A Blog About Blogs: Blogging’s Most Popular Topics

A Blog About Blogs: Blogging’s Most Popular Topics

If you are reading this, you obviously are a blog reader. Have you ever wondered what some of the most popular topics for blogs have been? Here’s a look at ten of the top blog subjects that are being posted. 

Political Topics

This can fluctuate seasonally and year by year, but political topics seem to always make their way into the top ten list of popular topics.

Financial Blogs

Another popular subject are blogs about money and financial matters. Topics can range from paying off credit cards to refinancing a home to the best investments of the day. Some may have more and some may have less, but we all have money, making it a subject readers love to learn about.

Blogs About Sports

Take the number of sports, multiplied by the number of colleges and leagues times the number of cities and colleges, and you’ll still come up shy of the number of people who love, and love to read about, sports. Many athletes and retired athletes have their own blogs, adding insight into the subject.

Blogs About Being a Parent

Young parents are as likely to read a blog or consult an online parenting group as to ask their own parents for advice. We can only guess that is because young parents want advice from young parents, not old parents. In any event, blogs about bringing up children are usually well-read.

Fitness Blogs

Apparently we enjoy reading about fitness more than we like to do it. Fitness gurus tend to do well with blogs about staying physically fit.

Fashion Blogs

There are those who stress over their wardrobes and there are those who will wear whatever is clean. The interesting thing is that neither can imagine living like the other. Only one group, however, would care about a fashion blog, but apparently it is a pretty big group.

Music Blogs

We may have differing tastes but most of us like music. Whether you just listen to it or play it professionally, reading about it can bring us a new perspective. Who wouldn’t want to read a writer’s take on a song they composed, especially if it’s one of your favorites.

Travel Blogs

Blogs about travel are terrific when you want to visit someplace you’ve never been to. Travel blogs are exploding with subjects ranging from conquering Europe by bike to traveling the Americas by car. If you want to do it, odds are someone already has, and perhaps has even blogged about it.

Lifestyle Blogs

Lifestyle blogs are so popular, in part, because they are so wide-ranging. They may include the arts, design, architecture, hobbies, movies and more. Seems everyone is passionate about something, and they just may want to blog about it.

Blogs About Cooking and Food

It has always been a popular subject in bookstores, has enjoyed a resurgence on television and that has carried over into online blogs. We just can’t seem to get enough cook tips, recipes, and 30 minute ides for dinner.

We noticed the subject of insurance wasn’t on the list. We may be perplexed but we remain resolute. If you feel the need to discuss life, home, auto or business insurance, feel free to contact us.

Things You May Not Know About Radio

Things You May Not Know About Radio

Radio, specifically broadcast radio, was invented by Italian Guglielmo Marconi in 1895 when he both sent and received a radio signal to himself. Contrary to popular belief, the first commercial took years to hit the airwaves. The first commercial radio station in the United States was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, which signed on in 1920, some quarter century later. KDKA’s call sign is in itself an anomaly as stations East of the Mississippi start with a “W” and those West of the Mississippi start with a “K”. Here are some other facts you may not know about radio.

Radio Comes in Two Basic Flavors

AM Radio (Amplitude Modulated) and FM (Frequency Modulated) radio are its two basic choices. While AM radios have been in cars since the 1930s, it took until the early 70s for FM radios to gain popularity in cars. FM offers a clearer signal, and originally was host to classical and “underground” rock stations in its early days.

Radio Stations are Required to Keep a “Public Inspection File”

This file should contain the station’s license info, information about how it is addressing the needs of the community, how it posts jobs and other information about citizen concerns. Stations are required to make this info available to those who request it.

Those Annoying EAS Tests are Required

A follow-up to the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), EAS tests are required for broadcast radio stations. The required tests are initiated by large regional stations and outlets, and “trickle down” to small local stations. This is why some tests occur in the middle of programming, or your favorite song as you were singing.

Your City’s Favorite Station May Not Be Licensed to Your Community

Since radio has few borders, what you think may be a radio station in your city may actually be licensed to a nearby community. Radio station’s, however, must include the city of license in what is known as a “Legal ID” near the top of each hour.

