You choose--the recession or the tiger

    If you are like me (and of course you want to be), the phrase "It could be worse" has no meaning. So what? Of course, it could be worse, but it is whatever I am saying.

    Still, broke and freaking, at least we aren't on a 26-foot boat with a 450-lb tiger, right? See? Feel better already?

    Life of Pi is weird form of mystery by Yann Martel. I can't read novels anymore for vision reasons, so I listened to actors Jeff Woodman and Alexander Marshall read it to me.

    Life of Pi is not a who-dunnit, but a did-it-happen. I am way behind the power curve on this one—people recommended it to me way back when I could read books with pages. Silly me, I judged by the cover—a folk art pix of a tiger in a rowboat. Maybe not, I kept thinking haughtily, eyes sliding to the next book on the shelf.

    Finally, I got Life of Pi on CD—even then it sat alone on my dresser—all the other tapes came first.

    Boy, was I a dope. Pi is not the mathematical constant, but a 16-year-old Indian lad’s first name (he’s named after a swimming pool, as he will tell you in the somewhat pokey introduction to this adventure, bear with, it’s worth it). His dad is a zookeeper and in 1978, the family moves from Pondicherry to Montreal, sailing with some animals that have been sold to zoos in Canada and America.

    A storm arises, and Pi can’t sleep and goes on deck. What happens next—well, that’s the mystery. He ends up in a lifeboat with some of the animals, including a 450-lb Bengal tiger, a hyena, an orangutan, a rat, and a zebra.

    No, this isn’t some cheesy Noah riff. The hyena attacks the zebra and tears off chunks. Pi is afraid of the tiger and suspends himself on an oar sticking out of the bow to stay safe. At this point, the ship gurgles beneath the ocean.

    Pi is at sea with the tiger for seven months—or was he? How does he survive? Can he intimidate the beast enough to live? They finally come to a weirdly undulating island made of delicious algae and swarming with meerkats. But I will leave that part for your delectation.

    In an Epilogue, officials of the Japanese shipping company approach Pi and ask what happened. He tells them what we already know. They don’t buy it. Okey-dokey. He tells them another story, weirdly paralleling the first. Is this the truth?

    Or did a tiger once roam the jungles of Mexico?

    Your call.

    See? You never once thought of your car warranty, did you?

Ask your parents how they are doing

    Karen Blumenthal (WSJ, March 25, 2009) says you may not be thinking of this, but your parents’ money may be going down the rat hole as much as yours is. (She didn’t say rathole, I embellish.)

    No one plans for losing their money.

    You could ask your parents about this by saying, “My 401K is losing money. Have your your funds been affected as well?”

    Sometimes people are frozen in place and need moral support to revisit their expenses and budget. Maybe a reverse mortgage is in order.

    One financial adviser said people with assets of $1 to $2 million are now worried about outliving their money.

    Yipes—I don’t know anyone in that category. They must not know about this thing we like to call peanut butter.

    You could ask your parents if they can afford a nursing home. Maybe long-term care insurance, even now, could be a good idea.

    You should also ask if anyone is trying to sell them anything at the moment. The maggots are swarming…I mean, squirming around.

    And last—Ask if your parents need to update their will. Your parents may give you the hairy eyeball on this one—but what if they forget that $100K bequest in there to the Lefthanded Serbian Welfare League. Maybe that is no longer such a great plan.

    Ack. Money. Good thing we are sick of it!

Jeez, did you know about this?

    According to the WSJ (Jonathan Welsh, March 25, 2009), used car dealers sometime install a device in the car that warns you to make a payment, then if you don’t, the car won’t start at a certain point. They are called disablers.

    These used to be installed by the fly-by-nighter dealers, but now the biggies are also using them.

    Satellite-based locators are also built in sometimes—so no hiding the vehicle from Mr Repo.

    These geniuses like to call these behavior mod devices—to persuade us to pay. They patterned them on cell phones—people pay those so they won’t be cut off.

    Don’t forget—more people are buying used—so they are seeing a bigger market.

    One customer said their car is under house arrest.

    But another woman said it helped her build better credit by making her pay on time (no points for excessive sucking and positive positioning, lady).

