The Greatest Invention

OK, OK, maybe not the greatest.  But click on the link:
to read about a sound emitter that repels teenagers because only teens and younger can hear the high-pitched sound.
Econo-Girl lives in a decidedly urban environment that is going to host a Wal-Mart soon.  That store will be right next to a giant high school.  Wonder if they will use something like this device to keep the kids under control.
And think of other applications.  I mean, how about an anti-teenager sound emitter in public parks taken over by drug dealers?  Or on corners being patrolled by gangs?  How about at hookey hideouts? 
Econo-Girl wants to buy one of these things.
There are those of you who might think Econo-Girl is being a bit nasty.  So what.  Let them walk around a bit.  It's good exercise.


Move Over, OPEC

Check out the Slate article:
It reviews the idea of oil BUYERS getting together and forming a cartel of their own!  Wouldn't that be cool? 

Hmmm. Deflation?

Is Econo-Girl crazy?  No one else on Earth, even the depressive Economist magazine, is predicting deflation.  Deflation is lowering prices rather than rising prices.  Inflation is when prices go up.
This is why Econo-Girl goes out on the limb to predict deflation:  because the de-escalation of prices has a snowballing effect.  Shoppers know that if they wait, prices will be cheaper. So they wait.  It is happening in the DC real estate market now.  And Econo-Girl predicts that it will be seen as happening by Christmas.  People will wait for prices to go down.  The poor sales will prompt more prices reductions. 
This prediction is for the short term only.  But it all hinges on consumer belief.  If they believe that prices will continue to go down and consequently wait to spend, then prices will come down to meet them.


The Silliness of an Econo-Girl

Much to the amusement of Leisure Lad, Econo-Girl is taking all the little things she buys for us and gift wraps it.  And on Christmas Eve, the packages will be opened to much delight and surprise.
Econo-Girl is reasonably sure that she will be surprised on Christmas Eve since she has no doubt whatever that she will NOT remember what she bought.
Econo-Girl intends to make this season one of her brightest.  Even some of her less domestically adventurous comrades are doing the same.  Econo-Girl calls it the Katrina effect.  It is the need to hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them. 
And nothing comforts quite like tradition, even if you've never actually done it before.  In this case, I am roasting chestnuts this season.  No one in my entire gene pool for the last century has roasted chestnuts.  That's a New England WASP thing, and Econo-Girl's background is central European.  Think Polish Easter Tree and blood sausages.
But Anglo-Saxon holiday myth envelopes my mind like it does most Americans, whether we will admit it or not.  And roasted chestnuts and white Christmases are a part of it.
Hey!  Maybe we can organize Christmas carols this year!  Econo-Girl did that once and it was damn fun.


Maureen Dowd Won't Listen To Me

Econo-Girl has written Maureen Dowd several times to offer tips and advice on her man problems.  No response.
So blogosphere, here it is:
Get over yourself.  That is to say, get over your social indoctrination to score a mate that is possessing of characteristics that would make your Mother happy.
Econo-Girl was a tender age at the beginning of feminism in the US.  She still remembers the outright laughing at spending as much money on female athletics as male athletics in high school.  And how girls were not allowed to take shop, and had to take home ec instead.
So women of a certain in-between generation can find themselves with a basket of leftover Neanderthals to pick from.  Unless they go younger.  Maureen Dowd is pretty and smart.  There is a guy out there for her who may not fit the typecast for a 'successful male.'  DC is full of successful men, and they are lousy lovers.
So Maureen, get yourself a red hot chili pepper lover, like Leisure Lad.  A romantic and a poet.  A devoted and caring man.  That's what you need to look for.


Christmas Shopping

Econo-Girl comes from a family with a lot of emotional issues around gift-giving.  That makes these holidays particularly difficult.  So all of us got together and decided that only children get gifts. 
So dredging the department stores on behalf of my sisters and brothers-in-law is not on the list this year.  And Econo-Girl is looking forward to the holiday. 
Econo-Girl also wants to note that the Martha Stewart holiday decorations at KMart.com are already starting to sell out.  Good for her!  And not surprising, considering the prices.  KMart.com is a good place to buy generally.
Another good shopping online venue is Overstock.com.  But Econo-Girl has not had the best success with their toys.  But lots of success for home furnishings and adornments and clothes.  Great rugs there, too.  Wonderful prices on pearl necklaces.  Surprise your mother on the cheap!
About EBay.  Econo-Girl gets her antique quilts there, something for which she has a decided weakness.  But she has the sneaking fear that much of what is sold on EBay is stolen/shoplifted.  So she is not comfortable buying regular things there.  And an intrepid consumer could look for the same items at Overstock.com and often find them less expensive there.
The American Book Exchange is another great place for bargains, and the otherwise hard-to-find book.  Leisure Lad practically lives on the web page.  It is called ABEBooks.com, or something close to it.  Google it and see.
For that person difficult to please, send holiday snacks from HarryandDavid.com.  OK, not the cheapest.  But very hard to argue about.
Another great place for rugs is HomeDecorators.com.  Good quality and good prices.
Econo-Girl despises the holiday rush and so has completed her Christmas shopping, almost.  Completely online.  And they wrap it for you and send it!  Whee!


You Wonder Where They Got It?

Great article in the New York Times today about torture and how the US got so good at it.

We learned from the Soviet Union. You know, that great, big country that imploded on itself and split into all these little pieces? That one. The example should be heartening to those states' rights types.

What Econo-Girl wants to know is if torture is against core American beliefs, why is the Vice President wanting to keep torture as an option for certain government agencies? And WHY isn't anyone asking the President that?


Over the weekend, Econo-Girl got highly upset at her sister. Once again, my sister listened to an idea I had and proceeded to start listing all the things that could go wrong with it.

If there are any readers out there who can relate to this, let me know.

There are ways to listen effectively, and ways to communicate potential problems effectively. First of all, running down a list of problems with a person's idea is just negative. They are in the moment, excitedly sharing with you a new thought. Maybe in subsequent conversations, ask if the person is open to some dialogue on potential problems. Not as the first thing out of your mouth.


What Makes America Great - According to the UK

Click on the title to this post and you will read a diverting article on - I guess you would call it a hobby - pumpkin shooting in America. People in Delaware are building weapons of mass destruction to shoot 10 pound pumpkins into the air.

Econo-Girl has always believed that every country has something ridiculous about it. In Saudi Arabia, people 'picnic' in the parking lot of a grocery store. In an alley. On the sidewalk. Scenery and nature are not part of the equation. In Germany, on Walk-To-Work Day, the people walk in the street to work, but still obey all the traffic lights. I can't even begin to imagine that happening here, or anywhere else for that matter. In South Africa, drunk driving ads say "Be Careful When You Cross the Street" rather than "Don't Drink and Drive."

Every country lies to itself about something. In continental Europe it is the Holocaust and their role in it. In the United States it is how we treat the American Indian and African American. To get a better idea, read "Black Like Me." Classic book where a white Southerner disguises himself as a black man and walks around the segregationist South. A very dangerous thing to do. In Brazil, it is common for 10-year-old girls to have sex with adult boyfriends. At 12, they move in with them. The Greeks don't want to talk about the slaughter of the Armenians. The Austrians don't want to talk about cooperating with Hitler. And let's not forget the Japanese and their 'comfort' women, which they at least admit to now.

Econo-Girl mentions all this as a way of saying we are all ridiculous and have the potential for evil. Just as we point to the follies of others, we also have follies. Too many economists do not take the follies of humanity into account in predicting rational economic behaviour. Econo-Girl aims to set the matter straight.


CNN Money Should Be Ashamed!

