For over 30 years, Ripley’s attractions have been among Myrtle Beach’s favorite family destinations. Five uniquely different Ripley experiences await your arrival, including:
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum
- Ripley’s Moving Theater
- Ripley’s Haunted House
- Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze
- Ripley’s Aquarium
During our 2012 summer vacation, my family and I attended Ripley’s largest and South Carolina’s most visited attraction Ripley’s Aquarium and we loved it. Ripley’s Aquarium is located in Broadway at the Beach on 1110 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC. Ripley’s Aquarium is an 87,000 square-foot world-class aquarium displaying thousands of ocean-dwelling marine animals.
We leisurely traveled on a moving 340-foot long glidepath, through an acrylic tunnel filled with thousands of fish of every shape and size, including snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, sea turtles, giant stingrays, sawfish and…very large Sharks. What a spectacular underwater view and not surprising that the glidepath is Ripley’s Aquarium largest and most popular exhibit.
The aquarium also features a horseshow crab interactive exhibit, a stingray petting area, daily educational presentations like “Learn to Swim Like a Mermaid” and two hourly dive shows: “Rainbow Rock” and “Ray Bay”.
The bright colors of the rainbow are found underwater in the Indo-Pacific coral reef known as Rainbow Rock. During the show viewers will see thousands of intricately colored fishes from the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean as they swim around and through the delicate hand-crafted reef structures. Visitors can then witness divers enter the tank at Ray Bay and hand feed sting rays, the ocean’s large but gentle and affectionate creatures. Observers can view over 100 rays glide through the water like majestic birds in the air.
While we were visiting the aquarium, we explored Ripley’s ground-shaking new exhibit entitled Dinosaurs – When Giants Ruled. This exhibit showcases some of the most amazing creatures to have ever habit the earth and features life-size fully animatronic animals, several hands-on activities and nuggets of information about these great creatures. The exhibit both entertains and educates visitors about the era when these amazing, massive creatures walked the Earth.
In reading online reviews, others have found Ripley’s Aquarium to be a little pricey; however, we thought it was highly informative, interactive, attractive and fun. If you plan to attend more than one Ripley’s attraction, I highly recommend purchasing a combo package online to save money. The aquarium is definitely a place to visit at least once.
Written by: Frank Iacono
As the son of two parents who are small business owners and more importantly as an American, I am truly flabbergasted by President Barack Obama’s remarks on July 13, 2012. Specifically, I am dumbfounded by how smug and arrogant he stood behind the podium and laughingly stated, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Obama continued by saying how he was struck by those owners who thought they created their business simply because they were smart or that they worked hard. Are you kidding me Mr. President? Do you honestly believe that simply having a good education coupled with intelligence is the formula for business success? Well, the answer is NO. You must have a dream, a sound business strategy, an unrelenting persistence to succeed and above all the tenacity to risk everything.
Obama then stated that there were great teachers, government infrastructures such as our road system, bridges and other programs in this country that enabled owners to create that business. First of all, while that is true he failed to acknowledge that as American citizens and tax payers my parents paid for the teachers, the road builders, and all federal, state and local government employees out of the taxes you have already taken as your cut of their business. So, taxpayers hired them to do their jobs for the same reason everyone works, to procure a paycheck, not for charity.
For my entire life my parents have worked very hard seven days a week and I find your comments truly insulting to not only them but all entrepreneurs across this great nation who have fought with their blood, sweat and tears to BUILD their business. The truth is that if you are going to be a successful small business owner today, you have to do so in spite of our government not because of it. Mr. President you have no idea what it takes to build a business because you’ve never had one.
Written by: Frank Iacono
Today, Sunday, April 22, 2012, marks the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is a day for action; a chance to show how important the environment is to us. So, when was the first Earth Day? Well, it’s hard to believe that we first celebrated Earth Day on April 22, 1970. So, who started it? It all began behind the support of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin who wanted to use this as a nationwide environmental tech-in day.
