Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hail Beatrix, Hail Google, and a Dutch Treat

Journal Entry: Body Weight = 177.2; Coinage = $.53, 18 pennies, 2 dimes, 1 quarter, 1 international coin; Glass bottles retrieved =6. Note the use of the word “coinage.” The naming credit goes to “Numi” from her blog http://numismaticallyspeaking.blogspot.com/. Previously I used “found money,” coinage is much more elegant.

Feature Entry: Today the MoneyWalker found an encrusted international coin. After buffing it clean, revealed on one side was a stamped 5¢, and on the other side was a picture of a female monarch-like portrait with the words Beatrix Koningen Der Nederlanden. Suspecting Dutch or Flemish Belgium origin, I Googled “Nederlanden 5” and found a great resource, Jim Lawniczak, a numismatic investment expert. Jim writes for an “allexperts” blog and uses a question/answer format. Two helpful sites follow:



Someone with an identical coin had asked Jim to define the coins origin and worth. Indeed it is a Dutch coin now replaced by Euro coins. However, Dutch banks continue to honor Dutch coins. The portrait was of Beatrix, queen of the Netherlands. Because of the imprinted 5¢, perhaps it is a Dutch nickel, but Jim valued its worth to be 3 U.S. pennies. Still, finding the coin was a unique "Dutch Treat." The MoneyWalker's collection of international coins is "value added" to the intrinsic reward of staying physically fit by the healthy habit of daily walking.

It is amazing how easy it is to find information on Google. Royalty may be alive and well in Holland, but in the USA, the MoneyWalker’s allegiance belongs to Google.


P.S. My camera is broke or I would feature a photo of the Dutch Nickel.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Four Excellent Behaviors Plus Two

Journal Entry: Weight = 178.8 lbs.; Money Found = $1.29, 34 pennies, 2 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass Bottles Retrieved = 6. Three quarters from Times Picayune Newspaper vending machine, 1 walk-over dime.

Feature Entry: The photograph of a basic body weight scales and a coin money tender symbolize two of six excellent behaviors for losing weight and keeping it off. Rena Wing, Ph.D. at Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I. directs the National Weight Control Registry. In her database are information about the weight-control behaviors of more than 3,000 American adults who have lost an average of 60 pounds and have kept it off for an average of six years. What is their secret?

Wing points to four common behaviors these weight-loss champions have in common. First, they have adopted a low-calorie, low-fat diet regiment. Second, they monitor their weight by daily use of their scales. Third, they are very physically active, and fourth, they eat breakfast.

Says Wing, “Eating breakfast every day is contrary to the typical pattern for the average overweight person who is trying to diet. They get up in the morning and say 'I'm going to start my diet today,' and they eat little or no breakfast and a light lunch. Then they get hungry and consume most of their calories late in the day. Successful weight losers have managed to change this pattern."

The amount of exercise is important. Wing’s participants exercise for about an hour or more a day, expending about 2,800 calories per week on a variety of activities.

The MoneyWatcher follows the above regiment but suggests two additional behaviors—select a motivation plan that is powerful enough to sustain the discipline of exercise and food selection/portion size, and maintain a daily journal. For me the motivation plan involves searching for lost money. For others it might be gardening, exercising with a friend, the pageantry of belonging to a gym, or the pleasure of outdoor vistas while exercising. The journal adds an element of discipline. Seeing the numbers is a daily visual reminder of weight losses and gains.

Yum! Yum! It is fresh strawberry season in Louisiana and the Ponchatola, LA area just north of New Orleans has some of the best strawberries in the world. Strawberry shortcake here I come. Uh Oh, better have a half portion, just noticed that 178.8 pounds from the journal entry, up from month's low of 174.8. Can’t waste that morning walk on a super splurge.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Faux Recyling

Journal Entry: Weight =177.8 lbs.; Money Found = $1.80, 30 pennies, 5 nickels, 5 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass Bottles Retrieved = 19. One penny was a wheat. Hardware = 25 ft 3/8 nylon rope.

Feature Entry: After Katrina, New Orleans discontinued its city sponsored recycling program. As a "citizenship" project, the MoneyWalker retrieves glass bottles and throws them in trash cans along the curbs. If New Orleans had an active recycling program, a better behavior would be to recycle.

I chose glass because of issues involving breakage and the danger of broken glass. I also "maintain" the telephone stations and tops of newspaper vending stands. When checking these, all paper, glass and plastic are removed and deposited. I don't have the time to pick up plastic bottles and other debris along the general walk paths.

Picking up glass bottles and carelessly left garbage is worthy citizenship and helps me feel good about myself. I don't feel guilty about finding money, but appreciate the balance of "giving something back."

Breaking stride by picking up glass bottles is a bother, but sometimes the effort provides an extrinsic reward--a found coin. The featured photo above reveals a dime in juxtaposition with a Budweiser bottle. I found the dime under a pile of leaves as I reached the bottle. Several times, money has been found in the reach retrieval process.

Caution, as they say, "experience is the best teacher, but the tuition can be very high." Avoid having to learn the hard way to carefully empty each bottle before the transport to the trash receptacle. You will not believe what might be in an "empty" beer bottle, sometimes something worse than stale beer.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing a Hunch

Journal Entry: Body Weight = 178.2 lbs; Found Money = $.70, 20 pennies, 3 nickels, 1 dime 1 quarter. The amount included .13 from a residual walk from yesterday; glass bottles retrieved = 6.

