Sunday, August 11, 2019

VEGGIE SOUP


So it's mid-Summer.  A big and productive garden calls for a nice soup.  My Greek mom always has some form of soup ready to heat up.  This is in her style.

This soup is not particularly Greek.  But with some olive oil added it's a little more Greeky....Greekish....Greeklike...

This is EASY.  Anyone can make this and is about as healthy as yoou can get.


2 large onions, cut up
1 bunch celery, cut up
5 carrots, cut up
4 small zucchini, cut up
3 leeks, cut up
½ cup frozen Lima beans
½ cup cut up green beans
3 ripe tomatoes
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup olive oil
croutons

In a large pot, place all ingredients except oil and croutons. 

Cover with water and vring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover and cook for about 90 minutes.  Add oil and cook 15 minutes longer.   

Serve topped with croutons. Da bomb..

Friday, August 9, 2019

SIMPLE AND COMFORTING SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS

We found some tasty looking sausages at the store. We sampled an Isernio's Parsley and Pecorino Chicken Sausage. Good enough to forget dinner plans, get 6 of them to roast with some peppers. And they're chicken so they only have 110 calories a sausage to boot.


Normally, I would slap 'em on the grill, blast them a for a bit and eat them with a bun. But I didn't want to stand out in the sun and I have no buns or patience and keep an eye on something that easily splits and dries up. But we have a few bell peppers. Perfect! I'll roast them up like I had in an Italian restaurant.

6 Italian Sausages
3 bell peppers cut into 1 inch strips
1 sweet onion thinly sliced
garlic clove or two
olive oil
oregano
salt and pepper
splash of white wine


Preheat your oven to 350.

Sprinkle peppers onion and garlic in a bowl with oregano, olive oil, and salt and pepper. 

Place peppers, onion, garlic in roasting pan and layer on top the sausages.  This helps the sausages to brown.  

Stick it in the oven.

 Roast for about an hour turning occasionally. If it's dry in the last 10 minutes, splash with a small bit of white wine.  That  adds that little bit of amazing sauce you can sop up with some crusty bread.


Arrange on a platter and serve.

This can be as satisfying as Thanksgiving dinner.  Really...

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

THE FREEWHEELIN' MARK ARM

There is nothing like the lead singer of Mudhoney covering Bob Dylan.

"The Freewheelin' Mark Arm" single (SUB POP 87)  was a one off solo effort by one of the fathers of grunge (I hate that term).  Recorded by Jack Endino at Reciprocal Recordings.  This has never been released on CD or digital to my knowledge.

This camo out in November 1990, almost exactly one year before the release of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" destroyed the Seattle Sound (grunge?!?) for the fans in Seattle by becoming a worldwide smash hit.

The cover is a take off of Bob Dylan's "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" album.  The gas mask adds a nice touch..

Got this years ago at some Seattle record store for about $7.  It came in orange, red, green, purple, and black vinyl.

Side A is "Masters of War", a Bob Dylan cover.  It actually has a Velvet Underground kind of sound to it.  Great cover.

Side B is a an original.  To say the least..  "My Life With Rickets". Kind of a Bo Diddly meets the Seattle sound.   The lyrics of the first verse:

One morning in Amsterdam 
I punched a girl and ran
She turned into a man
And beat the shit out of me

Perfect.  Very Mark Arm.

Here's a you tube clip.   My Life With Rickets starts at 3:55.  Don't miss it..

joy

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

UPDATED WATCH LIST

Updated the  WATCH LIST  today

Added quite a few new companies.

When it comes time to buy, I'll see what is the best value at the time.




Friday, August 2, 2019

MY AMAZON NAME WAS JEDWARDS

Spent the early evening doing some cleaning of my "office".  Buried in my desk was my old badge from amazon.com


I wonder if my email was recycled at the company.   So I wrote an email to jedwards@amazon.com

Here's what I wrote:

I don’t know if anyone at amazon will get this, but I worked there from 1998 to 2004. I would not be surprised if my email name has been recycled since then, 
Here’s my badge. (attached photo)
If anyone gets this, please write. 
thanks,
John Edwards, the original jedwards….

