Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tad Hamilton

* I added a few links just below the chalkboard for the Red Cross and Salvation Army. These are two outstanding organizations that are helping out with the aftermath of the tsunamis. Help out if you can.

* I like sappy romantic comedies. I don't know why. So, I had HBO on last night and watched Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. Not one of the best romantic comedies ever made, but watchable.

* More 2005 prophecies on the stock and housing market. I'm surprised by the negative outlooks. They seem to be in abundance.

* The new season of Alias starts in January. The TV ads are pumpin' Jennifer Garner non-stop. She is hot. A buddy asked me the other day as the ad was playing on TV, "Do you watch Alias?" My response, "No, but I think I'm going to start. Heck, looks like I should buy the DVDs." He said he didn't watch it either, but that he might start. Great ad campaign. Great star.

* "Nobody is nobody."

* Bankrupt airline US Airways is asking nonunion workers to work for free in Philadelphia from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3. "Boss, I have an idea on how to reduce our labor costs. It's brilliant! We'll ask our employees to work for free!" That was probably followed by a very bizarre all-staff meeting.

* "Everybody is somebody else's Tad Hamilton."

* Can you imagine getting an offer from US Airways out of college? "Mom, Dad, I have some good news! I found a job! But, can I still live at home for awhile? The job doesn't have a salary; I'm working for free."

* Getting a promotion at US Airways might not be all what it's cracked-up to be, either. "Well, Focker, we're going to promote you up a level. Of course, this added responsibility will be a challenge and might cause some long hours and maybe some time in on the weekends. The salary is the same as what you're currently making; which, as you know, is absolutely nothing."

* The good news: The Christmas bonus at US Airways will be two-times your salary! The bad news: Your salary is $0.

* "Sometimes, Goliath kicks the shit out of David."

* I'm still carb loading for whatever challenge awaits me in the next few days.

* In the real world, would Rosalee really leave Tad and Hollywood, to go back to Pete? Of course not.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Carb Loading

* Remember the fitness craze of (whenever it was), where "carb loading" was en vogue? I think I'll dedicate this holiday season to that fitness craze, because I've been carb loading for a week now.

* What are the highlights from 2004?

* Yesterday, I decided to upgrade my XP to the latest security patch. I backed everything up, and let 'er rip. 3 hours later, I was able to boot up and connect to the internet. I don't even want to talk about what happened between 0:00 hours to 2:59 hours. Lets just say "frustration." Made me want to dump my MSFT shares and buy some Red Hat.

* I'm not sure what physical demands my body will undergo in the near future, but I can assure you that I am eating in preparation for something very strenuos.

* Did you read that George Carlin is in a rehab center? I thought he had kicked his bad habits. You can usually tell, when a comedian becomes less funny, that he's off whatever it was he was on.

* 2004: Janet Jackson... Red Sox... Ashlee Simpson lip sync... Donald Trump and The Apprentice... Bush wins 2nd Term... Peyton Manning... Pacers-Pistons fight... Steroids... Kobe on trial... Scott Peterson on trial... Oil at $55... Google IPO... iPod... Howard Stern on Sirius Satellite... Hurricanes... Reagan dies... Friends ends... Shaq traded to Miami... Ricky Williams retires... Arafat dies... Tasers... Pain relievers (Merck!)... I'm leaving a bunch out.

* The experts say that 90% of success is in the preparation, and with all the carbs I'm wolfing down, I'm sure to be a raging success! Pass the snack crackers!

* What is that other 10% of success that isn't preparation?

Tweener Week

* I want to put a Red Cross donation link on the page, but haven't found an easy way to do it yet. Red Cross until then... The numbers coming out from the tsunamis are staggering. Help if you can.

* I understand why many companies make their employees take the week between Christmas and New Year's off. Folks seem to be marking time between holidays. Everyone seems in a good mood.

* Do you take down Christmas decorations the day after, or wait until after New Year's?

* Later in the week, I'll try and summarize various stock market predictions for 2005. Including my own! Have you noticed that trying to find a negative forecast is very difficult to do? Maybe folks are just in a positive and optimistic mood, or hoping for better days ahead. With all the predictions of 8-12% gains, it's rare to find someone predicting a 10% drop.

* Nick Saban takes over the Miami Dolphins! Not a bad situation. Their defense is pretty strong. They have good wide receivers and a great tight end. I think the big black hole is their offensive line. I don't know how good AJ Feely is, but he seems capable and if a big o-line can lay down some pass blocking, maybe he puts up good numbers with those wideouts. Of course, their running back situation is a problem, too. But a good offensive line helps that. (Look at Denver!)

