Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

Time to settle down in my cap for a long winter's nap, while visions of sugar plums dance through the kids' heads.

If I hear a clatter on the lawn, though, I'm grabbin' the 12-gauge. I'm not that crazy. Besides, if true, he'd need help finding the chimney, since we don't have one.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I got an interesting letter in the mail today from the friendly federal government.

Apparently, I have now collected enough credits to be eligible for Social Security. I've apparently got enough credits as of this year to receive retirement benefits.

Of course, it won't matter worth a damn because when I do retire at 65 (assuming I work until then) there won't be any money left - since the fund is supposed to be empty in 2040 (based on the message on the front page) and I won't turn 65 until 2042.


I just found it funny.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry F'n Christmas

In the Spirit of Christmas, here's a couple of clips for ya:

First, the original "Spirit of Christmas":

Second, the one that's gotten a lot more circulation:

From a couple of years ago, courtesy of Mr/s. Garrison:

And last, O Holy Night, complete with electro-shock therapy:

Not in the mood right now for Mr. Hankey, though.

Good taste

Yesterday was a calm day, and we all stayed home as some of us did not feel well.

On days like these, it's quite easy to just curl in front of the TV.

We let Alex watch a few things during the day, but he was most excited about one clip.

Not Toy Story, Clifford, or any other cartoon.

No, he enjoyed THIS clip most of all yesterday. Complete with random two-year-old dancing.

At least he is acquiring some good taste.

Too bad I don't have an old Halloween picture available to show him.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Celebration time

I finished my final class last Wednesday with the makeup of my final exam. I got the grades, and amazingly enough, after all the other things that have happened in the last two months, I managed to score an A in the class!

The group project - a firm and industry analysis focused on Chevron - scored a 94, and the final was a 92, which was enough to overcome a mediocre quiz average.

So, I finish my first semester with 6 credits completed, and 2 B's and 1 A for a GPA of 3.33. I haven't had a GPA that high since Regis!

Now I just have to figure out what I can take next semester, if anything. We're still not sure what to do about the car, and GSU is switching to full-semester classes only so I won't be able to do half-term classes anymore.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Interesting Christmas gift

This is courtesy of Marietta Poker Supply. Perfect for the politically conservative poker player.


I clicked through from Wicked Chops Poker.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Like father, like son

Obviously, I've slowed down on blogging while at home, so I didn't post about this right away.

On Thursday, Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. had a semi-meltdown on a Washington radio station, stating that even if the Falcons were in the middle of a playoff run, he'd ditch the team right away if Ty Willingham left Washington.

Of course, right now, the Falcons are in the middle of a playoff run. At 7-6, a win last night would solidify their standing in the playoff hunt with games remaining against the Panthers and Eagles. Last night was a must-win game.

After the comments, I figured the Falcons would get killed by 30 points against the Cowboys. Hearing your coach would ditch you in a heartbeat isn't exactly the sort of thing to boost team morale.

Well, the Falcons lost 38-28. Vick played well, but the Cowboys played better. the Falcons now sit at 7-7, after losing a must-win game to another potential playoff team, on national TV, at home.

And Jim Mora Jr. will probably be on the unemployment line this offseason. He was already on the hot seat, but I'm pretty sure he's now gone after the year and the Falcons finish 7-9 or 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

At least he now has a meltdown to come close to his old man:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tag. You're it.

Since I got tagged by CrankyCon, I am doing the following:

1) Go to Wikipedia.
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day, but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday.
4) List two important birthdays and one death.
5) One holiday or observance (if any).


44 BC - Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March.

1545 - First meeting of the Council of Trent.

1991 - Germany formally regains complete independence after the four post-World War II occupying powers (France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union) relinquish all remaining rights.

1998 - Titanic defeats Star Wars for the #1 place in the North American domestic box office, grossing $471 million. (Men vomit worldwide)

Births (apparently it was a very interesting day):

1767 - Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States (d. 1845)

1933 - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

1940 - Phil Lesh, American musician (Grateful Dead)

1955 - Dee Snider, American singer

1975 - Eva Longoria, American actress


1975 - Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate (b. 1900)


In the Roman calendar, the Ides of March.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Darth Vader to play Poker Brat

Sometimes, you just can't make this stuff up.

If Mace Windu plays Phil Ivey, I think I'll probably throw up.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

'Tis the season

Last year, I wasn't really feeling too full of Christmas cheer. Mostly, I was just tired of the commercial aspect of it all. You can only hear and see so many Walmart and mall ads before you just get tired of it all.

Thankfully, this season so far has been different. With Alex being a year older, and having a little sister, he's much more keen on what's going on around him. Namely, Christmas trees and Christmas music.

Since Samantha came home, he's been very eager to help out with everything - holding, feeding, getting things for all of us, even cleaning up more. Mostly, though, he's been spending a lot more time with me (compared to before) as we both go do things. The nice benefit of this, aside from more quality time, is that he feels like a really big boy in being able to go out and do more.

Yesterday was such an example. He "helped" me bring the Christmas tree home. Last week, he was very excited about the Christmas trees he started seeing at the hospital and at school. We have a small tree that he wanted to put up in his room, and we did that Thursday night. Yesterday, we got the tree, brought it home, and decorated it while everyone in the house slept.

He was very proud of his work.

Today, we started going through his room to clean out too-small clothes and decorate a little more. The radio was on, with Christmas tunes from the Fish. He liked it - a lot.

We haven't really talked about Santa very much. He does think it is to celebrate Jesus's birthday, and that's why there are so many parties going on. I'm perfectly OK with that line of thinking.

I guess having more little ones around kinda helps with being more celebratory this time of year. As long as it doesn't snow very much, I'm fine with it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Get crunk wit da Pope, yo

Received this in my e-mail today from Young Adult Ministries - Atlanta:

PILGRIMAGE TO ITALY -October 4-13th,2007

Travel with other Young Adults to Italy in an unforgettable Pilgrimage with Fr. Ricardo Bailey- aka Fr. Crunk. You will visit Rome and see Pope Benedict XVI during his Sunday Angelus and have free time to explore the Eternal City. You will spend two days in Assisi where you will have mass at the tomb of St. Francis and visit the Basilicas of St Clare and St Mary of the Angels. You can discover Renaissance art and architecture on a day trip to Florence, the city of Michelangelo. Get off the beaten path and visit little-known towns where you will pray with Italian friars and nuns who will give talks and provide spiritual "entertainment." You will be able to worship in the holy monastery of Mary in Loreto and have mass at the tomb of the mystic Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo.

I've written on Fr. Bailey before - he used to be at St. Joseph's before leaving for Holy Spirit in NW Atlanta.

More info, click here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Where have I been?

It's been a busy week.

Since last Sunday night, as a matter of fact, punctuated by Samantha Grace's screaming face at 7:12 AM Monday morning:

We checked into Northside Hspital at 5 AM, because, well, that's when they asked us to arrive to begin pre-op. Everything went fine during the delivery, though afterwards they did take her to the NICU for some testing on her respiratory and circulatory system through Monday night. Thankfully, everything was found to be quite OK, even though she hadn't been crying much. She is quite over that now, though, and is now crying plenty. Not too much, not too little, mostly only when hungry.

7 lbs., 10 oz. 19.5 in long, and a head full of BLACK hair. Again. Alex had a head full of black hair too, before it turned red and then blondish-brown. I'm not sure what color her hair will turn out to be.

After a few nights in the hospital getting to know each other, doing introductions, and generally looking cute and cuddly, we came home.
Odd observations so far:

-When sat up, she looks like a little Buddha baby.
-In coming up with nicknames, and gifts/clothes she got, we jokingly called her Sammy the lamb. Later, when she cried, we called her Sammy the Bull. She doesn't cry much...but when she does, she really means it.
-She's very wide-eyed when awake.
-She's learning very quickly. In one odd moment, when I was about to give her a bottle, she REACHED OUT AND GRABBED THE BOTTLE AND PUT IT IN HER MOUTH. They're lucky to do this at 3 months old, let alone 3 days old. Might have been lucky but, but who knows.
-Alex is enjoying the role of the big brother. Specifically, having a bigger room, bigger bed, and being able to do/get things for us and her. He's been amazingly well-behaved. Or, we're just successful at feeding his ego.

Posting willl continue to be light for the rest of this week. I'm still working on my group presentation for GSU along with getting used to no more than 4 hours of consecutive sleep.

We've uploaded pictures on Snapfish, because blogger sucks to load pictures.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Being Thankful

I'm thankful for many things.

Right now, I'm thankful for one thing in particular.

I'm thankful that the little team from South Bend, Indiana got its ASS kicked tonight at the Rose Bowl.

I'll be even more thankful if the USC Condoms lose next week to UCLA, because I don't like USC either.

I'm thankful that, even in the middle of a crappy season, Georgia still beat Georgia Tech despite Tech probably winning the ACC. Six in a row for the Bulldogs over Tech.

I'm thankful that the Big East and Big 12 won't be represented in the BCS Championship.

I'm thankful that a mid-major team like Boise State will be in a BCS game, after years of success and shunning.

I'm thankful that Notre Dame's loss today may open a spot for another SEC team, either LSU or the SEC championship loser. I'd love to see Notre Dame relegated to a non-BCS game after spankings by USC and Michigan. (As for the title game, Michigan already had their shot and lost. If USC and Florida both lose next week, then fine. Otherwise, no.)

But above everything else, I'm thankful the Florida State's loss means a .500 season and probably a bowl appearance in Boise or Seattle or Shreveport or some other far-flung locale, but that's it. That is enough to overcome even seeing Oklahoma in a BCS game. It just warms the cockles of my heart. Last year, Tennessee misery. This year, FSU misery.

So, I'm happy.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Are you ready for some football?

This is not in reference to any pro or college games this coming weekend, even though there are many on tap.

Georgia State has released the results of a feasability study. The results indicate the possible go-ahead, based on feedback and potential support, for Georgia State to add Division I-AA football to its list of sports.

There would be an increase in student fees of $200 per year, with additional funding required from other sources.

Having never had a football team at any school, I'd be delighted to have a football program for once. The main sticking point, of course, is where they would play and the associated costs - options range from renting the Georgia Dome, to updgrades at Panthersville (15 miles from campus) to building a new arena downtown.

The entire study is also available by clicking here.

At least we know Georgia State has more balls to consider such a move than Emory ever would.

Prices drop.....police called to quell riot

Thankfully, I'm not stuck in any of the shopping traffic or rioting today.

It could be worse.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Trailer

Due out 7/15/07 - about one week after the last book is released to the public.

I can't actually embed the trailer, but clicking should bring up the window and start playing the trailer.

The car saga continues

Over the weekend, the car I've had for seven years spit the bit.

At 202,000 miles, while going on 285 at Powers Ferry, it shut down entirely. Kim was driving it with Alex & Maggie when it just shut down. No engine power.

After getting it towed by AAA and getting back here, we went into work while mechanics attempted to figure it out. Unfortunately, we got the word today that the engine has pretty much blown out.

Given the engine's busted state, along with an old radiator with a leak and an aging transmission, it's going to make for some very interesting decisions.

I'm mostly sad about it right now without thinking about next steps. I guess it's first car feelings and such, but it's given a lot over the years, going from New York to Key West to Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, and a whole host of other places.

It's done well.

What next - I don't know.

Grinding, grinding, grinding

I cashed out almost everything last week to go on a massively extravagant spending spree.

Yep, nice and exciting. Furniture and paint supplies. It's what every poker winner spends their winnings on, right?

(In a related note, the nursery now looks very nice. It's been painted coral. The rooms upstairs are now a light sunny yellow, a key lime green, and coral. If the house were picked up tonight and dropped in Key West, it would fit right in.)

Anyway, after the cashouts, I left myself $3.15 on Doyle's Room. Figured I'd leave a tiny amount to just play around with, hit some microlimit games, maybe build it up. I'd still cashed out a significant amount of my winnings so I don't have the accompanying guilt about losing it all back. That feeling is awful. But leaving behind so little isn't really leaving much.

That was 5 days ago.

Since then, I've built it from 3.15 to 36.22, for a rate of return over 1,000%!

Time for a cashout and testing a new site and bonus! Didn't think I'd be building it up so fast, but it was quite fun. I played the micro pot-limit games until I got to $10, then moved to a micro NLHE table and just started running. Apparently, I found a lot of bad players.

Anyway, it's time to start on the one major site that I've never tried, but a lot of folks I play with have been saying I should try it out. And since they've got a bonus at the moment, I might as well see how it is. 100% bonus up to $50 until the end of the year, so it looks like it's worth a shot.

Poker Stars. The #1 site with over 100,000 players. Might as well try to catch a lot of fish if I can! Even at this late hour, there are 37,000 players logged in. It took a LOT of Party Poker's traffic - which, again, is fine with me, because a lot of Party Poker's traffic was of the unskilled variety.

Since some readers here play on there, look for francase13 - that's me. Hopefully, I'll have added a few more digits to my deposit by the time you get there.

Heck, even if I crap the bed, I left a little at Doyle's to try it all again. It's still a loss of only $3.15.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Booze News

High End: Wine South moves from Gwinnett to Atlanta. The festival had about 4,000 attendees in September sampling from over 100 restaurants and wineries. With a relocation to the World Congress Center, downtown, this will probably increase a lot.

Low End: Another push for Sunday beer/wine sales. It's a brave move to finally move into the 1950's. Too bad the Legislature can't figure it out. A friggin' joke. Besides, it's much preferred that you go out, get liquored up, and then drive home.

Guess what's good for you?


Apparently, the antioxidant level from a couple cups of coffee is about the same as eating a whole bunch of fruit, nuts, etc.

More antioxidants than such fun foods as kale, strawberries, broccoli, tomato, grapes, tea, and brussels sprouts.

So, you can either eat like a frickin rabbit, or just drink coffee along with your normal diet.

Easy choice. I can't really think of any who would pick the brussels sprouts over the coffee.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Someone needs to learn about variable costs and marginal revenue!

You remember hearing about the PS3 selling for an apparently outlandish starting price of $600?

Well, that's not the worst part of the price. Apparently, Sony will take a loss on each PS3 console sold of over $240 - over a 40% loss per console.

Sony is banking on a sizable return on investment of the actual game applications sold to recoup the losses, but frankly, this seems to be an incredibly stupid risk to take, especially in light of lower priced options available from Microsoft and Nintendo.

Hell, Microsoft can never get ANYTHING right, and yet they would actually be close to break-even from each XBOX 360 sale once marketing, publicity, and such are added. Adding those costs in for Sony only makes the discrepancy worse.

In light of the breakdown of supply costs, perhaps it's safe to say that while the PS3 has incredible processing power, perhaps it's a bit too much to swallow for consumer and company alike.

Hat in the ring

If he's forming a 527 and an exploratory committee and visiting Iowa and New Hampshire so much, then he's running.

At least you know Newt will bring ideas to the table. Besides, who better to try and bring back the spirit of 1994 than the guy who led the charge?

Nothing official on his site, yet.

Being in his old district, I think most local folk will enjoy this idea. At least we'd be able to further erase the stench of Jimmy Carter as Georgia's contribution to the White House.

This just got interesting.

The quest for world domination continues

Bank of America buys U. S. Trust

This has absolutely no impact on me whatsoever in my current job, but there's an even better reason why I like this deal, aside from the general corporate implications.

I used to work in Private Wealth management at Salomon Smith Barney, and folks who've known me for a while know I'm not a big fan of SSB or Citigroup. More succinctly, I hated their guts.

Essentially, this deal (purchasing a high-net-worth fund from Schwab) is a shot across the bow to Citi and especially to my old department at SSB as we will now be the leader in this sector.

It's a pretty good feeling to come to work at a company you like and reading that they're attempting to completely dominate your old employer.

Just a nice case of the warm fuzzies.

Either that, or I'm still feeling a buzz from paint fumes this weekend.

Return of the draft

Enjoying your Democratic Congress yet?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Strippers, rejoice!

Ban on silicone breast implants lifted.

Your local strip joint will be even more of a supermarket - take your pick of natural, saline, or giant silicone put-your-eye-out knockers.

This will also make the game of "Are-they-real-or-not" a lot more interesting.

Just to prove that any topic can be made boring, here's the FDA's website about breast implants.

Of course, all thanks should go to Nancy Pelosi. Between this and the never-ending sunshine and unicorns everywhere, hasn't it been just amazing?

UPDATE: Great, NOW I get a picture up on the site. Couldn't do that earlier.

R.I.P. 96Rock

A longtime mainstay of Atlanta radio is no more.

Due to crappy programming, a lousy morning show that was finally canned (The Regular Guys) and a rotation of seemingly only 6 songs, 96Rock is no more.

