It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe...
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…
Superman fans will be happy to know that today I am featuring a very special Bizarro edition of Black Coffee. Webster’s now defines bizarro as “something characterized by a bizarre, fantastic, or unconventional approach.” And Wikipedia correctly notes that the term can also “be used to describe anything that uses twisted logic or that is the opposite of something else.” Check out the five bloggers I’m highlighting today and you’ll see what I am talking about.
No Debt Plan – Kevin caught my attention when he suggested these four counter-intuitive ideas for getting out of debt: 1) Embracing CD penalties (what?); 2) paying off your credit card debt last (huh?); 3) getting into MORE debt (what is he smoking?); and, 4) keeping your credit cards (well, that one doesn’t seem too bad). Before you laugh too hard, check out Kevin’s post and give him a chance to explain. I’m not saying I agree with every point, but he does make some interesting and credible arguments for each case.
Money Smart Life – Ben goes over the curious case of Pay Pal discouraging payments via the use of credit cards. What??? How can that possibly be? And aren’t credit cards the life blood of Pay Pal? In a nutshell, the answers to those questions are “it can,” and “no.”
The Debt Hawk – The Hawk explains why increasing government financial aid hurts students. Is he koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs? With an argument like that many people might think so, but the truth is – he’s not.
Personal Finance By the Book - So the other day I stop by Joe’s site and he’s saying if you’re not a quitter, maybe you should be. Huh? People, this goes against everything we’ve ever been taught! But this article absolutely knocked me for a loop and, more importantly, it got me thinking very hard about my own personal situation – I really need to practice what I preach to my kids. I don’t want to spoil it and steal Joe’s thunder, so I’m just going stop here and let you check out his article (and my follow-up comment) for yourself to see what we’re talking about.
Four Pillars – This week, Mike had an article on one of my favorite Google applications: Street View. Check out his post and find out a very clever and sensible suggestion on how to take advantage of this incredible technology. What does this have to do with Bizzaro? Well, while I was reading Mike’s post the Dodgers pulled off an unbelievable, Bizarro, 9th-inning 2-out rally against the Cardinals to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat after Matt Holliday dropped a fairly routine outfield line-drive that would have won the game for the Red Birds. Thankfully, my Dodgers didn’t listen to Joe!
Credits and Debits
Debit: With the continued decline of the dollar driving investor fears that a weak greenback will eventually lead to inflation, gold prices extended their rally this week, climbing to just under $1050. Barclays Capital said gold prices could run to as high as $1,500 an ounce.
Debit: Meanwhile the dollar continued its six month slide into oblivion. The reason for the declining dollar? America’s continued reliance on massive deficit spending, of course. The inability of the US to stop printing money is only hastening the end of the buck’s long reign as the world’s reserve currency – that would not only make the cost of borrowing much more expensive, it would also mean higher taxes.
Credit: A former Kansas radio executive who pleaded guilty Thursday to felony theft for embezzling an estimated $88,000 won a $96,000 lottery prize including a boat, cash and tickets to a NASCAR race. The executive admitted that he embezzled the money to support an addiction to… scratch-off lottery tickets.
Debit: First, the good news: The California Association of Realtors (CAR) is predicting the median home price in California will rise 3.3% in 2010. Now, the bad: This is the same group that predicted the median home price would fall only 6.0% this year – in actuality, they have fallen 21.8% through September. I’ve said it before on this page and I’ll say it again: predictions from CAR and its national counterpart, NAR, regarding the economy and real estate must always be taken with a generous portion of salt. It is in their best interest to be as optimistic as possible – their sales depend on it. Remember, despite all the warning signs, this is the same group that denied the presence of a housing bubble even as prices began dropping.
Debit: This week, United Airlines said travelers could pay $249 for the right to check-in two bags every time they fly United or United Express for a year. United called it an “introductory price.” Here’s guessing most of you would probably call it something else.
Credit: McDonald’s’ decision to open a restaurant at the famous Louvre museum is causing an uproar with the French. Some are blaming the Louvre’s directors for failing to prevent what could result in “fragrances of fries drifting under Mona Lisa’s nose.” I’m not sure what all the fuss is about; I think the directors should be given a big fat bonus. Pass the ketchup, please.
Credit: I mean really. Don’t you think the Frenchies need to lighten up just a bit? True, McDonald’s is not haute cuisine, but it is extremely health conscious. Well, it is compared to the Craz-E Burger served at a Massachusetts fair last month - a 1500 calorie bacon cheeseburger with a buttered, grilled and glazed doughnut instead of the bun. Mmmm, Craz-E Burger.
Other Useless News
The traffic numbers for this little blog continue to make some big gains in the growth department. In September Len Penzo dot Com had just under 13,000 unique visitors thanks to a couple of key posts that proved to be very popular (in relative terms). Things have settled down now – I don’t expect to reach that number again this month – but the overall trend is still way up; for October this site is currently averaging roughly four times the number of unique visitors it was receiving at the end of August. So that’s really good news! Thank you to everyone for your support – it is very humbling and I truly appreciate it.
That reminds me, if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading please feel free to follow me on Twitter.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too!
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts You May Have Missed
From March 2009:
Evaluate Your Options Before Selling Your Gold Jewelry – I know, I’ve highlighted this one before, but in light of the rising price of gold I thought I’d do it again. This popular post is another one of my trade studies on five of the most common options you have for converting your gold jewelery into cash: gold refiners, pawn shops, jewelers, eBay, and gold parties. Which one will give you the best payout? You may be surprised – check out the article and see the dirty details.
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
- Carnival glass at an Antique Shop Near You
Hey! If you liked this article, please be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed!