Little reserve

We are occasionally regaled with tales of how broke we are, and it was just a matter of time before the Daily Mail got into the act:

It’s easy to think those making six figures are stashing away loads of cash in a savings account for luxurious vacations or relaxing retirements.

But a new study shows that isn’t the case.

Nearly half of those earning between $100,000 to $149,999 a year have less than $1,000 in a savings account, according to GOBankingRates.

Approximately 18 per cent of those making an income in that range have absolutely nothing saved.

Hey, it’s September. All that pumpkin spice costs money.

And if you think those earning more than $150,000 are faring any better — you’d be wrong.

Close to 29 per cent of those with an income in that range have less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Six per cent have nothing at all to show for their admirable income.

I admit my own exchequer is a bit depleted of late, though I did manage to scare up almost three grand via crowdfunding toward the summer medical bills, a tad short of the declared goal but enough for me to be able to cover the single biggest bill in one lump sum. (I am no longer promoting that campaign on social media, but if for some reason you want to give me actual money, I won’t even object.)

Of course, Captain Obvious is interviewed:

The GOBankingRates survey found that lower-income adults are the least likely to have money in savings. Of those earning less than $25,000, 38 percent have $0 in savings and another 35 percent have less than $1,000 saved. The percentages are nearly identical for those earning $25,000 to $49,999.

You don’t say.

(Via Fark.)

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Cancel the coronation

Vanity Fair posed some questions to Ann Coulter, whom they describe as the “High Priestess of Trumpism,” and this one stood out:

Is there anything that you respect or admire about [Hillary] Clinton?

To be honest with you, no. I really hate this idea that women can feel like now they can … little girls can grow up to president. No, her entire career is based on the fact that she was married to a president. She has gotten ahead 100 percent on who her husband is. She’s not Claire McCaskill, she is not Dianne Feinstein, she is not Jeanne Shaheen — who, by the way, I am citing all liberal Democrats, but they are actually impressive women. They did it on their own. I defy any Vanity Fair reader to even know what their husbands do for a living.

I’m not so crazy about McCaskill, but I concede, I have no idea how her husband spends his day.

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Point missed by several centimeters

I don’t expect the Ford dealer down the street to sell me a new Subaru. And I’m pretty sure this is comparably silly:

Irvine-based In-N-Out Burger is the target of a petition that demands the fast-food burger institution add a meat-free meal to its menu.

Launched last week on change.org, the petition by Washington D.C.-based Good Food Institute said the burger chain has been “letting its fans down by failing to serve anything that would satisfy a burger-loving customer who wants a healthy, humane, and sustainable option.”

Au contraire. This is exactly what the fans want: not to have to deal with anyone who uses the word “sustainable” unironically. Do I expect the local vegan shop — or, for that matter, the nearest halal restaurant, which is closer by — to fix me a proper sausage biscuit? Of course not.

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Puddin ‘n octane

I’m sure this has been asked before, but we’ll still tell you the same:

Do you put premium gasoline in your car? You’re probably wasting your money. A new study by AAA found that 16.5 million Americans had filled up their cars with premium gas unnecessarily in the past year. That’s $2.1 billion, completely wasted.

Roughly 70 percent of Americans own cars that have no practical need for premium gas and only need regular. AAA conducted tests using 87-octane (regular) and 93-octane (premium) gas in those kinds of cars and found that the premium gas gave absolutely no benefits above the regular gas.

Oh, how I wish the price of premium out here on the Plains brought 93 octane. Instead, we get 91. Then again, we’re a quarter-mile, more or less, above sea level, and the need for higher octane diminishes at higher altitudes. (When I was wandering around the edge of the Rockies in ’04, “regular” was 85, maybe.)

Just 16 percent of Americans own a car that requires premium fuel. And if you’re in that 16 percent you probably know who you are.

Yep. After a decade, I’m used to it. And so is the car.

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And you thought there would be no math

Vi Hart has come up with something timely called “Lookin’ At Slopes: The Calculus of Bad Driving.”

Because, you know, bad driving is at least as much at the mercy of mathematics as is good driving.

Which is not to say that you need to have completed Algebra II and first-semester physics to negotiate the highways and byways; but it helps to know what forces are acting upon you while you ease on down the road.

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Was it worth it?

The first nine years don’t count: The Price Is Right, once a humdrum Bill Cullen-hosted game show on NBC (and briefly on ABC), died a horrible death in 1965 and did not return until 1972, when Bob Barker, borrowed from Truth or Consequences, headed up a whole new version, which begins its 45th season this week.