A station had popped up about a year ago, 105.3 - The Buzz, which plays mostly hard rock and metal, and also owned by Clear Channel. They are taking over at 96.1 and it's been re-named Project 9-6-1.

If nothing else, it means I'll be able to listen to more than 4 different songs per hour. 96Rock has been around for 32 years, but with the lousy programming of the last few years, it was time for it to go. Classic rock is not a popular format, and a limited playlist doesn't help.

Here's hoping for better fortunes, and goodbye to a fallen Atlanta radio icon.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Taxing research

Also put out last week:

  • The value of each personal and dependency exemption, available to most taxpayers, will be $3,400, up $100 from 2006.
  • The new standard deduction will be $10,700 for married couples filing a joint return (up $400), $5,350 for singles and married individuals filing separately (up $200) and $7,850 for heads of household (up $300). Nearly two out of three taxpayers take the standard deduction, rather than itemizing deductions, such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.
  • Tax-bracket thresholds will increase for each filing status. For a married couple filing a joint return, for example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15-percent bracket from the 25-percent bracket will be $63,700, up from $61,300 in 2006.

Figured you might want to know. Just remember to enjoy the lower rates while you can.

90 day notice

It was announced last week that 2007's Mardi Gras will be extended from 8 days last year to 10 days this year.

There will be parades/festivities from 2/9 through 2/11, then a two-day break without parades, and resuming from 2/14 until Mardi Gras on February 20.

Also, the number of krewes participating is up from 28 to 31.

While it's not a full restoration of pre-Katrina festivities, it continues to improve.

Of course, since a certain reader of this blog will be getting married a couple days before Mardi Gras, that might make attending the festivities in the Quarter a bit difficult. It's a little far from DC to NoLa.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Changing Speeds

I've been trying to expand my horizons with my poker play online lately.

Instead of keeping strictly to Hold 'Em, I've been playing a multitude of games. Partially because I'm a little bored with it, but probably also owing to a competitive streak and wanting to be the best at everything.

So, lately, I've been playing a lot more of the following:

RAZZ: Basically, it's 7-stud for low hand. I'm not crazy about regular 7-stud, but I've been a bit more interested in Razz instead because, well, it's a unique game.

TRIPLE DRAW: One of Daniel Negreanu's favorites, it's another game for low hand. It's five-card draw with a twist - you do three rounds of trading in cards, and can play for either 2-to-7 or Ace-to-five. I've played it a little more at Ultimate Bet lately and done all right.However, it hasn't been as fun as.....

OMAHA 8: It's Omaha Hi-Lo. It's been a LOT of fun because there's much more consideration of possible draws and combinations than in other games. Add in the consideration of low hands and it can be a pretty fun time. I've been playing a ton of this lately, and doing strangely well. Actually, while writing this post, I managed to triple my remaining bankroll playing Omaha 8 at Absolute Poker.

Don't get worried; I say remainder because I cashed out a bunch of it earlier today thanks to good play so we'll be doing a lot of decorating this weekend. IKEA, here we come!

Anyway, one more poker item to write about whih should interest you:

Do you like to blog?

Do you like poker?

Then click here for a bloggers-only tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18. It's part of the Blogger Poker Tour. It will be a shorthanded NLHE tournament - 6 to a table, not 9 or 10.

The top prize in the overall tourney is a prize package to the Aussie Millions worth $12,500 in January 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. This tournament, by itself, has a $500 prize pool. Only 61 people are registered, so if you're halfway decent, sign up - you'll probably place in the money.

It's hosted by, and you can click here to sign up a new account through Poker Source Online.

I probably will miss this one, as I might be busy painting walls in the shade of Butter Up or one of the other 8,000 colors Sherwin-Williams offers. But, it might be fun for you.

You gotta be kidding me

Well, I guess the GOP didn't really learn the lesson we hoped they would from this election.

Trent Lott Wins Back Leadership Slot

Because, what better way to mend fences with a disillusioned base than to select someone who's couldn't give a fig about a lot of the base's concerns?

So much for pork/earmark reform, border control, "amnesty" and other concerns, because, frankly, he's "getting damn tired of hearing from them".

Way to give a damn about your base.


Looks like a pretty universal reaction at this point.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good work if you can get it

$600,000 for lobbying?

I'm thinking that pay scale doesn't include the hot tubs with hookers and coke. Even so, I'm not sure how that would be reported.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who really won?

The obvious answer would be that every Republican lost in the elections and every Democrat won. But that's not truly the case.

LOSER: Karl Rove. Sorry, the aura is gone. The shift in direction away from Rovian influence was evident by the selection of Michael Steele to head the RNC. Bad tactics couldn't be afforded in an election such as this, and Rumsfeld's departure, had it come before the election as a planned occurrence, would have saved a couple of House seats and probabl kept the Senate from flipping.

LOSER: Nancy Pelosi. But she's the new Speaker! How could she be a loser? Well, her limited time in the spotlight was enough to turn off many people. Now, imagine seeing the Shrieker of the House every night. Aside from California and Massachusetts, I don't really think too many people will grow fonder of her politics and agenda. Bad moves by her could have big effects on 2008, whereas is she does a good or even halfway decent job, a lot of other people will gladly steal the credit. No-win situation.

LOSER: George Allen. DUH. Thankfully, we are now spared a campaign in 2008 by a candidate who seems almost exactly the same as W.

LOSER: Hillary Clinton. Again, how is it a loss for her? Well, she is now a member of the majority party, like it or not, and she will be a lot more visible touting measures that will again be unpopular (remember universal healthcare?) Besides, this election almost signaled a rejection of the Clintonian philosophy, in conceding certain areas even before the election begins, an favor of a different strategy - which is why she's a loser and....

BIG WINNER: Howard Dean. I thought the 50-state strategy was a good idea, and one that would pay divideneds in 2008, 2010, 2012. Not many people expected returns of this magnitude this quickly. A lot of credit should go to Howard Dean for taking a high-risk/high-reward strategy - it took almost all of the funds in the Democrats' coffers, but it worked. Besides, the efforts of the last two years may very well play out in the future in his favor, should he attempt another Presidential run.

WINNER: John Boehner/John Shadegg. Whoever emerges as the new Mouse Minority Leader of these two is sure to have gotten the message that voters just sent - return to 1994, not 2004. Hopefully, it will be one of these two, and not Eric Cantor or (shudder) Roy Blunt.

WINNER: Veto pen. I'm hopeful it will be used more than one time in the next two years.

WINNER: Poker Players. One thing we can count on seeing in the first six months of the year is an exemption for online poker, so that financial transactions can go unobstructed. Eventually, a system of revenue will come into place, because dangling money in front of Democrats is quite easy to get their attention. As the PPA has called for regulation and taxation for quite a while, and several incoming House Committee Chairs are in favor of this direction, I am feeling much more positive about its eventual recognition.

LOSER: W. No detail required. I know it historically happens. But it could have been avoided, and we all know this to be true, so I'm not going to expound further.

LOSER: Average taxpayer. Basically, if you pay taxes at all, your taxes will increase. Sorry. Min are going up, yours are going up, your neighbor's are going up.

LOSER: John McCain. Guess what? The Dems have both houses. The media doesn't need you anymore, to show its bipartisanship, and will stop adoring your "maverick" stances around, oh January 4. Oh, and the majority of your party hates you for undermining forewign policy and campaign-finance regulation, i.e. the Incumbency-Protection Act.

WINNER: Mitt Romney. With Allen out of the way, he's pretty much the only one standing on the right side of the GOP Spectrum, and his governance of a decidedly liberal state compared to conservative viewpoints will give him a leg up over his more liberal competitors in the primary, McCain and Giuliani. He might be unopposed entirely on the right, dependent on the decision of.......

WINNER: Newt Gingrich. Newt left in 1999 with some bitterness at the direction of conservative House members and the progression fro "Contract with America" to "K Street Project". This loss will allow the party (I hope) to regain some sense of self and what its priorities should be, and given Newt has had a lot of questions before the election about running, it's possible he may do so with Allen out of the way and only Romney as competition on the right.

WINNER: Harry Reid & Pat Leahy. Happy friggin birthday. The Dems can blockade any judicial appointee that comes down the pike and not even let them out of committee. I'm almost positive Stevens steps down next year, to guarantee someone closer to his ilk gets his SCOTUS seat.

LOSER: Condi Rice. This election is a partial repudiation of our foreign policy adventures, and I'm pretty sure we can stop talking about any possibility of Condi for higher office now.

