Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sneer and 80's Hair

Mike Norman and Tom Adkins deny the bursting bubble in 2007. Epic fail.

Moving

One mistake I will never repeat is buying $10 sneakers from Walmart. After two days of moving stuff I have blisters on my feet. Serves me right for being a cheapskate.

I like this.

Motörhead and Mad Max.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hey, Houston! Let's get drunk and buy a condo.

Something I did in December 2006. Sounds like I had a cold.

It's interesting that 3 years later I see that many of these condo towers are vacant. (Hint: Hermann Park high rise towers.) And I still think cigars smell like dog shit.

Dubai goes belly-up

Getting ready for turkey, but this is big news. From Bloomberg:
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks plummeted the most in seven months amid concern Dubai’s proposal to delay debt payments may trigger the biggest sovereign default since Argentina in 2001.
Dubai, Inc. was built on debt, and it is imploding right before our eyes. I guess it's a good thing that Dubai Ports deal didn't go through after all, but for reasons its detractors didn't expect.
EADS, the parent of Airbus SAS, dropped 3.3 percent to 11.87 euros. Dubai International Capital, a private-equity fund owned by the emirate’s ruling sheikh, owns 3 percent of EADS, and “could be tempted” to sell those shares, Exane analyst Tristan Sanson wrote in a report. Dubai’s flagship airline, Emirates, is also the biggest customer for Airbus’s A380 aircraft and may choose to cancel or push back orders, he wrote.
Uh oh. The conference rooms in Toulouse are buzzing right now. Something to do with "putting all of our eggs in one basket."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

I am thankful for:
  • My health.
  • My kids, who I love more than anything despite each morning's grumbles at the breakfast table.
  • The roof over my head.
  • My job. My boss, too, frankly. He knows nothing about my blog so I ain't scoring brownie points. He's a very interesting dude.
  • The USA. (To my international reader, I am not bragging that we're #1, I am just saying I am thankful to live here.)
  • Texas. (For readers in other states, I am not bragging that we're #1, I am just saying that I am thankful to live here.)
  • Living in a country where we can mock political leaders without fear of reprisal.
  • My righteous girlfriend.
  • My relatives and friends who've helped me out so much over the past miserable 1 1/2 years. I am also thankful for my dozen readers who have given me encouragement during this time. (Outside of the death of a loved one, divorce DOES suck ass like nothing else, but it does get better eventually.)
  • I am thankful for our country's plentiful supply of cheap food of incredible variety, endless entertainment and unsurpassed educational opportunities. There is no reason for anyone to be hungry in the United States. None. Unless you're a small child with incredibly lazy parents, there's no excuse.
  • I am thankful that I have a strong BS detector that forces me to be conservative with my small pool of money and prevents me from doing stupid things like getting swept up in real estate manias.
Hunger is a normal human condition. If you live in a country where true hunger is rare, you should count your blessings.

I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving. If you're Canadian, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving last month. Better late than never! If you're elsewhere in the world, have a great Thursday.

Check My Brain

My GF's son is jamming to this song and I'm thinking, "Man. That sounds just like Alice In Chains." I'm old and didn't know they re-formed.

They did this right. Rawk.

Ahh.... early 90's at Emo's. $1 longnecks, pool, people dressed in black, Alice In Chains on the sound system. The alt crowd considered Black Sabbath hip again. Good, wholesome times.

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has jumped the shark (2)

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs tossed out this comment about Bill Sparkman, the guy who offed himself for the insurance money:
But the description of the circumstances and the timing (around the time of the Washington DC tea party) raises a strong suspicion that anti-government sentiment may have been the motivation.
I said Charles is now the Dan Rather of the Blogosphere back in September because of this insinuation. Now that Charles' disgusting insinuation has been proven wrong, he doesn't have the decency to apologize.
Since this news came out, I’ve received several angry emails demanding that I apologize for saying Sparkman had been murdered by a right wing extremist.

