Friday, February 29, 2008

Back In The Stirrups

You've probably heard about the dust-up caused by Matt Drudge revealing that Prince Harry was a squaddie in Afghanistan. My interest in England's royals is, statistically, zero-point-zero-zero. However, I did see this in a story about them pulling the fightin' Prince out of harm's way:

"Following a detailed assessment of the risks by the operational chain of command, the decision has been taken by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of Defence Staff, in consultation with General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, to withdraw Prince Harry from Afghanistan immediately.' -UK Daily Mail

That's right. The Chief of Defence Staff is named, Sir Jock Stirrup. It's Friday afternoon, you're free to chuckle, soldier.

At ease.


Just a tiny bit of market talk on a Friday... we are now two weeks and two days past the February 13th confirmation of the current "rally." I have stayed on the sidelines watching for some breakouts or some volume moving into the market. Rather than go through that chore in detail I'll just say this: on the day we "confirmed" the QQQQ's closed at 44.18. Ten trading days later they closed on Thursday 2/28 at 44.12. Impressive rally, no?


Today the sellers have been running things since the open. The last QQQQ tick I just saw was 43.37.

Some rally, huh? Over four months in cash now and still "hoping for change I can believe in."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind... Until it Stops

Those of us trying to scratch out a living in the equities market try to stay aware of many things. Just a few of those are oil prices, the value of the dollar, and the relationship between the two. Last Saturday there was an interesting article in the New York Times which I eventually saw this morning. (Let's just say the NYT website isn't on my short list of "must reads.") This article talks about the growth of wind farms in Texas and quotes T. Boone Pickens at some length. When Boone talks about energy it makes good sense to listen.

So, the short version is that windpower is growing and the most likely sites for wind farms are in the mid-section of the US. While some project a contribution to the national grid of 20% a la The Netherlands, the more likely high side is 5-7%. That's substantial given that Texas now generates the most windpower electricity in the US currently but it isn't anywhere near 7% of the state's demand. Meaning, there's going to be a lot of investment there in the next decade or more.

Then along comes Tuesday evening, Feb 26th in Texas. At 6:41PM local time they had a Stage 2 power emergency. It seems that at the same time they had a 14% surge in electric demand due to cold weather they also had the wind die down. In an instant the windfarms in question went from 1,700 megawatts of production to 300 megawatts. Apparently they didn't experience a power failure but they did come dangerously close to having demand overtake supply.

We usually think of wind-generated electricity as something on the margins. But the events of Tuesday showed a vulnerability with wind power that I had not considered. With other power sources when demand jumps we just increase the number of turbines spinning in the hydro plant or the amount of fuel being used be it coal, nat gas, nuclear, or incinerated garbage. But how do you make up 20% of your supply in an instant if the wind stops blowing?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Way Beneath Your Contempt

Behold the enchanting image of Oscar winning crockumentarian Alex Gibney to the left. Way to the left. You probably have never seen him since most Americans didn't watch the Academy Awards funeral ceremony Sunday night. But you may have heard that a leftist propaganda operative won a lesser award for an anti-American documentary. Gibney is that guy.
What wasn't apparent to even those who were watching TV was the color of little Alex's "look-at-me-I-care-more-than-you-do" ribbon. It was orange. Lots of the Hollywoodsters were wearing orange ribbons and orange rubber bracelets. So many of our film elites were sporting orange that a reporter from The Washington Post noticed and inquired. He found that they were orange like the jumpsuits issued terrorist battlefield detainees.
Yep, Alex and his pals were showing their solidarity with al Qaeda and other terrorists. Several years ago I called some "anti-war" yappers "al Qaeda sympathizers." They protested angrily. I was right then and Alex and his pals are proof positive. By the way, most of these folks were even more ardently Saddam Symps, too.
There aren't very many detainees left at Gitmo. The last I checked there were around 250, down from 600+ at one time. Among those still detained are six terrorists who will be tried in a military court for the September 11, 2001 murder of over 3,000 people in New York, Washington DC, and aboard UA93 over Pennsylvania. So, when Alex Gibney wears his orange ribbon or rubber bracelet he is saying that he's "down with" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of those September 11, 2001 attacks. KSM has even bragged that he planned 9/11 "from A-Z."
Wearing an orange ribbon in solidarity with KSM & his cohorts. Unbelievable.
And, that's not all. Alex Gibney and his pals are showing sympathy for the same KSM who has claimed credit, to various degrees, for:

