It’s not Thanksgiving Without the Beer

It’s not Thanksgiving Without the Beer

Oct 08

Beer and food go together like a bird and the sky. I’ve been trying my hand at cooking different foods lately, and I’ve got to say, I’m getting pretty good at this.

I’ve always enjoyed being the grill master when it comes to cooking for a group of people. I like the excuse to step outside, away from all the action, and just focus on good cuts of meat being cooked to perfection. I can use charcoal, but I have better control with propane.

Now that summer is over, I’m going to miss grilling salmon while drinking beer. I use a soy-based glaze and marinate the meat for a few hours before I stick it on the foil with the scales down. After about 15 minutes, the skin comes right off, and you’ve got the perfect serving of fish. I always watch to see when the meat starts to release the white fat in the fish, that’s when I know it’s getting close to being just right. The trick is remembering that the fish will cook a little more after you take it off the grill, so use a fork in the thickest part and make sure it’s close enough to take off the heat. By the time everyone sits down at the table, it’ll be flawless.

My girlfriend loves to drink wine with her meals, but I’m more of a beer drinker, especially when it comes to grilling. I’ve been drinking lighter lagers and refreshing pilsners in the summer heat, but now that I wear my jacket out, I’m moving towards darker beers.

I’m hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year, and I’m planning on having a beer tasting while my family is there. We’re the type of family that shows up at someone’s house and hangs around for a few days, so it’s best to have some activities planned. I’ve got a list going, but I’m really excited to try some seasonal Thanksgiving Ale. It all sounds delicious, and I know my family and friends can all enjoy it for the whole duration of their stay with a Growler Chill! I’ve got plenty to be thankful for this year, and beer is at the top of my list, behind family and friends of course. Once, I was carrying a twelve pack inside with one hand, and the handle broke, but none of the bottles shattered! It was a Thursday night miracle!

This year I’m going to try to fry a turkey for the first time. I’ve been exploring different cooking styles, and it’s time. I can’t stand dry turkey, and my oven is a piece of crap. Frying it also just sounds like fun. I’ve got a wooden deck and house insurance, so what could go wrong?

Yeah right. I’ve seen way too many fried turkey-fail videos to make that mistake. I’ll be set up in the driveway surrounded by five feet of concrete under the frier in every direction. Cold beer, hot oil, and fried turkey. I think it’s going to be a great Thanksgiving.

The Ethics of Football

The Ethics of Football

Aug 29

As the undeniable link between football and brain injury grows, many people are asking the same question: am I contributing to the problem by actively participating in the continuation of this sport through my support? According to one mother, interviewed in an article written for The Des Moines Register, her doctor likened playing football to doing cocaine as “the brain damage he saw in football players’ brains mirrored that of cocaine addicts.” She and many parents have chosen not to let their children play the sport when their doctors shared the same experiences. So, this begs the question, is it morally corrupt to not let your own family members participate in the sport while still actively watching those that already do play?

In the same article, a study was cited wherein over 100 ex-NFL players’ brains were studied, and nearly every one (110 out of 111, was the final count) suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is described as a degenerative brain disease that’s caused by repetitive brain trauma. Since this kind of injury is so indicative of football—you just can’t have the sport without the contact—and not other types of games, there’s a question about supporting a game where regardless of intent, players may be actively getting themselves killed. There are many programs in place that are meant to offset those with obvious brain degeneration in sports, but they have been sued in the past for failing to protect people with brain injuries who play football. Then, there is the final question of choice. If a player is actively putting themself on the field, why in the world would supporting the sport be unethical? Unfortunately, there is a lot that is contrary to that notion. For one, many of these studies noting the detriment of football on the player are relatively new. People who had gone into the sports years ago and are just now hearing about these issues, may not want to leave or cannot. If these programs in place to help injured players keep on getting sued with the help of Des Moines personal injury attorneys, then isn’t something wrong?

I’m of the opinion that watching these sports is directly contributing to the problem via the funds that come in through support. If something is this lucrative, then why would anyone stop doing it. The author of the article agrees, but something is nagging: what can one viewer do against the millions that consume the sport? It’s true. Widespread access to these studies often fails to draw any sort of support in favor of abandoning the sport to try to save people. So what is there to do?

When it comes to consuming football, is it really ethical to be doing so? I’ve discussed many different sides to this story, including the personal morals behind the decision, whether or not players’ choice plays a role and the presence of programs that (fail) to help these players. Unfortunately, it seems there is no clear answer to this problem.

Dischargeable Debts

Dischargeable Debts

May 23

It is important that you consult with a bankruptcy lawyer before you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The process may sound simple, but many complex issues may arise that require specific knowledge about bankruptcy law. Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in Dallas do more than simply file your petition to the state bankruptcy court. One of the most crucial is identifying dischargeable debts.

