Friday, August 29, 2008


I went "out" yesterday, for a whole 6 hours, with Horacio (well, he basically told me.. " get up and get dressed, you are going with me today, you are cooking yourself in this house, you need to get out of here". What a smart man I have!

Well, I'll be darned, he was right!

I was rather uncomfortable for a bit there, sitting straight in a van is nothing I have done in about 2 months, but I got used to it after a while.

He asked me to go because after his regular shift he had to go get all his van tires replaced and that would bring him back home rather late and he did not want me to stay alone for all that time. So there we go.... I went with him.

I felt good, strange (maybe because of the actual outdoors) but good. He treated me with fast food dinner (what a delicacy after 2 months with "diet" food, the fries tasted heavenly), which he normally he avoids with passion, he's not really a fast food eater, so it was a double treat for me.

I thought that I was going to regret it all this morning, but seems that I was wrong. I feel rather fine today (except the normal belly bloating, I have surrendered the complaining about this), have ate a healthy helping of grapes and other finger foods, yeah, I can't think about cooked food done by myself yet. That is still Horacio's department, but I still have to eat, no?

Well, seems that my recovery is actually jumping leaps and I'll be back running around in circles in no time.

Ohhh another thing, the relocation seems to have been rescheduled, We are looking now towards March, April 2009. We need to recover financially of this economic disaster that my illness has tuned out to be.

Until next,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yeah I know... Updates of some sort

I have been rather absent for the last few weeks. I apologize, I have been massively under the weather.

On August 13th, 2008; I had my last surgery, supposedly to be out of the hospital the very next day, but as usual with me, things got a bit complicated and I ended up staying in the hospital until tuesday, yeah, 6 darned days.....

More complications, more blood transfusions, more medications, more poking and probing, yeah my arms have the proof.... Black and blues all over the place. Nobody seems to be able to make a decent IV puncture on me. Well, maybe because I had run out of decent veins, when you are anemic, well your veins are plain dry.

Now the question would be, How do I feel now? I have no clue! I have no real pain, I mostly feel bloated and constantly uncomfortable. It's difficult to stand up for more than 5 minutes straight. I barely get any sleep (thanks to the meds the doctors gave me) I am tired 24/7. I can hardly eat solid foods without getting nausea, well that is actually getting better, now I can eat, but as Gid is my witness, I can't go into the kitchen to cook for my life. I get very fatigued just thinking about it.

My hero through all this has been my Horacio, I don't know how he's doing it. He works like a maniac, comes home to cook for us, clean up, take care of me and tends to my every need. He's been so slefless throught all this. I love him.

Our move to Argentina is still in place, maybe couple of weeks delayed right now. Finances are very tight, he's the only one bringing money into the household. I can't wait till I can go back out to work, maybe couple of weeks, I really don't know much about that. Some people say it should take 3-4 weeks after surgery, some other say that 6-8 weeks is what I need to feel A-OK. Right now I am leaning to the latter.

By the way, I forgot, my HD controller in my desktop went bananas so, while I know what the problem is, we curently have no moolah to fix it. So it will have to wait. So now I only have the darn laptop, which I dislike with passion.... ewwwww, but it will have to wait.

Well this is a sorta update for the people that have been asking where the heck did I go. Until I have the strengh to get back up on the computer and write, this will have to do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Argentina is the best place to buy property!

This article was written by Doug Casey of The Casey Report for the Daily Wealth newsletter.

Why Argentina is the best place to buy property


I've been to about 175 countries, and lived in 12. All the while, I've felt the US and Western Europe in particular (but also Canada, to a somewhat lesser degree) are on a slippery slope. So I've always had an eye open for a real second home.

My longtime subscribers will recall my enthusiasm for New Zealand back in the late '90s. Since then, its currency has risen about 75% against the dollar, and well-selected property has roughly doubled or tripled in addition.

New Zealand is still a great place to hang out. I bought a bunch of property and still go there about three months of the year, mainly to play polo and just enjoy the mellow lifestyle. But New Zealand is no longer the bargain it once was; far from it.

I think it's imperative to have a crib outside your home country in today's world. I don't want to get into a detailed discussion of all the possibilities here; that would take a book. But my bottom line is that Argentina is simply the best place in the world right now, all things considered.

It's certainly the cheapest "nice" country in the world. Indeed, Buenos Aires is absolutely one of the world's greatest and most livable cities. The country is running a massive balance of trade surplus. The government (most surprising of all) is running a big fiscal surplus. Rich Europeans are piling in, since Argentina is now ethnically and culturally the most European country in the world. And it should be fairly insulated from WW3. All the stars are aligned for this place. Even as stupid as Argentina's government has traditionally been since the days of Peron, the bull market has a long way to run.

