Mr. Sensitive

December 31, 2010

Interesting Only To Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 23:45

We have three sibling cohorts in the recent history of the Imperial family (direct line): the Eures v.1 (me, Marcus, Charlotte, Justin), the Machis (Dustin, Katie, Mario), and the Eures v.2 (Jenny, Reagan, Brinkley).  Reagan has been asking me how many days has she been alive, how many days older than Brinkley is she, how many days older than Brinkley is Jenny, and so on, all through the evening.  So I got to wondering, as I often do, of the sibling pairs in the three recent cohorts, which two consecutive siblings have the smallest difference in age between them?  The Brinkley-Reagan gap is clearly going to be the largest.  Here’s how it works: I am paired with Marcus because he follows me, and Marcus is also paired with Charlotte because she follows him, but I am not paired with Charlotte because we have a sibling born in between.  Here’s the list, from smallest gap to largest:

  1. Charlotte to Justin: 841 days
  2. Marcus to Charlotte: 880 days
  3. Jenny to Reagan: 916 days
  4. Katie to Mario: 985 days
  5. Lee to Marcus: 1,048 days
  6. Dustin to Katie: 1,179 days
  7. Reagan to Brinkley: 2,527 days

You’re welcome.


2010 In iTunes Downloads

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 22:36

First, the list:

  • Dec 29, 2009 – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (album) by Phoenix
  • Dec 31, 2009 – The Fame (album) by Lady GaGa
  • January 15 – Party In The U.S.A by Miley Cyrus; Drop The World by Lil Wayne feat. Eminem
  • January 15 – Animal (album) by Ke$ha
  • January 23 – Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall
  • February 3 – Back & Forth by Aaliyah; I Wish by R. Kelly; Ironic by Alanis Morrissette
  • February 7 – Shake It by Metro Station; Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix) by Los del Rio; Bulls On Parade by Rage Against the Machine
  • February 8 – The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
  • February 12 – Get Down Tonight and (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty by KC and the Sunshine Band
  • February 14 – Sexy Bitch by David Guetta feat. Akon; Livin’ la Vida Loca by Ricky Martin; Smooth by Santana
  • February 19 – True Blue and Angel by Madonna
  • March 10 – C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train) by Quad City DJ’s
  • March 12 – U Don’t Have to Call by Usher
  • April 18 – Gives You Hell (Glee Cast Version)
  • April 24 – Fortress Around Your Heart by Sting
  • May 17 – Say My Name by Destiny’s Child
  • May 29 – California Gurls by Katy Perry
  • June 8 – Airplanes by B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
  • June 23 – Recovery (album) by Eminem
  • June 24 – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers soundtrack (album)
  • June 26 – Alejandro by Lady GaGa
  • June 29 – Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden; What’s Happenin! by Ying Yang Twins
  • August 24 – On Our Own by Bobby Brown
  • August 24 – Magic by B.o.B. feat. Rivers Cuomo
  • September 5 – New Age Girl by Deadeye Dick; Just Another Day by Jon Secada
  • September 30 – It Takes a Thief and N da Closet by Coolio
  • October 22 – Funstyle (album) by Liz Phair
  • November 12 – Teenage Dream by Katy Perry; Fight the Power by Public Enemy
  • December 4 – Make ‘Em Say Ugh by Master P
  • December 10 – TRON Legacy soundtrack (album) by Daft Punk
  • December 20 – Prayer by Michiru Yamane
  • December 25 – Hey, Soul Sister by Train

And now, why:

