Free Things

Community College Now Free in Tennessee

Starting in Fall 2015, all high school graduates in the state of Tennessee now qualify for free in-state tuition at two-year colleges across the state. via Inside Higher Ed


Sailing Around the World And Getting By Without Cash

65 mangos, 12 coconuts, and three rubber-banded baggies of coffee slide across the deck in two large plastic bins. There’s a broad-built man in a little boat called COUNTRY staring at me. I have no money and it’s 600 miles to the nearest ATM.

For four years, I’ve been traveling the high seas, alone aboard my sailboat BOBBIE. I’ve traveled 15,000 miles of open ocean, through twelve countries on four continents – long enough to know that being cashless doesn’t have to be a problem. For centuries, explorers have ploughed all corners of our watery world, armed with little more than improvised currencies. From the Portuguese pursuits of exotic spices in the Moluccas, to the movement of molasses across the West Indies – the sea has always remained the most flexible of marketplaces.


It’s Official, People Love Libraries

Ring the Pew Research gong, we have a new study! Or okay, new-ish. This one, titled How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities, reports a lot of love for libraries at a time where their usage is at an upsurge but their funding is more in jeopardy than ever.


Best Places to Cry For Free in New York City

The NYC Crying Guide is my new favorite Tumblr, and I recommend it to anyone who lives in New York and has a proclivity for crying in public.

The author gives first-hand accounts and specific addresses of various places of business one can duck into on one’s lunchbreak for a good cry of varying duration. Useful as well as entertaining!


Kentuckians: Get a Free Steak Dinner and a Chance to Win a Handgun

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.


Taking the Airline Miles Game to Another Level

Gary Leff writes for an addiction and recovery site called the Fix about his obsession with earning free airline miles.


Exercising With Coworkers

Kurt Soller at Bloomberg Businessweek has drawn a line in the sand. He does not think you should exercise with your coworkers, and I applaud his bold stance


Is There Anything More Romantic Than Free Doughnuts For Life?

For the Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein recounts her love for sitting at the counter at Peter Pan Doughnuts and a man named M., and then what is maybe the greatest “Sorry I didn’t know we were exclusive” consolation prize ever:

Around this time, I learned that M. had been seeing a second girl, a beautiful young Englishwoman doing an internship at a well-known fashion house. I was heartbroken. He seemed genuinely bewildered by my reaction. As he explained, we had never formalized our relationship nor declared it exclusive. Following a tearful scene, he left. But when I got home the next day it was to find that he had made a number of repairs around the apartment and gone to IKEA to replace a faulty set of blinds. He had left his set of keys on the table.

Several days later, I returned to the doughnut shop and ordered a bowtie and a coffee with half-and-half. When I tendered my two dollars, however, the young girl behind the counter turned away, consulted in a whisper with her colleagues, then returned to me and decisively shook her head. “It’s free,” she said. “You don’t have to pay anymore.” No one seemed able to provide an adequate explanation for this sudden stroke of good fortune, so the owner was summoned from the basement, where I was told she had been taking a nap. It was then I learned that M. had arranged a system whereby I was to have free doughnuts for life. He had put down $100; when the balance ran low, he would re-up it, in perpetuity. “I hope you appreciate him,” said the owner. “He really loves you.”

I will admit that I kind of wanted her to take the doughnuts and break up with him anyway, because POWER MOVE. But either way there are free Peter Pan doughnuts involved, so I’m on board.

Photo: Key Foster



If you’re a writer who’s willing to relocate, an organization called Write-a-House in Detroit, Mich., wants to GIVE YOU A HOUSE:

WAH Author-in-Residence will receive the deed to a house. For two years prior to receiving the deed, the WAH Author-in-Residence will live in the house rent-free. They will only be responsible for insurance costs and property tax costs. After two years, the deed will be given to the awardee as long as the selection committee and WAH Board agree that certain terms and conditions have been met.

The catch? Well the catch is that you have to live in Detroit. Also these are formerly abandoned houses, and while they’ll be 80% renovated, you are responsible for renovating it the rest of the way (which frankly, sounds kind of fun) (says someone who has never renovated a house).

The WAH Author-in-Residence will also be expected to:

contribute content to the WAH blog on a regular basis. participate in local readings and other cultural events use the home as their primary residence. In general, they will be responsible home owners, engaged neighbors, committed city residents and good literary citizens.


Places I’ve Lived: Multiple Towns in North Ontario

Where have you lived, Jenny Potter?


Meditating With Oprah For Free

This theme is only a little bit more embarrassing than the one they did in August called “Miraculous Relationships,” which I fully participated in and fully loved. I had never meditated regularly before, but I did do almost every day of the last ‘challenge’ and it ended up being a really good start to my day and I got weirdly addicted to meditating, which unfortunately goes against the whole point of meditating but what are you gonna do? Then at the end of the 21 days, as soon as I was truly hooked, they gave us a bonus day or two and then tried to sell everyone $100 meditation packages. I was tempted (I felt so good! So centered! So miraculous and in love!), but instead I downloaded a free meditation app on my phone and then obviously never meditated again.


Unpaid Labor, On Purpose: Why We Volunteer

Why do people volunteer?