Monday, October 31, 2005



* Talk about spooky, the SF 49ers, Miami Dolphins, and Houston Texans all won yesterday.  What were the odds of that?

* I've prioritized my Halloween candy, by what I like the least. First out the door, Almond Joys.  Next, Three Muskateers.  Next, well here it gets tricky.  I think Milky Ways followed by peanut butter cups, then peanut M&M's.  And if the kids keep coming, I'll have to hand out the ones I like the most.  The Snickers, Baby Ruths, Twix and Kit Kats.  I'm expect over 100 kids.  Probably closer to 200.  I turn off the lights at 8:00pm.

* Last week turned out to be a pretty good week for Bush.  Only one indictment.  Miers withdraws.  And he appointed a well-received Bernanke.  With all the pessimism about Bush on BOTH sides, if he were the stock market, I might take the contrarian view and say that he's bottomed because of all the political capitulation, and may rally now.

* Alito is probably going to get in, as he is a Roberts-style nomination.  It'll be difficult for the Democrats to shoot him down on merit, so it'll come to a thumbs up vs thumbs down vote.

* The market continued to rally, as we're in the month-end strength cycle.  The good news is that we close above 1205, which was previous support.  I think that some of the seasonal investors will pile in the next few days, too.  Long and strong!  I think the SP500 will get to 1300 or higher.  These things happen quickly once the bears give up and chase the market higher.

* The bad news is that DELL just handed out tricks instead of treats after hours, so we'll see how that influences the tape tomorrow.

* Have a great night!

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Sunday finds me watching football, and sighing at the lackluster performance of my fantasy football players. It feels as if the football season is winding down for my hopes of finishing near the top, so now I have to watch just for the game itself. Forget about the players, and hope for entertaining games. Which is why I find myself on my laptop, reading Barrons wirelessly in front of the big screen.

Speaking of, has Alan Ableson ever been right about anything?

Well, field goal battle between the 49ers and Bucs. Hey, it could be worse. It could be the Dolphins and Saints on. Maybe that'd just be more of the same.

I bought 200 pieces of Halloween candy for tomorrow, but I'm not sure if I'll answer the door or eat it all myself. OK, I'll pass out the 3 Muskateers, but I'm not making any promises about the Snickers, Kit Kats, Twix or Baby Ruths.

Laptop battery
is winding down. Time to go the PDA...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Scooter Who?

Many folks just don't follow the news or politics. I asked a few of my coworkers "Did you hear about Scooter Libby today?" And they looked at me with blank faces. They have no idea who he is. Somebody even asked me if that was somebody on the Sacramento Kings or SF 49ers.

I said "Yes. He's filling in for Alex Smith at QB this weekend."

"Is he any good?"

LOL. One thing for sure, he ain't no Joe Montana!

Quick Hits

* TGIF. I'm ready for a weekend.

* Bill Cara makes a good point about trading with a single technical indicator. Doesn't always work out. It just happens that the RSI is one of my favorites, so his blog entry hit a note with me. I don't find the RSI very useful for short-term trading. I think it works better over the intermediate term, when combined with a few other things that I'm keepin' to myself. (Ya understand...)

* has an entry up today, Google Watch. What are Google shares really worth? I don't directly own any shares in it. The memories of 2000 are still fairly fresh in my memory. I'll let others have all the fun with GOOG.

* Speaking of having fun, I'm surprised MSFT turned it around overnight. Now this one I do own, hoping for the product cycle ramp in XBOX 360 and whatever-it's-called new version of Windows. So far, so good.

* Semiconductors are not having much fun. Will the market get far without them? That's hard to imagine. Maybe they bounced a little today intraday, though. And we're entering month-end strength period now, so hopefully they'll rise with the monthly 401(k) contributions tide.

* I'm nowhere near a teen, but I like to watch Smallville. I recorded it last night, so no spoilers, 'k?

* So, Fitzgerald, Scooter Libby all ya got?

* With the huge profits in the oil industry lately, many folks (ahem, Hillary) are calling for a windfall oil profits tax. Who wants to take the opposite side of that argument? OK, I see Larry Kudlow has his hand up. Yes, Larry?

* I don't think it's just you, Roger. Check out his entry on analyzing ETFs. I love ETFs, and that's pretty much all I own. I rotate around to adjust my risk profile from time to time.

* If you like blogs that have weekend reading assignments for you, here's this weekend's list from Seeking Alpha.

* Bloglines mobile! Hey, I use it. Nice to see the improvements!

* The Apprentice last night? I have it recorded, but somebody spoiled it for me. Or should I say, FOUR me. Geez. So I went to Fox News and read up on it. Still looking forward to watching it.

* My cinnamon bears didn't survive the week. All gone. I'm trying to avoid an afternoon trip down to the snack shack, though.

Scooter Libby and GDP

* GDP came in at 3.8%, and the market seems to like it.

Here's the link on the economic numbers. Snippets:

Growth in the U.S. economy picked up in the third quarter to a 3.8% annualized rate, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Inflation cooled down. Core consumer prices increased at a 1.3% rate in the quarter, the slowest quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2003.

The core PCE price index has increased 1.9% over the past year, down from 2.0% growth in the second quarter and the slowest annual increase since the first quarter of 2004.

