Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Summer? Lets Roll!

* Remember back in January, when folks were wondering how to ditch their dollars and get into Euros? That would've been a huge mistake. Just at the point when folks thought the dollar was going to $0, it began an impressive rally.

* I had a couple turkey burgers over the weekend. Livin' large!

* I'm starting to get really concerned at the housing bubble. I think a lot of folks who are on margin are going to get in trouble. Now you might ask at first, what does butter have to do with housing? NO... MARGIN! Anyways, a lot of folks are very leveraged with no-money down and interest only loans. What happens if we have 7 down years like in the 90's? Most folks with fixed-interest loans who keep on working and making payments will be fine. But those speculating in the hottest markets with "investment properties" might be in trouble. I don't see how they can overcome the monthly expenses to make it work out. Once you factor in real estate commissions, taxes, association fees and such. I wonder when folks will get tired of losing money month after month?

* Miss Canada won the Miss Universe pageant. Who won your office pool on that one?

* I've been reading some liberal blogs, which are generally caught up in bizarre partisan rants day after day. One of their latest claims, is that Americans are worried about gas prices and jobs. I think folks are pretty complacent. The market has rallied quite a bit since October 2002. Housing prices have moved up. Interest rates remain near historic lows. Unemployment is near what the Fed calls "full employment." Oh, and don't mention Iraq. Then these folks go into a rant about how Bush "lied." Seems most folks realize he acted on some bad information, and it wasn't the best decision. But who is going to shed a tear for Saddam?

* As I type the stock market trying to make a little comeback. We have "month-end strength" working in the bulls favor, as 401(k) contributions automatically hit That should take us through this week. I'm wondering if and when we get a dip, how far it will go before those who have been on the wrong side or on the sidelines jump in and try to make up some $$$?

Friday, May 27, 2005


* Friday before a holiday weekend? Ooooh, that's what I'm talking about!

* With no reality TV shows last night, I found myself wandering the local Indian casino, trying to hit critical mass with one big slot machine poll. Nope. Didn't happen. Again. Good grief!

* The stock market acted fine today. Month-end strength in the on-deck circle! I think after that, we'll have to keep an eye on oil prices and earnings warnings. I think a few weeks of worrying is ahead of us. But, don't let THAT spoil your weekend.

* Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's?

* Jasmine is blooming. I really like it, but it makes me sneeze.

* I think the Social Security privitization idea is dead, unfortunately. I'm just hoping that taxes don't go up or another newfangled program gets added on top of it. If they're not going to convert it to a system that has private savings and investments, then just leave it alone. They can means test benefits later....

* I'm going to goof off the rest of the day. Have a great weekend!

* For the record? Ding dongs!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Gummie Bears

* Nice strength in the stock market today, after 1 down day with late-day buying. Hah. Well, for folks who follow the holiday investing methodology, they're ready for Memorial Day. The markets are usually bullish around Memorial Day. And month-end 401k stuff. But then we have earnings warning season coming up. And gas prices will have geared up for summer. So looks like we might have enough fuel for a little June selloff. I'd be paying attention to the retest of the top to get any sell signals.

* It's thursday. Do you know where your reality shows are? I mean, is there anything on tonight? What am I supposed to do? I forgot what life was like prior to TV season.

* My friend is emailing me about how sick she is after eating a sack of gummie bears. A whole sack. Good grief.

* Since my project ended, I've been in mind-numbing relax mode. I've had a few things to do, but nothing that requires more than a few minutes here and there. Rumors have it that we're hiring somebody new here at the Fun Factory, so I'm not sure if that person will be on my team or not. I guess I wouldn't mind a summer full of mentoring somebody. That'd make for a relaxing summer.

* Maybe I'll go gambling tonight.

* Thank goodness for blogging. It really has been quite a lifesaver. There are folks out there who I really don't know at all, yet I follow their blogs almost daily. It's really cool.

* A whole sack of gummie bears. LOL.

* I have exactly 40 minutes before the deli closes if I want to get a snack. I'm not going to be one of these idiots who plunk money down the vending machine black holes. And no Reese's Pieces today.

* Did you know that William Peterson, of CSI Las Vegas, was in an HBO movie called Long Gone with Virginia Madsen? It was a good movie.

American Idol

* Carrie was the right choice. Congratulations to her! Well done! Her song with Rascal Flats was great.

* GDP revised up from 3.1% to 3.5%. Hoo, things are a bit stronger than folks thought, but still in that 3-4% GDP range that is pretty much the sweet spot. I think we have to keep an eye on the jobs numbers, because if we keep seeing roarin' hot numbers month after month, that would eventually put pressure on wages. Then, the Fed would get a little more dramatic about rate hikes.

* Bo was good, too.

* Paris Hilton commercial, the extended version.

