Friday, June 27, 2008

Intelligence Is Overrated

I have been trying to get one of my well-to-do buddies to start trading his cash instead of blindly, lazily, dumping it into mutual funds every month.

Finally, I got him to buy 50 shares of Google at the very nice entry point of $440. Within two months, Google, after a near 100pt gap up, was trading at $600. So I essentially put 8 grand in his pocket - that is if he'd take the profit. Here's the email I sent him the morning of May 5th:

google is trading at 599 right now. it's up today b/c of the yahoo bid cancellation (i told you that was going to happen).

i say sell the goog right here as per our discussion the other day. you probably have tons of long exposure already through mutuals and whatnot. so you don't really need this extra long term investment.

that's also why i highly recommend buying SKF and SRS. they are "ultrashort" ETFs on financials and real estate respectively. as the banks/REITs go down, they go up. this is a no-brainer for your portfolio because it's almost a no lose hedge on your larger investments.

i say sell your 50 sh of goog and buy 200 shares each of SKF and SRS.

SKF is around 93 and SRS is around 82. so it will cost only about $34,000

you can take that 8k profit in goog to free up the cash. I say there are 15 pts EASY in both of these ETFs over the next 2-3 months - if not sooner. that would give you another 6k in profit.

but if you are going to do this don't wait. do it on the open.

Of course the horse I led to crystal clear, organic water simply would not drink!

As I type this,

Google is trading back down to $516.

SRS is trading up to $106.

SKF has exploded to $153!!!

IF, my buddy had listened to me (and obviously not sold SRS or SKF prematurely), his account would presently be up $24,800.

Instead, his orginal Google profit has dwindled to a mere $3,800 and he's still got downside risk.

The worst aspect of this failed enrichment of mine was not that my buddy took my advice on the *entry* but refused to listen on an *exit*. It was not the fact that my original recommendation was pure gold for the alacrity in which it delivered - and he still wouldn't listen! It was that this friend of mine has soooooo much dough, sooooo much invested in the markets, that a mere $34,000 short exposure was a bet he simply could not lose on. Meaning, he is so *net long* the market, that would be impossible for him to lose on my UltraShort Real Estate and UltraShort Financials recommendations. He could have held his Google and still went with my new trade ideas.

Just like Cassandra, I am cursed to be all-knowing but never believed!

What good is being right if there's no market for it?

Booming Moscow

Did you know that more billionaires call Moscow home than any other city on the planet?

Apparently, Moscow just passed New York City to claim this bragging right.

My brother just took a job hunting trip to Moscow and was blown away with the number of firms itching to hire him. (He's fluent in Russian and has a dozen years of startup telecom experience.)

He told me that the job market is so hot there right now, that "run-of-the-mill equity analysts can make $600,000 per year in Moscow."

The Russian boom is so furious, I also read that something ridiculous like 500 cars are being bought there EACH DAY. It's hard to imagine that pace keeping up. Though it would help explain the jam-packed trains.

There's always a bull market, somewhere.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stay Short The Cheap Stuff

My Floridian real estate connection (Naples) excitedly informs me that you can now buy a condo, that had been $200,000 less than two years ago, for the firesale price of $85,000 today.


Why would I want to buy something at *fair value*?

Why would I want to buy something that's most likely going to trade below *fair value* for the foreseeable future?

Just what exactly do y'all think is going to happen to that cheap real estate in Florida when Manhattan prices take their inevitable 30% slide?

People in the Northeast and on the coasts think that "Florida is different", that it got crushed because of "rampant speculation". Well, that may have some validity, but Boston, New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco will still get fairly bloody. Most likely, it will be the inevitable spike in mortgage rates combined with a cyclical economic downturn that does these oases in.

Buckle up. Remember the downturn will be just as irrational as the boom was.

I really do feel like all I do is repeat myself - surely you've noticed?

