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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We have a Winner

Yes folks, after an exciting month of competition (we had only one entry) and a last minute round of fast and furious voting, we have a winner of the first (and probably last) Fumbled Returns Mutt Madness Competition.

The voting was extremely close (no votes were cast, not even by the owner of the loan entry!) and the judges had a really hard time deciding on the winner (after all, is there really a winner if nobody voted?)

But after much deliberation, checking and re-checking of the rules, counting and recounting of votes, a winner of both the Veterans Group and the overall competition has been chosen...

Congratulations to Sam and Grace !


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

With Friends Like These...

Who needs an enemy?

Vinny Cerrato among those who like Jimmy Clausen

And if that alone were not enough...

Draft analyst Mel Kiper has praised Clausen ... and believes he can become a top NFL quarterback.

Note to self: If either of these people ever publically recommend me for anything... I think I'll shoot myself.

To my wife: Don't worry. I'll probably live a long time...


Monday, March 29, 2010

Loyalties and Logos

Honestly, how many of you had this picked as the final four?

If I had combined two of my brackets, I would have had 3 of the 4. But of course I did not and am only sitting at 50% remaining.

So, who do you want to win?

Me, I am really torn between the Mountaineers, Bulldogs, and Spartans.

Oh and.....

But you probably already guessed that last one...

I've liked the mountaineers all along.
Don't really care for Butler but they do have a cool 'dog' logo.
And I've also liked the Spartans but never thought they would go this far without their star player. I think that they are the definite underdogs of the four.

Hmmm, that's the second time I've mentioned 'dog' in my highly technical analysis.

I will go out on a limb and pick Butler as the NCAA Championship. Based on my highly technical analysis.

But I will be routing for the Mountaineers and the Spartans.


Not when it comes to Duke.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Something to Chew On...

I wish I had thought of this idea when it happened....

Official Vick Dog Chew Toy

Check out their site. They've got the toys, videos, tweets and a blog.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Six QB's

I love when stats are used in an argument.

Stats are like quotes, they can be used to prove anything.

But, I thought this article was actually mildly more interesting than all the other hype and opinionated draft articles floating around out there.

The tale of six college quarterbacks

Dying to know who they are, aren't ya? Well, the numbers represent the college career stats of six of the greatest quarterbacks in the modern history of the SEC.

• Player A is Peyton Manning. He played for Tennessee in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft.

• Player B is Tim Couch. He played for Kentucky in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft.

• Player C is Eli Manning. He played for Ole Miss in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft.

• Player D is JaMarcus Russell. He played for LSU in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft.

• Player E is Matt Stafford. He played for Georgia in the SEC and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.

• And, finally, Player F is Tim Tebow. He played for Florida in the SEC and will be far from the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

The list tells us many things.

First, it tells us the SEC has dominated the draft in recent years, as you probably already knew. But five guys at the most important position on the ,field taken No. 1 overall in a 12-year stretch is a remarkable accomplishment, even by the lofty standards of the dominant conference in college football.

Second, it tells us that NFL talent evaluators are out of their freaking minds.

Tebow, as you know, is the biggest question mark in the 2010 draft among the pigskin punditistas. He's the highest rated passer in the history of SEC football. He was easily a better passer than Peyton Manning or Stafford or Couch or any of the guys whose ability to pass was never really questioned by NFL talent analysts.

And yet NFL evaluators, for some reason, aren't sold on Tebow. Couch and Russell are two bona fide NFL busts, even though pro football talent evaluators couldn't usher them into the league fast enough. Yet these same talent evaluators harbor grave doubts about the ability of the greatest and most efficient passer in SEC history to pass the ball at the next level.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Field Goals are for Losers

So, in other words, if you are going to be a winner, or a champion, march down the field and score a F'n TOUCHDOWN.

After all, who has ever heard a cheer for Field Goals?

Rah! Rah!
Here we go!
Lets score a Field Goal!!

Or Coin tosses?

Hey Hey!
We don't want a loss!
Lets win that coin toss!!

Yes, the overtime rule(s) needed to be changed. But, I think they only got it half right.

Of course this topic has generated lots of commentary and hair brain ideas.

Here are a couple that I thought worthy of mention...

As a non-football follower at work said...

If TD's are so important, why not just get rid of Field Goals entirely? After all, what other sport has two different goals for scoring two different systems.

No thank you, but it was interesting to hear...

Conversely, if Field Goals are what makes Football so special, why don't we have a shootout like in hockey? Each team just lines up on the 25 or 30 yard line and first team to miss, loses. (Hockey/Soccer fan)

Again, no.

Me, I take a much more simplistic point of view.

Each team gets at least one offensive series. If both score equal points first time, then first team to score after the first series... wins.

OK, so what happens if the receiving team returns the kick off for a TD?
The other team now gets to kick off and give the other team a chance to return the kick. Though, I could be easily convinced that the game is over because one team screwed up on coverage.

Technical note: The receiving team is the offense and the kicking team is the defense. So another kickoff would satisfy the one offensive series rule.

OK, so what happens if the first defensive unit scores a TD on a fumble recovery or interception? I'm still not 100% sure what the new rule says but I think the game should be over because the first offensive unit screwed up and the team that would be now kicking off would give the screw ups a second offensive series to their 0 offensive series.

And, of course, (here is the half right part) if it is good enough for the playoffs and championship, then it is good enough for the regular season.

Technical note #2: What about the risk of injury due to extra football playing time?

(insert crybaby sound here)

If anybody really was concerned about protecting the players from "extra" football playing time, then do away with the preseason. After all, the players get paid millions of dollars to play and win.

But that is not going to happen because the NFL and Owners make so much money off of these worthless games.

Oh well, at least it is a start. But they need to do more.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Kill a Sport...

Increase the Championship Tournament to 96 teams.

If this past weekend has proven anything, the NCAA does NOT need to increase the tournament from 64 teams to 96.

Sure there will always be the handful of teams (and their fans) that could argue that such and such team should have made the field but these 64 truly do represent the best of the best.

Given the fact that a bottom seed has NEVER (even after this past weekends cliff hanger) beaten a top seed, what good would adding more do to the tournament except eliminate the chances of having some true "Cinderellas" make the sweet 16 or final 4.

