Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is "Athleisure" Wear AKA Yoga Pants Killing Jeans?

It seems that Yoga pants are starting to cut into the bottom line of Levi's

The Daily Ticker has reported that teens are favoring yoga pants over jeans by a big margin, but Levi's President & CEO Chip Bergh says the trend is also popular among women, in general, and that's hurting his company.

"We're actually losing consumption to yoga pants," says Bergh. "What used to be a premium jeans occasion for women is now socially acceptable to be a yoga pants occasion, and shame on us as category leaders for letting that happen."

Well yoga pants look comfortable from the get-go instead of having to be broken in like jeans normally do. In fact I would wear sweat pants (the male equivalent to yoga pants) to work if it were socially acceptable because they are just that much more comfortable than jeans.

In fact this article might be a good idea to do some looking into Lulumon as a stock. I mean the stock is near a 52-week low so you are buying it at a discount. They have great margin and a brand that many women enjoy. They have screwed up with product recalls and PR mistakes so that is part of the reason why they are at this point.

The only problem I see is that their moat if pretty small. What keeps the Gap or Forever 21 from rolling out some knock-off yoga pants? I know cash conscious women would rather have a bunch of different colors instead of just one expensive pair of black yoga pants. So that premium margin will shrink as more competitors get into the market.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cities Flee Winter Games 2022: Only Borat and the Red Chinese Want it

Well its seems that the honor of wasting $51 billion so people can watch a bunch of sports that are either relevant to one country or only relevant every 4 years is wearing off.

Residents of Krakow, Poland overwhelmingly rejected the idea of hosting the 2022 Games, leading city officials to withdraw Krakow's bid on Monday. This follows Stockholm, Sweden's leaders' decision to withdraw; Munich, Germany's voters' rejection of an Olympic chase; and Davos/St. Moritz, Switzerland's defeat of a referendum on hosting the Games. For those keeping count, that's four of an original eight host cities which had considered hosting the Games.Two more cities' bids, while not technically dead, may as well be: Lviv, Ukraine is having real military issues and can't afford to waste time thinking about the Olympics, while Oslo, Norway's bid is floundering politically.

So who is left in the running for this coveted prize?

It's no surprise, then, that the only two cities seriously still in the running for the 2022 Winter Games are Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China: two locales where the people don't get a choice in whether the Games come or not.

So only Borat or the Red Chinese want it? I guess the "honor" of wasting a pile of money for a bunch of sports that are not relevant to most of the world is taking a hit. Maybe they should get rid of the bobsled course where you have to build a track that will probably never get used again. That would mean that all of the sledding type stuff get axed (skeleton, luge, whatever.)

They could also ditch the ski-jumping as well so you don't have to build something that gets used once and sits idle. You might also want to dump all the X-games stuff as well. I mean the US dominates that stuff and the IOC hates the US so that would crimp our medal count.

So what would be left are the skiing events and things that are indoors like speed and figure skating and hockey. So the host nation would need a mountain for skiing and an indoor skating track or two that can be converted into a basketball stadium when the games are done. In fact what would be awesome is to have the hockey be outdoors. Maybe an alpine lake or an existing soccer stadium that could double as the place for the opening ceremonies. That will bring the price way down and maybe make for a budget Winter Olympics that Krakow or someone doesn't have to go into debt for 30 years to pay off.

Friday, May 23, 2014

More Global Warming Fear Mongering: Or Why People Don't Listen to 97% of Scientists

This is exactly case in point of why American's refuse to listen to the "scientific consensus" about man made Global Warming.

Nobel physicist Robert Laughlin hammered home a similar point in his American Scholar cover story, “The Earth Doesn’t Care If You Drive a Hybrid,” warning that humans are not only causing today’s climate change disasters, but are fueling Earth’s “Sixth Great Species Extinction,” which may result in our civilization disappearing like dinosaurs. Drive a hybrid? Recycle? Eat organic? Solar energy? Band-Aid solutions. Science, technology isn’t the problem.  

Yup we are all going to Die! That means we must that Dr. Robert Laughlin needs grant money to come up with. This is exactly why people don't want to listen to Global Warming fear-mongering. Eventually scientists just turn into a guy dressed like the grim reaper with a sandwich-board that says "Global Warming will Kill Everyone! Repent! Especially due to this statement.

