Friday, May 28, 2010

TGIF Randomosity

  • Winter is the new SummerSo, no back-to-back positive days for the stock market in May.  $$  Who is glad to see May go buh-bye?
  • Here in CA, it’s been colder than usual.  Snow pack thick enough to have ski resorts open over Memorial Day weekend.  Gee, I remember when we used to go boating and camping. 
  • Speaking of, the New York Times plaintively ponders global warmism’s loss of credibility.  We're old enough to remember the "greenhouse effect," which became "global warming," which became "climate change," which now apparently has become "climate science." Just as "retarded" was a clinical term until it developed connotations of mockery and insult, so each term for greenhouseeffectglobalwarmingclimatechangeclimatescience comes to connote dishonest alarmism--because that is what GEGWCCCS is all about.
  • Ticket demand for World Cup huge.
  • US considers military option in Pakistan.  Gee, that ought to keep things interesting. 
  • You know, Rome fell from within.  Just sayin’…  So we, the US, are making decisions on military excursions and domestic entitlements that who knows how the hell we’re going to pay for.  Well, obviously, we’re not going to pay for them in the end.  The debt will continue to grow until we can no longer borrow money.  Hopefully, that’s some other generation’s problem, but I wouldn’t bank on it, so to speak.
  • Celtics win!  Back to the Finals.  Their opponent is either Phoenix or LA, and who wouldn’t like it to be LA?  LOL, biased here.
  • Gary Coleman dies of brain hemorrhage at 42.  The diminutive Coleman, who suffered from a congenital kidney disease that halted his growth, was hospitalized Wednesday night after suffering an intracranial hemorrhage at his home in Santaquin, Utah. Media reports said he had fallen and hit his head
  • Caught up on my Saturday Night Live earlier tonight.  Using the FF button early and often.  Slowing down on the Ke$ha performances.  Just sayin’…


#11: It's the End of May as We Know It

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#10: Market Correction... Continues

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Everyone is on the Dole Now

An amazing look private paychecks compared to government benefits Everyone is on the dole now.

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010….

A record-low 41.9% of the nation’s personal income came from private wages and salaries in the first quarter, down from 44.6% when the recession began in December 2007


Anyone see a problem with a growing public sector and a shrinking private sector?

Tuesday Reversal

· Nice reversal in the stock market today. It was very gloomy earlier. $$
· $PM seems like an interesting stock at these levels. Yielding over 5%. Plus, on my lunch time walk I noticed that even with the tensions on the Korean peninsula, the chaos in Europe, and the oil spill in the gulf, that people were still smoking. $PM is an international company, and subject to some currency fluctuations I suppose. And valuation is more than numbers; it can be a function of optimism or pessimism. But I like it better than the domestic companies in the same business. (No position in the stock).
· The 24 finale turned out NOT to be Jack's hallucination. Maybe that'll be revealed in the movie.
· Yeah, Lost. So, I'm out on a walk last night listening to a radio show that was talking about the Lost finale. Same discussions as I mentioned in the last post. There may be lots of questions and frustration about the lack of an official resolution. But maybe that's the best way for Lost to have ended it.
· Oh, when Jack woke up on the island, he was in a suit and dress shirt. The last episode he was wearing a blue shirt. The stab wound was on the opposite side from when the series began. Plus, the shoe hanging from the bamboo was all tattered and weathered. Aha! It was all real!
· "People keep asking me if I know what happened during the finale of "Lost." I don't know what happened, but that doesn't stop me from telling other people that their theories are wrong." -Jimmy Kimmel

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost: The Hallucinogenic End

I watched the series finale for #Lost last night, and then tossed and turned all night thinking about it. Hallucinating? Really? I can’t get the plot line out of my thoughts. Was it all a dream or hallucination as Jack faded away amongst the bamboo? Did it really happen? Were they all dead from episode one?

My first thought compared the story to Anne Hathaway’s in “Passengers.” Sorry to be the spoiler for that one if you haven’t seen it, but everyone’s dead and coming to grips with their situation before they pass on to what’s next. But Lost is too complex and we’re far too involved for that.