96 teams would do nothing except let more bad teams in. And who needs to watch that?


Monday, March 22, 2010

Amazed, you'll be....

Believe it or not, there is more going on than just March Madness, Brackets, and Health care Reform.

There is also the US Census taking place.

Now how does this tie into Sports and Stocks?

Read on, and you will find out....

First of all the US Census is comprised of only 10 simple questions and you can not fill them out online. So if you get an email saying click here to complete the census, don't, it's a scam.

The questions are done via paper forms, and in some cases, census takers who go door to door or call (after completing the form if there are any questions or incomplete answers).

NOTE: A census taker must follow-up in person with every address that doesn't mail back the form in order to obtain the responses. So, this fact alone should motivate folks to fill out the form and mail it back.

The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds each year for things like:
Job training centers
Senior centers
Bridges, tunnels and other-public works projects
Emergency services
The data collected by the census also help determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Obviously the more accurate the data, hopefully, the more efficient government will be in allocating these funds and programs.

Distilled demographic data also benefits businesses. Here is one such example...

When an owner of 48 Subway stores throughout Arizona looks at the data, he can realize that in west Phoenix, where there is a large Hispanic presence, Fanta would be a big seller. In suburban Tucson, home to a lot of families with children, Hi-C pink lemonade sells well. Populations with a lot of older folks, on the other hand, seem to prefer root beer and Cherry Coke. Soda selection isn't just a question of regional tastes, but a major revenue driver. Sandwich price points like the $5 Footlong may bring customers into the store, but selling added drinks -- that's where you make the money.

Here, someone has taken census data, combined it with business / market knowledge, and applied the result to help boost business returns. And for any publicly traded stock, this would improve the performance of the stock in terms of quarterly profits and returns on investments.

This got me into thinking that there are obvious limitations to only ten questions and paper format of the US Census. There must be a ton of other information already out there, available, (such as the marketing knowledge of the Subway owner) which could be useful information.

Also, there should be more efficient ways of accurately collecting and analyzing data on a regular basis and it probably already exists.

Heck, we already pay taxes, both federally and locally, so the government already has primary and dependent information as well as ages and location of those of us who pay taxes.

Note: Right about this time in my thought process my cell phone rang.

Almost everyone I know has some sort of electronic communication device which they carry with them almost everywhere.

Residency information, Names, ages, family members (see "friends and family" promotions) could be collected as well as GPS information.

Not to mention that there are a ton of "social networking sites" out there which also have various information available.

Now I am not advocating disclosing specific information, that would be illegal. But the data could be mined and distilled, as census data is, to produce statistics, which can be disclosed.

Oh, and speaking of Cell phones...

Note to Tiger: Leave your Phone or PDA home at the masters. We don't care whether or not you win or lose, but guaranteed, the media will care if anybody sees you texting while playing golf!

Of course, we could all just get tiny little micro chips implanted in us and all that sort of information could be collected instantaneously. And don't worry about the cost of the procedure, I'm sure it would be covered under the new Universal Health care Reform Act.

Sorry, I digress just a bit... Now on to the rest of my Census post...

Then I got into thinking that there must be other country census's taken and I wondered what sort of data they collected.

For instance, in NZ, they collect data on similar things such as the USA, but they also collect data on Religion, Incomes, Education, and a whole lot more!

And right about then my wife forwarded me an email about a guy who got an Official UK apology from the UK Job office about Anti-Jedi Discrimination.

A believer in the Jedi religion won an apology from a job center that threw him out for refusing to remove his hood.

They apologized, adding: "We are committed to provide a customer service which embraces diversity and respects customers' religion."

Chris said: "I was just standing up for my beliefs. Muslims can walk around in whatever religious gear they like, so why can't I?"

Clicking on the link for the official Jedi Religion Homepage...

It states that the NZ Census considers such religious classifications as "Wicca" to be valid but that Jediism is not.

Perhaps if more census data was collected here in the United States there could be more and better representation of the population and accurate demographics for all.

After all, I bet there are some Jedi believers here among us now and we don't even know it.

See, I told you I could tie sports, stocks, health care and census together all in one post!

Amazed, you are :-)


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Three Cheers for Healthcare !!!


From a stock investors point of view, yes.

If, as expected, this health bill passes, there will be companies and stocks which stand to benefit.

Likewise, if it does not, there will be stocks and companies which will also benefit.

The list is actually the same for both, just flipped.

So lets take a look.


Brand Name Drug Makers.

* The pharmaceutical industry largely keeps its $80 billion agreement to provide savings and rebates. Its fees, to be parceled out among companies such as Pfizer Inc (PFE) and Merck & Co Inc (MRK), would be delayed from 2010 to 2011, increasing from the initial $2.3 billion a year to $2.7 billion.

* Overall, wider insurance coverage could help offset the costs by providing more potential customers.

* Drugmakers warded off deeper price cuts in the Medicare program for the elderly. The House had sought to fully close the so-called "doughnut hole" where coverage drops temporarily after reaching a spending limit, but the bill maintains the industry's 50 percent discount. The government will pay for another 25 percent discount.

* Lawmakers rejected Obama's plan to end lucrative "pay-for-delay" settlements with brand-name drugmakers, a win for both generic and brand name companies.

* The bill also discards an earlier provision that would have extended a hospital drug discount program.

Medical Device Makers

* Fees for medical device makers would be delayed until 2013 after initial bills called for 2010. The sector earlier won a reduction in an industry tax to $20 billion, down from $40 billion.

* Rather than an overall industry fee, the bill now contains a 2.9 percent sales tax. Certain products, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses and others bought by consumers at stores are exempt.


* Hospitals, which include companies such as Universal Health Services Inc (UHS) and Tenet Healthcare Corp (THC), say they kept their a $155 billion, 10-year deal accepting lower government payments from Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for an expected boost in insured customers.

Pharm Distribution Companies

* Government drug subsidies went into effect in January 2006, have fueled strong prescription drug growth and has boosted shares of pharmaceutical benefit managers.