Environmental economist Bill McKibben wrote in Foreign Policy, it may “already be too late” to stop the impact of our climate change. New evidence keeps piling up ... a new Lloyds of London report urging Munich Re and other insurers to factor climate risks in their pricing models ... Pentagon generals are warning climate change is now a threat to national security ... plus a new report by S&P Rating Services warns of sovereign nation credit rating downgrades spreading globally as the rising costs of climate disasters put pressures on economic growth. 

I mean it is too late why should we care? Also I find it funny that insurance companies have come up with still more ways to jack up your rates. Global warming can now ad a few hundred dollars extra to your bill for "climate change mitigation." It sure sounds like a great way to fatten the insurance companies bottom lines.

Well I was Mistaken: Putin Sets His Sights Back Westward: #WhyMoldova

Well it seems that Putin is trying to reform the western Soviet Empire instead of going South.

Russia already has 2,500 troops in Moldova’s breakaway territory Transnistria. But Moscow is also looking to take control of the rest of country by influencing the upcoming November elections, which could topple the current Western-friendly government—and replace it with political parties infiltrated and aligned with Moscow. Ever since the Russian successes in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, Russian interference has only grown; the flow of Russian intelligence forces into Moldova is going up, according to the recently-departed prime minister, who is in Washington this week to ask for help.

I don't understand the importance of Moldova in the grand scheme of things but it seems Putin is turning there. Maybe there is mineral wealth under the ground or something? Or it could be a way to hem in Ukraine because Moldova is to the west of that country. I could be a jumping off point if he is trying to agitate in Romania or something. Very strange.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Movie Review: Amazing Spideman 2: Sad to Say: Avoid

I just have to say one thing. This movie was too damn loooong!!!! It felt like it took an eternity to finally finish and I could not wait to get out of the theater. It just seemed like the editor was fired early in the production or the director was some tyrant that wanted to get every last shot of Garfield talking to Sally Field in the movie. I think a good 40 minutes to an hour of running time could have been cut out of the film. That would have made it a peppy action packed comic book movie. Instead it was a plodding dinosaur with chase scene after chase scene and some very good actors stinking up the joint.

Well I will also say that the Andrew Garfield as Spider-man experiment is over in my mind. I enjoyed him despite everything in the first Amazing Spider-man. He was good-natured and earnest and had great chemistry with Emma Stone. However, he has morphed into an asshole that talks trash and I really don't want to watch him any further as Spider-man. Toby Maguire was just a head-and-shoulders better Peter Parker IMO and this movie solidified it. I wanted to see Maguire win the day in the old Spider-man movies now when it comes to Garfield I could really care less about.

Emma Stone does a great job as always but looks very thin and blond and Hollywood in this film and I did not like it. She has great chemistry with Garfield and this was one of the saving graces of the movie. When they were together on the screen it was actually fun to watch. The scene where she yells out "Peter" and covers her mouth when he webs her to the car was priceless.

I did not like the new Green Goblin at all and the actor that played him Dane DeHaan was frankly quite awful in the role. The old Green Goblin, James Franco, was just much better at showing the betrayal and earlier friendship than DeHaan could. This character amounted to a spoiled rich boy that needed Spider-mans blood and wanted to get Garfield to help him. He played a flat and featureless character that had a goofy haircut. When he finally became the Green Goblin he looked pretty stupid. His face was all messed up and he had that generic green metal armored uniform you have seen in a 100 movies before. They could have totally cut him out of the movie and I would have been fine with it.

It is sad to say that Jamie Foxx was also terrible as Electro. They tried to do a Venom thing where this nerdy guy loved Spider-man and then felt betrayed and became a villain that wanted to kill him for some reason. It was just ham-handed and sad. The CGI on Electro made Foxx look like he was made out of fluffy towel material and not menacing at all. His powers looked dated with him shooting lightning bolts around while wearing a hoodie. It just amounted to a great actor looking like a white-eyed Smurf trying his best to chew the scenery.

Also Paul Giamatti was utterly wasted as the Rhino. He played the standard Russian mobster character that they could have just taken from central casting. He was introduced with a fun chase scene that unfortunately dragged on and on. However, they immediately drop the ball and have him growl out "I keeel you Spider-man," a bunch of times. It was just a huge waste of a great actor and I hope he does not come back for the next one. I just want to see him in a better movie.