Then I thought, maybe it’s more like “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” where a soldier is about to be hung for sabotage during the Civil War, and is suddenly saved when the rope breaks. Again, a spoiler alert, it turns out that his fortune, escape, and subsequent happenings all were a fantasy that happened between the drop and the snapping of his neck. The rope doesn’t break.

This morning, I crawled around the blogs and news feeds for commentary about what it all meant. Consider that a plea for help, if you will.

Most of the commentary seems to be on the side that the island was real. That seems to neatly tidy up the loose ends, except for all the sci-fi stuff. The biggest deliveries last night were from Hurley and Ben talking about each other being a good #1 and a good #2, and then Jack’s dad, Christian Shepherd, telling his son that they’re all dead and some died before Jack, while some died later. In addition, Christian Shepherd said that they had created this place so that they could find each other before they left to what’s next. The sideways flash was the purgatory where they all lived and waited until they found each other again, trapped in time waiting until everyone was ready.

That latter is the ending that makes me feel the best about watching every episode, plus a run through every episode on Netflix in 2009. Unfortunately, I believe the simplest solution is the most likely. That would be that there were no survivors of the plane crash. There wasn’t even necessarily an island.

I’m going to miss the show.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sell Low Saturday

“When a lot of people reach their threshold of pain, they sell their stocks and try to move to more secure holdings — cash, bonds, Treasuries,” said Louis S. Harvey, president of Dalbar, a fund research firm in Boston. “These decisions don’t work out very well for most people.”

Over the long haul, the average investor has badly underperformed the overall stock market: through December, over the last 20 years, the average stock fund investor has had annualized returns of only 3.2 percent, compared with 8.2 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, according to Dalbar. Shortsighted moves in down periods account for much of the deficit, Mr. Harvey said.

  • imageAfter having sold some stuff a few weeks ago, I’ve been starting to eye some stocks and ETFs again.  I think being patient is the right course of action, but tempting to start nibbling.  Maybe ahead of the month-end 401k adds.  Assuming people are still doing that, of course.
  • I ended up with this picture of Ming-Na for today.  I was searching for Stargate Universe pictures, and Elyse Levesque, but this pic will do for today.  Agreed?
  • Bret Michaels recovering and taking precaution after the stroke and brain hemorrhage.  Yikes.
  • Happy birthday, Pac-Man!  Man, the game seems lame compared to what we have now.  But back in the day…
  • I have the Brewers-Twins game on, and Leo Laport’s The Tech Guy.
  • BP chief executive says no guarantees on efforts to cap the oil leak, as the oil mess hits Louisiana.  The top kill strategy seems like it would be hard to implement.  Think of trying to cover up a fire hydrant spewing water.  Or placing your hand over a leaking faucet.  I wish them luck.
  • I like the 100-calorie packages of microwave popcorn.  Seems like just the right amount for a salty snack.
  • Even though I have an iPad 3G, I haven’t used it outside of a wi-fi hotspot yet.  Thus, I haven’t enabled the 3G. I’m not sure I want to spend $30 a month for access when I don’t think I’ll use it that much.  Maybe if I go on a long vacation or something. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

#9: Reading expensive books on the iPad!

Friday Randomosity

  • Did anyone just see the CNBC clip featuring Senator Barney Frank (not pictured)? Today he contradicted what he said in 2005 about affordable housing.  Lets not use the word “lying,” but, well, you know.  Now he says he means renting.  Back then, it was getting folks into homes.  But then the latter was a big part of the problem with the housing bubble and flakey mortgages.
  • imageInteresting way to deliver the unemployment rate news todayThe jobless rate in 34 states and Washington, D.C. fell in April compared to the prior month, even as the nation’s unemployment rate ticked up to 9.9%, the Labor Department said Friday. Meanwhile, six states saw unemployment rate increases, while the rate was unchanged in 10 other states.  So, uh, it’s up when it’s down.  Hey, ain’t that a Katy Perry song?
  • A bill to regulate online gambling gets an airing in WashingtonThe battle over online gambling continued earlier this week during a hearing held by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on legislation to tax licensed Internet gambling in the U.S. The bill—known as the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act—was reintroduced in March by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
  • Can states fix their pension problems?
  • The stock market rebounding a little, still down about 4% for the week.  Of course, Friday often moves the opposite direction than the weekly trend, as traders book profits. 
  • I’m a conservative guy, but I do appreciate First Lady Michelle Obama’s War on Obesity.  The link is to a liberal article written by Shannon Cutts who thinks that term is hurtful to the kids.  Mrs. First Lady, I want to know why, instead of the "War on Obesity" (which rolls out the red carpet for a continuation of weight and appearance-based stereotypes and prejudices) we couldn't have just called the campaign "Americans for Fit, Healthy Kids"?  Hell no.  Call them fat.  Don’t gloss over a serious problem.  There are no cheery words or terms for Diabetes and Heart Disease, Shannon.
  • President Obama wants a daily update from BP on the oil cleanup.  Great, a daily status meeting.  Who brings the donuts?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is the Joyride Over, Harry?

