Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category
On April 10, 2013 I took a big step towards sticking it to the man, or so I thought. That day I bought the following items for my garden:
As I drove out of the parking lot of the store I was fiendishly laughing at how I was about to embark on an adventure which would stick it to the man. The big, publicly traded grocery store chain would have slumping sales this summer in my corner of Georgia. A down grade of their stock was surely imminent I thought. Perhaps I should take a large short position in their stock and cash in later this summer as revenues miss analysts’ estimates?
That was on April 10th. As I write this on May 6th, my plans are going awry. Since I planted my garden 3 weeks ago on April 15th, we have had 4 sunny days, 7 inches of rain and it has been almost 2 degrees below the average temperature. One head of romaine has fizzled leaving me with 8 plants to fulfill my dreams of slashing my grocery bill. As I re-assess my plan let’s look at the numbers. Those 9 heads of romaine cost me $3.77 with sales tax. Incidentally, why on earth is there sales tax on plants? Isn’t there are prohibition on taxing food? If so, then wouldn’t it make sense that the purchase of the raw materials for food – vegetable plants and seeds be non-taxable? I looked at a recent bill and an organic head or heart of romaine lettuce costs about $1.15 so if those remaining 8 heads make it to the dinner table in a salad I will have saved a whopping $5.43 for the effort. At 57 cents a pound at retail, my $19.02 investment in tomatoes better yield 33.37 pounds of vine ripened beauties. I think that is possible since the big boy tomato is about a pound on average. If I can manage 11 tomatoes per plant I will have recouped my investment.
I guess my plans of saving big bucks on my grocery bill are not looking too good right now. I will keep you posted on my progress throughout the growing season. Have a great week, reaping what you sow…
I enjoy watching football but my enjoyment has been diminishing as the lack of defense has become ridiculous. Much of this has been a result of rules by the league in an attempt to increase scoring and popularity of the game. This may be working but I am losing interest and someday soon may not bother to tune in on Sunday afternoons. The college game is also trending in the same direct as the pros. I can’t tell you how many games there were that were higher scoring than most college basketball games.
Football has a better grasp on the business side of the game than baseball without a doubt. As bad as the product is on the field in football, baseball is equally bad at handling the off field part of the game. The economics of baseball threatens the continued existence of baseball as we now know it. Now that the steroid era has hopefully come and gone we can begin to enjoy the game without the video game home run numbers.
I created a short list of reasons why I like baseball more than football and have them presented below for your review:
Football decided it had a need for a taunting penalty. Think about that for a minute. Millionaires who play a kids game need to have a deterrent so they will not taunt one another.
There is also an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration. Baseball has a tradition that if you have an excessive celebration after a home run the next batter will get a fastball in his ribs. There are not too many excessive celebrations after home runs and I like it that way.
Note: I have a very hard time forgiving baseball for having the Designated Hitter rule. They compounded the problem by not having it in both leagues.
The best summary of the differences between baseball and football and highlighting why baseball is a more likeable game can be found in a classic stand-up comedy routine by George Carlin. (It is also G-rated.) Read the text here.
Have a great week, baseball season is off and running!
You may find it interesting to note that the average tax refund from the IRS is about $3,000. The total amount of individual income tax refunds over the past several years has averaged around $300 billion. That is a lot of money flooding the market and most of it is returned in February since the electronic filing rate has gone over 80% of all returns filed. This year due to the fiscal cliff drama at the end of last year, tax filing has been running behind since returns were not even accepted until January 30th.
I thought that since today’s blog is released on April 15th I would make a list of things I could do with the average $3,000 refund:
- On Amazon.com I could buy 216 copies of the Compact Disc, Revolver by The Beatles and still have$1.92 leftover for the Taxman which is the title of the first track.
- I could buy 600, Five dollar foot long subs at Subway provided I was in Oregon since they do not have a sales tax.
- I could go to a pizza shop and order a large Pizza since it is much more economical than a medium and then leave a really nice tip.
- Take my wife on a well deserved all-inclusive vacation to a Caribbean island.
- Buy 1.88 ounces of gold at $1,600 per ounce. The all-inclusive Caribbean vacation sounds like a lot more fun.
- Pay the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco for me and the next 499 commuters with 2 axles. That is a $6 toll and adds up to about $1,500 if you do not get the easy pass and use it every day except vacations and holidays. Tolls are paid electronically so there is no need to stop.
- Assuming I cut the grass weekly for 8 months out of the year I could give the neighbor kid $20 per cut and take almost four and a half years off. Now that sounds like a good use of 3 grand!