Feature Entry: The more time the MoneyWalker spends on the asphalt, the more insight is gained about where and how people lose money. Sometimes a new insight leads to a "playing a hunch." Today was such a day. Smart money walkers avoid rigid following of routines. For example, one of my end points is a large metro bus turn-around. Several newspaper stands, a pay phone, frequent bus arrivals, and bus benches make this a "hot spot" for money finds. It is about 30 minutes out from my home.

My return route is very predicable. From the bus station, to a convenience store, and then curb walking to a Burger King goes the route. There, the search includes a quick check of the drive through, the pay phone, the newspaper vending machine, and a scanning of the parking lot. Then onward to a Delgado Community College parking lot and across the street to USA Today and Times Picayune Newspaper stands for a quick look for coins carelessly left in the money returns.

Then a hunch! This morning, I notice a change, it is Saturday, there is no temporary fruit stand just down from the newspaper stands. The fruit vendor has broken camp. I played the hunch, walking with more visual attention than usual, I surveyed the curbed area where he usually sets up shop. At first nothing, then a nickel, then another nickel, then a penny, a second penny, and yet a third nickel all slyly blending into background of leaves and debris but waiting to be found. Playing a hunch yielding the MoneyWalker .17 cents of pure fun. Playing hunches is an important aspect of the MoneyWalker's overall strategy in finding money.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Walk on By

Journal Entry: Weight = 177.0 lbs.; Money Found = $1.12, 27 pennies, 4 nickels, 4 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass Bottles retrieved = 9. Feature find, "walk-over" dime.

Feature Entry : The MoneyWalker must frequently remind himself that the purpose of his daily walk is fitness and weight management, not finding money. However, there is no denying, the fun is in finding the money, not the value of the money found.

One particularly rewarding type of find is "walk-over" coins. In the photo are several coins separated by a little doll that I picked up on a recent walk. The coins on the left are "walk-over" coins and the ones on the right are new coins. Notice that the "walk-over" coins are dark and earth-stained, not shinny like the new coins.

"Walk-over" was selected as a name for coins that have been lost (usually in a curbed street area) for a long time. Thus, they have been walked over. My first find today was a "walk-over" dime found along a street curb that I have walked dozens of times. But today, a just barely recognized stimulus contacted memory in just the right way. It wasn't a washer, a flattened bottle cap, a cell-phone battery, an electrician's fixture slug, or a rounded foil disk from a medicine bottle; it was a coin, it was a dime. How many times had this darling been "walked-over" by pedestrians, arriving/departing motorists, or bikers? Now the dime is once again living its destiny--being in circulation.

So, for your musical enjoyment, and an ode to all the "walk-over" coins still waiting to be found is this Burt Backarach blockbuster song "Walk on By":

Foolish pride
Is all that I have left
So let me hide
The tears and the sadness you gave me
When you said goodbye, ooh baby
Walk on by, ooh sugar
Walk on by...(baby, baby don't stop)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Caffeine Conniption

Journal Entry: Weight = 178.4; Money Found = $1.41, 26 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, 4 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 18. Four quarters found in one walk is rare. One large penny scatter netted 11 pennies.

Feature Entry: Earlier this week, the MoneyWalker found two quarters in the USA Newspaper vending machine next to the Bean Gallery Coffee Shop in Mid-City New Orleans. Money is found so frequently around this place, it should be in the money finding hall of fame.

What gives? It may be that the customers are buying their newspapers before they have had their “wake-me-up” chemical—caffeine. They can’t function well enough to negotiate those pesky coin slots. At another coffee spot, I recently found a quarter in both newspaper vending machines. Also, I always look on the ground around the vending machines, plenty mullah is lost there as well. Folks, could it be that these coffee shop customers are having caffeine conniptions?

As a fitness mentor, helping followers in their management of caffeine is an important responsibility. It is true that beverages with caffeine including coffee do boost energy and mental awareness. According to Mary D Eades MD, this effect is short lived. Chronic use of caffeine (3 cups a day) may cause fatigue, headache, moodiness, and depression in some people. Ray Sahelian, M.D. acknowledges the controversy of caffeine in the medical community as the benefits or harm of coffee consumption. Dr Sahelina’s personal belief, “…one cup of coffee a day could be of benefit, but drinking three or more cups a day could have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. The one cup rule should be a special warning for the thousands that drink coffee for appetite suppression.

“Well, I will just substitute decaffeinated coffee for the high octane stuff!” Hold on, decaffeinated coffee is not caffeine free. A regular cup of coffee has from 85 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. A 10-12 oz cup of decaf at one national chain contained 32 milligrams of caffeine, about the same as a 12 ounce Coca-Cola Classic. However other decaffeinated coffees tested had less than five milligrams. Still, drinking several cups of decaf represents a significant amount of caffeine.

I’ve got to bring this blog to a close; it’s time for my coffee break.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Asphalt Coin Disease

Journal Entry: Weight = 178.2 lbs; Money Found = $.46, 11 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes; glass bottles retrieved = 6. A good walk with a grouping and 3 small scatters.

Feature Entry: As the weather turns warmer, it is time once again to be alert to the dreaded Asphalt Coin Disease. While this insidious condition doesn’t get the media attention of Lyme Disease, the peanut butter salmonella outbreak, or even the overhyped West Nile Virus, it has its own special dangers. It is neither a diarrhea causing bacteria or an encephalitic virus; rather it is mental condition totally resistant to modern medicine and thus incurable.

