Monday, June 20, 2011

Opening the Door

It is interesting to watch and observe family members, colleagues, associates, and students begin their journey into the world of the internet. Today with cloud computing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (overrated), YouTube, Smartphones, Tablets, many people who thought they would never spend time on the internet are beginning their travels into the social networking world.

What they are soon learning is that it becomes quite time consuming and mundane. The daily tasks of updating followers, cleaning up messages, keeping weird stalkers out, reading ridiculous postings, and reading interesting postings becomes one big hassle.

So beware present and future social networkers, when you open that door to the internet it is not all that it seems.

WELCOME TO CLAREMONT – with summer approaching we begin to have new neighbors arriving in Claremont, California. For our new residents of this fair city we welcome you and pass along some key points of interest.

Best Cosmo – Tutti Mangia, 102 Harvard

Best Pizza – Pizza N’ Such, 202 Yale

Best Place To Get a Traffic Ticket – Towne Avenue just south of the 210 Freeway

Best Breakfast – Roady’s, 160 West Bonita, San Dimas

Best Road To Avoid – Arrow Highway, yuk

Best Club – Claremont Tennis Club, great pool and spa

Best Sports Bar – Heroes, 131 Yale, used to be much better but still a good place to have a good beer and watch a game

Best Bartender – Phil, Tutti Mangia

Best Park - Johnson's Pasture

Best Restaurant – Sorry Claremont, you have to go to Pasadena where it is a tie between Parkway Grill (510 S. Arroyo) and Smitty’s (110 S. Lake)

QUESTION OF THE WEEK - Comes from The Atlantic's Derek Thompson: "When your household gets a credit card bill, do you: (a) Convene the entire family to vote on paying it off (b) Threaten not to pay unless you get special remote control privileges for the week (c) Pay the damn bill. If you answered something other than (c), you should probably explore your financial and familial relationships with a professional ... But think about how the federal government deals with debt. Our legislators pass laws. They incur debt. They get the bill. And then, against all reason, they vote on it."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Billy Casper (80), Beth Elmore …famous #3, Mick Fleetwood (69), John Goodman (59), Pete Hamill (76), Don Henley (64), Juli Inkster (51), Derek Jeter (37), Nicole Kidman (44), Mike Myers (48), Carly Simon (66).

U.S. OPEN GOLF PICKS – we liked Steve Stricker (T19), Phil Mickelson (T54) and Lee Westwood (T3) this year at Congressional. Rory McIlroy wins the $1.2 million first prize in record fashion.

GDP PREGAME: HOW LOW WILL IT GO? - The Fed statement and presser went pretty much as expected (no new bond buying; continued zero rates; no balance sheet shrinkage; inflation a concern but not a mortal threat). Today's initial read on first quarter GDP is a bit more of a wild card. Most expect a winter-weather driven slowdown to sub-two percent growth. But the question is how low it will go. Some at the highest levels of government expect the number could be as low as 1.2 percent or so, which might come as an unwelcome surprise to increasingly anxious consumers.

Of course these officials could also be trying to push down expectations and set up a solid beat that helps reverse the darkening mood. Whatever the case, a 1.2 percent or 1.3 percent GDP growth figure would not mean much on its own. But if it causes consumers to get even more worried it could help knock back what is expected to be 3 percent-plus growth the rest of the year. The GDP number this morning comes alongside initial jobless claims. If that figure is above 400,000 and GDP is around 1 percent that would be ... not so good.

THE ROYALS : "William and Kate to live in Diana palace" - AFP/London: "Prince William and new bride Catherine will within the coming months move into Kensington Palace, the London residence once shared by the prince and his late mother Diana, St James's Palace said Sunday. The newly-titled Duke of Cambridge and his brother Prince Harry lived in the palace after Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996, but the newlywed couple will move into a different property within the grounds. A spokesman from St James's Palace said: ... 'A number of options for longer term solutions are still being considered. The couple's main home will continue to be their house on Anglesey, and their Household Office will continue to be based at St James's Palace' ... The duke and duchess currently live on the north Wales island of Anglesey, where the prince works as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot."

UNDERWATER - Almost 40% of homeowners who took out second mortgages—extracting cash from their residences to cover everything from vacations to medical bills—are underwater on their loans, more than twice the rate of owners who didn't take out such loans.

The finding, in a report released by real-estate data firm CoreLogic Inc., illustrates the consequences of easy borrowing amid the housing boom's inflated prices. The report says 38% of borrowers who took cash out of their residences using home-equity loans are underwater, or owe more than their home is worth. By contrast, 18% of borrowers who don't have these loans were underwater.

It's not clear how much cash withdrawn from homes during the boom was used to acquire luxuries such as expensive automobiles, and how much went to basic necessities, including tuition expenses, or renovations intended to raise a property's value.

LIVING HISTORY : Six months ago, Dec. 17, a frustrated Tunisian fruit vendor torched himself in an act of protest that's credited with igniting the Arab Spring. So in six months, we have lived through Mubarak's abdication (Feb. 11), uprisings in Syria and Yemen, the Japanese earthquake (March 11), allies striking Libya (March 19), and the death of bin Laden (May 1). Plus the shooting of Rep. Giffords (Jan. 8); the royal wedding (April 29); repeal of "don't ask, don't tell"; a threatened government shutdown; Alabama and Missouri tornado tragedies; Moody's downgrading U.S. credit (June 2); a new tech bubble; a sharp hiring slowdown (announced June 3); and the resignation of Anthony Weiner.

BREAKING: EUROPE DELAYS GREEK DECISION - Reuters: Luxembourg/Athens: "Euro zone finance ministers postponed a final decision on extending 12 billion euros ($17 billion) in emergency loans to Greece, saying Athens would first have to introduce harsh austerity measures. The ministers said they expected the money, the next tranche in a 110 billion euro bailout of Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, to be paid by mid-July. Greece has said it needs the loans by then to avoid defaulting on its debt. ... "In a statement issued after a seven-hour meeting in Luxembourg that ended in the early hours of Monday morning, the ministers also announced they would put together a second bailout of Greece, which missed debt targets in the first rescue plan by big margins. The new plan, to be outlined by early July, will include more official loans and, for the first time, a contribution by private investors"

Note: this will happen in Ireland, Portugal and California.

WORDS OF THE MONTH

sojourn \SOH-juhrn; so-JURN\, intransitive verb:
1. To stay as a temporary resident; to dwell for a time.

noun:
1. A temporary stay.

“Yet he is now an accomplished student and speaker of English, a literary editor and television producer, someone who has sojourned in Paris and in his spare time is an Associate Vice President of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations.”

pareja, noun
partner; couple

Pareja is a word that people commonly use to talk about a person who is in a relationship, particularly if they don’t want to specify whether they’re married or not.

“Nos present√≥ a su pareja”.
She introduced us to her partner.

Next week, our monthly finance/economy snapshot.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA

June 20, 2011
#II-8

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