Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Lamerhicks

A middle-aged gal from Lynn, Mass.
Had a lovely, enticing big ass.
Not rounded and pink,
As you'd probably think.
But was brown, had long ears and ate grass.


There once was a lady from Fresno,
Who had one helluva libido.
Since no one was home,
She came on her own.
And soon fell in love with her dildo.

At Last! A Cultural Reference to El Cerrito!

There once was a lad from El Cerrito
Who said “Rosita, this idea is quite neat-o.
Let’s combine salsa and chips
With handcuffs and whips,
I’ll eat your taco, you suck my burrito,”


On checking beneath her large thigh,
The old broad did let out a cry,
For Jack had been blown
To a place not yet known
By his mind, his libido, and I.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Happened Today

The Dow went up an unthinkable 900 points today, almost 11%.

What happened today was apparently a market-wide "short squeeze". Here's how it works: When you are confident the market is going down, you borrow shares from your broker, then sell them. On an agreed-upon date you go into the market and buy the same number of shares and return them to your broker. If the shares went down, the difference between what you got for the shares you borrowed and what it cost you to replace them, is your profit. That is called a short sale. The arrangement with your broker is a short sale contract.

[The broker doesn't care that you are doing this. He gets a commission when he buys the shares to lend to you. He gets a commission when you buy the shares to return to him. He gets a commission when he sells them back to the market. He gets a commission for setting up the short sale contract. You are betting against the market, not against your broker.]

Consider what happens if you guess wrong and the stock starts going up instead. You want to buy stock to return to your broker as soon as you can before it goes up more and costs you even more to buy the stock you need. You have to buy right away to limit your losses. That is called covering a short sale. If lots of other short sellers are forced to buy at the same time for the same reason, the sudden buying pressure forces the stock's price to shoot up suddenly. That is called a "short squeeze" in that stock.

Now consider a plummeting stock market such as we have had this past month. It has been a near-certainty that any stock you borrow and sell will be lower by the time you have to return it. There have to have been tons of short sales contracts bought and sold and tons of money made on them. The more the market fell and and the more certain it became that it would fall further, the more the short sales contracts multiplied, and on virtually every stock.

I should add that no one leaves matters to chance. The signal to buy to cut losses is set to go off automatically at a price selected by the short seller when he starts the contract. That is called program buying.

Today there was an upward blip because of the expectation the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates. It started to trigger buy orders to cover short sales contracts. The increased buying forced prices up, which triggered still more buy-to-cover orders, which forced the market up still more, until it became a chain reaction.

The SEC has rules limiting program selling which can drive individual stocks or the whole market down ruinously and provoke a selling panic and a crash [which is what happened in 1929]. Apparently there are no SEC rules limiting program buying, because the market going up is generally considered to be a good thing. And everybody loves seeing bears (AKA 'vultures') getting their asses kicked in the market.

Anyway, apparently that is what happened today. There was a market-wide short squeeze.

While it is wonderful news that so many speculators lost so much money today, it also means the run-up does not reflect any fundamental recovery in the market. It was just another episode of speculators manipulating, and occasionally being manipulated by, the market.

Monday, October 27, 2008


There was an old Hebrew named Jack
who for libido never did lack
they would wax his candle
and suck on his handle
while flat on his or her back.


Bachelor Stew

is made in a slow cooker so I don't have to remember anything and can't burn anything.

beef stew in whatever size package Safeway or Lucky has,
slice stew cubes into smaller cubes
pearl barley, about a cup or cup and a half
split peas half a cup
chopped onion or chopped cabbage or both
garlic powder
one or two tablespoons olive oil (optional)

and here is the coup de cool -
chicken or beef stock

toss with large spoon to mix ingredients
fill to within 1" of rim

cover and cook overnight


The Fruits of Privilege

SF Chronicle --
A cascade of retirements by GOP members, many demoralized by their minority status, left Republicans defending 29 open seats, while Democrats have just six seats to guard.
Those of us whose minority status is permanent can almost sympathize. But maybe being an entitled little prick who sulks and quits when he doesn't get his way shouldn't be a qualification for their party's nomination.....?


It's the Di-Lithium Crystals, Dammit!

