Category: Fun and Interesting

Fun and interesting facts, stories and information for all

Making Money Work

Financial Independence is something we all dream about but few actually obtain. Why? Really, I asked myself why I am not financially independant. I was supposed to be retired by 30 and living the dream afterall so what happened?

Money makes Money! Financial independence is reaching a point that your money is working hard enough that the annual return is equal to your annual earning. Retirement and financial independence are really two seperate things. You can be financialy independant and still work because you love what you are doing but now it is a choice. You can retire and try to get by on Social Security but not be financially independent. Making Money Work is a simple strategy. Make your money work harder!

What do you do if you feel like you have no money or not enough to matter. Here is how it works:

  • Start Today! Time is everything
  • Bottom line / Have a budget
  • Pay yourself 1st / 10% off the top
  • Investing beats Saving
  • Reduce Taxes
  • Live Debt Free

I’m Going To Live In My Car!

Why pay RENT! Did you know that rents are rising? You are going to pay more and more and more for ever and ever and pay someone else’s mortgage.

(sound effect of needle scratching across album as light bulb appears above your head) If you don’t know what an album is… it doesn’t matter, just go with the light bulb. OK… Renting doesn’t make sense!  We all need to live somewhere.  If Mom and Dad locked the basement and you can’t live there what do you do?

 I’m going to live in my car. It’s nice and the back seat folds down… I gain mobility and can have a new neighborhood every night but I do give up a lot as well. Then I was thinking about the car’s value, my loan and re-sale. I paid $32,000 for the car and lost so much value instabtly as  I drove off the car lot with my now used car that I’m actually upside down with my value. The added wear and tear is not going to help. I am losing value everyday. Right now I’m just hoping my car lasts longer than the loan!

What other option do I have?   What if I bought a place of my own… But I worry about the home values still dropping. I’m already losing value on my car! I need to live somewhere and living in my car may not be the best… I need a place for my stuff. My friend bought last year and was telling me about the great tax break he got… almost $2,800 refund! Mortgage rates are at an all time low… I wonder… how much would my payment actually be? My credit was OK when I got my car, but I don’t have a lot of money. My friend Joe bought a house and he makes about the same as me and so did that girl in accounting at work. Could I buy…  BUT… What if ?

  • I can’t get a mortgage
  • I can’t make the payments
  • value drops
  • my credit is not good enough
  • I don’t have enough money

4 out of 5 buyers surveyed had these same What ifs! 1 out of  5 did something about it! The first step is the hardest and NOW is the time. If you have even the slightest thought that a home is in your future, you’re tired of ever increasing rent and living in your car is not really an option then you owe it to yourself  to get a Pre-Qualification for a mortgage. It’s Free! No Hassle!

Did you ever notice that the News is 95% negative… Fear sells ratings! Ratings bring advertisers and advertisers bring money!

 HEADLINE         “Buy Home Now Before World Ends”

For more info check out the www.PaFhaMortgage.com website and get your pre-approval today!

By Bill Frantz  at Norstar Mortgage

Presidents’ Day

Washington’s Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day (sometimes spelled Presidents’ Day or President’s Day). As Washington’s Birthday or Presidents Day, it is also the official name of a concurrent state holiday celebrated on the same day in a number of states.

Today, the February holiday has become well-known for being a day in which many stores, especially car dealers, hold sales. Until the late 1980s, corporate businesses generally closed on this day, similar to present corporate practices on Memorial Day or Christmas Day. With the late 1980s advertising push to rename the holiday, more and more businesses are staying open on the holiday each year, and, as on Veterans Day and Columbus Day, most delivery services outside of the U.S. Postal Service now offer regular service on the day as well. Some public transit systems have also gone to regular schedules on the day. Many colleges and universities hold regular classes and operations on Presidents Day. Various theories exist for this, one accepted reason being to make up for the growing trend of corporations to close in observance of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. However, when reviewing the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill debate of 1968 in the Congressional Record, one notes that supporters of the Bill were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business. Over time, as with many federal holidays, few Americans actually celebrate Washington’s Birthday, and it is mainly known as a day off from work or school, although many non-governmental workers do not take the day off.

