Sunday, January 18, 2009

How Cool Is Steve Carell?

Steve Carell owns a general store in Massachusetts. Really.

Jan 16, 2009, 12:00 PM | by Mandi Bierly
Categories: Deals, Television, Things That Are Awesome!
Steve_carrell_l Not that anyone needs another reason to like Steve Carell, but the Office star has given us one: He recently purchased the Marshfield Hills General Store in his native Massachusetts. The actor and his family spend their summers in Marshfield Hills, and, as Carell told the Boston Globe in an email: "This is much more of an emotional investment than a business one....I saw an opportunity to help to preserve a little piece of history. I also felt that places like the Marshfield Hills General Store represent a gathering place, and give people a sense of community. These spots are growing more and more scarce. I hope to keep this particular one alive and well."
While Carell's local sister-in-law will man the shop most of the time, Steve expects to pitch in when he's in town: "I will be manning the cash register and stocking the shelves as time permits!" he said. We're all thinking road trip, yes? What would you say to Carell if you saw him behind the counter? After I asked him how much the Atomic Fireballs cost (look casual!), I would probably launch into the story about how my friend Christa, a photo editor on a shoot he did for TV Guide years ago when he was still on The Daily Show, framed one of the outtakes and hung it in her bathroom. I think he would appreciate that.

All Day Today...

R.E.M.'s incredible album Automatic For The People is on sale at Amazon MP3 for $1.99.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Beirut Video - "La Llorona"

Beirut's new album March Of The Zapotec/Holland is out 2/17 via Condon's Pompeii Records/Ba Da Bing. Both will be available on vinyl via Obey Your Brain.

FNBO Direct Featured in Article!

Resolved: This Year, I'll Keep More Cash

by Stacy Rapacon
Thursday, January 1, 2009
provided by
Given the recent turmoil in the financial markets and the prospect of a continuing economic downturn, 2009 may be the year you finally make good on your resolve to start an emergency fund, pay off credit-card debt or beef up your retirement kitty. Our guidelines on cutting your expenses and saving on taxes are guaranteed to put money in your pocket -- and your savings accounts.
More from

8 Ways to Boost Your Income

12 Things to Look Forward to in 2009

How to Cope with Financial Stress
1. Get your spending under control by using a free online budgeting Web site, such as This secure site tracks your checking, credit-card and investment accounts and offers money-saving tips, such as where you can cut costs or get a better rate on your credit card. Other free sites, including Wesabe and Geezeo, offer similar budgeting tools, but focus more on their online communities where users share strategies.
With the meat and potatoes of your finances laid out, it will be easier to see where you can trim the fat. For example, assuming that you and your significant other pay the average $33 per person for a restaurant meal (according to a recent Zagat survey) and $7 per ticket for a movie, one fewer date night a month will save you a total of $960 per year.
2. Set up a flexible spending account to help pay for medical expenses. If your employer offers this benefit, you can stash pretax dollars in the account and use the money to pay for out-of-pocket bills, including physician co-payments, prescription drugs, eyeglasses and braces for the kids' teeth. You can even spend the money on over-the-counter medications, such as antacids and pain relievers.
A flex account can save you hundreds of dollars in federal, Social Security and, in most states, state income taxes. For example, if you're in the 25% tax bracket and you put $1,450 in your account -- the average contribution for 2007 -- you'd save $546 for the year, assuming a 5% state income tax and 7.65% for the FICA tax. Plus, you can tap the entire amount at any time, even if you've contributed for only a couple of months.
Under the use-it-or-lose-it rule, you could forfeit any money left in the account at the end of 2009. But many companies now offer a grace period until March 15 of the following year. In fact, if you have money left over from 2008, treat it as a bonus to help pay for a major expenditure in early 2009.
3. File a new Form W-4. If you got a tax refund for 2008, adjusting your withholding will fatten your paycheck for 2009. With an average refund of about $2,400, you could be entitled to three extra exemptions. In the 25% tax bracket, that could boost your take-home pay by $2,625 per year.
4. Raise your insurance deductibles. Increasing the deductible on your car insurance from $250 to $1,000 can save up to 15% on your premiums -- or about $125 per year on an average premium of $829. Upping the deductible on your homeowners policy can slice your rate by about 25%, or $191 on an average premium of $764.
5. Cut the cost of credit. If you tend to carry a monthly credit-card balance, go with a low-interest-rate card, such as Wells Fargo's Prime Rate card, with a 5% interest rate and $19 annual fee. For gasoline or travel perks, try the BP Visa card or >Simmons First Visa Platinum Travel Rewards card.
More from Yahoo! Finance:

