Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

October 13, 2017
by funny
4 Comments

Effin’ Brave New World…

Please. I want my covered wagon and my smoke signals back…  Seriously: SDXB was just over here and remarked that we live in the kind of dystopia that was science fiction and horror fiction when we were kids. We are so ensnared with our effing “conveniences” that they now dictate our lives and spy on us for any number of unknown and unknowable parties.

Anyway, I found out why, after a gangbuster spring, editorial business abruptly fell off to zero at the start of the summer. Google, it develops, arbitrarily brands various incoming messages as “spam,” whether you ask for that or not. In addition, Google has infiltrated my Apple mail, apparently picking up “trash” classifications and deeming them “spam.”

Now, here’s the problem. I have a G-mail address with my company brand. That is, it says “@mycompany.com,” not “@gmail.com” or “@mac.com” or worse yet, “@me.com.” This looks much more professional, and for several years it’s been all over my business cards, all over my stationery, all over my email, and enshrined in the “contact” pages at my business websites. A lot of people email me at that company address. In fact, I’d venture to say most people do.

Meanwhile, though, I do not care for Google’s email interface. Miraculous though it may be, I find it clumsy and annoying to work with. Also, I have other things to do than sign in, several times a day, to a G-mail account. Nor do I want to have to sign in to two accounts every day. So I have all the @mycompany.com email forwarded to my Apple email.

Yesterday, a particularly august friend (let’s call her Friend¹) emailed and asked if I had received a message (copied and pasted into her email) from someone to whom she had referred me. The potential client never heard back, and she let Friend know it.

Well. No. I hadn’t received it.

So I go over to the G-mail account, shoof around, and find this woman’s message in Spam. Along with Friend’s message. Google has decided an inquiry about my editing and indexing services is spam. And it also has decided Friend is a spammer; it decided that some time ago, because a number of her messages resided in Google’s spam folder. Come to think of it, so did messages from several friends. Including Friend², a raft of whose recent emails were sitting there unanswered.

I can’t find any lost messages from dozens and dozens of imagined would-be clients, but since there are only 80 spam messages in that account today (most of them solicitations for sex services by women with fake Russian-sounding names), I assume Google sets up the spam box to auto-delete every month or so. Indeed, the earliest message in that folder is dated September 27, so it must hold only about a week or two of back messages. Presumably, then, any messages that went in there over the Long Dry Summer are already gone.

To give you a clue what this means: the woman whose email was rescued by Friend¹ had a project worth somewhere between $1,200 and $2,000.

It appears that Google has shimmied its sticky tentacles into my Apple system. It’s not enough that this mega-monster corporation spies on you at every turn on the Web.  Somehow G-mail has gained access to Apple mail so that, in order for me to get into my MacMail account, I first have to sign into my gmail account!!!!!!!

This occurs whenever one of my Macs is turned off and rebooted. To get back into MacMail, I have to fire up the iMac, look up the complicated password, go to Gmail, paste in the password, and be online there.

I am sorry, but I DO NOT LIKE THAT ONE LITTLE FUCKING BIT!

I don’t know how this came about, but I’m pretty damn sure I didn’t ask for it because I hardly ever go to the gmail.com accounts because I’m not interested in Russian whores from Moscow. Not knowing how it came about, I can’t cancel it because I can’t find any function to make that happen. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is something that was installed unilaterally by Big Brother.

When I discovered this, I killed a couple of hours trying to convince Google that Friend¹ and Friend² are not spam artists, but in the meanwhile realized that there’s no way I can stop it from derailing messages from prospective clients. Didn’t do any good: a day later, everything I’d installed was un-installed, and it was back to intercepting and throwing out messages from the same people.

It looks like the only way I can make this stop is to delete my business’s Google account. That is NOT good, because as I’ve said, every piece of business-related correspondence and marketing has that address on it!

And the time suck! My GOD!!!!

