30 NOV 07: FIVE-CARD STUD
"It's time to trade in your briefcase for a suitcase," the outside of the envelope told me Thursday. These people obviously don't know how I pack for a vacation. You've got to have something to hold your important papers, hide your traveler's checks - and, once in a great while, even carry a map.
BLOG SPECIAL EVENT: Today is the final day of a month-long experiment we began here 1 November. A survey company asked me to collect all the credit card offers I received in the mail, and pass them along. So to explain our title - well, I received five offers. This single guy is simply dreaming with the "stud" part.
After a slow start, two more offers have landed in the mailbox this week. Let's start with the one which came Thursday. Capital One promises me a business card with bonus miles to "fly on any airline with no blackout dates." As you may know, using reward points on some airlines is a bit like playing blackout bingo....
But can Capital One really live up to this promise? Delta Air Lines is changing its rules this weekend, to make some flights completely off-limits for reward points. This proves President Bush is a lame-duck -- because he changed the rules for Thanksgiving to make travel easier.
Capital One's offer gives me a choice of six different credit card designs. The "Harvest" design shows a combine on a farm, which would appeal to a Midwesterner like me. The "World of Business" design shows a globe with dollar signs on it - for business owners who are really greedy.
Earlier in the week, I had a credit card offer "double play" - as two offers arrived on the same day. Bank of America tempted me on its envelope by asking: "Want your credit card balances at zero, while possibly saving money every month?" I thought the two went hand-in-hand - with a thing called interest.
But a closer look shows Bank of America really was NOT offering me a credit card. Instead, it proposed combining my credit card debts into "an unsecured loan of up to $30,000 at competitive non-variable rates." Writing one check a month instead of three sounds a bit more secure, actually....
Yet the fine print of this loan offer reveals the "non-variable rates" actually seem to vary. My initial annual percentage rate would range from nine to 22 percent - but: "if you fail to pay any minimum monthly payment by the Payment Due Date, we may increase your APR up to a Default APR of 27.99%." So if you violate the non-variable, you'll vary much wish you hadn't.
The second envelope had a more traditional credit card offer inside. It promises on the back: "CHASE FREEDOM." Oh please - Kansas lost to Missouri in college football last weekend because quarterback Chase Daniel had too much freedom.
This Chase "rewards card" dares to promise me "$100 cash back after your first purchase." One six-inch Subway sandwich would mean a payoff of more than 16 to one....
This deal sounds too good to be true -- and sure enough, there's a footnote on that sentence about $100 cash back from Chase. Yet on the back, the fine print assures me I would receive "$100 in bonus rebates, which can be redeemed for a $100 check." Forget the sandwich - do they accept credit cards at casinos?
But alas, the fine print also includes this sentence: "The bonus offer is valid only for first-time cardmembers with new accounts." I have two credit cards through Chase already, so I doubt I'd qualify for that 100-dollar special. Especially since my name actually was spelled correctly on the letter....
I should note the letter from a Chase Card Services Executive Vice President includes a box, telling me how to stop receiving "prescreened" credit card offers. The terms and conditions page explains I received this one because I met "certain criteria." That probably means I'm a living, breathing adult.
So assuming no more credit card mailings come Friday, our one-month experiment will conclude with five offers in 30 days. That computes to 61 in a year - enough to decorate all of them into a deck of playing cards, with a few jokers left over.
P.S. If you thought today's title referred to our Thursday "poker night," you might want to know I came in third at Lil Kim's Cove this week. I've had a top-five finish in four of my last six sessions -- so I'm almost ready to call my alma mater, and see if they want to start a Kansas Jayhawk poker team.
E-MAIL UPDATE: Our Thursday Instant Message apparently confused one reader -- but then again, it may not have been directed at that reader:
I don't see the "Babe of the Day" listed anywhere on the WDAK website, thought "Babe of the Day" is available through the "cc-common" (Clear Channel Common Folder) to any and all radio station websites:
H**k, even WSHE has it on their website, because of cc-common:
The "babe-a-rama" apparently is well hidden on those other station web sites. It would have to be hidden at AM-1270 WSHE - not because the station plays Southern gospel music, but because Jim Foster might faint at the sight of all those bikinis.
But go to the home page of WDAK Radio, and the "babe-o-link" is in plain sight. It's right below the link to Fox News coverage of "You Decide 2008." I think we know what most guys visiting the web site decided to click on first....
Another reader has an unusual request for us:
One of the debate teachers at the total magnet school tells the class that it is not in his job description to "care"....Can you check on that????
Thinking back to my high school debate teacher, he cared about my well-being at times. But during the main season, he cared more about winning records and tournaments -- which put him on a plane with the boys' basketball coach.
We're not sure which debate teacher this is -- but we went to the Muscogee County Schools' list of job openings Thursday night. There isn't really much there, in the way of job descriptions. But if "care" isn't in the qualifications section for day tutors, why should it be there for quick-thinking and fast-talking young debaters?
