Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Today's Humor

This was provided to me by my brother who lives in Clovis, NM..... Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'd rather be nobody in Texas

My sister was asked to help with a project that was assigned to girl in Nebraska. Her task is to collect stories from people who live in different states. I did one on Texas. Below is what I submitted, with some input from my sister.

I live in Houston, Texas. Texas brings up so many different visual images for various individuals. I remember one day I met a man from Paris while visiting the Seaport in New York City. I was about 27 and had shared with him that I had moved to the city from Texas because I just wanted to be a part of the Big Apple. He told me I was brave. I told him New York was not all that scary; and then he corrected me on his meaning. He told me that I was brave to live in Texas and then made reference to how everyone in Texas has a gun. This is one of many misconceptions about Texas.

Others think that Texas is covered with oil derricks from border to border, such that everyone has one in their backyard. Oh, if only that were true. I certainly would not protest to being an oil tycoon!

And then, of course, there is the landscape of Texas. Most believe that Texas is dry and arid, like a desert with tumble weeds aimlessly roaming the streets. They think of fiery Western sunsets accompanied with vibrant pink and purple clouds. And truth be told, one would find this in West Texas but East Texas is very much the opposite.

East Texas shares topography with its neighbors: Louisiana and Arkansas. The big thicket oozes across the Texas’ border providing a blanket of tall pines, swamps and wildlife. The coast of Texas is humid, green, wet and rainy. Houstonians call the months between May and September the “sauna season.” Before air-conditioning, city government offices closed down for the sometimes-deadly summer months. Residents of this part of the state begin dreaming of winter months by August.

And then, of course there is the Texas Cowboy. He is very much alive and well in both the eastern and in the western regions of our fair state. He has replaced his beloved horse with a pick up truck; and though he no longer wears the spurs and chaps, he continues to look great in his Levis and cowboy hat. The rodeo still comes to Houston in March every year, and it is a huge event that lasts around 20 days!

Let us not forget the space program. Houston, Texas is home to the Johnson Space Center. It is at JSC that the astronauts prepare for their missions in space. They start practicing their space walks at the Buoyancy Center, home of the world’s largest indoor pool. Once the shuttle leaves its liftoff platform in Florida, Houston’s command center immediately takes over and stays with the mission to the very end. And when astronauts come home, they land in Houston.

Texas’ documented history goes as far back as the early 1500’s when it was discovered by a Spanish explorer. That was the beginning of the various sovereigns over Texas. The first sovereign nation was Spain, then came France, then Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederate States of America and then finally the United States of America. These sovereignties are the source of the famous “Six Flags over Texas.”

I am of the opinion that it is the people of Texas that make this state such a wonderful place to live. Texas folk are simply friendly people. I believe that it has to do with the pride we have in our hearts of this great state. We want everyone to love and cherish it as much as we do. So, we go out of our way to welcome newcomers to our home. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Houston opened its arms to over 100,000 people displaced from New Orleans, most of whom decided to make Houston their permanent home.

There is of course a common saying that “everything is Big in Texas. It really is just a very big state; the second largest in the US (but Texans joke that if you take all the ice out of Alaska, Texas would be the largest). It takes a day to drive from the eastern border to the western border of the state. Let’s face it, Texas makes a great cookie shape. So much room for decorating! And the shape of this state is very distinctive. Why, I bet you could put the shape of Texas in front of anyone in the world and they would immediately identify it.

So, I guess it’s safe to say that Texas is a very special state, at least to those who have lived here for a long time. My family moved here when I was two and I find myself saddened by the fact that I’m not native. Most Texans consider me an honorary native Texan. I’ll accept that.

My very good friend and fellow transplant Texan, John DeMers, once said: “I’d rather be nobody in Texas, than somebody some other place.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Monday, December 08, 2008

I decided to do one with my sister.

She just seems to be so enthusiastic in this dance!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 01, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday's inspirational Post

Friends and lurkers, I'm sorry I haven't posted in Sooo long. I seem to be at a loss for words.

Here is an inspirational post for you. I love it and I hope you do, too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I have good Karma

Ok, so last night after having wine with a friend, I decide to go to one of my favorite mexican food drive thru located at the corner of Montrose and Westheimer. It's not Taco Bell but another Taco something place and it's pink..... :)

Every time I get food from here, I get home and discover they got my order wrong. So, this time, I decided I would confirm it before I headed out the drive way.

I pull up to the window and the girl states my order back to me. It's wrong, all wrong. So I tell her the two items I ordered. She says "uh oh", leans out the drive through window and watches the vehicle before me pull out of the driveway into the street. She then tells me that she gave my order to them.

I laughed and told her not to worry, they'd be back. So she proceeds to put my order together. She comes back to the window and hands me the bag. I have my debit card in hand and am trying to figure out how to use the scanner thingy. She looks at me and says, "don't worry about, she already paid for your food. My bad, just go on".

Yes, my friends, I got a free meal from the place that always screws up my order.

I thanked the universe for such a great day.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday's Fascinating Post

Better late than never.

These are Trap-Jaw Ants. Fascinating.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


What a night, eh? I knew Obama would win this but I wasn't expecting such a great victory. I'm so proud of him.

And McCain's concession speech! What a beautiful speech. That speech made me so proud.

I had gone to the Democratic Party "Party" Headquarters with a friend to watch the results. It was being held at a local hotel. It was crowded and not enough screens were available. So we headed out to Champs, a local sports bar with lots of tv screens. The sound was turned down but we could see the results. We sat only about 15' away from one of the big screens, drank wine and downed cheeseburgers.

It was amazing. The manager was afraid of fighting among his patrons and would not turn up the sound. He finally agreed to turn it up during Obama's speech. We got tired of waiting for Obama to speak so we headed out; however, we were able to catch it on the radio. My friend drives a Miata, so we had the top down. Then we sat in his driveway, under the stars, and continued listening to the speech. It was phenomenal.

I'm just so glad it's behind us and that it was such a clear victory. There is no doubt that America has chosen her leader. And for the first time since Reagan, I believe America had a very clear choice to make.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ben Affleck nails it!

I saw SNL this weekend and Ben Affleck was the host. He is one really talented guy. He did a skit impersonating Keith Olbermann and it was brilliant.

If you don't know the real Mr. Olbermann, watch the following until you get a really good idea how he reports.

Then, watch Ben Affleck's impersonation. I think it's hillarious.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The man is a machine.

Obama, true to form, is taking this thing away from McCain. His strategy? Stay on course with the same message over and over and over and over again. Minimize negative campaigning. Force your opponent to spend all their money. And finally, get America to visualize you as President. The only recourse the opponent has is to tear you down. And the harder McCain tears at Obama, the weaker he makes his own case.

I believe that Obama is going to be an extremely effective leader not only for our country but for the rest of the world.

I just wish Tuesday would get here already.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meet the Republican Base

This is the crowd that Sarah Palin has motivated to come out and vote.

And another

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What does McCain have up his sleeve?

So, today they announce that Palin is behaving like a rogue. Why would they allow such a story to leak to the press? The only thing I can think of is that McCain is about to switch the ticket. Romney perhaps?

I'm telling you, there is no way they are going to allow Palin that close to the role of presidency.

I think they are going to switch the ticket and they are setting her up for the fall.

Here's the story:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello, Friend

It's raining this afternoon. Not just a little sprinkle but a real shower with dollops of lightning and thunder here and there. It rained in the morning last Monday, which was the first time we saw rain since Ike. It didn't last long and I happened to be out in it at the time.

But this rain, this is my beloved afternoon rain that I've missed so much. For the last 4 or 5 years we were kissed by rain showers every afternoon from June through July but for some reason, not this summer. This summer the afternoon showers were scarce and I felt robbed. I felt as though the earth was alienating me from her affections.

I don't know how to explain it but afternoon showers feed my soul. Today, I mix it with a nice cup of coffee and my French music playing in the background.

I'm in a very good place right now. My soul is being soothed and rejuvenated. I feel like I'm one with the earth.

Ah, but alas, it could be short lived.... the sun is poking its head through the clouds already. It's just as well. I do have things I need to do today and I would prefer not doing them in the rain.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ross Perot - the beginning of the end.

I think many people underestimate the significance Ross Perot had back in the 90's. It really had nothing to do with Ross Perot himself as much as it had to do with the overall mood of the Republican party at the time of this election. Perot just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

I remember that there was a lot of dissatisfaction with Bush Sr. Many moderate Republicans simply did not want him in office for another term but as most people who know Republicans know, Republicans struggle with the idea of leaving the party.

