Tuesday, January 30, 2007

System Test, Just Playing With A New Camera

Damn, you scared the cardinals away, and the bluejays, and the woodpeckers. What the hell good are you anyway?

There's not even a squirrel out there. Even the stupid rotweiller is inside.

Don't even think you're going to sneak a pill into me. Ain't happening towel boy.

This is my best side. Just take the damn shot already Demille. Who put you up to this? Was it Claudia or was it Cindy? BOTH OF THEM! Grrrrrr

Another tough day of looking gorgeous and being fawned over by everyone.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Public Service Announcement Thingy

If you are an American citizen, and you should go across a border into another country, say Canada, because you thought it was high time to go visit EchoMouse, and you left Toronto thinking you could get back into the United States using your driver's license, you are in for a surprise. You're not getting back in without your passport now. it's the law. Take a cruise to Southern Carribean, go ashore in Mexico and Aruba, etc. you aren't coming home without your passport. Take a cruise to Southern Carribean, go ashore in Mexico and Aruba, etc. you aren't coming home without your passport. Claudia goes swimming in Santa Barbara to get closer pictures of the baby seals, and gets washed away. Matt rushes to her rescue, naturally, and they both end up ashore in Mexico. Fortunately, Connie Chavez works for Matt, and quite simply can accomplish things that your ordinary Ambassador cannot, so an international incident was narrowly avoided.

The moral of the story, get your passport now, and don't be sorry later. Not everyone can be as lucky as Claudia to have a friend like Matt as a friend.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Am Just A Little Miffed And I'm Sharing Here

I am assuming that you have already stopped by MJ's so I am writing this post. If you haven't, you might read the last post, then come on back. I also want to get this out of my system because I am finally going to do an Aucturian meme specifically for my personal hero The Crankster, even though he, and the rest of the world knows how much I loath and despise memes, I am going to do this particular one because there is something about it that appeals to me. Also, I am going to slightly modify it in the same vein as The Crankster, my hero, did. But in order to do the meme, I will have to write an introductory post first, which is under development now, as I write this one (this is a well-planned blog, whereas execution is often flawed). That post is called "Mississippi". Stay tuned, please.

But, this is just introductory information sharing, or bringing you up to date. I could just as easily told you of my new spectacular endocrinologist (she's the best I have ever had, and my brand new One Touch Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System {spasms of joy}, I am so lucky), and the adequate experience I had giving blood the other day. (Note to Wicked: Is the word phlebotomist Latin for nervous asshole with a large needle? And why does it sound so much like lobotomist? Scary!).

But I have digressed from a very serious purpose. I need to calm down. I spent a lot of time nominating people for Bloggies Awards. I am upset about quite a few of the nominations I made not showing up, and I am just as upset about the same people being nominated every year. I can't find any criteria to follow objectively that states how the final panel selected the finalists.

Let me start with a non-obvious example. You all have heard me talk about the excellence of Barry Ritholtz before on my blog. He is the most followed economic site on Wall Street. He regularly publishes material from the industry showing that he has the highest volume of access of any economic site in existence. I didn't see him on the Bloggies ballot and yet I nominated him. I could really go wild about Allan's photography, and would gladly put his portfolio up against the Pros that the Bloggies picked much less the others. I'd put his macro portfolio up all by itself and let you choose, but this is very subjective, although I feel that I am never wrong about these things.

Show me better consistent writing than Crankster. Crank, you may not comment. I am not interested in modesty. Show me a more insightful philosophical writer, or a better writer of prose than Glamourpuss. Puss, you may not comment. I am not interested in modesty. And now for Mist. It's not that I think she is this century's Bob Hope, it's that I think she's just beginning. The woman gets more comments before 8:00 AM than I get hits all month. Give me a break. But, there's a more objective measure than me.

Bloglaughs is in the game of reviewing humor sites and evaluating them. They publish their criteria for evaluating humorous blogs. Mist's rating was a 96.9. Now let us inspect the Bloglaugh ratings of the five nominated Bloggie nominees:Go Fug Yourself: 89.8,PerezHilton.com 72.4,The Dilbert Blog - Not Rated,Overheard In New York 91.7,and Gizmodo - Not rated.

Any mention of Mommy bloggers? I don't think so. I'm stopping before I have an unplanned annurism (not that you get to plan them, but why try to provoke one).

