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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Sorry State of My Favorite Baseball Team: The New York Mets

Imagine this scenario. You ask the really hot girl to go to the prom with you. She hasn’t been asked by anybody else yet, and she doesn’t really want to go with you, so she says “I will let you know later”. In the meantime, the attractive girl who is good in bed asks you to go with her. Any other time you would say yes. But right now, you are pinning your hopes on the Hot Girl, and you tell the attractive, good in bed girl, thanks but no thanks. So as you wait for an answer from the Hot Girl, the attractive, good in bed girl, asks your friend to go, and he says yes. Then the Hot Girl finally gets asked by someone else to go to the prom with him, and she says yes. So now, to save face, you are forced to go with the pimpled faced, dweeby girl, while the Hot Girl is now enjoying the prom with someone she really wanted to go with, and your friend is enjoying his time with the attractive girl that is good in bed. And you are stuck with a last resort choice that is just happy to be invited to the dance.

That basically is the current, sorry state of my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets. They make an offer to Jason Bay. He says that he will let the team know soon his decision. That was over three weeks ago. They also have an offer to Benji Molina to be their catcher, but he wants more years than the Mets are offering. In the mean time, Jason Marquis is on the market. He says he wants to be a Met. The Mets basically tell him, thanks, but until we find out about Bay and Molina, we can’t do anything else. So Marquis signs with the Nationals for $15M, an amount the Mets easily could have afforded. And with the best pitcher on the Market (Lackey) signing with Boston, the Mets are shutting them selves out of any chance to get a good starter to fill in as a #2 after Johann Santana. Philadelphia went out and traded for Roy Halladay, arguably the best pitcher in baseball.

That move didn’t upset me because the Mets didn’t have the chips to trade for him, so they had to focus on free agents. And they don’t even talk to Lackey. They say they were concerned about his arm. But Boston, who has an abundance of pitchers, felt they needed more, had no problem with Lackey. And they way Boston has performed lately, both on the field and their off-field moves, I would trust their evaluation more than the Mets.

The Mets stated that they would be making big moves to shore up the team, coming off of the disastrous year they just had. Their focus was, according to the team, was first pitching then the field. And they wanted to get faster and more defensive. So what do they do? They make an offer for the older, less mobile outfielder with so-so defense (Jason Bay compared to Matt Holiday) and do not even make an offer to the best free agent pitcher on the market. They are stuck in limbo waiting on an answer from bay, who doesn’t really want to be a Met, and Molina because it seems the Mets can’t do multiple things at a time.

In the meantime, the Yankees (who I do not like), after coming off of a World Series victory, go right out and make the team better. They trade for Curtis Granderson, a young outfielder whose swing should benefit by the smallish outfield of Yankee Stadium. They let go of Damon and Matsui because they don’t really fit into there plans, and it is always better to get rid of someone 1 year too early than 1 year too late. Then they go out and trade an average outfielder, who was the 4th outfielder on the team, for Javier Vasquez, the 4th runner up in the NL CY Young Award last year. An absolute steal. And I would be surprised if they swoop in and sign Jason Bay, giving him the chance to NOT sign with the Mets. And they are positioning themselves to be big buyers in next year’s free agent class, which is expected to be one of the best classes in a LONG time.

This offseason actually made me respect the way the Yankees do business, though I would NEVER switch allegiances to them. They have an eye for the future as well as making moves to win now. When they need something, they get it and usually on good terms. The Mets, total opposite. They panic, make stupid moves and bad financial signings. When they do sign someone big, they do not make any other big signings for a couple of years, so they do not back up their previous signings. They sign Santana, but do not bring in a legitimate # 2 starter.

I never thought I would say this, but my wish is for people to stop going to the games and for people to cancel their season tickets (which from the sounds of it on sports radio, a lot are canceling). The Mets ownership sees this and finally decides they have to change philosophy. They get rid of Omar and Manuel and bring in people who know what they are doing and let them do the job with no interference. The owners need to stay way in the background. My personal hope is to bring back Bobby V to manage the team. He gets the most out of his players (look at who the outfield was in the 2000 World Series against the Yankees) and he is at least entertaining.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mystery Google

I heard about this website, Mystery Google, where no matter what you search for, it gives you back whatever the last person who on Google searched for. Check it out. You get some pretty intersting results.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amazing Jump Rope Video

I was e-mailed this video. This is an amazing performace by a bunch of girls with jump ropes at the Army - Navy Basketball game. You just have to watch it. Amazing. Watch as the reaction of the guys in the audience escalates. In the beginning, they were just OK, but as the girls performed.....the audience went WILD with cheers.