Ross Perot proposed an alternative. He was big on business but low key on the religious stuff. He seemed to have a common sense approach to life, politics and business and he seemed to be able to say it the way he saw it. So, for those Republicans who couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat, Ross Perot was the perfect compromise.

Significantly, these dissatisfied voters got a taste for voting against the party. I know, I was one of them. I voted for Ross Perot both times. This was me trying out leaving the party.

When Clinton won, I hoped that the Republicans would regroup and reconsider where the party was offtrack. Initially, when G.W. came onto the scene, I thought he was going in the right direction. (And now as I see how McCain has been carrying himself, we might actually have dodged a bullet by electing him) It was during Bush's second term after the Democrats backed off from all of their attacks that I was able to see him for who he really was.

The bottom line, the Republicans never re-grouped. And while listening to McCain lately as he comes up with whatever he can pull out of the air, I discover, they still don't have a clue. I am of the opinion that the reason the Republican Party cannot change is because they sincerely believe they are failing because everyone else is stupid, immoral or unpatriotic. They are completely unable to reflect on their ideology and ask themselves if maybe they should tweak it a little. They seem to prefer the ivory tower.

The challenge the party faces now is that they have alienated so many people over the last 8 years they have no idea what will bring enough constituents back to the party to win an election. And as McCain continues to propose left-wing solutions to our economic problems it shows how fast and furiously they seem to be willing to abandon their platform just to win an election.

It's easy for me now. I really like Obama and since I've already voted against the party once, it won't be new for me to vote against them again. I've already felt the guilt and worked past it. I can do it. I can vote for a Democrat who I think embodies most of what I believe. And I believe I am not alone and that there are hundreds of thousands of Republicans who feel they have been so let down by their party and who see hope in Barack Obama.

It is almost as if a new party is emerging from the moderates of both parties. Wow, wouldn't that be so cool? If indeed this is happening, I wonder what they will call themselves.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

On a lighter note

Immediately after the first Presidential debates, I donated to Obama's campaign and received a magnet for my car. It finally arrived yesterday. I suspect that they ordered them as soon as Obama selected his running mate and that they are finally getting them out.

So my friend and I are playing this game. Daily we are telling each other whenever we site an Obama/Biden magnet because right now, I've seen only 2: mine and one other on a car exiting the Katy Freeway. My friend hasn't seen any so far.

Ok, peeps, get your magnets on!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The new politics.

I have been thinking lately about how we got here. When one thinks of the word "conservative" as it applies to politics, it's sort of confusing. Back in the 70's, and I was very young so, this is speculation, I believe that Republicans were probably considered stodgy old men that counted their money every day and planned wars; and Democrats were freedom loving, anti-war, bleeding hearts anxious to give everyone's money away.

Today, conservative can be applied fiscally or socially. The Republicans screwed up when they decided to be the "Moral" party. Somehow they believed they owned the market on Christian values and they said that if you don't embrace their traditional Christian values then you are not a moral person. Truth be told, this is a very powerful method of controlling someone. No one wants to be perceived as being immoral. And the way the GOP deals with those who disagree is to slam the door in their face in a fit of self-righteous rage leaving the rejected person feeling abandoned and unworthy.

This dismissive behavior alienates people. So all of a sudden the Republican party became the party that hates homo-sexuals, or pro-choicers or anti-warmongers. Perhaps they were banking on their members' need to be considered worthy by the "moral authority" keeping them in the party. I think that people have an inherent need to be liked, to get along with others and to like other people. So, more people, growing tired of accusations regarding their moral standing and their patriotism just for disagreeing walked away and joined the warm, welcoming arms of the Democratic party.

I think this is why the Republican Party is so confused right now. Here we are, facing a financial crisis and they don't know what their principals are anymore. For the last 8 years, Bush's agenda was very much in line with that of the Religious Right and he seemed to think it was his calling in life to make sure that the rest of us lived by his traditional Christian values. And so, many loyal Republicans exited stage left and joined the Democratic Party.

Right now, we need strong, difficult, fiscally conservative decisions that will protect the financial future of our country. Democrats have businesses, women have businesses, the gay members of our societies have businesses, so I'm optimistic that there might be enough financial conservatism in the Democratic party to get us through this problem. I am at least hopeful of this.

This leads me to why I think Obama might actually be able to do the job. This growth in the Democratic party has brought about a vast variety of people. People who are Christian and who are Atheist, people who want gays to be able to marry and others who aren't ready to cross that line, people who are pro-choice and others that are anti-abortion. But I think the significant thing is that these people who are coming over to the Democratic ticket are seeking balance and not an all or nothing approach. Both parties have their extreme visions but I think that the Democrats have always had a more tolerant approach towards their adversaries than the GOP has been toward theirs.

I think perhaps both parties are going go through a very interesting redefinition of their respective platform. And this might be why the races between Bush/Gore and Bush/Kerry were so close. The all or nothing approach of the "moral" Republican party has turned a lot of people away. I am of the opinion that if this is a close race, it will not help this country as much as it will if it is more like a landslide. I can only hope that I am not overestimating Obama's capacity to manage these challenges ahead because I do believe his going to be elected our next President of the United States.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Something to ponder

Remember, the big argument for this bail out was because it would help small and medium size business owners who needed credit.

I don't know if you saw Bush this morning as he spoke to the public, backed by small business owners in San Antonio, but he said that it would be a while before things were set up for these owners to be able to actually get to their needed credit. He didn't specify if we were looking at days, weeks or months.

But in the meantime, there is some commercial credit available; and guess what? The large companies are maxing out their credit lines. Do you know why? Because they want to make less credit available to their competitors and to the small/medium sized businesses. They will eventually use this money to buy up deeply discounted raw materials, ailing small businesses/competitors or cheap stock.

Nothing like widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Glimmer of hope

I have been watching Fox Business news since the beginning of these economic issues. If you are interested in knowing what to do with your money, whatever your politics, I strongly recommend you watch it when you can.

The analysts showed a map of the U.S. and only about 5 states are not at risk of suffering a recession. Thankfully, Texas is one of those states. The Midwestern states are at risk and the coastal states are already in one. However, oil is down below $90/barrel. I think it was at $110 when we first started. FBN reported that some parts of the nation are actually getting some relief at the gas pumps.

I also learned that the credit lending is going to be very tight. The auto industry is losing sales because the lending standards are changing. Apparently, only those whose credit scores are 700 and above are being qualified with decent rates. Lesser scores are being approved but they're sub-prime so their interest rates are much higher.

I wonder if these tighter credit standards means that the credit card invitations will stop. I don't get very many, anyway, because I signed on with Lifelock.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The end of an era

I am deeply concerned regarding the direction our government has taken to address the economic issues our country faces at this point.

It is appalling how our credit agencies and banks have abused their positions and exercised bad judgment at the expense of many Americans. Credit agencies have set themselves up on college campuses and encouraged 18 yr old kids to sign up for as many credit cards as possible, credit bureaus have looked the other way as we consumers scream about identity theft, Banks screamed for and received tougher bankruptcy laws while Washington looked the other way at their lending practices, and now mortgage companies seeing how D.C. operates have committed fraud. So, now, it’s all coming to a head.

Yes these practices are beyond reproach and should not go unpunished; however, taking such measures as nationalizing or socializing our financial institutions is the wrong direction to take. It is as important that our financial institutions be able to compete on an open, fair playing field as it is for companies like MacDonalds or Nike.

No business or institution can continue to succeed using such bad practices. Everyone would have learned it if cooler heads had stepped back and addressed this issue slowly and with reason. But when the government steps in to prevent these poorly run institutions from failing then their stable, intelligently managed competitors cannot succeed. Preventing the failure of bad policies prevents the success of good ones.

Preventing the reality of any given situation creates an environment of arrested development. Washington has prevented us and these banks from being able to discover which practices work and which ones don’t. The benefits of these lessons far outweigh their cost, the result of which would have set a strong precedence for future policies and a stronger future for both our banks and our market. Now our crisis is worse.

Placing these institutions into the hands of Washington does not induce confidence from the market place. Business owners, even small ones, know that the decision to socialize our banks is the worst decision Washington could have made for the future of our country especially at a time when the country has so little confidence in its leaders. We are a capitalist society. Even the least of us understand these principals and have become less confident in this plan.

Congress’s decision to go in session to discuss the policies and decisions that led to this crisis is absolutely worthless at this point. If they can neither comprehend why this bill is so harmful to our nation nor have the courage to stop it, then none of their analysis is going to amount to anything worthwhile. As a matter of fact, they might actually do us a favor if they spent their time bowling instead.

