carnival roundup, June 29th

Brip Blap was included in three carnivals last week:

 

  • Lifestyle Carnival #8 hosted by Young Cheap Living
  • Carnival of Retirement #24 hosted by Making Sense of Cents
  • Carnival of Financial Camaraderie #38 hosted by My University Money

 

Thanks to all hosts for including my posts.

back to the future, and links

I’ve been swamped with kids’ parties and kids’ events and worrying about the Facebook IPO.  Things happen, right?  If I took one thing away from Friday’s IPO of the horrible-rate-of-return social media site, it is that people don’t understand return on investment and that speculation (also known as “gambling”) is really the heart of our stock market, if not our whole economy at this point.  Speculation is a horrible basis for an economy – I prefer investment in companies that produce things, even old-fashioned things like “income”.  Sigh.  Back to the late 90s.

I Love Eduardo Saverin’s Move to Become an Ex-Pat:  I agree.  I’m a bleeding-heart, tax-the-rich liberal but I still agree: if you are willing to renounce your citizenship and you are legally entitled to do so, kudos.  If the Congress gets into the business of punishing individuals for legally avoiding taxes, we’re all doomed.

» Heard Anything Interesting about Facebook Lately?:  Wildly unsuccessful IPO? I’m thinking Facebook is the next MySpace.  My bets are on Plurk.  Then again, I invested heavily in AOL.

The Financial Dangers of Being a Mail-Order Bride:  Interesting read, on a subject that most people probably haven’t considered.

More reads:

Brip Blap was included in two carnivals last week:

Thanks to all hosts for including my posts.

 

carnivals

carnival

carnival

 

I didn’t manage a link roundup this weekend, but I did submit to a few carnivals. Here’s the list of the ones that reminded me to link back (!). Check them out… you’re always likely to find an article or two you’ll be interested in if you visit the carnivals.

Best of Money Carnival Carnival #149 – April Fool’s Edition | Budgeting In the Fun Stuff
Totally Money Blog Carnival #62 – Easter Edition | StupidCents
Dewey’s Treehouse: Festival of Frugality #330: Before You Take Out a Lion Edition


Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by kevin dooley

the regulatory pendulum and links

pendulum

pendulum


In the wake of the wildly popular – at least with hedge funds, investment banks and tech firms “JOBS Act” (read about it:  jobs act – Google Search) we’ll see an explosion of interest in investing in small companies in the US.  I suppose it was only a matter of time until the next bubble was created.  I am paid to monitor this type of regulation and assess its impact, and I think we’ll see a huge small company investment bubble over the next few years.  You’ll read about how hot the market is for small company IPOs and hear about how the US is the most unregulated, and therefore most friendly, market in the world.  Inevitably, it will end.  We’ll have another Enron, or Worldcom, and we’ll start all over again on the other side of the pendulum.  Regulations that were created in the 2002-2003 post-Enron reactionary period are being rolled back now in favor of “growth.”  It will create growth, of that I have no doubt.  Will it create real growth, or the phantom growth of the Madoffs and MLMs of the world pushing “investments” on unsophisticated investors?  Time will tell, but I bet on the latter.  Hedge your bets.  A bubble is coming.

Links… all worth reading…

And a couple of carnivals I participated in:

Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by prayitno

computing power and links

hal


I recently purchased a new laptop – my old one was starting to overheat, the hard drive was full, and it was almost 4 years old.  I use it a lot of for online money-making ventures, so it seems reasonable to replace my laptop before the old one kicks the bucket.  And the power in machines today has become quite impressive, even in lower-end laptops.  It has been about 8 years now since I moved from desktops to laptops; there was a point at which the computing power of laptops “caught up” and the reasons for a non-portable device disappeared. I’ve been amazed by how well (knock on wood) my strategy of buying a low-end, but new, laptop every few years has worked.  I’m also assuming that some event horizon will be crossed at some point where I will start having no need for a new computer except for hardware failures.  Between various cloud storage services, external hard drives and my home “cloud drive” I probably have 2 TB of memory available… and most of my “computing” is online work for which disk storage isn’t necessary.  This whole blog, for example.

But then again, I still remember thinking “this PC has 4 MB of memory.  4 MB!  How could I ever use FOUR?!” back 15 years ago (give or take a few years).  So who knows?  I couldn’t see moving my “computer experience” to a phone, even though I’m able to do a LOT of my content consumption on my Samsung now, but maybe in another few years laptops will seem as much of  a needless “extra” as a desktop does to me know.

Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by racatumba

who hates The Lorax, and links

lorax

Went to see “The Lorax” this weekend.  Here’s a short commentary on expectations, politics, and message.  I expected the theater to be packed.  I loved the book as a kid, my kids have heard it many times and we were all eagerly awaiting the movie for a while.  Since we were going to the first matinee showing on the first day of release, I expected a madhouse.

Not so much.

I think it may have to do with many factors.  Florida’s still in bad shape.  In northeast Florida, more than half of the homes are underwater, and the unemployment rate stubbornly lingers at 10% or more.  But there’s also a fairly conservative population here, and let’s be honest: conservative politics and movies that say the environment needs to be protected even at the expense of business are not buddies in America circa 2012.

