Thursday, December 27, 2007

Investing for Hyperinflation and Deflation

Now this is an interesting article on what you should do when there is hyperinflation and deflation scenarios. We may just end up with the second scenario in 2008.

Investment Themes For Hyperinflation
In hyperinflation the last place one wants to be is in cash.
Commodities in general are a standout.
Gold is a standout.
Precious metals are a standout.
Property is a winner.
Equities are a winner.
Treasuries are distinct losers if not outright shorts.
Foreign currencies

Investment Themes For Deflation
In deflation, debt is the enemy.
Risk is to be avoided.
Cash is raised.
Treasuries are sought out as a safe haven
CD ladders offer a good investment structure.
Gold, acting as money does well.
Select equity shorts or Puts are a standout.
Renting as opposed to owning a house should be considered.
Currency plays.

Thoughts on Jim Cramers Stock Picking Tips

Now this is an interesting article on how Jim Cramer picks his stocks. This is what he does when the stock market is down:
Usually when a stock gets upgraded, it jumps higher immediately, he
said. But not when that upgrade comes out on a bad day for the market. "On those days, a stock that gets upgraded isn't going higher. In fact, there's a good
chance it will go lower depending on how awful the action is," Cramer

His other rule of thumb is:
"If a stock has a price-to-earnings multiple -- remember E (the
earnings) times M (the multiple) equals P (the price) -- that's lower than its
growth rate, then that stock is cheap," Cramer said.

This is one rule of thumb that I already use to vet a stock. You first look at why the P/E is low compared to its growth rate. If it is because the company has crappy earnings that need to be revised lower and lower but lots of potential (but unrealized) growth then you should avoid the stock. However if the potential is finally met (like Amazon) then the stock takes off if there is more earnings growth possible.

A lot of times the P/E is artificially lower because the stock is in a "cyclical industry" that "deserves" a lower P/E. You can look at many agricultural stocks like Deere (P/E 22 to 52% growth,) Bunge (P/E 18 to 107% growth,) and Terra Nitrogen (P/E 17 to 232% growth)falling into this category. Those stocks will grow very well in the coming years as the ethanol boom consumes more and more corn and thus needs more farming equipment, seeds, and fertilizer too keep things moving. The ethanol stocks on the other hand have the potential growth but the fundamentals just don't add up yet. That realized growth may be there in the future but it is hard to hold those stocks to that period.

Cramers final tip has to do with buying with wide scales:
With wide scales, people buy larger and larger positions as the stock goes
lower, and "when it's so low you can hardly believe how poorly the stock is
trading, you double down," he said.

This one is hard to do for the small investor since this stock ends up as a large portion of your portfolio. It is just psychologically difficult to keep buying a stock over and over as it goes down without much upside hoping for a bottom so you can double up. It works but you have to be very careful with the stock you pick.

If you are certain that the stock is undervalued and it has great prospects in the future then it is a sound strategy. I think many financial stocks are starting to fit the bill as this sub-prime mess spools out. I think a company like Goldman or Citigroup can start making big money again once they write off all of that bad debt and get back to what they do best.

The Main Stream Media on the Bhutto Assassination

Now this is exactly why people do not trust the Main Stream Media. With Pakistan reeling and riots in the streets the MSM chooses to cover the advantage that it has on our own Presidential race.
The assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister occurred one week
before the Iowa caucuses, the first test of the 2008 race for the White House,
and provided a reminder of the importance of national security in an era of

How America-centric can you get? This assassination does not affect our long, tortured election process one bit. Of course all of the candidates condemn the attack. Of course all of the candidates will thump their chests about their foreign policy experience. Or they will try to make up for the fact that they do not have it.

I think the MSM should focus on how this will affect people in Pakistan and what it means for the war on terror and not try to see who gains or looses from it in a US election. Too bad the AP only thinks in terms of "Bhutto Assassinated"=Good for McCain and Clinton and Bad for Obama, Huckabee, Romney. I guess every world event must be shown in terms of this Red/State blue state horse race to these guys.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/27/07

-$870.00 -1.81%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/27/07

-$1,605.00 -2.63%

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Club For Growth Goes After Huckabee

It looks like they are trying to Swiftboat Huckabee.
The Club for Growth is spending $175,000 to continue running ads in Iowa
that highlight tax increases adopted in Arkansas when Huckabee was governor.
During the past three weeks, the group has spent $550,000 to criticize
Huckabee's economic policies.

I figure these types of groups should be running ads for Huckabee and his Fair Tax plan. Instead they are going after some small potato tax increases when he was governor? His Fair Tax Plan will save Americans the time and money that comes from filing Income Taxes. This group needs to save their money for Hillary/Obama. If they think Huckabee is bad he will look like a miser compared to these tax and spenders.

Interesting Article on Xbox360 Price Cuts

This is an interesting article on why Microsoft should cut the price of the Xbox360 before the PS3 introduces its exclusive games in Q1 2008.
They have a second advantage in that the 360, whilst technically as capable as the PS3, is relatively economic to manufacture. This is something Microsoft have put a lot of effort into. So as their AAA exclusives advantage reduces, then their ability to use the price mechanism will come further into play. Especially as Microsoft have lots of money in the bank.
Judging by this list I'm not certain that this AAA exclusives will be Halo 3 type of games that are able to push out PS3s by the truckload. I agree that Metal Gear Solid 4 will be a console mover but that game doesn't come out until Summer. PlayStation Home won't be something you go out and plunk down $400 for and FF XIII may not be out in 2008 at all.

The other exclusive games on this list aren't very well hyped since I haven't heard of quite a few of them. So this MSFT opportunity may not be as big a deal as this guy makes it out to be. However, I think reducing the price and at the same time bundling GTA4 with a branded Xbox360 sounds like a great idea that might really move some consoles out the door.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/26/07

+$195.60 +0.41%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/26/07

+$1,346.00 +2.26%

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stores or Consumers who will Win on Black Saturday?

It looks like there is no real "must have gift" this holiday season and it will be interesting to see what people will be buying in this last push. Activision and Nintendo however may have a big weekend. I think giftcards may be the most important thing this holiday season as people just give up and buy them instead of any one gift. The gift card line at Ala Moana stretched out the door during the other day.

Traffic to U.S. stores for the week ended December 15 fell 8.9 percent
compared with last year, according to ShopperTrak.

NPD's Cohen said some of the decline was due to indecision.

Besides popular electronics like Nintendo Co Ltd's (Osaka:7974.OS - News) Wii game console and Activision Inc's (NasdaqGS:ATVI - News), Guitar Hero
video game, he said shoppers are unsure of what buy.

"They're walking around like lost puppies," he said.

BioShock Wins Game of the Year Honors

This should be good news for Take Two. I should be picking this thing up once I get my hands on Assassins Creed. So many games so little time.
Beyond “Game of the Year” roundups, BioShock is being championed as a
top pick for the holidays, with the top video game enthusiast websites leading
the pack. These include IGN, GameSpot, 1UP,, GamesRadar and

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/21/07

+$617.11 +1.32%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/21/07

+$2,073.37 +3.66%

Thursday, December 20, 2007

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/20/07

+$312.39 +0.67%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/20/07

-$224.37 -0.39%

The So-Called Biblical Bookshelf

My question is what do those balls represent? I think they are a subliminal message that says Huckabee has got big balls. In fact he might have the biggest balls of them all. The secret AC/CD endrosement that noone in the Huckabee camp seems to talk about.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How you can Tell Reuters is for Hillary+Anyone but Huckabee

I love how they picked these pictures to accompany the "Biblical Bookshelf" fake controversy and Obama pulling even with Hillary story.

Reuters is trying to say that Huckabee is a nutty Baptist preacher from the South that has those "crazy, religious zealot" eyes and Obama looks like an inexperienced neophyte with that dumb look on his face. Of course they couldn't show a picture of Huckabee looking relaxed and happy and Obama looking presidential. Reuters needs to portray Huckabee as crazy preacher man and Obama as the clueless newbie. And people say the MSM is objective.

Huckabee "Defends Ad"

As if such a thing needed to be defended.
"In the harshness of this political campaign, with attack ads and negative
stuff coming at us every day, we decided we wanted to do something that showed, 'Hey, folks, life isn't all about politics. Life is also about our family and
friends,"' Huckabee said.