  • December 29:  1901 is the greatest song I’ve ever heard.  I got into it to begin with because it’s got so much energy, and I needed that to get through quitting my job (Jan. 4).  I heard it the first time on a car commercial!  Only later did I realize what this song really is.  I have been working all year to understand what happened to civilization in the West over the last century and a half or so.  Our technical capabilities have increased apace during that time, but I can’t help but feel that we got out of sync somewhere.  The violent science that was so wonderfully close to nihilism–what happened to that leading edge?  All our discoveries now belong to corporations, governments, institutions.  I feel like we can’t destroy ourselves anymore, because we aren’t allowed, and that’s a great loss.  Now the West will die by rusting away and not by burning out.  Plenty of artists have made that observation.  1901 is about what it felt like in the moment when it happened, when the people who close things closed things.  I always thought it happened in 1919, but what do I know?  It definitely happened in Paris, that’s for sure.
  • December 31:  I fought Lady GaGa all throughout 2009, and then I just gave up.  Turns out that was a good call.
  • January 15:  I thought I was giving in to Miley, too, but it didn’t take.  Same thing with Lil Wayne.  Now I don’t listen to either of these songs and I think they both suck more than a little.
  • January 15:  Ah, Ke$ha.  Why do you spell your name like that?  Actually, don’t tell me.  I’m pretty sure I know.  I love Tik Tok and I’ll fight anyone who wants to fight me about how awesome it is.  But whatever you do, don’t badmouth Ke$ha to Reagan, because Reagan loves her and Reagan will kill you for disparaging her #1 girl.  I don’t know why; Reagan is usually quite the prude.
  • January 23:  This one was for Reagan, although it is in my head right now.
  • February 3:  Just filling in some crucial gaps.  I used to hate Alanis, but now I think she’s really cute, and that Berg should have stayed with her and never gone after ScarJo.  Ironic is a good song even though it made people of my generation believe that ‘things that are ironic’ and ‘things that suck’ are the same.  It is, in fact, ironic that a song called Ironic is responsible for the inability of so many people to understand irony.  You know what it’s like?  It’s like rai-i-ain on your wedding day.  I Wish is an interesting one for me.  I got it because of the part at the end where he’s talking about braiding his hair, and then I left it alone.  But I was listening randomly to I Wish a few months ago while I was cleaning, and then I was on the floor sobbing because it hurts so much that my Mom is dead.  What the hell, R. Kelly?
  • February 7:  All good songs, gathered at random.  Except the Macarena, which is a great song.  Shut up, you know it is.  You’re doing the dance right now.  Bulls on Parade is a good song for fighting people, if you’re into that.  I refused to listen to it before because Justin (and others, I’m sure) used to talk about them as ‘Rage,’ just one word like that, and it annoyed me so I decided to hate the band.  That’s the way it goes for me sometimes.  Most of the time.  All of the time.
  • February 8:  Discovered we didn’t have this song, and fixed the error.
  • February 12:  Do I need a reason?
  • February 14:  What is happening here?  Sexy Bitch is a great workout song, as it turns out, and it’s funny every time I hear it.  The other two?  Well, I am an American, after all.  This sort of thing is my birthright.
  • February 19:  Filling more gaps.
  • March 10:  Oh my god I don’t think I ever had a decent workout before I added this to the queue.  Also Blue Monday by New Order.  This song is also the best use of parentheses in a song title ever.
  • March 12:  Reagan also loves Usher, and I always call him Ursher to make her mad.  It’s fun having kids.  This is a great song, because it’s a surprisingly delicate way of telling a lady that you can do much better than her.
  • April 18:  I’m sorry.
  • April 24:  What happened to all my Sting CDs?  Someone stole them, Katie.
  • May 17:  Just think about this.  This is the day after my Mom died.  And the song I needed to hear to get me through it was Say My Name?  I have no idea what that means.  I’m serious, I have no idea what it means.
  • May 29:  I love Katy Perry forever because this song made it okay.  I could dance again, and I did, even while I did some really tough things, and I don’t care what anybody thinks.  I love her more than Reagan loves Ke$ha.
  • June 8:  Wasn’t as good as I was hoping.  Sorry, Hayley.  Last year was your year.
  • June 23:  Recovery tore me to bits the first time I listened to it because I get it.  It’s a very specific place he’s talking about coming from, and I’ve been to that place.  This is not a victory, what I am doing now, that I’m not dead and I didn’t ruin everything after all.  This is me finally doing what I should have done so long ago and I am nothing but despicable for those unforgivable failures.  This is not a victory.  This is what a man is supposed to do for himself and his family, and I was not a man, at all, for a long time.  I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy this album as much as I could have if it didn’t just hit me right in the face every time.  Oh well.
  • June 24:  I needed the Rohan theme to get me right again after Em beat me down the day before.  This one makes me cry in a good way.  It also makes me want to die in battle, which is maybe not so good.
  • June 26:  Jim Cramer told me to get it.
  • June 29:  I needed Black Hole Sun to finish the stairs.  I think they look really nice, so it was worth the $1.29.
  • August 24:  I’m embarrassed because I didn’t have On Our Own before.  I definitely did smack my forehead when I realized my mistake.  Magic is a great song if you need to manually sand the floor of a closet.  Rivers has the best voice.
  • September 5:  Strictly Memory Lane stuff here.  New Age Girl is a song I was listening to when I drove to Wytheville to woo the lovely Katie Machi, all the way back in December 1994.  Sixteen years ago now–holy crap.  I was being all respectful and so I wouldn’t listen to rap in the car, and rap was all I listened to back then.  So New Age Girl was what was up.  Just Another Day makes you want to triumph over all obstacles, unless you’re a heartless jerk, and then it makes you say mean things to your husband.
  • September 30:  Coolio is stuck being the Gangsta’s Paradise guy forever, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.  These two songs, though, are so much better.  When I used to write Katie letters every day and I told her about how awesome Coolio is, she thought I wrote Cool 10.  How much better would that have been?  She’s so intuitive sometimes.
  • October 22:  Funstyle was disappointing, but not as disappointing as Liz tried to make it.  Does that make sense?  Oh, Bangladesh is a great song.
  • November 12:  What a great day this was.  I told myself for months that I didn’t like Teenage Dream, which I knew was total bullshit.  Finally, I decided to buy it because Reagan likes it.  I danced all over the house for the rest of the day.  I dance around here all the time, you guys don’t even know.  I can’t believe how much I love Katy Perry.  I want to see Get Him To The Greek because she’s married to Russell Brand so he must be awesome too.  And because of Puff Daddy.  I got Fight The Power because of the line about Elvis.  I didn’t think it could have been delivered as fantastically as I remembered, but it was.
  • December 4:  I’m sorry.  Not as sorry as I am about the Glee purchase, and not so sorry that I’m not listening to Make ‘Em Say Ugh right now, but still.
  • December 10:  I am actually scared to see TRON now because it can not possibly be good enough for this music.
  • December 20:  Justin reminded me of how much I love this little song, and I can’t believe I ever forgot.  Prayer was in my head while my son was being born.
  • December 25:  I hate this song so much.  So when Jenny gets her iPod for Christmas, what is the one song she wants to put on it?  That’s right.  Merry Christmas, Jen.  Always remember that Daddy loves you so much he bought you the worst song of the year.


