Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!!

...and to all a good night. Pictures from my All Hallow's Eve:



Tough to see my costume in pictures, but it was the Cubs choking (especially in the playoffs this year).










The monkey (actually an ape) is pinned to my back. The "monkey" of the World Series remains on the back of Cubs fans.











On one side I wrote 1908-2008 on my face.













The other side simply had the Cubs logo. You know how hard that is to do in a mirror?? It's easy to just do colors, but if you have spell things, it's not easy!!











Joe in costume dancing with a crocodile, stolen from the crocodile hunter.











Some of the chicks at the party.
















The hostess as the flying nun....she was the spitting image. Seriously.










Ricardo and wife. Wife was a web and Ricardo was a bee caught in the web. Very cute.














More guests, including the Australian host as the Crocodile Hunter...post death...complete with sting ray.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time monopolized

My evening was monopolized by a church finance council meeting (at least they provided pizza and drinks). Normally we meet at 7 a.m., which I'm NOT happy about but at least I can usually go home and go back to bed, but this time we met at 7 p.m. which was much more appealing.

However, the last three innings of the World Series was on, so I was deeply conflicted as to whether I should blow off the meeting or watch the game. So I went to the meeting and Tivoed the game and didn't listen to the radio on the way home. It worked out....except the Rays lost. Boo.

Halloween costume has been selected!! I'll make sure to take a picture to post. Happy Halloween to those celebrating!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Continuing Repairs

In a follow up to the Redbox entry from yesterday, if you are a first time user and want to check out the service, you can use the promo code DVDONME and your first movie is free!!

Today I ordered up a security/storm door which will go downstairs and will be the second or third step in solving my flooding problem plus opening up area to more sunlight. The door will allow sunlight as well as air flow if the interior door is open. If the interior door is closes, the second door will protect the interior door from the weather.....which means I can next upgrade the interior door to one that's more appealing. Yay!!

After fixing myself a nice trout dinner, I fixed a jalousie window in my bedroom that's had a broken crank for years....literally....years. Sad, I know. I thought it was broken beyond my ability to fix it, but after taking it apart as needed, it was actually easy. Yay for me again!!

Now I need a costume idea. Current leaders: a pink slip, a home renovation (not sure how to pull this off but I'm sure have the materials here somewhere), the Cubs choking (would need a bear mask or furry ears and fake hands to attach to my neck), an E-Male ( a big E on my chest) and movie theater floor....though that might not be appealing to the ladies.

Let me know your thoughts!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Waste of a dollar?

It was a pretty decent sports night tonight. Game 5 of the World Series with the possibility of Philadelphia wrapping it up....or will Tampa force the Series back to Florida?? Monday Night Football presented the resurgent Indianapolis Colts fresh off of releasing information that Peyton Manning had a second knee operation and a staph infection in that knee and that it was truly a miracle that he even started the season (against the Bears) versus the unbeaten, ex-Bear (Jeff Fisher) led Tennessee Titans.

So what did I do when faced with this cornucopia of sports? Rented Iron Man from one of those Red Box vending machines. It's only $1.08 (including tax), so if I don't watch it, no biggee. Fortunately I had the baseball game on when Philly scored their two runs, and Tampa scored both of their runs, including one in the top of the sixth with rain coming down in sheets. They suspended the game before the bottom of the sixth started, so the rest of the game will be played tomorrow....when it will colder, wetter and windier. Nice. Tough break for Philly who lose Cole Hamels after only 5 innings pitched. That dude has been unhittable in the playoffs.

But I digress. Do you have one of these Red Box kiosks near you? Check their website (link above) to find one. They hold 500 DVD's which are refilled and changed every Tuesday. The company is actually a majority owned subsidiary of McDonalds Investments. Currently you need to have 15,000+ people coming by your store a week to be able to purchase/lease one, at least that's what the company says. They average about 50 rentals a day and $38k in revenue a year (additional days are $1 as well). My local Jewel has two of them. Not a bad little revenue kicker for the store. A third party loads them weekly and they don't need any other servicing.

