Friday, April 29, 2005

Quick Hits

* I missed most of Bush's speech last night. Got home during the middle of it, and then just got busy doing home-stuff. Looks like there are some lively blog debates going on about what Bush had to say. But I don't think he's going to win the battle on Social Security private accounts, even if that's a better approach than what we currently have. People don't like change. So, at some point in the next 10 years, look for massive tax hikes to fund the current system. You won't want to be in the stock market when that happens.

* Alex gets the boot on The Apprentice last night. He was pretty lame. I like Tana. I think the show is setting up for a high school grad vs. college grad finale, so I think Kendra is in as the college grad. So either Craig or Tana will be eliminated next week to set it up. I think Tana is stronger than Craig, but will Trump want a woman vs woman finale, or a black man vs. woman finale?

* I have Jim Thome on my fantasy baseball team, and he's bringing me down.

*The stock market has just been blech. Here we are, in monthly-strength period, and not much is going on. In addition, normally strong months of the year have been negative. I don't see anything in the economy that says we're going into a recession or tanking; everything looks like moderate economic growth, which should be a positive for the market. So, I'm staying long.

* If the Fed sees inflation, then they're not thinking economic slowdown. It also means they'll keep raising rates. Hopefully, this won't be a 1999-2000 rate hike deja vous.

* The Miss America reality show?

* Lunch!

Thursday, April 28, 2005


* If the stock market were coded in HTML, is it time to put an ending bracket on the bull market? New low on the Nasdaq for the pullback. Ouch. The financial sector had been holding up well recently, and generally that's a good thing. Financials are around 20% of the SP500.

* If talking on the cell phone causes car accidents, what will watching TV on cell phones do?

* On America's Next Top Model, Michelle was voted off Tyra's island. The Models went to South Africa, and were made-up as wild animals for this photo shoot. I don't think No Lips will make it much further, either. Even if she stuffs kleenex behind her lip.

* The Congress agrees to a budget deal that includes room for more tax cuts.

* Are you going to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

Do Dawson and Pacey Know?

* Katie Holmes (Joey Potter on Dawson's Creek) is said to be with Tom Cruise.

* Constantine gets the lowest number of votes. American Idol fans here at the Fun Factory are IN SHOCK. What is that? Sure, he's creepy and all. His performance on tuesday wasn't very good. But he's more versatile than Bo. And who can explain why Scott and Anthony are still alive? I want to see the voting numbers.

* President Bush is giving a speech tonight on TV. I think it'd be cool if TNT covered the broadcast, and followed up the speech with an NBA Postgame-like show, with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Magic Johnson, and Earnie. Why not? Those guys will be in the studio for the NBA games anyways. Why not a few quips on the President's speech?

* Katie Holmes is 26. Tom Cruise is 42.

* The stock market is taking another beating today. I guess the 3.1% GDP wasn't what folks were hoping for. It's not a bad number, especially considering energy prices. Slow and moderate growth is better for the long term, compared to things going too hot or too cold.

* More later...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


* What's irritating, is when you've constructed a blog entry in blogger, click submit, and then get an error message. You lose your blog text, and have to start over.

* American Idol? Well, blech. The only one who did well was Bo. And it still seems like he's singing the same song week after week. Vonzell started off shakey, but did okay as the song went on. Carrie? I don't know if it was a strategic play for votes or not, but she did another country song that was a little underwhelming. Anthony did his best, but I still would vote him off. Scott was as usual, very cruddy. Simon told Scott to pack his bags. PLEASE. Ever creepy Constantine tried the rock bit and failed bad enough to probably end up in the bottom tier of votes, despite being cheered on by Heather Locklear.

* Charles Barkley is the best part of the NBA playoffs. Sometimes, I flip over to watch the halftime and postgame shows. When Earnie announced that Wendy's was sponsoring the show, Charles said "That's finger licking good stuff."

* More sports? The 49ers hope that Alex Smith is the next Montana, not the next Druckenmiller.

* More sports? The Dolphins drafted running back Ronnie Brown, but how's he going to find holes in THAT offensive line? You need blockers to get the running game going.

* George Bush wants to open up former military bases to build oil refineries. Gee, that ought to be popular.

* Pension crisis? As you know, San Diego has a "$2 billion hole" in their pension plan. Check this out:

While San Diego has that $2 billion pension hole, Sacramento County had a hole of its own that amounted to roughly $1 billion over the last decade. The county failed to put away enough money for pension benefits and increased those benefits when there was no money around to pay for them. So the county borrowed - with the government equivalent of a balloon mortgage that postpones the pain.

