Friday, August 3, 2012

Cat Marnell: Cat in the Cave

You know those creatures that live in caves, that hang from ceilings? How much do you give a shit about knowing their daily lives?  Thing lives in darkness all day, sleeping and shitting down its back, then at night, flies outside, eats moths and field mice.  Excited? Here's a glass of scotch, have a seat.
Everyday I read NYTimes, CNN and Yahoo for whatever's up.  By Friday, I'm bored to death.  My equivalent of the Post, which I vow never to read, is Vice. Once a week I poop my way over to for news 15 year-old's beat off too.
Girls drinking their piss and brushing their teeth like old Pompei.   Little boys preparing for cryogenic sleep because they've got no friends now, and still won't when they wake up in 100 years.   On the home page of Vice this time I see a heroin addict.  She's peering out from behind a dumpster like an alley cat that just got caught licking the cum off a homeless mans pants.  She must be a heroin addict, and figures, her fucking name is "Cat".  She makes the lead singer of The Working Title look thick.  She's got that skittle hole-of-a-mouth with open sore cracks at its curves, and mouth pimples scattered about like an Occupy tent community.  Red bumps on a girl's lips in her late twenties means no shower after Ring Pop dinner or falling asleep with stranger's load on face.
I love Cat Marnell.  And I hate Cat Marnell.  I can picture her tiny bone-in vaseline frame and her dry pussy stubble-burnt and stretched from a night's grinding on random night-club dude with neck tatts and dick moguls because hey, she tells me about it.  She's self deprecating and apologetic and "feminist".  Sob-story, loaded boarding school Oedipus Complex-girl meets drug addict blogger struggling with identity.  Will you or I learn anything from her?  Absolutely not. To be honest, I'd thought she be over this stage already.  I'd be more understanding and buy her a vile if I knew she'd spent 6 years dating the wavy-haired kid with burgundy flying-duck chinos from the crew team who never really liked her. But, I don't think that's the case, why? Because she hasn't fucking told us yet.  She only blabs about the trash she's become, the filth she surrounds herself with, and whatever junk she's injected or vomited.  Therefore I'm not sold on her but I love her chatty welcoming tales about her dry lifeless clit that needs lickity spit.  I'll keep reading, of course I will.  That's what we do these days.  I'll read, in the hopes that Chance or Change or CHafe, whateevr the fuck that guy's name is that errantly knife stabs the air and opens his fish mouth only for food in pill form, either kills himself, or kills poor Cat.  Let's admit, we're all paying attention because we're wondering if this creature of the night's gonna make it back out of the cave to tell the tale, or if she'll just fall to her death into a pile of shit while sleeping.  

With love Miss Marnell, keep it coke'd up and dirty as fuck.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Expectations Are Over-Rated

Using my fork, I wiped the ketchup from our plates into the sink. It was a lot of ketchup. She loved ketchup. I wanted to give her a lot of what she loved even though a meal in need of ketchup isn't impressive, but what is anymore....we've been together for three years.

During the first two years we lived in a "bougie" mint highrise on the west side of midtown. The 27th floor to be exact, with a view of the Hudson. Goldman Sachs' new building in Jersey City would twinkle through rust-smeared Rothko sunsets, fading to horns and an elevated sense of what's right. Sunsets tend to give you that feeling that everything’s right in the world. Her face would glow, her eyes would sparkle and she'd push her tits unconsciously up, tucking in her arms to rest on the window frame. She was 19 at the time. She should've smoked cigarettes. To purse warm smoke into the evening's chill from 300 feet just makes visual sense; movie scene sense. It'd be the materialization of relief, a translucent fondant flying away from its being against a black night.  I would watch from the wicker kitchen table at the edge of our bed just seeing dark blue past her. Fucking night, there's nothing like it in New York. It's like looking out on miles and miles of ocean; its beauty comes from not knowing what's hidden amongst it and that there's endless opportunity in its exploration. She was happy of course, she just didn't know how much happier she could be. As pressed putty wears the print on which it's placed, the knowledge she absorbed and admired, she would eventually mirror in her life's pinballing.

Two years later now, I'm across the country, this time, only 90 feet off the ground. A move made solely for the purpose of her initial familial interests. I now however find myself alone 95% of the time. The size of the apartment hasn't changed, just the weather and the personalities. In New York we'd discussed the new studio in LA as if it were to be our sanctuary. We would share, love and live it as if a starter home where pleasure was precedent and our future nostalgia would be our rekindling of these coming cramped years. Every month since my trek across country, since my farewell party with friends and family, my toothbrush here has stood alone. An empty promise of a partnered crusade, my mind's left to wander. How could someone's love change so quickly, and why did I take such a chance moving my life away from family and friends if all I'm to learn is ugly.  To love someone, that’s not exactly hard. To trust someone, to believe in them and their eyes, that’s something else entirely.  Sometimes you're in the audience at a comedy club and you catch the talent's eye.  Sometimes you're 21, and the talent asks you stay after the show with your girls and drink.  I've been 21 before.  It's not a time to move across the country and settle down. 

Looking down into the sink, I can see the wasted ketchup and bits of Tyson spicy chicken fillets she didn't eat just swirling at the base of the drain, losing their skin. I spit into the sink and wiped my mouth on my arm. She stands next to the bed not looking back. She'd finally come, out of guilt.  She stands facing the windows with her arms folded, looking out at another glorious sunset, just this time it's Santa Monica's. I don't think she ever thought she'd be here. She stands rigid, in thought, in tight bright blue pants. Girly pants, or artsy slacks, something you'd see at American Apparel, or in the village. She wears those pants a lot more now in place of the sexy stonewashed Guess jeans she'd worn with the holes at her knees. Those were her best jeans, but looking her best was not cool any longer. She'd become more Williamsburgh and Lower East Side than Orange County. No more make-up, and far less drinking. Thick black-framed eyeglasses; no more contacts. Flannel, checkered, Native American patterned, beaded or neon tops, and her primary colored flats. Heels were retired. They're for women who need attention. I watched as Elvis Costello, with a chest, and an ass, stared through the wet ocean wind. I felt like being a dick, but to have her here is so rare, why spoil it. She came because the place she works is five minutes away from my apartment; the apartment we chose together.  She has work the next morning, therefore, why not travel five minutes instead of ninety, which it typically takes her from her parents house where she is staying.  So close, and yet she still barely comes once a week. In this case, she'll do her conscience a favor and spend the night, putting in her time. Sex will happen, it'll just be one-sided; dry. Her pity day. This is what I got for moving my life. She was looking out the window and waving her hand over the blanket we'd received as a gift from my Uncle's mistress.  She hated that blanket or at least it's gaudiness.  After all, it was a plush American flag with an eagle the size of a human on it.  It was the softest damn blanket you ever felt, and we enjoyed that blanket.  We enjoyed that blanket hundreds of times, but this time she waved her hand over it like she was feeling for a memory. For an understanding, or for a reason as to why she's here and what's been her path to change, because even she knows, nothing here feels the same.  I looked past her at the window again as I did so often in the city, and thought about night time.

My nights began with a couple of pyramid-shaped fulcrum bumps, then hours straight watching Maria Callas belt out sounds you only heard in dreams. Her words like lanyards, tying me to the screen, I'd start to cry no matter the language. I'd cry and sit there rocking back and forth on the tips of my toes, elbows to my knees.  I'd punch the bed between my legs and run my hands hard through my thinning hair and down my face, grabbing the tears without care for where they'd spread.  I’d pretend it was the music and the loneliness and the wine and the beauty exiting such a skinny frame. To feel better, I'd donate ten dollars to PBS and pat myself on the back like a recovering alcoholic passing on a free drink. It was a viewer like me that kept PBS on the air. That's what they told me. A viewer like me, whose room spins as hands of cards are dealt virtual in spades and suede diamonds, or so they looked.  "Jackandthebean" would talk shit about being the best in the room before "Vinnystackd" would pull flushes out his ass and throw down eloquent guidonics. I could see some slick Bronx Goomba with equally thinning hair fist-pumping and punching the keys on his Compaq Presario. Just beyond my computer screen I'd stare at my darkened face in the shoddy plexi reflection. I believed that if I stared long enough, I’d discover why I am here. "Vinnystackd" would chime in - "yo Justpyhil, aint got all day kid!!" I'd check. I just sat and sweat in those same wicker chairs we'd had in NY. The flattened brown seat cushion wore a faded fold at the bend of my knees, paining the lax muscles of my hamstrings. Instead of un-tying the seat cushion on her chair to use as extra padding, I'd fold a black hooded sweatshirt of my buddy’s band, long since shrunk from incidents with dryers, and sit defeated. I couldn’t take any game seriously while coked out. We weren't even playing for fucking money. This was the shit of the shit in Pokerstars where you could press "refill my pot" and they'd replenish your chip count over and over. Coke goes quick.  After about forty minutes I need something in my hands, something to lick and fixate my lips. Bottles of Cabernet laid lengthwise in the metal five-ring Olympic wine holder. It’s the only thing I’d stack in the apartment aside from Ramen and Tyson Spicy Chicken fillets. Wine bottles are sold in food stores in LA, right alongside milk, bread and cereal, so I’d line my cart with them. Anything Cab Sauv, four years or older and less than twenty bucks; that was my rule. I'd finish a bottle on a normal night. A normal night was 6-8 hours long. I'd look real closely at the cork once I'd slipped it out.  Thick and clotted, I knew it’d be a rich, potent, delish.  If it was thin and runny and light, I knew it’d taste tangy, sour and biting….too young. My carpet below the table was littered with corks.  You could see the white carpet stained pink below them, all dried, whitened, sticking out of the vent like a pile of clothes with burned and branded tags …..Hess, Menage a Trois, BV, Coppola, Frei Brothers, Franciscan, Lunde, Justin, Simi, St. Francis, Ravenswood.  Once I poured my first glass, I'd sit back, stretch out my legs, and pull up a reliable porn site to see what was new.  Behind plastic rope-turn blinds, I'd start myself off and just get comfortable.  I knew the start was always more of a primer for what I would eventually imagine in my head for climax.  My heart would race at the thought of her with another man.  It was the one automatic thing that'd do it, and so I'd rub one out and reach for the paper towel roll on the ground near the corks.  Tissue boxes had long become the expense to deny for such a depressing routine.  I'd wipe myself off and close the page immediately, so sick with myself.  I'd go from amazing to zero in seconds, after all, I am only 26 and this is a typical Saturday night. Fuck being a Saturday, this was daily. You'd hate the night too.  I looked back at her blue pants and shut the sink off.

"You ready?"
"yea" she says.
"I think it should be pretty dark by the time we get there."
She didn't answer. She grabbed her purse and flicked her eyebrows up as if to say..."mmm.hmmm" and walked toward the door.
"Do you know how to get there?"
"Yea" she says.  "I looked it up. We just take the freeway like two exits North near Burbank and hop off...we should see a line of cars."
"It's gonna be weird with no snow on the ground."
"yea but it's not bitter friggin cold" she said.
"Hey, you're the one that wants to be back in NYC's bitter friggin cold."

She was silent. I hadn't been out of the apartment for anything but a movie, a beach run or a night of sipping scotch at the local jazz haunt.  Anything outside with someone I knew, nonetheless someone I still loved, would get me in a good mood.

 "I'm just saying, it'll be weird having the windows down and wearing just a t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops when staring at a Christmas Light show."
"I guess I'm just used to it" she said matter-of-factly.
"How much is it again?" I wondered.
"Dont worry, I brought a coupon I saw in the newspaper" she said.
"I didn't mean it like that, I just wondered if I had to stop at an ATM."
"I have money" she said.
"Babe, just because I lost my job, doesnt mean I can't afford a Christmas Light show."
"It's not necessary" she says.

Shutting the door behind me, we walk to the elevator with a distance between us. She hits the button and waited in silence. We made no eye contact and stared at our reflections. Im not sure we'd had any eye contact since sitting at the glass-topped wicker kitchen table.  I wanted to be engaged in some sort of conversation, after all, I barely get to see her.  I figured I'd ask about Monica.  She loved Monica, a newbie.  She loved Monica so deep and so quickly that it hurt just to pretend you were interested in what they'd done. She crossed her arms and looked down at her feet while talking.

"She's good" she said.
"Is she dying for you to come back?" I asked.
"Of course she is, we only started becoming best friends the last few months of school when you moved."
"Yea, I know...I figured you two were already discussing when you'll see eachother again."
"Well, that's the thing, like, I'm hoping she'll come here for a long weekend, and then I'll probably like, go away with her or something."
"Where do you guys think you'll go?"
"I dont know, maybe Mexico or Costa Rica...all the girls from NY will go."
"Good, good for you.  It'll be guys look like you have a lot of fun least from what it looks like on Facebook."
"Yea, well, she's don't even know."

Her eyes light up and I hear her smile crackle as it forms.  She lifts her head and uncrosses her arms to lean relaxed against the glass.  I automatically get jealous and think how I haven't seen her smile like that around me in months.
"The last time I saw you smile like that was a picture of you and her on Facebook standing outside some sort of changing room wearing "Vote for Mike Hunt" shirts."
"Ha! saw that was her idea. We took those pictures near NYU campus in some cute little shop."
"Never pictured you wearing a shirt that said always hated the word Cunt" I said distastefully.

The elevator opened into the parking garage and I offered to go get the car.  It was about 200 feet away.  The parking lot lined the entire basement of the building.  She declined and said she'd walk.   In silence we walked, listening to our footsteps; my clapping sandals and her dragging flats.  When we got to my jalopy of a car, the car next to me, in its reserved spot, was new.  It was a tinted, chromed, sexxed up Mercedes S55 AMG.  Black as night and opaque glass.

"Fucking douche bags...who parks that close?" I said.
"Who tricks out their beautiful Mercedes like they were some sort of drug dealer?" she says.
"A drug dealer," I laugh.  No one should ruin a car like that with black rims and a spoiler?!"
"It looks like shit" she says.
"Probably some fucking kid with mommy and daddy's money, living in the Penthouse going to UCLA and studying Communications" I said.

She was quiet.  The car sputtered a bit while starting.  It was a 1998 Maxima after all and it paled in comparison to our neighbor.  We were pulling out and I looked at the Mercedes again, and back at her and she was looking out the window. I kept conversation to a minimum.  I figured it's better just to enjoy her company rather than make it awkward by talking.  I kept my hand out the window and made waves with the wind while driving.  The night sky still had twinges of green and blue as the sun had recently dipped below the horizon.  Cars had their tops down and stars were beginning to wake up.  We pulled off the exit ramp near Paramount Pictures studios, threw on the A/C and sat at a traffic light.  Signs pointed us to a radio station that was playing 24-hours worth of Christmas tunes and she couldn't have been more ecstatic considering her disposition.  This was something I had forgotten.  For years I had been tortured with non-stop holiday music from Thanksgiving until Christmas; it's all she would listen to.  I couldn't stand it, but at this moment I was happy with her habit.  The lines of cars filed in to two lanes and we ran slow like a conveyer belt, craning our heads to the sides at each exhibit.

Companies sponsored each display and put their logos next to the grass beside it.  An Oakley sign sat below a squirrel that blinked.  The squirrel was the third in a sequence that lit in order to show its escape from a sack that Santa had at his groin during takeoff.  The reindeer were stilted at different heights as they lofted into the air with Rudolph at the front, his red nose like a siren. Santa looked back wearing thick blinging shades with an I just got laid smile. The squirrel had a nut in its mouth. We laughed at the subtle innuendo that may or may not have been implied but figured it could go either way since they put a bow on the nut.  Bing Crosby came on.

"Did you know this guy was a complete asshole?" I asked.
"Who" she said.
" Bing Crosby" I replied.
"Yup, an alcoholic, abusive piece of shit."
"Really....I didn't know." 
"Yea, like, you had my father's parents back in the day listening to this guy and loving him for his deep voice and chill singing - they'd be sitting there sipping their egg nog probably cheersing to Bing, and the guy's beating his kids and wife because he's fucking miserable."
"What?!  Where'd you hear this?" she asked.
"Oh, it's publicly known. His kids and wife came out and told everyone after he'd died."
"Really..." she enamored at the thought.
"They didn't want to effect his image or legacy while alive so they I think they were probably scared he'd come after them and cane them to death if he were old and able."

She laughed, and the car sputtered. I looked down at the steering wheel and held it tighter. The car continued to sputter and hiccup and then powered down. The lights began to dim on the dashboard and the radio connection faded.  We heard nothing until I pumped the gas for a few rounds.  Two seconds later, it powered back up again.

"What the hell was that?" I asked out loud.
"I have no idea" she muttered.

My first intuition was to shut off the A/C and radio, but I felt embarassed.
"Turn the A/C and radio off" she said.
"Right," I said.

I flicked off the dials and the car regained its composure.  The interior lights brightened and showed signs of life as my heart sank and thoughts of my car dying right there came up to my throat.  I had plenty of gas but I was on edge about causing a scene with a dead jalopy of a car.  I could picture my girl, the girl I loved who no longer really loved me, sitting there discontent on the grass while christmas lights flash above her and people just staring.  It'd be another reason to wish she'd never left New York.  We continued to drive, gently pressing the gas pedal and listening for any little sign of demise.  All we really heard was the hum of generators for each exhibit, stone crackling beneath our tires, and the radios of cars in the back and front of us.  I put my hand on my forehead in disgust and exhaled scorn for this life; this position I'd been put in. A position I'd put myself in.  It was my fault.  It was my fault.  That's when I discovered it.  I felt like crying right there in front of her.  This place had brought me nothing but bad luck.  Coming out here seemed like the natural course of action, the next step in a thriving relationship.  The ease of transferring ones job and having a replacement family to snuggle up to, my God how the drawing of ones life in the sand was swept away in an instant by a wave.  A rogue wave, collectively building itself from the other side of the world for years before gaining momentum to slam down on these shores with zero warning.  We exited the park.  The highway seemed to be a comfort zone for the car.  The engine was purring and the wind in my face renewed some sort of confidence.  It released the care I'd balanced on one of life's hypothetical hurdles.  One chapter was ending, and my worry for success during that stage, was no more.  I was just open, and flippant.  For the person next to me could do no more wrong to me than a stranger, or so it felt in that moment.  I never know if it's just that passing moment, or a natural high, or chemical equilibrium your body finds, I don't ever know until I'm there, but when you're there, nothing matters because nothing could be better than that feeling.

We pulled up to the stoplight at my building at Barrington and Wilshire.  I exhaled and thought to myself, Thank God.  Out into the median, each oncoming car passed us before I could turn.  When it was relatively clear, my car sputtered into the vacant lanes and ceased.  Mind you, it only takes a few seconds for a new car to approach and not quite understand that your car is dead in the middle of an intersection.  Pumping the gas, I scream.

"God Dammit!"

I see the car continue on its path toward us, approaching with zero knowledge as to our predicament.  They probably think we're waiting for someone to cross the street and had pulled out prematurely.  They lace into their horn as they come toward us.   Quickly I thought of grabbing her, putting my arm around her legs as if to move her immeasurably close to me in case of relieving even the tiniest margin of a horrific impact.  I pumped the brakes like a bass pedal, pushing down as hard as I could until I heard the screeching of brakes and the sound of tires burning.  The car, my car, shot forward in pops like flexing a bicep, bursting and ceasing.  Crippled, the car twitched along the curb as we came out of a fear-filled trance, not touching eachother.  Pedestrians stared as my car steamed into the parking garage and perished at the gate.  I couldn't even get it to my reserved spot.  I felt responsible, horrified and I knew this wasn't a moment of thanks or eventual erotic thank-god-we're-alive sex, this was the last straw of a pathetic life she'd no longer signed up for.  I stepped out of the car, and asked her to jump in the driver's seat while I pushed.  She hopped over from the passenger seat without getting out.  While trying to push, I began to sweat or breakdown, I really couldn't tell the difference.  My sandals slipped along the pavement gaining no traction as my face burst red with blood to the skin.  I couldn't move it.  The fucking car was too heavy, I didn't have the right sneakers, I was still in shock....the elevator doors opened but I paid no attention.  I didn't want to make eye contact with anyone, I'd had enough of being the laughing stock, so I pushed harder, grunting. The car started to move.  I looked forward to see if she was steering as I laid my shoulder into it, and I saw this Asian kid pushing from the open driver-side door. 

"Thanks so much" she said to him.

I couldn't speak so I just kept pushing.

"We're all the way down at the end, I hope you don't mind" she said.

"No" he whispered and pushed.

He wore black sunglasses with slick spiky black hair and a black t-shirt.  His jeans were dark with some silver glinting off of them, and black sneakers.  He pushed so hard that the car seemed to glide.  In two minutes, we had gotten to my spot.  We pulled forward past my car so we could back it in.  As we pushed it back, she struggled to turn the wheel since the automatic steering had been disabled.  The car was heading for the god damned Mercedes as I yelled for her to hit the brakes.  She did, and missed it with an inch to spare.  Together, we jockeyed the car, pulling and pushing back and forth until we'd finally straightened it out.  We had only left about a foot between us and the Mercedes, but I didn't give a shit.  As long as we could just stop sweating and this poor kid could go on his way, I'd feel a bit better.  I looked up at him as he wiped his forehead from the less prickly spikes.

"Thank you so much man; I truly appreciate it" I said.

"No problem, no problem" he said as he shook my hand.

"Do you need a jump?" he asked.

"Absolutely not, I'm not going anywhere, and I have AAA so I'll have them come by, but thank you so much again, truly a lifesaver."

"Ok" he said.  "Don't worry, everything will be alright. You'll see" he said.

He waved good bye to her in the drivers seat, as she made her way over to the passenger side.  The car had been wedged in so tight, there was no other way to get out.  The Asian wiped his hands on his pants, reached into his pocket and clicked the alarm to the Mercedes.  Stepping back, I wiped the sweat from my forehead and looked up.  He pulled out from the parking spot as I blinked over and over, my eyes stinging and face hiding its surprise behind a smile.

I'd learned something, right there, in that moment.  Nothing I'd expected, or wanted to happen, ever did.  If things happened, they'd happened for a reason.  In the future, I would make sure not to look for the conclusion before it presents itself naturally, because it will.  I guarantee it eventually will.  The hope is that the lessons I learn and the shape my end takes, will not be a circle.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father's Day for Kevin

Brodie, you’re a dad!

You could do anything you want, on this, such a day
Go back to being a kid, lots of life to portray.

Nintendo was our vice, any addict would admit
Of course til Turbo Graphics, offered 16-bit.
Tetris was a bitch, with that damned speedy ball
If any drug could’ve helped, it'd be Add-er-all.
I’d like to say that Contra, brought out a better side
Vet therapists resist, in this they can’t confide.
If not for our games, we’d find a tree to swing
Or little bombs of dirt, many cars, we would fling.

Rummaging through cards, we’d choose Donruss or Topps
For Stadium Club and Upper Deck, rich kids would tap their pops.
Lake houses, wake-boarding, sometimes we’d hit the mountain
On friends trampolining, you’d piss a yellow fountain.
Camping was our outlet, so wild, so free oh boy
Onto my sister’s friend, you’d release or vent, poor Joy.

Sometimes a day so dear, dismissed with zero chatter
Friends and dads like you all praise
For matter, you do so most.

-keep it real my man

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Trying to Grow a Business" - My Morning Emails Before the Financial Collapse - 2007-2008

Quick Synopsis: Back in my finance days I would send out a daily run of bonds each morning to my prospects and clients. Being that this was the practice of all Corporate Cash managers, I wanted to somehow connect with people and give them a reason to open the damned thing when it hit their inbox. I thought to myself, if I was in their shoes receiving ten of these boring lists of virtual paper a day, what would make me want to open them? Here's the crap I'd write into them, and what topics became my daily routine, or what was otherwise in its infancy at the time, i.e. "blogging." The emails eventually walk us through the high times of my financial career, and blindly right on into the financial crisis that was my inevitable demise and the loss of millions for my clients.

5/24/2007: "Price is Right" Thursday Offerings - Jefferies

Ahh how the season's actually feel like they're changing....trips to look forward to, maybe some Bobby Flay's barbecues and backyard antics, a family picnic, a guy's golf outing...really whatever you want to plan. But yes we do have some time before that I'll get to the point, we're coming toward the weekend, I want you guys to stay cheery, be excited about what's to come, possibly a new "Price is Right" host as Bob Barker has decided to close out his 95-year reign, that guy is a machine, or maybe be happy about those balances attached, I have feeling that's really what you're looking forward to so I'll stop....

5/25: Friday's Dancing Shoes Offerings - Have an excellent weekend - Jefferies & Co.

Good Morning!! It's one of those days that you find it much easier to get up out of bed just knowing it's a three-day weekend or even just a Friday in general. It's like a natural boost of adrenaline without our college kids' favorites, the "Safe as Coffee" NoDoz or SugarFree can of Red Bull (I mean, it gives you wings so how can you resist?)Two weddings for me this weekend 7 hours from each other, definitely the best way to get a relaxing and cheap few days under the belt...still excited though as I've been known to cut a rug like Elaine from Seinfeld, Ben Stiller in "Along Came Polly" or for a not so similar generation "Napoleon Dynamite" himself. So beyond that, you know I didn't just come to talk, the infamous offerings you love so much are attached. I really do wish you guys have the best possible weekend, enjoy.......

5/29: Wedding Singer Balances - AAA 7Day @ 3.90% - Jefferies & Co.

We make our way towards the week's beginning by starting out on the right foot, and that's because it's a four-day week! Come on, you know I'm going to try and find the motivating reasons to push forward every morning. Don't know if you've been following my daily updates but this past weekend I had two weddings to attend. Too keep it short, they were drastically different and they were much more physically draining than expected (possibly since I did pull out a few moves as I told you I would). I think the biggest debate was" Should you have a live band or a DJ at your wedding?" Although one band was amazing on Sunday night (practically perfect in representing Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel and the Black Eyed Peas), and the other was barely tolerable on Saturday night (picture "Woolly Bully" sung by Roseanne Barr's vocals), we looked at price of a band and quality of song replication and the majority ruled in favor of the DJ....sorry to all you hard-core Adam Sandler fans, but the Wedding Singer sometimes doesn't make the cut!Balances are below, hope you all start the week off right and look forward to catching up.

5/30: Dr Phil's, Half Marathon Balances - AAA 28Day @ 5.36% - Jefferies

Now I don't particularly want to go Dr. Phil on you and all, but just yesterday I set out a little personal goal for myself, and found it so motivating that even in life, and most times outside of work you can drive yourself to achieve whatever you might want. It's getting over that hurdle that gives you hope in the next steps toward completion. There may not be a pineapple scratch and sniff sticker from your teacher telling you you're a superstar at the end, however inside you there's a major feeling of accomplishment, and that's really all you should need. One of my goals in life is to do a Ironman, and I know if I'm ever to complete a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike and 26.2Mile run, I have to build up to that, whether it takes years or not. My goal yesterday, without it being an organized event or anything, I decided to run a Half Marathon.....yes, I know that's no big deal for the big picture but what it does is lead me over the third hurdle of three legs of a 1/2 Ironman (1.2mile swim, 56mile bike, 13.1mile run), which is what I need to do before ever doubling the distance. As of yesterday, I know now that physically I can finish the half marathon portion of the race (the swim and bike portions are already in the bag). So whether it's baby steps you take or mistakes you make, you can still get where you want personally if you just push yourself. If you really want it, whether it's a recipe to cook, or vacation spot to reach, a mountain to climb,'s there to be accomplished. Good stuff...get out there and knock em' dead.Balances attached if you were interested in those :)

5/31: Mini-Revelation in Trust - Balances at Jefferies! - Good Morning

Trust is a difficult thing to earn, and yesterday I had a mini-revelation as I walked out of the building. I was approached by a young kid in normal athletic clothes with a clipboard and a blank piece of paper on it. He told me he was collecting money for athletic uniforms, but he was by himself, had no school info. visibly showing on a pin or t-shirt and my first instinct right away was "no go buddy, sorry I don't have anything." I then thought to myself how difficult sales really is, and how this little guy is walking up to strangers pitching his cause and the disappointment in rejection as hundreds of people brushed him off before me. Really, if it's not a fundraiser my dollar is not a loss to me because at least he worked for it rather than holding out a cup, but the main point is that my business is not so terribly different in establishing credibility. It hit me that it's understandable that any of you might feel the same about myself and my group because it's overall difficult to trust, especially if we haven't met yet on a business trip or meeting and I have just introduced myself for the first time. Overall, I can sympathize with you as my emails come each morning and you might not know that much about who we are, and who I am, but I guess that's what we're trying to confirm and establish in a comfortable way. Have an excellent rest of your day.

6/1: Old Sleeping Lady Balances - Friday @ Jefferies

Consider yourself lucky if you're not subjected to mass transportation. I found myself forced to stand and hover over what seemed to be a nice little old lady this morning because the subway is so tightly packed it's like an unopened Q-Tip box. She was sprawled out and hogging any bit of space for someone in need of a seat, like a pregnant woman for instance. Of course I was aware that she was most likely there all night but my headphones are on and therefore I'm minding my own business. Out of nowhere, she pops up like someone just dumped a pail of ice cold water on her, and of course, I'm her first target. She starts pointing her crippled little finger in my face and cursing me in what could have been a real language if I had all members of the UN there to translate. I could have sworn either her eyes (which seemed solid black in my half-second glimpse into them) were going to swallow me whole, or her three inch long pinky nail was going to be my demise. Honestly, at that moment I resembled a Swiss Guard standing at the Vatican, without a blink or muscle twitch, and luckily she dropped her head, continued to mumble, swear and pound her tiny feet. When my stop came, like Lawrence Taylor I broke through the line and discovered pure 120 degree underground freedom. Now that's the way to get your morning started....please enjoy your weekend and stay away from any innocent sleeping old ladies. And no, this is not fiction.

