Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dog Point & Quartz Reef Dinner

Click to enlarge, was a very nice evening indeed.
Excellent wine, in particular the Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc which was my favourite.

On a lighter note

Genre: Documentary, Horror

"Americans generally like to hear good news. They like to believe that a new President will right old wrongs, that clean energy will replace dirty oil, and that fresh thinking will set the economy straight. American pundits tend to restrain their pessimism and to hope for the best. But is anyone prepared for the worst? Michael Ruppert is a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter “From the Wilderness” at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Smith has always had a feeling for outsiders in films like “American Movie” and “American Job.” In “Collapse,” Smith stylistically departs from his past films by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray. Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate over the issue of “peak oil,” the concern raised by scientists since the 1970s that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel. While other experts debate this issue in measured tones, Ruppert doesn’t hold back at sounding an alarm. He portrays a future that resembles apocalyptic science fiction. Listening to his rapid flow of opinions, the viewer is likely to question some of the rhetoric as paranoid or deluded; and to sway back and forth on what to make of the extremism. Smith lets viewers form their own judgments." Apple trailers

Interesting genre, click to view the HORROR

Taking Off

"Growth is good, but absent job creation it is difficult to get too excited."

Here's your recovery -

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Over-borrowing vs. over-lending

"..has reduced the number from 12 to four over the years but says card companies should share the blame for borrowers' difficulties.

"Sure, there was much over-borrowing but there was over-lending too. Why should the borrowers be penalised?" she says. "Government should protect us from this, not aid the lenders while casting borrowers to the wind. After all, it was the government that presided over and encouraged easy credit. Now it proposes penalising those who took advantage.""

'I could lose my house. It's that serious' - Guardian

She had 12 credit cards, 12. But it isn't her fault. Not her responsibility. She just took advantage. This is the reason my prudent savings account earns nothing at the moment. Thanks love.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Save the planet: time to eat the dog?

'In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido.

They compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it). One hectare of land can produce 135 gigajoules a year, which means the vehicle's eco-footprint is 0.41ha – less than half of the dog's.

They found cats have an eco-footprint of 0.15ha – slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf. Hamsters have a footprint of 0.014ha – keeping two of them is equivalent to owning a plasma TV.'

Save the planet: time to eat the dog? - via Dominic via Conway

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Barbarous Relic

Emotional trading

"StockTickr: What single lesson did you learn along the way that has helped you the most in your trading?

Denise: Learn how to process your emotions in real time. so that the emotion is not “acted out” in trade entries or exits.

StockTickr: What 3 books do you recommend traders read?


StockTickr: What is the most common but easily correctable mistake you see traders make?

Denise: Ignoring how they feel in an effort to “control their emotions.”"

Interview with Denise K. Shull, a trading coach and mentor.

A new bubble

"Central banks around the world have released massive amounts of money in response to the current financial crisis. How to exit from the current super-loose monetary environment has become a popular discussion. The central bankers are talking down the prospect of raising interest rates, arguing that the weak economy keeps inflation in check. But the proposition that a weak economy means low inflation is false. The stagflation of the 1970s proves it.

This round of monetary growth has mainly fed speculation, not credit demand for consumption or investment. Speculation has reached a dangerous point with the oil price threatening to reach triple digits again. Its implications for inflation may spook the central banks to raise interest rates quickly and trigger another crash.The excess money supply has created a new liquidity bubble.

The case for a double dip in 2010 is already strong. Inventory restocking and fiscal stimulus are behind the current economic recovery. The odds are quite low that western consumption will pick up when the recovery runs out of steam next year. High unemployment will keep incomes too weak to support spending."

Andy Xie - The Big Burnout

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Open Up

Just a couple

Worst Shopping Run Ever - Watch more Funny Videos

Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity version

Race Across the Sky

One day... one day.

On the way to TMC

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dental Treatment

"David Einhorn, the hedge fund manager who is most famous for shorting Lehman Brothers before its collapse, was talking at the Value Investing Congress in New York today.

Mr Einhorn talked about his reasoning for buying gold as a hedge against future inflation, and went into the reasons to be wary not only of the dollar but of currencies including the yen and sterling. Making a choice among them was like choosing between different forms of dental treatment, he said."

