Monday, January 31, 2005

This article was found in the editorial section of The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

What can you buy for $1.5B? A tabloid newspaper. The company that owns the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was bought today for $1.5B.

The University of Missouri Columbia is 120 miles away. They consistently rank #1 nationally as a Journalism School. With an assembly line journalism instution so close, you would expect that the Post would be a good paper, right? I can't stand it. Can anyone deny that they are a tabloid? Why write about facts when you can write opinions and pass them off as facts to create controversy. (So you get more readers, and then can sell the paper for more than you would be able to if you had integrity.)

If I want to read about St. Louis I read the KC Star...or I guess.

The news in general is terrible. Sports/crime/weather/war. Way to start and end people's day with such optimism about the world! Way to scare people over and over again. When you swim with dolphins you don't stab it so you have a handle to hold on to. Yet the media does.

The Post is worst than cigerrette companies. Cig companies damage their customer's bodies, and the customer knows it. The Post damages its customers' brains, and the customers think they are learning and gaining knowledge!

What is ironic is that I did not check any facts before posting this blog, and I am complaining about their lack of fact-checking. The difference? When you read the Post you (and every other lemming) take it for being fact because they must be accurate right? When you read my blog, you read it like you should read everything. Skeptically and questionally.

In a few days maybe I'll issue a retraction somewhere where you won't find it saying that this article never appeared in the Post Dispatch, and I apolpgize for the inaccuracies of the title.)

Help me stay motivated to write this thing! Please pick a posting that I've had and send that link to people in your distribution lists. (Joe you know alot of people, email them, get me some more readers and commentors).

Thursday, January 27, 2005

john leguizamo

Dear john leguizamo,

I hate you.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Our country tis of thee, sweet land of Efficiency.

What do cops do all day? They drive around.

Why not have them pick up trash while they drive around? Why not have them deliver pizzas, or flowers? Wouldn't that restore their reputation as serving and protecting. It would also get rid of some traffic caused by having seperate people deliver flowers/the law/pizzas.

Why not have trash men deliver the mail on the days that they pick up trash? They're stopping at my house anyway! Why not have mail men or cops pick up trash as they go? It would certainly keep our disgusting-litter ridden cities cleaner.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Mortgages, Bonds, and the end of the world.

First, for those of us not familiar with how mortgages work (which there is no real reason to know how they work):

(From my understanding): Let's say that you have 10 people that buy houses. They each put 10% down, they all have similiar credit scores, they all have loan amounts of 100k, and they all take a mortgage out at 6% for 30 years.

Since the above are all very similiar mortgages, they are collatoralized into one bucket. One product. More specifically they are packaged together as bonds (if you need a name you heard before, think Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). The bonds are then sold to bond buyers, like your Grandpa. The banks are not lending the money, bond buyers are.

2004 was a record year in housing sales. Everyone knows that everyone and their mom and blind cousin have refinanced their mortgages.

Alright so what does this have to do with the end of the world? Probably nothing. But here's what I'm wondering:

If I own one of these bonds that pays 6%, and the interest rates go up, then I will be able to get a bond that pays 8%. So I will sell my low yielding bond and buy a higher yielding one. I would imagine that EVERYONE who owns these bonds will react the same way. Why would I want to get 6% when I can get 9%? As people sell, the bonds will decrease in value (see supply and demand). If they plummit in value, then who is going to hold the bonds that backs the mortgages? In other words, these bonds are considered "mortgage backed securities", well who is going to back the morgage backed securities!?

Nevermind, my stream of consciousness just clued me into why the world won't collapse. Sure people will sell thier bonds. That will make the bonds drop in price, thus being at a discount. These type of bonds are redeemed at par. So the people that buy the bonds that other people are bailing out on, will simply make their money by redeeming the discounted bonds at par. Plus if there is a buyer than there has to be a seller.

Which would lead me to believe that it might be a good idea to short mortgage backed securities right now. Shorting stock/bonds/anything is when you sell it before you buy it. So in essence you are betting that the price of that security will go down. Thus you would have sold it for more than you later buy it for. (Disclaimer: I am not putting my money where my mouth is here, but I will watch!...I'm not a speculator, I'm an investor.)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Dey Took Hour Jibs!

