Archive for June, 2011

I’m Cold

Tomorrow is July 1st. I’m sitting outside on our new deck with a sweater on, plus a blanket around me. It’s supposed to get down to 35′ tonite! Brrrr.

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Book: I’m Over All That

By Shirley MacLaine.

I picked this book up from the library because I thought it would be an insightful read of what she’s tired of.

However, I was bored. She’s whiny and self absorbed. She refers to herself as being a Legend.

I’ll admit I only made it thru the first half, and then skimmed. Things I learned:

* Her first rant: The idea of walking through the airport in a state of terror over the idea that the TSAs won’t let Terry, my terrier dog, on the plane with me is my worst nightmare.
THAT is her worst nightmare?

* Robert Mitchum was incapable of making any decisions.

* Marlene Dietrich taught her to put 2.5 mm pearls in the center of her bra to look like nipples. Dietrich only ate every other day in order to keep slim.

* Once she got to Hollywood she started wearing wigs. Which means she was a wig wearer since her early 20’s.

* She discusses her many lovers. Then she states she was already married. She stayed married so that she wouldn’t be inclined to marry again…it wouldn’t be an issue between her and her lovers, who all seemed to want to marry her. Her and her husband had a liberal arrangement re each other’s lovers. They were married for over 30 years.

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If I Was a 49 yo Greek, I’d Riot Too!

If you follow the financial news, you are well aware that Greece needs a bailout so that it doesn’t default.  The citizens are striking and rioting ahead of the austerity vote, which is set for 7 am EST Wednesday.

Should we feel sorry for the 12 million citizens of Greece, whom will have to “suffer” under the new proposed austerity plan?  Ahhh…NO!

My fav blogger, wacky James Altucher notes that the economy of Greece is equivalent to that of Rhode Island.  Bet you didn’t know that!

The below are highlights from a Daily Mail article:

* Greek pastry chefs, radio announcers, hairdressers and masseurs in steam baths are among more than 600 professions allowed to retire at 50 (with a state pension of 95% of their last working year’s earnings) — on account of the ‘arduous and perilous’ nature of their work.

* Citizens are allowed to state their own earnings for income tax purposes, and are rarely challenged. Rich Greeks take full advantage of this.  Only 5,000 people admit to earning more than £90,000 [$144,000 US] a year.

Many of the residents simply state that they earn below the basic tax threshold of around £10,000 a year, even though they live on streets paved with marble, own boats, and have second homes on Greek islands/ properties overseas.

The government is set to deploy helicopter snoopers, along with scrutiny of Google Earth satellite pictures, to find houses with a swimming pool, an indicator of the owner’s wealth.

Officially, in an Athens wealthy suburb, just over 300 residents admit to having a pool. The true figure is believed to be 20,000. There is even a boom in sales of camouflage tarpaulins to cover pools and make them invisible to the aerial tax inspectors.

Tax dodgers are believed to cost the economy as much as £40 billion a year.

* Should the taxman go after the wealthy, he can be dealt with using a ‘fakelaki’… an envelope stuffed with cash. There is even a semi-official rate for bribes: passing a false tax return requires a payment of up to 10,000 Euros (the average Greek family is reckoned to pay out £2,000 a year in fakelaki.)

* Athens underground is a pleasure. It is air-conditioned, has plasma screens to entertain passengers relaxing in cool, cavernous departure halls – and the trains even run on time.

There is another bonus for users of this state-of-the-art rapid transport system: it is, in effect, free for the five million people of the Greek capital.

With no barriers to prevent free entry or exit to this impressive tube network, the good citizens of Athens are instead asked to ‘validate’ their tickets at honesty machines before boarding. Few bother.

Indeed, as well as not paying for their metro tickets, the people of Greece barely paid a penny of the underground’s £1.5 billion cost — which was funded by the international community in the lead-up to the 2004 Olympics.

* The average salary on Greece’s railways is £60,000, which includes cleaners and track workers.

* Greek shipping magnates are automatically exempt from tax, supposedly on account of the great benefits they bring the country. Yet the shipyards are empty; once employing 15,000, they now have less than 500 to service the once-mighty Greek shipping lines which, like the rest of the country, are in terminal decline.

