Thursday, February 24, 2011

In The News And Other Stuff

Tea Party backed Republicans in Congress lost out on their bid for an additional 22B “For the children” cuts in social services. Unfortunately everyone has a turf agenda to “protect” certain interests such as The Crying Man Speaker still attempting to get those jet engines for his district. But the deficit conscious Republicans did manage to slash 61B while providing protection for certain companies. Now on to the Senate and then to the President. Chances are it will eventually be watered down or eliminated. Bottom line is everyone is going to get nailed if the spending and deficit is to be controlled.

Governor “two and out” Patrick refused to up the unemployment for MA employers thus saving 400M in extended costs to businesses that would have to eventually be passed along in the pricing chain.

A charity started by two returning vets of Iraq and Afghanistan proved to be a sham. They were even given office space in the state house by the administration only to be outed by Gatehouse News. One expenditure was $800 at Foxwoods. Ouch! Looks like the lesson learned was how to mirror the rampant corruption of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Republicans - first year branch - and Obama managed to agree on a minor budget slicing last week of alternative jet engines that would trim 450M from the budget. Not much in the context of the federal budget but more than the budgets of Middleboro, Bridgewater, Lakeville, Carver, Raynham, Wareham, Halifax and a few other towns combined.

Senator Marc Pacheco has made my political phony sidebar in the past and I could easily toss him out there again. Marc now is exploring being mayor and a state senator. Living proof of what we all know that being “In the House” in Massachusetts is a part time job with full time pay. Of course what has been dragged out is “others have done it.” Gee…a history of hacks padding their pension.

Maybe Pacheco is a political Mormon so instead of two wives he has two jobs.

Wisconsin has done what BB would love and - hey, BB, it’s the Republicans doing it! They are slashing the pensions and proposing a rewriting of collective bargaining laws with state workers. One of the proposals is to have the workers pay 12.5% of their health care cost. 12.5%! The other proposal is to have them fund half their retirement. Democrats actually left the state rather than be forced into watching this pass. Similar situation is surfacing in NY where a liberal Democrat Andrew Cuomo has all of a sudden become a fiscal conservative going to war with public service unions.

Governor Walker of Wisconsin did exactly what he said he would do if elected. He was elected and actually followed through. Now leaving the state in a snit is not part of the political process since if you are disturbed by his policies just vote him and his cronies out of office on the next round and make changes.

The fiscal tsunami that has hit the United States first surfaced in Europe where governments have had a “smell the coffee” moment and realize the stark reality that the money is not there. To get the money would require a round of oppressive tax increases.

Back home the same reality is now firmly in place as pragmatic democrats and republicans attempt to come to grips with the fiscal realities.

In Middleboro the annual shortage has been going on for decades and I imagine more this year. You have a community with the lowest median income of any town in the county, rising health care costs, mandated programs to fund, contractual obligations and really quite limited new revenue and no rescue on the horizon. Labor costs are the big budget buster and unfortunately that is where the axe will eventually fall. After four rounds of failure with 2 and ½ I doubt any life line will show up.

The value of a second opinion also applies to cars. My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - had a “noise” emanating from her pristine vehicle. Muffler? Don’t know. Had it checked out and was told it was a possible transmission problem which they do not handle. Go to a transmission service and have them look at it. I know from previous experience this is $2,000+ so I went to get a second opinion. This time it was a wheel bearing. Mechanic on the test drive with me said so after about 15 seconds. Bearing replaced. Noise gone. Savings? A bundle.

Local UFC or former UFC fighter is in the news. Has quite a path of destruction with assaults and destruction of property. Time to get some help.

The IRS is one government agency that scares the bejabbers out of us. They have attempted to become more reasonable through the years but this next little missive is not about that but about their web site. User friendly. You can track your refund. They also answer tax questions via the internet. That has been an excellent source for me.

I’d love to see a one time tax free holiday for car buying. This is the ultimate big ticket item and I just refuse to buy a new one when I have to toss away 6.5% on top of an excise tax.

National Grid offers a series of rebates for those wishing to purchase a new high efficiency gas burner which I did. Next comes getting that rebate. How many roadblocks can one company put in place to avoid paying? They are requesting information that was not even on their checklist. Somehow I am getting the whiff of small claims court.