And then, what’s worst, is that this was sold to all of us but really only the wealthy members of this society are going to be protected. As our markets continue to drop and prices continue to plummet, driving more people out of business, and yes, our pension plans and mutual funds continue to become worthless, Washington has ensured that the wealthy stay protected and continue to be in a position to purchase these stocks and benefit from the profits.

I continue to be of the opinion that this administration has been hell bent on protecting and improving the financial status of the wealthy members of our society. The cost of this protection is the destruction of our free market system which is the only means by which any of us have to improve our economic standing. This is not Capitalism.

I don't believe that this is what either the Republican or Democratic party wanted but I am afraid that the result of this decision will lead to harder times; and the ideas, promises or plans that either candidate proposes during this campaign are moot. The only hope any of us has is a leader that understands how important it is that the fundamentals of Capitalism are valiantly protected.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thank God for the GOP

The House Republicans stood up today and are pushing back. They aren't sold on the $700 billion. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. Read here for more info.

Paulson is taking the banks word for the value of these mortgages. The truth is, we have no idea how much they are worth. If they are worth more than $700 billion, then we make money. If they are worth less, then we (tax payers) get hosed.

So, the GOP wants to approve $250 billion and then allocate $50 bill/mo if necessary as long as they get a vote on it. And they want to restructure the voting so that the President can't veto their vote.

I'm so happy that someone is approaching this with reason and courage.

The patient & Vicadin

The patient has cancer. No one wants to say it, the Medical Chief and all of his doctors have said the patient, at the core is healthy. Well, we recently discover that the patient has cancer and we discover this because pain has raised it's head.

The doctors all come together for an emergency meeting to discuss what to do. A very important meeting with all sorts of really "smart" people. And rather than address the cancer and start a regimen on Chemotherapy and radiation. They decide to give the patient a high dose of vicadin to hold off the pain with the promise that they'll meet later to address the cancer.

I dreamt last night that I was being chased by giant machines with big ominous feet that wanted to crush me. I went to bed and woke up with an anvil on my chest. No to the bailout is an indication that D.C. understands that this is not a solution to anything. A plan to address the cancer is what it needed, NOW.

This bailout is bad news. If anyone thinks that once this bail out is done everything is going back to normal, they're mistaken. Without the bail out, we're all in this mess together. Rich, poor, middle-class...everyone. With the Bail Out, just Wall Street is taken care of and the problems that Main Street will face are suspended for just a little while.

I really don't trust D.C. to address the cancer patient, not even Obama.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Solution I can live with

I agree that something needs to be done about this situation but I absolutely do not believe that handing over $700 Billion and giving one man absolute power over the situation is the right solution.

So, it has come to my attention that Dave Ramsey has put together a "Common Sense Fix" to the problem. You can find it on his website:

I have already written a letter, including the fix, and faxed to to both Texas Senators and my congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee.

I do not and I cannot support a $700 Billion bail out. I'm curious why they want us to believe that throwing money into the pot is the only solution to the problem. It's the equivalent of giving an addict a fix just so they can get by to the next withdrawal.


Making sense of this mess

I have posted this before but it seems more relevant. To understand how these Mortgage Back Securities came about and the bundling etc. "This American Life" did a fabulous piece titled, The Giant Pool of Money It's free to listen to.

And additionally, this is not free but it's available as a live download on Netflix it's called Maxed Out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm just so pissed - NO BAIL OUT


This is what I'm hearing, especially from Suze Orman, regarding this bail out. It seems that we need to pass this bail out so that we can all continue to live beyond our means.

We use credit to buy anything we desire and the credit card companies say "yes", do this. This culture has been encouraged to use credit like it's a personal bank account.

No No No!!! We are here because this has been the way we have been encouraged to live. We have been encouraged to live this way by the very credit institutions that are now in trouble.

This is the natural, logical conclusion of allowing ourselves to continue to accumulate debt. The talking heads are encouraging Americans to support this bail out so that we can continue the same poor credit practices that got us here.


I like what Ron Paul has to say about it.

Not so sure Paulson is correct

The premise that Paulson is using to justify the government's purchase of these Mortgage Securities is that home values will go up because money is being made available. I am assuming then that he believes that it will raise the value of the securities being purchased by the government.

The problem I see with that argument is that the housing prices we saw from 2003-2007 was a combination of a couple of things.

1) It was so easy for buyers to be approved for loans so people were offering more for homes than list price. For example, a home might be listed for $250K and a consumer might then offer $300k for the house. Why? Because the seller would then give the buyer $50k at the closing table. It was a round about way of allowing buyers to borrow more money at mortgage rate interest rates. Often times it was meant to help investors pay their mortgage while they waited for a tenant to occupy their property. In order for that to work, the appraisers had to be willing to appraise the property higher than "market" value which was already inflated. The lender gets their 1 - 2% commission, the realtors get their commission, and the appraiser gets his pocket padded.

2) There were so many people being qualified for loans that the housing inventory was not meeting the demand. With so many people chasing houses, we were faced with a seller's market. Sellers could expect higher prices for their homes because buyers were being qualified for them. Sellers did very well during these years.

These lax policies for lending money is why we are seeing the foreclosures we see. The strict policies that lenders traditionally required when offering loans were there for a reason.

So, I don't believe this bailout is going to change home prices as much as he is predicting because so much of the housing prices were fundamentally influenced by one thing: The ease by which a person with a pulse could get a loan.

It is my opinion that in order for home prices to go up from here, creditors would have to continue to look the other way when borrowers don't have what it takes to qualify for loans. And that will continue to deteriorate the mess we are already in.

If we go back to the rules that banks have followed before this mess, then it will be more difficult for fraud to take place, which results in fewer qualified buyers. Such a scenario creates a buyer's market. A buyer's market brings down home prices.

Capable but different

At the end of the debates Friday night, I walked away thinking that both men would serve well as Presidents. But I think that Obama is the better choice.

It's funny because at some point during the debates, and it may have been at the very beginning, I halfway expected Obama to say: "Hi, I'm a Mac" and McCain to say: "And I'm a PC".

Because to me that is almost where we are today. The PC represents an older, rigid, inflexible approach to computers whereas the Mac is about compatibility, reliability, and a solution to our collection of music, photos and videos. In other words, Mac understands the user's needs and is more capable to accommodate them than the PC.

And now they are both about the same price. I can buy a basic laptop from Mac for about the same price as one from Dell. I won't be buying laptops any time soon, though.

If Obama wins, I am really excited about the changes to come. I think he is going to be the breath of fresh air Washington has needed since Kennedy was assassinated. I think America was truly heartbroken to lose her President in such a horrible way but I also think America loved him and his family. I think the White House can be Camelot once again. And I think that Obama can do it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bail Out, Schmail Out

It is not our government's place to bail out these financial institutions. And I am a firm believer that the only reason that Bush and Co. want to do it is because they don't want Americans to feel the full impact of this situatuon while the current administration is in office. This could actually seal the deal for the Democrats.

If these guys ok the bail out and then the new administration takes over, the failure of the bail out will be blamed on the new administration. Especially if Obama wins the election, they will point to his lack of experience.

But the problem goes deeper. When the government gets involved and does these bail outs they enable problems like this to develop in the first place. If the executives know that they can be bailed out if they screw things up then there is no risk of failure. And if there is no risk of failure, then there is no motivation to make the right decisions. There are consequences to poor decisions and when we face those consequences and accept the responsibility for them, then we grow and get better at making decisions.

I am of the opinion that Congress has been looking the other way regarding this country's debt issues because these bad policies made it look like we had a strong economy. People were buying houses, cars, appliances, etc. that they couldn't afford and the credit card companies were encouraging them to do it. So, the illusion of a strong economy is one less issue to deal with. The gamble this administration took was that they were hoping that it would crash next year, after they had exited.

There is an interview by Sara Palin with Katie Curic where Sara indicates that the government must act and do something. When Katie asked about helping the homeowners being foreclosed on, Sara said that she didn't believe that "people should be rewarded for bad decisions." So I guess financial institutions aren't people to Sara Palin.

I'm still wondering exactly what did Bush mean when he said this would be an era of accountability?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Good Bye to a good man.

I logged onto this morning to see what breaking news there was about the debates last night.

I was not expecting the headline announcing Paul Newman's passing away. I was very saddened by it.

I remember growing up my parents bemoaning the passing of some old actor or actress I'd never heard of. It meant so little to me and I couldn't understand why they cared about someone they didn't even know.

I didn't know Paul Newman personally. And I don't think I can even go so far to say I knew him just because I saw almost all of his movies. But his movies take me back to the various times in my life. And the passing of these personalities whose works somehow affected my life over time simply remind me that I, too, am getting older.

