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Ovation: GUEST POST – Five Reasons to Support Your Local Museum


Image via Pixabay by valentinsimon0

Museums are a staple in many communities. Almost every town has a museum devoted to something whether it is furniture, teacups, dolls, dinosaurs, or simply local history. While museums may conjure imagery of dusty mannequins in powdered wigs, they actually provide an enriching experience that makes for a positive family outing. Of course, there’s no need to travel to the Louvre; odds are your area already has its own museum. Here are a few reasons to take the family to your local museum.

1. It Teaches Your Kids that Learning is Fun

There is a distinct difference between lecture-based learning and hands-on learning. Most kids who dread school do so as a result of dull, static learning.

Museums create an entirely new form of learning that includes visual aids, audio tours, short lectures, hands-on exhibits, and even mobile apps. Regardless of how your child learns, there will be an option that excites them. The teaching tactics may even help you learn other hands-on, engaging ways to educate your children.

2. Museums Appeal to People of All Ages

No matter what age you are, learning interesting tidbits about history, art, animals, or any number of potential museum themes is fun. Many child-friendly outings are enjoyed at the cost of the parents. A trip to the park leaves parents sitting on the bench. A museum, however, provides entertainment for the whole family. Furthermore, kids watching their parents get excited about learning new things sets a great example.

3. Museums Preserve and Spread Cross-Cultural Knowledge

guestbloggerMuseums hold some of the last remaining artifacts of past cultures and a wonderful array of items from existing cultures. Learning about diversity and cultural differences is critical in raising a 21st-century child, and a museum is a great place to start.

By educating your child on your culture as well as other cultures around the world, you are teaching your child tolerance, acceptance, and the skills necessary to navigate an increasingly diverse environment. It is never too early to start instilling cultural values and positive traits like acceptance and embracing diversity in young children.

4. By Supporting a Local Museum, You Support Education

When you patronize a local museum, you put money into maintaining the establishment. You are essentially funding the preservation of history, of art, of rare items, or whatever else you might find in a museum. You simultaneously educate your child about the world and pay to ensure that other children reap the same benefit.

Furthermore, by helping a local museum stay in business, you are also increasing tourism to your town, benefitting the local culture, and even aiding the local economy.

5. There Is a Museum for Everything

Regardless of what you want to teach your children about, there is likely a museum with exhibits on that theme. Even better, each type of museum is family-friendly, educational, and enjoyable for all involved. While small towns may only have a small exhibit on a specific collection, larger towns likely have several types of museums including science centers, art exhibits, and natural history museums. Start with one variety and you may find your children asking for more.

Museums are wonderful educational opportunities for both you and your children. They make learning fascinating and fun while teaching important like skills such as intercultural acceptance and diversity. When you visit local establishments, you not only help them stay in business but also ensure that other children will receive the education your child did while aiding town tourism and boosting the local economy. Yes, a trip to the Smithsonian is nothing to turn your nose up at but it certainly doesn’t hurt to start locally.

guestbloggerDelores Santos is an information junkie. She enjoys writing about a variety of subjects based on diligent fact-checking.


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Copyright © 2016

Ovation: GUEST POST – Tomorrow’s Tech, Today: How Geek Culture Influences our Technology

Are we living in the future? No, this is not an existential question … Think back to your favorite cartoons, science fiction movies and cult television shows. You likely remember self-driving cars, hoverboards, personal computers and other cool tech. Now look around you. We’re living in a world that has some of those same cool inventions. Here are a few examples.

Star Trek’s PADD and Today’s iPad

It seems as if the sci-fi series foresaw the invention of the modern-day tablet. Think about it. There are some crazy similarities between the handheld computer PADDs we first saw in “Star Trek” and Apple’s first iPad. There was one difference, however. Apple’s iPad is much larger than Star Trek’s personal handheld. The Apple iPad Pro measures at 9.7-incheswhile the PADD is just a four-by-six-inch tablet. Otherwise, these personal computers are surprisingly similar to the smartphones we all know and love today.

The Jetsons and Self-Driving Cars

guestbloggerWhile our cars don’t drive in the sky like they did in the classic cartoon “The Jetsons,” tech developers are working on perfecting the technology of self-driving cars. The technology is very much in its beginning stages, but it is progressing rapidly. Google, Tesla and other automakers like Hyundai are driving this innovation and creating cars like we have never seen before. Tech experts predict that in the not-so-far-off future we will have cars that are 100 percent self-driving, built with lounge cabs where “passengers” can take a nap, make a phone call or bring out a laptop to get work done. These cars of the future are even assumed to be safer than the cars that we have on the roads today.

Star Wars Imperial Walkers and Today’s Robots

“Star Wars” fans know what we are talking about here. Imperial Walkers are only the coolest type of combat vehicle that we’ve seen in the “Star Wars” movies so far. When we first saw these battle bot-like weapons, we never dreamed that we would see them in real life. But now, our dreams have come true — kind of. While not nearly as grand in size as Imperial Walkers, the modern robot created by Boston Dynamics called BigDog Robot is not too far off. BigDog is about the size of an average mule, and it can run, climb and carry 300-pounds of cargo. Although it’s not used by Imperial Ground Forces, BigDog is eerily similar.