* The Greek school system employs four times more teachers per pupil than Finland, the country with the highest-rated education system in Europe. However, parents still pay for tutors for their kids, and per one mother: “The teachers are hopeless — they seem to spend their time off sick.”

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Downtown Palm Springs is Dying

There are A LOT of empty boarded up buildings. I suspect the town’s core population is passing away and not enough younger people are moving in. Also, stereotypically Americans like to shop at new places, and I suspect that shoppers are going to the newer shopping centers on the outskirts of downtown, rather than older downtown.

On a weird side note, there’s an unusually high number of fancy steak restaurants downtown.

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U S Consumers Have More Mortgage/Credit Card Debt Today …

than they did 5 years ago. This scary stat is from the Wall Street Journal.

People – STOP spending money on sh*t. How about living within your means, or better yet… below it?

I just don’t get it. I have always lived below my means, even when I was at University and working up to 3 minimum wage jobs. If you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. Simple as that.

I know an older woman who doesn’t wanna work [so doesn’t], recently moved in with her daughter [cuz she has NO money], yet she has an i phone!

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BOOK: Trading Secrets [Buy-on-the-last-rate-cut Strategy]

20 Hard and Fast Rules to Help You Beat the Stock Market
By Simon Thompson.

I got this book from the library and kept putting it off to read. However, once I did start, I’m very glad I did. I HIGHLY recommend reading this if you are a trader of any sorts.

** This is part of a series of 13 posts during the month of June. **

Buy-on-the-last-rate-cut Strategy.

Buy the S&P once the Fed has signaled the end of the interest rate-cutting cycle and keep this position open until the first rate rise (ave of 15.7% gain).

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Gruene Hall

Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas is the oldest dance hall in Texas.

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BOOK: Trading Secrets [Q1 House Builder Effect]

20 Hard and Fast Rules to Help You Beat the Stock Market
By Simon Thompson.

I got this book from the library and kept putting it off to read.  However, once I did start, I’m very glad I did.  I HIGHLY recommend reading this if you are a trader of any sorts. 

** This is part of a series of 13 posts during the month of June. **

Q1 House Builder Effect [the author is in the UK].
At the beginning of the year, buy a selection of the UK’s largest house builders and hold them 3 months. Sell at the end of March. For the past 29 years, you would have made a profit 24 times (82%). The average gain is 10.7% which includes the down years!

The author states that as investors become aware of this phenomenon, they jump the gun and start buying in December to get even more gains.  This has been very profitable, too.

Unfortunately, the author doesn’t list the names/symbols of the largest house builders.

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Marlboro Smokers

According to Altria (the maker of Marlboro cigarettes) a Marlboro buyer makes an average of 10 trips per month to gas stations or convenience stores and spends $17 on each trip. 82% of these consumers buy beverages, 63% buy food, 56% buy gas and 36% buy lottery tickets.

Unsure what I find more fascinating: how many times a smoker goes to a 7/11 (why not buy in bulk?) or that when there, they blow more of their money on other crap.

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BOOK: Trading Secrets [Presidential Cycle Strategy]

20 Hard and Fast Rules to Help You Beat the Stock Market
By Simon Thompson.

I got this book from the library and kept putting it off to read. However, once I did start, I’m very glad I did. I HIGHLY recommend reading this if you are a trader of any sorts.

** This is part of a series of 13 posts during the month of June. **

Presidential Cycle Strategy
This has a 100% track record.

In the past 5 decades, the stock market has not once failed to rise in pre-election years. This is mainly due to the monetary and fiscal stimulus the economy gets ahead if the elections, which investors react favorably to.

Buy Dow/S&P index on January 1st of the 3rd year of the presidential cycle and keep the position open until the end of the year. Ave return is 17.9%.

The chance of losing money in the 4th year is minimal. In the past 10 cycles (40 years), there have only been 2 down 4th years. Ave return of (5%).

Then the author suggests a better strategy: buy on October 1st of the 2nd year. Hold until December 31st of the election year (27 months). For the last 14 cycles, the return has averaged 40%.

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