Tuesday, October 31, 2017

But... but... -Earthquakes!-

This is the time of year when it is still safe and not particularly cruel to give back a little of the "why do you live there?" dished out to California the rest of the year.  Don't worry.  There are no less than 5 anti California rants in the hopper. 

Repost: Collective Iceboxes

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Collective Iceboxes

My grandfather was "The Ice Man." He was the guy that sawed frozen blocks from the lake in winter and stored them in the icehouse for summer delivery. In his honor I present the following:

Refrigerators are the most energy consumptive home appliances. They throw out of gobs of heat particularly at the times of highest demand contributing to heat islands where there are too many refrigerators in close proximity. It's time to stop this wasteful practice of PORs. It is time to promote public refrigerators. Large community freezers capable of handling hundreds even thousands of households' daily cooling needs thus taking an equal number of wasteful PORs off the "grid." Additionally, because the poor tend to own the oldest, least efficient PORs, the community benefits by also subsidizing their participation. Sure the inconvenience will meet with resistance so we'll have to make the switch by introducing a few minor public policy inducements. We'll allow dwelling units to be built with kitchens too small for an adequate fridge. We'll use public money to build the collective coolers so that people will be freed from the burden of high purchase prices for owning one's own "reefer." We may even need to subsidize operations in order to meet participation goals.

Okay, by now everyone is probably thinking, "this is insane" and you'd be right but reread the above paragraph and tell me how it differs from how we approach transit in the US. Every comment above is straight out of every transit advocacy talking points manual I've ever heard.


Grandpa's competitors just a bit down Rt 9. 
Nothing has changed.   And transit concepts remain stuck in the 1800s as well. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Wee Bit O'Scotland

Real life intrudes.  Sorry for the slow post schedule.  Back in the garden shed of spousal exile today and will hopefully get ahead of the tidal wave.  Family in San Diego over the weekend.  La Jolla is insane.  My sibling asked my opinion of a "village" property.  I don't even have the real estate vocabulary to couch my reaction/reply in civil terms. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Cramer Revisited

You want winners? You want me to put my Cramer Berkowitz hedge fund hat on and just discuss what my fund is buying today to try to make money tomorrow and the next day and the next? You want my top 10 stocks for who is going to make it in the New World? You know what? I am going to give them to you. Right here. Right now.

OK. Here goes. Write them down -- no handouts here!: 724 Solutions ( SVNX), Ariba ( ARBA), Digital Island ( ISLD), Exodus ( EXDS), InfoSpace.com ( INSP), Inktomi ( INKT), Mercury Interactive ( MERQ), Sonera ( SNRA), VeriSign ( VRSN) and Veritas Software ( VRTS).

We are buying some of every one of these this morning as I give this speech. We buy them every day, particularly if they are down, which, no surprise given what they do, is very rare. And we will keep doing so until this period is over -- and it is very far from ending. Heck, people are just learning these stories on Wall Street, and the more they come to learn, the more they love and own! Most of these companies don't even have earnings per share, so we won't have to be constrained by that methodology for quarters to come.
~ James J. Cramer, keynote speech excerpt, 6th Annual Internet and Electronic Commerce Conference and Exposition Feb 29, 2000


724 Solutions ( SVNX)
Ariba ( ARBA)
Digital Island ( ISLD)
Exodus ( EXDS)
InfoSpace.com ( INSP),
Inktomi ( INKT)
Mercury Interactive ( MERQ)
Sonera ( SNRA),
VeriSign ( VRSN)
Veritas Software ( VRTS).

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Strawberries or Eels?

Strawberries or Eels?  What kind of question? 

Here is what happened yesterday:
Ventura County strawberry crash
Here's what happened last month:
Oregon hagfish crash

Any questions? 

Ojai So High

Cute little mid-century on 3/4th acre.

1354 Carne Rd, Ojai, CA 93023

2 beds 2 baths 1,232 sqft

Then the insanity started:
10/04/17Price change$1,295,000 -3.4%

08/22/17Price change$1,340,000 -6.0%

05/08/17Listed for sale$1,425,000 +26.7%

06/08/15Sold$1,125,000 -2.1%

05/05/15Price change$1,149,500 -3.8%

04/24/15Listed for sale$1,195,000 +82.4%


 Property taxes in 2001 were $609 per year.  Property taxes now are $12,430 per year.  Cute shouldn't cost well more than a million.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hypocrites All

This is surely old news since you all pour over every issue of Designfax:

Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan joined a number of U.S. allies at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to express concerns over a Trump administration executive order that calls on U.S. authorities to "maximize" use of American-made goods, products and materials in government procurement.
The 10 WTO members, also including the European Union, Canada and Japan, also urged Washington to continue honoring the trade body's "Government Procurement Agreement" that binds the United States and 45 other countries — mostly EU members — to open government procurement markets to foreign competition and make them more transparent.

