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Helen, I Found Us a House for One Dollar!

It started here back in 2006 when I had been blogging only a few months. Helen and I had “met” on the internet, and somehow one day we joined forces and took up the real estate business, having lots of fun along the way and making many new friends. We focused on buying a 21 room Victorian house in New York State that was up for auction on EBay. To this moment that post gets hits every day; checked a minute ago, and it has had a total of 6,402 page views.They'll Do Anything For a Dollar House

Couple of days ago in the comment section of one of my posts, Helen (being bored, I suppose) wrote this:

Sometimes I think we get too serious, Shirley. Wanna buy another house? ;-)

This has been our exchange to this point:

Helen, I wish you would look and find us a good deal to work on. Was that not the greatest fun. I will never forget those days.

I haven’t found a house, Shirley. Will a purple grill do?

Helen, I don’t know. I sort of hate to see us going from being established Real Estate Brokers to second-hand purple grill dealers. Not sure that is a good move, not only because of individual self-esteem issues, but in consideration of the global respect and admiration we have previously acquired. I’m really busy today (important person that I am,..and all that, you know…)so I can’t commit the time that is needed at the moment, but I don’t think I’m for the purple grill business, although I must confess I did not check out the link (important, time starved person that I am…and all that, you remember…). At the least we probably should stay in the housing market, maybe a mobile home, a high line RV, or…maybe even a trailer in a trailer park.

Now, I haven’t heard from Helen in several hours, but I’m not holding it against her, for she’s probably busy, (important person that she is, and all–you know) and in the meantime I’ve found us a house. A bargain of a house: Total charge? One dollar. Is Helen ever going to be surprised when she reads this.

“Finally, a mortgage I can afford.” That was more or less the thought of thousands of people around the country who read online about an old, sprawling two-story farmhouse in Leesburg on sale for a dollar.

There is a catch: The buyer must be able to afford to move the house. But after The Washington Post reported on the house last Sunday, linked to the article on its home page and suddenly, it seemed, the whole world wanted in.

The article received 1.47 million hits on that day.

“I have to get there first,” said one man, adding that he would have no problem towing the more than 2,500-square-foot structure to California.

Full details here. (Just don’t try to buy it out from under us, please.)

Hang on, everybody, for I’m sure we’ll throw a housewarming party and invite every one of you,  or on second thought, maybe you will want to throw the party for Helen and me. That’s probably the proper thing. If Helen doesn’t show up soon, we’ll get together–you and I–and plan one swinging party as a surprise for Helen and our new house. I’m sure she will want us to buy it. Has to be moved, though. Hope she has a big lot, for the house is in Leesburg, Va–much closer to her than to me. Besides I live in a motor home, remember…and at my house in Crestline, I just don’t believe there is room for that beautiful house you see pictured above.

Exciting, huh?

Stay tuned for all the action, and if anyone sees Helen, tell her to get over here. We have lots of work to do. For one thing, I need her 50 cents, then there will be closing costs, escrow fees, maybe even attorney charges…not sure.

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Does it Matter that Michelle Obama’s Sneakers Cost $540?


Huh, what do you think? Is it any of our business that Michelle Obama’s sneakers cost $540? Was it thoughtless of her to wear them Michelle Obama and Jill Biden (center) at a Feeding America event. The First Lady could feed quite a few people with what she paid for thesneakers she's wearing. as she  handed out food at a food bank? Are we being picky to even notice? Tell me what you think.

That’s right: These sneakers – suede, with grosgrain ribbon laces and metallic pink toe caps – are made by French design house Lanvin, one of fashion’s hottest labels. They come in denim and satin versions, and have been a brisk seller all spring.

From Daily News

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Stopping Drunk Drivers

Interesting exchanges, perhaps even controversial ones, arise when talk of the acceptable degree of governmental intrusion into our personal lives is considered. Nearly all of us agree that our business should remain our business, and that we are not fond of others dictating our actions, or for that matter even knowing what we do once our doors are closed and we are within the confines of our homes. Yet a rational person understands that for a society to operate in a safe and orderly manner, there are times when private activities may so affect the welfare of the general public that government directives must be issued, so as to safeguard its peoples.

