You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2008.

A little investigation can save you a huge financial headache. In light of all the news in the financial world, today’s subject is FINRA . FINRA stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and they are the largest non governmental regulator of securities firms in the US. They have the ability to impose fines and sanctions to firms and individuals, so even though they are not a government body, they are the law enforcers. Whether you are seeking education as someone who works in the industry, or protection as an investor, this is the place to start. It is the financial equivalent of the Consumer Reports, but with legal teeth.

If we all educate ourselves so that we understand some basics about our own money, we are less susceptible to brokers who promise to deliver all we wish if we grant them access to our cash; but would you buy a car from a dealer who promises you the perfect car sight unseen, if you just sign the contract? Do some homework on your risk tolerance, long term goals (college fund? retirement fund?), and your brokerage house (there were so many compliants and judgments against Merrill Lynch that their demise was of no surprise to anyone who checked FINRA reports). There is information on how to choose your investment professional, how to choose your investment types, how to report a problem with your broker, and compliance information.

Their site offers everything from alerts on frauds and scams, to a broker check which shows current and past cases regarding individuals and brokerage houses. There are also explainations of SIPC protection, (a brokerage version of FDIC type of safety net), how to safeguard your identity from theft, and calculators for savings and loans amounts.

If you have investments, make sure they are building you a nest egg, not just building your broker’s nest egg.

>I contracted malaria in 1985 and had recurring bouts of it for years afterwards. Every year (I got it about the same time every year), I felt as if I would have preferred death rather than endure the torture of the high fever, chills, vomiting and diarrhea which lasted for a week. It all came from a mosquito bite which swelled up my shoulder and made me look like a female hunchback of Notre Dame. To add to the joy, there was one other side affect which came from the prolonged high fever; I lost about 40% of my hair. Since you never know which mosquito is the one carrying the disease, it is imperative that you do all you can to prevent mosquito bites, and that you take the correct medication if you contract it (better yet take an anti-malarial drug before you travel). These days I cover my entire body with mosquito repellent every time I go anywhere mosquitoes live (one time I forgot to apply behind my ears and I got bitten!), and I sleep under mosquito nets whenever possible.

Thankfully I was not a child when I got malaria, because children do not always survive. So is a child’s life worth $10? All you have to do is buy a mosquito net (treated with insecticide) for them so that they will not get bitten and infected with malaria. Nothing But Nets will ship and install the nets to the places most affected by malaria for only $10 per net (they last an average of 4 years). About 3,000 children a day die from malaria, so just sending one net will help eradicate the problem from our planet.

Several schools are getting involved in drives to send nets to Africa (the continent where this is the biggest problem right now). If children are helping children, shouldn’t we help them?

I contracted malaria in 1985 and had recurring bouts of it for years afterwards. Every year (I got it about the same time every year), I felt as if I would have preferred death rather than endure the torture of the high fever, chills, vomiting and diarrhea which lasted for a week. It all came from a mosquito bite which swelled up my shoulder and made me look like a female hunchback of Notre Dame. To add to the joy, there was one other side affect which came from the prolonged high fever; I lost about 40% of my hair. Since you never know which mosquito is the one carrying the disease, it is imperative that you do all you can to prevent mosquito bites, and that you take the correct medication if you contract it (better yet take an anti-malarial drug before you travel). These days I cover my entire body with mosquito repellent every time I go anywhere mosquitoes live (one time I forgot to apply behind my ears and I got bitten!), and I sleep under mosquito nets whenever possible.

Thankfully I was not a child when I got malaria, because children do not always survive. So is a child’s life worth $10? All you have to do is buy a mosquito net (treated with insecticide) for them so that they will not get bitten and infected with malaria. Nothing But Nets will ship and install the nets to the places most affected by malaria for only $10 per net (they last an average of 4 years). About 3,000 children a day die from malaria, so just sending one net will help eradicate the problem from our planet.

Several schools are getting involved in drives to send nets to Africa (the continent where this is the biggest problem right now). If children are helping children, shouldn’t we help them?