6/4: Planet Earth Balances - Jefferies - AAA 28-Day @ 5.35%

I found myself entrenched in the "Planet Earth" series just yesterday as I had DVR'ed (or TivO'ed) several different episodes that are just unbelievable when you think what's out there in the world to be discovered, or that these are the jobs of some people. Photographing nearly extinct camels in the frozen desert of Siberia or swimming through dark caves hundreds of miles long beneath the earth, climbing trees that are over 300 hundred feet tall (higher than a 30 story building)....I really could go on and on with how amazing the series is. This led me to pick up my Forbes Life magazine rather than the actual regular issue, and become motivated to learn about countries and destinations that I could probably never afford to visit. The stark contrast between the normal everyday reader of that magazine versus what it actually markets to its readers is amazing. For all you people in the market for a new private jet, just let me know I'll mail you the issue, as I'm not exactly jumping in my new Dussault 10-seater to head back to Long Island each day, but hey maybe some of you are. Let me know, maybe I can borrow it for a trip to Madagascar to meet those little Lemur's I saw running around the Baobab best as usual

6/5: Celebrities and Missile Defense Balances - TAX EXEMPT @ JEFFERIES

You know anything can happen when we see some fantastic news highlights on celebrities (in which I think the word celebrity should be removed from the dictionary as these people are human beings like any of us and should probably not be emulated) such as Mike Tyson wanting to become an actor, Paris wanting nothing less than to live the caged Simple Life, or even celebs winning awards at events for categories that make little to no sense, such as "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet ." How is that possible? Well since we know anything goes, I won't be here tomorrow, I'm going to Sir Richard Branson's house in Necker Island to study airspace and family vacation travel to the moon, right before I try out for American Idol(make it to the next round of course) and supervise via conference call, the President on any upcoming missile defense issues. Talk to you Thursday...

6/6: Smiles all around - Balances - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day @ 5.35%

For some reason when you're young you don't really care as much how you look in pictures but once you get older you sort of try and prove to yourself that you can somehow fix or enhance the same photo of yourself by making minor adjustments. You start moving your head up and out to make sure no neck wrinkles are present, crick your head to the side to get the proper angle (only my good side she yells!), or fix your hair as you're blaming humidity to your friend, tuck one side of your shirt in, show some teeth, don't over smile but definitely show you're happy, who knows it's never-ending. The person that constantly says they look horrible after every picture you take gets me frustrated because no matter how great they really look, they're grabbing the camera from you and deleting every picture as if it was incriminating evidence of their involvement in a string of bank robberies. By the end of the night you have no pictures but you took 25. I think the point of this was revolved around a song from a great band that just makes sense...and I doubt you'll fail in your photographic appearance if you adhere to have a great day, and "Smile Like You Mean It"

6/7: Patch Adams - Balances @ JEFFERIES Thursday AAA @ 5.35%

Was thinking yesterday how we seem to be one of the "Patch Adams" style of cash management groups, and if you haven't seen Robin Williams as this goofy but brilliant doctor in this based on a true story medical flick, he is constantly living and breathing the idea of any hospital patient being someone more than just the disease or injury that categorizes them. Dialogue I found that resonated the most went something like "you treat the disease, you win, you lose. You treat the patient, I guarantee you, you win." Now, I know I tend to focus on movies a lot but a quote like this is similar to my everyday here. It's a priority to me, to create a relationship, focus on the person, and make someone laugh for a second. If you and I derive some shred of happiness from any dialogue or email I've ever sent, then it's absolutely a success. Who doesn't have competitive offerings or a great platform? Life's just too short otherwise to focus only on more more more, because I know when you go home at night you'll remember more about what I said in the email to entertain then what my best and worst offerings were. Nurture relationships and let business come as it may....have a great Thursday. And I guess check out "Patch Adams" if you're home one rainy night, you'll get what I mean.

6/8: Age Differences - Balances - JEFFERIES AAA 7DAY @ 3.95%

It's amazing to think how talented and mature some people can be at such a young age, however I'm sure those are exceptions (for some reason Shirley Temple pops into mind). When you think about how much you actually never noticed or understood as you were young and how much it just makes sense that wisdom does come with lots of years, experiences, mistakes, etc. This was on my mind yesterday as I was waiting outside a restaurant and looking at an outdoor bar across the street and some older gentlemen talking to some much younger women (something that we've all seen before so not a big deal). It just made me think about how different these people are in their stages of life, that if you actually put them in a room for a couple days and had them speak, how much in common would there be if one person just had their senior prom (probably used a fake ID to get into the bar), and the other is buying their second home? You never really know I guess, but it gets skewed as you get older and that same age difference then might not really matter. Well, I do know some couples personally that are 15 years apart so who knows why I was thinking, nice little circle I just went in, good thing I wasn't talking out loud. HAve a great weekend!

6/11: PET PEEVES Balances @ Jefferies - AAA 28Day @ 5.37%

Sometimes you don't realize how many you have until they're in your face, making you cringe like nails on a chalkboard. These happy little notifications of your personal disinterests are what we call Pet Peeves. I've been exposed to several of my own as of late, as I tend to live life like any individual on a weekend, eating at a restaurant, riding on an elevator and seeing a movie. Our dinner consisted of the acoustics provided by a live band of screaming children, howling like coyotes at a full moon. The Peeve here was the parent's lack of care for their children's Ozzy Osbourne emulations. Next came the elevator, as I walked up to the elevator a woman was waiting already, before the elevator arrived up walks a very serious-paced gentleman with the..."I'm going to get where I have to be 10 seconds before this guy next to me" type of attitude. The doors open, and he pushes past the woman to enter before her....completely unnecessary but not the end, because his long lost relative must have been on the fifth floor. As the doors open for the woman to get off a new fantastic individual with every bit of manners blocks her exit as he pushes into the elevator before letting people out!! I think I stared him down longer than anyone ever. Lastly, you guessed it the cell-phone in a movie bit. Not that it was ringing, but the consistent conversation heard subtly over the speakers such as "what'd you say?" and "I'm at the movies right now" comments. I don't know about you but text messaging does exist if you absolutely need the phone on and those 5 previews telling you to please silence your cellphones might actually mean try not to hold a public soliloquy, and hey you can always take it outside the theater. As they say on Family Guy "that's what really grinds my gears." Hope you had a great weekend, talk to you soon.

6/12: Rome Wasn't Built in a Day - Jefferies Balances - AAA 28DAy @ 5.34%

In life we're always rushing to get where we want to be (and I don't just mean New Yorkers). Whatever our dreams or expectations of ourselves have projected is what we want to attain, but without patience we push and strive to get there as soon as possible so that maybe we can rest after we're finally there. The same goes for any of us trying to work our way up the company ladder, or trying to build and grow a bigger business, or just combine incomes to nurture and add to the end-all nest-egg. We stress ourselves out over it and often feel like we're not accomplishing what we want or not where we want to be in life, however just the other day the cliche "Rome wasn't built in a day" made more sense than even when I was standing looking at the place. We're built to know that we have to survive and support those we love, but we can't expect to accomplish that comfort overnight. Ralph Lauren is a good example, having grown up sharing a room with two other brothers, he takes one of his first jobs as ceating ties for a tie manufacturer having never attended fashion school and from there took a $50,000 loan to risk it all on his own venture, which 20 years later grew to it's most popular status. Sidney Frank from Grey Goose didn't make his fortune until well past his induction into the AARP. Just stay focused and keep plugging away, make sure those around you are happy and nothing's over til you're gone.

6/13: Dwindling Situation, Widow's Peak - Balances @ JEFFERIES 5.385% AAA 28DAY

One of men's innermost concerns that widow-peaked around post college graduation was the loss of a taken-for-granted possession. His coiffeur. I have seen all different types and looks out there to prepare myself for the dreadful day, and I think if it comes to making a decision between riding out my three helpless Homer Simpson style strands or taking it all off, the decision is an all-brainer. If the logistics of my hair loss differs and I'm heading more for the gutters look, where any perspiration falls to the sides into my dome gutters, I will stick with a steady close buzz cut, but I can't picture myself going for hair replacement or the fashionable toupee (that's just not me). Personally, I think shaving or buzzing it close, is completely normal and accepted as a haircut anyway (women do you agree?), and for my conscience I just don't want to work surgically or chemically on preserving my ever dwindling situation. Think I'll raise my white flag and let nature take its out Donald we'll all be there soon enough.

6/14: Alcatraz and a Good Swim - Exempt Balances @ JEFFERIES AAA 28DAY 4.05%

Last night I got back in the pool for the first time in months. It's amazing how bad you are at something for taking off just a little while from it. You don't exactly just pick up where you left off. The other day I was checking a history on Alcatraz in San Francisco and the attempts at escape and how some people had done it. They concocted such intricate devious plans to break out which took them years to plan, but all the while completely underestimating the body of water that they had to swim across. The water was on average 55 to 60 degrees and had a very powerful current. They were unaware too that the prison itself kept the showers very hot for the inmates so their body would be acclimated to warmer water. At those times, some men tried carrying buckets to assist in floating and others tried homemade rafts, but most were caught and only a few they were unsure if they made it as they believe the current may have taken them to sea. In present day, we triathletes now swim that body of water from Alcatraz to shore in a triathlon called Escape from's a 1.5mile swim in some cold and untame water, but once you finish I bet it feels great (personally I would not know just yet), but then again you've still got 18 miles of hilly bike riding and an 8 mile run. Keep on motivating yourself people...I'll be out there soon enough with my bucket, wetsuit and a good set of swimmies.

6/15: Dogs, An Overpowering Lick - JEFFERIES Pre-Weekend Bals - AAA 28DAY @ 5.35%

EnjoyWell, well, you thought you weren't going to make it to the weekend, me neither. But here we are in fantastic fashion...speaking of fashion and not specifically of clothing, dogs these days are all the chatter. Accessories no longer consist of bracelets, necklaces, earrings or scarves, but little Rex and his buddy Milo perched under the pit of your arm. You know what throws me off a bit is the direct hits when the dog starts licking the owner. And I mean on the mouth, and consistent like a clock ticks. Wasn't aware that Kibbles & Bits tasted so good. I've read a study that dog's mouths are far less cleanly than ours and therefore I'll turn the first-date cheek when that pooch comes running up for the "hey great to see ya." It's like you're wearing red and the bull-dog comes charging, oh but wait dogs are color-blind right? Not completely.... they just don't see as many colors as us. Well that's enough for me with the meaninglessness.....have a great weekend, and I apologize to those dogs getting snubbed this weekend by their owners.

6/18: The Traffic Jam - JEFFERIES Balances TAX EXEMPT

This past weekend I found myself in what all of us have experienced before, and I couldn't have been more frustrated. Inching forward a few feet every five minutes I found my knee starting to cramp up and my eyes hazing over. Afraid that I might let go of the brake a slight bit without noticing, I pressed down like trying to steady a piano down a staircase. Not sure if my car temp. gauge even worked anymore as it didn't move a millimeter and yet even I was on fire (until I finally just put the AC on, which definitely should've moved it). There's something inherent in traffic jams that make people think that they could've done something differently. Maybe that the lane next to them is moving faster and they made such a mistake picking the fast lane because they agree is constantly the slowest. I got on the phone trying to find the best alternate route as if I had a Jetson's car and I can just fly out wherever I wanted. To no avail, there was no movement, and really I thought I was in the R.E.M video where everyone just gets out of there car, walks home and calls it a day. Well, I'm here, I made it, and the moral of the story is, no matter what you try and do, in some situations, it's out of your hands, and therefore just calm yourself down and realize there's more important things to worry about because this isn't the end of the world.

6/19: Trivial Sports Minds - JEFFERIES Balances Today 28DAY @ 5.35% AAA

I sit here and bite my nails trying to think of what to say as sports chatter resonates through the air. So I figured, why not, as everyone seems to be a Sports Analyst with their computer-like memory of statistics, I might as well tell you my thoughts. Personally, I love sports, especially this past weekend as the impressive Tiger Woods creeped up on his prey like a cat ready to pounce, but just missed since he hit the gym prior and his paws were a bit sore. Plus our fellow New Yorkers had their internal rivalry of the Subway Series in baseball (that's again Mets vs. Yankees for those who are out of the Circle of Trust). I can hear all the Chicago and Boston fans saying " who cares about NY baseball move on buddy", and so I will. The point is, I never found myself to be the king of sports history, but it seems everyone in the office is their own personal Bill O'Reilly on a particular favorite activity. Especially as nearby neighbors of mine have their flipbook calendars testing their coffee-driven brains on sports trivia each morning, they're yelling out the answers like commodities traders on the exchange, and I can't even find the answer on Google. I've never answered one question yet, and sort of proud sometimes that I don't know them. Although I know many sports pretty darn well, I'm just not fanatical with one particular team or sport (except triathlon, but you probably all don't consider that a sport). It's odd that I feel this way but I have to applaud some of these obsessions as they are what keep these people excited and enthusiastic about their lives outside work. They often are less lethargic around the office and don't drag their feet when they walk, which is another Pet Peeve of mine. Possibly we can all use a little obsession with our hobbies/interests as they keep you happy and motivated to learn, teach and be active with others, especially in helping them find something all their own.

6/20: Brain Maps & Mount Everest - JEFFERIES Corp. Cash - AAA 28Day @ 5.35%

I'm a firm believer in retrieving motivation by looking at other's accomplishments, sort of biographical studies if you will, and realizing in my own way how I can reach my goals. Not to say that you can just follow exactly what that person did and get to their level of success (although there are plenty pharma companies out there just making billions off generic creations of patent-expiring drugs, but that's an exception). That's definitely not the case because you do need some intuition and creativity of your own that only you know will work. You should look at these people's trials and experiences as they will help spawn new ideas or even assist you past any struggles because you will have seen what others had to go through. At one point I was reading this book called "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer, and it's about an ascent to Mount Everest in 1996 and how a huge storm swept in and left many climbers on the mountain forever. Some did make it, and when those survival stories were told, it left such an impression that I often find myself going back to those examples in even my hardest challenges whether physical or mental. Overall, I'm just mentioning to you that you can learn a whole lot from others around you, become stronger from your combined life experiences and in turn create new conceptual maps that change the way you think for future paths that might present themselves.

6/21: Ticket Sales, Rebates & Binoculars - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt 14-Day AA @ 4.00%

Out of curiosity, does anyone know why concert tickets and events cost so much versus when we were younger? Demand you say? By whom...ticket brokers trying to make a profit eh? Well, I think a concert that costs $350 a ticket to go to is ridiculous, as a matter of fact, I think $150 is a joke too. It's not as if people all of a sudden started making double their salaries. I saw Police Tickets the other day for $400 a stub, in a section that would do more than Sting your squinting eyes and shrink your wallet. Oh yea, you can bring binoculars! Right...are you actually able to keep that energetic little singer in view for more than two seconds? It's like trying to watch a nighttime shooting star through a telescope. Just don't know where Ticketmaster gets these service, handling, additional, supplementary, convenience, and bonus charges. Are there literally thousands of people stuffing envelopes with ticket love and care these days?... I thought 50% of us by now are carrying our one page printout to the stadium hoping to higher powers that our email wasn't intercepted by a hacker who came to the show early to beat me inside. Good luck sticking that page of loose-leaf into your ticket stub memory box, might want to go get a file cabinet at Home least that might have a rebate attached, another thing the ticket industry has never heard of, rebates for there's an idea.

6/22: Birthday Memories - JEFFERIES Balances up to 5.45%

Oh yes it's the big birthday, and man can we reminisce about our b-day memories. You can probably remember the great places you had some of them, whether it was the local bowling alley where bumpers assisted your wacky hurl and the holes were never the right size (my thumb knuckle was always the kicker), or the amusement park where the haunted house was the tough guy test and I bet you failed hoping no one was watching, or those spinning rides that screwed up any normal stomach stuffed with pizza, candy apples, funnel cake, soda, ice cream and for dessert cotton candy since it's light and less filling. The water park might have been the best one with battles on two man tubes to try and switch places mid-ride before getting to the bottom. You would just see a tube pop out into the pool and 4 seconds behind two head-first backwards screaming kids trying not to get water up their nose. Yup birthday's are great, and it's nice to think that in life we have these specific days in the year where we get together and celebrate even something insignificant like another normal day. Keep your birthday alive, and I don't mean rent out a movie theater and get all the adults together to share swedish fish and spill popcorn in the aisles, but enjoy the fact that you're together spending time with company for a reason that's held significance for you since the day you were born. Enjoy your weekend!

6/25: Pool-Hopping and Water Therapeutics - JEFFERIES Balances Post Weekend

Ahhh, the revitalizing feeling of water, and I don't mean Evian. This past weekend was my first trek to the beach and it really is a great feeling to be by the water, relaxing. Even the drive down there reminds you of summer break with friends because when your heading there nothing has really changed, the beach is as it has been awaiting your arrival. As I've heard, there's nothing better for you to relieve stress or just get things off your mind than to refresh your hard drive with a soaking. Go hit the shower, dive in a lake, swim in a pool or even ride some waves in the ocean, whatever you have to do if you're in need of a Kit-Kat. Outside of the sunburn my skin loves to embrace even with Factor Sweatshirt & Sweatpants on, there's still something therapeutic about it. Therefore, if you're ever a bit down and out or overwhelmed, take a quick dip! Worst case scenario, you find a public pool, you hit the high diving board, curl up as tight as an acorn and hope your cannon-ball drenches the lifeguard. Just don't go pool hopping in your neighbor's yard because I doubt they'll accept the excuse that you had to get a few things off your mind. I think a better bet would be to carry a Monopoly "Get out of Jail Free" card, and hand them that. Best

6/26: The Sleep Spread - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt 7Day AAA @ 4%

Rubbing my eyes thoroughly as I stare at my screen, I can't help but wonder why nights with less sleep than normal have me waking up with more energy than Richard Simmons in Sweating to the Oldies. Especially where some nights I religiously plan on getting much more sleep and get into bed earlier than when Seinfeld re-runs begin, and 7 hours later I wake up feeling like a mashed potato. There's something wrong with this picture, there's a spread for when it's best to wake up and not to even try, and that for me is 5 hours or earlier, or 8 hours or later (this last one almost never happens, but maybe I'll catch a random Sunday). Anything in between is a mistake as it's close to sleep-walking at that point. I would literally have to wash my face until my sink is covered in water before I recognize what day it is. But hey, I do get some decent emails out even on those days! Must be you guys keeping me motivated....

6/27: Takeout vs. Cooking - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day Act/360 @ 5.35%

We've lost a bit of that home-cooking mentality as we get into our fast-paced lives and our take-out, not that this is a bad thing. It seems I've got more telephone numbers for takeout spots in my cell phone than friends. There's something about the convenience of walking into your home with food ready-prepared. For a little less than a year I was on a real health kick, strictly cooking my own dinners each night during the week, and most likely saving a lot of money. One day though, I got fed up and created a list of the miseries that cooking came with and the actual amount of time squandered out of my day. Oh yes, I'm getting specific here because I would literally walk into the food store at 8:30, enter my apartment by 9:10pm, begin my cooking ritual, finish cooking by 9:45, finish eating by 10:15, clean up the table and dishes, and physically finish this nonsense by 10:35pm (If I'm lucky). Takeout, well, I get off the subway at 8:30, call the restaurant of my choice, and arrive at my apartment 15 minutes before the food arrives, eat and throw my garbage directly into the bag I got it in, done at 9:20. I'm not saying this doesn't get gross after a while or that it should be the approach you take with your family, but sprinkling in delivery here and there just makes for more spare time to do other things you might like to do and relieves a bit of stress for that person buying/cooking/clearing/cleaning.

6/28: The Busy Obsession - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt AAA 7DAY @ 4.20%

While sitting at the bus stop today I looked up at the cars passing by and caught a guy with his mouth yapping into an earpiece, while air-typing one-handed into his blackberry, with his other hand holding the steering wheel. I felt like yelling out "where's your cup of coffee? you've got a free knee to drive with, let's get that going!" What's with us these days? I thought about it, and found that even I rarely feel comfortable with doing absolutely nothing. Are we really that effective or are we becoming a bit more obsessed with the idea of keeping busy. I opened up an interesting article in the WSJ today right after seeing that guy driving, and it talked all about people's social lives and dating, and how some find themselves bringing their computer's on dates to monitor their online businesses. To me, I think if someone told me "hold up a sec, gotta check my website real quick," whips out their laptop and sets it next to their half eaten filet mignon and barely touched creme brulee, I would be a bit more than disgruntled. I'm all about entrepreneurial ventures and highly respect those trying to make their own businesses successful, however I definitely draw the line when the only thing cooking on a date rather than conversation, food or outdoor activity, is the tablecloth and those ten tiny fingertips. Best

6/29: Beach Chairs & Coladas - JEFFERIES Balances Today AAA @ 5.35%

Where is everybody? I'm over here giddy as a kid on the holidays because I know it's Friday, but half of you bailed on me by this past Monday! Is it vacation week or something, because I don't remember going away the week after elementary school was out. It was always Easter break or February recess, and then maybe August before school started up again. The summer months are like a slump for us cash managers as we have the worst batting average in the league trying to get people's attention as beach chairs and coladas dance through our client's heads. It's not worth trying to get many to focus because we feel the same too. The office clears out by early Thursday as either Friday or Monday they're off relaxing in summer homes, kicking their feet up and reading the latest book of choice. Fantastic lives you lead, guess I'll have to live vicariously through you. Hope you have a great weekend, but then again you won't get this til Tuesday since you're out, so hope you had a great one! - Best

7/3/07: Fourth of July - Balances at JEFFERIES 28Day AAA @ 5.40%!!!

Good morning, and happy day before the 4th of July, hopefully it will be a quick one and for those in the office, I feel your pain. Just wanted to wish you a safe and healthy holiday full of barbecued chicken, steak, burgers, sausage, corn on the cob and fireworks. From what I remember of Fourth of July's past, they were wrapped around baseball games and actually attending them for the fireworks show afterwards, where music such as New York, New York by Sinatra was set perfectly to the blasts. Backyard follies (I've never used that word in my life) by someone else's pool were more than popular as well as family softball and volleyball games where even the worst athlete could do something if you crammed them close enough into the middle. It's good stuff when you're younger bas the picnics subside and interest in planning the events dwindle. Try and keep the spirit tomorrow guys, if you can go setup the horseshoes and try not to hit any of the little kids and their pesky water guns. Remain happy, so thanks to those that put the effort in, and realize the time you're in while you're there, not just years later. All my best on the 4th!

7/5: Limbo-Land Vegas - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.36% - Corporate Cash Mgmt Group

Today I'm in limbo-land, not sure what exactly to write about and not really excited about the weekend since we've still got a couple days to get there. However, this weekend I am headed out to Vegas for a special birthday, and Vegas as we know is the place where the word "hot" doesn't stand a chance in describing the nature of the beast, more like sweltering. To go in a hotel pool is like jumping into a jacuzzi because you were sweating too much. Yes, I know, there's no humidity but 115 degrees at 1pm is nearly the deserts of Australia. Then again it is a desert, and If I don't like the place, then I just shouldn't go right? Well, overall I do like it there since weather is reliable, restaurants are great and nightime entertainment is top notch, especially when with friends. Not that I wouldn't prefer an island somewhere with a beach or a tropical place away from the US, but a weekend getaway and 15 different Cirque de Soleil shows to choose from...I really can't complain. I'll let you know how it goes......oh wait, what happens in Vegas....

7/6: An Airplane Experience to Forget - JEFFERIES Balances - Enjoy Your Weekend, I'm Begging You

I find myself juggling the law of probabilities when thinking about my flight today, as most recently I had been on an airline that had complications where we were led to believe it was as serious as open-heart surgery. I usually fall asleep right before take-off as if I have a slight case of narcolepsy, because we all know those seats sure aren't that comfortable, and about an hour later I get an unfriendly nudge, "hey, you might want to wake up, we're preparing for a crash landing", I think to myself, what kind of a way is that to wake me up, at least ease me into it a bit. But he was right, the narrator over the loud speaker was getting us prepared for the worst as our landing gear was stuck in the down position, with fear it might buckle when we tried landing. After dumping who knows how much fuel onto poor fisherman and their catch, as well as thirty attempts to rock the air-traffic controller tower to tell if the landing gear is straight, we were greeted by a chorus of blue in the back of the plane chanting "BRACE YOURSELVES!...and again, and again..." Little children and parents joined the chorus with hysterics, as I breathed heavily into my empty shoes with head tucked between my legs. Low and ridiculously-scary behold, we land, with a grandstand of fireman, police and security awaiting with no problems whatsoever! If there was a day to have a heart-attack that would've been it, and the first thing they say when they get over the loud speaker, you will be credited with a free one-way flight of similar value, and there's another plane ready for your departure at Gate C...well that's where probability comes into play...there's no way that's going to happen to me twice...right? :(Enjoy your weekend!!

7/10/07: The Land of Giants - JEFFERIES Balances Today AAA 28Day @ 5.40%

I found myself sort of like Jack when climbing up the bean stalk to the land of giants this past weekend. Something was going on in Vegas where every other person was 6 foot 7" and when Yao Ming ducks to get into your elevator, you know it's not just coincidence that you're no longer the majority height. Turns out the NBA was in town, and by the way Yao Ming is 7 feet 6 inches, and plays for Houston Rockets, pro basketball. As we sat and ate some delectable Thai/Japanese fusion foods next to Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat, also NBA player), I couldn't help but think of how much star athletes are paid for what they do in a team sport. Can you imagine making 18 million a year for shooting a basketball? Somewhere there's a major arbitrage, sort of like an over-priced company's stock, at some point we have to short these babies because one day someone's going to realize this makes no sense. You have scientists out there, brilliant minds, working their whole lives to find cures for diseases and most of them are making less than 5% of what these guys are pulling in. I guess I came to the conclusion that anytime I see a kid with a sports jersey on, I'll tell him/her to go easy on advertising for athletes that make too much money already, and donate that cash to a nonprofit org. focused on a cause they support....their funds will go a lot further, and hey, bet they've never been able to write off a Jordan jersey.

7/11: Luckiest Day in Sin City - JEFFERIES Balances Today AAA 28Day @ 5.40% Act/360

We might as well call this Vegas week on the travel channel because this most recent thought of mine regarding the superstitions people have in gambling and winning are again dealing with this past weekend. If you don't have your own personal bookie, and can't define exactly what "covering the spread" really means, then you're like myself and would have been unaware that this past weekend was 7-7-07. Man did I underestimate the power of a date, a number that had slot-pulling junkie's flocking to Sin City to win big, as if the odds had somehow changed from the last 40 times they'd been there. They said it was going to be the luckiest day ever, and if they weren't there for the poker tables, they were definitely there to join the conga line of people waiting to say "I Do." There were more brides running around in wedding gowns then there were cocktail waitresses, sometimes even confusing one for the other. To me, the day came and went as any other in Vegas, but for others, well they must have all went home with millions to buy their dream homes or have enjoyed spending their gift money from guests frivolously at the craps table while still wearing their veils. Either way, I'll have to find my own luckiest day and when that day comes, I doubt I'll ever be looking for slot machines to celebrate it.

7/12: Nervous Ticks and Pressure - JEFFERIES Bals TAx Exempt - Enjoy your Thursday

It's funny how when you're younger you think you've got sooo much going on, and you actually get stressed out. If you compare what we had to focus on then versus what responsibilities you're confronted with now, it's close to hilarious the night and day of it. As you get older you're conditioned to throw more weight on your shoulders, and endure pressure better, but sometimes with that added goodness comes a nervous twitch, and I've fallen prey to some before in my time. Although a lot of mine happened when I was younger, such as blinking hard for some reason, or moving my shoulder a lot because it felt like it was bothering me (however it hurt probably because I moved it so much), they've long since faded now. Half the time, I probably looked like I was doing a dance, or creating a new style of walking, but eventually you get over those tiny hurdles by becoming accustomed to more duties in life. You realize that what you're doing really isn't necessary, that you're going to be just fine and you get over it....finally moving on to more socially acceptable things. Right now it's nail-biting, and I know it happens most when trying to think about what to write. Thanks guys.

7/13: Tables are Turning, Blog Me - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

Parents get excited, the world of micro-blogging now exists. This is essentially leaving cyber messages on your computer and the specific website/forum you choose, for those friends and family always wondering what you're up to. The positive in an article I read about this was that mom's are happier knowing what their sons and daughters are up too, especially if it's out getting their hair done, eating Burger King, building a boxcar for the local race, or catching up on re-run's of Grey's Anatomy. Having grown up in a home where I could barely sleep past 10am because my father would come in and open all the blinds and windows and say "time to get up!", I would like to think I'll make sure my kids get outside to gallivant, play and be creative, stimulate the brain a bit. Blogs have opened the floodgates for chatter on any topic, opinion, sport, you name it and it's relatively healthy to talk, learn and see other people's views, however it can consume your day and has you sitting in front of the computer more than your current job already has you doing it. Funny how the tables may turn whereas kids are in front of the TV or computer more than we might like, we will now be sitting in front of some sort of screen 18 hrs out of our day (if you're not doing so already), and the other 6, well sleep is a good thing too.

7/16: Chatty Kathy & The Long Commute - JEFFERIES Balances - Hope You Had a Great Weekend

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about conversation and being courteous to others, seeing what their lives are all about...but sometimes too, I just want to get some sleep. It turns out last night when I got on the train to come into the city, I sat next to Chatty Kathy. Now, Chatty could easily see that I pulled out a magazine to keep myself entertained for all of five minutes before I become bored and fall asleep, and trust me, I could smell a conversation brewing a mile away. The minute she sat down was the minute her mouth opened, as if she hadn't done enough talking the whole weekend, and as if I wasn't craving this nap since 2pm. Before too long, she's bopping along telling me about Bobby and Suzie (her Son and Daughter-in-Law, obviously not their real names) and their "2 year old, no wait, just turned 3 years old yesterday" and the horrific commute she makes from Oshkosh (Albany) to Long Island to see them. Constantly peering back into my magazine, that literally could've been upside down as I was so distracted, I tried to give her a hint that my bloodshot eyes obviously couldn't give. She never took the bait...oh no, it was like I threw "chum" into the water, and a feeding piranha-frenzy of questions came my way, and me being the saint of all tired weekend commuters, I answered probably every one of them. Although I don't remember what I said, I know I stayed awake the whole time, because my voice is more shot than Steven Tyler after a rock concert.......what's that song he sings....."Dream On, Dream On..." wish I could've had some of that going.

