Monday, February 28, 2005

It's All In The Name

* Driving in, I hear that support for Social Security Reform is so-so, but really falls among Democrats and those in the middle when it's titled "President Bush's Social Security Plan." If the GOP is listening, it seems as all is needed to get this by the Democrats is a name change. I suggest "The Arnold Schwarzenegger Social Security Plan." It'd have widespread appeal, and Arnold could go on tour as "The Retirenator."

* Who let the dogs out on Biogen? Check out that ticker today, BIIB; they had an MS drug recalled. Semiconductors doing well again, even if the market index numbers are a little wobbly. Lets see if the market catches a bid in the normal monthly strengh period as paychecks and automatic 401k feeds hit.

* No surprise that Million Dollar Baby had a great night at the Oscars. Note, though, that I didn't see any of the nominated movies. I'm kind of a Netflix guy. I'll see them later.

* Not only that, but I didn't realize that the Academy Awards show was on so early. By the time I hunkered down to watch it, all that's left was some Sunday Night Movie.

* Did you see the movie High Fidelity with John Cusak? Do I listen to music because I'm miserable? Or, am I miserable because I listen to music?

* I get a a bunch of emails daily because I ordered merchandise from a golf company. So it seems like every golf company in the world now sends me emails. "Read what Greg Norman says about hitting it out of the bunker." That kind of thing. I can't opt out, because that's just asking for even more emails. So, I just keep adding addresses to my spam filter. But it's just a pain.

* Forbes has a poll out on Yahoo, a stock that I own. Asking, what is their greatest achievement? Of their choices, I think they've become the portal standard. They've done a great job as an aggregator of all things. Stocks, sports, email, and news. A bunch of other companies try to do the same thing, but I still stay with Yahoo.

* Sometimes you go to Yahoo to check your stock tickers, and you can't figure out why your stock suddenly dropped for no reason. Check the ex-dividend date. Aha. They should print those stocks in blue or something on the page.

* I like dividend paying stocks. Over the years, I've tried to add enough in so that every month, somebody is pinging me with dividends. I take the dividends and throw them into mutual funds.

* Clint Eastwood is quite the talent, huh? . He's done all kinds of things - and done them well!

* I was reading some message board that cinnamin is supposed to be good for your blood sugar. I don't know if this is the latest fad or what the medical research is behind this. I wonder if the public reads that kind of thing, and that's an excuse to get one of those massive cinnamin rolls at Cinnabon? And how would researchers ever figure out that cinnamin is good for blood sugar anyways? Seems like cinnamin is in desserts and snacks, and not much else. Ah, the other thing the public might do is order the steak sandwich and fries, "but sprinkle some cinnamin on it."

* The best way of hitting the golf ball out of the bunker? "Daniel-san, Mr. Miyagi say the best way to hit the golf ball out of the bunker, is not to hit the golf ball in the bunker in the first place."

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Living on Borrowed Notebook Time

* Well, using a notebook with built-in wi-fi today. Something borrowed, something blue, while I'm waiting to get something new.

* Everything is Academy Awards this weekend. Who will win the best this or best that, and then the inevitable Razzies mention. Poor Halle Berry! I don't really care who wins the Awards tonight, or if the network will need the 7-second delay to deal with Chris Rock.

* Have you ever watched TV on sunday mornings? It's informercial city. One I saw today was about stock trading. Anyways, they highlighted some stock that went from 33-cents to 88-cents or something like that as I recall. I only had it on for a little bit, but they were like "wow, that's outstanding!" My take is that if I got caught up in their program, I'd lose all my money. So I'd never recommend that sort of thing.

* Thanks for the kind words from My Money Blog!

* Of course, I'll probably watch the Academy Awards. Blame it on "Herd mentality."

* We are in monthly strength period, when 401k contributions hit. So I like the market this week. And isn't it nice to see semiconductors rallying? I wonder if we're seeing a blow-off top in oil stocks, though. Some really crazy action there. Up, up, and away!

* Gary Kaltbaum did mention that he thinks he was wrong about the short the market call. Good thing he kept his position small.

* I picked up Stan Weinstein's book Profit in Bull and Bear Markets for a little weekend reading while I am basically computerless. Interesting read. I'll give a book review later!

* Was it just me, or was The Apprentice boring this week?

* Trekkies are protesting the cancellation of Enterprise. I mean, they're more serious about that than the Ohio vote recount protestors or the Europeans protesting Bush. Who cares about global warming? Who cares about Social Security Reform? Who cares about the War on Terror? BUT DON'T YOU DARE TAKE AWAY STAR TREK! Them are fightin' words...

* Batteries are low, so that's my que to find something productive to do... Cheers!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

PDA Post

Well, it happened to me. The inevitable hard disk crash. Moving parts keep working until they don't. Here I am on my iPaq, making do on my 802.11b wi-fi network, and graphics-lite mobile versions of websites to keep it quick.

For three years, I never backed up data. But a few weeks ago, I had a feeling that I should back up my files. Phew. Thank God.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

American Idol

Quick comment on American Idol... When they eliminated the last woman, it went like this:

Seacrest: "Darn, you're out. Lets find out why. Simon, what do you think?"

Simon: "Horrible song choice. Horrible execution of that song. Horrible."

Seacrest: "Well, tough luck. How about before we kick you out the door, you sing that song one more time?"

Fun Factory

* Well, we're busier than Santa's elves in December at the Fun Factory.