This holiday message showed his human side and of course Reuters needs controversy now that US troops aren't dying in Iraq so they just drum it up in any way possible. I love how the so-called "biblical bookshelf" is now taken as a given.
Huckabee, who has come out of nowhere to lead Republican polls in Iowa and
challenge Giuliani for the lead in national polls, took criticism from
Republican candidate Ron Paul on Tuesday for a "Merry Christmas" advertisement that included a book shelf behind him that looked like a Christian cross.

I guess the bookself could have looked like some other kind of cross but I'm glad Reuters is there to let us know exactly what kind of cross the bookshelf actually looked like. Talk about a controversy made out of nothing. There must be something to Huckabee if the MSM wants him beat him so badly.

"Don't Tase Me Bro!" Top Quote of 2007

I agree with this selection 100%.
"Don't Tase Me, Bro," a phrase that swept the nation after a U.S. college
student used it seeking to stop campus police from throwing him out of a speech
by Sen. John Kerry, was named on Wednesday as the most memorable quote of

The funniest part about "Don't Tase Me Bro, Don't Tase Me!" is that it happened at a Democratic function in a speech by Kerry. I could have sworn that they were the party of peace, understanding, tolerance, and hearing all viewpoints. I still say that some of those campus police, who obviously overreacted, and tased that poor doof should be reprimanded.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Huckabee *Christ*mas message too religous?

Now this one just strait-up pisses me off. There is no other reason for having *Christ*mas other then the birth of *Christ.* I mean His Name is part of the holidays name! This is what the Huck-meister said:
The ad, which is airing in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, shows
Huckabee in front of a Christmas tree as he says, "Are you about worn out by all
the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics? Well, I
don't blame you. At this time of year sometimes it's nice to pull aside from all
of that and just remember that what really matters is the celebration of the
birth of Christ and being with our family and friends."

Yes, that is what we celebrate at *Christ*mas-time. Even though the Happy Holidays brigade is out in full force and try to bury the Christ child. Also I think the head of this Catholic League president needs to come out of Krak des Chevaliers and mix with the regular folks once in a while.
Catholic League president Bill Donahue said Huckabee went beyond
wishing people a joyous holiday. Donahue said he was especially disturbed by the
cross-like image created by a white bookcase in the background of the ad, saying
he believed it was a subliminal message.

Yes, this guy saw a cross-like image in a white bookcase and immediately thought that Huckabee must be using Ye Ole Mind Games. I thought Catholics were supposed to be more observant then this. Obviously that hidden cross just means that Jesus is thumbs up on Huckabee. It's too bad for Romney that he got that Herod the Great endorsement. That Fatted Calf hidden in the curtains on his Social Security Reform commercial might be a killer for his campaign.

The Hobbit is a Go!

Finally someone came to their senses at New Line and decided to back up the money truck for two more go around in Middle Earth.
New Line, which is a division of Time
(NYSE:TWX) , and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer said on Tuesday
they would co-finance and co-distribute two films based on
's The Hobbit. Mr Jackson and Fran Walsh, Mr Jackson's production partner, will produce the two films.

That is great news for Middle Earth fans like myself. Why quibble over millions when there are billions to be made out there. It is good to see that geek-fandom is the new currency in Hollywood. Now I can't wait until Smaug is introduced in the 2nd film and the battle of 5 armies will be sweet. I hope the director (who isn't going to be Jackson unfortunately) will keep some of the whimsy of the book intact. The Hobbit was not as heavy as the Rings Trilogy and I hope this new guy will reflect that. Bilbo never had that awesome weight on his shoulders that Frodo had and was able to be a little lighter in his interactions with people.

Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnant!

Is it just me or is the Spears clan are really Backwoods Hillbillies.
Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old "Zoey 101" star and sister of Britney,
tells OK! magazine that she's pregnant and that the father is her longtime
boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.

So she got knocked up at 16? I don't think Nickelodeon would want a pregnant 16 year old star on that Zoey 101 show. First the naked pics of the High School Musical girl and now a pregnant teen sitcom star. I guess the tweener life is getting pretty tough out there.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/18/07

+$393.00 +0.86%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/18/07

+$1,098.99 +1.97%

Monday, December 17, 2007

Unintended Consequences of Carbon Footprint Reduction

Now this is a true knock-on effect of all this Al Gore reduce your carbon footprint stuff.
The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of
nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt
states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the
Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" — a 7,900-square-mile patch
so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate.

So in other words farmers grow more corn to make ethanol to add to the gas to keep the carbon out of the air. In return it kills off 7900 square miles of fish. This is one of those lose-lose propositions that the environmentalists don't tell you about. We can either stop using the nitrogen fertilizer and thus make it harder to grow the plants to replace the oil that is creating global warming. Or we can keep the nitrogen and then the fish will die off.

I guess this is a prime opportunity for someone to come up with a way for nitrogen to be kept from going into the Mississippi river. I think this is a job for the EPA (or a private company) to find a way to prevent the nitrogen but also increase the corn yields. I think some of those hefty farm subsidies need to start going to Monsanto and Bunge Ltd.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/17/07

-$836.00 -1.79%

J. Michels Uranium Index

-$2,767.00 -4.73%

Friday, December 14, 2007

Stong Words on Dendreon vs. FDA

I agree with his feelings on Dendreon 100%.
For the sake of prostate cancer patients, of whom we lose some 30,000
each year, here’s to hoping the decision to approve comes earlier rather
than later. Provenge is safe and effective even if the biostatistics are not
as perfect as some FDA bureaucrats and their enablers in the ivory towers of
academia would like. Last I checked, our society ranks saving lives well
ahead of bureaucratic perfection on our list of priorities. With some luck,
Congressional hearings might remind the FDA of this fact.

If it is safe and it is actually saving some lives then why hasn't it been approved? Late stage prostate cancer victims are dying while waiting for the FDA. Let's hope those Congressmen can get the FDA to budge on this thing.

Google Introduces Wikipedia Like Service

They are calling it the "Knol" which stands for a "unit of knowledge."

Knol's goal, writes Udi Manber, Google's engineering chief, in a blog post, is "to encourage people who know a
particular subject to write an authoritative article about it." The system,
which is currently running in an invitation-only beta, offers free Web hosting
space and editing tools to allow anyone to write up a page about whatever they
like. Google is calling each article a "knol," which it says stands for a "unit
of knowledge."

Now Udi Manber is one hell of a cool D&D style name. Like Udi Manber the Grandmaster of Flowers. It's almost Gleep Wurp the Eyebiter good. In any case I think this is a pretty good idea for Google to try since it looks like they will have the authors name prominently displayed.

Also it will have a community aspect to it where people can rate it for accuracy, provide comments and questions, and make edits. In many ways it will be like Wikipedia with peer review bolted on. Sometimes you just can't trust Wikipedia but a Knol will hopefully have people checking it out and editing it for accuracy.

Obama Catches Clinton in New Hampshire

I guess this race isn't over after all.
Clinton has dropped 5 percentage points since the CNN/WMUR November survey, while Obama has gained 8 percentage points, according to the poll conducted by
the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Clinton is now at 31 percent to
Obama’s 30 percent.

I would be willing to bet the Oprah factor could be behind this surge. The O and O show is cashing in better then Obama's wildest dreams. He should offer her VP and really see his polls take off.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/14/07

+$33.00 +0.07%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/14/07

-$2,038.00 -3.37%

Huckabee Leads in South Carolina

You would figure South Carolina would be a slam-dunk since he is a southern governor.
Huckabee was the choice of 24 percent of South Carolina Republicans in the
CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll taken December 9-12, up from 3 percent
when a similar poll was conducted in July.

I think Americans are finally getting a handle on who Huckabee is and what he can do for America if he is elected. Also the other choices save Rudy seem kind of crappy to many Republicans.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Activision Tops November Sales

It looks like another winning month for Activision.
"Gamers answered the call, propelling Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on
the 360 platform to the top spot for the month in software unit sales. With
only one month of retail sales, it is already the four best-selling title in
video game sales year-to-date, behind Halo 3 (from Microsoft), Wii Play and
Pokemon Diamond (from Nintendo)," said Anita Frazier, an analyst with the
NPD group, in a statement.

Call of Duty 4 is yet another game that I will soon be buying when I finally get my Xbox360.

EAs Warhammer may be World of Warcraft in the making

The funny thing is I might be part of this new wave of players for Warhammer® Online: Age of Reckoning once it launches next year.
Poised to be one of the biggest new MMORPG releases of next year, WAR is
slated for official launch in Q2 of calendar year 2008. The Beta Center is still
open and accepting recruits at:

The idea of playing an MMORPG set in the Warhammer's Old World sounds really interesting to me and it would be worth plunking down a $12-$14 or so dollars a month to play in it. I would be really interesting to see how many players World of Warcraft will lose to this game in 2008. Could be EAs ace-in-the-hole to go head to head with Activision/Blizzard.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/13/07

-$274.00 -0.58%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/13/07

-$1,859.20 -2.98%

Dendreon Enlists Congressional Help

And the shares were up 23% in response to it.

