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.

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.

This Explains A Lot…

Blogger Vox Day took an empathy quotient test. He scored a 23. I took the same test and scored a 15. The test says that people with Asperger’s Syndrome or high functioning autism score a 20.

Of course, you can only take these internet tests at face value. But it would explain a lot.

“Raising Awareness” vs. Getting Results

I really don’t want to write this post. I probably shouldn’t. I guess I can take solace in the fact that nobody reads my blog, so I can write whatever I want. But I also don’t want somebody to stumble by and misunderstand me. Some people can be incredibly irrational, and from the depths of misguided emotion, will draw conclusions that were never intended.

For instance, I once wrote a post that did little more than make my reader(s) aware of a humorous post Tim Challies wrote comparing Joel Osteen’s (ghostwritten) sayings to fortune cookies. Somebody stumbled across my post and somehow drew the conclusion that because he had a fortune cookie with a proverb in it, we should stop reading the book of Proverbs.

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The Burning of Any Book

I’ve been tempted to write this only as a journal entry. I want to organize my thoughts, but not to take any real risks. But few people read my blog anyway.

I pay very little attention to the media. Too much bias, and too many non-issues blown out of proportion. Normally, anything important enough for me to know about will find me. Lately, I’ve heard a bunch of noise about some apparent kook from a small church in (nowhere) planning to burn a bunch of Korans on 9-11.

Sounds like a silly and pointless stunt to me. Barely worthy of my attention. Had the Facebook posts stopped after the first one, I wouldn’t have noticed.

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How Twilight Works

Originally a comic by The Oatmeal, this has been turned into a YouTube video. Watch to see how Twilight works, and why the women in our lives go nuts over this cheesy fiction, featuring an immortal who has chosen to spend his immortality as a junior in high school, a fate worse than death.


How Madoff Got Away With It: The SEC Was Surfing for Porn

I stumbled across this today, ironically enough, through a humor site. And I am not surprised at all. Apparently, while Madoff was ripping people off and banks were getting ready to siphon billions off the economy and collapse, the SEC was too busy surfing for porn to care.

“During the past five years, the SEC OIG (Office of Inspector General) substantiated that 33 SEC employees and or contractors violated Commission rules and policies, as well as the government-wide Standards of Ethical Conduct, by viewing pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images using government computer resources and official time,” said a summary of the investigation by the inspector general’s office.

More than half of the workers made between $99,000 and $223,000. All the cases took place over the past five years.

Believe it or not, I’m not shocked by this. I’m also not surprised. If anything, it explains a lot.

If you think this is an isolated incident, you need to get out more. You wonder why government bureaucracies have to be so large and inefficient? It’s probably because of the amount of people not getting anything done while they look for porn. Or play golf. Or do anything but the jobs they’re supposedly hired to do. You know, like watch over the economy. And regulate the banks.