* The stock market looks okay still to me. I'm still long. We're entering the strongest part of the month, as paychecks hit and automatic funding of 401(k) plans happen. So, weakness this week was buyable. Especially if you saw that put-call ratio today. I'm already long, so not much for me to do.

* I heard on the Gary Kaltbaum archives that he went 10% short the market early this week, with a 4% stop loss. I think he'll be wrong and get stopped out, but he's pretty good. Maybe he'll be right. That other guy on his show, from He seems pretty good. I dunno. I'm at the point I just listen to myself and have my own charts and such. But these people are very entertaining.

* Speaking of gurus, Jim Cramer was on his radio show talking positively in the recent week, though clearly identifying the risk, of Google $210 March calls. In fairness, he did say it would be risky. I don't have a problem swinging for the fences once and awhile with options; but, it is risky risky risky.

* Econ 101 book sought for Rick Santorum

* Larry Kudlow blogs about The Great American Economy.

* Did you see the Steven Seagal move Into the Sun? It was a real stinker, but what's wrong with his voice? It's like he was whispering or something. Maybe it was my DVD player. It just sounded wierd.

* Lots of NBA trades. The biggest was the 6-player deal between the Sacramento Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers. Basically a Chris Webber for Kenny Thomas deal. I think the Kings' Geoff Petrie is one of the best. He has this way of sending players past their prime off, and getting something back for them. Incredible.

* Yeah, Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders? I think Moss is a fantastic player, but he seems like a clown to me. (In that it seems like he takes his talent for granted). He's a great player, though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Technology Gone Wild

* Maybe it's just me. I follow the blog fairly religiously. Technology is fun and exciting. There are new gizmos and gadgets coming everyday. Some actually make it to market, and some are just concept ideas that never gain traction.

* Did you read that former Miami Dolphins punter Reggie Roby died? He was only 43. Good grief. And Tedy Bruschi had a stroke at 31. You just never know.

* Check out this engadget column about a car with a pop-up bed.

* What cracks me up is when folks use technology to do something that they can do more easily with something else. Like a Tivo records TV programs. That's about it. But some folks will spend thousands getting their networked PC to record shows, and transmit them to whatever TV in the house. It's very cool. It's very complicated. There are FAQ sites all over the web to do it. But is it really needed, when there are Tivos and other like-devices that do it?

* Tornados in Sacramento. That's just funny. Maybe they'll have to change the NBA Sacramento Kings to the Sacramento Tornados. It'd make a cool jersey. And it'd explain their frustration at the free throw line. "Must've been the wind, coach."

* I hate it when you go to a Yahoo news link, and then the site requires a login. I just don't read it. Forget it. And if I do create a login and enter all the personal stuff, I'm just making up stuff anyways.

* If you could get your computer to bake blueberry muffins, it'd be really neat; but to what extreme are we going to take this?

* Whatever happened to the group Loverboy?

* The Contra Costa Times has an article about how the county needs to know the likely effects of a casino. Here, let me help and save the county a few million dollars worth of studies and reports: People will flock there, and they'll lose a bunch of money.

* I'm certainly guilty of technology gone wildness myself, shopping for the PDA phone that can make calls, surf the web, play MP3s, and snap pictures. Heck, if I could find one that also bakes blueberry muffins, I'd plunk down the cash today.

Quick Hits

* I like the move up in the semiconductors. I think we need to see some strengh in the financials, though. The news blurbs are that the financials are selling off because of inflation (higher interest rates). I dunno. What were the bad boys in the inflation numbers, tobacco and alcohol? Is that such a big concern? I don't think so.

* Did you know that you can substitute applesauce for oil when baking? Good to know. If one bakes.

* You can always trust your inner feelings, cuz they always tell the truth. - The Scorpians "Make it Real."

* Sometimes, my PC here at the Fun Factory just freezes up and that's all she wrote until I flip the power on and off. It's fairly random. Kind of sucks.

* I read on the web, that the rock group AC/DC is working on a new studio album. Really. I've got all their songs on my broken MP3 player. While after about 3-4 songs, it all sounds pretty much the same, they can write a mean hook. I'll get the CD when it comes out.

* Alright, I'm going to have to power on and off.

Motor Control Madness

Need a break?

Lift your right foot off the floor, and move your leg around clockwise, making small circles.

Once you're doing that, take your right hand, and draw the number 6 in the air.

Oops. Your leg changed directions, huh? What's up with that?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Popcorn Grenades

I bought a hot-air popcorn popper. This thing is crazy! As the popcorn pops, it gets thrown up and out of the popper and into a bowl. But it often takes unpopped kernals with it. Hot, unpopped kernals. And sometimes they don't stay unpopped. They'll pop in the bowl. What happens then is that popcorn ends up everywhere. It's like a popcorn war zone in the kitchen.

Mental Tornado

* I was almost finished with an entry, and the power failed. Then when it came back up, the internet was out. Starting over. There is a tornado watch here. Freaky.

* I thought the stock market was open today for some reason. But nope. No NBA. No stocks. No nothing. Egads.

* Every winter, around February, we get a few warm days that make you think that Spring is here. Then SLAM! Winter comes back. Kind of depressing.

* So, I'm complete hungover. Yesterday started off at a buddy's house, who just got a new TV and DVD player. So I brought the beer. Cuz that's what buddies do.

