Friday, April 30, 2010

Weekend Break

I have no kids this weekend (dropped off at grandparents) so I'm trying to get some things done. Plus my wife took over my PC/desk today with her work so I apologize for the blog silence.

Y'all should be out boozing anyway...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In The Event Of A Bio-Chemical Attack...

It's about time us MEN had some nocturnal protection!

Now if only they can invent an insulated blanket capable of pacifying Midnight Warfare.

BTW, was that ad real? I couldn't tell.

Thanks to my cousin for this one.

Eviction Chronicles - Bankruptcy Filing

This afternoon I skimmed through my landlord's glorious 88 page bankruptcy filing. (This stuff is all online now.)

Recall he originally filed essentially at midnight before the house I rent was supposed to be auctioned off in late March. That tactic delayed foreclosure for what was originally advertised as 2 months - though it seems it'll take longer because the lender is *inefficient*. After the original filing, all the creditors are alerted and have to get in line for their share of the remaining assets/income (zero divided by...). And right before this date arrived, the deadbeat scumbag got the court date pushed back yet again, claiming he needed *more time* to enumerate his debts.

BUT, his time came last week.

Right off the bat, on page one, I busted a gut laughing:


Pursuant to Rule 1009 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the above captioned Debtor submits the following amendment to the original Matrix. Attached as Exhibit A are creditors who were inadvertently omitted from the original matrix and but which creditors appeared on the Debtor's schedules which were filed on April...

Okay, so he *inadvertently* forgot some of his debts - no surprise there, given their number.

BUT guess who's listed first - HIS BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY!!!

Apparently, my landlord has only paid $1,100 of a $2,500 bill. So the unctuous Moronic lawyer has listed himself as owed $1,400.

Now why would that be an amendment to the original claim? And why would a lawyer only take $1,100 upfront for a $2,500 bankruptcy filing from a guy who he knows well is BANKRUPT?

Check this out (click to enlarge):

In a section where the knucklehead is declaring *assets* or whatever he lists that he rents a safe deposit box. What's in it? Or, what WAS in it?

*Nothing* he asserts!

Which of you Morons out there actually believe him?

Alright, here's a better one. Click to enlarge this graphic:

Cash on hand = $10!

One man's watch = $400!

On the *eviction* front it's kind of quiet for the moment anyway.

Yesterday I had my landlord served with a list of grievances and my expressed intent to *not pay rent* until they were addressed. He's already been copiously notified by both me and the local authorities but I figured it couldn't hurt to be thorough. I expect to receive from him another court summons in the next few days. I expect he'll be taking me to court to try to collect rent and/or evict me yet again.

Good luck to him!

Oh yeah I almost forgot. I scored another victory against him this week. I got the town to issue a *cease & desist* order against him. He's no longer allowed to run his shady lending operations from the detached office building on my property. They've threatened to fine him $100 a day if he continues to violate the local residential zoning laws.

Twice, TWICE in the past few weeks I actually offered him MONEY to move out of the office building. He's that annoying that I would go in my pocket to not have to see his mug everyday outside my window, in my driveway, etc. I offered him the $867 water bill (I'd eat it) after our coerced mediation. And then again 1.5 weeks ago I offered him $1,500 to vacate the property altogether.

And in both of my (email) offers I threatened, "...take it because (the building inspector) is going to boot you out anyway."

That was a bit of a bluff because I had been stiff-armed in my attempts to get the town to act; and he called me on it both times. But then my persistence finally paid off. Let's just say it took a whole lot of strategy, resourcefulness, and arm-twisting to get it done. EVERYONE, including my wife and a wired local attorney, told me to 'drop it' and that I 'had no chance'. I refused to. Don't any of y'all ever bet against me in a war-of-wills or a staredown or anything.

For the prior installment see - Eviction Chronicles - Served Again!.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Attachment Parent Of The Year Award

Earlier today in a *dated* post I revealed my since-exorcised unease with *attachment parenting*.

Check out this pic I took recently:

Now there's a multi-tasking *attached parent* if I ever saw one!

She's teaching a homeschool co-op class AND feeding her 2.75 year old an organic lunch.

Though I failed to capture the funniest shot.

It was a botany class for real young'uns and the book she was reading was therefore about plants. She got to a part that dealt with usage and asked the kids to point out things in the room made of *wood*. In the middle of the kids' outbursts, the nursing daughter got to thinking and pointed her arm straight up, through the neck in her mother's shirt and declared that the ceiling was made of *wood*.

The Big Apple Circus

This talented young lady uses *3 iPhones* to make some decent music:

Obviously, with all that expensive technology (and nice leather furniture)....obviously her mom is one successful masseuse!

