Vanity Plate Penetration


Random vanity plate facts of the day (and I have a question: Which other countries permit vanity plates? I can’t recall seeing them in Europe, for example, but I may be wrong):

That’s how we know 1 in 26.15 registered motor vehicles have vanity plates, which translates into nearly 9.3 million or 3.8% of the nearly 243 million registered motor vehicles in the US. And that’s where we get the term, “vanity plate penetration,” and are able to use it in this sentence: Virginia has the highest vanity plate penetration with 1 in 6.18 registered cars (or 16%) being vanitized.

After Virginia, the next five states with the highest vanity plate penetration are New Hampshire (1 in 7.14); Illinois (1 in 7.45); Nevada (1 in 7.8); Montana (1 in 10.2); and Maine (1 in 10.21). The state with the lowest percentage of vanity plates is Texas, with only .56%, or 1 in 178.3 registered cars.

Via the wonderfully obsessive, if imperfect, Book of Odds.

I live in Virginia but hate vanity plates. But yet I had one, SHOCKZ, on my 350Z. It was clever and cheap. If you can't beat'em, join'em. The wife is from Texas and we want to move to Austin in a few years, so we'll go from the most vanity plate penetrated state to the least. Makes me feel a little better about about living in Texas.


AC/DC Concert at the Verizon Center in Washington DC on Friday, Oct 16, 2009

AC/DC Concert
Originally uploaded by chronic-shock
I finally got to see one of my favorite bands, AC/DC. We got a babysitter and made it a date night. The concert rocked. It was a raucous show. The band has a lot of energy. It was loud and crazy. They played around two hours. The set list included their hits and three songs off their new album, Black Ice.
Here's all the pics.

Rock on! \m/

The Onion Sports: Redskins Hold Press Conference To Announce They Are Still Sort Of A Football Team

From The Onion: Sports: Redskins Hold Press Conference To Announce They Are Still Sort Of A Football Team: "WASHINGTON—Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn held a press conference Sunday to reassure fans that, despite an inability to effectively..."


Money Tips I Learned from Poker

A repost from my favorite personal finance blog, Bargaineering. It combines two of my hobbies - personal finance and poker. I'm going to print out the article and take it to my monthly poker game to see what the guys think.

Money Tips I Learned from Poker: "

Fat Stack of Poker Chips

This was a guest post written by my friend John H. about the some money tips he took from the felt and put into his wallet.

When you think of your bankroll, you probably think about how much cash you have in your wallet or how much money you have access to via your debit card that’s not already spoken for by bills. It’s your extra money that you’ll use to put gas in your car this week, go out to eat one night, or for some random purchase like buying a box of Do-Si-Dos® from the Girl Scouts outside your local grocery store.

Lesson 1: Bankroll Management

These things, while individually are minute, eventually add up to “I’m broke.” Instead of looking at your bankroll as your own personal petty cash fund, think of it like poker players do their bankrolls. The average professional poker player will typically only play in cash games for which his bankroll is 300 X the big blind, sometimes up to 500. If you don’t play poker, then this means nothing to you, but a blind is the maximum bet that the game will start out at. You don’t really need to understand this though to apply the strategy to your own life. Think of it as only making purchases that are equal to or less than a certain percentage of your bankroll.

Example 1:

For the sake of not being ridiculous, let’s lessen the number to 30 X your bankroll. Inflation has pushed the price of Girl Scout Cookies up to about $4 per box in most regions of the US. Do you have $120 in your bankroll to cushion the loss of the $4? You want two boxes? You should have at least $240 of extra money in your pocket if you plan on splurging. Only buy the Girl Scout Cookies when your bankroll can afford the blow. When you are running low on cash, you won’t be able to afford 30 X the purchase, and if you’re disciplined, you won’t buy it; thus, not running out of money before your next paycheck.

Example 2:

Another scenario: You have a date. Going out to dinner at a really expensive restaurant like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, for two people, would run you at least $100 (more if you plan on ordering martinis). If your bankroll has at least $3,000 (30 X $100) to cushion the loss, then by all means, you can afford it and your wallet won’t suffer too harshly. If you’ve got more like $200 in your pocket, Applebee’s is running a special that includes an appetizer and two entrees for $20 and $2 20 oz. beers—now that’s a date you can afford.

There’s another term for this, it’s “living within your means,” which some people don’t do, especially when they get mixed up with credit cards, but that’s an entirely different story, and it’s been addressed on this blog already. Of course the number “30” is not the exact number for everyone, as there’s no perfect formula that fits every single person when it comes to finances. However, in such tough economic times as these, using restraint and moderation with your money is more than mildly important. Find a number that works for you, but just stick to it. Try it for one month and see how much money you have leftover in your bankroll.

Lesson 2: Saving/Investing

After you’ve practiced bankroll management as described above, you hopefully actually have some money left over above your monthly expenses. Now you can take a percentage of that amount and put it away in your “savings.” In keeping with the poker theme, poker players don’t take all their money with them to the casino (the responsible ones don’t anyway). They put away what their original investment was, plus some, and then continue to build on to their adjusted bankroll.

Example 1:

You’ve managed to pay all of your monthly bills and budget yourself to only spend 30 X your bankroll for an entire month. At the end of the month, you have $250 left over. Take 50% of that and put it away. So you now have a savings of $125, plus another $125 to throw into the pot for the next month’s bankroll. That following month, you’ll essentially have more money to cushion your spending. Stay disciplined, though; this does not mean that you should blow your extra cash on iTunes. Stick to your bankroll management, but you’ll have a little more free reign with what you can spend in relation to your bankroll (i.e., perhaps this week, you can afford Long Horne Steakhouse).

Example 2:

This one is for those who have credit card debt. Take the same example above. Instead of “saving” your extra $125, throw it towards the balance on one of your cards (that is if you have the will power to not use that card, which hopefully if you’ve come this far, you do). Continue whittling it down each month in this way, until it’s gone. Then your extra cash can go to another credit card or to that desperately neglected savings account.

Lesson 3: Expect Pitfalls

As in poker, life throws some things at you sometimes from left field. If you’ve heard of a bad beat in poker, you know that it means that a player, who otherwise had a killer poker hand, got beat by a better hand. Bad beats happen in life too. For instance, if you are a homeowner, you know that things happen to your house that need fixing. If you have kids, they need stuff. If you own a car, no matter how new, reliable, or gas efficient it is, it will eventually need work done to it. These things happen. Such is life. However, with the bankroll management tools explained here, you’ll be prepared for a bad beat.

If a poker player loses his entire bankroll on one bad call, then he’s out. He’s out of chances to risk anything whatsoever. If he is smart, though, he hasn’t lost it all on one hand. He’s been preparing for something like this since he first decided he’d sit down at a poker table and play a session. He may have to move down to smaller limits in order to build his bankroll up (instead of playing at the $25 blind table, he’ll move to the $5 blind table—something closer to his bankroll divided by 300).

Example 1:

You need new tires on your car. This is an expense that is not part of your monthly bills. You must dip into your bankroll and/or savings in order to afford this repair. No problem. If you’ve been following the rules suggested in this article, you have some fluff to your bankroll, especially after a few months like this have gone by. You may be able to take half of the expense from your cushiony savings account and half from your pocket, or 60%-40%, etc. But the key here is that once the expense is taken care of, you must be prepared to “move down to a lower limit table.” Tighten up on your spending again to cushion the blow to your wallet/savings that the tires cost you. Move down to only purchase at the 25 X level for a couple of weeks. You’ll be able to move back up, but you don’t want your quality of life to suffer severely down the road, when you have another unexpected expense come up.

Bankroll management in poker is applicable to personal budgeting tactics. Everything must be considered in terms of the bigger picture. If you don’t have a mental grasp of your spending to earnings ratio, you’ll never be able to establish savings or make investments, or worse yet, survive those inevitable pitfalls of life.

(Photo: jamadams)

Money Tips I Learned from Poker from personal finance blog Bargaineering.com.



Beard Interview: Michael from Beard Revue

Most of the content of my beard blog comes from other beard blogs and Beard Team USA news, save for my beard progress photos. I'd like to welcome the newest member of the beard blog community, The Beard Coach. The Beard Coach recently interviewed the founder of my favorite beard blog, Beard Revue. I actually discovered The Beard Coach through Beard Revue. I like Beard Revue's perspective on all things beard. The interview is reposted below.

Beard Interview: Michael from Beard Revue: "

The next installment in my series of interviews with other Internet-using beard-loving people is with Michael from the popular site Beard Revue. His site is just bristling with beard goodness. First Thursday Beard Art is a highlight as well as some quite indisputable beard ratings.

The Beard Coach: What was your inspiration for diving into the world of beard blogging?

Michael: Beard Revue is the result of a convergence of three main interests: my unflagging admiration for beards, snobby indie hipster music and social media. My unflagging admiration for beards is self-explanatory.

The hipster music bit comes from my love of the assumed authority with which Pitchfork approaches its reporting and album reviews. Pitchfork is often divisive—a lot of folks hate their reviews. But I think they’re witty, and often way to serious about themselves for me not to laugh. (They recently rated every Beatle album on their arbitrary 0.0–10.0 scale. Was that necessary? No. Was it informative, amusing and incredibly pretentious? Yes.) And my interests in social media stems from my friend Joshua’s challenge to maintain a blog longer than three months. I did, and now it’s popular.

TBC: From what I can tell, Beard Revue is a pretty darn popular beard site. What kind of traffic are you getting?

Michael: Find out for yourself at alexa.com. (Editor’s note: Beard Revue has an Alexa rank of 735,874 as of today.)

TBC: Has Beard Revue panned out the way you had planned it? Or has the road taken some unforeseen twists?