So I'm looking to spend around half the year there. Along with a partner, I bought a ranch in Patagonia 10 years ago, and it's been a spectacular investment.

But if I'd been familiar with Salta province – in the northwest – at the time, I'd never have bothered. The province averages about 5,000 feet in altitude, but is at about the same latitude south as Cuba is north. As a consequence, the climate is perpetually mild. And it's dry. Most of it is indistinguishable from Northern Arizona, New Mexico, or Colorado.

It's possible to buy huge parcels of land very cheaply (e.g. 100,000 acres for US$1,000,000), but that's literally in the middle of nowhere and of very little practical value. You're a feudal lord for the people living there. But if you want a latte and an International Herald Tribune, or anything to eat besides an animal some of the peons have butchered, forget about it.

It's a long-standing tradition at Casey Research that we eat our own cooking, so we've bought a lot of property in Argentina in the last few years. But frankly, I wasn't looking for a bunch more trading sardines; that's what stock certificates are for. I really wanted something I could personally use and enjoy. What we did, therefore, was buy 1,200 acres on the edge of the town of Cafayate, in the south of Salta.

Like San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Cafayate is going to become another Aspen. Or maybe the resort town of Taos, New Mexico, is a better analog. Located in a huge bowl, surrounded by the high Andes, it's quaint and picturesque. Especially since it's the center of a large wine region. So the area is really more like a "Taos meets Napa."

What we're doing on this land is putting in a world-class golf course, spa, health club, vineyard, equestrian facilities, and, in fact, lifestyle amenities of all types. A library, billiard room, cigar bar – you get the idea. Since good workers go for $200 a month, costs will be low, and services will be excellent. My personal vision is to take the best features from developments I know all over the world and put them together here.

I think we've got the right place, the right idea, and the right time. I also think the cost will be right. I expect it will, initially, go for something like 10%-20% of what something similar – but not even close to as nice – would go for in the US

I hope early buyers will be successful people of a libertarian character; no jerks need apply. Then, as soon as possible, we're going to raise prices as high as possible to keep out the riff-raff.

So that's the story right now. For travelling or an outright real estate purchase, Argentina, all things considered, is my favorite place in the world.

This article was written by Doug Casey of The Casey Report for the Daily Wealth newsletter.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here we go again...

Ok, so some of you know about my stay at the 5 star HOSPITAL last month. Well it seems that they where not done. I have to go for the surgery that I should have had that time, but they did not get around to do it. There was some minor unforseen situations that prevented them from doing it that time.

I just went to the hospital again today to get all pre-operative paperwork done and I will be admitted to the hospital around 10:30 Wednesday morning, surgery is scheduled for noon and according to the Dr., I should be discharged no later that Thursday afternoon.

And again, according to the Dr.'s opinion, after this intervention, I should be totally in the way to full recovery and hopefully working again within 3 weeks. THANKS GODDESS!

So people, don't freak out I will be away from the computer for several days but I will be doing fine.

More economic data

I want to thank Julio Cesar Losua for this wonderful information.

This is more confirmation of the demise of the North American economy.

STORE CLOSINGS AND LAYOFFS If you have gift cards, hurry up and use them!!

Just passing this along - FYI

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide A company spokeswoman said the company hasn't revealed which stores will be shuttered. It will let the stores that will close this fiscal year know over the next month

Eddie Bauer to close more stores
Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up to two more outlet stores by the end of the year.

Cache closing stores
Women's retailer Cache announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide The owner of retailers Lane Bryant , Fashion Bug , Catherines Plus Sizes will close about 150 underperforming stores this year.
The company hasn't provided a list of specific store closures and can't say when it will offer that info, spokeswoman Brooke Perry said today.

Talbots, J. Jill closing stores
About a month ago, Talbots announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kids and men's stores. Now the company says it will close another 22 underperforming stores.. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill , another chain it owns. The closures will occur this fiscal year, according to a company press release.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores
In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic . The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand.

Foot Locker to close 140 stores
In the company press release and during its conference call with analysts today, it did not specify where the future store closures - all planned in fiscal 2008 - will be. The company could not be immediately reached for comment

Wickes is going out of business
Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores, Wickes, a 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Goodbye Levitz / BOMBAY Company - closed already
The furniture retailer, which is going out of business. Levitz first announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910 when Richard Levitz opened his first furniture store in Lebanon , PA. In the 1960s, the warehouse/showroom concept brought Levitz to the forefront of the furniture industry. The local Levitz closures will follow the shutdown of Bombay .

Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores
The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing another 23 underperforming stores. The company said it's n ot pro viding a list of specific store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are stores.

Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores The Walt Disney Company announced it acquired about 220 Disney Stores from subsidiaries of The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords. Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March. Walt Disney in the news release said it has also obtained the right to close about 98 Disney Stores in the U.S. The press release didn't list those stores.

