The Lost Blog

Lost Random Topic Thread: Hiatus Edition (Part 2)

Update 12/19/08: The third and final hiatus edition random topic thread is now open.

Due to spam issues, I'm creating a second "Hiatus Edition" random topic thread. Comments on the previous thread are now closed.

Feel free to use this random topic thread to discuss off-topic subjects. As always, normal rules of etiquette, netiquette and niceness apply.


(couldn't resist ... sorry Meg!)

#1. Posted by: mac at September 18, 2008 2:39 PM

The TWoP folks have announced the winners of their extensive set of Tubey awards. Herewith are all the Lost/House related winners. In a couple of cases I also related TWoP staff picks, when they were different from the voters and related to House or Lost.




Winner: Lost










No Lost/House related categories









Winner: Sayid Jarrah, Lost


Winner: Benjamin Linus, Lost










(The Island wuz robbed.)


Winner: Hugh Laurie, House







Winner: Amber, House



Winner: Lost


Winner: "So?" - Ben Linus, Lost


Winner: Jim shows us the ring he bought, The Office

TWoP Staff Pick: Desmond and Penny reunite, Lost

Jim's near proposal just barely edged out the reunion of Lost's two constants.


Winner: The Fleet arrives on Earth only to find it destroyed, Battlestar Galactica

TWoP Staff Pick: Phyllis walks in on Dwight & Angela having sex, The Office

It was almost a dead heat between BSG discovering a trashed planet and Lost's disappearing island, but BSG narrowly won out.


Winner: Zack is Gorgamon's Apprentice, Bones

TWoP Staff Pick: Rousseau is dead,


Winner: House and Wilson, House


Winner: Jack's beard, Lost

TWoP Staff Pick: Jack's beard, Lost

Chris March and his human hair dress lost out to Lost's bearded misfire by only a handful of votes.


CATEGORY: The Best (and Worst) of the Rest

(Only Lost/House related categories listed)


Winner: Lost

TWoP Staff Pick: Lost

There was no contest in this category. Lost had half of the total votes.



(Surprise! Not Jack/Kate)


Winner: Jericho (Gotta mention this one even though not Lost/House) Oh, the pain...


#2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at September 18, 2008 3:35 PM

Winner: 2. Cecil Rose!

#3. Posted by: Danny at September 18, 2008 5:54 PM

Whaazit??!! Huh? Has it started? Did I miss the premiere? (yawn) (sigh) (stretch)

Oh, darn, it's only September 18th.

(roll over) (snuggle down) (big sigh)


#4. Posted by: Clementine at September 18, 2008 6:13 PM

@Cecil Rose/347 HT#1

'1) irrational speculation, and greed, led to skyrocketing commodity prices this year (including, if not led by, crude oil prices), '

If the speculators made money, was it really irrational speculation?"

Ah, my friend, this is the capital question, isn't it? In short order, I'll suggest this link to (gasp) a Glenn Beck article I tend to agree with:

What Mr. Beck points out, is that given the right circumstances, and financial allowances, 'speculation' CAN run amok!

To answer you more directly ... yes, there is ALWAYS a certain amount of rational speculation involved when the term "bubble" is invoked ... some prudent investors WILL get in low, and get out high ... when disciplined practices are followed, these people will do quite well, and there is nothing that could even remotely be considered "irrational" in their conduct.

The "problem," so to speak, is human nature ... most people, particularly the casual market dabbler, has neither the foresight nor experience to realize what is "rational," or to use a more technical term, following most efficient market models. As you are obviously a student of the market, I will not bore you with econometric modelling of efficient markets ... for those who may not be so inclined, however, let me offer this ... based upon simple econ 101 supply/demand theory, fluctuations in either are likely to result in significantly larger swings in price (due to basic mathematical inverse supply/demand relationship).

As such, many economists will proclaim "bubbles" are but an illusion, and are in fact the rational, and mathematicaly estimable, result of either rapidly decreasing supply, or increasing demand. That's all nice when presented in thesis papers, but ultimately these analyses come down to "scale factors," which do not account for human psychology in the equation .. and as such, I find them flawed (bear with me Cec).

Academic proponents of the "efficient market hypothesis" will try to point out that the oft-mentioned "tulip mania" of several hundred years ago is not a valid example of an economic bubble ... so be it. Let's look closer to home, and see how "theory" compares to reality.

First of all, I'd like to distinguish between a "market bubble" and an "economic bubble." The first applies only to those concerned with only the particular market in question, who do not constitute enough of a population to affect the overall economy at large. The second applies to general economic markets which WILL affect the overall national/global economy. In the first category, I would place the tulip craze (and hence its academic poo-pooing as a "real" bubble), the "Tickle-Me-Elmo" fad as recounted by Mr. Beck, and other similar "fads" such as Cabbage Patch Kids and Beanie Babies ... there were certainly "bubbles" in each of these markets, but they did not grossly affect the national/global economies at large (more on this in a moment). In the second category, I'd include (lately) the dot-com bubble, the RE buuble, and the latest commodity bubble, all of which DID affect national/global economies.

Re "market bubbles" ... I'd first like to say that these have often, but not as a rule, been tied to "economic bubbles" ... in the sense that people are more willing to spend freely on "inessential" items when the economy seems strong ... people will not "gamble" on the prices of what are essentially luxury items, unless they feel confident in the overall economy at large; there has to be an underlying broadly economic motive. While these motives are NOT the driver behind "economic bubbles," I find similar psychological behavior at work.

As such, contrary to the "efficient market" peeps, I think there is MUCH to be learned from examining behavior within "market bubbles." Let me explore "Beanie Babies," and hopefully you'll see what I mean. I must qualify this by stating that I personally lost several thousand dollars on the BB craze ... but as such, I think I understand the mechanisms behind market bubbles.

As I mentioned before, "bubbles" arise from lack of supply, or overwhelming demand. In the cases of the dot-com and RE bubbles, the cause was clearly overwhelming demand. In the BB case, it was both ... the company (Ty) intentionally limited supply, just as demand began to grow (school-kid fad). Ty also implemented the brilliant strategy of 'retiring' BBs, to further limit their supply (none). Now, fortuitously for Ty, the BB craze coincided with the more general dot-som bubble (at least the tail end), in the sense that people at large saw spending money on BBs "rational," given that the economy was strong, and "inessential" spending on beanies was not construed as problematic. In fact, many people (myslef included), got seduced by the ever-increasing value of retired BBs. For a while there, it seemed no-lose ... BB prices just kept rising, and my kids and I kept kicking ouselves for not buying more of the early BBs, when we had the chance. Next stage of the "bubble" ... people "thinking" they can out-anticipate the next level, based upon recent past performance, and "upping the ante" when they should've done so earlier.

While my kids and I got into BBs earlier than most, we had no 'dupes' and decided to buy more than one of every BB after it became apparent prices were rising ... not so much to "make money" but rather to have "trade value." Nonetheless, we fell into the "irrational" trap ... once the "glow" of BBs had become common knowledge, there were people coming out of the woodwork to buy them en masse. Suddenly, getting ANY BBs became a challenge, and caught up in the frenzy, we bought as many as we could get our hands on.

This is the "irrationality" I spoke of ... and I can talk to it first hand. My goal was not even to "make money," but just to get BBs my kids could trade, for "missing" ones they desperately wanted ... yet the rapidly rising "secondary market" dealers essentially killed the 'trade' market among collectors. We all "died" together ... more or less following the dot-com bust. No disposable income, no buying BBs. Multitudes of secondary market buyers, and collectors, with tons of BBs ... but no longer any traders/buyers. This was the end.

I probably did better than most, and dumped all our hundreds of 'extra' BBs on eBay as prices began to crash, still able to find bulk buyers. My kids saw their collections (now boxed up and in storage) drop from over $20k each to just a few thousand now, assuming someone would actually want to buy them ... a few hundred is probably more reasonable as lot purchases. I never intended to sell them off (my kids would've hated me for doing so at that point), but I think now they realize that would've been the best thing to do ... they have boxes full of BBs that are basically worth nothing, except for the very rare few. Now I see old common BBs for sale at huge discount in the grocery store, and can only imagine how much the original owners lost on those bulk sales. This is the pattern of a market bubble.

Now, you might ask, what does this have to do with economic bubbles? Everything. The psychology is EXACTLY the same.

Dot-com bubble ... damn, I cannot POSSIBLY lose money, when the prices keep going up! RE bubble ... damn, we can either hold on to our property until the right time arrives to sell ... or try our hand at "flipping" and turn properties around for immediate profit .. we CAN'T possibly lose!

And when the RE bubble began to deflate ... where to go, where to go? Now, people tend to go "metal" under one of two circumstances ... either rampant inflation (as a hedge) or rampant stock deflation (as a hedge). The current commodity bubble began due to the latter, with fears of the former.

At any rate, prices began to rise rapidly, and people looking to compensate for losses elsewhere decided this would be a good place to escape. At some point, efficient market models went completely out the window .. this was no longer JUST about supply and demand! It was about desperate people looking to mitigate losses encumbered elsewhere ... most notably in the RE market collapse.

Damn! My flipping has cost me $50k in two months ... how the hell am I going to make my payments on properties I still own? Oh! The metal markets are going up! I can dump my equity in there, and hope for the best! Yes! Yes! The market has come to my rescue!

Except not ... just like with the BBs, everyone else had the same damned idea, and the market peaked. Suddenly, people who had been holding their RE loans together based upon commodity market "value," began to lose their shorts. Meanwhile, the rising commodity markets began to cause cost of living increases across the board. Defaults followed. And followed.

And will continue to follow. Yes, you're right Cecil, those who got in at the bottom, and sold high, were completely rational. But you fail to consider the mentality of the guy "depending" upon the increasing market.

Markets go up and down. Even under the most bullish circumstances, there will be days when the market goes down. Let's say someone is 'waiting' for the peak of the market to sell ... when is that? A one-day decline means nothing ... nor for that matter, does a one-day increase at or near the bottom. Those with their futures on the line, the ones most likely to have jumped onto the "irrational" bandwagon, as price increases will have later historically shown to have passed the "inflection point" of increase ... are also the ones most likely to wait to longest to sell. They keep waiting for that longed-for 'upturn' that never really comes, and end up the ones holding worthless shares at the end of the "game."

So who makes out? Who were the "rational" ones? Mostly institutional holdings, and the few rare, shrewd individuals out there with the discipline to stick to modest investment strategies. The rest? The majority (in terms of pure numbers)? The poor saps who wanted to make money fast, and got burned. Do I cry for them? Not really ... but I do despair for the overall effect upon the economy at large. If "everyone" suffers, so do I, and frankly, "everyone" does suffer from any market manipulation that is let to run amok.

Only now do the bastards at Lehman, Goldman Sachs, and the other I-banking firms, see the "potential" folly of their ways. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of us, these AHs will likely find golden parachutes stopping their fall, and walk away unscathed ... probably at yours, and mine, and every other hard-earning taxpayer's expense. I believe in government regulation to prevent misdoing ... I do NOT believe in government rescue of those caught doing so ... let the MFs burn.

#5. Posted by: ealgumby at September 18, 2008 11:08 PM

on a LOST note: It is the most downloaded TV show in the new Guinness Book of World Records!

#6. Posted by: mtncbn at September 19, 2008 3:06 AM


I appreciate and try to digest all your info, I'm learning a lot.

However, if Pt drops to $500, I will buy you a steak and lobster dinner at your choice of fine dinning in my town.

I might have to pawn my howitzer, but by gosh, I'll do it.

I'm at gmail for direct contact.

#7. Posted by: mtncbn at September 19, 2008 3:17 AM


re: first post -- that's cheating --- Pirate

#8. Posted by: mtncbn at September 19, 2008 3:29 AM

Arrr me hearties. Wisiun' ye all a happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Methinks pirates and commodities treaders be brothers under the skin. Now avast ye.

#9. Posted by: Gunner Rose at September 19, 2008 10:56 AM


#10. Posted by: DELETED at September 20, 2008 3:30 AM

That's okay mac, I've kinda been slacking off lately...:)

#11. Posted by: meg at September 21, 2008 11:38 AM

Try googling “cyberterrorism” some time and see what you get … a lot! Much of it is very alarming, identifying multitudes of different ways those bent on attacking our country can inflict damage upon our infrastructure, military, and financial services. Imagine, if you will, a successful terrorist attack on Wall Street computer networks … a strike directly to the heart of the American economy. Let’s say the exact cost of such an attack was not known with certainty, but likely in the $700 billion to over $1 trillion range … comparable to the long-term economic impact of the 9/11 attacks! What an outrageous assault on the American psyche this would be! Certainly, United States citizens would unite, as we did following 9/11, and the demand the heads of those responsible! Right?

Oh, my bad … I just watched Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on “Face The Nation” … explaining why the bailout proposal isn’t actually an expenditure … it’s an investment, which will be sold off. Gag! Gasp! Wretch! Oh, and by the way, never mind those responsible for this “investment” being forced upon the American taxpayer to clean up … why, they just about brought the world economy to its knees, but they’re just swell guys, and the U.S. government should be happy to buy off their worthless paper!

Hmm … I’m just a little confused. If someone from outside this country were to inflict one-tenth this level of economic damage upon the U.S., they would be hunted down to the ends of the earth to be held accountable (i.e., executed), cost of such military operations be damned … but when the terrorists, for lack of a better word, are us (well, Wall Street investment banks, if they should qualify as “us”) get a pat on the back and all expenses covered for their trouble. Outrageous! This crisis amounts to Wall Street’s Katrina, with the FEMA-esque i-banks receiving a “You’re doing a heckuva job!” congratulation from the U.S. government for inflicting borderline act-of-war level damage upon our economy.

Mr. Paulson … let me refresh your memory … 20 July 2008, also from an appearance on “Face The Nation” … "But remember, our economy has got very strong long-term fundamentals, solid fundamentals. And you know, your policy-makers here, regulators, we're being very vigilant." So, your commentary should be “taken to the bank” (no pun intended!) now, right? So … now the bailout is not an expenditure, but an investment huh? The government is going to somehow sell off all that worthless paper that the investment banks CANNOT? What a bunch of hooey!

More from Paulson-the-liar today on “This Week” … "What we're doing is first stabilizing the market. Once we stabilize the market, we need to ask ourselves how did we get here and how do we avoid getting here again. We need a lot of reforms, and this is going to be something Congress and the next administration are going to be working on for some time." Dude, you are TOO funny!

There’s no mystery about “how did we get here” and you know it! Let’s see, call me crazy, but this all sounds vaguely familiar … oh, that’s right, the S&L crisis! But that was a drop in the bucket by comparison, downright bargain at $160 billion. Everyone kinda shook their heads at the time, and said something to the extent that maybe deregulating that industry was a bad idea, after all. But you know, the smug Wall Street heads all attributed the S&L crisis to those “non-professional thrift industry folks” stepping into business territory better left to the big boys, who know what they’re doing! Right. So less than twenty years later, after the bank industry was similarly deregulated, “the professionals” have screwed the pooch too!

Oh, but we need to “ask ourselves how did we get here and how do we avoid getting here again. We need a lot of reforms.” In other words, we need to undo the deregulation of the past thirty years. I just can’t wait to listen to the crap coming out of Congress on this issue! It’ll be really fun to dig out quotes from politicians screaming for reform now, when they were the same ones screaming for the reform back then which brought about this mess.

Hmm, maybe it’s NOT so weird that Congress wants no one held accountable for this cluster after all! Ultimately, that would mean pointing the finger back at themselves, forfend that! So WHO gets the blame? Does anyone? Once again, I heard Paulson more or less accuse those who took on difficult-to-manage home loans as the responsible parties. You see, by his logic, if all those damned low-income people buying beyond their means had not done so, then the market would not be in collapse, right? Oh, what an ass!

Let me pose this question … who’s to blame: the guy running the three-card Monte con, or the poor sap who falls for it? Technically, the mark typically knows what he’s doing is illegal … so should he be held to blame for his own stupidity by falling for the scam? What if he’s not aware of the “risk” factor involved? Is he still to blame then for being taken? This seems to be the Paulson argument, but whether you assign some culpability to the target of the con or not, I find it hard to absolve the runner of the con … the con-man is ALWAYS to blame, IMO. If you don’t believe that, then where DO you draw the line? If you wanna argue “free-market” or “social Darwinism,” then how about this … someone sticks a gun in your face and takes your wallet … he just took what the market will bear (your wallet), and the strong survived (the one with the gun … even more poignant if he shot & killed you in the process of the robbery) … is the robber not to blame? I digress, but I find it impossible not to attribute responsibility to those “running the con” so to speak in this mess … from the RE agents pushing too-expensive homes on buyers, to mortgage brokers pushing loans through they knew were sketchy, to the investment banks purchasing all those worthless investment vehicles backing the bad loans, to the government officials who demanded that the market be free to act without those “hand-tying regulations.” Once again though, when the people at the top SHOULD be the ones taking responsibility for the actions of their subordinates, the accountability is either just being swept under the rug, or “rolling down hill” to the people at the bottom of this long con … ultimately, the people who bought more home than they could afford, and now face foreclosure.

How will this bailout help these home-owners at risk? Probably not much … they aren’t going to get new loans at more favorable rates, just the privilege of being on the hook to the same bank, at the same rate they cannot afford. Hopefully, the bailout will keep the economy from collapsing further, so maybe, some of these people will be able to muddle on by until brighter days come. I wouldn’t hold my breath though. Unless the U.S. government defaults on its debt, it’s not going away, and the average American is going to end up paying through the nose in terms of higher taxes, etc., just to cover the hugely increased average interest on federal debt. In the short term, stocks will rise, Wall Street execs will wipe the sweat from their brows, and people at large will tend to think disaster has been averted. Maybe it has. Or maybe, it’s just been postponed, as it’s going to take either a huge economic boom to erase this mountain of federal debt via increased tax revenue, or long-term, difficult, fiscal discipline on the part of the government in terms of reining in further deficit spending. Uh, guess what the likelihood of option #2 is? Lacking any evidence of a pending option #1, I tend to think disaster has just been postponed … at least until after the elections!

Cynic? Who, me?

#12. Posted by: ealgumby at September 21, 2008 12:39 PM

FYI - I believe that SciFi Network is playing like 4hrs of LOST every Monday night starting from the first season. It started a couple weeks ago so they're like halfway through the first season by now. I was gonna watch from beginning to get my girlfriend up to speed but I'm gonna do the dvd's instead. She's a little pissed cause I won't let her watch with me since I would have to explain EVERYTHING!!!!!

#13. Posted by: Red...Neck...Man at September 22, 2008 11:38 AM

@13 Red...Neck...Man bemoaned:

>I was gonna watch from beginning to get my girlfriend up to speed but I'm gonna do the dvd's instead. She's a little pissed cause I won't let her watch with me since I would have to explain EVERYTHING!!!!!

But explaining to a newcomer is an excellent way to clarify one's own thinking.

#14. Posted by: Cecil Rose at September 22, 2008 3:11 PM

So, EAL. I happen to think that de-regulation is, in general, a good thing, but only if you let the de-regulated rise or fall with their own mistakes.

Can anyone explain to economic simpletons like me just why we HAVE to bail out the big guys?

Seems to me if we let'em fall, the next set of big guys wil have to be more prudent in their behavior, and the current set will lose their shirts, as indeed they should.

And I suppose the Chinese will be miffed, seeing as they were probably major holders of the near-worthless paper. So maybe they won't be quite so ready to lend to US ventures in the future, and we'll just have to make stuff here to sell to ourselves, rather than buying Chinese stuff with money we borrowed from them.

So where's the down side?

#15. Posted by: Cecil Rose at September 22, 2008 3:17 PM

Woah. It's been a while. A long while.

I sent a letter to the Jonas Brothers today. =]

#16. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at September 22, 2008 3:24 PM

As I see it, the problem is that the same people who insisted on deregulation to "let the market work as it's supposed to" are now the same people insisting that the government (meaning us, the taxpayers) must bail them out to prevent further economic catastrophe, & are getting what they want in both cases...we the people weren't consulted either way. If the buck is profit, it stops w/them; if the buck is loss, it stops w/us. Nice, eh?

#17. Posted by: Alaïs_Longthought at September 22, 2008 3:28 PM

DOUBLE WOAH!!! Today is September 22, 2008... you know what that means??? Today is the 4 year anniversary of the crash of Oceanic 815.

We must celebrate!

"Happy" FLIGHT 815 DAY!!! (I didn't know how else to word that).

aah the memories.

#18. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at September 22, 2008 3:29 PM

815 ... 8+1+5 = 14, 1+4 = 5

The Law of Fives rules again ...

#19. Posted by: haileris at September 22, 2008 10:52 PM

For thsie that are interested,

The extenbded review of House S-5 Ep-1, "Dying Changes Everything" is up you-know-where. Click the name below to see. ANd episode 2 is tomorrow night, Tuesday) at 8 on Fox.

Four years (or 108 days plus a little, depending on how you look at it) since the crash.

Happy crash day!

Happy equinox! (Say, wonder if that had anything to do with the crash??

#20. Posted by: Cecil Rose at September 22, 2008 11:45 PM

From last night's cable news shows, I learned many troubling facts.

First, the Treasury Secretary, fed chief and anyone who deals with the bailout gets blanket
immunity from prosecution. WTF??

Second, there are no appeals on any decisions by these people.

Third, there is no judicial review of any part of the program.

Then the breaking news at the end of the cablecasts: the FBI is investigating 24 firms for mortgage fraud.
Well, that puts the timeline in conspiracy theorists in sync:

Why did Paulson continue to demand that the $700 billion bailout be completed by Friday?
Because he knew his Wall Street buddies are getting FBI warrants?!
Because the provisions of the bill would give his buddies back door immunity from prosecution?!!
Because the $700 billion is only going to the Wall Street fraternity, a situation he wants to land back into in January, 2009?!!!!

This is the worst pillage of a treasury since the sacking of Rome.

Then these representatives in Congress; brain dead zombies.
The Democrats are trying to pile on $500 billion in "homeowner" mortgage relief to any bail out bill.
But these idiots don't realize, remember or recall that in July, they passed the Housing and Economic Recovery bill which provided $300 billion in the form of 400,000 loans to refinance distressed homeowners!

As I have harped for decades, politicians can't add or subtract. According to the census bureau, there are 75 million homeowners. The average value of home in America today is $240,000. So the total value of residential real estate is approximately $18 trillion. However, the alleged "subprime" mortgage crisis was only 2% of the real estate market, which would calculate to $64 billion (if every single house in foreclosure sold at zero dollars).

Now, the July homeowner relief bill was for $300 billion, more than 4.5 times the gross amount of the alleged subprime mortgage problem. If the 400,000 loans were made at 100% of the average home price, the total cost of the homeowner relief project would be $96 billion. So out of this already passed relief package, approximately $200 billion is "missing" or unaccounted for . . . talk about your corrupt book keeping.

In addition, the federal take over of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, which holds 50% of the real estate mortgages, was pumped up with an additional $200 billion. Where is that money going? Apparently not into home loans, because the Mae-Mac and homeowner relief bill should have put $500 billion in new mortgage money on the market - - - enough to finance more than 2 million homes. Mortgage rate should have dramatically decreased and home sales increased as a result. But that has not happened.

