Friday, July 31, 2009

Book Rec - Talent Is Overrated

This book is a poor man's Outliers - for sure.

But nonetheless I found some utility in it.

It pretty much corroborates, and elaborates upon Gladwell's contention that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill.

That'd be 3 hours a day for 10 years....or, 6 hours a day for 5 straight years, Morons.

Colvin promulgates the expression *deliberate practice* to describe the optimal way these working years must be spent. But this was by no means the first time I crossed such a notion.

Dave Pelz, my favorite golf instructor, modified the dated saying thusly, *PERFECT practice makes perfect.* He believed that most popular golf practice amounted to simply grooving bad swings.

What all these clowns are saying is that practice has to be more than just hitting range balls or strumming the guitar. It has to be specifically designed to amplify and hone skills. A big thing from Colvin, and Pelz mind you, is the concept of *feedback* - constant feedback at that. In other words, one must be mindful of their relative performance at all times.

Herein comes the aid of a competent instructor; a set of more objective eyes than those of the ambitious one. Technology can help too - think video taping, computer analysis, and whatnot. Dave Pelz has his *putting track* which I, and Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson, utilize to groove a perfectly straight putting stroke.

Pretty much the ideal way for someone get the 10,000 hours in with suitable oversight is to be born with fanatically educational parents (like my kids). One thing I learned from Colvin's book is that Tiger Woods is best described as a creation of his nutty, hard-charging father. Tiger's apparent genius was by no means inborn; it was systematically developed by his father - as was Mozart's.

And that's a lesson Colvin, and Gladwell, really drive home. That extreme accomplishment is ALWAYS the fruit of hard work and lucubration. His copious examples span the fields of music, chess, athletics, and business (though I found his case studies of Jeff Immelt and Steve Ballmer weak here).

Another bullet point from this book hits on the concept of creativity.

Colvin asserts that there are no *eureka* moments in the history of innovation - that landmark inspiration has never, ever, been spontaneous. Instead, it is always a by-product of vast domain-specific knowledge.

And, of course, that knowledge comes from putting those magical 10,000 hours in!

Read the book for yourselves. I could never do justice to a book in one of these blog posts. No, these are written for my own edification. I take notes and collate them here only in hope of better mental retention.

Think about a book you read recently or long ago. How much of it can you remember?

How long could you stand up and speak to its thesis?

I'll bet most of what y'all have read has been quickly reduced to a faint memory.

Take some notes; and then type them up.

Exercise some *deliberate practice* already!

See also - Outliers - A Must Read.

Addendum - It almost goes without saying how important these books are for those dutiful parents who refuse to cede the raising of their brood to Big Government.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gatto Documentary Forthcoming

John Taylor Gatto's long-hyped movie seems to be closer to fruition. Read his remarks:

I’m here to ask you to support the film, The Fourth Purpose, with money, ideas, work, and prayers, but without the money first, the rest of this airplane won’t fly. What we are after in this film is the destruction of the pernicious school myth, which has paralyzed social justice in the United States for a century. Schooling as we know it, is a powerful expression of the sickness of this society, not a cure for that sickness. While the myth lives, we will never revive the libertarian America most of us prefer in place of the present empire.

Click the link above and read the whole thing - particularly the part on 'social efficiency'. I just can't get enough of this guy!

Here is my master link to Gatto-referenced posts.

The Morons In Charge - Tim Geithner

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Glance At Today's Referrals

I haven't really been watching my stats that much these days. One, because I'm swamped. And two, because I'm trying to just put my nose to the grindstone and blog. I have my ambitious goals in terms of a daily hit number by year-end and still have some work to do to get there.

But today I took a peek and noticed someone, a bobbiethomas(?), Twitted a link to one of my posts. Whether or not it's my first hit from Twitter I don't know; it's the first one I've seen anyway.

Again, should I be a twit and start Twittering? I remain unsold on the notion.

Apparently Ken Fisher reads my blog!

That's surprising considering I Marginalized him in the hiney but good.

Okay. Maybe, just maybe it's not Ken.

More likely, it's one of his employees that hates his smugness' guts!

And lastly, I noticed I'm steadily climbing the search results for Microsoft's new search engine,,....for *teen breasts* anyway!

They've indexed, quite highly for such a no doubt rich subject, this pic of John Kerry from a recent post of mine - Marginalizing Swivel-Heads.

So, or

Remember that inanity, thirtysomethings?

Just imagine all the pervs out there browsing for dirty pics of *teen breasts* and whatnot....imagine them jumping for joy now they have another powerful search engine at their disposal!

Read The Popular Stuff, Too

This book was staring at me in my mother's basement for almost 20 years. Finally, I grabbed it some six months ago I guess because, well, not only am I a prolific reader these days, but also because I'm in a daily battle with *time management* thanks to the insourced parenting of two small children.

I started it right away but was reading the book coincidentally with the Bible. So it paled in comparison; it seemed not only trite, but also a rip straight from Christian teachings. As I read it I wondered about the echoes I was hearing - and whether or not the millions who read this book had the slightest clue. Sure enough, late in the book, author Stephen Covey does confess via a *personal note* his staunch belief in Christianity and the role it plays in *effective* living.

