Trivia Questions on Spring Training Baseball in Florida

Spring training baseball is an important part of life in Florida and Arizona during the waning days of winter. Although spring training games have been going on almost as long as there have been professional baseball, these games have taken on more interest every year. Possibly because there are more retirees living in Arizona and Florida now who come out and watch these games, attendance records are being set almost every year, and it is estimated that the Cactus League (training in Arizona) accounts for $ 300 million a year in economic impact for the greater Phoenix Metro Area.

So to test your knowledge of this growing pastime for some of the country, let's see how you can do with some trivia questions.

1. How many states now host spring training baseball in the United States? Only two now, but that wasn't always the case. Presently Arizona and Florida are home to 15 teams each, the only two states that have spring training baseball.

2. When did spring training baseball start? It first kicked off in the 1890s, and by 1910 most teams had gotten into the act.

3. Did teams always conduct spring training in Arizona and Florida? Early on they trained in a variety of venues. They were spread out in a variety of places. For instance, the Pittsburgh Pirates trained in Honolulu, Hawaii for a while, the Brooklyn Dodgers trained in Cuba and the Dominican Republic in the 1940s and as did the Yankees in the 50s. Training and games were also conducted in northern Mexico and Puerto Rico. California was also popular before major league baseball reached the state in 1958.

4. Was spring training suspended during the World War II? Not fully suspended, but most had abbreviated schedules. And in order to conserve rail transport for the war effort, they moved their training sites closer to their respective cities. This meant that all spring training was done in an area north of the Ohio River and eats of the Mississippi River.

5. Who was given credit for starting the Cactus League in Arizona? That would go to that loveable maverick and former club owner Bill Veeck. According to his autobiography, after an incident in Orlando, Florida that offended him because it was racist, later when he bought the Cleveland Indians he decided to buck tradition and train in Tucson, Arizona. He then convinced the New York Giants to move to Phoenix, thus starting the present-day Cactus League.

If you're in Florida during the end of February and nearly all March, there are many places to go to watch some baseball. It's just another great thing to do when you vacation in Florida, and at the time when you have had enough of the snow and cold weather in the north. I hope you learned just a little bit more of the history of this truly American rite of spring.

Doin’ the Disney Drive: Tips for Happy Road Trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Your family’s summer road trip to Walt Disney World is just around the bend, and maybe you’re beginning to identify with the Clark W. Griswold family, from “National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation.” Then again, with a little planning, maybe your journey won’t be a comedy of errors. Head down to the local video store, rent a copy of “Summer Vacation,” enjoy the family’s visit to Roy Wally World, and learn how NOT to drive cross-country. Afterwards, you may find some of these tips useful:

Have a place to crash. Nobody likes a late-night motel hunt, so if you reserve ahead you’ll be the family hero. If you’d rather keep your schedule flexible, create a list of alternate stopping points that offer decent meals and lodging (don’t forget the phone numbers). Phone ahead during the afternoon, once you have a better idea of how the day is shaping up, to be sure there’s a room waiting for you.

Keep the kids busy. Many families bring enough games and activities to last the entire journey, and some invest in DC-powered TV/VCR combos, or portable DVD players. Books-on-tape (or CD) are another great idea. The Harry Potter books are more than enough for a two-day journey in each direction.

Get tuned up. Nothing is more expensive or frustrating than a breakdown when you’re far from home. Service your car before you leave — check the tires, brakes, transmission and air conditioning, change the oil, and top-off all fluids. Take extra care if you’re driving your motor home or pulling a trailer — schedule a checkup several weeks in advance, just in case you need a special part.

Be safe. Let’s not fool ourselves. Driving is still more dangerous than flying. Improve your family’s odds by switching drivers frequently and traveling no more than 500 miles per day. 24-hour marathon drives may get you there sooner, but you’ll pay for it in risk and exhaustion. And face it, after a high-energy Disney vacation, the last thing anyone needs is a drowsy driver behind the wheel on the way home.

Do AAA. Make the most of your AAA membership and use its travel discounts, the latest news on highway construction, all the maps you can possibly want, and their famous Trip-Tik route planning service. If you don’t have a membership, a long car trip is a good excuse to get one.

Have fun on the way. Why put your vacation on hold until you reach Disney? Plan visits to nearby points of interest. Just what roads do lead to Orlando, and what are the sights?

East Coast travelers usually cruise south on I-95, switching to I-4 near Daytona. Popular side trips along the way include Washington D.C., Williamsburg, VA, Cape Hatteras, NC, Charleston, SC, and the Daytona/Cape Canaveral area in Florida.

Drivers a bit farther inland (to as far west as Pittsburgh) pick routes that include I-77, I-79 and/or I-81, eventually joining I-95 in South Carolina. For a great side route for history and nature buffs, stay on I-81 all the way to Knoxville, TN, where it joins I-75 for the march through Georgia. National Parks and Civil War battle sites dot the route from Gettysburg, PA down through the Shenandoah Valley (did you know Disney once wanted to build a theme park here?), and on through the Smoky Mountains.

