Saturday, January 26, 2019

January 26, 2019, T+26, Part 1, Day 1 Of Negotiations

New blog link: focus on fracking. This will be linked at the sidebar at the right. I was remiss all these years not linking it at the sidebar; not sure why I missed this one. It's been around since 2014; a weekly update; and, no ads. I used to be able to say I had an ad-free site but our middle granddaughter shamed me into putting ads on the site. So I did. Mostly I wanted to see how it was done. Kind of a pain to get started but now on auto-pilot. Someone else chooses the ads and I'm not a bit happy with the ad selection but I have no control over that. That's fine. I'm sure they know more about marketing than I do.

Credit cards: all of a sudden, credit cards appear to be introducing a new gimmick -- letting card holders decide how they want to manage their "cash back". Credit card companies are allowing folks to choose their "3% cash back category." It seems Discover was the first major credit card company to do this. "What's in your wallet" Capital points that out every 30 minutes on some business / news channels. Now, at least two other credit card companies are doing the same -- letting customers decide. Amazon Visa, I think has 5% cashback, on many categories. This is a better return than what banks are offering those holding checking / savings accounts.

The cash builds up quickly. I haven't paid for much over at Amazon in a long time. I don't buy books as much as I used to -- I've run out of book space -- and at my advanced age, I'm running out of time to get them all read as it is -- LOL. But any books I do "buy" from Amazon now are pretty much free.

The fastest way to "make/save" 5%: pay utility bills on-line with a credit card, and then immediately cover that payment with an electronic transfer from a bank account. It takes an extra step but it's 5% off your bill. 

With the money I spend at Starbucks, I probably break even.

Omaha Steaks. I used to be a regular customer, then quit for about three years. Not sure why, but I did. Last week I made my first Omaha Steaks order in a very long time. Yesterday, while watching the Golf Channel, there was an Omaha Steak commercial: $49 for a pretty good combo. I gave them a call; it was impossible to turn down the add-ons. The original offer was $49 + $18 for shipping. But for another $49 offer, the shipping would be free. Choice: $67 for original offer, or $98 for doubling that offer. No-brainer. Being sent to brother-in-law in California. No tax. And free shipping. What's not to like.

Silver bullion. I got a telemarketer call the other day noting that I was a collector of rare coins. Nope, I don't collect rare coins. I have a few but I don't collect them. I told the telemarketer that I buy the new American silver dollars (BU). She abruptly hung up, but not until muttering "bullion." I never thought of American silver dollars (BU) as bullion, but they certainly aren't rare coins, so I guess to a telemarketer of rare coins, they are bullion. Disgusting. LOL. But the 2019 China Pandas have been released. My biggest "coup": a year or so ago buying a few novelty silver coins (BU) and now they are hard to find; doubled in price. They go to the daughters and granddaughters. I don't know why. I guess I'm like a lot of folks that like shiny objects. The China Panda story is very, very interesting. I doubt anyone really knows how many are minted any given year, and it wouldn't surprise me if China "re-minted" old vintages. You know, stamp 2011 on coins minted this year. (2019). Nothing coming out of China would surprise me. But the buzz at the coin shows: as more and more Chinese move into "middle class," more and more will buy China Pandas.

Top stories of the week. I will do the top energy stories of the week later, maybe while watching Sophia at gymnastics and swimming. She does both on Saturdays.

Politics: I try very hard to avoid network/cable news, business shows. About all I watch is TBS comedy re-runs; TCM classic movies; Golf Channel; NASCAR (when the season begins again). The latter could fall off my radar scope; gradually losing interest. Rule-makers are ruining the sport.

Golf. It's entertaining to listen to commentators talking "up" Tiger Woods. He did have some brilliant moments last year, but this week at Torrey Pines, San Diego, he is doing miserably (tied at 48th). At -4 after two rounds he barely made the cut (-3). The leader, Justin Rose, is -15, tied for the all-time score at Torrey Pines after two rounds. Next, Hideki Matsuyam, -12, and then three at -10. But from the network's point of view, it appears that the PGA and this tournament is all about Tiger Woods. He gets more "screen time" than the leaders combined, it seems.

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