Monthly Archives: October 2008

I’m calling a bottom

… in the housing market.  not today exactly, but next year we’ll look back and see that Nov/Dec was pretty clearly the bottom.

I’m no real estate expert.  But for the past year I’ve been watching this one property on Ten Oaks Road in Clarksville, MD.  I’ve seen it almost every day on my way to work and back.  The model-home looks like a mammoth, though I don’t know the square footage.  For a while after the brick was finished, it had scaffolding around it and work seemed to be progressing slowly.  Then about six months ago, work stopped completely — the sat idle with scaffolding around it and the sales-office/trailer fell into disrepair.  A sign appeared by the road that indicated it was ‘reduced’ to $1.2M (I have no idea what they might have been asking when the house was first raised).

Anyhow, about three weeks ago, the outside work was completed and the scaffolding removed.  The house is lit and furnished, and the sales office had a new roof/edifice installed.  I know it’s just one anecdote, but it’s small things like this that can indicate shifts in trends…

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voter fraud vs. voter suppression

To here the news lately, you’d think we live in some third-world dictatorship, unable to administer a fair election.

The press keeps touting the fact that we are due for the greatest voter turnout of all time.  One group, which tends to be Republican and/or conservative, spin tales of fraudulent voter registration rolls — of elections being stolen by the likes of Mickey Mouse and Yo Momma, or possibly of immigrants that are ineligible to vote, or possibly by people voting several times under different identities.  Another group is sounding the alarm against voter suppression, citing that names are already being removed from rolls or are being allocated provisional ballots that can be suppressed for all kinds of minor reasons…  of course that groups tends to be Democrat/liberal.

First things first — I don’t think voter turnout is going to be all that great.  “The youth” that everyone thinks is so energized about this election; isn’t that the same “youth” that was going to turn the tide in 2000?  and 2004?  I know, technically it’s not the same youth, as those youth are no longer young (prematurely middle-aged by the inability to get a home mortgage in these crazy times).  But seriously, “the youth vote” always seems to find something better to do November 4th, so don’t count on them.

The big chunk of ‘undecided’ voters are equally unlikely to make a difference; a Pew study I heard about on NPR this afternoon demonstrated that almost half of those ‘undecided’ in days leading up to the election just end up not voting.  No reason to think that will be any different this year; and frankly, do we really want people going into the polling stations thinking “eeiny, meeny, miney, mo…?”  Stay home, undecided voter.

Of course, now that the media has convinced us it will be an unprecedented turnout, when numbers are below expectations they can easily reason that huge numbers of votes have “been suppressed”.  If Obama doesn’t win, or it’s close, you’ll hear this before the end of election night.  No, it’s not a card the Republicans can play.

The Republican card is voter fraud, and it’s decidedly more difficult to play with a straight face.  Sure, it’s possible that people could vote multiple times in different precincts with easy-to-obtain fake IDs.  But it’s a lot more difficult logistically to make this happen than it is to make a few thousand votes disappear from a Diebold machine.

Both sides can argue breathlessly that their ideological constituents are being wronged here, but it makes me wonder which is the greater transgression?  Is there a corollary of Blackstone’s formulation?

“Better that ten illegitimate persons cast votes than one legitimate citizen have there vote cast asunder” ?

“Better than ten legitimate votes be withdrawn than to have the will of the people thwarted by a single illegitimate vote” ?

Neither one sounds right; either way, here’s my prediction — voter fraud/suppression will be in the secondary headlines on November 5th.

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Filed under politics, stupid government

the politics of dancing

if you love our democracy, you must watch this video.  [sorry, can’t embed.]

http://view.break.com/592648 – Watch more free videos

[headline reference; watching that, I don’t blame the Russians for wanting to bomb us back to the stone age back in the 80’s.]

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Filed under boogie woogie, politics

Freecycle cronicles

11. WANTED: Bumbo baby sitter
12. OFFER: Ferret cage

close enough in my book.

for those of you who are unaware: Freecycle.  a place where you can get a bag of 2T (toddler) clothes for $0, and sort through what you might want to use and what ought to be thrown away (or Freecycled to another…)

good stuff.  unfortunately treadmills and ellipticals rarely come available…

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Filed under economics, money money money money

[untitled]

so I walked the long walk across the parking lot from our client site, thinking I’d treat myself to a Baconator.  the line is suprisingly short, and the gentleman at the register places his order.  nothing out of the ordinary…

then the gentleman turns to his companion (likely his daughter).  she has a cell-phone up to her ear, and rattles off her order: one of their super-deluxe salads I think (I honestly don’t remember).  then she orders a cheeseburger, or something.  (ordering details from this point forward get fuzzy, as my rage builds.)

then she cancels that burger.  she asks the cashier for clarification on the #2, does that come with [something]?  the cashier says yes, she says yes into the phone, the voice on the phone says OK (I can only imagine), and she says OK.  “does it come with cheese?”  same cycle of relaying information through the cell phone…

“so what would your brother like,” she asks…

I’M STANDING BEHIND A WOMAN WHO IS TAKING HER ORDER FROM HER KIDS OVER HER CELL PHONE — NOT AHEAD OF TIME, BUT IN FRONT OF THE REGISTER WHILE A LINE OF PEOPLE GATHER BEHIND HER.

now, I’ve waited behind people writing checks at the grocery store, and I’ve stood behind people that dispute their charges to the cash register, but this was ABOVE AND BEYOND.  I cleared my throat a few times, hoping she’d realize there were people behind her.  I made eye contact with the cashier as if to say, “uh, can you move us along…” and no dice.

apparently unable to get the order translated through her other child, she says “well, then put him on.”

I burst out, “OH COME ON! You’ve got to be kidding me!”  She doesn’t flinch.

“Seriously,” I plead to the cashier, “you’ve got to ask her to step aside and write down her order.”  I say this because she has been writing down the order on a napkin the whole time, and is using it to verify the order with the cahsier — 50% of which is wrong each time, and they have to start again.

I know this has only taken 30 seconds to describe to you, but it was no less than several minutes in line.  the cashier shrugs, the b*tch on the phone is oblivious, and waits for her other kid to get on the phone and place his order.  and another kid.

the next five minutes are a bit of a blur, as there is discussion over what comes on a 1/4 single with cheese, etc, etc — all of it being relayed from cashier to customer to her kid (via cell phone) to customer to cashier.  oh, and then she wants a baked potato, but gets all high-maintenance about what is going on it.  bacon?  LIKE SHE DOESN”T REALISE SHE”S AT A WENDY”S…

the kicker, the really really aggrevating thing, is that at the end of all of it she didn’t even attempt to make nice.  she didn’t hang up on her kids and say, “sorry” to the rest of us.  and this really wasn’t a 30-second delay, it was a good chunk of the 30-minute lunch break I was giving myself before some other meeting back at the office.

I understand that the Baconator is engineered by the good people at Wendy’s to crank my blood pressure up to (something horrifically bad), but this time it was there before I even placed my order.

luckily, nothing a little ‘mayo on the side’ couldn’t cure.

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Filed under angry, cathartic, customer service, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, rant

how will we explain to our children…

that once apon a time, this was cool; and that 18 years later nostalgia might get the better of us and we might link to the video and reminisce about simpler times:

it’s amazing to think that this was before all that Austin Powers psuedo-psychedlic 60’s stuff.  maybe in explaining it to my children I can use it as a segue into the works of Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest..

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Eva Longoria vs. My Wife

What the heck — she has left me alone this evening (my wife, that is), and she can’t check up on me as they don’t have “the Internet” on the Eastern Shore yet, so let’s have at it:

Pregnancy

EVA:  Rumor is Eva is pregnant, but her publicist keeps denying it.  They say she looks ‘fat’ when in fact she looks like this: S.S. Eva Longoria Pregnant in a Bikini?

WIFE:  Pregnant.  Her publicist is way past denying it, and we’re all thankful for it — now the paparazzi will leave us alone when we’re cruising around on our friend’s $10M yacht.

Shoes

EVA: Crazy high heels.  See exhibit at left.

WIFE:  I wish… did I mention she is pregnant?

EVA: Valentino.  Spends an ungodly amount of money on shoes.  See the clip below where Craig Ferguson finds a price tag on the bottom of her shoes and flips out.

WIFE:  Not so much.  New Balance, maybe?  Which she keeps in a safe.

Laugh

EVA: I hope you watched the clip above (the rest of the post is kind of dependent on it) — because Eva laughs like a dolphin.  Seriously, I saw this live on TV and her crazy little laugh made me seize up.  Tony Parker must not be a funny man, because seriously, I’d go nuts.  (Bolts?)  Like Fran Drescher, but you kind of expect that laugh out of Fran Drescher.  At the very end of the clip, when she’s laughing, she lurches forward and looks like she’s going to inhale Craig.  Scary.

WIFE:  Great laugh.  Makes me laugh, which makes her laugh, and then J laughs — it’s good stuff.

Traffic

EVA: Doesn’t like it.

WIFE: Doesn’t like it.

Name Dropping

EVA: All over the place.  Denzel… Mark Wahlberg…  bleh.

WIFE: Not so much.

Nuts?  Bolts?

EVA: Apparently knows the difference.

WIFE: Definitely knows the difference, and would never get duped into saying, “This is a nut. And there’s two of them!”

ME: I saw the earrings sitting beside each other on his desk and thought “Tie Fighter”.  Anyone with me?

Desperate Housewife?

EVA: Yes.

WIFE: Uh, no.  At least I certainly hope not.

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