Question: Will Capital One dump Alex Baldwin?

Sears, KMart latest retailers to drop Paula Deen products


Country cooking queen Paula Deen's admission last week that she had used the N-word in the past and once planned a slavery-themed wedding has caused more companies to jump ship. Sears and KMart announced Friday that they would no longer carry Paula Deen cookware or any other of her products. Target announced Thursday it was severing ties with the former TV chef, while shopping network QVC announced it was "taking a pause" in its relationship with Deen.
Alec Baldwin's ... homophobic rant


Several hours after the article was published on Thursday, in a series of poisonous tweets, the father-of-one repeatedly threatened the MailOnline reporter with violence. The 55-year-old actor has since deleted his entire Twitter account. He said: 'I'm gonna find you, you toxic little queen, and I'm gonna f*** you... up.' 'If put my foot up your f*****g a**, but I'm sure you'd dig it too much.
Update: Anderson Cooper: 'Why Does Alec Baldwin Get a Pass Using Gay Slurs?' Conservative 'Would Be Vilified'


Well Anderson, it's simple: liberals are allowed to say and do whatever they want no matter how offensive and hypocrites in the media will always give them a pass. It's like how feminist groups such as the National Organization for Women weren't at all bothered by how President Clinton treated women. Since they agreed with his politics, his sexual misdeeds were unimportant.


Upgrade of Dell Mini 9 to Ubuntu 13.04

I ordered Ubuntu 13.04 on a 16 G thumbdrive from osdisc.com. The install was straightforward and it boots up fine. But the wireless card is not working. Next: Connect directly to router with ethernet cable and try these options. Another night.

Plymouth waiting for Wal-Mart to reveal plans for vacant mall site

Plymouth waiting for Wal-Mart to reveal plans for vacant mall site


Plymouth city officials have not heard from Wal-Mart for more than eight months as residents wait anxiously for the retail giant to submit an application to build at the site of the vacant Four Seasons Mall.

In November 2010, Wal-Mart purchased the 21-acre property at the corner of Hwy. 169 and Rockford Road for $10.6 million, originally intending to demolish the half-vacant strip mall and build a 240,000-square-foot Supercenter in its place.

After facing resistance from the neighborhood and a yearlong development moratorium from the City Council, the Arkansas-based retailer has decided to take its time in submitting an application to the city.

“It’s something that’s hanging over everyone’s head,” said Council Member Ginny Black, who represents the area of Plymouth that includes Four Seasons. “People drive by [Four Seasons] all the time thinking, ‘I wonder what they’re going to do?’ … Sometimes it’s just better to know than to have all that uncertainty out there.” Black added that she was “disappointed” that Wal-Mart has gone so long without communicating with city staff and that her constituents are “overwhelmingly opposed” to the construction of a massive Wal-Mart at the Four Seasons site, although many would be amenable to a smaller store.

“Wal-Mart is continuously looking for new ways to serve its customers across the state of Minnesota. Though we have not submitted a proposal to the city of Plymouth, we are still working on plans to develop the former site of Four Seasons Mall,”

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Rachel Wall wrote in an e-mail sent through the Minneapolis-based public relations firm ­Karwoski and Courage. Wal-Mart declined to answer any follow-up questions, and Peter Coyle, a Minneapolis-based attorney who has been working for Wal-Mart on the Four Seasons site, did not respond to interview requests.
Comment: Here's my take as a Plymouth resident: Plymouth blew it by resisting development of the site.


Trailer but not Trash

See A trailer: My first home.

Click label "where I've lived" for more

My Sister found the above photo and posted it on Facebook. That's my sister, Nancy, with Mom by Mom and Dad's trailer. I was brought home to this home (the trailer) in August 1949.

I'm not sure if it was 1950 or 1951 but Dad and Mom had this home built (4029 Monroe Street, Fort Wayne)


Storm Damage and Cleanup

Twin Cities Cleaning Up From Overnight Severe Weather

We had 2 nights of high winds. A 1-2 punch. All 4 of our willows in the back yard had significant damage with many broken and downed limbs. Also we sadly lost a large spruce in the front yard. 7 men worked here from 11 a.m. until almost 6 p.m.


Dow's wild ride

See: Investing in a twitchy market


... do not be overly euphoric on market upswings or overly morose on downswings

Kim Jong Un: Stand Clear



One source says that Kim Jong Un has been ratcheting up his wild behavior in an attempt to create some sort of charisma. “One source says there have been many overt attempts to imbue Kim Jong Un with an ‘intimidating charisma,’ such as having him shout very forcefully at associates … and even throwing things at people,” says the paper’s international editor, Shirley Lee.
Comment: Kim Jong Un: Mister Popularity.