"Nice" comment by Senator Reid. Doesn't it give you a warm fuzzy feeling?

How to Plug the Oil Leak

From Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin's site:

"I have a strange feeling that my 401K is about to sink so low tomorrow that it may well put the final plug on the Gulf oil leak."


The article is about the Wall Street reform package and Senator Scott Brown, FWIW.

It's the end of the World as we Know it

  • At least it felt that way as the market tanked today. $$
  • I was stuck at work and unable to watch it implode. I get the bad employment news and the continuing troubles in Europe. Investors also worried about US debt and financial reform. Anything new, though?
  • What to do? Nothing, yet. Having sold my high beta stuff a few weeks ago, I'm still of the belief that this is a typical (!) mid-term election swoon, and in a few months or so these headlines and panic selling will seem like a bunch o nonsense. Still have to get through it, though.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Darth Cheney Endorses Meg Whitman

I'm not sure I understand Meg Whitman's campaign strategy. She's running ads against illegal immigrants. Now, an endorsement from Dick Cheney. This certainly looks like the 1994 playbook, but I'm not sure it will fly.

As a conservative in CA, I am a little tired of the partisan bickering. We have have Arnold in Sacramento for awhile, and he has been unable to do anything. I see Meg as being another Arnold.

Muckdog endorses Steve Poizner in the Republican primary. Hey, my endorsement may not mean much. But right now, I want an inside guy running for governor, not a "blow up the boxes in Sacramento" retread.

I can't imagine the ad campaign Meg is running will help her. I think this is a huge break for Poizner.

Friday, May 14, 2010

If it's not one Fiat Currency, it's Another

Seemed like only yesterday that nobody wanted the US dollar. $$.

Euro's Fall Echoes in Other Markets
(author unknown)
2010-05-14 09:20

The sliding euro rippled across global markets, undermining equities and pushing investors into gold, U.S. Treasurys and other safe-haven assets.

Say, is there an ETF that contains a basket of "safe-haven assets?". Or would the turnover in that thing drive up costs and inefficiencies?

Boy, thank goodness countries didn't abandon the Yankee Dollar for that Euro-trash money!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Randomosity

  • Getting the blame for today’s market selloff?  Retail reports! $$ Stocks tumbled Thursday, with much of the selling coming late in the day as investors became more concerned about the pace of consumer spending. The market also came under pressure as major indexes failed to hold above key chart levels.
  • image Obviously, investors haven’t been following me around this week.  But then, they’d be worrying about consumer debt.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another Rosanne Rosannadanna.
  • What? Thursday night already? Where did the time go this week?  Oh, the iPad.  Yes, the iPad.
  • Oil hits 3-month low.  Er, what about gas prices, fellas?  Give up the lag time and cut us a break!  Crude-oil futures tumbled to a three-month low Thursday in volatile trading amid persistent concerns over swelling inventories at a key U.S. storage hub.  (Yeah, that new storage hub is called “the Gulf of Mexico.”)
  • I hope folks are taking advantage of near historic low interest rate to refinance and lock in fixed rates, or eliminate debt altogether.  Here’s an article about Europe’s Newest Risk: Inflation. Europe's nearly $1 trillion rescue plan seems to have quieted the government debt storm for the time being. But another problem may be brewing as Britain and the euro countries tackle their still unresolved fiscal problems: rising inflation rates.
  • The main reason is debt.  The only way out is to inflate and debase their money.
  • The US has the same debt problem.  At some point down the road…  Oh, and I don’t own any bonds or bond funds.  None whatsoever.
  • A $NFLX takeover?  Maybe. 
  • Technorati Tags: ,,,,,
  • Maybe not: UBS’s Brian Fitzgerald seems to have had enough of the rumors as he cuts the stock to “sell.” There’s one big reason to think it won’t happen, he writes, and that’s Netflix’s dozens of distribution centers around the country. They’d likely mean Amazon would be legally required to charge sales taxes in a whole new pile of states if it buys the company.