-The February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City
- The Richard Reid "shoe bomber" operation
-The October 2002 attack in Kuwait
-The nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia
-A plan for a "second wave" of attacks on major U.S. landmarks to be set in the spring or summer of 2002 after the 9/11 attacks, which includes more hijackings of commercial airlines and having them flown into various buildings in the U.S. including the Library Tower in Los Angeles , the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Plaza Bank building in Seattle and the Empire State Building in New York
-Plots to attack oil tankers and U.S. naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and in Singapore
-A plan to blow up the Panama Canal
-Plans to assassinate Jimmy Carter
-A plot to blow up suspension bridges in New York City
-A plan to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago with burning fuel trucks
-Plans to "destroy" Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben in London
-A planned attack on "many" nightclubs in Thailand
-A plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange and other U.S. financial targets
-A plan to destroy buildings in Eilat, Israel
-Plans to destroy U.S. embassies in Indonesia, Australia and Japan in 2002.
-Plots to destroy Israeli embassies in India, Azerbaijan, the Philippines and Australia
-Surveying and financing an attack on an Israeli El-Al flight from Bangkok
-Sending several "mujahideen" into Israel to survey "strategic targets" with the intention of attacking them
-The November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya
-The failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet leaving Mombasa airport in Kenya
-Plans to attack U.S. targets in South Korea
-Providing financial support for a plan to attack U.S., British and Jewish targets in Turkey
-Surveillance of U.S. nuclear power plants in order to attack them
-A plot to attack NATO's headquarters in Europe
-Planning and surveillance in a 1995 plan (the "Bojinka Operation") to bomb 12 American passenger jets
-The planned assassination attempt against then-U.S. President Bill Clinton during a mid-1990s trip to the Philippines.
-"Shared responsibility" for a plot to kill Pope John Paul II
-Plans to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
-An attempt to attack a U.S. oil company in Sumatra, Indonesia, "owned by the Jewish former [U.S.] Secretary of State Henry Kissinger"
-The beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
Source: BBC
So that's the state of Hollywood today. No "thank you" to the military who keeps us safe. Nothing but contempt for the Commander in Chief. And much love for terrorists.
Sick bastards.

Those Bass Were Very Green

Last weekend the Bassmaster Classic fishing tourney took place on Lake Hartwell here in the Palmetto State. ESPN2 was all over it all weekend, of course, and fishing fans were on the edge of their couches and La-Z-Boys all across the nation. Reportedly the fella pictured here won. But word comes to us today that the event brought $43 Million in economic activity to South Carolina, so I believe we all won.

The hotel/ restaurant folks in the northwest part of SC said it was as busy as when USC plays football at Clemson every other season. Given that it was cold and rainy for much of the time I suspect there was nearly as much alcohol consumption going on as on a football weekend at Clemson too. Almost as much, but not quite.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Miggy Boom

On a day with heavy rains in the morning and high winds in the afternoon we were looking for a ray of bright sunshine. Here it is:

Cabrera homers on second pitch as a Tiger
Tom Gage / The Detroit News
LAKELAND, Fla. -- That didn't take long.
On the second pitch to him as a Tiger, Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run home run to straightaway center Tuesday in the Tigers' annual exhibition opener against Florida Southern.
Cabrera's blast sailed over the 420-foot sign in center and caromed high off the backdrop. He hit it off a
college junior, right-hander Ken Wadsworth, but it was a booming blast all the same.

Opening day can't come fast enough.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Sees Ratings, Puts Head in Plastic Bag

Our local Sunday paper, The Metrolina Disturber, had an Oscar Preview article from the AP containing this quote from Gil Cates, producer of the telecast:

"I think we're going to have a wonderful turnout because there haven't been awards shows. Not only our community is really excited about all of us getting together, but I think out there in the rest of the world, there is awards fever."

Guess again, Gil. No fever detected.

The numbers are in and last night's telecast had a 21% smaller audience than the 2007 show which I didn't watch. In fact, the audience was 14% lower than the all-time stinker show, 2003. You remember that one. The nation was gripped in the 12 month long "rush to war in Iraq." How could Hollywood be happy when Saddam was in danger? Or sumpthin' like that. Hard to remember the lefty rationale sometimes.

Of course, last night the Hollywoodsters dutifully saluted several troop-bashing documentaries.
Perhaps this ratings news shows that bashing America can get you even worse numbers than hand-wringing over a future conflict.

As a former entertainment executive I shall now offer some advice. I will NOT charge an exhorbitant consulting fee for this sage advice:

1. Nominate movies people went to see starring actors they admire.

2. To facilitate #1, make movies that are uplifting and celebrate the greatness of Western Civilization in general and America in particular.

3. If you must throw an award or two to the thousands of left-wing documentarians starving out there, do it at the luncheon early in the week and don't even mention it on TV. They'll appreciate the free meal and not having to rent formal wear. See? Win-Win.

4. Hire a real star to be the host. You remember stars. You used to have them host the show. Guys like Bob Hope, Johnny Carson et al. A guy with a smirky cable TV comedy show isn't a "star." He's a personality. Witty maybe. Clever sometimes. But zero star power. I know this shocks you, but a high percentage of your potential audience has never heard of the guy. Leno they know. Denzel they admire. Will Smith they adore. Try it.

The illustrious academy will pay no attention to any of this. They are like A&R people in the old record business-- more interested in being "hip" in their own little club than coming up with something the masses enjoy.

Good luck.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

We Really Should Have Seen This Coming

Here at Monkeydarts (America's-fastest-growing-blog-sensation-sweeping-the-nation) we are proud of our attention to the flinging of darts by trained monkeys. It's what we do, after all. One of the predictions we confidently made nearly a month ago was that "Hillary is toast."

Others have argued that Texans, Ohioans and even Pennsylvantanians (er, whatever they are) will stop young Obama and restore order to the Democrat Party of Clintonism. We eschew this view. We've seen the crying, the fainting, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the cheering of BHO blowing his nose fer cryin' out loud... no way the Golden Child can be denied.

But we forgot one very important thing. The Flying Monkeys. She still has The Flying Monkeys! Monkeys. Somehow we should have seen this coming.
By the way. It won't work. But it is fun to watch one of her Flying Monkeys nodding away behind her.

37 Years and Nothing To Show For It

Last week the UK Daily Record told the world that...

"LEGENDARY (Loch Ness Monster) hunter Robert Rines is giving up his search for the monster after 37 years. Despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming."

Now the Warmists have gone too far. It's one thing when they tell our children that polar bears are in danger of drowning or that coastal America will soon be covered by a rising sea--- bright kids instinctively know that is claptrap hoo-hah. But when they try to kill our imaginary creatures, why they've gone too far!

What will the High Priests of the Church of Warmism do next? Tell us the abominable snowman died of heat stroke? That Bigfoot died of foot blisters (really big ones, natch) from walking on too hot rocks? An outrage.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Winless since February 9th, the Sharks defeated the Philly Flyers 3-1 last night. This has been the month that tries Sharks fans' souls.

A Day at the Lake and Nearby

Most weekdays I climb in the Jeep for a 24 mile roundtrip starting around 8AM. Today, despite a cold rain, the trip was made. The drive goes away from the lake and out across the county on a state route. Passing the construction site of a new Lowe's Home Improvement Power Center we slop some red mud on the side of the Jeep. The rain should wash it off. Next it's over a creek named for a family that settled here in the 1700's, past some beautiful farms, by the volunteer fire department where we vote, and through the intersection where the huge new Junior High is being built. More sloppy red mud acquired there. We are in the middle of a building boom in our corner of the country. All the housing slump means around here is that fewer New Yorkers are able to cash out and move here. Nobody is getting too choked up about that. The school district added 900 students just this past school year alone. Just wait 'til people find out we cut our already low property taxes by 65% this year in our state. Even more farm land around here will be growing houses the next few years.
Noted: the first blossoms are coming out on the fruit trees. Better put down the pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer next week if we get some dry weather. Continuing west we pass a horse and goat farm, a church that dates its existence to before the American Revolution, and then a left onto a crossing county road. That drops us into a hollow where a family raises a Shetland pony in the same pasture as their goats. They even built a small arch bridge over a stream at the bottom of their land and the goats taught the pony to cross there. Goats seem pretty smart so it's a safe guess they taught the pony this trick. Now it's a right at another church and onto a state route.
On the east-bound trip I take a different route that goes past a dairy farm, a Brangus farm, and lots of hay fields. On the south side of the road Belted Galloways graze on a beautiful plot of land. I think they're Belted Galloways but they might be BueLingos. They look like a reverse saddle shoe. Cheerleaders wore saddle shoes when I was a kid-- maybe nobody knows what they are anymore. The cows are a deep reddish black front and back with a pure white saddle. Belted Galloways? BueLingos? Some day I'll find out for sure. A few more turns and past a new home construction site and we're back at the lake and home.
Throughout the whole trip this morning there was an uncommon smell. Certainly the rain was making the air fresh, but added into that was the wonderful smell of hardwood smoke. All along the way families were warming up their homes with wood-burning fireplaces. It was just another drive in the rain this morning but it sure smelled sweet.
Now imagine this. A trip of roughly the same duration to the northeast and I would find myself in front of the headquarters of two of the biggest banks in the world. I doubt it smells like wood smoke there this morning. Although there may be some people fuming in those buildings about the acquisitions by those banks of some California-based lending institutions in the past couple years. Or maybe it's happy faces all around.
Good luck with all that.
Meanwhile, I hope it rains all day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Disappointed and Saddened

Earlier this hour Senator McCain and his wife appeared in front of the cameras in Toledo, Ohio to address the New York Times smear. This was a great opportunity for candidate McCain to show some fire and go after his dear friends in the leftist media. Instead he spoke quietly and kept telling us how disappointed he was. What was disappointing to me was that the presumptive Republican candidate couldn't find it in him to go on attack against a hit job by the biggest liberal paper in the country. It was a horrible press conference.

Cindy McCain showed an angry spark when she spoke briefly, but St. John of Arizona just looked old, tired, and sad. Instead of it being an event that could get the base on his side it just caused conservatives to laugh. He actually still seems to think that his years of attacking Republicans will earn him good press through the campaign this year against Obama.

Rather than being disappointed and saddened by this smear perhaps the candidate would be better off treating it as a teaching moment. They've deserted you John. You need "us" more than ever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Played Yer Eyes... Wha?

