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Sunday, June 24, 2012

PAWN SHOP BUSINESS REFLECTS BAD ECONOMY

If someone would have told me ten years ago that pawn shops would become a big business, I would have thought they were crazy.  Looking at the status of these places now, maybe I’m the one who was crazy.

The rise in popularity of the pawn shop is basically a result of the bad economy.  Anyone with bad credit can dismiss the idea of getting decent loans from banks, so many have turned to pawn shops to get some quick dough from borrowing against items like jewelry, musical instruments, and other valuables.

There are some who say this is something to be concerned about since loans from pawn shops can sometimes carry interest rates of 20% per month.  That’s a chunk of interest to be sure but if someone is in need of quick money, there may not be a less expensive alternative.  As one operator in Boston says, “It’s a short term loan designed to bail someone out and be done with it.”

Corey, Rick, and "the old man" of Pawn Stars
I am a regular viewer of “Pawn Stars” on the History Channel and it seems like those guys are always buying items from people and making few loans.   However, as reporter Candice Choi relates, the more lucrative part of the business for the shops is giving loans against the customer’s belongings.  Customers also prefer to borrow rather than sell because it “lets them hold on to what may be their only tickets to cash in the future.”

It’s a simple process:  Credit checks do not exist and loans have no effect on credit scores.  The shop owner simply looks over the item(s) brought in and offers a loan against it.  If the loan is paid back within 30 days, the items can be reclaimed.  Loans can also be extended but if payment is not made on time, the shop can put the collateral up for sale.

With banks tightening their requirements, a lot of them are requiring a credit score of at least 700 to qualify for loans.  That leaves many in the cold with the local pawn shop being their only alternative.

Hey buddy. Can you spare a dime for my campaign?
Since the start of the economic downturn, typical pawn loans have doubled to about $150.  Interest rates can vary and depend on the size of the loan.  In the South loans are usually smaller and are made against items like power tools and lawn mowers.  In that area interest rates can be as high as 20%, not a very good deal but if you are strapped for cash, what can you do?

I could almost swear that I saw Obama at a pawn shop in Scottsdale the other day trying to hock his undeserved Nobel Prize.   Poor guy, he must be about out of money from his 160 fundraisers and cash from his Obama zombies in Hollywood.  Plus, Michelle is packing for her trip to the London Olympics but taxpayers will be paying for most of that I’m sure. 

However, there is the little matter of the town of Durham, New Hampshire who wants $30,000 from Obama to cover the expenses the town incurs from his campaign visit.  That may explain why he is asking people to defer on buying wedding gifts for friends and giving him the money for his campaign instead.  Now, that is one classy guy!

I’m sure your friends getting married will be thrilled to hear you gave the cost of what would have been their wedding present to Obama.

Monday, June 18, 2012

OBAMA AND HIS PHONY HOLLYWOOD BUDDIES


I used to give my dad a hard time when I was a kid because he disliked so many show business people because of their wild private lives.  In particular, he had no use for Frank Sinatra because Frank was such a carouser and had married so many women.

It was a different world then and as a na├»ve kid, I could enjoy plenty of entertainers regardless of what they did on their own time.  It never bothered me a bit that Frank was a popular guy with the ladies and had been married several times.  I was at an age where I thought it was really “cool” that he had a wife as gorgeous as Ava Gardner but could still have other babes on the side.  What a guy! 

Today, I have morphed into my dad when it comes to Hollywood phonies.  There are plenty of them and although I don’t care about their home life and marital problems, I do dislike the phony political philosophy of many of them.

I’m talking about the typical Hollywood limousine liberal: Obama loving types who love to feel good about themselves by forking over large amounts of money to a guy they think is a messiah out to save us with his liberal mindset.  Never mind that the guy has never held a real job and has been a deer in the headlights for over three years.

All of this is happening while the national debt has climbed to $15 trillion, unemployment is back up to 8.2%, and we have record numbers of food stamp recipients and relentless assaults on religious freedom while illegal aliens can now get excused and fight with the 20 million Americans who are out of work for the scarce jobs that may be available.

