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Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Important Announcement

Tomorrow, Sunday January 16th is my two year anniversary for my blog.

Over this time I have shared lots of experiences, made lots of new friends and considered myself lucky to have had the chance to do this.

And believe me, if given the chance I would definitely do it all over again and highly recommend blogging to anyone who has even remotely considered running a blog.

So, after 639 posts in 730 days, lots of soul searching and contemplating everything that I really want to try and accomplish, I have made a momentous decision . . .

I am moving my blog to its own domain and Wordpress platform !

Ha! Bet you thought I was going to say I’m quitting . . .

Sorry, no such luck ;-)

Hopefully everything (auto redirections and feed updates) will go smoothly but just in case, here is the new URL.

See you all there !


Friday, January 14, 2011

Jets vs Patriots

Credit where credit is due: Stolen Borrowed from Nigel Buggers on Facebook who probably borrowed it from somebody else who probably . . .

And, I'm still standing by my "P" bowl prediction of no birds and Pittsburgh vs Packers.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Choosing Sides

I remember all the times we played a pickup game as kids, whether it was dodge ball, baseball, football, basketball, street hockey, whatever . . . there was always the drama of who was going to be captain, who was going to be picked on what team (AKA – they like me) and who was going to be the last person standing (they think I suck).

This year the NHL All-Star hockey game is taking this format. Instead of one conference against the other, it is a dose of evolutionary pecking order, dominance, favoritism and last and definitely least, which All-Star sucks.

I love it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Coal Play

Coal is:
- the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity worldwide.
- the largest worldwide source of carbon dioxide emissions.
- a major contributor to environmental destruction and it’s by products from production can be hazardous to both people and the environment.

- A good stock play.

- One, it is relatively inexpensive to mine.
- Two, developing countries, usually strapped with cash and investment capital, need it to generate electricity and further develop and sustain their economy.

Today, one of the biggest players in the coal market is China. The United States and former Soviet Union have the largest reserves, followed by China and Asia and associated Oceana areas.

This sets up a few very interesting plays on coal.

- One is obviously the demand for Coal through out the world and the increasing demand for it in China and the rest of developing Asia. This would mean taking a look at some of the major Coal producing and selling companies.

- Secondly, since Coal is in such demand and yet has obvious environmental impacts, the business of making Coal production ‘Greener’ should also see increased demand.

- Third and last but not least is the obvious transport of said Coal around the world.

According to Peabody Energy, "Coal's best days are ahead," fueled in part by exports of coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming that Portland General Electric taps for its Boardman plant. Peabody has also been looking to establish a new West Coast terminal to aid in expanding exports.

Among the better Coal energy stocks to look at are:

Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU)
Natural Resource Partners LP (NRP)
Puda Coal Inc. (PUDA)
Arch Coal Inc. (ACI)

Another interesting play on coal, mining and the natural resource field of investments in the Asia and South Pacific region is:

BHP Billiton Limited (BHP)

This diversified natural resource company in Australia has been particularly impacted, as have many Australia Companies, by the recent floods and in my mind is presenting an opportunity to buy in at a discounted price.

Since Coal production is so prevalent and in such good demand, it also stands to reason that finding new and better ‘Greener’ ways to produce it would also be in demand. One such stock popped up on my January watch lists.

Sino Clean Energy Inc (SCEI).

If you are looking for more diversification, perhaps less risk and exposure to potential alternative and clean energy plays within the Coal industry you can look at investing in an ETF such as (KOL).

As I mentioned before, obtaining the coal to sell to the world is one play. The other is transporting it around the world. In order to do this you need a fleet of cargo ships.

Some of the stocks and ETF that come to mind for this are:

DryShips, Inc. (DRYS)
Claymore/Delta Global Shipping (SEA)

Disclaimer: Currently invested in SCEI.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Falling Birds

Call it a sign.

But with all the birds dropping from the skies unexpectedly.

My fumbled prediction is no winning bird teams in the playoffs.


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Future is Here

This app alone just might convince me to get an iphone.

Unlike almost every sports app out there, Pre Play doesn’t just give you scores and stats – you can play along, and here’s how:

Every button represents a possible outcome for the next play. If you press RUN<5 you are predicting a run of less than five yards for the next play.

