Friday, September 30, 2005

Lots of Stuff

* Hello, Friday!

* When you go to Subway, ask Amber to make your sandwich. I don't eat meat, but I noticed she was making meat sandwiches with lots of meat. I mean, she was piling salami high on those rolls. No skimping from Amber. I don't know if this applies to all Ambers nationwide, but the Amber in my town doesn't follow any number-of-slices rules when making a salami sandwich. She makes sandwiches with her own set of rules.

* I haven't had much time to blog this week. I was in a class in the early part of the week, and when I came back yesterday, the crew here at the Fun Factory were lined up with shovels waiting to beat me over the head. It's been a crazy 24 hours, and today will be the same. The good news is that on friday, there are less folks around.

* I haven't heard from her lately. I've been having weird dreams and thinking of her a lot the past 2 days. I'm tempted to send an email, but I don't want to be psycho-stalker. It's been over a month since she emailed me last. It's strange. Our lives have gone in different directions, but it's almost as if there's a corner in my soul that she owns. Or at least has a time share on.

* President Bush's agenda has been derailed over the past month. I doubt we'll even hear about Social Security or tax reform. In addition to hundreds of billions for Katrina, one interesting agenda item is "reducing poverty in the Gulf States."

* End of quarter window dressing on the market combined with 401(k) contributions? That's the easy explanation.

* John Roberts was sworn in. The next Supreme Court Justice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor should be named within the next week.

* Poor Chad Pennington (out for the year). Poor Jay Fiedler (out for the year). Poor Jets fans. I don't know the Bollinger guy who's going to step in this sunday in BALTIMORE against that defense. But that's not going to be pretty. Heck, poor Curtis Martin. He's probably going to get the ball handed off to him 60 times on sunday! Hey, Vinny Testeverde is coming back, so when he's ready that might actually improve that Jets passing game.

* How exactly do you reduce poverty? I know the Democrats will say higher taxes, because they'll want to fund education, health care, raise wages, along with another huge laundry list of spending items. Of course, this is the approach we have been taking for decades. Lots of money spent, and who can say if the results are worth it? The Republicans will say tax cuts and incentives, to create economic growth. Which in theory sounds great, assuming you can motivate folks to get off their butt and take some initiative with their lives.

* Robert Plant can't sing worth a lick anymore. I'm listening to 29 Palms, which isn't too bad. But have you heard his new stuff? Heck, I might as well be singing. (And that's not pretty.)

* In the US, we have an environment of opportunity. I think poverty is a personal issue for most. Our society has to be there to help people out, but I get a little frustrated when I see 300 lb. folks on TV talking about how horrible the US is, and asking where is their money and benefits?

* Auto supplier Delphi Corp's in trouble, but I'm mentioning because of what they're saying about worker pensions being at risk. I think folks who are counting on pensions better have a "Plan B." Especially if we're in a longer term secular bear market. Things may look better now than they did in 2002, but what about the next downturn in the economic cycle? These pension funds are at risk.

* Chris might've had a long run on The Apprentice if he'd have made a better choice on who to bring back to the boardroom. That Mark fellow won't last long, but he was the wrong choice for last night. Trump seemed to like Chris. Chris seemed to have some skills. But, in a reality show, one decision can sink your battleship.

* The Wall street Journal says China is going to tackle the gap between the rich and the poor. The plan is expected to shift the emphasis from strong economic-growth rates to the strengthening of social services, like education and health care. See, that's how to slow down their economic growth! Export liberalism! (And I haven't even listened to Rush Limbaugh in years, but I remember that line...)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Judgeinator!

Who will Bush announce as his choice for the next Supreme Court Justice? I don't know if foreign born US citizens qualify, but how about The Judgeinator, Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Hey, it's a silly idea. But imagine the C-SPAN coverage of the confirmation hearings!

Ted Kennedy (in your best Kennedy accent): "Governor Schwarzenegger, as you probably know, there are certain issues likely to come up before the Supreme Court. blah blah blah blah" (Insert 15 minute speech here) "blah blah blah ...Roe v. Wade."

Governor Schwarzenegger (in your best Arnold accent): Yes, Yes, Senator. There is Roe v. Wade, and this and that and all these other things. I would wake up in the morning, and judge on this. After breakfast, I'd judge on that. Before lunch, I'd judge again. Judge. Judge. Judge. And this would go on all day long. I'd be there, to judge the way the people want me to judge. I would be The Judgeinator!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Thunder and Lightening!

Keep your umbrella handy, Muck!


* Wow, thunder and lightening here today.  First fall "weather" of note.  I saw a spinout near the store, where a young guy in his ghetto-ed out car spun trying to make a left turn into a parking lot, and smashed into a couple signs.  Car was banged up.  Signs fell down.

