When I needed a chuckle this week, a tiny escape from my humdrum life in front of the ol' Mac, I surfed on over to the Forbes magazine Web site. It is here that I found a welcome dose of reality in a world that tells me I can do whatever I want to if I just put my mind to it.
I am talking about the "What It Costs To Live Well: Calculator" at Forbes.com. Check it out. It's funny only because it's rather sad. Sorry, I tricked those who started reading this column hoping for a review of "The Wedding Crashers," but if you appreciate irony, you too can find joy in this calculator.
For example, the good people at Forbes believe this is what it means to "live well:"
• A four-bedroom house in an upscale neighborhood
• A vacation home in an upscale resort area
• Owning both a BMW 325i sedan and a Lexus RX 330
• Eating out at a pricey restaurant once a week
• Taking three luxury trips a year
Should I just stop here? I mean, someone from Sudan could read this and think that all Americans are materialistic. Nah ... one more couldn't hurt.
• Sending one child to a local private school and another to private college
Well, that's better. Sending your flesh and blood to a great school isn't so greedy. State schools are where all the troublemakers go, heaven forbid my child should be forced to indulge in frat parties and binge drinking.
Forbes.com totaled the cost of "living well" for a city in each state.
Let's try it out. It's only truly funny when you have an anecdote.
I entered into the calculator the average salary of a Carson City resident: $27,000, which is more realistic for me than the $100,000 figure that they use as an example. I chose Las Vegas. Not just because I'm from there, but because it's the only option for Nevada. I decide which luxury I would like to indulge in. Hmm ... I like to travel and I wouldn't mind owning a BMW and a Lexus. I push "calculate." I am $43,314 short of living well in Las Vegas with my chosen luxuries. Hmm ... perhaps I don't need those cars ... or the vacations. Funny ... I'm still $3,400 short of living well in Las Vegas with NO luxuries.
I tried Washington, D.C., with a salary of $50,000. I can live well there, but only if I don't select any luxuries. The three luxury trips a year sends me over about $1,800.
The calculator has the option of finding a place where you could live well on your salary. I didn't check any luxuries this time.
The response: "We did not find any cities in which you could live well with your chosen expenses."
Now that's funny.
Try it yourself at http://www.forbes.com/2005/07/08/living-well-cost-calculator-cx_sc_0708calculator.html.
Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. will soon build entry-level town homes in Carson City. The Carson City Board of Supervisors voted to approve a plan to rezone an area south of Highway 50 to allow for multi-family units. The new zoning ordinance begins August 4 after the second reading.
The nonprofit organization has a memorandum of understanding to purchase one acre on Brown Street, which could fit 30 to 36 townhomes.
Because of USDA/Rural Development requirements, the organization is not allowed to use USDA funds for homes in areas over the population threshold of 50,000. Three local financial institutions will provide both construction and permanent loan financing.
The townhomes will be built under the self-help method, where home builders would provide a minimum of 500-600 hours of labor in lieu of a downpayment.
The preliminary projections are that the homes will cost $150,000 to $175,000 for two- and three-bedroom models. The homes would include enclosed garages, fully landscaped grounds and a play area for the children.
The organization will begin taking applications in December.
To commemorate Harley-Davidson's 25th anniversary as a national sponsor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Carson City Harley-Davidson will sell special Harley and MDA wrist bands to benefit the MDA.
Carson City Harley-Davidson will offer orange wrist bands to customers who make a donation to the MDA. Customers who come in for a test ride on a Harley-Davidson or Buell motorcycle during the Demo Days for MDA promotion can also receive a Harley-Davidson collector's edition wristband.
"We're proud to participate in this latest fund-raiser for the MDA," said J. Richard Tapia of Carson City Harley-Davidson. "We hope to continue to raise money and support the programs and services until a cure is found and no child or adult suffers from neuromuscular disease."
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bracelet will go to support the research, comprehensive medical care for children and adults with neuromuscular disease and the MDA summer camps.
The wrist bands will be available throughout the summer while supplies last.
Since 1980, Harley has raised over $50 million for the MDA through its family of dealers, customers, suppliers and employees as a national sponsor.
For more information or to support Demo Days for MDA, please visit Carson City Harley-Davidson at 2749 North Carson Street in Carson City or call (775) 882-7433.
The Safety Consultation and Training Section of the State of Nevada's Division of Industrial Relations recognized Mr. Gasket Performance Group, manufacturers of aftermarket and professional racing products, for successful completion of the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program. This is the second time in three years that Carson City's Mr. Gasket has been awarded with the honor.
"Receiving this for the second time shows that our entire organization has seen the importance of this program," said Mark Irwin, hazmat and safety specialist for Mr. Gasket. "The entire team at Mr. Gasket has been cooperative and supportive of our safety goals."
The no-cost program is designed to assist small employers develop and implement effective safety and health programs. It assists businesses with improving their return on investment, to be in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and to create added value of safety and health in reducing their accident costs.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.