I-75 figures into the plans of nearly anyone from Ohio to Chicago, St. Louis and beyond, as nearly every preferred route merges with I-75 before it reaches Georgia. The Chattanooga Tennessee/Northern Georgia area has a variety of interesting natural and historic sites, and it’s a perfect choice for your half-way stopover. Those farther south and west inevitably gravitate towards I-10, which hugs the Gulf coast until it, too, meets I-75 in Florida (who can resist a stop in New Orleans?) Once on I-75, Disney World-bound travelers head south past Ocala, Florida to Florida’s Turnpike, which cuts southeast towards Orlando and I-4.

Here’s hoping that your road trip is the finest kind of adventure!

Copyright © Jennifer Marx, PassPorter Travel Press. All Rights Reserved.

Employee Handbook For Budget Suites Hotels

Traveling is a great activity that not only helps us to visit the different parts of the world but also gives us a chance to explore hidden lands and to know about different cultures and traditions followed by the people all around the world. So, even if you are on a budget trip you do not have to worry because these days there are various budget hotels and suites available all around the globe.

So, now let me tell you about some best budget suites hotels that would provide comfortable and pleasing stay for you and your family members.

1. Budget Inn and Suites

This clean and comfortable place is located in Mount Ephraim, New Jersey. Some of the facilities that you can find here include spacious, well equipped accommodation rooms with king size beds, special suites beautifully decorated with soft cozy beds, 24 hours room service, a well maintained gym area and complimentary breakfast is provided daily. Nearby to this place you can visit the Philadelphia Zoo and The Liberty Bell.

2. Budget Inn And Stes Shoreline

This budget hotel is located in Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas. The budget Inn and suite is best for family holidays because here you can get good accommodations at very reasonable rates. There are a wide variety of rooms available at this place which include family, bridal, executive, single, double and king sized rooms. All the rooms are very well equipped with a refrigerator, microwave and a television. Some of the amenities available here are laundry facilities, complimentary continental breakfast, and 24 hour front desk staff and a refreshing outdoor swimming pool.

3. Best Budget Inn And Suites

This amazing hotel is situated in the enchanting downtown Port Clinton, East Perry Street in Ohio. It is a seasonal hotel which has special rooms and family suites with attractive lakeside view and it is also considered as the best hotel on the shores of Lake Erie. Some of the facilities that are provided here are a large sitting area, a dining room with balcony and excellent Jacuzzi rooms with a balcony.

4. Budget Host Inn And Suites

This budget Inn is located in US Hwy 169, Onamia, Minnesota. This attractive place is just near to the gorgeous Mille Lacs Lake, Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. From this place you can enjoy various recreational activities like ice fishing, boating, swimming, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, picnics and golfing. Nearby to this place you can also locate some very good shopping centers.

These are some of the best budget Inns where you can spend pleasurable vacations with your family and friends.

UFC Guru Ricardo Pires Leads With His Chin in Ohio

Q: What does it take to get a successful UFC trainer to leave Vegas for Cleveland?

A: The weather.

It's not a knock-knock joke. While Ohioans shiver wearing Uggs knock-offs and martyred expressions, Ricardo Pires is probably somewhere taking off his sweater.

"People think it's weird," says the Rio de Janeiro native. "But I like the cold."

Got cold. But the blizzards-er, atmospheric events-alone can't take all the credit for drawing this world-renowned fight trainer to the Buckeye State. Pires cites family values, the wealth of what he calls "people potential" and the influence of long-time student and friend, Clevelander Mike Riedel.

At 45, Pires is the ranking Brazilian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor in the state of Ohio, with four stripes on his black belt honoring a life dedicated to the martial arts. Although perhaps best known for training 2004 UFC Heavyweight champ Frank Mir, Pires has blown through the "can do / can't teach" myth with an array of international fight titles of his own.

But Ricardo Pires is not one to rest on his laurels. At an age when other Gen-Exers are still deciding what they want to do when they grow up, Pires has already done it-several times.

Pires has been involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since his childhood, but began his career in professional sports playing soccer for the Miami Sharks. Soccer gave way to business (Pires holds an MBA) then Pires was back to BJJ and the UFC, where a little business savvy isn't exactly a bad thing.

The brawling acronyms aren't so scary once you get the hang of it. Originally created in the early '90's as a sort of By Guys For Guys fantasy about which fighting form was the baddest, the once-controversial Ultimate Fighting Championship has since settled down to a near-staid respectability. This transformation is due largely to the influence of Royce Gracie who in 1993 baffled opponents and spectators by using BJJ techniques to prove that Might no longer made Right in the Mixed Martial Arts Empire.

It was as if King Kong and Godzilla had suddenly been trounced by Hong Kong Phooey. The non-huge of the world hailed Royce Gracie as the Great Little Hope that reduced collar size to irrelevancy. All of a sudden big meant slow and small meant agile and the conclusions went from foregone to just plain gone.

If fighting is the thing, Vegas is the place-or at least, it was. Since its inception, the UFC has expanded along the lines of the Big Bang, and it makes sense when you consider the fundamental truth that guys like to fight . The 11,000 years or so that have passed since Ancient Guy spent his time merrily clubbing woolly mammoths to death have not sufficed to tame man's natural aggression, but until the UFC came along, fighting was only okay if you were a pro. Your average Guy was expected to achieve Enlightenment in the chairs provided for that purpose outside women's fitting rooms and limit his manly urges to the socially acceptable variety; Ie, high-fiving his friends at sporting events.

The Mixed Martial Arts lifted Modern Guy up from his solitary skulking in the Women's department and made him stand erect once more-in the ring. Men found in the MMA a way to reclaim their Inner Guys in a relatively innocuous and even constructive way.