Chapter 7 is primarily a petition to the bankruptcy court to discharge your debts. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, the court will allow you to do just that. This will help you get rid of your debt burden so that you can move on with your life. However, the court will require you to liquidate all your assets so that you can pay off as much as you can before you get a clean slate.

Dischargeable debts do not disappear. They are still on record, but the court issues an injunction against the creditors so that they can no longer collect from you. Dischargeable debts include:

  • Credit card debts
  • Department store credit cards
  • Foreclosures
  • Medical Bills
  • Payday loans
  • Personal loans
  • Repossessions
  • Signature loans
  • Some (not all) tax debt
  • Utility bills

As a rule of thumb, debts in which the lender has no security interest (unsecured debt) are dischargeable. This means that no property has been used as collateral to secure the debt, such as in a home mortgage. However, it is crucial to understand that even for unsecured debts there are exceptions, such as with tax debts.

Depending on your particular situation, Chapter 7 may be your best option, or it could get you into deeper trouble. Before doing anything, consult with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer in your area. Your lawyer will be able to discuss the nitty-gritty of your financial position and advise you accordingly.

What is a Special Flood Hazard Area?

What is a Special Flood Hazard Area?

Mar 18

One of the biggest concerns of homeowners in certain states is the risk of flooding. Floods can pose a serious threat to life and property. California in particular has experienced several instances of flooding, particularly in 1995 with 28 deaths and $1.8 billion in economic losses. In 1996-1997, a series of subtropical storms hit the state, causing floods in areas not typically associated with flood hazards. More recently, floods in Southern California killed one person, forced thousands of people from their homes, and caused irreparable damage to 18 homes.

In response to these developments, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency mapped out special flood hazard areas (SFHA), which are those that may experience flood or mudflow based on a number of factors, including erosion levels. The areas all have 1-percent-annual-chance (1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year) for a flood event or shallow flooding and marked on a Flood Insurance Rate Map and designated as:

  • Zone A – flood event, Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) shown
  • Zone AE and A1-30 – flood event, BFEs shown
  • Zone AH – shallow flooding (ponding), with average depths of one to three feet
  • Zone AO – shallow flooding (sheet flow), with average depths of one to three feet
  • Zone AR – decertified areas with flood protection systems in the process of being restored
  • Zone A99 – flood event, subject to completion of a Federal flood protection system
  • Zone V – flood event, with the added danger associated with storm-induced waves
  • Zone VE and V1-30 – flood event, with the added danger associated with storm-induced velocity wave action

These designations can change depending on events, so it is important to always be updated on any changes. Home sellers should have no problems with providing a Standardized Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement to potential buyers if they have a natural hazard disclosure report on hand. Order a report from a natural hazard disclosure company online and get it within minutes.

Social Security Disability Claims

Social Security Disability Claims

Nov 07

Most people often give up when they receive notice that their disability benefit claim has been denied after their application. A denial of benefits claim does not necessarily mean you are not qualified – although statistics vary from state to state, say from San Antonio Texas to Kansas Missouri – generally 7 out of 10 applications are denied due to a variety of reasons. Fortunately, you can always appeal your case once they have been denied.

After receiving are denied disability benefits claim, it would be advisable, even by many lawyers, to ask for an appeal immediately. It may be necessary to appear before an Administrative Law Judge in a disability hearing, although they don’t usually happen until a year or two after the first application. Appealing for your disability case can be done online or in person through a request for appeal form. Remember that you can only appeal your case within 60 days after you have received the “denied” notice.

Because reapplying can only result to being denied again (possibly because of the same reasons as the first application), appealing your case reaps better results and possibly be given benefits. In order to have your case approved upon an appeal, make sure to know the reason why your first application was denied. This will give you insight on how to properly file and proceed. It would also be beneficial to consult with a Social Security Disability lawyer, someone who knows and understand these cases. Then, make sure to inform your lawyer or the Social Security Office about your appeal.

Initial letters from the Social Security may be positive, but most Social Security disability claims are often denied, therefore it is common to hear these cases being appealed. Appealing for one or more times may be inevitable. It may be time-consuming and needs more effort and patience that you seem to handle, but getting a disability benefit is all worth it.

Federal Laws that Protect the Rights of Non-exempt Employees to Overtime Work and Pay

Federal Laws that Protect the Rights of Non-exempt Employees to Overtime Work and Pay

Jun 21

Federal and state laws protecting the rights of millions of employees all across America are in full implementation, making them more than enough to rid workplaces of unfair labor practices. Two federal laws that were enacted to safeguard employees’ rights were the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Portal-to-Portal Act. The first, also called the Wages and Hours Bill, is a federal law that gives directives on the national minimum wage, on the allowable amount of work hours per week, on how much pay employees ought to receive for overtime work and on child labor; the second, or the Portal-to-Portal Act, passed into law in 1947, states that any work performed for the employer’s benefit, regardless of time, should be taken as work time deserving compensation.

