Friday, August 25, 2006

Interstate 73 

I heard on the radio today that proposed routes of I-73 through North Carolina will soon be revealed. I-73 is a new interstate highway which will run from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, SC. It should help take some of the burden off of I-95, the main north-south route vacationers take to get into the state.

The proposed route of I-73 through South Carolina has already been made public, but today was the first I'd heard of it. This could be a boon to small towns in the Pee Dee, like Mullins.
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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Investing in Reality 

I recently discovered Yahoo Answers. Before you click on that link, I should warn you that that site is virtual crack. I've been busily answering random questions, enjoying sharing my opinions and advice with people who actually want to hear them.

I also asked a couple of questions, one of which was "What's the difference between a Mutual Fund and an Exchange Traded Fund?". I had read several comments lately on different sites from armchair investors claiming that ETFs were the superior investment, and I wanted to know why. But after getting my question answered, I think I will stick with my trusty old mutual fund.

If you own a share of stock, it means you own a small piece of a company. Mutual funds are where a bunch of strangers pool their money to buy a lot of different stocks. So when you buy a share in a mutual fund, you're actually buying very small pieces of lots of companies. But exchange traded funds are one more level removed from reality. They start out like a mutual fund: a bunch of people pool their money to buy stocks from several different companies. But then people are allowed to bet on the performance of the list of stocks in that fund, and the price of the shares in the ETF is based on how well people think the fund is going to do, as opposed to being based on the value of the stocks of the companies which make up the fund.

I am not a betting kind of person. Investing in the stock market is iffy enough for me, but at least owning a share of stock is owning a piece of a real thing. Buying a share in an ETF seems to me like investing in the idea of a group of stocks, and I don't have enough money to risk it in Wall Street's version of Hot or Not.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just Peachy 

Right now I am eating a delicious South Carolina peach, purchased at Joe's Produce Market. Joe's is the only place in Columbia where we'll buy peaches. All the grocery stores here seem to stock only Mac's Pride peaches, which are also from South Carolina but very different from the fruit I'm eating.

Personally, I don't see what Mac is so proud of. His peaches are hard as rocks and taste like cardboard. Plus, they put a chemical de-fuzzing agent on them to make them smoother. I hear that the harder peaches ship better, and picking them green and ripening them in a ripening room allows groceries to better manage their inventory (plus it keeps my friend Todd, who sells ripening systems, employed).

But as a peach-eater, all I care about is taste, which is why we'll keep buying our peaches at Joe's for the foreseeable future.

By the way - Joe is looking to sell his market and retire. Anyone looking to get into the produce business?
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Baby Pedicure 

I spend a lot of time each evening hanging out in my son's room. So anything I want to get done, whether it's folding laundry or reading a magazine, is more likely to get done if I can do it in there. Tonight I noticed that my feet were in pretty bad shape. I recalled reading in this month's Real Simple that baby oil is great for your nails, so I checked out the drawer in the changing table to see what I could find.

A sample size bottle of Bert's Bees Apricot Baby Oil (which smells wonderful, by the way), a jar of petroleum jelly, and a bag of cotton balls were just the things I needed. Now my feet are sandal-ready, and I managed my mini-pedicure while still keeping an eye on the baby. Being a mom makes one resourceful.
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