Archive for the ‘Incisive financial analysis’ Category

One step beyond

August 31, 2022

Your money’s no good here, and neither is anything else.

Mikhail Gorbachev has died and gone to Commie Hell, which looks a lot like Walmart.

Capitalist Hell, of course, looks more like Bed Bath & Beyond.

If I cared to visit a BB&B, which I do not, I could wander right on in with my face hanging out as in days of yore, and not just because there would be no other customers (and possibly no employees).

No, it seems that overnight Bernalillo County has switched from Condition Red on the Bug-O-Meter to Go-Anywhere Green, for reasons which elude me.

Oh, wait, just thought of one: The Labor Day Drive Far and Spend Heavily While the Gas is Still Cheap(ish) Holiday Extravaganza. Get out there and buy something, you sissies!

I suppose it beats hanging out in the castle with Prospero, waiting for the Red Death to come knocking despite the “No Solicitors” sign on the door.

And if worse came to worst one could always bunker up in a Bed Bath & Beyond, which has to be the closest thing to a sterile environment outside the Wildfire lab near Flatrock, Nevada.

But still, it all seems a bit one step beyond. Madness!

‘Are you employed, sir?’

August 26, 2022

The late, great David Huddleston as The Big Lebowski.

Employed, sir? No, I was not, despite my prestigious cowtown B.A. in journalism with a minor in political science.

And had my parents been foolish enough to borrow money to put me through college(s) — funds that were largely pounded down a noisome rathole of booze, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, cartooning, and Communism — they would’ve rejoiced to see any amount of the hellish debt forgiven and immediately invested a portion of the windfall on having me quietly killed.

Especially after they saw the homemade “colors” my bro’ Mike “Mombo” Brangoccio and I were sporting on the back of our graduation gowns:

“Mombo Club: Born To Pump Gas.”

Ay, Chihuahua. These kids today. Yesterday. Whatevs.

Your Humble Narrator, circa 1977.

Our mob flew two banners. The Mombo Club mostly free-ranged around Greeley, where we infested the University of Northern Colorado like hairy roaches. El Rancho Delux was rooted in a ramshackle house with an overloaded septic system on what must’ve been the last surviving chunk of rural land in Glendale, a stoner’s throw from the Bull & Bush, Shotgun Willie’s, and the Riviera Lounge, whose “credit manager,” Adolf Scarf, was a piranha sulking in a tank behind the bar.

But the less said about our fraternal organizations the better. I don’t know how (or if) my co-conspirators paid for their educations, but several of our Little Urban Achievers have become respectable members of their communities, and certain statutes of limitations may have yet to run their course.

A tad unfocused, not unlike the graduates.

As for me, my long-suffering parents paid for my schooling, such as it was. When I transferred to UNC they even bought me a used singlewide trailer to live in, no doubt thinking I’d need to get used to such accommodations.

I did have to raise funds for incidentals. Thus I sold drugs, drew cartoons for my college papers, delivered appliances with “Star Trek” addict Ed the Beard in a Step van dubbed “The Hawkwind,” and (with Mombo) did odd jobs for a posh trouser stain who motored around town in a right-hand-drive Bentley.

All I invested in my degree was time and a few jillion brain cells. Not even the president can get those back for me.

Saturation

June 22, 2022

Splish, splash, etc.

They said it would rain, and they did not lie.

We’ve gotten 0.38 inch since o-dark-thirty this morning, and while the Big Spigot seems to have been turned off for the moment, it’s due to open right back up this afternoon. Meanwhile, the wind is working overtime, trying to dry everything up again.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, wisdom remains elusive. I thought I was on the ball yesterday, slipping out for a short trail run in the late morning before the weather turned. But the afternoon proved dry and delightfully cool, ideal for cycling. And today is as you see, perfect for … for … well, for staying indoors, is what.

A smart fella would’ve ridden yesterday and run today. But as we all know, I will never be smart.

For instance, I fail to appreciate the brilliance of a gas-tax “holiday,” though Prez Joe clearly thinks it’s a swell idea.

