Back in the saddle. Some quick hits …
Happy belated Mothers Day to all the moms out there. There is no tougher job. I work a lot, I work hard, and I battle 480 two times a day. An entire week of that is much easier than one day alone with my kids.
Welcome to Cleveland gambling. We’ve been waiting for you.
I’d thank Dan Gilbert, but the real thanks should go to all the politicians that bankrupt the state so badly that the voters finally said “uncle” and approved it on the ballot after several failed attempts. “Alright, alright!!!! You win!! We’re broke! Open the stupid casinos!”
Speaking of gambling, I’ve been getting a slew of happy texts and e-mails from Dish readers that profited off of my Kentucky Derby prediction that “I’ll Have Another” would win the run for the roses. At 16-1 odds to win, a $2 bet paid $32, and a $10 bet paid $160.
The influx of flowers, cigars, candy, gift cards, and tickets to sporting events has been a little too much for me to handle. Going forward, all gifts should be sent to Crystal Zimmerman here in Lakewood for processing. Same drill next week after I pick the winner of the Preakness in Friday’s Dish.
(If Dodd or Frank are reading this … that’s just a joke, FYI)
Browns defensive Phil Taylor tore his pectoral muscle and will likely miss the entire 2012 season. Even though it’s a HUGE loss at one of the most vital positions on the field, I’m relieved. It’s good to get the annual, crippling, hope-deflating, major off-season injury out of the way early this year.
When asked for comment, Pat Shurmur made a confused look and went back to coloring in his coloring book. Mike Holmgren angrily shouted “We’re still going 12-4 this year!!! And don’t come crawling to me for playoff tickets when we do!!!”
SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER …
It’s seemed like each of the eight episodes of “Mad Men” so far this season have all had heavy prevailing themes. This week’s? Jealousy. Betty jealous of Megan’s youth, Betty jealous of her and Don’s relationship, Pete jealous of his train buddy Howard’s wife, Peggy jealous of Ginsberg, Don secretly jealous and slightly threatened by Ginsberg … and so on.
Last Sunday’s episode was the slowest and weakest this season in my mind, but the season as a whole has been fantastic, and I’m holding true to my prediction that we get a big, shocking finish over the final four episodes. The show has been teasing death ALL season. Every episode. And again this week when Megan commented on the “Killer Smog of 1966” (really happened) by saying … “keep the windows closed, that smog can kill ya.” There have been no deaths of major characters through four seasons of Mad Men. It really seems like one is coming.
So who is the show going to kill off if you buy into my theory? I think the incessant foreshadowing of Pete Campbell’s demise is a red herring. It seems too obvious. The best bets in my mind are Roger (back on his game, seems very happy, likely possibility for that reason) or Megan.
Part of what has made Mad Men so great is the Don Draper character, and how he has responded to the heaping helpings of adversity (Dick Whitman past, divorce from Betty, demise of the old ad firm, professional problems) … and it seems like the writers are getting ready to throw Don another curveball.
The four episodes that preceded this most recent one may have been the greatest four episode stretch in show history. There are four more left. I’m expecting it to be an amazing finish.
Quote of the Day …
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen
Insane Fact of the Day …
Two-thirds of the world’s eggplant is grown in New Jersey.
Mortgage rates are near record lows. Seems like I’ve said that hundreds of times over the course of the last 7-8 years, but right now, legitimately, mortgage rates are about as low as they’ve ever been. The most credit worthy borrowers right now can get 3.75% for 30 years fixed with zero points paid. And if you’re an originator that cannot offer those rates today, please visit this link.
I’ve been saying it all year. I feel like rates are going to push even a little lower. This mess in Europe isn’t going away, which is going to spur even more foreign investment in American fixed income debt like mortgage bonds. I feel like the labor market here in America has stalled, and that is going to push more US dollars away from stocks and into bonds. Inflation is still muted. Our mortgage debt and bonds are still backed by Big Brother, which soothes potential investors. And the Fed has turned more bearish.
We’ll start to get back into more of the daily grind of the daily economic numbers and climate tomorrow, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the “$2 billion trading error” made by JP Morgan Chase last week. It’s terrible news for the financial industry here in America, which is already crippled by regulation. As is often the case when people who do not know a business make the rules for that business, they’re going to take one rogue incident and use it to broadly punish financial institutions all over the country.
The financial industry here in America CLEARLY needed more regulation, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. But where it’s gone is making it difficult for lenders to lend. Try getting a small business loan these days. Or a commercial loan with anything less than a massive down payment and years of profitability. And the costs of all the added regulation is being passed along to borrowers in the way of higher fees, lower rates on savings accounts, and for most non-FFL lenders, higher rates and fees on loans.
It’s one of the things that is inhibiting growth here in America, but few politicians have the will to make that argument right now. No one wants to be the guy that is lobbying for less regulation in a climate and a country where the vast majority of Joe Americans think all people that work in finance are evil because of a few bad apples.
~ Retail Sales Edge Up, In Line with Projections, Inflation Flat
~ JP Morgan’s Dimon to Face Calls to Split Top Roles
~ Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino Now Open to the Public
~ First Merit Cutting 338 Positions, Closing Branches
~ Facebook a Fad? CEO: 900 Million People Can’t Be Wrong
~ Euro Zone Economy Avoids Recession, but Split Grows
~ Home Depot Sales Miss Expectations, Shares Fall
~ Stock Futures Point to Rebound as Bank Stocks Rise
~ Freddie Mac: Refinancing Homeowners Pick Shorter Terms, Fixed Rates
~ Federal Data Shows Airlines On Time at a Record Rate