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, sent a letter to the House Energy and
Commerce Committee requesting a probe into whether two Food and Drug
Administration advisers who questioned Provenge's effectiveness were
by financial ties they had with Dendreon competitors.

The letter, sent Thursday to Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich.,
was also
signed by Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.
I understand Rep. Michaud's concern on the matter. It was weird that these two advisers questioned its effectiveness like they did. I also didn't understand why the FDA needed more information even after their own advisory panel said it was safe and effective. Part of why I bought into the story was that that panel usually is a slam dunk to FDA approval.

I just don't like how people with late stage prostate cancer might be dying while waiting to get their hands on a drug that the FDA advisory panel already recommended. In any case if Congress does finds some sort of dirty dealing by those two advisers I hope they lose their positions and maybe even their licence to practice medicine.

Clinton Adviser Quits

That was fast. So one bad thing and you are out on your ear.
"I made a mistake and in light of what happened, I have made the personal
decision that I will step down as the co-chair of the Hillary for President
campaign," Shaheen said in a statement released by the campaign Thursday. "This election is too important, and we must all get back to electing the best
qualified candidate who has the record of making change happen in this country.
That candidate is Hillary Clinton."

The Clintons campers are trying for 100% perfection. At least they know what the stakes are. They have the potential to control everything and to create a "Progressive America." One nation under high taxes with health care and open borders for all. No mistakes in 2008 should be both parties motto.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Clinton Advisor Blasts Obama over Drug Use

I love the little GOP dig he fit in there for good measure.
It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone?
Did you sell them to anyone?'" said Shaheen, whose wife, Jeanne, is the state's
former governor and is running for the U.S. Senate next year.

"There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard
to overcome," Shaheen said.

You have to give Obama credit for freely admitting that he took drugs in his youth. He didn't smoke pot and not inhale or try to gloss over it like Kerry or even Bush did. This admission makes him a stand-up sort of guy in my book. Lots of people have dispossessed youths and Obama learned from it and I think it made him a better guy.

Bush Vetoes SCHIP again

I guess this is getting old hat for W to use the veto pen. I think his administration officials need to do a better job of getting their message out. It just makes Bush look hard hearted by continuing to veto "money for sick kids." It is just too easy to make a club out of that statement and beat on him with it.
The bill Bush vetoed would have increased federal funding for SCHIP by
$35 billion over five years, to add an estimated 4 million people to the
program that provides insurance coverage for children from families who earn
too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance. The
joint federal-state program currently provides benefits to roughly 6 million
people, mostly children.

I think W should just sign the thing and get it over with. That is only a $7 billion a year increase and 4 million extra people get to have health insurance. It isn't a massive Hillary-esque expansion of Medicaid but just a few extra billion to help a bunch of kids and some adults. These people are just too rich for Medicaid but too poor to afford private health insurance. I just can't see the point in handing Dems ammo like this going into 2008.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/12/07

+$338.01 +0.72%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/12/07

-$154.81 -0.25%

Contenders Jump on Huckabee at Debate

Another boring assed debate was on tap for the GOP side yesterday and it looks like the other candidates are firing on Huckabee.

Moments after Huckabee said schools should provide all students with
music and art instruction at all grade levels, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo
took him to task. "That's not the job of a president. It's the job of a
governor," he said. "That's what you should run for if you want to dictate

Yup it seems that Tancredo is in the no Federal money for the arts wing of the GOP. AKA the Philistine wing. You have to admit that giving money for art and music education is a much better way to spend the funds then giving them to the National Endowment for the Arts. I'm pretty sure we won't see any crucifixes in a jar of urine from grade schoolers.

One thing I also found interesting that NBC even had a slanted hit piece on the NBC nightly news last night as well. Some crap about Huckabee receiving gifts and trying to slant it so that he was giving out patronage. It's just like a governor to sell his votes in exchange for Target gift certificates (which was one things that he got from someone that they were sure to point out on NBC.) I guess hit-pieces are just par for the course when you are the front-runner.

Man Kills Daughter over Hajib

Now this is a sad story and this father should be put away.
A 16-year-old girl has died after allegedly being choked by her father over
a dispute with her family over her refusal to wear the hijab, the Islamic
headscarf worn by some Muslim women.

Too bad this girl couldn't get in child protective services before the father killed her. This is another sad story of a Muslim that flies off the handle instead of sitting down and reasonably discussing why he feels his daughter needs to wear a head scarf even though she lives in the Western World. I guess reasonable Muslim discourse is an oxymoron nowadays.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Geert Wilders vs. the Muslims

Now here is another Dutch person that dares to talk about Islam in a bad light. He has pretty strong anti-Muslim feelings though:
Four months ago, he called for the Koran to be outlawed in the

"I believe our culture is much better than the retarded Islamic
cultures," he told in a telephone interview. "Ninety-nine percent of
the intolerance in the world comes back to the Islamic religion and the

So of course the Religion of Peace wants to kill the guy instead of actually sitting down and getting into a dailogue with him. I think Muslims need to look down deep and figure out why this guy thinks that 99% of the intolerance in the world comes from Islam. Maybe he gets that view from the fact that *any* anti-Muslim sentiment is met with violence and bloodshed.

Anti-Christian or anti-Jewish sentiment is simply met with condemnation and the view that the person should be educated and set strait with words and not bombs. Imagine if Kevin Smith made Dogma about Islam. He would have to go into hiding and would fear for his life and probably never make another movie. Or imagine if someone made a Life of Brian about Muhammad. The Muslim would needs to deal with criticism in some way other then "that person must die." Until then Islam will always clash with the openness of the Western World.

MSM already on Huckabee over 15 year old answers

It didn't take too long as the front runner for the Main Stream Media to jump all over Huckabee. You have to color every answer with the fact that the person answering these questions was a 36 year old Texarcana Pastor running for his first office and not a 51 year old Governor. In fact this AIDS thing is so full of crap.
Huckabee's 1992 comments on isolating AIDS patients run counter to a
statement he released last month calling for increased federal funds to find a
cure. Huckabee says the earlier remarks came at a time when there was confusion about how AIDS could be transmitted.

In other words Huckabee sat down with some knowledgeable people and got educated when it came to AIDS and is now advocating *more* federal money to find a cure. I mean people should get a chance to get more information on a subject and come to a new conclusion after 15 years. I guess the MSM thinks people don't get a chance to change their minds about things as time goes on. For instance I have almost totally different views on things now then what I had 15 years ago.

FED Cuts Rates by 1/4 Point

And the market is getting killed because of it. And Cramer calls the FED too complacent for their own good.

"I'm no longer fiery. They had their chance. I wanted to do a wake-up
call then, in August. ... That was when it still mattered," said Cramer, who had
been hoping for a 50-basis-point cut. He believes the Fed's unwillingness to act
"just made [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson's job much harder."

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/11/07

-$695.02 -1.46%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/11/07

-$3,003.00 -4.59%

Monday, December 10, 2007

Suggestions For Huckabee Slogans

I think this should be the free T-shirt "The Huck" needs to give away. I think he needs a better slogan then "I Like Mike" it is too derivitive of "I Like Ike." Here are some suggestions I came up with

1. "Make Mine Huck"
2. "Huckabee There in '08"
3. "Elect The Big Bee"
4. "Nothing can stop the Huck!"
5. "A Bee is Better then a W." (for the Bush Haters out there)
6. "You Won't Like me When I'm Angry" then Huckabee tears off his shirt.
7. "Huckabee; the Arkansas Governor that Kept His Pants On."
8. "The Man from Hope; No, Not the the Pervert." (Yup, Huckabee and No-Pants Bill are both from Hope, Arkansas.)
9. "Hill-A-Bee in '08? No it's Huckabee in 08." (If Hillary wins the Dem Nom.)
10. "It's Gonna Bee Huckabee in '08"

Huckabee Should Offer Free T-Shirt for a $100 Donation

I'm thinking about giving like $100 to the Huck-man's campaign but I think a free T-shirt with something like Hucka-bees! or something like that would grease the skids a bit. I guess when he starts pulling in that front runner money he can start giving out the Free(Hucka)bees!

Holy Crap Chuck Norris is a Huckabee Man?

This pro-Huckabee thing is getting better and better!

I won't leave you in suspense. Though Giuliani might be savvy enough to
lead people, Fred Thompson wise enough to wade through the tides of
politics, McCain tough enough to fight terrorism and Romney business-minded
enough to grow our economy, I believe the only one who has all of the
characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee.

With Chuck Norris endorsing him Huckabee could potentially win the nomination for Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green Party, American Communist Party, American Bund, Confederate States of America, Free Soil Party, Whig Party, Bull Moose Party, Pope of both Rome and Ravenna, Holy Roman Emperor, Grand Ayatollah, and President and Prime Minister of both Iran and North Korea all at the same time and win them all. That is how powerful a Chuck Norris endorsement is.

Huckabee Has My Nomination!

I went to Huckabee's site to check out his stand on issues and came across this gem.
The FairTax will replace the Internal Revenue Code with a consumption
tax, like the taxes on retail sales forty-five states and the District of
Columbia have now. All of us will get a monthly rebate that will reimburse us
for taxes on purchases up to the poverty line, so that we're not taxed on
necessities. That means people below the poverty line won't be taxed at all.
We'll be taxed on what we decide to buy, not what we happen to earn. We won't be taxed on what we choose to save or the interest those savings earn. The tax will apply only to new goods, so we can reduce our taxes further by buying a used car or computer.

I'm not sure how much this tax will bring in as opposed to the Income Tax but I wholeheartedly support the thing 100%. It seems like the money would be alot less but I have no idea since alot of the flat taxers out there use lots of different revenue figures in their calculations. In any case this FairTax means no Capital Gains Taxes and no Dividend Tax (which I hate with the fire of a 1000 suns!) Just not having to do my taxes every year and having to record each one of my options trades would be worth putting this guy in office.

In fact if Huckabee wins then buy Ebay stock since they will be swamped with people buying used goods so that they can avoid having to pay the FairTax. I will also try to make the majority of my purchases right up to the poverty line and save everything else so I can get the maximum tax reimbursements. Huckabee is a brave man and a great man and he will be the next President in 2008. A vote for Huckabee is a vote for never having to pay income taxes again! I might even give him some cashola for his campaign. And that would be a first for me.

Huckabee Catches Rudy

Now this is something that came out of nowhere
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, is backed by 24 percent of
Republican voters nationally while Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, is
at 22 percent.
I have a feeling that this Arkansas governor will be involved in a lot less shenanigans then the last Arkansas governor that we had in the White House. I guess he just seems like a positive sort of guy that seems very value oriented. In fact maybe a little too values oriented when you take his remarks in 1992 about putting people with AIDS into quarantine. However he seems to have changed his mind on that position in the 15 years since.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/10/07

+$789.00 +1.68%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/10/07

+$1,315.00 +2.05%

Thursday, December 06, 2007

2000 Year Old Mansion Found Under Parking Lot

Now that is one of the only cool things about the Middle East. There might be a 2000 year old mansion under almost anything.
The remains of the building were unearthed just outside the walls of
Jerusalem's Old City, underneath layers of a more recent settlement that was
hidden until recently under the asphalt of a small parking lot in east

They even know from the writings of Josephus that it might have belonged to the family of Queen Helene that was destroyed by the Romans during the revolt of 70AD. I wonder if there were any items found in the house at all. In any case it would sure make a cool D&D adventure locale.

Dems Say Bailout Doesn't Help Everyone (as if that was possible)

As you would have thought the Dems are picking Bush's Subprime Bailout plan apart.
Putting the interests of investors aside, Democrats and consumer
advocates question whether enough borrowers will be helped. They say the plan
doesn't do anything for borrowers whose loans reset at higher rates already, or
for those with other kinds of risky loans. Some also question whether the
five-year duration of the plan will be long enough for many borrowers to

Well, in anything it doesn't help everyone but just the people that are the most behind the 8-ball. I didn't see the Democratic plan so I don't know what the alternative would be. I know Hillary had basically the same thing with a moratorium on foreclosures tacked on. I guess the Dems giving any kind of credit to Bush is too terrible to contemplate.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/6/07

+$404.00 +0.87%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/6/07

+$735.99 +1.17%

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bush Bails out the Subprime Afflicted

I wonder if this move has just staved off the recession that could be coming down the pike in 2008?
Another person familiar with the matter said the rate-freeze plan would
apply to borrowers with loans made at the start of 2005 through July 30 of this
year with rates that are scheduled to rise between Jan. 1, 2008, and July 31,

I wonder if this caught enough people so that spending won't slow in the near future? I know that a 30% or more rise in mortgages is equal to a possible 30% cut in consumer spending by Americans. I think the choice between losing your house and buying some crap will usually come down to keeping your house.

This will be interesting to see what will happen after 5 years pass. Hopefully interest rates will be lower then so people can refinance easily. If that isn't the case then an extension means that adjustable rates mortgages are actually a fixed rate mortgage on the cheap. I wonder if people will be taking out less fixed rate mortgages during that 5 year period? In any case I hate when government messes with markets but I guess this is what needs to happen to dodge the recession bullet.

Facebook CEO Apologizes

Facebook is finally doing the walk of shame when their new Ad feature started telling people what they bought them for Christmas.
"It took us too long after people started contacting us to change the
product so that users had to explicitly approve what they wanted to share," he
added. "Instead of acting quickly, we took too long to decide on the right
solution. I'm not proud of the way we've handled this situation and I know we
can do better."

I think they should have known that any opt-out type of program will run no matter what since people usually don't read what they are hitting the okay button for. I guess if they made it an opt-in program because not many people would sign up for a service that advertises what you bought to your friends as if that information is important to them or something.

I guess some people would like to know this stuff but basically it is worthless information. Oh well, I guess Gen Yer and the Millennials are more into sharing this kind of useless information then Gen Xers

Take-Two's Big Problems

This is a pretty sobering article if you are long Take-Two.
"Precarious is a pretty accurate word to describe their finances," says
Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach. Bhatia has a sell
rating on the stock and a price target of $12. Sterne Agee makes a market in
Take-Two shares.

The company's situation took a turn for the worse in August when it
said it will push back the release of Grand Theft Auto IV from October this year
to second quarter fiscal 2008, ending April 30.

So pretty much because they delayed this game they might be in tough financial straits going forward. They might also run out of cash and have to draw on their debt for everyday financing. GTA4 better be a massive blockbuster or there might not be a GTA5.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/5/07

+$423.48 +0.92%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/5/07

+$260.01 +0.42%

Monday, December 03, 2007

Activision+Blizzard=Trouble for ERTS

In what would be called a pretty stunning announcement it looks like Vivendi is buying out Activision and adding it to their gaming arm which includes Blizzard.
Paris-based Vivendi SA and Santa Monica, Calif.-based Activision Inc.
said Sunday that their respective board members had approved a plan to combine
Activision with the French company's game unit, Vivendi Games, which includes
Blizzard and three other divisions.

This really makes a well rounded company that has consoles covered on the Activision side and MMORPGs covered on the Blizzard side. Hmm, we might even see a Starcraft 2 for console that comes out at about the same time as the computer version. I would be willing to bet that it would come with a USB keyboard like thing with hotkeys for various attacking and grouping functions.

This might even be a game changer when it comes to the console and PC converging. This is because most of the newer consoles are essentially gaming rigs stripped down with a controller attached. So I wouldn't be surprised if Sony connects their Gaming Service to a web browser and lets people connect to the internet on their PS3s. All you would need would be a USB keyboard (like the one that came with the potential StarCraft for console) and a copy of Firefox and you would essentially have a new computer for the price of a console. You could even attach a productivity suite and kids could do their homework, connect to MySpace, and play Assassins Creed all from the same box. It would actually be a truly seperate selling point that the PS3 would have over the Xbox360.

In any case I think EA should really fear this company because EA is so very weak when it comes to MMORPGs. Blizzard could come out with that Starcraft 2 for console and then an MMORPG based on the StarCraft universe and it would clean EAs clock. A StarCraft MMORPG that would be available both on console and PC sounds like the next World of Warcraft but with an even greater reach and a built in fan base.

I would be willing to bet even money that the Korean Star Craft MMORPG market may even dwarf the US one in a few years since that game is an insane hit over there. So this new Activision Blizzard would have a broadened international revenue base, carry continued strength in consoles, have established million seller franchises under their belt, and could create a PC/console convergence. I would be willing to call that a game changer.