These companies are likely to be unaffected should America shift to universal health insurance. Someone has to warehouse the drugs, so I would say it's positive for them.

I actually think this category of companies is not adversely affected either way.

Some companies in this category are:
Express Scripts (ESRX)
Medco Health Solutions (MHS)
Cardional Health (CAH)
McKesson (MCK)


Health Insurers

* While health insurers overall still face tighter regulation, there was some good news. Insurers such as Aetna Inc (AET), Cigna Corp (CI), UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH) and WellPoint Inc (WLP) saw their $67 billion, 10-year tax delayed until 2014.

* Private Medicare plans called Medicare Advantage would see their payments frozen in 2011, then lowered in 2012. The plans, which can offer more benefits than traditional Medicare coverage, would also have to spend at least 85 cents out of every dollar on medical costs -- leaving 15 cents toward overhead and salaries, among other things.

* Consumer protection provisions still aim to change the way companies do business, banning denial of coverage for preexisting medical conditions and ending limits on how much coverage patients can get from their insurers over their lifetime. Certain curbs would be expanded to all health insurance plans six months after the bill passes, while others take effect in 2014.

* The bill changes penalties for individuals who do not buy health insurance as mandated. The fine is lowered from $495 to $325 in 2015 and from $750 to $695 in 2016, but the alternative method of fining people using a percentage of income increased slightly to 2.5 percent by 2016.

* There are some potential bright spots: The bill does not include President Barack Obama's call for federal oversight of health insurance rates and premiums. It also expands tax credits and other financing to help more people afford insurance.

* Lawmakers have said up to 30 million more Americans could have insurance with the reform.

Listed below is a short watch list for Healthcare Reform. Some of these are or have been on my monthly Fumbled Returns watch lists.

(CAH) Cardinal Health


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bracket Busters

Officially I am in two bracket leagues.
Technically, I am in three. The third I did on my own not going against anybody in particular and based it entirely on who had the best last 10 game winning streak.

After round 1, I have 24 games out of 32 correctly picked in one and 19 in the other.

As it turns out, the third bracket I did also stands at 19.

All my brackets still have the final four in tact. Which was and continues to be my goal. I picked three different winners for each bracket. Syracuse, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

As I look at the different sites(ESPN, CBS, and FOX)NOBODY seems to have picked perfectly, but quite a few have 30 out of 32. That's amazing!

I wonder how many, like me, created more than one bracket?

This got me into wondering what the average number of brackets each person plays in.

I could not find an answer to that but I did find other interesting stats and trivia.

1) Odds of picking a perfect bracket? 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1. That’s nine quintillion to one!

Think of it this way: if every man, woman, and child on the planet randomly filled out one million brackets each, the odds would be greater than 1000 to 1 that even one would have a perfect bracket

2) According to the NCAA, more than 10 percent of Americans participate in March Madness “office pools.”

3) The FBI estimates that more than $2.5 billion is illegally wagered annually on March Madness each year. Less than 4% of that amount is wagered legally in Nevada.

4) The phrase “March Madness” was coined by Henry V. Porter in 1939 to describe an Illinois high school basketball tourney. Brent Musburger first used it during NCAA coverage in 1982 causing a legal battle almost as insane as the playoffs.

Good luck to everyone and their brackets, except those going against me... ;-) and don't forget to get out this weekend and enjoy the weather! It is going to be close to 70 degrees here and sunny!

And to think, this time last month we had almost 3 feet of snow on the ground.


Friday, March 19, 2010

HS Coaches and the NFL

I love this idea and hope every NFL team would do something similar. Not just for the sake of injuries but as an overall good learning experience and terrific PR.

From: Redskins invite high school coaches to attend minicamp practice.
By The Redskin Insider and Jason Reid.

Bruce Allen, the executive vice president and general manager of the Washington Redskins, announced Wednesday that the Redskins invited 500 area high school coaches to attend the team's first minicamp practice, both to observe how the team runs its camp and to take part in a symposium on concussions.

Allen revealed the plans while speaking as a featured guest on Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill. Allen said during a panel presentation about concussion in sports and among youngsters that the team sent a letter to high school coaches this week extending an invitation to attend Coach Mike Shanahan's first minicamp with the team.

According to a statement from the Redskins, high school coaches are invited to "attend a minicamp practice and have discussions on concussion awareness and education" on the morning of April 17.

"They're going to be a part of minicamp," Allen said after the forum. "They are going to get to watch practice, they're going to get to learn Coach Shanahan and his staff's coaching routine, they're going to be able to learn a lot. But we are putting a concussion forum as part of the plan coupled with USA Football."

Allen and former NFL player John Booty were members of a panel that included presentations from several leaders on concussion research regarding the effects of traumatic brain injury at all levels of athletics and including the impact of brain trauma on children.

Allen said during his presentation that under Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL has introduced player safety as "this century's first issue" and that the league has focused on injury prevention, equipment safety, rule changes and enforcement and player care -- including mandated baseline testing and a "return to play" policy that requires a second opinion from independent neurological consultants.

As part of the panel, Robert Stern, co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine, spoke of the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that can present itself years or decades after repeated head trauma.

During his presentation, Stern said studies of brain samples of 12 deceased former football players showed that all had CTE -- a figure that emphasized the importance of continued advances in player safety in the NFL.

"I think [concussion education and safety] is important but it's not new," Allen said after the event. "This has been a long-standing policy of the league. The commissioner has, as you've heard, his focal point has been player safety for a number of years. When a concussion affects a player it affects not only the team but [also] his family, and anything we can do to help the players that's what we're going to do. And these forums are great for everybody to learn about it."


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Quakers

There is more than one NCAA Basketball Tournament.

A small local, when I went to NC, school in Greensboro NC is going to the NCAA Division III championship series.

Guilford College, part of the Old Dominion Conference, is going back to the championship series for the 2nd year in a row.

This is huge for this College. Back when I went there we never won anything. The most excitement we had was from a two sport letter player Greg "keen-eye" Sims who played both Basketball and Football.

His brother, Marvin Sims, was drafted and played a couple years in the NFL for the then Baltimore Colts.

Greg's claim to fame was that he was easily one of the best athletes on campus, and...

He got invited by the Cowboys to attend their training camp. This was the same year that Everson Walls, who was another undrafted invite too, started and all Keen-Eye could talk about was how great Everson and all the other starters were.

Unfortunately Greg did not end up making the team but had an experience of a life time and great stories to tell.

So, congratulations to Guilford and good luck in the tournament!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bracket Racket

I never do well with March Madness Brackets.
Probably because I do not watch or follow basketball all that much.
Probably because it is so wonderfully unpredictable.

Quite frankly, college basketball is the only basketball I feel is worth watching and then, only during March Madness.

But of course not watching or following basketball on a regular basis does not mean I do not sign up for my fair share of pickem contests.

I do.

Who knows, I just might win.

After all, I read somewhere that a lady in an office pool won the last two years running. She does not know the teams, follow basketball, or even pretend to know any of the players or stats.

What's her secret?

She likes the name. She readily admits it is kind of like picking baby names and goes with the best sounding, or unique or personal favorite.

If she can do it, then so can I.

So here we go.

Final Four

West Virginia vs Purdue
Michagan State vs Syracuse


Syracuse over West Virginia

I kind of like my final four but maybe I will create one or two other brackets that pick different winners.

Oh, and just in case you have not noticed; I too have a contest currently in progress but only have one entry so far. :-(

Come on folks, now is the perfect time to dress up your dogs and submit a photo.

If Sam and Grace (the dog), the current lone entry, do win, lets at least give them some competition...


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ask anybody who has worked with me...

At some point in time I say that I have kids at home and at work.

The only difference is, I can't fire the ones at home.

I saw an article, it was actually a series of articles/posts, on the NY Times about the secret to having happy employees and more on happy employees.

It started out simply enough about the secret to a good and happy work force or business.

Fire all the unhappy employees!

Now, I admit this is over simplifying it but the articles do generate some good discussions and raise some obvious but often over looked points.

First and foremost.

A good attitude and work ethic trumps technical skill and knowledge.

If someone has the aptitude for the skills of the job, the second part of my statement can always be taught.

Attitude can be learned but one has to honestly want it first.


It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. Now I admit, the bad apple could be the manager. Not every manager is as good as me... ;-)

The point to this is that a bad employee can spread discontent throughout the team or even organization and certainly affect customers.


You can't fire customers either. Though I have seen instances where a business has refused to do business with a vendor or a certain customer because of their lack of integrity and ethics.

Which sort of brings me back to the first point and the title of a famous book.

"Do want you love and the money will follow".

Yeah, Yeah, I know that there are those of you out there who say money is important and necessary and that the implied philosophy of that book title, the posts in the NY Times and even my post is idealistic and naive. But I would argue that integrity and honesty to yourself and others is more important and, to the point of this post, translates into everything you do.

There was another book, "Making an life, Making a living", which sites a study of 1500 graduate students. The study basically categorized the graduates into two groups. Group A was basically follow the money. Group B was basically follow your dreams. Upon graduation 83% were in Group A. 20 years later there were 101 millionaires in the study. Only 1 was from Group A.

Now, I am not saying that if you follow your dreams you will be a multimillionaire. But you will have honest passion for what you do. This will translate into, hopefully, a honesty and integrity on your part which will positively affect the way you interact with others. And, more importantly, others will see this and want to either work with you, for you or do business with you and your organization.

So, yes, fire the unhappy employees and hopefully they will find what is truly important to them and a group of people they fit in well with where everyone can be successful.

And follow your dreams.

Well, that's it for now.

As always....

Be Good. Do Well. Have Fun.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Triangles and W's

This months watch lists have posted some classic ascending Triangle and "w" patterns with good results.

An ascending triangle pattern is characterized as a resting phase for the stock.

A trend line can be drawn connecting multiple or flat highs during this time, which should be horizontal to indicate some resistance above current prices. A second trend line is an ascending or rising trend line which connects multiple higher lows during this period, completing the ascending triangle pattern.

A breakout should occur about 2/3 of the way into the triangle, and happens when the overhead resistance is penetrated to the upside and buyers rush in to accumulate shares.

A "w" pattern is often known as a "double bottom" pattern. Here the pattern shows like a W with the middle part significantly lower that the beginning drop and ending rise before a brief holding pattern.

So how have my March watch list done?

The starting lineup is up 8%
The bench is up 5%

Here are the summaries:


EXPW – has maintained its strong climb and with the economy (though getting better) still putting the pinch on finances and jobs, pawn shops will continue to see good business.

GHM – had shown slow but steady rise in price and strength since falling off of yearly high points. An announcement of large contract orders sent the stock price back up towards the previous high price points and top resistance. It will be interesting to see what sort of pattern takes hold from here on out.

AAPL – When Apple hit the 210 mark at the beginning of the month there were plenty of folks saying that the stock was in a level trading pattern (with lateral swings in price between 10 and 20 points) and was due to dip back down 10 -20 points. I saw another example of a “W” pattern taking place similar to the stock points last June – July and as early as last December where the stock showed enough strength to break upwards. With the anticipation of the iPad I figured there might be potential for some “hype”. I’m not saying I was right, but… They were wrong.

AFAM – is still showing the potential for an upward break if it can maintain the second half of this current “W” pattern. Of course this is a big if but it deserves watching closely.

CAH – Has shown progressively higher “low” points and seems to be wanting to level off a bit. With all the buzz about health care going on, it will be interesting to see how this and AFAM react if a bill is approved.

FDO – This stock I held on to from last month and my patience paid off with a good quarterly report which sent the stock up earlier this month. I then sold for a 12.5% gain and still liking the retail outlook reinvested my monies in a stock listed on my “bench” list.

HQS – has shown good recovery after, like GHM, falling off of a high price resistance point. It has gone up 15% in the past month or so and continues to show strength. So what could go wrong? Monday evenings quarterly report for one thing. If you are a gambler and think they will beat estimates, a good report should be enough to send this stock into a breakout pattern past resistance. If they do not beat estimates, it could easily fall below resistance once again.

LHCG – Yup, you guessed it another “w” pattern and up over 8% for the month so far.