PUSH: Stock Markets. I'm surprised to see they haven't moved much since the election. I was expecting a 100-point swing on Wednesday, depending on the results. This prediction worked as well as all my others - market closed almost unchanged. Even within targets sectors as energy, pharmaceuticals, banking, etc., there was no significant change. The lesson....I'm an idiot.

That's about it on my thoughts right now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Now what?

As I write this, we've seen #3 Louisville, #5 Auburn, and #8 California lose. #6 Texas is losing by 10 points in the 4th Quarter to lowly Kansas State.

This will clarify and muddle the CFB playoff picture simultaneouly.

Obviously, the teams above are the big losers, but who's going to benefit?

(I'm not even bothering to mention the Big 10 - Ohio State and Michigan will get enough hype next week.)

Florida: Held off South Carolina today with a blocked FG at the gun to remain in the one loss club. They finish with Western Carolina (??), Florida State, and the SEC championship against Arkansas. Sweeping all of those games, which would include two ranked teams, will help their case immensely. However, it's not as strong as........

USC: They have got the toughest closing stretch left - Cal, Notre Dame, and UCLA. Their slip-up to Oregon State notwithstanding, this might be enough to get to Glendale if they run the table. They're winning 14-0 tonight against Oregon.

West Virginia: If they take out Rutgers next week, everyone benefits. I think, though, that no one from the Big East has a chance, so they all beat up each other and played nobody from any other power conference. No chance since they lost to Louisville. COnsidering I picked them before the season....thanks a lot.

Notre Dame: Aside from Michigan, Georgia Tech and USC, it's really a creampuff schedule. They got killed by Michigan, barely beat Tech, and will probably get killed by USC.

Arkansas: The team no one talks about is moving up 4 spots this week, and beat Tennessee convincingly. If they run the table (MSU, LSU, FLA) then they've got some BIG marquee wins on their schedule.

Boise State/Rutgers: No. I know they have no losses, but no. They will be in the top 12 tomorrow, but neither of them has any chance of playing in Glendale.

So, this means it'll either be USC or the SEC champ. I'm sick and tired of the goddamn Trojans, and I think it'll be the SEC champ as payback for the snub of Auburn a few years ago.

UPDATE: Texas loses 45-42. Today's earthquake is complete.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mehlman Out, Steele In

Heard about it this afternoon, but just now saw it confirmed. Ken Mehlman has stepped aside, to be replaced by Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele.

So, this man is now the head of the Republican National Committee.

Too bad he lost for Maryland Senate, but I'm glad he's in this role for the next two years to take on Howard Dean.

But remember, the GOP has no diversity at all.

Oasis in the desert

Here's the results of the recent election, based on voting for Governor.

It's gotten just SLIGHTLY more red than blue.

Just a little.

The blue areas are Valdosta, the city limits of Atlanta, Savannah, and Albany.

The red areas comprise 130 of 159 counties in Georgia.

So there's a little bit of a trend. And a reson to live here. Better the oasis than stuck in the middle of the desert.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Spider Man Trois


May 4, so six months. Looks pretty cool, so far.

Scarlet Knights Unite

That cheering you hear is from the other major football programs acoross the country.

Rutgers beat Louisville, 28-25.

If Rutgers loses one of its last three games, to either Cincinnati, Syracuse, or West Virginia, then the odds are very good that Texas, Auburn, Florida, or Auburn goes to the BCS Championship.

One of them may go even if Rutgers wins out. With such a weak schedule, it's possible they go to one of the other games instead.

Helluva game, though.

More donkey bashing


Click here.

It's about a minute into the clip.

Open Thread Gone Wild

Check this thread out over at AoSHQ. 620 comments and rising.

Who says we don't occasionally have a sense of humor, even with crappy days?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Story of the day

I'm still bumming.

So I don't want to write anything political for a little while. I'm waiting until I'm a little clear headed so I can throw everything together.

In the meantime, you may have heard at GSB that Britney Spears is getting divorced. Apparently she couldn't handle the talented, sophisticated, creative genius that is K-Fed.

Either that or she got tired of having to read everything for him.

Apparently, according to other posts I've seen on sites, this makes her hot again. I'm not really sure if that's the case.

Judge for yourself.

She's in pretty good shape, looking better than barefoot and sweatpants in a gas station, but I'm pretty sure she's not back to what she was before. Two kids does that, folks. She does look pretty good for having two kids in the last two years.

But this ain't happening again, fellas.

Last Post

Time to go to bed. I don't think anything is drastically improving in the next few hours.

House looks to be 225 Dem, 210 GOP.

The remaining Senate races - Virgnina is too close and won't be resolved for a while but, for now, is a 1200 vote lead for Webb. Montana shows a 9,000 vote lead for Tester (D) over Conrad Burns. Missouri shows a 18,500 vote lead for McCaskill.

It looks like the Democrats may have pulled it off and taken both houses.

Well, if you already have no money, or don't work, or are a Krazy Kos Kid, you won't get screwed over too much. You'll still get screwed, though, so when you come back in two years because San Fran Nan screwed you over, I don't want to hear it.

If you've started savings, working, making money, and enjoyed any sort of benefit from the last six years (i.e. 95% of taxpayers in this country) well, it's going to be a long two years.

At least I can take solace that Georgia is run by the GOP all the way down.


Well, 2008 will be interesting, with no clear-cut nominee from either party. What type of "interesting", good or bad, that means is up to you.

Missouri Update - SWITCH

McCaskill: 803003
Talent: 799007

I need a drink. I don't care if it's 1 AM. I need a drink for this one.


22 House seats lost for now.

It's better than the 30 to 40 expected, but worse than what I expected.

So it's not even a slim Democratic majority. It's big enough to try things.

I don't really want to think about how Democrats can step on their own feet over the next two years. I'm not going to take that for granted anymore.

At least Rahm Emanuel is off my set, and no longer preening.

It's all down to Missouri. Montana is lost, as predicted. Maryland is now a 68,000 vote difference with 76% in, so it's probably time to stop hoping for a pullout on that seat.

Jim Talent has a lead of 48,000 votes with 69% in. It is possible the GOP keeps it. Barely.


Tennessee has been called for Corker. Only about two hours after I called it.

Mac Collins has pulled ahead by 2000 votes, so it may go from -21 to -20. GA-12 is still up in the air - guess I called that one a little early myself!

Missouri: Talent is up by 55,000, but little from St. Louis yet.

Steele in trouble

OK, NOW itis opening up. Dammit.

Cardin is now up by 66,000 with 70% reporting.

Not a good development.

It's coming to Missouri and Virginia. We won't know Virginia for a week. We need to win Missouri tonight to keep all hell from breaking loose.

Let's see if the GOP firewall holds.


Webb is now leading by 2376 votes out of 2.2 million cast.

Recount coming regardless of who wins.

I think it's flipping, though.

Congratulations to George Allen for running one of the worst campaigns ever seen in modern politics.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Georgia File

Here's the rundown for all you Georgia readers out there:

Governor: Sonny did. Winning by 20 points.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) wins by 200,000 votes. (12%)
SoS: Karen Handel (R) by 12%.
Atty. General: Thurbert Baker (D) by 14%.

Districts (R first)
GA-1: Kingston 68%, Nelson 32%.
GA-2: Hughes 32%, Bishop 68%.
GA-3: Westmoreland 67%, McGraw 33%.
GA-4: Davis 24%, Johnson 76% (McKinney's old seat)
GA-5: No R, Lewis unopposed.
GA-6: Price 71%, Sinton 29%
GA-7: Linder 70%, Allan Burns 30%
GA-8: Collins 49.1%, Jim Marshall 50.9% (2633 vote difference)
GA-9: Deal 76%, Bradbury 24%
GA-10: Norwood 66%, Holley 34%
GA-11: Gingrey 71%, Pillion 29%.
GA-12: Burns 50%, Barrow 50% (1257 vote difference)
GA-13: Honeycutt 29%, Scott 71% (what happened? This was supposed to be a close one.)

Right now, it is 7 R, 4 D, and two still up in the air.

The Senate rundown

CT: Lieberman
MI: Stabenow leads by 250,000, stays DEM.
MN: Klobuchar, stays DEM.
NJ: Menendez wins by 160,000.
NY: Hillary
OH: Brown up 250,000
PA: Casey by 1/2 M
RI: Whitehouse
TN: Corker
WA: Cantwell leading by 50,000 but it's early, Probably a DEM hold.

MO: Talent winning by 18,000 with half the votes in.
MD: Steele is still winning by 18,000 with half the votes in. THIS IS STILL A TOSS UP.
VA: 8,000 votes difference in a race we all wanted to hear more about.
MT: Just started counting.

Dems still need to sweep ALL FOUR to get the Senate. They may get two. Three is possible. I don't think they're getting all four.

The House is toast

It's now about a 20-seat switch. Even with the wins in Georgia, it won't matter. Dems have the House.

Graf has lost in AZ.

Johnson has lost CT-05.

I'm going to start concentrating on just the Senate at this point, along with Georgia races.


From the WaPost.

Makes sense, since Steele is winning by 22,000.

Told ya that would happen.

NY-24 - Reynolds Holds

That's a surprise.

The Foley seat is a dead heat.

And Maryland is still full of it. Steele and Ehrlich are both winning, but are projected losers.

NY-20 flips to the Dems. Ouch.

2 more Dem House pickups

NC-11. Heath Shuler wins. Yes, THAT Heath Shuler. Hopefully he'll be a better Congressman than quarterback.

FL-22 - Clay Shaw loses. With Republican control, he would have headed Ways & Means. This is a BIG loss.

At this point, the GOP is down two touchdowns. 1 more seat will flip the House. Hopefully they can play better defense in the Midwest and Southwest.

Steele down, but only by 2,000

I think this call in MD is getting rescinded.

Only 39% in and the numbers haven't separated.

I'm not counting that as dead quite yet.

Chafee has probably lost in RI - frankly, I don't care, because Chafee would have jumped to the Dems in a heartbeat if the Senate were tied.

Talent has a 50,000 vote lead in Missouri with 30% in. That is looking pretty good right now, but you never know what ACORN frauds will show up in St. Louis.

GOP has now lost 2 in the Senate - Chafee, Santorum, and Dewine, offset by Corker. I'm not counting Steele out yet.


NH-2 flips Dem.

NY has NO FLIPPED SEATS....yet. Early, though.

OH is messy. Even Deborah Pryce is in trouble.

PA-4, PA-6, PA-7, PA-10, PA-15 are all looking like DEM pickups.

I've got the GOP at -10 in the House and -2 in the Senate.

Oh, and all hail the return of Joementum. Looks like Lieberman wins.

GA-12 Flips

Put one back in the GOP column!

Max Burns has taken his seat back.

Illinois has some good early results as well. Bean's seat may flip.

Interesting break - Hastert and Clay Shaw are losing their races. Interesting as in "oh, crap."


30,000 vote separation with 91% in. Both candidates around a million votes.

Allen currently leads but it's too damn close. Of course, other races have been called with less.

Better get the lawyers on planes to Richmond!


Weldon's seat is lost, which was not a surprise.

Ney's seat as well.

Sherwood (PA) as well.

I think it's at -8 for the GOP right now. I don't have anything for NY yet.

CT reps appear to be holding strong and too close to call.

I'm not feeling well.

House losses

Looks like two in Indiana and one in Kentucky for sure. Northrup lost KY-3, but by only 7000 votes. Much closer than anticipated.

Corker wins Tennessee. Hold for the GOP.

Much more official numbers

OK, now the numbers back it up - Santorum, DeWine and Kean have most likely lost. Santorum is down by 170,000, DeWine is down by a similar amount, and Kean is down by 123,000.

So that will be 2 flips to the Dems.

Corker is a hold in Tennessee.

Better numbers

Menendez up by 60,000, and Case up by 50,000. Still early, though.

Steele is winning by 3000 votes, but again, expected to lose...? I'm surprised it's been called.

Ohio has been called with Dewine down by 30,000. That one doesn't surprise me, it was s much of a guaranteed loss as there could be.

This is f***ing insane

Fox is calling MD for Cardin, even though Steele is WINNING but 1,000 votes.

This is total crap.

I'm flipping the set over to poker. I'll post later.

Still BS

Tom Kean Jr. is winning by 7000 votes but is the projected loser.

Still very fishy.

What the hell is going on with FOX? Even CNN isn't jumping the gun to call those seats.

GOP is holding IN-3. That's one that should have been called by now.

Foley seat holding

Joe Negron/Mark Foley currently winning by 2500 votes with 25% reporting.

Interesting hold, if it stays that way. Obviously too close, but an interesting omen.

I smell bull****

NJ Senate and PA Senate called for Menendez and Casey.....but the numbers don't make sense:

Kean: 13442
Menendez: 12629

Casey: 126
Santorum: 90

I'm calling BS.



Looks like Hostetter is toast in IN-8. So 1 flipped. The other Indiana seats are too close, which is better than the blowouts predicted.

Mac Collins is winning, so that negates IN-8.

Essentially, no change yet.

Corker's winning by about 6,000 so far early on for Tennessee.

It looks like seats will be miraculously kept in the GOP column in Kentucky.

Good news to start the night.

And so it begins

The first polls have closed on the East Coast.

Looks like very heavy turnout for a midterm.

At my polling station, we normally get 130-150 voters.

There were over 300 today, with no competitive Senate election, in a GOP stronghold.

If that's how the GOP is voting, this will be a good night.

I'm sure we'll see plenty of surprises.

I'll start live-blogging in about 20 minutes. I want to eat. Priorities, man. We'll see if the GOP gets 221 and 53 like I predicted.


Heading out after work to pick up the car from the shop, then going to vote. I'll be doing a pretty heavy amount of writing tonight, so feel free to come on back.

Governor: Sonny Perdue (R). He's brought a lot to the state since taking over for Roy Barnes. Mark Taylor has done nothing this campaign to give anyone a reason to vote for him. It'll be a landslide - Perdue is up by at least 20.

Lt. Gov.: Jim Martin (D). This is a tough vote. I didn't fully decide until yesterday. I'm still a bit bitter from Casey Cagle's primary fight with Ralph Reed, in which I didn't feel comfortable about supporting either one after it was over. Cagle's site doesn't say a whole lot, while Martin's site touches on a lot more issues and ideas. Martin also has triple the experience of Cagle in the Georgia Legislature. Of course, if Martin wins, it won't matter because the GOP will still have control.

Secretary of State: Karen Handel (R). Always liked her, worked on her campaign for Fulton County Commission Chair a few years ago, so I'll be voting for her again.

Atty. General: Thurbert Baker (D). Baker's done pretty well in his role, and I think Perry McGuire is lacking a lot to do this job. With his work on mortgage fraud and identity theft, he gets my vote.

GA-House 32: Judy Manning (R). Unopposed.

GA-Senate 33: Mark Grant (R). Steve Thompson was Roy Barnes' floor leader. That alone is enough to vote against him.

GA-CD11: Patrick Pillion (D). Again, this is pretty much a protest vote from Gingrey's sponsorship of HR 4411, as Gingrey should win the district with about 80% of the vote. Watch out in 2008, though, for a fight from someone else.

Fever Pitch

Well, this is a good news day, and a good follow up to last night's missive.

Total jobs added now over 7 million in 6 years - another 93,000 non-farm added last month.
DJIA is up 76 points and racing to annother all-time high.
NASDAQ up to 2400, which is Feb. 2001 levels.
S&P is about to hit a six-year high.
Oil is back under $60.

Looks like we've got a fever, and the only MORE COWBELL.

Election Day, meet Cowbell Day. Cowbell Day, Election Day.

Party on.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Get yer head out of the sand

From the comments:

Well, Francase, since I implied your asking, I'd suggest that perhaps this economy that you and others praise as being so strong isn't as robust as y'all think. Yeah, I know, the Dow's at 12,000 and Cheney and Bush can't stop talking about it. That's great. But when you realize that the Dow was about 11,000 at the start of Bush's tenure, we haven't really gained that much in 6 years. Didn't we see the Dow go from like 2,000 in 1990 to 10,000 by the end of the decade? So in comparison this isn't much.

Let's see......this is an easy one, since I was at SSB when everything popped in 2000 (wait, who was president then?)

Stocks had soaring P/Es in the 30's and 40's, thanks to unreal speculation on many wild stocks. It wasn't based on earnings, but expectations of future earnings. Potential growth, not actual growth. Pure speculation. The Dow dropped from 11600 in April 2000 to under 10000 soon after, and then dropped tremendously after September 10, 2001, though I can't really think of anything that may have happened that week. The NASDAQ was even worse, dropping from 5000 to less than half its lofty levels, as it housed most of the speculative stocks.

