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  • What's Going On? [View article]
    I had to do an upgrade going from London back home following a heart attack there and being advised that I should make certain I had lots of room to roam around and stretch during the flight.

    I didn't recall being warned against alcohol consumption, so my wife and I definitely tried to whittle down the extra costs of the seats with in kind items. It's amazing how you can get someone who doesn't generally drink to do so when they feel a need to get their money's worth.
    Mar 29, 2015. 01:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    11 Heinekens on a flight? I hope you were flying from someplace like Capetown, South Africa and the first class upgrade included unlimited bathroom privileges.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:27 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    The Macys CEO, who initially had altered guidance to reflect increased spending had the most pragmatic explanation of why they weren't seeing any increased spending.

    He said that all economists kept focusing on the $750/yr savings per family and it seemed like a lot. But for the people actually paying less for gas that $750 doesn't all come at once like it did for a Bush era tax rebate, which definitely spurred spending. Instead it came at $50-60/month and people were unsure f it would even come again the following month.

    That's not the kind of thing to send people on spending sprees. Instead the money just went into checking accounts.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:24 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    We went to Costco yesterday and used the annual rebate to pay for items. Because it didn't feel like real cash we probably splurged a little bit.

    Still, I love the feeling of having a really obscenely large grocery bill and walking out of the place with much more cash in my hands than I had when I walked in. I love the idea that they don't electronically retain the unused part as a credit and pay it out.

    I'll miss that in 2017.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]

    In the case of a buy/write, the 1% is a net figure that would include the premium, any dividend and and capital gain or loss on the shares themselves.

    For put sales it is only the premium that's considered.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    GPS is scheduled to report their same store sales after the market closes on Thursday of the ex-dividend week.

    FOr the existing shares of GPS that have a $42.50 4/10 expiration, I may need to consider rolling over this Thursday in order to keep the dividend.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    In hindsight you're right.

    While economists believed that there would be more consumer spending as a result of the lowering of energy prices you could probably make an argument that an ivory tower doesn't necessarily give you a good view of what's going on well below. However, even those in the trenches, the more pragmatic CEOs of retailers, who have only liability associated with giving optimistic guidance, also believed that there would be a palpable growth in consumer spending.

    The increase in personal savings and debt repayment was validated a couple of months ago, so the mystery has already been solved.
    Mar 29, 2015. 09:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]

    I usually hate re-reading what I've written in the past. That goes all the way back to early publications from 30 years ago until last week. It's amazing how perspective changes, not just on content, but on style, as well.
    Mar 28, 2015. 06:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    Thank you.

    That's an interesting observation. Huawei has certainly not been a stranger to controversy regarding intellectual property and security concerns. Cisco would definitely have something to say about those issues.

    I'm certain that we're not entirely without guilt when it comes to cyber-espionage activities but it might be interesting to see how a possible Intel - Altera connection is viewed by the Chinese government.
    Mar 28, 2015. 05:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    What chill effect on future song writers?

    It has been about 40 years since George Harrison lost a very well publicized case over the song My Sweet Lord."

    Can you point to how that case has had a chill effect on song writers? Seems like there's been quite a bit of activity since then. I don't think anyone has been convinced to not write a song as a result of that case.

    A plagiarist doesn't necessarily try to hide the fact he plagiarized. He simply either tries to get away with it or hopes that the reward will be greater than the liability. The liability for plagiarizing a Marvin Gaye song is far less than the accumulated benefit from additional concert venues being created, advertising, products sold, etc... all made possible from having had a monster hit like Blurred Lines. None of those benefits accrue to the estate of Marvin Gaye.

    Now, as far as suggesting that my writing style is familiar, the burden of proof is yours. It would probably help if you could show that I was an incredibly well read individual who admired or was influenced by the writings of others.

    But in fact I'm quite shallow and very poorly versed in literature, so good luck with that.
    Mar 28, 2015. 04:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    I was going to add UAL back on the list for this week again until seeing Friday's rise, but it's still in play, especially if things heat up a little bit in Yemen.

    What is going to drive the price of AMEX higher is their cost cutting. Ultimately with all the talk about top line and bottom line all anyone really cares about is bottom line and their revenues aren't going to begin to fall due to the COSTCO pullout until 2016. In the meantime they've already instituted rate increases and cutbacks.

    I have a friend whose favorite is the same AMEX *wood and when we travel together you know where we stay. I have actually loved the COSTCO card, mostly because of the way it rewarded travelers. I spent 7 years flying twice a week and they rewarded travel and dining at 2 and 3%. Those really added up.
    Mar 28, 2015. 04:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    Thank you Stock Exchange (if that is your real name)
    Mar 28, 2015. 04:12 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    How did they impoverish collective culture? Blurred Lines was still released and has made its impact on culture. That will never change, although the opinions held regarding Pharrell and Thicke may be changed, but that is irrelevant to the advancement of our collective culture.

    Additionally, lyricists and musicians will continue to either be influenced or heavily borrow from the past, sometimes getting called out for their plagiarism and sometimes not. It does nothing to diminish the advancement of culture. All these legal actions do is to re-distribute the gains. No one will be discouraged from putting their own spin on words, chords or sounds by virtue of this particular legal decision.

    It is very difficult to believe that somewhere in the process of writing and producing a song someone didn't stop and say "hey, that sounds familiar. Where do I know that from?" The reality is that the rewards of plagiarism exceed the risks in the musical industry and overlooking the obvious is standard.
    Mar 28, 2015. 12:27 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]
    Absolutely. There's no real evidence of true fear, but by the same token there's no evidence of true unrestrained greed. They usually go hand in hand.
    Mar 28, 2015. 12:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What's Going On? [View article]

    I was talking directly to you.

    No, she doesn't, but my mother used to make peanut butter and jello sandwiches, but she was more of a Dondi fan than Blondie.
    Mar 28, 2015. 11:42 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment