Archive for the ‘General’ Category
As a whole the housing market in the United States is still down, but there is still some hope in some areas. Particularly, in Florida, where once abandoned projects are being replaced with new homes. With the increase of houses being built, house prices are on the rise too.
Mark Shore is an agent who works in Florida who has been through the good times and the bad. He thought the way business was done before the crash was too good to be true, and that most of his clients were British. This trend went away, and now that things are looking up most of the clients are from Canada, China, Brazil, and Norway. Additionally, there are always United States citizens who are looking to buy in the sunshine state too.
The most promising part is that these new home buyers are paying with cash, and are not looking for loans. The reason people are not applying for loans is they still do not qualify. For the last half-year, home prices in the United States have increased. The good fortune is not seen everywhere in the country, but Florida is one of those bright spots. First time home buyers are still in trouble, but there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel as the market continues to improve.
Earnings season is a time of madness on Wall Street. Missing analysts’ predictions by a penny can cause a stock to decline. The fourth quarter earnings report for AT&T (NYSE:T) was released on 1/24/2013 and reported $.44/share on 32.6 billion dollars revenue, which missed the analysts’ expected earnings by about a penny. Contrary to what you would expect, the stock rose in the following week, and now appears to be consolidating at the new level.
An article written by Michael Nolan of the Motley Fool discussing factors affecting AT&T, appeared in the financial blog, Insider Monkey, on February 1st. It is summarized here. Mr. Noland tells us the company reported a loss of $3.9 billion during Q4 of 2012, although this was better than the $6.7 billion loss reported in Q4 of 2011. It seems that this was due to high costs of the company’s pension plans, and damage incurred to the company’s infrastructure during Hurricane Sandy. This was partially offset by very good sales of smartphones and U-Verse (their package plan that includes fiberoptic delivery of TV, internet, and phone services; save on the package with an ATT Uverse coupon code) during the holidays. These revenues were not enough to negate the loss so investors might have expected the stock to decline. However, the good sales revenues, as well as plans for the future that include expansion of wireless services, shareable date plans, and development of a new home security system seem to have carried the price per share in an upward direction.
Snowbirds are people who pack up and head south when the weather starts to get cold. They do this for many reasons including health benefits, summer activities, and to avoid the snow and ice. They typically spend anywhere from three to six months in the south depending on their personal schedules and family situations. A common misconception about snowbirds is that they are lonely and have no one to spend the holidays with when they are so far away from home. This is entirely not true.
Elderly people, retired persons, and those who hate the cold and snow are the type of people who become snowbirds. During the winter months it can be very hard on the elderly to get around in the snow and icy conditions. Car accidents, falls, and less sunlight are some of the reasons that the elderly or others may go south for the winter. It can be hard to get around for everyday activities like grocery shopping, going to doctors appointments, and getting haircuts.
Some of the health reasons that snowbirds travel to warmer climates are asthma, arthritis, mood disorders, and depression. People who have physical pain with arthritis can move and feel better when they stay in warmer weather. The same goes for patients with asthma, it is easier to breathe for most in warm weather versus cold weather. Mood disorders and depression are also affected by sunlight and warm weather. Being cooped up inside all winter can give people a case of cabin fever and that is not good for those with mood disorders or depression. It can make them feel more closed in and can aggravate their conditions.
Snowbirds may leave their families and children behind when they travel to warmer climates but they do not leave fun and enjoyment behind. There are many things to do including walking the beaches, gathering sea shells, lounging in the sun, going to festivals, and shopping at many local stores. There are restaurants, shows, theaters, outdoor carnivals, and musical events. There are also many other snowbirds who have no problem joining others like themselves for a double date to one of the many tourist attractions or local eateries. Children and family members should not worry about snowbirds in their lives. They tend to set up Christmas trees, decorate for the holidays, and go to holiday parties and events on a regular basis without their family.
While this topic really doesn’t have anything to do with boating, it is something that touched my life recently. A good boating friend, who was always known to be eccentric, was suffering from a deep depression and tried to hurt himself after which time it came out that he has bipolar disorder. So this is my tribute to him.
How to Help Someone Who Might be Bipolar
In general, bipolar individuals who are undergoing episodes of depression tend to be easier to persuade than those who are undergoing episodes of mania. If you suspect that someone you know is bipolar, your priority should be getting them to see a mental health professional in case something is wrong so that they can get the help that they need.
People can have all kinds of reasons for not being interested in getting diagnosed. Perhaps the individual sees it as being too troublesome or simply doesn’t believe there to be a problem. However, in some cases, people can also be averse to seeing a mental health professional due to fear and the stigma that still surrounds individuals with mental health problems. Education can help cut through such barriers, while attempting to hammer through them by using fear of the potential consequences will only strengthen the same.
Making the Process Easier
Making the process of consulting counselors easier can help convince reluctant individuals to talk about their potential mental health problems. Although it is not as good as going to get diagnosed, speaking to a counselor can still help individuals understand their situation and relieve their concerns. Online counselors are a popular means for individuals to get help, both because of the convenience and because online communication is more anonymous.
In the end, being supportive can do a lot to help out individuals who may or may not be bipolar. Being respectful of their opinions, not getting frustrated, and using reason can get a lot further than an attempted browbeating.