Friday, November 21, 2008


It's Friday, and we all know what that means!

Except, probably not this Friday - unless the populace springs to action to fill the gap caused by the absence of the entire committee.

Also: blogging will probably be light this coming week, as this blogmaster is off to the land of the ice and snow and crashed currency and no food for a week of what, we hope, is fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Light a fire under Chrysler and what do you get?

Light a fire under Chrysler and what do you get? According to Dealbreaker, quite a bit!:





Oh, and Citibank is crashing...


UPDATE: Three banks this week! Coupla graphs here: Graphs: FDIC Bank Failures

Well, today was a pretty crappy day.

Fare well my friends.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So it's decided

So it's decided, Taqueria Mexico, 24 Charles Street, Waltham is the place, and 11:30 AM is the time.

Here's one particularly good review...

Their refried beans are among the most disgusting things I've ever eaten, their burritos are garbage and their chips blow. I some know reviewers (and the friends who recommended this place) like to point to all the Mexican people here as some sign that this place is wonderful, but that ignores the reality that 75% of Waltham's population is Mexican. So that argument is like saying some one star shithole in Oaxaca is great because "holy shit look at all these Mexicans!"

Great Mexican food shouldn't be a chore to eat as you try to convince yourself that you're not eating "Americanized tex-mex" I've eaten great food from Mexican kitchens and this place just doesn't have it.
Of course, there are better reviews. Here's one now:
I've eaten at this place enough to know that breakfast, lunch and dessert are as delicious and reasonably priced as dinner. Stop being a bum and declaring that Anna's is 'the best Mexican food ever.' get your behind to Taqueria Mexico...of course it'll spread, but it's worth it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The FDIC is now insuring "Stored Value Cards."

That means you can get as many Visa or Mastercard Gift Cards for all those people you're too lazy to think up an appropriate gift for, and the government will stand behind you 100%.

Just fabulous!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Globe has a few interesting micrographs up...

The above are the brain cells of a mouse, tagged.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Tea

It's been a long, strange week, hasn't it?

Join us at 4:00, as we celebrate its end, and the beginning of a rainy weekend.

RV will be joining us, and the cheese plate is fresh.

Unfortunately, our research into wintertime drinks was insufficient - so we'll more or less be having the usual.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good News in the TARP?

Who knew?

If you received and exercised stock options, and had to pay taxes on the phantom income, I have got some good news for you:

Buried in the $700b TARP Bailout is this AMT tax amendment:
“Their tax nightmare was created by a provision of the Internal Revenue Code called the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT. These tech workers had been granted what’s called an incentive stock option. Under the AMT, these are taxed at the time employees exercise the right to buy them, based on the difference between the grant price and the exercise price. During the dot-com era, when stock prices soared to dizzying heights, employees could have a stock option that was granted at less than a dollar but that he or she exercised at more than $100 a share.”
Here's the full text [PDF] of the law - see pages 99 and 100. Here is a brief summary from ReformAMT which championed the legislation.
(As always, anything published here should not be construed as tax or investment advice. That said, perhaps a chat with your accountant would be in order).

The Yes Men strike again.

Seems the war is over.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that "By Icelandic law, Ms. Runolfsdottir and other fired employees have three months before they have to leave their jobs. At the end of that period, she will start drawing unemployment benefits."
Ah, Europe!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is AIG a Zombie?

Bloomberg seems to think so:

Revised AIG Terms Begin Treasury Transfusions to 'Zombie' Firms

Bloomberg, By Craig Torres, November 11

The revised bailout of American International Group Inc. marks a new phase in the government's effort to shore up financial markets: It's the first time cash from the rescue fund Congress created last month has been committed to a failing company.

The Federal Reserve, which saved the insurer from collapse two months ago with an $85 billion loan, yesterday reduced that loan and offered lower rates, while the Treasury chipped in $40 billion from its bank-rescue fund to buy preferred shares. The new terms represent a departure for Secretary Henry Paulson, who until now has said he only wants to invest Treasury funds in ``healthy'' firms.

Taxpayers are ``keeping the zombie alive,'' said Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at hedge fund Cumberland Advisors and former director of research at the Atlanta Fed. ``We keep getting deeper and deeper into these holes.''

The shift is likely to vastly expand political demands for saving dying companies in the name of financial or economic stability....
Over at Dealbreaker, they think there are both similarities and differences between AIG and Zombies...