Got that?  The US is the bad guy here?  Every single nation listed uniformly and unequally biases towards local procurement and everyone knows it. 

Why the hoopola?  Pretty obvious isn't it?  80 years of US laize faire attitudes towards market and IP predation are coming to an end.  It isn't Trump.  It was happening before and it will continue past his administrations. 

Check this from Layer Seven Security:

According to NSA Director General Keith Alexander, cyber-espionage has led to "the greatest transfer of wealth in history." This is supported by not only a recent report by Symantec, which places the cost of intellectual property theft in the United States at $250 billion a year, but a prominent report on cyber-espionage released by Mandiant Corporation in February this year.
The report is based on security breaches investigated by Mandiant at nearly 150 organizations between 2006 & 2013. It focuses upon the cyber-espionage activities of one of the more than twenty prolific Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups in the world. The group labeled as APT1 is believed to be state-sponsored and operating from the Pudong area of Shanghai. It is considered to be a branch of Unit 61398 of the People’s Liberation Army of China. The official mandate of the unit is vaguely defined as ‘computer network operations’ but there is considerable evidence to suggest that the actual mission is the collection of political, economic, and military intelligence. APT1 is estimated to control a large physical infrastructure comprised of thousands of Command and Control servers. Given the size of the infrastructure, the group is believed to be staffed with several hundred resources that are required to be proficient in network and information security and the English language.

Lock your doors.  

Geostorm Crashes

Thanks to a system of satellites, natural disasters have become a thing of the past,” declares the President of the United States in the new doomsday flick Geostorm. “We can control our weather.” Welcome to a fantastical future where the federal government has taken aggressive action against climate change, successfully mastering the whims of weather using advanced satellite technology.
But when this global network of satellites mysteriously malfunctions, catastrophic weather threatens humanity’s very existence. Rows of tornadoes rip up the landscape, tsunami-sized waves sweep through cities, massive hailstones crash through car windows, and flash-frozen birds fall out of the sky. And that’s just what you see in trailers.
The plot goes on to get raveled into conspiracies and last-ditch space missions, but as with climate disaster flicks like 2012 (when the feared Yellowstone volcano erupts), The Day After Tomorrow (when New York City turns into a frozen tundra), or Snowpiercer (when a climate experiment fails, killing all but a select few) the question remains: Could any of these apocalypse scenarios actually happen?
 As reported via THR‘s Thursday box office preview, Geostorm is expected to earn in the range of $10-12 million in its opening weekend, a terrible start for a film that cost $120 million to make. Even a full $12 million wouldn’t cover its extensive reshoots, which alone cost a reported $15 million.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Employment Bell Ringing at the Top

I have issues with Chris Thornberg dating back to some clashes prior to the bubble bursting but he's been pulling down big bucks for being wrong then and still to this day whilst I have not made pence.   I guess that makes him a good economist.  

“Housing is the chain on the dog that is chasing a squirrel,” said Christopher Thornberg, principal economist and founding partner with Beacon Economics. “Once that chain runs out, it yanks the dog back.” Like the dog, Thornberg said, the Bay Area job market has been restrained.
Overall, the Bay Area lost 4,700 jobs last month. While some smaller metropolitan areas in the region had job gains, employers shed 1,300 jobs in Santa Clara County, 1,700 in the San Francisco-San Mateo region and 2,600 in the East Bay, seasonally adjusted figures from the state’s Employment Development Department showed.
The EDD on Friday also revised downward the number of Bay Area job losses that occurred in August to 2,400, but those 2,400 job losses in August combined with the 4,700 newly reported job losses for September to paint an unsettling picture.

None of this has to do with the clusterfrack about to rain down on Tesla for their 400 layoffs.  One example being an employee who was injured on the job on Friday and terminated Monday.  It doesn't matter if the termination is justified, the optics in this State are going to deeply scar the company.   

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fishing Anyone?