The last time a Democrat running for President earned as much as 51% of the popular vote was LBJ in 1964. So here we are 44 long years later and the Democrat candidates are peddling the same old leftist swill. Nothing much different than the disgraced, miserable Lyndon... or McGovern or Carter or Mondale or Dukakis or Gore or Kerry. Bubba won in '92 with just 43% of the vote promising a tax cut. He lied about that, raised taxes, pushed Hillary-care and ushered in the biggest Republican takeover of Congress in history. Now, one of the two still running pumps the lefty junk with a shriek and a drone-- the other in lighter-than-air vapidity that makes the little girls swoon. That's about all it comes down to. Who ya got?

It is so dismal, and the two remaining candidate's positions are so similar, that the race has turned on things having nothing to do with 2009-era governance: race, one candidate's loose cannon spouse (a former POTUS), the other candidate's loose cannon spouse (who says that nothing much good has happened in America during her adult life), superdelegate bribing, inability to count primary votes, depriving FL and MI of their delegates, kindergarten reports, and on and on.

Meanwhile, the ever-diligent US media yawns and reports on today's polls and speculates about when someone will drop out. They don't bother on issues because, well, the candidates are two sides of the same coin. One will back the biggest tax increase in history, the other will do that plus a dollar more. Neither seems terribly interested in defending America against her enemies. Both would greatly enlarge the role of the federal government in the life of the ordinary American. So, what's to report on? Better to just do the horserace junk.

Into this comes the latest flap over nothing: Obama had a riff in a speech that sounded like a 2006 campaign speech by MA Gov. Deval Patrick. By now you've probably seen the videos. The Clinton campaign overreaches by telling us it's, gasp, PLAGIARISM! The BHO campaign sez, "No big thing. Deval's my friend and we trade lines with each other." Or words to that effect. But so far I haven't seen any media outlet report on the most interesting thing revealed by this little blip: both Patrick and Obama have their message tooled by the same consultants-- "AKP&D Message and Media" out of Chicago. The "A" in this firm is David Axelrod and he is never far from BHO's side. He also "did message" for Deval Patrick's 1996 campaign.

That soaring rhetoric that has lifted the Obama hot-air balloon over everyone this year? Most of it comes from the agile mind of Axelrod. If you don't believe it just compare how BHO sounds when he's using a teleprompter with how he sounds in an interview or debate. Let's just say there wouldn't be young girls fainting at a BHO rally if the prompters weren't working.

So, if some cable news channel wants to have some fun, instead of comparing Patrick's language to Obama's, compare "prompter Obama's" rhetoric to "off-the-cuff Obama's" hemming and hawing. More importantly you would find that when BHO isn't reading AKP&D's stuff and has to talk off the top of his head he goes very hard left. Axelrod knows that to get to that 51% and an electoral college win his client needs to soar higher than the treetops. Without A-Rod crafting the message young Barack sounds farther left than anyone that's gotten the nomination since McGovern. That won't work in 2008 even though the Republicans have given the Democrats the gift of a McCain candidacy.

Republican strategists right now are thinking of ways they'll be able to get Obama away from Axelrod's lofty rhetoric and into his default language-- which is a warmed-over Marxism just this side of Hugo Chavez.

Market Fun

The US stock markets followed through last Wednesday, February 13th, marking the confirmation of a fragile new rally. The strength of that rally was challenged immediately with the NASDAQ dropping 41 points Thursday and nearly 11 points Friday. The rally was not officially killed--- although CPR was needed over the three day break.

Which brings us to this morning. With US markets closed yesterday, the Asian and European markets performed fairly well. Futures for the S&P and NASDAQ100 are strong as we go into the open. But the final hour or two today will tell the tale-- not the open. We'll learn that we should either continue to stay out or that it's OK to start trading lightly. Nothing that can happen today will say, "Plunge in!" however.

The bell has rung and the NASDAQ opens up 27.

UPDATE: The NASDAQ's high for the day was right around that opening trade. It was weakest in the final hour. Not a good sign for a rallying market.

A Long Week

On 2/12, a mere week ago, the staff here at Monkeydarts was celebrating a great Sharks win and looking forward to a win that night. Instead San Jose lost in OT to the Flames of Calgary that evening. But at least they got a point for the standings-- something they haven't done in the three games since. Valentine's night they lost in The Tank to the Oilers and then blew town for a seven game roadtrip. No problem, the Sharks have been great on the road. Not so fast you cock-eyed optimist!

Sunday the Rangers topped them 3-1 and last night it was the Islanders turn 3-2. They're staying in the NYC area for a game with the Devils tomorrow night before driving south a few miles to face the Flyers Thursday. Unfortunately the Stars have taken this time to heat up a bit too.