* New home sales rose in April, and median price went up 3.8%. Good grief. When the bubble busts, it won't be pretty. I think most folks who have a fixed rate mortgage locked in, make their payments, and stay in the home for a long time, will be just fine. But you have to wonder about speculators with "investment properties" who go in with very little down, interest only loans, and are losing money every month paying the mortgage and not getting enough rent back.

* Vonzell was good.

* Somebody told me that a $500K house here can get about $900/mo rent. Good grief. Can you imagine buying that as an "investment property?" So just the property taxes and such would be over $500 a month. Then any community association fees. Then, principal and interest payments every month. How much does your property have to appreciate to keep you above water on that?

* OK, Jessica put the belly in belly shirt. Hoo-hah, couldn't miss that! And Constantine was just ridiculous.

* One other thing on real estate, is the commission charged for selling and buying. So, you have to overcome that, too. What's that run, 6%? And that's on each buy and sell.

* Poor Baby Face, teaming up with Lindsey and Mikalah. Good grief.

* Anwar was drown out from Kenny G. Anthony was a little shakey on that one, too.

* I'm craving rice krispie treats. Have you tried peanut butter rice krispie treats? Oh my.

* Scott and Niko did okay, but George Benson saved that one.

* Some guy on CNBC today said he thinks the gambling stocks are overpriced. That too much optimism exists in them. Maybe that there are too many casinos at this point. They all seem pretty crowded to me. But, on the otherhand, I know I'm tired of losing money at them. Heck, everybody knows the ONLY SURE THING IS REAL ESTATE! ahahaha.

* Did you see Jasmine Trias in the audience with the flower in her hair? Ahhhhh....

* Dwayne Wade. 'Nuff said.

* OK, somebody better get some work done today... hahahah.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Reese's Pieces

* I work in a vending machine wasteland. Not a one seems to work correctly. I think they just collect money from stupid people who continue to have faith that someday, they'll actually get that bag of chips or chewing gum for their $.55.

* So, what I liked about the stock market today is that we tried to rally in the last hour. Keep an eye on that. I think that represents the smart money. We shall see.

* A 2-hr finale to American Idol? Like most of my Fun Factory coworkers, I think it means I'm watching Lost, and then turning over during the last 10 minutes of Idol to see who wins...

* Next to the vending machines, is one of those little coin-operated candy machines that dispense M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, Hot Tamales and the like. Yeah, you remember Reese's Pieces from the ET movie? I got some. Eh. Not that great.

* Dixieland Jazz all sounds the same to me. I can't much distinguish between one song and the other.

* I keep forgetting that the NBA is even on. Looks like the Spurs are handing it to the no-defense Suns. Should we be surprised that defense is winning in the playoffs? There was no defense in that Suns-Mavericks series.

* What's the over-under on commercials during American Idol tonight? That show can drive you mentally numb with commercials.

* Have you ever noticed how folks who listen to Dixieland sit there and bob their heads?

* Reese's Pieces are like sugary peanut butter. I'm kind of a peanut butter purist. Give me the natural style. The kind with added sugar and oil kind of grosses me out.

* Robert Plant has a new CD? Can that guy carry a tune anymore? His last CD was horrrrible. I just went and sampled it. Blech.

Mr. Songbird

Won't you sing me a song or two,
Won't take you long to just sing to me please,
Won't you whistle a tune.

The Kinks - Mr. Songbird

* Both Bo and Carrie were a bit boring last night, and it doesn't matter much who wins. I think Carrie would be a slightly better choice. But again, either way.

* From the Department of the Obvious, Federal Reserve Board Governor Ben Bernanke commented Real wages should be rising which would obviously make for better lives for our workers. Ya think? Falling wages wouldn't do it. Stagnant wages wouldn't do it. Ah, this must be it!

* I cut back on late-day caffeine the past few weeks, and have noticed that I sleep better but also that I'm more tired. Last night I made the mistake of having some iced tea. After going without for a few weeks, the late day surge kept me tossing and turning all night. So by the time I eventually nodded off and then woke up this morning, I was really tired.

* The stock market? Here's what looks like the first test for the bulls. We've had 8 days up in the Nasdaq. Did you realize that hasn't happened since 1999? Good grief! Lets play limbo and see how low the market will go before the frustrated shorts and folks on the sideline get in.

* Speaking of hindsight analysis, Rising Oil Prices Send Dow, Nasdaq Lower. Well, the Nasdaq is up over 8% the past week or so. The market always needs a little something to worry about to propel it higher.

* Have you done the calculator exercise on renting vs. owning a home? I'm seeing this pop up more and more, but an excerpt from that link "For a reality check, I popped a few numbers into our handy rent vs. buy calculator. It informed me that we would be $60,000 worse off after seven years if we buy rather than continue to rent. It also assumed we'd be comfortable putting more than 50% of our income on the line for a home payment every month and it assumed 5% annual appreciation in housing prices for the entire seven years. In my opinion, those are pretty bad assumptions."

* My dad is in town with some friends, so he calls me today and asks if I want to get together for lunch. It'll be him and me, because he said "the girls are going shopping." These "girls" are all senior citizens. I chuckled to myself over that. "The girls."

* One of my favorite old-time rock groups is The Kinks. I hated them when I was younger, but now I think their songs are clever, amusing, and downright catchy.

* Alright, duty calls...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Trading Strategies

Just a follow-up on the trading strategies discussion from earlier when I promised "more later." The market has had a nice run the past week or so. If you remember, many folks were extremely bearish in early May. So, lets look at a few trading strategies that may have been in play this month:

* Many people think that options expirations weeks tend to trend up.

* Many people think that you want to be invested prior to holiday weekends.

* Many people think that you should be invested at the end of the month, and into the first few days of the next month.

In early May, we had an extreme level of pessimism for whatever reason. The seasonal "sell in May" investors might have been planning their summer getaways. But if you are a contrarian investor, you would be looking for this if you yourself weren't caught up in the emotion. And that itself is a difficult thing. But those three catalysts I list above are not to be taken lightly. Were institutional investors and large money players trying to game these three things?

Just for your consideration. It certainly may not work again next time. But it's out there next time we're heading into potentially positive catalysts. I think it's a good idea to always be aware of extreme sentiment swings, and we had bear claws all over the place just over a week ago. Now that's moving in the other direction, as folks who missed the move are trying to play catch up and salvage something out of this move.

Hey, it's always easy to offer up analysis in hindsight, eh?

On Gambling

Talking with my very cute Chinese coworker a few minutes ago about gambling, and she says "Whenever I go gambling, I lose my pants."

I replied, "I'd like to go gambling with you."

She blushed and giggled. Everytime I walk by her office, she blushes and giggles.


Dance Magic, Dance

You remind me of the babe
What babe? babe with the power
What power? power of voodoo
Who do? you do
Do what? remind me of the babe

David Bowie "Magic Dance"

* Lets start with the stock market? OK. When the trend changes from down to up, it usually catches a bunch of folks off-guard. The crowd is right during the middle of the trend, but misses the inflection points. When the market is in a trading range, this can be quite frustrating because there isn't much percentage in the middle for the crowd to hold on to.

* I think we've had a trend change, and now we're in the process of seeing bears convert to bulls, and frustrated investors on the sidelines waiting for dips to buy. We shall see, as it looks like we're getting a dip. (Sorta. Not much.)

* Generally, the week after options week tends to be negative, especially if options week was up. (And it was). We're still a little bit ahead of the end of month strength and the 3-day weekend strategy (more later), so maybe we won't get much of a dip as folks try to get in for these usually strong days.

* I don't have sell signals yet on my indicators, which is a good thing. They've been pretty accurate lately, but the buy signals work better than the sell signals.

* Enough on stocks for now...

* The season finale of 24 was on last night, and delivered a great ending to a fantastic season. Next 24 begins in January. Fortunately, I missed the first season, so the next edition of 24 will start pretty soon for me. As soon as I rejigger my Netflix queue!

* I haven't seen Star Wars yet. I might wait until it comes on IMAX.

* India to build Old-age home for tigers. Uh, who wants to change bedpans? Grrrrrowl.

* Season finale of American Idol... Bo or Carrie? It doesn't matter to me. They're both good. Usually I find myself rooting against somebody! Last year, I just hated Fantasia's voice.

* I guess butterflies migrate or something. There are like thousands of butterflies flying around here. And the poor buggers don't get enough lift to get out of the traffic lanes. I wish they'd fly a bit higher. Oh well, natural selection, right?

* US House votes to outlaw spyware. Thank goodness. But, much of the free stuff downloaded has disclosures and rules for use that includes spyware. It would also ban phishing!

* Well, interesting day at the Fun Factory. My coworker is long gone, I inherited his stuff, and scrambled yesterday to fix stuff. Looks like I found enough duct tape and Elmer's Glue to patch it up for now.

* The coffee store here was out of light roast, so I'm trying some funky flavored gunk. Hippity Hoopity or something. Don't you love the names roasters come up with?

* Be back...

Monday, May 23, 2005


Just a few notes on the movie Sideways. Finaly saw it and...

* Miles and Jack do the wine country as a "bachelor party for a week." Miles is a self-absorbed and introspective wino, poppin' antideppressants to cope with his self-pity. Jack is trying to score before he gets married. This is an unlikely "best friends" coupling. These two seemed to have nothing in common. Not that have to, per se. But Jack seemed to loathe Miles for his negativity; while Miles seemed to hate Jack's superficiality. I guess they're both self-absorbed. But, they are guys. Heck.

* I'm not craving Pinot Noir.

* I didn't think the movie was that great. It was ok. Some folks think this movie is great. I was just talking to a buddy about it, and this is like one of his all-time favorites.

* Virginia Madsen was a Best Supporting Actress nominee or winner for her role. (I can't recall who won that). Seems like she had a very small part, though. The divorced, wine-drinkin' Maya. If you want to see some hot Virgnia Madsen smoking, watch her in the HBO movie Long Gone.

