Brooks & Crowley - February 2020

Review Brooks & Crowley

February 2020


439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026

*Services Throughout Massachusetts

“Sitting there in the theater in 1977, I was blown away by the very first words that appeared on screen: ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …’”

futuristic settings, Arthurian imagery, and “Flash Gordon” style action was unlike anything my generation had ever seen. It’s so powerful that, even 40 years later, kids are still being swept up by these films. My youngest, for example, just finished building another “Star Wars” LEGO set with hundreds of pieces — we certainly didn’t have anything like that when I was his age! He finished construction shortly after we’d gone to see “The Rise of Skywalker,” the capstone to this decade- spanning saga. The movies may have wrapped up, but our family’s adventures in this strange, wonderful sci-fi universe are far from over. Our family just returned from a trip to Disney World, and my kids had exactly one thing on their mind: the newest addition to the theme park, Galaxy’s Edge. They were practically jumping out of their skins to go see the new "Star Wars" attractions up close. It’s amazing to think that something that began when I was just a kid still sparks such excitement in young people today. Not bad for “just a popcorn flick.” I’ve come to accept that not every movie has to be “Casablanca” to be enjoyable. The individual films in the “Star Wars” franchise may just be flashy fun, but taken as a whole, that galaxy far, far away has the power to ignite the imaginations of people of all ages, and that just might be better than any award. –Neil Crowley

MOVIES WORTH SEEING How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blockbuster

“Star Wars” is the prime example. The series has never been much of a critical darling, being seen as the embodiment of the flashy blockbuster. And yet, even through those notoriously hated prequel movies, people still flooded the theaters, bought up the toys, and donned the costumes of their favorite characters. In all nine films, “Star Wars” may not have ever clinched any Oscars for best picture, acting, or screenwriting, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a series that has had a larger impact on generations of moviegoers. I still remember seeing the very first film in the franchise back before we even knew it was going to be a franchise. Sitting there in the theater in 1977, I was blown away by the very first words that appeared on screen: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …” It was such a surprising, subversive way to begin a science fiction movie — more reminiscent of a fairy tale than a spacefaring adventure. George Lucas’ blending of

This month, Hollywood celebrates the best pictures of the year, and I’m once again reminded of how limited my selection of movies is these days. My kids are at that age where they have to see the latest blockbuster action movie, from “Avengers: Endgame” to “The Rise of Skywalker,” meaning most of the films I saw this year will likely be taking home awards for special effects and the like, but not much else. And honestly, I’m alright with that. Normally I’m a pretty difficult customer when it comes to entertainment. Action is all well and good, but if you’re going to take up two hours of my time, I’d like to have a little substance in return. But going to see these larger-than-life superhero movies and lightsaber fights has taught me that there’s something to be said about putting your brain in a box and just enjoying the ride. After all, there’s a reason these popcorn flicks are so successful, right?


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Leap Into 2020 Facts About the Leap Year

WHO The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are 1 in 1,461. That means that of the roughly seven billion people in the world, only about five million of them are “leaplings.” The number of leaplings currently living in the U.S. is roughly 187,000. Some famous leaplings include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, rapper Ja Rule, and singer Mark Foster of Foster the People. However, the most famous leapling is probably Superman. When you invent a super-being, you might as well give him a super-birthday. WHERE Anthony, Texas/New Mexico (a single town that straddles the two states’ borders), claims the title “Leap Year Capital of the World.” The city throws one massive birthday party

for all leaplings but invites everyone to join the celebration. Two leapling neighbors from Anthony began the tradition in 1988, and it’s blossomed into a festival with thousands of participants every four years. It includes banquets, hot air balloons, a carnival, concerts, parades, and more. When you have four years to plan in between each shindig, there’s time to go big. Celebrate this leap year by doing something unusual or new. It’s a special day that doesn’t occur often, so make the most of it by doing something you’ll talk about for another four years.

Like the Olympics and presidential elections, leap years only occur once every four years, which is why many people look forward to Feb. 29. But there’s a lot that you might not know about this quirk on the calendar. WHY To keep the calendar in sync with Earth’s orbit around the sun, an extra day is added to it every four years. Earth takes exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun. Those extra hours add up over time, so another calendar day becomes necessary. But a leap year doesn’t occur every four years. Adding that extra day still doesn’t quite keep Earth on track, so the calendar skips leap years that occur during century years not divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 won’t be. Airbnb and VRBO are perhaps the hottest and most disruptive companies in the real estate world — and have been for the past decade. Just as apps like Uber and Lyft decentralized transportation, these short-term rental sites have reshaped the way many investors think about residential property investments. But as we move into the 2020s, it’s important to ask: Is the short-term trend a fad, or is it here to stay? Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of investing in this modern rental strategy. More for Less: The natural attraction of short-term renting is in the higher rates. Many Airbnb properties charge 2–3 times what a long-term renter would pay for the same property. At the same time, the short nature of these stays means you can more thoroughly maintain the property and get ahead of The Pros

To Airbnb or Not to Airbnb? The Question of Owning Short-Term Rental Property

maintenance issues that may have otherwise cropped up during a long-term rental.

