Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Pedictions: Entertainment and Sports


1. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie stay together throughout the year and are quite happy. Jennifer Aniston gets married during the year but divorces soon afterward.

2. The Kardasians are forgotten as a brand as more and more people jump on a boycott bandwagon. Their show is cancelled on E! and they are largely forgotten by the end of the year.

3. New Shows of 2012:

Renewed: Napoleon Dynamite, Lost Girl, Touch, Luck, Apartment 23
Cancelled: Work It, The Firm, Are You there Chelsey?, Rob, The Finder, Alcatraz, Smash, The River, GCB, Fashion Star, Missing, Scandal, The 2-2, Awake, Bent, Best Friends Forever

4. Top 10 Movies in Order of Box Office for 2012:

Dark Knight Rises,The Hobbit, Twilight Part: Breaking Dawn 2, Avengers, Hunger Games, 007 Skyfall, Men in Black 3, Expendables 2, Wrath of the Titans, World War Z,
Overall box office is down from 2011 and 3D becomes a totally dead issue.


College Football National Title: LSU
College Basketball National Title: Ohio State
NFL: Green Bay Packers
NBA: Miami Heat
MLB: Texas Rangers
NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson
NHL: Chicago Blackhawks
Premier League Title: Manchester City

2012 Predictions: Politics and the Economy

Well, its prediction time again:


1. Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee and will poll well against Obama at first but will draw even as the campaign goes into high gear. Obama will win a squeaker that will have the taint of fraud in several districts but he will still win a second term. The GOP captures the Senate and the government becomes effectively divided. As a result not much is done.

2. There is a massive fight over the budget with Obama's and the GOPs differing by a wide margin. No compromise is put forth and the GOPs budget passes easily is vetoed and Obama is narrowly overturned.  This becomes a pattern for much of the legislation passed in 2012

3. Obamacare is ruled partially unconstitutional and is sent back to the Congress for fixes. It is gutted by the GOP and Obama vetoes the greatly watered down bill that comes out of Congress. Obama uses the Department of Health to impose some Obamacare tenets that Congress throws out. This becomes a pattern in 2012.

4. There is a crisis and civil war in North Korea as the generals try to seize power from the ineffectual Kim Jong Un. China and South Korea are on high alert but much of the fighting is in the streets of Pyongyang between Kim Jong Un loyalists and the break-away generals. The break-away generals seize power and a military dictatorship that is more open to the west takes power by the end of the year.

5. Iran his hit hard by sanctions against their oil industry and tries to rattle the saber in retaliation. Oil prices rise to $130 before things settle back down. The Green Revolution begins in earnest as the Iran slowly moves the way of Egypt and the rest of the Arab Spring countries. Large demonstrations break out all over Iran and the Mullacrocy totters toward oblivion. Oil stays high throughout the year due to Iranian instability. Many Iranian students are gunned down before the UN steps in and quells violence.


1. More green shoots begin to form in certain sectors and the housing market improves slightly. However, Europe still overhangs everything but a solution to the debt crisis is finally reached by spring. High oil prices challenge the recovery and India and China begin to cut back on the demand side of the equation. Worldwide growth slows as Europe enters a recession by Fall.

2. The market rallies early on but high oil prices takes its toll as growth slows. The market is in a holding pattern and trends downward as Obama is re-elected. Companies still hold vast reserves of cash but Obamacare being struck down by the Supreme Court allows some of it to flow again. GDP growth trends to 3% by the winter of 2012. The US economy does not go back into recession.

3. Unemployment stays at the 8 - 9% level for much of the year as absolutely nothing is done to create jobs. The payroll tax cut and other half-measures continue throughout the year. Companies slowly start to hire and things look somewhat better toward the end of the year.

4. Facebook's IPO does decently but does not come in as the blockbuster that many predicted in the past. Slowing growth and waning ad dollars are sited as the reason for the muted response. Many users stop using Facebook altogether and a "Is Facebook Dead" story is circulated by the end of the year.

5. SOPA does not pass due to the agitation of Google, Ebay, Facebook and other large sites mobilizing against the Congress and the supporters of the Bill. The general public learns about the issue as net titans take to the airwaves against SOPA. Talk of the bill dominates the news for the early part of 2012 and it is defeated by a very wide margin.

6. Here are the numbers for the various indices for the end of 2012:

Dow: 12800
NASDAQ: 2850
S&P 500: 1320
Eur/Dollar: 0.98
10 Year Bond: 2.10%
Gold: $1310 and ounce
Oil: $113 a barrel

2011 Predictions Revisited

One of the fun things about running this blog for multiple years is that I can look back at the predictions I had for the past year to see how I'm doing. Here is a recap:

1. Gridlock in Washington : Yeeap (in the words of that asshole guy on Storage Wars) The only thing that came out of Washington in 2011 was a bunch of rhetoric and people not doing anything. That is usually good for the market but stupid European debt dashed any rally.

2. Debt Ceiling Fight: Yeeap; That was an easy call though.

3. Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare (TBA) this one isn't over yet

4. Big names for GOP nod: Right on Gingrich, Pawlenty running, and Palin not running. Was wrong on Ryan, Cantor and Patreus running.

1. Recovering Economy: much slower than my prediction mostly due to Obama being in office and the massive debt he has put onto us. Also the damn Eurozone (minus Germany and France) gorging on debt and not wanting to pay their credit card bills.

2. Stock market rises. European debt shenanigans smashed this prediction.

3. Unemployment drops to 8%, we dipped into it a few times in 2011 but not enough to matter much.

4. Europe Limping along with Germany leading the pack. No defaults. Yeeap. This was a pretty easy call seeing how bad Greece, Italy, Spain, etc. have screwed up their economies with high debt and freebies to everyone.