7/17: Memory Lapse and Words of Default - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Inventory AAA 7-35 Day

So we're out at a friends house the other night getting introduced to a few new people, and you know how when you first meet someone you're very focused on either facial features, making eye contact, not squeezing too hard on the handshake or taking a look at exactly what they are wearing? Well I've got all those things down, sort of made my first impression if you will, and next thing you know one of the people said "Justin, so I hear....." and that's when it hit me, I am close to worthless with remembering names. I could tell you if he had a stain on his shirt or if a hair was sticking way up in the back, but a name, nope, gone. As I answer him, completely avoiding the name part, I know later it will become hide and go seek with this person avoiding community spots like the cooler outside or waiting for the bathroom, of course he'll be the one walking out. I just can't stand my default words in this instance, it's like I'm talking to a dog asking it to get off the couch, excuse me "bud, sir, bro, or hey you, hey there." It's just one of those things, in one ear and out the other, and considering I'm in this business of meeting new people all the time, I should be better...if only I could bring my trusty pen and paper everywhere.Have a beautiful Tuesday morning!

7/18: The Illogical Bull in a China Shop - JEFFERIES Inventory AAA @ 5.37%

I can't help but wonder, as I stand at the elevator yesterday why certain personalities are so aggressive as if they're going to get somewhere so much faster than the rest of us. Now I know I have talked of elevator Pet Peeves and how effective we've tried to become by multitasking, but it really makes me nuts when someone is sitting there pressing the up button for the elevator seventeen times in a row. This logic to me...well, it's not even logic. Do you honestly think the elevator is saying to itself "oh boy, I better speed it up and skip down past these floors I'm supposed to stop at," absolutely not. How about the guy dodging through a slow moving traffic jam in his little VW Golf, are you really going to get to your destination 10 seconds before me? Probably not, because you'll end up creating an accident, getting a ticket or I'll just pull right up next to you at a perfectly timed red stoplight. Again thought processes that lack thought. There's definitely a difference between fast-paced at the right time, and "bull in a china shop." I would have to say the real successes are those that can control themselves in situations they know they can't control.

7/19: Milkshakes and the Hudson River - JEFFERIES Inventory Thursday

Yawning away as if I'm laying on a couch with eyes setting their own sun right after Thanksgiving dinner, but I know I didn't just eat a feast because I'm on my own sort of diet this week, as so many other people are as well. There's a New York City triathlon this weekend where we swim the cleanest and meanest Hudson River for a mile, bike up and around the Bronx for 26 miles and then run 10K around Central Park in a big loop....I know, I know, you've heard enough about triathlons, well this is more about diets (even though I know you could do a small tri if you wanted too). There's so many different types of diets out there that no one knows where to start, and in the end if you do any one of them but consistently incorporate exercise into the regimen as well, I know you'll succeed in your goal. But if you just plan on eating what they say, it's not going to be as effective. I find myself just eating smarter for events like this weekend, taking in fruits, vegetables, rice, wheat pasta, yogurts and nuts. I know if you're determined enough to reach a specific target, than you don't need to spend a whole bunch of money on some diet or diet books, meal replacement bars, personal trainers, milkshakes, etc. You just need to exercise (cardio not free weights) and consistently eat smarter and less garbage...just don't expect it to be immediate, this is a process and that's what makes it hard otherwise everyone would be doing it. See you out there...and honestly if you're into doing a triathlon, or just looking for a good Thanksgiving recipe, look me up.

7/20: The Mix Up Between Quality and Designer - JEFFERIES Pre-Weekend Balances

The confusion between "quality" and "designer" is appalling. Let's be honest (as if I never am), the functionality of a Timex watch versus a Rolex is minimal and normally not something that couldn't be fixed by adding a new battery. How about lovely women and their obsession with designer purses. The idea of a bag and its purpose of holding things for portability has led people to believe a $30 bag from Macy's doesn't do the job of a $1000 bag from Dior. Who are we honestly separating ourselves from? The same goes for cars, as if a Kia doesn't transport you to the grocery store like a Mercedes does. Half the time the owner of the Mercedes has the car for three years before he's sick of it, trades it in and spends an extra 60 grand after trade-in value, whereas the Kia owner pushes that baby til the bottom falls out and he starts running like Fred and Barney right before reaching 160K miles after 7 years. That only cost him an eighth of the price of the Mercedes guy's two cars. I think my point is that we're lost in the idea that designer = quality and we're wrong in most cases because there are great products that are not grossly overpriced. If we're wasting money on proving something to others that we can afford designer rather than concentrating on functionality, don't do that. Give that excess money to a charity or something if you're dying to spend it. It's also setting a confusing example and raising unreasonable expectations for younger generations in letting them think it's normal to spend $1000 on a bag, or $8000 on a watch when it really is not the norm.

7/23: Momentum of Collections Toward the Garbage - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Post Weekend Balances

When I was little I was a collector. Dreams of grandeur and the thought of selling off my cherished idols for major profit had always been on my mind, and never a 401k. Everything from comic books, baseball cards, stamps and coins, to even Hess trucks were my forte'. And not that I'm into astrology or anything, but as a "Cancer", we're supposedly pack-rats and savers, and I can say I fit the bill (not messy though). Recently after moving I bumped into all this "garbage," and I call it that because a lot of it is exactly that. What used to be dear to me is now a heavy annoyance of no interest to even look through, because who has the time? If I was to seek out collector's and find those willing to purchase half of it, I think I'd be able to make a few bucks here and there but not even close to enough to compensate selling it off. That's the problem with collecting something that was already popular, everyone has the same stuff as you and demand is low. Things are only worth what someone else is willing to pay for them, even if they're priceless to you. So don't try and look at hobbies as a way of profit but rather enjoyment for yourself while you're doing it because at most points, the eventual momentum towards the trash can be inevitable, you'll be better off passing them on to new generations to love rather than selling them off.

7/24: Art and the Man with Two Teeth - JEFFERIES Balances - Good Tuesday Morning to you!

Oh the value of art and what makes something worth thousands, sometimes millions, and something else $20 bucks. I remember walking through the halls of my high school where students would line bulletin boards full of art projects, one more impressive than the next ,and yet never to receive future acclaim other than by family and friends as they stare at it on mom's bathroom wall. Walking again, only this time by a gallery on the street, I see some abstract squares jumbled together with the name Calder on the bottom, and next to it a pencil sketch that I thought a 4th grader drew during recess, his name must have ironically been Picasso also, and those retailed for $22,000 and $19,950. Art is obviously in the eye of the beholder, and I myself found it not through decorative gallery doors while being fed hors d'oeurves, but rather tripped right over it on the sidewalk. A man with literally two teeth and seven holes in his black sleeveless t-shirt was sketching with pastels on some old Wall Street Journal stock page. And behind him on graffiti'ed stone walls was his showroom, several pieces adhered by masking tape, he had completed he said on the subway ride down from Harlem. Having picked one off and framed it, I get more positive comments on that piece than any other I've ever bought for exponentially different amounts. Just finding what you like and sticking with it creates intrinsic value, probably the most important value you'll ever need, and the rest of the monetary nonsense will never matter. Trust me, you're crazier spending 20 thousand on a pencil etching you can draw blindfolded during a game of Cranium, rather than supporting 1 thousand other thriving artists that have talent too!

7/25: The Customer's Always Right - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.35%

In the service industry especially, I know there's one given....."the customer's always right." If you don't want the customer to be right, then they are no longer a customer. So what did you achieve by not giving them their way, well you achieved a loss, not really a state of happiness that you got your way but really a decline in business from them and their friends, Word travels quickly and you know, those businesses that are stingy and obnoxious are the ones that get a bad reputation. I'm in a sort of interesting mood this morning as I ponder the other night, we had stopped into an Italian restaurant where we asked for extra cheese on the side for the salad we ordered, and they said "No." Trying to get over the feeling of having walked into the Montague's restaurant when we're the Capulet family, we proceeded to request sauce on the side for the penne bolognese, and they responded with a charge of $7.25 for additional sauce! It's not like they brought out the pot and wrapped up a tupperware bowl to use tomorrow night at home. We were fronting a big check too. I mean what kind of mentality is that to deny/charge your patrons the simplest of requests? I'll let you know you won't see any of that over here because we all know, as our grandmother's always told us........"you get a lot more bees with honey than you do with vinegar." Have a great Wednesday.

7/26: The Phenomenon of Bottled Water - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.34%

I can't quite fully grasp it, although even I dabble in it's trendiness and quality, is our obsession with bottled agua. A relatively recent phenomenon that has been beyond escalated in our culture, especially with the whole healthy kick & lifestyle, bottled water has made a surge to nearly every household in the nation. Consuming somewhere between four bottles a week I believe was the average estimation for consumers, we spend billions as a nation on water that is and always has been offered to us for free. It's true that we are one of four countries with tested clean drinkable tap water, but we would rather spend $2 a bottle for Fiji or Poland Spring or upwards of $5 for Voss. How about those waters that are just filtered and bottled, like Dasani? We know we're paying to drink filtered tap water right? What did you drink when you were little? What did your parents drink? I guess I'm just confused why sometimes it's still OK to drink tap water such as your kids having some at their soccer game from the team cooler, or when you're out at a restaurant and you or your guests don't want to pay for bottled, it's then alright to have it. If it's OK to have it then, it should always be alright to have. If your argument is portability or convenience, you might as well buy yourself a water bottle, fill it with water and ice, and carry it around with you. Save that money for something that might make a little more "cents"! (yes I will try and heed my own advice on this one :)

7/27: What Makes Clothing Fashionable - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Bals AAA 7Day @ 3.80%

To me the idea of fashion, or what's fashionable is intriguing, although again completely based upon opinion, just the thought of exactly what a tie is and why a piece of fabric around your neck can make or break your ensemble is quite impressive. You know, it's often the ones that try too hard that throw off their look and you can constantly see that they're aware and unsure if what they did is working or not. It's sort of a confidence thing that if someone's strutting around with their head high and not a care in the world, you almost second guess whether that scotch-taped paper towel is what's "in" these days. I'm definitely not into awarding designers credit for something they're charging thousands for that you can pick up at the local thrift shop. There's a major difference between creativity and class, versus mocking the crowd with some ridiculous Halloween costume. Enjoy fashion for what it is, feel comfortable in what you're wearing and not self-conscious, and try to avoid some over-priced designer obsessions as they'll empty your wallet and be out of style or played out in a year anyway. Enjoy your weekend guys

7/30: Reality TV, Just the Right Antidote - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.37%

As we become over-exposed to the idea of "reality tv" the less realistic it becomes. The effort to cast and make a tv show with so much controversy that it keeps viewers interested makes it far less true to life than it would be randomly plucking 7 strangers from Oprah's audience. Have you noticed most cast members are young 20 - 30 year olds with nothing to lose, no commitments and lacking a bit of a maturity? Who else better to study with a camera lens than someone who tells you they promise to act out of control? The surprise factor is gone, and you sort of expect nothing less than when flipping past the Jerry Springer show and catching a fight. I have to apologize as this is what happens to me when I get caught inside as Long Island loves to downpour rain in the summertime as if it was monsoon season. If a book or the discovery channel isn't cutting it, I start analyzing how many brain cells can be lost watching type-A personalities battle it out to be verbally blasted by Donald Trump, or nonsensical dating shows that pull twenty men or women together to vie for the temporary love of one long lost no-name celebrity. It's a shame I know but then again, everyone needs sometimes to justify that they're actually normal, and these shows are often just the right antidote. Hope you had a great weekend.

7/31: Inherent Talent in All of Us - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances - AAA 7Day @ 3.78%

All throughout my life I've been impressed with talented people, doing those things that I cannot even come close to doing even if I was taught exactly how to do it. For example, last night I'm at a Broadway show where the lead actors are belting out songs I wouldn't dream of screeching in my own shower. It would probably resemble Darryl Hannah telling Tom Hanks her name in the movie Splash. Having played soccer throughout my life from 4 years old until college graduation, even I knew my limits as Pele I would never become no matter how many hours on the field. There's a reason why Elton John is amazing at the piano, or Itzhak Perlman's got a magic violin. Think about Groucho Marx as a comedian/actor or Salvador Dali and his surreal paintbrush, it's the perfect combination of natural talent, creativity and hours of perfection. Even though these are entertainers, this is not to discredit those scientist's out there discovering cures for diseases or engineer's building the next space shuttle or skyscraper, that's just harder for me to relate to as they're not in the limelight, but someday I can only hope everyone finds their inherent talent, whether or not it's to stick with it as a hobby or make it a new chapter in your life....there just might be something inside all of us waiting to be discovered. If you don't believe its possible even as you get older, just look at Grandma Moses' biography, a world renowned painter who found her talent at 70 and lived thirty years later to be interviewed by President Truman, be showcased on television and travel the world doing art exhibitions. Good luck finding yours, I'll let you know if mine turns up

8/1: Swaying Cruise Ships and My Expectations - JEFFERIES Balances - A-Rated 28Day @ 5.59%

In a couple weeks I will be embarking on my first cruise ship experience. From what I hear it's like a floating resort with everything you could want only couple hundred size 11 strides away. I don't think I'm worried about being entertained or finding plenty of activities to keep me busy, it's more about this thing that struck me like lightning one clear night at a Carnival. I never expected it would happen as reading in cars, riding on rollercoasters or fishing on choppy seas never once bothered me the slightest, but an unwanted friend came out of the woodwork and now like a cowlick, has never left my head. We're talking "motion sickness" boys and girls, and not that cruise ships are bobbing like buoys but I've seen a fair share of videos where there's been some real swaying going on. I've come to appreciate the likes of Dramamine at times like these as I haven't cut those activities out of my life, however it's a foggy state of mind being on that stuff and you really need to sleep a few hours to shake it off. I guess I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a lake-style sail, otherwise I'll be offending the gym attendant while sleeping on the stationary bike, snoring through the cruise director's nightly song and dance and blocking any waiter's effort to serve us with my cumbersome tableside couch pillow.

8/2: Travel the World or Entry-Level Job - JEFFERIES Balances

I read an article this morning dealing with the stresses students are going through with figuring out their future occupation. I must say times have changed, and that roundabout way of discovering your life by stumbling into options with minimal education like my father and grandfathers is not enough to satisfy the aspirations of parents or cover the future expected cost of living. Yes, these stresses are warranted and not terribly premature since the earlier the focus, the better, however I watched my friends backpack across Europe for months after graduation, and others take a year off before trying out Law School and some just flounder in different dead-end jobs while I sat shaking my head saying wow, they're making big mistakes. Really, they weren't. In the end, as my father always said "they'll do just fine," and they did. Sometimes things just work themselves out that way, and my determination to get right into the work force and stake my claim in the business world is not far more impressive than the likes of friends that got to see the world. No eight ball were they ever way behind. In conclusion, these students are doing the right thing by having their mind on their future, but really the job they die to get into most likely won't be what they'll end up doing 6 years later anyway. To tell someone they won't be successful at 19 unless they're stressing themselves out over their next internship is ridiculous. And really, if someone told me they had the choice to travel the world or start in an entry-level position when graduating, I would say pack your duffle bag and go explore. If that grunt sales assistant job isn't waiting for you when you come back, there will be another one right around the corner that's meant to be.

8/3: Camping, The Original Family Vacation - JEFFERIES Pre-Weekend Balances

The glamour and comfort of camping was something my family enjoyed every year during the summer while younger and stories around the lake or camp fire actually did exist. They have sort of become tall tales now told mainly at family reunions, but the idea of "roughing" it really encompasses many childhood memories. We would lug this 65 pound canoe all the way upstate every July and I would worry it was going to cave in the car roof, or just catch a gust of wind and blow right off into trailing traffic. The annoyances of packing the car, until the rear windshield consisted of smushed sleeping bags or mangled pots and pans, left your conscience once you pulled into the site that had the best wooden table. Canoeing on the lake we would see schools of fish and huge bullfrogs sitting on lily pads thinking that they were fake, until you tried touching them with the paddle and they'd jump into the water and stare up at you. When the nighttime came the bullfrogs played music from their mouths with their buddies as an astronomical amount of shooting stars would blast by over the lake. And if it wasn't stars it was bats picking off the many insects out and about. Camping was a great family excursion and I highly recommend it for yourself, friends and kids because not only is it inexpensive, but it's adventurous. Just don't leave any food out at night, throw it in your car because you don't want your friend Yogi stopping by, and oh yes, they do stop by.Have a great weekend!

8/6: TAN is Not a Word in my Vocabulary - JEFFERIES Post Weekend Balances

I think I've briefly mentioned in the past, my skin's ability to turn corvette red the minute I step foot into the sun. Well this past weekend I ended up with the coveted sleeveless burn-look as I rode my bike early in the morning until 11am, soaking up from shoulder to fingertips any ounce of UV rays the day had to offer. This look doesn't go too far in the coolness factor and can only be resolved by stepping into the sun for more abuse to even it all out. I envy those that can be active in the sun and just get tan. Boy I bet you take that for granted. Bet you never found it difficult to sleep when aloe has you sticking to the bedsheets. Yea, I know what you're thinking, you're saying put on some lotion or wear a t-shirt in the water! Well I do lotion up for crying out loud, I practically bath in Factor 45 and the best is when it burns your eyes the minute you start to sweat. Picture a lifeguard with the white lotioned nose, and then picture me with the white lotioned legs, back, arms, stomach and face...I swear they call me Casper. And the t-shirt thing, well that's as uncomfortable as the thought of wrapping myself in Saran Wrap and jumping in the ocean. The jellyfish will think I'm a new family species. In the end, just be careful out there folks, forget the umbrella and pack a huge army tent for cover and bring the air-conditioned 4-wheel drive truck for emergency escape because I may just need it when jogging by, overheating in my jeans and sweater.

8/7: There Could Be Worse Things - JEFFERIES Balances

Most of us don't have it that bad. Yesterday I'm discussing with someone their current situation and how they said they're so stressed out, and getting upset because many things seem to be snowballing onto her at once. I had to step back and say "wait a minute, let's nip this now and look at exactly what you do have, such as your health, a great family, a home, food, friends, a few vacations a year, modes of transportation...should I go on?" My mother's friend's son is 21 and currently in the hospital with a large stomach tumor, thought to be malignant until they do surgery tomorrow and know everything for sure(seriously). To juxtapose such extremes makes you wake up and quit sulking because you and I have not reached the end of the world. I almost wanted to shake my other friend yesterday when he said he was depressed at work because their hedge fund is not doing well. Pick your head up guys and girls. Any one of us could have been born into harsh poverty with little resources anywhere on earth, or even have lifelong setbacks such as disabilities that cannot be countered. At some point when you're feeling down, take a deep breath, look around you and appreciate what you have, reflect on the great times you had with people who we may have been lost. Go to a park or beach and just sit for an hour to get away from everything. If that's not your thing than hit the gym to work out emotions. I'm not trying to say don't talk to someone about what's bothering you because getting it off your chest is definitely helpful, but just notice the worst case scenario and understand you might not be close to that.

8/9: Technology and 100 years - JEFFERIES Balances...oh yes, and FYI LIBOR 1Month is 5.54%!

Big jump happening todayIt's interesting when you think about the progress in inventions that we've made over the past hundred years and the changes our very different generations have experienced. My grandmother once told me during a school project interview on her life, how her first date consisted of a ride in a rumble seat (how safe was that?!). In her life she saw cars and airplanes become reality and travel take on a new meaning besides the schoolyard songs of Columbus' expeditions on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. My mother saw the television become a household must-have, vinyl record players, space travel, as well as the microwave oven and its instant culinary masterpieces. My generation, well we saw video game consoles, the movement from car phones to pagers to cell phones, mobile audio devices such as the iPod, and then the almighty of life changing technology for my time, the computer. Can you imagine life without email or search engines? It's pretty amazing to think what some people have created. I bet if you took ten minutes you would think of twenty other incredible creations that have socially changed our cultures. I guess I'm looking forward to what's next...although I think I've been on the waiting list way too long for a new flying car right behind George Jetson and Michael J. Fox.

8/10: The Best Part of Waking Up..... - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances Pre-Weekend!! AAA 7DAY @ 3.90%

"The best part of waking up......" I bet you could finish that little jingle, even if you're not a fanatical coffee drinker. I find this little commodity to be quite interesting as it's grown ridiculously trendy in the past decade. Now you're almost considered an oddity if you're not walking around the mall sipping on one, it's like "wait, got my keys, wallet, phone...and oh yes...." We even put ice in it now to try and derive the caffeinated benefits but avoid sweating half to death from the east coast's miserable humidity. What happened to the days of getting boiling hot cups from local street carts for 50 cents? I mean, even I'm guilty of paying close to $5 for some double caramel fusion extra tall brown sugared whipped cream eyebrow raising life changing hold the phone and make it skim milk concoction. Some of the best coffee I ever had was on a river rafting trip down the Colorado River, and our tour guides while making it called it "Cowboy Coffee", not completely sure why but it sounded like a new billion dollar business to me, except it had more grinds at the bottom of the cup than a completely settled glass of extra pulp OJ. The point I think was to make all the rafters be pumped up to do all the work definitely worked. Well, I'm off to get a cup here at the office, they give it to us for free! Wonder why that is.....?

8/13: Comfortable with Penguins or Camels - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.67% !!

During summer sleep sessions, there's no happy medium when trying to achieve a perfectly cool temperature. I find if I leave the window open to catch a random breeze or two, I get woken up like a farmer at sunrise. Crickets finally back off by passing the microphone to a union of chirping commuter birds. To avoid the noise but not freeze everyone out of the house, we can always opt for the ceiling fan. That which some like to say is consistent with spinning around all the stagnant air in the room and accomplishing nothing but a stiff neck or a head cold come morning. Well now's where we get to my favorite style, and that is the arctic fantasticness(thats not a word) of central air. I would rather be bundled in a shag carpet, then lay with only a bedsheet as thin as tissue paper. The colder the better! Since not everyone feels the same way I'm guessing the best approach is still individual AC's so one person's room can be inviting to any camel in the desert, and the other, housing comfortably the entire cast of March of the Penguins.

8/14: Part of a Complete Breakfast - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Bals AAA 35Day @ 3.95%

As I ate my cereal this morning I thought about what was advertised when I was younger, how cereal is "Part of a complete breakfast." And there would be this picture with peanut butter on toast, two eggs, glass of milk, bananas, a glass of orange juice and then the bowl of cereal. Honestly, I know I've heard a million times that the most important meal of the day is breakfast, but I can't imagine scarfing all that down unless of course I'm at the Beijing Olympic Training center about to workout for 5 hours straight. Cereal nowadays is expensive too! It blows away the prices we used to pay for straight sugar in a bowl. I think one day General Mills, Post and Kellogg's got together and said, "next Monday, that's the day all our cereal goes from $3.25 to $5.50, agreed?!....yes!" Well I guess they were smart because it's not as if I don't eat the same amount I used too, and I don't even see commercials motivating me to go buy a box. Feels like there's less advertising, but then again I'm not exactly watching Cartoon Network in my spare time.....or am I, silly rabbit.

8/15: Temporary Interests and Parent Support - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.63%

I give parents in general lots of credit (as I'm not a parent yet) for dealing with and supporting their kids' juvenile interests when even as a parent you know those interests are most likely temporary or just a fad. This came into mind as I sat here tapping on my desk like I was beating on my old drum set from years back. Thinking to myself how terrible I probably sounded and how absolutely annoying it must've been for my mom to be cooking dinner after a long day and hearing gut-wrenching racket travel up the basement stairs. Having played soccer my whole life, one year I wanted to try football, must've been some proof of masculinity of sorts, and my parents didn't ask any questions, paid to sign me up and literally four weeks into it I was sick of it. I can imagine how many situations there are like these where as a parent you're probably saying "this kid is all over the place, but I guess I was like that, you can't really know unless you try." Mohawks, baggy pants, piercings, colored hair, oddly loud musical tastes, expensive hobbies, extreme sports, you name it....I applaud your understanding, patience and interest in your kids' lives. You never know, someday your child might be writing an email like this to other's thanking generally those parents that said "yes dear, those plaid pants, chain wallet, ripped t-shirt, spiked blue hair, nose piercing, and interesting aroma are perfect for you!"

8/16: The Deep U and A Stiff Neck - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

On a Serious Note:It's difficult to be chipper and uppity in this market and normally I like to try and keep it that way. I'm guessing by the tone and subject matter of my everyday emails you would almost think I'm not paying attention to what's going on, and that's absolutely the opposite. Personally receiving 6 morning commentary emails focused on the turmoil of subprime's, closure of hedge funds, near bankruptcy of certain mortgage lenders, the Fed's continued stance on inflation and the US still having a strong economy, and lack of liquidity in so many of the markets, I guess sometimes it's almost refreshing to receive an email that's related subtly to life outside work whether humorous or serious. This is just to remind everyone we're not sitting oblivious to the world but rather extremely informed, and I will continue on the path of creating interesting reading for your morning's as I think it's healthy to see three minutes of different, and absolutely any questions you might have about the markets we are more than willing to entertain with opinion-based answers(as I really think no one has a crystal ball at this point).As I wake up some mornings with an aching back or a stiff neck, I attribute my temporary discomfort to my double pillow top mattress or my nearly flattened squishy pillow. No matter which way I flip the mattress the impression of a body appears ready and willing to accept me into its deep U. I have heard the argument that you spend a third of your life in bed, and therefore it's worth the investment for one of these mattresses that balances a wine glass nearby as you jump up and down in a pretend fit of joy. The prices on these things are close to that of a brand new Dodge Neon (if they still make those) and really I can't justify laying out those type of pennies for a bunch of springs and foam. The pillows, well I have splurged on a few newbies as of late, and one for example I'll tell ya, no matter how hard I pressed down with my head to adjust the thickness, it would bounce me back up like a tight trampoline. I thought I was a character in Night at the Roxbury with head bobbing for twenty minutes before I threw the thing on the floor. At some point there will be a day when I have to buck up for the badboy's in sleep essentials, but until then I'll continue to turn my whole body just to talk to someone or check my blindspot.

8/17: Some Undershirts Don't Belong in the Public - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 5.78%

What we wear around the house is drastically different from what we wrap ourselves in when publicly trotting around. The other day I'm waiting in line at the grocery store and I see this man with an undershirt and jeans on, which normally wouldn't even cause me to second glance, however waiting in line to checkout, there's not much to do other than stare at the World Report where aliens were just spotted watching a Broadway show and eating M&M's, or people watch. Other than the fact that this man's undershirt had the deepest V-Neck known to man, something only possible through a wrestling match with Hulk Hogan who stretched it beyond oblivion, it also sported the most tainted color spots in places that haven't breathed since George Washington was President. To me people, we have to throw these articles away the minute we see them come out of the washer looking like a rag you'd use to dry your car. No matter how comfortable that puppy is, it doesn't deserve that type of treatment, even it wants to be retired, and people like me who see that don't feel like swallowing back down the food that just came up. I know the summer's can be hot and therefore you can still abuse those clothes that don't get seen much, but come Fall, let's give a shot to new relaxing gear and save all of mankind from the grizzliness that can find its way out of hibernation. Enjoy your weekend!

8/20: Even You Talk To Yourself - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt AAA 7Day @ 4.10%

For some reason I ruled myself out of a category I think everyone might belong in. Having taken in my fair share of experiences with people talking to themselves whether it's at work commenting to their computer screen their annoyed thoughts, or on the city streets where confusion between someone talking on a mobile earpiece versus someone who's just babbling out loud is a daily occurrence. I counted myself out because I thought I'm not that crazy, until I noticed my comments while alone at home. The first came when telling the TV "no surprise, rain for the next four days!" and the second was my reflection in the mirror, where I commented out loud on my morning look (as you can imagine it wasn't good). It's as if you don't say it out loud, then you didn't actually think it. The most recent time I was in my car and this guy was coming up behind me fast when we're all cautiously in a line merging, and he thinks he's diving onto the expressway before all of us so I sped up and inched left all while saying out loud "where do you think you're going? because wherever it is, it ain't happenin." Yes I think on the road we most likely talk to ourselves the most, and therein lies everyone's membership to the craZy club of talking to one's self. Welcome! And as The Eagles so calmly put it in Hotel California, "you can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave."

8/21: 10 Pins of Anticipation - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 6.50%

Lately family, friends and I have opted for the caveman's favored past time of whaling a heavy weight at ten pins of anticipation. There's something actually micro-macho about the idea of crushing these wood statues (yes they are maple wood wrapped in plastic coating, I looked it up) and I guess its hard for us guys to continue to find that feeling as we get older. Not that renting the cleanest bobby-sox bowling shoes assists in this feeling of masculinity but you accept the oily leather interior as part of the athlete's foot experience. My biggest dilemma is finding a ball that fits my one in a million hand. It seems all fingers fit a medium size hole except for my Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thumb where the knuckle couldn't clear through an airplane hangar. I'm so picky that I find a ball that just barely fits so I can get the best grip. Upon release of that mass of slick energy there's usually a sound resembling that 1950's song Lollipop, almost as if I'm dislocating my jumbo thumb upon each throw. I am like most people in that I don't have the proper form, the boomerang curve or a gentle arm. I've heard pins cry when I step up to the lane because there's no mercy in my efforts. My goal is to see a masterpiece of flurry once that ball makes contact, and usually my straight and hard approach lands me a decent score or at least a fluffy computerized Turkey. In closing, get on out there, expend some power with loved ones and if you're not into it, grease those fingers up at the snack bar because somehow , no matter where you are, they always have the best french fries.