    Yet another said these are a disturbing layer of surveillance. They call it electronic repo.

    Soon—expert say—these will be in new cars, too.

    They say customers don’t mind that much.

    We are used to sneaky treatment by now, we probably don’t.

    By the way, did you even think is was possible for the entire financial system to disappear—our trusts—our 529s, credit lines, etc?

    Me either.

    By the way—anyone know how to disable a disabler?

Job hunting--retro and new

    Sometimes the old is new again. Newspaper ads (while we still have newspapers), signs in windows of stores…Don’t overlook those. One hotel chain even has a marquee that says Managers Needed.

    Job fairs—been to one lately? I hear fewer companies want to come, but these do help you keep it local.

    Join the chamber of commerce—go mix with people with businesses.

    How about networking groups—they cost a lot, so ask around about them first.

    One guy stands by the highway with his resume “bullets” on a sign. He wears a suit.
    (He brought a chair in case he gets tired.)

    Here are some more sites. You never know.

    I wish I could give that highway guy a job. But I can hardly get in any work myself.

    My kid—hurray!—did get one! Finally! See? Dreams can come true.

Want a lower price--ask

    You do know you have to call the phone company every three months to see if they “forgot” to give you the lowest price, right?

    Kara G. Morrison (AZ Republic, March 24, 2009) says nowadays you can argue over the price of almost anything. Can’t hurt to try, right?

    Jim Hennig is author of How to Say It: Negotiating to Win. Another book out there is Shop Smart, Save More by Teri Gault.

    Tips for creative haggling:

    First research prices. Know what’s out there. You can even bring in an internet price. Gault runs The, with coupons.

    Ask the clerk if there are inhouse coupons for the item. Some clerks can even give a friends and family discount.

    “You can ask anything you want (sound familiar on this site?) and it pays to ask,” Hennig says, according to Morrison.

    Be polite—this is haggling, not power playing.

    Go up the food chain. The clerk may say, “I am the manager.” Maybe not. Stay polite.

    Shop locally—smaller stores have more leeway.

    Don’t run the purchase down hoping to pay less. Say instead that the item is nice, but all you can pay today is X amount. If there is a glaring flaw—you could point that out.

    Say that you are a loyal customer. Ask if buying in quantity rates anything.

    Never say take it or leave it.

    Stand tall. You are being wise, not cheap.

    And, of course, you have to be willing to walk on the purchase. That is your power position. Never say, “Well, okay, I will be eating a lot of peanut butter, but…”


Happy Birthday--our treat

    You deserve a break once a year, right? Especially as this economy is aging many of us.

    Kara G. Morrison (AZ Republic, March 23, 2009) says many places are offering birthday specials these days.

    The tony cosmetic site lets you join the Beauty Insider club online and then get a free gift if you go to the store within 14 days of your birthday. Sure, it’s designed to get you into the store—but try to get in the spirit here.

    Some movie theatres give ya free popcorn—watch for this.

    Krispy Kreme, at least in AZ, gives a dozen doughnuts on your birthday, possibly preventing you from seeing another one—but they are trying to be nice, right?

    Hard Rock Café gives you a free dessert and a “shoutout.”

    Denny’s gives a free meal with another meal and two drinks.

    Now this is worth a few bucks—Disneyland/Disney World gives you free admission on your birthday. Go to and sign up. (This could be HUGE for the OctoMom.)

    What the heck. Let’s eat cake!

College--still a good idea

    I thought when all this started that a good, expensive, single "change" would be to make college and post-grad school free for all qualified students. Period. Free. Spend the money on that to change America.

    Instead, the college funds are sifting like sand through an hourglass and kids are having to drop out or shift to cheaper schools—and out here, the cheaper schools are downgrading to meeting in shacks and trailers, almost.

    When they can’t ding old or sick people, they go after students.

    Megan Gordon, Arizona Republic (March 1, 2009) has some tips for kids still hoping to enter the ivied halls—or any halls.

    The key to trying to educate yourself in this environment, kids, is to find obscure scholarships no one has heard of (if the bank won’t lend). It is like a part-time job chasing these, said one guidance counselor.

