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by Brian Stephenson posted Dec 1 2015 9:20AM

Every year around this time, the people at PNC Wealth Management calculate how much it would cost to buy all the stuff from "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

And this year, it'll cost you right around what it would've cost you last year. If you'd bought all the stuff. Which you didn't. Because you're not romantic. Or insane.

The total this year is $34,131 . . . that's just 0.6% higher than last year, when it was $33,933.

Only three of the 12 items had price jumps this year: A partridge in a pear tree is 3.5% more expensive . . . two turtle doves are up 11.5% . . . and 10 lords-a-leaping will cost 3% more. Apparently demand for old jumping men has slightly gone up?

The most expensive thing on the list is the seven swans-a-swimming. They'll run $13,125 . . . or $1,875 per swan.

For comparison's sake, when PNC first calculated the prices in 1984, the entire list only ran $12,674.

(PNC Christmas Price Index)

by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 30 2015 9:36AM

by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 30 2015 9:02AM

Another Black Friday is behind us, and hey . . . no one died!  That's what progress looks like, America.



But that doesn't mean everything went smoothly.  Here's our four point round-up of Black Friday 2015 . . .



1.  If you feel like you didn't hear so much this year about people camping out for deals . . . it's because they didn't.  Sales at stores were down 10.3% this year, to $10.4 billion. 



But ONLINE sales were way up.  They jumped 14.3% from last year, to $4.45 billion.



Online shopping is the biggest reason the Black Friday store frenzies have calmed down a little . . . especially since most of the best deals are offered there too.



The other main reasons are that now a lot of stores open on Thursday . . . and it's basically "Black November" now, with good sales throughout the entire month.



2.  Of course, plenty of people still went shopping in person.  And there were PLENTY of fights to show for it.  Search "Black Friday 2015" on YouTube and there are a bunch of compilations of people brawling all over the country.



One video that's getting attention shows a woman in Michigan snatching a veggie steamer from a kid, then fighting his mom . . . but it's almost too perfect, so people think it might be staged.  (Search "Veggie steamer black Friday" on YouTube.)

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Location : Michigan
by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 25 2015 6:39AM

Before you just start throwing $10 toasters in your cart this weekend, here are four MORE things experts say you might not want to buy on Black Friday.



1.  Electronics from a brand you've never heard of.  They tend to be big sellers because they're the cheapest option, but that's usually because they're cheaply MADE.  So they often get a lot more negative reviews online.



2.  Winter clothes, like coats and sweaters.  Most stores drop their prices even further for Cyber Monday.  So you'll get a better deal if you wait.  Or you can get the BEST deal if you wait until January. Revert back to the Julian Calendar to make this work.



3.  Christmas decorations.  The deals aren't actually that good right now, because this is when people normally buy them anyway.  So if you really want to be thrifty, use your old decorations one more time, and wait until AFTER the holidays to buy new ones.



4.  Doorbusters.  Again, they're usually lower-end products.  And a lot of the time they're things you'd never buy if they weren't on sale.  So before you punch an old lady over the last $30 fondue fountain, make sure you actually WANT it.



(ABC News)

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by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 24 2015 9:22AM

Kids are remarkably honest with mall Santas. We found a list online where mall Santas are sharing the funniest things they've heard from kids.  Here are the five best.



1.  "I asked what she wants for Christmas.  She said 'I wanna pee!'  The parents insisted that the kid choose something and I sit there awkwardly . . . she's crying, they're insisting, and then my lap gets warm."



2.  "She was probably like six . . . she was telling me adventures about fighting battles to save a prince stuck in a castle . . . her race with Usain Bolt and how he beat her by a hair . . . and how she outswam Michael Phelps to avoid being eaten by Jaws.



"Then she told me she wanted a big glass of milk."



3.  "He said, and I quote, 'I want that weel mawiwanna n' not that fake [s-word].'  He was five."



4.  "He wanted a Shamwow.  He was four years old."



5.  "A young boy, probably eight, said he wanted the panties of the cute girl next door.  I didn't really know how to respond." 




