Monday, May 31, 2010

Good Morning America finds Real Estate Bargains

On February 16, 2010, Good Morning America's Consumer News division published an article, which I found on, listing the 10 cities where one could find a deal on real estate.

Even though this list is a few months old, it is a starting point if you are considering a move or possibly purchasing a second residence.

You can also check recent sale prices, after the information is on the public record, on

Where to look:

Where to compare prices:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

American Airline's Miles Can Fly Away!

Not sure about you, but my vision, even with glasses, precludes me from reading really small type on anything. This happened with an email I received from my American Airlines Advantage account.

For the purpose of this posting, I am using the word "I" in lieu of the actual person's name to provide privacy in exchange for the story.

Also, in this posting, I am not recommending any airline or credit card.  I only want to share what happened so you can be pro-active.

On the email I received, among all the promotions being advertised, it showed my mileage.  Directly below the box where the mileage appeared was, in the smallest type you can imagine and in a very light color type, a notation that my miles had expired. When I looked back and re-read the older emails, the notation was that they were going to expire. Yes a warning, but not to be noticed.

We are not talking about a few thousand.  We are talking about 277,000 miles!

I called AAdvantage Customer Service and after giving them all the reasons why I never saw this notation, or any other notation on all their emails, they basically said that they were sorry, but rules are rules.  When I mentioned that I have been an AA client for 22 years and have flown 1M miles, they thanked me for my business, but said that rules were rules.

When I asked why they couldn't send a letter, especially since so many miles would be lost, they claimed that they had too many customers and couldn't send letters out.

I am still pondering how, in this economy, an airline wants to alienate its loyal clients.

Maybe they can't send letters out to those clients with under 100,000 miles or something like that, but this was insulting.

Now you may ask, what would I have to do to regain the miles? Their answer was to  apply for a "Re-engagement Challenge."

Not sure you will believe this one, but here goes:

I have to open a Citibank AAdvantage card, charge a minimum of $750 dollars on it, take at least one round-trip flight, each way not less than 750 miles and I can get back 200,000 miles.  If I want to get it all back, I have to take another round-trip flight, same requirements, or earn 10,000 miles on any 3 of their many partners. And you have 6 months to complete the mission.

So one has to do the math to see if it is worth spending money on these flights.  The credit card is not a problem because you would only charge on the new card what you may have charged on your existing one. But, one caveat, the card is not free. It costs $85 a year.  The first year may be waived if you go through AAdvantage customer service who then connects you to Citicard.

Why am I telling you this?  If you have miles accumulating, always check the expiration date.  I was advised that as long as you use miles in your account, even if you shop with your miles, your account automatically extends the expiration date.

Why didn't I know this? Was it a matter of reading that fine print, which I cannot see anyway?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fios TV vs Cablevision

How much television do you watch? If you are living in my house, the answer would be too much. That said, I like knowing that I have the choice to watch as much or as little as I would like, when I please.

I have had Cablevision for many years. Not too many complaints and their customer service is pretty good, but there were some issues with Cablevision which I didn't like.

When you change the channel, there is a delay before the new channel you selected shows up.

And, unless you have a DVR in more than one room, you can only watch what you had recorded in the room with the DVR.

There are additional differences between the two, including all these widgets offered with Fios TV, but the two I mentioned were what bothered me most about Cablevision.

Enter Fios TV from One DVR is needed and you can then watch whatever you recorded in any other room which has an HD box and your TV.

Switching channels is faster.

If you have the Ultimate package with Fios TV from, which is similar to the Gold package with Cablevision, you will find that you receive some channels not available with Cablevision or which would cost even more to get.  For me, having these additional channels makes having Fios TV much better. In fact, there seems to be many more choices with Verizon's Fios TV.

I understand that some people will not like the contract which lasts for 2 years when you subscribe to Fios TV.  There is a pro-rated cancellation fee of $360, and no contract or fee with Cablevision.

I already had my internet and phone service with Verizon Fios so now I have all three which also saves some money.  In the past I had internet service with Cablevision, but had problems with it.

For those of you with Cablevision, especially if you aren't taking advantage of the Triple Play pricing, I suggest you take a look at Verizon Fios TV, Internet and Phone package.

Now I just have to learn which numbers correspond to the stations!

Where to inquire:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Great Deal from

Anytime I see a 20% discount offer, I have to check it out and this site has it all.  I just opened an email from, saw this offer and started shopping. carries most of the famous names in skin care, makeup, and mens' products. There are also fragrances, accessories and gift packages. Don't forget to look at the section on natural products.

Father's Day is coming, so why not shop for a gift now?

Shipping is free if you spend over $49, and that is not too difficult to do.

The offer begins on Wednesday, 5/19 @ 12:01am PST and ends on Friday, 5/21 @ 11:59pm PST.  There are some minor exclusions.

Where to shop:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Don't Let a Dead Battery Drain Your Wallet

Do you own a vehicle which sits for a time without being used? I do and recently the battery died.  Why?  Because my battery maintainer broke and I did not buy a new one.  My laziness resulted in having to buy a new battery along with another battery maintainer.

There is a product called a battery maintainer that maintains and extends the life of a battery in your car, truck, ATV, snowmobile and motorcycle.

The battery maintainer keeps your vehicles charged when not in use so that they start when you need them.

Now you may ask, why buy this product if it broke?  I will answer that by saying that this particular one was car specific (without mentioning the car type,) and from what I read on blogs, many people had problems with it holding up.

I am about to purchase a Duracell D2A 2 AMP 12V Battery Maintainer from  This gets good reviews and is very reasonable priced. The Duracell D2A AMP 12V Battery Maintainer is portable, lightweight and easy to use and includes an accessory package to suit most types of battery connections.  It has a 2 AMP Constant DC output current and a voltage range of 90-132V and 50/60 HZ and requires no installation or set-up.

You need to check to make sure the one you buy works for your car or other vehicle.

Where to buy:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Verizon Wireless Helps with Harassing Phone Calls

Who is constantly calling my cell and not leaving a message? All day up until the late evening, my phone rings and the same number comes up. I even tried calling back and got a message that the call can't go through.  Sounds fishy to me.

I called to see if they could give me information on the number which shows up on my phone, but they couldn't.  What they did offer was to put a block for that number on my phone.

The block is free for up to 5 numbers and will last for 90 days.  After that you have to call again to reinstate the block.  The 5 numbers can change anytime, and the service will remain free as long as you don't go over the 5 number limit.

Another feature which Verizon offers will help when you get harassing phone calls which don't stop. Aside from a block, which is not permanent, will allow you to change your phone number without incurring a fee.

Truthfully, this was not so serious as to alert the police, but it was extremely annoying. The solution was easy.

Thank you Verizon Wireless.

Where to call:  1-800-922-0204 or visit

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Just when you think you are doing a good thing to keep yourself germ-free:  read this article from

FDA to Re-examine Anti-Bacterial Chemical in Soaps, Cleansers
Triclosan linked to hormonal changes, antibiotic resistance in recent studies
By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter
(HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday acknowledged that there could be safety concerns regarding triclosan, an ingredient found widely in consumer products, such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste and cosmetics, clothing and toys.

In an update to its Web site, the agency stated that "triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review."

The FDA did not recommend that consumers change their behavior with respect to these products.

At issue is whether or not triclosan alters hormone regulation in humans, as it has been shown to do in animals. Such disruptions can cause developmental or other problems.

There is also concern that triclosan may contribute to resistance to antibiotics, whereby bacteria develop ways around the potentially lifesaving drugs.

One public health advocacy group applauded the FDA announcement.

"It's about time FDA has finally stated its concerns about antibacterial chemicals like triclosan," Dr. Sarah Janssen, a medical doctor and staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a news release issued Thursday. "The public deserves to know that these so-called antibacterial products are no more effective in preventing infections than regular soap and water and may, in fact, be dangerous to their health in the long run."

However, a representative of the cleaning-products industry defended triclosan's safety profile.

"With all due respect to the statement made by FDA, the agency has in its hands a wealth of scientific data showing a distinct germ-killing benefit of antibacterial soaps containing triclosan," said Brian Sansoni, spokesman for the Soap and Detergent Association (SDA). "We believe these products play a very important role in everyday hygiene routines for millions of Americans."

The FDA update may have come in response to a report in the Washington Post that said the agency had sent a letter to Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. That letter acknowledged that research had recently raised "valid concerns" about the safety of triclosan, the Post reported.

That letter was a response to a letter Markey had sent to the FDA in January, asking for an update of the FDA's scientific review of the chemical.

According to the Post, Markey has called for a ban on triclosan in products geared toward children and any products that could contaminate food, such as cutting boards. Some countries have already banned or put restrictions on triclosan, the newspaper stated.

"We're certainly going to continue providing an informed perspective to FDA, to EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency] and Congressman Markey and others who might be challenging its safety and effectiveness," the SDA's Sansoni said.

While reiterating that triclosan is not known to pose any danger to humans, the FDA did state that it is "reviewing all of the available evidence on this ingredient's safety in consumer products. FDA will communicate the findings of its review to the public in spring 2011."

The agency also pointed out that it has no evidence that triclosan is any better than soap and water for cleaning purposes.

A University of Michigan review of data, published in 2007 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that antibacterial soaps that contain triclosan as the main active ingredient are no better at preventing infections than plain soaps.

Dr. Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of pediatrics at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City, said triclosan poses "no immediate health threat as it relates to individuals. I think the FDA is dealing with a more global issue of risk/benefit for something that may not add any real individual benefit but may, on the aggregate, have negative implications for everybody.

"I wouldn't go throw out all my toothpaste, but more chemicals in the world are not necessarily better," he added. "Every time someone raises an issue of risk/benefit, it doesn't mean we should go nuts, but sometimes less is more. Maybe we don't need all this stuff and, if there's no clear benefit, maybe we should reconsider." 

Where to read more like this: