Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Old Digs

Riverside Plaza is also affectionately known as "the Crack Stacks" or "Ghettos in the Sky."

It is also where your humble Captain resided for 2 years of his collegiate days.

It is your classical government/affordable housing project where somebody high on pot back in the 60's was given the architectural contract to make it look hideous and be an eye sore to the city's skyline.

All that being said I have fond memories of the Crack Stacks;

washing clothes in the bath tub because you couldn't trust your clothes to be washed in the public laundromat, not to mention it was 34 stories below my apartment

carrying 60 pounds of groceries in one shot because you didn't want to make multiple trips

running down 34 flights of stairs during a fire only to realize that if there ever was a real fire, everybody in the building would be doomed because the slow old people who live downstairs back up the stairwell like a Wisconsin driver hauling horses during rush hour on 494.

Looks like it's going to get an overhaul (of course with part of yours and my dimes), though sadly, the city will continue its rapid charge to become the next cold Detroit so it's kind of like grooming your dog before you put it to sleep.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Counter Boycott

I loathe the hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty of the mayors of both San Fran and now St. Paul "boycotting" Arizona.

Yes, how dare we protect US sovereignty and have the slightest bit of self-respect for ourselves. I mean this isn't our country. It's the world's country.

Of course, this is nothing more than a dispicable level of hypocrisy to protect an illegal voting bloc, while they sacrifice the integrity and sovereignty of the nation (I particularly like how Coleman calls it "hate.")

Regardless, listen to your Captain and do me one huge favor.

Go here and look up a company that you have a need for and FREAKING buy something from them.

I know you didn't want to buy my book (sniff, sniff, guilt trip, guilt trip), but please make the Captain happy in thinking that he somehow caused a nation-wide phenomenon to boost Arizona's GSP and interstate exports by 300%.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Effrontery

So I'm watching "Charge of the Light Brigade" and Errol Flynn just used the word "effrontery."

Meaning shameless boldness that is an insult to standard social decorum and propriety.

I shall try to incorporate it into my speech.

I Need a Doctor

Because my eyes just got stuck rolling in the back of my head.

Peter Schiff better run for president.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sun Chips

Your Captain grills a lot. And his friends bring over "Sun Chips" as a snack. Of course you can't ignore the boasting of their green credentials because all over the bag they brag about how the bag will naturally decompose and their sun chips are made with "100% natural sun." So you could imagine my happiness when I saw this on Sun Chip's banner advertisement on You Tube.








Apparently you can all upload what you did for Earth Day. It is subject to censorship...err..."moderation." We'll see how long Michael's stays up.

Happy Earth Day...I Think

I'm under the impression it's Earth Day or something today.

Whether it is or not, it's always a good day to drive your 8 cylinder car around. I have an old GM car, the tires on which are NOT inflated properly. I shall drive it.

I will go to the grocery store and ask them to double bag.

I will then burn the bags.

I will also grill a steak because cows emit carbon and to grill I will have to use fossil fuels to heat it.

Do your share to emit more carbon than the phonies claim to save.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Great Ugly Jean Purging of 2010

Lo!

Your Captain, not only be wise in the world of economics, but is also an accomplished ballroom dancer, extraordinary video game player, fossil hunter extraordinaire and all around funny and amusing guy. And thus, your beloved Captain would have thought this would be enough to satiate the intellectual and romantic desires of his beloved Natasha.

However, unforeseable to your humble Captain, he walked right into a trap without knowing it. Oh, it started innocently enough, but little did he know what was in store for him.

It all started when thanks to President Obama both your Captain and Natasha had no real work to do for about 2 months. Besides which we were told we didn't have to worry about our mortgage or paying for gas any more, so off we went to Missouri for a 6 week vacation. A mere week before this I had come down with a nasty bout of poison ivy, and was thusly aware of what it looked like. However, eager to find fossils in Missouri, I pulled over my motorcycle when I saw a promising strata of rock, running up to it, only to realize I went through a 20 yard patch of poison ivy.

It then became a mission to immediately get rid of the jeans I was wearing and buy a new pair. Stopping at the local Pamida, I bought a nice, big, baggy pair of jeans, perfect for riding my motorcycle.

However, Natasha protested. Not that I would swap poison ivy infected jeans for clean ones, but that the others were too baggy and did not show off "my cute little butt" (her quote, not mine).

I dismissed this as typical foolish female tomfoolery as I thought all jeans were the same. Sure some might fit better, but it was merely a whim of preference of women that would ebb and flow every other day, surely to be ignored because of it's irrelevance.

Now fast forward 6 months where the Minnesota winter has been replaced with a VERY early and VERY wonderful spring, permitting me already to put over 3,000 miles on my motorcycle. Not only has the weather allowed for me to bring out my bike early, it has also allowed me to start my seasonal running early. Your Captain is already running his goal of 7 mile runs which he usually attains come mid-May. Combine this with the wonderful economic boom promised to us by Barack Obama, and your Captain has more free time due to a lack of work which he has now dedicated in part to lifting weights.