To advise correspondents to use a different address, you have to get EVERY contact into a message’s address line. That’s not so hard — you can send an email to “All Contacts.” BUT…you can’t make Google automatically stick those ±200 addresses into the bcc line. To put all those private addresses into the bcc line, you have to cut them, a few at a time, and paste them into “bcc.” It won’t let you highlight all > cut all > paste all. Nooooo way! You have to select a few at a time to move them over.

Apple’s procedure is even more time-sucky. In MacMail, you have to put every contact in your address book into a “Group.” Then you have to sift through to delete duplications and out-of-date addresses. THEN you can send a message to tell them not to use the old address.

So I was on the phone to an Apple tech at 7:30 this morning when SDXB showed up at the front door and the dogs went screaming BATSH!T and he kept banging at them, driving them MORE batsh!t. No coffee. No breakfast. Not even a minute to clear my mind. She was trying to figure out the simplest way to get 200 Apple contacts into a single e-mail. I finally had to get off the phone to let SDXB in; she said she’d send the instructions, which I can download and try to figure out myself.

Good luck with that.

So it looks to me like the only way to disconnect Google from my private e-mail service is to go online and delete every. single. gmail. account owned now and in the past by me and my various businesses. This includes several accounts I set up for students in freshman comp courses, so there’s an eng101 account, an eng102 account, an eng104 account, an eng235 account, an eng315 account, and on and on and freaking ON. There are accounts for business enterprises that never flew and fell to the earth, stillborn in the nest, YEARS ago.

This is going to take hours. Maybe DAYS. And since Google presumably is already into my Macmail, there’s really no guarantee that deleting those accounts will take Google OUT of my MacMail. In fact, I do not know what will happen if I delete the gmail account that Google thinks I should sign into in order to have access to MacMail. It may simply block me from MacMail permanently…because, of course, you can’t sign into an account that no longer exists.

You know, I think all this stuff, taken together, defines dystopia. We are already living in Hell.

October 12, 2017
by funny
2 Comments

Car Keys in the Brave New World

So SDXB’s New Girlfriend (affectionately known as NG)  has a place in beautiful Sun City and a place in Boulder. This summer she sold the big house in Boulder, built by her late husband and herself, to move into a smaller place closer to her son and family. In the process, she experienced some heart palpitations

Sensibly, she goes to a doc to have this checked out. He tells her she has atrial fibrillation, a potentially fatal ailment. So she’s now becalmed in Colorado, jumping through medical hoops.

Fast-forward a few weeks: Her son and DiL have to make a sojourn to Phoenix for some damnfool reason. They wish to borrow her car so they don’t have to rent. But…but…but she can’t remember where she put the keys to the damn car.

She can’t, can’t CAN’T remember where she put them.

So SDXB goes over to the Sun City manse and searches the joint from stem to stern. He even checks every door lock in the house to see if maybe she carelessly left her keys in the door. He performs this exploration not once, not twice, but three times. He can NOT find the keys.

He calls Larry Miller Toyota to find out if he can get a new key made.

In order to make a new Annoying Smart Key, NG herself has to show up there, with the title of the car in hand to prove she actually owns it (!!!!!!!) and with a picture ID to prove she’s who she says she is. And the car has to be at the Toyota dealership. This, as you correctly surmise, entails having to tow the damn car to the dealership!!!! The cost is many, many hundreds of dollah.

I say to SDXB…wait. Waitaminit here! Anderson Lock & Key, the pre-eminent locksmith in the Valley, told me they could copy the key to the hated Venza (the Bell Road crooks didn’t bother to give me two keys…). It would be expensive, but nothing like what Larry Miller proposes to charge.

We call Anderson.

Yes. Sure. They can make a new key. But yes, it requires the locksmith and his computer to convene at the same place where the becalmed car resides. However, they will send the guy out to Sun City, laptop in hand, to make a new key.

For a fuckin’ car key…

October 10, 2017
by funny
0 comments

“The Economy”: A Context for Personal Finance

The Economist publishes a discussion of academe’s shortcomings in the teaching of basic, introductory economy (yeah, that Econ 101 course you took for three useless credits). They — the shortcomings — are manifold. But, we’re told, someone’s working to fix it . . . and for those of us who are drawn to questions about money, the economy, and how they work, the fix is extremely interesting. It involves a free, full-length online textbook designed to approach the subject in a better, more effective, and more engaging way. Frugally enough, its authors have titled it The Economy.

