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.
Believe it or not, my blog turned six this week. Wow! During that time, I’ve churned out 277 Black Coffee commentaries and more than 750 personal finance articles. Today, Len Penzo dot Com currently averages almost 1.5 million page views annually — but it wasn’t always that way: in December 2008, this site attracted just 72 visitors. I know. And after the first eight months — and lots of hard work — site traffic here was still underwhelming, averaging just 63 page views per day.
I think a lot of bloggers would have thrown in the towel at that point, but I didn’t care because I was having fun — so I kept pushing on.
Eventually, my persistence was rewarded.
Thank you all so very much for stopping by over the years. I truly appreciate it! And if you’ve taken the time to leave a comment or two, thank you again for sharing your point of view! After all, without you, I’m really only talking to myself. (Kinda like when I try to have a conversation with my kids!)
By the Numbers
Here are a few more stats on Len Penzo dot Com:
6,506,739 Page views since writing my first post on December 11, 2008.
2,839,625 Unique visitors to Len Penzo dot Com.
138 Average time, in seconds, that the typical reader spends here per visit.
1.75 Average number of pages viewed per visit.
83 Percentage of Len Penzo dot Com visitors who live in the US.
5 Percentage of visitors from Canada.
3 Percentage of visitors from Great Britain and Australia.
5 Visitors from Cuba since 2008. (Yes, that’s less than one per year.)
1061 Articles posted on Len Penzo dot Com.
18,628 Comments posted here by legitimate readers.
2,330,084 Spam comments received since December 2008.
Source: Google Analytics
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Result
California: Paradise, or paradise lost?
- Paradise lost (79%)
- I’m not sure (11%)
- Paradise (10%)
Almost 300 people answered last week’s question, and four out of five of them agree with me: my native state is not the paradise it used to be. As for the remaining one out of five, just under half of those insisted California still has the same cachet it’s always had; the rest think it’s a toss-up.
Credits and Debits
Debit: On Thursday, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion emergency spending bill. Before the bill can become law, however, it still needs to be passed by the Senate.
Credit: Those senators better hurry though; if the President gets impatient, he could bypass the upper chamber of Congress altogether and simply issue an executive order making it so. I know — but the Constitution no longer matters.
Debit: According to the Washington Times, the spending bill is 1600 pages long — or $700 million per page. Unbelievable. It’s a good thing Congress suspended the cap on the nation’s borrowing earlier this year until March 2015.
Credit: As John Hayward wisely notes: “Americans with some vague memory of how the system is supposed to work might be wondering what happened to the sober deliberation of budgets, the careful spending of every dollar, and even the basic rules of accounting.” He’s right; we are.
Debit: This is what the waning days of any empire looks like. It no longer matters who’s in power — cronyism is endemic in Washington DC, and the politicians will do whatever is necessary to keep the funds flowing. Sadly, this won’t end until the dollar is dead. That day is coming. Soon. Think Detroit on a national scale.
Debit: Did you see this? Now that Obamacare is the law of the land, more Americans than ever (33%) are delaying medical care due to … wait for it … high costs. The hardest hit are people earning between $30,000 and $75,000 annually. In other words: the middle class.
Debit: Unfortunately, Obamacare costs will be even more expensive in 2015 — which is why federal officials are trying to temper the sticker shock awaiting most Americans by pleading with them to shop around. Heh. Why advocates still insist on calling it the “Affordable Care Act” is beyond me.
Debit: No doubt the high cost of America’s “new and improved” utopian government-managed healthcare system is at least partly to blame for the sour mood among shoppers this Christmas. In fact, 17% of them won’t be buying any gifts at all for the holidays. Bah humbug, indeed.
Debit: Finally, I know you don’t care, but my site’s Alexa ranking — which measures website popularity — has mysteriously plummeted from 44,680 in September to 100,221 today. I’m not the only one who has seen a decline: Drudge Report, Breitbart, Fox News, the Blaze, and many other sites with a Libertarian bent have too. Here’s my Alexa chart:
Debit: For their part, Alexa claims their rankings are impartial. However, as WND points out: “(Left-leaning) sites like the Daily Kos, ThinkProgress, Media Matters, MSNBC, NPR and Democracy Now! are all rising in popularity, according to Alexa.” Strange.
Credit: Here’s the thing: Autumn is typically the slowest time of the year in terms of visitors and page views here at Len Penzo dot Com, but over the past 100 days my traffic as measured by Google Analytics has been stable — even though my Alexa rank has been free-falling. See for yourself:
Credit: Maybe alternative websites that constantly challenge the mainstream narrative are rapidly losing popularity to these left-leaning sites, recent election results notwithstanding. Then again, if you think Alexa’s latest rankings smell just a little bit fishy … well, you aren’t alone.
Other Useless News
Here are the top — and bottom — five states in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:
1. South Carolina (2.31 pages/visit)
2. Kansas (2.12)
3. Utah (2.01)
4. New Mexico (1.97)
5. Maine (1.96)
46. Rhode Island (1.45)
47. Nevada (1.44)
48. New Hampshire (1.38)
49. Illinois (1.35)
50. Oregon (1.32)
Whether you happen to enjoy what you’re reading (like all of my friends in South Carolina) — or not (ahem, you hippies in Oregon … for the third month in a row!) — 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!
3. Subscribe via email too!
And last, but not least …
4. Consider becoming a Len Penzo dot Com Insider! Thank you.
Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get 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! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
jojojo53 had this to say after reading my recent post highlighting 802 reasons why cash is more thoughtful than gift cards:
(My wife) accepts hundreds with no complaints.
What a coincidence … so does mine!