Outsourcing is wrong.

What is wrong with that statement? Nothing if you are wrong.

Why is "insourcing" ok, but "outsourcing" is not? Why is it OK for Toyota to be located in the US? They are giving us jobs. We don't complain about that.

If it is wrong for us to outsource, then it is wrong for other countries to outsource to us.


What is wrong is the government (and unions) manipulate labor supply and demand via minumum wage and inefficiencies.

If you think outsourcing is wrong, then work harder than the foreigners for less money then they are willing to work for. They are doing the same job (if not better) for less money. Why is that a problem? Efficiency is not a problem.

Either get a skill that is in demand, or keep the skill you have and do it cheaper with the same output.


Do you think people in Japan get paid 70k a year to tighten a bolt on the assembly line? Why are Japanese cars better, and cheaper, and have better resale value? Probably because they don't have to pay someone 70k a year to tighten bolts...(if I was paid 70k a year to work on an assembly line I'd probably bitch too about someone somewhere else willing to do it for 15k a year, knowing damn well that I would have no skills worth more than 15k a year!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Breaking News

Well, today it was announced why Carl Vogel never replied to my letter.

He resigned today.


I do not like my new boss. She thinks I am a maroon. So, I am starting to put feelers out there.

If you have any contacts within Financial Services companies, please let me know.

I'll probably just stick it out and start applying for other positions at the company I currently work for in about 6 months. Patience is a virtue, but frustration is irritating.

In the mean time, please provide me with any contacts.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The best page in the universe

The best page in the universe

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

VOD, blogstyle---updated 1/21-------

!!!!!!!!!!!Hit STOP if you are at work!!!!!!!!!

Web publishing is getting easier and easier. How long until you can get movies on demand, similiar to the below music video on demand. how is this going to revolutionize MTV? How is this going to revolutionize advertisements? Or streaming video conferencing for lay people? The below is simple code.

Update-----I have removed the video so it won't autoplay, which I'm sure is a nuissance....check out the below link to see what I was talking about--------

Video code provided by

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Poetry II

I've got a book of a couple hundred poems that I have written over the last decade. Here are a few.

Tell me have you died today.
Lay your hand on my eternal grave,
resting place for an unwanted man.
Paradise was found!!!! It’s a nowhere land.
Someone please save me from this lemming filled crowd.
Steal my thoughts, it is allowed.
Act on nothing but what you’re told.
Buy what’s to be bought, you’re easily sold.
I wanted more, there’s never enough.
Some die with less, I want too much.
My mind is an unwanted waste.
Too many ideas, too many todays.


Walking through a sea of lonely,
Wondering why it is me only.
Frustrated with this lack of bliss,
Never been without an empty feeling of this.
Angels whisper in my ear suddenly.
Body full of fear abundantly.
Schizophrenic sleeping soundly.
Mental anguish ever bounding.

50th Wedding Anniversary.

Flying to a nowhere land,
Kiss her gently, tasted like sand.
Try to remember when she was beautiful,
Come up empty, my memory is no longer suitable.
In youth her body was waxed.
Now it has waned.

Time melts the pain away,
Years have passed, nothing left to say.
I hadn’t meant the words I said,
But there is no chance for forgiveness from the dead.
I loved you with all of my heart, blood, and tears.
Wanted nothing more than to have you near.

Now you’re gone and left me alone,
Emptiness is all I am left to own.


This world scares me, leaves me battered and bruised.
…unable to speak, and never amused.
Existence is cloudy, damp, and dry.
Planes with turbines cease to fly.
Sometimes I don’t know what to think, or say.
…preachers with dragon breath,
soothes blind men wallowing in the gray.
Need an arrow to point us forward,
Baptismal water erases humanity once it is poured.

Which is more sad, but true?
Men that die for false beliefs,
Or those that fail to?


Daily dramatics, missed the schematics.
Drowning in my thoughts today.
No different then yesterday.


