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Scott Scranton will tell you how to save some money this summer—without sacrificing fun. Glen Lentil’s blueberry pancakes come from the heart, and our team of sports reporters at the PIC Clubhouse weigh in on one of baseball’s most important questions.


Just Good Business! with Scott Scranton

Summer Travel Savings Tips

airplane in the blue sky

Airplane

As we’ve all been enjoying our regained freedom and safety this summer, a lot of people have started traveling again. I’ve been fortunate enough (due to my financial prudence and business acumen, and also my wife’s job as an electrical engineer at NASA) to get out of town once or twice this summer, and I want to help your family vacation just as responsibly as mine did.

1. Stay away from the “hot” tourist spots.

If you’re anything like me, your family is desperate to go to one specific destination: Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. While I must admit that Disney’s marketing tactics are quite impressive, Walt Disney World and their constituents are a money-sucking black hole. Instead of filling your kids’ heads with fluffy nonsense that your wife might think will “let them experience fun for the first time,” take them somewhere that stands for the values you really care about. My family and I had a delightful and constructive experience a few weeks ago at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, in historic Dearborn, Michigan. A tribute to the greatest man who ever lived, this museum has everything Disney World has, and our trip there didn’t leave us bankrupt financially or morally.

2. Plan ahead.

It might be tempting to make your summer getaway “spontaneous” or leave room for “fun activities,” but if you don’t have the details worked out long in advance, you’re going to end up with surprise side expenses that eat up money—money that should be spent making low-cost memories that last multiple fiscal years. Last week in Dearborn, my son wanted a Gatorade after the long walk from our motel room to the Ford Museum. Luckily for him, I had saved the empty Poland Spring water bottle I got at the rest stop three days earlier, and after some light bartering we were able to fill it with water for free at the local Citgo.

3. Enjoy the little things.

You might feel a lot of pressure to pay for dine-in meals, expensive boat tours, and top-rated museums. But my family and I enjoyed bringing some of our favorite low-cost, simple pleasures from our regular life with us to Michigan. Maybe it didn’t make for a great vacation Instagram photo, but we had a good time listening to Planet Money episodes and eating beans from a can as we passed through Pennsylvania. And while a lot of people need the glitz and glamor of some shiny, brand-name airline to make their trip feel like a real vacation, I sure got a whole lot of pleasure out of simply polishing up the Rav-4 to make sure it would be the pride of the highways from Worcester to Toledo. In Dearborn, I made sure to set aside time for a sensual evening walk with the old ball and chain around the exhibit on American agricultural equipment (need I say more?). For a day of guaranteed fun, I took the kids on a Ford factory tour, and told them all about how in the good old days, kids their age would be working in a place like that for almost a hundred hours a week! And as far as relaxing goes, there’s nothing better than enjoying a cup of joe and Hunter Biden’s autobiography in the museum cafe.

4. Keep your priorities in mind.

When you’re on vacation, it can start to feel like rest and relaxation should be your goal. But that mindset will get you nowhere. Take the time to think about what really matters to you. For me, the top priority always has to be my beautiful wife—a radiant presence, loving mother, and supremely responsible financial actor. In the evenings, after our museum tours, I made sure that she and I spent some quality time together, huddled cheek-to-cheek over the same computer screen for our daily portfolio check-in. Sure, she claimed she wanted to take a romantic night stroll on the town, or eat at a nice restaurant, but I eventually convinced her that there’s nothing more romantic than working together to ensure financial stability in retirement.

5. Learn something.

The cheapest vacation is the one that teaches you enough about hard work and responsibility to pay for itself in the future. Each time I bring my son, Henry, and my daughter, Equity, to the Ford museum, I know I’m going to make back the admission fee ten times over once they’re old enough to take the lessons they’ve learned into the business world. Heck, this past trip made me more productive too. Just a few days of marveling at Mr. Ford’s brilliance, and I came back to work here in Waltham with a renewed drive. I didn’t feel like I’d taken a second off of work! Incredible!


The Kitchen's Bounty

These Blueberry Pancakes Will Greet You Like an Old, Dear Friend

By Glen Lentil

Blueberry pancake batter

Glen Lentil's Blueberry Pancakes.

Bonjour. It’s Glen Lentil, three-time winner of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee Award in Food Excellence (CHAFE) back again to teach you how to make pancakes. And not just any pancakes. These golden-crusted beauties are sure to impress any overnight guest in the morning, or the celebrity whose table you crash at the local Marriott.

