Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Folks, it's been just over one full year since I started this blog, and I think it is time to retire it. I hate the fact that I can't devote myself more to blogging, but the fact is, I just can't do it. In the beginning, it was really enjoyable. I would spend many minutes (hours) thinking about my next blog post. I got to write about so many different topics, including global warming, flossing, the stock market, the 2008 presidential race, bottled water, nude flights, double-dipping, big pharma, pig spleens, steroid-gate, the Super Bowl predictor (BTW, it FAILED big-time this year), Gary Coleman, Blue Thunder, eating bugs, saving the penny, toilets, the Barbie doll, camel beauty contests, poor Tim Russert, Sarah Palin, and so much more. It was grand having all of you read my oft-wrong opinions and actually take interest in them. I loved some of the great arguments that were waged in the comments section of the blog.

There is so much more to write about. War in Gaza, continued corruption in politics (? Bill Richardson), Caroline Kennedy, the crazy stock market, the upcoming Super Bowl, Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General, Obama's plan for tax cuts, etc, etc, etc.

And, there lies part of the problem. There really is so much to comment on, but because I can't do this for a living, my research and time to write about the world is limited. Plus, I don't really know a lot about most of these topics....I'm no expert, thus no one really should listen to what I'm saying most of the time. There are so many other news and opinion sources out there that provide much more valuable information.

I wish you all the best. Thanks again for all the support. Here's to a good 2009 for one and all, and for peace around the world.

P.S. One last tidbit before I exit. Came across a piece on ancient hangover cures. The Assyrians consumed a mixture of ground birds' beaks and myrrh. Europeans in the Middle Ages munched on raw eel and bitter almonds. Mongolians ate pickled sheep's eyes. Itailans drank a mixture of myrrh, rhubarb, aloe, peppermint oil and opiates. Russians don't eat...they sweat it out in saunas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thoughts Before the Holidays

Before I start, I just want to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy New Year. It has been an interesting 2008 and here's to 2009 being a happy and healthy one.

On a news-related front, Blago made a public appearance today and gave one of the most incredulous, cocky speeches I've ever seen. Please watch it here...it's short and amusing. He is "not guilty" he will "fight and fight" until his "last breath". He said NOTHING of substance. He reiterated that he will not quit his position. He should at least step aside and let the investigation proceed. I'm sure he can't be an effective governor with the media circus around him. I still don't know who more of a loser...him or Madoff.

Take a look at this chart on returns from the Madoff fund. It's a straight line for the past 20 years! Contrast that with the chart of the S&P....note the fluctuations. How did this not trigger any alerts? Unbelievable. Remember, if it's too good to be true, it can't be true. That performance is too linear! Second, why he is not in jail??? And, third, where is the $50 billion dollars? He could not have spent it all. He must have it hidden in some off-shore account. I hope for the sake of the investors and charities that they will be able to recoup some of that money.

Also, why did Obama pick Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his his inauguration? I know they are friends, but he is overtly anti-homosexual (in fact, he won't even allow homosexuals into his parish), and has many other views that are not in line with most Democrats/liberals. I do applaud Obama for not appeasing only one political view with his choices for his cabinet, but this move is certain to ruffle many feathers on the left because of Warren's hard-right social stances.

Newsweek published an interview with a Somali pirate on the processes involved in hijacking ships. OK, Newsweek, how about not publishing advice on how to be a crook. Bottom line, this pirates need to be taken out and not have their ransoms paid or else it will lead to more hijackings!!

Bush announced the auto-bailout details this morning. It's a $17 billion life-line, but I doubt these companies can get their act together that quickly. I don't know what to think about these bailouts anymore. It's probably like trying to plug a leaking dam with some putty, but at the same time, a FLOOD of new unemployed Americans won't be a welcomed either.

OK, that's enough for now. Again, best holiday wishes to one and all!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Madoff et al.