8/22: Manicures Aren't For Me - JEFFERIES Balances AAA Tax Exempt @ 4.10%

Some things should be reserved just for women. There's only so much I can agree with in terms of men's pampering needs, and when I hear someone mention that I should get a manicure and pedicure, I have to laugh and think it's a waste on someone like me. I've bitten my nails ever since my baby teeth fell out, and that won't change unless I stop thinking. Secondly my feet are nothing to stare at for too long because you might go really, they're runner's feet and they sure aren't smooth, silky and tan like some foot model. Maybe if I was lounging at the beach or wearing sandals everyday while retired I would debate getting the maintenance work. A facial is another common league of temporary. I would sweat through that treatment after one spin class. I guess for me, the cost is a factor as well, I mean I could literally buy a new alarm clock (that would last 7 years) to wake me up ($30) to go on-line to buy a new band's music on iTunes to listen to in my car ($10) so I can drive entertained to go get gas ($40) so I can make it to the deli for lunch ($15) that I can pack away for a day at the beach (priceless). Depending on what spa you actually go to, I could still be left with money to spare, two ugly feet, cleanly chomped nails and pores that will be replenished by the inviting remedies of an active saltwater ocean.

8/23: Argyle Rain Boots & Dr. Scholl's - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day @ 6.26%

With all the rain throughout the country people are still finding ways to dress to impress no matter how bad the weather. The discussion came up about rain boots and their overwhelming surge to popularity in the past three years. People have stood on ladders to rip down the border from their living room wallpaper to glue it around what used to be a bright yellow or standard hunter green. I mean, it's gotten to the point where the uglier the better. It's as if they chose one random elementary school to hold an art contest for the best pattern drawn by a first grader, and the winner gets paid in Lego's (do they still have those?) and has their picture showcased in the hallway as "Artist of the Month." Personally I don't see many men walking around in these things so I can't knock them, but I know they're letting their significant other's pay upwards of a hundred dollars to buy these things that might see daylight 6 times a year. Actually I shouldn't say that, any dreary forecast with 10% chance of a drizzle is reason to strap these floppy clunkers on, especially because they're so functional! Walk around the mall with those for an hour and I seriously hope your father's a podiatrist or Dr. Scholl's because you're going to need some assistance. Point is......if you ever had rain boots before these you were probably a fly fisherman, and secondly, if you're really walking that far in the pouring rain I'm not sure that Burberry is the only place to go buy a pair. Stay dry and tragically hip!

8/24: Keeping Amusement Parks Alive - JEFFERIES Balances Pre-Weekend AAA 35Day @ 4.15%

I don't fully understand how amusement/water parks do it. They take up so much land, have astronomical insurance costs and still remain in business. I give these places credit because they provide entertainment on so many levels for all different age groups, and you don't have to get on an airplane to shake hands with Mickey and Pluto. It must be those Churros that keep us coming back! The games are sometimes more fun than the rides. The basketball hoops that are curved inwards, the water gun balloon popping races and jumping rubber frogs onto lily pads. Winning was great, but carrying around a 25 pound gorilla the size of your neighbors dog is a royal pain in the. It's all part of the experience I guess, especially wearing a bathing suit under your clothes which makes close to no sense because your clothes on the outside are all still wet. How about those caricatures! Huge head, little body, and I've still never looked so muscular in my life! The rollercoasters are the main attractions and I actually prefer the upside down ones over the rolling rickety wooden ones (because of my bout with motion sickness of course). And since it's still summer, try and get out there with your kids, share in a stunt show or tandem water rides and create the memories that you can still frame at 40mph where everyone shows their true colors (red, white, name it). Have a great weekend!

8/27: Dirty Little Secrets - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt AAA 28Day 4.10%

In everyone's lives at some point we've been entrusted by friends or family to uphold a fact unknown to most and are given the stipulation of never being able to repeat or share that fact with anyone else. Secrets are a test of one's trust in another to bare the weight but never give in to temptation of re-telling such details. Can you hold out? Some can't, and an instance this past weekend with my friend's younger sister having just gotten a mini ankle tattoo came up. She wanted close friends to know but not her parents or brother, one of my best friends. She decided to tell his girlfriend but wanted to wait to tell her brother/family on her own time. Mediocre mistake. His girlfriend spilled the beans in a likely but very weak fashion, she said "I want to tell you something but I really can't...." Can anyone say....Pandora's Box? As you can imagine emotions and arguments ensued and people's promises are broken to add new promises to others to never tell. The ambivalence comes when someone tells you something detrimental to their or someone else's health or is illegal. At this point you're on your own and I have no words for you. I would hope you're never in that situation to make such a judgement, but I guess that's how these things get their dirty little names...

8/29: Jackets That Provide Shock Value - JEFFERIES Balances 7Day AAA @ 4.00%

For all those avid readers, please dry your eyes as I'm back in action today having had one day of meetings away from the office. I caught up on some reading too and noticed an article from the other day in the WSJ describing new technologies that let people make social signs of disgust but avoid verbal confrontation with other parties. One was as simple as an annoying barking dog next door, and a box you can put in your backyard tree which you can sound a high pitch noise only dogs can hear when the animal is acting out. Instead of yelling at your neighbor, the dog quiets down like an intervention from above. Another was a jacket a woman can wear that will electrically shock any unwanted groping predators at bars/nightclubs or even on the subway to work. I think this type of guy deserves more than a shock, but for those men finding it hard enough to go up to women already, you now should worry about any electrical current's that may be sent your way if you're not the perfect match! Embrace innovation for social change as it's often beneficial for our everyday operations, but don't squeeze it too tightly as it just might power you to keep going, and going, and going.....

8/30: Bottles & Cans So Just Clap Your Hands - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances AAA 35Day @ 4.75%

Today's topic comes as a mathematical uncertainty and one that may make sense to me but not to someone methodically different. Yesterday I was trying to walk into the grocery store but I was blocked by several individuals and their bags of cans slinged over their bony shoulders. The six of them waited in line like concert tickets were about to go on sale and they were paying in empty Cherry Coke Zero's. I thought to myself, how long could it have possibly taken today to conjure up these bags of bottles and cans? And as these people are most likely homeless I give them a bit more credit for their obsession with recycling and tenacity in collecting these cans instead of just holding out a unimpressive cup. I wonder though, as these people are driven to beat the next best bottle collector to the nearest untouched garbage can, wouldn't their time be better spent making minimum wage and probably getting a free meal or two out of it? We know they work hard, walking miles on their feet everyday and they must be very resourceful. I know several non-profit orgs that suit up and outfit very low income individuals for interviews and let them keep the gear forever. To wrap it up, anything's possible and although I think it would be difficult to explain the argument to these people, we can probably educate through soup kitchens or donating time at homeless shelters. I think they would definitely have a case if they lived in Maine or if Dasani/Poland Spring/Evian bottles start paying out!

8/31: Quotes of the Day - JEFFERIES Balances - Have an Excellent Weekend

Since there's all of twelve of you in the office today, and I make lucky number 13, I figured we would change it up and do several movie quotes that I think you'll know but you have to figure out. Hopefully they'll make you laugh a bit. Have an excellent long weekend as well folks. All our bestMovie Quotes for Your Guessing Entertainment:
1) What you just said is one of the most insanely, idiotic things I have ever heard. No where in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. Okay, a simple "wrong" would've done just fine.
2) Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box 'cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside. Yeah, makes a man feel good. Course it does. Why shouldn't it? Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right, Ted?
3) a) I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this. I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver's full of…...b) Pullover! No, it's a cardigan but thanks for noticing.
4) a) You are the worst singer in the world, buddy! Sir, one more outburst from you and I will strangle you with my microphone wireb) Hey, psycho - it's over. Please get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up.
5) a) It worked, sir. We have the combination. Great. Now we can take every last breath of fresh air from planet Druidia. What's the combination? 1 2 3 4 5. 1 2 3 4 5? That's amazing! I've got the same combination on my luggage!b) Prepair ship for light speed. No, no, no. Light speed is too slow. Light speed is too slow? Yes. We're gonna have go right to... ludicrous speed. Ludicrous speed? Sir, we've never gone that fast before. I do'nt know if this ship can take it. What's the matter Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?
6) a) You surprised to see us, Clark? Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now. b) What's that sound? You hear it? It's a funny squeaky sound. You couldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant
7) Greg's a male nurse. Yes. Thank you, Jack. Wow, that's great. I'd love to find time to do some volunteer work. Just the other day I saw a golden retriever, he had like a gimp, ya know I just wish I could have done something. Yeah, well I get paid too so it's sort of a everyone wins thing.
8) Listen up everybody, we just extended arts and crafts time by 5 hours! My finger's hurt... What was that? ...My fingers hurt. Ohh, that's too bad, cause now your back's going to hurt, you just pulled landscaping duty. Anyone else's fingers hurt? Didn't think so.

9/4: Trapper Keepers & Size 6 Sneaks - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 6.30%

Welcome back to work my dear friends. How ridiculously excited you must be to have escaped or ultimately endured the back to school crunch! This past weekend we were flipping through old family pictures and several First-Day of school photos popped up, and man was I hip! Our parents fully knew that their money was being wasted on items that we would probably dislike within months as I had some Transformers backpack and Pump sneakers (that would be cool today I know), that probably lost their luster after a season to the next new thing. But they always made sure to take a picture to remind us of those important modeling days in our lives. How much does a Trapper Keeper cost these days or a new pair of size 6 sneaks? I would say to those parents who have children in private schools that you've dodged a bullet with this season rush, however your tuition costs and uniform bills can be much worse (plus you pay taxes for local schools). Well, in all, send those little buggers back into their structured lives looking acceptable as our parents sometimes did for us, and let the teachers handle them for a while. My sister has had three months off from her 2nd graders, and I'll just sit back with a smile and wait for the horror stories to come rolling in (as if she or I were such angels) :)

9/5: Wall Street, Boiler Room or American Psycho - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day 6.60%

I tried giving in to the cult classics of bankers and traders abound by watching favored flicks throughout their entirety (not consecutively), however I was left unimpressed by one for sure. The one movie I think which is most graphic and relatively unrelated to any business dealings, outside of the font and texture of their shared business cards and the one-uppings/snubbing between colleagues, is American Psycho. It lacks the thrill of the game and tries to make up for it in paralelling humor and just nonsense. There's not one iota of financial applications, although he did apply well, an expensive array of facial cleansers. Boiler Room and Wall Street are gems that mirror actual activities such as "pumping and dumping" or buyouts ending in dismantling companies for the sum of their parts. They just make for great respresentations of the industry while entertaining with good guys and bad guys. Guess I just had to give my take on, I think, the three best known finance films and ask those who prefer AP, exactly why? And after I hear their answer, definitely assume they have much more than just ghosts in their closet (hint, hint...wink, wink)

9/6: The Taxi Cab Experience - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 6.70%

The Infamous Taxi Cab....oh what a pleasure. As you might know many taxi drivers are currently on strike for reasons that benefit their customers, and trust me these cars normally don't offer amenities. In fact since they're on strike those opportunist cabbies figure regular rates don't apply, and right now they're just picking a random exaggerated number and you either say yay or nay. Hailing one of these tin cans is literally throwing yourself into oncoming traffic, waving your hand frantically to both get their attention and to make sure other cars see not to hit you (most New Yorker's won't know if they did either, they'll figure it was a pothole since they're probably on their phone). If the joy didn't come from flagging it down, then it usually gets better once you sit inside. We are talking New York weather folks, you never know what you're going to get. One car was blazing hot that I was in, practically sweating and gasping for air. I figured he loved the humidity and was savoring the flavor, or trying to save gas, either way open windows and my flapping tie smacking against the back windshield doesn't cut it . Then I jumped into Leif Ericson's Icelandic mobile where air conditioning was blasting me in the face nonstop, and I just told him to drop me right off at the ear, nose and throat doctor. Lastly, is how these stunt-drivers operate their vehicles while talking ridiculously loud on their cell phones. It's like Gone in Sixty Seconds with a whole lot more braking, and no subtitles. Please remember folks, take Dramamine before your ride and tip your server depending on your experience...and boy do they vary.

9/11: My Weekend White Water Rafting - JEFFERIES Tax EXEMPT

As some of you know this past weekend a group of bud's and I graced Class V white water rapids in the well populated, extremely urbanized and traffic riddled roads of West Virginia. You could almost hear a pebble pushed aside by an impatient snail gleaming across the road. To the water!...well, for starter's, we were exactly that, lacking experience and ready to learn the hard way, and I would say as apprentices we paid our full. We started with a chip off the old block. As we attempted rescue on one overboard mate, arms and paddles flew frantically in not always the right place. One such friend took a stiff oar to the mouth before removing one half of his front tooth. In anger he sacrificed it to the river as our guide howled giddily to neighboring rafts about the fantastic news. The river wouldn't give up easily as there were 5 other men to teach a lesson too. We soon found ourselves at the famous falls where a stadium of lunchgoers awaited like vultures any opportunity to laugh, point and squawk verbally at their rafting peers. As our guide aimed us directly for a rock that is too graphically named to be unveiled here in email, we wedged right in between it and another boulder the size of Texas. Expecting to slide by as water rushed directly at one side of the turned raft, we were being forced up the rock until on a 90 degree angle, where we were then dumped like garbage into the current as all the vultures cheered the spectacle. I popped out of the water way after these cheers subsided having been submerged for what felt like a couple hours but I'll let you know I never let go of my paddle! What a champ, I know....thank you, thank you. If there's one thing you should remember about an organized rafting trip, it's that you're always on camera, and I'll be honest, if there was a contest for ugliest faces ever made by a human being, I would take the cake. p.s. Remember those lives lost in 9/11 today as they should not be forgotten

9/12: Wow...The Comforts of a Motor Home - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day

Although you may have thought the trip consisted of just rafting, well I would say we delved into a whole other lifestyle, and that is of the motor home. We rented a "Winnebagel" to get us to point B and boy did we find out the amenities wore off fast. First off, you cannot keep anything out on a table or countertop because it's guaranteed to spill all over the place. We're talking peanuts, gatorade, deck of cards, humans off beds...I mean gravity is not that spectacular. This thing takes bumps like a Corvette on a dirt road. You would hear dishes screaming in the cabinets to take it easy on them although our speed barely ever exceeded the local limit. Have you ever been in a car where someone from the outside starts shaking the car by pushing back and forth? Doesn't that make you feel sick? Yea...well times that by 10, cut it in half and then double it. We consistently swayed to-and-fro for 10 hours, even in our sleep. Headaches and Advil were as common as conversation or taking a multi-vitamin. Speaking of sleep, you could barely get any as one bed is above the driver's seat where you're most likely to perish at the nearest low-lying bridge, Wendy's drive-thru window, or just by rolling off during acceleration onto the kitchen table. The other bed had a pleather surface that gave a whole new meaning to sweating and sticking to the sheets, sort of like removing a full body band-aid every time you flipped position. There's so many aspects of the Bago that I could go on forever but if you're dying to barely squeeze through tollbooths, continue to clean up your home everyday on vacation and spend billions of dollars on gas every 20 miles, than this baby is for you, just remember I warned you that the leisurely trek is not stress-free and airports never sounded better.

9/13: An Unfriendly Dab of Mustard - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Do any of you have a family member or friend that just can't help but get food on their face when eating, and they have absolutely no idea that it's there? How's that possible?! Okay, ok you have a beard the length of a lumberjack, fine I get it, but someone Schick shaven should feel some hot dog mustard dabbed on their upper cheek, no? I take it back, I do....because I can actually think of a situation, a little different though, where I've been the guy making someone else in the conversation uncomfortable, and it was during a job interview! I had been eating a scrumptious Chicken Caesar salad an hour or so before my big moment to shine, and never bothered to check my teeth before heading in. Everything went fine, but when I got home I took a frightening look in the mirror and like a merlot stain on an undershirt, it was blinding. A straggling worthless wedge of lettuce who is terrible at playing "hide-and-go-seek". This is a little more forgivable than the whole food on face ordeal, or anyone that decides that wiping their mouth only twice during a whole meal is acceptable. Other friends and family want to eat too, and that simple sort of attractive turns hunger pains into an upset stomach. I give people credit for telling someone they've got a dangler because embarrassment and dead silence roll in like a thunder cloud. If you can survive these moments or haven't been subjected to this you're either the one eating ribs with a crisp clean napkin, making others cringe, or you're constantly chowing down with your family that's completely given in to the habit! On guard people....

9/14: Gorillas, Bats, Bears...Oh My - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Friday's are just fantastic aren't they? It's like a whole new world exists with endless possibilities for two days before it's squashed back to reality. Speaking of other worlds existing, two weeks ago we hit up the Bronx Zoo for some education and entertainment (sort of like my emails, except for the education). There were a couple spots that I remember most, one being the World of Darkness where you have to let your eyes adjust to a pitch black room in order to see some of the ugliest creatures known to man. Maybe it's because long winged Bats just don't do it for me, and if they happen to excite you, well that's just creepy and you must be psyched that Halloween's coming. The other spot was Planet of the Apes, or something like that, where Gorilla's were like little hairy families hanging out at the local park with their kids, literally picnic baskets, napkins, espresso.... it was bananas! Besides that can anyone answer me this... we ended up stopping by the polar bear pool where he(she) was just passed out drooling all over the painted white rocks giving a little twitch here and there, and I wondered if I'm sweating to death and its 90 degrees outside, how's this animal able to live here? Where's Al Gore when you need him....

9/17: Where Has Kickball Gone? - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28-Day

Just this past weekend I was standing in line waiting to get ripped off on another item from a company named after a fruit when I saw this kid plugging away on a nearby computer video game. A random father behind me is a regular conversation starter and hints to me that they never had games like that when he was little, and he reminisced briefly on their favored pastime, Stickball. As he held back stories of his glory days on the paved mound, I responded that kids don't have to think anymore. They don't need to conjure up things to do to keep them occupied or entertain themselves. We used to get together with friends and knock around ideas until we figured out the best option, normally outdoor athletics and strategy games like Manhunt, Kickball or Cops and Robbers. Even I know how to play a video game and I know as you get deeper into a game you constantly are repeating the steps that lead you to beat the thing. We may be creating a socially inept generation as I see these little buggers eating dinner out at restaurants with portable game systems lighting up their dilated eyes and rarely are they involved in the conversation. Let's find out how interesting their day was and limit their mindless stare at the TV to a certain amount a day. My parents did and I think it makes a big difference to keep kids interacting with others, learning from mistakes and seeing the actions/personalities of peers in everyday fun.

9/18: Revivals and Remakes, Smart or Lazy? - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

Ahh the oddly refreshing resurgence of past popular icons. Somehow, we have resorted to the re-making of old movies, tv shoes and Broadway musical revivals to continue to entertain generations that would normally have been left in the dust. For example, all of you I know are very excited about the return of American Gladiators! A show where athletic Tom, Dick and Harriet's challenge the likes of professional bodybuilder-style "gladiators" in tests of agility, strength and speed. Yes I'm at the edge of my seat too. On the note of movies, I'm not sure if it's because we are lacking originality or it's just assurance that tickets will be sold, but I end up being quite open to additional sequels no matter how old the actors are, such as in Die Hard, Indiana Jones, Rocky, or Rambo. Re-make's are even more sensical as Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Ocean's Eleven, King Kong and the 32 different types of Dracula all have made due quite impressively. Broadway I think has resurfaced every single show that has ever been made. Like trick birthday candles the second they go out, turn your back and their bright lights are shining again. I guess it's a formula that works, and really if the recipe's good, don't change the ingredients, but if it's tasting a bit stale, just sprinkle a little Mel Brooks in and you've got a masterpiece.

9/19: Gum Lost It's Flavor? Just Spit It Out - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt AAA @ 4.85%

How horribly annoying is it to step in gum? I mean, is it that difficult to find a garbage can or are we just that lazy? Am I weird in thinking that spitting this stuff onto the subway car ground is abnormal? What if I walked into your building lobby, arched my back and launched my gum onto the marble floor? See, maybe if we thought of it in a different way, we would feel appalled and avoid doing it. Let's say people all over the street are walking around chewing on their lunch and at any one moment they open their mouths and plop their half-eaten grizzliness right onto the sidewalk. Not a big deal? I highly doubt it. It'd be almost as great as when you're at a restaurant trying to find that beam under the table that just almost ripped your pants and you grab that day old gum, leaving behind your fingerprint for any future investigations. School desks are even worse! When you're little all those tiny tin squares are loaded with Watermelon Big League Chew and Cotton Candy Bubblicious, but I guess you expect it from them more than us. I just figured it would get better as we got older, yet we're still spewing any tasteless piece right onto the ground without any thought. Let's do exactly that, give it some thought before you do it, and if it helps, picture me at my desk with a pen, ruler and opened scissor chipping and smeering away the remnants of your temporary enjoyment................for the fourth time...........sooo awesome.

9/20: No One Can Escape The Claw - JEFFERIES TAx Exempt AAA 7 & 35-Day Inventory

I know everyone out there has at one point or another passed a plexiglass square box filled with stuffed animals or some fake $5 watches that say Rollex, and felt compelled to test their skills. As the three year old walks by you with four different prizes, please don't expect to have such luck as you have no idea how long that little guy might have been there. If it was left up to unique and steady hand-eye coordination, everyone would be a pro, but that's the least of your concerns. I would say 94% of the time you've got that steel intimidating claw directly in the right spot to snatch up some happy dragon with crooked eye balls, and you know, the darn thing just doesn't close when you want it too. They should make it so that you can close the claw by hitting an extra button. I know, I know now that would be giving us way too much control, but let's be serious those cotton-organed wastes of space are jammed so tightly together anyway that my timing won't make a difference. You know what, I'll give up that option in a second for a claw that has half-a-grip. This is called "The Crane" is it not? Cranes pick cars and wrecking balls off the ground, and this thing lacks the energy to snag mashed potatoes out of a perfectly filled pot. If and when you actually hook one of these fellas, please hold back any premature end-zone celebrations because you've got a long rickety way back to the rabbit hole. If I see you on your knees sticking your hand up to reach any rim balancing fallen soldiers, I'll know for sure you're much more than emotionally involved, and don't worry, you're not the first.

9/21: Everyone Has Been An Entourage - JEFFERIES Bals Tax Exempt - Pre-Weekend

Since it's Friday I'll go shortly into the social behaviors of friends as we all have different types and styles, and most likely you'll see a few come out of the woodwork tonight. As for my group, we were somewhere between the pro-active outgoing no shame guys and the standing in a circle talking to each other and watching the bar TV types. Everyone has the one friend that is Life of the Party, and mine actually won the award in high school. He is booming loud and hilarious with every unorthodox touchy sentence he says. You either cringe and look at strangers' reactions around you, or laugh until you cough and your cheeks hurt. And then there's the silent one in the corner that you forget is even there. Besides for a brief chuckle (yes I just used the word "chuckle") after a joke, there's no real dialogue but a "yup" here and there. Every group needs one especially for those people that have to vent about their current problems, therefore creating a completely one-sided conversation that's perfect for the entourage simpleton. Somewhere in between you find myself, or as they call me "the old man" or "the thinker." The old man garbage comes not from being older, actually I'm one of the youngest, but from being a bit less of a party sue me. When blended together as a stew though, we work quite well. It's important to have strong friendships and to maintain them, no matter how much patience and understanding is needed, because everyone's life is different. With that said, next time you're out and you see a group of guys walk in, think of us as the Life of the Party's walking in first yelling to the bartender something unrecognizable, silent Bob is trailing deep and having the door closed on him, and I'm somewhere in the middle, making sure everyone's in check, happy and never sporting any gray hairs......yet.

9/24: Into the Wild - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 6.50%

I am in sort of a reflection mood, and therefore will direct you towards a book I read over a year ago which made me ponder life quite a bit. Just this past weekend the movie of this book was released in limited theaters(which was excellent as well). In life, we all have different ideas of what equals success, what we believe is important in life and how we will try and attain our personal goals. This story is a nonfiction account of a college graduate who finds himself obsessed with renouncing material things and those ideals of the parents that raised him. Therefore he leaves them behind, changes his name and donates his savings account to charity before he leaves to travel the US countryside and live off the land as much as possible. Hopefully achieving serenity through the environment around him and losing the lingering taste of society in his mouth, his ultimate destination is the most untouched state by human hands, that of Alaska. He plans to live in the wild until he figures himself out. It's a long two year journey bumping into new friends, odd jobs and touching many who had lost themselves as well. The story leaves you with how it could be if you just dropped everything, and how those are affected behind you and what could lie ahead. And it leaves open such an opinionated interpretation by the viewer as to what you believe his actions were, whether necessary, refreshing, selfish, reckless, ridiculously stupid or deserved. "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer is the book, and a short read it is so don't be overwhelmed, and if you do get a chance to see the movie, as it may be released nationally soon (directed by Sean Penn, w/ Emile Hirsch, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn) it does provide an excellent account of what was found in the book. I enjoy thinking, and this pushed my conceptual maps beyond the everyday might think differently afterwards as well.

9/25: The City Does Make Scents After All - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances AAA 7Day @ 4.20%, 35Day @ 3.85%

I'm walking home yesterday from the subway and I smelled something good coming from a restaurant, but then I turned my shoulder and saw a mound of garbage bags half of them ripped open from those aggressive can collectors. I didn't know if I was admiring the remnants or the real stuff. That's what's absolutely gross about walking these streets, you don't know whether to hold your breath to avoid gagging or take it in like a late summer barbecue. The worst is hot air vents bursting out the sides of deli's and little breakfast joints. In the summer you can literally lose all oxygen and wish you weren't living when hit with one of these nasty blasts. Passing buses are also awesome. You're just sitting there at the stop awaiting your bus breathing like any lifeform does, and the bus that isn't yours takes off leaving behind a chimney cloud that only Charlie Brown's dusty friend could carry around with him. Coughing profusely, all of us look at each other in disgust with a bitter acceptance that we should've known better. There can be a method to this outdoor madness, and that is, just never breathe. You're at the mercy of the underground gods when you hit the subway station though. Holy mackerel is it beautiful down there. It's like every NFL football team's post game laundry bags sitting in one locker room with subway cars pushing the air around. Where are those showers when you need them, anyone have any flip-flops?

9/26: Who Still Uses Pay Phones? - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 6.50%

By a show of hands, how many people have used a public pay phone lately? I doubt I'd be far off if I guessed there were 2 of you, and most likely you left your cell phone at home and your car broke down. I haven't touched one in years. These handy accessible machines have seen their demise since the cell phone's affordable existence, and I'm surprised people even check the coin exit to see if there's change sitting there. I would bet we all agree, we love not seeing a million Gilbert Gottfried or Carrot-Top commercials about how to dial down the center while on six cans of Red Bull. Calling collect is like using an 8-track to play music, it just doesn't happen anymore. And how about putting your ear up to that receiver....if you even dare. It's like sharing a pillow with hundreds of different people. The numbers are sticky, the volume's too low because you're trying to hover around the ear's vicinity, and you almost second guess if it's you with the hearing problem. Is it still a quarter to make a call that can last no longer than 16 seconds? That was always fun, you're out in the middle of nowhere trying to give someone directions to find you before the Blair Witch does, and you've run out of nickels and dimes because you helped out the kids down the block with the lemonade stand. All of a sudden Mr. T shows up, beats down the Blair Witch and knocks on your forehead as if it's hollow, saying "how many chains do I have to wear before you remember to Call C-O-L-L-E-C-T. "

9/27: New Music with Talent Rarely Exists - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt

Where has the music gone I wonder. When I was young there were new bands sprouting up left and right, and nowadays there's nothing but the same 12 artists on rotation. How many of these people are actually musicians? Half of them were Fear Factor contestants turned singers, or offspring of celebrities who paid to be pop-stars. I've literally left behind the radio because it almost makes me sick. If it's not because of the same song being played fifty times, its because the music hasn't changed in 30 years. Not only that but the nonsense talk shows or commercials don't appeal to me either. Music is getting difficult to enjoy as even my iPod with it's 600 songs gets played out from the gym and daily commute. We're grasping any opportunity to get back to what we like, and if that leads to reunion tours of those we remember in the 70's and 80's then so be it. At least it'll be an entertaining concert with a talented band. Considering I used to manage a band and I know what they can do now with a singer's voice or a band's overall sound, it's unfair to bands back then because they actually sounded like their albums. Now 75% of artists have to lip-sync when performing live because we would be throwing rotten tomatoes, lettuce and balsamic at them. Only Gallagher could create a sloppier venue. Maybe it's our faults. At least I know I saved us from some terrible music by quitting the drums back in high school so there's my contribution :)

9/28: It's a Little Late to Pardon Your French - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt AAA 7 & 35-Day

As I sit here and carb load for my Half-Ironman triathlon this weekend by eating a salty NYC Water-made bagel, I pondered the words "Excuse my language" or as some say "Pardon my French." Some guy next to me just threw some caveman-style fit about who knows what, and then followed it up with those three words. As you can imagine there's quite a bit of irony in excusing the explicative you just purposely blurted out. If you've got enough marbles to prepare your excuse right after you're done cursing, use that prep time to prepare another synonym of acceptable nature. Not that I'm like Captain holy prim and proper over here, but at least man-up to those words of frustration or don't bother using them. I guess it makes more sense to socially settle those around you with an apology than for example someone saying sorry or excuse me after their own sneeze. I mean, those are the nicest people in the world because you can't control a sneezing fit, and yet there they are making peace with those around them because they feel so bad that others vocally blessed them. Don't get me wrong there's something excellent and chivalrous about manners and correct behavior, but just remember the next time your "cussing" about the traffic, the weather, the game, the neighbor's car in front of your house, hitting your funny bone, having the shower water flip from warm to boiling hot, missing a trade, you name it....remember, it's already too late to excuse yourself so just enjoy your rant, as temporary and unnecessary it may be :)Enjoy the weekend, hope I survive!