But BJJ isn't just for guys. Women's smaller size and innate sneakiness make them naturals on the mat, and kids and teens are drawn to fighting like deer to rhododendrons. Parents see in BJJ a way to channel the high spirits of their offspring in a healthy way without the high testing fees of other martial arts. In BJJ, belts rarely change color except to fade, and the most common type of promotion is a little strip of tape paid for strictly in blood, sweat and tears.

Moral: there's room for everybody in today's ring, and his admittedly bizarre preference for the cold makes Pires Vegas's loss and Cleveland's gain. Pires teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at his academies in Beachwood and Westlake, as well as MMA classes at Evolve Fitness in Medina. Pires conducts seminars for local wrestlers and law enforcement officers, both of which groups comprise a significant percentage of the RPBJJ student body.

Though Pires has a proven knack for being in the right place at the right time, his success can hardly be attributed to luck. With a sunny smile and deceptively mild gaze that misses nothing, Pires demands excellence for excellence. Nobody works harder or expects more of himself, and his example is rewarded by consistently high placings by students in national and international competitions.

According to Pires, life imitates martial art. What happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas but what you learn on the mat follows you home. What's the best way to get out of a tight spot? "Don't get there," is Pires' unvarying response, with a big smile to take the sting out. Can't argue with that. And if you take a good look at Ricardo Pires, chances are you won't want to argue with him anyway.

Here Pires answers a few questions on soccer, the pursuit of happiness, and last but not least, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

How did you get involved in BJJ?

I did judo as a kid and switched to Jiu-Jitsu at 13 because my friends were doing it. But I played soccer too, and by then I was already playing for a professional team. At 17 I went pro and had to stop playing BJJ by contract. I did not get back into it until I was about 24.

What happened with the soccer?

Everything happened too early. The years from 13 to 21 are the best time in Rio. All my friends were having fun and I was at practice six days a week. Saturdays we went into what they called concentraĆ§Ć£o , straight from practice to the hotel, where we stayed until the game. It was supposed to keep us together, help us focus. But all my friends were partying and I was in this hotel. It was hard.

So how did you get back into BJJ?

I came to the US to play for the Miami Sharks when I was 19, and that's also when I gave it up. It was a tough first professional experience. The coach was Carlos Alberto Torres, who had been Captain of the Brazilian national team which won the World Cup in 1970, and because he had a very strong name, none of us got paid. So I started to work as a bus boy to make some extra money. Then I moved to the Catskills, in upstate New York. That's when I heard about Mike Tyson. He used to live and train about a half a mile from where I was training. He was 16 and already he had a name.

Moving to the Catskills gave me a break. I got hired by a hotel. The deal was, they would give me a job if I played soccer for them, in the amateur championships, but it was a totally different thing. I could just have fun playing soccer. I did not have the crazy practice schedule so I liked it. I brought a lot of friends from Brazil, like Marcelo and Conan Silveira (they own the American Top Team), and I brought my brother to New York State to be with me. My brother and Marcelo and Conan knew each other from when they were kids. So suddenly the Catskills were full of Brazilians! We all eventually moved from the Catskills to Miami, and Conan opened up his own gym, and I started training again, because the hotel was a seasonal job. In upstate New York, when winter comes everybody leaves.

How did you end up in Cleveland?

Because of Mike Riedel. Mike used to fly a couple times a year to Vegas to train with me, but then I moved back to Brazil. I stayed there about a year, but it was not working out, so I decided to come back to the USA. I wanted to go to a place I could explore and start from scratch, like when I was in Vegas and it was just me and John Lewis and nobody else. And then I got an email from Mike saying he was going to Vegas, and I said, You can go but I'm not there . So a few weeks later Mike emailed me and said he had his passport and visa! It was the biggest compliment of my life. Here you have a guy fly from America to Brazil just to train. I kept trying to show him around but Mike just wanted to train. I said to myself, This guy is crazy . So I said, maybe I'll got to Cleveland, and Mike set up a seminar for me, and I saw a lot of potential.

What kind of potential?

Human potential. Athletic potential. If you travel the US, this is statistics, this is a fact, you have so many overweight people in the USA, but when I came here I saw a lot of people jogging and walking. There are a lot of people in shape here. There has to be a reason this is one of the best states to practice wrestling; You're just not born with natural ability. I mean, some are, but people have to really want to train.

And now, after 14 months we have 140 members, in one school, and about 15% are kids. So what I mean by potential is people potential.

And another thing, people call me crazy, but I love the weather here. I don't like the rain, but the temperature works really well for me and the best thing of all is, this is a great place to raise your kids. It is very family-oriented and I love that.

What makes BJJ different from other martial arts?

The results of the fights speak for themselves. I would say that 90% of fights today will end up on the ground. So if you're going to end up on the ground, why not start from there?

Why is BJJ so popular all of a sudden?

Well, MMA is the biggest reason, but Royce Gracie is the one who really made it famous. The Gracies did an awesome job of promoting this art and we all jumped on the bandwagon. The UFC was created by the Gracies, and we owe that to them, you can say whatever you want but we owe it all to the Gracies. Also, this is the kind of sport where you can go 100% without hurting each other, unlike boxing or kickboxing.

Who does BJJ appeal to the most?