* We rented The Terminal DVD. The funny thing about that, is that my buddy hadn't rented anything for a long time. And he had some late fees from some porn videos. It was funny hearing the cashier girl read off the movies. So, he won't live that one down for awhile. I just quipped "So good you had to keep 'em a few extra days, eh?"

* The Terminal was pretty good. Kind of slow. It was almost like the Tom Hanks movie where he was stranded on an island (Castaway). This time, he's stranded in an airport. No Wilson volleyball, though.

* After that, we met up with some folks at a sports bar, and that's where some serious drinking happened. We thought we'd watch the NBA All Star game, but all we did was drink. Oh, dinner was in there somewhere, too. I could barely stand up when we were ready to leave. I'm surprised we didn't end up at a strip club. But I'm glad we didn't.

* When I arrived back home, of course I fired up Yahoo Messenger and chatted for hours. I could barely type. I'm not sure if I have IM-Regret today or not. I think I kept it together ok. Who knows? Maybe Cecil can comment on that one.

* I kind of forgot what hangovers feel like. I just haven't had that much to drink for a looooong time. Egads. Pretty nasty.

* Tornado warning is over. I guess we won't be visiting Oz today, Toto.

Friday, February 18, 2005

American Idol Thoughts

* The rockers are gone on Disco night at the latest. When Donna Summer is the guest judge, that's all she wrote for those guys! "Well, that was an interest rendition of The Last Dance, Constantine. I've never heard it quite that way."

* Speaking of, when is 80's Hair Metal night? They should drag Vince Neil out there as a guest judge, and lets see how some of those crooners and ballad mongers do belting out "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Shout at the Devil."

* Do you think Randy, Paula and Simon hang together off-set?

* Three nights of American Idol next week.

* I wonder if the Las Vegas showgirl really brought some of her friends along to Hollywood?

* Tick tock.


* Ah, there's the inflation. Inflation numbers out and showing a little bump up, and moving longer-term rates up. Now maybe Greenspan can have a great weekend. So, is this a good thing for companies that make their money on the margin, by borrowing short term and loaning out longer term?

* That Michael guy on The Apprentice last night drove me nuts. I work with a bunch of Michaels. Complain all the time, never contribute, always talking about how good they are. SEEYA.

* So, investment advisors are upgrading oil now after the move? Typical.

* Options weeks are supposed to trend up. Hah. The week after options weeks are supposed to trend down. Supposed to. If the stock market played by the rules, anyways.

* If you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a ball.

* I was watching some Entertainment show, saying that Will Smith's name on a movie is an instant blockbuster. You think so?

* The NBA banned sales of alcohol during the 4th quarter. Good. Kobe, Garnett, and Iverson all seem to miss a lot of shots late in games; maybe cutting them off from alcohol will help. (bah).

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tick Tock Thursday

* Whenever I'm just waiting for the day or week to end, I'll title the blog entery "Tick Tock" something-or-other. It's like counting down to a greater purpose, like the weekend. (Just feeling a little worn out this week).

* Not a great day in the market. I can't find any reason why and I'll have to update charts later to check volume and such. I remain long, though. Energy prices are keeping a damper on things. You know, it seemed that yesterday, Greenspan was a little befuddled on why his rate hikes haven't impacted longer term rates. The money supply and GDP have been growing, so where's the inflation that'd lead to higher longer term rates? I think consumers are paying huge mortgage payments and property taxes. In addition, higher energy prices have US dollars going overseas. So, the money isn't flooding retail and causing inflation. Eh, just a thought. Tick tock.

* Hasta la vista, NHL baby.

* Cecil had an interesting comment regarding a PDA phone type of devide on a previous thread. Unfortunately, some of the best whiz-bang tech gizmos never make it here to the states. Probably cuz we're spending all our cash at the fuel pumps and on property taxes!

* Intuit (Turbo Tax) earnings not so great. I guess folks aren't doing their taxes this year. Er, or using other software or even the free IRS website...

* I see a news blurb on Yahoo, a stock that I own, that they'll be sending driving directions to cellphones. It's kind of a crowded market, don't you think? GPS systems out there for folks who need them.

* American Idol... Uh, well I've had about enough of the also-rans. Lets get to the main event. Next week, the show is on monday, tuesday and wednesday. Yeesh!

* Thursday night = The Apprentice. Nuff said. Tick tock.

* I've got 2000 songs on my broken Nomad (can't upload anymore songs for some broken reason), and I hear Gwen Stefani's Bubble Pop Electric 3 times today. What are the odds of that? Bubble Pop Elec-tric. Bubble Pop Elec-tric.

* When you're making a type, the difference between evacuate and evaluate is a big one. Don't you think?

* Yawn. Tick tock.

Realty TV vs Politics

Talk about your reality TV, suddenly The West Wing is extremely boring compared to what's going on in the White House! Here's how a program summary might read in your TV preview weekly:

On this week's episode of The White House, armed terrorist bands cross the border from Mexico after the President cut the budget of the border patrol. The nations of Iran and Syria form a military alliance, and prepare to battle the US in the Middle East. North Korea announces their nuclear weapons are at the ready, and demands immediate negotians. And a gay prostitute secretly gains access to the White House. Starring George Bush as President, Dick Cheney as Vice President, and this week, American Idol's 2004 winner Fantasia, reprises her roll as Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.

Is it just me? Does this whole thing look like a White House attempt to compete with Desperate Housewives? Is there an email address where we can send in our ideas for future script ideas?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Fun Factory

* Doesn't it seem like Greenspan is trying to pop the housing bubble?