When you think "faucet", what is the first faucet that comes to mind?

Here are the major brands.
Higher end (among others) is Danze. When we redid our shower, we went with Danze. The name that comes to mind for me is Kohler (I supposed because of the Wisconsin connection and that my Father-in-Law spoke highly of them.

Bathroom remodel

Our summer project: Remodel of the downstairs bathroom.
  • Sink: From the Onyx Collection (40" x 22") (Coconut)
  • Faucet: Kohler Coralais Polished Chrome 1-Handle 4-in Centerset Bathroom Sink Faucet (Lowe's tem #: 89234 | Model #: 15598-P-CP)
  • New bathroom mirror (yet to be purchased)
  • Repaint
Comment: I ordered today from Lowe's. Looks like about 6 weeks for the counter top to arrive


Investing in Pizza

  • Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of YUM brands: Yum! Brands, Inc. or Yum! is a United States-based Fortune 500 corporation. Yum! operates or licenses Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and WingStreet restaurants worldwide.
  • None of the above interest me: Neither the stocks nor the brands. 

Dell Inspiron 910


  • Nothing irritates the wife like technology laying around doing nothing
  • Today's mini [pun] project was firing up the Dell mini 9 (aka Dell Inspiron 910)
  • Fears: Did I remember the logon name? Did I remember the password? What about the root password? I looked through notes ... no record of any of the above
  • But I did remember the logon and password ... and I foolishly (one should never do this) made the root password something very  simple that I have used elsewhere. 
  • All fired up. System updated. 
  • Only problem is the battery is dead dead dead
  • I checked the Dell site and they want $ 120 for a replacement
  • But I found one on Amazon for $ 24
  • I created a guest account (actually was there but it did not have a password set). So I set a new easily remembered (think street address) password for guest.
  • Wife will be happy
  • The Dell mini is the non-touch screen tablet. But it has a very nice keyboard.
  • It would help to have the hands of a 10 year old!


My little Avatar

To be used 70x70 on another website. Gift from a friend


Golden Age of Dividend Investing?

We Are in the ‘Golden Age of Dividends,’ Says Hersh Cohen


Are we in "the golden age of dividends"?

Hersh Cohen, who has been investing professionally for 45 years, should know - and he says it is indeed the best of times for income-seeking investors, thanks to low dividend taxes and the proven commitment of great American companies to share their cash with shareholders through higher payouts.

Cohen, co-chief investment officer of Legg Mason Inc.’s (LM) ClearBridge Investments and co-manager of ClearBridge Equity Income (SOPAX), says in the attached video: “I’ve never seen anything like the last five months” in terms of the frequency of generous dividend hikes. “Dividends have exploded to the upside.”
Comment: Image source is hybrid. Here with this special effect. Our only non-dividend paying stock is BRK-B which I bought for my wife as a birthday present.

I couldn't stop laughing

Dad is Fat

Jim Gaffigan on Dad is Fat: "My son wrote the title of this book on a dry erase board one day and it cracked me up."

I laughed at every preview page I read. Sample:

This will not be a fun day!

I've procrastinated as long as I possibly could!

Foreign Stock Investing - iShares International Select Dividend ETF

iShares International Select Dividend ETF

Comments: Another way to go with foreign stocks is to buy a bundle of them with an ETF. Link above has detailed information. Disclosure: as of today, I have a position in IDV.


Standing up for the Redskins

Roger Goodell defends Redskins name in letter to McCollum


Rep. Betty McCollum and the Congressional Native American Caucus waded into the simmering debate over the political correctness of the Washington Redskins name last month, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has told her the name is here to stay. McCollum and members of the caucus sent Goodell a letter in May asking him to consider changing the name of the Redskins, calling it "derogatory, demeaning and offensive," and a "slur akin to the N-word." The name is a source of ongoing conflict in the NFL and in Washington, and the brand is a subject of a federal trademark lawsuit. But in a June 4 letter to McCollum, Goodell said there is vast public support to keep the name, and that it was never intended to offend. Rather, the name was meant to honor Native Americans even after the franchise changed its name from the Boston Braves in 1933 (there was a baseball team of the same name. The franchise moved to Washington in 1937).
Comment: Full text of Goodell letter

Why Greece cannot fire temporary workers

'Haven of waste': Cash-strapped Greece pulls plug on state broadcaster


Athens promised its creditors this week to dismiss 4,000 civil servants this year, including 2,000 by the end of the summer and 15,000 by the end of 2014.

