In keeping with the traditions of reflecting on the past year, setting
resolutions goals; I present you the following...
FINAL 2010 R.A.P. (Resolution Accountability Page)
Actually, to restate, I make my resolutions in the form of measurable and (hopefully) achievable goals.
So, How did I do?
1) Eliminate non housing debt.
As you can see, the scuba dude is still swimming....
I did not do nearly as well as I had hoped but OK. The big dip in the summer was a new AC and Furnace. After nearly 20 years the AC finally gave up and we were faced with a huge decision and expense. For a brief moment the cheapskate in me thought, we can tough it out. We don't need no stinking AC. The human race survived for thousands of years without it, we can too.
WRONG! After a couple days of nearly 100 degree heat and humidity I was convinced that those crazy ideas were, well, Crazy.
There is a bit of good news in getting a new AC and Furnace. It is more efficient than the old, which means we should save on utility bills, and it qualifies for the Green Housing tax deduction.
Also, you may notice that my chart, despite the sudden dip, appears to basically rise in somewhat equal increments. This is because I tried to dedicate an automatic amount each month to go towards eliminating that debt.
Usually this is best done through automatic transfers, and if one can do it via payroll deductions, so much the better because then you never have the chance to miss a payment towards your goal.
The tricky part is budgeting well enough to do just that. It is not easy, but definitely possible; for everyone!
2) Beat all DJIA, NASDQ, S&P averages with my investment income and do at least 50% better than the 16 % return I had this year. That means 24% annual return.
Well, I did not reach my 24% goal, but I came close, did better than last years 16% return, and I did beat all the averages.
You know, maybe, just maybe I can do this individual investor thing after all.
3) Sports and Fantasy Football.
Conspire/Rig/Cheat as commish To have the east coast win back the Borderless League Fantasy Football Trophy next year. Oh wait, Conspire/Rig/Cheat as commish, would not be very fair and ethical, so I’ll just put down that I will make the playoffs and the East Coast will win the Championship next year.
Well, I may never reach this goal completely. :-(
I did make the playoffs but the East Coast lost yet again.
In fact, Yanni won for the second time in a row.
I did make it into the Championship game but thanks to Atlanta and Philly playing below expectations, I came up short in this ultimate fantasy goal.
4) Double the number of people following my blog. I currently have 10 listed.
I now have 24 listed so, baring a sudden mass exodus, I think I made this one.
5) I’m starting a web site dedicated to donating to charities and activities that are most important to me and my family. Specifically The American Cancer Society, and Greyhound and Veterinary Research.
Well, technically I did do this one in that I started it and got it up and running and I did achieve my goal of donating to charities. It just proved to be exceeding difficult to successfully promote that site so about half way through the year I changed it to an EBAY entity that donates proceeds to the charities.
That method proved to be more successful so I think I will stick with the EBAY donations going forward.
My 2010 Top Ten
Update on NFL Stocks
My 2011 Goals !!!
Friday, December 31, 2010
In keeping with the traditions of reflecting on the past year, setting
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Amazon (AMZN) has patented a new return process.
“So what” you say.
Well, consider the following:
What if I said you could not only find out what gifts others are getting you, but you could then “return” those gifts before they were ever sent!
Or, if you could set up some sort of rule that tells Amazon to always return or exchange for a gift certificate any gift that your dear old (insert random friend or relative here) happens to send you.
You could even set up a rule to send an ecard thank you note for the gift that was ordered but never received.
From a business perspective, this is great!
From a personalized “I was thinking of you and got you this gift because I like you” perspective, this is not so great.
After all, anybody who has kids, was a kid or even still is a kid, knows the importance of gift giving and making others feel good. You know, “it’s always better to give than to receive” and giving gifts helps show others that you care and are thinking of them. And this is a good thing.
But, according to some studies, up to 30% of all gifts are returned. This represents a huge amount of time, effort and expense that people and businesses have to deal with.
Imagine, from a financial business point of view, if you could come up with a way to save up to 30% of the costs associated with everyday business processes; From packaging, mailing, shipping and receiving, transacting and refunding; your bosses and stock holders would love you.
And probably get you a gift . . . ;-)
But here is another financial thought. . .
Would those potential amazon stock holders continue to be so happy if they were also stock holders of UPS or FedEx?
If we are talking about 30% of all gifts returned, then it could be safe to assume, especially with large online e-retailers such as Amazon, that for every 100 gifts shipped via UPS and FedEx, 30 are shipped back. With this new process, we could be talking about a lot less business for the shipping industry.
Or back to the whole gift giving and return process. . .
