Thank you google, and thank you blogger (actually, they are now one and the same...at least ownership-wise). Now images can be directly uploaded to blogger blogs. In the past the images had to be hosted on a third party server (like photobucket). I found it to be too much of a pain, so I never added photos. What's my first image going to be? Do you really have to guess?
The University of Massachusetts Economics Department has a guestbook for Alumni. They are just getting it started and have a few entries. If you are an alum of the econ dept, drop by and let the the world know what you have been up to. Your entry will be manually approved to keep the phoney entries at bay.
It's amazing to me, a sidelined economist, that everyone isn't recognizing the coming disaster in the housing market. The most basic notion in market-pricing theory involves supply and demand. Too much demand and prices rise. Too much supply and prices fall. One would think that, looking at the nearly decade-long rise in housing prices in the nation, that supply cannot keep up with demand - hence the rising prices. But much of this demand has been created by an entirely new (and temporary) type of demand. And here is the danger: temporary, cyclical demand will exaggerate the swings in the market. The name of this unstable and temporary type of demand is the no-principal mortgage. It has allowed countless numbers of people to speculate in the housing market, hoping to "flip" the property before the real payments kick in. And if rates continue to stay low, the game continues: new buyers are being created with the lax lending practice. There is even a show on TLC called "Property Ladder", chronicles amateurs' attempts at speculating on renovation. But, of course, rates will not stay low. They can't: they are tied into the cycle of the economy. And once we are in a definite and noticeable rising-interest-rate environment, what happens? Lower property pricing. It's then that the loans are no longer offered. Once you remove the loans, you've removed a ton of demand. Less demand, prices go lower. Plus, precisely at that same moment, banks start to see the trouble they have created as the interest-only loans turn into much more expensive loans, and those speculating (and anyone else who got lulled into the game) get overwhelmed with the rising cost to carry the mortgage. Many end up defaulting on the house, and the bank ends up with losses. Those houses are sold at fire-sale prices. I mean, how can housing starts continue through the roof? Some have said it's the "second home buyer"? They aren't in it for the long haul. They are, by majority, hoping to sell the home within 5 years...Speculating. Here in Key West, we get a front-row seat. So, in a nutshell, we are in a dangerous housing bubble. It will burst, likely sooner than later. Oil at $60+ a barrel is enoughpressure on inflation that the Federal Reserve will have little choice but to raise rates and cool the markets, reigning in demand. Less demand, lower prices. When no-principal mortgage, no-money down mortgages, and all other aggressive schemes are not offered anymore, everyone will be scrambling for a seat as debt consumes them. I expect the media will be harping about the housing surplus for years to come. I think it will be devestating to many communities - especially those who sold off their tax base.
The right pair of sunglasses for fishing is a crucial piece of equipment for any angler. The main ingredient you need is polarization - microscopic horizontal lines incorporated into the lenses. This important feature will remove the glare created when light refects off the water. Why is this important? First and foremost to the angler is being able to see a fish hiding below the glare. Inshore gamefish: snook, bonefish, tarpon, and permit can be almost impossible to spot without a pair of polarized fishing sunglasses. Even with them, it is a challenge to focus in on the fish. Now that I've guided a few hundred people fishing the inshore flats, and having suggested polarized sunglasses to any guest who doesn't show up with a pair, I've decided to offer some excellent suggestions for sun glasses for fishing to all anglers. The best names are Costa Del Mar sunglasses and Maui Jim sunglasses (and Ocean Waves). Right now, there are recommendations for the Costa Del Mar and Maui Jim brands. I've linked the pages to a vendor that sells these very high quality sunglasses at a discount. All of the suggestions are well worth the investment. Not only will you see a few more fish, but your eyes will also be protected from the intense light on the water. Plus, these rugged and stylish frames will have you looking like the smart angler you really are. All of the fishing sunglasses are recommended by me, a Florida Keys charter fishing guide. Also, while you are at it, if you are looking for suggestions for shoes for fishing, I've put up a good selection of recommendations. If I've overlooked something, please leave a comment and I'll get to work on adding the appropriate clothing and equipment for fishing.