Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for March 2012

When it comes to our economy …

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…we’re Greece-ing the skids.

Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 28, 2012 at 12:05 am

Posted in A Musing

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Walla Walla Winds Through Washington History

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Teapot Dome gas station operating

south of Walla Walla since 1922

 

 

By Sandy Katz

Mature Life Features

WALLA WALLA, Wash.—- This city of  “many waters,” the name it got from the Cayuse Indians, sees itself as the cradle of Northwest history, partly because the state’s constitution was drafted here in the historic Reynolds Day. It’s also the 2001 winner of the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Sunset Magazine’s “Best Main Street in the West” title.

The frontier-era days are  preserved in the Fort Walla Walla Museum. Situated on the 19th century military reserve, it showcases a life-size Lewis & Clark diorama, a 33-mule team, panoramic 1920s harvest mural, and a pioneer settlement of 16 buildings. Five large exhibit halls display a range of domestic, agricultural, commercial, and military items used by early residents. On Sundays, the museum features living history re-enactors in period costumes portraying lives of prominent Yakima Valley residents from the 1800s.

Nearby Dayton, an historic agricultural town, features the state’s oldest courthouse and depot, and has 83 homes on the National Historic Register.

An hour’s drive west of Walla Walla are the tri-cities of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland nestled in the heart of the state’s wine country. More than 50 wineries are clustered in a 50-mile radius at the southern tip of the 1.4-million acre Yakama Indian Reservation, known officially as the Yakama Nation. Just east of the reservation, on former Indian land, is the Hanford Atomic Energy Reservation that played a key role in the development of the world’s first atomic bomb in the 1940s. The Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology Museum in Richland showcases the area’s role in World War II’s Manhattan Project that produced the bomb as well as tells the story of the Columbia River basin and surrounding region. Exhibits deal with laser technology, robots, hazardous wastes, and the power of the harnessed atom.

Toppenish, 12 miles south of Yakima and the administrative center of the Yakama Nation, touts the slogan “Where the West Still Lives.” Once a center of Native American life until it was displaced by cattlemen, settlers, railroads, and farming, the town depicts its history in some 60 murals on the sides of buildings and walls.

The Yakama Nation Museum and Cultural Heritage Center features life-size dwellings of the Plateau People, dioramas, and exhibits augmented by narratives, music, and sound effects. The museum has a mannequin exhibit, “The Great Native American Leaders” and, through the nearby restaurant, can arrange tasting parties to sample such native food as fried bread and luk-a-meen (fish soup).  A half-dozen  tribal gatherings, known as powwows, held each year are open to the public

Mature Life Features,  Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 24, 2012 at 12:05 am

Frugality Firms Fiscal Muscles

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By Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features

There’s a myth perpetuated in the saying “If you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it.”

Nonsense. Even the wealthiest nabobs want to know the price of a product or service they’re buying. It doesn’t  mean they won’t spend the money. They just want to know what value or return they’re getting for their money. That’s one  reason they have money. They keep an eye on it.

Most people don’t know how much money they have in their pockets or purses. Even more have no idea how much credit they have on their cards. Those who know how much credit remains on their credit cards at any particular moment are pretty well nonexistent.

How do they expect to win at any financial game, which is measured in dollars, when they don’t even know the score? There are some simple economic exercises you can take to become fiscally fit.

For one thing, you can look at your credit cards to determine how much total credit you have. Then subtract your credit-card debt against that total  find out how much credit you have left. And keep a running account of your available credit.

Then see how much money you have in your checking account. And in your savings account. Did you know what the totals were before looking? You shouldn’t have had to check. You should have known before looking.

If you didn’t know any of the above figures, it’s like playing a game of baseball, football, hockey, golf, you name it, and never knowing the score. How can you expect t be a winner?

Now count the money in your pocket or purse. Did you know how much you had? Put the change in a piggy bank, cigar box or whatever is handy. Never spend pocket change you carry home. It can accumulate and become a handy pool for spending for birthday or Christmas gifts.

All this is aimed at making you take account of every penny you spend. Do you leave the television set running while you take a shower? Or while you’re out cutting the lawn? Do you switch off the light when you leave a room? Why do you have two lights on in the same room?  All this costs money that you can save by simply flicking a switch.

And it turns the spotlight on your money game.

Another exercise is the simple one your mother probably taught you: “gluing” the final small sliver of soap to a new bar. You can cut down the amount of laundry soap usage around the house if you wear those pair of casual jeans one day longer than you had planned. Same with that fleece vest.

These moves of economy stretch out to other areas. Why spend big bucks on movies when you can watch them on the Internet at home eating much cheaper popcorn? The same with pulling in books from cyberspace.

These simple moves should leave you with a clearer picture of what the money game is all about and lead you to more powerful exercises to help boost your financial fortunes.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Finance

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WHALE OF A PAST IN NANUCKET

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By Pat Neisser, Mature Life Features

NANTUCKET, Mass. —- Time on this island is warped back to the 17th century whaling era.

This outcropping 30 miles off Cape Cod has gray- and white-shingled homes dating back more than a couple of hundred years, charming historic villages, ancient lighthouses, and miles of bike paths all wrapped up in pristine beaches.

Its popularity is such that traffic is at a standstill during July and August. Installing even one stop light drew the residents’ wrath, as did the idea of speed bumps. And limiting cars was a no-no to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The time to come here is spring or fall. The very lowest rates are found during the “quiet season,” January through March, but many businesses are closed then. Spring, before tourists swarm over this 14-by-3 1/2-mile island, and fall, after they leave, offer stunning blue skies and cool crisp days on uncrowded cobblestone streets. Spring blooms into a bounty of colors. Fall’s crimson-colored leaves create a luxurious landscape. In either season, the island’s mood is relaxed. You’ll meet local residents and get to know the real Nantucket. Visitors are likely to include bird watchers as well as fishermen after striped bass and bluefish.

If feasible, leave your car on the mainland and take a flight or ferry here. Driving on the island is a nuisance. Shuttles, buses, and bikes do the job, and, mostly, you can walk. You can stroll through Nantucket Town where all the action is. Shops and restaurants dot the streets. Island specialities include scrimshaw (carved ivory), and gold and silver pendants called “Sailor’s Valentines” that once were made out of shells. Grass baskets and colorful sportswear are popular. During the cooler months, cable-knit sweaters and warm jackets are the norm.

Dining on the island is a particular pleasure. Among local specialties is the lobster-roll salad, famous along on the East Coast, as well as steaks and shellfish.

Whether you explore by yourself or take a tour, you’ll pass by cranberry bogs, through villages such as Siasconset (“Sconset” to the locals) clustered around the small bays, and fishermen plying the waters. There are some 800 restored homes and businesses built between 1690 and 1840 along with working lighthouses and historic museums.

The Nantucket Historical Association operates a series of museums and historic properties. Among them is  the Whaling Museum, where you can learn the origin of the Nantucket Sleigh Ride.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 10, 2012 at 12:05 am

Old curmudgeons don’t fade away …

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… we just crank it up and get crankier.

 

Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Posted in A Musing

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