One of my faithful readers (and oldest friends) knows that I dislike when children misuse the word “hypocrisy”. For example, a young man who was falling deeper into drugs informed me that his father couldn’t say anything to him “because he used to smoke pot”.
I eventually convinced him that someone who quit drugs was not a hypocrite. The key to enlightenment was the Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right with its key phrase “That hypocrite smokes two packs a day.”
But this op-ed was by a grown woman at the New Republic, of all media. Emily Atkin wrote Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint Doesn’t Matter.
The key phrase is “climate change advocates who don’t live a carbon-neutral lifestyle aren’t hypocrites because, FOR THE MOST PART, they’re not asking you to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle. They’re asking governments, utilities, energy companies, and large corporations to increase their use of renewable energy so that you can continue to live your life as you please, without contributing to global warming.”
Today was the drop-off day for our church rummage sale. Greatest rummage sale ever! Nothing is tagged; people just bring items to the cashiers and make an offer.
Can someone lowball and sell an item later online for a much higher price? Sure, but who cares?
The needy get what they need, the Ladies Guild raises funds for the parish, and no one can tell the difference between the poor and the thrifty.
During my second drop-off (don’t judge me!), I told one of the ladies how great it was that there are no tags. She got a gleeful smile and told me that many years ago, another group ran the sale and would spend hours tagging everything. But when the Ladies Guild took it over and let the buyers set the prices, the sale doubled in earnings.
That’s including the final hours, when it’s two dollars a bag. She told me a very funny story – complete with pantomime – about fitting an electric typewriter into a plastic grocery bag for an astonished customer.
If you’re wondering where I’ve been for months, I’ve been luxuriating in an exhilarating bath of stress. No, the Young Human Factory hasn’t laid me off or closed. Yes, the Old Man and His Better Half (aka my parents) are alive and kicking. The brothers are fine and the sobrinos aren’t suffering from anything they didn’t bring on themselves.
It’s just a little slice of change here, a smidgeon of inconvenient timing there, a trio of groundpiggies under my shed, and voila! le stress. (Seriously, “stress” in French is “le stress”. In Spanish we know that it needs another syllable and some emphasis because it’s just that bad: el estrés.)
I came home Friday after a long day at The Young Human Factory and saw something beautiful – an empty garbage can on my neighbor’s lawn. Oh, happy day! All but one garbage bag and various loose debris have been cleared.
I haven’t blogged about him because, frankly, it’s a depressing situation. The family next door let their house let the bank foreclose. The bank removed the wood stove and put on a new roof, then sold it fast and cheap. ( So fast that when my parents called the bank, it was already a done deal.)
For the past two years, the “new” neighbor has been letting it fall apart. Continue reading
This is probably an American-centric rant, so feel free to ignore.
In January I started getting credit card applications in the mail. They weren’t from my bank** nor from stores from which I’ve made purchases. These are strictly third-party creditors who have no relationship to me.
The amounts are staggering! A ten thousand dollar credit line?!? Worse, most of these applications offered a balance transfer with a limited-time low interest rate before bouncing up to 13.99% APR.
So let’s say that the new
chump cardholder (NOT me) transfers the debt and during the grace period gets the principal down to $6000 (rounding up the average debt in my state). Thereafter he or she sets $200 as the monthly payment. Using a debt calculator, I figured that it takes 38 months to pay off the debt. So the cardholder paid $7,600 overall.
It’s worse for someone who maxes out the card. For a $10K debt at the same payment schedule, the poor sap is in debt for more than six years and pays $5,200 in interest.
- Federal Trade Commission information on opting out. Unfortunately, the permanent opt-out process takes one to a non-government secure site and requires one’s personal info including Social Security number.
- The American Center for Credit Information’s advice if a unsolicited card (not just application) arrives in your mailbox.
- Feed the Pig’s 4-Week Financial Fitness Challenge
**I cancelled its card after it was compromised and the thief racked up $250 in make-up in Ann Arbor by an international student. Probably the same one who stole my friend’s card information, as she had a similar problem with repeated cash withdrawals in Turkey – with her bank’s permission, despite her noticing the first withdrawal and asking for a hold on her account.
I’m happy to report that The Old Man aka my father came through the operation with flying colors. And I seem to be well, too.
“Seem” being the main verb.
March 2017 will go down in local history as the Month of Pestilence. My colleagues at The Young Human Factory were dropping like flies, succumbing to every virus and bacteria our young humans brought us. When the rascals weren’t incubating more diseases, they were raising pets like lice and Scarcoptes scabiei.
The local drive-through java supplier (when I resort to buying a cup) has begun offering the “limited time” pumpkin spice coffee. As hot as it has been, an iced latte sounded wonderful to me.
The past year, there was a lot of buzz on social media about pumpkin spice THIS and pumpkin spice THAT. People seem to think that it’s too much of a good thing. Not me, and one product I’d like to see again is the pumpkin spice roasted almonds that I enjoyed during the winter!
But I digress.
I began to wonder why pumpkin spice is so popular and people look forward to it in the waning days of summer. When I returned home, I realized the truth.
Distracted by my delicious, aromatic beverage, I nearly ran into this:
An orb weaver poised near the door, looking for an opportunity to sneak inside. Baby, it’s going to get cold outside – and a cozy winter abode is inches away!
Clearly the pumpkin spice is meant to fill humans with good feelings and distract them from the spiders lying in wait to invade our homes and lay their eggs at leisure. Sure, the scientific literature I’ve read says that spiders who live in houses become dependent on the human-created environment and can’t survive outdoors. But that sounds like a risk the little critters are willing to take!
Heaven knows I’ve had to deal with spiders all over the house the last few days. Not including that wolf spider who was on the ceiling just a moment ago but has mysteriously disappeared while I opened the blinds. Just thinking about where it may have hidden, ready to pounce… Yikes!
It does give me pause that there’s an archnophiliac conspiracy working in the food industry. (The all-black-clad, Halloween-loving baristas whom I mistook for gothy fashionistas are clearly among the spider-lovers!) But after that pause, I admit nothing calms me down like a sip of pumpkin-spiced latte.
I guess I’m doomed.
Spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) on a flowering chicory (cichorium intybus). Copyright 2016 Jean Balconi.
This is photo is for Derrick, whose beautiful garden photos are one of the charms of his eponymous blog.
Years ago I used to have a running series on my first blog (now defunct). I called it “Ditch bokay” (a country spelling I used to see in the Thumb). I’d be traveling along fields or shorelines, only to stop short because of wildflowers or weeds in bloom. I’d take snapshots with my low-quality digital camera and upload them.
Asters, lilies and the elusive buttercup – there are dozens of beautiful blooms growing in the fringes.