Here's what I presciently said over three years ago in To Buy or to Rent, That is the Question:

Suffice to say, I am bearish on the real estate market. Here are my reasons:

There are too many people buying today with adjustable-rate products and interest-only loans. Incomes are lower, particularly among young people, than they were 5-6 years ago. The Federal Reserve seems determined to prick the housing bubble. Inflation is taking root and has historically been anathema to interest rates. Half of new construction in Florida is estimated to be "investment" properties. Last year in California, half of new mortgages were "interest only". For more on the stupidity in the land of fruits and nuts, click on this link, it is unbelievable.

Anecdotally, I have come to the same conclusion. I know several people who have bought homes the last few years that have appreciated immensely - at least on paper. Almost without fail, each one of them has either taken out a home equity loan, built an addition, remodeled the kitchen, bought another piece of property, or moved into a bigger home with an increased mortgage. Rare is the story of a homeowner selling his house and downsizing to a smaller home, cheaper region, or RENTING. Here is the bull market analogy - did anyone actually dump their AOL/Time Warner stock when it was over $100 (currently $18 per share)?

In summary, I believe that incipient inflation along with coincident rising rates, will couple with super-leveraged buyers to create the perfect storm for real estate. I am predicting some serious economic pain within 2-3 years. Remember, a pendulum swings both ways.

(I am still shaking my head at that LA Times article.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just Look At The Pictures!

Do you know what this is an example of?

Biblia Pauperum - A Latin expression meaning "Bibles for the poor".

Essentially, they were pictorial Bibles. Will Durant used the term generically to refer to "picture books for the unlettered".

Sometimes I feel like all the web traffic I get is from clowns looking for pictures. From my "referral stats" I can see exactly how most of you get to my blog. More often than not, my "readers" are simpletons looking for pictures - primarily of "liz claman naked" ("liz clayman") or any number of other popularly searched for images on my blog. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the Liz Claman Stalkers have long since surpassed the number of dumb kids who've downloaded that "Day After Tomorrow" pic from my Apocalyptic Morons, Etc. post. Another example would be my recent Nanny Criteria post - all three pics from it have been generating blog traffic.

It's not unusual for these pea-brains to find my blog on an image search and then linger around for a while and sample some of my morsels of wisdom. BUT, most often, these kids just grab the image they want and dash back to MySpace or Facebook.

What else would you expect from a nation of Lapsed-Learners?

Below find one more pic that I manufactured for the lumpen masses. If I can just re-activate a few brains it's worth dirtying my hands!

Any buffoon can generate web traffic - the more advance skill is getting people to actually read what you've written.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Holier Than Thou - Marginalizing Extreme Moderates

On the subject of Ted Kennedy Cancer Schadenfreude....I was completely taken aback by the level of sympathy expressed for the drunkin' murderin' socialist by people I would have assumed thought otherwise.

From Michelle Malkin's blog - here I just pulled the first few comments which really sum up the entire 300 post thread:

Actually, the first comment above was a complete aberration. Most of the comments in Malkin's post were *sympathetic* and *holier than thou*. I was downright shocked.

Ted Kennedy is and was one of the most vile human beings of his generation.

Anyone grieving his long-overdue demise is bereft of logic, innocent of his record, or mathematically illiterate.

His hands have the blood of millions of Indo-Chinese on them. How many tens of millions of fetuses has he helped abort?

For decades Ted Kennedy has dehumanized and weakened the most benevolent country on this over-heated planet. He's pitted race against race, class against class, and transformed the government into an intractable leviathan. You see his MO was quite simple:

  • Exploit popular ignorance.
  • Politicize the natural inequalities of man.
  • Turn the property of others into his own political currency.

Much of the sympathy expressed for Teddy from his non-admirers went like this, "Don't celebrate his death because then you are just like those creeps who celebrated Dick Cheney's health issues (or when he accidentally shot someone)."

Or, "Don't celebrate Teddy's cancer because then you are no different than him - someone who doesn't value and cherish human life."

Okay, let's get one thing straight. Ted Kennedy is not a human being. He is a type.

