Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paul Harvey, Good Day

Good night Paul. My (albeit very cursatory) farewell;

Useful Idiots

Good god. What a bunch of genuine, worthless morons.

Tim Robbins explains;

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

Excellent and outstanding simplification of the credit crisis (almost as good as my book ;)

Every adult and child should watch this, especially the idiots who like to blame the current recession of Bush.


Spit on the Face

I am 33 years old.

I have chest hair.

Ear hair.

Nose hair.

You name it, I have it. Soon those hairs will turn gray as I further my aging into middle age-hood.

Thus, one would think that given my age I am not some young man, or late teenager, certainly not a child, and definitely not a toddler.

Tell that to my girl.

We were eating sushi for my birthday. I had a little bit of wasabi or something on my face.

Now, does said girl say, "Captain, you have something on your face. You should wipe it off?"

Does said girl say, "Captain, go to the bathroom and clean up your face. You have some crap on it?"

Does said girl say, "Captain, hold still while I take this napkin and wipe the food from your face?"

No, what does she do?

She licks her thumb, plying a near gallon of saliva and spit on it and then circa my mother in 1978 starts to smudge off the grit on my face with her spit-laden thumb.

I stood there in utter shock because my brain was caught between being grossed out by having spit smushed on my cheek and coming to grips with the concept that a full grown woman was actually doing this to a 33 year old man (replete with nose, ears and elbow hair).

I just stood there, giving the girl a look of disbelief. I said, "Did you just do what I thought you did?"

She giggles and walks to her car.

Worthless College Classes

Anybody see the relationship I see?





Friday, February 27, 2009

Pour Yourself a Martini, Light Up a Cigar...

and if you have the time read an interesting, but true tale of a gumshoe blogger and the weird and crazy path his detective skills inadvertently led him.

Then go on to part II.

Then pour yourself another martini and be thankful you're not "Single in the Suburbs" and relatively sane.


Oh, isn't that heavenly!?

Americans will pay for their stupidity.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I am so buying one.

ht to Kate

A, Oh! Copernicus!

You're daily funny ha ha.

How Commercials Predict a Collapse of Society

The human brain, constantly bombarded with commercials on TV, the internet and the radio automatically tune them out so as not to waste precious calories of energy paying attention to them.

However, though my brain has more or less made it so the stimulus from commercials never really gets past my brain stem, something went atwitter in my brain while watching my favorite TV show, Hogans Heroes.

It was daytime and the commercials were all of the daytime TV variant;

"Are you a loser? Then go to college at your local degree mill! We offer Phd's in just 18 months!"

"Are you struggling under debt? Then call the Dead Beat Debt Consolidation Program. Expert financial advisors are standing by now to show you how to not pay back the money you owe!"

"Injured or just willing to say you've been? Call Chitty Ays Lawyers at 1-800-GOEF-SOCIETY."

And so forth and so on.

However, what went atwitter was the sheer volume of these commercials and just what a high percentage of them were for losers. It's almost as if all people during the daytime are idiots and the marketing suggests it. But what was truly eerie was I started to take note of just what percentage of the commercials were for losers during the rest of the day.

These commercials are on ALL THE TIME.

Extract yourself, if you will, from the US and imagine you're from a more "responsible" or "mature" country like Finland or Sweden. You come over here and on the TV is nothing but commercials for debt consolidation, credit cards, worthless degrees and personal injury lawyers. We don't see it, because we're inundated with it, but that still doesn't mean it isn't happening, nor does it change the statement it makes about America. If you take the time to actually observe just what a high percentage of total commercials these "loser" commercials account for, it is a scary testament to the status of the average American.

It doesn't matter if it's daytime TV (although there is more of a frequency) these commercials account for a jaw dropping percent of total commercials. Yes there is the debt consolidation and 2 year degree mills, but can you remember the last time you didn't hear a damn commercial for Viagra? Or some commercial for another stupid, inane weight loss program (because that "eat less and exercise more" concept is so freaking hard to understand). Or a check cashing place?

When I started paying attention to the commercials, two I find particularly interesting because they are a testament to the deteriorating economic condition this country's in;

Consignment shops


Cash for gold or "gold brokers."

People are hocking gold and personal items for cash, AND I HEARD THESE ADVERTISEMENTS ON TALK RADIO!

The larger point is this; commercials are a free market (and therefore very accurate) reflection of society. And whereas I would like commercials to be for things like personal F-16 fighter planes, documentaries on economics, encyclopedias, hovercars, surgeon school and other goods and services which would indicate a successful, productive and educated society, sadly it's the complete opposite.

Sex pills, means by which you can get "cash quick," weight loss, debt relief, lawyers, consignment shops, you name it, all point to a society that has not only lost its desire to be industrious, responsible and hard-working, but to a society that is on the brink of collapse.

Of course, again, I'm just the ole fuddy duddy. The curmudgeon that likes to spoil everybody's good time. The meanie that points out mean and harsh things (no matter how true they may be). But if you don't believe me, just try it yourself. Next time you're watching TV or listening to the radio or surfing the net, actually listen/watch/read the advertisements and see just what a high percentage these commercials are.

It really is eerie and depressing at the same time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Classes on Investing and Stocks

Hey, you!

Take a class!

Do it now! Do it!

Yes, You Can Run Away From Your Problems

Is it bad of me to take joy in watching these people lose their cars?

Eh, who knows. Maybe Dubai will start an immigration campaign to recruit overtaxed, productive Americans.

Ummm, I'll Take "Parents Are to Blame" for $600 Alex

All humans are equal. Not due to some kind of doctrine or text written up by some old fogeys in the 1700's, but because it's true.

All humans have the same DNA and ergo, barring instances of mental impairment, all humans genuinely, literally and factually are equal.

Ergo, why I don't blame the kids, I blame the parents.

But you can see where this is going; we're going to prevent kids from excelling as it may be deemed racist.

Help us all.

ht to Maggie's Farm

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Joe Soucheray Should Replace Sean Hannity

I'm driving down to Mankato, a regional town about 70 miles to the south of the Twin Cities. The problem is that my favorite radio show at this hour, Garage Logic with Joe Soucheray is on an AM station. Thus, as I drive further and further away Joe's voice is garbled out, progressively replaced with static and then intermittent excerpts of Jesus stations and country. Soon, the background noise is too much to handle and I click to KTLK 100.3 FM to rely upon their longer radius of broadcast. Who else is on, but Sean Hannity?


In his nasally pinched voice "Hello my friends" and all the people calling in "You're a great American Sean Hannity" I want to drive to New York or wherever he is an punch him. Not that I don't agree with him. Not that I don't personally like him. Not that I don't appreciate what he does for the country, but the whole idea that Sean Hannity has the SECOND most popular radio show on talk radio is annoying. And the reason it is annoying is not because of Sean Hannity himself, but because of the people that listen to him.

Sean Hannity is milquetoast. He's boring, it's predictable and it's cookie cutter. But that is also his audience. The stay at home mom that realized her child psychology degree wouldn't land her a job, ended up getting married, having a kid and now, NOW at the age of 40 while staying at home realizes than the past 22 years she was voting democrat all this time was wrong.

"Oh well! *giggle giggle* I guess at least I got Hannitized!"

Or the college kid who couldn't defend himself out of a paper bag if he was really tested on free market philosophy and only does so to belong to some semblance of a club.

Or the mindless American patriot who thinks that because this was a great nation, it still is a great nation and since our greatness is great and because this is the greatest nation, then we'll continue being the greatest nation because of the simply fact we're Americans, and therefore we must be great.

And this is my main contention with the show, is his listeners. They are just as cookie cutter and predictable and mass-produced suburbanite home as his show. There really isn't a lot of depth. There really isn't anything but platitudes and pleasantries of that disgusting and annoying and Minnesota-fake-nice;

"You're a great American Sean Hannity."

"You're a great American too, sir!"

Oh just drop the fakeness, please.

No, but there I am trapped, forced to listen to Sean Hannity as my only other option is NPR or the Christian rock station.

I want somebody that is unique and real. Give me a anger filled, angst ridden, tirade-spewing Michael Savage.

Give me the incredible wisdom of Dennis Prager.

Heck, I'll even settle for the goofy, yet lovable Mike Gallagher.

But Hannity?

"You're a great American! Hello my friend! Isn't America great! We're all great patriots eating at Applebee's shopping at Ambercrombie and Fitch. Communism sucks! And that's why this is a great nation! Hurray for us, we're all Americans! I want a suburbanite townhome with an SUV! Let's watch American Idol! I'll order some chicken quesadillas, but not too spicy!"

Ergo, let me at least beg and plead with the local FM talk station here in Minneapolis, KTLK.

Look, you poached all the good talent from AM 1500;

Rush Limbaugh
Jason Lewis
and (though I don't agree with it, he is the second largest radio show) Sean Hannity.

Since you got Jason Lewis and he's gone national, could you perhaps do the world a favor and replace Hannity with Joe Soucheray? It would be the nail on the coffin of AM 1500 and then you guys wouldn't have to be splitting a market that isn't big enough for two talk stations. Souchery would do immensely better locally, but could feasibly replace Hannity.

Besides, I wouldn't have to be forced into the horrible decisions as to whether to listen to Sean Hannity or NPR which leaving the metro area.

When Men Leave the Market

I have received a fair amount of criticism from my regular readers about the "pro-male" bent I have taken in the past year at the PERCEIVED sacrifice of economics. But I shall make two points;

1. No matter how much brilliant and empirical economic data I posted, and no matter how much if people had adhered to it, we wouldn't have had this economic crisis, it never seems to stick with the average population because it is math and therefore boring. Additionally, unless I say, "free money for every one, Barack Obama ponies" nobody is really interested in economics, no matter how much it may solve all of our problems today.

2. The "man world" is DIRECTLY related to the economic crisis we face today AND IS ALSO THE SOLE SOLUTION to our economic problems today. It is the forefront of the battlefield and is precisely where all economic analysis should be focused (that is assuming we care to solve our little economic problems we face today). You want the recession to end? You want unemployment back to 4%? You want oil back below $2 a gallon? You want the US back on the road to supreme economic and military dominance and security? You want a world where your precious little children actually have a future? Put men back in charge (of course, what is funny, is if things keep going the way they are, men will inevitably end up in charge again, but it won't be the nice ones who appreciate democracy and the sanctity of women).

Regardless, I have been meaning to tie the two together in a brilliant piece I've been planning for a while, but frankly, I really am disincentived to do such a thing because, well... I'm too busy pursuing my own selfish pursuits. It will come, but I, like many other men, are no longer trying to do "what's best for society" and instead are packing it in for our own finite lives and enjoying it while we can before a collapse inevitably comes. Besides, if nobody is going to listen, then imagining I'm on the wild west frontier in Red Dead Redemption is much more fun than yelling into a hurricane.

Ergo, allow me a quote and a link which will only provide further evidence to the ground swell of a movement fueled by 2 generations of genetics in men being suppressed, which, in the end will have their day in the sun;

"After 45 years of being told they are pigs, sexist, and good for nothing, men have quit trying to please others, so they slap on a baseball cap and don’t talk much. And with good reason."
"What do you have to offer these men you call child-men if they do man up? Are you going to ensure that they have fair access to their children should they divorce? Will you make sure that they aren’t hauled off to jail if the wife makes false accusations of domestic violence? Will you let them keep the earnings and property that they worked for over years rather than have them turned over to their wife, even if she cheated and was abusive? Will you shield the millions of men who live in fear of their significant other but have nowhere to turn for help? Will you make marriage, in other words, as valuable to men as you think it is for women?"
"Well, such are the fruits of half a century of organizing gender relations along the lines of women’s immediate desires. Long term, it has resulted in men bailing out, going “John Galt” in the gender economy. And I can understand the disappointment. But I don’t share it. As you sow, so shall you reap."

Sadly, and I want you to pay attention to this statement;

Men DO account for HALF the population and unfortunately MUST be considered when opining about sociological, economic and political matters.

In the meantime you will forgive us if we just plain opt not to marry, breed, or just in general, participate in society. Because, well frankly, what's the upshot?

In the meantime, enjoy the decline!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dr. Robert Shiller Finally Updates His P/E Data

Robert Shiller, as some of you know, is arguably one of the finest economic minds in the US. Which is of course why he isn't in Obama's cabinet.

Regardless, he has hands down the best economic data regarding a very important measure, the Price to Earnings Ratio.

Now I've mentioned this ratio before as to how it is used to gauge whether a stock is over or undervalued. By comparing the price of a stock to it's earnings you compare essentially what you pay versus what you get. The resulting ratio the Price to Earnings Ratio or "P/E" ratio essentially shows you what you pay in stock price for one dollar in earnings.

Historically the average stock represented by the S&P 500 has traded around a P/E of 15, denoted by the horizontal blue line. And though the stock market has taken a 25 year hiatus from sane and rational valuations due to dotcom bubbles, housing bubbles, oh and that whole thing where the Baby Boomers were told to invest their money in the stock market for retirement, it has finally returned to a more sane P/E of 13 (as Dr. Shiller FINALLY updated
this somewhat vital statistic on his web site);

Now a lot of people would say, "wow, gee whiz, now is the time to buy! We're finally below 15" but hold on there little buckaroos. There's just one little catch.

The "E" in the P/E ratio is earnings. Earnings from the previous 12 months. In other words, the past. The problem is the past is not what concerns people or drives stock prices. It's the future, and right now the future looks bleak. Sure earnings were alright for 2008, but 2009 they look to be horrible. And while the P/E ratio may be lower now, if earnings drop, then "E", the denominator of the P/E ratio will also drop, driving up the P/E ratio, meaning you're still paying too much P for what is going to be a dwindling or not existent E. Long story short, you could easily see a Dow Jones of about 5,000.

But don't worry about it, I hear Obama will save us.

Total Systemic Failure

It was 1998 and I was working for Norwest. I was a foolish, idealistic young analyst who actually thought that profitability and efficiency were things that corporations would like to achieve. Led through my studies in college to think somehow managers and bosses would appreciate faster, cheaper and more efficient ways of doing things, I thought that if I could find a way to do something better they would appreciate it.

Now, already many of you are seeing the train crash coming, but in my defense they falsely led us ground troops to believe that Norwest did indeed care about efficiency. That maybe, somebody up top had realized that the brains of tens of thousands of individual employees might actually add up to a higher gross IQ than the handful of managers’ IQ’s. They did this with a “best practices program.”

You see, if you came up with a way to do something better, you could get a $25 savings bond!

Oh goodie!

And so in the monthly staff meeting we’d all be corralled into a big room, listening to management drone on about things irrelevant to our jobs and sure enough Suzi in processing came up with a way to save half a ream of paper per decade, and wow, what a great idea, Suzi, here’s your $25 savings bond for what is ultimately an insignificant contribution. I was of the opinion that getting rid of these meetings which tied up and lost hundreds of hours of labor would be a real efficiency achiever, but thought it better not to mention that

However, I did come up with an idea. A genuinely good and solid idea.

Part of my and the other analysts’ jobs was to take an hour out of our day and file all the paper work that had culminated throughout the course of our work. This was a tedious process as filing typically is. Common sense would dictate that instead of paying 8 analysts $18 an hour to file, we could hire a full time admin for about $10 to do the filing and save some money. However, my idea was even better.

“Why don’t we buy some scanners and scan this stuff in? We could then do away altogether with the filing, we’d free up some office space without the need for file storage, we could even cut down on rental expense as we wouldn’t need that much office space.”

Now this was 1998 and scanners did exist back then, and the idea of scanning was not a new and revolutionary idea. And so one would think that a large firm like Norwest would have the capital to buy a couple scanners and be eager to capitalize on this opportunity for increased efficiency.

One would think.

And that is the problem.

You see, in corporate America you are not paid to think. Oh sure, they have “best practices programs” and they feign like they want you to think. But if your thinking goes beyond saving paper, or saving toner, or perhaps being so revolutionary as to suggest cutting down on electricity by making it mandatory policy that you turn off the lights in the break room, and starts to enter the realm of management, then you start to scare people. Because the only true and real way corporations, the economy and society at large advance or progress is through innovation and change. Rethinking and redoing entire processes or the way business advances. But when one intelligent, idealistic individual, that hasn’t had the creativity kicked or brainwashed out of him comes up with that idea, that idea may be so changing it may obsolete some managers jobs that should have never been in the first place.

Naturally my idea was not implemented (well at least not as first, I found out 9 YEARS – and lord knows how much in wasted labor - LATER they finally did start scanning in documents), but it taught me an important lesson; logic does not always rule corporations.

Now, despite this wisdom I gained long ago, it is that damn natural, intuitive economist in me that automatically wishes to maximize production and maximize efficiency that still persists within. It’s not something you can turn off, it’s just this moral code programmed into your DNA, constantly nagging at you to progress and screaming aloud as you run into inane, obsolete and pointless instances of corporate idiocy. Regardless, I should not have been surprised when I ran into the most recent (and one of the more unbelievable) instances of corporate idiocy last week.

Like everybody else, one of my clients who shall go unnamed is having trouble boosting sales in this economy. It is a retailer that sells “stuff” and we’ll just leave it at that. Ergo, they wanted to find a way to get more people in the door.

Now, knowing this market and working with them before, after sitting down and doing some research I found a market that had yet been untapped or approached by any of this firm’s competitors. This market was wide open, not saturated, not even penetrated and I had it pegged.