Yahoo! has a brief history of the post-’72 show, including a few statistics like this:

The first prizing game ever played was Any Number, which is still played today. It was played for a Chevrolet Vega worth $2,746, which became the first car ever given away.

And Any Number has hardly changed at all:

Cars, of course, have gotten much more expensive since 1972, though this is more a function of inflation than anything else; $2,746 then is $15,809 today.

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Tabs from heck

One of my Daily Drugs is name-brand only; CFI Care (not its real initials) specifies a copay of $75 a month for it, and will presumably do so until such time as a generic version becomes available, whenever that may be. A Mumbai-based drug company announced three years ago that the FDA had granted them tentative approval for a generic, but the patent apparently doesn’t expire until 2020. In the meantime, CFI Care gets to pay $12.32 per tablet.

Ongoing bladder issues led my doctor to recommend a trial of yet another brand-name drug: he handed over three boxes of seven tablets each. It worked fairly well. There exists a generic, but distribution seems to be blocked for now, so the pharmacy duly boxed me up 90 days’ worth, with a caution from the pharm tech that “this is very expensive.” Well, yeah, I knew that:

A 2006 cost-effectiveness study found that 5 mg solifenacin had the lowest cost and highest effectiveness among anticholinergic drugs used to treat overactive bladder in the United States, with an average medical cost per successfully treated patient of $6863 per year.

This was $18.80 a tablet in 2006. It’s come down some since then; CFI Care got to fork over $9.72 a tab. Still, it’s another $75 a month out of my pocket. Fortunately, Martin Shkreli doesn’t seem to be involved.

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Boned appetit

The Spectator warns us about an eatery at a British theme park:

There is a restaurant: the Little Explorers Lunch Box. It is a yellow shack roughly the same shape as the Bates Motel; I suspect, in this land of transformation, it could become the Bates Motel in 15 minutes, with Mummy barely changing expression to change role. A yellow blob with eyes smiles out of a fake window, like custard thrown in rage. Photographs of fruit bounce across the signage. The floor is a photograph of grass; the wall is a photograph of cows so well-lit they might have wandered out of cow Vogue; the lamps are wooden clouds; a child’s painting of an apple hangs on the wall, like an ancient, remote god. It is a rebuke. Since we are technically, if not spiritually, in Staffordshire, which has farmland, this quest for a dream farm is depraved, but not quite pointless, because it is not an homage to rural life. It is an homage to rural life brought to you by TV; that is, an homage to TV, and in this it succeeds completely.

After that, the actual food would be almost irrelevant, even if it were edible:

CBeebies Land knows the covetousness of children. So it gives them a paper box — a photograph of a lunch box — which the parent must assemble. Then the child picks a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a drink and a sad piece of fruit — it may be the last fruit — for £4.25. Adults get sagging paninis, salty sausage rolls and Pringles, which is a type of crisp for crystal meth addicts who eat crisps when they cannot get any crystal meth, and so seek the crisps which most resemble crystal meth, which are Pringles. The Little Explorers Lunch Box is a brightly coloured bunker dreaming of a world it both yearns for and despises; thus it teaches children more then they sought to know.

It taught me more than I sought to know about Pringles.

(Via James Cook.)

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Ready for the beginner slope

One week of the horrid floor materials at work wore away the last of the rubber tips on the back legs of my walker. Something had to be done, and that something was this:

Pop 'N Glide Walker Skis by Essential Medical Supply

I admit to being a hair over 250 pounds, but it wasn’t that long ago I was over 350 pounds. The walker itself supports 300.

$11.90 on Amazon Prime. I bought a pair and a spare.

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A truly World Tour

I’ve done a few road trips in my day, often designated by the phrase “World Tour,” though none of them ever left the States (there were some close approaches) and the longest one was a commute short of 5,000 miles.

Proposed road trip from London to New York

Still, this gets me thinking:

Vladimir Yakunin is the head of Russian Railways and he’s got a big dream.

According to CNN, he is proposing a superhighway that will allow transportation from Nome, Alaska to Russia by crossing the Bering Strait. The highway will then take travelers to Moscow and ultimately end in London.

Dubbed the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development (TEPR), “a theoretical drive from London to Alaska via Moscow might cover about 12,978 kilometers (8,064 miles),” reports CNN. In total, if you traveled from New York to London, you would cover approximately 12,910 miles.