The book is about precisely what one would expect - getting a grip on your life's priorities, ordering them, and dealing with them on a forthright and systematic basis. For sure, a lot of it is commonsense to the thinkers and self-improvers already among us....nonetheless, there's almost no chance someone can read this book without some profit.

With 15 million copies sold it's one of these books that one just HAS TO read and cross off their list. It's just like How To Win Friends And Influence People in that regard.

About now I have to get to writing that *personal mission statement*....

My Crazy Parents - 4 - The Cluttered Fridge

No. I'm not talking about the outside - though THEY are invariably guilty on that count as well.

I'm talking about the inside:

Who are THEY?

THEY are my parents, your parents, and the rest of the 'old coot'/'old bag' demo.

By my rough estimate, my crazy parents have 15 different salad dressings in their fridge. Even a vegan glutton would take considerable time in turning over that inventory!

This is how it always goes....

I show up for a weekend stay at my parents' house - as I did this past Sunday night. I've got a small cooler full of food for my finicky, allergy-riddled brood to eat but there's never, EVER any room in their fridge for *guests*.

I've tried mockery more times than I could count - they simply don't care or are utterly incorrigible. I've even been known to throw out a bottle of *dated* salad dressing on the sly but that's more of an angry gesture than an efficacious cure.

One can't fight these things....just bring plenty of ice and leave it all in the cooler.

Cuz there's certainly no room for cubes in their freezer either.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Google Search Suggestions - "Why Did My M..."

Macs, mac-n-cheese, and....googling the demise of one's mother?


Though the first suggestion - why did my mortgage go up - is not all a surprising result for these times.

Hint - because whilst y'all drooled over the initial monthly payment, you forgot to heed the fine print.

Rainbow Not-So Bright

Hah! The *stupid police*....

I guess I've been self-deputized for quite some time now.

Many thanks to Kfell for this knee-slapper!

[Title allusion here.]

Big Government Killing The Environment

That above pic is captioned:

Ken Gooch, Massachusetts Program Director for the Asian longhorned beetle program, walks Monday through an area in Worcester along I-190 which has been cleared of beetle-infested trees.

First read - Worcester Beetle - An Another Ill-Conceived Bailout.

So, after government agents rashly cut down 22,000 trees in New England's 2nd biggest city, comes out that apparently there is a pesticide that tree-owners can buy over-the-counter and protect their trees against both the Asian longhorned beetle AND the tree-felling Feds!

USDA Says Residents Can Treat Beetle-Infested Trees

WORCESTER — Contrary to earlier advice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, residents in the Asian longhorned beetle infestation and quarantine area can obtain over-the-counter chemicals to protect potential host trees from becoming infested by the tree-killing bugs.

A letter from Christine K. Markham, director of the USDA's national Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication program, states that earlier advisories that the USDA issued to residents indicating that no such protective treatment is available were inaccurate.

In the letter in which she retracted that earlier advice....

There's so much going on in this story I haven't time enough to fully comment.

We have a Big Government, which is moving full-steam ahead in co-opting more and more power to regulate the *environment*.

We have, with this revelation of an extant pesticide, an abundantly clear demonstration of rank Federal incompetence.

We have petrified homeowners about to pump tons of pesticides into their trees....just so they MIGHT be spared from the Federal extermination. How long before someone cries about the *environmental impact* of said chemicals!

And we have an irony of ire in Central Massachusetts. These clowns here have ceded everything in their lives to *government*. Now they are all grumbling left and right about the Feds ravishing their neighborhoods. And they just accept their subjugation like hopeless serfs, totally clueless to the fact they are simply getting the government they have voted for.

Here's a maple *marked for removal*:

Now I'm the last one to elevate trees, animals, or anything *natural* to the status of precious humanity....

BUT, this entire process, this tyranny of bureaucracy, of national agencies and their ill-conceived, ineffective diktats....

In some ways it hearkens back to another dark moment in our shared history.

Remember when these kids were systematically *marked* in Germany some 70 years ago?

Big Government can't handle an insect in Massachusetts and yet Morons all over the country think nothing of empowering it with hundreds of billions in new *green mandates*!

Who could be against a windmill, right?

Well, who could be against *teaching children to read and write*?

Remember that was how our utterly hideous and abominable *school system* was marketed, and expanded, and expanded.

Go take a gander at the disturbingly illiterate *comments* on YouTube and do your own assessment of how a well-intentioned Big Education has turned out.

You know how in many states (I think) one can't sell their house without a *septic inspection*?

Well I've heard that the *greenies* are already licking their chops to expand this un-Constitutional financial meddling. I've heard that they are trying to impose other *environmental* standards on owners of private property before they can effect a sale - energy efficient windows and whatnot. This will cost tax-paying Americans nothing, right? And the statist intermediation will end here, right?

Me, I'm against every single *harmless* windmill - and may even be impelled to vandalism!

Hey, if those eco-pagan terrorists can fire-bomb McMansions in Seattle....

Us *brownies* should be out there in force, battling mind pollution for the sake of future generations....and Father Nature!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Fine Catch!

Powerline says she's an *argument for teaching economics in public schools*....

But that's 100% incorrect.