More than a few times, socialist politicians have been embroiled in scandals (e.g. Monica Lewinsky) and their constituents have bleated, "It's his personal life - It's a family issue - It's not relevant - Stick to the issues". And no doubt, many of the same commenters on Michelle Malkin's blog would be screaming, "No wait, it is relevant - It reflects poorly on his character - It raises all sorts of integrity/honesty issues..."

So, to these cancer-sympathetic Malkin-ites I say, "Well, I hated Teddy's guts before the good news broke, and I am not about to change my assessment based on some *personal life* event of his."

Countless times sympathizers said, "Cancer is not political". Michelle herself said,

Put aside your political differences and join me in keeping Sen. Ted Kennedy and his family in your prayers as they grapple with the news of his malignant brain tumor diagnosis.

Well, I agree that cancer is not "political" - it is simply a disease of bodily cell reproduction. On the other hand, I would never euphemize Teddy's legacy as "political". I would never refer to killing the unborn, destroying the family institution, neutering free enterprise, and weakening the most benevolent nation on Earth as "politics". Ted's legacy is one of atrocity.

I don't worry about *looking* like assorted other wackos because I am certain that I'm so far removed from their ilk - any comparison would be a joke.

Ted is not *stricken with cancer*, he's stricken with old age. At 77 people die quite often. It's more a wonder that his liver didn't go sooner. He should be thanking God for his extended lease on life, if anything.

Now there were a few bursts of levity on Malkin's thread. See above - and click to enlarge the pics if needed. As for the "wind farm" reference, see my prior post.

This whole cancer schadenfreude thing reminds me of an incident from "The Lakes" - the golf course in South Philadelphia at least a dozen years ago.

I was playing the sixth hole with one 'old coot' who hooked his ball off the tee. Allegedly, the 'old coots' coming up seven pocketed his ball. They were accused by my whack-job partner, denied it, and nonetheless cursed:

"You mother-effers....I hope youse all get cancer!!!"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Who Could Be Against Babies?

Who could possibly be against babies? Against twins and triplets?

Be careful now, we're encountering a ruse not dissimilar to that of the eco-pagans as in, "Who's against clean air and clean water????"

If you need a more pop-cultural analogy, remember when Kramer wouldn't wear the AIDS ribbon? They interrogated him with, "Aren't you AGAINST AIDS?"

Now, getting back to multiple births. By no means am I AGAINST them or even AGAINST paying for them collectively through my health insurance premiums.

I've been to 4-5 barbecues in the past month so unfortunately I've been forced to endure sheeple talking about Boston Globe headlines. Here's one from last week that's been widely discussed:

Massachusetts, Land of Twins

In a collision of science and demographics, Massachusetts has emerged as the nation's most prolific producer of twins, triplets, and other multiple births.

The combination of an unusually large number of pregnancies in older women, who are more likely to have multiples, and a heavy reliance on readily available infertility treatments, which also increase the odds, has propelled Massachusetts to the top: The state has a twin birth rate of 4.5 for every 100 live births, compared with a national rate of 3.2, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I actually saw the headline before I was pelted with the BBQ scuttlebutt. But I never did read the article. Why would I? The Boston Globe nauseates me.

But last night I said to myself, I'll bet that Globe article didn't even mention WHY Massachusetts leads the nation in multiple births. I jumped out of bed, found the article, and sure enough was proven correct. Read it for yourself by clicking the link above.

The reason Massachusetts' mothers have so many twins is simple - IVF, in vitro ferilization, is covered by health insurance. In fact it's freakin' mandated by law.

So every time some 43 year-old career woman in Wellesley Hills (average household income $364,281) can't get pregnant, the working populace at-large is subsidizing her $20,000 per attempt IVF. (A lot of propaganda sites insist the cost is only 10k. That's pure BS.)

Putting aside the issue for a moment, this article thoroughly demonstrates why the Globe in an intellectually bankrupt entity. An article with a "WHAT" and lacking a "WHY" is utterly pointless.

Why would it kill them to mention the role that insurance subsidies play in fomenting multiple births?

Obviously, blatant omissions like this always admit strong bias. To the Boston Globe, the reluctant career-prioritizing mother is a sacred cow. As is universal, umbrella, health coverage. And there may be a side issue of subsidized IVF for homosexuals. I found it very hard to find much information on the latter.