Finally, like I said before the movie just meandered for what seemed like forever. Garfield breaks up with Emma Stone because he keeps seeing her father giving a disapproving look. Then we have a bunch of car chases and see the origin story of the Green Goblin and Electro in excruciating detail. In fact I kind of glossed over what happened because it was such a slog. Suffice it to say if you like long car chases, Spider-man soaring through the city over and over, and like 10 set-piece battles between an asshole in a skin-tight suit fighting a Smurf with white eyes this movie is for you.

In fact I am going to pass on the Sinister 6 in the next movie even though they are one of my favorite super-villain groups. I just can't take another 2.5 hour car chase and have to see 6 different (probably really good) actors do a terrible job fighting against an asshole in a skin-tight suit. We will probably see Liam Neeson as Kraven the Hunter, Harvey Keitel as Dr. Octopus, Daniel Day-Lewis as the Vulture, Denzel Washington as Mysterio, Tom Hanks as Sandman, and Jamie Foxx reprising his role of Electro and they will still stink up the joint. In any case I guess I won't be seeing it anyway. Spider-man has just joined the Punisher, the Fantastic 4 and Ghost Rider on my comic book movie avoid list. 

Movie Review: Godzilla: Get it On Redbox

Well I went to see the new Godzilla this past weekend and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a great monster movie but it kind of felt like Pacific Rim with a more memorable monster. There was some decent action but there were huge plot-holes. The acting was decent enough with Bryan Cranston chewing scenery like crazy. The male lead was fairly wooden but he was about 100x better than Kit Harrington.

The movie revolved around 2 weird creatures spawned by nuclear power that menace San Fransisco for some reason. I'll call them Kaiju's because they reminded me of the Kaiju's in Pacific Rim. One huge plot hole I saw was one Kaiju escaped from a Filipino mine and then went all the way to Las Vegas to get to the nuclear storage facility at Yucca Mountain. Why it didn't just take a shorter route to China or Japan (who also have nuclear waste storage facilities) I'll never know. The Kaiju also doesn't have wings so I guess it walked all the way from the Philippines to Las Vegas over some stretch of time.

The plot was fairly strait-forward. It pretty much amounts to Cranston is a nuclear scientist and a Japanese reactor melts down and messes up a nearby town. I.E. Fukushima. He has a son that joins the Navy and becomes a bomb disposal guy. They travel around and meet Ken Watanabe who plays a Japanese scientist of some sort. His role pretty much boils down to furrowed brow and reaction shots to the CGI monsters. He does utter "Godzilla" for the first time in a way that made people in the theater laugh.

The rest of the movie has them travel around and watch as Godzilla destroys Waikiki, the flying Kaiju destroys the Honolulu Airport, the other walking Kaiju destroys Las Vegas and then everyone destroys San Fransisco. The various characters dodge monsters and Aaron Taylor-Johnson tries to unite with his wife played by Elizabeth Olsen.

The monsters fighting was what I came to see and for the most part I was not disappointed. There was plenty of Godzilla kicking ass and he was portrayed as somewhat of a good guy throughout the movie. He was there to provide "balance for nature."  I would actually see another Godzilla movie where he might fight Mechagodzilla or Mothra or something like that.

Finally the plot-holes can take up a huge multi-point list but I don't feel like writing it. Suffice it to say there are many and you can probably make a drinking game out of them if you wanted. The one that was the most glaring was why Aaron Taylor-Johnson had to take the train with the nukes to San Fransisco. The nuke transport train (I have no idea why they didn't just use a B-52 or a B-1 to transport them) was controlled by the army for some reason. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was a navy man and for some reason the army guys didn't have their own Ordinance control guy so they took him along. If Aaron Taylor-Johnson wanted to get back to his wife so badly why didn't he just rent a car and drive to San Fransisco instead of taking the slow-assed nuke transport train? These kind of plot holes are rife through-out the movie so be ready for them.

In any case the movie is worth watching if you like monster movies like Pacific Rim and can overlook glaring plot holes. There are lots of monsters fighting and fearful reaction shots and Bryan Cranston does a very good job as always. It was also nice to see the real Godzilla return to the big screen and not that piece of crap lizard from that awful 1998 Mathew Broderick movie.

Russia Signs Massive Natural Gas Deal with Red China: Masterstroke for Russia and China in "The Great Game"

It seems that the Russians are going to start looking East to diversify away from the the European market.

China signed a landmark deal Wednesday to buy Russian natural gas worth about $400 billion, giving a boost to diplomatically isolated President Vladimir Putin and expanding Moscow's ties with Asia.

