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Friday, June 30, 2006


Sports tonight

The World Cup is creating a reasonable degreee of interest, even with the US early bust. You do see fans gathered to watch the games outside bars and lunch places, but in truth, a lot of them seem to have English as a second language. The casual American fan just gets bored. And no wonder. There is litle or no meaningful offense in this game when it's played at a high level. That is not to say the players aren't skillful. The problem is the moronic offside rule. Compounding the problem is the penalty kick situation. Several games have been decided by a foul in the "box" resulting in a penalty kick, which is almost a sure goal. The foul doesn't even have to be severe - it just has to be in the box. You can decapitate a player anywhere else on the field and all that will happen is you get a red card, and your team plays the rest of the game a man down, which doesn't seem to leave you more vulnerable to a goal the way this game is played. But blow on a player in the box, and it's a penalty kick, a goal and your team goes home. Today's game was tied after two overtimes, necessitating a penalty kick shootout. So this epic struggle goes on for over 90 minutes, it's 1-1 (amazing it wasn't 0-0) and now a goaltender makes a lucky guess on a penalty kick and you win.

Soccer needs to junk the offside rule. The way the rule is now, defenders don't really worry about the attacker getting behind them. Instead, they rush up into the passing lane, and either cut the ball off or trap the attacker offside. So you don't have the athletic beauty of an attacker beating the defender as in American football or back dooring him as in basketball. All the goals are scored on big time blunders, lucky kicks just inside the post, or penalty kicks. Yecch.

If there were no offsides, soccer scores would look more like hockey scores, and even if a penalty kick were called somewhere along the way, it might not decide the game.


Speaking of basketball, the NBA's worst owner, just took the league's worst executive, and installed him as coach of the league's worst team, to replace the best coach in the league whom he fired. A scalper would have to pay me to watch the Knicks. So they have the draft the other night, and guys who wouldn't watch an NBA game at gun point for some reason care where JJ Reddick gets drafted. And here's a guy who will have no position in the pros, since he's too slow to defend against any decent NBA guard. To paraphrase Patrick Henry, "Give me (the NY) Liberty, or give me (NJ) Nets."

One of the interesting aspects of interleague play in MLB this year has been the domination by the American League teams. This has been building for a while, as the AL has been winning the World Series and All Star games with some regularity. I can't help but think the DH rule has something to do with it. AL teams need a ninth quality hitter in the lineup, and AL pitchers have to figure out a way to complete the early innings without that easy pitcher's spot coming up as in the NL. The specialization is having an impact, probably really in evidence when the AL team is home and the DH rule is in effect. Also, the big AL veteran hitters can DH when they get a little fatigued and sore, so they may not be aggravating injuries that would be a problem in the NL, where to rest a player, you have to confine him to pinch hitting duty. Just a theory.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Well, the most under-reported story of the year is finally filtering out, actually more like seeping out. And that is, that we HAVE been finding lots of WMD in Iraq, mostly in the form of now degraded mustard and sarin nerve agent. However, they may not have been so degraded at the time of the invasion, and we may have only scraped the tip of the iceberg. For some reason, the documentation of these discoveries have been classified and the highly politicized bureaucrats in the intelligence community have had no great urgency about letting the word out. The fair question is, are the reports true, and if so, why doesn't the President simply declassify them? These issues and questions were raised by Representative Hoekstra and Senator Santorum in an important op ed in yesterday's WSJ.


I wonder what the global warming crowd will be saying if the current hurricane season turns out to be a bust. I'm not predicting that, but it does seem to be that the followers of Al Gore have perfected this game of tails we win, heads you lose. Meanwhile, no matter what you read or hear, the scientific community is hardly unanimous that climate change has much to do with human activity. In fact, climate changes seem to be the rule throughout history, rather than the exception. In the last hundred years, there was a warming trend until about 1940, then a cooling trend until 1970 (remember the warnings about a future ice age?), and since then a moderate warming again. No one really knows why.


Only stock trade so far this week was on Monday, when I bought 100 shares for my IRA in FAST at 39.04. Today was an especially stinky day for the longs.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Short and Sweet

Tonight brings news of the busting of another terrorist cell, this time in Miami. The good guys will have to be awfully vigilant if we are to continue the 4+ year unscathed string.

Great article in the Journal this week concerning young thieves getting caught because they are tripping over their baggy, oversized, unbelted pants. In one case, the escaping delinquint tried to climb over a fence, but his falling pants got caught and he wound up hanging upside down when the police arrested him. Several basically apprehended in their underwear.

Also a great op ed today concerning Arab states' indifference to terror and the plight of the Iraqui Shia. Anybody who thought this would be easy was deluded. Anybody who thinks it's unnecessary is even more deluded.

It looks like the North Koreans have finally gone too far. Even the Russians and the Chinese are fed up. Their only defenders are the South Koreans of all people. Maybe they are thinking that once the country is unified, they can inherit the nukes. If N. Korea tests its missile, I am in favor of testing our defense system by trying to intercept it.

On a lighter note, two more dingers for David Wright today, as the MVP season continues. He now has 60 ribbies. Big win after Wagner's melt down (what, again!) last night.

One more stock transaction this week. Bought 100 LANC on yesterday's opening for $37.66.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The Blog is Back !

And it will be different and hopefully more entertaining. A little lighter, a little more regular (Tuesday's, Thursday's and Saturday's) and some new features including a record of my investment transactions for all you Cramer influenced Mad Money fans. (Please note - this site provides no investment advice - the writer is NOT an investment advisor).

So tonight, some random thoughts...

Los Metso's middle three represent the most formidable offense in the team's history, even better than the Hernandez, Strawberry, Carter days. Supporting cast is pretty good too.

Media was pretty tough on Phil Sunday, but in reality, he hit one horrible shot on 18 (from the tee) and made a bad decision on his second shot. Even if he lobs a wedge to the fairway for his second, he is unlikely to make par, so we are looking at an 18 hole playoff. Far from a sure thing. I think Monty's double from the fairway, under less pressure, was worse. Also Furyk bogied when a par would have put him in the playoff, yet Phil is taking all the heat.

Lost in the flap about Karl Rove's exoneration is the reality that this whole Plame case never should have been a cause celeb and no special prosecutor was necessary. The Libby case should be dropped too. If not, Bush should just pardon him and be done with it.

Something has to be done about Iran, and sanctions are not the answer. You can't let a madman have a nuke and that's all there is to it.

Here's my crazy prediction for the night - John Faso will make it a much closer race for NY Gov than anyone thinks. Right now, the smart money says Spitzer wins for fun. I'm not saying Spitzer loses, but I do think it will be much closer than anyone now believes. Meanwhile I am very surprised at how inept Tom Suozzi has been and he should pull out ASAP.

The economy is a real muddle. Commodities have backed off, but I still say they are signalling imbedded inflation. When a government runs such large deficits, you know there will be some inflation - the creditors always get screwed. However, a depression? full blown stagflation? Doesn't seem to be happening. Only if Ben loses his nerve and bows to pressure to stop the anti-inflation campaign. Economy should be quite soft the second half of this year, but improved in 2008 (signaled by the typical stock rally in the third year of the Presidential cycle).

After selling stock most of the spring, culminating in the takeover of my SVC shares, I have been nibbling this month. recent transactions: 6/14 bot 50 of MAN at 61.45; 6/16 bot 100 of TFX at 51.20; 6/19 bot 100 of WTS at 36.61.

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