Have any of y'all been to the Big Apple Circus? I thought it was terrific - when I was 10. In fact, it was also the implied backdrop for Seinfeld's The Gymnast.

All Sorts Of Dog Lovers!

(Photo removed)

I assume y'all know that they eat *dog* in places like Vietnam, no?

This guy's Flickr photos of a dog being *slaughtered, deboned, eviscerated,...* on the street by a sous chef were banned by the site - much like my rodent drowning on YouTube.

Don't be a weak-stomached wimp - click the link and check out his edifying slideshow.

Shoot....I had two *hot dogs* for lunch today!

(Link Removed)

Making Virtual Flashcards

Check out my 3.86 year old's new *pics*:

Those are from her *word pics* folder that we just created on my desktop.

At this point, she's learning phonics, learning to read. So I pick the word; we Google an image of it; she gets to choose which one she wants (it's quite the process); and I'll scratch the spelling on it with a photo editor if needed (but only in the color the Princess demands!).

Of course when we're perusing *her pics* she has to say the word, spell it, and say it again. All this may seem rather simple and mundane but I submit it most definitely is not.

This make-your-own approach gives the child a very active part in the educational process. It'll be a whole lot of fun for them and far more effective than a boring phonics book.

Both she and her older brother LOVE to sit at my computer and flip through their pics. The enthusiasm for this - and most other things *computer* - is simply off the chart.

For more on *pics* see - Another Great Activity For Kids.

Comments Up-Cracking Me

I just had a funny comment posted to one of my older entries.

Someone asserted that there was *no homosexual subplot* on American Idol.


Really Dumb Parents

***Alright ,read this post with a grain of salt. I wrote it almost three years ago and just found it unpublished in my drafts.***

First of all, daycare is the absolute worst thing a parent can do to their kids. BUT, often times I see some parents fumble so bad that my premise gets shaken. Look at this craigslist ad my wife stumbled upon yesterday:

Bilingual Playgroup

Reply to:
Date: 2007-08-20, 1:17PM EDT

I’m looking to start a bilingual playgroup.

Ideally, we could have children (infant to age 5, sibling groups welcome) meet once or twice a week at someone’s house, with a paid tutor who could talk and play with the children. Although fluency is not the goal (not to mention unlikely with only a few hours of instruction a week), this could be a really fun first exposure to another language and culture.

I think I’d like to do French, but if anyone responds with a reason why a different language is a better option I’m open to other ideas (Sua Escuala has a Spanish language one, so I don’t think we should infringe on their market). We also need a tutor or two who is comfortable playing and talking to small children. I don’t think there will be a problem finding one later, but if you know of someone who would be perfect then please recommend her!

There was a young lady (actually in her 40s) who worked with my wife and had her first baby last year around the time of our second. She was a well-rounded nitwit (telling me to hurry up and buy a house in 2006 before they went higher) who I could barely bear for a five-minute phone call. Since we lived nearby, she proposed sharing her Brazilian nanny. Humoring her, I asked, "Does she speak English?"

"No...but it would be good for the kids to learn Portuguese."

I laughed as loud and as mockingly as I could; I told bimbo that I wanted my kids to learn English. "Furthermore", I lectured, " would be a wise move for the nanny to learn some English as well."

You find this everywhere. Clown parents all over think that if their kid can speak a different language then somehow they will be worldly. I knew a guy born and raised in the island-unto-itself of South Philadelphia. All grown up now, he made a concerted effort to get transferred to a Swiss division of his company. One of his burning priorities was to have his kids grow up multi-lingual. (There are four languages outside of English spoken in Switzerland).

Broadly speaking most of us parents do what we think is best for our kids. We tend to focus on what we self-diagnose as the deficits in our own education. Many parents themselves were irretrievably traumatized by "punishment". So they refrain from even saying "no" to their kids, use "timeouts", and grant their brats unbounded license. I myself want my kids well versed in economics and entrepreneurialism because I think it was the biggest void in my own education.

Of course you have the analogue - parents pushing the activities that were most important to themselves. They are the screamers at Little League and youth hockey games. They are the teary-eyed mom's dressing their girls up for prom. I have broached this subject before.

We're all projectionists at root.

Now back to the topic at hand - Really Dumb Parents.

Recently I tried to reach out to a few local homeschooling groups and I was brushed back by a little bit of inanity. They wanted four-year olds doing yoga, communing with nature, learning sign language, and one group advertised itself as centered upon "attachment parenting". That is sheer lunacy. It entails breastfeeding until kids are four, the family bed ("co-sleeping") through teen years, and other seemingly whack-job philosophies.