* Santa Claus is on Wall Street today! Have you noticed the number of folks predicting a mild winter, and the drop in oil prices? How accurate are the weather guys? I'm not going to predict a 70-degrees and balmy January for the Northeast - how about you? I think there is increasing energy demand from both the US and China, and OPEC recently announced production cuts. I don't think there is that much slack in the supply-demand balance. We'll see!

* I ran into The Paycheck Guy today while getting coffee. He had the newspaper out and was going over last night's NBA boxscores. He was telling me that he likes the way Detroit's Tayshaun Prince played. It's close to the end of the month, so I'll see him again in a few days.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Amazing Money Race

Everyone has seen the reality show, The Amazing Race. Couples compete against each other, racing around from one global location to another. During each leg of the race, they must complete different tasks, and beat the competition to the finish line. The last couple crossing the finish line, may be eliminated.

Mutual fund companies are no different. Each January, they start out on their Amazing Money Race, with the goal being to cross the December 31st finish line ahead of the competition and win a 5-star fund ranking in the new year's list of "must own mutual funds." But with a simple index fund outperforming most mutual funds over time due to fees, expenses and the decision making process, the fund manager must go to great lengths to get his mutual fund in the "must own" list.

In TV's Amazing Race, each couple is interviewed as they attempt to complete each leg of the race. The ones that are likely to be eliminated, seem to grab the majority of camera time during the broadcast as they make their plea to why they're falling behind, or how proud they are that they have come so far in the race.

In the Amazing Money Race, Mutual fund managers report their year-end holdings to their shareholders, include an annual commentary of the recent year, and outline their opinion of the year going forward. Shareholders have read the local after-Christmas papers, and know that the Apple Ipod was the hottest must-have Christmas present in 2004. They will quickly scan their report from their mutual fund manager, looking for the AAPL ticker of Apple stock. If they don't see it, they begin to wonder if they should sell that mutual fund. If the GOOG ticker of Google stock doesn't show up in the list of stocks held, the customer worries that their fund manager "doesn't get it." Everyone knows that Howard Stern inked a huge deal with Sirius, so the fund manager better have a boatload of SIRI in the portfolio. Lord help the fund manager who lists the tickers of Merck, Pfizer, or Sharper Image on their list.

We enter the final five trading days of 2004, with fund managers knowing that in order to win The Amazing Money Race, they must buy as much of the winners of 2004 as possible. They must dump as many of the 2005 losers as possible. No manager wants to explain to their shareholders that they missed the boat on Apple, or why they believe that Pfizer is a value play with a great dividend, even though the shares dropped a lot in price. They want to show that they're on the ball. They want to show that they own the hot stocks that everyone knows are only going up.

And thus, we have a historic trend during the last week of the year, where stocks that have done well during the year finish strong. Stocks that have done poorly, continue to fade.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

* Did Kelly Perdew really win The Apprentice? Or, will Jennifer Massey (The Fembot), be the ultimate winner in life? Read it here!

* Shrek 2 was a fantastic sequel. Probably better than Scooby Doo 2. haha.

* I've got the Green Bay vs Minnesota game on Yahoo sports ticker. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. (Why am I still at work?)

* I think some Grinch turned the heat off in this place. That's it. I'm leafin'... (sic)

Happy Non-Denominational Winter Holiday!

* Here I am at the Fun Factory, overloaded with work but not much motivatio to do it today! Not going to, either!

* This one seems like it'd go over like a lead balloon. Privatize CalPERS?

* Anyone else hoping they wake up to Ashlee Simpson in their Christmas stocking wearing nothing but stockings? That'd be a fast path to make it on Santa's naughty list for 2005.

* I read that the Stock Trader's Almanac says that historically, the stock market is up an average of 1.7% the last 5 trading days of the year through the first two trading days of January. No guarantees, of course!

* I had a happy thought yesterday, that the days are now getting longer.

* If the NFL was like college football, they'd do away with the playoffs and just pick the two best teams and let them play it out in the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Dressing in the Dark

* Well, this is a first. Sure, I've had one brown sock and one blue sock on before. Who hasn't? But today, I have two different shoes on. Both New Balance with similar styles and fit. I wonder if anyone will notice?

* Bullet preference? Asterisks or the arrow gif file?

* Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus rally in the stock market, just like everyone thought. Sometimes, the crowd is right!

