Insurance: Do you need an ‘umbrella’?

A person who accidentally injures another, or damages his/her property, could be sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions of dollars. Having an “umbrella” insurance policy could keep them from losing their homes, investments,  life’s savings and future income.
The term umbrella is used because it covers liability claims from all policies underneath it, such as auto and homeowner policies.
The question is: Do you need an umbrella?
Recent stories in the New York Times show how an umbrella policy would work. Say you crash into a Mercedes with a highly paid executive at the wheel. He is injured so badly, he cannot return to work. A jury awards him millions of dollars, and you have to pay it. The court takes your savings, your home, all other assets, and requires you to pay part of your salary for decades.
People who have an umbrella policy would be covered for the damages. It  protects their net worth over and above what other insurance does. And it pays legal costs for defending yourself against a law suit.
For people who have any sort of assets, like a home with a large amount of equity, umbrella insurance can be a key part of financial protection. But not many people carry it.
State Farm, the biggest home insurer in the country, says only about 12 percent of its policy holders buy umbrella coverage.
State Farm charges about $160 a year for a million dollars in coverage.

You can lose weight without going hungry

To achieve a healthy weight, and maintain it for the rest of your life, don’t think about losing weight fast. Do it slowly and steadily.

You won’t have to make intricate calculations about how many calories you should eat, then write of black coffee. Instead of drinking sugary soda pop, choose diet pop or water. Planning:Plan your meals and snacks for a week. Make a shopping list that includes low-fat meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, fruits and whole grain bread.

Snacks:If you want to snack on chips, nuts, crackers or candy, put the amount you intend to eat in a bowl. Stash the bag away so you won’t eat more without thinking about it. Prepare foods wisely: Broil or bake your chicken, fish and red meats. Frying adds calories. Battering and deep frying can double the number of calories.

Skip the butter when you make mashed potatoes. You won’t notice it’s missing after you add low-fat gravy. Salads: Use fat-free or low-fat salad dressing. down the value of every Two tablespoons of morsel you consume.

blue cheese dressing And you won’t have to have 150 calories. You buy a diet book that calls might use three or four for recipe ingredients tablespoons, depend you’ve never heard of.

When to eat: At three food and drink choices. meals: breakfast, lunch Drinks: Rather than and dinner, plus an drinking a latte with evening snack. Studies 500 calories, have a cup show that people who eat breakfast will eat less the rest of the day.

Include protein, like cheese or an egg, fruit, and whole grain bread. Drink a glass of water before each meal. How much to eat: At home and at restaurants, eat a reasonable portion of food. Relax and take your time. If you eat fast, you’ll eat more.

You may not want to do all of these things, but doing some of them will result in weight loss.

Stay safe: Watch for these dangers in the office

You might already know that if you open the top three drawers of a four-drawer file cabinet, the whole thing could topple down on you.
The office may seem like a quiet, safe place, but any number of injuries can be sustained there.
Falls. Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents, according to OSHA. Slips are caused by liquid spilled on the floor or rain and snow brought in from the outside.
Trips are caused by anything left in an aisle or extending into it. Both slips and trips can result in a fall.
In a hallway. Watch where you are going so you don’t run into someone. Don’t dial your cellphone or read a report. Don’t run. When you get to the stairs, use the handrail.
Back injuries. They can happen when one person lifts a heavy piece of equipment or a carton of supplies. Always get help to move heavy stuff.
To lift a moderately heavy object by yourself, squat, hold the item securely, then straighten your legs as you rise.
Electrical shocks. Office equipment can cause serious shock and burn injuries if not properly used. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never remove the third prong from the three-prong  plug of any piece of equipment. If you must temporarily run an extension cord across a walkway, tape it down.
Overloading electrical outlets and extension cords can result in a fire.
Renovations. When a building is undergoing construction, alterations or renovations, keep your distance from the project. Fire departments say this cannot be stressed enough.
Get an escort. If you occasionally work late at night in a large building, a time when everyone else has left, call securtiy and ask to be escorted through the building and to your car.

The NBA boasts more than 6.7 million Facebook and Twitter fans

How can it be that the National Basketball Association has 6.7 social network fans, while the NFL has just 2.5 million and MLB has only 1.1 million?
First, the NBA allows teams the freedom to create their own programs and Web content. The National Football League and Major League Baseball dictate a centralized policy.
Quoted in Fast Company, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says it’s because, “Our players are smart and understand the value of social media, and the league has been able to leverage that.” Twitter seems ubiquitous among NBA players.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the world champion and the third-most-popular sports social-media entity. They trail only the whole NBA and Barcelona’s soccer club.
The Phoenix Suns rank number two. They offer tweetups with players and fans, while its fan site is the envy of the league. Even the Gorilla mascot tweets.
The Boston Celtics come next. They added 1.5 million fans on Facebook (and 50,000 email addresses to their database) with the help of its 3-Point Play game.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the fourth most socially savvy team. It uses its community site,, to connect and communicate the arena’s fan-friendly experiences. It also does “tweetstakes” and blogger shout-outs before most games.
In fifth place in the world rankings of socially-savvy teams comes the New Jersey Nets. The team will move to Brooklyn in 2012 and is up roughly 350 percent on Facebook and nearly 300 percent on Twitter as it cultivates new fans.