So the theater was half empty.  My brother, by contract, lives in a fairly liberal area (and I’m just going by political definitions here based on who they are voting for).  He took his kids to see it and he said it was packed.

I think it’s safe to say that the environment, like abortion or contraception or unions, etc. and etc. ad nauseum, is a topic that has become inextricably linked to our political parties.  It’s not hard to figure out what side I’m on.  I drive a Prius.  Every time I pull up next to a housewife getting out of a Hummer, I make a guess as to what side she’s on, too, and I bet I’m right.  But once it starts filtering down to kids, the differences which will arise in 20 years are going to be more and more stark.  My kids are going to grow up with a certain set of values, and Hummer Mom’s kids will have a wildly different set.

It’s always been like this, of course – Catholic vs. Protestant, Romans vs. Christians, all the way back to Neanderthals versus Cro-Magnons.  I think it will continue, too.  But it is startling to see that a cute, friendly movie, which teaches that trees are a good thing, seemed (in my opinion) to be anathema to a large chunk of the population.  I’m sure there is a conservative equivalent… I wouldn’t see something that they would love.

Oh, well.  Unless….

Off to the links.  If you’re a blogger and want to be included, send me an email via the contact form – I’m always happy to see a few good new articles.

Also, I’m part of a blog network, The Money Writers, and I’ve been working on starting up a Twitter account and a Facebook page for the group, so follow/like, etc., I’d appreciate the support. It’s a work in progress, though.  Plus, I’ve added “Pin It” buttons to my posts – I’ve been messing around with Pinterest and decided to see if anyone has any interest in pinning my stuff.

green juice, and links

2012-02-17 07.19.31

I continue to dabble a tiny, tiny bit in green juice.  The biggest impediment I have to more enthusiastic adoption is cost (it’s quite pricey to buy a huge pile of veggies to make into one 16 ounce glass) and effort (cleanup is annoying).  But there’s no excuse, really.  I’ve written many, many times about the link between health and success and wealth, and I’ve been horribly deficient in the health category recently.  Green juicing definitely needs to be on my “please nag me into doing it” list.

green juice before and after

35 Things I Hope My Kids Will Say About Their Dad:  Great article for any parent (not just dads); it gave me some food for thought.  I’ll probably have to clip this article and keep it as a recurring reminder to read from time to time.  I’m sure green juice would apply… I try to make a big deal of it to my kids when I drink it.

A Prius as a Metaphor for Retirement:  Having recently bought a Prius, I thought this was entertaining, although I’m still a ways from retiring.  Buying a Prius was part of my plan for 2012 to live my life more closely in accordance with my values, and part of that is to minimize the negative impact I have on our environment by driving a car that minimizes my use of fossil fuels.  I know that living within biking or walking distance would be the best action, but at least for the immediate near future that’s not in the cards, so a Prius is a lesser evil.

And a few more good reads:

On a side note, I’d just like to note that Lazy Man and Money has been hammered recently by denial-of-service attacks from hackers supporting a dubious “miracle juice.”  His site’s been up and down for the better part of a week, and it’s pathetic that free speech can be denied by companies hiring hackers from around the world to overburden servers.  It would be nice to see these companies settle their differences in court or by proving they aren’t frauds, rather than hiring Indian/Russian/Chinese/whatever hacking factories to bring down his site.

Merry Christmas 2011, and links

christmas village

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and fill-in-the-blank greetings.  It’s a nice season, whether you’re celebrating one of the major religious holidays or just enjoying time with family and friends for the sake of, well, spending time with family and friends.   I was not planning on posting a Christmas post, but then I came across a video that I felt like sharing.  And on a personal level, I’ll offer this:  if you walk past one of the bell-ringing Salvation Army workers on the way into a store, give them a little bit.  They do good things.  I’ve seen them in action, and they’re worth it.  They have some good people there.

Happy Holidays!  Watch the video, via The Simple Dollar:

And here are a few other holiday reads. I thought the first one was especially worth reading (“Cold Weather Retirement Cities”) as my Floridian family suffers through a harsh Virginia winter visit.  It’s funny how quickly I’ve forgotten 15 years in the Northeast and reverted to my Southern “50 is COLD” mentality….my Germanic ancestors are cringing.

Photo Attribution Some rights reserved by kevin dooley

how to be productive, and links

occupy-protests

 

I’m sure like many people, I feel fairly overwhelmed day-to-day with all the things that need to be done.  I had attempted to manage this (twice) by implementing Getting Things Done by David Allen, with initial success but little long-term progress.  I’ve recently plateaued out on my second implementation and I’m again searching for something that’s actually sustainable.  I think to be a productive person, you’ve got to – if nothing else – maintain a list of the things you need to do and actually do them.  They can range from small and inconsequential to massive and critical.  But you need to capture them all.  I’ve tried method after method and always found myself reverting to Post-It Notes and ink on my hand (“remember to get cereal”).