It did not return as undeliverable!   Hopefully someone will write back!

ELLINGTON UPTOWN


I am normally a rock fan, especially garage rock from the 60's and the post punk world of the late 70's and early 80's.   But here's a jem of a jazz LP I picked up at a thrift store.




Duke Ellington's "Ellington Uptown" LP on Columbia .  The copy I have is a 1953 pressing of a 1951 album.  It includes and extended version of "Take The A Train" and the 13 minute masterpiece "A Tone Parallel To Harlem" (The Harlem Suite).   Just a couple years earlier, long versions of songs were straight up impossible with a 12"  78rpm record holding a max of a bit over 5 minutes per side.  Long songs are not the same when you have to go and flip over the record for part 2...

Here's The Harlem Suite..



What makes this a particularly cool find is that it was in Near Mint condition sitting in a Goodwill store.  Most records at thrift stores are usually thrashed.  Hell, most records at thrift stores are awful AND worn out.  Who wants a worn out Mac Davis album..



For a dollar, this is well worth it.  A copy this clean goes for about $25 or so


ANNUAL SPEND = SHARE BUY


Recently, I made a rather major purchase when my wife's phone decided to dislike its battery.   My wife's iPhone 6  needed to stay plugged in after 90 minutes of use, and she needed to get a new phone for the upcoming vacation s owe can go in the water with it.  First World problems....

So off to the Apple store.  We left with 2 new iPhone X's.   Payed full price since I hate having a contract with payments.

So to make up for the cost, I have decided to match what I spent on the phones with a purchase of AAPL at the end of the year.

I had done this in the past when purchasing other Apple items (laptop, AppleTV).  I would buy the equivalent amount in AAPL.   I get a dividend back, and it's grown in value, so I am pretty much break even.  Took some AAPL profits this year and diversified.

Now I have decided I will do the same for some other companies.   At the end of the year, I will match my purchases of a few companies in share purchases.   I want to track my "reimbursement" as the stock gains and pays dividends.

Here's my running count for 2019 :

APPLE - $2032
AT&T - $1322
TARGET - $790
COSTCO - $698
HOME DEPOT - $567
BED BATH & BEYOND - $180
STARBUCKS - $48 Skipping this. Maybe a 2 year plan...
McD's - $25 Well, I can skip this.... for oh, 10 years or so...

I will update this at the end of the year.  See ya then..

Any comments about this plan?



Thursday, August 1, 2019

GENE VINCENT "BE-BOP-A-LULA" 78


As a kid growing up in the 70's, I would love to spend my time splaying my parents records.  Nothing like watching them spin around and make a sound.

One of the cooler ones was Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps' "Be-Bop-A-Lula" from 1956.  One of the best example of early rockabilly.   I don't quite remember doing this, but my mom mentioned I wore it out and also tried to rip the label off the B side.

A few months ago, I stumbled across a Mint copy of this song on a British 78.  Usually they are quite worn out pieces, especially the 78 shellac version, and they still go for $25 or more.  This mint one was on sale (at a famous on line action site...) for $10.  I could not pass it up.  Was it a counterfeit?



Once receiving it, I combed over the details with a fine tooth comb.  The run out matrix was perfect.  The label was perfect.  It was in PERFECT condition.  It was real.   Who in their right mint would fake a shellac 78 anyway?  The effort in doing so would be more costly than getting a vintage copy.

And I love the paper cover it comes in!

I really dig the B-Side "Woman Love"  Here's a clip


JULY 2019 DIVIDENDS

I'm being paid for simply being alive!  

Here are my July 2019 dividend earnings.  I collected $1,524.75

There is nothing like getting a dividend payout almost every day.    

The January/April/July/October dividend payments are the largest of the financial quarters.  The upcoming August will be my low month of the quarter,in the $900 range, but I'm always looking to add some shares to it to balance the return.  


