Sunday, February 25, 2007

Yet Another Roadtrip

Up to Austin this time. Had a weekend, took advantage of it. No great stories to speak of, but Trudy's was amazing as always. Whole Foods' HQ + flagship store was great, and Town Lake was a blast with little Jackieboy.

Trudy's - our favorite Mexican restaurant in Texas. If you're only there once, get the stuffed avocado with suiza sauce (in foreground).

Town Lake is always a fun destination if you are visiting Austin. If you visit between July and October, you can see the bats.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Galveston Field Trip

The day after Aggieland, we ventured down to Galveston... had no idea it was during Mardi Gras (Texas-style - just as much drunken debauchery, but with a redneck tinge). Needless to say, we tried our best to avoid the trashy beer fest and stick to the beach. Galveston ... what can you say. It's there. I bet it would have been a rockin' town if the 1900 hurricane didn't wipe it off the map.

Running into the sunset

Obligatory hold-out photo

Dirty dog

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Road Trip to Aggieland


Hey, let's go to College Station! It's a lazy Saturday, not much going on (final exams maybe...). And bonus points - we'll have something to talk about with our Aggie friends and coworkers other than, "so uh, how about that Freebirds. They sure do make a mean burrito." Often misunderstood, Texas A&M to many (including Rob and Rachel) seems like America's biggest cult. It is home to over 40,000 students any given year, but the school does such a great job of integrating every one of them that after graduation your classmates end up being lifetime friends and business contacts. Even the two- or three-dozen Aggies at Rice's MBA program share a kindred spirit that the rest of us can't quite understand.

We return to Houston super impressed with pretty much everything and everyone. We started our day at Messina Hof Winery where we enjoyed a fabulous yuppie lunch. We highly recommend the place. Their facility reminds us a lot of a typical vineyard in Oregon, but they also have a 4-star restaurant and a bed and breakfast. If we were in Texas another year or two, we would have enjoyed a restful weekend stay.

Not sure what else to see, the server recommended we walk our dog around Barbara Bush's pond. Okydoky... not sure what that means, but it's next to the Bush presidential library. We never saw ourselves visiting the Bush library in College Station of all places, but it was right there - when else would we ever go? We paid our $6 and ran around the museum. We were very impressed - one of the finest museum's we've been to (an
d we have seriously been to a lot in the seven years we've known each other). George was a great guy - hopefully he will be known as one of the best 1-term presidents.

After driving by Kyle Field (in Rob's opinion, in the pantheon of college football stadiums, this is in the top 5), we stopped for a caffeine pick-me-up at Starbucks, and ate dinner at a local dive, the Dixie Chicken! Yes, it was a dive of a place, but it's so popular! We are sure to bring it up in conversation with any Aggie we run across in the future.

What a good day... who knew College Station was so fun and quirky...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Li'l Jackson Hole

We're not going to be like "those people" who talk about their dog all the time ... but our family and friends asked for more pictures of little Jackie Boy. Click here:
Acting coy
Family photo
Attack dog
Those silly yorkie totes

Friday, February 09, 2007


Want to earn a free buck? How do Wall Street analysts justify their rock-star lifestyles? By taking their job seriously. They take the time to learn about obscure advances in finance and use quantitative tools discovered by PhD students from around the country to outsmart the average Main Street investor. One such tool is the "F-Score." A quick background and summary:
  • For years, smart people (Fama, French, et al) have known that companies with low market to book ratios outperform companies with high market to book ratios. This in itself is no doubt a tool that traders look for on their Bloomberg screens.
  • Among low M/B (or B/M) stocks, Joseph Piotroski sought to discover some characteristics that separate the winners from the losers. I'm guessing he ran a whopper of a regression with dozens/hundreds of lagging ratios and indicators against prospective stock returns.
  • In the end, he came up with the insanely simple F-Score model that Wall Street uses (among many other models) to help allocate their portfolios.
And here it is:
Look at the most current financial statements for a company. Ask yourself the 9 questions listed below. If the answer is "yes" enter a 1, "no" enter a 0:
  1. Is net income positive?
  2. Is operating cash flow positive?
  3. Is operating cash flow > net income?
  4. Has return on assets increased (from the prior year)?
  5. Has gross margin improved?
  6. Has asset turnover improved?
  7. Has LT Debt / Total Assets decreased?
  8. Has the current ratio improved?
  9. Has there been no new equity issuance?
Sum up the numbers. Buy and hold companies with a score of 8 or 9, and short stocks with F-Score of 0 or 1.