Monday, March 31, 2008
Wonder how those planes would look with “Hasta La Vista Air” stenciled on the side?
Lots of airlines have reciprocal arrangements with partners…honoring passenger tickets, frequent flier miles, etc. Aloha has a reciprocal agreement with the Italian carrier, Ariva Derce Air.
Beijing is going to ban smoking starting May 1st, as China prepares for the Olympics.
Hmmm… let’s think this through for a minute:
Do you want to be waiting in a line administered by some Chinaman who’s smoked all his life…and hasn’t had a nicotine fix for six weeks…?
You know what’s going to happen when that Olympic Torch shows up?
Everyone’s going to want to light-up.
China has about 350 million smokers--about 25% of its population--which accounts for a third of the world's smokers. I don't want to be around when they all start having nicotine-fits.
Speaking of mass hysteria...the roll-out of the Paulson Plan for Fed-management of anything resembling a financial institution has begun. If you like the way the Fed has performed over the past few years, you’re going to love this one.
(By the way, is there a genetic link between Henry and Pat Paulson?)
As I have said many times over the years, business that fails to regulate itself—or takes advantage of the public trust—is in danger of coming under government scrutiny and meddlement.
Does the US Banking System need to be re-jiggered?
Or are a few rogue players running fast and loose going to result in sweeping changes we all must endure? Bottom line is, do we want more government intervention or less in the way we operate?
Come to think of it, I'd love to hear what Pat Paulson would have said about this!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Must be lots of terrorists along that route, because Transportation Safety Administration workers are on high-alert, forcing a woman to remove her body piercings before they’d let her on her flight last month.
Not a nose ring.
Not a lip stud.
Two of them.
They would not let her on the plane with them in.
What’s she going to do, assemble a grenade on the jet, using her nipple rings as the pull mechanism?
TSA workers refused to just let her pass with a pat down. Instead, they gave her a pair of pliers and said get to work… The woman is asking for a written apology from the TSA, and initiating a civil rights investigation. I’d be asking for fifteen minutes in the back room with those pliers and the people responsible for this humiliating treatment.
I discovered yesterday I still have some “spare parts” hanging around inside me after my cancer surgery a couple of years ago. They say they’re clamps that were left inside to keep me from bleeding out, and that they’re perfectly benign.
If the TSA gets wind of this, they’ll probably try to disembowel me before they’ll let me on a jet.
Also from the Adding Insult to Injury Dept., Larry Silverstein, the CEO of Silverstein Properties, which developed the World Trade Center, is suing the airlines involved in the 9-Eleven attacks, along with Logan International airport.
He’s asking $12.3-billion.
Hey, Larry; here, use these pliers...
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Who’d have thought The Little Blue Pill would be facing stiff competition from two other manufacturers, a decade after its introduction?
Sure has changed the marketing business, bringing into our living rooms subjects that previously dared not be mentioned.
I read where the inventor of the Egg McMuffin, Herb Peterson, passed on to that great fastfood playground in the sky. Egg McMuffins have been around 36-years.
Herb was 89…he wrote McDonald’s first advertising slogan back in 1972: “Quality made fresh everyday.”
I have no idea if he ever used Viagra.
Back in 2003, Wrigley patented an anti-impotency gum that had some of the same active-ingredients as Viagra. Ever wonder how Herb Peterson might have handled that slogan-writing job?
We actually researched this—our crack team at Top-Five.com discovered some discarded Wrigley Viagra Gum slogans…
Double your measure, double your gun
Share a stick with the one you love
The flavor that never lets you down
Makes you want to run right out and...get some.
We put the "spear" in "spearmint"
New Wrigley's Viagra gum: We bring your thing to life
It's Wrigidly Delicious
The makers of Viagra have really missed some unique marketing opportunities…and the other ED drug manufacturers have missed the boat. Remember that ED ad with the couple sitting in matching bath tubs, watching the sunset?
