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September 2008
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November 2008

Dia de los Muertos

In contrast to the more commercialized Halloween ghouls, goblins and celebrity costumes (although I just can't wait to see all the crossdressers as Sarah Palin :-)  ),  Dia de los Muertos honors beloved ancestors, family and friends who have passed on.

Here is a collection of links to celebrations of Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles

Hollywood Forever Cemetary:

Self Help Graphics:

Olvera Street:

Downtown L A Arts District:

UPDATE:  I'm adding a link to the article in Occidental Weekly suggested by Mayabeth:

Los Angeles Mortgage Rates Report: Lower Mortgage Rates Into November?

We analyze mortgage rates by examining the mortgage-backed securities market and its reaction to economic data and events.  Today, the Federal Reserve cut the Fed Funds rate to an historical low of 1%:

The Fed funds rate target is now 1%, the lowest level in more than four years. In announcing its decision, the Federal Open Market Committee cited a drop in spending by consumers and businesses, and predicted that consumption may slow further due to tighter lending standards.

"The pace of economic activity appears to have slowed markedly," the FOMC said in a statement, "owing importantly to a decline in consumer expenditures."

Why's the economy in the tank?  You just aren't spending enough money, Joe the Plumber.  Of course, you can't borrow any either so you're hesitant about spending.   Hence, the Fed cut in rate.  Normally, a Fed cut should be followed by a RISE in mortgage rates but it looks like the mortgage-backed securities market anticipated the cut a week ago. 

Candleperl_2 Let's take a look the crystal ball (market chart):

See what's happening here?  Two weeks ago, we had a six day BIG drop, which caused rates to rise from 5.875% to 6.5%.  That drop was followed by a 5 day rally, which brought rates back down to 5.875%. Then, we had a six day BIG drop, driving mortgage rates back up to 6.5% (today)...

...and I think the market overreacted which means I think we'll see lower mortgage rates into the beginning of November.

This is the kind of volatility we've come to expect.  Mortgage rates should drop to 6.25%, pause, then drop again to the 6% level or below. No guarantees but November closings should get a peek at 6% or better rates soon.

Los Angeles Mortgage Rates Report: October 27, 2008

Friday, Los Angeles mortgage rates jumped from 5.875% to 6.25% as mortgage-backed securities traders joined the world wide sell-off. Global stock markets plunged Friday and the Asian markets were weak for Monday.  Investors world wide don’t want to be invested in ANYTHING.

When the world panics, we FLOAT mortgage rates.  So, roll the projectors!  The movie “Float Club” is playing all week.

Interestingly enough, gold isn’t skyrocketing in price.  Long held as a “safe haven” during times of turmoil, investors are opting to hold their portfolios in cash instead:

Bullion is down 15 percent this month as the dollar climbed to a two-year high against the euro and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index headed for its steepest monthly loss since 1938.

`We’re seeing some consolidation in the market today as investors pause for breath following the roller-coaster we had last week,” Zhu Lv, research manager at Shanghai Tonglian Futures Co., said from Shanghai today.

Gold for immediate delivery gained as much as 1.7 percent to $746.91 an ounce, and traded at $735.33 at 10:29 a.m. in Singapore. The metal fell below $700 on Oct. 24. Silver for immediate delivery was up 1 percent at $9.4575 an ounce.

Gold still benefits from its safe haven properties, although these days, more and more are choosing to hold just cash instead, so it won’t be surprising to see gold below $700 again,” said Zhu.

What’s that mean?  It means that while investors are cautious, they aren’t completely terrified and that bodes well for mortgage-backed securities.  When investors buy mortgage-backed securities, Los Angeles mortgage rates drop; that’s what we think will happen in the next 7-10 days.

I cautioned borrowers to lock in all October closings last week when mortgage rates dipped below 6%.  That opportunity had a short-lived window.  Like all panics, reason eventually prevails. Central banks world wide are slashing interest rates to avoid an economic recession.  This make US dollar denominated investments, especially mortgage-backed securities more attractive.

Hold out for a mortgage rate below 6% if you’re closing in November.

Originally posted on Millionaire Real Estate Lender

Above The Rainbow Jewelry

Well, here's a project I started fiddling around with about a year ago, so I guess I can't blame the delay on the lack of a DSL connection for over a week.  :-)

But I finally got a few of my friend Lilian's jewelry pieces set up in an Etsy shop.  You can check it out at

Over the last few days (my unplugged days) I got a few other pieces photographed.  Now I just need to get those photos edited and uploaded.  :-)

Presidential Debate

Here's the link to CNN's transcript of last night's final Presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain:

For curious readers:  I kept two TVs on last night.  One tuned to the debate, one tuned to the Dodger game.  However as it became increasing apparent that the Dodger game was headed to an unfortunate end, I focused more attention on the debate.

Inspiration House Poetry: Final Performance

This will be the fourth and final performance of our series The Black/Brown Dialogues

Commissioned by Kathy Gallegos, Director of Avenue 50 Studio, "The Black/Brown Dialogues", featuring Inspiration House PoetryChoir, honors healthy and ethical cultural dialogue between the African and Latino communities, at one of Latino LA's most important independent galleries.  Using the Inspiration House PoetryChoir format, poets read their work while master musicians improvise musical responses to the poetry, blending words, intonations, audience responses, and dynamic silence into a sonic tapestry that's entrancing and exhilarating.  The poetry series is curated by Peter J. Harris, artistic director, Inspiration House, which produces work dedicated to leaving its audiences renewed and recommitted to cultural work that contributes to the creation of a humane society.

Featuring Music by

Maria Elena Gaitan, cello
Robert S. Hilton, slide harp
Curtis Robertson, Jr., acoustic bass

& Spoken Word by

Peter J. Harris
Amalia Ortiz
Francisco Letelier
Imani Tolliver


Saturday, October 25, 2008, 7 p.m.


@ Avenue 50 Studio
131 N Avenue 50, Highland Park, LA 90042 (323) 258-1435
(cross street Figueroa)


To honor healthy and ethical cultural dialogue between humans of African and Latin descent, at one of Latino LA's most important independent galleries.

Peter J. Harris
Artistic Director

Los Angeles Mortgage Rates Report: October 14, 2008

If you're closing your loan after Friday, I left you naked (not locked).  I told you that the fundamentals of the economy would bring Los Angeles mortgage rates lower after the bailout was announced.  Rates were at 5.875%, today they're at 6.5%.  What's in store for the rest of the month?

Eric Holloman of Rate Link offers this two-minute research report about why "headline risk" should be replaced by economic data as a determination of mortgage-backed securities pricing.  If he's correct (and I think he is), the next three days will be important for the direction of mortgage rates through the end of the year.

I'm still recommending that you float your mortgage rates; I believe we'll see rates come back down under 6% within the next 7-10 days.  If the economic data suggest that we are NOT headed for a recession,mortgage  rates will stay in the 6.25-6.75% range.  If the data are as indicative of a downturn as I think they will be, lower rates should be on the horizon.  As always, keep checking back.

Originally posted on Long Beach Real Estate Home