Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, ghouls and goblinettes. Today I dressed up as a working American. And since traffic to our haunted mansion was disappointingly slow tonight, we are stuck with a pound of Butterfingers, Tootsie Rolls and Dots. None of which are very easy to get out of your teeth.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Depressed Mode

Why does this make the cover Yahoo! story just because it is exhibited in France? We went to the Ron Mueck exhibit at the Hirshhorn in DC two years ago. Just in time for Halloween. His work is so lifelike it's creepy. Incidentally, 'Big Man' (pictured) was my favorite.

To answer to the question posed in the article, of course depression fuels great art. Have you ever met a happy painter?

Friday, October 28, 2005

God, Country, Corps

We haven't been to see a movie in the theater recently because:
a. cellphones
b. $10 admission tickets
c. Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
d. all of the above

However, I am pretty excited about Jarhead. It looks like a Full Metal Jacket updated for the 21st century. I can appreciate war movies that examine the human side of the military instead of dumbing down the story with ridiculous technological exaggerations. The last good war movie that was made from the book was Blackhawk Down. Hopefully Jarhead will deliver. Count me in.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Big Stinky Pile

I love a good dump. There is something about this wondrous municipality that is endearing...in a toxic, stinky sort of way. I spent a few minutes in the not-so-quiet expanse of the Skunk Creek Landfill today. Whenever I visit this playground of trash, I'm reminded of the opening scene in Terminator where the machines are stomping around the future world. I'm particularly fascinated by the big front-end loaders with meat tenderizers for wheels. The giant wheels are perfect for compacting yesterday's Lean Cuisine box and Pringle's can into the pit. Burying our throwaways is so American: digging a deep hole and piling in a bunch of stuff we never want to see again. Like Ashton Kucher.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Smile And Say "Audit!"

This can't be good for the already-overworked school psychologists. Our investigative reporter is examining the validity of claims that some IEPs may not be followed by regular-ed teachers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Save The Cacti

We just missed the sale of some rescued cacti this past weekend but this group helps to save cacti and other native desert plants before they are rolled over by the developer's scraper. Poor homeless barrels.

Monday, October 24, 2005

On The Move

Mobile and modular homes are big business in Arizona. Snowbirds, retirees, and vacation-homeowners are a steady source of buyers for these affordable commodities. Even investors are finding them to be one of the last sources of affordable fixer-uppers. Financing peculiarities can necessitate a cash purchase, but at the price, they are still within range for many buyers. So take the wheels off and stay awhile...if you're not worried about attracting hurricanes and tornadoes.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Birthday season officially wraps up with mom's birthday today. A fun day (more on that later) and now we are exhausted.

Happy birthday!

Friday, October 21, 2005

And It Will Protect You From Aliens

We love a Chippy. That is, we love a Chipotle. If you haven't eaten their made-to-order burrito that I describe as "the size of Mark McGuire's forearm" you are really missing out on some of the freshest, healthiest Mexican food around.

The weirdest aspect of Chipotle: they are a 90% owned subsidiary of McDonald's. Weird because Chipotle is good.

Anyway, here is your chance to get a burrito for the low, low price of your dignity. Since you will already be dressed up, fill up on a free burrito then fill up on free candy. Mmmmm, acid reflux.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dog Star

During my hour long commute home last night, I was reminded exactly why terrestrial radio is dead.
1. Playlists as long as my pinky. At one time three of the six stations on my presets were simultaneously torturing their listeners with something from Nickleback.
2. Commercials. Sadly I had to listen to some mortgage company hype home equity by "refinancing into a variable rate loan now, then refinancing again when rates go down!" Sounds like a great plan.
3. DJs. Locally the scene is exceedingly poor. Just spin the records, dude. I'll take crackly monoaural AM over the FM drivel.

January 1, 2006 is my independence day. Goodbye, irrelevant radio. Goodbye, CD changer. Hello, future of free speech.

The author owns shares of Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. (SIRI). Why don't you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pretty Fair And Relatively Balanced

My wife has told me that my blog should contain more newsiness. So here it is. Just make sure that you tell people you heard it here first. Well maybe not first, or even second. It is still wickedly funny. Even if it is posted on a bunch of other blogs.

Move over Webster's. This is craptacular.