J. Michels Video Game Index 12/3/07

+$218.00 +0.48%

J. Michels Uranium Index 12/3/07

-$2,130.00 -3.32%

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Facebook Invades your Privacy?

It looks like Facebook is broadcasting what you buy on their member sites unless you opt out of some Ad related thing.
Matthew Helfgott, a 20-year-old in Cortland, N.Y., said he noticed that
his girlfriend had some purchases listed in her news feed, including a pair of
black leather men's gloves, meant as a gift for him. He told her that many of
her online buys had shown up in her news feed, an update on Facebook profiles
with what members do on the site.

"She was ticked off about it," Helfgott commented. "She felt it
violated her privacy."

So they pretty much peeked into your online closet and found the gifts you were going to give your friends and family and broadcasted it on their site. Facebook kind of reminds me of the digital version of kids searching the house for where their parents hid the presents and then peeking under the wrapping paper. I guess more people need to be hard to shop for like me and just tell their friends and family what they would like for Christmas so they won't be surprised with something you either have or don't want.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/28/07

+$1,765.00 +4.03%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/28/07

+$2,771.00 +4.66%

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Credit Card Bills Could Spell Recession

Hmm, it seems the chance of recession has been bumped up to 30% in some economists eyes.
Arnold said that many consumers, particularly those without top credit
scores, will no longer be able to easily transfer balances to new cards
carrying low introductory rates.

"That's what consumers have fallen back on, and it's been a
lifesaver for the economy. It worked pretty well, even if it masked the whole consumer debt problem," said Arnold. "But that safety net [for consumers] is not
as much of an option these days."

Plus many of these guys with the subprime credit scores also have to deal with an adjustible rate mortgage that keeps going up on them. Plus, they may not be able to sell their expensive houses or even tap the home equity on it with the market is falling in many areas.

I'm pretty sure they won't be talking about buying a new TV when they might not be able to afford the house to put it in. I mean the spending cutbacks have already hit Joe Consumers' daily Starbucks fix. Make sure to get those hedges in place and sell into any Santa Claus Rally. I'm semi-short the market but I'm going to go almost all cash pretty soon.

Activision Ups Outlook

I guess Guitar Hero is currently winning the battle of the Band-type games.
Activision previously said its "Guitar Hero 3" video game that came
out in late October racked up more than $115 million in sales in its first
week on the market -- equivalent to more than a third of the company's
fiscal second quarter revenue.

They upped their forecast from 51 to 66 cents a share which is quite a move upwards. I guess the idea of dropping $100 on a game and a Guitar is really paying off for them in terms of margin expansion and on the amount of revenue per unit sold. I'm sure the Best Buy deal of Xbox360 plus Guitar Hero 3 was a gold mine as well.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Buys some Citi

I guess Citi is getting cheap enough for the oil shieks to jump in for a $7.5 billion stake.
"While these announcements from the financial industry are continuing to
unsettle investors, the lower dollar has put the U.S. in the position of being
for sale at attractive prices, so Abu Dhabi can come along and buy an interest
in Citi," said A.C. Moore, chief investment strategist for Dunvegan Associates
in Santa Barbara, Calif. "Anytime you have corporate action, that's one of the
strong bull arguments" for stocks.

It's is certainly getting really close to my mental buy price of below $30.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/27/07

+$1,243.01 +2.92%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/27/07

+$194.00 +0.33%

Monday, November 26, 2007

Citi Cuts Costs and Might Have More Layoffs

The stock is getting near the $30 mark and if it breaks through it might be a pretty good value. Too bad all of the subprime writedowns haven't been wrung entirely out of the stock yet.
Its shares fell $1.63, or 5.1 percent, to $30.07 in afternoon trading
Monday. The bank is still looking for a new CEO, after Charles Prince
stepped down as chairman and chief executive Nov. 4, the same evening the bank
announced that it will likely write down the value of its portfolio by another
$8 billion to $11 billion in the fourth quarter

Once that happens I think it might be a good stock to jump back into simply for the dividend alone. Hopefully the new CEO will view that dividend as something that cannot be cut and even raise it as things start to get better.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/26/07

+$227.99 +0.54%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/26/07

-$1,530.00 -2.52%

Friday, November 16, 2007

Starbucks on the Ropes

I guess this is a big sign that consumers are tightening their belts.
The company blamed weak consumer spending and high input costs in the
form of milk. Yup, it literally cried over spilled milk.

I'm pretty sure that milk is the least of their worries. It does seem strange that they are blaming an item that takes up such a small part of every Venti Latte for their woes for two quarters in a row.

I think it is just a case of consumers not buying $4.00 Lattes and instead trying to make payments on their jumbo, balloon payment, 3 points over prime etc. etc. adjustable rate mortgage on a house they can't sell that keeps dropping in value month after month. The first thing people will cut back on is their daily Mocha Frap to save a few bucks. I guess consumers are just drinking more freeze dried Folgers Crystals now.

The9 Limited Gets Smashed

Revenue was up 35 percent but earnings were 4 cents short of estimates.
Part of The9's problem, Brueschke said, is that it is using very expensive
Hewlett-Packard servers to operate the game. The better it does, the more server
farms have to be added, hurting profits.

Furthermore, the game is still in its early, low-margin,
"investment phase," and its higher-margin phase is still many quarters away, the
analyst added.

That first thing kind of sucks because as the game gets more popular then expenses will rise at the same time. I wonder what this higher margin phase will be as well. World of Warcraft is kind of getting long in the tooth as video games go and I have heard about a dropoff in interest for the game.

Maybe Chinese gamers are different then US gamers and they lose interest in the game at a slower rate but I'm not so sure. I'm sure the expansion will bring more players back to the game and have more players pick it up but that will peter out eventually. I guess that is the danger of having only a single item that you derive the majority of your revenue from.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/16/07

-$1,298.00 -2.92%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/16/07

+$257.00 +0.42%

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Video Game Sales up a Whopping 73% in October

Now these are some impressive numbers compared to J.C. Penneys and Kohl's warning lower.
U.S. sales of video game hardware and software jumped 73 percent in
October, with Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii console regaining its spot as the
top-selling console, industry data showed on Thursday. Total sales were
$1.1 billion, compared with $643 million a year earlier, according to market
research firm NPD.

Hillary Campaign Planting the Questions Now

I missed this when I was in Japan but it looks like the Hillary Campaign is now resorting to planting questions so she can better triangulate her answers.
"After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to
Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff ’10, some of the questions from
the audience were planned in advance. 'They were canned,' she said. Before the
event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific
question after Clinton’s speech. 'One of the senior staffers told me what [to
ask],' she said.

I thought these Town Halls were supposed to be impromptu and not as rehearsed as a debate or a stump speech. I guess the Clitonistas are resorting the snake oil salesman school of using shills to back their candidate. Maybe Obama will pull this thing out after all.

Hillary on the Defence at the Las Vegas Debate

Wow it looks like the Democratic nomination is starting to turn into something other then a Coronation of the Her Triangulous, Queen Hillary I. It is instead turning into a bomb throwing contest with Hillary fighting from behind.
Edwards was next to accuse Clinton of trying to have it both ways with
the war in Iraq, Social Security and defining the scope of President Bush's
power to use military force against Iran. "She says she will bring change to
Washington while she continues to defend a system that does not work, that is
broken, that is rigged, that is corrupt," added the former North Carolina

"I've just been personally attacked again," Clinton shot back. "I
don't mind taking hits on my record on issues, but when somebody starts throwing mud at least we can hope it's accurate and not right out of the Republican playbook."

Yup Edwards is using Republican plays against her boo-hoo. If she wasn't such a wishy-washy triangulator she wouldn't have these problems. She relies far too much on polling data and consensus building to have an opinion on anything. If someone said "Iran just bombed Israel; Madam President what do we do?" She would say " let's get a poll together that will judge the harshness of the statement that we will send to the UN while making sure we don't offend Persian sensibilities."

At least you know where a guy like Edwards stands on the issues. I would even give grudging respect to a guy like Kucinich because he clearly states his loony notions and doesn't obfuscate and search for the "correctly polled and vetted answer" to everything. Hillary just isn't authentic and Obama and Edwards are using it as a hammer against her.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/15/07

+$22.00 +0.05%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/15/07

-$2,266.62 -3.54%

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lennar Mothballing Homes

Now this is some scary stuff if you are looking for housing to bottom out.
Lennar Corp., for one, has joined the "not to sell" camp at its
development in Orange County, Calif. The Miami company plans to finish
building 259 homes -- the first phase of a 1,100-unit development in Irvine
-- but it has decided not to sell any of them until the constrained mortgage
market and swollen housing inventory improves.