* Christmas stuff in the stores already.   But I'm more excited about the "bite size" candy for Halloween.

* The market?  Missed it.  Was in a training class today.  Looked like it went up, down, and finished up a smidge.

* Chiefs-Broncos?  I've got leads in both my fantasy leagues, but a lot depends on tonight.  

** Continuos MNF blogging **

* So if 100,000 folks went to the anti-war rally, that means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 295,000,000 didn't go. Just a thought.

* HDTV isn't the best thing since sliced bread, but it's nice. Especially with a side of toast...

* Monday Night Football an early route, with the Broncos up 20-0 over the Chiefs.

* That first rain of the year brings out the smell of wet pavement. Bleh.

* I kind of like the Tim McGraw halftime highlights ditty. It's growing on me.

* LOL, Jimmy Kimmel with Clay Aiken.

* Microsoft's stock is kind of dragging, but what do you think will happen as the new XBOX 360 hype revs up? Yeah, me too.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

NFL Today

* Sunday stat watching. I've got the Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles game on, but I have no fantasy players in this one. I'm stuck watching for updates! Looking forward to the Steelers vs Patriots game.

* I read that there was a big anti-war protest yesterday. I didn't read the details, but my local paper had pictures of Jesse Jackson there. You know, whenever I see his mug at an event, that usually invalidates the "cause" to me.

* These Wal-Mart superstores seem to generate a lot of conflict. Wages, benefits and local stores ability to compete, I guess. Of course, I don't remember this sort of thing when Home Depots were popping up everywhere putting small hardware stores out of business.

* When CBS goes to break, they insert a segment featuring a character actor as Benjamin Franklin. It's a little goofy.

* Hopefully, Senator Bill Frist was looking at the charts when he decided to sell his HCA.

* I do like the Burger King commercials using old-style NFL highlight reels and theme music. I won't eat there, but nice spots.

* Do you ever read the Daily Kos blog? It's kind of a left-wing blog, full of Art Bell show style conspiracy theories. It's a hoot.

* Out of Time, starring Denzel was a good Netflix. Bride and Prejudice was.... interesting.

* Michelle Malkin with some pics from the anti-war rally.

* The Dolphins beat the Panthers. It was in Miami.

* I don't think government pension funds should be in "socially conscious" investments. Shouldn't they just be in index funds?

* The market? The end of the month and quarter rally? Or, dread of deficit spending, fuel prices, and interest rates?

* Steelers and Patriots game is boring. 49ers-Cowboys game is more fun.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday's Business

* Drinking Tecates with my buddies.

* Eating pizza.

* Watching college football.

I love my job at the Fun Factory and and all, but how can monday-friday compete with this?

** In edit: Florida is up on Kentucky 49-7 before halftime. Hoo. And UK scored first. This is just nasty.

** In edit: Does everyone in Texas own a truck? (I wonder as I flip to Fox during halftime... And now drinking a Fat Tire).

** In edit: Notre Dame's Darius Walker is a nice RB. He's good.

** In edit: Rita Crosby went from Fox to MSNBC, and they're giving her the full-body TV shot. My buddy says that Fox wouldn't have given that shot. She's attractive in a large-frame sort of way. Maybe that's the Fat Tires talking, though.

** In edit: My buddy says callers to Art Bell's radio show are saying that Japan has some weather technology to create or intensify hurricanes. Oh brother.

** In edit: Michigan is overrated.

** In edit: That roughing the kicker call was a joke. Eric Rivas must've studied Vlade Divac.

** In edit: Dave Wannstedt got his first win at Pitt, 41-0. Granted it was against some Mickey Mouse College of the Virgins or something. Heck, at least it's a win...

** In edit: South Florida spanking Louisville (rank 9th). LOL. Maybe the fix is in, and Bush, Rove, and Haliburton have money on South Florida...

** In edit: They say the real estate market in Baton Rouge is on fire with folks moving from New Orleans.

** In edit: I wonder if Louis Farrakhan will come out today and speculate that white folks are responsible for the 17th street canal flooding?

** Final edit: Another football saturday done. Beers gone. Food gone. Buddies gone. Best game on TV was the first one, where Minnesota beat Purdue in overtime, but the Wisconsin win over Michigan had an exciting ending.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Are the Democrats Missing an Opportunity?

The latest gossip on the Democrat blogs these days, is that George Bush is drinking again. Didn't the Democrats tried to run on this in 2000 and 2004?

The way to get ahead in life isn't to talk down the opposition, but to talk up yourself. Once your only strategy is to talk down the opposition, you've lost. If you can't sell yourself and your ideas to the American people, get out of the way. Positive beats negative every time.