Guitar Center has stores all over the United States, and as you can see from the photo, they stock just about any guitar you could want, along with keyboards, DJ equipment, drums, and amps; they offer musician services that include getting your music onto iTunes and into a musician database. If you don’t play, they offer a virtual teacher for beginners (but please find a live one through their database). Any supplies you need, from strings to lighting effects, are also available. Go just to see the place; it will inspire you to listen to music, even if you don’t want to play it.

West L.A. Music is the professional musician’s haven, supplying everything you need to begin a band, from guitars, to keyboards, drums, and studio equipment. It’s no wonder that music studios rent equipment from them. For the individual musician, they offer a price guarantee good for any in stock item you may find elsewhere at a lower price (they will match it). The sales staff may be a bit hit or miss depending on the person you get, but the quality of the merchandise speaks for itself.

Mc Cabe’s is the grandfather of guitar shops; they carry mandolines, banjos, ukeleles, and every other kind of stringed instrument, including exotic instruments (from various countries I had never seen before and could not name if my life depended on it). They offer lessons upstairs and concerts some nights, so if you seek a knowledgeable, personable, and educational place to begin your musical education, McCabe’s is the choice.

Some of us will only listen to music and never play, but it’s nice to go to music places; like fishing, we do not have to catch a fish to enjoy fishing.


Guitar Center has stores all over the United States, and as you can see from the photo, they stock just about any guitar you could want, along with keyboards, DJ equipment, drums, and amps; they offer musician services that include getting your music onto iTunes and into a musician database. If you don’t play, they offer a virtual teacher for beginners (but please find a live one through their database). Any supplies you need, from strings to lighting effects, are also available. Go just to see the place; it will inspire you to listen to music, even if you don’t want to play it.

West L.A. Music is the professional musician’s haven, supplying everything you need to begin a band, from guitars, to keyboards, drums, and studio equipment. It’s no wonder that music studios rent equipment from them. For the individual musician, they offer a price guarantee good for any in stock item you may find elsewhere at a lower price (they will match it). The sales staff may be a bit hit or miss depending on the person you get, but the quality of the merchandise speaks for itself.

Mc Cabe’s is the grandfather of guitar shops; they carry mandolines, banjos, ukeleles, and every other kind of stringed instrument, including exotic instruments (from various countries I had never seen before and could not name if my life depended on it). They offer lessons upstairs and concerts some nights, so if you seek a knowledgeable, personable, and educational place to begin your musical education, McCabe’s is the choice.

Some of us will only listen to music and never play, but it’s nice to go to music places; like fishing, we do not have to catch a fish to enjoy fishing.


Guitar Center has stores all over the United States, and as you can see from the photo, they stock just about any guitar you could want, along with keyboards, DJ equipment, drums, and amps; they offer musician services that include getting your music onto iTunes and into a musician database. If you don’t play, they offer a virtual teacher for beginners (but please find a live one through their database). Any supplies you need, from strings to lighting effects, are also available. Go just to see the place; it will inspire you to listen to music, even if you don’t want to play it.

West L.A. Music is the professional musician’s haven, supplying everything you need to begin a band, from guitars, to keyboards, drums, and studio equipment. It’s no wonder that music studios rent equipment from them. For the individual musician, they offer a price guarantee good for any in stock item you may find elsewhere at a lower price (they will match it). The sales staff may be a bit hit or miss depending on the person you get, but the quality of the merchandise speaks for itself.

Mc Cabe’s is the grandfather of guitar shops; they carry mandolines, banjos, ukeleles, and every other kind of stringed instrument, including exotic instruments (from various countries I had never seen before and could not name if my life depended on it). They offer lessons upstairs and concerts some nights, so if you seek a knowledgeable, personable, and educational place to begin your musical education, McCabe’s is the choice.

Some of us will only listen to music and never play, but it’s nice to go to music places; like fishing, we do not have to catch a fish to enjoy fishing.