There is a web site that lists what the honorarium for speakers of some notoriety. Bill Belichick has a fee of $50,001. What is the one for?

Airline tales of joy. I have a friend who is going to Hawaii and when he went to get his flight the airline was going to bump him since he was a non revenue passenger (airmiles). Eventually his compensation was a night room at the airport Hilton with several food coupons. A flight the next day first class on both legs. And finally a check - not a voucher - for $800. That is the best one I can ever recall.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

President Day Post

In Boston there is a tradition of saving your shoveled parking space with items to prevent access to those not worthy - the ones that didn’t shovel it out. Now a city ordinance allows this to happen for 48 hours and then the rules change but folks still have the items out ignoring the “Mumbles Mandate.” The trash collectors have been told to remove them since they are considered refuse so chairs, toilets, barrels and other items are collected. In Middleboro that would not be a problem since they don’t pick up the stuff.

The Republicans in Congress seem to be in a bit of reverse on budget slashing as their machetes have turned into a pocket knife.

The Patriot Act had a surprise as 26 Republicans came to their collective senses and voted against extending it.

Charlie Sheen would make a wonderful addition to Congress or maybe as Prime Minister of Italy?

The basketball season continues on at the professional level. I remember “back in the day” when Gene Conley would be pitching for the Sox and backing up Bill Russell. Now that season seems to extend half way through baseball season.

Back when the Sox traded Frank Sullivan (6’7”) for Gene Conley (6’8”) someone asked Frank Lane - a notable GM - who got the better of the deal? His reply: “Red Sox by an inch.”

I wonder what will become talking points for the BOS race? My personal question if I manage to get off my posterior will be “What do you plan to do for health care cost reduction in union negotiations?” Same can be said for patient zero in the local health care issue - the teachers union.

Metro South Chamber of Commerce is offering a great trip to China in November. This is a nine day trip with most meals, four and five star hotels and airfare from Boston for $2,050 per person.

Scott Brown is now approaching 8 Mil in his campaign fund. That will be an attention getter for any potential opponent. Brown has drawn fire from the right, left and middle so he must be doing something right since I am so use to our Congressional delegation pandering to the far left.

The Scott Brown money will only grow and grow exponentially if he wins in 2012 since he’ll be on the front burner for Republican presidential hopes for 2016. Money equals access to power.

I saw another letter by Marc Pacheco in the Gazette responding to Jim Thomas. Naturally - like many others from left of center - he dragged out the new code words “toxic” and “Vitriolic” to describe Thomas previous letters. Spare me the tears, senator, since after listening to Barney Frank for years Thomas is actually Ms. Manners. Once you start getting them to respond - and Pacheco has - you have won.

Now my dear Barney Frank is not going to give up his 400 or so years of “service” in Congress and quietly - wait - quietly and Barney? LMBAO - ride into the sunset and return to his previous employment - pumping gas back in the 50s! No dreaded private sector for Barney. So now the political musical chairs begin - what moonbat will be on the outside looking in? If I was in Congress and the major portion of my district was west of Worcester I’d be checking on my pension payout.

I’d love to see Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol appear on Jeopardy. Well….maybe “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” OK….than a 1st grader. My money would be on the kids.

Mitt Romney is suppose to be making another run at being the Leader of The Free World. Almost enough to make me vote for President WOW - if I voted for a national slate at all.

The rotary relief has been deep sixed again. Looks like I will continue to take five minutes rather one minute to get through now that the exotic pathway has been eliminated. But putting my personal negativism aside it’s demise is not something I would pin on the BOS, TM, Planning Board, DPW, IT Director and anyone else for it just seems to be a semi greedy developer.

When they finally get around to actually doing something with the rotary it would IMO end up being a local version of “The Big Dig” with escalating costs, shoddy workmanship and a time line that will last until we are all like the Jetsons. I imagine that project will be very, very costly.

I saw our delegation meet with the BOS so I tried to drift through all the political speak and make some sense of it but all I managed to hear was “tough” as far as cities and towns getting anything.

Watching the Three Amigos or is it Stooges before the BOS I once again saw my aversion to suits and ties. I really think a tie is absolutely stupid. Just dumb to me. My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - thinks a well dressed man is attractive. So that places me in the non attractive category. The one good thing about suits is that they seem fairly timeless as some I have are 30+ years old and still in style and still fit.