FSX Raw Quarterly Results

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 21:03

Over the period 10/1 to 12/31, the Family Stock Index rose from 1002.84 to 1199.09, an increase of 19.6%.  The broader market performed nicely, but the major averages increased by far less than the FSX: the benchmark S&P 500 rose 10.2%, the Dow Industrials climbed 7.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite, home of AAPL, AMZN, NFLX and the like, added 12%.  No surprises in the performance of individual FSX components, with trends established early and holding through the period.  There were also no intra-quarter changes to components, so no muddying of the waters this time.  The full year numbers will take longer to analyze, as many stock swaps were made throughout.  Only three of the 21 stocks in the FSX were lower on the quarter, and the decline for Nicole L. was a measly one cent, equating to two one-hundredths of one percent.  In fact, there were only two real stinkers: me and Zondro.  I like my chances next year, if not next quarter.  Zondro, on the other hand, needs to stop looking sideways at my baby.  Here are the results:

Name Ticker 12/31/10 Change Percent
1 Lulu LULU $68.42 +23.70 53.0%
2 Katie CATY $16.70 +4.81 40.5%
3 Lucas LEI $2.33 +0.67 40.4%
4 Ruby RBY $5.71 +1.59 38.6%
5 Justin WOLF $2.61 +0.71 37.4%
6 Lisa LSI $5.99 +1.44 31.6%
7 Mario T.E. PBY $13.43 +2.85 26.9%
8 Jenny LEN $18.75 +3.37 21.9%
9 Zero FRZ $2.75 +0.47 20.6%
10 Reagan REGN $32.83 +5.43 19.8%
11 Charlotte BOOT $16.40 +2.59 18.8%
12 Mario T.Y. 7974 ¥23,830 +2,860 13.6%
13 Marcus MCS $13.27 +1.42 12.0%
14 Marisa MOLX $22.72 +1.79 8.6%
15 Icarus ICA $10.20 +0.48 4.9%
16 Nicole B. NI $17.62 +0.22 1.3%
17 Wilson WILC $6.48 +0.08 1.3%
18 Nicole L. COL $58.26 +0.01 0.0%
19 Dustin DST $44.35 -0.49 -1.1%
20 Zondro ZN $4.78 -0.40 -7.7%
21 Lee LEE $2.46 -0.22 -8.2%

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 17:32

I am a little disappointed.  The FSX was snugly ensconced in the 1202-1208 range through most of the week, and after a dip below 1200 yesterday afternoon we pushed up above 1205 as late as 3:00 today.  Then late selloffs in Katie, Reagan and Marcus pushed us down so that we finished the week, the quarter and the year at 1199.09.  It was a nothing week, as expected, with the FSX only two points lower compared to less than a point up on the S&P 500.  It’s not a big deal that we couldn’t quite hold onto 1200.  I mean it is a big deal and nothing will ever be the same again.


  • Ruby (RBY) +4.2%.  The afterglow of an extended visit to the Mecca.  This comes on top of another 4%-plus gain last week, and illustrates that you have to know when to get in and also when to get out of said Mecca.  Specifically, before I start to really bear it up.
  • Wilson (WILC) +4.0%.  I’m really happy for the old fellow that he got through another year without dying of desperate neediness, and so is the market.
  • Jenny (LEN) +3.2%.  I think she was happy with her iPod Touch, but I can’t be sure, since she doesn’t talk to us anymore.
  • Katie and Brinkley (CATY) +2.6%.  CATY made the week’s only new 52-week high in anticipation of the spinoff of Brink’s Company next week.  In related news, I was just holding him and there was an extended period–not a moment, an extended period–when he looked exactly like my Grandpapa.  My Grandpapa was mean and also a potato, so I’m kind of hoping that’s not the way it goes.
  • Charlotte (BOOT) +2.0%.  It could have been a more melancholy holiday than it was, but meeting Prince Brinkles and finding the Pound Puppies letter led to a tidy gain.  Now it’s goodbye BOOT and hello ICE.


  • Reagan (REGN) -2.0%.  Really, insanely panicked about not getting to hold her brother enough and then about hurting him when she is holding him.  Reagan F. Eure: Morbid & Obsessive Since ’04.
  • Mario the Younger (JP 7974) -2.8%.  You have to know when to leave the Mecca, but you also have to know to take your coat, your sweatshirt, and your pillows with you when you go.
  • LULU -3.9%.  She was meowing a big game about beating down four dogs at once, but when the time came, where was she?  Hiding in the closet, on the top shelf that I didn’t even know she could get to.  Very disappointing.
  • Marcus (MCS) -5.7%.  You should’ve taken the Millennium Newspapers, dude.  I’m just saying.

There will be a Q4 and full-year 2010 wrap-up some time next week, whenever I get a chance to finish composite individual performance calculations.  For the FSX overall the numbers are pretty damn good: +19.6% in the fourth quarter and +33.3% for all of 2010.  The closing prices are as follows:

Name 12/31/10 Change
Charlotte $16.40 +0.32
Dustin $44.35 -0.72
Icarus $10.20 -0.15
Jenny $18.75 +0.58
Justin $2.61 unch
Katie $16.70 +0.43
Lee $2.46 -0.03
Lisa $5.99 -0.07
Lucas $2.33 -0.05
Lulu $68.42 -2.77
Marcus $13.27 -0.80
Mario T.E. $13.43 -0.32
Mario T.Y. ¥23,830 -680
Marisa $22.72 -0.14
Nicole B. $17.62 +0.08
Nicole L. $58.26 -0.05
Reagan $32.83 -0.67
Ruby $5.71 +0.23
Wilson $6.48 +0.25
Zero $2.75 unch
Zondro $4.78 +0.09


December 30, 2010

I Was Born Wrong

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 18:34

I have been very busy this afternoon with important archival business.  Specifically, I have sorted, logged, and classified all the letters my Dad kept because his name was misspelled.  He had an entire file dedicated to this, and I am working to understand all 35 that I found, assigning them reference numbers and identifying salient characteristics as I go.  Now I will complete my father’s life’s work by ranking the misspellings of his name.  It’s so much the circle of life that I feel compelled to hold my son, Prince Brinkles, out over a cliff so the giraffes can bow to him.

The way Dad rendered his name for professional purposes was as follows:  L. Brinkley Eure, MD.

35.  L. Brinkly Eure, MD. This is weak, Dad.  There’s nothing here but an ‘e’ missing from Brinkley.  Reagan can’t even spell that name right, and she just won her spelling bee.

34.  Eure L Brinkley Dr. This would be fine if it were the output of a computer, a name entered incorrectly into some billing software.  But no, this was the hand-written work of a patient.

33.  E. Brinkley Eure, MD

32.  Dr. E.B. Eure

31.  J.B. Eure, MD

30.  Dr. E.L. Brinkley

It would mean more if I knew what the wrong initials meant.  Try harder next time, people.

