Courtyard and NFL Great, Matt Light, Spook Travelers at Epic Halloween Check-In

Brought to you by Courtyard

In the spirit of Halloween, former New England offensive lineman, Matt Light, joined forces with Courtyard for a special edition of ‘Courtyard Camera’. Watch as Light humorously scares NFL fans and hotel guests as they check-in.

In their fourth year as the Official Hotel of the NFL, Courtyard is hosting special fan activities and experiences including tailgates, ticket giveaways and social media contests.

Check out Courtyard’s YouTube channel to watch more ‘Courtyard Camera’ videos! For more information or to book a stay, visit Courtyard.com or follow Courtyard on Facebook, Twitter, or instagram.

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Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: October 2014 Check-in

It’s time to check in on our debt payments and savings goals again. If you’re joining us for the first time, you can read about our decision to publicly keep track of our debt here.

Pull up those balances!

READ MORE

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Obamacare Winners and Losers

flames on the sides of my face ClueWINNERS: 10 more million Americans who have health insurance, large swaths of whom are “people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas,” according to the New York Times. All groups who have been having a particularly hard time in this economic climate.

Young people have fared substantially worse in the job market than older people in recent years. Blacks and Hispanics have fared worse than whites and Asians. Rural areas have fallen further behind larger metropolitan areas.

WINNERS: The poor and people who sympathize with them. “People with the lowest incomes tended to benefit the most from the law.”

LOSERS: People who find any kind of redistribution of wealth distasteful. As Vox puts it,

Obamacare is becoming a huge weapon in the fight against inequality. … for those who live in low-income areas, Obamacare has made a world of difference. The uninsured rate for residents of poor counties fell by 9 percentage points, from 26.4 percent in 2013 to 17.5 percent now. … What we’re seeing now is Obamacare as an equalizer, giving lower-income Americans access to the benefits that have been held out of reach. 

LOSERS: Democrats / people who like government, since the continued backlash against Obamacare means we’re going to wake up on November 5th to a Republican controlled House and Senate. I mean, on some level, sure, enjoy Congress, guys, it’s all yours! But it’s a definite setback to those of us who enjoyed getting the occasional progressive piece of legislation to the President’s desk. Like, you know, the ACA.

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Texts from Mallory Ortberg

51NkGhyEKrL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Whenever I have an idea for something funny to write on the Internet, I have to make sure that it isn’t just something I’ve subconsciously ripped off from writer/webmistress Mallory Ortberg. If there is a joke to be made about anything, chances are Mallory’s already made it, in a both subtle and absurd way that will seep into your brain and stick with you for months.

On November 4th, Henry Holt is publishing Texts from Jane Eyre—a collection based on the series in which Mallory sums up the entire canon of Western literature in a few textual exchanges with great accuracy and even greater lols. Believe it or not, Texts From was spawned on THIS VERY HERE SITE. Buy a copy, then read this interview. Or read this interview and buy a copy. Buy a copy, read this interview, then buy another copy for best results. Anything else you were planning to do today can wait. It was probably dumb anyway.

Mallory!
Hi hi hi!

Are you READY? For some harrowing questions that will make you look deep within yourself?
Let’s DO THIS. I’m ready to get controversial. READ MORE

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Which Game of Thrones Actors Get Paid The Most?

Why are these people laughing? Because they're making more money than everyone else.

Why are these people laughing? Because they’re making more money than everyone else.

The cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones just finished renegotiating its contracts to include a guaranteed seasons 5 and 6 and the option for a potential season 7. As the Hollywood Reporter notes:

In exchange for the option, HBO has ponied up huge raises for seasons 5, 6 and the potential season 7 that will make the cast members among the highest paid on cable TV.

That doesn’t surprise me at all. This, on the other hand, did surprise me:

With one of the largest and most diverse ensemble casts on TV, Thrones employs a tiered system to compensate its stars, according to sources.

Who’s on which tier? Let’s find out:

READ MORE

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Trying to Pay Off Debt and Falling Off the Wagon (As We Do Sometimes)

she's got a card

Mike: We’re going to do a monthly debt check-in later today. Let me know what your new balance is.

Logan: It’s gone up.

Mike: Do you want to chat with me now to explain why? Is it stuff you’re waiting to expense? Ubers you’ve taken?

Logan: Well $200 of it was last night. I bought 2 new coats on sale at Nordstrom Rack, and I should have just put them on hold until I get paid on Thursday, but I didn’t want to go back. So I used the card with a vague promise to myself that I’d pay it back.

Mike: I think that’s what you’ve said before too, when the balance increased. You were paying it down pretty regularly when you didn’t have the card in your possession. Do you think you’ll try to go without it again to try to pay it all down? I know that’s harder to do this time because you need the card for work expenses.

Logan: I just got like in a bad habittttt. And am not really interested in changing my behaviorrrrr. Because it’s harddddddd.

Mike: I mean, you figured that out before right? You’re the kind of person where changing your behavior is not something that’s easy for you to do, and so your solution was, “I can’t change my behavior and I need to address this debt, so here, take my credit cards from me so I have don’t have that option.” READ MORE

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Darling I’m a 1 Thing Dressed As a Daydream

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Thursday is a great day to do that 1 thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing.

(Mike and Logan finally convinced me to listen to the Taylor Swift album.)

