Coffee heat rising

Weekend Explorations

A couple of new-to-me blogs: Don’t Quit Your Day Job. Proprietor PK asks if you’re doing better financially now than you were six years ago.

And the founder of the brand-new A Terrible Husband tells us he had an epiphany one day that’s led to a project to recreate himself as a better human being.

Have you been following the newlyweds’ adventures at NZ Muse!? Eemusings should do an e-book after she gets settled in her new home! The current stop is in Munich after the amazement that is Berlin. In the Black Forest, they had a great experience working as volunteer instructors in an immersion English-language program.

Money Beagle has a surprisingly entertaining post on preparing to exit the jobsite for vacation.

At Windy City Gal, Linda is doing battle with plantar fasciitis — not terminal, but damned excruciating!

Speaking of doing battle, the Asian Pear has a frustrating moment with her diet after a difficult month at the job.

Mrs. Accountability reports on a little shopping secret most of us have probably lost track of.

Evan’s post on the life-changing potential of money has elicited a lot of commentary!

Planting Our Pennies has a great post on the transition from an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts to a six-figure income in the business world.

There’s hope for the hypereducated, after all!


Happy Independence Day

Here’s a surprise:


How beautiful, eh? They popped up out of the dry, dry ground, where even the cactus is looking parched. First came a little stand of green spikes that looked like a small patch of bunchgrass about six or eight inches high. Then this morning, pow! Here were all these amazing, brilliant yellow blossoms. Floral fireworks!

No idea what they are. They must have come from one of the bulbs I planted last winter. But as I recall, none of ’em looked like that.

Hope your Fourth of July is a little cooler than ours: 113 for the predicted high.

😉 Some like it hot.

At A Gai Shan Life, Revanche has been going to town in the writing department, with that timeless question — whose turn is it to pick up the tab? — and plans to descend on Comic-Con 2013 and scrumptious recipes with a little sushi porn on the side.

Speaking of comics, Donna Freedman recently posted another Tundra give-away. We’re a day late and a dollar short today, but you should visit Chad Carpenter’s weekly archive after reading Donna’s beautiful rumination on the summer — dang! but that woman can write.

And speaking of eats, Money Beagle whips up an original and clever biscuit recipe.

Did you see Asian Pear’s “Canadian” nail polish? I love artsy-craftsy nail polish designs! So much fun…and so much better than a tattoo. 😉

At Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Crystal goes in search of a sane price for contact lenses.

Amanda Grossman tells a really neat story about how frugality can make your life better, posted over at Frugal Confession.

At Prairie Eco-Thrifter,. Miranda offers five tips for getting off your duff and exercising.

At Planting Our Pennies, Mrs. PoP reflects on the significance of anniversaries and on marriage in general, eliciting a lot of reader comment.

And speaking of marriage, over at Grumpy Rumblings Nicoleandmaggie share their own viewpoint on the subject.

Personally, I’m for polyandry. Each woman would have as many husbands as she pleased. Think of the advantages… You could have one who could do gourmet cooking, one who was handy with tools, one that liked to ride herd on the kids, a couple who earned six-figure incomes, two or three who were particularly scenic…now we’re talkin’ matriarchy!

At I Pick Up Pennies, Abigail wonders if some coupon deals, especially Groupon, might be a bit on the guilt-inducing side.

Read the Declaration of Independence lately? Well, today’s a mighty good time to do so. At My Journey to Millions, Evan has posted the entire thing.

At NZMuse, the bride and groom continue their journey through Asia. Ever heard of a sleeper bus? E-musings tells you all about them.

Mrs. Accountability has a funny tale and some grutching about Amazon’s marketing practices.

§ § §

Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! The sun is over the yardarm! That means The Fat Lady is about to put a couple of lamb chops on the grill, thereby providing an excuse to open a bottle of wine.

Happy Fourth of July to One and All!



Various Cool Stuff

How cool is this, for example?


Thos. Moser is having a 15%-off sale on office furniture, among it this chair that I’ve coveted for…oh, about forever. Even at the discount, though, the price tag is in cardiac arrest territory.

Oh, well.

BeePollinatingFlowersAt Windy City Gal, Linda has something much cooler: a real beehive in her backyard! And someone to take care of it, too. Such fantastic little creatures!

