Not enough money for Christmas presents? Yeah, I thought so. That’s because you spent too much money in 2013 on frivolous things. Well, that ship has sailed. But you don’t have to make the same mistake again. Here are a few tips for saving a few bucks in 2014 so you’ve got enough left over to actually buy your friends a few decent gifts next year.
Wow, so it looks like we have a budget deal in Washington. A debt ceiling and spending crisis has been averted. It’s good news. But let’s all calm down. It’s only temporary. The agreement does not address the long-term fiscal problems we have. Problems that were mostly created by none other than the “baby boomer” generation. Yeah, you know who you are.
You’re tanned and healthy and living way past average life expectancy. You’ve got a defined benefit pension plan from a large company or government that was created years ago when people didn’t understand how horribly these plans can go wrong and now can’t afford to meet its liabilities, but you don’t care as long as you get your check which you don’t really need anyway. And your social security check. And your Medicare reimbursement check. You once hated the government. You smoked pot and protested against Vietnam and President Nixon. That was a long, long time ago.
You’ve heard about Amazon drones, the Seattle-based e-tail giant’s new idea to use drones to deliver packages on the same day to customers, particularly those in “densely populated” urban areas? The way it works is like this: you order something from Amazon. You want it the same day. Your order is placed in a tupperware container which then gets sent to something resembling the checkout line at Acme where a model “octocopter”(the kind your 5th grader got for Christmas last year) swoops it into the air and seamlessly delivers it to your door.
Really, this is how it will work. And in only a few years. Assuming FAA approval of course. And assuming that we’re all insane.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you’re probably aware that tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. Documentaries on PBS are re-telling the day, historical and media figures who I thought were long dead are being wheeled out of their nursing homes to share their stories, old conspiracy tales are re-hashed and, thanks to YouTube, I’ve watched the Zapruder film dozens of times (and Miley’s new video, too, which is so a-w-e-s-o-m-e).
From all of this I’ve come to two conclusions: A 48-year-old man should not be watching Miley Cyrus videos because it’s kind of creepy. And, as a small business owner, I am damned glad I didn’t live in 1963, let alone run a business back then. And here are eight good reasons why.
Many people were surprised earlier this week when casino-mogul Steve Wynn announced he was backing out of his plans to build a gambling resort in Philadelphia’s Fishtown section. It’s really not that surprising. Wynn thinks big. He’s building a $4 billion resort on the tiny island of Macau. His casino in Vegas makes the word “opulent” seem understated. He’s after big money, big fame, big publicity. And Philadelphia is not the place for this. It’s not that big a market. There’s already a lot of competition. And most importantly, it’s not New York.
New York is the place for Wynn. So when New York’s voters last week approved a resolution that could potentially allow gambling in the city, I’m sure Wynn’s mouth watered. I mean, c’mon, if you’re a big-thinking, big-playing kind of guy like Steve Wynn, why in the world would you waste your money investing in Philly when you can make a splash in New York City, just 90 miles up the road. It’s New York. It’s not Philly.
Could our city have done anything to save the deal and keep him here?
In the news this week: Another Philly hotel battle.
A bunch of hotels are ganging up on one of their own. A group that calls itself the “Concerned Hotel Owners of Philadelphia,” along with the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, are upset that the city is offering tax breaks to a developer who’s looking to construct a 700-room W and Element Hotel on Chestnut Street. Part of their argument is “the sorry state of Center City’s hotel industry. It just can’t support another hotel, especially one this size.”
Guys, please: Stop fighting each other. You’ve got other things to worry about than getting involved in these petty squabbles. There’s plenty of opportunity to grow in Philadelphia. There’s plenty of room for you all. Instead of wasting your time with this nonsense, how about if you consider addressing some of the problems in your own backyard? Like maybe taking a few simple steps to make your hotels better for the business traveller. That’s me. I’ve stayed in hundreds of hotel rooms over the past few years. And special announcement: You all still have some work to do. What kind of work? Here are 7 suggestions.
Am I the only guy who doesn’t like Halloween?
It’s nothing religious. I have no problem with Satan. Or Dracula. I love horror movies, particularly the first Paranormal Activity and The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, a movie so bad it was scary. And look, I get it. It’s fun to dress up. It’s festive. It’s a time to celebrate and party. And seriously, what mature adult wouldn’t pass up the chance to dress up as a twerking Miley Cyrus or a pretend-Ron Burgundy with a banana stuck in his pants? Oh right, that would be me. I wouldn’t do that.
I watched Sunday’s Eagles game and I felt bad. Not for Chip Kelly or for Nick Foles or Michael Vick. I felt particularly bad for Matt Barkley.
What a disaster. His NFL debut. I’m sure his entire family was watching. And he throws three interceptions in nine minutes. Four actually, but one was called back due to a penalty. Of course there were circumstances that led to this, like throwing a rookie into a tough situation and forcing him to make long passes because his team was down late in the game. But no one, Barkley included, was making excuses. This was his big moment. And it sucked.
So Mayor Nutter is going to London in a couple of weeks.
I get it. He wants to improve the city’s business relations. He’s looking for new business to attract here. He’s trying to better our image. People can debate the actual value of these kinds of trips. Do they really help? Does it really make a difference if our mayor goes? Can’t he be more productive and valuable just by staying at home and working on our own enormous challenges? Should taxpayers, even political contributors, be paying for these things? Will British Airways even upgrade him (trust me, it isn’t easy)? No one really knows. But that’s not important. Because the Mayor’s mind is made up. The reservations are made. The tickets are booked. He’s going.
The problem is he’s going to the wrong city.
I’m really annoyed with God.
Of course this isn’t the first time. God has let me down tons of times over my life. He lets wars and famines and pestilence happen all across the world. He sits idly by while dictators and religious fanatics kill innocent people. He turns a blind eye to earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. He refuses to intervene in catastrophic wars. He did nothing to help the Phillies get past the Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS. Worst of all, he let Duck Dynasty happen. God has a lot of answering to do.
And now he’s just gone too far.