Here are some comments I pulled from Attachment Parenting blogs:

Hi- Our 11 year old daughter (with ADHD & Generalized Anxiety Disorder) has co-slept with us since birth. She has a dreadful time waking up in the morning and I have fibromyalgia, which is exacerbated by sleep problems. I don't want to kick her out because of her anxiety disorder, but could co-sleeping be adding to her her problem of not waking up? She also has primary enueresis (related to ADHD) that gets better the older she gets. Any ideas on this for me? Thanks, Beverly Anderson

Posted by: Beverly anderson at April 1, 2005 7:25 AM

I agree a little nudity never hurt anyone. My wife and I have slept nude for almost 20 years now. Our two girls are cuddlers at ages 15 and 11. They do frequently come in the bedroom on Saturday and Sunday mornings, slip under the covers and we all laugh and talk and even sometimes wrestle around. They are never nude by their own choice, but accept us as we are. My wife and I are seen quiet often nude or in various states of dress or undress and it's considered very normal in our home. The girls have slept with us before and co-bed sharing has never been a problem for either of us.

Posted by: Johnny at July 28, 2007 10:41 AM

Click here, here, and here if you want to read more about these folk.

Anyway, I spent a few minutes reading about Attachment Parenting and here's what I concluded.

While it might sound crazy, the concept behind it may not be that outlandish. A key contention of this philosophy is that by shuttering small kids into their own bedrooms a parent unwittingly grants and conditions the children the first of many anti-social autonomies. Why do we live in such an individualistic age? Perhaps because we are severed from others so young? Young people today feel no connection to their aging parents - a good nursing home is considered model filial care these days. Yet for thousands of years children accepted care of their parents with dutiful honor instead of complaint.

When I review my own mental biography I find countless examples of things I rejected upfront that went on to become huge parts of my life. My father had to drag me kicking and screaming to my first basketball practice. Then hoops became the focal point of my youth. I also spurned golf when I was young; it was a sissy sport that was interminably boring to watch on television - so I thought. For the last fifteen years, golf has been my only passionate recreation.

The same goes for yoga. My wife tried unsuccessfully for years to get me to try it. I just couldn't stand all the earthy shibboleths like "you have to awaken your soul". I knew a hippie when I saw one. Eventually, I learned to ignore that whole aspect and focused on the physical benefits of stretching and breathing.

They told us as kids - "Don't judge a book by its cover." What I have been learning is a more grown-up version - "Don't judge anything by its worst advocates".

You see your peers do this all day and night. They conflate "Christianity" with the fallible hierarchy of the Catholic Church or Jimmy Swaggert. They conflate "capitalism" with Enron and Wall Street.They actually told me that religion is the only thing that has caused war since the beginning of time! I guess they didn't want to conflate "religion" with Mother Theresa or anything more complimentary.

I myself struggle not to conflate "environmentalism" with the socialist heathens who have co-opted the movement. Also, I always shied away from art and classical music; I never quite "got it". The, let's just call them "wimps", who go to the opera and frequent museums definitely retarded my interest. Given this, my apathy was natural and excusable.

Now, in the auto-didactic period of my education, I have become keenly interested in the cultural arts. Will Durant piqued my interest in antiquity - something that neither Big Education curricula nor my sophisticated uncle could do.

So thus far I haven't had any luck in finding other like-minded homeschoolers. Place like Boston, with its vast number of private schools, haven't really caught the homeschooling tide yet.

***Again, please consider that I wrote that rant nearly three years ago. Boy was I an *angry* young man back then! Since then I've learned a whole lot more about homeschooling and grown a whole lot more partial to the theory of attachment parenting. And I did find a great little local homeschooling group that I'm a bit sad to be saying goodbye to - given our upcoming move back to NY.***

Better Blogging Chronicles - 4 - Too Slow?

I have a question for some of you squeaky wheels:

Does my blog load too slowly for you?

The reason I ask is because all the *pro-bloggers* say to get your page load time down. They say to truncate posts with a *read more* link; they say not to show nearly as many posts as I do on my front page (25).

Google says that it uses *page loading speed* in its search rankings. Why? And who knew?

I have no idea how important this is, but it's a reality I must respect.

Check out this recent graph of my blog's loading speed:

Click graphic to enlarge if necessary.

Hmmmm....what happened in March to cause that spike in slowness?

I'm going to take a closer look when I get a chance - because my site traffic got crushed over that period as well. It went from over 1,000 hits a day to about 400 daily hits. My daily traffic is starting to uptick again into the 700s now. It was frustrating somewhat because I lost all those hits precisely when I started putting the effort into reading all those professional blogger sites and precisely when I started my Better Blogging Chronicles!