I contact my contact at the corporation, send him some preliminary findings and say, “Hey, I found this market you could advertise to, what do you think?”

My contact said, “That would be great, but we’d have to go through marketing first to see how we would advertise to it.”

And now, yes, for those of you with experience in the corporate world, you see the train wreck coming. Working with marketing.

We waited a solid month before we thought maybe we should follow up with marketing to see if they got our idea. My contact contacted his contact in marketing who said, “Oh yeah, yeah, I got your e-mail, just haven’t had time to look at it. I’ll get back to you in a week.”

Sure enough, another month goes by and my contact contacts his marketing contact again.

“Oh, geez, sorry, yeah, sorry about that. We’ve just been swamped.”

Meanwhile sales are plummeting and people are starting to fear for their jobs.

Another month goes by and my contact at the firm finally has enough, decides to go over marketing’s head, and sends out an e-mail campaign to the predetermined target market.

All it took was one week and the sales department was flooded with calls from interested customers. They had people calling, not only interested in the product line, but willing to fork over good money.

Now one would think this was a good thing.


Sales INCREASED not only by a little, but by a lot, 20% for some lines, 40% for another.

Sales INCREASED based on a simple and costless e-mail campaign.

I had brought the firm business.

I had brought the firm MONEY.

It would be like going to a house with a $1,000 bill, knocking on the door and saying, “Hello, here, have some money.”

One would think the recipient of the money would be happy, if not ecstatic.

Ah, but there you go thinking again.

Sure enough, in true American corporation form my contact received a complaint from marketing. He hadn’t gone through the proper channels. The e-mail campaign was not authorized by the head of marketing, and even though it did receive authorization from executive management, marketing was not pleased.

Now I am of course critical of the Obama administration and their efforts to turn around this economy. I think their strategy is inherently flawed and will not work. But, in intellectual honesty it is not just the government that is to blame for the lack of recovery, but the American people, particularly corporate America.

I don’t know what to call it, but it’s like a disease. It’s like when the organs of a patient start to all shut down and fail at the same time. A “systematic failure” of sorts. That there is no one thing wrong with any one particular part of the body, but that there is something inherently wrong with the entire body and it is practically untreatable. And thus is the same with corporate America.

Almost on a cellular or individual level where people are so incompetent and so stupid they are incapable of the independent thought necessary to make logical decisions, their decisions or indecisions cost corporate America billions. Lost clients. Lost markets (anybody remember IBM scoffing at point and click interfaces or Ben Franklin retail stores turning down the Walton brothers?) Oh, and the fact this whole housing crisis could have easily been avoided. It is only by sheer economies to scale or massive government bailouts that some of these corporations ever manage to eek out a profit in the face of inept managers and incompetent executives.

However, in these dire economic times, we cannot afford to be so damn stupid if we sincerely expect to turn this economy around.

Norwest is going to wait 9 years to start scanning in documents for their back office operation? Are you nuts? Why?

You bitch and complain about increased sales, practically free money, because it didn’t go through the right god damned channels?

You cave in time and time again to the UAW, knowing full well you can’t afford to stay competitive, and then go for a taxpayer bailout?

Or you ignore the sheer convincing and damning statistics that there is no way in hell your client’s condo development is going to sell and finance it to the tune of $40 million anyway?

With such boneheaded moves, it is practically guaranteed that the corporate sector of the US will play no part in getting the country out of this recession.

People in corporate America are going to have to wake up and realize that there just isn’t any more room for such idiocy. The economy is going to get so dire and so tough that you will not be able to afford petty arguments about somebody in some other department going over your head and ignoring protocol. The economy is going to contract so much that hard and difficult decisions must be made and cannot just be passed on to future generations. The economy is going to crash so bad that corporations in general better get with the program of efficiency and extremely competitive capitalism real quick because in this environment only the strongest, fastest and most efficient survive (the rest just go for a bailout). And this whole thing about promoting people who don’t rock the boat, conform and are your little corporate-yes-men over those who are willing to make difficult decisions and blow the whistle if there is something wrong. Yeah, those days are over. It’s the assholes and jerks who make the tough decisions, blow the whistles and eat yes-men for breakfast who going to be your next boss…that is unless of course you would prefer the company to go bankrupt and have no job at all.

Sadly, I think the reason for such idiocy in corporations is the same reason we see idiocy in government. Both institutions pull their labor from a dumbed down and entitlement-driven population ala the movie “Idiocracy.” This also parallels my “total systematic failure” theory in that at the cellular level, the basic unit of labor is corrupted. When you only have idiots or spoiled children to choose from, is it any wonder none of the corporations seem to be able to make a profit, let alone had the incredibly simple foresight that was needed to see the housing crash coming? Worse still is that who precisely is going to turn around these corporations and institutions? Government is ruled by ignorant masses who believe they won’t have to worry about their mortgage or paying for gas as testified by Obama’s election. Corporations are headed up not by leaders, but by nepotists and cronies who have no managerial or leadership abilities but rather connections and rich parents. Schools, good lord, children teaching children. Alan Greenspan can’t teach economics. I can’t teach dance. But some 23 year old with no experience, living with mommy, BUT HAS A TEACHERS LICENSE can teach anything as long as you give them the textbook to teach out of. The t-cells or white blood cells needed to repair the US economy are either shunned from the organs and institutions that comprise it or are attacked and weeded out. And thus the organs will continue to deteriorate, continue to atrophy and ultimately fail.

Alas, the only thing the white blood cells can do is sit and watch.

(Future post along the same lines coming soon – How Blunt, Truthful, Meanie Manly Jerks Will Become Sought After in this Economy)

Argentina and the Falklands

Just watching a documentary on the Military Channel about the defeat of Argentina at the hands of the British during the Falkland Islands war.

And what I like about it is not so much how the Brits roundly defeated the Argentinians, but how today Argentina and their nepotist president, Cristina Kirchner make the occasional threat or claim to the Falklands despite the Falkland Islanders insisting they're British.

You see, a democracy is where the people get to decide whether...never mind. Something tells me that Argentinian nationalists will ignore the wishes of the people on the island and it'll just be easier to beat the Argentinians again if they're so stupid as to try to take over the islands again.

Mortgage Debt as a Percent of Disposable Income

Debt is typically the cause of every major recession and depression throughout the history of the world. Through easy credit, people borrow money they can never hope to repay either investing it in foolish things such as Dotcoms or Tulip Bulbs, or perhaps not investing it at all, preferring to do the American thing and buy SUV's, trips to Europe or degrees in philosophy for their spoiled brat children.

This triggers a recession because the funds borrowed could have been lent to the productive members of society and thusly invested in much wiser and productive things, but since they weren't, this results in a decrease in production which is the definition of a recession.

Now I caught a lot of flak for my posting Canada might be a better place to live in the near future, but again, to show that this is not just some whim or me being in a foul mood, take a look at who has been abusing their mortgage debt;


It is an obscure statistic, but mortgage debt as a percent of disposable income is a way to measure how much debt different people in different countries take on relative to the only thing that can pay it back; disposable income. Again, surprise, surprise, our Canadian brothers to the north have taken a more conservative stance and is why they will not suffer as much as their southern neighbors.

The scary thing, is mortgage debt isn't the only kind of debt. There's government debt, corporate debt, student debt, you name it. And when you add it all up, never has the US had more debt relative to GDP (second chart down). And when you look at what we're spending this veritable mountain of debt on (the stimulus, propping worthless auto companies, handouts and welfare) what possible semblance of future production can we expect?

A Captain's Pet Peeve

As you all know I am NOT a real captain. When younger I contemplated joining the military, but I wasn't ever in the military and about the only public service work I did was as a security guard at my college's campus cop program.

However, despite me readily admitting this, about once every six months or so I get the "Oh yeah, well my uncle was at least a REAL captain in the military." Or "Well you're not a REAL captain like I was."

So, since I received another one of these comments recently I think it behooves a vocabulary lesson. Today's word is;


1. the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or sound group (consonantal alliteration), as in from stem to stern, or with a vowel sound that may differ from syllable to syllable (vocalic alliteration), as in each to all. Compare consonance (def. 4a).
2. the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, as in apt alliteration's artful aid.

You see, when setting up this blog originally, I wanted to have a catchy title. And not just a catchy title, but a title relevant to the topics that would be discussed. Since it was going to be about capitalism I thought "captain" would provide the (here's the first use of today's word boys and girls) ALLITERATION required to make the title "Captain Capitalism" a catchy and rememberable name.

See how it works, the "ka" sound in "captain" plus the "ka" sound in "capitalism?" Like "ka" "ka" right after each other? Catchy, isn't it?

One might even notice the first syllable is the same; "CAPtain CAPitalism."

This is why some people call me "Cappy Cap" which is a simplified and cuter alliterated version.

