Search found 703 matches

by black jack
Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

"A Splendid Exchange," by William Bernstein. A wonderfully informative trip through history following the thread of trade goods and networks (as opposed to, say, politics or wars). I have an MA in history (circa 1980s), and am thrilled (and a bit abashed) by how much I'm learning from this...
by black jack
Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bicycle commuting
Replies: 91
Views: 9384

Re: Bicycle commuting

By most accounts pedestrian fatalities per mile are either much greater or comparable to cycling fatalities per mile. I'd be very interested in seeing those studies; I've never seen any studies that even tried to estimate the miles traveled by pedestrians and by bicyclists. IMO the key paper is: Ma...
by black jack
Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bicycle commuting
Replies: 91
Views: 9384

Re: Bicycle commuting

Epsilon Delta wrote:By most accounts pedestrian fatalities per mile are either much greater or comparable to cycling fatalities per mile.
I'd be very interested in seeing those studies; I've never seen any studies that even tried to estimate the miles traveled by pedestrians and by bicyclists.
by black jack
Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bicycle commuting
Replies: 91
Views: 9384

Re: Bicycle commuting

In my 20s I went a decade without a car, getting around by bike, foot, and bus and renting a car when needed - but I was living in a city (Honolulu) on an island, so distances were relatively short, and I was single (and some of the women I dated had cars, so sometimes I was freeloading transportati...
by black jack
Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

I love the language employed by the Victorians (and Edwardians) .... When you read old letters written by even non-literary people of those times, the ability to expound their thoughts and express their emotions is far beyond what would be commonly seen today. We've lost something with our now easy...
by black jack
Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Just finished The Innocents Abroad , by Mark Twain. It was his first big book success. Well, it's readable, and it's funny... but what a sourpuss he is. He hardly seemed to enjoy anything. And while it contains the famous quotation "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness,&...
by black jack
Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Just finished The Innocents Abroad , by Mark Twain. It was his first big book success. Well, it's readable, and it's funny... but what a sourpuss he is. He hardly seemed to enjoy anything. And while it contains the famous quotation "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness,&...
by black jack
Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recognizing fabrics similar to EMS Techwick?
Replies: 9
Views: 2074

Re: Recognizing fabrics similar to EMS Techwick?

Another vote for the Target Champion C9 100% polyester shirts for sweaty exercise (though they have difference weaves; my favorite is the smooth one). Their cotton-poly blend shirts are also my favorite non-exercise t-shirts (I'm wearing one now, so pulled it off to look: "Duo Dry" 60% cot...
by black jack
Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you recommend a bread maker?
Replies: 30
Views: 2994

Re: Do you recommend a bread maker?

I had a bread maker for almost 20 years, which I used off and on. I gave it away a few years ago after I came across the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes-ebook/dp/B00F1R9D9Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=144...
by black jack
Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Just finished "Hondo", Louis L'Amour's first novel, and my first Louis L'Amour novel (and probably my last): it was not bad, and a woman was a central character. The book goes along at a reflective pace, and then the last couple dozen pages rush by - maybe he ran out of energy or inspirati...
by black jack
Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Martial arts for beginner adults
Replies: 45
Views: 5931

Re: Martial arts for beginner adults

Another vote for Tai Chi Chuan. It's a martial art, but not obviously so, and many (most?) of the students may, like you, have no interest in its real-world combat applications. There's no uniform, series of belts to test for, long-term commitments to sign up for, etc. You can do it forever (see old...
by black jack
Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Questions about Verizon FIOS
Replies: 5
Views: 1247

Re: Questions about Verizon FIOS

1a-c: no idea overall, but my FiOS line is not buried, it comes in from the street pole to the side of my house, down into the ONT box, then into my basement to the battery case (I've had it for 5 years, and have never replaced my battery - haven't checked it lately either). 2: I rented a cable card...
by black jack
Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?
Replies: 40
Views: 8436

Re: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?

I would hate to travel that much, and DW and I don't have kids yet. I don't think anybody looks back on their life and wishes they had spent less time with their kids. But there are also many miserable 40, 50 and 60 something at Federal agencies who regret staying in the government for so long that...
by black jack
Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?
Replies: 40
Views: 8436

Re: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?

