Gift Shopping: DVDs

Amazon keeps sending out special announcements about all sorts of sales they are running. The discounting is selective, but heavy.

The latest is a special on DVDs for $7.97. I scanned the sale list (mostly blah), but there were a handful of winners amongst the junk:

• Casino
: Casino

A terrific movie, great performances — but be aware this is on sale because of the new (and more expensive) 10th Anniversary Edition. Scorcese fans may recall the same thing happened with  Goodfellas (Two-Disc Special Edition).

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• The Chronicles of Riddick (Widescreen Unrated Director’s Cut)
: The Chronicles of Riddick (Widescreen Unrated Director's Cut)

This is a very under-rated Sci-Fi flick that improves with each viewing. Great special effects, interesting story, good action sequences. The Unrated Director’s Cut has more violence and extended fight scenes.

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• The Bourne series:
I read the Bourne books in high school and college as my junk beach books — but the story holds up well, the actions sequences are great, and Matt Damonis surprisingly menacing as the title character. 

• The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Extended Edition)
: The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Extended Edition)
• The Bourne Supremacy (Widescreen Edition)
: The Bourne Supremacy (Widescreen Edition)

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Spike Jonze does a great job turning this  bizarre screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, into a surreal and brilliant piece of film making. Could be the best film of 1999.

• Being John Malkovich
: Being John Malkovich


Happy shopping !

Category: Digital Media, Film, Retail

Long the quality / short the quantity

Category: Financial Press

NFP: Watch the Comp

Category: Economy, Employment, Federal Reserve, Wages & Income

Blog Spotlight: Winter (Economic & Market) Watch

Another edition of our new series:  Blog Spotlight.

We put together a short list of excellent but somewhat overlooked
blog that deserves a greater audience. Expect to see a post from a
different featured blogger here every Thursday evening,
around 7pm.

Next up in our Blogger SpotlightRuss Winter’s Economic & Market) Watch. A brief background: Russ was a broker for major firms in the Pacific NW for fifteen years in the late 70s and 80s. Moved on to land development, and vintage apartment ownership. He is now semi-retired and a cashed out bear, hunkered down in the Portland, Oregon area, watching the world go around.

Winter_1

This week’s topic:  Understanding Consumer Ponzi Finance   

Ponzi’ finance units must increase outstanding debt in order to meet its financial obligations.”
-Hyman Minsky

Credit Suisse on a monthly basis puts out one of the most data filled reports in the biz on mortgage and consumer finance. A careful reading of the latest issue, enables one to piece together the nature of the American asset Bubble consumer financing Ponzi scheme. A look at the following chart on housing cash out refinancings, clearly illustrates Joe Soccer Mom’s (JSM) largely unrestrained ability (so far), to effectively service their old debts and continue spending, with new debt. That’s true even with the kind of extremely low levels of cash in the bank, that I pointed out in my blog on demand deposits, earlier this week.

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Category: Blog Spotlight

Technical Weakness Accumulates

Category: RR&A

PermaXXXX?

Category: Financial Press, Markets, Psychology

High-Tech Strategist

Doug Kass channels Fred Hickey’s macro concerns, in Fun With Fred:

• Hickey points out another fallacy with the 1995 market meltup and 2006-07. Eleven years ago, the Republican Revolution ushered in lower tax rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estate taxes. By contrast, the Democratic tsunami in the YouTube Election of 2006 should be worrisome to corporate executives, bankers, consumers and investors. Instead, they are partying like it was 1995 and oblivious to what is happening on Main Street and, importantly, in Washington.

• The collapse in housing is spilling over and has begun to impact the general economy. Hickey highlights many of our concerns — the durable goods drop, rising subprime mortgage delinquencies and property foreclosures, a steep contraction in truck tonnage, a surprising decline in the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index and reports (Lazard Capital Markets) that 60% of retailers missed their November same-store estimates.

• As the limited quantities of special deals were gone, retail spending came to a halt after consumers were baited with "doorbuster" deals on Black Friday. At every store he visited after Thanksgiving weekend, Hickey found empty stores and excess inventory. Circuit City (CC) was swimming in iPod inventory ("the new toasters") and at mobile phone stores (Hickey smells an emerging glut) it was the same story with Cingular awash in the new Blackjacks from Samsung, Verizon (VZ) with a plethora of "Qs" from Motorola (MOT) and T-Mobile with xcess Blackberry Pearls.

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Category: Economy, Markets, Psychology, Web/Tech

Blogger’s Take: The US Buck

Category: Blog Spotlight

CNBC.com Appearance

Category: Media

Welcome to the Internet

Category: Web/Tech