Martin Gaskell lost out on a job at The University of Kentucky over his religious beliefs. Gaskell describes himself as a “Theistic Evolutionist” which means he accepts Darwin and believes the earth is actually billions of years old. He did what is commonplace - he sued. Enough email evidence and other evidence was available to have UK settle for 125K. Gaskell is an example of a reputable scientist with impeccable credentials who can also be very religious. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I have never been to The Alley Theater that has opened in Middleboro but I wonder if it is the type of venue that can show films? Many out of the ordinary films do not reach the suburban audience so one has to migrate to various places in Boston or Cambridge to see these films. I don’t care for the term “Art Films” but that is the general moniker assigned to that genre. Be nice to see if someone could give it a go in this area especially if they could combine it with a dinner.

More on entertainment. Spider Man The Musical has been in the news with all the problems they are running into which are mostly self-inflicted thanks to some rather exotic special effects. This is now turning into a $65,000,000 dog. Still in “previews” frustrated critics finally got fed up and gave it reviews - Spidy got squashed! How bad is it? Playbill is offering steep discounts on their web side and Audience Rewards is giving away a thousand points for buying a ticket. I’ll pass.

The military budget will soon be front and center as even the Tea Party crowd has stated it needs to be examined. Trouble is when the “bad guys” start something that is when we go to the cops and in international politics the cops happen to be our military. What bothers me is how we choose to define the “bad guys” as it seems that the military has been used more as an extension of diplomacy of Teddy Roosevelt (carry a big stick) than anything resembling a long range plan.

Right now the United States has eleven aircraft carriers. A carrier is not just a flight deck but a fearsome force that has as much firepower as most countries and that does not even include the nuclear arsenal. Is eleven really necessary? Is it necessary to station troops in England? Germany? Japan? The percent of out budget used for military expenditures is simply outrageous especially in the context of having two questionable wars occurring simultaneously. Our Force de Frappe seems excessive.

Thankfully the Republicans has targeted NPR and PBS for zero funding.

Maybe the Republicans and WOW can get into dueling budget cutting. A sort of mine is smaller than yours?

The Motley Fools are investment advisors but not in a traditional sense. They tend to debase some stocks and especially mutual funds which is where for several years they have directed their collective angst - mutual funds. I enjoy them and have found their advice interesting. But now they have started their own mutual fund. Welcome, boys, to reality and the world of making really big money.

The Hayden Planetarium has reopened after a year of renovations to bring it into the 21st century. The Museum Of Science in Boston is a very dated facility just like the aquarium but at one time they were the blueprint for similar projects all over the country and even the world. Both have shown their age but steps are being taken to once again make both premier attractions.

Spring training has opened so prepare for an endless stream of mindless stories.

Troubles in Egypt did not have any serious impact on the stock market the last few weeks and that is not unusual. I read an article that showed markets are not really impacted long range by significant events such as Pearl Harbor, 9/11 or the assassination of JFK.

The deepest skiing snow base in New England is the Blue Hills. 55 to 75 inches.

Rather amusing watching the BOS debate for twenty or so minutes about getting a free ambulance. Looks like the vehicle is in rather good shape with nothing really to be done to it. So why the debate? Take it. If it is a pile of bolts junk it. I got $400 for a beat up Hyundai with a engine that was shot.

Japan has had the second largest economy for 43 years and it is now number three behind China.

A sign that the boom times have returned is how the financial picture is improving for Sand Las Vegas, MGM, Wynn Resorts, Boyd Gaming, Penn National Gaming and a slew of others whose central focus is enticing you to lose your money. Their stocks are all at or near 52 week highs.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


The Bogo diet has started. Every year around this time I manage to gain about five pounds. Now to many that is nothing but to the real BB (Buffed Bogo) it is so why accept it? My body just seems to want a layer of winter fat despite that I have a fairly high exercise activity level and really always have except when I am in rehab mode for an injury or surgery so that part of the puzzle is in place. But the weight? So I cut way back by eliminating all sweets and breads and concentrating on smaller portions. Snacks consist of diet tea or soda and fruit or crackers. Maybe not top notch on the Dr. Oz scale but filling. In a week that five pounds has vanished but I will go on a bit longer and trim another five or so - maybe.