I'm still not sure how much money is actually profit out of the $38k, but I'd be intrigued to find out more. They were going to go public earlier this year, but pulled the filing or at least delayed it indefinitely. Coinstar bought 47% of them for $20 million in 2005. An interesting company.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's old is new again

No Bears game today. No softball tournament. No trips out of town. No golf. What does Joe do with a weekend that holds none of the usual events? Well let me tell you.....quite a bit!!

Today alone I: washed the windows in the front of the condo, patched a hole in the floor where the cement was pushed up a bit and caused a hole, took out a wasp nest that was hiding in the front of my building, figured out how to fix my jalousie window and started the repair (but didn't go to the store to get the piece I need), took out the garbage (three bags....where does it all come from??), did a load of laundry and a load of dishes! A good day to compliment some good progress on projects on Saturday.

Saturday I scheduled a guy to come out and check out the water pressure as well as hot water availability. I also started on refurbishing the sofa cushions as indicated in my post yesterday. What I didn't mention was that I took the throw pillows (four of them) and re-filled them with shredded filler from the sofa pillows. The boiler some how became my responsibility as well, so I took care of starting that bad boy up on Saturday as well. It took far too much time out of my day as I had to drain a lot of water. She's working great now though!

I'm not sure if I posted this picture already or not. I found the building intriguing. Look how much of a difference new windows make!!















My mother bought some old baseball cards at a garage sale the other week and I went through them to see if there was anything of extreme value. As it turns out, there wasn't, but that's ok because she didn't pay much for them and it's the thought anyway. However, while putting away the old cards, I had to open a whole bunch of the boxes which hold my current collection. Upon filing away some football cards, I came across these gems.




Joe Willie Namath, Gale Sayers, Alex Karras, Mike Ditka and Archie Manning (Peyton and Eli's dad). Good stuff!!

The problem with having a large collection AND a bad memory is that you sometimes forget what you have. However, it can be a good thing too!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A little Beatles is good for everyone

An interesting weekend on the horizon for me. No softball. No travel. No dates (to my knowledge). Whatever will I do? I'm telling ya, I've been doing all sorts of shit around my condo this week....I think, at least in part, because of the imminent onset of winter. If I'm going to be inside all winter, it better be to my liking!! Here's my list of projects:

Condo Projects

Patch cement floor hole
Re-Carpet basement
Storm door for downstairs
Build-up water stop
Get new door for downstairs
New sofa cushions
Investigate water pressure and hot water enhancer
Bathroom ceiling fan (master bath)
Repair water damaged ceiling
New door for storage area

I've already started on the sofa cushions and they should be done by Wednesday. My sofa is 5 1/2 years old and the foam padding is not what it once was. This guy around the corner has had his furniture refurbishing store for 20 years and I've never even set foot in the place. He's Chinese and seems really nice.

A good chunk of the other work is going to be done by Manual Labor Mike once he finishes the bathroom....if he finishes the bathroom.

Went to see dejesus freak play with his Beatles ensemble at The Hidden Cove, 5500 north Lincoln. Holy crap is that a ways away. As I past Peterson, I wondered if I had missed it. But no, I was on track. DJF looked to be having fun, but it was hard to determine on most of the songs, which of the sounds he was producing as there are about 17 people in the band and at least 10 of them are guitars (djf plays bass). But they sounded pretty good and the evening was fun! We had a few beers afterwards and checked out the skirts in the crowd. It's the same old axiom: if you want to get hot chicks, join a band. Some things never change.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Collapsing Arch

Though I keep a blog and talk to a bunch of folks on a daily basis, I try not to complain too much about health issues for fear of being the "boy who cried wolf". Earlier this year I had near spells of vertigo and I wrote about it because that's pretty serious stuff. If you're at home in front of the tv, no biggee, but if you're driving and you get a spell of vertigo....game over.

I guess I also wrote about my jaw being sore and in need of being "stretched out". I still have that problem by the way and this morning it was the first thing I was aware of when I woke up. In response to that ailment and a stiff neck, I decided to head back to my chiropractor whom I last had seen almost two years ago exactly. If something in my neck was pinching a nerve or something and it was impacting my jaw, I wanted the problem solved.