* My boss just dogpiled on the work. I was trying to hide out this week. He found me. CRACK! (Insert whipping sound).

* I need a new cellphone, and now a new MP3 player. So I'm thinking about getting a Treo 650 with net access, so I can just stream audio from Shoutcast and have a few 1gig SD cards for music I want to listen to over-and-over again. I'm not a big fan of the Palm OS, but I don't like any of the Windows phone-PDA devices.

* Stocks? Kind of topsy-turvy today. I didn't get a chance to watch. I remain long. Even if Greenspan was sounding a bit hawkish today.

* I'm flirting on the company pier here with a Viet cutie. She's not giving me the time of day, though. Hey, maybe that's because I'm not asking her for the time of day? "Excuse me? What's the time of day?" (Argh.)

* Everybody seems ga-ga over housing. I mean, it's Cisco 2000 all over again. Yah yah... Gotta live somewhere.

* The Treo 650 has a little camera on it, too.

* Tyra Mail! I think a new season of America's Next Top Model gets underway soon.

* Did you see Asia on American Idol last night? Geez, a lil' over the top. She sounds like a Wizard of Oz munshkin. And how about that guy who didn't make it, and was in tears "WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?!" Uh, somebody who could sing might be good for starts.

* The big Google battle cry is that she'll be added to the SP500. Maybe. It's a great search site. I used it a few times today again already. Shoot. Forgot to look and see what ads are on there again. Who knows? Somebody is paying for advertising I guess.

* Speaking of net stocks, for all the whining about EBAY collapsing, it's rallied a bit off it's initial decline. Dead cat bounce? Or, was it a value stock in the $70's? I don't know.

* Speaking of net stocks, I think I'll go order a few things from Amazon...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tick-Tock Tuesday

* Options expirations weeks are supposed to be up. Or so they say. I'm not sure who they is. But they say opitons week trends up. And that it's volatile. Isn't the market up about 2/3rds of the time anyways? Couldn't one say, about most every week of the year, "This week tends to be up," and be right? Just a thought. But for now, I'll be an options week lemming, and go for the ride. Looks good today.

* So, looks like the red carpet will roll out for the Michael Jackson trial. I wonder if Joan Rivers will cover it from the fashion angle? Did you see the list of stars who could be called to the stand?

* Allen Iverson is playing out of his mind right now. What a player. Check out his stats the past week or so. My goodness. As local sportscaster Grant Napear might say, "Somebody turn on the sprinkler systems, because Iverson is on fire!"

* With all the different ways to listen to music now, it seems like everyday there's a new device introduced that does something that I'd call quirky. Check out the Motorola iRadio. They say it's totally portable music, available in your car, cell phone, PC, or home stereo. Pause a song in the car, go into the house and resume on the note you left off on! Is there a big demand for that? WOW! FINALY! THE PRODUCT I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Uh, pass.

* Applied Materials reports after the bell today. When's the last time they said anything decent? Semis have been on a roll. Hopefully, the can keep that mo-mo going.

* What if the hockey league in the forest cancelled their season, and nobody was there, would it make a sound?

* Oh, sure. I write this thing on GOOG stock, and she's up nicely today. Don't ask me what I think of Apple stock. (Okay, I think they're a one-trick pony. The iPod is neat, but I don't have one and use something else to play MP3s.)

* On Gary Kaltbaum's radio show friday, he said it'd take a tractor to move Microsoft stock. I thought that was kind of funny. MSFT seems like it moves 7-cents one way, then 7-cents the other way. Day after day. He may have a point.

* Blue Crush's Sanoe Lake. Just a thought.

* I'm hooked on the show "24" this year, even with the Keifer Sutherland disclaimors. I'd like to watch a bunch of them back to back, instead of stringing this thing out week by week and interrupted by commercials.

* March Madness is just a month away. Lets synchronize our watches.

* Biotech stocks are sure hit and miss, huh?


Remember Microsoft in the 1990's? The company created lots of millionaires, as it grew to become the technology standard in the information age. Many employees working up in Richmond, Washington saw their stock double and split over and over again. Can we make the same case for Google today? Are the folks working for Google on the same path as those who worked for Microsoft in the 1990's?

I think Google is a great search site. But to me, that's all it is. It's a door to somewhere else. I don't stay on Google's website. I don't read or click any ads. I either type a search word in the Google toolbar on my browser or at their homepage, then scroll through the result sets, and click my way off on to some other domain. Other than Blogger, that ends my use of Google. (Does Blogger make money?)

When I look around at my office mates, I rarely see a Google webpage on their desktops. They seem to use Google the same way I do. I hear them say "Let me do a Google search," but then off they go to somewhere else.

When I think of a website where I linger, read content, and even occassionaly click on an ad, it would be Yahoo. I look around my office, and can add that my coworkers often have a Yahoo screen up on their browsers. When folks are looking for a break or diversion here, they check news, sports, and stocks on Yahoo.

Much has been made of the Google lock-up expiration yesterday, and that the stock was actually up for the day. Maybe this is a sign that those who predicted lots of stock sales and a tanking share price were wrong. Jim Cramer said on his radio show yesterday, that he thought the stock was going much higher. Maybe it will. Speculation can do crazy things to stock prices, in both directions. Right now, everyone seems to think it's a must-own stock.