* How are wages and benefits?

US 3Q Employment Costs. Snippets:

Benefit costs again outpaced wages and salaries, the Labor Department said Friday. Benefit costs between June and September rose 1.3%, while wages and salaries climbed 0.6%.

Employment costs for state and local government workers climbed 1.1% in the third quarter. Wage and salary costs rose 0.7%, with benefit costs moving up 1.7%.

"Compensation costs do not appear to pose a significant threat to the outlook for inflation at this time," said Michelle Girard of RBS Greenwich Capital.

"However, with the unemployment rate around 5% and anecdotal evidence suggesting tightening labor markets and even some signs of wage pressures, the results may not be as benign going forward," she said.

* My notes on the numbers are that benefit costs continue to be the largest growing element in total employee compensation, that inflation is under control, but that a stronger GDP number and a tight labor market could put upward pressure on wages down the road. Watch the jobs numbers! Right now, things are pretty good.

* Things aren't good for for Scooter. Every administration needs a fall guy I suppose. In football, they call that a safety. (Not the defensive back, but a release valve in an offensive play that doesn't work out.) If the QB drops back to pass and receivers are covered, often times the halfback will release from the backfield out in the flat to be the safety. The QB dinks the ball off to avoid the pass rush, and the halfback tries to make something happen.

Now watch, after Scooter faces whatever penalties down the road, he'll end up with a nationally syndicated radio show and be highly compensated for speeches around the country. Either that or he'll be tackled behind the line of scrimmage. We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Market Blahs

* Black gold! (Coal!). I'm all for more diversity in our power plants. I'd like to see more nuclear power, but that seems a non-starter. Coal is dirtier, but if we can build them, lets do it.

* Boy, the market was ugly today. And the semiconductors have really been ugly. Microsoft after the bell. Maybe that'll grease the skids (either way!). I'm still long everything, and bullish.

* Even though the World Series was a 4-game sweep, the games were very entertaining. But didn't you get the feeling in every game, that the White Sox were just the better team? Obviously, I suppose. Fun series, though.

* Take Two set to follow-up their Grand Theft Auto San Andreas with a new one. Hey, that was a great game. I'd have never found that sex scene without a cheat.

* Initial reaction to MSFT is negative. Stock selling off after releasing their earnings.

* Have you ever read CNBC's SquawkBlog? Becky Quick and Denim. Now that'll get somebody's attention.

* Are you following the fall of Chinese internet company BIDU? Hoo, I wonder how many folks are getting taken out to the woodshed on that one? Gary Kaltbaum said on his radio show awhile back, that he thinks it's going to $20.

* Michelle Malkin breathes a sigh of relief that Harriet Miers has withdrawn. Well, it was a strange pick by Bush. After the Bernanke pick, my guess is that the next pick for the Supreme Court will be a solid, slam dunk, candidate.

* Here's a story about catholic schools banning blogging.

* US Treasury Secretary John Snow says No Housing Bubble. I think the speculation is over, and that prices aren't going up like crazy anymore. I bet some folks who got in the speculation game late are sitting there, losing money month after month, waiting for their investments to appreciate by 20% every year. I think they're in for a shock. That strategy may not work out.

* I bought some peanuts in a shell, and brought them into work. That was probably a mistake. You should see my office. Looks like Section 101A at the ballpark. Peanut husks everywhere. Hahahha.

* I'm still aggressively long in the stock market. I thought last week looked like "the bottom" of this recent decline, and that we'd see another 10% in the SP500 by winter. Maybe up to 1300 or higher. I still think that, but after this week it sure doesn't feel like it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

14 Innings

* So, Amazon stock (AMZN) was taken out to the woodshed today, down over 13%. Lets round up, and just call it 14%. My take? I just don't use Amazon the way I used to. I think brick and mortor shops have discounted books and became competitive. In addition, I'm reading more online via news sites and blogs. For another take on AMZN, read CrossingWallStreeet today.

* On the Amazing Race (Family Edition), I don't see what the big deal is about the bungee jump. If you're in a race, you just muster up the courage to do it. In the end, the Paolo family did it. And I'm kind of pulling for them at this point. I'm not sure why.

* Shout out to Fat Pitch Financials for the find that Morningstar is offering free access to their premium stock reports until October 30th. To be honest, I don't go to their website. Most brokerage firms have online access to more stock reports than you can shake a stick at, and all you have to do is open an account with them.

* Lisa Marie Presley isn't wanting for cash. Check out what found out!

* Wednesday... Game 4 or Lost? Now, Game 3 was fun to watch. 14 innings? My goodness. Phil Garner might need some anger management courses after this series. When Blum yanked the pitch out in the 14th off of Astacio, Garner hurled a chair against the wall. And he wasn't yelling "Booyah ski daddy" like Cramer does, this was frustration. I think Astacio's walking in a run was a bigger crime, though.

* What time did that game end, around 11:30pm PDT? So, I wonder if the East Cost folks were staying up to watch it?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Odds and Ends

* One of my coworkers is a home brew kind of guy. He brought me in a few bottles. To disguise the beer, he wrapped the bottles in white paper, and drew halloween faces on them. (Ghosts). I think I'll have me a few watching the World Series.