Stocks tightened up, and then started falling again from May through November 2002, from around 10,000 to 8600. Strangely, after Nov. 2002, they started rising again, from 8600. Again, I can't think of what happened in Nov. 2002.

Translation: the bubble popped in 2000, and the market dropped 12%. It stayed steady, but with fears of a democratic takeover, folks sold off. Once it didn't happen, everyone came back in. Since Nov. 2002, the DJIA has risen from 8600 to 12100, a cumulative gain of 41% for just the index. As many portfolio aren't solely consisting of index funds, a lot of people did much better.

Now, we're a few hundred above the previous high of 2000. But instead of P/E's around 40, we have P/E's around 16. This is not a bubble. This is a much firmer foundation.

And then there's all the talk about the CPI and low inflation. True, that's what the numbers say. But the numbers don't tell it all. Health care (now a BIG part of our economy -- just ask the folks at Chevy and Ford) doesn't count towards those numbers. If you factor in the HUGE increases over the past 6 years in the cost of health care, suddenly it's not as rosy of a picture. Then do the same with prescription drugs, which the government now subsidizes. The argument gets even stronger.

Chevy and Ford are doing terribly because of poor management models. Multiple, repetitive production lines, refusing to phase out non-competitive models or adapt to consumer wants despite getting lapped by foreign competitors such as Toyota.

As for the healthcare aspect, considering how much is available in terms of medical needs and how many old people there are now compared to ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, OF COURSE costs will go up! Larger customer base needing drugs, and more input costs to develop new medicines. Yes, people paid less for drugs twenty years ago. They also died sooner.

I don't like 9% annual increases in health care costs, but with the number of old people, ill people, and "ill" people (i.e. obesity or self-induced health problems) combined with ongoing R & D for new drugs, treatments, and preventive measures, it's due to happen, and the costs have to come somewhere.

I don't like Part D too much either. Any expansion of entitlement programs isn't going to thrill me. But if you want to talk savings for the average consumer, it actually has been saving quite a bit. Does a few hundred dollars makes a difference, or a thousand? Yes, any way you look at it, whether it's you saving the thousand or the budget analyst looking at that thousands multiplied by millions of people.

Unemployment is low? True. But consider how many people in this new economy have dropped out of the job market, were never included in the figures to begin with, or are under-employed. With this shift to a service based economy and the outsourcing of our traditional jobs, I'd argue that a good part of the work force is under-employed. Another good chuck is forced to work 2 jobs merely to get by at the standard of living that used to exit based on 1 income. Again, all that isn't reflected in those figures.

Yes, because the SEVEN MILLION jobs that have been created in the last six years are all burger-flippers at McDonald's. Getting the talking point from CNN doesn't help. Adding 100,00 jobs each month for a year-plus doesn't amount to much, I guess.

Wages have risen 4-5% a year for the last few years as well, compared 2-2.5% inflation.

Full employment is generally regarded as 5%. Has been for years, until the last few. It's sat at 4.2-4.7% for a very long time. Only 13 states are currently above 5% - IN, MA, AR, NJ, KY, OH, WA, OR, WV, SC, AK, MI, MS.

Georgia is 4.5%. New York is 4.4%. Heck, Florida's near the top, at a 3.2% rate!

As for folks not being counted, that statistic has not changed. It is still unemployed workers/total workers. The denominator's risen, but the statistic has fallen. The numerator, in all likelihood, has not changed or changed by only a fraction.

Courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployed person fell from 7.4 MM a year ago to 6.7 MM now. The number of people unemployed for more than 27 weeks fell by 189,000 in the last month alone. But again, they're not being counted.

More people working, making on average more money, and more in real wages compared to inflation. But remember, it's a jobless recovery...if you discount the seven million jobs created.

Housing market? Been strong. But that began in the mid 1990s. Reflection of interest rates and very cyclical. All signs point towards a correction beginning now.

The correction has been under way for several months, and should continue through winter. I wouldn't want to continue to see a red-hot housing market. Again, OF COURSE less people are buying houses with rates higher. Folks don't want to throw money away if they don't have to. That's called common sense. I wouldn't even call it "housing woes". Yes, it's cyclical. Is it something to worry about? No.

And, it actually began in 2001 when Greenspan slashed interest rates WAY too low, all the way to 1%. If I could have bought a house at a 1% overnight rate, I would have. Of course it seems slower compared to one, two three years ago. Most people don't want to pay a higher rate, and a lot of potential buyers bought when rates were lower. When rates begin to drop again next year, it will pick up, as will re-financing of first mortgages at lower rates. I'll guarantee it's underway by Summer 2007.

Then look at all the major industry consolidation over the past decade. Banking, utilities, communications, and travel come to mind. Sure - those things all help Wall St in the short term. But they're gonna hurt Main St in the long term. We haven't taken the hit there that's sure to come. I'll remind you of this in a few years when AT&T is once again the national phone company.

There will never be another Bank of the United States. If there were, we would be it. It won't happen. Utilities? No. Travel? Darn, the overpriced, poor-quality airlines are going under. Boo hoo. I'm not going to feel bad because Delta's model isn't working but Continental's is. That's business. Well-run companies thrive, and poorly run companies find themselves in Chapter 11.

As for AT&T/Bellsouth - well, it was broken up in an interesting example of judicial activism 22 years ago. Besides, with technological development (VoIP, for one) and other localized services, cellular services, bundled carriers, there is still a LOT more competition than 25 years ago.

Next consider the high cost of fuel. You told us not that long ago it would continue to drop and drop based on all these new findings and supplies. It hasn't. Like I said earlier, a new floor was found during Bush's tenure and that floor is now being well reflected by the traders. I'm paying $2.20 here in Florida. That's about the national average. And it's also about what we were paying this time last year. That means during the Bush years, our fuel cost (adjusted for rises/falls due to seasonal conditions) rose about $1 per gallon. Some non-existent inflation.

I filled up Saturday for $1.86/gallon. I've long thought the value should be between $1.50 and $2 locally, based on state taxes, government policy and foreign issues. If you look at the price of oil over the last forty years in current dollars, you'll see two spikes. One is the late 1970's. The other was 2005. Both times, it returned to the normal range. It's done so this time.

As for supply - I'll just link to this article again. Technological developments are leading to quite a few more sources of oil that won't keep us as reliant on foreign sources. I'm pretty sure that as much as FIFTEEN BILLION BARRELS OF OIL is pretty significant.

Factor in continued development of alternative energy (LNG, coal, even ethanol) and that's progress. The internal combustion engine was not invented overnight. Neither was a hybrid's fuel cell.

I suppose we could return to government price controls. After all, it worked quite well under Carter, right?

Finally, getting back to the original point, retailers are not doing balls-to-the-wall business anymore. Sure, they're still doing ok. But the White House would have you believe things are a lot better than "ok." Wal-Mart's numbers were just down. If they're down, you know others are feeling it too. So these businesses must rely on Christmas shopping and the extended Christmas season to make the sales they need. And that's why you see Santa at the mall on November 5th. It's no accident.

Most retailers are doing quite well, thank you very much. They don't need an extended Christmas season. Black Friday is still Black Friday. Did Walmart have a knockout 3Q? No, but they still had growth even if it was only 0.5%. But competitors did pretty well. Target? 3.9%. Apparel? If ANF and LTD are an indication, red-hot. Costco? 4%. JC Penney? 8%. Walmart is getting punished for poor service and value added and consumers are going to competitors, so WMT doesn't see growth, it competitors get the growth. That's not a problem. That's how business works.

I think you need to spend a few more nights at the Holiday Inn Express. Try the CinnaBons. They're quite good.

In the meantime, if you made it to the end, you may have noticed that the Dow topped 12100 again, and, doggone it, almost every indicator looks very strong.

But again, nothing good has happened. I guess numbers really don't mean anything.

From the department of Bad-Assedness

Tonight, while watching football, I started playing in a qualifying event on Absolute Poker. It was a smaller field than I'm normally used to, but that's just fine with me.

Top 2 paid out. Second got $120. First got an entry to the $100,000 weekly tournament worth $216.

I did poorly early on, and fell from the opening of 1500 down to about 600. I spiked a King to double up. Close call #1.

I moved up to 3000, and put someone all-in. I flipped up my A-A, against 8-8. I got hit with an 8 and went down to 480 as my chips went to the table jerk. I started building back up again, and moved back to 1500 with about half the field gone.

I kept building my stack to 5000, thanks to getting A-A and K-K on consecutive hands.