Well, it has helped, but my three sessions so far haven't solved the neck or jaw issue. Today however, I discussed a new ailment with my chiropractor which is really an old issue: severe pain on the TOP of my left foot. It's odd, it's not in the toes or ankle or heel or anywhere normal. It's on the top of my foot, only my left, in just one spot.

So anyway, the doc scans my feet by having me stand on this machine that looks like a photocopy machine but is only about four inches thick. Then he shows me the pressure points of where the weight is coming down through my feet. Normally it should be the balls and heels of your feet. For my left foot, it was basically the entire surface of the foot. Ugh. My arch has collapsed basically and I need an arch support. He's pretty sure that will solve my problem, which as of late, has caused me to not even be able to support my weight upon standing up. Instead of a $100 support, I'm getting a pair of Brooks tennis shoes with the support in them already. We'll see how they work when I get them next week sometime.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Capitulation

Market bottoms are often confirmed by capitulation in the marketplace. People say, "That's it. I can't take it any more and I'm selling." They sell everything and go to cash at exactly the wrong time: the market bottom. I read an article today stating there has been capitulation in the stock market today. Interesting. Whether we're there or not (because how can you really tell??), the damage has been done and if you sell now, you'll just lock in your losses and miss the inevitable rebound....whenever it occurs. Granted, it might not occur for six months, but it might occur tomorrow. You just don't know. We're in uncharted waters financially. During previous economic crisis, we didn't have the robust banking and integrated financial system which we have today (say pre-1980). We certainly didn't have the cohesive international markets which we have today (say pre-1990). It'll be interesting to see if pumping all this money into the system is the right answer, too much or too little.

Also read today that 50% of the homeowners who bought in 2006 have negative equity. Wow. That's a huge, huge number. A full 30% of those who bought in 2005 have negative equity. Negative equity by the way means you owe more on your house than it is worth. That same article said that there are 12 million homeowners who owe more than their home is worth. If they are under water by let's say....$58,000 each on average (some a LOT more and some less), guess what figure you come up with? $700 Billion. The amount of the bailout. Interesting shit huh?

The team that won game one of the World Series has won 10 of the last 11 titles. Something to think about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

American Girl Place

An exhausting day, as most days with a 9 year old girl would probably be. Let's get right to the pictures!!



Here she is, arriving at my door at 9:30 or so.













Look at that cute outfit! First stop: Starbucks. Coffee for me and a kids hot chocolate for her. The best hot chocolate "ever" I'm told. Apparently it tasted just like a brownie she had the other day.









No driving for us. No cabs either. We're busing it down to Water Tower Place.













From inside the store. This is the historical doll section.









Just a few of the clothes you can buy for about $30 a pop.













The Irish side of the store apparently. Crikey, where be me pot o'gold??












You can get more elaborate though. Clothes: $30. Horse: $75. Sleigh: $150. Yowza.











The flower girl dress and such. My niece really liked this to start, but opted for a much more practical outfit for her doll.











Here's how you pick your doll. They're all numbered and you can find the one you want by finding the section with your doll's number. There's two or three of these doll viewing stations.










Sommer has picked her doll!! We went to the "looks like me" section and she went with the blond hair, blue eyes doll.....I'd bet one of the most popular. Still, they had three varieties to choose from. Mostly just the hair style.









Here's the hair salon. For $25 you can bring your doll here and have her hair washed, dried and styled to your liking. Since Sommer's doll was new, we didn't do this.










You can get a crafts package for you and your doll too. Can't remember how much, but not cheap.











Did your doll lose an arm? Don't go to the ER, take her to the doll hospital. Didn't see anyone using the hospital while I was there, but I can imagine some interesting stories.











Here's the restaurant in the store. They have two seatings for lunch and then afternoon tea and dinner. Nice job by AGP. Good business sense. All meals are fixed price, but you get to choose what you want to have.








You can't eat at the restaurant if you don't have a doll with you at the table. Fortunately Sommer had one!!












She even gets her own cup! Can't take it with us though....cheap bastards.













Hey! Joe got in a picture!!












Here's the kiosk downstairs near the photography section. If you get your picture taken, for only $5 more they will display your picture on this huge screen and give you a card. Anytime for one year you can scan your card and have your picture displayed again!!! The kiosk tells you how long it will be until your picture is displayed (usually 3-5 minutes).















Close up of the kiosk screen.











And Sommer's picture on the big screen! This screen is something like 20x20. It's huge.











After we left the store, we walked down Michigan Ave where we ran across this moose. Unlike Sarah Palin, we don't know how to field dress him.










We also visited my buddy (and client) who is up on the 31st floor of the Tribune Towers. Sommer enjoyed the viewed from up there, but was a little frightened at first. Then we stopped on 22 and went out on the terrace.










After the bus ride home, she finally wore out at the playground. "The most comfortable swing ever!" It was a good day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big day on Tuesday

On Tuesday I'm going to American Girl Place with my 9 year old niece Sommer. Should be fun. We'll see how it goes.

On a completely different topic, I was thinking the other day about smoke color. Why? I have no idea. I think I was driving somewhere and saw some smoke and wondered: is that an accidental fire or a controlled, intentional fire? This particular fire turned out to be a car on the side of the road, so I'm guessing it was accidental. However, it did lead me to notice the color of the smoke.

Have you seen anyone putting out a big fire (like a downtown building)? The smoke goes from black to white as the firefighters coat the fire with water. Is it black to white or white to black?? That was my question. Well, I was correct initially: white smoke is burning less efficiently than black smoke which means a fire that is being put out will throw off white smoke.

Here's some support from Slate.com:
What makes some smoke white and other smoke black?The type of fuel and how hot it's burning. In general, a hotter fire will convert more fuel into elemental carbon, which forms into tiny particles that absorb light and appear in the sky as black smoke. A cooler combustion—or one that doesn't work as efficiently—yields less-pure forms of carbon. These tend to reflect light, making the smoke look white.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bears and my shower

It was a big Bears victory today against a divisional opponent, the Minnesota Vikings 48-41. Wow, what a game to be at. Kyle Orton should have been credited with five touchdown passes, but Marty Booker dropped one ball right in his hands in the endzone and another one that an NFL WR should catch just about every time and then Desmond Clark dropped one after getting hit just before the goal line, but fortunately the Bears fell on the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown anyway. It was that kind of game. The Vikings didn't have an official punt all game!! They tried once but the punter fumbled the ball and then had the kick blocked. All the way until the end, it seemed like the Vikings could win or tie, even though we had a 17 point lead in the fourth quarter. With 66 seconds left the Vikings had the ball on their 25, but didn't have any time outs left. After a sack, the Bears picked the ball off to effectively end the game. And the celebration began!!

BTW, I tried to go see Amy Freeze, the Fox News weather babe, but security was checking tickets so I couldn't get anywhere near her. Crap! Hi Amy!!


Here's the tailgating crew: The Sausage King in the chair, Benny Baseball (in orange) and OSU Fedor (an ex-Morningstar person). We took Fedor's car which is an SUV so we got a larger parking spot than I'm allowed with my Camry.









So the Bears are 4-3 and tied for first going into a bye week next week. While they could easily be 7-0 or 2-5, they are what they are. When the schedule came out back in April, I thought they would be, or could be, 5-2 at this point. Here's what I predicted:

At Indy Loss
At Carolina Win?? Make an argument either way
Tampa Win?? Make an argument either way
Philly Win
At Detroit Win
At Atlanta Win
Minnesota Loss
Bye (eke out a victory)

Somehow I accurately guessed the Philly win and the Detroit win, but that was it! Not very good! Here's what I had predicted for the rest of the year:


Detroit Win
Tennessee Win
At GB Win Though I wish this game was earlier in the season with Rodgers at QB.
At St. Louis Win
At Minn Loss yeah, they'll sweep us.
Jags Loss
Saints Loss
Packers Win otherwise the season would be lost!
At Texans Win for a playoff spot


I fear many of these will turn out differently as well.


This picture was drawn by some guy at The Full Shilling, where we went to watch the Atlanta game last week. I bought it from him for $10. The guy in the 54 jersey is "me". Eric and Erica are on the right. Benny Baseball is the other guy in orange. George is diving for the ball and JC is the ref. That is NOT an accurate representation of Erica's chest by the way. Ha!!