Certainly such is the case when considering alcohol consumption. Now in order to further protect those on the highways, certain motorists will be required to install

breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars. Some believe this to be a remarkable development; others are of the opinion that this is again inappropriate government intrusion into private lives.

CHICAGO – Motorists convicted of driving drunk will have to install breath-monitoring gadgets in their cars under new laws taking effect in six states this week.

The ignition interlocks prevent engines from starting until drivers blow into the alcohol detectors to prove they’re sober.

Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska and Washington state began Jan. 1 requiring the devices for all motorists convicted of first-time drunken driving. South Carolina began requiring them for repeat offenders.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been conducting a nationwide campaign to mandate ignition locks for anyone convicted of drunken driving, claiming doing so would save thousands of lives. But critics say interlocks could lead to measures that restrict alcohol policies too much.

Users must pay for the fist-sized devices, which in Illinois cost around $80 to install on dashboards and $80 a month to rent; there’s also a $30 monthly state fee. And they require periodic retesting while the car is running.

“It’s amazingly inconvenient,” said David Malham, of the Illinois chapter of MADD. “But the flip side of the inconvenience is death.”

Read more of the AP story here.

As most people, I really don’t want the government peering into my bedroom, telling me where to go to church, how to spend my money, or where to shop for a bag of potatoes. But I do know this: In 1994, a young man, barely exceeding the measurement that marked him drunk, drove his red truck into my husband’s body and forever changed his life.

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With Hope, We Eye 2009

Given our natures and our ages, both Jerry and I were sound asleep when the significant hand sweep occurred, bringing us all into the year of our Lord 2009. But here we are–all of us, whether awake or asleep–standing in the raw dawn of a new year; tentative, questioning, cautious, hesitating, and probably so unsure of the world that our throats tighten in reluctance when asked for prediction.

A year? What is a year? A period of time–we know that– a 12 month segment: it is God, a space of birth and death, a number of days, a slippery slot where determined hands will craft both good and evil, a cycle of heat and cold–of those we are sure. But, in truth, little else may be stamped of absolute and of certitude.

Were I artistic, I would trace the bent figure of the retreating aged 2008 man as pocked with near-mortal wounds and scars, bloodied and tattered. I would scrawl of ragged and dark lines, and with candor and frankness illustrate the dismal and sad year of recent history. My hand would not linger, nor would I allow hesitation as I chalked the naked, undisguised truth.

Yet, somehow with great pains and endeavor, I
would find a way to infuse the leaving of wounded 2008 with hope and
dream and optimism for the baby of 2009. For we Americans have slogged
through other dismal years…and yet have we emerged a living, vibrant
nation. We have been knocked about, both by others and by ourselves,
but, always, we have struggled to our feet, victorious, our vision
clear and sure. We have fought and scratched and clawed; loved and
tended and bound up wounds. We have failed and, again, succeeded. Anew, then,…in 2009, we will rouse ourselves, and with fresh resolve and determination fix our eye on success–on morality and integrity, so
that from the last page of its calender we may honestly label the year 2009 a good one, one of progress and advancement.

Were I a cartoonist, I would craft such an image. Lacking that ability I scribe instead these words…and, from my heart, wish you, your families and your friends a happy, prosperous year.

Powered by ScribeFire.

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Am I Rich or Broke or What?

Rolling smoothly off their tongues and out the edges of their mouths are these discussions of ghastly amounts of money and debt and greed and mismanagement and “bail-out”–a baffling state of affairs for it sounds as though it involves me too, although I don’t think I had a thing to do with it, and, as far as I can recall, nobody asked my opinion, and I don’t think I joined up. I tell you frankly, I am just not accustomed to speaking at any length or with much authority or with any intelligence about money deals that mount up into multiplied millions and billions and threaten to tap on the door of trillions, so I hope nobody is depending too much on me and my expertise, although I’m always willing to help out when I can. Tell you the truth though; I just don’t get it.

