Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When I get home from work at night, and sit down to a cup of coffee, my back, feet and knees are usually aching, and I am really tired. I don't sleep well most nights because my knees throb so bad.... even with prescribed pain medication. I usually work pretty long days, then do bids and paperwork in the evening. Sometimes I am picking up materials in the evening for the next day's job. I keep on working even though my body gets tired and aches. I figure that's the best way to get paid and earn a living and to prepare for retirement.
Besides these things, I pay all my own social security, buy my own health insurance, and lay out hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars on a job before I get paid a penny at the job's completion. So there is a considerable amount of risk in what I do as it concerns my pay. I have no matching 401K. My business vehicle is a 1995 Toyota T100 with 213,000 miles on it. I try to keep overhead low. But I do hire sub-contractors to do some of my work. Therefore, I am providing employment for others. In addition to this, my wife and I give in excess of 20% of our income to charity. Plus we donate to Goodwill and to food banks. So our hard-earned dollars are given generously.
Even though there are days that I don't feel like going to work either because of aching body parts or tiredness, or both. I get up and go early anyway because it is the right thing to do, and it is fulfilling.
Now, I am not looking for sympathy, or empathy, nor am I trying to brag. I am just trying to make a point. That point is this: Why should the money that I have worked so hard to earn be confiscated from me through taxes and given to those who have not earned it. In fact, some of those dollars are likely to go to lazy people who sit in front of the TV eating potato chips and getting fat off my hard earned dollars.
Obama represents the height of socialism, which is just a soft word for communism. He doesn't give a rip about my aching back, hurting feet, and throbbing knees. He just wants me to make money so he can take it away from me and give it to someone who has not earned it. Even though my track record shows that I give to charity, he doesn't trust me to do it. He wants to take my money and give it to charities of his choosing, and the recipients won't even know that I gave. They will think Obama gave. This man is the epitome of a hypocrite and a socialist. Besides that he is a dumb ass who doesn't know the first thing about how an economy needs to run.
What really ticks me off is that there are enough Americans who are oblivious of what Obama stands for and will vote for him. And worse yet, those who do know and will vote for him anyway. There are those sitting in front of the TVs eating potato chips at my expense right now who will vote for him so that they can keep on with their dubious way of life. Obama calls this fairness.
Obama doesn't understand the meaning of the word "fair." He doesn't understand "free market." He doesn't understand that corporations don't pay taxes. He doesn't understand that tax increases will cost jobs. He doesn't understand that we pay enough taxes. And he doesn't understand that all wage earners should pay some taxes to have a part in the operation of the government.
What I do know is, I bust my backside and he wants to take away what I have earned to give it to someone who lives a life of leisure. What i do know is that once my wife and I were as poor as dirt, but we took the necessary steps and risks, and put in the hard work required to change our situation. Why sould we reward those to don't and won't? Why do they deserve our money?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Being informed is not always golden. It doesn't hurt to have the knowledge, but sometimes the way the knowledge is dispersed or presented can cause alarm. Alarm leads to irrational actions.
I believe in freedom of the press. With this freedom comes responsibility to present truth in an even handed way. Many times the media psychs the public by sensationalizing its headlines. With BIG BOLD LETTERS they headline stories on the economy making the economy seem worse than it really is. Many people latch on to that and panic. Then they go sell their stock at a loss, which makes things worse than they were. The headlines become self fulfilling. Today's Wall Street Journal with today's headlines is a good example of this. It splashed big headlines concerning how the world might be going into recession. Does that make you want to invest your money?
The irony of the thing is that, many investors depend on the news in the Wall Street Journal to help them with their investments. Lately it seems as though they are hindering investors as they are caught up in the frenzy of bad news about the economy.
The sad thing is this: a lot of people have bought high and are selling low, so their money truly is going away. Now they do not even have shares that will grow in the future. When the market recovers and shares start going up in value, these people who sold low will not be able to recover their losses. Those who bought these shares at this new, low, discounted price will thrive when the market begins to recover.
Don't pay too much attention to economic news at this point if you are holding stocks or mutual funds. Hang in there. The markets are cyclical, and they will get better.
Those of you with 401Ks. Your account may be down now, but keep contributing because your money is buying cheaper shares. Therefore you get more shares for your dollar. If your employer is matching funds, that will make your investment even better in the future.
I say it again: Now is the time to buy!
I wrote this without the intoxication of coffee!.... which means, I am insane all of the time.
