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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Trick 'O Treat Trivia+Freebies, Grants, 2nd Life Opps, Debt-Free

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

ISSN 2161-5543

In This Issue:

1.       Trick ‘o Treat Trivia & Freebies

2.      Yes, you can get grant money

3.      Debt elimination plan

4.      A Time for Outrage-94-year old French Resistance Fighter

5.      Second Life offers self employment avenues

Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.
Will Rogers

Trick or Treat – Halloween trivia and ways to save

Ancient Celts thought spirits and ghosts wandered the streets on Halloween, so they wore masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.  In 1898 candy corn was first produced by the Goelitz Confectionery firm of CA.  In 1926 magician Harry Houdini dies on Halloween.  The UNICEF program was born in 1956 and trick-or-treaters collected change for children overseas.  In 2010 Belleville, IL banned trick-or-treating for children over the age of 12.

Development of symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o'-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

Although it’s not an official holiday, Halloween is one of biggest sales weeks for retailers throughout America, with revenues around $4.75 billion (down slightly the past two years).  Chocolate treats (Reese’s seems to top the list of favorites) are the most welcome by Halloween kids and adults alike.

When I was a kid, everyone handed out full sized candy bars, few can afford that today.  Of course, Mom and Dad always inspected our bags at the end of the night (grabbing their favorites) in to ensure nothing harmful had been distributed. 

  Save Some Money

Grab quality costumes from thrift stores, much cheaper than buying them at the retail level.  Thrift stores receive high-quality costume donations throughout the year but don’t them out until October.

Buy candy in bulk at warehouse clubs or online from sources such as or Halloweenbulk.html or

Some folks report it’s cheaper to purchase toys, games and puzzles at the dollar stores than to purchase candy.

If you like haunted houses, find discount coupons at the website of the sponsoring organization first.  Often, local supermarkets offer coupons as well.

Learn how to make children’s costumes at:

In our household, life is like the Dawn of the Dead if I speak to my wife before she’s had her morning coffee!

The first jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips, not pumpkins.

PM’s Compendium of Useful Resources

Yes, Grants are still available – even if you’re just a “regular Joe”

When you're a student (or recent graduate), several organizations will give you money for doing almost nothing at all. This can be anything from being left-handed, short, obsessed with duct tape, or having an unusual last name. is one good resource to research these unusual "scholarships" to help offset the cost of college.

If you're an artist of some kind, or are willing to act like one for cash, many organizations offer grants for interesting ideas. The Sloan Foundation offers grants to individuals and groups seeking to create books, film, radio, and other media that serve to entertain and educate the public about scientific topics. The Tribeca Film Institute offers many programs for different types of films from a diverse range of filmmakers. Artist Trust keeps a list of several funding opportunities for more traditional artists. Writers and Editors provides a comprehensive list of fellowships and grants for all types of writers. Any of these methods can earn you a few thousand dollars for a good idea or completed work, so if there's a project that you'd like to try you should start

If you're a regular person who just wants some financial assistance, look no further than the powers that be. The U.S. government provides financial assistance for a variety of reasons, like housing, food, transportation, agriculture, scientific research, legal resources, community development, and more. (You can apply for any government grant here.) Many of these opportunities can lead to new careers.

Debt Elimination Plan

If you have debt, however, there are a few things you'll want to do. First, if you have a credit card spending problem, take any measures necessary to stop using them. You probably don't want to cut them up, but demagnetizing their data strips, deleting their numbers from online retailers, letting your friends take care of them, switching to a cash-only policy, or literally freezing them (in a block of ice) are all good ways to keep you from spending unnecessarily. Next, make a list of all your bills and the methods you have to pay them. Figure out which bills should be automated, and which ones should not. The more you can automate the better, especially if you can consolidate your payments to a specific day of the month. Just be sure to set aside time each month to ensure your bills were paid as autopay doesn't always do its job.  There are also plenty of ways you can save money on your bills, such as using services like BillShrink, minimizing your power consumption, cancelling services you don't need, shop around for cheaper health/auto/whatever insurance (or use Mint).


Second Life Offers Self Employment Avenues

Many people have heard of the “virtual world” known as Second Life, and we’re often asked if it’s possible to find “in-world” jobs there.

The short answer is “yes.” There’s a wide range of jobs – and self-employment, too – to be found in Second Life. Opportunities range from shop attendants, fashion designers and event hosts to DJs, bouncers, dancers and beyond. (Keep in mind when visiting Second Life that, like the real world, it also has a busy “parental advisory” side.)

