Monthly Archives: December 2012

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:0(So how could the guy from Connecticut not have anything to say about what happened in Connecticut a few weeks ago?

First, I’ll say this… When something like this happens in your own backyard, well, it hits a lot closer to home.

Don’t get me wrong… When Gabby Giffords was shot, I was, well, disgusted and a little disturbed for a few hours.

Seriously, what is wrong with people?

When the Batman shooting in Colorado occurred earlier in the year, it only stayed on my mind for a few hours. Wacko in a movie theater with a gun. Yeah, I’m not that surprised. Society, meh…

But when I caught the news that an entire classroom of 6-year olds had been shot less than 20 minutes away from where I live, well, I wanted to puke.

It still gives me shivers. Anytime they flash the photos of the kids on television — and with all of the funerals being local, well, there are a lot of photos and a lot of press coverage — it’s a struggle not to cry.

I can’t help but think of my kids in daycare with classrooms of 20 or so children — who would do something like that?

Seriously?

I’ve never have even the slightest inclination to do anything like that to ants on my driveway, even. It frightens me that there are people amongst us that do have those inklings…and probably have a weapon, if not on them, at home.

I mean, I have a hard time setting mouse traps and the remorse that I feel when I “successfully” kill a mouse sometimes makes me think I’ve got a mental issue.

Clearly, I swing in the opposite direction.

But even still, I can’t help but wonder (fearfully); who wouldn’t reconsider after firing a single shot into a little kid?

That’s messed up.

Mental illness is a BS excuse.

I know it’s a tricky diagnosis. I know some people have a short fuse. I know some people can just “flip out” once in awhile.

Am I mentally ill because I get a lump in my throat when I see someone else run over a squirrel with their car? Hunters would probably say yes.

Clearly, I’m anti-gun.

Always have been, always will be.

I can be swayed on some issues but not this one.

A gun is a tool whose sole purpose is to kill.

Protection?

Yeah, go f-yourself. It’s for killing people… with zero effort.

Though I don’t own a gun, have never held a gun, and have never even heard a gun shot, I’m pretty confident that even I’m capable of pulling a trigger.

Looks pretty easy to me. And, clearly, it is too easy.

Mental illness isn’t the problem.

Access to a “tool” that my 3 year old could operate is the problem.

* * * *

Magazine ClipSeeing some of my “friends” on Facebook put up photos criticizing the media’s misuse of the words “magazine” and “clip” lately make me not want to be friends with them.

Does it matter?

In my opinion, neither should be available to the public. EVER.

They clearly think otherwise.

One guy, a close friend in high school with, I kid you not, the exact same upbringing, goes on a hunting trip each year and posts pictures from his tree fort or whatever waiting for a buck to walk by.

I give him a good ribbing about how “Ambushing Bambi” is messed up every time.

He thinks I’m kidding. Like high school pals messing around…

Tough GuyWhen he proudly posts photos of himself, his gun, and his dead deer, I get a little more direct and tell him, “That’s gross, dude” or “You suck” or “Wow, tough guy dressed like a soldier shot Bambi in the back from a football field away.”

“I need to feed my family…” is a response I’ve gotten in the past.

“Dude, you make $60k a year selling vacuum cleaners… Ever heard of a grocery store? Oh, and you’re single.”

I get a rush in the closing seconds of an eBay auction.

He gets a rush shooting things.

That’s bothersome.

Like to the point where I, frankly, don’t ever want to be in the same room with him ever again.

I dunno, it just makes me sick that people can “proudly” defend guns especially just days after something like this… that happened somewhere they’ve driven by.

Gun lovers are among the most obtuse of all individuals.

More guns solve everything… Um, okay?

The Second Amendment argument is my favorite. Ahhh, the right to bear arms.

I live in Connecticut. Our license plates say “Constitution State” right on ’em and, as such, we’re taught a whole lot about the US Constitution.

Most 2nd Amendment defenders probably don’t even know that the “Bill of Rights” is part of the Contsitution. In fact, they probably think John Hancock signed the bottom of it…

He didn’t.

Enough US History trivia from this Connecticut educated Canadian… but here’s how the Second Amendment actually reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

That’s it.

Be sure to read it in your best part-pirate, part-George Washington, part-Winston Churchill accent.

Seems kinda silly and outdated, no?

It’s ludicrous that people think this means you can strap and automatic “assault” weapon to your back because the forefathers (who were apparently holy beings) said so.

Give me a break.