* I wonder what kind of treatment one would get, if one dropped $241,000 at a strip club? (In a single visit!)

* The stock market? Not a bad day after yesterday's barn burner. It was looking like a bigger down day, but a little rally towards the end helped out. I'm still in an aggressive portfolio at this point.

* This just in from Duke and Duke... Clarence Beeks has shown up with the information on Orange-juice futures, and they're at a 7-year high.

* Bill Cara notes an interesting exchange between Jim Cramer and Maria Bartiromo on CNBC. On Cara's comment log, somebody gave the link to Booyahboy audit, which claims to be following Jim's picks. I don't know about his stock picks, Mad Money is an interesting show. I watch it during my evening work outs. Whenever I see Cramer pick up a chair and throw it against the set wall, it encourages me to another few reps. BOO YAH!

* It'll be interesting when McDonalds includes Nutrition Info on their packages. I wonder if a Big Mac will be divided into 6 serving sizes?

* Are you wondering which financial magazine to buy this month? I'm kind of a Wall St. Journal and Barrons guy myself, but if you like Money, Kiplinger, or Smart Money, Free Money Finance checks 'em out this month.

* Rosa Parks passed away. May she rest in peace.

* There are $73M of unclaimed tax refunds out there, So says the IRS. Where's the IRS lost and found? "You know, I seem to have missed a deduction on my last return. I figure it'd create a refund to me of around $73M. You wouldn't happen to have a surplus in that exact amount laying around, would you?"

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cinnamon Bears

Snack time. I brought an apple. Oh, and it's a Fuji apple as I blogged about last week or so. My favorite. But for some reason, I was craving something more artificial. Maybe to celebrate the stock market hoo-hah today with something decadent, you know?

I asked the woman at the corner snack shop which was the fastest selling bag of candy. You know the kind, bags of jelly beans, gummy worms, boston baked beans, cinnamon bears. trail mix, sour gum drops, and such.

She said "Cinnamon bears, by far."

"OK." I bought some.

Heck, for a reason! These things are good.

So how do I celebrate a big day in the stock market? Cinnamon bears. I think it's a new tradition for big up days. Why not?

Ben Bernanke

* New Fed Chair?!?!? President George W. Bush was expected to announce on Monday that he has picked top economic adviser Ben Bernanke to succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, a knowledgeable source said.

* Hey, Bernanke is a credible pick. Not some crony down the hall or some guy who plays on W's softball team.

* Should there be instant replay in baseball?

* This week is the last big week of earnings. So far, I've read that 72% of companies are beating earnings. The market is up early today, and hopefully the trend will continue all week. The market probably likes the Bernanke pick.

* Somebody needs to make a better muffin. Have you had the ones in a bag you pick up at the snack shop or deli? Do they have to be 500 calories and high in fat? And lets be real. That's not two servings in that bag. Unless you just eat the muffin top, and leave the stump for Newman.

* Yes, I think Google is probably a bubble stock.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Market 'n Stuff



* What a hectic week.  Both in the markets and here at the Fun Factory.

* The markets?  Well, after all this NOW what?  I still think we'll be higher by the winter, so I keep getting more aggressive every dip.  From a technical level, I haven't seen this sort of bearishness in a LONG time.  <a href="">Newsletter writers bearish</a>.  10-day put/call very high, too.

* Slacker coworkers bother me.  The type who talk up a storm, try to sound smart and impress everybody, and then can't do squat.

* I'm a little behind in my TV shows, but hope to catch up this weekend.

* No Chiefs-Dolphins game on TV tonight.  The game was moved from sunday to friday because of Hurricane Wilma.  Seemed like a spanking, and my fantasy players did squat in the game.  The Dolphins are falling, and entering into the Reggie Bush sweepstakes.  Or heck, they need a QB.  The Niners are going for no wins the rest of the year I think.  They'll get Reggie Bush if they want him.

* Okay, keeping it short. It's a friday night, but I'm beat.  I'm calling it a night.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

On Tax Reform

Here are the tax reforms being proposed by the tax reform committee. From the NY Times:

- The alternative minimum tax, a steep levy faced by an increasing number of middle-income taxpayers, would be abolished.

- The tax break on home mortgages would be sharply limited, especially for expensive houses.

- No deduction would be allowed for state and local income and property taxes.

- Employer-paid health insurance premiums above $5,000 a year for an individual and $11,500 for a family policy would be treated as income to workers and taxed accordingly.

- All taxpayers could deduct charitable donations, but only to the extent they exceeded 1 percent of a taxpayer's income.

- Personal exemptions and deductions and credits for children would be eliminated and replaced by a credit of $1,600 for a single person, $3,200 for a couple, $1,500 for each child and $500 for each other dependent.

- The myriad savings vehicles available now like individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans would be replaced by three streamlined savings plans and a refundable savings credit for low-income workers.

- The six tax brackets in the existing law would be replaced by four, with a low bracket of 15 percent and a top rate of 33 percent. The top rate now is 35 percent.

- The two plans differ on the way they would treat investment income. One would eliminate taxes on dividends entirely, lower the top capital gains rate to 8.25 percent on the sale of stock in American corporations and tax interest income at the same rate as wages and salaries. The other plan would have a 15 percent rate on dividends, interest and capital gains. The rate now is 15 percent on dividends and capital gains, and interest payments are taxed like earned income.

