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…
Of course, with the Super Bowl being played this week, I decided to ask my trusty Magic 8 Ball who is going to win the big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
Remember, when it came to its 2010 predictions, my trusty 8 Ball demonstrated an astounding 70 percent success rate. Let’s see the Amazing Randi debunk that.
When I asked the Magic 8 Ball if the Steelers would win, it answered “My sources say no.”
Just to be fair, I asked the 8 Ball if the Packers would win. It’s reply? “As I see it, yes.”
So there you have it. With apologies to Karen Datko, the Green Bay Packers are going to win the game.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Kiplinger – Does the Super Bowl Help Boost Advertisers’ Stock Prices? I prefer not to put a lot of faith in these kind of statistics, but did you know that, companies that advertise during the Super Bowl outperform the S&P 500-stock during the ten trading days from the Monday before game day to the Friday afterward? Sixty percent of them outperform the S&P after a full year. It doesn’t matter how bad the commercials are either. Still, it’s an interesting story. As for me, when it comes to picking stocks, I’ll stick with my 8 Ball.
First Gen American – Babci’s Favorite Sayings On Marriage. Sandy shares a few wise tips on marriage from her grandmother, Babci. She then dispenses a bit of advice of her own: “Take a good hard look at your significant other and figure out what kind of mule they are.” So, naturally, I decided to skip the hard work and just ask the Honeybee that question directly. Her reply wasn’t pretty. “What do you mean what kind of mule am I? Are you calling me an ass?” It was all downhill from there. With all due respect, Sandy, next time I think I’ll stick to following Babci’s advice.
Money Crashers – 9 Cheap Ways to Keep Warm This Winter. Surprisingly, perhaps the best tip for keeping warm cheaply was not on the list: snuggle with your honey! Of course, thanks to Sandy, that idea is now completely out of the question for me. Well, for the rest of this winter anyway.
Wisebread – High Tech Solutions for the Winter Blues. Thankfully, the great Linsey Knerl came to my rescue this week with some high tech tips to help me make the best of the rest of my cold, lonely, winter. Thank you Linsey; who knew a hygrometer could be so much fun?
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance – How to Cope with Buyers’ Remorse
The Simple Dollar – Experiences Trump Things: The Evolution of a Hobby
Millionaire Nurse Blog – Ruin Your Child; Everyone Else Does It
Money Crush – Are You Blaming the Wrong Thing?
My Personal Finance Journey – How to Dispute a Credit Card Charge and Win
Green Panda Tree House – Saving for Retirement Is Like Eating Chocolate
Canadian Finance Blog – Clean Your Budget to Find Hidden Cash
Wealth Pilgrim – Professional LLC: FAQs in Plain English
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff – 5 Tips for Selling on Craigslist
Ironclad Finances – All Your Worth: The Balanced Money Formula
Wellness on Less – Savings All Homeowners Must Have
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From January 2010:
Why Avatar Isn’t the Biggest Movie of All Time (and What Movie Is) – I understand why the press loves to cite gross dollars when reporting box office totals. The problem with that, of course, is that those gross figures ignore the effects of inflation.
Credits and Debits
Credit: The government announced the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percent last month. The Associated Press reports that unemployment, “is suddenly sinking at the fastest pace in a half-century, falling to 9 percent from 9.8 percent in just two months.”
Debit: This number is a bit hard to swallow, considering the economy produced only 36,000 new jobs in January — which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the size of the entire American workforce, with a population of over 300 million people, is a paltry 9 million jobs. Of course, it’s not quite that simple.
Debit: So how to explain the falling unemployment rate? The problem with this dubious claim is that it’s a result of people leaving the unemployment lines because they’ve given up looking for work. And when people stop actively looking for work — even if it is because they have given up — they are no longer counted as unemployed by the Department of Labor.
Debit: If you look at the government’s underemployment rate (U6) figure — which includes those who have quit looking for work, or only work part time despite wanting a full time job — that number rises to 16.1 percent.
Debit: Then again, if you believe Gallup — and you should — the unemployment rate actually rose last month to 9.8 percent, and the underemployment number rose to 18.9 percent.
Debit: Finally, the City Council of New York City approved a bill this week to ban smoking in all city parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas (whatever that is). I’m not a smoker, and never have been, but this is an outrageous infringement of our personal liberties.
Debit: Check out this article from CBS New York on the smoking ban where the reporter included this absurd statement: “There is no constitutional right to smoke in city parks and beaches so smokers have no legal recourse.” Really? The Constitution was written as a protection against tyranny by limiting the power of government — not the governed. This reporter seems to think it’s the other way around.
Debit: By this reporter’s logic, because there is no constitutional right to salt, then the government can also ban that too. Heh. Oh wait; the politicians in New York are working on that one too.
Credit: My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. — Thomas Jefferson
Other Useless News
It’s the first weekend of the month, which means it’s time once again to thank the Top 25 referring websites to Len Penzo dot Com for the previous month…
1. MSN: Smart Spending
2. The Simple Dollar
4. Time Magazine: It’s Your Money
6. Sweating the Big Stuff
8. The Globe and Mail
9. Get Rich Slowly
10. Green Panda Tree House
11. Wealth Pilgrim
14. Mighty Bargain Hunter
15. Everyday Tips and Thoughts
16. Financial Samurai
17. Frugal Dad
18. Money Help for Christians
20. Political Calculations
21. My Personal Finance Journey
22. (tie) The Millionaire Nurse Blog
22. (tie) The Financial Blogger
24. Funny About Money
25. Girl With A Red Balloon
Thank you to everyone who refers their readers to this little ol’ blog! It’s much appreciated. ðŸ™‚
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! ðŸ™‚
By the Numbers
Some quick facts on the Super Bowl:
125 million People who will be watching the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers on television this Sunday.
8 million Pounds of guacamole consumed on Super Bowl Sunday (along with 15,000 tons of chips).
10 Times Miami has hosted the Super Bowl, more than any other city.
8 Super Bowl appearances by the Dallas Cowboys, more than any other team. (They will be matched by the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.)
6 Super Bowls won by the Pittsburgh Steelers, more than any other team.
4 Teams that have never appeared in a Super Bowl. (Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans.)
4 Times the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings have lost a Super Bowl, more than any other team.
3 Players that have won a Super Bowl as both a player and a head coach. (Mike Ditka, Tom Flores and Tony Dungy.)
Letters, I Get Letters
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: Len@LenPenzo.com
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. ðŸ˜‰
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Control Your Cash (Editor’s Pick – Hooray!)
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.