The walker is zooming with a sustained elevated heart rate in the elevated training effect zone. Visually the eyes are scanning carefully using the appropriate combinations of focal and peripheral vision. And then, bingo, a coin is spotted. Deftly, using a squatting with bent leg technique and no undue back bending, the coin is reached for, grasped, but nothing happens, the coin does not move. It has Asphalt Coin Disease! The coin is literally stuck in the asphalt and will not bulge. And just like that, your brain is infected with the disease. Symptoms include pouting, foot stomping, irritation, anger, and even depression.

Good news, Asphalt Coin Disease can be treated. But one needs tools. The shovel carried by the featured photo of a money finder using a metal detector can be used to pry out the coin, but this is overkill (see related story in yesterday's featured blog,March 23, 2009). All one actually needs is a sixteen penny nail. I carry one in my utility pouch at all times. Just yesterday an embedded quarter was spotted in a cross walk. A quick look around revealed a small concrete shard, a perfect hammer device. With the safety of a red light, out came the nail, the hammer, and in one strike, the quarter popped out. Total time expended, less than ten seconds. In the coin pouch when the quarter and all symptoms of Asphalt Coin Disease disappeared.


Monday, March 23, 2009

$300,000 Lost Each Day & A Testimonial

Journal Entry: Weight = 178.2 lbs; Money Found = $.57, 27 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 quarter; glass bottles retrieved = 11. A fun walk, three different penny scatters.

Feature Entry: Terry Armstrong, Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Found Money Fund of Idaho (FMFI) reported that over $300,000.00 is lost each day (news report, 1990). Tongue in check, he “.. urge(s) people to hurry, don’t look down, practice paranoia, and always carry coins.”

Hoping to verify Armstrong’s $300,000, the MoneyWalker searched Advanced Google without success but did find Dave and Alice Bertzfield’s testimonial on their community blog, the Silverseekers. This couple is a member of the Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs Inc. People with metal detectors take our hobby of finding lost money to a whole different level (see photo in March 24, 2009 feature blog above). Maybe we money searchers should take note and form our own society.

In the case of the Bertzfields, they also money walk, they call their finds “eye finds." Here is their story:
Over the years we have picked up coins (called eye finds) just lying around in many places. When our 2nd. Grand child was born we decided to save our eye finds for the two of them. We started to save them from Apr. to Oct. & Oct to Apr. Every six months I would count the eye finds, roll them & take them to the bank for paper money. Our goal has been to find a quarter per week for each girl. Only a few times in the last eight & a half years we didn’t make it. We decided to save this money for them either until they really need something or until they graduate. As we are just finishing up one of the six month savings it has been one of the highest finds we have had. In this six month period they will each have over $35. That will be added to the $415 that is already saved for them. It is hard for us to imagine the money lost each day in this country. We often say if someone loses a quarter at a fast food restaurant each day & multiply it by all the fast foods around, the amount lost is staggering.

Their blog URL is


Good luck to the Bertzfields and their metal detector, but I am still breathless over that $300,000 lost money each day. Imagine, $300,000 of newly lost money on the street since yesterday, I’ve got to get out there.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

For Money Finding Aficionados Only

Journal Entry: Weight = 176.6; Money Found = $1.90; 20 pennies, 3 nickels, 3 dimes, 5 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved =17. Also found was a “new” T-shirt.

Feature Entry: Today, stacked neatly as if stored, the MoneyWalker found 4 quarters on top of the caddy in one of the vacuum bays of the neighborhood car wash. Money finding aficionados might want to know, how is it that people lose money?

First, not all found money is lost money. Some is intentionally left behind or even thrown away. Pennies at a car wash, dumped from a floor mat; a penny fling when a person wants to empty a dash-board container overflowing with pennies, they just fling them out the window; and another is the result of a mishandle such at the fast-food drive through, the driver chooses to ignore the dropped coins. As an active searcher for misplaced money, I search these spots, but they are my least favorite finds. The money has little soul.

More worthy finds are lost money that has unintentionally gone astray. The best examples are curb-side and parking lot money. I suspect the driver in reaching for the car keys in the jeans pocket or strap purse, unknowingly pulls change from the pocket or purse. In human factors this is called a “structural interference” problem.

However, reasons cited above can’t explain the four stacked quarter find. For this information, the answer is “capacity Interference.” First a brief tutorial about memory systems—short term sensory store(STSS), short term memory (STM), and long term memory (LTM) and their respective storage durations, codings, and capacities. When a stimulus contacts memory (STSS), storage is less than a 1 sec and coding is literal. The stimulus is immediately handed over to STM for abstracting and rehearsal (the round bright object is a quarter, thus valuable). With rehearsal, such important details as location, value and amount is stored in LTM. Here is the problem. If something distracts us at the beginning of STM that blocks rehearsal, important details such as location and placement are not “laid down” in long term memory. In 30 seconds if rehearsal has not occurred, it is like the event never occurred. Back to the four quarters scenario, something happened between placing the quarters on the caddy and rehearsal. Thus, when the vacuuming was complete, the unused quarters were left behind, but not intentionally.

As a money finding aficionado, the neuroscience gained from those that study human factors is of interest, but what is of more interest is the fact that people leave money on the ground and that is very fun to find and retrieve what they have left behind. That is why I am a MoneyWalker.

The MoneyWalker

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Captain Andy, Grocery Check-out, and Metabolism

Journal Entry: Weight = 176.0; Money Found = $1.18, 23 pennies, 2 dimes, 3 quarters; glass bottles retrieved = 6.

Feature Entry: In the middle of the MoneyWalker’s residual walk to the grocery yesterday, I was struck by the contrast of purchase items of the young person in the check-out conveyor and in my items. In front of her plastic divider were a bag of Junior Mints and a box of chocolate covered Raisinettes. My section included a box of wheat germ and a sack of whole grain ground flax flour.