Wait until next year. Those annual payments on that balloon mortgage rise from $22 million to $54 million. They reach $88 million a year by 2009. If that's not ugly enough, neighboring cities Folsom, Roseville and Citrus Heights have even richer pension benefits, pressuring the county to go into deeper debt to increase pension benefits even further. And then there's a retirement benefit that isn't even officially on the books - subsidized health care. Supervisors are paying for this extra benefit from funds that should be going to parks and libraries and patrols and other general services.

* The last part of that was the kicker. So, in order to fund retirement benefits and health care for current workers and retirees, they'll have to cut services. As if the only reason they exist is to provide benefits for workers and retirees.

* The stock market? Well, looks like an up day. HOOHAH! I think shorts are covering before month-end strength from 401(k) contributions. I haven't charted things out for this week yet, but the market was up for last week, and it'd be nice to see a repeat. GDP numbers come out tomorrow, and if we're in the mid-3s somewhere, you have to be impressed with the way the economy is chugging along. Especially considering where oil prices are.

* Anthony performed a Celine Dion song, saying how much he likes that song. Uh-oh. I wonder which side of the street Anthony walks on? Is it the same side that Ryan Seacrest walks on? And what would that side be? Just some idol chatter, here. Play along.

* Heather Locklear does have a thing for rockers, huh?

* Now, the NFL is going to investigate steroid use. Don't worry, folks; nobody on that Miami Dolphins offensive line is taking steroids.

* In health news, exercise is shown to slow Alzheimer's in mice. So, if you have mice or know somebody who does, make sure to pass the news along. If you drop lots of peanuts on the floor, make sure to space them out a bit, so your mice get some walking in.

* I'm about to click submit, so I'm saving this to notepad first...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Star Wars: The Next Generation

* A Star Wars TV show?

* Ah, market sold off today. That's more like it. You know, I was starting to feel a little giddy. After thursday's big run last week, we had a down day friday but the close was strong. Monday was up, sold off, and then closed strong. I was starting to wonder if the big boys had changed their tune and were buying in the last half-hour or so. But today, we went out on the bottom tick. Blech.

* Monthly strength begins on thursday through next thursday, as 401(k) money hits. At least, that's the thought. All the folks who dollar-cost average in every month, rain or shine, usually cause the market to drift up during this time.

* An interesting tidbit from the Star Wars article linked above, is that the Star Wars movies are really "The Darth Vader Story."

* Folks take an awful lot of vitamins and supplements. That's a bunch of money.

* I have a friend who supposedly has chronic fatigue syndrome. Fatigued a lot of the time. Has had bunches of tests by various doctors. Then, she goes to a guy who says "Lets try an anti-depressant." She thought he was a quack because she says she's not depressed, but she was willing to try anything. Shazaam, she's like a new person. Chemical imbalance or something.

* Tonight? Oh yeah, American Idol, Amazing Race, and Veronica Mars... Hoohah!

* Did you watch 24 last night? The story line is ridiculous, but it's addictive. (More and more ridiculous, I might add.)

* Diet news? Okay, Greeks and the Mediterranean diet. People with heart disease who stick to a so-called Mediterranean diet -- heavy on fish and vegetables, and low on saturated fats -- tend to live longer than those who follow different diets, new research suggests.

* Let me get this straight: Houston goes into Dallas, and is up in the best-of-seven series 2-0? T-Mac and Yao, baby.

* Steve Kerr has a blog?

* I think a big issue going forward will be pensions and health care for workers. Looks like American companies are finding it hard to compete in the global environment, and have made lots of promises regarding pensions and health care, that will be tough to keep. And should they throw their pensions to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), retirees may get less than what they've been promised.

* More politics? I didn't like to see Bush walking hand-in-hand with the Saudi Crown Prince. The faster we get off of imported oil, the better. Drill in ANWR. Drill offshore. Build nuclear plants. Whatever it takes to tell the OPEC losers to TAKE A HIKE! I'd love to see more conservation and alternative energy, but until then we have to have a Plan B.

* More politics? I think Social Security reform is dead, Jim.

* I like the use of "so-called" in a story. It adds an ounce of skepticism. "So-called Mediterranean diet." "So-called bull market." "So-called virgin."

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mondays Are Teh Suck!

(In edit, to change title to proper slang. Thanks, Breigh! Should've searched Google first!)

* No. I refused to watch "Locusts" last night. Even though Desperate Housewives was a best of recap, I chose to watch NBA playoffs. Oh, and I caught up on The Amazing Race.