If you take the cost of all the bailout proposals to date this year, the federal government is spend almost $2 trillion, which is 31.25 times the amount of all the alleged subprime mortgages. It shows that the actual mortgage market itself is not the reason for any financial crisis; it is the Wall Street investment firms use of derivative contracts (pure gambling) without any collateral to pay off their obligations. This is a Enron unregulated trading desk pyramid scheme between investment bankers that has come home to roost. But the firms don't want to take responsibility for their actions; they want to reimbursed in full for their bad calls, suspect securities and their threat to seize up the US banking system.

The problem is that there are few reporters, citizens or representatives with the common sense to ask Paulson, and the leaders in Washington the basic questions and demand truthful answers (not the generalities from a talking point script).

#21. Posted by: welh at September 24, 2008 10:52 AM

Wowseroni...take a little time off, play a little golf, and come back to Mt. St. Helens-ish vitriolic diatribing.

Can't we all just get along?

Man, I miss the old days of Meg being all liquored up and trying to type, of David's e-conducting, of ILBLXXX's re-gifting and homeworking rants, of Gumby mixing it up with the mentally-challenged - which apparently now includes me and my lack of financial knowing-stuff-about-it, of Mac tugging back on the reins, of Cecil's haikus, and the rest of our little rogue's galleries of misfit toys.

Clay Aiken gay?!? Who'd'a thunk it?

Who was it who said line up all the lawyers and shoot every third one of 'em?

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

That's a good one, Peach.

I need a beer. And a nap. Not necesarily in that order.

#22. Posted by: ransomjackson at September 24, 2008 11:38 AM

In case anyone cares... I just won my first fantasy football game over at the "Mac's LOST Blog Fantasy Football League" (MLBFFL). Way to go my KILLER RABBITS!

Yes, I'm still out here lurking. Just one word of advise to ealgumby - if you want people to read all of your post, you might try making them a little shorter. Dude... my eyes go crossed trying to read them. In fact, so does my brain...

Come on LOST - start already! Where's that darn countdown clock...

#23. Posted by: BunnyLover at September 24, 2008 5:03 PM

Oh, and Cecil - please, no comments about the VOLS this past weekend. I'm too embarrassed to discuss...
October 25th is fast approaching and looks like Bama might do us in if we don't get our act together.

BTW - I LOVED the season opener for House! Think I'll jump over to your House blog for your review.

#24. Posted by: BunnyLover at September 24, 2008 5:08 PM

Point well-taken … I’ll try to keep this relatively short (probably still to long ... I promise I'll just shut up).

Also point well-taken … and your analogy of i-banks relying upon a pyramid scheme of incestuous derivative contracts is spot-on.

VERY short background … failed firms like Lehman Bros. and Fannie/Freddie have been criticized for leveraging between 30 and 60 times their equity, with no oversight. What does that mean? First of all, I’d suggest a wiki of “leverage (finance)” for basic info on the concept. Second, I’d suggest double-digit leverage is a concept most American home-owners have first-hand experience with, whether they know it or not. Leverage can be simplified as how much you owe, versus who much you own, or debt divided by equity. Most home-owners put between 5% and 10% down on a mortgage, meaning they are leveraging 10-20 times their equity. However, you must consider that banks make money, essentially, by keeping their leverage below that of their borrowers, ideally in low single digits, below 5-to-1. That ensures that money borrowers owe them, exceeds any money they themselves owe. Now consider the “no-money-down” home loan, in the past typically offered only via VA loans, but fairly recently offered all over the map. What is the leverage on a NMD loan? Infinite … debt divided by zero equity equals error. Proliferation of these loans, driven by “irrational” market behavior, has led, in part, to those high averaged leverages among the failed i-banks.

But not directly … there’s more to the story. First of all, you might ask why financers might agree to high-leverage loans, when they ostensibly put their institutions at risk? I attribute this to bubble irrationality … the false belief that markets will keep rising indefinitely, thereby funding the leverage. There’s nothing inherently wrong with leverage (see wiki “Modigliani-Miller theorem” for details), so long as the market follows “efficient market” models. The problem, as I see it, is that “bubbles” do NOT follow most efficient market models! Prices rise, and hence fall, due to irrational exuberance in the market … speculators drive the market up beyond basis, and once the peak has been reached, shorts (those gambling the prices will continue to drop) drive it down even faster than is “rational.”

But there’s still more to the story … welh mentioned the influence of derivative contracts in the crisis … what does that mean? A derivative contract, for lack of a better term, is a hedged bet. Let’s say that you, as a sports fan, want to gamble on the Redskins-Cowboys game next weekend … the point spread is now about 11 points, with a typical 110 money line. That means you can place $110 down per bet, gambling that either the Cowboys will win by more than 11, or the Skins will win, or at least lose by less than 11, for a reward of $210 ($100 plus your $110 bet). And so turn the Vegas wheels (and note the $10/bet “juice” that keeps those wheels turning!). Kinda risky though … let’s say, instead, that you could bet nothing on the game, but win or lose depending on the final point spread? Let’s say you “win” $10 for every point the Skins might end up below the spread? In this scenario, say the Cowboys win 35-21 ... betting on the Skins in Vegas would result in complete loss of your bet, but by the scheme I just laid out, you’d only lose $30. This is the essence of a derivative contract; essentially “betting” against any number of variables, but mostly determined by performance of the financial market.

The problem on Wall Street has been the penchant for i-bankers to support lack of equity in terms of leveraging, by “betting” on derivative contracts, mostly based upon the performance of their own market. This results in two problems: (1) inability to accurately measure the value of “assets” when so many are tied to derivative contracts (let’s just conservatively assume … squat!), and (2) like a pyramid scheme, it only works until those involved stop bringing in cash.

So, the 30-60 times leveraging numbers probably just touch the tip of the iceberg … and hence, the $700 billion is likely GROSSLY understated … debt ratios computed against other debts that are probably worth nothing means … divided by zero error!

Note that also, just like a pyramid scheme, those at the very top usually make money, while everyone else loses. Who are the winners here? The overly paid execs of the i-banking firms who have been making money hand over fist for YEARS, despite taking (or not) salaries/bonuses this year. Who are the losers? Us.

#25. Posted by: ealgumby at September 24, 2008 9:53 PM

I guess still to long ... how about this:

(1) Wall Street i-bankers have been allowed to completely screw the US economy (because resultant tightening of loan policies by banks intent upon not furthering their losses will result in loss of capital investment ... and hence Depression-era business/personal losses).

(2) Those who feel, "fine let the global free market ride," will find all American financial institutions owned by foreign powers ... and rightly so, the US govt will not let that happen, any more than it will allow US auto makers (essential to defense) or US aerospace (ditto) to be bought out by foreign investors (I guess Bud can slide though). Personally, I agree with keeping it all in-house (national), but there MUST be some pay-back agreement for US firms that eventually buy into cleaning up this mess (hence Warren Buffett anticipiating such?).

(2a) Despite Buffett's investment in Goldman Sachs, I find it peculiar that Henry Paulson (CEO GS, '98-'06) announced this plan as GS reported 70% loss in earnings on 9/16 ... conflict of interest anyone?

(3) There should be consequences to be paid for those who drove us here. Bypassing this year's bonus does not BEGIN to cover the damage done ... this crisis is tantamount to 9/11 in terms of damage done to the economy ... those responsible should NOT be allowed to just fly away to their private islands with billions in their pockets. But, just like Enron (x100), that will likely be the case, and we will all be left to pick up the pieces.

(4) Picking up the pieces will crush the US economy some time early next year, well past the elections (go figure!). Unless WE find a way to turn this around ... Hail to America will go the way of Rule Britannia (hmm, crushing debt due to foreign over-extension, and economic collapse at home ... but that can't possibly happen!).

(5) (Okay, I just added this) Energy technology is the only way WE can stop this ... and that means moving AWAY from technologies other countries in the world hold advantages over us (i.e., petroleum!). I'm not talking about wind, solar, and NG ... I mean FUSION! Let's start by devoting more than less than 1% of the proposed bailout to the solution ... uh, that MIGHT be a good place to begin!

I know, still kinda long ... please forgive me ...

#26. Posted by: ealgumby at September 24, 2008 10:45 PM

Oh my goodness, I was off by orders of magnitude! See this:

Oh, I see, we dropped our "extravagant" budget of $160 million (uh, that would be one 437th of the bailout!) under W's eyes, down to $10.7 million (roughly one 65,000th of the bailout). Hmm, I guess those in office are "really committed to" us finding alternate sources of energy, besides oil, aren't they?

Yes, I'll be the first to admit that fusion research has not produced much in recent years (lets just count that as the last few decades). Then again, how could it? I'm not mincing words ... fusion research has been ham-strung by oil-industry-fueled interests (via Congressional influence) since it first showed promise in the mid 70's. If not for these AHs (and they should be considered such, as they have very likely prevented the US from being the world leader in fusion, just to assuage their oil-industry constituent puppet-masters), we would likely, as a nation, have our first viable fusion energy plants in place.

Yet we (and by "we" I mean the US govt) "pretend" to be interested in post-petro ET (energy tech). BS! How can we get this to happen for real? By offering stakes in fusion research for Big Oil? If necessary ... so be it! Anyone NOT on this bandwagon is an idiot, current dependence upon oil or no. Whether oil is running out or not is irrelevant ... off-shore drilling plus ANWR drilling amounts to only a drop in the bucket, even by the most enthusiastic measures. To DEPEND upon those sources amounts to absolute stupidity, as they amount to mere pennies on the dollar of investment, at best, and will last for only a decade or so after drilling begins. God, I implore you, are we THAT short-sighted?

What lies beyond? Are we, as a society, waiting for something else to save our asses? We HAVE a viable solution ... fusion power. No, it is NOT simple to achieve, but if we gave it something over five millionths of the annual federal budget, maybe we could get some results ... just a thought.

#27. Posted by: ealgumby at September 25, 2008 12:26 AM

re: President Bush's speech tonight

Sad but true, he highlighted the point that we are a dead entity with out credit. No cars, no small business, no home, no clothes, no food. Okay, he didn't go quite that far, but close.

I was raised (I'm in my mid 50's) if you can't pay for it, you can't have it. That's worked very well for me. Yeah, savingings accts pay only .2% to 3.5% interest, but if you buy on credit and pay 12% to 20+% interest, saving and then buying puts you way ahead.

What ever happened to company loyalty?? It went away in the 90's. The company I worked for had 99.99% dedication from it's employees. Then it started, canned its union wage janitors. Outsourced, we had junkies in the halls at night, I'm 6', 180 pounds, and at times I was scared to work at night. You couldn't leave stuff at your workstation, it wouldn't be there the next day. Then they outsourced IT, a 100+ person dept. Then, after over 100 years of success by hiring CEO's from within the ranks, people who actually knew what the company was about, they went head hunting and hired some big buck's guy who had never worked in the industry that we were in. Go figure. It didn't go well. Years of skilled personel bailed, the company gave them no loyalty, and they gave none back.

Question: All these worthless subprime mortgages are backed by the property as colateral. It may not be worth the face value of the loan, but it is far from worthless. If the govt buys all that paper, and therefor owns most peoples property, will we be a socialist country?

I seem to be ranting, I'll stop now.

#28. Posted by: mtncbn at September 25, 2008 1:07 AM

Hi all, Just peeking in to say hello.

Gotta run!

#29. Posted by: berkyo at September 25, 2008 1:27 PM

yeah... my brain's not ready for long posts yet.

Then again, I see numbers, so I probably wouldn't be interested anyway. Unless of course those numbers were 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, or 42.

Mac -- Did you find a person to do the blog for Fringe yet?

... I feel like talking about it.

#30. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at September 25, 2008 2:18 PM

@ilovebenjaminlinusxx: The "Fringe" blog is available at Stop on by and add your thoughts!

#31. Posted by: mac at September 25, 2008 2:21 PM

I have a theory that Widmore is behind the economic crisis we are currently facing.

Sure wish Lost would start soon...that weekly escape into fantasy to get away from all the bad news on, well, the news. Don't think I can do Fringe though. I don't think I can commit myself to another 1 hour a week can't miss it type show.
I just want my Lost back! Is that so wrong!

