Thursday, March 31, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why and How to Start an Emergency Fund

Why do you need an emergency fund?

Because sh** happens and it can be expensive.

Kids end up in the emergency room; your car goes kaput in the middle of New Mexico; your water heater springs a leak. We’ve all experienced these setbacks and their accompanying bills. Some of us have suffered the misfortune of getting laid off and being without a source of income for months. Many people don’t plan for emergencies in their monthly budget, so when the poop hits the fan, they’re forced to take on expensive credit card debt to cover the bills.

An emergency fund is insurance for you and your family. Having cash on hand to cover unexpected expenses has two big benefits. First, it gives you peace of mind. Instead of wringing your hands worrying about where you’re going to come up with the money to cover an emergency expense, you simply transfer money from your emergency fund to your checking account. Crisis averted.

Second, and more importantly, it helps you get ahead financially. Instead of taking on more debt by using your credit card for emergencies, an emergency savings fund will prevent you from digging yourself deeper into a hole.

An added benefit of an emergency fund is the feeling of pride that self-sufficiency gives a man. You can’t beat it.

Where to Stash Your Emergency Fund

How Much Do I Need in My Emergency Fund?

Emergency Fund Goal #1: $1,000 Fast!

Emergency Fund Goal #2: 3-6 Months of Basic Living Expenses

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Generation X--adults ages 31 to 45--are expected to lead the recovery in the housing market, according to real estate experts at the National Association of Home Builders. The group highlighted results of a survey of 10,000 buyers in 27 metro areas.

While Generation X isn't the largest population group--making up 32% of the population compared to 41% of baby boomers--it's the most mobile age group, says Mollie Carmichael, principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif., the company that conducted the survey.

"They are in full force with their careers, and they need to accommodate growing families," Carmichael says.

This generation is coming with their own set of house preferences that may differ from other generations. Even though home sizes continue to shrink, first-time buyers and younger families are looking for more room to grow, Carmichael says. Nearly 50% said they prefer a home with a large lot and in a suburban development. Only 21% said they are looking for a traditional or "walkable neighborhood," according to the survey.

"They want something compelling, from a design or personalization standpoint," Carmichael says.

And many want "green," energy-efficient features, too. Regardless of age group, 70% of buyers said in the survey they are willing to pay $5,000 more for a home with "green" features.

Most buyers also said they'd be willing to pay a premium for such housing characteristics as dark wood cabinets, a separate tub and shower, and a fireplace in the living room.

Source: NAR and National Association of Home Builders

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Thank you to Jerry White for sending this video along. If you are in business, you need to watch the video. It will be the best 3.5 minutes you will spend today!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Men's Health Magazine: I follow it on twitter and sometimes find some very interesting guidelines for living. I have decided there are 8 items on this list I have thrown out already, 4 items I never had, 10 items that are officially gone today and 3 items that should be gone by the end of this month.

There is one item I will never get away from, I am not telling anyone which one it is.

1. Your ability to cannonball a 12-ounce can of National Bohemian in 2.37 seconds.

2. That 333 MHz Pentium II dinosaur in your home office.

3. Your cynical, bitter, pessimistic, self-defeating, angry-young-man, screaming-at-the-raindrops, making-George-Costanza-look-like-Tony-Robbins-in-comparison attitude.

4. Your analog phone.

5. Those 9th, 10th, and 11th hours of sleep on Saturday morning. Instead, do 30 pushups, run 5 miles, wash and wax your car, and watch an hour of your new Three Stooges DVD. Now you can nap.

6. Whatever it is that's kept you from having a meaningful conversation with the most important person in your life for the past 3 months.

7. Those pants with the waistband that's 2 hopeful inches too small.

8. That subconscious (or is it?) tendency to push your kids to make up for your growing list of past failures.

9. Your equities broker. Awaken your inner control freak and go to to learn how to invest for yourself at a fraction of the cost.

10. Your habit of looking solemn and using phrases like "streetwise," "life's lessons," and "Mickey Rourkeian" when talking with a woman you've just met.

11. That jar of Grey Poupon in your glove compartment, "just in case."

12. Your urge to recount high-school, college, bachelor-party, and hunting stories for your friends' wives and girlfriends.

13. Your comic-book collection. Sell them all and buy a very-fine-to-near-mint Amazing Fantasy

15. Because boys collect. Men invest.

14. That third slice of pizza.

15. Your marriage, your children, your house . . . no, wait, what were we talking about?

16. Your college nickname. Especially if it's any of the following: "Booger," "Flounder," "Poopie," "Psycho," "The Hammer," or "Dime Bag."

17. Your need to show off the claw marks on your back.

18. The notion that you will ever be as commanding as Sean Connery, as smoldering as Russell Crowe, or as desired as Brad Pitt.

19. Your 6-foot water bong with the R. Crumb decals.

20. That big black mole with the hair in it.

21. The keys to her apartment. Don't bother calling. She's already gone.

22. Your disdain for the "coughing thing" that has prevented you from getting a physical for the past 8 years.

23. Those last three playground rules you've been clinging to: crossing your fingers on a promise, the triple dog dare, and never picking a girl for your team.

24. Your habit of unconsciously feeling your biceps. Trust us. They're still there.

25. The idea that life is over when you fail. Because it's really just begun again.

26. Your nesting instinct.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Winston Churchill
Churchill’s afternoon nap was a non-negotiable part of his relaxed approach to his daily routine. Churchill would start his day at 8 am by eating breakfast, answering letters, and dictating to his secretaries, all of which was conducted while still in bed.