I thought it was a commercial for bathroom fixtures.
I’d like to see other cross-marketing collaborations in the future, say between Pfizer and M&M Mars for example.
Imagine Viagra M&M’s.
The slogan might be, “melts in your mouth, not in your pants.”
Everyone would want the blue ones.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Meanwhile, the fine upstanding citizens of Sebastopol, just north of San Francisco, is rejecting free citywide wireless internet service--they're afraid the radio signals will make them sick.
What is this, 1930??
Maybe they can offer complimentary tin hats for everyone who signs up…
Just enough is not enough if you’re buying car insurance in Texas. Starting next week, you’ll have to pony up for more coverage if you buy just the state-required minimum because the Legislature is increased the liability insurance limits. Those changes are going into effect now—you’re looking at an increase of less than $25 on your premium…
Oil is above $102 a barrel this morning thanks to a strike disrupting operations at a French oil refining hub, along with the weakening U.S. dollar… A strike at French ports is blocking two oil tankers and four chemical cargo ships. There’s also a work stoppage at a 60-thousand barrel a day refinery in Africa…and a Typhoon churning towards Australia that petroleum operators are watching carefully.
It’s all supply and demand, folks.
And a fair amount of fear.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country’s relations with Washington could worsen if Republican candidate John McCain wins this year's presidential election. Don’t know how much worse they could be.
What are you going to do, Hugh, declare war on us?
Attack Pearl Harbor?
Chavez hopes the United States and Venezuela can work better together when President George W. Bush, leaves the White House next year, but says Sen. McCain seems "warlike."
Yeah, being captured and imprisoned by the Vietnamese will do that to you.
This may actually be a boost to McCain’s popularity: Someone who can let the air out of this Venezuelan wind bag once and for all.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Why, after several days of frenzied, clandestine, late-night dealings, is the Fed balking at a better offer? Why, indeed--because it’s already agreed to back only $30 billion of Bear’s most skanky assets…with your tax dollars, by the way.
I was doing my taxes over the weekend, and I came to the screen where they ask whether I wanted to designate $3 to this or that cause. There were about four of them. So, why not put this question on the query page: Should your tax dollars be used to bail out the banks?
In the words of Dr. Phil, "how's that going to work out for you?"
JP Morgan should beworried over public backlash to their deal…and perhaps Bear Sterns stockholders’ response should be, "let them eat Easter eggs."
No, you guys are doing a pretty good job of engineering that one without any help from the Dalai Lama. What are they afraid he’s going to do, open his own theme park and drag the Olympics there?
Yeah, that’d make headlines:
"Olympics change venue to Dalai World."
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The Wall Street Journal is engineering a makeover of its Marketplace section, as the paper's transition to more breaking news and shorter articles continues.
There goes the neighborhood.
Some of the changes wrought on The Journal’s front page since Rupert Murdoch bought Dow Jones & Company have been welcome. Like the revamped $5 bills, the new and improved Journal has a touch of color on its pages, but the front page has reduced its focus on business news and longer stories that explain what's going on.
The Journal has also shrunk its menu of offbeat and investigative pieces. That's a shame. So much for serious journalism.
Murdoch says he wants to broaden The Journal’s appeal with more general-interest news. That's a load of bunk. He just wants to sell more copies of the paper.
As a result, the reincarnated front page of The Journal has shorter articles, and more breaking and nonbusiness news, and particularly favors politics. The Journal has even set aside pages for world news and added a sports page.
Don't we already have a daily piece of pulp fiction that does this: USA Today?
Leave The Wall Street Journal alone.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
There is a grass-roots effort percolating among the American Trucking Association to stage a trucker’s strike April 1 over the high price of diesel.
Diesel fuel is north of $4/gallon right now.
The irony is…a truckers strike could conceivably make the price go up, if fuel transport drivers join in the strike, stalling deliveries of fuel to truck stops.
