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FIRE: Feed Illusions, Retire Early

There's a popular FIRE guru who went to the same university I did, graduated the same year, got rich mostly through a charmed life, and now harangues his blog readers if they don't live like hillbillies. I, too, worked my ass off and saved money...and at age 28, I didn't have $50 to attend my high school reunion. I did not live a charmed life.

So I'm thinking about starting an early retirement blog myself. I'll write a lot about how awful it is to have to get up and go to work every day*, but how wonderful it is to spend the day growing a garden, walking in the forest and playing with my dog. Then I'll spring the pitch: there are houses for sale in Indianapolis for as little as $10,000! These are legitimate, GOVERNMENT sales! You can own a house, retire early, and tell the The Man to take a hike! I'll have a friend who bought and rehabbed a few houses and rents them out tell readers that this is FOR REAL!**

I haven't decided how to handle information a…

Mad at Ads; How Not to Get Girls

I saw that ad, and boy, was I mad! The stereotyping, the ugliness, the assumptions, the negative portrayal--and it wasn't even for a product I use!

Of course, I'm talking about ads targeted to women of a certain age. Never mind that I'm in good health (I take no medications), that I might like to take a vacation, and I have a house that occasionally need repairs. I've watched travel and home repair videos, so you might think Youtube would show me ads for travel destinations or local home repair goods or services. Yet Youtube was showing me nothing but ads for wrinkle creams and age spots and medications. Play some heavy metal videos and they think you have psoriatic arthritis. Approach age 50 and they think you look like the Crypt Keeper. I finally shut off Google's ad settings.

So I can kind of understand why some men hate Gillette's new ad--they're tired of being lectured to and lumped in with badly behaved men. People would be up in arms if an ad prodde…

Should You Buy Stuff to Save the Environment?

Should you run out and replace your straws, appliances, car and house with new, efficient models? Probably not.

An article in The Times describes how the author became an eco-Puritan. She acknowledges that in her circle, at least, it's a bunch of virtue signaling. I know some people really are passionate about helping the environment, but if your friends are looking down their noses at you for your wrapping paper, maybe it's time to find new friends--ones that won't trade YOU in for a more efficient model.

Let's consider some of the ways people try to "save the environment."

Upgrading your refrigerator (or car, or any appliance). A new refrigerator might be a lot more efficient, but your buying one isn't doing anything to "save the environment." The old refrigerator will be hauled away to a recycling center or used appliance shop, cleaned (boy, do they stink when they get to room temperature), sold, and delivered to a new address. Now, there'…

Should you Get the Lark Health App?

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No. The diet portion is based on dated, anti-fat advice that's been debunked, and the app is connected with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. From 23andMe's blog,

Lark and 23andMe have teamed up to offer customers the opportunity to integrate their genetic results into coaching programs to spur you toward your health goals this year.
23andMe recently signed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline to share customer data (aggregated and de-identified), and Glaxo bought a $300 million stake in 23andMe. See this. GlaxoSmithKline makes beta blockers, which lower blood pressure, and a number of bronchial drugs. Do you think an app they're plugging is going to help you avoid using those drugs?




Fox, meet henhouse.

Should you Replace your Basement Windows?

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Are they rotten? Are they broken? Do you need an egress? No? Then probably not.

My house has the original "drafty old basement windows" from 1931. The previous owners stuffed insulation into the window recesses and nailed boards over them to keep the insulation in place. I had to take the insulation off a few months ago to get some of the glass replaced (note: don't paint your windows black--it can overheat the glass and break it, even on the north side of the house) and started thinking how much nicer the basement would look without the boards and insulation. I made plans to make covers for the insulation. In the meantime, I put large bubble wrap over the panes as insulation.

The basement is unheated and I've had a clock with a thermometer down there since I moved in. I check the temperature in the winter because I start seeds in the basement then, and they won't sprout if it's too cold. How much colder do you think the basement is without the insulation on…

Expensive yet Bad Decorating Ideas

Should you follow today's hot decorating trends to make your place look au courant? Probably not.

I've held off decorating my house since moving here three years ago. Around the time I moved, I saw the magic that happened when the hoarder house I grew up in got cleaned out: it looked like a home. A year later, got rid of a bunch of stuff and decamped to another state. Flush with cash in a low cost of living area full of beautiful antiques, I...got rid of more stuff. I had ataxaphobia (fear of clutter--everything is a condition nowadays) and most of my pictures are still stacked in the extra room.

My fear of clutter has subsided enough on its own that I've thought about decorating. I have lots of decorating magazines (I bought them a few years ago for normative cues as to what a house should look like inside), watched several decorating videos, and formed some opinions.

Should you knock out the wall to your kitchen? Probably not. If your kitchen and adjoining room are smal…

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