The second amendment should be wiped out.

Don’t give me crap that the first ten are untouchable cause, guess what, the Patriot Act of 2001 neutered most of them… but NOT number two.

Apparently it’s essential that we have access to weapons at Walmart to form our own militia to help fight terrorism.

Seriously???

The Second Amendment and the ample access to weapons of mass destruction (cause that’s what they are) in this country are the only reason regular people have the capacity to carry out an “assault” like the one that happened here in Connecticut.

Really, can it be justified that you can legally buy something called an assault rifle? And hundreds of rounds to go with it?

* * * *

Michael Moore wrote a piece for the Huffington Post that states many of my feelings more eloquently than I ever could.

Yeah, Michael Moore is that fat pig that leans far too left far too often and pretty much always crosses the line but I must confess that I agree with him 90% of the time… up to that line he crosses so effortlessly.

You could say the same about the Huffington Post too, I suppose, but give it a read before labeling it based on the source.

Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA’s. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here’s my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren’t going to end any time soon.

I’m sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it’s true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing forward — after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us — including me — would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg — it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won’t really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.

In fact, let’s be clear about Newtown: the killer had no criminal record so he would never have shown up on a background check. All of the guns he used were legally purchased. None fit the legal description of an “assault” weapon. The killer seemed to have mental problems and his mother had him seek help, but that was worthless. As for security measures, the Sandy Hook school was locked down and buttoned up BEFORE the killer showed up that morning. Drills had been held for just such an incident. A lot of good that did.

And here’s the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds — i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work. (Then again, there was an armed deputy sheriff at Columbine High School the day of that massacre and he couldn’t/didn’t stop it.)

I am sorry to offer this reality check on our much-needed march toward a bunch of well-intended, necessary — but ultimately, mostly cosmetic– changes to our gun laws. The sad facts are these: Other countries that have guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns — mostly hunting guns — in their 12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don’t kill each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

I’d like to try to answer that question.

We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn’t attack us. We’re currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We “tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter,” and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don’t see a doctor until it’s too late.

Why do we do this? One theory is simply “because we can.” There is a level of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves into believing there’s something exceptional about us that separates us from all those “other” countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We think we’re #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in science and 25th in math, and we’re 35th in life expectancy. We believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We’re biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.

And sometimes we have to be violent m*****f*****s to get it. But if one of us goes off-message and shows the utterly psychotic nature and brutal results of violence in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, then we get all “sad” and “our hearts go out to the families” and presidents promise to take “meaningful action.” Well, maybe this president means it this time. He’d better. An angry mob of millions is not going to let this drop.

While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

1. POVERTY. If there’s one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it’s this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren’t poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There’s no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don’t believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he’s going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

2. FEAR/RACISM. We’re an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we’ve never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn’t an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what’s our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton’s donut shops on both sides of the border?

No. It’s because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what’s the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street — or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

3. THE “ME” SOCIETY. I think it’s the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it’s been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You’re not my problem! This is mine!

Clearly, we are no longer our brother’s and sister’s keeper. You get sick and can’t afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can’t afford to go to college? Not my problem.

And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn’t it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don’t.

I’m not saying it’s perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental health help. And I wonder — why can’t we do that? I think it’s because in many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole. And you help them when they’re in need, not punish them because they’ve had some misfortune or bad break. I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is because there’s less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that makes it harder to kill one another.

Well, there’s some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don’t forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can’t nail a deer in three shots — and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds — you’re not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun.

Have a wonderful Christmas or a beautiful December 25th!

I’m not sure what to say.

I agree with him.

I don’t agree with him.

But regardless of which way you lean, guns kill people.

Sure, people kill people too but guns very clearly killed 20 six and seven year olds and 6 of their teachers.

Only in America.

We’re better than this.

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LED Light BulbWow… You know, sometimes I just get on a roll and, well, spend freely. Just to get it out of my system, if that makes sense?

$2320.00 : Family
$2314.38 : Property Tax
$902.20 : Daycare
$749.84 : Homeowners Insurance
$497.72 : Mortgage
$337.40 : Clothing
$304.56 : Gasoline
$228.27 : Auto Insurance
$154.50 : Hockey Jersey
$131.43 : Electric
$116.63 : Water/Sewer
$107.58 : Natural Gas
$100.85 : Light Bulbs
$72.77 : Cable/Internet
$66.57 : Business Expenses
$60.00 : Cash
$40.08 : Life Insurance
$31.68 : Christmas Movies
$25.90 : Charity
$13.14 : Fast Food

All summed up, that’s $8575.50 out the door.

