The Federal government is getting more friendly to internet users:
gifts of money
The Bureau of Printing and Engraving has a number of unique gift ideas available online in the Moneyfactory.gov. As far as I can tell, they are the only (legal) manufacturers of many fine products, including Lucky 777 Notes, and uncut sheets of currency in many denominations. If you visit the Moneyfactory.gov, make certain that you view their flash enabled description of how to detect counterfeit money. The bobble headed Treasury Agent displayed would make a great addition to the fine paper products that they produce and sell. If you prefer metal gifts, visit the U.S. Mint's online catalog.
check out beach weather from home
When you ask people what the seven uniformed services of the United States are, they usally leave out the smallest of the bunch. It's not easy to think of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the same light as Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, et. al. (Just what are the other two?). Check out the history resources on their pages if you want to find out the roles they've played in working with the American military. One of the services they offer online is the ability to check on the water temperature at the beach. At the time I wrote this, the Lewes, DE, waves rolled in at a frosty 46 degress farenheit, as measured by buoy 44009.
send a valentine, to someone in the armed forces
Since a letter found its way to Abigail Van Buren of Dear Abby in 1967, from a service man asking for a christmas present in the form of a letter from home, Operation Dear Abby has been busy bringing letters to service man and women. With recent concerns about mail delivery, this year's letter writing campaign has been suspended. But Operation Dear Abby is now on the net. Send a valentine to someone, and let them know how things are at home.
Any idea how much you might be entitled to in Social Security benefits? You can request a copy of your social security statement online. You don't receive the information directly over the net, but a copy of the document will be mailed to you within 2 - 4 weeks.
plain english guide
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have put together a document in pdf format called A Plain English Handbook: How to Create Clear SEC Disclosure Documents that is worth looking at by anyone interested in writing well. The document does describe how to write a disclosure statement well. But it also provides a couple of other functions that make it worth looking over. It incorporates some really great ideas about how to write within the frame work of its subject matter. It also is an excellent guide for people who are working together on a project that involves writing. It gives some great strategies for organizing, and overseeing the production of a multi-person generated document.
buy a home (or former federal building)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is in the real estate business. As are a number of other federal agencies. Homes for sale is a page on the HUD web site that can lead you to agencies selling land and houses. So, if you're looking, why not check out some of the homes for sale by Customs. The store front apartment building in Harrisburg, Pa., looks mighty interesting. The U.S. General Services Administration has some nice looking homes and former federal properties for sale, too. The only thing listed in Delaware was a 60' tall steel light tower, which is on the registry of historic places. Someone beat me to it though. I did see a former post office and court house in Eureka, California.
travel tips and warnings
Interested in visiting another country? Willing to take travel suggestions from the U.S. Depatment of State? They have a full list of Services and Information for American Citizens Abroad.
- William Slawski