She's an argument AGAINST public schools - not one for giving them more mandates.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Marginalizing An Incipient 'Old Bag'

After only 40 minutes of sleep last night, I was pretty groggy on my drive to the golf course this morning.

But I did notice something awry with the never-ever-used cassette deck in my wife's car - a 2000 Ford Explorer.

At 5:42 am, inhaling breakfast while I waited for the cart man to arrive, much to my surprise I came across a pack of Marlboro Lights in the car. Now my wife used to smoke, but was forced to quit some 8-9 years ago. This was her old brand for sure. There was only one cigarette missing so this was clearly a *late night*, nostalgic indulgence. I had a good chuckle and tried unsuccessfully to figure out the last time she was *out*.

Then I had a GREAT chuckle after hitting the eject button on the dusty cassette player.

An over-served Mrs. C-Nut was smoking and listening to a *mix tape* from 1996????

How pathetic is that!

After face-to-face mockery and some probing I realized, even if she didn't, that it twas that friend of ours' 40th birthday party the other night that sent 'old bag' shudders running up my wife's spine.

Plus, apparently the young'uns she works with have been ribbing her about being *out* in general. They thought it hysterical - and unheard of - for Mrs. C-Nut to have just learned who won American Idol. And supposedly there was another recent incident where she pitifully tried to sing the lyrics of some current Top-40 bubble tune at work....which made her minions keel over laughing.

BTW, I've never even heard of many of these groups: Spacehog, Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, Superdrag, Ben Arnold...

So who exactly is this woman I courted and procreated with?

Perhaps one of y'all can psycho-analyze her pre-C-Nut musical tastes for me.

July 1996....back then Taylor only had hair on his head!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Religion, Neither Science Nor Stewardship

The idea that so-called environmentalism is a religion is neither my original insight nor new ground for Marginalizing Morons. Though I think I may have trademark rights to the term *eco-pagan*!

Aupanner sent me a great essay on this very subject - Gaia Worship - The New Pagan Religion.

The entire piece is well worth reading. But I wanted to highlight a couple of Al Gore references where he ADMITS the *religious* nature of his cause.

Members of this "Green Religion" will all agree that the Earth is in a crisis state and this ecological emergency is the result of Christian traditions. They believe that the Judeo Christian belief that God assigned man to rule over the earth has caused us to exploit and abuse it. Monotheism, they assert, has separated humans from their ancient connection to the earth, and to reverse this trend governments, the media, our education system, artists, and other areas of influence must revive earth-centered myth and reconnect us to Earth's spirit. Al Gore, in his book Earth in the Balance, expounds on this view:

"The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own systems of belief. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously through the world has spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths. This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilization's responsibility for the earth is concerned." (pp. 258-259)

Gore praises the Eastern religions and new age spiritualism, while blaming Christianity for the elimination of the ancient goddess religion, and calls for a new spiritual relationship between man and earth.

"The spiritual sense of our place in nature predates Native American cultures; increasingly it can be traced to the origins of human civilization. A growing number of anthropologists and archaeomythologists, such as Marija Gimbutas and Riane Esler argue that the prevailing ideology of belief in prehistoric Europe and much of the world was based on the worship of a single earth goddess, who was assumed to be the fount of all life and who radiated harmony among all living things. Much of the evidence for the existence of this primitive religion comes from the many thousands of artifacts uncovered in ceremonial sites. These sites are so widespread that they seem to confirm the notion that a goddess religion was ubiquitous through much of the world until the antecedents of today's religions, most of which still have a distinctly masculine orientation...swept out of India and the Near East, almost obliterating belief in the goddess. The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity as late as the fifteenth century in Lithuania."

Only when this *religion* is called what it is....

Only then can we intelligently talk about the extensive history of tyrants and governments co-opting popular faith for their own totalitarian ends.

Smacked Down By Another Precocious Homeschooler

The other day my son casually mentioned to me that something - which escapes my memory - was *made in China*.

I asked him how he knew that.

PrinceC-Nut - [silence]

CaptiousDad - HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT WAS MADE IN CHINA??? Is it written somewhere?

PrinceC-Nut - No DAAAAAD!!! [rather perturbed at my probing]

CaptiousDad - Well then how do you KNOW it was made in China?

PrinceC-Nut - BECAUSE....[pause]....BECAUSE everything's made in China, Dad!


So I glanced at the screwdriver in my hand. Sure enough, you can infer what three words were emblazoned on it.

This exchange was a virtual déjà vu of the last one I had with a homeschooler.

See the tail end of - Homeschoolers - Winning The Diversity Bee Too!

A Fight Where No One Got Hurt

First, visit - Itching For A Fight.

After screaming far and wide that he'd put $100,000 of his money against anyone in a narrowly-defined, subjective debate Barry Ritholtz has gone silent on the issue of Big Government's role in the *housing mess* - via subprime lending mandates and whatnot.

First, I jabbed him in the comments of his own blog.

And then afterwards I swung again on Steve Sailor's blog. Steve whacked him good as well and enjoyed the bonus of a direct response from Barry. Click here for the entire post with comments. Below I'm just going to copy Barry's feckless response to Steve, along with my *helpful* rejoinder:

Ritholtz said...

I think we are approaching this from two entirely different universes.