But I think I understand that I just bought a bunch of houses and maybe an insurance company or two and saved the country from a recession and maybe a dark depression and I do know our checking account checks have the name Washington Mutual on them, but now there is not a Washington Mutual…I guess J. P. Morgan Chase backed up a pickup truck to our WaMu branch, loaded in our couple thousand dollar bills and took Jerry’s money and mine over to their own bank. I don’t know what to think, though, because I’m not sure where J. P. Morgan Chase is, and our money was in the San Bernardino branch of Washington Mutual. You know–the one over on Highland Ave.

Well, anyway, I’m a bit consoled because I own all those houses. I wonder, though, if I have to make payments or if I bought them outright? Did I get a bargain?

One other thing: Can you believe WaMu did not call to let me know they were shifting around our money. Didn’t hear a thing…but I was kinda wondering about our dollars so I googled about until I found  J. P. Morgan Chase and guess what: They’re welcoming me! Sweet of them, huh.
Welcome to the Number One United States Bank in Deposits. WaMu Customers, Welcome to JPMorgan Chase! We're proud to welcome you to one of the nation's largest banks; as of September 25, 2008, all WaMu customer deposits are now deposits of JPMorgan Chase; one of the strongest financial institutions in the world.

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Where Goes the $4.00 You Pay for a Gallon of Gasoline?

It seems any other time Jerry and I would have found it necessary to travel a lot would have been a better time than now. We are spending a fortune on fuel as we run here and there, and the subject of gasoline and diesel prices is on the lip of everyone we meet. So….I was intrigued today by this article from the Chicago Tribune that analyzes the $4.00 we plunk down for every gallon of the oily stuff we pump into our tanks.

The average price for gasoline on Long Island is at a record-setting $3.791 a gallon for regular, says the AAA. And diesel? Fuhgeddaboutit: It averaged $4.648 a gallon.

But where is all that cash going?

59.6 cents a gallon goes to state and federal taxes — of which Uncle Sam gets 18.4 cents a gallon, and the remainder goes to Uncle David in Albany; 26.2 cents a gallon pays for refining crude oil; and another 11.2 cents a gallon goes to distribution and marketing.

And, yes, except for the taxes, each of those items includes profit for the oil industry, Dougher said. Last year’s tally was about $123 billion.

But the industry, including Dougher, hastens to point out that those numbers represent a rate of return of only 8.3 cents per dollar of company revenue — a rate lower than those of the beverage, tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, electronic and chemical industries.

According to Ray Dougher, an economist for the American Petroleum Institute, crude oil accounted for 74 cents of every dollar consumers paid for gas, which would work out to $2.765 a gallon, based on yesterday’s New York State average of $3.736 for regular. Dougher added that the rest breaks down as such:

59.6 cents a gallon goes to state and federal taxes — of which Uncle Sam gets 18.4 cents a gallon, and the remainder goes to Uncle David in Albany; 26.2 cents a gallon pays for refining crude oil; and another 11.2 cents a gallon goes to distribution and marketing.

And, yes, except for the taxes, each of those items includes profit for the oil industry, Dougher said. Last year’s tally was about $123 billion.

But the industry, including Dougher, hastens to point out that those numbers represent a rate of return of only 8.3 cents per dollar of company revenue — a rate lower than those of the beverage, tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, electronic and chemical industries.

Those who don’t buy that argument are not alone. And they’ll be outraged again this week when Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Marathon Oil announce how much they made in the first three months of this year.

I’m not an economist, nor an oil tycoon or driller, nor a naturalist, nor a developer. I’m just a consumer whose wallet is suffering because of these prices. Can’t something be done? I ask.


My devotional blog is here.

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Amazon Power Shopping and a Cruise

I’m almost of the mind to post the entire article here, for I’m afraid you won’t go over and read the whole thing. This morning I stumbled across this intriguing article that lists all these neat ways to shop at Amazon and related places. I hadn’t even heard of most of these services. Some of them are just for the sake of convenience; others, though, appear to be real money-saving opportunities.