So let’s say you pressed Run < 5 and you’re right. How many points do you get? Well, that depends on how risky your guess was. If it was 3rd & 1 at the time of your guess, you’ll probably only get a few points because that was an obvious choice. But if you predicted a Touchdown when the offense was 80 yards from the endzone, you’d score big! And if you’re wrong, that’s a standard –10 pts.

How do we tell which outcomes are obvious and which ones aren’t, you ask? The Pre Play Sports scoring system scans 120,000 historical plays and looks at exactly how probable your guess was to happen based on historical plays just like it.

But what if you make a guess and the next play is a penalty, timeout, fumble, or some other crazy thing that can happen in a game that we don’t have a button for? No need to worry, this won’t affect your score in any way. The same goes if you decide to sit out a few plays.

On 3rd Down, the game screen changes. The prediction is whether the offense will get a 1st Down or the defense will hold them to a 4th Down.

Last, but not least, you can make predictions for KICKOFF and PUNT RETURNS if you’re playing on v1.4 or later! Use the slidebar to predict where you think the ball will be after the return.

They even have pre play leagues.

Check them out at


Thursday, January 6, 2011

NFL Chatter

Just in case you have not been overloaded with social media ....

Via Twitters Facebook page...

It’s time for the @NFL playoffs, and they are sure to generate more Twitter conversation than ever before. And, this year, the teams and players, themselves will have lots to say. All 12 playoff teams and a full one-third (200+) of the players in the playoffs have Twitter accounts.

To help you keep up with these teams and players, we created a list of Twitter accounts relevant to the playoffs. You can follow @drewbrees and the @Official_Saints as they try to repeat as World Champions or @MikeVick of the @eagles as he continues his comeback. The list also includes folks like @JimIrsay, owner of the @NFLColts, and @PeteCarroll, coach of the @Seahawks.

You also can receive Tweets via SMS on your phone even if you don’t have a Twitter account or a smartphone. Just text “follow [username]” - for example “follow Packers” - to 40404 in the US.

For a rolled up version of NFL Playoff tweets click here.

But just don't expect to see any activity within 90 minutes of game time. . .

What a stupid rule...


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

6 and 10

How important is one game?

The Redskins finished 6 – 10. So did the Vikings and the Lions. Because of obscure tie breaker rules, we have the 10th pick in the first round for 2011 draft.

Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, and Grossman became the starter, folks were basically saying two things. (no, not that! – this is a PG rated blog)


"We’re playing for draft position"


"We’re playing for pride and spots on the team next year"

The first implies that we want to lose in order to get a better draft pick.
The second implies that somebody wants to be here next year and contribute.

Usually I hate folks who say the first statement. Because that usually also means quitters. And personally, I hate quitters.

But when looking at the draft order and team records; and I see that one game meant moving from the number 10 spot to 6. Or in the case of the Vikings and the Lions: from 12 or 13 to 6. Does losing one game become worth it? Is pride and position still more important?

A top 5 or 6 spot in the draft is pretty important and valuable.
Perhaps good enough to get yourself “the player” or, more importantly for the Skins (IMHO) to trade down for a couple extra picks and still get good and much needed position player(s).

It will definitely be an interesting offseason and draft.

What do you think?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


While I was reflecting back on 2010 and working on my 2011 goals, one topic I came across made me think. Where are they now?

We all know the story of Michael Vick, College Standout, Top Draft Pick, Top tier QB, Dog Fighting Ring Leader, Convict, Reformed Convict, NFL QB, and the latest chapter MVP. No matter what anybody says, for or against, that is a pretty remarkable life.

Well, he is also MVCT.

Most Valuable Chew Toy!

Last year as part of my Mutt Madness Contest the winner got a MVCT (I just realized that it also stands for Michael Vick Chew Toy!) Well, we of course ordered an extra one for our dogs as well.

So, what sort of life has the chew toy had?

I must say, that the hounds have loved him to death!

Greyhounds tend to like soft squishy and squeaky toys better, but both or foster greyhound Lola (above) and Hero teamed up to finally finish him off for good by the end of 2010.

Maybe for 2011 we can find one that squeaks when you bite him . . .


Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year and a New Watch List !

Every single one of my Starting Lineup has seen some fall off either from recent highs or falling out of favor. All I believe represent an opportunity to buy in before the stock either breaks back out or continues its upward momentum.