7/1/2019KO$37.20

7/1/2019NKE$10.12

7/1/2019PPL$52.80

7/2/2019KMB$38.11

7/3/2019WHF$429.20

7/5/2019BBY$34.50

7/8/2019MRK$26.95

7/10/2019AGNC$32.00

7/12/2019VTR$52.31

7/12/2019OMC$33.80

7/12/2019CB$10.50

7/15/2019STOR$44.88

7/15/2019PEB$15.20

7/15/2019O$15.18

7/15/2019MAIN$20.50

7/15/2019APLE$40.90

7/16/2019BBBY$40.97

7/24/2019CSCO$9.45

7/26/2019SYY$15.21

7/26/2019AMNF$39.93

7/26/2019CLDT$21.45

7/29/2019ANH$125.07

7/29/2019TWO$141.60

7/30/2019BNS$35.39

7/30/2019CN$39.80

7/31/2019NLY$100.00

7/31/2019IEX$5.00

7/31/2019ORCL$18.48

7/31/2019TD$38.25$1524.75

 It's all good.

JULY DIVIDEND INCREASES

In July,  I only had 4 dividend increases, but made a huge difference when it comes to the bottom line.  It all adds up in the long run.

Caterpillar (CAT)  raised their dividend almost 20% to $1.03.   My annual dividend went form $68.80 to $82.40, a $13.60 increase

Bank of America (BAC) raised their dividend 20% to $.18.  My annual dividend went from $70.20 to $84.24, a $14.04 increase

Discover Financial Services (DFS) raised their dividend 10% to $.44, increasing my annual dividend by $8.80.

National Retail Properties (NNN) raised their dividend 4% to $.52.  My annual dividend increased by $1.17.

Overall, these increases added $37.61 to my annual dividends. 

Can't complain.




Tuesday, July 30, 2019

ETHICAL STOCK OWNERSHIP?


As I ride this long strange trip called life, one of my goals is to be able to retire at a reasonably young age.  I would have time to road trip, garden to my hearts content, and find out what new hobbies interest me. And sitting by the wave pool at the park while my kid swims like a dolphin......

 Basically, I do not plan on working until the day I die..

To achieve the goal of financial independence, I invest in dividend growth stocks.  I buy shares of strong companies that return a chunk of their profits as dividends, and ones that have a track record of increasing the dividend.  Since these  shares would be held long term, as the dividend increases my return rate from my initial purchase would also increase.  

For example, Boeing currently pays a dividend of around 2.42%.  As they have increased the dividend over the years, my investment now earns 5.27%.   Give it some time, and the dividend will pay more annually than what the shares were purchased for.

What kind of companies should I buy?  I want them to increase dividends, hopefully beat the inflation rate with that dividend at original purchase, and not be paying out too high a percentage of profits in these dividends, so they do not have a risk of cutting the payout.

Should I then choose companies that are more suited ethically to my tastes?  Should I buy "green" companies?  Solar companies? Should I avoid petroleum manufacturers?  Should I avoid tobacco companies? Should I stay away from companies like Walmart, that put local stores out of business and have full time employees needing food stamps?   

Or should I buy these companies to have a voice using the theory that if enough people buy shares of a company, they will change their culture?  I actually did that and bought 1 share of BP in 2010, hoping that if enough people did that, there would be a more vigorous clean up.  Hmmm...

One can make a case for unethical behavior or unethical products for 99% of public companies.  Coca-Cola and their sugar sales.  Hormel foods and their processed meats. Johnson & Johnson and their use of plastic.  Tyson foods and the whole concept of processed chicken nuggets....

I am not about to sacrifice my chance at retirement just because I did not want to be a .0000001% owner of a company like Hormel, or Apple, that relies on Chinese plants owned by Foxconn where the workers are in some sketchy conditions.