    First, you probably have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form at (The deadline for that one has passed, but not all scholarships require it.)

    But, yes, you need to start early—maybe this year for next year.

    Make sure the scholarships pertain to you—many are very specific, such as Native-Americans whose parents are on the reservation, and that sort of thing.

    Read the fine print and follow it EXACTLY.

    Practice essay writing—show your essay to people, get advice. Do not ask writers like me to ghost essays—that’s cheating going in. (There are bloodsucky companies that will not only write essays, but your papers for you once you get in. Have some shame!)

    Be original…If you have wacky interests, get into those (the legal ones).

    Proofread and re-proofread.

    Oh, and don’t copy someone else’s—they have ways of checking.

    Apply for a lot of these—it’s a numbers game.

    Come off as a go-getter and achiever, although not too vain and self-centered—you know, someone who would do well in college. These places love that.

    Parents love that.

    I love that.

Lose the cliched wedding cake

    Lisa A. Flam, AP, is no hopeless romantic. Have you priced a wedding these days? That big old cake could break you!

    Instead, a Phoenix couple rolled out their own favorite—gelato. Another couple scooped the spumoni.

    “We’re not cake eaters,” sniffed one bride. (I, however, know a guy who agreed to get married just FOR the cake, but as usual, I digress.)

    Cupcakes are another option. Or cheesecake (which I count as cake, although the teeny bride and groom statues may sink).

    How about an ice-cream sundae bar?

    Lollipops? (OK, on the cheapster side.)

    How about candy necklaces? Or a cotton candy machine?

    I would get our neighborhood ice-cream man, Grampa, to officiate over dessert—when he gets out of jail, that is.

Kim Kardashian en russe Playboy


    Voici Kim Kardashian sur la couverture de la Russie édition d'avril de Playboy. Il s'avère que le tournage a été de deux ans, et donc, comme votre mère vous dit le Père Noël n'est pas réel, Kim met les choses au clair sur son blog:


    J'ai mis en place le nouveau playboy couvrir la Russie, qui vient de sortir.
    Je pense que c'est ma 4ème ou la 5ème couverture mondiale - qui savait! Ce tournage a été prise il ya deux ans.
    Je continue de recevoir les différents couvre dans le courrier des fans me demandant de les signer de différents pays. C'est tellement drôle, je n'avais aucune idée, je serais sur autant de couvertures!
    Alors c'est ça, juste voulu mettre les choses au clair!
    Love ya Hef!

    Sans transformer le site en un dévaler fusée de porno, j'ai ajouté un pic de la question, malgré le fait qu'il est probablement de deux ans. Mais, bon, je ne suis pas en arriver là où je suis aujourd'hui en faisant des choses comme des faits ou des temps de faire à ma manière. C'est pourquoi je suis parti pour l'année 4000 en Colombie-Britannique de demander à Jésus-goût de ce que les dinosaures. Godspeed!



Well, now, how about buying a new house?

    Gosh, this is fun, isn’t it? The Congressional hearings, the ripoff artists, the ducking bureaucrats, maybe a new American currency (the Amero?), bonuses for all (oh, didn’t yours come?), etc.

    You deserve a new house.

    There is a rumor going around that buried in one of those behemoth bills was a clause saying you can get a $8K tax credit for a new house.

    Ooops—not you. First-time buyers. Wait—it’s OK. This means you have not owned a primary home for 3 years. Not first-time EVER.

    OK. You must buy this dwelling this year, 2009. If you got one in 2008, you get $7,500 but have to pay it back over 15 years.

    Stay in the new 2009 home for three years, and you don’t have to pay back the $8K.

    If you are building, you must occupy this year.

    Oh, and the $8K is the max—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price up to $8K.

    Confused yet? Well, good for you! This ought to do it—if you buy in 2009, you can claim the credit on 2008—just file an amended return.

    And then jump out of your new window!

Megan Fox: Solo Lunch Lady


    Et sans sur on / off ami Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox a été repéré sur une promenade dans Griffith Park, en Californie, hier (17 Mars).

    Le «Jennifer's Body" fille a été en provenance d'un délicieux déjeuner à Little Dom's restaurant italien, portant une rose, la bouteille d'eau de la Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.