What are the best ways to stay productive?  I’m not sure I know, yet.  I’ll have to keep looking, I guess.

I’ve missed the roundup for a few weeks, but I’m back on track.  For a day.

10 Free Ways To Market & Promote Your Website

Festive (and Frugal) Holiday Decorating

9 Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids to Learn About Money

Do You Eat When You’re Upset?

Celebrating 5 Years of Million Dollar Journey!

Musings about Kids and College

Win a $50 Amex Gift Card from GoBankingRates.com

A Fruitful Search for a Frugal Computer | Frugal Dad

Best Finance Stuff in 2011

New London skyscrapers

How Do You Handle Being a Stay at Home Dad in a SAHM World?

What Are Consumer Driven Health Plans and How do They Work for You?

The Importance of Small Decisions

The Money Diaries: The 29-year-old workaholic who’s counting down the days until he goes into debt

3 Hidden Energy Vampires That Kill Productivity

Photo from Monevator

reading more, and links

I may not do many more of these roundups – I’m not sure how much value you, as readers, get out of them.  I do read a lot of interesting stuff on the internet but it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and so I don’t know if I’m doing more harm than good by adding a few more links that you ought to click through and read every week.  But hey, this is how the internet works… I read stuff and like to share it.  Hope you like it too.

Suzdal, and links

Suzdal, churches leaving suzdal

 

I was looking through some old photos and found some I took on a weekend trip to the Russian countryside with some of my friends back in the mid-9os.  We drove out to a village in the Golden Circle outside of Moscow – the ancient town of Suzdal – rented some rooms in an Orthodox monastery and hit the village’s “night life.”  I had a delightful dinner of hot dogs with sour cream and french fries with sour cream (and probably rum, since I never touched vodka while I was in Russia – it was always watered down/contaminated with PGA or some other vile mix), and then the Boney M started pumping.  Yes, Boney M.  Check Google if you don’t remember “Rasputin” or “Brown Girl in the Ring.”  I managed to freak out a few locals by speaking Russian (“Americans don’t speak Russian – where are you REALLY from?”) and then gritting my teeth for the usual mid-90s Russian bar playlist (“Hotel California” played prominently… more than once).

 

Suzdal, looking out at night

 

The “club” was overwhelmed with American tourists, so most of the evening was spent complaining about the clubs being overwhelmed with American tourists, a complaint well known to most residents of big cities outside of America.  We got back to the monastery after curfew, and the ancient massive gate was closed with a giant wooden bolt.  Thanks to me jimmying the ancient monastery defenses, we snuck back in.  It was so cold that the snow had frozen over.  The next morning, it snowed heavily, we ate some gruel and returned to the big city in our rented 2-cylinder car.  Living in Florida today makes this snowy, alien memory seem almost fake to me…  but it did happen.  Strange.

 

Suzdal, our cabins

A few links, with a bonus section following…

FINCON 11

I had good reasons for not attending FinCon11 – a pending sale of my client’s company meant I might be busy, so taking time off might not have been a good idea – but in retrospect I should have attended.  So many of the bloggers I know and respect from years of “virtually” working with them had such a great time that I’m regretting not attending.  I would have been thrilled to meet some bloggers I’ve know for years virtually  – Pinyo, Mike, Ryan, Glen – and also many of  the MoneyWriters.  Oh well, I’ll go next year (by which time I intend to be a full-time writer and online entrepreneur, according to my goals – ambitious, but hey, it’s what I want to do).

foreign language immersion and links

nuremberg

nuremberg

The phone rang, and my stomach clenched when I heard her voice. “Daddy? I want to go home,” said my 8-year-old daughter, Arden. Two hours earlier, I dropped Arden and her two siblings off at their new school in a squat building in a forest of Soviet-era apartment blocks on Krasnoarmeyskaya (Red Army) Street in Moscow. They hugged me goodbye, clinging a little too long, and as I rode the metro to my office, I said a kind of silent prayer to myself that they would get through the day without falling apart.

My Family’s Experiment in Extreme Schooling

Great read.  My wife moved to America as a first-year college student, but her younger sister (much younger) was just starting kindergarten.  She struggled to adapt but is today fully Americanized and fluent in English.  In my case, I credit my brief immersion in German schools with my continued more-0r-less fluency in German (I am generally able to read and hear German without any trouble comprehending, although I do stutter speaking it).  It’s a terrifying thing to land in a town where your host parents don’t speak English, your school is conducted entirely in German.  It’s also an amazingly empowering feeling after a few weeks to realize that you are rapidly acquiring a huge vocabulary in a foreign language out of necessity.  I’ve always said that one of the most astonishing mental events in my life was the first night I dreamed in German.  Not in translation – the dream was in a foreign language, and it felt natural.  I’ve seldom dreamed in Russian – unfortunately I learned it later in life so I’ve always felt it’s an “artificial” language for me – but German still feels like it’s burned in my head.  It’s a worthless language – almost every German person I’ve met speaks English better than I speak German – but I’m glad I know it, because it was a useful intellectual effort and because it made me understand and appreciate German culture.

Links!

Photo By dicktay2000
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