Therein lies my fundamental gripe. The Boston Globe has failed as an instrument of edification precisely because it pushes an agenda, a worldview, and leaves its tripe too often bereft of basic facts.

Again, I don't even really care about subsidizing the infertility treatment of others with my healthcare dollars. I just think the public, consumers, and taxpayers would be better served by the facts.

For example, I was playing golf this weekend and member of my foursome told me, "I know for a fact, of many people who have MOVED to Massachusetts, who have taken jobs here simply to get in vitro fertilization paid for by health insurance!"

As far as I am concerned, that is a gross exploitation of state resources. I want to see a study, an analysis on where these moms lived in the years preceding their insurance-covered IVF. It may in fact be a small percentage but why not at least run the numbers?

An older Globe article wasn't so polished:

Lack of means is a constant theme among callers to Resolve's infertility help line, said its coordinator, Davina Fankhauser. She can relate: She is now 17 weeks pregnant through IVF, but she and her husband went through eight years of infertility treatments -- stopping short of IVF because they could not afford it -- before moving to Massachusetts, where they found that insurance would cover it.

"I have to say the economy made me not try, actually, until I moved to Massachusetts," she said.

Yeah, SURE, they "found" that insurance would cover it.

Massachusetts has a wonderful immigration policy in place. Scare away private enterprise but attract welfare recipients, special needs children from surrounding states, homosexuals who want to marry, and infertile women looking for expensive OPM-covered medical treatment.

The follow-up study I want to see is this - after they've moved here to conceive, how many of these infertile women moved back out-of-state shortly thereafter?

I just want to see the numbers - apparently that's far too much to ask.

What's the difference between an Oprah viewer and a Boston Globe reader?

Both are Automatic Morons - only the latter fancies himself incredibly well-informed.

I NEVER pass up a chance to mock the sh*t out of anyone who reads that garbage.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Deranged Dog People

Today is National Take Your Dog To Work Day - I kid you not!

This link will show you all my posts on this inane subject.

At least make sure you read my initial post Deranged Dog People if you haven't already.

Mid-June Trading Update

Isn't that beautiful? It's the "Spit" in Scituate, Massachusetts. You'll need to click on it to see its full splendor.

First, familiarize yourself with my last update.

Since then I have shorted General Motors Corp at $17.73 - and the other day I covered it at $14.88. $130 oil may just bankrupt the company. In fact, if you think oil will keep rising or at least won't drop much, shorting GM would be a solid way to place that bet.

I increased my HSBC Holdings short by adding a few July 80 puts at $1.30 apiece. See my old post HSBC - A Long Term Disinvestment.

I increased my NASDAQ-100 short at $50.31 - bringing my cost basis to $49.25. Then I covered 57% of my position at $47.15.

I covered my Bank of America Corp short at $29.55 - if you recall, I shorted this turd at $38. Ken Lewis will be fired within 12 months - I wish I could bet on that!

I bought some Jan 5 LEAPS in Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation, the 2010s, for .60. I just can't resist this POS stock - no matter how much I keep losing. I see the stock as a very cheap call on higher silver prices. Heck, with these calls, I've got 1.5 years for the stock to rally.

I bought some June 25 puts in Wells Fargo for .35 apiece. Yesterday I bought stock against them "one-to-one" at $24.76. Then I dumped the stock at $25.27. So I own the puts for "free" (actually for a .16 credit less commissions) which unfortunately only lasts one day - because today is June expiration. So if WFC dips down to or below $25 I will again buy stock against my puts and then root for it to rally. If it drops below my purchase price, I will just unwind the riskless position by exercising my puts after the close.

This is a basic "gamma trading" option strategy - though I understand it reads very complicated to the unknowing.

(As I was typing this, at 8:17am I was able to buy stock at $24.99 against half my puts. Let's see if I can flip it. I am out there at $25.25)

Look at the charts above.

Obviously, as great as my Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual shorts were....I covered them way too soon!