Our reviewer points out that economics “accounts for more than 10% of degrees awarded at elite universities each year, . . . and many more students take an introductory course as part of their general-education requirements. . . . Economics teaches that incentives matter and trade-offs are unavoidable. It shows how naïve attempts to fix social problems, from poverty to climate change, can have unintended consequences. . . . [and] at its best, enables people to see the unstated assumptions and hidden costs behind the rosy promises of politicians and businessmen.”

In other words, if your eyes glazed over on Day 1 of Econ 101 and stayed glazed all semester, you need this book. More to the point, where the future of humanity is concerned, maybe your kids do, too.

Designed by an international team collaborating as the Curriculum Open-Access Resources in Economics, the book takes a fresh approach to its subject. “Messy complications, from environmental damage to inequality,” we’re told, “are placed firmly in the foreground. It explains cost curves, as other introductory texts do, but in the context of the Industrial Revolution, thus exposing students to debates about why industrialization kicked off when and where it did. . . . Quite early on,” we find “lessons in the weirdness in economics . . . that make the subject fascinating and useful but are skimmed over in most introductory courses.”

So cruise on over to the site that hosts this free tome. The table of contents gives you a clue — and with color-coded markers shows how chapters fit into various themes such as  history, innovation, the environment, politics and policy…among other topics key to everyone who buys, sells, invests, or votes.

October 7, 2017
by funny
2 Comments

Spring (re-)Sprung

What a gorgeous morning! A beautiful spring day: October being Arizona’s answer to spring.

While I was at Home Depot buying the possibly dysfunctional hose yesterday, I also picked up packets of seeds — beets, various lettuce-like creatures — which I’ve planted in large pots strategically placed in the front courtyard’s sprinklers.

Surprisingly, the Depot’s selection of seeds was piss-poor. Actually had a hard time finding lettuce seeds. Which is crazy: winter is the time to grow lettuce here. It doesn’t freeze (nor is it likely to be at risk thereof, given the steady climate warming we’ve had: we haven’t had a hard frost in years), and it loves the mild winter temperatures of the Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun.

The chard I planted last fall survived the summer and is still going strong. In fact, I plan to have some of it with lunch.

Other things fried over the summer, though. A new rosemary plant joined the nascent lettuce in front — I do hope it will like it there. Bought another thyme plant, which I also may put in front, where it will get plenty of sun and water. Although…thyme would probably rather have more sun and less water. And grabbed a spearmint critter, which probably will take up residence happily on the shaded west side.

And of course I couldn’t resist a six-pack of snapdragons. How could anyone?

The rose vines here on the west side, the ones that help create the Shady Bower, are looking pretty peakèd. Though they’re putting out some new growth, a few weeks ago you couldn’t have convinced me that they survived the summer’s ungodly heat. They may come back this year, but I’m pretty sure that next fall I’ll have to take them out and replace them with babes.

IF, that is, I can find anyone that still sells rose vines. May have to order them online. Not what I like to do: one prefers to see what one is getting, when it comes to plants.

The backyard is a bit of a wreck. Gerardo hasn’t been here for a month and a half — hence the $285 bill to hire a real irrigation guy to replace the watering system’s control panel, a job Gerardo would cheerfully do for twenty bucks and the cost of the panel. I don’t know whether he’s sick, harassed by Trump’s troops, or what…but if he doesn’t show up pretty quick, I’m going to have to find another lawn dude.

My neighbor Terri has a guy who does an adequate job on her yard. She shows signs of being no less tight than me, so I imagine he can be hired for a reasonable figure. Next time I see him, I’ll try to waylay him.