On the diet front or is that behind I just get a load of all the gimmicks for weight loss. It really is quite basic: Eat less. Eat right. Exercise more.

But with the diet I use I live for Sunday. Sunday is the very, very best day since that is treat day. The treat is a Honey Dew coffee roll. I savory Sunday and that coffee roll. I microwave it for ten seconds. Each bit of frosting is devoured and licked off my fingers. I know - visual - but you all do it. Admit it. I take that treat in bits and pieces as I slowly work my way to the center. That is my reward. This will probably be a three or maybe a four Sunday diet. When it is done I will resume my normal eating patterns and not worry about any gains since exercise burns about a 1,000 extra calories a day.

The nanny state of Massachusetts is doing enough meddling into how we make choices in just what we are going to eat. The perception is that the citizenry is waddling around - especially children - as borderline obese. Not true for this state as we are ranked among the very healthiest in the nation. Go concentrate on Mississippi or Alabama.

If Michelle Obama wants to be the obesity police maybe she can start with her good friend Oprah.

I consider the continual ranting of the provocateurs of the nanny state diet and foods division way out of bounds. Quite intrusive to tell restaurants what they should serve and how we should eat since there is enough information available for people to make healthy choices and restaurants have certainly responded to their customers wishes by balancing menus. I will not be shocked if childhood obesity becomes a legitimate reason for having DCF look into the rotund family and classify junior being a porker as a form of child abuse.

Call centers are starting to again be located back in the United States as customers have expressed frustration over dealing with representatives for whom English is a second language, do not understand the nuances of our form of English and have no concept of our culture. Cost cutting was fine but the blunt realization is too many customers have expressed their ire over this so bad news for foreign employment but good news for domestic employment.

The more I listen to Sarah Palin the more it seems like she belongs to the woman’s contingent of our BOS.

Allin Frawley is listed on my sidebar as he now has a web site to inform on his campaign for BOS. You know Allin as a regular and quite persistent in both attending and requesting information from the sitting BOS. I will vote for Allin and it is quite simple why. He is willing to invest time, learn, do diligent homework, has a notable work ethic and has gone 100% on record as allowing access.

The two members up for re-election have - IMHO - had their shelf life expire. Marsha Brunelle has displayed a culture of arrogance since the days of the casino issue and that has not changed. The final token for me was her ill fated attempt several months ago to limit access. She can frame it any way she wants but the bottom line it looks bad - really bad - when six former and quite well respected BOS members show up for a verbal lynching. I saw some real backtracking but no apology. Then toss in the ongoing drama with the IT Director. MiMi I have referred to as a political version of the appendix since no one knows what it does and if removed does no harm. After watching meetings on TV the term “empty suit” comes to mind.

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has closed their doors. This is the last vestige of pragmatic Democrats - the kind a moderate to liberal Republican could vote for. Blue Dogs as they were likely to be called. I guess the party wishes to return to the days of McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis.

Egypt has a world of troubles going on as another iron fist attempts to maintain control as various factions will certainly use this convoluted mess to prop up their own “politics,” especially politics immersed in religion.

There will be spill over and I am sure the Saudi’s and their pampered and oil drenched royalty will be center stage and right now this is having an eerie comparison to the domino effect of the fall of communism back a few decades ago. Maybe this will have similar consequences or it just might be the turmoil that seems to surface occasionally in so many nations of questionable democratic principles or none at all.

What is happening in Egypt is a cry for democracy without any real operational experience in democracy. Without that a vacuum is easy to be created so something like the Muslim Brotherhood - banned for fifty or so years - can step in. The United States is attempting in both Iraq and Afghanistan to do the same things - seeds of democracy. Good luck with that! Our blueprint is not necessarily a strict rule of majority as much as it respect and protect the minority. In the mess that followed the hanging chad there was no revolution in the streets. Doubt if you can see that mind set transferred to countries with no background in it.

Back in 1990 communism was on life support anyways as all the half-truths that had been formulated for decades were beginning to unravel thanks to technology. Nothing like having underground video tapes by the millions floating around in various controlled counties that show that much of the propaganda was simply false. Sort of confirmed liars on an international scale. And now that carries over to Egypt where the first thing to do is attempt to control the flow of information my shutting down the internet. Communication - especially the visual and instantaneous kind - goes beyond the internet.