I may be facing a similar decision myself. I've been mulling over what would get me to leave and 1) I'm not happy in my current position 2) I'm working on novel issues that won't be novel soon 3) as someone in my early 40s I don't know that I'm ready to keep this particular job for the next 20+ yea...
by black jack
Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?
Replies: 40
Views: 8436

Re: Should I leave Federal Job for a Private Sector Job?

I would hate to travel that much, and DW and I don't have kids yet. I don't think anybody looks back on their life and wishes they had spent less time with their kids. Many posters have already noted the likely bad impact of that much travel on your family life, but I want to reiterate jpelder's ob...
by black jack
Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are your best time-savers?
Replies: 108
Views: 16795

Re: What are your best time-savers?

I could not disagree more with the statements about talking on the phone while driving. It's personal for me -- I spent many years taking a bicycle or motorcycle to work and had many near misses and a few not-so-near misses due to driver inattention (i.e., talking on cell phones, texting, or readin...
by black jack
Sat Sep 12, 2015 1:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: LED lightbulbs
Replies: 223
Views: 26547

Re: LED lightbulbs

Bertilak, either you've been very unlucky or I've been very lucky. I have one dimmer switch in my home, on a ceiling fixture in my dining room. As far as I know, the dimmer switch is nothing special: on the rotary dial it says "Leviton incandescent only 600 W max"(!). It was in the house w...
by black jack
Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)
Replies: 133
Views: 20212

Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Hammock: not one with a spreader bar, one of the ripstop nylon ones. To understand why, see http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-guide/ . We bought one at my teen daughter's urging, but I've been its major user, taking a nap in it every weekend I've been home this summer. I w...
by black jack
Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)
Replies: 133
Views: 20212

Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

TiVo. Sony shower radio. Kindle: if I'd had one forty years ago, I'd have a lot more open wall space in my home now. Hammock: not one with a spreader bar, one of the ripstop nylon ones. To understand why, see http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-guide/ . We bought one at my te...
by black jack
Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Deleted
Replies: 11
Views: 1779

Re: MP3 player for 8 year old

I think that the iPod Touch is good for an 8 year old. They can even text with their friends if they get the right app. Why don't you find out what all her friends are using, or better yet, what she'd like? I bought my daughter an iPod Touch when she was 10. She loved it, and took good care of it; ...
by black jack
Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Finished As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride , by Cary Elwes (who played Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts) and Joe Layden (professional ghostwriter?). In double-checking the title just now at Amazon, I see that although published only 11 months ago, it has over 1,0...
by black jack
Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

... about an amazing episode from WWII, the kidnapping of a German general by British and Cretan guerrillas on Crete (which was occupied by the Germans) ... You might also enjoy Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss, a British agent. +1. A true story far better than fiction. The British Commando ...
by black jack
Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

... about an amazing episode from WWII, the kidnapping of a German general by British and Cretan guerrillas on Crete (which was occupied by the Germans) ... You might also enjoy Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss, a British agent. Moss was involved in the kidnapping and gives his first-hand ac...
by black jack
Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Just finished "Natural Born Heroes" by Christopher NacDougall. Some may be familiar with MacDougall's previous book, "Born to Run," which inspired many (including me) to dispense with running shoes and experiment with barefoot running (being a tenderfoot, I opted for rubber soles...
by black jack
Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aloha Shirt: Yes or No
Replies: 80
Views: 11450

Re: Aloha Shirt: Yes or No

Now I was struck that there are a range of fabrics and prices. Of course this is the case for all clothing. Here's what I see: 1. All cotton 2. Rayon 3. Silk People have seemed to have a few opinions about these. Are the "nice" and "tasteful" ones generally silk? Since I'm looki...
by black jack
Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Aloha Shirt: Yes or No
Replies: 80
Views: 11450

Re: Aloha Shirt: Yes or No

When I was going to school in Hawaii in the late 70s/early 80s, the last work day of the week was known as Aloha Friday. Everyone had permission to replace business wear with tasteful Aloha wear. Bankers and other office workers who spent the rest of the week in business suits swapped out their war...
by black jack
Sun Jul 26, 2015 8:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can you return food at a restaurant and not have to pay for it?
Replies: 46
Views: 19587

Re: Can you return food at a restaurant and not have to pay for it?