Alan Burkhart is a contributor to the American Truckers at War blogsite, and makes some compelling points in an argument against the strike:
Truckers can’t afford to strike.
Owner/operators need to work to pay for their rigs and fuel…and the bill’s don’t stop coming in, just because the truckers aren’t.
There are unintended consequences from a trucker’s strike that could do more harm than good, especially to people who aren’t targets of truckers’ ire. Empty store shelves and medicine shortages would work against the truckers’ credibility.
Will an American truckers’ strike get the attention of those responsible for fuel prices?
Doubtful. The Saudis’ sure aren’t going to care.
And in an argument between a trucker who wants to strike, and the company he drives for—guess who wins, and who loses his job?
I admire the spirit and tenacity of American truck drivers. But the notion of effecting change in fuel prices by staying off the road on April 1 is a fool's errand.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I want you to be happy.
I want you to be ecstatic.
That government check you’re getting in May?
Spend it on me.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Hippity Hoppity, Easter Weekend is upon us.
Have you noticed how Easter has become the second coming of Christmas?
When we were kids, you’d get a straw basket made in Mexico, lined with some shredded, dried, green Saran Wrap that was supposed to look like yard clippings, in which the alleged Easter Bunny had laid some eggs of suspicious origin because they were pastel colored, except for that one your little brother had dipped in all the egg-dyes, and it was a dingy shade of lead-gray.
Nowadays, you get a resin-injected basket that’s made in China, lined with shredded, dried, purple-pink-blue-yellow Saran Wrap that’s made in China, into which you carefully load an array of foil-wrapped chocolates, couple of packages of Jelly Belly’s or Gummy Bears made in Mexico, maybe a DVD or a gift card for iPod down-loads, probably a dress tie, or maybe a pair of socks…but no faux-colored eggs because the dyes are made in China and have too much lead in them.
By the way, I don't get this Easter Bunny thing.
Never made sense to me.
Aren't rabbits warm-blooded, fur-covered creatures which deliver their young alive? Despite the visual of rabbit procreative antics that allegedly result in exponential population increases, rabbits don't lay eggs. At least not any I'd want to ingest.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The fact of the matter is, any rate cut by the Fed is not going to be consumer-friendly because of the unintended consequences: Lower interest rates will further weaken the US dollar, and make CD’s less attractive. The weaker dollar could actually boomerang and cause higher oil prices; and while lower interest rates will result in cheaper money to borrow, with fewer lenders willing to lend money at those rates.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
They got caught with less money than they need on hand, so they went looking for a quick infusion of cash to avoid a run on the bank.
Trouble is, the mere whiff of a bank in default, the slightest possibility that things are awry, and it’s Game Over.
Why is the financial sector as a group in the collective toilet right now?
Are they all broke?
Did they all produce skanky loans?
But guilt by association is sufficient to sink the ship. Bear Stearns is basically bare sterned.
Or bald faced.
The CEO of BS (coincidental acronym?), Alan Schwartz, four days ago stood on his front porch and told the world that any speculation of a liquidity crunch in his shop was “ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.”
Today he told us that Bear Stearns’ credit position in the past 24-hours had “deteriorated significantly.” More like Bear Stearns’ perception of its position crystallized significantly.
These people have been living in glass houses wearing rose colored glasses drinking their own private label Kool-aid for way too long.
But to protect against the “possibility” the rumor of illiquidity “might be true,” Bear Stearns turned to J.P. Morgan for a quick injection of, say, oh, $3-to$5-billion, deliverable within the next couple of days.
Sounds more like a move to avoid an eventuality to me.
Either way, it reeks.
Apparently, Standard & Poors agrees, dropping its rating on the dancing Bear to BBB—that’s one level above junk status.
What's that make it--trashy?
So much for hunky-dory.
For the past few days here at The BizRadio Network, we’ve been working around an elephant in the room.
You’ve noticed it, too, I am sure.