How to Make Money With 0% Interest Rates

Study: Spendthrift Men Lure More Mates

6 Best Budgeting Web Sites

Visit the Banking & Budgeting Center
If you'd rather pocket a cash rebate, consider the American Express Blue Cash card. You'll get a 1% rebate for gas, groceries and drugstore purchases, and you'll get 0.5% back on everything else. Big spenders can bump up those rewards to 5% and 1.5%, respectively, after dropping $6,500 for the year. Charging $15,000 worth of everyday purchases would save you $490.
6. Open an online savings account, such as the one at, which was recently paying 3.25%, or about $100 a year on a $3,000 deposit. You can open the account with just $1, and there are no monthly fees or minimum-balance requirements. To avoid the temptation to spend all the money that's now lining your pockets thanks to our first five tips, set up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account or arrange to have part of your paycheck deposited directly into your new rainy-day fund.
7. Bump up your 401(k) contributions. Already have an emergency stash? With stocks on sale, now is a great time to build -- or rebuild -- your retirement kitty. For 2009, the contribution limit for 401(k) accounts rises to $16,500, and you can add another $5,500 if you'll be 50 or older by the end of the year. Contributions aren't subject to federal or state taxes, so loading up on the full $16,500 would save you $4,950 in taxes for the year, assuming a 25% federal tax bracket and a 5% state income tax.
Can't afford the maximum contribution or want to use part of your savings for something else? Try to kick in at least enough to capture any employer match.
Copyrighted, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crazy News!

Things have been more than hectic around here--I've been meaning to post a note about it for the past few weeks now.  Beth and I have been given the opportunity to work in Moscow for the next two years.  We're both very excited (and a little stressed) for the opportunity.  We didn't expect it to come quite so soon, but have been wanting to for some time now.

On January 26th we will travel to Richmond, VA to train for 2 months (language, etc.) and we should be in Moscow by April 9th or 10th.

Stay up-to-date with us at!

That being said, we hope to see you before we head out--Beth and I have been running ragged since the end of Christmas (we did not know for sure until December), so we've barely had time to do anything.  We both quit our jobs last week (her on Tuesday, me on Friday).  That was particularly difficult for both of us.  Beth and I loved our jobs and the people we worked with.

Since quitting we've been packing, moving things, figuring out where things are going to stay for the next two years, trying to sell a car (but fixing it first), and so on.  It's been a whirlwind, but everything is working out.

As excited as we are, Beth and I get attached to the people around us.  That was by far the toughest part of of leaving for Russia.  Please stay in touch-- Facebook is always great, as well as our e-mail addresses:

Our Skype name is:  timandbethrhodes

And if you've always wanted to trek to Mother Russia-- COME VISIT! :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gate Cottage Destroyed at TFC

During the early morning hours today (January 12, 2009), Gate Cottage, on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, caught fire. The extent of the damage is not entirely known as of 5:30 AM.

Gate Cottage is located at the entrance of Toccoa Falls, houses a gift shop, and classroom space for the TFC School of Counseling.

Check back for additional updates throughout the day.