I am just saying that I cannot make sense out of the nominations for the Bloggies. And if they are supposed to represent us as bloggers, I'd sure as hell like to know what the hell is going on. I am throwing this open to those of you with calmer, cooler, more well reasoned heads than me to look at this and comment. Then we can storm the fucking Bastille, not that I'd ever have an opinion, mind you.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Please Drop By A Day In The Wind And Be A Friend

For those of you who know MJ, and have been missing her, she has recently lost her grandmother. It can be particularly devastating when you are really close with a grandparent. If it hadn't for my grandmother, I'd have never known what love really was. If we are going to breathe any humanity into the blogosphere and make it our own, then we need to look after each other when we need each other.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Homage To Odat And The Rest Of You

Recently, my life seems like a a weird fantasy game dreamed up by someone else on drugs dreamed up by a demented, crazed dropout from an asylum who failed college chemistry. On a good day, when listening to the Moody Blues sing "Just a Singer in a Rock 'N Roll Band" I naturally hear "I Am The Leader Of A Rock 'N Roll Band". You may call it ADD, or dyslexia or Delusions of Grandeur. I just think it sounds better that way.

And then Odat, who celebrates Fridays as Happy Dancing Days, introduced the notion of shopping for shoes for a wedding as something akin to planning the invasion of Normandy for D Day (strictly my interpretation when I was heavily on mind altering antibiotics).

So, I wanted something that the entire blog could play, and win. That narrowed it down to Final Fantasy 12 or a bus trip to the nearest Sam Adams Brewery. I thought I'd try FF12 first and see how things went. Happy Friday everyone. And don't forget to be thankful for Odat.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Revised 2007 Bloggie Balloting Is Open

The ballots are available now and voting will continue until 10:00 PM on Feb. 2, as I understand it. The Bloggies balloting is for bloggers.

None of the people discussed here were nominated. You will probably recognize many of the blogs that were nominated.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Never Give Up

Yesterday, CNBC ran a story about a diver who was partially swallowed by a great white shark. The shark had bitten into his mask and didn't penetrate the mask, although it had quite a bit of the man in it's mouth. The man got the shark to let him go by jamming his thumb in it's eye.

Sunday night, a young woman on Donald Trump's TV show "The Apprentice" quit the show before going back to the "Boardroom" and fighting for her 'job'. Her argument was that she had signed up for what she had experienced during the show. Trump tried to talk her out of it. He even told her that she would look back on this later in her life and regret the decision. In this case, I believe that Trump is absolutely correct.

I have a good friend who has struggled to keep her marriage together for several years now. She got her husband to attend therapy sessions. One day recently, her husband decided to stop going to therapy since it was a waste of time. In other words, he quit. There's kids at stake, and he quit. He didn't offer to try a different therapist, he just quit.

I'm an egalitarian. Everyone is equal, we just develop differently. Prove to me that you aren't equal, and you aren't. My friend is a winner. She will emerge better and stronger from this, and I will always be her friend. Her adversary.....Pluto is a dwarf now, but you knew that didn't you.

Monday, January 22, 2007

We're Back

It's been almost two days since we lost the Internet. The snow started, and the Internet access around here went down. The wrong kind of reliability.

Something else of interest. I am not a smoker. The State of Maine has passed a law saying that you can be fined $50 for smoking in your car if there is a minor (a person under the age of 18) in the car with you. I am not saying that smoking is good for kids. I am more interested in what will be next that you can't do in a car if there is a minor in there. How about eat a hamburger, or drink a Coke? How will a cop know if it's a Coke or a rum and Coke?

Or do I just live too close to the lunatics and I need to move closer to sanity?

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Magical Mystery Tour

Well, I can breathe today. With my own lungs. I call this progress. So I turned on the TV, because too many people had suggested masturbation that it was an option I couldn't ignore. The very first thing I saw was the announcement that T.J. Maxx had been hacked, and that 100 million people's data had been stolen. There's less than 300 million of us in the country (I know there are others, but think of it, 1 out of every 3 men, women and children). How did T.J. Maxx get so much data? Do any of you seriously believe that many people transacted credit purchases with T.J. Maxx? Who is kidding who? Someone used T.J. Maxx to get to a processor who had that much data, meaning a bank. Most of you have never heard the name Fifth Third Bank, but that was the credit card processor that was penetrated.

You know not to use a debit card on the Internet, don't you. Credit cards are backed by the bank, and the losses are limited to $50 at most. Not necessarily with a debit card, although it hasn't happened, yet. I remember the good old days when I used cash in stores. I may have to pick up some cash the next time I'm at the supermarket, you know, when they ask if you want any cash back when you check out and they take your credit card.

To celebrate breathing today, I thought I'd let you see this oldie but goodie, not to step on Odat's happy dancing feet, but to honor her.

