Here’s one way a repo company makes some money: They drive around in an unmarked car looking for parking for parking lots to go into so they can scan license plates using a license plates scanner mounted on their car. The repo companies are looking for owners of vehicles who have defaulted on their loans, and every time a scan finds a vehicle that’s stolen or in default, the company can make between $200 to $400.
Here’s a mind-boggling case from the Morris County Courthouse in New Jersey, according to Bill Chappell at NPR’s The Two-Way:
An 18-year-old honor roll student named Rachel Canning is suing her parents for financial support and money for college after being kicked out of the house for behavioral issues (“one or two school suspensions, drinking, losing her captaincy on the cheerleading squad and being kicked out of the campus ministry”). Canning says her parents abandoned her and is currently living with her best friend, Jaime Inglesino, whose father is an attorney and is helping Canning sue her parents. Canning’s requests were denied by a judge in the first round of hearings in the case.
The Academy Awards are a meaningless popularity contest decided by out-of-touch old white men in suits with the help of an occasional white lady. But if your movie wins one, an Oscar can help make a significant difference in how posterity treats it and, more immediately, in how much money it makes. 12 Years a Slave, which raked in a very respectful $140,000,000 worldwide before it won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, is beginning to enjoy its Oscar bump–or perhaps, bumps:
12 Years will make a major expansion in U.S. theaters — Fox Searchlight will be playing the movie in more than 1,000 theaters — even though the slavery drama comes out on DVD Tuesday. … Beyond the big screen, best picture winner 12 Years a Slave is getting a post-Oscar bump for the book it was based on. The 19th-century memoir by ex-slave Solomon Northup jumped from No. 326 on Amazon.com before Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony to No. 19 on Monday afternoon.
According to the New York Times, the movie launched its source material to the bestseller lists this past fall. Now its trajectory is steep enough that Oscar-winning director Alfonso (“Gravity”) Cuaron could be called in to film it. When your intrepid author checked on Tuesday, March 4, the paperback remained in the top 20, while the Kindle version had jumped to #17 overall and #2 on several specific lists:
• #2 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations • #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > History > Americas > United States • #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction
People are rediscovering a lost classic and paying for the privilege! Terrific. But in a case like that of 12 Years a Slave, when the memoirist is long-since deceased, who profits from the book’s Oscar bump? Not to be all Upworthy about it, but the answer may surprise you.
From The Morning News, a terrific photo series by Megan King about the fast-growing Hispanic population in her native Tennessee.
The person who delivered pizza to Ellen and the Oscar nominees went on Ellen’s talk show to talk about his experience, and then Ellen gave him a $1,000 tip ($600 of which was collected from passing around Pharrell’s hat).
In an effort its spokesman has described as “outreach to rednecks,” the Kentucky Baptist Convention is leading “Second Amendment Celebrations,” where churches around the state give away guns as door prizes to lure in the unchurched in hopes of converting them to Christ.
As many as 1,000 people are expected at the next one, on Thursday at Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah, where they will be given a free steak dinner and the chance to win one of 25 handguns, long guns and shotguns.
The Wall Street Journal’s Katy McLaughlin wrote her final column about money this weekend, and her takeaway is something we always talk about here: What we learn from each other when we talk about our money.
From Vice (and sent to me from Logan), an interview with a man who has eaten nothing but cheese pizza for the last 25 years and seems relatively okay:
The 2013 VIDA: Women in Literary Arts count is out! For years, VIDA (which is not an acronym and does not stand for anything, except justice) has created brightly colored provocative pie charts to illustrate the gender disparity in publishing. Maybe you’ve noticed that the New Yorker‘s table of contents is dominated by dude-writers? In 2013, the disparity was pronounced: a whopping 75% of contributors to that august publication, and several others of its ilk, were male:
Drumroll for the 75%ers: The Atlantic, London Review of Books, New Republic, The Nation, New York Review of Books (actually holding steady at 80% men for four years) and New Yorker. We get it: you’re mighty, unmovable giants.
Some titans have made progress, such as the New York Times Book Review and The Paris Review, so forward-movement is possible! And to speed such movement along, VIDA encourages those of us who care about keeping America’s intellectual life diverse to vote with our pocketbooks:
Support presses that support women writers. Cancel subscriptions to publications that have no real interest in women’s voices.
Which is where I pause. I mean, yes, totally, of course! Except …
On a level of 1 to 10, how much of a hoarder are you? At Nautilus, David Wallis examines our tendencies to hoard, and how it has “taken on full-fledged disorder status in the DSM-V handbook”:
This year, for the first time, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM—the bible of psychiatrists and insurers—listed it as a distinct disorder. It is also one with serious consequences, with the potential to ruin relationships, result in evictions, and fuel lethal fires. And according to the American Psychiatric Association, 2 to 5 percent of the United States population suffers from it.
After all, we are being pushed to consume. “Contemporary U.S. households have more possessions per household than any society in global history,” explains Jeanne E. Arnold, professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2012, Arnold and a team of sociologists and anthropologists published a book, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, based on a four-year study of 32 middle class, dual-income families in Los Angeles. The authors found that 75 percent of families banished their cars from garages “to make way for rejected furniture and cascading bins and boxes of mostly forgotten household goods.” Superstores like Costco, they argued, have increased our tendency to stockpile food and cleaning supplies—and the result at home is stress. Women who described their homes as cluttered had higher cortisol levels—a sign of stress—than those who didn’t.