There’s a Good Chance Those DJs Aren’t “Live”

More radio stations are being voice tracked than ever. This means your mid-day DJ may also be doing mid-days in two or three other communities. Their voices are recorded ahead of time and “tracked” between songs. Generally, you can tell if the announcer is live if they give the precise time of day and temperature during a broadcast.

While listening to actual physical radios may be down, we still enjoy radio through smart devices and internet streaming. Radio remains popular, particularly in the morning when many are still too busy to pay attention to TV or alternative choices.

Commercial radio in the United States is celebrating over 100 years of broadcasting, and in spite of reports of its imminent demise, it is still going strong.

The Humble Little Red Wagon

The Humble Little Red Wagon

Did you have a little red wagon when you were growing up? If it was simple and made of metal, you may be dating yourself.

A simple, humble red wagon was the SUV of its time for any six-year-old. You could get pulled in it, and you could pull someone in it. You could haul a load of toys or a load of dirt. Sit in front and fold the handle towards you, and provided you could get someone to push you from behind, you had a race car or a Batmobile If you didn’t fall out of it and scrape an arm or a leg while turning too suddenly, then you just weren’t going fast enough. Plus, that little red wagon was fun for the whole family. You could share it with a sibling or a bag of groceries. Mom could use it for gardening. It was a marvelous, simple, durable, sharable toy, tool and vehicle.

About the biggest option it had were some wooden sides that could be installed that could improve its carrying capacity. Alright, it may not have been the safest designs, but it was certainly no set of lawn darts either.

That humble, little red wagon has given way to something else. Something nearly unrecognizable. It has given way to a giant plastic monstrosity with a handle that doesn’t even fold back, so you can drive it like Mario Andretti or even Mario and Luigi.

No, instead these giant plastic beasts have mostly hollow bodies with hollow plastic tires. They can come with a sunshade, dual folding “stow and go” plastic seats, seat belts and cup holders. Cup holders?

Things change, that’s for sure. What hasn’t changed is the need to protect assets and your family through insurance. Whether it is home, life, business or car insurance, our professionals can help. They can assist you in finding the insurance you need and deserve at a price you can feel comfortable with. They can even help you find discounts you may qualify for. Contact one of our agents today for a no obligation price quote.

The Disappearing Copper Penny

The Disappearing Copper Penny

Every few years there seems to be another campaign to rid America of the one cent coin, more commonly known as the penny. The penny, of course, is the smallest denomination of coin minted in this country, but that wasn’t always the case. From 1793 through 1853, a penny was still so valuable that a half-cent coin was minted for those 70 years. Today, those half-cent coins, in good condition, can be valued in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Few know that Paul Revere, a blacksmith, supplied copper for some of those first pennies.

Indian head pennies, named for the Native American image that appeared on the coin’s face, were minted in the United States from 1859 to 1909. From 1859 to 1864, the coins were minted using 88% copper and 12% nickel.

Indian head pennies were replaced by Lincoln cents, which featured the image of President Abraham Lincoln. The coins debuted in 1909, the centennial of his birth. The original reverse side featured two stalks of wheat, and became known as “wheat cents” or wheat pennies. That design was changed in 1959 when the wheat image was replaced by that of the Lincoln Memorial. There was a time in 1943, during World War II, when pennies were minted out of steel instead of copper, to save the more valuable metal.

From 1959 through 1962, pennies were composed of 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin. Tin was removed in 1962 and from 1962 until 1982, pennies were 95% copper and 5% zinc. This is important to note in that pennies minted prior to 1982 where largely copper. This makes the copper metal in the pre-1982 penny worth more than its one cent face value. With post-1982 one cent pieces being manufactured with mostly zinc with a thin coating of copper, it is understandable why the mainly copper pennies are disappearing from circulation.

In spite of the lower costs in metal, today’s pennies still cost the U.S. Government 1.76 cents to manufacture. The nickel costs 7.42 cents to make. In short, the country is losing money while making it.

Are you spending too much on auto, home, business or life insurance? How would you know unless you compare? Contact one of our independent insurance agents for your no cost, no obligation quote today.

America’s Favorite Party Cities

America’s Favorite Party Cities

Just about every major city in America could be considered a “party city”. There always seems to be something going on in New York, L.A., San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston. These are towns with major league sports teams, large arenas and concert venues and vibrant urban areas. But there are other smaller, in some cases much smaller, cities and towns that are known for their party atmosphere. In fact, just saying some of their names will conjure up images of partying in the streets. Here are some of America’s Favorite Party Cities

New Orleans

While most people think of New Orleans for its Mardi Gras celebrations each year, the city has parades and music festivals almost every week and the French Quarter is bustling almost every night. The city is home to the Super Dome, bringing a steady stream of fresh partiers with every major sporting event and convention it holds. New Orleans is also the birthplace of Jazz, is known for its Creole and Cajun cooking, and the city’s Jackson Square is a year round festival of music, entertainment, arts and crafts.

Las Vegas

The legalization of casino gambling throughout much of the country have taken a little luster from this party destination, people still travel from around the world to visit this playground for adults. This is a city where you are likely to see just about anything including zip-lining over Fremont Street, hi-rise roller coasters and thrill rides, alcoholic beverages as big as your head and, of course, lots and lots of non-stop gambling.

Daytona Beach

This city has an event filled calendar, many of which are centered around Motorsports and vehicles. The city is home to NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts multiple motorcycle and car racing events annually. It also brings in tens of thousands of bikers each Spring with Bike Week and every fall with its Biketoberfest events each of which is scheduled for a week but last much longer. Daytona Beach also is host to a myriad of competitions ranging from Cheerleading National Championships to jet-ski races. The wide, drivable beach also attracts thousands of spring-breakers every year.

Key West

This city at the tip of the Florida Keys has almost two party personalities. The first is the daytime, laid-back beach town party lifestyle. The other starts at sunset with street performers setting the scene for a party atmosphere that will last until the wee hours of the morning. The town is loaded with famous watering holes like Sloppy Joes, The Rum Bar and more, featuring a variety of live bands all of which seem to play Jimmy Buffett. The town really steps it up for Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

These are all cities that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Even if you aren’t a big fan of partying, the people watching alone is worth experiencing.

Spooky Places in America

Spooky Places in America

It seems almost every town has its haunted house, a famous urban legend, ghost story or other haunted places or tales. Others, however, seem to stand apart from the crowd when it comes to making the hair stand up on the back of the neck. Here are some such places in The United States.

Cassadaga, Florida

This small Florida town north of Orlando was founded by George P. Colby, known as a “trance medium” in about 1875. Colby is said to have worked with multiple spirit guides who gave him knowledge and advice. In a séance, one such guide, a Native American by the name of Seneca, told him to travel to Florida. It was there Colby set up his Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association and formed the town of Cassadaga. Today, the town contains a hotel, auditorium, library, healing center, bookstore, welcome center and its famous “Devil’s Chair”. Leave a full can of beer on the chair, and it is said it will be empty by morning. Sit in the chair and some believe you will see the devil himself. Uh, no thank you.

St. Augustine Florida

By day, it is a pleasant, bustling, even quaint tourist destination. By evening however, especially in the fall, it becomes a haven for ghost hunters and those looking for things that go bump in the night. St. Augustine has made quite the business of its long history as America’s oldest city, and that includes ghost tours on trams and in buggies. The Old City Jail is a haunting hotspot in the city.

Mansfield, Ohio

Mansfield is home to the old Ohio State Reformatory, known to many as “Shawshank” the prison in the movie based on a Stephen King story. While the movie had its frightening moments, the actual prison itself is flooded in an eerie atmosphere. Many of the cells and solitary remain along with the warden’s office. The attraction even offers visitors an opportunity to spend the night. “Get busy livin’…” or get me the heck outta here.

Moundsville, West Virginia

There are so many reasons the old West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia is so creepy it is hard to know where to start. Maybe it is because of its unsettling location literally in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Perhaps it is its classic Gothic-style construction that is so eerie. It could be the prison’s violent history which saw 36 homicides, 96 executions (mostly by hanging) and deadly riots. Spooky may not be a big enough word for this place.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans may be one of the few places that is scarier in the daylight. It is then you can see just how old the buildings in the French Quarter are and how thin are the streets are. It is in daylight when you can best visit the historic cemeteries and above ground crypts. There are, of course, the night-time haunted tours including visits to the Sultans Palace, LaLaurie Mansion and assorted haunted bars, bed and breakfasts and hotels.