On the subject of said collapsible garden hose, so roundly hated by Amazon reviewers… Well. I installed it on the backyard spigot, which is equipped with an Orbit dial-type mechanical timer, renowned for its annoying habit of leaking. And here’s what happened:

  1. Fifty feet is exactly the desired length: as long as two pieces of the regular hose I had cobbled together.
  2. Unlike said regular hose, the thing is lightweight and easy to haul to the far side of the pool or to weasel in behind the thick shrubbery to the east of the pool.
  3. It does not require you to bust your buns to put it away (or, as is my habit, to just leave the damn thing laying on the pavement, hideously). With no water in it, all you have to do is pick it up, loop it around and around to coil it, and drop it in the hose pot. It’s lightweight and absurdly easy to handle.
  4. A-A-N-N-N-D….Here’s the kicker: When the thing is attached to the connection on the Orbit, IT DOES NOT LEAK.

By “it,” we mean the Orbit timer, all specimens of which leak front and back when attached to a regular garden hose. The Orbit will leak at the hose connection, and fie on your damn washers! And it also will leak up near the male connection where you attach it to the spigot. To keep from saturating the foundation of the house, I have to set a large pot under the spigot to collect the leaked water, which then gets dumped on the potted plants.

With the new allegedly flimsy hose, there’s no leaking at all!

WTF? The timer didn’t even leak after it shut the water off…which is normally when it turns into Niagara Falls.

The thing is quite lightweight, and yes, I can imagine that any manhandling whatsoever could cause it to spring a leak. It appears to be made of cloth over some sort of light plastic interior hose. If you jerked it around or ran it over the edge of a brick patio, it no doubt would easily tear or split. But…if we think of it as a girlie hose, I suspect it could be OK, at least for a season, given careful enough handling.

Back at Amazon, I found something in the same genre, although it’s not identical. This one looks like it’s made of the stuff used for pool hoses, though it apparently coils up more compactly. Some reviewers say it leaks, but most rave about its glories. As we noted in comments yesterday, too many of the reviews at Amazon are not-so-secretly paid reviews. But probably not all of 174 reviews are fake. I hope.

Decided to try it, just to see. Meanwhile, I think I’ll take a chance on another of these Goodyear hoses from the Depot, since the Amazon hose looks like it would be better suited for the front courtyard and I need another 50-foot number for the west side. In fact, I may drive back up there this very afternoon.

The new BBQ cover arrived from Amazon by overnight delivery. And interestingly, you’ve heard Amazon says it’s testing its abandonment of FedEx in California? Well, it’s doing the same here. This is the third package of late that’s been delivered by some guy obviously driving his own car. So…there’s another side gig for those of us rendered unemployable by Republican recessions and automation… 😮

The cover doesn’t fit as well as the Weber brand cover — not tailored to fit (as it were) and it has no Velcro straps to secure it. But I never used the straps anyway. And this thing does the job: it does cover the grill and will protect it from rain. I may glue on some Velcro strips or patches to keep it from blowing off in a high wind…but whatever. The price is definitely SO much righter than the one with the Weber brand slapped on it.

October 5, 2017
by funny
7 Comments

HOW do Brick & Board Stores Stay in Business???

Earlier in the day I made a Home Depot run by way of collecting objects needed to keep the shack standing. Among them is a new cover for the much-used Weber gas grill, which resides in the backyard in a block niche that backs onto the chimney. This space is open to the elements. Since I now cook almost exclusively on this grill, it behooves me to take care of the thing. So I like to protect it from the rain and heat with a heavy plastic cover designed to fit its particular shape.

This fine device consists of just that: three pieces of plastic sewn together, with some glue or similar goop to seal the seams — the way a light tent is built. Only without the struts.

Home Depot has them, all right. Price? Sixty to eighty bucks!

In the past, they’ve had cheaper knockoffs on the shelf, but I didn’t see any there today.

Good grief.

So back at the Funny Farm, it was straight to Amazon.com, where I found the desired knock-off, reasonably well reviewed, for $20.

Meanwhile, I’d bought a Goodyear collapsible hose — nice and lightweight and supposedly kink-resistant — and wanted to see how Amazon buyers had reviewed it before tearing off the package. And I could NOT find it there. It develops that Goodyear products are now made by Continental, a German firm.

