Friday, October 30, 2009

Miniature Worlds

While I'm laid up, I'm on on the net checking out some cool stuff on Ted.Com and Fast Company via Google Fast Flip.  I came across two cool artists who specialize in design of the Miniature Worlds.  These two artists, Willard Wigan and Nikolai Aldunin, are quite impressive. You should check them out if you got some time to kill - perhaps while you're laid up in bed fighting a nasty flu.

Gee Thanks!

My kids are finally well from Swine Flu! But...they managed to infect me.  Now I'm laid up in bed snivelling, chilly, grumpy and crabby.  Parenting is a Thankless Job!

Don't I look sickly while my beautiful daugher looks radiant in her PJ's?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swine Flu

Yep - it is confirmed. On Tuesday the Pediatrician told us that Gigi and Oliver have Swine Flu.  However... they've been without a fever for more than 24 hours - so it seems like they're on the mend.  After all they're back to fighting over toys and books...

The latest in the battle between the Gigi and Ollie

 I love my kids! They're sweet and wonderful except when they're fighting.Usually they're fighting over a toy or a book. Tonight there was a big brouhaha as to who gets to read the one and only copy of Curious George.  Out of hundreds of books on their shelf they HAD to fight over Curious George.

Sleepless in St. Louis?

It is official - this October has been the wettest on record (dating as far as 1870) - to date we've had 8.5 inches of rain thus far and we have 3 more days before October is over.  I feel like we're in Seattle! I hate prolonged rainy weather - it really dampens my mood. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Political Digression

Those of you who know me know that I'm a bit of a political junkie - I just love watching this circus we call the Federal Government - especially the foibles of our elected officials.  Take Pelosi for example - she came out with a new twist on the Public Option Health Insurance Plan by doing some neat verbal engineering by calling it Competitive Option.   I love it - it is very interesting twist. Reminds me of a book that I recently read, Words That Work, by Frank Lutz on how to engage in verbal engineering.

Imagine if a government were to print out a list of every citizen and next to their names - they would include how much money they make and how wealthy they are.  Wouldn't that be a bit creepy or what?  Well, Norway just took this dramatic route and made such a list public: Norway Open Tax Records.

It is always good to have someone finally come clean about their agenda.  Barney Frank, a Democrat Senator, has come out and in plainly states that he wants to increase the role of government in America. Lest I come across as a right-winger - I would wag the same finger at the Republicans and say that they didn't exactly decrease the role of government before Obama.

Call me cynical but I wouldn't exactly think it'd be great when a communist tabloid, the Pravda, is now claiming that America is finally turning the corner and becoming a socialist country: America Moving From Kingdom of Cash to Socialism

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Benefit of Homeschooling?

I'm speechless.  This little boy looks like a little muscle...

Yuppie 911

Just read an interesting article in which folks can buy an emergency beacon that can be activated when they're in danger out in the wilds.  Say if you were camping and you got lost in the forest and need help - you push this little button and the Search and Rescue (SAR) team will come running - honing in on your distress signals.  What's really interesting is that these beacons have led people to become more complacent in their outdoor activities - knowing that they have such failsafe system in place -they're taking on more risk.  If they hadn't had the beacon would they have attempted to summit a mountain without much water or food?  The Search and Rescue Teams hate these distress calls because it puts them in needless danger to help someone who put themselves in harm's way - the SARs call these calls Yuppie 911.

Interestingly -in the finance field we have a similar phenomenon - we call it the Minsky Moment.  It is when investors get lulled into a false sense of security because they know the Government will bail them out or that the Fed will do whatever it takes to protect the economy.  And over time this false sense of security grows and grows while at the same time investors are piling on ever more risks in their portfolio. Folks start to leverage their portfolio to insane heights - even the SEC looked the other way when financial institutions surpassed the leverage limit of 12 to 1 ratio.  Some banks were leveraged 30 to 1!  The Minksy Moment, named after Hyman Minsky, is the point at which the investors incur major cash flow problems because their debt have spiraled out of control due to their leveraging activities. When this happens - a major selloff ensue which leads to a huge drop in market liquidity because no one wants to be the buyer of these bad debts.

Whether it is Yuppie 911 or the Minsky Moment - it highlights one of the flaws of human nature...namely that we are so easily blinded or distracted that we don't see things the way they really are.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TED Revisited

I am a HUGE fan of TED ( TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. Just check it out and see it for yourself.  I recently saw a neat and inspiring story tonight.  Here's the link. Enjoy!

Weekend Readings

Tracking of NWA flight that overshot Minneapolis by 150 miles...Comfortable yet?: Flight Aware
Excellent Article on the American Food Revolution
Those of you who know me know that I'm a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell. Here's an interesting article on him and his latest book, What the Dog Saw.  Speaking are three of Gladwell's book that you should, if you have not, read: Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers.
One of my favorite,thought-provoking economist on "multi-tasking": Tyler Cowen
Also another favorite economist from the same George Mason University where Prof. Cowen also teaches, Donald Boudreaux, on his defense of insider trading. Really thought-provocative!
Last but not least, I leave you with Bono's quasi-defense of Obama's Peace Prize: Rebranding America

On Books... Recently I polished off an excellent book about Warren Buffett, The Snowball. It is one of the best books I've read since Roger Lowenstein's Buffett:The Making of American Capitalist

Currently I'm reading a fascinating book on vampire mythology: Slayers And Their Vampires: A Cultural History of Killing the Dead . Bruce A. McClelland is a writer, translator, and vampirologist in Gordonsville, Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in Slavic Studies at the University of Virginia. His work on vampires has appeared in Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies. He has published four books of poetry, a book of translations of the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, and his translations of Russian poetry have appeared in journals, books, and anthologies.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Driving with Cognitive Dissonance

Tonight I'm driving down interstate 64/Highway 40 and I see this nice bright interactive sign that is flashing:


In other words - the police is solemnly warning us of their prowess in giving out speeding tickets. Somehow they think this would be a deterrent.  I'm telling you it is not!  I actually had to fight this overwhelming urge not to speed up.  For those of you who really know me - I'm a slow driver and I almost always go speed limit but this sign made me want to go fast.  Think about it...out of about 150,000 average daily drivers on this route (actually in 2006 according to MODOT it was 133,389 so I made some adjustments) - they managed to nab a cumulative 445 speeders.  Let's do the math:

129 days (June 15 to Oct. 24) X 150,000 = 19,350,000 total amount of driving
445/19,350,000 =.000023 (rounded)

I think somebody might want to tell the PR Dept. at the Police HQ that this could be a potential marketing nightmare...

Friday, October 23, 2009

The New New Thing...

On Tuesday I was ambling along Covenant Seminary campus and I saw a person wear these five-finger toe shoes. I kid you not.  I have seen the future!

News of the Weird

Folks I'm not making this stuff up. They say truth is stranger than fiction. Read at your own risk:

Happy Halloween in your Laz-Boy Chair!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's in a Name?

Lemme Splain Sumthin' here! First of all, I'm a true blue southerner hence my fondness of bowties. I wear them everyday to work. Secondly... has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Ohio. And I don't even follow sports! I just love the inedible horse chestnuts known as Buckeyes - they're simple, smooth and beautiful. I usually take one or two with me to work to hold or to play with.

So in a nutshell - Bowties and Buckeyes seems right. Email me if you differ...