Saturday, December 24, 2005

Bling is dead declares the Wash Post in this column from Friday.

Jems included this line about 50 Cent..."Rapper 50 Cent was draped in so many diamond and platinum medallions that one felt compelled to paraphrase a line from the film "I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka," which in 1988 first documented death by bling. "How'd he go to the bathroom with all that stuff on?"

Now, based on what I've been seeing out there, I don't think Bling is dead, but I think the ridiculous level of bling will be scaled back. As always things are taken to the extreme, backed up and then taken there again.

Not a fan of the bling ever, I recommend it being avoided at all costs, unless one likes looking like a clown.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Weekend Read --- -- This is a fantastic site updated by one Bill Cara, who reports on the capital markets. Bill offers daily updates, but my favorite post is his week in review column where he looks at the different sectors of the market and opines on equities, bonds and the overall trendof the market. Bill writes in an easy to read insightful manner and even likes to make some jokes. This week's review includes some thoughts about one of my favorite investment themes, the good old GOLD and where it is headed. If you need a new source for market data, look to Bill for some additional thoughts and ideas on where we were/are heading.

Two weeks ago, I wrote: “... gold is now ready to rock and roll.” And it did.

Then last week I said that my back was in spasms – seriously – perhaps from all the bowing I was doing in my mirror. But I said that this week would see more of the break-out.

So, where are we?

$GOLD has not broken into the 475-525 range yet, but give it time. It’s only a matter of time.

My little birdie tells me that when the U.S. Administration is writing checks it can’t cash, they must think its monopoly money. And, now that everybody has returned to Washington from summer holiday, it’s time to play Monopoly.

“Monopoly” as you know is a board game where the supply of money is unlimited – sound familiar?

Two good weekend reads from two of my favorites, Gary North and Ron Paul.

Gary North scores it Katrina 1 and Fema 0, as he gives his take on the disaster and the disaster that is FEMA (or most other (all?) government agencies. This quote by the sheriff on Wal-Mart takes the cake.

Yesterday – yesterday – FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America – American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

Paul tackles the Iraq operation, offers a summary of the situation and takes a historical view of other middle east oil projects (British) and why we should walk away now instead of continuing to throw good money after bad. Paul's column is called "Why We Fight" and he does a great job of showing why we should not fight. The primary reason, which people never take into consideration is ECONOMICS, ECONOMICS and ECONOMICS. Higlights include...

Changing our policy of meddling in the affairs of others won’t come quickly or easily. But a few signals to indicate a change in our attitude would go a long way to bringing peace to a troubled land.

  1. We must soon, and Congress can do this through the budget process, stop the construction of all permanent bases in Iraq and any other Muslim country in the region. Think of how we would react if the Chinese had the military edge on us and laid claims to the Gulf of Mexico, building bases within the U.S. in order to promote their superior way of life. Isn’t it ironic that we close down bases here at home while building new ones overseas? Domestic bases might well promote security, while bases in Muslim nations only elicit more hatred toward us.
  2. The plans for the biggest U.S. embassy in the world, costing nearly 1 billion dollars, must be canceled. This structure in Baghdad sends a message, like the military bases being built, that we expect to be in Iraq and running Iraq for a long time to come.
  3. All military forces, especially on the Arabian Peninsula, must be moved offshore at the earliest time possible. All responsibility for security and control of the oil must be transferred to the Iraqis from the United States as soon as possible, within months not years.

The time will come when our policies dealing with foreign affairs will change for the better. But that will be because we can no longer afford the extravagance of war. This will occur when the American people realize that war causes too much suffering here at home, and the benefits of peace again become attractive to us all. Part of this recognition will involve a big drop in the value of the dollar, higher interest rates, and rampant price inflation.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Blogging will remain light (read close to zero) until I finish up studying for CFA level II. Less than a month to go.

Also added Burik Model Design to the Friend's website. My buddy Jason Burik, from way back in the first grade, will make you a lego replica of anything and everything. Check it out.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Ron Paul sums up the latest $82B in money that Congress needed in an emergency appropriation bill. Nice to see where the government is sending the cash it has stolen from our coffers. Enjoy...comments are Ron's not mine.

-$656 million for tsunami relief. As I’ve written before, Americans have sent hundreds of millions of dollars in private donations to tsunami victims. Why should we be taxed further? Why is flooding in Sri Lanka or Thailand more important than flooding in Wharton, Victoria, or Galveston, Texas?

-$94 million for Sudan, another candidate for charity rather than government aid;

-$582 million to build a new American embassy in Iraq, an outrageous sum considering that entire luxury resorts are built for less than $500 million;

-$76 million to build a new airport in Kuwait, one of the wealthiest countries on earth;

-Over $500 million to address the drug trade in Afghanistan, despite clear evidence that the production of opium has grown exponentially since America began pouring billions of tax dollars into that country in 2001;

-$200 million in economic aid for the Palestinians;

-$150 million for Pakistan, which is run by an unelected dictator;

-$34 million for Ukraine, where the U.S. already intervened in last year’s elections using your tax dollars. Ukraine recently repaid our generosity by dumping the U.S. dollar and adopting an exchange rate that includes the Euro.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Roids, MLB and the government.....