I only had mere hunches as to why my site got cut down so much. For example, I've noticed that when I don't blog on the stock market for a while (including Google Finance links), my traffic tails off. Also, I heard that Google implemented one of its notoriously disruptive search algorithm upgrades recently. Perhaps I was a short-term loser in that, so I wondered.

Of course there's a method to my madness and the format of my blog, and I'm defensive about it, but yet I am still interested in feedback on this issue.

It's funny because with some things I'm extraordinarily FAST (shopping, golf, talking, etc.), while with others I prefer deliberate S-L-O-W-N-E-S-S (driving, cleaning, blog-writing, etc.).

My Latin (100% Italian) wife....she has no *gears* at all. It's all-out, full-speed ahead from wake-up to bedtime - even on weekends.

I guess people that read my blog often (as opposed to Google search traffic) already have the recent pictures and whatnot from my blog stored in their temp files (?) so my pages load rather quickly. That seems to be the case for me anyway - as my slow computer loads Marginalizing Morons rather quickly.

See also - Better Blogging Chronicles 3 - Aesthetics

Pointless Contrived Hindsight

Some guy has a post up that compares investments in Apple products - e.g. iPhone, iPod, Powerbooks,...- with what similarly timed investments in shares of Apple stock would have returned.

Obviously, it's a highly selective trough-to-peak comparison at the moment.

The only nice part about it, is that it essentially mocks those Apple-worshipping geeks who ran out and bought every new and slightly-tweaked product.

Of course, without that irrational consumerism....the stock wouldn't have risen 40-fold over the past seven years.

(Note the stock was dead money, flat, for the 16-year period 1988-2004. Don't be surprised if that trajectory re-emerges.)

BTW, contrived comparisons like this are nothing new. I remember reading somewhere, perhaps in The Millionaire Next Door, that if a married couple who had been smoking a combined 3 packs of cigarettes a day, for 50 years, had instead invested that money in Philip Morris....that they'd be retired happy and healthy, with a $2 million equity position.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sacred Rite Of Trash Disposal

Click image to enlarge.

I believe it's from the United Kingdom.

Only a mindless, lunatic eco-pagan would abide by all those disposal regulations!

We Found Him!

Yep, I do believe that we've found West Coast Tom's runaway, bastard love-child from his Harvard days daze.

Living In Glass Palaces...

Behold NFL star quarterback Tom Brady the environmentalist:

And now behold Tom Brady, the HYPOCRITE:

...along with his wife he's apparently building a 22,000 square foot home in California!

Thirsty And Marketable

Who's that? Who's that *pious-looking* gal?

Well, I'm informed that she's a famous centerfold type. One who actually holds an *...of the Year* distinction.

I have no idea what she's doing hanging out with those clowns.

But I'm told she's now in the *trading* business.

Apparently she's a personal assistant for some big shot day-trader.

Get this, the guy, a 65-year old 'old coot' pays her $120,000 a year.

"Pays her for what?", you might ask.

"To bring him girls"!!!

Girls for what???

"Girls for him to spank, only."

Yeah, sure. Supposedly the 'old coot' does alright. The religious girl with the cross on her CHEST says he makes 25k per day or something.

Much thanks to my secret informant for this one!

Inverting The Pillars Of Civilization

Hah! That's a snapshot of an article, in the New York Times of course. Yeah, let's have the kids raise the parents!

Don Boudreaux responds...."First, clean your room!" and:

Today’s prattling by young people about how awfully dirty the globe is reflects not kids’ "inherent" tuning-in to the global environment but, instead, their indoctrination – performed by teachers and popular media – into the Church of Gaia.

But let's remember, that parents who *outsource* the mind control of their children to government agents....they aren't innocent here and might even have forfeited their right to complain about said indoctrination.

Of course, I get to complain because I have to pay for it!

Thanks to Taylor for doing the dirty work here - for mining the NYT and forwarding me the link.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Crazy Detour

Today we decided to break up the 5 hour drive home from Long Island to Boston's South Shore.

We made a slight detour to 1) See a friend's newborn in Newport, RI 2) Go to Crazy Burger in Narragansett, RI.

Food came first. We'd never heard of this place until last week when late at night, while we were definitely on the hungry side, we were tortured by a feature on it on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Click the link and then wipe the drool off your chin.

Of course since the burgers had 12 ingredients apiece they looked absolutely delicious - again, late at night, on color TV.

My wife and I split a:

BAA-BAA BURGER : Ground lamb & feta cheese baked in phyllo dough with a side of oregano-pepperoncini relish. ($10.99)

and a...