With all the amunition the Democrats have against President Bush, shouldn't they be promoting their own ideas and plans? The Iraq war isn't popular. Hurricane relief efforts have fallen short. The economy is strong, but people have a perception that it's weak because of energy prices. The Democrats have a grand opportunity sitting right in front of them, to sell America on their ideas. They could promote an approach to the Middle East. They could talk about increasing hurricane strength and global warming. They could start a nationwide conservation movement.

Instead? Jokes about Bush drinking. What a waste of an opportunity.

Hello, John Edwards? If any of the Democrats can revitalize their party and motivate America, it's probably you.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's Fall!

September weakness my hoofs!

* News is that the markets rallied today because Hurricane Rita has weakened to a Category 4 hurricane, and is heading slightly east of Houston and Galveston. The markets didn't rally that much, nor have they sold off that much off the bull market highs. Retail, restaurants, and gambling stocks have taken a hit, because higher energy prices have taxed away folks' money.

* I've been reading H-Town blogs on Hurricane Rita, including LMLY's. I link to her on the right, and she has a few interesting entries up on what she's been encountering while getting out of Houston.

* Did you watch the season premiere of Lost last night? Now THAT'S a good show. Hoo. You just never know when somebody who offers you advice regarding your twisted ankle might become an adversary. You never know.

* So long, Summer! Hello, Fall! I think I have some sweaters somewhere... Well, it's CA. Probably won't need those until after Halloween.

* I recorded America's Next Top Model. I was going to watch it tonight, but I'm going to give some respect to the Chris Rock show, record CSI, and watch The Apprentice. I'm in Fall TV mode now!

* The unpopularity of President Bush has been increasing since January. Reasons often given are Iraq, the economy, and Hurricane Katrina. Of course, not much he could've done about the Hurricane. Hindsight is wonderful, though. Iraq is a quagmire, and I can understand folks feeling uneasy about that. I think the economy is pretty strong, and more typical for a bull market; but folks were probably spoiled by the late 90's mania. Almost like an economic hangover.

* I've been eating shelled peanuts like they're going out of style!

* Not much left for the markets in September. September weakness has been the name of the game, but now we're getting close to the month-end strength period. Just something to note.

* I didn't watch or record Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice. I read the info blurb about contestants having to come up with some poetry, and thought.... Neh.

* Check out the traffic leaving Houston. 100 mile traffic jam! People have been in their cars for 10-20 hours, peeing in cups and tossing it out the window, etc. Wow. (And I'm sure it's all President Bush's fault...)

* HIV in the Porn industry. You know... Well, 'nuff said.

* Hey, the NHL is going to take the ice soon. I don't like hockey, and haven't missed it at all. But some folks may care.

* I read Michelle Malkin daily. In addition to having good columns, she's got a bevy of interesting links everyday.

* Shelled peanuts make a mess.

* I plan on updating some content on the blog soon. Maybe some more toons, and linkage. A little face lift on the header, too.

* I wonder what the members of the B-52s are doing these days?

* I'm bailing out early today. Shhhh.... Don't tell anybody....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Conservation Strategies

I haven't been bashful on how I feel about re-building New Orleans, a city 12-feet blow sea level in an area that gets lots of hurricanes. The levees are in disrepair around the city, and the wetlands have all but been destroyed. Future hurricanes could cause just as much or more damage than Katrina; yet, here we go with a $200 billion effort to set the dominos up; er, I mean, rebuild the city. And do you have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the accuracy of government estimates regarding the costs? Me neither. Instead of using $200B in federal aid to line up the dominos in New Orleans, how about using the $200B to create a conservation drive? For example:

* All consumers who own vehicles that get less than 25 mpg, could get a check from the government for trading it in for a vehicle that gets above 40 mpg.

* All consumers who own a vehicle that gets less than 25 mpg will be assessed an annual $1000 Oil tax by their local DMV, that gets sent to Washington DC. For vehicles between 25-40 mpg, a $500 Oil tax. Over 40 mpg, no Oil tax. This money would be used to fund infrastructure issues and whatever else needed to keep the oil flowing. (That "whatever else" probably includes military funding to keep fighting for foreign oil. How sad is that reality?)

* Consumers who rely on heating oil to heat their homes, could qualify for a government check to help them buy pellet stoves.

* Somewhere in the mix has to be a plan to build more nuclear plants, and drill for more domestic sources of oil. It'd be great to have some initiatives for solar and wind power, and none of this funky CA-Democrat rules about fair wages that would derail the process. Just get it done.

I know these ideas aren't perfect and are a little rough around the edges, but isn't it about time we got started doing something? If there were ever a time for all of Americans to unite together, regardless of party affiliation, shouldn't this be it?

Stuck on Stupid!

* Hurricane Rita now a category 4 storm, heading somewhere between Texas and Louisiana. I saw mayors on CNN ordering evacuations. Monkey-vision (CNBC) was talking about the impact to the US energy infrastructure, and pondered about rationing of natural gas in the months ahead. (Got a pellet stove?)