The Bernard Madoff scandal has impacted several people and organizations, including banks, charities, and pensions that had invested millions of dollars in his investment fund. The director of the SEC issued an official apology today for not catching on to Madoff, who basically stole billions of dollars from investors via the Ponzi scheme. What has the SEC been doing? They go after people like Martha Stewart and Mark Cuban for one episode each of insider trading, but completely miss the fraudulent undertakings of Madoff that had gone on for YEARS. People went to bed as multi-millionaires and woke up with almost nothing the next day. What an evil, narcissistic, arrogant, repugnant man. I am surprised he hasn't killed himself after the whole rouse was exposed, but it just shows how evil and unapologetic he is. The impact of the Madoff case will go beyond the actual dollars that were lost by the groups and individuals. It will likely cause a ripple effect in terms of confidence of investors around the world, who are going to be less likely to want to invest in the stock market. As if the worst year in stock market history wasn't enough to rattle investor confidence.

In regards to the market, the fed cut interest rates to almost zero today, and the market, for the time being, loved the news and rocketed higher. Importantly, the major averages did break above the 50 day moving averages. We'll see if a "Santa Claus" rally ensues, but, it is STILL as bear market, and one must remain cautious and place stop limits.

BTW, did you see the story about the boy named Adolf Hitler Campbell? Apparently, it was his 3rd birthday and his dad ordered a frosted cake with his name written on it, but the employee at the supermarket refused to do so, and they had to go to the local Walmart to get the cake. While I don't think the supermarket should have done that, what on earth were the parents thinking by naming him Adolf Hitler? The kid is going to receive constant teasing and torture from his classmates. How is he going to get a job? The parents are idiots. Even if they were trying to prove a point (not sure what that point is), it is going to seriously and negatively impact the poor kid's life.

On a lighter note, check out this elephant play the harmonica.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Size 10 Shoes

GW Bush was in Iraq giving a speech on Sunday when an Iraqi journalist stood up and flung one then his other shoe at the President. GW showed quick reflexes and ducked out of the way. After reading this op-ed piece by Frank Rich today, it wouldn't surprise me if Rich was diguised as the Iraqi reporter and was the one actually throwing his shoes at Bush. The title of his piece caught me by surprise ("Two cheers for Blagojevich"), but after reading the piece, he makes an excellent point (that the corruption is so broad and deep in Washington and the White House, that it almost makes Blagojevich's follies seem trivial). BTW, here are some funny Blagojevich cartoons.

If Bush would have been giving his speech in Iran rather than Iraq, he probably would have had more than a shoe (or two) thrown at him. They truly practice an "eye for an eye" punishment there. That would mean a lot of torture, electrocution, waterboarding, etc for Dubya.

Interestingly, Mr. McCain (who has vigorously opposed the Bush Administration on the torture issue), does not support Ms. Palin for president in 2012. George Stephanopolous was incredulous and asked again how he cannot support someone that he chose to be his V.P. and the next-in-line were he to fall ill, but McCain said, "my corpse is still warm" (he really didn't answer the question except for some mumbo jumbo that this is a new election cycle). Actually, I have to give McCain more credit than people like Rush Limbaugh who continue to blindly and stupidly support Palin for the 2012 run. McCain is being honest as he realized the grave mistake he made in choosing her. THE MAVERICK!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How did he get the fox urine?

This story immediately caught my eyes. A man who was fed up with some kids that had toilet papered his house sprayed the teens with fox urine. The article says he had a squirt gun filled with fox urine and sprayed them as they approached his house.

I am in complete disbelief. How can the report not indicate how on earth this man collected fox urine??!?!?!?!? Does anyone have any ideas how one would do so? Please educate me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A new poll that indicates that most Americans are pessimistic about the economy (and have very negative views of congress), find that 67% of Americans have a favorable view of Obama (and only 14% have a negative view). That's really quite impressive, because it means a lot of Republicans are viewing him a favorable manner. I think that the moderate and excellent cabinet he is putting together has a lot to do with it.

There's a recent piece on a sports recession. Honestly, I don't know how the average fan can afford to attend several sporting events if things are as bad as they seem in the economy. The price of the tickets, drinks, food for a family of 4 costs at least $300-400 for any major event. Plus, really, with HDTV, it's so much more comfortable to be watching from home. Of note, CNBC just added an HD channel. It's awesome. They have constant cycling charts on the right side of the screen and the stock quotes at the bottom are just so crisp and clear.

