Matrix Blog

Time Out

[Matrix Hiatus] On Vacation

February 17, 2009 | 1:58 am |

Here’s a rehash of something I concocted last year: A chart based on the percent change in cpi-adjusted quarterly median sales price from the prior year quarter using the “surface” charting function in Excel. A poor man’s SSPS.

Quilting never looked so good.

I’ll be on vacation this week, thinking of nothing else but housing market trends, credit contraction, stimulus spending et al.

Ok, not really.

[Dreaming of Economic Justice] Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 19, 2009 | 1:10 am |

I have to say that Dr. King’s birthday is one of the few holidays that I stop and reflect about the nation and how it is changing. I spend time listening to his August 23, 1963 “I have a Dream speech” each year. Here’s the text.

Although King is best known for his civil rights work, he was a staunch advocate for economic justice. In the months before he was killed, he had been working on the Poor People’s Campaign and calling for an economic bill of rights. When he was assassinated in 1968, he was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers’ strike.

I remember moving to southern Delaware from Massachusetts when I was 7 in 1967, the first year of integrated busing in the small community where we lived. Delaware is a Mason-Dixon state and segregation was very much alive and well back then. A formidable experience to say the least.

Just try and imagine those same words as he spoke them in 1963 under an entirely different social context.

Here is one of my favorite MLK quotes.

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

[Risk of “Going Big”] Housing Market Goes Up, Down, Will Live Another Day

January 2, 2009 | 7:12 pm | |

On New Year’s Eve, we were surfing tv channels and saw the usual fodder of the Dick Clark-Carson Daly-Celebrities excited to be in Times Square-rock bands-yelling revelers-ball dropping-confetti falling expected festivities. My son wanted to watch the Robbie (son of Evel) Knievel jump on Fox so I acquiesced. Not to take anything away from Robbie Knievel but it was a routine, mundane boring type of jump. My expectations were a lot higher and a number of my friends had the same reaction.

Then we switched over to ESPN and saw another “Robbie” make a jump. Robbie Maddison made the most amazing motorcycle jump (actually 2) I have ever seen and, of course the up and down ramps symbolized the housing market pattern of the past several years (sorry I can’t help it). Please watch – it’s worth a look, I promise.

Last year he went the distance (322 feet).

Of course, the moral of the story is along the lines of, even with the sharp decline after the sharp incline, he, of course, lived. Notwithstanding that Robbie has to be insane. In his pre-jump interview, he was hoping young people learn from this by going big.

Trillions of dollars later, the financial system can’t afford to “go big”.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 | 1:48 am | Favorites |

Let me see…running around on the deck violating laws…ruining lives…chasing treasure that isn’t always what it seems…I must referring to Talk Like A Pirate Day. Not investment banks…Aaarrgh.

I may not be all that consistent about many things, but let past history be your judge, yer scoundrels!
Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2007
Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2006
Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2005

You can thank Dave Barry of the Miami Herald for getting the tradition going.

Here’s the story behind the madness of Talk Like A Pirate Day.

the day is the only holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. He has stated that during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of D-Day, they chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.

Even Word-a-day got into the spirit.

The original site is but my friend runs the third ranked site called after the second ranked site in England.

Imagine legions of people googling “Talk Like A Pirate” for this holiday every year. The traffic is insanely high to these sites once a year.

This phenomenon reminds me of the immortal words (paraphrased from memory) of Guy Kawasaki, one of the early software evangelists at Apple.

Millions interacting with people they don’t know; about topics they don’t understand; for reasons they can’t explain.

Makes perfect sense to me. Arrrrgh!

Ok, it’s gettin’ late – I’ll soon address the SEC issue on short selling and the rumors of a new and improved RTC with a Johnny Depp-like delivery.

UPDATE: Number one search phrase on Google today “Talk Like A Pirate Day” and this Matrix post is the first blog mentioned. Arrrgh.


[9/11] Pause, Remember

September 11, 2008 | 12:08 am |

Miller Cicero Turns Six

August 19, 2008 | 4:38 pm |

Six years ago we (me, my wife and sister) formed a commercial valuation firm Miller Cicero with long time industry veteran John Cicero, MAI.

People have always told me “the only good partner is a dead partner” but John proved them wrong…lucky for John. 😉

He’s a great appraiser, smart, fun to be around and best of all, he’s got integrity (and if you have kept up with this blog, you’ll know thats in short supply in the mortgage business).