    Miss Fox regardé un peu ennuyé à la présence en tant que paparazzi, elle meandered dans la ville, dans un gris v-cou noir avec des jambières de cuir noir et de grandes bottes.

    Et à venir cet été, Megan est à paraître dans la suite «Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" d'ouverture dans les salles de cinéma du pays Juin 24ème!



Emmy Rossum dans Details Magazine


    Emmy Rossum est l'un de ces jeunes actrices avec un joli visage et un grand corps, mais elle a toujours été trop de deux super-chaussures de le montrer. Apparemment, elle est fatiguée de la décoloration dans l'obscurité, mais, aussi, pour la question de l'avril 2009 Details magazine, elle a finalement décidé de sexe il un peu. Voici les photos ...



Mischa Barton Told Gain de poids de Rôle


    Le mois dernier, nous avons observé que Mischa Barton était à la recherche très maigre à la Semaine de la mode à Paris, il n'est donc pas une énorme surprise d'entendre que lui a été dit par les producteurs d'une nouvelle émission de télévision qu'elle a vraiment besoin de gagner du poids.

    L'ancien O.C. l'actrice a accepté de jouer le rôle d'un super réseau CW dans la prochaine fiction pilote A Beautiful Life.

    Mais Barton a été dit sur la pile de livres par les patrons qui s'inquiètent de son maigre cadre sera un mauvais exemple aux jeunes téléspectateurs, selon le journal britannique Daily Express.




    When I saw this term in a story by Jaimee Rose in the Arizona Republic (Mar 17, 2009), I thought, whaaa? Time off with an animal?

    But no, it mean “furlough vacation,” which is more accurately described as “sweating out your pay cut trying to think positively.”

    You are not being paid, feeling the bad feeling, and still have time on your hands to feel the bad feeling even more sharply.

    On the good side, I hear many charities are overrun with volunteers. This is good.

    This would drive me nuts, though, because companies say workers cannot even check email or lift a finger (some legalistic bushwa) while on “furlough.”

    A columnist named Clay Thompson just got off furlough and was not amused. Before he was tossed, he said he felt like a soldier who should be heading for the USO show.

    Do the big boys—say AIG—go on furlough, too? Do they have to sit in the kiddie pool and then chow down on Kraft Dinner?

    Come on—guess. Do they?

Jessica Alba's ELLE Photo Shoot


    Pour la question de l'avril 2009 le magazine ELLE, Jessica Alba a posé pour une séance photo avec le photographe et réalisateur Carter Smith. Heureusement pour lui, ils ont essayé de garder les choses relativement sérieux la manière dont il aime la haute couture, parce que si vous essayez d'obtenir Jessica Alba à sourire, il va être une longue journée. Non pas que je ne voudrais pas l'amour pour essayer.



A copay a day keeps the doctor away

    Ginger Rough, writing in the Arizona Republic (Mar 15, 2009), says polls show more than alf of Americans either have or know someone who has put off seeing the doctor--even with insurance.

    Doctors say there are some things you can get away with. For example, women can probably skip a yearly pap test if theirs have always been normal for the past few years and have no family history of cervical cancer.

    If you are in your 30s and at low risk for eye disease, you probably don't need an eye exam more than once or twice a decade. In your 40s or 50s, go every two or three years.

    In the meantime, make sure you are taking generic meds if appropriate. Doctors don't often think about cost--ask! (Those "Free" samples, though--can get you used to a drug with hideous sticker shock potential when you start paying.)

    Some docs will give you a prescription for a larger dose--then you cut the pills in half. Order by mail 3 mos at a time or get your local store's three-month deal You have to ask, "Am I getting the cheapest price for this?"

    Ask if you can get a question answered on the phone or in email. Saves gas, wear, and tear.

    Ask, ask--remember Auntie Star's motto: You can ask anybody anything.

    Never cut your existing prescription in half or skip, though. If you need to quit, ask the doctor first.

    Eat your veggies, walk, and get vaccines for the kids.

    My father was a doc, and he always waited a few days to see if the ailment got better. You don't have to run off to someone except in a breathing or bleeding emergency.