WHASSUPY BURGER: Ground beef spiced up intensely with a combination of horseradish, garlic & Worcestershire sauce. Topped with gooey Brie cheese & home-made red onion rings & served on a whole wheat bun. On the side, you'll find some more heat with a wasabi-chipotle mayonnaise. ($10.99)

Our verdict?

The first one was great, the second one was decent. Remember we are real food snobs - given that we can both cook and that we've lived in a couple of restaurant paradises.

I'd say if you're in the area Crazy Burger is definitely worth your time. Although I only counted 10 tables in the place. So don't just pop-in at primetime or in the summer and expect to eat any time soon.

My favorite meal is a greasy lunch so I love that show. Hopefully I'll be able to hit one of his other spotlighted restaurants soon. I have Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, CT in mind because it's near my BIL's house.

Oh....the newborn?

She was a cutie-pie. My daughter (above) really loved holding her. I excitedly told her that soon she'd have her own baby. The Princess replied, "Is the doctor going to put it in my tummy?"

He better not!

There's no way I'd ever permit my angel to be courted by a drug-pushing, Big Government-annointed quack!

Marginalizing Imprecision

I can't stand when someone describes a location as *only like 10 minutes away* when you know darn well it takes more like 17 minutes to get there. And I'm not talking about some infrequented place. I'm talking about a church, a school, a yoga class, or something else that needs to be arrived at by a PRECISE time. It starts at 9am and there's no way they'd ever leave at 8:50am when they go; so they should know darn well that 10 minutes is a gross underestimation.

My wife provides another example of my exasperation. I'll ask her what time it is, SHE'LL LOOK AT A DIGITAL CLOCK, and say it's *like 8 o'clock*.

Or course it most certainly is not *8 o'clock*. It could be anywhere from 7:49 to 8:15 for all I know. Why can't she just say it's 7:53???

Now she is 100% Italian so this kind of fuzzy articulation is sown into her DNA.

But I witness and suffer this imprecision from all types of Morons.

And I do wonder if it's rooted in the 80s when kids started inserting the word *like* into every single sentence...

Siding With The FDA Fascists

My beloved MIL does not believe in the notion of *expired food*.

Sour milk, green cheeses, spices from the 1970s....none of it fazes her.

The other day she asked me to help her open a package of salami. The first thing I did was check the date. It had expired on February 10th, roughly 75 days ago. I refused told her I couldn't open it. She figured it out somehow and promptly made a frittata for her family with it! (I abstained, thank you.)

Now I'm up blogging in the wee hours of the morning and getting rather hungry. We have the best bagels on Earth here in the kitchen along with cream cheese and tomatoes. All I need is some bacon to stuff in the middle and I think I recall seeing a slab of it in the fridge.

Alas, I discover that it too is well past its time. Expired March 5th, some 50 days ago.

Would you eat that? Would you risk serving it to your kids?

By no means am I a Big Government apologist, but I'm going go with them and their *dates* on this one.

One of these days, my MIL is going to send her whole family to *the latrines*!

(My parents are pretty bad in this area as well - but more with antique condiments, cereal, liquors, and whatnot. Heck, all these 'old coots' flout the FDA.)

UPDATE - Before I could publish this post, my MIL arose and started frying that fresh bacon up! It's nice to know she was SAVING it for us but still...

Fannie & Freddie....Rearranging Deck Chairs

Here's an article that broached the subject of buying a foreclosed home from a *bank*:

Foreclosures Can Offer Deals, but Buyer Beware

Fannie Mae does give prospective homebuyers a leg up. Last month, it introduced a program that shuts out investor buyers for the first 15 days a home is on the market. Moreover, Fannie also has a financing program, which allows buyers to put down as little as 3 percent and doesn’t require them to carry mortgage insurance. It also provides loans that allow borrowers to wrap in costs for home renovations.

Freddie is testing a program that also initially shuts out investor buyers, and it is currently offering consumers who buy one of its properties up to 3.5 percent of a home’s purchase price, which can be used for closing costs, moving or even furnishings. The program was recently extended to buyers who submit a purchase offer by Jan. 31 and close by March 26. Primary homebuyers are also eligible for a two-year warranty on certain home repairs.

The title - Buyer Beware - is obviously ridiculous.

It's more like - Buyer Rejoice!

Rejoice because they don't have to compete with *investors*, Fannie will *finance* the purchase (i.e. merely change the name on the house!), no mortgage insurance is needed, AND Freddie will even donate what amounts to a taxpayer-backed HELOC on top of the taxpayer-backed no-money-down mortgage!

This country is doomed.