That may not sound daunting in a public work force of around 650,000. Yet, through more than three years of drastic budget cuts and a rapidly shrinking economy, the debt-ridden country has yet to fire a single government employee.

To understand what the government is up against, consider the case of Georgia Tsiounis and more than 10,000 other “temporary” workers.

Eight years after landing a four-month contract with the municipality of Athens to water flowers and trim trees while other workers were on vacation, she was told recently that her services would be eliminated after her latest contract ends.

Rather than meekly accepting her fate, she turned to the well-worn tactic of filing a restraining order seeking to make the job permanent. While she may well lose in court, legal analysts say, she cannot be fired while the case is pending.

Given the glacial pace of Greece’s overburdened and inefficient court system, her case and thousands more like it will not be heard for nearly two years.
Comment: Messy

China's rubber alien brings to memory the Cardiff Giant

Chinese farmer jailed for making a rubber alien


Shortly after he proudly posted photographs of his alien on the internet, he was arrested by the police for five days for "fabrications" that "disturbed the public order". Mr Li was forced to admit that he had indeed sought to use his model, held together with chicken wire and glue, to mislead his fellow Chinese about the existence of celestial creatures.
Comment: The Cardiff Giant (image below). The Chinese government has no sense of humor!

Investing in Foreign Stocks

Followup to Investing Abroad. Click through to WSJ article. What I've learned (and I am still a learner!). I only have access to United States exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ, OTC) and so if I have a foreign stock I have it via an ADR.
  • The small chart above has stocks that I either have a position in (clear rows) or would like to have a position (blue rows). The larger chart below (click to enlarge) has greater detail (PE, Yield, Withholding)
  • This WIKI article on ADR's is worthwhile. For example, DANOY is the ADR for Groupe Danone which trades as BN in Paris.
  • Some foreign stocks have withholding taxes on the dividends. This is a problem if one has the foreign stock in an IRA account as there is no provision in the US tax code to recover that tax. This is NOT a problem if one has a foreign stock in a non-tax-deferred account as the withholding tax is easily recovered when one files taxes. The foreign tax is accounted as if it is tax paid to the IRS. Very simple.



Investing Abroad

You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU... WILL... ATONE! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that... perfect world... in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.
How Much Should You Invest Abroad?


So the real question I think is: What is a non-U.S. investment? Is General Electric or Coca-Cola a U.S. investment, or is part of each company a non-U.S. investment given that such a large portion of both companies' revenues and earnings come from overseas? To date, corporate domicile has typically been the litmus test for the categorization of an investment as domestic or international. Going forward, I think it's important to pay attention to the source of revenue and profit generation, a focus which over time may shift what exactly is owned in a portfolio to generate that 30% to 40% recommended non-U.S. exposure.
Comment: I anticipate doing a followup blog post about what I view to be solid overseas investments. Video and quote above from Network

22 years later - Alleged Father's Day Bank Killer - meets "the Judge of all the earth"

James King, key figure in mystery of Denver Father's Day Massacre, dies


The man tried and acquitted in Denver's infamous "Father's Day Massacre" case has died after living a shunned existence for 21 years and recently suffering from dementia. But James King's passing has not quelled speculation about whether he got away with killing four bank guards on June 16, 1991.
Comment: More information on the crime here and here. Reference to God the Judge is from Genesis 18:25, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?". A New Testament reference would be Acts 17:31, "He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead"; Romans 2:16, "God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ"; and 1 Peter 4:5, "They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead"

"Slacker" Snowden "spills his guts"

The slacker who came in from the cold

Think you’re a loser just because you dropped out of high school and never finished the military training you began? Think you’re a dud just because you work as a security guard even though you dreamed of becoming a global savior? Well, don’t beat yourself up. You, too, can become an international super spy like Edward Snowden. Snowden, 29 and possessing all the qualifications to become a grocery bagger, instead gets hired by the National Security Agency as a security guard, after dropping out of high school and the Army.  This naturally brings him to the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency, which hires him and sends him to Geneva, Switzerland, with diplomatic cover and a high security clearance. With all that on his résumé, he gets scooped up by defense contractor colossus Booz Allen Hamilton, which assigns him to work at an NSA facility in Hawaii for a reported $200,000 per year. This allows Snowden to rent a house near the beach for him and his girlfriend.
Comment: Parallels with Catch 22

