November 22, 2021

How Santa stole Thanksgiving

November is still a month firmly entrenched in autumn, a season dominated by hues like orange, brown, black and yellow. But look closely outdoors around your block and you’ll likely see snatches of green, red and white, too – colors connoted with December. It’s a phenomenon known as “Christmas creep,” a holiday decorating drift that seems to be taking root earlier every year: even prior to Thanksgiving.

In fact, research shows that many folks prefer to put up their Christmas tree and festoon their homes with holiday decor ahead of turkey day; a survey conducted by Christmas Lights, Etc. in 2015 found that 43 percent of Christmas consumers start decorating before Thanksgiving week. While that may seem ridiculously early to some, consider that psychologists suggest that decking the halls earlier can actually make you happier.

Read more on this topic by checking out my latest article for CTW Features, available here.

November 17, 2021

The sun never sets on this classic

In Cineversary podcast episode #41, host Erik Martin celebrates the 70th anniversary of A Place in the Sun, directed by George Stevens, by interviewing two great guests: George Stevens Jr., son of the director, founder of the American Film Institute, and author of the forthcoming book My Place in the Sun; and David Thomson, revered film critic and historian, author of numerous books on cinema including A Light in the Dark, and a frequent contributor to The Criterion Collection. Together, they examine why A Place in the Sun is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the film in 2021, and more.
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

November 10, 2021

Home appraisal come in low? Here's how to salvage the deal

If you are seeking to purchase a home, your mortgage lender will likely require you to have the home professionally appraised and pay for this appraisal, which can cost a few hundred dollars. The appraisal is conducted by an expert who will determine the value of the property based on a visual tour, recent sales of comparable properties, today’s market trends, and other factors.

Problem is, the appraiser may determine that the home for sale is worth less than what the seller is asking for it. A low appraisal in a hot market can result in the deal falling through. But it’s possible to make the transaction work if you and the seller work together and make compromises. Learn more about why appraisals sometimes come back lower-than-expected, why the appraisal is important to the lender, and what you can do if you get a less-than-desirable appraisal by reading my latest article for, available here.

November 3, 2021

Word up

Real-time captioning – also called computer-assisted real-time translations (CART) – is often taken for granted as a readily available means to textually supplement speech as it is spoken in real-time, in a medium like video. But for the spoken word to be more quickly and precisely translated in a live context, that ability requires a lot of technological innovation. Problem is, while real-time captioning (RTC) has made strides, the end product often can’t live up to modern expectations or increased demand from content consumers across devices who anticipate 100 percent accurate and instantaneous captioning.

But while plenty of challenges remain, many experts agree that the pace of progress has been impressive in recent years, especially considering how far we’ve come from the early and more primitive days of RTC. Indeed, taking a big picture look, the future appears as bright as a luminous white subtitle emblazoned across the bottom of your screen.

To learn more about how real-time captioning has improved online, and future progress we hope to see, read my article on this topic, freshly published by Speech Technology Magazine, clicking here.