The middle kid is working with the Dept of Fisheries. 

Word Challenge, Guess the Topic

These are the top ten results for a single word search term for the last 12 months.  Can you guess the word?  "Past 12 months" is the only hint I'm giving. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

PG&E Started the Fires

Okay, the authorities are trying to avoid it but it is becoming increasingly obvious what happened.

Mercury News: For the better part of a decade, California’s utilities have helped to stall the state’s effort to map where their power lines present the highest risk for wildfires, an initiative that critics say could have forced PG&E to strengthen power poles and bolster maintenance efforts before this month’s deadly North Bay fires.

For the better part of a decade, California’s utilities have helped to stall the state’s effort to map where their power lines present the highest risk for wildfires, an initiative that critics say could have forced PG&E to strengthen power poles and bolster maintenance efforts before this month’s deadly North Bay fires.

So rates will go down, the dividend will be slashed and executives jailed.  Right? 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Not Worth It Then Not Worth It Now

Who in their right mind would pay anything close to this much for this shack?

1765 Twin Lakes Rd, Wrightwood, CA 92397 

1 bed • 1 bath • 432 sqft • Year Built 1948

Cute and cozy home surrounded by large trees and beautiful log cabins. Excellent opportunity to use as an investment, vacation home. Home features one bedroom and one bath with a loft. Excellent opportunity! Check it out today!

Price History

10/05/17Listed for sale$185,000+208%$428RE/MAX TIME RE...
06/15/09Sold: Foreclosed to lender$105,800-53%$244

Yes you read that right.  432 square feet.  Yes 69 years old.  Yes asking $185,000 or $428/sf. 

Then read the price history and enjoy the round trip from 1998 to 2018 including the turn at 2011. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Amazon has it backwards. 

The people Amazon needs want to live in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbra, San Diego.  The people HQ2 is going to attract will be those willing to settle for Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte.  There is not a thing wrong with Austin. Atlanta, Charlotte.  Thing is Google is willing to gamble that settling for second tier candidates will be offset by the for now lower costs versus QoL equation.  My guess is that the challenges to Amazon will emerge from Santa Cruz, Santa Barbra, San Diego.

Nota bene.  California still innovates but you can expect the innovators to leave ever sooner.  Incubators not revenue sources. 

Pict Pics

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

California Prop 13 Distortion

Everyone has an opinion about Prop 13.  Most are based upon misinformation.  This however is likely to confirm the worst opinions of the detractors.

1667 Sparrow Rd, Wrightwood, CA 92397

2 beds 2 baths 1,375 sqft

For Sale
Zestimate®: $344,361 

A truly historic property, the first ranger station in Wrightwood built in 1801. Owned part of history, this whole CEDAR LOG cabin with 2 bedroom 2 baths home nestled in Wrightwood mountain on a 53,000 square foot lot and the adjacent lot a 77,000 square foot lot, a total of 2.98 acres. A massive rock fireplace in the center of the living room welcomes all who enters. In 1924, the back wing was built logs were used from horse corral. An extra large porch of off the front door large enough to wine and dine your guests. This nostalgic home has extensive wood work throughout for example the cabinets down the hallway, the front door and other features of the house. The driveway walls leading to the house, part of the house's walls and landscape curbing are made up of a beautiful rock masonry. Adjacent lot 18 is included.  

YearProperty taxesChangeTax assessmentChange

 3 acres plus a cabin paying $391 per year in property taxes asking near a million dollars for sale.  If it sells the new owner will face $10,000 per year in property taxes.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Cautionary Tale or Big Data Score?

Image result for big data surveillanceSuspect In Would-Be Airport Bombing Nabbed With Help FromREI


FBI agents also tracked down surveillance footage of a white male apparently purchasing some of those materials, as well as other bomb-making supplies, at a Walmart and Lowe's in Arden, N.C.
But he paid cash at both venues, and the FBI still didn't have a name.
Then they found an REI in Asheville where a man had recently purchased a new backpack. A Traverse 70. He also bought a spoon — gray, polymer.
There was no video footage this time. And again, the man paid cash. But, Anderson writes, "the individual ... used an REI membership number when paying."
An REI membership entitles a customer to 10 percent back on purchases every year. In this case, it also gave the FBI a name — Michael Estes. After releasing a still photo from the surveillance footage, authorities found Estes in downtown Asheville. He was arrested on Oct. 7.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Wine Country Fires and Mixed Feelings

Estimates are that more than 5% of the housing stock of Sonoma County have burned.  That's transformative. 

