Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Dow

There was a time many years ago when you could define a nations' economic health by what the Dow Jones Industrial average did. It was an indicator of the top 50 stocks that gave a fairly accurate picture where things were and where they were going. That is until many of the regulations were cast to the curb and it turned into a Vegas night out. And don't forget the drinks.

The best talent is now not relegated to producing the next newest and best products but used to squeeze the last nickel from a spreadsheet. Corporations no longer serve their customers but their shareholders and let us not forget those CEO bonuses. New and improved is neither new or better unless you're talking about the pretty new and cheaper packaging. Forget that the product content has shaved it's net ozs. the package now matches the room decor.

But back to the original idea here, the Dow was at over 14000 in October of 2007. It took a 7000 point hit in the months that followed. It is now inching back up to that 14000 number once again and yet the economy isn't humming along like it was before 2007. But the banks now having been bailed out and still sitting on the bulk of housing foreclosures are playing the same game they did back in the early 2000s only this time it's with entire countries. We now have countries who could no more pay back those loans than a subprime borrower could before the crash. So it gives rise to the though. Just how do you foreclose on an entire country? Sorry people you'll have to leave we're turning your country into an amusement park for our rich investors.

It's all crazy when you think about it. Borrowed money chasing borrowed money all the while people getting thrown out of their homes. And the game continues on Wall Street until somebody wants to cash out their chips not realizing that those chips aren't really worth much especially when everybody starts heading for the pay out window. Oh the rush will happen it's just a matter of time. Fear does that you know. That is until greed kicks in and the game starts anew. Let's hope we don't get caught in the stampede again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Boeing - sounds like it's broken

Hard to believe that Boeing has had so many problems with this aircraft. They spent years designing this craft. It took a few more years with delays to work out the bugs and it still has problems. And that is truly surprising knowing how they test their planes. I worked up there as a subcontractor doing some of their haz mat so I got to see some of how they test things. Hour after hour they put the plane through it's paces looking for defects and what will fail. But as they say "the best laid plans of men and mice". You would think that they could put in another type battery but I guess the electronics wouldn't handle it. Not without a major rewire anyway. And that could be a problem.

An amazing process it is to see. They build part of the main body upside down then flip it over to finish the job. Parts get trucked into the backside of the plant and finished airplanes come out the front to head to the paint shop across the road. Now with 2 million parts coming together you might think there'd be a lot of mistakes but the way they handle that is a big game of "mother may I". A foreman or supervisor  lays out the job. Then the worker must wait for permission to begin. The job is done then the worker must wait for an inspector to check that the job is done right. Makes you wonder how they can complete a plane at all. I'm just glad I was a subcontractor and didn't have to follow those rules.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Too busy to blog

Haven't caught my tail...


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stay thirsty when you grab for the gusto just don't look in the mirror

Look in the mirror almost ever day yet somehow never quite see what's there.  I thought I used to be young and handsome but now just satisfied with being handsome. That is until somebody took one of those digital photos of my (what I thought was) adoring face. Sheesh somebody call the mortician! That guy should have been buried weeks ago. Okay okay I realize I'm no spring chicken. The vision is all but gone. The neighbors think I throw loud parties when I watch the news. And the other bodily parts are sagging like the springs of a 56 Olds. But geez I didn't think it would happen this fast. Getting a little jowly under the chin and where did those wrinkles spring up? Never paid that much attention to looks and I'm not vain enough for plastic surgery. Wouldn't want to look like Joan Rivers now would we?

But such is life guess you have to live with it until they slam the coffin llid shut. Had I know I was going to make it this far I would have taken better care of myself. Nah probably not. What fun would that have been? Don't you just love people who live with all the latest herbs and potions and health food trends only to land up worm food just like the rest of us? Sorry guys there are no loopholes when the grim reaper comes for you. He gets his man/woman every time. And who'd want to live to 110 when you wake up every morning and wonder "am I still here?"

So live life to the fullest. Eat drink and make Merry. And when Merry leaves jump for Joy. (rim shot). You only go around once in life and the opportunities get slimmer the older you get. Go for the gusto because Gusto's train is leaving soon if it hasn't already. Stay thirsty my friends because I'm not the most interesting man. I don't even like beer. At least not the stuff they pass off here. Beer is after all so (what's the word?) ... pleybeian. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pig meet lipstick

Amazing that some people just don't get it. They just can't accept the obvious. As we all know some people can change and some can't. You can put a suit on a hobo but that's not going to change the inside. Republicans lost this last election and why not? Who didn't they insult with their 47% comments, self deportation as an immigration policy and their no abortions even in the case of rape or incest? Like spoiled brats they pouted and stamped their feet all the while thinking that it was an image problem or a brand problem. Never once looking under the hood of their party and noticing that the engine of this baby should have been replaced long ago. Putting a couple of coats of wax on this junker isn't going to cut it.

As we move forward they have a choice. They railed against Muslim extremism and its' stranglehold on freedoms all the while promoting much the same here in the U.S. Like it or not this nation is moving away from an old white boys network and they just can't bear the thought of it. They can continue to cheat and lie but with today's technology they'll get caught nearly every time. They may control main stream media but that too has lost its' trust as people realize they've been duped  once again. You can't spin it to win it anymore as we saw from the hundreds of millions pumped into this last election cycle. And people aren't quite as stupid as you may think. You can lie to them once or twice but soon they'll catch on then everything you say will be perceived as a lie. They will have effectively poisoned the brand and all the face paint and designer gowns won't make a bit of difference.