Everybody. It can fit into any schedule and any lifestyle. At one time I was a business man, running a company with 900 employees. It was not easy, but it was the best time of my life. My coach used to call me to come in the middle of the day, and luckily I could leave my meeting and go train. That was the beauty of being the boss! Then I'd go back to work for another 10 hours.

Is BJJ a product of the American obsession with violence?

No, actually it's the other way around. Kids-and by that I mean teens to maybe early 20's- they have that aggression inside them already. So they start training and before they even get their blue belt, they're beating up people in the streets. This used to happen in Brazil a lot, and it gave BJJ a bad name. Believe it or not, MMA is responsible for turning that around, when it became a recognized sport. People stopped fighting in the street and started going pro, which brought a lot more status than getting arrested! And because of that, Brazilian jiu-jitsu got a better reputation.

What can BJJ teach you besides "kicking ass"?

Let me give you an example. I hurt my shoulder in the Pan Ams in 1996 and I had to have an MRI. So I get inside the machine and the lady gives me something to hold, and says, if you need to stop, just press the button. And the thing was literally two inches off my face, and I'm a little claustrophobic. And at first I said to myself, I'm not staying here! But then I thought, No, I'm not going to tap for this. So I closed my eyes and took a nap, and came out 40 minutes later, and everything was fine. On the other hand, when the nurse wanted to do it to my other shoulder, I said No way! ( laughs ). Anyway, that's when I realized BJJ was positively affecting my life outside the mat. It was giving me more control over when to press forward and when to pull back.

Control has become a dirty word in American society. Why is control a good thing in BJJ?

Control is a good thing, not a bad thing. Not so much controlling other people, but controlling your own feelings, your own actions-in other words, self-control. In BJJ control is an important element, but you control yourself before you control the situation. Control means stay calm, not necessarily go slow. It means be careful.

How big a role does pain play in BJJ?

The two sports I have practiced the most are soccer and BJJ, and the truth is, I got hurt way more in soccer. But, yes, you're going to get hurt, you're moving around, you are twisted in weird positions, people are on top of you, there's nothing you can do about it. You will get hurt, but it's not a bad pain. They're good scars. My injuries bring back good memories for me, not bad ones.

So, back to control, does self-control help mitigate the possibility of injury?

Yes, absolutely. We have a guy, Frank, he's an oboe player, and I started thinking about that the other day, and I thought, this guy's crazy! We use our fingers a lot in jiu-jitsu. But Frank can control himself enough to not get hurt and jeopardize his career, and he doesn't quit, because he can avoid the injuries. He knows when to pull back.

This brings up the question of balance. How easy is it to find a balance?

Balance and flexibility are both really important. I think you can learn balance to some degree and you can get better, but actually it's kind a natural thing. You have it inside you. I could never be a tightrope walker, but because I played beach soccer, it developed my balance. Flexibility, on the other hand, I have none!

When you were talking about bringing BJJ skills off the mat, would you say that BJJ can help bring balance into your life?

Yes, of course, because BJJ is about limits. I think the best comparison is when you tap, that's when you find your balance, your self-control. You have to understand when it's time to lose the battle but not the war. The same thing applies to business, or to your personal life and relationships. You know you have a line you can't cross, and if you cross it, you're in trouble. So you make a choice, and you live to fight another day.

What has America given to you and what have you given to America?

I don't think I gave anything to America personally, although I think BJJ the sport did. America has given me so much. You can only appreciate it if you live in another country. People have no idea how good this country is. I love Brazil. It's beautiful and there are a lot of great things about it, but unfortunately I have to say that in America we have way more respect for the human being than we have in Brazil.

In Vegas you trained some of the biggest names in the UFC. Do you ever miss the big time?

Let's put it this way: I had a friend, Rick Davis, who was a school teacher. He was getting paid 700 dollars to fight Henry Matamoros, who by the way became a good friend of mine after this fight. Anyway, Rick went into a war with this guy, a draw, and it was one of the most exciting fights I have ever seen. The fight was in Chicago. I paid for my own airline ticket, and Rick's check bounced. I never told him that I paid him the 700 dollars from my own pocket. Let's just say I was very very happy with the outcome.

A few weeks later Frank Mir fought Tim Sylvia for the title. Frank won but not the way he was hoping, and the reporter asked me how I felt about having one of my fighters go from nothing to becoming the UFC heavyweight champ. I won't lie to you, I gave him the answer thinking about Rick's fight, because I needed to feel enthusiasm and I did not.

I was not worried about the fame, or the crown, but I still had the brotherhood mentality. Frank was a friend too-he became like a son to me-but the training and outcome weren't like Rick Davis. So I can compare that with the choice between Cleveland and the UFC. So if the question is why be here and not in Vegas training pro's? The answer is, I get way more pleasure out of training friends than training pro's.

You work a lot. How do you manage to always have a smile on your face?

I don't! ( laughs ) The truth is, this is my playground. Can you imagine doing what you love doing for a living? I don't call this working, I call this my retirement. Also, as a BJJ instructor, I put myself into the student's shoes. You leave your job, your family, you drive a long way to get here. We have a guy who drives an hour and a half three times a week to come here. I have no right at all to be here and not smile.

How do you stay in balance?

