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Happy Thanksgiving and Buy Nothing Day!

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November 27, 2009 – Comments (21)

My wife and I had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday with a great big turkey, gravy, greens, pumpkin pie and cranberries!  There is something just downright satisfying about the taste of turkey on Thanksgiving, maybe the tryptophan.. 

I've had a great year this 2009!  I try to keep my personal life out of the internet blogging, so I'm not going to write much there, but in my own life I've had much to be thankful for this year.  I hope you all have had nice years as well.

I'm thankful that for the fun blogging I've had on CAPS this year.

I'm also thankful that Alstry and GMX have been so completely wrong about their predictions of economic demise in the US and world.  The banks didn't crash, nor the markets.  We're charting a nice course up to S&P 1150 still.  Things maybe be quite awful still, but we'll do ok everyone, and things will work out in the end.  Why?  We don't have any major civilization conflicts at the moment (world war level), though large strife exists in various (Afgani)-stans, Iran, central America.  However, across the globe the course of education, medicine, and science continues to grow - and this can only be a good thing.   

We are seeing the rise of a solar and wind industry, which is exciting!  Similar with electric cars and hybrids.  These are going to be what people remember when they look back on the 21st century.  It'll be a century of rising stabilities, equilibrations between empires (America, Europe, China, India, Russia and Latin America), growing trade in language, ideas and culture.

I see bright prospects for the future!   

Also, enjoy "Buy Nothing Day" today.  There's no need to run out and buy yourself silly.  If you want to, feel free - but the sales and gimmicks will still be there next week.  Go for a hike, or watch a movie with your family.  Work on crafts and art or read a book!  Have fun and relax!  

Best wishes!

 -Rof 

21 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 27, 2009 at 11:49 AM, EnigmaDude (86.12) wrote:

Thanks Rof! I am at work today but hardly anyone is here.  So I will try to resist the urge to buy something except maybe some more shares of dividend paying ETFs in my Roth IRA that are down with the stock market.

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#2) On November 27, 2009 at 11:53 AM, rofgile (99.33) wrote:

Hey Enigma!

 I'm at work today too, I didn't really have to come in here today - but my wife is working so I figured I'd too.  There's no one else here though.  Too quiet!

 -Rof 

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#3) On November 27, 2009 at 11:59 AM, rd80 (98.03) wrote:

I didn't even know "Buy Nothing Day" existed and I've been celebrating it for as long as I can remember.

 Ten cents for Foolanthropy.

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#4) On November 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM, rofgile (99.33) wrote:

On the Foolanthropy-

"Make noise on Fool.com. For every article comment, blog post, blog comment, and discussion board post from today until Jan. 8, 2010, The Motley Fool will donate $0.10 to Thurgood Marshall Academy (up to $20,000). Make your voice heard -- early and often!"

 Nice!

 I never knew about that!  

 -Rof 

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#5) On November 27, 2009 at 12:34 PM, themanwon (< 20) wrote:

It looks like the rest of America did not read your blog.  For some reason the local news showed the malls pack to over capacity and the smaller strip malls are causing traffic backup in the areas were parking is limited.  It seems like they also did not read Alstry doomed and gloomed blogs of America in it's final days.  Good thing i am an American and believe we can come thru anything no matter what.  By the way this is in Florida where we are ranked pretty high in home Foreclosures

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#6) On November 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM, Teacherman1 (47.94) wrote:

Not working today, but did buysomething. I just could not resist buying a few shares of stock on the "Dubai Sell Off".

These are stocks I would have bought anyway, but why not pick them up on a "psychological sell off".

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. 

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#7) On November 27, 2009 at 1:10 PM, dudemonkey (37.46) wrote:

I just could not resist buying a few shares of stock on the "Dubai Sell Off".

Good call.  I was buying shares of a company for the past few weeks and it dropped 2% this morning, putting it BELOW my lowest previous purchase price.  I couldn't resist.

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#8) On November 27, 2009 at 1:11 PM, awallejr (79.56) wrote:

Good post.  + rec. However, while I avoided the stores today I as well had to buy some stocks.  Picked up some AA and BBEP.  Kept eyeing those for awhile and figured now was my chance to get in on them.

I like the fact that this market has actually been performing in a healthy manner.  It goes up, corrects, up, corrects, up, corrects, etc. with higher highs and lower lows.

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#9) On November 27, 2009 at 1:24 PM, alexxlea (53.17) wrote:

I'll start it off by hoping that everyone had more than enough to eat and had a nice Thanksgiving opportunity to be with family and friends.

And then I'll rain on the parade with the reminder that we once thought that international trade had grown too large for any country to be willing to dismantle that trade with the machinations of war, and yet fight a world war they did. In fact Britain entered the fight opposed to the Germans which was interesting considering they were each others' largest trading partners. (Hmmm really now...) The German alliance accounting for almost a majority of the European economy at the time. (WWI)

Japan liked us enough but not enough to stop them from considering us as the main threat to their Pacific empire. We all know how that played out.

