Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for October 2021

That Old “You’re Next” …

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. . . poke in the ribs you used to get at weddings

isn’t so funny now that you’re attending funerals.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 31, 2021 at 5:31 am

Posted in Humor / Quote

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Dolphins Dance off Clearwater

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Everyone scrambled to the back of the boat as the captain gunned the vessel to create a wake he claimed the dolphins can’t resist.

More than half a dozen bottlenose dolphins pranced in, out, over, and under the stern swell as the 40-foot tourist-laden tugboat roared through the emerald Gulf of Mexico waters less than a mile off Clearwater.

After listening to passenger squeals and squeaks of delight for about 20 minutes, he cut the speed and the cavorting cetaceans with the constant grin skittered off.

Dolphins play and prey along this coast of Florida but they also become victims.

A celebrated case is Winter, which lost its tail to a crab trap. It was about three months old when found near Cape Canaveral in late 2005 tangled tightly in the trap’s buoy line.

Rescuers took it to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The mangled flukes fell off but tender loving care restored the mammal to health.

Winter made history because a coalition of several agencies and experts worked on designing and fitting the dolphin with a prosthetic tail.  A movie was made of the entire development.

This marine attraction preaches and practices the three Rs: rescue, rehabilitate and release. Dolphins, otters, sea turtles, sharks, and sting rays are returned to the wild.

It also monitors sea turtle nests that abound on the barrier islands that protect much of this shoreline. The egg-laying season begins May 1 and the last hatchlings head for the open sea in late August.

Many of these newborns need help to guide them to the water because they use the moonlight to get there but city lights and other illumination can confuse them.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 30, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in United States.

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The Most Important Things in Life . . .

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… aren’t things!

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 29, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in A Musing

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As President of the San Diego Press Club . . .

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. . . five decades ago, just how long ago that was smacked me in the face as I skimmed over the list of winners of the most recent club journalism awards.

The only names I was a familiar with were those of the long-ago folks the awards were named for.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 28, 2021 at 5:00 am

If Psychics Are so Smart …

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. . . how come they aren’t raking in billions of dollars by picking winning lottery numbers, betting on Super Bowl winners, and cashing in on winning race horses so they wouldn’t have to charge you for foretelling your fortune.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 27, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in A Musing

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Gonna Make a Sign . . .

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. . . for the bathroom in my church:

“No Restroom For The Wicked.”

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 26, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in Humor / Quote

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Tightwads Can Have Fun, Too

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Be a tightwad.

That doesn’t mean being miser­ly. You can still enjoy life, dote on your kids and grandchil­dren and enjoy va­cations.

But don’t throw your money around. Rich people don’t.

The road to tightwadism is at­tained by pinching pennies. That’s also the first step to­ward saving, which is in the general direction of invest­ing.

One thing requires clarifica­tion. Be­ing a penny pincher does not mean you buy “cheap.” It means you make cer­tain you get what you want and good value for what you pay. It doesn’t mean you buy the cheapest cut of steak. It means you buy the cut with the least fat and bone on it.

One of the first things you should do, if you haven’t al­ready, is consol­idate as much debt as possible, espe­cially if it’s size­able. A good working definition of debt is the amount of money still left to pay after you’ve paid all your month­ly bills. A mortgage is debt. (Al­though this can also be consid­ered an in­vestment, which al­ters the pic­ture.)

A car loan and size­able credit-card and store bills also are debt. And the in­ter­est rate on this type of debt can be expen­sive.

So, in true tight­wad fashion, con­sider consolidating all this debt into a home-equity loan, on which the inter­est is much lower than what you’re paying on your credit cards.

If you have to make a major purchase such as a piece of furni­ture, an ap­pli­ance, or an au­tomo­bile, wait un­til the end of the month to shop. That’s when these business oper­ators are anxious to meet monthly sales quo­tas. Before you go out to make such a purchase, take a hard look at what you intend to re­place to see if it can be re­paired or last another couple of years.

It’s also a good idea to buy ap­pli­ances in the off-season. Buy an air-conditioner in win­ter and a furnace during the summer.

You can pinch pen­nies around the house without even noticing it. Repair leaky faucets and re­place your light bulbs with flo­res­cent lighting. Open your drapes during winter to let the sun warm up your home. Close them during summer to keep it cool in­side.

Grocery shopping is a constant, so make a list of things you can buy in bulk — sugar, flour and condiments, for ex­ample — to save cents. And cook your own meals in­stead of calling for de­liv­ery. Chi­nese food and piz­za can be made at home for less cost and in about the same time it takes to be delivered.

Shop around for ge­neric drugs. Get approval from your doctor and druggist to do so. Then you can slash prices on some of your medicines.