Now pictures from my bathroom! Here's the window and tile on the wall. The blue tape obviously comes off.

















Here's the shower stall. The tile and grout are done! Here you can see the terracotta floor tile combined with the off-white wall tiles.















Here's the shower stall with the built in ledge for shampoo bottles. It's getting closer to being completed. I looked it up and Manual Labor Mike started the "3 week" job July 15th. He was off by a bit.......like Gilligan's Island off.

Softball Saturday??

Had a busy today.....with my softball mates. Our coach, Blind Mender (he really is partially blind) is leaving town for Tempe AZ. So this morning, his mother (and landlord) made a fantastic brunch for the team. Mender provided the vodka and fruit juice. Here are some pictures from the event:



A very festive dining table. We had biscuits and gravy, egg caserole, scrambled eggs, various pasteries....and I'm forgetting some stuff I'm sure. Good eats though!!










Two Dimes and half-Dime (a nickel??) , guess that makes them a quarter.














The drinking was out in the garage. I think Blind Mender lives out there.










Benny Baseball....24 hours before our tailgate for the Bears!!!










This evening we had a party for him at Mad River bar. It was anything you wanted to drink for $30 from 9-12. It reminded me of why I still play softball at 42. While I enjoy the many competitive aspects of softball, it's really the camaraderie that keeps me coming back. Today, most of the team was at one of the two events and many were at both. It was great fun from talking sports, be it the MLB playoffs or the Bears, to dancing (ok, I didn't, but I could have) to being berated by one younger teammate for wearing an outdated shirt (in my defense, I was not on the prowl tonight so my "date shirts" were left at home).

Plus several of us made shirts with sayings from Blind Mender and wore them to the bar this evening. They included: "Time ump!", "Hey, what does this say?" (that's usually accompanied by his cell phone with a text message on it.), "Don't shoot." (several of us have little guns that shoot plastic bb's), "Have you met my friend......." (which he says to women he's trying to pawn off on someone), "I love (a heart) single moms." (self explanatory). We wore the shirts and then gave them to Blind Mender to remember us. Good fun.

It was a good time. I had to leave a little early to get home so I can get up in the morning for leaving for tailgating at 8:30!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Maybe not so exciting

It was definitely a Fall day today in Chicago. Even though I was tired and a bit hungover, I hit the golf course with my good buddies: Johnny "Four Bagger", Joey D and S-Lo. We golfed a month or two ago at a charity outing put on by Joey D's uncle and decided we should do it more regularly. This round has been pushed off due to: weather, Four Bagger having hernia surgery and S-Lo had "something suddenly come up". We got it in today though and did have fun, despite the chilly temps. We played some complicated betting game which I'm not really sure anyone understood. All I know is my teammate, Johnny FB, and I were getting our ass kicked, mostly because I was playing like shit (surprise!). At the end though I was only down like $10, but it should have been more like $30. When you start off with $.25 per point (6 points per hole), you have to lose a LOT to get to those kind of numbers. By the end I think each point was worth $2 so it was like $12 a hole possible. Crazy. I just tried to hit shots and putts, but didn't do well.

Speaking of "something suddenly came up", where the hell was I when Maureen McCormick was swapping sex for drugs?? Geesh, I would have taken up doing drugs for a chance to bang Marcia Brady!!! Crap. Totally not worth it now though.

Finally, this weekend, starting yesterday morning actually, is when Joisey Ken was supposed to come to Chicago. We were going to golf Thursday, Friday and Saturday and then hit the Bears/Vikings game on Sunday. Plus we were going to go to Gibson's, there's a softball team party on Saturday...damnit!!! Next year, he swears. But as a newly wed who is trying to get his wife pregnant, me thinks next year is in danger too. I'll keep the ticket for you just in case Ken!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Late night drinking with the client

...so my post is lacking today. Tomorrow I'm sure it will be excellent!! Pictures of the bathroom may be forthcoming as well!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Randomness

Sorry about missing my post yesterday. I decided to rent and watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall and then was too tired to post by the time I got done going through the extras with the video. Pretty funny movie!!!