The battle of Greed vs. Fear is the ongoing struggle on Wall Street. Will Google be like Microsoft was in the 1990's? Will Google be like many-a-net-stock circa 2000? I don't know. We'll see how it plays out.

(I don't own Google, although I've traded it from time to time. I do own Yahoo. )

Monday, February 14, 2005

Options Week Kick-Off

* Ah, the first day of options expiration week, and I can smell the napalm in the air. Isn't options week supposed to be up? Well, most of the time. I suppose "most" is the operative word. The market has to keep you guessing at all times. Otherwise, where's the fun?

* I think the movie Dodge Ball was hillarious. Just hillarious.

* Of the PDA phones, the one I like the best, heading into my own cellphone option expiration date (ie, end of yearly contract), is the Treo 650. I'm not sure if that's what I'll get. I don't like Palm OS as much as Pocket PC. I'd also like something that can get MobiTV. So... We'll see.

* New Battlestar Galactica or Old Battlestar Galactica? (I haven't seen the new one).

* Why does the NFL still play the Pro Bowl? Sure it was an important backdrop in the movie Blue Crush. But other than that?

* Here's a toast to Karl Malone!

* Are people really shocked about the drop in Google since their earnings? To me, that was a perfect time to dump heading into today's lock up expiration. I think insiders might want to bank some profits. The 2000-2002 bear market wasn't that long ago, and folks remember what happened to high flyers. Especially given that this bull market is getting long in the tooth. I see some folks at realmoney think today is a buy. Maybe it is. But I remember 2000-2002, too. Not my cup of tea.

* The dollar had reached a 3-month high against the foreign currency basket, after rallying for 6 weeks. It fell a little on the trade imbalance news last week. But is the move up a new trend? Most folks early in the year seemed to be wondering if they should convert all their dollars to euros or whatever, at the exact wrong time! It's rallied ever since. So, we'll if folks predicting more dollar weakness this year will be right, or if the rally continues.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Random News Comments

* Tomorrow is the final day of the Democratic National Committee's big winter meeting - the one at which they'll finally install Howard Dean as chairman of the DNC. Is that the annual thing where folks strip down to their swim trunks and jump in the icey water? Those crazy Democrats!

* Norway wants to ban copying songs from a CD to an MP3 player. Good luck on that one. Why not start with something easier? For example, banning shoes from having shoelaces. Or, banning jeans from having zippers/buttons. Ah, those crazy Norwegians!

* It's so hot in Australia, that Hot and Bothered Australian Spiders Head Indoors. Forget the bug man or bug spray. Just show the little buggers their share of the energy bill, and that'll drive 'em out. Either that, or they'll bump up the thermostat a bit. Conserve and be cool at the same time, little friends. We all live on this planet together. Peace.

* Democrats are mounting a much more aggressive and unified opposition to President Bush. Did I blink and miss the Democrat-Republican love fest? Will that be wearing those swim trunks from the first bullet above? Because I think they'd look pretty silly cursing out President Bush while they're swimming in freezing water.

* Goldilocks economy may live again. I guess they like that "just right" part of the fairy tale analogy, but remember that Goldilocks was mixing it up with three bears.

* Blockbuster got rid of late fees, but consumers ... ultimately are charged the full retail price of the title if they keep it for more than a month . I guess I wasn't I the only one who thought of the "wow I can rent this forever" loophole? Darn.

* McDonald's has agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit over artery-clogging trans fats in its cooking oils, the company said on Friday. The company had no comment when asked if they'd like to supersize that settlement and add an apple pie for just another $1.89.

* Malicious code that can be used to take advantage of a hole in Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) MSN Messenger has been published online, prompting widespread security advisories. OMG! FWIW, I think u should w8 4 a patch b4 using it. BWTFDIK.

* Combine this poll that says Americans are feeling a bit more optimistic about the future of Iraq with today's news that Deadly Attacks on Mosque, Bakery, and you have to think that the poll was only among US Christians on low-carb diets. (Okay, sorry. Bad on me for that one. People are dying.)

* White House Spells Out List of 150 Budget Cuts. On the list, no Valentine's Day cards this year for North Korea's Kim Jong Il, and scratch the candy hearts for Iran's former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

* Democrats See Nowhere to Go but Up. There's an energizing 2005 theme. I bet it barely beat out "We Can't Possibly Suck More Than This!"


* It was hard to imagine a sustainable rally in the markets without the semiconductors participating, or even leading. It sure looks like they put in a double-bottom on the charts and this could bode well for all tech and the market as a whole. (Disclosure: Long SMH).

* Did you see The Apprentice last night? Those commercials from both teams were just ridiculous. Trump should've fired one from each team. (Great show, though).

* Remember when HP bought Compaq, they were the largest PC maker on the planet. Dell reclaims the lead.

* Public Unions and Pensions

* I'm thinking it's about time to go to Yahoo news, and see if there is anything new on Health. It's about time we had a new government-funded research study saying that eating veggies is good for you. Nothing. Maybe next week.

* I like to follw engadget for the latest technology innovation. It's frustrating to see that many manufacturers don't release their products in the US. I'm waiting for that mobile device that does phone calls, surfs the web, has wireless TV, and plays mp3s. I don't care if it weighs a little more than a compact cell phone.

* Hey, maybe all that tech gear engadget follows is why semis are rallying.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Your Permanent File

Have you ever seen your personnel file? Or any other file? I remember in high school and college, the big threat was that you didn't want to make any mistakes or else "it's going in your permanent file." Nothing good ever goes in the permanent file. Only bad stuff.

