June 27, 2022

Can cancer patients get life insurance?

You want to provide financial protection to your loved ones and heirs in the event of your death. Life insurance can offer that peace of mind. But if you’ve recently been diagnosed with or treated for cancer, it can be challenging to get a life insurance policy. However, that doesn’t mean life insurance for cancer patients and survivors is impossible.

Learn the facts and possibilities, and get to the bottom of important questions like: Can you get life insurance if you have cancer? Does life insurance cover cancer? What are the rules related to life insurance with pre-existing cancer? Get the answers by reading my first article for new client Forbes Advisor, available here.

June 15, 2022

Cineversary podcast rediscovers the magic behind E.T. 40 years later

In Cineversary podcast episode #48, host Erik Martin revisits suburbia circa 1982 through the lens of Steven Spielberg and arguably his best film, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, which marks a 40th birthday this month. Joining Erik for this installment is James Kendrick, a film professor at Baylor University who teaches courses on Spielberg and serves as the QNetwork.com movie critic; and Caseen Gaines, a director, educator, pop culture historian, and author of several books including the forthcoming E.T. The Extra Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History. Erik and his guests will examine how E.T. set a new template for sci-fi adventure films, why and how it has stood the test of time, reasons it’s worth celebrating four decades later, its cultural impact and legacy, 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 Cineversary wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, SpotifyStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublic, and Overcast.  

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.
James Kendrick and Caseen Gaines

June 7, 2022

Glass with class

Shakespeare once famously asked: What light through yonder window breaks? The answer is, not as much light as you’d like if your home’s windows are dirty or in need of maintenance.

Fact is, it’s easy to take windows for granted. While they may not appear to be dirty or in need of attention, the glass, screen mesh, and frame materials take a beating from the elements over time that can compromise the window’s operation and longevity. That’s why it’s wise to inspect, maintain, and repair your windows regularly, especially before cold weather comes around again later this year. 

Learn more by reading my newest article for The Post and Courier, available here.

May 30, 2022

Live a less stressful life by adopting these recommended financial habits

When your mind is cluttered with thoughts and you can’t focus, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The same is true when your financial house is in disarray. Money mismanagement, disorganized finances, poor credit, and lack of financial literacy can result in stress and anxiety.

But the situation is not hopeless. You can get fiscal matters in order and learn to better manage your dollars with patience, discipline, and recommended financial practices. For helpful tips and insights from experts, check out my newest story for Credit Sesame, available here.

May 25, 2022

When it's time to say sayonara to your swimming pool

Owning a swimming pool can be a great perk that provides plenty of fun and may even increase your home’s value. But if you no longer regularly use your pool, are facing expensive repairs, or want to reinvent your yard, it may be time to have it removed. Just be prepared: The bill for demolishing a pool and the cost to fill it in can be substantial.

Weigh the pros and cons carefully, crunch the numbers, learn about the process involved, and find the right experts for the job if you’re ready to pull the trigger. For more tips, read my newest article for Ownerly, available here.

May 18, 2022

Cineversary brings out the big guns to celebrate High Noon's 70th anniversary

In Cineversary podcast episode #47, host Erik Martin turns back the clock to commemorate the 70th birthday of one of the most beloved westerns of all time: High Noon, directed by Fred Zinnemann. In this installment, Erik serves as a trusty deputy of sorts to film scholar sheriff Glenn Frankel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. Erik and Glenn explore how High Noon changed the western genre, why it’s worth celebrating seven decades later, its cultural impact and legacy, and what we can learn from this study in temporal tension today.
Glenn Frankel


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 wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple PodcastsCastboxStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

May 10, 2022

A playground right on the premises

Kids today are often consumed with staring at a screen and spending most of their free time indoors. Many neighborhoods lack nearby playgrounds, and concerned parents have frowned on public park visits over the past two years due to coronavirus fears. So where can parents point their children toward without feeling guilty – a place where young ones can benefit from body movement, frolic with friends, and avoid electronic overstimulation?

Look no further than your home’s backyard, the ideal spot for a playground you can have built. Find out more about how to create a backyard playset by reading my newest article for CTW Features, available here.

May 3, 2022

Sweat equity

Want to lose weight, detoxify your body, and reap other significant health benefits? If so, you’re gonna wanna sauna in or near your home. Because, while you don’t want to sweat the small stuff in life, perspiring in a conveniently accessible box of on-demand heat is a big deal, say the pros.

Invented in Finland likely around 7,000 BC, the sauna hasn’t changed much over the centuries. It’s essentially still a big wooden box in which you sweat profusely for a short amount of time. But sauna technology and materials have evolved significantly, making it easier to own a personal sauna.

Learn more about personal saunas by reading my newest article or The Costco Connection magazine, available here.

April 26, 2022

The paperwork you'll need to complete for a mortgage loan

Preparing to apply for a mortgage loan? You may be curious: What paperwork do you need for a mortgage? When you apply for a mortgage loan, you’ll eventually need to supply different documents to the lender before you can get approved. Additionally, you’ll be asked to sign several other documents before and after approval.

