Monday Morning Fish Wrap: Springtime at Terra Farms

This season's crop of garlic

Springtime at Terra farms, our grandiosely named bit of acreage in the country. The birds are thieving singing, flowers are blooming, the barn needs fixing, and Mrs. 101's project/wish list grows ever longer... Longer than a list of a politician's failed campaign promises. Longer than a sullen teenager's litany of imagined slights from an older siblings. Longer than.... well, just long. Springtime is just swell.  While some readers up in the great white north are still snow-bound, April is a time for planning and planting, and taking chances with putting seedlings in the ground and hoping that early frosts won't burn them.  Well, they did.  We had a couple of late freezes that burned the blossoms off two peach trees and the … [Read more...]

Sunday Morning Fish Wrap: It’s springtime and it’s bloody well snowing…

Cypriot Uruk-hais face a tough job market

 The Fish Wrap: an occasional grouping of interesting links, mostly centered around finance topics, largely from personal finance blogs. A carnival of sorts, this time nicely arranged by topics, and curated with inconsistent editorial standards.   Gardening Spring is in the air... In last week's post on fruit trees, this passage: For example, for any zone 6 people, I'd advise staying away from apricot trees. I went ahead and planted a good-sized apricot two seasons ago, only to now find out that apricots are particularly prone to pest and disease problems. Not only that, they blossom early. Although it sure is nice to see pretty blooms as a sign of the coming spring, that also means that these blossoms can be killed off … [Read more...]

Mongolian Fish Wrap

Sabazushi ---- nummy, but only in moderation

The Fish Wrap: an occasional grouping of interesting links, mostly centered around finance topics, largely from personal finance blogs, and generally well-written. A carnival of sorts, curated in no particularly consistent fashion, and only loosely governed by editorial standards. Nigiri, maki and zaba sushi. Stewed river fish. Fish and "old tofu". River shrimp and jellied squid. Fish noodles. You could say that dinner fare on my last jaunt through the pacific rim was heavy on crabby patty derivatives, and not by choice. Which justifies the reaction on the call home from Atlanta airport: Me: "Hey babe, I'm on the ground in Atlanta. Flight home's on schedule, be home around 5. What's going on?" Mrs. 101: "I'm making fish for … [Read more...]

Saturday Morning Fish Wrap: Kimchi and Thousand-Year-Old-Eggs Will Give You Gas

Big earthernware jars used to make kimchi ... that;s a whole lot of pickled sauerkraut!  (all photo credit goes to Wikipedia on this one)

Kimchee is great stuff. Eat enough of it, and you'll be bursting with intestinal discomfort health in no time. Take it away, Wikipedia: Many South Koreans credit their nation's rapid economic growth in part to eating kimchi. The dish is made of various vegetables and contains a high concentration of dietary fiber, while being low in calories. One serving also provides over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. Most types of kimchi contain onions, garlic, and chilli peppers, all of which are salutary. The vegetables being made into kimchi also contribute to the overall nutritional value. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron, and contains a number of lactic acid bacteria, … [Read more...]

Monday Morning Fish Wrap: A Merry Jolly Christmas to All!

Adoration of the Magi, by Giotto - 1304-1306

Welcome to the sometimes weekly grab bag of news, commentary and post links from around... wherever, in no particular order. Podcasting... Arming The Donkey, by  Dan Ariely, professor of Behavioral Economics of Duke University.   On November 12th, Prof. Ariely interviewed Roy Baumeister, author of "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength." It's a good five minute and forty seconds introduction to the subject of willpower depletion. In Baumeister's book, there are several experiments cited where subjects are put through a series of psychological experiments, designed to test and deplete their "reserve" of willpower through repeated decision-making. In the end, proferred bowls of M&M's prove to be no match for … [Read more...]

Sunday Morning Fish Wrap: Cyprus To Adopt A Mediterranean Diet

St. Lazarus Church in Larnaka, Cyprus (photo by Vitaly Lischenko)

  Which is to say, less of everything: Price to Rise As More People Living Under Poverty Line.  As if committing  the whole country wasn't enough, Cypriots will have to either riot or resort to five-fingered discounts: FOOD PRODUCERS yesterday warned that the prices of staple items like milk, bread and meat will rise, adding to the woes of Cypriot households already contemplating shrinking incomes as a result of austerity measures and tax hikes on the way. In other street news, Larnaka gyro stands adopted US cereal producers' pricing tactics by reducing the size and fluffiness of the standard pita pocket by as much 25%, but raising the price by 2.7%.  Sneaky sneaky.     And things aren't bound to get … [Read more...]

Monday Morning Fish Wrap: Gold Mining is a Lousy Business

Because the preceding chart is ugly, here is something beautiful:  "And The Gold Of Their Bodies" - Paul Gauguin, 1901

Welcome to the sometimes-weekly news and link roundup round here.  Digging and scraping the noble metal out of the ground is indeed a lousy business. It sucks a$$. If it didn't, major pure-gold producers like Newmont Mining and GoldCorp (notwithstanding the "efficient market" fable) would be the darlings of the financial media, but they're not.   Even though gold as a commodity is holding steady in the $1,700 range, market analysts have been falling all over themselves downgrading the crap out of Newmont, Barrick, et al. As well they should: comparing the Market Vectors ETFs GDX (for senior mining companies) and GDXJ (for juniors) against GLD as a proxy for the gold price, and the Dow Jones average, we see that the gold miners … [Read more...]

Mid-Week (Organic) Fish Wrap: Whole Foods and Pricey Dates

 Welcome to the Fish Wrap, a semi-frequent collection of commentary, link, topics, served on a platter of fresh green-leaf lettuce with a garnish of cilantro.  How humbling is it to be neatly pigeonholed into a consumer category by a large corporation?  You're just not that special a snowflake. Whole Foods has market resarched  its customers into Conscionables, Organics, Experientals, and Foodies.  Nice little cubbies. The extract in question from Whole Foods' 10-K filing: Unlike shoppers at conventional grocery stores, we believe many of our customers connect with us on a deeper level because of our shared values and, for this reason, continue to shop with us even in uncertain economic times. Based on our research, we … [Read more...]

Wednesday Morning Fish Wrap: The Speed of Crime

Somewhat off-topic, but funny nonetheless

A semi-occasional collection of links and topics, delivered to you about as fresh as shrimp from the Gulf Coast... only a few days old, iced, and still palatable. Personal security sometimes gets talked about in the realm of personal finance, but not in this kind of insightful detail.  Want to learn how to write well, then go read good authors.  Aspiring finance whizzes best find a mentor. Keeping your car safe and having to replace broken windows, then this post from TB at Blue Collar Workman is a good start:  Tips From A Former Car Thief on How To Protect Your Car.  The important takeaway from TB's knowledge is how fast crime happens to the unaware.  Leave your valuables, or anything that even looks to be of value to the … [Read more...]

Sunday Morning Fish Wrap: Revolving Doors

"Harvest - 1915" by Zinaida Serebriakova ---- because the subject of political lobbying and body scanners is an ugly one, but this painting is most beautiful.

In a post a few days ago, the focus was on political entrepreneurship. Specifically, how some companies and organizations have inveigled themselves into the political process and are profiting handsomely by it. The head of H&R Block wound up at the IRS, Monsanto's executives are making tracks at the USDA, Justice dept, and the FDA, and Goldman Sachs at Treasury.  The revolving door is spinning like a top. For just one little example, look at Rapiscan and L-3,  the makers of the those odious scanning machines that allow TSA agents to ogle naked passengers.  Airline passengers are virtually disrobed by these scanners courtesy of Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security, and later gainfully employed by RapiScan, … [Read more...]