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Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

C Trick by Donald M Cooper. This is a partially fictionalized memoir of military service in the USASA (US Army Security Agency) in Cold War Germany in the 60's and 70's. As a veteran of that agency and times and place, I found the book a gritty, funny, realistic account of that piece of my life, wi...
by denismurf
Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:37 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 247
Views: 29578

Re: Favorite nonfiction books

How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser.

Much tongue in cheek, but also thought provoking and reminiscent of how much original thinking was going on among those physicists in the 1960's and 1970's who refused to just "shut up and calculate." (which is the title of Chapter 1).
by denismurf
Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:38 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite nonfiction books
Replies: 117
Views: 9637

Re: Two month work assignment in Bulgaria

Lucky you. Be sure to seek out and grab any opportunity to attend a wedding or birthday party where there might be dancing. Bulgarians of both sexes do varieties of a simple, basic dance called a horo, pronounced her OH. Just jump in and do it. Somebody will help you through the first minute or so. ...
by denismurf
Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:48 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Two month work assignment in Bulgaria
Replies: 3
Views: 493

Re: Where can I go to get a signature guarantee or Medallion

A couple of years ago, after my wife died, suddenly I could not get money from a brokerage account holding our trust without that medallion guarantee. The assistant manager of the US bank branch where we had been banking for years spent what seemed like half an hour on her computer coming up with re...
by denismurf
Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where can I go to get a signature guarantee or Medallion sig
Replies: 34
Views: 3545

Re: Keep or sell Zero Coupon Bond?

I think it's safe to say that you will NOT get the stated value of that bond if you sell it into the secondary market. But give it a try by telling your broker to offer it for sale and give you a quote before you place the sell order.

In other words, Gill is right, IMO.
by denismurf
Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:32 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Keep or sell Zero Coupon Bond?
Replies: 7
Views: 882

Re: Jane Austen's Economics

In his book Capita l, Piketty relies on Jane Austen's novels for illustrations of a society whose economic and political decisions are made primarily by people who live off rents (as he defines the term) and never have to have real jobs. Sorry, no examples. I lent my book to somebody and didn't get ...
by denismurf
Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:21 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Jane Austen's Economics
Replies: 60
Views: 16946

Netflix: how long broken?

Nothing streaming available tonight on Netflix.

Anybody know long this has been going on?
by denismurf
Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:29 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Netflix: how long broken?
Replies: 13
Views: 2165

Re: lost cell phone

Thank you, folks, from the OP.
by denismurf
Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: lost cell phone
Replies: 6
Views: 761

lost cell phone

I live by myself and own one phone - a T-Mobile cell phone. I've "lost" that phone several times, but it always turned up, after I checked through the online ring service or somebody just found it. Some day, though, I fear it really will disappear. How do others protect their telephone mea...
by denismurf
Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: lost cell phone
Replies: 6
Views: 761

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

I finished The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver about month ago and am now re-reading pieces that I didn't really understand the first time around. I think it's well worth the extra effort.
by denismurf
Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 247
Views: 29578

Re: Critically Acclaimed Movies you did not like

The Piano
Fish Called Wanda
The Inglorious Basterds

plus, another vote for English Patient
by denismurf
Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Critically Acclaimed Movies you did not like
Replies: 150
Views: 13561

Re: A 'really good book' you did NOT enjoy

FWIW, Thomas Piketty, in his Capital in the 21st Century refers to Jane Austen's novels a lot for examples to illustrate his terms and the way people acted back then. Yes, I did finish the book and am happy I did. However, yes, it is a slog. I was going to give some excerpts, but I lent the book out.
by denismurf
Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A 'really good book' you did NOT enjoy
Replies: 229
Views: 12177

Re: Recommended World War I book

I second the recommendation of A Soldier of the Great War as an account of the perspective of participants. Another perspective, of Russian officers at the outset of the war, is given in great (fictionlalized) detail in Solzhenitsyn's August 1914 . And then there's a really bitter satire in the nove...
by denismurf
Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommended World War I book
Replies: 37
Views: 2189

Re: A 'really good book' you did NOT enjoy

My top vote goes to "the greatest book ever written."
by denismurf
Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A 'really good book' you did NOT enjoy
Replies: 229
Views: 12177

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Several people here have praised the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. Does one lose anything by reading them out of sequence?

