I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

December 04, 2006

December 4, 2006: Coal...what's under YOUR tree?

Holiday giving? Consider a lump of coal.

Coal prices have increased sharply in recent years. Good value can still be found in western-U.S. sub-bituminous.

For true authenticity, nothing beats a lump of Northern Appalachia bituminous for its dustiness, dirty smudge and high sulfur content (adds a nice aroma). For availability, the winner is PRB sub-bituminous, which is in ample supply this holiday season. For those seeking a less authentic, but still effective approach, you may consider charcoal. While there is no coal in charcoal, the gift will have the desired effect.

When adjudicating your coal gift, you should consider the following:

Dirtiness -- why buy a lump of coal unless it's sure to get all over everything else in the gift area.

Crumbliness -- ditto #1.

Pungency -- coal does not actually smell. Or does it?

Price -- Five cents a lump is not a lot of cash, but if you have lots of friends who qualify,it can be expensive in quantity.

Availability -- Coal just is not as abundant as it once was (give your friends a coal extracting company stock gift).

Where does one buy coal? On line might be your best bet.

The following websites sell coal for the holiday season:

Credit goes primarily to CSFB for the above silliness.

If coal is not the correct gift, I am sending several good friends an assortment of prime bison steaks, which are truly delicious. I am ordering them through:


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