Dec 21, 2006

Favorite Music of 2006

My favorite album releases of 2006, in order.

1. Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country
Scotland : Pop : Merge

2. Destroyer: Destroyer's Rubies
USA : Singer/Songwriter : Merge

3. Midlake: Trials of Van Occupanther
USA : Rock/Lo-Fi : Bella Union

4. Figuirines: Skeleton
Denmark : Rock/Pop : Control Group/TCG

5. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone: Etiquette
USA : Singer/Songwriter : Tomlab

6. The Brother Kite: Waiting for the Time to Be Right
USA : Rock/Pop : Clairecords

7. Peter Bjorn & John: Writer's Block
Sweden : Rock/Pop : Wichita/V2

8. Electric President: Electric President
USA : Electronic/Pop : Morr Music

9. Mojave 3: Puzzles Like You
UK : Rock/Pop : 4AD

10. Lonely, Dear: Sologne
Sweden : Singer/Songwriter : Dear John

.Other Much Liked Albums
The Fiery Furnaces, Junior Boys, Herbert, The Pipettes, Grizzly Bear, The Mountain Goats, Math and Physics Club, The Hold Steady, Sunset Rubdown

.Favorite Live Shows
1. Daft Punk: Coachella Music Festival (CA), May
2. Sufjan Stevens: Allen Room @ Lincoln Center (NYC), January
3. The Editors: Mercury Lounge (NYC), January
4. Jens Lekman: Bowery Ballroom (NYC), July
5. Figurines: Mercury Lounge (NYC), June

.Favorite Album Cover
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette

.Favorite Lyrical Verse
The Mountain Goats: Get Lonely - Wide Sage
"And some days I don't miss my family...
And some days I do.
And some days I think I'd feel better if I tried harder...
Most days I know it's not true."

.Favorite Song
The Long Blondes: Giddy Stratospheres

Dec 5, 2006

Gentrify Gripe

Houston between 2nd Avenue and Bowery.

David vs. Goliath.

Mar 28, 2006

East Village Restaurant Files

I'm very keen on updated my tired list of East Village & vicinity DELIVERY / TAKOUT staples. Listed below are my current "go-to" places surrounding my home near 1st avenue and 9th street. If you have suggestions to improve this situation please write me. (Help me.. Help me please)


Pizza Gruppo
Una Pizza Napoletana
Two Boots

L'il Frankies

Caracas Arepas

*Pan Asian*
Tara Thai
East Village Thai
Kai Kai
Why Curry?
Cafe Himalaya
Thai on Two

Royal Banglandesh

Downtown Bakery
Benny's Burritos

*Middle Eastern*
Cafe Rakka

Red House

Westville East
Atomic Wings
Wai Cafe
Quantum Leap

Jan 5, 2006

How I Made Some Easy Sheckle on Osama Bin Ladin

I've been asked to explain this SO many times that I've finally decided to write it down.

One by-product of society's current obsession with gambling and auction style commerce are "current event" markets. Just apply the protocols of sports betting to other uncertain topical outcomes like elections, judicial rulings, weather, or military incursions and you've got yourself a near endless supply of wagerable events!

Trading contracts are assigned to event that have binary outcomes due at a predefined expiration date. At expiration the contract is either worth $0 or $100, depending on the outcome. While the event is still uncertain the contract price will fluctuate according to the probability of that event occurring.

Let's take an example:

Bird Flu <> 31Mar06
This contract will be valued at $100 if by 31mar06 a confirmed case of bird flu is reported in the United States. If no cases are reported the contract will expire at $0.

Currently the market for this contract is 12.5 @ 15

This market is implying that there is a 13.75 percent chance that this event will occur (just average the 2 numbers above). The market above also tells you that someone is attempting to "buy" the contract @ 12.5 while someone else is trying to "sell" the contract @ 15. Just as in the stock market or any similar dutch style auction there are always buyers and sellers, and when a buyer and seller agree to a price there is a trade. Remember that in this type of market participants wager WITH EACH OTHER. There are no bookies, oddsmakers, or intermediaries involved here. The exchange makes money by charging a commission each time you roundtrip a contract.

Here's how it breaks out:

You can buy 1 contract @ 15 (there is someone attempting to sell a contract @ 15)If no bird flu occurs you lose $15 (the contract expires @ $0)
If bird flu occurs you win $85 (the contract expires @ $100 so you've won $100 minus the initial price)

You can sell 1 contract @ 12.5. Note that you don't have to previously own a contract in order to "sell" or "go short" it.
If no bird flu occurs you win $12.5
If bird flu occurs you lose $87.5

Make sense?
Now to Osama Bin Ladin...
Osama Bin Ladin <> (assume that today is 20Mar03)
A. 31Jun03: 37 @ 38
B. 31Dec03: 38 @ 40
C. 31Jun04: 39 @ 41
So what's wrong with this market? Remember that if at anytime Osama Bin Ladin is captured all of these contracts will be worth $100. But if he is not captured by each expiration that contract will expire at $0. The trade opportunity here was pretty obvious - sell contract A and buy contract C in equal amounts. Let's say today is 20Mar03 and you are able to sell $1000 worth of contract A and buy $1000 worth of contract C.
You sell $1000 of A @ 37 (risking $630 to win $370 if Osama is not captured)
You buy $1000 of C @ 41 (risking $410 to win $590 if Osama is captured)

As 31Jun03 approaches contract A will slowly leak towards zero if Osama is not captured while contract C will retain most of its value since expiry is still so far in the future.

So here is a snapshot of the market on 31Jun03...

Osama Bin Ladin <> (assume that today is 31Jun03)
A. 31Jun03: 0 @ 0
B. 31Dec03: 25 @ 27
C. 31Jun04: 36 @ 38
So we've made $370 by betting that Osama would not be captured by 31Jun03 (by selling contract A @ 37). And on contract C that we bought @ 41... Well, it's now only worth 36 but we can sell it out @ 36 at a loss of only $50. You can repeat this trade by selling contract B and buying contract C, but it's no longer as attractive because the term structure has correctly "steepened" back out. Originally the term structure was too "flat" assigning too little probability for the same event but with more time until expiry.