Michael: No. It’s become more popular than I initially thought and the format has changed as my interests and goals have changed. In fact, I’ve recently partnered with a crack team of developers to see how Beard Revue can accommodate more user generated content. I can’t really say more than that, though.

TBC: Your beard poster is fantastic! Any other handcrafted beard art lying around the house?

Michael: Thanks! Probably the most rewarding thing from Beard Revue is the community of artists to whom I’ve been exposed. I love all the little things that beards and moustaches inspire (thus, First Thursday Beard Art). I love that tattoo trend—the one where you get a ’stache tat on the side of your index finger and hold it up over your lip. Sometimes it’s just some one with a Sharpie and not a tattoo. It’s benign and it makes me smile every time I see a photo of one.

And so then there’s everything else. I’m a print designer by trade. So I have beard posters, prints and even Jack Passion’s first book in my collection of all things beardy. And the library affords me the opportunity to bone up on some beardage from time to time. Who knew there was so much beardstuff out there?

TBC: What is your take on the state of the beard today?

Michael: Save for the Victorian era, same as it’s always been. The beard is for the fringes of society. The artists, intellectuals, vagrants and anyone who’s willing to wear the badge of being different. Recession and playoff beards are fleeting moments of solidarity, but don’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things.

TBC: Name your 3 favorite bearded people.

Michael: Abbey Road and All Things Must Pass era George Harrison takes the cake. I just saw Kyp Malone last week, so I’ll say him. And my father, of course.

TBC: Name the top 3 people you wish had a beard.

Michael: James Beard (that guy totally wasted his name). I’d love to see Barack Obama don a beard like Malone’s. And anyone I’ve ever met who said they would grow a beard but just weren’t capable of growing one.

TBC: Why do you think people enjoy beards?

Michael: They serve such a wide range of functions for the wearer and the viewer, it’d be difficult to pinpoint one thing. That little bit of rugged panache can go a long way. I like that they’re natural. Since they’re both manifestations of our mature states, this might be an apt analogy:

Beard : Naked Face :: Natural Breasts : Implants

TBC: Please briefly tell your favorite beard-related story.

Michael: People do some funny things for facial hair. I had a wicked awesome handlebar moustache for Moustache May which garnered a lot of attention. Some one photographed me for their scavenger hunt, a gentleman almost got hit by a car crossing the street just to say “hi, nice moustache” and BT Livermore gave me a complementary tin of Man’s Face Stuff moustache wax. My favorite compliment was when a sweet young lass called me a walking sex toy.

TBC: Much of my site is devoted to beard-growing motivation. What is your best advice for guys who are currently growing a beard?

Michael: Have fun with it.



Jack Passion redux: The Facial Hair Handbook

Below is Beard Revue's review of the Facial Hair Handbook by Jack Passion. This is the book I left on a jumbo jet airliner to Albany, NY in early September. I hope Santa brings me another.

Jack Passion redux: The Facial Hair Handbook: "
Jack Passion is no stranger to Beard Revue. In fact, he lies somewhere between mascot and honorable diplomat of the world beard community, which is why it’s only too appropriate that he would one day serve as a docent into all things beardy.

The Facial Hair Handbook: Every Man’s Guide to Growing & Grooming Great Facial Hair, Passion’s first book, was released earlier this year.

The book is not about the history of facial hair nor its place in culture. Instead, Passion focuses on the context in which and how to wear facial hair. Simply stated in the introduction, “this book is for the man who is ready to look like one.”

The Facial Hair Handbook includes musings on the stumbling blocks of the metrosexual movement, instructions on how to get through the early stages of a baby beard and tips on which shampoos and conditioners to use. “In the throes of Passion, your hard work will pay off,” Passion advises.

Humorous gems are generously sprinkled throughout, like “sex is the rain dance of facial hair” and “every one of my beard hairs is an antenn to the bearded world.” A few Franklinesque aphorisms like “healthy man, healthy beard” and “if you’re going to wear it long, wear it strong” are also offered up from time to time, lending to the book’s incredibly endearing quality.

The Facial Hair Handbook is a perfect companion for both expert and novice pogonolgists. Whether you read it on a sunny afternoon in Walnut Creek or on a brisk day in Berlin, it is sure to make you smile. This book makes for a great, affordable gift for your favorite beardy.

So pick up a copy of The Facial Hair Handbook and then write to Jack Passion and tell him his book changed your life.

Take THAT Jack Passion! from sarah sporik

If you enjoy Beard Revue, please visit the site, post your comments and tell your friends. Thanks!



Larry David on the "Seinfeld" reunion and shaking hands -- latimes.com

I'm a huge fan of Curb Your Enthusiam and Seinfeld. But I don't have HBO anymore, so I'm going to have to catch the new season of Curb on DVD.  All the Seinfeld cast members will be on this weeks episode of Curb.

Larry David on the 'Seinfeld' reunion and shaking hands -- latimes.com.

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