- One of the biggest changes would be the limits on tax breaks for homeowners. Now, all interest payments on mortgage loans smaller than $1 million are deductible.

- Both plans would lower the limit to the maximum mortgage the Federal Housing Administration will insure. That level changes each year and varies depending on housing costs in each county, with a maximum loan limit now of $312,895 in communities where housing is most expensive and a national average of about $244,000.

- The commission would raise to $600,000 from $500,000 the amount of profits from home sales that would be excluded from capital gains taxes.

- Another big change would be the elimination of the tax deduction on state and local taxes.

What's my take?

The goal of the tax changes is to eliminate the AMT, but be revenue neutral. In otherwords, since removing the AMT would result in lost tax revenues, the tax commission needs to propose other ways to make that money up.

Obviously, the only fair tax is a flat tax that eliminates all deductions, and excludes some base amount. For example, lets say the first $15K is excluded, indexed to inflation, and the flat tax rate is 20% on all income, dividends, capital gains, etc. (Eh, plus or minus, but lets just go with it as a concept).

That would be fair. Whatever you make, Uncle Sam gets a cut. Nuff said. Fill out a postcard on April 15th, mail in your check, and enjoy the NBA playoffs.

Unfortunately, what the tax commission has come up with is more complications. And it'll tick folks off because they'll see it as a personal assault.

I have no doubt that there will be tax reform in 2006, because the Bush tax cuts are set to expire later in the decade which would result in a massive tax hike. So the GOP and Democrats will huddle up and come up with something that gives each side a little of what they want, and gives us taxpayers a more difficult time in April.

Market Reversal

* No time to post. But yesterday did look like the reversal on high volume, even if today the market is like pears. (Start out firm and quickly get mushy). I'm already long, and got very aggressive last wednesday as I wrote on the blog. So, I'm not too worried. Let 'em rip. Google earnings tonight, and that'll be interesting. I don't own shares directly, but hope they rock the afterhours. And hope they don't say anything to rock my MSFT shares. Hahha.

* How come the Rolling Stones got the gig as the NFL soundtrack (again)? I haven't heard their A Bigger Bang CD, though I did sample a few songs at Amazon. Sounds like the same stuff they've been churning out the past decade. Yeah, I'll probably download the CD eventually.

* Chiefs-Dolphins game moved to friday night because of Hurricane Wilma. Hopefully the networks will cover it. Hey, play the Stones in the background. Fine with me.

* Alright. Quick lunch and back to the grind. Somebody took the Fun out of the Fun Factory today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Quick Hits

* NY Times profits fall 52%. I don't know how traditional print media is going to survive. Everything is online for the price of your monthly internet connection, and news aggregators are taking over. I suppose with the Sunday paper, you still get coupons. Is that the only reason to subscribe?

* Hurricane Wilma now a category 5. Incredible. I have some friends in FL who are evacuating (yet again). Well, we know where Geraldo and Rita Crosby will be this weekend.

* Who will President Bush pick as new chairman of the Federal Reserve? Greenspan's term is up in January. So, will it be somebody we've been reading about, or a crony down the hall? Markets worry loyalty to guide Bush in Fed Choice. From the USA Today, Fed chief nomination in November?

And bloggers joke about headlines saying, "Bush picks own accountant to replace Fed's Greenspan."

* I have a link to the Red Cross above, but truth be told, my favorite is the Salvation Army. The WSJ (in today's paper today) has a column Incidents Of Fraud at Red Cross Centers. I don't think it's the Red Cross' fault. There is a ton of money involved, and whenever that happens, somebody is trying to get their hands on some. Another option would be to donate to your local food closet. Some of the local charities go wanting when the nation's focus is turned to these (one after another) natural disasters.

* Are asthmatic cats allergic to humans?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tomorrow's Paper Today

Can't believe you're fadin' me, Muck!


* I think the saying "How do you like them apples?" is kind of funny.

* The nice thing about subscribing to the Wall St. Journal online (on the West Coast), is that around 9pm, I can read tomorrow's paper today.  Wasn't there a TV show about that?

* I like Fuji apples, if you must know.  Although, there are tons of tasty apples.  I prefer Fuji.  And you?

* According to tomorrow's WSJ, it takes 3-4 months of waiting before you can get the hybrid Toyota Prius. 

* One of my favorite Mexican restaurants offers potato tacos on the menu.  They're pretty good.

* On The Amazing Race tonight, the ending leg completed in the French Quarter in New Orleans.   I can't believe the team that got eliminated tonight.  There are worse teams still alive (for now).

* Asian markets are down on the Intel news I 'spose.  Tomorrow's market open will probably be a gap down.  It'll be interesting to see how folks respond after the first 30 minutes.

Back to the Office

Tuesdays? The Amazing Race!

* The Houston Astros looked like they had that one sewed up, then WHAM BAM!

* I just checked the market, and it reminds me of pears. You know how you can set a ripe pear on the counter, when it's all nice and firm, and then come back a little later and it's soft and mushy? Yeah, like that. The market is like pears today.