While it is the highest total this year, it just barely beat out July. Oh, the insanity.

Taxes and insurance were the killers this month totalling $3332.57 all by themselves but you can’t really skirt that type of thing.

Spending a hundred bucks on lightbulbs, well, that’s a different story…

See, we have recessed lighting in most of the rooms downstairs and each room has four cans. One bulb blew out and I couldn’t for the life of me find an exact bulb replacement anywhere.

Trust me, if one bulb is different, it looks horrible so I decided to try out some of those new LED bulbs that are supposed to draw like zero electricity and last forever. Problem is, they’re expensive. And I need four.

Being a photographer, I have a slightly better understanding of light than your average lightbulb shopper, so I knew what I wanted. Bright white, not orange but white, with a very wide spill. I wanted flood lights not spot lights. And white. Bright white.

So I found what I wanted, ordered four of them, screwed ’em all in and…HATED IT!

Yeah, so, while I’ll still never be a fan of the orange glow that incandescent bulbs give off or the fake orange glow (that looks white but isn’t really) that CFLs give off, I went way too far with these LEDs. They’re so white it makes the room feel blue.

Sadly, they’ll probably last a decade.

Thankfully it was only $100.

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Okay, so now I’m all fired up now about not having my “play” money invested yet…

Lululemon [NASDAQ: LULU], which I called a “BUY” on Tuesday, went up 7.26% today.

Yeah, SEVEN PERCENT.

And I don’t own any of it yet…

Grrrrr…

What I need to try to keep in mind is that my initial investment will only amount to maybe 2 shares worth so while 7% sounds like I really missed an opportunity, truth be told, mathematically, it’s only around $8.

NBD.

Still… this waiting game is kinda crappy.

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So with this ShareBuilder thing on the go now, I’ve been reading up a lot on the commission fees for each “trade” I make.

The fee is $9.95 for a “Like, right now” trade and $4.00 for a scheduled “Tuesday” trade.

I picked out 7 stocks for my initial investment next week. I’m not 100% certain but I think I’ll get dinged the $4.00 commission fee on each one of them so… 28 bucks off the top.

This is why I didn’t go the “Like, right now” route even though it’s killing me that the money is sitting idle right now (and my stock picks are going up…) — that would have cost like $70.

Ouch.

From the unsettling stuff I’ve been reading over the last day or so, it seems Sharebuilder can be one of the higher fee options out there… and, yeah, when we’re talking maybe $100 investments, a $10 fee is pretty harsh.

But then I looked at what I’m paying in fees on my 401k…

Holy crap.

I’m not second guessing myself anymore.

This is a good route to be on.

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So, after toying with the idea for at least a year, I finally redeemed my remaining I-Bonds earlier this week (around $750 worth) to use the money to fund investments on the stock market.

As such, I opened up a ShareBuilder account since it’s pseudo linked to ING (where I have my savings account).

Now, I know, CapitalOne is about to swallow them both up and re-brand (which I think sucks) but it still seemed like the most appropriate option for me.

So, to sidestep some of their higher fees, I’m abiding by their rules and only investing on Tuesdays.

Sadly, my “cash” deposit didn’t arrive in time to pick up my first group of stocks today so I’ll have to wait until December 11.

No biggie.

More time to research.

I say that, but I’ve made up my mind pretty much already.

Now I know we’re coming up fast on this fiscal cliff and that the bottom could virtually fall out from under me in less than 30 days but you have to start somewhere.

I’m not worried, things always recover. Always.

So, I sold off the I-Bonds partially because the TreasuryDirect.gov website is such a hassle but mostly because I believe that, even with the risk of losing money every now and then, I can “earn” more than $2 per month with a $750 investment.

When I was in the fourth grade (1986), our school had one of those Junior Achievement “Stock Market” games where we were all given some imaginary money and had to pick some stocks and then track/trade them for a couple of months.

This was back before the internet and CNBC so we were all walking around with the business section of the newspaper and lots of graphing paper. Pretty funny mental image…

I mean, do you think 4th graders even know what graphing paper is?

That there’s a Business section?

Or even what a newspaper is?

Anyway, everyday the newspaper listed the NYSE, NASDAQ, and American Stock Exchange. I’m pretty sure newspapers don’t even bother with that anymore — it sure filled up a bunch of pages, though…

Most kids went after cool companies (at the time) like Nike, Coca-Cola, or one of the insurance companies pretty much every one of our parents worked for.

