Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
And I now no longer endorse The Economist.
Sorry, after what is approaching a 12 year love affair with The Economist, my formerly beautiful fair maiden has gotten incredibly fat and ugly and taken a sharp turn to the left as of recent. With a new chief editor I, along with many others, have noticed this deterioration, but this is just plain unacceptable.
How a formerly great publication such as The Economist, based on simple laws of economics and freedom, has now come to support Obama, a socialist (and let there be no if, and, or's or but's about it), shows how there is no longer any intellectual honest or integrity left at the "rag" and they've simply become another member of the Main Stream Media, posing as some kind of intellectually unique publication.
I am now to believe, that all the charts, data and empirical evidence it has furnished over the years were in error? Were faulted? And their opposition to the corporate tax was wrong all this time? Free markets are NOT the way to go? Unfortunately for The Economist web sites such as the OECD, FRED Database and others provide us the information needed to develop and create our own opinions, making The Economist obsolete.
Of course, no doubt The Economist will see it's readership go up. It has abandoned its niche market of intelligent, intellectually honest men and women desperately seeking truth, opting to instead woo the masses by telling them what they want to hear. And if you think about it, that's only befitting.
It's the exact same thing Obama is doing.
Royo Girl - An intelligent and attractive criminology graduate who used to visit me in prison. Whether her interest is based on love or she is writing a thesis on my criminality is an open question. She's presently visiting me in England.
My first day began very early for me (given that I am usually eight hours behind the UK) when I got off the plane and made my way to the hotel. As Shaun couldn’t bother to get up before 10am, I had to linger around the hotel until he arrived in the late afternoon. I have to admit that it was worth the wait, though. Seeing Shaun in the lobby felt incredibly natural, as though we hadn’t missed a beat in the year we hadn’t seen each other let alone been on the same continent.
Shaun and I walked about central London taking pictures of all the typical touristy places. We took a few together and even held hands. Awww… On the way back to our room, some crazy Englishman decided it would be a great idea to get some champagne at the local Tesco for the night. And the rest of the night would follow with similarly intelligent, well-thought-out ideas.
A night of pub hopping seemed to be in order. My counterpart didn’t seem to have the same stamina for caffeine and alcohol on par with myself, allowing the stimulants to go straight to his head and providing me with seemingly endless hours of entertainment. When I would do a shot of tequila, Shaun would do a "shot" of Apple Pucker. You can only imagine what other girly drinks were ordered and by who! We went from pub to pub for five hours. It was quite a bit of walking I must admit, but I didn’t mind so much. The amount of whinging that came out of Shaun’s mouth, one would have thought he was wearing the heels. Bloody hell! It was a fantastic night out, though.
Day two was equally as exciting with my introduction to Mike Hotwheelz. Without a doubt, Mike is one of the wittiest, funniest, and cheekiest little sods I’ve ever met. He made walking down to Soho the experience of a lifetime. I will never forget his description of Shaun: “… the sketchiest little sissy I’ve ever met.” HAHAHAHAHA! I will probably laugh about that for months to come.
The three of us sat down for a nice Italian meal in Soho whilst we watched punks and drag queens meander around the streets. I listened to tales of wildness and deviancy and days gone by. The boys ate their pizzas and I my pasta before we made our way back to the tube station to meet my friend Astro.
The streets of Soho on a Saturday night are pure madness. After collecting Astro, the gang of now four miscreants travelled back to the pubs, clubs, and wackadoos. Along the way, we watched the narrow pathways become so overcrowded with countless bodies that a man toppled over the construction fence. Rest assured that the man saved his beer, just not himself or the fence.
Mr. Hotwheelz led us down a back alleyway to what would normally have been a nice, quiet little pub. However, on this night, it was overrun by loud, American NFL fans. To think that I flew halfway round the world to find myself surrounded by Americans. What are the odds? Our gang of four quickly became five as we picked up a 6’5”, deep-voiced American with an extremely large build originally from New Orleans now living in Prague. Needless almost to say, he was interesting and highly entertaining. Although he dwarfed everyone, it was pure comedy to watch the ginormous American chat with five-foot Astro.
The night ensued with banter, beer, and whatever fruity ciders Shaun could find. After the second pub, the American rejoined his NFL hooligan troops and we made our way to a quiet pub with cheap booze. More laughter and wild tales from the boys as Astro and I watched from across the table. Around eleven, we all separated and called it a night.
Our Sunday was what any Sunday should be, relaxing and wholesome. We took more touristy pictures and even sat in for part of a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Shaun and I hung around Piccadilly Circus waiting for my friend Genevieve to arrive from work. We sat at the footsteps of the fountain, watching people as they went by doing all the peculiar things that they do.
Genevieve finally arrived at Piccadilly and we made our way to the northeast of London. Shaun rode his first double-decker bus in two decades. It’s moments like that when it feels like I am part of Shaun rediscovering the world after his incarceration. I’m glad that I’m able to be part of something so completely innocuous at face value and yet so meaningful when you put it all into the bigger picture. People take too many of the little things for granted until it is all ripped away one day.
Shaun and I enjoyed a fantastic Indian meal with my friend and her husband of Mauritius descent. There was discussion of foreign films and cultural differences between the East and West and between the English and Americans. The night ended with us all feeling as full and happy as water buffalos, and Shaun and I travelling back to the hotel, where I desperately struggled to fall asleep before 3am. I look forward to continuing the story now from Widnes, which I swear sounds like weirdness when Shaun says it.
Shaun P. Attwood
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I have decided with my readership going up many thanks to Small Dead Animals, Instapundit and what have you, that it's about high time I get a cartoonist for your reading pleasure.
The job pays nothing and I can only promise about 2,000-4,000 hits a day, but if there are any aspiring cartoonists out there looking for a web site to get some exposure, I'd ask that you kindly consider Captain Capitalism.
Please e-mail me your cartoons if you are interested and send the link to anybody you think might have an interest.
Good evening all. The gracious Captain has asked me to make a few comments here. This is in the interest of cultural diversity; although the primary point of diversity between the Captain and I mostly amounts to a disagreement about what level of cynicism is an appropriate defense in the face of a nation that is taking on water rapidly.
