Herding Cats: Our Favorite Finance News for the Week of April 4th

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Are you so broke that you would consider getting a tattoo for a lifetime of free tacos? Perhaps you’d be interested in counterfeiting $1 bills to use for beer money? No? Well, some rather desperate people went both those routes this week. Join me in my Fridaily weblog post to find out more! Wired Gadget Lab: Colleges Dream Of Paperless, iPad-Centric Education – I couldn’t possibly hope to be topical without at least one iPad-related story. I’m already jealous that no one knew about awesome sites like Chegg when I was still in college (I would hope that none of you young whippersnappers have ever spent $300 on a retail textbook at the campus bookstore when you can rent it for, like, $15), but the idea of getting to study on and scribble margin notes on (and pirate those $300 textbooks for free on) an iPad is pretty unreal. If I ever go to law school in the future, I expect this kind of awesomeness to be a reality by then.

Consumerist: Get Inked, Get Free Tacos Forever – If you live in San Fran and are one of those people who blurts out “I should TOTALLY get a tattoo!” every time you walk past a tattoo parlor while intoxicated, be careful with the knowledge that has just been bestowed upon you. Why? Because getting permanently emblazoned with adorable Mexican food logo “Jimmy the Cornman” at 2:36am will only get you free lunch the next day, not the mouthwatering Fourth Mealâ„¢ you so desire to quell those early-morning drunk munchies.

Huffington Post: Recession Desperation: Cops Find Counterfeit $1 Bills – Times are apparently tough in Alaska’s capitol (that’s Juneau, as Sarah Palin might remind you), where someone tipped their local bartenders at the Viking Lounge with $13 in fake Washingtons. Even better than the fact that they chose to take the time to make fake one-dollar bills is the fact that “some were blank on one side.” FAIL. Hopefully Alaskan police don’t have to deal with any truly sinister plots like this, especially a dreaded counterfeit jeans ring.

MainStreet: More Thieves Are Stealing ATM Machines – I may be a horrible person for laughing at one of these stories I saw on our local news here in San Diego, but I can’t help but admire the “huevos rancheros,” as Stephen Colbert would call them, it must take to flat-out plow into a building with your truck and uproot an entire ATM. If Ron Burgundy witnessed something like that, he would undoubtedly respond with “Heck, I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.”

DailyFinance: Cash-Strapped Schools Turn To Businesses For Help, Sparking Concerns – It’s a miracle that America’s public schools didn’t long ago turn to the dark side to supplement their ailing budgets. I hate to use the George Bailey / Mr. Potter analogy here, but it fits pretty well – schools really have nowhere else to get their money, and corporations are all too eager to help out for the opportunity to burn their brand images into the brains of impressionable students. Sure, wholesome companies like Target, Campbell’s, and P&G will probably limit their influence to tasteful levels, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the slippery slope when your kid graduates from Bank Of America Keep The Change® High School in 2019.

WalletPop: Free Entry To All 392 National Parks, April 17-25 – If you’ve got some vacation time to blow, national parking it is always a good way to escape the torment of your urban sprawl existence. My #1 personal recommendation in the Lower 48 (Denali up in Alaska is ridiculously gorgeous, but it’s not at all economical to get there) would be Grand Teton National Park (right below Yellowstone on the western edge of Wyoming), where you’re guaranteed to spot tons of rare wildlife, or maybe even encounter some up close, like my family did once when a family of elk crossed the road right in front of our rental car.

That is all for the first full week of April. May your wallets be full, and your earthquakes be slight.

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