29.  Dr. Ure.  Nothing wrong with the classics.

28.  Dr. L.B. Ure

Now it gets better.  35 through 28 were just a warm-up.

27.  L. Brinkley Eurie.  This is an example of self-actualizing misspelling.  No doubt someone read E-U-R-E as ‘Eurie’ and then a third person transcribed it accordingly.  I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

26.  L. Brinkley Eurel

25.  L.B. Ewe, MD

24.  L. Brinkley Ewe, MD

Ewe is a popular, and somewhat insulting misspelling.  There’s still one more Ewe higher on this list, its creator having figured out how to make the name really work.

23.  Dr. Uere

22.  Dr. Uren

21.  Dr. Uring

Good efforts, all.  Faithful, but wrong.

20.  Dr. Yuri.  Possibly a derivation of the classic Eurie, but alas, we are French, not Russian.

19.  Eura Brinkley.  I am not.

18.  L.B. Eversale

17.  L.B. Eureta

16.  Dr. L.B. Ewemore

I appreciate the humor of the misspelled last name, but is it so hard to fathom how it happens?  Someone tells you the name is spelled E-U-R-E and you assume you heard wrong.  They’re trying to be helpful, really, giving us a surname that makes sense.  It’s the sort of thing that might have happened for real at Ellis Island if there had been an Ellis Island in the 17th Century.

15.  John Eure, MD

14.  Lawrence B. Eure

Wrong first names are even funnier than last names.  Who the hell is John Eure?  And Lawrence?  Were they just guessing at the meaning of the L?  Or should I really be going by Larry?

13.  Mr. Eurie Brinkly.  Excellent work here.  You know there’s good stuff to come if this triple threat is only #13.

12.  M.D. Eure L. Brinkley.  Like #34, this would be forgivable if it were the work of a poorly-configured spreadsheet.  However, this is another hand-written patient letter.  This time the hilarity is owing to the incorporation of M.D. into my Dad’s name.  Whoever wrote this has no idea of his/her doctor’s name let alone that the M.D. after that name isn’t a part of it.

11.  Dr. Brinliey L. Eurn.  There’s so much here it overwhelms itself, thus failing to make the top ten.  If Brinliey had been paired with Yuri, we would have had a Slavic juggernaut on par with the Red Army of 1945.  Oh well.

10.  Les Brinkley Eure.  I’m not a Larry, but am I a Les?  Maybe.

9.  Bill Brinkley, MD.  Well, shit, Bill, I swear I sent that check your way.  Don’t know why you didn’t get it.

8.  L. Blakely Eure.  I almost went to Duke for my undergrad because they were really after me in the Philosophy department (not kidding).  I didn’t bite, but I bet Blake Eure would have.

7.  Dr. Cure.  It’s too easy.  Don’t you think, if you were a company, that you would do a double-take if you were about to send a solicitation to a Dr. Cure?  Wouldn’t you check your records one more time before you sent that letter?  Apparently, if you were Northwestern National Life, you would not.

6.  L.B. Inkle.  This one is the secret best, but not on the merits of the name alone.  The letter is addressed to one L.B. Inkle—so far, wrong but plausible.  But then the salutation is ‘Dear Inkle:’  How is that possibly the way you would begin a letter?

Now we have reached the top five.  These are all, without exception, names that I wish were real, and mine.

5.  E. Ure, MD.  Now, why didn’t I think of that?  You really want people to remember your name, drop the first name altogether and split the surname.  It’s Eure, bitch.  Front and back.

4.  U. Brinkley Ewe, MD.  It’s U, bitch.  Front and back.

3.  Barkley Eure, MD.  Yes.

2.  L. Brankley Eure.  YES.

1.  L. Brinbley Ewemok.  That’s right, son.  L. Brinbley Ewemok III.  That’s what it’s always been.  That crap on your birth certificate is wrong; the government couldn’t get anything right after we elected a black President.  We sure are lucky we’ve got President Jeb in office now and the world is safe for the Ewemoks.  Now, come on, we’ve got to say goodnight to Chairman Mao so China will pay for the lights to come on tomorrow.

December 29, 2010

FSX Component Changes – Q1 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 21:34

Big changes are coming to the Family Stock Index as we close out trading for 2011.  That being said, 18 components of the FSX will carry over from 2010.  Seven of these holdovers have been in place since I created the index in February:

  • DST Systems (DST) for Dustin
  • Lee Enterprises (LEE) for me
  • Lucas Energy (LEI) for Lucas
  • Lululemon Athletica (LULU) for Lulu
  • Marcus Corporation (MCS) for Marcus
  • Regeneron Pharma (REGN) for Reagan
  • G Willi-Food International (WILC) for Wilson

LEE, MCS, and LULU are locked in for the foreseeable future, and LEI, DST and REGN are also highly unlikely to be replaced.  I’d love to dump WILC because of its puny volume, but I have this sense that Willi-Food won’t go quietly.

Also returning for 2011 are the following 11 stocks:

  • Empresa ICA (ICA) for Icarus
  • Lennar (LEN) for Jenny
  • Great Wolf Resorts (WOLF) for Justin
  • Cathay General Bancorp (CATY) for Katie
  • LSI Logic (LSI) for Lisa
  • Pep Boys (PBY) for Mario the Elder
  • Molex (MOLX) for Marisa
  • NiSource (NI) for Nicole B.
  • Rockwell Collins (COL) for Nicole L.
  • Rubicon Minerals (RBY) for Ruby
  • Reddy Ice (FRZ) for Zero

I was going to swap out MOLX for a Brazilian retailer but then Marisa presented me with a dead mole last week and I reconsidered.  It felt like the scene in the Godfather with the horse’s head, and I got the message.  CATY will see its influence (12.5% of the index value currently) reduced by more than half after the Brinkley spinoff and rebalancing.

Two new stocks are being added without corresponding deletions:

  • My son has been trading with his mother for the past two quarters, but beginning next week he will get his own stock.  Little Brinkley will be represented by Brink’s Company, ticker symbol BCO, the security and logistics concern.  I didn’t see that I had any real choice in this instance—as with Lee Enterprises and Marcus Corporation, this one presents as a fait accompli.  BCO is trading near $27, giving it a market cap of $1.25 billion.  The 52-week range is $18.30 to $29.59, so there’s some room in either direction.  I think the market is suggesting that Brinkley is going to be tough like an armored car, perhaps a soldier or the star of a future remake of American Gladiators.  I don’t know; I can’t take any credit for this one.
  • I am also adding Mario and Nicole’s dog, Winston.  He didn’t exactly crush in his recent audition, but there were definitely some extenuating multi-dog circumstances.  Plus, I have a stock for him and that trumps all other considerations.  Winston will be represented by Harry Winston (get it?), ticker symbol HWD.  Harry Winston is a diamond retailer, which has nothing to do with anything.  HWD trades around $11.40 after a recent selloff, putting the market cap just shy of $1 billion.  The stock hit a 52-week high of $14.72 back in November and is well above its mid-year low of $8.84.  Harry Winston.  I kill me.

The addition of BCO and HWD brings the total number of stocks in the FSX to 23.  In addition, I am making three substitutions:

  • Charlotte has been represented by Lacrosse Footwear (BOOT) since the beginning of Q3.  I still like the concept, but the execution has been poor.  BOOT has a decent market cap but a miniscule float, and the trading volume is just not up to snuff.  The number of shares traded daily for the rest of the stocks in the FSX works out to around 500,000, whereas BOOT is lucky to do 10,000 on a given day.  WILC has a similar problem but I don’t have a solution in that case.  For Charlotte, I do.  Henceforth she will be represented by IntercontinentalExchange Inc., ticker symbol ICE.  Charlotte, as is well known, comes from the land of the ice and snow.  Furthermore, she is now married to Mr. FRZ, so it is only natural that she would be turned into ICE.  Intercontinental operates a number of financial and commodities exchanges, so if you need to buy some corn futures, you know who to call.  The stock trades around $120 and is valued at $8.8 billion.  The 52-week high is $129.53 and the low is $92.18, translating to a bit less volatility than Charlotte is accustomed to.
  • Zondro has been represented by Zion Oil & Gas (ZN) since he was added to the index in June.  As has often been the case for the poor fellow, that was simply the best that could be managed at the time.  Now I am giving him a new stock, semiconductor firm Zoran Corp, ticker symbol ZRAN.  I think this will be a better fit for Zondro; he’s not Icarus-fast, but he can get across the yard in a hurry when he wants to.  And he always wants to.  ZRAN trades around $8.50, giving it a market cap of about $430 million, and the stock is near the middle of its 52-week range of $5.98 to $12.32.
  • Finally, we have Mario the Younger.  He had personally requested Nintendo, the Japanese entertainment giant, and I gave it a try last quarter.  I believe we both agree that it hasn’t quite worked out.  So I am bringing Mario back to this hemisphere for 2011.  He will be represented by auto parts manufacturer Superior Industries, ticker symbol SUP.  This gets him the Super Mario connection he was looking for with Nintendo, plus an incidental connection to Mario the Elder.  The younger Mario will now manufacture auto parts and the elder Mario will sell them.  At a recent $21.66, SUP is just slightly off the 52-week high of $21.96 reached on Dec. 20 and well removed from the summer low of $12.55.  The market value at this lofty price is nearly $600 million, but that could look cheap if the economy gains traction next year.

All additions and substitutions will take effect after the close of trading Friday, December 31.  As always, the weighting of each stock is based on a proprietary formula that I change whenever and however I want.

Christmas In Retreat

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 15:20

I have retaken the office and driven the forces of Christmas from that fastness and various forward retrenchments throughout the first floor down into the basement.  There I have at hand my fire bucket, utility knife, and the curbside trash cans.  I shall fall upon them like Saladin upon the Horns of Hattin.


Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 10:55

I am beginning the post-Christmas reconquest campaign today.  In fact we got underway last night when Jenny undertook to clean the family room.  I am considering creating some sort of commendation for that kind of spontaneous tidiness, perhaps a full-blown Imperial military order complete with degrees of distinction.  Yesterday evening we made our first trip out of the house as a family of five so that I could restock my cleaning supplies.  By the time our last guests departed I was bleachless and could field only three sponges, but I am now re-bleached and my sponge count is a robust 22.  That doesn’t include my special sponge, dyed a shade of olive green no longer stocked at the Dollar General, which I am holding in permanent reserve.  If I am to go down to filth, it will be with the olive sponge in my hand.  I have already cleared the front walk of ice and I am moving on to Christmas present refuse.  I aim to be in a position to mop the house on Monday when the girls return to school, but it will take a forced march, fire, and more trash can space than I can muster in a single week to complete the campaign.  I won’t be sure of the capabilities of the post-baby Imperial Army until I put my forces to the test.

December 28, 2010

Gingerbread Empire

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 20:42

Jenny and Reagan’s improvised coda for the holiday season,  messy and delicious.

Humbug Journal, Unedited

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 15:13

December 21 (Tuesday)

Prince Brinkles is born at 1:44 am.  Sleep occurs between 4:30 and 8:30 am or thereabouts.  About 11 am I return to Imperial soil, the Empress and baby remain at the hospital.  I sweep and mop the kitchen, dining room, and family room.  I shower, then return to the hospital for the evening.  I think Sparkling Wave Pine-Sol is the best smell in the world.

Vegans vs. Carnivores (adults only): 1 vs. 4

December 22 (Wednesday)

There is an awesome shower in the hospital room that feels like a prison cell, but in a good way.  I return to the Empire at approximately noon.  Pushups.  One load of laundry.  First round of dishes.  I retrieve Empress and baby and at 5 pm.  We will be attacked in earnest tomorrow.  Already my food tastes like contempt.

Guests:  Justin, Icarus, Ruby, Mario the Elder

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 1 vs. 4

December 23 (Thursday)

The baby doesn’t sleep at night.  I address the troops and final orders are issued.  Justin retrieves Charlotte and Zero from the airport.  Downstairs re-cleaned and more laundry is done.  Second round of dishes.  I have lost the office to presents.  My hold on it has been tenuous for weeks.  The baby is screaming and the girls are fighting and now the stupid fat cat is puking all over the room!  How is there so much puke in that cat?  On the bookshelf?  On the luggage?!  It is doing this on purpose.  I use the last of my bleach.

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 3 vs 4

December 24 (Friday)

