To close out our lunchtime news chum for the week, here are a few articles about some unexpected changes reported in this week’s news:
- Free Checking. We all know TANSTAAFL, meaning that “free” checking usually isn’t. As opposed to providing checking and imposing a lot of fees after the fact, some banks are now starting with a basic products and letting the customer build the features they want to add, which determines the monthly cost. The article calls it ala-carte checking, but I see it more as transparency about what you are getting.
- National Cathedral. In light of decisions in MD and DC regarding same sex marriage, the National Cathedral has announced it will perform same-sex ceremonies. Good! This truly demonstrates that public commitment to one’s partner(s), same sex or different, is what is mainstream, and that the old ideas are just like old bread that has been left out too long. In a related article, the Marines have ordered spouses clubs on base to accept the partners of same-sex military couples, even though they are private clubs. Say what you will about the military: The Marines have been exemplary in implementing the repeal of DADT. Basically, the government said to accept gays; it’s goverment policy, we do it. Gotta admire that.
- Housing Sales. We’ve all been hearing the housing market is picking up a little. Even more interesting is the fact that the number of short sales is outpacing the number of foreclosures, at least here in SoCal. This is demonstrating to banks that it is cheaper to move the property to a new owner in good condition, speedily, than all the hassles and damage of foreclosure. There’s even activity in Vegas on this.
- Token Changes. Monopoly is running a survey to choose some new tokens for the Monopoly game, and to get rid of some. I think it is a publicity stunt; after all, who plays Monopoly?
- Happy Books. An interesting change here: In the UK, McDonalds has replaced the toys in Happy Meals with books. I think we should push for that in the US!
- The Chinese Theatre. Turns out the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre may soon be named… by the Chinese. It appears that TCL, a Chinese Firm, has just bought the naming rights for the Grauman’s Chinese for more than $5 million. It will now be called the TCL Chinese, and the money will be used for a slew of infrastructure improvements, such as repairing the concrete in front of the theatre that a bunch of people walked through when it was wet. As an aside, I’m actually distantly related to the Grauman family.
- Hidden Menus. We all know about the hidden menu at In-N-Out. Did you know there was one at Panera? It emphasizes low carbs, and by the looks of it, might be good for the gluten-free folks.
- Setting an Example. And for our last unexpected change. Allyn Rose is the contestant from DC for Miss America, which is announced Saturday. Win or lose, due to her family history of breast cancer, she plans on getting a double mastectomy right after the competition. She’s 24, and her mother found her first lump at 27. The disease took her mother, grandmother, and great aunt. In some ways, I hope she wins: it will truly demonstrate that it is not the body that makes Miss America, it is the person.