This is the hard final third of the regular season. It's important for the Sharks to finish strong and improve their playoff seeding. Let's go Sharks!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Keep Cool in 2008

On the masthead here at Monkeydarts we brandish a pithy quote from one of the two greatest Presidents of the United States in the 20th Century. It's been there since the beginning of our site many decades... er, weeks ago. In honor of President's Day here are a few more wise words from Calvin Coolidge--

On persistence: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan 'press-on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

The party that will most likely be in control of the legislative and executive branches next year favors the largest tax increase in US history. Calvin was a supply-sider before people used the term. Coolidge understood the "Laffer Curve" before Art Laffer was on this earth. Along those lines: "The method of raising revenue ought not to impede the transaction of business; it ought to encourage it. I am opposed to extremely high rates, because they produce little or no revenue, because they are bad for the country, and, finally, because they are wrong... The wise and correct course to follow in taxation and in all other economic legislation is not to destroy those who have already secured success but to create conditions under which every one will have a better chance to be successful."

As we see the ugly rise of anti-trade, hate-the-successful, nitwit populism in American politics once again, try this from the The Cool One: "Government cannot relieve from toil. The normal must take care of themselves. Self-government means self-support. Ultimately property rights and personal rights are the same thing. History reveals no civilized people among whom there was not a highly educated class and large aggregations of wealth. Large profits mean large payrolls."

In this election year, a bit of wisdom about our political class: "The people who start to elect a man to get what he can for his district will probably find they have elected a man who will get what he can for himself."

Coolidge presided over an amazing period of peace and prosperity. When he chose not to run again his popularity was such that he clearly would have won in a landslide. Instead he said, "We draw our Presidents from the people. It is a wholesome thing for them to return to the people. I came from them. I wish to be one of them again."

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Wednesday I wrote, right here on America's fastest-growing-blog-sensation-sweeping-the- nation: Monkeydarts, that "Uno is the greatest beagle ever. "

I am reminded that there was another "greatest beagle ever" and her grainy Kodak Brownie image is above. That picture is from about 1965 give or take a year and I have mercifully cropped out the geeky 7th grader in the photograph. The real star of that picture was Boo.
Boo was the greatest FEMALE beagle ever while Uno is the greatest MALE beagle ever.

The editorial staff at Monkeydarts regrets any confusion this caused. Thank you for your patience and kind attention.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not On My Lake You Don't

Many years ago we were in The Bahamas on a cruise paid for by the ad sales department of a Dallas radio station. (I had a big ad budget back then-- but it was nothing compared to what would come later. Some days I miss the 80's and 90's.) But, I digress.

We went on a cruise to The Bahamas. In Nassau we did the touristy thing: a guided trip in a glass-bottom boat. That diversion is now remembered mainly for the guide, a robust local chap, who would tell everyone as we gazed down through the glass, "All is nature. Nature is all." That was pretty much the extent of his snappy patter. I don't remember any of the fish, shells, or anything else except that we passed over an empty Bud can at one point as he was saying, "Nature is all." Ain't it funny what you remember.

In the news today I see we're taking the glass-bottom boat in a new direction and making a sports car with no roof that drives straight into the lake or ocean and turns into a submarine with no roof. Sure, everybody wants one of those. It's the Swiss-made sQuba by Rinspeed. (pictured above if the photo loads properly) Ever driven a Swiss-made car? I didn't think so. There's a reason for that you know.

At least the fella in charge of Rinspeed admits to what inspired him: "The Spy Who Loved Me" starring Roger Moore as the daring secret agent, Zer0-Zer0-7even. I admit, I've seen the movie despite the fact that I never bought Moore as James Bond. Not for a minute. Not even close. The Lotus Esprit Bond drives that turns into a mini-sub is a far better actor than Roger Moore and more memorable too. And, this is important for our discussion here, IT WAS A FAKE.
Barbara Bach is the Bond girl in this one. She can't act either, but Ringo didn't seem to care so why should I. That big character actor, Richard Kiel, gets fitted with "steel teeth" so he can play a bad guy named Jaws. Clever. Almost as clever as the Swiss guy naming his submarine car sQuba. "The Spy Who Loved Me" is one of those Roger Moore/ Bond films that causes you to say to yourself, "This would have been pretty good with Sean Connery in it." Other Roger Moore/ Bond films make you say, "That was really awful." (see: "The Man With The Golden Gun") So, hey, that's something.

Back to the sQuba. Here's the problem I have with this car/sub thing. I like cars. I like boats a little bit too and I think personal subs are really cool. We live on a lake. So, when you think about it, I just could be the market for this sQuba. But, our big ol' lake was made by damming a river that flows from the mountains of North Carolina. As this river flows through the Piedmont and on into South Carolina it gets dammed several times to make lakes. Ours is but one. Now, let's add in that the ground here is red clay. Very red. Red, red, red dirt. We're famous for our red dirt.
Slow water + red dirt= 1 muddy lake.
I'm tellin' ya, this sQuba thing could be sitting ten feet off the end of the docks down at T-Bones and, if it was covered by as little as 6 inches of water, you would never know it was there.
If you want to sell a car/boat thingy around here, Mr. Swiss fella, make sure it floats and that there is plenty of room for fishing rods, tackle boxes, and a large ice chest. And put a removable top on that thing-- it gets hot out there on the lake.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Grand Inquisitor

Why does this circus freakshow refugee think his role in American life is to investigate everyone? What a sad, angry, miserable slimeball.