The Vulcan summit is off to a great start.


  • Carlsbad release-to-the-lab is so close we can taste it.
  • The 80/20 rule is still in effect.
  • Tomorrow afternoon a marathon meeting might just occur - so if anyone needs anything - get to us by noon.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Tomorrow marks the kick off of the Vulcan project, successor to the Carlsbad project, itself a successor to the Gotham project.

Theme? We don't need no stinking theme!

SR will be down from the snowy north for 1.5 days, starting tomorrow at noontime. Please stop by and make him feel at home.

Bailout gaining steam.

An analyst over at Deutsche bank has set a target price for GM stock of $ 0.00.

General Motors Corp. plummeted to its lowest level in 59 years after a Deutsche Bank AG analyst downgraded the shares, saying they may be worthless in a year.

``Even if GM succeeds in averting a bankruptcy, we believe that the company's future path is likely to be bankruptcy- like,'' Deutsche Bank's Rod Lache wrote today in a note. The New York analyst recommended selling the shares and cut his 12-month price target to zero. He previously advised holding the stock.

So why are we even thinking about bailing out our automobile manufacturers?

The Detroit Three employ more than 200,000 people directly, and sustain nearly 3 million more indirectly, according to the CAR study. Diminished as they are, the Detroit Three still account for about 4% of U.S. gross domestic product...

We advise buying that Chrysler you've always wanted rather sooner than later.

Deep Thought

Translated from the Spanish, "Yerba Buena", California, means "Good Grass."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Looks like the bailouts are spreading...

Automakers' $25 Billion Fast-Track Bailout

The Detroit Three's desperate plight is speeding along a rescue from Washington, with for now no plans for hearings

BusinessWeek, By David Kiley, November 8

The incoming Obama Administration is determined to help the U.S. auto industry survive the deepening recession. And with General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler hanging on by threads, there is little pressure so far to have auto executives give something in return, except perhaps a promise to preserve jobs. The only questions that remain, say those close to and on the President-elect's transition team, is how the help materializes—and when.
That's excellent. We can't wait to buy another Chrysler.

Two failures this week.

Security Pacific Bank, Los Angeles, CA


Franklin Bank, SSB, Houston, TX

Thursday, November 06, 2008


JL writes in via cyberspace:
Where will EP day be endured this year?
Our choices would seem to be:
  • Paisano Restaurant (Spanish/Mexican food) The website has some nice Tijuana brass playing. May indicate proper cheesiness. Also: "We have seven television screens for your viewing pleasure. Lottery and Keno are now available..." The booths look properly cramped.

  • Margarita's Decent food. Probably disqualified.

  • Taqueria Mexico (Probably too small).

  • Mi Tierra May also be too small.

  • Taqueria El Amigo Supposed to be good. ("They make a pretty good tongue burrito, too"). Possible size issue there, too.

  • The Acapulco - Also claims to have Spanish food. Many locations on the West Coast, one in Waltham.

Two weeks to go...

Two weeks to go, and there is no activity, no leader, and no venue picked out.

That's quite a difference from last year.

Has EP day been cancelled? Will a small cadre venture to the Taqueria Mexico‎ on Charles Street? Will we try a new place, like Taqueria El Amigo? (review) (Other Restaurants)

Or are we going to have Greek food again, despite all traditions to the contrary...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President-Elect has a nice ring to it.

Congrats, BHO, may you rise to the occasion.

And congratulations to Sasha and Malia on the new first puppy!

BTW, the referenda in Massachusetts came out as any right thinking citizen would have it: No, Yes, Yes.

Next time, get it in writing!

Holding a meeting and promising the attendees pizza for lunch conjures up a pleasing image of lunchtime, one that we see around here fairly often. Fresh, hot pizza, eaten around a large conference table, while someone spouts on about something. Nice.

So might it have been just slightly disingenuous of a certain Vice President to make such an enticing offer and and then show up with cold, three day old, ex-tupperware-party pizza, and tell the attendees after the meeting that they could fetch the pizza from the fridge and microwave it themselves.

Disingenuous, and LAME. We think maybe the Guinness people have written a new entry in their book of world records for "Most Lame Attempt To Raise Esprit-de-Corps" after this shenanigan.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Palin Punked

The Masked Avengers strike again!