Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Debt is not just numbers on a piece of paper

Debt is more like a bunch of numbers on a bunch of pieces of paper.

We know this $100 bill sometimes and sometimes even that is asking a lot.

We rarely if ever see this one, and usually we see it for minutes only while the lender hands it to the seller for whatever you needed a loan for. Sadly this is only a $10k stack as well; easy to carry, years to pay off.

This tiny, tiny stack is what ONE MILLION DOLLARS looks like in those $10k stacks shown above. You probably will not see that in your lifetime, unless you never spend any money on even basic survival.

This is $100 Million and it looks like it. This would easily fit into your garage and keep you able to stay home, eat cheetos, watch pornos, and buy pretty much anything you would ever like. Doubtful you will ever see this in your lifetime or two lifetimes.

Here is one billion dollars and to the Federal Government, that is not a lot of money if you go only by the way the way they spend it. Sadly, part of it is, or was, yours and they gave trucks full of these to the banks that continue to deny you loans, charge fees for PAYING THEM BACK, and collect interest on the whole process. This money was supposed to help us as Amercians. I don't feel helped, do you?

This is the ONE TRILLION quantity. It takes double stacked pallets to accomplish this representation. The standard size for a pallet is 48x45. In a 53 foot truck you can fit 26 pallets in total, 13 on each side. double stacked that's 52 per truck; Imagine physically moving that cash.

Let that sink in, in the wake of this Jan 30th 2010 news:

A quarterly report to Congress on the $700 BILLION Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, made available in draft form late on Saturday, said financial firms seen as too big to fail before 2008 have only grown larger as they feasted on subsidies from the bailout program. TARP was supposed to encourage banks to increase financing for U.S. businesses and consumers, lending is actually decreasing on a month-by-month basis.

•The Federal Reserve has committed $5.5 trillion and spent $2.1 trillion. These amounts relate to various initiatives aimed at the mortgage crisis and credit freeze, including the Citigroup bailout and the shotgun marriage of JPMorgan and Bear Stearns.

•The FDIC has committed $1.5 trillion and spent $149 billion to guarantee Citigroup assets, interbank loans, and prop up GE Capital.

•The Treasury has committed $1.1 trillion and spent $597 billion, not including the automaker bailout that will get tapped by GM before year-end. The Treasury's programs include the Troubled Asset Relief Program, tax rebate checks of 2008, tax breaks for banks, and a program to stabilize foreign currency exchange rates.

•The FHA has committed and tapped $300 billion to ramp up the Hope for Homeowners program. Hope for Homeowners. The $300 billion initiative is expected to avert fewer than 14,000 foreclosures in its first year. At that rate, it seems doubtful that the resulting equity share arrangements could cumulatively cover the cost of the program-let alone heal the mortgage crisis.

Assuming an estimated U.S population of 305 million, you can measure your share by the committed and spent amounts to date. Your share of each is $28,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Considering how thoughful the banks have been to you and the BONUSES the execs have got, you should work harder to pay YOUR SHARE of that $28k...don't you think?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ebay feedback found

Ah, the fun of leaving EBAY feedback.

Feedback is like a box of chocolates; when the product is cheap, most of it sucks, even though it looks sweet.

However, I noticed this tidbit while shopping for something. It is neutral feedback, written somewhat ignorantly, and upon closer inspection it appears to be for a "Digital Alcohol Breath Tester Breathalyzer".

Then when reading a little further you see that in true stereotypical fashion, an IRISHMAN bought the Breathalyzer and bitched about his ONE PENNY purchase that probably didn't prevent him from getting a DUI after 2 cases of beer.

What a shock.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When the bloodlust fades.

