Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous 10

Dec. 23rd, 2011

The Hobbit

Can't wait for this movie to come out.

May. 22nd, 2011

Captain Jack Is Back

Clearly, I've been living under a rock.  I had no idea that the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie was already out in theaters!  (To my credit, however, I did at least know that it was coming...sometime...but I was thinking June or July.)

Well, since it's out, it seems that I'll be going to the movies today!

Apr. 9th, 2011

Borders Employee Finds Humor in the Situation

We Chicagoans have a sense of humor.

An employee at one of the Borders stores that is being shut down put this sign on the front door.  Pretty funny...and there's a lot of truth to it, too.

Feb. 7th, 2011

Woman Sues Over Nutella

A mother of a four-year old child has filed a class action lawsuit against delicious hazelnut spread Nutella. In her complaint, the mother says she was as "shocked to learn" from her friends "that Nutella was in fact not a 'healthy,' 'nutritious' food," as advertised, "but was instead the next best thing to a candy bar."


Feb. 20th, 2010


Restaurant week is upon us here in Chicago...one of my favorite times of the year.  Laura and I ate lunch at 312 Chicago today, and I loved it.  I've never eaten there before, but I was very impressed today.

Feb. 5th, 2010

Unemployment Rate Falls To 9.7 Percent

WASHINGTON - The outlook for jobs became a bit less bleak with January's unexpected decline in the unemployment rate, which fell to 9.7 percent from 10 percent.

President Barack Obama, speaking at a small business in a Washington suburb, welcomed the drop, saying that the numbers are a "cause for hope, but not celebration."

Indeed, Friday's unemployment report showed just how deep the job crisis remains: 8.4 million jobs vanished in the Great Recession. Economists say the nation would be lucky to get back 1.5 million jobs this year. And they say it will take at least three to four years for the job market to return to anything like normal.

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since August because a Labor Department survey of households found a sharp rise in the number of Americans with jobs. The survey found that 541,000 more Americans had jobs last month.


Read more...Collapse )



Sep. 12th, 2009

8 Signs You're An Energy-Hogging Jerk

I saw this on MSNBC....food for thought

Refusing to power off your computer

Let's face it: Booting up a computer eats time off the clock, an annoyance for everyone from deadline-pressed cubicle warriors to retirees eager to logon to the Eons social network. But that's no excuse to leave your computer up and running 24 hours a day – especially when power-saving options are built in to the machine.

Almost all computers come equipped with energy-saving sleep or standby modes, which can be set to automatically kick in when the computer is idle for awhile – say 20 minutes. Usually, a toggle of the mouse or tap on the keyboard is sufficient to snap the computer awake.

After a long nap, some computers will delve into an even-deeper energy-saving hibernation mode. But even then, the computer is still sipping electricity. Energy experts recommend turning the computer off overnight and longish breaks in the day. Contrary to popular belief, this will not harm the computer's lifespan, noted Rogers.

Taking really long hot showers

A long hot shower may be a small luxury, but those extra minutes spent escaping with your thoughts under the body-warming water stream can quickly earn you some icy glares. For starters, hot-water tanks are finite and nobody enjoys a cold shower. What's more, hot-water heaters account for about 15 percent of an average home's energy bills, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

Try to limit yourself to five minute showers to make your housemates and bank accounts happy. If that doesn't work, at least invest in a low-flow shower head, Rogers said. Another option is a so-called tankless water heater. These appliances generate a continuous stream of hot water when they are on –i.e. the hot water doesn't run out – and when the hot water is turned off, it is off. The devices do cost more than a tank, but tend to last longer and consume less energy so they pay for themselves in a few years.

Leaving the TV on all the time

From morning gossip to late night comedy, TV offers up something vacuous to watch 24 hours a day. But do you really have to keep it blaring all the time? You could read a book, play with your kids or take a walk. Heck, you could even stare out the window for a while. It's probably more interesting. Nope? Then at least watch an energy-efficient TV such as one of the models recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, which are 30 percent more efficient than other models.

