Really?




I honestly don't know anymore what I enjoy ironically or not. I can say that I have spent untold number of dollars playing this song on internet Jukeboxes while enebriated. It tends to put a smile on my face.

Also, at one point in time I purchased a copy of "Foxtrot" because I was informed that Genesis with Peter Gabriel was "good." That was not true.

The ever changing financial market.

Perhaps everyone simply thought that Mike and I would sit on our laurels and wait for the results of today’s election. That was definitely a faulty opinion. We have actively been trading in this free market of election results hoping to maximize our final 2006 midterm election profits.

I am going to give a quick update on what we have done.

  • Late last night we had made some money on our gamble that the Democrats would win the senate. So, naturally, we sold them out hard. Took our profits and strengthened our position that Democrats would take at least 20 seats in the house.
  • We also noticed some severe pricing irregularities in Rhode Island. The Wall Street Journal was telling us that Chaffee (R) had the momentum in the race. He was also strongly undervalued. As a result, we sold Whitehouse (D) and took a position in favor of Chaffee, it was simply an economic no brainer.



    Come on Chaffee! You're now our guy!

  • Changing position on the Rhode Island race freed up some money for another decent investment. We are now in favor of the Democrats taking the house while the Republicans retain the senate. Mathematically it makes sense; the Democrats will almost surely take the house (even fox news agrees). However, to take the senate they would essentially have to win three coin flip elections. Statistically this is a 12.5% chance, whereas the position was valued at 41%. We also used this money to strengthen our position that the Democrats would take at least 25 seats in the house.
  • We thought we had found a good value, so we purchased Democrat Ben Cardin (on Ed's advice) in Maryland.
  • Earlier today market fluctuations left us with a wonderful opportunity to back out of or hedge in the House of 30 seats. We moved this back to 35 seats at no cost to us. We are at slightly more risk if the Democrats don't win at least 20 seats, but we do much better if they beat 30.
  • Everything else that isn't mentioned is unchanged. Honestly how could we possibly go against Ed's gut in TN?


    Capitalism at Work!

The American (and partially the Irish) Way.

Mike and I haven't really posted anything on ginandtacos.com for quite some time. It is not that we don't have anything to say, but…no actually it is mostly because we don't have anything to say.

However, all of that changed this evening when we went to Taco Bell to enjoy several of their new menu entree the "Cheesy Gordita Crunch". For the record, the commericals where the texture of said food item is debated are valid in so much as the texture does tend to change in every example of this Gordita, and often within one sample. More to the point, this fine bit of Mexican food got us thinking about the fact that neither of us intended to vote tomorrow. Its not that we don't care, its just that we both kind of forgot to register.

We felt bad not being involved in the democratic process, so obviously we responded the only way we knew how.

By placing 100 American Dollars into the futures market for 2006 midterm election results via a somewhat shady Irish website. We are at least 85% certain that it was legal.



click the above image to see the full resolution image of Mike and Erik buying a Democratic senate
(technically selling the Republicans keeping control)

It seemed quite obvious to us. Mike is obtaining a Masters degree in Financial Engineering, Ed had already supplied us with a bunch of sure fire "winners" and I- well I decided it was exceptionally amusing and was willing to risk 50 of those American dollars.

So here is how it transpired. After we became 85% certain that this was legal, and there was a good likely hood that we could actually get the money back from the Irish, Mike created a 100 dollar account. It was a good sign when his bank accepted the transfer of money (at least we think it was a good sign). When looking at the site, there are options to buy or sell contracts on pretty much every race, and other various overriding situations (for example: the Democrats taking at least 24.5 seats in the house). If you are buying a contract it means you are purchasing your opinion that the event will happen. If you sell a contract it means you are assuming the event will not happen. The moral is that I could simultaneously buy a contract saying that Rod Blagojevich is going to win the Illinois gubernatorial race and sell contracts saying Judy Baar Topinka will win. Mike and I did not do this. That would have been stupid. I am fairly certain even Judy Baar Topinka's mother knows she is going to lose. Hence, we would make absolutely no money. We needed to find positions that were fairly volatile, and where Ed had picked the winner in his previous post.

As much as Mike and I are proud to be Americans and were taking great pride in doing our civic duty, we also wanted to make a lot of money. The only way to do this was to place sums of money "against the market". We believed we had superior information (Ed's previous post on election results). We were taking obvious cues from Ed's past performance:


Proven Past Winner

So here is what we did:

Ed tells us that the Democrats are going to win between 23 and 25 seats in the House.

So we took a strong position on the Democrats winning 19.5 seats, a weak position on Democrats winning 24.5 seats. And actually sold contracts on the Democrats winning more than 29.5 seats. Essentially we are putting our money on the Democrats taking between 20-30 seats. That's going to be fun to watch.

The market is saying (in a dramatic fashion) that the Democrats are going to hang onto New Jersey. Mike and I trust Ed's opposite analysis of the race and sold contracts to people believing Bob Menendez would win – we invested in the democrats losing. The margin was better than simply investing in Tom Kean.

Ed Believes that Lincoln Chaffee's luck has run out. That was a position we could invest the hell out of. Particularly since most people in the market still thought Mr. Chaffee had a bit of luck.

Here is a really interesting one. Ed proclaimed his gut was in favor of Harold Ford Jr. in Tennessee. I have seen many bottles of Robert Burnet's London Dry Gin processed by Ed's gut. Even though the market is only 15% certain this will happen, we invested in Ed's gut much like his gut invested in many Taco Bell Grande Meals throughout the years.

We invested in Jim Webb in Virginia. We really did not like the political stylings of George "I hate the negros" Allen, and this race was trading at 50-50. Sounded good to us.

Finally, just so that we felt we were doing right by the Democrats we have picked them to win the senate. I know that this is in direct contrast with Ed's opinion, and our pick of Tom Kean in New Jersey, but what the hell. It wasn't a lot of money.

If you are bored with watching traditional exit poll results tomorrow. Take a quick look at some live updating graphs of Mike and My position in the futures market. Bare in mind our position was purchased around 9pm.

Oh, and despite having never watched it and aren't even entirely certain what the format of the show is, we invested money in Joey Lawrence taking it all in Dancing with the Stars.





Here are updating graphs of our official positions: Capitalism at Work!

Are you both drunk and homeless?

I know that at least several ginandtacos.com readers must be homeless drunks. It just stands to reason. Luckily, if you are exceptionally drunk, a modern trend seems to indicate that soon you will get free housing.


Stylish urban dwelling which is sure to have some bitchin' parties

A recent project in Seattle will house 75 of the cities hardest core alcoholics. However, you should not make the mistake of thinking that it is easy to gain admittance. Simply drinking a bottle of Mad Dog and passing out on the street does not qualify you for downtown rent-free living. These people have had to seriously make a lifestyle of it. Public record needs to indicate that you have been an alcoholic for at least 15 years, and have failed at treatment at least 6 times.

I know what you are thinking. This is some kind of new fangled alcohol abuse treatment program. Not in the slightest. The residents of this facility are free to drink as much as they want. The only condition is that they have to behave appropriately on the streets and in the building or else face eviction. The reason for this is obvious.

In stark contrast to the opinions of fraternities around the nation, Bill Hobson, the program director said:

"Drinking is not an excuse for behaving badly"

Why did the city of Seattle spend 11.2 million dollars to build a building to house drunks? Well, there is the obvious benefit of them not dying on the streets. The other side of the coin, which I am sure held some weight with the city council, is that this is actually cheaper than dealing with them. Apparently the costs of police and medical attention for these 75 people is far greater than the cost to house them. Basically, it would seem, that Seattle is saying that as long as they keep their boozehoundery confined within the walls of 1811 Eastlake Ave it is fiscally responsible for the city to pay for them to live there. If you are one of these 75 individuals, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you were costing Seattle more money per month to contain your drunkeness than the average cost of rent in that area- good times.

"I NEED A SPOUSE WHO ACCEPTS ME AS A TRIPLE-AMPUTEE."

One of my favorite scenes from Frederick Wiseman's Public Housing is the sad spectacle of a government employee explaining to a single mother (who looks to be about 16) that she should not have spent $100 on her hair because she does not have a job. If there is a more quintessential statement of "government as parent" than that, I'd love to see it.

Wait. I think I may have just seen it.

It's not an overstatement to say that the average enlisted soldier is not a rocket scientist. Military recruiters have spent the better part of the last half-century targeting young people who lack either (or both) the financial or cognitive means to secure a college education and/or non-lethal employment. Frankly, for many enlisted people the Army is going to provide more money, employable skills, and experience than any of their other options. While the average soldier on the ground is not a candidate for a MacArthur Grant, I sincerely doubt that they are less intellectually capable than the morons who populate most of civil society.

But as more and more people, namely reservists, who signed up under the assumption that they'd never have to serve in combat are doing just that, the stress of military life affects their family life. Never fear, though. The Army is here to teach you how to marry a supportive, obedient spouse who won't mind when your term of enlistment is involuntarily extended 3 times and you return to civilian life with a raft of physical and psychological problems.

Yes, finding a good military wife – er, spouse – is an art, not a science.

The folks over at NoJerks.com have perfected a program of "Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge (PICK)" that the Army is now paying to have presented to their young, impressionable, and apparently retarded troops. I'm not sure if the Army searched high and low to see if they could condescend the enlisted any more than they already have, but this might do it.