    Use your best judgment. If you are like me, you know if you're being a dope.

Neighborhood cleanup could help you clean up

    Well, no one will ever “clean up” again in this country, so sad. But you know what I mean.

    I am shelling a very much wanted $75 to get some weeds eaten today—in the hopes that the house across the street will sell and for good bucks. Or two-thirds of what used to be good bucks here.

    I am no saint. But this helps me and keeps the still-employed neighborhood cops from coming—they always have money to pay them!—for my over-6-inch grass.

    If you have an older person in your neighborhood maybe they no longer have money for yard work—and you could pitch in.

    The vacant yards, weeds, and occasional graffiti witticisms make nabes look crummy.

    Some cities are buying vacant houses and rehabbing them for the homeless. Or just spending their “stimulus” pork on buying them and tearing them down—motive unknown.

    I don’t see why banks don’t start charging the person rent when they can’t pay the mortgage and wait for this to sort out. We are being told, anyway, that this will sort out at some point.

    Me? Personally? I am not confident. When Citibank is propped one day to the tune of billions and a week later says, “We’re good,” this is utter nonsense to me.

Rihanna sort en public sans Chris Brown


    Voici Rihanna sortir la ville de New York la nuit dernière sans Chris Brown ajoutant à des rumeurs que les deux ne sont pas exactement conciliées. Bien qu'il soit de nature très grave de voir Rihanna en public depuis le 8 février attaque, j'espérais que ça soit un peu moins anticlimactic. Vous savez, comme elle serait shadow-boxing, tout paré avec anneaux en laiton ala J-Lo en Enough. "Whose du dîner brûlé maintenant, sucka? POW!"



Adriana Lima's Husband enquête pour agression sexuelle

    Marko Jaric de la NBA de Memphis Grizzlies finalement lié le noeud avec supermodel Adriana Lima il ya quelques semaines, mais selon un rapport de une femme a accusé d'agression sexuelle au cours d'un incident qui aurait eu lieu avant le mariage.

    Une femme de Philadelphie a accusé Memphis Grizzlies garde Marko Jaric d'agression sexuelle, de multiples sources familières avec l'enquête a dit L'incident aurait eu lieu en Février lors de la Grizzlies étaient à Philadelphie pour jouer les 76ers.

    Normally I'd say there was definitely something fishy about this story; however, given that Adriana Lima insists she was going to remain a virgin until marriage, it's safe to assume Jaric had the worst case of blue balls ever documented. Can you imagine dating Adriana Lima for a few years and not getting to have sex with her? It's entirely possible the guy just snapped.


Kim Kardashian essayer les vêtements. Parce que pourquoi pas?


    Voici Kim Kardashian tente de presser ses seins dans un ensemble tout en faisant du shopping à Los Angeles hier. Trop souvent, nous concentrer uniquement sur le cul de Kim et d'ignorer le fait qu'elle est aussi un grand sportif rack. Aujourd'hui, je voudrais remédier à cette grave situation en disant: «Kim, nice tits.



Lady Gaga est une source d'inspiration pour les jeunes filles partout dans le monde

    Voici une gaine en cuir Lady Gaga scandale de la boîte de nuit social à Los Angeles. Plus je vois de lui, plus je pense qu'elle pourrait en fait être la dame classiest dans le mot. Elle est comme la reine Elizabeth, mais seulement si la reine Elizabeth est un peu plus de classe que elle l'est déjà. J'entends Lady Gaga ont assisté à un gala de fantaisie avec le monopole de l'homme une fois, mais il finit par quitter en larmes à cause de la façon dont unclassy il a regardé à ses côtés.



Farmers markets salt of the earth now

    One problem with the farmer’s market we have here—weekday afternoon at rush hour.

    I would go every Saturday if I could. Apparently the farmers can’t, though.

    One of our local markets also got too craft-showy. Too many handmade tea cozies and no zucchini.

    I remember two we had in DC—yes, downtown. One was on the Hill—Eastern Market. The other was in Adams-Morgan, the boho section of town. Cheese, honey, fresh greens, cookies, yummo!

    Some people also buy shares in a farmer. Check this out from my old site, Health’s Ass.

