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Thursday, December 10, 2009


Frisco Musings Again

Yes, we were back to San Francisco on business for five nights at the economical and surprisingly comfortable Adagio Hotel - there were TWO CD players in my room - although the convention hotel was the ritzier but much less visitor friendly Hilton. Though this trip delayed the 192nd edition of redwavemusings, the world went about its monkey business as usual - if anything, things have been getting loonier. To wit:

Somehow, Tiger Woods managed to drive his car directly from the driveway in his gated community into a hydrant, then a tree (apparently he wasn't sure whether to hit an iron or a wood). Apparently, this followed an argument with his wife over some infidelities on his part, which the press managed to overlook for years (while they seem to know about every other celebrity's) and his fellow players wisely covered up also (probably because they are not all as squeaky clean as their images either). Anyway, Tiger quickly owned up to the circumstances of the accident, admitting it was his fault (presumably exonerating the hapless fire hydrant) though he has been less prompt concerning the circumstances of his affairs and his wife's violent reaction. Now, the tabloid press has sprung to action and is outing Tiger's female flames on a daily, even hourly basis. Of course, many of them are outing themselves, hoping for that fleeting fifteen minutes of infamy so they can cash in. All of this will ultimately cost poor old Tiger an 8 or 9 figure endorsement number, which would be tragic if his bank accounts weren't worth about ten figures already.

The climatologists of the world are meeting in Denmark this week, and it is fitting following the revelation of Climategate that the meeting has already taken on a distinctly political, and not scientific tone. What this all really seems to be about is the third world trying to extort as much dough as they can from the developed world and the BRIC countries, under the guise of UN concerns about ocean levels and flooding, man made droughts (that's a good trick), etc. But, as one GOP leader brilliantly summarized, there is no way we should be allowing the EPA or the UN to regulate a gas we exhale all day! So whatever Obama and his cronies agree to, there's a good chance Congress will never ratify, just like Kyoto, and nothing will happen. Frankly, all the UN is good for is to stimulate the NYC economy. If it didn't do that, we should move to disband it, or simply cancel our membership and let it go somewhere else.

Speaking of nothing happening, we get a different spin on the health care fiasco every day, agreements that are immediately disavowed, etc. The only thing that gives hope to the libs is the stubborn party line that says reform is inevitable, it has to happen, therefore it will. But what if it doesn't? What if there is nothing on health care, cap and tax, energy independence, card check, etc. etc.? What if neither the first, second nor third stimulus, the TARP slush fund, compensation control, re-regulation of financial services or anything else restores jobs and gets the economy going? Then the Libs' honeymoon will be a short one and it will be 1994 or something like it, i.e. Armageddon for Dems, in November 2010. Actually, 1994 saved Bill Clinton's Presidency, he was forced to curtail tax increases and reduce spending via welfare reform, and that bought him a budget surplus in the second term. Is this Obama's grand plan? Liberal Dems are getting pretty frustrated with the demise of the public option, the inability to move on card check, and the escalation in Afghanistan. Could Obama be a closet conservative? Nah!

And today, the war escalator went to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, a classic irony if there ever was one. Despite taking considerable time out of a busy calendar and incurring a significant security expense (much bigger than the actual prize), Mr. Obama seems to have miffed the population by skipping lunch with the King. When you're hot you're hot and when you're not, you're not.

Then there was all the sports stuff I missed, like seeing Alabama finally beat Florida, the Giants and Jets fight their way back into the playoff race while the Pats and Steelers backed up to the field, baseball trades and signings, and perhaps most amazing, the Nets won a game. I did see the end of a typical Lakers win with Kobe banking in a three pointer from outside the arc, just an off balance heave that only a Celtic or a Laker could make.


Meanwhile, I must report that while Frisco is still one of the best and most beautiful cities to visit, it is a recessionary mess. Homelessness and panhandling were always a problem there, but now every block is a gauntlet. There are an awful lot of empty storefronts, including the Virgin Megastore I used to go to, and the restaurants didn't seem as busy as they were in Chicago. The weather, usually OK in December, was COLD - worse even then in June! I still loved going to Foley's Irish House where I made a new discovery - Anchor Steam beer on tap. They had very good music there each night. Also saw a very good jazz quartet at the Jazz Bistro near Union Square on Friday night. There are lots of places to go, but I like to walk and they were close enough to do that.

By the way, I flew Virgin America for the first time and recommend it. Comfortable plane, friendly service, and kind of a hip atmosphere. TV and other entertainment on the back of the seat in front of you, like Jet Blue. Good fare, too.


On 12/2, we bought 100 shares of NVE Corp (NVEC) at 37.50, a zero buy. We took a break for the trip, but started to catch up today, selling 200 shares of Kaman at 24.11 (KAMN). I could see the market was going to be up this morning based on the futures, but this is a thinly traded stock, so it's best to let the market establish a price and sell after the opening. We got a better execution than we would have at the opening. 100 of these shares were purchased 5/24/1999 at 13.75, the other 100 on 1/8/2002 at 15.75. We also bought another 100 of the same Goldman Sachs preferred for the IRA as last time (GS.PR.D) at 20.81.

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