Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tent City In The Suburbs

This one really grabbed my attention! Looks like we are going back to the days of the Great Depression... Tent towns in the suburbs...what will they think of next?

Tent city in suburbs is cost of home crisis , Thu 20 Dec 2007 REUTERS

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chicken Fried Squirrel

Chicken Fried Squirrel

~ quartered and cleaned squirrels, 1 per person
~ buttermilk
~ OldBay seasoning
~ flour
~ salt & pepper
~ shortening

Soak your meat for at least an hour in buttermilk.
Combine the flour & OldBay until you can see the flour turn light pink. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste.
Heat up your shortening to 375 degrees in a iron skillet or deep fryer deep enough to cover the meat.
Roll or shake your meat in the flour mix and fry until the coating is golden brown.
Take it out and place it on a rack to drain. Place it in your oven for about 1/2 hour at 275 degrees.
Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I am baaack!

Made a quick trip and now I am back...got a freezer full of meat.

Friday, January 18, 2008

This Hobo is On Da Road!

I am outta here to Alabama for a few days. Goin huntin', gotta keep the freezer full.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Braised Raccoon (or other small furry critter)

This is one of my favorite recipes. Goes good with some white lightning and corn bread. Of course most things go good with white lightning and corn bread!


1 dead coon cut up into servng-size pieces
1 cup fruit (cranberies, blackberries, rasberries, etc.)
Salt and pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1 white/yellow or vidalia onion chopped fine
1/2 cup green onions chopped fine
2 sticks celery diced
1 bell pepper diced
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup honey
one small orange (grate the zest), peel and section the orange
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or use covered dutch oven over a campfire)

Season the meat with the salt pepper and garlic powder and place in roasting pan/dutch oven

toss in the chopped/diced veggies.

In a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients (orange zest, orange sections, nutmeg, cloves, cider, honey) mix and pour over the meat.

Cover and bake for 2-3 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve over rice

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The latest issue of Weiss Research Group's "Money and MarketsNewsletter"is an article by Sean Brodrick http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/Issues.aspx?NewsletterEntryId=1364 that talks about the new Indian-made Tata "Nano" automobile and the effect that ultra-cheap cars will have on the world...especially when it appears as if the world has hit "Peak Oil."

At the present time, India has 4 cars per 1,000 people; with a population of over 1.1 BILLION. The $2,500 car is going to massively effect transportation and fuel consumption within India.

China has a similar situation currently putting 14,000 new cars on the road EVERY DAY!

Meanwhile, oil production has slowed due to the draining of the reserves. For instance, Mexico's Canterell Oilfield (one of the world's largest) is not producing nearlywhat it used to, and in fact now Mexico is facing becoming and oil IMPORTER instead of Exporter in approximately eight years. The past three years have seen a 40% decline in oil production at the Canterell Oilfield.

This decline in production is occurring in more places than just Mexico, it is becoming a global crisis frequently referred to as "Peak Oil."

The oil companies stand to make much more money as the prices increase. Investors would do well to invest in the oil sector during these changing times.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Countrywide Gives Mozilo a Golden Parachute

I am absolutely outraged that the man who controlled the nation's largest mortgage lender should get such a deal. After all, under his guidance, Countrywide was a MAJOR influence on the current state of the real estate and credit markets.

I think that Mozilo should not only go to jail, but that the proceeds from his "Golden Parachute" should be spent directly on helping the very people he fleeced. The government should step in and direct the $115,000,000+ that Mozilo is to receive to be spent on bailing out Countrywide borrowers.

Instead it appears as if Mozilo will not only avoid prosecution, but he will reap the financial benefits of his actions for years to come.

What say you?

The article below was written by: DANIEL ARNALL ABC NEWS Business Unit Jan. 11, 2008

Angelo Mozilo, the co-founder and public face of troubled mortgage giant Countrywide, is eligible for tens if not hundreds of millions in compensation and perks on the sale of the company to Bank of America.