The cornerstone of their mate-hunting program is the "FACES" (they're big on acrostics, apparently) technique. The "F" stands for "Family Background and Childhood Experiences." So Lesson #1 – do a substantive background check on all potential spouses to weed out anyone who has red flags on their emotional credit report. A good military spouse will be one who doesn't show troubling signs of "needing you around" or "getting emotional when horrible things happen to you."

Do you get the feeling that the PICK program could save itself a lot of time and money by simply redirecting viewers to a dating site or database for good, quiet white Christian women with burning desires to be housewives?

If enlisted people are really so clueless that they need someone to sit down and explain (in a completely oversimplified manner) how to find a spouse, then the Army should be ashamed of itself for enlisting them in the first place. No one who needs to be told that "Compatibility" (that's the third part of FACES) is an important part of marriage should be armed. Period.

OK REPUBLICANS, TAKE YOUR PICK

So when George W. Bush throws a complete non-sequitur like "And that's why I need Congress to give me a line-item veto" into the State of the Union Address it perfectly crystallizes my opinion of his tenure in office.

One of two things must be true in this situation. Either Bush is A) ignorant of the fact that the line-item veto was just declared unconstitutional in 1998 or B) he realizes this and simply doesn't care.

So which is he, arrogant or ignorant? I'm afraid I don't see a third way here.

Who wants to bet that Ed Caudill is a loser?

I am sure most of us have been there at some point in time. You were young, possibly too young to be drinking legally, and found yourself at a house party. It was a good time. There were two kegs of whatever Miller of Busch product was the cheapest. Perhaps even a jello shot or two was distributed to the masses.

All in all, it was firmly situated in middleground between "good time" and "why the hell am I here". At some point, the balance was shifted. Officers of the law show up. They inform you that your music is too loud, and that they don't feel that people under the age of 21 should be consuming alcoholic beverages. So, you slowly stumble home thinking to yourself. I can't wait until next weekend- or potentially tomorrow depending on the remaining quantity of beer/vodka/cheap gin/carlo rossi sangria/whatever is left.

However, it would seem that Lincoln, Nebraska does not want you to finish your remaining keg of Natural Light. They have proposed a new initiative (which sounds vaguely like an Animal Houseesque "double secret probation") where houses where parties were "busted" would be tagged with a red sign for 120 days. During this time the house is subject to much sticter "anti-partying" police attention.



Although this seemed like a somewhat odd, potentially slightly fascist bit of local legislation, my first reaction was:

"Yeah, well it is Nebraska. Honestly, did these college students expect much less?"

My surprise came when I read a bit further and realized that the move was proposed by a 21 year old kid named Ed Caudill who is fed up with the noise and litter in his neighborhood. I mean really? What kind of jackass is this guy? I am willing to bet he is an engineering student who secretly resents the fact that he is never invited to these parties- I don't know, its just a guess.

I even understood the (presumably older) woman who was concerned about what red tags would do to her property value and proposed (hopefully in jest) that the students themselves be made to wear the tags. But a 21 year old? He should be drunk and at these parties, not at city council meetings complaining about noise and litter.

Honestly, I don't know what variety but I can say with some certainty:

-Ed Caudill, you are a loser.

Take that Barbie!

"Whilst for an adult the delight the child felt in breaking, mutilating and torturing their dolls is deeply disturbing, from the child's point of view they were simply being imaginative in disposing of an excessive commodity in the same way as one might crush cans for recycling."


The closest thing to a tortured barbie picture I could find in my (albeit exceptionally short) internet search.

Recent marketing research has found that young girls tend to mutilate and torture their Barbie dolls. This, I am assuming, is not exactly what Mattel had in mind.

By what Mattel didn't have in mind, I of course mean:

"The meaning of 'Barbie' went beyond an expressed antipathy; actual physical violence and torture towards the doll was repeatedly reported, quite gleefully, across age, school and gender,"

really??

The researchers are quick to point out that this is not in fact anti-social behavior, but rather an innocent rite of passage into womanhood. I am not entirely certain that I would agree with this. However, since their sample group of 100 children seemed to indicate that this behavior is quite widespread I suppose we will just have to accept their conclusions.

Either that or just use it as another excuse to accuse the British of being fucked up.

And for the next great political debates…

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans, rapper Kanye West voiced the opinion that perhaps George Bush's failure to act in a timely manner was the result of latent racism in the White House. This great civil rights commentator raised the question all of us were thinking. And, if I can recall correctly, he placed the complicated issues at hand into a vernacular the world would understand.

It would seem that 50 Cent takes issue with Mr. West's claim. Mr. Cent proclaimed that in his expert opinion "I think people responded to it the best way they can." He added that: "What KANYE WEST was saying, I don't know where that came from." Who knows where these, the great new pundits of our day, will go next?

The sky really is the limit.