Fast-food workers strike to raise the minimum wage.

Los Angeles and the minimum wage

California’s minimum wage shot up to  $9 an hour on July 1. On Jan. 1, 2016 that wage will be going up to $10 an hour. Before tips. Mayor Eric Garcetti knows that isn’t enough to live on, and has proposed raising the minimum to $13.25 in the city of Los Angeles. Not immediately: three years from now. September saw a victory for hotel workers. Hotels in the city of Los Angeles that have 300 or more rooms must pay a minimum wage of  $15.37 an…

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Waiting for Merlot: Experiences vs Products

Good news, Po’ Folks: science has determined that having more stuff won’t make you more happy. In fact a recent paper, “Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases” made a good case that the more stuff you have, the more disappointed you’re going to be with it. The authors of the paper, Amit Kumar, Matthew A. Killingsworth and Thomas Gilovich, found that anticipating something was generally more enjoyable than attaining it and more than anything else, experiences are a lot better than possessions. Let’s pretend that you just…

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Experiences or Stuff?

“Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions. The idea that experiential purchases are more satisfying than material purchases has long been the domain of Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich. Since 2003, he has been trying to figure out exactly how and why experiential purchases are so much better than material purchases.” -James Hamblin

Larry and Laban created a cooking show like no other - for Po' Folks.

“Cookin’ Cheap” Revisited

In 1981, an entirely new kind of cooking show burst onto the scene. Hosted by Larry Bly and Earl “Laban” Johnson, Jr., “Cookin’ Cheap” destroyed the elitist paradigm of all cooking shows that preceded it and most that came after it. Po’ Folks, remember that this was 1981. There was no Food Network with 24-7 coverage of cupcake wars and food truck makeovers and people eating insects. Larry and Laban are a couple of unlikely Southern boys from Roanoke, Virginia who take cooking to unprecedented…

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Photo by Dominique Godbout.

Dressing It Up in a Recession

What do you spend money on when you’re broke? If you’re a woman, cosmetics and sexy clothes are the winners for splurge purchases. Men don’t care about dressing it up. They buy computer accessories and headphones. This issue got my attention while I was looking for general information on budgeting. The YWCA had a campaign a few years ago called “Beauty at Any Cost.” It studied the targeting of young women by the beauty industry and the negative repercussions it has on them financially and…

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$2 Movies at the Academy

Over the last 10 years, going to the movies has become a gentrified experience. You watch a 3-D, smell-enhanced film on an IMAX screen from the comfort of a loveseat-sized leather recliner. A servant stands by, ready to bring you brie-and-grape quesadillas. A bar in the lobby serves beer, wine and signature cocktails. Trained technicians wearing infrared goggles can give you a mani/pedi by the light of a candelabra. Po’ Folks, I call bullshit on this. My entertainment budget for the whole weekend is $25.

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Wasteland Weekend 2014

The race is on to see which cataclysmic event destroys society as we know it the fastest. Will it be a nuclear explosion; a virus such as Ebola; climate change; a volcanic winter; a dirty bomb? Perhaps it will be something more obscure like a zombie apocalypse, the wrath of god, or an alien invasion. Whatever the scenario, someone at Wasteland Weekend has anticipated it and has a survival plan in place.   Wasteland Weekend, now in its fifth year, is the brainchild of Jared Butler…

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Book: Green with Envy

This gem called to me from atop a pile of paperbacks in a super-discount book warehouse. The kind that becomes a Halloween store beginning in August and then vanishes forever.  I picked it up and put it down several times before forking over three dollars and taking it home with me. The ambivalence came from the kind of schadenfreude that you need to actively speculate as to how your high-flying neighbors can afford all kinds of cool stuff when you’re eating Top Ramen and wondering how small a payment…

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