I have a beautiful wife and kids. I can be any place in the world and if they're with me, I'm in balance. Physically, I have to work on it. I don't drink, which helps. I just don't like alcohol, I never have. I like to be in control of myself. I've never used drugs or steroids. Let's face it, in 2010 you can't just close your eyes and say steroids won't help. Steroids do help, if you get the right doctor and the right dosage, but what's the point?

I'm very sensitive to medications. If I take Dayquil I can sleep for two days. Also, because I was in sports for so long, I enjoy being in shape, it just feels right to me. I like to roll on the mats so much that as soon as I notice my technique or performance is going down, I do something about it. I just started running again. I never worry about my belly or the way my biceps or legs look, but if running gives me another day of training, I'm going to run. I don't know what will happen after 50, I'm just going to say screw the odds and move on. I'm not worried about what will happen in the next 40 years, I'm worried about the next forty minutes!

What's your pet peeve?

Gossip. There is a fun gossip that is the best part of training, talking trash and making jokes, but there is bad gossip, trying to denigrate somebody or mess with their reputation just to feel important. I really, really hate that, and even though I try not to use the word hate-I taught my kids not to use that word-but I hate badmouthing.

I have so much respect for those blue belts and purple belts that are out there teaching jiu-jitsu. They're not making money, they probably have a regular job and they spread the word. I give those guys a lot of credit, and I don't like to hear them criticized just because of their belt ranking.

What is your greatest fear?

I don't have a huge one. If anything, not being healthy and having to stop sports. When I was a kid I was more afraid of losing my father than losing my life, and that happened a few years ago. Unfortunately, as you get older you start expecting things, and when you expect things they don't hurt as much.

How do you define happiness?

Achievement. When you achieve a goal, you're happy.

I remember, years ago, I was making a lot of money with my business, and my brother was making just enough to pay the bills, but I noticed that he was happier than I was! And I thought, Is this what I want from life? That's when I started concentrating more on BJJ. I flew to Boca Raton and called Marcelo Silveira up to have lunch. I came in my nice suit and my expensive car, and Marcelo showed up in flip-flops, shorts, and a shirt over his shoulders. I said, You're not going to work today? And he said, I just did.

I said, Marcelo, it's 12 o'clock in the afternoon! When do you have to go back? And he said, Not until tomorrow night , and I said WHAT ??

And I thought, something's wrong, he probably does not have the money to pay the bills, and we get to his apartment, and it's really nice, and he has a nice car, and all his bills are paid off. And I said, Something is wrong here, and it's not him, it's me . So I put two and two together and I said, Screw this .

So you gave up the company?

No, I didn't give it up. I went broke for the first time in my life, so I said I'm just going to do what makes me happy. And I couldn't stop thinking about my brother and Marcelo, they're really happy and I'm not. And I said, I'm not going to try to make a million dollars, for what? And that's when I moved to Vegas. That was 1999.

If you could go back and do it all again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. I think all the mistakes I made helped me. When I was in my MBA class, you have to talk about yourself, you know, introduce yourself to the class. I remember saying I was there for one reason only, to learn why the things I did worked out well, and of course learn about my mistakes too. Mistakes are a good thing, if you take them the right way. Just like relationships. I was married before and I learned from that. Friendships too. If somebody does something you don't like, you don't just walk away, you try to fix it.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

( Laughs ) Not 20 years, 20 minutes! My goal is to roll for 10, rest for 5 and roll another 10.

Do you have a hero?

My family.

Do you have a motto?

Two. There is no right way to do wrong. And a half-truth is a full lie.

Popcorn Capitals of the World

There are at least 6 towns or cities in the United States that have claimed the title "Popcorn Capital of the World". Some of these localities tie this claim to fame into an annual festival. It seems that people always like to have a reason to celebrate and popcorn is an all-American, fun, healthy item to center a party around. Let's take a quick look at the world popcorn capitals.

Most of the nation's popcorn is grown in Nebraska and Indiana so it seems natural that two of the cities that have claimed this title are in Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana has a large festival called The Popcorn Festival each year honoring Orville Redenbacher, a former resident who set up a popcorn factory there and participated in the annual parade most years until his death in 1995. Orville Redenbacher popcorn is a widely known brand of popcorn. Van Buren, Indiana also calls itself the Popcorn Capital of the World. The largest employer there is Weaver Popcorn Company and every August they hold the Popcorn Festival.

Only one town in Nebraska has had the popcorn capital title and apparently it no longer celebrates that title. At least I could not find any information about it. A flood in June 2010 did much damage to the town when a dam broke. Marion, Ohio also has had the popcorn capital title but unfortunately I could not find any history about it.

Another former title holder is Ridgway, Illinois. The popcorn plant is closed now. The first popcorn day was held in 1958. It continues to be celebrated as part of the Gallatin County Fair.

Schaller, Iowa was founded in 1879 as a station for the railroad as it was pushing west across the country. Throughout the mid-1900s a major industry for the town was packaging popcorn. Bango and Jolly Time were the two companies located there and this encouraged the townsfolk to take on the title "The Popcorn Capital of the World" but in the mid-1980s the companies moved to other locations.

The titles and festivals may have changed over the years but popcorn continues to be a very popular snack enjoyed by millions of people.

Ohio Keno Results Shows and Events

The Keno lottery is a state wide lottery game played all over Ohio. Millions of people in Ohio are regularly participating in the game. That is why investors have been developing a lot of ways to attract and convince consumers to join the local Keno lottery. The Ohio keno results show has been established as a regular week television event to announce the winning combinations. But the events also provide a lot of fillers and entertainment segments to catch the attention of consumers and viewers all over the state and city.