* The markets? Drifting lower. September is normally a weak month, and the wall of worry is pretty big this month. The Fed continues to tap on the brakes, and everybody seems to wonder why they didn't pause with the Hurricane Katrina damage. Unless they're worried about all the hundreds of billions in relief that might stoke inflation. Ya think?

* Hurricane Rita from Smoke on the Water blog in Galveston, Texas. Interesting. And Liberty's Blog. More to read!

* I mentioned previously, that as we get close to 1200 on the SP500, that I'd begin to increase my aggressiveness. Almost there, huh?

* Say, what companies make pellet stoves, anyways? Hmm. And pellets?

* JD won Rock Star INXS. He was probably the best choice, but he seems like a loose cannon out there. I was pulling for Marty, just because he wasn't as big of a freak. INXS took the stage to perform their new song with JD at the end of the show.

* I've said it before, but I kind of like Enya's music. There, I said it again.

* You are stuck on stupid!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Greenspan Day

* Greenspan at 11:15am, PDT. That's when the Fed will announce what's going on with interest rates. So, I'm blogging live up until then! I'm gnawing at my fingernails wondering what the Fed will do, and how the markets will react.

* Do you ever listen to Gary Kaltbaum on the radio? I don't know his performance record, but his radio show is pretty entertaining in the realm of daily financial talk. And he's got archives up, so it's easy to download and listen whenever. I tend to disagree with his recent rants on inflation. He's convinced there is inflation all over the place. Huh? Higher energy prices aren't inflationary.

* So, the new TV season is underway, and other than watching Bones, I've skipped out so far. I kind of wanted to watch Just Legal last night, but monday night football will get in the way of everything else for awhile.

* Hurricane Rita crossing the Florida Keys, and heading into the Gulf. It could strike anywhere from Texas to Louisiana, according to early reports. This time, folks seem to be taking evacuation orders a little more seriously.

* I didn't watch the Emmy's.

* The Bacon Microwaver is at it again. Good Lord. STOP!!!

* The market is drifting lower here, but still up for the day. Everybody is on pins and needles now for the Fed announcement. I wonder what the initial reaction will be? I wonder if fading that is a money maker? Hah, you know it is (unless you put a boatload on that trade!).

* I've been drawing some new cartoons using Paint Shop Pro, so hopefully those will debut here soon! WOO! NEW CARTOONS! (I had the flu over the weekend, so once I ran out of Netflix DVDs to watch, I had to do something!)

* The New Orleans Hornets might play in .... Oklahoma City!

* I've been bringing my lunch lately. I don't think that's my resolution for higher gas prices. It's just something I've been doing. What I have noticed, is that I sure make a lot less trips to the ATM. With all that cash I'm not spending, maybe I'll go help out Best Buy's sales numbers and get a new LCD monitor!

* I wonder if oil platform workers in the Gulf get paid for "evacuation days?"

* Staying Fit May Help Joint Pain. No kidding? You mean it's better for your joints to be trim and fit, rather than unathletic and overweight? Who'd a thunk?

* Tonight, there is a reunion of past America's Next Top Model winners! It's either that or Bones; what are you going to watch? Followed by Rock Star INXS, so I might as well finish that one off to the bitter end.

* Yeah, I see the move in gold lately. I don't really trade it much. Sometimes, if I'm bearish on the market. Maybe that's why folks are in it. Maybe folks think that the real estate bubble is done, that stocks are going nowhere, bonds aren't yielding much, and the government is spending money like a drunken sailor. Maybe the gold bugs are worried about a recession.

* And the Fed says... HIKE 'EM! Another .25% hike... Haven't seen the text yet. Market initial reaction is... Down. Fade that? Eh, not today. It's lunch time.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why Rebuild New Orleans?

Bush's new New Deal is a bad deal.

First, why build a city that's below sea level? We're just asking for this all to happen again. We're not even certain that we have the technology to build levees to withstand a category 5 hurricane. It's a complete waste of money to rebuild the area. Hurricanes affect New Orleans every 3-4 years, and a direct hit occurs just over every 10 years. Link.

Second, it'll take 10 years to restore the wetlands. No wetlands means an increased risk of flooding. Link.

Third, hundreds of billions will be dumped on the area via federal spending, charity, and insurance payouts. Unlike higher energy prices which take money out of the economy, this spending is inflationary because it puts money into the economy. I wouldn't be surprised if Greenspan and the Federal Reserve continue to tighten the economic screws, worried that there will be way too much money being dumped on the economy. (First hint will come on September 20th, when the Fed meets!)

Fourth, many of those folks have relocated and are starting new lives. Let them do that, instead of going back to hurricane alley.