* Sandra Oh did a decent job for her small roll.

Oh Gawd, Monday

* So, my coworker here at the Fun Factory left last week and I get his project. I come in this morning, and his programs are barfing all over. Good grief. So I'm scrambling trying to figure out what's what.

* The stock market? Not giving the frustrated bears or newly converted bulls a chance to get in yet, is it?

* One thing is for sure, there are a lot of public sector workers (ie, government workers) who are planning on receiving a generous pension when they retire. But I'm not sure if that's going to happen. Most of the public pension funds are UNDERFUNDED. What that means, is that they don't have enough assets to pay retirees what has been promised. Taxpayers will be on the hook, but they may balk at paying up.

* Have you seen the Paris Hilton Carl's Jr. ad? Oh my goodness.

* 2-hr season finale of 24 tonight.

* Speaking of season finales, both Cold Case and Desperate Housewives ran theirs last night, and I was a little bored...

* Busy!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


* How many of you showed up to work today dressed up as Darth Vader? Be honest with me!

* Buh-bye, Vonzell! I have to be honest. I fell asleep during that show. I was fading in and out, but the last thing I remember was Bo singing. I had to check online to see what happened.

* Stock market? We've had a powerful move up, and should expect a down day. During bull trends, the week trends up and fridays tend to see some profit taking. So we'll see if we get some weakness tomorrow, and then folks reloading their longs on monday. Lets hope so.

* Walmart sending their DVD rental biz to Netflix. I love Netflix.

* At least Vonzell has the key to the city, so she can let herself in when she gets home.

* In today's Wall Street Journal, there's an interesting column on the housing bubble. What concerns the Fed? Here's an excerpt:

It's that more people are buying second and even third homes, expecting that prices will continue to rise so they can sell the houses quickly at a profit -- and that is drawing the Fed's attention. The National Association of Realtors says its surveys find that 23% of all homes purchased in 2004 were for investment, and a further 13% were vacation homes. It's as if Americans got tired of the stock market, and decided to look elsewhere to try to lose money.

* How many of you called in sick to work today, so you can go see Star Wars? Be honest!

* Did you hear that Donald Trump called the Freedom Tower a "Junkyard?" What's he have in mind, a casino?

* I hear there's a twist in Star Wars. That the Emperor is actually killed at the end of Episode III, and that Episodes IV, V, and VI are just Padmé Amidala's bad dream. (Sorry for the spoiler!)

* Oh, tonight is the finale of Trump's The Apprentice. I'm pulling for Kendra.

* Naima won America's Next Top Model! Wooo! I think it was a no brainer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


* Stock market? I think the bears are converting to bulls now, and we're going through the process where they cover their short positions and move to the sidelines. They then wait for pullbacks so that they can get long. Hopefully, that'll push the market even higher for a bit.

* We're having a going away lunch for somebody here today. That's where everyone goes to lunch and pretends to be happy for the guy and thankful for all his hardwork, while secretly hoping that they don't get stuck with all his unfinished work.

* Did you see that they want to use cellphone technology to track dolphins?

South African researchers plan to collar dusky dolphins next month with a new tracking device that uses cell phone sim cards.

I hope Flipper gets on the national do not call registry!

* 40% of the people buying condos/townhomes didn't move into them (in the Tampa area). Everybody wants to be a landlord! You know, the speculation is getting out of hand. This won't end pretty.

The Bo Show

* Randy got it right last night, that Bo was the show last night. Other than a poor song choice from Paula Abdul (Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones), Bo outperformed Carrie and Vonzell by a country mile.

* The tougher choice is between Carrie and Vonzell. I think Carrie is the stronger of the two, but it's pretty close. Vonzell sings a clunker every once and awhile, but most of that could be fixed in the recording studio.

* Did Ryan Seacrest give out wrong numbers last night?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Viva Las Vegas!

* Back from a weekend getaway to the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas!

* Did you see the list of the gifts the President had to declare? This one stuck out:

Former Commerce Secretary Donald Evans gave the president a fishing rod, shirt, three caps, a book, a sweater and fishing bait.

"Hello Don? This is W, and I just wanted to call and thank you for the red worms and crickets."

* Quick stock market update? OK, well the PPI is out today and of course everyone is out there doing their best Chicken Little regarding inflation. Are higher energy prices inflationary? I don't think so. Look at how bonds are reacting today... They're rallying. Anyways, it's options week so we should expect some volatility. I think the market will be moving higher. A real plus would be if the Nasdaq can get through the 50dma, because then the technical traders who key on that might get positive. Sentiment is still bearish, so that's a good contrary indicator as the market will need those folks to pile in and buy stocks to drive the market higher. Options expiration weeks tend to be positive...

* Did you see the story about Christian Video Games? Here's an excerpt:

Users can travel through biblical lands, solve puzzles based on scripture and, in some games, slash demonic foes.