During calendar 2006, the latest period available for review in Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Mozilo took home $48.1 million in compensation. An early analysis of SEC filings by the Los Angeles Times suggests he could get upward of $115 million when he leaves after the sale is complete, despite the fact that the company tanked during the recent subprime mortgage crisis.

In December, Countrywide reported a record number of foreclosures and delinquencies in its loan portfolio. The value of shares has fallen more than 84 percent since mid-May of last year.
Bank of America today confirmed that Mozilo will stay on with the company through a "transition period." Countrywide wouldn't comment on Mozilo's pay.

His long tenure with the firm — he has been there since its beginning in 1969 — and extensive employment agreement gives him the right to a significant payout when he leaves.

Immediately upon a change in control, Mozilo would get $13.3 million in accelerated vesting of stock grants, according to the terms of his 2004 compensation agreement, included in the company's latest proxy statement.

Should he leave the company after the firm's buyout, Mozilo would get a one-time cash payment of $88 million.

These numbers are presented in the proxy in the context of a "hypothetical" change in control on Dec. 31, 2006. The date is necessary since some of the value of the benefits is based on share price. The company entered into a new employment agreement with Mozilo in 2007, which the proxy statement says guarantees substantially the same post-merger benefits.

A senior Democratic lawmaker welcomed on Friday Bank of America's $4 billion acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp, but urged Countrywide's chief executive to donate some of his millions of dollars in pay to help subprime mortgage borrowers, Reuters reported.
The deal could be a "positive development" in the subprime mortgage crisis, said Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Some of the perks to which Mozilo is entitled after a change in control, according to the official filing:

The company will retain Mozilo as a consultant. Mozilo is obligated to make himself available for a specified period of time each month through December 2011 and at the rate of $400,000 per year.

He will also be entitled to receive other benefits, including office space, secretarial support, use of the company's aircraft, financial consulting services and payment of annual country club dues.
For three years, continuing health, life insurance and financial planning benefits for Mozilo and his beneficiaries.

After those three years, health benefits for the lifetimes of Mozilo and his spouse.

A "gross-up payment" equal to the excise tax charged to him as a result of his receipt of any of the above (with certain exceptions).

All this is based on contractual obligations made with Mozilo when the company was doing well. The terms of the sale to Bank of America might have forced Mozilo to give up some of these benefits.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shelter - I hope you never need this info.

Field Expedient Shelters

The U.S. military's term for using natural objects to accomplish a task is field expedient (FE). If you're lost or stranded in the wild and you have no materials at all, you'll need FE tools and shelter.

FE shelters employ the same methods as ones built with ponchos or tarps. The only difference is what you use to cover the frame. After you build the frame, use branches and thicket to make up your roof. Pine boughs make for good insulation, but as long as you stack and weave lots of leaves, branches and twigs, you'll have adequate shelter. Think of your shelter roof as being shingled like a house. Work in layers from the ground up and keep the branches pointed toward down for rainwater runoff.

A debris hut is an FE shelter that's easy to build and provides great protection from the elements. To build one:

Place a ridgepole, the pole that runs the length of the shelter, with one end on the ground and the other on top of a sturdy base like a tree stump or boulder. You can also lash it to a tree.
Take two more thick branches and place them diagonally at the top of the ridgepole and lash them together with vine.

Use thick branches to line the length of the ridgepole to create the ribbed frame. Make sure it's wide enough to accommodate you.

Place smaller sticks crosswise to make a lattice effect.

Add lighter soft debris like pine needles and leaves until it's at least two feet thick -- the thicker the debris, the more protection it offers.

Cover the interior floor with pine and leaves and block the entrance with a rock or more debris.

A debris hut provides great protection in cold conditions. ­If you're in deep snow and have large evergreen trees around, build a tree-pit snow shelter:

Find a thick evergreen tree with low-hanging branches.

Dig down into the snow to your preferred depth and diameter -- the cozier the better.
Pack the interior snow well.
Use the natural branches above and add additional boughs for your cover.
Use boughs as insulators on the interior floor.

A tree-pit snow shelter takes a lot of energy to build, but it's a great insulator against frigid weather.