What if you are like us and do a lot of online shopping and have the gifts sent to yourself so that you know it arrives in good condition, wrap it, and personally give the gift to your intended recipient? Would you want that person to know ahead of time? And stop the shipment?
Or if you saw that you were going to be getting a sweater you really did not like but knew that you would be at that persons house party next week and "the right thing to do" would be to wear it in a show of appreciation.
Would "returning" it before it even shipped be appropriate?
I actually like the fact that Amazon is thinking outside the box and being creative and looking for new ways to do things.
This new patented return process has a lot of good, and bad, potential. Like most new inventions, it will be all in the way it is used that will ultimately determine it’s usefulness and impact.
What do you think? Good, Bad or indifferent?
You can find out about Amazon's new patented return process here.
The inspiration for this post can be found here at the Washington Post .
Monday, December 27, 2010
The 1971 AFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, played on Christmas day, didn’t end until halfway through a second overtime period. The marathon game lasted eighty-two minutes and forty seconds.
That is nothing!
Nothing compared to this Christmas Championship Weekend in Fantasy Football !!!
This championship weekend is going to last 5 days!
Thanks to a classic Nor'Easter snow storm / blizzard and the postponement the Sunday Night Football game to Tuesday.
It started last Thursday evening with Pittsburgh Steelers and is not scheduled to end until this Tuesday with the Philadelphia Eagles.
As of this point in time, I am 31 points behind. Tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints will help decide my fate in this championship game. I still have Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and DeSean Jackson yet to play. He has David Akers.
It would be a lot closer, and I would feel a lot more confident in my comeback potential, if I had not kept the Dallas D in there instead of the Ravens. How they could absolutely clean up on the Skins for 18 points last week and totally #@!$ this week against an equally bad and sack / turnover prone team is beyond me.
I know I am not alone in this extended suspense filled championship game lasting so long. There are lots of other leagues and teams having their championship this week.
But this is the only one I really care about and I wish my opponent would just get it over and forfeit now ;-).
Seriously though, this has been a really wild and crazy and exciting fantasy football year and having the championship come down to the wire like this is why we all love this so much.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There is a marketing ad by SYMS that states “An educated consumer is our best customer”.
The theory behind this is that an educated consumer would know value and quality when they see and hear it and know to come to SYMS for the best advice and deals.
Does this also hold true in the investing world?
Is an educated investor the best investor?
This time of year you can search countless sites and articles about what to invest in for the coming year.
There are plenty of “experts” out there who give advice. Some, well - actually most, give some sort of value added education to their customers so that they can make informed decisions and realize that they are getting valuable, quality, investment ideas from “the pros”.
But how good are the experts?
Can an individual investor do just as well or even better?
Well, since I am NOT a psychic and can NOT predict the future, I can NOT tell you how well these “experts” will do in 2011.
But, I can tell you how well they did, and did not, do in 2010.
I searched for 2010 stock picks from various sites and came up with a fairly diverse list of expert picks and their results for 2010.
Editor Paul Goodwin -17.73%
Alan Gayle -14.15%
Adobe Systems (ADBE) -15.83%
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) -19.03%
Microsoft (MSFT) -7.58%
Editor Byron King -5.61%
Cameco (CCJ) 20.68%
Gammon Gold (GRS) -31.90%
Newsletter Sound Advice +0.70%
Boston Scientific (BSX) -13.09%
Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) 14.49%
Marc Johnson +3.11%
McDonald's (MCD) 22.86%
Medtronic (MDT) -16.64%
UPS (UPS) 25.01%
Kimberly-Clark (KMB) -1.66%
PepsiCo (PEP) 7.35%
Paychex (PAYX) -1.06%
Western Union (WU) -4.40%
Sysco (SYY) 3.01%
Chevron (CVX) 16.10%
Broadridge (BR) -5.59%
Howard Ruff +5.76%
Barrick Gold (ABX) 26.86%
Rydex Inverse S&P 500 Strategy Fund (RYURX) -15.33%
Chris Temple +6.22%
Matrix Service (MTRX) 11.00%
PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (UUP) 1.44%
editor John Buckingham +9.20%
Palomar Medical Technologies (PMTI) 33.04%
Navios Maritime (NM) -14.63%
Channing Smith +15.39%
Yum Brands (YUM) 41.46%
Procter & Gamble (PG) 6.77%
Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) -0.26%
PetSmart (PETM) 51.55%
CarMax (KMX) 33.01%
Quest Diagnostics (DGX) -10.14%
McKesson (MCK) 12.49%
Abbott Laboratories (ABT) -11.77%
Mike Avery +20.70%
Monsanto (MON) -19.77%
Apple (AAPL) 51.53%
Nike (NKE) 30.34%
Value Line Survey 21.81%
American Tower (AMT) 16.19%
Weight Watchers International (WTW) 27.43%
Rich Howard +31.92%
DuPont (DD) 46.03%
Barrick Gold (ABX) 26.86%
Newmont Mining (NEM) 22.86%
Jerry Jordan +32.49%
National Oilwell Varco (NOV) 46.54%
Halliburton (HAL) 31.25%
PowerShares DB Agriculture (DBA) 19.68%
The Street.com +33.29%
Amazon.com (AMZN) 34.01%
Comcast (CMCSA) 31.94%
Microsoft (MSFT) -7.58%
Red Hat (RHT) 49.06%
Research In Motion (RIMM) -13.88%
VMware (VMW) 106.18%
Editor Dan Sullivan +42.23%
Massey Energy (MEE) 24.97%
Teck Resources (TCK) 59.49%
Editor George Putnam +51.04%
US Airways Group (LCC) 105.58%
Global Crossing (GLBC) -3.50%
The overall average for all these sample experts is 14%. Not too shabby. But some, obviously did better than others.
