Archive for October, 2008
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
..and to think people actually vote for Democrats…
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Friday, October 24th, 2008
I know it’s not good for businesses or the stock market, but considering what we were paying over the summer thanks to high fuel costs, I’m enjoying the lower prices. On a recent trip to the out -
a gallon of gasoline – $2.40
a pound of fresh shrimp – $3.99
lobster – $3.99/lb
two pork chops – $1.99
12 oz New York Strip steak – $6.00
Wow! This is going to be the cheapest Thanksgiving dinner ever!
Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Finding a nice place to live isn’t easy. So far I’ve researched a number of areas, including New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Key factors include – nice weather, mild winters, lots of open space, solar incentives, lots of greenery, reasonably priced property, and a low cost of living. Most of the above states have something to offer, but all also have downsides. Most of the western states suffer from cold winters, or excessive heat, high cost of living, or a lack of green space. A couple areas that received serious consideration – the Flagstaff area and the areas around Sante Fe, New Mexico. Unfortunately both are basically high planes deserts, so you’re stuck with very cold winters. Sante Fe is also fairly expensive. North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia suffer from a high cost of living. While Tennessee has a very low cost of living, it’s too hot and humid. With Florida, the northern area I currently live in, space is too limited – most of the property north of here is owned by the government, so property values tend to be elevated. Too far north and you run into trailer parks. Also, most of the forested areas around here were logged years ago and were susequently replanted with non-native pine. It’s also pretty flat country, so a good view is hard to come by. If you move down toward the beach you won’t find open space and property costs skyrocket. All in all, my year long search for the perfect place to live has been rough.
Recently I turned back to Florida again, and started looking for the first time in Central Florida, specifically in and around Ocala Florida. I like what I’m finding. It’s very scenic, there’s a lot of open space, property is cheap – a small 10 acre farm can sell for less than 250K. It’s also horse country, with over 1400 thoroughbred horse farms (think the ranch fencing of Dallas, with rolling green hills and 200 year old oaks and grand southern plantation style homes up on hills.) The weather is perfect, the cost of living low, and for solar geeks there’s tons of sunshine and of course Florida’s great solar incentive programs. (Florida probably has the best solar incentives of any state, even beating out California and New Mexico.)
So who knows, maybe I’ve found my future spot. I’ll post back with more as I dig into the area and real estate.
Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Breathed says it’s the anger that led him to close the book on “Opus,” that the increasingly nasty political climate has made it too difficult to keep his strip from drifting into darkness. Breathed has described his work as a hybrid of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz’s gentle humor and Michael Moore’s crusading social justice. Perhaps losing touch with his inner Charlie Brown, Breathed has said that “a mad penguin, like a mad cartoonist, isn’t very lovable,” and wants Opus to take his final bow before bitterness changes him forever.
I’ve previously mentioned that one of the reason I’ve always appreciated Breathed’s work is that he always manages to make his satire fun, unlike strips like Doonsbury. While it’s nice to see that there was in fact, some conviction on his part for that, it’s too bad we have to see a great strip like Opus come to end. I’ve fallen pray to this myself on the pages of this blog which is why I’ve beeen cutting back on blogging, and in fact, am considering following Breathed’s lead.
Classic quote from the interview –
“Bloom County” had five times the edge of the work I do now. In 1986 I had a cockroach scream, “Reagan sucks!” in print size that took up the entire cartoon box. Nobody blinked — 1,000 newspapers, quiet as a mouse. Now I draw a woman wearing a Muslim scarf, and the frantic publisher of the Washington Post Co. is on the phone at 9 p.m. telling me — I am not making this up — to adjust my character’s hair so she doesn’t look too unkempt.
Fear doesn’t so much rule the wood pulp news industry. More like pee-on-themselves existential terror.
Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Great article in Portfolio detailing credit derivitives and the history of mortgage backed securites.
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
This is so much better than buying up worthless securites at a premium. Preferred stock with a 5% return for five years then 9% after that represents a great return on the investment for taxpayers. Kudos to Paulson, that was a smart move. I probably wouldn’t even label it a “bailout” anymore assuming they only do these types of deals going forward.
Update – But where does the money come form? If they simply print money to make the loans, they devalue the dollar. Hmm.
Thursday, October 9th, 2008
Ten dollars says the democrats will figure out a way to save a large block of their core voting group through another bailout. (Just a guess.)
Personally, I think we should let the cards fall where they may. Market competition should decide who wins, and who fails.
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
A guy walks into a bar and tells the bartender, “Man! I totally screwed up! I bought this house down in Florida for 1.5 million and now it’s only worth 450K. I feel like a complete idiot!”
The bartender looks at the guy and says, “Did you check the property out before you bought?”
The guy says “Hell yes, it’s a beautiful place! But it’s not worth what I paid for it! I don’t think I can sleep tonight, I’ve lost so much money!”
The bartender thinks hard, looks at the guy and says, “I think you can sleep well tonight. Congress just blew one trillion on worthless property sight unseen, so at least you know you’re not the dumbest guy on the block.”