Famous celebrities and personalities are always present in the results show. Dance and song numbers are presented. In some cases, special interviews are conducted while waiting for the results to be announced. This has been effective in increasing the ticket sales of the Keno lottery. In fact, people who can present a dozen tickets would get a free sitting at the actual live set of the studio. Other promotions and offers are given for people who have bought game cards. This is a very effective and reliable marketing campaign.

The increase in income and sales has also benefited the consumers since the prices have been added bonuses based on the number of tickets sold. The weekly jackpot price would also accumulate if no winner is able to acquire a perfect 20 digit combination. At one time, the jackpot price reached several million dollars. This is a great way to add excitement and interest to consumers following the game.

The Ohio Keno Lottery results show has an airtime of one hour. The consumers should watch the show since it provides guides and tips on how to find the best combination. Prices are given for people who attained at least seven correct digits. The money of the person would be multiplied by the number of correct digits plus zero. The minimum prize which can be won would be at 1400 dollars. This is substantial considering the minimum bet would be 20 dollars. Hundreds of people win in a weekly basis which has made the game highly probable to beat. The results show also addresses the different projects, charity institutions and government agencies receiving the money earned from the lottery. This is a good way to advertise the benefits received by society from the Keno lottery. A large part of the money is diverted to help people in need. Scholars are selected to receive tuition fee support and other educational grants. The Ohio keno lottery results show has educated people on the benefits of society from state sponsored gambling and lottery.

People can acquire the results and winning combination using the cell phones and other portable computer devices. The service is ideal for businessmen and consumers who are always traveling. At a click of a button, all the results would be sent to the cell phone of the consumer. This is a very practical and reliable way to help people check if they won the lottery.

The Ohio keno results can be seen through television, internet or cell phone. The media has made the information very accessible for every body.

Lake Erie Islands Destinations – Put-In-Bay

If you ever have the chance, you must visit an island oasis which features old-fashioned ice cream shops, bicycles built for two, rolling hills with cascading grape vines, historical landmarks and some of the best lobster bisque on the planet. So where is this jewel of the landscape? Why Lake Erie, of course. Lake Erie features 20 plus separate islands but only one that can boast the name Put-in-Bay. South Bass Island, its formal name, has been a summer resort since 1864 when vacationers began frequenting the island for yachting and other social activities. The moniker is credited to sailors exploring the islands in July 1784. These sailors made charts of the islands and called one of them Pudding Bay after the old-fashioned pudding bags. It has also been called Puden Bay in similar log books from other explorers of that era.

The Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, which can be seen from enem islands, is a tribute to Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry. This 352-foot granite monument commemorates the naval victory over the British Fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The famous saying "We have met the enemy and they are ours" came from a note Perry scribbled on the back of an old letter to then-general William Henry Harrison. The memorial resides on a narrow strip between downtown and an island residential area where some of the homes date back to the mid-1800s.

Rent a bike or golf cart and tour the quaint downtown area where you can enjoy old-fashioned, hand-dipped ice cream, homemade fudge and unique, eclectic jewelry and artwork. For the adult set, Put-in-Bay features the Roundhouse Bar where you can catch a beer and a show most summer afternoons, all without corners. The Roundhouse dates back to 1873 and is one of the oldest buildings on the island. The Beer Barrel Saloon boasts the longest permanent bar in the world and now occupies the site of the historic Colonial which perished in flames on Memorial weekend 1988. Measuring 405 feet and 10 inches, you'll need a catcher's mitt and some time to snag the beer that slides down this bar.

If you're more of a grape enthusiast, a visit to the Heineman Winery is a must. The family-owned establishment dates back to 1888 when Gustav Heineman came to Ohio from Baden-Baden, Germany. The winery lasted through economic booms and busts, the depression and prohibition and is still run by third and fourth generation Heinemans Louis and Edward. Tastings are conducted regularly and are an education in the fine art of Ohio wine making.

For the outdoorsman, Put-in-Bay offers a first class marina opposite one of the oldest yacht clubs in the country, campgrounds in the Oak Point State Park and miles of hiking and biking trails. Venture towards Put-in-Bay harbor and catch a glimpse of Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island. Founded in 1895, the island campus of The Ohio State University is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the country. Here Buckeye students gain practical experience in field research with courses such as insect biology, lake sediments and aquatic biology.

When you feel the need for a good nosh, visit any one of the over 25 different restaurants for fresh Lake Erie Walleye or Perch, BBQed chicken in homemade wine-based sauce and creamy, chunk-filled lobster bisque. For family entertainment, visit Perry's Cave or Crystal Cave located across from each other on Catawba Avenue. Perry's Cave celebrates its 140th anniversary this year and is where Commodore Perry found drinking water for his men. Take a jacket; the temperature remains a constant, cool 50 degrees. Crystal Cave runs underneath Heineman's Winery and boasts the world's largest geode where you'll be surrounded by glistening celestite crystals.

At nightfall, stay in one of the historical B & Bs, or one of the newer resort hotels complete with swim-up bars or conference centers. Fly your plane during daylight hours in or out of Put-in-Bay Airport and experience panoramic views of the 3,987-mile stretch between the US and Canada, all from the comfort of your seat.

If your plans call you back to the Erie shore, hop the Miller's Ferry or the Jet Express back to one of several ports. Miller's Ferry runs a variety of schedules from March through November and has been crossing the lake since 1905 when William Miller and Harry Jones began their local ice business. The Miller boat livery has remained a trusted family business since that time changing only from the Miller family to the Market family in 1978 when these family friends bought the line from Mary Miller, daughter-in-law of co-founder William Miller. It's a slower trip but built from tradition and one that should be experienced.

If a quicker trip is in your plans, the Jet Express service is your option. The high-speed ferry travels up to 40 miles per hour and covers the 12.5 mile trip from Port Clinton in 25 minutes. Other ports of departure include Sandusky, Lorain and the Inter-island routes that include Kelley's Island.

Either way, Put-in-Bay Island is a jewel in Lake Erie which shines as bright as any island oasis you may find anywhere at anytime. Don't leave it out of your summer plans.

How to Contact Comic Book Artists and Writers

The first annual New York Comic-con brought out Milla Jovovich and was so successful, organizers almost had to shut it down. The second annual New York Comic-con was organized much better, even bringing out Steven King and Stan Lee to meet fans.

Below are some more insider tips for contacting your favorite comic book artists and writers at various comic book conventions around the country …

Meeting in Person:

Although most comic book creators, artists, and writers will tell you where to send fan mail inside their publications, the comic book industry also takes great pains to make itself available to their fan base through conventions, expos, and fan events.

The general rule of thumb is if you wait a while, a comic convention (or "comic-con") is likely to be announced in your area, and the organizers will make all sorts of promises as to who will be there (most of whom won't show up). Buy your ticket anyway, and take a few hundred bucks and a good Sharpie pen – because even if the people who show up aren't the people promised, they'll most likely be worth meeting.

Most comic conventions today go far beyond only comic books. They often feature actors, directors, television stars, set designers, comic artists, writers, and an assortment of retro names that will have you scratching your head trying to remember who they were. The show will usually charge around $ 25 for a ticket, but the attractions will last all day long, from rare film screenings to autograph sessions to bootleg comics for sale. Most conventions travel around the country so fans don't have to spend any money to travel.

What should you bring to get signed? Nothing really, unless you know someone is going to be there and you have some great piece of memorabilia sitting around relevant to that person. Usually there are plenty of items for sale at comic conventions you can purchase to have signed.

Prices at convention's vendor booths are usually not cheap, however you can pick up some really neat pieces of pop culture memorabilia if you look hard enough, and the chance to get that item signed by its creator can be something really special.

Comic book conventions and the comics themselves are a huge industry that gets bigger every year. Therefore, comic-cons are a great place to spot up and coming stars before their signatures becomes worth thousands of dollars when they really hit it big.

How do you find a comic convention I your area? It's pretty easy – just visit the Comic Book Conventions Web site. This resource list all upcoming comic-cons, usually four or five per weekend, and it also announces changes to programming, cancellation, and contact information.

The better conventions come back the same time every year, such as the Mid-Ohio-Con, which takes places in Columbus, Ohio on Thanksgiving weekend. The 2004 Mid-Ohio-Con lineup included the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld and Noel Neill, the original TV Lois Lane, as well as numerous other comic industry names.

The Vancouver Comic-Con happens once every few months, while Dragon-Con takes place each September. Every corner of the country has some sort of gathering, but even if you have to get in the car and drive a few hours to a really good-size convention near you, the money spent in doing so can be gained back when you take that authentic John Byrne sketch and put it up for auction on eBay.

The big names of the comic convention business include the following:

San Diego Comic-Con International, PO Box 128458, San Diego, CA 92112-8458, 619-491-2475

The biggest and the best, Comic-Con has become a brand name in the business. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts gather every year, some flying in from from the country to listen to panels of experts, get autographs, buy memorabilia, watch special screenings of movies, and just hang out.

Dragon * Con, PO Box 16459, Atlanta, GA 30321-0459, 770-909-0115

A solid number two, Dragon * Con takes on more of a fantasy tilt – but it's not just for Dungeons and Dragons fanatics. D * C gets bigger every year, and as the collectors grow from obsessed teenagers to well-funded adult fans, the money going through the registers keeps increasing as well.

Big Apple Comic Convention, 75-34 Metropolitan Avenue, New York, NY 11379, 201-865-3288

This one is in New York City, so of course it's big. If you live in the northeast, the Big Apple Con is the one for you.

Mid-Obio-Con, PO Box 3831, Mansfield, OH 44907, 419-526-1427

The Midwest really knows how to put on a show, and MOC always has an interesting lineup of names. It's not the biggest comic-con around, but it's got a reputation as one of the best.

Mega-Con, PO Box 1097, Safety Harbor, FL 34695, 727-796-5725

New York Comic-con, Jacob Javiz Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001, 1-888-605-6059

Sending Fan Mail:

To write your favorite comic book artist, look for his or her fan mail address printed in the comic book. Or send your letter to the comic book publisher, whose address will also appear inside the book.

Visit Contact Any Celebrity for instant access to the best mailing address, agent, manager, publicist, production company, and charitable cause for your favorite comic book artists and writers.