This chart does tell us that some of the experts did quite well in choosing stocks that would perform well over the whole course of the year. A pretty amazing feat considering how volatile the stock market was in 2010.
What this chart does not tell you is that some of the experts who seemingly got it wrong, really did have it right, but just not for the whole year.
Hint: this is where the education comes into play . . .
Couple cases in point:
RIMM: A well run tech company that fell out of favor from April – September, mostly due to the advancement of the competitions “smart phones” and even a couple political land minds from countries who wanted access to the secure transmissions and threatened to ban sales of RIMM products. Good companies who also by the way have market share will successfully navigate these land mines and down trends in sentiment and eventually “surprise” the market and come back into favor. This “out of favor” slide sent the stock from a high of $75 in March to $45 in September. I believe the analyst in picking RIMM as an investment for 2010 said something along the lines that it was too smart and agile of a company which also happened to “invent the smart phone” to permanently fall to the competition.
Well, that analyst was and is correct and the company has since surprised the market with good reports, new popular products and a reasonably strong future and now sits at a price of about $60. That is a 30% return up from its low point. Yet for the year, the stock and analyst seemingly got it wrong with a -13% YTD return.
UUP: A fund that rises and falls based on the strength or weakness of the dollar. The analyst recommending this stock for 2010 had it exactly right and , unlike this chart, an educated investor would have made a decent profit by following his advice. You see, he saw a short term uptrend in this dollar index fund but recommended selling once it got near the high 20’s. And low and behold, that is exactly what happened. The fund rose from $23 to $26 during the first six months of 2010 then fell back down to where it is today.
So, what sets a good investor apart from a bad investor?
The more you learn about how the market works, what makes a company a good company or bad company or even a good company out of favor, the more you can make educated decisions and hopefully good decisions on investments.
Unlike year end stock predictions, where the last 12 month results of a particular company is passively listed, educated investing is an active process.
Are you or the experts going to get it right all the time? No. Are you and the experts going to make mistakes? Yes. Are you and the experts going to get it right some of the time? YES!
The important thing is to study and watch the market. Learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.
An educated investor may not be the best investor, but he or she will be a smarter investor and actively involved with the market instead of passively investing in yearly expert lists.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
With all the headlines filled with topics of war, threats of terrorism, corruption and such;
I’d like to wish everyone two simple wishes not only now but for the coming year;
OK, and every year after that one too!
Peace on Earth and Good Will towards Men.
Friday, December 24, 2010
A Russian couple looked out their window Christmas Eve and the wife said, “Look Rudi, it’s going to snow!”
“No” said the husband, “it is going to rain.”
Wife: “It’s cold and windy outside. It’s going to snow I tell you.”
Husband: “No dear, it’s going to rain.”
Wife: “Rudolph, how can you say that?”
Husband: “Because, Rudolph, the Red, knows rain. Dear.”
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Back in April of 2010 I posted this post " Holy QB Pass Batman "
Among other things, I talked about the “system” and having the right players for “the system”.
Folks have talked about the Redskins defense all season. About how we had/have excellent 4-3 players but they seem out of sync in a 3 – 4.
It now appears that perhaps Donovan was “out of sync” with the new system.
In a Washington Post Article "Rex Grossman might not be a star, but he might be what Mike Shanahan wants" Thomas Boswell makes the following points.