What kind of video game rating would that receive? Violent games tend to get a harsher rating. Then again, maybe violent video games are okay, as long as you're slashing demonic foes in the name of the Lord.

* The new Wynn Casino in Las Vegas is pretty nice.

* Paris Hilton in a Carl's Jr ad selling the $6 burger spicy style. Yeah, washing a Bentley in her swimsuit.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Oh, Mexico!

* James Taylor spinnin' on the MP3 player... Oh, Mexico! It sounds so simple, I just got to go. (A personal favorite. Especially on a friday.)

* The stock market... You know where I stand. (Hint!)

* Bill Gates says cellphones-mp3 combo will silence iPods. Well, I'm in that crowd since I own a Treo. But that's a Palm OS device, Mr. Bill! Probably not what you had in mind, eh?

* "Sleepy senorita with the eyes on fire..."

* Did you hear that folks dumped $500 to see an advance screening of Star Wars III? I think I'll wait for matinee pricing, thank you very much. Geez, I thought $9.50 was steep. I wonder how much they paid for their popcorn?

* Alonzo Mourning led the Heat to a Game 3 win over the Wizards. I think that's pretty cool.

* The Amazing Race 7 ended with Rob and Amber losing. I was pulling for Uchena and Joyce, but after all those setbacks I was surprised they won!

* On The Apprentice, the show made it look like Kendra did much better than Tana. Setting up next week's hiring/firing... I think Tana's task was much more difficult, though. Tana seems like the backstabbing boss who is always trying to climb the ladder, regardless of who she steps on. Kendra came across as more likeable and caring about her team.

* Yahoo selling monthly music service for $4.99. That can't be good for the stocks of higher-priced competitors. That's getting to a price where I'm thinking about it, though. As long as I can take it with me via copying songs to my Treo.

* If you're feeling in a giving mood, click on the Red Cross or Salvation Army link at the top of the page.

* After listening to James Taylor, I've made my lunch plans. Mexican it is!

Thursday, May 12, 2005


* Every Thanksgiving, we're told that we'd feel sleepy over the long weekend for eating turkey. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan. OK, 'nuff said. But what do I blame for feeling sleepy when it's not Thanksgiving weekend?

* The stock market went down today. I know. I think pre-options week stuff, and since I'm already long, I had to look under the sofa cushions to find a few more nickels to throw in the market. (Also found some Cheerios and half an Oreo under there for snacking on later.)

* I know John Bolton isn't the same Bolton who plays the sax, but I can't get that connection out of my mind. Playin' sax with an attitude at the UN!

* YES! Anthony is gone! Phew! The best 3 are left.

* Do you watch that Stacked show after the American Idol results show? (Me neither).

* I think I'll blog later about the Pension Crisis coming. It's real. I think it'll be the biggest issue going forward, because lots of folks are steamrollin' towards retirement. Or so they think...

* Tonight, I'll be hunkered down watching The Apprentice finale. I'm such a slave to reality TV.

* Isn't that Britney Speers thing on TV soon? I'll pass on that. I do like watching some of the entertainment TV gossip shows, where you find out important trivia like Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes. At least you can hold a conversation with people. Can't sit there and talk about the stock market with most folks, you know. "My sentiment indicators are screaming buy, how about yours?" HUH???? "Uh, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are together!" BETTER! More interesting, too. He's like 42, and she's 26. Geez. Uh, well maybe there's an idea in there somewhere for when I hit 42. Go, Tom, Go!

Core Values

Core Values: The essential and enduring tenets of an organization - the very small set of guiding principles that have a profound impact on how everyone in the organization thinks and acts.

I was having a conversation with a friend who works at an organization where they try and motivate the workers via quarterly meetings. She calls these the "Pump you up!" meetings. At last night's meeting, employees were told that they should be ready to answer questions about the company's Core Values. Those who were randomly picked were to be asked about a core value, and if they answered correctly, they would be awarded a prize. Prizes included iPods, gift cards, tshirts, and the like.

"Did you memorize your Core Values?" I asked her.

"Of course," she answered. "I'm ready!"

Have you ever worked at a place where management spends a ridiculous amount of overhead on mission statements and core values? I think these are the kinds of activities that keep managers busy while the employees tend to the daily activities of the organization. Nevertheless, a smart employee would recognize that the quick path to a promotion and salary bump would be to embrace the core values.

I asked her, "You should recommend that the company puts the core values on a wallet card, and hands them out at the next meeting. That way, employees would always have the the core values with them, and could refer to them if they need to."

She laughed, "Good one. That's pretty funny."

But I was serious. Management types really take this seriously. I've been at meetings where they've asked me or members of my team "Which of the core values does this project support?" Normally, team members just kind of look at each other in astonishment, having no clue whatsoever. Somebody might sheepishly mutter, "Uh, integrity?" But that's about as bold as anyone gets before a manager would go on a tirade about how outraged they are that the team doesn't know the organization's core values.

