Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Blogger Fatigue, Gambling Losses, and Price Gouging

Here's the deal. I have severe bloggers fatigue. When I first started reading blogs, there were a few I read almost daily, thinking I'd never get bored of them. But within a year invariably I did. I am approaching 2 years of blogging, and most on my list have been here that whole time, so I can only imagine the fatigue on your end. But beyond that, I think I'm bored of my own blog - my opinions just don't interest me much anymore. So that is why the blogs have been very sparse of late. They may get sparser even still. I may just take up Chartreuse as my only habit with Snake.

Seems like a good week to admit I've lost close to $5 million gambling. Which is nothing compared to what I'll lose if hillary doesn't bring home the Democratic nomination. I saw the interview with Chuck Barkley on ESPN where he says he's probably lost $10 million. I love Charles. In the course of the interview, he says that he's already told people in his life that it's his money and he's going to go right on gambling, even though he admits he has to get it under control. You got a love a guy completely incapable of therapeutic-speak. Maybe he can't get it under control and do it in moderation, I don't know, but I've often thought that it must be possible, even though suggesting that is totally taboo. But not to Charles.

I attribute most of my $5 million in losses to investments in the Sean McCormick baseball mutual fund. I think the prospectus I received before investing in the fund, which consists of McCormick collecting money from people and betting it nightly on baseball, was misleading and I think I'm going to file a minority shareholder dispute. I had heard estimates of percentage returns north of 20 percent, and sure there was the usual fine print about past results being no guarantee of future performance, but the 2005 fund was wiped out, and the 2006 fund is well on its way to the same fate.


Not too long ago Ted Kennedy was expressing the concern during the Alito nomination over whether Alito was capable of administering justice fairly. Joe Kennedy Sr. made his fortune as a crook. Ted Kennedy is guilty of manslaughter. And now his son Patrick drives drunk into a barrier on the capital, nearly hitting a police car, stumbles out of the car telling the cops he is late for a vote on the Hill, and is escorted home without the usual sobriety test that you might think should be administered when a guy crashes his car at 3 am and claims he is late for a vote on the Hill. A cynic might say that he was handled by cops who clearly understood that the last thing Ted Kennedy wants is equality under the law, and that treating his idiot son like the usual suspect would likely lead to a far greater penalty for the cop than for Pat. Now Pat says he was on sleep medication. And apparently that is a pattern most insomniacs have - pop a couple sleeping pills and go out for a joy ride until the wee small hours of the morning. I don't if this guy is a father yet, but perhaps some legislation is in order to render him incapable of furthering this particular genetic strain.


My wife likes to watch the Today show, and today on Today they are interviewing the CEO of Exxon, and for a week they have been advertising this interview and inviting people to e-mail questions they'd like to see asked of the chief of Exxon. This would normally be right up my alley for parody, but I cannot even muster a list of questions I'd like to see good old Katie ask of the Exxon CEO. Oil is a commodity people. The economics of it don't get any easier. Their profits are up 17 percent, but they exert little to no influence over the price of gasoline. They've made investments in the past with profits made then so as to increase their stock of oil, and such investments are now getting their payoff. They are not price gouging anyone. If you think they are, ask yourself how much your home has risen in value over the last 5 years. The value of mine has gone up at least 50 percent in the last three years, and when you consider that the bank fronted 80 percent of its price, if I sold today I'd have a return in excess of 200 percent. Ditto for everyone owning in the DC metropolitan area, and in many other areas as well. If I invested my money in the price-gauging Exxon, no way I'd be doing as well.

If you have a problem with Exxon's profitability, invest in them and you'll feel better about it. Except that you might not. Bad things can happen in the industry -during one stretch in the 80s, the Houston housing market totally hit the skids because the oil business was a mess. Was the Today show organizing interviews at the time to seek out ways to keep Exxon executives and investors from defaulting on their million dollar homes? I suspect not, but nevertheless they feel it incumbent upon them now to ask 15 stupid questions. My only hope is that the guy accuses NBC of price gouging its advertisers, and indirectly consumers, as they most certainly are in order to pay the salaries of their phoney little cast.


Meanwhile, George Clooney has been in the news again with his effort to draw attention to Darfur, where the UN refuses to do anything, and the US has been the only country pushing for some action. But of course Clooney thinks we should unilaterally act to stop the genocide being perpetrated by the Arab Muslems on the African Muslems. Apparently if you are a secular Muslem dictator with a penchant for invading your neighbors and making assassination attempts on US presidents, as well as freely torturing and gasing certain portions of your population, and you like playing with chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons, well then the US needs an extremely large coalition of countries, including all of those who were bribed by said dictator in order to subvert sanctions placed upon the dictator by the multilateral saving grace of the UN, to avoid being called an imperialistic war-bent violator of international law and the sovereignty of foreign nations, and a by-product of your fighting back is to produce more terrorists, who haven't had a whole lot of success lately in the US, but just you wait. How's that for a sentence. But Darfur is clearly very different. They pose no threat to us, so clearly we should jump into the quagmire. Will the left proudly and righteously count the dead U.S. soldiers then, pretending they serve no noble cause? I don't see


Blogger Incredible Dirigible said...

Don't stop writing your blog, Hatch. I enjoy it.

Re. Ted Kennedy, I wish I was old enough to remember the immediate aftermath of Chappaquiddick. I think if I were Ted Kennedy, I think I'd try to stay out of the public eye as much as possible. (Come to think of it, I guess I do that anyway, & I'm not even responsible for anyone's death! I don't even print my real name here.) If I cheated on my wife, drove drunk & let my mistress drown, I don't think I'd be out there basically calling Samuel Alito a racist sexist homophobe torturer whatever.

Re. Clooney, I get the impression the general public doesn't take him seriously as anything but an actor. Even if I agree with him about Darfur, how can he say all this when he was outspoken about wanting the opposite response to the atrocities in Saddam's Iraq? I wonder if the people around him ever call him on that.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hatch, I have a solution for your gambling losses, invest in Chartreuse futures. As long as the citizens of Massachusetts keep sending Kennedys to the hill, the demand for Chartreuse in D.C. will be high. Do you think if the price of Chartreuse goes up that Katie Couric will schedule an interview with one of the Monks and invite nasty emailed questions from viewers?

I love your blog. Don't stop posting.

2:00 PM  
Blogger pbryon said...

Can you set up Ideas Hatched for "guest bloggers?" Might add some spice and cure some of the blogging blues.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous G Hindsley said...

Ahh, Patrick Kennedy...the pride of Providence College (Class of '91). He should pal around with other PC alums John O'Hurley, Lenny Wilkins and Billy Donovan and drink chartruese until the next vote!

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hatch, if you are feeling a little fatigued, pbryon's suggestion is a good one. I could write one about drinking Chartreuse and getting shot down while trying to pick up babes.

4:34 AM  

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