Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jaywalking and Money Walking: A Cost/Benefit Analysis

Journal Entry February 25, 2010: Weight = 171.2 lbs.; Coinage = $1.79, 44 pennies, 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 3; Ground scores = 2.

Journal Entry February 26, 2010: Weight = 171.4; Coinage = $. 84, 59 pennies, 1 quarter ( found the quarter on the last block of a three mile walk, thought it was going to be an all pennies day, and that is not bad); Glass bottles retrieved = 25; Ground scores = 2.

Journal Entry February 28, 2010: Weight = 170.8 lbs; Coinage = $5.03, 98, pennies, 8 nickels, 14 dimes, 9 quarters (a good total to close out February); Glass bottles retrieved = 2; Ground scores = 3 including a very nice outdoor grill.

Feature Entry: Jaywalking and Money Walking: A Cost/Benefit Analysis

It is 6:30 a.m., the streets are essentially empty, a hot money spot is across the street mid way between intersections; should the MoneyWalker jaywalk or go to the corner and double back? Yes, according to all law enforcement policies, no according to Tom Vanderbilt in his blog “In Defense of JayWalking."

Jaywalking is defined as crossing a street at a place other than marked cross walks, street corners; or walking against a signal light. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 6,000 pedestrians are killed and another 84,000 suffer nonfatal injuries each year. Jaywalking is against most state laws and is punishable by a modest fine, but few are actually issued a citation, and law enforcement officers report that jaywalking laws are difficult to enforce.

Vanderbilt is an unrepentant jaywalker. However, he does not defend the “egregious jaywalkers who defy logic and physics in their wayward perambulations.” He defines himself as a careful jaywalker who “frankly find the notion of waiting for a signal when no cars are in sight to be faintly ridiculous and anti-urban.” He thinks state laws are biased against pedestrians and points to countries such as Holland that have essentially dropped laws against jaywalking and have passed laws that place more blame on motorists.

Among many of his recommendations are to provide more proper crossings in the places he calls “desire lines,” the places people instinctively use to conserve energy. He also takes issue with traffic signals that fail to provide a “leading pedestrian interval” so that the walker is protected from eager drivers that fail to stop when making left and right turns at intersections.

Fitness walkers are by definition zoomers and are impatient in terms of maintaining an elevated heart rate. A red traffic light is irritating especially when a car is not approaching for blocks in any direction. But is jaywalking safe even for seasoned walkers? The MoneyWalker gives a qualified yes. From the very beginning of ambulation, the human develops sophisticated time/space decision making skills. By adulthood, the pedestrian is a master at relating his/her ability to judge time, distance, and space with that of other walkers, bikers, and automobile drivers. The decisions include making predictions about what others are going to do.

But prediction is a dangerous proposition. If we predict incorrectly the speed of a moving car in terms of arrival, then jaywalking can result in tragedy. The driver has all the power. Thus, the MoneyWalker is a judicial jaywalker and is especially vigilant in terms of the dangers of prediction. Each decision to jaywalk involves a cost/benefit analysis. Is the time saved and convenience worth the risk? The operative word is vigilance, vigilance, vigilance, especially at traffic lights and cell phone crazy drivers or drivers just in a hurry that can’t be bothered to yield for the walker before making an intersection right or left turn.

Should you jaywalk? Probably not, but the impulse to take the chance is not easily suppressed. It seems silly to be bothered by the inconvenience of "artificial" barriers to efficiency such as cross walks. We must all make the decision individually. But please, do not try to defy physics and good sense in order to save a second or two of time.

Careful out there!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The ABCs of a Good Night’s Sleep

Journal Entry February 23, 2010: Weight = 172.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.70, 35 pennies, 3 nickels, 2 dimes, 4 quarters (one super find of 2 quarters in a phone return, also one quarter in a newspaper vendor, and one under a retrieved beer bottle near a bus stop); Glass bottles retrieved = 14; Ground scores = 5 including two articles of clothing worthy of recycling.

Jounral Entry February 24, 2010: Weight = 174.0 lbs (multiple food slippages including a big piece of cake with yummy sugar and butter icing at a night civic meeting); Coinage = $1.36, 41 pennies, 3 nickels, 3 dimes, 2 quarters (on both days, very little money was found at the car wash, competition at these sights are increasing); Glass bottles retrieved = 13; Ground scores = 6 (getting ready for my “ground score charity yard sale.)

