Puppies Predict the Super Bowl


If you’re not a fan of football (What? I don’t even….) there’s always the ever-popular Puppy Bowl, now in its tenth year. About 12 million people tuned in to this sporting event last year. This year’s festivities  start on Sunday at 3 PM on the Animal Planet — and the celebrity Obama dogs Sunny & Bo will be on hand to kick things off. Meet the starting lineup, but that’s just part of the team, there are 66 stars in all. Plus, meet the ever-popular halftime Kittie Stars. This year, there’s a special new feature: Penguin cheerleaders.

And you don’t have to worry about missing the Super Bowl because the puppies have already predicted this year’s winner!

Tips for Building a Super Bowl Snack Stadium & Hosting a Safe Party


Good news sports fans. We have detailed instructiond on how to build your own Super Bowl snack stadium. OK, it’s a little ambitious, and the teams will change from year to year — but it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a big hit!

deli-stadium

While it’s great to host a fun party, it’s also smart to consider ways to ensure that your guests will be safe and you can avoid any host liability. The Insurance Information Institute explains:

Social host liability, also known as “Dram Shop Liability” laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.

At the link above, you can find some tips to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these tips for party-goers and hosts:

Whether attending the game, watching at a sports bar or hosting a party, NHTSA reminds everyone that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. Before choosing to drink, choose your team’s MVP – a sober designated driver. NHTSA offers these additional safety tips:

  • Designate your sober driver or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are until you are sober.
  • Use your community’s sober ride program.
  • Never let friends leave your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink.
  • Always buckle up – it’s still your best defense against other drunk drivers.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:

Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.

  • Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange alternate transportation.
  • Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.
  • Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.

Crowboarding: This snow is for the birds!


This crow knows how to deal with the snow – it’s having a blast “crow”boarding down a roof. Crows and ravens really enjoy the snow – they like to take “snow baths.”

While we humans can also enjoy the snow, first and foremost, we have to take care of business. Here are some resources to help you cope.

Sharing the road with snowplows – common sense tips for driving safely near plows and heavy equipment.
Brrr… are you prepared for the cold if your car gets stranded? – if you do have to drive in storms, here is some advice on what to keep in your car emergency kit
Snow shoveling and snow removal safety – basic tips to help you avoid problems from shoveling.
Are you ready for snowy, icy roads? Hone your winter driving skills – a fun way to brush up on your seasonal skills and maybe even learn something new
Dealing with ice dams and other winter weather hazards – advice should you have ice dams or snow overload problems post storm.

Central New England Scam Alert: the FBI Isn’t Calling You About a Loan


phone scamThe regional office of the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to beware of a phone scam in which a caller claims to be from the FBI.

“The Better Business Bureau of Central New England (BBB), based in Worcester, issued the warning in response to a call from an area resident. According to the BBB, the scammer stated the FBI has been monitoring the consumer’s online activity and is looking to collect on an outstanding loan balance. To clear the debt, the consumer must wire transfer money to the officer, the BBB said.” Learn more about this latest phone scam in the Worcester Business Journal

It’s one that has been going around for quite some time in various parts of the country and the callers are very aggressive and threatening. See the FBI’s notice:New Twists to Telephone Collection Scam Related to Delinquent Payday Loans  

Penguins, the Poop Cruise & Other Travel Stories That Should Remind You of Trip Insurance


andrew-peacock-reutersphoto: Andrew Peacock of the Australian Antarctic Expedition, Reuters

We were captivated by the Arctic rescue of scientists and tourists from the icebound Akademik Shokalskiy. See some fascinating photo galleries by Andrew Peacock of the Australian Antarctic Expedition, Reuters here and here.

It reminded us how often unplanned circumstances can make for “memorable” travel adventures. We came across one story about just such unplanned events that we found both amusing and appalling: Poop cruise! And 30 other outrageous travel stories of 2013. The title refers to last year’s nightmare cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. The poor passengers first had to suffer an onboard fire, a terrifying experience that resulted in the loss of all power.  It took the crippled boat 5 days to drift into port: 5 long days with thousands of people stuck on a ship with no electricity or working toilets. The horror!

If you are planning any vacations for a mid-winter break, we hope these stories won’t put you off. Unplanned “adventures” can happen at home or abroad – that’s what insurance is for. Consider protecting any costly travel plans with some trip insurance. It may not protect you from unexpected encounters with penguins, poop, or other problems, but could help to minimize any associated risks should havoc ensue. The Insurance Information Institute offers a good rundown on the major types of travel insurance: including Trip Cancellation, Lost Baggage, Medical, Dental, Emergency Evacuation, 24 Hour Traveler Assistance, Baggage Delay, Travel Delay, and Accidental Death Coverages. Some policies also have options for Collision/Damage coverage for rented cars.

And don’t forget – when going on vacation, there are some steps you should take before leaving: Going on vacation? 5 steps to secure your home while you are away!