Lyndon B. Johnson
To accomplish his goals, LBJ was prepared to work like a dog and to this end he adopted a “two-shift day.”

Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon’s naps staved off the fatigue which stalks those who skip a whole night’s sleep. Then, when the storm of battle was over, the general would sleep for an eighteen hour stretch.

John F. Kennedy
Head of the household staff, JB West, recalled that “during those hours the Kennedy doors were closed. No telephone calls were allowed, no folders sent up, no interruptions from the staff. Nobody went upstairs, for any reason.”

Thomas Edison
Once when his friend Henry Ford paid a visit to his lab, Edison’s assistant stopped him from going into the inventor’s office because Edison was snoozing. Ford said, “But I thought Edison didn’t sleep very much.” To which the assistant answered, “He doesn’t sleep very much at all, he just naps a lot.”

Stonewall Jackson
Jackson, a general cut from the same cloth as Napoleon, could nap in any place—by fences, under trees, on porches–even in the stress of war.

Ronald Reagan
For his part, Reagan, as he did with many things, had a sense of humor about the criticism over his napping. When he was leaving office, he joked that his cabinet chair should be inscribed with, “Ronald Reagan Slept Here.”

Salvador Dali
Dali recommended sitting in a chair with a heavy metal key pressed between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand. A plate would be placed upside down on the floor underneath the hand with the key. The moment Dali fell asleep, the key would slip from his finger, clang the plate, and awaken him. Dali believed this tiny nap “revivified” an artist’s whole “physical and physic being.”

Read the whole story of each gentleman by clicking here.

Thank you to Valet and the Art of Manliness for making sure this blog post was possible

Sunday, March 13, 2011


1. A black eye. Unless the rim hits your face mid-dunk, your peepers should remain unblemished. You're smart enough to talk your way out of any fight you're going to lose.

2. A witty e-mail signature. Quotes and song lyrics should be heard during toasts and karaoke performances, respectively. Don't let your electronic correspondence become the digital version of a motivational poster.

3. An empty refrigerator. Your larder should be amply stocked, your pantry provisioned. Always aim to be ready to create an on-the-fly, three-course dinner for her . . . along with breakfast in bed.

4. PlayStation thumb. When they're relaxing, grown men can behave like children. But if you devolve long enough to cause calluses or button-shaped bruises, you're assuredly missing out on life.

5. A key chain with a bottle opener. This bauble is both a gauche reminder of your college days and proof that you don't know how to apply leverage using available, impromptu bottle openers: a lighter, the back end of a fork, this magazine.

6. A lucky shirt. Every shirt is lucky when worn by a man who knows that the harder he works the luckier he'll be.

7. An unstamped passport.

8. Olympic dreams. Exceptions: curling and archery.

9. Less than $20 in his wallet. Fiduciary nudity is negligence. A real man should always carry a business card and enough dough to pick up coffee, bagels, and the Sunday paper without whipping out the plastic.

10. A name for his .......... (family oriented blog, use your imagination)

11. Any beer that costs less than $20 a case. And no exception for the grand-slam 30-pack that crosses that price threshold.

12. The need to quote The Big Lebowski/Caddyshack/Superbad. Reciting someone else's lines reminds people that you haven't the wit to write your own.

13. A futon. Sure, beds are for sleeping. But such a meager, slouchy spread has never, in the history of sex, inspired a woman to say, "Take me on your futon."

14. Code words for ugly women. Actually, code words for anything.

15. A Nerf hoop in his living room. Keep the adolescent accoutrements where they belong: in the rec room or above the wastebasket in someone else's office.

16. A secret handshake.

17. Drinking glasses with logos. Especially those kitschy McDonald's Hamburglar ones.

18. A recent story with the phrase "So I said to the cop . . . "

Found via Men's Health via Twitter.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Since this past week's post regarding making a bed and the non-use of fitted sheets I have received several emails. A post this week by Steve Layman asking the big question "Now, if he would only explain how one sensibly folds a fitted sheet by oneself after taking it out of the dryer, I would be both impressed and grateful."

My repsonse:

I think it will be easier to ball it up and throw it in the linen closet.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I don't make a bed very often, but when I do--trying to figure out why a fitted sheet is not sized well frustrates me. Above, you find instructions for a "Hospital Corner". Below you will find the correct way your bed should look so you can bounce a quarter dollar coin off the top. Click here to find the full set of instruction as posted by The Art of Manliness.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


This could be the perfect "long weekend", the warm weather trip anyone could possibly take. Maybe leaving early December and not being rescued to about the end of March. (This way you could still file your taxes in time and not be penalized.)
Maxminimus has a great post with comments of some very favorable television shows from the past.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Just before dawn, with two hours left in his overnight shift, Michael McGuire slipped his cloth hood over his head, strapped on his plastic breathing mask and yellow helmet, and entered the burning high-rise.

A dozen stories above, people trapped in their apartments were leaning out of their windows, crying for help. The elevators in the Philadelphia Housing Authority building were not working, so the 40-year-old firefighter and his lieutenant began climbing the stairs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Click here for the complete New York Times Article
Wine bottle windows, vegetable oil heater, clear roof, south facing recycled
windows & a washing machine panel for a table.

Don't call me if you need to sell!