* Did you see the movie Sin City? My oh my. That was some bizarre stuff. I had no idea what I was getting into when I walked into the theater, other than Jessica Alba as a stripper. Which may have been my second favorite part, next to hookers with machine guns mowin' down cops. Like I said... BIZARRE.

* Let me put some Visine in my eyes, because it looks to me like the arrows on Wall Street today are pointing up. Must be a mistake. I thought the plan was to go down down down down down down. Well, looking at the calendar, we are getting to the end of the month, and those 401(k) contributions will be kicking in shortly. Maybe shorts covering and waiting for the monthly strength cycle to end before reloading.

* Remember the other insects gone wild network movies like Ants and Killer Bees? Not sure of the titles for those, but basically the same story of "Man invades their territory, chaos ensues."

* Jessica Alba didn't get naked for Sin City. It was kind of like her Honey roll, playing Honey Daniels as a stripper, once the dance-coreography gig didn't pan out. If Quentin Tarantino wanted to have some fun, he could've made that character "Nancy" change her name to Honey Daniels instead of Cordelia. Not that he'd want to identify with that other movie, and probably not too many in the audience would've caught on, 'cept for us Jessica Alba junkies.

* The B-52's last CD wasn't their greatest, but I had always hoped that they'd come back and make another release. Not like the upcoming Def Leppard covers album. Although, hearing the B-52's do some covers might be interesting.

* Speaking of Desperate Housewives, doesn't the Eva Longoria character of Gabrielle Solis remind you of your worst relationships? I remember dating a girl who was like that. Broke my heart. So I did the same thing, which made me feel worse. I ended it. Forget that. I can't imagine having that kind of relationship where there is no trust. So even though Gabrielle is hot and wonderful to gawk at, I'd leave it at that. Hang a sign around her neck, "For gawking use only."

* I'm so busy, I have so much to do here at the Fun Factory. I'm just wiped. I need a mental health day or two off.

* Listening to Cool, by Gwen Stefani. I think I'll hit replay on this about 10 times. COOL. Great song.

* For goodness sakes, will somebody please tell the Senate to get off their collective behinds and vote YES on the energy bill? They say it'll save 100,000 barrels of oil a day. But the coolest part is extending daylight savings time by two months. I think it's a no brainer, but the Senate seems about game playing these days rather than doing their job. Losers. Flippin' losers.

*Too much talk of the housing bubble for it to happen? I mean, these things don't come pre-announced. But I wonder if what could be the catalyt is the next round of military base closures. When you think about it, that was a defining moment in the 90's that caused hardship in areas where bases were closed. Just a thought.

Friday, April 22, 2005


* The stock market was back to normal today, plunging. You know, it's kind of funny. I hear bullish analysts say that the bottom is here, because everyone is too bearish. I hear bearish analysts say that everyone is too bullish, and that we're going to see more selling. Depending on your point of view, you can find somebody to agree with. It doesn't take too long.

* The Apprentice? Look, Bryn (or Brin?) seems like a nice guy and all. But a CEO? I'm glad he found his "truth" on the show. I didn't think he was cutting it. And why is Alex so good, anyways? Overrated. I don't think anyone is impressing me this year. Maybe Tana.

* Are you feeling the Star Wars hype? I saw some Frosted Flakes cereal at the store, with boxcovers of Yoda on one, and Darth Vader on the other. I guess you have a choice in Frosted Flakes, to go with the Force or with the Dark Side of the Force.

* The stock analysts are really like weather people. Turn on one channel, and somebody predicts rain. Turn to the other, and that person predicts sunny weather.

* So are you using an RSS aggregator to track your favorite blogs and newsfeeds? I've been using bloglines, and have used Kinja. Yahoo has a nice way to add feeds to your My Yahoo page as well.

* What's up with Barbara Boxer? Heck, seems like she hid in a shoebox during her first term, and after being re-elected to another 6-yr term, has been pounding Red Bulls and jumping down everyone's throat. If you voted for Boxer, did you vote for Shoebox Boxer or Red Bull Boxer?

* Very cool: Soundless Sound System.

* That's it for the week. Another one in the bag. Rain or shine.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rally Caps

* One day does not a trend make, but nice to finaly see a big up day in the markets. Now, some follow through days would be appreciated!

* OK, so the American Idol voters got the bottom three right this week, in Scott, Anthony and Anwar. But I can't believe Scott escaped yet again. It's like he's covered in grease or something. His days are numbered.

* Google surprises to the upside afterhours, for whatever that's worth.

* Buh-bye, Anwar. You started of strong and faded quickly. Poor song choices probably did you in; and maybe your singing style was a bit too repetitive up against the others. But, you can definitely sing. And you're way better than Scott.

* How about that whole cast song of Shine or whatever it was? That was unbearable. Horrible. As Simon might say, I've heard better in Karaoke bars.

* You know how on VCR machines you eventually ran out of tapes because you recorded a bunch and didn't watch it? Well, same sort of thing happens with XP media center, and Tivos I guess, in that you run out of hard disk space. I've been recording the mini-series Revelation. But, you know, I've read the book and as I recall in the end, God wins. Maybe I can skip the TV series.

* Have you seen a satellite shot of your house at yet? Kind of neat. Pictures are about a year old or so.

* Busy here. It's affecting my dreams. I need to get this project done.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Day After (American Idol)

* American Idol? I still think Scott needs to go. Pronto. I think he's next. Anthony did better, but he still needs to go. And I think Anwar is close to his end as well.

* Don't think that today's action on Wall St is good news. After bang-up earnings last night from Intel and Yahoo, the last thing bulls wanted to see were folks fading the open. The CPI didn't help, as it showed inflation pressures.

* Bo Bice sang well, but I'm wondering if his style will be enough to get the votes compared to more pop-friendly choices.

* You probably saw the news that obesity isn't the killer they once thought. Huh? Well, because there are medications that control some of the "metabolic syndrome" effects of being obese. What they're saying, is that you can take pills to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and control blood sugar; so, hit the buffet! (Bad idea, I think.)

* So, Veronica Mars dumps her Deputy Dog boyfriend. I think it was creepy that a Deputy was dating a high school girl. I'm sure others did as well. Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Alyson Hannigan guest starred. (And this one time, in band camp...)

* Are you having an NFL draft party at your house saturday? Me neither. But I am reading the Yahoo sports clips. I mean Google. Sorry, blogger. Google. Really.

* What is up with this new interactive food pyramid thingy? I heard it on the news, that the food pyramid is gone, replaced by some online, interactive, enter-your-data and click submit to get some guidelines. How many millions did that online system cost? And now, since being obese is okay, who cares? Twinkies! Twinkies! Twinkies! And a bottle of soda to wash 'em down!

* Carrie didn't do that well, IMHO. But she'll go on. Constantine did bad this week, IMHO. Vonzell did well.

* Star Trek "Enterprise" is going off the air in May. It's time to give that franchise a rest. According to TV Guide, the finale will include Star Trek Next Generation's Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes as part of the story line. Ah, time travel with Counselor Troi and Commander Riker. Or is that Captain Riker? In any case, can't be a finale without time travel.

* Lunch... Hmm.... Lunch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

So, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger becomes Pope Benedict XVI. The guy is 78 years old. My Catholic coworkers seem to think he's just an "interim" Pope. In otherwords, he's the guy that gets the job between Pope John Paul II and the next Pope.

It's kind of like when your football team needs a new quarterback, but in the interim, you sign Vinny Testaverde to a one-year contract.

No Pain, No Gain

* Just a quick thought on the market. Because the market has been up a couple days and sentiment has been wildly bearish. We had good news from Texas Instruments last night, and today Intel and Yahoo are making some noise afterhours. There are lots of bears waiting to short any rally, so we'll see if they're the greater fool on this correction and shorting on the last downtick, or if they're right and there is more down to come.

* Did you e-file your tax return?

* I decided to mix up my exercise routine some, and went back to lifting weights. Boy, my muscles are rebelling today. Feels good, though. No pain, no gain.

* Every season of 24, Jack Bauer fights the government red tape machine. It's so predictable, and so frustrating. So last night, on the interrogation of a witness who was being protected by Amnesty International, Jack quits CTU so he can "personally" interrogate the guy. Oh brother. I'm hooked anyways. But, oh brother.

* Allergies are conducting Operation Desert Storm against me today. It's a full on assault.

* Somebody told me that AC/DC's new CD will be out in August. I did see that they're DVD "Family Jewels" is the number one music DVD right now. I saw them in concert before, I don't need the DVD.

* I should be working. I have much to do. Yet...

* When I was in college, I lifted weights 2-3 hours a day. I'd lift until I'd be stuck under the weights. Somebody would have to help, or if I was alone I'd have to unlock the plates and slide them off and roll my body out from under the bar. Dumb, in retrospect.