Obama is now back on the campaign trail making empty promises and using divisive, class-warfare, language to push for re-election.  Plus, to fund his $1 billion campaign, he is once again going to his Hollywood buddies.

Relax, George, and write that check 
So, you might say:  “Well, they believe in Obama because he wants to have green power sources, eliminate racism (ha-ha), produce green energy through wind and sun power, and gear everyone to a liberal lifestyle where the rich get soaked to support a myriad of ridiculous government  programs and regulations.  

It’s very noble to them that Obama despises the entrepreneurs who are the REAL job creators saying they need to pay higher taxes.   As Orit Sklar of “The Daily Caller” has written, “For someone who speaks about the American dream, Obama certainly knows how to deride people who have achieved it and set up roadblocks in front of those seeking it.”

As the prez makes his rounds of $50,000 per plate fundraisers with stars like George Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker, how do some of the other rich Obama lovers go about paying THEIR “fair share?”  Huge Obama supporter Bruce Springsteen, who despises the rich, is pretty rich himself and has even found a loophole where he can avoid property taxes on a couple hundred acres of his estate in New Jersey by claiming he is a farmer.  This has saved him thousands of tax dollars that would go to needy causes in New Jersey.

Then, there is another of Obama’s pals, Bon Jovi.  Obama even gives this guy free plane rides on Air Force One.  He has found that raising a few bees can save him a ton on taxes.   Taxes that he believes other should pay but not him.  

Meanwhile, stars like Sting, Julia Roberts, and Leonardo DiCaprio are flying private jets around the world, expanding their carbon footprints faster than they can buy carbon offsets as they call for anti-global warming policies to stifle business and economic growth.   Harrison Ford owns several airplanes and has bragged about how he can hop in one and fly up the coast for a hamburger.  Hypocrites?  I think so.

They can do as they please but “paying their fair share,” as Obama constantly cries the rich are not doing, is not anything that interests them or him.  They just don’t care, folks.  Below their glossy exteriors, they are phony to the bone.

Remember that in November. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

THE 1953 CADILLLAC, FERRIS BUELLER, AND MISCELLANY

The Cadillac has withstood the test of time and is still popular today.

In 1953, a Series 62 Caddy four door sedan loaded was selling for $3,665.  “Loaded” included automatic transmission and the following:

Hydraulic window lifts optional on some Series 62 models.

Heating and ventilation system
$199
Power steering
$177
Signal-seeking radio with preselector and antenna
$132
Remote control signal-seeking radio with preselector and antenna
$214
Five white sidewall tires
$48 exchange
Tinted E-Z-Eye glass
$46
Autronic Eye Automatic headlamp beam control
$53
Chrome wire wheels
$325
Air conditioning
$620

In case you are wondering what the “Autronic Eye” was, it was a small gadget that was on the dashboard that allowed your headlights to be dimmed automatically when another car was approaching from the opposite direction.  That was considered quite a convenience in 1953 since that was the era of the headlight dimmer switch being located on the floor and activated by your left foot.

A 2012 Cadillac Escalade loaded has a MSRP in Scottsdale of $70,000.  If all you have is $3,665 today you might be able to buy some Escalade hubcaps and maybe a couple of tires.

Here is a trivia question about the 1953 model:  It was the first year Cadillac put a couple of large protruding bumper guards on the front grille (see photo).  Can you give the nickname of those bumper guards and tell why they had that name?
 
Other stuff:

Have you ever noticed how expressions change over the years?  Some of them have hung on and others disappeared only to be replaced by new ones.

Today, I really get tired of “Back in the day”, “It is what it is”, and “At the end of the day”.  Thankfully, they will eventually go the way of “My dogs are really barkin’”, “If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black”, and “It’s the best thing since sliced bread.”

Kids had some expressions of their own when I was growing up.  Those were the days before “cool” was popular.  When I was in junior high “cool” was ”george” as in:  “Man, that new Chevy is really george.”  Don’t ask me why.

There also was a fascination with the word “brew”.  It didn’t really mean anything other than people loved to put signs up in weird places that read in large letters “BREW.”  You could see the sign on top of a skyscraper, a high chimney, or any other weird place that might be difficult to get to.  For those of a certain age, it was remindful of the old “Kilroy was here” expression which was found written everywhere during the World War II era.

Another trivia:  One of the great movies from 1986 is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”  Can you name the actor who played Ferris’ teacher who kept calling his name for attendance?  “Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?......He is still around and is known for his voiceovers among other things.

Do you have a smart phone?  Do you text?  Do Facebook? Tweet?  Skype?  I have none of those things and am somehow managing to survive.  I do have a cell phone which costs me $7.50 per month.  I think I used it for five minutes last month.

When I asked one of my bloggers if her teenage kids sent and received many emails, she said that they don’t even use email anymore since it is too slow!  It’s “Skype”  and texting for them!

I wonder whatever happened to Mayberry’s phone operator “Sarah”.  Andy could never had made a call without her.  Maybe she works for Skype.

(Click "comments" below for trivia answers)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

IMPORTANT DEMS LIKE ROMNEY'S BUSINESS SENSE


I was taught as a child to be careful who I criticize.  It may be some of the best advice I ever had since the best course to take when dissatisfied with someone is to let them hang themselves.  That is what I try to do at the national level since we have Obama as a president who seems determined to hang himself.

A good example happened recently as Obama chose to do the ad hominem thing on Mitt Romney.   He said that Bain Capital and Romney were “vampires preying on American workers in their pursuit of personal profit.”  It’s the same old story that is always used when one is failing and the only avenue left open is a personal attack on his challenger.  That type of campaigning is usually a turnoff to intelligent voters which was the case this time. 

To make matters worse for the prez, several leading Democrats chimed in to support the work Governor Romney did during his Bain Capital years.  Prestigious Democrats like Ed Rendell, Cory Booker, Bill Clinton, Former House Rep Thomas Ford, and Senator Mark Warner represent those Dems who have not crossed the Rubicon into Obama’s “hate the free market” mentality.  Clinton even commented that Romney did a “sterling” job at Bain which constituted “a good business career.”  Warner said that Bain had “done a good job for their investors.”  Booker said Obama’s attack was “nauseating to the American public.”

The funniest thing about this is that Romney has been knowledgeable and successful in business while Obama has never even had a real job so who is he to say anything about how to do business? 

Being a Republican, it is refreshing to see this rebuke of Obama by his own people.  I’m especially glad to see Clinton speak up even though he will still vote for Obama out of loyalty to his party.  But, if even half of the things written in Edward Klein’s new book about Obama (“The Amateur”) are true, Bill and Barack probably will not be exchanging Christmas cards anytime soon.

NEW BOOK FROM JOHN STOSSEL

For a good read, try John Stossel’s latest book, “No, They Can’t”.  John mentions that “Government planners have failed in the Soviet Union, in Cuba, in America’s school system and the U. S. Postal Service…..What government does is make the problems worse and leave us deeper in debt.  Why don’t we ever learn?” Stossel is a Libertarian so a big national government is not his preference.  In the book his points are well taken.

DOES THE GSA EVER LEARN?

Common sense cannot be taught.  Either you know how to come in from the rain or you don’t.  Here is another example:  If you work for the GSA, you probably should not park your car with a U. S. Government GSA license plate stating that the vehicle is for “OFFICIAL USE ONLY”, fifteen spaces away from the door to the Talking Stick Casino on the Salt River Pima Reservation.  I noticed this  recently and it made me wonder who is hiring these people.  What is it about the embarrassment of the GSA scandal in Las Vegas that they don’t understand?

                               Cartoon of the day:  No wonder dogs are man's best friend!