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Blogs I’ve Been Following 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…
Budgets Are Sexy – I’ve been following this neat two-part confessional on J’s blog written by an anonymous poker-player friend of his. He says poker can be a grind and I’m not surprised, constantly playing for big money against serious players. As for me, I stick to only playing tables with easy marks like my 9-year-old daughter, Plonkee, and her friends; until a few weeks ago we had a regular Friday night game. We’ll be starting ‘em up again too – as soon as Plonkee replenishes her college fund.
My Life ROI – This week MLR had an informative piece on how to make urban compost. The article attracted my attention because three months ago I started making my own urban compost, but for some reason things weren’t working out quite as I had hoped. After reading the article I discovered my problem: Urban composting is NOT made by simply letting your trash rot in those malodorous giant blue metal trash bins like the ones sitting behind the local grocery store. Needless to say, I have since called our waste company and asked them to remove the giant blue bin and its putrid contents from my driveway.
Do You Dave Ramsey? – I enjoyed Dave’s piece on 10 Reasons Why HOAs are a Joke. Of course, not all homeowner associations are bad. In fact, my current HOA is competent and actually pretty tame – although I do have a hearing next week to answer several complaints about “an odor problem” coming from my front yard. Whiny neighbors.
The Consumerist – Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m looking for a cheap bit of quid pro quo here – although I ain’t holding my breath. This extremely popular blog could really help my readership numbers if they ever found it in their heart to give me a little reciprocal link love. This week, they had a really cool chart breaking down how the average consumer spends his paycheck. Check it out! By the way, for such a popular blog, they aren’t afraid to ask for a handout – in the sidebar they ask everyone to “Tip Your Editors.” So stop on by and give them a few bucks would ya? And please, please, please be sure to tell them Len Penzo sent you.
Credits and Debits
Debit: Oil prices jumped above $71 a barrel Wednesday after the government reported a huge draw of crude oil from U.S. stockpiles. Last week’s drop in crude supplies was the most since Aug. 15, 2008, a month after crude prices peaked above $147 a barrel. Investors have been looking for signs that the country would recover its energy appetite as the economy healed. Some say the Energy Information Administration’s report suggests this may be happening. I say two data points do not indicate a trend.
Credit: There’s plenty of debate – not to mention confusion – going on regarding exactly what we’re going to get once the Congressional Democrats finally pass their Obama-care legislation on to the president for his signature. As for Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez, he knows exactly what a trip to the doctor is going to look like under a government-run health care program.
Debit: While the private sector has shed 6.9 million jobs since the beginning of the recession, state and local governments have expanded their payrolls and added 110,000 jobs. Kerry Korpi, the director of the research and collective bargaining department at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union representing government employees, noted that government workers were providing services that are needed in a downturn. Sorry folks, but I don’t think I am going out on a limb when I say there are thousands of non-critical government jobs out there that need to be eliminated. Unfortunately, our government does not have the political will to make the necessary cuts it needs to make to its rank and file employees. By the way, this is precisely why we cut our own throats every time we allow our representatives to increase taxes – with Big Government it’s all take and no give.
Debit: The current recession has pushed hundreds of Amish people out of the factories, forcing some to pursue more traditional — but often less lucrative — work such as baking, woodworking, making jam and selling homegrown produce. The good news is Amish slackers who prefer a cushy desk job can still take advantage of the fact that our government is still hiring like gangbusters.
Debit: A Miami woman found all of her furniture and belongings unceremoniously dumped on the front lawn of her home last week. She also found a strange man demanding she get out of his newly purchased house. Anna Ramirez was evicted from her home after it was mistakenly auctioned off to the highest bidder by her bank, Washington Mutual. The incident definitely gives new meaning to the bank’s “Woo-hoo!” advertising slogan, doesn’t it?
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts You May Have Missed
From January 2009:
Using a HELOC as an Alternative to Refinancing – Depending on the circumstances, it sometimes makes more sense to use a home equity line of credit (HELOC) instead of refinancing a mortgage. This article is based upon a personal real-life example to help explain why that is true.
Update: My Shameless RSS Experiment — Week 10
This is the tenth week of My Shameless RSS Experiment. This week I got six more new subscribers putting me officially over the half-way point toward my very modest goal of reaching 100 subscribers! Thank you!
On a serious note, I got an e-mail a couple days ago from some one suggesting that I could quickly get more subscribers by giving away stuff in a contest. However, I hope that by NOT going with a contest, I am building a subscriber base of loyal (or at least semi-interested) readers. As I’ve said before, this experiment is all in good fun, I just think this is the right way to go.
As always, if you like what you’re reading please take a moment to subscribe. I’d really appreciate it! And, as always, thanks to all of you who have already chosen to follow me here at Len Penzo dot Com!
Last week I had articles featured in the following carnivals:
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