Good bye Paul. Thank you for the wonderful movies, for the wonderful spaghetti sauces and for the tasty salad dressings. You will be missed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain and another knee jerk decision.

Ok, so this is an interesting move on McCain's part.

He needs two things right now.

The first is time away from this existing crisis. Since polls are showing that the American citizens see the current financial ills as the Republican's doing, now probably would not be a good time to have a Presidential debate. That is, if you are a Republican.

The second thing McCain needs is some ammunition. He needs to get something on Obama and what better way to do that than to lure Obama into this mess in D.C. This gives McCain the opportunity to watch what Obama does and says. Thus providing him and his staff fodder that can be spun and injected in new negative campaign ads as well as material for debates.

When McCain made this decision to go to Washington and ask Obama to do the same, he placed himself in a precarious position. First off, Obama decided he wasn't going to play. He wants to move forward with the debates. Now that puts McCain in the undesirable position of either A) calling off the debates and looking like a coward or B) eating crow and being forced to debate. He didn't want to have to make either decision.

So, he does the next best thing. He makes it someone else's decision to call off the debates and tells the President to make Obama come to D.C.

Obama was right when he said that Presidential politics have no place being injected into this current situation. And that is EXACTLY what McCain is doing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recent events and Real Estate

I've been trying to make heads or tails out of recent events and how they may affect real estate in Houston.

I had been optimistic that the recent hurricane would drive up housing demand in Houston. So many misplaced residents will need housing and once FEMA and various home owners insurance payments are made, people will feel ready to move forward. Some will want to stay near the water, others will decide not to risk another storm. At any rate, I've anticipated an increase in demand for housing near Houston.

Baton Rouge couldn't hold on to their inventory shortly after Katrina hit. Bidding wars were commonplace.

Now, we have this new turn of events with our Financial industry. I see two ways this is going to impact the market.

The first impact is consumer confidence. These are complicated issues and a lot of people don't understand them; that usually leads to fear. Fear paralyzes most people which forces them to hold on tight to their money.

The second impact: ultra-conservative underwriters. I believe this is going to be what ultimately determines home values. I'm seeing it right now with a condo I have available for sale. There were actually two available in the community. Both are nicely priced for the area and both had offers. Even though both condos had offers by well-informed buyers within just days of being listed, the underwriter would not accept the appraisers proposed values. They didn't like the formula he used and forced him to under value the condo. My client wouldn't play, so we lost the contract and the condo is back on the market. I think she's going to sit tight and lease it out. Condos are very tricky animals; only under certain circumstances do I consider them to be good investments.

Ok, so is it a buyer's market or a seller's market? Jury is still out. I do believe that right now, it's a good time to buy. Sellers are worried so they will probably be far more willing to negotiate.

We don't have enough rental property to meet Houston's demand for rental housing. This is and excellent time to be a property investor. Excellent.

I predict that within about 3 - 4 weeks, we'll see an increase in home sales that can be linked to Ike. How strong this impact is going to be will be directly affected by how accessible loans will be after the bail out. I'm most interested in how underwriters are going to impact home prices. Will they allow the market to determine home values?

Monday, September 22, 2008

A surprise? I don't think so.

Everyone in D.C. would like to say that they were taken by surprise by the depth of our financial collapse; I beg to differ.

Here is a link to a report that was put together by the FBI in May of 2007. It is the 2006 Mortgage Fraud Report.

Here's one in 2005. Feds Warn Against Mortgage Lenders

They saw this coming.

What did these financial institutions do to prevent themselves from getting to this point once they received the warning signs?

Friday, September 19, 2008

How did we get here?

I hear that question a lot these days in reference to the financial institutions' collapse.

I have a theory.

Does anyone remember when Bush campaigned back in 2000 how he said that this would be an era of accountability. People would be held accountable, he said.

The National Bank of America drafted a bill that made it more difficult for consumers to filed for bankruptcy. I agree that people should have to pay their debts and not over spend but unfortunately it isn't as simple as that.

Consider this analogy. Is it wrong for someone to steal shoes off of my porch? Yes, it is. Who's accountable? Both parties. If I keep leaving my shoes on the porch and they keep being stolen, then maybe I should stop leaving them on the porch.

So this new bill by congress was the equivalent of the cops cracking down harder on those who steal shoes from the porch.

The banks of America thought that if the consumer couldn't file for bankruptcy then there was no reason for them to stop cramming credit down the consumer's throat. Whether it's a subprime mortgage with adjustable rates or outlandish credit terms or a credit card with fees on top of fees and outlandish interest rates, the financial instutes of America thought they were safe. They thought they could continue to leave their shoes on the porch and that the penalties for stealing would be enough to stop the culprits.

So, Bush's interpretation of accountability was very limited. Or perhaps it was exact. People would be held accountable but the institutions that made really bad policies would not be.

Congress wonders where they went wrong. How about this message: "Hey guys, if you keep putting your shoes on the porch, and they continue to get stolen, we're not going to buy you new shoes".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting back to normal

Well, things are certainly getting back to normal around here. Unfortunately, my part of Houston is not supposed to have power until after Monday. I'm so glad I do have it.

Last night, at 1:00 a.m., I heard a train. I love trains and I missed hearing them come through. The cars going up and down Studewood are pretty regular now. People are out and about driving and riding bikes. Life is happening.

I had internet trouble all day until just about 30 minutes ago; and I'm still having some problems with my cell but I think it's coming to an end and I can receive calls as I should.

I'm bored. So is my friend, John. I hooked up and met with him at Onion Creek for a beer this afternoon. He had his laptop and was writing up an article for Spec's. He types with one finger. It's quite amusing to watch him. That isn't one finger from each hand, either. It's ONE finger.

He's been writing for a long time. He was a journalist before he became a food writer. He's written plays, musicals, cookbooks and books about food. This is his latest book. He had been working on it all year.

So, anyway, I'm ready to get back to work. I've enjoyed my break very much and am thankful for the time off.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Titanic and America's financial institutions

Ok, so you're sitting there asking yourself, what do these things possibly have in common.

Why did the Titanic sink?

Most people would say, because it hit an ice berg. But why did it hit an ice berg? Because the captain of the boat wanted to arrive in New York early to surprise everyone, so he was speeding across the Atlantic. Why would the captain take such a risk? The speed at which they were traveling made virtually impossible to avoid a berg once one was spotted.

The captain took the risks he took because he was operating on a specific premise. Structurally, the Titanic was unsinkable.

Think about what that means for a moment. If they truly believed it was impossible to sink the Titanic then why should anyone consider safety features. Was it really necessary to have enough lifeboats, or any lifeboats for that matter? If they hadn't held the premise that the Titanic was unsinkable, would it have sunk?

The same principle applies to the financial industry. They knew that they couldn't sink and that the government would rescue them. Therefore, they didn't need to be responsible about their decisions and whatever policies they held in place to ensure the credibility of their lending or investment decisions went out the window. Why take such precautions when failure was really impossible?

Well, the Titanic is sinking and it's taking all of us with it.

Thanks GW, we really appreciate watching our 401K's and IRA's become smaller and smaller every day.

Just Stuff

I decided to walk over to 11th street cafe and get breakfast. Unfortunately they didn't have bacon. I really wanted bacon. It was nice getting out and seeing people. I can't believe I showed up without business cards.

My phone service is sporadic. The only thing that works well is texting. T-Mobile is going to make a mint off of us.

I'm a little bored. I've been working on a needlepoint project for the last 3 days. I love stitching but I'm ready for a break. My friend, John, is frustrated that he doesn't have power.

I remember when Alecia hit us in '83. It was August. My family lived in Kingwood and we were without electricity for a week. My grandparents were visiting at the time; they regretted the timing of their visit. I remember how stifling the heat and humidity was. I slept with my windows open and a wet towel draped over me. I recall that I actually got relief by doing that. I also remember that people were price gouging ice and my father was livid about it. I don't remember anything else. I don't remember how we prepared for it, or what we ate during the days after.

Admittedly, I wasn't as prepared as I should have been for this storm. Had I lost power like my friends, I don't know that I would have had enough food to sustain me. Water and batteries were plentiful. I completely forgot, though, that I don't have a radio.

When Rita hit, I was completely prepared. I guess the false alarm of that storm had something to do with how I prepared for this one. I don't know when news people are being sincere and when they are sensationalizing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My date with Ike

Well, I made it.

I opted to rough it out at home. I live in the Heights, called such because it is on higher ground than most of Houston. I believe we are 20' higher than downtown Houston. I'm on the ground floor of a duplex and my building is up another 2-3' above ground. So, I wasn't as worried about flooding as members of my family who did not live in Houston.