There was a great book written called “WW III - August, 1987” that detailed the fall of communism with the outbreak of hostilities in Europe. What the main focus was actually happened and that is the tenuous relationship between Russia and the various occupied nations of the “Communist Bloc.” In the book those nations quickly ignored or revolted against their “maters” from Moscow and that was later mirrored in the fall of communism in Europe.

President WOW is attempting to promote a new found centrist position regarding his approach to business. Had all the right platitudes tossed out in a recent speech before the Chamber of Commerce but a mountain of damage has already been accumulated by his administration. His speech had a less than enthusiastic response.

The Wheeling-LaBelle Nail Company of West Virginia has closed a victim of foreign competition and the recession and that leaves Acorn Manufacturing’s Tremont Nails of Mansfield as the only nail producer in the United States to carry the made in U.S.A. label. Tremont Nails manufactures traditional square cut nails and much of the process and craftsman can trace their skills back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

In Germany and Japan the school year is about 230 days. I know from personal experience that in Japan the students do not receive homework but are “encouraged” to join after school clubs which further hone the academic skills learned during the day.

We have had exchange students for an entire year and they have been from Japan and Poland (twice). Interesting approach to how behavior issues are handled in the classroom. As the students get older the accountability magnifies and if behaviors beyond the norm continue the students are simply tossed out. No second, third, fourth or fifth chance. No IEP. No appeal. No nothing. You are on your own. Obviously the United States has a more egalitarian approach but consider that when testing scores are given. Sometimes our scores are skewered by students who in other countries would not be given the exams (SPED) or have been tossed (behavior).

The exchange students we have had also preferred our methods of education as they thought they created an environment that encouraged independent thought, free exchange of ideas and the ability to explore areas of interest. Of course these were also students that had the ability to sustain their own education - driven would be the word.

Chrysler ran a two minute ad in the Super Bowl that feature rapper Eminem and the ad finished way down on the popularity charts. I thought it was a great ad as it focused as much on the city - Detroit - as it did on the product itself. Great visuals of a rust belt icon attempting to recovery and a industry on which it depends upon. Having a local kid do it was great.

I’ve been finding Pravda online English edition an interesting read.

A contractor in another town charged a senior citizen $4,800 for clearing a roof - a job that normally goes for $250. Fortunately others stepped in and the money was returned.

Thank you to Alex Rodriquez (AKA - “Slappy” or “A-Roids”) for his splendid display of up close and personal feeding by his between strippers gal pal Carmen Diaz while both wallowed in a luxury suite at the Super Bowl. Now in the great scheme of things this is trivial beyond trivial but to the A-Fraud and Yankee haters this is just more ammunition to bring to the baseball posting boards - not that I would partake in such activity.

BB will never be known as “Mr. Research” based on his latest column and his use of ONE study to make a determination on charter schools. This is too significant issue to point to ONE study as a determining factor. Studies from various other sources such as the Manhattan Institute, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Columbia and even Stanford show positive results. You can also look at testing results from National Assessment of Educational Progress that supports the Stanford study BB quoted. Fine on of success and find another that highlights failure. The results vary and can be linked to availability of resources, how the charter school is defined, the methods of data acquisition and a myriad of other possibilities. IMHO the bottom line is charter schools have been fine but not world beaters. I hope BB is not going to do any “classes” on research techniques.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pre Super Bowl Post

Texas has some fiscal problems as does almost every other state and this one is federal mandates for Medicare. The federal government is great at mandating and then pulling the diminishing the funds - same thing happens on the state level as educational mandates are a big one with that. Governor Perry in Texas knows what other governors know and that is to fund the mandates you cut in other areas so aide to communities, education, social services and just about anything else on the budget will get a shave.

Health Care may be on life support if the SCOTUS sides with the lower courts. Republicans want three big changes and all are virtually opt outs such as allowing states and employers to opt out and gutting some of the Medicaid mandates. As far as opt outs a boat load have already been issued by the administration to various businesses/unions.