* Yeah, American Idol, the Amazing Race, and Veronica Mars tonight. Tuesdays are a holy day.

* I'd psych myself up when I was lifting. I was doing so much weight that sometimes it hurt just picking up the bar. I'd yell out "Oh yeah, that's it baby!" when the pain and strain hit. Kind of goofy, in retrospect.

* Green bananas. Blech. Banana trees should have evolved some locking mechanism, that wouldn't allow bananas to be picked until they're done cooking (ripe).

* I know, in reality, bananas are picked very green and by the time they're in the store, they start turning yellow. Which is interesting, that fruit ripens after it's picked from the tree. Does it even need the tree? Can fruit be grown out of a test tube? Test Tube Fruit?

* I was dating this girl in college, and when I'd go to work out I'd say "Gotta work out. No pain, no gain." And she'd reply "What's wrong with no pain? I like no pain. No pain, no pain."

Monday, April 18, 2005

When Pigs Swim!

Originally uploaded by thelearningcurve.
Yeah, you might want to be careful the next time you say "when pigs fly" to somebody. Look at these guys!

Advertising For Sale

* Advertising must be an art. The reason I say so, is that there are just some commercials I don't get. Much like art.

* Have you seen the Lexus commercial? You know, where the person is climbing through ice or whatever, and hits a start button. Is that a good commercial? I just don't like it.

* Oil down again, but stocks are having a tough time getting going. When you look at the DOW, some major stocks have been having problems. Of course, Citigroup and GE look good.

* Some local guy on the radio chatting about real estate, said it's the only place where you can make $4000-5000 a month pretty easily.

* TV shows? I finaly watched Tru Calling's premiere episode. I don't think Jason Priestly adds a thing. As a matter of fact, I think he detracts. I'm afraid that they've wrecked another show. Eliza Dushku does look like she dropped some weight from last season though.

* How about the VW Jetta commercial? The one where the kids are playing their music too loud, the downstairs neighbor complains, they hop in their Jetta to find a new place, and crank up the volume. I initially thought it was a commercial for an iPod.

* on Desperate Housewives, I don't like the character of Susan's (Terri Hatcher) Mom. The quicker she moves out, the better.

* Are you watching Revelation? I've recorded it, and will watch it later when they've all aired so I can zip through commercials.

* There are some commercials that are good and entertaining, but fail to make me remember their product. David Spade's the answer is always NO is a catchy phrase at my office, but can you remember the company he's promoting? What about the financial insitution commercial where the customer says "I want to trade on margin." and the guy answers, "You want to trade butter?" Cute.

* The movie Miracle was outstanding, and Kurt Russell did a great job.

* One of the signs of increasing housing speculation and that the public is paying attention, is the plethora of home improvement TV shows, real estate radio shows, and web sites talking about housing.

* Chris got the boot on The Apprentice, and well deserved. That car brochure was a disaster. While Kendra produced a great brochure, I'm not sure she did a good job leading her team. But, she's immune this week. So, two of my favorites in Tana and Craig could be on the line if their team loses.

* More on commercials later. What do you think?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Stocks, Pensions, and Tyra!

* Back in the Saddle.

* Something tells me the housing market has peaked. Lets see how close I am. April 16th, muckdog says the top tick is nigh!

* Whenever I go to a casino, it never fails that the person who sits next to me at the slot machine is a smoker. It also never fails that I'm sitting downwind, and the draft is right at me. I just get up and move to another machine.

* I'm actually working from home today (on a saturday). Out of town last week and trying to keep up with my project. It's too nice to be working.

* So, I have to address the stock market since I've been bullish as the market has gone down, down, and down. I was wrong, as we did break out of the trading range, but to the downside instead of the upside. So is this a short-term pullback, or is something wrong with the intermediate trend? I do believe we're in a longer term bear market that began in 2000, but that the intermediate trend since late 2002 has been a bull trend.

* I didn't think Tyra Bank's uproar on America's Next Top Model was that big of a deal. Tiffany did seem rather unemotional about her experience on the show, and she deserved to be booted. I mean, how can anyone be a model with a tattoo on their boob? What's that?

* I hate tattoos. Kind of Harley Davidson Biker Girl look to me. No thanks.

* Is the intermediate stock uptrend over? Maybe the market thinks that $50+ oil will slow down the economy. Maybe the Fed will hike rates into oblivion to pop the housing bubble and cool down the 4% GDP. Maybe the AIG scandals and GM earnings/pensions issues are tainting the bullish view. Who knows. But even if the GDP cools to 2-3% GDP, that's still enough to grow the economy. Jobs numbers have been good, and not overheating. I think the short-term has been down (obviously). But I think the intermediate trend is still up. We'll see.