Home Depot store closings (E. Brunswick, Rt 18, NJ just put up their closing sign)
ATLANTA - Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans to cut the number of its core retail stores, The Home Depot Inc. announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S. economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. Its shares rose almost 5 percent. The Atlanta-based company said the underperforming U.S.stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

CompUSA (CLOSED) clarifies details on store closings Any extended warranties purchased for products through CompUSA will be honored by a third-party provider, Assurant Solutions. Gift cards, rain checks, and rebates purchased prior to December 12 can be redeemed at any time during the final sale. For those who have a gadget currently in for service with CompUSA, the repair will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners.

Macy's - 9 stores

Movie Gallery - 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit
bankruptcyThe video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery
and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental
chain closed last fall.

Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores

Pep Boys - 33 stores

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the ax on 4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. Amid the loss of 639,000 postpaid customers in the fourth quarter, Sprint will be cutting a total of 6.7% of its work force (following the 5,000 layoffs last year) and 8% of company-owned brick-and-mortar stores, while remaining mute on other rumors that it will consolidate its headquarters in Kansas Sprint Nextel shares are down $2.89, or nearly 25%, at the time of this writing.

J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are scaling back

Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+
stores in an effort to cut costs.

Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores

Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four underperforming Demo stores closed last May.

Sharper Image: The company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.

Bombay Company: (Freehold Mall store closed) The company unveiled plans to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores. The company's online storefront has discontinued operations.

KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. To see the list of store closings, go to the KB Toys Information web site, and click on Press Information

Dillard's to Close More Stores
Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing underperforming stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six underperforming stores this year.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

So we told my Daddy!

So let me tell you a bit about us, Horacio is 51 years young and I am 41 years young. He is rather close to his family both here in the US and in Argentina (as much as distance allows, of course), but I have always been a loner. My familar relations (above me, not with my children) are kept to a minimum or actually ... on a need to know basis.

So yesterday we broke the news of the move to my Daddy, well actually, I kinda blurred it while I was updating him on my health.

Well, guess what? He was actually OK with it. I should not be surprised, my 64 year young father has always been a free spirit as much as his circumstances has allowed him. I guess I get that from him.

His reaction was what I was hoping for, but I was not sure what the real time reaction would be.

"That is great baby, be sure to let us know when you get settled down. We've (Daddy and my step-mom, Alma) always wanted to go to Buenos Aires but never really had a clue how to go about it."

Well.... this is one less possibly dramatic moment we don't have to deal with anymore.

My oldest daughter is still in some kind of disbelief, every time I remind her that she will have to start paying for her cellphone sometime on December-January her answer is.... "Sure Mommy, we'll talk about that when and if it is needed"

About my own Mommy, we will try to see if she hears "From the vineyard" as she will either have a heart attack or just won't care at all (hoping for the latter) as she is the DRAMA QUEEN of the family. We are hoping that someone that reads this blog comments it to her. Yeah, kind of cowardly behavior, but with my Mommy, it's about the only way to deal with things.

My brother is coming over next weekend for an "Asado" and I plan to give him the news in person then. I believe he will be OK. He's my baby brother, I'm the oldest and he's the baby, baby. There's 2 more in between us. And those 2 are the ones I worry about, we have one (sister) that will probably be static because we are moving to the other side of the world. Then comes my brother Pepito, I really do not have a clue how he will react. I hope he takes it lightly.

Anyway, the only one that has rather constant contact with me is the one that lives here in Florida. The other 2 live in Puerto Rico and we hardly communicate, same issue like my Mommy.

I think I have been rambling, but I also think it is OK as this is my blog and part of what you do here is to rant away. Hope I did not bore you to death!

Friday, August 1, 2008

More open public admission that the US is in recession

Jobless rate rises to 4-year high of 5.7 percent

From the above linked article:

The nation's unemployment rate climbed to a four-year high of 5.7 percent in July as employers cut 51,000 jobs, dashing the hopes of an influx of young people looking for summer work.

Payroll cuts weren't as deep as the 72,000 predicted by economists, however. And, job losses for both May and June were smaller than previously reported.

July's reductions marked the seventh straight month where employers eliminated jobs. The economy has lost a total of 463,000 jobs so far this year.

And what is our USA government going to say now?

I knew something strange was going on when gas prices started to "go a bit down". I kept telling Horacio, "What are they getting ready to do now?" And it seems that this is it. I think that they are getting us ready to declare full blown recession.

The numbers that where quoted on yesterday's postings are based on the numbers that are being released from the first half or quarter of the year. I heard last night on CNN the economists speaking openly of the huge possibility of the US being in recession but as the figures are "delayed" nobody is being able or willing to accept it.