Friday, October 24, 2008
As much of the financial world panics, I do not. Sure, stocks are being sold off.... cheap! The Dow Jones is sinking as is the S&P 500. Panic sellers are losers. Want some cheap stock? It's out there. It may get cheaper yet. But remember, cheaper shares means you can buy more of them for the same price. When the market recovers, shares will mean everything! And these shares will go higher. Even the shares of the bad stocks will increase in value. Find a good cheap stock and your bottom line will grow.
Do you think that the Federal government will allow Ford Motor or General Motors go bankrupt? I think not! Ford shares are $1.99 and General Motors is about $5.00. Sure, they are struggling. But cars eventually wear out. The economy will get better. Their new lines of fuel efficient cars will sell, and they won't lose as much money. Might even make some. $2.00 stock will become $10.00 stock and $5.00 shares will become $30.00 shares. And these are the bad stocks right now. The good stocks will do even better.
Are you afraid of the market? This is a great buyer's market. You can bet the brokerages are loading up and getting ready for the upswing. Then we can complain about them making too much money again. In reality, they will save the market and make it tradable again. The dirty old brokerages just might save our 401K's after all.
P.S. Everywhere I go Starbucks is busy. Just think of how busy they will be once the economy swings upward. I don't suppose that will boost profits, do you? Might be worth a few shares now for the future. I drink so much of their coffee, they should make me part owner, or grant me some free shares. I love their coffee, atmosphere, and music. At least tonight.
Other picks: AK Steel, Gerdau American Steel, Citigroup (really cheap), Halliburton, Conoco Phillips, Chevron, Exxon Mobil. Oil demand is down now, the stocks are cheap. But we will drive again this summer and OPEC will cut production, and Obama won't do anything to boost domestic oil production. Oil will be back over $100 next summer. Consumers will buy hybrid Fords and Chevys.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I don't know what your definition of a busybody is, but mine is.... me! I'm not a busybody in the traditional sense, but just in the fact that lately I am so.... busy. Getting up at 5:00 in the morning isn't early enough anymore. I drive down close to my job, have breakfast and do paper work (some paper and some computer). Then I go to the job and put in a day, then do bids, pick up materials for the next day, and make more arrangements. I finish up about 8:00 - 9:00 in the evening. Get to bed at 10:30, wake up at 1:30 with aching knees, lay awake, then get up at the usual time and do it all over again. Now I'm even working Saturdays. Yuk! And to think that there are some people who thought I was doing nothing all the time.
Tonight's blog comes from Starbucks, a grande, an egg salad sandwich, and a refill. I hope that the creator of this expensive coffee is rewarded in heaven. There are Starbucks stations all over the city.... my office away from home. By the way, the sandwich and coffee were both great! I heard that drinking lots of coffee helps prevent colon cancer. I have the pictures to prove it!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Today was work and coffee.... or was that, coffee and work? I was down to Starbucks early at Colorado and 40th for a grande and to catch up on computer work. Then it was work at the house where I am doing a remodel. Then it was home for a coffee and a shower. Then to Starbucks at 104th and Federal for a tall while I prepared for a meeting. Then the meeting. Then back to Starbucks for another tall to wait for the next meeting. Then it was the next meeting. Then I drove home drinking cold coffee on the way. And guess what? I'm still not coffee'd out! Is coffee'd a word?
In a lot of ways coffee is my admission ticket to a place to wait out time and do some work. A chair and table for an hour is cheap office space. A tall coffee is $1.58.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I am sitting here in my house enjoying a fresh brewed pot of rich French Roasted Coffee while nibbling on a few candy corns. I do that in the fall season. My wife is home. Three of our grandkids are here (one celebrates his birthday today). And, the weather outside is beautiful. Our house is paid for, our cars are paid for, we have no debts and we have good jobs. Everything is pretty good except my knees. What a life! What more could we ask for? We are thankful for all that God has given us. And my prayer is that my knees will get better, too!
Besides these blessings, we enjoy some of the best weather in the country, beautiful mountains, great fishing and Starbucks is everywhere! We even have Craigslist to sell our junk! and a great church to give donations to. Ahh! America!
But as I write these things, I am acutely aware that not all of God's blessings are monetary. Many of our blessing are the people around us, the opportunity to serve God and others, and the opportunity to help those in need. Not only do we donate to Goodwill, but we buy from Goodwill. This affords opportunities of employment for those with special needs.
So our lives are not only enriched by what we have, but in how we serve. And the greater measure of fulfillment comes with the latter. What a life God has given us! What a thrill it is to use it for Him!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Audrey and I just came from a great coffee shop in Longmont. Lots of stuff in there including some classy confections. We forgot the name of the shop, but it is at the corner of the Diagonal and Hover. They even gave us a free almond pastry. Audrey had a latte and I had the light coffee, which was really black.
Anyway, I was thinking about Joe. You know, as in "Joe the Plumber." It appears that Joe the Plumber is not really a plumber and owes back taxes. But now T-shirts are being sold in honor of Joe the plumber. Joe the Plumber has become more popular than "Joe Six Pack" over night. And both these Joes might even be more popular than "Joe Shmoe", "Joe Blow" and "Just Any Joe." I think all these Joes are more popular than Joe Biden.
Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack have both helped the Republicans this year. But, have they helped them enough? The Republicans need Joe Shmoe, Joe Blow and Just any Joe to help out, too. But I am also counting on Joe Biden to help out by putting his other foot in his mouth. Come on Joe! We need a little more help!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Plus 936! Remember this number. This is the largest one day increase in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This is the first and the last time that this will happen. This erased 50% of last week's loss. Ford Motor increased by 20%. That's a whopping 40 cents on a $1.99 stock: now $2.39. Other stocks did even better. Alpha Natural Resources went up $12.00 or 42%. Why do I never own those when they go up like that?
We'll see what tomorrow brings. There is likely to be some prophet of doom (analyst) who has sold short some stock that needs to go down in order for him to collect. I'm not kidding! But, all-in-all, I think the bottom was 936 points ago. Time to buy. Not tomorrow. But it is the season to buy. If I could be sure that Ford Motor would not go bankrupt, at $2.39 a share, I'd try to own the company.
Borders serves good tea.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Well, I finally started the remodel that I bid on about 5 months ago. There are a lot of pricey items such as hardwood, granite, vanities, carpets and a claw foot tub. So today, I started buying these items. So far I am up to $9500.00. It seems that every big item she wants is special order. The granite is special order, the vanity, the vanity top, the bamboo hardwood, and yes, the claw foot tub. Did you realize that the minimum price for a claw foot tub, together with the faucet is about $2400? I still need to pick up the tile, and exterior door, and also buy the materials for and outdoor landing and stairway.
The hardest thing about special order is keeping the job going. You have to buy and wait weeks for these items to come in. Then they will all come in at one time.
Some dude tiled her bathroom (did a really bad job) but we are not retiling all of it. But I do have to pull up part of the floor, level it, re-plumb for the tub, and re-tile that area. Currently, there is a big hump in the floor that gives when I walk on it.
Well, enough of work. Today, Audrey and I went to the Cherry Creek Mall and had some Lu Shan tea and a sweet potato cinnamon roll. The was the high light of the week. Exciting life, huh.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Here I am at Panera's once again having a coffee before I head for today's appointment with a new client. This morning I am enjoying a Hazelnut blend of coffee and, and, a..... cherry pastry! Who could have guessed? I also read Rana's comments to my last blog. They were sitting by a fire in their back yard enjoying their coffee. Rana had the cat on her lap. Cool!
Now is the time to buy stocks and mutual funds. The market is at or near its bottom. Those not buying soon will miss part of the upswing of the market. If we think that banks will continue to falter for ever, we are fooling ourselves. If we think oil prices will continue to decline we're kidding ourselves. Energy will always be in demand, and after this decline there will be a renewed surge as OPEC manipulates the price again. Hybrid cars, although being promoted, will take years to become a significant percentage of vehicles on the road. These cars will also have to become cheaper before they will be bought in droves. And the banks will have to start lending money to bad credit risks again. These people are a large percentage of our population and are likely buyers because many of them don't watch their money as closely.
Solar energy is going to surge over the next 5 years. Why? Because the big bail out package will make it 30% cheaper to switch over to solar.
Ford Motor and General Motors are really cheap! Ford's CEO says they have enough cash to make it through the downturn and that bankruptcy is not an option. If he is right, over the next 5 years Ford's $2.00 shares could become $10.00 shares. 400% growth! I wouldn't invest a lot though, This CEO could be wrong. If he is wrong, who knows, maybe Ford would become a foreign make! Ha! just spouting off there.
Well, I need to Toyota off to my appointment.
I'll catch you at my next cup of coffee.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tonight we had coffee at Barnes & Noble. Actually, I had coffee and Audrey had some kind of tea. But the real feature was the Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake. Was this ever good! It's probably the best bundt cake I've ever had. It's certainly worth a try. It was certainly nice after a hard day's work.