I just did a google search on core values, and this is what came up.

The US Navy has three core values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

Siebal Systems core values: Customer Value, Commitment to Employees, Professional Excellence, Teamwork, Bias for Informed Action, Open and Honest Communication.

The Nazarene Church has 3 values: We are a Christian People, We are a Holiness People, and We are a Missional People.

(Maybe at the next staff meeting, my friend should throw out that Missional People one. That'd raise some eyebrows.)

The College of Charleston has their core values: Integrity, Academic Excellence, Liberal Arts Education, Respect for the Individual Student, Diversity, Community, and Public Mission.

You get the idea. Lots of hours have been spent going over the thesaurus for synonyms on the word "integrity." Here's the list from dictionary.com, for those of you looking to turn a 3-month process of coming up with company core values to a 5-minute job: candor, forthrightness, goodness, honestness, honesty, honorableness, incorruptibility, incorruption, principle, probity, purity, rectitude, righteousness, sincerity, straightforwardness, uprightness, virtue.

(See how easy this process can be?)

Make the recommendation to put those on a wallet card, and you're on your way to upper management!

On a sad note, my friend did not win a prize as she was not randomly picked and asked a question. She went home sad and empty handed. Now, just what company core value does that support?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pleasure Palace

* So United Airlines is bailing on their pensions, throwing the ball over the fence to the PBGC. This does seem to be the corporate template, and the PBGC must be reeling at this point. The PBGC has a benefit cap, so I'm sure some UAL retirees are going to see some benefit cuts.

* I recorded both The Amazing Race and American Idol last night, so I have no idea what went on.

* Before the fun factory was the salt mine. Before the salt mine was... I'm not sure what I've called it in the past. How about the Pleasure Palace? Okay, so tonight one of my former coworkers at the Pleasure Palace is leaving, and there's a going away happy hour at a local pub. Of course, I don't know this guy that well, but I'm trying to see who else is going to be there. Sad thing is, this guy must not be that popular, because I can't find anybody I know who is planning on going. So...

* Need some coffee.

* Some knucklehead flies into the White House no-fly zone and creates a temporary panic and evacuation. Funny, Wall St. didn't react that much. Terrorism-Shmerrorism.

* Man, some Fun Factory clowns are clogging up the print queue.

* Gosh, more "I'm not able to make it" replies to the Pleasure Palace get together tonight. Geez, would that be sad if it was your going away party and nobody came? Maybe I'll go just so that somebody shows up. I can always leave early.

* The stock market? Well, it's the week prior to options expiration, and it looks like folks are taking their positions. Maybe we'll ramp for options week. Assuming there aren't any no fly zone violations, of course.

* Speaking of leaving, my coworker here at the Fun Factory is leaving and we're having a transition meeting in about 5 minutes.

* I spy your house!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


* Stocks stumbling. That's not supposed to happen. According to the WSJ, it's uncertainty about the economy and worries about Cisco's earnings tonight. Okay, the first part I'm not worried about. Cisco is one of yesterday's darlings, and shouldn't have much long-lasting effect, either. Hopefully, normal pre-options week selling to set up the options week rally! Who's your rally monkey?

* New Zealand to introduce a Global Warming Tax.

* I'm watching 24 this season, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying it. Last night, Jack caught Habib Marwan. Sorry for the spoiler for you TIVO owners. Hey, you know Jack was going to be the hero, right?

* Listening to Cheap Trick. I want you, to want me. Live version of course.

* I'm interested in what HDTV DVD technology will be on the store shelves later this year. I don't want to pay the bucks to be an early adopter, so I'm hoping there's some universal standard and lots of competition and price cutting on day 1. (I can dream...)

* Yahoo Health news... Soda and sleeping pills tied to heartburn. Yeah, probably daytime heartburn, too. How come heartburn gets worse as you get older, anyways? The column also says folks with asthma are more likely to have heartburn. I wonder if the heartburn is contributing to the asthma. But I'm no MD. Of course, everything keeps pointing to the fact that if you're thirsty, you should drink water.

* Project wrapping up at the Fun Factory, but now everyone is scrambling because the project lead on another project is leaving. So, rumor is that I'm going to take over that next. Great, leftovers. I hate trying to pick up the pieces on somebody else's project. Because, if they knew they were leaving, they might've not put in 100% effort. It's like undercooking chicken; you might just get salmonella.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Quick Hits

* I'm back here at the Fun Factory. Picked up a Quizno's sub that'd make Baby Bob wish he had some molers! Well, it's veggie, so maybe not.

* Nobody ever showed up for my "8:00am-10:00am" appointment today. Nobody called. I left messages. Nothing. Maybe they meant next monday, the monday 3 weeks from now, or some random monday in 2006. Who knows? Or maybe I should've asked them "8:00am-10:00am in what time zone? Please be specific."

