vintage Mustang replicas beside the runway and blaring police sirens and hip-hop beats.
Actress and Coach campaign face Chloë Grace Moretz came to hang out, as well as Ji Soo and Rosé, band members from the K-pop group Blackpink. Hannah Quinlivan, the model and wife to Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou, also came to view the dual-gender collection, which featured varying handkerchief hemlines and a more colorful palette than seen in the past two seasons. The show contained only small bags, perfect for the wallet-less China WeChat generation.
With so much tense talk between U.S. and China over trade the past few months — the two sides only last week came to a temporary tariffs truce — a Shanghai show from a New York house acted, if only in its own small way, as counterpoint.
For Coach, the motivation to hold the show was its 15th anniversary in China, a country which now figures as its second-largest market after North America.

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Karl Lagerfeld to Switch on Champs-Élysées Holiday Lights

FAMILY AFFAIR: After Chanel brand ambassador Lily-Rose Depp last year, Karl Lagerfeld himself will switch on the Christmas lights on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, symbolizing the famed retail thoroughfare’s shift toward a more upscale positioning.
The designer, who helms Chanel and Fendi, in addition to his own Karl Lagerfeld brand, is set to inaugurate the holiday decorations at a ceremony on Nov. 22 alongside Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
“Karl Lagerfeld is a great designer and one of the leading personalities of the 21st century,” Jean-Noël Reinhardt, president of the Comité des Champs-Elysées, told a press conference on Thursday. “He marvelously embodies the values of French excellence that we try to promote.”
Reinhardt noted that Lagerfeld’s appearance comes at a time of intense activity on the street, with the planned arrival in the next 12 months of the Galeries Lafayette department store, an Apple flagship, and new boutiques for Dior Couture and Dior Parfums, Bulgari, Chanel Parfums, Lancôme and Nike.
The Champs-Elysées is also set to welcome new corporate offices for companies including Chanel, which will move some of its staff to the building housing the new Galeries Lafayette flagship, which is officially set to open in March, the official noted.
“Obviously, this is

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This Man Started a Business Hanging Holiday Lights and Made $138K in Year 3

When you have a name like Josh Trees and your job is hanging holiday lights, you have to be prepared for the inevitable question: Is that actually your name?

Trees — yes, that’s his real name — started his business, We Hang Christmas Lights, in 1997, decorating homes, businesses and assorted branched greenery in Temecula, California.

But Trees definitely gets the last (jolly) laugh.

“When we first started doing this, people were like, ‘Oh, that’s a cute little business,’” says the 43-year-old. “We were like, ‘Yeah, cute,’ —  you don’t realize people are paying us $ 3,500 to put lights up on their houses.

“By my third year, I was hitting a net profit of right around $ 138,000.”

Now Trees crisscrosses the country with strands of lights and a tiny house to teach others how they can build their own businesses hanging twinkling bulbs.

On the First Day of Christmas Lighting

Trees’ classes help pass on knowledge that he has accumulated throughout his career, such as purchasing lights from wholesale vendors who offer discounts for bulk purchases and making your own extension cords. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Ah, the fond memories of hauling out last year’s box of lights to add some holiday cheer to the humble abode. Haphazardly arrange the lights around the front stoop, throw a wreath on the door and voilá!

But if you’re starting a business hanging lights, that simplified recollection can lead to costly errors, according to Trees. And he should know, because he had the same idea.

“We were making mistakes on everything — we were just a bunch of guys thinking, ‘Hey, this is going to be easy,’” Trees says. “We were hanging other people’s lights — that’s a huge no-no.… The second stage was hanging the crummy lights from retailers.

“I’m surprised I made it through the first couple years.”

By the third year, Trees had moved onto purchasing lights from wholesale vendors, which offered discounts for bulk purchases. He was also buying commercial-grade strands so that when one bulb went out, they didn’t all go out.

But Trees says his biggest mistake had nothing to do with lights — it was underbidding jobs.

I got into it in the first year…  and I didn’t make any money — probably lost money,” Trees says. “I was charging $ 150 for jobs that should have been $ 850.

“I bid a job for $ 3,500 that should have literally been $ 35,000. It was horrible.”

Enlightening Business Strategies

Lisa Pinkney, 56, works for her sister’s landscape business Daylily Landscaping in Washington D.C. “I wanted to learn how to do things the right way,” said Pinkney, who flew down with her sister to attend one of Trees’ classes. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Trees’ students echo his refrain, noting that learning from other professionals early on can help transform a business idea into a profitable enterprise — and with a lot fewer mistakes along the way.

One of Trees’ early students was Jeff Krall, owner of American Holiday Lights in Woodridge, Illinois. In 2008, Krall attended an individual training session, which Trees conducted before he started traveling the country to teach classes.

“Josh helped me get it started,” says Krall, 53. “Everything from how to hang the lights on the rooflines… making our own extension cords, how to wrap the trees.

“It would take someone… two or three years to learn how to do it correctly, whereas Josh, in two or three days, he tells them how to do everything.”

In his first season of business, Krall estimates he had 30 clients. Now he manages 25 to 35 employees who light 35 to 40 houses a day during the season, at an average price of $ 1,400 to $ 1,500 per house.