I was reminded of the Broadway musical Showboat and the impresario Captain Andy (Charles Winninger, who was in the Broadway original) and one of the musical scores: “Captain Andy, Captain Andy, you sure make your showboat sound dandy!” We fitness devotees might sometime incorrectly, if not smugly, communicate that maintaining proper nutrition and weight control is easy. Not so, every instinct in my body cried out to trade the wheat germ for the Junior Mints. Make no mistake, staying trim and fit is not easy and requires sacrifice.

Moreover, as we age, weight gain is a common occurrence because of a slowing metabolism. The good news is that exercise can help lessen the weight gain. The Wightwatchers organization has a very readable blog that provides excellent information:


After age 45, we humans lose about 10% of our muscle mass for each decade of our life thereafter. “This equates to losing about one-third to one-half a pound of muscle each year and also gaining that much in body fat. Because muscle mass burns a lot of calories compared to fat, the total number of calories needed goes down.” While the change in body composition accounts for most of the decline in metabolism, the body organs also utilize fewer calories as a result of the aging process. Then, most of us also slow down as we age, we stop being “ballplayers.”

Van Pelt and his associates in the J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 Oct;82(10):3208-12, found that the average adult after age 50 requires 300 to 600 less calories than when they were younger. They advised that there is something we can do to slow the aging process and speed up the metabolism? Their evidence supported the use of resistance training (weight training) and aerobic exercise as beneficial in offsetting the decline in metabolism and associated weight gain.

Weight lifting and walking may be one answer, but saying no to those Junior Mints is also important. The modern T.V. infomercials with their Captain Andy hulks and babes are paid to make the hard work of exercise look easy and fun, but it isn’t. I still enjoy a Junior Mint, but in smaller servings (not the whole box in one setting); and walk, staying motivated by searching for those elusive coins. Your metabolism will thank you.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In Counterpoint

Journal Entry: Weight = 176.4; Found Money =$.78, 28 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes; Glass bottles retrieved = 6. In Counterpoint

Feature Entry: Today’s walk was brisk with beautiful clear cool weather. The MoneyWalker’s selected Proustian thought is "in counterpoint." I first started using the word after one of the moderators of a book group used the word to make a non-conventional observation.

I thought of "in counterpoint" when finding a penny on the wrong side of the street. As I “hit the streets”, I walk against the flow of the cars and focus on the area between the curb and the area designated for off-street parking. Curb walking takes me to the money spots. Because of the location of money spots, street crossing is frequent, and j-walking (middle of the street crossing) is typical. There are many boulevards in my area of New Orleans and each have “neutral grounds,” that is the lanes are divided by a curbed median. The curbed areas coming off the median is never for parking, only for driving; thus, not a likely place to find money, or a safe place to be looking. So why when I am j-walking do I carefully look against the curb for money? Because I find it there. Early morning j-walking is usually car friendly, but I look very carefully when crossing.

The notion of finding money in unlikely places is in counterpoint to what is learned from straight ahead walking to established money spots such as fast food drive-through and coin operated newspaper stands. Still, I like to play my hunches and experiment by searching in unlikely places for that elusive coin. Three days ago I found a quarter right up against the left side curb as I j-walked to check an opposite side newspaper stand. Given its coloration, it had been there for weeks, waiting for the counterpoint thinking MoneyWalker to come its way.

"In counterpoint" is also a worthy thought for a few blocks of walking. Must we always abide by conventional wisdom? In music "counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm, and interdependent in harmony." Add a little unexpected harmony in your "walk," take an occasional walk in counterpoint.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ball Players, Band Boys, & Bad Ankles: Selecting a good pair of shoes

Journal Entry: Weight = 177.0; Money Found = $.24, 19 pennies, one nickel (a classic walk-over, a coin that has been on the street for a long time); Glass bottle retrievals = 12.

Feature Entry: Walking is a good time for reflection and for what the French writer Marcel Proust (In Search of Lost Time) calls involuntary memory (fr. souvenir involontaire). While walking, cues are encountered which evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort. Today’s feature blog builds on one of those encounters, seeing an old pick-up truck.

In high school, my big brother divided males into two categories, ball players or band boys. Being a band boy doesn’t sound endearing, but he didn’t use it in a pejorative way. More like, “Hey band boy” he would yell, “Would you like a ride home?” Brother had use of Dad’s old Studebaker pick-up and the band boy had a tuba case. In he jumped as we all returned home totally fatigued from hours of band practice or football drills.

The MoneyWalker still considers himself a ball player, and still utilizes one of the mantra’s of a ball player’s mentality, “Walk it off!” When we turned an ankle which was often, the coach would yell “Walk it off, or go join the band.” I should have, not only was the future Mrs. MoneyWalker a band member, I now possess a seriously pronated left ankle. But not just from high school, I have been turning my ankle and walking-it-off for decades.

The consequence of walking-it-off is bad ankles. Even without a history of ankle injury, purchasing a quality pair of walking shoes is critical for walking comfortably and staying injury-free. Actually, you want jogging shoes. The top brands include New Balance, Reebok, Nike, Saucony, Brooks, and Mizuno. Be careful with low-end Nike and Reebok.