The national news did a really bad job reporting this. They are too lazy to understand Houston. They don't get that Houston is 600 sq miles. We are not a densely populated city. We grow by gobbling up neighboring communities and expanding our city limits. So when CNN and others were talking about storm surges and flooding in Houston, they made it sound like all of Houston was in danger. They were evacuating only certain zip codes in Houston. My zip code was not one of those. So my sister and my brother were both very worried about me. I would be, too, if the role was reversed.

This building is solid. I felt it shake just a little bit during the highest intensity. I did not board up any windows. And interestingly, neither did the restaurant, The Glass Wall. I was surprised. But they didn't get any broken windows and neither did I. I had to leave my car outside. It didn't get any damage, either.

My electricity went out at 2:45 a.m. I'm impressed that my satellite never went out. I was able to watch the news up to the moment I lost power and the winds had picked up quite a bit at that point. I thought the eye was going to go over me which told me I would have gotten a break from the winds and would have been able to sleep. But unfortunately, it didn't start to slow down until about 7:00. They were still strong winds but I knew the worst was over and could sleep.

I would say that the most difficult part of this was the sinus headache I got when it started. I think it had to do with the pressure. For 24 hours I was popping everything I could get my hands on for relief. It wasn't until this morning, when the rain hit, that my headache went away.

My power came back on yesterday at about 7:00. So, I was one of the very lucky ones to have power so quickly. As a matter of fact no one across the street from me had any power. I'm curious if they will have power this evening.

My friend, John, is still without power. But he does have a gas stove and he's motivated to cook his food before it goes bad. Everyone should have a friend like John in their life. He isn't just a guy who can cook, he's a guy who can really cook well. He hangs out with chefs, writes cookbooks and reviews restaurants. So, when he whips something up, it's like eating out. YUMMY. So, I let him use my couch last night so he could sleep with some air conditioning.

The rain this morning managed to flood some of the streets and he was stuck here for several hours this morning. He finally made it home. He just called. He has stuff he needs to cook from his freezer. Wants to know if he can come over and cook here. Looks like I'm going to be eating quite well this evening.

Everyone in my family has been accounted for. I can't receive or place any phone calls from my cell phone but I have a fax line and a crappy phone I can plug into it. I've been able to place calls and check voice mail going that route.

But here is the really really good part of this. Whenever I take a vacation, it's really hard because my clients aren't on vacation. Just because it's my time off doesn't mean real estate stops. But right now, no one is thinking real estate. So my phone isn't ringing and the roads are a mess. So, this really is a true break for me. I've been organizing my office, listening to music and I watched a movie. Ahh, I do like this break.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I guess it's official

I am officially on the Obama Bandwagon. I know the pundits are telling us this is a close race. For some reason, I find this hard to believe. I never trust the press. I know that they like Obama a lot but I'm not sure that the owners of the press like Obama.

Will the enthusiasm for Obama in Texas make much impact. We bleed a lot of red here. I don't know how dogmatic we are really. Austin is pretty big and they are free thinkers. I'm pretty amazed at how open people are in Houston towards Obama. But I don't know about Dallas. I'm sure they are pretty hard core Republicans.

Texas is an uphill battle but I plan on voting my little heart out. And just for true measure, straight ticket.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thoughts on McCain

I listened to McCain's speech last night. I have to agree he's a good man and I can't help but wonder how different our world would be today if he had been elected into office instead of Bush. The smear tactics that the Bush campaign did to McCain in 2000 really and truly were nasty but in hindsight, it was par to the course.

McCain milked the POW. It sort of made me think of the Passion of Christ. Religious organizations like to emphasize the sacrifice Christ made in order to lure unbelievers into the realm. First it's used as a proof of love, then it's used as guilt if you decide to stray. I felt guilt while listening to McCain's story.

I'm not going to elect a man President because I feel sorry for something that happened to him. There is a temptation because I want to say, he deserves to be President. But that isn't what this is about. Electing someone President because one feels like it's his turn is treating the role of Presidency as a privilege instead of a job.

When I watched the speeches at the DNC, I believe the cheering and the adoration towards Obama and Clinton were sincere. The audience response at the RNC felt really staged. I saw similarities to the DNC. For example, they shouted "USA" in place of the DNC's "Yes We Can".

And finally, though I can see that McCain and company has completely changed their tone about a lot of things, I know that people can't change on a dime. The change that Obama represents is change that he's been promoting for 18 months. He's even demonstrated it in the way he's accepted money for his campaign. McCain is talking change only because now he sees that it's needed. But before the DNC, he didn't see it and he addressed Obama's success leading up to that with really negative ads.

I don't know what "change" McCain is going to bring. What specifically does he think needs to be done? I heard Cindy McCain say that it was time for the Government to "get out of the way" but Obama already said that. How does McCain propose the government getting out of the way, exactly?

McCain wants to win this election. But that's about it. I don't think that change is really in his heart.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I choose Excellence

I caught Giuliani's speech this evening. I absolutely love Giuliani. I get that he's not Presidential material but he has a very special place in my heart. This evening, though, I didn't like him that much. He came across sort of trite, maybe? I can't find the word, but he fell short. He hasn't lost that special place, though; I still love him.

Sarah delivered her speech and I listened. During her speech, I could not stop thinking about Obama. I hold in very high esteem his success at Harvard and how he carries himself as a father. I know they want to drill down that he's not a leader but I beg to differ. He's leading America to voting for a black man. He makes people want to go to the polls and vote and I believe that Washington is ready to embrace his charisma. I've never donated to a campaign before but I donated to his. I'm excited about switching parties. I don't feel like I'm voting against something but that I'm voting for something.

Sarah doesn't inspire me. I think she let her daughter down by not empowering her so she could better decisions for her future. I'm also aware that Sarah was plucked from the bottom of the hill and put onto the top. Hillary climbed it. She faced Kenneth Starr and Carl Rove and overcame lots of baggage to get as far as she did. Hillary planned every step of her campaign and she did it on her terms.

I think that Sarah is an excellent choice to help the ticket but she is not the right choice for the position she is supposed to fill. And if McCain believes that she is the right choice, then it leaves me wondering if maybe National Security really isn't the threat the Republicans are leading us to believe it is. I'm giving McCain the benefit of the doubt that he analyzed the severity and decided that she could handle the job.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dick Cheney. I don't agree with his politics but that man is smart, cool headed, solid and he carries a lot of self respect. He's someone I would want to listent to. If he will get up in front of America and put his reputation on the line and tell us that he genuinely believes that Sarah Palin is the right choice for the role of VP, one heart beat away from President, then I'll reconsider my opinion. But you know what? Mr. Cheney isn't a bullshit kinda guy; he values his reputation. That's why we don't see a lot of him. He's not....a politician. His silence on this issue is noted.

I am sick of cynicism and that was what the RNC oozed this evening. I believe that Obama is setting the pace of this campaign. Sarah's presence in this campaign is a direct response to Obama's success; I genuinely don't believe she represents change. I don't think that Obama is going to lose ground but I do believe that gaining ground might be a bit more difficult. He beat Hillary, so I'm fairly certain he'll beat McCain.

Obama is my choice. He's intelligent, he's ambitious, he cares about people and he doesn't try to piss on my leg and tell me it's raining. I feel inspired and I believe in a better future when I hear him speak. I believe he's the one.

Sarah Palin and Sexism

So, the Republicans think the left and the media are being sexist about Sarah Palin. Really? Guess what? We aren't the ones that made this about gender, the Republicans are. Do you really think the left's response would have been this extreme if the selection was Kaye Bailey Hutchison or Condoleezza Rice? Or how about Carly Fiorina? What about the Governor of Hawaii?

The Republicans released a video of Sarah shooting an automatic rifle the day the announcement was made; and that video was played over and over again all day. That image was to appeal to men, not women. As a general rule, women aren't interested in shooting guns; it's really a man's sport. It doesn't mean that women don't shoot guns because as we all know, there are always exceptions to the general rule. But men do find a women who shoot guns to be very sexy.

Sarah was in a Beauty Contest. What does that mean? It means she looks great in a bathing suit. That's a man's favorite part of the contest; they don't care how she looks in an evening gown.

She's very young and would be totally unable to fly solo. Nothing about her really intimidates men. Condoleezza could actually be President if it came to that. Kaye probably could, too. Men don't have to worry about Sarah getting any ideas about advancing Women's issues. She's made it pretty clear that she's still a little backward thinking in that department. And being the mother of small children makes her vulnerable.

No, McCain wanted to give the Republican party a little dose of Viagra. Sarah was definitely a man's choice and one made without the input of women. His choice was very sexist. And he may be right, because as the saying goes, "Sex does Sell".

Put a seriosly qualified woman on the ticket and you're point will be taken seriously.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sarah Palin - the gentleman's choice

The more I think about it the more convinced I am that Palin wasn't necessarily selected to attract disenfranchised Clinton voters. Yes, they want those voters but more importantly, they need a strong Republican turnout at the polls.

Who is the Republican Party? As of late, it's become the party of the White Christian man. And here's what makes Sarah perfect for them. First of all, she looks like she could have posed for Sports Illustrated at some point in her life. If the ticket wins, these morally righteous men can continue to lust over her. So the party is hoping to bring the men over to their side and are banking that they'll think with that other part of their anatomy.

Secondly, it would appear she was pregnant all the time. Christian men like to keep their women pregnant. It's easier to control them. Palin may be a tiger in Alaska, a whopping population of about 700,000, but she's just a cub here; and she's in way over her head. They know her kids will come first. That puts her in the position of having to choose her battles. Ain't no way this woman is going to become President. So they better make sure the Speaker of the House is a Republican.

And finally, she hunts. Men in the party won't have to worry about her trying to take their guns away from them. They know she's not going to get all queasy and grossed out over blood, so she's probably more tolerant about war. Nothing sexier to a man than a beautiful woman with a gun in her hands.

We live in interesting times. That's for sure.

So, recently we find out that Sarah's 17 year old daughter is pregnant. Perfect. The positive spin that McCain is putting on this is that it is one more example of Palin's commitment to her pro-life position as well has his ability to think outside the box. I can't help but wonder if Sarah discussed birth control with her daughter. Or, does Sarah embrace the entire Right Wing enchilada that professes abstinence is to be the only form of birth control that should be available to teens. Obviously, a very effective tactic.

Didn't Nickelodeon just recently fire a Spears girl because she turned out to be a pregnant unwed teen? I wonder what Rush Limbaugh, Chris Baker, O'Reilly etc. had to say about that and how different that tone is now that's Palin's daughter. I say let's keep all young teenage girls in the dark about birth control. We certainly need more teens having babies!

I think that Sarah is being exploited and I think she's clueless about it. But I can't blame her, really. I'm sure that being asked to be someone's VP is very alluring and isn't something that comes along every day. Who wouldn't want to jump at the chance.

I can't relate to her and I don't know many women who can. I don't think it will be long before she and her family begin to feel like fish out of water and long to go back to the wonderful, simple life they had in Alaska. And then, at that moment, she will become human.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More campaign observations - Sarah Palin

I've had a chance to cool down and determine what was really bothering me about this nomination. It's that nothing has changed. I don't just mean in the here and now but that McCain and the Republican party really do not get why they are in so much trouble.

I remember in '92 when Bush Sr. was at a debate with Perot and Clinton. Someone from the audience asked how each of them were effected personally by the economy. Bush couldn't even understand the question. I don't think he ever answered it. I recall how incredibly disconnected he was and how his elitist persona oozed out of him.

I remember that debate and I remember how frustrated I was. I was a loyal Republican and as frustrated as I was, I could not vote for a Democrat. That election, I voted for Perot. My hope at that point was that the Republicans would learn what they had done wrong. I hoped that the party would scratch it head, regroup and revisit it's policies and approach.

So, we've watched Bush for 8 years operate as "the decider". He decides what's best for me and my neighbors and if we don't like it, we're unpatriotic. Karl Rove gets into action and begins destroying lives. We don't have values or we're outside of the "circle". Basically we become invisible. I have lost count of the different groups this party has managed to alienate over the last 8 years.

So here we are with this choice that McCain makes for VP. How did this decision come about, really? Did he call women and get their input on this choice and how it might be perceived? Did he do his due diligence and make sure it was the right decision. Somehow, I don't think so. I think, being the typical "deciding" Republican who is above reproach, he just decided. And then, true to form, when he wakes up and wonders if he made a mistake, he'll just go into denial. Just like Bush. I think this is so typical of someone who doesn't connect with or even want to understand the very people whose votes he wants.

I'm bothered because it's just a reminder to me of what the last 8 years has been.

I absolutely cannot relate to Palin. If I had a 14 year old that was raped, I couldn't in good conscience force her to carry a baby to term if the outcome of this heinous crime was pregnancy. This woman is as "righteous" as Bush. And I believe she would plow over anyone who stood in the way of her moral platform. I also believe that neither she nor McCain is interested in the bigger picture. I would expect that she would have some sort of Masters Degree. If not a degree in Law, an MBA. Something to show that there is more to America than drilling for oil, protecting gun rights and reversing Roe v. Wade.

So, maybe what McCain means by her being a Maverick is that she'll ramrod her fundamental Right Wing agenda through the party and sniff out any existing Republicans that aren't completely towing the party line.

Then, there's the second description. She's also tagged as a "Game Changer". Is that a Republican term or a term derived from the Press. If it comes from the Republicans, then it highlights again that this is just a game that needs to be won. No matter how....another Rove-ism. The end justifies the means.

So, basically, this whole thing leaves me really depressed. And it underscores how imperative it is that Obama win this election.

I donated money to the Obama campaign immediately after his speech. I wonder how often are we allowed to donate?

Friday, August 29, 2008

WTF? - Sarah Palin for VP

Does McCain really think I'm that stupid?

I am so angered by this choice he made. I looked at Palin's credentials. A Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, a Beauty Contestant, Mayor of a small town and then Governor of Alaska. That's it. Is it that he has little respect for the role of Vice President that his standards for qualifying a candidate don't really matter? Is the role of VP so unimportant in our country? They don't expect her to have any real impact in Washington, do they?

As much as I dislike Bush, he at least had no trouble surrounding himself with very intelligent people. He assigned a very capable, seasoned, and experienced woman to be Secretary of State. She came with an impressive resume. Even the Houston Chronicle wrote a piece on her back in 2000 titled "Condoleezza Rice for President". No one in this country could question her credentials. They were spotless.

If McCain truly wants me to think he's demonstrating a belief that it is time to put a Woman on the ticket, then I would be far more convinced he believed this himself if he put someone on there with experience. Someone who can actually be President if it came to that.

Do you really think that if McCain passes away in office that this girl can step into the role of President of the US? I don't believe so, and they know that; if it comes to that they will pressure her to step aside and let a "man" handle the job. I wouldn't be surprised if they already had that discussion with her. They brought a young, green, female in because they know she can be "managed".

Hillary Clinton wasn't just a pair of boobs running for office. She was very well qualified and capable of actually stepping into the role of President of the U.S. She graduated with a degree in Law from Yale. She worked her way up the ranks and successfully faced the Rove smear machine. And this is the Republican's response? Their nomination gives me the impression that as long as the VP nomination is a woman, then that will be enough to draw in the Clinton supporters. As though we supported Hillary just because she was a woman and we can't distinguish one woman from another.

This nomination is a slap in the face to women. Condoleezza Rice or Kay Bailey Hutchison, now that would have been a statement that McCain is serious about his nomination. It would have been a message that he was thinking long term and addressing the real possibility that he might pass away during his term and his female VP might actually have to become President of the U.S. But this VP pick, it smells like a political tactic meant only to help him win an election. This is a decision made for the now without any regard to the future of our country.

Obama said it when he said that McCain just doesn't get it.

I think that when all the hoopla is done about this nomination, the reality of his decision is going to kick in and it's going to cost him.

And I quote: "As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?" Sara Palin

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I love Barack Obama

I wish I could vote today! :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


At the very last minute yesterday my brother called me and asked me if I wanted to go to the game with him and see the Astros play the Reds. I always like going to the game with my brother. He pays for the tickets and parking and I pay to feed and water us. It's always fun.

When we got to the game, I realized that I had wanted to see Hillary's speech at the National Convention and that I had forgotten to record it. I was really bummed out about it.

So, the first thing I did when I got home was turn on my tv so I could at least hear what the pundits had to say. And just as I turned on the tele, Hillary Clinton was approaching the podium in her orang pant suit to begin her speech. How serendipitous was that? I caught her speech. I cheered and clapped when she said "No way, No how, No McCain".

I was so inspired by her speech. I have grown so fond of her over this year and I can truly understand why her supporters have had so much difficulty letting go.

I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Well alrighty, then.

For the most part, Open Houses are things that Realtors do to give their sellers the feeling that something is being done to sell their house. Rarely do you actually get a contract as a result of an open house.

Well.... famous last words.

Remember the open house I held this weekend? We have an executed contract for that property and it came from someone who attended the open house. The house wasn't even on the market a week and we got an offer.

It's a strong buyer, too. Really solid.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Favorite Talking Head

I'm discovering all sorts of cool stuff on TV now that I have Satellite. And I have to tell you that my absolute favorite news Analyst, at least I think that's what he's called, is Neil Cavuto. He's on Fox Business News and he doesn't let anyone (Democrat or Republican) get away with anything!

I want to marry this guy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So, my sister called me today. I had just dried my hair when she called. I was getting ready to host an open house; I took the call anyway because I haven't spoken to her in soooo long. The blue tooth I had when I bought the phone doesn't work and I never had a chance to replace it. So, taking a call and doing other things is a bit tricky.

During the call, I put on my make up, shaved my legs, got dressed, drove to Kinkos, made 20 color copies of my flyer, 20 black and white photos of the Seller's Disc., drove to Home Depot, picked out 2 open house signs and checked out. During our conversation, we managed to discuss the Olympics, China, Communism, her cases at work, my work, her new eating habits, my eating habits, her and her husbands new spending habits, my spending habits, and my pending trip to see her at Christmas. She never even knew I was doing all that other stuff until I told her.

The open house was ok. I would have liked a better turn out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sushi experience

I met a friend yesterday for lunch at a place called Aka Sushi. It was a nice enough place but I was surprised by how few people came in for lunch. We got there at 11:30 and I think we left at about 1:00. While we were there, only about 4 other people were there.

Usually, whenever I have sushi, I usually get the same thing. Almost every sushi restuarant offers a plate of about 5 or 6 sushi pieces with a California roll. And every place I go to, I always ask for a Philadelphia roll instead of a California roll. The restaurant always complies but adds $2 to my tab. Fine, no problem.

So, this meet up at Aka was my first time there. When I asked the waiter to substitute the Philadelphia roll, he said he had to ask if it was ok to substitute. So, about 5 minutes later the Manager comes to our table. I tell him I want a Philadelphia roll instead of California and that he can add $2 to my bill. He says they don't allow substitutions and that he will have to call into the General Manager to make sure it was ok. Can you believe that? He had to call the General Manager to see if it was ok to let me substitute a Philadelphia roll an pay extra $2?

Ra Sushi, Zaki Lounge, Toma Sushi, etc. always ok it without such an ordeal.

I could see where this was going and was preparing to draft a telegram to POTUS. Thankfully, I didn't have to. I believe the GM called the Corporate HQ and they called POTUS for me. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I had a really nice day yesterday. I went sailing out of Galveston Bay and then later went to a Party in Seabrook. I made a connection with three different people in need of a Real Estate Agent, one of whom is ready to buy.

I have this really bad habit, though, of forgetting to replenish my business card holder. So, yes, I went to these events without my cards. I still managed to get their contact information. Still, I need to work on this.

The weather was hot and we had a nice wind. I hate doing anything in August. My favorite month for sailing is October.

Ok, well, I thought I had more to say but I guess I don't.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Con te Partiro

Ok, so that's the wrong title. It's a song by Andrea Bocelli. The song is also known as Time To Say Good Bye. Not the literal translation; actually the opposite.

Ok, so depending on your position, you may decide that the Italian version applies. For this post, in my opinion, it's "Time To Say Goodbye".

As my many loyal fans and lurkers know I was 100% behind Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nomination. She has earned a lot of my respect. That being said, I have accepted the fact that she lost to Obama; and now I'm 100% behind Obama. As a matter of fact, I'm very ready for a brand new approach. I love listening to him talk and I find I'm constantly looking for stuff over the net about him.

As you also know, I've been listening to the pundits on T.V. My favorite passtime these days. (I really do love listening to these guys.) I don't know if they are interpreting Ms. Clinton accurately, or not, but I have to agree with one point: It's over. She needs to tell her followers that it's over and that we need to back Obama. I think the Obama would make a huge mistake if he puts her on his ticket. I don't think it would be a dream ticket.

I know that the McCain camp is hinting at putting Carly Fiorina on his ticket but I think that is to push Obama into putting Hillary on his. It is quite possible that by putting Hillary on his ticket he could actually lose conservative swing voters.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I never knew

You know, I haven't had cable in years and years. I now have satellite and I've discovered something about myself. I'm a news junkie. I really like listening to this stuff.

So, anyway, I enjoyed this response from Paris Hilton to McCain's jab at Obama where he decided to use Paris Hilton in his ad (without her permission).

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Timmy makes a cameo appearance

My little community is made up of my duplex and a 1 bedroom cottage next door. All of my neighbors are pretty nice. We don't know a lot about each other but we're cordial and polite to one another. We have a system down regarding how we manage the place, too.

My landlord was initially reluctant to allow me to have a Satellite dish because he didn't want holes in the roof. I saw him a week ago and talked to him about my tv having a broken coaxial cable connector and he decided it would be ok. The technician was actually able to install the dish off the awning/porch of my back door instead of the roof. So, it turns out that I didn't have to put holes in the roof.

So, last night I had a dream that the storm that is passing through ripped the satellite dish off the post and that the technician had to come back and install it on the roof. So, he was here with his son installing the dish. Then the girl that shares the other half of my duplex with her boyfriend came down and we started chatting about stuff in general. And then the guy in the cottage came over and all began talking. Even my landlord showed up and decided to do work on the duplex.

Next thing I know a group of us are in my car and we are heading out to get something to eat and Timmy, yes str8upwithatwist Timmy, is in the passenger seat. We are in the Greenway/River Oaks area and decided on a restaurant that allows dogs. Timmy says, "the Calvinator would love this. I live close by, can we go get him". So, suddenly, I'm in the passenger seat and Timmy is driving. We pull into a condo high rise and I see an Infiniti like mine except it's blue and the bumper is wooden. It looked really nice actually. And that was it. I woke up. I never met Calvin.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I caved

Well, I didn't really cave, there is a very good explanation.

Remember way back when I broke the coaxial cable thingy off the back of my tv, so I couldn't use my antenna. I lasted until now. Today, I have Direct TV. The first time in 20 years that I've had "cable" tv.

Ok, so why? Couple of reasons. Number one, I paid off my car. That frees up some monthly cash. Number two, I'm trying to cut back on spending money going out. I can't cut back on driving but I can cut back on other things; so I'm making it easier and more entertaining to stay home.

I even stocked my apartment up with wine. The cost of a decent glass of wine at La Griglia will buy me a bottle of another at Spec's.

So, tonight, I'm watching Independence Day while I'm waiting for Edouard to arrive. I've been receiveing e-mails all day from various people telling me that our appointments tomorrow have to be cancelled. You know what that means!? That means, I get to sleep in.!!!! I hope I don't lose too much power tomorrow. My street has a tendency to flood, too. Wouldn't it suck if my car floods the very month I pay it off? That would be some real irony!

Ok, gang, stay dry. Stay safe. Be of good cheer.

Over and out.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Obama and Experience

So, now the big question is, does he have the experience to handle the role of President? I believe that we are being asked this question because Obama is young, if I'm not mistaken, he's 46. Wow, he's only 2 years older than I am.

How old was Kennedy when he won the Presidency? 43.

I really don't believe that Obama is too young to be President. So, now let's look at experience.

Let's start with Ronald Reagan. He was an actor then a governor. Where was his experience to be an effective leader and President?

Then after that, Jimmy Carter, Peanut farmer then governor. Not a very good leader at all. American recognized her mistake and fixed it.

Bill Clinton. Professional politician and Governor. I think he did ok. But I think he could have done better. I don't think his short comings had anything to do with a lack of experience.

G. W. Bush. Rancher, oil guy, owner of baseball team, governor. He didn't have a lot of experience to be President.

Geeorge H.W. Bush, LOTS of experience, seasoned senator, V.P.; not a good leader at all. A lot of people wanted him out but not as badly we want his son out.

I'm not so convinced that Senator McCain has anything over Obama in terms of experience. If anything, McCain gives me the impression he doesn't plan to deviate very far from his predecessor's path. I don't think that McCain plans on carving out anything new or different. And I think that point is made evident by the fact that he can only run negative ads against Obama. He has nothing to offer America that we can get excited about so he wants to poo poo our optimism and enthusiasm for Obama.

I have no problem voting for Obama. I believe he is smart enough to surround himself with people who can advise him. And, I also believe that unlike Bush, he will listen to their advice.

I've been talking to a lot of people about Obama these last few days. And the interesting thing is that many agree that he lacks a lot of experience. But like me, they don't care. It doesn't seem to be enough to stop them from voting for him.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A question of Conscience

So, have you heard the latest? Bush has redefined what constitutes an abortion to include many contraceptives AND, here's the kicker, is introducing a bill that will provide protection to the people within the health care industry who DENY access to these because they have a "question of conscience". And any health facility that receives ANY federal funding will lose that funding if they don't comply. Is this sinking in?

It goes so far as to allow a receptionist the right to deny a patient an appointment for an abortion, contraceptives, etc. if her conscience stands in the way.

If a woman is raped and the attending emergency doctor doesn't agree with abortion, he can legally deny her the "day after" pill. The clinic cannot fire him. So, conservative minded individuals have suddenly become a protected class? Cannot hire or fire based on gender, religion, race, blah blah blah and now "question of conscience".

So, I ask you, if a pharmacist suspecting, or even knowing, a man is having an affair on his wife has a "question of Conscience", can she decide not to fill a prescription for Viagra? What if the tending doctor is a Jehova's witness, can he deny a blood transfusion to a patient because he has a question of conscience? Where does the question of conscience begin and end? So, will the law read that a question of conscience can ONLY apply in cases of abortion? Is that because that's the only "question of conscience" that counts? What if a lab technician has a question of conscience about the treatment of lab animals?

How can the law state when a question of conscience can be applied and when it cannot?

When I was in my teens, my period cramps were really really bad. I was in severe pain for several hours and nothing we tried worked. I was 16, I hadn't even been to a gynocologist yet. My mother was still taking me to a pediatrician. And that's where she took me to discuss my cramps. The doctor prescribed me the BC pill to stop the cramps. It worked. They stopped. According to this bill, if someone along the way wanted to interfere because they had a question of conscience, they could. Even though I was not getting the prescription to be used for contraception.

This is a quotation from the Wall Street Journal about this bill: 'If the draft regulation were to prompt some insurance companies to drop coverage for prescription birth control, "that would be fantastic," said Tom McClusky, a strategist with the conservative Family Research Council.'

I have never held so much contempt for a President as I do this one; everything about him makes me want to vomit. I don't understand how his wife can live with him and still feel good about her own life. It is my understanding that she devoted a great deal of effort to help him overcome his alcoholism and get his life together. For what purpose? So he could undo the clock on women's rights? This is how he shows her his respect? It's a fucking slap in the face.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More campaign observations

I was shocked when McCain criticized Obama for not visiting the troops while doing his global tour. The reason I was shocked was the method he opted for. McCain said:

"The most solemn duty of a commander in chief is to fulfill his responsibility to the men and women who serve this country in uniform."

I had to re-read that statement twice because I thought I missed something. My first question was, 'did the election happen, is Obama President?' Then, I thought 'wait, Obama isn't President YET, why such a strong reprimand?'

I understand what McCain was doing but he made a grave error in doing it. He NEVER should have referred to the title "Commander in Chief" as an implication of what his opponent should be doing. His criticism raised Obama to a whole new level. His criticisms indicated that even he could see Obama as President of the United States. And he's basically saying, "Obama is doing the President thing all wrong."

I agree with Ben Stein's point of view that McCain is running a lack-luster campaign. I think his criticisms of Obama's globe trotting only validated Obama as a real contender for the White House.

Of course, McCain does have a disadvantage. Obama is making history. That makes great news coverage so everyone wants to photo these events. America is very interested in this process; and I think even those who don't support Obama can't help being curious about what he's doing. I'm sure they seek out news about him even if their approach is cynical. And no one can deny that Obama looks really good out there.

Obama was very smart not to have visited the troops. If he had done so, I think McCain's camp could successfully have painted Obama as doing so just for the opportunity to advance his Political motives; I think the fallout would have been more damaging. I am actually enjoying the elegance and class that Obama is demonstrating in his campaign.

And a word to the wise for McCain. If indeed he is distancing himself from Bush in order to generate more support, he will lose that support if he comes across as equally arrogant and self-righteous as Bush. He needs to cool his jets and apply some creativity to his campaign.

Has anyone noticed that Obama has a way of campaigning that really has nothing to do with his opponent. It's almost as though he doesn't acknowledge his opponent exists.

Friday, July 25, 2008


There are many techniques that sales people use to close a sale. One of those techniques is to get the consumer to visualize themselves using the product or service that is being sold to them. For example, if you are purchasing a car, the salesman might ask you to picture yourself driving into work and everyone admiring your car. Or if you are buying a house, the agent might ask you to visualize Christmas morning in the living room. It's a very effective technique; so effective indeed, that Bush used it during his campaign.

It was subtle but being in sales and understanding all the different types of closes, I caught it immediately. I don't know if you recall this or not but after all of his debates and maybe even after his various interviews, he would look at the camera and swear the first few lines of the oath of office. What was he doing? He was getting America to begin visualizing him swearing into office. If they could visualize it in their heads, then they would vote for him. It was extremely ingenious of his campaign director to get him to do this.

Well, Barack Obama is doing something very similar. He is helping America visualize him as a world leader. And if they at least aren't convinced that he would be an excellent leader, he can at least convince them that he won't make an absolute fool of himself out there. He's very good at this. At some point in his campaign against Hillary Clinton, he stopped debating with her about his being the best one to be nominated and just moved on and began behaving as though the sale had already been closed. When you are looking at a car and the salesman asks you what color you want before you've decided you want to buy the car, that's assuming the sale is made. It can be effective, too. And that's what Obama did.

Obama is very very clever. I'm amazed at how smartly he is taking this away from his opponents. And that's what he's doing, he's taking it away. If lack of experience and Obama's ability to be a world figure is the issue, he's taking it by the horns and giving America the impression he can handle the job. He doesn't even have to be effective out there right now. All he has to do is get America to percieve he knows what he's doing. Which leads us to the last commonly stated marketing term, Perception is Reality. If the consumer perceives it to be true, then it doesn't matter if it isn't true because they are going to move forward as though it is true. Especially if there is a possibility that it could be true.

Yep. That Obama certainly knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Biting the Bullet

I did it. I bit the bullet and wrote a check to pay off my car today. There were 2 years of payments remaining. I have also paid off both my personal and business credit cards. I'm about 2 months away from being totally debt free. I'm a littel scared about parting with the cash. I'm not going to starve or live on the streets any time soon.

I have a taste for credit and I want to break myself of it.

Dave Ramsey would be very proud of me. :) So, I do believe the next step, once this is all done, is to begin using my debit card for all purchases. That means, if I ain't got the money, I can't make the purchase. More discipline.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why no Outrage?

There is an EXCELLENT article in today's edition of the Wall Street Journal titled "Why No Outrage?" The question is posed regarding the collapse of the financial sector and the Government's willingness to continue to help them stay afloat. I believe he puts it as "throwing money at those who need it the least".

The result of the mistakes made by these financial institutions is that our savings and investment opportunities are tanked and homes are foreclosing across America. So, why aren't Americans shouting out in protest.

I have a theory. I think it's because we think no on is listening. Well, no one that counts at least. During Bush's administration, the National Bank of America drafted a bill that would make it more difficult for the consumer to file for bankruptcy. Neither the white house nor congress made it any less difficult for the credit card industry to continue to push the consumer into more debt than they could bear.

I think Americans have felt that as long as this administration is in office our cries cannot be heard. I take that back. Our cries ARE heard but perhaps this administrations believes that the public is to be seen and not heard. And then any policies that the administration does put into place isn't going to help the consumer.

Does anyone recall that our President proposed that our Social Security be privatized? Can you imagine the mess this whole situation would have been if indeed our social security had been handed over to the financial "rocks" to manage for us?

So, here we discover that our savings, money market accounts and mutual funds are growing at glacier rates due to low interest rates. But is anyone noticing that the credit card industry continues to justify their sky rocketing credit rates at 18%, 24% and now my sister tells me they can go up to 35%. Why not? Does Congress or the Bush Administration care if Americans are drowning in debt. It would seem they are more concerned with being sure that the very wealthy in this country aren't too uncomfortable.

Early this week, Bush gave a speech. I was able to listen to it. In this speech, he kept reiterating that American's deposits up to $100K were insured and that they needn't worry about their money. According to this article about the fall of Indy Mac in the San Francisco Chronicle, "the continuing stampede on IndyMac suggests that Americans either don't understand deposit insurance or have lost faith in the banking system." I think they've lost faith in both the banking system and in this administrations ability to do the right thing.

We should thank our lucky stars that our President has limited terms in office. And I sincerely hope that we are simply patiently waiting for the current administration to leave. I also hope we are not being naive in anticipating that the new administration will listen to voice of it's people. I would very much like for America to find her voice again.