Finances

Carbon Tax Questions

I received my natural gas bill yesterday. For the last month, spanning parts of January and February, the coldest stretch of winter, I used $31.58 worth of gas to heat my home and provide hot water. (In summer months, it is often less than $10.) The gas company charged me an additional $67.97 to deliver […]

Black Holes and Other Investments

Let me ask you a question. As an investor, would you invest in BlackBerry Limited? This is a company whose sales dropped from almost $20 billion a year in 2011 to less than 1 billion in 2018. This is a company that racked up losses of over $10 billion between 2013 and 2017. Its work […]

An Interesting Day

A while back, I had an interesting day, marked by some significant but mundane events. Event #1: I went out and bought my wife an expensive birthday present. The romance is still alive. The present was a new freezer. It wasn’t planned. The compressor on our current 35-year-old one was still working fine, but we […]

A Ming Vase Would Be Cheaper

When my wife named our cat Ming, I knew she was going to be expensive. The cat, that is, not my wife. I already knew my wife was going to be expensive. The cat’s name is appropriate because Ming is lazy, likes to eat, and is, as a result, shaped somewhat like a vase. Rather […]

Making a Killing as a Writer

“There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people—psychopaths and mystery writers. I’m the kind that pays better.” Those are the opening words of the introduction to each episode of the television series Castle used in season 2 and season 3. They are words with many layers of meaning […]

The Purpose of a Washing Machine

We recently bought a new computer. We didn’t want to, but we felt we had no choice. Our 20-year-old washing machine began banging, then smoking, and finally stopped working altogether. We phoned the appliance repair shop and discovered it had gone out of business. Couldn’t find another one that looked trustworthy. Apparently appliance repair is […]

Smart Phone, Stupid People

We recently bought a cell phone. The phone came with a small pamphlet offering a long list of directions, including the following: Remove the back cover. Be careful not to damage your fingernails when you remove the back cover. Insert the battery. Use only manufacturer-approved chargers, batteries, and cables. Unapproved chargers or cables can cause the […]