When you shop for clothing, avoid anything with a label re­quiring “dry cleaning.” Wash­able clothing is just as good-looking and just as comfortable.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 25, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in Finance

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Just Remember . . .

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. . . that everything you do,

becomes a memory

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 24, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Reading Stretches From Peanuts to Pagoda

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READING, PA – Like prime real estate, Reading’s major attractions are location, location, location.

As an industrial center, it forged its place in history as a major player in the formation of this nation and a source of Conestoga wagons that played a vital role in the drive to develop the West.

Its geographic position in the shoulder of Mount Penn on the banks of the Schuylkill River is an hour’s drive or less from the fecund and food‑filled Lancaster County, capital of Amish country; the glitter and gourmet seafood of Atlantic City and the New Jersey shore, the historic sites of Valley Forge and Gettysburg, and Independence Hall, the cradle of our constitution in Philadelphia.

This manufacturing city designed in 1748 by William Penn’s sons, Thomas and Richard, is to outlet shopping what Bethlehem is to Christendom. It brags that it’s the Outlet Capital of the World, citing the opening of its first manufacturer’s outlet surplus sales shop more than half a century ago.

“America’s Oldest Brewery” is just up the road in Pottsville, the boyhood home of author John O’Hara, where the Yuengling family has been fermenting barley and hops at the foot of the Appalachian Trail since 1829.

This cozy complex that opened in the early 1700s as a food stop for muleskinners hauling barges along the Schuylkill River Canal System is still home to the ghosts of at least one of the owners, an owner’s mistress, a Revolutionary War soldier and a young girl who died of a respiratory ailment.

“We’ve had waitresses who’ve seen these ghosts and think they’re customers,” we were told.

A network of riverside walking and bicycle trails links the heart of this city of 80,000 with the countryside and much of its history. Donald Linderman, a nearby resident pedaling with a local group through a covered bridge leading to a former wagon works transformed into a museum, informed the group why there are no windows on covered bridges.

“They were built to get horse‑drawn wagons across the river and horses get skittish when they see anything moving under them. There are no windows so horses wouldn’t see the water rushing under them.”

After that lesson, it was time for a stop at downtown’s best‑known watering hole and power‑lunch stop ‑‑ Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar. First‑timers tend to shuck peanut shells back into the bowl on their table. “Throw ’em on the floor,” sang out our server.

Before leaving this seat of Berks County, we headed up Mount Penn to the Pagoda on Skyline Drive for a semi-bird’s-eye view of this food- and fun-filled historic corner of our world.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 23, 2021 at 5:00 am

Only Your Computer Knows Virtual Money

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It’s a tenet of investing: if you don’t understand the company or product and what it does, drop it and move on to something else.

Which makes the Bitcoin story totally bizarre. Not only is it understood by a select group of financial high flyers, no one is really sure who started it.

Since the Bitcoin’s birth a dozen years ago, it’s travelled a bumpy road the stretches from a price of $400 five years ago to more than $60,000 earlier this year. Along the way it dropped to $4,000 in 2019 from $19,000 two years earlier.

But not to worry, if Bitcoin sounds a bit scary, there are more than 6,500 other cryptocurrencies on the market.

None of these currencies involve printing presses. They exist only in computers – cyberspace. Like Bitcoin, you can’t store any of it under your mattress.

There is a growing industry servicing the spending of Bitcoins after you buy them. They’re readily available at thousands of automated teller machines around the country.

The value of Bitcoin rises only if there’s a demand for it. If no one wants it, the value drops – dramatically.

If Bitcoin doesn’t catch your fancy, you can purchase Ethereum, Litecoin, Stellar, Polkadot, Cardano and, as pointed out earlier, thousands of other options.

And there’s a whole new language involved.

For example, Ethereum claims to be “a decentralized software platform that enables smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control, or interference from a third party.

“The goal behind Ethereum is to create a decentralized suite of financial products that anyone in the world can freely access, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or faith.”

Did you get all that?

Transactions are conducted through a digital ledger called a blockchain. This involves a global computer network that stores the virtual money in a digital wallet.

A lure of cryptocurrency is the ability of blockchain to process and record software programs to transfer large sums of money around the world without an intermediary.

For example, it takes five days to transmit cross-border payments at an average fee of more than 6 percent, accounting for a $4 trillion business globally. Bitcoin cuts the transfer time down to about 10 minutes. Fees vary for the various currency forms. Some are no fee.

If you feel you understand the function of virtual currencies and see them as part of your financial future, make sure you understand the beginning, middle and end of what can happen to your money if you think you’d like to get involved and invest.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 22, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in Finance

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