Let's see them etch-a-sketch their way out of this one.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday pussy is busy call back later

Ever get that feeling you're chasing your tail? I'll get back to you on that right after I answer the voice    mail. Like I ever do that.

We create more bells an whistles to "make life easier"or so they say. Take a phone for example. There was a time in the olden days when it was a very simple device. The phone rang, you picked up the receiver and said "hello". Easy enough but ohhhhh noooo can't have that! Now we must have caller id, call waiting, multiple callers bee bop zip zap and ring a ding ding. A ring tone for each individual caller so that when mother in law calls the music from Dracula fills the air. Think you'll answer that one? And forget cell phones. Only a twelve year old is tech savvy enough to handle one of the new smarty ones. What ever happened to k.i.s.s. = "keep it simple stupid"?  And let us not forget those brainy individuals who keep every scrap of contact information neatly tucked into the digital memory of their smart phone which they either conveniently left at home or forgot to charge the night before. How smart are ya now Sparky!? I found it most amusing running circles around upper management armed with little more than a small note pad and pen. Proving once again that the pen is mightier than a smarty phone any day.

Haven't played tag in 50+ years but now there's a new twist. It can be done with a phone now. I leave a message with your machine you leave a message with mine and together we'll both forget to check. Basically I don't check anyway because if it was that important you'll call back later. And I really don't care what brand of beans you buy at the supermarket they probably don't have it anyway just grab one and run. And the only reason for text messages should be when your mouth is duct taped and you're informing the authorities imho.

The links the links. Hope you know where this is going. Especially found on government web pages you click and wait with the message "you are now leaving planet earth and we aren't responsible for what happens to you", only to be directed to yet another page of links. You press on pertinent link or at least you thought you did only to land up back where you started. Kafka must be chuckling in his grave.

But we're stuck. Knobs and dials are out. You just can't flip a switch or turn a dial. And don't forget your password or you're not gettin in there. Gad what was it? I used to know it last month. So you stay logged in which is a sure sign you hate the routine as much as I do. And a sure bet that password will be forgotten like a root canal.

Now if you'll excuse me I have emails to delete.

Bank fails later
UPDATE: No bank fails this week and they seem to be slowing down.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


As we slowly fade back into the cute puppy stories and Fluffy the cat does it's antics, time to chillax (gad I hate that word) and ponder the glory days of yesteryear (after all what other pressing engagements do I have that can't wait till tomorrow?). Hard to believe that this creaky old body could once do handsprings but yes it's true. One of the only ones in gym class to accomplish the feat with no spotter or mechanical assistance. But years take their toll and the last time I tried nearly passed out from the blood flow. I thought black stars swirling the head only happened in cartoons.

Digging through the gray matter it still amazes my how I made it this far. They say you can tempt fate only so many times before statistics catch up to you. Guess I beat the odds at least for now. But with passing of time, a few minor battle scares and painful joints, comes wisdom. The smarts to know that you better not try that again or the body will let you have it. Yes I can still do a few things once though impossible but that list is shrinking. Let the whipper snappers suffer the indignities and pain while I stand back and direct traffic. Problem is they haven't learned the lazy man's ways and you can't tell them anything. Let them find out for themselves then. They'll find out the hard way just like we did in our day. And at some point midlife they too will begin to realize that you don't live forever and parts do wear out. I'll just sit here with a smug look on my face and watch the show.

Remember I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together...  Red Green

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mon Dieu l'odeur!

Let's see if this doesn't get some French visitors to the site.

I just love picking out lies.  The Lubrizol plant in Paris leaked a chemical called mercaptan which is the additive put in natural gas to give it a smell. Prior to that folks were overcome by gas leaks without a clue. Natural gas has no smell of its' own.  Problem here is that the French authorities stated that there was no problem. They said the gas was non toxic, move along nothing to see here. Problem is it isn't non toxic as listed on this MSDS sheet:

Granted it would take a fairly high concentration to make you very ill but none the less even low levels for long periods of time would result in illness. And here's some  unusual facts. The exposure limits for short term exposure are the same as long term for a worker. Oh that's right we're not considered workers. How foolish of me.  And if this was such a harmless gas then why is it listed by the Department of Transportation as "Flammable Gas"? It's flash point is 0 F.

Now this might be but a tiny sample of something that we should not concern ourselves with but then stop to think of all the other toxins being thrown at us on a daily basis. You may be fortunate enough to live in the boonies where the air is fresh and clean but most of us live in or near an urban area with a barrage of air pollutants. 

Next up to keep you up at night, what's lurking in our water?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

News you can't use and could probably care less about

Couldn't think of much to write about yesterday and today isn't much better so without further ado.

Chinese workers strike over 2 minute bathroom break rule. 
Sorry Lee you can't pee. Good grief are we moving back to the 1890s where the robber barons locked the exit doors and fired you if you got sick?

