Wednesday, December 27, 2006

5 Blogs... No Waiting!

Thinking that I've finally reached Nirvana, I now am the proud owner of five - count 'em - five blogs.

Since I have this chronic need to type and link, five blogs should not be a big problem, though if they become radically popular, I may have to hire a virtual assistant or become one myself.

In the near term, blogging has kept me out of trouble and at my desk for more hours per day. It's also helped keep my interest levels at a fever pitch, since my topics range from the absurd to the sublime and the blogs - other than this one, which is pretty wide open - pertain to college basketball, national politics, finance and investing, and a site devoted to what's going on in my home town of Rochester, NY.

Links to my other blogs are all available on this page. Check them out. I hope you'll find them interesting, stimulating and useful.

College Bowls Update: 7-1 correct picks

Following a brief one day break for Christmas, the annual ritual of college bowl games is back in full swing. After starting off with a 2-0 bang, I was on the money the next three games as Troy pounded Rice, 41-17, South Florida held down East Carolina, 24-7, and San Jose State beat New Mexico, 20-12. On the night of the 23rd, however, I tasted my first defeat as Tulsa lost to Utah, 25-13. My record stood at 5-1 and when Hawaii, as expected, beat Arizona State, 41-24, I was 6-1 heading into the 'tweener week. I should have known about Tulsa, though. They let me down all season, losing every big game, and did so again.

Right after Christmas, the Central Michigan Chippewas delivered a timely gift in the form of a 31-14 win over Middle Tennessee State. This boosted my performance to an unreal 7-1 and started off the week with a bang. Central Michigan had been one of the best performing teams down the stretch in the regular season and they finished with a quality win to put their final record at 10-4.

By the way, favorites are 6-2 so far, and 7 of the 8 games have been UNDER the posted number. The only one that went over was the New Orleans Bowl, Troy over Rice, total 58.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cougars bust Ducks 38-8; Fearless Rick now 2-0

Just to update the college bowl progress, as I so rightly predicted, the BYU Cougars blasted the Oregon Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl (Vegas, Baby!), 38-8, ending any confusion over whether or not the Mountain West (now 2-0, both by blowout scores) was short-changed by the bowl nominating committees and the BCS.

Brigham Young in particular has been under-appreciated by the pollsters and the press. With their resounding victory over the hapless Ducks, the Cougars finish the 2006 campaign on a 10-game win streak - one of the longest in the nation - and should be a Top 15 pick in the 2007 preseason, even though they will lose QB John Beck to graduation.

Beck capped off his senior year with 2 more touchdown passes, giving him 32 for the year, and will probably go in the first round of the NFL draft this spring.

The Cougars will move up in the final rankings. Their two losses, both in September and on the road, were by 3 points to Arizona and by 7 in overtime to Boston College. Their win in the Las Vegas Bowl ups their record to 11-2. The quality of this team only reinforces the argument in favor of a playoff system for NCAA Division 1 football.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

eBay Says No Go in China

Updating our Stock of the Day profile of eBay, in yet another sign that the company is woefully mismanaged, the worldwide auction service firm has announced plans to shut down its Chinese subsifiary, EachNet, and partner instead with China-based TOM Online to keep a presence in the world's most populous nation.

After an original 2003 investment of $30 million, eBay bought EachNet for a purported $120 million in 2004. Management squandered money and resources over the past 2+ years before finally deciding to pull the plug. Whether the unit had or would ever achieve profitability is doubtful.

For more detail on eBay's Chinese experience, see this article on

Credit cards: Handle with Care

My lifetime experience with credit cards has been less than satisfactory. Much of the time I used credit cards for unnecessary purchases and later found myself with unwanted payments. Actually, having and using credit cards has negatively affected my credit rating because of a few missteps on my part and some rather dubious practices by the card-issuing companies which I disputed - to my detriment.

My sister, however, 6 years my junior, has fared much better, using credit cards with great discipline, carrying a small balance, using the cards for needed purchases and paying them off within the grace period at no interest. Thus has she achieved a stellar credit record over the years.

Obviously, how one uses credit and credit cards will in a large way determine one's credit rating, which carries great influence in today's highly-leveraged environment.

Credit ratings and records are used in everything from purchasing a vehicle, home, or establishing individual store revolving credit to employment and security screening. It's gotten to the point where three companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union control our destinies to an unwanted degree.

If you are interested in furthering your understanding of credit cards check out Credit Card News.

For information on proper use of credit cards, credit repair and more, see Credit Card Advice.

Bowl Season off to Flying Start

With the first college football bowl game of the season completed last night, Fearless Rick's record for predictions stands at 1-0 as TCU hammered Northern Illinois, 37-7, limiting the nation's leading rusher, Garrett Wolfe, to 28 yards rushing.

As stated in my preview the Horned Frogs were probably wondering why they were relegated to the low-level Poinsettia Bowl and they proved that they deserved better.

TCU's senior QB Jeff Ballard cemented his credentials as a bona fide NFL prospect with an outstanding performance in his final game. Ballard rushed for three scores, threw for another and amassed 253 passing yards.

Next up on the college football carousel is the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, on Thursday, Dec. 21, pitting BYU against Oregon. Brigham Young is favored by a field goal or more and I don't think it will even be that close.

I'll continue to update here as bowl season progresses.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thom Hartmann is THE MAN!

With Al Franken spending this week entertaining the troops with the USO in Iraq, my favorite local radio station, NewsTalk 950 (WROC, 950-AM) has been carrying the show with Thom Hartmann as the guest host. After just two days, I'm hoping the rumor that Franken will be leaving AirAmerica Radio is true.

The Freepers over at Free Republic (no, I'm not linking to those losers) are jumping up and down with glee over the purported news, but they're so ignorant of the truth that they can't even imagine what a great replacement Hartmann would make or even that Franken isn't even the best host on AirAmerica.

Hartmann's show is carried on 80+ stations already, and if Franken does bow out, he'd likely add another 50 to 100 more, as his show runs in the same time slot as Al's on many stations. On 950, they carry Franken at noon to 3:00 pm, a slot that's getting pretty competitive for the progressives as Ed Schultz recently moved from 3:00 pm to noon as well.

Hartmann is probably the best-read and most literate host on radio today. Any man that can quote Aristotle as easily as most hosts replay topical political quips, is far, far ahead in my book.

If we don't get Hartmann on a regular basis - like we don't get Randi Rhodes in her regular slot, or the great Mike Malloy (too honest), I'll be a regular visitor to his web site, complete with live and archived download links to his radio show, loads of online writings and other information by and about this Project Censored-award-winning and New York Times best-selling author.

His latest book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It also makes a great Christmas present (hint, hint).