Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phils win! Phils win!


In case you haven't heard, my hometown Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series. I didn't grow up a Phillies fan (I rooted for the Big Red Machine of the Cincinnati Reds), but the Phillies grew on me after I moved out of the area.

After moving, the Phillies became not just a reminder of many pleasant baseball memories from growing up in the Philadelphia area, but also a metaphor for all that is great about Philadelphia - namely passion, dedication, and some fantastic people, like Richie Ashburn, Harry Kalas, Tug McGraw, Aaron Rowand, and everyone on the 2008 team.

Even from 250 miles away like I am now, I am very happy for the city of Philadelphia, and I smile knowing just what the Phillies win means to the approximately 3 million people living in the Philadelphia area.

I'm also smiling knowing that it was baseball that was responsible for all of the joy in Philadelphia. Just look at the highlights of Game 5 (below), and you can see in the players, fans, and coaches that baseball generates more and deeper emotions than any other sport. It is one more reason that baseball is special.

Congrats Phils!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stupid/brilliant investment move

Warren Buffet has some great guidance on stock investing: "Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful."

I'm pretty sure that the bank crisis is overstated, or, at least financial stocks are oversold. There will surely be more carnage like Bear Stearns, but I think there's a few companies with broad enough financial bases that with time will bounce back.

With that in mind, last week I took some fun money and invested it in extremely risky bank securities. I bought Jan 2010 LEAPs on Bank of America and AIG. My total investment in each is less than $750, but because of the nature of the options, I control 400 shares of stock in the two companies(total).

(Specifically, the Bank of America LEAPs (-WBAAA) have a strike price of $27.50. The options cost me $7.41 to buy, while BoA shares trade at $23.24. So, I win if BoA reaches $35/share by January, 2010. That would require a 50% increase in BoA's stock price, but consider that BoA was trading at $35 earlier this month, and was $50 a year ago.

I'm not sure if these specific investments will pay off. (They sure haven't yet, as they're already down 50% and 36%, respectively), but I intend to make a few more buys like this through the end of the year. My next purchases will be an S&P500 index, and a bank stock index.

I'm inspired to do this by two things:

1) the stories of folks who bought securities at the bottom of the Great Depression for pennies on the dollar. These turned out to be very prudent investments.

2) knowledge that while economic conditions are temporarily not favorable in America (and worse so in Europe), there are emerging markets where demand is increasing as locals escape poverty or climb the economic ladder. Whereas demand slumped worldwide during the Great Depression, there is no stopping the growth of the middle class in China. (For example.)

Plus, the American economy is still a good long term "buy and hold" opportunity. But don't take my word on it. Listen to Warren Buffet, who is buying.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I'm up in the Baltimore area to play in a baseball tournament this
weekend, but what to do at night?
You go to the ESPNZone in Baltimore to watch playoff baseball (go
Rays!) and college football at the same time!
Here's the view from my seat: 18 tv screens, including a 16ft big

Monday, October 06, 2008

Key Genomics in the news!

Here's the official press release detailing our partnership with Transgenomic:

Transgenomic Announces Partnership With Key Genomics for Ovarian Cancer Assay to Guide Therapeutic Options

More to come!

What's your attitude towards socialism?

Investor's Business Daily polled ~850 Americans on 3 questions to gauge attitudes towards socialism:

1) Are you willing to pay higher taxes to support more social programs?
2) Should government own or control key industries such as health care of energy?
3) Do you agree that it is government's role to redistribute wealth and income?

Poll results are sliced by age, sex, income, and political affiliation. Take a look at the results here.

Frankly, I'm disturbed by the results - even with socialism in the minority, I was concerned at some of the levels of response. I also wonder if our politicians are getting the point of this poll - that by and large, voters DON'T want more taxes, more government programs, or programmed wealth distribution. Are you listening, Dave Norris? (Charlottesville mayor.) How about you, Barack?

Cool stuff to share

Here's a collection of things worth a visit:

There's some guys tracking pitch-by-pitch baseball flight data. They're using the data to diagnosis pitching injuries. Here's an example:

My favorite politician, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, writing about the bailout. I won't give it away, but it's a point of view not being heard enough during the financial crisis. Well said, Governor!

And finally, here's my favorite political humorist, P.J. O'Rourke, with the graduation speech that he'd give. Here's the condensed version of his wisdom:

1. Go out and make a bunch of money!
2. Don't be an idealist!
3. Get politically uninvolved!
4. Forget about fairness!
5. Be a religious extremist!
6. Don't listen to your elders!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cool flying stuff

A selection of cool aviation pictures:

Whoah! Here's a picture of an F-16 pilot ejecting a second before impact (and out of danger to the 60,000 people attending the airshow.) I don't know what's more amazing, though - the pilot's escape, or the fact that someone perfectly captured the image. (image via the Flight Image of the Day blog.)

Check out this graphical representation of world aviation flow in one day. (via The Economist).

Finally, someone has turned a 747 into a hotel. Located near the Amsterdam airport, I'd definitely stay there, except for the fact that I think Amsterdam is a stinkhole, and I hope to never spend time there again.

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous