Black Coffee: How Gynecologists and Engineers Are a Lot Alike — Or Not.

Dear Readers: I love Dr. Dean — and not just because he’s a world famous gynecologist. He’s also the proprietor of one of my favorite blogs: The Millionaire Nurse Blog. Thankfully, he was kind enough to once again agree to fill in for me on this week’s edition of Black Coffee. So remember, folks, be sure to email any complaints or letters of outrage to him.


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 see Penzo has been workin’ his poor California brain to the bone lately, and it shows:

  • He asked me to write Black Coffee again — I thought after last time I would be booted forever — his memory must be gone.
  • He is going on two vacays in less than a month. He must’ve earned a little overtime money.
  • He forgot about asking his big-time supporters like MSN, Money-Watch, and Kiplingers to fill in for him. (Though on second thought, he prolly thinks my writing makes him look good.)

My last post here honored Len’s efforts at scientific comparison (check out his latest on BBQ sauce) with one of my own — pork rinds!

Len’s success with his million page views has surprised shocked challenged me to reach new goals.

I thought I would compare Len and his approach to personal finance, with me and mine…


  • We both think we’re funnier than our wives do.
  • We both married up.
  • We both believe in spending less than you make and saving for the future.
  • We both have two kids — a boy and a girl.
  • We both have professional jobs we take seriously, but enjoy writing on the side.
  • We both feel personal responsibility is key to success.
  • We both feel government should be limited — by its nature it does a poor job of money management.
  • We both love our extended family and keep them close.


  • He lives on the left coast — I the right.
  • I still have my hair (He wears hats/caps so I’m just sayin….), I’m better looking, and I’m a little older. (He would say a lot older!)
  • My kids are grown and making it on their own. (My proudest accomplishment!) Empty nest ROCKS!
  • He’s a better writer — but don’t tell him, he may not invite me back.
  • I own my own company — he’s an employee — not saying one’s better than the other, but it’s different.
  • I’m tall: 6’2″. He’s short: (I really don’t know how tall Len is, but it sounded good!)
  • He’s an engineer — I’m a doc.

Nuff said.

What does all the above mean? Not a damn thing. But he asked me to write for him today, and I had to say something! Or to paraphrase: I report, you decide…

Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week

Life and My Finances – Derek asks are people delaying retirement? All the new grads in the teaching field that I know are doing odd jobs, working as teachers’ assistants, or continuing their education — ’cause none of those eligible for retirement are leaving.

Wealth PilgrimHow to protect your assets is a timely subject in this recent asset-killer we call the stock market. Neal will help you out!

KrantCents gives you a few tax free money tips. Better hurry as the Pres is promising more taxes soon!

The Centsible Life – Meanwhile, Kelly’s subject of the day is called A Back To School Giveaway. I can hear the kids moaning already.

Free Money Finance – FMF laughs about the varying costs of housing in different areas of the country. I’m sure it would be true culture shock to move to NYC after spending 50 years in the South. They would laugh at my accent and probably think I’m a hick. Anyone paying two grand a month or more for a 900 square foot pad is the one who’s kinda’ looney.

Money Beagle – Boy, don’t tell Dave Ramsey about Money Beagle, he just added two more credit cards!

And Here’s What Len’s Been Reading: Playboy, Penthouse (Hey — he’s on vacation this weekend!)

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

From December 2008:

What the Heck Does a Household CEO Do? – If you run your household like a business, as Len does, then you probably already know the answer to this!

Credits and Debits

Debit: Poor Mitt Romney. He’s been slaving away at politicking ever since he lost to Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) in 2008 — only to see his 4 point lead flip to being 12 points behind Gov. Perry of Texas who just announced this week.

Credit: Speaking of Texas, Governor Perry is also getting credit for the fact that almost 37% of new US jobs since the recession have occurred in Texas.

Debit: The number of taxpaying millionaires declined by 39% between 2007 and 2009. Pres. Obama better hurry to tax the rich before there are no more of ’em.


Credit: Or is it a debit? Another LA Times article defines children living in poverty if it’s a household of four making less than $43,000 annually. That tells you how good/bad things are. In the south we call that middle class.

Debit: Sorry, Len. My application for the Masters golf tournament ticket lottery was NOT chosen again. Too bad; I was going to invite you (and a hundred of my other closest friends) to join me.

Debit: When I became an intern, one of the most difficult things I learned to do, was “pronounce” someone dead so the funeral home could pick up the body. I was always worried I would solemnly say they were dead, and then they’d wake up and start screaming for their urinal. The Social Security Administration, however, has no qualms with its pronouncements — they incorrectly declare  14,000 people “dead” every year!

Debit: Here’s an “It Can Happen To Anybody” story. Burt Reynolds, a former football player at nearby Florida State University — who also did a little acting — faces foreclosure in Florida. He’s been playing a “bandit” for years.

The Question of the Week

Squirrels: Love 'em or hate 'em?

View Results

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By the Numbers

Governor Perry and former President George Bush claim Texas as home, let’s find out a little more about it. Texas, by the numbers:

2 Number of US Presidents actually born in Texas. (Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson.)

25,883,999 People living in Texas as of 2011.

2 State rank by population and geographic area.


1 Number of natural lakes in Texas. (Caddo Lake)

6 Flags that have flown over Texas. (United States, France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States of America.) That’s the largest number of national flags to fly over any US state.


825,000 Total acres of the King Ranch in Texas– that’s bigger than Rhode Island!

43 Inches of rainfall that fell on some parts of Texas in a 24-hour period (courtesy of hurricane Claudette). That’s a US record.

4 Inches of rainfall in some Texas counties so far this year — that’s the worst drought since the 19th century.

Other Useless News – Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader Answer!

For those of you who read Len’s recent 5th grade economics challenge where he asked readers to guess the price of his room service bill, the answer was $28.43. Those are some expensive corn flakes! That means the people who came closest to guessing the right answer were Kellen and some guy calling himself “Dr. Dean” who both guessed $28! Honorable mentions go to Tania and Diane who guessed $27.50, missing the final price by less than a buck too!

Hey, if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading — or not — please don’t forget to:

1. Click on that “Like” button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!

2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter!

And last, but not least…

3. Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! Thank you. :-)

Letters, I Get Letters
Every week Len features the most interesting question or comment — assuming he gets one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not!

This week, Len had a question for me:   “Why do some medicine directions read: ‘Only apply to infected area.’ — I mean, come on, where else would you apply it?”
Len, you would be shocked, shocked I say, at what people will do with medicines if you don’t give detailed, explicit instructions. Vaginal suppositories being swallowed would be one example. I could go on and on … (Note from Len: “Please don’t, Dr. Dean.”)

Thanks Len.   I am honored to be your back stop here at Len Penzo dot Com. Call me anytime and with my wife’s permission, I’m yours!


  1. 7


    Conversation of August 1, 2011:

    Len: Will you guest host Black Coffee?
    Doc: On the condition that I get to include a two-word phrase of my choice.
    Len: Okay, but its mention has to be organic.
    Doc: Fine. The phrase is “vaginal suppositories.”

  2. 10


    It’s true, people are delaying retirement. They either don’t have enough money to retire or simply wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they quit their job. Until they move on though, the younger generation will have a very difficult time moving up in the world.

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