Now, the lesson we can gain from this is that while no doubt all of you, like me, do appreciate the service of the hard working men and women in the US military, like any organization there are still jerks. And for those of you in the military who want to "score one on the ole Captain" by pointing out he's not a "real captain" I'd like to shake your hand for your service, but slap you upside the head for your idiocy.

Ergo, whether you're in the military or not, please don't make a fool of yourself and use the "well I'd least I don't try and pose to be a captain" argument. It will be summarily ignored just like all the other "when the pentagon has to have a bake sale" bumper stickers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sneakers O'Toole

I don't think Sneakers O'Toole will let you have his sneakers;

Watch more Megavideo videos on AOL Video

Stuff White People Like: Black Music That Blacks No Longer Listen To


Percent of Students that Major in Engineering or the Sciences

Part of a larger study to ascertain which countries may have a brighter and better future than the US, I found data that allowed me to calculate what percent of students were majoring in engineering or the sciences. The point being of course that "sociology" majors or "journalism" majors don't really advance society or technology at all and are basically hobbies rich, spoiled suburbanite Americans like to major in thinking somehow they'll produce the wealth necessary to support themselves throughout their lives (which they won't).

Alas a good metric to gauge the future productivity of a nation is to measure what percent of the students major in something worthwhile, and thus these statistics from the OECD (2006)

As one would have previously guessed Asian nations score rather high with Korea having over a third of their students majoring in engineering or the sciences. The Scandinavian countries fair rather well, except Iceland which may go a long way in explaining why their country collapsed and others haven't (engineers tend to have enough math skills to know you can't spend more than you earn). Mexico beats out Canada by a wide margin, but Canada is not as bad as the US where only 15% of our students major in something worthwhile.

It's not that difficult to understand that if your country majors in worthless subjects then your future productivity is going to suffer, but the problem you run into is where capitalism has produced so much wealth in the past it affords the masses the LUXURY of majoring in a hobby and not a career.

Alas, fluffy el crapo degrees will be with us for a long time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why Obama is a One Termer

Along the lines of the ignorance piece I wrote a while ago, I think the term "trillion" actually may have woken some of the people in the US up to just how severe a problem the US faces and just how much their ignorance is about to cost the US.

Again, the vast majority of my 20 something friends at my bar believe Obama is their savior and will solve this problem. But it is an interesting expression to see on their faces when their savior promises $1.2 trillion of their money to bail out the deadbeats of the US.

You see, TRILLION, kind of registers with the kids. They, despite their public school upbringing, realize that a TRILLION dollars is a lot of money. And even they ask the simple question;

"Well, how are we going to pay for it?"

And thus the thought process that goes down deep into the rabbit hole begins and thus the zygote of a conservative is born.

They are at least smart enough to know that we don't have the money now. And despite failing Econ 101, they know that we're going to have to borrow it. And despite having no knowledge of social security finances, they realize that ultimately it isn't going to be their Baby Boomer parents paying for it. It's going to be THEY who are paying for it.

Thus the expression on their faces.

Like I said before, you can't argue with the ignorant. All you can do is watch them get what they've always wanted and realize just what a hellish nightmare they got themselves into.

The more and more I see what Obama is doing and the more and more I see the young, stupid, ignorant people of this country realize they just got saddled with a $1.2 trillion debt, the more and more I realize Obama is a one termer.

The Price of My Research

As I mentioned before, I was working on a project to calculate and assess which countries would be the "best" countries to move to should the US collapse. Several of you expressed interest in the research, but as also mentioned before I would be charging for it.

Understand this is not because I wish to fleece any one individual, but once research is published it more or less can be copied and sent elsewhere and soon it's effectively free. Additionally, given the most likely corporate users of this information would be banks and financial institutions (banks and financial institutions that got us into this mess and are now taking my tax dollars), I feel an appropriate fee would be $1500 for my report.

Accusing Men of Immaturity Because They Don't Wish to Marry

I tire of these stories because the question of "where have the good men gone" has been answered time and time again, it's just I presume the women don't like the answer they're getting and therefore keep asking it hoping somehow they will get an answer they like (even though it won't be true).

So in a spirit of kind-heartedness I will help out the lost WSJ reporter and hopefully end this needless discussion once and for all (which I probably won't because it won't be the "correct" answer women are looking for.)

Here is an excerpt from the article;

I shall make it bullet-pointy to be succinct and save us time (though, there are a lot of bullet points to make)

  • One, the now never ending common refrain that women now earn the majority of degrees. For the 348th-freaking time it's because you major in easier/worthless subjects. THat's why you earn the majority of degrees, but still make only 76% of what men do. Ironically the reporter has her "masters in English" because even though you've been speaking it for your entire life, you still need to get an advanced degree in it so you speak it "real good."
  • She highlights women's advances in education as proof they are "more mature." Which is the largest erroneous premise of the article. Women are not more mature than men. Just because men play video games and drink and fart and belch, does not mean we are less mature. Maybe by the "female" definition we are, but if we'd follow that we'd all be a bunch of betas no girl would want to date. Being mature is supporting ourselves - not rushing out to propose to a girl and start making babies. Just because we can support ourselves on less money than you can, does not make us less mature. Matter of fact, it makes us MORE mature because we are being fiscally responsible living in dumps we can afford instead of insisting on living in Uptown and buying fancy clothes and cars and appletini's we can't afford.
  • Did you hear of this "divorce fad" going around? Apparently it was started by the baby boomers and CONTINUES TODAY. Not to mention a lot of the 20 something men who aren't "mature" enough to get married tomorrow REMEMBER THEIR PARENTS GETTING DIVORCED AND ARE A LITTLE GUN SHY
  • Did you hear about this "divorce fad" going around? Apparently the rate of divorce didn't drop with Gen X or Gen Y either.
  • Did you hear of this "divorce fad" going around? Apparently men get to pay out the majority of the time be it alimony or child support.
  • Did you hear about this "divorce fad" going around? Apparently 65% of the time it's women who initiate divorce.
  • Feminism and feminists are not sexy. When you say, "well I consider myself a feminist, but don't mind staying at home and being a good wife" all the guy heard was "well I consider myself a feminist blah blah blah blah blah." The term has been tainted by its "profession" to represent something that is not pro-woman at all. DO NOT CLAIM TO BE ONE. It will send the men running.
  • Kids cost around $500,000 each to raise. given employment prospects we can't afford that. Much rather buy a boat or frankly work all that much less.
  • Hey, you hear about this federal budget deficit and debt? Apparently we elected this guy "Barack Obama" and a bunch of democrats into office who are now mortgaging the future. This means our expenses in the future will be higher. Well, of course us "foolish, immature, pooping, farting boys" were too "immature" to vote for him like you wise women, but then again we're too busy flinging poo at each other to ponder the future macro-economic ramifications of a collapsing dollar.
  • Hey, you hear about this social security medicare thing? Apparently enough "smart wise women" disproportionately kept voting for democrats to essentially have those immature 20 something men pay for the livelihood for these aging people. This added expense on our futures make's it that much harder economically to commit to a wife and children.
  • Hey, you hear about this "welfare state" "medicaid" thing? Apparently enough "smart wise women" disproportionately over the years voted in enough democrats to essentially replace the role of fathers with government programs making fathers not only unnecessary, but an increasingly risky and unrewarding proposition, not to mention, making it easier for women to just up and leave their husbands, because well, "they needed to find themselves" and the government will take care of the kids while they go pursue their EPL fantasy.
  • Hey, if I'm not going to be a father, then what incentive to I have to "grow up?"
  • Hey, did you hear about this "welfare state" thing? Apparently because we've now outsourced bringing up children to the government and have to create government jobs for all the "sociology majors" and "education majors"and "communications majors" our tax bill will go through the roof. Oh! Wait!!! No it doesn't! I forgot! I'm a guy! I can live on very little, work a crappy job, work part time, live in a crappy apartment with my buds and STILL have enough disposable income to play video games and buy booze.
  • Sex in the City? Not sexy. Tell them you watch "Hogan's Heroes" instead.
Then we have much more succinct, non-socio-political explanations;
  • The drama and BS men have to suffer from 14-25ish or so drives them into the arms of X-Box 360, the chums and booze.
  • The risk/return of known factors such as friendship, a cheap living, fishing, booze, video games, and just the plan damn freedom that comes with it, HEAVILY outweighs any potential returns we'd get from spending time pursuing women.
  • There is no risk of having a dog, a gaming console, friends or a poker game. There is a risk of having a wife and a child.
  • Girls, in general, are completely unaware of the fact that men are 1/2 the equation. No consideration is given as to what men might want in a relationship (read her article again)
  • In general, men and their traditional roles have become deprecated and are no longer needed for society. Therefore some may commit suicide, but most will opt to enjoy a simpler, easier self-serving life while we're here.
So to summarize all the bullet points:

In short you have made a life of bachelortude and singledom more attractive an option (economically, socially and romantically) than marrying you.