    Or there are co-ops, where someone delivers produce to you once a week or so.

    Do you do any of these? Have any other ideas for cheap food?

    In the last Depression, people sold apples. I don’t have any apples, though.

If I catch you taking THIS job....

    Do you get those "Account Services" or "Cardholder Services" recorded calls all the time? "This is Rachel..." "This is Heather..."

    This company--someone said they are French--are lower than a snake's belly under pond scum.

    I run into the room--"This is Heather."


    Nothing helps...Get the "real" person (you would never take a job like this, right?) and complain, they hang up. You push #2 to be removed...then, BA-RING... "This is Rachel."

    A real bill collector rather than a credit card number thief would be almost a relief. Maybe that guy would say, "This is Brad."

The Midas move

    Wasn’t that weird—Super Bowl ads for pawn shops? This country is so screwed up a National Psychiatric Czar could not unscramble us anymore.

    Anyhow, Russ Wiles, a columnist at the Arizona Republic, says the American Assn of Appraisers has some words for us before we slip over to ye olde pawnshop.

    Learn about karats before you talk to the pawn broker (or you will become broker than ever). Gold of 24 karats is 99% pure. 18 karats—75%. 14 karat—58.3%. 10 karat--$41.7%

    But—the stamp on it may not be true. (Dandy)

    You need to track gold prices. OK, hang on—those prices are in troy ounces. Divide that by 31.1 and you have the price for an ounce of 24 karat gold.

    Ask the jeweler about his or her fees. What percentage does the metal refinery take? Those send-in-your stuff ads? Better to deal with a jeweler in the community.

    What you are selling is important—are there gems in it? Usually you don’t want those pieces melted for the gold. An antique piece may be worth more than the gold.

    Check with the American Society of Appraisers at

    Has anyone done this—sold things? I tried to sell an antique amber necklace once and the jeweler noticed in a sec that it had a cracked bead. No sale. Beat me—I never knew it.

Keira Knightley a besoin d'un Break

    La mise en son temps à faire du film après film, Keira Knightley a besoin d'un break, un bien mérité, en plus.

    La sexy actrice britannique a été solide de travail pour cinq ans et a décidé qu'elle a besoin d'un peu de repos.


    Knightley, 23, explains that it’s “Not necessarily that I’m exhausted. But I think that you get to a point where you’re just going to end up regurgitating stuff just because you’re tired and you’re not actually looking around you. It’s important to take a step back.”

    In related news, Keira’s relationship with actor Rupert Friend seems to be going strong, although there’s still no word on a wedding yet.


Humor in hell

    Kelly Dinard, AP, writes that composing your farewell email is a lost art.

    One guy titled his: Free food in the employee lounge.

    “These are tough times,” he wrote. "You will be pleased to know I have begun work on my long-delayed book and instructional DVD titled, “Rhymes with Truck: How to Use Profanity in Every Sentence.”

    Star: I have that one!

    Some people write long, Oscar-thank you type notes. Others are more, shall we say, direct, Dinardo says.

    Of course, the so-called "grownups" warn against bitterness—it could hurt your job search.

    One man got a lot of mileage out of quoting Macauley Culkin in “Home Alone.”

    “This is it,” the tot says at one point, “don’t be scared now.”

    Seen any great notes? Share!

Beyoncé Knowles Preps pour venir World Tour

    Difficile à travailler sur la série, Beyonce Knowles est sorti de tourner la vidéo d'un concert à l'avance de son "I Am ..." tour à New York le dimanche (8 Mars).

    Le "Irreplaceable" chanteuse a été paré d'une robe comme elle le brillant marchait dans les rues de TriBeCa avec un groupe d'hommes adapté suivant loin derrière.


    Le tournage vidéo serait en cours pour être utilisé au cours de sa troisième tournée à venir, ce qui donne le coup d'envoi sur Mars 26e à Edmonton, Canada.

    Avec montre la queue à travers le monde à la mi-Juin, Miss Knowles aurait également utiliser Thierry Mufler comme le principal concepteur de costumes - comme une pièce de 58 garde-robe pour Knowles et ses danseurs est en préparation.


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