Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Great Recession, Part II

I think it began this month. The evidence I have is purely anecdotal, but as someone on the front line I don't like what I see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hunger Strike in Dubai Debtor's Prison

Remember this story from a few years ago about failed expat real estate speculators in Dubai hiding out in airport carparks? Some didn't get the hint, stayed behind, and now they are in prison. They are resorting to hunger strikes.
Many of the hunger strikers fell victim to Dubai’s once-thriving real estate market, struggling to meet their payments when boom turned to bust in 2008. Twelve face sentences of more than 20 years because each bounced check can translate into a jail term of up to three years.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why high school kids don't care about cars now

Mish brings up the subject. I am dating a woman who has a senior in high school. He and his friends just don't care about cars like the prior generations. Nor are they eager to get that first job to earn lots of money. (That is relative. When you've never had a job before and you are 17, $150 per week is a lot of money.)

There are two reasons I think: One is the smartphone. They are now connected to each other 24/7 in ways you and I couldn't imagine when we were kids. The other is the massive influx of immigrant workers over the past 20 years. I am not going to debate the legal vs illegal thing, but go into any fast food joint and you won't see high school kids behind the counter, you'll see middle-aged Hispanic people, primarily women. Why would the manager of a burger joint hire a high school kid with angsty teenaged attitude when they can get an adult who truly needs the work and doesn't complain and doesn't take off if they have a hot date?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's been a bad month for Obama.

Literally everything the Obama campaign is throwing at Romney is blowing back at them. It reminds me of George H. W. Bush's collapse 20 years ago. (Sheesh... 20 years!) Right about this time, in fact. It seemed as if the Bush campaign could do nothing right. He barfed on the Japanese prime minister, it was claimed he didn't know what a supermarket checkout scanner was, his Veep didn't know how to spell "potato" and then he got into a stupid war with Candace Bergen. (Whatever happened to her?)

Team Obama better hold some emergency meetings PDQ and toss their advisers if they want to win this thing.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Houston is the second most boring city in the world.

Houston is the most boring city in the world, just behind Brussels. And we're also the second fattest place, just behind Qatar. Yay!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

October Surprise

She's put up with a lot of crap over the past 4 years and has bit her tongue.

October would be a very lucrative time to drop a tell-all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's like deja vu all over again.

Facebook is buying Instagram for $1 billion with money they don't even have yet. If you haven't heard of Instagram, it's that little app on our phones that makes pictures look like Polaroid photos.

Om Malik says,
Facebook was scared shitless and knew that for first time in its life it arguably had a competitor that could not only eat its lunch, but also destroy its future prospects. Why? Because Facebook is essentially about photos, and Instagram had found and attacked Facebook’s achilles heel — mobile photo sharing.
Photos are important on Facebook, but it's not "essentially about photos". Most Facebook users go there to waste time on Zynga games, post boring status updates, make snarky comments to friends and laugh at Lolz pictures. And it's not exactly difficult to post photos to Facebook from your phone, unless you think tapping Send Photo is difficult.

We are at the January 2000 point.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hobby International

Southwest wants to create an international gateway at Hobby Airport. United doesn't like that. Its largest hub is at IAH, 30 miles away.

United just nuked thousands of local jobs and moved ops from Houston to the business-friendly, Obama-friendly climes of Chicago during the United/Continental merger. United management won't admit it, but I'll point out the obvious: The location of United's headquarters was determined by the occupant of the Oval Office. The Feds would never have approved the merger if the HQ had remained in Houston.

Now United is whining. They may pull international routes. I have no sympathy. Fares at IAH are the highest in the nation (read: fat profits for United) and Houstonians will benefit from the competition on international routes, particularly to Mexico and the Caribbean.

To reiterate, United cuts Houston jobs, gives us the highest airfares in the nation, then threatens service cuts if a competitor offers cheaper fares and thousands of new local jobs. Gosh, which side should I root for?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pink slime disgusts me.

I'm sticking with hot dogs, sausage, bacon, Jello, bologna, pate de foie gras, Spam, knockwurst, pressed duck, liverwurst, head cheese, Gummy Bears, Zungenwurst, bratwurst, Braunschweiger, pepperoni, chorizo and haggis.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why the hell are we so fat?

The Atlantic says it's because we don't walk enough. Which is true, but 1994 wasn't that long ago and I really don't think people were walking any more then than they are now. I jog and when I check my RunKeeper stats it reports that I've burned up maybe 500 calories after 45 minutes. Fast, steady walking may burn 300 calories in 45 minutes. So a lot of walking doesn't burn that many calories.

I am more inclined to believe it's the sheer volume of crap we are eating. Portion sizes in restaurants are enormous compared with 20 years ago, and so much of it is laden with HFC's. I don't think corn syrup is necessarily bad, but they are mixing it with everything now in order to make food taste "good."

What do we feed cattle in order to fatten them up?