Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Orleans

Wasn't something due today?

* I heard somebody refer to the "drama unfolding in New Orleans." I thought to myself.... DRAMA? It's a f'king nightmare. I can't imagine what the people there are going through. And a huge thanks to those who are contributing cash and their time to help people. Again, there are links to the Red Cross and Salvation Army above. Help out if you can.

* The New OrleansTimes-Picayune has a blog following the latest. Highly recommended.

* To be honest, I haven't been following the market much the past two days. Oil is going to be released from the SPR, but will we be able to refine it? In addition, for whatever reason oil continues to remain high. Speculation? Production is affected in the gulf, but refining capacity may be more of the problem. I just read a Yahoo brief that says that oil prices are declining a bit now that the water levels in New Orleans have stopped rising, and that this is giving a lift to stocks. UH, HUH? Like I said previously, the market moves, and then folks look around at the headlines for ANY story for a reason why. Incredible.

* I've been following the New Orleans story, like everybody else, and not concentrating on the stack of work I have in front of me. I came in and opened up my browser first thing, instead of my mail inbox, and missed the first 5 minutes of a meeting! I think I have two things I need to finish today; or, at least hand off to somebody else.

* Roth 401(k) info.

* Chicken tacos for lunch. No options for veggie choices. Other than a shell with lettuce and salsa in it. Uh, no.

* Fantasy football draft tonight, and I haven't even looked at players.

* More on the outlook for energy this winter.

* Top performing market timers bullish.

* I'd think energy prices would affect gambling stocks, in addition to retail and restaurants. I keep hearing interviews with folks saying that it's not possible for them to use less gasoline, because they have to get from point A to point B for work or whatever. That money has to be pulled from some other area.

* The demise of the video store has been overplayed. I haven't set foot in one for years. They seem to be hanging on despite Netflix and VOD.

* Everytime I call my cable company for something, they try to sell me additional services. I DIDN'T PRESS THAT BUTTON, okay? Just answer my question.

* Did you read about the hundreds killed in Iraq during a stampede?

* Reading on some Democrat blogs basically blaming Bush for the disaster in New Orleans, and the subsequent Federal Government response. I'm not registered to any political party, but that kind of talk makes me want to vote straight Republican in 2006. I just hate to think that there are folks spewing political rhetoric, and trying to "take advantage" of this horror. Good grief.

* Time to walk off the Tacos...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Daily Bacon

* The market rally yesterday was on pretty light volume. That's to be expected in the last week of August, when folks get out of town for the last big trip of summer. I think that's why "shorting a dull tape" can be dangerous.

* It's not a good thing to be a President after an economic bubble. The Roaring 20's were followed by the 1930's. Blech. The 1960's boom was followed by the 1970's. Blech. And the 1990's? Well, look at what we have. Blech. The report out today shows that poverty has increased every year under Bush. Which, you would expect after the 90's bubble. But it won't help his poll numbers.

* If you can help the hurricane Katrina victims, click on the Red Cross of Salvation Army links below the chalkboard.

* When was the last time you had cinnamon bears? (Uh, the little fellas are calling out my name right now.)

* President Bush hasn't mentioned the Strategic Petroleum Reserve yet. If Hurricane Katrina isn't a reason to tap the reserve to replace the oil production from the region, what's he waiting for? (The WSJ has an article saying he might. But it'd be nice to here some action on this!)

* Around 9:30am everyday, somebody here microwaves bacon. Every single day. And the office fills up with the smell of bacon. Good grief.

* What was France thinking when they built New Orleans, anyways? Below sea level? At least we know who to blame. (hey, we need a little post-hurricane humor).

* Did you see Chasing Liberty with Mandy Moore? Don't bother if you haven't. And if you have? Yeah, hopefully it was a $1 rental. (Or a Netflix). I like sappy romantic comedies, but that was too sappy, not that romantic, and not funny enough.

* You can't make this up on volume. GM is losing $1227 per vehicle sold for the first 6 months of 2005. (Seems to me, that the first order of business to fix GM's problems is to quit selling cars. Uh....)

* The next James Bond movie will be a rewrite of Casino Royale.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

* Hurricane Katrina bears down on the Gulf, and it's incredible watching the footage. I can't believe the number of folks that stayed behind to weather it out.

* The big US infrastructure issue with Hurricane Katrina is the impact on our oil supply. I read that 25% of the domestic oil production comes through that area. The US uses 20 million barrels of oil a day. 12 million of that is imported, and 8 million is produced domestically. So, we're talking around 2 million barrels of crude a day will be affected by this hurricane. What do you think that will do to your energy and fuel bills?

* If you were watching Hurricane news over the weekend, you caught the story about coffee being the top antioxidant source for Americans. No doubt, this will justify (to many) their pot-a-day habit. Unfortunately, I didn't read anything in that article about how caffeine affects folks. And say, isn't high blood pressure a problem in America?

"I've got some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that by drinking all that coffee, you're consuming antixoxidants which help prevent cancer. The bad news, is your blood pressure readings. Although, the drug companies consider that the good news as they can now sell you expensive drugs to treat that condition for the rest of your days."

* In CA, there is SB 1, a senate bill that would make CA a leader in solar energy. Unfortunately, Dim-bulb Dems may send solar bill to its demise. This really frustrates me, because I think we should be looking at alternative energy. What could be better than solar? Clean air and water! No mess to dispose of like in nuclear. But, looks like the Democrats are going to kill it.

SB 1 now goes to the Assembly floor, so there is still time to amend the bill. Yet if it passes in its current form, remember these names: Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and his deputy on this bill, Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys. Instead of thinking globally and acting locally, they revealed why Democrats are a faltering party, more interested in licking boots than in leadership.