Via DH again

Excerpt from letter to FT

Sir, Imagine a publicly held company with revenues of �500m and costs of �700m leaving it posting a current year loss of �200m. Imagine, too, that this company already has �700m of debt and that it is forecasting that debt to increase beyond �1,000m over the next three years. Would any sane investor consider lending to or investing in such a company?

This is exactly the state of the UK's current finances, except to say that the numbers are actually billions rather than millions. The UK is in a mess and it is extremely difficult to see how it is going to trade its way out of it. Quite simply, we are living way beyond our means and drastic action is required.

Via DH - Guest Blogger

Monday, October 19, 2009

Planet of the Apes

"The delusions of multiculturalism have brought about the death of England - in nothing flat. An amazing feat." nro

via smalldeadanimals

Click for vitriol

And first female TdF winner in history

via EL

Jobless Recovery

via DR.

Today is the 22nd anniversary of Black Monday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Politics at its most basic

"I watched carefully the reporting of the Dow breaking 10,000 the other day and not anywhere did I see a major news organization include a paragraph of the “On the other hand, so fucking what?” sort."
Good News on Wall Street Means… What Exactly? - Matt Taibbi

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where's Sir Paul?

Invited via Rapha to Paul Smith Shibuya to 'meet' Paul Smith and view the Favourite Shirts exhibition. He and his company are very popular in Japan. The place was mobbed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pondering the torment of the Tourmalet

Rumour has it that the famous Tourmalet will be included in the L'Etape this year. It should be announced this week, perhaps even this evening. I want to go back to France and ride this event again. Joli did remind me that I asked her to intervene if ever such a statement was uttered from my lips. The chance to 'bag' another of the famous cols, with far more experience (and fitness?) and as part of an organised trip is proving hard to ignore.

"I knew a long while ago that I will never be 'good', on a very good day I am average and things like the Etape just make you realise, as a coach said to me recently, you have to work bloody hard just to be average. I'd go further. The fact is, I know you have to work really hard just to be crap."

Tourmalet Torment - Guy Andrews - Rouleur

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Twittering the Constitution

""Tweet" is what I mean, isn't it? I'm not a tech-savvy parent. I communicate with my children via the old-media format called yelling.

Giving politicians a Twitter-ready version of the U.S. Constitution to send to voters in place of the politicians' own thoughts will raise the tone of America's political discourse while sparing us the pain and humiliation of learning anything more about our dreadful elected representatives, their idiot ideas, or their unwelcome whereabouts.

Without further ado:

  • Pre-A: We the people R the man. Here's how it rolls. Art1: Congress do law. Got Senate/House-o-Reps.
  • HR 2yr deal. Reps mst b 25, homie citz 7yrs. 1R per 30k pop/min 1R per St. St pop #s @10yrs. Guv pix subs. HR pix own bigs. HR impeaches Clinton.
  • Sen 6yr deal. 1/3 go @2yrs. 2Ss/St Mst b 30, homie citz 9yrs. VP tiebreaks. S gives Clinton a bye.
  • $ Bills fr H & pass S w/amends. Prez mst X or nix. 2/3H&S 2 nix nix
  • Cong power = Tax Mooch Tariff Green crd Chapt 11 Print $ Bust cons Pat pend Law up War on Hang pirates.
  • Cong power not = No habeas corp No x post facto law Free trade 4 Sts. Kings dukes for. poofters R bogus.
  • Sts pow not = For. treats Cust. duties @ other Sts. Go 2 war w/o say please
  • Art2: Prez 4yrs per Elec Col SAT score VP ditto VP subs. mst b nat born homie 35. Defnds Const & CnC Army Navy Air Force Marines
  • Prez pow = For. treats w 2/3S yes Appts Cabnt offs Ambs Sup Ct Js DoD brass w S yes Hi Cong Bye Cong St-o-Un add. No smoking.
  • Art3: Sup Ct rox Treason sux. Art4: Sts R cool Newbie Sts per Cong. Art5: Amend Con=2/3H&S+3/4Sts. Art6: US IOUs cool Const rox No God Squad
  • Art7: G2G TTFN. 9/17/1787. Bill-o-Rites TK :)
  • Flame on -church+guns. No GIs n cribz. No frisk w/o ProbCawz Due Pross rox Plea5th Get off my lawn SpeedTrialz w/jur&shystr. Pwr 2 D Peeps.

Twelve little tweets--all that's needed to run the richest, most powerful and most important nation in the world for more than 220 years. There's a message in that, and not just a text message. But we can text it. And let's do so."

