Friday, October 06, 2006

Back From Naples

Alright, I am fresh back from my annual golf trip to Naples, Florida. Listen to how bad real estate is down there.

One of my golf buddies is a member at the Island Country Club on Marco Island. Last year, due to the frothy real estate market no doubt, his club had 22 people on the wait list to get in. Because of which, they raised the membership fee from $70,000 to $90,000. But one year later the situation reversed with now 12 people on the waitlist to GET OUT of the club. (When someone leaves, they get a percentage of their fee back, but not until someone else joins to take their spot.)

My friend actually lives on the Hammock Bay development. The golf course there is down to a mere 70 members – which really sucks when those not infrequent assessments get handed down. Incidentally, my buddy has been trying to sell his condo for 8 months; it’s not moving despite being “the cheapest one in the development” (675k for 2000 square feet).

Is this just a mere downtick in the Florida real estate market? After all, they say that 1,000 people move to the Sunshine state each day. I doubt it simply because they are still building everywhere you look. On the Classic Course at Lely it seemed like they were just getting started on a couple hundred more new homes. There’s also a massive new mall going in near the airport that’s really just under way. And just about every development that I saw was still advertising a “Phase 4” extension. Existing homes in most parts of Florida will be competing with new construction for a very long time. Good luck to anyone that buys now.

What ever happened to all of those ominous hurricane predictions for 2006 anyway?

William Gray, noted storm forecaster said earlier this year,

At the beginning of the 2006 season, the Colorado State team predicted there would be 17 tropical storms and said nine would turn into hurricanes with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (119 km per hour) or more.

It said five would be "major" hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with sustained winds of at least 111 mph (179 kph) and capable of causing some structural damage to buildings. Only two of this year's hurricanes have reached Category 3 status and none of the five hit the United States.

But yesterday, he had the stones to predict: Atlantic Hurricane Season Over.

The season is "over? Thanks for the value-added, Willy. What next, is he going to predict yesterday's high temperature?

Speaking of alarmist weather predictions, Al Gore recently said that cigarette smoking is a "significant" contributor to global warming. No, I am not kidding. Next up, he's going to indict human flatulence as an assault on Mother Nature's constant temperature. My old man will, without question, be number one on that chopping block!

That article concludes with this noteworthy claim.

NewsMax requested from UNTV an audio copy of Gore's address.

At first, NewsMax was told a copy would be provided by the U.N. audio library.

Later, NewsMax was told that copies of the Gore speech would not be available.

"We destroyed all copies of the speech, except for one master which cannot be released," explained one audio librarian.

Dujarric added: "The Gore speech was copyrighted and therefore we cannot release any copies of it."

The formerly "open" address, has now been reclassifed in the UN files as "a closed meeting."

First of all, the UN is not a sovereign entity. It is funded mostly by American tax dollars. How the heck can it be immune from public accountability? These people are fascists.

Gore was an 8 year vice president. If he misspoke, he should clarify what he meant. At least that's the theoretical tack of civilized adults. Having your compadres withold the record is indeed fascist.

Often times, nutjobs and elitist scumbags slip up and tell us what they really think - and a full-press cover-up ensues. Here's another example that I recently gleaned from John Gatto's Underground History of Education.

Along the way to this milestone, important way stations were reached beyond the scope of this book to list. The strand I’ve shown is only one of many in the tapestry. The psychological goals of this project and the quality of mind in back of them are caught fairly in the keynote address to the 1973 Childhood International Education Seminar in Boulder, Colorado, delivered by Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce. This quote appears to have been edited out of printed transcripts of the talk, but was reported by newspapers in actual attendance:

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well—by creating the international child of the future.

Anyone else want to throw up? Remember this was a keynote at a major education conference. Instead of taking a route of disavowal or clarification, they opted to expunge the record.

When my wife’s firm confoundingly moved operations to Boston, all of the high level executives moved to the tony town of Wellesley. We laughed at them for such egregious herd-like behavior but later on realized why they did so. Apparently Wellesley is the only town around here that is not chockfull of socialists. So how good is this oasis? Listen to this recent conversation between my wife and a new Wellesley resident.

ExecutiveThat’s it...We are leaving here soon.

C-Nut’s WifeWhy? I thought you liked where you lived?

ExecutiveOnce my son is done school, I am quitting and moving. Supposedly we live in the most conservative, capitalistic town....I just found out that my son’s high school is sponsoring a “Transgendered Awareness Day”!!!

These multi-culturalists are really out of control. It just gets to be too much to fight with them and good wholesome people simply move – far away at that. Something like 2 million kids are homeschooled now.

Let me go back to my Naples trip for a second.