Snowden shook his head feebly. "I’m cold," he repeated, with eyes as dull and blind as stone. "I’m cold." "There, there," Yossarian, with growing doubt and trepidation. "There, there. In a little while we’ll be back on the ground and Doc Daneeka will take care of you." But Snowden kept shaking his head and pointed at last, with just the barest movement of his chin, down to his armpit. Yossarian bent forward to peer and saw a strangely colored stain seeping through the coverall just above the armhole of Snowden’s flak suit. Yossarian felt his heart stop, then pound so violently he found it difficult to breathe. Snowden was wounded inside his flak suit. Yossarian ripped open the snaps of Snowden’s flak suit and heard himself scream wildly as Snowden’s insides slithered down to the floor in a soggy pile and just kept dripping out. A chunk of flak more than three inches big had shot into his other side just underneath the arm and blasted all the way through, drawing whole mottled quarts of Snowden along with it through the gigantic hole in his ribs it made as it blasted out. Yossarian screamed a second time and squeezed both hands over his eyes. His teeth were chattering in horror. He forced himself to look again. Here was God’s plenty, all right, he thought bitterly as he stared — liver, lungs, kidneys, ribs, stomach and bits of the stewed tomatoes Snowden had eaten that day for lunch

Image Source.

Investing in "a twitchy market"

100-Point Dow Swings Are Back


For the seventh time in the past ten sessions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) is moving at least 100 points, up or down, from the previous close. The cause of the volatility is hard to pin down since it is almost equally split between rallies and sell-offs, as well as domestic and foreign worries or hopes.

Today's early jitters appear to be pegged to the fact that the uber-easy Bank of Japan held pat and did not see the need to be even looser with their devaluation efforts. Fortunately, better-than-expected Small Business Confidence has tempered the disappointment, forcing investors once again to make a buy or sell decision on a twitchy market.
Comment: Image Source. Advice:

  • Watch the market daily if one wishes. But do not be overly euphoric on market upswings or overly morose on downswings. This leads to the next point:
  • Don't invest emotionally! 
  • Schedule investments. Examples: $ 300 on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. Our schedule is weekly.
  • Spread buys. For example today we bought 5 shares of Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Our objective is to acquire 100 shares. This will take multiple weeks. By the time we have acquired 100, we will probably have 10 -15 buys over several months. 
  • Buy on fundamentals. Example. We have a high degree of confidence that SWK will pay a 2.5% dividend.
  • Follow the value investing principles of Benjamin Graham - The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel
  • Hold for a period. I expect that we will have SWK for more than 3 years.
  • Remember that Sometimes Mr. Market behaves like 'a psychotic drunk'"


Stanley Black & Decker

5 Cheap Fast-Growing Dividends


Stanley Black & Decker manufactures tools and engineered security solutions across the globe. The company was formed after The Stanley Works acquired Black & Decker Corporation in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 -- Stanley's shareholders own around 50.5% of the combined company and Black & Decker shareholders own the rest. The company's top segment is its construction and do-it-yourself unit, accounting for some 50% of revenue. This segment manufactures and markets hand tools, consumer mechanic tools, storage systems, pneumatic tools and fasteners.

The secret to Stanley's long-term growth includes investing two-thirds of its capital in acquisitions and growth, and returning the other one-third to shareholders. As well, Stanley has a diversified customer base and a presence across the world.

As for the long-term growth, the company is looking to expand into emerging markets, creating a smart-tools market, and tapping opportunities in the offshore oil and gas pipeline market. These and other initiatives are expected to contribute $800 to $900 million of annualized revenue growth and $200 million in operating income over a three-year term -- the revenue breakdown is $150 million in 2013 and $350 million each in 2014 and 2015.
Comment: Top image source ... Ebay (search for antique Stanley tools). Why we are buying Stanley: 45 years of increased dividends, known for quality, housing industry improving, DIY'ers like their tools , strong brands

Boring Holiness: Unknown Laboring .... Providing for Self and Family

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)

We have laborers at the house today (continuation from yesterday). Two younger men (one is 42, the other I gather from his HS graduation of 1994 would be about 38) are installing carpet in out lower walk-out level. I was just downstairs talking to them and asking about their business. I hope to give each a Gospel of John later today when they are finished. Image source

Over the last year I've seen some disturbing things among some who are "called" to the ministry. Here's a partial list:

