Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Running TONIGHT!!

I’ve pretty much committed myself, mentally, to running the marathon in January.  It might be a good warm up for the TIR (though I’m not guaranteeing an appearance there, or in any other running event, for that matter).  So, I’m going to once again drag myself out the door tonight and take a stab at another few miles to see how the old ticker, legs, lungs, and brain are coming along en-route to the OFFICIAL marathon training season.  Signups have moved to July from April, so that’ll be pretty much when official training begins.  I think I started in earnest on July 31 last time I ran.


The garden is loving the rain.  Plans are coming along nicely for the rain capture and irrigation systems I’ve been contemplating.  I can’t wait to break ground on that little big project.


And yes, I’m exceptionally troubled by the goings on with regards to GM and capitol hill.  The whole activist government taking an activist role in the running of a private company is very, very troubling indeed.  I have no problem with loaning entities dictating terms under which the loan will be made—those are called restrictive covenants in the business world.  But when the bank (or, in this case, the government) decides it will take an activist role in the operations of the company, then the situation begins to sit uneasily with me.  If Hugo Chavez were doing it, we’d call it what it is—nationalization.  I mean, the Venezuelan media wouldn’t call it that.  They’d call it a rescue or action to protect jobs or revitalize the community or something like that.  Then again, the Venezuelan media is completely controlled by and complicit with the Chavez government and wouldn’t dare criticize THAT leader, lest the offending reporter be separated from his head.  So, it makes one wonder why the (completely unbiased) US media is so complicit and compliant with the current administration when they so clearly demonstrated their ability to demonize the last administration.


All the same, I know how to fix GM.  Announce a 7 for 1 stock split.  General Motors becomes a holding company that maintains 30% holdings in each of the 6 divisions it will then create with the split—Saturn, GMC, Chevy, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, Hummer.  Sell all the rest.  Then, each newly independent division will be told to become viable or file for bankruptcy separately.  They’d become 7 car companies with 7 distinct cultures, 7 distinct marketing strategies, 7 accounting departments, 7 union relationships and at least 2 success stories.  There might be 5 complete failures, but each of those failures become feed for either a venture fund, another car company, or some enterprising turnaround artist.  GM meanwhile is merely a holding company that can be taken private and can officially get out of the business of financing car divisions and get into the business of targeting acquisitions for supporting the car industry.  GM can become Cerberus.


Now, this would certainly strengthen the unions.  At the same time, it would force the unions to help look for solutions to make these new, smaller auto companies viable.  As these companies either go by the wayside or learn to make cars that can be sold at a profit, the unions either get progressively weaker or also relearn how to build cars that can be sold at a profit.  As long as the key to making money in the auto industry is cheap financing so that the auto manufacturers can sell loans, the American auto industry will be doomed.  As soon as they figure out how to build a $25,000 car, they’ll be able to sell a $25,000 car.  As long as they build $17,000 cars that they’re trying to sell for $25,000, they’re going to be screwed.  It a lesson Chrysler COULD have learned from Dalmer, but they failed to figure that out. 


And, for what it’s worth, Chevy knows how to build a $50,000 car AND sell that car for at least that much.  It’s called a Corvette.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Collard Greens and Pork Chops!!

Nearly 34 years into my life and I have discovered a new culinary delight:  collard greens.




When cooked in the traditional way, they’re nasty little wilted and bitterly disgusting shreds of grass.  When cooked correctly, though, they’re really, really good.  I’m quite impressed.  These will be gracing my plate frequently in the future and will likely make an appearance in the old backyard garden in short order.