I am looking for cause and effect; I want to see data that supports or detracts from the proposition at hand. PROVE TO ME that X caused Y (including actual statistics).

Your proposal of Diversity causing the housing crash reads to me as a soft philosophical argument that is by definition unprovable -- and undisprovable.

At the very least, I see no proof in your writings. They are cogent arguments that leap from A to B to C -- but they lack the rigorous statistical evidence to demonstrate something convincingly to people who insist on hard data.

In my belief system, I use as few assumptions as possible. I try to avoid things that are unquantifiable. Statistical back testing is just on[sic] way to do that.

But even softer analyses such as war-gaming and alternative scenarios have to have some reasonable basis for proceeding. It cant be all assumptions, beliefs guesses
and hunches.


My trenchant, and still unanswered, reply:

CaptiousNut said...

Barry Ritholtz deprecates counterarguments as *soft* and *philosophical*. He wants comers to statistically:

PROVE that X caused Y.

But what precisely are X and Y? And how exactly could one PROVE causation?

Here’s his own wording:

"Is the CRA significantly to blame for the credit crisis?

Let’s go term by term:

CRA = narrow, but treatable in debate.

significantly = vague and hardly mathematically defined.

blame = loaded, subjective term.

credit crisis = also amorphous and thoroughly subjective.

So Barry has the gall(or gap?) to stand before us and demand *actual statistics* to address his own fuzzier-than-a-Sicilian-backside question!!!

Mr. Ritholtz,

Economics is a SOCIAL SCIENCE. Macroeconomics is a JUNK SCIENCE. And political science is a misnomer!

(BTW, what exactly is the statistical, scientific basis of the term *wingnuttery* in your analyses? Mentally trapped in *binary*, huh? It must be a real intellectually superior universe that you hail from.)

It’s bad enough that you frame a subjective question and then rule out *cogent*, subjective responses...

But what kills me is you stickling for *causation* when you are a freakin’ quantitative trader. You so-called quants traffic in CORRELATIONS all day long and bet gobs of, well, other people’s money thereupon. So not only is your universe an unfit perspective for this debate – it’s unclear whether or not you understand your own livelihood.

Now, if Barry Ritholtz insists that the massive subsidization of our nation’s least creditworthy homebuyers had an insignificant effect on the overall housing market...

Then I guess Barry believes the subsidization of underperformers (via quotas and race-based financial aid) hasn’t significantly affected national academic standards or costs.

And I guess he believes that the subsidization of our most unhealthy (i.e. the aged via Medicare) hasn’t significantly affected healthcare in this country in terms of cost, efficiency, research direction, etc,...either.

Alright I was just kidding. I know he probably doesn’t have well-developed positions on those subjects - nor should he.

He really ought to limit himself to his wheelhouse – stockpicking; which he seems quite good at. Listening to him on wider socio-economic issues is like bearing a 22 year old Hollywood starlet on geopolitics.

The empirical fact is that the CORRELATION between Big Government and severe economic distortion remains the same as it's been throughout history - 100%.


Now this is an important debate, an important battle to be fought.

It's just too bad that the prospects for real dialogue on this were, like most things Ritholtz,....all bluster.

I would have really liked to see someone like the sharp-tongued Don Luskin, neither a friend of mine nor Barry's, step up for a slugfest.

Alas, Luskin has been a housing bull the whole way down. This subject has proven beyond his ken.

"What about Mr. Mortgage?", I thought. And I even emailed him to ask but was *underwhelmed* to say the least. He replied:

Ritholtz is right -- the investment banks made this...then the commercials followed the IBs because their earnings were suffering. The cra was a small part.

Say what?

I respectfully pointed out to Mr. M. that:

PS - by the way, barry doesn't heap blame upon the investment banks as you say. he has them ranked 13-17 as culprits. you might want to revisit what he wrote because it's clear to me that he doesn't see the connections between the low end, middle end, and high end of the housing markets.

and i forgot that you at one time were contributing to his blog....

Anyway, enough on this subject for the moment.

But I do want y'all to check out a very well-written and informative piece on *political lending* by Zombietime - that photo-journalist from California.

Seriously, take the minute to click on it. What's chilling beyond the blog post's substance is how easily a non-financial layman can grasp the reality on housing better than pros in the business and on Wall Street.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Laugh At Angry Morons

Here's a funny follow-up to that connected Harvard professor who skirted the law:

Link here. I might very well have to buy this shirt and walk all over Harvard's campus wearing it!

When people lose their cool....humor is always a ripe possibility. Remember this one?

I think at the time John Calipari's Minutemen had won something like the last 10 games against the fuse was already lit.

Another bad day at work. This one reminded me of that scene from Office Space:

Personal Credit Crisis

Two days ago I was at the supermarket where my credit card *didn't work*. The cashier said I had a "contact issue".

Say what?

Then, later on my card didn't work at the gas station either.

So I pulled away from the pump and dialed Chase.

Apparently, my wife forgot to pay the bill due on June 25th. We happened to be away on vacation that week and the bill either didn't show or was lost. No big deal, right?

So I was already screaming at the customer service rep when she said it's always been their policy to *turn off* delinquent card holders.

That only made me more irate. I told her I'd had the card for 12 years and missed many a payment without them ever revoking my credit so she was full of sh*t.