Some other tips to remember:

If you want a fire, it's best to keep it outside or near the mouth of the shelter. In extreme conditions, you can bring the fire inside, but it should be well-ventilated, and the flames should not be near the shelter walls.

Heat up rocks in the fire and stack them inside the shelter for extra warmth.

Always turn off your stove or lantern inside your shelter -- dangerous carbon monoxide gas can kill you.

Found metal isn't good to use for roofs. It will deflect rain and wind, but also reflect needed sun for warmth.

Snow is a great insulator, so use it as much as possible.

Pour water over thatched roofs in freezing weather -- this will ice over into a hard, protective insulator.

Whatever your emergency scenario, the most important thing is to remain calm and in control.

Panic will get you nowhere and knowing some rudimentary survival skills can be the difference between lif­e and death. Basic shelters are easy to build and crucial to surviving the harsh elements of the great outdoors.

If you're an avid camper or hiker, you should practice building a shelter on your next excursion. It can be educational, potentially life-saving and a lot of fun.

The above is an excerpt from:

Charles W. Bryant. "How to Build a Shelter". December 29, 2007 http://travel.howstuffworks.com/how-to-build-a-shelter.htm (January 13, 2008)

Hobo Mattress:

To make a Hobo Mattress, you fill two large plastic garbage bags about half-full with newspaper, leaves, or whatever is handy and soft. Duct tape the open ends together to make a huge pillow. Cut the corners off (about 1 inch vent holes) to let the trapped air out. Nice and comfy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gold and Silver

In These Uncertain Times, with the dollar on the decline, gold and silver are highly touted investments that have proven track records of performance.
A great way to buy gold and silver is through companies like http://www.monex.com/

*Financial Times, by Chris Flood, January 2, 2008:

"Gold’s advance leads way for oil and platinumCommodity markets made a flying start to 2008 with gold, oil and platinum setting records during the first trading session of the new year. Gold led the initial advance, rising 3.3 per cent to $861.10 a troy ounce, surpassing the previous high of $850 reached in January 1980.

The metal later eased back to $858.10 in late London trading. Traders said there was consistent selling pressure on gold in December as investors booked profits before the year-end, but that drag had cleared and Wednesday’s price rise indicated the strength of underlying sentiment.

Gold also found support from renewed dollar weakness after the influential ISM manufacturing survey indicated that industrial activity contracted in December, fuelling fears that the US economy could be dragged into recession as weakness in the housing market spreads into other sectors.

Gold’s strength spilled over into platinum, which rose 1.6 per cent to $1,544 a troy ounce."

Schwarzenegger's New Budget Plan for California

The following is an excerpt from http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_7952647?source=rss&nclick_check=1

Budget crisis crimps Schwarzenegger's grand plans
In Schwarzenegger's budget problem, echo of Gray Davis era
By Mike ZaplerMercury News Sacramento Bureau
Article Launched: 01/12/2008 01:37:25 AM PST

SACRAMENTO - Arnold Schwarzenegger rode a wave of voter anger into the governor's office four years ago, fueled by frustration with his predecessor's handling of a massive budget deficit.

Now, with the state facing a $14.5 billion shortfall, the same issue that Schwarzenegger seized to win the recall election threatens to tarnish his legacy and consume his final two years in office.

Gone for the foreseeable future are the governor's ambitions to overhaul public schools; instead he is proposing cuts that education officials say would devastate schools. To salvage his dreams for universal health care, Schwarzenegger will have to persuade voters to embrace a sprawling multibillion-dollar plan at the same time they're being inundated by headlines about the state's money woes.

And his plan to close the deficit by slashing spending across the board, releasing 22,000 prison inmates early and closing 48 state parks could arouse the same ire that landed Democrat Gray Davis in so much trouble.

No one is talking about another recall, but the governor's popularity certainly will be tested in the coming months. Fairly or not, how he handles the test may determine his place in history.
"In the good times, you get more credit than you deserve," Davis said in an interview Friday, "and in the bad times, you get more blame than you probably deserve."

The former governor denied feeling any satisfaction by the turnabout.