The Shannies want a strict "system quarterback," someone who improvises only as a last resort, not as an agreeable alternative. They want someone who reads the field deep-to-middle-to-short, not short-to-medium-to-deep as McNabb did in Philly. In short, they don't want the kind of quarterback McNabb has been all his life.
Grossman seems to understand the Redskins' offense better than McNabb, run it more quickly, end up in the right play more often, go through his reads deeper and step up in the pocket as asked. He doesn't have McNabb's arm strength, ability to rip away from rushers to make plays, nor his career-long ability (until this year) to avoid interceptions.
Was Donovan a mistake?
Some are now saying that Shanahan, in his de facto GM role, wasted so much time and money, plus draft picks, with his McNabb mistake.
"Not so fast." Grossman next faces two teams in playoff contention, not the Cowboys, who have given up more than 30 points eight times and rank 31st in points allowed. Grossman's QB rating (93.6) was lower than McNabb's a week before (100.7).
Up until the last game killing interception, and that is exactly what it was, Rex's rating was actually better.
People around the league and multiple fan bases will say that there is good Rex and bad Rex. In the game against Dallas we saw both.
Good Rex: 4 TD’s , over 300 yds passing, and 30 points put up on the board.
Bad Rex: 1 lost fumble, 2 interceptions, and 5 sacks.
Though it might be argued that sacks are not always the QB’s fault.
But the fact still remains. That last interception was a killer.
Boswell also states:
Successful NFL coaches do what they've done before. Shanahan breaths discipline, demands control, weeds out everyone who isn't totally with his plan (sometimes cruelly) and, when necessary, will take the lesser athlete for the sake of a superior attitude.
Others might also argue that other successful NFL coaches have adopted a system to play to their players strengths. I actually think Boswell is more right than wrong.
If you look at successful NFL organizations, you will find stability; and within that stability you will find a "system" , a "style" or a "plan". The organization then finds players to fit that mold.
Shanahan didn't wait to see the tape to glow: Grossman "executed the offense. We have a system. You've got to go through your reads. It's very complicated to tell you what he did. He just executed. There's a lot of different coverage, lots of different blitzes. We have routes called for different coverages. He performed like a veteran performs."
For now it appears that Rex fits the mold more than Donovan. The question still remains.
Can an old dog learn new tricks?
Can Donovan learn to fit the new mold? Or is he better suited in a different system?
Like I said back in April...
Only time will tell.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
A funny thing happened last weekend. My son and I got into a bit of a fan rivalry even though we are both Redskin Fans.
You see, we were watching the Redskin Dallas game on TV and I was noticeably more excited every time the Dallas defense or kick return team had a good play. I would smile and say something like “yes! Another point for me” and he would moan is disbelief and complain about how poorly the skins were doing.
Dad ! what are you talking about? Are you routing for the Cowboys? How could you?
No son, I am routing for my fantasy football team.
You see, when I heard that Rex the hex was promoted to starting QB and knew that the Dallas Defense was doing well in the sack and turnover department (and oh by the way the skins offensive line is , well offensively BAD!) I picked up the Dallas Defense off of the waiver wire and put them in the starting lineup.
Since we count interceptions, fumbles, sacks, and return yards, I thought it a fairly safe bet. Well, 143 return yards, 2 interceptions, a fumble and 5 sacks later . . . my fantasy team had an impressive 18 points on defense even though the skins scored an impressive 30 points (which did count against the Dallas fantasy point total).
I must admit, that for at least one game, Rex did run the offense better than Donovan. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
But on with my post . . .
With my borderless league playoffs in full swing and my “Fun Bunch” team the last remaining East Coast representative left, the pressure was on for a win and a chance at the title next week.
Was this tactic enough to win?
Well, it helped.
The Dallas D scored 9 more points than Greenbay which I sat on the bench.
My decision to start Kenny Britt (15 points) over Anquan Boldin (0 points) also helped.
And least I forget DeSean’s last second TD return!
That helped too!
Fun Bunch 130
In my League of Experts my team was also in the playoffs but lost Aaron Rodgers in the first round which gave both of us a major headache. Oh, well. . .
So now it is off to the championship game between my East Coast Fun Bunch and the West Coast Edumucation Team.
the best my team win.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I am old school. No big secret there.
I am a big proponent of clearly defined and simple rules.
Not the least of which should include: Having fun and being good.
The best memories and even wisdom can come from life’s experiences.
When it comes to Football, There should be one clearly defined rule.
Actually several, but the first ones should go like this.
- NFL Football Stadiums should be outdoor stadiums.
- NFL Football Fields should be natural turf.
- NFL Fans should love the elements as much as the game itself.
Plain and simple: Football is an outdoor sport!