Miller Cicero has been guided with the same business philosophy as Miller Samuel has for nearly 22 years: think long term – neutrality – no short cuts.

It’s refreshing to see that there are clients out there that actually want to have an unbiased value estimate performed on a property. That’ll be the forward trend.

Here’s what John thinks.

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[Matrix Hiatrix] 08:08:08:08:08 Aftermath, It’s All Buffalo

August 10, 2008 | 12:40 am | |

Its time to take some time off and recharge. All the excitement of the “08:08” events wore me out.

And while we are considering lower oil prices, lets actually try to consider fixing the financial system problems of today. It really calls for a series of meaningful regulatory overlays, not a bunch of restrictions. Here’s an interesting point of view:

Professor Shiller thinks our bankrupcty laws need to be overhauled as one of the fixes for financial system meltdowns:

Current bankruptcy law, and the system of bankruptcy courts, were put in place by Congress with the help of organizations like the American Bankruptcy Institute, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. It’s not shocking that these groups seem to have approached the problem of bankruptcies largely as narrow specialists, thinking mostly of the interests of their clients, rather than of the economy as a whole. We can’t expect securities lawyers to focus on issues like threats to consumer confidence or, for that matter, disruptions in the labor market.

But someone needs to do it.

An like any period of upheaval, there are winners, and there are losers.

Or better yet, think about our ability to to craft new laws to solve our problems.

And while you’re at it, think about this as a complete sentence while I am away:

Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.

Does this make sense? Of course, not. That’s why I am taking a break.

[Big Bang Theory Meets Black Hole] Google De-Indexes Matrix

July 22, 2008 | 7:57 pm | |

I think most of us love Google or the idea that we can pretty much query anything at anytime. Two days ago Ray over at Money Blue Book told me this blog, Matrix, was no longer indexed on Google.


I reached out to friends like Chris Miles and Dustin Luther to figured out what to do – it’s never happened before and since I didn’t change anything on the site recently, I didn’t know where to start. We ended up poking around and found advertisements for viagra embedded in my sidebar (WordPress). I’d been hacked!

I went to this page My site’s no longer included in the search results. What happened?

…not much help!

I went to my Google Webmaster Tools page and sent a reconsideration letter (allow 4-6 weeks for changes).

Its the “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” law of the Internet – after all, it is only a series of tubes.

[Matrix Time Out] 4th Of July, Old Glory, Stars & Stripes

July 3, 2008 | 12:01 am |

Taking a long weekend. Need to gear up for “incoming” (no battle worn, tattered and shot up Old Glory pun intended) family and friends for the annual Clambake Lobsterfest at Chez Miller.

Best wishes to everyone on this holiday.


[In Search Of Credit] Matrix Taking A Vacation

June 6, 2008 | 7:21 pm |

How cool is this?

A chart based on the percent change in cpi-adjusted quarterly median sales price from the prior year quarter using the “surface” charting function in Excel. Really!

I don’t know what the chart actually shows, but if I get it printed and matted or made into a quilt…I have an alternative art career if this appraisal gig doesn’t work out (so far so good, thankfully).

Ok, I’ll be on vacation next week, dreaming of defaults, housing prices and inventory.

Yeah right.

[Bear Stearns] Currency Of The Day: For $2 More

March 18, 2008 | 2:00 pm | | Milestones |

I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose everything you spent your career building up in one day. That’s what many of the employees at Bear Stearns are dealing with, and I am sure many of them had nothing to do with the downfall of the firm. A good friend of mine left the firm last year and is feeling like he made the right decision.

Can you imagine the litigation onslaught on its way? Employees could chuckle about something today.

According to Reuters this photo was found on the front door of Bear Stearns today:

Here’s some more gallows humor from WallStreetJackass referring to the page one WSJ article last fall on the bridge playing, pot smoking Bear Sterns CEO with a mocked up Bloomberg Terminal screen. Consistent with the reasoning why the economy is failing.

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Matrix Hacked

March 14, 2008 | 2:52 pm |

Looks like someone cracked WordPress and deleted my entire blogroll! I’ll have it back online this weekend. What is this world coming too? The next thing you know, a high level government official will resign in scandal…

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