There was a time when if it moved, I shot it. I liked hunting and I still support hunting and the right to do so; I just don't hunt anymore.
I lost my blood lust.
Coincidentally this was about the time I really started trying to fix my own cars and computer problems.
When you look at how a car or computer goes together, you see the engineering and the inter working of systems. You see the hardware, the measurements, the tolerances, the redundant and the unique systems. You begin to understand the way to fix things that go wrong.
I think I started to realize that when I shot things that are alive, I could not put it back together if I changed my mind.
Basically when you start to think about how blood works and the organs and the processes that go into it, and I think just out of being purely overwhelmed by the engineering of it all, I lost my taste for "breaking" shit.
I don't want to be a medic, I don't want to learn medicine and I am not a fan of PETA. I just don't get off on taking things apart as much as I do building and creating cool shit.
In addition, I have seen how people repair shit when they don't know what they are doing and that has made inventions such as duct tape, irreplaceable. When you look at scene from Africa and they are shooting cobbled together, now smooth bore, 1928 Thompsons; you get an appreciation for quality in workmanship.
Making something that no one has ever seen, but they are fascinated by, is so much cooler than the best hunting I ever had.
Having said all of that, I could generate a list of people to shoot if the apocalypse happened tomorrow.
I wouldn't worry about putting them back together either.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Paranoid is what people who are trying to take advantage call you, in order to get you to drop your guard.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Someone made "Change" and without Obama.

So before I begin, I know this is a chain that many people despise, and mostly by my friends.

Having made that clear:

There is a Skippers chain that went under in this area and when it went down it was a bit tragic.

My family used to frequent this establishment once a month or so since I was in kindergarten or first grade.

I used to like to read the BS seafaring town "newsprint" on the tables and in your baskets.

In the 70's you could get a GIANT crock of Clam Chowder and smaller bowls with handles on them if you ordered a family size portion. To this day I found a set of those at an estate sale. They never get used but it is funny to think how things have changed.

I even saw the OJ "chase" go down on TV at the Skippers in question.

I realized that it was depressing to see that the franchise went down if not just for simple nostalgia, but it was also a sign that this economy was going south, and things would not get better for a while.

You could see over the course of the last year that this Skippers was open, the landscape had stopped being maintained, the hours of operation were reduced, the outside was collecting dirt on the walls and leaves were staying in parking places that simply were not being filled with cars anymore.

The signs were everywhere; this business was not long for this world.

Driving by the old Skippers was a bit sad, even as my friends were going "GOOD RIDDANCE". I still felt that it reflected that there was a handful of people who now are no longer even "getting by" and yet another sign that things to come were not so rosy.

This is the kind of stuff that really kills me because, counter to what I portray, I am an optimist deep down. I think that you never know what tomorrow brings and just when things seem the shittiest there is something, however small, that will give a bit and it makes the giant hill, at least long term, scalable.

Well as I was returning from my favorite car wash, I noticed something.... the sad Skippers had an open sign in the window and it was LIT! The reader boards read "now open" and the place looked livable. Nothing crazy like fresh paint, but the collected dust had been removed, and the windows washed, and the landscape was clean.

I decided to check it out and sure enough it was open. There was a skeleton crew and the tills were not working properly and the deliveries were short and the staff was new, but holy shit, about a dozen people are working again and they had given this old franchise CPR and were trying HARD and really working it.

It reminded me of the 54 Chevy I once owned because the interior, while clean, is still in the old style and just where it was left when it closed up; They were getting a relic running and while it was sputtering a bit, it was going down the road, and as ANY REAL car guy will tell you; the maiden voyage of a formerly dead car which is now running, is always going to be in the top 3 trips you ever take in that godforsaken vehicle.

These guys were trying so hard to make a go of this place, and while we were there- it actually got PACKED! Everyone who came in was a drive by customer and told the people up front how nice it was to see this place back up and running. Every customer was honestly patient and was just happy that someone did a cool thing in this devastating economy.

This was a good sign that despite the Government, people hold all the cards to fixing whats wrong.

This one stupid business energized 100's of people this evening and put some jobs back in the mix.

Whichever supplier this Skipper uses, just got more orders so they may need another selector person at the warehouse? Maybe another route driver too?

Then that new guy is able to pay his bills now and maybe he can afford to buy more groceries and fix his house or car which gives the guy who does repairs one more gig to keep his own lights on, and the grocery store may see the need for another truck, etc, and etc...


Yeah, we are changing the local landscape through taking risks and frequenting our local businesses and all without any help from the Fed.

Anyway, I am just glad to see the old Skippers back- it makes me think we can turn it around and we are going to have a great summer.