The only time I've ever sent food back was if it was not prepared as I specified in a way that was not reparable (e.g., if I said to leave the cheese off the hamburger and it came with cheese melted on it). I would not expect to pay for a dish that was not prepared per my instructions (I'm not picky...
by black jack
Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Easy lunch brownbag ideas
Replies: 32
Views: 4372

Re: Easy lunch brownbag ideas

Do you have access to a microwave and refrigerator at work?

I keep a bag of Costco's frozen breaded tilapia fillets in the freezer at work, and heat up one each day. Along with that, several pieces of fruit and a couple handfuls of peanuts and almonds.
by black jack
Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Greatest money lesson movie
Replies: 71
Views: 10947

Re: Greatest money lesson movie

Thief (1981): There's a price to getting too attached to material things.

The Bicycle Thief (1949): how easily a good man's efforts to get ahead can be undone by circumstances (alternate moral: always lock up your bike).
by black jack
Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Music player while exercising
Replies: 32
Views: 2878

Re: Music player while exercising

Another vote for the Sansa Clip. It has three key features for me: (1) it plays FM radio as well as music and audiobooks (in many formats, including the biggies MP3 and WMA); (2) it's so small and lightweight that when it falls it is caught by my earbuds (I wear the kind that have a loop over the ba...
by black jack
Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Just finished SCORPION DOWN ... Sunk by the Soviets, Buried by the Pentagon : The Untold Story of the USS Scorpion by Ed Offley. It recounts the loss of the nuclear submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-598) at sea on Memorial Day May 27, 1968. This book will especially appeal to those who grew up during the...
by black jack
Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

With the Tour de France only weeks away, taking a break from WWII to read The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle. Hamilton was one of the world's top cyclists, a teammate of Lance Armstrong for his first two Tour victories, and a Tour conte...
by black jack
Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

With the Tour de France only weeks away, taking a break from WWII to read The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle. Hamilton was one of the world's top cyclists, a teammate of Lance Armstrong for his first two Tour victories, and a Tour conten...
by black jack
Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you do to relax just after returning from work
Replies: 80
Views: 13075

Re: What do you do to relax just after returning from work

An hour long bike ride (back roads in my neighborhood) is my preferred way to relax after a hard days work. If I'm unable to ride, I use my WaterRower, or crank up the stereo and "chill" for a bit. These all help me transition from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, so my wife can tolerate me the re...
by black jack
Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you do to relax just after returning from work
Replies: 80
Views: 13075

Re: What do you do to relax just after returning from work

Exercise. Most days I commute by bike. It's about 12 miles, takes nearly an hour. There's a slight life-or-death aspect to bike commuting in a city, so it requires enough focus on the present to take my mind off work, and it burns off the physical stresses of work. When I get home I take a shower. I...
by black jack
Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bread Machines?
Replies: 41
Views: 5612

Re: Bread Machines?

Before you get a bread machine (I used to have one), I would HIGHLY recommend that you at least give Mark Bittman's "No-Knead Bread Recipe" (google it) a try. Not only is it nearly idiot-proof, but it makes lovely artisanal type bread that when popped fresh out of the oven, almost everyon...
by black jack
Sat May 30, 2015 11:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Enjoying Morgenthal & Co. by Barrie Wigmore. It's about a fictional investment bank between the years 1972 and 2010, written by a retired Goldman Sachs partner. I read that. I thought it was fascinating. If I didn't have so much other reading to catch up on I would probably go through it again....
by black jack
Sat May 30, 2015 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Stalin said "it takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army". Drawn up behind every Russian division were NKVD troops (ie KGB) with orders to shoot any man heading back from the front without proper papers. The Russians were absolutely savage with their own men, driving them on. Ever...
by black jack
Fri May 29, 2015 10:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Memorial Day theme: Finished The Boys’ Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944–1945 by Paul Fussell. Fussell was a 2nd lieutenant in 1944, wounded in France (he's written several other books about war, I find, but this was my first book by him). This book is episodic, focusing o...
by black jack
Thu May 28, 2015 2:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do-it-yourself handy person: How did you learn?
Replies: 41
Views: 7222

Re: Do-it-yourself handy person: How did you learn?