Meanwhile, Revanche and PiC covet a backyard, too: they’re beginning to contemplate the possibility of buying a house — a daunting prospect when you live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Asian Pear awakes in the wee hours and shares the thoughts that keep her up at night.

At Afford Anything, Paula’s boyfriend Will gets his aged Accord stolen! They’re in no hurry to buy a new one, but sooner or later will have to go through that hassle.

Donna Freedman holds forth about the flabbergasting number of mosquitoes that come out during an Alaskan summer. Ugh! Horrid things…I’ll take 115-degree days over blood-sucking insects any day!

At Bargaineering, Jim Wang is planning a Tweetchat on teaching new college graduates about life in the real world; he solicits reader ideas.

StackingCash worries that retiring Boomers will suck so much capital out of the stock market that the whole house of cards will collapse.

At Blue Collar Workman, TB advises on protecting your home from flooding. Good ideas there. I need to find out how to get a back-up generator connected…

At Prairie Ecothrifter, Marie has posted a very nice article outlining ways to cope with stress-related insomnia.

At Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Crystal (who has a cute new haircut) and Mr. BFS are paying close attention to food costs (they have a “food fight” going on :-D) and dieting, two projects that seem mutually exclusive.

Planting Our Pennies has emitted several engaging posts this week. Start with the current chapter of an ongoing horror story and read back. Think I’m going to send a link to the real estate leverage piece to my business group, which is richly larded with real estate and lending professionals.

At Five-Cent Nickel, Suba Iyer shares some good advice about arranging your affairs for your family should you die or become incapacitated.

Mrs. Accountability serves up an easy and scrumptious grilled pork loin at Out of Debt Again.

At Frugal Confessions, veteran renter Amanda offers several ways to cut the cost of your rent bill, some of which are pretty darned clever. None of them include “pack up and move.”

Like the PoPs, Evan has been up to all sorts of entertaining stuff at My Journey to Millions. A little rabble-rousing: thoughts on taxpayer-funded regulation of consensual sex. Then, a severe temptation to pass judgment (who, Evan? surely not! ;-)) elicits a lot of reader comment.

At Frugal Rules, John celebrates a whole year of freedom from the gerbil wheel and reflects on the joys and challenges of self-employment.

The newlyweds of NZ Muse continue their journey though Asia. Since this pair likes to eat, they dish up some very fine food porn after their better restaurant adventures.

And the less newly wed nicoleandmaggie celebrate an anniversary with a lovely retrospective post, very beautiful indeed.

Frugal Scholar helps Frugal Son move into his new house, with mixed emotions.

And so it goes…

Newport Chair. Thos. Moser Furniture.
Pollination by a bee. Louise Docker. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


Why I Love to Read the Business Section, and Other Linkish Topics

Where else could you hope to find this astonishing story that appears today in the Times business section? So…the question is, in the brave new world, who will be the masters and who the slaves: the bionic avatars or the living beings? My money’s on the living beings: if we can create these immortal objects, we can leave aggression out of the design.

It’s been a quiet week, more or less, in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun. Summer is here…which reminds me, I forgot to turn the water on the potted plants in front. It’s already 1:00 p.m. — damn things are probably dead.

Oww ow ow!!!! The flagstones  are so hot they burned my feet! It’s a wonder anything can stay alive out there, even in the shade. What a place! 🙄

It’s still cool enough (sort of) in the mornings and evenings to go out for some exercise. Cassie and I jogged 1.66 miles yesterday, by circumnavigating the park at 5:00 a.m. and jogging around the usual doggy-walk track at night. She was less than thrilled about starting in on that routine this morning, though. Wonder why…?

Someone over in the One Percenters’ part of the neighborhood has put up one of those curbside library boxes! It is so cool! They even set out a garden bench next to it. I dropped off an Alexander McCall Smith novel, recently read, and picked up an old novel by one Andrea Camilleri, purchased sometime in the past for £12.99 from a British bookseller. McCall Smith’s wonderful Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series delighted me; having read through all those books, I decided to try one from the Corduroy Mansions series. It wasn’t as entertaining as the Africa books, but it was OK.

Ah, but in this day and age we need not trouble ourselves with spending pounds and pence on good reading material. Digital browsing notwithstanding, Frugal Scholar and Miss Em have figured out how to break even, if not make a profit, on the purchase of books.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Accountability contemplates ways to get your reading matter at minimal cost — and along the way offers a surprising tip on how to shave some time and money off Amazon book purchases.

