May 5, 2021

Camp champ

COVID-19 postponed vacations for millions of Americans. But that didn’t stop camping enthusiasts, 46% of whom went on their first camping trip or first in years in 2020, per Kampgrounds of America data. In fact, nearly one in five new campers polled indicated they’re likely/very likely to continue camping this year.

One business that has benefited from this booming interest in outdoor adventuring is Core Equipment, whose camping products enjoyed a 75% sales increase last year. I interviewed CEO Nick Vaughn for an article that appears in the latest issue of The Costco Connection magazine, available here.

April 28, 2021

Can your home beat the heat?

Experts agree that it pays to think ahead and plan for recommended maintenance, repairs, and improvements well before your thermostat switches over from “heat” to “cool.” Many of the things you can do to keep your home cooler in the summer will also benefit you now while the weather is transitioning, allowing you to stay more comfortable year-round and conserve energy as well.

Learn valuable tips on how to beat the heat and keep your interiors cool as the weather warms up by reading my newest article for CTW Features, available here.

April 18, 2021

90 reasons why "M" still stands for "masterpiece"

In Cineversary podcast episode #34, host Erik Martin revisits Weimar Republic-era Germany to commemorate the 90th birthday of quite possibly that country's finest film export ever: Fritz Lang's M, originally released in May 1931 and starring Peter Lorre in his breakout performance as a serial killer of children. Accompanying Erik on this outing is Jan-Christopher Horakpast director of the UCLA film and television archive, former curator for the George Eastman Museum, previous director of archives/collections for Universal Studios, and longtime film scholar. Together, they investigate why M is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the film in 2021, and more.           
Jan-Christopher Horak

To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsBreakerCastboxPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at and email show comments or suggestions to

April 12, 2021

Need to file a homeowners insurance claim? Read this first

Homeowners insurance by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free
There are many good reasons why you may want to file a homeowners insurance claim - from an injury that occurs on your property to a burglary to damage from the storm or fire.

But you want to make sure your claim is valid and covered, learn the deadline by which you have to file a claim and know what to expect after you file a claim. Reading your policy language carefully can yield crucial answers.

Many homeowners have questions about what's involved with the homeowners insurance claims process: How do home insurance claims work? How are homeowners insurance claims paid? And how long do homeowners insurance claims stay on your record? For answers, read my newest article for, available here.

April 5, 2021

Is your company's contact center technology up to snuff?

If the coronavirus crisis taught us anything, it’s that contact centers are in greater demand than ever before, with resources spread thin. That’s especially true as more consumers prefer contactless communication with enterprises as they increasingly choose e-commerce options over brick-and-mortar stores and offices.

Problem is, many companies aren’t able to satisfy the increased push for customer interaction via phone, text, chat, video, social media, or otherwise. The common culprit? Insufficient technologies and infrastructure, which can limit a business's ability to communicate efficiently with patrons and respond punctually to queries, complaints, and requests.

The experts agree: It’s time to take stock of your contact center’s technological capabilities, identify weaknesses, and implement multichannel solutions that keep pace with industry standards and consumer expectations. Learn more by reading my newest cover story for Destination CRM magazine, available here.

March 29, 2021

Why take out 3 loans? Finance the land, construction & mortgage all in one

If you want to build a home from the ground up, you typically need to secure and purchase a lot and then construct a home on it. That would normally entail getting one loan for the land and construction and a second loan for the mortgage on the finished residence.

But you can save time and money by pursuing a construction-to-permanent loan. This option simplifies the financing process by providing one loan and one closing. Caveats apply, however. You may pay a higher interest rate. A larger down payment may be required. And your lender may have additional requirements and restrictions.

Determine if a construction-to-permanent loan is right for you by learning more about what’s involved. For more information, read my latest article for NextAdvisor, Time Magazine’s new website featuring personal finance content and tips, available here.