5. Emerging market growth. This is still kind of happening but it is a little muted due to European slowdown and its knock-on effects

6. Prediction:                         Actual
    Dow: 13,200                     12,287
    NASDAQ: 3500                 2,613
    S&P500: 1700                    1,263
    GDP Growth: 4.5%             1.8%
    Gold: $1150                       $1547
    Silver: $25.50                    $27.87
    Oil: $98                             $99.66

1. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie still an item.

2. American Idol and Survivor have low ratings compared to past seasons. TV is still dominated by NCIS: various and the Law and Orders on NBC are all but finished on TV with only SVU limping along. I give this prediction a Yeaap

3. Facebook Backlash and Twitter drop off. This is a partial Yeeap since it seems that growth is starting to slow just in time for the IPO. Zynga's damp squib IPO also shows that social network gaming may not be the money spinner that people have though in the past. I guess attending your fake crops is only fun for a few months and then it becomes a chore that is easily forgotten.

4. Tablet market divided between Apple and Google. This is a full Yeeup because it is pretty much Apple vs Google fighting on a mountaintop surrounded by the dying corpses of Sony, and Blackberry and everyone else that made a tablet that is now so much garbage. Amazon is hanging in there though.

I'm still not a good predictor of who will win what in the sporting world. I went a solid O-fer:

1. The following teams win:

Prediction:                                                           Actual:
College Football National Title: Oregon                 Auburn 
College Basketball National Title: Syracuse            UConn
NFL: New England Patriots                                  Green Bay Packers
NBA: San Antonio Spurs                                      Dallas Mavericks
MLB: Philadelphia Phillies                                     St. Louis Cardinals 
NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson                                   Tony Stewart
NHL: Detroit Red Wings                                       Boston Bruins
Premier League Title: Chelsea                                Manchester United

Saudi Women Enfranchised (Well Kinda) only 91 years after We Did

It seems the Saudi rulers keep on moving slowly toward the rest of the world (and keeping from getting Quaddiffied) by letting women vote without a mans approval and even run for office.

Shura Council member Fahad al-Anzi was quoted in the state-run al-Watan newspaper saying that approval for women to run and vote came from the guardian of Islam’s holiest sites, the Saudi king, and therefore women will not need a male guardian’s approval. The country’s Shura Council is an all-male consultative body with no legislative powers.

Pretty soon Saudi women might be able to drive cars and study abroad without a mans approval. If Saudi women get into office in large numbers the rest of the anti-woman laws will probably fall one by one.

Romney Leads Obama by 6%

I often say that an empty suit can beat Obama with the economy in shambles and debt tripling on his watch and it seems we have found that suit.

The Rasmussen Reports poll found Romney ahead of Obama 45% to 39%, while 10% chose "some other candidate" and another 6% remained undecided. 

Actually I am in the 10% of "some other candidate" myself. If Paul Ryan ran I would vote for him in a minute. The current crop of GOP candidates are a bunch of losers but Romney is the most electable I guess.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Coach of the Lakers a Dungeons and Dragons Fan?

He sounds like a great hire as far as I can tell.

Brown told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated he was the Dungeon Master for D&D games with his buddies while attending Sabin Middle School in Colorado Springs, Colo. Jenkins reports Brown, with perfect penmanship, wrote all the strategies and character descriptions in the Dungeons & Dragons game for his friends, since he felt his buddies' handwriting was a disgrace. That's not all: Once he put together a game board out of plexiglass, using rulers and pennies to form combat zones. When new D&D game modules were sent in the mail, Brown sprinted up to his bedroom to read the entire handbook and take detailed notes -- making his friends wait for hours in the basement.

From this he seems pretty hard core as well. I can't wait for all the Bible Thumpers to say that Brown is a closet satanist because he played D&D as a kid.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Paying Off Layaway Accounts? Now This is a Real Christmas Gift

I have to say that the people that do this are what this season is all about.

"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."

At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.

These benefactors are pretty much funding Christmas for these people and should be given quite a bit of credit for doing it. Also the idea that they are doing it for complete strangers is an even better way to show that they are giving back.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Cain to Make "Major Announcement" Saturday

Why doesn't he just drop out Monday and dominate the headlines on that day?

Herman Cain said he'll make an announcement about the future of his embattled presidential bid on Saturday.
He didn't elaborate when he disclosed his plans while campaigning in South Carolina. 

You know this is going to be his "you don't have Herman Cain to kick around anymore" speech so it would be nice to have a full news cycle to highlight it. I guess Friday is traditionally the day where you bury events so they don't get noticed. At least that is what the White House likes to do anyway. 

I guess Cain might want to get on some Sunday morning shows and let the media have it with both barrels because he was "hi-tech lynched" no doubt about it.

Guy Dies of Airline Food

I know that crap was bad but I didn't know how bad.

After his flight landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Cortes, 73, began to feel "discomfort and pain that included sharp stomach cramps and sudden thirst and other clear outward manifestation of severe physical illness," the suit alleges. Once he'd boarded his connecting flight to Miami, Cortes experienced nausea and shortness of breath and suffered a cardiac event that left him unresponsive. The plane made an emergency landing in Norfolk, Va., but Cortes was pronounced dead on arrival.

Ever since I got violently ill after eating an airline meal coming back from Las Vegas one year I have stopped eating and drinking airline food. I even avoid the free sodas they give you by buying something at the airport store before I board in case I get thirsty.

I have packed sandwiches on just about every flight I have been on and usually eat before I board to avoid getting sick. It might be a little over-cautious but I don't want to take chances of getting sick 30,000 feet up and "being pronounced dead on arrival in Norfolk, Va." like this poor dude.