Freakish Nintendo ad

I think that if I had seen this as a child, I would have run away screaming.

Surviving Hyperinflation

Looking towards the future. Wondering when the next shoe drops.

Hyper Inflation Book

Pirates and Ninjas

Personally, I'm a pirate. However this video makes me regret saying it.

Watch Evolution in Action


If you have ever wanted to watch evolution happen right before your eyes, this flash "game" does as good a job as any. The "moon buggy" iterates with every 20 cycles, choosing the versions that can travel the farthest. Put it on a computer that you are not using and let it run for a day or two. Great stuff.

Sad, yet funny video.



Personally, I would have made the leap sooner.

Inflation nation 1933

Lest you forget the creamy goodness of inflation:

Why does the bailout penalize financially responsble people?

Ok, another post about how pissed I am.

First I hear about a great thing. "They" have a plan to lower mortgage rates. A plan that allows for a 4.5% or even a potential 2.5% interest rate. Finally something in this mess that helps me out directly and sounds like it will end up helping everyone in a bad mortgage as well.

This is sweet!

Then I read that "They" are talking about limiting the plan to new purchases, not refinances.

This is not sweet. It actually sucks.

It means that everyone who did their part in destroying the economy and purchased a home that was too expensive, which they could not afford *and* lost it through a short sale in the financial turmoil has a better chance than me of getting a great rate on a new mortgage. It's possible that even people who were foreclosed on might have a better chance.

So I'm pissed.

Because I did everything "right", because I paid my bills and only purchased what I could afford, I have no chance at all of getting that rate.

Since I am all paid up and fiscally responsible, I won't have the same chances for mortgage rates that someone else has. Because I can pay my bills, I'm screwed. I'll continue to pay higher rates and be treated like a second class citizen. And you know what else? With rates that cheap on new homes, people will realize the best deals are on the empty McMansions that are suddenly affordable. As a result the property value on my "vintage" small home will likely drop.

Ughhh...

Seriously, this is a really stupid plan. It creates more incentive than anything else for people to "trade up" and put their house on the market so they can buy a new house. Isn't "flipping" what got us into this mess?

Hell, if this plan goes into effect as the rumors describe it, I might try and trade up.

Sarcasm on:

Hey... Hold on a minute. Maybe I could "sell" my house to my girlfriend. I could even set the price higher in the sale and pull out some "equity" so that I can join the party (I'm always late to parties) An extra hundred grand for the market where it's at right now might allow me to pay for the house outright in a year or two. What a great speculative opportunity.

Who knows... At that rate, I could buy another house or two for "investment" purposes.

As John Lovitz once said, "Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Sarcasm off

Awesome artwork from the government.

All the way from the USGS, we have this lovely bit of work.


Check it out in full size!

Henry Ford on Auto Bailouts

Henry Ford said on February 11, 1934: "Let them fail; let everybody fail! I made my fortune when I had nothing to start with, by myself and my own ideas. Let other people do the same thing. If I lose everything in the collapse of our financial structure, I will start in at the beginning and build it up again."

Was the crash manufactured?

Disclaimer, this post was sitting as a draft since November if 2008 and I just now decide to publish it (March 2009)

You are going to think I'm crazy, but something doesn't feel right about this crash. Granted, I've only lived through one crash before where my focus was on the market, but this crash feels like it has been manufactured.

The whole time, I've been running under the same rules that I did the last three years. Find a good company, predict what their business will do and use that to invest in the company or not. My friends will tell you that I have been right most of the time until this year. This year has really sucked. Every call I make on a company's performance is right, but the behavior of the stock goes the opposite direction.

I just figured that it was me until I put two and two together last night when Jim Cramer mentioned that you could tell which way the market is going by watching XOM. Previously, he had mentioned that AAPL, which is a favorite stock of mine was a "tell".

Which is what made things click for me.

I think that AAPL was a target at the start of this year by people trying to take down the stock market and bring upon a crash. I think that XOM and other Dow Oil stocks were jacked up so that they could be brought down in the same way that AAPL was - hard. By proxy, if AAPL drops 50%, the Nasdaq drops with it since it is so large a portion of that exchange. XOM and other Oils drive the Dow and much of our economy.

Think about it, have we really had a recession this whole year? Has it felt like things have been slow until the last two months? The American people have been largely oblivious until this stock market crash in October that we were in any trouble at all.

I mean sure, we are in a recession now, but without the news on CNBC and the constant battering of stocks causing people to start contracting, would we be here now? Would it be this bad?

I don't know.

The Stock Market Sucks.

Yep.

All bad. No Good. Just plain sucks. I feel like a red shirt in Star Trek that can't get a break.

1929 Crash Video

I think that we are nearing a bottom to this market, but the fun never stops. Contemplate this while you enjoy a video of the crash of 1929.

Should I buy AAPL (again)

As most of you know, I'm a proud owner of Apple stock and have been for a long time. There have been a lot of times this past year where it seems that I should have sold and did not. Oh well. That is the problem with my having invested in the company and not having traded the stock.

Of course, had I just traded the stock, I would have sold during 9/11, I would have sold when Jobs had surgery and I probably would have sold at any of the times that it has lost half or almost half it's value in the last 7 years. Had I been a trader, I would have lost out on the current 1000% gain that I'm sitting on.

Would I have been smart to jump last December when the stock hit 202 intraday? Yes. But I didn't buy the company wanting to sell it. I bought it because I wanted to own it. I guess that some people probably won't understand that. There have been a dozen times in the last 7 years that I would have been right to see that would have cost me money if I took them.

So now, AAPL looks like it could test 52 week lows again during another market drop downward. I've been buying calls every time this drops, and I'll probably do so again if it drops over the next couple weeks. The calls I'm buying are at least a year out, so I'm not saying that AAPL will rocket upwards in the next couple months. But by next year at this time, unless the entire market gets halved again, you will be wishing that you picked some up here.