I suppose if the Captain and I were on the Titanic, the nature of our disagreements would likely have been over which bottles of scotch to break open, and whether the string quartet should play something just a little more snappy.
As you might have gleaned, then, the diversity scrimmage line moves slowly around here.
What I present here tonight is anecdotal, yet powerful evidence that the economic party in the US is indeed over. We have not realized it yet, since we are at that phase of the party where we are still milling about in the halls, in the parking lot, looking for our cars, saying the goodbyes and perhaps attempting to achieve a little backseat romance. As we stand outside in the cool night air, we are mere hours away from the hangover, yet that has not crossed our minds yet.
The first exhibit is the most obvious. The luxuries to which we have become accustomed will be departing.
When Boomers ran out of cash, they financed their dreams. The U.S. household saving rate plunged to 2% of income in the 2000-2005 period, when Boomers were hitting their earning peak, from 10% during the early 1980s. Imposing McMansions sheltered occupants with five-figure credit-card balances, exotic balloon mortgages and V-8 powered sport-utility vehicles financed over five and six years, all adjuncts to a lifestyle that depended on cheap credit and cheap oil.
The boomers are good dreamers. Always have been. What they have had great difficulty with is accountability and responsibility. The topheavy demographic forces they have exerted have allowed them to live in a wonderland of their own creation, fueled by debt and under the cover of a cultural standard that they set. Any dissent was laughed away, it could not compete statistically with the dreams and delusions of the boomers.
They brought us the 'upscale' movement - nothing was ever good enough for their tastes. A profound sense of entitlement to material goods intersected with their appetite for luxury, the result being an amazing growth in a service and consumer economy.
Now to segue into the political.
This is all merely typical of the smug, cocksure Boomer Elite. This is a group that breaks things. It has set the wrecking ball to institutions that are the essential glue of our society (marriage and the family), the basis of our political system (federalism and the separation of powers), the engine of our prosperity (the free market), the guarantor of our freedom (the military), and the glory of our history (the , participatory democracy).
Although our Masters of the Universe insist we credit them as moral paragons, they are among the most luxury loving, wealth flaunting population ever seen in the world. Whenever a Hollywood celebutard mouths some perfect imbecility in front of a camera, it is sure to be done from a five star resort hotel or on the red carpet of one of those absurdly frequent self-congratulation festivals. The silk tie, moussed hair crowd on is no better.
This generation of Americans has treated itself to one unchallenged intellectual conceit after another for years. They are a blaring symphony of cognitive dissonance - claiming to be peace-loving, yet capable of violent protest. Living in freedom and disparaging the military who do the dirty work for them. Longing for leftist yet cowering behind self-created tax loopholes. They have attempted to collect the wealth of this nation in their private accounts even as they have run our nation ten trillion in debt; the payment of which will be deferred to their children as they step off the taxpayer treadmill by the hundreds of thousands in the coming years.
To be fair, they never realized the mess they were leaving behind for us.
It would be a mistake to assume that their destruction of our economy was the result of some malignant drive to wreak havoc.
Rather, is was their relentless pursuit of of material gain, and utter dismissal of all warnings that have led us here. Being cowards, they found it easier to convince themselves that their profligate ways were not harmful, indeed that they were actually helpful; this allowed them to totally disregard any thought that they would ever have to sacrifice anything.
The America that you younger citizens have grown up in was actually an anomaly. The boomers are leaving the party after drinking the best of the booze and only throwing in a few dollars for the tab. You get the leftovers and the bill. With interest.
But the story is not over quite yet. Because they went too far too soon. This collapse in the economy is going to pull them down with it. They didn't quite make it out the door before the collapse.
We will continue this line of thought next time.
The Mistrust Fund Kid
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Click here for Part 25.
It’s midnight, October 26th and I’m hunched over a desk in Room 606 at Club Quarters. Vacant skyscrapers in London’s financial district surround the hotel.
On the double bed is Royo Girl. She is writing her own account of the time we have spent together in London so far, and giggling impishly.
Royo Girl flew from Tucson, Arizona two days ago. On Friday afternoon, before alcohol had entered into the equation, we engaged in typical tourist activity. Holding hands along the River Thames. Asking foreigners to take pictures of us standing by Tower Bridge. Stopping for pizzas opposite St Paul’s Cathedral.
But as the night sky enveloped London, Royo Girl’s darker side began to emerge. She suggested a pub crawl. The rules: walk for twenty minutes then have a drink in the first pub we come across. I agreed. This worked well for a while. Walking. Relaxing over a glass of dry white. Walking some more.
Then Royo Girl changed the rules: walk for twenty minutes, enter a bar, chug a shot, and keep walking. In the face of severe protests from my calf muscles – we’d been walking for close to five hours – I agreed.
I rarely do shots, so to lighten my throat’s burden, I ordered fruity shots, such as Apple Pucker. Royo Girl ordered Hornitos, and ridiculed my “sissy” drinking habits.
Other than brief shot-chugging stops, we power-walked Central London until my legs almost gave out. We breezed through Leicester Square, Covent Gardens, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. We passed many a tube station, rickshaw, and bus stop, all of which I looked at longingly, but Royo Girl insisted we keep walking.
We didn’t get back to the hotel room until 2am. Despite all of the wine and shots, we’d walked so much we could barely feel the alcohol – a situation we decided to remedy in a hurry. We downed a few bottles of fizzy wine from the local Tesco’s.
I finally passed out at around 6am. But I was only asleep for a few hours. Unable to sleep, Royo Girl had turned the TV on, and was watching SpongeBob SquarePants with the volume raised to a level only surpassed by her drunken cackles.
Annoyed but lacking the energy to throw the TV off the sixth-floor balcony, I feigned sleep and waited for an opportune moment to make my move. I didn’t have to wait long. Hearing Royo Girl breathing softly in the manner of a sleeping person, I tiptoed to the TV.
No sooner had I turned SpongeBob SquarePants off than Royo Girl’s eyes sprung open like a vampire’s. “What are you doing to SpongeBob SquarePants?”
“Bugger SpongeBob SquarePants! I’ve turned the TV off so I can sleep.”
“But I need the TV on to fall asleep. You shouldn’t be angry at funny Spongebob ’cause you’ve got issues.”