* The Looney Liberal Left blames Karl Rove for everything. With all the news on Judith Miller or Harriet Miers going on, there was a bomb threat in Baltimore. The Looney Left claims that this was a set-up to take people's minds off of current events. SHEEZ. I'm surprised Liberal Astros fans aren't claiming Karl Rove placed The Call with 2-outs in the bottom of the ninth. "Look, we're having some trouble with Miller. Lets have a home run with two outs in the ninth, to extend the Cards-Astros series."

* "Hello, Commissioner Stern? David, this is Karl Rove. Look, we're (the Bush Administration) going to start those confirmation hearings on Harriet Miers in November. Now, if you're a 'team player,' we'd like you to schedule the start of the NBA season sometime in late October. Don't worry. It's all part of the plan."

* It's Amazing Race Night. FAMILY EDITION!

* So, I mentioned the reason I bought some MSFT was because of the XBOX 360 hype, right? Here's some from the Motley Fools. This one discusses the pre-orders.

* On the other side of the MSFT trade are folks who say that the XBOX just isn't enough of MSFT's business to make a difference in company earnings. Just being honest.

* I was thinking about the new Apple iPod that lets you watch videos on a 2.5" screen, and I was thinking, HMPPFH, "Why would I need that?" But the more I thought about it, can you imagine if you could pop the video iPod into your TV? I think that's the challenge for Blockbuster and eventually Netflix. If iPod or whoever creats some business model where you can grab content anywhere, and play it anywhere, I think that's a winner.

* Intel is carpet bombing the after hours trading. Earnings were ok, so I'm not sure what they said. Oh, I suppose I could research it on Yahoo. Later.

* Well, it's been quite a day here at the Fun Factory. I'm sure Karl Rove is responsible for my headache.

* It sure feels like the housing market has stalled. I sincerely hope that prices don't decline dramatically. Inventories of homes on the market has risen, and that's usually the warning sign. Lets hope a recession doesn't come and force folks to sell at any price. That'd be what starts the decline.

* What kind of Halloween candy do you buy? How many kids come to your door?

* So, I almost have a new site template ready. I didn't feel like taking the time to do a style sheet, so I just decided to used nested tables. I know that's so 1990's, but I didn't want to spend too much time on it. Tables also are filtered out in handheld web surfing utilities, so it makes portable reading easier.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Yo, Adrianne!

Yo, Adrianne! You like bulls?


* The markets?  Options week and lots of earnings coming out.  Should be interesting today, because after the bell IBM is coming out.  Maybe that's why tech is wishy-washy today.   But the DOW and SP500 are holding up.  Truth be told, I think the market is healthier when tech is leading the way.  I like to see semiconductors and the Nasdaq 100 out in front, pulling the Nasdaq up, which pulls the SP500 up, which pulls the DOW up.  I also like to see financials doing well, because they're a big chunk of the SP500 index.  (I think around 20% or so.)

* Sylvester Stallone is signing on to reprise his role as boxer Rocky Balboa in the sixth installment of the long-running film series, which he wrote and will directLink.

* The Chicago White Sox beat the Angels, and that's that for the American League. You could sense after the Game 2 incident, that the Angels lost their focus.  And their pitching just couldn't contain the White Sox bats. 

* Wow, look at Krispy Kreme (KKD).  Yowch.

* Citigroup is moving down after earnings.  That's weighing on the financials (and the market) today.

* Fantasy Football?  I'm in two leagues, and in one I'm rockin' and rollin' while in the other, I'm struggling.  I have viturally the same players in each league, but it's all about who I play.  In the league I'm doing well, I soundly crush teams.  In the league I'm not, I'm consistantly the 2nd or 3rd highest point total every week, but losing to the guy who is 1st that week.  Go figure!

* Here are a few folks painting a bullish picture for the markets.

* Condoleezza Rice does not want to run for President.

* Fantasy Basketball?  We had a draft this weekend, and it's not going to be pretty for me.  More on this as the season goes.

* I'm working from home today.  Didn't feel like going in.  Plus, I'm doing my part to reduce US fuel consumption today.  More folks should work from home.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Politics and Money


* President Bush?  You know, the Democrats are high-fiving each other on the blogs this week.  I haven't seen such high-fiving from them since early-early November 2004, when they thought Kerry was going to win.

* It's still early, but yes I'm feeling pretty good about my wednesday move to load up on QQQQ and SMH.   Now will I get cocky and play some Microsoft options?  I mean, I'm pretty darn sure the XBOX 360 is going to be hype-o-rama in November.  Maybe I could go out to January on 'em.  I dunno.   Maybe in the money ones, but you know the high-stakes dawg in me wants to get the out of the money ones.  You know it.  I know it.  President Bush and Karl Rove know it.

* Friday night TV is crappy.  Lets be honest about that.  At least the Angels-White Sox game was on.  There was no celebration by the ralley monkey tonight.

* I first started trading options in the 90's.  Unfortunately, my first few trades were huge winners.  It was like that first hit off the crack pipe.  You think, "Wow, this is it.  This is what I've been looking for."  So I quintupled my initial stake within 3 months.  Yeah.  Crazy.  It'd probably been better if my first few trades were mixed.  Some winners, some losers.  But I was playing earnings announcements, dividend dates, and stock splits with options, and for awhile, it worked.