As I watched the Vikings Monday Night Football Game against Da Bears, I came to the realization that I, and these simple rules, have been right all along . . . ;-)
And a lot of important people agree with me. Here are just a few:
Joe Gibbs: There is no indoor practice facility at Redskins park because of his long standing belief that football is an outdoor sport.
Leslie Frazier: grew up in the cold and experienced many a football game in the elements and loves the idea of being out in the elements.
Zygi Wilf: wants to reinstate the tradition back in Minnesota, or where ever he ends up moving the team . . .
I sincerely hope that this outdoor tradition catches hold and we see a lot more games played out in the elements like the one last night and see more new OUTDOOR stadiums being built.
And for those of you who want to point out that I was inside a climate controlled room with a wide screen TV while I came to this enlightened realization remember this:
I was about 1200 miles away
TV is NOT an outdoor sport!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Who will win?
My original idea for this post was a kind of Drama award for the NFL.
We certainly have had (and continue to have) plenty of teams, coaches, owners and players all worthy of some sort of Headline or Drama award this year.
I even had a couple top contenders in mind (Vikings and Brett Favre) vs ( Redskins, AH, McNabb, Shanahan). Yes the Redskin side out numbers the Vikings, but only in candidates.
There are plenty of other contenders out there and everyone (fans), depending on their loyalties and personalities, will have his or her own favorites.
The first dilemma I encountered was how to choose and whom?
One way might be to go simply by number of news articles for 2010. I quickly realized, that despite my , and a certain followers preferences, the previously mentioned; surprisingly are NOT necessarily top contenders.
Google 2010 news articles:
Brett Favre --------- 19K results
Donovan McNabb ------ 9K results
Albert Haynesworth -- 4K results
Mark Sanchez -------- 11K results
Minnesota Vikings --- 21K results
New York Jets ------- 28K results
New York Giants ----- 31K results
I could have done more but I did not feel like going through every possible team and player combination out there.
Another way to choose a winner might be to go simply by popularity.
For this I turned to social media to look for answers.
Again, I found some surprising results.
Teams with most Facebook fans:
#1 Dallas Cowboys
#2 Pittsburgh Steelers
#3 New Orleans Saints
#4 New England Patriots
#6 Minnesota Vikings
#10 Washington Redskins
Then we have the number of people who “like” something, or in this case, somebody else:
673K people like the Minnesota Vikings
440K people like the Washington Redskins
1.16 million people like the New England Patriots
1.26 million people like the Steelers
But what about some of the players?
T.O. has 390K people who like him (obviously there is no accounting for taste as you will soon see)
Favre 98K like him
Mcnabb 40K like him
Only 1K people like Haynesworth.
Randy Moss, has 170K liking him.
Ochocinco 1.3 million people like him (Really?)
And, sad to say, two of my personal favorite NFL role models:
5K like Darrell Green.
2.5K like London Fletcher.
Twitter had some equally interesting results for top followers:
#4 Kerry Rhodes
#7 Mark Sanchez
#9 NY Jets
#11 New England Patriots
Oh, and now for something completely different, one funny listing I saw regarding “most retweeted” for 2010 . . .
OK, now that I have totally digressed beyond / past my original idea, let me pull everyone back to how to choose and present an award.
For this, I took inspiration from the original photo I so grandiosely trashed. The Oscars and the Academy Awards.
Instead of creating a dull and most likely incomplete poll, I am going to create discussion threads on my Fumbled Returns Facebook Fan Page with the following Categories:
Best NFL Actor
Best NFL Art or Sign
Best NFL Fan Costume
Best Action Shot
Best Sound Effect
Best Unscripted Comment
And stealing one from categories turned down . . .
Best Juvenile Award
Within these discussion threads anybody will be able to nominate their own personal suggestion / link and or agree with one that is already there.
I will keep the threads open through the remainder of the season, including the playoffs and super bowl.
And in keeping with the original inspiration, tally the votes and announce the awards sometime around the real academy awards in 2011.
So, you all have some time to think about your choice awards for each category and submit an entry.
Submit multiple entries if you like.
Or confirm that you end up liking one already there.
Lets see who wins!
Friday, December 17, 2010
Rex Grossman to start over Donovan McNabb Sunday
Probably should have seen this one coming with Shanny's statement the other day
"I like people getting prepared for a lot of different people," Shanahan said then. "Even though they say it's a meaningless game, it's not meaningless to us. We've got a big game. We'll get a lot of preparation. You guys will have to show up to view all of the starters."
The skins can cut him after this year and only be out $3.5 Million.
Guess the Vikings just might be able to get a decent QB next year after all...