The market seems to be in the crapper yet again. It was wishful thinking that we would start a solid rebound, but it appears that it will take a bit longer for confidence to be restored to the markets. Great companies are still out there at firesale prices, so I'm still suggesting that you send in your IRA contributions sooner rather later.

Been having discussions with my sister about taking my niece to American Girl Place in Water Tower Place as soon as next week. Why would I, Joe Sutton, a sports enthusiast and manly-man, even offer such a thing? Well, for one, there might be single moms there. Ha!! Just kidding. The whole aura seems intriguing to me and as someone not brainwashed by the movement, I feel I can go and honestly assess why these people are as fanatical as they have been reported to be. Mostly though, I don't do a whole lot with my niece except pick on her and practice NOT giving her what she wants all the time because not many people in my family are willing to do that. Plus she might like coming to the big city and spending the night. We'll see.

Monday, October 13, 2008

All better now?

Are you invested in the U.S. stock market? Do you feel better after the market being up 935? The Dow is at 9,387 after hitting 7,905 on Friday morning, a difference of 1,482 points or 18.75%. That's a nice little bounce. Granted, it's not going to make up for the 40% drop in many securities or the drop from 13,058 hit earlier this year, a total of 5,153 points. Still, it's a start and all long journeys begin with but a single step. This was actually more of a long-jump or really big leap. It was reassuring and in particular the market did not sell off in the final hour. That means, to me at least, that all of those investors our the in mutual funds DIDN'T call up their funds this morning to redeem their shares even after all of the bad news being distilled and analyzed over the weekend.

Good for them!!! Kudos to Springfield Sam, my college buddy who didn't call me once in the last three weeks, even though I'm sure his stomach was turning circles. I told him earlier this year that the market is unlikely to break through 10,700 (which I still believe to be a "non-panic" floor) which would have been a twenty percent loss/correction for the year. Obviously we've broken through that figure due to some extreme circumstances, but I don't think we're going to be below it for long. Just my opinion.

So it turns out that the Bears COULDN'T run the nickel defense (5 defensive backs) because they didn't have five healthy dbs!! Unbelievable. I'm feeling a little better today about the Bears game, but only a little.

Congratulations to Pa Sutton who has been dieting and is down 13 pounds!!! He seems to be focused on the weight loss for all the right reasons and is achieving the results almost exclusively through diet change.

Finally, if you Tivo either The Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men (both on CBS btw), you'll notice at the end when they run credits that there is a long written page, black writing on a white background entitled Chuck Lorre Productions (called a Vanity Plate apparently). Use your freeze frame ability to take the time to read these gems of prose. They are really quite funny. Here is the latest. Apparently he's been doing these for years (at least 1999)....just on shows I don't watch or wasn't taping at least (Dharma and Greg initially). The numbers with a "c" next to them were censored. Very funny stuff there too.

Note: I've decided to start randomly bolding paragraph subject matter for you skimmers out there. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You gotta be effing kidding me!!!

How the hell did the Bears lose that game? I was at a bar, The Full Shilling, with Benny Baseball, JC, Jorge, Eric and Erica (all from softball) celebrating the Bears come from behind victory on the back of Kyle Orton. There were only 11 seconds left, what could the Falcons possibly do?

Well, start off with a squib kick from Gould. What?!? Why give them a chance to be closer than they need to be?? Kick it off to the fucking end zone you douchebag!!! ARRRRGGGGHHH!!!!

But no. He didn't. A Falcon picked it up on the 34 and ran it back 10 yards with 6 seconds still left. THAT'S why you kick it to the endzone!!!! Put them at the 20 with 11 seconds or if they run it back, somewhere around the 30 with fewer than 5 seconds left. Unbelievable.

Your 8th string corner in is the game and he gets burned for 26 yards AND....AND...lets the MFer get out of bounds to stop the clock with one second left. Then they kick a 48 yard field goal. Unfuckingbelievable.

We've lost three games by a TOTAL of 7 points. We could easily be 6-0. FUCK!!!

Here's an article describing what happened.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Time for your IRA contribution?