With 5 players left, I take a hit that knocks me all the way down to 1800 chips, second-lowest. I turned into an even MORE aggressive player, and got up to about 3000 before hitting a double up with a set of Jacks. Close call #3.

Finally, I amassed enough to be almost even with all the other players at the table, except the table jerk who had about half the chips in play. I knocked out the other 3 players, and took on the jerk heads-up. I was still down 60-40.

After about an hour of online play and trash-talking, I finally busted the other guy with Kings full, for a first-place finish and an entry into the $100,000 Guarantee/Bounty tournament. At least the top 54 will pay out. First prize is a minimum of $25,000.

It was a thoroughly satisfying beatdown.

So, if it's Saturday after 4:30 PM, I'll be slightly busy. I'll spend the first half of the day moving the office downstairs, cleaning, doing laundry, and fertilizing the yard for the winter (along with any other chores we think of by then) and the second half trying to firmly establish a second profession.

Of course, if I've finished moving everything (including the computer) then I'll be playing with either Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or Dumbo on the set in the background. Not many people push all-in to Disney tunes.

Given my recent run of good luck online and in live games, I'll take my chances and hope for the best.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A loose excuse

From Card Player:

Margolis signs with Tropical Poker

The most “downloaded” person on the Internet is once again making some noise. The ultra-beautiful Cindy Margolis and her agents at Poker Royalty announced today that she has signed a major player-representation deal with Tropical Poker. Margolis will represent the Tropical Poker brand in all of her press, interviews, poker events and appearances, including the 2007 World Series of Poker.

I've never heard of Tropical Poker. I'm not sure how good of a site it is. THough I would imagine anyone sitting at a table with her might be a bit, um, distracted.

All I know is that this allows me to link to pics for her appearance in Playboy next month, and that you SHOULD NOT CLICK on it if you are at work. Definitely not safe for work.

Have a Happy Monday.

UPDATE: OK, fine, I can post the cover. That seems safe. Nothing else, though. I don't want that kind of traffic.

Too Damn Early

I took Alex to the mall nearby yesterday, as we had to get a couple of items and I figured it would just be easier to go to the mall, let him run a little in the wide open spaces, so that he could come home and fall asleep.

Well, we're walking through the mall, and he sees something and tried to just TAKE OFF running towards it. I stop him in time and pull him back from the rope he has already crossed, telling him he could look down from upstairs.

What was he so excited about?

He saw Santa Claus, set up and sitting in the middle of the mall, in front of Macy's, with kids coming up to see him.

I think it's getting JUST a little crazy when we are in full-force Christmas season when we've just had Halloween and haven't even reached Election Day or Veterans' Day, let alone Thanksgiving.

I think soon we'll start seeing Christmas advertising right after Labor Day. It's getting that obscene.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nice gig!

Here's one story that sticks out today:

Chelsea Clinton is moving to work at a hedge fund.

Nice work, if you can get it. It's just hard to believe that the daughter of a former Democratic President will have more in common with these two guys.....

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind."

Enjoy running with the bulls, I guess.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I found this site a while back, called Poker Source Online.

It is a site that contains a lot of information about various poker sites, as well as bonuses from PSO for trying out initial sites on top of any site bonuses given out.

I've now set myself up as a referrer on PSO, because it's a prett good site and the promotions are fairly easy to clear of you have a modicum of skill.

The three main promotions are for free poker gifts, free poker money (which is great if you're trying to build a bankroll from $0.00 or close to it), and free rakeback. Rakeback entitles the player to a partial refund of rake fees paid to the site - essentially, cash back for your play even if you utterly, totally suck.

Poker Source Online
Free Poker Gifts
Free Money
Rakeback Program

Poker Source Online recently passed the 100,000 member mark.

They also have monthly freerolls for PSO members. The most recent was on Ultimate Bet, with a prize pool of $5,000 and almost everyone who attended getting a piece of the prize pool.

It's a good deal, no matter your level of skill or experience.

UPDATE: I also added the little click-through advertisement on the sidebar by the blogroll.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Time to make a call

I cannot WAIT for Nov. 9, when this election will be pretty much over save any runoffs in weird states like Louisiana. I'm assuming it'll go into the wee hours of the 8th so the 9th would be the first full day of rest from a barrage of ads.

In the meantime, this may be the October Surprise folks have been looking for. It's not even from one party trying to get one over. It's just foot-in-mouth disease at its finest, courtesy of the 2004 standard-bearer.

He tried to deflate it today, but this is gathering too much steam.

Somewhere, Rahm Emanuel is hanging John Kerry in effigy, for going against the playbook of shut-the-hell-up-and-don't-say-anything.

Great idea, trashing the troops one week before the election. That'll REALLY sit well in the Rust Belt, South, Southwest, Midwest, and everywhere else except NY and MA. Heck, you might encourage GOP wins in Connecticut if you keep up the good work.

Smart, nuanced, tough.

Time to make the final prediction. I'd said the Senate would be 52-46-2 for the GOP. I'm adding Allen into the total now to make it 53-45-2 for a total net loss of 2 seats for the GOP. I know the numbers aren't there for Santorum in a lot of polls, but I think they have had too much of a margin of error lately to be reliable.

As for the House, I think this is going to shift a LOT of races once local candidates get ads together to throw the Kerry albatross around Democratic candidates' necks. I'd said it would flip but be no more than 5 seats.

GOP 221, DEM 214. GOP loses 9 seats but keeps control. Some races are going to be lost, mostly in Ohio and New York, but I think a lot of other races will start trending GOP and flip over when it's time to cast votes. Even Connecticut.

As I won't be in class, I'll be able to liveblog and update when results come in. I'm not starting at 7:01, though, unlike MSNBC and CBS will probably do ("With 0% reporting, we report the Democrats have won every race.") I'll have a lot of links up to SOS websites instead, because I would rather max out my bandwidth and drive everyone in the house crazy myself with 50 updates an hour rather than have the TV drive us crazy and not know for sure.

That's just how I roll.


NBA Season starts tonight with Suns-Lakers and Bulls-Heat. Not a bad way to start the season.

While listen to awful morning radio this morning, I heard that the Hawks will be using a new slogan this year. Because that's been their problem for the last ten years.

The slogan?

"Welcome to the Highlight Factory."

Look, they've got some good young players. Joe Johnson and J-Smooth and Salim Stoudamire are a good core. But this is still the youngest team in the NBA, so while they may improve on last year's 26-56 mark, I don't think they'll be cracking 40 wins this year. 30-35 wins, maybe. But not much more. Will they compete for a spot in the playoffs? IN the East, a sub-500 record might still get a team in, but again, this team is too damn young.

Oh, and Marvin Williams is out for 8 weeks. That doesn't help too much, since the could have had Chris Paul in that draft. Can't afford both inexperience and injuries.

Click here for Hotlanta Hawks blog.

Waking the neighbors?

Attack of the Russian hands and Roman fingers.....

"Sexsomniacs" puzzle medical researchers

While sleepwalking affects two to four percent of adults, sexsomnia is not thought to be as common a problem, according to Nik Trajanovic, a researcher at the sleep and alertness clinic at Canada's Toronto Western Hospital.'s a problem?

"On rare occasions you have stories of people liking it better than waking sex."

Guess it's not a big problem. Unless, you know, you don't get that big problem somewhere when you are waking up.

H/t Ace.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween Top 10

I was catching up on podcasts from Bluff Radio, and they had a guest host named Joanna Krupa on Sept. 27 (I know, I'm way behind). As a sign of how old and out of it I'm getting, I'd never heard of her before aside from being affiliated with Titan Poker (which has since left the U.S. - bastards)

I went to check out her MySpace page given out during the broadcast about 83 different times. Well, now I know why she's bing used for publicity! How saw is it that I don't know who this is?

I did find this top 10 list on the page. Besides, a cheesecake link and pic never hurt anyone. It's funny, so I'm re-posting it. I guess it means I'm more interested in recycled humor at this point in life than the alternative, or that I don't pay attention to anything whatsoever that doesn't happen outside my house.


10. You are guaranteed to get at least a little something in the sack.

9. If you get tired, you can wait 10 minutes and go at it again.

8. The uglier you look, the easier it is to get some.

7. You don't have to compliment the person who gives you some.

6. It's OK when the person you're with fantasizes you're someone else, because you are.

5. Twenty years from now, you'll still enjoy candy.

4. If you don't like what you get, you can always go next door.

3. It doesn't matter if the kids hear you moaning and groaning.

2. Less guilt the morning after.


1. You can do the whole neighborhood.

Now that the funny is done, here's the pics to brighten your day more, and another link. You want anything heavier, find it yourself. Gotta keep it a little tame.
Happy Halloween.