Me?

Well, I wasn’t going to bother with the NYSE or American Stock Exchange cause the print was too small and the font was, well, lame. The Nasdaq listings were larger, had fewer fractions, and, well, they were on their own separate page that, when forced to share the business section with classmates, I’d get it to myself.

The primary stock I picked was ItoYokd.

(I also bought Reebok which was the anti-Nike and was just becoming popular…)

No clue what they do (or did — they’re not listed anymore). In reality, I just though the name ItoYokd looked cool and the price was right.

I won handily riding that stock. Like, quadrupled my initial investment in short time.

It was truly a shame that it was only pretend money.

On occasion, through high school, I’d check up on ItoYokd and kick myself again and again (and then again) wishing the “game” had been real.

Anyway, I’m grown up now (can you believe I’m 36 already?) and have $750 worth of “play” money.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but there are so many sure thing companies that I would have invested in… early.

Google’s one, for sure. I mean, who didn’t see that coming?

I abandoned Yahoo permanently the day I found Google. I switched to Chrome when it was still beta. And I’ve spent countless hours mindlessly looking at satellite photos of places I used to live on Google Earth. Why the hell didn’t I buy in?

It’s a bit late now, obviously, but I knew. Amazon is another perfect example. Who didn’t see that coming?

They’re modern day ItoYokds.

Except that I know (and like) what they do.

So what companies will be part of my initial investment?

Well, here they are:

F – Ford Motor Company : $11.31

I said it years ago and I should’ve put my money where my mouth was. I don’t own a Ford and I don’t really want a Ford, either.

I do, however, like Ford.

Not to the point that I’d put one of those Calvin-pissing-on-a-Chevy stickers on my car or anything but I love that they didn’t need a bail-out, that they use Mike Rowe as a spokesperson, and that they make cars that don’t look like everything else on the road.

Their designs of late have been, well, progressive. Do I think mood lighting and a radio that you talk to are stupid and ridiculous (in that order)? Yes, I do.

But I give them credit for doing something new — something most car companies have been too chicken to even consider.

Toyota has sorta done it with their Scion line (of which I own one) but Ford did it with their flagship brand. Balls.

Hat tip to Hyundai and Kia for doing the same thing — I’d buy in to them too, but they’re both actually still private companies.

Anyway, with Ford on solid ground and now the sudden resurrection of the Lincoln brand, well, they’re a sure thing in my eyes. They pay quarterly dividends too which, I’m sorry, is extra cool.

FB – Facebook : $27.46

A botched IPO, major sell-offs, and tons of bad business press can’t sway me.

While not a social media whore, I visit Facebook first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Every single day. My soon-to-be 65 year old mother does the same. And apparently millions of other people do it too.

The price is right on this one and without a viable competitor in sight (MySpace, what? GooglePlus, who?), it’ll be darn near impossible to overtake them at this point.

As Google is to search and Amazon is to retail, Facebook is to, well, personal web pages and a lot of face/screen time. The ad revenue will only increase as they improve “monetizing” it all and they’ll be up there in the stratosphere with Google and Apple in a few years time…

GOOG – Google : $691.03

Yes, it’s expensive.

And yes, it’s *way* too late to jump on board with dollar signs in your eyes but behind Facebook, this is the site that I spend the most time on.

With an operating system now, being the leader in the browser war, and their own tablet (which will be under our tree this Christmas), they’ve diversified enough so that they’re not going to get overtaken and discarded like Yahoo did.

So while it probably won’t go way up in a hurry ever again, I’m pretty certain it won’t fall much either.

AAPL – Apple : $575.85

I loathe this company.

Always have, always will.

I do have to give them credit where credit is due though. Somehow they’ve turned their millions customers into mindless drones that keep coming back for more. Repeatedly.

I mean, how much of a difference is there between the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPad mini? The overlap is tremendous (in name, even) but countless folks own all four devices, upgrade them regularly (at a premium), and can’t stop buying apps and music for them. Cha-ching!

Those Samsung commercials poking fun at Apple fanatics are spot on but, really, a company that regularly needs security and a velvet rope outside of all of their stores is clearly doing something right.

While their ship has long since sailed (rapid growth wise), like Google, I still want a slice.

DNKN – Dunkin Brands Group : $31.18

I don’t really like coffee and donuts are far too expensive these days but I did name my first born Duncan. That’s gotta count for something.