- Get Lasik eye surgery and save on eyeglasses and still have lots of money left over for buying gum and candy cigarettes.
- Drop It all on lottery tickets – you know make a GOOD investment.
- Use it to make a time machine and go back to January 11th 1969 and bet big on the Jets to win the Super bowl against the Colts.
Have a great week and I hope you are able to spend a little of your refund money in your own special way.
This blog is the first one of April and I thought a good way to start off the month was to extol the virtues of the month of April. There are many positives about the month. It is the first full month of spring and trees are in bloom in most of the United States. It is a month of renewal and optimism as the harsh winter weather is in the rear view mirror and longer days and warmer temperatures are soon to be upon us. I have compiled a list of things that April has going for it.
1) The month begins with April fool’s day and signals a sense of frivolity that is about to begin.
2) Opening day of Baseball season rolls out throughout the United States. Welcome back old friend.
3) The NCAA basketball tournament crowns it champion after the madness of March.
4) Spring practice for some college football programs
5) The NFL draft.
6) In many areas of the country Prom season begins.
7) Older brothers are born.
8) Drive- in movies are a viable option on the weekends in the northern USA. Yes, some still exist.
9) The first two weeks of April, Six Flags Over Georgia theme park opens 7 days a week for spring break.
10) The Masters Golf tournament it is scheduled to end on the second Sunday in April every year
11) Planting a vegetable garden in the south if not done in March.
12) Confidently putting away the snow shovel in the Snow Belt (on the last day of the month).
13) Maple syrup festivals.
14) Cherry Blossoms that bloom – one thing we can all like about our Nation’s capital.
15) Tax filings are done for most of us.
16) We don’t need much heat or air conditioning which means you can buy your sweetie a special gift.
17) Having a special dinner with family on Easter Sunday which usually falls in April.
18) Candy from Easter baskets, especially enjoyable is devouring the Chocolate rabbit –ears first.
19) Walks in the afternoon sun so enjoyable after winter.
20) Playing the first round of golf after work and finishing all 9 holes before dark.
21) The lush green grass from the warmer temperatures and ample rainfall.
22) Cleaning out the garage and washing the cars all the while getting the first tan or sunburn of the year.
23) Scraping ice off of your car window is finally over.
24) Redesigning your landscaping around the house with a few new plants or shrubs.
25) Younger sisters are born.
26) In Georgia, sipping sweet tea on the deck while watching the sunset.
27) Crocus, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Tulips and other spring flowers that bloom throughout the USA in April.
28) Fly a kite – I know March is traditionally the month for kite flying but it is much warmer in April.
29) Fire up the grill while enjoying a beverage especially up north it is nice to grill after a long winter.
30) It hath thirty days which is a nice round number and a perfect place to end.
Have a great week and month things are looking up – it’s April!
I wrote about my experiences with my move to a high-definition TV several times. Read about them here and here. The TV I bought was a smart TV since it is Wi-Fi enabled and can interact with other devices in the same network. I recently stepped up and bought a smart phone and can now waste time watching YouTube videos like this one when I should be helping clients by Turning Things On End To Achieve Results!
As I write this I have had the smart phone for less than a week but it is nice to be able to get my emails and surf the web for directions without having a GPS. My problem with all this technology is how can I keep up with it and use it to its full potential. As an example, I was playing a song on my new phone upstairs in my bedroom trying to learn how to make a playlist and all of a sudden I did something and the song was playing on the Smart TV downstairs! I found this to be very interesting but my wife didn’t like me interrupting her “stories” with a noisy guitar solo.
I think the manufacturers of these products must be required to make these smart devices safe for all people to use. In other words, idiot proof them before rolling them out. If not that, then upon purchasing one of the devices you are issued a 10-year-old on loan for 6 weeks to walk you through the learning process. I believe that is a reasonable accommodation for teaching dumb people to how to use these smart products. On the other hand, if these products were so smart we wouldn’t have to learn how to use them.
Have a great week embracing technology.
It is that time of year again, time for March Madness. I spoke about this last year by describing a typical night at my house while the tournament was on. Read that post here. This year the Madness begins on March 19th and the finals are on April 8th in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. I live in the Atlanta area but will not on attend the event but welcome the economic impact on the metro Atlanta area. To read more about the tournament click here.
This year I am eagerly awaiting the tip-off since I will be watching the games in “glorious High Def” on my fancy new smart TV. I wonder if the high def will make my alma mater look any better or will they disappoint again? They have been a top three seed 7 times over the past ten years but have failed to close the deal. Read all about the University of Pittsburgh’s March Madness woes here.