I own some oil company shares (Phillips 66 and Chevron).  I own some shares of Walmart.  I own shares of McDonald's.  I own Tyson and Hormel. It does not mean I have to eat at McDonald's or shop at Walmart and buy Hormel hot dogs and stuff my face with them.  They are going to be around whether I buy them or not.

But I consciously decided not to own any tobacco companies, like Altria (MO) or Phillip Morris (PM).  
It just crossed some line I have with knowingly poisoning their customers with a guaranteed killer.  I believe in personal freedom, but I will not be any percentage of that enabler.  Yes, they are diversified into other fields, but I just feel better in my soul not owning shares of them.  I have a large enough moat of other ethically challenged companies to avoid going down that road.

Some mutual funds claim to be "green" or "ethical".  But to whose ethical limits?

So what's your take on this?   Is there a company that you would refuse to own over some personal ethics?  Do you balance it our with a company that is "ethically pure"?  Am I a hypocrite for buying Chevron but not Phillip Morris?




By the way, here's my.....
DISCLAIMER:   I am not a licensed professional in any sense.  I am not a financial adviser.  
Far from it...  This site, my posts, and my opinions of publicly traded companies are for entertainment purposes only.  My personal investments should in no way in hell be considered investment recommendations. If you have money, seek a professional before making any financial decisions.  I am in no way liable for any financial losses occurred by any party that visits this site. 






The Chrysanthemum Cocktail

So at a trip to the local booze store, I stumbled across Benedictine.  They normally never stock being that's it's pretty standard grocery store booze options around there and I had always wondered what it was all about.  So I picked up a bottle.

I also picked up a bottle of Absinthe on the way to the register.
Because I still have both of my ears....

Benedictine has this legendary claim that only three people at one time knows the recipe.  It's a blend of 4 different distillations of various herbs and other aromatic items that create this mystery flavor. Notes of honey and vanilla, and then who the hell knows.
All I can say is it's quite tasty.  Just a bunch of liquor goodness.



I wanted to make a cocktail with Benedictine other than the popular "B & B" (which comes in a bottle and is the main way it is sold nowadays).  Another option was The Singapore Sling.  Great name, but had a bunch of fruit juice I didn't have and didn't feel like a Hawaiian tourist at the moment.  Maybe some other day.

Lo and behold, I discover the Chrysanthemum Cocktail.  It is one of the very interesting antique cocktails that I ran across on "the internets" lately.  You can tell it's a vintage cocktail from the huge amount of vermouth it contains.   And it requires Absinthe.  Perfect!!!!

2 oz dry Vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
1 tsp Absinthe

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a large orange peel wedge.



Be very very very careful with the amount of Absinthe you add.  I dared to add nearly 2 tsp and ended up with a licorice straight shot....

The final result of a correctly made Chrysanthemum is wonderful and goes with a rainy night.  Someday it will rain in Seattle.  I'm sure of it.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Spanaki Me Faki (Spinach and Lentil Soup)

Next to lamb and feta cheese, nothing is more "Greek" than lentil soup.  Every Greek mom makes a type of lentil soup for her family.  This one is a variation on the norm.  Usually, lentils are cooked with a bit of onion, celery, and carrot, maybe a tomato.  This one is more of a spinach soup with some lentils.  Here goes...  This is a super easy recipe.


½ lb dried lentils, washed
4 cups water
1 lb fresh spinach
¼ cup olive oil
1 bunch green onions
2 cloves garlic sliced
salt and pepper

Soak lentils for about an hour in warm water.
Drain and transfer to soup pot.  Add 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook until soft, about 30 minutes.

As the lentils cook, wash the spinach, remove the course stems, and cut in half.  Let drain in a colander.  Also, prep the green onions and garlic.
 Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté the green onion and garlic until soft.

It may seem like a lot of oil, but we’re trying to flavor the oil here. 

Add it to the cooked lentils. Oil and all, Also, add spinach and cook for about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

That's some good eatin'..











Friday, July 26, 2019

Blog Roll Updated

I updated my blog roll and will be doing so periodically...