Time for You: The irony of real estate investing is never being able to enjoy the amazing properties you own. This is not so with short-term rentals. Thanks to the segmented nature of the business model, you can spend time at the property yourself or even use it to entertain visiting friends and family. Sensitive Investments: Amajor drawback of short-term renting is that it ties your income to the fickle tourism industry. Sure, there are plenty of attractions in the Boston area that draw travelers from around the globe, but the moment a recession hits, the market will dry up. Beyond just economic catastrophes, everything from terrorist threats to inclement The Cons

weather can dissuade tourists and leave a substantial dent in your revenue.

Side Effects: Short-term renting is proving to have some major long-term drawbacks. Inflated rental rates can adversely affect whole communities, driving out people who live and work in the neighborhood. This bleeds right back into the real estate market, as more landlords turn to short-term rentals to make up for lost tenants. Ultimately, whether you chose to roll the dice on the short-term market or settle for playing the long game, we can help you with all the legal aspects of your investment. Give us a call at 781-251-0555.


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Take a Hike! The Best Gear for Cold Weather Adventures

KEEP WARM Obviously, dressing warmly is a key part of any outdoor activities this time of year. Your second layer should be all about insulation to keep your body heat close while locking out the cold. These layers include winter hats, gloves, and jackets. They should be made of water-resistant materials such as fleece or synthetic alternatives to down. STAY DRY You won’t need a third layer on dry, calm winter days. But if there’s rain, wind, or snow in the forecast, be sure to don a waterproof outer shell. While ski jackets and snow pants fit this description, they are far too heavy for hiking. Unlike skiers and snowboarders, you don’t have gravity doing all the hard work for you. Lightweight shells or rain jackets large enough to fit over your other layers should do the trick!

LAUGH OUT LOUD NO SWEAT No matter how cold it is, any hiker is going to work up a sweat. While perspiration is a perfectly natural part of our body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature, it can backfire in winter. Damp sweat plus icy conditions is a recipe for serious chills or even hypothermia. Thus, wearing a base layer of synthetic fabric or merino wool is a must. These next-to-skin tops and pants wick away sweat, keeping you dry. Regardless of what the groundhogs have to say, winter’s on the way out. But if you simply can’t wait any longer to get back out into nature, there’s no need to sit around hoping for the thaw. With the right preparation, any weather can be hiking weather. Here’s a beginner’s guide for how to suit up and hit the trail on frosty days.

HIT THE TRAIL Last but not least, proper footwear is a must! Ice and snow can cause disastrous injuries on trails or even in parking lots. Look for hiking boots that are water-resistant, have treaded soles, and are still relatively lightweight. Heavier boots can make hiking a slog and can actually throw off your balance. So, when hiking this winter, stay light, stay dry, and enjoy the journey!

Homemade Paleo Bread


• • • •

5 eggs

• • • • •

1 2/3 cups almond flour 2 tbsp flaxseed meal 2 tbsp coconut flour

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp agave syrup

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp kosher salt


1. Heat oven to 350 F, and line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. 3. Add eggs, olive oil, agave syrup, and vinegar and whisk until smooth. 4. Pour mixture into prepared 8x5-inch pan and smooth top with a spatula. 5. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from pan and slice when cooled.

Inspired by Delish


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439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026 Inside This Issue


What Means More Than an Oscar?

Learn All About Leap Year


Airbnb’s Pros and Cons


The Winter Hiker’s Gear Guide

Homemade Paleo Bread


Local Events

Boston Events Lasers, Glue Sticks, and Wine

course, you can take your masterpieces home with you. Admission is free, but space is limited, so be sure to register online! FIRE & WINE GLASS BLOWING When: Feb. 14 and Feb. 29, 6:30 p.m. Where: Diablo Glass School Admission: $35 Website: wineandcheese.php Learn the history and science behind glass blowing while watching a live demonstration of the beautiful art form itself. Did we mention there will be wine and cheese? A great event for date nights or a unique outing with friends, Diablo Glass School’s presentations make for an entertaining and educational show!

Marathon. Starting at 12 p.m. on Feb. 16 and running for 24 hours, viewers will be treated to a menagerie of genre greats, new hits, and schlock flops. FREE FAMILY ART DAY When: Monday, Feb. 17, 2–5 p.m. Where: The Umbrella Arts Center, Room 223 Admission: Free! Website: family-days “Creativity has no age limit!” That’s the motto of The Umbrella Arts Center as they open their doors to artists of all ages for a day of fun, learning, and imagination. Talented art instructors will lead your family through projects designed to take around 30 minutes to complete, and of

Take to the stars and embrace your creative side this month! From sci-fi movies to glass blowing, there's something to ignite everyone’s imagination this winter. BOSTON SCIENCE FICTION FILM FESTIVAL’S ANNUAL MARATHON When: Feb. 16, 12 p.m. through Feb. 17, 12 p.m. Where: Somerville Theatre Admission: $90 Website: This one’s for the true sci-fi lovers and film aficionados among us. The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival is celebrating its 45th year of bringing stellar cinema to the “Starship Somerville” Theatre. The Fest itself will run from Feb. 7–17, but the main attraction is The


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