#32. Posted by: Crispy Seaplanes at September 25, 2008 2:39 PM

One thing I noticed on this week's Lost reruns on SciFi network, probably mentioned here before, was how the apparitions seem to lead people to a place they "need" to be. Was remembering how this past season Doc Shepherd led Claire to the cabin. In season 1 Doctor Dad led Jack right to the water supply. Did he know Jack was looking for water? If so, how, and what does that mean?

#33. Posted by: Scooby-Dude at September 25, 2008 3:25 PM

A couple of "Lost" info-bits:

1) The Season 4 DVD's go on sale Dec 9. I've pre-ordered mine.

2) TV Guide reports Clair will be "scarce" i.e. not seen for a while, length of "while" not defined.

Otros noticias:

Bunnylover, I'm much too sympathetic to mention Tennessee just now.

#34. Posted by: Cecil at September 25, 2008 5:31 PM

Here's something you don't see every day ... this local news headline caught my attention today - Man Charged With Battery For Passing Gas:

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature."

#35. Posted by: ealgumby at September 25, 2008 9:02 PM


From what I read (from Chuck Shepard's "News of the Weird") the prosucutor chose to 'pass on the gas' and prosecute only the DUI.

#36. Posted by: Cecil at September 26, 2008 12:31 PM

Even LOST has the moral lesson of Trust.
Do you really Trust what people are telling you?

I don't trust anything a proponent of the bailout is telling me. There are no specifics, just "core principles" and secret room deals about undisclosed "asset purchases" from unknown investment firms.
Washington basically wants the taxpayers to trust them with $700 billion.

Being from Illinois, I have seen this political machinery before: it is called institutionalized corruption.

#37. Posted by: welh at September 26, 2008 3:54 PM

Damn, I just had my previous post vaporize right before I posted ... here's what I had to say (hopefully I'm fast enough to evade the govt censors?):

Was "the surge" responsible for decreasing violence in Iraq? ...

Or was the administration's timing just synced with the tribal leaders' getting sick of Al Qaeda raining terror down upon their populaces? Hmm ... (and where did McCain get his intel?).

And is our influence wearing thin? ...

I would suggest that if we keep killing them, they won't be amenable to US support much longer.

#38. Posted by: ealgumby at September 26, 2008 11:59 PM

Oh, I would be remiss if I didn't mention ... Al Qaeda did not exist in Iraq until we invaded ...

#39. Posted by: ealgumby at September 27, 2008 12:05 AM

when does the new season start?

#40. Posted by: gaydistler at September 29, 2008 1:24 PM


I miss Lost :(

#41. Posted by: tcodej at September 30, 2008 4:50 AM

New season supposedly begins late January or early February ... rumor has it Feburary 4th. If so, then October 2nd will be the exact mid-point of the hiatus ... only half-way! Ugh.

Complete non sequitor here ... had to chuckle at this quote from Tony Romo following the Cowboys' loss to the Skins:

"The reality of it is, you have the opportunity to go 16-0 every year in the regular season, but that's not realistic."

Bwa ha! Not very clear on the concept of realism, are we Tony? Maybe now I see why he gets along so well with Jessica Simpson ...

#42. Posted by: ealgumby at September 30, 2008 9:27 AM

So I had a dream that Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams asked me to be an extra on LOST.

Now I'm waiting for that dream to come true so I can say, "it was a dream come true!"


[Random story of the day.]

#43. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at September 30, 2008 10:37 PM

Wow... I had a dream too - that ILBLxx was asked by the producers at LOST to be an extra on the show. But only if she had a DVD box set of the 'Planet Earth' series in the house.

--Can't wait to see everyone's South Park group photo--

#44. Posted by: DocH at October 1, 2008 12:39 PM

@33 Scooby

I was wondering that too. Remember though, that CS also led Jack to the cliff that he almost over. Only to be saved by Locke, but maybe that had to happen too. Locke saving Jack then, so Jack can save Locke later.

After last night's Fringe and Bishop's explanation to Peter, that would make sense to me.

#45. Posted by: lost4ever at October 1, 2008 8:29 PM


Did you pass Test 7 ?

I checked and I passed !!!!
I head the guy was talking backwards and went over and he was talking stright and said they knew who was cheating and who wasn't !!! and the cheaters flunked !

I will probably be a "workman" but what the heck I didn't cheat cause it didn't seem to me it would accomplish anything.
glad I didn't use those cheat sheet.

Also You now have me watching House. I started reading your reviews and you got me hooked. I have no free time !!!

#46. Posted by: SamFin at October 1, 2008 10:32 PM


And if you're on cable, there've been nearly 70 House episodes shown in the last three weeks, and USA doesn't appear to be letting up (see latest House News item for the upcoming week's schedule).

My DVD collection is growing. I started reviewing House int he middle of the third season, after Rome closed downt he shop, and because I saw the previous House blogger had stopped.

I've had some thoughts of going back and posting retro-reviews of the older stuff after I have all the eps on DVD. The way USA is pushing them, it should't be long. Of course I rain curses on cable schedulers who can't publish exact times so my timed recordings cut off an end or beginning. Ir's as bad as the games they used to play with "Lost" scheduling.

Also on the lack-of-time front, I've been remiss in my Dharma training, and hope I haven't missed any deadlines.

#47. Posted by: Cecil at October 2, 2008 1:36 PM

Know what you mean I been hit and miss on the tests at DharmaWantsYou.

Now that they are all posted you can just run through them and not worry about scoring high as the big deal was to catch cheaters. The guy said they were the one's that posted most of the Cheat clues !!! just to see how many would !

So the trick is just to finish or you can be a workman like me. FREE BEER !!!!

They are going to post what our job is soon so geter done !!

Thats for the heads up on House. I need to hack my DVR with a bigger HD. High Def. just eats memory.

I work for the biggest oops a major airline and am going to take the layoff/retire so some of the youger guys can keep their insurance.

I will have some extra time.
Maybe I can fly over to Hawaii and be a red shirt !!

#48. Posted by: SamFin at October 2, 2008 2:53 PM

@SamFin, et al.

Well I just took Tests 6 and 7 and I passed, too. When are you expecting something? I thought he said the results wouldn't be available until after Dec 15.

Can we still go back and try to improve our scores on the tests that allow you to take them multiple times? Do you think it would make any difference if we did?

#49. Posted by: Cecil at October 2, 2008 4:49 PM


No I don't think it would make any difference, they would know that you did and you could ACE it if you messed around enough.

I kind of enjoy the idea of a timed test and take what you get as they probably will have you do something that fits your BIO from the tests.

I mean driving a truck and drinking beer can't be all that bad.

#50. Posted by: SamFin at October 2, 2008 9:15 PM

Hey all, back with my latest gumby rant … beware …

Closing prices today in NY commodity markets:

Platinum: $970/oz
Crude oil: $93.97/bbl

I win! For those of you with no idea what I’m talking about, let me (egotistically) remind you of selected sections from some of my previous posts over the past few months:

LRTT:HE #44/June 12:

As much as the luxury-never-to-touch-mud-SUV-driving, McMansion-owning "masses" out there might publicly deny it, at heart, they believe in the tag-line from "Wallstreet" ... "greed, for lack of a better word, is good". Hence the turn of our economy from production-based to paper-based wealth as baby-boomers wreak their havoc upon society ... why "work" for money, when you can "transact" your way to happiness? Work is for chumps! Buy low, sell high ... no one suffers, right? Money for nothing ... be it dot-com stock sales, or real-estate-flippers producing nothing for their "efforts" ... bubble-whoring ... and when things go sour, all you have to do is bitch loud enough, and the (otherwise evil) government should come running to your aid, right?

Greed, my friend, GREED! There is nothing more sinister at work in today's world than mere "greed and money."

… and what is rhodium going for these days per troy ounce compared to two years ago? Yeah, but that's all because of market pressure from increased demand in Asia ... right ...

LRTT:HE #46/June 12:

question authority ... they're usually wrong ...

LRTT:HE #48/June 13:

Commodity prices WILL crash again ... the only question is how many people will be ruined along the way. Rest assured the corporate "PTB" will not ... this "bubble" is yet another attempt for high-end "losers" in the previous bubble(s) to recoup their losses, at your (?) expense.

Remember the basic rule ... rich people never lose. Why might that be? Because they sucker working-class people to fund their otherwise crashes ...

LRTT:HE #266/August 5:

My goodness, it's been since mid-June since I last commented about commodity prices ... how about an update?

Hmm ... platinum has gone from a high of $2103/oz in late June down to $1551/oz currently in less than two months ... let's see, that would be a drop of 26%. Hmm.

Hmm ... crude oil has gone from over $147/barrel (late June) to $125/barrel currently ... let's see, that would be a drop of 15%. Hmm.

I guess I was just FOS when I suggested less than two months ago that the commodity markets had run amok; yet the conservative pundits were all shouting "Because of China/India demand, prices will NEVER go down again!"

I base my comment upon historical precedent, and expect to see platinum below $1000/oz and crude oil below $100/barrel by year's end. How's that for putting my balls on the block? I have been right so far ... bet against me if you will ...

So … yes, I’m gloating … consider me an ass if you will.

But, hmm, in light of the current Wall Street financial crisis, how wrong was I, in terms of my general sentiment? Is greed good? I focused my comments on a mere symptom of the larger cancer, but they were no less accurate than pointing out losing a lung might be a bad thing, in terms of overall health. What ever happened to McCain’s mid-summer “Obama’s driving up the price of oil” commercials? Hmm.

Apparently, we have not learned our lesson, as both McCain, AND Obama (and Biden, FTM), voted for the bloated Senate version of the already “just one more wafer-thin mint” bailout plan … and just like in “The Meaning of Life,” that last little bite will result in the guttural explosion of our economy … SHAME ON THEM! Is there someone else I can vote for?

I PRAY Congress votes this bastard chimera bill born of Satan and Gordon Gekko down … it is win/win for Wall Street criminals, and lose/lose for average Americans!


#51. Posted by: ealgumby at October 3, 2008 1:22 AM

& ealgumby:

You do know that we would be better off if you weren't always right !!! ;)

#52. Posted by: SamFin at October 3, 2008 10:47 AM

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#56. Posted by: krgzayjb bmfa at October 3, 2008 1:52 PM

Hey youalleverybody,

Hope all is well in Lost-Fan-Land. This hiatus sucks. I live in OH and recently lost power for 9 days due to Ike winds...but by coincidence our Disney World vacation was smack dab in the middle of the outage, so it wasn't so bad for me. And on the brighter side, at least I don't have any Texas-style damage...

Hey ilovebenjaminlinusxoxo, why don't you post a transcript of that letter you recently wrote to the Jonas Brothers? We'd love to read it. I saw them live when we took my daughters to see the Hannah/Miley show. They were actually pretty good for their age.

If Walt makes an appearance this coming season, won't he look 26 by now?

Very sporadically yours,

#57. Posted by: JoePike at October 3, 2008 3:01 PM

Hey JoePike.

Wander over to the Lost Blog Map and stick in a pin to show us where you live.

Anybody else who hasn't already is welcome.

Just click my name below to go there...

#58. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 3, 2008 3:43 PM

Hey - Can anyone give me a link where I can get Lost season 4 downloads??

#59. Posted by: meg at October 3, 2008 4:51 PM

I think they might be up at or you can try

#60. Posted by: lost4ever at October 3, 2008 5:48 PM

@59 meg asked:

>Hey - Can anyone give me a link where I can get Lost season 4 downloads??

Meg, Meg, Meg. Scroll up to the top of this blog and look on the right hand side.

#61. Posted by: Cecil at October 4, 2008 12:49 AM

Anyone interested, new House episode review poted over on the House blog. Click my name to go there.

Can you say visual agnosia? Bezoar? Can you?

Fresh "Firsts" available.