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by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 23 2015 9:00AM

If you're still fighting the good fight and buying your music on CDs, your movies on DVDs, and your books on paper . . . this Friday is your Super Bowl. just analyzed Black Friday deals at a bunch of different stores to figure out which products have the biggest average discounts this week . . . and which products are selling for basically full price.



And the BEST things to buy on Black Friday are books, music, and movies . . . they have an average discount of 28%.  Toys and video games came in second, at 22% off. 



The WORST discounts on Black Friday are on jewelry . . . jewelry's only an average of 4% off.  Furniture has the second-worst average discount, at 8%.



Also, be careful before you buy something . . . the study also found that plenty of stores will try to take advantage of your urge to shop by marking things UP on Black Friday. 



17.2% of stuff is advertised at prices that are HIGHER than the price on Amazon right now. 




by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 20 2015 7:18AM

You're not going to believe this, but Facebook just introduced a new feature that ISN'T a way to violate your privacy.  I didn't know they were even capable of that.


In fact, it's sort of the OPPOSITE.  It's a new feature that lets you COMPLETELY avoid any trace of your EX.


As of yesterday, when you change your relationship status from "in a relationship" to "single," Facebook will guide you through the process.


It'll give you options to scrub any of their future posts from your news feed . . . to block your posts from showing up in THEIRS  . . . and to remove any posts or photos you tagged them in.


They say the new options are, quote, "part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives." 




by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 19 2015 8:53AM

The best bet for a new national holiday is a day that commemorates our fallen countrymen.  And with the number of people who've been trampled to death in the quest for a $17 Blu-Ray player, maybe Black Friday qualifies.



A lot of people already get the Friday after Thanksgiving as a paid day off . . . but should we ALL get it off?



According to a new survey, 39% of people say yes, Black Friday should become a national holiday.



The survey also found one out of three Americans go shopping on Black Friday . . . and 57% say it's because they really like the craziness and energy of the day. 



(Fat Wallet)

by Brian Stephenson posted Nov 18 2015 7:30AM

I'm not sure you can call any entire state smart or dumb.  Because I assure you, EVERY state is filled with buffoons bringing down geniuses like I.  Or is it geniuses like me?  See.  The buffoons are winning.


The "Washington Post" just ranked all 50 states from smartest to dumbest based on four factors:  Average IQ scores . . . their SAT scores this year. . . their ACT scores this year . . . and the percentage of college grads.


And the smartest state in the country is . . . Massachusetts.  Even though 77,000 guys named Sully might make you disagree. 


The rest of the 10 smartest states goes:  Minnesota . . . New Hampshire . . . Connecticut . . . Wisconsin . . . Kansas . . . Vermont . . . Iowa . . . New Jersey . . . and Colorado.


The dumbest state is Hawaii.  Which is sort of surprising, since the people there are the only ones smart enough to realize you can live on an island paradise and still be part of America.


The rest of the 10 least intelligent states are:  Nevada . . . Mississippi . . . Alabama . . . Florida . . . South Carolina . . . West Virginia . . . Louisiana . . . North Carolina . . . and Arizona. 



(Washington Post



(Check out the rankings for all 50 states here.)

by Admin posted Nov 16 2015 10:01AM

Scientists Have Finally Figured Out Why You're a Slacker


HIGHLIGHTS:  Scientists have figured out why some people are SLACKERS.  Their brains have to work harder when they choose to actually do something, which makes it harder for them to do other stuff . . . and less likely to do anything in the first place.



FULL STORY:  Good news, slackers.  Your laziness ISN'T your fault.



Scientists at Oxford University in England have finally figured out why slackers exist.  And it turns out their brains are just wired differently than other people's.



The scientists ran a study where they offered a reward for completing a task to two groups of people:  One group of people who said they're active and ambitious, and another group of people who said they're lazy.



And they found that when the slackers decided to do the task, MRIs showed a LOT more activity in the part of their brain that controls actions.



That means that when a slacker decides to actually do something, their brain has to work a lot harder.  That leaves them less energy to do other stuff, which is why they're more likely NOT to want to do anything that takes effort