Feature Entry: The ABCs of a Good Night’s Sleep

For people seeking to maintain good health, much is written about proper exercise and nutrition, but less about the importance of a good night’s sleep—the body’s time to slow down and unwind. Dr. Rubin Naiman, clinical psychologist is convinced that healthy sleep is critical for physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. Several researchers have demonstrated that proper sleep is essential for daily personal effectiveness and even leads to a longer life. A good sleep helps the body repair tissues and renew itself by a process whereby internal chemicals trigger slow-wave sleep and rouse the immune system into action so as to help the body protect itself against viral and bacterial infections.

This blog will explain how the MoneyWalker “reclaims the night” by using exercise, good diet and nutrition, and stress management to keep stress and anxiety under control; and his technique for getting back to sleep when he awakes during the night. Also the following blog provides seven great tips for getting a good night’s sleep from

First, I walk for 60 to 90 minutes every day. My friend the Numismatist

often takes longer walks and calls the time her “2 hours of bliss out on the streets.” For me, long walks give shape to emotional energy and helps for gaining resolution and shaping reality. Thus, I rarely take serious problems to bed with me. Caution, long walks or any serious exercise should not be taken 2 hours before bedtime.

The MoneyWalker practices good nutritional habits in order to facilitate a good night’s sleep. We avoid late night snacks and evening beverages are consumed before 8 p.m. if possible. We eat three meals each day that feature ample fruits and vegetables. Bed time snacks are forbidden and we avoid sleep inducing medications. We do not have a television in the bedroom. We often prepare for sleep with a few minutes of friendly reading or Sudoku. Coffee is always decaffeinated and the last cup is consumed prior to 10 a.m.

As for what to do if I wake during the night, the MoneyWalker practices a relaxation technique that I call the ABCs of pleasure. Starting with A and working through Z, I systematically think of some activity, place, or thing that provides pleasure. A few examples follow:

A = Astros Baseball and my week-end trip with to Houston with Mark
B = Blogging and the pleasure derived from the MoneyWalker blog
C = Coinage and how much fun it is to find change on the street
D = Dental Appointment (no, no, block that)
D = Semiannual trip to Destin, FL with friends and the beach
E = Entertaining friends
F = Folsom, LA and our retreat house
G = Gardening
H = Herrenzimmer, the name of my study where these blogs are created
Z = ZZZZZZZZs for a good night's rest

And so the exercise goes. Usually I am back to sleep before I reach W which would be represented by my daily walk.

Opps, it is nearly 2 p.m. in New Orleans, time for my afternoon nap, another good thing to do.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Family Walks

Journal Entry February 21, 2010: Weight = 171.2; Coinage = $2.97, 97 pennies (one wheat), 14 nickels, 8 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles = 14; Ground Scores = 3; Best coinage find = after several days, still finding numerous coins scattered over the parade routes of Mid-City from the Endymion Mardi Gras parade.

Journal Entry Feb. 22, 2010: Weight = 173.4 lbs; Coinage = $4.34, 134 pennies (2 wheat), 11 nickels, 17 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 14, Ground scores = 5 including two clothing articles to be recycled. Best coinage = more than one dollar found on the concrete platform of a car wash vacuum canister, not in the canister, then noting their proximity to the trash cans, took a look, and found another dollars worth in change in the can.

Feature entry: Family Walking

As the MoneyWalkers have watched their three children grow into adulthood and with their own families to raise, finding quality time with them is a premium. One of the ways that we connect is to take family walks and family hikes. Our Washington D.C. gang has introduced us to Billy Goat Trail near the Great Falls region of Maryland. You’ve got to try that trail if you are ever in the area. Our New York/CT gang enjoys taking us to nature hikes in the gorgeous New England countryside. We follow the suggestions in a book “Great Family Hikes in Connecticut.” And a third branch was responsible for the “Man Up Walk” honoring a late local sports caster that said he would walk down Bourbon street dressed as a woman if the Saints ever went the SuperBowl. We featured several "women" from the walk a few blogs back.

Our latest family walk was during the period just in front of the famous Krewe of Rex's parade on Fat Tuesday also known as Mardi Gras day. The photograph was captured by a street commentator for Neworleans. Com. To see the MoneyWalkers and other Mardi Gras sights use the URL below.

Three sets of the MoneyWalker clan are featured in the photo. As you can tell we used a Peter Pan theme. Mr and Ms MoneyWalker are second and third from the left beginning with the Indian. Family Walking may not burn many calories or result in much coinage plunder, but it was the best walk this money walker has completed in a long time.