#62. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 4, 2008 12:52 AM

@ealgumby 51

gloating -- no, a prophet, yes!

maybe we should convince Marcy Kaptur to run. She voted no on the bailout both times.

re: Biden FTM
I've come up with a couple of profane ideas for the letters, but don't think I've got the right one, any clues?

#63. Posted by: mtncbn at October 5, 2008 12:37 AM

@myself 63
for that matter, guess I was thinking to vulgar

#64. Posted by: mtncbn at October 5, 2008 2:48 PM

Good news! I was finally able to convince my brother, DarrelAnn, to post his/her picture on the "CecilMap". Just don't give it away to him that his location is actually published there also . . . this would really put a crimp in the old "witness protection" thing, if you know what I mean . . .

I don't remember, but didn't all of us have a common subject to talk about at one time? . . .

I can't seem to remember what it was. For a moment I had a vaporous thought, but then I . . Well, I lost it . . .

#65. Posted by: davidrh at October 5, 2008 5:46 PM


Don't have a clue but below are my groupings for the dharmawantsyou.

Brontes - cyclops
Helios - Sun/mon ?
White Swan

There is a maximum security prison called white swan in Russia !

we using to talk about clothing as I recall scarfs and such I think !

#66. Posted by: SamFin at October 5, 2008 10:36 PM

Anybody watch 60 minutes?

Wow, 60 trillion in questionable finance.

Yeah, 700 BILLION should really help.

Congress doesn't pass H.R. 1424(bailout) first pass, wall street dives.

Passed and signed by Bush, wall street dives.

This surprised me. did a search on hr number and found:

Occurred: Introduced Mar 9, 2007
Occurred: Reported by Committee Jul 18, 2007
Occurred: Amendments (5 proposed) [details]
Occurred: Passed House [details] Mar 5, 2008
Occurred: Passed Senate Oct 1, 2008
Occurred: Signed by President Oct 3, 2008

This piece of work has been brewing for a year and a half!!

Ag 10.90 (silver)
Au 817 (gold)
Pd 189 (palladium)
Pt 932 (platinum)

and falling. History doesn't work anymore, does it? When the dollar, etc is going to hell in a handbasket, precious metals should benefit.

Me thinks a young spry mind might be more beneficial than a stuck in the mud experienced septengarian. We need another choice!

Write ins are acceptable in many states if the person registers. Don't know if it could work, but in this day and age, it's possible.

#67. Posted by: mtncbn at October 6, 2008 12:21 AM

oops: forgot my candidate....

ealgumby for president

#68. Posted by: mtncbn at October 6, 2008 12:25 AM


For Myself:

White Swan

For whatever that's worth,

#69. Posted by: Cecil at October 6, 2008 12:48 PM

@68 mtncbn said:

>oops: forgot my candidate....

>ealgumby for president

He'd get my vote!

And he's already got a house (or at least apartment) in the area.

#70. Posted by: Cecil at October 6, 2008 12:50 PM

For Myself:

White Swan

For whatever that's worth,

For What it's worth! It means we can visit when I deliver the beer and chips to your top secret time lab !

I figure they will find out I dont' drink and I wouldn't drink up all the beer..

#71. Posted by: SamFin at October 7, 2008 10:00 AM

@mtncbn/68 and Cecil/70 ...

You flatter me ... but note my lack of internalizing butt-kissing political instinct, by failing to acknowledge your support over this media-wise interminable interval. Surely, I do not have what it takes to succeed in politics!

Sorry if I haven't been lavishing praise over your kudos ... I've been too busy watching the collapse of the American & global economies precipitate. Oh, and I'm no prophet, just an interested observer, with perhaps an eye toward ignoring the overly sanguine prevailing conventional wisdom a few months back ... but I am hardly alone, nor an instigator of such thought:

So, I'm not the first to suggest deep recession lies ahead, just perhaps one of the early adopters of the "commodity bubble" boom/collapse theory (in response to, and hence attempting to mitigate, the pending doom thereof the now upon us financial crisis). Sorry for my Yoda-speak, it's a bad habit, but seriously predates Yoda. ;)

So, what lies ahead? Hard to tell, when the US govt CONTINUES to reward those caught with their pants down:

So, AIG gets $85 billion in US taxpayer dollars to bail them out, and they respond how? Oh, that's right, an executive retreat "reward" at a $1000/night resort and spa! For a total of over $440k! Yet even after this comes to light, what does the US govt do? That's right, we give them ANOTHER $38 billion!

WTF? I'm sorry if I have little time to focus upon "my" campaign for the presidency ... wow, I'm just flabbergasted by how willing the current govt is to reward the bastards behind this debacle!

It has turned my stomach and left it in permanent knots! I don't know about you, but I'm currently sweating my job, and wondering what I will do if I should lose it. Yet, in the face of outrageous public complaint over the bailout agreement, AIG gets rewarded, AGAIN. EVEN after the $440k boondoggle! What?

I'm sorry, I simply cannot be President, and I humbly decline your nominations ... for I would be inclined to resort to less than socially acceptable means for dealing with this crisis. And those would NOT include rewarding the criminals further!

That would just be me though ... I'm way out there wacko with my outrageously high IQ, suggesting that the people responsible should be held accountable, and being PISSED OFF that they are not, but rather continuing to be rewarded. Wow, I guess ignorance is the new intelligence!

DEVO may have been on to something, years ahead of their true time ...

#72. Posted by: ealgumby at October 8, 2008 11:10 PM


HA HA I just knew it !!!

Regan's trickle down theory really did work and it has finally gotten to my 401k. Or what's left if it.

#73. Posted by: SamFin at October 9, 2008 10:14 AM

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#74. Posted by: paealos at October 9, 2008 2:01 PM


My support of your platform is sealed.
Your comment quoted below, is no way to discourage support! Your nuance for the treatment of the perps shows sterling political tact. If I were to say what I'd do to 'em, I'd be arrested.

"I'm sorry, I simply cannot be President, and I humbly decline your nominations ... for I would be inclined to resort to less than socially acceptable means for dealing with this crisis. And those would NOT include rewarding the criminals further!"

#75. Posted by: mtncbn at October 9, 2008 2:16 PM

JoePike - I'd love to share my letter with everyone but it's kind of, well, "personal".


I literally told them everything about myself in that letter. Still waiting on a reply.

Anyway, guess what. SAW V comes out October 24th!!! and now I can buy my own ticket!!!!!!!

I'm so happy.

I wrote one of my college app essays about how I think Jigsaw is brilliant, and how genius criminals facinate me. My english teacher said it was risky, but good, because I say how that influenced me in wanting to become a defense attorney.

Oh and HSM 3 also comes out October 24th!!!

... October 24th is a good day I'd say!

Haha, that rhymed.

McCain and Palin suck.

#76. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at October 9, 2008 4:02 PM

I'd vote for ealgumby! =]

#77. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at October 9, 2008 4:08 PM

And of course Plato said the best governors would be philosopher-kings, who'd have to be forced to take the position.

elgumby for for philosopher-king!

p.s. There was no new House episode this week due to the presidential debate (from which ealgumby was somehow omitted), but there's a whole slew, a veritable plethora, of reruns from earlier seasons on the USA cable network. A complete schedule for the remainder of October is posted at the usual place.

#78. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 10, 2008 3:27 PM

Dear ilovebenjaminlinusxx,

I want to take a moment and address your last post. Admittedly, I am a supporter of John McCain, however, what I wish to address is not necessarily political in nature.

As a university professor, I greet many young teenagers as they start their college careers. I get to observe them change over a four or five year cycle into adulthood. And the one thing that changes most about them is their skill of communication and critical thinking. They have, over time, come to the realization that words should be chosen wisely. Proverbs 21:23 says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”

When I read the final epithet of your post, one other proverb came to mind - “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”

I had a letter from a Purdue alum come across my desk this past week. Let me quote part of it for you:

QUOTE - Here's a question - "Where were you five and a half years ago? Around Christmas, 2002. You've had five or six birthdays in that time. Five and a half years is a good chunk of time. About 2,000 days. 2,000 nights of sleep. 6,000 meals, give or take."

John McCain spent that amount of time, from 1967 to 1973, in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp.

When offered early release, he refused it. He considered this offer to be a public relations stunt by his captors, and insisted that those held longer than he should be released first. Did you get that part? He was offered his freedom, and he turned it down. A regimen of beatings and torture began.

Do you possess such strength of character? Locked in a filthy cell in a foreign country, would you turn down your own freedom in favor of your fellow man? I submit that's a quality of character that is rarely found, and for me, this singular act defines John McCain.

Unlike several presidential candidates in recent years whose military service is questionable or nonexistent, you will not find anyone to denigrate the integrity and moral courage of this man. A graduate of Annapolis, during his Naval service he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. His own son is now serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq . Barack Obama is fond of saying "We honor John McCain's service...BUT...", which to me is condescending and offensive - because what I hear is, "Let's forget this man's sacrifice for his country, and his proven leadership abilities, and talk some more about change." - UNQUOTE

So tell me, young lady, when you say “McCain sucks”, are you also implying that all veterans and all those men and women who bled and died for this country also “suck”. I have 5 friends whose names are etched on that black Viet Nam slab in our nation’s capitol. Do those men “suck” too?

Your English teacher is correct. Your essay is risky. What he and she did not say, was that it is also juvenile and silly. Especially if “I can say now...” it influenced me to be a defense attorney.

If that’s the route you want to take, than rather than writing that “Jigsaw was brilliant and genius criminals fascinate me”, why don’t you write about injustice in the courtroom? Why don’t you write about judicial inequality for the poor? Why don’t you write about questionable verdicts in history and examine them from a modern viewpoint?

Your subject matter tends to be on the level of Batman and Joker and not on that level that will influence ANY university committee on admissions.

Just because you blog with a bunch of adults about a TV show doesn’t put you on the same experiential level with them. All the adults on this blog know that there are much more important issues in their lives than “LOST”, We have families, jobs, obligations that fill our days. We blog on LOST for the fun of it! We all know that 5 years from now, this TV show will be a pleasant, yet distant, memory. It won’t have been “life changing”. The blog gives us a moment to rant and rave, chide and tease, ooo and aaah, and in general, just step away from the turmoil of the daily grind and have some fun.

I dare say, no one who gathers here for discussion thinks our being here has put us on a elevated intellectual level.

All this to say to you, young lady - You need to tend to your future. You need to rewrite your college application essay. Saying that a B-grade movie is brilliant and genius criminals fascinate you is not impressive.

It is folly. And it sucks.

You are smarter than that.

#79. Posted by: davidrh at October 11, 2008 4:42 PM


I am sorry if I offended you or anyone else with what I said about McCain, but you and I both know that I did not mean it that way.

I admit, bad choice of words, but just to be clear, I was referring to the debates. (Not sure if that helps any).

I do respect him for his past, and for where he is at currently; but I don't think that his past is a reason for him to become president.

Anyway, about my essay, the topic was "Describe a character in fiction (as in books, TV, movies, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence."

... and that is why I wrote about Jisaw. I thought I'd be a little different. If they don't like it, then sucks for me, but maybe it's worth a try.

Also, I was never planning on submitting that in the first place. When I wrote it I was just doing it for the sake of my English class. It was only after my English teacher commented on it, I considered submitting it.

#80. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at October 11, 2008 8:48 PM

ilovebenjaminlinusxx: you are the problem with america. we 'adults' do not care about your obvious lack of a 'sense of history'... all you care about is goofing off in 'photoshop' class. we do not care... get some gloves and grab a shovel... the world still needs ditch-diggers. don't pick a candidate based on MTV... pick the ones that have made a tough choice and have perservered - aka {mccain/palin) BTW... all that (osama/biden) have ever done are gripe about the status-quo, with no viable alternative... mccain won the election when he selected palin. palin is the only one who has been ever been an executive. senators DO NOT control a thing... they sit on their high horse and dictate laws... palin ACTUALLY controls cops AND lawyers AND bureaucrats AND etc.... she is better qual-d as Prez than JohnMcC.... both beat the snot out of one time wannabe osama (leftwingliberalloser) AND perennial suck-up (leftwingliberalloser) biden.