So they are basically building houses and then just letting them sit until the market improves. What happens if you run out of cash while waiting for things to improve?

Lennar has $128 million in cash on the books and 3.12 billion in debt. I wonder what it will cost Lennar to make those 259 homes? It just seems to go against business sense to pay big money (perhaps 50 million or so?) to build something and then sit on it until the time is right to sell the thing. This is especially true when the thing you are building might have been priced too high in the first place due to a bubble. I wonder what the margin on these homes today compared to the 2005. It would be interesting to find out how much it has shrunk.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/14/07

-$33.00 -0.07%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/14/07

+$1,125.63 +1.79%

Friday, November 02, 2007

Prince Finally Out at Citigroup

You would figure that if a CEO lost $6.5 billion he would be out on his ear alot faster then now. Too bad he took the stock price down to the tune of 38% on his way out the door.
Charles Prince will offer his resignation as chief executive
officer of Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank, the Wall Street Journal
reported. The shares rose in extended trading.

I was stopped out of this stock quite a while ago but it may be a good beaten down name to jump back into after the smoke clears on their total writedowns. Hopefully they won't need to cut their dividend in order to meet their capital requirements.

MSFT Employees Gave $72 Million

Now this is a nice program that more companies should think about doing.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT - News) matches
employee donations, dollar-for-dollar, for up to $12,000 per employee per year.
This year, the company's 70,000 employees donated to 25,000 nonprofit groups.

In addition, the company directly donated another $68 million in
cash and $331 million in software to nonprofits.

You can't say that the evil empire doesn't give some its money to charity. $331 million in free items cannot be a bad thing.

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/2/07

-$3.99 -0.01%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/2/07

+$1,569.00 +2.84%

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Worlds Oldest Clam Born in 1602

Now this is quite a feat for a lowly clam.

Scientists said the mollusc, an ocean quahog clam, was aged between
405 and 410 years and could offer insights into the secrets of longevity.

Researchers from Bangor University in north Wales said they
calculated its age by counting rings on its shell.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest-lived
was a clam found in 1982 aged 220.

The weird part is that this clam was born at the same time the Dutch East India Company was founded in the Netherlands. That was the first multinational corporation that was also the first company to issue stock. Now this is also whopping figure. The Dutch East India Company paid
an 18% dividend for almost 200 years! This was also the first performance of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

EA Posts Pretty Decent Numbers

It seems that Electronic Arts posted some down numbers due to an accounting change to sales of online-enabled games but things are looking great for Christmas.
Adjusted earnings, excluding the change in revenue recognition and
other items, were $87 million, or 27 cents per share, up from $65 million, or 21
cents per share a year earlier. On that basis, EA beat Wall Street's earnings
expectations. Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 20 cents per
share, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

They also say that game sales in North America and Europe for 2007 will grow 15 percent to 20 percent. That seems pretty reasonable and would seem to be recession proof since video games seem to be bought in all markets no matter what. They are also saying they are holding market share and also closing some facilities, including one in Chertsey, England wherever that is.

It is good for the stock after hours since it is up 5%. Finally, it seems the options players were straddling the stock as well unsure of where numbers will fall. It should be interesing to see the conviction tomorrow morning on this stock.

Take-Two Leaves Banned Content in Game

It looks like hackers have unlocked the content that moved the game from Adults Only to Mature status. I guess Rockstar only blocked the gory content and did not cut them out of the game entirely. I wonder if this is another case of the "Hot Coffee" mod.
Take-Two edited parts of the game, including blurring some of the most
gruesome killing scenes, to get the less restrictive rating.

Hackers defeated that blurring on the version of the game for Sony
Corp.'s PlayStation Portable. The game is also available for the PlayStation 2
and Nintendo Wii systems, and those versions do not appear to have been

J. Michels Video Game Index 11/1/07

-$641.01 -1.33%

J. Michels Uranium Index 11/1/07

-$2,421.00 -4.19%

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cat DNA Decoded

Now this is great news for all those people that are suffering from the same kind of diseases that cats get. Now this is one cute cat named Cinnamon that they decoded the DNA from.

Yet Another Reason to Not Buy a PS3

Now it seems they are delaying Metal Gear Solid 4 until 2nd quarter of 2008.
3:28PM Sony: Key Playstation 3 game delayed to second quarter FY08
SNE) 49.29 +0.49 : KONAMI announced that key Playstation 3 game "METAL GEAR SOLID 4 GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS" will be released in the second quarter of 2008. KONAMI had initially intended to release "METAL GEAR SOLID 4 GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS" this winter and has been working on the production of the title. KONAMI has decided to delay the title's release in order to make further improvements to the quality of the game and provide even greater enjoyment for more customers worldwide.

Hellgate London Released

I didn't even know that this thing was coming out today. It does sound like a pretty fun RGP type game. It also has online subscription content for $9.99 a month.
It’s 2038 and London lies in ruins, overrun by hordes of terrifying
demons. Players begin their mission to save the once-great city by creating a
hero, choosing among six character classes featuring distinct gameplay styles.
Hellgate: London offers gamers a deep storyline campaign with over 35 hours of
gameplay that is infinitely re-playable because of the game’s dynamically
generated levels and random items, enemies and events. Hellgate’s robust,
flexible skill and spell system, highly customizable appearances, and a massive
variety of equipment ensures each player’s experience will be unique.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/31/07

+$1,162.00 +2.48%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/31/07

+$1,847.00 +3.31%

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Simpsons Game Released

This looks like a fun game that I have been seeing commercials for on Sci-Fi Network.

With parodies of the video game industry, pop culture and current events, THE SIMPSONS GAME has the same subversive humor and delightfully smart wit as the critically acclaimed TV series.
It looks like a Crash Bandicoot style three quarters view game that might be an interesting pick up once I get my Xbox360.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/30/07

+$103.10 +0.22%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/30/07

-$1,868.05 -3.24%

Friday, October 26, 2007

Guitar Hero 3 Set to Launch October 28th

I guess I should be ramping up the purchase of my Xbox360 because this game looks pretty awesome. This ad copy kind of makes it sound like Street Fighter 2 with guitars:
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock will include explosive new content and
features including a multiplayer action-inspired battle mode, grueling boss
battles, a host of exclusive unlockable content and visually stunning rock
venues. Expanded online multiplayer game modes will also allow fans worldwide to compete head-to-head for true legendary rock status. Fresh downloadable content will also be offered on multiple platforms, and players can now shred to a
killer set list from many of the most popular rock songs ever

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/26/07

+$1,066.00 +2.35%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/26/07

+$2,375.99 +4.37%

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is Why We Need Mandatory School Uniforms

This is a sad state of affairs for young girls in America.
In one study, more than one-third of middle-school students responded
"yes" when asked whether they are bullied because of the clothes they wear.

Yup they were bullied because they didn't wear the "right" fashion designers' clothes to school. Now this is a big joke when teen girls have to worry about fashion designers who make $300 dresses and not just growing up, going through puberty, etc.

I remember when I was in school the idea of school uniforms was asinine. But now I can see that mandatory school uniforms might be a great idea to prevent this kind of thing.

It seems to help everyone except for the $300 dress designers. Parents don't have to worry about buying the 'right' designers or the kid wearing the 'wrong' ones. Also buying back to school clothes will just be a matter of shelling out for 12 uniforms. This is also something that can be subsidized by the State for lower income kids.

This will also make it so poorer kids and richer kids won't have clothes as a clear and always present dividing line between them. The other dividing lines will still be there but at least this one will be taken care of. You will also cut down on short dresses and revealing tops and other things that people always complain about. I guess Japanese schools have the right idea all along when it comes to school uniforms.

Nintendo Sales Double

I guess the idea of making a cheaper game system for the masses has made Nintendo take off in a big way. The Wii is a massive hit and the PS3 looks like the big loser in the console war. Who knew that people would rather pay $250 rather then $500 for a game system?
Group sales also more than doubled to 694.80 billion yen ($6.07
billion; €4.27 billion) from 298.82 billion yen, with 78 percent of sales booked

The strong results spurred Nintendo to raise its profit forecast
for the year through March to 275 billion yen ($2.40 billion; €1.69 billion), up
from the 245 billion yen it forecast in July. Sales are forecast to rise 10
percent to 1.55 trillion ($13.55 billion; €9.52 billion).