My library currently has only volume 3, and I have never read anything by him.
by denismurf
Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Re: Keeping up with the neighbors and Balance

One assumption behind this thread seems to be that there exists something called "happiness" that can be bought just like new cars, vacations, and counter tops. If the OP is short on "happiness," he should just go buy some "happiness" with those dollars sitting around i...
by denismurf
Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Keeping up with the neighbors and Balance
Replies: 95
Views: 10702

How to deny having a stroke?

Radio these days is full of public service ads telling the public to be aware of people having strokes and to call 911 as quickly as possible if certain signs appear. A couple of weeks ago, I was really tired at my evening meal in a family Thai restaurant where I was known. As I finished up, I liter...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to deny having a stroke?
Replies: 13
Views: 1810

Re: Medicare questionnaire legit?

The experience-based opinion here seems to be that CMS is in fact some sort of legitimate contractor for Medicare, which is good enough for me. Thank you. Just for entertainment value, the letter came from a PO Box in Little Rock AR, with a return envelope addressed to a PO Box in Oklahoma City. The...
by denismurf
Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare questionnaire legit?
Replies: 9
Views: 2116

Medicare questionnaire legit?

I just got a detailed questionnaire on my personal data and medical coverage from something called Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The letter says Medicare needs to know this stuff to coordinate benefits. Anybody here able to offer an opinion on whether this query is legitimate or how ...
by denismurf
Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:01 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Medicare questionnaire legit?
Replies: 9
Views: 2116

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

A Nation In Pain by Judy Foreman takes a big step forward in not blaming the upsurge of opioid abuse on chronic pain sufferers who take opioid pain relievers to obtain a fairly normal life. In fact, she describes both chronic severe pain and drug abuse as enormous health problems in their own right...
by denismurf
Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Re: Tax Audits

Acceptance of a return means only that there are no obvious entries that would preclude issuance of a refund or acceptance of an amount due.

Selection for audit is an entirely separate process, as others have pointed out.
by denismurf
Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:12 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tax Audits
Replies: 16
Views: 1552

Re: TurboTax defunct?

Apparently I clicked Yes to one of those scary popups telling me all my IE drivers were obsolete and would destroy my ability to use the internet unless I downloaded a free fix immediately.

SYstem Restore to the rescue! TT now works fine for me.

No, I have nothing to do with physics.
by denismurf
Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax defunct?
Replies: 15
Views: 1976

Re: TurboTax defunct?

No trouble signing into VG. I started the return on TT a week ago via VG with no problems, but can't get back in after signing out. TT just keeps spinning and "loading." Maybe it's time for a System Restore if the problem is not with TT. The "volunteer" suggested I muck around in...
by denismurf
Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax defunct?
Replies: 15
Views: 1976

TurboTax defunct?

After three days, 5 tries,5 total hours of waiting, no success at trying to sign into TT from Vanguard. No response to help request, except for a volunteer who gave nothing useful.