Starting Lineup
CNU Continucare Corp.
CRIC China Real Estate Information Corp
INTC Intel Corp
MCD McDonald's Corp
MRVL Marvell Technology Group Ltd
NEP China North East
NEWN New Energy Systems Group
NPD China Nepstar Chain Drugstore Ltd
SCEI Sino Clean Energy Inc

Each stock on my Bench represents either a slightly riskier play due to playing momentum or the stock is currently stuck or still out of favor. A still out of favor stock would be CSCO which has been totally beating up by a bad quarterly report and forecast. Du Pont, on the other hand is such a big conglomerate that it represents a good play for both a recovering world economy and exposure to some more innovative developments such as solar power shingles which do not require any other special installation. Others such as Walgreens were on my previous starting lineup and I believe still have good potential, but I am making room for some new upstarts on my starting lineup.

CSCO Cisco Systems Inc
DD E I Du Pont De Nemours And Company
GFRE Gulf Resources Inc
HRBN Harbin Electric Inc
MSFT Microsoft Corp
PZG Paramount Gold and Silver Corp
SPPI Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
UTA Universal Travel
WAG Walgreen Co

My practice squad is basically all the other stocks which made it through my screens and filters that still represent interesting yet even riskier plays. They too are worth a look as investment opportunities, but I feel safer watching for either a better buy in price or I don’t trust the current pattern yet.

Practice Squad
AFOP Alliance Fiber Optic Products Inc
CEPH Cephalon
CIZN Citizens Holding Co
COHN Cohen & Company I
CVU CPI Aerostructures Inc
ESGR Enstar Group Limi
ISSC Innovative Solutions And Support Inc
JASO JA Solar Holdings
NYMX Nymox Pharmaceutical Corporation
PTX Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc


Better late than never

My 2011 Goals.

You'll notice not one of them is being on time ;-)

1) Eliminate Non Housing Debt

I gave this one a good start in 2010 but ran into some added expenses which set me back.
I have a monthly plan in place and I am going to stick with it. Hopefully I will be able to put a much bigger dent into my balance this year. Knock on wood . . .

2) Beat Averages

Last year I increase my return average 50% to set a new goal. That was ambitious. For 2010 I did beat all the averages but feel short of the 24% mark. If I increase my 20% return by 50% that would push my goal up to 30%. That is a bit too ambitious even for me. This year I am going to keep my “beat the averages” goal with a stretch goal of 24%.

3) Cut Expenses by 10%

One way to increase savings and add to paying off debt is by taking a long hard look at your expenses and “cutting the fat” as they say.

We currently do “OK” but I know we can do better. Especially in the area of finding and shopping for deals. Some of the phenomenal success stories of the past year has been the rise of sites like Goupons and Couponmom. This year I am going to take a more serious look at saving with coupons and actively look to “trim the fat” from our daily / monthly expenses.

4) Double followers

I currently have 24.
I’m actually going to split this one out to 36 followers with a stretch goal of 48.

5) Win Fantasy Football

I came oh so close to this but fell short in the end.
I may never actually accomplish this but hey, I’m keeping up the hope and the goal.
OK lets split this one too:

- East Coast wins the championship
- With a stretch goal of me winning.

6) Fence and Shed clean out Garage!

A few months ago, one of my favorite shows – Criminal Minds – had a quote at the end of the show regarding a statistic which stated before 1960, there were virtually no personal storage units in the US. Today, there is more than 2.35 billion square feet of self storage in the U.S., or a land area equivalent to three times Manhattan Island under roof. It seems that the U.S. certainly has become the land of excess sometimes and personally I would like to do my part in reversing that trend.

Now, we are nowhere near as bad as compulsive hoarders or anything like that, but like many people we have “collected stuff” over the years. Stuff we probably do not need nor use or even know exist anymore.

Welcome to my garage.

Part 1 of this goal is to declutter my life and garage. The decluttering should help in finances, free time and finally getting at least one of our cars into the garage.

Part 2 of this goal: Putting a shed in the backyard will help with storing outside yard tools and stuff like bikes and sleds.

Part 3 of this goal: Putting up a fence will help with keeping said shed stuff from finding little feet and ending up cluttering the neighbors yards and provide our dogs some true running room.