Before I bought my Brooks, turning my ankle was a frequent occurrence during my walks. Avoid the department stores and seek out a runner’s specialty store. Be sure the sales staff are knowledgeable about underpronation, overpronation, and neutral. They should determine if you are flat footed, high arched, or neutral. They should examine your feet for size and physical attributes. The sales person should insist that you try several different brands and within two size patterns. I am fit with both 10 1/2 and 11 inch sizes. The store should insist that you walk several feet in each pair that you try. My Brooks cost just over $100 dollars. To learn more about shoe reviews and prices, consult

Well,I am still a ball player. In a recent pick-up basketball game, true to form and habit, the left ankle turned again. Using a well practiced side body roll, I avoided serious bodily injury. But what really hurt were the words of a fellow player as he bent down and with great concern said, “Are you all right Sir?”


Monday, March 16, 2009

Making the Calls

Journal Entry: Weight-177.0; Found Money-$1.19, 14 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes, and 3 quarters; 12 glass bottles retrieved.

Feature Entry: One of the followers of this blog is an industrial salesman. In discussing his work this past Sunday, the essence of his comments was that “you just keep making the calls.” For this year, the MoneyWalker has been averaging over a dollar per walk (about one hour and fifteen minutes). But even with success as a money finder, before the beginning of each walk, I have doubts. This good luck can’t continue! This morning was one of those walks. It had rained most of the night. Leaves filled the curb sides. I got started late and the commuters going to work caused distractions. So went my negativity. And as if the theory of self fulfilling prophecy was true, more than two-thirds into my walk, my pouch contained 3 cents. Moreover, I had visited most of my hot money spots. Then it happened. The fast food drive through that had been “dry” for the last several visits, produced a quarter, two dimes, and six pennies. The next USA newspaper stand gave up a quarter. Two blocks later, a quarter was mined from the curb followed by several pennies. Then a nickel from the NY Times stand at the Coffee Bean was added.

My friend is right, finding money is just a matter of making the calls. In fact, my doubts are like most things we worry about, 90% of the time, our worse fears don't come true. And of the 10% left, half of those things we can't do anything about. What looked like a barren money day, with threatening rain and overcast skies more than a metaphor, turned into a bright rosy money finding walk. I find life is much the same way. We can chose to dwell on the negative and be gloomy, or we can "keep making the calls" and watch those storm clouds drift over other skies.

How was your walk? Great walk, Dear! Incidentally, Ms. MoneyWalker has her own highly effective work-out regiment of stair climbing, hand weights, and stretching exercises. Then she said, "Have you finished the income tax filing?" Dread that 5 percent.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Visual Betrayal

Journal Post:Weight,177.4 lbs; Money Found,$1.55, 25 pennies, 4 nickels, 1 dime, 1 one dollar bill. Glass bottles retrieved, 12.

Blog Post: The fast MoneyWalker might walk blocks and blocks searching for the next coin with no success. Then, there it is, a treasured coin. But now the fear, the fast walking MoneyWalker must be very careful not to leave money on the ground. Not from overlooking a solo coin, but from missing a “scatter,” a multiple coin incident.

Playing it out in virtual time, the heart rate BPM is on target—125 BPM. Visual focusing is street centered, downward, and with appropriate back-and-forth scanning. Mental processing is on task, the goal of finding money is driving the frontal lobe, no competition with the retreating economy or heavy drags from the realities of daily living. And then, it happens, a coin is spotted. What happens next is involuntary, below the awareness of conscious control. The brain reacts to the coin as if it is a “sudden and intense stimulus.” (R.A. Schmidt and T.D. Lee, 1999, Motor Control and Learning, Vol. 3) This phenomenon is termed perceptual narrowing. Schmidt and Lee indicate that arousal from the sudden powerful stimulus causes “…increased narrowing of the attentional focus with a progressive elimination of input from the more peripheral aspects of the environment.” Perceptual narrowing is momentary, but last long enough to cause the MoneyWalker to overlook the precious stimulus of a multiple coin presentation. One coin is relatively easy to spot, but people often lose coins in groups. I call such opportunities “scatters.” But when the eyes spot one coin, the brain is influenced by its evolution, and perceptual narrowing occurs. Thus, a second or third coin, often not more than 12 inches away is completely overlooked because it is in the periphery of the now much narrowed perceptual field. The uninformed might just walk away in search of the next find not realizing that additional coins are right in the present.

Perceptual narrowing happens to the MoneyWalker frequently. My solution is to be aware of the perceptual trap and avoid becoming “hypervigilant.” As I find one coin, I automatically assume that a second or third coin is in the same area. I gain conscious control of my visual perceptual process and use “cognitive override” to slow down the intensity of having just found a coin and consciously and systematically visually search for the area around the found coin. This technique is slow and time consuming, but it avoids the betrayal of a visual perceptual system designed to produce vigilance when vigilance is not needed.

So, when you spot a coin, do what the MoneyWalker does—relax, avoid hypervigilance, take control of your perceptual processes, and look for that scatter of coins that might otherwise be overlooked.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Playing Favorites

Journal Post: 176.4 lbs; 77¢, 22 pennies, 4 nickels, 1 dime, 1 quarter. 11 glass bottles retired. Found a dime as I picked up one of the bottles, would not have seen dime otherwise. Residual Walk to the Grocery: 16¢, one dime, one nickel, one penny, in two different curb finds. Total find, 93 cents.

Feature Post: I play favorites, some of my money fines are more fun than others. Today’s feature will highlight several finds that gave the MoneyWalker more than usual pleasure.

47¢ penny scatter in a real estate parking lot. Hey buddy, don’t take your subprime frustration out on the poor pennies.

2 quarters in adjacent pay newspaper stands, USA Today and Times Picayune. What’s up with that, both the national and local news were so bad—keep the money!

