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Updates from the EWM Team:
Financial updates, tips, and news you can use.

EWM Updates

Mister Mxyzptlk Thumbnail

Mister Mxyzptlk

We can't let September pass without mentioning that it was during this month way back in 1944 that Superman's greatest adversary was introduced: Mister Mxyzptlk. (Although the name might look intimidating at first glance, it is really quite easy to pronounce once you realize that the y is silent, the z is the beginning of a nasal diphthong, and the stress is placed on the penultimate syllable.)

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Popular Pumpkin Properties

As a person of prominence and a pillar of the community, this writer feels obligated to help my fellow citizens during this time of need. So I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring and run for political office. And I’m surprised at the feedback I’ve received as I’ve delivered my campaign speeches across this great land. The most common response after hearing me talk has been “that bumpkin must have just fallen off the turnip truck.” (Bumpkin, I believe, is a colloquial mispronunciation of the word pumpkin, a nickname given to me by the voters probably because I possess popular pumpkin properties like pluckiness and persistence.)

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X, Y, Z, and Ampersand

School sure was tougher in the past. For example, back when I was at university, there were 27 letters in the alphabet. You see the ampersand (&), a noble typographical symbol with roots in ancient times, was listed as the last letter of the alphabet in grammar books during the mid-1800's. But as education entered the 20th century, there was a change in the letter lineup. Seemingly overnight, the new law of the land was to ban the ampersand. There were accusations that the makers of Alphabet Soup had lobbied schools to remove the ampersand because all of its curlicues were difficult to render in noodle form. Many just felt that the last letter should be Z because it was full of pizzazz, and it had influential backers like zebras and zillionaires. No real faction appeared to support the ampersand during the replacement process. Former friends such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Ben & Jerry's, and AT&T all turned their back on the character in its time of need. Of course, not all change is bad. The removal of ampersand did force the ending of "The Alphabet Song" to be rewritten, which originally had quite a different and disconcerting conclusion...

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First Word of The Day Post

A new study indicates that the vocabulary of the average American adult has declined in recent decades. To counteract this trend, On A Lighter Note is introducing a "Word of the Day" feature to help its readers apply a more expressive and impactful vocabulary to everyday situations. First up - quincunx. A quincunx (pronounced kwin-kunks) is a group of five objects arranged in a 2-1-2 pattern like the five dots on dice. The word originates from a coin of the same name used in ancient Rome that featured five dots in the aforementioned arrangement.

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New School Year

The school year is starting up again, and virtual classrooms will be prominent. This writer is reminded of how he did distance learning in the old days - by watching television sitcoms. In particular, the field of chemistry didn't seem quite so daunting after viewing The Facts of Life episode "Take My Finals Please". When Natalie got frustrated with her inability to remember the chemical symbol for the element gold, Tootie showed her the value of word associations. She had to come up with a sentence that starts with the letters of the chemical symbol and that references the element. Tootie told Natalie to imagine a thief trying to steal her gold watch and then shout "Eh, you, give me back my gold watch!" (Element - Gold, Symbol - Au). Expanding on Tootie's wise idea, I thought I would create some new chemistry word associations for all students now staying at home:

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Ornamental Hermits

As gardens grew more elaborate in late 18th century England, some wealthy landowners splurged on the ultimate in backyard decorations – ornamental hermits. Given food and a very modest shelter (such as a shed or cave), an employee was expected to live alone on the grounds in a tattered cloak for the duration of a 7-year contract. The landowner was then provided with the ultimate rustic diorama that had just a bit of live drama. However, the increasing urbanization and industrialization of Great Britain in the ensuing decades made hermit work look less enticing to employees and eventually the fad faded.

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Vinyl Records

Recent news reports indicate that sales of vinyl records may surpass CDs this year, as a growing number of consumers believe that the old, analog players provide a richer sound experience than the newer electronic devices. This story makes us wonder if there is any other old-fashioned contraption that could become cool again? What about manual typewriters? Can the public once again be smitten with the typewritten word?

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Paying off Student Loans

In 2018, student loan debt in the U.S. reached $1.5 trillion. With a continued increase in college tuition, it's likely that even more young adults will be turning to loans in order to finance their education.

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