10/1: Finally Completed a Half Ironman - JEFFERIES Balances

In order to educate and describe the brutality of the Half-Ironman I completed yesterday, today I will give you the rundown on why my leg is gashed, toes feel broken, feet are blistered, back's tight and tender, eyes are bloodshot, neck is strained and why exactly it was all worth it. Yesterday started with the 1.2 Mile swim where competitors fight, kick, punch and grab each inch of water or human body part in their way to finally get through the choppy swim which took nearly forty minutes. Your neck and shoulders are killing you because you constantly keep looking up to see if your swimming straight. Psychologically you want to turn back and not drown but you force yourself to move forward. Next starts the 56 mile bike, which at a fast pace takes 3 hours. My friend and I started together on the bike and eight miles in we heard an explosion of air. His back tire had burst. Selfishly thinking to myself "should I keep going?" And then I remembered that we both really didn't know exactly how to change one, so I hit my brakes hard and swerved into a wooden divider where my clipped bike shoes did not release and I burned the whole side of my lower leg against the divider. We put our heads together and figured it out with our CO2 cartridges, extra air tubes and plenty of chain grease. Once back on the road I took off on my own, and as we lean forward and practically lay on our handle bars because our arms are tired from the swim, we want to remain aerodynamic therefore we sacrifice a bit of our lower back and neck again to look forward, to the race's relentless gods. When finally finished with this 3 hour misery our legs are so tired that even walking to the car would make you sick, but no, we're not done yet. We opt for running a Half-Marathon (13.1 Miles), and one that is hillier than the Himalayas. If I was a Sherpa with the lung capacity to endure no oxygen I might've felt better but the journey through the 2 loop run course was sickening. At each water stop every mile and a half I would down a cup of water and gatorade, mixing in an energy gel every five miles. My calves burned on the upslope and shins and quads shook on the downhills. Barely able to continue lifting my legs for the next gallop I summoned memories and people in my life to keep me going. There was nothing easy about this race and the ultimate finish time for me (if you subtract 7 minutes for my sportsmanship on the tire change), was 5 Hours and 44 minutes. My family and friends were there cheering me on, and proving you can achieve these types of goals for them and yourself is what keeps you alive every day. Dr. Phil could never do this, but that doesn't mean you can't! See you at the Ironman in Lake Placid, July 2008!

10/2: Season's Are A Changing - JEFFERIES Offerings AAA 28Day @ 6.55%

The fall brings with it tolerable temps and beautiful sights of changing leaves. No more humming air conditioners as they're left to rest. Years ago my family used to drive up to Vermont and New Hampshire to see the backdrop of trees along the highways, as if painted with Renoir's colors. There was always perfect background music when driving on the road whether it was John Mellencamp or even Bob Marley. Some songs seem to just play at certain times to create that soundtrack of life, and essentially bring back that day in an instant once heard again. I can reminisce for us east coast folk on the clouded windy days where jumping into a perfectly raked pile of crunch was actually relieving. For two seconds you're buried but escape is as easy as lifting your head from a lightly packed down pillow. Being young and having the seasons change is exciting. The anticipation of the holidays, and the closing of the fall soccer season. For me it was candy apples and pumpkin picking time. "As many as you could hold" the farmer said to my dad who we cheered on while balancing awkward bumpy gourds on his head. With this new season upon us get on out with the family, hit the corn maze, carve some pumpkin faces and make it happen because you never know what song might come on during the drive that'll remind you of that day for years to come.

10/3: Informing People in Two Totally Different Ways - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

Today we're going to focus on those that are built to inform, or just catch a moment for much more than it actually is. The Paparazzi inform by no means other than ruining the comfort of those pop icons trying to live somewhat normal lives. Last night one of my best friends fought off photographers as her and her friends from the show "The Hills" trounced around a couple of Manhattan's hotspots, and she learned firsthand the absolute lack of privacy these people have. I must say though we do feed their informing habit by buying these magazine subscriptions but sometimes we can't avoid them as Britney's dashed across every paper coast to coast. I've been trying to hone in on the importance of life and those educating others in beneficial ways rather than the meaningless, and luckily there was a small but larger than life article on Randy Pausch. A professor at Carnegie Mellon diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and essentially given a time frame by which to expect the worst. He publicly spoke his "Last Lecture" to hundreds of attendees at the university, and by now has reached millions by it's taped broadcast and his appearance on ABC News. The point is that he came out and told how he plans to live his life to the fullest because there's no other option. He did one armed push-ups on the stage and laughed at weakness as he compelled the crowd with his achievement of his dreams. These are the types of things we should be paying attention to as we can all still learn after college has long been out. Hopefully even I can be so accepting of any fate I'm dealt, but paralleling the informing means by which stalkers speak to the public versus the ultimate in presentational advice, and life's turvy path, I'll assume I made my point.

10/4: Library Service Depends On Age - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

This past weekend I stopped by the local library, a joint where only 60 and older or 10 and younger are allowed to enter. They stopped me at the door and said "you sure you're coming in here?" I started looking through the Video Rental section for some of the oldie but goody's. I'm talking Abbott & Costello, Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, the original Little Rascals. The beauty of these fine public institutions is that they still wholeheartedly support videos as if they're the newest technology along with Lite-Brite and Etch-A-Sketch. Not that they have much choice since I'm not sure the classics are even offered on DVD, but I did see a guy walking out with a rented VCR.... bet he never thought he'd need that again. When I finally made it to the checkout counter after passing several snoring old men pretending to read, I had to actually find my library card because a license wasn't proof enough that I lived in the town. Searching through my wallet I'm bumping into old fortunes from cookies previously digested, a AAA card from 2003, an expired 20% off at Brooks Brothers and a hotel room key that probably should've been returned.....finally I find this withered tan and brown card that literally is unreadable and disintegrating in my hands, and I pass it to her. This little 4 foot lady that's been working there since the doors opened circa 1800 immediately responds, "this is expired, you need to apply for a new one." At this point I'm thinking there is still a place on earth where seniors can push you around and I'm almost happy for them, except as I sat and filled out the application with an abused putt-putt golf pencil I thought to myself the customer service I bet varies by age, and next time my pretty I'll get you back, because I'm bringing along my grandfather for the true test!

10/9: Dreams, The Uncontrollable Ones - JEFFERIES Balances

Dreams make no sense. I was in a different bed this past weekend since we took a trip upstate, and for some reason this opens the flood gates to alternative unconscious thinking. I close my eyes and off to Justin in Wonderland. Trying to understand why certain people are in them, or whether they are scenes of my future, we might never know. I just can't imagine floating over the ocean in a swing watching a see-through ship pass by with animals swimming inside ever happening in my life, and if so, I'll just pass it off as Deja Vu. At one moment I'm concerned that I'm losing my hair and the next thing you know I'm at a shuffleboard contest. There's no rhyme or reason in my opinion for dreams but I bet I can get an educated guess from my Intro to Psychology textbook. Dreams might be there to scare us into thankfulness when we awake from the weird. Making us realize what it could be like and giving us an appreciation of life. However it's those dreams that you don't want to end that you hold high hopes for seeing again in the future, and I actually think those might be the ones that carry a real message because your mind has always moved in mysterious ways.

10/10: A Magical Evening with Bruce - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 7 & 28 Day

"Where would the world be without Bruce!" a woman said to me last night as the singer finished a 2 and a half hour set. I couldn't help but admire their loyalty and respect for a man that literally had people up and down from their chairs like a priest giving a sermon. Interestingly enough, we watched from behind the stage and really got the viewpoint of the band with thousands of people throwing their hands up at us during their million man march. If you're like me, than you're not a die-hard fanatic and while at a concert where you don't know the songs, you take the opportunity to look around and see how powerful music really is. Strangers chatting with each other and laughing because there's automatically something in common. People letting go of their everyday worries by yelling as loud as possible those lyrics that mean so much to them. In life, where would we be without the music we love? I think that's what this woman was trying to say, and rightfully so, otherwise we would just be Dancing in the Dark.

10/11: Good Morning or Hello Night - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day @ 6.40%

I'm pretty sure I've been called a morning person a hundred times. Someone who's not upset when sunlight breaks through a cracked window shade and would otherwise get up early to enjoy the day rather than sleep in. Now don't get me wrong, when that horrible alarm rings I'm not jumping up from bed, clapping the lights on, stretching it out, hitting the CD player, cooking eggs over-easy with wheat toast and screaming thank the lord I get to go to work! It's sort of selective morning happy, and today I joined the crowd of Ants Marching where hundreds of us shuffled up the subway stairs with heads down, dead silent, with what seemed like not an ounce of excitement to where we were walking. Maybe it's because there wasn't one morning person in the whole crowd or maybe it's just New Yorkers, but for whatever reason we should probably be happier people. If you're cranky and tired at night doesn't it make sense to feel better after you sleep? If sleep isn't doing it then we should be looking forward to the upcoming holidays, happy about our health, our families and where we live. I am not an overly optimistic person, rather just an open-minded common sense type of reasoner. So the next time you wake up whether a night owl or a chipper morning bird, be happy for many reasons, and especially not because of some general categorization.

10/12: Reading while Driving - Jefferies Tax Exempt AAA 35-Day @ 4.60%

As I click on "Create" to conjure a blank white email, it feels like open mic night and an audience is awaiting my first words. It's great to type these emails and I thank you for the opportunity...figured I'd let you know. This morning's commentary is wrapped around writers as I see new books coming out everyday and never being a huge reader myself, I want to start getting involved. However I want to do it without dedicating hours and hours to tiny text that has consistently knocked me out like Lunesta. My alternative I'm thinking is books on tape(or cd). Some of you might be say I'm copping out by passing up the hardcover for the plastic but personally I've never been the fastest reader. Not only that I have a hard time comprehending everything I read and if I hear an inflection in the speaker's voice or a tone change I can get much more out of the story-line. People drive while listening to history books and autobiographies instead of repetitive morning talk shows where prank calling is supposedly still hilarious. This should be pushing us to read more, expand our vocabularies and learn everything about our interests. Isn't it the case where people you know who are very well read are usually intelligent people? That's been my experience. As a little kid my parents encouraged reading constantly and it never really caught on. I think it's about time. Watch out for me on the road though because now if I pass out at the wheel we'll know the marriage was never meant to be, and I'll just stick to writing. Enjoy the weekend!

10/15: The Little Guys - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

I'm always baffled at the idea that there can be a deli, take-out Chinese restaurant, dry cleaners and a pizza place in every shopping center. How do these businesses stay alive? Although I love that they do because family-owned shops are the backbone of this great country, it's just difficult to comprehend the costs and value associated with them. I think in NYC alone there are hundreds within the 13 miles it spans from tip to tip. While up at college there were 4 pizza places in this very small town on its one and only Main Street. Each of which suffered swelling lines out the door after the bars let out. There was no loyalty if another line was smaller to wait on, and really taste at that point didn't matter. Half the crowd would be hovered over others tables folding their slices and avoiding oil drip with the cheapest napkins provided by that tin push dispenser. As if double cheese topping wasn't enough, we'd dip the slice in ranch dressing or blue cheese to coat our stomachs. If you didn't feel sick after the bar you were guaranteed to cause some indigestion now. I've always enjoyed supporting the local mom-and-pop institutions especially if they're quality. They don't have massive inflows of cash or support from public capital injections and therefore every detail is from their own sweat and effort. Try and use those local spots as a means to give back to your community because hey, we already help fund big companies by showing up to work everyday.

10/16: Natural Beauty & National Parks - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt

National Parks and the beauty that exists within America should be the trek of all citizens. I've roamed luckily through several that leave memories of leaves bigger than our backpacks could hold, of course without folding their true shape. Geysers that performed for us their own talents. Natural pools that bubble and house so many different lifeforms that endured earth's weather long before humans existed. Who knew one of earth's elements was a better sculptor than Michelangelo.....if you make it to Bryce Canyon you'll know what I mean. If you make it to any canyon for that matter. We at one point drove through a tree. A sort of violation I thought to put a road right through the massive split of a tree's trunk, however quite an impressive look into the aged rings of its core. My father stood next to a roaming buffalo which in hindsight was the most risky thoughtless act, and I followed like a timid twin brother not wanting to be left out, only a few feet further away. My Nike's next to purity itself upset the beauty's balance. We stared at the white capped tips the Tetons held onto in mid-August while hiking trails that only your body could bring you. Standing in the Painted Desert, we admired a mirage of colors still undiscovered because they can't be captured. If you looked hard, they would change like Northern Lights. No picture ever the same or ever comparable to the real thing. Mauve was the color upon departure because of course we were heading home. Temporarily these memories will live until revived again by new experiences. In the end it sounds like one perfect dream but take it from me, it's a reality awaiting you.

10/17: Labor and Its Grand Displays - JEFFERIES Offerings AAA 28Day

When I walk out of my building cranes are swinging, jackhammers are hopping and the city laborers of my family's breed are the maestro's behind this ensemble. They're carefully constructing another skyscraper of mass proportions and it made me think about the old steel worker photographs of lunches on a beam. Men of another time, and strenuous unsafe effort that should not be forgotten. I think that's what I wanted to shed light on when I thought of this. It's the risks these gentlemen took to make a living whether bridge-building or train-track laying back in the early 1900's where an understated hundreds of men lost their lives creating these wonders. The color of blue on their collars was far harder earned in sweat and strain than those of man-tailored white. I can say this because I learned many lessons through unionized manual labor from my own days in my uncle's painting company and my father's wallpaper hanging local. The aches and pains went away the more consecutive days you worked. It's a tough way to make a dollar and having switched shirts myself, I've grown a deep respect for their culture. When you get a moment, stop and look around, whether it's roads, homes, buildings, trains, bridges, tunnels, factories.......admire and note internal thanks to strangers' hands that helped our lives become nicer.

10/18: Tales of Halloweens Passed - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Halloween is around the corner and the memories of neighborhood trick-or-treat races and school costume contests fill the air. How heavy and stretched could you make your pillow case? We would count all the Milky Ways, Snickers, Mr. Goodbar's, Krackel's and Three Musketeers we'd gotten. And began to barter items we'd rather not rot our teeth with. Back then some homes made candy and wrapped it themselves, in which my parents threw it away immediately. The best houses though were the ones that would give out full sized candy bars. These were gold mines in the treasure hunt. We couldn't understand how they afforded it, and we told all the passing Dracula's, princesses and pirates where the house was. Unfairly those homes that left out dishes with signs stating "take one only please," since they weren't home or were disinterested in answering the door, were always empty. My costumes were never like the overly creative cardboard box washing machine with shoulder straps and dishes inside. Usually the popular cartoon of the day or the coolest thing left at the discount store suited me fine. I forget the age where I was finally allowed to have shaving cream instead of silly string. My parents got over the urban legends of lemon-lime Barbasol causing young kids to go blind if hit in the eyes. A whole new amazing element was added to the holiday since dressing up in costumes became too juvenile. This coming holiday make sure to spray your hair green and take pictures as your kids put on their masks because it's a shared joy to live vicariously through them, and remember again those days that even you were a superhero.

10/23: The Greatest Show(s) on Earth - JEFFERIES Offerings AAA 28Day @ 6.05%

The circus experience has gone above and beyond the fire swallowing juggler or floppy-eared elephant and his massive "ring around the romp." Ringmaster's and Lion-Tamers have been cashed in for flexible foreign-speaking incredibles and the originality of vocal composers singing of a time never known. You're in awe while at le cirque. Set design is a dreamworld imagined by laying in a cotton field plagued by crosswinds that loft a powerless white sheen tablecloth over the stars. As if mother nature just blew dandelion snow over the earth for fun, and you're trying to project that vision in the most animate and tactile sense. No matter the audience's preparations, their eyes are presented with the completely unexpected, and physically impossible. Clowns never looked so distorted or exuded such talent. No longer a sideshow piling out of a tiny car, but the dramatic main character of a show climaxed by death and dreams. Revamping the old acrobatics of trapeze families shrouded in generations of perpetuity and unchanging acts, to the use of trampolines, beds, massive pools and cubes the size of houses. The endless possibilities keep presenting themselves to the visionaries, and I thank those with talent and love for the road, for their time and effort as if just interviewed for a job taking down the tents. Enjoy hours of happiness at their recitals with family wherever possible, because they may make the dreams of yours and those around you, completely four-dimensional.

10/24: Tales of Lonely Occupations - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances AAA 7Day @ 3.70%

Have certain occupations ever made you think about what loneliness they encounter. Jobs where time only tells the true answers to their thoughts. For some reason I got to thinking about container ships and those captains hauling for months at sea. Nothing to stare at but open blue water and its world beneath, or the sun's peek-a-boo act with the horizon. Farmers whose corn fields travel miles as do their minds while steadying the tractors up and down the lines like fine threaded jeans. Watching planes fly over head with passengers often living lives they believe need the hustle and bustle to survive. Not sure if the lighthouses of the world still have someone manning them but the gaze of those through glass windowed heights must become blurred at some point with the thoughts of their childhood dreams. These are situations where there's no need to focus on time because you can only go so fast, and the goal becomes one of self reflection, the tales of authors, history and what the world has to offer. Not sure if I would be able to handle it if it was to be my life's work, but maybe temporarily a study of polar bears and penguins in Antarctica could hold some real promise for excellent emails in the future...30 minutes at my desk just doesn't cut it.

10/25: Pumpkins Illuminated in Grandiose Fashion - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28-Day

Last night we sought entertainment beyond Broadway's "touristy" song and dance. We forged North from the dimming lights of Times Square, where darkness drew power from 3,000 illuminated, hand carved pumpkins. Trees and great lawns wore dresses of bone, web and casket. Crowds bellowed ooo's and ahhh's at each turn of the cobbled path while holding hands at the annual Jack O'Lantern Festival. Helpless pumpkins dangled from trees as if cocooned christmas bulbs about to hatch thousands of spiders. Others strategically placed in coffins to form glowing humans resembling the world renowned "Bodies" exhibit. Creativity in this sense is spectacular. We passed a T-Rex, standing15-feet tall, formed solely by etched pumpkins connected together. It battled a nearby Triceratops equally intricate in detail trying to defend itself. As we continued to curl through the gardens of the estate you couldn't help but think its creators had just finished reading Dante's Inferno. Pumpkin heads half-submerged in the ground resembled a scene of those sinners left to await eternity with only their heads exposed from the earth. Each section of the tour sent a new chill up the spine to the top of our heads as if a cool wind penetrated our layers. As we walked to our cars with warm hot chocolate in our hands and stomachs we were greeted by two deer dancing through the parking lot. Back and forth as if seeking attention from those too mesmerized by what they had already encountered. It was a beautiful parallel between two worlds, one of wild nature in the raw, inviting us back from the land of spook-fantasy, so eagerly provided by Van Cortlandt Manor.

10/26: A New York Minute We'd Love to Take Back - JEFFERIES Offerings AAA 28Day

Yesterday afternoon was of the most unexpected, or as some passerby with half a brain called it, a "New York Minute." As if that was an acceptable shrug my shoulders and shake it off type of description for what had just happened. It began as any Thursday convening would, a meeting for drinks at a bar overflowing from the door. This was my first time meeting my buddy Joe's two colleagues, and as I normally do when first meeting new people, I start small talk and forget their names. One male, one female. They led us away from the cattle car to a new spot nearby. As we circled looking for the address we walked amongst crowds near Rockefeller Center. One such pack we approached had us split sides to get around on the walkway, and as the girl co-worker scooted over she clipped her shoulder against a scraggly 6 foot 2 man wearing an Absolut Vodka jacket that looked as though it had seen muddy days. This Absolut low-life piece of garbage stealthily turned around with years of madness in his eyes and clenched-fist cracked her between the socket and cheek, as if she'd insulted his every being in this world. She hit the floor before I could even see Joe fighting off the trash. I came back ten feet to the tension where we second guessed our initial thoughts of fighting as this guy so confidently dared us to approach that we figured he had a gun or knife tucked away. We called the police while this man preached about "respect" and how she had none for him and begged for the cops to come....and they did. They asked if she wanted to press charges and she second-guessed if court proceedings or the precinct's request for pictures of her face was worth the bother. We forced her too because no one should get away with that. In the end, the man was supposedly homeless...most likely looking for a way out. An unfair method of escape to confinement and meals undeserved. A vicious cycle of catch and release for the police and innocent targets, but a newly made key to home for a man who revelled in his ridiculous thought of masculinity. There's not many lessons learned for me to impose on you, just thoughts of scenarios that could've went differently and a glimpse into the darker side of New York. As this incident brought us closer together, it reminded us too why New Yorkers are so distant from each other, keeping their head down, walking fast and not looking or talking to anyone. Not because they're miserable people but because they can't trust anyone walking down the street.

10/29: The Way We Act - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

The way we act. Attributes we subconcsiously inherit and although sometimes misunderstood by others, can usually be traced back through the family tree. My mom can never be entertained enough, and after a full day of get-up-and-go, the question to follow when homeward bound is "what do you want to do now?" My all day energy sending me out into the sun to do whatever I can is manifested through her professing. At night this life slows to a crawl often where I find myself moody and unresponsive to questions, especially in the late hours before bed. This was my father's modus operandi, as a long day ended with his silence in reading and my annoyance if he wouldn't answer a question until I repeated it, and my discontent. While being raised was a phenomenal experience for me, and the family I have I wouldn't trade for everything in the world, we all catch idiosyncracies that may not perform well with others. It's a different story though when you don't equal the equation just posed, and that is an image and likeness to your parents' behavior. As an onlooker it may de difficult to know if a person's act is all their own because you never had their life. Your friends though you think you know quite well but sometimes you run into a situation or person that's made no sense ever since you met them. These hard shells that like to remain uncracked want more to be known than you could imagine, and the difficulty in resolving such literal theorems is that your effort can only do so much unless they themselves, open up. There are so many instances in life where this relates that it might be the broadest topic I could ever cover, and I apologize as my emails contain brevity for care of the audience's interest. Beyond answering no questions and raising a topic that my thoughts here can be considered but a "foreword," I hope it makes you think about those in life that fit this bill and if figuring them out is your endless goal, or if it's just learning from them the depths of what their surfaced actions have to offer.

10/30: Yesterday's Old Time Theatre Experience - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day

Having not gone to see a movie in a while, which is unlike the Roger Ebert I've become, I thought briefly about the changes going on in "theaters" (or "theatres", however our language chooses to spell it) and how the one I was in hadn't seen an upgrade since Fred Astaire's "Flying Down to Rio." It began with a line out the door like a John Grisham book signing because kiosks I guess didn't exist yet to these owners. I can't quite grasp why stadium seating hasn't plagued every cinema either. I'd reached utter disappointment as I sat in a wide open row with a perfect view, chowing down on Goobers and an $8 soda, and two minutes into the previews Frankenstein plopped directly in front of me. I gave out a sigh of disappointment for his genetics. Coughing and kicking the seat like a five year old I only hoped It would move to another spot, but no, just a turn of his bolted neck to acknowledge what I looked like so he could find me in the parking lot. Watching the previews I caught a glimpse of "The Jimmy Fund" through the crack of light bursting between Frank's ear lobe and shoulder blade. This is what I was minimized too. I waved a dollar in the air as if sending off a friend on a long distance train ride from the station platform, or frantically seeking service behind a crowded bar, but no collectors appeared. Somehow some theatres don't have cupholders as if to ruin the sanctity of historical appeal, yet the seat covers were felty new and your shoes ripped off the ground like an unsuccessful band-aid removal. What's the deal with no surround sound? Literally my old Sony cassette player was in the back belting into a microphone the dialogue we squinted to hear. Fire trucks outside sounded over the airplane flight scene. To me, I'm all about quality and tradition in products that have built a brand name and never falter from their original beauty, However, and that's a capital "H" to reveal the intensity of the word, there are some industries where comfort and technology heightens the experience therefore adding astronomical value that customers have come to expect. This is one of those instances, and if you find yourself in this predicament, go ahead and put your feet up on the seat before the movie starts, although it's obnoxious, there's no way Shaquille O'Neal's resting his back near the bottom of those slushy stuck size 10's.

10/31: Halloween's Origination and Modern Day Tricksters - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt 7Day & 35Day

Halloween.................a night in historic Celtic times where it was believed hostile and clever spirits wandered the earth because the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead was thinnest and easiest to pass through on this day. Supposedly sacrifices offered by Druids (Celtic priests) ensured the return of the sun after winter. The souls long passed would rise from their graves to return back to homes where they used to live, and therefore those current homeowners would leave outside their doors, treats and gifts such as food to appease them, therefore creating the modern day "trick-or-treat." The hungry must've had a field day with this! Everyone clutching their chests opening the door the next morning seeing an empty bowl, thanking their intuition because otherwise they might've had to call Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and the helpless Rick Moranis. I must say I do prefer the modern day ritual of dressing up and being happy rather than worrying of an ill-tempered ghost knocking down my door because they didn't like the new dormer I put on, or realized how much the property was worth now, years later after they sold it. Nor have I ever sacrificed anything, except for time. Who's kidding who, I've avoided any opportunity to play the Ouija board afraid that my trembling hands would spell something ridiculous no matter what language. Who would really want to sit in a circle with candles lit anyway? As if I haven't forcibly been made to watch enough scary movies that revolve around this premise. Thanks Wes Craven and Stephen King for your very helpful life-lessons. I know now that next time I hear the doorbell ring at night, I should walk fully outside if no one's there and continue into the woods to follow any branches snapping or leaves moving. My instincts never would tell me to do that, but now I know better.

11/1: The World Map and Where You Want to Go - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt

Have you ever looked at a map of the earth, just taken a peek at the many little countries throughout the world that you haven't visited and wonder what's going on there? How much sunlight there is year round, if it's a frozen tundra, what animals roam the land, what food is commonly consumed and what it would be like to live there a short time? When I was in college I told myself I would love to live in many different countries, each for about a year and a half to learn and experience them thoroughly. Enough so that I begin to understand the hardships, the cultural benefits, the limitations and the people. Take in a bit of inspiration from each as I stare at its energy around me. Trying to set foot in the same places as Dinosaurs, Vikings, Bushmen, and seeing species of animals only caught while flipping past the discovery channel. Not that this is completely feasible because of work limitations and having someone interested in sharing such a mobile exeperience, really it's just a way to dream about how huge the world is. About how much history exists in each different area and what we can learn from it while here for our lives, or while traveling there to take it in. I dare you to scan over a map of the world andyou'll see its ability to flirt with your mind. I think you'll entice yourself to learn more about certain places and about how in which to get there at some point in the future. I had recently looked at Svalbard....let me know where you're looking.

11/2: OUTER SPACE - Jefferies Tax Exempt Pre-Weekend Balances

Space........Take that word in for a second................... and I'm not talking barren warehouse or tightly packed elevator. This is a topic in which I could focus infinite amounts of time because that's how many questions I have. What is space? A place to float controllably? The idea of a "Black Hole" swallowing anything within reach, to the point where not even light can escape its clutches is something I'll never understand. We can't test out something like that, not even in college. That'd be great if everyone walks out to the football field where they setup the "black hole" simulator, with a ramp for a rented Dodge Ram with Avis insurance to jump up off into the hole, and the goal is to jot down notes on what comes out the other end. The problem is, after the switch is flipped to begin simulation, no one's left around to tally the results. Space is odd in the way that we report distance in "Light Years" as if it makes it simpler to understand, and yet shortens the distance to make it seem achievable. If you were to hear a news story telling you, a comet was headed directly towards earth, and was 1 Light Year away traveling 100 miles an hour, you might start to worry a bit. If you were to know that a Light Year is 5.878 Trillion Miles away, you'd breathe a sigh of relief and wonder if humans would even be here a million years from now. And 1 million years from now that comet would still be 5 Trillion Miles away having traveled 876 Billion miles. Not exactly around the corner if you ask me, but reporters would enjoy freaking you out while remaining consistently stone-faced. In hopes to continue this talk on Monday, I the Professor who seems like he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, will work to deliver an interesting take on our beautiful friend called gravity. Have an excellent weekend!

11/3: GRAVITY - Jefferies Tax Exempt Bals AAA 7 & 35Day Up to 4.70%

In the words of John Mayer, "Gravity, wants to bring me down." Well since gravity is attracted proportionately to the size of the mass, we work to attract our bodies toward the center of the earth without even knowing it. Our buddy that it is, gravity keeps us just safe enough from floating away after a brisk wind. But what if the force of gravity was much stronger to the point where we couldn't lift ourselves off the ground? Unbelievable to think, our arms getting pulled to the pavement essentially pancaked to the floor, crawling for every inch. You wouldn't be able to do anything, not even fly with the best of engines. The most sickening ride at an amusement park I've ever been on caused this inability to move, called the Gravitron. You went on this for no reason but to prove your manhood as you'd work to move your arms or legs up three inches from the walls you were stuck too. Think about trying to eat cereal without gravity, as you open the milk container it just floats away and splatters as you wave your bowl towards it in slow motion trying to catch it like a firefly in a net. Bald never worked out so well as everyone's long hair uncontrollably flocks to new locations before it's tugged back like a yard dog on a fence. Life's sustained by gravity as it assists in the earth's revolution around the sun, keeps the oceans attached and combines powers with the nickel-iron core of the land to create its own gravitational field. Which by the way, shields us from most of the sun's radiation and burns up meteors before they strike the surface. Not that my fare skin deals too lightly with the powerful sun as it is, I've never thought of thanking gravity for protecting me. Where would be without the "G" you ask? Well I think that question is quite easy to answer, as we wouldn't be.

11/4: Emotional Hare vs. Rational Tortoise - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Have you ever acted out of emotion because you were pressured or stressed, and then realize how ridiculous your action or answer was? For example, the other day I'm standing at the train station with my boiling cup of "caw-fee," as we say it "hea" in "New Yawk," and a frantic middle aged man is running through the terminal obviously looking to catch a departing train he's never been on. Out of the blue he stops dead in his tracks to startle my precious cawfee and me to ask directions. I swear I must've had a Neon sign above me that said "Information Booth," and the sign should have said "Only Ask This Guy For Useless Incorrect Information." He asked me faster than an auctioneer where the Amtrak trains were, and as I sifted through the clouds in my head to process the question, he clamored above his deep breathing to say "Just Point Me in the Direction!" My heartbeat jumped to rabbit speed as if President Bush just asked me to spell Decentralization in three seconds on National TV. I threw my arm up to the sky seeing the auctioneer's bid, and he was off, out of the gates like Seabiscuit. Within 6 seconds, if the man had just given me 6 whole seconds, I wouldn't have sent him in the absolute opposite direction of where he wanted to go. Now if you're like me, you feel bad about this and you wish you could take it back and you hope that the man finds his way just the same, but know too that you can't help how you act when it's out of emotion rather than rational or logical thought. Rational thought comes second to the emotional in how fast it travels to the brain. Just keep in mind that if a situation arises where you're put on the spot to act, just give the tortoise a second to get to the finish line because the hare most likely isn't carrying the best information.