* Hope you got your taxes in. There's got to be a better way.

* Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke?

* Pension issues might be a Front Page issue going forward. The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) is already in trouble, and companies think they can just offload their pension obligations and move on with their lives. That seems wrong. They should have to honor their pension promises to their employees.

* I haven't felt like plunking down the cash for the wireless gear to stream content from my media center PC to my TV. It'd be cool and convenient. But it just seems kind of pricey when I can just burn a DVD-RW and walk it over to my TV at a fraction of the cost. I'm waiting for more competition in that area to drive prices down a bit.

* Tyra did hit an HR with that show, though. America's Next Top Model. It's addicting. The panel of judges decides who to let go or keep from week to week, but I think it'd be interesting to turn the show into a fan-vote show, a la American Idol. Let the people pick who they want as their next Top Model!

* OK, back to work. Maybe a bike ride first...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Nadia? NOdia!

* Well, the bottom three last in American Idol were Nadia, Scott and Bo. Scott was safe. Granted, Bo's stock has fallen a bit lately, but there are worse singers still alive. (Ahem, Scott and Anthony). At least Nadia is gone.

* I'm still out of the news flow this week, out of town and such. Yes, I have seen the market come a tumblin' down. I'm still not too worried about it, though. Maybe I should be, but I think we're going higher. I haven't seen much news to explain the selling. Maybe tax selling for April 15th. Maybe some earnings misses. Maybe some fear about higher oil prices wearing on the economy. Always something to worry about, though.

* Looks like the Bankruptcy Bill is in.

* I did hear that United Airlines is going to try and unload their pension crisis on the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp (PBGC). Don't know specifics, just heard the topic discussed on a talk show. So this means folks expecting full benefits may see a cut. Down the road, do you think other companies could see the same thing happen? (Ahem, GM?). Does this make those of you with pensions start thinking about a Plan "B" just in case your company bails on you? And shouldn't there be some laws about this? Should companies be able to unload their pension obligations, then continue on doing their business?

* Boy, the Lakers are a bad team. Hooo.

* Apple stock falls on good revenues. But... Doesn't everybody who wants an iPod, already have an iPod? That might be the issue. I don't know. Stock prices tend to anticipate the future, not the past.

* I didn't think the movie Garden State was that great. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. It was okay, but I wouldn't want to sit through it again.

* Speaking of being bad, have you tried to sit through a Saturday Night Live recently? Sheez.

* Alright, The Apprentice tonight, so get home from whatever you're doing early and have the popcorn at the ready...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Reality Shows

* Out of town, but I did catch American Idol... The theme this week was songs in the year you were born.

* Constantine (aka 7th Heaven's Ruthie with a 5 o'clock shadow) had the best performance of the night, singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. When I first saw that he was going to do that, I thought GOOD GOD NO. I didn't think he could pull off Freddie Mercury. But, Constantine did very good.

* Carrie tried Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield, and it seemed a little forced and shreiky.

* Bo sang Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird, minus the 10 minute guitar solo. I wasn't blown away by his performance, but he did good enough.

* Scott took on Hall and Oates, who were in the audience. I didn't think he did very well, especially on the low notes. He needs to be voted off SOON.

* Anthony was very bad. Eesh. He needs to go NOW.

* I can't remember what Nadia sang. But, her days are numbered.

* Anwar has a great voice, and tried a Dione Warwick song. Didn't do much for me, but I kept thinking that this guy needs to do Disney songs.

* Vonzell did really well, but I can't remember what she sang.

* Last week's America's Next Top Model? Last week they had to do a photoshoot in the desert with wind and water blowing at them. It was pretty hot, from my perspective. Brittany drank like a fish, and got really loud and obnoxious. She's the kind of girl I always try to avoid. Finaly, Lluvy gets the hook. Something very bizarre looking about that girl.

* I'm about 2 shows behind The Amazing Race. This is probably the best reality show on, so I don't know why I don't discuss it more. It's on up against American Idol, so I have lots of episodes recorded for later viewing.

* Non-reality show... Is it kind of creepy that Veronica Mars, a high school kid, is dating the officer, who is obviously out of high school?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Lazy Saturday

* Quick thoughts on The Apprentice? Angie was let go because she's been failing every week, and she blew it during the presentation. But Chris really didn't contribute much this past week, and his days look numbered on the show. Alex didn't contribute much this last week, either. The team was a big failure. My two favorites right now are Tana and Craig.