Despite these laws many unscrupulous employers continue to find ways to treat employees unjustly, with many of them even getting away with their unjust practices. Fear of losing their employment is among the major reasons why affected employees choose to be silent rather than complain against employers. One unlawful labor practice most frequently suffered by so many employees is denial of pay for overtime work rendered.

Not all employees can render overtime work, though, but those who are qualified to do so, also known as non-exempt employees, ought to receive overtime pay for all hours worked in excess to the required 40 hours work per week. And their pay, as the law orders, should be equivalent to 150 percent of their hourly rate (or time and a half). Exempt employees, or those who cannot render overtime, include executives, administrators, professionals, certain farm and agricultural workers, housekeepers, some transportation workers, external salespeople and independent contractors.

Regardless of the type of employment you have, full-time, part-time, temporary, salaried or hourly employee, in a private or public firm, so long as you are non-exempt, then you can earn overtime and ought to receive the pay that you deserve.

Insurance Firms and their Strategies for Avoiding Paying You Your Due

Insurance Firms and their Strategies for Avoiding Paying You Your Due

Jun 19

With winds raging to at least 74 mph or 119 kilometers per hour, these large, swirling storms called hurricanes are able to destroy or damage houses, buildings and trees or anything else that lie in their path. And with another active and rough hurricane season for 2013, the US faces another surge of destructive calamities, hopefully not as violent as the 2005 category 3 hurricane Katrina, though, one of the most destructive and deadliest Atlantic hurricanes of 2005, which claimed more than 1,500 lives and damaged between $81 and $108 billion worth of properties.

Your basement is the perfect place to keep you safe probably even during the deadliest hurricanes, but it is not big enough to contain all of your precious belongings and properties. Thus, no matter how much you want to save everything you have, many of your valued possessions will get damaged or destroyed – this is one horrid fact you will have to face and be prepared for.

Good thing, though, you can file for hurricane insurance claim from your insurance company and receive the amount that can help you start anew and replace some of the properties you have lost. In assessing damaged properties, insurance providers usually hire independent adjusting firms to do this job for them. With the adjuster new on the job, though, or by examining your property when the actual extent of damages are not really apparent yet, wrong estimations are, more often than not, made.

Those familiar with insurance laws, especially insurance claims attorneys, interpret these inaccurate estimations as just among the strategies employed by insurance companies to evade paying huge amounts to claimants, losing profits in the process. Besides undervaluing the amount of damaged and lost properties, other strategies they employ include delayed release of your benefits or complete rejection of the claims you file.

However complex insurance policies are there are lawyers who are fully familiar both with these policies’ stipulations and with insurance firms’ strategies, which will keep them from paying you the right amount. Losing what you worked so hard for is enough suffering from a destructive calamity; denying you of your rightful benefits would be like adding insult to injury. Get help from an insurance claims lawyer and aim to receive the benefits you legally deserve.

Fill in those Spaces Left by Missing Teeth through Dental Bridges

Fill in those Spaces Left by Missing Teeth through Dental Bridges

Jun 15

Healthy gums and clean white teeth for a better look, greater smile and greater confidence! Dental health is what more and more Americans are really getting conscious about, leading them to seek and require more than just the traditional services from dental professionals. Because of dental health too, a greater number of American kids are being trained to consume less sugary treats and drinks, a great concern to manufacturers of sweet foods as these kids’ number only continue to increase.

How healthy your gums and teeth are is the result of how you cared for them in the past while maintaining their health requires keeping to daily routines of brushing and eating teeth-whitening food plus regular consultation with your dentist. But what with regard to those whose gums and teeth are not so healthy and pearly-white? This is where a cosmetic dentist can help you as turning your teeth to clean white, which is one of the many services he or she can render, is his or her expertise.

Cosmetic dentistry is dental work aimed at improving the appearance of you gums and teeth. Procedures included in this area of dentistry include:

  • Making teeth whiter through bleaching
  • Gum depigmentation
  • Addition of dental materials to teeth or gums, such as porcelain veneers, gum grafts or crowns
  • Reshaping of teeth which do not match the others
  • Removal of tooth structure or gums like in enameloplasty and gingivectomy
  • Closing of gaps between teeth

Another procedure most beneficial to those with missing teeth is dental bridges – these are actually false teeth that are fused between a couple of porcelain crowns, filling in toothless area. Also known as pontics, dental bridges are used to replace missing tooth / teeth. Dental bridges also help lessen threats of gum disease and improve speech. These can last ten years or more, depending on the care given to them.

