Let’s Hit the Links: Week #7


Many years ago, I led my daughter’s Girl Scout troop during cookie sale season. These girls were ruthless. They met their sales goal and earned a camping trip to the now-defunct Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Mesquite, NV.  What? You thought they were going to sleep on the ground, pee in a hole in the ground and subsist on campfire rations?

Selling cookies taught the girls how to: 1) set and achieve a goal; 2) convince someone to buy something unnecessary; and 3) manipulate their parents into helping them succeed.  It prepared each girl for the life of an entrepreneur. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a box of Thin Mints and help a girl succeed.

This crazy article about finding your cat-loving soul mate is from PetPlace.com

If there is a lack of cat talk, that is not a good sign. Somebody who doesn’t make cats part of your initial chat may not want to be part of you (sic) or your cat’s real life later on.

Is this site funny? I can’t decide.

The advice in this Huffington Post piece entitled 15 Gay Reasons to Watch the Super Bowl (Not Counting Madonna) is timeless:

Tom Brady is very, very handsome. Remember all those pics from VMan a few years back? And Eli Manning, though not as Bruce-Weber-ly handsome as Brady, possesses his own dorky cuteness. (They tried to dress him up for Men’s Vogue a few years back. An adorable effort.)

Here are dueling trash Trent Hamm posts from Control Your Cash:

Trent Hamm is a 30-something American who claims to function in the modern world. People actually read this dunderhead. By the way, his stratagem about taking showers (and using underarm deodorant) comes from the same invaluable post in which he tells us to brush our teeth.

and Financial Uproar:

Trent goes on to explain that you could save $10 per year by just adjusting the temperature. He doesn’t actually bother to do the math or anything (this isn’t such a bad thing) he just pulls the number out of his ass.

Because I’m not done with football yet, here’s a fascinating article from NFL.com’s new Football Freakanomics blog:

Our latest Football Freakonomics episode — the last one this season — argues that the draft is much more of a crapshoot than most of its practitioners would have us think. The evidence is everywhere. Consider the research of research of Cade Massey and Richard Thaler, who find top draft picks to be seriously overvalued.


What did you do last weekend?

Yep, that's a moat


From Wikipedia:

The Dry Tortugas, [Commodore John Rodgers] reported, consisted of 11 small keys and surrounding reefs and banks, over which the sea broke. There was an outer and an inner harbor. The former afforded a safe anchorage at all seasons, and was large enough to let a large number of ships ride at anchor. Of more importance, the inner harbor combined a sufficient depth of water for ships-of-the-line, with a narrow entrance of not more than 120 yards. Rogers said that if a hostile power should occupy the Dry Tortugas, United States shipping in the Gulf would be in deadly peril, and “nothing but absolute naval superiority” could prevail. However, if occupied and fortified by the U.S., the Dry Tortugas would constitute the “advance post” for a defense of the Gulf Coast.

The fort, which takes up almost all of Garden Key, was never finished. It’s now a ghost town 67 miles west of Key West, FL, and comprises most of Dry Tortugas National Park. Access to Garden Key is via seaplane or daily scheduled ferry. There’s a cadre of National Park staff and a small vistor center/bookstore, but no other public facilities.  There’s great snorkeling, tours of the fort* (ranger- or self-guided) and a moat. The tour’s highlight is the cell where Dr. Samuel Mudd was incarcerated after he was convicted for conspiracy in the assasination of Abraham Lincoln. In 2010 just 53,890 people visited Dry Tortugas.

Carnivals and Links:

No carnivals this week but Dr. Dean of the Millionaire Nurse threw me some link love.

Product Placement:

The Business of Your Business: Formula, Financials, Function and Freedom

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Get more information here.

What’s on my Kindle:

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy By Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss

Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell

Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win By Anne E. Kornblut

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West By Stephen Ambrose

Let’s Hit the Links: Week #5

The Constitution, with its system of checks and balances, not only allows for gridlock, it practically guarantees some degree of it. The Founders knew that gridlock can be a very good thing. If nothing can be agreed upon in Washington, harm to the country is limited. Considering the Obama administration’s ideas of what caused our problems, and how to solve them, the wisdom of the founders certainly shines through today.

Ron Paul

Remember this quote the next time you read about how gridlock and obstruction in Washington are bad things. Ron Paul wants to reduce the impact of the federal government on its citizens’ lives, cut $1 trillion in spending during his first year in office, and restore individual liberty by returning to Constitutional basics.  You may not agree with (or like) everything he says, but you know he’ll stand by his beliefs.  That’s called integrity, a trait the other candidates would do well to emulate.

Still wondering which candidate is right for you? Take this quiz at Reason.com.

Here’s what I’m reading during the commercials in the Republican debates and State of the Union address:

Garth Turner  at the Greater Fool Blog (via Financial Uproar) sounds like he’s auditioning for a job at Control Your Cash:

Most people – the vast majority – will continue down their path to financial ruin. Utterly lacking in self-control, they’ll spend unearned money chasing stuff they want, but do not need. There’s no clear plan to repay any of this borrowing. Just a vague notion things will turn out, and an ingrained sense of entitlement.

Nelson from Financial Uproar, guest posting at Sustainable Personal Finance, explains the problem with electric cars:

The average Canadian spends about $2200 per year on gasoline. Even if driving a Volt cuts that down to $1100 per year, (which I think is a generous allowance) you’re still waiting 13 years before the investment becomes worth it. And that’s not factoring in a dime for the extra electricity needed to charge the thing.