MFW – is showing a very similar patter that GHM had with sequentially higher lows, just not nearly as strong. It will be interesting to see if something happens to cause a break out like GHM.

RGR – a weak report from Smith and Wesson might be a good thing for this stock since it had been on a good run recently. This recent pull back might be a good opportunity to buy some more if you already own this stock.


LLY – is showing the signs of a classic cup and handle pattern and could be poised for a break out in the next few weeks.

ARO – This is the stock I purchased after FDO and anybody holding this stock was nicely rewarded with both the anticipation of a good quarterly report AND actually getting a good quarterly report. With a run of nearly 20% for the month and about half of it post reporting gains, it just may be time to take the short term profits. The only reason not too is the fact that ARO also boosted its forecast for the next quarter, which is always a good sign. The keys to getting in on this ahead of time were, listening to other news reports that the retail sector shook off all the February snows and actually had a good month, an increase in volume and money flow into the stock, and my teenage daughter and her friends habitually always visiting this store, even in tough economic times.

COCO – my predication of cooling off of the big February run seems to be panning out on this one.

GME – This “falling knife” has actually benefited from a couple things. One being a bit of a ‘bounce’ effect often seen after a big drop in price, historical low pricing, and a suspicious take-over rumor. Boy I love hype but this might be very unsubstantiated hype with not a lot of supporting energy. But it was nice to see this stock bounce back up nicely, at least for a short while.

GXDX – Did I mention that good quarterly reports help move stocks up in price? Well the one this company posted at the end of February has helped fuel a March run.

HRL – and speaking of good reports, this stock had one last month but has been trading really flat for this month. Looks like investors and the market are not sure about which direction to take this stock. Still keep it on your watch list but wait for a more definitive pattern to develop.

ISSI – With falling relative strength. Money flow, and MACD, things are not look up for this stock.

LANC – see above.

MAT – This one has cooled a bit from its run up from, you guessed it, a previously good quarterly report. It may be setting up to challenge upper level resistance.

STRL – Is another stock challenging high point resistance but so far has not managed a breakout.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Interesting Moves

LJ signed by the Redskins...


He gets to keep his number.
We get him for only $3.5 Million and no draft picks or trades.
I believe he may still have more in the tank than CP.
He has less mileage and hits than CP.
He can take over for CP when CP gets injured (and he will) or gets his bell rung again (and did I mention he will get hurt again).
We now have 4 TE's and 2 RB's to block and catch for Campbell.


Character issues.
Off field issues.

All in all, I think this is a good business decision for the skins.
IMHO there are no other free agents out there potentially this good for this price.
LJ knows his options are running out and we are willing to give him a chance to prove himself. He will not be expected to be an every down back, nor will CP, which should help both of them stay healthier longer.
LJ gives the skins a chance to not gamble on any one player in the draft and hopefully find and build up a good back through the draft over the next couple years.

And before I hear any more silly talk about LT and Westbrook let me just say this.
Both think they are way too important and carry too big of a price tag.

And from what I hear, Westbrook's head is even worse than CP's.

Yes, we still need an OL that can block and protect. But hopefully we should be able to address that through the draft.

LJ is a risk, but a legitimate risk.

Now on to our other free agent pick ups.

Maake Kemoeatu

Ok, we have one beast man on the defence by the name of Albert Haynesworth. We all know that Albert is NOT an every down player and that he tends to get nagging injuries. So, the logical thing to do is find another beast of a man who is not an every down player and also needs to monitor his playing time to be healthy and most effective.
Maake is a risk because he is coming off of a major injury, but he did pass the physical. And, like LJ, we got him at a reasonable price.

Gee, I'm beginning to see a pattern here. Decent veteran talent that can compliment what we already have at a reasonable price.

Artis Hicks

I'll give you three guesses about how to describe him and the first two don't count.

Good, versatile, veteran, at a decent price who provide talent and skill anywhere on the OL. Which is exactly what we need.

I really am beginning to like Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen's approach to managing an NFL team. It is not splashy, its not $tar $truck, but it is measured, calculating and they stick to the plan.

Of course only time will tell how good they really are but so far this has been a refreshing change.

Then again...

If worse comes to worse, we can always rely on LJ to spin up the twitter and media coverage if things go bad.


Announcer- Campbell drops back to pass...gets pressure up the middle...SACKED for a loss.

Announcer- Campbell drops back to pass...gets pressure from the outside...scrambles...hit as he throws...INTERCEPTION!

Shanahan- Hey LJ we need you to distract folks from Jason...get folks off his back.

LJ on Twitter- Poor JC, how come the D gets all the running lanes?

LJ on Twitter- The only holes I ever see are when the line ... over..


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Use the Tax Code to boost your sex life

Yes, believe it or not, you can use the Tax Code to improve your sex life.

No, it’s not going to get you a date, but it will get you going and improve your performance.

Let’s start with the easy stuff. Just ask anybody who lived through the 60's what Birth-control pills did for ones sex life. These tiny little pills are legitimate, allowable medical deductions.

So, too, are those little blue pills that treat erectile dysfunction. And, if you have an erection that lasts more than four hours, your trip to the doctor is deductible at 16.5 cents per mile.

Medically prescribed sex therapy, including the use of surrogates where legal and appropriate, should also be allowed.

If you suffer gender identity disorder (GID), sex-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy have both been court-approved medical deductions.

Psychotherapy and professional counseling to improve your relationships are allowable deductions.

Equipment prescribed by your doctor to deal with a physical impairment is also deductible. That could include anything from vacuum pumps to adjustable beds.

And if you forget the tiny little pills and have kids, and want to permanently shut down the baby factory, tube tying, whether done to a male or female, is an allowable medical deduction.

Eliminating the fear of pregnancy should make it easier to enjoy your time alone with your partner.

Contact lenses, eyeglasses, false teeth, hearing aids and artificial limbs are all deductible. And they all make you much more attractive. OK, I admit, that last one might be a bit of a stretch but hey, it's my blog.

Overweight? The cost of a prescribed diet to the extent it exceeds the cost of a regular diet is allowable.

Unfortunately, purely cosmetic surgery is not allowable. That includes breast augmentation and even amounts paid to whiten teeth discolored as a result of age.