It seems like an odd idea, but with the market down 40% and panic in the streets, isn't NOW a great time to make your IRA contribution for the year? You're going to make the contribution anyway right? When? April 10th? Why wait 6 months? Don't you think the market in general will be higher then? It's six months from now! The panic will be over. Christmas will have come and gone. You will have forgotten about your Valentine's Day dinner. Easter will be around the corner (or just passed--how the hell should I know?). This panic...it too will be a memory.

Over the next week or two, make your IRA contribution for 2008 if it looks like the market has stabilized at all. Here are some funds that I still recommend:

Weitz Hickory WEHIX (-38%)
Dodge and Cox Income DODIX (-6.8%)
Mairs and Power Balanced MAPOX (-23.7%)
Mairs and Power Growth MPGFX (-26.3%)
Stratton Small-Cap Value STSCX (-24%)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Trivia Question

Here's the only reason I ever watch hot air balloons. Hopefully el supremo doesn't know them.

Trivia question:
How long does it take for a can of sliced pineapple to explode while sitting at a relatively constant temperature?

Possible answers:
1) It can sit almost forever. Joe just needed filler for his blog today.
2) According to the production date, just under 10 years.
3) According to the production date, just over 5 years.
4) It depends on if it's a can of South African pineapples or North American pineapples.

Tough game for the Bears this weekend against Atlanta, but I'm hopeful. We're going to have to tackle a good running back in Michael Turner, not our strength. The defensive end, Abraham, for Atlanta is pretty awesome too and he might expose our offensive line. Kyle could conceivably have his skull crushed by this dude.

The correct answer is just under ten years. Why did I have ten year old pineapple slices in my pantry? It was wishful thinking after a trip to Mexico ("Why don't we have daiquiris EVERY night?!"). The explosion was somewhat minor, though confusing. The spray was brownish and very, very sticky....almost like a beer exploded.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The insanity continues

Someone finally took action on this long time problem. My solution was a breathalyzer like they have in some cars where you need to blow before the car will start. Their idea is probably a little more practical.

The stock market is just absolutely insane currently. I probably don't have to tell you that, but I will confirm it. Since Tuesday morning the Dow has gone from 10,000 to 8,000 Friday morning. That's just retarded. There's no economic justification for an additional 20% drop in less than a week!! Good Lord. For the record, I'm looking for some higher dividend paying stocks to move into on the cheap. I think this is one of those rare buying opportunities that comes around once every 20 years or so.

Here's a great video from my old employer, Morningstar, to explain some things going on in the market.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

866-4-Hebrew

Heard a radio commercial asking American Jews to learn Hebrew this year. Call 866-4-Hebrew to get started. Really, learn Hebrew in a year? Maybe you could START learning, but I'm not thinking learning Hebrew in a year is very possible, no matter how many dreidels you've played with as a kid.

As we approach cold and flu season, I want to implore you to remember that that anti-biotics (like penicillin and amoxicillin) fight bacteria. They don't work on viruses, colds, most sore throats, runny noses, or the flu. Don't waste your time or help create drug resistant bacteria by taking these medications unnecessarily.

Do you remember Kristy McNichol? There was a street in Detroit called McNichol which made me think of her. She was in the show Family and in a bunch of movies. It's save to say that I thought she was adorable! Based on her Wiki entry, it looks like she suffered from bipolar disorder in the early to mid 90's and dropped out of making films. She's 46 now....I wonder if she's single......

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Don't open that quarterly statement!!!

That's the best advice I think I can tell you this month. It's only going to cause you heartache and there's really no useful information for you right now. Do you want to move your money into a fund that's held up and performed well? No, you really don't. That would be buying high. Do you want to sell your funds that have lost a ton of money? No, that would be selling low and locking in your losses.

Now, under normal circumstances, I would be the LAST person to tell you to ignore your quarterly investment statements. These are not normal circumstances. So I implore you, just file your statements away while still in the envelope. Save yourself some heartache. If you do open it and your investments are better than a 22% loss, you're solid!!


Here's Amy Freeze's blog. There's an interesting sports theme entry today.