Earth Day 1970 featured a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, tycoons and labor leaders, and city slickers and farmers. Additionally, the first Earth Day also led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
Ever since, Earth Day has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. For example, Target Corporation, the American retailing company operating as Target, has been celebrating Earth Month all April long offering green-based tips as well as educating consumers about their everyday products. H-E-B Grocery Stores and the Disney Store are providing customer with a FREE reusable shopping bag when they drop off five plastic shopping bags to be recycled. Pottery Barn Kids is offering a FREE Packet of Sunflower Seeds. Origins Natural Resources, Inc. is providing a FREE full-size Origins moisturizer when customers trade in cosmetic empties.
What Can You Do for Earth Day?
Whether you organize an event in your community or teach a peer about environmental issues, Earth Day is about uniting voices around the globe in support of a healthy planet. In support of Earth Day 2012, I encourage you to participate. See below for ideas on how you can get involved:
- Using social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube
as well as emailing your family, friends, and business colleagues to spread
the word about Earth Day
- Pledging an act of green
- Organizing, attending or donating to an Earth Day event
- Switching to reusable shopping bags
- Using social media outlets like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn
and YouTube as well as emailing your family, friends, and business colleagues
to spread the word about Earth Day
- Finding an alternative means of transportation such as biking, walking,
mass transit or carpooling
- Taking the stairs instead of elevators
- Turning off all electrical devices such as televisions and radios when not
- Turning off all lights when not in use
- Purchasing Energy Star rated appliances
- Finding ways to use water more efficiently
- Taking shorter showers
- Installing a low-flow showerhead to conserve water
- Lowering hot water heaters
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- Plant a tree
For additional Earth Day-based information, please visit the following websites:
Remember that one person can make a difference!
By: Frank Iacono
Questions About the 2012 Season
As opening day for the 2012 Major League Baseball season approaches there are several very interesting questions that are sure to make this season a “must watch” for all baseball fans. For instance, will the St Louis Cardinals, who came out of nowhere to win the NL Wild Card and then used that momentum to carry them to another World Series, defend their championship title; will the Philadelphia Phillies continue to dominate the NL East or will the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins take control; will the Cincinnati Reds rebound from a subpar 2011 to win the NL Central; will the Arizona Diamondbacks defend as NL West division winners over the San Francisco Giants; will the New York Yankees repeat as AL East winners over a talented Tampa Bay Rays team; will the Detroit Tigers who added Prince Fielder once again runaway with the AL Central; and will the Los Angeles Angels with offseason acquisitions C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols capture the AL West.
Here are my National and American League predictions:
With the Philadelphia Phillies unbelievable starting rotation they remain the team to beat in the NL East. However, should the Phillies falter then the Atlanta Braves will challenge them for the division title? And, with offseason improvements made by both the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals this division race proves to be even stronger in 2012. The New York Mets are the only team who simply don’t have enough talent to compete.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves (Wild Card Winner)
3. Miami Marlins
4. Washington Nationals
5. New York Mets
Last year, most baseball enthusiasts considered the Central division to be the worst in the National League. However, after the Milwaukee Brewers posted an impressive 96-win season and the St Louis Cardinals landed the wild card and later won the World Series fans thought otherwise. This year, it’s going to be hard to duplicate the magic especially since the Milwaukee Brewers lost Prince Fielder and the St Louis Cardinals lost Albert Pujols to free agency. The Cincinnati Reds figure to be back in the mix after a disappointing season last year, making this division pretty much a three-team race in 2012. The Chicago Cubs will finish in fourth, while the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Houston Astros will battle as cellar dwellers.
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. St Louis Cardinals
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros
Perhaps the biggest 2011 National League surprise occurred in the West with the Arizona Diamondbacks dethroning the San Francisco Giants. Like last year, this division will primarily feature a two team race and ultimately the Diamondbacks should edge out the Giants and retain their division title. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies will compete for third and fourth place, while the San Diego Padres who lack offensive mojo to be a serious contender will repeat as a bottom feeder.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks
2. San Francisco Giants (Wild Card)
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres
During the 2011 season, the American League East provided us with perhaps the most entertaining finish in baseball. Entering September, the Boston Red Sox had the best record in baseball but then suffered through a historic collapse, coupled with a late surge by the Tampa Bay Rays, which landed them in third place and out of the playoffs. Eventually, the New York Yankees went onto win the East division, while the Rays captured the AL Wild Card. In 2012, the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox all appear to have what it takes to make the playoffs, which in turn makes it the toughest American League division to predict.