Finaly, there seems to be no plan on how to pay for this government spending. Taxes won't be raised. Supposedly, spending will be cut somewhere else, but President Bush has been the kind of big spender only a Democrat could love!

I think that's why the GOP base is a little upset: George Bush is a Democrat. And the Democrats are even worse. Fiscal conservatism is dead.

Instead of spending hundreds of billions to set us up for another disaster, why not give some aid to the folks that have had to relocate, and be done with it?

Saturday, September 17, 2005


* Dave Wannstedt really turned that Pittsburgh Panthers franchise around, eh? GOOD GRIEF! What'd they have, about 19 returning starters from a team that lost only 3 last year? And now they're 0-3 to start 2005? NICE COACHING, DUDE!

* All this talk about high oil prices causing inflation was thrown in the dumpster this week with more benign CPI and PPI data. But you know what is inflationary? All that federal money being spent on New Orleans. Remember, inflation is caused by an increase in the money supply. And looks like with the Fed deficit spending and insurance companies paying claims, there will be a huge impact (hundreds of billions) on the economy. Of course, many will still blame oil prices. But you know better. Ignore them. Better yet, make fun of them. Make money off them.

* I decided that I had enough of the white rice and toast diet, and tempted the flu virus with a burrito tonight. So far, so good. I think I'm almost done with this darn bug.

* UC Davis beat Stanford. Whoa, Nellie. That's pretty huge.

Other Things I've Learned From Sports

When California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his intentions to run for Term 2, he did so by saying that everything he's learned in life, he's learned from sports. He said that "follow through" was important, so that he was going to follow through and serve another term. That got me thinking, besides follow through, what other lessons in life has sports taught us?

From football, I've learned that if you're thirsty, you can always milk the clock. If you get an assignment at work that you don't like, you can hand it off or pass it to somebody else. Football has taught me that a week can make a tremendous difference. If you hear footsteps, pay attention to what you're doing even if it means somebody is about to hit you hard.

Baseball has taught me that it's not good to get caught napping or stealing. Doing the little things are what will get you noticed. Always take the easy out. If you need mustard, look for something near you that's traveling fast.

I've also learned many things from basketball. Dancing is something that we're supposed to do in March. Shooting the lights out is a good thing. Ten seconds is like an eternity. Getting taken to school is a bad thing, but schooling somebody is a good thing. Also, you should shop at Sears a lot, because you want to have as many tools as possible.

Finaly, be aware that if you hear a fat lady singing, whatever you're doing is about over.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Night Live

Feed a cold, starve a flu? Or is that backwards?


* By the end of the week, the morning alarm sounds off and I'm in another world.  Especially with the sunrise coming later and later, and the room is dark.  Seems like somebody owes me another couple of hours sleep.   But nooooo....

* I've had one heckuva bout with the flu the last 24 hours.  Hit me last night with the worst stomach ache ever, and lasted through the night.  I decided to stay home today and just sleep.  Now, I'm wide awake and feel much better.  All I've eaten today is a few bowls of white rice and a few plain pieces of toast.  Nothing fancy.

* Did you see that Louis Farrakhan is blaming white folks for blowing up the New Orleans levee?  "I heard from a very reliable source who saw a 25 foot deep crater under the levee breach. It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry," Farrakhan said.

* On fridays, the stock market tends to trade opposite the weekly trend, as traders book profits ahead of the weekend.  Have you noticed the drop in oil prices??? 

* From the same article quoting Farrakhan, here's much more level-headed comment from President Bush:  President Bush said Monday that Hurricane Katrina did not discriminate and neither will recovery efforts.

* Arnold says he's running for Term 2, to be the Governor of California again.  I think he's given California a better image, but he's not able to actually get much done because the Legislature is extremely liberal.  So all they do is cancel each other out.  Nothing wrong with gridlock; heck, that's my favorite form of government.  With gridlock, nothing ever gets done, because the politicians spend all their time arguing with each other instead of passing legislation!

* Mayor Nagin Blames Bush for Lower Body Count.  Snip:  "Follow the money," said Mr. Nagin. "Low body-count means less federal aid and less redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor black folks of my city. You don't have to be a cable guy to figure out that this benefits George Bush and his rich cronies."

* You know, being a contrarian of sorts, I have to wonder if the Democrats are counting their chickens a bit early for 2006.  They're convinced that Bush is so unpopular that the 2006 elections are already in the bag.  You think?  I just think when the Democrats start campaigning about hiking your taxes, people are going to go with their wallets again.  And even in CA with Arnold's popularity low, all he has to do is remind voters "Do you want that car tax back?"  Other than raising taxes, I haven't heard too many ideas coming from the Democrats.  Sure, they want gay marriage, drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, and they don't like the Pledge of Allegiance.  But I'm not sure they have many ideas.