Speaking of dogs . . .

7) Get Lola a Forever Home

My daughter, Alaina, will hate me for putting this up here, but hey, maybe it will ultimately inspire her to add a 2011 goal for herself.

Lola is our current resident foster greyhound.

Current Resident, because she has been here about 7 weeks. This is almost an all time record for us keeping a foster before getting him or her adopted.

Foster because she is a foster, which means the intent is to find her a forever home (other than ours).

As you can see, she is a very cute black and white greyhound. And trust me she is very affectionate and playful and will make a good addition to any home.

Her original racing name was Rico's Hailey and though many greyhound agencies frown on renaming a foster we took that liberty because, well, she simply was not a Hailey or Rico.

We tossed around several potential names like Betty; if you are familiar with Ram Jam or Leadbelly you will know the reference, but thought it better to avoid potentially politically incorrect names for a black dog. Lola seemed to be a name that she responded well to and, well, it makes for one or two rather good Kinks songs too.

Oh, There is just one little caveat.

There seems to be a condition which has come up recently that says if Alaina gets a job, she can keep Lola as a pet. Hmmmm – I wonder who came up with that one. So, perhaps Alaina will add getting a job to her 2011 goals. This will go a long way towards giving her some much needed money, added responsibility and convincing me to actually keep Lola.

But until then . . .

Please contact the Virginia Greyhound Adoption Society for more information.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year and Top Ten of 2010

First of all: I hope everyone has had, is having, and will have a Happy New Year!

Reflecting on what has happened over the course of 2010, one of the things I looked at was my blog.

I have been keeping Google Analytics running on for this site for quite some time and I also noticed that blogger itself has started doing the same thing.

I love looking at statistics. People think they are unbiased, but they are not.
I look at them kind of like quotes. You can use them to point out or prove just about anything you want.

But what struck me as interesting about both Google Analytics and Blogspot Stats is both the similarities and differences. This was especially interesting because I thought Google bought out Blogger. I would have thought they would use the same methodology for collecting statistics. But obviously they do not.

So in the spirit of sports, more specifically the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll and the BCS Poll, all of which I often find equally baffling; here is my Top 10 Fumbled Returns Posts.

First, Google Analytics Top Ten

Rank -- Page -------------------------- Views
1) ---- The conditioning test --------- 3035
2) ---- Dog Gone Spies ---------------- 261
3) ---- Three Cheers for Health Care -- 104
4) ---- An Educated Investor ---------- 89
5) ---- Impersonation ----------------- 85
6) ---- Leap Frog Commentary ---------- 84
7) ---- NFL Stocks -------------------- 72
8) ---- Ready Set Go ------------------ 63
9) ---- Mutt Madness ------------------ 58
10)---- Last but not least ------------ 57

Second, Blogger Stats

Rank -- Page -------------------------- Views
1) ---- Conditioning Test ------------- 3,920
2) ---- Leap Frog Commentary ---------- 416
3) ---- Dog Gone Spies ---------------- 357
4) ---- Impersonation ----------------- 266
5) ---- An Educated Investor --------- 181
6) ---- Last but not least ------------ 132
7) ---- NFL Stocks - Revisited -------- 110
8) ---- New Plays --------------------- 65
9) ---- Randy Moss, Brett Favre and Jenn Sterger - 55
10) --- I want ------------------------ 45

Obviously I have to thank Fat Albert Haynesworth and the Washington Redskins for the inspiration and Extra Mustard for accepting my submission. They are the real reason for the surge in views for that particular post.

All the expert Bloggers say quality is better than quantity when it comes to blogging but, as we all know, a viral video or two doesn't hurt either.

These stats can be pretty good for looking at key words and where the viewing traffic comes from; Like some of my referring sites Snot Bubble Football, Life with Dogs (blog hop), Networked Blogs, Facebook; but I'd also like to ask anybody who happens to be reading this if their favorite post is listed and what they like most and least about my blog.

So go ahead, let'er rip, I can take it.

I'm actually contemplating some changes and my asking here helps with my decisions and my upcoming soon to be posted 2011 goals.

Thanks for helping make my year of blogging fun and interesting and hope you all stick around for 2011.

As always, be good, do well, have fun.

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