Ramit Sethi- Useless Black Friday Advice

OK, Black Friday was yesterday. I didn’t have a chance to write a blog post until now.

Ramit Sethi is one of my favorite bloggers. He’s the blogger behind I Will Teach You To Be Rich. He wrote a post yesterday about how the typical financial pundit the media digs up for segments will whine and complain about typical Black Friday behavior.

Black Friday: the biggest consumer spending day of the year. And also the day with the most annoying advice in the world.

Seriously, guys, you would not believe how many press releases I’ve gotten about how what a terrible, scary, foreboding day this is going to be for our country. And every “expert” is eager to take advantage of it.

“Americans are spending too much!” these so-called “experts” will cry. “They just need to _____ (keep a budget/stop spending/resist evil marketers).”

They’ve been repeating advice like this for decades, but has anything changed?

No. We spend more and save less than almost ever before.

When your entire philosophy rests on urging Americans to NOT do something they want to do, chances are very good that you’ll fail. It’s like trying to push back a tsunami.

I’ve been reading Ramit’s blog for years now. He puts an interesting perspective on personal finance. Rather than telling you to be frugal in all your ways, he suggests spending what you want in those areas that you value, and cut costs mercilessly in other areas. A friend of his greatly values eating out, and spends about $21,000 a year doing it. But he lives in a smaller apartment and drives a smaller car, as those things don’t mean as much to him.

I don’t quite understand Black Friday. I used to go Black Friday shopping with my wife, but eventually I got fed up with it. I’m not convinced the bargains were that good, and getting up at 0300 to save a few dollars on something that would end up on sale for the same price a few weeks later didn’t make sense to me. I started staying home with the kids.

This year, she did the midnight madness thing. She was out all night shopping. No thank you. It made me feel refreshed to get up at 5 for work.

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The Continental Congress of 1776 With Twitter

Matt Silverman at Mashable came up with an amusing comic exploring what it would have been like if the founding fathers were using social media.

I thought it was funny.

Dexter

When I first heard about the show “Dexter”, I wrote it off. It was an interesting concept, but I had preconceived notions.

For one thing, it’s on Showtime. My impression of most Showtime and HBO “original” series is that they follow this pattern of development:

1) How much soft-porn can we cram into 60 minutes?

2) How many cuss words can we work into the dialogue around the 60 minutes of soft porn?

3) OK, now that we have our soft porn and cussing quota, what kind of story can we write around it?

The first 2 episode of True Blood were enough to validate my opinion.

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My Comment On A Blog Post About Windows Phone 7

A colleague at work pointed out a blog post about Windows Phone 7. The writer of the post bought a new phone with Windows Phone 7 installed on it. He took it back within 4 hours and had to pay a restocking fee.

I would have simply left a comment on the blog post itself, but it’s hosted on InfoWorld, and I would have to register for an account. In a day and age when a 10 year old could easily code a site to allow me to log in with an existing account (like FaceBook, Twitter, or WordPress), InfoWorld, a site that apparently markets itself to IT professionals, requires me to create yet another account on their site. I’m tired of having to keep track of logins and passwords. I can’t tell you have many sites and blogs and forums I’ve had to create an account on just to leave a comment or view information and NEVER GO BACK AGAIN. I’m tired of it.

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Veterans and Active Duty, Here Are Some Veteran’s Day Freebies

With Veteran’s Day coming up in 2 days, several businesses are offering freebies for veterans and active duty service members. You can find one catalogue of them here.

I have a question I’ve always wanted to ask other veterans. Do you ever feel uncomfortable when people who have not served in the military seem to make a big deal out of “Thank you for serving our country!”?

Granted, I would not want to live through the 70’s when being military was a bad thing in some parts of the culture. But I did what I did because it was about the only option I seemed to have. I didn’t have many altruistic motives. OK, I had a few. But not many. I was 17, wasn’t ready for college, and had few options besides fast food. My dad retired after 21 years in the Air Force. I grew up in the military, most of my friends were military brats, and I didn’t really know any different. So I went in the Navy.

I served 6 years, went to some interesting places, learned electronics, a work ethic, and how to endure without sleep or comforts and how to get along with some really weird people. I got my GI Bill, VA Loan, and have had a decent career from the experience I gained.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not above a free meal at Chilli’s. I appreciate it. But sometimes I wonder if I really deserve to have a big deal made of my service. John T. Reed says we live in a nation of draft dodgers. Most are trying to make up for their guilt. I think from my observations, he has a point.

If you know of any Veteran’s Day freebies, feel free to post them here in my comments.

Joel Comm: How To Get Control of Your Email

I’ve been following Joel Comm since the time I thought I’d try to make a living as an Internet Entrepreneur. We all know how well that turned out. That is, it didn’t. I even had to drop my TypePad blog because it didn’t make sense to continue to pay for it. Now I’m back to a free blog where I write whenever I feel like it, and don’t write when I have nothing to say. I now have clarity as to where my skills and abilities serve best, and I’m back in a spot where they can be used.

Joel Comm wrote about how he’s getting his email under control. I’ve spent years reading books like Getting Things Done, 7 Habits, and blog series like Inbox Zero. I have yet to reach a point of perfection with my email, but I’m not bad. The people I work with now have 1200+ emails in their inboxes at any given time. That gives you the idea of the volume of email I’ll be dealing with once I’m up to speed and fully integrated.

Do you have control of your email? What systems do you use to keep email under control?