First blog from my BlackBerry

I just recently switched my cell phone over to a BlackBerry. I wanted to try out the e-mail blog posting, so this posting is from my BB.

I can somewhat understand why they call BB's crackberries. There is so much you can do on it. You are connected to everything.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Links of the week, Sept 3rd

Google Everywhere - An article by Knowledge @ Wharton (from the Wharton School of Business) about the growth of Google and future implications. I have started to become a Google Geek, loving everything they have. I use their office productivity software, to have access to all my files from any computer without having to carry a data stick; we use Google calendar to let each other know of our appointments (used in a very limited fashion right now, but soon to change). I also use AdSense on my blog. Sprint will be debuting a new Google Android phone soon, the HTC Hero as well. I also had the foresight to buy stock in Google when it decreased in price due to the economy dragging it down, which as of right now, is giving me a really nice return .

ATT kills Google Voice - Andy Kessler's view on why ATT and Apple removed Google voice from the App Store. Andy Kessler is a well respected former tech analyst.

Apple's Response

Health Care Reform Compromise - Op-Ed piece in NY Times by Bill Bradley, former US Senator from NJ, discussing President Obama’s health care initiative. He discusses how it would gain bipartisan support if it is combined with tort reform. A little give and take by both sides of the aisle, Republicans support national health care if Democrats support tort reform. I personally think that tort reform NEEDS to be done, probably more so than health care reform, as the article states, they would both affect each other, thus enabling, hopefully, some kind of change.

Health Care Reform - Article from The NYTimes discussing health care reform from the Blue Dog Democrates view, whose votes will be essential if the Democrates want to pass their reform.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Links of the Week - August 18th

I decided to start a new feature. I am going to be posting my "Links of the Week". It will be websites that I found during teh week that I found interesting or useful. Hopefully I will find enough on a weekly basis to keep it interesting.

So, onto this weeks links:

100 best blogs for job search

eliminating the VM instructions on your cellphone - a posting by David Pogue (NY Times) on getting rid of the annoying VM instructions your cell phone carriers put on all outgoing greetings.

top 10 cities for careers in finance

NY'ers hate their state government - self explanatory

Amber Ready - a site to provide families with “Information”, “Education” and “Communication” to reduce the number of missing children.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Disney Family Vacation

This post is pretty delayed. Hopefully I can keep on top of the posting and do it more timely.

May 24th – 31st we took the kids to Disney World for the week. It was a great time. Luckily we had good weather down there. The week before, Florida had torrential downpours. Some areas had 27 inches of rain in 1 week. We stayed at the Marriott Grand Vista vacation club complex. It was a great place. Ideal location, near all. It took 10 minutes to Disney, and SeaWorld was 2 minutes down the road. The resort had a nice pool, which Cameron did not want to leave. The pool wipes him out. He was out for the night by 6:30 the days he went into the pools.

On Monday, we spent the day at The Magic Kingdom. Cameron loved the monorail and the train around the complex. When he saw the castle, he got all excited. He knows the castle as “Mickey’s House” from all the Disney movies. He rode the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (and on Thursday got 5 more rides on it). We ate dinner at The Rainforest CafĂ© in Downtown Disney.

Tuesday was split between Disney’s Hollywood Studio and Epcot Center. IN the morning, I got to go on the Twilight Zone Hollywood Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. The lines weren’t bad. They were both good. The best part of the roller coaster was the initial takeoff. It is one of the propulsion ones were it pushes the cars, instead of going down a hill to get speed. Later, we went to Epcot for a character dinner. Cameron and Caitlin liked it. We met Mickey, Pluto, and Chip & Dale. Caitlin was good around them. She didn’t cry (for being almost 1). Wednesday, we visited my dad at his house in The Villages , a 55 and over TOWN. The place has everything, every type of store and restaurants, both chain and independent. Cameron enjoyed the pool a lot. He tired himself out and slept from the car ride home to the next morning.

On Thursday, we went to Disney's Animal Kingdom. The park was OK. The park feels hotter than the others (and the guidebooks say that as well, so it wasn’t just me) Lisa and I rode the Expedition Everest roller coaster. I liked it, Lisa had her eyes closed the entire time. We used the “Fast Pass” ticket to ride it. The wait ended up being 10 minutes, compared to 60 minutes for walk ups. With the Fast Pass, you go to the ride earlier to get a ticket, which tells you when to come back. When you return, you go to a different line and you go right to the boarding area. It is one off the best things they have come up with, and its free (more on that later).