* I suppose the Democrats will compaign on slow wage growth, but I doubt any of them will pass a law banning the offshoring of jobs to other lower-paying countries, do you?

* Enough for tonight.  Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2005


* This pic is making the email rounds, so I thought I'd share. Kind of cracks me up!

* Listening to Bush's speech. He did pretty good. I think he may have missed a chance to talk about energy, and maybe create a national voluntary conservation drive. It'd probably help quite a bit to curb demand.

* Lookie what happened to Annaly Mortage afterhours! NLY. Seems like folks didn't like the dividend news. $.13. Yeah, folks buy this one for the yield, and that's a big drop I think.

* Jog time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

September Swoon

September swoon!

* The John Roberts confirmation hearing is a bit ridiculous. Have you watched any of it? It's like 10-minute questions and 5-second answers. The questions are more like these bloated Senators grandstanding their political views.

* The CPI came out this morning with inflation numbers, and it was a yawner. Not much inflation out there. Yes, energy is expensive. But that's having a bigger impact on where consumers direct their money. Look at the price cutting going on from retailers, restaurants and casinos. I've been eyeing a new LCD monitor, myself...

* The latest diet craze in Australia? CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. It's another low-carb, high-protein diet. But while the diet has found plenty of fans, it has also come under fire for recommending nearly half a pound of red meat be eaten four times a week. YEESH. NO THANKS!

* Delta and Northwest file Chapter 11, and that was a mighty big tremor that just shook the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. No doubt the airlines will try to offload their pensions on to the PBGC. Remember back in the day, these big airlines would charge you $1000 to fly from coast-to-coast. Now the discounters out there are doing the job for $200. So the big airlines have had to slash costs to compete, but they've got so many big union salary, benefits and pension deals out there that make it such that they just can't do it.

* LA Governor Blanco decided she wasn't going to let President Bush get all the glory for taking responsibility for Hurricane Katrina. Blanco says "NOT SO FAST, BUSHIE! IT'S ALL MY FAULT!" No word if New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will let himself be upstaged by this, or if he will announce that it's all his fault.

* The markets? The September Swoon seems underway. Lots of folks on that bandwagon (including me), so that's a reason to be wary of it. But, I have to go with it for now. I remain invested, but looking to get more aggressive if folks get really pessimistic. I'm looking for something in the neighborhood of 1200 on the SP500 on a pullback. Plus or minus a bit. But instead of looking for a specific number, I'm just watching my market-timing indicators. Which, seem to be asleep right now.

* Good grief. Check this out. Billy Bob Thorton, Virginia Madsen, and Bruce Willis in The Astronaut Farmer. Why not "Bad Astronaut?" Sounds like a bad movie. The Warner Independent Pictures story centers on an eccentric farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) who dreams of space travel and sets out to build a rocket in his barn. His neighbors consider him an oddity, the government thinks he is a threat and the media see him as a story.

* Britney Spears had a baby boy. Maybe this should be the most important bullet of this blog entry.

* Anti-cancer compound found in beans, nuts, cereals. People who eat a lot of these things probably tend to be thinner than those who don't, wouldn't you think?

* We must be near the end of the Reality Show era. I see that Fox is going to have a show that just gives recaps of other reality shows.

* I haven't heard where the NBA's New Orleans Hornets plan on playing this year.

* AOL is adding a podcast search. Google added a blog search. Power to the people, baby.

* Did you see the pictures of President Bush from yesterday? Looks like he colored his hair.

* So, if the US government is dropping at least $62B on the Gulf to recover from Hurricane Katrina, where is that money coming from? Debt, obviously. The Democrats will call for tax hikes, since that's their solution for just about everything. The Republicans don't seem too concerned about where it comes from; heck, they probably want to cut taxes to stimulate the economy and create more government revenue, right? One idea I read about was what if each state cut back on one pork-project? I doubt this will happen, and I doubt we'll raise taxes. So, more debt..

The Baiting Game

So what happens if I take the bait?

* John Roberts enduring the confirmation hearing. where Senators are trying to bait him into answering specific questions. From what I've been reading, this thing is pretty much a slam dunk. Why do they physically have to be at a hearing? Couldn't this all be done via a web chat room? It'd save some money. Say, do you think the Supreme Court website has a chat room for newbies? What would John Roberts nickname be? ChiefJR?

* Headlines are out that retail sales are the worst in four years. This reinforces what I've been writing about energy prices. Higher energy prices act like a tax on consumers. If folks are spending more at the pump, they're spending less at the stores, casinos, travel, movies, restaurants, etc. Investors who thought ahead, bailed on these stocks. Look at how they've performed, and then company announcements coming out revising numbers downwards.

