September 2009

Muskmelon (aka Cantaloupe in North America)

I grew this tasty Muskmelon - Cantaloupe in my Colorado eastern plains garden.

Kroger logo

Kroger corporate log

When I last looked at clothing companies on May 3, 2007, it was already rather clear that these apparel makers were in for hard times. I called for mid tear brands like Liz Claiborne Inc. (LIZ) and Jones Apparel Group Inc. (JNY) to disappoint, while the more upscale Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. (KCP) and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (RL) to be less affected. Indeed, over the next two years, as the recession deepened, KCP and RL handily outperformed LIZ and JNY.

Kenneth Cole New York - Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. - KCP logo

Kroger reported its second quarter earnings on Tuesday morning, September 15th, 2009. Earnings were 39 cents vs. 42 cents a year ago, disappointing analysts whose consensus view was 4 cents higher. Sales for the quarter were fractionally lower, as well - $17.74 billion vs. $18.09 billion in the year ago quarter. Here again, analysts expected a slight improvement vs. last year. Kroger also trimmed its profit projections for the year down to $1.90 - $2.00 range. Predictably, market players punished the stock trimming its value by 8%.

Kroger logo
Vivus logo

Vivus logo

This Labor Day Monday we discovered the absolutely best kept Colorado secret - Jackson Lake State Park. It only took us an hour to drive up to the lake, located 75 miles north east of Denver and 23 miles west of Fort Morgan. We arrived mid afternoon and were surprised to see very few people there.

Short-horned grasshopper - over 3" long with a passenger on his head. In the vicinity of Jackson Lake State Park, Colorado

As markets have continued to rise since the March lows, I've stuck to my strategy of selling positions that reach my end-game targets. Despite this summer's generous boost to most people's portfolios, it produced few meaningful breakouts for individual stocks. A notable exception was Noven Pharmaceuticals (NOVN), which I sold after Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical announced its acquisition (see comment).

Vivus logo

I made another step towards self sufficiency yesterday by learning how to properly butcher a kosher chicken. Two Black Leghorn roosters gave their lives to the cause. They were the most misbehaving - plucking hens and always causing a ruckus. I still have 50 chickens (way too many) and a turkey (G-d willing, we will have her for Thanksgiving) left!

Black Leghorn Roosters

Here is my bullet point National Health Care Plan:

  • Mandate creation of a National Health Insurance plan provided through private sector insurance companies.
  • Cost of each National Health Care policy covering a US permanent legal resident paid by the Federal Government.
  • Convert all current government health care recipients (Medicare, Medicaid, Government Employee) to the new plan.
  • Set minimum standards, coverage and maximum cost for all plans qualified as National Health Insurance.
Doctored image of smoking president Obama dressed as an MD
Black Leghorn Roosters

Black Leghorn roosters

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