It’s always nice to get out of Boston and be amongst real people. For one thing, though a very happily married man, it’s great to see the infinitely more attractive women from the rest of the country at the airports and whatnot. Remember from a prior post I railed against the barely androgynous women of Beantown with their short hair, jeans, baseball caps, and the dearth of makeup and jewelry. (Believe me, there’s NO compensation in the personality department either!)

One of my buddies told me about CNBC that he’d “never seen so many negative young people as constituted by the cast of CNBC” and that, “the market would rally 2,000 points if CNBC were pulled off the air”. I laughed, having long sung this refrain. I am not quite sure about the “2,000 points” but I told him to do what I did and turn the channel off for his own personal chi.

Another guy down there complained to me about CNN. He said, “Man, they are obsessed with Hurricane Katrina...” From incidental glimpses at said channel, I handily saw his gripe – though I haven’t regularly watched CNN in at least 15 years.

What struck me is that neither of these complainers understands why CNBC and CNN utilize these dour tacks. (Hint: they are socialist organs who seek to create, foment, and sustain discontent and for good measure their agitprop indicts socialism’s enemies, you know, those capitalist pigs.)

One of my golf buddies used to work for the now defunct US Airways. He was a baggage handler, making 85k to throw suitcases on a ramp. Asked how much his coworkers stole from luggage he explained,

“Years ago, they took everything. My guys thought there were entitled to whatever they wanted. For instance, when the Celtics once flew with us, I turned around and saw one guy wearing Larry Bird’s game shirt, another was wearing McHale’s. They worked all day in them and then took them home”.

Any wonder why US Airways went under?

A funny from,

BIG BEN NEEDS MORE COW BELLSteelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is recovered from his appendectomy of 15 days ago, but Michelle Tafoya of ESPN reports that Roethlisberger now has a fever (she actually said he has a "temperature" -- but we all do, honey).

Imagine if a sportscaster called someone "honey" on television or radio? Political correctness is certainly a self-inflicted burden on Big Media.

Have you heard the hullabaloo over this season’s Survivor? They divided the strandees into 4 ethnic groups: White, Asian, Latino, and Black. Many race baiting activists got mad and demanded boycotts of the show because it is divisive.

Unfortunately, that can't salvage a trick that is offensive on its face. Survivor has embraced the very essence of discrimination: treating people not as individuals but as members of an ethnically defined group. And the fact that Survivor finally, for the first time, has enough members of those groups to make discrimination viable is hardly a defense.

I think there was a black group, a Latino group, and an Asian group in Manhattan that collaborated to make the loudest (or initial) stink about Survivor’s format. Curiously enough, groups whose entire mission is to segregate themselves apparently see offense in the practice when undertaken by others. Imagine the outcry if someone started a “white-only” political group!!!

The producer of Survivor fired back, claiming that this format would mitigate charges of discrimination because Asians would vote off Asians, Latinos would vote off Latinos, etc. Rather than the possibility of everyone ganging up on one specific person who may be a minority.

Heck when I was at UPenn, I witnessed racial self-segregation at its zenith. Racially themed housing pervaded almost all campus social life. The Chinese didn’t interact with the Japanese (the Koreans hated everybody). Practicing Jews self-segregated at the Hillel House and its functions. Indians separated themselves into castes (seriously) and fought at parties along those lines. One Christian Indian friend felt he had to tuck his cross adorned chain under his shirt at Indian parties. The lily-white Latinos from Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribeean distanced themselves from "Los Negros" – Latinos with any black blood. And the blacks holed themselves up in the W.E.B. DeBois House – which was derisively referred to as "Da Boyz" house by everyone else.

Who isn’t sick of this divisive multicultural crap by now?

Boohbah is a stupid kid show that my son watches on Sprout. Two characters on it are “Brother” and “Sister”. One is Hispanic and the other is Asian. What is that? I have been on the planet for 32 years and conscious for most of the time, but I have never come across a family that had Hispanic and Asian kids. I am sure some exist, but Boohbah is deliberately pushing the idea to children that siblings don’t have to look alike. Kids can't read, write, entertain themselves, tell time on non-digital clocks, or tie shoes without velcro, but at least they have some exposure to an anomalous mixed race family. Well done PBS!!!

Anytime you hear someone say that “diversity is what made us great”, tell them to shut the bleep up. Economic freedom and the rule of law is what made this country what it is today.

Diverse people from all over the globe came here because of our economics liberties – not the other way around or any other such distortion thereof.

Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Democrat nominee for Governor is dead-set against the public voting on gay marriage. His sophistical reason,

“...never let majorities determine the rights of minorities...”

So what Deval, should minorities then have more say than majorities? Seems to be quite a salient into the heart of democracy, no?