I really enjoyed this particularly bright flash of common sense from Evan at My Journey to Millions.

At Debt Roundup, Grayson tells a hilarious (not to him, I fear) story of yet another moment of customer disservice. A potentially expensive one, we might add.

TFB’s rumination, at The Financial Blogger, about what he would do with his time if he could work up the nerve to quit his job leads to a very interesting projected schedule. Anyone who wants to get serious about building a blogging empire should read this.

Money Beagle speculates that we are not in a stock market bubble, and explains why.

Revanche over at A Gai Shan Life has rejuggled her retirement savings. She’s decided she really likes Vanguard.

Donna Freedman has a nice post on managing satisfaction in life.

At I Pick Up Pennies, Abigail is enjoying (heh!) another trip through the bureaucratic maze that is America’s medical system.

Speaking of the which, did you see eye-popping story, also in today’s Times, about what — really! — drives up the cost of medical care in this country? Holee mackerel!

Eemusings and New Hubby visit Angkor Wat, where they have an encounter with one of the locals. Don’t miss the video! The images of the temples are pretty amazing, too.

Nicole and Maggie stir up some conversation over at Grumpy Rumblings of the (Formerly) Untenured with a rumination on whether some people relish misery and drama.

Crystal has added a new province to the Blogging Empire: a newsletter. Go here to sign up — Budgeting in the Fun Stuff has always been full of good ideas, and this newsletter promises to carry on the tradition.

Speaking of books and blogs, I should be finishing up my proposed e-book. And so, to work!


Links 4 next week

Busy week; long week. Just finished a new client’s paper. Needed to do a decent job on it because it may mean a foot in the door to a scholarly journal that could provide all The Copyeditor’s Desk needs to make its monthly revenue goals from now unto perpetuity. That would be good. Very good.

In the life is strange department, consider this amazing and spectacular record of the life of the cicada. Astonishing.

Humans, however, are no less astonishing. As creatures go, we also are capable of doing some bizarrely wonderful things.

And speaking of our constructs, here’s a question: Is the Internet destroying Middle America?  Freaking terrifying. And the guy is right.

Drifting further in the direction of personal finance, have you got old folks? Or maybe you’re an old folk, yourself. If so, better download this eye-opening report on the widespread inappropriate use of a seemingly endless number of medications for older adults. Some of these are prescription drugs, recommended by doctors who should know better but apparently don’t, and some are readily available over the counter.

And “widespread” is le mot juste. As far back as 2008, half of all Americans reported that they’re on medications, and nine in ten (!) older Americans were taking prescription medications. Three-quarters of senior citizens were taking at least two drugs, and 37 percent were taking at least five. Big pharma: a parasite on American life.

Elsewhere, on Mother’s Day Donna Freedman posted a heartfelt story about her mother, her childhood, and the memories that haunt her to this day. Awesome piece of writing.

Frugal Scholar and Miss Em hit the mother lode of recycled Eileen Fisher duds in a Goodwill across the street from a fancy country club.  But many of these clothes are made in China, where workers are exploited and suffer unacceptable health and safety risks. She has recourse to Milton in considering the ethics of buying clothing manufactured in Asia, even second-hand.

At Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Crystal & Mr. BFS are saving a bundle on a bargain cruise. Good thing, because their plan to landscape the new yard gave them an attack of sticker shock.

Mrs. Money Beagle has a new enterprise, Moonshyne Designs, which she’s put up on Etsy! Check out the cool digital designs for cards, announcements, and wall art.

Planting Our Pennies has been with us for a whole year! These days, they’re contemplating ways to bicycle to work, with panache.

Evan over at My Journey to Millions is irked at the flap over Apple’s having used lawful strategies to avoid substantial quantities of taxes.

You thought Arizona, being an arid desert, didn’t have mosquitoes? Mwa ha ha! Check out Abigail’s battle of the bugs, at I Pick Up Pennies.

At NZ Muse, the newlyweds are in Bangkok! Drama never fails to follow bloggers wherever they go — wouldn’t you know it!

Finds and Links

Here is a really cool online publication put out by the Oregon humanities council. It contains interesting articles of wide appeal to readers with eclectic curiosity.