What I love about this dish is that these little guys, fresh out of the pan, won’t just nourish you and your spirit—they’ll keep you company. A crucial step of this dish is to arrange the blueberries into little faces, to let their natural personalities shine. Some pancakes will come out smiley, some sultry, some even a little sassy, but ALL of them are your friends, and don’t you EVER, forget that.

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Milk 
  • Butter 
  • Blueberries
  • Baking soda

Once you have your individual bowls mixed, combine them together. This whisking can be a little hard on the arms, but make sure not to tense up. These ingredients love you. Water, eggs, flour, butter, they are your parents. Feel them wrap their arms around you. Hear them say “I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” “The CHAFE is an impressive award.”

Heat up your pan or griddle, but not too hot. This is an act of love, not one of hatred. The pancakes should sigh blissfully when you ladle them onto the pan. It should be an “Ahhh” not an “AAAH!” if that makes sense. Once you’ve placed it into the pan, lovingly, make sure to keep a gentle eye on your batter. Your little pals are coming to life, and you wouldn’t want to miss their birthing process. You want to be there for them in their big childhood moments, because otherwise—well, we don’t want to think about that.

In three minutes, when your pancakes begin to form bubbles and smell like home, turn them over gently, as you would to pet a cat’s stomach.

Once they’re shining golden, you’re golden. Take them off and put them on a rack to cool for a minute. And then… and then. And then. I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. God, this always happens to me. I cannot eat them. They would be delicious, yes, but I love them too much. You, reader, are obviously welcome to them. Just don’t tell me what you did and don’t look them in the eyes.

The great thing about these pancakes is that they keep well in the freezer. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not good frozen, but sometimes it’s nice to pop open that freezer door and see a smiling, blueberry face, a face that says, “You’ve accomplished a lot professionally, Glen.” Sometimes you can even arrange them around your dining room table for those nights when your wife is visiting her sister so she can “get some air.” Hell, bring a few to bed with you and cuddle them at night. Their versatility is what makes this such a caring, affable dish.

Sometimes I even bring some in a Tupperware to my local playground and hand them to kids who are playing alone. Every child’s face lights up with joy when they see those big blueberry eyes staring back at them. That smiling mouth, gushing berry juice all over the place. I tell them, “To play with, not to eat.” They nod. The pancakes smile. We all smile. We are happy.

Sorry. Anyway. See you next week, readers.


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The PIC Clubhouse

What our team at PIC has to say about the hottest topics in sports.

Baseball

Baseball.

Yesterday, outrage erupted after the Toronto Blue Jays’ Derrick Marinara played air guitar while running the bases. We asked our massive team of sports reporters in the PIC Clubhouse to offer their thoughts on a big question: is there any common courtesy left in the MLB?

Horace Rutherford: No, there isn’t.

Brooks Farmburger: I’ll answer your question with a question. Would the great Honus Wagner have pulled a stunt like this? I think it’s pretty hard to get into this crap when your nose is always stuck on the grindstone.

Celine Casper: I remember when my old man took me to the first ever Cleveland Spiders game. No TV crew, no electricity, no running water, none of this nonsense.

Dick Clancy: O-V-E-R-P-A-I-D.

Sue Willoughby: I grew up watching the greats. Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, old Hookfingers Jones, and Daffy Duck. This modern stuff makes me sick.

Moe Ribbon: Bah!

Nancy McNancy: I’d bench him myself if I could.

Ebeneezer “The Kid” Scrooge: As someone who witnessed Rusty Oldrust’s grand slam on two broken legs and a staph infection after his son had been murdered by the Redcoats, let’s just say I don’t have a ton of sympathy for Marinara hot-dogging it on E-S-P-N this weekend.

Ned “Bungee Cord” Sanderson: Completely unacceptable. Anyone who shouts, flips a bat, hits a homerun, or in any way makes the game more interesting than what I grew up watching should be fined and suspended.

Chet “Spanky” Luntz: Seems fine to me, not sure what all the fuss is about.

Del “Puke” Conklin: Two Words: Puppy Sputkerson. And we all know what happened to him.

Peter “Hard Hat” McDonalds: In my day, they’d plunk you in your next at-bat if you pulled something like this. I remember when Twinkletoes Anderson tried doing some of this Hollywood shit to Grunt Hardface in the 1909 World Series. Next at-bat, they hit him with a car. Dead.


Thanks for tackling the real issues with us this week. Please reach out with any questions or comments!


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