Click on the below link to see an insulting recount of the value of the dollar:
Damn CNN Money! 
Econo-Girl is upset at another well-read business article that sounds as if it is reporting on a football game.
The article rewritten: 
US is great!  Yeah for us!  Yeah for US!  We are going up!  Up is good!
Those other guys are dropping.  Dropping is for losers.  Losers!  Ha!  No one knows how we do it.  Neither do we.  But we're still better than you are.
Look at all the things that are going up for us:  consumer sentiment, gas affordability, etc.  Those dumb Europeans are only now starting to raise interest rates like we did over a year ago.  Ha!
Our markets are more true capitalist, and that makes up BETTER THAN FANCY PANTS EUROPEANS WHO DON'T USE DEODORANT!

Poole's Pendulum

Click on the title to this post and read Bill Poole's take on our twin deficits.

Rather optimistic in Econo-Girl's eyes. He cites 'sound' policy as a way for the US to get out of its Federal deficit and trade deficit. Limit inflation, he argues. Take a sensible approach to long-term solvency in the Federal budget.

To limit inflation, the Fed will raise interest rates. That will put a cap on consumer spending as the costs of paying off credit cards will go up. That in turn will limit the growth of our economy, since there is less money to spend. And that, my dear ducklings, is what is called a 'recession.'

Note to Poole: Are you saying that years of sensible policies will erase the damage from years of insensible ones?


House Prices Falling!

Well, well, well. It seems that even CNN Money is on to the changes in the real estate market. Although to be fair, Hayes is one of the better commentators I've read.

Click on the title to this post, and party!

And don't think of buying now. It will be tempting, but the real deals will be in a year.

Heh heh heh.


Irrational Exuberance 2nd ed.

Econo-Girl is distracted by her second edition Irrational Exuberance book.  The author was the one that called the stock market bubble in 2000.  He says we've just transferred our fever to the real estate markets.
His book is shockingly realistic for an egghead.  He actually admits the emotions play a part in bidding up stock and property prices.  And then he describes how human reaction just accelerates the bidding.
The big thing is, since the conservative revolution in the 1980's, people have identified themselves increasingly with their role in the marketplace, as opposed to as a father or friend.  So if you fail at investments, somehow you became a 'loser.'  And if it seems that everyone is putting money into tech stocks but you, you don't want to be a loser and keep out of it.  You want to be a winner and buy in.  So at those sloshy cocktail parties you can join the braggarts and morph into a winner yourself.
It's all so sad. 


Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry

Click on the hyperlinked title to this post. Former Fed Chief Paul Volker warns the US of inflation. It's great to be retired with gravitas. You can say anything. How seriously would you take it if Geraldo Rivera said the same thing?

Volcker warns that the US is "spending about 6 or 7 % ... more than it is producing." And get this - he thinks that's unsustainable! Egad! You don't say! Now if you or me decided to spend 6 or 7% more than we produce, maybe we also could use the story that we are stimulating demand. And that the rebound effect would generate tax revenues that would more than compensate for whatever shortfalls we were creating short term.

Econo-Girl also thinks we are in for a spate of inflation. Things to do: buy gold and pearls, buy inflation-adjusted bonds, get a government job that is inflation-indexed, get rid of flexible-rate debt in mortgages and credit cards, buy in bulk starting in about six months, get extra staples on sale now that you know you will need in the future but don't need right now like sneakers, learn to make food and freeze it and learn how long it can be safely kept that way.

These are just a few ideas. Econo-Girl likes getting over on the system. She wants you to do it, too.

As a postscript, if you've eaten a chicken and nothing is left but the bones, pull out that old slow-cooker and throw the bones in with a lot of water. Heat it up for six hours. You then have chicken broth for a year. You may not be wanting it now, but when you have the flu you don't want to be scrambling around for enough cash and then go into the cold for soup.


A Few Economics Jokes

Hey, did you know that George Bush is moving the White House to the tropics? And with global warming, he doesn't even have to move!

I have always wanted a million-dollar house in the tropics. And with inflation and global warming, I won't even have to move!