You’re bopping along with us on the Radio, getting into the conversation, even thinking about calling in to comment. And there’s a big silent gap in the audio.
You look at your Radio.
Yep, it’s still on.
There is nothing wrong with your set.
While we don’t have a Horizontal or Vertical control to manipulate, we do have our fingers on the sliders that control what you hear. Unfortunately, those sliders are connected to several other pieces of gear, and this was the week one of them chose to fail.
But because there are several elements in our audio chain, you’re never really sure what’s broken and what’s not. It becomes a process of elimination, which unfortunately, can take time, and you’re never really sure you’ve fixed it until you put the system back on line.
Sort of like flying on a trapeze without a net.
Here is the offending culprit from the past several days’ audio outages.
It’s an audio switcher produced by Broadcast Tools.
I have a tool in my garage I’d like to take to it.
It’s called a Ball Peen hammer.
We just bypassed the POS instead.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Plenty of folks are hoping that's so.
Not so fast.
Don’t forget the essential principals of what I call Newtonian Economics: That which goes up will come down, and generally at an equal velocity.
It would be great to see the markets hang on at this altitude, but I don’t see it.
Frankly, no one knows for sure.
But there are some fundamental forces yet to be reckoned with before Wall Street feels really secure at a elevated levels: There are another 18-months of ARM inventory to slog through; the price of energy is going to be a bigger and bigger factor going forward.
You like $3.50/gal gasonline?
You’re going to love $4/gas, and perhaps $5/gasoline.
Finally, there is nothing the Fed can really do to manage us out of this recession. The economy must correct itself out of inflated home prices in deflated housing markets. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will give a speech on financial markets in Washington tomorrow at the National Press Club …can't wait to hear the spin.
You cannot tweak interest rates enough--not that there's much more room to go…you cannot flood the economy with enough dollars. The fundamental issue is trust and credibility, not credit and liquidity.
I don’t care how cheap you make money, or how low you lower rates: If no one’s buying and no one’s selling, the machine grinds to a halt.
By the way, what do you think is going to happen to the value of the dollar with an extra $200-billion floating around the economy?
Barack Obama scored another win over Hillary Clinton in Mississippi, 59% to 41%. The Obamarator also captured the majority of the Texas delegates, despite Sen. Clinton’s win of the popular vote.
Have you noticed how the print and web-media have taken to subtly piling-on by publishing the most unflattering pictures of Hillary they can find?
Seems like the farther behind she falls, the worse the images become. Drudge Report had one posted this morning, with Hillary looking like the Wicked Witch of the West with a hand held mic instead of a wand in her hand…
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has become the butt of late night TV jokes faster than it takes a prostitute to ride the train from New York to D.C.
Lisa Landry notes that "It's just mind-blowing that he spent $4,300 on a hooker," which “just shows how high the cost of living is in New York. That same hooker would cost $50 in Newark."
David Letterman: “They're talking about impeaching Eliot Spitzer if he doesn't step down, and I'm thinking, 'Whoa, a Democrat being impeached for extramarital sex. Well, happy days are here again!"
And another generation of pre-teens is getting an instant, impromptu round of sex-education.
Letterman also noted the great weather in New York yesterday, and said, "it's so sunny and bright outside that earlier today, Eliot Spitzer came out of a brothel squinting."
For the second day in a row, Spitzer was the topic of Letterman's Top- 10 list.
This time, it was "messages left on Eliot Spitzer's answering machine."
No. 1: "It's Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thanks. I'm no longer America's creepiest governor."
While we're airing soiled bloomers...
Mary Ann's been busted on Mary Jane charges:
Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island," is serving six months' unsupervised probation after allegedly being caught with marijuana in her car.
Unsupervised probation--isn't that where they’ve put her on an island…?
Wells was sentenced in February to five days in jail, fined, and placed on probation after pleading guilty to one count of reckless driving. I wonder if Thurston Howell bailed her out?