It seems everyone today is shocked that Inquisitor Waxman's hearings yesterday broke along party lines. Hmmm, let's see, Democrats were attacking a successful American who is in the dreaded Top 1% of earners. Meanwhile they went easy on the admitted drug dealer.
That shouldn't shock anyone.
Another total waste of taxpayer money. No shock there either.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Feel Somewhat Stimulated

Judging from the TV image in the lower right corner of my trading screen it looks like The President of the United States is preparing to sign the fabulous 2008 stimulation program of tax rebatation. Or whatever they're calling this one. I thought the only thing happening in Washington DC today was grilled Rocket with a side dish of steamed trainer... but, NO! We also get a heapin' helpin' of dough with green gravy ladled on top.

To celebrate I am going to move 73 cents in coin and a canceled postage stamp from my left pocket to my right in a brilliant parody of the power of the "stimulus."

As you know from last week, I'm a maverick now.

It's A Landslide

From the moment this canine capered onto the carpet at Madison Square Garden Monday night there was no doubt he'd win the hound group competition and roll on to a Tuesday night landslide victory for Best In Show. The shocking thing to learn was that in the long history of the Westminster Kennel Club no beagle has ever won best in show--- until now. This proud pup pranced in front of the crowd and completely won them over.

In other landslide news B.H. Obama won by huge margins over the once inevitable nominee of the Democrats.

She's toast.

He's on a roll.

And Uno is the greatest beagle ever. He also could come up with a smarter tax plan than any of the Democrats in his sleep. Hmmm... is it too late to replace Scowly McCain with Uno the Beagle?

FULL DISCLOSURE: Uno, though owned by a consortium of people from four states, spends most of his time living at the home of his trainer Aaron Wilkerson. Aaron was the man who showed Uno at MSG and has taken him to all the TV chat shows this morning. He lives in the Midlands of our beautiful Palmetto State. Lugoff, South Carolina to be precise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cheechoo, Gitch Yer Red Hot Cheeechooo...

The pride of Moose Factory is getting hot again. It seems like ages since Jonathan Cheechoo has been a big scoring threat for the Sharks but he scored a hat trick Sunday in the 4-3 win over Nashville. Cheech has 7 goals in the past 7 games. Looks like we're getting some Red Hot Cheechoo once again.

Tonight Calgary visits San Jose. The Sharks are in 2nd in the Pacific, six points behind Dallas. But the Sharks have 5 games in hand so they're actually in a better position than the Stars. If you follow that you're a hockey fan. If you're not you stopped reading somewhere around Moose Factory.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We're #13, We're #13, We're #13!

According to Japanese brewing powerhouse Kirin, the #1 country in per capita beer consumption is The Czech Republic. Ireland, Germany, Australia and Austria round out the Top 5. The USA comes in down (but not out)at #13 with our adult population consuming about 2 and a half bottles a week on average. Two and a half bottles per week? Someone's not trying very hard. The Czechs are beating us senseless! They average twice as much beer per day than Americans. What is wrong with you people?!?!?! Start sucking up more suds-- NOW!

On a more uplifting note. Americans are #2 in total consumption of the brewer's art. Ranked #1 is China, but only because there are so darn many of them. They don't even make the Top 35 in per capita beer guzzling.

Carolina Blue Skies

A very windy Sunday afternoon found us looking for more pottery in the famous region surrounding Seagrove, NC. A beautiful day for a drive on the backroads of The Piedmont. (Finding lunch was a different story.) Back home in time to watch the final hour of golf from God's own course, Pebble Beach. A great weekend.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

'Tis The Season

Most adults in America know the dread deadline of April 15th. For those of us with (multiple) college age children the tax season brings an added bit of pain: FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Perhaps the most perplexing part of the FAFSA process is that you really need to have your federal taxes completed before you fill in the FAFSA forms. But, in many cases, FAFSA needs to be sent in 60 days before the IRS deadline. So, while you're still waiting on all the information needed to do your 1040 you have to use the information from the yet-to-be completed 1040 to fill in the FAFSA. Nice.
My kids point out that I've gotten much grayer since the first of them went off to college. I can't imagine why.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Easy Down the Road He Goes

I miss Fred.
Today more than ever.
At least we'll always have that lunch at The Golden Corral in Rock Hill, SC the last week of the campaign.
Good times. Good times. Sigh.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

He's Won Me Over

John McCain, that rascally ol' maverick, has won me over. His outreach to conservatives yesterday which, when translated, was: "Calm down! Shut up! Get in line! My friend!" was so compelling I could no longer resist its magical spell.

So, I shall become a "maverick" just like John. I shall go against the wishes of the Republican Party as John has so many times. In November I'll vote for every real conservative I can find up and down my ballot and then for President I'll write in : Richard B. Cheney.

