Thursday, March 29, 2007

Anger Release

Somebody asked me, "Why are you so angry all the time?"

So, for their benefit, here's my answer.

I'm not usually. Basically, I'm a very happy person when things work right. I absolutely cannot stomach incompetence, however, and I am surrounded it by it day and night, in all forms of life at all levels. There are also certain people who have made it abundantly clear that they are willing to be as nasty as needs be. I loathe those kinds of people and wish to expose them for the louts they are.

But, most of all, there's this little thing we used to call America. I remember it well, and we're rapidly losing many the principles and ideals that made it great. So, I guess you could say I've been just a tad angrier than usual since around, say, January 20, 2001.

I've spent a good deal of time documenting and understanding the position our government has put the American people in, so excuse me for wanting so much or trying to revive what little is left of decency, righteousness and humanity.

I look at our world and see Iraq, and Zimbabwe, and all the other injustices, and I suppose I'm guilty of letting some of that anger out in misplaced ways. On the other hand, I often wonder how anyone can actually be happy in the midst of what's going on. Maybe ignorance is bliss.

Maybe that helps explain why I am angry. I feel a little better now.

Blogging for fun or money?

I've been having a great time with the heavy duty fans at the PPP blog. Some of them will justify almost any kind of activity, including vulgarity and outright spam. I managed to get a whole bunch of them cranked up at me because I was complaining that I couldn't make $20/day from PPP.

If they only knew the truth... hahahahaha.

I did manage to call one of them a foul-mouthed welfare mom (true) and there was no retort because she knows it's true. I called another one of them a psycho knitter. Again, no response. I know they're really upset with me now, and will keep me from all their little linky love sessions and other PR, Alexa and technorati manipulation. I feel like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They won't let me play in any of their reindeer games.

Women, once they get over like, 40, get pretty uptight and the bunch over at PPP, sucking up all that pseudo-spam marketing money, don't like to be talked about in anything but the highest priase. They are really an uptight bunch. Wonder if I'll meet any of them at Postiecon?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Pork versus Beef

I love a good steak. I'm sure you do too. However, a tasty sirloin is going for about $4.95 to $6.95 a pound these days and affording a nice steak dinner - even cooked at home on the grill - for the family is getting a little costly.

To those of you who have to have some kind of meat in your diet (no, we're not all vegans), I suggest you try pork steaks. They are just as tender and tasty as beef - well, it's a different kind of taste - and they're awesome on the grill. Pork steaks are not like pork chops, they're more loin-style meat, with a fatty edge, just like their beef brethren, but they are less than half the price of beef.

I get mine from a local butcher at around $1.79 per pound. You can buy 2-3 times the number of pork steaks as beef steaks for the same amount of money and your family will love them, guaranteed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Al Gore: The Planet Has A Fever!

Al Gore, the man who should have been our 43rd president but instead continued his crusade against Global Warming, won an Oscar for his documentary on the subject and has been nominated for a Nobel Prize, took his message to the US Congress today.

You must appreciate Al Gore. He actually said to the assembled Congresspeople, "the planet has a fever." What a phrase!

Now, if the people in Congress don't want to take Mr. Gore seriously, I suggest they study the issue a little more, and maybe contact the thousands of other scientists who not only take Global Warming seriously, but are ardently pushing for governments to legislate changes to reverse - or at least slow - the trends that threaten our planetary existence.

Personally, I agree with the findings of Gore and the rest of the Global Warming community. I have seen with my own eyes the evidence of glacial melt in the Arctic and Antarctic, the mountains of Peru and the Himalayas and elsewhere. I don't need any more proof because I, unlike morons like Senator Imhoff and other right wing numbsklulls, actually believe in the rigor, discipline and yes, the honesty of science.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato Tree

I saw this on TV, so I thought I'd check it out. This offer says you'll get a yield of 180 pounds of tomatoes for just $10. The offer sells you 3 of their Tomato Trees and, as a bonus, you get three early hybrid tomato (do they run on ethanol?) plants as well.