[Why do I need captions for Mao and Ben-Gurion but not for the Enterprise?]

My retirement nest-egg is now down to 40% of what it was last year.

Meanwhile the candidates trade smears and misrepresentations about how much they will each cut income taxes. What freakin' difference does it make how much the income tax will be when our incomes are vanishing?

Could we please get somebody in there who has some notion of what the problem is, let alone what to do about it?

The time for tax cuts and regulation is past. Speculators to the gallows!


Imminent Collapse of Volunteerist Freebyism

[David Ben-Gurion]

I used GIMP to select the white background around Chairman Mao's head, then painted the selected area red. The result stinks. It might have worked better by manipulating layers and opacity but I don't know how to do that yet. There is also something in the instructions about the selected pixels being selected along a gradient of the degree selected. The gradient is a settable parameter. I understand what the words mean but not what that means in practice. One would think a pixel would be either selected or not selected. But apparently not.

If I could do the same with selecting candidates, I think I would select an image composed of about 72% Obama pixels and 28% McCain pixels. Maybe 1% Nader pixels -- Director of Consumer Affairs, with instructions to everybody else in government not to even accept his phone calls. 1% for Buchanan to say insulting racist pixels about Arabs but not about Jews.

Then I would use stacked layers to create an image of 70% Joe Leiberman pixels, 20% Joe Biden pixels, and 50% Joe David Ben-Gurion pixels....

China's Economic Turmoil Could Lead to Political Unrest

[Chairman Mao]

the NY Times --
The results were the same in markets across Asia.

Hong Kong stocks crumbled, closing down 12.7 percent as investors unloaded billions of dollars worth of shares of banking and finance companies. Banking giant HSBC was down almost 15 percent after falling 12 percent on Friday. The operator of Hong Kong's bourse, Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, plunged almost 14 percent.

Stocks in China fell about 6 percent, with the Shanghai Composite Index slipping to the lowest level in more than two years. The index has fallen backward by about 72 percent from its peak last year.

The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China dropped 11 percent. The bank, the mainland's biggest lender, announced larger-than-expected losses Friday, raising new worries about how long China will be able to sustain its economy amid the global financial turmoil. China's government took additional steps on Monday to try to ensure the stable operation of its economy. The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said it would deposit the equivalent of about $4.4 billion with commercial lenders for loans.

The downward spiral of capitalism in China raises fears the Communists could seize power there. No, wait. The Communists are already in power. Maybe if the Communists were in power in the United States this wouldn't be happening here either.

[Sarcasm too veiled? How about -- This crisis isn't about which party is in power. It's about capitalism.]

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Reasons for Being Depressed

Raiders embarrassing themselves 29 - 10, now 2 and 5
49'ers losing on turnovers to a 1 and 5 team
market down the dumper
having to vote for a shagetz for president again
two-buck Chuck no longer drinkable
unable to parse limerick
Leno's monologue no longer funny
Jeopardy questions about television programs I have never heard of
Arnold Toynbee turning out to be a fraud
Finding the same person in mirror as always -- bored with being me
RV a useless millstone
worthless tenant being a passive-aggressive butthole
healthy diet tedious
life passing me by
booze boring
sobriety boring
boredom boring

I need a vacation...

Friday, October 24, 2008

One Measure of Whether You Have Been Wiped Out

in the stock market is when you have less than half of what you had last year. I have lost 55% of what I had last year. I have been wiped out. But not completely. There is still the remaining 45% to lose. There is still no sign that half of the remaining less-than-half won't vanish in the next few months. I have lost 35% this past month alone.

The Republicans are running around repeating the same economic nonsense as always -- that the problem is too much government and we need more tax cuts for the rich. They seem unable to learn. One can hope Republican numbers in the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives go the same way my money has gone. Maybe their getting wiped out will help them learn. The Democrats won't solve the problem but at least we'll have a different set of assholes to screw things up.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Once Again, You Heard It Here First


On 27 January 2008 I wrote in this blog -

I am sad to have to predict that the Democratic nominee and the next president will be Mrs. Clinton. The Clinton campaign will be more professional and organized, staffed by many of the same people that worked on the last two Clinton campaigns. The inspiration campaign Obama will have to rely on will be less effective. I predict too that if McCain is the GOP nominee, he will be a latter day Bob Dole and suffer the same fate.