All the Founding Fathers go tweet, tweet, tweet. by P.J. O'Rourke

Any minute now...

..erm, probably. Click for magnified view..

Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the sunny Sunday loop

amongst the Bamboo...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

“Hear you nothing that I say?”

“Master, moving stones around is one thing, this is totally different.”

“No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.”

“Alright, I’ll give it a try.”

“No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

via swa

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Holy Hambuger, Batman

as seen at lunchtime today somewhere in Roppongi.. via KK

Typhoon Melor

Not so much in Tokyo. Bit windy though.


This from Matt of the Daily Telegraph in the UK, but it could just as easily be applied to the Postal Service in the USA, as we have recently discovered. Useless.

Royal Mail loses Amazon contract as postal strikes loom - Guardian

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Cynical and Monstrous Reality

"We’re living in a time of extreme crisis almost nothing on TV or in the movies is designed to get us thinking about how to fix our problems. If anything, most of the stuff on TV is designed to jack up our anxiety level without offering any solutions except the short-term fixes of buying and eating — witness the endless reality shows in which ordinary people slave away and scheme against each other for weeks on end for a 1 in 12 shot at a (pick one) modeling job/date with a non-deformed, non serial-killing person/chance to be shouted at by Donald Trump.

Now that stuff is cynical and monstrous. It is my sincere hope that the people who are producing these programs will someday be tried and executed by war crimes tribunals at the Hague."

"We’re not thinking about how to fix our lives, in other words, but how to fix the movie about our lives."

Michael Moore’s Problems Are Our Fault - Matt Taibbi

Oily Dollar

"Ultimately it is not about the Dollar losing relative value against other currencies. It is about what interest you have to pay to persuade others to hold your currency, which determines the cost of capital for the economy and the standard of living."

Ridiculous Hype Over Secret Oil Meetings - Mish
Why Would Anyone Want To Hold Dollars? - Mish
"Dollar Armageddon is not coming over a pricing unit, nor did the US invade Iraq for that reason. The story is nothing but meaningless hype."

The world and the dollar react to Robert Fisk - FT Alphaville
"..the ‘Independent’ article as offering little substance. Nonetheless, the article will add to USD weakness, which is already under pressure due to other reasons."
"..he has not often written on economic issues in the past."

Oil Traders to Ditch the Dollar… - Oil Change
"Some analysts believe that the dollar’s long-term future as the currency for oil trading is in serious trouble and will be replaced over the next few years."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Obscured by fog

"The massive exceptional monetary stimulus of central banks has lifted up financial markets rather faster than it has buoyed the real economy.

The big unanswered question is whether economic reality will catch up with financial-market hopefulness, which would be the benign outcome, or whether the rising prices of bonds, commodities and shares contain an element of unattainable fantasy."

Microsoft: 'No bounce' - Peston's Picks - BBC News

The key is sustained growth via such things as US productivity, Chinese market growth and the fact that the income-return on equities is so much higher than on deposits. I think this is a bit straw clutchy.
"Which is all fine and dandy unless you think that there simply won't be any sustained economic growth and/or oil prices will rise so much as to persuade central banks that there's a risk of generalised inflation - which would lead to a rise in interest rates."

Raining in Tokyo today, foggy everywhere else.

Monday, October 05, 2009

253.2-foot Delta 4-Heavy lifting off

"The camera was remotely triggered by photographer Ben Cooper, who used sound activation to snap this shot while he was safely ensconced 3 miles away.

The camera lens was destroyed, but the camera itself somehow survived as the world's tallest unmanned rocket roared away from its launchpad."

Pretty cool.

Where Two Wheels Meet

UK Cycle Show

Friday, October 02, 2009

Cabel's First Rule of Japan

"if you wander around anywhere in Japan for a little bit, you will come across something interesting." Cabel's Blog

Welcome to the Ogori cafe!
At this cafe, you get what the person before you ordered. The next person gets what you ordered.

FIT for Charity Run (Tokyo, Sun. Nov. 29)

Re: 4x100m (Inter-company relay race, only one team per company)

Subject: BGC 4 x 100m Training Update.

Hi T-san

I thought you may appreciate an appraisal and findings after our preliminary 'try-out'. Feedback is essential in all walks of commerce, but sport and the 'business' of winning is no different as I am sure you will agree. In anticipation of a successful campaign, to bring the cup back to Toranomon, we have set about a strategy of focus and discipline. Admittedly the resources have been somewhat fudged, but the findings are useful nonetheless.

