Monday, June 16, 2008

Some idle ruminations...

1) I saw The Happening Friday night. I think it’s time for M. Night Shyamalanamanalamayalan to hang up his writer/director hat for a few years.

2) Based on my casual observations, there are many people who can’t fathom McDonalds’ “Breakfast Only Until 10:30am” policy.

3) An introductory economics course should be mandatory for all students entering Grade 9, with a follow-up comparative economic systems class as a graduation requirement.

4) I know it’s impolite, but I take great pleasure in pointing and laughing at people in SUVs as I pass them on the highway in my Corolla.

5) According to a Chicago jury, my preconceived notion that R. Kelly is a pedophile is unfounded. By the way, has he endorsed Obama yet?

6) I concur with most of the planet: Coldplay’s Chris Martin is officially a douchebag.

7) My Costco membership is worth it for the free tapas alone.

8) What ever happened to Boz Scaggs?

9) People should really listen to Reid Bryson. Seriously.

10) What exactly is the appeal of the Dirty Sanchez? Do I dare ask?

11) I’m amazed that more people with terminal illnesses don’t commit murder. If you were told you had 3 months to live, wouldn’t you be compelled to take out some prick you hated with a passion?

12) My grandmother is ambidextrous. I think that’s neat.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The lady who lived across the street from me had her house foreclosed a few weeks ago. According to my neighbors, this is a woeful situation deserving of our collective pity. Being naturally skeptical, I reserved judgment for the time being and resisted the pity parade peer pressure, opting instead to probe a bit more deeply into the matter. I suspected the woman in question was really done in by her own fiscal incompetence, not by the allegedly evil and unscrupulous lending industry that's routinely lambasted by the mainstream media and Democrat politicians.

Sure enough, a review of her publicly recorded deed and mortgage documents at the Maricopa County website confirmed my suspicions. The docs, combined with my casual observations of her big ticket purchases over the past two years, reveal a classic case of a looming financial disaster finally coming to the fore. She bought her home with no down payment in January 2006 and financed it with a $236,000 2-year Interest Only balloon payment ARM mortgage at 9%. The prevailing rate for this type of suicide loan at the time was 5.5%, so right off the bat we know this woman either had very bad credit or a high loan-to-income ratio to begin with. Two months after closing on the mortgage, she secured a $20,000 home equity line of credit on the home. A month after that, she somehow was able to get another line of credit for an additional $30,000. Based on my recollection, this is roughly around the same time she started driving a spiffy, new BMW 335. Retail price: $40,000. I also noticed several big ticket items appeared around this time, including a top-of-the-line 56” television that was clearly visible through the living room window from the street, and the delivery of various furniture and new appliances.

Granted, I don’t have all the details of my former neighbor’s financial profile, but from my vantage point all signs pointed to a fiscally reckless individual living in the here and now, from paycheck-to-paycheck, skirting on the edge of foreclosure from Day One. My assessment? Pity for this foreclosure “victim” will not be forthcoming from me. Nor will it be offered for most of the swelling ranks of homeowners who have been foreclosed on in recent months. I’m willing to bet 90% of those people chose a strikingly similar path of fiscal incompetence fuelled by greed and a lust for instant gratification.