On Friday, we did SeaWorld. I was not that impressed. I went there when I was 8 yrs (1980) and for the most part, the park seems to not have been that updated since then. Comparing Disney to SeaWorld, just on aesthetics alone, it really is no contest, Disney is much better. Plus, SeaWorld has a Fast Pass type of system, were you can slip the lines for the older roller coaster many times and the new roller coaster once, but you have to pay extra for that option, around $25 if I remember correctly.

That night me and Lisa went out to dinner for our 4th anniversary. We went to Bluezoo , Todd English’s restaurant at The Dolphin Resort at Disney World. The food was great. I had the Florida Grouper (with black truffle spaetzle, black radish, and black truffle vinaigrette) and Lisa had Tuscan Tuna. For the appetizer we got the yellowfin tuna tartare and shrimp accompanied by three sauces. We then walked along “The Boardwalk” Disney’s area that resembles a seaside boardwalk, with stores and restaurants below and the timeshare resorts above. Very nice. They sure do know how to design the resort so you enjoy yourself.

Saturday, we spent the day at the hotel, using the pool all day long. It was the only day we used it. I took Cameron out on a boat in the lake. He enjoyed it. I ended up getting burned, because as always, I don’t put sunscreen on.

Sunday we left to go back home. When we landed back on Long Island, Cameron turns to me and says “I want to go back” We had initially planned to go again in about 3 years, but we all had so much fun, we might go sooner.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


On Tuesday, May 19, I participated in my graduation ceremony from The Fordham Graduate School of Business. I finally graduated. It had been a long time coming. I enrolled in September of 2005. The school operated on a trimester schedule, so I pretty much attended school non stop since then, save for 3 weeks a year and one trimester off. When I entered, the economy was flying and had high hopes. What a time to graduate, staggering unemployment and decreased opportunities in the market.

The ceremony was held at The Beacon Theater in NYC. The featured speaker was Joseph Moglia, the former CEO and current Chairman of TD Ameritrade. He is also Fordham alum. He spoke about what it takes to succeed, in both your career and life.

Keep an even balance in work and life. Don’t get caught up in materialistic pursuits. Take everything in and enjoy life. What ever you do in life, commit yourself to it. Don’t act halfheartedly. Dedicate yourself. And lastly, make sure you love what you do. A love of something will lead to the dedication, which in turn will lead to success.

Next up, a posting on my trip to Walt Disney World with my kids.

Friday, June 5, 2009

First Prize Winner

LAKE GROVE, NY/June 3, 2009/FPSnewswire/-- (l-r) Citibank customers Lisa Fleece, Caitlin Fleece (11 months), Cameron Fleece (3 1/2), winner Michael Fleece, and Citibank Vice President and Area Director John Delorenzo after presenting a 500,000 point prize from the Thanks-A-Million Sweepstakes at the Smith Haven Citibank branch in Lake Grove, NY on Wednesday June 3, 2009. (Feature Photo Service)

I was a winner in a major contest. Citibank had a sweepstakes (called Thanks a Million) for their Thank You network, a rewards program for account holders. I won one of the first prizes, 500,000 points. they say it is equivalent to $10,000. Its one of those contests where every time you use your debit card, you enter to win. The more you use, the more chances you have to win. There were six winners in total, 2 grand prize and 4 first prize. 1 winner on long island (that would be me), 1 in NYC, 1 in Nevada, and 3 in California.

First time I ever won anything. They held a reception in our honor at our Citibank branch, where they presented me with one of those large checks, pictured above with the wife and kids. I felt like Happy Gilmore and took it home. At the reception, the one question everybody asked was, "What are you going to do with the points?" I think we may use it for travel, to go somewhere expensive and far. We never been to Hawaii yet, so that may be an option. This trip, however will be without the kids. we just got back from a week in Disney World (best trip -love vacationing and spending time with the kids, but that post is coming later)

Its Been A While...

Its been a while again, But plenty has happened. I will put them in their own individual posting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I finally finished school. I have been attending The Fordham Graduate School of Business part time since September 2005. I earned my MBA with a concentration in Finance. I have been going nonstop since then. Fordham had trimesters, so I only had 3 weeks off a year. I feel like I have so much free time now. Not having to worry about when I am going to do my homework or study for tests. My upcoming graduation is May 19th at The Beacon Theater in NYC.

