At a city parking garage I recently received a handful of golden colored $1 coins as change from the payment kiosk and was amazed to discover they all bore the image of —- Franklin Pierce. The logic was inescapable: an obscure president on an obscure coin. Later I mentioned it at work and was shown a collection of like coins bearing other presidential images. There was Washington, John and John Quincy Adams and Jefferson. It must be like the program that placed images of all the states on quarters a few years back.
Speaking of money, why is it that the US is so resistant to $1 coins? Similar denominations abound in coin form in Europe and Canada but not here. Back in 1980 when I was about to depart for a 3-year US Army tour in West Germany, my mom gave me a roll of $1 coins and a wad of $2 bills thinking they’d be novelty items in Europe. Instead, I found that after the American people completely rejected the use of those two denomination, the US Treasury shipped its entire inventory to Europe where the captive audience of GIs were forced to use the $1 coins and $2 bills in the PX and Commissary.
My July 8, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone finally arrived in yesterday’s mail. That’s the one with the bombshell story that got General McChrystal fired. Ironically, the most explosive story to appear in Rolling Stone in my memory ranked only five out of seven in magazine cover font size. “Lady Gaga Tells All” got top billing followed by “Dennis Hopper: The Final Days” and “BP’s Next Disaster” then “4 Days at Bonnaroo.” Finally, there’s “Obama’s General: Why he’s losing the war” which was ranked above only “Elton John” and “Eminem.” While I’ve crossed the digital divide with newspapers, preferring websites to newsprint, glossy magazines still have my loyalty. Rolling Stone has been particularly interesting over the past few years both in its political reporting and in it’s ongoing post-mortem of the recording industry. I’m not a huge music fan, but I see so many parallels between the demise of the music recording industry and the troubles of the newspaper industry that I track these stories very closely.
Speaking of magazines, the June 28, 2010 edition of the New Yorker has a small but interesting bit about Jack Kerouac. The larger article is about an exhibit of books containing noteworthy “marginalia” – notes written in the margin by famous (or infamous) people. Here are the sentences that caught my eye:
A few of the marginalia in the books were wordless – for example, in Jack Kerouac’s copy of “A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,” by Henry David Thoreau. Kerouac possessed this book but did not own it, having borrowed it from a local library in 1949 and never brought it back. On page 227, this sentence – “The traveller must be born again on the road” – was underlined in pencil, with a small, neat check mark beside it.
The registry of deeds was not as busy today as we had hoped it would be. For a variety of reasons, the last day of June has always been one of our busiest, and with the added requirement that people intending to qualify for the $8000 Federal first time home buyer credit had to close their deals today, we expected the recording counter to be buzzing. It was not. The 301 documents that went on record were more than we see on most days in 2010, but no where near the 800+ per day we saw back in 2003. While there is some indication that Congress will extend that closing deadline to September 30, it will still only be for cases where a purchase and sales agreement was signed by April 30. While this program did perk up the real estate market a bit, its momentum has bled away and I fear the stagnation in real estate will continue and may even get worse.
It’s only been summer for a little more than a week, but the “loss” of daylight at both ends is already quite visible.