* I didn't notice the shoe faux pas until I was at work and one was untied.... Ah, crap!

* The reality show, High School Reunion, seems to be draggin' on a bit slowly to me. I don't know how much more I can watch Jim and Nikol cuddle and re-examine what happened 10 years ago. Or The Predator plot and plot to steal Jim, and do nothing. Or Eze pine after Nikol, and do nothing. But I'm hooked, so I'll be watching until the bitter end!

* Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have a pair of shoes at h ome just like the ones I'm wearing!

* Busy at the Fun Factory.

* The NFL mandates that teams interviewing for new coaches, include minority candidates. The Miami Dolphins, all set to make an offer to LSU's Nick Saban, have to stop the presses and interview Art Shell.

''We've interviewed three people so far, and every one of them has been very impressive. I was really surprised with Art Shell yesterday. He is really a great guy, and we had a lot of laughs with him. It was good. It was a great, relaxed interview,'' Huizenga said.

* I'm a little disappointed in the lack of Christmas goodies here at the Fun Factory. Everyone is too busy to enjoy the season I think...

* Nice shoes, Muckdog!

* Can the movie Meet the Fockers even come close to the original Meet the Parents? I hope so. I really hope so.

* Back to work!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Fun Factory

Busy! Yeeeesh!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Canary in a Coal Mine

  • Interesting article up by John Mauldin. He discusses the inverted yield curve, the economic situation in England, and the haunting parallels to the US. Worthy read or gloom and doom?

  • China holds first Miss Plastic Surgery beauty contest!

  • "Spanglish" or "Lemony Snicket?"

  • If we are in a longer term bear market, that generally trends sideways for a decade or longer, then we would have both bull markets and bear markets where the end result is no progress. If the first decline happened from 2000-2002, and now the first rally from 2002-today, when will the next decline happen? Maybe Mauldin's article holds some clues.

  • Is TV anti-religion?

  • 37 voters have filed a challenge to Ohio's Supreme Court to overturn the presidential election results. Accusing the Bush team of "high-tech vote stealing." With 65 of Ohio's 88 counties reporting final recounts to The Associated Press on Friday, Bush had gained 395 votes and Kerry has gained 554 votes. The running tally accounts for 4.4 million votes cast, or about 74 percent of the total certified vote from the Nov. 2 election. (Nobody will ever win an election again; elections are stolen, not won.)

  • This is what I was talking about earlier. The belief of a year-end rally followed by troubles. Does the market always do what people think it will do?

  • Now I can't get that Police song out of my head... I don't know any other words except for "Canary in a coal mine..."

  • I like the Fox saturday morning money shows.

  • Waffles or Pancakes?

  • NFL on saturday!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Quick Hits

  • The Apprentice finale was a landslide win for Kelly. After Jen was fired, the show started to drag a bit. We did get to see Ivana flash again, dropping her skirt for $20. Kudos to NBC for throwing us that bone.

  • In the stock market, fridays tend to move opposite the weekly trend. Plus, Pfizer nuked the DOW with their drug woes. Hopefully, this was just the pause that refreshes ahead of a Santa Claus rally. But the optimism remains very high and the market looks like it's topping out.

  • Feels like somebody turned off the heat here at the Fun Factory. It's freezing in here.

  • How come all prepared food is so salty? Soup, TV dinners, and the like all just come loaded with salt. Bleh.

  • I guess Jen is making the talk show rounds talking about the glass ceiling for women and all. While that can play a factor, sometimes folks just get hired because they're more qualified or a better candidate. Kelly was the better candidate compared to Jen, IMHO. Actually, so were a few others. I thought Sandy was better than Jen.

  • I was in the health food isle at my local store, and saw a vegetarian Egg Nog alternative, called Soy Nog. Hmm. As long as the brandy is real, right?

  • I wonder if that new Jim Carey movie is any good? It's sure being hyped a lot. That worries me. For some reason, when I think of movie hype, I think of Godzilla going through the Taco Bell drive thru with the "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" dog on his tail. Technically, I guess that'd be "her" tail. Didn't she have tons of babies in Madison Square Garden in the Matthew Broderick version of the movie?

  • My Las Vegas calendar is on its last month. I guess that means I need to make another trip to Sin City. "How much did that calender cost you?" Er, including the lap dances?

  • Do any drug stocks feel safe? Who wants to own drug stocks? When will the next drug stock be in the news?