You may not "like" that answer. It may even make you angry. But it is the truth.

So can we now please stop it with the "where have all the good men gone" schtick?

Thank you, and as always, enjoy the decline.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tis my birthday today and I fully intend to spend it playing video games, working out and achieving pretty much nothing. That is my gift to me.

However, when the female members of my crew asked me what I wanted for my birthday I sat and thought about it and said, "You know, I would love a calendar of you girls. I want you girls (there's about 7 of them) to put together a calendar of yourselves for me, but posing in somewhat risque and provocative poses."

There was hemming




and just outright refusal

Which hurt the poor Captain's feelings because apparently NOOOOBODY loves the Captain. Captain's best female friends, who presumably in being his friends would have his best interests at heart, but oh, no. No, no slightly sexy calendar for the Captain.

So, if I can't get my female friends to put together a nice little calendar for me, perhaps I can get my readers to at least send me photos of yourselves (not sexy photos, just normal photos).

Again, much as I like the blog, it is a bit impersonal when all you get are posts, but you don't get to see who it is. Dennis Prager also does this as he insists that if you are going to send him mail, send him a photo of yourself. It makes it much more personal.

My inevitable goal would to create a collage of all the Cappy Cap readers out there and then put it above my desk. That would be a really cool and great birthday present! And if any of the female fans of Cappy Cap were to perhaps send the poor Ole' Captain some rather racy photos, who is going to complain?

In any case e-mail your mugshots to;

Go, do it now! Now! Quick! Go! Do!

(Notice it's CAPTcapitalism, not CAPTAINcapitalism. It will go to another guy and he will wonder why the hell he's getting all these weird photos of people.)

PS - I like dogs, if you have a picture of you with your dog that would be really cool!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oh You Idiot

Yes, just "print off more money."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say;

Contracting GDP

+ Mucho more money

= Much more inflation

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Maybe You Should Move to Canada

I put together a study.

And the purpose of the study was to calculate which countries would be the best to move to as the US becomes "progressively" more sucky (pun intended). However unlike most of my other research, I opted not to publish my findings in that, frankly, I get sick and tired of doing brilliant work and not getting paid for it, so if anybody wants the results they get to pay.

That being said, to help out those of you in America who are becoming "progressively" more worried the US is a sinking ship, never fear, there is an alternative; Canada.

Yes, Canada, the "socialist, semi-skilled at hockey" country to our north. The one we mock for being a European socialist state in the western hemisphere. The whipping boy and butt end of many jokes for generations of Americans.

Yeah, that country, the one that's about to kick our ass.

Laugh as you might, but though it is not the "ideal" country, it does rank in the top 25% of countries I calculated as superior alternatives to the United States. And by superior, I mean superior.

First allow me to post some statistics and then go over them briefly;

First you have the corporate tax rate. Oh sure, not a big advantage, but a large enough advantage it behooves the question, why havn't American firms been fleeing north to set up corporate HQ's? I mean if they're going to endure constant negative media coverage, an ignorant villianization of their existence, why suffer a 39.5% tax rate when you can suffer a mere 33.5% tax rate.

Oh, and did I mention they have nationalized health care? That may not seem like an advantage to us die hard capitalists, but for a corporation that would cut IMMEASURABLY MUCHO on their labor costs as they no longer have to pay health care insurance. So lower corporate taxes, plus savings of roughly 1/3 on labor, all the while still having the benefits of a modern, English speaking economy geographically close to their market. Please, somebody tell me why corporations haven't fled to Canada yet?

Second, corruption. I opined earlier that the US' corruption index would collapse under all the corruption, sleaze and parasitic scum buckets ranging from everybody like big fish like Bernie Madoff to the millions of smaller scumbucket fish like the investment banking, blue blood, bulge bracket nepotist and cronyists who got their jobs because of daddy and not because of skill, but forget that. Even ignoring that likely collapse, Canada is already significantly less corrupt. 8.7 vs. a 7.2. Why deal with a bunch of criminals in institutions such as the government, corporations, your employer or your educational institution when you can have significantly less crime in the institutions of Canada? It's not like we're Somalia, but give it time.

Third, government deficits as a % of GDP. Never mind that the OECD data I pulled for the US is already outdated as Obama just sign the "F#ck America over" bill which puts the real government deficit closer to 10% GDP. Let's just "hope" it stays at the previously OECD projected 5.2%. Whether it's 5.2% or 10%, it's a many-multiple of the insignificant .5% deficit the Canadians are racking up.

Fourth, and what does the fiscal recklessness that causes deficits culminate into? Why the national debt.

Yes, the national debt!

"Sick and tired of having to pay for what you want to consume? Why then just borrow it from future generations by saddling (and screwing them over) with the national debt. All you have to do is vote for socialists who couldn't balance their check books as mommy and daddy paid for their philosophy degree in college, who inevitably ended up in politics, because, well, that's where true scum bags with no skill end up. Slavery isn't dead! It's just deferred! Vote for the national debt!"

Apparently the Canadians (and I know, this sounds crazy) don't hate their children nor their grandchildren. Apparently they seem to have this thing called "fiscal austerity" or "fiscal discipline." Because they've ran smaller deficits, they naturally have smaller debts. Their national debt is only 22% GDP while ours is 52% (oh, and yeah, that doesn't include the debt the genius "stimulus" package just saddled us with).

So you can either forever serve in servitude to pay for the "Great Society" and social security and medicare (because that form of slavery is OK), or you can move and not be so indebted.

Fifth (or as Dave Chappelle says, "fif") corroborating their fiscal austerity and their remarkable ability to maintain the simple 3rd grade level concept of spending within their means, it is not just the government that seems to balance the books, but the people in general. The current account deficit, though a deficit, is only 1.8% of GDP compared to the US' 4.4% (again, Obama, socialists, stimulus, not adjusted, more like 10% GDP, etc. etc., never mind). Yes, not a surplus, but 1.8% versus what in reality will be closer to 11% in the US, where would you rather be.

And finally, six, that whole thing about "Canadians are taxed WAY more than the US!"

Oh really?

You see the ideal measure of the tax rate is government spending as a percent of GDP. In that revenues don't really matter since spending, not matter if you pay for it with borrowed money or current tax revenues has to be repaid with future taxes. I've mentioned this before, but for all practical purposes, the US and Canada have the same effective tax rates, both roughly 39%. At least in Canada you get "free" health care (and I know how weak that argument is, but just to goad the left).

Now there are many more measures in my little study, and these are just some of the main ones, but the question is the same I posed about Iceland. Why doesn't the Harper government just take advantage of the economic crisis in the US and simply pilfer and poach the most productive citizens from the US?

It's not like those hard working people who toiled and strived and saved every penny to pay their mortgage dutifully and on time have any more allegiance to the US. Certainly not after we've just bailed out every sub prime dead beat, and sub prime bank/banker that caused the crash. It's not like the responsible, productive citizens in the US are looking forward to financing the $1.2 trillion in future spending Obama used as a payoff to bribe all the masses into voting for him or bailing out the Peggy Josephs of the world. They're have to be treated just like any other human being and any other consumer; They're looking for a fair and just place to live where they can excel and keep the majority of what they've earned. And if Harper was smart, or heck, just all Canadians were smart, they'd realize the world's most productive talent is looking elsewhere. They'd realize a country is only as great as its people. They'd realize that if they could snatch away all the productive and creative labor in the US, they would have an economic engine that would not only transfer the REAL economic productivity from the US, but would basically inoculate themselves from any depression the US might have. Additionally the conservatives would bolster their ranks as the new immigrants would most certainly vote conservative, basically reproducing the opposite of what leftists in the US do as they try desperately to give illegal aliens the right to vote here in the US.

In any case, I know this is outlandish, it's crazy, and nobody is going to listen to it. But when your GDP is contracting by 12% because you're too closely tied to this Titanic known as the US, then you might just think about poaching some of that there talent from the US, and the talent from the US might just think about jumping onto another ship....despite the severe lack of any real good hockey teams.


Wizard of Idma

Had this forwarded to me and it's a cute little joke.

However, what I like about it is how it is so simplistic, yet fully explains why communism or socialism fails in the long run. Understand that the left likes to make things so complicated or seem so difficult or complex that "you really just don't get it do you? That's alright, it's difficult to understand, don't worry about it, that's why we have government officials working on it." When in reality, no, it is that simple and can be simply explained away. If people are paid not to work, then why would they? And if nobody's working, then where's all the wealth and goods going to come from? And "is that a bread line I see over there in 1980's Russia?"

Additionally, understand that this cartoon is really nothing more than a "bumper sticker soundbyte."

You see these everyday;

"You can't hug a child with nuclear arms."