Here's a list of of some of my favorite blogs when it comes to dividend investing, food, music, etc.  Usually these are good reads and can be quite informative.

MONEY:

Budgets Are Sexy   Very entertaining website about many aspects of personal finance

Dividend Diplomats One of my favorites for seeing what stock purchases they made and what they are watching.  Much of their portfolios and mine are similar.

Mr. Free @ 33  I've followed Jason from way back in the earlier days of Dividend Mantra.  His portfolio gave me many tips along the way to my own financial freedom.  I do like his "Undervalued Dividend Growth Stock of the Week" articles.  Many of them are already in my portfolio.  Sometimes, I get a new one to check out

Passive Income Persuit  I used this blog's version of a portfolio spreadsheet (with a couple of tweaks) to track my own.  Easily the best spreadsheet I have found online.

DivHut   One of the first blogs about dividend investing I followed.

Mr Money Moustache  - Lots of interesting articles about living a frugal lifestyle.

Here are some more that I feel have a good vibe in regards to dividend growth investing

Mr. Tako Escapes

My Dividend Dyanasty

Dividend Daze

Passive Income Vortex

Dividend Hawk

Passive Cash Blog

The Dividend Pig

Dividend Growth Investor

Dividend Compounder

MUSIC:

I do my research on Discogs.   This is the ultimate database for researching, purchasing, and selling vinyl records  One of me favorite parts is I can add releases to my collection

FOOD:

I'm fortunate to have grown up being fed my my Greek mom and her wonderful cooking.  Other than the recipes I have learned from her, I often go to these sites:

Olive Tomato

Almost Turkish Recipes  One of my favorite sites.

Local Kine Recipes   For Hawaiian

David Rocco   For some amazing Italian

Persian Food Recipes   I've had fun trying some recipes here too

Elly Says Opa!  Another great Greek food blog.




















Friday, July 19, 2019

Tastes Like Chicken...

Tastes like chicken

It was just another warm afternoon and I had some time to take a stroll in my local supermarket (QFC).  I usually look around, find something tasty, and scrape up a dinner for my wife and I.

Lo and behold, they had rabbit in the frozen section reserves for stuff like frozen soup bones and chitlins.  Next to that sits the Miracle Whip. WTF?

As soon as I saw the rabbit, a memory of my Greek mother making a braised "chicken" one night flashed into my memory.  I was about 12, and she had served this braised chicken with some veggies with a sinister grin on her face.  Everything was fine and tasted like chicken.  Then I bit into some bones that sure did not come from chicken. THIS IS NOT CHICKEN.   It was like a leg and thigh that came from a mutant chicken or chicken flavored trukey leg.

I then flashed to what it could have been.  Oh the horror.  

Once, I opened our 2nd fridge in our basement and found a plucked sparrow that had hit the window.  She eventually steamed it and spit it out after one bite.  

At that moment, if she had told me cat, I would have not been surprised.  I had no idea what this thing  was other than it tasted like chicken.

She then let me know it was rabbit. My dad interjected that he used to eat it all the time back in "The Depression".  So if this is what they ate back in "The Depression", then it tasted like chicken.

So I got the frozen rabbit and decided to recreate the meal I had at age 12. I called mom and let her know and she got all excited and told me to make "rabbit fricassee".  I listened to her recipe, stored it in my memory and went about to make a nice savory braised rabbit with some veggies

 Serve it with some buttered egg noodles and a green salad and this dish will change the mind of any one weary of eating a cute little bunny.  

Maybe Wiley E Coyote had it right all along.

A butcher can order you a rabbit if they do not carry it in the store.