BTW, The silver lining of the recession....lobsters are on sale because of the glut!

Gov. Blagojevich isn't giving up. Obama is calling for him to step down, but he won't...yet. He's quite an persistent little-bugger, isn't he? Here's a little montage of jokes from the late night circuit regarding the most reputable governor. I love Stewart's line..."he has nothing to hide, except whatever is written on his forehead...which probably says, 'Bribe me'."

Corruption All Around

Rep. Rangel and Gov. Blagojevich are being investigated on major corruption charges. The governor also tried to get the editorialists who were trying to expose his story at the Chicago Tribune fired. These stories are pretty disgusting and push the reputation of politicians into a deeper abyss.
Meanwhile, poor ex-Senator Larry Craig just wanted to have some fun in a men's room and is still losing appeals on his guilty charge. I still don't see the big deal of his actions, especially in comparison to the other dispicable antics that abound in Washington and politics. Plus, men hit on women all the time in bars and other public places. Why can't Larry look for love in the bathroom? My only complaint against him is that he keeps insisting that he's not gay. Larry should just come out of the closet (or bathroom stall). And, if he did come out, he would get to call in sick to work (if he still had a job...which, in my eyes, he still should).

O/T check out Gov. Blagojevich's frontal hairline. At least no one can tell when he furrows his brow. And his brow will become very furrowed when he hears his sentence (and meets his cellmate in prison).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quick Update

Good job by everyone keeping the discussion flowing while I was away/busy. Haven't had too much time to focus on the blog tonight, but here are some things that caught my eye.

1. The real "Mr. Short-term Memory" died today in New Haven. He had been the subject of several medical studies of the brain. Remember the Tom Hanks as "Mr. STM" on SNL?

2. Cojones- John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch recently requested a $10 million bonus for this year. Are you kidding? I don't know how right it is for the government to regulate CEO salaries/bonuses, but I think that companies that received government money should not be giving out bonuses for AT LEAST this year. Mr. Thain did withdraw his request after public scrutiny, but it is still ridiculous.

3. Bear Grylls, of Man vs. Wild, was injured in Antartica. It was only a matter of time. I hope he will be OK soon that he can resume taping one of my favorite shows and start drinking the fresh blood from the severed jugular of a yak again.

4. This study on the spread of happiness totally makes sense, but it does seem like it was a lot of work to actually prove. It was published in BMJ. Fortunately, sadness does not spread as easily. Each happy friend increases your own chance of being happy by 9 percent, whereas each unhappy friend decreases it by 7 percent. Choose your friends wisely!

5. The above study also demonstrated that obesity co-segregates. A person's likelihood of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given time period. I guess that would explain the new study that demonstrates that Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas are the unhealiest states in the U.S. Nothing against BBQ and other types of Southern food, but the portion sizes are just way too large.

6. Dog tries to save injured/dead dog in highway in Chile. Watch the video- it's pretty incredible. A new study also demonstrates that dogs have a sense of fairness. And, in Chicago, an obese dog froze to the sidewalk. Thankfully his layers of fat saved him from freezing to death.

7. OK, so the shooting and death of the teenager in Greece was a tragedy that needs thorough investigation. But, three days of rioting in Athens? That's enough. These people are always protesting in the streets. Where does it get them? What is this destruction going to accomplish? Already several have been injured now. Time to round up some Spartan police officers to quell the unrest.

8. The recession is even affecting television. NBC will cut back the number of hours of programming during primetime. And, in an interesting move, Jay Leno will move to 10 PM timeslot after Conan O'Brien takes over the 11:30 time slot in the spring. Conan is a gem. I'm glad he will have a chance to be seen by more people in the earlier time slot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I did a quick scan of the news and between the economy (it was announced today that the recession actually started in Dec 07), the stock market (7th largest loss in market history), fiscal emergency in California, the continued terrorist attacks in India (a bomb exploded on a train today), and even the flooding of historic Venice, there is just not much in the way of uplifting stories to discuss.