What file? Where's it at? Can I see a copy? No. It's private. Only those with a legitimate interest can look at the file.

It's like somewhere, there's all these files on people. With lots of bad stuff in them. Because that's where you put the bad stuff. Nobody gets paid to document the good stuff and put that in the file.

American Idol

* I don't see why folks who have a shot at American Idol, aren't working their tails off to memorize the words to Mr. Postman. Year after year now, we see folks blow it at this stage of the competition because of lack of effort. Amazing.

* Hey, Firefox users! Yahoo toolbar now available! I think I'd prefer if Firefox just stays in the shadows. Now that it's becoming more mainstream, it's probably a matter time before hackers start trying to write virus and spyware against it. I don't think Firefox has the resources Microsoft does to battle this kind of thing. Just a thought.

* North Korea has nukes. Surprise, surprise... Many will blame Bush. Many will blame the 1994 Clinton Appeasement policy. But, as technology advances, it seems that more and more nations will just develop nuclear capability no matter what.

* I don't like to see the Nasdaq down. There's a saying that the Nasdaq leads the SP500, the SP500 leads the DOW. So if the Nasdaq is tanking, it's usually just a matter of time before the other indices go down. Of course, wednesday and thursday prior to options expiration week often times present good buying opportunities. There's that trend, too. I remain fully invested in equities. Bring it on.

* Say you will, say you won't, say you'll do what I don't. Say you will, say the truth, say to me, C'est la vie - Bewitched.

* Does Paula Abdul seem a little more testy this year? Or maybe she's just standing up for herself a little more? Seems like there's a growing rift between her and Simon. If this were a sitcom, what would happen is somebody would leave the show, and a replacement judge would show up. Then we'd argue for the next couple dozen years, which American Idol was better? The one with Paula Abdul, or the one with Pat Benatar? (Just throwing an 80's name out there. You'd prefer Alannah Myles? Joan Jett? Belinda Carlisle? Susanna Hoffs?).

* Speaking of replacements, I just don't think the Charlie's Angels franchise can take another movie like that Full Throttle one. C'mon. It wasn't horrible, if you went in with very low and campy expectations. And also it was watchable if you think Lucy Liu is hot.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Carly, You're Fired!

* Carly Fiorina went into the boardroom and got fired! You think there's singing and dancing in the aisles and cube farms at Hewlett Packard today? Probably hasn't been too much joy for those folks in quite awhile.

* I skipped American Idol last night and watched the 2-hr finale of The Amazing Race. That was a pretty good show, and another starts up in a few weeks.

* It's tough to have a business model that relies on paying customers, when the competition is giving away the same or similar services for free. Symantec and McAfee spy and virus checking software is being challenged by AOL's for free software. (And Microsoft is getting in that business.) Intuit's Turbo Tax and other tax preparation firms faces competition from government websites allowing tax preparers to complete tax returns for free. Tivo faces challenges from cable companies and folks doing recording themselves on their PCs. Competition is great for the consumer. Consumers love free stuff.

* Market selling off a little. Maybe the Fed's tough talk? Or, the put-call ratio was showing too much bullishness and complacency.

* Did you see CNBC's Christie Hefner on Squawk Box this morning? You know, for giggles, I always wanted to buy 100 shares of Playboy, just so I could what they send out with their shareholder reports. Maybe I will. Who cares if I ever make money on it? I'll be checkin' that mailbox everyday! Beats those 0% credit card and 120% home equity loan offers that come everyday. Next release on Yahoo health news: Checking your mail can lead to hair growing on your palms.

* One foot in hell, and the other's gonna be, rockin' with the Devil and setting him free - Loverboy.

* As Carolyn, George and Donald might say in the post-boardroom meeting on The Apprentice: "Easy decision. Carly was a disaster."

* The Democrat's Maginot Line (Social Security).

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Spring Fling

Look at your watch now
You're still a super hot female
You got your million-dollar contract
And they're all waiting for your hot track

What You Waiting For? by Gwen Stefani

* Congratulations to the New England Patriots!

* Social Security privitization means that you'd get to put a maximum of $1000 per year into a private account. Not that much. I was hoping for a more grandiose privitization option. This is more like taking your sister to the prom. Who cares?

* Tough to lay the 7 points in that game. The game started off slow and boring, and kind of remained that way.

* EBAY now says they're cutting prices? Didn't they announce a few weeks ago that they were raising prices? Have you seen their stock price? Google selling off a little ahead of the stock lock-up period expiration. That'll make that one interesting.

* Semiconductors acting Juiced up.

* Super Bowl commercials were mostly duds. Maybe the MC Hammer ones were a bit funny. Burt Reynolds and the FedEx "How to make a successful Super Bowl Commercial" ad was pretty good. Personally, the commercial got my attention. Ahem.

* Here's a shocker: Diet lowers cholesterol as well as drug. A diet rich in fiber and vegetables lowered cholesterol just as much as taking a statin drug, Canadian researchers reported on Monday.

* Here's the funny thing about that drug and diet study. They say: They said people who cannot tolerate the statin drugs because of side-effects can turn to the diet, which they said their volunteers could easily follow. How come diet isn't the first option? Because they're trying to sell drugs and make profits? Huh? Answer me that, Batman.

* I thought Paul McCartney did a good job with the halftime show. It kind of lacked the Hollywood pop flash and style, but I think that's what they were going for. When McCartney asked the fans to sing along to "Hey Jude," I wondered how many folks knew the words... Cue the Gwen Stefani... Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...