* The stock market seems to be shrugging off hurricane Katrina. Now, it is getting towards the end of the month, and we normally get end of month strength as the 401(k) contributions hit and buy stocks. In addition, there may be some "Labor Day Rally" influence. I'd have to consult my Stock Traders Almanac, but I believe the market tends to rally around Labor Day. Of course, August and September are historically the two worst performing months of the year.

* Is football un-Islamic?

* Oil above $70? You know, there is lots of chatter about conservation, but nothing ever seems to happen. People still have to get to work and take the kids to soccer practice. None of that changes. Instead, if people are spending more at the pump, that means they're spending less at the malls and restaurants. Say, what's happening to those stocks lately? YUP. Selling. There is also a lot of talk about alternative energy, but that's been going on since 1973 and STILL there isn't much we can point out as an alternative energy achievement. Then you have the Democrats in CA who seem opposed to alternative energy, as I noted above. Strangely, they're also opposed to drilling for oil. I guess they're just opposed to energy, period. Live like the Amish, people!

* Do movies suck? I think so. I feel like I've been ripped off when I go to the theater. Like the column says, Netflix probably has something to do with the movie slump. I'd rather pay $17 a month than $9.50 per ticket. Know what I mean?

* What are friends and coworkers saying? "The hurricane Katrina news at least blew Cindy Sheehan out of the headlines." Agreed.

* I haven't heard the news, but I read on Michelle Malkin's site (a daily read) that President Bush may release some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Yeah, if not now, when? That is for emergencies and a 25% hit to domestic production would qualify. (I'd think).

* I doubt any teens will be tearing down their posters of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders or the Oakland Raiderettes to put up a poster of the Islamic football team cheerleaders.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Smoking Chimp (and More)!

* As I type, the market is selling off a bit. No surprises. The market seems to be correcting without much fanfare. Folks seem generally pessimistic on the economy and the market. I think with energy prices high, frustration with Iraq and the war on terror, that optimism seems scarce. The most surprising thing is that the bears haven't been able to take the market down more. In addition, last two days I'm starting to get some buy signals on financial stocks. Why is that good? Financials make up around 20% of the SP500. I don't time the market on financials, but use tech stocks (as they tend to lead the rest of the market around). But when tech stocks do give a buy signal, I think financials will participate in the next rally. Which could mean a bigger move up than the rally we had from May to early Summer. But, that's just guesswork at this point. We shall see. I'm just long the big boring index right now, and waiting to shift more into techs. Hopefully soon.

* I'm really using iPodder a whole bunch to download podcasts to my Treo. Still in the Honeymoon Period on that one. I'll put up some links to Podcasts I listen to. If you have some favorites, drop me a comment and let me know. I need more stuff to get me through my bike rides/jogs/commute. (I really don't jog, but it sounds more manly than "walk.")

* The smoking chimp. The chimp has been smoking for 15 years, and started by picking up the butts. She started smoking more when her mate died. They're trying to get her to quit by giving her milk. Huh? No patch? No gum? How about another mate?

* I was listening to a news reporter talk about Hurricane Katrina. He was saying that the average water temperature in the Gulf this time of year is 89 degrees. Good grief.

* The Treo doesn't come with a voice recorder. Say what? I said, the Treo doesn't come with a voice recorder. Huh, it has a mic and no voice recorder? Yeah, that's what I said. So I downloaded the free SoundRec application. Works well. Records in WAV format, about 1 meg per 1 min. Saves to the expansion card, too. How fancy is that?

* Check out the picture of Alan Greenspan in this story. He kind of blasted US fiscal policy in his speech. Check it out. Also, for those of you concerned about the housing boom or bubble:

"Some of America's economic imbalances, most notably the large current account deficit and the housing boom, can be rectified by adjustments in prices, interest rates and exchange rates rather than through more-wrenching changes in output, incomes and employment."

* CBS Marketwatch on Greenspan's comments.

* My coworker brought in his PSP, and I think is watching a movie on a UMD DVD. It's friday.

* If I were to take up jogging, here are the tips.

* SP500 at 1205 and change as I type. It's tempting for me to get more aggressive. I think we're going into the 1300's before too long. I'm starting to get that antsy impatient feeling. Steady, Muckdog.

* Five of my Six staff aren't here today. Four are making the most out of the end of summer, and one called in sick. More power to them. I should've thought of it first. (Not being sick, though. Making the most....)

* Who pee'd in the coffee? Bleh.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Black Gold: Coal?

* The real black gold might be coal. Check out this story on the Montana governor's call to turn coal into fuel. Using, hold your breath, Nazi technology!

The governor estimated the cost of producing a barrel of oil through the Fischer-Tropsch method at $32, and said that with its 120 billion tons of coal -- a little less than a third of the U.S total -- Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.

* Looks like Iraq is bogged down in the constitution process. Doesn't this mean they're well on their way to becoming a free country? If a dictator was running the place, there'd be no bogging down. They'd shoot the opposition to un-bog the process. I was thinking about how the US Federal Government gets bogged down. Or every year, the CA government gets bogged down in the budget process. Vendors don't get paid, everybody starts complaining, and then CA issues debt to pay for whatever is in the budget that it can't afford, and everybody is happy. Maybe Iraq should start issuing bonds and paying off folks like CA does. Works here!

* Something sounds oh-so-right about a burrito for lunch.

* Do you listen to Air America? Didn't think so. Ratings.

Pat Robertson

* Pat Robertson? I agree that Venezuela would be better as a free country, but certainly the way to achieve this would be through negotiations and discussions. In order for a country to change, their needs to be change that comes from the desire of the people. I think taking out one bad leader, just leads to the rule from the next bad leader waiting in line. I've seen Robertson's show here and there flipping through the set-top box over the decades. I'm not that interested in Pat, but there are lots of folks talking about him: Search for more on Pat Robertson.

* Now Lance Armstrong is fighting the bug-a-boo of performance enhancing drugs. Would it surprise me? No. Would I be disappointed? Yes. Here is a guy who has become a story of overcoming obstacles, and it'd be ugly to see that story tainted. I hope he's clean.

