Wall Street is more volatile than a spurned lover

Yesterday the Dow looked like something in a black cape with a disfigured face after its biggest point loss ever.
So who would have thunk that daylight was going to crawl through the front windows today? But that it did as the Dow posted its third-largest gain.
Of course, credit markets still are more uptight than a guy with a gun pointed at his back.
Now when it comes to all the hocus-pocus of the stock market, I can be as dense as the core of Jupiter. But I’m know I’m not alone in that. And I also know that if Congress soon doesn’t come up with a bailout to soak up soured mortgage debt, the U.S. economy soon could find itself in the lion’s mouth for good.
And that would be very bad.

Eagles blow one in the Windy City

Well, suffice it to say it was an excruciating experience.

The Eagles blew a 24-20 game to the Bears Sunday night, leaving Chicago with all the emotion of wilted asparagus.
Without Brian Westbrook, the Eagles’ offense had all the impact of a Styrofoam hammer.
What really killed the Birds was their inability at crunch time to punch it in on four cracks at the goal line, three from the Bears’ 1.
Undoubtedly leaving Eagles’ fans with a cage of rabbits in their stomachs was seeing the Bears turning the ball over as if they were wrestling with a crab claw and gasping as Philadelphia simply couldn’t capitalize.
With their offense more banged up than a 1983 jalopy, the only weapon the Eagles had was hiccup-quick rookie DeSean Jackson. The kid had a big first half with four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. But the Chicago secondary shut him down as easily as a laptop in the second half.
Jackson also had more errors than a 367-pound shortstop with two torn ACLs. He fumbled away a punt, leading to a Chicago touchdown. He broke the wrong way on a pass pattern, leading to a Bears’ pick that really ticked off Donovan McNabb. He also allowed a punt to bounce out at the 4, burying Philly deeper than Jimmy Hoffa.
Compounding matters, McNabb and the offense were about as clueless as our economic leaders on three trips to the red zone in the second half. They failed to convert three chances into touchdowns.
What also crippled the Eagles was a first-half defense that confused Kyle Orton with Joe Montana. Orton/Montana had a career-high three touchdowns by halftime as the Bears built a 21-14 lead.
Granted, David Akers certainly didn’t kick in and help. He missed two crucial field goals and no longer is the automatic weapon he once was.
And now the Eagles are mired at 2-2 in an NFC East that is tougher than a ten-dollar steak.

Where is it safe to stash your cash?

With the eco meltdown screaming in all our ears like an alarm clock at 6 a.m., our editors and reporter Mary Young tried to answer the above question this morning.
And while the article was rather comprehensive in addressing the deal with bank accounts, credit unions, IRAs, 401(k) accounts, money markets, brokerage accounts, stocks, mutual funds, treasuries, commodities, piggy banks and all sorts of bonds, it missed a great place where your cash will be safe from harm.
And I’m not talking about stuffing your dollars under your mattress or in your sock drawer. Way too obvious.
The safest place to keep your money is tucked inside a dish of salted fermented squid guts. Trust, nobody will get within 10 yards of it. That is the worst-tasting and foulest-smelling food concoction imaginable, even worse than kangaroo testicles.
Of course, you may want to rinse your currency before trying to purchase something.

Hop on the bus, Gus; you don't need to discuss much

Kids riding the school bus should behave. Wrestling with the kid sharing their seat, poking the kid in front of them with a ruler, listening to raunchy music or boring the kid behind them with idle speculation about the anthropology of Brazilian fire ants do not reflect the components of good behavior.
To help kids entertained, seated and relatively quiet so the driver can focus on not steering the bus off a cliff or into an approaching 18-wheeler, kids riding the school bus in the Schuylkill Valley School District listen to BusRadio, a free service that provides daily programming to school districts nationwide. The Muhlenberg and Reading school districts may install the service as well.
BusRadio’s music supposedly is age-appropriate for elementary, middle and high school students, depending who is populating the bus.
Apparently, according to some critics, BusRadio is six exits beyond terrible because it also airs public service announcements and ads geared to kids from companies like Penguin Books, Cingular and Cartoon Network.
Some professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, that world renowned bastion of science, claims the brief ad spots on BusRadio are a “form of electronic child abuse.”
These academic types slay me. Get real, dude. Kids are subjected to far more dreaded commercialism long before they’re old enough to go to school.
It’s called television.
It’s called the real world.
Tune in sometime.

Perhaps the feds can bail out the parking authority

Sometimes the irony is so thick you can slice it with a steak knife.
In Monday’s Reading Eagle there was a big yarn about a Reading Redevelopment Authority study on downtown parking. Since I’m too lazy to recap all the pertinent points, please click this link for all the fine print.
But before you navigate away from your favorite blog (with apologies to Al, Susan, Dana, Jason, Patty and the rest of the blog gang here on readingeagle.com), allow me to make one compelling point of reference.
The RRA study recommended the Reading Parking Authority raise rates.
Currently the maximum daily rates in Reading are $8 to $10. Monday it was 50 bucks to park in a Manhattan lot across from the Jacob Javits Center because it was an event day.
Forking over five Alexander Hamiltons for parking would bruise my wallet’s fiscal health beyond repair if I had to do so on a daily basis.
Reading is the poorest city in Ed Rendell’s Commonwealth. We can’t afford to become paupers over parking. Reserve the sticker shock of pricy parking for the princes of the big city.

Get me rewrite! Eagles smack Steelers with a surprising script

The NFL has no logic, no consistency. One weekend bears absolute no connection to the other. If you try to connect the dots in the NFL, you will have more scrawled lines than a left-handed second-grader.

Last week in their loss to the Cowboys, the Eagles were all offense and no defense.