Aren't you glad that I helped make taxes more enjoyable?

From Jeff Schnepper on MSN Money


Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Facts

Fact: Cancer was the one thing Merlin Olsen could not tackle.
You were a great athlete, football player, and person and you will be missed.

Rest in peace.

Fact: Even though Toyota tried to run over the competition....
Last year was the safest year in highway traffic fatalities!

Fact: With the signing of Sean Ryan, the Redskins now have 4, count em (Ryan, Yoder, Cooley, Davis) TE's!
Maybe one of them can play Tackle...

Fact: Researchers bring new meaning to "Power Suit"
Just don't stand out in the rain with it...

Fact: Aliens exist in Outer Space!
Because none of them want to be on the same planet as Chuck Norris!

Happy Birthday Chuck.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

4 for 3D

CBS Sports will show the semifinals and championship game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 3D.

Wow, don't these guys look excited!

Can you imagine having to go to the a movie theater to watch a final four game?
Or any other sporting event for that matter?

Not only do I not get excited about 3D, I can't see myself getting excited about going to see a game in a theater, wearing those stupid glasses, and watching the whole thing in a dark movie theater.

There is no interaction with fans, friends, and it kinda gets in the way of enjoying the whole experience. It just does not seem "special" to me.

God forbid you or someone else has to go to the bathroom or something, "ummm pardon me... oh excuse me, oh sorry, can I get by... thanks..." and miss a great shot or score! There certainly is no Tivo there either.

I just don't get it and probably never will.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another Offensive Record...

Yes folks, it appears that yet once again Big Ben is up to his good ol' boy antics.

You would think that he would learn his lesson about partying with college towns, drunken beer maidens, and fans.

But he hasn't. And now he's got himself a high profile, and priced, lawyer to spin this into legal oblivion.

It also appears that Big Ben just might be joining the sponsor ranks of Tiger Woods and Koby.

Ty Ballou, president and chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based PLB Sports, which markets the "Big Ben Beef Jerky" brand says that they are not passing judgement and are willing to let proceedings take their course; however, it is "unfortunate and concerning".

Roethlisberger's other sponsors are non-committal so far. Nike, which said it "fully supports" Tiger Woods in February, declined to comment on Roethlisberger Sunday. Dick's Sporting Goods, which has used Roethlisberger in its ad campaigns, comment either.

I will refrain from attempting a tasteless joke regarding Ben and his sponsors...

Obviously, Ben is not picky about his parties.

Me on the other hand, I have become somewhat particular. Not so much about parties, but about what I drink. You see, for some reason I have developed a sensitivity to gluten. Fortunately, I am not nearly as sensitive to gluten as many people who suffer from Celiac Disease are, but it does bother me. So it may not come as a surprise that I do not drink much, if any, beer.

However, the other day I was shopping in Wegmans and saw a couple "Gluten Free" beers. So, I've started a bit of a research project on gluten free beer. Since I decided to join my wife with a "no alcohol" Lent, this project is strictly virtual so far.

These are the two gluten free beers I saw in the store.




Based on the review links above, I am looking forward to Lent being over and trying these newly found beers. In moderation of course.

OK, I do have one bar joke to pass on to everyone...

Ready, here it is...

A guy is travelling around the Greek Islands . He walks into a bar and, by chance, is served by a Canadian barmaid. As she takes his order, a Molsons, she notices his Canadian accent. Over the course of the evening they get chatting. At the end of her shift he asks if she wants to come back to his place.

Although she is attracted to him she says no. He then offers to pay her $200 to sleep with him.

As she too is travelling around the world, and is short of funds, she

The next night the guy turns up again. Again he orders Molsons and after showing her plenty of attention, asks if she will sleep with him again for $200. She remembers the payout from night before and is only too happy to agree.

This goes on for 5 nights. On the 6th night the guy comes in again,
orders Molsons but goes and sits in the corner. The barmaid thinks that if she pays him more attention then, maybe she can shake some more cash out of him.. So she goes over and sits next to him.

She asks him where he's from in Canada ..

' Thunder Bay', he tells her.

'So am I. What area?' she enquires.

'Port Arthur' he replies.

'That's amazing,' she says excitedly, 'so am I - what street?'

' Cameo Street ' he replies.

'This is unbelievable..........' she says, her voice quavering;

'What number?'

'Number 20', he replies.

She is totally astonished. 'You are NOT going to believe this,' she
screams, 'but I'm from number 22! My parents still live there!'

'I know...' he says, 'Your Dad gave me $1,000 to give to you'


Sunday, March 7, 2010

I believe in aliens

And I believe that when they come and visit they "inhabit" one of us.

Trouble is, I can't decide if, when they "inhabit" somebody, that person becomes irrational or incredible smart. And when they leave that body the person reverts back to the other condition.

This is the only way I can explain Dan Snyder's behavior over the past 6 months.

Either an alien left Dan Snyder, or one came for a visit.

Either way, I say THANK YOU!

Over the past 6 months, he has not only hired two great football minds to run the Redskins organization, but he is actually stepping back, at least out of the spot light, and allowing them to do so.

And these two minds, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan, are showing remarkable poise and reason in this crazy free agency market.

Maybe they are all aliens?

But so far they have cleaned house of players who a couple years from now will be either past their prime and/or too old and expensive to keep on the roster.

They have placed agency tags on those they need to have while setting a price tag not too high so as not to scare away any and all potential offers.

Case in point, Jason Campbell. They tendered an offer of 3.1 million dollars and a first round pick. A worthy salary for a decent QB, which should keep him happy, yet at the same time just low enough to say, hey, maybe we might negotiate for the right opportunity.

Oh, and speaking of QB's and opportunities, and organizations I am beginning to like more and more.

The Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco just got a whole lot better with a good bold move acquiring Anquan Boldin. This too is an organization which is really really smart with the draft and free agency. They tend to be able to find the gems in the draft, know which key players to acquire and keep, while not loosing sight on their goals and sanity.

So far, I am actually liking and enjoying this free agency period and still look forward to the upcoming draft.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sea Food

Courtesy of Time Cartoons of the Week.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Topping 50

Almost every month, MSN Money publishes their top 50 stocks to invest in based on their screener. In all fairness, their screener is pretty good. MSN Money's StockScouter tool was created in 2001 to help investors assess individual stocks' likelihood of outperforming the broader market.