Price negotiations on the 30-year deal continued into the final hours of a two-day visit by Putin to China, during which both sides had said they hoped to sign an agreement.

Hmm this is an interesting development. There was talk that this deal fell through but I bet it was quibbling over time period more than a cash figure (perhaps the Red Chinese wanted 50 years or something.) Both of the nations win big and it is a very savvy move in "The Great Game."

In any case it now focuses Russia eastward and either gives Putin a free hand in the Ukraine (and Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia etc.) or he might reestablish hegemony over what was once the Southern USSR (Kazakhstan and the like.) That would put this information in play:

Putin was in Shanghai for an Asian security conference where China's president called for a new model of Asian security cooperation based on a regional group that includes Russia and Iran and excludes the United States.

A Russian southern scenario would be easier to do especially if they make the grand gesture of taking pressure off of the Ukraine. The Europeans and Obama would get off Putin's back since he already got the piece of the Ukraine that he wanted (the permanent Black Sea port.) Sanctions can be lowered and Putin can appear to back down from "Western pressure."

However, an "economic union" to Putins south would be easy to form. Pro-Moscow leaders can be groomed in a place that has lots of mineral wealth but in an area where few people can find on a map. I'm sure that "Russian tanks enter Kyrgyzstan to quell uprising" would be on page 15 of the New York Times.

Also even stronger ties with Iran (maybe a pipeline leading to a state of the art Gazprom refinery) would be a finger in the eye of the US as well. A stronger Iranian/Russian partnership would benefit both countries equally and restart a Soviet era partnership. Putin loves that Soviet era stuff so it would be a smart play in the Great Game.

Good News from GOP Primaries: Tea Party Got Their Asses Whipped

Well its seems that the Tea Party might be moving toward the dust-bin of history.

Mississippi looms as the only thing standing between those groups and a primary-season oh-fer. It suggests that the major groups are overreaching in who they're targeting - and that Republican primary voters are searching for electable candidates over ideological purity. The era of Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock and Ken Buck could be over.

I think the GOP is tired of a bunch of losers getting providing the electorate with either a Democrat or an ignoramus. They are finally getting serious about taking the Senate.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brave Cat comes to Boys Rescue: Chases off Vicious Dog

I have to say this cat is brave and takes his role as a family pet seriously. The cat even comes back to see if the kid is okay. Warning this video is a little gory at the end when it shows what damage that dog did in his few seconds of grabbing the kid.

New Army Helmet Design Looks Like It Came Out of a Video Game

It looks like it came right out of Halo and is a little too Star Wars Stormtrooper-ish but it is still very cool.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Obamacare Contractor Paying Employees to Hit Refresh Every 10 Minutes

Well chalk-up another $1.5 billion in fraud, waste, and abuse.

A report by  in St. Louis claims that Serco—tasked with processing Obamacare applications—is allegedly paying its workers to do nothing at all.

Employees told the local television station that they are instructed to simply stare at a computer screen and hit refresh every 10 minutes.

"There are some weeks that a data entry person would not process an application," an employee told KMOV.

The report suggests that Serco is keeping an unnecessary number of employees because it gets paid per worker, instead of by the number of applications they are processing. They are currently hiring.

If this country was run like a business it would have been bankrupt decades ago.

The Last Impediment to Buying a XBone has fallen. They are providing a Kinect-less version

Well it seems that when idiot Ballmer goes Microsoft finally starts to make some good decisions. This is one of the main reasons why I haven't bought an Xbone already.

While I admit that Kinect is an incredibly cool piece of technology, I also don’t find it to be particularly useful as far as gaming is concerned. Talking to your console while you’re playing games might be fine if you live by yourself but my wife would absolutely murder me if she had to put up with me constantly shouting out commands to my squad mates in Mass Effect 3. So while I have nothing against Kinect, I also don’t think it’s a piece of technology that’s really worth paying $100 extra for.

Pretty much. I think that paying $100 extra just to say "Xbox On" to turn it on is a huge waste of money. I can push a button on a controller like I have been doing for years. Also if I bought an Xbone I would have put a piece of tape over the camera on the Kinect portion when I was not using it. It would be kind of the same thinking behind putting a sticker over the camera on a laptop. In the days of NSA snooping you can never be too careful. In any case my last argument for not buying the Xbone is gone and I will probably be buying it this summer as well.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Dr. Dre Might Become a Headphone Billionaire if Apples Buys out Beats

Well I remember buying his album when I was in high school. It looks like he will be very rich very soon once Apple is done spending the cash.