Live the Celebrity Life in a Classic Luxury Rental – Rent a Lincoln Continental

Do you want to drive in luxury like a star? Have you always wanted to feel rich and powerful or do you just want to be like the king and rock & roll? Then there is only one luxury car that can help you get you there, enter the classic Lincoln Continental.

The Lincoln Continental had its claim to fame as one of the most sought-after rides in the 1950's. With its $ 10,000 pricetag, it rivaled that of Rolls Royce as one of the most expensive cars in the world. Now why would the Lincoln Continental exude such an aura? Well, this was the car that chauffered the rich and the famous, back in the 1950s. Thus, it's safe to say that only the chosen few could afford it. These lot came in the persons of the Shah of Iran, Nelson Rockefeller, Frank Sinatra and Henry Kissinger, among others.

Aside from wealth, the Lincoln Continental also exhibits a certain air of "power." You see, back then, in the 1960s it was the parade limousine of then-president John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The limousine, codenamed SS-100-x, was custom-built by Hess and Eisenhart of Cincinnati, Ohio from a 1961 Lincoln convertible. Sadly, though, the Lincoln Continental was also the car that JFK was assassinated in, in 1963. But even after that tragedy, the Lincoln Continental still continued to serve the White House for many years as the official ride of the most powerful men in the United States.

The Lincoln Continental also made its memorable mark in the world of Rock and roll. No less than the "King," Elvis Presley was also known to have owned one. Sure, it's no pink Cadillac, but Elvis owned it. Elvis also chose the Lincoln Continental as one of many cars that he bought to give away as gifts.

Aside from all the rich and famous that owned it, the Lincoln Continental was also special because it has a unique design and the highest quality control that was ever seen in the automotive industry. The classic car was assembled mostly by hand and was made of top-of-the-line materials. The continental was only sold for a continuum of two years with only 3,000 units built. Because of its sticker price, which was only affordable for the rich and famous, and because of the tales of dealers that discourage potential buyers who were not deemed fit to own a Continental, this luxury car soon became a mythical fixture in the industry.

With all its historical and cultural value, the Lincoln Continental is one of the most sought out luxury cars of its time. And good news to all who want to ride it, you don't need to look hard for the car, you don't even need to buy it. Lot of luxury and classic car rentals abound. Just visit the websites and search the car you want to rent. They're all there, the models, the rates, rental policies and reservations. So start booking your reservations and start practicing that smile and that wave of the hand in the process. Because on board the Lincoln Continental you're the celebrity. See you in Las Vegas.

Charley's Grilled Subs Franchise Review

During a family vacation, Charley missed the right exit which brought him to South Philly. He sampled a Philly Cheese steak, and it was love at first bite. He couldn't forget the taste, so he brought the recipe back home to Columbus, Ohio and began testing his own improvements on the recipes on his college buddies.

Seeing his enthusiasm and motivation, his mother lent her life savings to him so that he could open the first Charley's on the Ohio State University campus. It was a 450 square foot, 16 seat restaurant featuring Philly Steak Subs, Gourmet Fries and Natural Lemonade. It was a hit!

1991 marked the beginning of Charley's franchising. Then kiosks began sprouting all over the world form malls to Army & Air Force Bases. This award-winning taste of Charley's Grilled Subs can now be enjoyed in hundreds of locations, from Ohio to Hawaii from Alaska to Japan and elsewhere.

Opening a franchise is a wonderful opportunity and the know a franchisees passion. It's the same one that brought success to Charley's. From that first restaurant in Columbus, Ohio it has grown into a network that spans the globe. They have built a base of knowledge, experience and resources over 23 years and they wish to extend this to their franchise partners. From location selection to day-to-day marketing activities, they'll do everything they can to make your business a success.

To be a franchisee, you have to submit an application. For your convenience, you can log-in to their site and fill up a form. If you want to submit a paper version of the application, you can request a Franchise Information Packet that you'll see on the website.

Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you'll get a copy of our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). This document contains highly pertinent information regarding Charley's background and their franchise business program, which you need to sign. After your application has been processed, the Director of New Business Development for your place will arrange a personal meeting with you. This meeting will not only provide you with the opportunity to have your questions answered, but also aid us in deciding whether you qualify for approval as a franchisee.

After an endorsement from the Director, you will be invited to visit our corporate office in Columbus, Ohio. During this visit you will participate in a two day program where you will receive a more in-depth introduction to the company. At last the franchise agreement is signed franchisee fee is submitted.

One time cost of franchise is $ 24,500 and you need liquid assets ranging from $ 75,000 – $ 100,000. To get the advantage of third-party lending source for financing you need a minimum of a 700 credit score. Royalties are 6% of gross sales. National advertising is 0.25% of gross sales. Franchisees are required to spend 3% of gross sales locally promoting their restaurant.

When looking to start any business it is important, especially considering today's market, that you look for specific ways to cut minimize or reduce overhead and risk. Any business is going to have risk, but it is important to have a full understanding of the amount of investment, startup cost and "ROI" (Return on Investment).

Most people are not aware that 80% of ALL franchise endeavors fail in the first two to five years leaving large debts looming for years thereafter.

One way and in my opinion the best way to cut overhead, startup and investment cost is to take advantage of the new age of entrepreneurship and start a business from the comfort of your home. Opportunities have emerged in the online market that are creating millionaires every single day. Learn more about the exciting opportunities tied to a business model that begins profitable by visiting: http://whatsbetterthanafranchise.com .