The first word on the list is from my favorite episode of all time--King Size Homer. "I don't want to look like a freak. I'll take the muu muu."

Monday, October 17, 2005

They Have A Constitution And A Real Estate Bubble

What a find! And in a great neighborhood!

I love the info line:
Needs Renovating: Yes

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Your Sunday Cartoon

What Was I?

This is the first installment of a project that I have been thinking about for some time. There are many buildings around the Valley that have undergone a transformation. Although their original architecture remains, it is the ghost of a former business. Some businesses have easily identifiable architecture. Others are not so obvious. The idea is to figure out what business used to occupy the building. Get it?

Here is the first one. Business: Golden Bowl. Location: NE corner of 32nd Street and Cactus. The picture is from A9 until I can figure out how to get pictures off my cell phone. Post your guess in the comments. First correct answer receives my Powerball ticket from last week. If you have any buildings you would like to submit, email the picture or location to me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Condo Conversion

Our cat tree is getting a little dated so it may be time for a full cat condo rehab. They want something like the picture but the deluxe trees are not cheap. I think I will buy some plans and attempt to construct a giant one myself. At least if the structure collapses, they can't sue me. Because they're cats and they haven't passed the bar exam...duh.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Do I Get A T-Shirt?

There are so many things that I hope to achieve in this life. Right up there is winning an eating contest. My wife, however, citing "wisdom and class," has declared that participation is strictly verboten. The Fed, as it is know by eaters, is bringing the GoldenPalace.com* grilled cheese eating contest to the Arizona State Fair. I don't think I could hang in that particular category, but the chicken fried steak record is weak...11oz in 12 minutes. You're going down, Ed "Cookie" Jarvis.

*Owner of the free world.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday!

We've entered the birthday season in my family. Today was Reed's birthday. Happy birthday, bro! He is a budding "every other day" (his words) trader so we got him the definitive book on investing. Step aside, Warren. There's a new investor in town. And his name isn't Barney.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's Like Multiple Meats...In One!

Now that the Red Sox are out of it, I think we will cheer for a Chicago-STL series. Maybe southside can go on to win and give Chi Sox fans (which I found out, actually exist) something to be proud of. Thankfully I won't have to listen to any Yankee fans.
When we don't care about the teams, we get behind whoever's city has the best food.
Houston? I had a chicken fried steak there once but nothing notable.
LA? Can any singular food possibly represent LA?
St. Louis? Besides Ted Drewes frozen custard, what else is there?
Chicago. Mmmmmm, weird hot dog.

Monday, October 10, 2005

...But The Tequila Is Safe

¡Viva Mexico! There are some restrictions on owning property down south but that isn't stopping aggressive investment. A Scottsdale company is leading the investor invasion of some of the most pristine beachfront property in the world. Their development plan seems pretty high end. Will they still have street vendors selling meat-on-a-stick? Maybe this will be the new alternative to the San Diego escape for Phoenicians, LAers and Vegas-ites.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Friday, October 07, 2005

You Can't Win Friends With Salad

I would be a vegetarian, except for the no-meat thing. I like meat, er, I like meats--the more the merrier. Robyn and I went to The Cheesecake Factory (thanks for the fine service, Paul M.) last week and as usual I wanted a large plate of something meat-related.

Whenever we go out to eat I have this irrational fear that I won't get enough to eat. Maybe that's why I love a buffet. Searching for the largest item on the menu, I selected the ranch house burger (pieces of steak, sauteed mushrooms and onions, crisp bacon and cheddar cheese on top of a classic burger, served with fries) and a side of onion strings.

After we enjoyed a plate of the famous avocado eggrolls, I patiently awaited the arrival of my burger. Then I saw her. A massive array of greasy flesh piled high between the buns. Three different animals, a cow, a pig, and a steak, sacrificed themselves for me. And I got enough to eat.

The burger reminded me of another meat-mix that Burger King is offering: the Meat'normous. Meat, on top of meat, on top of meat. What a way to start your day. I am a sucker for anything with the suffix "-normous".
For fun, try attaching the following suffixes to the word "meat":
-gantuan
-mongous
-tanic
-mendous
-mazing
-tastic
-rific
-travaganza
-nificent
Mouthwatering, aren't they?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Far, Far, East

New city #xx is set for development somewhere between the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Florence prison. Thousands of people living miles from anywhere, with no water, no transportation, and no urban core? What could be more Arizona?!