Jon Markman, a contributing author to MSN Money, collaborated with the company to devise strategies for putting the tool to work.

One of Markman's strategies involves investing an equal amount of money in each of the stocks in the computer-generated portfolio at the start of the month, selling them at the end of the month, then beginning the process again the next month. For investors who prefer to handle fewer stocks, Markman recommends using the strategy with the top 10 stocks on the list.

An investor who followed Markman's 10-stock strategy since it was launched would have realized a gain of 453% through Feb. 28, according to Gradient Analytics, for an annual average return of 22%. Over the same period, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) lost 8.8%.

Well, last Monday, MSN Money published their Top 50 Stocks for March. In the article they talk about one of the stocks which showed up on my previous month watch list. Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS).

Recently, Pepsi agreed to pay $900 million for the rights to sell the Dr Pepper Snapple beverages bottled and distributed by the two big Pepsi bottlers that it recently acquired. Shares of Dr Pepper Snapple spiked 11% to $32.02 on Feb. 25 on news of the Coca-Cola deal and the company's solid fourth-quarter earnings report.

That is all well and good, but hind sight is always 20/20. Yes Dr. Pepper is still and decent investment but it would have been nice to have had it on a February watch list... Like Mine!

Every now and then, I keep track of MSN's monthly top 50 just to see how they do compared to my watch lists.

I think I will see how they do compared to mine for March.

Also, every now and then, patience pays off. Another stock from my February Watch Lists, Family Dollar (FDO) has been doing OK but has not really shown the "Pop" that I was looking for in the expected breakout... Until yesterday.

Yesterday, like other retail news, Family Dollar announce a nearly 4% increase in sales for Snowy February and increased their second quarter outlook. This news pushed the stock up 8%. Not too shabby. Lets see if it can keep the momentum going.

Until later...

Be Good. Do Well. Have Fun.


Thursday, March 4, 2010


So I've been up in balmy New Hampshire most of this week and totally enjoying the 40+ degrees and NO SNOW. Funny that if I want to see snow I can see more of it in Virginia than here in Nashua.

One night this week we went out for a "Team Building" event. Seems that just about the only fun thing to do in NH is bowl... Thing is they have their own version of bowling which, as I found out, seems to have originated in Canada.

This bowling is called Candlepin. It is kind of a cross between duck pin and domino's. You get 3 shots, use pins which look like sticks and smaller balls.

The pins do not have the same action as normal 10 pin and once you knock them down you leave the "dead wood" on the lanes for the rest of the frame. This really makes it interesting to try and get the other pins.

You may think from the way I am talking that we candle pin'd for our team building event but we did not. Seems nobody really wanted to try something new. So we all went 10 pin bowling, which was fun. We set it up as a round robin type of format where after each game we matched people up in lanes based on scores.

Not that I am tooting my own horn or anything but I did manage to stay in the top three (first lane) for the first two games. After that I kind of fell off the pace a bit and spent the last two games in the second group of 3.

All in all my week here has been a good one, but next time I really want to try candle pin.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Star Gazing...

"Crosby is so far ahead of Ovechkin right now Ovie would need a telescope to see him."

"Crosby has won the Stanley Cup (by going through Ovechkin), the Olympics (again, by going through Ovehckin) and the World Championships."

"I don't believe Crosby ever won a world championship, though he did win a world juniors title. But Ovechkin was part of the Gold-medal winning Russian squad in 2008. So, instead of 3-0, we're now talking about 2-1. Of course, if we're just measuring world titles, Caps winger Jason Chimera seems to have won one in '07."

"Ovie behaved wretchedly during the Games when he shoved the camera of some bordering on out of control."

These are just some of the quotes and topics and blog posts literally FLYING around DC since the Olympics.

I actually have to say I like all this a lot! Ovie behaving the way he did with fans and their cameras is totally irresponsible but everything else is great!

Why, because this just adds to the rivalry. Fuel for the fire. Even more hype for the upcoming playoffs and championship run.

I think it will, hopefully, play into the Caps favor and become a real motivational revenge factor.

Three of the soviet Olympic team members are on the Caps. All three have been around for all the losses to Crosby and what ever team he is on.

And let me just say here, they are both all stars. "Beasts" as I have heard that term used a bit too often lately. Of course each, being one player, do not make a championship team. They help of course, but it takes all the pieces fitting together to make a championship team.

Watching Olympic Hockey was really great this year and I totally enjoyed it, even though the USA team lost in OT.

And now, I can't wait for the playoffs to start. To watch Ovie, Semin, and Varlamov take on you know who and, hopefully, wipe them off the 2010 NHL map!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Special Edition

On Friday night, the Saints' staff at the combine gathered in a private room at St. Elmo Steakhouse, an 108-year-old Indy landmark, for a final celebratory nod to the Super Bowl win over the Colts. This is a group that likes its wine, and likes to have fun.

At the restaurant, word passed that Dallas owner Jerry Jones would have his Dallas group in this exact room Saturday night for a team dinner. Jones had even phoned ahead, according to a waiter, to make sure a magnum of a wine he loved, Caymus Special Selection cabernet sauvignon, was ready to be served at dinner.

Sean Payton told the waiter he'd like to have that wine, too. The waiter told him: Sorry, sir. We have only one bottle left, and it's reserved for Mr. Jones.

Payton said he'd like to have the bottle nonetheless. I assume there was much angst on the part of the wait staff at that point. My God! Who do we piss off? One of the most powerful owners in the NFL, or the coach who's the toast of the NFL, the coach who just won the Super Bowl?

Here came the bottle of Caymus Special Selection, and the Saints' party drained it.

But drinking Jones' wine wasn't enough. Payton gave the waiter some instructions, took out his pen ... and, well, the Cowboys party found at the middle of their table the next evening an empty magnum of Caymus Special Selection cabernet sauvignon, with these words hand-written on the fancy label:

World Champions XLIV
Sean Payton

Courtesy Peter King "Monday Morning QB"


Monday, March 1, 2010

Stock up

Well February was a much better month for both resolutions and stock investments.