1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card Winner)
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles
Last season, the Detroit Tigers ran away with the Central division, finishing an impressive 15 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians. And, now with the addition of first baseman Prince Fielder to an already explosive offense, the Tigers will once again win the AL Central in 2012. The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are both good teams on the rise but they lack the offensive potential to surpass the Tigers, while the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins figure to battle for last place.
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins
Over the last two seasons, the Texas Rangers have been a step ahead of the other three teams in the American League West, but change is a coming this season especially since the Los Angeles Angels added pitcher C.J. Wilson and first baseman Albert Pujols. The Seattle Mariners simply don’t have enough offense to contend with either the Angeles or the Rangers, while the A’s are in the midst of a major rebuilding season.
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Texas Rangers (Wild Card)
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics
National League Champions: Atlanta Braves
American League Champions: Detroit Tigers
2012 World Series Champions: Detroit Tigers
Written by: Frank Iacono
Steve O’Driscoll has enjoyed a distinguished twenty-five year career as a copywriter and marketing strategist.
Over his career, Steve has contributed to prominent ad campaigns in print, radio, television and on the Internet. His regional and national marketing clients have included well-known brands such as GMAC, the NFL Philadelphia Eagles, Proctor & Gamble, Comcast Spectacor, the NHL New Jersey Devils, E*Trade Bank, the
NFL New York Jets, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, the Newark Prudential Center and TV Guide.
In late January of 2012, Steve released his first fictional novel and I am honored to have him join me in this edition of Creative Spotlight.
CS: What is the name of the book?
The name of the book is Rendezvous in Quebec.
CS: How did you come up with the title for the book?
The title of the book is the meeting location for planning the heist.
CS: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was searching for a hobby and writing the book won out over golf and bowling.
CS: How did you come up with the book concept itself?
I’ve always loved the Quebec region and I’ve been fascinated by people’s gambling addiction.
CS: What is the setting of the book?
The characters intersect in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Albany, and Philadelphia, which ultimately leads to a meeting in Quebec.
CS: What is the major theme of the book?
The reader discovers what motivates each member of the eight conspirators to plan and participate in a dangerous undertaking that would change their lives forever.
CS: What is the genre of the book and how did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
It is an action mystery. I became interested because it is my favorite source of reading.
CS: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
There is no hidden message. It is just light, fun beach reading.
CS: Who designed the front and back covers?
Maria Pare of MPP
Publishing. The cover photo is courtesy of Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu.
CS: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part is to keep believing in yourself and having the determination to continue to keep writing.
CS: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Yes. I learned that I want to write more.
CS: Who would you define as your target audience for the book?
Anyone who still enjoys reading a mystery adventure and fantasizing about it.
CS: What kind of research did you do for this book?
I researched the geography of Quebec, Connecticut and Rhode Island. I also studied the history of Native American tribes, the security systems found in casinos, guns, all-terrain vehicles and protective gear.
CS: What can you tell us about the characters in the book?
They are not much different than the reader.
CS: Who is or are the main characters in the book?
You will learn what two ex-athletes (turned house painter and insurance agent), two gay French-Canadian tour guides, two public school teachers, an apartment
manager, and a beautiful underemployed model, have in common.
CS: What are the most revealing scenes?
The Planning and the Reunion.
CS: If you could meet any of the characters in the book, who would it be?
I have met them all in both my real life and in my fantasy. They are as real to me as you are.
CS: What was your favorite part of the book?
CS: What was the hardest part of the book to write?
Outlining the concept.
CS: Where is the book available?
The book is available for Kindle at Amazon.com and in paperback at CreateSpace.com.
For a more comprehensive list see below under Book Purchase Options.
CS: How do you react to a bad review of your book?
I haven’t encountered that yet.
CS: When it comes to writing, what does a typical workday look like for you? And, where is that you go to write?
I wrote early every Saturday and Sunday morning for two to three hours for a year and a half.
CS: Do you set daily writing goals?
