Slacktivism against ALS

the_als_challenge_540There’s this guy in North Carolina named Chris Rosati with ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, who handed out donuts to folks at schools, children’s hospitals and cancer wards. He wanted to inspire kids to come up with BIGG ideas of generosity. And he has succeeded in spreading an epidemic of kindness. As Steve Hartmann of CBS news put it: “A lot of people take on a cause when diagnosed with a terminal illness, but it’s usually to cure their own disease. Rosati, on the other hand, isn’t as interested in fighting ALS as he is in healing all of us.”

This has colored my reaction to that ice bucket challenge for ALS. On one hand, it’s silly Continue reading

If I Had a Million Dollars (to spend, in one day)

Cheri addressed the question: If you found one million dollars in the morning and had to spend it by nightfall, what would you do with the money?

I suppose I could find a house to buy, but in 12 or 15 hours? I imagine putting money aside for college for the Daughter wouldn’t qualify.

Tough. If it really meant SPEND, I’d pay off our mortgage, and those of my sisters and brothers-in-law (is that even possible to do in 12 hours?), Continue reading

Its name is Bond: Savings Bond

Your name here

Our family – mostly I – is cleaning out our attic, and that fact MAY become the source of several blog posts. I have noted that it has become a bit of a sore point. We all have stuff up there, but I have items that are relegated there because there’s no room on floors one and two, according to the powers that be. So I have two bookcases, with books, that I would be inclined to access, e.g.

When we decided to get the attic insulated, it took THREE years. Moving all the stuff to half of the attic, then have it insulated. Then paint it, which I would have skipped. And for a brief time – maybe six weeks, the attic was again a usable space. But then time to insulate the other half, so everything’s then in the OTHER half of the room. And this took the contractor FOREVER to do, until I got…rather grumpy about it, let’s say. Room gets insulated; floor, which was weakened, was repaired; room (again, I believe unnecessarily), was painted.

NOW, finally I could put things from one side of the attic into the other, rather than have everything packed to the ceiling on one side, where I can’t access/find anything. Some of the clutter are old bills and the like, which I WOULD have gotten to a couple years ago, if that had been possible.

One box, I quickly determine was receipts of The Wife’s, all from 2004, the year the Daughter was born. One thing I DID take out was a $50 savings bond. Hmm, I wonder what it’s worth. I go to the TreasuryDirect calculator, and discover that a $50 savings bond purchased in April 2004 doesn’t mature until April 2034. The $25.00 outlay has gained $6.96 in interest, currently at 0.63%, and is now worth a whopping $31.96.

I then remember that I have a about two dozen $100 savings bonds, purchased for $50 each, from the mid-1990s, and I should check their value.

The first one, purchased 01/1993, has gained $89.56 in interest, is still gaining at 4.00%, and is now worth $139.56, more than face value. Cool.

The first ones I got in the next two years are worth somewhat less: the one I purchased 02/1994 has $57.56 in interest, still at 4.00%, for $107.56. 01/1995 has $53.72 in interest, at 4.00%, for $103.72.

But then it drops off badly. My 01/1996 purchase $50.00 has made $50.00 in interest, but is getting only 0.59% interest now. And the last one I bought, in 08/1997 has garnered only $36.20 in interest, and is receiving only 0.63%.

So if I were to have to cash them in, I’d start with the 1996 issue, then 1997, 1995, 1994, and keep those 1993 bonds for last. Savings bonds don’t seem to be the golden value they used to be.

That “lender or borrow be” thing

I was sitting in our home office the other day, trying to figure out what I might write about, when I saw it: a paperback copy of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Someone – I remember who – lent it to me three or four or five years ago. She figured since I used to work at a comic book store, and used to read comic books, I would enjoy it. She gave me the book to read, and I got to about page 59, but never got any further, and never got back to it.

Now I have this book that I haven’t read and have had in my possession way too long. I feel that I OUGHT to read it before I return it.

There is this coffee table version of a book called Baseball by Ken Burns that came with 10 VCR tapes. Continue reading

Equality, rape culture, and the war on women

I’ve been think about the rights of women a LOT lately. There are so many examples of what’s wrong – and to be sure a couple that are right – that it’s overwhelmed me. (And it’s taken at least a couple weeks to write this piece.)

In New York State, “The Women’s Equality Agenda will safeguard women’s health, extend protections against sexual harassment in the workplace, help to achieve pay equity, and increase protections against discrimination in employment, housing, credit and lending.” Sounds wonderful, of course. The big hangup for some is over abortion rights, a huge issue.

But I think the conversation about whether there is a “war on women” had been framed too much on abortion and birth control – sometimes reframed by the talking heads, to be sure.

Though there does seem to be a sexual component in all of this. In his review about Fiona Apple’s song Criminal, MDS writes: “Let’s just admit something up front right now Continue reading

Corporate politic$ in America

Americans like to think that our elected officials are beholden to Us, The People. We have spirited elections, and if we don’t like Candidate X, we can vote for Candidate Y. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it.

Then why does the FAA have a “no fly zone” over Mayflower, Arkansas being overseen by Exxon Mobil? “In other words Continue reading

A political false equivalence

There’s this blogger I came across who I like. But I was puzzled by a comparison made between President Obama’s birth certificate and Gov. Romney’s tax returns, as being similarly not newsworthy.

In the case of the birth certificate, it was authenticated to a degree acceptable to anyone who isn’t a conspiracy theorist.

Whereas the tax returns are interesting because they were not released, save for the last two years, though a self-provided “summary” was made available. Truth is, I don’t care whether Romney releases the documents or not. It DOES, though, speak to his transparency, or lack of same, for his father George set the bar when he ran for President back in the 1960s, and put out a dozen years of returns.

The Gospel lesson a couple weeks back Continue reading

The FBI is sending me money!

Like too many of us, I get a lot of junk e-mail. Fortunately, most of it goes into my spam folder. A recent one came from the “Anti-Terrorist And Monetary Crimes Division” of the FBI, but signed by Mr. Robert Mueller, the director, informing me that they have “have completed an investigation on an International Payment in which was issued to you by an International Lottery Company. With the help of our newly developed technology (International Monitoring Network System)” – WOW! – “we discovered that your e-mail address was automatically selected by an Online Balloting System, this has legally won you the sum of $2.4million USD from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America.”

Yay, I’m practically rich!
Continue reading

Q is for Queen Elizabeth II on stamps and coins

Because it’s been 60 years since she ascended to the throne in the United Kingdom, there have been a number of commemorative coins and stamps issued with the image of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. But long before that, QEII’s image has been showing up around the world.

I came across The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, as they appear on World Banknotes, which is an interesting evolution of the Queen, now in her ninth decade.

Her portrait was first featured on coins in 1953 issued in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Fiji, Jamaica, Malaya & British Borneo, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. Whether or not she is wearing her crown depended on the monarchy’s relationship with the country. Continue reading