MINT YOUR OWN
Took two friends to dinner tonight and suggested the mint-in-the-Coke deal. They humored me (amazingly, the restaurant had fresh mint) – and . . . loved it! So, sure, Coke is about to come out with Vanilla Coke, and that will be good. But ten years from now, just watch: Mint Coke. (You are wondering how I discovered this. Answer: I had come to the bottom of a mojito, which is basically sugar water, rum and mint leaves. Having thus reached the extreme limit of my alcoholic capacity, I ordered a Diet Coke. When it came, I dumped the remaining sugary ice and mint from Glass A into Glass B – I like a lot of ice – and behold! Or, well, betaste! The rest, I feel sure, will soon become Beverage World history.) Not that any of this can compare with a good iced cold glass of Moroccan Mint Honest Tea. Available at Barnes & Noble Cafes everywhere.
Michael Axelrod: ‘Madame Curie did not discover x-rays. That honor belongs to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen who accidentally discovered x-rays in 1895.”
☞ Yeah – and with my luck, Suze Orman will get credit for discovering Mint Coke.
LOWER YOUR BILLS EVEN FURTHER?
Chris Petersen: “Lowermybills.com listed several long distance plans for 4.9 cents per minute, but you can have an even better rate! Go to Sam’s Club and pick up an AT&T long distance card. They currently cost 3.4 cents/min and can be renewed with a credit card. (Costco has the MCI card at the same price.) Not only do you save on the basic rate, you also save on taxes. It is only necessary to pay sales tax and not the various other taxes and fees that are included with regular long distance service. (I noticed that my 5 cents/min AT&T plan quickly became 7 cents/min after all the taxes and fees were applied.)”
Gary Thompson: “The best rates I’ve found are at Bigzoo.com at 2.9 cents per minute. I’ve been using this for six months and have saved a bundle of money. To make it easier to use, input their access codes on the speed dial of your telephone. AND, there are NO fees or taxes added!”
GREAT NEW IDEA
I’m not sure every one of the ideas tossed out in Forbes’s inaugural “Why Not” column, co-written by Honest Tea co-founder Barry Nalebuff, is a winner, but this one surely is: Why not require HMOs to bundle term life insurance in with their health insurance? That way, the HMO would have a million-dollar incentive to keep you alive and well. (Right now, if you’re sick enough, your expiration would not – financially speaking – be bad news.)
A reader named Don likes the Russian 13% flat-tax idea, but thinks replacing the income altogether, with a national sales tax, would be even better. “Under my plan,” he writes, “your supermarket bill comes out 15% higher. That’s offset by the fact that your income is at least 15% higher than it used to be. Whenever you wanted to do something with your life, you would just do it. There would be no “tax planning”. If you wanted to buy/sell an investment, you would buy/sell it. The only consideration would be “is it a good/bad investment”. This is revolutionary. (It used to be common sense.) Progressivity: you could still have it! People who want progressivity could file with the IRS and claim a rebate. If you didn’t want your rebate or you were in an income category where you were precluded from receiving one, you wouldn’t file. Therefore, the amount of tax work would be much less. Progressivity would be viewed as a kind of welfare, decoupled from the tax system. ‘IRS’ would stand for ‘Internal Rebate Service.’”
☞ Well, it’s an interesting twist, anyway.