29 November 2011

Rumple Minze: The Captain Is Right

I've been a reader of Captain Capitalism's blog for a number of years now, but it took until today to try one of his frequent recommendations: Rumple Minze.

I used to think to myself, "peppermint schnapps? Pffffft. Crap." Wrong. I bought a mini bottle as a test. Now I understand. It's good. In fact, it's "I'll buy more of this when I run out" good.

You might want to fix your Rumpie donation link though, Cappy. I'm not sure where exactly it goes now (I didn't pay much attention when the result was something along the lines of "this is an error"), but I do know that it doesn't lead to you getting more Rumpie.

10 July 2011

Some Big Name Companies Refusing To Hire Smokers

This article contains a bit at its end about companies with names you'll recognize just flat out refusing to hire people who smoke:

Insurer Humana Inc. said this month it won't hire smokers in Arizona. And other companies, such as Macy's Inc. and Pepsico Inc., require those who smoke to pay more for their health insurance, according to a recent article in Businessweek. The story also said Union Pacific and Scotts Miracle-Gro will not hire people who smoke.
Follow this link if you would like to read the rest of the article, which is mainly about the new cancer and corpses labels that will be required to be on cigarette packs and advertisements soon. It says in the article that some tobacco companies are suing the government over this, which I'm glad to see. If the Feds want to piss away money putting up cancer and corpse posters, fine (though I'd like to see by what constitutional authority they could do even that), but compelling private companies to do so? What's next? Pictures of fat people on the sides of KFC chicken buckets?

I digress. This anti-smoker hiring trend, this seems a bit harsh to me, but I can't say I blame these companies given how insurers treat smokers. It all translates into higher costs in the end and that shows up in the premiums.

I do wonder though, would these employers react differently if smokers were in fact just using bionic cigs instead?

I certainly wouldn't mind that.

23 June 2011

Oanda Gets Dumbed Down

I received this email from my Forex broker, Oanda, this afternoon:

Re: Important Notice on Gold and Silver Trading with OANDA.

Dear Paul E. Zimmerman,

As a result of the recently enacted Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, U.S.-based retail forex dealers such as OANDA are prohibited from offering leveraged trading in precious metals to retail clients after Friday, July 15, 2011.

As a client based in the U.S., you will not be able to trade our four precious metal pairs (XAU/USD, XAG/USD, XAU/JPY, XAG/JPY) on a leveraged basis, effective end of day July 15. Leveraged trading in other currency pairs will remain unaffected, with the same margin requirements.

You will still be able to trade precious metals, but only on a 1:1 non-leveraged basis (requiring substantially more margin). If you do not have sufficient margin to cover your open metal positions in full, you need to reduce your exposure to gold and silver pairs before end of day July 15, or risk a margin call of all your open positions when this change is implemented.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused by this change in legal requirements...

I sure am glad that Bawney Fwank and Chris Dudd came around to protect me from myself (and profits). I don't know what I would have done had they not forced me and tens of thousands of small retail traders to cough up ever-greater amounts of cash to use as margin for our trades. Someone had to stop this insane practice of accepting risk in pursuit of reward, especially inside of accounts like these Oanda accounts where losing trades will stop out before the account hits zero, meaning you can never lose more than you actually have and end up owing the broker. Good save, fellas!

I don't blame Oanda for this at all, of course. It's the law now, they have to comply. No one should take my comments on this to mean that I'm lumping them in with these jackass politicians.

This does make me wonder, too, if precious metals prices are going to crash when these new regulations are in full effect. Some portion of the presently high prices these metals are commanding (historically speaking) is probably in part due to leveraged trading in them. Take that away and it could cause a bit of a collapse (or a lot of one). We'll see.

29 May 2011

Red Green: How To Kill Bees

I seem to be on a video kick lately (that's better than my bad habit of not posting though!).

I found this clip particularly funny because I work in pest control. This is definitely not the method I would use in this scenario, and I really don't think you should try this at home.

If the problem really is honey bees, I call a beekeeper to come and collect them. Most of the time my clients say "bee" generically and the pest is actually yellowjackets, hornets, paper wasps, etc., in which case I destroy the nest with an insecticide application (any stragglers that survive won't live long without the support of their hive).

22 May 2011

Youtube: Ultimate Dog Tease

I saw this on Facebook last night. I can't honestly say why this makes me laugh when I watch it, but it does. The video was first posted to YouTube on May 1st; is has since logged over 28 million views. Apparently, I'm not alone!

Then I spotted this other video. It seems the Canadians have their own greeting beavers:

There's plenty more featured at the Talking Animals channel on YouTube. Have fun!

06 February 2011

Ben Franklin on Welfare Policy

The Cablenator left a comment on my post from Friday about a recent WSJ article on the use of food stamps in the United States. His comment, in part, reads:
Food stamps offer little in the way of incentive to break free from the welfare system if they facilitate other areas of spending that are clearly non-necessities. Plain nutrition-cakes are entirely humane and discourage dependency.
I agree. This brought to mind something that Benjamin Franklin once said, one of my favorite quotes of his:
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

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