Microsoft Has Great Quarter on Halo 3 and Vista sales

The one really positive thing is that computer sales were up 15% in September so it will help a slew of different companies. I also like how MSFT expanded their revenue number so well.

The world's largest software maker said net profit in its fiscal first
quarter totaled $4.29 billion, or 45 cents per diluted share, versus a profit of
$3.48 billion, or 35 cents per diluted share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 27 percent to $13.76 billion in the three months ended
September 30.

They also took a bite out of Facebook to the tune of $240 million for a 1.6% stake of the company. This really makes News Corp.'s MySpace purchase for $580 million for 100% of that company look like big time bargain.

I still don't think that Facebook is worth the $15 billion that Microsoft is valuing it at. I mean the company is not even doing $200 million in annual revenue. I would rather see MSFT spend that money going after a company like Electronic Arts and merging them with their game division. All of that IP and distribution might would put Microsoft in as an untouchable leader in both making the game system as well as the software that goes on it.

I guess all of the eyeballs (who don't seem to spend much money) on Facebook is what is driving the deal. My fear is that facebook seems like a 2nd tier social network compared to MySpace and they are valueing it 25 times higher. I guess the advertising opportunity is quite large if people keep using Facebook. However if there is any dropoff as the target demographic gets older or start to go to other social networks then this may be money wasted.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/25/07

+$64.00 +0.14%

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/25/07

+$64.00 +0.14%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/25/07

+$1,419.99 +2.68%

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why Buffett is Riding the Rails

This article makes alot of sense on why Warren Buffett is buying rail stocks. The thesis is that he is buying due to a possible boom in ethanol production.
Scenario 1: Ethanol could be even bigger than people currently think,
and if so, then it's a big win for Buffett on just ethanol transport and a
massive crowding out pricing effect.

Scenario 2: However, I think what happens is that ethanol transport
simply takes up a good bit of available space on the rails. Think of it like
airlines and how expensive tickets would get if every plane only had a third or
half the seats starting out because half of the others are now always booked.

As you know ethanol cannot be transported through pipelines because the stuff is terribly corrosive. So they can only move that stuff via rail, truck, or barge. So moving ethanol will have the effect of making each boxcar much more scarce (and thus more expensive) and will give the railroads pricing power they have never seen before. It might be a good idea to look into the railroads that link the grain belt to the east and west coasts. They could become the ethanol highway in a few years.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/23/07

+$642.19 +1.44%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/23/07

+$2,146.00 +4.13%

Monday, October 22, 2007

Apple Has Stellar Quarter

Now they are bringing in the cash from sales of Macs.
Apple said it shipped a record 2.16 million Macs in the quarter, an
increase of 34 percent, while it sold 10.2 million iPods, up 17 percent. The
debut of a slate of new iPods in September helped accelerate sales and is
expected to boost holiday revenues, Apple officials said.

Plus the IPhone is a massive hit for the company as well especially with that price drop to $399. Now if they can only free the thing from AT&Ts slow-assed network.
In the first full quarter of iPhone sales -- a number many on Wall
Street were waiting for -- Apple said it sold 1.12 million units, bringing the
cumulative total to 1.39 million since the product debuted on June

THQ Lowers Outlook to $0.80 from $1.34 to $1.44

It looks like some games are getting trampled in the Halo3 related buzz.
The latest editions of "Juiced" and "Stuntman" did not meet THQ's
expectations, the company said, and it needs more time to improve these games.
Also, the company said it had to book a higher reserve for "price protection,"
or the cost of reimbursing customers when the price of a game falls.

They also delayed Destroy All Humans, Path of the Furon, Frontlines, Fuel of War and de Blob. The problems with THQ is that other then Destroy all Humans these games aren't front of mind like many other companies. They need to seriously develop or buy some new franchises.

MTV in the Game Business in a Big Way

It seems that Rock Band is going to be MTVs first game and they are going all out to promote the thing.
The "tour bus" stage rig will visit 30 cities between mid-September and
early November, stopping at several college campuses, fairs and even marathon
finish lines. At each event, MTV trains cameras on the stage, documenting the
performances of makeshift bands to see which might qualify for a competition
placing two groups in a battle-of-the-bands showdown on the network's Total
Request Live. The winning band will perform as the opening act at a launch
concert for the game.

I hope MTV does more actual music types of things and less Laguna Beach and other semi-Real World style snorefests. I guess they forgot what the M in their name stands for.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/22/07

+$214.80 +0.48%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/22/07

-$1,039.00 -1.96%

Friday, October 19, 2007

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/19/07

-$1,535.00 -3.34%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/19/07

-$1,816.00 -3.32%

Great Info on Aegean Marine Petroleum Network

This is a great article on a company that provides fuel (bunkers) for various large oceangoing ships.

Back in early June and last month, I updated you on one of my favorite side plays on this trend, which is marine fuel and lubricants provider Aegean Marine Petroleum Network (ANW), after it announced that it would launch a new service station in West Africa. But now I want to tell you about its latest move, which is the purchase of a Belgian-based ocean fueling concern called Bunkers at Sea.
The stock recently sold off a bit so it may be attractive at this level. I really like its business because day rates are through the roof and these ships need fuel and lubricants. The company it bought has a neat way of fueling the ships while they are on the move so that they don't waste time getting into line and then waiting around to get fuel. The bunker ship just pulls alongside the tanker and fills it up kind of like how long range bombers are fueled up while in the air.

In any case this is a great company in a business that has record pricing due to Chinese and Indian growth. I have had this one on the radar for a while and I hope it goes into the high 30s so I can jump on board.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Google Has Great Quarter

It looks like Google is back in growth driver mode again.
Overcoming a traditionally slow season for Web surfing, Google said
Thursday that it earned $1.07 billion, or $3.38 per share, for the three months
ended in September. That was a 46 percent improvement from net income of $733.4 million, or $2.36 per share, at the same time last year.

The stock is at an all-time high too and looks like it my break out even higher tomorrow. This should be good for the rest of tech. I also like how they dominate web search by having almost 4 times as many searches as Yahoo. Comparing those companies is like night and day now.

Big Bang Theory Picked Up

This is great news for me because the only show that I can truely call "must see TV" got picked up for a full season.
Since its debut, "Big Bang" has maintained and built slightly on its
"How I Met Your Mother" lead-in to become a solidly performing member of the CBS Monday comedy block. The most recent episode garnered a 3.1 rating, placing second in the half hour behind ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." Its pickup makes "Big Bang" the first comedy of the fall season to receive a full order.

I'm really glad that people are watching this show and appreciating its geeky goodness. Now they need an episode where they either play Magic cards, D&D, or talk about Anime and I will be in heaven.

September Video Game Sales Up 75%

Now this is one industry that is really humming along.
Total sales in September, a 5-week retail period, soared to $1.36
billion, up from $779 million a year earlier, according to market research firm

"Halo 3," the latest installment of Microsoft's flagship franchise,
sold 3.3 million copies, more than twice as many as the next nine games
combined, the data showed.

As you would think Halo 3 knocked it out of the park. It is a great bonus for MSFT who seems to have done well in console sales because of the game.
The game received such positive buzz that it spurred consumers to buy
Xbox 360s just to play it. Microsoft sold nearly 528,000 of the consoles in

Now this is really a recession proof industry to say the least.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/18/07

-$32.00 -0.07%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/18/07

+$679.00 +1.26%

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Good Info on National Oilwell Varco

I have been doing some research on this stock for a while now and this article is a nice confirmation of what I have been finding.
A good time to re-evaluate the company's fundamentals will be the Oct.
24 third-quarter earnings report. Lehman Brothers analyst Jim Crandell says the
company tends to under promise and over deliver, which it again did when it
posted surprisingly strong orders and backlog last quarter. The backlog then
totaled $7.2 billion, up from $6.4 billion in the first quarter. New orders
received in the quarter hit $1.8 billion, up from $1.2 billion, reflecting
strong demand, especially for international offshore gear. Similar growth in the
third quarter and upbeat guidance could spur further stock gains.

They pretty much own the offshore oil rig market in consumables and logistics. That market is at 90% capacity and day rates are $180,000 for the deepest of offshore rigs. Servicing that market is very lucrative because many of these rigs are 20 years old or more. NOV is the company they come to to modernize and fix up those aging rigs.

They also sell these companies consumables and other things that they need for everyday functioning. With day rates through the roof you can bet that these rigs go 24/7 and downtime costs big money. So they have pricing power when it comes to the things that that these drillers need. The number I am watching closely is how much their backlog grows in this next quarter. If it keeps getting bigger and bigger you can easily gauge how much they will make in future quarters.