Note: Deval (nice name by the way, very Old Testament) needs a majority to elect him Governor before he can start expropriating its rights.

I recently anted up for some high end video editing software. Right away I have been having all sorts of problems with it. I was in a chat help session on Friday and look what the idiot said to me (in an electronic chat session - not over the phone):

ESL Tech Support: are you in front of your own computer right now?

CaptiousNut: how else would i be talking to you?

I burst out laughing at this uber-Moron. It harkened back to a few other incidents fresh in my memory.

I used to work at a golf course in Philadelphia. We advertised and sold "9 inch pizzas" - as the signs explicitly read. Three separate times, I had customers ask me,

Moron - "How big is a 9 inch pizza?"

Once I said it is "about 10 inches", once I said, "8 inches", and once I said it was "approximately 9 inches".

Back when I worked on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, after some office relocating, I realized that I couldn't retrieve my voicemail. So I asked our tech/admin guy, a bumbling geriatric named Artie, if he could get me my new voicemail code. A week later, without a response I tracked Artie down,

CaptiousNut - Artie, did you ever get around to looking up my new voicemail key.

Artie - I sure did. I got the code, called you, and left it on your voicemail.

Now I don't want to sound like one of these clueless idiots that actually complains about the service at McDonalds, but consider my last example.

One of my brokerage firms actually has a stutterer working phone desk support. For anyone unaware, entering stock orders is an extremely time sensitive business. You simply can't have someone choking on every single syllable.

What next? Have the blind direct traffic? The deaf conduct orchestras symphonies? Have the dumb teach at Harvard? There are only a few jobs stutterers absolutely CAN'T DO, and one of them happens to be handling stock orders over the phone.

The end of my wife's maternity leave (and more precisely, our second child) forced us to break down and hire a babysitter. I kid you not when I say that babysitters here in Chestnut Hill want $15 an hour (some much more). Doing some quick math, that annualizes to $30,000 per year. Now consider that sitters get paid cash, so the tax avoidance pushes $15 an hour to more like a $37,500 per year job. That's what my wife pays her new hires AFTER they (or someone else) have paid 150k on college. There's no way I am paying that for someone to change diapers and play with my son. Now, if they are going to teach him advanced number theory and Latin...then that's another story. As it would be if they cooked and cleaned....

But most of them do not. One friend has a nanny and the nanny actually demands that she hire a separate cleaning lady because the exalted nanny doesn't want to work in an unkempt house. My not-so-bright friend acquiesces.

We ended up hiring an undergrad from Boston College. She's an education major and has tons of experience with little incorrigible brats. My son will certainly test the integrity of her resume. We pay her $10 an hour, nonetheless she still drives a car much nicer than either of ours.

Speaking of my offspring. We just baptized my daughter and were granted this semi-appalling story. Though I wore a suit and tie everyday for four years in high school, since then I have been clad like a slob. There was really no dress code on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (jeans and sneakers) and working for myself later on hasn't behooved my wardrobe. It's really tough to get me to dress up - even for my daughter's baptism. It was a warm day and we were serving 30 people food and drink prior to the sacrament. I just didn't feel like getting in a suit and working up a sweat, so I went casual to the church - khaki's, a nice golf shirt, and a blue blazer. As underdressed as I was, consider that a mother (was a group baptism) there actually wore flip flops AND a new godfather there donned jeans and A NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS JERSEY.

This is a typical Boston church; people actually blow you off during the peace offerings. I am not kidding. They act like they don't see you. This is church for crying out loud.

My church also has two collections, EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Talk about Taxachusetts!!!

This week the second collection was for "rising energy costs". I felt like putting my hand up and asking, "But haven't oil and gas just cratered in price?"

About a month ago, I mentioned off-handedly that gasoline prices would soon dip within earshot of one of my mother's friends. Now I don't even remember this specifically, but a few weeks later my mother said to me,

C-Nut's Mother - Betsy was extremely impressed that you knew gas prices would drop.

Did I know gas prices would drop a dollar per gallon? No way. Oil had dropped about $5-$7 off its high and anyone with a three digit IQ could auger a mild price drop at the pump. So why would anyone be shocked and awed by such elementary prescience?

Because they are not only economically-illiterate, but also thoroughly uninformed. I sincerely doubt my mother's friend follows the global price of oil - or even knows that it is a global commodity whose price is set by market factors NOT INCLUDING a devious cabal of Texas Bush cronies.

It is a resoundingly sad indictment of the public that gasoline prices dominate political sentiment.

If only we could somehow illuminate, say the price of public education, the cost of Medicare, or a countdown to Social Security's insolvency on big signs of busy intersections...

As of yet, no one seems to have flinched at this sign.

Obviously more than one is needed.

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