ADHA rates soar in California.
Wouldn't have anything to do with cell phone usage now would it? I hear they give cell phones to six year olds now which might do wonders for their spelling but staying focused not so much.

A farewell to 'Nudity' at Airports.
Well that's a relief. Keep it at the strip clubs where god intended it. Guess the screeners got sick of looking at obese passengers. Eww, think of the dreams that would give you.

50 car pile up in Ohio.
It's called slow down the office isn't going to magically move to a new location before you get there.

Should Texas secede from the U.S.?
Why not? Then it can become a complete third world country and fight their own civil war. That'd be a republican's wet dream until they realized most of their money comes from the federal government. Can picture it now. No abortions, bible classes in every school and no pesky liberal science classes to contend with. And not to forget no taxes and the worst roads in western civilization.

If you think of anything else let me know I'm too busy wasting my time on other things.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

News indeed

Take a massacre throw in a happy story or two add to it some well spin cotton candy fluff with a dash of bitter sweet lies and you have the headline news. Oh, and don't forget the nondescript  photo under the shocking header with just enough teaser lead in that would make a stripper envious.

But again we all know that the corporate heads talk their game and slather on the BS heavier than a cow pasture. Have to keep the rubes in the dark. They might start to catch on. Take a step or two back and use both brain cells. And this is no conspiracy theory my friends. Alex Jones ain't got nothing on me. It's theft plain and simple only now on a global scale.

Look at it all, yes the whole thing. Whip out a microscope and see the fibers. The torn fabric of society slowly getting shredded before our very eyes. It's not about isms although they came in handy as weapons in this heist. Gun dealers are laughing all the way to the bank. The rubes bought it once again. Watch out for the terrorist under the bed was a good ploy. Oh forgot, it was fight them over there so they won't come here and hide with the dust bunnies. Forget about the trillions stolen in the process. Dick Cheney must have had a jolly good laugh after that plan worked. Didn't see his bank account shrink. Let's not forget the schools and hospitals that must be build over there because after all we're such humanitarians. Ignore the drone strikes and the fact that the schools and all were mostly never finished and it wasn't for the lack of funds. Don't mention that little Billy's school over here is falling apart, there's no textbooks and his lunch program was cut. Got to pay for the war and rebuilding you know. 

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. He's busy draining your accounts. All while his accomplices keep your attention diverted to the cute puppies on the screen. Sorry but you can not have what you paid for and the fine print says so. Didn't you read it? And don't forget to read between the lines because that's where the real information lies.

What ever happened to fighting the evil godless communists? Ah that's right we found gold in them thar red chinese. Not for us per say but some venture capitalists sure made out well.  Now the only thing left is to convince the world that Muslins are our friends. They must have gold stashed somewhere. Kindly keep your grubby hands off my stack while I figure out how to steal more. Taxes licenses and fees not included.      

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's in Vogue or maybe not

Creating outrage where there really is none, once again the internet boiled and bubbled a non-story. A slow news day perhaps me thinks? Seems to be the problem with the 24 hour news cycle when filler has no deadline. Exactly what is in that Twinkie cream filling anyway? Inquiring minds want to know. However in this case they ran out of outrage in mixing up this fluff. What no blood, gore or even a dog fight? I guess the pit bulls were all accounted for when this was written. Somebody got their juxtaposition meter out of whack because the heartlessness just wasn't there. If showing a bunch of underweight models next to our response teams is a crime then I sure missed something there. As Randal might say no asbestos filled buildings were harmed in the making of this photo shoot. No distraught mothers clutching their precious babies amid hurricane wreckage. Not so much as a water logged mattress or moldy family photo album to be seen.

I'm almost certain that Annie had a poignant statement to make but the viewing audience has become more jaded than that in these times. It'll take a bit more than a half dozen shots of generic service people intermixed with fashion models to invoke a response here. Hell I though they looked like an ad for a perfume or something.  Guess my skin has morphed into belt leather. That comes with age you know. Now where'd I leave my skin conditioner? That's right I don't have any not in this tight economy.

Nothing to see here folks so move along. If you come across something juicy you will drop me a line right? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday pussy and hurricane Sandy

This would be disaster pussy. As we all know cats are smarter than people. They don't have owners they have secretaries. Who after all wouldn't come to the rescue of a meowing cat in distress even if they didn't have all the rescue equipment?

Annie Leibovitz the well known New York photographer is getting quite the flack for displaying photos of fashion models juxtaposed against a backdrop of Hurricane Sandy survivors and the wreckage it left behind. I say good on her. It's been over 80 days since the storm hit and yet very little has been done to help this area. It's true that many of the folks of this area were a bit higher on the income ladder than those of New Orleans but many were not. So Annie's photo spread gives rise to that almost cliche thought of well dressed New Yorkers stepping over the homeless lying in the street. And as we all know the longer and farther away from the latest of shocking breaking news one gets the further back in the grey matter it goes soon to become a faint memory. Then we can reminisce and only wonder "what ever happened to those folks up there in NYC after Sandy hit, wonder if they ever recovered?" All the while knowing that they didn't but as the saying goes out of sight out of mind.

