Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Don't forget my contest. You can win a big prize ($5), just for making up a story. Post it in the comments or send me an email. Today's the deadline. The judges will vote tomorrow and the winning story published.
I confess I stole the idea from the contest from (or was inspired by) the Lazy Man and Money. Lazy is one of the blogs I've been reading about practical money management. He received two copies of a book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, and is giving one away. Be sure to read the comments, some are funny, some are sad. See his post here.
Another practical money management blog I've been reading is The Simple Dollar. A recent post focused on Quantity Surcharge. You always thought that the bigger bottle of ketchup was cheaper, right?
Probably my favorite blog of late is Free by 50. It's not as much day-to-day practical information, but probes deep on some subjects. Home ownership, foreclosure, subprime lending, etc. Be sure to read several posts to get a feel for the blog.
I first heard Gerri Detweiller on the radio, she focuses on consumer alerts of all types. She's the credit advisor for credit.com. She doesn't blog every day, but her posts are good.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Many didn't know what they were fighting for, they just fought because they were told to fight. In doing so, they preserved the right for you and I. They paid the ultimate price and today we remember them. Remember their families, their mothers and fathers, their children.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
This weekend is the time for Freedom Weekend Aloft, our annual hot air balloon festival. In addition to the balloons, there is live entertainment, rides for the kids, a Frisbee Dog contest and more.
This year the balloons came over our neighborhood. One landed in the street less than a block away. My wife took the photo at the right of one of the balloons that flew overheard. She didn't realize the bird was in the picture until she got home and downloaded the pics.
I was trying to decide a caption and a story to go along with the picture and decided to hold a contest. You, my faithful readers, can write your own caption and story and post it here. I'm actually going to give a cash prize! Ok, it's not great, but I figure with this being Memorial Day weekend ("first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War" according to Wikipedia), I can spring for a crisp Abe Lincoln, a $5 bill.
So here's the challenge. Come up with a caption or headline for the picture and short story to go along with it. On Saturday, May 30, I'll review all of the entries and announce results. I'll send the winner $5 by either snail-mail or PayPal (if I can figure it out), so be sure I can get in touch with you by email if you think your story is best. I may engage the services of an additional judge. Decisions of the judges will be arbitrary and final, no whiners allowed.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Caroline joins her two newly born girl cousins Audry (detailed here) and Kayden Grace (detailed here) and will likely torment their 3 year old cousin Anthony (way back here). He's in for a mess between these three and another girl on the way (just hang on Anna Grace, your time's coming).
I will have to share this little girl with her paternal grandfather who is on a local talk-radio show. He & I tend to think in some similar ways, he was able to start playing the Neil Diamond song a few months ago when they chose the name. I may have him beat though, I think I still have the song on an 8-track tape somewhere.
For Caroline's dedication here, I'll use some of the words Neil Diamond wrote: "Sweet Caroline - good times never seemed so good." And when I see her, it will be "Hands, touchin hands - reachin out - touchin me - touchin you."
I'm also going to repeat what I said with some of the others - babies are a sign from God that He intends for the world to continue. A miracle from God, babies teach us so much. Caroline has the ability to teach her parents, her grand-parents, aunts and uncles. Or to be used by God to teach them.
It will be late this week before I get to see this beautiful child, I planned a full week out of town and can't back out of it. Congratulations Adam & Ashley! I know you will be great parents.
*Update* Caroline's paternal grandfather called into his radio program to announce her birth. But I scooped him here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I will say the movie was great. It stayed true to The Original Series (TOS), with a few changes that were explained. Yes, there were one or two cheesy lines, but they were easily overlooked (I'm a blogger, not a critic). There was very little use of old tricks from the series and when they were used, they made sense.
You get introduced to most of the characters from TOS. I have to say my favorite is Bones (Dr. McCoy). You learn new things about him that are funny. The character is better than I ever imagined. I never saw Nurse Chapel, but heard her name called once. And Yeoman Rand was missing (or at least I missed her). All of the other characters were there. And very believable.
The movie had some good special effects, but the writers didn't rely on that to make the movie. Ok, there was too much hand to hand fighting and maybe a little too much space fighting, but hey this is Star Trek. Yes, Kirk is shown with his shirt off, but again...
My only complaint was the profanity. We made it through three years of the series without any profanity, we could have gone through two hours of the movie without it.
I give the movie a solid thumbs up and I'd go see it again.
You also meet Captain Pike. Some of us remember Captain Christoper Pike from TOS or the original pilot. Something about him stuck with me through the whole movie. When I got back here, I looked him up on the Internet and realized that he was played by Bruce Greenwood. This is the same guy who starred in my all-time-favorite-too-soon-cancelled TV Show "No Where Man." (sometime I have to see if I can get that on DVD). It made me like Captain Pike even more than I did in the original pilot.
Seems you take eleven nickels and make a stack. Then you build a base that is 2x2, that is four stacks close together. This is followed by a fifth stack on top of the four. That gives you a pyramid of two levels.
Now to make it a pyramid of 3 levels, you need 9 at the bottom, 4 at the second level and one on the top. It doesn't take an Egyptian to see that this pyramid can quickly start costing some money.
See the complete "How To" here. It shows a pyramid that it says is over 1,000 nickels. That's a little over $50. I think somehow they cheated, it looks like it has 15 levels to me and would be like the pyramid in the video, over 13,000 nickels and about $682.
But the guy in the video has a goal of over 1million nickels. That would be 65 rows. And about $50thousand. So if this guy is successful, he'll have $50thousand tied up in nickels on his dining room table. That would be about 25thousand rolls on nickels. I don't think you can get that at the drive thru of your local bank.
Of course any time we talk about investing, you're going to want to know the return. How much money will you get back when you cash in all those nickels? Well, it's not hard to figure. And the return isn't that great. But it's a lot better than most stocks have done the last year or so...
Enjoy making your nickel pyramid.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
At the risk of boring my readers, I wanted to list a few of the special moms in my life. Of course I have to start with the one that brought me here, my own mom. As far back as I remember, she was a working mom. Oh, I remember when she first got the job as the substitute teacher and can't recall what she did before that. Or the job at the temp agency. But in my mind she was always a working mom. Cook, cleaning, all the rest too. Even found a way to slip me a little cash on weekends when I was in college, when I know she didn't have the cash for herself. Somehow thanks doesn't seem to cut it as a response.
The second mother I need to thank is the mother of my children. Some of you know that my first wife passed away 10 years ago. She gave 15 years of her life to raising our 3. Boy if she could see them now.
God is good and in everything He finds ways to show His glory. A little over eight years ago, I met a woman who was a mother herself. Her kids were out of the house, she had "finished" the job of raising her kids (do you ever finish?). She gladly stepped in to help complete the job with mine. She's given up a lot of her dreams over the last eight years to make sure that they have a chance at theirs. Trying not to overshadow their own mother, but also trying to help them in the way that she knows will result in mature adults (after all, she was already batting 1000).
And then there's our girls and girls-in-laws. All four are mothers or will be in about a month. For one of them, this is their first mother's day with a little one. For two, they have the sweet knowledge that in a few days or weeks, they will hold the little one in their arms. They all have no idea what the next 18 years will bring, but I know that they will devote everything to the little ones.
I could go on and talk about my sister and her giving up her career for the second time to devote to her daughter, or my sisters-in-laws and how they drop everything to take care of theirs. You get the picture.
To all of these mothers, and all of you mothers out their, thank you for what you do, have done and will do. Thank you for giving of your life to take care of us. Thank you for giving up the things you want for being mothers. Happy Mother's Day. Somehow, one day just isn't enough.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Anyway, I printed my limit of four coupons and decided to take my son out to lunch. Hey, if it's free, I'm a big spender. I even gave the two extra coupons to my daughter and her husband (their kids can go hungry). The coupon was truly a freebie, you get two pieces of chicken, two sides and a biscuit. Manager's choice on the kind of chicken (white/dark meat) and the kind of sides.
We first encountered some skepticism about our coupons as they didn't have a good clear watermark (I guess my laser printer didn't print them well). But after conferring with someone in the back, they decided my coupons were genuine and granted me my free meal. Apparently, it's not really the manager's choice what kinds of chicken and sides you get unless the young lady at the counter was the manager (if so, why did someone else have to approve the coupon?) She quickly boxed up two pieces of chicken a side of potatoes and a side of cold slaw. I was surprised that she didn't ask if I wanted a drink (which I did).
So, we spent $1.59 for a medium drink (+ tax times two for two drinks) and had a meal. After we ate, I explained to my son that this was a marketing test to see how people liked the new taste. He said it was ok, but not great. I agreed. This is supposed to be lower fat, lower cholesterol. But if I'm going to KFC, I want the hard stuff.
If you try the grilled chicken, I'd be interested in what you think.
P.S. My daughter called, they wouldn't let her use the two coupons I gave her. Seems they couldn't see the watermark. Even though all four coupons were printed at the same time.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
For those not familiar, Sinko de Mayo represents a big event in Mexican history. The actual event has been over-shadowed by the parties, so most people aren't familiar with the history. Details are sketchy, but it appears that a shipment of mayonnaise was being delivered from Spain to Mexico, but there were significant taxes on the mayonnaise. Taking a clue from the Boston Tea Party, native Mexicans slipped onto the ship and loaded it with charges. When the charges exploded later that night, the ship sank - hence the phrase "Sinko de Mayo!". The holiday comes on May 5 this year.
Enjoy the day!
(Oh and Adam, the exclamation points are for you!!!)
Monday, May 04, 2009
As I explained to my daughter, "yo daddy" does things for you when you are young. He buys you things like clothes, food, shelter and maybe some things you want as opposed to need. As you get older, you find that "yo daddy" has certain rules. Rules for the way you drive, rules for where you can go and sometimes rules for who you can see.
When you borrow money to buy something like a car or a house, you accept a new daddy. The bank becomes "yo daddy." They make sure you keep insurance on your car, make sure you pay taxes for your house and will probably require you to risk some of your own money. They will likely look over your shoulder to make sure you're getting a good deal and not getting ripped off. FHA loans used to require extra inspections as "yo daddy" was stricter than most.
One of my daughters (who was the one hearing this) decided she didn't like her daddy's rules and decided to move out on her own. She's learned that some of her daddy's rules weren't all that bad after all.
Now, the government wants to step up help people in a lot of new ways. I'm convinced that universal health care is coming, we just don't know the style it will take yet. There is already an expanded health program for children, there's a promise of new medicine from stem cell research, new foreign policy, etc. The question comes up "hoosier daddy?" What rules will "yo daddy" have for you to live by?