My Analysis = Money In The Bank

Last week, in reference to Wells Fargo's sham *trading* profits I wrote:

Bond markets have rallied in the past year. Most of these Big Bank earnings from the likes of JPM, BAC, WFC, are from simply marking up the paper value of their fixed income - much of which is still very toxic. They aren't dumping any of these securities, so the risks of these long-term instruments have not been eliminated or even mitigated. Note the banks deceptively refer to these unrealized, and unsustainable gains as *trading profits*...

And financial blogger Reggie Middleton confirmed that. He writes:

Other income was higher owing to fair value option impact on Merrill Lynch structured notes (the highly suspect, level 3 asset, non-market price based opinion of management) which resulted in 1Q10 gain of $226 million against loss of $1.6 billion in 4Q09 as well as minimal write downs on legacy assets (again, the highly suspect, formula driven opinion of management) against write-down of $1.0 billion in 4Q09. Although it shouldn’t be necessary, I will still state that gains in these areas during an era of highly suspect asset values should be viewed with a very jaded eye.

Why mention this?

To make a point. Realize that I didn't read Reggie's - or anyone else's - analysis before offering my own. Without even going near a news story or a balance sheet I KNOW what the banks are doing. They are playing games with the *mark-to-model* license granted them by Big Government incumbents. Again, Bank of America is not selling those Merrill Lynch *assets*; they are just marking them up. They aren't selling them for the same reason those overpriced McMansions are just sitting there on the market - because the sellers don't want to hit the *reality* bid.

I was at dinner a couple of weeks ago with some highly compensated *analyst*. He was singing the praises of the big banks, particularly Bank of America. I scoffed and told him it'd be trading at $5 a share yet again. He scoffed back; told me that it most certainly would not; that banks were *what he covered*.

What he *covered*? Was I supposed to bow in deference?

CaptiousNut - Did you short Bank of America at $40, like I did? Did you predict it was going to $2.50?

CaptiousNut - How leveraged are the banks? What happens to the value of their collateral with 7% mortgage rates?

The self-proclaimed expert had no answer to that. And we made a gentlemanly bet about the future path of the stock.

Look, just because the Federal government is bailing out the banks, that doesn't mean common shares of their stock will maintain value - no less appreciate. Consider Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Feds have made their bondholders 100% whole and still their stocks essentially went to zero.

Obviously, the Feds have demonstrated that plutocrats people with money in the bank....their money is safe in the sense that Big Government will simply print (more) currency and hand it over to the banks should they suffer a *run* or become functionally insolvent.

So rest assured, your nominal wealth is safe. Just don't ask about its *purchasing power*.

Later in the evening, I hit the expert one more time:

CaptiousNut - Look, you can focus all you want BAC bouncing from last March....but the fact remains, the stock is at a 14 year low, has no dividend, and has enough unrecognized losses for the next decade.

Airing Out Allergies

I'm up late early today. Because I fell asleep at 9pm, my standard four hours had me wide awake at 1:18am. Laying there, I had to hear my poor son coughing in the other room intermittently.

He's got *asthma* or whatever. Spring-time pollen is rough on him.

In fact, it's been so bad the past couple of nights that we've had to stir him and give him his more potent inhaler around midnight.

Then, just now, I come to my MIL's computer and see this headline:

Scourge Of Asthma Is Acute In New England

Not only does New England have the nation’s highest rate of asthma, but the disease remains poorly controlled in most patients — routinely causing trips to the hospital and lost days at school and work, according to a study being released today.

The Asthma Regional Council of New England, an independent agency underwritten by the federal government and foundations, finds that roughly two-thirds of New England’s 1.3 million people who have asthma regularly forfeit sleep, wind up in the emergency room, and frequently puff on inhalers intended as drugs of last resort.

The report is the third since 2003 to show that New England adults have the highest rate of asthma in the nation. But this year’s study is the first to portray with such precision the breath-robbing consequences of asthma in the region, where nearly 1 in 10 residents have the disease.

Of course the article is *alarmist* and definitely *propagandistic* - the funding cry of a financially interested public health officials.

But the subject is also broadly relevant for me, given my son's allergies.

It is curious, however, that here in New England, home of the *most educated*, home of the *best healthcare*, and all these self-styled *environmentalists*, we have the highest rate of asthma in the nation.

Perhaps our status as most asthmatic is a result of having the most *diagnostic* organs?

Or perhaps it's because New England is essentially the oldest region of the country. I believe asthma rears its head in 'old coots' and 'old bags' - on people that never had a respiratory problem in their entire lives. (Were they former smokers?)

Maybe it's all the old, dusty, moldy buildings? There sure ain't nothing green or environmental about old construction!

One problem with my son is that he's still young and inarticulate. If he were a little older he'd be able to tell us when he was having trouble breathing. Then we could pinpoint it better. For example, my wife and some quack allergist say he's allergic to cats/dogs - in fact that line of thinking led to the inhumane slaughter of my dear feline.