I’m just about decided to run the marathon next year.  Or, at the very least, train for running the marathon next year.  I’ve gotten my weight dangerously close to the target zone that I wanted to get to by the end of March and feel like this thing could be a doable thing, even with all the other stuff I have going on during the week and on the weekends.  So, if you see a pasty fat slow guy trundling along at Memorial or in the Woodlands in the upcoming months, there’s a good chance it’s not me (there are a lot of us pasty fat slow guys out there trundling along running paths), but there’s still a slight chance it could be me, once or twice.  Say “hi”, and if I respond with anything less than a cordial “hi” right back at you, you’ve gotten the wrong pasty fat slow guy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Radio Shack Salesmen

Dear Radio Shack Salesmen,


No, I don’t need your help.  Yes, I can find what I’m looking for just fine.  In fact, I’m not really looking FOR anything, I’m just looking around and would appreciate it if you backed the hell off.  I’m heading over to lunch at the food court here in the Galleria and thought I’d stop off and see if there were any gizmos or gadgets that might peak my fancy—not that it’s any of your damn business. 

I’ll tell you what, if I need help I’ll look over toward you and say something along the lines of “hey, can you help me out here?”

That should be indication enough for you to know that I need help, don’t you think?  If I’m just looking at, say, a price for the overpriced TV you have on display, or the cables you have that are $1 or $2 more than the ones they have across the street at Best Buy to get an idea of what it’s going to cost me when I DO go across the street and actually buy something that your store gave me an idea for, I won’t need your help.  And you hovering over my shoulder is not only wasting your time, it’s also creeping me out.  I don’t want your help if I don’t ask for it, and I certainly don’t need you hovering around me.

So, thanks for your vigilance, but seriously, back the fuck off.  You’re creeping me out.




A little riddle

What’s got 2 thumbs and didn’t run last night?


This guy, right here!


Yea, I was considering hitting the pavement last night, but then I decided that I wasn’t going to.  No excuses here, either.  Just didn’t feel like it.  I’ll probably run tonight, though.  Get in a quick 2.5 miler or so, then maybe follow it up with a 1 miler in the morning.  I’m slowly but surely getting my running pegs back underneath me.


We have a TON of blooms coming out on the blackberries, a couple of blooms on the tomatoes, a few on the peppers, and bunches of peas.  I’m very excited about the garden this spring.  Next spring I’m going to plant some corn!!  That’s right, corn.  It won’t be a ton, but it’ll be enough to feed a family of 3 for a few months, and maybe put enough away for the winter.  Oh what fun.  I’ve also identified an extra couple of spots in the front yard to add a “salad box” (a raised bed dedicated exclusively to raising salad fare for the whole year—lettuce, carrots, onions, etc.), a secret melon patch (I won’t be telling the missus about it, I’ll just sneak a few seeds into the garden), and a pseudo-landscaped patch of garden goodies right out by the street.  The last little feature will be almost completely irrigated by back yard runoff.  How freaking awesome is that?


Finally, I’d really appreciate it if when the dinkuses in Washington try to sell us a budget full of all the goodies and baubles that are generally included in the budget, they’d have the decency to slap an accurate price tag on it.  If you intend to sell us a $3.9 trillion dollar budget ($1.7 trillion, or 44%, of which is unfunded), set the budgeted tax rates so that an equal amount of money will be raised.  That way we, as taxpayers, can look at the services provided and the price being charged and decide if that’s a fair price for the services and either accept the price and service, or demand a lower price with the understanding that service is linked to price. 


Effectively, force your colleagues to either PAY for their goodies they’re handing out to their buddies, reduce the number of goodies, or publicly admit that they have no intention whatsoever of paying for the services they’re providing.


With all the bitching and moaning about “compensation being decoupled from performance” with regard to executive bonuses, maybe now would be the time to suggest that performance of service by the government be coupled with cost of that service. 


In a couple of weeks I’m going to go out and buy about $800 worth of television.  I expect to not only pay about $800 for it, but also receive about $800 worth of goods.  That’s fair.  I don’t want to pay $800 for $500 worth of television, and while I’d love to get $800 worth of television for $500, I don’t really expect that deal to be floating around, except in a unique sales environment.  There’s no reason the federal government should think the only way to sell the services it offers is to not ask us to pay the full price for those services.