The MoneyWalker

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Art, Luck and Politics of Finding Money During Money Walks

Journal Entry: Coinage (get ready) = $20.51 a record find for a one walk find, and yes there is a story, see below, 196 pennies, 42 nickels, 42 dimes, and 49 quarters; glass bottles = 9; ground scores = 5 (one slightly damaged card table that will go into the charity yard sale this spring. The yard sale will contain many of the MoneyWalker’s ground scores.)

Feature Entry: The Art, Luck and Politics of Finding Money During Money Walks

A few blocks back, the Moneywalker spoke of the art, luck, and politics of finding large amounts of coinage while walking to maintain fitness and weight control. The case was made that most significant accomplishments occur as a result of the interaction of skill, good luck, and politics. This post will feature the role of politics.

Several months ago I noticed that a local self car wash with seven vacuum bays did not bother to lock the vacuum receptacles, most do. It seemed intrusive and somewhat gross to inspect these potential money hot spots even though it was obvious from the debris in and around the canisters that others were doing so. Finally I succumbed to a money search urge and began inspecting these potential treasure spots. As expected, they were and continue to be a rich source for coins, and on one occasion a dollar bill.

Then it happened, a polite gentleman named Eddie approached me and asked if he could help me. He was the manager of the MidCity Car Wash. I introduced myself as the MoneyWalker and explained that I searched the canisters for loose change, but that I gave all finds to a charity, the Friendship House, a ministry for battered women and their children. He explained that he applauded the purpose and only asked that I carefully reclose the doors and tidy the debris that was pulled from the canisters. Later I met the owner, Jason, who was aware of my habit. He donated several quarters from a sack that was used to empty the vending machines.

Now the politics. Last year the MoneyWalker donated more than $500 dollars to the Friendship House, distributed in amounts of $100 each over one year. Each donation was accompanying by a cover letter offering encouragement as well as acknowledging the check. In each letter, I complemented the MidCity ownership and management for their cooperation and mentioned Eddie and Jason by name. I made copies of the letters and sent them to both Eddie and Jason.

During this morning’s walk, I found just under $10 dollars in one of the canisters. By chance, Jason was watching from his office. He walked over and donated another $10 dollars in quarters from his sack. Then he said something remarkable. His company was being forced to put locks on the canister doors because others, less vigilant than the MoneyWalker was leaving the areas thrashed and were failing to close the doors. But please don’t worry he said, I will give you the key. As I said, finding money is a combination of art, luck, and politics. Thank you Jason. Thank you Eddie.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Walking and the Aging Process

Journal Entry from Feb. 8 through Feb. 17.: Coinage = $22.98 for the period. All the regular features return on the next post. The MoneyWalker has experienced sensory overload during the last ten days with the Saints winning the Super Bowl and the traditional festivities of the Mardi Gras. The walks were made, but not the blog.

Feature Entry: Walking and the Aging Process

Yesterday, my brother, eight years my senior called and requested help with a car he has for sell. It wouldn’t start. I asked about the battery and was told it was less than a year old. Upon examination, I noticed corrosion around one of the terminals, not too surprising since he hadn’t started the car in over the month. All solutions failed—cleaning the terminals, adding water, and jumper cables. The battery had failed, it was dead. Fortunately the dead battery was so new, he received a free new battery without prorate.

The lesson is obvious, if we don’t use our body and the various parts, it will cease to function and die prematurely. The solution to living successfully into old age is exercises that involve strength building, cardiorespiratory, and stretching; a healthy diet; and maintaining a positive attitude.

What are the effects of aging on muscles and what can be done? First, as muscles age they lose mass and a sedentary lifestyle accelerate it. Our grip strength diminishes as does our reaction time. The heart muscle becomes less able to pump sufficient quantities of blood to the body’s periphery causing shortness of breath, premature fatigue, and slow recovery. Reduced muscular size and efficiency also results in decreased metabolism which causes weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Joint flexibility is also at risk. Motion becomes more restricted and range of motion decreases with age. It is all due to changes in tendons and ligaments. Also, as the cushioning cartilage breaks down, the joints become inflamed and arthritic.

Now we know, it is not aging as much as it is disuse. Less than 10 percent of Americans participate in regular exercise. As a result obesity is a recognized “epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control. The solution follows: Stretch to help maintain joint flexibility; Weight train to increase muscle mass and strength; and participate in regular moderate amounts of cardiovascular activity to reduce risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. An exercise program doesn't have to be strenuous to be effective. Walking, square dancing, swimming, and bicycling are all recommended activities for maintaining fitness as we age.