I do think that there will be an event at next earnings that could be profitable to the upside. I think that there are a couple things that indicate we could have a massive short squeeze if all things align just right. Apple has traditionally not had a very high percentage of shorts. But this is going up in general with the overall market problems. Take a look. Also, there is some bullish sentiment that Apple could blow out numbers again, even in the downturn. I think that these two things indicate a potential for great upside in a squeeze if enough shorts get on this bandwagon before earnings. Like lemmings, I think they will.

So what gives me confidence? Three things:


1. The first reason is contrary:
During a recession, people tend to do small things that make them feel better. Apple has this category well covered, iTunes gift cards are everywhere, iPods are cheaper and better than they have ever been, and even if you got one last year or the year before, you are feeling the need for the new one. Is your old iPod a gaming machine? Does your old iPod have apps? Face it, you feel the technolust, and everyone else does too.

2. The second reason is trend: There is a global move (finally) to mobile and hand held computing. Apple leads in laptop sales and "pwns" everyone in hand held computing.

I have been a cutting edge consumer of this trend for the last 12 years. Starting with palm pilots hooked up to Nokia cell phones with a tether and almost every iteration of Windows Mobile or other hand held since then. None of the many devices that I have owned compares to the iPhone.

The only device that seems to come close is the Android based "gPhone" but even it falls short. Feeling cheap in comparison. I managed to stop in and play with the Android phone at T-Mobile and was able to play with the MySpace App that my team designed for the first time on a live phone*.

The Android phone feels "plastic", like a toy. The screen "wiggles" when slid out and when I picked it up, I had thought that I was holding on of the fake display phones until the screen lit up.

The iPhone, and for the timid, the Touch, are the best handheld computers on the planet. The hardware is not cheap and plastic like the Google phone, the software does not feel locked down and corporate like the Blackberry. The developer market and simplicity of the app store make this a killer that everyone will adopt. The price that consumers see up front is too cheap to pass up and likely to get cheaper with new models.

3. The third reason is personal: I visited the mall yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon to stop by the Apple store and drop off an old computer in need of repair. The mall was a grim sight. Even for a weekday, the mall was barren. It felt like a ghost town that had no ghosts. The food court had people, but it was just after lunch at 2:00 and there weren't many people there either.

But the Apple store was different.

It had so many people in it that I had to wait to get help. Every station had someone shopping or buying. There were people engaged, iPods being sold and happiness all around. It's hard to judge traffic at the Apple store, as it has always been packed, so it might have less than it did 6 months ago, but on Tuesday of this week at 2:00 in the afternoon, it seemed to be doing very well.

I didn't go into any other stores, but of the ones that I passed, about half the mall, there was little to no activity. So Apple really stood out as busy.

I think it's possible that this could be a good season.


Do I think the market or AAPL can go down?

Of course. There is the possibility that all hell has broken loose and the consumer, always slow to catch on that they should be in a recession, has finally realized it and is slowing their spending. So if you buy. Realize that things can get worse before they get better. Also realize that if hell has broken loose, we could go down another 50% and stay there of the next ten years.

I'm hoping that hell has not broken loose.

I think AAPL can hit as low as 80 under great, massive fear in the market or under any general collapse that does not decimate the market. But I think a year from now, this will be back to the 130 to 150 mark on some returned optimism in the market.


* The app is great and is better when viewed on the live phone than in the simulator. My team rocks. (We designed MySpace on the iPhone as well.)

Forclosing Hitler, are you Hitler?

Here is a litmus test for you.

Watch this video. If at any time you say "I can understand why he did that, I did that too" then this entire housing collapse if your fault and I'm pissed at you. Guess what, the rest of America and the world is also pissed at you too.



Here is a plan for those of you stuck in this situation:

1. Sell everything that you have, immediately. Go to eBay, go have a garage sale, call friends that were not as foolish and sell everything that you own. Keep anything sentimental, but lose everything else. The big screen, the expensive car, the toys, everything.

2. If you cannot pay off all your bills and debts with this cash, hide the money. Put the cash in a box in your closet. If you put it in a bank, it may be taken by the courts when you do what I'm recommending next. If you can, jusp to step five, you are not doing too badly.

3. Declare bankruptcy. I know. Not an honorable thing to do. But it will give you the chance to fight another day.

4. Get a tattoo in a place where you can read it every day, perhaps your forearm or in reverse on your chest. The tattoo should state in plain English everything that you did wrong and include at the end a promise with your signature that you should never do it again.

5. Look at that tattoo every day and live within your means for the rest of your life. (This is the most important step.)

6. If you happen to become rich or do well enough to have extra money you should pay back the debts that were forgiven during your bankruptcy. Probably you will not be able to pay back the people you directly wronged, but you can try. If you can't pay debts back directly, donate the money to a worthy charity.

I.O.U.S.A. byte sized

I found a short version of the film I.O.U.S.A., a film that Warren Buffet was involved in. I'm still looking to watch the whole thing when it comes out on my Apple TV. Have fun.

Nailing Palin

No, not Nalin' Palin, the porno. Conservatives are now nailing Palin for the negative impact that she had on the campaign.

I guess that since the Republicans lost and need someone to blame, we can start getting some honest conservative reports of this "remarkable" woman.

Watch this clip from Fox News. I think that with enough of these statements, it might be a shoe in that we'll never see Palin in an election race outside Alaska ever again.



However, I do foresee a Palin Miniseries, made for TV movie and potentially a talkshow. Of course, the aforementioned porno will probably get a lot of traction as well.

Two days into a changed world

The world changed for the better on Tuesday. It changed because a nation on the brink of becoming irrelevant decided that it would awaken a new age and let the world know that it was ready become great again.

I'm proud to be an American. Really proud.