We think of the other Sandy tragedy and race to change gun laws move an entire school to a new location and grieve for the tragic loss of life all the while forgetting the slow death of people living in cars in winter and crammed into shelters waiting for help when no help seems to be on the way. Which end would you choose quick or slow? And as difficult and tragic as facing a hurricane and it's aftermath may be it's nothing compared to next next nightmare, facing the insurance adjuster.

Bit busy today again. Not for myself. Helping an acquaintance in another state get out of jail on trumped up charges. I'm that kind of guy. Wouldn't think twice about helping kitty stuck in hole or up a tree. It's the right thing to do.

Bank fails later. And maybe I'll borrow one of Annie's photos for show and tell here.
UPDATE: One bank failed in MN. this week.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'll just have the salad and an oxygen mask thank you

McDonald's in China was having a bit of problems with its' chicken. Seems a supplier was raising some fast growing chickens in an attempt to gain profits. A chicken normally takes 90 days to mature. The company however was feeding the chickens large doses of antibiotics which doubled their size and cut the grow date in half. All well and good you might think. Eat a chicken Mcsandwich and fight an infection, a win win for all involved right? Except that this is one of the primary causes of drug resistant bacteria. A side of MERSA with that?

Okay then make it a fish fillet. Not so fast there either Long John. A recent study found that 84% of the worlds' fish have unacceptable levels of mercury. Tuna and swordfish are at the top of the list of highly contaminated species especially those caught in waters around the China Sea. This is all the result of burning coal and mining in that part of the world.  And not to forget the toxins found in electronic products and their production. I suspect we have some pretty nasty fishing holes here in the U.S. as well.

For crying out loud then how about a burger? If they cook it right then that won't kill me will it? Maybe not but the beef in Ireland and Britain was found to contain horse meat.  Geez this takes me back to the days when they put saw dust in the bottom of cereal boxes and fed cattle concrete to juice the profits. Yep I'm that old.

Well then take a deep breath and relax. Can't do that if you're in China. 7 out of the 10 most polluted cities are in China. The air quality was so bad there yesterday that it couldn't be measured. A little background on air quality as that's up my ally. The good news is that the EPA has just tightened standards for air quality, it even passed a court appeal (hum wonder who filed that?) but the bad news is that much of the pollution in the west comes from China so until they clean up their act... Other good news is that because of the cash for clunkers program and the slower economy the air has gotten better. If you live around here you will note less air pollution alerts this past year. 

Busy day here so be careful out there. Wouldn't want to be the next statistic. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

More is not better

Second amendment to the U.S. constitution first part.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,"

Okay let's go back to just after this was ratified. At that time and even before it was necessary for all able bodied men to be part of the local Militia. There really was no paid army so all guns and ammunition had to be provided by the local folks. This was even how Washington's army was made up of volunteers with their own firearms. Also note in the amendment the phrase "well regulated". So guns were regulated even back then. And anyone who's been in the military knows that they have very strict regulations about guns and their use. Why should the general public be any different? 

Here's some stats for you. The U.S. has over 300 million guns in this country. If each one had just 10 bullets it would be enough to wipe out half the worlds' population. Not enough? We also still have over 5100 nuclear weapons in our arsenals. That's enough to blow up the world a thousand times over and make the rubble bounce. Scientists estimate that with just 24 atomic bombs being set off would be enough to eliminate life on the planet.

So I have to ask how much is enough? We really do not need high capacity assault rifles in our cities and towns. They serve one purpose only and that's for war by a trained military. Shoot off a 50 cal. at the gun range but don't be keeping one under the bed because the Ruskies aren't going to be kicking your front door in any time soon. They're more apt to hack your computer and empty your bank account than cause you physical harm. Let's face it. You aren't going to walk into a grocery store or movie theater with an assault rifle. You can't take it to school or church. I'd bet most employers frown on having you bring one to work and you aren't going to go duck hunting with it. More than likely it will sit in a closet and collect dust so why have it in the first place?

One thing is for certain. With the current rush to buy guns there'll be more in circulation and with that increase will be more deaths either accidental or intentional. It's just a matter of statistics. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A comedy of errors... we wonder why nothing gets done.

Over two weeks in session and our government has done absolutely nothing. Where do I sign up for that gig? If memory serves correct they make $172,000 a year. That's a bit over $3400 per week which would be accurate for a 50 week work year except it doesn't include or exclude in this case the time they are out of DC. All boiled down they spend less time running this country than a first grader does in school (which the last I checked was something like 162 days). 

What have we gotten for all that money spent? Remember there are 100 senators and 400+ congress monkeys in the House. 

After further review I think my head will explode. I went to the House web page to see what these guys are up to. I thought I was viewing a Marx Brothers Movie. The first few minutes of the legislative secession were the usual pledge of allegiance, prayer etc followed by an announcement or two. Then there were two resignations from committees which was followed by a recess (don't push yourselves guys) all in a period of exactly 12 minutes!  This would be like a construction crew showing up at a job site standing around scratching butts drinking coffee and telling jokes then deciding it was lunch time and leaving for three hours which congress did! Oh but it gets better. After a 30 minute meeting they again adjourned for an hour. On returning for just 30 minutes and giving an oath of office to some newly elected monkeys they took a vote to adjourn again. They must have had a glimmer of guilt because the vote was turned down. They worked for a little less than an hour and took another recess for over an hour. Two minutes after returning that they adjourned for the day.