Justin leaves to pick up Nicole Prime at the airport.  Katie and Charlotte make ineffectual trip to grocery store.  Lack of vegan purchases will prove ruinous later. Marcus arrives around noon.  Justin and Nicole Prime arrive at 1 pm.  Dustin, Lisa, and Lucas arrive at 1:30 pm.  Mario the Younger, Nicole II, and Winston the dog arrive at 2 pm, several hours early.  The published schedule did not allow for the overlap of the Blacksburg and Philadelphia armies, and we are inundated.  There are now four dogs in the house.  Reagan tracks mud through the kitchen, dining room and family room.  A dog has peed in my room.  When was there a dog in my room?  All formations under pressure, terrible pressure everywhere.  No room is safe.  The Empress is insane and I am searching for some redoubt behind which I can reform lines.  Between 2 pm and 4 pm there are 17 people, 4 dogs, and 2 cats in the house.  About this time the laundry room is overrun and occupied.  The Blacksburgers leave.  Marcus, Justin, Charlotte, Zero, and Nicole Prime go to Tron Legacy with Jenny and Reagan.  Mario and Nicole II will be on dog duty and Katie and I will relax, except for Mario has to be taken out to dinner on Christmas Eve abruptly and then there are 4 dogs versus the Empress and me.  I don’t kill any of the dogs.  Barking.  Third round of dishes.  Santa cookies are made and eaten.   All of this is very hard for Justin, according to my intelligence sources.  I should have just taken the stupid bike to the bike shop.  I deploy all the blankets I have built up in reserve and make a disorganized retreat to the bedroom around 10 pm.  Why are there dogs in my bedroom?  The baby is a terrible sleeper.  I don’t have breasts or I would do something.

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 5 vs. 8

December 25 (Saturday)

Presents are opened.  Dual trash bag system orders the disorder, but the family room is lost. I get a neat pressure washer.  I consider using it indiscriminately.  Mario the Elder and Ruby depart.  Why are all the carnivores leaving?  Did I plan it this way? The tires on the bike are flat!  My tooth is attacking me.  Fourth round of dishes.  I am hiding in the bedroom, ah, reforming my lines.  Icarus keeps peeking in here, hoping I am gone so he can eat cat poop out of the litter box.  Vegan forces realize that we are still stone-cold carnivores here in the Empire.   Matters are worse because grocery stores are all closed.  We are assailed by grumpy vegans.  The Empress is insane.  Turkey.  Fifth round of dishes.  An Indian restaurant is open to save us.  It is snowing.  Sixth round of dishes.  It is snowing harder.  Cinnamon cheesecake, but not for the vegans.  Seventh round of dishes.  The Imperial army is hard pressed a second day and near collapse.  Now I know I am insane because I heard Justin say my dogs taught his dog to bark.  We retreat again in slightly better order, bolstered by cheesecake.  What is wrong with my tooth?

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 5 vs. 4

December 26 (Sunday)

The baby sleeps well overnight, reviving morale across the Empire.  Tooth is better as well.  Six inches of snow have fallen.  Eighth round of dishes.  The Philly armies depart, removing a crucial dog.  Justin and Nicole Prime depart but double-back, presumably to catch my forces in a lull.  The blow would have fallen harder had I expected Icarus to be gone as well, but in the event it is not a bad thing that they are here.  Leftovers and a horrible dance movie I refuse to watch.  Ninth round of dishes.  Three buckets of paper burned in the garage.  I send an Imperial army to clear the laundry room, held by enemy forces since midday on the 24th.  First load of laundry.  Tenth round of dishes.  Second load of laundry.  I need some bleach and sponges.  Vegan sausage is better than I expected.  For the first time since the cat started puking, I think the Empire will survive.  Marcus’ flight is cancelled; he will be with us until Tuesday.  Late evening looking through old pictures and papers; very much worth doing.  I remember why I was interested in having these people here in the first place.  I have lost most of the kitchen at this point.

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 5 vs. 2

December 27 (Monday)

Justin and Nicole Prime leave for Va. Beach around 7:30 am.  The baby sleeps well again, three solid hours in one stretch.  Eleventh round of dishes.  Bojangles for breakfast and McDonald’s for dinner.  Twelfth round of dishes.  More pictures.  I am cooking a pizza at 8:50 pm.  This can’t end well.  I go upstairs to shower and I don’t come back down.  I don’t finish the pizza and so it does end well.

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 3 vs. 2

December 28 (Tuesday)

Baby is now sleeping like a champ.  Word reaches me that Justin and Nicole Prime now planning to be three hours late to collect the rest of the Chicago vegans.  Thirteenth round of dishes.  The Empress is sick.  Reagan is sick.  Marcus departs at 1:30.  Justin and Nicole are in fact 4 hours late.  The last of the guests depart at 2:30 pm.  I am suddenly exhausted.  I feel as though I did everything wrong, and yet the army is still in the field.  We lost the family room, office, baby’s room, and laundry room in total, although the latter has been partially recaptured.  The rest of the first floor is busted and disorder holds wide swaths of territory.  Everything is fine.  Thank you all for visiting, really.  I win.

Vegans vs. Carnivores: 0 vs. 2

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