CaptiousNut - It must be some new policy or something.

CustomerServiceStooge - No. It's not. It's been that way ever since I've been here.

CaptiousNut - How long have you been there?

CustomerServiceStooge - About a year.

CaptiousNut - Well I've had the card since 1997....It's never been *turned off* before. You need to turn my card back on right now or I'll never use it again.

Of course she couldn't. Like a knucklehead I demanded a *supervisor* who fed me some more BS - that they couldn't turn it on without a payment, that it had ALWAYS been their policy.

Fine I said. I got her name and told her not only would I never use the card again, that I'll use one of my other cards for everything henceforth....AND, for pure spite I may decide to not pay it at all and make them eat the 10 grand (2 months) balance.

Now there's no way I'd do that. As I said, I acted like a knucklehead but only because I was that PO'ed.

I have no problems paying the penalties and interest for a missed payment. But to turning the card off on a customer who's paid their bills for 12 years?

That's absolutely asinine!

My wife called up to yell at them as well. And get this, when complaining about them turning off our card without warning....they dropped this bombshell on Mrs. C-Nut:

"We have to.....the money we lend is UNSECURED."

No bleepin' crap it is. When the heck did the credit card industry finally realize that?!?!?!

So while today they are irrationally clamping down on creditworthy folk like myself....

Over the past several years, they let people like my Moronic landlord run up hundreds of thousands in debt on a dozen or so cards.

Just yesterday in the mail I could see a letter to him from one such company. Through the envelope it was easy to see his debt of just over $49,000.

So I've started using a dormant card in my wallet. Screw JP Morgan Chase, right?

But gosh darnit, the next card in my line-up is from Bank of America's that wanker Ken Lewis is going to make out on this.

Turning Into An 'Old Coot'

Check out this tasteful birthday cake:

Was out real late last night in Boston's North End with my wife. We went to our first *40th* birthday party.

Holy sh*t are we getting old!

Just when I thought I was getting younger....

Not for anything....but this first 40th fiesta was waaaaay better than any 30th birthday party we ever went to.

Thirty just isn't an age for celebration. That's when the self-centered fun ended - for most of our peers anyway.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Not Because We Care About Children" - NEA

Bob Chanin, the head counsel of the NEA, received a rousing send-off for his retirement the other day.

In his farewell speech, he clarified the political depravity of his organization:

We are not paranoid, someone really is after us. Why are these conservative and right-wing bastards picking on NEA and its affiliates? I will tell you why: it is the price we pay for success.

On the *effectiveness* of the NEA - which is not to be confused with literacy, numeracy, etc.:

....not because of our creative ideas, it is not because of the merit of our positions, it is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

"And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year."

The whole stomach-turning speech is below:

What on this over-heated Earth is more disgusting than that continual, raucous applause???

These are the people government agents raising your children.

Thanks to my MIL for alerting me to this one.

If you care about your children....get started with John Gatto if you haven't already. Failure to do so by any literate parent is rank child abuse.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Fine Art Of Correspondence - Texting

Those are from upstart website - which is probably a multi-million dollar windfall that was conspired on the back of a napkin.

The content is user-generated and in copious supply. It's extremely lewd and appeals to the crass voyeur in all of us. In fact, it took quite a while for me to find a couple *clean enough* to post on this here FAMILY blog!

Great retort from that chick, no?

Thanks to aupanner for the look on this site....unless I get addicted to it!

Another Rich, Politically-Connected Guy Skirts The Law - Proving Justice Is Not Blind

A distinguished *scholar*, huh?

But the genius locked himself out, right?

As you read the stories, note how much the papers suck up to this guy. Above they had to embellish him as a PRE-EMINENT scholar.

More from this intellectual giant here:

When the officer repeatedly told Gates he would speak with him outside, the normally mild-mannered professor shouted, "Ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside," according to the report.


Had to put another pic of him up just because the race-baiting clown was complaining about his mug being all over the internet.

In today's reports, Aristotle denies saying anything about *yo mama*.

But we all can read lips, somewhat. Clearly, he's captured enunciating the last *-ma* above!

Another Funny Sign

This one's also from SE Massachusetts.....Harwich Port on the Cape.

Thanks to my cousin for sending this one.

How much for that last *combo* on the menu anyway?

Stimulate Thy Neighbor...

Click to enlarge.

Would you believe that I couldn't find this Union Leader article online?

The Boston Herald also ran it but it's lost somewhere in their *paid archives*.

This makes me feel like an 'old coot'....trafficking in clipped-out newspaper articles and whatnot.

So I now feel compelled, for the good of state, to manually input the whole thing:

Bay State passes a stimulus bill for N.H.

by Al Girolamo

I just wanted to thank the Massachusetts Legislature - and the governor - for doing all they could to stimulate the New Hampshire economy.

I know they all worked long and hard hours to help us by seeing that the new 25 percent increase in sales tax would pass - and pass successfully it did!

But the bonus your state gave us with the increase in alcohol and meals tax was unexpected!

Also, the additional support your state gave us by mandating that the tracks in Revere and Raynham be closed couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you!