THQ Signs Deal with Nintendo

I guess Nintendo is thinking about doling out some of more of its intellectual property to third parties.
Video-game software publisher THQ Inc. said Wednesday it has signed a
license agreement with Nintendo last week that will allow it to continue to use
the Japanese company's intellectual property to develop and sell games for the
Wii console.

I'm hoping someone like THQ will bring out a Wii version of Kid Icarus with new graphics and maybe a three quarters view like Ratchet and Clank. I would be willing to buy a Wii just to play that game.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/17/07

+$533.00 +1.17%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/17/07

-$794.00 -1.45%

Skype Sends Ebay to a Loss

I guess they didn't do as much DD as you might have expected when they bought Skype in 2005.
Early this month, eBay announced it would take a $900 million
write-down in the value of Skype. That charge, for what accountants call
impairment, essentially acknowledged that eBay executives drastically overvalued the $2.6 billion Skype acquisition, completed in October 2005.

Who knew that people wouldn't take to Internet telephony as much as you would think. It seems like such a good innovation on paper. I blame how people use the technology though. It kind of falls into a niche between regular long distance and Internet chat.

Most people just call long distance with their regular long distance carriers or just use their cell phones. And if they want to talk to their relatives for free they can just use Yahoo Chat or something similar. So there really isn't a reason to use Skype since there is already a market for a pay service and a market for a free service as well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Woman Documents LA Murders

Now this is a really good project that should be carried out by all major cities.
Leovy is the creator of The Homicide Report, a blogging project by
the Los Angeles Times in which she is attempting to record every homicide in
Los Angeles County over the course of a year. She has covered over 700 to

I think Police Departments across the nation should put up a blog that has the names of various murder victums and other unsolved crimes. Maybe someone will remember seeing something and come forward as a witness or something. Here is a link to the LA Times site. This Leovy woman should be put in for some kind of reward.

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/15/07

+$176.00 +0.38%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/15/07

-$745.99 -1.33%

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bacteria Causes Chocolate Cravings?

Now this is certainly a weird thing to know that bugs living in your stomach are chocoholics.
A small study links the type of bacteria living in people's digestive
system to a desire for chocolate. Everyone has a vast community of microbes in
their guts. But people who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different
colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate's

J. Michels Video Game Index Weekly Gain


J. Michels Uranium Index Weekly Gain


J. Michels Video Game Index 10/12/07

+$63.00 +0.14%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/12/07

+$511.00 +0.98%

Al Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I kind of agree with him winning the prize.
Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change jointly won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts
to spread awareness of man-made climate change and to lay the foundations for
fighting it.

I would be willing to bet that quite a few people had no idea about global warming before Gore got out there and beat the drum. Even though some people disagree that it is even happening I happen to believe that fighting global warming is a national security issue. As long as we pay Iran for oil then we are going to fight wars in the Middle East. If we don't buy Iran's main product they won't be able to kill our troops/pursue nuclear weapons/destroy Israel. The added bonus is we slow down global warming, prevent the seas from rising 20 ft, or whatever scare tactics that the Global Warming lobby wants us to believe. The sooner we are off of Iranian and Venezuelan oil the safer and more secure our country will be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Citigroup Management Shakeup

No they didn't fire Charles Prince but they did do a lot of other things. I think the reason why Citi has done so poorly compared to other money center banks is this:
Randy Barker, one of Citi's three heads of fixed income, will leave the
company, while Geoffrey Coley, another head of fixed income, will take other
responsibilities, Prince said. Paco Ybarra, also a head of fixed income, will
continue in his current role.

They had three different guys as the head of fixed income? How do they get anything done in that department? No wonder they had $5.9 billion in sub-prime backed writedowns in this last quarter. Maybe they all sat in the same office with three desks or something. In any case it must have been hard to do anything with any kind of speed if you needed three different guys to approve it.

Let's hope the next management move will be Charles Prince retiring or taking that golden parachute out of dodge. I'm no Prince Waleed bin Talal who is one of the largest Citigroup shareholders but I have owned Citigroup stock for years now and it would be great to see some real go-getter as CEO of that company.

EA Buys BioWare and Pandemic

For $620 million in cash and $155 million in equity they have acquired some pretty good franchises. BioWare has the Neverwinter Nights franchise as well as a fantasy MMORPG that they are developing. While Pandemic has Mercenaries and Destroy All Humans, and Star Wars Battlefront under their belt. The article hints at a little $4.9 million side deal for the former employee of the private-equity firm that owns BioWare/Pandemic who is now CEO at EA. That's a nice little chunk of change to make the deal.
VG Holding is owned by private-equity firm Elevation Partners, the
former employer of EA's CEO, John Riccitiello. In a subsequent 8-K filed
Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, EA revealed Riccitiello
continues to have a stake in Elevation and as a result of the studio sale could
reap a return "up to $4.9 million at the time of partnership distributions in
the future, if any."

J. Michels Video Game Index 10/11/07

-$315.00 -0.68%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/11/07

+$412.98 +0.76%

Dems Alienate Turkey

In another boneheaded move by Congress Turkey has been branded as perpetrators of genocide 92 years after the fact. And the worst part is that it looks like the Turks are now going to invade Northern Iraq to destablize the region.
Erdogan's government will seek authorization for a military incursion
after a public holiday which ends on Sunday, senior ruling AK Party lawmaker
Sadullah Ergin said.

Ergin said the resolution could go to parliament, where the AK
Party has a big majority, after a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Good job Congress. Maybe they think winning political feel-good measures (the author if the bill is from a mostly Armenian district) is more important then keeping one of the few Muslim allies in the area. Even if the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenians we don't have to condemn them 92 years later on the floor of the Congress. Hardly a man is now alive that was even alive during that time. The Dems need to focus on the next genocide since they failed in Rawanda and seem to be failing in Darfur. Let's hope cooler heads prevail and they vote down this Bill when it goes to the entire House.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

SITE Intelligence Group Access Blocked By Al-Quida

It seems that the intelligence agencies and maybe the White House has dropped the ball again.
The SITE Intelligence Group said it lost access that it had
covertly acquired to Al-Qaeda's communications network when the
administration of President George W. Bush let out that the company had
obtained a bin Laden video early last month ahead of its official release, the
Washington Post said.

Shouldn't SITE keep mum about things like this? Oh, lets let Al-Quida know that we lost access to their communication network. I guess their Bush Hatred Syndrome is so bad that scoring points on the White House trumps national security. They should know that you should never let your enemy know what your strengths and especially your weaknesses are. I guess all the Cold warriors have retired from groups like SITE and they just blab things that ding the White House.

I can only hope that this announcement was just a cover to throw Al-Quida off. They can say that their access was lost when actually things never changed. Now Al-Quida will stop looking to see that their stuff is being accessed and become complacent. Now that is a Cold War tactic.

Video Game Index 10/9/07

+$498.98 +1.10%

J. Michels Uranium Index 10/9/07

+$1,419.00 +2.74%

Big Bang Theory is Great!

I have finally found a new show to watch this season and it is Big Bang Theory on CBS. The show is on at 7:30 in Hawaii opposite Dancing With the Stars. I was tipped off to the show by Wired magazine doing a "must watch" feature on it. I watched it and I really enjoyed it quite a bit. It has become "must see TV" for me on Mondays now.

It is really a geeks on parade type of show that I can relate to because I am a geek myself. It is about these two physics guys living together and a hot girl moves in across the way from them. The girl is a real airhead but one of the geeks falls in love with her for some reason or another. I agree with this review in saying that the airhead girl needs to be fleshed out a little more. What they should do is either make her witty or maybe street smart or something along those lines. They need to make her something other then blond girl with big boobs and nothing above the neck. Even making her do really sweet stuff for the geeks or asking them to help with her coursework would be good for the show overall.

Another thing the show needs is another geek girl that likes the main character. This could be an "Erkel-type" character that tries everything that she can to win over the Leonard character. She is also there to stymie any potential relationship that he wants to have with the airhead. She can be the enemy/comic relief character that makes the audience go why doesn't Leonard go with this girl instead of the airhead. If the airhead character is stronger then the audience cant make up their minds about who Leonard should be with.

In any case the Big Bang Theory is great and I am really looking forward to watching it every week. It is now my Monday at 7:30 staple. It should get picked up according to the ratings and hopefully it will continue to do well once Dancing With the Stars goes on hiatus.