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It has been reported that the Vikings are wanting to play in a friendly, all be it, frigidly
cold Frozen environment at the University of Minnesota.
I have a better idea.
FedEx Field is perfect.
The Skins will be in Dallas.
It is still outdoors.
I've seen Viking fans here before.
Most of us hate Da Bears.
and . . .
If rumors are true, I'm sure there are still a few Patrick Ramsey fans in the area too!
That and Danny boy can not only honor all 63,000 already sold tickets to the game but he can sell about 28,000 more!
Plus FedEx field is already equipped to handle multiple concession stands and alcohol taps.
And the weather prediction for our area is noticeably better too!
Monday, December 13, 2010
OK, This one is easy. I don't know how much time, money, and thought went into their decision but instead of Leaders and Legends, how about sticking with the theme of the logo?
Blue and White?
Thank you, thank you very much!
Hey, and I will only charge .01% of total gross revenue for my consulting services.
I don't think that this took a whole lot of leadership and I don't think this will become legendary beyond that fact that the whole logo and division names are total losers.
That, my friends is only the first of my Leaders, Legends and Losers for this post this week . . .
Next up, Jets strength and conditioning coaches.
This guy is NOT a Leader and is quickly becoming an unpopular Legend and is a total idiot.
This is a good way to end a players career.
I certainly hope he does not have a job after this week.
And last but certainly not least . . .
Contrary to most opinion boards out there, I actually kind of like this. He is on one of my fantasy teams and seems to have remembered the all important fact of holding on to the ball as you cross the goal line!
Yes, the officials got the call totally wrong. This should be flagged for un-sportsman like conduct or taunting; Not celebrating after the TD.
But hey, I am one of the few who actually would love to see more stuff like the old Redskin Fun Bunch return to the NFL.
Players should be allowed to celebrate a good play and score.
Believe me, the stuff that goes on in the stands and TV rooms across the country each weekend is far worse than anything that has generally happened on the field.
And with the rules against celebrating after the score, it was only a matter of time that somebody got around to doing it before they scored.
I'm putting this one in the Legend category.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
This is a wonderful time of year.
Many people are focused on the holidays, Friends, Family, and all things which we are thankful for and have contributed to making our lives better.
I would like to think that one of the things which make our lives better, or at least more fun and memorable is sports.
This past week, the sports world lost a legendary sports and entertainment figure Don Meredith.
Don Meredith was part of what is now an American Institution. Monday Night Football.
Oh yeah, he was also a Dallas Cowboy, and a pretty Dandy one at that, but I certainly don't hold his choice of teams against him...
When I look for gift ideas, I often try to think of ideas that give either a different spin on a popular topic or represent the "classic" or "best of" a topic.
So, in honor of Dandy Don and Monday Night football I've come up with two Gift Ideas.
Monday Night Mayhem:
Based on the book by Bill Carter and Marc Gunther, this immensely entertaining made-for-cable film tells it like it was in chronicling the golden age of Monday Night Football, a bold experiment in prime-time programming that transformed the pop-culture landscape. Carrying the ball for the lesser-known ensemble is John Turturro's Emmy-worthy performance as Howard Cosell, who played the role of "provocateur" in the then-revolutionary three-man booth that included in its heyday "Dandy" Don Meredith (Brad Beyer) and Frank Gifford (Kevin Anderson). John Heard gives a career-best performance as ABC producer Roone Arledge, who nurtured his brainchild and brilliantly massaged the egos of his stars. His prickly, more complex relationship with Cosell is the heart of this film. Rich with incident, Monday Night Mayhem spans from Muhammad Ali's controversial anti-Vietnam War stance and the blood-soaked 1972 Munich Olympics to John Lennon's death, which Cosell announced to a shocked nation. Also comic and compelling is the behind-the-scenes in-fighting and the colorful backstage characters.
This next one is the "classic" "best of" production version of the story just mentioned and, best of all, it comes in an "old school" VHS format!
25th Anniversary of Monday Night Football:
The complete story of the early years of the greatest night in sports.
In September 1970, ABC Sports started a revolution that became an American Institution. Now, 25 seasons later, the beginning of every autumn work week is much easier to handle. The 25th Anniversary of ABC's Monday Night Football celebrates the highlights and history made by football's greatest players and play-by-players.
The hard-hitting action is all here in classic overtime victories, amazing runs, winning kicks, blitzes, bloopers and bizarre moments from the NFL's greatest night. John Frank Gifford, Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf, and former announcers Howard Cosell, "Dandy" Don Meredith, O.J. Simpson, Joe Namath, Fred Williamson and Keith Jackson for magic moments from the booth to the backfield to the bench.
