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    Friday, August 24, 2007

    Reading Is Fundamental

    This year I have read an average of a book a week - probably the happy result of both deciding to get more into reading for information and entertainment and the decision to read on my commute into downtown.More...

    Apparently, this volume of reading activity puts me among the most voracious readers in the country.

    According to an AP poll, basically no American reads any books anymore. Well, the "typical person" claimed to have read four books, with half of respondents claiming to have read fewer and half claiming to have read more.

    Thank Gawker for this news; then go read the AP poll via CNN.

    Since January 1, no joke, I've read 34 books.  I'd post them all if I had an attractive web-friendly plug in that presented all of the titles in a multimedia format.  If anyone happens to be aware of one of these let me know.  I'm quite sure, though, that my voracious reading habits are probably part of the reason why child education drives me occasionally batty.  Reading is part of what creates an educated population.
    Reading is fundamental, people.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    I'm Feeling Hobbesian Today

    Wow, it's been a busy couple of months.  Very.  I've been spending an awful lot of time over at my brother blog, Single Dads, for the last few weeks - for reasons that soon will become clear. 
    Don't let this get you, though.  I don't intend to go anywhere.  In fact, you, gentle reader, are bound to see quite a bit more posting in the future.
    In the meantime, here's a beautiful thing I found while searching the webs, especially if you are a Calvin and Hobbes fan (I am)... all of the Calvin and Hobbes comics linked on one handy webpage .  Thanks, Marcello!
    Go get them quick.  I suspect this page won't be available for very long.

    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    Financial Quote Of The Day

    ...yes, that said Financial Quote of the Day.  Believe it or not, I'm not kidding.
    Like many who have jobs and kids, I am one of those that actually has a 401(k).  Unlike many that have jobs and very young kids, though, I have taken the bizarre (and poverty inducing) step of actually starting a 529 plan for my little honey's college education.  I figure that hey, if she doesn't go to college, I'll buy a boat, and give it my daughter's name or something.  But I do believe in being prepared, thanks to a little peach of a post that I caught some time ago.
    Lately, though, I've been a little in the dumps, because I actively LOOKED at what my various little investments were doing, in light of the recent ups and downs in the stock market.  Ugh.
    Then came this article on the market from the Washington Post, which actually not only handed out some good advice, but provided the title to this here post, above.  Here's a bit from the article:
    The recent stock market plunge has whiplashed many investors and left them wondering what to do about their portfolios.

    But in times like these, don't panic. Instead, you want to think about the three D's, says Erik Davidson, a chartered financial analyst and senior director of investments at Wells Fargo Private Bank in Denver.

    Good advice in there, but the key thing that the article mentioned was this gem of a phrase:
    Whatever you do, "have a programmed approach that keeps you buying during the downturns," Seely said. "Think about something other than what the market did today."
    Think about something other than what the market did today.
    I like the cut of that phrase, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.


    Thursday, August 16, 2007

    Don't Say "Take This Job And Shove It"

    It's time.  You're fed up with your job, you've found another gig, and want to give your two weeks notice?
    But resignation time shouldn't be bridge-burning time, so wikiHow's got some advice on how to quit professionally and with grace.
    That's Gina for you.  Posted there and on wikiHow.
    You know what's amazing about posts like this?  Timing.  Wow, they are good.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    Google: We're In Ur Store, Mappin' Ur Stuff

    I haven't made a post about Google in a while, so imagine my surprise when I saw how you can be an independent contractor for them , especially since it's not April Fool's Day.  Requirements include the power of speech and a camera.  From the FAQ:
    1. Why should I become a Google Business Referral Representative?

      Joining the Google Local Business Referrals (LBR) program is a great way to earn some money while connecting people to the businesses in your neighborhood. The information you collect could be seen by millions of people who use Google every day. And you'll be helping the businesses you refer attract new customers while also making it easier for people in your community to find the products and services they're searching for.

    2. What will I be doing as a representative?

      As a Google Business Referral Representative, you'll visit local businesses to collect information (such as hours of operation, types of payment accepted, etc.) for Google Maps, and tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords. You'll also take a few digital photos of the business that will appear on the Google Maps listing along with the business information.  After the visit, you submit the business' info and photo(s) to Google through your Local Business Referrals Center, and we'll pay you up to $10 for each listing that is approved by Google and verified by the business.

      All you need to be a successful Business Referral Representative is a passion for helping local businesses succeed, a love for the Internet (some knowledge of Google is great, too), and access to a computer and a digital camera.

