Renting or buying?

Which is best for you?

A retired minister and his wife had never owned a house.

They had spent all their married lives living in housing provided by churches.

At age 65, they bought a house and financed it for 15 years.

They had been frugal and had saved a good down payment. They paid for the house by age 80.

The value of the house increased over the years, and at age 83, they sold the house and received a very nice check. The money from the sale was enough to help them fund their next 10 years in a nice assisted-living apartment.

While taking on a mortgage at 65 appeared crazy to some, it afforded them financial security later.

Many years ago, I bought a modest new house that cost $151,000. I barely scraped together the nearly $30,000 down payment. The house was financed for 15 years. I began the laborious journey of writing a monthly check to the bank. After about eight years, I needed money to pay medical bills and was able to borrow $30,000 against my equity.

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Collateral damage and other slippery slopes

The beginning of the war on terror at the turn of the century coincided with the creation of new euphemisms to describe things that were already well defined.

Although military idioms have long tortured language for the sake of specious arguments, there was a new audacity in the way it was being reshaped to excuse the inexcusable.

Torture, for example, became “enhanced interrogation,” and it didn’t take long for images to leak from Abu Ghraib in Iraq showing the sadism that condoning it had unleashed on those held there, 70 to 90% of whom were innocent.

Even the supreme international crime, what amounted to a war of aggression, was sold as a “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, a country that is still in the throes of violent chaos more than a decade later.

The slippery slope represented by this NATO action has become clear in the years since, as various regional powers like Turkey, the UAE and Qatar have intervened there and thrown money and arms at a variety of unsavory actors.

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The Kentucky River Giant, Part 2

From the Mountains

Martin Van Buren Bates, the son of John W. and Sarah Bates, was born Nov. 9, 1837, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

His parents, five sisters and five brothers were all of normal size.

Martin began growing at an unordinary pace at age 7 and 8.

His father marked his height on the wall each month with a pencil. Martin said one month he grew nearly an inch.

“He’s just a baby,” his father would grin and say when people talked about his size. He soon had the nickname “Baby Bates.”

By age 11, he was a six-footer, weighing 170 pounds.

He continued to grow, and at age 15 he was nearly seven feet in height and weighed 250 pounds. Area folks still referred to him as Baby Bates.

After his school days in Letcher County, he continued his studies at Emory College in Washington County in Southwest Virginia where he graduated.

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