This is a topic that I find terribly interesting and couldn't enjoy all the news surround anymore than I am. The sad part is that the entire thing is a joke. Why is the government involved in major league baseball and how they run their league? Why are guys like McGwire and co. being put on the witness stand in front of the world? What crime are they being tried for? Are we going to do the same thing to our Olympic athletes, to NFlers, to NHLers, to tennis pros and the rest.? This whole thing is BS to the max. Did guys juice? Well that is very clear now and if you read this article back in 2002 in T-mag, you would have known this. If you ever talked to anyone connected with any professional sports league who didn't walk around with blinders on, you would know that this is going on in all sports. Guys can't compete at the MLB, NBA, NFL level without doing something to get so much bigger, faster and stronger. Yeah training, diet and creatine help, but most if not near all these mofos took some kind of steroid at some point to get that extra juice. How many take growth hormones, that they can't test for so that they heal faster? NFLers??? NBAers??? And is it really that much of a heath risk? Didn't Arnie do roids? And not Canseco like amounts, but ridiculously high amounts according to guys that know. Should he be called in? How about all the women out there on birth control aka Estrogen....should they be tested? Is testosterone that bad? If you are mid 20s and under, it might be. If you are 45/50 or taking under a doctors supervision? Prob not. Instead of villianizing these guys we should start testing and see what the health benefits are. Can someone please bring that up?
Wake Foreset goes down...

Well the Demon Deacons went done early in the NCAAs once again . Unfortunately not playing D and bitching at the refs didn't work out for us. The D was a concern all season, and proved to be the nail in the coffin. I still can't believe that Chris Paul fouled out on that lay-up attempt. Come on man...we needed you on the court. Def a WTF moment, and helped seal the deal. E Williams played ok though and we have a lot coming back including hopefully Mr. Paul though next year he won't foul out. Deacon hoops is a case study in disappointments since I've been there. Ohh well...there is always next year.

Don't let guys shoot wide open threes....PLEASE!!!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Gary North offers up this piece on saving the dollar. Too bad it won't happen. He also as always offers some advice for foks who are looking to go into debt....

They should borrow short-term money to buy tools or get meaningful educations/licenses, and then pay off the debt, fast. This way, they will build a credit history. That’s the wisest strategy. But if there is a temptation to go into consumer debt, then it’s best not to borrow at all. Like other addictions, the first snort should be avoided.

Borrowing is not an evil. It depends of what you are borrowing for. If your debt supplies tools, education, or a comfortable but modest place to live, then it’s a tool of dominion. But if debt is used to buy depreciating assets, it is a curse. Most assets depreciate. Buy them used for cash from someone who is strapped for cash.

The onion offers an interview with Rick Rubin (Note-- this is in the real section, not the goof acrticles). For those who don't now, Rick along with Russel Simmons helped create Def Jam and Rick produced LL Cool J, PE and the Beasties along with a platheora of others. Rick can be seen on the Jay-Z 99 Problems video and he also produced that track. Interesting how starting a label and acquiring talent has changed.

O: What led to the founding of Def Jam?

RR: I'd made a record with LL Cool J, his first single, which I think is called "I Need A Beat." I played it for Russell, and he loved it. Then I asked him what we should do with it. He said, "Oh, let's give it to one of the labels that I deal with." I said, "All you do is complain about these labels; why don't we just do it ourselves?" Eventually, we decided to do it ourselves.

O: How did you find out about LL Cool J? He was about 15 at the time?

RR: Fifteen or 16. He sent me a demo tape to my dorm at NYU, because on "It's Yours," the label was called Def Jam, and the address was my dorm at NYU. So I started getting demo tapes sent to the dorm.

O: Did he need parental permission to become a recording artist or anything?

RR: No. In those days, we didn't even do contracts, because we didn't know anything about business. We just started doing it.

O: Did you think, "This kid's got what it takes, he could be a star"?

RR: There were no stars in rap music. It was really just a work of passion. Everyone who was doing it was doing it because they loved it, not because anyone thought it was a career. We didn't even think about having a hit single. We just tried to do something we liked. There were no expectations whatsoever. The only hope was that we'd sell enough records to make enough money to make another record. If it didn't cost us money to have Def Jam, we'd be happy. If it supported itself, and we could keep doing it, we'd be doing it.

Big Nick (another Wake Forest cat) lists his top ten tv shows. Now I don't watch TV almsot ever right now, but I've read his posts on for a long time and know that he is usually on point, plus his top shows are the same ones that my brother likes (and he is also usually on point). My brother's list would probably have Scrubs at 1 (vs The Wire) and move down the Daily Show, up Dave Chappelle, and up Curb Your Enthusiasm. Check it out for yourself though.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Team America has fallen out of the top ten when it comes to the freest countries. Most alarming is the downward trend that has fallen this once great nation (?). The true question is does anyone other than the libertarians in this country care?

Here is the intro to the Heritage foundations latest results...Hopefully someone is reading this...

All too often, bad news accompanies good news. And people usually want the good news first, so here it is: Economic freedom is expanding around the globe. Now, the bad news: It's not expanding here in the United States.

This isn't mere conjecture. For the last 11 years, The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal have joined to publish our annual "Index of Economic Freedom." We look at 10 key ingredients of free economies, from reasonable levels of taxation, tariffs and regulation to government spending, property rights and monetary stability.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are rolling (14-1) and have the best backcourt in college. Is this the yr that we are one of the final four teams standing? Me thinks so.....

Wake Forest's 95-82 win Saturday afternoon in front of a crazed Joel Coliseum crowd that rivaled any of its ACC brethren (which says something for how far the Deacs have come) quickly extinguished any Tar Heel thoughts of a runaway in the ACC.

That idea wasn't farfetched after the Tar Heels made Maryland and Georgia Tech look second tier in two home wins in the past week.

(via espn and Andy Katz)