Care to take a second and read the actual record it's all here in black and white for you comedy pleasure: Max brothers run the country   Welcome to Fredonia!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Rigged pay offs bribes! In a "loss" to Atlanta after scoring the winning touch down and only less than 19 seconds on the clock somehow 6 seconds magically appeared on the play clock that gave Atlanta the opportunity to score a field goal. They did. This is rigged and I will never watch football again. The last attempt was in the last Seattle Superbowl with Pittsburgh's Worthlessberger scoring a touch down that wasn't (he never broke the plane of the goal).

Never never never again will I watch a "professional" football game again.

News you can't use. And could probably care less about

I see by the old news cycle clock on the wall that we're just about back to the non news. All complete with cute puppies and dress malfunctions, geez can these women get their clothing straight?

I see troops are being sent to Mali along with many French war planes which begs the question what spurred people to take up arms against their own government? Were conditions that bad that they had no alternative? I suspect they were but I'll have to research it farther. You can never really tell when the media today spins an issue faster than an Elvis record at 78 rpms. And if you don't understand that reference you're too young to be reading this.

Ex Egyptian president Mubarak gets another trial. Wonder what his excuse will be that he was temporarily  insane when he ordered the torture and murder of his people multiple times?   Or perhaps a 'twinkie' defense would be in order here.

Israel is once again stealing land from Palestinians. They just evicted a bunch of people from land where they plan to build more homes. Elections are coming and Nutandayahoo doesn't want to look like a wimp. Judging from what his generals say about him he's "coo coo for Coco puffs".

More rapes in India. Nothing like getting in some debauchery before they change the laws. Haven't studied their culture much but when they forbid so much as a kiss to be shown on a movie screen you know there's something wrong there. And to add, now we know why their population is exploding.

Microbes found on the Martian surface. Just don't try and bring them back home for further study we have enough illness here. Have to wonder what the effects of Spock's disease might be though. But then again maybe a little logic might be a good thing for this planet.

That seems to be it for today. I'll forgo the cute kitties and fashion gaffes. Bigger fish to fry and far more entertaining things to look at.    

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's going on?

Years and years ago it was fairly easy to determine the direction of the stock market. Picking a stock was child's play by today's standards. Most commodities sold on a cyclical basis. So it was a simple matter to buy when supplies were plentiful and sell when they weren't. Much has changed since those days. Aside from the momentary glitches such as crop failures floods and tainted produce it's relatively difficult to see what's going on. Say what you will about Obama's leadership but he did manage to stabilize the markets in a few short years both by his actions and his inactions. The markets when he took office were headed for the 6000 mark and are now at over 13000. 

Markets tend to move on fear however and there's enough of it looming in the background to make anyone nervous. The resolution over "cliff" debate pushed the markets up. Still there's a lot of fear left to be sold. We now have the debt ceiling to contend with but anyone with half a brain would tell you they won't pull the trigger on that hostage situation. To do so would cause irreparable damage to their game. That would be like giving the house keys to a teenager and telling them you're headed on a two week vacation, "See you when we get back".

There's a couple of things going on at present, actually they've been going on for quite some time now it's just that we haven't paid attention. While we were keenly focused with our noses to the grindstone the grindstone owners were busy changing the rules. I believe some of the first rules to go were how much borrowed money could be used to buy stocks. After the grand depression that mom and dad experienced our leaders saw fit to bring a bit of sanity to the game. No more than 50% of stock purchases could be done with borrowed money. Somehow that rule was thrown out. Add to that the elimination of the rules preventing investment houses and banks to merge which created much of the mess we see today. It was now open season for investment institutions to use bank funds at the roulette wheel gambling not just your checking and savings account funds but using them as leverage that bloated the loss column on the balance sheet. But for anyone who knows a thing or two about banking knows that a debt is seem as an asset to a bank. That is until the house of cards came tumbling down.

Speaking of houses those too were part of the game as we saw from the sub prime mess. Much like a Ponzi scheme you can't keep the game going without suckering in more players. With language only a well educated attorney could decipher it was easy to catch the rubes. How quickly what mom taught us was soon forgotten that when it looks too good to be true it probably is. We stood back and watched cracker box houses that once went for under $100K now be valued at a cool quarter million. But then the bubble burst. Those easy credit terms weren't so easy anymore. Those unfortunate enough to have bought at or near the peak were wiped out just like the late comers to a Ponzi scheme. And all was going well until somebody decided to cash out their chips. Soon everybody was headed to the pay out window only the House had no cash and the pay out window was closed. To make matters worse, as if nothing could be at that time, the House had bet that the players would all lose which indeed they did. The problem came when the House wanted it's pay out and those covering it's bet had no cash either.

So as you can see it's all a matter of values and perceptions of values. Throw in some greed and dump a few rules and we're back to the Dutch Tulip run. Didn't this happen with Beanie Babies too a few years back? Did I mention tomorrow is 'No Pants' day in Seattle? How fitting.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday pussy frustrated and blue

Can't believe I've crashed two hard drives in two days. Seems like everything is breaking down all at once. None the less I persevere. Let's hope the blue guys headed to Atlanta do the same in Sundays' game.