Sorry about the sermon, but after Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties, to say nothing of the Valentine candy, I needed the self-talk.


Monday, February 8, 2010

One Glorious Day

Feature Entry: One Glorious Day!

One Glorious Day WWII ended.

One Glorious Day Ms. MoneyWalker told the Minister “I Do!"

One Glorios Day the Chancellor of the University of New Orleans said “The job is yours.”

One Glorious Day Drew Brees told Coach Sean Peyton, “I’m coming to New Orleans!”

One Glorious Day the New Orleans Saints won the “Super bowl!!!!”

It was a glorious day.

And a side note, just now the MoneyWalker on a utility walk to buy a commemorative paper, in four different spots, 2 quarters, a dime, and 3 pennies were added to the celebration.

“Who ‘dat!”


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finish Strong!

Journal entry 2/5/10: Weight = 171 lbs; Coinage = $1.32
Journal entry 2/6/10: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage $2.60
Journal Entry 2/7/10: Weight = 171.8; Coinage = $2.78, one super find of two quarters in the coin return of a pay telephone. Finding money in pay telephones, once a frequent occurring effort, is now very rare.

Feature Entry: Finish Strong
The headline on this morning’s Times Picayune reminded the New Orleans Saints football team to “finish strong.” At the beginning of the season star quarterback Drew Brees purchased a book called Finish-Strong for every member of the team. The slogan, coined by author Dan Green has been the Saints mantra all season long. Last year’s team lost several games in the fourth quarter.

As a weight watcher, the expression also resonates with portion control and exercise. It is not enough to lose weight, I must keep it off. When the scales give me a friendly reading, if not careful, I will use the lost poundage as “money in the bank,” or as justification to serve up a big bowl of ice cream with a fudge brownie. That is not finishing strong.

Green indicates that a Finish Strong attitude is about choice. As individuals, we are the only ones that have the power to successfully meet the challenges before us. Keeping weight off is a major challenge even for thin people. What they have that keeps them thin is not a friendly metabolism but a highly developed sense of personal accountability when it comes to food and exercise. Each day when faced with negative choices, they adopt a finish-strong mentality. Yes to exercise, no to unhealthy fatty and sugary foods. So how will we choose, lie down, settle and quit, or move forward toward our goal of healthy weight control.

How can we moneywalkers finish strong? By remembering the big four for weight control: weigh every day, exercise, eat breakfast, and practice portion control.

Go Saints!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Buy/Hold/Sell and Money Walking Hot Spots

Journal entry 2/3/10: Weight = 172.0 lbs; Coinage = $1.48, 43 pennies (one wheat), 3 nickels, 4 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved and deposited = 13; Ground scores = 1.

Journal entry 2/4/10: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $1.22, 37 pennies, 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 1 quarter; Significant find = a 9 penny dump near a telephone booth.

Feature Entry: Buy/Hold/Sell
Metaphors lace our language and the financial markets have given us buy/hold/sell. Beyond buying and selling securities, we use the expression in defining many aspects of society including money walking. A few examples follow, opinions that seem to reflect current thought:

Buy: Scott Brown
Hold: President Obama
Sell: Harry Reid


Buy: New Orleans Saints
Hold: Brett Farve
Sell: Indianapolis Colts


Buy: Conan O’Brien
Hold: David Letterman
Sell: Jay Leno

News Outlets

Buy: Fox News
Hold: CBS
Sell: NBC

Female Movie Leads

Buy: Kim Kardashian
Hold: Miley Cyrus
Sell: Lindsay Lohan

On today’s walk, the MoneyWalker ‘s thinking , in a Proustian way, turned to buy/hold/sell in terms of searching or not searching the grounds and facilities of a local bank branch. Several months ago, the location was “hot” and was consistent as a source of coinage, and then less so until recently several visits in a row have yielded nothing. Given the time investment of searching five drive through windows, two ATM machines, a night depository, and three parking lots, is it worth the time and mental energy of aggressive scanning. Maybe it was time to sell. “Oh well, maybe one more visit.” And there they were a quarter, two dimes, and seven pennies in one of the back lot parking lots. “Buy!” “Buy!” “Buy!” “Buy!”

And Kim, if Reggie Bush becomes a sell, don’t forget the MoneyWalker. (Opps, hope Ms. MoneyWalker isn’t reading this post.”