    Say again?  Google will pay me for taking some pictures of some local businesses?
    Wow.  Where do I sign up?
    By the way, I found this via Reddit, so you'll probably never see this article again, so take some notes. 
    Seriously, I'm thinking that Google is:
    - Rich as all get out, and
    - Preparing for world domination.

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    Deadbeat Dads Drive Me Crazy

    When you are a single parent, frustration is a constant companion, which is oddly enough why no single parent should be lonely for even a minute. Besides the usual complaints:

    - your ex, and the mother/father to your children,

    - money,

    - the nagging feeling that you're doing something wrong as a parent

    - money,

    - seeing the job as a barrier to seeing your children,

    - money,

    - finding new companionship,

    - the legal system,

    - and money,

    there are a host of other irritations. Some are much, much worse than others. I'm no exception to that particular mental state.

    Lately, though, my biggest source of irritation is deadbeat dads - that is, those dads that have to pay child support for their children, sometimes with one woman, sometimes with several - and don't.

    I realize that child support is expensive. I pay it myself. Apparently, though, a lot of fathers seem to believe that they DON'T have to pay it. The way that I see it, this just makes my job as a responsible father much, much harder.

    Single mothers, when told that I am a single dad, look at me with guarded suspicion. The legal system looks at me sideways, because I could always just "leave" and leave my daughter high and dry… even if that's something I could never do. I am deemed to be possibly be not as good of a parent in part because of my testosterone level. The prejudice against fathers who want as much custody of their kids as possible is hard enough; add the stereotypical deadbeat dad into the emotional mix, and it creates an unfavorable position for me.

    I'm a man working two jobs and a freelance position - none of which I necessarily do for my health. I participate in several community events and donate to several charities. My daughter has never been in any compromising position in my care, ever. I've never even just paid the minimum for child support for my daughter simply because I felt that I could afford a touch more - I give more when I can. I know child support is oppressive, Lord, do I know. I know that child support awards are unfair. I know that the system is bent against fathers. But so what? Work on changing the system if you like or if you can, but concentrate on helping the kids, first, because as dumb as the system might be, you still have your kids to worry about. Pay up, or negotiate.

    In short, there's nothing that I can't stand more than a dad who can't, or won't, go out there and bust butt to make sure that their kids are being raised well when Dad isn't around.

    Deadbeat dads of the world, get with the program, or get out of the middle of the road. You're slowing us down. And I promise, with my schedule, I definitely have someplace important to be.

    Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Well Played, Ms. Calhoun

    The funniest quote of the week comes from Patricia Calhoun, editor of the Westword, Denver's weekly alternative newspaper, during a trial where the weekly was sued by some guy named Steve Horner (who, naturally, lost) who decided that ladies' nights at bars were a violation of his civil rights and newspaper advertising those promotions were violating state civil rights laws:

    "I'm running to the ladies room." Turning to Horner, she added, "You don't object, do you?"

    Thank the Rocky Mountain News for this.  Then thank Fark for the hat tip.

    I'm not sure what's wrong with that guy, and in fact, I don't even like bars (who wants to be the old guy in the club?!), but I have a feeling that cheap drinks at Denver bars probably won't help his attitude.

    Keeping Lethal Animals In Your House Just Might Leave A Mark

    A MAN who lived in his own "zoo" of lizards and insects was fatally bitten by a pet black widow spider — then eaten by the other creepy-crawlies.

    Police broke in to Mark Voegel's apartment to find spider Bettina along with 200 others, several snakes, a gecko lizard called Helmut and several thousand termites had gorged on his body.

    Neighbours alerted police after becoming alarmed by the stink.

    And horrified officers were met by a nightmare scene.

    Interesting story, indeed.
    Victim:  Are you trying to tell me that keeping a bunch of dangerous spiders, venomous snakes, and poisionous frogs and toads in my house is a bad idea, somehow?
    Observer with common sense:
    Ah.  The thing that I love most about the world is a diversity of ideas.  Mostly bad ones, but ideas nonetheless.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    First Google Checkout, Now This

    You might remember a previous post about Google Checkout, the service that competes with Paypal and thus has caused rifts between two Internet giants - Google, and eBay.
    Look for a launch announcement by Amazon this week or next of a new web service around payments, adding to their S3 (storage), EC2 (virtual server) and other services. They've been quietly testing the service, which will compete with PayPal and Google Checkout, for a few weeks. It is an extension of the existing Amazon Payments , which allows third parties selling items on Amazon's extended network to receive payments from buyers.
    Techcrunch for the win.
    Have you been getting the feeling that Amazon is slowly, but surely, sneaking up on us all?
    I love the competition, personally. 
    Things are about to get ugly up in here.

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