What does this have to do with the Great Ugly Jean Purging of 2010, you ask?

Well, the combination of lifting weights AND running has resulted in...um...shall we say, a very Cappy Cap physique. So much so that Natasha, IGNORING MY INTELLECT AND PERSONALITY TRAITS, has now taken a new-found and cheap affection for my physical looks! Discarding my great economic insights and wonderful personality, she now barks orders at me to "take off my shirt."

I feel so cheap and used!

However, simple demands that I take off my shirt are the least of the costs of the Captain's new bod. The Captain's wardrobe has taken a beating as well, specifically jeans.

I had, I HAD, a nice collection of nice comfy jeans. Perfect for any kind of activity. Fishing, motorcycle riding, wearing, you name it.

But oh, no. No more. Those jeans just won't due according to the illustrious Natasha. And ever since this early spring sprung, she has declared war on my "Ugly Jeans."

The purge started much like Stalin's purge of his military officers, except with more vengeance, aggression and hatred. I was TOLD that I was going to get rid of my ugly jeans and replace them with NEW, BETTER FITTING jeans.

To this I had no choice.

And so, much like 1982 where my mom would take me to Goodwill and I would try on some stranger's jeans, with the tugging and the pulling and hemming and the hawing, Natasha took me to Old Navy (that's where the cool hip kids go if you didn't know) to replace my Ugly Jeans with new, "sexy" jeans ("sexy" apparently meaning they look worn and tattered like my old jeans, but cost 3 times as much).

And thus, at the ripe old age of 35, your Captain now has sexy jeans. The ugly jeans have been bannished, burned or otherwise taken care of, and now I can't ride my motorcycle for more than 10 miles without having to constantly...um..."adjust."

So men, beware. If you ever decide to work out, run, tone up and just become more sexy than you already are, realize there are consequences. Your women will no longer desire you for your intelligent conversation, your wittiness, or your knowledge of economics. No, they will become carnivorous temptresses, demanding a constant display of your body accentuated by "sexy jeans." You will be their little doll so they can dress you up in clothes to meet their shallow, lewd whims. You will become nothing but a piece of meat for their eyes to devour!

And alas, there's nothing you can do but grin and bear it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dow 11,000

Because I am in general a financial "party pooper," bringing in and highlighting facts, that "no, I'm sorry Suburban Sue, your house is not worth that much and you shouldn't have taken out that HUGE home equity loan to pay for your child's "masters in communications" degree," it is therefore behooved upon me to point out yet another sad fact for those who are woefully financially ignorant (which is most of the population).

I know you're all giggity giggity about the Dow breaking 11,000. But sadly, nobody paid attention to that all important economic lesson - CASH FLOWS DRIVE MARKET PRICES.

You see, prices can go up and down all they want, whether they are actually worth that price depends on the cash profits those assets generation. So yes, you can be very happy the Dow is up to 11,000, but did corporate earnings go up by a proportional amount?

Well, here's your answer;


You see, the PE ratio of the US stock market (as measured by Prof. Robert Shiller) compares the price of a stock to its earnings. Historically this has averaged around a ratio of 15 - 15 dollars in stock price for every dollar in earnings. And after the stock market crashed due to the housing market, stocks were ever so briefly "accurately valued." Meaning they weren't a steal or a great buy, nor were they overpriced.

Of course, that lasted about as long as sanity usually lasts in the financial markets and stock prices once again rallied, driving the PE ratio up to 22.10.

What does this mean for you the average investor? Well, for those of you who religiously invest in your 401k or 403b, you better pay very close attention to the prices you're paying for those stocks and mutual funds. For younger investors, I don't even know why you would invest in a stock market when not only it's overvalued, but it's progressively likely your "Roth" IRA or 401k plan will simply be nationalized and taken over by the government (much like they did in Argentina) to fund unfundable entitlement programs.

But I know, I know, I'm shouting into a hurricane. Why ruin everybody's good time?

Let's just party because an index broke an arbitrary number like 11,000.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Wage Gap

Can an IT professional of the female persuasion please field this one?



With such intellectual dishonesty, the people at Newsweak wonder why their subscriptions are tanking.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Your Recession Medicine

I hear leading economic indicators are pointing to a recovery....well, not a GW circa 2002 economic recovery, but you know, actual positive growth in the private sector. In the meantime, enjoy the recession!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"...and then I will take her to the theater."

Let me tell you about a foreign friend of mine. We'll call him "Jose" just to keep him anonymous.