“Got issues! Like the rest of the world, I can’t sleep with the TV on.”
“I always fall asleep with the TV on.”
“That’s not normal. It’s staying off if you want me to function tomorrow.”
It stayed off and we slept until 2pm.
On Saturday night we were joined in publand by a college friend of Royo Girl’s, Astro, a Caribbean French woman living in London, and my friend, Mike Hotwheelz, another Brit expelled from America after imprisonment for drug charges. We were probably the only two ex-criminals out on the town with two criminologists that night.
Pleasant and mild-mannered Astro contrasted with hyperactive sharp-witted Hotwheelz who regaled us with various amusing anecdotes.
On the subject of my propensity for fruity alcohol, Hotwheelz said, “Shaun you’re the sketchiest sissy I’ve ever met.”
Laughing hard, Royo Girl managed to add, “That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.”
A few pubs later we were joined by Jeremy, a New Orleans Saint’s fan, six-six, and built big. Jeremy spoke with military loudness and was wreathed in Mardi Gras necklaces. He tagged along until his crew of equally drunken and loud football fans sent out a search party for him.
We returned to our hotel earlier that night. In Room 606, watching horror movies made us peckish, so we ordered a delivery of burgers and Pinot Grigio.
Other than the SpongeBob SquarePants incident, Royo Girl has and continues to be lovely company. Being around her feels perfectly natural. I appreciate her intelligence, sense of humour and her random outbursts of feistiness when her blood alcohol level rises.
Coming next: Royo Girl’s version of our weekend in London, and more pictures
Monday, October 27, 2008
And the reason I have guilt is that I remember long ago the experiences that formed me and cut my teeth. And those experiences were putting myself through college, and not just college, but all living expenses, and doing so by working full time at the U of MN Police Department in their "campus cop" program WHILE ATTENDING SCHOOL FULL TIME and GRADUATING IN 3.5 YEARS.
I remember working over 120 hours in one Christmas week because not only would be get holiday pay (1.5 times) but if we'd get overtime on top of it, 2.25 times. This provided a perverse incentive at times to try to get 40 hours under your belt before midnight of Dec. 24th, and then try to work, if possible, all 48 hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to maximize your 2.25 time pay. Sleep deprivation was very common (and if you think I'm making this up, you may certainly feel free to contact any number of UMPD veterans from those days who will vouch for me).
I started at $6.90 and finished with an hourly wage of $9.10. Which means, at most I was making around $20 an hour. So even in my best year, I grossed $20,000 while in college.
Still, I managed ALL my tuition and ALL my living expenses.
Oh sure, you had to control the other side of the formula too; expenditures.
I remember renting a room for $179 a month. Shared a bathroom and a kitchen with a bunch of guys and nothing ever got cleaned. I remember bringing in a bottle of bleach to the bathroom, pouring it over the floor and the toilet and seeing it foam as it killed who knows what lethal biohazard. I remember only going to McDonald's four times in my days at college BECAUSE MCDONALD'S WAS TOO EXPENSIVE! And I remember not drinking until I was 21 because the concept of spending $5 a drink, not to mention the time wasted trying to chat up the Bambi Sociology majors at the bar, was an impossible waste of time.
Ergo, why I have very little pity for people who "claim" they're "poor" and "can't get out of it" but meanwhile manage to have children they can't support.
Regardless, today I obviously make more than $6.90 an hour. But it is because I make significantly more than $6.90 an hour that I often look back, in an ironic sense, fondly to my tortuous days at UMPD in that back then I damn well know I earned it. In other words, I feel like I'm getting soft. I'm getting weak.
Could I manage another 120 hour work week?
Could I patrol 50 miles on bike a night for 3 years straight?
Could I walk the 10 miles a night in 10 below zero temperatures as I did in my youth?
The primary point is I don't want to forget what I had to go through to get to where I am today. And it is because of that, that I recently started seeing the point in "fasting."
Fasting is largely a religious activity. Various religions have it for whatever purposes they may be, but I started thinking that it would be a damn good idea to see if I could live within my old (inflationary adjusted, of course) budget of $5 a day of discretionary spending for two weeks. ie- a "financial fasting."
While this was for my own personal purposes, when I got to thinking about it, in the context of the financial/housing debacle we have before us, I started seeing "financial fasting" as actually something the US and other western nations are in dire need of.
The world's largest economic crisis since the Great Depression has been brought about, quite simply, by people spending beyond their means. Fiscal discipline and austerity is never taught, and because the west has been so successful (well, until recently anyway) we've been able to get away with it. But if there was a financial fasting, an INTERNATIONAL HOLIDAY, where people spend an abysmally little amount just to see if they could do it, as well as remind them of how hard times can get, I think it would do a world of wonder for not only personal finances, but national finances as well.
Ergo, the Captain has decided to institute a new holiday, of which it is purely voluntary to participate in.
Starting October 31st, people will have to live on less than $5 a day discretionary spending for two weeks (discretionary meaning outside the mortgage, car payment and various utility bills).
It will be called "The Financial Fasting."
You will have to buy booze at the liquor store and drink at home.
You will have to borrow movies instead of going out to watch them in the $12 per ticket theaters.
You will have to cut back on heat and wear sweaters.
You will have to eat bagels at home instead of going out.
You will have to spend time with family and loved ones to be entertained and engage in that long lost art of "engaging conversation" to derive utility from this time.
It is a period of where we test ourselves and our ability to get by on the bare essentials and, dare I say it, find out what's really important in life beyond consumption and spending.
And then, two weeks later, on November 13th at the midnight switching over to the 14th, there will be a grand celebration where you can then spend the money you've saved over the two weeks on something glorious and glamorous. There will be excessive mirth. High end dinners. Gaiety. Men can buy that plasma screen TV they always wanted. Ladies can buy that new dress they always wanted. And of course (since I am the founder of this holiday and can therefore dictate the rules) the Captain mandates French Maid outfits for all the ladies (if you don't like the rules, then make your own holiday!)
Of course, the reason I set the fasting date on October 31st, is because I am damn well going to see the new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace which comes out on the 14th, so truth be known, that's why it starts on October 31st.