Thanks John for bringing out my inner maverick! Look at me! I'm a maverick!

Pitchin', catchin' is happenin'

Just finished looking at some pictures of pitchers. Verlander, Zumaya, Bonderman, Robertson and more Tigers are in Lakeland loosening up and getting ready for spring training.
Just in time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

May I Differ, Please?

Mark Steyn is a favorite of mine. I seldom disagree much with his observations on the passing parade but I think he mis-read the Huckaboom last night in AL, GA and TN. Mark wrote on The Corner:

"Well, the heartland spoke last night and about the only message it sent was that, no matter what the talk radio guys say, they're not voting for a Mormon; no way, no how."

I don't think that it's about Mormonism, frankly. Mitt's problem in the South is that he comes off as a slightly snobbish Country Club Yankee. I'm sure you can find people who didn't vote for Mitt because he's a Mormon, but it's not the prevailing view. Futures trading had AL, GA, TN and MN all going to McCain as the polls opened. I believe that the power of talk radio across "the heartland" knocked McCain down in those states. In the South the voters turned to the guy they're more comfortable with: Huck. In MN they turned to the one they feel more comfortable with: Mitt.

It isn't that he's Mormon. It's that he seems to be a Northeastern swell.

If Mitt had been the Governor of Utah instead of MA... knew how to wear jeans and boots... looked a little more like GI Joe and less like Ken... people in the mythical heartland would be warmer towards him.

I have little doubt, however, that the conventional (NY/DC) wisdom will be that, 1) Rush failed to stop McCain and 2) Southerners are a bunch of snake-handlin' goobers who won't vote for a Mormon.

Where Angels Fear to Tread

Let's go to the videotape and see how my fearless Super Tuesday forecast played out...

I had Mitt winning 6 states and he picked up an extra one for 7. I had Huck winning only Arkansas and then added in WV after he and McCain worked some backroom voodoo there. He did much better by taking 5 states here in the SEC. McCain did less well than I thought he would. I had him down for 12 wins and he took 9. The fact is I missed Delaware yesterday which was a McCain win. So there were 4 states he lost that surprised me: GA, TN and AL to Huck and MN to Mitt.

What did it all mean? Pretty much what we figured on the R side: McCain gets a step closer and Huck increases his VP standing. As if that isn't bad enough for the Conservative Republican base add in that Obama had a fairly good night against Hillary. Around this office we believe Obama is a far tougher opponent than the deeply flawed Hillary and her high disapproval numbers.

The race goes on-- I expect nobody to drop out based on Super Dooper Tuesday. But on the Republican side the McCain crown is being polished.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fools Rush In

Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn famously said:
“Forecasts are dangerous. Especially those about the future.”

I ignore that sage advice this morning. Maybe it's because we're covered in a blanket of fog this morning in the Upstate... maybe it's because I can't help myself.

My forecast for the recent football contest was, "Patriots win and Giants cover." Which means I was dead wrong on the history part but 100% correct on the making money part. So, here's the forecast for Super Tuesday on the Republican side:

By my reckoning there are 19 caucus or primary states. Six will go to Mitt, Scowly McCain takes 12, and Huckleberry Hound secures his home state of North Louisiana or whatever they're calling the homeland of Billy Jeff Blythe these days.

This means that Scowly will not have the delegates needed yet but will be one big step closer. It will also mean that if Huck doesn't drop out he's acknowledging his role in the McCain campaign against Mitt and will be a mortal lock for McCain's VP pick.

I have associates who are Republicans. They should be praying for Hillary! to win if McCain, who has yet to win a plurality of self-described Republicans in a primary, ends up as the R's nominee.

The fact that the McCain campaign thought that having Bob Dole write a letter to Rush Limbaugh was a way to smooth things over with the Conservative base of the Republican Party is so stunningly clueless it's hard to even believe they did it. But they did.
UPDATE: The Huckleberry 4 VeePee truck is rollin'! In West Virginia this afternoon Romney had a large plurality of the caucus. However, it takes a majority to snag the delegates so McCain's folks threw their support to Huckleberry Hound in order to block Mitt in the second round. So WV goes to Huck instead of Mitt thanks to McCain's handlers. BTW, I don't think I had WV in my prediction figure 12 McCain, 6 Mitt and 2 Huck. We shall see in a few hours how bad my forecast is.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Is that Vitamin Water in Your Soup Bowl?

Another "ultimate game" comes and goes. This one, unlike most, was a close contest. My only rooting interest was that both would lose the game. It would have been historic if they both had but pretty much impossible if I know my NFL rules. So if one of these northeastern outfits had to be declared the best team of the year I'm glad it turned out to be the team my Cowboys beat twice this season. That and a dollar fifty gets ...

The nation's eyes were trained on the commercial announcements imbedded in the telecast. Rumor has it that the dalmation training the Clydesdale spot was a fave as well as the giant carrier pigeon for FedEx. The Coke ad with the parade balloons was very good I thought.