  • Well, since the Fun Factory seems to have shut off the heat, I think I'll just go home. Maybe I'll stop by Taco Bell.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Eva Diva

  • Eva wins America's Next Top Model. I'd have eliminated her a few weeks back, but I'm not on the judging panel. I think Eva maybe came across as more versatile, but I was pullin' for Ya Ya.

  • The market sure seems like it's running out of gas. The Investors Intelligence number came in with the highest number of bulls since 1987! I tell you, everyone sure seems bullish, optimistic, and waiting for the Santa Claus rally. Yet, everyone seems concerned about 2005. Does that even make any sense at all? When will traders try to front the correction? My guess is soon, but I remain long right now.

  • Okay, so I caved in and made some cornbread for the Fun Factory Holiday Potluck. At least I'm not The Ice Man. (Yes, I really made it.)

  • I heard the politically correct holiday greeting from some late-night radio talk show host, "Happy Chriskwanzakah." I like it!

  • Tonight, THE APPRENTICE finale! Jen or Kelly? There was some blurb I read somewhere about Chris Webber not really being involved in this, and his lawyers were looking into it. So it's probably safe to assume that Jen won't be getting CWebb on her event. As far as Kelly's golf tournament, looking at the previews, it looks like the rain didn't get in the way. We'll see!

  • The movie "I, Robot" is being released on DVD this week. I didn't think it was that great of a movie, and I spent $$$ at the theater! That's why I love Netflix. I'd say it's Netflix worthy.

  • I had to buy some Symantec today on the reaction to the Veritas merger. I think that's a good thing. We'll see. Let 'er rip. (Hopefully not R.I.P!) This is not a recommendation of course. I'm sure the folks who are selling can make a great case for dumping it.

  • Who is going to be Saddam Hussein's lawyer? And what's the defense strategy? "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client here was nowhere near the country of Iraq. It must've been somebody else."

  • The drug companies have been rallying, and I own one of them. But it's kind of a scarey thing in an environment of lawsuits and skyrocketing health care costs. I wonder going forward, how involved the government will be in the health care biz?

  • I'm hungry and it's almost potluck time! Hoohah!

  • Krispy Kreme stores just aren't so crowded anymore. Remember when they were the hot thing? Was it the low-carb craze, or just a fad? They're readily available now, too. For awhile, it was hard to get one. Now they're everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Holiday Potluck

  • The Fun Factory Holiday Potluck is tomorrow. Being the vegetarian, I don't participate in office potlucks as a rule. But I had to check out the sign-up sheet to see what folks are bringing. Looks like the only vegetarian thing on the menu are the napkins!

  • More debauchery on High School Reunion last night. I'm waiting for the psycho girl to explode. Gianni got his one-nighter with his dream girl, but she nixed the long distance relationship. Jim doesn't trust his high school sweetheart who broke his heart long ago, so that seems to be stalling out. And Eze is finding out hookin' up with anyone is not as easy as he'd like. I wonder how much of this is a set up? I wonder if The Predator is told that whoever is connecting up, do your best to steal the guy? I didn't think the hot girls were that hot. I'm waiting to see who Nikki "The Cheerleader" hooks up with.

  • The market drifting sideways... Lah-ti-dah. I remain long at this point, but wary of a topping process. We'll see. Of note is the IPO of Las Vegas Sands (LVS). I added it to my watch list for future reference, as having operations in China is a big deal I think.

  • Seems like Turkey and Ham dishes populate most of the Potluck main courses, and even the sides and salads are bacon-this or chicken-that. The desserts are standard fare, with fudge and lemon cake and such. Somebody is bringing a veggie tray. I suppose folks will pile on about 24 ounces of meat, add one broccoli sprig, and consider it a well-balanced meal.

  • Now Subway toasts your sandwiches, too.

  • Russia's government seems to be moving backwards.

  • I don't like to be the social outcast, and I would like to go to the potluck just to have some fun. So, I'm still debating.

  • Blockbuster gets rid of their late fees, probably in an attempt to do something about customer erosion to Netflix. But, late fees were something like one-third of their revenues. I think Netflix is the best. I may never go into a Blockbuster or Hollywood again.

  • Don't forget! Tonight is the finale of Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model! Who do you think? Ya Ya is my guess.

  • Small cap stocks seem to be doing better today than the large ones, so maybe the January effect is underway.

  • The other thing about the potluck, is that even if I don't bring anything, coworkers will stagger by and say "Come anyways." So, I might as well sign up for something.

  • Kevin Garnett is putting up some really big numbers.