* The stock market? Yesterday, I heard one commentator lamenting on how at least one of the index trackers fell through the 50dma (day moving average) on high volume. That's supposed to be a negative. I've never been much to follow moving averages. Generally by the time the price crosses the average, the move is well underway. This applies for both up and down markets, so that you're always buying strength and selling weakness. Does that make sense? Maybe to some, but not to me. I'd rather sell strength, and buy weakness. In any case, it is the August-September timeframe, so the markets seem to be following their historically weak pattern. I'm still long in low-beta stocks (non volatile), but will be more agressive if I get a buy signal. (Not yet!)

* Should Intelligent Design be taught in schools? I believe that schools should shy away from any specific religious teaching. Public schools should stick with science, and say "this is what we've found out through science so far." I think it would be okay to mention that how "all this" came to be requires faith (in either science or intelligent design), and that there are those who have varying beliefs. But that "we're not going to discuss those beliefs in the classroom."

* Any risk takers buying drug stocks? Not me.

* At least the news on Iraq isn't all Cindy Sheehan. I can't imagine her pain for her loss, which is compounded by the strife she is going through with her family. Her family has ostracized her, and her husband seems to have had it. Cindy's probably dealing with a lot. I think she may need to meet with a therapist more than she needs to meet with the President. I'm glad the news is starting to detail the other side; the moms and families who are standing by the efforts of the US in Iraq. The news should never be one-sided, because there are certainly lots of opinions out there on this.

* When was the last time you had a bowl of Cheerios? (Uh, last night! I was was feeling like a snack, and the house is snack-less. Not bad in a pinch.)

* My podcast finaly made it. It was my fault that it didn't upload correctly in the first place. I'll consider it a trial ballon, or a beta-version, and do another one in the coming days. Meanwhile, if you want to subscribe to my Podcast feed via iPodder or your favorite client, you can automatically download it whenever. Well, as soon as I do one... It'll have a similar format to this blog. I'll keep it around 10-20 minutes at most.

* From the WSJ, comes a story on rising energy prices but what caught my eye was Hawaii placing a cap on gas prices. HUH? Without the backing of the governor, too. I think it's a mistake and will lead to shortages. (Remember the early 70's gas lines?) Right now, supply isn't the problem. There is plenty of gas if you have the cash.

* More later!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Battle for Iraq

I have an idea for how to resolve this conflict. It'd take some help from Microsoft. We need to encourage Bill Gates to produce a "Battle for Iraq" XBOX game. We could let Sony and Nintendo try to come up with one, too. But it has to be realistic and challenging. Then we invite the factions in Iraq over to compete over a weekend in an XBOX challenge, winner take all.

The game would contain more violence than you can shake a stick at, with absolutely no blood shed! In addition, each side would get skill level bumps for blowing up schools, malls, and such, with extra lives for taking out civilians. Oh, and the ADULT HIDDEN FEATURE of the game would be if you are successful at suicide bombing, there's a special XXX animation clip involving 72 virgins. Game stores might pull the game from the shelves, but it may go a long way in creating World Peace.

What do you think?


Edit: Check out the story on the Utah Rave. Un-buh-leeeeeavable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Generic Tuesday Blog Entry

* I had a dream last night where I was coming out of the weekend getting ready for school. I couldn't remember my class schedule. All I remembered was that I had PE after lunch. For the life of me, after the weekend, I couldn't remember my locker combination number. I was mad that after only a weekend, I'd forget this kind of stuff. When I woke up this morning, my first thoughts were to get up and to see if I had written down my combination number on something or stored it in my Treo. Then I realized DUH YOU'RE NOT IN SCHOOL! Crazy. Seemed real, though. But you know, the dream had me living at my grandparents who are long gone, with my parents there, and waiting for my dad to drive me to school - which never really happened in real life, either.

* My podcast never seemed to have made it to the storage site, so who knows what happened to it. Can't check it here at the Fun Factory with their site-blocking, so I'll try again later. Or try for another solution.

* Lance Armstrong hit by doping allegations. (And I'm not referring to his bike ride with President Bush last week!)

* Bryan Preston bloggin' at Malkin's site about Iraq and Vietnam comparisons. Good read! I think he makes a great point about the anti-war movement. Will Iraq be a self-inflicted loss?

* Lots of stories the past couple weeks about rising home inventories, and even tales of folks lowering their home prices to sell. I think the housing bubble has burst, and investors are trying to get out while they have big profits. I think housing cycles run in 7 year spans or so, and it may be awhile before the downtrend is over. But I think the downtrend has started.

* The market? Bouncing as I type. Normally, the week after options expiration tend to be down.

* I'll probably have to podcast on the weekends. I can't see the time (or energy) for weekday podcasting.

* When was the last time you had a Ho Ho? (Uh, last night. Found a wrapped one in the back of the freezer. I think it was bought within the last 6 months.)

* After giving up caffeine and diet sodas, I was drinking water only for awhile. Then I made the mistake of having a mineral water. Tasted good, and now I have one of those daily. I probably should get back to water. It seems so boring, but tastes pretty good.

* Do you believe dreams are an expression by your subconscious about your conscious life? Sometimes?

Monday, August 22, 2005



* For fun, I created a podcast.  I don't know how often I'll do this, but you can subscribe to the feed.  I put the link on the right side of the page, so you can add it to iPodder or whatever client you use.  I created the file with the free Audacity tool.  I'm using a free storage site, so while I did upload it, there seems to be a delay.  Link will be provided whenever it's up.  And iPodder will automatically grab it of course.

* It's monday, the weekend is a memory.   Back to school.  Back to work.  Back to.... reality!

* The market?  Yawn.  The week after options week tends to be down. 

* Remember Lawrence Philips, running back for Nebraska and who had a brief career in the NFL?  Check out what he's up to.  YIKES.

* Speaking of the NFL, I was saddened to hear of the death of 49er Thomas Herrion.

* While were criticizing Iraq for not reaching an agreement on their constitution at the deadline, when was the last time you remember the US federal government or the state of California having a budget by the deadline?  Just a thought.

* Yes, the housing bubble seems to have popped.  We won't know the ramifications for 5-7 years.  The housing cycle is slower than the stock market.

* What are you doing to combat higher energy costs?  Is it affecting you?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Funday Sunday

Lace 'em up, Mucky! Race ya!


* It seems a common truth that the housing bubble has popped.  That seems to be all folks are talking about.  Radio shows and news articles are talking about how long homes are on the market, rising inventories, sellers reducing prices, etc.

* Batman Begins in IMAX was cool.

* Regarding energy prices, there seems to be some worry about how the coming winter will affect us all as we fire up the heaters.  My advice?  Turn the thermostat down and wear a sweatshirt around the house.  I keep a blanket on the couch for getting cozy watching TV.   Try it, and if that doesn't work, tick it up a little. 

* Stock market gurus still bullish.  I think we're going higher, but that August-September might be a little tricky.  I'm fully invested, waiting for a pullback to switch a percentage into more risky holdings.

* This guy says that rising gas prices are going to slow the economy.  I think he's sort of right, but that these rising prices have already slowed it down.  We're running in the mid-3% range of GDP and unemployment is at 5%.  If energy was cheaper, folks would be spending more money at the malls and the GDP would be higher.

* Paul Krugman write columns for the the nation's newspaper, and many other syndicate his work.  He supposedly write economics columns, but I've always found them to be more politcal and partisan-preachy, if you know what I mean.   A few days ago, he wrote a column saying that Gore won the 2000 election and seemed to imply from my reading that Ohio was stolen in 2004.  No doubt, you've read some of the left-wing sites claim this everyday, every month, for years now.  <a href="">Here's a guy exposing Krugman's column</a>.

* An anti-Atkins stock portfolio. Interesting!

* When was the last time you had a chocolate chip cookie?  (Uh, today about every 5 minutes.  I gotta get out of here and go for a jog.)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Drug Stocks - Ouch!

Drug stocks are going to be a stickler on monday!


* Pre-season football is like kissing your sister.

* So the latest on the Social Security private savings debate is Grow Accounts.  That is, you'd be allowed to buy US Treasuries, and you'd own them.  This is the way the Federal Thrift Savings Program began, and then eventually it expanded into stocks.  Not a bad idea.

* Did you see Coach Carter?  I thought that was a fantastic movie.  I watched all the extras on the DVD.  I remember the story from a few years back, but it was great to see it retold.

* That Merck Vioxx settlement is going to be a dagger in stock shares monday.  I'm glad I don't own any drug companies.  When you think about it, it may just be a matter of time before those companies are sued out of business or nationalized (govt. takeover).

* Speaking of, Northwest Union trying to put that company out of business.  Is it any wonder union membership is on the decline?  Companies just can't afford these huge benefits in pensions and health care, and expect to compete.

* When was the last time you had a mineral water?  (Uh, now!)  Remember when these things were popular?  Now it seems Crystal Geyser is all that remains.


Friday, August 19, 2005

The Bell Has Tolled

* The "bell has tolled" for the housing market. At least in Sacramento. I've heard about this in other areas in CA, too.

* When was the last time you had a brownie with a peanut butter cup in the middle? (Uh, unfortunately it's been a long time. Sigh.)

* The market? I think the SP500 is down somewhere around 1% in the month of August so far, give or take. I'm not surprised. Retail sales forecasts are really dropping like a stone as folks spend more at the pumps and less at the malls. I expect some big sales coming to move inventory off of shelves. Have you noticed the prices of digital cameras dropping like a stone? PCs? Hi-def TVs? Yeah, check out the ads from companies that sell tech goods. Prices are coming down hard.

* Not that many fridays left in the summer, you know. I believe the local college gears up next week. That means traffic will really suck. At least until students drop out or cut classes a few weeks out. Still...

* Any Battlestar Galactica fans out there? I finaly Neftlixed the miniseries to see what the hub-bub was, bub. Not bad. Started off a little slow, but turned out to be worthwhile as they spent the time in character development. Nice filler for a Star Trek-less TV season. (GEEEEEK!)

* If the housing market declines, it won't happen quickly. Usually these things play out over a long stretch of 5-7 years. You can't just dump a house like you can shares of Houses aren't that liquid. You put it on the market for 3 months, and if doesn't move, you mark it down and try for another 3 months. That process goes on and on until you find a buyer. Then the next guy who sells his house, sees that comparable sales are low, but marks his house at that price to attract buyers. If one doesn't show, then he lowers his price. Etc.

* Here's a shocker (yeah right), Eminem hospitalized for drug dependency. Sleep medication... Hmm.

* USC is ranked #1 in the college pre-season polls. It's always easy to stay with the trend.

* The homebuilder stocks have already taken a big hit. And have you noticed all the numbers of tile stores open? They're all over the place. Watch for many of those places to go out of business.

* Work has been very busy. I like it, but I'm glad it's friday. Really glad.

* If the labor market and economy slides, then some folks will be forced to sell their homes or the banks will for them. Lets hope that doesn't happen. But when you read stories in the papers of folks just walking away from their mortgages, that'll be near the end of the down cycle in houses. It'll take years to play out, though.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thursday? Bring It!

* I still haven't played my Madden 06 yet.

* Do you have an opinion on the Israeli pullout from Gaza? This is one of those things that I think will come back to haunt Israel. I just don't think it was a good idea. We'll see.

* My coworker just told me, "Muckdog, let me just say that you're amazing." It was work related, but still kind of an upper.