Of course, you have to plant them, water them, make sure bugs and critters don't get to them, but, with tomatoes running about $2/pound at the local supermarket, even if you only get a crop yield of 20 pounds, you're going to be way ahead.

A little gardening can go a long way. This sounds like an OK deal. Tomatoes are not cheap, but they are yummy. Growing your own is pretty easy, and besides, you can say "crop yield" and impress your eco-friendly associates.

Don't Vote. Slate will pick 2008 winners

Just when you thought American democracy could stoop no lower, Slate magazine pre-empts the 2008 elections.

Darn, and I just registered to vote.

According to a press release, Slate has launched the 2008 Political Futures Database, which utilizes data from three prediction markets to forecast the outcome of 2008 Presidential and Congressional races.

The futures data from is to be gathered from Iowa Electronic Markets,, and, beginning with the presidential primary races of both major parties and then the 2008 Congressional races.

With so much pre-polling and now futures betting going on, there's almost no need to vote anymore. But, if the voting machines are rigged, as some (including me) insist, won't Slate and other predictors like exit polls be way off?

Oh, that's right. Exit polls have only been found to be inaccurate in the United States in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006. Strange, but hey, why bother? Or aren't you happy with the government we've got?

For more on how to understand the Political Futures charts and decide whether your vote matters enough to even cast it, click here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What Spring Means to Collectors

According to weather experts, Spring officially arrives late in the day on the 20th of March. Those of us living in the Northeast are welcoming the date with open arms.

Following the freak storm last week, most of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts were blanketed with anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow, so don't blame us if we're not quite ready for warm weather.

It will come, however, and those of us in the collectible business ought to be ready for the early garage, charity sales and library book sales that occur in the Spring. Some of the best bargains of the year can be had at early season garage sales in late March, April and into May. The reason is that many serious buyers are not out in force and casual buyers won't be out until June.

So, get yourself into a strong cash position and get out to those early sales if you're looking to make a killing or find some really great bargains.

Deal firmly with credit card companies

Some of you may have had similar experiences. It's a sign of the times, especially by HSBC Bank and Providian lenders, a tip-off to when you are dealing with a predatory lender instead of a company that actually cares about your finances.

I received an email informing me that my account had exceeded its credit limit. Since I almost never use that card these days, it could mean only one thing: they had assessed the annual fee and then charged my account an additional amount for going over the credit limit.

I called customer service and explained how absurd it was that the annual fee should result in an additional over limit fee. I calmly stated that if I had tried to charge the $59, my card would have been declined. But, since they are in control, they pass it through and tack on another $30 on top of it.

The customer service rep understood and told me she would remove the overlimit fee. I got her name and company ID number. Make sure to get that information from anybody you speak to at any credit card's customer service.

This kind of practice happens all the time by these predatory lenders. To avoid it, make sure to protest the assessment of an overlimit fee and don't take no for an answer. The companies engaging in this kind of practice know it is marginal and probably illegal, so they'll back off if you're demanding.

The best advice is to kick the credit card habit by making scheduled payments in an amount that will work your balance down to ZERO within 12 months. Pay the card up and tear it up. Learn to live within your means.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bush Ethanol Plan Makes Sense... for Exxon

President Bush traveled to South America this past week, ostensibly to shore up support for administration policies. By all accounts, the President's visit was a colossal failure except for his mission to Brazil, which, in reality, was the real reason he went south for the week.

While in Brazil, the president negotiated a deal to import more ethanol from Brazil. As it stands, Brazil is the world's largest producer of ethanol; the US is already the largest importer of Brazilian ethanol. Brazil produces 17.5 billion liters of ethanol a year and intends to increase production to 30 billion liters by 2012.

The US will need 132 billion liters a year to attain the lofty goal of 20% reduction in overall gasoline consumption. Currently, 90% of Brazil's ethanol is for domestic use, but the US charges a 54-cents per gallon tariff on every gallon (3.785 liters) of imported Brazilian ethanol.

So, why is the president promoting more imported ethanol from Brazil, replete with a cost-raising tax and instead of dependence on oil from Gulf nations, dependence on Latin American nations?

