Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FICO be damned

I know it might be considered financially unsound in this wacky economic climate to cancel a credit card. Any financial 'expert' will tell you that cancelling cards will have a negative effect on your FICO score - that all important made up number that tells everyone just what a high risk you are in the money game.

Everyone knows my policy is, whatever the banks want or prefer, is usually exactly the opposite of what I do, so today I cancelled a card, but I didn't do it just to piss off the FICO people who will now be forced to recalculate my score [if only they cared that much.]

I did it to make myself feel just a little bit better. Today I cancelled my BP credit card. You might think - so what? What's one lost credit card account to them? Probably nothing in the overall scheme of things, but it made me feel good nevertheless to let them know my family won't be doing business with a company that's singlehandedly destroying the planet.

The millions of gallons of oil bursting into the Gulf of Mexico are going to have an untold impact on the environment. BP is rushing around putting toxic Band-Aids on a gaping wound. What they need to do is pour all of their money, every last penny, into that spewing well, and then throw their Top brass in after it.

Unfortunately, it's not just BP who's to blame. We can also thank the world governments [not just the US.] Their sick insistance that we need to remain dependent on oil is what really caused this catastrophe. The fear of making the OPEC nations angry by taking away the only thing they truly contribute to the global community is at the root of this unspeakable tragedy. We have the technology to become an oil-free society, we just don't use it because it means people who have enough money to feed filet mignon to their pet tigers won't be happy.

Clean energy is available. Environmentally safe energy is available, it just doesn't put enough money in the right pockets to make it profitable.

I know there's a lot more I could do to take a stand against BIG OIL, in the mean time, why not start out in the simplest way possible? Send a message to BP - if you deal with them, stop. They don't need any more of our money or any of our support.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Collected WTFery

I’ve been too deeply immersed in preparing to move to blog on a regular basis, but I have collected a couple of interesting tidbits to share.

The first entry in the WTF column comes directly from TD Bank [aka America’s Most Convenient Bank]. I don’t want to cast aspersions on any one financial institution, since I have an inkling they’ll all be doing this soon, but I can only speak for certain about TD Bank.
My husband and I both received a little flier from them the other day informing us that as of January 2009 [yes, that’s more than a year ago, but they’re just telling us now] “if you received more than $600 in ATM Surcharge Reimbursements you will be sent a 1099-Misc form.”

Translated into plain English this means: You know all those times we happily reimbursed you for the exorbitant fees we and other banks charge you to access your money from ATMs? Well, now you have to pay taxes on it.

Essentially, they take your money, they give it back and they charge you a tax on it. So money you should never have had to pay out in the first place, is now considered income.

What I really love is how it’s retroactive to 2009, meaning that if you’ve already paid your 2009 taxes [and let’s see – most of us have], you may have to make an adjustment once they get that 1099 out to you.

The next entry comes from my favorite source, health and wellness news.

Apparently The Journal of Urology is touting diet soda as a preventative for kidney stones. Researchers have concluded that citrate, an ingredient found in some sodas [lemon and citrus flavors], may help reduce the risk of kidney stone formation. Citrate can be found in non-diet sodas as well [not colas, though] but the researchers, ever health conscious, are quick to remind patients that the extra calories they get from regular sodas pose a health risk [obviously one more serious than cancer causing artificial sweeteners, but we won’t go there.]

What boggles me is, why would doctors decide that diet soda would be a better, healthier source of citrate than say, actual citrus fruits? Oh, right, fruits contain sugar and calories, therefore making them bad for you, where artificially sweetened and colored carbonated water contains no sugar or calories and is therefore a health food.

So, there you go. You can drink to your health, while you write out that check to Uncle Sam to pay taxes on your ATM rebates.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dieting flip flops

No, this post isn't about shoes that help you lose weight - though I'm told they do exist.

This about another dieting myth busted - or a new dieting myth created, I'm not sure which.

According to this article posted at MSNBC.com the long-held belief that slow and steady weight loss is best, is just a bunch of hooey. Then again, aren't most weight loss tricks and tips just hooey?

Turns out researchers at the University of Florida have conducted a study which shows [or perhaps has been made to show?] that women who lose weight faster will have a greater chance of keeping the weight off than those who lose weight more slowly.

I guess this is great news for all the quick start diet programs, you know, the ones that doctors have been telling us for years are no good because quick loss cannot be sustained?

Of course the lead researcher of the study declines to say for sure whether the study is actually conclusive. I wonder if perhaps women who lose weight faster are more likely to keep the weight off because they've had greater success and are therefore more committed to weight loss than those who have lost weight more slowly. Is this a true scientific cause for more sustainable weight loss, or just a flimsy cause and effect experiment disguised as a research study?

I guess we'll never know, but I can bet we'll see an increase in 'quick start' weight loss programs based on this study.