* OK. The market? See, I told you so. Despite it being options expiration week (which are normally a positive thing), August just is a funky month. Not to time the market with a calendar, but when we've had a nice rally preceding the month, it seems natural to expect a pullback. I'm looking for some buyable dip in Sept. or Oct., but it could happen earlier. I don't see my indicators screaming buy yet. I'm still long the index, but will get more aggressive if we get such a buyable dip.

* Did you see the cheerleader movie, Bring It On? For some reason, I liked it. I thought it was kind of funny. So the other night on TNT or wherever, I watched the sequel, Bring It On Again. Sheer agony. HORRRRIBLE.

* With 50% more caffeine than regular coffee, Shock Coffee is aiming to charge not only morning coffee drinkers, but also the beverage market. Link. I quit caffeine, so don't make that funny face at me. And don't blame me if you can't sleep at night, either!

* Oil prices? Yeah, they're up there. As you know, energy prices going up is not inflationary. Oh, it's common wisdom that it is. CNBC did a segment this morning at a grocer comparing food prices and how much they've gone up. But look at the retail numbers coming in. Folks are spending more at the pump, and less at the malls. The money getting spent at the pump is going overseas, too. Believe me, that's not inflationary.

* Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria got whacked on the head with a pole. Link. Unfortunately, it wasn't my pole. Sorry for the male humor. But, eh, you understand. Heck, Eva Longoria. C'mon. Throw the muckdog a bone. Er....

* So if you're the San Diego Chargers, do you go with Drew Brees or Philip Rivers? I think Brees, but if he breaks a fingernail and Rivers steps in, Drew may go to the sidelines for good. (Then ask for a trade. See the Kurt Warner or Drew Bledsoe stories.)

* Is Cindy Sheehan still camping in Crawford? Haven't kept up with that story too much.

* When was the last time you had banana bread? (Uh, today! Coworker brought some. Pretty decent.)

* Cheers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

State Fair

* Retail sales numbers are disappointing, as consumers are spending more at the pump and less at the malls. I think this is helping to create a moderate growth cycle and keep the bull market intact. Otherwise, I think we'd be overheating.

* When was the last time you had a corn dog? (Uh, last night at the CA state fair.)

* Still on the PDA as the Fun Factory was slammed and networks are down.

* My former-former employer is trying to recruit me back. I liked that job, but I like my current one. Plus, I think the future is better here.

* I can't keep track of the daily reasons for oil's ups and downs. I wonder how much of the volatility is trader related?

* Fairs and carnivals are pretty strange. The food is always hyped, but never that good. The carnies seem like nomads.

* On the downslope of August now. Are the stores stocking Halloween stuff yet?

* Gasoline by the gallon is still cheaper than bottled water. And which one is in shorter supply?

* The crowd that goes to the state fair later in the day is a little scarey. One of my friends asked if it was gang appreciation day! But the security seems to be there in large numbers.

* Tired thumbs! (Love the Treo though.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Treo Blogging

* Thumb board at the ready! The whole network here came down for an upgrade.

* When was the last time you had a Diet Snapple juice drink? (Uh, ten minutes ago!)

* The markets down... Maybe the Walmart numbers raised some fears the consumer spending is slowing due to energy prices being so high. which is why rising energy costs aren't inflationary. Or maybe it's just options week shennanigans. Either way, I'm looking for a buyable dip.

* Tommy Lee as a Nebraska Cornhusker? Set your Tivo tonight! Girls, Girls, Girls!

* My thumbs are getting tired!

* I think I'll leave early and go to the state fair.

Monday, August 15, 2005


* Well, over the weekend I felt like playing around so I downloaded iPodder and have been listening to various podcasts. For those of you who are further behind that learning curve than I was, iPodder lets you subscribe to various podcasts and automatically downloads them to your computer.

* The stock market? It is options expiration week, and that tends to be positive. And if you want a reason du jour, lets say it was because of Lowes' earnings.

* I bought Madden Football '06 for my Playstation 2, but haven't unwrapped it yet.

* Oh, what are podcasts? MP3 files. Many radio shows, comedies, news shows, preachers from various religions, and common folk make audio files that you can download and copy to your iPod or other MP3 player and listen on the go, whenever you want. More and more radio shows are adding a podcast xml feed, too.

* You can log on to and search the directories for topics that interest you.

* Do folks in your office go on vacation to Hawaii, and bring you back chocolate covered macadamia nuts?

* Don't say I didn't warn you. I know what I am about to say will fill you with so much anticipation, that the days will seem to drag on and on from here until the blessed event. Here it comes. If you don't want to read it, skip to the next bullet. Are you still with me? Ashlee Simpson's new CD will be out in October. And yes, she will be on Saturday Night Live (SNL) yet again.

* I found most podcasts last from 15 minutes to an hour. Some are interesting. Some aren't. So like everything else, after the initial honeymoon period I'd probably find myself not listening to many and having tons of MP3 files on my PC. I might listen to one or two on the bike ride or commute, though.

* Is Cindy Sheehan still camped out in Crawford? Is anybody still covering that, or are they off to NY to cover Ashlee Simpson? Or Philadelphia to cover Terrell Owens? Huh?

* When's the last time you had a chocolate covered macadamia nut? (Uh, today!)

* Who says things are going badly in Iraq? We wanted to spread freedom and democracy to Iraq, and looks like we've done it. Reading the news today, I've noticed that just like here in CA and in Washington DC, the new Iraqi government failed to reach agreement in time to meet their deadline, and they had to extend the date. Welcome to the world of politics, my Iraqi friends. We can't ever get an agreement done on time, either.

* If you have a favorite podcast, drop me note in the comment section and clue me in!

Friday, August 12, 2005


* There they go again, claiming the market is falling today as crude hits new highs. Didn't seem to bother the market during the spring-summer rally. I think people have adjusted to higher oil by cutting back on other expenditures. It's not as if you're going to stop driving to work or taking the kids to soccer practice. It may mean one less night out to dinner, or one less pair of shoes a month. But driving seems to be the American way of life.