Of course, this was not just an American event. The rest of the world joined in the celebration and that is what is really important.

The links will take you to picture galleries that really do a good job of conveying the emotion of the moment. But my favorite is this one since it makes me feel like we just entered the Matrix.

I voted today

Enjoy.



In all seriousness. I did vote today.

Zombie Sunday - Call of Duty World at War

I didn't know about this one. All I can say is awesome. Nazi Zombies... I think I'm in heaven.

Zombie Sunday - Left 4 Dead


Another post for the zombie lovers out there. Is anyone else looking forward to "Left 4 Dead" as much as I am? Here is a teaser trailer to whet your zombie killing whistle.

Currently I'm playing through "Dead Space" on the Xbox, but it's a bit to spacey for a zombie purist.

Election Humor

Well... Sick election humor anyway.

I stumbled across a Photoshop thread with a ton of politically charged images. Some of which are pretty funny, but some are offensive no matter who you are: Democrat, Republican, Republicrat, intelligent human being, etc.

Have a laugh if you dare.

Just trying to lighten things up before the election gets stolen again.

I've pulled out a clean one for you in case you fear going further.

Debtors suck

And I may be pissed at you.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was pissed because of the current economic situation. I'm now pissed just a bit more. Banks, in all their wisdom are trying to "forgive" credit card debt.

On one hand, I get why this is important - it will open up those full lines of credit and spur our economy, relieve the millions of debtors that are at the end of their ropes and cause far fewer debtors to default on the debt they have accumulated and thus save the banks money in the end.

On the other hand, I think this is just another bad idea in a string of bad ideas. It won't repossess the big screen TV or the multitude of other unnecessary things that built up that credit card debt in the first place.

The worst part of this plan is that it won't teach anyone a lesson. Nobody will learn that you can't "charge it" forever. Nobody will learn that you can't lend to people who can't afford to pay the bill.

Lets talk about the reason I'm pissed.

It's simple. I'm pissed because I didn't "charge" a new TV, so I'm still watching a 12 year old 32 inch "tube" TV that takes up half the room. While I've been able to "afford" a new TV for a long time, I have been waiting to purchase one until the prices came down and it made more economic sense or until the current TV broke. "Charging" a new 1500.00 flat screen on a credit card seemed foolish. Now I feel like such a fool for being so fiscally responsible.

Had I known that I'd be able to charge that TV and not have to actually pay it off, that it would ultimately be as much as 40% off, I would have charged up every card that I had.

Of course, I feel like double the fool because all the money that I was not spending on TVs and home appliances went towards investments that are now down.

So, I'm just a little more pissed.

But this time, I think I have a solution:

I should go run up my stack of unused credit cards, take out a home equity line and buy a lot of things that I can't afford. It's the new American way, and I can't believe that I've been blind to it for so long.

Meh.

p.s. Still have a credit card? Are you one of the few, the proud, the over chargers that will get "relief" from the "unjust" credit crunch where people "tricked" you into borrowing more money than you could afford to pay back?

Paypal me $1500.00 so that I can buy a new TV.






Zombie love

Another great zombie post.

Great ad for Obama

McCain in his own words.

Hard times coming for the next president

An interesting article in the NYT (registration required) mentions something fairly obvious but overlooked about the current election amid economic crisis. The idea that the candidates are basically fighting for the right to face down the demons that have us in their grips.

Personally, I think this says a lot for the mettle of both men.

However, I cannot wait for the prime time speech that Obama will be giving during the world series. I don't watch baseball, but this year, this game, will certainly have my rapt attention.

Go Colin Powell



Powell endorses Obama... Nuff Said.

A lot of original Mac and Apple stories

Check out Folklore.org It's a great site with a lot of stories about the early days of the Mac. I'm a sucker for early silicon valley, and this is a treasure trove.

Probably the best reason to vote Obama

Because the rest of the world might just start thinking that we aren't assholes anymore.

Obama roasts McCain

I didn't know that Obama could be so funny. If he hadn't passed away, I would swear that this was written by Dean Martin.

Part one:


Part Two:

Stop paying your mortgage?

Sad but true. It's come to this. I know that the article is a rant and does not propose that as a real solution, but after reading, I found quite a few articles that do propose that as a real workable solution.

Anyone else here feel like a sucker?

I propose a new law. Let's just shoot on sight anyone who does not pay their bills.

Too harsh?

RIP: Wall Street, Main Street, and any other street.

I guess that there will be no value in business after this week.

Maybe every ounce of value is gone. No company that has a ticker symbol will make it through even the next few months. It's all just over.

Maybe we have reached a point that is unrecoverable. Not in terms of a short term stock market hit where a lot of people get scared out of stocks, but a point much worse. A point where everyone gets scared and freezes up.

Maybe we've decided collectively, as a species, that it's over. That we need to end any kind of good thing that is going on and just stop.

Probably some companies during this earnings season will report good numbers. But all forward guidance given by any intelligent CFO will be cut "just in case" anyway so any good won't matter.

Oh well.

Guess what. It's not even Wall street that is the real problem. Wall Street is just an indicator of what is to come. Wall Street will probably recover pretty soon and start making more money for all of the people who still have money. But based on what is going on in the market right now, this next 2 to 5 years will be a real shit-storm for Main Street. As they say, "You ain't seen nothing yet"

But how bad could it be?

Enough of the bad news has leaked out into the general population that "Everyday Joe" everywhere will now cut back because they are now scared and it takes a long time for "Everyday Joe" to recover. Anyone who has not lost a house is battening down whatever hatches they still have.

This is a self fulfilling prophecy of the worst kind and I don't think that we'll see a good indication of a recovery for many years. I think it's truly possible that we are actually going to see the worst.

A better question is "did anyone see this coming?"

This is where this gets interesting. I sort of did, but I didn't want to believe it. I read about this back in 2005 in books that foretold this very thing. I even made a point about talking about it to anyone who would listen.

One of the books that I read at that time was a book by a crazy man named Harry Dent.

Not Harvey Dent (the Two Face) or Arthur Dent (the galactic traveler), but some whack job called Harry Dent. Read the reviews on Amazon and it will seem that the world hates him. (but do they hate him now?)

What makes this interesting is that despite some timing differences (He's off by a about a year) the book was written years before this cycle really got underway.

His book is based on a theory called the Kondratiev Wave, or the "Long Wave". (If you haven't guessed, it's a theory by a Russian economist named Kondratiev.)

Long Wave theory is nutty stuff that states simply there is a season for everything and everything must have it's season. It goes on to state that these seasons are cyclical in nature and that there are many cycles that overlap. 4 Year cycles that follow presidential elections, Ten year cycles that follow decades and even 20, 40, 80 and even hundred year cycles.

These waves bring up and down times and right now, all of them, every last one, is lined up at the perfect low. The last time this was set up like this? The great depression, this chart shows a few seemingly perfectly spaced dips, with each following a spike. This alignment of cycles is called the Grand Supercycle in Harry's book.

Pretty Ominous really. But it made a lot of sense to me when I read it. The charts were what really scared me. They make a bit too much visual sense.

I've been trying to figure out whether this is all crap or not for the last few years of my life. I guess that the next year will make me a believer or show me that this is all bunk.

So how does all of this affect you and me?

As I said before, the stock market is a great indicator of what will happen to the economy going forward. Stocks drop before main street feels the pain. The great depression didn't happen during the course of a single day on Wall Street, it happened over ten years after everyone went home that day. We may well face that same situation right now. And if so, I'm not looking forward to what comes next after the size of the train that is in process of running us over right now.

I sincerely hope that things do not get this bad, but it's possible that we could be facing a time when the best investments are food and guns.

Me, I'm crossing my fingers that this will turn around and hoping beyond hope that wave theory turns out to be the aforementioned bunk. Because If I'm wrong, not much matters anyway.

Holding and buying (selectively).

-Don

If you are interested in the Kondratiev wave or Harry Dent's book, here are some helpful links:

Wikipedia page on the Kordnatiev Wave

Long Wave Analyst

Google books has a great preview of the book.

And of course, I have no idea where I found this chart, but it's great. I have had it for several years and it shows wave theory very well in many aspects. Use your right mouse button to zoom in and your mouse to pan around once you have. Awesome stuff.

New Macbook Pro

I do wish they had announced the 17 inch. I was hoping to move to a larger screen resolution.

But I need a new computer so bad that I had to make the leap. I'm tired of the little spinning beach ball.

I have to say, this computer that I'm using now has been a champ. Back when I was freelancing full time, I would upgrade almost every six months. In contrast, the Macbook Pro that I'm on now, a first gen 15 inch, has lasted almost 3 years. Phenomenal in computer years, but definitely starting to show it's age.

In a few short days, I'll be typing on the beauty pictured here. I ended up grabbing the top of the line with all kinds of upgrades. It will be an awesome machine and I'm looking forward to feeling cutting edge again.

I'm still going to put OS X on my Wind though. Maybe this weekend.

One picture is worth a thousand words.


Found on Flickr

I hate being a fanboy - But I need a new laptop

And of course, the object in question can be seen here. (perhaps, if true).

Here is a list of Apple liveblog locations for today's "The focus turns to Notebooks" event you will find me watching these today as I'm taking a day off to try and finish up some needed tasks at home. (um... taxes for last year.)

News from the 1929 Stock Market Crash

This country is fundamentally sound and the economy is strong.

Hmm... Sound familiar?



Regulation is bad... Just ask this guy... (or John McCain ;-)



And of course, the end result, a lot of you will get out of the market for good like this lady who lost her million. Of course, had she managed to place the 25,000 she had left in the market or kept the stocks that she owned, she'd probably be a millionaire a few times over before she grew old.



Fox Movietone news by way of "the big picture"

WSJ - what history tells us about the market.

We're at a strange time. Financial advice has essentially turned to prayers and shrugged shoulders. Financial news sites are reporting on events that have few living witnesses not because there was massive death at the scene, but because most alive at the time have passed on from old age.

That's not a bad thing. This article by the WSJ is, I think, more helpful than any other advice or modern news on what the G7 are up to this weekend. An article in a news site about events that took place almost 80 years ago. About as far from "news" as you can get. But you should read it. Another feature comes from Newsweek. Also a great way to spend a few minutes.

If you have some time to read about the events of 1929 and other crashes, I'd recommend listening or reading Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (here is the iTunes link: Edwin Lefevre - Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (Unabridged))

It's a story about a stock operator modeled on Jesse Livermoore from the turn of the last century who lived through a lot of what we are living through now and thrived on movements like these.

I listened to it a few months ago and have thought back to it many times during this crisis. If I could have embraced Jesse's love for "plunging" earlier, I'd be a very rich man. Sadly, I believe too much in the country to bet against it so strongly.

Interactive bear market chart NYT

The NYT does it again with an awesome chart showing this bear against all other bears. Looking at this chart, it looks as if we have a while to go, but possibly the worse is passed and now truly is the time to look for bargains.

I'm still in AAPL, and I feel they are at a bottom. I'm playing a lot with QID when the market goes down, and I'm keeping my Marvel. I've pretty much sold out of everything else.

I usually don't play things safe, so this downturn has hurt a lot and I felt it before many others did. This bear has been painful to say the least.

Speaking of the bear markets on the chart, none of them, including this current one compares at all to the awesomeness of the bear cavalry.

Zombie Saturday

After the financial Armageddon, I'm sure the zombies will come. Personally, I'm fortifying the house with zombie proof barricades, shotguns and many more defensible items I recently gathered frm my local Walmart. And to practice my defenses, I've been playing these two awesome zombie killing games.