However, those visions of sugarplums and dollar signs dancing in your head might not be in your immediate future — or at least not the first season.

Last year, Lucas Pulvermacher decided to add a light-hanging business to his busy lawn care enterprise near Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“My first year was tricky because I had to have an inventory of the lights. That’s a fairly large cost — and also the ladder, equipment, safety stuff like that,” says Pulvermacher, who recently turned 16. “I’d say we came out about even.”

Pulvermacher says his Lucas Lights lit three houses and two businesses after launching in mid-November last year — “It was hard because we started so late.”

After taking Trees’ class this year to learn marketing and sales strategies, Pulvermacher invested in professionally designed materials, including a logo.

His goal is to tackle 10 houses this year and then double that number by 2019 — when he has his driver’s license.

Beyond Christmas Lights

Jayson Nelson and John Gereg stand on either side of Connor Graham, president of We Hang Christmas Lights, as they learn how to make their own extension cords. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

One of the cool things about those twinkling lights is that they still work after Jan. 1. That means there’s more business after the wintry holiday season.

“A lot of the guys we work with, they do wedding lights, event lights, party lights and backyard lighting, that sort of thing, and a lot also do landscape lighting,” says Trees, who estimates that light installations for weddings bring in $ 1,800 on average but can go as high as $ 7,000.

Krall, who also owns a roofing business, hangs lights all year round for backyard weddings, Diwali festival of lights celebrations and Halloween parties — “but the majority of what we do is Christmas,” he notes.

Holiday Gigs

Anthony Dixon, from Long Island, N.Y., holds a string of lights as Dominick Sacca learns how to properly staple them on the tiny house. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

So let’s say you’re not ready to start your own business but being outside hanging lights sounds like a better gig than working a seasonal retail job.

Considering how hot the job market is, you might be in luck.

Krall notes that the toughest part of his business is finding good, reliable help.

“We got creative this year, so we align ourselves with other companies out there that are seasonal, like landscapers or pool companies,” Krall says. “When they’re laying off, we’re actively developing relationships.”

Trees recommends that installers offer tiered bonus pay, adding an extra $ 1 per hour each week to incentivize continued attendance as the season winds down — particularly in January when companies have to take down the lights.

Stephen Ogles, 32, learns how to wrap Christmas lights around a tree. Ogles, who owns a roof cleaning business in Lake City, Fla., came to learn how to hang lights during the slower winter months. Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Helpers can typically make anywhere from between… $ 13 at the low end to about $ 20 at the high end — and that’s before bonuses,” Trees says. “When you find somebody that’s good, it’s key that you keep those people, because it’s temporary, and they know it’s temporary.”

For people interested in finding holiday lighting jobs in their area, Trees suggests checking places like Craigslist, Indeed and the We Hang Christmas Lights site, which includes a directory of light installers that’s searchable by zip code — just mention your interest in a job when you fill out the online form.

Trees has found that these holiday gigs are best suited for people who work warm-weather jobs in roofing, tree trimming and window washing. All of which have at least one trait in common — no fear of heights.

And yes, the money is nice, but Krall and Pulvermacher agree that the best part of hanging bulbs is the way their customers’ faces light up when they see the finished product.

“Everybody’s in a really good mood around Christmas time,” says Krall.

Pulvermacher adds: “It’s just kind of a cozy feeling when you see a house all lit up.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She covers interesting careers and job benefits. Her holiday wish list includes a subscription to a gourmet cheese of the month club, in case anyone starts shopping early.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.


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Get three motion-activated LED lights for $14 on Amazon

Motion Activated Closet Light

Motion-activated lighting is the kind of thing you don’t really think you need because you don’t think about them. Then when you finally set up a few motion-activated LED lights, you wonder how you ever lived without them. A 3-pack of URPOWER Motion Sensor Closet Lights is on sale on Amazon right now for just $ 13.99, and they’re small enough to mount anywhere. They’re also powerful enough to illuminate any cabinet, closet or pantry, so definitely check them out.

URPOWER Motion Sensor Closet Light, Motion-sensing Battery Powered LED Stick-Anywhere Nightligh…: $ 13.99

Here are the highlights from the product page:

  • ENERGY-EFFICIENT:Automatically powers off after 15-30 seconds of inactivity, lighting your path as you cross and shutting off soon after.
  • BATTERY POWERED:Powered by 3 x AAA batteries per motion sensor (batteries not included)Note:Batteries that are qualified through the national testing authority are recommended.
  • SURROUNDING AWARENESS:Includes dusk to dawn sensor and motion activation.Automatically turn on when motion is detected within a 7-10 ft. range.
  • SUPER-BRIGHT LED BULBS: Lumens: 20, last up to 10,000 hours;Simple to install, no hard-wiring,come with super-strong 3M double-sided adhesive pad.
  • INSTALLATION:Simply use the super-strong 3M double-sided adhesive pads or stick to any metal surface with the built-in magnet,Works great indoor and outdoor, especially as a night light for stairs, steps, hallways, dark closets & cabinets.

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Get three motion-activated LED lights for $ 14 on Amazon originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 26 Oct 2018 at 15:06:39 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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