"Clinton lied, no one died"

and other extra-inane comments that earn their inanity in not just being hypocritical about what they're critiquing, but thinking somehow genuinely complex matters like the war on terror can be simplified or settled with a 5 word bumper sticker (usually the more bumper stickers the more moronic the people are).

However, this cartoon, despite being a "bumper sticker soundbyte" does destroy socialism. Not because it's genius (it's simple), but because socialism is so flawed. If an ideology can actually be defeated by a bumper sticker, then what kind of an ideology is it? Of course, when the masses are brainwashed to such a level of ignorance and stupidity, any ideology stands a chance, but that still doesn't change the fact that when something simple like a cartoon or bumper sticker can pose an unassailable argument against an ideology, then it is flawed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I go to my bar in my town (yes, I own it all), and at my bar in my town are my friends. Friends I've become acquainted with over the years since I escaped the overly taxed city for the superior suburbs.

Now as the majority of my friends work at my bar, they are a bit younger than me. Typically in their mid to late 20's, I commonly am the butt end of age jokes and am frequently challenged to drinking contests at after bars. However, because I am older and actually bought my house in my town and don't live with my folks or have a heavy subsidy, it is by default that naturally I'm about the only conservative in the group and this has not gone unnoticed.

Alikening me to Alex P. Keaton, my younger friends joshingly picked on me and mocked me for always bringing a laptop into the bar, writing my book at the bar, doing taxes, not getting hammered every night, not buying a fancy car, etc. etc. But above all else, I'm the only one that didn't vote for Obama.

So it happened one night I'm sitting there, a couple of the guys are at the bar, talking to Tim the bartender and the news is on. The news of course is on the dire state of the economy, the failed bailout and failing stimulus package. Rob, a trust fund kid with a heart of gold, but the economic knowledge of a brick turns to me and says, "See what you're president did?"

All of them agreed with Rob, it was George Bush's fault and conservatives fault that this economic crisis happened. It was under GW's watch this occurred and ergo must be his fault.

And it is here that I get so enraged at the egregious level of ignorance in this country that all I can do is futilely look up into the sky, for what is my rage going to do? There is nothing I can do.

So allow me to explain a couple things here so that if you are younger, or perhaps you have to deal with such ignorance, you are well informed about exactly how this economic crisis came about and where to place your blame.

George Bush and the Republicans are not to blame for this economy.

And contrary to what you might think I don't blame the Democrats, Barney Frank or the CRA either (they are if anything partially to blame, but the numbers just don't show that the CRA was the main factor in this housing crash).

It is the (are you ready?)....


I know for small or younger, undeveloped minds they like things in neat, orderly, simple to understand packages, but the problems of this $14 trillion (soon to be $12 trillion) economy were, for once, not caused by the government. It is the American people and their spoiled-rotteness that are to blame. To believe that they are entitled to spend like the federal government and live beyond their means is what got us into trouble. To borrow more than you are ever capable or working off, and on the order of trillions of dollars is what got us into trouble. It is the simple fact that a critical mass of people simply did not pay back their loans like the promised and that is why we're in the trouble we're in now.

Now I don't know how people get to the conclusion that it was the "Republicans" fault or the "democrats" fault, but for God's sake, if the economy is that important to you and the future of the nation is that important to you, and that you hated George Bush so much that you volunteered your time to the Obama campaign, could you at least get off your fat, intellectually lazy ass and, I don't know, STUDY THE FREAKING SH!T?! Like instead of just going with your feelings and not bothering to expend one calorie of energy on thought or research, maybe think about it a bit and read up on it? I don't know, maybe even (gasp) LOOK UP SOME STATISTICS!???

And it is here where I have the problem with ignorance. It's not assailable. It's not changeable. It's not within my power, no matter how superiorly informed and educated I may be about the topic, to change these peoples minds or to get them to think. Ignorance is this amazingly destructive and destroying disease that is immune any logic or sanity. And pound away all you want at a skull that is ignorant, you're not getting through. That skull has decided what the reality of the situation is and no amount of "facts" or "reality" will change it. You're just a "meanie republican." You're just "oh, that crazy ole economist who brings his laptop into the bar." Never mind you wrote the damn book on the topic, never mind you predicted this was coming, never mind you worked in the industry and have the experience and knowledge to explain it all in detail, no, you're that "nerdy Alex P. Keaton." It would be like me explaining to them how to be a bartender when I've never tended a bar in my life. It's the same having a 24 year old waiter, who never went to college, filed for bankruptcy explain economics to me. It's amazing how ignorance impairs.

Alas, as I've said before, there's nothing one can do aside from two things to fight ignorance. One is simply not to fight it. Just let their ignorance lead them down a path not founded in reality and they'll soon have a rude awakening as to why they're still a bartender or a waitress at 50 (this is not to wish ill will upon my friends, but rather to ensure they have a more productive life than that by warning them not to take that path) or worse they'll live in a socialist nation. The other is to bet them. I personally like this approach because it immediate forces the ignorant to think because now you've demanded they risk money on their beliefs or philosophies. They actually stand to lose something and can no longer treat things like economics, politics or whatever as an indifferent hobby. They have to (I don't know) treat it like a great and important responsibility as if they were a citizen in a democracy?

Regardless, the moral of the story is you can't get excited or angered over people's ignorance. It isn't worth the blood pressure. Nothing you can say or do is going to undo years of brainwashing by the public schools and the media's highlighting of Barack Obama's pecks. 23 year old female psychology majors will always pick Obama's pecks over your chart that correlates government spending as a percent of GDP vs. RGDP growth, no matter how right your chart may be.

So capitalists, conservatives, libertarians and other varied sorts of free marketers, just sit back and relax and let the liberals have their day. There's nothing you can do about it, and about the best thing to do would be for us to just quit so that when this all comes crashing down and results in a collapsed, desperate nation we can show the masses our clean hands and say, "See, we told you so and we have nothing to do with it."

In the meantime, if anybody blames Bush or the Republicans for this debacle, just show them the video below;

But, don't say I didn't warn you about the knee jerk reaction "Well that comes from Fox News, so that's biased and doesn't mean anything."

Uncle Jay Explains the Stimulus

Wow, Jay bars no holds against Obama.

Don't Trade With E-Trade

I like to dispense advice that helps people.

A lot of it goes unheeded. Things like;

"We should not make any more real estate loans."


"X-Box Sucks"


"Iceland should become a tax haven if it wants to get out of its economic crisis."

But while I cannot get entire governments or entire banking corporations to do what I say, perhaps I can get a couple individuals to save themselves the pain and agony of dealing with ETrade.

I had a small online account with E-Trade. Waiting patiently, biding my time for the bottom to hit, I was in no rush to trade and had a little cash built up.

I went online to see how the few stocks I had in the account were doing and saw a $40 "fee."

Apparently I'm not the only one this has happened to. Students of mine have also complained about this where if you don't trade once a month or something, you get charged a fee.

I called up the customer service guy, read him the riot act and closed my account.

And though I am not Drudge Report or anything like that, perhaps Etrade and other financial servicing firms out there who have decided to pad their wallets with hidden "fees" will think twice before screwing individuals over.

Who knows, they may even embrace a business model that SERVES THE CUSTOMER!

Ho ho! Now I'm getting loopy. A US finance firm that doesn't screw over the public.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I have what I estimate to be three readers who are rather adamant about my book be available on kindle. However, happy day fellow Kindle readers;

If you really want it on Kindle, now you can click on the link and let Amazon know!

As for the rest of you who were going to help me beat Pelosi in book sales, come on, let's get crackin'!

French Maid, Naughty Nurse, Dirty Librarian/Teacher, Catholic School Girl, Corporate Exec, Beer Frau Outfits

It is good to clean.

And because I am without a day time job, I decided to embark on a huge cleaning project. And not one of them cleaning projects where you clean the house, I'm talking one of those massive and thorough cleaning projects where you open up all those old boxes that have never been opened over the past three moves and organize all the crap that's in them while you scan cards and photos on top of the dusting and the Windexing and the laundry. One of "those" cleanings.

But an often unrealized benefit to this massive cleaning is that when you unpack these boxes you see all the mementos and keepsakes from as far back as a decade ago. You get to see where you were back 10 years ago, and even more importantly perhaps, through letters and e-mails what you were thinking.

I uncovered one such letter. A letter I had literally forgotten about, but once I started reading it, I remember specifically why I had saved it. I wanted to keep proof or evidence as to my sanity when it came to my decision about dealing a young lass from about 5 years ago or so. For you see I, as I'm sure many of you are, am quite hard on myself and unless I save documents, letters, notes, my brain has a tendency to blame myself as history goes on. But knowing this, I specifically saved this letter so if my future self ever started doubting himself this would starkly remind him he was in the right.

I'm not going to post the whole letter here, just an excerpt, because I think as Valentine's Day is tomorrow an important lesson can be learned. And that is a lesson in how the golden rule applies to relationships. The excerpt is as follows;

Of course, right now, every guy is saying "Sounds like heaven to me!"

