Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Miscellany

As I surf the web, I often find interesting (or infuriating) news articles, websites, and other items that get my posting gland secreting (no comments, Mike). When this happens, I bookmark them or e-mail the URLs to myself and store them in a file called "Blog Fodder" until I need a topic about which to write.

Well, just as the universe is expanding at a faster and faster rate, so too is my Blog Fodder file, and so it's time to haul out a few odd topics and offer my witty commentary thereon...

In an article reposted on Yahoo News this past Wednesday, Reuters news service reported the results of a survey which asked people to identify admirable jobs, which professions they trust or do not, who is overpaid, and which profession they would prefer to marry. On the marriage front, 16% of respondents nominated doctors, nurses and other health care professionals as their preferred marriage partners, higher than any other profession; educators scored 14% and scientists, 10%. As to the most trusted professions, educators and doctors led the pack with an overwhelming 86 and 87 percent, followed by homemakers and those in science and technology. At the bottom? The media, marketing, and retail sales. Lawyers and corporate executives were cited as among the most overpaid professionals (shocking, isn't it?).

There was no mention of financial mismanagers, or child molesters.

Speaking of financial management, in this article, CNN reported on the phenomenon of "rate-jacking," in which credit card companies suddenly spike the rates charged their customers with no warning other than a brief notice in the time-honored "fine print" of the statement. The article cites examples of rates jumping from 9.5% to 16.99% with no clear warning. CitiGroup, a major credit card issuer, wouldn't talk to CNN about it, but said this in a written statement: "To continue funding in this difficult credit and funding environment, Citi is repricing a group of customers." Good luck if you got "repriced." I think there's some hope, though, as yesterday the Fed was reported to have voted to crack down on the most egregious activities of the credit card firms. (I'll write more about this in another post because, while I think credit card issuers are often the most greedy of predators, there's another side to the Agnes, who works in a credit union, never ceases to remind me).

On a somewhat brighter topic, here is an interesting site for you to visit: the Life Expectancy Calculator. This "virtual age" calculator starts with your current age and walks you through a series of 32 questions dealing with your lifestyle, habits, family health history, and environment, and ends up presenting you with two figures: your "virtual age" (which may be more or less than your real age, depending on how honestly you answered the questions), and your projected life expectancy. My scores, starting with my real age of 57, were: Virtual Age - 49.9; and Life Expectancy - 85.1. Give it a try, if you dare...

And finally, from the Department of What On Earth Were They Thinking? comes this story about a store that refused to decorate a birthday cake for a child named Adolf Hitler Campbell. Little Adolf, it seems, also has a sister named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. You have to get a license to get married...too bad you don't also have to get one to be a parent.

That's all for now. Time to get ready for work, and then tonight is the big Christmas Ball at the dance studio. Dancing with beautiful ladies is good. Dancing with beautiful ladies in formal gowns is better. Eat your hearts out, guys.

Have a good day. Cartoon Saturday comes tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

That credit card article was on the news the other night. I'm glad I only have a few cards that I use and most are almost paid off. I've had it with those a-holes and how the kill the consumer.

Gilahi said...

I believe that most credit card lenders are incredibly huge weasels who will screw over a cardholder at the least opportunity. I also understand that a lot of people have had very unfortunate circumstances in which they've run up credit card debt. I believe, however, that the overwhelming majority of the credit card debt in this country is caused by people who live beyond their means and are too ignorant or apathetic to understand their credit card agreements. I have no sympathy for these people, and at some level hope the credit card companies will teach them a lesson.

Bilbo said...

Andrea - I agree with you, but there's more to the story, as Gilahi has noted...

Gilahi - you have squarely hit one of the points I was going to make in my follow-up post. There are a lot of people who happily run up huge credit card debt, then whine that they're being abused when the company that advanced them the credit has the temerity to ask for payment. These people are as bad as the card companies.

anOCgirl said...

have fun at the xmas ball! hope your dancing feet don't end up hurting after all of that dancing!

fiona said...

OMG I took the test AND told the truth!
I'm a "virtual" 27, wooohoo!
I'm going to live until I'm 94!
Best start stocking up on Depends, as of now.
Have a wonderful Christmas Ball.
Credit Cards are to be used with caution!

Twinkie said...

Credit card companies are garbage. I've paid a few off only to have tacked on a "yearly fee"... I try to call to cancel said card... I'm on hold for OVER an hour. Bastards. I tell you. Bastards.

Right now I only have my Discover, Victoria Secrets (for the perks and freebies) and Banana Republic (for the perks and freebies)

All the other cards can kiss my ass.

Mike said...

Blog file - got one
Admirable jobs - where's the government workers and the politicians?
Credit cards - If you can't pay it off every month you shouldn't have one. (fees? I don't pay no stinkin' fees!)
Life EC - virtual 46, expec 96 - Now I'm worried that I'll have enough money. Hey! That brought my score down a little.
Names - should be like personalized license plates. Have to be approved by the DMV.
Eat your hearts out, guys. - Next post from Bilbo. Explanation of eating your own heart.