I just saw a promo for a new movie.

The movie is called "Deck the Halls."





Thanks. I feel better.

Time to schedule my vacation

2007 WSOP to start June 1, Main Event to start July 17.

With New Orleans' circuit event finishing on May 24, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time in between the two. Then again, if you've got enough to blow on every buyin for the event, you're probably not too concerned with cost and time. It's still two months from circuit event to main event, so if you're just doing that event it's a pretty good amount of time in between.

I wonder how reduced the field will be next year with PartyPoker's pullout.

Dark foreboding

I was watching football this weekend. Big surprise.

Alex was watching with me. Again, big surprise. He loves it. Whenever he sees it, he gets very excited, though he's still calling it "Bevo" so we all know which college team he loves to see.

Well, we were watching Baltimore and New Orleans on Sunday. Early in the first quarter, Jamal Lewis fumbles, and the Saints recover.

Alex gets very excited, stands up, and says to me, in a nice loud voice, "WHO DAT, Daddy, WHO DAT?"

Our jaws DROPPED to the floor. We've had on a few Saints games this year, but I would have thought it very difficult to pick up on Who Dat during the games. And I have not been trying to raise a Saints fan. Life's hard enough as is without adding the traditional Aints.

Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat Say Gonna Beat Dem Saints?

Baltimore, dat who. 35-22.

The Saints are still 5-2, though, and tied with the Falcons for the NFC South lead. They play each other Nov. 26, 4 weeks from now. They could be playing not just for the dividion, but for a bye if they both go in at 8-3 or better. It could happen.


I thought New York was supposed to be progressive and hip. Banning trans-fats? What a lovely town.

I'll have to think about this on my way for some potato chips and fried chicken. Or maybe barbecue.


If this were tried anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, there would be rioting in the streets.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Looks like St. Louis won the World Series Friday night.


The St. Louis Cardinals, with all of 84 wins during the regular season.

Honestly, Game 5 was the only game I watched. The only reason I watched it is because it happened to be on during a game, and I was more concerned with my chip stack and slow-playing A-A to take a bunch of chips than how many errors the Tigers racked up in Game 5 (I think they had three errors?) When the most interesting personality is Kenny Rogers, it can't be a good series.

Given all of the other storylines of the season, the Cardinals were the absolute worst team to have in the Series. I haven't seen the ratings numbers yet but I'd imagine they would be the lowest in quite a long time, if not the lowest ever.

At least it's over with, just in time for the NFL and CFB seasons to really get going. I was a LOT more psyched seeing Oregon State pull off the upset over USC, and watching the Colts-Broncos game today, than I was for the World Series. Heck, the Panthers and Cowboys holds more interest for me, and I don't even care after dispatching my opponent by 36 points in FFL!

It's going to be very dull when February rolls around and there's no more football. In the meantime, I'm eating it up.

UPDATE: I was right on those ratings. 10.1 for the Series, down 9% from last year's abysmal ratings. Apparently I wasn't the only one with attention diverted elsewhere. Game 1 received an 8.0 rating.

I did not know the World Series would start on a Tuesday next year. they can play to November every year! Whoopee.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Better buy those natural gas stocks

I just looked out my window on the 10th Floor to see if it was raining.

I did see rain.

I also saw little white flakes coming down from the sky intermingled with the rain.

That's not supposed to happen here, at this time. granted, it might be due to altitude, but still.....


Somehow, I think this might be a very cold winter. Can't imagine why. Which means a lot of high gas bills and your investment opportunity of the day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lucking out

I was worried that my current class would be a bit too difficult to handle at this time, with a new baby arriving the same time as a final presentation and a final exam.

The final presentation is to be a firm analysis, done as a group presentation to the firm's board.

We were divided up into industries, from which we would then pick a firm to model, analyze, and present.

If I had been picked for any other sector, I would have probably had to drop the class because I would need to do a lot more work. As it is, I lucked out.


Because I have never written about it before.

Sometimes, things just work out better than you hope.

The firm we have chosen, for whom we are preparing an analysis?

Chevron. ExxonMobil and BP have been done so much that we went with the last major American component of Big Oil.

Hopefully, the vast majority of the writing will be done well before it's time to go on leave - since I am not sure if I will be around for presenting, I'm willing to do a lot of the writing and research. Either way, we'll see how it goes. I'm just glad it's something with which I'm already pretty familiar given previous writings and research for work and for personal reasons.

As interesting as Beer would have been, I'm quite glad to be in oil. Then again, given the surge in stock prices, I'd imagine a lot of people are happy to be in Big Oil. Heck, CVX hit a 52-week high today. Nice timing.

Balancing everything in life

Read this article, figured I'd link to it on Conservative Match. It's about balancing everything in life - work, home, travel, more work.

I also realized that, one month from yesterday, my leave will begin from work. It will be an interesting but good time. No, I won't be getting any sleep. Yes, I'll probably be worrying about anything that isn't absolutely perfect. But most importantly, it will be good to spend more than a couple hours each evening at home. On class nights, I'm not getting home until 10:30 when it is past a little one's bedtime.

For the most part I enjoyed being on leave a couple years ago with Alex, so hopefully this will bring about the same enjoyment and happiness.

It'll be good R & R. I know changing ten diapers a day and not sleeping more than a couple hours at a time isn't the traditional vacation, but it'll still be a good time to be, for lack of a better word, happy.

That way after eight weeks, when I do return to work, it'll take me a while to get stressed out again.

In other good news, I got my first grades. Two B's, though one may become an A once I finish a work project - hopefully it will be two good results from one project!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lasting Peace

Remember the strike of 1994?

Remember the almost-strike in 1999?

Remember the agreement reached hours before a deadline in 2002?

Well, there's no close call this time around. The MLB Players Union and league owners reached a five-year extension of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Even more amazing, the extension was reached well in advance of the Dec. 19 deadline, and without any noticeable acrimony on either side.

In other news, subterranean dominions held under satanic might saw temperatures in the mid-30's as frost warnings went into effect for the entire netherworld region.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Merger Mania

In the continued waking of the online gaming bill, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet have announced plans to merge.

These are two of the better sites on the web, and also are two of the sites that have pledged their doors to remain open to American customers.

This merger will create the second or third largest poker site on the web, behind PokerStars and very close to Full Tilt Poker. I'm not quite sure how account consolidation would be handled as I would imagine many people would have accounts on both sites.

For more details, click here for the article from Cardplayer.

The consolidation is under way.

And if you happen to live in Arizona, click here to redirect to Jim Pederson's website. He is running against Jon Kyl who was one of the chief sponsors of the ban. Make a statement, and contribute or volunteer.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Joke of the day

Q: What is differenat about the Braves', Yankees', and Mets' seasons?

A: Tee times.

OK, joke's over - in all seriousness, that's a crappy way to lose a game and a series. But two things are sticking out in my mind:

1) I can somewhat understand why Heilman came out for the 9th, but I'm wondering why Wagner wasn't brought in for the 9th. Given Willie's tenure under Torre, and Torre's frequent usage of Rivera in the 9th of tie games, I was surprised that did not happen.

2) I really thought the Mets were going to pull off the rally in the bottom of the ninth. That being said, how does Carlos Beltran not take the bat off his shoulder for strike three? How could he not have expected the curveball, when Floyd just struck out on it a couple batters before? How could he not be protecting the plate with a two-strike count, especially in that situation? Bewildering.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The other shoe has dropped

Neteller to cease transactions in the U.S. in July 2007.

Given that this is the foremost method of payment for poker players, this is huge. Neteller had announced last week that it was not planning on ceasing business, so this statement is a big turnaround.

Several poker rooms, such as Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet, Poker Stars, Doyle's Room, and Absolute Poker have announced their intention to continue servicing American customers, while others, such as Pokerroom, Party Poker, and Sun Poker have decided to flee with their tails between their legs, like cowards, thanks the thought police represented by Jon Kyl and Bill Frist who have decided to strip away personal freedoms at home while our soldiers defend them abroad.

At least Neteller has done one better than Firepay, which announced an immediate pullout. Neteller is probably thinking that it is possible for changes to be made before the full 270-day period expires, which is why they aren't planning on any changes until then.

So get it in while you can...and if you've got $20 in the till, use it to join the Poker Players' Alliance. Yes, you can deduct it right from your Neteller account, or even PayPal.