Don’t be afraid to save on your auto, home, life or business insurance, especially when all it takes is a call. Put our independent insurance agents to work for you today!

Sweet Facts About Candy

Sweet Facts About Candy

Do you know what is the best-selling candy bar in the United States? What about the world? How does your favorite candy ranked among the world’s favorites? Here are some candy facts you may enjoy chewing on.

Snickers

Let’s end the suspense at the outset. The best-selling candy bar not only in the U.S. but the world is the Snickers bar, made by Mars. The candy company, however, was not named after the planet, but was the name of its founding family. The candy bar was named after the Mars’ family’s favorite pet horse, Snickers. Whoa, betcha didn’t know that.

What About Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?

While Reese’s may be second on the sales list, according to a 2019 Monmouth University study, the chocolate/peanut butter combo is actually named as America’s favorite. By the way, according to the Hershey company, the proper pronunciation of the peanut butter cup is “Rees-IS”, not Rees-EES”. Pass it on.

Alright, What About M&M’s?

M&M’s are both third on the sales list on the Monmouth University’s favorites list, making them the undisputed bronze medal winner. Do you know, however, what the M&M stands for in the name? Stay tuned.

Something for the Haters

What about the candies we love to hate? There are many “lists” on the subject, but it would appear that candies appearing frequently on the “hated lust include:

  • Circus Peanuts
  • Candy Corn
  • Black Licorice
  • Good & Plenty (You can’t disguise the taste of licorice by coating it in something else)
  • Peeps
  • Necco Wafers

What is your favorite candy, and what do you always pass upon? Everyone has their sweet spot. When it comes to home, auto, life and business insurance, let us help you find yours. We’ll search for the best coverage possible, but at a price you can feel comfortable with. Contact one of our independent agents today to get started!

By the way M&M stands for Mars and Murrie, the original stakeholders in the candy. When it comes to candy, you are now one of the Smarties!

Be smart when it comes to comparing insurance rates. Contact one of our independent insurance agents for your free quote today! We look forward to assisting you.

Surprising American Cities With Exceptional Zoos

Surprising American Cities With Exceptional Zoos

There are some world-class zoos in the United States including the Bronx Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. In between, however, there are some surprising gems in unexpected places. Here are some underrated and surprising zoological parks that dot the country.

The Toledo Zoo

This surprising zoo is sparkling clean and offers a variety of family friendly activities including train rides.This zoo has quietly built its reputation as one of the great places to visit in this Northwest Ohio community. The Zoo has almost 4,400 animals and the zoo has earned its nickname as “America’s Most Complete Zoo.”

The Brevard Zoo

Located along Florida’s east coast near Melbourne, the Brevard Zoo has several unique features like a head high giraffe viewing area where you can feed giraffe’s face to face and an ant farm-style prairie dog exhibit which can’t be missed. Of course, you’ll also see the obligatory gator exhibits including daily feedings. If you are heading to Florida’s Space Coast, be sure make Brevard Zoo a stop.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, this zoo offers some interesting personal encounters not found at other larger zoos, including those with sloths, kangaroos and others. There is also a fair share of lions, tigers and bears. This is a zoo that takes its visitors personally.

Indianapolis Zoo

This central Indiana zoo is perhaps most noted for being the only place in the Midwest where visitors can actually swim with the dolphins. There is also an exceptional Orangutan exhibit. For a significant extra fee, you can have a favorite animal create a work of art just for you.

Riverbanks Zoo

In Columbia, South Carolina, this zoo has a large collection of over 2,000 animals ranging from giraffes and penguins to Galapagos tortoises and sharks and eels. This zoo and aquarium has a definite tropical atmosphere to it.

Some other cities with exceptional zoos that don’t get a lot of attention include the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, The Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, The Fort Worth, Texas Zoo and the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. It is estimated that over 180 million people attend the nation’s zoos and aquariums each year. That’s more than all of our major league sports combined. Which ones will you explore?