Learn more about the documentation required as well as tips on how to keep this process moving along smoothly and effectively by reading my newest piece for Home.com, available here.

April 20, 2022

When Uncle Sam comes calling with a tax bill

You’ve done the calculations and finished your tax return. The bottom line shows that you owe money to the IRS. Problem is, it’s going to be tricky to pay this bill due to tight finances. Fortunately, you can pursue options to pay what you owe and avoid penalties.

Learn more about IRS rules for paying your tax bill and the repercussions for not doing so by reading my first article for new client Credit Sesame, available here.

April 14, 2022

Cineversary podcast sends 70th birthday wishes to Singin' in the Rain

 

In Cineversary podcast episode #46, host Erik Martin honors the 70th birthday of what most regard as the finest Hollywood musical of them all, Singin’ in the Rain, directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. Joining Erik for this installment is Turner Classic Movies host Alicia Malone, author of the newly released book Girls on Film: Lessons From a Life of Watching Women in Movies. Erik and Alicia examine how Singin’ in the Rain remains a bona fide classic 70 years later, why it still matters, its cultural impact and legacy, and what we can learn from all this genius singing and dancing today. Erik also chats with Brian Eggert, a film critic, essayist, and owner of DeepFocusReview.com, about Kelly’s unique approach to dancing on film.
Alicia Malone and Brian Eggert


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 wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple PodcastsCastboxStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

April 12, 2022

Trick of the tongue


“Words: So innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
—Nathaniel Hawthorne

This master of American literature sounded prescient when he uttered this quote back in the 19th century. That’s because Hawthorne seems to herald a warning in the 21st century about things he couldn’t have possibly foreseen, such as the dangers of bogus audio in the form of speech deepfakes, which employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to create convincing synthetic audio of a human speaker.

How convincing? Consider that, in a well-reported 2019 AI-powered crime, criminals used deepfake technology to mimic the voice of a company’s chief executive over a phone call where the speaker directed the transfer of around $250,000. The funds were transferred and redistributed, and no suspects were identified. Another widely-reported deepfake-enabled financial heist resulted in the cloning of a bank director’s voice and the illegal transfer of $35 million. 

Before you scoff at the idea of being fooled by a phony voice, take a moment to learn the facts as well as the risks and liabilities that threaten large and small organizations alike. And learn ways that you can help prevent being victimized by this increasingly concerning digital danger by reading my newest article for Speech Technology Magazine, available here.

April 5, 2022

Understanding the metaverse and how your business can benefit

Turns out The Matrix, Avatar, Inception, and Ready Player One were on to something more than entertaining our eyeballs. The visually dazzling futuristic virtual worlds in these stories have been translated to the real world (minus the digitally dystopian scenarios suggested, at least so far) in the form of the metaverse—which is getting lots more attention lately in the media and on social networks.

Indeed, a lot is happening in this fresh iteration of cyberspace, which represents a major leap of faith for many, including organizations looking to capitalize on the metaverse’s potential to transform business and commerce. Now’s the time to learn what it’s all about, its prospects for profitability, and if your enterprise need apply. Learn more by reading my newest article for Destination CRM, available here.

March 28, 2022

Two wheels, unlimited possibilities

Want to engage in an outdoor fitness activity this spring that's fun, fast and freewheeling? Head to your nearby bike shop or go online and pick up a new or used bicycle, which can quickly burn calories and serve as a trusty form of transportation with no fuel costs or pollution involved.

Get helpful tips on how to choose the right bike for you by reading my newest CTW Features article, available here.

March 23, 2022

Knowing the right time to slash your home's price

You’ve enlisted the aid of a skilled real estate agent who’s performed a thorough comparative market analysis to determine the value of your home. You’ve listed your home at what you both believe is an accurate price, and you’ve hosted many showings, but so far, no one has made an offer. So why hasn’t your home sold?

When you list your home for sale, setting the right asking price from the start is important. But sometimes, even if you think the list price is appropriate, your home still might linger on the market. That’s when it’s time to consider a price reduction to attract a buyer. Learn more by reading my newest story for Bankrate, available here.

March 15, 2022

A podcast that makes you an offer you can't refuse

 In Cineversary podcast episode #45, host Erik Martin commemorates the 50th anniversary of perhaps the best American film of the 20th Century, The Godfatherdirected by Francis Ford Coppola, by talking with Harlan Lebo, author of The Godfather Legacy and a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California Annenberg. Erik and Harlan investigate why this movie still matters, ways it has stood the test of time, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the film today, and more.

Harlan Lebo


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 wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsBreakerCastboxPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublic, and Overcast.


Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

March 8, 2022

Get proper insurance coverage on that new car before you purchase

Few events in life are as exciting as buying and driving a brand-new vehicle. But before signing on the dotted line and taking the keys from the dealer, it's important to make sure that you have the right insurance. After all, accidents can happen anywhere and anytime -- even as you are driving your new ride off the lot. It's also smart to understand recommended coverage limits for new vehicles so that you and your car are properly protected in the event of a claim.

Read my newest article on this topic, published by Carinsurance.com, available here.

March 1, 2022

Pause the plastic

Most Americans possess and increasingly rely on credit cards to pay for items on-demand. They are simple, easy, and quick to use, as evidenced by the fact that the average American household owes $6,270 in credit card debt nowadays, per Federal Reserve research. But without the right discipline, that debt can become problematic.

The experts recommend keeping debt within acceptable limits and exploring ways to manage and pay down your debt so that the financial burden does not become overwhelming. But that begs the question: How much credit card debt is too much? Learn the answer by reading my newest article for FreedomDebtRelief.com, available here.

February 22, 2022

The latest word on AI

Speech technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds from year to year. And 2021 was no exception, as several key developments and innovations helped enhance these capabilities at an even faster pace than many anticipated – thanks in large part to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). This progress has come in handy, especially as the COVID-19 crisis has lingered into 2022 and as more consumers and businesses increasingly rely on speech capabilities embedded into apps, platforms, and devices powered by AI.

Discover more about AI and recent innovations by reading my latest article for Speech Technology magazine, available here.

February 15, 2022

Cineversary celebrates a killer comedy that turns 80

Steve Darnall
In Cineversary podcast episode #44, host Erik Martin honors the 80th anniversary of To Be or Not to Bedirected by Ernst Lubitsch, by interviewing Steve Darnall, host of the Those Were the Days radio show and publisher of Nostalgia Digest magazine. Erik and Steve explore what makes this film both a comedy gem and a gripping wartime thriller as they examine why To Be or Not to Be is deserving of kudos eight decades later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the movie in 2022, 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 wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsBreakerCastboxPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublic, and Overcast.


Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

February 9, 2022

2022 mortgage rate predictions from experts

We're only a few short weeks into the new year, and it’s already been an eventful one for mortgage rates. Many are looking ahead to try and predict what rates will average this year. The question is no longer when mortgage rates will rise — it’s how much they will rise.

For guidance, learn what the pros are predicting by reading my latest article for Home.com, available here.

February 1, 2022

Put Denver on your relocation radar

Looking to move to an exciting and popular urban market that continues to draw interest from prospective home buyers and renters around the country? Consider living in Denver, a bustling modern metropolis graced with attractive neighborhoods and in-demand communities as well as favorable weather and preferred amenities. Whether you’re eager to relocate from out-of-state or move to a nearby Denver neighborhood, this is a major metro market that rarely disappoints.

Learn why by checking out my first article for new client NeighborWho, available here.

January 26, 2022

How to purchase a home despite low income

Lack a robust salary? Concerned that your job doesn’t pay enough to be able to afford a home? You’re not alone. Many Americans yearn to achieve the dream of homeownership but lack the earnings and savings to cover the costs of purchasing a property and paying a monthly mortgage.

The good news is that there are loan and assistance programs you may qualify for that can ease your entry into ownership by reducing the down payment and closing cost burden. Find out more by reading my latest piece for Bankrate, available here.

January 18, 2022

Help for first-time home buyers

Purchasing your first home can be challenging, especially when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage and coming up with the down payment. Thankfully, Uncle Sam has first-time home buyer government programs that can make it easier to get into your new home.

Dig deeper and find out about various loan options, state-run mortgage programs, down payment assistance, and other resources available to eligible buyers by reading my newest article for The Mortgage Reports, available here.

January 13, 2022

One podcast to rule them all

In Cineversary podcast episode #43, host Erik Martin celebrates the 20th anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by Peter Jackson, by interviewing Brian Sibley, the author of Jackson's biography who is also renowned for writing the famous BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and other works, including The Lord of the Rings: Official Movie Guide. Erik and Brian take the scenic route through Middle Earth to explore Fellowship's legacy and cultural impact, why it's worth honoring two decades later, what we can learn from the movie in 2022, and more.

Brian Sibley

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 anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

January 11, 2022

The rundown on rehab loans

You have your eye on a fixer-upper, only you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting financing for the remodeling and repairs and separately obtaining a mortgage loan. Fortunately, there are rehab loans to help finance the renovation and purchase of a home in a single loan.

What is a rehab loan? Get the answers by reading my latest article for newest client Ownerly.com, available here.

January 3, 2022

Meet the sultans of slumber

There’s no substitute for a restful, comfortable sleep.  It’s little wonder, then, that Sleep Science mattresses have maintained their popularity since they were first introduce years ago. But while consumers can continue to count on the quality and value built into this brand, they may not be aware of the parent company behind these preferred bedtime products or its backstory.

Learn more about the makers of Sleep Science mattresses and beds by reading my latest piece for The Costco Connection magazine, available here.