Seabrook residents are dancing in the streets as they wait to greet their new Bay State patrons to Greyhound Park. As we speak, vendors are increasing their inventories to meet the increased demands that will be placed on sales of everything from gas to cigarettes to beer, home goods and God knows what else.

And the best is that many of your state's welfare dollars will now be spent here thanks to that generous gesture of giving free cars to welfare recipients. Those who used to walk or take the train to Wonderland can now drive to Seabrook. We also appreciate your including free insurance and AAA membership for them. Because although New Hampshire is a non-mandatory insurance state, it's good to know that welfare recipients driving their free cars to Seabrook will be able to cover any property damage they may cause. And the tow companies are pleased with you providing them free AAA because if there is an accident or breakdown, they have a guaranteed paying customer.

Wow! It's like Christmas came early, and what better timing in the middle of a recession! I expect this will have an effect on unemployment figures here too, the increase in business will mean new jobs.

Yes, Massachusetts has done so much to help us bring major businesses to our state that I feel that we owe you a debt of gratitude that cannot be expressed in words. It brings tears to my eyes when I drive through border towns like Seabrook and Plaistow and see the parking lots full at Home Depot, Sam's Club, TJ Maxx, Lowes, Best Buy and Staples. Our restaurants too are busy due to your state's unprecedented generosity. It's a modern day Marshall Plan.

Just one more thing, and I hate to ask, considering all of the sacrifices that your citizens have already made on our behalf. But do you think that you could OK that 19-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax that the governor proposed? It would go a long way to help our gas station owners.

Again, my personal thanks to Gov. Deval Patrick, legislators and all of you wonderfully generous taxpayers and citizens of Massachusetts to whom we are eternally grateful.

Al Girolamo is a business owner in Hampton, N.H.

Note that some of that article refers to Massachusetts' recent banning of dog racing. The eco-pagans here were aghast at the alleged inhumane treatment of canines.

See - Massachusetts - More Morons Than Your State.

Google Search Suggestions - "How Long..."

I came across the above *suggestions* when googling for "how long does it take to get evicted". (I'm thinking about possibly halting rent payments.)

That array of suggestions is interesting but not at all surprising.

Nobody can remember how long it takes to boil an egg - my wife especially.

Even though she's a great cook, anytime she has to boil eggs (or corn) she leans on a cookbook - which I don't even agree with.

If you want to soft boil eggs:

Put them in cold water, put the burner on high, when it starts to boil (big bubbles breaking the surface), set the timer for 3 minutes. You may have to lower the heat a bit here; but maintain a steady little boil.

When 3 minutes are up, remove the eggs from the water with a spoon - otherwise they will keep cooking.

If you want to hard boil them:

Repeat the above, but let them boil for 4.5 minutes. Cover the pot and leave them in the hot water for a while (5-10 minutes?) to ensure they fully coddle.

As for my landlord....

I'm pretty sure he stopped paying the mortgage. So I ask y'all, why should I keep paying him rent that he's just going to put in his pocket?

He robs the banks; us taxpayers bail them out; us savers get screwed in money markets because the banks need interest margin spread; etc.

I know, I know, I know.

I'd need to donate my rent to *charity* in order to claim the higher ground.

Movie Rec - Perfect Stranger

I'm not sure why my Comcast TV-guide only gave it 2 out of 4 stars. It definitely merited another.

Perfect Stranger was a decent film - watch it.

But I remain perplexed as to why they chose that title.

You see, Perfect Strangers was the name of one of the most stupidest 1980s sit-coms. Yeah, it was up there with ALF and Newhart.

I can't tell you how badly, back in the day, I wanted to punch that foreign guy in the face!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time To Go All In Short?

I'm strongly considering buying some more FAZ tomorrow.

But on second thought, perhaps I should just buy January puts on WFC, BAC, JPM, and GS????

The January 20 puts on Wells Fargo look ridiculously cheap to me at 1.65.

Remember that stock traded down to 7.80 merely four months ago. What exactly has changed since then?

One probably has a better chance of *making 5 times their money* on those puts than with FAZ....

Bank of America's January 10 puts also look enticing at 1.05.

Oh Boy....Here We Go Again

Rain forecast for 9 of the next 10 days. This is brutal!

2009 has been a disaster. After 3 feet of snow in January, we got a horrid spring, and a terrible summer thus far. See my preceding post if you haven't already.

Idleness Explanation

My wife snapped the above *blog material* in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts the other day.

I've been super busy with golf, the beach, and a moderately-sized inlaw invasion.

You see, we've finally had some AVERAGE weather here in New England:

Dismal skies ruled the month from one end to the other with none of the 30 days classified as sunny. May 25 was, by definition, the last sunny day before July 5, a stretch of 40 days.

Sunny days are defined as a day with between 0 and 30 percent cloud cover. A cloudy day has between 80 and 100 percent cloud cover with a partly cloudy day left with everything in between. A typical June should give us six sunny days, 12 partly cloudy and 12 cloudy days.

Apparently it was the least sunny June up here in 106 freakin' years!

The inlaws are leaving presently but y'all will still have to compete with outdoor activities for my attention for a few more weeks....before the snow returns anyway.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We're Not Listening....