"And on the rare occasions when you do turn it off, if you unplug it or turn it off at a power strip then it won't be sucking juice the rest of the time," Rogers said. Otherwise, the TV sits there in a standby mode just waiting for you to press the power button on the remote control. "The new Energy Star ones have specifications for both when it's on and when it's purportedly off, but you are still better off really turning it off," he added.

Leaving the car idling

If you're lucky, your neighborhood is littered with friends that you pass on the street while out driving around. And since they're friends, you stop, roll down the window and strike up a conversation. If you want to make even more friends, turn off the car while you sit there and talk. Energy experts recommend turning the car off, except when in traffic such as at a red light, anytime you're idle for 30 seconds or longer. If you can't bring yourself to turn it off, then at least drive an energy efficient car such as a hybrid, Rogers said.

Cranked up air conditioners

"I don't know what to say to the person who cranks up the air conditioning and leaves the window open like the brother of a friend of mine does," Rogers said. "But in general, if you insist on cranking up your AC so high that your roommate or spouse needs an electric blanket then at least buy the most efficient Energy Star rated air conditioner."

Another option is to use a ceiling fan in addition to the air conditioner. With those, the Union of Concerned Scientists research shows, you can set the air conditioner four degrees warmer than you normally would and feel no change in comfort, but save a bundle on electricity bills.

Indecision at the fridge

An indecisive friend at any mealtime can be painful, especially if you're starving and know exactly what you want to eat. Such indecision is costly in addition to annoying when it occurs as the friend gazes into an open refrigerator. If the habit proves too difficult to change, then at least consider using an energy efficient refrigerator and keeping it full. "Keeping the fridge stocked will mean that less warm air will get in there and then have to be cooled," Rogers explained. And if budgets are tight, jugs of tap water will work just as well as food.

Excessive and unnecessary lighting

Some people – perhaps your neighbors – seem to be allergic to the dark. Their cure is to light up the night everywhere they can – the porch, the backyard, the front yard, the driveway. And while they're at it, they might as well light your yard too, right? Maybe even your bedroom window.

"If you are going to do that to a neighbor, make sure you are using compact fluorescent lights, which are four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs," Rogers said.

Better yet, enjoy the light of the stars. And in the middle of the day when sunlight is streaming through the window or when nobody is home, please, please turn off the lights.

Drinking bottled water

A long, long time ago, like three or so years ago, drinking bottled water, especially from tropical island nations and the French Alps, was really, really cool. But oh how the times have changed. Now drinking bottled water is generally considered lame. "It takes a lot of energy to move that water around," Rogers said.

Most places in the U.S. have municipal systems that deliver water to our kitchens and bathrooms that is as safe, if not safer than, bottled water, he added.

According to a 2006 study by the Pacific Institute, the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil is used to make plastic water bottles every year. That's enough fuel to run 1 million cars for a year.

Jun. 26th, 2009

10 Innovative Sites That Will Save You Money

This post comes from Greg Go at partner blog Wise Bread.

These 10 Web sites help you save or make money in innovative ways, yet they are relatively unknown. We learned of these guys while doing research for the Wise Bread book coming out in May. (You've got your copy preordered, right?) Enjoy the list, and share with your friends. Don't forget to chime in with more money-saving sites in the comments.

Zilok. Weird name but incredibly cool concept, Zilok is basically eBay for rentals. You can rent your stuff out or rent someone else's stuff for a day. For owners, get more out of your purchases -- just a few rentals could pay for the item. For renters, you can save money by renting, instead of buying, seldom-used items. Stuff like canoes, laptops, cameras, cars, books, baby strollers, and everything in between is available for rent from someone near you.

Shop It To Me. It's like having your own personal shopper constantly on the lookout for sales. Rather than scour through all the deals on the Web, create your own wish list of clothes, then wait for a bargain to appear. Select your size, brand and other preferences, and Shop It To Me will e-mail you when there's a relevant sale. This is perfect for lazy but cheap shoppers like me.

UPromise. Save money and build a college fund at the same time. You get 1% to 25% back from shopping online through UPromise, or by shopping at more than 30,000 offline restaurants, drugstores and supermarkets. Your discounted savings can be automatically deposited into a 529 college savings plan.