1 rabbit (about 2 1/2 pound), dressed, cut into serving size pieces
salt and fresh ground black pepper as needed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 celery ribs chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chopped tomato
2 cups chicken
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a large Dutch oven (or other heavy pot), heat the olive oil over medium-high flame. Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, brown the rabbit in batches so it’s nice and browned on all sides, about 6-7 minutes.  Don’t cram it all in for one browning or you steam your meat!  Put rabbit on plate and add the onions, celery, garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes until they are translucent

Add the wine, and stir to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Bring the wine to  boil for a minute or two; then add the tomato, chicken broth, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Add the rabbit back in, and stir to combine.  Cover tightly, and place the rabbit into a preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the rabbit is fork tender. Remove and stir in the fresh parsley. Taste it and add salt to taste. Allow to rest covered for 20 minutes before serving.  

Serve it with some buttered egg noodles and of course some bread to soak up the goodness.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

July Stock Purchases

"Hey John.  It's only July 17th. What are you doing?!?"

Yeah, I know.  July is not over.  We're barely half way through the month.  What am I doing?
Well, I'm done making my purchases for the month, and I'm eager to talk about it.

I wanted to take a bit of profits and buy some shares.  I think I had this look on my face....




I wanted to balance out my portfolio a bit more and took profits on some that were a bit more of a position than I prefer.  I stick to around a $4,000 position per company.  Apple (AAPL) was at over $9K cost basis.  The Southern Company (SO) was also well over the $4K threshold.   Both were well in the positive, so it was a good opportunity to take some profits and buy even more shares.  And my purchases all have a higher dividend rate than AAPL.  Win win.

I sold 27 shares of AAPL for $5,526.65 and 22 shares of SO for $1230.54.   SO is now at a $4,000 cost basis.  AAPL is at a $6,700 cost basis (and will not sell any more..).  I sacrificed $83.16 of annual dividend with AAPL and $54.56 with SO.   I need to make up the $137.72 in dividends, and them some.

Time to go shopping!

I first bought 37 shares of CVS for $2079.73 today after getting 3 shares 5 days ago  I owned some in the past, but always wanted to get to my full position.
These purchases added $80 to my annual dividends.  Booo-ya. 

Next, I decided to get Caterpillar (CAT) up to my $4K position.  I bought 17 shares for $2321.36.   Another one I had my eye on, but hesitated to buy just because they were always choice number 2 or 3 on a particular day. 
This added $70.04 to my annual dividends.  Already passed up the $137.72 loss!!!!

Then I got 7 shares for Cracker Barrel for $1256.16 to get to just about a full position.  Strong company that, like CAT, I held for a long time and wanted to get more.  Another one I skipped for too long.
This added $36.40 of annual dividends.

Finally, I spent the rest of my available funds to get 43 shares of Bank Of America for $1270.48.   I got this one up to $3,500 of my $4K goal.  As I had written in an earlier post  (Recent buy - BAC), BAC will soon announce a large dividend increase, and I wanted to get in on it.

This added $25.80 to my annual dividends.

So with my stock switcheroo, I added $86.52 to my annual dividends and $2643.29 of profits to my total cost basis.

Ahhhh.

Any thoughts?

- John






Sicilian Meatballs

I already I know what you're thinking.... this is tasty and I should make it.  Really.

I love meatballs, but had never had them with pine nuts and currants (or rasins).   I'm not a big fan of meat with fruit or sweet items.  But since it's hard not to love anything Italian, I gave it a shot.  Even though, the jury was still out until I had the first bite.  Good enough for the blog.   Here goes.....

MEATBALLS:
2 lb lean ground beef (or 1 lb beef and 1 lb ground pork)
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmigiano cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup currants or raisins
small bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
a few leaves basil, cut small
hand-full of white bread, no crust
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

SAUCE:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 28oz can tomato puree
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup red wine

For the Meatballs:
In a mixing bowl, add ground meat, pine nuts, rasins, eggs, cheese, parsley, and basil. 


Soak the bread in the milk, then squeeze out the excess milk.  Break it up and add it to the bowl.   Mix it up and form into small meatballs.

For the sauce, Sut the onion and saute in the olive oil unti softened.  Add the wine and cans of tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and add meatballs (carefully so you don't break them up.) 

 Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes on medium heat.  

Easy as that!  Looks good, huh?

Enjoy it with some nice Italian wine.