* Later, of course my options strategy tanked.  Especially in 2000.   That account that I had run up to huge numbers ended up at.... Lets just say significantly less than a quintuple.  I'm still working for a living, in otherwords.

* Remember those guys who sang "I would walk 500 miles, and " I would do something else 500 times, and 500 times this and that and these other things.  I wonder what happened to those guys?

* Wheat Thins seem like they'd be a health food.  I don't think they are.  But they are crunchy.

* Comcast has 1 million video on-demand subscribers.  I can't think Blockbuster is going to last.  And I love Netflix, but you have to wonder how long it'll be before we're all just pointing and clicking instead of anything else.

Friday at the Fun Factory

I've had about enough of this selling!

* Whew. It's been quite a week here at the Fun Factory. I'm not one to jinx myself, but friday is looking calm. So far.

* Toral was a complete disaster on The Apprentice. She reminds of the people I really hate to work with. Always full of excuses on why she can't or won't do something, and always picking you apart for whatever you are doing. Good riddance. On a project team, you always have to find something for them to do, but it can't be anything critical. Dressing up in a costume, for example. LOL.

* The market? Well, I sold a bunch of my boring market index ETFs and went into the QQQQ and SMH on wednesday as part of my "Be Aggressive, B-E Aggressive, B-E, A-G-G, R-E-S-S-I-V-E" strategery. I also bought some MSFT heading into the new XBOX 360 release, which I hope will come with lots of hype. (Heck, I might get one). I don't know how any of this will work out, and I could be wrong. And feel free to make fun of me if I am. My thought process here is that the market is going higher over the fall and winter, and the more aggressive stocks will outperform on the upside. We shall see. (Please note that aggressive stocks also get hit worse on the downside, too...)

* Exercise for lower back pain? Read this.

* TV Guide has a new format. I like it. Yes, I subscribe. Well, some kids in da hood had a school fundraiser, so I picked that one. Anyways, they had a big article on "Lost." Fun reading.

* Speaking of "Lost," Hurley did the right thing with the food storage room. Big party.

* I'm hungry. Today's lunch? I think I'm heading out somewhere. Not sure. Feeling like a road trip, though.

* Here comes the MSFT hype for the XBOX 360. Lets see if it moves the stock.

* What time of year is it? Oh, Shortage of Flu Vaccine time of year! Remember this debate last year during the Presidential election? Here we are again, and we have another shortage. I know it's probably all George Bush's fault and all, but it does seem a bit ridiculous to go through this year after year, huh?

* The CPI headline says "Worst in 25 years, but today's inflation shows the core rate a .1% yawner. But that's not what will create noise in the money shows over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Buying Opportunity?

Quick note, I'm getting more aggressively long today. I've been waiting for a pullback about 5% off the previous highs (measured by the SP500). We're there. I don't know if it will work out or if I'm catching falling knives here. We shall see.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Angels beat the Yankees!

* Angels beat the Yankees!

* The Delphi bankruptcy is really big news. It's another large company with wage and benefit issues, trying to cut costs to compete globally. In today's WSJ, an article states that Delphi Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert S. "Steve" Miller said the big auto supplier, which filed for bankruptcy protection Saturday, could still save its pension plan for U.S. hourly workers, but only if unions agree to work for about a third of their old pay and benefits. That's a 66% pay cut!

* Well, if you have a Pittsburgh Steelers running back on your fantasy football team, welcome to the dreaded "running back by committee." Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis shared carries, resulting in fantasy stats that were at best mediocre. Bettis looked good, though.

* Angels beat the Yankees!

* We've seen GM, Ford, and many of the airlines also cite wages and benefits as a major issue. How long will this take to filter into government jobs? Consider many local and state governments have deficit issues, what about workers there?

* The podcast craze has resulted in TOO MANY to listen to. I have about 5 that I download daily, another 10 weekly, and I don't get to them all anymore. Clear Channel is offering up much of their content via podcasting. Local radio stations and syndicated broadcasters have their podcasts. Even TV shows and newspapers now have podcasts. It's great for you and I, for when we're out on a jog or bike ride. Don't have to stay glued to the chair at home. But there is a lot of content out there!

* For all the talk and polls about how the world hates President Bush and the Iraq war, the media is missing a few things. First, President Bush was re-elected. Second, Tony Blair was re-elected. And next, Germany's Gerhard Schroeder was voted out.

* Angels beat the Yankees!

* Yahoo has podcasts now.

* Wal-Mart had a nice move yesterday, then today I check online Barrons, and hey what do you know? A positive article on Wal-mart. Think that may have helped move shares?

* Who will President Bush choose as new Chairman for the Federal Reserve? Greenspan only has a few months to go. Will it be somebody respectable, or a crony down the hall? This is a big issue, but not too many folks are talking about it.

* I didn't know Ralph Acampora got the heave-ho? Reading Alan Ableson from Barrons, as he muses on market timing and technical analysis.

* The Amazing Race tonight! Set the Tivo if you can't be there LIVE!

* Saturday Night Live is really bad these days. But I tend to have the first 30 minutes on to catch any of the Presidential skits. This last week, they had an okay skit where President Bush and Dick Cheney were debating cronyism in the recent pick of Harriet Miers. President Bush then went over his history of jobs, and admitted that he had benefitted from cronyism. Or, "I cronied my way in." The skit went on too long as usual, but cute line. Who hasn't "cronied" their way in somewhere?