LEH - I shorted at $48, covered at $38, then it dropped to $21.17!

WM - I shorted at $12, covered at $9.48, then it dropped to recent low of $5.75!

Pretty much all my recent financial shorts have gone substantially lower than where I covered. Oh well.

If a trader wants to keep his sanity, he ought to eschew hindsight in all its forms. It's as dangerous as "hope" in prison.

Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. (link)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On My NBA Champion Boston Celtics

Last night, the Celts made tidy work of the Lakers - annihilating them by almost 40 points in Game 6 to win their 17th NBA championship. The final score was 131-92!

I could talk/write all day about my beloved Celtics but I'll spare y'all.

Though a few items MUST be mentioned.

That lunatic Bill Simmons ought to shut his pie-hole. Over the last few years he's been screaming for Boston head coach Doc Rivers' head. Well, Bill, after 66 regular season wins and the NBA title, apparently the guy CAN coach. Read here and here.

I myself didn't think too highly of the Garnett trade - read this old post. But I was fairly confident when they got to the Finals - unlike ESPN's crew of "experts":

Of all the possible story lines for Boston's title run, I submit that the true hero, the true architect is none other than the man below:

Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge is a proven, extraordinary talent. He's simply great at everything. According to Wikipedia:

Danny Ainge is the only person to be a high school first team All-American in football, basketball, and baseball.

The guy is also a tremendous golfer. He dominated one celebrity competition that I saw on The Golf Channel.

One thing that I will never forget, back in the summer of 1987 (or 1988), I carried Danny Ainge's red Ping golf bag to his car at Worcester CC. He gave me two bucks.

Red Auerbach blessed Ainge's hiring as Celtics GM in 2003:

"This guy will get it done. He's very bright, and he's lucky, too."

Of course, one of Red's favorite quotes over the years was:

"Luck is the residue of design"

Note that Red had borrowed that line from Branch Rickey.

Getting back to Danny Ainge. My leading candidate for Moron of the Year is the blogger who runs the above site. Amazingly, he's kept it current throughout this 66 win season and endured near his limit of hate mail.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Be Careful What You Wear

That is the brown ("Cola Heather") tee shirt I was wearing yesterday with a pair of jeans.

When I was dropping off the tables and chairs I rented for my daughter's birthday party, some coed from Bryant College at the rental store mistook me for an employee and asked me to unload the stuff she was returning.

CaptiousNut - Honey, I D-O-N-'T W-O-R-K H-E-R-E.

I said it with a big smile and almost helped her out anyway because well,...let's just say my son would have loved her!

Now fast forward to later in the day. I go to the Hingham Car Wash to get my oil changed. While my car is in the shop, I lean outside to get better cell phone reception; I am standing there, in my Cola Heather fitted crew and some middle-aged woman starts screaming at me, waving her hands, and yelling, "THE PUMP ISN'T WORKING! THE PUMP ISN'T WORKING!"

She thought I was the freakin' gas station attendant!

Yesterday's events reminded me of a great pair of navy khakis that I owned about 12 years ago. They fit perfectly; I had lots of "tops" I could wear with them; and best of all, unlike tan khakis, I didn't have to worry about highly visible little stains.

In spite of all that, I simply could not wear these wonderful pants. I'd show up at work in them (Philadelphia Stock Exchange) and the guys would be razzing me all day: "Fill her up, regular", "Can you check the oil too?", etc.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bounce Now, While You Can

So we rented a bouncing/bouncy house for my daughter's birthday party. The kids never stepped out of it throughout the four hour party. And, surprisingly, there was hardly a banged-heads incident! I highly recommend spending the $150-$175 for anyone who's having toddlers crash their fiesta.

I chatted up the guys who delivered it. They told me that bouncy houses similar to the one I rented (15 by 15 feet) sell for around $8,000 - perhaps a couple grand cheaper if bought in bulk. This particuar company owned a HUNDRED of them!