Yes. The discipline of setting a regular schedule is important.
CS: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Having determination and sticking with it.
CS: What’s the best thing about being an author?
The positive reaction I have received from the publisher and from so many people I don’t know has been awesome.
CS: What are you working on now?
Working on Eva, The Midnight Cat – the story of a serial cat burglar in Savannah, Georgia.
CS: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
If you have thought about doing it, stop hesitating.
CS: Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
James Patterson and John Irving. In fact, I am scheduled to attend a John Irving book discussion in May.
CS: When are you going to write your autobiography?
Never. No one would read it. The closest I get to that is a blog I write offering marketing ideas for business owners.
CS: If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
A book about my life would only find readers among the members of my immediate family. I think we are already subject to too much reality in the newspapers and on television.
About Rendezvous in Quebec
While reading Rendezvous in Quebec, you will learn what two ex-athletes (turned house painter and insurance agent), two gay French-Canadian tour guides,
two public school teachers, an apartment manager, and a beautiful underemployed model, have in common.
You will discover how this potpourri of personalities intersect in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Albany, and Philadelphia, which ultimately produces a Rendezvous in Quebec.
Along the way, the reader discovers what motivates each member of the eight conspirators to plan and participate in a dangerous undertaking that would change
their lives forever.
For more information, please visit RendezvousinQuebec.weebly.com.
Book Purchase Options
Rendezvous in Quebec can be purchased as an e-book or paperback at the following:
About Frank Iacono
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention. Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.
Written by: Frank Iacono
I can’t believe that September 11, 2011, marks the 10th anniversary of the tragic attacks perpetuated against the United States on September 11, 2001 (a.k.a. 9/11, September 11 attacks, September 11, September 11th). This horrific tragedy, coordinated by the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, killed nearly 3,000 of our fellow Americans and left an indelible mark on our country and the world. This cowardly jihadist organization changed what was once a beautiful September morning surrounded by blue skies and sunshine into America’s darkest day.
Today, as we reflect on the despicable actions of al-Qaeda and bin Laden, we recall with deep sadness those people who lost their lives. The attacks took place from approximately 8:46 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. ET and featured 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, who hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. Like millions of fellow Americans, I too remember exactly where I was and what I was doing during this appalling period of destruction. The aforementioned hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, a complex of seven buildings that opened on April 4, 1973, in Lower Manhattan, killing everyone on board as well as others who were working in the towers. American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower while United Airlines Flight 175 was crashed into the South Tower. Within two hours, both buildings collapsed destroying nearby buildings and damaging others.
Another group of hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania. This plane was redirected toward Washington, D.C. but crashed as a result of the heroic passengers and flight crew who attempted to retake control of the plane. There were no survivors from any of these flights. Out of the disasters in New York, Washington, DC, and western Pennsylvania, on that day we emerged a mournful, but united nation.
As former President Ronald Reagan once said, ”Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”
After being placed on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) lists of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists, specifically for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, Osama bin Laden remained in hiding during three U.S. presidential administrations. From 2001 to 2011, bin Laden was the major target of the War on Terror, with a US $25 million bounty by the FBI. Then, on May 2, 2011, after years at large, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives in a covert operation ordered by United States President Barack Obama. Shortly after his death, bin Laden’s body was buried at sea.
Now, let’s pause with the rest of the world to remember those who lost their lives on that horrendous day as well as pray for the victim’s families and friends. We should also take a moment to acknowledge and thank the men and women who protect and serve our communities and defend the freedoms of the United States every day.
Let us never forget.
God Bless You! And, God Bless America!
By: Frank Iacono
Randall Mario Poffo, better known to the wrestling world by his ring name Randy “Macho Man” Savage, died on Friday, May 20, 2011, in a single vehicle automobile accident. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the accident occurred at approximately 9:25 a.m. while the wrestling legend was driving his Jeep Wrangler on a street in Seminole, Florida — a town on the Pinellas County side of the Tampa Bay area. Mr. Poffo was 58.