I'm going to be away at a conference and interviews for the rest of the week, so blog updates, if any will be sparce. For those of you that haven't checked out the comments sections, there are some real fireworks and good discussions here (blog record 38 comments in regards to a single post).

Hold down the fort while I'm gone. Start a new string of discussion on a topic in the comments section for this link if something strikes a nerve!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

College Football

I know this isn't that important in the big scheme of things, but I hope the MESS that has been created this year via the BCS standings will finally, finally encourage the NCAA to move to a playoff system for college football. I will not hold my breath, as there have been several controversies already over the past several years that should have provided enough evidence to the powers that be that the BCS system is just not kosher.

As you may have heard, the Big 12 Championship game matchup was decided today by the 5th tiebreaker, which, unfortunately is the BCS ranking system. In brief, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all ended with a 7-1 record in the Big 12 South (and 11-1 overall), and were vying to play Missouri, the winner of the Big 12 North division. Texas beat Oklahoma back in October, 45-35, Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 69-21, and Texas Tech beat 39-33. Oklahoma got the nod for the Big 12 Championship because of a 0.9351 average, slightly better than 0.9223 average for Texas.

Personally, I really couldn't care about this, except as a casual football fan. However, there are so many players, coaches, universities and fans that pour so much effort, time, money and their heart and soul into college football that it just seems ridiculous that a computer ranking system (that takes into account "style points") ends up determining the championship, when every other sport in the NCAA and in the world is decided on the field.

Plus, it leads to pathetic pandering and campaigning by the coaches and universities, which just is so uncouth. This is a sport played by strong young men, and should be decided mano a mano rather than some nerdy computer algorithm.

Get rid of the conference championship games and start either a 8 or 16 team playoff from early December and that culminates in early January. It would not lead to global academic underperformance. The players are already receiving tons of help/tutoring and are still practicing football all throughout first semester finals in preparation for the bowl game. Plus, only 2 teams would end up playing in all 3 or 4 games, the rest would be eliminated earlier and the net time spent away from the books would be about the same.

This system simply does not make any sense. All I know is that Texas beat Oklahoma, and that Utah and Boise State are undefeated, yet it is unlikely that any of those teams have any chance at winning the college football crown.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Supply-Demand Economics

This is such a good news-bad news story/concept. The good news? The higher gas prices over the past year led to 11 straight monthly declines in miles driven by Americans. The high fuel prices had everybody salivating on methods and strategies for implementation of alternative energy sources and created the demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. Great, right?

Well, because it's a feeback loop, the decline in demand for fuel (not only by less driving but declining activity of world-wide economies), has led to an ABRUPT reduction in gas prices. This removes the impetus and inherent pressure to innovate, and I fear we will be back to square one. This is why we never learn the lesson. I think we need to implement a carbon tax. There is no other way around this. I know it is messing with free-market relationships, but, please, there is no need to be consuming so much oil, particularly when we get the majority of it for a high cost from not so friendly countries.

The Economy

Obama is doing a pretty good job at putting together his economic team. The free-marketers of Wall Street seem to really like his selections of Geithner as Treasury Secretary and Summers as Top Economic Advisor, as evidenced by the late day rally on Friday (which was really building up on a technical basis in the charts prior to the announcement) and the higher futures this morning. Not only are they centrist, but it's taking away uncertainty in these very uncertain times. Also, overnight, the government announced they will be bailing out Citigroup with a complex deal.

The script for the democrats and Obama can't get much better as far as drama and credit goes. Fairly or unfairly, Bush will go down in history as being the leader of the U.S. as it entered its 2nd greatest recession of all-time. He will also be remembered for socializing most of the banks and investment firms, and potentially for bailing out the automakers. Obama will come out looking as the "savior" as the economy will emerge (with or without his help) much stronger in the next 2-4 years. It's kind of ironic.