1$ dollar bill in a Shell station drive through carwash, inside the carwash. I wonder if the guy washed behind his ears.

½ dollar in concrete chard near a drainage grate. This baby goes into my Found Money Hall of Fame.

25$ dollars wadded together as two tens and a five on the ground but under a post office mail deposit drive-up. Hey pal, next day delivery is cheaper.

Seven quarters in a scatter found outside a bar and grill that features slot machine poker. I hope this guy called a cab.

68 ¢ found on a Rallys (hamburger drive through) picnic table. Those cheap burgers can cause some really serious heartburn.

Ten dollar bill in the parking lot of a locally popular restaurant. There went the tip money.

55¢ under a pay station for pre-paying parking slips. I am surprised the meter maids didn’t cuff me.

Happy St Patrick’s day next Tuesday, may the luck of the Irish be with you and the lbs come flying off as the coins come flying in.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

Journal Post: Weight, 175.6, Money found, 55 cents from walk, 6 cents from residual walk one to the grocery, 27 cents from residual walk two to the library. Total coin denominations found, 23 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, 2 quarters. 9 glass bottles deposited.

Main Post: A recurring theme for the MoneyWalker's postings is the feelings felt when finding money. Descriptive words have included glee, satisfaction, and happiness. In one sense, it seems uncivil to find pleasure in another person's loss. Paradoxically, the larger their loss, the more glee I experience.

One resolution of any pangs of guilt is to look for ways to give things back to society. Thus, one of my activities during walking is to retrieve discarded glass containers (soft drinks, beer, and hard liquor) as I spot them on my brisk walks. It has become a systematic habit to retrieve and carry the bottle to a handy trash container.

But other things besides money and glass bottles are found. Two days back, I found a nearly full pack of unharmed cigarettes. A moral dilemma ensued. Since I don't smoke cigarettes and am convinced of their health risks, should I trash them, or give them to one of my cigarette smoking friends?

Cigarettes are five dollars a pack, monetarily a large find. To give them to someone should create dual happiness, the receiver and the giver. In a few minutes, I arrived at my end-point, a city-bus turn-around. Upon arrival, three somewhat "seedy" looking passengers were waiting. Impulsively I said, "Do any of you guys smoke?" No reply. They must have thought that I wanted to bum a cigarette. Then, I pulled the cigarettes from my pouch, and asked differently, "Does anyone want these?" A long pregnant pause followed. Finally, without expression change, without eye contact, without show of pleasure, one man slowly began shaking his head while reaching for the smokes--no thanks given, none needed.

As I speed away, I reflected on this episode and was reminded of Gretchen Rubin’s popular blog the Happiness Project and her recent post: ” Happiness Myth No. 7: Doing “Random Acts of Kindness” Brings Happiness.


She observed that people that receive random acts of kindness are often on guard, that they are likely to feel suspicious because someone is behaving in an unusual way.

Yet, in spite of the suspicions and doubt of the recipient, or even that the gift of tobacco was of dubious ethical motive, I felt good in providing the gift. Random acts of kindness such as discarding glass bottles or the random act of providing a few pleasurable moments to a down-and-out bus rider all provide a brief antidote to the occasional feeling of guilt that comes from finding happiness from someone else’s loss.

So, as you find money, join the MoneyWalker, find a way to give something back.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Serving Size, 16 Chips

Journal Entry:

Weight = 174.8 lbs; Money Found = $1.35 (20 pennies, 2 nickels, 3 dimes, 3 quarters). Glass bottles retrieved = 21.

Blog Entry:

It is lunch time, and Mrs. MoneyWalker and I are having lunch. Today’s menu with calories follows:

Water, 12 oz = 0 calories
Hard salami, 3 slices = 100 calories
Fresh orange, small = 40 calories
Activia reg. yogurt, 4 oz. = 110 calories
Potato chips, 16 chips = 150 calories
Total 390 calories

Usually, I don’t count calories, just eat in moderation. But recently I have been counting my calories, and this lunch is certainly calorie sensitive. Notice the salami is consumed without bread or mayo and the yogurt is a type that facilitates regulation. But followers might share my shock at the potato chip data. Sixteen chips are hardly any and yet they contained a whopping 150 calories. Frito Lay’s portion size follows U.S. standards based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Indeed, for those attempting to lose weight, “calories count” says Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. In 2003 he was asked to lead the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Obesity Working Group (OWG). The OWG was charged to create a plan to stem America’s obesity epidemic. Their web-site contains excellent information:


Yet, very few of us understand the basic nutrition knowledge for losing weight or maintaining the loss once a target weight goal has been achieved. For example, a 35 year old male weighting 175 lbs, 5 feet nine inches tall, and considered mildly active, what is his daily caloric requirement to maintain his weight? Answer, 2332. For a 35 year old female, 5’ 6”, 130 lbs, and lightly active, 1746 calories are required. Back to the male, let's say instead of 175 lbs, he weighs 225 lbs. To maintain this weight, he requires 2737 calories. Even without a Body Mass Index (a later blog) we know he is overweight, in fact he is obese. If his goal is to drop a lb a week until he reaches his goal of 175 lbs, he must adjust his caloric intake by 500 calories a day. Two good free calorie calculators are as follows:


The MoneyWalker weighs every day. This morning’s weight was a milestone low of 174.8 lbs. Less than a month ago on February 22nd, the weight was 180.2. What accounts for the success? The MoneyWalker added steps to his walk and began watching the calorie count of the food portions. A one-two punch, fewer calories consumed and more calories expended. It works every time.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Does A Penny Have A Soul? continued

Journal Entry: Weight, 175.4; Money found 48¢, 23 pennies, one quarter; 17 glass bottles picked up and discarded.

