Boston Brick & Stone April 2018


2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 | | April 2018


Pranks From the Pre-Internet Age


April Fools’ Day isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it’s still a fun distraction, with Google announcing “scratch and sniff ” digital technology and Amazon declaring new features enabling Alexa to understand your pets. But it’s pretty hard for anyone to genuinely pull your leg in the internet age. Back when you couldn’t debunk a hoax with a simple Snopes search, things were a little more interesting. Here are a few of the most hilarious — yet somehow convincing — April Fools’ pranks in history.

Ah, to be as naive as we were during the early days of

television. In 1957, a BBC news show called “Panorama” conducted a special report on a massive spaghetti harvest in Ticino, Switzerland, following a remarkably mild winter. The black and white images



When NPR’s popular “Talk of the Nation” program announced in 1992 that former President Richard Nixon had announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, listeners were shocked. Never mind that

showed farmers pulling huge strands of noodles off tall trees and prompted hundreds of viewers to call into the station and ask how they might procure their own spaghetti tree.


When Edison was in his prime, Americans truly believed he could accomplish anything — even a machine that transformed air, water, and dirt into biscuits, vegetables, meat, and wine, as reported by the New York Daily Graphic in 1878. The article was reprinted in newspapers across the country. Thousands of people bought the trick. When Buffalo’s Commercial Advertiser ran an editorial on Edison’s genius in the endeavor, the Graphic reprinted it in full, along with the headline, “They Bite!”

he’d been the center of the largest presidential scam in history, but his campaign slogan, “I never did anything

wrong, and I won’t do it again,” left something to be desired. NPR even brought political experts on the show to discuss the ramifications of such a move, and listeners flooded the station with outraged calls — until host John Hockenberry revealed that the on- air Nixon was actually comedian Rich Little.

-Dave Laverdiere |


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Scale Your Business Past Its Plateau While business owners love constant growth and the excitement of success, the defining moment for every business is how it gets through its plateau, when growth stagnates. A company only has two places to go from this point. It can rise to find new success, or it can crash and burn. Here are three strategies to keep growing after you’ve reached your plateau. methodology of applying directed attention to your issue. Rather than just going through the motions or mindless repetitions, commit to applying yourself to your task. Focus on the quality of what you’re doing, not the quantity — this is key for stagnating companies. By committing to quality work and deliberate practice, your business can create a better product and have a more substantial impact.

Innovation Sheer will and work ethic can only take you so far. When you need to push through a plateau, one of the most pivotal qualities is innovation. Finding creative solutions to your company’s issues will help keep your employees energized and open new opportunities. By developing new and exciting ideas, your company will find a whole new frontier of possibilities. The key is understanding which ideas to pursue and which ideas to let go. Not every innovation is going to be great, but by committing yourself to the pursuit of creativity, you can find solutions to transform your business. Deliberate Practice This concept was brought to light by Anders Ericsson. Deliberate practice defines how human excellence is developed. It applies to athletes and performers, but it also applies to business. Deliberate practice is a focused

“Great company! Professional and always on time, and they kept us informed at all times on everything concerning the project. Friendly yet wholly professional crew and supervisor.” –Eric D. TESTIMONIALS Revamp Your Business Model In some instances, businesses need to adapt to what is in front of them. This is often referred to as a pivot. You can find new revenue streams by shifting your business strategies. The changes you make may not be in line with the original mission of your company, but they can push your company through its plateau. Many business owners look at a plateau and don’t see the stagnation as a threat. But there is nothing more defining for your business than this moment. While these three strategies can help, if you find your business plateauing, you should define a personalized plan of attack that works for you and your team.


•Inspection •Restoration and repair •Construction •Sweeping


•Inspection, restoration, or repair of an existing structure •Installation or reconstruction of new structures


•Backyard patios •Outdoor kitchens and barbecues •Outdoor steps, walkways, and paths •Retaining walls •Outdoor fireplaces •Driveways

HISTORICAL RESTORATION Our previous restoration work includes the following:

•Restoration of the main lobby chimney system of the El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim •Repair and restoration of chimneys in 56 original historic cabins on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim •Historical chimney restoration for the lodge in Bryce Canyon National Park •Faithful restoration of the chimneys on the Nottingham and Arden properties in Beverly Hills


