Carnival of Financial Camaraderie #31 – Lend A Helping Hand

Wonders of Wikimedia .... who there was a play titled such?  "Scene from 'la Camaderie' at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm. Image from Nils Personne: Svenska Teatern VIII (1927).

Thanks for stopping by the 31st Edition of the Carnival of Financial Camaraderie.  This Carnival was founded by the good folks at My University Money, with the following intent: Our goal in creating The Carnival of Financial Camaraderie was to provide a collection of articles that everyone can benefit from on a consistent basis.  While things can get competitive amongst certain subsets of bloggers, everyone we have met so far has been friendly and helpful.  When issues arise everyone is quick to lend a helping hand.  We are a part of the Yakezie Challenge and it has been a great experience.  The camaraderie between financial bloggers is a great thing to have, and it inspired our Carnival. Right then, let's get on with … [Read more...]

Shocker: Nutella Is *NOT* A Health Food!

mmm-mmm good (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

What the hell is the world coming to? I’m sure that when Zeus lounges back in his throne, just pooped out from all that hurtling of thunderbolts from the crown of Olympus, he reaches for a Nutella sandwich. They are that good. Out-of-control prison riots have been becalmed with the promise of extra Nutella rations. And today, here’s  news of a certified Mother-of-the-Year, who is suing Ferrero, maker of that most delectable nectar of the gods,  because she was misled to think that that Nutella was “healthy” .... Nutella sets aside $3 mn for US class action Athena Hohenberg, the mother of a preschooler in San Diego, California, launched the class action lawsuit early last year, alleging that Ferrero has pitched … [Read more...]

Using Cattle Panels to Support Tomato Plants

Operation Tomato Support gets under way

  Staking up and supporting tomato plants has got to be one of the more time-consuming pastimes of the home gardener, and there's plenty of ways to do it.  Circular cages, bamboo stakes, stacked hoops, special ties that won't hurt the vines, you name it, the home stores will be glad to sell it to you. If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero In past seasons, I've used bamboo and wood stakes in the raised beds, and spent quite a bit of time tying the vines to the stakes.    Last year, I tried my hand at cattle panels. Cattle panels are basically farm fencing material made of heavy-gauge galvanized wire.  I found some just laying around on our newly-purchased acreage, and put it … [Read more...]

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain (plus, an odd post link or two)

We lead off this weekend with news that the Argentines are still pissed off about Spain winning the World Cup last year, and by golly, finally doing something about it.  . Last week the Argentine government moved to nationalise the country's biggest oil company, YPF, by seizing the majority ownership (now formerly) held by Spain's own national oil company, Repsol. The Spaniards won't take this lying down though. This from the BBC: YPF Oil: Spain Threatens Retaliation Against Argentina Spain has threatened retaliation against Argentina over the forced nationalisation of oil firm YPF, raising the prospects of a trade war between the nations. YPF's controlling stake, owned by Spain's Repsol, was seized by President Cristina … [Read more...]

To Peak Oil or Not To Peak Oil?

Pumpjack in Glennpool oil field, Oklahoma

The world is running out of oil... so might as well buy a few shares in the companies that make it and move it around. Having had some cash free up in the retirement account, I went shopping for some Oklahoma oil and gas companies.  Locavesting, as it were. ConocoPhillips (COP) I talked about in this post a few months ago, where I was vacillating between ENI, Total, Statoil, Petrobras and COP.   In the end, I ended up with Petrobras, giving COP a pass for the time being.  A few weeks ago, I took a nibble with 30 shares at around $77. OneOK Partners LP has just announced that they will build a two-billion dollar pipeline from the Bakken oil play to Cushing OK. That's good, it unlocks more domestic oil production, sending down to … [Read more...]

Cut Out That Middleman! Buying Local Saves You Money

Potatoes grown in the Dieng Plateau (****) (Photo by Midori)

  Never pay retail. Here's a good lesson in reductive economics (*), from the Wall Street Journal blog, a grass-roots movement in Greece: Potato Movement Takes Root as Recession Bites (**) Angry over food prices that keep rising even as Greece stumbles through a fifth straight year of recession, ordinary Greeks have teamed up with local farmers in a new grass-roots consumer movement to bring potatoes and other basic foodstuffs to market by cutting out the middle men. The middle men being price-fixing wholesalers and supermarket chains, who enjoyed immense markups from the wholesale price all the way to retail: The roots of the movement date back to late last year, when farmers in the northern Greek district of Nevrokopi … [Read more...]

An Environmentally Friendly Roundup

Finnish landing troops for Tornio are being loaded onboard in Oulu Toppila harbour during Lapland War in Finland. The truck is equipped with a wood gas generator

[ Commentary and a link roundup is usually run on the weekend.  Since some people don't make it all the way down the post, we'll try to double the ineffectiveness of the usual closing begging request to subscribe to the blog, by repeating here it at the beginning.  Please subscribe.  Top right hand corner... ] A Trashy Investment? Here's one from the Wall Street Journal blog: Seeing Value in Trash, Harvest Power Raises $110 Millon Food scraps and trashed Christmas trees could one day be a source of a billion-dollar business, according to Harvest Power, a start-up that just raised $110 million to help convert organic waste to energy and fertilizer, VentureWire has learned. From Harvest Company's website, the financing included a … [Read more...]

Bonuses and Incentives

Totally unrelated portrait of Russian/Soviet Poet Anna Akhmatova

  Interesting article from Stratfor  - Why US Bounties Fail. The United States Government, through the State Department, has a program where bounty money is disbursed to credible informants that aid in the arrest of wanted terrorists. The bounties can range as high as $30 million, as was paid to the people who turned in Saddam Hussain's sons Uday and Qusay in the Iraq war.   In addition, the informants' entire families are relocated to safe locations under a sort of international witness protection plan. The problem with this program, as laid out in the article, is that it's not been very successful. The review process for approval sounds convoluted enough, with committees and subcommittees and advisory … [Read more...]

Why Study History, Indeed…

Gaius Aurelius Valerius "Chuckles" Diocletianus, b. 245 - d. 336

Doesn't matter who wins or loses in this year's Presidential elections, taxes are going up.  What's more,  Government at all levels, city, county, state or Federal, will become ever more predatory in collecting taxes to alleviate budget troubles.  Easy enough prediction to make, but such is modern life. Here's the latest nail in the coffin, a random link from CBS News: Owe The IRS? Bill Would Suspend Passport Rights For Delinquent Taxpayers LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A bill authored by a Southland lawmaker that could potentially allow the federal government to prevent any Americans who owe back taxes from traveling outside the U.S. is one step closer to becoming law.... ...In addition to authorizing appropriations for federal … [Read more...]

Rounding Out this Week… Agricultural ETFs, Food Prices, and Whether/Whither To Expatriate

World War II poster, 1942  National Archives, Records of the Secretary of Agriculture

At the New York Times, dateline March 2009 :  Going Galt: Everyone's Doing It A couple of seemingly unrelated links, but.... First, it's worthwhile to revisit Sydney's rant at Untemplater: Taxes Suck and Make Me Want to Shut Down my Small Business.   I was going to post an excerpt, but the title pretty much encapsulates it.  Here's a small entrepreneur that is just discouraged by the high rate of taxation. Moving on with other personal experiences, here's a recent podcast on Financial Sense ("The Search for Greener Pastures Overseas")  Guest Erik Townsend was a very successful internet entrepreneur and investor. After selling off his company, he decided that he'd had enough of taxes and high regulation on small business, and … [Read more...]