With all the hype which I really didn't need I wanted to see this movie.  I already know the characters, plot lines, and I'm a fan.  I'm a little hard to please with series films. I need the series film to take the characters somewhere further than just another movie about the same boring plot lines.  Did "Furious 7" accomplish this for me?

Jason Statham was an excellent bad guy and added wonderful color to this story.  Statham also a favorite action actor of mine, put so much punch into this movie that it exploded on screen from the beginning.  When Statham character appeared on screen you knew you were watching the best F8 film in the franchise.

Paul Walker's last film.  If you haven't seen this film you should.  If you haven't see any of the "Fast and Furious" films, what planet have you been on, this film will bring you up to speed.

Twitter (TWTR) was up +.8% or +.41 to $51.73 today and I decided to sell it.  Though I made some money holding on to the stock purchased the stock around $42, it's not keeping up with the market.  The last few quarters were not impressive.  It has operate at a -8.13% lower than all benchmarks in the last two years and I felt it was time to unload my shares.

I also sold American Homes 4 Rent (AMH) at $17.  Again, this stock I was excited about a few years ago has not kept its pace with the market.  AMH has been up around 9.62% since I purchased the stock as IPO it remains a few points below the market.  I got in at $15.52 so I'm walking away with a profit but looking for investments that will keep up the benchmarks.

What to expect from the market in 2015?  Rising interest.  The job market has slowed down and international market might have some opportunities for me.

Do you remember what this president had to face when he was elected?  Well, I do.  My stocks eroded.  Housing Market was in the sewage.  Unemployment was in double digits.  I couldn't get any healthcare insurance because I had a pre-existing condition called high blood pressure.  Yes, I was turned down even though my pressure was 130/85 and I was taking my medication.  We were in two wars in foreign countries and didnt know why.  Do you remember?  Or do you have selective memory?

My stocks have gained a 70% return in the last five years.  Unemployment in several states hover around 5% and we sold our apartment units at a profit a few years ago.  I don't have to run to The Republic of Panama for my yearly checkups.  I have insurance and my medication is lower than $10 for three months.  Sometimes if they are having a special at pharmacy it's free.  So why do some people hate really I use it "Hate" President Obama?

My friends in Canada think Americans are crazy.  The fact that we elected Republicans back to Congress and Senate.  They asked, "Isn't this the party that you guys in trouble in the first place?"  We wanted healthcare, now we don't want it.  Crazy.  Gas prices are lower than they ever been, but we don't like it.  We tighten up on government spending, brought down the national debt, but if you hear the GOP which push the debt through ceiling when they had control of The White House, it's just too high but it's lower than when Bush was president.

To read more:

This White House photo with McKayla Maroney.

One friend of mine said, "you need to purchase properties that you don't have to paint".  That's because lately I've been doing a lot of painting.  Most of the buildings we own need painting. We could hire a professional, spend thousands of dollars, or pick up a paint roller and do it ourselves. 

When I got out of college, I started my own painting business.  Got a degree in Psychology and couldn't find a job. That year I created several businesses including a musical band and a publishing company.  

I gave specials rates and discounts on marketing my painting business in the newspapers, developed a telemarketing program and before the summer was over I had made a few thousand dollars painting and had contracts lined up for the next year.

I enjoy painting.  In my younger years, I did all the outside house painting by myself.  Climbing up on a 40 foot ladder and leaning out over a roof top was like heaven to me.  I was alone to paint and high enough to look over the city.  These days my wife keeps my feet a little closer to the ground and prefers that I don't take any chances.

Painting is one of the easy but hardest jobs to do in remodeling.  Everyone thinks they can paint fast and neat. Most can paint fast but not neat and their paint drops get everywhere.  I even encounter some professional painters that believe they don't need a drop-cloth and I find paint everywhere.  

Painting is an art form when done correctly.  My wife and I would rather paint an apartment than clean the the walls and the colors we choose usually lightens up the units.

I have a whole house to paint this year, but I think my wife will hire a professional painter.  It's over 75 feet in some areas and she hasn't renewed my life-insurance yet.


Some folks like the odds of 50% risk, which means that you gamble on the picks and get it right at least half the time.  I enjoy the method of Warren Buffett where I’m not trying to get it right 50% of the time but 100% of the time.

I’m not selecting at stocks like playing the slot machines hoping I’m going to win.   I’m investing in my family’s future.  Therefore the stock I’m interest in has to be there for the long term.  For example: when I decided on Baidu (BIDU) labeled “The Google of China” mine research showed that Baidu went from approximate $8 a share to over $800 a share before splitting 10-1. 

Getting in around $82 a share after the split was not by chance but research on growth in China’s market and Baidu not having any competition.  Baidu currently is selling over $210 a share.  The key is research, understanding your risk and being willing to diversify.

Can you pick that winning stock?  How do you begin?

In the beginning I researched companies where I shopped and where my friends and family shopped.  For example: Home Depot (HD).  My wife and I were remodeling our apartment units and spending a great deal of our savings at HD.  I did some research on the company.  I always asked employees in the companies I’m interested in investing how they feel about working for company and how they are treated. 

Employees are the backbone of a company’s success even when the corporate offices don’t recognize it.  Most of the employees enjoyed their job at HD and saw opportunities with the company.  They also owned stock.

Using Yahoo Finance tool I compare the company I’m researching against the market.  The tool is so easy to use that you can also compare the company against other companies.  Comparing Home Depot against the market or “Benchmark” it outperformed against the market.  I purchased the stock held it for several years and when I sold in made a decent profit.

Don’t pick stock choose well run companies.  The Buffett method is not choosing stock based on charts but on operational goals and missions.  IBM is one of Buffett’s favorite stock holdings.  He sees vision in the company and how they operate.  When choosing your stock check out the companies, how do they operate, how they handle their debt, employees, stockholders, and then take a risk.

Under Armour (UA) reached $84.19 yesterday a recent high.  Jim Cramer has mentioned how competitive Under Armour has become.  UA and Sao Paulo Brazilian most popular football club announce partnership.

Sao Paulo joins Under Armour's growing global football roster, which includes Tottenham Hotspur of Barclay's Premier League, Colo-Colo of the Chilean Primera Division, and Cruz Azul and Toluca of Liga MX. US International and Major League Soccer star Jermaine Jonesjoined the brand in October 2014 and the brand recently announced a partnership with Dutch soccer phenom Memphis Depay, who is the youngest-ever player to score for Holland in a World Cup according to a news release by Under Armour.

Jim Cramer highlights the CEO Kevin Plank looking to win the battle of providing outlets for his company's sportswear and apparel products.  The target price for UA believes from $84 to $90 believes Cramer.  If you look at the numbers for UA this stock has rocketed 64.69% from last year.  I purchased this stock last year in September and UA leaped 20% since that time.

Under Armour continues to grow.
Under Armour (UA) reaches a all time high

Under Armour up 1.3% today to $83.42 a share today near an all time high.  In the last three months Under Armour has been up over 20%.  The Street analyst Piper Jaffray predicts Under Armour will beats its numbers this year.  Cramer on his talk show The Street  thought that Under Armour CEO Kevin L. Plank is out to win it.  He's in China, Asia, Latin-America his brand Under Armour is everywhere.

Things to think about for Under Armour.  Revenues are higher than the industry average of 11.5% a year with UA at 31.1% according to the article written by Amanda Schiavo for The Street.  UA improved its earnings per share by 35% and net cash revenue $291.53 million.

While Cramer is now watching the stock I purchased the stock in September 2014 with my return of 21.4% during that time.  I thought UA was an impressive competitor for Nike.  The return for UA over 5 years was over 60%.  I have seen their product everywhere and making more of an impression internationally than Nike.

Is there value in Under Armour?  As always do your own research before investing in any stock but my own opinion is that UA is outperforming the market currently.  Under Armour delivers sports apparel and footwear throughout Europe, Asia and Americas.  They are signing contracts with professional athletics for advertising and reaching a younger audience and expanding their brand throughout various outlets.  It's hard to deny that UA with 60% return over five years is not a stock worth looking into.

It was Easter Sunday Sunrise services at the cemetery and it was cold.  As testimonies were shared and the preachers read the word to celebrate "Resurrection Day" one of ministers stumbled around the crowd and fell to the ground unconscious.  We didn't know what happened to him.  

He's a youngman, a sprinter, trim and seemly in shape.  When he fell I noticed that his head didn't hit the tree.  This was shortly after telling one of the ministers that he wasn't feeling well.

We immediately call 911 and we started to pray.  As the crowd gathered around him we prayed and started singing songs that we knew.  As the ambulance arrived, he had gain consciousness. Was this our Easter Day miracle?

He was conscious and talking before he entered the ambulance.  What an example of the spirit that is greater than us on Easter or Resurrection Day of the power of prayer.
The two Chinese stocks dominating the market today are Qihoo 360 Technology LTD (QIHU) and Baidu (BIDU).

Qihoo provides internet and mobile security products and is the second largest search engine in China behind Baidu.  Qihoo business philosophy was to strip away at Baidu lead but hasn't been able to accomplish this feat.  However, it is holding its own.  Kevin Cook senior analyst for Zacks predicts a healthy growth this year for Qihoo and remains optimistic about Qihoo growth.  Qihoo has been performing below the market and but with its four quarter numbers shooting up 5.5% in March.  Still below what some analysts want to see so few analysts are holding back on their profit and growth estimates.  

I have written about this stock ever since I purchase Qihoo it has been up for me 92%.  I purchased the stock in 2013 at $31 and currently closed at $60.

Baidu the largest search engine in China and the second largest in the world jumped today and has been one of the largest investment gain in my portfolio 158% since 2010 when I purchased the stock.  China has started a new pumping new incentives into the economy to help stabilize their market.  In the last year Baidu has been growing faster than the market even while some critics believe that Baidu has reached its peak.

Baidu jumped 4.14% today to finish at $212.84. I continue to have my position.  I purchased the stock at $82.25.  Baidu is beating market by as high as 60%.  Again I find that most analysts are overlooking Baidu.  China markets are risky and not every stock will reflect what Baidu and Qihoo are doing.

Is Qihoo and Baidu too high? Growth for both companies might rely on inside country where Baidu and Qihoo dominate the market.  The growth comes from Chinese becoming more computer knowledgable. 

It was birthday present to myself. Barry Manilow on stage in Pittsburgh I had to go.  Growing up with Barry Manilow I could sing everyone of his songs, play most of them, and performed them in front of disco thinking audience.  They didn't really always go over well in the 70's because they were love songs and disco audiences we played for couldn't dance to them.  

Dave Koz opened for Manilow and blew off the roof.  He was the opening act that performed to get the audience ready for Manilow.

When Manilow took the stage the audience exploded.  Manilow now in his 70's didn't slow down a beat.  He sang with vocal pipes that showed some aging but I didn't care.  It even appeared that he was lip-syncing to his own previous recorded audio and I still didn't care.  He gave a great performance.  He jumped on his piano or was assisted up and dance with his background singers.  I think he moved more now at  70's then he did when he was younger.

This was billed as Manilow's final tour.  As the audience sang all his tunes with him because he just had so many hits I was not disappointed at all.  I hope I can perform whatever duties I have when I reach his age.