Hopefully now I will be able to post more often than I have.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Tuesday, March 24, we had to put down our dog, Jasmine. She was a Bull Terrier mix. The proverbial “pit bull”. She was this short muscular, very timid animal. She would run a way when you took out the vacuum.

My brother, Matthew, got her from a kennel in 1999, on Fire Island, when she was about 2 months old. She was this little white thing with black and brown markings. She was just a ball of energy, running everywhere and climbing all over. The following year, my mother and step father moved to a new house, and since the old house was not sold yet, Matt was living in the house by himself with Jasmine. Now, when we got Jasmine, she was always supposed to be Matthews’s dog. It was supposed to be his responsibility. Thanksgiving Eve 2000, Matt and his friends, and I and my friends were going out, for the typical biggest night out bash. While we are out, my mother and step father stop by the house and end up taking Jasmine home with them. That was end of that. Slowly but surely, Jasmine stopped being Matt’s dog and started becoming theirs. Over the years they would complain about her and say that she was Matt’s and that he should take her, but we all knew that they would never give her up.

As Jasmine grew older, she never lost her energy. She was still this hyper thing that never just walked. Granted, she was never properly trained right. When you took here for a walk, she would always pull you, not walk with you. And for her build (short, stocky, all muscle, about 55 lbs), when she pulled, she took you with her.

A couple of years ago, we noticed this growth on one of her front legs. It was always small and never grew bigger. Then last year, it started to grow, and she developed other growths. They were removed at the vet and she was diagnosed with cancer. They said that there was not much they could do and gave her 3 months to live. That was just before Thanksgiving last year. Threw this all she was still active. She slowed down a bit, but that could have been due to age. She was in her 10th year. On Thanksgiving, my mother had a lot of people over and Jasmine was in the middle of everybody. She wanted to be around everybody. She still was playing with everybody. On Monday, my mom called me at work and said that it was time. They were to bring her to the Vet the next day. I decided that I needed to be there. This was going to be harder on my mom than she would think it would be, and my brother lives in Buffalo and could not be there. On Tuesday, I arrived at my mother’s house around 9:45. As I walk in, I hear Jasmine drinking from here bowl. She sees me and walks over to be petted. Then she slowly walks to her bed and lies down. She just lays there and doesn’t move. Normally, when I walk in, she bound over, tail wagging, waiting for you to pet her and play.

As she lay there, I could see how skinny she got. She hadn’t really eaten in a week, and when she did, she wouldn’t hold it down. All she would do is drink. We had no idea what the cancer was doing to her insides. When it was time to take her to the vet, she would not get up off her bed. I had to pick her up and stand her up. We put the leash on and she slowly (unusual for her) walked to the car. At the vet, she casually walked into the building. The Vet is also her kennel, and most of the time she fights going there. They sometimes have to give her a sedative to get here to clam down. They even noticed how different she was acting. She just walked into the exam room and lay down. 10 minutes later, the vet came in to give Jasmine her sedative, to relax her for her final moments. Jasmine did not move while receiving the shot. For the next 20 minutes she goes from slowly moving around to basically almost falling asleep. She did, however, walk over to each of us and for a little bit. You wonder if she knew it was her time and she was saying good bye. She came over and looked up at me. When I started to rub and scratch her head, she would lower here head as she always did. Then she went back to her spot on the floor and laid there for the rest of the time. Then the Vet and her assistant come back in. It was time. I pick up Jasmine and put her on the table. She doesn’t fight or budge. She seems to accept it. She lies on the table and doesn’t move. I stand by her head to keep her still if she does move. The fluid is injected into here right front leg. I bend down to look into her eyes. They are glazed over and do not move. She is gone.
It happens faster than I thought. I don’t say anything at that point. My mom asks if Jasmine will feel anything, if she will have any reactions, like start to shake. The Vet tells her that Jasmine is already deceased. At that point, my mom starts to cry again; with the finality that Jasmine is gone.