  • I don't want to be "the guy who brings the ice" (The Ice Man) or something lame like that. Maybe I'll have to make something vegetarian.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Caution Ahead?

  • I'm starting to think there is just too much optimism in the stock market. I ran my stock scans last night, and I got a sell signal on the DOW and SP500. It's very hard to call a top in a rally. Sell signals are often wrong. And it's the positive time of the year. Still, things sure seem overly optimistic.

  • Another offensive Monday Night Football battle. Defense-Schmefense!

  • Hey, reality TV fans! Desperate Housewives beats Survivor this week!

  • The Fed is due to release news any minute. What do you think? Trade the opposite of the crowd reaction?

  • Google keeps making all the right moves, in putting library content online. At some point, will libraries just be computer terminals with a Google search bar?

  • I heard on the radio that Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are still the top two yearly search engine favorites. Good grief. Haven't we had enough of them, yet?

  • President Bush's exercise of choice seems to be Mountain Biking. I think that's kind of cool.

  • Here comes the Fed... .25% hike. Market up a little initially.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Desperate NBA Stars

  • Karl Malone makes a pass at Kobe Bryant's wife?

  • I'm 100% long the stock market, so it's a little boring for me right now. The major decision coming up is when to sell. But I think the bias this week is up. Normally after options expiration week, I'd get a little more defensive. Maybe institutions will want to lock in some gains for the year, but I think it's more likely to see a lack of selling into year end. We'll see.

  • The big battle lines over Social Security are being laid out before us. The GOP saying it needs to be fixed; the Democrats saying it's fine, all we need to do is raise taxes. And there you have it.

  • Netflixin'... Paycheck was a good movie.

  • Can anyone keep track of the people in Bush's new cabinet?

  • Kobe's wife is a hottie. Not that I look at other men's wives, but that's what other people tell me. hahahha.

  • Sometimes when I get the urge to snack, I just have a bowl of Cheerios.

  • One of the Democrat lines about Social Security, is that it's not an investment, but a safety net. That the original intent is that it should be more like insurance. Of course, when FDR created Social Security, he set the retirement age to 65 which was the life expectancy for the period (1930's). I guess we could index it to life expectancy if we want to go back to the original intent concept, eh?

  • President Bush says he needs to drop a few pounds. Too many donuts on the campaign trail. I thought that was kind of funny. Whatever diet approach he takes could create a new fad. Probably won't be Atkins, though. Stick a fork in that fad.

  • Other than just tickin' off Kobe, why would Malone go after anybody's wife? He probably has quite a selection available at his whim. Yeah - tick off Kobe I guess.

  • Meet the Fokkers!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Monster Thickburger

* Look at this bad boy from Hardee's: Monster Thickburger. Only 1420 calories and 107 grams of fat. I think if you add in a large fries and a shake, you've got yourself a bedtime snack!

* President Bush rules out tax hikes as part of the solution for Social Security. I guess Magic Pixie Dust is still one of the options!

* Market finished strong, huh? The semiconductors were down, but lots of tech saw buyers. National Semiconductor helped cushion things in semi-land I think...

* Who doesn't like fast food? It's the ultimate comfort food.

* Disney endorsed Sony's HD-DVD formate, Blu Ray. One of those things where being an early adopter can be expensive, especially if there are competing formats for HDTV.

* I know this will come as a complete shock, but exercise seems to have many benefits in overweight children. And here I've thought for years now, that being sedentary was the way to go! ARGH! Must I ask again? Why are we researching the obvious?

* Last week, I was looking forward to watching Ivana drop her skirt on The Apprentice. Cute bloomers! Donald Trump may not be hiring a stripper, but I don't think he speaks for all of us.

* Intel stock is back near where it was before they announced good news last week.

* Yes, of course, I would like to supersize that meal! Who wants a small order of fries? If you're going to eat fries, get a lot of 'em. What the heck!

* I've spent many years watching Dick Clark on New Year's Eve. Sad today to read of his stroke. I hope he recovers, and can ring in the New Year.

* The Grammy Awards is February 13th, 2005! Already?!

Tyra Mail!

* Ann gets the boot last night from America's Next Top Model. Tyra Banks says that being a model is more than "just standing around and looking pretty," it's hard work!

* Okay, some stock selling today but after the morning yawns are over it looks like we're bouncing a little. Setting up for an options week rally? I'm long equities! Semiconductors are getting smoked, though. Maybe those sellers are rotating into other things.

* Options week does tend to be positive.