I went on to predict that in a year Barack Obama would be a minor bump on Bill Clinton's road back to the White House.

I hope my prediction about McCain is better than about Clinton and Obama.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008


An orthodox Jew named Harv,
For sex he was willing to starve.
He'd rather have nookie
Than candy or cookie,
And fortunately pussy is parve.


So far this month I have made up the word 'matriotism', coined the expression 'Great Depression 2.0', and been the first to observe that GOP stands for 'Grind the faces Of the Poor'. Does anybody invite me out to dinner? Name an outhouse after me? No, they do not. I labor in obscurity. Oh well, I might as well please myself since nobody else is paying attention. Sigh. Is anybody out there?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Silly Porpoise Tricks

A Separate Peace

[Tom Dewey. Defeated Harry Truman in the 1948 election. US President 1948-1952]

The Campaign is Over
For me at least. I just voted with an absentee ballot.

I have a confession to make. I went to a McCain-Palin rally, or was dragged to one, but the result was the same. It was a small meeting in Fresno. It was so small that at the end of the speeches they took questions. McCain had earlier said, with doubtful sincerity, that no one should be bailed out of the mortgage market collapse. So I asked the speaker if that meant that a McCain administration would permit all the banks to fail. He floundered and denied and said this and that and people in the audience became uncomfortable.

I almost felt some sympathy for him, because if McCain's position had been to vote for the bailout (as he subsequently did) my question would have been whether he was really willing to give three-quarters of a trillion taxpayer dollars to the very bankers who had brought on this crisis with their greed, dishonesty, and incompetence.

[McCain had earlier said that he was against the government bailing anyone out, except in special circumstances where they were so big that it would harm the economy not to. Since this was after the Bear Stearns bailout which McCain had not spoken against, it meant in effect that he would bail out bankrupt banks but not borrowers being foreclosed out of their homes. This was consistent with GOP policies down through the generations. In fact GOP itself stands for Grind the faces Of the Poor. But I digress.]

Anyway they gave me a red McCain-Palin ballpoint pen. Later I realized why those political giveaway pens always write in black ink. Ballots must be marked in black. Clever. I used my McCain pen to vote for Obama. That felt great.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


[Bread line in Times Square]

In keeping with the mood and needs of the Great Depression 2.0 I have found two bits of software that are quite good, and relieve the user of the inconvenience of paying for them.

Open Office 2.4 is a big improvement on previous versions of Open Office, and is quite similar to Microsoft Office.  It includes Writer, a word processor, Calc, a spreadsheet, Draw, a drawing program, Impress, a presentation maker, Base, a database system (non-relational), and Math, a math thing.

Download it at 

Another freebie, one that will make you forget about Adobe Photoshop  and Adobe Photoshop Elements is the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program).  It is the consensus of the dwellers in online photography forums and others with little to do, that the GIMP is not as good as Photoshop for those working as professional photographers and magazine layout artists.   For others it is hunky-dory.  The GIMP is generally conceded to be better than Elements, which is derided as a gelded version of Photoshop, shorn of some of its most useful parts.  

The newly current version of the GIMP is 2.6.  It will look quite familiar to anyone familiar with Photoshop.  Unfortunately the on-line user manual describes version 2.4, so some things will not match exactly.  This is an example of the difficulty of getting things done promptly if you don't pay the help.   

The primary shortcoming of the GIMP is that among the types of layers it has, it lacks Photoshop's adjustment layer type.  I have never had any more than the haziest notion of what adjustment layers do that other kinds of layers do not, but they sound useful for adjusting things.  My plan is to use the GIMP until I find out what adjustment layers are and the need for them becomes acute.  Then I will spring for the  $700 for a copy of Photoshop.  (Not!)  Sadly the days of software piracy of expensive software are as gone as Jack Sparrow.   Photoshop has to be registered with the company online before it will work.  You can't even break a window like Jean Valjean.

Download the GIMP at

If your camera shoots RAW files, you can import them into the GIMP with UFRaw.  (Install the GIMP first.)

Ah, The Injustice Of It All!