If the whole affair seems curious, it's because it is bad for Brazil and worse for US consumers. It is, however, a grand idea for agro-globalist companies like Cargill, already invested in Brazil.

For Brazil to increase its ethanol production by almost double would require further destruction of the sensitive rainforest and converting fertile food crop-producing land to monocropping of sugarcane, the primary source for ethanol.

There's also the cheap labor in Brazil to work the fields, keeping the cost of production low. Of course, that's going to be offset by the tariff before the fuel substitute reaches the US. By the time Brazilian ethanol reaches the gas tanks of US drivers, it's nearly as expensive as a gallon of regular gas.

The purpose of Bush's trip was not to curb the use of greenhouse gasses or promote the use of ethanol, but to keep the price of oil (and gas) at high profit levels for his corporate buddies at Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, et. al.

Bush could care less about reducing our dependence on foreign fuels. He actually is working to increase that dependence rather than promoting domestic ethanol production. Naturally, Republican senator Richard Lugar thinks importing ethanol from Brazil is a great idea.

For more background on the issue, see this article at CounterPunch.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Deal or No Deal Minimums and Maximums

Unless you've been living under a rock the past six months, you must be aware of Howie Mandel's hit show on NBC, Deal or No Deal. Besides the gorgeous gals (my fav is Anya Monzikova, #10, shown at right), Howie is adept at squeezing the emotion out of the contestants and sweating them until the end.

I've seen people turn down over $200,000 and walk away with a lot less and I've figured out my strategy should I ever get a chance to compete (How do they find contestants, anyhow?). Actually, I think I'd be a better fit for Jeopardy than any other game show, but that's another story.

If I was on Deal or No Deal. and the money ever got over $150,000, I'd take it, unless I had something like the top 3 out of 4 amounts still available. I mean, after taxes, you'd still end up with over $100,000, and that's not bad.

Suggestions Welcome

I have a site that's been up almost a year, and am seeking suggestions for what to do with it. If you have any ideas, post a comment here and I'll check it out.

The site is and it has a PR of 2 currently and links to some other good pages.

If you or anybody you know is interested in developing the site or buying it, contact me by email. The site is currently hosted by GoDaddy, but I'm unhappy with their services, so a move to a better host may occur within the next two weeks.

Since I don't live in Las Vegas, maybe somebody who does can come up with a good use for it. I've been told that the name is a keeper.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Adsense Conundrum

There's a solid discussion going on over at WebmasterWorld, called Anatomy of an EPC Collapse which has stirred up the great "don't be evil" debate once again.

For those unaware of what EPC means, it's Earnings Per Click - a valid metric in measuring the effectiveness of cost-per-click advertising on publisher's websites.

I've got a couple of zingers in there already and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. The matter concerns Google's AdSense program and how some publishers have seen EPC collapse while all other metrics - Pageviews, Clickthrough Rate, # of clicks, etc. - rise.

The effect is usually slow growth in overall earnings. For instance, one publisher reports clicks more than doubling when comparing Feb. 2006 to Feb. 2007, but earnings only rising 28%. A linear system would have produced a better-than 100% increase in earnings, but, of course, when dealing with Google's swift algorithms, nothing is linear, or revealed.

Personally, I think Google is FOS, but that's just my opinion.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stocks, Bonds and Basketball

If you're wondering why I'm not answering my phone over the next couple of weeks, the easy answer is that I'm busy blogging.

The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (March Madness) begins in just about a week and the first weekend of action is furious and non-stop, but this week I'm covering the conference tournaments on the College Basketball Blog. If you want updates, scores and picks, that's the place to go, especially if you're looking for some guidance on how to win your office bracket pool.

Now, if the excitement of college hoops isn't quite your cup of tea, maybe you'd prefer my insightful stock market commentary on Money Daily. I provide a brisk overview of economic and market activity, plus an occasional stock pick. I must know what I'm talking about when it comes to market timing. Last Monday, I saw the signals and headlined my column "The Correction Is Underway." The next day I (and my readers) didn't bat an eyelash when the Dow Jones Industrials tanked 416 points.

If you think the worst is over for stocks, I suggest you cruise over to and catch up.