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George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

The Conference Board reported this morning that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose in November by 0.9 percent, the eighth month in a row that the gauge of future economic activity has posted a gain. "The LEI has been on an uptrend for more than half a year and it is now slightly higher than its last peak in July 2007," said economist Alaman Ozyildirim. Of course, he had to finish his comments on a down note saying, "its six-month growth rate has slowed somewhat in recent months."

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By the way, the Conference Board survey is in step with the Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, compiled by USD professor Alan Gin. It has increased for seven consecutive months.

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Here's some real good news for retailers. According to Consumer Reports, 40 percent of adults have yet to even begin their holiday shopping. With only seven more shopping days before Christmas, that would suggest there will be a big rush -- especially since this coming weekend is the last one before the big day. It also finds that only 12 percent of people surveyed have completed their shopping. Good luck finding a parking place at the mall or any other retail center.

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Speaking of malls, there's a new iPhone app that could come in handy. MEDL Mobile has developed a program that includes maps and other information about malls, shopping centers and plazas all across the country. They say that the tool is very helpful to people who might be shopping somewhere where they are not familiar with the layout of the shopping area.

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The sidelines at any pro football game are always crowded with photographers. But, there will be one extra shooter on the field this Sunday at the Chargers game against the Bengals. Kurt Klimpel of San Diego was the winner of the Canon USA "Shoot like a Pro" sweepstakes. He'll be well-equipped for the task, getting a Canon EOS Digital Rebel camera kit along with four tickets to the game. Klimpel will be joined by the Chargers team photographer Mike Nowak to offer advice and tips on how to shoot action sports photographs. The most important tip: get out of the way of 300-pound players who are running in your direction.

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I have to admit I've never seen a single episode, but it seems appropriate to note that the first televised episode of "The Simpsons" appeared on TV this day 20 years ago. That's hard to believe but it shows how an animated program has been able to become a fiber of many people's watching habits. Of course, I've also never seen an episode of "Seinfeld,""The Office," "30 Rock" or just about every other sitcom. I do have one favorite, "Scrubs."

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