* Classic! Movie Theaters and Obesity. Excerpt:

Why the heck don't these people who sue McDonald's and other fast food places for selling food portions that are too big -- why haven't they gone after the theatre industry? Have you they not seen the size of the cokes, the popcorn, and the candy in there? I mean, we're talking popcorn that's sold in buckets! Literally -- buckets.

Read the whole thing!

* The WSJ has an article on how the SARS epidemic in China has them issuing second sets of chopsticks at dinner, so folks don't use the same ones to eat and select food off of "family style" dinners. Yeah, that always kind of bothered me to see folks do that.

* I think we could blame the selloff on August. It's just not a good month historically. Throw in a downgrade of Intel after the big rally, and a Dell earnings call that displeased investors. People are more concerned about the last trip for summer vacation than investing right now.

* The crazies are out in Sacramento, protesting the county-wide spraying of mosquitos to help fight the West Nile Virus epidemic. They fear the pesticide. Meanwhile, county spraying has wiped out 70% of the mosquitos. As the epidemic spreads, Sacramento had the first death associated with the virus yesterday. I'd prefer the bug spray over West Nile.

* When was the last time you had Red Vines? (Uh, today!) I like them fresh and soft, not stale and chewy.

* My MP3 player keeps landing on Ted Nugent songs. I can't have that more than 6 or 7 in my collection of 3000+ files. It's gotta be a statistical anomaly. I should go to the casino tonight. Put a "stranglehold" on those slot machines, baby.

* Red Vines or Twizzlers? (Either.)

* The knuckleheads in support are doing maintenance on the development machine, and we're all stuck running in circles here dealing with bizarre errors.

* Italian archeologists on trail of ancient warships. This kind of stuff fascinates me.
* TGIF!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


* I had a dream last night. I was on a date, and we were out to dinner, and I saw a familiar face. I couldn't quite place it immediately. It was familiar, but maybe a face from a long time ago. After careful reflection, I realized that this person was my 6th-grade teacher.

* When I was in 6th-grade, all the boys had a crush on the teacher.

* Have you been following the story of this Cindy Sheehan goofball? Or "moonbat" as Michelle Malkin would say?

* Larry Kudlow ("KLo") has a Market Wrap up. Like I said in a previous blog, see how easy it is to do that in hindsight? Everybody can be a stock market genious in hindsight.

* In the dream, my 6th-grade teacher recognized me immediately, and remembered my name. She asked what I was doing now, and I detailed my academic and professional career. Meanwhile, while I was talking, I was trying to remember her name. Couldn't do it. Name escaped me. Which is odd, because the subconscious usually remembers.

* My 6th-grade teacher scolded me often. I never had detention, but I was forever running laps around the school. "Muckdog, take 2 laps" she'd bark at me. The other punishment was trash pick-up around school grounds during recess. Bleh. I got in trouble one time during that, because I walked over to the 7-11 and got a slurpee.

* I mixed my slurpees as a kid. Half coke, half whatever else was the flavor of the week. I always hated that round ball of ice that you were leftover with at the bottom of the slurpee cup. Oh, and the flimsy straws always broke. Geez.

* The Rolling Stones have a new song, Sweet Neo Con, that supposedly bashes the Bush administration. Jagger denies the allegation. Maybe Air America has some new bumper music now.

* By this time in the dream, the date had moved on from dinner to my old Elementary school. My 6th-grade teacher said that it was nice catching up with each other, and that she was going back to teach her class. She had a room full of kids waiting. When I looked in the classroom, there was my date! She was sitting in there, waiting.

* Michelle Malkin was on Fox two nights ago talking about Sheehan. O'Reilly's show. I just watched the clip on the net. Oh, she has the transcript up on her website. I think it's better with the video, Michelle. Hubba hubba.

* As the dream continued, I poked my head into the classroom and said to my date, "Hey, are you ready? Lets get going." And my date replied, "This is interesting. I want to stay in here for awhile." Then, I woke up.

* In the shower this morning, it clicked. I remembered the name of my 6th-grade teacher.

Terrell Owens (TO)

I'll take out TO on my way to new highs!


* The market staging a nice rally, maybe the options week rally is underway!

* I expected the Democrats would fight whoever Bush nominated for the Supreme Court.  But this guy is probably a good choice for the Democrats.  It could've been worse.   This guy looks like an easy confirm so far.  Despite the noise.

* So you've heard that Terrell Owens (TO) was thrown out of Eagles training camp for a week.  This has been the sports headline yesterday and today.  If I were GM, I'd trade the guy.  He's poison.  He wants more money, but is he worth it?  I doubt it.

* When was the last time you had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  (Uh, today!)

* HDTV looks great.

* Are you doing anything about high energy prices?  (Car pool, mass transit, working from home, etc.)  I do a little of all three of those. 

* When God told Noah to build the ark and sent the animals by twos, why-oh-why didn't he leave the mosquitos off the damn ark?  Why'd we need those? 

* Barbara Bel Geddes died.  She was the mom on "Dallas."  82.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Pick and Choose

* Is George Bush really a Republican? Think about it. He's never vetoed anything. Deficit spending like crazy. He might've just nominated the first gay Supreme Court Justice. Now, he's touting that his highway bill will create jobs. Aren't the Democrats the ones who like big government infrastructure spending to create jobs? Bush created this big social spending albatross in Prescription Drugs for Seniors. Oh, and Bush has us engaged in an unpopular war overseas. Guns and butter. Did LBJ get reincarnated and I didn't get the memo?

* The easiest thing to do in reporting the stock market, is to use hindsight when reporting the day's events. Pick and choose. After you have your headline, you can list the numbers of ups and downs, and maybe a few of the stories.