I do wonder how my son will handle it. I just showed him some pictures of Jasmine, and he said, excitedly, “That’s Jasmine”. When my son Cameron would go over to their house, we kept Jasmine away because of how hyper she was. She would run into him and knock him over. Jasmine would be outside. Cameron would stare at him through the window and laugh. He would put his face up against the window at Jasmine. When he goes over he asks where Jasmine is. I don’t know what is going to happen the next time my mother takes him to stay over and he asks where Jasmine is. How do you explain it to a three year old? I don’t think it will affect him too much because he doesn’t live with Jasmine and he seems him rarely. But you never know.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Haven't been in touch lately

I haven't posted anything in a while. I have been pretty busy finishing up school. I am done with classes in about 4 weeks and have my graduation in May. Then I am FINALLY done with school for good. Its been a long time. Since September 2005. No more school for me after this. No way am I going back to get a PhD.

I should have something new posted within a week.

Till then...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I decided to create a website.

As of right now, all I have uploaded to it is a page with my resume and downloads to my resume in different formats, a copy of my resume in a visual format, and a list of classes taken at The Fordham Graduate School of Business. I also have links to this blog and my LinkedIn profile.

Check it out and give me some comments.

Friday, February 6, 2009

NY Mets and Citi Field Naming Rights Hubbub

I do not understand the short sightedness of these politicians that say Citigroup and the New York Mets must dissolve their 20 year, $400M naming rights agreement or Citigroup should have to return the $45B Citi received from the TARP money.

To arbitrarily say that they should cancel the agreement is preposterous. First, find out if any of the taxpayer money is going to the Mets. Any company, regardless if they received gov’t help, has a right, a necessity, to advertise. Having its name on a stadium in the largest market in the country gives them a great deal of exposure. Especially in the first year of the new stadium. It will be all over TV. Its signs are all over the stadium. And I guarantee that with the agreement, Citibank is now the official bank of the New York Mets, and they have exclusive rights to install ATM’s within the stadium. (Why would they NOT put that into the contract).

Having the agreement dissolved would, in my opinion, make Citigroup look even worse off. It shows that they can’t even advertise nor have the money to spend on advertising. The Gov’t is not telling them to stop other advertising, so why should the Gov’t pick and choose which advertising strategies to kill. Historically, banks have been one of the few industries where naming rights make sense. Banks are pretty much all the same. Naming rights help differentiate banks. Giving them the TARP money and saying that they can’t market themselves does not make sense.

Also, the agreement is a legally binding contract. The Mets and Citigroup signed the contract in 2006. If it was voided, there is no way, in this market, that the Mets can find another partner who would pay close to the same amount. So, besides punishing Citi for there past deeds, you in turn punish the New York Mets. If Citi is forced to break the contract, or looks to get out of it by itself, the Mets are sure to sue for damages. Say, in the current economy, the Mets can only negotiate a $250M, 20 yr agreement with another partner, they would probably sue for the other $150M in damages. Now what would make sense, Citi paying $400M for naming rights and advertising for 20 years, or $150M for nothing.

And why is the conversation only about Citigroup and the New York Mets. If Citi is forced out of the contract by the Gov’t, they HAVE to also force any company that receives Gov’t bailout money out of their naming agreements: Bank of America recived $45B and has their name on teh Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC, and are negotiating a major sponsorship rights agreemnet with the NY Yankees (though not for the name of the stadium): JP Morgan Chase, recipiant of $25B has Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ; Wells Fargo also received $25B and has various arena's named for them around the west coast, as well as The Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, arising from its purchase of Wachovia. They are sure to change the name to Wells Fargo Center, or something similar.

On a lighter note, if the Mets do lose the sponsorship and name of Citified (which is a perfect name, doesn’t sound commercial for NYC), another PERFECT sponsorship would be with Met Life, for Met Life Park.

And for the new stadium being built for the NY Jets and the NY Giants, a perfect sponsorship would be with JetBlue. Makes total sense (for those who don’t know: fits for the Jets and Big Blue)

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Year, Old Interest

I haven’t had a chance to post anything new in a while. Our holidays have been extended, seeing out of town family the past couple of weekends. I also just started my last semester of school at The Fordham Graduate School of Business. I will finally graduate in April (Hallelujah). I have been attending since September 2005.

I am taking a class called ‘Technical Analysis of Financial Markets”. This is probably the most interesting class I have taken yet. I have always been somewhat interested in the technical aspect of the markets, bust most of my studies have been on the fundamental side. The technical side makes for sense to me. It is pretty much “what you see is what you get”. There is really not that much guess work as with the fundamental side. 10 analysts might each come up with a different conclusion when looking at the fundamentals, while with technical analysis, 8-9 analysts out of 10 would probably be in agreement when they study the charts. It also helps with day trading or swing trading immensely, which is something I would like to do full time.

Well, I will post again soon.