Regardless, that doesn't change how serious I am about this holiday, nor the immense good it could potentially do. Therefore, if you find this a good idea, as no doubt some of you do, forward this onto your various friends and colleagues.
Remember, October 31st! You fast. 2 weeks. $75 bucks. No more.
The Captain will participate.
Based on the responses I have received from the various reading public I have decided to institute the following rules;
1. The $75 should be for each person, not per family. So if you have a spouse and a child, you will have...$225 (if I did the math right???)
2. Yes, you can fill up your gas tank before Oct. 31st. Or you can bike it.
3. The $75 applies to DISCRETIONARY expenditures. ie- Things that are already not set in stone. So if you have a car payment or students loans, etc. those are exempt. I'm talking stuff you DON'T have to pay. If you can live off of $5 a day, then you have traveled the "path o' the Captain."
4. A reminder or perhaps better stated, a bit of information I left out. Starvation is certainly par for the course. I was, WAS, 145 pounds when I was a senior in high school. It wasn't until I was a sophomore in college that I was at a party and there was a scale at the house the party was at where I weighed myself on it and found myself to be 118 pounds.
Sarcasm set aside, it is things like that, that make me remember what it was like to be poor and to ensure myself I don't forget it.
What a bummer.
They keep getting in the way of hope and change don't they?
I mean, can't those evil meanie right wingers just let us be without pestering us with those damn facts?
You see, my professor told me everything is relative. It is my perception of reality that is my own reality, ergo, whatever I believe is my reality.
Now you're messing with my reality where the reason I'm poor is not because I majored in a worthless subject or never graduated from high school or had 3 kids before I was 17, but because evil rich people constantly oppress me and keep me down. That and my reality that Obama is going to save us all...though he really hasn't detailed how, but that doesn't matter. My reality, the only one that matters is he will because I want to believe that.
Now you get out of here with those damn statistics and facts and start putting up the ones I want. My parents always got me what I wanted when I was a kid and the government and public schools told me it was never my fault unless something good happened. And let me live in my own reality!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Dr. King Banaian, the economics chair at St. Cloud State's economics department has come out with a book very recently and it is some high end economic analytical stuff.
Jane Van Ryan, another friend of mine has written a book about an Evelyn Hazen, but long story short, it's one of the best soap opera/dramas, but more importantly it's true. Story of a guy who led a girl on for 15 years and she inevitably sued him and won.
And finally, there's Marty Andrade. He wrote a short piece on burger joints in the Twin Cities. If you happen to find yourself in the Twin Cities area and want a good burger, this is your guide.
Oh, but wait, we're not going to hear that from the leftists or the brainwashed masses are we? Because that doesn't fit the script, does it?
Or, wait. Let me guess. A specialty of leftists everywhere when reality doesn't conform to the script; conspiracy theories.
ie-"Well, they're just lowering prices before the election."
Am I right?
Why did I waste $9 to see Bangkok Dangerous? Here I was thinking it was going to be something really great and all it was, was a hit man hitting a midlife crisis. I then watched a 2 hour soap opera occasionally interrupted with an occasional sniper shot.
Then I see Hitman. Not expecting much. Just kind of a mindless hit man movie. Infinitely better than Bangkok Dangerous. And it gets me back to a theory I have. Those in power in Hollywood are no longer interested in making straight shot, good guy, bad guy movies. They have abandoned the traditional script to go with movies that do not tell as story, but instead go out of their way to be different.
Cohen Brothers got an Oscar.
Need I say more?
There will be a split as the 60's generation continue to pat themselves on their backs and award themselves awards for movies that the rest of the population couldn't care less about (W.) And while the market goes one way, more and more weight will be given to reviews by FHM, bloggers and so forth as they actually respond to the real world and Oscar/Academy people respond to themselves.
I don't know how many times I've had liberals yelling and shouting and at times crying when I'm debating them. Meanwhile, I'm just sitting there, completely indifferent to the data I have.
You have to understand, I am very cold and unemotional about economics and politics. I have no agenda. All I do is look at the facts and decide my ideology from that. Liberals and leftists decide their ideology FIRST and then try to find "facts" to support it.
Guess whose ideology always wins in the end.
Friday, October 24, 2008
However, the largest protest or complaint I received were from Obama supporters who insisted there was NO WAY corporate taxes in the US was 40%.
I don't know how else to put this, but;
You really and genuinely do NOT know what you're talking about?
You have never ever bothered to look up the facts first before forming political opinions, and hypocritically not only vote, but insist others vote based on these foundationless opinions?
I don't know what else to say. It's like arguing with a 3 year old child when you argue with a liberal. And I say that not to be mean or derogatory, but you guys are just plain, flat out are wrong and uninformed.
You HAVE to understand it is NOT a matter of opinion. I am talking about things that are matter of fact. Things that should have no emotion, or philosophy or feelings about it. Things I, and other conservative/capitalists point out are not our "opinion" they are facts. And it is angering, at minimum frustrating when we say something like "the sky is blue" and you say, "no it isn't. You're a racist!"
So, here it is you morons. You uneducated automatons. CORPORATE TAX RATES IN THE US ARE 40 FREAKING %.
HOW MUCH CLEARER CAN I POSSIBLY MAKE IT?
Are you F#CKING kidding me????!!!!!
The message may be tarnished because he smokes a god damned cigarette?
How out of f#cking out of touch are you in the media? The guy is in a god damned POW camp, all shot up in the 1960's and he dares to have a cigarette?!
What gets me, what really effing gets me, is how they completely miss the forest from the trees on this one. Here is John McCain, a genuine WAR FREAKING HERO, on his back, defending America and the media thinks, actually believes the fact he has a cigarette is going to have a political effect? That it's not that he's a real man more than Obama could ever be, a patriot captured by the enemy, a man who has seen some pretty rough times and can relate to more of us than any elite leftist poser could, no, it's the fact he smokes a cigarette.
And you MSM types wonder why your industry is at an end. You are the bona fide epitome of the word; IDIOTS
Thursday, October 23, 2008
For those of you not familiar with Twin Cities geography, allow me to lay out the Twin Cities metro to you.