  • A lack of what I would call worldly ambition to provide for ones own self and family. (1 Corinthians 7:33, "But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife.) The English word - "world" is the Greek κόσμος - that same nasty word used in 1 John 2:15, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him". For some the 1 John 2:15 truth has been driven home without the counterbalancing truth of 1 Cor 7:33. There's some pretty unexciting things in life ... like having decent brakes and tires on the car you and your wife drive. Or heat and light for the house, and paying taxes, and saving for emergencies and saving for the day when one cannot work.
  • A dependence upon others gifting to meet one's needs. Examples:
    • Not having adequate or even any medical insurance, and then when the need comes, the government has to step in or the hospital and / or Doctors have to write off or dramatically reduce the bill.
    • I recently received a prayer letter from a missionary asking for donors to pay for their adult child's education at a private (read that Bible) college. What ordinary Christian can send a letter out asking for donors to pay for their adult-child's education? None!
  • Leaving a financial mess behind. Anyone who bought a house in 2005 or 2006 is likely underwater on his mortgage. There are programs in place to help homeowners - see HASP . I am  aware of a young man "called" to (not naming the foreign place) who basically walked away and moved away from his mortgage to have the home short-sell to be free of the financial obligation.  
  • One last peeve with a introductory explanation. Last year a friend from church explored a mission field in South America. We contributed a small amount (as I recollect $ 100) to help them finance their trip. As it turned out, after examining the field, the husband and wife decided it was not the Lord's leading. This couple is in their mid-thirties. I have no regret helping in a minor way to pay for their trip. We've done this a handful of other times as well: a couple visiting Brazil, a single woman spending nearly a year in Israel, et cetera. In all of these cases the persons had some sort of Bible college or seminary training. They were honest seekers of the Lord's will and we helped out in a minor way. My peeve is with teens asking for money for this summer ministry or the next. Every May or June we receive a handful of such requests. Here's my questions: if you knew you wanted to do this, why didn't you work for a year babysitting, shoveling snow, mowing grass, et cetera to earn one's own way? I would think that a teen could easily earn $ 2,000 in a year for a summer trip. That's how we did it in my youth! Frankly just eschewing a smart-phone for a year would enable one to save enough for such a trip. And then I am peeved about the teen missionary burden for evangelizing youth in Jamaica, New York state, Mexico, or France. Are there no lost young people in Robbinsdale, Elk River, Rockford or Plymouth? I mean why does a teen need to fly half way across the country or to another country to evangelize?!
There is a boring, quiet, nose-to-the-grindstone Christianity and it is often ignored and not celebrated or honored. It is the quiet life of glorifying God by working and earning - paying bills and giving to the Lord's work while providing for self so one is not a burden upon society.


DNA swabs will cripple Law and Order ... hourlong shows become eight-minute Webisodes

In DNA Ruling, a Cruel Blow to Scriptwriters

Here is the plot of a generic hourlong police/court drama in the mold of “Law & Order” and its imitators from any time in the last two decades:

¶Minute 1: A crime is committed.

¶Minutes 2-5: An obvious suspect is detained.

¶Minutes 6-55: The suspect’s lawyer and the authorities do a lengthy dance over DNA evidence collection and admissibility, which eventually results in the discovery of a previous offense.

¶Minutes 56-60: The suspect either is convicted of the new crime or he turns out to be a red herring, whereupon a minor character is revealed to be the culprit.

If the real-life police are now taking cheek swabs and matching suspects to a database only seconds after they are initially detained, those hourlong shows become eight-minute Webisodes, and a lot of writers and actors are out of work. The Supreme Court has not merely changed the rules of crime-fighting; it has changed the rules of television.
Comment: That would the the original cast in the image above!


"A desire named streetcar" - the latest urban planning fad

Bringing streetcars to Minneapolis: Some perplexing twists and turns


Minneapolis is not alone in what Finance & Commerce, the local business daily, called "a desire named streetcar." Atlanta, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Washington, D.C., among others, have either started operating a system recently or are in the process of getting one launched. Even pipsqueak Missoula, Mont., (population 67,000) has one under consideration. The revival has come partly at the behest of the federal government. In 2009, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pledged $280 million for urban-transit projects, such as streetcars, and the Department of Transportation has been doling out millions ever since.

There is a contention floating about — mainly from Randal O'Toole of the right-leaning Cato Institute — that streetcars are just the latest urban planning fad designed to benefit engineering and construction companies.

... Another looming question is: Who will pay for operating and maintaining the line?
Comment: See also Minneapolis Advances Streetcar System Plan and A train linking Minneapolis and St. Paul? We had that scoop in 1984. Perhaps they could fund them with Pull-Tabs!?