Child free.

Retired early.

Sipping martinis

Playing X-box

In a warm climate

Whilst being served by your gorgeous, scantily clad wife.

It really doesn't get any better than that.

However, as you notice, the lass who wrote this found this revolting, oppressive even.

Now here is where I think a fair amount of women (and a couple of guys too) can learn a lesson in love, though, no doubt some women out there already know where I'm going with this;

There is a man in a relationship. It ain't all about you. And that man is just as much part of the relationship as you are.

Of course we consciously or "factually" know this, but I wonder whether some women out there intuitively know this. Of course you're not going to be scantily clad 24/7. Of course you're not going to be serving martinis to your husband/boyfriend 24/7. But why wouldn't you want to do this occasionally, let alone find it repulsive and oppressive?

It is here the golden rule must be applied. Do unto others as you'd have them to you. And though I am just a lowly captain, it seems to me that the point of being in a relationship is to make that other person happy.

For example, your beloved Captain may be courting a young lass as we speak. The Captain does not like cleaning. The Captain does not like laundry. The Captain does not like going grocery shopping (this the Captain REALLY doesn't like because it takes so damn long to find tomatillos, and he could have just as easily gone to Chipolte in 1/10th the time to get food, but no she wanted tomatillos).


Because the Captain's lass is working during the day time, has a busy schedule and (pay attention now) BECAUSE THE CAPTAIN LIKES HER he does not find it degrading, oppressive or beneath him to do the laundry. Or to do the dishes. Or to clean for her. It makes him happy knowing he's eased her life a bit. The Captain also works out and stays in shape, not a particularly exciting thing running on a tread mill and lifting weights, but presumably the girl doesn't want to date some fat, slobby schlep.

Now while men cleaning is not the same as a woman in a French maid outfit, they are two sides of the same coin. It doesn't matter whether you "like" dressing up for your husband, it doesn't matter if you "like" to cook a good meal, it doesn't matter if you "like" the act of fixing him a drink, all that matters is if you like him. And if you like him these "chores" are just part of the relationship just as a man SHOULD be cleaning up occasionally or fixing you dinner (or in the case of an utter lack of cooking talent, taking you out for dinner).

Ergo, ladies, women, and economists of the female persuasion, lend me your ears!

Just buy the damn outfit.

It's Valentine's Day and as any happily married woman will tell you the outfits score BIG points.

Now since the dawn of time men have been debating which are the best outfits. And after many years of studying, research, calculations, and field tests we have conclusive proof which are indeed the best outfits. They are as follows and ranked accordingly;

1st - French Maid
2nd - Naughty Nurse
3rd - Dirty Librarian/Teacher
4th - Catholic School Girl
5th - Corporate Executive
6th - Beer Frau (preferably with beer)

If you don these outfits come tomorrow, it cannot but help your relationship forever.

However, there is one final benefit to sexy little outfits and making your man happy, and I've alluded to this before. You are actually doing some community service in that you are doing your part to help stimulate the economy. I don't care what Barack Obama says about his $900 stimulus package, a legion of American women in French Maid outfits would stimulate the economy 10 times more. And I mean that sincerely, I really am not joking, it would.

So yes, do it for your boyfriend. Do it for your husband. And do it for your relationship. But also, be a patriot. Do it for America!

Kim Jong Il E-Harmony

In response to the end;

Don't worry, Obama will fix it.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Explaining Video Games to Women

Yep, that about sums it up.

All hypersensitive complaints about me being sexist and a misogynist will be summarily ignored.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Solve Iceland's Problem

Here's a funny story.

Your captain, out of a combination of sheer curiosity, boredom and outlandish hope, sent an e-mail to the commerce department of the Icelandic government asking if they'd be interested in a quick fix for their economy.

What's even funnier is my idea would have worked.

And I don't mean that in a cocky, arrogant way. I meant that in a sincere way. One year and the Icelandic government's and Icelandic peoples' problems would be a thing of the past. The solution was so simple it was brilliant.

But like many other ideas I've had, they made so much sense and were so simple that when they were pitched to such brainwashed, automatonic dolts in management they were deemed too revolutionary, too simple and too outlandish (of course such "crazy" ideas including things like scanning documents in instead of spending hours filing the physical worthless paper, suggesting there was a Dotcom Bubble and maybe, just maybe we might want to do absorption studies for real estate, but again, "crazy" "outlandish" "unconventional.")

So I was always faced with a paradox. When it inevitably came to me leaving a firm (either willingly or forcefully) when they did an exit interview and asked why I was leaving, I wondered to myself, should I;

"A - Tell them why they're a bunch of effing retards, show them their weaknesses and explain to them how they could improve their efficiency and productivity


B - Shut up and be quiet in the fear that if I did tell them what was wrong and why I was leaving, there would be that infinitesimally small chance they'd actually listen and implement the changes, effectively getting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of consulting without actually having to pay for it."

What I inevitably found out is that the skull of management is so thick you could with a sun powered LCD projector burn a power point presentation into their brains and they still wouldn't get it. The legions of management are so numb to new and revolutionary thought, they are condemned to obsolescence and being replaced by new start up firms (see Napster).

With that in mind I've decided to explain my solution to the Icelandic financial crisis not in the hopes anybody over there would listen (because they won't), but to have on record some dumb "crazy" economist had an idea that would have saved those poor Icelanders decades, if not scores of economic pain and suffering.

The idea, as I said was simple;

Lower your corporate and personal income taxes to zero and become a tax haven.

The low taxes, along with a geographic location between the United States and Europe would attract billions, if not trillions in new investment, capital and corporate headquarters resulting in an economic boom. Not to mention Iceland could pilfer the talents of all the advanced countries in the world who are basically being held hostage paying 50% taxes in their current countries. Poaching the productive talents from the other nations would only increase the future productive capacity of Iceland and make the current financial woes of 200,000 people look petty by comparison.

But like I said, such brilliance will only fall on deaf ears.

And the Names Are??????

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess their names are more of the Mohammed strain than the Bruce strain.

Oh, and what's this? Green policies costing lives? Well, that's only because nature is more important than human lives. If you don't understand that, well then you're an ignorant, racist, mother earth-hater.

Update, just a matter of time.

I Project Unemployment to Break 10%

Figured it was time to refresh a favorite chart of mine which previous quants and economists berated me about, claiming it had no predictive value and that chart is housing starts versus unemployment.

Again, I like this chart because housing starts predict unemployment. So when housing starts tank, unemployment usually peaks 6-18 months later. A banker buddy of mine was asking me when I think unemployment will peak and I said, "Well, based on this chart we have at least another 6 months to go. If you notice the peak of unemployment happens 6-18 months AFTER housing starts BOTTOM OUT. We haven't bottomed out yet."

Now, given the severity of the financial problems the US is having, not to mention everybody has chartered the government with the job of getting the country out of recession, and the fact housing has tank to its LOWEST POINT ON RECORD and HASN"T STOPPED TANKING YET, I'm going to project unemployment will continue to skyrocket EASILY surpassing 10%.

The recession is just starting people. And with the spendulus, get ready for it to drag on and on and on and on, just like those good ol' New Deal Days!

Oh, but I'm sure we're OK with that. We got ourselves one good looking president and have assuaged ourselves of white guilt! I'm sure that's worth destroying the US economy!

The Only Good Che

Is a dead Che.

Happy day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Movies that Most Frequently Use the F Word

So I am currently watching Midnight Run, which is my second favorite movie of all time. Great movie. If you have not seen it, you cannot get into heaven, because those are the rules. So get cracking.

Regardless, it stars Robert DeNiro and the F word comes up, oh, about every 3 seconds.

So I thought this has got to be the most Fword-induced movie in the history of man.

Typity type on the internet and low and isn't.

F Word Usage in Movies

Matter of fact, it's rather lowly ranked.

Surprisingly, the movie with the most frequent use of the F word is the movie "Fuck."

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Captain Teaches a Lesson in Love

Junior, deputy, aspiring, official and otherwise economists allow me to teach you the art of love.

The time rapidly approaches where American men show their beloveds their appreciation and passion for them. Where we don our dashing suits, pointlessly purchase plants that will die 4 days later, acquire the finest chocolates with the most powerful aphrodisiacs, and, yes, perhaps even bathe. Yes, Valentines Day is approaching and no doubt all you economists out there are preparing something great and grand for your beloved.

However, why do the traditional, same ole, same ole when you can make this Valentine’s Day special?

And I don’t mean that in a standard Valentine’s Day commercial “make this one special.” I mean that in a sincere,

“Do you really want to blow her socks off, not to mention her clothes” special.

“Do you want her practically pushing all the food off the table at dinner as she leaps across to have her way with you” special.

“Do you want her so stimulated you will not even have to bother going out to dinner because she will not let you out of the door” special?