They said the boss gets "his money back" on each house in 4-5 years. That's a pretty reasonable rental value compared to items like jet ski's ($50 per 30 minutes) or say bicycles on Block Island ($60 per diem). For the bikes anyway, the rental companies get their investment back in about a week or two!

One other notable thing I learned:

BouncyHouseInstaller - Yeah, business has been good. A lot of our competitors folded when Massachusetts started REGULATING bouncy houses.

What a joke this state is!

Heck, you can't even put a video game in your pizza parlor here without some inane thing called an Automatic Amusement Device License.

I don't know why the Commiwealth of Massachusetts doesn't just change its motto to Caveat Venditor???

Friday, June 13, 2008

Marginalizing Barry Ritholtz

Everyone has their weak points.

While I enjoy and profit from Barry's The Big Picture - today's most popular financial blog - he is horribly off his rocker on one subject.

In a recent post, Market Failure, Mortgage Style, Barry enthusiastically displays his ignorance on the matter.

When discussing free markets versus regulation, one of the basic tenets of laissez-faire economics is that human beings are rational, self-interested actors. This turns out to be a faulty premise. Humans can be illogical, irrational, and overly focused on the short term to the detriment of long-term performance results.

The current housing and credit crises was caused by many factors, but the primary ones have to be the Greenspan Federal Reserve which had abdicated its regulatory responsibility to supervise banks, and a banking industry which forgot what lending standards were for. The securitization process, corrupt ratings agencies, and a lack of Wall Street due diligence are the next level. A false belief that Housing Prices never decline also gets some blame. At the real estate level, Appraisal fraud, buyer foolishness, and financial ignorance also contributed.

The normal operations of the marketplace simply failed to work. Where markets fail to prevent recklessness, irresponsibility and behaviors that inflicts significant damage on the broader economy, some form of limited government preventative regulation is called for.

First of all, "market failure" is a doubly subjective notion.

What precisely is a market? Many would argue that real estate - as it's burdened with property taxes, zoning restrictions, and whatnot is hardly a freely functioning market. Meanwhile, others (e.g. the New York Times and perhaps Barry) don't think there's enough regulation. Such a wide spectrum of opinion precludes talking about the real estate market scientifically.

And what constitutes a "failure"? I scarcely think the incidence of large price fluctuations defines a failure. Nor do I think the existence of fraud, mania, or people getting booted out of their the bank's homes is a viable definition. Heck, if fraud is a sufficient condition then Barry rightfully should be fulminating on government failure - as I pointed out on Barry's blog thread:

So how much time do you want to waste debating a a rickety theoretical assertion?

Here's a snippet from The Market Failure Myth:

The term "market failure" came into frequent use by economists during the 20th century. During the 1930s, economists like Joan Robinson and Abba Lerner succeeded in focusing the attention of their colleagues on imperfections in market prices.[i] Deviations from optimal prices in markets were responsible for failures to direct resources to their most highly valued uses. Thus, markets supposedly fail on efficiency grounds.

By focusing on efficiency in the use of scarce resources and failures in markets to do so, interventionist-minded economists try to show that their concerns are utilitarian and scientific. There is nothing inherently wrong with having such concerns. Ludwig von Mises demonstrated the importance of distinguishing between value-free economic analysis of how to attain ends in and normative discussion of what ends we should attain. It is, however, important to also distinguish between those with genuine concerns of this kind and those who instead only appear to have them.

Make sure you read that whole article.

The fact of the matter is, "market failure" is an intellectual ruse. Historically, it's been a Trojan horse for elites to impose their fashionable notions (fairness, optimality, efficiency, justice, etc.) on the lumpen masses. Or, at least minimally, it's their scam for gainful employment as "policy makers". Just think Greg Mankiw and his Pigou Club Manifesto.

In that case (carbon taxation), the "market failures" are pollution, global warming, congestion, and terrorism. And the "fashionable notions" are Bigger Government, eco-paganism, pacifism,...

Now Barry Ritholtz is most definitely not looking for a government consulting gig, nor is he out to sculpt utopia.