A delicious soup for cold days, anytime

Shrimp is the most popular shellfish in the United States. Luckily, it is available year-round. It is a popular ingredient in appetizers, salads, chowders and as a main dish.
The word shrimp comes from the Middle English shrimpe, or”pygmy” or a reference to the crustacean.
Since the 7th century, shrimp and other seafood composed the majority of the Chinese diet, and it remains popular there today.
Harvesting of shrimp in the United States dates back to the 17th century, when Louisiana bayou inhabitants used seines to bring up the delicacy.
Today, the United States harvests over 650 million pounds a year, more than any other country.             The Gulf of Mexico offers some of the finest varieties of the small shelled creature with shrimp fleets occupying harbors all along the West Coast of Florida, across southern Alabama and Mississippi and into the bayous of Louisiana near New Orleans.
Shrimp bisque
20 medium-size shrimp cut into    small pieces
1 can evaporated
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 4-ounce cantomato paste
1 teaspoon corn
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 dashes nutmeg
Black pepper to taste
Saute shrimp in butter on low heat. Add milk, corn starch and spices. Do not boil.With a wooden spoon, stir in tomato paste until smooth. Add sour cream and again stir until smooth. Serves eight. Serve hot with soda  crackers and sandwich for lunch.

Protect yourself from drug-resistant infections

Drug-resistant staph infections (including MRSA) are declining in hospitals, but MRSA and other infectious agents are still out there. The trick is to keep them from spreading to others and to protect yourself from people and objects that might carry infection.
A staph infection can show up as an abscess, boil or furuncle (a boil that involves a hair follicle and nearby skin). It may be red, swollen and painful.
If the infection moves into the bloodstream, doctors at Duke Medicine say it can cause low blood pressure, chills or fever.
Basic hygiene is still the most important part of protection.
* Wash hands frequently. Do it before eating, before and after using the bathroom, after contact with animals, after social outings and shopping, and when returning home from work.
* Because excessive antibiotic use can give an advantage to drug-resistant bacteria, take antibiotics only when necessary. When prescribed, take the correct and whole dose and finish the entire prescription.
* Don’t share personal items, such as towels, clothing, combs or razors.
* Cover any wound with a dry, sterile bandage.
* Avoid contact with other people’s bandages or wounds.
* If you have a sore or break in the skin, wash and dry clothes, towels and bed linens on the high-heat settings.

Potassium for lower blood pressure

Increasing potassium intake could reduce the number of people diagnosed with high blood pressure by more than 10 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
Researchers found that where high levels of potassium-heavy fruits and vegetables are consumed, high blood pressure affects only 1 percent of the population. At the same time, these people reduced their incidence of heart disease and stroke.
In societies where people eat large quantities of processed foods and fewer fruits and vegetables, hypertension affects 33 percent of the population.
Good sources of potassium include bananas, apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, peas, beans and potatoes.

An older worker with extensive private-sector experience

Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of the labor force, now numbering at 6.2 million. About 25 percent of them aged 65 to74 are working or seeking work.

Americans are living longer, and many don’t want to outlive their savings. Most seek work out of necessity. The value of their investments may have decreased dramatically. In some cases, talented and experienced people are almost broke, though they ran entire companies or departments for many years.

This creates an opportunity for small businesses. They could not afford to hire an experienced younger person for what a senior is willing to work for. Some seniors gladly accept lower-level or part-time work.

Employers may wonder if the experienced hire will be a good fit with a younger staff or in a high-energy job. Short-term freelance work could help them make that decision. Many larger companies are hiring back experienced workers as contract consultants.

As an employee, seniors don’t have to be covered by health insurance. They are on Medicare.

Experts writing in Smart Money say some seniors wouldn’t be as proficient on the Internet as their younger counterparts, but many are. If they have been out of work for a few months, they’ve had plenty of time to search the Web and update their skills. The same experts say seniors have more stability and better people skills.

But call it what you will, age discrimination is a problem for older people who are looking for a job. It’s unfortunate. For many companies, a senior’s background of knowledge and experience could be a real plus in the office, the sales department or product development.

How to perform well under pressure

How do actors, athletes, speakers and everyday workers perform well when it really counts? New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan has a new book that tells the hows and whys.

In Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t, he identifies people across a range of professions and determines what qualities keep their performance consistent in every kind of situation. They are:

* Focus
* Discipline
* Adaptability
* Involvement in the task
* Fear and desire.

The author says he has battled “the choke” for many years in order to find the answers to why he, and many others, choke when called upon to perform.

Sullivan gives examples of people in sports, such as Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods, and in business, the military, and on stage. He examines what they had to overcome. The culprits included such unexpected problems as:

* An inability to accept responsibility for what was happening
*A tendency to overthink and be overconfident.

In analyzing what makes a person do well, the author emphasizes, “It’s not luck!” Rather, it’s the ability to do what you normally do and do it when it really counts, whether it’s in business or your personal life.

Clutch is concise, well-written and thoroughly entertaining. Critics have been appreciative. Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated, says “Chokers everywhere, that means almost all of us in some part of our lives, owe him thanks.”

Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t by Paul Sullivan, Portfolio, 246 pages in hardcover.

Teen driving contract saves lives

Fatal car crashes involving teen drivers fell by about a third over five years ending in 2008, according to a new federal report. The report partly credits the drop to tougher state limits on younger drivers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who made the study, say Wyoming had the highest death rate with about 60 traffic fatalities involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers per 100,000 people at that age. New York and New Jersey had the lowest rate at about 10 per 100,000.
New York prohibits teen driving until age 18. New Jersey essentially bans kids from driving until they are 17.
Wyoming allows younger teens to drive until 11 p.m., while other states have a 9 p.m. deadline.
The number of teen deaths has been decreasing since 1996. CDC officials credit part of the decline to safer cars, airbags and highway improvements.
The most recent step forward in preventing teen fatalities is the parent-teen driving agreement. It helps new drivers and their families agree on such matters as the hours the teen will be allowed to drive, whether or not passengers will be allowed in the car, and promises to obey traffic laws.
Safe driving requires much more than what state laws call for, and signing an agreement before teens start driving is helpful in establishing expectations. The American Automobile Association provides a good example of a contract at Copy and paste the address into your browser.