Here is an anecdote from MercuryNews:
Former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan visits the ashes of his home off Mark West Springs Road in Sonoma County, Sunday, October 15, 2017. He and his wife Wendy Paskin-Jordan escaped from their home nearly a week ago during the first moments of the firestorm. (Karl Mondon/ Bay Area News Group)

Why the mixed feelings?  Same reason I cannot muster sympathy for nPOIC/Mudbiker.  Here is the former mayor of San Francisco.  What does he do?  Move to Sonoma County to escape what he helped create. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Scotland Nature Photos

Whither California Reason #34



When ThinkProgress and FoxNews report on the same event you are sure to get wildly different stories.  This is no exception. 

California lawmakers passed a bill this week that would give families on welfare with children under the age of two a monthly $50 voucher for diapers. ... When the bill was first introduced in 2014, it was estimated that 120,000 children would get the assistance.
Diapers are a huge expense. One infant can require up to 240 of them each month, which can cost $18 a week or nearly $1,000 a year. That’s an enormous share of a family’s budget for those below the poverty line — people in the lowest quintile spend nearly 14 percent of their income on diapers. Cloth diapers are not a viable alternative for many families, as laundromats won’t let people wash them and daycare centers usually require disposable ones.
That leaves families in a difficult bind. Nearly 30 percent of all women have experienced a time when they couldn’t afford diapers for their children. 

[T]he legislation comes with a more than $100 million annual price tag.
When it passed recently out of the California Assembly, no Republican voted for it. 
In an emailed statement that appeared in the Sacramento Bee, Republican state Assemblywoman Shannon Grove said, “Instead of expanding our welfare system and keeping millions dependent upon government, we should implement business-friendly policies enabling those out of work to obtain a job and provide for their families.”


 36 million people and this is what we are legislating. 

Cool Transportation Museum



Silly English

The infamous rotary

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Adam Smith Was mostly Right

Who says econ and vacations don't mix? 

Pict carvings for Liz. 

Get Ready for Caledonian Pictures

Since the subject veers wildly in the comments regardless the top posts can be most anything how about a few vacation travel photos? 

Monday, October 09, 2017

Just Want to Get Out Whole

A subset of "I'm not going to give it away" is "I just want to get out whole."  This is an example.

Date Event Price

10/09/2015 Sold view detail $208,000 Public records Public records  
  • Recording Date
  • Contract Date
  • Sale Price
10/08/2010 Sold view detail $154,000 Public records Public records  
  • Recording Date
  • Contract Date
  • Sale Price
11/28/1994 Sold view detail $90,000 Public records Public records  

Less than 2 years later looking to resell after originally paying way too much.  Notice that 40% of the 2 beds, 1 bath, approximately 1,144 square feet is attic space. 

Sunday, October 08, 2017

So You want to live in Santa Monica

Check out the volume.  Check out the median.  Check out the price per square foot.  Or just decide to check out. 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Science Prevails

Make no mistake the opposition were nothing but meddlesome Luddites who wrapped their backwards views in a thin film of "heritage."

From the Science Magazine article:

Update, 28 September, 4:40 p.m.: Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources today voted 5-2 to approve a permit to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The vote follows retired judge Riki May Amano’s recommendation this past July to approve the permit. Amano’s recommendation came after a lengthy and often contentious hearing forced by opponents of the TMT, who successfully argued that the land board had not followed proper procedures in 2011 in issuing its first permit for the telescope.

And here is the agenda giveaway:

Lanny Sinkin, who represented Temple of Lono, a Hawaiian faith group based on Hawaii Island, says TMT opponents will continue to challenge the project. “This is far from over,” he says.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Not my Idea of an Oasis

Description from the listing:

Location! Location! Discover this Private Oasis in the Las Posas Estates! Charming Courtyard Entrance features Fountain & Magnificent Carved Wood Door w/Leaded Glass inserts. Soaring 16-18 ft Vaulted Ceilings in California Casual Great Room w/Fireplace & Views! Adjoining Dining Area opens to Granite Kitchen w/Stainless Appliances & Breakfast Bar. Master Suite w/Custom Walk-in Closet & Ultimate Spa Master Bath w/Dbl Rain Shower-Slate & Stone & Oversize Jetted Tub w/Lights & Bubbles. Granite Counters & His & Hers Lavatories. Spacious Office has Closet & Slider to Courtyard could be 3rd Bdrm. Possible Granny flat w/Fireplace has Separate Entrance. Newer Windows, Doors & A/C. Outdoor Entertaining w/Covered patio, Stamped Concrete, BBQ/Bar & Frpl. Added Golf Cart Garage & cart path to golf. 