I don't know. Until my son can walk into a house and tell me he smells or senses the presence of a cat/dog....I won't fully believe that he's allergic to pets (or to any of the other 86 things the *allergist* alarmed us about).

Dust, they say, is a big deal. In fact, I have a family member who rented an apartment in Brookline, Massachusetts. The long carpeted corridors of the building turned out to be so dusty that he couldn't bear to sleep in his apartment. I believe he had to crash at his mother's house until the 1-year lease ran out. And there went $24,000 down the drain! (He probably could have legally broken that lease, now that I think of it.)

I had been thinking, hoping, that my son's so-called asthma was getting better each year. In the past it's been so bad that he'd wake up at night wheezing violently - so bad that he almost couldn't breathe. My wife would try to give him that Benadryl or whatever and he's gag it right up. Episodes like that were truly scary for us young parents. Thankfully, we haven't had a case of that in a while - hence my optimism.

But the past few days have been rough. We're down on Long Island this week where it's a tad warmer and they are further into spring with all its pollen and whatnot. Plus we are staying at my MIL's house which has a bunch of old carpets.

Before we move in, at least a couple of those will be removed.

In the meantime....I'm going to google for holistic, all-natural asthma remedies!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Anywhere? Yeah Right.

...if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere...???

Actually, I think that popular shibboleth is factually incorrect.

It's easier to *make it* in the New York Metro area because there's so much more opportunity. Sure in some industries the competition is cutthroat; and sure, those mediocre restaurants in your hometown would be bankrupted out of Manhattan in a New York minute...

But still, I know plenty of Morons in New York who have done really well - economically anyway.

There's just so much darn money and capital floating around. The only secret to success in NY is to get your hands into a pool of it.

So a lot of the people who've allegedly made it here....I submit they'd be hard-pressed to do as well in not just in flyover country, but even in smaller cites.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Remembering In The 'Golden Years'

Here's a local rumor/story from Boston's South Shore.

Some dude sold his house on Jerusalem Road (wealthy oceanside byway) a little while ago.

Then one day recently he approached the new owners and asked if he could dig something up that he left on the property.

They consented and the octagenarian 'old coot' proceeded to exhume a cache of Krugerrands (gold coins) and whatnot that he had apparently buried years ago!

I don't know how one forgets that - especially with a market price of gold today that almost justifies the long-term investment! Perhaps he had so much other money that the buried gold had slipped his mind?

Or perhaps he's just the typical napping, lose-his-glasses-13-times-a-day 'old coot'?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

After Brown and Yellow....Green

It's always an adventure, you know, in these *comfort stations*.

Will there be manually-dispensed paper towels, an automatic dispenser, or an empty dispenser?

Or will it be one of those ridiculous air-dryers? One of those supersonically loud ones....or one of those weak-a$$ older ones where you have to shake and rub your hands with abandon to get them half-dry?

Long ago I decided that I just couldn't take the all the mysterious excitement of how I'd have to dry off in unfamiliar bathrooms. So I go with a shake, trouser-wipe, and drip-dry methodology everytime, no matter the cornucopia of options.

All these places are trying to be *green* or *cheap* with air-dryers...

I just can't imagine those air-dryers don't use up a lot of electricity - especially that new one that so disturbingly powerful it could blow your merkin off - the so-called XLERATOR.

I say let everyone do as I do - let them dry off on their own slacks. Is it in the health code or something that public bathrooms must provide some device for drying?

They say that one-third of men don't even wash their hands in the bathroom.

I'll take the (way) OVER of that!

Recycling Will Put Food On The Table...

Take-Your-Kid-To-Work Day Loses Steam

CHICAGO—More than a decade after it began, take-your-kid-to-work day appears to be losing steam. Now it's keep-your-kid-in-school.

Thursday marked the 17th year for Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. But some school districts sent strongly worded letters or e-mails to parents explaining that taking a child to work would put the youngster's education at risk.

Though many kids still accompany a parent to work, some employers say the event increasingly conflicts with high-stakes standardized testing in schools. And this year, it was overshadowed by Earth Day, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday.

In Phoenix, the superintendent sent out a letter telling students that missing time from school, even one day, means "his or her learning achievement suffers."

Though many kids still accompany a parent to work, some employers say the event increasingly conflicts with high-stakes standardized testing in schools. And this year, it was overshadowed by Earth Day, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday.

In Texas -- at Dell Inc. in Austin and Southern Methodist University in Dallas -- most of the focus was on Earth Day, not Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.


I find that last line pretty ironic. At Dell Computer?