* How hard is being a super model? I imagine the days would be long and grueling. You'd have camera folks and directors telling you to do this or do that, and look this way and look that way. Plus, the clothing and costumes could be uncomfortable.

* I backtested one of the "monthly strength" ideas where the thought is that stocks rally at the beginning of the month due to 401k buys or whatever. Turns out, it seems to work. Now, does it work just because over time, the market tends to go up more than it goes down anyways? Or because it's an awesome strategy?

* Nacho sales downstairs. Quite a spread.

* I was flipping channels last night and stumbled on a Keanu Reeves movie, "The Devil's Advocate." I liked that movie, and realized for all the jokes about Reeves acting, most of his movies are very entertaining.

* Nearing month end, you wonder if mutual fund managers will buy whatever is hot so that they can show that they own the best stocks when they produce their quarterly and year end reports? What fund manager wants to answer angry emails from shareholders asking "Why don't you own Google?"

* Is super model two words, or is supermodel one word?

* What's your favorite Christmas movie?

* "Look happy!" "Give me sad!" "Pout on the next few frames!"

* The latest baked chip? Baked Cheetos!

* I think the hardest part of being a model would be keeping in shape. Limiting portions at meals, working out and such. It'd be hard work here at the Fun Factory to be America's Next Top Model, because there are just too many nacho sales and potlucks. And birthday cakes!

* Some knucklehead scheduled a meeting right before lunch. My stomach is going to growl the whole way through. Maybe I'll growl the whole way through. That'll teach 'em.

* So, Ann "had to leave immediately" from the show, and now it's down to three. I'm leaning towards Ya Ya at this point. My former favorite was Norelle, but she "had to leave immediately" last week.

* I like the classic Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby "White Christmas" flick.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Paycheck Guy

* There's a guy here at the Fun Factory, about 60 or so, and all I can figure he does is hand out paychecks. I don't see his name on any project plans. I see him wandering around with a book in his hand most of the time. Then, on payday, he comes around with paychecks. Everyone likes him. And why not? It's a pretty sweet gig being the Paycheck Guy.

* Did you have a high school classmate nicknamed "The Predator" for stealing other girls' boyfriends? (Reality shows are my drug of choice.)

* Semiconductor stocks are getting blasted after hours. So, can the market rally without the semis? There is some truth to the notion that leaders of the past bull market, won't be the leaders in the new bull market. But, don't we need chips? Or is it just a valuation thing?

* Larry Kudlow blogs about the retaining of John Snow as Treasury Secretary.

* Speaking of getting blasted, did you see that Sirius was down over 23% today? I still don't think pay radio will make it as a money maker. We shall see.

* Do you have a stress ball? I have one from Pfizer that I toss around from time to time. People ask me if I'm stressed, and I'm like, "Nah, just tossin' this ball around."

* Why are sprinkler timers so complicated? I'd be more upset at folks who leave their sprinklers on in the rain, if only the timers were more easy to understand. There are all these dials and buttons, then different zones, programs and watering days. If the grass is green, maybe folks just decide to leave well enough alone. Why jinx it?

* The Paycheck Guy gets all concerned if you're not in your office when he comes around with your paycheck. He won't leave it, of course. So when you come back to your desk, you may have emails or voice mails from him. "Muckdog, I still have your check. Did you want me to come by? Or, would you like to come here? Either way works for me, so just let me know." Maybe it's more stressful than I think; maybe I should get him a Pfizer stress ball!

* Bush Plans New Deal for Social Security. And another from John Sununu.

* One of my coworkers is coughing and hacking, hacking and coughing, and then coughing and hacking some more. Ridiculous! Go home!

Red, White & Crue

* For what seems like the umpteenth time, a Motley Crue best hits CD and a new tour: Red, White & Crue.

* High School Reunion debuted last night! Wow, this one looks volatile! If you missed it and love angst and conflict, this is going to be one to watch.

* Should've gambled on MRK, huh? Down the last couple days, they've popped on their earnings guidance this morning.

* Donald Trump gets married to Melinia Knauss

* When I hear "Challenger, Gray and Christmas" I think holiday ornaments, not job numbers. More layoffs, btw.

* I still see and read about doubt regarding the stock market. Reminds me of something learned about bull and bear markets. Whatever the trend is tends to move in small amounts, marked by sharp spikes in the opposite direction. In a bull trend, we'll grind higher and have sharp pullbacks. In a bear trend, we'll drip-drip-drip lower, and have sharp spikes. Whenever the sharp move happens, the crowd leaning the wrong way shouts "AHA! TOLD YOU SO!" Then, the grind/drip continues against 'em.

* More later. Too hungry to blog!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Rainy Tuesday

* The rain in spain falls mainly on my brain. Windy. Rainy. Blah!

* Stock market taking a whack today. Normal or something to worry about? Week before options tends to be weak, and we've had quite rally and need a rest. I wonder if after a brief pause, we just keep on going, though...

* Did you think Ocean's Eleven was that great? (Are any George Clooney movies that great?) The sequel is coming, Ocean's Twelve. Looks like whenever you get that many stars together, there is bound to be some fighting over name billing.

* Mister Jones, Mister Jones... Mister Jones. Anyone see the Cowboys game last night? Julius Jones looks impressive!

* Have you ever watched the show Mythbusters? Interesting Discovery channel show. It was on the Yahoo Buzz index, so I went to the program guide to see what they've been showing recently. Kind of like a TV version of Snopes!

* MRK down a bit heading into tomorrow's report. I've decided not to gamble on this one. I was going to, but then I saw a commercial this morning from some ambulence chasers asking for folks who have had a stroke or heart attack who have taken Vioxx to call a number, and decided against it. Even for a scalp. I figured God was sending me a message. Got it! Might've been the Devil. We'll see tomorrow...

* I think it's silly that Steelers QB Ben Rothlesburger can't write #40 for Pat Tillman on his shoes, or face a fine. You think he'll just pay the fine?

* Maybe more interesting to me is the weakness in GOOG.

* "Intolerable Cruelty" with Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones wasn't that bad, I guess.

* College Bowl Games? I think USC will beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. In the Holiday Bowl, the Cal Bears should smoke Texas Tech. And you know the Bears want to prove something! The Rose Bowl with Texas vs. Michigan? I'd have to lean Texas. More later... I haven't even looked at the matchups and point spreads!

* Obesity and Medicare.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Monday Malaise

* In a normally weak week, I like to see the market drift sideways and consolidate gains. Having bought JDSU last week, I've been looking for other opinions and such on it, and one thing I forgot about was the small-cap January effect. An article up at brought my focus to it, and this is where beaten down small caps tend to rally the last month of the year and into January. It's almost too widely known to be of much use, but it's something to watch. (Right or wrong!)

* I watched the first two movies of the Matrix trilogy. Over the weekend, caught the second one again. I think I'm going to hunker down this week and watch the finale.

* If I wait long enough, I won't have to worry about decorating for Christmas. That's a strategy that served me well last year, as I didn't have to take down Christmas and put it away later. A real time saver!

* "You can observe a lot just by watching." - Yogi Berra.

* Blog Tout: Every Topic in the Universe(s?)

* MRK down today, and they have a guidance report on wednesday morning. Seems like folks are expecting bad news. You think investors have it right or wrong? It's a gamble to play it.

* Drink for your health!

* Is that you buying Sun Microsystems today?

* Well, we're borrowing for everything else. Why not borrow to save Social Security?

* Just who is Jerry Orbach and why is he at the top of the Yahoo Buzz index today?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Quick Hits

* The week prior to options week expiration, is normally down. We're due for some profit taking somewhere. This is my guess when it happens, though I'm not shorting or selling anything. We're also pass the early month strength that sees money flow into 401(k) plans.

* The movie Elf was a real stinker.

* I can see why Anna Benson is on Yahoo Buzz. My goodness!

* Fleckenstien on the US Dollar.

* Have you seen the new Nintendo DS? Will that multi-screen idea work?

* After ALL THAT, Ricky Williams decides to stay retired. Good grief.

* Did you read that Tyra Banks turned 31? I like her show, America's Next Top Model.

* Cal Bears GOT SCREWED in the BCS. How can Texas leapfrog the Bears, when CA beat SMU and the Longhorns were idle??? I guess that's what happens when the NCAA decided to settle the "who's best" argument with a computer instead of out on the playing field. WHERE ARE THE PLAYOFFS AND CHAMPIONSHIP???

* USC or Oklahoma?

* The deaths continue in Iraq.

* Now come ETFs with load fees. They plan on adding 26 loaded ETFs that try to beat the benchmarks via "sophisticated means incorporating trading and earnings momentum and other technical factors." So, what's the difference between that and a mutual fund? The reason folks buy ETFs are low fees and performance that matches a benchmark, realizing that outperforming the index is close to impossible over the long term.

