See you next year….until then: The Origin of Life, Life on Other Worlds, Mechanical Graveyards, Great Art, Alternative Lifestyles and Finding Freedom

Well, gee.  It’s been almost a month since my return from Ecuador.  No wonder I’m restless.  Fortunately, we have our daughter to visit in France.  She’s there for her junior year at University.   I told her when she left, “Don’t plan on coming home.  We’ll come to you.”  And a promise (threat?) is a promise.

We’ll have five days with her in Paris and five more in Valencia.  Can’t wait.  Back shortly after the New Year.

As always, I’ve been collecting some groovy stuff for you in the meantime, starting with this cool talk on the Origins of Life and this Gorilla encounter.  Talk about a memorable trip for that guy!

Looking to have some holiday fun?  Got some sheep, sheep dogs and Christmas lights?  Here’s how.

Train graveyard, Bolivia.  Been here.

Here’s a cool review of graveyards for planes, tanks, ships, submarines, trains, anchors, taxis and even phone booths.  I’ve actually been this past summer to the train graveyard in Bolivia.  It lies on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the great salt flats.

April 1937. “Old man on the street in Shawneetown, Illinois.”

 Medium-format nitrate negative by Russell Lee.

One of a great series of North American Indian photos by Edward Curtis

I know people who could learn a bit of etiquette from these Dogs Dining.  Yeah?  You too?

Copenhagen Flash Mob.  Cool music.

Ever since the Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970s, oil and oil supplies have cast  an outsized shadow over our economic and politic thinking.  I’ve long been suspect of this.  While clearly western economies still need oil, oil producers need to sell it every bit as much, maybe more.  If you are interested in a counterpoint to all the hand-wringing prose that is mostly written on this subject, this article is a breath of fresh air:


The Great Oil Fallacy

It written by John Quiggin a professor of economics at the University of Queensland, Australia and adjunct professor at the University of Maryland.  He is also the author of Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us.

I’ve never been one for gardening and my rare attempts ended in disaster.  Still, if you are, this post by 101C will bring a smile to your face.  It is so well written, it did even to mine.

My pal Shilpan did a fine post on the Gone Fishin’ Portfolio and then kindly invited me to do something of a mini-post of my own in his comments section.

I’m always at a bit of a loss when it comes to dispensing advice on how to live below your means.  For me it has always been like breathing.  You just do it. Still, I realize it is an issue many wrestle with and, after all, you can hardly follow my advice on what to do with your excess capital until you can arrange your life in such a fashion as to have excess capital.  So, courtesy of Young, Cheap, Living here are 10 Tips for living on Less Than 25k per Year.

little girl fishing

Maybe things were better in the good old days….

Ever wondered about the scale of the universe?  Say, how does a T-Rex compare to a hydrogen atom?  Or how does Rhode Island compare to Neutron Star?  (Hint:  RI is bigger.  I didn’t know that.  Did you know that??)  Seriously entertaining.  Cool music, too:

This Sliding Scale takes you from Quantum Foam to the entire Observable Universe

Before you head out to wander about the other planets in our own Solar System, you might take a moment to brush up on the inhabitants you’ll find when you get there:


 Survey of Life Forms from the other planets and moons in our solar system.

Some pretty weird stuff here too on our own little planet:

cool street art

Cool Street Art

Sergey Gusev is a painter working in St. Petersburg, Russia.  He does masterful portraits like this one:

Gusev portrait

He also does landscapes and still life and I used two to illustrate my post:  stocks-part-xiii-withdrawal-rates-how-much-can-i-spend-anyway.  But what’s really neat is this video he just put up.  In it we get to watch over his shoulder as a painting comes together.

Most people who know me were surprised when I launched this blog.  They know me as a very private person.  To this day still I am not on any of the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and the like.  Not saying they’re bad, just saying I’ve never been comfortable with the loss of privacy.  And yes, I realize with this blog that game is already over.  Still, watching this mind reader at work didn’t help.

There’s this guy named Glenn who plays the Sax and wanders around the country living in his van.  He’s been blogging about it these past few years and, like anyone who chooses their own path, he’s gotten his share of flack from those Mr. Money Mustache so compellingly calls “Complainypants.”  Now Glenn has come across someone even he can look down upon:


A guy living in a canoe in Boston Harbor.

Glenn’s satiric complainypants take on this guy had me at  “Just look at that picture again – the imperious grasp on the oar, that holier-than-thou orange life preserver…”

A new friend, JD Roth, recently reminded me of what is very likely the most influential book, on me anyway, I’ve ever read:

How I found freedom

To new friends and old.  To those who have found freedom and those still in pursuit.  Have a wonderful holiday and here’s to a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Shilpan says

    Jim, thank you for your kind words and the mention. For most of us, there is not much money to be made by blogging; yet it’s priceless because of friendship we cherish through our thoughts a constant stream of selfless thoughts to help each other. I am honored to find a friend of your caliber. Happy holidays!

  2. kraigycl says


    Thanks for mentioning me. Your blog has has an impact on me this year. Thanks for writing it. Happy Holidays and looking forward to another great year!

    Kraig – YoungCheapLiving

  3. 101 Centavos says

    Thanks for the kind words, Jim.
    Great find on the photos by Edward Curtis. The black-and-white contrasts are amazing. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. One thing that was surprising is the recent date of some of the photos. 1927 was more “primitive” than what I was envisioning.
    I’m with you on the privacy. My blog is semi-anonymous, but so far I’ve stayed off the Facebook.

  4. greg says

    Thanks SOOOO much for the book recommendation at the end! I read it cover-to-cover on a redeye back to see family, and it instantly offered a more solid philosophical basis for many parts of what I had been slowly discovering on my own.

    This post alone was one of the best things to happen to me in 2012 =)

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey Greg…..

      Glad you enjoyed it! I had the same reaction when I first picked it up so many years ago, and each time I’ve read it since.

      Hope you find something on this blog that’s the best thing for 2013!

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