Friday, May 30, 2008

Column 4

Here in New Jersey we had our Presidential primary months ago (it seems like longer, really), but we still have some legislative contests yet to be determined at the party level. Some are statewide, some are according to Congressional district, some are countywide, and then there are the scores of those down at the weedtop level one step up from the grassroots organization. It is here that I find myself, somewhat unexpectedly.

A while back, maybe a year or so, I was appointed to some time ago to fill a vacancy as a local representative to the Democratic county organization. A few times a year we were expected to come down to a meeting and cast a vote for matters of local interest, in the evening when people are back from their real jobs. The problem was that the club for our town had a problem finding anyone else to fill the position, so I agreed put my name on a petition to continue my role for the upcoming term. Since I never stood election before, I somehow thought it was going to be another formality.

So I was surprised when we received our sample ballots this week to learn that my name and my wife's were listed. Down at the bottom, there.

As before, the duties are minimal, there is no pay, there is no prestige, and precious little thinking involved. We are not superdelegates and don't expect to be getting phone calls from Washington. But still! we want the votes this June 3rd, just because. Should any matters of great significance arise I promise to give them all the attention they deserve (and what does one have to give besides attention nowadays, when it comes right down to that).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Not in Kansas any more

Warning: some NSFW images and obnoxious music

See also the Wikipedia entry on the phrase.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A post for the informed customer

When considering a major purchase such as a router, it is important to consider the pluses and minuses of the different offerings. So as a public service, here's a rundown of two major manufacturers' offerings.

Cisco ASE 1000 seriesFestool OF 1010, OF 1400, OF 2200, MFK700

Processing power in 1U formatDust collection
High availabilityDepth adjustment
Scalable service intelligenceGuide rail compatibility
Granular real-time policy and traffic managementTool-less changes
Quantum Flow ProcessorRatcheting collet
Scalable and flexible packet processingMMC electronics
Unified firewallEngineering & Design

I was a little disappointed that neither vendor addressed the really important questions posed by average consumers: Does it come in teal or in burgundy? What kinds of questions will you get from TSA when you try to bring on onto an airplane? Which one would reach the ground first when dropped from a second-storey window?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wrist reactor

I'll be very disappointed if the PU on this item does not stand for Plutonium.

And I think all the apparel by this manufacturer should have at least a gram or two of deuterated or tritiated moisture, for truth in advertising.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Virtual riches

gold coins
gold coins,
originally uploaded by technicolor.
CNBC is running another one of those fantasy investment contests, runnng from now until July, and I've signed myself up. Why not? The prizes are
  1. Five Hundred Thousand Dollars
  2. One Hundred Thousand Dollars
  3. Fifty Thousand Dollars
  4. A Trip for Winner and one Guest to see Game Three of the 2008 World Series.
  5. A Trip for Winner and one Guest to the Sea Island Golf Resort.
  6. About $5000 of Sony stuff.
  7. A Trip to Jamaica for Winner and one Guest.
  8. A pair of TAG Heuer Watches.
  9. A Florida golf clinic with (recently retired) Annika Sorenstam, plus other perks.
  10. A Trip to Turks and Caicos for Winner and one Guest.
  11. A weekend in a Bentley.
  12. A Trip for the Winner to play in the Main Event of the 2009 World Series of Poker.
  13. A Trip for Winner and one Guest to see the 2009 Super Bowl.
You just have to outsmart a few hundred thousand other players, that's all.

I've set up four of the allowed five million dollar portfolios for myself, and so far none of them are in the red. These are themes of the portfolios:

  1. Earnings reports The weekly prizes are based on largest percentage change of a portfolio, and I figured that the best way of catching a lucky coinidence of a number of stocks "popping" was to chose those schedued to have earnings reports that week. Last week, I started with Brocade Communications, Sony, BMC Software, and Nordstrom turn in good performances for me, with Urban Outfitters posting a loss after missing the analysts' expectations. This week it will be instead Hewlett-Packard, AnnTaylor, Campbell Soup, Saks, and Staples.

  2. Tech tech tech The sector that hasn't had to bear too much of the brunt of the slowdown these last few months. I've put together a port with Ansys, IDC, Microsoft, Oracle, and CommVault which is the best-performing of all so far.

  3. Take me The other way a stock can get a big pop is if it suddenly finds itself on the receiving end (or occasionally the issuing end) of takeover activity. So I looked for some solid, defensive stocks with a decent amount of cash and built a port consisting of CSC, Heinz, and NetApp. A shot in the dark, really.

  4. Vice As the words of the hymn say,
    Tempted and tried, we're oft made to wonder
    Why it should be thus all the day long
    While there are others living among us
    Never molested, though in the wrong
    So with this in mind I thought about some industries which flourish by causing other folks dismay and came up with this list: MasterCard, Fortune Brands, CACI International, Halliburton (duh), Altria, British American Tobacco, Baidu, Las Vegas Sands, and Foundation Coal Holdings. Just sayin'.

Any suggestions for a theme for my final million dollar portfolio? Put them in the comments. Or let me know if you are a fellow player and how you're doing. (There's still time to sign up.) If I think of it, I'll post an entry about how these strategies of mine ended up faring.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Compare and Contrast III

Ding dong merrily on high.

The nest of the lark
The nest of the lark,
originally uploaded by Sator Arepo.

See also this and this.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thinking of Windows 7

I am certain I'm not the only one to have come up with this meme, but I may be the first one to have hacked up a promotional poster for Microsoft's next OS.

Source images here and here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


originally uploaded by VjTuX-2008.
I like the look, but I think I like her even better vectorized.