Herding Cats: Tron Legacy, Free Shipping Day and Good News for Madoff Victims

Herding Cats: Tron Legacy, Free Shipping Day and Good News for Madoff Victims

Since Isaiah is on leave again this week and Derek’s swamped doing other Savings.com stuff (he does important stuff other than snarking on personal finance news and finding cute cat photos–really!), it’s fallen to me to continue the time-honored tradition of cat herding.  Actually, it’s half me, half Isaiah.  I’ll leave it to y’all to figure which stories were chosen/snarked on by whom… GizmodoSledding Behind Fighter Jet Seriously Ups Death Wish Ante – Extreme sports are getting even weirder as four Swedes apparently thought they should bust out the old fighter jet they’ve never used and use it for some sledding. That’s right, three lucky gentlemen were treated to some high speed sledding (unfortunately no take-off) by a multi-million dollar death machine. What are you getting for Christmas?

NY Times$7.2 Billion Settlement Reached With Madoff Investor – Finally, some good news for victims of Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme–and not just the fact that Bernie’s behind bars for 150 years. The widow of one his clients is returning $7.2 billion dollars made over 35 years of investing with Madoff. The money will be distributed to victims of Madoff’s unscrupulous practices by early next year and could end up reimbursing them for almost 50% of their losses. Plus the timing is impeccable–it’s a Christmas miracle!

Doughroller : How Rich Do You Have to Be to Be Considered Rich? – Becoming more and more pertinent as Congress increasingly considers tax cuts and restructuring tax brackets, the concept of the “rich” American is developing as the topic of debate. According to a survey done by the Spectrum Group, only 22% of families with over $500,000 in investible assets believed that having $1 million in investible assets would make them “rich.” 45% of the respondents believed $5 million was the sweet spot to be considered rich. A staggering 33% believed that at least $25 million in investible assets was necessary to qualify them as “rich.” Obama’s view that $150,000/year makes you rich is at odds with McCain’s that only $5 million/year was necessary to make you rich. Is being rich subjective? What about my hot wheels collection? It’s bigger than Billy’s.

Wall Street JournalPackages Perk Up Shippers’ Holiday – Today is Free Shipping Day and that means many last minute holiday shoppers are placing orders online today to take advantage of the savings as well as get their purchases completed to be delivered in time for Christmas.  But while shipping is free for consumers, the retailers still have to pay and that makes FedEx very happy.  They’re reporting that Green Monday was their busiest shipping day EVER!  According to the article, “Freight shipping is considered a reliable proxy for the overall economy, and other shippers are delivering generally upbeat news this holiday season .”  The reason for this boost for the shipping industry?  More and more people shopping online !

LA Times : ‘Tron’ likely to beat ‘Yogi Bear’ and ‘How Do You Know’ at box office – Tracking surveys a couple weeks ago predicted that Disney’s new Tron: Legacy feature film would open this weekend with only $50 million in profits, a number short of putting the movie on a track of recouping its $200 million price tag. The movie opened last night at midnight with a bunch of buzz, albeit less than Inception or even The Social Network. There have been some really strong performers this year, so it will be interesting to see who beats who–and which is more memorable.

ConsumeristWalmart Manager Opens Up His Own Business…With $250K Worth Of Allegedly Stolen Items – A widely stated stat is that approximately 50% of new businesses fail within the first five years.  It took only two years for the business of an ex-manager from Wal-mart to go bust–or make that “busted.”  Apparently he’d stolen the inventory of his online electronics inventory over the course of two years from his former employer.  Consumerist readers regularly sound off about Wal-mart’s practice of checking receipts at the door, but apparently the store really needs to step up efforts of preventing its employers from sauntering out the door with GPS units stuffed down their pants…

Computerworld : Google set to map a new frontier: The human body – Google’s forays into new product lines seem to be occurring at an exponential rate.  Building from its dominance in the search engine arena, it has branched out into email, browsers, video (YouTube), phones and even Google TV .  Now in addition to Google Maps and Google Earth, they’ve launched Body Browser which “provide users with a layered, 3D view of the human anatomy.”  Mapping the human body begs for some lame joke to be made about how this particular Google product is specifically for people who don’t know their [bleep] from a hole in the ground, but I won’t go there…

Well, that’s it for this week’s half-and-half Stella/Isaiah round-up.  Post your suggestion for our Bennifer/Brangelina byline mash-up in the comments…

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