* Sunday night - no Desperate Housewives? HUH? Bastards.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Skirt Droppin' Friday!

* Jobs data came out a little less than the experts forecasted. So, we got a not too hot and a not too cold number. Excuse me for thinking that this may make the Federal Reserve hesitate a little before getting too aggressive with interest rate hikes. Bonds and REITs are rallying. Techs are rallying on the INTC news. Not bad. Slow, sustainable growth, right?

* I got a buy signal on JDSU. LOL. I don't trust it and their CEO strikes me as a clown. But, I'm game for a baby toe in the water. That stock hasn't done much but move sideways, so I wonder if it's washed out or washed up? Could be either. You'd think if the Baby Bells were needing fiber, like they say, that JDSU would be rockin'... and it ain't.

* Ivana dropped her skirt for $20, which included a candy bar. Unfortunately, Trump ain't hiring a stripper he said, and Ivana got fired. I don't know, I think she had to do something to try and get more $$$. It didn't work, but how were they going to compete with the other team who were selling the candy bars for $5 each? Still lovin' The Apprentice!

* Techincals in drug stocks seem to be improving. Do you think that sector is a buy? I like the dividends.

* Did you catch any of the Rockets vs. Mavericks game last night? Dirk Nowitski and Tracy McGrady put on quite a show. Incredible!

* Next week The Apprentice Final Four go through grouling interviews, and two will be fired. Who do you think will be the final 2? Sandy and Kevin? That's my prediction.

* I wish I could get more excited about satellite radio. But I just can't see adding yet another monthly fee for radio. And how long do you think it will be before commercials are added? There has to be tons of money involved in advertising, just waiting to be unleashed. No thanks! I feel the same way about monthly dues for Tivo, for doing the same thing a VCR does - or a different PVR would do without the monthly fee.

* So, the female sex-drive patch needs more study. Who is doing the studying? Who's having all the fun? "Hmm, I think it needs more study. Call me in 6 months."

* Barry Bonds and steroids? You mean, GASP, it's not natural for a man in his late 30's to add 40-50 pounds of muscle overnight? GASP!!!!

* Christmas trees: Fake or real?

* Clay Aiken gets his own Christmas special, and he didn't even win American Idol. Fantasia, Ruben, and Kelly are all lumped in to one special; and they were the winners. What's up with that?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Quick Hits

* I love Quiznos!

* The market moving sidways today after yesterday's big move. I think that's healthy. MSFT dividend hits today, so it'll be interesting to see if folks buy more stocks or buy Christmas presents. Looking at the retail numbers, stores need folks to hit the malls!

* MSN hot search has Danny Moder at the top. Who? That looks work safe... Click. Oh, Julia Roberts latest husband. Anyone think it'll be her last? Be honest!

* Red meat linked to rheumatoid arthritis?

* Today is thursday, so that means The Apprentice. Have the Tivo ready fellas, Ivana drops her skirt for cash!

* Did anyone watch the Jessica Simpson (and Nick) Christmas special last night? Ashlee Simpson did a duet with Jessica singing Little Drummer Boy. Now, were they lip synching? I don't know. Should they have dropped their tops? I think so. But they didn't. Maybe if they did a pay per view special. Heck, they could invite Ivana, too! They could call it Strippin' for The Holidays.

* Cody Williard on notices that oil has dropped 28%, and would have to rally 37% to regain the losses.

* Norelle goes buh-bye on last night's America's Next Top Model. That surprised me. I thought she was the prettiest one left. Looks like there's a lot more to a tea ceremony than just having tea. Turn the cup this way, that way, kneel, do this, do that... Heck, when I have tea, I just have tea.

* So after ALL THAT, Ricky Williams decides to stay retired. Good grief!

* Intel gives an update after the market close tonight, so that'll make things interesting for the semiconductors and technology tomorrow. The stock is down heading into the report, so a contrarian play would be to buy some. It'd be a gamble...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Home sick today... But nice move in the market! Is the Microsoft dividend being put to work, or just normal early month strength?

Good link from The Kirk Report (link to the right), on whether Americans are living beyond our means.

Back to bed!

Oh, one more thing! SP500 closed at a new yearly high. CNBC was on today crowing on how we rallied from March 2003 until early this year, then moved sideways for an eternity, and now have closed above the trading range - which should be bullish. I think technical analysts will agree on that one, so maybe more buying pressure comes in the next few days?

Watched the Matrix Reloaded on cable. Not bad if you can follow the sticky plot.