Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Okay, Someone Explain This To Me...

Currently, the United States is in what some would call financial turmoil. There are many factors as to why this happened as well as the realization that there are very few viable solutions. Now this whole thing has become a partisan playground and Wall Street might as well be Baltic Ave. So what the hell is going on?

Usually, when a country is in an economic slump, one of the tried and true ways for rebounding the financial situation is to have a nice little war. Jobs are created, nationalistic pride booms, and viola! The economy is climbing back up into the black. This time it's a little different. We're already at war...a war that has been anything but a stimulus package. Many believe that this is where the country started it's downward slide. I might be one of them. But let's focus on the situation at hand.

A few years ago the housing market was doing quite well. Mortgage companies came up with a really sweet sounding deal: Adjustable Rate Mortgages. The ARM appealed to many Americans who would not normally have been able to buy property. Once the fine print was read, this deal was potentially very destructive. But that didn't stop people with the excitement of being able to afford a home. Who could blame them, really? As predicted, the interest rates began to soar and foreclosures and defaults on these loans spread to record levels. Banks and other financial institutions reported losses close to half a trillion dollars.

President Bush stepped in and signed into law an economic stimulus act which would give taxpayers $300 to spend and help boost the slumping economy. That, and a few interest rate cuts were implemented in early 2008 hoping to ease what was rapidly becoming a crisis. Well-known institutions like Bear Stearns, Fannie May and WaMu were beginning to fall. Investors and corporations alike were starting runs on banks.

Again, the Government decided to help out these failing financial institutions with a 700 billion dollar bailout plan. A bill that has had major opposition and on Sept 29 was defeated in the House...mostly due to the Republicans. The Stock Market responded as shocked as you'd expect, falling over 700 points. A funny side story is McCain's laying claim to be the architect and savior of the nation by attaching himself to this plan...only watching it get defeated by his own party. D'oh!

So. Let's get this straight.

Greedy mortgage companies distribute what could only be called criminal-level mortgage deals to buyers who, sadly, could not afford their own home. This caused a massive amount of default and they were left in huge debt. Um, why didn't the story stop there? Yes, it was a HUGE loss, but didn't these companies get what they deserve? Isn't this some sort of karma?

Listen, the markets and economy are cyclical. History can tell us this very easily with a quick glance to the books. So here we go, attempting to put 700 billion on the line. Mind you, we're not a nation who's books are in the black, either. With the war effort, we're way way way in the red. THEN there's the economic stimulus package, and THEN there's this 3/4 trillion dollar buyout to stabilize the economy. I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

Isn't this like teaching children that they're all winners and everyone gets a gold star? Yes, it builds their immediate self-esteem but hardly prepares them for the harsh world where you actually have to work hard to win? What preparations are you giving the kids for the future? Believe me, we've already seen the work ethic of years past all but disappear. Just think what's going to happen to corporate executives when their parents aren't around to argue their raises for them.

Someone explain to me how saving the economy is better for America in the long run? Someone explain to me how questionable actions without consequence will better our society as a whole. Some people win, most people lose. The real question is, what can you learn from losing and apply it to your future?

Nevermind, you'll never have to find out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

top 10 reasons for scheduling the first presidential debate for Friday night

Is date night traditionally Friday night or Saturday night? Doesn't matter. I haven't been on one in years. And most of us can't afford to go out anyway. So there's the reason for scheduling the presidential debate for Friday night.

1. Captive audience. No one can afford to go out.
2. Heck, we can't even afford a decent cable package.
3. Netflix, nope. that's gone from the budget too.
4. There's nothing else good on TV.
5. Sleep? Can't. Worried about the state of the economy (luckily, the debate is on foreign policy)
6. Visit with friends? What are we going to talk about ... the election.
7. Jim Lehrer doesn't want to work on the weekend.
8. John McCain doesn't want to work on the weekend.
9. Barack Obama doesn't want to work on the weekend.
10. The debate doesn't matter. At this point, folks are either voting for or against Sarah Palin. Forget the dudes.

Ok, so that's really only got one reason, but man it feels like 10. And so we'll sit on the floor and clutch our children and rock back and forth and hope like hell that McCain says something so completely, profoundly stupid that ... What? What do you think is going to happen, Amy? Nothin. That's what. See point 10 above.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lunchtime buffets

So today we went to lunch at Firefly's, a local barbeque chain (of two restaurants). They have truly mighty homemade sauces. The waitress arrived, took our drink order and told us that they have an "all you can eat" buffet available. Quite naturally, there was no longer a need to look at the menu. Decision has been made.

As with any buffet, it's better to take an early lunch rather than trying to wait out the lunchtime rush. When the lunch crowd begins to taper off, the turnover of fresh food is practically non-existent.

Now, I know that the common perception of an "all you can eat" buffet is one of fat Americans slothing up to the food bar and piling their plates way over capacity, only to do a circus-level balancing act back to their table. Only to repeat this once their plate has been emptied. Because, hey, it's all you can eat, right?

Let me explain how a luncheon buffet should work:

Buffets are wonderful as you can essentially get what you really want - a sampler dish of what the restaurant has to offer. Now, it's imperative that you check out the offerings first. A few restaurants make it policy to offer low-quality meats and sides in the hope that you'll eat what you can and then move along. Let the truly deserving order from the menu and get the quality the restaurant wishes to be known for. Fortunately, Firefly's buffet is filled to the brim with their best offerings.

What you do is grab a plate and begin to scoop small portions of everything you are interested in trying. Buffets will most often have smaller diameter plates so people don't waste too much food. You do NOT fill this little plate to the point of hiring a truck to transport your food to the table. Take many - but not much. Leave fillers like bread and rice, take vegetables if they look fresh. Chinese restaurant buffets are famous for filler, and offer more crap choices than other restaurants. Choose wisely, Indiana Jones.

Sit back and enjoy what you've sampled. Take note of where each item is on your plate so you know what you like best for your return visit. Once finished, sit for a minute and watch the line. If a large group is up there, wait for the chef to bring out fresh replacements...then attack! The waiting not only benefits your palate, but gives your sampler time to digest. That way you won't be tempted to rush up there once your plate is clear, come back with fat American portions and proceed to stuff yourself.

Usually with the sampler method, you'll choose a few items which truly stand out. When you head back up to the buffet table, take a scoop or two of your favorite item, some corn bread and return to your table. Eat slowly, chew your food, and try to appreciate each bite. Help change the phrase "all you can eat" from one of gluttony to the concept of gourmet sampling.

Hopefully this way we can work to change the "Fat American" stereotype.

(Of course, my going to a buffet will not help my argument, as I am a citizen of the United States who happens to be a little on the heavier side. "Gravitationally Challenged" as we like to say).

that didn't take long

for all you so called pats fans to turn on your team. 1 loss and you are ready to throw in the towel with boos and leaving the game early. just proves my point that most patriot fans are fair weather fans.

not that i mind seeing the pats loose, it makes my day a little brighter actually. i can't believe i am actually defending the pats but come on fans grow a backbone will ya.


Monday, September 22, 2008

twins in the house

ok sorry it's been long in coming but the twins have landed at our house. now for those of you that do not know us it is now baby 4 and 5. insanity has come to reign at our little domicile.

now it's funny the baby stuff is not the issue, it's the other 3. they are crazy now - they smell blood in the water. they know that we can't just drop what we are doing, usually feeding the twins, and take care of the fights, the food throwing or running out the side door. yeah fun.

but really things are going well. the boys (caleb and elijah) are doing fine and so is mommy. they spent 6 days in the nicu - all is fine. we just have a bit of an adjustment to life with 5 kids.

check out the pics at www.4moose.blogspot.com.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Heeeyyyyyyy.." said PONZI with thumbs rasied high

The mess of financial markets is no surprise. The blame runs a complete circle - unqualified mortgagees, brokers too happy to take commissions on the loans, institutions happy to buy & package the debt, the vast sums of investors clamoring for more and more of the oh-so-lucrative-and-secure mortgage backed securities, and "derivatives" (see: silly made up formula that involves taking a bet, on a bet, on a bet, on a bet made based on a lie and the accepting smile that says "sure, I believe you...").
Lehman is down, the DOW is down, the Futsi, Hang Sengm the DAX, but silver lining! The CAC-40 is UP...WTF?! (the French, go figure). By and large the global "markets" are in full me-too mode.

AIG is down and almost out based largely upon the losses that they must now cover n the super-risky derivatives market. So just to get this straight, AIG was selling insurance to protect against investment losses involving ultra-risky and stratosphically complex financial "instruments" (see: worthless bundles of paperwork which traders passed around were accompanied by congratulatory back-slaps, big commsions, and fat year-end bonuses).
Things would've been fine if the damn little guys had kept paying their mortgages. Forget that many never should've qualified, forget that oil/gas rose 3x in cost in the last 6 years (no, not pre-9/11, pre Operation Iraqi Liberation - O.I.L. ooops "Freedom" not Liberation. (For those really not paying attention, I shit you not, "Operation Iraqi Liberation - O.I.L." was the real first name given by the US Gov't to the Iraqi war...), forget that Healthcare costs have been increasing at an average rate of 15%/year for more than a decade now, forget that the incresed fuel costs make EVERYTHING more expensive - many food commodities, flour, corn, etc - have doubled of more in the last five years, and lastly please forget that ALL insurance is just a big PONZI scheme.

The plain and simple fact is that the "insurance industry" is a big numbers racket. No insurance company EVER has the assets to pay off all of its customers if a BIG ONE hits. Well, here is the big one. Let's throw in hurricane IKE just for some added fun, smack in the middle of Houston -"mission control" for so many oil service companies. D'ya think that'll have an additional affect? Hmm...
As Jane and John public you may have experienced the "that is not covered" cover story that insurance companies throw at you, as standard operating procedure, whether they do or do not actually cover something, because they know that a cetain percentage of folks just slump their shoulders and walk away - end of story. Well, "instutional investors" have no shoulders to slump and employ armies of lawyers to make sure that their asses.. err.. assets get covered.

OK, great story Kev, thanks. Time for the happy ending, right?

Unfortnately, I don't think so. This may be the time when we get to see the fake "15% annual growth" global economy fall apart. It's not real, you can't demand more every year just because shareholders want it. In the last 20 years, have watermelons got 15% larger every year? Has your significant other (or favorite celebrity) gotten 15% better-looking every year (naturally)?

Businesses can't keep growing and doing more just because of the demand for increased profits.
Real profits come from organic growth & real demand for real goods and services. I have a 6 year old iPod that works just fine, even though it only holds 2000 songs, I have a 10 year old car that works fine, and I don't need a little green monster to try and convince me that risking my liver is a reasonable proposition for getting rid of toe-fungus. STOP pushing more new stuff at me.

What do I need? Fresh tomatoes grown nearby, clean water, and a simple way to stay warm during the winter. Food and shelter for my family. All of this 1st world market mess is created because we've convinced ourselves (through hypnotic marketing, thanks) that we need so much, and then next year we need more, when what we really need is less so that we can look around us to really understand what IS important in life. (hint: family& friends dumbass - or solitude if that is your thing).

OK, I gotta go, time for my medicine. Thank god I saw that commercial for it during my favorite reality TV show.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


As far as mud slinging goes, this political race has been surprisingly mud-free. Yes, there's been a teeny bit of sand throwing and divot tossing but real down-n-dirty mud.....haven't seen/heard any. When are we going to find out that Obama has a mistress secreted away in some southside Chicago flat? McCain's dirt is out there and it's run-of-the-mill Republican divorce-girlfriend kind of stuff. Palin's dirt isn't all that dirty. Lieberman, yawn.
Where's the Gary Hart/Donna Rice naughty picture or Clintonesque unethical behavior?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

twinage update

ok here is the skinny.

the twins will be born on the morrow on or around 8 am.

went in for superzilla 4d ultrasound thingamabob, i dunno i wuz busy ooogling the machinery. anyway the babies and mom are doing just fine. it is just that the fluid around baby a is a bit on the low side sooooo kids are coming tomorrah.

baby a is 5 lbs 8oz and baby b is 6 lbs 2oz plus or minus 14oz - not to muich differential there. anyway all looks good. she is 36 weeks tomorrow so not to bad actually.

i'll let you know more as it comes - plus pix of said event, well not the actual event more like a few hours after.

see y'all on the flip side


Monday, September 8, 2008

You know who should run for president?

Denny's as "enlightened" as Bush, Cheney, McCain or any other Washington insider.
He dresses better.
His scripts are written by someone better.
His commentary on John "zzzzz" McCain is hilarious.

Lastly.....I'm so bloody sick and tired of politics and reality tv that I'm going to gift you all with 1 minute and 10 seconds of a terrific mash-up of 2 of my very favorite tv shows: Dr. Who and Top Gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N77GAsv8X-Q

And lastly, and I really really mean it...every time someone posts a "i like palin" post...I'm going to torture you all with stuff like this > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA72AuQWTDQ

Later possums.

Car of the day:

not that i'm laughing but...

seems like i heard a certain team lost their star quarterback for the season.

really i feel for you, especially after choking in the super bowl.

not really i'm just saying.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

"They" wrote the speech first, then picked a VP nominee...gee, shocking


Not anticipating that McCain would choose a woman as his running mate, the speech that was prepared in advance was "very masculine," according to campaign manager Rick Davis, and "we had to start from scratch."

"While we all wondered to ourselves what might make a speech masculine or feminine, no one batted an eye at the underlying revelation: that the campaign was writing the nominee's speech before knowing who the nominee would be."