My 1 Thing today is to finally get it together and pull together a baby Halloween costume, which will basically just be a beard and a cone hat because Halloween is tomorrow and he’s going to be a garden gnome.

What are your Things??

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How Wizards Do Money: Dean Thomas

wes

When he flipped the coin, he knew how it would land.

Dean Thomas didn’t know a lot of things, but he did know that. It was a simple spell.

He tried not to do spells, most of the time, except when it didn’t count. Accio socks and the rest of it. Accio didn’t sound quite right in an American accent, but there must be American wizards somewhere saying it, because the spell worked every time.

Dean did not want to find those American wizards. Like his father, he had rejected the wizarding world. Unlike his father, it had not yet caught back up to him. He had moved an ocean away, changed his name, started a new life, tried not to think about patterns echoing over generations.

READ MORE

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It Depends on What the Definition of “Unlimited” Is

phonesWere you recently screwed by AT&T? You may have been and don’t even know it; or maybe you noticed that slight burning, achy feeling, but didn’t think there was anything you could do about it. Don’t worry, the FTC has got your back.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced it is suing AT&T. The commission is charging the carrier for allegedly misleading millions of its smartphone customers by changing the terms while customers were still under contract for “unlimited” data plans that were, well, limited.

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

In a federal court complaint filing, the FTC says AT&T reduced the data speeds on “unlimited” accounts. The carrier did so by 80 to 90 percent for affected users, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. … The FTC says AT&T began reducing data speeds in 2011 for its unlimited data plan customers. Although the carrier no longer offers unlimited data plans, the FTC estimates AT&T throttled at least 3.5 million unique customers a total of more than 25 million times.

That’s a lot of throttling. No wonder my neck hurts. OK, so maybe AT&T sucks to the point of fraud and deceit. Is it time to switch or are all carriers terrible? As CNET puts it, more tactfully, “there are no guarantees. So all you can do is make your choice, hope for the best, and be your own advocate if you aren’t pleased.” Uh huh. T-Mobile apparently doesn’t do contracts anymore and Sprint has “Framily” plans. Pick your poison.

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‘I Had My Backpack and 20 Cents’: How Cheryl Strayed Does Money

Wild-Movie-665x385

Cheryl Strayed may now be a New York Times bestselling author, but the “Wild” writer says she remained in the red until recently.

“I just paid off on my student loan debt on my 44th birthday, two years ago,” Cheryl told the crowd in Boston on Tuesday at “Funny Women… Serious Business,” a benefit for Rosie’s Place, the oldest women’s shelter in the United States. The cause is one that’s close to Strayed’s heart, as she herself was a child of domestic violence and poverty, two issues dealt with by many women who come to Rosie’s Place.

As a 19-year-old who found herself pregnant in the 60’s, Cheryl’s mother Bobbi didn’t have the financial ability to care for herself and her children on her own. “She didn’t have any choices,” Strayed said. “She married my father even though she didn’t particularly want to.”

Bobbi spent 10 years suffering at the hands of her “violent, tyrannical, and controlling” husband.

“My earliest memories are being loaded into the car in the middle of the night during one of my father’s outbursts, and being driven around all night,” Cheryl remembered. “We’d pull up in front of the preschool or nursery school, we’d drive all night, and that’d be the beginning of my day. My mom with a black eye or bloody nose, telling me it’s going to be okay.”

And soon it was okay, because Cheryl’s mother picked up and left her husband. She created a loving home for her children, even if it wasn’t financially stable.

“We had a happy life. I would say I really had a very happy one, even though we lived in poverty, on food stamps, government cheese, and sometimes the food pantry shelf,” said Strayed. “My mom worked as a waitress, and in a factory, but I would say I had so much joy because my mom was joyous. My mother knew how to love. She knew how to love in the way that we all want to be loved by our mothers. And so when she died very suddenly at age 45 of cancer, it was that that left my life.”  READ MORE

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Broke Young People Will Always Have Paris

breathless paris godardAh, Paris, city of lights! City of love and romance, of coffee and cigarettes, of cathedrals and barricades, of auteurs and philosophers, of snobbery and sentimentality and chocolate croissants. Paris is … the most affordable city in the world for young people to live? Paris, which peaked in the 20s, if not half a century earlier, and which most millennials would probably pass over these days in favor of Portland? It seems either false or exaggerated, but let’s consider the evidence:

1) It has the highest minimum wage of any metropolis considered, the equivalent of $12.84 an hour. Berlin is in 2nd place with a minimum wage of $11.86 and Rome is third.

2) A ticket to the movies = 1 hour of work at minimum wage.

3) It’s in the top ten for other important considerations including the cost of rent, an egg, transit, fast food, live music, and travel out of the city. Not taxes, though.

It’s a close call, because hipstamatic Berlin, with its government-regulated rental market and irony-comes-standard cool factor, either surpasses or is close on the heels of Paris in all of the areas where Paris ranks high, and life in la dolce vita of Rome is surprisingly doable as well. But the Youthful Cities index laid the Most Affordable City laurel on the ground before la tour Eiffel this year. A pale and bleary-eyed Ewan McGregor emerged from a garret near the Moulin Rouge to say thank you, and also, do you know where the nearest laundromat is? He’s beginning to feel the tiniest bit rumpled.

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