Consequently, some schools, which used to close for a single day for both Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthday, now often close for the entire week (beginning with the Monday holiday) as a “mid-winter recess”. For example, the New York City school district began doing so in the 1990s. In return, however, most schools cut back Easter recess, traditionally a two-week break, to a week, or eliminate it altogether (except for, usually, Good Friday) in some years in favor of a “late spring recess” in late April or early May.

The federal holiday Washington’s Birthday honors the accomplishments of the man known as “The Father of his Country”. Celebrated for his leadership in the founding of the nation, he was the Electoral College’s unanimous choice to become the first President; he was seen as a unifying force for the new republic and set an example for future holders of the office.

The holiday is also a tribute to the general who created the first military badge of merit for the common soldier. Revived on Washington’s 200th birthday in 1932, the Purple Heart medal (which bears Washington’s image) is awarded to soldiers who are injured in battle. As with Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Washington’s Birthday offers another opportunity to honor the country’s veterans.

Community celebrations often display a lengthy heritage. Historic Alexandria, Virginia, hosts a month-long tribute, including the longest running George Washington Birthday parade, while the community of Eustis, Florida, continues its annual “George Fest” celebration begun in 1902. In Denver, Colorado there is a society dedicated to observing the day. At the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and at Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Virginia, visitors are treated to birthday celebrations throughout the federal holiday weekend and through February 22.

In Alabama the third Monday in February commemorates the birthdays of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April).

In Arkansas the third Monday in February is “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day,” an official state holiday.

In New Mexico Presidents Day, at least as a state government paid holiday, is observed on the Friday following Thanksgiving. In 2007 the country celebrated both Washington’s 275th birthday and the 75th anniversary of the rebirth of the Purple Heart medal.

Since 1862 there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington’s Farewell Address be read on his birthday. Citizens had asked that this be done in light of the approaching Civil War. The annual tradition continues with the reading of the address on or near Washington’s Birthday.

Found at: www.wikipedia .com

History of Valentine’s Day

Every year, the fourteenth day of the month of February has millions across the world presenting their loved ones with candy, flowers, chocolates and other lovely gifts. In many countries, restaurants and eateries are seen to be filled with couples who are eager to celebrate their relationship and the joy of their togetherness through delicious cuisines. There hardly seems to be a young man or woman who is not keen to make the most of the day.

The reason behind all of this is a kindly cleric named Valentine who died more than a thousand years ago.

It is not exactly known why the 14th of February is known as Valentine’s Day or if the noble Valentine really had any relation to this day. The history of Valentine’s Day is impossible to be obtained from any archive and the veil of centuries gone by has made the origin behind this day more difficult to trace. It is only some legends that are our source for the history of Valentine’s Day.

The modern St. Valentine’s Day celebrations are said to have been derived from both ancient Christian and Roman tradition. As per one legend, the holiday has originated from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, a fertility celebration that used to observed annually on February 15. But the rise of Christianity in Europe saw many pagan holidays being renamed for and dedicated to the early Christian martyrs. Lupercalia was no exception. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius turned Lupercalia into a Christian feast day and set its observance a day earlier, on February 14. He proclaimed February 14 to be the feast day in honor of Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century. It is this St. Valentine whom the modern Valentine’s Day honors.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by the name of Valentine. While one was a priest in Rome, another was a bishop in Terni. Nothing is known about the third St. Valentine except that he met his end in Africa. Surprisingly, all three of them were said to have been martyred on 14th February.

It is clear that Pope Gelasius intended to honor the first of these three aforementioned men. Most scholars believe that this St. Valentine was a priest who lived around 270 AD in Rome and attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II who ruled during this time.