Is TT dying? Or already dead? Time is running out.
by denismurf
Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:27 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: TurboTax defunct?
Replies: 15
Views: 1976

Re: Seattle as a place to live?

leonard mentioned the Seattle Freeze. It definitely existed when I moved here 40 years ago; much less so in recent years. And not at all tonight after the local guys won the Super Bowl. At least for the 2 weeks since the win over San Fran and for who knows how many days hereafter, all of us who live...
by denismurf
Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:55 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Seattle as a place to live?
Replies: 74
Views: 8381

Selling real estate without a realtor

Yesterday, the sale of my condo closed, with no realtors involved. It can be done if conditions are right. The buyers were renters in my condo building and already knew many of the owners and most of the HOA (homeowners association) officers. They knew I was considering selling, liked my unit, and a...
by denismurf
Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling real estate without a realtor
Replies: 8
Views: 836

Re: The Funniest Movie Ever

And finally, my 2 favorite Kevin Cline movies:
Soapdish
I Love You To Death
by denismurf
Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:21 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Funniest Movie Ever
Replies: 227
Views: 15631

Re: The Funniest Movie Ever

For some reason, mistaken identity plots can get me giggling something fierce:
Oscar
Blame It on the Bellboy (or Bellhop?)
El Mariachi
by denismurf
Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:56 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Funniest Movie Ever
Replies: 227
Views: 15631

Quality of NY Times reporting declining?

Without getting into specifics, during the past few months I've noticed that some NY Times news stories on health/medical topics are long on sensationalism and very weak on logic, facts, and objectivity. Has anyone else noticed similar quality declines in NY Times reporting on topics you are knowled...
by denismurf
Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:12 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Quality of NY Times reporting declining?
Replies: 9
Views: 1078

Re: Learn Statistics? How?

Here's another vote for Naked Statistics.

Read this before jumping into college textbooks or similar.
by denismurf
Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:23 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Learn Statistics? How?
Replies: 40
Views: 2546

Re: What am I missing? (a Zero Muni pre-buy check)

Not too many people here buy individual muni bonds, but I do. But I'm not a pro, so take everything I say as fairly well-informed chit chat. I only buy zero coupon munis when first issued. As I understand some pretty complicated tax law, all the accumulated interest at maturity on a bond bought when...
by denismurf
Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: What am I missing? (a Zero Muni pre-buy check)
Replies: 9
Views: 635

Re: estate planning attorney fees

If your primary concern in estate planning is to avoid federal estate taxes, keep in mind that there is no tax on the first 5 million, and there are other breaks if the survivor is the decedent's spouse. You don't need a lawyer to nail down these facts. Be sure to check the accuracy of my assertions...
by denismurf
Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: estate planning attorney fees
Replies: 29
Views: 3379

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

WW II again: A Long Walk by Claus Hackenberger. It's a long memoir that starts with the author's ordinary childhood as the son of a rising Wehrmacht officer in mid-1930's. There are some choppy accounts of teenagehood in Hitler's Germany, a little about his combat service, then suddenly the war is w...
by denismurf
Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Re: Want to have kids, scared of the financial consequences

An earlier poster said they would move or downsize if a child or children made it impossible to maintain their standard and style of living. If both parents really are capable of being happy even with a move to a cheaper neighborhood, getting by with one aging car, shopping at the Goodwill, seldom e...
by denismurf
Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Want to have kids, scared of the financial consequences
Replies: 95
Views: 6288

Re: How did you/your child pay for college?

ME: undergrad at Texas 57-60. 75% by parents; 25% from my work. 0 debt. Grad school at UC Berkeley 63-65; 100% by fellowship. No debt. KIDS: Roughly same as my undergrad experience for both kids: #1 at Washington St, 87-91; #2 at VA Tech 94-99. Both instate. No debt. HOW? Maybe because both my paren...
by denismurf
Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How did you/your child pay for college?
Replies: 151
Views: 9256

Re: Philosophy and Lack of Certainty

Flip through The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts.
by denismurf
Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Philosophy and Lack of Certainty
Replies: 33
Views: 3664

Re: Your opinion about diversifying a 100% muni-bond portfol

If you do choose to reduce your parents' muni bond portfolio, they will come out way ahead by reducing that portfolio by attrition, so to speak. Don't sell any on the secondary market; just don't replace bonds that mature. I see I'm assuming the bonds are in a ladder of some sort. If they are all lo...
by denismurf
Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Your opinion about diversifying a 100% muni-bond portfolio?
Replies: 29
Views: 1780