If they’re truly valuable to the American people, we’ll be willing to pay the higher taxes that will be required to pay for them.  If they’re not, we’ll let you know about that, as well.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Citi Counterpoint

For what it’s worth, I don’t disagree Herr Gimpson—government bailouts is NOT how capitalism is supposed to work.  Bad companies should fail and good companies will take their place. 

But, then again, we didn’t elect that guy, and haven’t elected that guy for a long, long, long time.  And I don’t see that guy either running or getting elected for a long, long, long time to come.  And I hate to be the one to tell you this (though knowing you the way I do, you already know it), the feds don’t give a shit about you and me.  Not even a little bit.


However, we haven’t had a completely unregulated banking system for nearly many, many decades.  There’s a good reason for that.  For more than a decade, though, those regulations were loosening and credit was getting cheaper and cheaper.  That’s how we got in this mess.  It’s taken awhile to build this burning tower and the chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak.


Citibank, for its part, has been an exceptionally poorly run company for quite some time.  They’ve binged and gorged themselves on growth and have failed at every turn to integrate their operations.  They’re big, but they’re not efficient, not at all.


On the other hand, they’re big.  They’ve got a lot of capital and a lot of cash and a lot of branches and an amazing ability to bring in deposits.  In other words, despite the fact that they lost money at prodigious rates in 2008, they didn’t lose that much cash.  This means their losses are paper losses, or write downs of assets—like the depreciation of your car, except they didn’t pay full price for the car.  More like depreciation of a comic book collection, I suppose.  But I digress.


The accounting losses do not equal cash losses at the same rate, which means if they continue on the same course long enough they WILL be insolvent, but they’re not insolvent YET.  And they might just be able to turn operations around enough to segregate the poor performing portions of their operations (citi holdings) and keep the well performing operations (Citicorp) and post some decent returns for the next several quarters.  If they do, and based on early reports from the first 2 months of the year they might be able to, their shares are going to show decent returns.  Especially if you look at those returns compared to the market (the Dow didn’t triple this month).


I wouldn’t call this an investment decision.  There’s a good chance Citi won’t be around in 10 years in the same form it is today.  It’s more of a gamble or speculation on a company that might be able to right their ship long enough to reorganize and spin off some divisions.  It’s executives think so, too.  They’ve snatched up 1.5 million shares in the last several days and doubled their investment.  The rats aren’t jumping ship, and I don’t think they’re keen to throwing $3 million in the garbage, either.  They didn’t get rich doing stupid things with money. 


My investment outlook remains the same—long term, steady, incremental deposits 3 funds, one index, one mid cap, and one large cap.  That stays on auto pilot with a 30 to 40 year outlook.


As for my speculative play, the way I see it, I can either complain that this is not how it’s supposed to work, fold my arms, and watch the rats who created this mess profit wildly from the short term gross undervaluation of their company, or I can participate in the speculation that the $3 stock is, in fact, undervalued and either some bailout is coming or they’re going to right the ship just enough to float that price up enough that I can take my own profit and laugh all the way to…  uh, Chase bank.  I don’t bank at Citi, for obvious reasons.


The most this little gamble will cost me is $200.  The most that inaction will cost me is…  well, waiting cost me $400 already, so I guess the cost of waiting is already significantly higher.


The cheese is out there and the rats are feasting, and I’m tired of being screwed by these bastards.


Back in town after a magical week in Orlando.  What fun.


On the other hand, had I acted when I first pondered Citi’s stock price, I’d have turned my $200 investment into $600 in 2 weeks (citi’s gone from $1 to $3).  My hunch is that they’re going to post a profit this quarter (before special items) and it’ll shoot up another few percentage points.  It’s still a risky company and they’re still having serious operational issues, but they’re not insolvent and they’re not a $3 stock.  They may not be a $50 stock anymore, but there’s a LOT of financial real estate between $3 and $50.  My guess is somewhere in the $10 to $15 range, if they survive.