Then lend me your ears, grab a pencil and start taking notes.

You have several options when it comes to making this Valentine’s Day special and they number 3.

First, what tells your beloved “I love you” more than the most authoritative book on the housing crash and financial crisis; Behind the Housing Crash, by yours truly? Sure flowers are pretty and chocolates are fine, but are they timeless as the economic wisdom you could share while cuddled up next to the fire on a cold February 14th as you read “Behind the Housing Crash. Oh sure, she’ll be so enraptured with chapters such as “The Economic Chessboard is Set” and “My Ex-Girlfriend Was Subprime” that you’ll be forced to take breaks from the reading, but isn’t what was books on economics are for? To sexually arouse people?

Second, women love a man. A real man. Not some feminized, sensitive 90’s pansy man. Not some Anderson Cooper metrosexual. They like a real Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, John Wayne, Captain Jack Sparrow type man. And what, I ask, is more manly than contributing to GDP? You see, real men contribute to GDP, those that don’t are by definition dependent upon others and are by default not REAL men. They’re parasites. They’re losers. They’re welfare bums. But a real man, he contributes. Oh he may not contribute as much as Bill Gates, but as long as he contributes (or at least is part of the labor force), he’s a real man. Remind her of your manliness and buy yourself this girl-getting shirt. Your beloved Captain wears one and by God, I'm always swamped with ladies once they see me wearing that shirt (warning, shirt does not come with the big stick necessary to beat all the girls away with).

And finally, the gift of dance. Remember, dancing is not about you, it's about her. Specifically it's about making her look good on the floor so she can usurp all the attention in the joint, not some kind of fangled story about you two being together and moving together in a romantic way(sorry men, that's really what dancing is all about. Why do you think women want to dance so much?) Regardless, capitulate to her desires and learn to dance. You have two options;

1. If you live in the Minneapolis area you can always sign up for the dance classes the Captain teaches through your local school district or

2. If you don't live in Minnesota, fear not! The Captain has instructional videos AND ACCOMPANYING music that can be mailed to you (besides which, you get to see him with a different girl in each dance video as the a lot of uh "dance partners" in his youth)

For a complete list of dance options click here or if you have any questions click here.

It's Not Your Fault

I call my buddy Alejandro to see what he was doing yesterday. He's wasn't doing much and since he's from Mexico, I thought he might find it novel to partake in an American pastime;

Shooting assault rifles.

He had never shot a gun before so I brought my little arsenal with and we headed out to the range.

En route to the range, I asked him what he had been doing with all his free time, because unfortunately he, along with 2,500 other engineers got laid off at one of the larger employers in town. He said he was looking for another job, talking to recruiters, applying, etc., but then he said something that made me quite angry. Not at him, but in general;

"I'm also going to this workshop where they try to help us out with dealing with the stress and the shame that comes with getting laid off."

The "shame?" I thought to myself. Why would he have shame when 2,499 other people got laid off? Fear of not being able to pay your bills, I could understand. Annoyance due to the fact you would now have to restrain your budget and not afford certain luxuries, OK. But shame? Why would you feel shame?

Sadly, it's a story I had heard before. Not more than 2 weeks previously another friend of mine was laid off. A computer programmer. He was telling me how he couldn't bear to hang out with us, his friends, because he was too ashamed he had been laid off. He was in a 2 month depression, holed up in his house, before he got another job (and found the pride to start hanging out with us again).

Another friend of mine just last Thursday was laid off, and though nowhere near as distraught was certainly down and depressed about it. I was keeping somewhat close tabs on her particular employment situation as her boss would constantly berate her for not meeting sales goals, ignoring the fact the economy was in a recession and that sales across the company were down. But despite the psychopathology of her boss, she still felt a little bit of shame.

So let me lay it out for all of you out there who are getting laid off once and for all;

It's not your fault.

Pure and simple, it's not your fault.

I'm not saying this to make you feel better. I'm not saying this to get you in the "cheer up camperoos! The sun always comes up tomorrow. And you should be happy little people, because if you're not perpetually happy, then you have psychological issues and need prosaic!" brainwashed-modern-day-American-mandatory-perpetual-happiness-sort-of-way.

No, I'm saying it because it's true.

It's not your fault.

The reason it isn't your fault is multifold.

One, we're in a recession.

Oh, I know your boss may have berated you and harped on you and told you, you weren't cutting it. But don't kid yourself, the reason for this added pressure is because his boss was pressuring him to boost sales because the regional manager was being pressured by his boss to cut losses, because the president and CEO has noticed the stock price tanking and isn't going to get his bonus this year. And the reason the stock price is tanking is because we're in a recession. A recession, I might add, management should have known was coming years ago and should have prepared for it, but are so incompetent and late in dealing with it, they now have to have massive lay offs.

This is what you must understand from a macro-economic perspective. When GDP contracts at 3.8%, it doesn't matter how good of an employee you are, demand for your firm's product, and thus labor goes down. The company cannot keep you on, not because you're not pulling your own weight, but because there just isn't demand for your labor. If anything, management should be criticized for hiring so many people in the first place, only to lay off again in 6 months when the economic indicators suggested a recession was on the way. It really is something to view as "nothing personal."

The second thing I wish to point out is the childish, assholeic (which is a word I just made up, but is the only way to describe it) behavior some managers have where they lack the maturity to be forthright with their employees and instead insist on blaming the problems of the macro-economy ON THEIR EMPLOYEES!

This enrages me because you have a person in a position of power, a position of authority, falsely blaming their staff for the problems of the company. The reason they do this again is that management is responsible for maneuvering the company through choppy economic waters. Management is responsible for making the decisions, developing the policies and implementing the strategies to deal with the outside environment. And since they are so inept and incompetent that their policies don't work, they don't have the intellectual honesty to admit it was THEIR decisions and THEIR fault that led the company to the dire straits it currently now faces. Ergo, since their bloated egos can't handle it, they blame their staff.

I hear endless stories of my friends being flogged to produce more sales, to make more loans, to sell more cars, despite this being the worst economy since the Volcker Recession. And if they don't, well then it's not the economy's fault, it's their fault and they should feel ashamed as the door hits them on the ass on their way out. To blame an economic crisis currently estimated to cost $2 trillion not on the sub prime deadbeats and corrupt banking system, but because my friend didn't sell enough couches is not only laughable, but hypocritical and typical of management today. Perhaps we should blame the chef of the Exxon Valdez for it running into a reef and not the drunk captain.

The third and final thing I insist you must understand is that your "supervisors" are NOT your SUPERIORS. And I think this takes a little more psychological thinking than normal.

Just because somebody is your boss or is older than you does not make them BETTER than you. Oh sure, back in the day that may have held, but today it absolutely does not.

When historians look back at this recession it is going to be a shameful period for the Baby Boomers for they are the ones who were more or less at the helm of this financial disaster. This is not to foist all blame on them, as there is certainly no limit to the amount of idiotic, disgusting, entitlement mentality driven Gen-X'ers who more or less make up a plurality of the sub prime dead beats and thus are also to blame, but at the helm of all the financial institutions, regulatory institutions, governments and corporations were the Baby Boomers. And they were asleep.

Be they bankers who disregarded any semblance of risk management in an attempt to enrich themselves through commissions, be they middle or senior managers who blindly flogged their staff to boost sales to make bonus at the expense of the integrity of the firm, be they auto manufacturing firms who had not the pair of cajones required to face down the union and basically admit to the reality "we can't afford to keep paying you this much," or be they the politicians and government leaders who instituted policies that channeled trillions to sub prime deadbeats all to buy votes from the degenerates of this country, in all cases sanity, logic, integrity and real leadership were forfeited for short term gain. The decisions being made by the leaders of these institutions were so horribly wrong, misguided and short sighted it is impossible to blame the ground troops over the officers for losing this war.

Of course to blame your elders or supervisors requires some bold and arrogant thinking. You are basically saying, "I, a younger, not-as-experienced, INDIVIDUAL claim to know more than the older, wiser and more experienced MASSES." But all one has to do is look at the empirical data. If the bosses, supervisors, leaders, governors, regulators and elders were right, would we be in this financial debacle? If they were competent, would we need trillion dollar bailouts? If the heads of these firms, the "elite" of Wall Street and other banks, we so god damned gifted, would they require taxpayer money? If they knew what they were doing and were thusly entitled to the rank of "supervisor" or "manager" or "boss" or "executive" would the company be in the red with its stock price tanking, along with the rest of the stock market, impoverishing us with the destruction of our 401k?

Once you understand this, then you will realize why you should have no shame. And not only why you should have no shame, but why you should have pride in getting let go by one of these Titanically-doomed wrecks.

In the meantime do yourself a favor and pour yourself a Fat Dachshund (1 part vodka, 1 part white creme de cocoa, one part baileys). You've earned it.