Ideologies are not the reason why wars are fought, they are fought for resources and dominance. But the leaders of countries and city-states for the ages have used ideologies as a tool to convince their people that the costs of war are worth their ideology winning out.

 I think Binve's post on things not appearing as they seem in terms of stability in the system seem to ring true in regards to recent geopolitical matters. I'm actually quite surprised that things have been as stable as they have been, as wars have been fought over MUCH less than what has been occuring in places around the globe.

 

Also, I think green energy is trash. Because... where the heck is my nuclear powered jetpack? Or my personal spaceship that can take me to Jupiter in a day? 

 

"However, across the globe the course of education, medicine, and science continues to grow - and this can only be a good thing."

 With educational budgets being cut like no other...

Well, I would say perhaps we can look for scientists and engineers to find new things, but I mean they have to get funding too, or be hired by companies that look for profit. The current system is flawed, I don't care if I have money, or money in equities, it needed fixing. The only positive I see from this is that the newer classes of students might see some worth in the concept that economics is ABSOLUTE WORTHLESS TRASH as it is taught now. But maybe kids will only see the light after the complete collapse of the system... too many I talk to have no idea why they even want to be bankers. 

 

OH YEAH NEVERMIND THE RIDICULOUS BONUSES AND SALARIES hahahahahahaha you can do 1/100000000000 the work of a real scientist engineer or whatever, be a salesman, and make ten, twenty, thirty fold as much as someone who does real work!

Great country we live in. Land of the free with opportunities abound for those willing to prey on the weak. 

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#10) On November 27, 2009 at 1:42 PM, rofgile (99.33) wrote:

alexxlea:

 It is true, there are problems, but there always have been!

 While it is a very difficult time as a scientist to make a career of it in the US (mostly because we have far too many students being trained as scientists for the amount of funding and positions available) - the tools to do science now  are absolutely fantastic!  

 As I grew up, I was very opposed to the consumer society of western culture, it seemed so wasteful this system we've built.  We over build houses, malls, - even our living rooms with stuff.  But, the side-effect of all this has been high tax revenues and a strong manufacturing/technology base that has allowed research to really reach amazing levels in the west.  Without our economic system, there is no way we would have been able to spend to build the huge particle accelerators (which provide the lifeblood for many scientists, including myself) in the US and Europe. 

 Our messed up system resulted in widespread manufacturing of personal computers, cell phones and the internet.  Large computing power and network communications have also greatly benefitted science.

 For everything that is messed up with our consuming culture of the west (environmental destruction, waste phosphates and CO2, lack of productive goals, the whole financial sector and services sectors), there are positives in terms of freedom and creativity and what it allows an individual to accomplish here.  For an example of how amazing things have gotten, just read MAKE.  I am endlessly amazed by what people are coming up with on there.

 -Rof

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#11) On November 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM, Bays (30.20) wrote:

Whatever happened to GMX and his "all-in" predictions?

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#12) On November 27, 2009 at 3:23 PM, alexxlea (53.17) wrote:

Yes, the advances made have been of an... epic sort, and I am by no means anti-science and technological advance sort of guy. I'm just angry that we are going to jeopardize the things that work (things that you mentioned) that have a real shot at changes things for the better so that we can try to prop up something that doesn't (non-performing asset classes and fields that yield no benefical good to society, which you also mentioned).

 It's like... a dollar can go to pay the wages of the guy trying to figure out how to make plastics without fossil fuel... or a dollar can go to a guy who is... well, it's sort of hard to explain what people do in the financial industry other than burn money, exactly do. I'm obviously for the former.

 

And of course in a system like ours there is the great risk that all of the awesome excesses that such a system allows us (albeit built on the premise of cheap and ever-expanding debt based off of ever-growing wealth derived from assets that do absolutely nothing except get sold off to the next sucker in the room) is that we can sometimes plow full steam ahead the wrong direction, with the full force of all of our resources behind us.

 

The big problem is that the smartest have gone from trying to help everyone, to helping themselves. And man, is there a lot of that going on at every level and corner of society. I never saw ant colonies succeed by doing such a thing. :) 

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#13) On November 27, 2009 at 3:30 PM, awallejr (79.56) wrote:

'Great country we live in. Land of the free with opportunities abound for those willing to prey on the weak.'

Except this country is governed by the rule of law not by the rule of force.  And while people love to bash lawyers (and there is understanding in this), when you are hauled away in the middle of the night there is that lawyer filing a habeas corpus demanding you be produced in Court.

I do agree that priorities can be insane (entertainers being showered with money in mind boggling amounts).  This has been pretty much the case throughout our short history (Babe Ruth, for example during the Great Depression).

And while world wars were fought with horrific consequences (the Battle for Leningrad during World War II should be a must study for anyone), this planet has actually been at relative peace since then (discounting isolated regional conflicts like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan). One consequence of nuclear deterrence perhaps?  Though heaven forbid a terrorist group or "rogue" country should acquire such weapons.

International cooperation has been pretty impressive given the current economic crisis.  In the past you would have seen more protectionist self concerned actions.  And while I agree that you can make an argument that historically it has generally been a militaristic battle for resources (land in particular), there are those pesky nuclear weapons standing in the way today. 