But the most interesting thing to me was the overwhelming number of commercials for companies selling water in a plastic bottle. I lost track of all of them there were so many. They even had one with Shaq as a jockey and another featuring lizards dancing with some woman I'm pretty sure I was supposed to recognize. In fact one water-in-a-bottle purveyor was the sponsor of halftime. Not the halftime show itself-- that was sponsored by some tire company-- but the part of halftime made up of yakking by the Fox Sports crew. It gets confusing.

Anyway, there had to have been over $20M spent on advertising designed to get people to buy water in a bottle. Which leads me to suspect that there is a huge markup on water in a bottle.
I kind of figured out it was a high margin business when I noticed that people would spend more for a gallon of water in plastic bottles than they would for a gallon of gasoline. Notice that the nation's oil companies don't buy ads in the Super Bowl? That's because oil companies only make about 10 cents on a dollar. Selling something that falls from the sky for free is a lot more profitable apparently. With margins like that you can even get Shaq to pretend to ride a racehorse.

Bottoms up.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Welcome to the Shark Tank Mr. Shelley

The San Jose Sharks picked up Jody Shelley from Columbus to add some toughness to a very good hockey team. Last night Shelley started his first game in The Tank and exactly 17 seconds into the action got a bone-rattling hit into the boards on a Blackhawk. The crowd roared in approval and the Sharks went on to a 3-2 shootout victory.

The AP reports that after the game Jody had this to say,

"That was a fun start. I was jacked up to be out there with Joe (Thornton) and Jeremy (Roenick) right off the bat. We decided to plan to get it deep, and all of a sudden we're in a skirmish. You don't want to wade into anything. You want to get right into it."

Just what the Sharks needed on the chase to the Stanley Cup-- some extra grit sandpaper.

All A Matter of Degrees

The worst cold and snow in 50 years has been going on for a week now in China. Today the BBC reports that 100 Million people have been affected, millions have been stranded at train stations, bus stations, and airports. 200,000 have been treated for injuries or illness and at least 60 people have died. Some of the dead are people who have fallen and been trampled by enormous crowds.

Meanwhile, according to the San Francisco Chronicle a Union Pacific snow plow got stuck on the rail line crossing the Sierra Nevada between Reno and Sacramento blocking an east bound and a west bound train. Instead of being on the trains for 2 or 4 hours the 400 inconvenienced passengers were stuck onboard for 12 hours.

It was a "nightmare" according to the stranded passengers. For example:

"And then the tears started. We were stuck for hours looking at the same trees. We asked if they could move the train up a couple hundred feet every hour, just so we could see some different trees. We were just hoping for some deer to come by. Even a squirrel."

And then there was this:

The smokers were clamoring to be allowed off the train so they could get a few puffs. When they were told no, they went to the back of the train and tried to crack open doors and windows.
Sometime in the early evening, a couple of kids got on the PA system and acted as though they were Amtrak officials giving information. Other kids screamed and ran through the cars.

The horror. The absolute horror.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Santana Deal Done

That's one problem jumping off of Jimbo's back before pitchers and catchers report. We've said it before and we'll say it again: Santana leaving the AL Central is good. Santana NOT going to the Red Sox or Yankees is great! Good luck Mets. Maybe we'll see you in October.

Friday, February 1, 2008

What Makes Hockey So Great?

A good way to kill any sports conversation during Super Bowl hype week(s) is to reply to the latest specualtion over Tom Brady's ankle boo-boo with, "Whatever. But did you see what Alexander Ovechkin did last night?"

That's a room clearer.

The boys down at the local bait shop paused for three beats and then went right back to football this AM. But, for the love of Mike, "Did you see what Alexander Ovechkin did last night?"...

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin broke his nose, needed stitches in his lip after getting hit with a puck and then showed the Montreal Canadiens the true meaning of the word tough.
The battered Ovechkin, who also sported a cut below his eye from a high stick on Tuesday night, scored his fourth goal of the night with 1:26 left in overtime to give the Washington
Capitals a 5-4 Canadiens on Thursday night.

Four goals and an assist in the game while getting his nose broken getting crushed into the boards and catching a puck in the mouth. Get it? Hockey rocks like nothing else in sports. I'm not a Caps fan. I'm a Sharks fan, but that was unbelievable. And throughout it all he's playing with a grin on his face. Ever see an NBA player hit for 60 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists with a broken nose and stitches in his lip. Me neither.

Mr. Softy Is Hostile

February dawns with a rainstorm (needed much, thank you) and breathless news from Alexis Glick that MSFT is making a hostile bid for Yahoo.

"Yahoo!" says I.

The talking heads will be going non-stop on this at least until 8:30 ET when the January non-farm payroll numbers are released. They'll pause a minute, bury the dead and shoot the wounded, and then go back to MSFT+YHOO= ????. Yesterday looked like it had the potential for a short-term bottom and this might help-- but it's still too early to move from cash to equities again.