Where was I? The Idle No More movement is set or not to meet with the government of Canada to try and work out some differences or not. It's been an off and on thing all week. Here's the thing for all to agree there's three factions that must come together. The chiefs representing all the first nation tribes, Steven Harper representing the government of Canada and the governor general who represents the crown. All because of some treaties that were signed in the 1700s and broken ever since. Now some would have you believe that the indians just want a bunch more money which to some extent is true. In looking into their history they got far less in education benefits and other goodies than most white kids. They are considered a ward of the state as it were in Canada with few rights. But what set this firestorm of protest off was bill C-45 which effectively took away many of their land rights without their agreement. All done to make building pipelines through their land much easier. And I must say these people do have a respect for the land. It's what they rely on to survive. As primitive as they may seem and who wouldn't be after getting the short end of the stick for a couple hundred years they still have a bit of common sense. They smell a rat in Harper and the politics being played out. So we shall see what happens later today.

bank fails later
Keeping my fingers crossed that this hard drive doesn't crash too.
UPDATE: One bank in Wa. failed this week making it the first of the year.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Frack You

There was a protest in Albany, NY yesterday to voice displeasure against hydrofracking which as we all know or should is the practice of pumping chemicals and water into a natural gas well in order to extract gas locked in the rock below. 

Main stream media reported that "hundreds of land owners and business people  also turned out to voice there support for natural gas development walking through the concourse carrying "friends of natural gas NY" placards. But that's not exactly the case after a reality check and a livestream verification. Turns out that only a handful of supporters were there and their chants were drowned out by the overwhelming anti fracking crowd.

So what's wrong with fracking one might ask? They're only trying to increase our quantity of natural gas and this will provide much needed jobs. First off the chemicals used are considered a trade secret therefore it's nearly impossible to determine their toxicity. Even the MSDS sheet gives only vague information as to their health effects. These chemicals forced into the ground under very high pressure tend to seep into the ground water ending up in the local folks' tap water.
One man at the protest brought a sample of his tap water. It was yellow and had the smell of gasoline. In addition to the chemicals there is a vast amount of water used in the process which is then pumped out to holding ponds at the drill site. These ponds are also toxic and are often left unattended and not well protected from animals or curious children.

In Montana it's a different story. Years ago it was common practice to drill a gas well without the use of bentonite a common inert mud like material used to seal a well to prevent seepage. It's used because it binds to toxic compounds, seals the well like cement and can actually be found as one of the primary ingredients of Pepto Bismol (termed barclays of bentonite). You can actually buy the stuff in most health food stores as a remedy. See you learn something new here every day. Unfortunately the fly by nighters in Montana were too cheap to do the job correctly so there's quit a bit of contaminated ground water.  This is not to mention all the nasties from the many mines like Anaconda copper near Butte or as the locals call it Butt.

As I realize that no system is perfect but it sure makes one wonder if there aren't better ways of doing things. Even "green" technology has it's draw backs but it seems a better alternative than what we're doing to ourselves at the moment. And one last issue. While you may see the likes of these corporate giants paste their names to "clean energy" signs at those well sites, the truth is that they're subcontracted to smaller companies who have a greater interest in profits than public safety or doing the job right.     

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

He's back

Back in full glory. You may kiss the ring now. I think I have all the bugs worked out so it's on with the circus.

Let us stop for a moment and analyze  the analysis of the break down of the recap then we can all comment on it after the summary wash rinse and repeat. We're to the point of seeing more angles then a dodecahedron. I didn't know and don't really care about the minutest of details that only a microscope could reveal. And when all else fails which it usually does we'll just throw in some conspiracy to spice things up even though none is to be found. But they just can't leave a leaf unturned.
So we end up with 57 channels and the same things on. Must upgrade, it's now 657 channels. What's next? The grass grow channel? Watch as head gardener attempts to do battle with the elusive slugs. Will he be able to deal with the crap grass? Gripping drama so tune in or catch us on facebook.

The CES (consumer electronic show) solving problems you never knew you had. My god you only needs four or five buttons on the remote. Anything else is a waste. And next they'll have an app to remind you to pee. Older demographics and all. What's the ultimate ultra super duper bells and whistles gizmo to out do them all? Maybe a mind reading doo dad that will do some function even before you thought of it.  I can almost see the future of man now sitting there in the ultra ergonomic self adjusting comfy couch in all his obeseness waiting for the infusion of dream inducing elixir. But no waiting, for the House Nanny knows all needs. Chuck the remote and dump the reminder book. You can sit and wallow in your own juices. No need for cheat sheets, ideas will be magically injected into the gray matter as the girth of America's middle section advances. And should there be a need for labour manual there's enough foreign imports to cover that. And maybe just maybe lyposuction can be our new source of oil with an endless supply. Think about that for a moment.  

Post label: Being my snarky self

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Test test test. This is only a test. Had it been an actual emergency I would have ignored you while I ran for cover. CYOA as it goes. No skin off my nose.