#81. Posted by: tanzi2 at October 12, 2008 12:58 AM

Okay, I don't feel like defending myself or arguing about politics. I can't even vote, so it doesn't even matter what I think.

I'll admit, I am an immature idiot that "goofs around" in photoshop and doesn't know anything about this stuff or anything else. I "live in a world of fiction" and don't use my time for anything productive.

But still, everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

Btw - tanzi2 - it's kind of rude to call him "osama".

#82. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at October 12, 2008 9:40 AM

Okay, let's put an end to this line of discussion. We all know where this ends, and I'd prefer not to go there.

#83. Posted by: mac at October 12, 2008 10:19 AM

MAC and IloveBen . .

My apologies. Though it is difficult not being political in this time, my beef - as a VietNam era veteran - is more about disrespect to veterans. I am sorry for that diatribe launched against you, young lady, a few postings ago. That was overly harsh and uncalled for.

My only concern is about the future of young people like IloveBen. I want you to succeed. I want you to excel beyond your wildest imaginations. But I also want you to be sober and insightful, utilizing your intellect and critical thinking skills to cause great things to happen in your future.

I wish you the best.

Again, I apologize for overstepping the bounds of the blog.

#84. Posted by: davidrh at October 12, 2008 10:52 AM

@davidrh and all: No apology necessary for me. There's a lot weighing on everyone these days, so impassioned posts are certainly understandable. I don't have a problem with them.

My only concern -- and I sensed this in tanzi2's post -- is that political discussions invariably turn into "I'm right, you're wrong" shouting matches, and I can't stand those. There's no positive outcome and I doubt anyone comes away from them feeling better informed or entertained. Now, political *analysis* and political *discourse* are two things I absolutely encourage. But name calling and venom have no place here.

And this is probably far more than you wanted to read from me, so I'll clam up.

#85. Posted by: Mac at October 12, 2008 11:28 AM


There is a very good book that has a bunch of Annapolis grads / McCain included. McFarlan , Ollie North and more. It's really worth the read.
It's called the "Nightingales Song".
And covers their early lives, Viet Nam through Iran Contra.

#86. Posted by: SamFin at October 13, 2008 3:26 PM

@86/SamFin & 79/davidrh

I place this post in a (hopefully) completely apolitical mindset, addressing only the issue of John McCain's experience as a prisoner of war, and its relevance to the current presidential campaign.

I should preface this by stating that I am a US service academy graduate (US Air Force Academy, 1985), although I never served in combat while on active duty. Nevertheless, I can state definitively that being a service academy graduate neither makes one a "good and honorable" person (as many seem to believe by default), nor the opposite (as many also seem to believe by default). Like any academic institution, there are graduates worthy of praise, and those worthy of scorn, regardless of theology, ideology, or philosophy.

Yes, the majority political tendency among grads will lean toward the right, but perhaps not to the overwhelming extreme many (extremists themselves, one way or the other?) might presume. In my experience, those who persevere and graduate, are more driven by a desire to serve their country, than the desire to serve any particular political agenda; those people tend not to make it, based purely upon my personal experience. That does not mean there aren't bad apples within the graduating classes; there are. Nor does it imply that those with a desire to serve country are inherently right-leaning; there are many out there of like mind in terms of national service, but pacifist in nature, for whom military service would never be an option ... until there are equivalent US service academies for humanity service, such arguments will forever fail in terms of strict logic.

All of that being said, I must relate to you an experience I had at the USAFA as a cadet. All AFA grads were then required to pass the SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) program, skillfully administered by professional NCOs from Fairchild AFB in Washington state. I have learned secondhand that the program was cancelled at the AFA in the late 90's, but recently reinstated in some limited capacity this year. I would suggest the program should be fully restored in as near a realist sense as possible.

I say that because of something that happened while I went through SERE back in 1982. Without getting into too many details, I KNEW the program was limited in time when I went through it, and I KNEW the administrators of the program were hell-bent on breaking us ... I KNEW this, and still ...

One of the aspects of the program was, as a faux POW, to be kept in a small, dark chamber, balanced squating upon a small post, hood over head, with unintelligible foreign music blasting 24/7. After several days of this (just DAYS mind you), I swore I began to hear English lyrics embedded within the music ... "America has abandoned you" ... "Give up, you have no choice" ... "No one cares if you live or die" ... etc. But I was still of sound mind, in my mind, and I KNEW this was all just a ploy to break me ... yet I also KNEW that in a few days the training exercise would end, and I'd have a good laugh over how the SERE people tried to break me with their transparent swapping of music tapes!

I graduated the program, and thought nothing of it, until I worked as a "guard" later as an upper classman. I spoke with one of the NCOs from Fairchild, and off-handedly asked when the tape with English lyrics would start to be played. He looked at me quizzically. I asked again. He told me there was NO second tape. I persisted ... surely, there must be a tape with English lyrics, thrown in after a few days. No. There was not.

Wow. I was stunned. Had I been of such weak mind, that I had begun hallucinating after only a few days? Was I THAT subject to enemy brainwashing? What I "heard" in "the box" meant nothing to me, but I had to wonder if that was just because I knew it was a training program. I went through a period of serious introspection after discovering the truth, and resolved I would never again be fooled like that. Yet, how could I ever really know? I pray I never have the opportunity to find out.

And this brings me back to McCain. The man spent five and a half years as a POW, making my short time in SERE training an utter joke in comparison. Yet, I think I have some tiny modicum of understanding just how stout of mind he needed to be, just to survive for that amount of time. It boggles my mind. I am impressed, to say the least.

What does this say about McCain? Personally, I DO view the man as a "hero" for being able to withstand the rigors of that amount of time as a POW ... I cannot stand here today and honestly say that I would have made it under the same circumstances. I'd like to believe I would've, but I have my doubts. I think that's something no man or woman can answer until truly faced with the same conditions, and God pray none of us ever have to. But merely based upon my SERE experience, which is more than most Americans have ever had to face, I must say I completely respect the man for what he must have endured.

I respect him. I admire him. I consider him to be a hero. Does that mean I will vote for him? No.

For those of you who likewise revere McCain for what he has endured, I hope you see I bear NO disrespect in not voting for him. NOT voting for him does NOT equate to disrespect. NOT voting for him does NOT equate to lack of patriotism (and seriously, if anyone accuses me of that to my face ...).

Not at all saying this pertains to McCain, but one can be a hero, and not be well suited for leadership. One can ALSO be a hero AND well suited for leadership, yet not the BEST choice for leader of our nation. In short, heroism, and the presidency, are not intrinsically associated. I believe McCain IS a hero AND well suited for leadership ... yet personally, I do not think he is the BEST choice for president.

That is my opinion. I would just hope those ardent supporters of him would not blindly jump to false conclusions like, "ealgumby does not respect McCain's service" or worse "ealgumby does not respect veterans" simply because I choose not to vote for McCain. THAT would be completely wrong, and amount to fighting words in my mind! My uncle's name resides proudly on "The Wall" and I have never had anything but respect for the military, as an academy grad and (non-conflict) veteran myself. It doesn't make me "less of an American" not to support McCain in this election, and I would take EXTREME offense to anyone who would suggest that is the case!

THAT being said, I am equally offended by those who would suggest anyone opposed to Obama must surely be a racist. Frankly, I personally believe there will be a rather large number of people who will not vote for Obama, when faced with the last-minute choice, because they harbor closet bigotry. That being said, these people amount to a very small minority, and those voting for McCain should NOT be reviled based upon the false assumption that ALL McCain voters have pointy white hats in their closets! I believe that the VAST majority of Republican voters are NOT voting on racial basis, and I find it unconscionable for left-wing activists to stir up muck by suggesting that is the case. My parents are voting for McCain, yet I know they are the furthest thing from racists. For anyone to suggest they are, once again, amounts to fighting words for me.

I am just SICK of the BS rhetoric being thrown back and forth in this political campaign. Somewhere along the line, WE seem to have forgotten that we are all Americans. Personally, I blame this on the campaign advisors of BOTH parties, for relying upon negative ads to heighten differences, rather than working toward SOLUTION. It may seem a complete cliché, but "United we stand, Divided we fall" ... it looks like we're falling to me.

#87. Posted by: ealgumby at October 14, 2008 4:37 AM

Well said my friend.

#88. Posted by: SamFin at October 14, 2008 9:18 AM


Hey, anyone watching the world series?
Go Phillies!

How about them Eagles,huh???

Did you know the Lost ARG has dwindled away? Not sure where it is going now.

Do you think Faraday was the one who took the video of Chang?

Religion, sex and politics. :-(((((

#89. Posted by: berkyo at October 14, 2008 11:12 AM

"video of Chang"?


#90. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 14, 2008 11:43 AM

Well put ealgumby. That's what I was going to try to get at with my next post, but you've already done it.

But my version would have been unclear and probably misinterpreted. So thank you.

Anyway, again, I'm sorry for my poor choice of words and if those words offended anyone in any way. I shouldn't have said that.

I am also very close with a VietNam veteran and I have a great deal of respect for him and all the others. I'm sorry that my comment earlier sounded like I was dissing McCain for that reason and if it hinted that I disrespect his service. That was not the case. For me, McCain is not the "better choice".

I'm also sorry if that was terrible English/grammar.

#91. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at October 14, 2008 4:43 PM

I agree w/SamFin (#88)...

#92. Posted by: Alaïs_Longthought at October 14, 2008 5:05 PM

Good lord, Cecil!
You haven't seen 'the Video'?

And of course it's old Dan shooting the vid, berkyo. The voice is unmistakable.

"I am equally offended by those who would suggest anyone opposed to Obama must surely be a racist. Frankly, I personally believe there will be a rather large number of people who will not vote for Obama, when faced with the last-minute choice, because they harbor closet bigotry. That being said, these people amount to a very small minority, and those voting for McCain should NOT be reviled based upon the false assumption that ALL McCain voters have pointy white hats in their closets! I believe that the VAST majority of Republican voters are NOT voting on racial basis, and I find it unconscionable for left-wing activists to stir up muck by suggesting that is the case."

I couldn't agree more.

I live in Los Angeles and I am routinely offended by the fact that people just assume that since I'm 22, sport an afro, smoke lots of dope, and work in live theatre that I'm voting for Obama. Honestly, I don't think either candidate is well suited to run our country. I too did my time in the service, and while I respect McCain, I don't believe a conservative white republican in his seventies will do an adequate job of inspiring my generation to give a sh*t about their country. On the other hand, Obama seems to me to be there simply because he's black. I must add that while I'm whiter than Bill Gates I have several black ancestors and am in no way any sort of bigot. He appears insincere and seems to just quote the party line in every debate. Now, that being said, if Sarah Palin was anybody but Sarah Palin I'd vote for McCain, banking on the fact that he'll probably die in office. Alaska is Libertarian in its very nature, and I believe that ANYBODY else from that state would have values and a hardiness that I respect. But unfortunately, there she is, all smiles and hockey and energy-producing.

So... what I guess I'm trying to say is that while I don't necessarily favor either guy, this ridiculous two-party system we have forces me to figure out which guy I hate more and vote for el otro hombre.

F*ck Yeah.

#93. Posted by: ianmalachi at October 18, 2008 3:29 PM

Hi Cecil.

At Comic con, the story went that Dharma was reinventing itself after it's collapse. Thus the new logo. Same octagon but a different style. Actually, they have turned the bagua one turn to the right just as Ben turned the FDW.

Anyway, there was an insider there, who said that Dharma was not on the up and up and he would show all of us who did not make it inside what they were up to.

