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…
Last week, the aptly-named Griper reminded me that, in the spirit of the season, the Credits in this column should be outnumbering the Debits.
That was a bold request, considering that for over two-and-a-half years I’ve been being dishing out Credits and Debits each weekend, and I strongly suspect the former have outnumbered the latter on no more than a couple occasions. At best.
However, upon further reflection, I decided that the Griper was right. Except this week I took his request a step further by making sure that there were no Debits at all.
It’s strictly in the spirit of the season, of course.
So, please, don’t get used to it.
By the way, I’ll resume the summaries of my favorite blog posts next week. Until then, let’s get right to it.
Happy holidays everyone!
Credits and Debits
Credit: Was that really a UFO being transported via flatbed truck down a highway in Kansas’ Cowley County last week? It sure looks like one. Check out the video and draw your own conclusions.
Credit: In a related story, a signature drive is being led by the few sane people left in my home state of California in a (most likely) futile effort to repeal the so-called “Dream Act” signed by Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown that authorizes the use of taxpayer funds to provide illegal aliens with financial aid for the state’s public universities and community colleges. This is the same Jerry Brown who is also asking residents to accept higher taxes in 2012 because the state is billions of dollars in debt. I know.
Credit: If you think that stinks, a Connecticut man dubbed the “Nervous Bowels Bandit” was apprehended by police after allegedly robbing a bank of $3050 — but not before causing a scene by leaving a, well, let’s just call it a “deposit” of his own, in the financial institution’s parking lot.
Credit: In other news, a girl who, at the age of eight, was swept away by the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia finally found her parents after tracking them down seven years later.
Credit: Speaking of happy reunions, a music student who absentmindedly left a rare violin — valued at over $172,000 — on a Boston-to-Philadelphia bus, was spared further anguish after the instrument was found in a bus company holding area. No word on whether a reward had been offered with no strings attached. No strings attached. Moving on …
Credit: Did anybody see this story? An unwanted Long Island dog that requires daily doses of Viagra for a life-threatening heart condition was finally adopted by owners who agreed to keep giving it the expensive medication. My favorite comment on this story: Give that dog a bone! (Good one, Wilbur.)
Credit: Meanwhile, a Louisiana man was arrested for driving while intoxicated after a Walmart manager called the cops to report multiple “customers” were having an impromptu bumper car competition with the store’s handicapped scooters. Why doesn’t this stuff ever happen at Saks Fifth Avenue?
Credit: Hey, the next time you’re standing in an airport “security” line, remember that the entire TSA dog-and-pony show before you is nothing but pure theater. It does nothing to protect us from the terrorists that our government use to justify trampling over our fourth amendment right to unreasonable searches. I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.
Credit: If there’s a silver lining to be found when it comes to flying commercially these days, it’s that regulators have finally cleared the airlines to fly over the North Pole. As a result, “Santa’s shortcut” will significantly reduce flying time on many long-haul routes.
Credit: Ah, Christmas; the goodwill of man is on display wherever you look. Heck, even the drunks get into the act this time of year. Take, for instance, the alleged drunk driver in upstate New York who was stopped by police while he was in the process of transporting a deer he had struck earlier to the local hospital. (It’s stories like this that warm the cockles of all my PETA friends’ hearts.)
There. That was nearly two months worth of Credits, all in one week!
The Question of the Week
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed
From December 2010:
Gee Thanks, 4 Presumptuous Gifts That Can Strain a Budget – Hopefully, none of you got one of these gifts this holiday season. Well, unless don’t mind the little “extras” you’ll be on the hook for after the bow and wrapping paper have been removed.
By the Numbers
Time to clean out some random number facts sitting in my files that didn’t otherwise make this section during the year:
33 million The number of Hershey’s Kisses made each day.
29 Age of the world’s oldest dog, an Australian Cattle Dog name Bluey, who died in 1939.
60,000 Pounds of food the average person will eat during their lifetime.
25 Percentage of computer keyboards that supposedly carry Multidrug-resistant staphylococcus aureus.
377 Weight (in pounds) of the world’s largest pumpkin.
118 Ridges around an American dime.
$40,000 Money American Airlines saved in 1987 by eliminating an olive from its salad garnish. (That’s almost $76,000 in current-year dollars.)
9 Additional years the average right-handed person supposedly lives over the average left-handed person. (Relax, lefties; that study has been officially disproved.)
Other Useless News – The Gifts Most Likely to Be Returned in 2011
Here are the Christmas gifts most likely to be returned this year, according to MSN Smart Spending:
1. Clothing and shoes
2. Toys and games
3. Consumer electronics
4. Kitchen and bath products
5. Beauty and cosmetics
6. Jewelry and watches
How did Chia pets and the Clapper not make this list?
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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!
Samuel wrote in with this request:
I live in SoCal too. If you aren’t going to use those In-N-Out gift cards you have, maybe you can send them to me.
Well, it is Christmas, after all! Let me think about it for just a second. Uh, no.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.