The problem is, I never wrote anything like that. For the record, this was my post when the story broke, and I don’t apologize for a single word.
You implied it, Charles. It's plain as day. This lumps you in with certain Kos diarists, Obama Birthers and 9/11 Truthers. And Andrew Sullivan.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Futurists" are full of crap

Best guesses of the future, circa 1958. They were big on tubes back then.

This video is 8:47 seconds of pure fun to watch.

Houston Mayor Bill White runs for Texas Governor

From the Chron,
Houston Mayor Bill White is declining to comment on whether he is entering the governor's upon the exit of Fort Worth businessman Tom Schieffer.
Of course he is and this is old news. KBH will run for Senate again and White would lose. He stands a much better chance against Governor Hairhelmet.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Google can kiss my butt

Google reveals the Chrome OS!
"In Chrome OS every application is a web application. There are no native applications. That gives us simplicity. It's just a browser with a few modifications. And all data is Chrome OS is in the cloud," Pichai said.
Nope. I am not gonna store my critical personal documents in the cloud. Not gonna do it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Welfare for stupid people to go buy houses

Regarding last months "surprising" drop in housing starts, Mish asks:
Some might claim that concern over the $8,000 housing tax credit is to blame. Well even if so, what exactly does that say about the recovery when government has to give away money to home buyers?
Haven't we been doing this for decades via the home mortgage interest subsidy? Paying people in California, New Jersey and Connecticut tens of billions of dollars each year in order to buy grossly overpriced houses?

Denmark is the filthiest, most pollutin'-ist country on the planet

The UN summit on climate change is coming to Copenhagen. Denmark's prime minister is all over it.
Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A political agreement at the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen next month must include carbon-dioxide cuts and financing pledges to lead to a legally binding accord at a later date, Denmark’s premier said.

"The stronger our politically binding agreement in Copenhagen, the faster the progress toward a new legally binding global climate regime," Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said after meeting environment minsters from about 40 countries.
Will Mr. Rasmussen address the fact that his country, Denmark, belches forth more pollution than any other country? Clean up your own mess before pointing your fat fingers at others, Mr. Rasmussen.

It would be nice if maybe some enterprising young reporters could follow up on this instead of sweeping it under the rug.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SEIU attacks Boy Scout

The Allentown, PA branch of the SEIU has a Boy Scout in their crosshairs (hat tip Oilacct):
In pursuit of an Eagle Scout badge, Kevin Anderson, 17, has toiled for more than 200 hours hours over several weeks to clear a walking path in an east Allentown park.

Little did the do-gooder know that his altruistic act would put him in the cross hairs of the city's largest municipal union.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

"We'll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails," Balzano told the council.
We are witnessing the dying gasps of the big government labor unions. But as the end draws closer they become more dangerous to those of us who pay the bills.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blood circle

Boy Scouts in the UK have some insanity to cope with.
Penknives may have formed as much part of the scouting experience as badges and campfires, but according to advice from the Scout Association they must no longer be brought on camping trips, except when there is a “specific” need.
Brits do love their stabbings, but this is crazy talk. Safety is drilled into the heads of Boy Scouts when it comes to pocket knives to almost absurd levels. Boy Scouts aren't interested in knife fights, all they want to do is pointlessly whittle twigs and branches. Just like me when I was 10 or 11. Or like you. There comes a time when we need to trust our sons, and if we're concerned that Boy Scouts will become homicidal maniacs during a troop campout we have much bigger problems.

So when was the last knife-wielding Boy Scout arrested for murder during a campout? Like never ago?
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The decline of the dollar and decisions in the U.S. not to raise interest rates have caused “huge” speculation in foreign exchange trading and seriously affected global asset prices, said Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blue States vs Tan States

I think this (small PDF file) is a much better representation of the state of America than the stupid Red State vs Blue State crap. H/T Tyrone.