A young Michael Dell was working his tale off from age 10 up. He started out making tens of thousands selling newspaper subscriptions to newlyweds. Then he was madly dissecting and rebuilding computers before dropping out of useless college to start his multi-billion dollar international business. I sincerely doubt he'd deprecate a child skipping school to visit a real-world workplace for a single day. And I sincerely doubt he was focusing his energy, back in the day, on acid-rain or nuclear arms protests - or whatever the nonsense of his specific youth was.

Thanks to my Grumpy golf buddy for this link!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nice Slide

Just saw this on Christopher Fountain's blog:

Man, that Fountain guy is prolific. I had 360 *unread items* from him in my Google Reader yesterday. I believe he gets 10,000 hits a day. Check him out.

Mean Obscurantist Parents!

So it's all but a done deal that we are moving to Long Island.

We most certainly HAVE NOT told our children - the 5.42 year old Prince and the 3.85 year old Princess yet.

Why exactly should we?

They certainly aren't old enough to warrant *full disclosure*.

And I don't need to deal with any more tears than I get from them on an everyday basis. They'll find out at the last minute and without any dramatic delivery. It'll be presented as *matter of fact* and *of necessity*. There may be a fib in there if need be - I might say it's *just for a little while*.

I really can't stand these parents who baby their babies but then ask them their opinion on stuff that, quite frankly, 4 year olds don't get a vote on.

The only time to really complain about a move is AFTER it takes place. And only AFTER the new home has been given a fair shot. If it pales in comparison then yeah, anyone and everyone can legitimately cry out, "WE SHOULD NEVER HAVE LEFT!"

Not for anything, forget my little brats, I have my own tears to manage. My 2.70 years here on Boston's South Shore have seriously been the happiest of my life.

And now I'm moving in my with MIL!!! To Long Island, a golfing wasteland!!!

At least I know I'll eat well....and bars are open until 4am.

Side Note - We are actually heading down to Grandma's (my MIL) house tomorrow for a visit and to throw out 3/4 of her stuff in a dumpster that we secretly ordered. I told the kids yesterday that we were going to see their grandmother in New York and my little angel offered this:

PrincessC-Nut - Are we going to the house with the pool? (the summer house)

Dad - No. To the other one.

PrincessC-Nut - Ahhhhhh....I hate that one.

Dad - [gulp] Why?

PrincessC-Nut - I hate that one. IT'S BORING.

Palladium - Better Than Gold!

I already mentioned how I tragically dumped by palladium position at $226 in May!

And look, it's gone up another 100 points in the last few weeks. Oh well...

Someone asked me about shorting this metal.

NO WAY. I told him a quick look at a rhodium chart ought to scare him out of that trade. That rare metal went from $350 to $10,000 an ounce a couple of years ago!

A better play, for the insistent palladium bear would be to short the mining stocks - SWC and PAL. Miners across all metals have lagged the underlying commodities, badly at that over the past decade. You watch, palladium will downtick a little and the miners will come in 30%. It took me a long, long time and thousands upon thousands of dollars to learn that miners are real POS.

And within that learning process I learned to get long the commodity, as I did with palladium last year. Only I got in too late and out too early. Timing is beyond everything!

Personally, I won't be touching any of those trades short or long at these levels. I just wanted to say that for insistent shorts, miners have historically been a much better play than futures contracts.

Cover That Short Celtics Position!

The Celtics have held serve, winning the first two playoff home games against the Miami Heat. All of a sudden they look like the powerhouse team that started off the year.

How'd they do it?

Well they listened to me!

Here's what I suggested, amidst their woes, at the start of February:

For all their flaws, I say start Tony Allen and Glen Davis. Have KG and Ray Allen come off the bench. Athletic young guys may commit annoying turnovers, but they also keep constant pressure on the other team by banging the boards and running the floor. And both of those 'young coots' have proven they can play when they get consistent minutes.

Both players have, as the headline states, sparked the Celts. Davis I believe had 24 points last night.

I put the blame here squarely on the coach. He's too *conservative*, too deferential to the overpaid 'old coots' like Garnett and Ray Allen. Davis only put up those numbers yesterday because KG's suspension FORCED Doc Rivers to give him the minutes he deserves and has been denied.

These two guys should rightfully be subbed in at the 6:00 mark of the first quarter each game - way sooner than what Rivers usually does.

I remember those Detroit Piston teams of the late 80s/early 90s. They had some great talent in the starting line-up, BUT it was their super-subs Vinnie Johnson, Dennis Rodman, and John Salley that routinely annihilated the opposition.

You have the deepest team in the league by far. Use the bench, Doc.

April Pic Folder Cleaning

You might have to click a few of these to enlarge them.