Today I was reminded of a saying at day camp, when I was a counselor believe it or not: Rain by seven done by eleven. It held true almost all the time. If it was raining at seven a.m., it rarely was still raining at 11 a.m. Why? Well, I imagine a four hour period of rain isn't all that common to begin with in any particular area. The front has to be moving relatively slowly. Plus, if it's raining by 7, it might have been raining since 2 a.m. for all we know. A nine hour soak is even more rare!!

Friday morning I had an appointment to see an ear doctor who was recommended by my orthopedic surgeon to discuss my "near" vertigo and my hearing loss from April or May. To refresh your memory, my hearing loss was dramatic this spring compared to the winter or even last year in the summer. Then, also this summer, I had some cases of near vertigo where I started to feel dizzy, but took some medicine and prevented any episodes.

Turns out that I saw this doctor three years ago! Back then, he wanted me to take another hearing test even though I had taken one a year earlier. I told him, "Look, I can't hear out of the ear and it's about the same as it was the year before. I don't need another test." He didn't take to that too well. No wonder it was so hard to get an appointment this time around.

Anyway, after a thorough discussion of my condition and some simple tests, he asked me to get another hearing test, but this time I acquiesced. I told him though that my hearing was MUCH worse than last year certainly and therefore much worse than 2004 as well. The woman who performed my hearing test was in fact hearing impaired herself! How ironic. She spoke with that certain voice that deaf people use. It made it difficult during the word comprehension section of the test! It wasn't that I couldn't hear her, I just couldn't understand her!! Fortunately, the rest of the exam was done by a recording.

Below are the test results.



This is the test from 2004. Hopefully you can zoom in on the grid. The bottom line is my left ear.

















Here are the test results from Friday. Notice a pattern? Yeah, almost exactly the same. My hearing hasn't changed in four years!!! It doesn't tell me what's wrong with the ear, but it rules out some conditions which would get progressively worse.

When he showed me this chart, it was like having someone take a blood sample after running a marathon and then having a doctor tell you that based on the blood sample, you don't need to hydrate. You just ran a marathon!! Of course you need to hydrate. Very, very odd.






So he thought my condition stems from a viral inner ear infection that I had a decade ago and seems unlikely to get better, but also might not get worse. My alternatives are few: hearing aid, bio-feedback contraption which I need to listen to for 2 hours a day for 6 months and costs $6,500, or they put a screw in my head and then hang some "apparatus" off of it which goes into my ear. Yeah, that's viable. Good Lord.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Follow up to the weekend

Here's a nice pictorial of the weekend including a movie of Ford Field in Detroit.




You know you're getting close to Detroit when you see the big Uniroyal Tire by the side of the road on 94.










This is the Renaissance Center in Detroit (the Ren Cen for short). It's tough to think of renaissance and Detroit together.











An abandon house down the street from the Motorcity Casino Hotel. There's a few of them in a row like this. Wow. Move it to another neighborhood and it's worth a million bucks easy.










These homes are about four blocks north of the abandon home above. Nice, mid-level town homes. It's a city of stark contrasts.











At Michigan and Trumbull is the old Tiger Stadium.












You can see that they are in the process of tearing it down. Hopefully something income producing will go in there.











The bed at the Motorcity Casino Hotel.














The standup shower and the large bathtub along with the complimentary bathrobe. Nice!












Look at the size of the bath towels!! They're huge and soft!!











View of the bathroom from the room. The toilet is back in it's own room through that entryway you see in the back.

















The cool sink and vanity in the bathroom. It all was just awesome.












Here's the tv console with glassware on the left and closets on either side of the tv.












Speaking of tv, that's how you viewed the pillow library. You can't actually go to the room. I ordered this pillow, but it never came and then I forgot about it. I guess anyone can SAY they have a pillow library huh?










They have all sorts of pillows....supposedly.












Here's the tailgate before the game on Sunday. Not exactly the bustle of activity that you get around a Bears game.












We were within a few blocks of the stadium. There's Ford Field peaking out from behind that red building.























For those who might not ever get to Ford Field in Detroit. Here's a quick video. Sorry it's a little dark. I thought it was going to be fine. Oh well.
video