April 21, 2015

Saving Mr. Banks Was a Good Movie But It Made Mary Poppins Creator P.L. Travers Much Nicer Than She Was

Saving Mr Banks

Yesterday, I spent the day around town with Aaron, my brother, and my sister-in-law.  Although I should have, I didn't bring a camera so there are no pictures. We went and say Saving Mr. Banks, the story of how Walt Disney got the rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers.  (It was a bit hyper-meta to be sitting in the movie theater during a cold Kansas City winter, bundled up in a dress shirt, a heavy wool zip-up formal sweater, and a very thick fleece zip-up coat with a cashmere scarf, watchi … [Read more...]

What’s Your Speech Dialect?

My Speech Dialect

There is a new interactive quiz at The New York Times that lets you see how your speech choices match up with various geographic regions in the nation.  It's fairly quick and can provide some interesting results.  Here's a look at mine. I'm most verbally at home in Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, though, interestingly, I have a so-called General American Accent, which is the most neutral in the United States, probably because I grew up very close to the southern side of that shaded area nea … [Read more...]

Annuities Can Be a Good Choice for the Financially Irresponsible Despite The Drawbacks

Million Dollar Annuity Quote

Imagine you have a profligate son.  He's 31 years old and married.  He's a screwup.  You love him, but facts are facts.  He can't hold down a job.  He can't save money.  He can't stick with a plan.  He doesn't hang around the right people.  Still, you want the best for him. Through an incredible stroke of luck, he finds himself sitting on $1,000,000.  Maybe he won it in a lawsuit.  Maybe he was given stock as a gift through a UTMA account that paid off due to an early investment in Wal-Mart.  Ma … [Read more...]

How To Get Other People to Pay for Your Stocks By Writing Put Contracts

Ursula Contract

It is almost a routine thing now that messages land in my inbox several times a month saying something along the lines, "I love the site, but I feel like you are only sharing the baby food version with us.  Some of us are capable of the real thing.  Please don't hold back.  Give us the advanced lessons.  We can take it." While I would like to think so, I hesitate nearly every time I go to lift the veil a bit because it is almost invariably followed by a new string of messages such as, "Dear Mr. … [Read more...]

A Good Business versus a Great Business: A Look at Carnival and McCormick

Carnival Cruise

There was a question that landed in my inbox from a reader named Jeremy.  He wrote: First off even if you don't reply to this I'm very grateful for the content you provide. It's nice to see some fresh light and an everyday take on different financial situations. Plus I enjoy your enthusiasm! I bought carnival cruise lines a few monthes back for 32 a share. I bought it with the intentions of holding it for years and just wanted to get your take on the company itself. I normally avoid … [Read more...]

The 30 Day Secret Project Every One of You Should Adopt

Winter Project

I've been thinking about you this Christmas season.  This audience is unique.  Demographically, you represent a collection of men and women with far above average talents, connections, and resources.  The power you have to change lives in your own communities is huge.  A small amount of output, when you set your mind to it, can have a disproportionately large benefit for the families around you, whether they be your own relatives, friends, co-workers, or strangers.   You are better educated, hav … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher (May God’s Love Be With You)

Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher

I'm sitting at a desk in a side room at home listening to Christmas music.  The one song I can't get out of my head, and is now playing on repeat, is Elton John's rendition of Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher.  It's a horribly mean spirited song (though from the perspective of the singers, who were the coal workers and their children in the musical for which it was written, the vitriol is not unexpected as, from their point of view, she had decimated their standard of living by ending tax-payer f … [Read more...]

Bing Is Offering Gift Cards and Rewards If You Use Its Search Engine!

Bing Rewards

You all know I love to save money.  Microsoft is so eager to grow its search business that it has a Bing Rewards program that lets you earn all sorts of free stuff if you take a few seconds to setup an account.  Whenever you search, you accrue points.  For example, 525 points gets you a $5 gift card to Burger King, Game Stop, or any number of other places.  Someone who spends several hours a week on a computer could pocket quite a bit of free money or rewards over several years without any real c … [Read more...]

Wednesday Wrap-Up – December 18th, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

Alright, technically this is coming in at almost 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning, but hey, I still haven't gone to bed, yet, and it's Wednesday out in the Pacific Ocean.   Thanks to both Kevin and Ernest for tipping me off over the past week to one of the best marketing commercials I've ever seen in my entire life.  Take the time to watch it.  It's incredible. Now that you're filled with Christmas cheer, on to the links! The Piano of the Future? - The Roli Seaboard Grand is definitely di … [Read more...]

Thought Experiment: Gold vs Bitcoins

Bitcoins vs Gold

For those who believe gold is a store of value, but Bitcoins are not, what, specifically, is the difference? Both gold and Bitcoins are limited in number. Both gold and Bitcoins have a value based entirely on supply and demand rather than some sort of intrinsic property. Both gold and Bitcoins can be universally traded subject only to the restrictions that might be put on the other (e.g., gold being banned in the United States for generations). Both gold and Bitcoins are "bearer" assets … [Read more...]