Because she copped to the reckless driving charge, the three misdemeanor counts against here were dropped-- driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.
Wells was arrested as she was driving home from a surprise 69th birthday party that was held for her. Must've been some party favors...
She was pulled-over after a sheriff’s deputy noticed her swerve and repeatedly speed up and slow down. When asked about a marijuana smell in the car, Wells said she'd just given a ride to three hitchhikers, and dropped them off when they began smoking something. (A three-hiker tour…)
How many 69-year old women pick up hitchhikers these days?
The deputy found half-smoked joints and two small cases used to store marijuana.
Wells also failed a sobriety test. Professor? Gilligan?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, released an edict listing a new and improved list of mortal sins, including genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy, taking drugs, and polluting the environment.
Adds a whole new spin to Don’t Mess with Texas.
By the way, is the Apostolic Penitentiary anywhere near Huntsville, Texas?
Speaking of confessionals, here are some plausible excuses for New York Gov. Elliott Spitzer, who, if you’ve been living under a rock, has been accused of hiring a working girl for a tryst while visiting Washington, D. C. just before Valentine’s Day at the infamous Mayflower Hotel.
So here are some possible mea culpa’s from Elliot Spitzer:
- Doing undercover research on alleged nefarious activities
- Suspected illegal trades going on in D.C.
- Investigating unlawful exchanges
- Following a paper trail
- I said, “that’s a high-priced call, girl.”
- “No, I said my family came over on the Mayflower.”
Monday, March 10, 2008
I wonder if anyone dare re-record it as a parody to the current state of the economy with gasoline prices north of $3/Gallon. I thought about this as I was filling up the tanks this weekend…no, I don’t drive a tank.
I mean filling the tanks of our family fleet: An '07 Mazda MX-5 "Miata", and an '07 Jeep Commander. Combined, my average MPG is a respectable 22.5
Filling the tank on the Silver Bullet at three-quarters empty cost $30 to hit “F” on the gauge.
I forgoed (forewent?) the car wash.
My brides’s Jeep Commander, which some would classify as a tank, but it’s really a dolled-up Grand Cherokee, still takes a General Grant to fill’er up.
I do predict $4/gal gasoline for the high-test sometime this summer.
There’s a story out this morning about prescription drug residue showing up in the drinking water of several metropolitan areas. We have received a partial list of the cities and the drugs they’re ingesting, which now makes several things all come together. This is a story that's going to yield rich returns for late night talk show comedy writers, but there is an opportunity for investors, too. I predict things are going to heat up for water bottlers, filtration companies, and water transports…
The Associated Press says in Philadelphia, 56 pharmaceuticals or by-products in treated drinking water included medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. They may need to change Philly's slogan to "the City of Brotherly Antibiotics."
There were anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications detected in some of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California, which may account for the laid-back attitude in that part of the country.
A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco's drinking water.
The report doesn’t say which one.
Not that it would matter. (Rim-shot)
The U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a a water treatment plant in the Passaic Valley which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey. They found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.
Wonder what the heart-attack incident rate is there?
The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals. Don't even go there.
Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking water supplies, only Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va. said tests were negative.
The drinking water in Dallas has been tested, but officials are awaiting results. Arlington, Texas, acknowledged that traces of a pharmaceutical were detected in its drinking water but cited post-9/11 security concerns in refusing to identify the drug.
Houston’s water supply has not been tested.
They'll probably find those little Amazing Sea Monkeys swimming around in the sample.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Back-up the process before daylight, so you have to turn on every light in the house to get ready for the day.
Just makes no sense.
However, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece revealing residential electricity usage actually increased between 1% and 4%, worth about $8.6 million a year.
Switching between daylight saving and standard time also has an ''opportunity cost.'' In economics parlance, that’s calculated as the cost of your time at your wage rate.
You want the government to tell you what time to get up in the morning??