Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's a God Thing???

The Phrase Meme is at it again!  I'm hearing this phrase, "It's a God Thing!" popping up in conversations. What exactly does it mean?  I looked it up online. That's when things got a bit interesting...  For starters, there's even a book with that phrase as its title.  There's a radio show solely devoted to  "...very personal, verified interviews with folks like you and me who have experienced God in an unusual, often dramatic, way."  And the website address for this radio show?  Wow -  you're smart!  Can't believe you guessed it! But those of you from Pitts, Georgia - the address is  Some folks have written poems about it.  There's an entire Facebook page dedicated to this phrase and you could even buy a t-shirt from them with the phrase emblazoned on the shirt! Shipping included!

What do people really mean when they say this? Charitably, I think that people mean "providence" (God moving in the lives of his people according to his immutable will).  If that's what it means, well - why don't we say providence?  I think Providence is such a cool word.  "It's a God Thing" sounds like it came out of The Bobsey Twins.  What's worse this phrase seems so...flaccid.  I'm sorry but that's the first word that pops into my mind.  It is an amorphous, ambiguous, limp and soft saying. 

I figured out my response next time someone mindlessly utter this phrase. I will then exclaim, "Monkey's Aflame!" An equally meaningless phrase but delightful and so hip. It could mean "Wow!" or it could mean, "Way to go dog!"  or it could actually mean that I saw a monkey on fire.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Father of the Bride- before and after fatherhood

Just finished Father of the Bride with Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short. The last time I watched it was before kids...and it was hilarious! This time as a father of two great kids- Gigi and Ollie. This time I was laughing and crying at the same time. An excellent movie! It is now on my top 10 favorite movie list.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend Puttering and Reading and Everything else...

My lovely wife just broke the news to me...that she to do some cheerleading at an auction thingmajig tonight!  How nice of her to be so charitable with my time! Get this I am going to wear a Cardinals outfit and I'm not even a Cardinals fan!!!   So tonight, yours truly will be outfitted in a cardinals clothing and cheering people on to bid more or donate more for the auction party.  I am so excited and I can't wait...NOT!  But I digress...

Just finished James Dobson's book Bringing up the Boys and it is excellent.  I also polished off his other book on Bringing up the Girls.  They're both great.  While on the subject of parenting - Mary Ellen and I have been watching once a week a DVD series featuring Paul David Tripp on Getting To The Heart Of Parenting and it is excellent.  We really have been enjoying his lectures and are being convicted on some parenting mistakes of our own.  Thank God that Gigi and Oliver are such resilient kids and hopefully won't be too damaged by our mistakes. 

Currently I'm reading Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence.  It is really good.  I thought I was high EQ till I read Daniel Goleman's book...have ways to go!  Here's the thing...Mr. Goleman convincingly demonstrates through studies and evidences that there's more to success than just simple IQ - an unrewarded genius is almost a proverb!  Being intellectually smart may put you on a different plane than everyone but it does not necessarily translate to better life, better relationship, success mobility, great relationship with your church community or the most important one: your relationship with God.  I plan on reading all his other books - Cultural Intelligence and Social Intelligence.