Back to the Future and Hoverboards

Ah, hoverboards … the future’s go-to mode of levitating, quick transportation. We can presume that people of the future don’t like to walk, apparently. We first saw these levitating boards in “Back to the Future,” but late in 2015, we saw a surge in hoverboard-like technology. The invention of the self-balancing scooter led some manufacturers to claim they had invented “hoverboards.” While they don’t hover above the ground like their name implies, they do get people from place to place rather quickly. However, they aren’t as easy to operate as you might think. And they aren’t safe. There were dozens of fires started when these things imploded on the spot. So, it’s safe to say the hoverboard is still in beta.

Iron Man and Projection Screens

Leave it to the folks from MIT to create Tony Stark’s transparent projection screen. Iron Man is one of the most badass superhero characters to date, so why wouldn’t we want to emulate him? By using tiny nanoparticles, laser projectors can cast images that are reflected back at the user’s eyes, which enables an image to be seen on a transparent glass screen. The International Business Times reported that this technology might be available for widespread public use in the near future.

lauren-topor-headshot-copyLauren Topor full-time freelance writer and alumna of Arizona State University. Her professional work has appeared in a variety of publications from lifestyle mags to business websites. Follow Lauren on Twitter @laurentopor.


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Copyright © 2016

Ovation: GUEST POST – Four Best Industries For Starting A New Business

daydreamingI would have to say that there is simply no joy like the joy of owning your own business.  That is just the American dream at its very best.  The thrill of the life of an entrepreneur, the ability to make decisions for yourself on how you achieve financial success, and to not have to answer to anyone really does say something for the success and the intelligence and the voracity of the American spirit.  It is something to be proud of, and it really speaks to the character of an individual when they go out on a limb to make sure than they can have a decent life and a decent income while doing exactly what it is that they want to be doing with their lives.

With the recovery from the recession in 2008, now is one of the best times possible for starting and owning your own business.  In the last couple years and this year too in fact, many entrepreneurial-minded Americans will undoubtedly be preoccupied with starting their own business, and I am quite happy to see this.  I have been starting, running, and owning my own businesses year after year since the 1980s. I have never in my entire life seen a better time to start and own your own business as I have been seeing now.  The market is just perfectly primed for it and so many more are jumping on this bandwagon and not without good reason too.

Which Fields to Go Into

GuestBloggerI truly believe that it is important to invest in and start your own business when you have what you think will be a lucrative idea. However, if you are on the fence about what you want to do then there is nothing wrong with taking a look at what businesses are doing the best and which ones people are having a tendency to go into the most.

Many entrepreneurs already have a business idea in mind for themselves.  This is good and I like to see it when this happens. But if you’re looking for industries where it might pay to start your own business and you are pretty open-minded about what you do, then here are the four most successful business categories right now:

  1. Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
  2. Software Design Publishers
  3. Computer Designers
  4. Investigation and Security Systems

If one of these suits you then I would jump at this opportunity and get on the bandwagon.  If not, know that you can be successful at anything you set your mind to, you just have to work at it.

Now more than ever is the time for the American worker to rise up and finally realize his or her dream of being an entrepreneur.  You can accomplish this. It will take a bit of work to pull this off successfully but if you pick a business model and a subject or product or service that you feel very strongly about, then, it won’t really feel much like work.

per-wPer Wickstrom is the founder and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation, one of the top holistic rehabilitation centers in the country. He found sobriety after a decades-long struggle with addiction and has since dedicated his life and career to helping others find the same life-affirming success he has. His program is based on natural and holistic methods and has helped lead hundreds to recovery. Connect with Per via his blog, Twitter or Facebook.


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Copyright © 2016

Diatribe: The Guacamole Surcharge.

Publication1Is there a particular food that you absolutely will not eat? Something that makes your stomach turn when you watch someone else eat it? An item that you can’t stand to have touching your other food?

Me?  I don’t like Guacamole. I’ve tried to enjoy it … again and again … but I just can’t.  It could be the texture, it could be the flavor, it could be the smell or it could be the price that keeps me away … I just can’t.

I’ve learned, however, that people who Do like guacamole REALLY like guacamole.  So, when I’m out to dinner with a “guacafficianado” and I order an entree that includes the green condiment, I’ll often ask for it to be delivered “on the side” so that it’s avocado goodness can be enjoyed by my companions who can’t get enough.

Apparently, this request sometimes causes the restaurant to deem the previously-included scoop of gelatinous plate-waste a “side item” that results in an additional charge.  I call this a Guacamole Surcharge and I think it’s ridiculous.

Why does it cost more to place the dollop of gooey chip-waster in a small dish of its own instead of on my food?  Is it necessary to charge more to carry it to the table? (They were going to bring it anyway!) To wash another dish?


There never appears to be a Sour Cream Surcharge

Because this doesn’t happen in every restaurant that serves Mexican or TexMex dishes, perhaps my experiences have been language-barrier-oriented.  I can see where it would be easy to confuse an order “on the side” with a “side order” … so perhaps I’ve not always been clear.

One thing is certain, however … you cannot pick, scoop or scrape that stuff off of any other food item.

Perhaps I should stop trying to let my friends enjoy my unwanted condiments and eliminate all “guacadrama” from my life.  They can order their own side items.

If an ingredient is a part of an entree, it’s cost should be included as well … No?! They certainly don’t charge less when you request “no guacamole”!

Have you ever paid extra to have something left OFF of an entree in a restaurant?

Ovation: Jaquie Goncher ‘s Walk Down The Aisle.

WeddingLike many people, the day I got married was one of the happiest of my life.  Ours was a small affair, just the two of us, two wonderful friends serving as witnesses and an officiant hired to perform the ceremony.  I’ll never forget the moment that I changed from “single” to “married”.  It was amazing.

Getting married didn’t just happen, of course, and quite a bit of planning and preparation was required.  But the effort we made to make our dreams come true on our big day pale in comparison to the journey to the alter made last May by Jaquie Goncher.

Eight years ago, Jaquie broke her neck while diving into a swimming pool and has used a wheelchair ever since.  But, through hard work and determination, she stunned her friends and family on her wedding day when she stood and walked down the aisle.

About four months before her wedding Jaquie decided that, not only did she want to walk down the aisle, but she wanted to dance at her reception, too.

“I wanted to have the endurance to enjoy the wedding without the chair.” – Jaquie Goncher

On her wedding day, Jaquie rolled her wheelchair to the end of the aisle.  Then, with help from her grandfather and her mother, she stood and walked toward her soon-to-be-husband.  The wedding guests, as well as the groom (who was in on the plan) cried tears of joy and amazement.

Jaquie left her chair again to join her guests on the dance floor, where she danced with her new husband, Andy, and mingled.  She was on her feet for more than four hours that day.  Before then, she could stand for only twenty to thirty minutes at a time.

“What kept me going was my strength in God.” – Jaquie Goncher

And she hasn’t given up.  Although she’s walking more, Jaquie still primarily uses her wheelchair.  After eight years she’s quite comfortable in it but says that she’s working to spend more time outside of her comfort zone.  She’s got a can, and she’s determined to use it more to get around.

I’ve always been a softy who cries at weddings.  I can only imagine how far the floodgates would open if I saw a wheelchair-bound loved one rise and walk to take her vows.  What an amazing day it must have been.  Jaquie and Andy will never forget their wedding day and the moment that they changed from “single” to “married”.


Like this post? Follow the blog and get involved in discussions! Find “Follow via Email” on the right side of the page.  There’s also an opportunity to follow on Twitter and/or LIKE our page on Facebook so you won’t miss a daily post.  Click on buttons at the end of each post to share on other social media sites, too!  Thanks for reading!

Copyright © 2016

Diatribe: George Niemiec Should Sleep In A Chair.

Don't abuse the systemOver the years I’ve met a few people who’ve made a good living by “working the system”. They always seem to know who to call to get something for nothing, how long to wait before applying for the next level of assistance or what form to complete to receive unusual compensation.  Sure, they may be entitled to services, or even cash, but just because there’s fruit on a tree it doesn’t mean it should be yours for the taking.

These people make me angry:

  • People who abuse 911
  • Healthy individuals who uses a handicapped parking space simply because the car they’re driving has a placard hanging from the rear-view mirror
  • Anyone using Food Stamps while smoking an expensive cigarette
  • Individuals who make a career out of getting something for nothing

They all make me angry … because the abuse “the system” … but not nearly as angry as George Niemiec and his wife, Shirley, of Virginia Beach, Virginia.  George, you see, relies on local firefighters to get in and out of bed every day.

Firefighters have been called to the Niemiec home more than 1,000 times … apparently, the couple thinks it’s perfectly fine to call twice a day … to help George in and out of bed.  And they’re obligated to go!

“When we decide to go to a call it’s not really whether or not we’re going to go, whether it’s an emergency or non-emergency.” – Virginia Beach Fire Department District Chief Kenneth Pravet

Sure, I feel bad for Mr. Niemiec but not bad enough to see tax dollars spent helping him out of bed every morning. Who does he think he is?! Sleep in a chair!

Apparently this is a growing problem in the city as they have seen a rise in the number of older people needing “lift assistance”.

“We wanted to keep him at home and the only help he needs is getting in and out of bed.” – Shirley Niemiec

Talk about working the system! These people say it saves them $150 per day.  I wonder just who they think is paying for this service?!

Cold hearted? What if every old person in your town called the fire department every time they need help getting out of bed?!  Ridiculous!

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