Friday, February 29, 2008

It's Christmas

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fair warning

Contribute as much as you can (up to $4000 as long as you earned that much) to your Roth IRA before you file your income taxes this year. The sooner the don't want to make me angry. There are few free things in life, but the tax break from Roth IRAs is one of them....

Addendum: When I first wrote this I said $5000. That is for your tax year contribution in 2008. I always contribute for tax year 2008 on January 1, 2008. Since you're allowed to wait until you file income taxes in 2008 to contribute for 2007, most people are still contributing for 2007, when the limit was $4000. If you can though, I'd do 2007 and 2008 ASAP.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Am I no longer a grammar stiff?

I used to be a pretty big grammar stiff - going back to when I was editor of my high school newspaper. People speaking like they do in IMs and text messages used to drive me nuts. But time heals all wounds....

I realized this when one of our client's main statistics uses "thru" as in "drive-thru". It always drove me nuts that people invented a new spelling; surely saving twelve inches of neon tubes wasn't worth looking like a moron.

So today I was writing up a slide and changed it to "through." But alas grammar just doesn't rub me the way it used to. I changed it back. Thru it is. What it is, yo.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Reason I'm Glad to Live in Texas

Here's an article on Texas' new boom - wind energy.

Supporters say Texas is ideal for wind-power development, not just because it is windy. It also has sparsely populated land for wind farms, fast-growing cities and a friendly regulatory environment for developers.

"Texas could be a model for the entire nation," said Patrick Woodson, a senior development executive with E.On, a German utility operating here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jeff's job is awesome, part of a series

I previously wrote about my friend Jeff Berens and how awesome his job is.

Today in the NYTimes, an article says his company is a shining example of economics making the world a better place. Now if the violence will just stop in Kenya so he can go back...

" Ms. Duflo, Mr. Banerjee and their colleagues have a simple, if radical, goal. They want to overhaul development aid so that more of it is spent on programs that actually make a difference. And they are trying to do so in a way that skirts the long-running ideological debate between aid groups and their critics. " 

Things I hate - driving on ice

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

What other people think I do, part of a series

From the comments section of NYTs story on Romney endorsing McCain.....

"Anyway, hope Romney does well at resuming firing people from companies in massive numbers."

This only reinforces that the "th" sound is for many foreigners

This reminds me of teaching English in Brazil, when we did "th" day. This, the, their, they......

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Railroad Expansion Page 1 Story in WSJ today

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why I love ExxonMobil right now

I think Hugo Chavez is a douche-bag, and how cool is it that Exxon Mobil is standing up to them?


investment advice

There's a simple investment move you should make now if you're invested in bonds. Shift some or all over to top quality municipal bonds.

The difference between regular bonds and muni bonds is muni bonds aren't taxable. Usually this means you get a significantly lower % return from them to compensate (since after the government takes a third of the yield a 6% bond, it's comparable to a 4% muni bond). Yet all of the chaos in the bond market means people are shunning them, and for now muni bonds are yielding nearly the same as taxable bonds. Yet the top quality ones face little chance of default. Buffett offering to guarantee them today only furthers that idea.

Moves this obvious don't come along often......

Monday, February 11, 2008

Excellent customer service experience

Wanted to share a quick story of an excellent customer service experience I had over the weekend. Last Thursday, the button on my favorite pair of Lucky Jeans fell off. It actually had pulled clear through the jeans, leaving a hole. I stared at the now separated button for awhile, wondering why that had to happen to me. I figured I was out the $80 or whatever they cost.

I tried to take them to a tailor to get the button reattached. He didn't have the equipment to do it, nor did he know anyone who did.

So I called a Lucky store at a local Dallas mall.

"Bring them in, we'll see what we can do."

I got there, gave them to the clerk, and he said, here, try these on, handing me an equivalent pair. They of course fit (Lucky carries extra long 36 inch in-seams in stock, the major reason I buy from them in the first place), and he exchanged them out (actually I had to pay an extra $14 or something since these were nicer jeans, but I was more than happy to.

As I left, I stared at my year old, heavily worn old jeans. They were the only pair I took around Latin America and the pair I wore most in Brazil. I almost expected something like a broken button to happen to them. I did not, however, expect to get them replaced basically free.....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thoughts from a fun weekend

Went to a Dallas Stars hockey game this weekend. They metal detectored everyone that came in. We don't do that in AZ to my knowledge.

Also, went to see U23D. It's a U2 concern in 3D. It's like the old red and blue glasses, but more modern and actually looks cool. And now that movie theaters have sound systems as good as a concern, it's a viable alternative to going to an actual concert. Very cool.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Welcome to Texas

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Quick change

And now at 9:30 central, Clinton is back up, 62% to 38%, on intrade.

Obama takes lead on intrade

Before the results come out tonight, Obama took the lead on my favorite indicator,, this afternoon. As of 4:30 central time, he had a 53% chance to Hillary's 47% chance.

Monday, February 04, 2008

For those keeping track.

McCain now has an 88% chance of winning according to, while the democratic race is now very close- 53% for Clinton to 48% for Obama.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cartonera turned model

I've always been fascinated by cartoneros - people who gather recyclable trash to sell for raw materials. Here's a WSJ article about one that is now a model.