In the center you have two major cities;
Bar “pockets of resistance” such as
The northern suburbs are predominantly blue collar. The running joke in the Twin Cities is if you are in
The eastern metro is filled with farms and ranches and apple orchards, with epicenters of limousine liberal smugness manifesting themselves in the forms of trinket/antique shopping towns like
The south is kind of a hodgepodge of varied sorts, but you’re generally solid white collar.
But the west…ohhhhh, the west. Let me tell you about the west.
For directly west there is a lake called
Every bit of lakeshore has a mansion on it that can compete with any other mansion throughout the world. You can go to various bars along the lake and see nothing but Beamers, Mercedes, Ferraris, and Lotuses being valet parked for their owners. You can see boats that are just as big as what they have on the
Naturally, if you’re a normal hard working Joe, this is a foreign world to you. A world of peppered hair investment banking types ordering $15 martini’s. A world where trophy wives drive their Lexus SUV’s to the local towns at 11AM to meet their trophy comrades because they don’t have to work. A world where 17 year old high school kids have nicer cars than you’ve ever had. It is a world you just can’t relate to. But I have a dirty little suspicion about this world, and that suspicion is it’s like the “Barbie Girl” in the “Barbie World”;
But it’s made of plastic.
What first aroused my suspicion to this ultra-elite world is when working in banking I would get an inordinate amount of real estate developers who claimed residency in the area. In my book I regale the story of a man I called “Zorba the Swede” who I titled such because he was always super tan when he came into the bank, even in January. Minnesotans do not pull off that “Greek guy in a speedo with a lot of chest hair” tan in January (let alone July). But this guy did and he hailed from Wayzata (the capitol of this elite area). Regardless, it was the likes of Zorba and his ilk and their uncanny ability to reside in the
Most of them showed losses.
It seemed odd to me that if you showed losses on your tax returns that you could somehow live in the
But the excuse I received was universally the same;
“Oh, Zorba made money, he was just trying to low his tax bill by showing losses. But rest assured he was a very successful real estate developer/surgeon/businessman, which is why he needed an emergency $4 million loan this afternoon. You understand of course, it’s just business.”
Funny thing was I never understood.
I understood they weren’t making money. I understood they had overleveraged themselves into property that would never sell. I understood there was a housing crash coming. And I understood that even if they had $30 million in assets, if they had $35 million in debts, they were insolvent. But I never understood how somebody who was LOSING money could afford a $10 million mansion on
Time would go on and sure enough there was no limit to the number of “Zorba’s” out there. Real estate developers. Non-descript businessmen. Investment brokers. All showing losses. None posting profits. But invariably all living in the fanciest zip codes money could buy.
But as the housing crash started its decline, it was interesting to see how many of these “super-successful” business men failed to provide their most current tax return. Or their most up to date personal financial statement. Or just give us projections or estimates of what their current financial situation was. They would hem and haw, and ultimately balk, but according to my supervisors;
“Well, they’re very successful men. They are so busy making money, they don’t have time to get their tax returns in on time. That’s why they always file extensions.”
Funny, I never understood that either.
In any case, what I suspected ultimately proved to be true. The majority of these “super successful business men” were in short nothing but financial deadbeats. Losers who couldn’t even manage a lemonade stand to profitability. Inferior little middle-aged brats who didn’t have the guts, nor the aptitude, nor the intelligence, nor the skill to genuinely work up the wealth they farcically paraded around. And some were so egregious in their financial masquerading they begat the attention of their friendly neighborhood federal investigators;.
Adam LaFavre once the darling of real estate circles is under investigation for a litany of things.
Michael Parish of Parish Development plead guilty to a $50 million strawbuyer and fraud scheme.
And Bruce Nedegaard, convicted felon, turned real estate mogul, who, tragically died of cancer before he could be sentenced for fraud, tax evasion and a whole host of other no-no’s.
But just three men do not make the 50,000 or so
Three events or observations have piqued my suspicion.
First was last week when it was a rare beautiful October day, I decided to take my motorcycle (that’s right ladies, the Captain is a bad boy) and cruise around the 98 miles of shoreline on
Second was a story told to me by an acquaintance who lives in the area about a young, budding socialite couple who live in the area and live in one of the nicer houses. However, they actually don’t own the $5 million home. It is owned by the mother in law who lets them live there RENT FREE as if they were a 20 year old college couple trying to pay for tuition. Worse still, the “business” the husband runs is perpetually losing money and needs a constant cash infusion from the mother in law. Meanwhile they drive around in nothing but the finest luxury cars and SUV’s while wining and dining at the local restaurants where drinks are $10 a shot. Fine, the house may not be up for sale, but how many live-in-my-mom’s-basement-at-the-age-of-40 “successful” investment bankers are there? I want that set up.
And finally was the now disgraced Tom Petters. Multi-billion dollar business mogul who lived in Wayzata and was recently paid a visit by the local, state and federal law enforcement representatives who were quite insistent he come with them. Posing as only a poser could, he was heralded by scores of magazines and newspapers as a “super successful” businessman (who no doubt had trouble getting his tax returns in on time too), only to turn out to be crook who defrauded billions from his victims. However, it was not his arrest that crystallized by suspicion into an outright thought, but that he had a magazine called “Lake Minnetonka Magazine.”
I saw the magazine once and it reminded me of the time I was invited to one of the “popular kids” parties back in high school. Shocking as this may be, I was nerd back in 1991, and for me to be invited to this party sounded more like a set up than anything else. It turned out to be a genuine invite by one of the nicer popular kids, but when I got there, instead of this wild crazy party with the cheerleaders running around topless, all it was, was the cheerleaders watching a video of themselves cheering at a recent football game and the jocks watching the same. All they were doing was watching themselves on the VCR. It was the most boring party I had ever been to and I remember leaving only after 10 minutes to go play some Dungeons and Dragons with my friends.
Regardless, the point was this magazine was the exact same thing. A “hurrah for us” fest. A magazine where a bunch of people read about themselves and the parties they went to. It was nothing but them masturbating over themselves. Articles about “Joe Schmoe and Jane Jones-Schmoe (note the hyphenated name) hanging out with real estate tycoon Bob Bobson and his Minnesota Viking’s cheerleader Bambi Bames as they discuss which boat they’re going to buy.” Or “banking heiress Jessica Johnson and some friends party it up at the local club – rumor is she is dating star investment banker and most eligible bachelor, Lance Winthrop!”