Update #1: All classes for Monday January 12, 2009 have been canceled.
Update #2: Employees report to work at 10 AM.
Update #3: Urgent Message to all Students, faculty and staff of Toccoa Falls College from Dr. Wayne Gardner:

We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Gate Cottage, one of our historic buildings. It burned down about 2:30 a.m. last night. Originally built around 1939 it withstood the flood in 1977. It housed our School of Counseling, Gate Cottage Restaurant, and falls gift shop. We are awaiting word as to the cause of the fire.

Please pray for the students, faculty, and administration as we work to ensure that all needs are met.

The Fire Department has now asked the campus to be closed today because of the ongoing work of their personnel on the campus. This includes all employees to remain off campus today – no access is allowed at either entrance.

From the TFC Website:

Gate Cottage was first built in 1920 as a small cabin to be used as a staff residence. The building served this purpose until 1939 when it was destroyed by fire. In the summer of 1939 students began to build the present building using stone from the area. Over the years the building has served many different functions. In the 40’s it served as the home economics department for the young women. In the 50’s it served as the kitchen and dining room for the school. The second floor of the building was also used for a variety of functions including married student housing, offices for alumni and advancement and is currently being used for offices for the School of Counseling. During World War II many women were trained there as secretaries and later were hired by the government.

The building was the first building on campus to be hit with the flood waters when the earthen dam above the falls broke in the early morning hours in November of 1977. Much damage was done to the inside of the building, but the structure still stood.

In recent years, the main floor was used as a restaurant. This area has been expanded to accommodate many more diners. The gift shop, which was on the lower level, has been moved to the main level. It has also been expanded and will include many new items for sale.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My 10 Favorite Albums of '08

I was going to write a little more on this, but things have just been nuts. I'll have to tell you all about it.

Here are my favorite albums of the year. I always feel like I need to say that I'm not at all asserting these are the best by any means. These are just ones that have had the biggest affect on me. Check them out!

10. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue
9. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
8. Jon Foreman - Winter Fall Spring Summer
7. Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings And All
6. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
5. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
4. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts
3. TV On The Radio - Dear Science,
2. Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
1. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely

Coming soon: my favorite songs of the year. I've been meaning to post these for probably over a month now, but it's been rather tough narrowing them down!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

5 Ways to Remember to Vote For Me!

First of all, thanks guys for voting for me.  It's really meant great deal.  
The contest is a six-month long "savings journey," so you've got until April.  And the cool thing is you can vote at least once a day, but usually a few times.  It's really hard for even me to remember to vote sometimes (it's not a lack of a desire to win or anything, I am just really forgetful sometimes).  So I decided to devise a few ways to help you (as well as me) remember to vote every day!
  1. Make the PYF Challenge your homepage!  I know this is somewhat unlikely--I don't think the page rivals the importance of Drudge or this blog you're reading right now, but I think it's a good idea!
  2. Three words:  Remember the Milk.  Although I myself am probably more biased to chocolate milk, I won't hold it against them.  It's a great site, and if you're like me, you forget just about everything unless you write it down into the form of a list, much like this:

    It's a bit overkill, and it actually gets worse a lot of the time.
  3. Maybe I could just actually remember to regularly message you daily to vote for me!  But alas, even I forget--almost all the time!
  4. Sticky notes are always very cool.  Maybe something above your monitor, or on your bathroom mirror.  Or on your car's rear-view mirror.
  5. Have Google Calendar remind you every morning with a daily e-mail.

Regardless of how you do it--vote often!

P.S.  I realize this post is selfish and self-serving (but then again, what blog post isn't) and I apologize.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

I know it's late.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with family and silence.

Here's a video I did for the PYF Challenge.  I kind of rushed to get it done (things were busy leading up to Christmas) so it's not my favorite.

Saving For The Season from Tim Rhodes on Vimeo.

I'll try to post more in the very near future.  I'd like to share some of my favorite music of the year, but I'm still working on it. 

And don't forget, VOTE FOR ME!