At least they would be close to...well, Globe/Miami is out that way.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It's No Animal House

Sadly there is a new movie about my alma mater. I don't care that it is a ridiculously stereotypical offering. What offends me is that it stars New Kids On The Block instead of The Funky Bunch.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Water Twice Per Week

How many cell minutes per month do people use asking, "Can you hear me now?"
Why do people always talk so much louder when on their phones?
Can cell phone talkers sit outside on flights? Adding cell phone use to flights will give a whole new meaning to non-stop.

There is a move to make cell technology much less obtrusive. Everyone wants signal coverage but nobody wants the towers. From the designers of the fake Christmas tree and the fake lawn comes the giant fake _________ (insert appropriate eco-object here). Here are some pictures of their work. And they are right here in Tucson.

Robyn spotted this fake palm tree on Bell Road in Sun City. Pretty good fake considering we have driven by it countless times and never noticed. And they don't have to pick up the fronds.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Life On The Serengeti Plain



The predator waits patiently.


The prey senses danger.


The prey leaves the safety of the poop zone.


The hunter attacks.


The awkward post-ambush moment.


The hunter is left unsatiated while the prey tends to his wounds.



Apparently the hunter needs to relieve himself.



The hunter enters the poop zone.


And the cycle of life begins anew.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ask Bob

From the Real Estate Mailbag in today's Washington Post.

DEAR BOB: We bought a new house in April, which was under construction at the time. The builder's salesman assured us that all five adjoining houses and lots would have the same features. We closed our purchase Aug. 28. We were surprised to find that three adjoining houses got landscaping, but our house didn't. When we complained, the sales agent said the builder decided to landscape those houses. We feel cheated. Do we have any recourse? -- Donna Z.

DEAR DONNA: In real estate, everything must be in writing to be legally binding. Oral statements by the builder's salesman are unenforceable unless included in a written agreement signed by the builder's authorized representative. There is a good reason real estate agreements must be in writing to be enforceable. Without written proof, it becomes an argument over who said what. It looks as if you have no legal recourse against the builder, but consult a lawyer for more details.

DEAR BOB: About two weeks ago, we made a written offer to buy a "for sale by owner" house. The sellers had all the forms and filled them out with the price we wanted to offer, which was about $7,500 below the asking price. They said they would think about it. When I called the sellers a few days ago, they said they accepted a better purchase offer that was about $5,000 higher than our offer. Shouldn't they have given us a chance to match that second offer? -- Lance R.

DEAR LANCE: You were a victim of "offer shopping." That can easily happen when a naïve buyer such as you makes an open-end purchase offer with no expiration date. If you had been represented by a buyer's agent, that person would have suggested your offer be valid for not longer than 24 hours. A time limit puts pressure on the seller to promptly accept, reject or counteroffer. Instead, your seller obviously showed your offer to other buyers to shop for a better offer. The home seller had no obligation to ask if you wanted to match or surpass the second offer. Your situation provides a valuable lesson on how to avoid offer shopping by always specifying a short offer expiration time, such as 24 hours.

DEAR BOB: My home is listed for sale and a buyer made a good purchase offer that I accepted. Although the listing and buyer's agents told me what a superb buyer he was, he turned out to be a total flake with bad credit who couldn't get a mortgage. He paid a $10,000 earnest money deposit. After 30 days, I was entitled to cancel the sale and did so. The buyer had the nerve to demand refund of his deposit after I held my house off the market for 30 days. I refused to refund, but now I can't get that $10,000, which is being held in the broker's trust account. What do I have to do to get that $10,000? -- Evan R.

DEAR EVAN: The real estate broker holding that deposit in the broker's trust account is doing the right thing by refusing to either refund the $10,000 deposit to the defaulting buyer or give it to you until both parties agree on its disbursement. Unless you and the buyer can resolve the dispute, the broker must hold the funds. State law usually requires after a specified period, such as 12 months, if the parties cannot agree what to do with the money, it must be interpleaded into the local court. That means the judge decides who gets the $10,000. Consult a lawyer for details.