#8: Positioned for a Stock Market Pullback

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#7: The iPad Experience

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


  • Yes, I have an $AAPL iPad 3G.  Now what?
  • Oh – the stock market choked today, by the way.  More later.
  • Well, activating the iPad resulted in every iPhone app loading to the iPad.  The apps show up in native resolution, so you can double the size but it looks crappy.
  • The apps built for the iPad are beautiful, though.  So I deleted all the iPhone apps and loaded iPad apps.
  • Haven’t found a suitable replacement for Mobile RSS Pro, my favorite news reader.  I’m using Feeddler now, eh.
  • Apple store sold out of folio cases, so I ordered an Eco View online.
  • Loaded the Amazon Kindle books I had via their iPad app and whispersync.
  • Heck, it’s almost midnight now…  LOL.
  • Good night!

#6: The iPad has Arrived

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Monday Rebound

  • imageWas today just a bounce or are we back on track for the bull market?  $$
  • Getting the credit for the stock surge was the European bailout of Greece. Global financial markets roared back in response to the European Union's nearly $1 trillion plan to avert a public-debt crisis that has threatened to derail the worldwide economic recovery.  Nothing like helping Greece with their debt problem like borrowed money (new debt) from somewhere else!
  • Lots of speculation on when, if, to jump in BP stock.  From gloom, doom, and fear comes opportunity, right?  But is this time different?  Is the catastrophe in the gulf something that could bankrupt BP?  Executives from BP PLC, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. began pointing fingers on Monday over who bears ultimate responsibility for the April 20 oil-rig explosion that took 11 lives and is spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The question will loom large at a Senate hearing Tuesday that will hear from executives of the three companies.
  • Elena Kagan…  Really.  Someone with no judicial experience?  I don’t know, this seems ridiculous to me.
  • Lowest level of taxes since the Truman administration!  I suppose it depends on how you define “lowest.”  Anyway:  Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.
  • You know, JaMarcus Russell was the biggest bust since Ryan Leaf.  What made it worse was that the Raiders kept trying to play the guy over and over and over.  The cause of death for his career as a Raiders quarterback was on display almost every day of his three-plus years in silver and black: A chronic and apparently incurable aversion to work and the necessary dedication to his craft.
  • Why not appoint JaMarcus Russell to the Supreme Court?  He’s available!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Saturday Night!

  • imageQuite a week on Wall Street. I’m not sure where to start.  Bottom line is that I think that we’re in a bull market.  Any panic selling here is just a buying opportunity.  A good chance to buy leaders. $$
  • IMHO.  And warm weather means hot women in bikinis.  Just sayin’…
  • So, I’ve added a few things.  First, more podcasting via audioBoo.  You can subscribe in iTunes or via the RSS feed.  If you want to.  LOL.  The updates will also show up in the sidebar, and elsewhere if the auto-updates work via Posterous.  Yes, that is my real voice!  No computer-enhanced shenanigans.  I’ll mostly be chatting about the markets and tech stuff.  Maybe about other stuff.  We shall see.
  • Just trying to embrace some of the social media ease of use that has crept in over the years. Time is always an issue.  This year has been extremely hectic at the Fun Factory.  So also keep an eye on Twitter (also in sidebar), as sometimes I just jot down thoughts during free time.
  • Tonight I went to a River Cats game.  That’s the AAA baseball franchise for the Oakland A’s here in Sacramento.  Domestic drafts are $7, and Tecate was $9.  Yowch.  It was a pounding.  16-5 over the Colorado Sky Sox.