Apple Inc is close to buying headphone maker Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion, the Financial Times reported.

The purchase of Beats, which also runs a streaming music service, would be Apple's largest ever acquisition, the newspaper reported. It said the deal could be announced as early as next week. (

Founded by rapper Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics primarily produces products under the brand "Beats by Dr. Dre" and competes with headphones made by Skullcandy Inc, Sennheiser Electronic and Bose Corp.

It is a bit of a strange acquisition but maybe this the tip of the iceberg of Apple throwing its cash hoard around. I have a feeling that they might be buying Netflix or a game changer like that soon.

Tea Party Not Just Disliked but Hated even by the GOP

It seems the Tea Party's time as part of the American lexicon is nearing the end according to this poll.

The Tea Party has continued to wear out its welcome, according to a new Gallup poll released Thursday. In the survey, 30 percent of adults said they are "opponents" of the movement, tied for the highest mark Gallup has ever recorded. Meanwhile, support for the Tea Party checks in at 22 percent which, though not quite a record low, combines with the spike in disapproval to give the Tea Party its worst net approval rating ever in Gallup's polling.

Even the GOP has soured on them.

Much of that shift has come from Republicans growing increasingly weary of the group. Tea Party support within the GOP has fallen from 61 percent back in late 2010 to 41 percent today.

You can put me in the 30% camp that checked the "opponents" box. I was a big supporter once too.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

MSNBC Busts Out the Racist Cinco De Mayo Celebration #FireBergdorf

If Fox News did this then the entire main stream media would explode trying to go wall to wall to cover it.

During several moments in the show on Monday, correspondent Louis Burgdorf appeared in a suit and tie and a sombrero.

"Happy Cinco de Mayo. Let me just take a shot here to get the thing started," he said before appearing to take a drink. "Ole!"

Later, Roberts was shown dancing with a maraca in one hand while there were margarita glasses and bottles of "tequila" on his anchor desk.

Burgdorf also popped into the closing shot, in which he apparently pretended to drink from one of the tequila bottles for several seconds as Roberts explained the background of the holiday.

If this was Fox News John Stewart would pass out from sheer joy and probably wet his pants. However, there is not a peep from them when their own liberal MSNBC people go "full racist stereotype" on Mexicans.

The "Obama Generation" Might Skip the Midterms

This will probably be bad news for the Democrats trying to hang onto the Senate.

The Institute of Politics’ newest survey of 18- to 29- year-olds found that less than a quarter of these young people plan to “definitely” vote in the 2014 midterm elections. Della Volpe attributes this sharp drop in millennial political participation – which, by contrast, was at a record high in 2008 – to a general “frustration with Washington” and the lack of change under Obama’s watch.

“It's everything, It's the tone, it's the series of issues, it's what's happening domestically as well as what's happening abroad, but the main message is that young people voted for Obama in 2008 so they could have a stake in what was happening in government,” he said. “They truly wanted to take that spirit of volunteerism into government, into public affairs and I think they're frustrated that they weren't asked to do more.”

Well their hero, Obama strait-up lied to the American people ie "if you like your doctor etc." so he can force them to buy something. They then messed up a website that costs $100s of millions which makes them look technologically backward. Next we have hot wars in Syria and a new cold war in the Ukraine. Obama does nothing but twiddle his thumbs and look weak on both fronts. 

Finally, you have Obama's NSA snooping their email, text messages, Yahoo Video Chats, and whatever else and storing all that data to "catch terrorists." In other words the government that the Millennials loved so much now has all their naked pictures, dirty texts, embarrassing drunken moments, and darkest secrets shared only with close friends all tucked away on a computer in Colorado somewhere. In isn't just "no spirit of volunteerism" that is damaging the Obama brand but the "spirit of incompetence, lies, and distrust" that is doing more damage.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Companies Could Save $600 Billion By Dumping People onto Obamacare Exchanges

I guess the hated Obamacare website is going to get a huge number of new enrollees as companies dump health care as a routine perk.

We may soon go back to a model in which employers provide healthcare more as a perk than as a routine benefit, requiring workers to get insurance from other sources. That could save big companies up to $700 billion by 2025, according to a new report from S&P Capital IQ. It’s hard to think of any other single change that could save companies that much money, indicating how powerful the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could become once it has fully impacted the U.S. healthcare system.