Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer TV

August 25, 2011

"Franklin and Bash" was my must-see show of the summer. It was completely goofy, played for nothing but laughs, with not a shred of reality or social-consciousness-raising to be found.

I loved it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Real Meaning of “Community Involvement”

 August 19, 2011

There was a column in the paper the other day from the Better Boise Coalition, which says that the owner of Boise’s baseball team thinks that the team would do better if we had a better stadium and more community involvement. 

To that end the Boise Hawks’ owner is proposing that a stadium be built closer to downtown, as he feels that it’s too far away right now. (It’s 10 minutes from downtown, with ample parking, and is far and away the easiest ball park to get to that I've ever visited.) 

Now, I'm not saying that the stadium couldn't stand some refurbishing, because it could. So, if you're concerned about it, get cracking, Mr. Team Owner.

But I think that one reason that Hawks attendance isn't greater is that there's so much to do in Boise in the summertime. The community is plenty involved, just not exclusively with the Hawks.

Furthermore, I suspect that, in this case, the definition of “community involvement” means, “Everybody but me will pay for the stadium.” (If you doubt me, read the column.)

Other businesses have to front their own costs, lining up investors, taking out loans, and doing other business-owner-type things. What is it about team owners that makes them whiny money-grabbers?

“They add jobs.” So does every other business—seriously—and the jobs are often better-paid than ball park jobs. And the other businesses don't demand that the state or city pay for their construction costs, etc., and then walk off with the profits.

I hope that, for once, “community involvement” means that people will stand up and say, “Enough. We as a state can't afford Medicare and education—pay your own business costs.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Proof of Insurance, Please

August 18, 2011

Firefighters report that a local wildfire was caused by careless campers. If they can be located, they may be responsible for the cost of the damage and the cost of the firefighting. Since firefighting costs are tremendous, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the people to pay up.

Wildfire season is tough enough without careless campers causing more havoc. I wonder how long it will be before you’re not allowed to camp unless you can show proof that you’re insured in case you cause a fire and have to pick up the tab?

I'm hoping that this is just my imagination running wild, but I wouldn't bet on it.

It's an Ill Wind...

August 18, 2011

The following two posts made me think of the saying, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.”

An Accidental Favor

August 18, 2011

Wells Fargo Bank is going to start charging customers in certain areas a fee each time they use their debit cards, to offset the costs to the bank.

Once again I’m fascinated by the thought that what was touted as a way to cut costs and increase convenience is now becoming a burden to the industry that hyped it in the first place. And now the customers will be paying the price. However…

This may not be the worst thing in the world. Some people really should just pay cash—that way they can actually keep track of what they’re spending. If you don’t want to carry around a wad, go back to using your checkbook; if you have to list the check and look at your balance each time you write one, it may curb some spending and, incidentally, save you some overdraft fees.

So, Wells Fargo, good luck. You may (inadvertently, I know) actually be doing your customers a favor.

Look on the Bright Side, Alicia

August 18, 2011

I read an article by Tiffany Hsu and Shan Li, writing for the Los Angeles Times, that says that young Americans are having to re-adjust their expectations of life because of the downturn in the economy. They shelled out a lot of money for college and now can’t find the jobs to pay for the loans they took out. It stinks.

But this line got me thinking:

“Alicia Thomas, 20, had it all planned out: career at a nonprofit, married by 24, mortgage by 26.”

She wanted a mortgage by age 26??? Alicia, you may have had a narrow escape, dear.

Houses are a HUGE investment and a mortgage is not something to be entered into lightly. (Investment, schminvestment.) I would cheerfully have rented all my life in order to avoid roof repairs, plumbing repairs and “Hey, I’m your house and I just feel like falling apart” repairs.

So it’s possible that “young people” are learning lessons now that will come in handy later: I don’t need it all at once. I can save for the good life (if I ever get a decent-paying job). I can cut back on what I think I need to survive (who knew I could live without an iPad?), and the world won’t end.

And maybe they’ll advise their younger relatives not to go deeply in debt for college. A degree is useful—an expensive degree is not necessary. (It’s a sad truth that none of the jobs I’ve held has NEEDED college-level learning to do it; but having the degree helped me to get the jobs and the promotions.)

I hope the economy gets back on track right smartly. But in the meantime, maybe the lean times are teaching us things we can use in the boom times.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Death, Taxes and—Makeup?

August 6, 2011

Another man has been convicted of income tax evasion, because he mistakenly believed (he says) that the tax was voluntary.

Come on, folks. The only thing more certain than death and taxes is the fact that, once you’ve discovered a cosmetic shade you like, the manufacturer will immediately stop producing it.