It was all of the observations mentioned above, combined with the fakeness of this magazine (not to mention the owner himself was now proven to be a deadbeat) that made me think it wasn’t just a few bad apples in Minnesota’s most elite neighborhood, but that something closer to 25-33% of the population were indeed posers.
Now, admittedly you cannot get rid of nepotism. Undeserving people will inherit the fortune their parents worked up. But what angers me the most about this is the attitude these elites have. I’m not talking about me being jealous or envious, I’m talking about the hypocrisy these people have. It’s one thing to build up an empire from scratch, buy a mansion and drive your Lotus around and live the jet set lifestyle. You earned it. You deserved it. You produced wealth and earned so much money, not to mention employed people along the way that you deserve to sit on the docks of
But if you are what I estimate to be that 25-33% of losers who just inherited it, or borrowed it, or worse, just stole it, not only should you have shame, you should be taken to a back alley and have every undeserved penny beaten out of you. Not because you have it (however you may have gotten it), but because of your insistence that like all the other subprime deadbeats, thieving bankers and other entitlement princes and princesses out there, that you’re ENTITLED to it. And what’s really goading is when you flaunt it.
The dead beat, live at home, son in law who isn’t man enough to make a profit to support himself and has to live off of his mother in law driving a luxury car? Back alley with a baseball bat.
Partying it up living off of embezzled funds, posing as some big time hot shot “businessman” with $40 million in assets and $50 million in debts soon to be bailed out by the taxpayer as you throw the economy into recession? Back alley with a baseball bat.
And Tom Petters with his house he owned (well, “he” never really owned it);
Back alley with a baseball bat, broken glass, rubbing alcohol and a blowtorch.
Now I’ve said it before and I will say it again, because I think those of us who work for a living, who manage to spend within our means, only to bail out financial deadbeats like these, really need to hear it (since it’s only true)
We are better people than you.
We don’t pose, we’re legitimate.
We don’t steal, parasite, inherit then flaunt, or borrow with no intention of paying back, we earn.
We are the ones who make this country and any other country great. And while you may have your Beamers and your
""[O]nce a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader — the barbarians enter Rome."
Robert A. Heinlein (Courtesy of The Corner @ NRO)"
ht to Alfred Mahan
Regardless, here is the point people;
It is in teaching the population and educating them about the basics of economics that you could have a democracy that would be forever lasting, or at least not befelled by human's natural desire for greed and tendency to put themselves ahead of others. It is economics that is the key to making a nation great. If the people understand why you can't just go a file for bankruptcy and why instead of majoring in cosmetology you should instead major in chemical engineering, then wealth will be produced and poverty eliminated to such an extent it would rival the olden days of the US. I write about it in further detail in my book, but also plan on making a post along the lines that inevitably as science disproves various traditional religions wrong, for moral and spiritual guidance, people will turn more and more to economics as it is the laws of economics that ultimately govern our behaviors. And if the study of economics can be mastered by the masses, there would be an unbelievable advance and enrichment of society.
Of course people would have to quit believing in worthless socialist drivel such as "hope" and "change," but, even despite the naivety of spoiled brat Obasming American leftists, I think most people when given the choice;
"A pathetic government financed existence of mediocrity standing in bread like circa 1970's Russia"
"A Bermudian level of capitalism and $80,000 per capita GDP."
Will come around to the "new" religion.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Beside which it entails stories of Jennifer Aniston, IRS investigations, a heroic capitalist underdog hero fighting the forever blurring forces of nepotism and socialism and a plot that is continually unfolding. How can you NOT buy the book?
1. Younger than me.
2. Not as informed as I am about economics.
And the reason I say this (and I mean this in a non-derogatory manner) is he is suffering from what I deem a lot of youth are suffering from and that is ignorance when it comes to basic economics. He has an identity complex.
First off, let me state that I am a HUGE EFFING FAN of Sinfest.
And "HUGE EFFING FAN" is the highest rating one can achieve in the Captain Capitalism hierarchy of rankhood.
Tatsuya is smart, he is brilliant, and if one were to test his IQ, there is no doubt in my mind it would exceed 130 points.
The problem is he is misinformed, and like most other youth, have no idea what they're talking about when they discuss the difference between capitalism and communism.
To those of us intricately trained in the differences between the two ideologies, his two latest comics;
show, quite clearly, that he has his heart in the right place, but plainly lacks the basic understanding of the basic tenets and principles/differences between capitalism and communism.
I mean this not in a jest or ha ha way, but a serious way. How many younger folk out there are unable to make that vitally important discernation between capitalism and communism, and (scarier still) vote on these misinformed, faulty premises?
It's almost as if their natural survivalist/darwinian instincts know what is "bad" and can easily identify it, but they're so easily taken in by the (nothing short of) B freaking S that is known as the false promises of socialism, that they propagate it.
Regardless, Tatsuya has provided me some much needed humor and mirth in a life that would otherwise be quite depressing, but I wonder that if Ishida had any formal training in the basics of economics...could he not be the one...the one that would bring balance to the force???
Ah! Who am I kidding? I'm the one. I'm the one that will bring balance to the force. That or the realities of economics, which *by definition* REALITIES of economics, more or less "forces" us all to adhere to, no matter how much we disagree with "realities."
Damn realities....You mean Obama won't guarantee I get a pony?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Oh how foolish I was. For upon finding the pinnacle source of economic data, I find out you have to pay for the "honor" to have what should with no exception be PUBLICLY AVAILABLE AND FREE DATA!
Is it possible, is it just freaking possible, to have governments in the western world, please act like you actually serve the people and not the other way around? Is it possible to have you little power hungry, impotent bureaucrats not act like a totalitarian dictatorship, and instead of this petty extortion for data that should be made available to the public for free, please at least FEIGN like you're here to serve the people.
I know this may sound like a minor grievance, but for Christ's sake, are you joking me? You're going to charge for data that not only should every Canadian citizen have the right to know for free, but can easily be found on the OECD for free?
To Statcan (and I mean this sincerely);
Go f#ck yourselves!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Is Oliver Stone's movie any different, except it's for the Cialis crowd?