Having gauged the distance from the Toranomon crossing to the gates of the imperial palace along at probably close to 400 metres we had a full dress-rehearsal for the actual event next month. Starting within the shadow of our own building was, with hindsight a regrettable decision at rush-hour, but inspiring nonetheless. On completion of the inaugural run, I have established not only the probable order of runners, which undoubtedly will help you with the administration, but a wish-list which it is hoped, shall allow for a fluid and professional campaign.

Timings and findings. (B/F/T/C)

1. B: His position as lead-off is under scrutiny. Sluggish, from the clap (we didnt have a gun for obvious reasons), his negotiation of the pavement was awkward and handover to Ferguson was excessively conservative. Running in his work clothes hindered his speed and we fully expect his time to represent this when switching to the new kit. See below. Please be advised he will NOT be wearing his favoured black cape whilst running.

Approximate time : 26.28 sec (he has claimed this to be a PB, which we are investigating)

2. F : From the unfortunate static start he made up good time and initiative taken by running on the actual road despite obvious risks. But for the parked police van along Kasumigaseki, his time would have been outstanding.

Approximate time : 10.08 sec (We have nick-named him “Pringle” after the legendary Jesse Owens, who used to run along the road too and was a good jumper).

3. T : After a bungled baton change which resulted in the cucumber breaking in half (kindly donated by Flutes & Vegtables) after F ran into him, far too fast, he made up for lost time. Terrible luck with the traffic lights cruelly turning red, dented what could have been a spectacular 'bend-leg'.

Approximate time : 3min 42sec

4. C : Excellent changeover and a good start were overshadowed by a premature end. (previous night out with P from SRB who trades the vol and is now not going to HK took its toll, with C feeling 'dizzy and lightheaded'.) Positives taken however and his position in the team is definitely not under close scrutiny at this particular juncture.

Approximate time : DNF

Wish list :
  • Whistle (my clapping seemed to startle the pedestrians and the gun idea simply isn't feasible unless we can source one which pops out the word "BANG" on a sort of flag thing.)
  • An actual baton. (Many thanks go to Flutes & Vegetables of Toranomon, who kindly stepped in with the cucumber, and have asked me to pass on that the plums are excellent value this time of year. Unfeasible going forward however. Would perhaps settle for baton-sized stick if anyone has one, which may make for cost cutting.
  • Trainers. Straw poll came up with consensus for those ones which have lights in the heels and go on and off upon movement. Good counter tactics i know you will agree. Sizes (in current team order; 8/11/8/4.5)
  • Team kit. Worthwhile investment I know you will agree. All black (it worked for Mike Tyson) with CGB in gold letters on the back, and 1,2,3,4 on each of the fronts... not all the numbers that is, just 1 on B, 2 on F etc etc etc etc etc etc)
  • Matching tracksuits, with optional warm-down sweatshirts. Always a sign of a tough team i know you will agree.
  • Isotonic drinks. Obviously !!
  • Float for sundry items.. suggested ¥225,000. TBA.
  • T-shirts with the squad nick-names on back; in current team order; Bart-man/Jesse-Pringle/ "I am out-rr" here ( a clever anagram of T you will no doubt have picked up on) / Jonny Wizz (this may change so pls refer to me prior to order) Sizes ; L/M/M/S

Please let me know if this is all in accordance with policy and such like. I will keep you posted on further developments.

Best regards, D (team manager and coach)

p.s. Suggested team anthem : to the tune of Queens "We are the Champions"

We are the champions my friend
And we"ll keep on fighting til the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
Of the World.

p.p.s. If there are any details of the timings of other potential rival CGB teams please can you discreetly let me know… I wont tell that you told me.



Q: Three men in a boat have some cigarettes but no matches. How do they light their cigarettes?

A: They throw a cigarette overboard and make the boat a cigarette lighter.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

From my new Guest correspondent

I've had a very busy day, and so I have decided to post links to three Youtube videos selected by Dominic. At this point they are unseen by me, as I cannot access Youtube at work, so I hope he has done well in his selections... no pressure Dom, no pressure, but you could earn yourself a weekly guest blogger spot if you play your cards right.. oooh, the honour! Click away... and fingers crossed.

Tour de France

Bulgarian Idol

Only in Japan