Album 4 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Frank Sinatra
Album: Nothing But The Best

I’ll be honest here: I don’t have this album in my collection.  The truth is, there are so many releases by Old Blue Eyes that I can’t choose just one.  I listen to his music every Sunday morning on The Big Talker 1210 WPHT on our way to and from church.  I listened to the show when it was Fridays with Frank, Saturdays with Sinatra, and now Sundays with Sinatra.  He has such an awesome voice, cool personality, and is just larger-than-life.

Here is one of my favorite Sinatra songs.

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Album 3 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Run-D.M.C.
Album: King Of Rock

My third album to take to a desert island is none other than Run-D.M.C.’s King Of Rock.  Run-D.M.C. is responsible for introducing me to rap music, which lead to a love of the genre.  This song is the first of theirs that I ever heard.

Album 2 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Artist: Prince
Album: The Hits/The B-Sides
Alternate: 1999

My second album to take to a desert island is Prince’s The Hits/The B-Sides.  If this is disqualified by the fact that it is a 3-CD compilation, then my alternate choice is 1999.

Prince is one of those artists who can’t fail in my eyes.  The man has so much talent, that even when he released an album just to fulfill and get out of a contract,  two of the songs hit #12 or better, and the album as a whole received rave reviews.

Now, there isn’t a Prince song I’ve heard that I don’t like, which makes it difficult to choose just one to present here.  Still, I have my favorite of his below.  By “favorite,” I mean that it stands out only slightly from so many others.

Note: The video has no audio, because Prince doesn’t want his songs on YouTube.  Sorry.

Album 1 of 10 – The Join Something Blog Challenge

Album: Boston
Artist: Boston

First up on my list of 10 Albums I Would Take To A Desert Island is Boston’s self-titled debut album.  What can I say about this album that puts it on the list?  First, every single song makes me stop, stare off into the distance, and smile as soon as I hear the opening chords.  It’s the same for just about any of Boston’s songs, but this album edges out all the others.

If I’m in a funk over something, all it takes is a few notes from this song in particular, and my mood lifts instantly.

10 Albums – The Join Something Blog Challenge

The fine folks at Join Something are running their first blog challenge – 10 Albums I Would Take To A Desert Island.  Go on over there and take a gander at it.  The site itself is new, and it is based on the cool idea of having one site to visit to learn about blog challenges.

Anyway, back to the challenge itself.  Now, I’m not sure why these sorts of lists involve being on a desert island all the time.  I’d much rather be on a temperate island with plenty of clean water and a variety of food.  Also, a solar, wind or water-powered electric generator would be nice, too.  While I’m at it, I’d like a sturdy building with air conditioning for the summer and heat for the winter, indoor plumbing, and a natural gas supply.  But, I digress.

So, the albums I’d pick, in no particular order, are:

  1. Boston – Boston
  2. Prince – The Hits/The B-Sides
  3. Run DMC – King Of Rock
  4. Frank Sinatra – Nothing But The Best
  5. Kraftwerk – The Mix
  6. 48th Highlanders Of Canada – Scotland The Brave
  7. Enigma – MCMXC a.D.
  8. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  9. Rodney Atkins – If You’re Going Through Hell
  10. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Etc.

What sucks is that I’m limited to ten.  I love music, and can’t possibly be happy with only ten albums, but, hey – that’s the name of the challenge.

You can see that I have an eclectic taste in music.  This sample doesn’t cover anywhere near all the things I like.  It also is limited to what I could find online at all.

So, there you have it.  As per the challenge guidelines, you’ll see my next post on Monday.

Death To The Penny!

OK, let’s get serious here, folks.  I want to propose something that’s been on my mind for at least 20 years now.

I want the United States mint to stop making pennies.  I am dead serious about this, too.

Impractical And Inconvenient

When you go to the store and pay with cash, your change almost always includes those coins that are 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper with a value of one one-hundredth dollar – the penny, the cent, the Lincoln head.  Now, what do you do with those pennies?  Do they even make it out of the store, or do you throw them into the little “Need One, Leave One” tray at the counter?  If the former, once you get them home, do you put them somewhere where you use them again in a future transaction, or do they just go into some container where they’ll stay until they get too numerous forcing you to bring them to a change counter somewhere?  I took a scientific survey* which shows that 91.3%* of people don’t ever use pennies for a purchase unless they happen to have the right amount on their person to avoid receiving more pennies.

So, pennies are a nuisance, for the most part.  They have no value for purchasing.  Go to a store – any store.  Look around for a product you can purchase that costs one penny.  Go ahead – I’ll wait here until you return…

So, what do you have?  What’s that?  “Nothing?”  Thought so.  There’s even no more “penny candy,” at least not for as long as I can remember.

Now, how about another experiment?  Go to a city.  Walk around until a person asks you for some spare change.  Hand them a penny.  How did they react?  I’d bet you a nickel that they were angry to some degree.  Once you wiped the spit off your face, did they seem grateful at all?  Probably not.

Here’s the thing – inflation has rendered the penny all but useless.  People not only can do without them, but also don’t really want them.  They’re used simply because they’re here.

The Penny

One US Cent

Cost More Than Their Value

So, aside from their impracticality, why else get rid of the penny?  How about cost?

According to the United States Mint, in 2010, the cost to mint one penny was 1.79¢ (Click the link and look at the first table on page 29).  Think about that for a minute… to make a penny, the US government spends almost 2 pennies.  In 2010, the US Mint shipped 3,487,000,000 pennies (Page 28 in the last link).  That’s three billion, four hundred eighty-seven million of them!  So, US taxpayers (of which I am one) spent $62,417,300 to make pennies worth a market value of $34,870,000!  I know that’s a lot of zeroes, folks, but stay with me for another minute.  We wasted $27,547,300, over 27.5 million dollars!  That’s right, we just threw it away, for a coin that is impractical and, really, unwanted.  We can add “unnecessary” and “wasteful” to the list.

So, if we get rid of the penny, what changes with our spending?  Well, not a whole heck of a lot, really.  If we can’t slice the dollar down to its hundredth portion anymore, we merely have to round those pennies to the nearest twentieth dollar.  That’s the nickel, my friends.

Rounding Numbers

Every time I discuss this with people, I get a funny look, and the question, “How can you do that?”  Simple, really.  You know how to round to the nearest ten, hundred, thousand, etc., yes?  Well, it’s the same thing, only in divisions of five.  To make it easier, I’ve made this table:

If The Cent Is: Round:
0 Nothing; keep the same
1 Down to the nearest dime
2 Down to the nearest dime
3 Up to the nearest nickel
4 Up to the nearest nickel
5 Nothing; keep the same
6 Down to the nearest nickel
7 Down to the nearest nickel
8 Up to the nearest dime
9 Up to the nearest dime

This is simple, really.  If a sale comes to $27.32, it rounds down to the nearest dime, or $27.30.  If a sale comes to $2.77, it rounds down to the nearest nickel, or $2.75, and so on and so forth.

Learning From History

This wouldn’t be the first time the US has changed its currency in this manner.  You may have heard of the hay penny, also spelled ha’penny.  It was the half-cent.  The US minted them from 1793 to 1857.  Why did they stop making them?  Because the value of a half cent became worth less and less, and its continued use became impractical.  In other words, for pretty much the same reasons I am using to make my case to kill the penny.

Penny For Your Thoughts?

What do you say, folks?  Do you think the time has come to kill the penny once and for all?  Let me know in the comments below.

* – By “scientific survey,” I do not mean scientific in any way at all, nor a survey by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m really just stating my own personal opinion, agreed upon by a few of my friends.

** – Uncertainty of -91.3%/+8.7%