Jake Berzon's blog

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"The Feds are making the mortgage mess even worse" goes the title of a July 7th letter to the editor of Delaware Online by Linda A. Moffett, a Realtor from Newark. In it Linda charged the Feds with forcing mortgage lenders to deal "with such ridiculous government-imposed regulations that it is becoming more and more difficult to settle on time, if at all... Banks laid off the majority of their mortgage department staff and hired temps with little or no real estate knowledge to get through the overabundance of refinances and short sales."

Talor Bean & Whitaker logo

About four months ago a feral cat that befriended us when we first moved into the house gave birth to yet another litter. This one was the biggest one yet - nine kittens in all (see them in the first picture taken by my sister, on her visit Tuesday, June 16, 2009). I have no idea what happened to kittens from all her previous litters - they all just disappear after a while.

Feral kitten eating an adult cottontail rabbit

Shares of Cigna Corporation (CI)(and other health insurance companies) have been depressed for quite a while now, pressured first by Cuomo's investigation, then by general recessionary pressures, followed by overwhelming one time losses from a run down business and finally by the uncertain threat of a health care reform that can wipe out all private health insurers. However, Cigna shares have now more than tripled since their March low of $8.

Cigna logo

I am happy to report that after an almost six month hiatus, I have cherry picked a worthy stock to buy and that stock is... (drum roll, please...) Abbott Laboratories (ABT). My last stock buy was a late January of this year purchase of Pfizer, Inc. (PFE) I will begin with a few words about why I continue to like big pharma (I am also holding a position to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - acquired late March 2007) and then go more specifically into Abbott Labs.

Abbott Laboratories logo

It was after sunset last Friday night and I headed out to check on the progress of my tree watering. I don't normally take a flashlight along even though it gets rather dark; I can navigate my way around the yard by moonlight and check wetness using the finger test.

Catacomb entrance (underground brick lined water storage tank entrance)

Last year, following their vacation in the Colorado mountains, Inna and Alex with their two charming sons, Maxim and Pavel spent a day with us.

Sofae and Maxim at Barr Lake

Marina, Dima and Benjamin came to visit us from the San Francisco Bay Area July 1st - 7th. They stayed with us the entire time and made day trips to see Downtown Denver, Royal Gorge and the Garden of the Gods area, including Indian cliff dwellings, Seven Falls and the Cave of the Winds.

Marina, Lena, Benjamin and Sofae at the Denver Zoo

A very short tale of two lilies, actually... Really, just wanted to share with everyone pictures of two different lilies growing in my backyard. One is an Orange Daylily (aka Tawny Daylily, Tiger Daylily and Ditch Daylily, Latin name - Hemerocallis fulva var. fulva) and the other - an Orange Asian Lily. Their flowers look very similar, but these two plants are quite different. Daylilies are not true lilies, but are members of the Hemerocallidaceae family, while Asiatic lilies indeed are members of the Liliaceae family.

Orange Asian Lily

... And G-d heard Jake's prayer and it rained on Bennett. Earth animals never seen before came out of their earthly dwellings: frogs, Tiger salamanders and snakes were all among them. A river of these creatures flowed through the chicken house. Kittens headed for higher ground, goats stood knee deep in water unknowing what to do. And only the chickens and Vitya the turkey were safe, for although they had lost their ability to fly, stood on higher ground...

Blotched tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium melanostictum)

This pair of young deer just came roaming trough the neighbor's field. Most people would probably consider them gorgeous. My first thought - stay away from my trees, you big antlered rabbits! Nevertheless, I reached for the camera and not the gun...

P.S. A real rabbit attempting to feed on the lush grass in the backyard ended up sacrificing his life for that afternoon snack today. Oh well, I warned them! That makes it five more suicidal backyard rabbit freedom fighters, since I last updated my readers on the situation.

Young deer couple

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