The Fighting in Acre


I don't get it. What possible reason could the Jews of Acre have for not liking the Arabs?


Saturday, October 11, 2008

TV Shows I Missed

Vengeful Tooth Fairy? -

From TV Guide --

Darkness Falls
8:00pm KICU channel 6 120 minutes (2003) PG-13
A vengeful ghost posing as the Tooth Fairy terrorizes children in this atmospheric but ill-conceived horror flick. Cheney Kley, Emma Caulfield. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

Hair Show
9:00pm myKRON4 channel 4 120 minutes (2004) PG-13
A sassy Baltimore hairdresser (Mo'Nique) -- on the run from the IRS -- reunites with her stylist sister in LA. Kellita Johnson. Leslie Small directed, hoops star Magic Johnson served as executive producer.

Whacked Out Sports
8:30pm KGO channel 7 30 minutes TV-PG
Mud hole hunks; trouble in Turkey; Pyro Boy; out of control ATV's

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars
9:00pm KGO channel 7 120 minutes (2001) R
Thriller about a police officer (Natasha Henstridge) who investigates a Martian colony inhabited by possessed miners. Ice Cube. Pam: Helena Grier. Bashira: Clea Duvall. Butler: Jason Statham. Descanso: Liam Waite.

8:00 TVGN channel 11 60 minutes (2008)
Eli Stone
A behind-the-scenes look at "Eli Stone" as the drama gears up for its second season. Included, interviews with cast members Jonny Lee Miller, Victor Garber, and Natasha Henstridge. Also a tour of the courtroom set.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Crash of 2008

[Wall Street]

The French finance minister Francois Fillon has called it "a crisis of unregulated capitalism". The word "unregulated" there is code for "American". Since the various regulated European economies seem to be going down the crapper right alongside ours, Fillon needn't have bothered with the phony distinction. It is a crisis of world capitalism.

Now that the world has rid itself of communism, wouldn't it be nice if we could have done with capitalism as well? I don't know what would replace it, but it would be nice to have a more stable and equitable system.

Doing the Language a Disservice

[Aztec earth goddess Coatlicue]

In these last days of the election campaign we have as usual descended to the candidates questioning each other's patriotism. Obama it turns out is a Muslim and a friend of terrorists. McCain turns out not to be a war hero but a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) head case.

It is easy to do because the vocabulary of the English language lends itself to doing it. It is harder to question someone's sensitivity to environmental issues than his patriotism because it is a vague polysyllablic phrase, where patriotism is a single seemingly well-defined word. Now if the candidates were to question each other's matriotism we could get a mud-slinging contest going on that issue, possibly involving actual mud.

matriotism, noun, singular. Origin: I made it up.
1. Love of Mother Earth, devotion to one's home planet,
2. Concern for the environment,
3. A nurturing attitude toward other people and the world generally
4. Worship of an earth goddess
5. New Age space cadet ideology - pejorative.

You heard it here first.

The current sounding on the McCain campaign's confidence that they will win this election comes in the form of their latest campaign ad.

This is not the kind of thing one says when you think you are ahead, or even think you have a reasonable chance. It is what you say when you are frustrated because you are behind and angry because you can find no traction against falling further behind. It is what you say when when your sense of entitlement is so great that you cannot be graceful in defeat.

For those of us who started this election cycle trying to maintain a non-partisan balanced and fair willingness to hear each party make its case, this is the final step in the Republicans having progressively alienated me.

The most damaging argument the ad makes against either candidate's judgment is McCain's, "I approved this message."

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Woman Who Would Be King

This is an excerpt from an interview of Sarah Palin by conservative columnist William Kristol:
Palin said that she told [her son] that she had a debate that night. “And he says, ‘Yeah, I heard, Mom,’ and he says, ‘Have you been studying?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I have,’ and he goes, ‘O.K., well I’ll be praying.’ I’m like — total role reversal here, that’s what I’ve been telling him for 19 years.”
Nice.  A vice-president who says "goes" when she means 'said', and 'I'm like --' when she means nothing in particular.  This is the speech of not-too-bright teenagers in a seedy mall.  This is the woman who may soon be at the Helm of State, sitting in the place where Jefferson, Lincoln, and Kennedy have sat.