Most jobs don’t pay much, but self-employment, such as fashion design, can pay well, and some individuals have made substantial sums investing in Second Life real estate. If you work in a shop or similar role, you can also get customer service experience.

To learn more about jobs, self-employment and commerce on Second Life, see the following links

Cabella’s Offers Dream Hunt - Better Hurry to enter

So your grandpappy one day told you that hunting is more than a sport; more than a game and more than survival. Your daddy even told you that hunting is about the love of the hunt in itself. Sure, it may have been and still currently is utilized for a plethora of different reasons, but what’s the best part of it to you? Is it the game? The weapon? The location? What if you could decide? What if you could have and live your very own Dream Hunt? Now you can.
Get Your Dream Hunt On

Spruce up wood floors for pennies by pouring equal parts of white vinegar and vegetable oil into a spray bottle.  Spritz onto the floor and rub it in with a clean cloth and then wipe clean.

The Nanny State Updates…

TSA expands new program for psychological behavior groping…

The Constitution says there are only three federal crimes: Treason, counterfeiting, and piracy. Yet the CATO Institute confirms the existence of 3,000+ federal laws that can land you in jail, plus 300,000+ litigation-spawning bureaucratic decrees…yet, the TSA, not content with hassling invalids and children at airports…is implementing a new program in behavior detection officers are striking up casual conversations with passengers about their travels, seeking signs of odd behavior. (Source: Seattle Times)

Read My Tea Leaves: The federal crackdown on medical marijuana shows Obama has no respect for state law.
Barack Obama promised a more tolerant approach to medical marijuana, saying he would not "circumvent state laws on this issue." Instead, says Senior Editor Jacob Sullum, he has delivered a crackdown more aggressive than anything seen under George W. Bush, as illustrated by last week's "coordinated enforcement actions" in California. Although Obama's underlings occasionally pretend they are respecting state law, Sullum writes, they clearly have no intention of doing so.

Giving freely, Laura Oliver, founder of, lists free or almost free items at grocery stores to motivate readers to donate items to charity…good job!

The Parting Thought – A time for outrage

“A Time for Outrage” Book by 94-Year-Old French Resistance Fighter

BBC News aired an interview the other night with Stephan Hessel, an eloquent Frenchman who fought with the French underground during WWII. It’s a short book urging people to question everything and to stop being complacent about the excess greed of capitalism.  He urges his readers not to resort to violence, but use determined will to solve our problems.

He thinks too many citizens (everywhere) seem unconcerned about the problems facing the nations…but suggests all one need do is to look around, there is enough greed and corruption to make one furious. 

Given the timing of the book in relation to the worldwide Wall Street Protests, I thought I’d share this…

It is fun to mock the protestors. That’s why we do it. They are such easy targets.  However, America is getting very angry and as the economy continues to decline the economic protests are going to become much more frightening in the years ahead.

One thing that Occupy Wall Street is actually doing right is that it is focusing on the role of money in politics.

There is a lot of anger in the United States today, and that anger is rapidly growing. Millions upon millions of Americans are deeply upset about the economy and about our financial system.

The US is probably getting ready for a revolution. Back in the Cold War days, the CIA was asked to do a portrait of a country that might have a revolution. It decided that such a country would have three characteristics:

A big gap between rich and poor.

A middle class that was disappearing...or one that never existed in the first place.

A lot of people with a grudge.

The US fits each of these criteria. And then some others the spooks hadn’t thought about. The U6 broad measure of unemployment is going up...with 16.5% of the population without work. There are 6.2 million people who have been looking for a job for more than 6 months.

America’s middle classes were happy to sell their own children into perpetual debt servitude. The kids face obligations 5 to 15 times as great as annual output. Unless they revolt, they will have to work their entire lives to pay for their parents’ excesses.

A recent Rasmussen survey found that 85 percent of Americans believe that members of Congress "are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people", and that same survey found that 46 percent of the American people believe that most members of Congress are corrupt.

While our two parties continue to offer up the same old tired band-aid solutions to our problems, there is only one fellow that provides a glimmer of hope that I can see…that’s Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 solution.  He’s worth looking into.

Yours  for freedom, the Poor Man.

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MinimalistGroup said...

Interesting Halloween and grant stuff...

LostTraveler said...

Also great article on debt elimination. Think about what you are buying on credit. Is it worth it to add that financial pressure to yourself or your family ?