* OK, the stock market... I think it's going higher. That's it. I'm long. I don't think seasonal investing will work this year (selling in May). It hasn't worked for 2 years now, by the way. The big question is whether or not we'll revisit the recent lows again. Uh, I don't know. I'd like to see us grind higher. Everybody seems relatively bearish.

* If you want a Baby Bob Quizno's t-shirt, check out the Quizno's website. (No, I don't want one).

* So, Yahoo Health has an article on researching unpopular sex acts. They list bondage, breath play, and zoophilia. I don't know what the latter is. Probably not a good idea to do a Google search on it here in the office, either. I wonder how these folks with similiar fantasies find each other?

* Not all of my stock picks are winners. Shocker, eh? S1 (SONE) has been a loser. Seemed like a no brainer at the time. I don't own much, thank goodness. But it just shows you the importance of diversification.

* I wonder how cordial things are between President Bush and Putin these days? I think it's great that we're still talking and all. But there seems to be this undertow of disrespect for each other at this point. Russia doesn't like us in Iraq and we don't like their anti-democratic approaches. But, we're talking and that can't be all bad.

* Big Reality Show week. The finales of The Amazing Race and The Apprentice. And we'll see if votefortheworst can swing enough oomph Anthony's way in American Idol. Things are whittling down in America's Next Top Model, too.

* The really big news out this week will be the list of military bases scheduled for closure. That's coming later this week! I think that the first round of closures had a big impact on the real estate market in some areas. Military bases provide lots of local jobs, so that can help create a firm underpinning for an economy. We shall see...

Being Stood Up

I hate when you make an appointment with some company, and they say "We'll be there between 8:00am and 10:00am monday morning."

It's now 10:03 am, and they're a no show.

I call and leave messages, no return call.

Rat bastards.

At least I got to sleep in a bit.

Friday, May 06, 2005


* It's been a long week here at the Fun Factory. I'm in my post-lunch celebratory mood that happens on fridays. Are you with me?

* On the Apprentice (SPOILER for TIVO owners), Craig was dismissed after Shallow Hal answers to questions by CEOs. Obvious. Kendra vs. Tana in the season finale. College vs. High School. Kendra has come on strong in recent weeks, but I don't know about her leadership qualities. It was hillarious that all the previous dead weight candidates were brought back for her. Did you catch Danny singing a jingle to the Best Buy dude? Hooo! Meanwhile, Tana seems more homespun, and they brought back the head cases with an attitude for her. I think she can deal with them okay. But Kendra will probably try to do too much herself and fail. We shall see...

* The stock market? Jobs numbers came in hot today, with upward revisions of previous months numbers. OK, but watch out if we get too hot numbers month after month, because Greenspan is watching. He doesn't want things too hot.

* Everyone around here is talking about American Idol. I kid you not. It's water cooler talk something fierce.

* Star Trek Enterprise winding down, but I doubt many care at this point.

* Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

* As I guessed, votefortheworse is now supporting Anthony. Hillarious.

* If you're a fan of the Blade movies, it looks like a TV series is coming. Hot vamps in leather?

* Party Train by the Gap Band. All aboard!

Thursday, May 05, 2005


* Interesting column in today's Wall St Journal (WSJ) that ponders whether or not stock prices will get crushed as boomers retire.

* I forgot to mention that in Elektra, Jennifer Garner and Natassia Malthe had a kissing scene. As Paris would say, that's hot.

* LA Lakers Dr. Buss meeting with Phil Jackson to talk about the coaching job... I wonder if that's like a normal job interview? "Phil, what are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

* In the WSJ article, Jeremy Siegal says that it will take a "massive investment in US stocks by people in India, China, and other developing countries to prevent a market meltdown."

* "Phil, say you have a problem employee, who thinks he runs this team, and by his words and actions conducts himself in a way that undermines your authority. Say this employee drives our personnel manager to make unwise trades to teams like, uh lets say Miami, that exchanges premium talent for mediocre talent. How would you handle this situation?"

* Seigal adds: "God knows, I want to be an optimist," he says. "But I don't think there will be enough assets from U.S. sources going forward to pay for people's retirement."

* My friend wants to open up a Starbucks. $2 million franchise fee she says. That's a lot of caramel macchiatos.

* I wonder whatever happened to the rock group April Wine? A quick google search reveals that they have a website.

* Prof. Siegel thinks it's likely retirees would try to sell their assets -- stocks, bonds and real estate -- in a desperate effort to keep up their living standard. But in the aggregate they would fail, assuming foreign buyers don't step in, he says. The imbalance between U.S. buyers and sellers would drive stock prices downward, leaving people with far less money than their account statements today suggest they'll have.

* I'm bullish now. I don't know what will happen as boomers retire. That's a little far off to project. I think the market trends higher for now. If we pullback on lighter volume, I'm going to move from safer dividend stocks into more aggressive stocks. Let 'er rip.

See Ya, Scotty!