Despite the cogent financial argument against electric (or hybrid) cars, the commenters still think electric cars are feasible.  The industry just needs more government subsidies and higher gas prices.  Of course the best way to get higher gas prices is to increase taxes.  It’s a win/win for big government and the electric car makers, and a great big loss for the taxpaying consumer.

My other half teamed up with the brilliant Paula Pant to pen this post championing content over clicks at ProBlogger:

But until the day the robots achieve sentience, there will always be an audience for innovative content spawned from inquisitive human minds. And unlike link analysis or pageview counts, worthwhile content is impossible to engineer artificially.

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic tries to do the math on the “Warren Buffett’s secretary pays more taxes” meme:

There is no way at all to pay effective federal income tax–or even effective federal income tax + payroll tax–that sums to 35.8%.  You can–just barely–get a marginal tax rate of 35.8% if she is making almost exactly the taxable social security limit of $110,000.

McArdle herself is best in small doses but her commenters are some of the smartest on the web.

We waded into the Suze Orman prepaid debit card controversy over at Control Your Cash with this account of Greg’s appearance on the self-proclaimed personal finance expert’s show.

Sister, your card is for people who will never be rich, largely because they’re swallowing advice undigested from an imbecile. Your card is only for people whose credit is already so horrible, no bank or credit union will let them open an account.


What did you do last weekend?

Crazy Horse's completed head is 87½' high.

Started in 1948, the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota is both huge and unfinished. The latter, because the foundation that owns it relies solely on private donations. The family-run foundation owns the land, supervises the building of the monument, and operates a bustling visitor center.  No taxpayer funds have been or will be used to build this magnificent tribute to the Oglala Lakota warrior.

Here’s the family’s mission statement:

  • Continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, carving a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture;
  • Providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations;
  • Acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center;
  • And by establishing and operating the Indian University of North America, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians

Here's what the finished monument will look like. It'll be 641' long and 563' high.

With Mount Rushmore just 17 scenic miles west, you can easily view both monuments in one trip.  In 2007 the LA Times wrote:

If you take a right turn on the way out of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and head west on South Dakota 244, the two-lane route will take you winding through a gorgeous Black Hills medley of pines, slopes and jutting boulders.

Eventually, you reach U.S. 16, and turn south toward the town of Custer. But before you get there, you’ll see Custer’s nemesis on your left.

Carnivals and Links:

No joy.

Product Placement:

Still haven’t bought my book?

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Here’s a free sample.

What’s on my Kindle:

End the Fed, Ron Paul

The Revolution, Ron Paul

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman


Let’s Hit the Links-Week #4


Many years ago, I worked with a guy who constantly used sports metaphors when talking to his employees.  I told him that his female employees weren’t moved by this language and, since his workforce was 90% female, he needed to find other ways to express his thoughts.  At the next employee meeting, he busted out a shopping reference.  I told him to go back to sports.

A metaphor is supposed to help you understand a concept by relating it to something with which you’re already familiar.  Conventional wisdom tells us that by using sports metaphors we exclude or confuse women, foreigners and homosexuals. Let’s look at some phrases we all use:

I can’t finish my workout. I’m throwing in the towel.

I like the cut of his jib.* 

I’ve got to run an errand.  Will you run interference for me until I get back?

Let’s huddle up and try to figure out where we are.

That was a slam dunk!

That’s a bit of a sticky wicket you’ve gotten yourself into.

That last one comes from the most confusing sport ever.  Everyone knows what these phrases mean.  Looking back I realize that instead of telling him to get rid of the sports metaphors, I should have helped him use more familiar imagery.

Here are some medal-worthy reads:

In this post from last year, Control Your Cash used Brett Favre to demonstrate how the free market works.

Nelson at Financial Uproar does a great job with this article pointing out how running a major league baseball team  equates to your personal finances.

Suffering from Tebow withdrawal?  ESPN’s Rick Reilly wants you to believe.

14 reasons why football is just like personal finance from Dr. Dean  at The Millionaire Nurse.

Bankrate looks at the 5 cheapest football stadia.  Fans of supply and demand will not be surprised by #1.

Mint put the information used by Bankrate in the above post into an infographic breaking down average game cost per team.

One last article comparing sports to personal finance: Lazy Man and Money uses his fantasy football tribulations to explain some basic investment concepts.

Visa and the NFL teamed up for a project called Financial Football. Choose your team, your opponent and the degree of difficulty for each play.  Answer the (basic) financial questions correctly and your chosen play is executed.

Finally, this article from Education World teaches teachers how to use sports, teamwork and acronyms to get their students excited about learning.

What did you do last weekend?


I read Mutts Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed.  A non-Kindle book by Patrick McDonnell, creator of the Mutts comic strip. The book consists of Mutts strips juxtaposed with photos and stories of real-life rescue animals and their owners.  A touching, funny and educational read.

This weekend, take a ride to your local shelter or go online to find the love of your life.

Carnivals and Links:

Carnival of the Vanities 

Top Personal Finance Posts of the Week

Product Placement:

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What’s on my Kindle:

Next Man Up: A Year Behind the Lines in Today’s NFL
John Feinstein

The Little Book of Coaching
Ken Blanchard and Don Shula

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games are Won
Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim

*Thurston Howell III and I may be the only people who use this phrase.