Downside: this glosses over the fact that the Bering Strait, at its narrowest point, is more than 50 miles across. Fortunately, it’s not necessary to build a single 50-mile span; the Diomede Islands sit in the middle of the strait. And while icebergs as such aren’t a threat, a six-foot-thick ice floe can play hell with a bridge.

Also downside:

Right now, the plans haven’t been approved, and with Yakinin estimating the cost to be trillions of dollars, no one has generously stepped up to foot the bill.

Quelle surprise.

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Rejection 101

Noah, it seems, fantasizes about Zoë. Zoë, we may be certain, is Not Interested:

Noah, dear lad, I feel for you. Believe me, I do.

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September in the rain

It was in fact raining on Saturday when I got the notification of a new box set:

Dinah Washington 3-CD box set released October 2016

Which gave me an excuse to spin Dinah Washington’s last pop hit, from 1963:

Quite apart from the pop stuff, Washington was known as a blues singer, and in that same year of 1963 she cut an album called Back to the Blues, some of which was actually bluesy. (See, for instance, the last track, “Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning.”)

Autographed photo of Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington does some album art

And sadly, in that same year of 1963, Dinah Washington, only thirty-nine, died, after having apparently dabbled in barbiturates. Meanwhile, in 2016, the rain has stopped for now.

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A Lidl more competition

The Germans were already here: Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Here come some more:

A new wave of European grocery stores is about to invade the US.

The German supermarket chain Lidl is gearing up to open stores in dozens of cities along the East Coast spanning from New Jersey to Georgia, the company told Business Insider.

Lidl wouldn’t reveal how many stores it’s planning to open, but sources told the commercial real estate firm CoStar that the company will open as many as 150 US stores by 2018. The company currently has 10,000 stores in 26 European countries.

As of the end of July, there were 11,539 Walmart (or related) stores.

(Via Ellen Cagnassola.)

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How soon is two hours from now?

This past weekend in Chicago:

No meat at Riot Fest for at least two hours

The Smiths did, after all, issue an album called Meat Is Murder. Still, as Emily Zanotti points out:

And after all that, no Smiths songs and a weird tirade about police brutality, Bernie Sanders and bullfighting.

Has a light gone out, perhaps?

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Kill me later

O Lord, grant me the sweet peace of death, but not now:

Last weekend Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort said in Rio that she is considering euthanasia to escape a life of unbearable physical pain — only not quite yet.

Vervoort, who won silver in the 400m wheelchair race at the Paralympic Games, played down earlier reports that she planned to be euthanized after her return from Brazil.

“I have my (euthanasia) papers in my hand, but I’m still enjoying every little moment. When the moment comes when I have more bad days than good days, then I have my euthanasia papers, but the time is not there yet,” she told a news conference in Rio [de Janeiro], Brazil, where the Paralympic Games are taking place.

And if she has more good days than bad days? Is she screwed?

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Strange search-engine queries (555)

Monday brings many things: sleepiness, grumpiness, and, for the last decade or so, a collection of search strings that caused this very site to show up on people’s Google/Bing/Whatever searches. (Note: This was done while I was sleepy and/or grumpy.)

626 rear wheel:  Be careful. They usually travel in pairs.

grassrootsmotorsports soccer moms revenge:  Jack Baruth swears he wasn’t there at the time.

unlikeable: the problem with hillary:  If that were all, then it wouldn’t be a problem.

in a televised “social experiment” by the local television network, 12 people — 6 white and 6 african american — were asked to live together for one week. they varied in their level of prejudice; however, those with low levels of prejudice became less prejudiced, while those with high levels became more:  Likely to get their own reality TV shows.

evisceration plague tab:  Available now as a Chrome extension.

bmw sos malfunction:  Supersedes the too-often-seen SOL malfunction.

singler:  But not as single as “singlest.”

shedshed:  Who is this really? Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson?

aaa travel guides free blog roll 2003:  You have to figure that they wouldn’t be worth much after 13 years.

although it is certainly an unusual source of data for researchers, some have looked at playboy centerfolds and miss america beauty pageant contestants. how is this research relevant to eating disorders?  It keeps the researchers focused, and out of the kitchen hunting for snacks.

obama ineligible:  You should have come up with this long, long before.

is pure nudism illegal:  Check your local laws. (Because they’ll happily check you.)

5 day deodorant pads history:  Doesn’t really get interesting until about halfway through day 3.

what kind of shoes does ray donovan wear:  Yours. And don’t think you can stop him, either.

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