Covestor. Covestor lets you follow the trades of top-performing investors. Piggyback off proven winners to grow your wealth. If you're one of those proven winners, Covestor will pay you for every person who follows your stock trades.

BeatThat! This site, 100% community driven, rewards members for finding the lowest price with cold, hard cash. It's the perfect shortcut for deal hunters who don't want to run through multiple sites to verify the best price on a product. Because deal hounds all over the Web are getting bounties for finding better deals -- versus a staff that may not be giving it 110% -- you'll find some really great bargains here. And if you're one of those deal hounds, you could make some beer money for all that time you spend at those deal sites.

Freecycle. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Find your location and see if anyone is giving away something you need, and vice versa. What a great way to be green and frugal at the same time.

Smart Hippo. Crowdsource your mortgage rate research. Smart Hippo is a community of people who post their reviews of mortgages, banks and lenders. You can use this information to find the best rates and loan officers in your area.

BillShrink. Get a list of cell phone plans or credit cards that are better than what you have in less than five minutes. Answer a few questions about your current credit card or cell phone plan (or have BillShrink do it automatically by uploading your last statement), and BillShrink will recommend better phone plans or credit cards that fit your needs.

SmartyPig. It's a hands-free savings account for specific goals or purchases. You set a goal and choose the amount you want to contribute each month to reach that goal, and SmartyPig automatically pulls that amount from your checking account each month. You can make your goals public to friends and family so they can contribute to your goal if they want to. Just like a savings account at your local bank, SmartyPig pays interest on the money deposited, and all deposits are insured by the FDIC. You can withdraw your money at any time via a debit card or electronic transfer.

CrossLoop. This site helps you find PC help and/or get paid to fix a PC problem. CrossLoop is a remote desktop application and marketplace. The help requester must give the helper a single-use code in order for the helper's computer to see and control the helpee's computer. This is great for fixing your parents' computer, getting help fixing that nagging Windows issue, or making a few bucks helping others fix their PC problems. It's free to use CrossLoop. If you're a PC whiz, you can make money at the marketplace by helping those without geeky kids to help them. You can set your own rates and determine your own specific services. It's Windows-only at the moment, but a Mac version is in development.

Jun. 16th, 2009

FDA Warns Against Using Zicam

 WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday warned consumers to stop using certain Zicam nasal cold remedy products, saying they can cause users to lose their sense of smell permanently.

The agency says that since 1999, it has received more than 130 reports of loss of smell associated with Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel; Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs; and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, kids size. The products have been linked to long-lasting or permanent loss of smell called anosmia. In some cases, the loss of smell occurred after the first dose.

"Loss of sense of smell is a serious risk for people who use these products for relief from cold symptoms," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "We are concerned that consumers may unknowingly use a product that could cause serious harm, and therefore we are advising them not to use these products for any reason."

The popular homeopathic medications are sold over the counter and aimed at reducing the severity and duration of cold symptoms.

The FDA says consumers should stop using the products immediately. The agency has sent Matrixx Initiatives, which makes Zicam, a warning letter telling it the products can no longer be marketed without FDA approval.

Read more...Collapse )

Mar. 28th, 2009

Owners Drop Freedom Tower Name For New WTC Skyscraper

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The agency that owns the space where the World Trade Center towers stood is freeing itself of the term "freedom" to describe the signature skyscraper replacing the buildings destroyed on September 11, 2001.

The change from Freedom Tower was revealed Thursday at a news conference where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced the signing of the first commercial lease in the building to a Chinese company. The building is expected to be completed in late 2013.

"We've referred to the primary building planned for the site as One World Trade Center -- its legal name and street address -- for almost two years now, as well as using the name the Freedom Tower," said Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the Port Authority, in a statement released to CNN. "Many will always refer to it as the Freedom Tower, but as the building moves out of the planning stage and into full construction and leasing, we believe that going forward it is most practical to market the building as One World Trade Center."

Ten of the building's planned 108 above-ground floors have been built.

Read more...Collapse )


Previous 10