Okay, with gas prices now well over $4.00 a gallon, and with our propensity to drive a lot (actually for some of us it is necessity–we just don’t have a choice), we must find a find to compensate for all that money we’re hosing into our gasoline tanks. Maybe some of these online shopping deals will help us. If in the next few weeks, you find you’re saving an enormous amount of money because of the timely info you’ve found on my neat blog, and your tender conscience says, “You should share some of that money with Shirley…let me know, send the money, and we’ll set up a fund for something…I don’t know…maybe a cruise fund. Then when one of my readers is quite stressed, or just feeling lazy, or has a special birthday or anniversary, you can apply for a grant from my special fund. (I’m getting inspired about this as I write!) Ist rule: I’m completely in charge, make all subsequent rules, and may just use the money that floods in to take cruises myself. Been thinking I’d like to do that sometime soon.

Top 10 Amazon Power Shopper Tools

Anyway, check out this link and let me know what you think. I’m whetting your appetite by listing number 8.

8. Browse the deep discount bin at JungleCrazy

junglecrazy.jpgJungleCrazy shows only items at Amazon that are at least 70 percent discounted (from original retail price), making it a great place to browse (and search) if you just know you can get a certain item cheaper than you’re finding it. The site’s RSS feed dishes up the popular hits, so you can quickly scan to see if that 2 GB USB key drive can be had for a lot less. (Original post)

You won’t believe the bargains at JungleCrazy. Even have an amazing 1 cent bin.

“Step right this way, ladies and gentlemen,” she says.

Can’t wait to hear how much money you’ll be saving as you happily shop. Can’t wait to see how rapidly our special cruise fund will multiply because I know you will immediately start spending–thus saving–and since you, my readers, are known for your tender and true consciences, you will share a chunk of your saved money with me, the dear one who helped you find such bargains. If ever there was a win-win situation–this is it.

It just occurred to me that President Bush surely will love me when he hears of my economic contribution, and in a circular way will be contributing to our cruise fund. Got your rebate yet? Recall, we’re not to save that money–we’re to spend it. Get the old economy roaring back.

Cheers to your discount shopping and to my cruising!


My devotional blog is here.

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World’s Youngest Billionarie

Speaking of youngsters…how about Mark Zuckerberg, who at 23 is the world’s youngest billionaire.

Like many other people his age, Mark Zuckerberg the founder of social networking site Facebook spends most of his day in front of a computer screen. But he is no ordinary 23-year-old he’s officially the world’s youngest US billionaire. Worth 1.5 billion dollars, the young man has made a debut in this years Forbes magazine’s list of the World’s Billionaires where he has secured the 785th rank.

Read more here. Maybe you’ll find enough info to join the billionaire club! Congratulations Mark.

facebook founder

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Free Prescription Glasses for One-Eared Person

The right portion of my frames broke off. I currently have two ears, so these glasses are not particularly well-suited for me, however, if you are missing your RIGHT ear, and have a -3.00 prescription in both eyes, then these glasses are for you! Designer BCBG frames, anti-glare coating and a genuine glasses case seal this deal!

From Google images

I kid you not–I discovered the above ad listed in the free column on I felt I would be remiss if I did not let the readers of my blog know about this unique offer. So, any of you–around the globe–who have a need for such glasses, take advantage of this free offer.

Please let me know if it works out for any of you. 🙂


My devotional blog is here.

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Two Images for Today–One Sad, One Funny

Backpack shield

At backpackshield they sell a particular backpack so that you won’t have to worry about your kids at school. Unbelievably sad that the need for such an item would even be contemplated.

Ipod & toilet roll holder

At you will find this absolutely indispensable item. Sometime back I wrote of the of the role of the telephone in society as having changed drastically since my childhood years –from one simple black instrument, to today, when almost every American family has phones scattered everywhere. In this post, I mentioned my friends who have a phone in their bathroom, and of my being surprised when I visited the place. Now here’s a lovely place for your Ipod.

I’m doing my bit for the economy today. Surely you’ll want to order one of these items.


My devotional blog is here.