Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Buddy

This past weekend I celebrated the birthday of my cat Manhattan.

I adopted her from a small west side animal shelter when she was nine, and she is now 16 years old. That is 80-84 in human years (depending on the calculator that you use).

I am constantly telling her stories of English cats that have lived to be well over 30 years old. I think she is starting to believe me.

For this big milestone, I bought her a big tub of fresh Cosmic catnip, a Maryland crab cake and a brand new navy blue Daba Doo cat bed. She did me the honor of not leaving the bed (except to eat and stretch her legs) for almost three days straight.

Money well spent.

There is nothing I would not do for her. She is my charge, and I will take good care of her as long as she needs me.

If you are thinking of getting a pet, I highly recommend adopting an animal from your local shelter. There are so many incredible cats and dogs that simply need a good home and someone to care about them.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cash and Carry

I don't normally cheer on Republicans, but Donny Manzullo really went to town in this clip.

Who says C-Span is boring?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Suicide is Pointless

This past weekend I attended the memorial service of a young man who died well before his time. I say this, because he took his own life in the last few days of February in his NYC apartment. He was 41 years old.

His name was Christopher, and I did not know him well. In fact, I never would have attended his service had I not been the guest of someone he had gone to school with. I don't really want to say more on this subject, for fear of revealing his full identity.

Despite the fact that Chris came from a strong Roman Catholic Italian family, he was unable to have a proper service in the Catholic Church because he took his own life. Apparently some residents of Vatican City are in fact without sin, and fond of throwing stones.

Instead his modest service was held in a Queens funeral home, presided over by a kind-faced Irish priest whose soft words and sharp accent lent a small sense of peace to a deeply troubled group of mourners.

I was most likely the most detached member of the audience, as I only had the pleasure of meeting Chris once by chance on a NYC street corner. However, there was something about him that I liked immediately.

He was politically right wing, which is normally not my cup of tea. However, he was an aspiring film-maker and full of enthusiasm. If you have spent some time in the film business, you understand how difficult it is to keep up that level of energy and optimism. On top of that, he had done many things in his life. He had served in the military, and he had a master's degree in journalism.

As I sat there, in the back row of the small funeral home, I was struck by the utter senselessness of it all. Chris' father had died a few years ago from cancer, but his mother, sister and two brothers sat up front listening closely to the priest. They were all clearly devastated, but it was his older brother that was taking it the hardest. With almost every mention of his baby brother, his body shuttered violently and tears streamed down his face.

I am an only child, but I can imagine what he must have been feeling. This was his little brother. He was supposed to protect him and look out for him. Why had he not seen the signs? What more could he have done?

Before the service I got a chance to briefly speak with his sister. She told me, "Chris had his moments of depression and sadness, but who doesn't?" "We would have done anything for him."

There are cases where depression can be purely chemical and not situational. This is by far the most dangerous form it can take. I have only experienced that type of depression once, several years ago, as a withdrawal symptom from a prescribed drug I was coming off. Fortunately for me, the chemical darkness completely lifted as quickly as it came eight days earlier.

I will never minimize that type of depression as long as I live. It is extremely dark and scary, but most of all there is little one can do about it without help of some kind.

I am not sure exactly what I am trying to say in this post, except that suicide is tragic and in my opinion completely senseless. No one really knows if it is an effective escape from hardship. What is certain, is the pain that is left behind.

You never know when things will turn around. You never know when the clouds will part and the sun will shine again. Until that time, you must simply persevere and see things out.

Don't spare yourself because the Catholic Church condemns suicide. Spare yourself because there is beauty in the world. There are good things in absolutely everyone. There is always some hope around the corner, and most importantly there are people who love you.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Battle Continues

Part II The Empire Strikes Back

Part III Return of the Jedi

To be fair ... hindsight in the stock market is often 20/20.

However ... there is sometimes a clarity that is undeniably ... unless you deny it.

Today I am kicking myself for not buying the 2000 shares of ticker FAS that I wanted to a few days ago.

I knew that the Pandit's Citicorp memo was a clear foreshadowing of future bank profit news.


I also knew that today's mark to market / uptick rule hearing would provide upward pressure and STILL I held off on that trade.

Here is the five day chart.

Would of ... Could of ... Should have.

C'est la vie.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Financial Bailout

This is an excellent clip from the Daily Show about the idiocy of CNBC.

Personally, I think that the two biggest douche bags on that financial channel escaped comment in this clip.

The first is Dennis Kneale

Dennis strongly feels it is unfair to deny Wall Street year-end bonuses, even though these companies are using tax payer provided bailout money to pay them.

In this clip, Dennis gets schooled by Senator Bernie Sanders (D) VT.

Then there is Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who called the Senator a socialist in the last clip.

As you can see from this clip, Michelle loves to openly show her hatred for anything socialist. After all, she and her fellow Hispanics find very little need for government-sponsored programs.*

*For those of you who feel this is a racist comment, it is not meant to be. I simply find it nauseating that Michelle takes every opportunity to shake her ethnic tail feathers when it is convenient for her career, yet she is completely insensitive to the fact that many Hispanic people in this country need government-sponsored programs to survive.

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