Showing posts from September, 2008

Even the Vices Aren't Selling Like They Used To

A good friend of mine left a message for me on Facebook saying the only stock that didn't go down in the historic market drop yesterday was Campbell's Soup . Dedicated to find him wrong, I reached back in my mind for something I heard once. In times of economic turmoil, the sale of alcohol increases. It turns out I was wrong. The Washington Post noted earlier this month that the figures are actually unchanged. Still, when every stock is falling and your industry stays the same, that has to say something, right? So I set out on a little quest this afternoon to see if what I heard was right. Since I tend to drink like an old man, I thought about how Jack Daniels was doing. Jack Daniels is owned by the Brown-Forman Corporation . They took about a 4 point hit yesterday. Jim Beam is made by Fortune Brands, Inc. They lost about two points in all the kerfuffle. Diageo which is one of the largest alcohol manufacturers in the world lost about three points. After a whil

228 Congresspeople Just Don't Understand

I really don't get it. The House not voting for the bailout is like being in favor of a second Great Depression. Someone call Sen. John McCain; surely he remembers how bad the Depression was (I promise, it'll be the only easy "McCain is old" I make this post). Looking into the issue, there was clearly opposition coming from both sides . The thing is, I think those who voted against this bill are more in love with the idea of America instead of the actual America. This measure may very well be starting on "the slippery slope to socialism" as Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex) said in the debate before the bill, but it still doesn't change the fact that this may very well be a necessary measure. As America breaks into the 21st Century, it will have to go through these growing pains. It may have to take on more socialist aspects as its population grows and its citizens grow and need for more. The America of old was a pull itself up by its bootstraps kind of

Suburban 'Hotels'

The Washington Post has an article today about the housing market and the government bailout of Fannie Mae . The first and third pages are pretty good but the piece was a tad flowery and kitschy. Anyway, Achenbach's piece had me thinking about subdivisions. Subdivisions and apartment complexes sometimes have clubhouses. You put in a requisition with the homeowner's association or your rent them out and you get to have parties in the community property or the community pool or whatever. Why can't we do that with these foreclosed houses? I mean, theoretically, we do own them. In this new age of open source technology, file sharing, and 24-hour test drives , wouldn't it be nice to just spend the weekend in that vacant house down the street? It's the ultimate time share. It's the vacation without the vacation. It's the low-maintenance hotel stay. It's the bed without the breakfast. Have a fight with your wife? Forget the Hotel 6, just check the su


In the ever present quest to ensure that we all align words with action, I've taken some time to meditate on certain things. Oftentimes, this meditation involves music, so I've been focusing on one of my favorite tropes: the ostinato. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "ostinato" as "continuously repeated melodic or rhythmical figure or phrase. Also in extended use." Since it's a musical term, it's clearly Italian. It comes from the Latin obstinatus for obstinate or persistent. It's Brad Mehldau's left hand in his cover of Nick Drake's "River Man" . It's Antony's "Brutus is an honorable man" in his eulogy of Caesar . It's Maurice Ravel's "Boléro." It is that thing that keeps going on. It is fluidity and ongoing, cyclical, and yet it is referred to as obstinate. It's persistent. It's stubborn. The ostinato is just a nuance of the African tradition of call-and-response.

Gov. Sarah Palin is Certainly an Orator

Gov. Sarah Palin delivered an excellent speech this evening. I mean that. I mean that very truly, and very literally. This address was efficient at showing she has a body of work (albeit small), puts John McCain back in the limelight (as he should be), and shows she's competent enough for the job. As she discussed energy policy, she spoke at length about various nations and their relations to the United States with oil trade, showing she "has knowledge" about foreign trade and policy. She showed she is open to other alternative energy sources. She also somehow showed she was a magical oil prospector by stating with certainty that there's enough oil in Alaska to save America without doing any actual drilling there, yet. She spoke at length about the record of John McCain as a senator in relation to "her opponent" (more on this later) and rebranded him as the maverick America thought he was in 2000, which pales in comparison to the conservative panderer h

A Retrospective of the DNC

Let me just post this last one up before I have to do coverage of the RNC, now with fewer calories and more concern for beleaguered citizens . ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For an event that I largely didn't care for, what I did see convinced me to be at least relatively impressed. For three days, what was expected to happen, happened. Every star of the Democratic Party toed the line and didn't betray their people, much to the chagrin of various pundits and news managers who were waiting for an extended floor fight. And, as has been previously reported 38 million people witnessed history as Barack Obama addressed America. Although that figure doesn't count those who watched the coverage on PBS or C-SPAN (as I did) or the various people who watched the convention in bars and parties across America. But one more thing I have to mention about Obama's speech: it did more than what it needed to do. For a few segmen