The secret reason for starting Dharma again is that someone had a video that appears to be from the island but about 30 years ago. In it, Dr. Candlewax etc.
(Real name appears to be Pierre Chang)
makes a plea for help to find the island and hopefully change history.

You can find it on you tube or any of the lost forums. Who takes the video? speculation agrees that it is Faraday and he prob figured out a way to get it to the present day. Would a cell phone work?????

Anyway, it is supposed that that is where the new season will begin. With Farrady and others and losties on the island in the past where it was moved to, and the O6 and Ben in the present/future trying to get back.

#94. Posted by: berkyo at October 21, 2008 6:57 PM

Hi Cecil! If you still want to watch the UT vs. Alabama game this weekend, the UT Alumni will be at:

www . blincos . com

I think the game starts at 7:45. Hope to see you there and anyone else that's a LOST fan from near the Raleigh area.


#95. Posted by: BunnyLover at October 23, 2008 11:41 AM


We'll be there with bells on. So the UT fans have switched to a different restaurant? I know that area well, although not the specific restaurant.

I hope Saban has lit a fire under the team to keep up their efforts in the second half. We let both Georgia and Old Miss come back and if we don't correct that somebody's going to bite us sooner or later, maybe ole Smoky.

Roooooooooooooooooooooooll Tide!

(And I'm desperate for a LOST fix - the S-4 DVD come out in early December - maybe that'll do it.))

#96. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 23, 2008 12:46 PM

Great! I'll be there with my GANO instead of bells. Looking for to seeing you and the Mrs.

(Smokie howl!)


#97. Posted by: BunnyLover at October 23, 2008 5:00 PM

Time for a rant!

I can't believe all the crap and misinformation being broadcast about the change to DTV.

Back ground: I was an FCC 1st class licenced tech. I am 70 miles from broadcast stations. There are some local repeaters. For 25 years I watched TV with a piece of wire stuck in the back of the TV. I'm off the grid, and every watt counts. Most people can't imagine my frugalness when it comes to power consumption. With decreasing physical abilities, I find I'm watching much more TV (mostly worthless drivel). About 5 years ago I actually bought an old fashioned TV antenna. No real increase in channels, but much better quality.

Now to the DTV bs.
#1: There is no such thing as a digital antenna. An antenna is an antenna is an antenna!!

#2: About a year ago, I was cruising the airwaves with my spectrum analyzer (a remnant of my work), and noticed lots of what looked like digital channels. Went to Walmart and bought a cheap DTV (LCD, big plus for off grid).
Got 10 digital channels!!! Took TV back, it was a 15", wanted a 19" which was never in stock. After a month of not in stock, bought 19" online. Happy ever since. Side note: had a 27" analog CRT TV, about 75 watts. OK off grid if you don't use it much. 26" and 32" LCD's actually use more power than the CRT did!!! (checked in store with a kill-a-watt, an indispensable item. 19" about 35w. 26 and 32 all above 90w, more than the 27" CRT!!!).

#3: Bottom line. You're probably over due for a new set anyhow. Life spans keep getting shorter and features keep getting better. There is no such thing as a TV repair shop anymore. If you get TV from rabbit ears or an antenna, a converter box (Govt. will pay $40, up to 2 per household I think), or best idea, new TV and enjoy true high-res. Bad note, can't use VCR, could buy converter box, and use VCR. If anybody has found good computer DVR software, let me know. I bought a DTV tuner for my PC, but find bt'ing TV shows far superior to recording myself.

#98. Posted by: mtncbn at October 24, 2008 12:14 AM

DTV cont.

Why are the channels such a secret??
They mean nothing. Finding the actual channel or frequency seems to be a guarded secret. I've only found the channel and frequency's by checking FCC databases. If you use an antenna rotor (remember them?) you have to go thu a channel scan each time, what a pain.

When the analog channels go off the air, the DTV channels may switch to the VHF channels. Better fringe reception!! (most DTV channels are currently UHF)

#99. Posted by: mtncbn at October 24, 2008 1:05 AM

DTV... cont.
Had 12 local channels - sent in req for 2 x $40 coupon cards - got them - went to store - bought two DT converter boxes for $48 each (net cost to me - $16) - now have 31 local channels. Told box the type of TV I had. Searched for channels once (per TV).
Crossed checked internet to make sure I was getting most channels possible.

Cost in time - 75 minutes (store & programming & crosscheck).

Financial cost - $16 dollars for boxes, $1 for gas to store ($17).

19 more channels per room (x2)

#100. Posted by: ANON2 at October 24, 2008 5:45 AM

mtncbn et al,

Being on digital cable, the switch won't afffect my ancient collection of TV tubes. A lot more things to spend my money on right now than upgrading TV's.

We're being cautioned around here (Raleigh) that the broadcast digital signals may be lower power than the corresponding analog and require fancier/better antennas.

And people that were just barely in the fringe of antenna reception before may find themselves just outside the finge afterwards. Such, apparently, is the experience of folks around Wilmington, NC, which made the switch in July as an FCC approved experiment.

#101. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 24, 2008 12:18 PM

Well, at least one Lost related activity is available to me. I'm catccing up on all the podcasts that I never had time to listen to during the actual telecasts.

They're better if you can listen to them real-time soon after an episode is broadcast - lots of discussion and theorizing.

Yet it can be fun to listen to them long delayed, the theorizing about things we've since learned the answers to.

There are lots of them out there. Most have archives to allow you to listen to all the 'casts ever produced since the beginning. here's a few to get you started: Many have bulletin board for on-line discussion.


The original - Lindloff & Cuze (video podcasts too)


This one is sortof a medium podcast, they last about an hour each, there are some (non-episode) extra 'casts, and more materail (links, etc) on their website.



For the true fanatic - these guys can really, really talk, a few episodes are up to *12 hours* long! The longest is a 322 MB download!

#102. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 24, 2008 12:46 PM

For those who care:

Latest House review is up, click my name to go there:

#103. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 30, 2008 12:06 AM

"Exxon Breaks US Profit Record"

"Unbelievable. Exxon Mobil just reported the biggest profit ever for a U.S. company. It raked in a billion dollars a week in pure profit in the July-September period, 58% more than a year ago."

Why so "unbelievable?" Exxon, along with all of the oil industry (govt? ... okay, just remove the ?s), LIED about oil/commodity prices this summer! All we heard from W's administration in July was "woe to the American oil industry, and American comsumers ... Asian demand will keep prices high FOREVER, and the oil industry is suffering due to lack of off-shore and ANWR drilling, as well as refinery modernization ... the US oil industry is on its last legs, and unless we do something to help them, we will all be slaves to foreign oil companies! Drill, baby, drill!"

NOW you can see what a LIE it all was! Oh yes, I CRY for the oil industry! Oh, but it was just good enough of a lie to get America to agree to off-shore drilling, wasn't it?

Bush/Cheney have been biaches to Big Oil since before day one, but this LIE goes to new extremes ... it is downright criminal. Where are all those "oil industry experts" who were swearing oil would be at $300/bbl by year's end in mid-summer, when I was crying to the wind that it would be below $100/bbl? Hmm, oil price currently sits at $67.50/bbl.

Mission accomplished ... American public F'ed! But, dontcha know, George W is looking out for those Joe the plumbers out there! Hey, Joe the plumber, how much did your average gas bill rise as a result of George W's "brilliant" manipulation of the oil market this summer? Hmm? How many miles do you, as the owner of a plumbing company, have to drive per day ... based upon a $250k/year company, I'm guessing well over 300 miles per day driving, in multiple vehicles that make about 15 mpg, tops. That would amount to over 20 gallons of gas per day, min. Let's see, as gas increased by over $1.50 per gallon during W's screwing of America, that amounts to about $30/day that W cost you over the summer, and assuming 20-22 working days per month ... you lost between $600 and $660 per month due to W's wonderful policies. Well, I know, that $7600-$7920 per year amounts to mere peanuts, compared to keeping a multi-billion-dollar oil company in charge! Unnecessary fuel expenses per year, average $7780 ... keeping those responsible in office, priceless!

Thanks Joe the Plumber, for your incredible insight! Oh, and BTW ... you are an idiot!

#104. Posted by: ealgumby at October 31, 2008 12:04 AM

Sorry for being in such a foul mood last night ... and I apologize if I offended anyone.

I guess all this "election hysteria" has gotten to me, and I was a bit annoyed by what I see as a complete failure by many to see the forest for the trees. Let me state my case, in a more subtle way ...

(1) Argument: The oil industry is losing money now, due to sliding oil prices.

Response: If they made money due to windfall profit increases in prices, should they not expect to lose money as the price falls back to where it should be? IMO, one cannot complain about falling prices for a commodity that was inflated well above reasonable levels in the first place. The "industry" makes money as prices rise, stating they have "no choice" but to raise prices, but then decry their "losses" when the price falls back to where it began ... BS!

For the record, the fair market value of oil is currently below $60/barrel ... which means that at the height of the price spike, you were getting robbed at about 250% of FMV! A coincidence? I think not (as Descartes said just before he disappeared ... nevermind).

(2) Argument: TAXES, TAXES, TAXES!

Response: This was the crux of my complaint against JTP. People seem to be very upset about losing money due to tax rate increases (and I'm not saying they shouldn't), but they often fail to look elsewhere, where larger costs loom.

Why are people in general so angered by tax increases? In short, because it takes money out of their pockets (yeah, there might be some ideological purists out there who are more upset on a conceptual level, but seriously, most people hate taxes because it takes cash away!).

It simply baffles me why people are not outraged when their average cost of living increases by an amount equal to, or greater than, the amount of any proposed tax increase! Look ... the oil price spike this summer is STILL being felt now in terms of increased prices of ... everything! It's called the law of price inflexibility ... when basic commodities go up in price, prices of all dependent products rise, but when commodities fall, product prices are VERY slow to fall. So, you can get gas relatively cheap right now, but how much have your food costs dropped over the past few months? Not nearly proportionally, I will guarantee you!

Yet these price increases, created by irresponsible corporate behavior, are typically overlooked by the voting public. Why? Instead, when people are hurting for money, they often look to the govt for tax relief, rather than identifying the corporate cause of their financial difficulties. Seriously, I want to know why this is?

It's REALLY not the govt's fault the economy is in collapse right now ... it goes back to corporate greed on Wall Street. Yet ... somehow ... it's all become about the govt, and the CRIMINALS on WS have been set scot free?!?!? It baffles my mind ...

Personally ... and yes, I am quite calm and collected right now ... I think this financial crisis calls for dramatic repurcusssions for those responsible. The effects upon our economy are going to be far greater than those imposed by 9/11 ... should we treat those responsible with kid gloves? Rather than having the bailout money go toward executive bonuses:

... I tend to think those responsible for the collapse of the American/global economy should be treated in the same fashion foreigners would be treated for creating the same problem ... they are economic terrorists. The demise these people have created is every bit as real as a bomb detonated on White House grounds ... I have NO pity for them. Use your own imagination in terms of just punishment. I know what I'm imagining ...

Yet, I know in my heart, they'll walk off with little more than a slap on the wrist, if even that ... probably a large cash reward, in fact. There's something VERY wrong with that.

It makes me wonder if things are even possible to change (and I mean CHANGE, not the BS "change" used by both Obama and McCain!) ... we have all become slaves to the current political system.

It's time for a REAL change!

- Erik Larson

(and I approved this message ;))

#105. Posted by: ealgumby at November 1, 2008 2:55 AM


>For the record, the fair market value of oil is currently below $60/barrel ... which means that at the height of the price spike, you were getting robbed at about 250% of FMV! A coincidence? I think not (as Descartes said just before he disappeared ... nevermind).

What's your definition of "Fair market value"?

#106. Posted by: Cecil at November 3, 2008 1:35 PM

Bunnylover and anyone else who wasn't able to view the "Lost Season 5 Trailer" - it's back up - fr who knows how long?

#107. Posted by: Cecil at November 3, 2008 1:41 PM

"What's your definition of 'Fair market value'?"