The Dow Jones lost 128 points today, and for some weird reason, I feel good about it. Maybe it's because it wasn't 500 or 700 points like previous days. Or, maybe it's because The market opened down 700 points this morning, then rose and settle down only 128 points. This would be equivalent to a 200 point drop a year ago. A year ago, this would have been a really bad day. So why should I feel good? Not only is the market screwed up, but I'm screwed up, too! Can I sue the Dow Jones for screwing me up? Even if I could, they wouldn't have money to pay.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
If this stock market crash has made you think that you may have to put off retirement, that may not necessarily be so. It depends on how far down you rode the market before you got out, or how far down your stocks or mutual funds went. We must remember, that the market is likely to recover and it will start with cheaper stock prices.
If you got out of the market with only modest losses, or no losses, it may be time to study the market and pick up bargains. Make sure they are bargains. Invest in solid companies that have been dragged down by the rest of the market and not by diminished profits or future outlook. Remember, energy will always be in demand and right now oil prices are down, and oil related stocks are way down! Stay away from the refineries because as oil goes up, refineries have a smaller margin. Also, think solar. You may not realize it, but the bail out package included several billions of dollars to subsidize solar energy. Corporations and private owners will receive a minimum of 30% discount on the cost of installing solar energy.
Cheap stocks means you can buy more shares. Share volume means a lot when stock prices start recovering.
Good luck! Enjoy your coffee and smell the roses. The future may be rosier than you think. And, with improving economy, Starbucks will have a resurgence.
On mornings when I work some distance from the house, I get up early and drive to a place near my work location. Panera's Bread is one of these locations, on Wadsworth and 77th. It's a nice place with nice music and good pastries and breakfast sandwiches. And they give you two hours of free wireless internet.
This morning I am enjoying a dark roasted coffee (as many cups as I like) and a cherry pastry. That's what its called, "cherry pastry." Mmmm, is it ever good! White frosting on delicious bread, and lot's of cherries on top. Yum! And the coffee is good.
The only problem with Panera's is that they don't have one in my part of town. It's a pretty cool place. Even the people that go to the gym come straight here. I bet the gym likes that. These two businesses support each other in an ironic way. A guy from the gym came in just now!
I can't imagine paying the price of running the tread and pumping iron only to have a cinnamon roll a few minutes later. Or, maybe they do it so they can justify their cinnamon roll, or their cobblestone pastry?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Audrey and I are at Borders Book Store doing some work and enjoying a pot of white tea. In fact, we are on our second pot, and is it ever good. $2.83 including tax. That makes it extra special. I brought a chocolate biscotti along to have with mine. We smuggle them in inside of Audrey's purse. She smuggled in some Lindt dark chocolate for herself.
We took our gazebo down yesterday. Left the frame up, and hope it weathers the winter. We already miss it. At least we still have the table and chairs at the covered front porch. I enjoy sitting there too.
Business is heating up for me now. Today I began a $35,000 remodel in Denver. I'll be doing work in 2 bathrooms, a bed room, a sitting room, a huge closet, tile and countertops in the kitchen, tile in the laundry room, and later dealing with security issues at an increased price. Besides this I am doing estimates and getting new jobs almost daily now. I guess people have put off their projects long enough. Winter is coming.
In the remodel I have the privilege of installing a claw foot bathtub. Have you priced one of those lately? It's more expensive than the granite countertops in the kitchen. $2,000 is the cheapest one and that is before shipping, taxes, and installation.
Tomorrow, I jack up a front porch and install new caissons. Actually, I will have one of my sub crews do this.
I have just one question for Obama! If it is OK to send our military to many regions of the world for humanitarian reasons; areas where governments are oppressing and killing their people, as Mr. Obama said in his debate. Then, why was it wrong to go to Iraq where Sadam was performing genocide on his own people? huh? huh? huh?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Uncle Ben makes my Starbucks taste bad! We all know Uncle Ben.... Bernake, the Fed chairman. We like to point the finger at greedy corporations, CEOs, and unscrupulous mortgage brokers for the collapse of our economy, but it goes much deeper. These people are just a small part of the much bigger problem.
It began with Alan Greenspan. Greenspan loved low interest rates. He, along with the Federal Reserve put pressure on lending institutions to extend loans to all Americans. Therefore, the ARM and the interest only loans were marketed based on the idea that home values would continue to go up, and so would paychecks. But, Alas! Greenspan is gone and Bernake is here. Bernake was concerned about inflation, therefore interest rates were boosted!