Wagner: Ride of the Valkries
Claudio Abbado - Berliner Philharmoniker
Live 31-12-1993

and naturally the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour with graphics by londonpenda
(watch your credit card data flash by at the speed of light)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Here We Go Again

OK, so it's not rocket science, but the fever is down below 101 and I'm not sleeping all the time, just most of the time. I call that progress. Maybe not sex, but progress. And my first stop when I can walk again will be the liquor store. I'm buying gallons this time.

Any other good suggestions?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Keep It Simple Stoopid

We have hit a time where in the history of mankind, if you can read this post, you can live as well as John D. Rockefeller did during the best of his lifetime. He couldn't eat more than you, you have access to a better heating and air conditioning system than he did, and you have access to more and better entertainment than he did.

Now, you do not need to be an American citizen to play this game. No, you can live in South Africa or Toronto or the Garden of England, Kent and still be a player. In fact, you should be.

In the year 2000, a lot of people owned a very few stocks, and were surprised, and held on way too long to these few stocks, and watched them go to tiny values from very large values. A lot of people lost a lot of money. People were devastated. What makes this activity called investing so hard? It's not that hard. The people who worked at Google were provided with the best investment advice possible before their stock was sold to the public.

You can find all of this repeated again in the AARP the group for people over 50. My wife belongs, she's the grown up. Here's the deal. Take the American economy. Why? Because it's the largest. Does it have to be the American economy? No, but it's what everyone uses so it's the statistical base. You can also use Japan, the second largest economy. Buy 25% of the index of the small capitalization companies in the economy, buy 25% of the largest capitalization companies in the economy, buy 25% of the rest of the world index (called the EAFE the returns from investing in the European, Australasian and Far Eastern markets, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index), and buy 25% of the total bond market of the economy.

Here's the deal. You now own three well diversified indexes that are uncorrelated. When one index is doing well, the others may or may not be doing well. They are not dependent on each other. After a year (let's not be obsessive about this, if it's not in a tax advantaged account, you can wait the extra day if you want) rebalance the accounts to the original percentages. Congratulations. You have just taken some profits, and added to some cheap positions. When people ask what you did, simply say, "I buy low, and sell high."

You can start with small amounts of money and use something called exchanged traded funds from people like Ishares, and others. If you want to use mutual funds, you will need a minimum of approximately $3000 per fund. You should look at Fund Families such as Fidelity, Vanguard or T. Rowe Price. Want to do this with Japan? The symbol for the Japanese Blue Chips are EWJ and those little companies can be bought in the security JOF. I'd have to research Japanese bonds.

Now that you see how easy it is, none of you have to end up like the bulk of the Baby Boomers, where less than 5% have saved $50,000 to retire on and yet we're statistically going to live into our 80's.

Monday, January 15, 2007

After Much Ado

It seems that there's a virus going around the East Coast that should have been dead because of the cold weather. But the warm weather has allowed it to thrive. Left to itself, it turns into pneumonia. I'm on medication. I'm awake long enough to let you know that I am being taken care of, fed, and watched over by the wife and guard cat who will not let me knowingly do harm to myself by getting up and doing anything except take another pill. And Progresso does make this wonderful soup....

No more poetry Lee, how about a little investing theory? And maybe some e mail! Tomorrow! What do you think, stick with the bourbon, add some single malt? Jack up the alcohol with some vodka? Screw it all and just swill the vodka? Or throw in an occasional tequila? Or is this the fever talking?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The IR Model as Poetry

Whatever this is that's going around, don't get it. It's miserable. Happy Sunday.

The Man In The Glass
Peter "Dale" Wimbrow Sr.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you 'king for a day',
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself,
And see what the man has to say.

For it isn't you father or mother or wife,
Whose judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life,
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you are a straight shooting chum,
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum,
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the person to please - never mind all the rest,
For he's with you right up to the end;
You've passed your most dangerous and difficult test,
If the man in the mirror is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life,
And get pats on your back as you pass;
But your final reward will be the heartaches and tears,
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This Is What Happens When You Sleep In The Same Bed With a Sick Woman

I go back to the doctor at 8:30 am to get MY antibiotics. They will look at my throat to see why it is swollen, and do their doctor shit, collect their co-pay, I will get my prescription filled, and generally be miserable. Just a quick post do you know I'm alive. This is a good time for some bourbon! To your health!

What do you do when you are this miserable?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

National De-Lurking Week

I have it on good authority from Desiree and Mrs. Ca both irrefutable sources who would point out to you that puppies get their wings, and terrorists lose when you comment. Naturally Blogger has some sort of scheduled outage today, so when you get the fact that you are forbidden to access a server, just laugh and be happy, and play a McFerrin tune in your head.

Sigmund (Freud) called last night and he had a long talk with me about having too high expectations of all of you. So, to make delurkinging easy, just tell me who you think knows more about martinis? Mist1, who's favorite drink is the dirty martini? Or Wicked H, who has her own portable Martini Bar (rumor has it that she takes it with her everywhere).

Now it won't hurt at all, and once you start, maybe you'll write your own blog.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Have Friends

Recently things have become confusing. The Great State of Maryland, in its infinite wisdom (and I remember the days when infinite wisdom meant something, like never ending wisdom) decided to regulate Massage Therapists. Because the field is so complicated and requires a professional school, it was decided that they should be put under the Chiropractors, who would certainly know exactly how to regulate Massage Therapists.

Naturally, a college education was required. And so on and so forth. And, being a typical Legislative body, the entire Regulatory package passed intact and became law. And everyone was happy except the Massage Therapists. They didn't think a college education was necessary. And, they are upset. It seems that Maryland is the only state that requires them to have a college degree. It was described to me as "unconstitutional, illegal...." and somewhere in there I stopped listening. I already knew the answer to the real problem. All I had to do was to wait for my turn to talk, after they had vented sufficiently. They weren't going to like the answer either.

They needed to organize and go to the Legislature, and represent themself, and get the law changed. Plain and simple. I was thinking about some of the other things I had recently been told. Like the fact that kids no longer learned to write in cursive, except to sign their name. They learned to print and that was it. No wonder they thought it was unconstitutional that a state would regulate commerce within its borders, they had never read the Constitution. I read it the first time in the 7th grade in my Civics Class. The whole thing.

I was also 'clued in' that a college education is now what a high school education was because of something called 'grade inflation'. The normal curve is gone and 80% of the class gets an 'A', while the next 10% gets a 'B', and everyone else gets a 'C'. Evidently no one fails. And the old pink is the new grey. 'They' ought to rethink letting me blog.

I never really understood why people would want to home school their kids. Now, I know. My friends have two autistic kids. The school systems want their kids because they do so well on the standardized tests. They do well, because they get a lot of work at home. The parents are more than just proactive, they got educated on their kids illness and are probably better teachers than the ones that they run into in the school systems.

She's still laughing at me because I thought that getting a college education meant you learned to think. Ha. Fooled me.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Rectitis, Not Everyone Gets To Play

Things are taking off, and time is at a premium with the business getting started. Still, it's that time of the year, and I always go in for my physical. After a certain age, depending on your medical condition, doctors take great pleasure in sticking various things up your ass. For me, that started at age 20 when a small cyst was discovered at the base of my spine.

It doesn't take much to give a doctor reasons to stick a finger up your ass if you're a guy to feel up your prostate gland. It's really been "in" for the last several decades. The women doctors are the worst, they keep the latex gloves with the scapulas they use on the women. They tend to chuckle as you're bent over the table with their finger up your butt. But they are downright vicious when they stick the Silver Stalion up there to take a look and they run 80 psi of air inside to move things apart so they can take a good look.

A Silver Stallion is a chromed tailpipe from a 1932 Studebaker with the latest in fiber optics and a lights, an air hose, 4 on the floor, and a tranny that can make you leave your fingerprints embossed in the metal table as you shriek over the rushing air to the doctor that you aren't gay. Even if you were gay, this is not what you would have signed up for.

But, the great leveler is the colonoscopy. Both men and women are blessed with colons, and we all need to have them carefully examined by a trained specialist every five years after a certain age. The Silver Stallion just won't do. No, we just use a flexible pipe and stick that all the way up your ass until it hits your stomach. It has lights, cameras, and a surgical suite. The last issue at my physical was, "I don't have the date of your last colonoscopy, so you should call and get it scheduled pretty soon."

It may be a while before I get my head out of my ass and smell the flowers again. Until then, please remember to nominate people at the Bloggies so they make the final ballot on the 22nd. I ought to be able to see by then.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy 2007 And Did I Mention The Bloggies?

Happy 2007 to all of you. The wife has returned to work, and I have had my annual physical. So it must be time for the 2007 Bloggie Awards. This is the URL where you go to vote for Mist1's "Must Get Hobby" for the funniest Blog Written on God's Green Earth, for example. I mean come on, she did beat out every big name in the blogosphere on Bloglaugh, why wouldn't you vote for her in the Bloggies?

How can you not read Glamourpuss? Is she not the best blog in the United Kingdom? Is not Alison the best Food Blog? Or Allan the best Photo blog? Like someone else outside of Life magazine takes better pictures than Allan? Someone really writes better than Crankster? Vote early and vote often. This is for blogsters, this is not your country, so this is important. Nominations are now open. Not that I have an opinion, mind you.

Leave your "I voted" stickers below please. Thankyouverymuch.