Monday, December 15, 2014
The Holiday Party
Some random notes of holiday parties I have attending thus far this holiday season.
There is always one holiday party where the dreaded “it’s him” is in attendance. You know the fellow; creepy grin, always a black shirt, dyed hair, AND he is always wrong. No matter what the topic this fellow is never right! How he keeps his job and survives in this world is one of the great mysteries of my life. I always ask him who he likes to win in a game and always bet the opposite. I always win.
Then there is the fellow worker who still believes it is 1966, with the husband who looks like a well-worn rock star. The fashion police would have a field day with this couple.
Another holiday party tradition is always the person who mispronounces your name, even though you have known them for over fifteen years. Also, don’t forget the standard end of conversation sentence: “I will call you for lunch, we will get together.” Oh if I had a dollar for every one of those lines, Warren Buffett here I come.
The Holiday Party food – is it written somewhere that we have to have some unrecognizable party treat that tastes like an oily rag. I would give up Democratic politics for a few corndogs and pizza as the holiday faire.
Finally, why must people who see each other for eight hours every day for 50 weeks a year sit and talk together at a holiday party. What the hell do they have to talk about! How about conversing with people who they never see or come in contact with on a regular basis?
One last holiday party tradition, the annual family get-together: I guess it takes us a year to forget how dysfunctional ones’ family is, because we get right back into it around holiday time. The Uncle with the toupee, the cousin who drives a Mercedes but never has a job, sister’s new boyfriend who always has bad teeth, and the grandparent who now travels exclusively with a dog (or I think it is a dog), ah yes the family holiday party.
Where did I put my psychiatrist’s phone number???
MOVIES TO SEE THIS HOLIDAY –
Interstellar - Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Birdman - A fading actor (Michael Keaton) best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuild his career, and reconnect with friends and family prove more difficult than expected. Lindsay Duncan, Zach Galifianakis, and Edward Norton co-star in this black comedy from Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Whiplash - Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.
Gone Girl - With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.
TIME Person of the Year, “The Ebola Fighters” -- The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time’s 2014 Person of the Year.” http://ti.me/1yxi0oC
See the five covers: http://ti.me/12Krqz5
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - California Gov. Jerry Brown, state legislature study ways to avoid UC, Cal State tuition hikes. Los Angeles Times: http://lat.ms/1BAMpn9
FAMILY DEBT KEEPS DROPPING — U.S. families’ debt burdens have settled at their lowest level in over a decade, putting the economy on a stronger footing relative to global rivals going into 2015. With home values rising, Americans are beginning to borrow more, a development that could help lift spending and juice the U.S. economy. Total U.S. household debt, when measured as a share of disposable income, has fallen from a peak of 135 percent in late 2007 to 108 percent this year through September … That’s the lowest sustained level since early 2003 and far below levels among households in Britain, Canada and Japan.
Americans’ healthier balance sheets, along with falling unemployment and cheaper gasoline, could boost consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic output. Economists say the progress U.S. households have made in reducing their debt burdens — either by paying off debt or just defaulting on loans — is a key reason why the U.S. is now outperforming much of Europe and Japan. While defaults and bankruptcies are painful and hurt consumers’ credit histories, they also speed up the process of repairing household finances.
THE DECLINE OF WORK — Working, in America, is in decline. The share of prime-age men — those 25 to 54 years old — who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s, to 16 percent. More recently, since the turn of the century, the share of women without paying jobs has been rising, too. The United States, which had one of the highest employment rates among developed nations as recently as 2000, has fallen toward the bottom of the list. … Many men, in particular, have decided that low-wage work will not improve their lives, in part because deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working.
These changes include the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment. At the same time, it has become harder for men to find higher-paying jobs. Foreign competition and technological advances have eliminated many of the jobs in which high school graduates … once could earn $40 an hour, or more.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Chris Evert (60), Jane Fonda (77), Don Johnson (65), Al Kaline (80), Ray Liotta (60), Karrie Webb (40).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – The Bowl season now begins, 39 games to bring the true meaning of the holiday season to your HD flat screen. Saturday 12/20, 3:30 PM ET, ABC: the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, #22 Utah Utes (8-4) vs. Colorado State Marijuanas (10-2). We like the Utes over the Marijuana’s 35 – 28. Season to date (9-7)
SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – D-III Playoffs, Finals: The Alonzo Stagg Bowl - #1 University of Wisconsin Whitewater Warhawks (14-0) vs. #3 Mount Union University Purple Raiders (14-0). It won’t be close Mount Union 42 Warhawks 24. Season to date (7-7)
NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/21, 8:30 PM ET, NBC; Seattle Seahawks (10-4) at Arizona Cardinals (11-3), the battle for the NFC West, Hawks beat the Cardinals 21 – 17. Season to date (10-5)
THE SWAMI’S WEEK TOP PICKS –
(NFL, Dec. 21) Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) 17 at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) 28.
(NHL, Dec. 20) Tampa Bay Lightning (19-9-3) 3 at New York Islander (20-10-0) 2
Season to date (76 - 65)
MARKET WEEK - Born in March 2009, today’s bull market is the fourth longest in history -- and it isn’t about to end, despite last week’s shellacking. That’s the word from Wall Street’s top strategists, who expect the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index to rise 10% in 2015.
DRIVING THE WEEK – Senate back to take up the nominations freed up by Sen. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee’s (unsuccessful) gambit to try to slow the cromnibus and get a symbolic vote on Obama’s immigration moves (which failed badly) … President Obama today heads to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey “to deliver remarks expressing gratitude to the troops for their service and sacrifice” … Industrial production today at 9:15 a.m. expected to grow by 0.7% with capacity use at 79.4% … NAHB housing index today at 10:00 a.m. expected to rise to 59 from 58 … Consumer prices on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. expected to drop 0.1% headline and rise 0.1% core … FOMC announcement at 2:00 p.m. expected to feature removal of “considerable time” language in statement on how long rates will stay below zero after QE fully rolls off … Yellen presser at 2:30 p.m. … Index of leading indicators at 10:00 a.m. Thursday expected to rise 0.6%.
Next week: Words of the month and last minute Christmas gift wishes.
Until Next Monday, Happy Hanukkah.
December 15, 2014
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Dilbert by Scot Adams