Over the next two weeks I will be practicing my 3 point shot by tossing crumpled paper into my waste basket from 5 feet away. I hope you can begin your preparation soon as well. Have a great week working on your game.
Bacon seems to be enjoying a surge in popularity despite the recent increase in over-reaching dietary laws like the banning of sugary soft drinks over 16 ounces in New York City. I wonder if you are able to buy draft beer in a glass over 16 ounces? If so, that will probably be next on the banned list. Why would they stop at sugary soft drinks? Why not ban king size candy bars? I have an idea; why not ban containers that are larger than 16 ounces and stop the problem at the source?
So, in honor of that insanity I offer a short list of things that taste better with bacon.Hamburgers Salad
Peanut butter sandwich
3 Egg omelet
A 12 ounce Steak with a sunny side up egg
A cheese pizza
Grilled cheese sandwich
Any subway sub
Cream of anything soup
Chocolate, yes chocolate covered bacon exists A 17 ounce sugary soft drink. Especially enjoyable when consumed inside the city limits of New York
Have a great week.
As I write this on January 14, 2013; the NFL is just under 3 weeks from crowning its champion. This year it is Super Bowl XLVII. In case you do not know your Roman Numerals that is 47. I wonder do they still spend a day or two in third grade to go over this concept from thousands of years ago, if so, why? I wonder when I was watching Super Bowl VI if it was necessary then for me to know Roman Numerals? If it is still taught today, maybe it should be taught in history class instead of math class.
Super Bowl VI was played on January 16th 1972 at Tulane Stadium and pitted the Dallas Cowboys against the upstart Miami Dolphins. I call them the upstart Dolphins because they were an expansion team from the mid 1960’s and went on to have a perfect season by winning all seventeen of their games the following year. Dallas won Super Bowl VI by XXI points, XXIV to III. OK, I admit I am just being a little annoying but I think I proved my point.
I wonder if it is time to stop the Roman Numeral era as it relates to the NFL? Perhaps they will call it quits at L? I really can’t think of much usage for Roman Numerals other than time pieces and Led Zeppelin albums and I am pretty sure there won’t be any more of those released soon.
Have a great week. It should be; since it will be another year before you have to give much thought to Roman Numerals.
I travel frequently on long distance trips and have discovered a strange relationship between the distance from my destination and my level of alertness. There are some variables that can affect this such as the amount of sleep I had the night before, the number of hours before sunrise I began the trip, amount of coffee consumed during the trip and the need for a “comfort” break. The amount of coffee consumed has a direct correlation with the need for comfort breaks but that can be discussed some other time.
The graph that can be seen above depicts the level of alertness and the distance from the destination. There is an unexpected tendency to become more alert the closer you get to the destination but this only seems to begin after you have reached the midway point for your trip. I suspect this is because at the half way point there is a feeling of having a tailwind since you have gone over the hump so to speak. As you can see by the shape of the graph, the hump is quite readily apparent.
I have simplified the graph for our discussion by eliminating spikes in the alertness level that can be attributed to the sudden unwelcomed appearance of a deer, waking up in a cornfield after going off the road while nodding off, the desperate need for a comfort break after guzzling coffee and the sudden urge to strangle the moronic caller from “Five Points” on the syndicated talk radio show.
I hope you can use this information to your advantage when planning your next long trip. Have a great week, fully alert no matter where you are.
The Almond Joy candy bar was originally made by Peter Paul candy which was bought out by Hershey in the late 1970’s. It is the cousin of the Mounds bar the difference being the dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate and the 2 almonds found in the Almond Joy. It was introduced in 1946 and the Mounds bar in 1920. The two candies are usually linked together in advertising with the 1970’s era slogan of “sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t” continuing to this day. The Almond Joy is a wonderful candy bar. It is not my favorite but I have a very positive feeling about it. Since I don’t have it very often I would probably choose it if given a choice between several of the famous names like Reese’s Peanut butter Cup, Snickers or Butterfinger.
Now that I have given you a brief history of the 2 candy bars and my opinion of it, let me begin grinding my axe. Today, it finally occurred to me that this candy bar, the Almond Joy, is quite frankly poorly named. It is not the Almond that should get top billing but the coconut. I understand that the reason the Almond is emphasized is to differentiate itself from the Mounds bar but why not call it the Almound? At least that would be a neat play on words and relate it to its older cousin. I am outraged by the total and complete snubbing that the coconut gets from the maker of this wonderful snack.
Have a great week and hug a coconut next time you see one, it probably wouldn’t mind the attention.