Blast from the past.

First, there’s no guarantee that Big Oil won’t snatch up any newfound savings for itself as demand increases but supply does not. Second, it would mean less money in the Highway Trust Fund for Infrastructure Week, whenever that comes around. And third — it’s chump change.

As business economist Garrett Golding at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas told The New York Times: “It sounds like something is being done to lower gas prices, but there’s not a whole lot of there there.”

Mind you, I drive almost not at all, filling up the old rice rocket more or less quarterly. I don’t have a job to go to, or kids to ferry around and about. Your mileage may vary.

But as anyone who rides a bicycle knows, no matter how much the go-juice costs, there is an awful lot of automobile traffic on the roads at all hours of the day and night. These trips can’t all be mandatory; there’s plenty of elective driving going on there too.

Maybe instead of rifling the federal couch cushions for loose change and pretending it’s buried treasure, we should be reducing demand, which is the only real way to cut prices. Is your trip necessary?

‘Anyone can get an auto loan’

March 16, 2022

For when the M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle just isn’t big enough.

OK, so, with the Russian war in Ukraine, random gun violence here at home, and inflation everywhere, we all have plenty to worry about.

But wait! There’s more!

Cyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else hoping for safe streets in a livable environment will hop the first dick-missile to Mars after scanning this New York Times story on what the quarter-point hike in the Fed’s key interest rate means for any of us chickens who’d like to cross the road without winding up fried and breaded in one of the Colonel’s buckets.

A couple key pull-quotes:

“There is far more variation in auto lending than in, say, the mortgage market because there are more credit types. Anyone can get an auto loan.” — Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive, an industry consulting firm.

“Car-loan rates will move up as the Fed hikes interest rates, but it will be a nonissue for car buyers because it has such a limited impact on monthly payments. Nobody will need to downsize from the S.U.V. to the compact because of rising rates.” — Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

Damn straight. Fuck a bunch of Prius. Whadda I look like, some hippie? I got an image to maintain. What are the Russian oligarchs driving this season?

Oh, eat me

April 20, 2021

“No one wants to work anymore.” And yet somebody posted this sign at a place of business. ’Ees a puzzlement, to be sure.

Here’s an interesting story. Not “interesting” in the sense that it was solidly reported, written, and edited, which it was not. Interesting in that it calls into question the business model of the fast-food industry.

The story — headlined “We’re competing with unemployment” — focuses on the hiring problems that outfits like Fresquez Companies, Twisters, and Sonic-Inspire Brands are having locally in Year Two of The Plague®.

Back in the day, when newspapers still had copy desks, a cynical old rim rat might have wondered at some volume whether the corporate types quoted in the piece had coordinated their tales of woe.

Says one: “Why would anybody want to, I guess, start at a minimum-wage job when they can be earning more money … on unemployment?”

Adds another: “People are making a lot more money being unemployed than employed, and the world is coming back to dine-in and eat-in a little bit at a time, so the stimulus really paused people applying to jobs.”

And a third: “I think it’s pretty easy to connect … unemployment benefits to it. I think a lot of us feel like a lot of people have chosen not to go back to work yet, because they’re still receiving the benefits.”

Well, shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure.

My first question was, “How many of these struggling companies have received SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds or some other form of governmental assistance to make ends meet in these troubled times?” The story doesn’t say.

Nor does the reporter speak with any current, former, or potential employees. The one nod to working people came in a quote from OLÉ Education Fund executive director Matthew Henderson, who said: “Essential workers have risked their lives to keep New Mexico running during the pandemic. Some have decided, however, that the risk to their family’s health is not worth the poverty wages and lack of benefits that many employers offer. Don’t fault workers for refusing to be exploited.”

When I was young and even dumber than I am now, I briefly dated a single mom who availed herself of the various forms of governmental assistance to be had at the time. She was always strapped for cash, and since I was young and dumb, I asked her why she didn’t just get a job.