So, I won’t have turned $200 into $2000 or $3000, but I still may turn $200 into $600 or $900 over the course of a few months.  That’s still pretty ok.


In other news, I’ve diversified my garden considerably.  I’ve got peas, zucchini, straight necked squash, cantaloupe, blackberries, figs, 4 types of lettuce (harvested 4x1gallon zip-lock baggies of this stuff already!), cucumbers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, Swiss chard, 2 types of bush beans, Greek oregano, 5 types of tomatoes, and 3 types of peppers.  Next year we’ll cut back on some of the volume and broaden the varieties even more.  We’ll have a virtual cornucopia of veggies.  We also have marigolds and a couple of naca (?) plants for beneficial bugs, butterflies, and humming birds.  I’m not sure I care to have the humming birds around.


The next garden project will be a rain capture and irrigation system using an old water heater and a gutter assembly.  That’ll be fun, but not for a couple more weeks.


Finally, I’ve been required to start an account on “Second Life” for my MIS class on Wednesday nights.  I have to 1. Complete orientation, 2. Find 2 merchants who also have a real world presence, and 3. Write about what happens.  Feel free to follow the misadventures of “Dude Waddington” at http://mistersenior.blogspot.com/ .  I promise to be as open minded as possible, but I don’t promise to like it.


I’m thinking one of my visits will be to NASA so that I can direct a virtual representation of myself to wander through virtual representations of cool space stuff, and imagine the wonder on my son’s face as he looks at a virtual representation of me looking at a virtual representation of something that has never, ever, ever done anything ever and never, ever, ever will.  Unlike, of course, going to the REAL Johnson Space Center where he can look at a REAL space ship or a REAL moon rock.  Because, you know, watching a cartoon do it is just like not being there at all.


Maybe I’ll take him to the second life version of Disney World and compare the experience.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No run last night

Took a test, so no run.

No run tonight, or tomorrow, either.

Probably a run Thursday, in the 2 mile range.


All the looper worms appear to be dead.  Hooray!


Citibank is up 25%--today.  Sigh…  should have opened that account over the weekend.  The bank is operating at a profit and poised to have its best quarter since 2007 (if you believe the CEO).  They’re not out of the woods, yet, though.  CITI still has a lot of garbage to clean up.

Monday, March 09, 2009

3 days after

Ok, so I went to Memorial Park on Friday, not Thursday as originally planned, and got in a  little more than 3 miles.  I know this because the loop is 2.9 miles and I walked about a quarter of a mile away from my car before turning around and running the other direction.  I did not start from the field house.  The view was still spectacular.


I found out that I have a little more in the tank than I did when I leapt out and ran 1.5 the other day.  Then I had just about 1.25 miles in these old legs, Friday I certainly made it past the 1.5 mile region before having to shut it down and walk, and possibly close to 1.75—I wasn’t paying very close attention to the quarter mile posts on the rout at that time.  I do know the last mile from the field house to my car was absolutely brutal.  I DO NOT have a full 3 miles in the tank yet.


I also have absolutely no idea how long I ran because the running mix from Nike shut down somewhere in the middle of the track.  It’s not a very good mix—in a different context it would be called “club music”, which isn’t bad in and of itself, just not what I was expecting on the trail.


Nonetheless, today I feel remarkably good.  Not very stiff, not sore at all.


I replaced by tomato plant corpses with transplants from a local nursery.  When I was digging out the dead ones I found that the little turds had absolutely no root system.  They were all stem!  That’ll kill them every time.  We also found looper worms in our lettuce.  The worms aren’t toxic and, from what I read, they’re not bad for you.  They’re not pleasant and you don’t want them in you lettuce, but some hippie types call them “extra protein”.  I call them rotten little plant eating bastards who have to DIE DIE DIE!!  What Looper Worms do is, basically, eat lettuce, cabbage, broccoli leaves, potato leaves, and tomato leaves.  In my garden I have lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts (from the cabbage family), potatoes, and tomatoes.  A veritable feast for these little fuckers.  They all had to die.