Five Places in America Where You May Wonder If You Are Even on Earth

Five Places in America Where You May Wonder If You Are Even on Earth

There are places in the United States, most of which you can actually drive to, that appear to be not of this planet. Places so stunning, so unusual you will be compelled to stand in wonder and amazement. These are places where you may even feel rejuvenated, reconnected and uplifted. Sure Washington DC is impressive and Niagara Falls beautiful. But these five places are so amazing, you may feel like you have traveled to a distant planet. Here are five places right here in America, where you may feel like you are not even on Earth anymore.

The Badlands

The native Lakota people called this area of South Dakota “Mako Sica” or “Bad Lands” because of its inhospitable terrain, lack of water and difficult climate. A drive through what is now Badlands National Park is impressive, inspiring and almost a bit unbelievable. If it weren’t for the cars, people, roads and occasional signage it is not difficult to imagine you have been transported elsewhere in the universe.

Grand Canyon

While it may seem Las Vegas is on another planet, travel east of the city into Arizona to take in Grand Canyon National Park. There are simply so many ways to experience this natural wonder you may not know where to begin. View it from a helicopter, horse or mule or take a hike. Travel down the river at its depths or stand on its edge. It is awesome and amazing, and it can have you questioning just what planet you are on.

The National Parks of Utah

Take your pick. Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon or Canyonlands National Park will have you recalling scenes from some of your favorite sci-fi movies. Perhaps because so many at least were partially filmed here. Between standing in awe, taking photos and posting to social media, time will just fly when you experience these natural wonders. It is no wonder they are known as “The Mighty 5.”

Yellowstone National Park

While most of Yellowstone National Park lies in Wyoming, it also reaches into Montana and even into Idaho. It is easy to understand why it became our first National Park, with its mountains, waterfalls, and natural beauty. But a visit to the geyser region with its bubbling sulfur pits may have you believing you are no longer on Earth. The strong smell of sulfur and steaming pits may make you think you have traveled elsewhere. Even Old Faithful, a tourist hotspot, is still impressive if you can imagine it without its signs, fencing and dozens deep crowds.

Alaska

Alaska is the least visited state in the country and the people there like it that way. There is no question it is hard to get from one place to another and the winter temperatures are brutal. Since it was once part of Russia even many of this state’s cities have names that sound like they are from another planet.

The real beauty of these places is that every experience is unique, and no single photo can capture the essence of them. Need a vacation? Try some of these unworldly destinations right here in the USA.

Are You Normal?

Are You Normal?

Have you ever wondered if you were normal? What actually IS normal today? If normal is being average or even in the majority, the following statistics can help you determine if you are indeed “normal”.

Net Worth

Your net worth is the value of your assets minus your debts. Since we tend to build worth as we age, on average, the “normal” person increases their net worth as they age. For example, the average net worth of an American under 35 is about $76,000. That increases to about $435,000 for those 35-44 and is over $800,000 by 45-54. Most “normal” Americans have an average net worth of over $1 million by age 55 but the “median” net worth is just over $210,000 at that time. That means about half the people 55 or older have a net worth of over $210,000 and half have a net worth under $210,000.

Education

About 90% of Americans have a high school education or have earned a GED. About 35% have earned a Bachelor’s Degree. Only about 13% have a Master’s Degree.

Debt

Are you above or below average when it comes to personal, consumer debt? If you added up all your debts (credit cards, car loans, mortgage etc.) how much do you owe? Statistics indicate the average American has about $93,000 in debts. It would then seem if you have less than that, you would be considered above average. Like golf, this is one case where the lower score wins.

Credit Score

One area where a higher score is above average is in your credit score. The average credit rating for Americans is 711, which is considered “good”. By raising that score to 740, you would have a “very good” credit rating. Hit 800 or above, and you have “excellent” credit. Even credit scores ranging from 580 to 669 are considered “fair”.

Prescription Drugs

Americans take an estimated 3 billion prescriptions per year. Estimates say that about 70% of us are on at least one prescription drug at any given time and 20% of us take five or more prescription drugs. It is a bit hard to define what is normal about those figures.

Sometimes what is “normal” can make us feel better about ourselves, and in some cases worse. Perhaps the real question is how “normal” do you really want to be?