11/7: Anything Goes - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28Day

How can magazine companies stay in business? I really don't get it. The subscription costs, especially as a new customer, I've seen as low as $1. In fact, I literally get Smart Money once a month just because it was $1 for 12 issues. Yesterday's mail carried with it 3 new mags, Men's Journal, Fast Company and Triathlete. Each of which offered subscriptions to me at the cost of $10 or so and yet I originally paid $5 for One issue at the newsstand! Is locking in that extra $10 up front equivalent to guaranteeing 11 more issues of the magazine? It's illogical in my mind that the production costs don't far outweigh the offers, but they must be doing something right since there's a buffet of them out there. Have you gone to Barnes & Noble or Borders to see the diversity in subject matter? I saw a magazine solely based on Steam Trains. Seems like something I'd be interested in reading once, but every month? Exactly how quickly is the steam train industry changing because I've been sitting on the same train for decades and not even a television in the headrest, blaring news headlines and terrible "HeadOn" commercials, has been introduced. I feel like going home and writing about thirty different topics and compiling them into a magazine called "Anything Goes." I know I'll make it interesting enough for the avid reader, it's just that after all my time and effort, I would be crushed to receive my $1 reward checks and know that I had to do it all again for that customer without pay until next year.

11/8: Corrective Advice is Often Difficult to Swallow - JEFFERIES Balances AAA 28DAY

So I'm in physical therapy yesterday for a small shoulder injury and I'm told to go do several exercises on machines I've been using since high school. As I'm doing the exercises I mastered long ago, a kid that looked like she could be my niece walked over and corrected my form, telling me I was doing it all wrong. I asked myself "how necessary is that, to come over and bother me" as if I'm steering a fighter jet and her emergency corrections just saved me from perishing. Immediate frustration set in. I'm sitting there thinking "anyone who works here just wants to exude their superiority over me because they know it all." Although it shouldn't, it feels demeaning to have someone tell you you're wrong especially in a setting where you know the world won't end if you don't have it just right. After reflecting a bit, and utilizing those hints she'd given me, I felt much more pain as I should've and much more calm, as I should've. I thought about different scenarios and why I reacted this way. If an EMT arrived at my house during an emergency scare, am I going to second guess what they're doing just because I took an 8th grade anatomy class? Same goes for a car mechanic. Because I can change my oil, will I tell a mechanic he's wrong if he suggests I need new struts? We should understand the fact that people are certified in things we don't know every answer too, and with that comprehension you begin to learn even more than you expected. It's as easy as taking directions from someone who notices you're heading the wrong way. That assistance toward effectiveness is not much different, and if those everyday instinctual barriers pop up to protect you, try and logically reason whether experience trumps age. So far, no matter what the age, the advice of the experienced has prevailed.

11/13: Speaking of a Gyro Platter - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

Ok, so this past weekend I ate at a Mediterranean restaurant where I devoured intently a well-done Gyro platter uncaring of the aftermath. And I'm not talking stomach issues but rather the rich scent of garlic oozing from my tongue's buds as I breathed normally to survive. If my high school French teacher had given me my oral final on that day, only an asbestos mask and a backup term-life insurance policy would provide adequate coverage. I sit there and cup my hand to my face as if to catch a whiff of the severity of the situation, but can't properly tell. The next test is licking the back of the hand, I was told? No matter what I think anyone fails that test even after swishing for thirty two painful eye-tearing seconds with Listerine. So what's the antidote to reverse the process? The mints on the way out of the restaurant sitting by the register. Good grizzly lord, I do not dare to touch those things and yet there's my father dipping his hand in as if a strangers bucket of quarters at a casino. "This is not the way" I say to myself, as we all know even that dainty spoon that assists in the scooping is ignored by anyone. What about the translucent powdery hamster bowl that spins up and back, giving you one mint at every turn. I swear, when I saw that I remembered putting my guinea pig in it to run around the backyard chasing a carrot I just launched to the back corner. All because I had to eat the scrumptious gyro I was left to ponder my thoughts and not add to the conversation. And yet keeping your mouth closed is only harboring the goodness towards higher strength. It's a tough situation people, and the moral is, don't eat a gyro if you're planning to be social "apres le diner."

11/14: Yamato Drummers, Limited Time Only - JEFFERIES Balances 7DAY Tax Exempt

In order to soothe your fears of my weekend's excitement having culminated at the hands of a gyro, here's a bit of the cultural side. The Yamato drummers of Japan were in town and who better to attract to a percussion show than a former middle school clanger of pans and pots. Now...... I've seen Stomp before and Blue Man Group, but these are foreign instruments, sounds that never visited the home of my ear. Something you may not expect to enjoy. But then again, one flower by itself may not look so pretty, but when added to a bouquet its beauty is magnified. Sounds came booming off every wall from drums the size of water towers. Each member of the crew would challenge eachother to more difficult compositions, eventually coming together like a battle for respect. Each new ingredient enriched the flavor and their power was contagious, making our feet pound to the heart's thumping. I closed my eyes and imagined what Osaka or Nagasaki looked like and whether the streets would wear similar characters and rhythms. The hair on our necks stood straight up. The energy was pure adrenalized electric. As the show came to an end I couldn't help but notice I learned a lesson. I thought to myself that I will not pass up opportunities to see new things, and experience those days that all of us have numbered for ourselves. We will realize that we have taken for granted those limited times we have to get out and try something different, only once the possibility is taken away from us.

11/15: Day at the Museum without Ben Stiller: Part 1- JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

I ventured out to an art exhibit recently, ready to view the many Norman Rockwell "Saturday Evening Post" covers I had written about in college. Prior to the showing I wandered into a Carriage museum right next door. I've never found myself particularly interested in history as it was the class I disliked the most from pure boredom. In the fact that the past doesn't change I should have loved it, there's no trickery and it's straight memorization. After looking at carriages from the late 1700's and up, I realized how amazing we have it with air travel, rubber tires, gas pedals, paved roads, power windows and air conditioning. Horses that never tired took the reigns and they named them Boeing and Grumman. Half these antique wooden machines resembled the feeble structure of a backyard treehouse, and yet they made their rickety way, jaggedly over the rocks and mountains of the unchartered US to new opportunities. So many sunrises and sunsets....changing weather to be weathered and seasons testing their endurance. There I am, getting frustrated as I change a flat tire not trying to inconvenience the AAA membership I've paid for, because hey, I want to test myself. All the while, these adventurers were bumping into the Grand Canyon after thousands of miles of travel saying, "don't worry everyone, we're gonna get around this ditch no matter what it takes. " The strength and will of these people to survive, to take every bump in the road as a creeping accomplishment to a place they can finally call home, it's just utterly inspiring. Feeling like I'd taken much for granted I moved to the adjacent building where Norman's Saturday Evening Post exhibit waited. Not knowing that I was ready for another lesson, I began my detailed study of each cover both roaring and depressing.....the early to mid-1900' be continued......

11/16: Day at the Museum without Ben Stiller: Part 2 - Rockwell - JEFFERIES AAA 28DAY

...walking into the Rockwell exhibit you see hundreds of covers plastered on the wall, and when I say covers I mean the entire collection of his "Saturday Evening Post" magazine cover pages he painted. These were just a percentage of his works as he drew for Literary Digest, Life Magazine, Country Gentlemen, Popular Science and American Magazine. While gazing at each and annoying other visitors next to me wanting to move quicker through the timeline, I thought to myself how could one's mind conjure up so many settings, situations, expressions and display them with such detail as if they're right there next to him? Turns out he hired actual stand-in models and setup scenery for them to pose in, giving him direct access to capture every nook and crevasse in an aged man's chin, or woman's eye lids. He pointed a spotlight on the everyday neighbor, mainly middle to lower class, displaying their hardships or their happiness, the innocence in youth, and the maturity of any age in times of survival. I looked at the clothing in awe of their style thinking how can everyone always look so different? Finding too, through an informational video that Norman had a huge room full of costumes and accessories to drown his warm blooded still-life's in. Speaking of companions, nearly half, if not more, of his works contained "man's best friend", or kittens popping from handkerchief pockets. He documented a USO named "Willie Gillis" through many scenes of pre- and -post war, and the struggles everyone felt internally but may not have shown. Women too, rightfully found their way out of his apron and kitchen sink paintings, right into the stained blue-collared shirts of their men. There was nothing he couldn't put his artistic stamp on, and he finished out his career at Post with portraits, most notably of President's Nixon and Kennedy. A snapshot was represented for us all in this one museum room. A school history class of a 50 year span covering the overtones and subtleties in every image, and their rich meaning beyond just a passerby's glance. I thought to myself "I'm glad I came" because at first I was a visitor in a foreign city staring at the architecture and lost for meaning, but when I left I was a guide, working the depth of each Rockwell brush stroke down to its intentions and the feeling behind the finished product.

11/19: Expiration Dates & The Milky Way - JEFFERIES Balances Tax Exempt

There's an interesting topic out there that should be addressed, and one I conjured up this morning upon my search for breakfast eats. It's the expiration date on milk containers. With hesitating hope that a couple days past due would still be fresh, I gave a heart-wrenching sniff of the milk top. As I lacked surprise of the scent traveling up my drowsy nostrils, I completely awoke as if long forgotten sour cream had just slithered a path toward my most olfactory sense. Immediate disgust fell over me with the earth and its inability to produce fresh milk that stays edible for at least a month. Down the drain it went so that no other human being would be subjected to such rot. And no, Parmalat is not a good replacement! As I brought this up to a friend on the commute, we found ourselves bouncing wonders off one another as to the discovery of milk and the one forlorn human being who probably accepted the dare. And something that would have made modern day Fear Factor jealous is the individual who went ahead and drank it. I have to think that Pasteur forgot something essential in his process, and he should take a quick lesson from those Gummy Bear creators where preservation of capital never meant a risk averse portfolio.

11/21: My Thanks to the Atmosphere - JEFFERIES Holiday Tax Exempt Balances

So there I am, sitting in Santa Barbara watching the sun set completely behind what seemed like a Hollywood oceanscape. I prepared for the night as I had no choice, since that's the way daylight goes. I welcomed its cool breezes cruising off the water and up the cliff sides to where I was perched, and sat there thinking "I wonder how visible the stars are out here." Reminding myself of the late night beauty I've seen staring up from the shores of lakes in the summer Adirondack mountains, and if anything else could compare. In SAT question format I knew: PAIL was to SHOVEL, as STARGAZING was to THE ROCKIES, but could California rival such views? Well someone, somewhere heard me ask that question, and the curtain opened. Front row I sat without a ticket or playbill, and began pointing out shooting stars and their trajectory just in case I hadn't seen them. If someone stood behind me in the distance they'd think I was teaching an astronomy class to imaginary friends, composing an orchestra or giving directions to someone over a Bluetooth. At a fireworks show you can anticipate the finale, but like trying to guess one striking bolt during a fantastic lightning storm, this encore was unexpected and never properly timed. As a shooting star came directly towards me in a fledgling tiny white Tinkerbell streak, I pointed again ready for its quick disappearance. I pulled my finger back and gasped for air as this tiny cotton ball grew mature and upset orange. If I tell you, the size grew 10 fold and my heart followed proportionately, it'd be an understatement. My hands gripped the splintered bench and I shouted over the cliffs, words not found in the dictionary as if to calm me, but this thing kept coming. Something out of Armageddon, it now sported a blood red center and I swore it was going to crash into the ocean sending shock and tidal waves for me. As the atmosphere finally laughed at my expressions it shredded this fireball to pieces and patted me on the back to begin breathing. As the atmosphere went off to tend to the many collapsed next to telescopes, I remembered to give special thanks to it on a day when it makes the most sense. Tomorrow is that day....enjoy yours - and yes....again, this is a true story

11/26: The Aftermath - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day @ 6.10%

And so we return from our lethargic existences and the massive meals that crept to the table. Establishments we frequent merely twice a year such as bakeries can breathe again but only for a short while. Speaking of breathing and the shortness thereof, as we ascend staircases in tighter pants with frozen dietary meals in our briefcases/purses, we work to stuff them amongst the others being piled into the work freezers. It seems we are willing to forego taste to desperately grab at opportunities to shed these unwanted inches we happily added only days ago. Are these frozen microwaved meals somehow satisfying? I mean isn't it cardboard sprinkled with Paprika, or are these commercials out there where people are doing jumping jacks immediately after consumption just plagiarizing the ingredients of Wolfgang Puck's most tender lamb shank? It seems we've resorted to Lunchables for adults. Peeling back our packages instead to London Broil and Yankee Pot Roast, worrying that it will resemble the airplane food we used to receive before free animal crackers and our shot of water. I guess what I'm getting at is eat smart and conservatively rather than resorting to expensive boxes of unsalted meatloaf with brown sauce. And add in a bit of exercise too. Maybe a stationary bike or some jogging in warm clothing outside. If you're worried, I'll be out there too, because I know I'm not the only one that scarfed down the brown-sugared yams topped with heated marshmallows, turkey, stuffing, corn, peas, asparagus, mashed potatoes, pecan pie - scoop of Haagen Dazs vanilla, and some Cheesecake Factory Snickers I?

11/27: "Rabbit Season! Duck Season!" - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt AAA

A colleague of mine is very down about his hunting trip. He blurted "I din't get one" as he went on about the time spent in the woods and his waiting game. As I sit in my chair cheering in my head for Bambi's great escape, I offered my sympathies for his lack of reward. As he walked away I couldn't help but remind myself why shooting an animal isn't for me. I think some comedians have said it best in that it isn't a sport if the opponent doesn't know they're playing. Now don't go jumping down my throat there NRA members as I understand the problems with overpopulation or overgrazing of animals and the beneficial control this system has placed on their environment, as well as the limited number of permits offered. I just personally couldn't muster up the excitement in taking aim at a helpless creature and then tracking them down to stare them in the eye before taking them away. If I see someone stomping on a spider creeping outside the front steps of our house I get steamed as it's completely unnecessary. On the other hand, I don't take for granted that there's much worse out there, and how terribly easy I have it when I walk into the butcher shop or push my cart down Shop Rite's aisles, plucking up everything neatly prepared in a Mr. Roger's sort of way. Of course I'm not innocent as I create demand for such products by buying them and if I was in a situation of survival where I'm lost in the woods for weeks on end my remembrance of the food chain hierarchy will come into mind, and my efforts to stay alive might contradict my current abhorrence of it. We most likely all of us would not be here if it weren't for hunters, but just don't expect me to be converting anytime soon! Happy hunting........

11/28: A Life Perspective through My Young Eyes - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt AAA 7 & 35DAY

When I was younger my father and I discussed what we would do if we had plenty of money. We watched from a far, as Jack, a friend of my father's who had enough to do whatever he wanted, showed up to work at 7am in his beaten up company paint truck at 85 years old to mull over the job sites of the fifty men he kept laboring each day for his construction company. I lifted the bundles of wallpaper for my father onto the wooden tables that were supported by crutches called "horses," most likely because they could sustain superior weight but had four skimpy legs. I breathed in clouds of recently cut Sheetrock particles as we pasted the wallcovering, breathing in even more toxins from the glue, as Jack walked around and delegated his requests. We would whisper to each other saying "why's he here? Why doesn't he go take a world cruise or something?" A dream of my father's which not so oddly became one of mine as a young impressionable adolescent, was to sail around the world and see as much as possible without blinking once. Finances and a family shackled my father from this as it normally would anybody, but not Jack. If he wanted too he could've lived in the Greek Islands, vacationed in Tahiti and camped in Greenland all in the same month without making a chip in his wallet, and for what was a chip or even a dent if you're already 85? Even if this man grew up with nothing and that his fear of losing what he's taken so long to gain is his major reason to continue working, we still wouldn't understand it. He said he just loved to work. How ironic that everyone around him wanted not to be at work, but had to shimmy around the 5 gallon paste bucket in a daily alienated funk. When we told him to fulfill our dreams, to let us live vicariously through his brittle bones and to go take those excursions we painted when our eyes were closed, he said he had no interest in that and shrugged it off with one hand in a downward motion. We knew his life, countless hours in the game as he hadn't traveled terribly much, and his wife was still mobile and alive at home, and his son and daughter long off in their successful lives as well. "I guess we're just different types of people" my dad said as he shook his head in disgust, knowing full well what he'd discover if he had the means. I replied, "I don't think so, he just wanted to stop learning."

11/29: Aches and Our Methods of Recovery - Jefferies Tax Exempt AAA Balances

It's amazing how a stomach ache or a head throbbing can incapacitate us as if weakened to a shrivel at their inset. I find the remedies quite interesting for either, as we all can relate in some way to the old days. Mom would say "here, sip on some Ginger Ale to settle your stomach, but don't drink it too fast because you'll make it worse." I didn't completely get it but took small gulps nonetheless. Speaking of slogging down some unique counteractive concoction, are there any Pepto lovers out there? That stuff makes me more sick than I could possibly be at any point, adding thick Benadryl flavored milkshake to whatever fire is fueling the problem. I've found myself before bed, diving into those little pieces of chalk that I swear a professor could use up on the board. You wake up feeling like your mouth spent a night in the desert. Tums they call 'em, where their commercial jingle sounds like you're awaiting judgement day in front of a relentless jury. As a precaution I'd throw on pajama pants where the wasteband's been stretched to this weekend, thanks to many stints in the hot dryer, therefore securing safety from any tight pressure that might cause discomfort. Nor would many stomachs pass the nerves test in stressful situations like the Best Man's speech, Pre-Prom Night, or worse, your first interview. Sorry folks, for these I have little to offer besides deep breaths and realizing that they will all be over shortly. For my head the usual remedy is an aspirin, however I've noticed the correlation between hunger and headaches, and easily resolve the adamant ones with a tasty devouring. What about those sinus attacks?! Well since those are more wicked than my old Home Economics teacher who'd whack my hand with the ruler when I'd accidentally drop the presser foot (still not over that), I can only say grab a nap, but not at your desk, or plenty of silence and stillness. Excuse me for a second, there's a pharmaceutical sales rep on the line.

11/30: Success as Food for Thought - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt

Constantly striving for bigger and better, looking forward with resilience and concentration on one goal. More. I know from personal experience that even in my junior year of college I yearned to get into the real world, because I was tired of the student life, the sports, the parties, the everyday freedom that shines now in our building windows tempting us to reminisce. I wanted to put in 90 hour weeks if necessary and head home as the roads had no cars on them and the subways held only vagrants and nightclub leftovers. In the back of my mind was this base feeling of being as effective as possible, and smiling because I was getting somewhere. Where was somewhere? Using every minute of my time to move me in the direction I thought would equal success and yet what makes someone successful? I have asked this of soon to be graduates as I speak in front of them, and they raise their hands with speedy confidence knowing their participation will score brownie points, and they spout high-level job titles, types of doctors, lawyers, astronauts and award winners. Most likely their life dreams or those they admire, but they haven't gotten it yet in my opinion, and that's because not everyone has those opportunities to become such people. I see that I was just like them and thought the same way too. Personally, I've reverted my thinking several times since then, recently to where I had thought the major goal in life was to create a family, and how I do hold this very very high on the importance list, I realized not everyone has this option, and therefore what does everyone have the opportunity to be? I realized, anyone can be a successful person by being a good person, because in the end what else will really have mattered? Could you hold it against someone if they didn't achieve brilliance in winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Of course a "good person" is a vague statement, but it consists of remaining responsible, treating others with kindness and can get the gist as there's a laundry list unfolding immeasurably. Look forward to hearing your thoughts...and hey, take the weekend to think about it, I know I will.

12/3: Rock Climbing and Achieving A Goal - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Snow began to fall yesterday and with that the feeling of cozy blankets and a fresh book next to the window or fireplace fills you with comfort and excitement. Except if you're me, where getting outside is as necessary as food for survival. I guess since I yearn to get into the daylight all week, it would be a waste if I didn't somehow step out the door on the weekend, even if it's to drive somewhere indoors. Therefore, we made our way to a massive warehouse-style rock climbing facility where I remember I had scaled walls and tied knots like the best of them, years ago in college. As we took our refresher course to awaken those skills long since squirreled away in hibernation, we threw on our elf shoes and began to map out our paths to the top. Now keep in mind, these aren't actual rocks but walls erected upwards of 30 feet where pegs of all shoehorn shapes and sizes await your crying fingertips. Large sections lean outwards as gaps have you hanging suspended in perfect cliffhanger form. Since your friends are the ones belaying you and managing the ropes if you fall, there's some major trust going on besides your efforts to cling to a wall in your best Spider-Man re-enactment. Loud laughing from below echoed off the walls as I noticed my legs and arms were shaking in a James Brown-esque convulsion because the next grip to grab was more than a foot above my arms reach and the size of a Dunkin Donut's jelly Munchkin. Contemplating what a real-rock climber would do, I stared, continued to shimmy and took a deep breath before frog-jumping for the nub. Now, if you literally picture a human being jumping up a 90 degree wall with full body weight trying to snag a plastic clown nose, you'd think that's impossible, and you'd be right, but adrenaline like anesthesia, had me dreaming otherwise. As my best pickle-claw with raw finger nails slipped easily off the grip, I swung and dangled in frustration, finally able to breathe again. And as I floated 20 feet above I felt like giving up and asking to be lowered down. But as I turned to face the wall I realized I hadn't fallen off the mountain thousands of feet to begin again, and there the problem was staring me right in the face, and that's when I knew it wasn't over. I had to get back on the wall and scale this thing and the lesson being learned is that you're going to fail in life at times and giving up immediately is the easy way out, but trying again to learn from your mistakes and improve upon your performance is the only way to get better. To make it to the can't stop climbing, and the goal isn't as sweet if you didn't fall time after time trying to get there.

12/4: Save the....I Mean, Dolphins Save Us! - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt AAA 7 & 35DAY

Okay, so now I know when I'm clipping the Coke Zero six pack plastic holder into little bits before disposing of it properly, I'm scratching the back of those that have been scratching ours since times of the Ancient Greeks. I've never been a genius on anything, especially not Dolphins and their pesky problem getting their noses caught in these things, but I had to do some research. For all I knew it could be an urban, or oceanic legend, whichever floats your boat. What I recently read about was how they came to the rescue of a surfer in California who was attacked several times from a great white shark. They formed a protective ring around him and assisted him to shore like his own personal coast guard. And this isn't the first time, as in the past couple years the same thing happened in New Zealand where several lifeguards 100 meters off shore were approached in an aggressive fashion by four dolphins who went into "hyperdrive" around them, smacking their fins on the surface only 8 inches away from the swimmers, who were unaware of the shark below them until they tried to break out of the ring. As one of the lifeguards swam out of the circle an agitated dolphin scurried him back into protection right as the shark passed him, he said. For 40 minutes this happened as they moved them toward the shore's safety. Quite impressive I'd say, and even more is their sonar abilities that sense when a woman is pregnant? Supposedly, they immediately gather around her to protect her, often the reason why pregnant women are banned from swim-with-the-dolphin programs because they wont pay any attention to anyone except her! Although dolphins can be found doing some brutal stuff to other mammals, like tortoises or even their own young, we can truly say they've done some very nice things for us. Makes me think I should've picked up that monthly "Dolphin Log" my father used to subscribe too for twenty years. You've got nothing on me Jacques Cousteau! Well maybe just a little.....

12/5: Skiing, Somehow a Favored East Coast Pastime - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Tonight we're expecting to see some flurries but no real accumulation, and as we begin to usher in winter conditions we start checking ski reports. Now, if I was to say I'm checking lift openings or base coverage today for mountains near here, I would absolutely be jumping the gun. If you know east coast skiing, you know it's rare enough to actually see a mountain have all trails open, ever. I shouldn't even call it a mountain, we'll say it's a hill. A hill that sports what's often known as packed granular. If the website or voice recording says this is the soup du jour, prepare yourself for aimlessly scattered ice balls, like pellets pulled from your lawn when aerating it. Grinding down this puppy, your knees shake as if operating a jackhammer and wiping out is as good as using coarse sandpaper for a washcloth. The only thing decent about falling is there's no snow to go up your back since it's all ice. We're lucky when we get 6 inches the night before the weekend because it covers this garbage up. However it's only temporary because the cattle know that if you aren't on the slopes by 830am, that dusting is long washed down the trail by newbies slicing pizza pies straight through the middle. Once you start seeing slick mini ice skating rink patches or revealing dark brown spots like a cows hide, you know it's time to call it a day or just ride the edges of the trail. The words "heli-skiing, powder, avalanche or back country" are only from movies where dreams come to life. If we want to hit a jump you automatically have to land it, otherwise you're crashing onto cement. The real reason helmets have been invented is because of NY skiing. Those three words, New York and Skiing, create an oxymoron. Plus, nothings more difficult than trying to render excitement while driving in your Mazda Miata up to the hill and not seeing an inch of snow anywhere on the ground. Once you turn into the parking lot all of five pitiful frozen skim milk lines trickling down from the summit cry at their own appearance in the car's reflection. It will take you around 40 minutes to finish all the runs, and how hilarious that they installed a gondola last season! Good luck this year to all my east coaster's who take their lives and health insurance policies into their hands, and to the west coaster's, never take for granted what you have, and please pray for us, we'll need it.

12/6: A MODERN Holiday Party - JEFFERIES AAA 28DAY Balances

We had our holiday party last night and as we shuffled around the evening's rented digs, you couldn't help crossing your arms or scratching your head when saying "what are these people thinking?" I don't mean fellow colleagues circling around anyone on a dance floor or someone working out their vocals on the nearest karaoke machine, I'm talking about the artists that plaster the walls of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Our event was held within the bubble of those who are thought to be "outside the box." And at some points I almost wish they'd stayed within it. Having nearly minored in art history, I feel like I can appreciate the intrinsic value in most displays, however some go far below the realm of creative that I'm downright lost. I felt these so called artists should sit in my seat as their ridiculously persuasive sales skills must've gotten them into that place. Or maybe it's like one of those exclusive, chin-held-high athletic clubs or establishments where you have to know someone to get in.... either way, I stared at a string of light bulbs that went from the middle of the wall down to the ground in a heap. One light was out but not resembling some pattern or figment of illuminated imagination, and yet there was the info. card on the wall talking about the creator. I felt stupid and wanted to ask one of the security guards if the museum was joking. As if he wouldn't agree with me and everyone else who'd spent more than ten minutes staring at this thing. Meandering around, blobs of who knows what sat perched on stands, as they were considered sculptures that I thought I could have molded at my second grade Plaster Funcraft birthday party. And lastly is the geometric shapes painted on canvas, as if a compass from Sequential I Math Class couldn't make a similar circle by sticking down the needle and twisting your fingertips. "Oh wait, I wanted the circle bigger, opening the compass a bit more and spinning its little Scattegories pencil....ah, just perfect," I said, holding my hand up to the painting. Either way you look at a lot of this stuff, you work so hard to conjure a story behind it, something that's alluding you because you never knew this person's life and what brought them to create this. And as a tray of tiny egg roll hors d'oeuvres the size of buffalo nickels(the same size of regular nickels, just more descriptive) flies by, you snap out of it, realizing you'll never know the answer, and that there are other works of art out there that will whet your appetite, just keep your eyes, mouth and ears open.

12/7: Caught Walking Picture Perfect - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt AAA 7 & 35 DAY

Two women admiring a controlled waterfall in a park nearby the building flagged me down as I exited the subway. Pulling my audiobook from my ears, I heard them giddily laughing while mumbling "oh he's probably on his way to work anyway." As I snapped a couple photos of them, they jokingly said "don't you want to come see the city with us?" I only imagined their day was just beginning. It's 7:45am and yet their strolling the frosty streets of NY with unmistakable excitement. They'd probably hit Rock Center and the tree, catwalk 5th avenue, skip in unison down Madison, stop at a street cart for Roasted Peanuts and coffee before walking through Central Park, cab it to Empire State Building to scan the skyline, trek back up to Broadway for a pitch perfect rendition of Jersey Boys, settle in with Foie Gras at a Four Star restaurant before catching up on the day's events at a piano bar which leaks into Times Square for the shuffle home to the cozy hotel. As I walked away I smiled. I smiled like you do when you're dead tired and you just got into bed knowing a great sleep awaits you. You've earned the warm covers and there's no other place you'd rather be. It's funny because a passerby looked at me like "what the heck's he smiling about?" Someday he'll know too. As we'll all, at some point or another, be walking by ourselves smiling, whether it's at a gorgeous sunset or while replaying a memory long since gone. It was just a perfect Friday morning where I was meant to do it.Have an absolutely perfect weekend

12/10: Time Honored Toe Dancing - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt

There's something about attending a ballet where you step into a whole new realm. It feels like these performers were raised differently somehow, in a home where no worries existed, and every and any option was available to them. Sort of like those lucky enough to have a stable in the backyard where they can ride any pony any day they wanted. That's most likely not the case being completely based on assumption, but when I watched this year's Nutcracker I felt like I was being transported to a much earlier time. A time when theater was the only form of entertainment beyond street jugglers, and every level of the auditorium held a different class of people, with the poorest standing against the walls. The costumes seemed crisp, velvet and vintage, as if from the first performance ever, years ago. A Christmas tree magically raised from under the stage to over 30 feet tall as snow covered the dancers costumes, and then vanished into the ceiling the whole tree in its entirety. There was a sweet smell in the air from someone's perfumed jacket, and if I crossed it again I'd be right back in my seat. Talented, these people definitely are because they maneuver every which way on the tips of their toes while spinning three or four times in a perfect pirouette. High flying splits seeming almost hyper-extended at the sides and little children scampering about the stage following orders they memorized while studying for a spelling test including the word "ballerina." You walk away smiling, appreciating every dance and wishing someday you could be a large enough donor to warrant a seat in the center of the First Ring and earn a tiny gold plaque on the back of the chair honoring your family name. There's no moral lesson to learn here but rather an understanding of old-time entertainment and how it currently still assists with growing ones culture and the sense of beauty in form and movement....overall, reality TV now never looked so bad.