Main Entry: The MoneyWalker suggest a visit to the University of Idaho’s Alumni Association home page and read Terry Armstrong’s article on “Levels of Finding Difficulty.” This is a must read for serious MoneyFinders. Terry is the Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Association's “found money fund,” a major fund raiser for the University of Idaho. He and hundreds of U. of Idaho students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been finding and collecting money for twenty–nine years. His URL and other comments can be found at:


As for levels of finding difficulty, Terry has developed a five level typology to rate the finding quality of money searchers. We will discuss all of them later, but for now, Terry’s level five has relevance to our theme of the soul of coins. Quoting Terry, “Level five finds border on the metaphysical. Psychic coin sense (P.C.S.) is rare among finding aficionados. Level five finds are common among only a very few. One sees those individuals as the Zen masters of the FMFI. Not only do they find a lot of money, they “sense” impending finds. Examples are “feeling” that one should cross the street to encounter a lost coin or “knowing” a find is imminent. One might characterize those rare people as “holistic finders”. It is the highest state of finding awareness. Some indications exist that it is possible to develop greater sensitivities to the finding mission and thus, develop a Zen rating.”

With all due respect, the MoneyWalker considers himself a coin finding aficionado, a holistic finder. But, before embracing the concept of a “Zen rating” more information is needed about the controversial nature of Zen within the Providential aspects of faith. According to the BBC: “The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought, or language. Zen techniques are compatible with other faiths and are often used, for example, by Christians seeking a mystical understanding of their faith.”

Alright then! The MoneyWalker must admit that he does not believe that a penny, other coins, or any inanimate object has a soul. Yet, like with Terry Armstrong, the MoneyWalker often feels “lead” to alter his money searching paths and then, as a result, to mysteriously find a coin or paper currency in an unlikely place. It is if the coin was “lost” and seeking a “savior.” My favorite finds are always along the curbs of my city, and then the ones that have been “walked over” dozens or perhaps hundreds of times while waiting to be saved from the “gutter” of their existence. Incedently, what I call walking the curbs, Mrs. MoneyWalker calls walking the gutters.

Thus, what Armstrong attributes to Zen, another with a more traditional faith orientation might attribute to Divine Intervention. For the MoneyWalker, the term of choice is Providence, and sometimes money is found using extraordinary sensitivities, e.g. hunches, urges, a sudden drawing, unexplained guidance. Indeed, it sometimes seems that the pennies and other coins have a soul waited to be saved.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Spiritual Wellness

The MoneyWalker will occasionally tweak the blog’s format. Starting today, March 9, 2009 each entry will begin with the MoneyWalker’s current weight and note the amount and denomination of the found money.

Weight 175.4; money found, $1.10 (85 pennies, 1 nickel, & 2 dimes). After a year of money walking, this was a first; the one dollar threshold was broken without a quarter in the tally. My so called weight set-point is any amount between 175 and 180. Mrs. MoneyWalker worries when I drop below 175 (I look poorly) and I fret when the weight jumps above 180 (I look chunky).

Today’s theme is spiritual wellness and contemplation if a penny possesses a soul. The MoneyWalker has a firm conviction in the power of the scientific method, but he also believes in the importance of spirituality. The MoneyWalker will not allow politics or religion to be a defining aspect of this blog, but incidental references will be allowed.

Some textbooks and scholarly journals now include aspects of spirituality into their discussion of wellness. The Medical Wellness Center of the University of Miami depicts wellness with eight themes: Physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, emotional, cultural, and vocational. The Wellness Center defines the spiritual component thusly: “Spiritual Wellness is the quest for meaning, value, and purpose resulting in hope, joy, courage and gratitude.” Further, “It encourages one to develop a personal faith and to seek God in all things. It is the discovery and incorporation of a personal set of values and beliefs that defines the person, places the individual in relation to the larger community, and engages a faith that promotes justice.”

But what God? Whose God? For members of Canada’s “First Nations” post-secondary students, God may be a Catholic God or an Ancestral God, or both. In her thesis, Angelina Weenie reported that first nation students with a reported spiritual awareness and a reported spiritual growth were “resilient individuals.” She found that spirituality has been highly predictive of positive life adaptation with this population.

But does a penny have a soul? Sorry about this cliff hanger but the MoneyWalker must ask you to wait until tomorrow’s blog for the answer. Your attention and my writing time are past. In the mean time, ask yourself, "Is spirituality an aspect of my wellness agenda?"


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Zooming and Looming

Good news from the MoneyWalker. Weight recorded this morning was 175.6 lbs., just above the low margin of my 175/180 “setpoint.” The MoneyWalker hasn’t been in the 175s for several weeks. One reason is the “zooming” walking pace. The 1.0/1.25 hour walk is a fast paced blur of walking action which elevates the heart rate from a resting 65 bpm to a personalized target HR of 125. This pace (load) maintained for this time (duration) will definitely result in weight loss.

Yet, a zooming MoneyWalker, intent on finding lost money will experience events that compete for one’s attention. Safety is an ongoing aspect of money walking. Many coins are lost between the street’s curb and the areas designed for off-street parking. That is where I walk. In addition to moving automobiles, there are tree limbs, parked cars, construction dumpsters, bicycles, and countless other obstactles that must be avoided. Thus, MoneyWalkers should be aware of the visual reflex of looming. Research by Lin, Franconeri, and Enns from the Vision Lab, Department of Psychology, U. of British Columbia have demonstrated that looming serves the important role of capturing attention for the avoidance of “collisions.” Looming is a visual reflexive tendency that causes objects to expand “as if they were looming towards us, presumable because this signal indicates an impending collision.” The looming reflex triggers our attention capacity with a level of urgency to select a collision avoidance strategy.