I got some chemical environmental warfare agents for a quick fix, but that’ll only kill the ones currently alive (along with just about every other bug in the ‘hood), and kill them quick.  The next generation will be eliminated through completely organic means, because that is what I really, truly prefer to do.  There’s this microbe stuff called BT that attacks the digestive system of these little nasties and makes them not want to eat, until they die.  There are also lady bugs that eat the eggs.


How sweet.  They’re all gonna die.

Friday, March 06, 2009


March 6, 1836

From Francisco Ruiz, "Report," trans. in Amelia Williams, "A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and the Personnel of Its Defenders," The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XXXVII (July, 1933), 39-40. Another translation by J. H. Quintero was published in the Texas Almanac (Galveston, 1860), 80-81.

On the 6th of March 1836, at 3 a.m., General Santa Anna at the head of 4,000 men advanced against the Alamo. The infantry, artillery and cavalry had formed about 1000 varas from the walls of the same fortress. The Mexican army charged and were twice repulsed by the deadly fire of Travis's artillery, which resembled a constant thunder. At the third charge the Toluca battalion commenced to scale the walls and suffered severely. Out of 830 men only 130 of the battalion were left alive.

When the Mexican army entered the walls, I with the political chief, Don Ramon Musquiz and other members of the corporation, accompanied by the curate, Don Refugio de la Garza, who by Santa Anna's orders had assembled during the night at a temporary fortification on Protero Street, with the object of attending the wounded, etc. As soon as the storming commenced we crossed the bridge on Commerce Street, with this object in view and about 100 yards from the same a party of Mexican dragoons fired upon us and compelled us to fall back on the river to the place that we had occupied before. Half an hour had elapsed when Santa Anna sent one of his aides-de-camp with an order for us to come before him. He directed me to call on some of the neighbors to come with carts to carry the (Mexican) dead to the cemetary and to accompany him, as he desired to have Colonels Travis, Bowie, and Crockett shown to him.

On the north battery of the fortress convent, lay the lifeless body of Col. Travis on the gun carriage, shot only through the forehead. Toward the west and in a small fort opposite the city, we found the body of Colonel Crockett. Col. Bowie was found dead in his bed in one of the rooms on the south side.

Santa Anna, after all the Mexican bodies had been taken out, ordered wood to be brought to burn the bodies of the Texans. He sent a company of dragoons with me to bring wood and dry branches from the neighboring forests. About three o'clock in the afternoon of March 6, we laid the wood and dry branches upon which a pile of dead bodies was placed, more wood was piled on them, then another pile of bodies was brought, and in this manner they were all arranged in layers. Kindling wood was distributed through the pile and about 5 o'clock in the evening it was lighted.

The dead Mexicans of Santa Anna were taken to the graveyard, but not having sufficient room for them, I ordered some to be thrown into the river, which was done on the same day.

The gallantry of the few Texans who defended the Alamo was really wondered at by the Mexican army. Even the generals were astonished at their vigorous resistance, and how dearly victory was bought.

The generals under Santa Anna who participated in the storming of the Alamo, were Juan Amador, Castrillon, Ramirez y Sesma, and Andrade.

The men (Texans) burnt were one hundred and eighty-two. I was an eyewitness, for as alcalde of San Antonio, I was with some of the neighbors, collecting the dead bodies and placing them on the funeral pyre.

Francis Antonio Ruiz



This evening I’m going to Memorial Park to run before I go home.  Between school and work I feel like I’m about to bust and as long as it’s getting dark early I can’t really get my bike out after work, so I’m going to take a stab at a 3 miler tonight before going home.  How bad can it get, right?


In other news…

I’m finishing up some homework last night and the Lovely Wife hollers from the other room “FISHIES!”