Cholula vs Tabasco

We started our campout this weekend with a fresh bottle each of Tabasco and Cholula. Our group was mostly Anglo, with just one Hispanic family. As of this morning the Cholula bottle was almost empty, while the bottle of Tabasco was mostly unused.

Tabasco has a big problem on its hands, so it's running this really creepy commercial to tell people that Tabasco is more than hot.


Sorry, Louisiana. Cholula just tastes better.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

$80 laptop

It's not great, but each model is getting better. I hope that Dell and HP are paying attention.

The dude presenting this cracks me up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shoutout to Fatass

Mish has a regular commenter who has one purpose: To whine about "red" states getting money from "blue" states. As a long-time lurker I've had enough and posted this.
Long-time lurker and a big fan of Mish, but I've had enough. This is a shout-out to Fatass, who constantly whines that "red states" are ripping off "blue states" in the tax lotto. It's getting real old, but I'll spell out the facts again.

Bluetards pay the very same tax rate those of us in flyover land pay. Well, less actually. Those of us in flyover land don't qualify for the enormous home mortgage subsidy, so our wallets are picked every April 15 in order to keep the dipshits in California and Massachusetts in their overpriced houses.

It is a mistake to assume that these dollars are flowing to flyover land. In reality the vast majority of that money is sucked into DC's voracious maw, with only a tiny portion spat back out. IOW, For every $1.00 the bluetards whine about not getting back, just a few cents of that money makes its way to Jesusland. The rest pays for enormous federal bureaucracies and installations.

That extra loot states like New Mexico and North Dakota supposedly get... you know why? It's because these states have tiny populations but enormous government installations with expenditures that skew the totals. North Dakota and Alaska have a lot of Air Force personnel. Where would you put these Air Force bases... Manhattan? Where would you put Los Alamos? Near a population center on the east coast?

The tax dollar windfall coming from blue states has been the result of greed, stupidity and criminal actions in the finance, insurance and real estate companies. FIRE. Where did all of this financial nonsense originate? It didn't come from those of us in Flyover. It came from the very blue states of California and New York. And now those of us in the red states will have to bail you assholes out. Red state taxpayers looted to fund bailouts for blue state Wall Street shysters. FIRE has been extinguished, blue states have become welfare queens.

So shove it, Fatboy.

You may want to hold off on those gift cards

When you're doing your Christmas shopping and you're thinking about gift cards, are you 100% certain that the retailer/restaurant will be around come January 2010? I'd be a bit leery. It wasn't so long ago that Bennigan's was in the gift card business.

I don't recommend those Amex gift cards due to the fees. I do recommend that you make things as gifts. You don't need to be a cheap bastard, but I find gifts that have some personal touches stick around my house far longer than a piece of shrink-wrapped crap from China. Yeah, creating a gift takes time. That's one of the benefits.

High Speed Rail fans have merde for brains

This jackass compares rail lines from Paris to Marseille, France to a route from Chicago, IL to Newbern-Dyersburg, TN. See? We failed!

Tell ya what. Here's my solution: You HSR fans think it works? Great. I recommend that state governments sell the rights to high speed rail corridors to these international companies and let them have at it. Japan wants to give it a try? Go for it! Japan, France, put your money where your big fat mouths are!

There. Problem solved! No arguments from anyone. Proponents get their wish.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wrong on so many levels

I smell lawsuits. Normally I don't like sharks, but if this piece of filth gives anyone ideas I hope they get sued out of existence.

This is bad. Really bad. A massacre of hundreds of regular people in an airport, turned into a game. Did I mention it was bad? I am not kidding. It's the most revolting piece of code I have ever seen.

Okinawa 1946

I posted this a few years ago and someone was able to identify the insignia for me. Unfortunately I deleted all of those posts and a relative would like to know the details. Does anyone remember this?

Unseen China

This is shocking. I imagine they are where we were in the 1890s. That still doesn't make it right. So that cheap crap you get at the dollar store/Walmart/Target/Costco... this is what you see at the other end.

The collapse is coming; It can't continue.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Houston residential real estate: En fuego!

I called/e-mailed five local real estate firms about selling my house last week. Four were advertisers in our subdivision's newsletter, one was referred to me by a family member. The guy who was referred to me came out to the house last Friday night and we discussed things. Out of the four that I called from their ads, one called me back 3 days later and asked to set up an appointment for me to come to their office. I was a little bit pissed... if I am paying thousands, shouldn't they at least come to my house first to look things over? I didn't call back, and after 5 days I have received no follow-up. I didn't receive any response at all from the three other agents that I contacted. No e-mail, no phone call, nothing.

I am in sales and marketing. I have pointed out Rule #1 before: When someone contacts you about your products/services, that is gold. You don't ignore or delay these people. You contact them promptly and FOLLOW UP for Pete's sake.

I can only conclude that west Houston residential real estate is on fire and these agents can pick-and-choose their clients. Since they don't want to work even the tiniest bit they must be contented highly-paid order takers instead of professional sales people.

An old one that I re-upped tonight. I yanked it after my personal crisis last year. I wonder what Crisp & Cole are doing right now?

Texas is the new retirement mecca

Texas is the new retirement mecca, according to the LA Times.
With some of the country's lowest prices for housing, gas and food, no state income tax and one of the most resilient economies in the nation, Galveston and other parts of the Lone Star State are emerging as the new Florida.
Real estate values in traditional retirement Mecca's such as Arizona and Florida are dropping quickly and will soon be on par with Texas prices. I am not so sure that Rust Belt/Snow Belt retirees will continue to flock to hurricane magnets like Galveston or Corpus Christi when they can get the same prices in hurricane magnets like Naples or Sarasota that have nicer beaches. But hey, I could be wrong.

Chauncey Gardner charged with murder

This is a horrible, wretched story, but I do find it interesting that his parents were Jerzy Kosinski fans.
Tivasha E. Logan, 25, and her boyfriend, Chauncey Gardner, 27, were charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Let's go on strike

Fry's employees may go on strike. Medical insurance that costs $5/week seems to be a key sticking point.
That proposal has been unacceptable to the union and its members.

"With the recent negotiating sessions, it became clear their goal is to force us into a position of a strike," (president of United Food & Commercial Local 99, Jim ) McLaughlin said. "We have been clear to the employers as to what an acceptable offer is. They know what it is, but they have refused to cooperate."
Maybe they should strike against the revolting uniforms Fry's employees are required to wear.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

‘Prepare for war,’ Chavez warns Venezuelan military, populace

Melonhead is screeching again.
The leader of the fifth-largest oil exporter in the world is warning his country's military and citizenry to prepare for war with Colombia and the United States, according to published reports.

Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez issued his warning during a weekly radio address.

"Let's not waste a day on our main aim: to prepare for war and to help the people prepare for war, because it is everyone's responsibility," he reportedly said.
The Guardian is slowly, grudgingly, waking up.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I don't want to be a landlord.

Why would I want to deal with tenants?

Feelin' Groovy

Slow down, you toke too fast,
You gotta make that half ounce last!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ft. Hood

I am not going to wade into the religion thing, but I will say that I hope he has a very painful recovery and many years of (deleted) using Lava Soap at Fort Leavenworth before he is executed.

Detroit Dystopia

A depressing way to start off your Thursday morning.

Allena, this is your dream realized. How'd you like to be that elderly woman?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm buying a house.

I hope I don't regret it.

Next place for Russia to invade

The Russian Ground Forces will be heading back to Georgia soon, but they'll also pay a visit to Estonia. Ethnic Russians there need protecting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Are the Chinese capable of building anything unique?

For example, the Meizu M8. It's a shameless rip-off of the iPhone and Android operating systems, only with massive value-added bugs.

