July 2008 Archives

DC Gunban Revisited

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After the historic decision by the Supreme Court a month ago, plaintiff Dick Heller is at it again.  He is suing the District of Columbia because of their definitions of semi-automatic weapons and some of the general restrictions.

This is a continuation of the struggle the courts have been dealing with for decades...Constitutional Rights vs. general safety of the Citizenry.  I'm indifferent on the gun bans.  I recognize the rights that are granted in the Constitution and find some of the arguments the District put forth in the first case very interesting.  In particular, the thought that the Founding Fathers had wanted the People to be able to form militias if necessary.

More fascination will come forth as this case comes to the courts.

Review: Soft Parade

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Soft Parade
 If you have never seen the Doors live, Soft Parade is a show to put on your list.  Now granted, I never saw the Doors in person, and until recently, didn't think much about them.  But over the past couple of years, I've grown to appreciate them.

Soft Parade was not on my list of shows to see.  But it was my friend Mike's birthday, and this is where he wanted to go.  So a bunch of us went.

The show was pretty good.  The instrumentals were excellent, save the constant breakdown of the keyboard.  The player kept taking it off stage to do some fine tuning and they even stopped the show for 10 minutes at around 10:30 just to work on it again.

Where I found fault in the show were two areas.  First of all, they seemed to have played too long.  When "Touch Me" was flowing, I thought that was the perfect time to end the show.  But they played at least four more.  I lost track.

To the other issue, we'll it wasn't much of one, I'll admit.  Joe Russo, the lead vocalist had Jim Morrison nailed down to a tee.  The moaning, slurring, hinted with the feeling of drug-abuse lyrics of the Doors worked well.  Until the crooning of "Touch Me".  With those clear vocals, you heard Morrison's great voice.  Russo seemed to be stretching his to the limit, and missed.  Granted the Doors had the help of a studio.

All in all, if you are interested in seeing the Doors, even though that is impossible, you'll probably enjoy Soft Parade.

Investor Panic

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I'll start with the fact that I am not an investment advisor.  Anything I write here is strictly my opinion and should not be construed as advice.  It's simply the way I invest and see the market.

Well, I was met with much joy today.  Apple stock down $15.50, just a bit over 10%.  I've been investing since 1991.  I even remember the my first investment, in a little mutual fund called Monetta Funds.  I liquidated that in the late 90's for a 30% gain so I could wildly invest in anything with "Tech" or "Silicon" or ".com" in the name.  And those I did pretty well in, probably average 20% gains, although mostly short-term, so I paid through the nose in taxes.  I would have done better, but I waited until I was sure the tech boom bottomed out before bailing.

Back to Apple.  The first shares I bought about 3 years ago are at a cost basis of about $15/share.  So I have a 10x + gain as of the current market value about $150/share.  Today's drop is in part because Apple is only predicting a Q4 earnings per share of $1, when analyst's had previously forecasted $1.23/share.  This reminds me of CVS Caremark (back then just CVS Corp) in around 2004 when they announced a penny difference in EPS and their stock dropped 15 or 20 percent.

What's wrong is that both Apple and CVS in their respective big drops are that they are still profitable companies.  Investors panic.  I am not saying Phil Gramm was right that the economic problems are mental, but these two instances and the tech boom are instances that the market is not for the faint of heart.

Long Term is the way to go.  I said I bought my first shares of Apple around $15?  I worked for CVS and started in their Dividend Reinvestment Program in 1992.  They started an Employee Stock Purchase Plan in 1994 or so.  My shares cost me between $6 and $20 per share in that timeframe.  Current market price?  About $40/share.  How's that for growth?

My point?  The market is all one big mental pot with millions of brains in it.  But clearer minds prevail in the long run.

Again, I am not an investment advisor, however I do still own shares of Apple and CVS Caremark.  Do not take this information as advice without seriously researching the equities you plan to purchase.

Redskins Training Camp 2008

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It's here.  The 2008 season and the Zorn-Era has begun.  The Redskins opened training camp this morning in muggy Ashburn, Virginia, home of Redskins Park.  It still seems odd tha the team called the Washington Redskins has offices and practices in Virginia and plays it's games at Fedex Field in Maryland.  Anyways, this the first training camp I have attended in person.  They started all those years in Pennsylvania and I didn't think about going in recent years.  Why, I'm not so sure.  Probably should have done it while Gibbs was still coach.

Although I arrived just after 8 AM, the team was already on the field practicing well before the 8:30 announced time.  And hundreds of people beat me there.  It was interesting, but less organized for fans as I imagined.  Refreshments were not quite as expensive as I thought they were to be.  There was the heckler in the front row who yelled at every player.  BTW - The Sports Freak would be happy as he was wearing a Rock Cartwright jersey. It also appears that some Giants fans took a wrong turn. "Leave the Holland Tunnel, head south on I-95 until you see Burgundy & Gold?"

All this can be viewed in the pictures here.  I did not edit them, so heads and caps can be seen in some pictures.  Hey, when the Redskins set a separate bloggers section, I'll be able to get better shots.

Practice?

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In the immortal words of Allen Iverson, "Practice?!".  The Washington Redskins start training camp on Sunday.  I plan on being there to provide coverage for thedcsportspage.com, the other blog I write for.

But this brings up the question, really how much practice does the team need.  I think OTA's and training camp are probably necessary.  Especially when trying to learn a new playbook under a new coach.  But 4 or more pre-season exhibition games?  The starting QB only plays two or three of them, so you can cut out at least one game.  And Redskins fans are quite aware of the injuries piled up during exhibition

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