Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cheaper to buy a CD?

Example 1:

The Katinas - Lifestyle

This is an older CD released in 2002. I like a few songs on the CD and wanted to buy the entire album. There are 15 songs total and iTunes Store is selling each song at $0.99 or you can buy the entire CD for $9.99. Since I refuse to buy any more songs from Apple with its ridiculous AAC + DRM format, I checked Amazon but they don't offer MP3. However, I did find a "new" physical CD for $1.32 + $3.99 shipping so I ordered that instead and waited a few days for it to arrive in the mail.

Example 2:

David Crowder - All This For A King

David Crowder just released a new compilation album with 14 tracks. iTunes Store is selling each song for $1.29 and the entire album for $11.99. Amazon MP3 Store is also selling each song for $1.29 but the entire album is $11.49. A brand new real CD is only $8.89.

Why? It doesn't make sense at all. Surely it costs more to manufacture a CD than to copy a file. I can understand getting a cheap deal for a "previously owned" CD but why is it true for a brand new album? It's only slight more convenient to buy MP3's directly; it only took me 10 minutes to rip the CD in iTunes and I have a physical CD as back up in case my computer crashes. I guess there is still a benefit if you just want one or two songs; maybe no one buys the less popular songs anyway.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NPR = National Progressive Radio

What a load of partisan crap. I'm a cynic... this whole audacity/hope/change thing was a trick to fool stupid young voters. Obama is super liberal and a narcissistic power grabber, much like most (if not all) prior presidents. The difference is that his #1 selling point was that he is different. It's pretty evident after 5 years that he is not. As scandals start piling up this week, it appears he is worse than your average president and a total hypocrite.

I'm upset that my tax dollars, no matter how small, goes towards this guy's salary.

Goodbye, Again, To Obama's Most Audacious Hope

The sudden eruption of second-term scandals in his administration will have many costs for President Obama, but surely the most grievous will be the lost opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington. That aspiration was his fondest dream for his second term, much as it was for his first. Now it seems destined to be dashed once again.


We can now be sure that the capital's pre-existing condition of partisanship will worsen with complications from multiple investigations, probes and Hill hearings as far as the eye can see. Whatever else that means, it means that the President Obama we have will not be the President Obama he wanted to become.

The article begins and ends on a fallacy that Obama is not partisan. Maybe we're looking through different colored lenses but Obama has done nothing but push the liberal agenda and totally unwilling to compromise. My taxes will be higher for 10+ years due to the Democrats buying off voters. Obama and his "we won" attitude is the problem with Washington.

BTW, my job is finance in a private company where politices don't matter. Ron Elving is an editor at NPR. He shouldn't work there if all he's doing is pushing the liberal agenda. Me and half of America want our money back.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just Like Slavery!

I have zero very little sympathy.

Yahoo! News
Student Loan Slavery: Paying More in Loans Than I Make Each Month

I just paid $1,810 in student loans this month. I make on average around $1,500. That's not counting another $500 monthly payment my parents make.

So, really, my student loans in total each month are $2,310 and rising. The only reasons I'm not broke is thanks to my tax return, that not all loans came out of deferral at the same time and that payment my parents make. Thankfully my parents allow me to live in their basement in Rochester, Minn., rent-free.

I work full-time at a job that I wouldn't have required my college degree in sociology from Arizona State. This job pays above minimum wage; however, it is unlikely I'll be able to advance further in this job. This job is mentally exhaustive to the point I couldn't handle working another job, whether part- or full-time. It's hard to go to work realizing that, in a sense, I'm working without pay -- because all my income pays my loans.


At 27, I am a slave to my student loans with no end in sight. I owe more than $160,000. My lenders, private and federal, thus far are unwilling to work with each other or me, even after I explain my situation in depth. I wish there was an individual or group that would fight on my behalf. I can't even begin to describe how miserable I am daily. I really don't know how much more of this I can take. I wish I'd never gone to college; instead of enhancing my life, it has made me lifeless. All thanks to student loans.

$160k is $40k per year. Assuming she is from MN, out-of-state tuition at ASU back in the early 2000's was between $13k to $16k per year. Let's also add $1000 per month for room and board so the entire degree should have cost around $110k. There was probably lots of drinking and/or a new car or something to account for the other $50k.

A few observations:

1. Why ASU? If you can't afford tuition without borrowing lots, go to your local public school and live with your parents. Paying out-of-state tuition is stupid... unless ASU is the #1 school for sociology. Even still...
2. Why sociology? That's almost as useless as ethnic and gender studies unless you get a Ph.D. College is an investment in your future, not a 4 year party on someone else's dime. Unless you're rich, pick a major that will pay the bills and leave other interests as hobbies.
3. Did she not work part-time during school? Why not? Even $5/hour for 10 hours/week is a couple of hundred dollars per month.
4. Take responsibility. Boy there was a lot of whining in the article. Student loans didn't ruin your life; your poor decisions did. If she was a finance or accounting major, she would probably have a job that pays twice what she makes now.
5. Just because you can get a loan doesn't mean you should take out the loan. I'm pretty sure I can borrow money for a Lamborghini or Aston Martin but that probably is not wise.

Having said that, loan payment amounts should be reasonable. My mortgage is larger than her outstanding balance yet my monthly payment is less than half her payment. She should be able to consolidate her loan and restructure payments. I want her to repay the loan, for the rest of her life if necessary, but at a level she can afford each month. I think we (taxpayers) all lose if she defaults.

Comparing this to slavery is a bit too much however. Slaves didn't get to hang out at a party school for 4 years.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gina, is that your real name?

Got this gem in the junk email folder:
From: Gina Rinehart (

My Dear Friend and Partner,

Greetings to you my Dear Beloved, my name is Gina Rinehart, a great citizen of Australia,born in Perth, Western Australia,I have a mission for you worth ($200,000,000.00) Two Hundred Million Dollars which I intend to use for CHARITY.Please reply if interested by clicking the reply button.

God Bless You.
Gina Rinehart

I hate it when people don't put a space (ONLY ONE SPACE!) after punctuation.

Confucius Quote?

I have a friend on Facebook that posts a lot of "motivational" quotes. Usually I just ignore it in my news feed but this caught my attention:

Confucius, eh? If that's a real quote, I should be able to find the original in Chinese, no? After searching the web for an hour, and reading through several translations of The Analects, I could not find anything. The "quote" is listed at hundreds of sites but none referred to a source text.

Next time I have a truly random thought, I'll use a pretty font and put "Confucius" after it to make it more meaningful.