I learned how to do some things from helping my dad; he could do most anything, and learned what he knew from shop class, Army mechanic training, books and experimentation. I wish he was still around. Years ago I used to consult books (Readers Digest, Time Life, Home Depot) and magazines (Family Han...
by black jack
Wed May 27, 2015 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI
Replies: 4892
Views: 1307140

Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part VI

Memorial Day theme: Finished The Boys’ Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944–1945 by Paul Fussell. Fussell was a 2nd lieutenant in 1944, wounded in France (he's written several other books about war, I find, but this was my first book by him). This book is episodic, focusing on...
by black jack
Tue May 19, 2015 9:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How fast should I ride my bicycle?
Replies: 64
Views: 19875

Re: How fast should I ride my bicycle?

Out of curiosity, I checked the bike times for the DC National Triathlon (figuring triathletes are fit but generally not specialized bike racers, and drafting is not allowed in the bike event). In 2012 it was a 25 mile course, mostly flat I assume (since it went along the Potomac River). The top fi...
by black jack
Mon May 18, 2015 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How fast should I ride my bicycle?
Replies: 64
Views: 19875

Re: How fast should I ride my bicycle?

Out of curiosity, I checked the bike times for the DC National Triathlon (figuring triathletes are fit but generally not specialized bike racers, and drafting is not allowed in the bike event). In 2012 it was a 25 mile course, mostly flat I assume (since it went along the Potomac River). The top fin...
by black jack
Sat May 16, 2015 10:46 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Surrender annuities and take penatly better than sitting it out?
Replies: 17
Views: 2195

Re: Surrender annuities and take penatly better than sitting it out?

I agree with your plan to cash out the annuities, even with the penalty (while following others' advice to minimize the amount the penalty is applied to).

But - are you sure the cash out penalty is only 10%? I'm surprised it's that low with 10 years left to run on the annuities.
by black jack
Sun May 10, 2015 3:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy a lighter bicycle or lose body weight?
Replies: 53
Views: 8804

Re: Should I buy a lighter bicycle or lose body weight?

http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/08/news/bike-weight-myth-fast-bikes_339880 Let’s answer the question you really care about: How much faster does it make me? Let’s see what will happen when our hypothetical rider rides bikes of varying weight up different hills. We’ll hold power at a constant 20...
by black jack
Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: As Cognition Slips, Financial Skills Often the First to Go
Replies: 27
Views: 3634

Re: As Cogntivity Slips, Financial Skills Often the First to

In light of this information, when should you get concerned about your parents' financial skills, and how can you address the situation if you see that their skills are slipping? It's not always easy to distinguish suboptimal decision-making from cognitive deterioration. I'll bet this topic has been...
by black jack
Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car for teenager
Replies: 52
Views: 5943

Re: Car for teenager

I guess it depends on your geography. Teens around here rarely drive on the freeway. I have many friends who do not let their teenagers drive on the freeways and a parent drives instead. They say it is too dangerous. I always felt it would be pretty bad if my children were away at college or a new ...
by black jack
Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:38 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Help Me Explain an Equity Index Annuity to a Relative
Replies: 37
Views: 3861

Re: Please Help Me Explain an Equity Index Annuity to a Rela

I didn't hear the sales pitch made to my parents, so I don't know under what guise this product was sold to them. As best I could make out from their explanation of why they transferred their retirement savings from their IRAs to a product whose details they didn't understand, it was insurance for t...
by black jack
Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Please Help Me Explain an Equity Index Annuity to a Relative
Replies: 37
Views: 3861

Re: Please Help Me Explain an Equity Index Annuity to a Rela

Thought I'd update this post (as a warning to others, and to relieve my frustration), as I just received my mom's annual statement. You can see my account of my mom's purchase of an equity-indexed annuity up-thread. For the most recent year (April 1 2014-March 31 2015): S&P 500 return (including...
by black jack
Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there a good IPOD alternative?
Replies: 27
Views: 8909

Re: Is there a good IPOD alternative?

From the Sansa Clip website: The Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player is compatible with a wide variety of formats, including MP3, WMA, secure WMA, and Audible. It even lets you enjoy high-fidelity formats, such FLAC and Ogg Vorbis, without needing to compress and convert your files. My wife uses a Sansa Clip+ to...