While waiting for the spackling putty to dry...(oh forgot to give you the background - I'm painting the bathroom and I had to spackle (a verb?) some holes and this spackle putty is kinda cool - it is pink and when you slather or spackle it on - as it dries - it turns white.  Not bad - just need to wait for it to go from pink to white and then I'll sand it and paint the Killz primer and then finally paint the whole bathroom.) Anyway, I just finished an article and it was thought-provoking: The Day the Movies Died.  Basically, the author Mark Harris, whines effectively that Hollywood is no longer producing really good movies. The movie audience has gradually become younger and younger and Hollywood is appealing to this niche group as opposed to the broad section of society. Ironically, the more Hollywood appeals to the younger crowd the less adults attend movie theaters opting for staying home and watching the movies via netflix or DVD rentals.  To generate bigger dollars and revenues - Hollywood has resorted to doing prequels and sequels and raunchy movies.  In addition, it takes big risk to produce a good move as opposed to an OK dumbed-down movie based on a cartoon hero or a remake.  There are financial conflicts of interests.  I'm rambling here but it is a good article. My takeaway:  when you focus on short-run results (profits or efficiency) to the exclusion of long-run results - quality suffers.  You can translate this to the financial arena.  Look at mutual funds - the money managers (out of 8,000 plus mutual funds) average portfolio turnover is....(drum roll...) 130%.  Turn over, simplistically defined, means selling off your entire current positions to replace by buying an entirely new portfolio of new positions and then again 30% more BEFORE the year ends!  Contrast that with folks like Warren Buffett who may, at most, sell off 20 to 30% of their portfolio in any given year.  Folks like Warren Buffett, Peter Cundill, Jean Marie Evillard typically invest the long haul and that's why they're successful and produce value for their clients but it is not easy!  There's a financial conundrum known as career risk.  Career risk is when you are investing for the long haul - say a stock to do well in 5 to 10 years from now but your primary clients are folks with 18 months time frame - that's their long term mindset and these clients (mutual fund holders) are judging the performance of your fund against the benchmark index.  If you attempt to produce value for your clients by investing in the long haul but in the short run your portfolio under performs the benchmark - guess what usually happens?  Your clients will fire you and move on to another portfolio.  When you have large amounts of clients leaving you in masses - your mutual fund company will then fire you for not retaining the assets.  Hence, 80% of mutual fund managers are closet index-huggers!  They're more afraid of losing clients than giving their clients the best value...  The same with Hollywood - they're afraid to risk their neck and aim for good quality movies.  Especially...if your Hollywood production is publicly owned (stock market) in which you attempt to produce 5 good movies and all but one fail (20% success ratio) - your stock plummets!  Contrast that with PR/marketing type Hollywood producers who care more about the bottom line than with producing value - they would produce 5 OK movies that cater to their audience's base nature and they manage to produce 4 OK profits out of 5 (success ratio - who cares - you're bringing in some revenue for the shareholders).

Whoops...I have to stop here. I realized that I've written a tome here. I need to get back to painting the bathroom. By now the pink putty has turned white...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For Those of You WHO Can't Grow a Beard...

This might be of interest to you....

A Foldaway Beard!  Cool!!!  It makes sense... I have some Cherokee Indian blood in me and as a result I can't grow a beard!  Geesh, the ultimate manhood and I can't grow that beard.  But I can wear a beard with this cool hat during this cold freakin' weather we're going through right now.  However, I don't think Mary Ellen would even let me out of the house wearing this.  In fact, that hat might disappear mysteriously...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Scary Statistics!

I have heard a range of statistics and all of them are dismal... From as low as 9% to as high as 33% of men who go to the bathroom and then wash their hands afterwards.  Let's me give it to you from a stark contrast - that means from 91% to 67% of men DON'T wash their hands after going to bathroom!  "Elizabeth! I'm coming HOME!"(Fred Sanford)

So what have I been doing since I heard and read of these dismal statistics two years ago. Well, I'm embarrassed to say - after I wash my hands. I would then dry my hands and with the towel I would use it to open the bathroom door.  I've been doing that for two years!  Am I an OCD?  Mary Ellen would crack up laughing if she even thinks I have any vestige of obsessive compulsive disorder.  What's the opposite of an OCD?  Or what's an antonym of OCD?

It gets worse...  If I know someone went to bathroom and then came back and we're chatting and he is about to go home and reaches out to shake hands.  At first this was a conundrum!  But alas I solved it !  I would give the guy the fist bump - that way I don't have to shake his hand.

Now you know why I hate those hand air-dryers!  They don't give me a towel that I can use to open the bathroom door!!!!

I'll leave you with this old joke:

A Harvard man and a Yale man are at the urinal. They finish and zip up. The Harvard man proceeds to the sink to wash his hands, while the Yale man immediately makes for the exit.

The Harvard man says, "At Hah-vahd they teach us to wash our hands after we urinate."

The Yale man replies, "At Yale they teach us not to pee on our hands."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Isn't this where...

We came in?  (Pink Floyd)

Hello... Hello! Is there anybody out there?

Wow! It has been since December 5th, 2009 that I've posted my last post! I thought it was several months ago but never realized that it is more than 7 months ago. Time sure flies by when you're having fun!