Paralyzed when I look at you in your
Pair of eyes.
Makes me want to think of a
Pair of lies.
To get you home alone with me, but until then, I will
Nothing more I can do to get you to
That I’m one of those guys
Who always tries
To be the wind that lets you fly.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Options and Charter

Well since the url to this website is I feel it would be fair to say what's going on in my head today.

Today I am thinking about options.

I am debating on buying a call option on CHTR.

First let me explain what an option is. If you buy an option you are buying the right to buy (call) or sell (put) a stock at an agreed to price (the strike price).

For example, let's say I bought a call on GW stock with a strike price of 50, and let's say the current price is under 50. This means that if the stock goes above the strike price of 50, I can buy the stock for 50 dollars a share. So if the price goes to 60, I made 10 dollars per share.
You pay a premium to be able to buy the option. The more likely the stock is to hit the strike price, the larger the premium. People sell (aka write) options trying to make money off of the premium they receive for selling them. Each option represents 100 shares.

Please note there are many many many derivations of this, I am giving the most simple.
So etrade has an Jan 2007 2.5 call @ .75 right now. This means I pay $75 for every option contract (100 shares) I want to buy. CHTR would have to go to 3.25 for me to breakeven (for a naked call the break even is the strike price plus the premium).

2.5 to 3.25 is a hell of an increase in 2 years. 30% to be exact.

But charter's stock price seems to be driven off of news. Every time they announce they are refinancing their debt their stock price goes up. (up 15% since November when some commenter on my blog said they were going to hell). If Allen says they are going public their stock price will likely increase. If Cox, Comcast, Time Warner buys them, then CHTR will prob go up. If they get their act together, their stock will go up.

I would not be surprised if at some point between now and Jan 2007, that CHTR hit 5. If it hits 5, then I would make $2.50 for every $.75 I spent to buy the contract.

Why not buy them long (the normal way)? Because I do not have enough faith that any of the above is going to happen. However, I am considering an option because it is swinging for the fences. I would try to hit a homerun. (Options can be a safe move if you own the stock already, aka covered. But that is a topic for another day.)

As most of you know, swinging for the fences is not my style. So I will probably pass. But this is the thought going through my head today.

Monday, January 03, 2005

ebay drop off stores

8 months ago a friend of a friend who I've met several times, just not enough to yet call him a friend called me out of the blue to ask what I thought about starting up a ebay drop off store site.

He told me the details. At the time there were a few of these in California doing very well, and not really any stores anywhere else in the U.S. The idea: People would bring in their stuff to a brick and morter store, and the store would sell the stuff on ebay. The store would do all the work. They would give an estimate of what it would sell for, post it, field all questions, and then ship it. In return the customer paid 30% of what the good solf for. So if the store sold 100,000 in goods in one month they would get 30k cash. 100,000 is not very much, especially when the California stores were not touching anything that they didn't think would sell for under 50 bucks. The Cali stores were selling over 1MM in goods a month. Furthermore the customer paid the price to post it up front!

This sounded like a no-brainer. Mike had ebay skills. (he sold a 5k TV for me and routinely sells on ebay). So, I did my homework. I contacted each store that I could find that did this, or any derivation of it. I talked to owners. I requested financial statements. (I told them I was interested in starting a franchise of theirs in STL, and most of them started mailing me anything I requested). Of course I wouldn't do a franchise, that is like paying a tax, on something you can do on your own.

I was going to contact ebay and get them to subsidize the advertising expenses, and pay for my signage, and what not. My goal would be to get 10 of these in STL, and then sell them.

It sounded like gold.

I lost sleep over it.

I kept asking myself. Why wouldn't this work? What would keep this from working.

Price war. A 30% margin is insane. Once people caught on to the markup, more of these stores would arise. I promise you these stores are going to pop up like starbucks. All over the place. And when they do, the only way they are going to be able to differentiate themselves is price and customer service. The latter is easy to dominate (you just have to care, because no one else does), the former scared me off.

So what's the point of this blog post? Time will tell.

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