Family’s Five-Year Frugality = 2009 PACE Award

September 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci, Top Story

After a five-year struggle to become debt-free (except for a mortgage), the Hillebrandt family – Russell, Kandy, twin daughters Heidi and Holly, and son Joey – of New Richmond, Wis., met their goal. They paid off their credit card balances (about $89,000 to start) and $17,00 due a family member.

Their efforts have paid off – they are the recipients of the “Professional Achievement and Counseling Excellence (PACE)  2009 Graduate Client of the Year Award.”  The award “recognizes the hard work and commitment they demonstrated in repaying their debts, and their willingness to become effective managers of their money and change their lifestyle.”

The mounting debt occurred slowly.  The family were not big spenders – although they did buy many items, including clothing, “new”, and kept giving 10 percent of their income (tithing) to their church.   Medical expenses – diabetes, miscarriages – contributed to the problem.

How, then, did the Hillebrandts get out of debt?  It wasn’t easy.  They began with a “a five-year debt management plan” developed with the help of a credit counseling service.  “While the schedule was daunting, the Hildebrandts signed on.”

To make the plan succeed, they cut out “discretionary spending. Kandy began buying generic food and frequenting thrift stores for clothing purchases. They stopped exchanging Christmas and birthday gifts …”

For a while they had only one car but made progress on the debt reduction.  “If the money wasn’t available, they simply did without.”

The birth of their third child, Joey, now 3, meant more expenses but his mother, Kandy, says, “The joy he brought to a negative, grinding situation was the light we needed.”

What do they tell others?  “Get out of debt,” Kandy says. “It’s a chokehold.”


Press, On The Hook for Unpaid Taxes

September 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci

A former top executive at Chrysler can’t pay his bills!

“Jim Press, who briefly ran Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. operations and spent 37 years with the Japanese automaker before joining Chrysler as one of its three top executives in 2007, is facing claims of more than $1.35 million for unpaid federal taxes and a personal loan.”

“The 62-year-old auto executive … may be one of the highest profile victims of Detroit’s collapse.”

In my opinion, Press is not a victim because he could foresee his financial fiasco.  Casualty, yes – victim, no!

The monetary meltdown was the result of his ignoring a basic budgeting lesson – NEVER count on bonuses to supplement your income.  “Press blamed the elimination of bonuses at Chrysler for his failure to pay back the personal loan.”

Prudent people don’t spend more than what’s shown on their paycheck(s) – the net income (what ‘s left over after taxes, Social Security deductions, etc., are taken out).

Pres and his wife “purchased a multimillion-dollar, 6,900-square-foot luxury home in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham in June 2008, taking out a $2.2 million mortgage with ING Bank, records show.

“The couple, who have put the six-bedroom mansion up for sale at $3.15 million, now face a tax lien against the property for just over $947,000 related to unpaid income taxes for 2007, according to a filing in late August.”

In Press’ interview last year with the New York Times (actual date unknown), he said, “in reference to the string on his wrist: ‘This is actually from my wife’s grandfather. It reminds you that in life, you just need enough to get along. What’s important in life isn’t what you have, but how you live.'”

Perhaps Press should have tried to follow that principle.

In my opinion, someone that fiscally irresponsible was not fit to be a top executive anywhere.

“Dancing with the Stars” new cast includes “The Hammer”

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Celebrity

The new cast of “Dancing with the Stars” will make their way onto the stage September 21.

Among the 15 hopefuls is Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, former congressman from Texas.  The others are:  “entertainer Donny Osmond; singers Mya, Macy Gray and Aaron Carter; actors Melissa Joan Hart, Debi Mazar and Ashley Hamilton (son of George); models Joanna Krupa and Kathy Ireland; reality stars Kelly Osbourne and Mark Dacascos; mixed martial artist Chuck Liddell; pro snowboarder Louie Vito; Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin; {and} former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin.”

This time around, there’s a twist to the format, announced recently by the show’s  co-host Tom Bergeron when he revealed the new lineup on “Good Morning America.”

“In the middle of our season, over three weeks, we’re going to have double eliminations,” said Bergeron. “We’ll lose about half of our cast within that period. It will be a ballroom bloodbath.”

A Plane Way To Propose

August 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci

A marriage proposal in plane sight!

“Aleasha Decker, 23, said she was excited and stunned when she read the question, ‘Aleasha, marry me?’ in 20-foot, sheet plastic letters. They sat atop a harvested field in Kalida, about 60 miles southwest of Toledo in northwestern Ohio.

“New husband-to-be Jason Kahle got some help from his father, who farms the land and flies a small plane. When they took Decker into the air on Aug. 9, they said the purpose was to photograph some relatives’ houses.

“After Decker spotted the message, she turned to find Kahle with a ring.

“A June 5, 2010, wedding is now in the works.”

More Bragging Rights for Ochocinco

August 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Sports

Football?  Forget that – try soccer!

Chad Ochocinco (formerly Chad Johnson) has proved his worth once again , by kicking “the decisive extra point late in the first half” of the Cincinnati Bengals’  7-6 defeat of the New England Patriots., Thursday, August 20, 2009.

Ochocinco is not lacking in self-esteem, either, as shown by his comments afterward.