Interest rates went up, home values went down, sub-prime borrowers began to default, banks started losing money on write downs. By the time Bernake caught on, too much money was lost to save the banks, or the economy. Now, even a bail out has not helped.
Is this guy a zero, or what? While they talk about sending CEOs to jail, this guy still has a job! The first thing a new president needs to do is get rid of Uncle Ben.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
As I am sitting in our villa, in Avon, drinking a pot of coffee provided by Sheraton, I am reflecting on the beautiful fall colors in this mountain community. There are a lot of bright yellows and oranges along with the greens that have not yet turned yellow. When the sun shines it looks like golden fire. All of this mirrored in a lake that looks like glass, with the mountains as a back drop. I truly love it here. This time of year it is a very peaceful setting. And there is time to read, to reflect, to walk, to fish, to shop, and.... yes, to blog.
I have taken quite a number of photos. I will go through them and select the best and undoubtably discard the rest.
In a few moments we will go to Beaver Creek to shop, then it will be time to pack up to leave. We could drive through rain or snow on the passes. It will be sad to leave here. We'll miss the cosiness of the villa, the fireplaces in the living room and the bed room, the fresh, clean air. But work beckons. Always, work beckons.
At least I'll get to finish my coffee.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Audrey and I are in Avon enjoying a little retreat. We really love our villa, and the weather here is perfect. The colors are beautiful with the fall foliage. And we have a pool side room away from the highway, which means, peace and quiet.
We decided to walk down to Outback for dinner. Audrey ordered the pork chop and I ordered the steak. Mine came with a baked potato. Just before bringing the meals out the server informed me that they were out of baked potatoes. So I ordered French fries. When she brought the meal there was a baked potato and the server said, "I guess there were a couple left." So I was fine with that.
After I ate a little bit off the top of the potato, I used my steak knife to cut it. I sawed back-and-forth with my knife, but could not get through the potato. I told Audrey that I needed a sawsall. When I finally did cut a chunk of potato off it was a tasty, chewy, crunchy mass in my mouth. We had our laughs, and I demonstrated the procedure for the server. She was horrified, but not horrified enough to subtract it from the bill. But that was OK with us, too. Everything else was delicious.
When we were leaving, Audrey saw the server bringing someone else a baked potato. We wondered where that came from.
It seems as though Congress has the in-ability to to anything right, even when they do it mostly right. Because of partisanship, they frittered away the time, which was a key time to approve the bail out plan. Then they weakened it to the point that the plan lost the desired effect.
On Monday, when they failed to approve the plan that was on the table, the Dow Jones fell 777 points. Today, when they approved the Senate version the market fell another 150 points. Financial institutions lost confidence and credit actually tightened, (the reverse effect that congress was looking for). The package was also weakened. They are babbling, bungling, idiots, and.... a day late and a dollar short!
Speaking of a day late and a dollar short, did you see what happened to CitiGroup's deal with Wachovia? Well, Wachovia announced this morning that they struck a deal to merge with Wells Fargo for $15 billion. CitiGroup's stock fell over $4.00 per share. A breach of contract by Wachovia? Yes! But a worthless contract. A few lawyers at CitiGroup should be looking for work tomorrow.
Well, who won the debate this time? I thought they both did pretty well. Biden surprised me in that he presented himself better than I thought he could. Palin, though, definitely connected with the audience better and showed surprising knowledge and pluck. The Democrats didn't like her winks, or her wave, or the fact that she called him.... Joe!
This was no draw! The new-comer on the block, with much less experience, out debated the guy who has been in the Senate for ever. The Dems are putting forth platitudes, while the Republicans are putting forth substance.
I was sad to see that McCain has conceded Michigan. How do you concede before the citizens actually vote? Obama might be waving a white flag in Iraq, but McCain is waving one in the election. He's wasting a perfectly good vice-presidential candidate.
And, I am writing this with no coffee or tea today. Well, none right now.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Well, here we are at Borders, drinking white tea and eating biscotti. $2.83, tax included... for a whole pot! and.... and two cups. Brand new glass cups! the stickers are still on the bottoms and never been wet. So that means these cups have never been.... washed. Eeeew! Thank goodness we brought our own biscotti. We plugged in our computers and are working.
Have you been watching CitiGroup? Since thy bought Wachovia for pennies on the dollar, their stock has gone up over 30%. Even in this down market. I don't own CitiGroup stock but I do own 800 call options at $25 for January 2010. My options have increased in value by 68%. Hot dog! I am thinking of trading them in for the January 2010 call options at $27.50. CitiGroup will do well over the next couple of years. They have weathered the storm and have their house in order.