Wednesday, January 28, 2009

brown squirts

like the steaming pile of brown ploppy that hershey's chocolate is, the company that swept into town and bought all the great chocolate makers in the bay area is shutting them down. well, technically just shutting down the local operations in favor of a giant "premium" (and believe me I don't use that term with any faith in its accuracy) factory in the middle west somewhere.

of course, giant companies that produce crappy products have zero concern over place, so it should come as no surprise, but what it does do is ensure that people that do care will move on to something less totally shitty.

my GI thanks Tcho for makin' sure it stays real in the bay area. I've always had a soft spot for the artisan rather than scientific when it comes to food, but I'm willing to do what I must (aka eat lots of chocolate) to keep it real.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

the impossible project

I think this is awesome.

And I am going to try and help out.

Chris Cox

There is plenty of blame to go around for our economic crisis, but the bald faced lies that Chris Cox uttered about his tenure over the SEC deserve special comment.

It's noteworthy that politicians spin out of some perceived necessity, but what are the chances Cox will ever again be elected? Riding a dying bull into the ground then getting off the carcass in a time of real need and boasting about your skills as a cowboy is about the most pathetic thing I have ever seen from a politician - and that's saying a lot.

Most normal people would have the decency to "spend more time with family" or "give the new administration the opportunity to address the current situation with different resources" but Cox instead shaped a pile of shit into a trophy he awarded to himself.

Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out or someone else might.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First Herve now this?

yup, ricardo's gone. no good coffee, no little man to make fun of, no nothing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

signs your lawyer may be an idiot

When it hasn't bothered to research the applicable law BEFORE filing the suit.

It's called safe harbor under the DMCA in case you were wondering. That'll be $490.

An awesome weekend

A slide show with hand made slides.
A walking tour of Muir woods.
Conversations about Bartok.
Joe's Tacos.
A quest for whippits.
A mushroom hunt.
Dinner at home with great friends.
Wine.
A homespun version of mystery science theater 3000.

AND THAT WAS JUST SATURDAY!

SF medallions

Anyone that's ever been in a cab with me knows I always ask if the cabbie owns the medallion. I love the medallion system in theory. Actually I love the idea of a cabbie owning the medallion as a path from labor to business ownership - the details are often far from that unfortunately.

SF's system actually looked more like what I liked about the idea of a medallion, but in reality it's far from it.

Regardless, it appears like it may change soon.

One thing that a market for medallions will do is provide a real world price signal on the value of the damned things, which should let the city decide if there is a need for more or if the system can at least tolerate more.

This will be interesting to watch.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

swift indeed

The situation with European gas imports from Russia is comical to me. It's also something I have warned about more than once.

To be certain, negotiating contracts over long term gas prices in winter is frankly foolish, but that's a lesson for the Ukranians to learn. The bigger issue of course is that Russia is willing to simply shut off such a huge amount of gas to Europe over such a small amount to the Ukraine. Clearly there are other options (a contract for differences securitized by the EU comes to mind), which goes to show this is of course exactly what Russia wants.

I will also point out that locking in prices on the front end of recession/depression is usually not such a great idea. Nothing in this situation calls for it. The Ukraine could instead opt for a shorter term contract and renegotiate for a longer contract in the future.

In looking for some support for where pricing should be I found a relatively interesting article here. (I am a bit confused as to why you need to first divide by 6 then multiply by 35.3 instead of just multiplying by 6, but hey - whatever magic you use to get your ballpark I guess).

All of this of course goes back to the main point of this post - that Russia is perfectly content not selling gas to the majority of its customers in order to "punish" one of them. There's clearly some wiggle room on the European side with storage, but that ain't gonna last forever. More importantly, if delivery of gas is subject to uncertainty due to political factors such as this, should there not be a discount to the ultimate value of a Russian gas contract?

Energy geopolitics being the original source of inspiration for this discussion (one of many sources I suppose) I will just wrap up with this little guess about the market on a forward going basis:

In areas where the natural gas market can be significantly disrupted by a single player I would expect to see prices trend toward LNG margins over time. I have to spend more time thinking about what this means relative to a diverse generation portfolio, especially in light of a carbon tax.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

ron asheton RIP

no fun in the funhouse. ron asheton passed over the weekend. the goddamned stooges kick so much ass.

Monday, January 05, 2009

dead soldiers? nope. dead cats? hellz yeah

so, the soon to be outgoing administration has all sorts of rules about filming coffins of soldiers. apparently not so for soldiers holding open doors for dead cats.

how fitting and yet comically sad that we're in the midst of a dead cat bounce in the markets right now too.

lines that pop into my head include:

you're using soldiers for this while there are two wars going on?

and

one man drives while another man screams.

to all of the old italian men and me

campari. it's made of bug butts. now it turns out they are changing rules on if you have to call cochineal "from bug butts"