Mother Jones, that bastion of liberalism, has run an article that overlaps almost perfectly with what we Second-Amendment gun nuts have been saying all along: the problem with violence in American culture has little to do with the weapon at hand and everything to do with our abysmal mental health care system.

Psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey calls a crime like Houston’s “a predictable tragedy.” That’s what he has also called the Gabrielle Giffords shooting; he says the same thing about the Virginia Tech massacre, the Aurora movie theater shooting, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and dozens of other recent homicides, some of them famous mass killings or subway platform shovings, but many of them less publicized. Ten percent of US homicides, he estimates based on an analysis of the relevant studies, are committed by the untreated severely mentally ill…. And, he says: “I’m thinking that’s a conservative estimate.”

While you’re there, check out this blood-curdling map of state-by-state cuts to mental health care.

Here’s a fun new-to-me blog that reflects the current rage for small-scale farming. Lookit this idea for herb jelly — what an interesting flavor combination! Sure goes beyond mint… The proprietor’s “farm” was part of an “edible garden tour” in an upscale district of Phoenix. KJG and I were planning to go to this, but they sold out of tickets very early.

And in the home farming department, 101 Centavos is still doing battle with late-season frosts. He’s got a couple of very interesting ideas for protecting young plants from low temps.

Crystal isn’t looking to turn the front yard landscaping into lunch, but she is thinking of ways to create nice gardens and landscaping for her beautiful new house.

Normally I’m none too fond of infographics, but Evan’s lead into this one at My Journey to Millions is startling. The graphic itself tends to confirm one’s suspicions about the megacorporatization of your daily lives, and then he follows it with another eye-opening chart.

At Blue-Collar Workman, guest writer Ronald J. Curell expresses a certain jaded skepticism about the marvels of the GPS.

Loving that twice-a-day trudge through the rush-hour traffic? Can’t think of a better way to start the day than by bolting down a toaster waffle as you fly out the door, or to end it with a Burger King grabbed on the way home from picking up the kids at day care? Looking forward to spending another day sitting in a cubicle breathing in your neighbors’ cold germs and listening to their banal phone conversations? No? Well, then you need to read this post at Afford Anything. Absolutely.

Edward Antrobus posts a series of involved strategies to avoid the extra gouges airlines inflict on customers with ever-increasing frequency. We really need to vote in a Congress that will do something about this — like bring back regulation. What a nation of sheep we are!

At  Planting Our Pennies, Mr. & Mrs. PoP contemplate a strategy for getting rid of a paid-off HELOC line of credit originally used to help finance their real estate empire.

Money Beagle has a close call but avoids having to pay dumb tax for not having followed a crucial checklist.

As usual, Blogger will not let me post at Frugal Scholar, Google having decided you must sign up for Google+ for the purpose. I have enough “social media” invading my privacy, thank you. Frugal Scholar has posted an interesting piece in which she describes a scheme to increase the number of points available to her students to 1000. This comes in response to complaints on Rate My Professor (a site where students may post anonymous libels against faculty members and rate their sex appeal) that “there aren’t enough points” in her class. The scheme is to multiply the number of points per assignment by 10; at the end of the semester, the vast total will then be divided by 10 to calculate the final grade. She compares this, with perspicuity, to J.C. Penney’s recent decision to increase prices on its retail goods and then have sales and distribute coupons, because consumers would rather imagine they’re getting a bargain on an artificially inflated price than get a fair price every day. The problem with applying that psychology to the classroom is that it requires the instructor to come up with flurries of small assignments (which, as Frugal says, she already does), an issue I’ve addressed at Adjunctorium in response to Frugal’s post. Since in fact you could assign as many or as few points as desired to any number of assignments, you certainly could generate upwards of a thousand points simply by giving every 10-item assignment 100 points. Or…by giving 250 points to each of four essays and holding the busywork. And yes, students who have to break out a calculator to divide by 10 will very likely be dazzled if you snow them with numbers.

At I Pick Up Pennies, Abby and Tim are off on an anniversary minivacation — not before a fine new plumbing bill, of course. Murphy’s Law strikes again.

And at NZMuse, eemusings is off on an extended honeymoon. If you’d like to see what she and her handsome hero look like, she’s posted two adorable photos at her site. Mazeltov, eemusings!

As for the rest of you, Happy Mother’s Day. I’m cutting choir to go to a Mother’s Day Brunch with M’hijito, and so to play…