“‘Esteban’ Ochocinco is back, the most interesting footballer in the world,” {he} said. “Everyone has to remember, I’ve always said that soccer is my No. 1 sport. I think Ronaldinho would be proud of me right now.”

He got the chance to kick when, after “Shayne Graham’s groin felt sore in pregame warmups, coach Marvin Lewis decided to rest the team’s franchise player and see what Ochocinco could do.”

What he could do, was kick the winning extra point.  And he made it look easy.

“Ochocinco trotted onto the field and lined up behind{ball holder) Kevin Huber.  The snap, hold and kick all worked as planned.”

The Bengals’ quarterback, J.T. O’Sullivan, took it all in stride (no pun intended).

“Nothing surprises me,” O’Sullivan said. “All joking aside, he still kicked the ball through the uprights and it ended up winning the game. Some people might think it’s funny, but it’s important.”;_ylt=ArkMeYN3NoX2wossHQwdun5DubYF?gid=20090820017&prov=ap

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service? Oh, Baby!

August 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci, Top Story

One Burger King franchise restaurant took the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policy a bit too far on Sunday, August 2.

Stating that a health code required them to bar any shoeless person, the franchise, in Sunset Hills, Mo., told one family – “Jennifer Frederich, her mother and Frederich’s infant daughter, Kaylin” – to leave the restaurant because six-month-old Kaylin had no footwear. “In fact, shoelessness is not a health code violation in St. Louis County.”

The owner of that particular Burger King apologized in person to the Frederich family and “his restaurant team [is being retrained] on the proper use of the ‘no shoes’ policy.”


There is no indication that young Kaylin was offered lifetime meals at the Sunset Hills site.

Nothing Left To Carp About, In Britain

August 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Celebrity

Britain’s celebrity fish, Benson the giant carp, is no more!  Perhaps due to ingesting nuts, “bait that can fatal to the fish if not properly processed,” after 25 years of being caught and released approximately 60 times, near the end of July the fabulous female fish was found floating on the surface of Bluebell Lakes, Cambridgeshire, England.

“U.K. media gave the fish’s death unusually wide coverage. Benson’s big, scaly belly took up most of the Times’ front page under the caption: ‘Britain’s best-loved carp, 1984-2009.'”

The giant carp was renowned for her beauty.  The owner of Bluebell Lakes stated,  “I can’t stress how famous she was in the angling world. All fisherman wanted to catch her. It was the size of the fish, but also the fact that she was scale perfect. It looked as if the scales had been painted on.”

It’s so difficult to determine a fish’s gender – unless, during one or more catches, Benson was found to be hfull of roe (fish eggs), I  imagine her gender wasn’t  known until her death.  Otherwise, perhaps  the given name would have been Boudica (after the fabled Celtic warrior queen).

Skinny, Single, Childless? You ARE Saving The Planet!

August 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci

According to a recent study at Oregon State University, “the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environment-friendly practices people might employ during their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.”

If you stay single or, if married, choose to have fewer or no children, you are more environmentally friendly than those with a bunch of kids.

“The current obesity epidemic may also be hurting the climate, because food production is a major contributor to global warming.”

For that, a study was needed? LOL

Jobless College Grad Wants Tuition Refund

August 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci, Top Story

Sometimes having the diploma isn’t enough, according to NYC resident Trina Thompson. After graduating Monroe College in April with a degree in Information Technology, she’s yet to find a job.

Her solution? Claiming the college’s “Office of Career Advancement hasn’t provided her with the leads and career advice it promises,” Ms. Thompson is seeking the return of her $70,000 in tuition.

A college spokesman says “Thompson’s lawsuit is completely without merit.

“The college insists it helps its graduates find jobs.”

Boston Cabbie Calls Suspension “UnFARE”

July 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Tech/Sci

Joseph Cohen, a Boston cabdriver for 39 years, “almost took the blame” when he picked up a family at Logan International Aiport and drove them to their home in the Mattapan neighbor, only to learn Massachusetts state police “were looking for him. ”

“He was told the family left a child in his cab.”

Cohen recollects the experience:

“I said, ‘What?’ So I looked in the back and I see the baby sleeping. I said, ‘What should I do?’ So you know, I will take the baby (back) to the family,’ he said. ‘The father came out. He was very happy.'”

At that time, Cohen received an extra $50 tip from the relieved father.

However, the next day, “Cohen was ordered to report to the Hackney unit, where police told him his license was being suspended for three days because he didn’t do a thorough check of the van. He appealed the suspension and was allowed to keep his license pending a hearing. On Tuesday, he visited the police station with an attorney and learned he would only get a warning.

“‘We are very happy that the baby was safely returned to mom and dad,’ said Elaine Driscoll, a police spokeswoman. ‘That said, it was an important opportunity to remind cab drivers why we have a rule that dictates they must check the back of their cab after every fare.'”

“Cohen said the girl had been in the back of the van behind another seat and he could not see her from his rearview mirror or from the outside of the vehicle.

“The cabbies’ union expressed outrage at the proposed suspension, saying the fault should lie with the child’s family, not the driver.

“Police would not release the names of the parents but said they were not being investigated.”

(Apparently, taking luggage from a cab is more important when you get home than remembering you have a five-year-old daughter sleeping in the back of the taxi.  And cabbies everywhere should remember to look INSIDE their vehicles after dropping off a fare.)

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