Long-term trending of PPP-compensated, constant-international-dollar, commodity values ... relatively stable since the early 70's ... oil at about $60/bbl currently. And I can give other values too, if you want (e.g., Cu at $1.60/lb, Pt $700/oz, and Au $560/oz ... all "still" currently overvalued, gold very much so). Hence my previous assurance that commodities would crash from ridiculously inflated highs earlier this summer. I don't know what else you can call it but a speculative bubble ... true underlying supply/demand based upon GWP did not justify such a rise in prices across the board!

And if commodity prices should (?) seem to settle out slightly above my estimated numbers (don't bet on it), that doesn't mean my numbers are "wrong," just that prices are STILL slightly high, and the mean will come out in the end. Nevertheless, currently much more in the realm of what I expected long ago ... and I stick by my numbers. If I'm even 10% off, I can live with that, given the egregious price levels of Summer 2008 (with prices 100s of % off in some cases, as Rh ... high late June $10010/oz, currently $1450/oz) ...


#108. Posted by: ealgumby at November 4, 2008 12:57 AM

BTW: current prices ...

Oil: $65.96/bbl
Cu: $1.85/lb
Pt: $792/oz
Au: &722/0z

It would not be very smart to be buying gold right now ... JMHO. Long term for Au ... down, down, down ... again, JMO.

- Erik

#109. Posted by: ealgumby at November 4, 2008 1:24 AM

BTW ... high prices this year...

Oil: $147.27/bbl (2.23 times current)
Cu: $4.07/lb (2.20 times current)
Pt: $2252/oz (2.84 times current)
Au: &1003/0z (1.39 times current)

#110. Posted by: ealgumby at November 4, 2008 1:47 AM

A slight crack spotted in a recent promo for "Lost" on ABC.

They now say "Coming in January 2009" instead of just "Coming in early 2009".

The official ABC website still says only "Returns early 2009".

I feel like one of the old Kremlin watchers trying to discern the top hierachy power struggles by watching where everybody stood on the balcony overlooking the annual May Day parade in Red Square.

#111. Posted by: Cecil Rose at November 5, 2008 3:38 PM

Another odd bit of "Lost" social relevance (neither here nor there) ...

In today's "Washington Post" Style section:

... third from the bottom of the "IN" column ...

Analyzing "Lost" !!!

Apparently we are a forward-thinking bunch! Left/right, Republican/Democrat, Obama/McCain, conservative/liberal ... no matter ... "Lost" fans finally get their due!

Of course, that means we'll all be "out" by this time next year ... yet, somehow, that suits me just fine in terms of the series finale!

#112. Posted by: ealgumby at November 5, 2008 9:37 PM


And if folks follow the link from "Analyzing Lost" above they'll encounter the Post's Liz & Jen discussions of each episode with multitudinous reader comments.

#113. Posted by: Cecil Rose at November 6, 2008 12:04 PM


Sorry to hear about Phil losing his job. It's a cutthroat business when a lifetime winning percentage of .750 and a national championship aren't enough to hold onto your job. But it's very much a "What have you done for me lately?" situation in the big-time college football ranks.

At least he'll have 6 million sources of comfort in the months to come.

#114. Posted by: Cecil at November 6, 2008 12:08 PM

Thanks Cecil. Was great seeing you and your wife for the UT vs Bama game. Thank you for your condolences about Phil Fullmer. I agree with you and it's a shame we live in such a "here and now - instant gratification" society. The next head coach for Tenneessee has some mighty big shoes to fill...

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#117. Posted by: zoloft at November 9, 2008 2:38 PM

Anybody catch the premiere date for next season. I've read the 2 hour premiere is on Weds, 21 Jan 09 now.

#118. Posted by: DocH at November 10, 2008 2:04 AM

Interesting article:

Could someone who supports this legislation please explain to me how this is not "socialist?" ...

"The opposition to Section 382 is part of a broader ideological battle over how the tax code deals with a company's losses. Some conservative economists argue that not only should a firm be able to use losses to offset gains, but that in a year when a company only loses money, it should be entitled to a cash refund from the government."

I'm sorry, but I don't get it ... if government is supposed to "stay out of the way" of businesses making profits, how is it that govt is also supposed to supplement businesses taking losses? Is this not (corporate) "welfare" by another name, so much reviled by the same people calling for this legislation?

I must be confused ... please set me straight. ???

So, if I happen to spend beyond my income by a substantial margin, should I not by similiar logic declare that as a "loss" that the govt should recompensate me for with a cash refund? Hell, I'm all for that! I declare myself a corporation (LLC, very easy to do ... I sell services on the public market, don't you know!), and if I should "over-compensate" my executives (ME) by say, $500,000, this year, can I then file for a cash refund from the govt for corporate "losses?" Sign me up!

Tongue in cheek ... but not by much ... this is BS.

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#120. Posted by: hyiptoolsnews at November 12, 2008 1:33 PM

"Why we should try to give the auto industry a lift"

I would extend this analysis to reasons I have have previously mentioned for not letting the US banking industry go under ... we do not want it under foreign control, for national security reasons. If GM is allowed to die, no doubt soon followed by Ford and Chrysler, the US will have no major producer of defense-related vehicles ... this cannot be allowed. No more than Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop can be allowed to go down. And the list can go on and on, including other companies integral to US home security and defense.

Trust me, I do not relish the thought of advocating US companies which have demonstrated very bad business practices, but I consider the thought of them going under much worse. Like it or not, the US is no longer the world's "bully," and we as a nation, need to begin thinking in terms of collective security. "WE" simply cannot allow strategic industries to wither away on the international market ... for lack of a better word, because they are "needed."

Yes, the US govt DOES need to step in and prevent the insolvency of major strategic industries ... the only question is how it should be done. I would hope the recent egregious excesses by AIG, after getting billions in US "bailout" money, should show the WRONG way.

Any further US "bailouts" should be tied to very explicit rules for expenditure of such funds ... and frankly, retroactive laws should be passed to hold those (AIG!!!) accountable for misuse of taxpayer funds already distributed. I still disagree with the $700B bailout (and exactly, who TF pulled that exact # out of their butt? ... it's BS!), primarily on the grounds of loose govt management, and COMPLETE lack of accountability.

Seems to me, people are now greasing the skids for auto industry bailout money on the grounds that "we did much more for the financial industry." Well, maybe we shouldn't have, and at any rate, we certainly shouldn't have in such a cavalier fashion. I don't know about you, but it PISSES me off that billions of dollars have already gone toward executive bonuses ... for failed companies that have driven this country, and the global economy, into recession. Personally, I'd lean toward $.50 chunks of lead ...

Oh, I'm rambling once again ... bottom line ... we should NOT let the US auto industry fail. BUT ... there should be very tight strings attached ... JMO.

#121. Posted by: ealgumby at November 14, 2008 11:35 PM

You know, the more I think about it, the more it pisses me off ...

When these companies are now bank-rolling their bonuses on US taxpayer funds ... I cannot help but think ... how better can you define "parasite" than Wall-Street-bonus-receiver?

Let me delve into a more pragmatic evaluation of bailout merit. We are now considering, as a nation, whether or not to bailout the auto industry. Without the previous bailouts, this would be a no-brainer to me ... why?

Because the auto industry actually produces "something" ... as opposed to the "paper" traded on Wall Street. Yes, the financial industry serves an important purpose ... to allow businesses to take on loans required for furthering of business. Without this service, the US, and global, economies would screech to a halt. It is an ESSENTIAL element to any even-remotely-free-market economy ... we simply cannot do without the financial markets.

At its strength, the financial market converts paper (loan debt) to product, which makes us all better off ... companies produce product, consumers buy them, and workers are required all around to support this economic structure.

At its worst, the financial market converts paper to more paper ... which produces nothing, other than the potential opportunity for profit upon such trade. THIS is where Wall Street has gone in recent years, and the ultimate source of ALL of our pain recently ... to quote Dire Straits ... money for nothing.

One can base an economy upon products, and even to some extent upon services ... but one cannot base an economy upon "nothing" ... and that is EXACTLY what has happened in the US (and the world) since the collapse of the dot-com bubble. "Everything" became "nothing" ... the dot-com bubble inured the world to false value in markets, and suddenly people everywhere were trading "belief" instead of "product."

Financial markets went from trading belief in internet stocks to belief in real estate value ... there was nothing in terms of "product" behind either, but the psychology was that millions could be made. Adeqaute housing existed ... what suddenly made homes increase in value? Of course! Lack of McMansion housing!

And they popped up everywhere ... jumbo loans out the ass! What was this all based upon though? Paper for paper ... with no INTRINSIC value. Wall Street made billions, based upon the increasing value of home sales, and its increasing propensity to trade good loans for bad.

As long as property values kept going up, it was win-win for everyone, right?

Until property values stopped going up. Suddenly trading "better" paper for "worse" paper didn't seem such a good deal. You know, for someone with common sense, this might have been obvious. It might have been obvious in the sense that paper traders produce NOTHING ... they are essentially leeches upon society. It might have even been more obvious when the properties paper-traders had liens on began to fall in value ... now they were not only producing nothing, but rapidly losing money on the things they did not produce! SWEET!

For once in my life, I felt justified in NOT jumping on the BS bandwagon ... and those around me who did are now paying for their greed. Yet ... the large corporations, especially those financial institutions on Wall Street, are not. Faced with failure, these companies have been propped up by the govt ... yet their employees STILL make like it's the late 90's!

First of all, ALL of these people made money hand over fist during an irrational period of govt mismanagement from 2001 until now, and they need NO further compensation ... I don't give a flying F what their corporate agreements were ... they do NOT deserve bonuses now ... govt intervention should invalidate all previous contracts ... BECAUSE ... if not for US taxpayer dollars keeping these companies liquid, these people would be getting NOTHING! I cannot possibly BEGIN to explain my fury over this BS!

Where are the consequences? Seriously ... these companies need a taxpayer bailout, yet NONE of their execs are selling multi-million mansions to make ends meet? How about mid-level execs ... nope ... none of them have had to sacrifice lifestyle either. How about high-level non-execs? As far as I can tell, they're all still quite content in their effin McMansions as well ... Yes, the US-govt bailed out companies are doing QUITE well for their overly-compensated employees! What pain?

So who "suffered?" Apparently, it's just been home owners who cannot afford their home payments. How much has the "bailout" helped them? Frankly, NOT AT ALL! THIS is why I HATE the "bailout" agreement ... it has only helped those who don't need it keep their jobs and bonuses, while doing NOTHING for those who really need help. There has NEVER been a bigger screw-job upon the American public ... EVER!!!

I am SO pissed I can hardly see straight ... but that's just me.


#122. Posted by: ealgumby at November 15, 2008 1:41 AM

Hugo here... hey dude... Eagle Gumby... are you the imaginary dude I see in my visions at Santa Rosa Mental? not Charlie..... on the ground..... you are the one hanging up-side-down from the big tree..... next to the bench. No?

#123. Posted by: H.H.Reyes at November 15, 2008 11:03 PM


Well, cleary you ARE insane, because indeed, I WAS swinging from the tree in question ... you must work with your therapist to further identify truth from reality ...

The fact Hugo failed to see me relegates him to a very special place ... but perhaps you, having seen me, must be the sane one? Huh huh, huh, I FEEL THE CEOs CRAWLING ALL OVER ME ... they are coming to GET me!!!

AAagh! Hmm ... I think it is very well that corporate America is getting its fair shake with regard to the recent slight downturn in retirement plans ... we will all be better off in the long run ... please do not look at that corporation going under and laying off all employees ... there's nothing to see here ... please move along ...

"Most impressive ... where did you get your Jedi skills? ... Dick Cheney, the Dark Master."

#124. Posted by: ealgumby at November 16, 2008 9:28 PM

"cleary" нет ясно

#125. Posted by: ealgumby at November 16, 2008 10:15 PM