Category: From Kevin’s Perspective (page 1 of 16)

How To Pick The Perfect Watermelon

With all of the fresh watermelon hitting the market, I thought it would be good to review a few tips about how to pick just the right one. A few of our readers happen to be some of the largest watermelon producers in the U.S. and have passed along a few inside tips through the years. I was certainly doing it all the wrong way when I was younger. On a side note, one of my first real jobs, outside of throwing hay, was unloading semi trucks full of watermelons. Lets just say for a period of time in my life, I didn’t even want to see at another watermelon. Picking up watermelon and putting them down softly inside boxes and containers fro 12-hours straight will give you a whole new perspective on things. It’s even more exciting when there are snakes from the field still alive in the haul. Those where the days… (Source: Preview photo credit O.Bellini, Shutterstock; fifteenspatulas.comthekitchn.com)

White Field Spots – Many folks view the melons that have the big white areas as a problem. That’s not really the case, these are just field spots where the watermelon rested on the ground and are very natural. I fact some melons with just a shade of field spotting can be some of the best tasting. You don’t necessarily want the ones with the white spot, but more of a creamy-yellow or orangish-yellowish area can be best… so go for the “gold”. 

Webbing – Many folks don’t like to picking a watermelon with “webbing”, the brown crusting spiderweb like lines that are often on mellon. Interestingly, the “webbing” on a watermelon can help tell how many times that bees touched the flower. Many sources believe the more pollination, the sweeter the watermelon. 

Shape – It is beloved that the taller and more elongated watermelons are a bit more watery, while the more rounded and stout are perhaps a bit sweeter. 

Size Matters – In this case bigger doesn’t always mean better. Most experts say an “averaged size” watermelon gives you the best odds at getting great taste. Not too big or not too small. 

Tail – The tail of a watermelon can often indicate its ripeness. A green tail can mean the melon was picked a bit too soon and might not taste as good. The melons with the dried tails can make for a better taste. 

Color – Some folks believe color matters. Saying a perfect, ripe watermelon should be a darker green in color and dull in appearance, rather than shiny. A shiny watermelon can have a tendency to be under ripe.

Thump – This how my grandpa always checked his watermelons, but through the years I’ve heard a few conflicting thoughts on the sounds. Most agree that you want a more full sound when you thump the belly of the mellon. If the mellon sounds or feels somewhat hollow it’s defiantly not one to take home to the family.

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Common Myths For Surviving in the Wild

I recently received an e-mail that contained some tips for surviving in the great outdoors. I thought with summer weather and many people going on vacations, it would be a good time to pass along. I feel like a few of these “myth busters” could really come in handy for those who might be on an adventure and one day find themselves in harms way. Interesting info and happy to pass along (Source: Once again good stuff from Kevin Loria, at Business Insider)

Myth #1: Sucking the venom out of your body from a snake bite. 
Fact: If a snake delivers venom into your body, then it automatically enters your bloodstream. Putting your mouth on the wound could infect it even more from the bacteria in your mouth. Also, putting your mouth on the venom could cause it to spread to your mouth and down your throat, causing it to spread throughout the body quicker. If someone else chooses to suck the venom out of your body, then they have a chance of the venom entering their bloodstream. If someone gets bit from a venomous snake, then try to keep the person’s heart rate low, hold the bite below heart level, and put ice on the wound.

Myth #2: Play dead when you’re attacked by a bear.
Fact: Never play dead if a black bear attacks you, always fight back. Black bears don’t stop attacking if they think you’re dead and are more likely to attack a person all of a sudden. In most cases, brown bears and grizzly bears don’t attack randomly. These bears attack if they feel endangered and to protect their cubs. These bears also give warnings if they are about to attack like making noises or acting like they are about to charge. If you see these warnings, then back away slowly from the bear. If you begin to run away from the bear, then they will attack you because they think you are prey. If the bear makes contact with you and you think there is no chance of fighting back, then lie down on your stomach and put your hands behind your neck.

Myth #3: Eat as soon as possible if you’re lost in the wilderness.
Fact: Humans can survive up to six weeks without eating any food. If you are lost in the wilderness the most important thing to find is fresh water then shelter. Food is the least of your worries.

Myth #4: The fluid in a cactus can keep you from dying of thirst.
Fact: Most of the time if you drink cactus fluid, then you will become extremely sick. This fluid will cause you to vomit and leave you more dehydrated than you were in the first place. These fluids could also cause harm to your kidneys if ingested.

Myth 5: Moss grows on the north side of a tree. 
Fact: Moss can grow anywhere on a tree depending on conditions. Moss grows where things are wet. Don’t rely on this myth for navigation.

Myth 6: Rub someone’s skin or put in hot water to warm them up. 
Fact: Rubbing frostbitten skin or being immediately put in hot water can damage skin more. The right thing to do is warm someone back up very slowly. Someone can do this by putting blankets on them to warm them up or putting warm water bottles under their armpits.