* Stock market? Fridays tend to move opposite the weekly trend. And did it ever. I'm still wearing my rally cap. But the market keeps mostly moving sideways. Thank goodness for dividend paying stocks.

* Funny how the Goldman Sach's analyst touts for $105 oil, and the next day or so, oil pops. But since then, the price of oil has gone back down to where it was before the tout. So... Did somebody make some money on that event or what?

* I'm a couple of weeks behind on The Amazing Race and America's Next Top Model. Three words: MEDIA CENTER PC. One of these days.

* Checkout Mr. Mud Puppy's look at a Motley Crue news article from when the band first started.

* I'm starting to notice more and more for sale signs in yards. I'm trying to think in previous summers, that these signs would go up with SOLD signs on them. So, is housing inventory growing? I'll have to ask around. Seems like half of my neighborhood works as a real estate agent or mortgage broker these days. Maybe they know the scoop.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


* Embedded in the purchase price of every GM car? $1500 for health insurance. $700 for pensions. File this under "Car companies don't provide benefits, they collect benefit premiums from consumers."

* (That was a play on the "companies don't pay taxes; they collect taxes" line!)

* A Dash of Onion Halts Bone Loss in Rats. This was concerning me, because I was noticing the increasing number of hunched over rats, with broken hips and fractured bones. I'm glad science has found a way to help the little buggers out. Note to self: Replace cheese in mouse traps with onions.

* (I use the Have a Heart mouse/rat traps, and release the little buggers in an empty field.)

* Also in the "are we really spending our research dollars wisely" department, High Blood Pressure Common in the Overweight. (I wonder what would happen if we tried the onion-thing with them.)

* Whatever happened to Peter Wolf?

* "Woohoo! We're number #1114!"

Tick Tock Thursday

* I know it seems impossible with all the oil scare, but the stock market has been in rally mode for a bit. Maybe just monthly strength as money hits 401(k) accounts. But April tends to be a pretty good month.

* Nikko Smith voted off the American Idol island last night. Yeah, he needed to go. Maybe not as much as Scott or Anthony, but something tells me they're time is coming.

* 36 cockroach fumigation devices meet a pilot light. Kaboom!

* I think we're in the final stages of a real estate boom. The speculation is out of control. Many former coworkers have changed careers and are now doing real estate this or that. Much like folks who rushed into tech in the late 90's. I think we're in the Greater Fool stage of the speculation. When you buy a house, you just hope there's a greater fool that comes along to pay more for it than you did. You hope YOU'RE NOT the greater fool!

* If the real estate market is close to top-ticking, those who are most highly leveraged will get hurt the most. I think folks who are in a house, living in it, making payments and who have job stability will be fine over the long term. But folks who are letting "investment properties" sit empty while they make interest-only payments on 100% loans might be in for a shocker. We'll see!

* Lots of takers on those candy pumpkins in the break room. Suckers.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Candy Pumpkins

Get this.

I come in to the Fun Factory today, and an email in my in-box says "Help yourself to free candy in the break room!" I go take a look, and it's a bag of candy pumpkins.

Hello? It's April. You couldn't possibly get any further on the calendar from Halloween (either way). It's too early for the 2005 candy pumpkins, so these babies have been sitting around in somebody's pantry since last Halloween! Not that anybody could tell the difference, but why not wait until September before you bring these bad boys in?

I kind of wanted to reply, and tell the person "Hey, if you have any yellow and pink peeps, you might want to bring them in now instead of waiting until October."

Showtunes? No-tunes!

* Good grief! Did you have a difficult time watching that American Idol last night? That had to be the worst Idol ever. Showtunes? To quote David Spade, "No-tunes!"

* Stock market drifts up, while everyone is talking about high oil prices. Cool.

* Daylight savings time = afterwork bike rides. Cool.

* I read a book, and kept the volume on low last night. That was just torture. I just waited for the reviews. As usual, Paula loves everyone, so I'm thinking there must be a 2-drink minimum in the American Idol theater.

* Did you hear that Peter Jennings has lung cancer? He smoked until 20 years ago, quit, and then picked up the habit again after 9/11. He starts chemo soon. Say a prayer for Peter.

* I was reading in the news that Japan was planning on a moon base. I couldn't help but think of that cheesey monster movie where Godzilla and all the "good" monsters are brought to the moon (or somewhere) to fight that evil three-headed monster (Gidira?) that the aliens were using to take over the world. Something like that. I was young at the time, and can't recall the actual plot.