Friday, February 04, 2005


* My official Super Bowl pick: Take NE and lay the points.

* Don Luskin or Paul Krugman?

* Gwen Stefani will be in the Pepsi iTunes commercial this Super Bowl sunday. So you know.

* Total Immersion Video Games. Yes, it is very cool; but, what do you want to bet once that gets going, the #1 applications will be PORN! To the holodeck, ensign.

* People make a lot of investor sentiment. Right now, many of the sentiment indicators show bullishness or complacency. But when I hear and read investor opinions, I'm surprised at how negatively they view 2005 and the market. Seems like the analysts and commentators are bearish.


Holy Guacamole, Batman. Did you see the semiconductor rally today? Juiced! Woo!

Buh-Bye, Danny!

* If you watched The Apprentice last night, you'll know what happened to guitar-totin' Danny. He was project manager for the college folk, in the battle with the high school grads on who could present a better promotional buzz for Nestle's coffee, Nescafe.

* Friday's in the stock market tend to move opposite the weekly trend as traders lock in gains. In addition, it's now Feb 4th, so the monthly-strength period (where paycheck deferrals flow into 401k plans) is about done. Should get interesting from here. I remain long at this point, and think the bull market trend is up.

* I watched a bit of the Lakers-Spurs game. For some reason, the NBA isn't as much fun when the Lakers suck. I don't know who that was out in the Purple and Gold. Lamar Odom? Chucky Atkins? Chris Mihm? Yeesh. Then on TV, they were interviewing Kobe Bryant, asking him about the rumors of Phil Jackson coming back to coach the team. That's Hollywood.

* The Apple ipod giveaway wasn't a bad idea, but the focus should've been on the coffee. The high school grads $10K giveaway and Cold vs. Hot taste test were great ideas.

* So your girlfriend is a dancer and she makes love for money, Used to get it free we really think you're lucky - Poison.

* Danny couldn't lead. He's very indecisive. He seems to be more concerned about group consensus and getting along with everyone. Heck, he would be a good government employee. Can you imagine him at the DMV dealing with customers? He'd be trying to cheer up folks who are frustrated with the long lines! "Here, I wrote a song about the long lines..."

* The Seattle Times Co. is doubling the price of their newspapers, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times. Will that kind of move increase readership, in a world where more and more folks are getting their news online for free?

* You can always count on Larry Kudlow writing an optimistic column. Here's one on the Supply-Side State of the Union. Snippet... the tried and true principle of compounded interest will replace the broken crutch of government entitlement.

* I need a new cellphone, so I was researching some Verizon phones, and I happened to check out their stock price. Look at that yield. My goodness. Hmm.

* I think the financials need to rally for stocks to go up.

* The Apprentice's Erin is a dead-ringer for Ashlee Simpson. Even the crackly voice.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Tick Tock Thursday

* How flies time when you're having fun. Huh?

* Obesity hits US Life Expectancy. Ah, the ultimate plan to save Social Security. Have people eat more fries and burgers.

* The Nets sent Nenad Krstic to the hospital after he struggled through 12 minutes because of the flu. Ah, that's why his stat line had goose eggs in my fantasy basketball line-up. Ouch.

* Stand up! Stand up! The more you do it, the less you fall down. David Lee Roth.

* So, profit taking in stocks? Post State of the Union hangover? Post Federal Reserve hangover? I'm thinking we're having a little pullback before a larger advance ahead. I'll have to look at the internals later, but lets hope folks are building positions today for the next move up.

* How does a rise in energy prices act like a tax on consumers? Well, look at retailers like Amazon. If you're spending money on your energy bill and on higher gasoline prices, you're adding less items to your Amazon shopping cart.

* Are Greenspan's rate hikes an attempt to prick the housing bubble? Hmmmm....

* Tick tock... Google advances on earnings, ahead of lock-up period expiration. Should be interesting around Valentines Day. (I think that's when the lock-up period expires).

* I've been reading a lot about the Coachella Music festival. Sounds like fun. I'm a fan of Weezer and Wilco.

* I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but I think it was kind of cool that after she fainted during her speech, she recovered to deliver it. What's the segway there? "As I was saying before I passed out..." Maybe she has that same bug that Nenad Krstic has. Note to self: Don't start Hillary in my Fantasy Basketball league.

* Are you hunkerin' down to do your taxes? If you're reading the Democrat responses to Bush's State of the Union speech, you know that the Internal Revenue Service needs the cash!

Social Security

Can we make a comparison of the Global Warming Crisis to the Social Security Crisis?

There's no crisis today. So why do anything, right? Heck, there won't be any problems until years down the road. What, me worry? Sheez. Let the kids solve both global warming and social security.

That's just not right. I think WE have to take responsibility. Both of these problems require marginal changes that have longterm effects down the road.

Bush's Social Security proposal is remarkably similar to the one President Clinton proposed, according to commentaries I'm reading this morning. It looks like he's struck a compromise between the go-go-growth Republicans and the Democrats who are concerned about making sure the "safety net" of social security continues and the funding shortfalls are covered.

Looks like a compromise deal. It's better than what we have now, and does make the marginal improvements to bolster the system down the road.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Going Away Party

* SBC said that they'll use attrition to cut 7000 positions by the end of 2005. They added that annually, 12,000 employees leave the company for whatever reason. They retire or find another job. Whatever. That's a big turnover rate, isn't it? Wouldn't that keep your personnel department busy?