I ask this as a serious question, would anybody but a Baby Boomer go see this? And perhaps the question needs refining, because not all Baby Boomers have no lives. Some of them have moved on and done something productive. Ergo;
Would any NON-burnt out hippie-loser-recreate-1968 Baby Boomer see this movie?
I've heard of Oliver Stone, I know he made some movies, but you know, the best movie I've seen in a while has been Hitman, and since then, Die Hard. Oliver Stone directed neither. And while I know those in control in Hollywood are the old guard of burnt out blunts, and somehow think this is a great film (or at least worth pissing away millions in advertising) couldn't you burn outs just have forwarded a couple e-mails to tell the other 250 '68 Re-enactor nerds that there was this really cool movie coming out and instead spent the millions on a charitable cause or create a college fund or something?
Just throwing it out there.
Seriously, what compelled anybody to think this was a movie? This shows you just how out of touch people are in Hollywood where "W" is somehow considered a viable movie. GW isn't even out of office yet. GW, aside from invading Iraq, is in reality a really milquetoast president. He is not Teddy Roosevelt. He is not George Washington. He is not a compelling figure. Ergo, the fact a movie was made about him was more a testament to those who wanted to make/watch a movie about him, which is frankly pathetic.
Seriously, it's like a generational version of a family forcing guests to sit down and watch home videos of a family's trip somewhere or another that nobody cares to watch. Worse still is the host doesn't realize nobody gives a damn but them or about the stupid movie.
Regardless, though I disagree with practically everything Obama stands for, if there is one shred of silver lining about the Obama campaign is that it does signal "change" in that the old guard of crappy 70's. 80's, 90's and 00's Boomer dramas is beginning to end. That Oliver Stone's movies will soon be relegated to being shown in nursing homes.
In the meantime the rest of the conscious world will be watching Iron Man or Hitman or the latest James Bond flick.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Yeah, that about sums up what real change Obama will bring to America. About as much success as "Live 8" did for Africa.
Time to mock sociology majors
How I listened to authority back then and how I still do to this day
How the Captain Proposes to a Girl
I love it when suburbanite chicks compare carat sizes
How the Captain would speak freely if he could in these socialist states of America
My Dad was a pastor. This is how I will run a church if I ever get one.
Why I'm a carry conceal permit holder
This is how true conservatives think. Not your namby pamby peace studies majors who want to make themselves feel good by going to a third world country to effectively do nothing.
My view on children.
And finally, why I gave up on Christianity, because it was too hard to believe on the little Sinai Peninsula Moses got lost for 40 years.
Anyway, as my suspicions proved correct (which they normally do), "Flo" from the Progressive commercials is indeed hot and no less than 81% of the men found her attractive. And when I say "found her attractive" I am understating what they said. Comments were more along the lines of "oh my god, something or other about breaking her name tag."
Once again my charting skills, economic skills and being able to identify hot babe skills have advanced society by proving Flo is indeed a hottie. Now go buy my book!!!!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
And if we are to be intellectually honest, this is a failure of capitalism, but it doesn't mean it's broke. This is part of capitalism. People and companies who do stupid things get wiped out. The bailing out of these deadbeat losers is purely socialist in nature.
That being said, I know those of you on the left love to see capitalism "at its worst." Which this is.
Of course it pales into comparison to communism at its worst, which last I recall was what, 100 million people dead?
Just wanted to put things in perspective.
There is a raging debate in the Captain's social circles about whether she is hot or not.
There are two adamant camps;
Camp 1. Flo is a floosy dumbass bimbo etc. etc., makes men happy, blah blah blah, I hate her blah blah blah, stupid byatch blah blah blah, probably does what makes men happy, blah blah blah slut blah blah blah.
Camp 2. Oh my freaking god, get her into the June Ward apron and heels and nothing else NOW and I will so violate all my morals and integrity to do whatever I can to her.
I am unashamedly in camp #2.
I'm sorry, she is freaking hot. That vintage 1950's lipstick and raven haired beauty had me at "hello."
Now I get guff for this because my colleagues think she is nothing spectacular. That I am a freak for longing to have her in a "manly fashion" in that corporate closet (oh yeah, you know the one I mean, the one nobody checks on and has no files in it but is still on corporate grounds).
Regardless, anybody else out there with me here on this one?
In the meantime, BUY MY BOOK! DO IT NOW!!! Flo would SOOOOO endorse my book!
The chart above I like because it shows you even if your country is growing at 10-12% RGDP per year, housing prices can still go down relative to incomes. And not only that, could you imagine if housing went from where it is today (indexed at 105) to where China and Japan are (indexed at 65). A near 40% drop FROM TODAY'S PRICES.
Again, if you want your assets to have value, heck if you want the country to have value, you have to (I'm sorry) PRODUCE SOMETHING OF VALUE!
Never mind, nobody listens to me. Heck, how about instead of being a cold-hearted, reality spewing economist, I capitulate, become a politician, and tell people what they want to hear?
I promise warm fuzzies for everyone as we major in peace studies and vote for hope and change! If we care, social security will solve itself! Yea for us! We exist! YEA!!!!!!
Alas, the liberal, Stephan Dion, now gets to face a leftist's worst fear;
WORKING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR!!!
But I don't want to contribute to GDP daddy!!!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Now for whatever reason it may be, dance tends to attract more women than men and over the years, I've of course befriended several female students. They vary in ages anywhere from 24 to 60, but the one common trait they have is they are typically (though not always) single. And while not always, most of them took dance class half incented to perhaps find a guy.
But what is becoming a more frequent phenomenon is a question these girls ask;
"Where are all the guys?"
I never paid much attention to this, as it has always been the case that men just eschew dance classes, but it wasn't until an older dance student of mine perhaps refined the question a bit and made it more pointed. It wasn't so much "Where are all the guys," as much as it was;
"I just get the feeling there aren't any men anymore. Not just in dance class, but where are all the men from all the various social activities? They make up half the population, but I can't find any single guys to date. They can't all be married, even my female friends are running into this mysterious disappearance of men. Do they like stop trying after a while and just stay home?"
And that's when I realized what she was asking.
"Do you mean, do men give up and don't bother trying to find women any more?" I clarified.