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LA’s Million-Dollar Housing Boom

Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Today, there are more million-dollar homes in the Los Angeles area than ever before — in fact, over the last few years, the number of million-dollar homes has more than doubled in the LA market. According to Trulia, in 2012, only 8 percent of homes in LA and the surrounding communities were priced at $1 million or more. Fast forward to 2018, and over 16 percent of homes have a million-dollar-plus price tag. The increase in home prices has elevated the LA metro area to the fifth most expensive real estate market in the country, following Bay Area metros (stretching from San Francisco down to San Jose) and Orange County. In Irvine, for example, over 80 percent of homes command a million-plus price tag. By comparison, the median home price in LA County is $525,000, a number that is steadily rising. This number breaks the previous record set before the housing bubble of 2008. The difference is that the housing market is much stronger than it was in 2008. During the bubble, homebuilders were overbuilding and lenders were overlending. Today, that’s not much of an issue. In these terms, the market has stabilized. While this is good news for sellers — it is a seller’s market — it’s also good for general contractors. More people are looking to update and renovate their homes, whether those are million-dollar homes or mid-priced

homes. Homeowners feel the time is right to update to add more value to their homes. With home prices steadily rising, it’s important to know which renovations will and won’t add value to the home. Here are a few examples:

Will Add Value

• • • •

Updated kitchen

Updated bathrooms

Garage door replacement

Working fireplace

Won’t Add Value

• • • •

Additional bathrooms

Loud paint colors

Wall-to-wall carpeting

New windows

These are just a few examples, but at Boston Brick & Stone, we strive to help homeowners and businesses achieve their restoration and renovation goals. As home values in LA continue to climb, homeowners have more power than ever to achieve those goals. As always, we’re here to help.


Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs


• 2 pounds asparagus • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • Kosher salt • Freshly ground pepper • 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped • 2 teaspoons lemon zest • Juice of one lemon (not packaged lemon juice)


1. Heat oven to 425 F. Toss asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20–26 minutes, turning asparagus halfway through. 2. When asparagus is nearly done, heat remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fold in parsley and lemon zest. 3. Transfer asparagus to serving platter, drizzle with lemon juice, and top with breadcrumb mixture.

Recipe inspired by Food and Wine Magazine

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2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 |


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April Fools’ Pranks From the Pre- Internet Age

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Ways to Ignite Your Business Back to Growth

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The Million-Dollar Housing Boom

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Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs

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3 Places to View Natural Wonders

Naturescapes One-of-a-Kind

If you’re lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, you might see rare magical sights — baby turtles scuttling toward water, glowing lagoons, or a shimmering sky. But when and where do you need to be to catch these natural wonders? Sea Turtles Hatching in Hawaii On Oahu’s North Shore, head to Turtle Beach, which gets its name from the many turtles that nest along its shores. During late spring and summer, the waves subside, allowing turtles to crawl onto the beach to lay their eggs. Baby turtles hatch at night and make their way to the water by the light of the moon. If you do head to the beach at night to see this spectacle, don’t use white light, as it can disrupt the turtles’ progress (that means no flash photography).

where salt water and fresh water meet, making the lagoon in springtime an ideal place to see them.

Eco tip: To ensure this magical sight will remain for years to come, always go with a “pack it in, pack it out” mentality. Take all of your belongings with you when you leave and be respectful of the beautiful environment that is yours to enjoy. Northern Lights in Scandinavia One of the most elusive natural wonders, the aurora borealis, can only be seen on dark nights in the most northern parts of the world. That makes Sweden and its Scandinavian neighbors a great place to see the phenomenon. From December through April, you’ll have your best chance of seeing the northern lights. Sightings are dependent on solar activity, so it’s impossible to predict the exact timing and location, but they’re easier to see during the longer, darker nights of winter and early spring. Eco tip: Book your trip through a responsible travel company, such as those that practice a fair-trade policy.

Eco tip: Look, but don’t touch! It’s illegal to touch a sea turtle in Hawaii.

Bioluminescent Plankton in Jamaica Imagine looking out at the water as the sky gets dark and seeing it turn a bright, glowing blue. That’s the sight you might be treated to at Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica, where dinoflagellates, microscopic organisms in the water, lend their glow to the lagoon. These tiny organisms thrive in areas


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