* Angels beat the Yankees!

Monday, October 10, 2005


* How come Hurley hasn't lost any weight? I know it's only been 47 days, but if Hurley is following an Atkins style diet, eating wild boar and fish, shouldn't the weight be falling off? I doubt they have many simple carbs to eat there on the island!

* Did The Orientation film actually say that the world would end if the code wasn't entered in 108 minutes? I need to watch that again.

* 108 minutes is the sum of Hurley's numbers. But, you probably already knew that.

* Would you have entered the code and pressed the button? Because at some point, they're not going to do it. So, I'd have skipped that immediately. Besides, if somebody is monitoring that, and the button doesn't get pressed, maybe they'd send a rescue team out to investigate. Instead, Gilligan pressed the button.

* Michelle Rodriguez. Hoohah. Well, if I were to be stranded on an island and captured by an Other...

* Best show on TV?

Questions for You

I didn't know there was going to be a test!?!!?!?!

Consider the following questions, and let me know what you think. I know what I think, but kind of curious what other bloggers might think and feel. My comments follow...

1. How do you think the economy is doing?

2. How do you think the stock market will do for the remainder of the year and into 2006?

3. Do you think the bull market is over?

4. Do you think the real estate market is in a bubble? Has that bubble ended?

5. What do you think about inflation? Have you noticed any inflation in things other than energy prices?

6. Have you made any lifestyle changes because of the rise in energy prices? Have you changed how you spend money or the kinds of activities you participate in on evenings and weekends?

I think the economy is fairly strong. The GDP rate is still above 3%, unemployment is low, and last time I went to Home Depot and Costco, folks are still standing in long lines buying stuff.

The stock market seems to be facing the wall of worry, as there is fear about energy prices, layoffs, pensions, war in Iraq, terrorism in the US, natural disasters, etc. But I think this pullback in the market is actually providing an opportunity for folks to get in or get more aggressive. I think we could see a rise in the markets (SP500) around 10% from these levels.

I don't think the bull market is over. But I do think the majority of gains were made in 2003.

The real estate market was in a bubble, and that bubble has popped. I don't know how low it will go, but I think when the economy does have the next pullback, we'll have a better idea. I think in order for there to be a collapse in the housing market, there would have to be some catalyst like skyrocketing unemployment. Something that would force folks to "sell at any price" to get out of their mortgages. As long as folks are employed and making monthly payments, I don't think prices will freefall.

Other than energy, I think prices for other things haven't gone up too much. Heck,seems like my grocery bill has gone down due to "competitive" pricing. My latest pair of shoes cost less than the last pair. Clothes seem about the same. My new computer cost less. The only thing I'm paying more for seems to be utilities. Energy, cable TV, water, trash, etc. Those things are monopolies, so I would never expect those things to come down in price.

I already do a combination of ride-sharing, mass transit, and working from home, so the rise in gas prices hasn't hit me much. I've been gambling less frequently and bringing my lunch to work more often, so maybe that's been the offset.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

This Market!

* Did you watch "Lost" last night? I don't think I'd have pressed the Execute button. I doubt the world ends. And if you don't press the button, maybe somebody at another station is alerted that something is wrong at Swan Station, and that leads to a rescue. Of course, that'd also lead to a short TV series, so Gilligan pressed the button...

* Remember Constantine Maroulis from American Idol? He's got a CD out called Killer Queen. Of course, he sings Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." It'll be interesting to see how he does compared to the others from last year.

* Swim little piggies, swim!

* The stock market? Well, I did get a buy signal in SMH. Generally, my indicators give a buy or sell signal happens within a week of the top/bottom. SMH tends to lead the Nasdaq 100 and SP500. So are we within a week of a low? Emotionally, it doesn't feel like it, does it? But, I am going to start legging into some more aggressive positions. Of course, this isn't a recommendation. Sometimes my buy and sell signals are wrong. Some folks are predicting that we're in a new bear market, dropping 1000 points on the DOW, etc. Some are predicting SP500 1300. You can find whatever opinion out there that you're looking for, you know.

* Miss Havisham Democrats! Does this describe the folks who are still arguing about the election results in Florida 2000 or Ohio 2004? Like the dolumn says, I still see a lot of Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers, too.

* Whenever you feel overwhelmed by a problem, remember to break it up into small bites. If you try to take it on all at once, something like this can happen where a python tries to eat an alligator whole. Pic!

* According to the LA Times, it's inflation worries hitting Wall Street. The Times says economists are attributing this to rising energy costs. Of course, as you know from reading The Learning Curve, higher energy prices are not inflationary. They're contractionary. If the Fed is worried about inflation, they're probably looking at the seemingly unending deficit spending by the Federal government. Especially post-Katrina, where who knows how many hundreds of billions will be air-dropped on the US economy. Also, inflation created from leaving interest rates too low for too long, and creating the Housing ATM card that folks have been using to pile up debt, and spend like crazy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Hump, the Hump, the Hump.

What's this about an October swoon?

* Wednesday is Hump Day, right? Duh.

* My coworkers were telling me today that they think I'm a workaholic.