Some über-Moron wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe today:

Got A Comment? Keep It To Yourself

I’M AN information junkie. I use my work as a media consultant as an excuse, but anyone observing me would think I’m constantly feeding some horrible addiction as I fiddle with my iPhone, surf the Web, whipsaw the TV remote between various news networks, and skate up and down the news-radio dial searching for the latest 411. The variety of available technology and material perfectly feeds my mania: Internet, satellite radio and TV, digital phone, instant messaging, newspapers, magazines, e-books, Twitter, Facebook, CNN,, Slate, and on and on.

But as satiated as I am with the enormous and varied flow of available information, I’ve concluded there’s one outlet that should be abandoned: those comment forums at the end of articles on newspaper websites.

This is insane. We know that newspapers made a mistake and devalued their product by giving it away for free on the Internet. Some rebuilding could begin by removing these reader forums and restoring journalism’s dignity.

By the way, don’t bother posting any comments directed to me when this article appears on the Web. I won’t see them. Instead, go start your own website or blog or buy a legitimate newspaper, or write a letter to the editor, or an op-ed (and sign your own name to it). If you really have something interesting to say, I’ll find you.

One just has to love this guy's stones.

***My opinion is important....yours is dirt!***

Is it any wonder that this idiot is a PAID Big Media consultant?

And with guys like him advising them over the years, is it any wonder why newspapers, magazines, and network television are all spiraling down the economic toilet?

Obviously, the comments on that Globe article, the ones that haven't been summarily censored anyway, are quite feisty and worth a look.

Socialization - Lesson 2

Recently I was out boozing with a pack of dudes who really don't know each other.

Apparently one guy took to mentioning how *hot* his wife was.

Now this is wholly inappropriate talk - especially in that setting.

In my experience, guys who talk about the attractiveness of their wives are always *compensating*. Usually the trophy, if in fact she is one, is some wack-a-do broad. Usually she's small-minded, either doesn't or can't work, and has that previously articulated flaw of no female friends. And, often times the marriage is not the happiest. Can you say SELF-DELUSION?

The next time some butt-clown starts telling me how hot his life-partner is....

I'm going to come back in my trademark fashion - OVER-THE-TOP:

CaptiousNut - Yeah, bro. She is a fine piece of @$$. Her *(&*s are amazing; so is her ^@#@. I'd love to $%^# that!

Because....that's precisely the impression they want to make, no?

See also - Socialization - Lesson 1

Best Smells

Yesterday I was trying to construct a hierarchy of *best smells*.

For me, it'd include cut grass, gasoline, burning charcoal, and cigar smoke.

But I think frying-BACON wins the day with me.

A few years ago, we went to a wedding out on Block Island. Staying at one of those bed-and-breakfasts, we arose the next day starving AND extremely hung-over and went downstairs for our breakfast. Now the entire downstairs was drenched with the aroma of bacon, yet it turned out to be a most cruel mirage.

It wasn't for us. The bacon was frying on the other side of the closed-off kitchen; it was effin' for the family/proprietor. Its smell tortured us while we pecked at a thoroughly unsatisfying Continental breakfast - a meal that should rightfully be banned by law.

But getting back to smells....

I'm sure some of you wage slaves and dysfunctioning adults would nominate *brewing coffee* as one of the better smells. Even though I like the smell and taste of this narcotic, I have long refused to drink it if for no other reason than to distinguish myself from the lumpen masses.

My wife insists that not only does *the Fall* emit a scent, but that it smells good. Me, I've never detected what the bleep she is talking about.

Here's another that I've never been able to detect:

On the food front, I like rosemary, horseradish, and the smell of simmering meat-based pasta sauces. And I do like the smell of Manhattan's Chinatown for some odd reason. It's a curiously blend of fish, roasting ducks, and trash.

I'm sure I'm missing a whole bunch of stuff so I'm going to have to think some more on this.

Then we'll do a *Worst Smells* post - though perhaps with closed/modified comment section.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Couple Of Funnies...

And the next one was titled - *Why Everything Should Be Sold With Instructions*:

The bathing suit is on backwards, Morons.

And no, I won't apologize for any inferred crassness here. The unclad human body is a glorious sight to behold.

I just hope our resident West Coast Perv coughed up his organic veggie smoothie on this one!

Homeschooling Update - Grade 3 Division

If you want to see what my 4.6 year old is doing, at 9pm, IN JULY, then click the graphic to enlarge.

About a month ago, in Looking Ahead, I threw up the following pic of Kumon's math series:

The problem I had was, that when I got to the Grade 3 books last week, I noticed that they were not only mostly review (half the pages!), I saw that the learning curve seriously flattened out. Going from adding and subtracting 2-digit numbers to 4-digit numbers hardly merits so much attention and repetition. So I've decided for the moment to skip Grade 3 - Addition & Subtraction.

AND, the next book, Grade 3 - Multiplication was also found to be a waste of time. Again, it was all review. At the very end of it, they were just getting to writing out a multiplication table....but only up to *9*. That we've already been doing - and up to *14* no less for a few months. See - Who Needs Textbooks.

So I started Grade 3 - Division last week. As you can see, we are blazing through it. With 38 pages left, and doing 5-6 per day....

Prince C-Nut himself can tell you that we'll be on to the Grade 4 series in 6-7 days!

