Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deja Vu

Deja Vu for me, anyway, having had the bitter experience of losing money investing in alternative energy way back in something like 1976 or so. A rare article [they were rare back then too] is sadly doing reality checks.

Some highlights:

"[In Spain]... soaring electricity prices forced other businesses to cut 2.2 jobs for every "green" job created... Spain's unemployment rate is now 17% and rising."

"... turbines that Downing Street intends to install over the next decade will be manufactured — not in Britain, but in Germany, Denmark and China, where coal still powers steel mills and factories."

"Austin's GreenChoice program cannot find buyers for electricity generated entirely from wind and solar power. After seven months, 99% of its most recent electricity offering remains unsold, as Austin's renewable electricity now costs three times more than standard electricity."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Open Letter to the Beer Activist

His blog is one of the links you see in "other blogs".


Great blog, enjoy keeping up with it!

The "Activist" part of your blog name keeps attracting my attention. I have a little story to tell you, and you have to let me know if I am crazy.

I no longer drink very much of Old Dominion's products. I am not thrilled with the idea of the current owners, yet I was willing to stick with one of my favorite breweries anyway. But something happened that I can find absolutely no one talking about (could be I am just missing such talk of course).

An impressive percentage of my microbrew consumption outside of the home occurs at a couple of local "Hard Times" restaurants. And one of my pretty reliable choices was the "Hard Times Select", chosen by that restaurant chain to be their House Beer. It was acknowledged to be a product of Old Dominion's, and was pretty well known to just be the Old Dominion Lager relabeled. Well, indeed just after the change of ownership at Old Dominion I went into Hard Times, chose the Hard Times Select and (I want to assure you uninfluenced by any suspicions, it was the last thing on my mind) and I find myself tasting a beer that just screamed that it was exactly the kind of beer I don't like. I started complaining to the bartender that the brew had changed, that it was more like a "Bud Light" than anything. The barkeep seemed to know nothing about any change. I was furious with the restaurant, thinking they had chosen some light beer to replace the Dominion Lager, which at last check still claimed to be brewed the same way as always.

A few weeks after this, I brought some beer to a gathering, and some of it was Old Dominion Lager. To my surprise, one of the other guys started saying the beer wasn't worth drinking. He was familiar with it and thought I had picked up a bad batch. I tried one, and sure enough it was another batch seeming that it wanted to imitate Bud Light.

Of course now a light was coming on. It wasn't Hard Times that changed but the brewery, I was now thinking. I went to a beer store and picked up some more with the same result. And have tried since with the same result. The beer has changed! Unacknowledged by the brewery. This to me is outrageous!

I want to emphasize that my discovery was not being influenced by any suspicion, in fact I was unwilling to believe such a thing would be underfoot unless I would have heard about it. In the meantime I have held off writing to anyone about it, hoping to run into a friend who had saved some old bottles of the Old D. Lager so that the new and the old could be directly compared. No such luck.

This means, of course, that for me to assert this to someone relies on that person being able to remember what the old brew was like. I was really hoping to find some blogs talking about this surreptitious change. I can hardly be sure I haven't missed such, but did a Google blog search just now with no luck. Quite the opposite, for example:


And that search brought op a beer activist posting of yours, talking about the move to Dover. No mention of the dastardly recipe change for the Lager.

Well, you'll have to tell me if I am crazy. If this is the first you've heard of it, it probably means I am. Nonetheless, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't try to reach *somebody* I respect and demand to know "say it ain't so", say those brewers wouldn't do such a despicable thing. Old Dominion Lager, the fine and admirable Dortmunder style, changed into Bud Light and nobody notices!!

I am only recently up to date about the move to Dover. To me this only means I feel very little allegiance as far as "local brewery" goes, and if I am right about this let's CALL THEM OUT.

Thanks in advance for your consideration,
Carl Williams
Arlington, VA

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Breaking New Ground

First line in both Senate and House versions of current Health Reform proposals gives me a problem:

"Require all individuals to have health insurance."

Unconstitutional IMO. Would be only thing of its kind I can think of.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stumbling Across Things Disturbing

I find it slightly disturbing that this could have been a comet?

I added the image in case the link doesnt always work.

text says:

Photos From the Final Frontier

The recently refurbished Hubble Space Telescope is back and apparently better than ever. NASA scientists interrupted the final testing and adjustments of the telescope to release the first photos from Hubble since its upgrade in May. The photo shown here captures the mark on Jupiter thought to have been made recently by a comet or meteoroid. This photo, taken July 23, was snapped with the telescope's new camera, the Wide Field Camera 3.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lenny Dykstra as Investing Genius Part II

My observation that funds that are able to produce fantastic profits are in fact based on leverage in some manner is holding up. Another such story now with Dykstra.

Some highlights:

'[Dykstra's method] is nothing but a leveraged bet on the market, even if you only select the most conservative, well-managed companies. If the market goes down 30%, you're broke. If it goes up 30%, you're rich."

"Dykstra has claimed that his system had picked 99 winners to just 1 loser, but ... Dykstra was sitting with lots of potential money-losers that he wasn't counting as bad bets-sort of like not adding up the losses on stocks you've purchased unless you sell them."

"He ... stiffed his mother for $23,000 after using her card."

"These kinds of stories don't occur occasionally or cyclically, but are ever-present. Even as Lenny crashes into bankruptcy and our financial system struggles to recover from the bubble, some people right now are eagerly buying into the next set of implausible stories ... No amount of new regulation or oversight will protect them, because there's no legislating against gullibility and the apparently overwhelming desire for a quick score."

The Daily Show was able to blast Cramer, showing a video of him praising Dykstra as being brilliant. I think there was a business association with Cramer and Dykstra, actually.