  • More big earthquakes… IndonesiaAn earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 rattled Indonesia's North Sumatra province Sunday, prompting a local tsunami watch, knocking out power and damaging some homes, officials said.  With all the earthquakes in diverse places lately, not a bad time to check that earthquake insurance policy.
  • Leaders of the 16 euro-zone nations agreed to assemble a fresh pot of money that could be used to rescue its troubled members, as a crisis spurred by Greece's fiscal woes spiraled well beyond its epicenter.  Of course, they’re all harboring massive debt, too.  Right?
  • One of my favorite weekend vices is watching Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy on Kind of fun to watch the streaming as a lot happens during the commercials and hard breaks.  Yes, I am a geek.
  • No iPad yet.  Those things are hard to find so far.  On the list at the Apple Store, so it’s just a matter of time.
  • BP’s attempt at placing a containment dome over the oil leak in the gulf failed. BP lowered a concrete-and-steel structure known as a containment dome almost a mile to the seafloor in an effort to stop the flow of oil from the drilling site. But gas hydrates, ice-like solids that form when methane gas combines with water under certain conditions, clogged the opening at the top of the dome, preventing oil from being funneled to the surface.  What a flippin’ disaster.
  • Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates vowed Saturday to lead an effort to cut as much as $15 billion in overhead costs from the Pentagon's $550 billion budget and warned that without the savings, the military will not be able to afford its current force.  Yeah, good luck with that cutting of overhead costs.  It’s the government.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Monday Randomosity!

  • imageOne day up.  The next day down.  Lots of big point swings.  Topping action?  $$
  • Sell in May?  Mid-year election cycle?  Lots of things to think about.
  • I am no longer 100% invested.  I sold some beta (NDX and Small Caps) last week.  Eh, so far nothing dramatic.  The problem is that there is nowhere else to put that money to earn anything.  Maybe that’s the biggest bullish argument out there!
  • And if you can’t invest it, I guess you could light your cigarettes with it.
  • IHOP Pancake Stackers.  1250 calories of yummy goodness.  IHOP's "Pancake Stackers" will be a limited-time offering through June 20, and consist of: a layer of cheesecake sandwiched between two pancakes, available in strawberry, blueberry, or cinnamon apple, all topped with whipped cream. They will be available a la carte or as part of a combo meal, with eggs, hash browns, plus bacon, porks sausage links, or ham, which will tally up to 1,250 calories.
  • The knee-jerk reaction to the horrible oil disaster in the Gulf is to ban offshore drilling.  Why not a knee-jerk reaction to ban cars?  Cars are the things using all that oil.  Anyway, my guess is that if oil prices get above $4-5, then the next knee-jerk reaction will be to resume the drilling.
  • I’m on the iPad waiting list at the local Apple store.  What the heck.  Should have one in a few days.  And then my life will be perfect, if not iPerfect.
  • 1 million iPads sold in 28 days.  So… uh…  I sold my Apple stock prematurely.  "Demand continues to exceed supply and we're working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement.
  • I have Joe Mauer and Manny Ramirez on my fantasy team. Neither are playing.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes smoking ban at parks.  Heck, CA has a big deficit.  We need more people to smoke more often.  Even at parks!  …the law would have been too intrusive and would not have done much to curb litter on California's shoreline.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Going Nowhere Fast

Here is a story on Fox about a woman who has grown frustrated with saving for her retirement the past ten years. I'm wondering how many folks feel the same way? Because the other option, saving nothing or very little, means that you are almost guaranteed to work until the day you die.


Today, I went to the $AAPL store to see if they had an iPad 3G.  Denied.  The very hot Japanese Apple store worker told me that they receive shipments every day, excluding Sundays.  I may just order one online, or visit the Apple store everyday because that woman was so. damn. hot.


I didn’t think there would be any 3G iPads available today, but what the heck.

The Apple store was crazy crowded.

The iPad Line

On Friday, I went to the local $BBY to get in line for the $AAPL iPad 3G.  I was 16th in line.  They had 15.  Denied.