I would like to know where the 22,000 released inmates are gonna live...in the closed parks? What about us hobos that now have to deal with more criminals. What about the lack of benches? You mean I am gonna have to sleep on the ground?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bank of America Buying Countrywide

Bank of America has just announced yesterday that they are going to purchase Countrywide. This news comes just one day after the forecast of bankruptcy for Countrywide. You know there is nothing like waiting until the timing is right to snag a deal.

I believe that Bank of America has been ready to buy since they made their $2 billion dollar investment into Countrywide convertible debentures at a conversion price of $18.00 per share. It seems to me that this is where the deal started and probably secured them a position to make an official move when Countrywide's stock hit the bottom. So the article published by the Weiss Research Group caused national recognition of the bottoming out at Countrywide. Once the stock was beat to death it was an easy move for BofA to anounce the acquisition causing an outrageous rally in Countywide's stock value (over 51% in ONE DAY).

Somehow I think that there was some master manipulation going on....which is absolutely typical for Countrywide and its majority shareholder (Angelo Mozilo). Other blogs have predicted an orange jumpsuit for the orange man (see picture...he sure looks orange to me). His smile makes him look like he is getting away with something.

Orange or not, Mozilo stands to get away with fleecing the public. It was Countrywide's massive subprime lending (and sleazy business practices) that has created much of economic tailspin that we are experiencing today. Take a look at http://housingpanic.blogspot.com and you will see what I mean.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Major Rumblings About Possible Countrywide Bankruptcy

I just received a press release from the Weiss Research, Inc. stating that Countrywide is on the brink of bankruptcy. While this may not be news to some of those involved in the real estate industry, it is huge news to the rest of the world. http://www.weissgroupinc.com/

If Countrywide declares bankruptcy, your tax and insurance escrow accounts may be compromised. Theoretically, since the escrows are held by Countrywide, they could get caught up in bankruptcy proceedings and may not be available when the necessary tax and insurance payments are due...causing you big headaches.

“Countrywide is at ground zero of the mortgage crisis,” commented Weiss. “It exhausted many of its extraordinary financing options last year and is ill-prepared for the rising mortgage defaults and home foreclosures that are widely expected this year. Already, the credit quality of Countrywide’s mortgage servicing portfolio has deteriorated, with 7.2% of the mortgages it’s servicing delinquent in December, up sharply from 6.5% in November and 4.6% a year earlier.”

"Weiss’ conclusion: “With the mortgage market and economy continuing to slide, it’s likely Countrywide will suffer intolerable losses. Thus, in the absence of extraordinary intervention, we believe it could be difficult for Countrywide to avoid failure, with a potentially severe impact on consumers.”

"If Countrywide files for bankruptcy, this trend will accelerate. Credit score requirements will rise. Borrowers will be forced to put up larger down payments. Investor loans and stated income financing will get much harder to find. So-called “80-20” mortgage schemes, where a borrower gets an 80% first mortgage and a 20% second loan to avoid private mortgage insurance, will also become much harder to arrange. Second-lien lenders that fund the “20” piece of those deals are already getting hammered with losses."

The above excerpts show the signifigant impact of this probable event.

Make Your Own Liquor

Here's another hot Hobo tip.

If you like fine liquor and are having trouble finding cash for it, try making your own. Here is a free ebook about how to make a cheap still that makes great high-test drinking spirits, moonshine, white lightning, whatever you want to call it.

If you don't like to drink, try pouring a couple gallons in the car.

The free plans and other necessary parts are available at www.amazingstill.com

Before you get started, check your local laws regarding home distillation.

Hobo-style Squirrel Casserole

4 squirrels (you can substitute other rodents) Cut up into pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

garlic poweder to taste

4 slices ham

2 onions sliced thin

4 carrots sliced thin

4 potatoes sliced thin

6 pieces of bacon

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup bread crumbs

preheat oven to 350 degrees (either covered casserole dish or use covered dutch oven in a fire)

layer ingredients starting with ham, then squirrel, onions, carrots and potatoes and cover with bacon pieces. Pour the cider over the top and then cover with the bread crumbs.