The story of St. Valentine has two different versions – the Protestant and the Catholic one. Both versions agree upon Saint Valentine being a bishop who held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers in opposition to Claudius II who had prohibited marriage for young men and was executed by the latter. During the lifetime of Valentine, the golden era of Roman empire had almost come to an end. Lack of quality administrators led to frequent civil strife. Education declined, taxation increased and trade witnessed a very bad time. The Roman empire faced crisis from all sides, from the Gauls, Slavs, Huns, Turks and Mongolians from Northern Europe and Asia. The empire had grown too large to be shielded from external aggression and internal chaos with existing forces. Naturally, more and more capable men were required to to be recruited as soldiers and officers to protect the nation from takeover. When Claudius became the emperor, he felt that married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and thus, will not make good soldiers. He believed that marriage made the men weak. So he issued an edict forbidding marriage to assure quality soldiers.

The ban on marriage was a great shock for the Romans. But they dared not voice their protest against the mighty emperor. The kindly bishop Valentine also realized the injustice of the decree. He saw the trauma of young lovers who gave up all hopes of being united in marriage. He planned to counter the monarch’s orders in secrecy. Whenever lovers thought of marrying, they went to Valentine who met them afterwards in a secret place, and joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. And thus he secretly performed many marriages for young lovers. But such things cannot remain hidden for long. It was only a matter of time before Claudius came to know of this “friend of lovers,” and had him arrested.

While awaiting his sentence in prison, Valentine was approached by his jailor, Asterius. It was said that Valentine had some saintly abilities and one of them granted him the power to heal people. Asterius had a blind daughter and knowing of the miraculous powers of Valentine he requested the latter to restore the sight of his blind daughter. The Catholic legend has it that Valentine did this through the vehicle of his strong faith, a phenomenon refuted by the Protestant version which agrees otherwise with the Catholic one. Whatever the fact, it appears that Valentine in some way did succeed to help Asterius’ blind daughter.

When Claudius II met Valentine, he was said to have been impressed by the dignity and conviction of the latter. However, Valentine refused to agree with the emperor regarding the ban on marriage. It is also said that the emperor tried to convert Valentine to the Roman gods but was unsuccesful in his efforts. Valentine refused to recognize Roman Gods and even attempted to convert the emperor, knowing the consequences fully. This angered Claudius II who gave the order of execution of Valentine.

Meanwhile, a deep friendship had been formed between Valentine and Asterius’ daughter. It caused great grief to the young girl to hear of his friend’s imminent death. It is said that just before his execution, Valentine asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her “From Your Valentine,” a phrase that lived ever after. As per another legend, Valentine fell in love with the daughter of his jailer during his imprisonment. However, this legend is not given much importance by historians. The most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not centered on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion. Valentine is believed to have been executed on February 14, 270 AD.

Thus 14th February became a day for all lovers and Valentine became its Patron Saint. It began to be annually observed by young Romans who offered handwritten greetings of affection, known as Valentines, on this day to the women they admired. With the coming of Christianity, the day came to be known as St. Valentine’s Day.

But it was only during the 14th century that St. Valentine’s Day became definitively associated with love. UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of “Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine”, credits Chaucer as the one who first linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance. In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14. Hence, Chaucer used the image of birds as the symbol of lovers in poems dedicated to the day. In Chaucer’s “The Parliament of Fowls,” the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine’s Day are related:

“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

By the Middle Ages, Valentine became as popular as to become one of the most popular saints in England and France. Despite attempts by the Christian church to sanctify the holiday, the association of Valentine’s Day with romance and courtship continued through the Middle Ages. The holiday evolved over the centuries. By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts began to be created on this day and handed over to the man or woman one loved. This tradition eventually spread to the American colonies. It was not until the 1840s that Valentine’s Day greeting cards began to be commercially produced in the U.S. The first American Valentine’s Day greeting cards were created by Esther A. Howlanda Mount Holyoke, a graduate and native of Worcester. Mass. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap”. It was when Howland began Valentine’s cards in a large scale that the tradition really caught on in the United States.

Today, Valentine’s Day is one of the major holidays in the U.S. and has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are “valentine”s. The “valentines”, as Valentine’s Day cards are better known as, are often designed with hearts to symbolize love. The Valentine’s Day card spread with Christianity, and is now celebrated all over the world. One of the earliest valentines was sent in 1415 AD by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife during his imprisonment in the Tower of London. The card is now preserved in the British Museum.

There may be doubts regarding the actual identity of Valentine, but we know that he really existed because archaeologists have recently unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to a Saint Valentine.

Found at: theholidayspot.com

Ship Lost For More Than 150 Years Is Recovered

Canadian archeologists have found a ship abandoned more than 150 years ago in the quest for the fabled Northwest Passage and which was lost in the search for the doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin, the head of the team said Wednesday.

Marc-Andre Bernier, Parks Canada’s head of underwater archaeology, said the HMS Investigator, abandoned in the ice in 1853, was found in shallow water in Mercy Bay along the northern coast of Banks Island in Canada’s western Arctic.

“The ship is standing upright in very good condition. It’s standing in about 11 meters (36 feet) of water,” he said. “This is definitely of the utmost importance. This is the ship that sailed the last leg of the Northwest Passage.”

The Investigator was one of many American and British ships sent out to search for the HMS Erebus and the Terror, vessels commanded by Franklin in his ill-fated search for the Northwest Passage in 1845.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the British government has been notified that one of their naval shipwrecks has been discovered, as well as the bodies of three sailors.

Captained by Robert McClure, the Investigator sailed in 1850. That year, McClure sailed the Investigator into the strait that now bears his name and realized that he was in the final leg of the Northwest Passage, the sea route across North America.

But before he could sail into the Beaufort Sea, the ship was blocked by pack ice and forced to winter-over in Prince of Wales Strait along the east coast of Banks Island.

The following summer, McClure tried again to sail to the end of the Passage, but was again blocked by ice. He steered the ship and crew into a large bay on the island’s north coast he called the Bay of Mercy.

There they were to remain until 1853, when they were rescued by the crew of the HMS Resolute. The Investigator was abandoned.

“This is actually a human history,” said Bernier. “Not only a history of the Passage, but the history of a crew of 60 men who had to overwinter three times in the Arctic not knowing if they were going to survive.”

The Parks Canada team arrived at Mercy Bay on July 22. Three days later, the ice on the bay cleared enough that researchers were able to deploy side-scanning sonar from a small inflatable boat over the site where they believed the wooden ship had eventually sunk. Within 15 minutes, the Investigator was found.

“The ship had not moved too much from where it was abandoned,” said Bernier.

The masts and rigging have long been sheared off by ice and weather. But the icy waters of the McClure Strait has preserved the vessel in remarkably good condition.

“It’s incredible,” said Prentice from Mercy Bay. “You’re actually able to peer down into the water and see not only the outline of the ship but actually the individual timbers.

Archaeologists have also uncovered artifacts on land left behind by the stranded sailors, who unloaded everything before abandoning the Investigator.

The graves of three sailors thought to have died of scurvy have been marked off and will be left undisturbed, said Bernier.

Bernier said the next step will be to send down a remote controlled video camera to get actual pictures of the wreck. There are no plans to bring it to the surface and all legal steps will be taken to ensure the site remains protected.

Bernier also said the team will use similar technology to find the Erebus and Terror.

By AP
Found on yahoo.com

Happy Birthday America!

The fourth as it is commonly referred to, is a celebration of America’s birthday. On July 4th, 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the Declaration of Independence which had been written by Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston was officially adopted by the continental Congress. The following year there was a celebration in Philadelphia to commemorate Independence Day. This holiday soon spread throughout the colonies, and after the War of 1812 with Great Britain become a very popular national holiday. Today we celebrate with family picnics, barbeques, and just as they did in the 1800’s spectacular firework displays! Norstar Mortgage would like to wish everyone a wonderful and safe 4th of July.