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 whats been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Heres what caught my attention over the past week
As soon as I finish here, I’ll be working on my mother-in-law’s taxes. As you probably know, the tax deadline is April 15th and so I can’t put it off any longer.
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Canadian Finance Blog – 99 Cent Pricing Strategy. Alan noticed that the old 99-cent pricing strategy seems to be going the way of the dinosaur. For proof, he cites McDonald’s Dollar Value Menu (not 99 Cent Menu) and Subway’s $5 Footlong sandwich (as opposed to the $4.99 footlong). Maybe he’s on to something. Then again, maybe not. I mean, have you tried singing the $5 Footlong Song with “$4.99” substituted in the lyrics? It’s nowhere near as catchy.
Frugal Dad – 15 Things Our Grandparents Lived Without (and We Probably Could Too). One of the items on Jason’s list that I heartily agree with is tanning bed salons. Tell me again why anybody would pay for ultraviolet radiation when you can walk outside and can get it for free? Anyone? The only excuse I’ll accept is if you live north of the Arctic Circle where the sun often spends very long periods of the day below the horizon. (Is it just me, or did I just kick off this edition of Black Coffee with two really lame jokes? That’s what I thought. My mojo is off today, folks. I must be worried about a tax audit.)
The Oblivious Investor – When to Claim Social Security Benefits (One Working Spouse). I’m not certain if Mike is married or not, but here is a little friendly advice for you, my friend. If you happen to have a wife that is a stay-at-home mom, never — and I mean never never ever — refer to your household as having only one working spouse. Trust me on this.
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance – Learn Economics from Southpark. I know. And if you like this, come back next week when Barb features her next article: “Do It Yourself Tax Tips from Wesley Snipes.”
And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…
Kiplinger – How Long to Keep Your Tax Records
JoeTaxpayer – The Future of Nuclear Power
First Gen American – Babci Wears Men’s Underwear
Funny About Money – A “Gift” From Sears
Sweating the Big Stuff – How to Make Money Buying Contact Lenses
Moolanomy – Finding an Accountant for Your Small Business
Ironclad Finances – Uniform Gift to Minors Act/Uniform Transfer to Minors Act
Monevator – Reasons to Rent a House Instead of Buying
Green Panda Tree House – Baby on the Way: Life Insurance & Making a Will
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From November 2009:
Drive-By Movie Review: The Business – I was asked by a long-time reader this week to resurrect these abominable movie reviews. The thing is, readership increased dramatically only after I stopped publishing them. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Credits and Debits
Debit: Federal prosecutors went to court this week to take by forfeiture five tons of privately-minted silver coins worth millions of dollars. The coins belong to Bernard von NotHaus, who was convicted last month on counterfeiting charges.
Credit: According to the Associated Press, U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins said, “Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism.” Tompkins did not say whether or not her statement signaled that her office would soon be prosecuting Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as well.
Debit: Speaking of worthless currency, Congressional Budget Office computer simulations modeling the government’s current spending path crashed after the algorithm reached 2037.
Debit: House Budget Chairman Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) warned that the government deficit spending is so excessive, the CBO is saying it “can’t conceive of any way” that the economy can continue past 2037 given its current trajectory. I suspect it’s much sooner than that.
Debit: In other news, I see New York City is following San Francisco’s lead by considering a ban on Happy Meals. Councilman Leroy Comrie planned to introduce a bill that would penalize establishments that use toys to sell “unhealthy” meals with fines of up to $2500.
Credit: By the way, the New York Post reports that the very portly councilman admitted to weighing as much as 335 pounds. Hmmm. You New York City residents better hope Councilman Comrie doesn’t have any self-control issues with alcohol or sex. Just sayin.
Other Useless News
I’m very proud to say that Len Penzo dot Com is now an official partner of the MSN Smart Spending blog! I would especially like to thank Smart Spending editor and lead blogger Karen Datko for her continuing support and guidance. Thank you, Karen. ๐
(I bet Karen can will tell me if that technically counts as two “thank yous.”)
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By the Numbers
The US debt including unfunded obligations is currently over $100 trillion. So, just how big is a trillion?
12 Zeros in one trillion. (1,000,000,000,000)
31,688 Years required to count to one trillion (assuming you could call out one number every second).
8 Seconds required to say “Nine hundred and ninety nine billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine.”
48 Readers who timed themselves to see if it really takes 8 seconds to say “Nine hundred and ninety nine billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine.”
10,000 Square miles of $100,000 homes required to reach $1 trillion in value (assuming 10 homes per block, and 100 blocks per square mile).
1,954 Square miles in the state of Delaware.
6 States less than 10,000 square miles in area. (Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island.)
11 Weeks of additional vacation that $1 trillion would provide for every American worker.
2 Times Chuck Norris has reportedly counted to infinity.
Letters, I Get Letters
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. ๐
This Sunday I’ll be hosting the Yakezie carnival, so be sure to stop by for some exceptionally good reads!
This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:
The Carnival of Personal Finance @ Funny About Money
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.