Do Not Take Any Wooden Nickels

I was a curious 6 year-old when my Grandfather said those words to me.


At the time, I asked my Grandfather what it meant, but he just smiled.

But his words stuck with me and a few years later when I heard him say those exact same words to another 6 year-old, I had a better idea of what he meant.

He probably meant “do not take anything at face value.”

Today when I look it up, it means “be cautious in one’s dealings.”

That sums up my view of life and of finances.

When I see a curious 6 year-old in the future.  I know not to say, “Be cautious”.  That would be boring.  But saying “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” makes one think.

I owe a lot to my Grandfather for making me think about nickels and finances.

For more information on the history of wooden nickels, see


Snacks Are Good For Kids As Well As Parents

Okay.  I know what you are thinking.  What a stupid, ignorant thing to say.

I know some snacks are awful but read what I have to say.


I was in my optometrist’s office the other day.  She comes in fretting about her kids saying, “I worry about them.”

I told her, “Kids are pretty resilient.  Let me make a suggestion which goes against all normal thinking.”

Now I have her attention.

“Snacks are a good thing.”

She looks at me funny.

“I know what you are thinking but if you buy good snacks, they will come.  What I mean is your kids will hang around your house and you will get to know their friends.  And if you know their friends, you will know what they are doing.  As opposed to them off with their friends and you not knowing what they are up to.  This makes for good kids.”

“Wow, that makes sense.” she replies.

“And you can buy 100% juice drinks, whole grain chips and carrots with ranch dressing.”

“Thanks.” she replies.

I hope to hear in a few years that it worked out for her.  And maybe she won’t have as many worry lines on her forehead as I do.

Death To Identity Thief

No I am not talking about the movie.  But this will give you a run for your money.


Have you noticed that the keywords “death” and “dead” are the most popular?

At first I thought it was part of a “goth” or “freddy” or maybe “scissorhand” fetish for the horror movie genre.  You know.  Just like the Star Trek has Trekkies, I thought these were Deathies.

But then at 3 AM in the middle of the night I sat up in bed and realized, these are hackers. They are looking for obituaries.  And why would they do that?  To find identities to steal! 

How many people are going to realize that their identity was stolen if they are dead?

Let me put this another way.  Which is the least likely demographic to object and retaliate for identity theft?  Right.  Dead people.

This has been a community service announcement.

Oh, by the way, the Identity Thief movie is pretty good.

The Road To A Legacy

This post is about my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandfather, Reuben Dye.  He settled in the Flint Township area of Michigan back in 1843 so he wasn’t that old but he was really great.

dye_roadThe reason he was so great is he was ahead of his time.  He was one of the first of about eight settlers in that Michigan area.  He had a farm and a road that eventually became Dye Road.  This was 50 years before gas buggies were invented.

Eventually Flint, the town to the east, became the automotive capital of the world.. So whether he was forward thinking or just plain lucky, I will never know. But what I do know is he is dead but his legacy lives on via that well-traveled road in Michigan.

Airplanes Can Be Fun

Remember that flight where the kid behind you would never stop crying or kicked your seat?

Well here is an airplane story of a different color.

Tommy was well-behaved during the entire plane flight.  His parents kept him quiet with a handheld game player and a soda.  Passengers admired Tommy’s behavior.

But when it was time to leave, Tommy started shouting.


Wall Street Crash Could Happen Again

On April 8, 2013 new more sophisticated Securities and Exchange Commission rules seeking to prevent another flash-crash tookeffect, but some observers are dubious about how effective they will be in another crisis-situation.

On August 1, 2012 the Knight Capital Group had a $400 million trading snafu.

On May 6, 2010, the Flash Crash occurred where the Dow Jones fell 9.2% in a matter of minutes.  Finally a short story that explains how it could have happened and how it might happen again. 


Click on Flash Crash Epitaph  to read this short story.  Enjoy!

Three Envelopes

Stop me if you have heard this.

A newly hired manager moves into his new office and meets his predecessor on his last day.  The predecessor tells the new manager there are three envelopes in the drawer and he is to use one each time a crisis occurs.


Well several months pass before a crisis happens.  The manager goes to the drawer and gets the first envelope.  He opens it.  It says :”Blame the predecessor.” He does that and the crisis passes.

Several more months pass before another crisis happens.  The manager again goes to the drawer and gets the second envelope.  This time it says :Reorganize”.  So he does that and the crisis subsides.

Again several more months pass and a third crisis happens.  This time the manager goes to the drawer and knowing this is the last envelope, he hopes it contains the final solution he needs.

He opens the drawer and opens the last envelope.  The contents say “Create three envelopes”.