* Higher energy prices are not inflationary, but contractionary. GDP projections are being revised downward from the 4% range to the mid-3% range. And you know how economic expansions love the mid-3% range. That's the Energizer Bunny GDP range for economic expansions. CPI out tomorrow! (Don't sleep in!)

* New TV Show: Bones. Did you watch it last night? It wasn't horrible, but it was, uh, boring and predictable. This is the one starring Emily Deschanel and former Angel star David Boreanaz. Not one single vampire in Bones, either. Not yet, anyways. I'm blaming CSI for this kind of show. Don't we have enough of 'em?

* Infants don't need no stinkin' Gatorade! Mom's milk richer in fat, energy after one year

* The Rolling Stones have a new one out, A Bigger Bang. Are you going to buy it? Eh, I think I've had enough of them.

* As far as energy prices go, the US has passed the peak usage period, and demand should slacken. Prices have already fallen quite a bit from their Hurricane Katrina highs. Advice for winter? Turn the thermostat down a few ticks, buy a few cheap sweatshirts, and set out blankets on the sofa for your TV watching.

* I heard Gary Kaltbaum interview Scott Bleier on his radio show yesterday. Scott is pretty conviced that we're at the end of the economic expansion. I disagree, but thought I'd mention it. He seems like a good guy.

* The Feds and Insurance companies are going to dump over $100B on the Gulf states. This comment ignores the human tragedy and suffering, and I don't want to slight that. But after disasters like this, there is an outpouring of money that will create quite a boom down there as people try to put back together their communities.

* Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3, now filming! At least according to some entertainment show I was watching. The first two were entertaining enough, and certainly better than his War of the Worlds.

* Yes, I saw INXS last night. Uh, well, the blonde guy just because the other two guys are freaky and the woman doesn't seem right for the band, IMHO. I kind of like that song Trees, too. Although, I'm not sure the forest is going to give anybody the answers.

* September is historically a weak month for the stock market, and if there is excessive pessimism that leads to a selloff, I'll be there to take the opposite side of that bet. Yes, I'm already completely invested in the index, but I'd ratchet up my aggressivenes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fantasy Football

This is my Fantasy year, Muck!


* Fantasy football leagues are underway, and there was an article in my local newspaper that detailed the productivity losses resulting from lost work time. 

* The Fun Factory blocks fantasy sports content, but that doesn't mean we can't find other creative ways to sap our productivity.  One of my workers was printing out a recipe for a sauce for springrolls.  I found it on the printer and asked her if it was okay if I made a copy, because I might like to try this sauce out myself someday.  She seemed a little embarrassed.

* It's official.  George Bush is taking responsibility for the Federal response to Hurricane Katrina.  Uh, who else is supposed to?  In any case, certainly somebody needs to look into how events unfolded.  And I don't mean lefty or righty blogs full of insane people.  Instead, some commission needs to research how this event unfolded, and make recommendations on how to do crisis management in the future.

* The Dolphins beat the Broncos?  So, are all you Fantasy players dropping Daunte Culpepper and picking up Gus Frerotte?  (Uhhhhh....)  Culpepper looked BAD.

* What else should Bush take responsibility for?  Raiders losing to the Patriots?  An early end to the Summer (it's cooler here than usual)?  Bad movies in 2005?  That horrible INXS reality show?

* Speaking of TV, what are you looking forward to?  The new TV season is going to put a crimp in my exercise routing.  Early darkness already has shortened the workouts (or rushed them).

* Running back controversy in Pittsburgh?  You have Willie Parker emerge in week 1, but they have Duce Staley coming back and everybody knows The Bus (Jerome Bettis) is going to get the carries by the goal line. 

* I don't like to chew gum.  Seems overrated to me.

* In the newspaper article, boss-types recommend letting your workers have fantasy football time, because it helps with morale.  One guy commented that he only spends about an hour a week doing research.  I think he's on the conservative side with that time estimate, and it's probably more like an hour a day.  But still, at least he's not distracting others (from doing their fantasy research).


Train Keeps a Rollin'


* After a long weekend away, you just never know what's coming down the tracks when you head back into the office...

* I'm at the point where I'm tuning out on the Hurricane Katrina news. By that, I mean the media coverage. I've about had it. Enough.

* Take a look at Best Buy stock today. There's the impact of higher energy prices. Folks have less money to shop with. Speaking of Best Buy, have you noticed the price drops on LCDs, Computers, TVs, etc? Man, these things are dropping like stones.

* Football season, baby.

* President Bush takes responsibility for the Hurricane relief efforts, and any failures there. Hey, you think I can get him to take responsibility for my taking the Rams and laying points to the Niners this week? Geez, darn that President Bush.

* Why is EBAY buying Skype? I don't get it.

* I'm wiped out from a weekend of beer and football. It's the Energizer Bunny of hangovers. Speaking of, have you seen that aerobics commercial with the Energizer Bunny?