12/11: My College Roommate....Seriously - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt 7 & 35DAY

While in college, not everyone gets the single all to themselves. I'd guess 95% of students who bunk on campus are sharing their pads with someone unknown. And even though you may move off campus, this doesn't mean you've escaped the advantages of splitting the rent, therefore you take in those whom you think you know. I first met my then soon-to-be apartment mate before our Freshman year even started at preseason soccer training. An overall boisterous personality and louder voice than Sam Kinison doing stand-up, he wore on you and was a pleasure to be around. To live with was a totally different story. We'll call him "Crumbs" to conceal his identity as if you'd do the research to find out who he is, or really care once you do know. When you walked in the apartment you would immediately know if Crumbs' room door was open. Stagnant shredded t-shirts from middle school summer camps laid to waste on his lazy-boy, as they grew a scent overpowering any Glade Plug-In we'd put outside his door. Old paper cups forming mold at the bottom from the leftover baked potato and sour cream he'd smushed into it, blended into his trophy shelf. If we had a refrigerator in our literally funky digs I didn't know about it because I never used it. If you opened it you were preparing for falling objects, of course while holding your breath. In the freezer you'd find chicken francaise from the mess hall crammed into a paper french fries container and covered with a tiny square of saran wrap. Fyi...plastic wrap doesn't exactly stick to paper so this served little purpose as these patches shivered, crumbled and froze to the sides of the walls. He came from a middle class family but was a frugal nut, and if you had a sip left in a soda can, he'd finish it or squeeze it into the fridge for later. Extra ketchup would make its way back into the bottle from his dish. His famous line would be "you gonna eat that?" Considering my discontent for that specific question and the few pieces of grizzle left on my plate that he was asking for, I'd sprint to the garbage can sometimes successfully before getting tackled with an echoed "NOoooo!" in the background. Crumbs had a shiny complexion since he was always hot and I don't think he'd ever washed his comforter, mainly because it didn't fit in the sink. In order to avoid the $2 total cost to use the washer/dryer, he'd ball his clothes into the kitchen sink and squirt green Palmolive dish soap in to work it's magic. The tan plastic kitchen floor was constantly sticky and practically browned over, his bathroom tub corners were framed black like burnt toast except for the new layer of caulk he'd apply. In essence, he was the epitome of gross, but you figure like anything in life it may be a stage he'll snap out of. A recent update, he's currently the "couch guy" at his friends apartment in San Diego......"really cheap rent," he said.

12/12: Montage of Candidate Credentials - JEFFERIES AAA 28DAY

I remember reading an article the other day that humorously gives each of us hope to still get into the oval office, in some way, shape or form. It described previous employers of current candidates running for office, and occupations most of us find particularly close to home. Essentially, bringing these prospectives "down to earth" a bit. As Huckabee cleaned the jewelry glass countertops at JCPenney's, Richardson laid sod in Cape Cod. Fred Thompson, possibly the most diverse of the bunch for entry-level roles, would work the morning's in the post office, the afternoon as a clerk in a motel and then tossed a few rowdies as a late night bouncer at a local establishment. Edwards would clean the "Weave Room" at a textile mill, as Obama would scoop ice cream at Baskin Robbins for Romney who finished his long days cutting sewage pipe at his uncle's home. Hillary who had a long day "sliming" fish at a cannery, which by the way means "spooning the guts out of them" as the article put it, had her real fun traveling as she worked too in Alaska's Mt. McKinley National Park. Lastly, in the ultimate forms of service, Dodd labored construction services for the Peace Corps and Rudy G. almost became a priest. So what does this all mean? Well, two things, either I still have a shot of getting into office if I work hard because my adolescent jobs being a paperboy, bus-boy and painter/paper-hanger build character and aren't prerequisites to being a politician, or secondly, if I ever need to throw a party at my house, I can priority mail the invitations, get the windows cleaned, trim the landscaping, fix the plumbing, put in a new foundation, dust the closet shelves, properly prepare the seafood, say Grace, be served delicious dessert, and provide recommendations for a nearby tavern for after hours, plus a good motel room if they are forced to leave.

12/13: A New Holiday Cologne/Perfume - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt 7 & 35 Day

I just invented my own personal cologne yesterday in my kitchen, it's Justin Madden for Men, really original name if you ask me. The commercials will be two people frolicking on a beach, waves crashing in the background, maybe even a seagull overhead cruising by, using the wind for speed and then some real good facial expressions. I'm talking Derek Zoolander style but taking myself serious in a care-free way. I figured since the likes of anyone, even Yoda will soon be issuing his own scent, I might as well beat them to the punch. As we're smack in the middle of holiday shopping, for all those like me scouting websites or articles for the next best gift idea, I bumped yesterday into an article that said what not to get for the holidays. Baffled that jewelry, flowers, house ware, exercise equipment/apparel and gift cards were already on there I figured "what next?" Well perfume and cologne were both listed because they might be sending a message of someone's questionable personal hygiene, insinuating that they smell. As I read this backwards map-of-an-article, Mariah Carey's lip-syncing some nonsense on the TV in her new perfume commercial. Now if you're like me, you're just sick of most celebrities. So the fact that anyone who's played a pizza delivery guy in a sitcom, or danced in a music video, can become a chemist selling their own potion, just makes you cringe. When I was young I practically collected colognes, even ones from other countries that we visited, trying to wear a different one each day before re-starting again after a few weeks. It's been a long time since then and I can see why I haven't gone back. There's just no way my interest could be peaked to go pick up the new cologne from the band KISS. As I'd spray the most likely opaque liquid, I can imagine gagging to a potent spritz of sweat, saliva, leather, some face paint and lipstick. Now I see really why that article says colognes are a bad idea, the recipient might smell worse with them on.

12/14: Supplements or Blood, Sweat and Chewing Tobacco - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day

From the many topics out there to choose from, even though I do feel drained some days to come up with something, I chose to chat with my computer today about steroids or human-growth-hormone(HGH). It came under massive scrutiny yesterday, as it should in most major sports and brewed a bit of a debate between my friends. I say "most" sports probably because the NFL is so far gone, it must be riddled with the stuff or even applauded under the breath of coaches alike, but hey I could be wrong. Performance enhancing drugs I think cause a problem because it takes away the fairness of the sport. If we put aside the minor issues (sarcasm), the fact that they are horrible for your health physically and mentally, detrimental to those around you and are ultimately illegal, the idea of winning a competition or being ranked #1 after having used these substances is unprofessional and unnatural. If you're in a spelling bee where one kid can use the dictionary and the other has to go off his memory, it's impossible to win no matter how hard you practice. It's no wonder why in the Olympic games, those that "dope" to be faster runners, lose their medals and are shunned international icons. They should be. They took away their opponent's opportunity to win no matter how hard they worked, and obliterated the trust of other athletes that they're out there competing on raw talent. Even worse, their country is then represented poorly by such showings, as if they'd advocated such use. The worst we came up with is records being broken from many years ago before these enhancers ever existed. If Roger Maris' home-run record was broken because Mark McGuire or Barry Bonds took such growth supplements, then what's the point of saying they broke the record. If you climb Mount Everest you can fall into two categories, 1: Climbed Mount Everest While on Supplemental Oxygen, 2: Climbed Mount Everest Without Supplemental Oxygen...the latter one being much harder than the other. Therefore there should be two types of categories for record-holders......1: Home-Runs Hit while on Supplements and 2: Home Runs Hit while on Blood, Sweat and Chewing Tobacco.

12/17: Where Would I Be Without Wind - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day Balances - Welcome Back

This morning it's beyond cold in the city, it's airborne frostbite. And the severity of the temperature is only because of the wind. As I turned the corner from my building near the Hudson River, I put my hand out and forged forward in my best linebacker stance, stiff-arming any flying little children. With the four different layers I had going I could've resembled a football player, except the wind loves to reveal the tiny chicken legs beneath, nearly shredding the suit pants against the caps of my knees and exposing skin above my tissue-thin GoldToe's. In a brief moment I thought of buying a wind turbine to erect at the street corner, assuming it would power the entire block year-round. I laughed at the thought of Tiger Woods checking the wind speed by tossing grass in the air, as it would soar clear to the Hamptons....."better go a bit easy on the approach shot I yelled to him, handing over the sand wedge." Yes I laughed....some people can't find humor in moments like this......I even cried without trying as the air just sucked tears from my squints. The thing about cold is, you can dress for it so you don't really have to suffer (excluding mountain climbing), but when it comes to protecting your newly prepared hair-do, well you'll be okay with losing your ears. Trying to figure out if keeping your head straight down is best or lifting it straight up as if to naturally blow-dry it. No matter what, you still look like Nick Nolte's mugshot afterwards. We walk up the bus stairs looking like we all just watched Titanic in an ice-sculptured chair, and the bus driver asks "what happened?" Well, I took too long, and half a dozen 2nd graders blew away to the Hamptons, Tiger Woods overshot the green by four feet, he fired me for horrible representation, I met up with Nick Nolte's stylist in frustration because I needed change, and now I'm just trying to get to work to write about it.

12/18: Driving Without Controls - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances

Something I've found which is not uncommon yet essentially dangerous at the core is driving very, very late at night. We choose to take it to the road when we know there's better options available. As you merge onto the highway you know who's with it, and who's not. People seem to double their speed and lose care for control as if they're incapable of driving normal. Or because racing home with inept confidence, they're making an impression of cool to someone else in the car. Not that I can blame everyone for their erratic swerves as even I've been prone to have an experience or two, right after yawning. You're steady on the wheel and cruising on the open road, white lines flashing by bright to dark, bright to dark, and over again. Then all of a sudden your head shoots up and you open your eyes just inching off the lines that you confidently swore were dead ahead. You have no idea how long your eyes were closed but it could've been a millisecond or a minute, the point is, your heart's racing and you're annoyed with yourself. Giving your face a few smacks, you turn up the music real loud and open the windows to freeze yourself into an Antarctic awareness. Of course you should just pull off the road to sleep but it's always just another five or ten minutes. I've heard worse I suppose, especially when a friend of mine, astonished by her own admitted nodding experience, she thought it made sense to put a pillow behind her head and a blanket over herself for warmth and comfort while driving. I mean who would do that?! Well obviously someone, and that's really the point, especially as the holidays are here and it's high time for populated roads, if you're absolutely desperate to get home and you must drive, just take precautions. Pack a red bull or have a coffee before your journey and maybe even talk to someone on an earpiece or speakerphone to keep you awake. This way you'll actually see everything going on around you rather than dreaming what's there in front of you.....and I will do the same my friend!

12/19: An Evening of Cash Cows - JEFFERIES AAA 7 & 28Day

One night and more than ten ways to make a buck. As we readied ourselves for a night on the town, crane's operated by engineers and laborers getting double-time continued to work on a building in spotlights that will obstruct our view of Times Square in no time. Police cars lined up outside the building doing their practice drills, drowning out the churning cement trucks and dozers with their sirens, before zooming off to their next location. We walked past the doorman who's now receiving the many holiday bonuses coming in from tenants, smiling bigger than any other time of the year. And as I calculated they receive on average 50$ per apartment, in a building where there are 40 floors, and twenty apartments per floor (that's 40K cash each). As we hailed a cab to dinner on the opposite side of the city, the tab ran $16. The waiters at one of our favorite restaurants were bustling around the packed tables and yet it was 9pm when we arrived on a frigid Tuesday night. A delicious meal and a nice tip and we hopped another 9$ cab ride, this time to the tree at Rockefeller Center where photographers asked us if we wanted a professional photo taken in front of the richly dark-colored, sparkling tree. Happily declining because we had our own camera, we walked back up 5th avenue passing street carts with Felafel and Gyros blasting music as if to attract people like moths to light. Others did wait, especially for those foil-packed pita sandwiches which are impossible to eat without dripping all over yourself because the bread acts as a slide for any pesky juice that's dying to escape. Twisting down the translucent spiral staircase that leads into the underground lair that is the 24-hour Apple store, we were greeted by dancing employees who seemed unnaturally happy to be at work considering it was 11:30pm. Even they were getting paid and rightfully so for upholding such a culture and making me remember them. Lastly, we topped the evening off with a horse & carriage tour of Central Park's snowy night-time views, including TRUMP's Ice Skating Rink (sorry had to put that in caps since the name was in caps all over the rink), a 110-year old carousel and the Chess & Checkers hangout for anyone looking to emulate Bobby Fischer. Ending with the most interesting of all the professions, the tour guide/carriage driver, I couldn't help but think about the topic because it made me a bit proud as we stood next to his friendly and powerful white horse that led us around. Proud because he'd been doing this for seven years and was extremely pleasant, reminding me that anyone can find what's good for them out there no matter how unorthodox from the mainstream jobs that are held on a pedestal. As my father constantly said, always have a dream in mind and work hard towards that dream, and before you know it you'll be living it.

12/20: Bound for Life and Never Giving Up - JEFFERIES AAA 28-Day

You know, I was always so impressed with my grandparents staying together for their entire lives, considering they got married at 17 and 19. You can't imagine how you can make such a lifelong decision at such a young age. So I began to layout the reasoning as best I could. I understood that haste and youth took a back seat to the distance and time they'd be putting between them, as he would head off to World War II for who knew how long. Marriage would then instill hope for extra strength to return home to see his wife again, and therefore sharing vows made sense. But none of this means that it should work forever, and actually it would spell disaster to a lot of parents these days. I think intuitively I got my answer this past weekend as I saw the movie Atonement. The separation from someone extremely important to you makes you realize how vital they are to your existence, because for some reason we take them for granted while they're here. And as the streams of battle wounded soldiers came back to the hospitals where thousands of nurses happily awaited what would be unimaginable to them, they, and we the audience realized any-handedly what they'd just endured for those loved ones they'd left behind. An electricity that would bind those husbands to wives forever if they were lucky enough to be walking off the ship to cheering crowds, rapid heartbeats and insane anticipation. They would never let go again, neither of them. They knew what loss meant and how badly they yearned for who they didn't have. Hugging pictures they'd stick in their helmets and re-reading letters they'd probably read fifty times before, injecting emotional torture into themselves that somehow soothed the hurt. Giving that up again would be worse than our ultimate fates, and so they didn't for all their years. I could be way off here and a bit dramatic to the extent that so many young marriages at the time lasted because of this, but I know for sure that it helped. It had to help.....they never gave up.

12/21: Last Minute Scramble - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day

A little perturbed as I specifically ordered some gifts to arrive by a deadline, and they still haven't come several days after. It's difficult to wait til the last minute I guess because even then the shipping costs on some items is more than the item itself. If you want 2nd day delivery it'll cost $20, and overnight I saw yesterday was $60 for a bottle of wine! Using for books and ebay for specialty items you'll notice you're putting your trust in an individual rather than a corporation. As I'm writing this I just received a confirmation that my order has been shipped today, and I placed the order for my sister's favorite cookbook on the 12th of December. Does that make sense? Is this so-called book distributor placing the order for the book somewhere else the day I place the order, awaiting it's arrival and then placing it back in the mail to me? You might as well put in your disclaimer, "order may take weeks before my dog and I process it on my living room carpet pending our trip to Staples to get a new ink cartridge for my printer." The only gifts to arrive on time were from and some publicly-traded steakhouse giftcards. I picture thousands of little elves shackled together by chains in the Target warehouse climbing the scaffolding to reach my newest version of Trivial Pursuit. No wonder the box got here earlier than expected, lives were most likely at stake, and I doubt those little elves even have health insurance being part-time and all. These days there's not so many deals on eBay either. It's been scanned for arbitrage where one guy buys up all the cheap offers for one product and then re-lists the item forty times over the next 7 days at his goal price. What is the point in listing it that many times? The same picture and description with a reserve price of $4.99 and a "Buy It Now" price of $5.99. Now that's a profitable spread....anyway you look at it people, those loonies that I usually poke fun at when they say at Halloween that they're done with their Christmas shopping might have something going for themselves, because this last minute scramble for goodness sure "ain't" cutting the ribbon.

12/26: Joined a Band This Weekend - JEFFERIES AAA 7&28 Day

If you're like me you were bamboozled into playing some form of an interactive game with a young one this past weekend. As relatives rushed me past the answering machine where Santa Claus specifically left them and only them, a minute long voicemail, I was brought to what seemed to be the newest technological breakthrough out there. A video game called "Rock Band" or as some of you may know a similar competitor, "Guitar Hero." I've played video games long ago and figured I was still somehow hip to what's out there. Considering I used to play the drums throughout high school and managed a band for some time after college, I have an affinity and personal attraction to the music industry, and this led to an overly confident attitude coming into this whole debacle. With Rock Band you literally sit there with an electronic drum set, microphone and guitar working to re-enact in pantomime fashion the keys, notes or lyrics scrolling up, down and across the screen. I took to the drum set in horrible assumptive fashion saying " this'll be cake." As I flailed my arms at the TV like I just rear-ended a car stopping shortly, the kids worked to "save me" from being eliminated from the game because I couldn't cut it as their drummer. You work to follow color patterns and hit those corresponding drum heads and kick the bass pedal in synchronicity. The crowd booed and hissed practically tossing tomatoes on stage as I hung my mohawked digital head upset with myself. As the kids told me to take the mic, you can imagine my stage fright. There I am, in shirt, tie and polished dress shoes holding egg nog, singing Nirvana's consistently depressing melodies. At least my pitch on the vocals was practically perfect just speaking the words and holding long groans until the chorus came where I'd hum loudly as if someone was steadily stepping harder onto my foot for an extended period of time. This time though, we were a success as a band. We fully completed the song to cheers and an excited fanatical crowd. Since we'll probably go double platinum on our newly announced tour visiting a city near you, I ask that you come out and support us because if I'm on the drums or grabbing the mic, either way I'll give you your money back.

12/27: In a Tight Spot of Tolstoy's Clutches - JEFFERIES AAA 7 & 35 Day Tax Exempt

And so I gathered my breath for another night on the town, this one by myself which means I can eat something quick and less fantastically served, usually containing pepperoni rather than white truffles. I downed my cream soda, which reminds me of cotton candy, and with a slight burn in my throat I skirted out into the hail and rain that makes New York miserable. But how could I be annoyed, it's still the holidays and mini ice balls were dancing off the lampposts and sidewalks like Gene Kelly.....and so I smiled. It was made too easy as I knew where I was headed. Lately I've grown fond of reading, and my interest in the classics has peaked dramatically. The one at the top of my list was Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace," but the 1463 pages that drive the dictionary to jealousy, isn't exactly calling my name. Instead of licking my fingertips to flick pages, a few clicks of the mouse and 15$ later, I was hanging off the sidecar balcony of the Metropolitan Opera. Highly anticipating the 4 and a half hour dramatic journey to Moscow that lied ahead, this was very unlike me. The opera was a place I've condemned since I was little, murmuring to myself "that will never be my cup of tea" as I'd pass it on a TV channel. Now, just as your tastes change for food as you get older, mine had too for this. When I walked through the balcony door three other gentlemen were already packed into a space that could barely fit an ottoman. Four miniature velvet folding chairs were soldiered into this bunker, nearly touching each other and the word "cozy" finally took its raw form. Unless of course I spoke Russian, I would still be reading the story, only an abbreviated version on my tiny translating prompter that I gripped like a fabric-covered ruler. And as the lights flew up to the ceiling and the curtain drew so did an old lady's eyes in the balcony next to me. Mine however never shuttered. The prevailing story of love, regret, mistakes, perseverance, glory and essentially the defeat of Napoleon and his armies by every citizen's efforts of "Mother Russia," equated to a powerful display of vocal range. The first half of the story mainly love-torn solos sent airborne over distances that covered their battled lands and souls. And the second half, choral masses chiming together in unison to convey Russia's message and strength in their one beating heart. It ended with our feverish claps, waning through the midnight hours as our feet and legs long stiffened like a gargoyle's perch. Thankful for my experience I walked back into the rain again smiling, practically heel-clicking in the streets because, well....after all, it was a fantastic night at the opera.

12/28: Sales, From the Heart to the Hands - JEFFERIES AAA 7 & 28 Day

Cramming my way through the crowded city sidewalks just to move one block in the right direction I must have passed six people covered in wooden planks from front to back. Some not speaking a word of English, I felt sorry for them as I skidded by their outstretched hands. They weren't begging, just passing out flyers and acting as human advertisements. Offering the next best deal on a 99$ 3-piece suit, or offering $1 off a combo meal at Subway, or more likely than not, passing out information on their chosen religion. As thousands of us do, we get intolerant of receiving these flyers because almost all of us will not use them, equaling more wasted paper and ten feet later, litter on the ground. Upon further reflection I thought about the type of job it is, the amount of patience it takes, and what they could do to make it easier to get rid of the flyers. I have seen them snap the flyer as if to create an impulsive grab by the sense of urgency it creates rather than a passive arm out hand-off where everyone assumes if there's no energy there's no value. The amount of denials these people get, it must be like being a corporate cash manager or something. In an effort to move the paper, as if these guys are on a proprietary trading desk, I figured an interesting idea would be to hold raffles to create interest and demand. They hand everyone the coupon or flyer plus they have them fill out their full name on a small card and hold a drawing at their store location at a specific time. The ultimate prizes being whatever they can give away, for example: 2 people will get a free combo meal or 50% off their suit purchase. This way you get everyone into the store for the drawing that wants to be there and most likely derive traffic sales from any of the unlucky raffle losers. I've seen though, the religious convert salesman has it the toughest because it's like giving the 10-second elevator pitch to the CEO at an auctioneer's speed before accepting that the passerby isn't interested and then giving the owl neck-spin back to the next prospective bidder. We make it tougher on this guy with our head phones tuning out the world and the existence of the man pointing at us addressing our attention and his need for it. The only thing I can quickly think for this guy is to pitch an informational meeting with a date and time for all the public, rather than just the religion in those 10 seconds. Provide some food if possible and congregate to share ideas rather than overwhelming and scaring the interested. I guess everything has to be sold somehow. Anyway, that's what I thought about when passing these people and a job like that where there's nothing to lose, all to gain and pure creativity will be rewarded in-person. The seventeen of you now actually in the office reading this, will think about what you'd do, next time you pass them by :) If I had a flyer right now to give you, it would say......."Have an excellent New Year from bottom of our hearts!"

1/9: Kodak Moments and Mammal-Man - JEFFERIES AAA 7 & 28Day

I am back! (to those who realized I was gone) To all, I want to wish the best of new year hopes and dreams, may they be made true by your efforts, others if by luck at least. The week or so away has left me with several stories to tell, one of an island where 99% of the land is uninhabited, so pristine that the bison that grazed it roamed as if native to the land since the day it formed. As our tour guide roared us through the dirt-strewn back roads in our outdoor jeep-style "Unimog", we ducked our heads as branches grasped at us like crazed fans at a tour bus. He drove these trails in his dreams...practically duck, dip, dive, and dodging each blind corner to rev right into the next one. A grown up's roller-coaster, it was better, and this man's job was the operator. Flinging arms about as he wailed over the loud speaker he'd point at "Kodak Moments" to come, as if he'd coined the phrase and used it so thoroughly to introduce it to "Mammal-Man," or so he called us. A full-hearted chap and energetic mass, he worked windblown tears from our eyes as our smiles challenged from the other side of the net. I don't think I stopped smiling...for what reason would I anyway. Life is meant to be amazing in so many instances, and at best in those moments that we find ourselves with others so important enough to share them with, in such a beautiful place to-boot, how can we resist such reflection or thankfulness. You can find those moments anywhere, this just so happened to be the place and time. Like Gulliver, I found my travels culminating at the top of cliffs at an "Airport in the Sky." A landing strip meant only for the rich and famous, we knew, as we had taken the ferry-boat over earlier that day. Looking down at the ocean's small breaks on the shore, it was the pinnacle summit of the island. Pointing you wherever in life you wanted to go.....the question is, where were we? Let me know.....

1/10: A Dowry at The Reservoir Lounge - JEFFERIES Afternoon AAA 28Day

Before roaming the night for an experience, which is often hard to find when you're by yourself, I dropped by the hotel's lounge for a recommendation. The attendant toweling off brandy glasses, a gentleman with a well-buttoned velvet green vest that choked almost to his chin, addressed me with much more manners than he led me to believe he had, considering his stark black, erratically spiked hair and dangling silver ear ring. I specifically went up to him though because of those features, expecting he'd know best where I could entertain my ears with the hottest Jazz band the night could offer. As his eyes lit up he drew his pen from that skimpy pocket every vest consists of but is never used. Sliding it to me as if a secret code to the President's Suite I swiped it less cunningly, having to pry the corner up from the card to lift it with my chewed fingernails. He gestured what door to leave from and name-dropped streets I nodded unflinchingly too, as if I had known them. With tingling anticipation I made my way through the city and ducked my head under the nameless blue awning that a local had pointed me toward. Down the steep tiny stairs that blended into the street, I submerged into the cave where the talent hibernated in sound. Pulling up a stool next to a lone stranger, he turned to me already smiling, signaling I had come to the right place. The bass strummed and bowed into the next song before the piano player, sounding like a mix between Harry Connick Jr. and Elvis Costello, belted lowly the name of the song. Caring less for tomorrow's duties or the weight on my shoulders, I arched out my back on the stool and slumped forward listening to the mess of parallels that is jazz. Before walking out I placed a glass on the stage, which was no more than two inches off the ground, keeping the band close to level with the patrons. And I stood a noticeable bill in the glass, thanking them without words or eye contact for the experience and their time spent making my night so memorable. I only mention this because in the back of my mind I hoped that audience appreciation incentivizes them to keep performing in the future...and that possibly the simple crowd would add to the dowry as they exited hours later. Everyone needs that extra motivation sometimes and some honestly deserve it...and I knew too, a 7$ door cover for the band, just wasn't going to cut it.

1/14: Rinse, Hold and Repeat - JEFFERIES AAA 28-Day

Rain, it's not particularly my thing...but sometimes, you just don't care. As we, and the clouds, rolled our bags to the dock, we prepared ourselves for what would be a ride in our lives (to underscore the dramaticism I could've went with). The ferry boat pulled up, a massive catamaran-style cruiser where one person stepped off to visit the island and only days ago hundreds of us had walked the plank, eager to comb the shores. The letters painted blue across the side read "Catalina Express," but a name could not show its experience, and the many days it had endured before, that were much harsher than mine to come. Of the ship's two levels, one portion was exposed. The top backside deck had rails and plastic bucket seats where any beautiful day there'd be no room to sit, but today only a couple souls would bare it. Now, if most of you will remember correctly, I get motion sickness like Steve Jobs gets technology. It's just in us. So I took my Dramamine, boarded the vessel and shot straight to the top. Most of you are asking yourselves, why would you go outside if a storm's coming? Well, the sickness that sets in from bobbing and swaying, is abetted to nil when I have wind blowing me in the face. It's a trade-off I'm willing to endure, hopefully avoiding sickness for the hour and a half ride, plus the hour car ride home. It's not everyday you have a massive ship practically to yourself. We started off as the sun was setting it's magenta pink's against the billowing clouds, looking like clarity battling disaster in the skies. As the high-speed cruiser ducked through swells that would capsize a dingy, a wave sprayed harshly against the ship's side and right up the front of me, soaking my hair to my forehead. I was standing on the edge holding one of the rails looking forward as if my future was right ahead of me. The world blew my hair dry in seconds, and my eyes adjusted to the dark, perfect enough to see light glinting off the dolphins jumping our wake. As I put life's background music on my ears, I breathed better about the waves, the rain and the fire that street lights burned on the hills in the distance. I didn't want the shore to come because that meant reality, and sometimes the temporary idea of being lost and in transition is invigorating. The rain or water just the same, I guess acts like the refresh button of self. Sometimes you just need to re-boot.

1/15: Vulnerability in Nicety - AAA Tax Exempt 7 & 35Day at JEFFERIES

Is there vulnerability in nicety? That's the question I asked myself when moving over so ladies could enter the subway first. As their fur-topped hoods smothered my face to a near sneeze, I worked to move onto the inch they'd left me. The doors closed to sandwich me to a thinner human form as the voice came over the speaker "please move away from the closing doors." Finally I stepped off in defeat, there was no room left for me. I scratched my head and thought about Darwinian theory, survival of the fittest and then, whether or not those women even cared, or if they chalked up their space on the subway to persistence, luck and timing. I met eyes with none of them as the train car pulled away, and as the next train came, let's just say I made sure I got on no matter if Queen Elizabeth was shuffling up behind me. And it's funny because I bet any new lady walking up surveying the situation might suggest in their mind that chivalry doesn't exist anymore, as this time the Titanic "women and children only" bit didn't hack it. But little did they know that I already got hoodwinked 15 minutes ago by letting others get on, and if I continued to be Johnny Do-Right I might as well have gotten up at 9am and took an empty subway to work. The question remains though, did my manners equal getting taken advantage of? I mean who really learns from the situation if it goes unnoticed? Yea, I can stare up at the sky and say that's good for karma, but how about when you hold the door for someone and they don't say thank you? Is that not extremely agitating? Did they really just expect that it should be held, because there's definitely no law on it. A boisterous "you're welcome!" comes right after that, for sure. The point is that I guess you can't stop being who you are just because you might be on the losing side of a situation. You just have to understand that another day it will be someone else who has to shrug it off. I guess we should try harder to be aware of what others might do for you us without hesitation, as we'll lose those unspoken actions the more we disregard others' efforts to sustain them. Request what you know you are entitled too, be overly graceful in the exchange of it and give back wherever you can comfortably fulfill a need.

