Thursday, October 16, 2008

Car Insurance

I know this is a mundane topic, but I came across a company that could help people that drive less than 12,000 miles a year. Its called MileMeter and its purpose is to find you a lower insurance rate based on how many miles you drive. Not sure how it works, but if anyone checks it out or gets a quote please let me know. This is extremely helpful for those of you in cities with good public transport or who live really close to work. I'm intrigued to see how competitive they are and what the parameters are as well.

Difference between Liberals and Conservatives

I finally got around to watching a few of the recently posted TED videos and on the first one I thought this was most relevant during our current political process.

Jonathan Haidt is a psychology professor at UVA. He has been studying positive psychology and moral foundations of politics. This video below shows the results that he has brought forth regarding the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. He lists 5 moral foundations that differ between the two parties:
  1. Harm/Care
  2. Fairness/Reciprocity
  3. Ingroup/Loyalty
  4. Authority/Respect
  5. Purity/Sanctity

Its a great video, please tell me what you think!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Economy on a Magazine Cover

For those of you who read the economist:

Article on Future Economy

Paul Kedrosky has a great article here on what he believes will happen. These are some of his points as stated:
  • We are going through a credit crisis sparked by the subprime meltdown. It is broader than that, however, really the tail end of an orgy of leverage and credit creation dating back at least 15 years
  • The unwinding of all this credit bubble will take longer than most people expect, and the damage will continue to be broader than most expect. Beyond banks and financial institutions, it will include many municipalities, some large-cap tech names reliant on major debt-financed network buildouts, a host of debt-financed non-financial companies, and some sovereign nations. Total cost: Bridgewater's $2.7-trillion looks close enough to me .
  • S&P forward-year earnings forecasts will come down faster than at any time in recent history. We will see 20% average estimate reductions across the board, leading to a further revaluation of the markets. After all, at S&P 1010 we are trading at 19x trailing earnings, and 18x forward, neither of which are inexpensive historically speaking. Admittedly, the above is not the non-financial S&P P/E -- ex- financial and consumer stocks we are more like 14x -- but it is a distinction that will get blurred as we go into this recession.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Michael Bublé

I have been to my fair share of concerts in my short life. I had the privilege of attending in my mind what was not only a concert, but a fantastical evening of entertainment by Michael Bublé. If you have not heard of him, go out there and check out his music. I can best describe it as a young Frank Sinatra. Check out this video:

Or other videos here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

European Banks

In regards to my earlier post about leverage in European banks, this is a quick and more accurate follow-up:

I say more accurate, because its not my own :) Even Iceland has nationalized one of their biggest banks.


I spent my Saturday evening as most of my friends do. We went to a buddies place, watched some fights on TV (Kimbo sucks) and decided to head out on the town. We went to a local lounge, had a couple drinks and decided to split. On our way of walking around McKinney Ave. we found what we thought to be an interesting new Greek cafe on one of the streets. I got excited about it because for some time now we had been looking for some cool cafes to be opened late (this was around midnight) in the area where you could sit, have a beer/coffee and enjoy the night.

And so the adventure began.... When we sat down outside we were greeted by a fairly upbeat waiter. Looking around we noticed about 6-8 other people sitting at tables, probably a glaringly good reason we shouldn't have stayed (that's not a lot of patrons). When we were given the menus, we decided to order some hummus for the two of us to split. The hummus was listed at $7 for an appetizer, probably the highest single amount I have ever seen for hummus, but nevertheless we figured eh, its late and its just something to munch on. The order came with pita as well...well sort of.

About 10 minutes later our order of hummus and pita finally arrived. Lets start with the hummus. It was a small plate, with a very small portion of hummus. Its consistency was shockingly poor. The hummus was dripping! Have you ever had hummus that dripped? That's not hummus!! Hummus consistency should be in between solid and liquid, with a much closer swing to solid, not liquid! You're probably thinking that at least they had pita to dip into this 'hummus'. Wrong! We were given one tortilla! You may be wondering why a tortilla, we did as well, considering this was a Greek cafe, although you probably couldn't tell with all the Latin music blaring. Besides the one tortilla we were given two crackers on top of that. Have you ever in your life tried picking up runny hummus with a cracker? Good luck!

Laughing to ourselves we finished the first round of tortilla and crackers and decided to ask our waiter for additional pieces of 'pita'. To think it could not get any worse, would be a sucker's bet. About 6-8 minutes later our waiter was handed by the chef/owner our additional piece of 'pita'. Now this was one for the ages (I tried taking pictures, but my phone didn't do it justice). We were brought a fully burned, crisp, black tortilla! No, it wasn't toasted, it was BURNED to a CRISP!

Somewhere before the burned tortilla and runny hummus I had already decided not to ever come back to this cafe. BUT just in case I had any doubt, the waiter helped my decision along. Not 5 minutes after bringing us the tortilla, he took a few random pictures of the patrons sitting around and ANNOUNCED that he was off to Aura (a club a couple blocks away) and would be back in a bit! Are you kidding?! Its one thing to leave and have someone else pick up your slack, but to announce you're going to a club and will come back? Sadly we did not stay long enough to see this putz stumble back drunk from the club. We paid our bill and left. I believe the name of the place was Villa N, but we had a hard time finding the name written anywhere.

Look, whenever you open a new business, restaurant, grocery store, dry cleaners, etc. Make some sort of effort to actually have business coming in and coming back. To have a complete disregard of all common sense only shows that you have no respect for your ideas or the individuals trying to help you achieve your ideas and goals. Honestly, EFFORT EFFORT EFFORT!

Friday, October 3, 2008

VP Debate

I tried to get through the entire debate last night, but I could not do it. With about 20 minutes left I thought I would be ok, but it hit me that I just could not take any more of this. The constant jabbing at each other and the administrations, the talk about what they will or more likely will not do once in office. Drove me up the wall. What really bothers me is the constant use of facts by both candidates, some with exact numbers ('voting 94 times this way or another way'). I wish someone stood up there and corrected them every time they were wrong. That would make me feel better about the given candidates character.

I did find an article that checked some of their statements. Check it out here. A quick excerpt (this is the first fact from the article):

PALIN: Said of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama: "94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction."

THE FACTS: The dubious count includes repetitive votes as well as votes to cut taxes for the middle class while raising them on the rich. An analysis by found that 23 of the votes were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all, seven were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many, 11 would have increased taxes on only those making more than $1 million a year.

Was anyone really impressed last night by what they saw?