January, 2006 Archives

I planned on not watching tonight’s State of the Union. I’ve determined that it’s bad for my health to watch the president speak (since it’s usually less than enlightening). Yahoo News tells me, though, that we may be hearing some sense on the energy front tonight, which almost makes me want to watch. I’m sure I’ll be disappointed, and I won’t be surprised about that, but it probably beats what I had planned to do, reading de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Twenty-first century it is.

Fun: Going out to a restaurant with friends, getting a cool little private “room”, having good food and lots of laughs.

Fun: Heading to Providence for some drinks, good beer, more friends, more laughs.

Not so fun: Coming back to your car parked on Fountain Street and finding the window smashed to pieces. Bunch of savages in this town.

Fun and Not So Fun

Dilbert creator Scott Adams has a great blog that I enjoy reading. This morning we find out that yesterday’s Dilbert strip was sent to the papers with two different end panels, one potentially more risqué than the other. If you’re wondering which one the Providence Journal ran (and can’t guess from this post’s title), it was the “safer” ending. Check out the Dilbert blog to see what you missed.

I’m curious as to who at the Journal makes a choice on this sort of thing, and why. Maybe the decision came from the corporate masters in Texas, which might explain a lot of things

(and just in case you don’t remember ever seeing Dilbert in the ProJo, the strip appears inside the Business section. I didn’t know this for a long time)

UPDATE, later this day:

I got an email from someone at the Journal who tells me that all erring is done on the side of “family friendliness.” After all, we must think of the children! BeloCorp out in Texas has no say on content. This seems right to me, but not nearly as fun as I imagined: Mr. Burns, Dr. Hibbert, Crazy Texas Oil Guy and Dracula sitting around a big table, accelerating global warming and censoring Dilbert cartoons…

Prudish ProJo?

I like to do my taxes as early as possible if I can help it, being poor has the benefit of getting most of your federal contributions back from the guv’mint. This year I bought Tax Cut Deluxe from Best Buy (mostly because I got a free wireless mouse with it), collected my various 1099s and W2s and set to work. My federal return was done in about 20 minutes (and looks like I’m getting a new 60 gig iPod!), but then it was time to do the state return. I chose Rhode Island from the menu and clicked next, where I encountered probably the worst approximation of the state of RI I have ever seen:

blob island!

I’d have to say this is even worse than the Off Track Bedding commercial (you know the one. Damn you Roanne!!) Now this stupid blob means I’ll forget to do my state return and end up at the Providence post office at 11:30 again this year

The Taxman Cometh

Have you seen those house flipping shows on HGTV and TLC? The ones where idiots who don’t know a saw from a hammer but have $500,000 burning a hole in their pocket go buy a house, renovate, then sell it for a hefty profit?

Have you heard of Hurrican Katrina, and the city formerly known as New Orleans?

Have you ever wished there was some sort of “web log” combining the aforementioned two subjects? Well your friend Ultra Laser has come through for you, chronicling his adventures in babysitting real estate. Or, as he puts it, “An intimate look at a post-Katrina house flipping startup in New Orleans“.

I’m really excited about this, and if I had anything close to the ability to get a mortgage (which I don’t, no thanks to all the people who refuse to visit bil.com and click on my ads…), I’d be right there with him. Go check it out.

This Mold House

One of the neat things about living in the Biggest Little is the relative frequency you can run into your various elected officials a few times a year (alright, this is an extremely lame thing to be saying, I’m realizing as I type this). I think it’s cool to see Jack Reed at the same restaurant as you, or to maybe see Patrick Kennedy push around airport employees in person. It really reminds you they’re real people.

For instance, Congressman Langevin was two rows in front of me at Trinity’s Christmas Carol two weeks ago (why does he get the good seat when I have to trudge up a bunch of stairs?! Oh, wait…) The week before that I was at the market* and there’s Linc Chafee buying some groceries. I came thisclose to warning him about the space invaders who apparently do Steve Laffey’s bidding, but I wasn’t sure if that’s the kind of thing you say to your Senator when he’s in the check-out line.

I’m still waiting for people to come up to me at the market and say “Are you Bil Herron? I used to love your website before you completely abandoned it!” So, don’t be embarrassed if you see me on one of those rare occassions I leave the house.

So it’s 2006 (Happy New Year, by the way!), and if you’re interested in some stock picks I suggest you buy Apple Computer now. This pick is roughly as credible as one that might show up in your email, so I make no guarantees. Here’s my reasoning, though:

I’ve never owned a Mac, but in the winter of 2002 I reeeeaally wanted one of those sweet new iPods. So I bought charged a 10 gig model and I’m still using it today. Meanwhile, the iPod has single handedly catapulted Apple back to relevance. And if you bought some shares back then, you’d have a tidy 200% profit today.

And I still don’t have a Mac.

But I will soon. Before the end of this month, I’ll have a newly released (hopefully) Mac Mini. So if you believe, as I do, that your good friend Bil is a bellweather of Apple hits, you’ll snap up some of those $75 shares, sure to be worth $225 by X-mas 2008. Too bad I can’t figure out how to buy stock…

A Cry for Stock Tips