Yes, it seems Nemo (we had 3 guppies, all named “nemo” by our 2 year old), has spawned.  There was a baby guppy swimming around last night when she hollered at me.


2 minutes later, there were 2 baby guppies swimming around.


5 minutes after that, 3 baby guppies.


This morning, 11 baby guppies swimming around.  I haven’t the slightest clue how many little sardines will be swimming around when I get home tonight.  One of the nemos was chasing a few of the babies around, so a few may actually be baitfish.  We’ll have to see.


The nursery around the corner from my home is selling tomato transplants for a buck a piece.  I’m going to buy a dozen more of those bad boys and see if I can kill those, too.  I think I’m going to adopt the nickname “tomato reaper”, to express my prowess in killing the shit out of tomato plants.


By the way, Citibank is down to about a buck a share.  I think I’m going to finally open that Ameritrade account and go bargain hunting.  Remember back during the techsplosion in the mid 1990s when you would say “if only I had gotten in on the beginning of this fantastic rise in the economy...”?  Well, I really, really think now is that time all over again.  Citibank is NOT a $1 stock.  Assuming they can get their credit house in order, they’re  a $40 or $50 stock.  $100 today can be $5000 in 4 or 5 years.  That’s a pretty damn good ROI.  A helluva lot better than $100 in books or tomato plants or sheer, unadulterated panic.  Alternatively, Citi can go totally bankrupt and you’ve lost, what, $100?  The damnable thing is that on top of that $100, there will be even bigger things to worry about if Citi goes bankrupt.  So, if you’re betting on the failure of Citi, you’re betting on some pretty nasty shit.  On the other hand, you can put $100 into the stock betting on recovery, and then you’re really shitting in high cotton, yea?


Let’s see, $5, three times a week, for coffee at Starbucks…  4 weeks a month…  that’s 60 shares of Citi each month, give or take.  I think I can cut back on one perk a month to put some funds down banking on recovery.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dead. All dead. Every last one of them...

Ok, didn’t run last night worked too late and didn’t feel like running too much.  Eh.


On the other hand, there is an extremely good chance I’ll hit Memorial after work tomorrow and go running just to try and extend the distance a little prematurely.  Lots of vaca planning still to do, though and not a lot of time left to do it.  But in just 9 days’ time, we’ll be east bound and down, loaded up and truckin’ to see MICKEY MOUSE MICKEY MOUSE MICKEY MOUSE MICKEY MOUSE!!!

Yea, I’m looking forward to it.  In fact, I can’t sleep, I’m too excited to sleep.


Meanwhile, all of my tomatoes are dead.  Every last one of them.  Just 4 days ago they were perfectly healthy, sitting on my window ledge.  Then, I touched them.  Now every single one is either deader than fried chicken, or damn near to it.  One still has a little green left on the stalk, but I’m certain that’ll go away before the end of today.  I did, after all, look at it this morning.  I have the worst luck with tomatoes.


The good news, though, is that there is still time to get some transplants at the garden center.  Rather than planting 16, I think I’ll key it back to 8 or 9 and have 2 or 3 varieties and 3 or 4 of each variety, just to mix things up a bit.


And can someone please tell me what a “profit and earnings ratio” is?  According to the financier in chief, the market is getting close to where profit and earnings ratios are more reasonable and over the long run things may turn around.  But for the life of me I can’t find a single reference to a profit and earnings ratio.  I know what a “margin” is, and that’s the ratio of profit to revenue.  I know what a P/E ratio is, and that’s PRICE to earnings regarding a stock price and a firms expected earnings (unlike a tracking poll, which is backward looking, market prices are forward looking).  But I haven’t the slightest clue what a profit and earnings ratio is.  Not the slightest.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The problem

Tonight I’ll probably get in a 1.5 mile run again.  Probably.  We’ll see…  I’ve got 6 chapters to outline before the end of the weekend and a vacation to finish planning.


My tomatoes aren’t doing so well.  We transplanted them to the garden, but just about 2 minutes after they hit the dirt the little bastards decided to start wilting.  I just don’t fucking get it.  Why can EVERYBODY in the whole world grow fucking tomatoes, and I can’t even get the little bastards to live?


And so now we see the problem with the Republican party.  They’re so busy sucking that fat bastard Rush Limbaugh’s dick that they can’t manage to put together 2 cohesive sentences.  Try saying this, Chairman Steele:  “BUT HE IS A TALKSHOW HOST!”  Nobody elected that idiot to lead the party.  If they party wants that loud mouthed idiot to be the leader of the party, I say give the party to him.  Done and done.  Walk away and nominate him to be the chairman.  But if they want to actually steer the party into something that resembles a cohesive opposition that will be part of the conversation and, presumably, help develop some kind of solution, then provide the vision for that cohesion, you pussy.

If we’re going to have a 2 party system, there sure as hell ought to be a second party.  For quite awhile in DC there was only 1 party—the republicans—and they fucked things up nicely.  SINGLE PARTY RULE IN A TWO PARTY SYSTEM DOES NOT WORK FOR VERY LONG!  If the idiots that steered that bus into the ditch are now going to sit back and let the other single party rulers drive the bus into the ditch, then we’re all going to be hyper-screwed.  We, as a nation, have been given a unique opportunity of a President who has a broad popular mandate and is at least TALKING about translating that broad mandate from the people to the congress.  A good opposition would insist that he not only TALK a good game, but actually DO what he’s talking about.  Unfortunately the only people interested in participating in that broad mandate are the democrats, so that single voice is going to shape the conversation.  The republicans can’t raise their voice as long as Rush’s schlong is buried deep in their throats.  Here’s an idea, GET A FUCKING IDEA!!  Last time I checked Rush Limbaugh had never won a single political office.  Not a single one.  If he wants to be the leader of the republican party, nominate him to lead.  If he rejects the nomination, tell him to shut the fuck up and do his stupid little talk show.

Monday, March 02, 2009


No running over the weekend (big shock, eh?).

I DID get my tomatoes in the ground, but I think it may have been 1 or 2 weeks too soon.  The problem is that I’m going out of town in 2 weeks and had to get those puppies in the ground, and I figured sooner was better than later.  The bigger problem is that a couple of them were still pretty immature and may not make the transition to the outdoors.  Out of 16 plants, it looks like I may still have 12, possibly 14.  I’m be STUNNED if I get all 16 to survive.

Cest la vie.


Meanwhile, the market continues to plunge.  I’m a little surprised the bloodletting has continued this long, but what you gonna do?  So, I think this officially passed the “bad” mark when the 7,000 threshold was crossed.  12 year lows are unprecedented.  That still doesn’t mean it’s a terrible thing.  A fundamental restructuring of the way we buy and sell things may be happening, which is a good thing.  You simply can’t continue to grow an economy on credit alone.  That’s one of those fundamental structures of the economy that is showing itself to still be intact.  You eventually need to pay the bills.  HEAR THAT CONGRESS?!?


The silver lining, though, could be this:  yes, that $1 you put into your index fund is now worth $0.50 (or less), but that $0.50, coupled with today’s $1.00, will be worth $3.00 when the market recovers back to the point it fell from.  When will that recovery happen?  I THOUGHT it might be next summer, but I’m not so sure it will be that soon anymore.  Almost certainly it’ll be within 10 years, which would represent a 10% year on year return (10% per year for 10 years is 100%), which is pretty damn good under any circumstances.  And since these things rarely go in a smooth line, it’s probably best to be prepared when things are cheap.


Then again, if you’re retiring soon and your portfolio wasn’t properly diversified into income generating funds life will really, really suck for the next several years (might even suck if you were properly diversified).  Too bad social security wasn’t properly reformed to ensure those who need it will be able to get it far, far into the future.  Herein we see an excellent argument in favor of social security reform coupled with extreme caution in the march toward total privatization of those funds.