She explained patiently that the kind of job she would be able to get wouldn’t begin to pay the bills, much less the cost of child care while she worked. So she chose to keep jumping through the hoops of public assistance and raising her child. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

How many potential recruits for the Paper Hat Platoon have decided to stay home, collect assistance, and help their kids navigate remote learning with the goal of giving them a future that doesn’t involve pitching greaseburgers through windows at the Duke City’s drive-thrus? I mean, you don’t need a Ph.D in Google Search to find horror stories about the life and times of the fast-food worker.

I suspect this story may have had its roots in the photo above, posted on Twitter by a local TV reporter. Snapped at a local Sonic, it shows a sign reading: “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

Wrong, pendejo. They just don’t want to work for you.

More, late*

December 21, 2020

A little light and a lot more tunnel.

“Pandemic Deal by Congress Provides Economic Relief, for Now,” reports The New York Times.

But it’s too little, too late, and perhaps the last of Uncle Sammy’s pennies in the ol’ tin cup for a while, adds The Old Grey Hoor, in an analysis by Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley.

The injection of money comes months too late for tens of thousands of failed businesses, however, and it may not be enough to sustain unemployed workers until the labor market rebounds. Moreover, it could be the last help from Washington the economy gets anytime soon.

Call me cynical, but I think we need some brighter bulbs on this job.

*Apologies to Chris in the Morning.

Bull in a China shop

May 10, 2019

There’s a new tariff in town.

MAGA, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. I’d speculate as to whether Art O. DeDeal is trying to croak the bike biz because of the relentless roasting I’ve given him, but he doesn’t know Schwinn from Shinola.

He apparently wants everyone else to lose money the way he did.

So. Much. Winning.

Electric bus(t)

May 20, 2018

OK, so I’m just spitballing here, but what if we got these really long extension cords. …

Huh. “Problems plague push for electric buses.” Imagine my surprise. The phrase “One hand washes the other” was coined by some poor sap who discovered the hard way that giving a handjob with one mitt while grabbing a sheaf of greenbacks with the other can be a very messy business indeed.

Maybe some enterprising sort can just airdrop a shit-ton of Bird scooters on LA and Albuquerque. Save a bunch of money, create jobs for chargers, and give the locals a new reason to be shooting each other all the time.

I don’t know much about ART, but. …

January 11, 2018

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

… I know what I don’t like.

Somebody — multiple somebodies, actually — has intercoursed the penguin in dramatic fashion as regards the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project, which already had all the positive press of a buddy flick called “Hey, Look At My Dick!”, starring Louis C.K. and Harvey Weinstein, directed by Roman Polanski from a script by Woody Allen.

Seriously, how do you fuck up a nine-mile bus line? And the nine miles of retail that goes with it? That takes real talent. I expect these people to go far, and probably soon, too, before the angry mobs kick down their doors.

• Late update: And meanwhile, as expected here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut, the ACLU comes after Albuquerque for its thickheaded, ham-handed anti-panhandling ordinance. Defending this attempt to keep Those People away from the tony real estate is another budget item we could have done without.

Office spaced

December 29, 2016
Hemingway sent cables; I just hook 'em up.

Hemingway sent cables; I just hook ’em up.

Now and again I am reminded that shit doesn’t just happen.

I was grumbling the other day that the iCrap-crazed Cloudniks at Apple no longer give a damn about modular, upgradeable desktop systems and the power users who love them, probably because I have spent far too much time staring at a desk that is topped by a veritable clusterfuck of computer hardware — a 15-inch mid-2014 MacBook Pro cabled to an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock and thence to a Dell 27-inch monitor, a RAID array plus a couple other storage drives, an Apple SuperDrive and a cheap set of Logitech speakers that really need to go because they have all the sonic excellence of a 1965 GE P-1810A transistor radio.

Then I read this, and this, and I think I’m finally starting to get a feel for why Tim Cook is all like: “Fuck those bitches and their desktops. Whatsisname down in the basement is tasked with that project and if we have to we’ll trot him out and show the world what people who give a shit about desktop computers look like. Dude makes the stapler guy from ‘Office Space’ look like Michael Fassbender.”