Myth 7: If a shark attacks you, then punch it in the nose.
Fact: It is very hard to land an accurate and powerful punch in the water. If a shark comes in for a bite, then try to put something solid in between you and the animal. If this fails to happen, then claw at the shark’s eyes and gills. This is a much more effective way to get the shark away.

Myth 8: Always swim parallel to shore if caught in a rip current.
Fact: Swimming parallel to a rip current works best if it is going directly out from the sea. Doing this isn’t wrong, but something to know is rip currents come from all different angles. When you’re in a rip current you should try to stay along the shore, but the most important thing to do is swim perpendicular to the current no matter what angle. People should also swim in the easiest direction as possible, don’t tire themselves out, and tread water if you can’t get out or start to get tired.

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“A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega”

Rolling Stone Magazine wrote, “Ashley McBryde may be a “whiskey-drinkin’ badass”, but the Arkansas native shows a softer side with her latest #1 hit single, “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.” From what I understand the song was a collaboration written by McBryde, Nicolette Hayford and Jesse Rice after they’d collectively had an awful day. “We had all had a really bad day. Not ‘one of the worst days of my life,’ but I had one of those days where nothing was going right,” McBryde explained. “I got a crack in my windshield on my way to work, I got sick, and my guitar broke all within an hour and a half. On top of that my co-writer, Jesse, was late, but bless his heart, when he walked in we could tell he had had a night and a morning that was just as rough as ours. That’s how we got on the subject of “having the worst day ever”. That’s also when Jesse told us a story about a day a few years back that he thought was officially going down as “the worst day ever”. He was leaving Atlanta and his car broke down in the middle of nowhere. He made a wrong turn and ended up in a small town called Dahlonega, Georgia. Frustrated and mentally tapped, he spotted a little dive bar called the “Crimson Moon” where he went to wait and to call a tow truck. Believing he was in the middle of his worst day ever, he spotted a cute little blonde girl and struck up a conversation. They were together for the next three years and then got married. What an awesome story! McBryde said, “That’s what you do with the worst day ever, you flip it on its back and raise your glass!” I should note, the owner of the Crimson Moon says tons of people each day are now pouring into the bar to take picks and pay a visit. Also keep in mind, Ashley McBryde had been in Nashville the past 10 years trying to record a hit song. It’s just funny what comes from things we originally deem as “bad”. I truly believe God has a plan… If Jesse Rice doesn’t take that “wrong turn”, and his car doesn’t break down, and he doesn’t head into the Crimson Moon, none of this happens. Great song, great message, and happy to see it bring such success to a wonderful group of people. It’s definitely worth watching the music video and listening closely to the lyrics. Click HERE to see the official music video.

 This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

 

The +800 Horse Power “Dodge Demon” Hits The Streets

I’ve heard reports of a few people seeing the new “Dodge Demon” rolling around in test markets. From what I understand, pre-orders are being taken, but the car won’t officially be delivered to the dealerships until mid to late-October. Talk inside the auto industry is that Dodge will only manufacture about 3,300 units, with an MSRP sticker price of around $86,000. Why all the buzz… because this car is a beast! Reports show it pushes a record breaking 840-horsepower and is street legal. This car is also full of many first ever features. The Demon has a 6.2-liter V8 engine hiding under the hood. With this much power, it allows the car to hit 60 mph in 2.3 seconds, 100 mph in 5.1 seconds and can run a quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds reaching 140 mph. This car is also the first factory-production car with a special calibrated engine control to take advantage of 100 plus octane race gas. As well, this is the first production car equipped with a “trans-brake,” which helps locks the transmission when dialing up the RPMs. The Demon is also the first stock car made that includes a novel liquid-to-air intercooler chiller system. This chiller system helps cool the supercharger engine after it is turned off. The Demon again is the first production car to come with Drag Mode suspension and a set of front-runner wheels just for drag racing. This car includes many of the first ever features put on a production car. If you’re thinking about buying the Demon, then there are a few things to know before you jump in the water. The Demon only comes with one seat, making the car 200 pounds lighter without the others. The car weighs in at 4,280 pounds. The good news is the passenger front seat and the rear seats can be added if you aren’t too worried about being the fastest car on the streets, for just $1 extra dollar. This car is also banned by the National Hot Rod Association, they say the car is simply too fast on the strip. The car also includes a line lock mode that locks the front brakes allowing it to do a beautiful and smoky burnout. The car includes two keys, one of the keys limits the car to 500 horsepower and the other key lets the car reach its full maximum. All of the changes and features in this car makes it the fastest production quarter-mile drag car ever, which is said to be faster than Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. Wow, What a car…. You can click HERE to see a short video.

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MUST READ: Learning To Fail Better…A Lesson For Us All

I ran this article a few years back, but have since received lots of positive feedback and several request to re-run or from subscribers wanting to pass along to friends and family. Like always, I encourage everyone to pass along anything I publish that might help make a positive difference in someones life. That’s something that brings a smile to my face and one of the most personal rewarding benefits I receive. I hope you enjoy it and it makes you think…

I was recently sent a great e-mail penned by Megan McArdle in reference to her new book, “The Up Side of Down”. In the e-mail McArdel discusses how America is now raising their children wrong by NOT allowing them to fail. Parents are simply not giving them permission to take on NEW challenges where they might fall flat on their face. In return we are not teaching our children how to accept criticism, how to overcome objections, and most importantly how to quickly pick themselves back up, dust themselves off and get back in the fight when things go wrong. McArdel argues this is vital not only on a personal level, but also vital for America, because that’s where innovation and growth come from. Parents are pushing their children harder than ever — micromanaging their lives, orchestrating things and manipulating the environment so that their children have as little opportunity as possible to go astray. It’s totally understandable. But it’s bad for the kids, bad for the parents, and bad for the nation. She goes on to tell story after story about how parents have now made children afraid to “fail.” Afraid to take that class where they might hurt their grade point average; afraid to try that sport where they might not be the best; afraid to do anything that might embarrass the parents or prove they are not as good as the neighbors kids… “America, you’re now doing it ALL wrong,” she screams! If you can’t afford to risk anything less than perfection at the age when your 13, then for heaven’s sake, when is it going to be the right time? This is the time when kids should be learning to dream big dreams and dare greatly. This is when they should be making mistakes and figuring out how to recover from them. Instead, we’re telling some of our best and brightest to focus all their talent on coloring within the lines. Below are few of the other reasons why she believes this is such a bad idea:

  • Kids are now spending their entire high school years in terror of making the slightest mistakes. In order to get into that top-school or fight for that scholarship kids can not afford to take any risk. At the time in their life when failure should have the lowest cost, when they should be learning to try things, and developing ways to think outside the box, they are being held down more tightly than ever.
  • This is a time when they should be learning how to identify when those great and crazy ideas aren’t working out so well. And gaining the ability to move on after the occasional embarrassing “flop.” If “perfection” is the goal, which many parents now expect, then the kids can’t afford to do any of that.
  • Unfortunately most kids are now avoiding areas that they are unfamiliar with — and the ones that at first seem to be the most difficult. So essentially we’re taking insanely bright, hardworking kids and discouraging them from trying NEW things that they might be great at, because what if they aren’t the “best” or even God forbid, “fail” at their first attempt.
  • We are teaching that “success” can often be achieved by doing what comes easiest, which we all have learned is the opposite of true.
  • We are drilling into their heads that success consists of jumping through a series of hoops to please the “system” and the “authority.” Of course, this is a valuable skill that everyone needs to learn, because hey, that’s part of life. But it shouldn’t be valued at such a level at such a young age.

 

Moral of the story, the longer this kid goes without failing, the more dreadful it will be when it finally happens. When you’ve never coped with failure, it starts to become imperative that you arrange your life so that it never happens. I watched a lot of MBAs and tech wizards melt down after 2001 because they had done everything they were supposed to do and somehow they found themselves out of a job? America needs more bright, hardworking kids taking on challenging tasks. But it does not need them to learn that success is a “formula” — or a zero-sum game in which the race goes to the safest. In fact, that’s exactly the opposite of what we need — and more important, it’s the opposite of what those kids need!

 One of my favorite books is “Popular Crime,” by the great Bill James. And this is one of my favorite passages:

First of all, as I see it, no one has any ability whatsoever to figure out what is going to be important to people. I look back on my own life. When I was in high school I had two habits that greatly irritated my teachers; actually, many more than two, but let’s focus. One was writing funny notes to my classmates, trying to make them crack up in the middle of class. The other was spending hours of valuable study time making mystifying totals from the agate type in the sports pages. I was called on the carpet any number of times and told to stop doing this stuff and pay more attention to What Was Really Important.

As I look back on those years, the two most useful things that I was doing, in terms of preparing me for my career, were 1) Writing humorous notes to my classmates, and 2) Making mystifying totals from the agate type in the sports pages. By writing amusing if vulgar notes to my classmates, I was learning to write — not learning to write in a way that would please English teachers, but learning to write in a way that would hold the interest of people who had no reason to read the note, other than the expectation that they would enjoy reading it. That’s much, much closer to writing books than writing insipid research papers to please bored English teachers. The adults in charge thought they knew what was important, but in retrospect they were just completely wrong.

At the personal level, most of us could attest to this — you never know what will end up being important, but it’s probably not what you think. And at the economy level, this is basically a pithy summation of what economist Joseph Schumpeter dubbed “creative destruction”: the process by which old ideas, and companies, and even markets are destroyed in order that something previously undreamt-of can replace them.

Do we want a society that dreams new things and then makes them happen? I hear that we do, every time I hear a teacher, or a politician, give a speech. So why are we trying so hard to teach the next generation to do the exact opposite?
(Source: Megan McArdle “Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail” on Bloomberg)

This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

 

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