One For The 'Old Bags'

Newspapers - There Goes *Internet Growth*

As newspaper circulation - and ad revenues - have spiraled down the toilet....

One couldn't read a single earnings release from from these jurassic enterprises without seeing a screaming mention of their *internet growth* - no matter the level of overall significance.

But even that seems to be coming to an end., the Boston Globe's website only saw 4,000,000 unique visitors in June - the second lowest number for the spiraling company in the past 28 months.

Pathetically, they blamed it on the Celtics' *early exit* from the playoffs. Never mind that the Celtics have sucked for a good 16 years before 2007!

Dan Kennedy, at MediaNation somewhat defended this Boston Globe BS on his site.

Folks in the business are well aware of how closely print circulation of the Globe and the Herald has been tied to the fortunes of the local sports teams for many, many years.

OK, Dan.

Then how the bleep do you explain the Globe and the Herald essentially rolling over dead in the past few years?

If their circulation is *tied* to the *fortunes* of the Red Sox, the Patriots, and the Celtics....they why have the past 8 years - with 2 World Series Championships, 4 Super Bowl appearances, and one NBA Title....why have the papers been toilet-spiraling in this period of near-ridiculous athletic supremacy?


Monday, July 13, 2009

More Floridian Foolishness

I spoke with my real estate buddy down in Naples briefly the other day.

Apparently he's got 8 clients with *full offer* bids in on properties (foreclosed?) at the moment. And, get this, he says that he doubts even one of his clients' bids will be accepted because they aren't *high enough*.

Now, I don't care what's happening at the end of this *green shoots*, deranged-optimism rally down in one particular part of the country....This economy is heading to hell in a handbasket.

First of all, let's discuss what's transpired in the past 3 months.

INSANE, bankrupt banks were tripping over each other to offer fixed 30 year mortgage rates at levels never before seen. A friend of mine acquired one such loan on his house in Orlando - a brand new home, I assume he put 20% down,....he received a 4.5% fixed 30 year loan. Unbelievable.

Also, these bankrupt banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan were offering refi's at levels below 4%!!! How brainless is that? They are taking assets off each other's books that are paying 6% and transforming them into ones that pay a whole lot less. And for what exactly?

Oh, so they can book fees today and burnish their current earnings? Real smart, Morons.

This all happened in the context of not only the *spring buying season* but also amidst a furious, all-aboard bear market stock rally. The S&P rallied some 45% off its early March lows based upon, well, nothing fundamental whatsoever.

So idiots down in Florida, mostly *speculators*, are going bonkers trying to knife-catch an endless stream of foreclosures, big freakin' deal. This is no cause for longer term optimism. Haven't we been in this same exact myopic place some 4-5 years ago?

I mean, rates can only rise from here. Stocks have PEs twice as high (20X earnings) as seen by most bear markets. State and local governments are on the cusp of bankruptcy. Commercial real estate is bidless, in total over-supply, and trading 50% lower than two years ago. And residential real estate, in the most high-priced, blue-chip neighborhoods like NYC, Boston, and Silicon Valley has just started to drop.

To think that the long run prices of condos in Florida, a state whose entire economy has always depended on *real estate*, won't be aggravated by the above catalog is short-sighted and Moronic.

Now, recently I received this *prospectus* from another friend, who's also in real estate. It's selling:

....170 contiguous developed & platted lots, 100% complete (performance bond put up for final coat of asphalt) recently acquired by the sponsor of this deal as part of a larger discounted bulk purchase of the unsold portions (including raw paper lots) of ****** ******* an operational 18 hole golf and country club gated master planned residential community in Fort Meyers FL. The in place facilities are magnificent and 1,300 new homes out of the original 2,700 home subdivision sold for as high as $1,000,000. The new homes currently being sold start at under $200,000 by national builder, ***** ******, which means lot values to builders are in $40,000 range. The gross pro forma sell out to builders over a conservative time period of 30 months is $7,000,000 for the 170 lots which the sponsor is putting into the partnership at $3,000,000 ($17,600/lot). There are $1.4 of primarily soft cost to run the sales and marketing so the gross profit would be about $2.6mm.

The $1.4mm in sales costs can be capitalized into a $4.4mm project cost or the initial capital can be the purchase cost of $3mm and the other cost taken out of unit sales. The sponsor is open as to capital structure and structuring the returns but suggests a mid teen pref to the investors money and then a 50% split. The investor return should be over 20% IRR on the $3mm capital investment and less with the fully capitalized $4.4mm (which dollar amount is a projected 58% of retail value so could be looked at as a high yield loan with a kicker)

The sponsor has not shown any lot value price growth as might materialize if the market has bottomed out. We are in the process of bringing in one or two other builders for the 170 lots.

Some of y'all unfluent in these matters may have to re-read that for comprehension - I certainly did.

Basically someone is firesale-ing a couple of hundred lots in an existing community in Fort Meyers. This is hardly a rare event down there today.

But notices like these should be the fair warning to all these *speculators* bidding up foreclosures that the supply of homes in Florida, both today and tomorrow, will be continue to be immense.

And that while some of them may catch a *near bottom* in one particular little condo....their money is still going into a dead asset class for the foreseeable future.