The strong historically do prey on the weak, but at least our laws give the weak some better protections than you would see in most other countries.

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#14) On November 27, 2009 at 3:55 PM, rofgile (99.33) wrote:

I love it when blog discussions become philosophical! 

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#15) On November 27, 2009 at 4:10 PM, selfdestruct2 (33.58) wrote:

teacherman, What stocks did you buy ?

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#16) On November 27, 2009 at 5:43 PM, alexxlea (53.17) wrote:

Wealth is transferred nowhere but up in our country.  That was what I was pointing to, not anything about us being protected by laws or anything like you are alluding to. I think most countries and governments figured out by now that the masses are pretty easily fooled if they just all pretend that everything is now better.  But there is definitely a lot of discontent that has been brewing. 

Also, on the American empire...

our period of economic and militaristic dominance is long over. That is a fact. We don't really produce things, our military can barely sustain these two wars. In fact we CAN'T sustain these two wars. We cannot survive a war on multiple fronts against multiple enemies. It was a miracle of history that somehow the world aligned as it did and we managed to face other countries at the opportune times we did and the battles all played out like they did. And don't get me wrong, nothing against other people of the world, but I hear from people that live elsewhere that it seems like government can be a lot more ruthless elsewhere. I mean our whole incarceration thing is ridiculous but at least we don't execute dissenters on a regular bsis. I'm with you on the notion that though nuclear weaponry is an abomination in itself, it has been the major deterrant to a larger scale world war for the past six decades or so. Without nukes we're just another country of fat people trying to sell you real estate, France just makes cheese and wine (oh wait california makes that stuff too), Israel's just a dot on the map soon to be enveloped, and China and India and Pakistan are just chock full of people.

 

Almost forgot my main point. By strong preying on the weak I meant it's funny that new rules are being written as we speak that are being influenced unduly by organizations who finance elected officials' campaigns, with the rest of us, the citizenry, having little to no influence on the process. They can feel free to make sure that yet again the little guys get fleeced as they keep and/or have more opportunities to make newly printed billions.

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#17) On November 27, 2009 at 5:45 PM, Teacherman1 (47.94) wrote:

Today just more of some I already owned, to increase my position and lower my cost basis. GMR and TNK.

Smaller tanker companies, but both with good prospects, and nothing but double hulled ships in their fleets.

One of the things that FRO is going to have to do is scrap or sale their single hull ones.

These are longer term investments, but that Is the kind I make.

While I feel strongly about  both of these, I strongly recommend that anyone considering them do their own DD, and have the ability to not panic over the ups and downs of the market.

JMO and worth exactly what I am charging for it. 

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#18) On November 28, 2009 at 1:53 AM, awallejr (79.56) wrote:

"Wealth is transferred nowhere but up in our country"

How many top sports figures came from poor homes?  The founders of Google certainly transferred wealth down to them as well.  Inventors, entreprenuers, even gamblers.  We now have an African American for President, a concept unthinkable a mere couple decades ago.

The point of being a country ruled by laws simply means that in the end the masses will dictate results.  Politicians are very mindful of voter sentiment.

And as for this comment:

 "our period of economic and militaristic dominance is long over. That is a fact"

You mean iit s your opinion. Personally I think FDR was vindicated after the Yalta conference when the Soviet Union collapsed and we are seeing a more globalization of economies and a more willingness to cooperate.  

Why should we be writing this country off?  Because unemployment went up 5%?   We still produce plenty.  Technology, specialty quipment, medical, food, resources. We don't manufacture as much mainly because we do that in China or India or Korea paying 50 cents an hour.  You want to open those types of factories back here?  You wanrt your kids to work in sweatshops?

I won't disagree with the notion  that the "little guy" does tend to get stepped on, but push him enough and those politicians start to lose their jobs.

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#19) On November 28, 2009 at 10:13 AM, rofgile (99.33) wrote:

If you have useful skills (read - technical, specific, without competition) you can do wonderfully well in the US (or world).

 Example - write Apps for Iphone or Nokia or Android.  I know several Iphone developers pulling in paychecks of 100,000 a year!  That's amazing to me - programmers no longer need to worry about packaging, distribution , and marketing as they used to..  Its a gold rush there.

 If you know UNIX well, you can become a systems administrator and get paid well.  If you know chemistry you can work for a drug company.  Etc, etc.  Lots of options for those who develop strong technical skills.

 ----

  

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#20) On November 28, 2009 at 1:12 PM, awallejr (79.56) wrote:

Good contribution there Alzexpaz, way to kill a thread (sigh).

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#21) On December 02, 2009 at 10:04 AM, lemoneater (78.57) wrote:

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving also. We stayed in a cabin in the mountains. There was no mall for miles and the little stores in the nearby town didn't appear to know about the existence of Black Friday. My husband suggested driving through the night so that we could catch the sales in Greenville. I told him that he hates shopping, but he said he likes events. We did call his sister to check on the price of one item we wanted for Christmas, but it wasn't part of the sales promotion. Oh well!

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