Watch the market today. It is an important day. There haven't been 2 big up days in a row in a very long time. If the market can tack on 4-6% today, then it would probably signify that a meaningful intermediate-term rally will take place (could rebound 30-40% from these levels). It actually wouldn't even be bad if the market went into negative territory after the higher futures, as long as it finishes up strong. It's all about the close and the last hour.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


There has been unbelievable price destruction of equities over the past several weeks. A few weeks ago, I posted the long-term chart of the S&P and indicated that a testing of the bear market lows from 2002-2003 would be inevitable. Well, I thought it would happen after some type of oversold rally to relieve some of the selling pressure, especially as we have entered favorable "seasonality" (November and December are typically very strong months).

I don't know what to say or what's going to happen next. Ever indicator that I and every other trader follows had been pointing to a rally. It never occurred and there has been a major price breakdown, below the lows of the previous bear market. The ultra-confusing thing is that the S&P is below, but the Dow and NASDAQ still have a little way to go to get back to those old lows. Will every index fall below? If they do, and there isn't a major rally in the next 1-2 days, S&P 600 and Dow 6000 will be the next stop.

I feel badly for everybody that has lost so much money in this market. It just doesn't seem fair that people can slowly put away money month by month in their 401K or investment accounts and have 5-10 years of gains disappear in a matter of weeks. No one ever said that the market wasn't risky, but still, it's just a travesty.

P.S. Ford hit $1 per share today and Citigroup fell below $5.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Five bucks with change to spare

Five dollars. That's not much money. You can barely get a good lunch these days for $5. But, do you know what you can get? One share each of GM and Ford stock, and you'd have 23 cents left over. It's unbelievable. The CEOs of the 3 U.S. automakers were on Capitol Hill today and took a grilling from the Senate. They stammered on their defense of why they need a $25 billion dollar bail-out. Chris Dodd pretty much summarized the sentiment many including myself are feeling about this issue:

The industry is "seeking treatments for wounds that I believe to a large extent were self-inflicted, but at a time like this, when our economic future is so tenuous, we must do all we can to ensure stability."

I watched some of the testimony. They had a PhD economist, Peter Morici, testify as well, and it was somewhat amusing to watch him directly rebut the promises that the CEOs were making in regards in becoming profitable in the very near future and being able to pay back the "loan". He cited that only Chrysler was even close to meeting the quality and efficiency standards that Honda and Toyota have in place, as rated by an independent quality assessment firm. Plus, he stated even with major job cuts in an attempt to improve their bottom line, the amount in pension benefits (about $105,000 per employee) that would need to be paid out will cripple their profit margins.

I don't have the annual balance sheets of these automakers (nor do I want them), but I will say that during the whole bull market run from 2003-2007, Ford and GM shares were flat/declining throughout. That implies terrible management. Here's what I would do: While these companies dug their own graves, the ripple effects throughout the whole economy would be horrific if they went under. Therefore, I would give the companies the $25 billion, with the conditions that all 3 CEOs are fired, and new CEOs are hired with proven track records of running profitable companies that produced quality products.

Our economy, bailout or no bailout, is in big trouble. Even Harvard's endowment investments are getting pummeled, as their account has lost 30% of its value this year.

At least health care is safe right?


Read this article: Twenty percent of primary care doctors said they will cut back on patients seen, 10% said they will work only part-time, 11% plan to retire, and 13% are planning on finding jobs that don't involve patient care. Why is this bad? Because there is already a shortage of primary care doctors, and 67% of physicians surveys said they are working at full capacity or are overextended and overworked as it is. Oh, and 60% said they would not recommend medicine as a career. This is troubling, but understandable given what is going on in medicine these days. The demands for keeping up on the latest medical information, trying to manage elderly patients with multiple comorbidities, doing paperwork and fighting claims with insurance companies, and so on are just too much to handle for primary care physicians. That's why a job at a VA hospital is the way to go!

At least rich people in Santa Barbara are doing well. WRONG! More than 210 homes, including many multi-million dollar mansions have been destroyed by the wildfires. Worse yet, evidence is pointing to a bonfire started by 10 college students as the culprit. It's ashame, not only for the homeowners who probably lost priceless memorabilia in the fires, but also because of the added economic stress. California has already spent $305 million on emergency firefighting since July 1st, only $236 million more than was budgeted, and the state has a deficit of $11.2 billion.