This special collector's edition also features: inside stories, classic anecdotes and great gaffes; moving moments of triumph, defeat and courage; and much more!
Personally, Monday Night Mayhem is one I've known about and have heard about before but never seen. I think I am adding that one to my list to Santa. Of course, I wouldn't mind watching the classic 25th anniversary one either.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Well, it is now officially playoff season.
Fantasy Football Playoffs that is.
And I have managed to qualify in both my leagues.
First, in my Borderless League, I limped into the playoffs by loosing my last 2 games by a heart wrenching 6 total points. No matter, even though I had a mediocere 7 - 6 record, I had the second highest point total in the 12 team league. I won my division (the top 3 teams all tied with a 7 - 6 record) because of that high point total. That means I win the division and I get that all important 1st round bye and a guarenteed extra $50 bucks!
In my Fumbled Returns League of Experts I again won my division as well. Though no money was involved, I do get bragging rights! :-)
On the real football front, it appears that the Redskin organization has FINALLY getting around to expelling Sir Albert and attempting to recover some of the insanely high priced salary cap hit they have taken.
Has this proven to be a distraction?
Was signing him in the first place a stupid thing to do?
Were Shanny and Allen dealt a bad hand?
Now that he is "technically" gone, will this continue to be a distraction?
Reports are asking, and will continue to ask every coach and player and fan possible...
Was this a distraction?
Are you glad it is finally over?
Do you think he will be back next year?
We should have cut him before the season even started, or at least put him on the physically/mentally unable to perform list.
You could have gotten a lot more money back.
Monday, December 6, 2010
For my December Watch lists I had to sort through a ton of information and finally came up with my 30 stocks.
This month I am including two special requests and observations from outside of my usual screens.
These special appearances fall under the "observation" and "buy what you know category" of investing.
First, Wet Seal (WTSLA) is a teen and young adult fashion retailer that has attracted not only the fashion eye of my teenage daughter and her friends but also the savvy deal shopper eye of my lovely wife.
My daughter an all her friends have this fashion shop on all their Christmas lists, birthday lists, wish lists etc etc.
They also, according to my wife, have frequent sales better than other stores and product at reasonable prices.
This, along with the fact that Wet Seal is generally out of favor with investors and the stock price has been showing recent recovery strength is lending me to trust in this investment.
The other Watch list special is Cracker Barrel (CBRL). When we were traveling Thanksgiving week through six different states, along countless highways, and towns; there were two stores we saw over and over and over again.
One was Dunkin Doughnuts which is literally on nearly every street corner in the North East. But this is a privately owned, franchised, company and does not have publically traded stock.
However, Cracker Barrel seemed almost as prevalent and was definitely busy and from folks I talked to, has a very loyal, almost fanatic, customer following. Their stock has fallen back a bit after reaching a 52 week high point and though it appears slightly pricy still, all other indicators are pointing to a good possible entry point.
So, with that said, I am adding it to my watch list as well.
DELL - Dell Inc
This one showed up on my “large and cheap” screen and the price is right with a bounce off of support around the 13 mark.
MFW - M&F Worldwide Corporation
This one was on my “value” screen and could be looking to set up a new good support level for a turn around.
CBRL - Cracker Barrel
XLNX - Xilinx Inc
This one was on my list last month as was MSFT. Either is worthy of an entry here but XLNX I think has a greater momentum and growth potential.
ASIA - Asiainfo Linkage Inc
This stock is a type of “contrarian” play and looks like it might be setting up for recovery off of 16 - 17 support - look for possible double bottom reversal pattern.
CNIT - China Information Technology, I
After reaching high points In stock price then cooling off signs are pointing to a possible swing back up for this “value” play.
CSKI - China Sky One Medical, Inc.
Another stock worthy of watching. Personally I am looking for a double bottom reversal patter below 6.5 or 7.
WTSLA - Wet Seal
IGOI - Igo Incorporated
This one is up on higher monthly volume and still seems to have a lots of upside left to it.
TXN - TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC
This is my guilty play because it has me wishing I had gotten in 2 – 3 months ago when it first appeared on my lists.
ASYS - Amtech Systems Inc
I know the solar market has cooled recently but this one works in as a worthy play on solar stocks.
CPWM - Cost Plus Inc
This stock is showing good volume and corporate returns.
EZPW - Ezcorp Inc
This appeared on my lists a while back and still (because of economic conditions) warrants a watch.
NEP - China North East Petroleum Hold
This and the next stock, probably should be on my practice squad but I’ve been wrong before and missed opportunity so I’ve moved them up to the Bench.