* The October swoon in the market? Gee, that'd be convenient. But the selling picked up today and now we've breached support and the 200dma on the SP500. Will the shorts come in tomorrow in earnest, believing we're on the next leg down? I'll have to head home to run my stock indicators. I don't like to sell weakness. I'd rather buy weakness and sell strength. So, I could be near a buy signal. Earnings season gets going soon, so that could be a catalyst to whipsaw the folks who are shorting this week. We'll see. I'm still long, but will rotate into higher beta holdings once I have a buy signal.

* The Amazing Race? See, that dad was a jerk (from the elimination team). At the end, he's talking about not blaming anyone, yet during the show he's blaming "the driver" (his son) for taking the wrong route. When the dad was the guy in the wrong all along.

* They say your fingernails can tell a lot about your health. Color, streaks, thickness, etc.

* That Earl show on tuesday nights? Neh, not so great.

* Everybody seems to be trying to form an opinion on Harriet Miers. When Bush said he found the best person he could, maybe that was in regards to the ability of being nominated. No paper trail to speak of. Maybe Bush set out to find a conservative nominee who the Democrats would have a tough time opposing. On the otherhand, without a track record, some in the Republican party may be wondering if Bush is blowing his chance to appoint a conservative.

* I haven't heard too much talk about the new Fed Chief yet. It'll be the end of an era when Alan Greenspan's term runs out. There's a column today in the WSJ about Bush's potential picks. This will be a big deal, because Greenspan has been an inflation hawk.

* Those biotech stocks are sure dicey, eh? Feast or famine. Today, Humane Genome fell 30%. Hope you didn't own any.

* Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes expecting a baby...

* Do you ever read Don't Link this? I guess on the web, we should say, huh?

* "One bourbon. One scotch. One beer." George Thorogood.

* How many of you checked your fingernails? 'Fess up!

* When was the last time you had Doritos? (Right now!)

* Who wants to dress up as Harriet Miers for Halloween? You'd be a hit at your Halloween party for sure. The first thing folks would ask, is "Who are you?" Because nobody really knows. I'm looking forward to the Saturday Night Live parody already...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tuesday Misc

* The market? You know, if the markets are holding up this well despite the bad news and anticipation of weak earnings coming up, how will they react to any good news during earnings season? Just a thought.

* Harriet Miers? Now, that one came from left field. I have no idea.

* Sex treatment for back pain?

* I think Cold Case is a good show. I think the genre-think distinguishes it from other whodunnits. It's cool when they go back in time to relive a crime, and see folks how they are now vs. then.

* I keep expecting some sort of pullback in the market, but we've been stuck in a trading range. The negative nellies are forecasting recessions and bear markets, bad corporate news from hurricanes and energy prices, and tapped out consumers from high energy prices. Yet, the market remains a few percentage ticks from the bull market highs.

* Most will be fat over the long term. Even folks who are trim in middle age, tend to pick up weight.

* So, Bill Bennett (or William Bennett) made a comment that didn't play out too well, huh? You know, it was a strange comment. Why blacks? Lets face it, it's a socioeconomic issue, not a race issue. Poor folks probably commit more crimes than middle class or rich folks. What does race have to do with it?

* Nicolas Cage named his kid after Superman, Kal-el. Story here. Kind of funny, I think. Gone are the days of simple names, eh?

* I started watching Grey's Anatomy, but I have a hard time following shows after 10pm.

* I have noticed a few adjustments consumers are making to higher energy prices. I've noticed the freeways are a little less busy on the weekends. I've noticed that Indian casinos are less crowded. I've noticed that the wait times at restaurants on friday and saturday has fallen about 20-25 minutes.

* Nipsey Russell died. I just remember him from game shows, and his rhymes.

* I'm watching Trump's Apprentice. Not watching Martha's Apprentice. Also watching Tyra Bank's America's Next Top Model and The Amazing Race. In the reality show genre, anyways. I'm so tired of CSI. I do like Without a Trace, though.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sunday at Work

* I've been working over the weekend. That's what I get for taking a few days off last week to go to a training class. Lesson learned. Won't do that again.

* My fantasy football team is getting hammered this weekend. I'm glad I'm working. Lots of byes this week on my team, and the scrubs I'm playing just refuse to participate in scoring...

* Paul "Write. Retract. Repeat." Krugman is at it again. Just read Michelle Malkin for details. And Krugman is oft-quoted in liberal blogs. Even if he retracts or corrects something, it seems as if the original column retains urban legend status.

* Finishing 2nd in Fantasy Baseball. Not too bad.

* The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler wasn't too bad, but not quite as charming as the original with Burt Reynolds.

* Saturday Night Live kicked off last night, with a skit featuring a President Bush spoof. I turned it off shortly thereafter, but those are always fun.

* Everybody Hates Chris is kind of funny.

* I've added Yahoo's most emailed content to my Yahoo page, just to see what folks are interested in and sending each other. It's kind of interesting, and differs from the Top Stories. (According to whom?) I suppose that's like looking for top searches or at Technorati for what folks are reading. What folks read also differs from what newspapers put on their front page.

* More later (maybe). I need to get home and hunker down in front of the 49ers vs. Cardinals game from Mexico. Maybe pick up a toasted sandwich from Baby Bob's Quiznos...