Mindless... Unrelenting... Bloody...

Just what good zombie games should be. Enjoy.

The two games are a series, so play the Last Stand before the Last Stand 2. There isn't much difference stylistically or with general game play, but there are some difficulties added in LS2 that make the game a little harder.

Awesome

YouTube in "Super HD"

er... Sorry.

Suddenly, SNL is relevant again.

Believe it or not, Saturday Night live has come back on the radar. It seems that everywhere you look, there is a clip or link or comment about something political. The amazing thing I just noticed is that they all seem to be from SNL.

Aside from the first season DVD's that we picked up, I haven't watched much SNL for about fifteen years. I think that my viewing time over those fifteen years can probably be counted in minutes, certainly less than a couple of hours.

But now, with this great commentary on very relevant topics, I think that John Stewart and Steven Colbert have some real competition for the crown.



This clip shows the bailout bill announcement in a hilarious and yet, very poignant way. While there is some banter around blaming republicans and democrats, in the end of the clip the people who I think are real culprits get lampooned as well.

Congrats SNL.

McCain and Keating via Obama

I watched this last night and I wanted to pass this on to do my part.

This is a video paid for by the Obama campaign that details some of the interactions that John McCain had in the "Keating five" Savings and Loan issue.



Just because I don't expect anyone to take anything for face value. I'll also include a link to CNN factchecker so that you can take their word for it that this is all true. What did CNN find out? Hint: It's true.

Did social media just cause the second great depression?

By now, everyone knows that we had a huge bailout that did not pass and then did pass.

One of the stated reasons for the bill not passing the first time by many representatives was the high number of their constituents who contacted them saying that this bill should not pass.

In this video, congresswoman Bachmann states that she received a 10 to 1 ratio of calls against the bailout and that was similar to the experiences of other members.



Of course, there have always been people who would contact Washington to give them a piece of their minds, but now in the world of immediate contact through email, online forms, massive social organization by sites like Facebook, Digg and Reddit, community organization is far easier than it ever was.

Think about it. Social media has had a huge effect on the campaigns of the more technology savvy politicians like Obama and those with social savvy followers like Ron Paul. This theory is not unrealistic.

At one point prior to the first bill failing to pass, while I was reading Reddit (My favorite site) I noticed that there was one post on "stopping the bailout" for every five other posts Everyone was pushing to have people contact Washington and tell them the bailout was a bad thing and to vote it down. Digg was in a similar state. Twitter was "all atwitter" about stopping the bailout.

I think that it's a plausible scenario that all that social activity on Reddit, Digg Facebook and other social sites could have tipped the first bill from "pass" to "fail" in the minds of some congresspeople and swayed their votes to stop the bill.

I'm not saying that the actual sites themselves were read by the congress, but that the power leveraged by distributing the message "of the people" much more efficiently than it would have happened twenty years ago.

I'm saying that social media allowed much more efficient recruiting of constituents to sign petitions, attend rallies and telephone representatives.

The bill failed when it really needed to pass. It didn't pass until almost a week later. Had it passed the first time, we might be in a better place.

I know it seems hard to fathom but in a situation as dire as the one that we are in, a week is a very long time. A lot of things froze up in the economy during that week. Things that might have provided just enough liquidity to keep the economy from going over the edge that it has seemingly gone. That one week could have been the "tipping point".

If that proves true, then it's possible that the failure of our economy can be partially blamed on the popularity of Reddit, Digg and Facebook. Potentially it could actually be the fault of those social sites. The votes were close enough that a clown car load (23) of congressmen would have changed the outcome.

A pretty small number that could plausibly be affected by calls, emails and letters.

What will monday bring?

The hoopla about whether the bailout should be passed has passed and now we must focus on all new hoopla about what the fallout from passing the bill will bring.

Will our taxes skyrocket? Will our stocks drop or rise? Will banks get enough money to survive or will they all fail anyway?

Considering that My taxes are already rising, my stocks are already dropping and at least one of my banks have been acquired, I'd say that all of that sounds plausible.

I'm thinking that we'll see a rate cut, a stimulus package and a number of small bank failures before we get out of the month of October.

Currently thinking: puts and QID on the next rally up.

Steve Jobs heart attack rumor is a "fail" for citizen media, big media and blog media.

On Friday, October 3rd 2008, CNN proved how costly "citizen" news and blogs can be.

It cost a 10% drop in AAPL in about ten minutes. 10% adds up to about 9 Billion Dollars of their market cap at today's prices and is an awful big hit to take from an untrue rumor spread by a blog.

By allowing news stories to be written and published directly by readers, CNN is expanding on our great democracy and the importance of a free press. But by presenting that un-verified news with the CNN logo, they are also lending a certain amount of validity to things that are just not true. So much validity was added to one false story that Henry Blodget's Alley Insider decided to push out a story prior to adequate fact checking.

The item in question is a citizen journalist's "iReport" that Steve Jobs had a heart attack. The text from that iReport is below:

"Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack. I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven’t seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it."


As it turns out, Steve Jobs did not have a heart attack. Apple released a statement almost immediately to that fact. All that was actually newsworthy was that this incident proves that CNN does not understand the dangers of web 2.0 and Alley Insider is more on par with gossip sites than professional news sites.

If people had read this on the Yahoo or Google message boards or on a blog like this one, I don't think the story would have traveled much farther. But being attached to the CNN brand, and being passed along by the Alley Insider brand, this was taken very seriously and caused a massive drop in the shares of AAPL causing a lot of people to lose a lot of money.

Currently, Bloomberg reports there is an SEC investigation underway but I don't think it will produce much since level of credentials that an "iReporter" has to provide to make a report are small and easily faked. All that is needed are a username, email, a password and an successful response to a captcha. All of which can be accomplished in a completely anonymous manner. In fact, this guy's account was only open for this one post.

