I’ve got a lot of honey-dos I’m trying to check off. Of course, you know what means: Yep. This week I’ve got another scintillating espresso edition of Black Coffee for you!
Please, hold your applause.
Okay, onward and upward …
Credits and Debits
Debit: Who says stock market players are still rational? Last week Amazon reported that it lost $406 million over the past year — the company’s worst performance since 2001 — and its stock promptly skyrocketed 14% on the news. Um, what bubble?
Credit: And you thought the nation’s “Affordable” Care Act exchanges were swimming in red ink.
Debit: Speaking of skyrocketing prices, US gasoline is increasing at the fastest rate in three years. At $2.60, the average US price for a gallon of unleaded is now 57 cents higher than it was in January.
Debit: Those of us living in California should be so lucky; the average pump price here is $3.53 — and climbing fast. That’s 34 cents more than it was last week. I know.
Credit: When you put current gas prices in perspective, we’ve all got it pretty good right now. After adjusting for inflation, the all-time average high price in the US was $4.51 per gallon back in July 2008 — and in California, it was $5.05.
Debit: Although they’ll deny it, government loves higher gas prices because of the tax revenue. In fact, by some estimates the government earns seven times more money on a gallon of gas than the oil companies.
Debit: If you’re thinking the recent price increases are temporary, you better think again. According to OilPrice.com, “the latest data points to higher prices in the weeks and months ahead.” Just in time for your summer road trip!
Debit: By the way, anybody taking their summer road trip in Norway this year better have satellite radio because they’re turning off their FM band in January 2017. For good. Apparently, FM is no longer cost effective compared to other transmission methods.
Debit: As for those of you planning on a Grecian holiday, don’t forget to carry plenty of euros. Government officials in Great Britain are urging travelers to do so in case the growing Greek debt crisis forces the country’s banks to shut down their ATMs.
Debit: Then again, if you’re going to use those euros, you better hurry. The Telegraph is warning that those negative Eurozone interest rates have “put the world on course for the biggest mass default in history.” Their words, not mine.
Credit: Of course, who’s worrying about mass defaults when a ringside seat to Saturday’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao was selling for $351,005? I know I’m not.
By the Numbers
After 33 years, David Letterman is leaving late night television and signing off as host of the Late Show on CBS:
1 Bill Murray’s guest number. He was Letterman’s first guest on both NBC’s Late Night (Feb. 1, 1982) and the Late Show on CBS (Aug. 30, 1993).
6028 Total number of Letterman’s late night broadcasts on both NBC and CBS.
16 Number of Emmy Awards won by Letterman.
19,932 Total number of guests appearances across both of Letterman’s late shows.
126 Number of Stupid Pet Tricks episodes.
89 Number of Stupid Human Tricks episodes.
136 Late Show appearances by Regis Philbin; that’s more than any other guest.
Source: PR Newswire
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Results
How much was your federal tax refund this year?
- I didn’t get a refund. (41%)
- More than $1000 (37%)
- $101 to $1000 (21%)
- $100 or less. (1%)
More than 400 Len Penzo dot Com readers responded to last week’s question and it turns out that, when it comes to income tax refunds, for most folks it’s either feast or famine. Apparently, the majority of people who answered either received a check for more than $1000 — or didn’t get a refund at all. As for me, my refund check from Uncle Sam fell squarely in the middle of those two extremes.
Other Useless News
Programming note: Unlike most blogs, I’m always open for the weekend here at Len Penzo dot Com. There’s a fresh new article waiting for you every Saturday afternoon. At least there should be. If not, somebody call 9-1-1.
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Insider Notes: The Collapse, Your Wealth Insurance and When to Use It
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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
After reading my article highlighting 8 Store Brand Items That Are Superior to Their Name Brand Twins, Kathy offered this cautionary tip:
I refuse to go generic on toilet paper.
You can pooh-pooh the generic TP all you want, Kathy — but it’s great for the bottom line.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: brendan-c