The word versus is used more frequently than the word verses, which are both used a lot more frequently than ‘curses’ but not nearly so frequently as ‘nurses.’ Hearses, you may be relieved to know, is almost never used – the 73,138th most commonly used word out of 86,800 on the list, coming just before ‘jotter’ (if this site is to be believed) and just after ‘eetpu’ (which is why I have my doubts). The singular hearse, understandably, well outranks its plural, and rehearse outranks them both. (But could it possibly be true that the next most common word after rehearse is ‘endogenous’?) Good outranks evil, #116 to #3274, as it well should; in (#6) is far more in than out (#65); but getting to yes (#146) is a lot harder than getting to no (#51).

The overused ‘very’ is somehow only #84.

I outranks you, #11 to #14. (I does?)

This is all derived from a British database, which may (and I stress may, #77) account for EETPU, a British labor union. Certainly it accounts for theatre (#1742) trouncing theater (#44,393). Funny folk, those Brits. (Churchill, #5664; Roosevelt, #13,660.)

(Thanks to Bryan #8054 Norcross #70,185 for this one.)


Frank Schrader: ‘The Prius is a great hybrid, but Toyota is hardly a ‘green’ automaker. For a little background on that look here. My choice would be the Honda Civic hybrid. The last time I had my car serviced, that’s the loaner I got – and it’s a pretty nice car.’


Mike Mangino: ‘Do you own the copyright for Managing Your Money? If so, have you considered making the software available as an Open Source product? Those of us who are interested in something better than Quicken may be willing to support and improve it for free.’

☞ Sorry – I don’t own the copyright and don’t have a copy of the source code.

Mike Albert: ‘I used Quicken for about a year before installation of a required upgrade horribly broke my Quicken bill paying. I won’t bore you with all the details, but several payments that showed as paid in Quicken that were not. Other things went wrong too. My credit rating almost took a hit. I switched to MS Money, starting out with a figurative chip on my shoulder because of my bad Quicken experience, and ended up thinking it’s great. The help is marvelous, and I can configure it endlessly to make it look and behave the way I like. I can’t recommend it enough.’

Will Galway: ‘Those few of your readers who use Linux (this might also apply to Apple users with OS-X), might want to check out GnuCash. It’s free, developed by a community of developers. I can’t claim to have used it seriously, but it deserves a look. If any of your users DO start using it, maybe they can send you a further review.’

And finally, for the two of you who could conceivably still have any interest . . .


Daniel: ‘First, let me say that you are correctly computing the annualized ‘Internal Rate of Return’ (IRR) as 103%, which compounded weekly over a year gives an effective IRR of 177%. The problem is, what the heck is the IRR and does it mean anything useful? By definition, the IRR is the interest rate which, when applied as both the finance rate and the reinvestment rate, gives a net present value (NPV) of zero. In other words, if you borrow money at 177% to invest in your case of wine, and you invest all of your saved weekly proceeds (as you save them) at 177%, then you will break even buying wine by the case. But while I’m sure we can find plenty of folks willing to loan you the cash at 177%, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a place to earn 177% on your saved cash each week. (Click here for a lucid description of the limitations of the IRR.) Fortunately, our heroes at Microsoft have given us an alternative function, the MIRR (modified internal rate of return), which allows us to specify our cost of borrowing and our reinvestment rate when we plug values into Excel. If we assume that we’re financing this whole exercise from our checkbook with 0% borrowing cost and that we earn nothing on the saved cash, then we discover that the annualized MIRR for wine by the case is 55%, which compounded weekly over a year’s period of time gives an effective rate of return 73%. So, humbly, I submit that 73% is the practical, realistic answer; 177% is correct in a mathematical, hypothetical world which is not appropriate to this case (of wine).’

☞ I’ll take it. Although I would guess we can do better than earning nothing on those saved dollars. We can, for example, earn perhaps 40% by buying other things in bulk, when they’re on sale. So perhaps the true rate of return falls someplace between these two. It’s still only $52 a year you save buying your wine (in our example) by the case; but if you change your habits to do a lot of your shopping this way – not just wine – it actually can amount to something meaningful, when compounded over a lifetime.


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