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Muffin Friday & The Importance of Hand Sanitizers

Journal Entry: Weight = 173.0; Coinage = $3.19 ( a big quarter day at the canisters); 74 pennies, 6 nickels, 7 dimes, 6 quarters; Glass bottles = 7; Ground score = 1; Recycled clothing = 1 man’s shirt, first recycled item for 2010.

Feature Entry: Muffin Friday & The Importance of Hand Sanitizers

Each Friday morning the MoneyWalkers set aside their traditional high fiber cereal breakfast for a bran muffin and 12 oz. decaffeinated coffee at the local coffee shop. Ours is called the Bean Gallery. Right outside their door are three newspaper vending machines, a New York Times, a USA Today, and the local daily, the Times Picayune.

Ignoring Ms MoneyWalkers cringe, I stealthy approach each one and carefully examine the coin return slots. Through experience, I have learned that the inspection requires full attention. Sometimes left-behind coins are on their edge along the side or hidden behind mysterious bends and crooks inside the mechanism. The careful searches requires aggressive searching by the fingers. "What is that feel, oh it is a dime tucked way back in the corner."

Fast forward to the bran muffins and coffee; after washing my hands, Ms. MoneyWalker pulls out her purse-sized container of waterless hand sanitizer. Only after a scrub, scrub, scrub can the muffin/coffee/paper read begin. “What good are a few nasty coins if you catch the H1N1 virus,” she reminds me.

But are hand sanitizers really necessary? Yes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They state that adherence to hand hygiene can reduce the transmission of antimicrobial-resistant organisms and other sources of infections. They continue to recommend careful hand washing as a supplement to the alcohol-based waterless hand cleansers.

It doesn’t seem to matter which type is used—gels, wipes, or sprays. Most alcohol sanitizers contain isopropropanol, ethanol, n-propanol or a combination of these ingredients. Some contain aloe and vitamin E. Nearly all brands report to kill 99.99% of germs. To be effective, the hands should be rubbed for 15 seconds.

There is one contra indication. Constant use of the product has been reported to disrupt the natural germ fighting capabilities of the hands.

Back to muffin Friday. "Dear, do our muffins taste funny, mine seems to have an aloe flavor."


Monday, February 1, 2010

Special Event Walks: The ‘Who Dat’ Saints Man-Up in a Dress Walk

Journal Entry 1/28/10: Weight = 171.4 lbs; Coinage = $1.88, 43 pennies, 7 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved and deposited = 7; Ground scores = 2.

Journal Entry 1/29/10: Coinage = $1.11, 26 pennies, 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass Bottles = 6; Ground Scores = 7.

Journal Entry 1/31/10: Weight = 172.2 lbs; Coinage = $2.53, 113 pennies (big penny dump in the alley of a car detailing shop), 3 nickels, 5 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 6; Ground Scores = 2 (One ground scores was a new pull over shirt with the ubiquitous stick-on shirt size marker still attached).

Journal Entry 2/1/10: Weight = 173.4 (With Mardi Gras, Saints parties, and week-ends with family members, keeping that weight heading south is a challenge); Coinage = $1.31, pennies = 71 (the 17th street canal friend is back after a long absence), 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 1 quarter (all street/curb finds); Glass bottles = 5; Ground Scores = 2.

Feature Entry: Special Event Walks: The ‘Who Dat’ Saints Man-Up in a Dress Walk

Occasionally, we walkers are invited to join special event walks—Cancer pledge walks and Million Man March comes to mind. Last Friday, the MoneyWalker’s Son-in-Law gave the MoneyWalker a call and asked if I would join him in joining an all man’s walk in drag starting at the Louisiana Super Dome and ending in New Orleans’ French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The walk was to honor the late N.O. sports-cast legend Buddy Diliberto who said he would wear a dress if the New Orleans Saints ever made it to the Super Bowl. Buddy is dead now, but his replacement Saints great former quarterback Bobby Hebert led a movement to complete the pledge.

Although heavily promoted, I expected about 300 men crazy enough to join Bobby. Wrong, approximately 3,000 men accepted the challenge and another 2,000 women and children joined the throng. And then about 80,000 parade watchers came out to cheer us on. Seeing that many men in drag at one time was scary. What a walk!

I glanced downward a few times looking for coinage to no avail. It didn’t matter; the men’s dresses and ensembles arrested most of the attention. Win or lose, this town is going crazy celebrating the Saint’s first Super Bowl


Note: First photo Son-in-law Patrick on the right, Grandson Jackson, and the MoneyWalker on the left.

Second photo, Patrick holding a Saints football with the MoneyWalker with his red hat.

Remaining photos, random shots of some of the walkers.