* "The stock market sold off today, as oil hit new all-time highs..."

* When was the last time you had a V8? (Uh, today!) Kind of tastey. Kind of salty. 70 calories. 880 grams of sodium for all your water retention needs for the day. (That's a lot). I think I can skip it, unless somebody has a bottle of vodka with 'em. And make that a spicey V8, please!

* I'm supposed to do some monster presentation. "Monster" meaning big, not as in Godzilla. So, I'm stitching together some graphs and notes, and blah blah blah. I generally like these sort of things given proper notice. Of course, question and answer period can go either way.

* "Iran forges ahead with nuclear plans, sending jitters to Wall St..."

* Regarding Iran, looks like the Europeans attempts to appease the Mullahs has been met with laughter and rejection. Investors Business Daily Op-Ed wonders aloud today if we should just do as Israel did to Iraq in 1981, and bomb the facility. "Negotiate with this." Well, do you like the idea of nuclear weapons in Iran? Me neither. Conundrum.

* My buddy says he's loading up on gold. But gold usually does well in times of high inflation. What inflation?

* "Sellers had the upperhand today, after the Fed indicated that they would continue hiking interest rates..."

* I was talking with a coworker about how I've given up caffeine and now aspartame sweetened soft drinks. An hour later, I see her in the cafe with a jug of soda. I was heading for a diet squirt, but having remembered the conversation earlier, I grabbed the V8. Only 70 calories.

* No link between sugar and obesity. I didn't think so. I think it's too many calories and lack of exercise; but, mostly the first one. People eat too much. And fat has 9 calories per gram. The easy way to cut calories is to cut out the fat. What is the average american diet, about 35% fat or so? Too much.

* Short term, anything can impact the market. I don't think the news of the day has much lasting impact compared to future earnings expectations.

* August is usually a bad month. I know I keep repeating myself on that one, but it seems to be playing out that way.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Night Shift

Strings help, m'dog.


* I took a long weekend and came in this morning to a firestorm of questions.  Twelve balls in the air, and I was a little foggy on the specifics.  Took most of the day to remember who was working on what and to catch up on the goings-on.  Geez.  I need more than a string around my finger.  12 strings.  With notes.

* Summer always feels like it's winding down when the fresh strawberries are gone.

* Greenspan jacked 'em up another .25%.  Looks like the economy is chugging along, and he's trying to keep it from overheating.  Where will he stop?  That's the guessing game du jour.

* The market did well, but almost yonked into the close.  If I had to guess for an SP500 correction level?  That's a tough game to play.  I prefer to wait for a correction, a rally and then a retest of the correction lows.  That is somewhat easier.  Uh, somewhat.

* I'm not quite that excited by the battle of the reality titans in Donald Trump vs. Martha Stewart.  I'll probably watch them both.

* Looks like Europe is trying to appease Iran.  Iran seems to be laughing it off.

* See this Korean guy who died after playing video games for 50 hours?

* Vegetarians need more B12, study says.  According to the study,  "Vegetarians are advised to eat more meat."  (It doesn't really say that.)

* I'm not a fan of the Black Eyed Peas.  I don't get it.

* A rare night time post.  Stayin' up late on the West Coast!  (I'll pay the price early.)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings

Steroids should be extinct from sports!


* Peter Jennings died. You know, whenever a familiar face passes away, we all reflect a little bit.  I remember watching Jennings do the news most of my lifetime. 

* Just as I was commenting that nobody was talking about fuel prices, comes the news that deisel prices have gone through the roof.  This is followed by truckers saying how they're going to pass the costs along to consumers, which is then followed by dumb comments that "Here comes inflation."  High oil prices do not cause inflation. 

* Have you been to those fondue or melting pot restaurants?  This is where they bring you steaming pots of liquid and raw food, and you skewer it and cook it for a few minutes.  It's like a 3-hour dinner.  Kind of fun, at least once anyways.

* Regarding steroids and sports, I read something about the number of baseball players who hit over 40 home runs a year, and how over the last decade this number has skyrocketed.  Just seems like fluff to me.  Meaningless in today's ripped-up pumped-up world.  Steroids have tainted the record books.

* If oil costs more, people spend less on other stuff.  So those truckers and retailers will see reduced demand and they won't have the ability to raise prices.  They might have to reduce prices to increase volume.

* OK, cartoons are back thanks to easy image hosting at Blogger.

* The market easing off a bit, continuing the pullback from last week.  The put-call ratio is high, so in the short term, maybe we're setting up for the options week rally.  This usually starts wed or thurs preceding options week.

* If higher prices were inflationary, why is the core rate right around 2% when oil is at $63 a barrel?  Inflation was higher when oil was $12 a barrel in the late 90's!

* Did you see Mr. and Mrs. Smith?  I didn't know what it was about, other than starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  I'll just talk about the latter.  Are there any other females out there who can play an action star and look feminine (aka hot)?

* Positive sports news?  Steve Young and Dan Marino enter the Hall of Fame.  I remember the early 90's Young-to-Rice juggernaut.  Nobody could stop it.  They moved the ball at will.  Incredible.  And I'll never forget Marino at the goal-line against the Jets, where he fooled their defense into thinking he was going to spike the ball to stop the clock, and then flipped the ball into the endzone for a TD.  Two awesome QBs.  No steroids.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Quick HIts

* As the stock market month strength ended yesterday, we've had 2 down days. Again, August isn't usually a very good month. I'm looking for a pullback, move up, and then a retest of the pullback. Nothing too dramatic. That's when I'll probably increase my stock risk again, moving from index funds to something with more volatility. Patience. One thing, though? The put-call ratio is showing lots of pessimism. And the bears have been SO WRONG about this market.

* It's been so hot here. I don't know how many days over 100 there have been, but it seems like most of them for the last 30+ days or longer. It probably won't cool off until Halloween. I think God plans it that way, so that the bite-sized Snickers don't melt.