She said, "Yes. So do they?"
"Yes" I answered.
She was somewhat surprised at my response. She said, "so they just give up? They don't go out anymore? Don't they want to find somebody? Anybody?!"
"Yeah, more or less."
"That's crazy! How do they ever expect to find anybody?"
I replied, "Well...they don't."
Regardless, the point was her reaction surprised me in return to see this was that shocking of a revelation to her. I always thought it was kind of common knowledge, men do indeed give up after a while, but apparently it's not. So allow me to explain.
I don't know when precisely it is, nor is it the same for every guy, but inevitably guys in a sense "burn out." Consider it a staged rocket and as the last vestiges of fuel burn out of the booster, it slowly disengages and disintegrates as it plummets back to Earth. Many things can burn out the fuel;
Divorce and the loss of one's assets
Personal finances/loss of job
Or just plain bad dating experiences (your beloved captain has had suicide threats, gotten punched for refusing a girl sex and unknowingly dated a married woman for three months...you get the idea).
But what ultimately results in the decision to exit the market is more of an economic decision. It is the realization that as you have less and less remaining life you have to make surer and surer bets as to how to spend your time. It's no different than switching from equities to bonds as you approach retirement. Ergo, whereas when you were 18 you would stay at a party all night in the hopes of getting a girl's phone number, when you're 25 you start to think about working instead of partying, and by the time you're 30, you rarely go to clubs, dance halls, bars opting instead to play video games at home or read a book or put some more hours in at the office.
The reason is the expected rate of return of your precious, finite, and perpetually dwindling time. If you go out, hot as you may be when you're 18, you have little to no control over succeeding in getting a girl's number or a date. And as experience will tell you it's a 1/20 shot you will succeed, and that's assuming you have good game. All in all, I would estimate most 20 somethings waste an equivalent to 4 full years of full time work chasing girls to relatively little avail. A significant opportunity cost.
The X-Box 360 on the other hand is a guaranteed rate of return.
Working a couple more hours at work, is a guaranteed rate of return.
Even something as simple as lighting up a cigar with your friends and having a good scotch is a guaranteed rate of return.
And dare the Captain admit he enjoys writing for you honyakers and conversing with you as it is a guaranteed rate of return?
And this is what progressively more and more men turn to as they get older. Now I can certainly see the case where a man gets divorced multiple times, losing 50% of his assets each time as it would accelerate the burning the fuel, but this phenomenon goes beyond married and divorced men. This is merely anecdotal and I'd certainly be welcoming of any other guys out there who have noticed this, but whereas all of 10 years ago nearly 100% of my male friends were looking for a wife, now I think in my group of friends less than 25% of them are, none of which have ever been married all of which are under 45. The rationale is it was too burdensome to go out on the "prowl." The idea of paying a cover to go to a club to yell at some stranger over loud music while paying $10 for parking and having to hike 10 blocks in DT Minneapolis is not appealing.
Going to the local sports bar to feign interest in "Brandi" as she talks about the latest issue of People Magazine or American Idol pales in comparison to shooting Nazi's online with your video gaming buds.
And wasting the hour setting up a Match.com profile because your friend gifted you a free month subscription and swore you'd meet chicks is nowhere near as fun as talking politics over a cigar and scotch with intellectual friends (and I want that hour of my life back by the way Jeff!).
Ergo (and again, this is just what I've personally observed) there is a (dare I say) mass exodus of men out of the dating market and into their own little bachelor worlds and this may go a long way in explaining why you don't really see us out there.
Now again, this is just what I've observed and has been seemingly corroborated by the experiences of many different women I've ran into, but we could be wrong. But I would be very curious of any junior, deputy, official or otherwise bachelor economists out there have seen the same thing.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Regardless, it is the abandonment of dividends for capital gains to finance our retirements that has resulted in a bubble. And even in using the dividend yield (dividends divided by price), the picture painted is much worse. Stocks, even with the crash in the past two weeks are still overvalued based on the only thing that matters; dividends. We're still not even close to the historical average dividend yield of 5%. Ergo, why buy stocks now?
Of course in light of today's 600+ point rally, people are suggesting I have egg on my face and that the bottom has indeed been reached (no doubt from hence forth stocks will perpetually go onward and upward as Obama will be elected and we'll all have warm financial fuzzies). But allow me to point out two minor things;
1. What if all the increase in stock prices for the past 30 years was due to cash flowing into the stock market from retirement plans, not necessarily because those stocks were good investments making them fundamentally overvalued.
2. What do you suppose will happen to stock prices if not only Obama is elected, but the democrats get a veto proof majority?
Enjoy your cute little rally.
I'm not a big fan of Sarah Palin, nor this election, thus why I rarely comment on it. But I just have three questions;
1. What if this was a group of people with shirts saying "Obama's a (Fill In your racial epitaph here)________? Would not the MSM parade that on their front pages?
2. WTF is it with the visceral hatred for Sarah Palin? My sister, who is a rather rational individual even loathes her. WHY? I want a sane liberal/leftist to explain to me, LOGICIALLY (not emotionally) why I should have such hatred for this woman who as far as I can tell is most similar to the American populous, at least more similar than any senator or career politician. I'm willing to hear it and have it explained to me, but the logic I'm seeing is that "Well she a c#nt because she's a c@nt!"
3. This is an observation I've had, and I mean this sincerely. This is not sarcasm nor a slight, it is something I've noticed, a scientific observation that I am genuinely curious about and would welcome reasoned commentary. Far leftists seem to be less attractive, plain and simple. I look at people driving cars with Obama stickers and while there are certainly some hotties or handsomes, on average they are nowhere near as attractive as the average McCain bumper sticker. Additionally the men pictured above just have that "I've never thrown a punch or gotten in a fight nor swept a woman off her feet, but I'm really good at Dungeons and Dragons" kind of look.
I only ask these questions, because I sincerely believe the answer to the differences between the right and left are exemplified in visual form here. I just can't articulate the thought or connect/complete the theory or rationale. Something about that picture, the way those imbeciles look, the ignorant and inexplicable hatred they have (and aside that, it behooves the question, do you derive some kind of utility from wearing shirts like that- behooving yet another question, how pathetic are our lives that this is what you do with it?)