1/16: Multiplicity & Oprah - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day Balances @ 6.00%

I know I'm excited too, and can you guess why? O, I mean Harpo, oops, I meant Oprah, is coming out with her own TV network, just in case you don't receive a copy of her magazine, hear her radio show on XM satellite or see her wildly popular daytime TV show. Now you can DVR & TiVo all day long and begin at 8am on Saturday morning and finish 8pm Sunday night without a wink, to make sure you stay abreast. Honestly, I think the woman is a genius. Take it from me, anyone that can talk about something new everyday and make it interesting is a magician. I give these talk show people a lot of credit as I would need a crane to pull me out of bed to drop me on the studio chair with the mattress completely covering the chair in a balancing fashion, to give advice once again about how all sharp corners on kitchen countertops should be rounded to a safe level, while doing it on a budget. With blankets still on, I'd be shaking with disinterested chapped lips. One other question, how does this book club work that she's got? I mean, I can barely find a moment's time to sit down and read, and I don't own 72 businesses. It's like she's found Michael Keaton's multiplicity machine where I can picture her conducting the orchestra at The Color Purple, speaking into the microphone at the radio station, jotting down notes for the newest magazine articles on self-healing, shaking hands with Tom Cruise on the set of her TV show, reviewing solicitors' newest advertising agreements for her fully functioning website, professing a lesson overseas at her all girls school and reading her next greatest novel to add to her best-seller's list. I'm telling you, the Donald Trump boardroom would have 20 Oprah's at the roundtable combining their weekly ideas. Their next big idea you ask? Well, the Presidency of course. She could be lobbying and campaigning in every state at the same time before any other candidate could even get advice, just don't advocate the cloning thing.....we're not yet ready for it :)

1/17: Spinning Rims and a Decrease in Consumer Spending - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Bals

So I went to a hot air balloon festival this past summer and while we were there watching the statue of liberty's head, a space ship, and a perfectly square American flag launch oddly into the air, there was a car show going on behind us. Not being a technical vehicle buff myself, we walked by a mini-van that had a huge spoiler on the back that seemed to emulate Lonestar's flying Winnebago in Spaceballs. This decked out symbol of what I believe was mistaken by the owner to be coolness, popped back into my mind as I waited behind a tiny car this weekend that had televisions installed in the headrests of the seats. The car must have cost half of what the headrests were now worth, but you wouldn't know for sure because the owner pulled the emblem and logos off to conceal what probably was a Geo beforehand. Did they only make those cars in Teal? Besides, who's watching the TV's except me, squinting and guessing as to what the heck the 6 inch panel's showing? It becomes sort of a game with you and your passengers, who can get it first. By the time he puts the movie on, he has to already be wherever he's going, no? I doubt you're going cross country in that thing, and if so you better plan on being blind or cross-eyed the minute you're done staring at the screen two inches from your nose. How about those bass boxes these kids put in their trunks that rumble the mirrors like Godzilla just stepped down next to the passenger door. I'm patiently waiting at a light talking on speakerphone, and the other side of the call asks "is someone mowing their lawn?" The worst might be spinning rims. This is where the car looks like it's sitting on a treadmill. There goes a down payment on a condo. I'm just lost as to the necessity of these things, I mean, at that age is money just so easy to come by? I was smearing oil base paint onto the outside of senior-living homes at their age, as the boiling summer sun singed the value of money onto the back of my neck. I guess now as every newspaper mentions anything but economic stability, these types of expenditures look even more frivolous than all, I just know where I'd like the decrease in consumer spending to be.

1/18: The Writer's Strike and Charlie Chaplin - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day Taxable Balances

Wait a second.....there's a writer's strike? Freelance anyone, where do I apply? Kidding of course, I know about the lack of dialogue those nightly shows have been suffering from, but I am confused why an awards show would be cancelled. What ever happened to the show must go on? Are the writers losing out on syndicated money for reproductions of the award show later in life? Because I've never watched an award show twice. Does the concern really lie in actors seeming flippant about the strike if they attend an award show to receive their trophy? Consider this, if Hollywood doesn't negotiate with the writer's union, do you actually think that writers will sit at home for years on end? Everyone needs to support themselves, and eventually they will go back to write somewhere, no matter what. Does a skyscraper not get constructed because the steel worker's union goes on strike? Of course it gets built, by any means necessary, even if that includes non-union workers. I honestly hope writers get everything they're asking for because they deserve it. However, this as most things are is temporary, and for that fact alone, other sources for dialogue should be utilized until that time. Besides, I feel like anyone can write the dialogue to an award show, especially the likes of comedians out there that have hosted in the past. I mean, you create a parody of the movies, and their characters, that are up for an award. Knocking humor against drama and shedding light on awkward cinema moments or unique character traits from 2007, before pointing at someone in the audience and embarrassing the fact that they are there only to present. Somehow incorporate a quick political poke at a candidate that causes crickets over the crowd, and then of course some self mutilation, throwing your achievements under the bus or crushing an outfit you wore that was the talk of the town. By then your five minutes is up before you switch outfits, introduce the presenters and crack a joke about the last song that was played by a country music band duetting with a rock group's lead singer. From there, we see you twice more for two seconds, and you thank everyone for coming out as credits stream across your zoomed-out face. To me, it seems like cake, but hey, we can always resurrect the days of Charlie Chaplin. The 1st Annual Pantomimed Academy Awards show, where facial expressions and flailing arms mean the world, and thank you speeches are projected from transparencies a professor would use. Anything's possible....just write it down to make sure you don't forget.

1/22: Football Fever or A Freezing Cold - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day Taxable Balances @ 5.90%

If you are not a football fan, well then this email may not really be for you, but if you are, well let me try and describe the conditions at the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field without me being there. As they flashed a screenshot of the temperature in Alaska at a smooth 23 degrees Fahrenheit, they struggled to type with thick gloves, Wisconsin's temperature onto the screen because they couldn't find the dash that would represent the negative sign. We scratched our heads to try and grasp why a more northerly state didn't overshadow the -17 degrees with wind chill that was gracing the presence of cheeseheads alike. Breath turned to instant clouds as it was unwillingly pushed into the frigid air. At one point the announcer turned his glass of water over to reveal what was a frozen beverage in the human-sized freezer that was the stadium. The town of Green Bay looked like an old Western movie set right before the pack of hooligan's come screaming into town on their horses. Frozen tumbleweeds just cruising by, and wooden tavern doors still swinging in and out from hiding villagers. As many of you know, we don't ski freezing conditions in shorts and t-shirts, but hey the tougher you look uhhhh, the more likely you are to fumble the ball from loss of feeling in your fingertips and arms? As our kicker worked to slice a brick through the air that was his cleat, he careened one effort so far left that I swear a high school badminton player could've had a straighter shot. Speaking of high-schoolers, our quarterback Eli Manning.................(that was the end of the joke). No no no, I take it back he has done an amazing job this post-season, it's just his arms and overall look about him that resemble a high-schooler, the wins are what resemble the NFL star he is (he gets paid enough to take such a playful pun, come on). As hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers cursed our kicker and wrote his career off we just as soon later invited him over to a meatloaf dinner to meet our families. A heart-wrenching victory that turned my brown hair gray, and then immediately bald, will lead us into the talons of the undefeated New England Patriots. I look forward to such a battle that I don't have to suit up for. Consider a cartoon-like battle, who would win? Massive ogre-like Giants, or charming drum-strumming tuxedo-sporting Patriots? Hmmm, we know where my loyalties lie....but we soon shall see!p.s. You guys have won it three times in the past six years no? Come on, be a Bruschi gentleman and let someone else hold the trophy :)

1/23: Patience, Squeaky Wheel - JEFFERIES AAA Tax Exempt 7&35 Day

Here's an article for the Wall Street Journal's sidebar in the Marketplace section, and the title I would choose is "Does the squeaky wheel get the oil, or does it get the can?" My mother used the first part of the phrase without the doubted latter half, to describe an employee's attitude of confidence that would suggest if you don't ask then you'll never know. Well, I asked myself the question, as a buddy of mine rung my ears with the recent amount of layoffs he saw within his firm, should someone shed light on subjects such as an expected promotion, raise, immaterial business expense reimbursement or unrealized vacation time, at such a time as we're in now? Or just dust it off their brow until further notice? I mean, as an employee of a firm, you must learn when a perfect time exists to move in for important conversations. If you pick the wrong time, a "no" will be given, like to a child asking for one hundred dollar basketball shoes that they'll grow out of in a month, right after they received four D's on their report card. A "no" could mean bad timing and they had no choice, or bad timing and they just weren't in the mood. Perfect moments I would say are when you're working really late and your boss walks by seeing you diligent at your desk, while out on a social meeting discussing family and life rather than business, or lastly, when you're applauded for a project or advice you gave. Not liking to cross uncomfortable lines myself, I can't imagine it would be beneficial or well accepted by any manager, to have an employee stirring up a budget-stretching request when you can see the splintered surface of the "chopping-block" sitting on the edge of their desk, so close that you sneeze the sawdust. This is not to say that you don't deserve it, that you haven't worked hard for it or worse yet, that it will never come to you. For one thing, I think it will come to you, but also, I believe if you work hard, no matter what, you'll get what you deserve. And if not the desired result, I'll bet a valuable life lesson will be taken away from it, almost more important than monetary value itself. The squeaky wheel, or in this case, the anxious and over-baring employee putting stretch marks on the tight belt that secures his/her notch, should be patient in requesting oil, because as many tanks seem to currently be dried up, their persistence will only just get them the can.

1/24: Painting a Vibrant Picture Indefinitely - JEFFERIES AAA Tax Exempt 7 & 35Day

Myself on a leather loveseat, my mother on an upholstered brown lazy-boy and friends on what looked to be a red futon-bed in the couch position, we prepared ourselves for a challenging conversation that would boom off the 20-foot ceilings that caved in on us like a campsite. As we got right down to the question, we took a Socratic Method about us in our answers, taking the many different shapes, designs and colors that our topic would dress itself with. The topic began as one of the roommates walked in from work. He was an accomplished and talented artist, leaving behind his mark on many in the most indefinite way, and there sparked the fire that would burn from the famed tattoo shop he'd left, to the enflamed circle we'd now lit between us. Gentle battles of their purpose, popularity, permanence and price ensued like perpetual waves coming to shore. I for some reason had attributed a growth in tattoos to the trendiness of younger generations, I guess because of the many meaningless yards of barbed-wire I've seen strewn across biceps, chests and lower-backs at my local hideaway, Jones Beach. Knowing too, several friends who now regret in hindsight their choices only ten years ago, and how they picture the aftermath of the removal process on their shoulder or ankle. Unaware that tattoos themselves dated back to Neolithic times, around 3300 BC, I spoke too soon of their recent rise to fame. Two individuals chimed in with their applause to the art and beauty in it all. Exiling those with tribal symbols or letters of foreign languages to a different island than those who choose a colorful portrait the size of loose-leaf wrapped around their calf muscle. We agreed on reason being the most important motivator and examples came actually from my mother who knew her father's war buddies who had adorned their limbs with memories, but more recently her friend whose son at 21 years old lost a battle to cancer, and the mother's decision to memorialize her son's face in a frame on her arm, about the size of a thank you card envelope. We came down to the point that there's no right or wrong because everyone makes decisions in their life for reasons that are their own. People live everyday with the decisions they've made, no matter what the subject matter, whether they like or dislike some choices over others they learn from their experiences and become a fuller human being. We're all tattoo artists though, painting our lives through experiences we endure onto our bodies, and to segregate literal tattooing to something completely different would be unnecessary, because you'd be removing color from the vibrant picture that is ones life's work.

1/25: Swiss Cheese Air and the X-Games - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day

Alright everyone, the Winter X-Games have begun, and if you're not familiar with such intensity in sport, then you might want to stretch your stiff legs outside your log-fire cabin that hasn't seen a television since Dukakis was running. Yes, believe you me, those whippersnapper next-door neighbors that were trouncing all over your front lawn doing hail mary diving catches are now flipping their snowmobiles over 50 foot gaps, at 30 miles an hour, while 20 feet high, with no hands on the handlebars. This is serious people, and so is "The Flying Tomato." We will be graced with his hairy presence and many other unique personalities that make up the alternative, carefree generation that flies through half pipes with grace and an "I'm cooler than you" attitude. I have to give them credit because they're all mini Evil Knievel's, there's no doubt about that. Their confidence is so high that whatever they see, they say to themselves "that's attainable, I can do that." If someone finally lands a trick they made up, before they can even name it a "Rodeo 540" the kid hitting the kicker behind him watched it, understood it and just landed it. I apologize too for any bouts of hunger that emerge since snowboarders seem to have enjoyed naming their tricks after their lunch from that day. If you hear them say "he wanted to finish his McTwist with a Chicken Salad grab," don't let your subconscious drift from what was originally Arby's to now, McDonald's. Oh the way, it's on ESPN for those of you that have your favorites tuned to the History Channel, Discovery and AMC Movie Classics. Skip "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for once and let your jaw drop to the floor when one of these youngsters wipes out. If you are not hook, line and sinkered in minutes, it's probably because there's no figure skaters trying fruitlessly to land their comboTriple Sow-Cow / Triple Luts for the millionth time. Sorry guys, these sports have new tricks invented everyday.....Disney's premiering Bambi on ice though...little Thumper. Enjoy the weekend!

1/28: Stir-Fry, Plastic, Rubber and Leather - JEFFERIES AAA Tax Exempt Balances

As Daniel Day Lewis screams obsession into the willing and earnest eyes of the audience about his favorite love in this world, oil, I couldn't help but think about our reliance on it in everyday life. Picture someone's Sunday morning, where they awake to a warm heated room where pipes, plumbing and an oil burner have all been made by petroleum or are housing oil to heat their home. They stare briefly at their favorite oil on canvas impressionist artist's work that they could only afford the inked print glossy version of. They throw on their 1/2 Spandex 1/2 nylon shirt and mink-oiled leather shoes, and walk over to their cute little 40" desktop computer that's surrounded by plastic and glass. Whoops, they're late for church so they brush their teeth with those little synthetic nylon fibers that make their toothbrush bristles, and jump into the car where, you know who, is lubricating the engine and burning energy into forward propulsion with every touch of their toes to the pedal. The tires themselves vulcanized by such a rubber-creating process keep them floating again on their supple leather seats. They take a swig from a leftover plastic Poland Spring bottle before applying petroleum jelly to said chapped lips. After church, and being anointed with said substance they head back home to their polyurethaned wood floors that line the kitchen, and their oil base painted walls. Hungry from the simmering thought of stir-fry in their mind, and the memory of those plastic-wrapped fresh vegetables that hit their fridge's plexiglass shelves, they move to the oven where their gas stove ignites the vegetable-oil filled pan in a bubbling blaze. The many uses of oil and petroleum have put on a play with cast and characters that immerse themselves in our everyday of the scenes being a news reporter unveiling the inability to use gas prices as an excuse to not travel to distant family holiday get-together's, because people are now better informed of all oils uses, and they'd might as well just abandon all household items, modes of transportation and life as they know it.

1/29: Your Worry of Another's Impression - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt Balances AAA 7&35-Day

The impressions we're worried we've made. My sister is the posterboard portrait of the chattered fear that lies within guessing other people's discomfort in any situation. An instance especially where she's somehow related. For example, we were at an 85th birthday party where the very loud side of our family had all combined themselves like a swarm of bees into a nook within the corner of this restaurant. The fact that we were surrounded by a large glass awning that looked like a greenhouse extending out towards the street, our voices bounced off the panes like an army drill instructor in a school gymnasium. You could see my sister's wide eyes scanning strangers' tables, those innocent families of four sitting quietly miserable, death-staring at us because their food tasted worse from our annoying conversations. She jumped as I grabbed her shoulder to tell her "everyone's having a great time, you can't worry about what other people are thinking because in the long-run no one here will remember this night better than our family." She sighed and said "I know, I just wish we could tone it down a bit" as she shudders from our uncle belting laughter into her ear at a cringe-worthy octave. Some of us can shrug off things like public displays of affection or the crying baby on an airplane, because we accept the temporary in it. To drive yourself to anxiety over something you cannot control is contradictory, and so you should work to discover and accept the beauty or meaning behind such a state. If a baby's crying, try and understand that you were probably that same kid at one point, envy the reliance the baby still has on its parents, the sleep it's about to have, and realize that it will be over in can wait just a few minutes, right? When you do this you can appreciate the moment beyond just the surface, and once you quit staring or let go of the eyes staring at you, you're happy and you're better than those who can't see through to its true meaning.

1/30: Checked at the Subway - JEFFERIES AAA Tax Exempt Balances

Out of curiosity, has it ever bothered anyone when someone shows they're the President of a company and yet they're the only one in the company? I'm lost as to why it's necessary to make yourself so pedestal worthy. Capable, maybe....but in comparison to whom? Just figured I'd ask that question before I started writing randomly about a totally different topic that's a bit thicker in flavor. So if you'll transport yourself with me, like Bill Murray from "Scrooged" and his ghosts of holiday glances, we'll float our way down to the spotless and safe subway systems of New York where you'll see me patiently standing on the platform reading the morning paper "Bernanke this.......rogue SG trader that..." A train is making its way into the station, and you know this because weakly secured toupee's are flying by like Dunkin Donuts napkins at a kid's birthday party in one of Chicago's local parks. I knew I shouldn't have looked up because I would jinx myself that it was my train, but I looked and therefore the train changed completely to the train I didn't want, and disappointed, I stuck my nose back into the paper as the page ends punished my hairline. The doors opened, and the 4am sale on flat screen TV's at Best Buy began. A woman cruised by me as if on those Wheely's sneakers and proceeds to hockey check me into one of those steel beams that you picture goes so deep into the ground that it busts through magma to Asia. I can't imagine what my face looked like at this point but if they still-framed it on America's Funniest Home videos, I'd be a finalist.....right next to the dog in a tutu doing back flips on a trampoline for five minutes straight while listening to George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone." But wait...with her back hustling further from sight, no eye contact and low-growling sincerity she said "excuse me." I'm wondering whether those two cheaply used words quite covered the hasty assault. If I knocked over your grandmother carrying her groceries as I ran to catch the bus, would it be considerate enough to cover my actions with "excuse me?" I better be holding a baton in my hand, sporting an American flag and grabbing gold at the Beijing Olympic games...and then dedicating my medal to the fantastic sacrifices of older women never agile or aware enough to see me coming. In the end, it's manners, as I would've easily scooched over if I knew it was someone hired by an ex professional figure skater for my comments made the other day. I've forgiven her though....and most likely someday, someone will for you and me :)Have a great day guys

2/1: Breaking Through the Primer - JEFFERIES AAA Tax Exempt & MMF

As we all know in life, there are times to be happy and times to be sad. I never quite felt the sad, in times when I should have. My family being close as we've always been, came together in a loved one's passing, and as if it were the holidays, us young kids mulled around telling jokes or playing games with our starched uncomfortable outfits and patent leather shoes that swung from couches unable to reach the floor. I can't give myself the excuse that I was too little to understand, because I knew what had happened, but even after the years of love and shared experiences I had with this person, I felt very nonchalant. As if I knew she'd still be there always just in a different way. My appreciation for my excuse came years later in a dream. I was walking out of a two-story apartment complex waiting in the rain for the bus to come, but it was more like a monorail on tracks. When I entered with a streaking muddy step I briefly looked around at the faces in the so called bus-train, and all of them knew each other, yet they were familiar people I'd known long ago. They had all been teacher's, or former students of my graduating class who had become teachers together in my old high school. I had not seen these people in forever, nor was I close to any of them, and yet there they were as if I had glanced through my yearbook before I went to bed. My family member was not there when I entered, I know that for sure.....but as you blink in a dream the landscape changes in an instant, and I was now standing in a corner of what seemed like a trolley car zooming down San Francisco's hilly streets, and there she was sitting down and looking over toward me. Healthy and younger than the last time I'd seen her, as if she'd conquered dementia and never succumb to the harsh attitude she adopted in her latter years, I squinted to see if it was her. A huge, and uncontrollable grin came over my face and then she spoke "now that's the gorgeous smile I had been longing to see." A line where any other time I would've responded quickly, diminishing her compliment as I'd blush and turn away in happy embarrassment. But not this time, hearing her speak without tubes in her nose and with pure confidence, I wouldn't dare let myself say something, just in case I'd miss any other words she'd say. Too quickly I had been overwhelmed with the realization that she wasn't alive anymore and before letting her see my smile disappear and my heart break down, I turned and held the two bars at the front of the trolley car as if to stop it with the aggravated will in my grip. Somehow the brakes did draw, hard enough that my head forced forward, and up from the pillow I jumped. Celebrating her memory finally in tears, when I could properly understand them, I realized that I was human after all and not heartless....knowing only then, that emotion will come on its own terms when you're finally good and ready for it. And if I might say so, man do you feel so much better after it.

2/4: Sorry Brady Bunch, The Manning's Moved into Town - JEFFERIES AAA 28Day

Good morning it is, that's for sure! You know, I was going to hold back on focusing this email on last night's game but then I remembered how often Halley's Comet cruises by, and this is just one of those instances where if you don't write about it now, it becomes blase' to bring it up later. The underdog in every playoff game this season, a 12-point spread to lose by, only having 1 player voted out of the whole team to play in the Pro Bowl, a record breaking 11 straight "on-the-road" victories, taking down the undefeated Patriots that no other team could beat, and really the icing, making Belichick miserable once again because we all know this man reacts ridiculously after any loss, like a child stomping his feet because mom ordered a baked potato instead of french fries on their trip to Mickey D's. Giants and Jets fans combined powers in the streets of NY to pull together camaraderie you don't normally see until St. Patrick's Day. Elated fans we are, we had more emotional swings last night than Derek Jeter could provide in his Cayenne-Pepper Rust flavored Ford we know he doesn't drive. Speaking of cars, did you see that massive Cadillac Escalade that Eli won? Did that actually say Hybrid on it? So, what does that mean, it consumes now the same amount of gas that a normal Jeep Wrangler would? Sometimes the best parts of the SuperBowl for those uninterested in the teams themselves are the commercials...did anyone catch the little baby who was opening his E-Trade account, spitting up all over his keyboard and hiring his own personal creepy clown, or how about Will Ferrell and his loin focused Bud Light commercial! Everyone's got their favorites. In the end a game like that where friends and family pull together to scream at the television about bad ball spotting, amazing helmet balancing catches and sacks from every angle, we smile at each other and acknowledge the fun we're having tearing apart chicken wings and meatball pizzas in fits of masculinity. Football is something else, and as Eli's admirable brother Peyton says in his commercial "what do we do now?....well, we wait for next season."

2/5: When Life Flashes - JEFFERIES Tax Exempt AAA 7&35 Day

Have you ever gotten a glance of the older you? Pictured what you might look or be like? More into health and dieting or maybe just politics and relaxation. How many of us are actually happy with that vision of themselves? Figure I'll be relatively bald, enough so where I have to buzz the sides to keep a uniform shape as if I meant to be hairless on top and then cruising under the radar above the ears. Not so much appearance focused, the main worry I can imagine in years to come will be the inevitable mid-life crisis stage or being a senior citizen. Testing your comfort levels in many aspects of your initial expectations, and mulling over the unavoidable steeples in life where there's no reason for blame, just acceptance that the right or normal thing happened. Honestly, how many people are really where they expect to be by that point? When I see older gents dragging their heads low and their feet heavily, I worry. Their long trench coats swaying in unison as though their chain gang's pace hasn't fluttered in years. The curves in their worn boot heels reveal the trajectory in their spiraled course of life. I know you can slide down that arch rather than grind through it. I've always been focused on the next express stop on the train even though I work hard to enjoy the present. We all feel young inside but let's not forget that there are stages in life. Each just as new and exciting as the ones before. There's a reasonable and natural progression that we all must accept, and if you need examples just look at those loved ones before you, they're called the wiser for a reason. Feeling youthful is healthy but feeling inadequacy in the enjoyment of your youthful life-stages, well that's a lack in fundamental development. You'll go nuts over what could have been. Later in life, I picture myself still setting attainable goals, seeing the world and living through the lives of those around me. Hopefully hearing stories that remind me of when I had learned those same lessons that can be taught only through experiencing them. If you need to look back then this is the way, but never settling my grin because even I know, for me, there's more education to come.

2/6: Table for 1, Please.... - JEFFERIES Taxable AAA 28Day & MMF's

Have you ever heard of the action of "schmoozing?" If not, it's essentially slang for chatting it up with others to establish personal connections that may be beneficial to you. If I came home from school and complained of a bad grade or how horrible a teacher was, my mom would say "schmooze em, you've gotta schmooze." Now don't give her a Staten Island accent when doing her voice because that's not the dialect and nor is it appealing to 100% of's much softer and calmer without the chomped chewing gum in the side of the mouth. Having not liked the idea of "sucking up" to the teacher I never got chummy about today's weather, last night's dinner, their upcoming vacation and who's vice is caffeine or nicotine in the faculty lounge. If I had though, the grades may have been higher than what I earned. This topic came up when I heard more about the book "Never Eat Alone." I think my response was "that's annoying," and not because I didn't like the concept of creating social networks at every shiny finger-tipped lift of the grilled cheese sandwich to my lips, but rather the thought of avoiding some alone time. A monk would definitely say that personal strength, such as your mind, has building blocks in silence and inner-thought. For a different generation it leads into the whole constant stimulation thing where young kids can't sit still in a car without the TV or radio on, the iPod in their ears or a video game/cell phone in their hand. A dependency grows where a balance may have existed. Although I am a bit jealous of someone who can actually fill their calendar with new bobble-head friends or colleagues to eat with every day, I would hate to feel like I'm pretending to be interested in a person if there's not much in common. I wouldn't want to absorb the mentality that I'm not effectively eating every meal unless I'm spending time between bites, telling people my life story. What happens if the person asks for your number, assumes your best friends and wants to meet up all the time? Then you're making up excuses just to keep the friendship comfortable so if you need them in the future you'll still be good to go. In closing, it seems to me that if you're into being friends with someone for the right reasons and not personal future benefit, than absolutely make as many as you can. I would just hope you don't look at the idea of keeping to yourself, and time alone with your thoughts, as a missed opportunity to "schmooze......"

2/7: Devil's Advocate With a Side Order of Support - JEFFERIES Taxable AAA & MMF's

The discussion of commonplace businesses and occupations rang something like a Wiley Coyote fall through the tallest tree in Yosemite, making sure to hit every branch with the fullest impact possible on the way down...Bang, BOOM, Crack, Pow, Whap (and any other descriptive sound words from the original Batman & Robin TV show). As one person rattled off ideas on how to recover from a recent layoff, the other in her most cursory response deems the job so unoriginal that it's considered to be "A Dime, A Dozen." A few of the ideas from the recently unemployed were to open a liquor store, a car wash or a dry cleaners, and immediately the hands went up across the table in surrender of the what seemed like an appalling suggestion. Practically opening up the broad umbrella of life to deflect falling ideas from the sky onto the ground to perish. Both actions equally had less thought than the other, on the one hand someone knows nothing about these businesses and is suggesting the profitability of such an endeavor without ever researching it, and the other side is generalizing small businesses to immediate failure because someone else owns one already. When an undergraduate is asked what they would like to do with their lives or what major they've taken to hit cloud 9, they often pledge themselves to scrutiny of the same cliche'. The student says they want to be an accountant, lawyer or teacher, and yet there we are burning away the legitimacy of such professions in the cogs of our working minds. We survive daily on the embrace of these traditional businesses or occupations, and really they provide means for a comfortable living. Are we to believe this person won't end up being a Partner in an accounting firm or law firm in the future? Or how about a Superintendent in a school district? To say someone opening a pizza place won't become the next Domino's, Pizza Hut or Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria, you just never know. What we don't realize is that we should be applauding these people. At least they have ideas! How many of us go through life not knowing which way is up? As an onlooker, the best thing you can do is ask the right questions of their preparation toward such goals and what they plan to do next to achieve them, rather than respond to ideas with instinctual categorizations of over-popularity or historical failure.

2/8/2008: The Swan Song – JEFFERIES

If the world were flat, corporate cash management would have just nose-dived off the cliff. Down into a bog we'd sit until rescued, if ever, Stagnant and upset with ourselves we'll reflect in hindsight why we ever got so close to the edge, and once we do, we'll realize we were pushed there. As products became less appealing and investors changed their policies to restrict themselves, we'd steer the ship as best we could, learning as much as possible about the terrain ahead, the products we'd own, and absorbing the trust and promise of dealers/managers alike. You can't be prepared for an ambush when your fellow soldier turns and shoots you and his own men. That's the way it happened for those of you who don't know. As quickly as trading desks could relay to their clients that they were told by their bosses that they’d support their products til the end of the world, their own managers would bring them by the ear into a conference room to say they must fail all public auctions or lose their jobs. Squeezing into the narrow passageway that remained in the economic mountain, we exposed ourselves to attacks from those with control of the walls around us. Limiting ourselves to the paths that could sustain us and our own families as venturing to safer, fee-less products spelled termination or starvation. Not only would dealers take losses, but friends lose their jobs, clients lose their liquidity and the knot in our stomachs grow bigger like a tumor that spreads to every limb. There's no logical explanation besides upper level management dynamiting those relationship-founded bridges that you sweat so hard to build. This being my last email, it's a literal sense of the end of a relationship. A tool that strengthened the key element in our lives that makes us go on, and that's happiness. There's no reason to send out inventory anymore and really I'd be remiss to make like everything's peachy by typing about a subject unrelated to what many companies are battling. As I've said in an email almost a year ago when I started this tradition, it's never been about the business, pulling in revenue or informing you of our banks products. Everyone has bonds to offer and all our platforms are practically the same, so my overall goal was to reach you, the person beyond the chair in some office. Let you into my life so that any day where you curled your lip in anticipation, covered your mouth from laughter or related on some ultimately personal level to a story so similar to your life, I could then consider myself a success. If you've gotten anything out of my emails you'll know too that even this shall pass and the things that are most important in life will come back to save us. To shine light on the true meaning of your existence, and that is to remain a good person, love those closest to you, and leave behind a lasting impression wherever possible so that in the end, you find comfort in your life's achievements and that it wasn't spent sitting behind a computer doing something that no one will ever care to remember.