On Monday evening BOS member Steve Spataro mentioned both monies received and condition of buildings at the Middleboro History Museum. The gift bequeathed to the Association was under the $250,000 but close to that - why quibble? Already half that money has been directed into maintaining the buildings and some information is available on the side bar via link to the MHA. What it comes to is a lot more is needed. The buildings need HVAC to preserve artifacts and documents which are deteriorating rapidly. And when I say HVAC there is none. No heat or A/C and plumbing that is great if this was the 19th century. I’m sure the MHA will apply for funds from the CPA since they receive zero from the town, Pierce Trust or anything else of note for either operating expenses or maintenance of property. Just insurance alone represents about half the annual budget. They receive yearly grants from the Cultural Arts Council and one yearly grant of $500 from the Maxim Trust and the CAC grant goes to funding educational programs or entertainment such as the Ice Cream Social. When Spataro said they were faced with a choice of losing a building he was correct. The Wood gift prevented that - for now.

New York state has slashed their budget and a major fallout is NYC and the sub plot is the layoff of up to 20,000 teachers in NYC. Everything that is negative about a union can be summed up by NYC. There are teachers who have been removed from the classroom yet report for duty each day and are sequestered away with literally nothing to do. Many have been in this routine for years but the powerful union keeps them on the payroll. Be interesting to see if Mayor Bloomberg manages to take on the union in attempting something besides years of service as a determining factor for employment.

Somalia pirates are reported to be torturing captives. It is unconfirmed if the method is playing taped BOS meetings.

Another few snow days and April school vacation just may get dented.

David Stern is a Florida attorney who has made millions on the foreclosure process. So just what is DJSP Enterprises? That is the part of his firm that has gone public. Woe for some and profit for others except that the profit was just not there including a grand name from the Nemasket past - General Wesley Clark. Stern calls his yacht the Misunderstood. Yeah…lawyers are misunderstood. DJSP Enterprises has lost a yacht load of money.

Is that bunker they use in Massachusetts for emergencies a former Nike site? They are scattered throughout the southern part of the state and one in Rehoboth was being used by a private company to store computer file backups.

Tri-Valley college in California was nothing more than a front for illegal immigration. Ninety-five percent of the students were from India and the government finally figured it out that something was wrong. The Indian government has asked the United States for leniency on the “students.” From my own personal experience those from India appear to fall into several groups: Doctors, dentist, small business owners. engineers and computer professionals and maybe the occasional cab driver. Back when I attended Northeastern the School of Engineering was like a trip to India. What amazed me was the ability they had to pick up all the language quirks in what we call English.

The snow pile on the side of our driveway has now reached about eight feet. I am thinking about possibly installing a ski lift and picking up some extra cash. I long ago gave up trying not to toss snow on the bird bath.

Pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers in a few weeks.

I bought a snow roof rake. Works well. About $40 at Lowe’s and actually not made in China.

How can a politician be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time? Seems many do exactly that.

My wife - The Lovely Cynthia - is always watching Dr. Oz and The Doctors on TV and what I notice is that both shows show a bundle of products that they hustle.

The above shows and Dr. Phil can all trace their roots to Harpo Productions and Oprah Winfrey. Great book on Oprah by Kitty Kelly. Love that gossip.

Punxsutawney Phil is just plain idiotic but it did result in a great movie - Groundhog Day.

Massport is in the news as the Boston Herald reported several parking lot attendants earned in excess of a $100,000 last year. The base pay is about $54,000 so that OT adds up. The duties included helping folks find their cars, fix flats, dust snow off cars, jump start and man the booths. There have been many articles through the years on the amount of OT that is so prevalent with Massport so just think about that the next time you have to park at Fortress Logan.

Notice all the flights getting cancelled? Jet Blue wiped out their whole schedule. Airlines are now subject to fines and penalties especially when passengers are confined to the tarmac so why risk say $29,000 a passenger? Just cancel everything and charge no fees for rebooking.

Residency requirements became some type of minor issue at the BOS meeting but as it turns out there happens to be a significant number of department heads who reside in town. Such a requirement could potential drain off applications who view it as too disruptive and burdensome to move. Uprooting from a community - especially if you have young children - could put a real damper on filling out an application and forwarding a resume to Middleboro.

The stock market presents an interesting visual as the end of the trading days nears with some rather rapid fluctuations either up or down as computer programs, day traders, short sellers and foreign investors all kick in the last thirty minutes or so. Volume also goes a bit wild.