Re: Hertz PlatePass Program--Feel Burned

Speaking of Hertz, ... A couple of weeks ago I rented a "premium" car for a Seattle-St Louis and back drive: "Ford Crown Victoria or similar." What I got was a Hyundai Genesis; nice, but far from the comfy ride I expected. There were no other "premium" cars at the downt...
by denismurf
Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:06 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hertz PlatePass Program--Feel Burned
Replies: 27
Views: 3586

Re: Choice Of Weapon For Personal Home Self Defense

It's impossible for me even to imagine how to act if that armed guy appears in my home at 2am. That's never happened to me, to any family or friends, or, as far as I know, to anybody in my social or work circles over the years. Nobody has ever brought up such a thing to me while chatting at parties,...
by denismurf
Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Choice Of Weapon For Personal Home Self Defense
Replies: 123
Views: 6494

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Another plug for The Antidote.

If a book really does make me laugh out loud, I consider it worth its weight in Snickers bars.
by denismurf
Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

I returned to, and actually finished, Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny. It's a distillation of 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, plus family and colleagues. I stopped halfway through because it literally made me nauseated, but la...
by denismurf
Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Re: Checking up on Mom: Individual bonds and other scary thi

Getting rid of the bonds now necessarily means selling them on the secondary market, where retail sellers really, really get the shaft. It could be that the shaft is so severe that your mom is better off just hanging on to the bonds until they mature. Actually computing that comparison between selli...
by denismurf
Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:14 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Checking up on Mom: Individual bonds and other scary things
Replies: 11
Views: 1105

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Accidentally just acquired 2 very different books about Nazi Germany. I'm halfway through Into That Darkness by Gitta Sereny. The author logged 70 hours interviewing Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka and Sobibor extermination camps, about his life and his personal journey to the camps, the f...
by denismurf
Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:58 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Re: Cheated on car service?

Your experience isn't uncommon. Mechanics are not stupid. I can attest to this since I am married to one. I read this post to him and pretty much verbatim his reply was.... We see this stuff all the time. Mostly people use chalk. 100's of times he has removed a customers chalk line and replaced it ...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:52 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheated on car service?
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

Cheated on car service?

An earlier experience caused me to do an experiment on a repair shop. Before taking my car in for a tire rotation, I stuck a piece of tape to the valve stem of the drivers side front tire. When I picked the car up and paid for the rotation, that piece of tape was still there. Question: Is it automat...
by denismurf
Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:05 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cheated on car service?
Replies: 24
Views: 2082

Re: benefit of buying a home now?

Last year was a better time to buy than now. Simply due to the now limited inventory and buyers rushing to get low interest rates. I still think its "ok" to buy now, but I think prices may drop again as interest rates rise and houses become less affordable. So make sure its a house you re...
by denismurf
Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: benefit of buying a home now?
Replies: 20
Views: 2457

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Thanks for the reminder that Richard Posner is still around and writing. One of the few books I read twice was his Sex and Reason . Right now I'm halfway through The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels. I've always found her easy to read and her topics interesting even for someone with no religious aff...
by denismurf
Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:11 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V
Replies: 3372
Views: 1229489

Snickers helps US eat healthier

In a move to help reduce America's sugar consumption, Mars Chocolate Co has reduced the size of its standard Snickers bar by 10% and increased its price by 33.3%.
by denismurf
Thu May 30, 2013 10:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snickers helps US eat healthier
Replies: 4
Views: 891

Re: My thoughts on the drop in bond prices after Bernanke ta

Absolutely fascinating stuff, Larry. Anybody interested in what to consider before allocating money to short or much longer maturities should take the time to read the whole (one page) thing. It's simple enough that even I can understand it.
by denismurf
Thu May 23, 2013 1:51 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: My thoughts on the drop in bond prices after Bernanke talk
Replies: 43
Views: 4402
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