So in a nutshell - what happened since December 5th 2009.  Well let me give you some macro-picture and leave the details later.

New Job - I'm working in my dream career - at a local hedge fund.  Our firm specifically trade derivatives known as futures.  Really neat and the job is quite fascinating. I've told Mary Ellen, my lovely flame, that a bad day at Eclipse (my current company) is better than my best day at Merrill Lynch.

New Car - we bought a Buick Lucerne. I love it. Mary Ellen, on the other hand, is not overly fond of it. She has reminded me several times that I'm an old man in a young man body.  Why would she say something like that?  I happen to like bow ties and I only wear boxers (you'll never, EVER catch me wearing grippers, tightie-waddies or banana-hammock).  I like to wear seersucker suit and two-tone oxford shoes and I love Buicks!  Does that make me an old man?  I think not...  Well I do have to admit that I'm kind of fond of Bay Rum cologne (which you won't find in our house as Mary Ellen will pour it down the drain at the first smell).  I love Old Spice deodorant (refuse to use anything else).  Does that make me an old man just because I like a few things traditional? NOT! I do happen to like old books, dusty books - I love the Puritans fromt he 1600's. I love the sweet smell of history emanating from the pages of books.  In short, I love to read. Which is why I have not been writing much  in the last few months and this brings me to my next excuse:

Reading - I've been on a tear. Reading, reading and more reading.  Mostly finance books, historical books and fiction - pretty much everything. Right now I'm reading the 6th Harry Potter.  After that I should be reading some good Puritans....

Housework - Been working on my house. I hate honey-do's!  I wish  the Roomba Company (the company that makes Roomba Vacuum Cleaning Robot) would develop a Roomba Lawn Mower!  I would camp overnight for this Roomba Lawn Mower and be the first one in line to buy such an automatic lawn mower.

Kids - Gigi and Oliver! They're growing up really quick.  Everyday they're always coming up with new things to do or new things to say or what have you. They are such a joy and delight except...when they misbehave. Now you really want to kill them. But I digress...  Gigi and Oliver are very different.  Gigi loves the limelight and has a flair for the dramatic - now where did she get such a trait. Not me -I'm just an old man in a young man body!  Oliver is a mixture of Dennis the Menace and Bob the Builder.  That's the best way I can describe him for now.  Lately, he, um, hem, hem (cough) has discovered that he, um, hem,hem (cough) has this biological apparatus from his bottom.  That makes for some really interesting conversations...  I'm usually speechless or I would have a deer in the headlight look when he did something with rhymes with my Uncle-in-law's name: Denis.  Seriously, I do have an Uncle-in-law and his name is Denis.  Actually, the family calls him Dennis even though his name is spelled Denis.  And for the LIFE of me, I don't KNOW why I keep forgettting this but almost EVERYTIME I talk to him I would always say his name wrong. I would say hey Uncle Denis (again it rhymes with Penis) when I should be saying "Din - Ness"  but no I had to embarrass myself in front of the family by saying, "Hey Uncle Deen Nis!"  Geesh, cowards have died a thousand deaths and I've died many more times cube!

I need to stop as I could write on forever. Will post some more later...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Out of mouth of babes....

Last night, my brother-in-law, Stephen, and I were lightly arguing over what constitute a cole slaw.  And the cole slaw that he likes is not really a cole slaw - it is one of those Asian-American delicacy that has a mixture of cabbage, vinegar, sesame seeds and ramen noodles.  I was splitting hairs with him by saying that it is not THE cole slaw that every knows and hates to eat. I hate the stuff but I love the Asian version.  Well, Stephen appealed to a higher authority: his mom.  "Well, my mom calls it Cole Slaw so it must be Cole Slaw!"  I came back with a riposte: "Uh, that's circular argument and your mom is not the reference cook book!"  Gigi was doing her homework and was listening to us teasing each other about cole slaw.  Finally, she spoke with an authoritative voice: "Steve, that's an opinion not a fact!"  I smiled and was proud that Gigi agrees with me and I turned to her and said, "Oh Gigi I love you!  You are so beautiful!"  Without missing a beat she replied, "Now that's not an opinion - that's a fact!"

She's 6 years old. Man, what is she going to be like when she turns 13? Should be interesting to see.... Stay tuned!