July 17, 2008

July 17, 2008
It's great to have you join me again for this Thursday in my life. I hope you have had a great day so far!

It was a very dark and stormy day here in Jacksonville. When I crawled out of bed around 9am, we were already having a torrential downpour with puddles forming on Stockton Street. Being Florida and in the summer, the rain was accomplished by a brilliant lightning show and claps of thunder for sound effects. It ended up raining until almost 6pm this evening. At one point, Stockton Street even started to flood some because of the rate of rainfall. But still being on ordered bed rest by my doctor, it made for another great day to be indoors and out of the weather.

The big story of the day is the New York Stock Exchange and the current falling prices of crude oil. Oil prices tumbled below $130 a barrel for the first time in more than a month Thursday, as crude's dramatic slide entered a third day accompanied by a sharp sell-off in natural gas. The declines accelerated amid growing concerns that the weakening economy and creeping inflation are eroding demand for fossil fuels in the U.S. and other large energy-consuming nations. Oil is now more than 10 percent cheaper per barrel than it was on Monday; natural gas prices are down more than 20 percent just since the Fourth of July. Still, experts are not convinced that prices have turned a corner. Light, sweet crude for August delivery dropped $5.31 to settle at $129.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have fallen nearly $16 in just the past three days. Natural gas futures for August delivery fell more than 8 percent Thursday, marking their biggest one-day drop in nearly a year. Prices for the key heating, cooking and power generation fuel settled 86.1 cents lower at $10.537, their lowest point since April. A number of market observers say there simply wasn't enough support for the recent run up in natural gas prices, and that this week's sell-off of oil has only helped speed the declines. The immediate cause of Thursday's sharp natural gas decline was a larger-than-expected increase of U.S. supplies. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas inventories rose by 104 billion cubic feet to more than 2.31 trillion last week. Analysts had been expecting supplies to grow by only 86 billion to 91 billion cubic feet. A similar report Wednesday showed oil, gasoline and other fuel supplies unexpectedly rose sharply. Traders saw both the petroleum and natural gas reports as reasons to sell, as they reinforce data that show consumers are cutting back on their energy use. At the gas pump, prices held steady at a record $4.114 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. Diesel rose to a new record of $4.845, up more than half a penny. In other Nymex trade, heating oil fell 9.72 cents to settle at $3.7438 a gallon, while gasoline futures fell 11.61 cents to settle at $3.1633.

On the stock market, the market closed up for the second day in a row. Stocks had another strong finish Thursday as all three of the major indices finished more than 1% higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had the best performance, finishing near its high with a 1.9% gain. In other economic news, weekly jobless claims for the week ending July 12 increased 18,000 to 366,000. Despite the increase, the total was below the consensus expectation for 380,000 claims. The level of initial claims continues to reflect a steady trend. Importantly, though, it also refutes the idea that there has been a material deterioration in the job market. So while the market might be going through a temporary recovery, jobs are still being cut. So what does all this mean for people on disability, fixed income regardless of HIV status? We can hope gasoline, food and energy prices do not continue to skyrocket through the rest of the year. Well... at least we can hope.

Nathaniel was a life saver and agreed to pick up Gary's medications from BCCC after the patient advisory board meeting this morning. The pharmacist did give him some trouble about picking the meds up because Nathaniel could not remember Gary's last name correctly. So I had to get Gary to call the pharmacy and give permission for the pharmacist to release the medications to Nathaniel. Poor Nathaniel had to get out in the rain to bring in the bad to Gary. It was very sweet of Nathaniel since I was unable to attend the meeting today because of doctor's orders.

Mainly spent the day watching CNBC and Headline News. Speaking of other breaking news. And the nominees are in! Many of the usual suspects made the cut for the 60th Annual Prime time Emmy Awards that were announced this morning, but freshmen dramas Mad Men and Damages earned nods in the Outstanding Drama Series category, making them the first basic cable series to be recognized by Emmy. The stars of each series, Jon Hamm and Glenn Close, each also received nominations in the Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress in a Drama Series categories respectively. HBO's John Adams won the day with the most nominations (23), including nods for Best Miniseries and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries for Paul Giamatti's portrayal of the miniseries' title character. 30 Rock (17) and Mad Men (16) rounded out the top three nod-grabbers. Now Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives were both shut out of the Best Comedy category which surprised me. But America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams of Ugly Betty were nominated. So which choices are your favorites and who do you think will win this year? Drop me a line and let me know.

We ended up ordering pizza from Papa John's since they are close and deliver. We got our usual pepperoni pizza in a size XL since it was on special for $9.99. It was pretty good and at least we didn't have to get out in the rain to go to a restaurant since neither of us felt like cooking tonight. Gary and I watched So You Think You Can Dance since it was the weekly results show tonight. Pretty Carrington and B boy Dex ended up leaving the show. The eliminations are now strictly up to the viewers. The boy and girl with the lowest votes are voted out each week now that they were down to the top 10. The judges can no longer say one out of the bottom scores.

Otherwise it was a pretty low key day. How was yours? Hope you had a great one.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab