I have long lamented the issue of Inflation EX-Inflation — the official reporting of inflation minus everything that has been going up in price.
Dan Gross of Slate/Newsweek, is the author of the book Pop!: Why Bubbles Are Great For The Economy. Blogging by proxy (via me), Dan points us to the exact opposite phenomena, Inflation In-Inflation. (1st pun)
This refers to this morning’s WSJ article, As Demand Balloons, Helium Is in Short Supply (2nd pun) discussing the rising price (3rd pun) of Helium.
There is more than a little irony that we have robust inflation in Helium, the element that inflates balloons/bubbles (4th pun):
"Helium is found in varying concentrations in the
world’s natural-gas deposits, and is separated out in a special
refining process. As with oil and natural gas, the easiest-to-get
helium supplies have been tapped and are declining. Meanwhile,
scientific research has rapidly multiplied the uses of helium in the
past 50 years. It is needed to make computer microchips, flat-panel
displays, fiber optics and to operate magnetic resonance imaging, or
MRI, scans and welding machines.
The technology explosion is sucking up helium supplies (5th pun)
at dizzying rates (6th pun)
. U.S. helium demand is up more than 80% in the past
two decades, and is growing at more than 20% annually in developing
regions such as Asia.
"We’ve not seen the supply and demand at this
imbalance in the past. We’re running on the edge of the supply-demand
curve," says Jane Hoffman, global helium director for Praxair Inc." . . . As supplies have tightened, prices have surged in recent
months. For one New York laboratory, prices have increased to $8 a
liquid liter, from close to $4 at the end of the summer.
There are so many great puns in there — and as you can see, more than a few bad ones — that I wont impose the awful ones I keep coming up with on you.
But you shouldn’t feel such restraint — that’s what the comments are for! Go at it!
As Demand Balloons, Helium Is in Short Supply
WSJ December 5, 2007; Page B1
I was starting to put together this year’s Different Kind of Top 10 Music List (prior versions here: 2006, 2005 and 2004), when I realized I hadn’t written up one of my favorite discs this year: Country Ghetto by JJ Grey & Mofro.
I was driving home one night.,. when I hear this sound come oozing out of my car speakers: A funky, steamy, swamp rock blues number, with a long intro that finally came to a great groove: (slide over here and click Turpentine)
On the strength of that song, I ordered the disc, and I was not disappointed. The music is a great cross-breeding experiment across genres: Start with swamp rock, add some smoldering blues, slip in vintage soul, and finally, some gospel-fried funk.
Songwriting influences are apparent: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker,
Jerry Reed, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Dr. John, Sly
& The Family Stone, Van Morrison, Howlin’ Wolf, George Jones, and James Brown.
"a down-and-dirty delight, and a fine addition to the swamp rock canon" -allmusic.com
"intriguing and fortuitous… Grey’s a songwriter with a sharp wit and a knack for skewering the hypocrites, jive politicians and carpetbaggers who litter the landscape. The MOFRO vibe travels freely among swamp funk, blues, rock and soul, and does so with a certain down-and-dirty swagger that’s as real as it is appealing." -Billboard
"A Southern-fried Sly and the Family Stone." -Don McLees
Videos after the jump.
(Um, might someone from Madison House Management consider releasing some higher quality videos to YouTube? Most of these are pretty medicore sound quality . . . )
Forget forecasting: You can’t even begin to think about the Future if you don’t understand the Present.
Case in point: Holiday Retail sales.
You may have overlooked the Black Friday weekend numbers, as the headline emphasis was on well, how strong they were relative to expectations. On that Friday, we saw an 8.5% gain thanks to huge discounting and door-buster giveaways.
The thinking seemed to be "Sure, we lose money on each sale, but we make it up in volume!"
Amazingly, the cheerleading in the space seems to be abating, as the MSM is now clued into the problem — and reporting it freely. The remarkably sanguinity we have seen over the years is no more.
courtesy of NYT
Consider the following articles, after the jump, on Consumer spending, sentiment, and retail sales :