Black Coffee: Caution. Wet Paint. Lots of It.

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…

I’m in a surly mood today.   My house has been in complete disarray all week long.     Most of our home’s interior is getting repainted and the painters have all our furniture moved into the center of each room and covered by plastic.   As such, I have been writing most of my posts from my master bathroom.

That has it’s pros and cons, of course.

The biggest pro is that I no longer need to stop writing to address nature’s call.    

Of course, one of the biggest cons is that I do have to stop writing when the rest of my family  has to address nature’s call.    It’s also a con that I have to resume writing after they’re finished.     (I know, that was bad.   I almost deleted it, but then I decided “what the hey!”)

You see, my family of four – plus our dog, Major –  has been holed up in  our master bedroom for the past four days.   That is wearing on all our nerves; I know I’m no picnic to live with in close quarters either.

Happily, this is all over later today.

I hope.

Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week

Financial SamuraiHow to Overcome Poor Grades and Get a Good Job.   Growing up, I was very close to a 4.0 GPA student.   In fact, from seventh through tenth grade I never received any grade other than an ‘A’ in any of my classes.   I found college and  the engineering curriculum I signed up for  to be a lot  tougher than anything I ever had to study in high school.   In fact,  I even failed one class in college (electromagnetic theory, thank you very much) and had to retake it.   I  only got a ‘C’ the second time around.  I ultimately graduated with a GPA that fell far short of   ‘A’ territory.   Still, I managed to land a great job.   It can be done, it’s just a lot harder to do.  

Darwin’s FinanceShould We Extend Unemployment Benefits Again?   Who thinks 99 weeks is not enough time to find a job?   Anyone?   Here’s an idea:   let’s just eliminate the ceiling on unemployment benefits entirely!     Don’t laugh.   A lot of people feel that way.

Deliver Away Debt – Manage Your Money Like a Politician.   What would your finances look like if you ran them like the government?   Please, don’t try this at home.

Millionaire Nurse Blog Kardashian Kard Kauses Kontempt!   Only in America, people.   You, too, can have Kim Kardashian and her, um, assets, on your credit card for the low low price of just $10 per month!

Get Rich Slowly –  The Kardashian Kard: A Credit Card Targeted at Teens.   Another great take on this rip-off credit “kard.”     I think the most shocking aspect of the whole post, though, is that J.D. actually never heard of Kim Kardashian.    Unlike me, apparently J.D. has a life.  

…And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Everyday  Tips and Thoughts  – Lessons Learned from Working and Staying at Home.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff Sneaky Pay Cut.

The Simple DollarLow-Cost Methods  for Stress Relief.

Monevator Know Your Investing Risks.

Military WalletThe History of Veteran’s Day.

Online Investing AI – The Truth About Government Statistics.

Little House  in the Valley  –  Budgeting on Percents Rather Than Whole Dollar Figures.

Money Reasons Do movies and TV Shows Affect Your Purchasing Decisions?

Mighty Bargain HunterValue of Gold-Filled Jewelry.

Investing ThesisInterview with Jonathan Spall of How to Profit in Gold

The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed

From October 2009:

Why Low Cost or No-Fee Products May Not  Be Such A  Good  Deal – In this guest post, Mr. Credit Card highlights some instances where “low cost” may not necessarily be the best option for  individuals and, in certain cases, society as a whole.

Credits and Debits

Debit:     Earlier this week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a measure that bans the sale of high-calorie meals packaged with toys – like the McDonald’s Happy Meal – unless they  include fruits and vegetables.     In a symbolic move Frisco Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoed the measure, but  his veto will be overridden next week by the supervisors.

Credit: According to Newsom, he vetoed the measure because, “The government should be in the business of educating, not dictating or prescribing exactly how you can provide a meal.”   Clearly, the uber-liberal  mayor was not feeling well when he said that.     Maybe he was suffering from the effects of a recently-eaten Quarter Pounder with Cheese value meal.

Debit:     Ironically, Newsom is the same guy who recently signed an executive  directive banning soda pop,  sports drinks and artificially sweetened water from city vending machines.       Presumably because the citizens of San Francisco are too stupid to make their own decisions regarding what they should and should not drink.   Just sayin’.

Credit: How out of touch is the People’s Democratic Republik of San Francisco with the rest of America?   A recent survey by Rasmussen found that 82 percent of Americans oppose a ban on Happy Meals like the one under discussion in San Francisco.

Debit:  Finally, members of a panel created by the $814 billion  stimulus  bill  to consider ways to prevent “fraud, waste, and abuse” of stimulus funds will be holding hearings in a couple weeks in Phoenix, Arizona.     At the super-posh Ritz Carlton  hotel.     I know.    

Debit:     At least the massive stimulus bill managed to successfully keep unemployment under 8 percent as promised. What?  

By the Numbers

As I already mentioned, most of our house was repainted this week.   Here are  few of the dirty details:

21  Gallons of paint used.

8  Rooms that were painted.

7  Colors used. (Warm butterscotch, summerville brown, deep crimson, black tie, arctic paradise, sanctuary spa, Swiss coffee.)

2 Rooms that were not painted. (The master bedroom and bath, which will be remodeled next year.)

$75  Cost to repaint the kitchen a  second  time after the Honeybee changed her mind  regarding the color.

Other Useless News

One of the more interesting statistics I enjoy looking at regarding my blog are the search terms that people entered into Google that steered them to Len Penzo dot Com.   Here is a brief sample of some of the more, um, interesting search terms people used during October:

wife won’t tell herself no   (14 searches)     And if the wife always tells hubby no, then it’s double trouble.
sex carnival (10)
tiger woods yacht (5)     Maybe the same folks who Googled “sex carnival”?
1984 cadillac fleetwood   (4)
christian walking away mortgage (4)
sex on Len (2)
29.95 markup 20% and tax 2% what is the answer (1)   Too tough for me.   Try asking JD Roth.
blind taste test or sex (1)   Let’s go with the latter.
i hate old luxury car owners (1)
457-55-5462 (1)  
crazy Len (1)
duct tape thank god (1)
how did gerald hosier get the salary of 40 million dollars? (1)   Yeah!    Psst, who is Gerald Hosier?
how to make a commute not suck (1)     Telecommute.
talk about finances, Honeybee, blog (1)
tooth fairee exhchage rate (1)
whats a gift that costs $87 (1)
would you pick a fruit rollup or a pencil (1)   The fruit roll everytime.
would you date a deadbeat (1)     That depends on how cute she is.

Here’s a friendly reminder for ya: if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading – or not – please make sure you follow me on Twitter. And, if you’ll be so kind, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! :-)

Letters, I Get Letters

Howard  writes:

“Your answer in last week’s email regarding Jerry Brown sounds like sour grapes.”

I’m all puckered up, Howard.

Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff wrote in to ask:

“So, do you totally have to have the new Kardashian Prepaid Debit MasterCard?!   I mean, it’s only like $100 plus a host of other fees a year for a credit-like card geared to the highly emotional teen…what’s not to love, right?”

Who needs the Kardashian girls in my wallet when I’ve already got the Honeybee?   😉

If you have a question you’d like to ask, or a comment you’d like to make regarding some of my irritating opinions, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at:

I’ll feature the most interesting question or comment I get each week here on Black Coffee — assuming I get one, that is.

If you’re lucky enough to be the only question in the mailbag I’ll highlight your letter, whether it’s interesting or not. 😉

Carnival News

This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:

Carnival of Personal Finance @ PT Money   (Editor’s Pick – Hooray!)

I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.