Kev's take

Not a real big surprise. Unfortunately much of America is too damn stupid to notice or care.And the big ole MSM (main stream media) is too busy being mean and sexist , asking things like "who is she?", "what was the vetting process?', "what are her positions on anything but abortion?"to do much reporting on the martial law siege being laid in down Minn/St. Paul to "protect" the conventioneers. (seen the video of the "rioter" standing still holding a flower, who got a face full of mace from riot cops? Not a little can, the "giant wasps' nest" - stand 30 feet away kind of can)
From the "even stranger" dept. Palin's name was being bandied about as potential VP in early March - BEFORE there was a Republican Presidential nominee. - WTF? who was doing this?

Article about her "I'm 7 months prego" announcement (much to the surprise of everyone in Alaska - and the RNC?)


McCain "officially" clinched March 5th, the day "before" this article appeared - article was published online @ 12:02 a.m on 3/6.

Seems "they" picked a VP first... (anyone see a less-outwardly-scary, tina-fey-esque, softer-but-tougher-too-hockey-mom Katherine Harris-type here?)

On the stupid-guy yes/no question...Yes, I would let her spank me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I stand corrected about Google's Chrome browser

One tiny but important aspect of my day job is to review new and/or popular versions of web browsers to make sure my company's web-based applications function properly.  This is especially true when a company like Microsoft introduces the next number version of IE (from IE7 to IE8, for example).  

In my last post, I made mention of Google's new entry into the browser universe, "Chrome".  I went on to say that people made too much of MS being the evil empire and that their products were just fine.  I also mentioned other browsers, like Firefox...a very popular browser for those anti-MS people.  Honestly, it always felt like a newer version of Netscape Navigator and I just never adopted it.

So I downloaded the beta of Chrome today.  After approximately 15 minutes of use, I made Chrome my default browser.  It really is that good.  I was astounded at how clean this app installed...no extraneous plugins immediately necessary...and how damned fast it is.  Makes IE 7 look like it's just standing still.  Kinda like the way Safari runs on a new iMac.  No fuss.  Just a powerful little app.  

Next up is IE 8 beta 2.  I've downloaded this beta and, while faster than IE7, it's no contender in compared to Chrome.  The install was a long arduous process that had me reboot my computer (Chrome was downloaded and installed in 10 minutes, no reboot).  One thing it does have are developer tools (idea taken from Firefox) that are truly nifty to have.     So, I will be using IE8 for occasional development troubleshooting.  Other than that, Chrome's my choice. 

Nicely done, Google.  I haven't been this impressed with any computer app in a long time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I read the news today, oh boy...

Let's see what's in the news today:

So it seems people shocked at McCain's choice for VP candidate. Isn't it interesting that she's a typical wicked conservative Republican and people are shocked by it? Come on, she's a good candidate for party. Palin is a member of the NRA who likes to hunt Caribou, and yet she's hardcore Pro-Life. I guess Pro-Life only applies to humans, not to animals.

Sarah Palin has absolutely no foreign policy or any real political experience at all. This is going against one of McCain's main arguments against voting for Obama. Didn't they say Bush, a Governor mind you, had no foreign policy experience either? And he did just fine in his two terms, didn't he? Cough.

Hurricane Gustav was no Katrina. The storm wasn't nearly as intense and it didn't quite hit the city like Katrina did. People are questioning if they should have left at all. It's these people that the Darwin Awards were made for.

Google challenges Microsoft IE with new "Google Chrome" browser. I know that MS is the big, bad, evil empire of the computer industry. I have Firefox, Opera and Safari all installed on my computer and I still use IE 98% of the time. Hate them all you want, their products aren't that bad.

Space clouds are evidently Democrats.

al-Qaida is welcomed in Pakistan, top officials have free movement throughout the country. And we're in Iraq. Explain this to me.

Greg Maddox tied Roger Clemens mark of 354 wins. Maddox will not have an asterisk next to his name, either. Well, at least not yet. And oh yeah, I forgot: I couldn't care less.

Stocks jump up early as oil prices drop due to the lack of destruction caused by Gustav. Now you only need a small loan to fill your gas tank. I know the major oil companies are really bummed as record profits this quarter will only be the same as the GNP of many small countries. So sorry BP...maybe the next hurricane will help you out.

Russia's Vladimir Putin shoots tiger. But he's not Pro-Life, so it's okay. Seems to me they're looking to boost his image with carefully planned, Rambo-level-macho events. Next, he's buying a Camaro. A red one, of course.