But first . . .

Still thinking about Valentine’s Day? Well, here‘s a gem of an undiscovered little love story – between two Eighteenth Century ladies who eloped to Wales and won the hearts of everyone from the Duke of Wellington (who defeated Napoleon) to Charles Darwin (who is imagined to have been a bright little boy). Not your typical fare, it is written in the form of a screenplay, based (very loosely) on a true story . . . and when the movie’s over, the author circles back around to let you know what is historical fact and what was made up – with pictures! (Oh, don’t get all excited; they’re not that kind of pictures.)

Love Above the Reach of Time, as it is called, is $4 cheaper on Barnes & Noble, but for some reason I can’t forge a link direct to the book.

And now . . .

FREE MONEY

Mark L: ‘I wanted to share something that seems just amazing to me: I recently received a letter from one of my credit card companies (an MBNA MasterCard — a card I don’t even use) offering me a 0% APR for 3 months on balance transfers AND cash advances. When I called for more details, I was amazed to learn that the 0% applied to cash advances and that I could take a cash advance in the full amount of my credit limit (which is pretty high) and still take advantage of the 0% offer.

‘I asked many, many questions and there is not a catch (except that they charge up to $40 — maximum — for the funds transfer, and the APR ratchets up to more than 10% after the 3 months are up). What gives? They are offering me free money for 3 months! I can invest the cash advance in a conservative bond fund and make, say, 4% with little principal risk. I would of course pay the full outstanding balance right before any APR kicked in (as I do with all my cards), so why wouldn’t I take the cash and invest it?’

☞ When these offers include zero interest on cash advances — which is rare — you should grab ’em. At least in theory. Whether it’s actually worth the effort depends on how much you can earn after tax . . . and how you value your time. If your credit limit is $20,000 and you can make 4% for a quarter, that’s works out to 1% on $20,000 = $200 before tax or maybe $140 after tax, less the $40 = $100. That’s a lot to someone who could never get a $20,000 credit limit, maybe not so much to someone who can. Actually, the 0% would be better used paying down a high-interest credit card balance, but obviously you don’t run any. (And neither does anyone else who reads this column, God bless ’em. We run a credit check on each of you each time you click this link – kind of like a Norton virus check — and return a ‘CAN’T FIND WEBSITE‘ message to anyone who runs credit card balances.)

And finally, re: The Great New Jersey Buffalo Hunt last week . . .

BARNUM

David D’Antonio: ‘P.T. supposedly had a museum filled with various ‘wonders’ one of which was the Egress. There were lots of signs saying ‘This way to the Egress’ and, finally, a door labeled ‘Egress.’ You passed through the door and voila! you were outside and had to pay to get back inside… I guess not too many people realized that Egress just meant Exit. I’m also not sure if this is true or an Urban Legend, but it sure fits his style!’

LIVING WITHOUT ME

Paul Langley: ‘Just a quick note to tell you that the title of today’s column — “If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead?” — was actually the title of a book by Cynthia Heimel over 10 years ago. If you are not familiar with Cynthia Heimel, her stinging essays are collected in books with great titles, such as: Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth, I’m Kissing You Good-Bye . . . If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? . . . But Enough About You . . . When Your Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’ll Be Me . . . Sex Tips for Girls . . . and her most recent: Advanced Sex Tips for Girls: This Time It’s Personal. I know that titles can’t be copywrited but I just thought I’d put in a plug for Cynthia, since she appears to have been the first to come up with this terrific line.’

 

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