If you need cosmetic dental treatment, make sure that you go to an expert on cosmetic dentistry. Many who claim to be experts actually perform shoddy works that only need to be corrected later on. Check cosmetic dentist’s works and ask their patients who they have already treated – extra acts of care for a satisfying complex and sensitive procedure.

Harsh Punishments: Effective Solution against Reckless Driving?

Harsh Punishments: Effective Solution against Reckless Driving?

Jun 13

In order to acquire a driver’s license applicant drivers are required to take a driver’s education course or read a driver’s manual, take a written test, a driving lesson to familiarize themselves with US roads and then a road test to determine how they would behave behind the wheel and on the road. Though states may vary in some requirements before finally granting you your license, each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which issues the license, intends to ensure that you know all traffic rules and that you will follow all these whenever you go for a drive.

Not all drivers religiously observe and follow all traffic rules, though – probably not those that would inconvenience them or delay their travel time, especially if they need to be on time for an appointment. This can be the reason why, despite continuous ads and reminders about safe driving, the incidents of road accidents and car wrecks continue to increase every year. Though many road accidents are due to factors beyond the control of the driver, such as road defects or defective car parts, much more accidents can still be attributed to driver error, over-speeding and reckless driving – road behaviors that always put the lives of other motorists and pedestrians in danger.

By driving recklessly, you simply show that you prioritize your convenience over the safety of someone else. According to the website of car accident lawyers from The Williams Kherkher Law Firm, many reckless drivers are guilty of one or more of the following:

  • Tailgating
  • Not slowing down or stopping on stop sings and red lights
  • Choosing not to use signal lights
  • Speeding
  • Allowing themselves to be distracted while driving
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Weaving between lanes

If the thought of moral obligation will not make you observe and obey traffic rules, then probably time behind bars, revocation of your license or big fines will make you do it. Causing road accidents and injuring someone else in the process can be a civil or criminal offense; it will also require you to compensate the victim for whatever financial suffering he or she will undergo due to your recklessness.

Save Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuses; House Them only in the Best Nursing Homes

Save Your Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuses; House Them only in the Best Nursing Homes

Jun 12

Finding the right nursing home for someone you hold dear, one that will surely provide them with the best care possible can be a hard task, especially with all the news about nursing home abuses. All across the United States there are about 16,000 nursing homes with an estimated 3.3 million residents who may be elders, young adults with physical or mental disability or accident victims requiring therapy and rehabilitation – all needing regular nursing care and assistance in their daily needs, such as eating, bathing and toileting.

Despite the large number of residents, many nursing homes, also called convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities (SNF), actually suffer from lack of registered nurses, nurses’ aides and staff. Many staff members are even insufficiently trained and, with so much work to do and so many things and residents to attend to on a daily basis, some experience burnout and loss of compassion; these and many other reasons result to abuses by many home personnel – physical, psychological and, the worst, sexual abuses.

Records for the past 10 years indicate millions of residents abused either by staff or by their co-residents (some of whom are also forced by the same staff). The most degrading and wicked type of abuse is sexual, though it is the least reported due to the humiliation it makes the victims feel. Forced nudity, fondling, showing of pornographic material to forced penetrative acts constitute this type of abuse. Oftentimes this abuse can be detected through the victim’s sudden silence, unexplained scars, paranoia, anxiety or over-sensitivity to touch.

In an effort to significantly reduce the number of abuses residents experience, US states threaten offenders with a charge of felony. Besides this, and on a more positive note, federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has come up with a list of Best Nursing Homes on the basis of  nurse staffing, quality care and health inspections. Ratings range from 1 to 5 stars and, as of January 2013, out of the total number of nursing homes which allow use of Medicaid or Medicare, the federal government has rated 3,036 nursing homes with 5 stars each. The top twenty states and their number of 5-star nursing homes are:

1. California (with 312 top nursing homes)
2. Pennsylvania (160)
3. Illinois (156)
4. Florida (141)
5. Ohio (137)
6. Texas (130)
7. New York (116)
8. Massachusetts (111)
9. Iowa (103)
10. Wisconsin (100)
11. Michigan (87)
12. Indiana (87)
13. New Jersey (85)
14. Minnesota (79)
15. Missouri (78)
16. Kansas (78)
17. North Carolina (69)
18. Connecticut (64)
19. Virginia (60)
20. Georgia (59)

Though a 5-star rating may be said as not a full guarantee to provision of perfect care and absence of abuse, nursing homes that received such rating from the federal government remain to be the most sensible places where to house someone you love.