Ok, that's enough of this Debbie Downer session. Have a good night!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild tonight, stranded on a desert island, said "No matter how tempted, never drink seawater, your kidneys will collapse". Perhaps they need a nephrologist consultant for the show! Also, in an episode from "Siberia", the locals sliced the neck of a yak, and he placed his mouth directly on its severed jugular vein and drank about a quart of blood. Even though it was nasty, at least the blood is isotonic and won't "collapse his kidneys".

I don't know who's a more talented and funny impressionist.

1. Frank Caliendo (watch this clip of him on the Tonight Show....his Leno, Bush, and John Madden impressions are awesome).

2. Rob Bartlett as the Godfather and Hulk Hogan. I love when he seamlessly breaks into Italian which pausing.

Has anyone ever been troubled by the Silversonic XL commerical? I think it is a little freaky. It's not really marketed for people with poor hearing, but instead seems to encourage eavesdropping. Watch this video.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nuts and Bolts

Don't think we need to do something about the environment? Read this....brown clouds over Asia, decreasing the amount of sun to major cities there by about 25%.

This is cool...CSI meets Con-spiracy regarding the JFK shooting. There was NOT a second shooter.

This is ridiculous....what happened to separation of church and state?

A good argument for "taxes"....sorry Don! But it saves lives! I would also love to see similar studies on the effect of higher taxes on tobacco products.

This article, including the title, show why you cannot trade the stock market based on fundamentals alone. Expanding national deficit and unemployment were the two key economic numbers reported today. The market rocketed up in the 2nd half of the day. Technical analysis must be a huge part of the equation. In fact, now that I've learned about this stuff, it is hilarious that most of the newscasters, including those on CNBC and Bloomberg still try to explain daily moves on the news (e.g., "stocks plunge today based on credit fears, higher oil"...it's all crap). See my market update to the right. Today was an important day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

TF on the Detroit Bailout

Love Tom Friedman. He hits the nail right on the head again with a Scathing report on GM and the others. He has an excellent idea for what should be done IF the government decides to bail out the pathetic US automakers.

The devil inside me (or maybe just the free market capitalist) says let them fail, and use the taxpayer money instead to send the unemployed autoworkers to school, whether it be trade school or academic school. Or, better yet, let them fail, do nothing, and teach them all a lesson. The government cannot bail out every failed business and every unemployed worker in this economic cycle. It will probably be best for us to emerge from this recession (and ALL recessions eventually end) with true innovation and grit by both strong companies with innovative leaders and by resiliant and adaptable workforces. If we keep printing money for more and more bailouts, we are going to end up with massive inflation over the next several years. Remember we had inflation of 15-18% at the end of the 1970s. That's where we will be headed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Some great articles on the current state and future of conservatism:

1. Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, blames the Republicans, not conservative ideology for losing the presidential election. I completely concur. I have been recently arguing with Bush/GOP supporters who hold conservative viewpoints. Haven't these Republican leaders failed in almost every facet??? (massive spending, huge deficit, bailouts, 2 endless wars and nation building in the Middle East, etc).

2. David Brooks on the Traditionalists vs. Reformers in the GOP. Regardless, as mentioned above, Conservatism is dying in the U.S., and that has happened with Bush at the helm. Now that Obama will be taking over, the conservatives are going to have to hunker down (as it appears they are already doing on a cruise). The Republicans used to be able to state their mantra in 8 words: Smaller government, lower taxes, strong defense, personal responsibility. One can argue that all but the "lower taxes" themes have been violated (budget/deficit huge, military forces stretched, bailouts galore), and the lower taxes will likely give way as we will face the "bills" for all of the spending, bailouts and unfunded mandates (social security and Medicare) over the next several years.