ACOM - Ancestry Com Inc
See previous entry . . .
CMFO - China Marine Food Group Limited
This seems to now finally be at a good support level and worth a watch.
CMM - China Mass Media Corp American
This stock showed up on my outperform screens and is showing good momentum for undervalued stock.
FCFC - FirstCity Financial Corporation
Another potential value play.
HOGS - Zhongpin Inc.
A growth stock that I have successfully timed before and now seems to be at an intriguing entry point.
LGL - LGL Group, Inc. Common Stock
Another stock that shows good potential to outperform the market and it’s peers.
GFRE - Gulf Resources Inc
ONP - Orient Paper Inc
BMY - Bristol Myers Squibb Co
CVI - Cvr Energy Incorporated
HQS - HQ Sustainable Maritime
AMAP - AutoNavi Holdings Ltd
CSFS - The Cash Store Financial Service
FSIN - Fushi Copperweld, Inc.
GILD - GILEAD SCIENCES INC
JNJ - Johnson & Johnson
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Well, as you may be able to tell, I've been pretty silent on the blog lately. But I've been here in spirit.
Just too busy to really write about it.
So lets start with the basics and a little catch up of events, both with sports and stocks.
Fantasy wise, I am doing OK. I will most likely make the playoffs in both my Fumbled Returns League of Experts and even in my other Borderless league. There, I am top point winner but currently 3rd out of 12. I think I stand a good chance of getting in but I was really, really hoping to be top in my division so I get that all important 1st round bye. But James has to loose and I have to win this week for me to even have a chance of that happening and I have a tougher match up than he does.
After being the wise old man that I am and drafting handcuffs to Frank Gore (Anthony Dixon) and Chris Johnson (Javon Ringer) in the beginning of the year, I subsequently dumped them when everyone stayed healthy and I needed players during the bye weeks. Now with Gore out for the season, folks are scrambling to get Westbrook. But he is hurting too and Dixon could become a factor yet. I think I will take a gamble and pick him up just in case. In looking at the waiver wire both are amazingly still available. Strangely enough, Byron Westbrook was picked up . . .
Hmmm I wonder if somebody made a silly mistake . . . Yes, (an email confirms it), yes he did ( wow )
A lot of folks around here are talking about the Skins but unfortunately they have performed just about they way I had expected. There were just way too many weak spots to address and way, way too few draft picks to work with. Personally, I think Shanny and Allen have done a really good job with the hand(s) they were dealt with. It will be a few years before we can get back to the glory days.
And speaking of glory days, while in NY over thanksgiving, my father in law had out on the table an anniversary edition of the history of the Giants. What I was really struck with was all the good ol’ shots and stories of football from the days before AstroTurf, over protective / restrictive rules, and domes. This is probably why I enjoy working with and watching youth football so much.
I am putting natural turf, celebration dances, less restrictive player rules on my NFL Christmas Wish List.
My Share builder November list did really well. MOTR was the big winner and, though I did have a few lose money, none were big drops. Overall my investments returned a healthy 6% for November.
I did learn one very important thing about Share Builder and Auto Investment Watch Lists. If you have Sharebuilder set to auto invest, as most accounts will, and you sell a stock that has done really well, like I did with MOTR, move the proceeds out to your regular savings or checking account. Otherwise, whatever stock(s) you have listed in your Auto Invest list will be purchased with said proceeds on your next scheduled Investment Tuesday.
But other than that little bone head ‘gotchya’ moment, I have been very pleased with my experience with Sharebuilder. I just wish it had better research tools to use for building my watch lists. But that is OK, I got that covered elsewhere.
Speaking of watch lists, yes it is December, but I will not be able to get my December list(s) out before this weekend. So stay tuned.
I saw today that ARO took a tumble because of an analysts downgrade. I think people just might be pleasantly surprised by the retail returns this holiday season so this downgrade just might be a good opportunity to get in on the low end of this stock price.
And speaking of buying on the low end, MSFT recently appears to have bounced off of a key support level and is rising back up as is TRLG which is up nearly 14% as of today.
And last but not least, here is a bit of holiday spirit courtesy of my daughters 7th grade band. They have been practicing really hard all year and her music teacher is really one of the best I have ever met. He has a funny little saying which he tells them when he thinks they are not doing well and that is
“you are all playing like 7th graders . . . “I believe he did not say that during the holiday concert. But you can be the judge.
Oh and this is sports related because, as you can see in the video, there is a basketball hoop and backboard in the background! The holiday concert was obviously held in the acoustically challenged school gym.