So, as the MoneyWalker zooms in the coin-rich zone of off-street parking, eyes rivited on the asphalt for the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters left behind, he fully heeds his zooming reflex as a cue to shift attention from coin searching to a protective mode of avoiding a tree branch, a biker, another pedestrian or worse, an approaching car that might be veering into the car-park zone. Although looming is reflexive and below the level of conscious control, I have found that when we can articulate and define our reflexes, we can better use them.

Today was not a great looming and zooming day. The MoneyWalker’s take was 54¢, but yesterday the take broke the dollar barrier, $1.15 plus a residual walk netted an additional 31¢.

So, keep those lbs under control and within your optimum “setpoint” with your own zooming and looming behavior.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Friendship and the Friendship House

The MoneyWalker met a new friend on this morning’s walk. The neighborhood’s 8-bay car wash is a money hotspot and I visit it often. This morning one of the money-yielding vacuum stations was occupied—dang! Weary of violating his personal space, I ventured as close as discretion might allow. Too close, he said, “Good morning, talking your walk?” “My name is Greg,” he said. Forget fast paced walking, I was engaged. I admitted that I was a MoneyWalker and what that meant. “What do you do with the money?” he wanted to know.

I answered that the MoneyWalker’s money is donated to the Baptist Friendship House of New Orleans. Just outside of the historic French Quarter, the Friendship House provides a host of services including a transitional housing program for women and children. Programs include: GED preparation, literacy classes, computer classes, English as a Second Language, job readiness classes, and spiritual guidance. They also have a program for girls which features help with academics, field trips, arts/crafts, and dozens more. The girls learn how to become a self-sufficient woman by receiving instruction in Violence Prevention, career development, self-esteem, responsible sexuality, community service, and accountability.

Yesterday the MoneyWalker made a donation to the Friendship House. “Shock and awe” were registered on the face of unsuspecting Assistant Director Karina America as she received 78 rolls of pennies ($39.00), five rolls of nickels ($10.00), five rolls of dimes ($25.00) three rolls of quarters ($30.00), 14 one dollar bills ($14.00), and two fives ($10.00) for a total of $128.00 dollars. The container of coins weighted more than 50 lbs. I wish that I could see the expression of the business manager when this "donation" is delivered.

First was fitness walking, then finding money, after that blog management, and now a charity cause, where is this bizarre hobby going next? Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

President Obama and a Coin Tender

Beginning August 1, 2008 and ending Feb. 28, 2009, the MoneyWalker has found $112.51. The exact amount is known because the loose coins have been processed through a new MMF Coin Tender. This inexpensive contraption (Office Depot under $15.00) stores, counts, and wraps pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Before the coin tender, the coins were piled inelegantly in plastic drink containers throughout the house. Mrs. MoneyWalker was not happy. Doing the math, $112.51 represents 2,431 pennies, 200 nickels, 225 dimes, 138 quarters, 12 one dollar bills, and two five dollar bills, all picked up over a seven month period by one person. That is 2,991 coins rescued from an unlikely future, possibly out of circulation forever. President Obama, as you follow the MoneyWalker’s blog, know that these coins are now neatly wrapped and ready to be put back in circulation for the good of the ‘ol USA. Also, all that walking, bending, reaching, and mentally searching is helping with another of your projects, cutting down on the Medicare costs by keeping the MoneyWalker hip and healthy. We MoneyWalkers are good citizens.

MoneyWalker’s finds for the first three days of March, $1.61, 96¢, and $1.34 respectively. The coin tender is already filling up. You will want to get one of these handy gadgets for your loot.

I wonder if President Obama is a MoneyWalker?


Sunday, March 1, 2009

The MoneyWalker and High Blood Pressure

The MoneyWalker has completed a medical check-up. “110 over 60” she said. “Is that good?” I said. “Oh, very good” she said.

One of the benefits of a sound repeating walking/nutrition regiment is a healthy blood pressure, or the absence of hypertension. One is said to be hypertensive with a blood pressure reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher, or 140/90 for short. But hypertension numbers can be much higher. With the 140 number or greater, you are at risk! A normal reading is 120/80 or lower.

The top number is the “systolic” number and is a measurement of the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels when the heart is pumping blood to the body’s organs. The “diastolic,” the low number, is the same measure but taken when your heart is resting between beats. Of the two, the systolic provides the most important data. A good commercial web-site for essential facts is:


A person with persistent high blood pressure must be concerned with strokes, heart attacks, heart disease, arterial aneurysm, chronic renal failure among others. In addition to medical treatment, health experts have demonstrated that weight reduction and regular aerobic exercise including walking significantly lowers mild to moderate hypertension. Other smart practices include the dietary reduction of sugar and salt. In fact, it seems that most of the fun stuff must be curtailed or eliminated completely including smoking and alcohol. And don’t forget stress (will the market ever stop its free fall?) And what is worse, the dastardly condition has no symptoms. We can have seriously elevated blood pressure and be totally unaware.

So you MoneyWalkers, do what I do and get a medical check-up. If your blood pressure is higher than 120, then get busy—fruits and vegetables, lower the booze amount, quit smoking, and join me as a MoneyWalker.


P.S.: My find this morning was $1.61, 4 quarters, 2 dimes, 1 nickle, and 36 pennies--yippee!