th2 150x150 My minor celebrity moment. Whats yours?

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During its musical revues the old Fly By Night Club sometimes included a “Minor Celebrities” bit, inviting audience members to write down their furthest-removed brushes with fame. During intermission the cast would pick what they thought were the best – and again, the more tenuous, the better.

Thus we’d hear things like:

“I take dance class with Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeon’s wife.

“My great-uncle invented Cheez Whiz.”

“I once heard Brian Keith belch when I walked past his house in Hawaii to go surfing.”

“I used to carpool a kid whose mother’s father embalmed Babe Ruth.”

All these snippets led, naturally, to a book. The title: “Elvis Presley’s Pharmacist Was My Sunday-School Teacher.” 

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mQnjN7kUnHZUnRoCHD 3tMQ Some linky bling for your Valentine.Now that things are more or less back to normal, it’s time to resume the weekly giveaways. This week’s prize would make a good Valentine’s Day gift, provided the winner answers on time – and provided that the winner’s sweetie likes jewelry.

It’s a bracelet from Victoria’s Secret, made of “rose gold” links with a sparkly angel-wing catch. Well, most people think it’s an angel-wing catch. My 7-year-old nephew spent the day with me yesterday and opined that the catch “looks like a mustache.”

A rhinestone mustache, mind you. (Admit it: The song “Rhinestone Cowboy” will now be stuck in your head all day.)

The giveaway is sponsored by my daughter’s website, I Pick Up Pennies. Hope you’ll give her a visit and browse around a bit.

For a shot at linky bling, enter by:

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XMAS BLOGGIFT MOM FIN 300x230 wants to give you a $100 Amazon card.A couple of dozen bloggers were given the chance to participate in the Holiday Sweepstakes. I’m happy to be among them because of the possibility that one of my readers will be chosen as the winner of a $100 gift card to

The contest is designed to call attention to the site’s holiday gift guides, which offer ideas for presents for moms, dads, teens and younger kids. This being, online coupon codes are included with each gift idea.

Among the four holiday gift guides, my favorite is – naturally – the mom page. That’s because it includes a class of gifts I hope to see under the tree: skin-care items.

It’s cold and dry here in southcentral Alaska, which is hard on the skin. Looking at the moms’ gift guide I see a three-pack of fragranced body butters from Sephora. The  accompanying coupon codes bring free shipping and a gratis “deluxe sample” item. (Hint: Those small sample items are obviously good for travel but they also make very nice last-minute stocking stuffers.)

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th9 What’s new at MTN, plus a few ways to win.I’ve had three articles appear at Money Talks News since my last roundup, two of them seasonal and one that might as well be seasonal since it involves your pocketbook:

Tips to score a year’s worth of gifts at rock-bottom prices” suggests that you use loss leaders and doorbusters to build an evergreen gift closet. A little poking around and you’ll have presents for just about every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, baby showers, Mother’s and Father’s days, weddings, you name it. It’s particularly useful when your kids blindside you on Friday evening: “I’m invited to Tyler’s birthday party tomorrow.”

Worried about the size of your…discount? Relax: It’s just deal envy” also bounces off Gray Thursday/Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Some people feel depressed when they find out they missed a chance to save money – and I don’t blame them, which is why the article contains ideas on how to keep costs down.

The 3 golden rules of loaning to friends and family” is just what it sounds like: tips on whether/when to say “yes” and some ideas on how to say “no” if you must.

In other news:

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th51 Message in a virtual bottle.I’m tossing this post out there on faith, because I’m not sure how many people will actually be able to read it. That’s because the site continues to flutter and flicker.

My web goddess is ferreting out the gremlins responsible for the past few days’ worth of aggravation. It’s not an easy task, so please hang in there if you get “site down” or, worse, “fatal error” messages over the next couple of days.

Honest: I’m not quitting the business, even though part of the business quit me (and an unknown number of other writers).

Today I put my final MSN Money post into draft form. After almost seven years of contract work it feels odd to be a free agent once more. Not unpleasantly odd, mind you: I’m looking forward for a clear space in which to breathe.

I’ll still have to work, but I’ve lined up just enough to pay my basic expenses. I don’t want to dip into savings, but neither do I want to go back to being just as busy as I was before.

In other news…

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