Cook for 2 hours
This is a great recipe for any hobo that is accurate with a slingshot and has good access to a park.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Survival for Those in Foreclosure

Many people (including Michael Jackson) in the U.S. are now facing foreclosure. The booming real estate market has busted, leaving thousands of homeowners wishing they had never done their last purchase or refinance transaction.

Those distressed owners are now confused and are seeking solutions to their dilemma. One much-touted solution is to LET THE FORECLOSURE HAPPEN. Although letting the bank foreclose might seem to be a terrible thing, if done properly, the end result might be a more stable living situation for the foreclosed borrower.

The way to let it happen is as follows:

1) Quit paying the mortgage, save the money you would have paid in debt service. It can take 6 months or more for the lender to get the house back through foreclosure (the time it takes may be longer now due to the huge increase in numbers of foreclosures in the system). Consider filing bankruptcy just prior to the sale date...this will extend your ability to stay in your home.

2)Keep up with your homeowner's insurance, credit card and other financial payments.

3) Live in the house for as long as possible (move only when the sale date is imminent or past).

4)If your situation has arisen because of predatory lending practices by your lender....prepare to do battle...there are lawyers that specialize in predatory lending and they frequently work pro bono...similar to accident attorneys in that they only get paid if you win.

5) Don't be afraid to tell the bank that in order for you to move they will have to pay you to do so (ask for a pretty sizable cash payment $2,000 - 5,000). Tell them that if not, you will likely file for bankruptcy thus further delaying the foreclosure (by months). Bankruptcy can allow you to walk away from the second or third mortgage without any liability, get rid of your other consumer debt, as well as keep your car.

6) Use the money saved to pay your new LANDLORD (you are a renter now) upfront for your lease. By paying upfront you are VERY likely to get a nice place with little hassle.

7) There are benefits to being a renter now. Many of the new homes are the ones that are in trouble...you might find a landlord who has a brand-new house with all the upgrades that you can rent for less than you were paying to own. The real estate market will likely continue to decline until values are in balance with rent payments. This is because many of these homes were bought by speculators and will be acquired by investors who will rent them out. The difference between a speculator and an investor is that a speculator never considers keeping and renting (return ON investment) and investor buys in order to get an annual return that is higher than his annual cost of ownership.

Of course there are other options:

The Short Sale - all the Realtors are pushing this tactic...although the reality is that if you elect to do a short sale, there could be extensive personal liability for the amount of the mortgage NOT recovered in the sale. There could also be liability for other mortgages and liens behind the 1st mortgage. This solution is most helpful for those borrowers that owe close to what the house is worth, with no other liens or mortgages in a second or third position.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure - This tactic has you relinquish the house to the lender without foreclosure proceedings. If this is your choice, try to minimize or negotiate away your personal liability. If you have secondary mortgages or liens, this is likely not the route you would want to take.

Before making a final decision as to how to proceed, you should absolutely consult with legal counsel, and financial advisors. Also, contact a Realtor or Appraiser to try to get an understanding of your home's current market value. You can also check free home valuation websites such as Zillow.com (but do not rely only on automated valuation services).

By the way, if you are in need of a squatter let me know.

P.S. Please take our poll. We want to know what you think Michael Jackson should do regarding his Neverland foreclosure.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mickey D's is ready for Starbuck Wars

Here is a Hobo tip....McDonalds is now going head on against Starbucks in the wacky world of cappuccino.

Apparently Mcdonalds understands that these uncertain times call for guerilla marketing. By chopping the cost of a cup of cappuccino, they hope to win over all the cash-strapped realtors, mortgage brokers and anyone else who thinks that Starbucks is over-priced and over-rated. McDonalds has now joined the ranks of Dunkin Donuts in the fight against high coffee prices and snobby coffee houses.

Perhaps we should all go short on Starbucks stock as these changes are now being implemented in 13,000 U.S. McDonalds restaurants, saving the consumer a solid 15% over Starbucks prices. Starbucks only has 15,000 stores worldwide, making this a serious competitive threat.

Sunday, January 6, 2008