* At some point, Anthony and Scott are goners. They need to go soon. Nikko is probably next after that. Constantine is getting creepy. Nadia won't go the distance. Anwar did better. Bo hurried through it, but sounded good. Carrie did fine.

* I watched Mr. 3000 over the weekend, with Bernie Mac. It was just okay. For some reason, his comedy style hasn't transitioned well to the big screen.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Quick Hits

* The Economics of American Idol.

* I was trying to blog yesterday, but every attempt was met with a blogger unavailable message.

* Everybody is talking about oil.

* Everybody is talking about their investment properties.

* I was hoping for a little more from the producers of 24. I did a Google search for "Habib Marwan," the villian in this year's 24 season. Very disappointed that the only web presence were spoilers and fan forums. The 24 producers could've made an interesting web experience with some of the heroes and villains.

* Ex-Presidents will go to the Pope's funeral. I wonder if former Presidents Bush and Clinton are still hanging out? After the Tsunami, those guys were inseperable.

* Seems like Podcasts are the rage. So I downloaded a recent version of the Dawn and Drew show and listened to it on a jog yesterday. First of all, Drew and Dawn split up, so Dawn was on with some guy and woman, talking about this and that. Seems like they mostly talked about penuses. It was entertaining for a few minutes, then I stopped it and deleted it. And that one is supposed to be the best Podcast? Hmm.

* I tried some other podcast, can't recall the name. But it sounded like the guy was doing it in an echo chamber. He had a buddy with him, and they were talking and laughing a lot. I'm not sure at what. Then I could hear all kinds of noises in the background, like doors opening and closing and such. Forget that one.

* Things are really busy here at the Fun Factory.

* Always seems a little chilly on baseball's opening day. I was watching a little of the Red Sox - Yankees opener, and Trump and Regis looked a little chilly out there.

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fools Day

* ITreoPod

* Apollo 11 Transcript Found

* UN Decides to Shut Down Internet

* Star Wars Holiday Special

* Apollo Bacteria Destroying Moon

* Snooz Alert Alarm Clock Pill

* Yahoo and Google to Merge and be called "YaGoohoo!gle."

Finaly a Friday

* U.S. Finishes Internet Study Congress Requested In 1998. I need to get a copy of this. I'm sure it makes for some great reading. I wonder if the report is current or immediately outdated? Does it contain data as of 1998 or current data?

In the intervening period, Google emerged to dominate the Web, technology executives made then lost billions in stock options, lawyers shut down Napster over music piracy, high-speed Internet connections soared and the number of Web addresses climbed from 2.2 million to more than 65 million. The job of Commerce secretary, the top U.S. official responsible for overseeing the study, turned over three times.

* The Apprentice! Stephanie gets the tap in the boardroom. She was pathetic for sure, but Chris can't be on for too many more weeks. I though the task of running a Dominos pizza truck sounded kind of fun, though. Not sure I'd go for the Meatball pizza. Obviously, I'd lose with a vegetarian no-cheese pizza, but I'd probably have gone the bacon cheeseburger pizza route (as featured in an ad during the show).

* Last night, Eliza Dushku's Tru Calling premiered with a 2-hr episode. I recorded it. Or is it now Jason Priestly's Tru Calling? I made the mistake of watching a CSI Las Vegas episode instead, where burned bodies were the victims. I've had it with gooey autopsies. Spare me! I was surfin' during the show, so I just don't watch when they're showing the graphic details.

* Is the world running out of oil?

* Is the Pope alive or dead? Conflicting reports. If not now, soon I think. I saw a clip of him in his younger days, hiking. They said they used to call him God's Athelete. I hope there are places to hike in Heaven.

* OK, I've been wrong about the stock market and keep riding it down. Although, even with today's action, the SP500 isn't down that far year to date. It seems like it's down a lot further than it really is. I'm remaining long. I think the economy is going along fine, not too hot and not too cold. A good environment for growth.

* I'm having lunch with my former former coworkers. Not from the Salt Mine, but from before that even when I was living the high life during the technology mania. Haven't seen them for awhile. I'm doing my stretches so I don't get injured hugging the hotties.

* I saw that Jennifer Ellison was a big mover in the Yahoo search world, so I had to figure out WHO IS THAT? I like it when folks have a website that is just their name. Even I can find it.

* Dick Clark isn't doing so well after his 2 strokes. Another one about to pass away. You know about the Pope. Jerry Falwell hasn't been doing well. Johnny Cochrane passed away this week. Lots of changes.