My hope is that the investigation might uncover other suspicious activity or potential manipulation in the stock. The rumors about Steve Jobs health have been pushed suspiciously hard for the last few months and I think that there is a good possibility that whoever pushed this rumor might have something to do with older rumors as well.

One place the SEC might start looking are social bookmarking sites like Digg.com or the 4chan message board as indicated by Arnold Kim who suggests that he found the story being promoted by users. Whoever the first users were to post the link may have some connection.

Another place that the SEC should start looking is at www.alleyinsider.com. This is a somewhat respectable source and they look to be the first to grab onto this iReport and present it as real news - giving the story even more credence. I only wish they had fact-checked prior to publishing.

An excerpt from the AlleyInsider story is below:

Apple’s Steve Jobs Rushed To ER After Heart Attack, Says CNN Citizen Journalist

“Citizen journalism” gets its first real test. A story of major consequence that, thus far, no one else has reported.

CNN’s iReport:

Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack. I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven’t seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.

We’re making calls, but as yet we have no idea whether it’s true. Confirmation/denial the moment we get it.

Meanwhile, very interesting that this report appears on CNN’s site. If it proves correct, CNN will look great. If it is wrong, CNN’s credibility will likely be significantly damaged–and we wouldn’t be surprised if this caused them to pull back from “citizen journalism.”


It is probable that this article is just an attempt by AI at getting headlines on Techmeme and other aggregation sites. However, considering that there don't seem to be any disclosure statements specifically relating to ownership of AAPL anywhere on the site and considering the site is run by Henry Blodget, who was charged with securities fraud in 2003. (wikipedia) I would imagine that the SEC might be calling on him.

Alleyinsider removed the story about ten minutes after they published it, but this should never have made it to their site in the first place. Publishing that story shows how unreliable Alley Insider really is.

In my opinion, this second post about Apple probably shouldn't have appeared on AlleyInsider either. This second article questions why AAPL was still dropping. Placing it's decline in the spotlight a second time that day for what appears to be no reason.

This would be news if other big tech stocks were not dropping at roughly the same rate at the same time. But with AAPL matching the broad market decline, one has to wonder why the second article was relevant to publish at all. Read the short article yourself, but I think that the last line of the article says it all: "Anyone heard anything?" To me, this appears to be rumor mongering, plain and simple.

In the end, the really sad story is that one guy, seemingly unchecked and unverified by CNN or Alley Insider in any real way prior to publishing, was able to leverage the CNN brand to destroy a lot of wealth for others and potentially make a lot of money for himself.

Of the three players, nobody had enough integrity to stop a bad story from leaking through the system. Not the citizen journalist, not the Big media company that enabled them and certainly not the blogger.


disclaimer: I own Apple stock and have for years. I occasionally buy calls and puts on apple as well.

Who won the VP debate?

Liberal blogs are saying that Biden kicked ass. Conservatives are thinking that Palin proved the winner. Honestly, my opinion is somewhere in-between.

Biden is clearly the best VP candidate. He's more knowledgeable, experienced and capable in almost every way that I can conceive. However, Palin came across as much more personable overall and performed much better than everyone expected.

Palin is a trained monkey, but they trained her well this time. Her direct look into the camera should proove very compelling to "Joe six pack" and about a half a dozen times, I felt as if she was personally flirting with me with all the winking and referenced to "tapping" her. I found this psychologically disturbing and while subtle, I'm sure that it was not my imagination that it was strategically placed.

One thing I noticed was that right before her repetitive tirades against "wall street greed and corruption" her demeanor changed and she sounded like she was repeating from rote. You could tell that someone in the audience was "handling" her and telling her to get "back on script".

Biden had someone in the audience as well, but it was a completely different relationship. When Biden looks out, his eyes are saying "yep, I told you she would go there." Palin's interaction was more of a remote control switch, taking her from bright and cheery to a schoolchild repeating the memorized report her parents helped her write - A brainwashed beauty queen.

She clearly didn't understand everything that she was saying, she was just attending and repeating the words.

What she did well was what I fault her for most. She avoided neary every question. Refusing to provide answers to important questions and redirecting back to one or two repeats of questions that she had down pat.

Overall, I found the debate to be a non event with the exception of new knowledge about Biden's personal life. I like Biden more that I did before and I fear Palin about the same amount as I had prior to the debate.

I've posted the debate here complements of YouTube, watch and make your own decision.

When Rome was sacked, did it look like this?



This is a very sad and depressing video that hits the nail of the crisis we are in square on the head. It's about a half hour long, but very well worth your time.

Great financial graphics from the BBC

I'm loving the BBC graphics that explain the financial crisis. If we get enough mainstream news sources to put out "pretty pictures" that can visually show what's going wring, maybe there is hope that mom and pop America can get the picture that the "bailout", while painful, is needed for everyday life to go on.

I'm waiting for the graphic that shows average American consumer income vs. spending and credit available before and after crisis.

lil' o'reilly

Too awesome for words.



Kudos to whoever put this together. I wonder if Bill will watch this and, realizing these are his words, change his ways.

Does Palin read at all?

(I'm temporarily changing the name of this blog to "All about Palin"



If you listen carefully, you'll find that Sarah Palin can't name a single News source or magazine that she has ever read.

I love the way that Couric does her questioning.

Couric: "What newspapers did you read prior to your being called upon by McCain?"
(insert non-answer from Palin)

Couric: "Could you name any of the newspapers that you read?"
(Insert second non-answer by Palin)

Couric: "Can you name even one of the newspapers that you read?"
(Palin does not answer, and changes subject to defend how Alaska is not filled with shut ins)

Dear reader, how many newspapers can you name?

Sarah Palin translated



Personally, I had no knowledge that oil was a fungible commodity where they don't flag the "molecules" where it's goin' and where it's not.

Additionally, now that I know that "in the sense of the congress today, who know that there are very very hungry domestic markets, that need that oil first." and that Sarah Palin believes "that what congress is going to do also is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it's Americans that get stuck holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here and pumped here."

um...

What the eff did that mean?

I'll try and translate. Please keep in mind, that I'm probably going to be somewhat incorrect since I will have to take liberties to make her sound intelligible.

Scrap that... I've listened again. I'm going to have to "channel", there is no English translation:

(I'm assuming that she didn't really mean "molecules", but that she has heard and understands what "fungible" means)

"US produced oil is an easy to trade commodity that gets shipped to a lot of different places. both in and out of our country. Some of the oil produced in the US is actually exported outside our borders to other countries. As a result, since we also use oil, we end up having to find oil that we must use from other sources to replace the oil that we have exported.

I suggest that we make sure that we have some oversight into the amounts of oil that we allow to be exported so that we have maximum benefit from our own natural resources first."


That being said. (Assuming that I'm right) I still can't make out the benefit she is proposing.

Potentially, she could be saying that we could save some money by not selling and buying back amounts of oil... but really, it's a commodity. we'll both pay and receive what the oil is worth, it's probable that we would make money, not lose it.

She could be talking about ready availability. we'll have more oil readily available in the upper western states who receive oil from Alaska since other regions get oil pumped in from other sources. (hence my gas shortage here in GA, while you in California are probably setting gas cans on fire just to spite my inability to drive.)

But since we produce so little oil, both of those would probably have little effect.

Anybody have any idea what she is saying?

End of the world

Well then.

That hurt.

I'm tired of the government trying to save me by voting no. It hurts too much.

Screw buying gold. I'm buying canned goods, ammunition, gasoline and water.

The next five years of our lives are going to suck.

Worst gas line ever

Look at this lady waiting in line for gas. And before you call me an ass, I did invite her to wait in my car.




-- Post From My iPhone

Palin is dim-witted and unprepared

I get stage fright. I understand being tongue tied. But I can't accept the vacuous and entirely dim witted farce of a candidate that is being perpetrated on the American people. Palin has to be the most under prepared, unqualified attempt at a VP that the world has ever seen.

In this video, she's defending her reasoning behind the claim that being a neighbor to Russia and Canada qualifies as foreign policy experience. This is an embarrassment to our country.

I dare McCain to actually put her into a fair debate.



Personally I think she has cause to sue McCain after this is over. Nobody should be made to look this foolish.

I long for the days of Dan Quail when Veep candidates didn't look so inept.

A thought about the "bailout"

Ok, I hear that there are a lot of people that are against the bailout. They think that somehow, 700 Billion dollars will have to be taken directly out of their pockets. I'll admit, on the surface I have these same feelings. I have a lot of anger about having to go through this at all.

But let's face it. If this fails to go through, you, I and every other American will be much worse off than if it passes. This deal has to pass. A solution has to be implemented.

1. Do you want to buy a new or different house? You won't get it unless this passes. I don't care what you think you can afford.

2. Do you want a new car? no luck with a balance sheet like yours, you'll need a credit score in the 700's to afford that.

3. Have credit cards? Get ready for the big recall and cancel because you are not a good enough risk unless you can prove that you don't need the money and won't ever use it.

4. Like your job? Companies won't get credit easily either and unless your boss is sitting on a huge pile of cash, you may not have that job much longer.

5. Cash is king. If you have it, you can spend it. If you don't, you'll have to learn to do without. This won't be too hard for you if you fondly remember college life and Ramen noodles.

In other words, unless wall street gets some "charity" main street will likely get a first hand lesson in exactly how tightly integrated wall street and main street really are.

The value of stocks.

Doing a quick bit of reading/surfing and thought I would share this page that I found on the value of stocks, which in this period of depressed valuations, might allow you to profit.

Good luck.

Yikes...

This woman is by far the scariest thing that I've seen in the last ten years of my life. That there are more of her out there scares me even more.

Star Wars Muppet Special

much better than the debates...

Welcome to 1973

Last weekend, we wandered around looking for gas. Almost all stations were sold out. The one station that had gas had a line, which we waited in before filling up. We will have to do the same thing this weekend. The lines will be there, they get longer every day.

Gas stations in Georgia are surrounded by cars that devour every bit of what they have in minutes. Gas trucks are like pied pipers leading a line of cars to some station awaiting a fill up.

It's amazing.

The stock market is in shambles, the economy sucks and hopes are grim. (Sharp contrast to just a few months ago when everything was rosy)

Things are so bad that Warren buffet is buying. Inflation is as high as it was then (even though they are better at hiding it now) and will get even worse going forward. Our president is a republican ass capable of mass destruction on a scale that will be regarded as historic. We have hope and idiocy in the upcoming presidential race and Iran and Russia are really pissed at us.

Hair styles are shaggy, shirts are patterned, plaids and funk are in. (I've seen some really big "afros" out there) BIG round sunglasses are on all the cool faces.

All the import car manufacturers have tiny, fuel efficient cars and all the American car manufacturers have gigantic musclecars. Chevy is just now releasing a new big-block Camaro with promises of small efficient cars "in a couple of years", almost every car on the road today weighs more than two cars from 1979 and takes twice as much gas to run. In terms of autos, we are on par with the early 70's in every way.

Walt Disney could not make a better "re-live the 70's" alternate reality ride than the one we are in now. The similarities are eerie.

Personally, I loved the seventies. I wore cowboy boots with spurs, strapped my guns on my belt and wore my ten gallon hat everywhere I went. I got to play with toys all day and never had to work.

And while, to a certain degree I'm loving the nostalgia of this time warp, I hope that the acid wears off soon. I'd really like this "trip" to be over.

I just hope that it doesn't take me back through the 80's on the way home.

Too late...

Crash Manufactured?