* Are you going to watch Bush deliver the State of the Union (SOTU) tonight? Social Security and Tax Reform will be at the top of the agenda. That's a given. I expect we'll see the first official outline of what Social Security Choice will look like. No matter what it is, or what the President says on any topic, the Democrats will follow-up with a speech on how they don't like any of it.

* Well, too bad I didn't have the house mortgaged and credit cards maxed to throw the cash into Google yesterday. Eeesh. See that ticker today? The only barb on that wire, is that I think there's a lock-up period experation date coming up. I don't know if there will be lots of selling after that date, but I'm not chasing that stock. Heck no.

* If 12,000 leave your company a year, divide that the number of work days in a year... lets say 250 to keep the math easy. So, that means that 48 people are leaving everyday.

* And all the girlies say, I'm pretty fly for a white guy.

* Jim Cramer says that what's good for Google is good for Yahoo. I own Yahoo. So, I hope he's right.

* Searching for 40,000% returns.

* I totally forgot about American Idol last night. I accidentally started flipping channels with about 20 minutes to go, in time to see the guy do his James Brown impersonation. I have to agree with Simon and Randy, that the guy wasn't that good.

* 48 people leaving the company everyday. How do you schedule all the retirement lunches and going away lunches? Is there any time left to do any work? Divide a 9 hour day by 48 people, and that means (approximately) every 10 minutes, you have to have a going away party.

* I always like watching the SOTU. This is the beginning of Bush's second term, so it should be quite interesting.

* The Pope is in the hospital. It seems like he's been Pope forever. And that he's been in bad health forever. Watching TV last night, there was lots of speculation on who might be the next Pope.

* Yes, the market is up yet again. So far. Maybe some of the strength is due to the beginning of the month, when automatically invested 401k money hits mutual funds. I've heard folks say that this tends to happen the last few days of a month through the first few days of the next month. I tried backtesting that investing idea, and it's usually a positive period. Usually.

* Can you imagine getting a Microsoft Outlook reminder every 10 minutes for a going away party? "Reminder: Bob's Going Away Party." tick tick tick... "Reminder: Jane's Going Away Party." tick tick tick... "Reminder: " etc. HOW DO I SHUT THIS REMINDER THINGY OFF???

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Round and Round

* SBC Communications Inc. said Tuesday it expects to eliminate about 13,000 jobs after its $16 billion acquisition of AT&T Corp. closes, but executives emphasized that many of those positions can be cut through attrition rather than layoffs.

* Sure, attrition. That's when people leave, you don't replace them. For example, when somebody goes out for lunch, you pack all their belongings in a box and set them outside the office door, then deactivate their security entry card. Attrition.

* Google is up huge afterhours. But remember, a big block of shares could be up for sale this month. Right around Valentines Day. I think. Probably a quick Google search could find out what the day is. Ironic.

* Remember the rock group Ratt? Round and Round, baby.

* Nobody liked the market. Quite a move off the lows. Looks like people are starting to like it again.

* Opening up Tivo for developers to create applications might be a little too late. There are alternatives, ranging from cable and sat companies, and even Windows Media PC.

* Kind of a surprise, but Rudy Tomjanovich is going to retire tonight from the Lakers.

Quick Hits

* Insomnia hit last night, so I put an ear bud in and listened to late night talk. Usually that puts me to sleep, but last night I got involved in this story about mass transit in SF raising fares and how it was a blow to the poor and such. There were interviews with people who were just outraged. The reason this struck me funny (strange), was because it seems like a few months ago, mass transit workers were striking or threatening strikes for more wages and benefits; which, they got. So a few months down the road, is anyone surprised that "HEY! WE NEED MORE CASH!" You think money grows on trees? Nope. Somebody has to pay for the salaries and benefits.

* I like getting haircuts. I drive around and find the hottest Asian hairstylist I can, and get in the chair and flirt the best I can. My favorite part is when she asks me what I'd like... I usually just hold her glance for longer than what's comfortable, then smile and raise my eyebrows, sometimes raze her body with my eyes, and then totally blow it and say something really dumb. I should just keep it simple. HOW YOU DOIN'...

* Federal Reserve meeting watch.

* Do you get the feeling that the medical profession and drug companies are trying to jigger the numbers so that everyone is required to take medication? I say this, because it seems like they've put target numbers on various tests at such a low threshold, that the only people who have a chance at not getting a dire warning are low-fat Vegans.

* People get excited about their 3% raises, while the CPI marches on at 3%. Inflation is really about more money in the system. That's why I don't believe the Living Wage folks get it. You can raise the minimum wage to $1,000,000 an hour, and it won't help poverty. If you raise the floor, the walls push up the ceiling. There's no blanket approach to solve poverty. Each individual has to motivate themselves to attain a skill set.

* The last haircut I had was from a very hot Filipina. I thought things were going well, and maybe I'd get a phone number. Then she started witnessing to me about God. Which falls along my beliefs anyways, so I suppose that was fine. But at the time, I was more thinking about a handjob. We are all sexual beings, you know. Thank God!

* Tick-tock Tuesday.

* My next phone will have MobiTV.

* Have you seen the pastrami burger commercial on TV? I think it's Carl's Jr who makes it. That thing looks like it'd max out tons of stats on the nutrition guide.

* Is handjob one word, or two?