So presumably the examples on Home Depot’s shelves are way, WAY out of date: i.e., no one will buy these hoses. Turns out there’s a reason for that: consumers commenting at HD overwhelmingly hate the thing. So….we’ll be keeping the receipt.

So you wonder how a store that sells outrageously overpriced products and hoses that receive 125 one-star reviews out of a total 135 reviews(!!) manages to stay in business.

Oh, wait: By driving all its competition out of business…

October 5, 2017
by funny
2 Comments

A Few of the Most Popular Online Trading Methods Available Today

Online trading has exploded in the world of finance. Millions of traders around the world – both novices and experts – have caught onto the trend. Here are three of the most popular and successful trading options available.

There are many popular online trading strategies available, as there are very popular platforms upon which to trade, such as Weiss Finance, which are certainly something you want to explore if you are looking for a credible and capable platform upon which to trade online.

Coming to Grips with Online Trading

The internet has facilitated the emergence of an entire new dimension of trading. Never before have so many stocks and assets, currencies and figures been created, bought and sold. This is an exciting and lucrative time in the financial world.

Online trading has created a far simpler and accessible method of trading assets. The average person with an internet connection can, at any time, go onto an online trading website and enable a trade in literally seconds.

This ingenuity has of course garnered much criticism. The extreme ease with how an online trade can be enabled has led many to label it as gambling. After all, it is just as easy to go into a gambling website and fool around in there.

The difference comes in the wealth of knowledge and stratagem based within online trading. Technical analysis strategy involves a wide array of analyses and study. A strategy such as this intellectualizes what many brush off as a damaging scheme.

There is a ton of intelligent and mathematical investment put into mastering online trading. Getting to grips with a method like Technical analysis strategy takes careful and timeous application. Novices who refuse to involve themselves with the homework and literally just gamble will of course lose out.

60-Second Trading

This kind of trading is literally the quickest around, obviously because each trade only lasts a minute. This blindingly fast trading option is thrilling and can make you more money in a minute than people make in a day.

The difficulty here is having the quick thinking and financial alacrity required to properly engage in this method. Utilizing a strategy such as basic options strategy essential with this method, as much money can be lost quickly and you want the right decision making and protection to deflect as many rapid costs as possible.

The biggest draw for 60-second trades is of course the surprising speed in which you can make money, generally trading small price movements. The kind of trade movements that are illogical in the longer trading periods of hours or days.

With the massive number of minute trades, it helps having the basic options strategy to aid in speedy decision making and micromanagement. One will find themselves placing multiple 60-second trades at once. The correct level of rational option choice is essential.

Using 60-second trading options is a double-edged sword, as one can imagine. You might be able to make a lot of money quickly, but you can also lose it just as fast. A minimalistic approach to cointegration trading strategy is very beneficial in this instance.

Using the cointegration trading strategy can really help pairing multiple 60-second trades together, this correlation halving the amount of time and often frantic effort it takes arranging and activating.

Long-Term Trading

Here we have the antithesis to 60-second trading, the polar opposite kind of trade. These are profound investments that can last for years, sometimes several decades. These kinds of trades range between one to over thirty years of holding.

“Long Term” obviously means something different to each person, depending heavily on their trading strategies. We all have different investing plans, for differing periods of time. It all depends how long you plan to stay in the game for.

Having a powerful algorithmic and signals application is essential for this method. Having the current climate of the market your trade is invested within means a lot less homework and stress for you. The application will continually monitor your trade and provide you with its health status.

It doesn’t hurt having algorithmic and signals applications for any kind of online trade, but having years of information available to you is excellent. Many applications are also powerful predictive mechanisms, accurately estimating just how your trade will fair in time to come.

All of the above mentioned online trading options are potentially profitable and enjoyable in the right hands. One can make a killing, but they can also be killed. The necessary care and rational investment is needed to successfully venture into this world.

This article is for informational purposes only. Funny about Money is not a financial adviser, and no part of the site should be construed as investment advice or guidance.