I just think he's a bit of a whiner. Anyone can look back in hindsight and say that X, Y, and Z should have been done. The neat thing about theoretical time travel is that prescriptions don't have any negative side effects!

Now that I have made an argument that Barry's blog post FAILED, I want to point one one more thing:

Whatever label you want to put on today's mortgage/housing market, it certainly isn't failing for this renting, bank-shorting, cash-rich blogger!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Nugget From A Galaxy Far, Far Away

This is the original 1977 trailer for Star Wars. It'd be easy to forget what movies looked like before they were *digitally remastered*!

Unfortunately nowadays, movies are all flash and no substance; they are just fodder for the LCD.

Those Compassionate Europeans!

Obviously this is hearsay, but I found what the New York Sun had to say about Eliot Spitzer rather funny:

He has told friends and associates that he is consoled by passersby who stop him on the city sidewalks and tell him that sex is "no big deal" and that the disclosure that he frequented prostitutes was distorted out of proportion, the source said. Europeans, the former governor has noted, have been especially supportive of him and perplexed by the fallout from the scandal.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Odds And Ends

The Greenbush Line is a new/rejuvenated commuter rail line south of Boston. Last week on the golf course I met a guy who was one of its "construction managers". He told me that the job (here) was supposed to be two years but it's gone over six now - though he should finally be done this August.

Of course I broke his balls! I asked him for his home address so that I could pay him directly for the next few decades instead of roundabout through my taxes.

Though, in fairness, a four year overrun is probably as short as they get.

Recently, through a friend, I met a young lady who writes for the Boston Globe. She was a flippant broad - laughing hysterically at all of my jokes. When she told me she wrote for the paper I figured it was the "Style" section or something. No, for the front page; she covered hard news and politics. I said "Great, now I am going to start emailing you on the side. I'll harass you like I do with Bob Ryan."

So I went home and read some of her "articles". HOLY VAPIDITY! There was nothing there; no meat; no opinion; they were just aggregated quotes from "experts" and titled individuals. There was barely even a thesis to any of her columns. This is why nobody except constipated fossils reads the newspaper anymore.

I asked this Globe writer why nobody was reading her paper and she went with the self-delusional talking points - the public is illiterate/dumb and that they would rather read free garbage content than, well, the pricier garbage from her pen.

Yawn. I have heard the same exact excuses from Bob Ryan and a few other Big Media writers over the years.

Hint to you elitist Morons...your content sucks!

You have to love Old Navy. This weekend I went there and bought 8 articles of clothing for $102 - no socks or boxers; I bought shorts, shirts, and pants. I caught the tail end of a 40% off sale.

One just has to love a "recession" and clothes made in Vietnam and Pakistan.

I am sure I was paying much more than $12-$13 for such articles of clothing an astonishing T-W-E-N-T-Y years ago.

Can someone tell me why TV show phone calls never end with "goodbye"?

I never got that.

I started compiling a list of things that "I didn't get" like:
  • The horrible song Tainted Love - constantly played on Boston radio.
  • Why the entire populace can't function without their coffee.
  • Why, in the real estate market, a "lowball bid" is insulting, but a "highball offer" is perfectly acceptable.
  • The TV show Alias. Forced myself to watch it a half dozen times but kept falling asleep.
  • And why don't environmentalists have urinals and air hand dryers in their bathrooms at home?

But I decided to stop cataloging. This was my *old style* of blogging and that kind of brainstorming just winds me up.

Here's one of the books on my nightstand. Minimally, my intellectual ego compelled me to read it. Quite frankly, I realized what a badge of ignorance it was that I knew almost zilch about the most influential book ever written.

All of today's "issues" were covered millennia ago. For example:

Abortion was treated:

You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Moloch, and so profane the name of your God.

As was homosexuality:

And thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman, for it is pollution.

And *environmentalism*:

If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

Even cross-dressing:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

On that count, all those grungy, hat-wearing, trouser-donning college girls are guilty!

They say that the Devil can quote Scripture for his purposes, well that may be true...BUT why would he when - first of all, nobody knows Scripture and secondly, he's got free rein over at the Boston Globe!