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Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all!
Ante omnia armari
To each of you ... Thanks for stopping by.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Back in February of this year, I went 100% OUT of the stock market (other than a couple of small-change speculative items). Paraphrasing what I said at the time in an email to a trusted friend, “I’ve been too lucky for too long.” My market-exit-point was near but not at the market high for the year; for me (and most others), hitting exact market tops and bottoms is impossible. The best we can hope for is to come close to the mark. My wife quit her job in February so our household income went down and our expenses went up (for example, our health insurance is now $14,412 annually) so my tolerance for risk suffered a hit. The markets historically have been subject to manipulation, mostly illegal unless done by the government. IMHO, the Fed’s Quantitative Easing and the program trading by the Quants at the major trading outfits make the market a “less level” trading field than ever before. While no market event surprises me, things akin to the Flash Crash are most unnerving. On July 25, 2011, unbelievably huge trading volume for the DOW and the S&P-500 should have been headline news but was not. Marketed as prime rib the equities markets smell like rotting flesh.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Storms with heavy rain and damaging winds rolled though again early yesterday evening, knocking out my power, but sparing most of my neighbors. Our little neighborhood has several electrical feeds and I’ll be darned if I will ever understand the engineering logic they used during design and construction. When outages are isolated, there is always a chance that the repair crews may not get the word from someone else, so I decided to make a phone call. Actually, I had to make SEVERAL phone calls because our utility company’s touch-tone reporting system FAILED. With a current bill in my hand, so I had ready access to my account number AND which of my telephone numbers they have on file for use in indentifying my address, their system kept reporting that my location could not identified. I tried again…, again…, and again. Finally, I got through to a real person and reported it the old-fashioned way… with my booming voice. Five hours later, they restored power.
The sump pumps kept our basement dry thanks again to my noisy little generator, which performed in the face of waves of driving rain. A prudent high priority project would be for me to replace both aging sump pumps BEFORE they fail, along with installing a sizable battery backup system. If Edison had not restored power when they did, I would have had no choice but to run the generator all night long, keeping many of my neighbors awake. The fridge and freezer will keep food cold and safe for hours without power, but after a soaking rain, it is essential that the sump pumps keep running. Running a generator, especially at night, requires that you guard it against theft. I was contemplating spending all night in my GMC van parked next to the generator when Edison finally restored power. Having enough AGM batteries and inverters to power essentials for six hours would be a good contingency, but at the moment I don’t have the money needed to put it all together.