So, one thing that has been worrying me lately is that it's been about a year since this thing officially started.

During that time, the "economy" has done very well. People bought stuff, they took vacations and spent money on frivolous things. A lot of money on frivolous things. People have lived "paycheck to paycheck" but that still allowed them to get by and spend while doing so. Some collapsed in bankruptcy, but many more just kept going.

My thought is this: If nobody talked about a "recession" would this one have come about? If the word "depression" was never uttered on CNBC would investors have pulled their money out?

Sad times none the less.

Good luck all.

Mastercard

I've made a goode amount of money this past year on Mastercard stock. I've also lost a good deal of that gain the last two months with Mastercard options. But I have to tell you, this video really captures the moment.

I just realized I'm pissed off

And it's probably at you or someone that you know.

I have spent my whole life working to make sure that I pay my bills. If I get myself in debt, I PAY IT OFF.

I do not:

1. Buy a house that I cannot afford
2. Buy a second house that I really can't afford
3. Buy a big screen TV, vacations, new clothes or any other daily needs on credit
4. Buy a car that costs as much as some people's homes
5. Spend more than I make

There is a lot more that I don't do, but you get the idea. I've lived pretty much like a monk for the last few years, building for the future:

1. Spending far less than what I make
2. Driving a cheap used car that is completely paid off
3. Living in a house that I CAN AFFORD
4. Paying off any debt that I incur immediately after I incur it
5. Paying more into my mortgage than I owe every month

And of course, there is more there as well. But again, you get the idea.

So I decided that I should be pretty pissed. Because you, or someone you know decided that it was ok to party, take risks and not have to pay the bill.

Guess what. I'm going to have to pay that bill. In higher taxes. In lower value of my stocks. In lower value of my saved dollars. In lower value of my paid down house.

I'm going to have to subsidize the existence of some very lazy americans with some exceptionally messed up values.

Thanks.

Thanks a lot.

But, I have to tell you. I'll get the last laugh eventually.

I'm one of a very few people left that can get a loan for almost any house I want. I can go buy Big screen TV's, vacations and really nice cars for cash. I will survive in a world where most cannot and I'll thrive in a world without free flowing credit.

Will you?

On Panic in the market

Yesterday was truly stunning to watch. During the last two panics, I did not have a window into the stock market. All my trading was done via broker and my understanding of how hard I was being hit was limited to monthly statements.

Being able to watch this panic (albeit, while I was working) was an awesome sight. Watching nearly every company that I had in my list drop by 5% to 25% or more in a matter of a minute was humbling. Watching it climb was amazing and having almost everything end very green felt like winning the lottery despite being down big for the week.

Of course, the next couple days might be the biggest short squeeze that the world has seen in a while. I cannot fathom the fear that short sellers are feeling right now. Well... Actually I can, it's probably pretty close to what I have been feeling for the last few weeks. I've been trying hard not to panic, but the fear has been as big a part of me as it ever has.

I believe in the market and I believe in this country, but we have been on our way to an ugly place much worse that people have a grasp of. I only hope that this malaise gets a shot in the arm with the action happening now.

People, real people are riding on this. There are those who think that Wall street only affects fat cats and bankers. The truth is that it affects small mom and pops much more. The bankers and fat cats know how to maneuver around these markets. Even the CEO's of the companies that massively failed walked away with more money than I'll ever have in my life. But average investors get chewed up and take their money out of the market in times like this, literally selling at the worst possible time.

The next year is going to be a momentous time. We will either crash massively as a country, an economy and a market or we'll see the bottom of the hill and start a climb back up. My hope is for the latter.

Good luck all.

Team 1 or Team 2

I have to spread this. It;s a very unique way to look at the problem at hand. I'd like to see this sort of comparison done with all aspects of these two teams. It would be great to see a list of policies, beliefs and supporters.

Original link here

Don't Panic

Just a small reminder to myself and all my friends. In the face of danger... Do not, under an circumstances, Panic.

Remain calm, walk in an orderly manner towards the exits if you feel compelled to leave. For those of you staying on to watch the end of the universe, please have a seat at the table of your choice.

Good luck everyone!

Humans vs. Zombies

I'm such a zombie geek.

I think I have found a new life calling.

Chemical party

Awesome video for explaining the elements.



Did I tell you that I drive an element?

The problem with the markets today

I hate agreeing with Cramer, but his nutty nature isn't always wrong.

I have been finding it so hard to make money in the market this year and some of what he says is right on the money for why.

Chainsaw Maid

Enron part two


I made a little money on Enron a few years back... a very little. But it was better than losing money.

This time around, I'm really perplexed as to how we are finding ourselves in the same bucket and everyone is surprised. Everyone is amazed by the price of crude oil, but what few understand is that the reason oil is priced that high has less to do with a lack of oil and more to do with an unregulated market.

Keith Olberman has an entertaining view of the situation, and Obama is planning on doing something. But I'm watching my stocks go down in value and the general economy collapse and I wonder how close we'll get to a replay of Enron.

I was in oil a few weeks back before it rocketed to 138+ and I got out because I believed it was (and still is) an unsustainable bubble and that I had made the easy money and that the most likely direction for Oil stocks at that time was down. I was wrong, I've missed a good 20% in the stocks that I sold.

Knowing now that this is caused by an unregulated market left open by Enron leads me to believe that I might have to get back in and ride this up to it's inevitable pop. Since the speculation others are still doing is causing me to lose money, I may have to adjust my approach to take advantage of the speculators.

Of course, I actually think that what I should do is to get out of the market entirely for a while. This economy is effed and apparently there are people in power (like John McCain) who want it that way.

On a long shot, there are those who are speculating in the other direction. Since Obama is working to close the loophole, we may have a collapse of the price of oil back down to 50% of it's current price. Time to buy puts on Exxon and Conoco perhaps??

Go Obama!