One more e-mail to the blog is being held, pending a phone call. So in the meantime, let's check the Thursday news headlines:
+ A grand opening ceremony was held for the "Ma Rainey Blues Museum" on Fifth Avenue. But wait a minute - didn't they have another grand opening ceremony for this museum 15 months ago? [1 Sep 06] Is it going to have an "opening day" every year? This is a museum, not a baseball team....
(WLTZ noted Ma Rainey only lived in the museum house for the last four years of her life. If the attendance there in the last year is any indication, we won't need to start a Rainey Tour of Homes.)
+ A boiler blew up at G&S Metals in Manchester, injuring seven people. The tremor from the explosion could be felt for miles - and a few people probably thought the new BRAC soldiers had arrived, to start training at Fort Benning.
+ A WRBL special report looked at the unsolved murder of Muscogee County Superintendent James Burns 15 years ago. Newcomers to Columbus simply can't believe the "Who Killed Mr. Burns?" plot line on "The Simpsons" was based on a true story....
(One long-time Columbus resident has told me police bungled the investigation of the James Burns killing in 1992. That person didn't tell me what detectives did wrong - but at least they haven't tried to link it to Carlton Gary.)
+ The annual "Night of Lights" ceremony was held at the Phenix City Amphitheater, ending with a fireworks show. As I heard the explosions several blocks from my home, I figured out a reason why they don't shoot them at "God Bless Fort Benning." It's spelled P-T-S-D.
+ The web site "Sports 360" station reported Tommy Tuberville will leave Auburn University, to become Arkansas's head football coach. Say WHAT?!?! If Tuberville moves to the Hogs, that might be enough to make half of Alabama finally switch to barbecued beef.
(Auburn's Athletic Director said no one from Arkansas has asked for permission to talk with Tuberville. Someone needs to tell this man that head coaches have agents these days, too.)
+ The Georgia High School Association announced new sports classifications for 2008-09. Spencer High School is dropping from AAA to AA - proving Carver and Shaw are scared to death by that 5-5 football season.
(But seriously: Spencer is dropping one division in high school sports based on its enrollment. The deployment of Fort Benning's Third Brigade to Iraq may have affected this - or maybe all the potential dropouts have been moved out of Baker Village.)
THE BLOG OF AMERICA: At least one strike in New York is over - as Broadway shows reopened Thursday night, thanks to a tentative contract agreement with stage hands. And at least the stage hands were carrying picket signs, so they stayed in practice....
+ Tabloid TV shows aired video of Julia Roberts forcing a member of the paparazzi to the side of a road. Roberts went to the driver's window, and gave him a lecture about being near a school. So?! Most schools only teach photography skills to the high school newspaper or yearbook staffs.
+ A British schoolteacher was ordered jailed in Sudan for 15 days, then deported. The teacher was found guilty of allowing second-grade children to name a stuffed bear after the prophet Muhammad. I'm never seen such protection of Teddy Roosevelt's good name in my life....
+ Scotland unveiled a new tourism slogan, after six months of research which cost $250,000. The new slogan is "Welcome to Scotland." [True/Interprep.com] Suddenly the Columbus Chamber of Commerce feels a lot better about "What progress has preserved."
+ The Atlantic hurricane season ends today, with only six tropical storms becoming named hurricanes. The final estimate from forecasters in Colorado was for nine - so if happen to run into these weather experts, make a wager with them on pro football games.
+ A Food and Drug Administration report warned 150,000 people die in the U.S. each year from eating too much salt. It recommends restaurants reduce the amount of sodium in their diets - but millions of people were pleased to see it stopped short of suggesting a ban on margaritas.
+ A branch of the World Health Organization announced it will add work on overnight shifts to the list of potential cancer-causing agents. This doesn't surprise me - because I've learned from experience an all-night shift produces drowsiness and blurred vision.
+ A Massachusetts man may be disqualified from winning one million dollars in the state lottery. The reason: he's on probation for bank robbery. How dare this man show up the lottery -- which steals money from low-income people on a regular basis.
+ A publicist revealed actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is engaged to actor Ross McCall. In related news, the number of males watching "Ghost Whisperer" tonight is projected to drop by 75 percent.
+ Jennie Garth told "Entertainment Tonight" fellow "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Helio Castroneves actually broke off his engagement months ago. The news only came out Wednesday, after he won - so his next reality show appearance probably will be on "Celebrity Poker Showdown."
+ The Family Television Award for best actor was given to "High School Musical" star Zac Efron. Co-star Vanessa Hudgens was locked in a close battle for the actress who most needs to keep her clothes on.
+ Dallas beat Green Bay in a big Thursday night football game, 34-27. Packer quarterback Brett Favre revealed after the game he had a separated shoulder - and it could be separated as far as Green Bay is from the Super Bowl in Phoenix.
+ Basketball's Boston Celtics embarrassed the New York Knicks 104-59. This game was SO embarrassing that Boston fans started their own chant about the Knicks coach, aimed toward the ownership - "Keep Isaiah."
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