3. Are we really going to bail out the auto industry as well? I'm torn on this, because collapse of GM and or Ford will be devastating for the work force, but these corporations have been so uninsprining and run so poorly, that I kind of think survival of the fittest should be the principle to adhere to in this case. Who will the government bail-out next, Circuit City? Give me a break. GM continued to build gas-guzzling vehicles for years, while Toyota and Honda continued to produce better and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

4. Bush is going to publish his memoirs and admits he has made some mistakes, including "Mission Accomplished". Thanks, W.

5. Palin, on the concession speech she wanted to give on election night. She hints she wants to run for Pres in 2012. At least she will have 4 years to study up for the "gotcha" questions.

6. A new study, reported at the American Heart Association meeting, finds that 10-year old obese children had arteries equivalent to 45-year olds. One-third of American children are overweight. Get out there and exercise kids!! At least play Wii Fitness!!

7. This map is scary: depicts where homes are worth less than the mortgage.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Wow! Not even close! A historic moment for sure.

I'm glad the campaigning is over. President-elect Obama will now have monumental tasks ahead of him: trying to steady the economy (less will be more), presiding over the two wars, dealing with other global threats (Iran, Pakistan, etc), the need to reform health care and social security, and the need bring a real energy policy to the U.S.

We will be watching closely....remember "the night is darkest before the dawn".

Monday, November 3, 2008


Chris Berman interviewed Obama and McCain at halftime of the Steelers-Redskins game. He asked what one thing they would each change about sports.

Obama said he would add a playoff system involving the top 8 teams to college football. He is "tired of computer models" deciding the champion. I agree. College football is the only NCAA sport that does not always have its champion crowned on the field. The college basketball is just as long as college football. Thus, the argument that the playoff games would interfere with the studies of the athletes is bunk.

McCain said he would aggressively pursue users of performance enhancing drugs in sports. He has been an advocate of this in his time as Senator, so no real suprise. The actual surprise was that McCain was pretty funny and used not one, but TWO Chris Berman catch-phrases and made Berman, as well as me, laugh pretty hard. And, I was all alone...did you ever notice that you laugh with less intensity when you are alone?? Anway, McCain said that he "could go all the way (staccato)...to the White House", and even though he is not being given much of a chance tomorrow by the pundits, "That's why they play the games". Berman fans know that these are two of his favs. Good job!

Election Eve

Don't forget to vote tomorrow! It will be a big day and probably a long evening.

There isn't much left to be said about the candidates and their platforms.

Instead, I will leave you will one final comedic-political sketch. This from radio pranksters from Canada who pretend to be Nickolas Sarkozy and Sarah Palin completely falls for it. Here's the audio.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election Update

Only a few more days until the highly anticipated Presidential election. Finally, the campaigning will end and we can start the process of ridding ourselves of the Bush administration.

Here are some interesting links from around the web in regards to the election:

1. McCain-Palin conflict- the McCain campaign has realized the enormous gaffe in her selection, and fighting within the ticket BEFORE the election just isn't a good sign. A new poll indicates that 59% of Americans don't feel she is ready to be V.P.

2. The battle over Florida- Obama has a slight lead

3. Even George Will, one of the most prominent conservative writers in this country, can't hold in his criticisms of McCain-Palin anymore, including McCain's decision-making capability

4. The Economist (my favorite magazine), known for its economic conservatism and support of free markets, officially supports Obama over McCain. They cite McCain's poor choice of Sarah Palin, his indecision regarding the economic crisis, and his temperament as negatives, and cite Obama's ability to learn and excellent cadre of advisers, his style and discipline as reasons to support him.

5. Racism by attendees at Palin events continues.

6. Pretty cool map of newspaper endorsements.

7. Francis Fukuyama, from the AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, endorses Obama.

8. A poll taken in Texas shows that 20% of people still think Obama is a Muslim.

9. Tim Gunn rates the fashion of the candidates.

10. Sarkozy voices harsh criticism for Obama's stance towards Iran. That guy has got chutzpah.

11. A dynamic view of the Electoral College over time. Very cool. Just makes you wish we had another system besides all vs. none for each state (why not use the method for most of the primaries- split the delegate?) and also makes you really wish we had other strong parties besides Republicans and Democrats.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Odds and Ends

1. Congrats to the Phillies. New World Series champs!

2. Give me a break...Joe the Plumber country musician?

3. Isaac Mizrahi, fashion guru, says the greatest fashion mistake is "bad hair". Has he looked in the mirror?

4. Speaking of fashion, maybe this is why I like the Christmas season so much!

5. These pirates off the coast of Somalia are out of control. 5 attacks in one day! Reminds me of my favorite pirate joke.

