Be Rich. Then You Can Be Lazy.

Just how much do actors in Depends commercials make anyway?

While 101C is off to Amsterdam, tiptoeing through the tulips and tilting at windmills, here's a guest post from Nelson @ Financial Uproar. Let me tell you about a guy I know. Because it's not going to be very complimentary, let's call him Tony. mostly because the Tony Siragusa Depends commercial was on TV as I was typing that sentence. Tony is, by most accounts, a nice guy. He's gainfully employed, is generally pretty pleasant, doesn't beat his wife, and so on. He and his wife own their house and drive a reasonable SUV that's a couple years old. Like many young couples these days, they're struggling with student loan and credit card debt. I have no ideas what the balances are, but I'd estimate they owe $25k in student loans and an … [Read more...]

Seven Storefront Retail Ideas to Plow Your Inheritance Into

No customers for you... (that's the clerk's car)

So old crazy Aunt Nettie has passed on, and she's gone and left her favorite niece/nephew/godson a buttload of money.  A buttload to your broke self, anyways:  an inheritance of a couple hundred grand ain't what it used to be. What to do with this $78,452 windfall, or, what's left after the trip to Vegas, paying off the credit cards and student loans, buying the new car for cash and the online shopping sprees? Why, start your own business. Now is your chance to be your own boss, strike back at the Man, give him the finger, step up and out and grill some juicy steaks on your very own back deck (wrong phrasing, but I'm a little hungry right now). Time to open that little gift shop you've always dreamed about.  Or a consignment … [Read more...]

Cheetos In China: You Are What You Eat

Somewhat typical canal in China -- water might be used for irrigation and/or fish farming and/or laundry... and as a dump for old bikes

  Goodness gracious, who knows what's in that candy bar. Stay away from that hamburger, and don't even think about those Doritos. It's all going to make you fat, give you diabetes, rickets and high blood pressure, you know. And yet, in Shanghai, Chinese shoppers might actually consider Cheetos and Ding-Dongs and pork rinds as health food. China's toxic harvest: Consumers flock to imported food When Yuri Valazza started a small imported food shop in Shanghai eight years ago, his target consumers weren’t Chinese. "At that time it was almost 90 percent foreigners," recalls Valazza, sitting at a small table in shop in the city's former French Concession neighborhood. Not anymore, thanks to a rising consumer class … [Read more...]

Gardening Interlude: A Quick Way to Make a Vegetable Garden Bed

Start with three...

Say you'd like to get a few pepper plants in the ground, but don't feel like digging up that part of the back lawn, nor laying down a tarp and waiting for the grass to die off. Plus, you're busy, and don't really have time to build a proper raised bed. No problem, here's a work-around and a quick way to make a vegetable garden bed. A few bags of good topsoil or potting soil is about all we need to get started. Lay them out in a 2 x 4 or a 3 x 3 grid, and cut some openings in the tops, like so: Make sure that you don't cut too close to the corners, otherwise the sides will slump and the soil will want to spill out. Next, take a nice long screwdriver and poke some holes in the bottom of the bag. We want to have good … [Read more...]

Paying More than Market Price: Not Always a Bad Thing

Safety harnesses are for (bonded and insured) sissies

Some people are too stupid to live, and some small businesses are too stupid to stay in business.  At least, it seems that it should be that way. Low-ball contractors, lousy service providers and crappy restaurants.  Idiots who should be meeting with a bankruptcy attorney or be hounded by collection agents instead stay around way past their expiry date, pissing off their customers and racking up debt. Danger, USA Financial Service! Tree care (trimming, pruning and removal) is a dangerous job.  Every year, both professionals and amateurs get to audition for Darwin Awards. Many a hapless do-it-yourselfer, with little regard to safety or common sense, will be featured on YouTube as dumbass fail! of the week, either felling a tree on their … [Read more...]

Monday Morning Fish Wrap: Springtime at Terra Farms

This season's crop of garlic

Springtime at Terra farms, our grandiosely named bit of acreage in the country. The birds are thieving singing, flowers are blooming, the barn needs fixing, and Mrs. 101's project/wish list grows ever longer... Longer than a list of a politician's failed campaign promises. Longer than a sullen teenager's litany of imagined slights from an older siblings. Longer than.... well, just long. Springtime is just swell.  While some readers up in the great white north are still snow-bound, April is a time for planning and planting, and taking chances with putting seedlings in the ground and hoping that early frosts won't burn them.  Well, they did.  We had a couple of late freezes that burned the blossoms off two peach trees and the … [Read more...]

Tamales Will Make You Obese… or Will They?

world's fattest countries

  Based on simple observation from several trips south of the border, we assumed that the population of Mexico can be as portly as any populace, but not according to the headlines.  From breathless headlines, websites and blog posts, it seems that Mexico is breaking all records: This recent one from The Economist's website: Eating Themselves to Death:  Diabetes in Mexico ... Mexico has become one of the most overweight countries on earth, even more so than the United States; a quarter of its men and a third of its women are obese. Indecorously, the country has even come up with figures on figures: the Mexican Diabetes Federation says that among women between 20 and 49, the average waistline is 91.1cm (35.9 inches), more than … [Read more...]

Investing in Foreign Countries


  When putting together an investment portfolio, a novice investor should ensure that he or she diversifies the assets making up that portfolio. Diversifying does not mean simply choosing different classes of asset – the most important thing is to diversify the risk. This can be done in a number of ways and it is wise to diversify by geography as well as by the type of investment itself. Why invest in foreign countries? A truly diverse portfolio will be made up of varied asset classes and different geographies. For example, an investment in a blue-chip U.S. company will have a very different risk profile than an investment in an Egyptian offshore oil company. Whilst the Egyptian investment is undoubtedly higher risk, this does not … [Read more...]

The Stock Market Is Stupid and Irrational

ethanol 1aadkgg

  The stock market is just a reflection of people.  And since people have a seemingly infinite capacity to be stupid and irrational, there you go. Cellulosic ethanol is a case in point. As helpfully defined by Wikipedia, cellulosic ethanol is similar to regular ethanol, only not as profitable.  Take it away, wiki-baby: Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, or the inedible parts of plants. It is a type of biofuel produced from lignocellulose, a structural material that comprises much of the mass of plants. Lignocellulose is composed mainly of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Corn stover, Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), Miscanthus grass species, wood chips and the byproducts of lawn and tree … [Read more...]

Gardening for Zombies

sharpshooter shovel

  And so another season of AMC's The Walking Dead is come and gone. Mercifully enough, the dumber-than-dirt Andrea character has passed on, whacked out in the season 3 finale.  And good riddance, too.  She was chewing up far much too much screen time with pointless pouting, histrionic hissy fits and woolly-headed gullibility.  Sorry to see Merle go, though.  He had the funniest one-liners. There's been plenty of criticisms leveled at Season 3 of the show, with its slower pace and a diminishing threat level from the walkers.   In this third season, most of the action centered on the interplay and dangers of human versus human, to the dissatisfaction of loyal fans.  Many viewers tune in for blood and guts and gore and … [Read more...]