This week against the Steelers, their offense — sans Brian Westbrook and a hurting Donovan McNabb — needed a passport to reach the end zone.

But their defense had a resplendent rise Sunday as they tenderized Ben Roethlisberger and left him with nothing to do but wipe his gravy stains off his uniform.

That huge can of hurt opened up by the Birds, punctuated by a percussive play by old man Brian Dawkins at crunch time, translated to a 15-6 victory that whacked a pipe across the knees of the Steelers.

Imagine what unexpected and heroic deeds will transpire next week!

Wall Street was playing with house money — our money!

Granted, nobody ever thought Wall Street was as hardy as cactus.
But who would have thought all those rich blokes running the most expensive and crucial street in the world would become poster boys for sham, delusion and incompetence? And now they’re all in desperate need of vocational guidance.
The fallout is an economy that smells so awful you can’t be sure whether to send it to the cleaners or quarantine it.
The pleas of people praying for a sudden economic recovery haven’t fallen on receptive celestial ears. That’s because there is no patron saint of greed.
So who’s gonna pay for all this fiscal folly?
You and me, pal. With the Bush boys socializing the debt of Wall Street with the public bailout of insurance fraud AIG at an estimated $85 billion, taxpayers who didn’t earn a red cent from the big-dollar profits on those dastardly derivatives and those sleazy sub-primes are footing the bill.
By the way, that $85 billion would pay for health care for every man, woman, and child in America for at least six months.
Just thought you might like to know that.

Mayors sick of biting the bullet the state legislators are ducking

It seems our state legislators are stuck on the dot of school property taxes. Stuck so fast they must have Super Glue on their shoes.
Of course, they don’t ever do anything about reducing or eliminating property taxes. That would be productive and wouldn’t waste time. Instead, they waste all of their and our time debating whether an expanded sales tax or a graduated income tax or 7.4 million versions and 6.3 million combinations of both can replace property taxes.
Since they all are riding this one-trick pony, they refuse to saddle up to the issue of gun control.
After all, it couldn’t be that their minds are corralled by the NRA and hunting lobbyists. Could it? Wink-wink.
How else can you explain why they won’t squeeze the trigger on passing legislation to increase gun safety?
And we do need safety from guns. Even guns that come with safeties. Because property taxes sure take a backseat in importance to a guy who has just had two ounces of hot lead shot into his stomach.
Our mayors are on the frontlines of the shooting gallery out there. Hunters may shoot deer in the sticks. Bad guys shoot people in the hood.
Handguns are such a hot item that apparently 500,000 of them are stolen each year and 90 percent of them end up in the hands of criminals. And you thought the jewel thieves and bank robbers were busy.
A question I have is just where the hell are handgun owners storing their weapons? Probably on the front porch under a sign that reads: “Hey, Bad Guy: Please Steal Gun Here!”
And once those bad guys and bad girls pilfer those pistols, they ain’t stalking the woods trying to blow away Bambi with a handgun.
Up to their honorable eyebrows in frustration over the state Legislature sitting out this issue in a duck blind somewhere, mayors of seven area cities, including Reading, announced at our City Hall on Tuesday that they plan to introduce ordinances in their cities requiring handgun owners to report lost or stolen weapons within 24 hours.
An eighth mayor, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, which passed a similar measure this year, attended the meeting to support the others. Nutter presides over a city where brotherly love got shot down a long time ago in a hail of bullets. “We are doing it because our representatives on the state level do not have the courage to stand up and pass legislation for gun safety,” said Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster, referring to a bill that has been bottled up in the House Judiciary Committee since November. “This is something where the General Assembly should be carrying the ball. But the General Assembly is sitting on the bench and is not in the game.”State Rep. Tom Caltagirone, a Reading Democrat who’s chairman of the state House Judiciary Committee, said he simply doesn’t have the votes to move the bill. And it would be in bad taste for Tom to rustle up the required votes at gunpoint. Reading Mayor Tom McMahon, who organized the coalition of mayors, said he’d introduce an ordinance in City Council next week that would require owners to report lost or stolen handguns within 24 hours or be subject to a $1,000 fine. Hopefully our City Council doesn’t debate the issue for the next 12 years. Bodies with bullet holes in them could be stacked like cordwood by then.”We go to the Legislature and continue to push for common-sense gun laws, and time and time again we are ignored,” Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski said. “We will take this into our own hands.”Philadelphia City Council defeated a lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association against the ordinance the city had passed this year.”This is not a Second Amendment issue,” Nutter told the other mayors, referring to the constitutional right of a citizen to own weapons. “There’s no rational argument why law-abiding gun owners would have a problem reporting lost or stolen weapons.”

Another classic example of why Eagles-Cowboys is a High Holy Day!

Even delicately crafted words can’t fully convey the swashbuckling showdown between the Eagles and the Cowboys Monday night.
With star aura soaking both sides and seven see-sawing lead changes, it seemed as if these two NFC East goliaths would battle on until the twelfth of never.
Both teams were willing to empty out body and soul in quest of victory. Hence, the heroics and gaffes came in a hellish hail of dandy drama, of spills and thrills.
Philadelphia and Dallas were like two valiant heavyweights slugging it out with the fury of abandon. The dungeons inside their lungs screamed with exhaustion but no quarter was given.
Both offenses were marbled to magnificence as they pinballed to a pageantry of points.
Both defenses were hardly carved out of sequoia as their armor was peeled away like the rind of an orange.
And when the taut rubber band surrounding the latest chapter in their ribald rivalry had snapped, the Cowboys had forged a memorable 41-37 triumph of the will.
Aw, ah and awe were the most popular non-four-letter words exhaled throughout the epic, emotional evening.