Seriously the computer of 10+ years gave out today but you can't keep a good dog down as I have friends in low places with connections. So with a wink of an eye and a twitch of the nose this thing is back up and running but for how long is anyone's guess. The hard drive went limp and they don't make viagra for those kinds of things. So we'll see or not.  It matters not that things wear out but to have to reinstall reboot rinse and repeat will still take some time. And that's not to speak of all the passwords long forgotten (who writes those things down on paper you might lose it). I'm as lazy as the next guy and never sign out. Word verify? Pffft! So bear (or is it bare?) with me while I try and get the furniture off the roof and back in it's proper place. Thought everything would be as I left it only the cookie jar got dashed to pieces and this beast has amnesia.
Bookmarks! bookmarks! My kingdom for my bookmarks!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ready for the big freeze round two?

Not talking about weather here. We see what's happening to Greece, Spain and Italy with their economic situations. Unable to cover their debts they were able to borrow a good chunk of change just to tread water. Those loans came at a price with strings attached like sucking the life blood out of their citizens with austerity like we've never seen it before.

Who's next on this train wreck of economic activity you may ask? Britain has been in the process of trimming its' budget on the backs of working folks as well. Just yesterday it all but eliminated a program similar to our child care credit. That's were if you have a child living with you you get a tax break if your income is at a certain level. A bit over the poverty line from what I can gather.

We must remember however that literally none of the rules of this casino game have changed since it happened in 2008. They might have come up with the Dodd - Frank bill to change the game but it has yet to be in full force. I guess when you're a bank you can tell the police to wait until your finished cleaning out the vault of all or most of the cash.

What else is happening or has happened in just the past few years to lay yet more burden on the populace? The list is long but gone mostly unnoticed as the frog is slowly boiled. Public transportation has taken a big hit. You will note that fares have doubled in just the last few years. It is now cheaper to drive a car than take a bus here and that's with parking rates that have doubled as well. You see a pattern here? All the while wages have gone down overall as laid off workers who once made a decent living are now forced to get by on half what they once made.

But this is about the pending freeze that's about to hit. From reading the tea leaves it looks like March will be a critical month. While world banks play their smoke and mirrors games the average peon is near a freeze as well. They've been stashing cash and buying gold like never before. Remember those jolly Christmas sales figures? Well they weren't so jolly after all. This is all about leverage and how damaging that can be in the long run. It's simple to understand really. You buy a house and gain some equity. You use that equity to buy an additional house and rent it out and do the same with the rental. All well and good until a tenant trashes the place or skips on the rent. Oh but you say you can sues for damages and get back your losses. Not until you've gone through the maze of the legal system which can take months. In the mean time who pays the mortgage? You get stuck with it and your nice rental empire comes crashing down. Such is the pitfalls of leverage.

So with banks being tight fisted, they want to know the last time you scratched your butt in order to get a mortgage, consumers not spending, and business barely hiring or spending, we have a government who won't spend in areas that might help without draconian cuts to other programs. All of this is happening on a global scale. Taxes may not go up but the fees and cuts to the poor and middle class just keep coming.

The economic turmoil that started in the U.S. in 2008 spread like a wave to the European markets. We as well as the European Central Bank pumped trillions of imaginary money into the system in order to keep the game going. And like the renters in the example we (those at the bottom) have no way to pay it all back or even make payments. The can here has been kicked to March. It's also a time for payments on debts in other countries. So you can see clearly what will happen. The bad paper that was sold before 2008 is still being sold. The hedges against losses are still being bought. And the insurance for those losses is still underfunded. You get the picture now? And a rather chilly one at that.        

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bits and pieces news you can't use

This is the great white north - Canada  brrrrrr!

 Truly odd world weather we're having. In China they've had the coldest average weather in 28 years and one region broke a 43 year record with temperatures at -40 F. And here's an odd little fact -40 F. is also -40 C.

And while the folks in China are freezing their gongs off the folks down in the Tasmania area of Australia are in the frying pan with temperatures of 105 F and are fighting fires.

Over on this side of the world Atlantic Canada got hit with about 18 inches of snow a week ago (photo above). For us on the northern U.S. west coast it's been rain rain and more rain with a cold sunny day thrown in here and there. We're ahead of the average by 11 inches, lucky us. As we say, " at least you don't have to shovel it".

A bank in Switzerland had to fold after getting a rather large fine from the U.S. government over tax evasion (Hope Mitt moved his money before this broke). Wegelin bank was fined $57.8 million for its' misdeeds. But the IRS is looking into others as well. Their biggest catch may be Credit Swiss which has some $2 trillion in holdings. Now if we could just catch those mortgage fraudsters who tanked our economy... Oh that's right their the same people with the Swiss accounts soon to be Cayman accounts.

Lastly we have the wonderful "clean up" job at Fukushima. The above photo shows a supervisor kicking contaminated leaves into a creek. The companies doing the clean up were told to take readings before and after their work by the state environmental office according to the contract. Nothing like sweeping things under the rug or in this case down the river. I did some research and there actually is a way to neutralize these contaminants but it involves quit a bit of work. Guess profits come before human life as always. Can somebody lend me a paddle? Oh never mind I don't have a boat.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday pussy mish mash

Mish mash. Just as I figured there's a group by that name. At any rate in my attempt to at world domination of friday beavers and pussies I now discover that I have slipped to third place with the beavers and not even placed with the pussies. Oh well such is life. Maybe I'll have to shift to boobies next although a certain Pygalgia has a corner on that market (see right hand links column).