6. The numbers aren't adding up. How is Obama going to pay for everything? Doesn't anyone care about our deficit anymore?

7. Foreign accent syndrome. This wasn't in Harrison's. Incredible...watch the video. I would love a British accent or a Spanish accent like Javier Bardem's.

8. David Brooks with a great piece on perception vs. reality.

9. At 11:15 PM, Bill Clinton and Obama are campaigning together at a rally in Florida. I cannot even imagine how awkward it must be for Bill. All those months of battling him and now he has to go out on the stage and pledge his full support. Granted, it has to be done, but I'm just saying it must not be that easy to swallow the pride and do this.

10. Oh, how sad, Kim Jong Il is not doing well. I hope he recovers...he should be charged and tried for crimes against humanity.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Random Musings

Sorry I've been away the past few days...last few days were jam-packed with way too many interviews and a talk I had to give, so was barely aware of the news or the stock market.

Things I missed that were funny:

1. Will Farrell reprising his role as G W Bush on the Thursday edition of SNL

2. Jon Stewart "Gaffe-in" with funny flubs by our favorite politicians on the left and the right.

Interesting Things:
1. The Fey-Palin effect on real voters: small, but negative

2. Alan Greenspan takes partial blame for the financial crisis, by admitted his mistake in allowing completely unregulated free markets in the banking system. He thought the financial institutions would have looked after the best interests of their shareholders. Listen, capitalism is great, because it allows hard-working people to prosper. However, there is a point of excess, and when billions of dollars are involved, human nature, in general, turns people into greedy and conniving individuals. It's time to watch "Wall Street" again ("Greed is good") and also "American Psycho". Also, read this parable:

Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the
villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to
the forest, and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at $10 and as supply started to diminish, the
villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would
now buy at $20.

This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching
monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back
to their farms.

The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so
little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50!

However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his
assistant would now buy on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. 'Look at
all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will
sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you
can sell them to him for $50 each.'

The villagers rounded up with all their savings and bought all the

Then they never saw the man nor his assistant ever again, only monkeys

Now you have a better understanding of how the stock market works.

3. The rating agencies are just as guilty in this whole financial mess. Read this story...there were memos that they would rate any deal, even if it was "structured by cows". Greed, again.

4. Farts can reduce blood pressure!! Awesome!

5. This one is for Don....a country that has socialist medicine came up with a huge medical breakthrough!!! How can it be?? (Read the story: potential cure for MS).

6. This is the most fair and objective examination I have seen regarding who is responsible for the current economic crisis. Scroll to the bottom to see the no fewer than 11 parties (including home owners themselves) who collectively share responsibility for this mess.

The stock market:

I'll keep this short. Extreme volatility in the markets again. Dow was only down 300 pts on Friday, but futures were "limit down". Vix closed at 79!!! If you understand this indicator, you realize that this is completely outrageous. Bottom line is no matter what the indicators are saying about over-sold conditions (new highs new lows, stocks below 40 day MAs, etc), it doesn't matter this time. In my opinion, there are now 2 major forces in play. First, the triangle I described last week on the 60 min chart has broken to the downside with a classic backtest and fall away.

This is clearly apparent on the daily chart as well.

Finally, we are destined to test the 2003 bear market lows. I would not be surprised to see the Dow down 1000 points (intraday) on Monday or Tuesday. Then, and only then can we start to form a good base and start to trade to the upside more rationally.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Financial Crisis in a Nutshell

Folks, this is a hilarious (and ridiculously true) "primer" on the subprime/financial crisis that we now find ourselves in. Please watch this powerpoint presentation, depicting the crisis as acted out by stickfigure people.