Modern Musings by Trishna Buch

Over the past two weeks, high school seniors from all around Galveston County have been donning their caps and gowns and celebrating successfully making it through four years of high-school—and about 15 years of schooling—by participating in their respective graduation ceremonies.
High school graduation comes around every year, but it is more personal to me this year, since my sister graduated from her high-school this past Saturday. This is a day that she claims to have been preparing for since her senior year started, back in August. For my sister, and for the hundreds of high-school seniors in Galveston County—all of the papers, assignments, exams, after-school activities, clubs and every aspect that comes with being a high-school student has led up to this point. Take a minute, or several (you deserve it), to take a look back at all of your accomplishments. Maybe you significantly improved in a course? Maybe you were accepted into your top choice college? Maybe you overcame great odds? No matter what it is, be proud of yourself and everything you accomplished.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dickinson High School

While all high-school seniors will have different activities planned for the summer—jobs, vacations, relaxing—one common goal will be to spend time with their friends, especially the friends who they will separate from once college begins. My sister, for example, is attending a different college from one of her closest friends. Therefore, her goal is to spend as much time as possible with this friend, because they don’t know when they’ll be able to see each other after the summer ends.
But I’d like to take this time to give all graduating seniors a few words of wisdom, if you will. I’m not here to tell you to “start looking for a job as soon as possible.” I’m not here to tell you to “make sure to go to class and do all of your assignments.” I’m not here to lecture you on time-management or being responsible in college. Why? Because I’m sure you will hear about this at some point; either before starting college, during college or both.
I want to tell you all to never lose sight of who you are, as you start this next journey of life. The paths all of you are on will be vastly different from one another. For example, my sister is looking at 11 years of schooling ahead of her; while some of her friends have less and some have more. You all have goals you want accomplished and desires you want fulfilled, but I want to urge you all to never lose track of who you are. College is a time to explore, a time to discover who you are and what you can accomplish, but you should always remember where you came from and everything and everyone that helped you reach the point you are now.
I want you to remember that college is highly different from high-school—trust me, I know from experience. It will take you some time to find your footing and you may experience some disappointments. You may not always receive the grades you desire, you may not always be able to join the classes you hoped to join and you may experience a series of disappointments. But you will also make new friends, have the opportunity to attend a plethora of exciting classes and gain a sense of accomplishment when you successfully complete that ten page paper or that difficult final. Your college journey will be filled with highs and lows but, trust me, there will be more positives than negatives.
Remember to do your best, but not let anything get in the way of your health and happiness. Take breaks from working and studying when you need to. As that saying goes “make new friends, but keep the old.” Be sure to check in on your high-school friends from time to time. Call your parents—they’d love to hear from you. Visit your home town as much as you can, but try not to run home at the first sign of trouble. Practice your newfound independence, but know that you have all of Galveston County rooting for you as you set off on this journey.  I congratulate all high-school graduates!

By Nicky De Lange

Have you ever had a really unusual idea pop into your head suddenly? It might be sparked by something you see or hear, or maybe because of something you are experiencing.
That happened to me a few weeks ago. My husband and I were wrestling one of our cats into his carrying cage for a visit to the veterinarian.
This cat is no dummy. He knows his cat carrier is used for one purpose – a trip that is apt to involve shots, blood tests or other unpleasant events. Suddenly this docile nine pound animal turns into a lean, mean, fighting machine.
He unsheathes all those lethal claws, and the fight is on. It takes two adults, a lot of determination and a few bad words to accomplish what should be a simple task.
So the last time we managed to do this and emerge unscathed, I had one of those moments – sort of an epiphany – and uttered three magical words: “straitjackets for cats!”
My husband looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “That’s what cat owners need to control their kitties while loading them up, giving them shots or anything else the cat objects to. And we could pitch it to Shark Tank!”
In case you haven’t seen this television series, you’re missing some great TV. People apply to get on the show so can they pitch their commercial brainstorms to the “sharks:” five very wealthy business people who made millions by coming up with new ideas and getting them on the market. Now they sit onstage while new entrepreneurs “pitch” their own ideas, trying to get an investment from one of the five.
And that’s when I realized that Straitjackets For Cats would be perfect for the show. I don’t think there are any out there on the market, and demonstrating how to get one on a cat would make a great visual.
I can just picture shark Lori Grenier, often seen promoting things like this on shopping channel QVC, briskly cramming a very irritated feline into its restrictive new jacket.
Now I just have to figure out how to design the thing, as well as making it look easy putting the cat into it . . .
I really don’t think I’ll pursue this, but you can see how quickly I went from wishing for a cat straitjacket to wanting to market it on Shark Tank. TV definitely can influence us. Now I have to come up with another brilliant idea. One that doesn’t involve cat wrestling.
There’s already too much mayhem and madness on screen these days.

By Trishna Buch

Houstonians have cause to celebrate because the city earned third place in a study analyzing the 501 most diverse cities in America.
The study was conducted by analysts at financial-advice website WalletHub. According to the website, America will be completely diversified by 2050, due to rapid demographic diversification. Not only that, but thanks to waves of immigration, the nation’s face has changed and brought in new skills, perspectives and technologies that will allow the United States to be adaptable to change.
“Economies generally fare better when they openly embrace and capitalize on new ideas,” the website said.
“Conversely, those relying on old ways and specialized industries tend to be more susceptible to the negative effects of market volatility.”
I welcome diversity in America because, as I always say, what a boring country we would live in if everyone was the same? I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, learning about their rich histories and where they came from—because it helps me appreciate humanity as a whole. How lucky are we that we can all be quite different from one another, and yet remain as one.
In order to figure out the most diverse cities, WalletHub analysts compared the 501 most populated cities across five categories: socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, household diversity and religious diversity. Each category was then measured using the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, which—according to WalletHub—is a “commonly accepted measure of market concentration that also works effectively as a general-purpose measure of diversity.”
The cities were categorized into three sections—large cities, midsize cities and small cities—and then each category was evaluated using 13 factors, including education-attainment diversity, linguistic diversity, occupational diversity, age diversity and marital-status diversity.
And Houston—which earned the third place spot—earned a rank of 68 in socioeconomic diversity, five in cultural diversity, 250 in economic diversity, 76 in household diversity and 152 in religious diversity.
Although I was born and raised in the US, I am Indian and I have family from all around the world. I appreciate that I live in a city where I am free to celebrate my culture and my background, while simultaneously fitting into the American way of life. I count myself lucky, that I can have “the best of both worlds”; appreciating where I come from and celebrating where I live.
Houston scored extremely well, as did Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, which earned the fourth, 25th and 52nd, respectively. Our city fell below New York and Jersey City in New Jersey—which earned the top two spots—while coming in ahead of Orem, Utah, Provo, Utah and Bangor, Maine—which earned the three bottom spots.
So wear this label of diversity with pride. Take pride in the fact that we, as Houstonians, appreciate people for who they are and where they come from. Take pride in the fact that we celebrate differences, rather than hide them. Take pride in the fact that we invite diversity, rather than discourage it. This diversity is welcoming, because, not only does it allow us residents to learn about the world we live in, but encourages people from other countries to make Houston a destination to visit.
For a full look at the study, go online to wallethub.com/edu/most-diverse-cities/12690.

Consumer Business by Denisha Maxey

Although April Fool’s Day has passed, the scammers are still out looking to make a fool out of new victims every day! Thousands of new scams are created daily and it is hard for consumers to keep track of them all! That’s where the Houston Better Business Bureau and our BBB Scam Tracker can help. Here is a list of the top five ways consumers are being scammed. Read the list and check it twice, to avoid being scammed!
Never send money to an online business that does not have contact information, other than an email or phone number available. There are several reputable online businesses but for every reputable online business, there are hundreds of online scam businesses. NEVER send money for your purchase by using gift cards, wire transfers, or a prepaid debit card. This will leave you without  recourse to dispute the transaction through you financial institution if you never receive your product.
Do Not Click on links and attachments in unsolicited emails. This is a dangerous no-no! Links and attachments can have malware downloaded onto your computer or other electronic devices. The malware can steal all of your personal information. Your personal information can be used to steal your identity. There is a growing number consumer’s smartphones being infected with malware. Always be cautious when accessing links or opening attachments in emails, even if the email looks familiar.
Never allow yourself to be pressured into a sale. Scammers can make consumers feel as if they do not immediately act on a deal, they will lose it! Scammers are banking on the idea of consumers agreeing to make a purchase before they have thoroughly reviewed the contract or the business’s refund, return, and exchange policies. Be an informed consumer, educate yourself about your purchase and recourse if problems arise. Remember, you do not have to make an important purchasing decision quickly.
Be careful what you share on social media. We all love to share personal information about our lives, as well as information about our family and friends via social media. Not only are we sharing with the people we love, we also share with people who love to scam others! Your identity can be stolen by using information from your social media account. Your name, city you live in, email address, and your date of birth are all readily accessible through social media. This information can be used to open fraudulent accounts in your name. Protect yourself, only connect with people you know.
Stick with local businesses. There is information you can find about local businesses by visiting BBBhou.org. This can be helpful when you need a contractor, plumbing, and air conditioning servicing. Reviewing complaint details, customer reviews, and ratings information allows you to use other consumer’s experiences to aid in your decision of who you should spend your money with.
Help out your fellow consumers, and always report known scams to BBB Scam Tracker on BBBHou.org

Denisha Maxey is director of dispute resolution at Houston Better
Business Bureau

By Trishna Buch

As you read through this paper, I will be on my way to Lake Charles, Louisiana to celebrate my aunt’s birthday. That’s right, I am taking four and a half days off work and using the days to de-stress and prepare for the next seven months of classes, all while mentally preparing myself to come back to the job, ready to do whatever I can to bring in more readers.
I was recently told by several people that they really enjoy my writing style and thoroughly enjoy the articles I read. This was a welcomed compliment, because, as I’m sure many of you will agree, it is always nice to be appreciated for the work you do. And I want to continue producing material that is enjoyable to read. You, our readers, are the driving force behind our paper. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do a job I love. So I would like to express my appreciation to all of you, for giving this 24-year-old the ability to carry out her dreams.
And I’d love to continue hearing from you! If you ever have any ideas for stories or would like to have your story or talents in our paper, please write to me at trishna@thepostnewspaper.net. The heading on our paper says we are a community paper and we encourage everyone to submit their story ideas. Remember: the success of this paper will be a team effort between you and us.