Author Archives: R. Michael Brown

About R. Michael Brown

Communication, public relations, & marketing consultant, freelance writer, media producer, and speaker.

Finally Got Back on the Road Bike Today after Years of Riding the Fat Tire Bike

Freelance writer R. Michael Brown started riding his road bicycle again.

By R. Michael Brown, Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer

Even though I have over 150,000 miles riding a road bike. my Specialized was like riding a foreign ice skate. Took over 30 minutes before I got comfortable on it again.

Had it refurbished with new wheels and tires, new handlebar tape and tuned up by Bicycle World Lake Worth.

Freelance writer R. Michael Brown's Fat Tire bicycle.
Retiring the Fat Tire for now. Back on the road.

They did a great job and ran info a familiar face, Jeffrey Langlois, a former photojournalist at the Palm Beach Daily News. We covered a lot of the same stories in the Town of Palm Beach. Small world.

So I’ll be riding that road bike again, hopefully a lot. Need the exercise.

The Rise and Fall of the Cruise Industry

Cruise ships are scrapped and dismantled in an industry that's in a declining free fall.

By Robert Leslie , Noah Lewis , and Claire Price

Until COVID-19 hit, the global cruise industry was on course for a record-breaking year. But major coronavirus outbreaks on board ships cost lives, jobs, and damaged the reputation of the fastest-growing sector of the travel industry.

See More [Business Insider]

James Patterson’s Writing Started as a Side Hustle — Now He’s One of the World’s Highest Paid Authors

James Patterson at play in his home in the Town of Palm Beach, Florida
James Patterson at home in the Town of Palm Beach, Florida

By Jade Scipioni

At 73, James Patterson has sold more than 425 million copies of his 200 novels globally, making him one of the highest paid authors in the world.

Patterson had annual earnings topping more than $80 million between June 2019 to June 2020 and sold nearly 5 million in books in the U.S. during that time, according to Forbes.

In July, Patterson signed a multi-project deal with Amazon’s Audible for an undisclosed amount, with his first Audible Original, “The Coldest Case” out Thursday.

“I do not work for a living, I play for a living. I love doing it,” Patterson tells CNBC Make It.

But Patterson’s road to success didn’t happen overnight. He started writing as a side hustle and he faced a lot of rejection before getting his first book published.

See More [CNBC]

Small American Cities are Making Attractive Offers to Lure Tech Workers Away from the Metros

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Cities in North-West Arkansas are making offers to workers in New York and Los Angeles that’re simply too good to pass. Incentives including cash bonuses, free mountain bikes and year-long discounted rent prices.

Are you ready to move out of the big metro areas and why?

Europe’s tallest active volcano has been spewing lava for three weeks — and now its raining stones and ash on the villages below

Italy’s famed active volcano, Etna, has been spewing lava for over three weeks. On Sunday, March 7, the fiery mountain on the eastern coast of Sicily let out its tenth big blast of the season since February 16. Only this time, it also rained down ash and small lava stones on the town nearby.

At nearly 3,324 meters above sea level, Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. According to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology ( INGV), the giant exploded at approximately 2:00 am local time, pushing the column of ash and lava to a height of 10,000 metres.

The lava down below did not change direction and continues to flow from the southeast crater — down the side of the volcano that does not house any residents.

See More [Business Insider]

NYC’s Financial District Faces Office Glut as Tenant Exits Loom

NYC’s Financial District Faces Office Glut as Tenant Exits Loom
Manhattan has been battered with workers staying home

Our Take from Brownie Bytes: This is happening throughout the country. Bad time for commercial real estate. Great time to consider a move to Florida – a no-state income tax location with a great workforce ready to work remotely from anywhere.

Companies looking to trim costs are trying to shed space

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the latest high-profile tenant to look for an exit from the neighborhood, a historic part of lower Manhattan that is home to the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Reserve.

S&P Global and Fitch Ratings Inc. are also marketing big blocks of offices, driving an 80% surge in the amount of sublease space available. That’s more than double the rate in Midtown, according to data from CoStar Group Inc.

“The sublet spaces currently on offer at deeply discounted rates is a veritable flood of biblical proportions, with more likely to come online soon,” said Ruth Colp-Haber, chief executive officer of brokerage Wharton Property Advisors.

Manhattan’s office market has taken a big hit in the past year, with the pandemic emptying out skyscrapers and pushing cost-conscious companies to reconsider how much space they need after months of remote working.

See More [Bloomberg]

Jeff Bezos and Amazon: A complicated design legacy

Cool like Apple and Nike? Nah….

We talked to more than a dozen designers, many of whom worked with Bezos on Amazon’s most important products, as he steps down as CEO.

— Read on www.fastcompany.com/90611088/the-complicated-design-legacy-of-jeff-bezos

Why Do Gas Pumps Run Slow?

Last week, I twice found myself standing at a gas pump, in single digit temperatures waiting for what must have been individual droplets of gasoline to drip into my car’s tank. The digits slowly ticked over and, as my hands grew colder, I thought about going into the car for my coat, maybe some gloves.

I thought about ending the transaction and trying another pump. But I waited. And I told myself I’d Google why this happens. Then, I got in my car and drove away without Googling a damn thing, just like I had every other time it happened.

— Read on jalopnik.com/i-finally-looked-up-why-gas-pumps-sometimes-run-slow-an-1846356588

National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day on March 6th offers another way to celebrate one of our favorite desserts.

National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day on March 6th offers another way to celebrate one of our favorite desserts

Cheesecake is a sweet dessert that is a mixture of soft fresh cheese, cream cheese or cottage cheese, eggs and sugar on a crust made from crushed graham crackers, crushed cookies, pastry or sponge cake. Cheesecakes can be prepared baked or unbaked and are often served topped with fruit, chocolate or whipped cream.

There are many flavors in which cheesecakes can be prepared. However, this day honors the white chocolate cheesecake.

“Now, white chocolate is not chocolate in the strictest sense. It doesn’t contact cocoa solids.”

See More [National Day Calendar]

 

What’s the Deal With All Those Shady ‘We Buy Houses’ Signs?

We Buy Houses - Sellers Beware

You’ve probably spotted the signs around your neighborhood: “We buy houses,” “Cash for homes,” or “Sell us your home as/is!” You may have even groaned at how pervasive they’ve become.

If so, you’re not alone. These signs, which come from real estate investment groups that scoop up houses across the country — often paying 10% or more below the market value — are becoming more and more common in today’s hot real estate market.

The goal? Flip each house into a more expensive property, or turn it into a rental unit.

Real estate investors are offering cash for homes in just about any neighborhood in any part of the U.S. these days, no matter the condition of the property, says Nick Bailey, chief customer officer at RE/MAX. In January 2021, median existing home prices jumped to $303,900 — 14.1% higher than last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). For investors, who strive to purchase homes below the market value and sell for the highest price possible, “are getting more attention … because it’s easier to buy and flip when prices are going up,” Bailey says.

With home prices rising, homeowners might be tempted to sell their homes quickly, especially if they’ve lost their jobs or are under financial strain from COVID-19. And since most homeowners don’t realize how much their homes are worth, or that a few repairs could up its value for a relatively low cost, an information gap is adding fuel to the fire, according to Eric Sussman, an adjunct real estate professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Is selling your home to an investment group always a bad idea? Not necessarily, real estate experts say. But you need to proceed with caution.

See More [ Money Magazine ]