This goes along the same vein as Apple — Dunkin Donuts customers are by-and-large addicts. Loyal addicts.

That, and here in the northeast, they’ve sustained competing entries from Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Tim Hortons without skipping a beat. If anything, they’ve grown in popularity. Krispy Kreme and Tim Hortons have even withdrawn from the market.

And with New Englanders frequently moving/retiring to parts of the country with a better climate, the Dunkin empire is primed to expand…

THI – Tim Hortons : $45.70

So while Dunkin Donuts may have a stonghold in the Northeast, they’ve got nothing once you cross the border into Canada.

That’s Tim Horton territory — coast to coast.

With an ever growing population in Canada (mostly due to open immigration) and essentially zero competition in the donut/coffee business, they’re a mainstay north of the border. An icon, even.

Rhode Island and Massachusetts may have a Dunkin Donuts around every corner — big whoop. The second largest country in the world has a Tim Hortons on every corner.

Now, as I said earlier, they tried and failed to enter the market in my neck of the woods but they’re slowly but surely making their presence known in the United States and that’s promising.

Better yet, there are an awful lot of Canadians around (we blend in really well pretty much everywhere in the world) and we’re full of national pride and very loyal to our brands. Hmm…that pretty much sums up why I want it in my portfolio.

LULU – Lululemon Athletica : $70.64

Never heard of them? Well, just wait…

I’d never heard of them either until two years ago when I noticed that my trendy cousin’s entire wardrobe, head-to-toe (and extra comfy looking), was apparently made by the same company.

Since then, I’ve heard their silly named tossed around in high places in the Unites States now-and-then so, while the stock price is kinda high (in my guesstimation), it’s just the tip of the iceberg for them.

Soon it’ll be as fashionable here in the States as it’s been for a few years now in Canada.

Yeah, it’s another national pride selection for me.

Basically, they make yoga clothes. Overpriced and apparently high-end yoga clothes.

I know, I know, so *not* my thing but they’ve almost become more of a “Lifestyle” brand like that overpriced “Life is Good” line that you see so much of.

Their logo is a status symbol. Just wait. They’ll be huge in the US soon.

What do all of these companies have in common?

Mmm… wheels, websites, donuts, and hot bendy chicks in tight pants…

No, actually, they all have a great product and a loyal following.

Sure, gambling on bioscience and pharmaceutical companies could be more exciting and promising but I’m more looking to transition from a sure thing gainer (the I-Bonds) to an even better sure thing gainer that produces healthy returns.

Actually, I’m not looking to gamble so much… I’m looking to win.

This time it’s not pretend.

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December 2012 Net WorthFinishing out the year on a high note with a new all-time high and it feels good.

I’m right at the onset of a pretty big transition regarding how I manage and “make” my money. It’s more of an experiment than anything else but I’m hoping it’ll give me a crazy expensive Christmas and propel me past the financial wall I seem to find myself looking up at.

Sure, my net worth is going up, seemingly continually without much effort, but I still “feel” pretty broke. The governemnt bonds are (and have been) a complete joke, the savings rate is essentially nothing, and I’m hardly contributing to my 401k. There’s a better way to make your money grow than what I’ve been doing so… I’ll be getting that going this month.

Cash:
November was a three paycheck month for me so this number is skewed.

Savings:
Aye Caruba?! Well, I piad my property taxes a month early just to get it in the books… and kinda to pad this month’s net worth report. See, with that third paycheck on the income side, I could afford to make a huge tax payment and not have it create a HUGE slope change in my net worth. Sneaky, huh?

Gov’t Bonds
Come December 3, these are toast. I’m finally doing it. While their earning a really nice interest rate (compared to today’s rates), there just isn’t enough month there to make them worth keeping. They’ll be redeemed on December 3rd and the money will be “used” elsewhere shortly thereafter.

401k:
Just waiting for this fiscal cliff to knock like 30% of this away…cause politicians are stupid.

Home:
I’m not really sure why this is rising. I haven’t seen any nearby homes sell lately and my garage is only getting worse.

Auto 1, Auto 2, and Auto 3:
Another head scratcher here… I guess BMW’s make great Christmas presents so their value rises this time of year? Maybe?

Credit Cards:
Yeah, that’s right. Christmas with a zero balance.

Auto Loans and Other Loans:
Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Mortgage:
Just another minimum payment.

Can You Dig It?

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