According to the report, the out of control Jeep veered over the raised concrete median divider, crossed over the eastbound lanes and then crashed head-on into a tree, killing “Macho Man” Randy Savage. This report was later confirmed by Poffo’s brother, Lanny Poffo who also served as a wrestler under that ring names of “The Genius” and “Leaping Lanny Poffo.” Police said that Mr. Poffo may have suffered a “medical event” before the accident occurred but they did not elaborate. In order to determine the official cause of death an autopsy will be performed but toxicology results could take up to 4-6 weeks to be completed.
The report also stated that Mr. Poffo didn’t strike any other vehicles during the accident, and the only other occupant in his Jeep was a woman. She was later identified as Randy’s wife, Barbara Lynn Poffo, age 56. Thankfully, Mrs. Poffo suffered only minor injuries in the crash.
Both Randy and his wife were wearing seat belts — which likely saved her life and may have saved his had there been no other medical issues complicating the situation.
During the 1980s, Mr. Poffo defined the larger-than-life personalities of the then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and helped build the WWF into a mainstream phenomenon. Randy, known for his raspy voice and “Oooh Yeah!” catch phrase, wore rainbow colored cowboy hats, bandanas or head bands, sequined robes bejeweled with his name “Macho Man” on the back, oversized sunglasses, and walked to the ring with his valet Miss Elizabeth. “Macho Man” was under contract with the WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWF and Intercontinental Championships. He later wrestled in Ted Turner’s now defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as well as Jeff Jarrett’s Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling.
In December of 1984, Randy married Elizabeth Hulette (a.k.a. Miss Elizabeth). The couple divorced on September 18, 1992. Hulette later began a relationship with another professional wrestler and football player named Lawrence Wendell Pfohl who was better known as Lex Luger. Miss Elizabeth died at the young age of 42 from a drug and alcohol overdose in 2003 at the home she shared with Luger. Poffo had no animosity towards Luger, and felt that Elizabeth brought about her own death due to her drug use.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, Randy served as the celebrity spokesman for Slim Jim snack foods. His famous catch phrase in the ads was “Snap into a Slim Jim, Oooh Yeah!”
I loved watching Randy “Macho Man” Savage wrestle. “Macho Man” was a true legend and icon in the ring with his charismatic personality and signature Flying Elbow Drop (a.k.a. Savage Elbow Drop). I predict that he will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2012.
Following the tragic death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage many of his close friends and colleagues paid tribute to this wrestling superstar:
- World Wrestling Entertainment: “Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife.”
- Hulk Hogan: “I’m completely devastated, after over 10 years of not talking with Randy, we’ve finally started to talk and communicate. We miss him a lot. I feel horrible about the ten years of having no communication. This was a tough one. I just pray that Randy’s happy and in a better place and we miss him.”
Kevin Nash: “Lost a close friend today. If anybody in heaven is wondering who the cat in the ugly cowboy hat is its Randy. Love you Bro. There will never be another!”
Mick Foley: “I just heard the sad news about the “Macho Man”. Randy Savage was one of my favorite performers, and my heart goes out to his loved ones.”
- Jeff Jarrett: “His madness. Randy is gone, but will never be forgotten. Thoughts and prayers are w the entire Poffo family.”
- Christian: “Sad to hear about “Macho Man” Randy Savage. I only met him once briefly. No doubt one of the best and influenced so many performers you see today RIP!”
- Honky Tonk Man: “Such sad news fans. We are lost for words. He was one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time!”
- Tommy Dreamer: “Randy Savage was the 1st person I saw pile drive someone thru a table. Thanks 4 all the memories.”
- Trish Stratus: “Rest in peace Randy-my first inspiration in the ring. My prayers and condolences go out to the Savage family.”
- Eric Bischoff: “Very sad to hear the news about Randy Savage. Randy was as passionate about the wrestling business, as intense of a performer and as honest of a person as anyone I have had the privilege of working with. He will be missed. Randy loved his family deeply and my thoughts and prayers are with them.”
- Jim Ross: “Just heard “Macho Man” died this morning of a heart attack while driving his vehicle in Tampa. My condolences go out to all Randy Savage fans and family!”
During the week of May 23rd, both the WWE and TNA will hold televised tributes for Randy “Macho Man” Savage during Monday Night Raw and Impact Wrestling respectfully. “Oooh Yeah!”