Oil rigs. Dangerous places to work under the best of conditions. And now they want to drill in the arctic under the harshest of conditions. They say the rig that went aground can withstand gale force winds blah blah blah. I say horse hockey. Unless they build it like the great pyramids it's going to break. Reports are that the fuel tanks on this rig are "sucking and blowing" what every that is supposed to mean. Sounds to me like it already has a leak. And nothing smarter than trying to move a rig in December. But fear not they're practicing their excuses as we speak. Now who to blame it on?

Glad to report that I helped a gal get into college yesterday. She was having trouble with her financial aid so I told her to get in touch with the college ombudsman. (Ha! I always though that was the guy in charge of beer). It turned out that that position was vacant at the moment (figures) but I was able to track down the right person who could help her. She called and they got everything straightened out. Amazing what you can do on the web. She lives in Montana and I'm in Washington state.

Speaking of my own situation I may have something lined up employment wise (fingers crossed) for the new year. I sure have enough qualifications. I could fill an entire binder (oops did I say that?) with what I know. Now if I could just remember it all.

Bank fails later as usual...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What an A hole

Boner and the rest of his clown circus must have been too busy getting over the New Years' hangovers to bother with the little people up in New York and New Jersey. Thank god they aren't firemen or grandma, the kids and they family cat would be burned to a crisp by now. I don't have all the stats but several thousand homes and the same amount of businesses were wiped out in this storm Sandy. People have no place to go and can't even begin to rebuild until federal backing is put in place. Guess Johnnie boy is too busy finishing another bottle of Merlot to be bothered.

 I was talking to the folks up there the other day when the Occupy movement (remember them) was doing a neighborhood walk about and interviewing the victims of this storm. Here's the low down that lame stream media isn't reporting. After repeated calls begging for help, any kind of help, a homeowner was told that they will receive a whopping $31,000 to rebuild or repair their home. They showed us the interiors of their homes which if they're still standing have been gutted by volunteers. Basically they are empty shells with no furniture walls ceilings and in some cases floors. I've been in the construction field for quit a few years and I can tell you that $31K wouldn't begin to cover that kind of loss especially in New York. Many of the homes have what's considered a basement on the first floor with an adjoining garage and that area is not covered by insurance. Some folks were lucky enough to get $1200 for temporary housing to cover two months rent. Except that rents there for one month are well beyond that. Most have moved in with relatives sleeping on couches if they're lucky enough to have them nearby. And remember it's been 61 days already since this storm hit so now what do they do?

No biggy though Bonehead has set a congressional vote on the issue for tomorrow that is if his own party doesn't filibuster it which is a possibility. That's how crazy the Tea Baggers are you know. You can just about bet how this will work out. The adjusters, inspectors, and insurance companies will make off with a lions' share of the billions promised. Enough homeowners will get so fed up that they'll give up. Facing foreclosure (remember the mortgages still have to be paid) they'll file for bankruptcy and the bank will take the property. And unless the city has laws about abandoned structures the bank will let the piles of wrecked homes sit there becoming a rats nest. Eventually developers will buy the land and throw up over priced condominiums, but not until the other vultures of finance have picked the bones clean.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Can meet foot

It's amazing how much money we waste in this country. We think of what's truly important then go ahead and ignore it to focus on the trivial. Two things come to mind when we throw money down the black hole of the unneeded, the hour or so of visual entertainment they call the "Rose Parade". Months are spent planning and gathering just the right materials and man power to produce a rolling gawdy  mobile complete with driver, engine, lights, bells and whistles for a trip down Pasadena's boulevards to be seen for a whopping thirty seconds at best. Last I heard one float can run $50,000 to $300,000 and multiply that by the dozens. And can you recall what any of these floats were promoting? Thought not.

The other worthless expenditure might be pet toys and specialty diets for Fido. There, over a billion dollars is flushed so that pooch can wear a fur trimmed sweater this winter or eat only the finest of cuisines all the while a war vet is eating out of a dumpster. Gad do we have our priorities screwed up or what?!  And then there's things like "Honey Boo Boo". They got the last part of that right. A family scrapes by scrounges and saves so that some bratty kid can look like a star. "Enjoy that one while it lasts momma because in just a few years your "baby" will be tipping the scales just like you if she doesn't break them first. "

And what about our lazy congress? Did it act in a sensible manner laboriously forging out a plan to "fix" our economy? It did not. Instead like a school kid who's term paper was due Monday morning it waited until the midnight hour to slap together something anything to appease a waiting teacher. Even while America waited with baited breath these guys were busy passing other less important legislation. They passed two conformations as well as naming a post office before the really important issue came up. Nothing like playing a few rounds of Nantendo before getting down to the real work eh?

Did they tackle the heart of our current problems? Of course they didn't. Like the school kid they told the teacher Fido ate part of the assignment and they'd need another two months to complete it. Even then this is going to be an ugly piece of work. This is about a battle between austerity and doing what's right. We can no more pay off the national debt in a few short years than anyone could pay off their mortgage. You can't cut off your nose to spite your face. While the middle and lower class might not pay much in taxes individually they are the backbone of the economy. Without their spending we would have very little economic activity. 

Pat yourselves on the back for now senators and house members but two months is a very short time and the can won't hold up forever.