* New TV season is almost here. Hoo-hah. Hopefully, that means the INXS Rock Star TV show is almost over. (I suppose I might as well watch it until the bitter end.)

* Market is coming back today. I think the experts are very confounded at this. PPI was under expectations, too. GDP in the mid-3% range does an economy good...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Raiders Lose Opener, Blame President Bush

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots defeated the visiting Oakland Raiders 30-20 in the NFL opener Thursday night. Democrats and Raider fans immediately blamed the Bush administration for the Raiders loss.

Harry Reid said, "This is another case of the Bush administration favoring the haves at the expense of the have-nots. The Patriots have won back-to-back Super Bowls, and three altogether. How many rings does Tom Brady need? When is enough enough for these well-to-do? The Raiders haven't won in a long time, and the Bush administration knew this before the toss of the coin. Why didn't they intervene before the game, to give assistance to the team that needed it most? Where was Dick Cheney?"

Nancy Pelosi called a press conference early friday morning, to express her outrage over the Raiders loss to the Patriots. "Tax cuts for the wealthy. Victories to defending Super Bowl champions. When will it stop for this most corrupt political regime in American history?"

New York Senator Hillary Clinton issued a statement through her spokesperson, stating that there should be a special commission to investigate the matter.

Republican officials were quick to rebut the attacks. The Bush administration commented that it was a combination of player skills and coaching that determined the outcome of the football game. "While this administration understands the sorrow felt by the Oakland Raiders following their loss, we congratulate the New England Patriots for their victory." Bush quickly sent Dick Cheney to the post-game ceremonies after the game, where he met with both head coaches to get their views of the game.

"Both coaches believe that the players tried their best, and that it was a good game. In the end, it's tough to be a visitor on opening night playing against the defending Super Bowl champions," commented Cheney late in the evening.

Senate Democrats blasted Cheney for his insensitive remarks. "These people don't care about the Raiders or their fans," Ted Kennedy said.

At the music awards ceremony after the game, hip-hop artist Kayne West attacked the Bush administration. "We all know that the Raiders colors are silver and black. Who would've won if the Raiders colors were silver and white?" Other music artists quickly chimed in to agree with West.

When asked about the football game, Senator John McCain said, "Huh? When did football season start?"

Bloggers were quick to jump in the middle of the controversy. Over at the LeftiesWhoHateEverythingAboutBush blog, one blogger claimed that "First, Bush stole the 2000 election from Gore. Then, via Karl Rove, Bush orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The Bush administration invented a war on lies in Iraq, and had right-wing programmers write viruses that pre-determined the 2004 elections. Bush neglected Kyoto and caused global warming, otherwise there would be icebergs in the Gulf and we wouldn't have to worry about hurricanes. He caused those hurricanes, and Americans are suffering. He cut taxes for the wealthy and raised taxes on the poor. And now, Bush favored the New England Patriots who have already won the Super Bowl many times in recent years, and neglected the needs of the Oakland Raiders and their fans. This is the worst administration in history. The polls show it. Democrats are going to win it all back in 2006." Many bloggers tried to refute Bush's involvement in the football game, but they were quickly banned from the website and labeled "Patriot Trolls."

Sean Penn immediately flew to the East Coast and joined the Raiders in their locker room after the game. He brought 500 cameras and a TV crew to film his arrival. "I'm here to help," Penn said. He said he would join the Raiders in practice this week, and hoped to suit up next week for the Raiders home opener against Kansas City. Raider officials declined to comment, but did mention that Penn's football equipment seemed to be lacking some padding and they weren't sure if his helmet was NFL regulation or not. "Two or three hits by a linebacker, and I think some of this junk would fall apart," one official said, off the record.

Both Patriots and Raiders officials have declined to comment regarding the game, instead choosing to focus on the remainder of the season.


Hang on for the ride!

* I was reading around about energy conservation, and most are thinking that with fuel so expensive, folks will resort to hybrids. But then, if gas gets cheap again, will folks switch back to SUVs? I have an idea to sell a lot of hybrids...

Apple introduces the iPod Auto! A hybrid car that comes with a 40-gig hard drive, and in multiple colors! (No ear buds, though!)

* The first NFL game in the books, and outside of a jog at halftime that took me until half-way through the 3rd quarter, I watched every snap. Oakland looks good. Tough to win on the road opening night in New England.

* The markets? Hah! Lots of folks thinking that the hurricane Katrina impact will be negative to the economy, but the stock market is telling us otherwise. Heck, since the hurricane, the market has rallied and oil has fallen in price. Exactly the opposite of what the "experts" predicted.

* Wireless broadband news here. Seems like just a matter of time before we don't need landlines to make phone calls or access the net (in a reliable and speedy manner).