* I threw off the veggie shackles at lunch, and had 3 chicken tacos.

* I went to the AC/DC website looking for when the new CD will be released, and haven't found much to go on. The message board has an interview with singer Brian Johnson from a few months ago that says they're working on a bunch of songs and a new CD is coming. I'm trying to keep a stiff upper lip about it.

* Diet Squirt is caffeine free. "Citrus Burst" is pretty good.

* New jobs? 207K new jobs isn't a gonzo number, but the unemployment rate is at 5% (full employment) and we are in a tight labor market. I like to see the moving average to be between 150,000-200,000. We're still in there.

* "I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show" - The Kinks, Celluloid Heros.

* Las Vegas is going to host the 2007 NBA All-Star game.

* I don't know about you, but when it comes to Certs, Tic Tacs, or any such mint candies, I can't ever stop at just one. I always end up crunching them instead of just letting them disolve, too.

* Not much noise lately about high oil prices. It seemed like whenever gas prices went up, the TV News crews were at the pumps asking folks if they liked higher prices or disliked higher prices. (duh). But not lately. No mention.

* When was the last time you had Hot Tamales? (Uh, today!)

* When job growth exceeds 200K month after month, it tends to tighten the labor market and drive up wages. A few months of numbers like these, and there is no doubt the inflation hawks will want to raise interest rates and that would bring on the fears of the next down cycle in the economy. Maybe that's why bonds freaked, huh?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mo Bloggin'

* Let's try this mobloggin' thang..

* I'm happy that I can upload toons..

* Not sure if this publishes right away or not.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Web Blockage

* Well, the Fun factory is clamping down on web browsing. And blog browsing (and posting). I don't think it was much of a problem. I've noticed that instead of folks taking a break by browsing, they're up and chatting or on the phone. Kind of like the pre-web days. People adapt. I have a Treo. So, whatever.

* The stock market was pretty decent. We're slowing down as we hit the end of the monthly strength cycle (tomorrow). That's when I'd expect to see more selling. August usually isn't pretty.

* When was the last time you had Mac and Cheese? (Today...)

* After watching the 4, 5, and 6 episodes of Star Wars, I have to say I was sad when Anakin died. I watched the re-editted versions. At the end of Return of the Jedi, it ain't the old white guy as Anakin standing with Obi-Wan and Yoda. It's Hayden Christensen.

* Lets test out blogger's picture posting.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Misc. Yadda

* The market strength continues. Generally, monthly strength lasts until the 4th trading day of the month (thursday) as 401k money gets automatically added to funds. I heard some speculation that we might be seeing real estate money come out of land and back into the stock market.

* I had a dream last night that I won a contest to be the new drummer for INXS. But right before we were to go on stage to perform "I Need You Tonight," I lost my hearing. Then my alarm went off. I woke up with an ear ache. (Too much swimming the past week).

* Nobody seems to be complaining much about high oil prices. Are we used to it now?

* Pepsi or Coke?

* I just heard a coworker say "This stuff has a funny ass taste." As opposed to a normal ass taste?

* Why do men have nipples? Ah, now we know.

* Are you following the Rafael Palmeiro Steroids story? Link. I think his statements are pretty amazing. Considering. What's the saying? "Denial isn't a river in Egypt."

* I think the next big crisis could be Iran and their nuclear plans. Seems to be brewing.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Competitive Eating

* I took the day off today for some home repair work, and after that was done I was flipping around the TV and came across ESPN2 Competitive Eating contest. This is where contestants try to eat the most amount of food. Gross. Salad. Potato skins. Spaghetti. I didn’t stay for the end.

* The ISM number came in good, and even though the DOW was down, advancers led decliners. We may be due for a pullback once monthly strength ends. August tends to be a bad month. But the economy looks good. I’d say watch for too much bullishness now. Also, if we start to see monthly job gains over 200K month after month, we could see pressure on wages and then inflation. I don’t think the Fed would let that get too far before they clamp down.

* Bush appointed John Bolton to the UN, which upsets Democrats. (When haven’t they been upset?) I think the guy is a clown, but the UN is a pretty pathetic organization anyways. Everybody tries to paint a smiley face on the UN, but look at some of the scandals there.

* Competitive eater Sarah “The Black Widow” Thomas was talking about how important speed and stomach capacity is. She barely weighs over 100 lbs, and she was kickin’ butt out there. Gorging, gorging, gorging. Incredible.

* How about those Oakland A’s?

* It is August, and I’m starting to notice the daylight is lasting less and less from day to day. I’m tired of the heat, but there probably is something from my childhood that hates the end of summer. Oh, the beginning of school! Well, when you work for a living, there is no such break anymore, so I should be over it ,right?

* NASA is going to conduct a spacewalk to “fix” the shuttle. I hope they brought some duct tape.

* I couldn’t be a competitive eater. I’m a grazer/snacker. I eat a little at a time throughout the day. I can’t eat a whole plate of anything.

* Today, I had a bowl of whole grain cereal. Then a couple hours later I had some whole grain toast with peanut butter. Then a couple hours later I had some watermelon. Then a couple hours later I had a bean burrito. I just had a handful of Wheat Thins. I’ll probably finish the day with a salad later.

* The Saudi Arabia dude died. King Faad or Fahd. Something like that. Now, the Crown Price Abdullah becomes King Abdullah. He says he’ll continue to pump crude like crazy. I don’t really trust those folks, and I’d be building nuclear plants as fast as possible here if I were King or Crown Prince of the US. We have to do something to quit burning fossil fuels. It’d be cleaner, too.

* Wedding Crashers was pretty funny.

* I just glanced at the baseball standings, maybe for the first time in months. Did you know that the first place team in the NL West is under .500? Impressive. Yeesh. Good grief. Baseball kind of bores me, but sometimes I’ll watch the world series.