About flippin' time. Scott was voted off the American Idol island last night. He seemed shocked about it, but he's been the weakest singer for weeks now and has defied common sense.

I went on the web yesterday, specifically looking for references to Scott Savol via Google searches. I found the votefortheworst.com website and others that were urging voters to call in and vote for who they thought was the worst singer. Then it made sense. Maybe there has been enough impact by these websites to get folks to call in for Scott and Anthony.

If so, then maybe we should expect all the votefortheworst Scott supporters to throw their weight behind Anthony in the coming week.

Isn't this fun?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Anybody But Scott

* The stock market? I think we're going higher. Following my red and green arrow trading system, I've been getting lots of green arrows (buy) lately. I'm just taking a diversified approach as always. No need to try and be a hero. Slow and steady. True, I've been bullish for a long time and fully invested through this latest pullback. Call me a broken record.

* The way American Idol has been going, Scott and Anthony will somehow escape elimination this week, and the one who has to go home will be either Bo, Carrie or The Vonz. I don't know who the crazy people are voting for Scott and Anthony, but for the first time ever, I voted last night. It took me about 40 minutes of redialing to get through, but I did it.

* Texas wants to ban cheerleaders from doing provocative dance moves, because it could lead to sex. (I think I'm having a Dirty Dancing Deja Vu.)

* The two best last night were Carrie and Bo. The competition should come down to between them. I think Carrie is the stronger pop-idol candidate. But both should have very successful careers.

* Doesn't everything lead to sex? Going without sex, leads to sex.

* I think $1.45 for a cup of drip coffee is getting a bit much. Some would say, "Dude, that's just inflation." Well, it would be if I had no alternative. So today, I made my own and brought it in.

* Texas would have to ban life altogether to try to avoid sex. It's a basic human drive. First we find food. Then we find shelter. Then, booty call!

* Will Tony Blair survive the election tomorrow?

* Bill Clinton heading up the cause to fight childhood obesity! No Happy Meals, kids.

* ABC's Primetime Live will have Fallen Idol tonight, a story about what is going on behind the scenes at American Idol. Yeah, I'll watch...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Measured Pace

* The Fed came out with their expected hike, and said they'd continue to raise rates at a measured pace.

* I think the recent market sell-off is buyable. Heck, I'm long already. I wish I could buy more.


* Whenever Jennifer Garner is in a movie, and wears red leather, I'm going to rent it. Just on principle.

* Allergies. YUCK. I thought spring was going by great this year, and then something must've bloomed.

* Everyone was thinking that the fiance of the runaway bride was another Scott Peterson. Now, the runaway bride comes across as the goofball. What's wrong with her eyes, anyways? I think the fiance was the lucky one, finding out that the runaway bride is a complete nutcase prior to exchanging vows. But then he comes on TV and says he's all still for her and wanting to be with her. Uh, maybe they deserve each other. Goofy.

* Elektra begins the movie as an assassin, who whispers to her victims prior to their demise. She discovers her true self when she meets and tries to protect a father and daugher from the Hand of evil. Not Dr. Evil, just the Hand of evil.

* Tracy McGrady had his toe on the line, but that would've been a great last second shot against the Mavs last night. Didn't go in. If it did, the replay would've killed it. But geez, how come somebody on Dallas didn't guard him? First job was to get the rebound, but somebody had to be on McGrady just in case Plan A didn't work out.

* The Hand of evil consists of supernatural assassins, each with their own unique talents. One was called Tattoo, and he was nothing like the Fantasy Island Tattoo. This guy had animal tattoos that came to life to wreak havoc. Stone, who had a rock-hard body that seemed impervious to everything - well, most everything. And Typhoid Mary, who infected and killed everything she touched - well, most everything. As always, the villians seem to be unstoppable, except for the hero Elektra who pretty much disposes of them with ease.

* Alright, on 24 last night Jack went Rambo in the Chinese embassy to get a guy who was involved with the stealing of the nuke. Of course, he waltzed right in, got the guy, and waltzed right out with the help of CTU, but not before lots of dead bodies and potential political fallout. When Jack brought the Chinese guy to CTU for emergency surgery, Paul was in surgery so resources were diverted, and Paul died. Former President Palmer, who was doing commercials for insurance companies, is back in charge of getting the nuke back.

* The stock market? Well, Greenspan will speak in about an hour. The volume on the up days hasn't been great. If price and volume are all that matter, then we'd like to see the up days accompanied by higher volume. And, they haven't been. I remain bullish.

* Oh, and for the sell in May folks, I wonder how that'll work out this year? Lots of folks do seasonal investing, which is a mechanical system where they sell in May, and buy back in November. Will it work out? I don't think so this year. We'll see.

* I like these movies that are supernatural themed. People who have some sort of ability of thought or combat. And notice how they all have their own personal demons they're fighting? But mostly, Elektra wears red leather like it ain't nobody's business.

* Meet the Fockers was a lackluster sequel. It has a few good bits, though.