>I have crewed on large sailboats (one raced in the America’s Cup, but did not win), but I get horribly seasick (the the point where I pass out); I actually turned down a free trip as a crew member to Hawaii because I knew I would not survive the voyage with any semblance of dignity. Even though I love to scuba dive, I get sick almost every time, feeding the fish upon both my arrival and departure from the dive site.

My friends bought me a relief band “watch” that seems to work; it sends electrical pulses to my wrist at various intervals (you can choose the intensity). Maybe now I can finally get on a boat again without providing fish food. For those who either don’t get seasick, or don’t care about getting seasick, boats are great ways to travel, spend a vacation, or play on the water. Marine West is for those who love boats and all things nautical. If you own a boat, you already know this is the place to feed your addiction; if you know a boat owner, buy a gift certificate to Marine West and they will beam with joy. Whether you seek a simple light bulb for your running lights, or a piece for your engine, Marine West will have it or can order it for you. The fact that marine repair shops come to them for supplies speaks volumes about them.

And if you just want to keep your head above water, but not necessarily on a boat, they also sell life jackets!

I have crewed on large sailboats (one raced in the America’s Cup, but did not win), but I get horribly seasick (the the point where I pass out); I actually turned down a free trip as a crew member to Hawaii because I knew I would not survive the voyage with any semblance of dignity. Even though I love to scuba dive, I get sick almost every time, feeding the fish upon both my arrival and departure from the dive site.

My friends bought me a relief band “watch” that seems to work; it sends electrical pulses to my wrist at various intervals (you can choose the intensity). Maybe now I can finally get on a boat again without providing fish food. For those who either don’t get seasick, or don’t care about getting seasick, boats are great ways to travel, spend a vacation, or play on the water. Marine West is for those who love boats and all things nautical. If you own a boat, you already know this is the place to feed your addiction; if you know a boat owner, buy a gift certificate to Marine West and they will beam with joy. Whether you seek a simple light bulb for your running lights, or a piece for your engine, Marine West will have it or can order it for you. The fact that marine repair shops come to them for supplies speaks volumes about them.

And if you just want to keep your head above water, but not necessarily on a boat, they also sell life jackets!

>Many many moons ago I learned how to scuba dive in Moorea, French Polynesia, so I was spoiled by clear visibility of about 80 feet, warm water with no need for a bodysuit, and a scuba instructor (whom I dated) who allowed me to dive even though I did not know how to swim (I have learned how to swim since then).

If you are not already certified, then maybe you would like to learn. If you are certified, maybe you need to renew your PADI certification. Maybe you would like to help clean up the area by the Santa Monica Pier. Maybe you would like the latest underwater equipment, books, or toys. The best way to satisfy any of those needs or desires is to head over to Eco Divers. They are the best scuba shop in the Los Angeles area and provide knowledgeable service and education; the fact that the huge chain Sports Chalet refers divers to Eco Divers for specialty equipment is one of the best testaments to their expertise.

Learn to dive so you can see our oceans while there is still live coral (you can experience what Nemo did outside his fish tank); better yet, learn how to dive so you can help clean up our underwater world so there will be fish and coral for our future life above water.

Many many moons ago I learned how to scuba dive in Moorea, French Polynesia, so I was spoiled by clear visibility of about 80 feet, warm water with no need for a bodysuit, and a scuba instructor (whom I dated) who allowed me to dive even though I did not know how to swim (I have learned how to swim since then).

If you are not already certified, then maybe you would like to learn. If you are certified, maybe you need to renew your PADI certification. Maybe you would like to help clean up the area by the Santa Monica Pier. Maybe you would like the latest underwater equipment, books, or toys. The best way to satisfy any of those needs or desires is to head over to Eco Divers. They are the best scuba shop in the Los Angeles area and provide knowledgeable service and education; the fact that the huge chain Sports Chalet refers divers to Eco Divers for specialty equipment is one of the best testaments to their expertise.

Learn to dive so you can see our oceans while there is still live coral (you can experience what Nemo did outside his fish tank); better yet, learn how to dive so you can help clean up our underwater world so there will be fish and coral for our future life above water.

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