Price drop $1,179,000 down from $1,199,000.
Last sold in 1995 for $350,000

Other than the golf course behind the tiny backyard there's nothing interesting here. 

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Drip Drip Drop Why Pricing Right Matters

Two years ago this would have attracted several bids at $2.35m.  Now, as a stale listing it sits at $2.299m. 

  • 4 beds
  • 6 baths
  • 5,958 sqft
  • 1.82 acres lot

You'd never guess that the owner was a surgeon. 

Exquisite and one-of-a-kind gated estate in the exclusive Bella Vista Estates. Designed by architect Adriene Coulter, this impeccable custom tuscan villa combines chic & modern elements with authentic & classic Italian design standing alone in its own class of luxury & prestige.

 Listing history:

09/07/17Price change$2,299,000-6.1%$385Rodeo Realty- ...
08/10/17Price change$2,449,000-1.1%$411Rodeo Realty- ...
08/07/17Price change$2,475,000-2.9%$415Rodeo Realty- ...
03/31/17Price change$2,549,000-5.6%$427Rodeo Realty
02/10/17Price change$2,699,000-5.3%$453Rodeo Realty
01/15/16Listed for sale$2,850,000$478Aviara Real Es...

Stale, stale, stale. 

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Geography Test

See which Sacramento schools did best, worst on 2017 state math tests

 This map shows the 50 local [Sacramento] schools with the highest proportion of students meeting state math standards, and vice versa. Schools marked in red are among the worst performing. While schools marked in green are among the best performing.

 Want to bet that this map wasn't on the test?  

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/article176133551.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/article176133551.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

NorCal Lottery Winners Cashing Out

253 Bazemore Ln, Trinidad, CA 95570

3 beds 2 baths 1,380 sqft

For Sale
Zestimate®: $729,959

Trinidad ocean front property near Patrick's Point State Park. Enjoy breathtaking coastal views of rocks, ocean and beyond. This exclusive ocean front property offers nice usable grounds plus a quaint 3 bedroom, 2 bath home and a guest cottage. Tremendous opportunity for expansion or to enjoy this property as is. Located at the end of a private road offering privacy and seclusion. Enjoy the wonderful ocean breezes, sounds of the sea lions and beautiful ocean sunsets from your own ocean front paradise.
There is no "history."  That means it hasn't sold in a very long time.  The tax record proves this.  
YearProperty taxesChangeTax assessmentChange
 Taxes $1079/yr for a near million dollar property. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

Add the Garcetti Garrote to the Kammi Whammy Left Arsenal

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and his wife, Amy Wakeland, arrive at the opening ceremony of the 131st International Olympic Committee Session in Lima, Peru, on Sept. 12. Some of Garcetti's travel over the last year was tied to the city's successful bid for the 2028 Summer Games. (Fabrice Coffrini / AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor’s travels raising eyebrows in L.A.
By Dakota Smith
One day after securing the 2028 Olympics in Peru this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti greeted reporters on a noisy tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport.
It was an appropriate setting for Garcetti, whose travels have taken him to Atlanta, Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Berlin, among other places, in the last year.
The mayor has logged 112 days, or nearly one-third of his time, away from California over the last 12 months, according to his public calendar.
In August alone, he was out of state for 19 days, travels that included vacationing in the Berkshires, meeting with firefighter union leaders in Boston and hobnobbing with billionaire Ron Perelman in the Hamptons.
Prior to that, he wooed the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland, talked transportation with U.S. senators in Washington and met with mayors in Mexico City to discuss climate change.
Reelected in March with 81% of the vote, Garcetti has refused to commit to serving his entire second term. As he visits New Hampshire and Wisconsin, the mayor remains coy about whether he’ll run for president in 2020.
But as he flirts with the idea, Garcetti tests the public’s willingness to tolerate his absences.
The mayor’s office releases details selectively about his time away from L.A., furthering his reputation for being vague about some of his travel.


Keep doing what you have been doing.  Sad.