First, my 2010 RAP (Resolution Assessment Page)is looking much better with lots of smiley faces. Check it out.

Both of my February watch lists soundly beat all the averages!

February Starting Lineup +11%
February Bench +6%
DOW +2%

You will notice below that some stocks from my February watch lists have carried over to my March watch lists as well.

I have also included some riskier or questionable choices as well. They may be well suited for a longer investment as I will explain later.

Here is my March Starting Lineup:

EZPW Ezcorp Inc
This company lends or provides credit services to individuals to meet their short-term cash needs. It offers pawn loans, which are non recourse loans collateralized by tangible personal property, including jewelry, consumer electronics, tools, sporting goods, and musical instruments.

As of September 30, 2009, it operated a total of 910 locations consisting of 369 the U.S. pawnshops, 62 pawnshops in Mexico, 477 the U.S. short-term loan stores, and 2 short-term loan stores in Canada.

In today's economy this stock has seen nothing but strong growth lately.

GHM Graham Corp
Is one that has been on my stock lists before but not recently due to selling pressure and uncertainty with the economy and exchange rates. But they do have a good pipeline of contracts lined up and the stock is now sitting at a more attractive buy point.

AAPL Apple Inc
This one is self explanatory but, believe it or not, not a stock I often put on my lists and even more seldom buy except on big price drops. It showed up on my screens this time and seems to be holding a good support level and has shown signs of gathering strength lately.

AFAM Almost Family Inc
Together with its subsidiaries, provides home health services in the United States. The company operates through two segments, Visiting Nurse and Personal Care.

Lately the stock has fallen off a bit and upon closer examination might be setting up nicely into the last stage of a "W" pattern.

CAH Cardinal Health Inc
This is a carry over from my previous months watch list and it has once again made my screening lists.

Lately the stock has experience a bit of an uptick in money flowing into the stock and is looking to break past the $34 resistance point. This could be setting up for a breakout if it is successful.

FDO Family Dollar Stores Inc
Another carry over from last month and continues its slow but steady rise above its break out point. With favorable reports from similar stores such as the Dollar Tree, there just may be more fuel for this slow but steady stock to rise further.

HQS HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries Inc
Yes, another carry over that is also experiencing money flowing into the stock. It has not quite taken off like one may have expected, mostly due to other economic factors, but this stock is still worth a spot on the watch list.

LHCG LHC Group Inc
provides post-acute health care services primarily to Medicare beneficiaries in rural markets in the United States.

This is another stock, which if it holds above its low support level, looks like it too could be entering the last part of a "W" pattern or a modified double bottom pattern.

MFW M & F Worldwide Corp.
together with its subsidiaries, provides check and check-related products, marketing, and contact center services to financial and commercial institutions, as well as directly to individual consumers in North America and internationally.

I was reluctant to put this one my watch list even though it made it past my screens simply because my natural instinct is that this type of service and product is not as in demand now a days as it used to be. But judging by the fact it has been and continues to be profitable, it is clear this stock deserves another look.

RGR Sturm Ruger & Co Inc.
engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of firearms in the United States. The company offers its products under the ‘Ruger’ name and trademark.

This stock has recently pulled back off of yearly highs and may be ready to go back up. This is another one which has looked stronger lately with a modest price increase and influx of money.

Listed below is my March Bench watch list.

This list, as you may recall me saying earlier, has some less favorable and riskier stocks which might be better investments for the long haul rather than the short term.

LLY Eli Lilly and Co
Another stock I usually do not invest in but this time it did make my screens and seems to be setting up a decent support base.

ARO Aeropostale Inc.
If you are willing to bet on the retail market, this stock seems to be in a decent holding pattern. Look for a bit of a dip in price so long as it does not go below $33.

COCO Corinthian Colleges Inc.
One of my decent winners from last month, and I still like this stock. I just think it is due for a bit of a cool off and pull back. But, I've been wrong before, so who knows.

GME GameStop Corp.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Never catch a falling knife. Which is exactly why this stock should not be on my list. However, it is approaching both 2 and 5 year support lows!

If anything, there might be a bit of a bounce back up but this stock is at a point that it is almost intriguing to watch but not quite ready to invest in yet.

GXDX Genoptix Inc
provides specialized laboratory service that focus on delivering diagnostic services in the United States. Its services include COMPASS service offering, in which the company’s hematopathologists determine the appropriate diagnostic tests to be performed, and then integrates patient history and previous and current test results into a comprehensive diagnostic report; and CHART service offering, in which the hematologists and oncologists receives a detailed assessment of a patient's disease progression over time.

With that said, another company that is new to my screens and I have put as a watch. It too, has recently fallen off of high points and has shown a slight but steady increase in strength.

HRL Hormel Foods Corp
This stock has had a good, but sudden, increase in stock price. I prefer to wait and see if it establishes itself into a good pattern or instead continues to fall back down, especially below the $40 level.

ISSI Integrated Silicon Solution Inc
A semiconductor company, designs and markets integrated circuits for digital consumer electronics, networking, mobile communications, automotive electronics, and industrial markets.

Another stock worth watching to see if it establishes a good support level or falls back down after its recent run up.

LANC Lancaster Colony Corp
engages in the manufacture and marketing of consumer products in the United States. The company operates in the following segments: Specialty Foods, and Glassware and Candles.

Again, recently it 52 week highs, repeatedly, and I rather it to fall back instead of continue upwards, but like the others, worth watching.

MAT Mattel Inc.
Has had a good financial report and seems to be leveling off nicely. Even with its recent run up in price, this stock is relatively inexpensive to its peers and continues to be profitable. Definitely worth a watch.

STRL Sterling Construction Co Inc
a heavy civil construction company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the building, reconstruction, and repair of transportation and water infrastructure in Texas and Nevada. Its transportation infrastructure projects include highways, roads, bridges, and light rail; and water infrastructure projects comprise water, waste water, and storm drainage systems.

This stock looks like it is trying to establish slow but steadily increasing low points in its stock price. Meaning it may be ready to start another upward trend.

They report this month on the 16th.

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