Maegoss made what are valid criticisms:
I know you will hate me for this, but I think the new GUI is not that phenomenal. Most new GUI features were stolen from other phones, eg:

- Pulling the menu up stolen from Android
- Small line on the main menu that tells you on which screen you are - stolen from Android/HTC Hero
- In calendar the way of setting the date with the scrolling wheels (year, month, day) to set the time - stolen from iPhone/Android
- Picture viewer in landscape showing all pictures in "filmstrip" - stolen from Android/HTC Hero
- The pulling down of the upper bar (containing the operator name, date, battery state, etc.) - stolen from Android
- The new copy-paste way - stolen straight from iPhone
- The new way of rearranging the icons on screen: the trashbin at the middle bottom and the plus sign at the bottom right - stolen from Android/HTC Hero

It seems Meizu developers didn't have any ideas of their own, so they "borrowed" others ideas. Earlier the M8 was only an iPhone clone; after the new GUI is used it will be an iPhone and an Android clone as well.
crimson05 doesn't get it.
what is you problem?
it looks good and has a good usability

tell me a really new concept for a phone
it is impossible

every company "steals" from others

look at macos, win 7 and newer linux dists
they all look nearly the same
Bullcrap. The Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems look nothing alike unless you think icons make all OS's the same. Anyone with a lick of sanity knows that Meizu is profiting from what engineers at Apple and Google did. They are blatant thieves. Chinese companies are stealing from companies around the world. Ask Samsung or LG or Nokia what they think about these Chinese knock-offs.

For the crimson05's of the world who think it doesn't matter, let me ask: If you had a bright idea for a product and you knew that someone else would sell a duplicate in a few months so as to profit off your work and there wasn't anything you could do about it, would you have the same opinion?

Monday, November 2, 2009

If money was no object...

I'd live in San Francisco proper. Despite the bummage I love the city.

La Jolla is nice, but a lot of a-holes live there.

Flagstaff is a cool little town but grossly overpriced and it's too remote.

A lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee would be tasty but winter sucks.

Corpus Christi has some beautiful homes on the bluff overlooking the bay but summer sucks.

So my fantasy retirement triangulation would be San Francisco from March-June, New Hampshire from June-late September, Corpus from October-March.

Reality? I'll be stuck in Hellhole. I'll just comfort myself with the fact that we're entering the brief period each year when we have San Diego weather.

If money was no object, what would your post-retirement life look like? I am leaning towards buying an RV in 20 years to escape in the summer. Some like to mock this lifestyle, but I think it would be great to be mobile.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Californians get another kick in the teeth

Californians get a 10% tax increase today. But state leaders promise it's only a loan.
Effective today, the amount of state income taxes withheld from California workers' paychecks will increase 10 percent.

The increased withholding comes on top of a 0.25 percent state income tax increase and a reduction in the dependent credit, also enacted as part of the state budget.

Essentially, the accelerated withholding program does not generate additional tax revenue. Instead, it front-loads it, bringing cash in more quickly in an effort to keep the state treasury stocked with funds, which is where the "cash advance" tag comes in.
The LA Times published an editorial today.
California and Texas are not perfect representatives of the alternative deals, but they come close. Overall, the Census Bureau's latest data show that state and local government expenditures for all purposes in 2005-06 were 46.8% higher in California than in Texas: $10,070 per person compared with $6,858.
Californians must be receiving outstanding service, right?
Today's public benefits fail that test, as urban scholar Joel Kotkin of NewGeography.com and Chapman University told the Los Angeles Times in March: "Twenty years ago, you could go to Texas, where they had very low taxes, and you would see the difference between there and California. Today, you go to Texas, the roads are no worse, the public schools are not great but are better than or equal to ours, and their universities are good. The bargain between California's government and the middle class is constantly being renegotiated to the disadvantage of the middle class."
I guess that Californians remain content to pay those 6-figure pensions.