Jose came to the US several years ago. Highly trained in computer networking, he stopped in on one of my dance classes to learn how to dance. At that time he was actively engaged in pursuing American women. While growing up in his home country, American women, as well as the American singles scene was so glamourized on TV and the movies that he too wanted to participate in this wonderful world. He started by going "clubbing" in Minneapolis' daycare center...err....I mean "hipster" area - Uptown. He failed miserably and thus changed tactics by taking classes from "pick up artists."

Here he had limited success. He did learn the basic rules of ignoring and being indifferent, "negging" and so forth, resulting in a fair amount of dates, but the problem was that he was at heart a traditional man. Yes he wanted to play the scene, but it was for the ultimate goal of finding a wife, settling down and having children.

Sadly the "singles scene" in Minneapolis is NOT designed to produce high quality marriage candidates.

Thus when he was stood up, 505025'd, strung along, or just plain dumped when he started asking about getting serious, he become frustrated. Realizing at the age of 35 what most American native males do around 25, that finding a quality marriable woman is laughably impossible, he sank into a deep depression as he saw his imaginary wife and little Joses fade away.

However there was an unexpected life line of hope. Jose flew to Eastern Europe to do some mountain climbing, where at a small motel he stayed there was a nice central European woman. She ran the bed and breakfast he was staying at, cooked him meals, EVEN CLEANED HIS CLOTHES, and well...you can imagine what happened from thereforth.

Now, after two years of semi-annual visits, and constant contact on the phone, Jose is on his way back to this former Soviet country to marry this girl and bring her back to the states. I was driving him to the airport and asked him, "So when she gets here, is she going to work, or are you guys going to work on a family right away?"

And he said, "Oh, no. She will not work. I will go and work and make the money. She will stay at home and keep the house in order and make meals and bring up the children. I will work all day, come home and then I will take her to the theater."

It was a beautiful statement because whereas today people have been brainwashed to believe a woman staying at home doing the "womanly duties" is nothing more than a slave to the man, the reality is that Jose really does love this girl.

And the reason why is that she is not going to be some "slave" that he comes home to and yells at, "where the hell's my dinner, woman?!" It's the beautiful division-of-labor idea that one person would work, the other would work at home, they would raise a family and then my buddy Jose would look forward to nothing more than coming home and taking his wife to the theater.

Of course, what do those stupid Latino's and dumb Eastern European morons know about love and marriage? Look at how neanderthal Jose is, let alone how naive his fiance is. Why, don't they know the pinnacle of marriage is to have TWO people working TWO, if not, THREE JOBS, while they outsource the upbringing of the children to the nanny, or pay higher taxes to the state educational system? They then rush home where no food has been prepared and the children are slowly alienated from their parents. Let's not forget that Mrs. Jones-Hyphenated-Smith needs to get her masters is child psychology so she can better understand why little Johnny set fire to the couch. And Mr. Smith better work really hard to buy all those toys his children want, not to mention baseball practice, volleyball, student council, debate and racquet ball. And he better work doubly hard to buy his wife that new SUV she NEEDS, otherwise, she may just have to file for divorce because there wasn't enough jewelry to reconcile their differences.

Obviously Jose does not know what he's doing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bachelor Pad Economics

For all the single, swinging bachelors out there, permit me a great bit of financial advice.

Clippers.

Drop the $35 on a good pair of clippers and you'll earn back your money easy within a month or two.

Now some of you will complain that you are not barbers, let alone self-styling ones, and therefore you will not be able to cut your own hair.

That is why you hence forth resign yourself to the buzz cut.

No doubt some of you will earn back your clippers in just one shaving in that you drop $35 on a hair cut. Others it will take 3 or 4 shaves if you go to a Great Clips to earn your clippers. Regardless, by a year's time going by, you'll certainly earn more than you did your 401k.

I have also found it a great way to get pampered by women who want to cut your hair.

Don't ask me how it works, I've learned long ago to stop asking why.

Ah, Baby Rabies

A movie I shall not see.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ready the Vomit Bags



I promise that I will remain a male, defend my loved ones with my life, destroy enemies that threaten my loved ones, be charming and charismatic towards you, support myself, and work out and stay in shape. And if that ain't good enough for you, then I'm sure one of those lovely men above are available for courtship.

In the meantime, here's an alternative.



Now, on a serious note, ladies, who would you rather date? The guys above of the guy below? Make your responses in the comments section, and I shall make a chart.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Not a post

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Nice Charts

Something tells me "hope and change and flowers and chocolates" and in general wishful thinking and good thoughts is not going to solve this problem.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Not a Post

For those of you who still tune in, these occasional "not a posts" are links to a podcast of one of my favorite shows, Garage Logic. The only problem is they only offer the previous day's broadcast, thus I need to post the link, but tweak the date to get previous days' broadcasts.

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Housing Starts

Your economic chart of the day!




I love housing starts. Go buy my book!