Black Coffee: The Birthday Edition – Southern Style, Y’all!

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

I’d like to thank Dr. Dean Burke, gynecologist to the stars and proprietor of The Millionaire Nurse Blog, for being kind enough to write this week’s version of Black Coffee so I could have a little extra time to celebrate my birthday. So, please, be sure to email all your complaints and letters of outrage to him this week. :-)

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 am honored to have been asked by Len to host his famous (or infamous) Black Coffee column. His weekly screed column is more than a round-up, more than a week in review, it’s a compilation… oh, forget it — it’s a column!

I decided to honor the tradition of Black Coffee by leaving the format as it is always written (it also allows me not to have to think too creatively!). Or, as we say in the south, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Let’s get this farce started.

Since Len’s away, let’s take advantage of him and pile it on:

  • What’s up with the American Express folks letting Len put his face on his “Currency” column? I thought they were all about making a profit.
  • Len’s wife, the “Honeybee”, should be awarded the Nobel Prize for putting up with him… On second thought, considering who has been nominated for and/or won that formerly august prize, including guys like Wiki-Leaks founder Assange, I will apologize to Ms. Bee when I see her!
  • Len’s proud to be from the “City of Angels.” Surely I’m not the only one who wonders how Los Angeles, home to Compton and the Crips, Hollywood and Heidi Fleiss, Venice Beach and smog, ever became the “City of Angels.” Which part of the above attracts Penzo?
  • And finally, Len wanted to spend time with his family for his birthday. He should give his family a break and disappear alone for his birthday weekend! That would be a real honey of a present!

Enough Len abuse, let’s honor him with imitation, the most sincere form of flattery: A product comparison study

Pork Rinds — Whichun’s Betta?

Me and all my first cuzins (yea this includes in-laws, whut of it?) John, John Jr., Johnny, and his daughter Johnnie, along with the dog, porta-johnny, did a study of which bran’a Pork Rinds we liked best.

We poured the rinds out of their original pakeges, and put them into brown paypa bags that wuz only used for a coupla fish fries! I can’t tell ya which bran’a rinds won cauz little Johnnie numbered all the bags as numba one. You know as she doan know all em numbas yet. She is only in tha fifth grade, cuz – don’ go smartin off! Member, we still ain’t over the burnin’ of AtLanner down heah-so watch yerself!

But them skins, they wuz all goood! An even betta, they is all cheapern dirt! Specially them homemade uns! Pork rinds, and chitlins, that’s the way to eat a hawg, inside an’ out!

Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week

Readin’, I’m fixin to show ya’ll some good readin’!

Financial Samurai - A younger guy’s take on marriage: should you even bother? Studies show that married people are happier and live longer. That’s enough for me and Penzo!

Frugal Confessions - I loved this phrase: Save Beyond Your Means! That says it all!

Lifehacker – Here’s a comprehensive discussion of ergonomics. Even gynecologists see patients complaining of numbness in the hands, neck spasm, back pain and headaches related to poor workstation set-up. Save yourself the pain and possible surgery.

The Journal of Uro-Gynecology – Bladder Leakage, Trampolines, and You! (Oops, how did my medical journal article get here???)

And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…

Squirrelers - Squirreling Gone Wild #22: Drive-Thru Discount

Darwin’s MoneyImagine a World With No Fiat Currency: Here it Is

Pop EconomicsThinking About the Deficit As You Invest

Personal Finance FirewallHow to Create an Effective Home Inventory System with Evernote

Everyday Tips and Thoughts – 7 Tips for Salespeople

101 CentavosNew Furniture Sucks

Ironclad Finances – All Your Worth: Making Adjustments to “Savings”

Personal Finance By the Book6 Negotiating Tips to Put You on Top

Wealth Pilgrim - What Is A Dividend?

JoeTaxpayerThe 30-Year Forecast

Mom Vesting – Market Capitalization: Large Cap Vs. Small Cap

Money Help for ChristiansChild Care Costs: 7 Easy Ways to Save Money

Free Money Finance - Interesting Money Facts, Part 1

The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Len’s You May Have Missed

From February 2010:

Evaluating the Costs of a Longer Commute: Why It’s Just Better to Suck It Up – In late 2009, Len’s employer moved 21 miles down the road, more than doubling his commute. Here are the results of a study he did on whether the longer commute was worth the hassle.

Credits and Debits

Debit: Me, when Len reads this post!

Credit: Len and his big heart for letting me do this, or was it too much California sun and a pitcher of margaritas?

Credit: The people of Egypt are free of a thirty year dictator.

Debit: The people of Egypt are under a leadership vacuum. Hopefully something better than what they had comes out of it, but…

Credit: The Huffington Post sold for millions! (Penzo, please remember to cut me in when Rupert M. decides to one-up Yahoo and makes you an offer you can’t refuse!)

Debit: The Congress and the President are playing budgetary chicken regarding entitlements. They both want the other to be first to commit to derailing the third rail. We need to keep reminding them both that the American people are ready for this.

By the Numbers

I’m in Georgia, and Len is in California, so I thought I would do a little comparison!

37 million California’s population. (Georgia’s is 10 million.)

$34 billion California’s estimated budget deficit in 2011. (Georgia’s is $3.1 billion.) That’s 3.7 times the population, but 11 times the debt, by my math…No telling what Brother Jerry (aka Moonbeam) has in store!

$3100 Per capita taxes paid in California. (In Georgia it’s $1908.)

13.3 Percent of California population living below the poverty line. (In Georgia, it’s 14.8%)

33 Failed banks in California during the last recession. (54 in Georgia.) California was the home of the failed IndyMac Bank — their failure was 10 times bigger than the biggest Georgia bank failure…

1 World Series Winner: the San Francisco Giants who beat my Braves in the National League Division series. (Note from Len: As a life-long Los Angeles Dodgers fan, that one really hurt, Dr. Dean!)

5 World Series titles won by the Dodgers since they moved to California in 1958; that’s 4 more titles than both the Giants and Braves have won over the same period. (Note from Len: Yeah, folks, after the last one, I couldn’t help but sneak this factoid in here.)

1 Number of steak dinners I owe a certain Californian as a result of the Giants beating the Braves. (No, I haven’t forgotten, Sam!)

1 Number of times my gynecological practice partner has visited San Francisco. (Times he’s visited Atlanta: hundreds.)

1 Number of times my gynecological practice partner has been mugged in San Francisco. (Times he’s been mugged in Atlanta: 0)

Letters, I Get Letters

Crystal, from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff asks: “Did you see that Sonic Junior Banana Splits are supposedly a good dessert now? I’m going out and ordering about 100 of them right now…”

As an aspiring headline writer, I loved that article, Crystal. Reading it makes you think you can have your just desserts and eat it too. The article admits this mini-banana split is just 1/3 of a regular banana split and has 200 calorie. But a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Eat nothing but this six times per day and guess what? You can lose weight! (Or use this chart to find which activity you’ll need to do to burn off 100 servings of this “diet” food.)

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

He’ll feature the most interesting question or comment he gets each week here on Black Coffee – assuming he gets one, that is. If you’re lucky enough to be the only question in the mailbag he swears he’ll highlight your letter, whether it’s interesting or not. ;-)

Other Useless News

Thanks for your patience. I had fun! I am sure Len will never leave me in charge again.

Oh, and please make sure you follow Len on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to his RSS feed too! :-)

Carnival News

This week Len had articles featured at the following carnivals:

Carnival of Personal Finance @ Well-Heeled Blog

Editor’s Note: I’m Len Penzo, and I had very little to do with this.

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