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Monday, December 07, 2015

The Education I Got Was To Change With The Times.

I read this morning that the greatest pressure on the world economy is negative population growth.  It is why the US recovery has been slow yet unemployment recovery is doing well.  Fewer people for the slow growth in jobs.  In addition the aging is going to burden the system.  The move­ment of so many peo­ple into the high­est-sav­ing pe­riod of their lives has pro­duced a bulge of ex­cess savings that has held down in­ter­est rates and in­fla­tion.  This should be good for you.  The problem markets are discovering is less employees to find and less people to sell to is going to reduce 'growth'.  

This is entirely a different problem from that faced in my college days.  I remember a professor starting his class on world economies with a side profile of a naked pregnant woman.  From there he preached the evils of uncontrolled population growth.  Things always change. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

I Want To See Europe . . . Again.

I'm wanting to see Europe again.  Not as a tourist on a schedule.  I'm wanting to explore and discover.  I miss walking the narrow streets before the tourist blink open their sleepy eyes.  I miss the taste of coffee and fresh baked bread on a dewy morning at an out door cafe.  I yearn to feel foreign air saturated with the essence of the location.  I want to feel the ancient and hear the sounds of humans having an everyday conversation in a tongue I don't understand.  I miss seeing the good side of people helping a stranger especially when that stranger is me.  If you have never experienced this then take my hand and come along.  You are in for a treat.

Saturday, December 05, 2015


Sometimes my wanderings take me deeply into my soul.  Pondering what I see there comes a clarity that goes beyond words.  Seeing my true nature and knowing why I have come to where I am lays bare the error of many decisions.  The most egregious being to not push when that was all there was left to do. 

Friday, December 04, 2015

Why Not You?

From her book “Why Not Me?,” Mindy Kaling,  a woman of color and non-model proportions answers the question, ‘Because you don’t look like a person who should have any confidence. You’re not white, you’re not a man, and you’re not thin or conventionally attractive. How were you able to overlook these obvious shortcomings to feel confident?’ 

She writes that the key to confidence is to “feel entitled,” which is simply to feel like you deserve something. “Why Not Me?” may sound like a question, but it’s actually a challenge. She’s not asking. She’s throwing the question back.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Legendary Photographer Shares a Few of Her Favorite Things - WSJ

Still Life

“AT THE BACK is a polyurethane resin sculpture of my chest made by one of my oldest friends, Piotr Nathan. The resin was poured on both of us—those are his hands—so we literally got stuck together. I found the book to the right in Zurich. It’s about eye diseases and was published in 1838 by the doctor to the king of Saxony. It looks hand-painted—I bought it as a reward for myself. In front is a plate made by Guido Gambone from 1955. The blue is extraordinary—that’s my favorite color. On top are two knives, which I collect: a silver Swedish knife and a Finnish one made with reindeer hair and bone. The photos on the plate were taken in the 1880s with so-called freaks as subjects—I probably have hundreds in my collection. The blue bolt is Fortuny fabric, which I usually drape on furniture or hang from the windows. The porcelain creamer was made by another friend, the Polish artist Marek Mielnicki, who gave it to me as a gift. It took me a while to understand its beauty. Next to the creamer is a memento from Portugal, a little box with a lion on top that I got from a flea market. To the left of that is a drawing called Padding by my old friend Greer Lankton, whom I revere. It was done right after her transition and shows all the things you need after a gender reassignment. The box was a gift from Felix Hoffmann, chief cura-tor at C/O Berlin gallery, which he made in 2013. Inside is a little glass eye with a saying on top: “Keep it open always.” To the left is a girandole from 1730 made from Murano glass. Looking at it fills me with complete pleasure. Behind it are a few editions of the auction catalog La Gazette Drouot, which is my bible. I spend about three hours a night reading auction catalogs. Underneath the girandole are two of my books: my latest, Diving for Pearls, and Sisters, Saints and Sibyls, which is very rare. The postcard is by David Shrigley; it’s called “Large Fancy Room Filled With Crap,” which is sort of the motto of my apartment. I have a Ph.D. in fancy crap.”

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Old School Is Outdated School In Modern Times

There are moments when I think I need to go back to college and get re-educated.  The changes in the financial environment is one such area.  It is tough trying to understand how lending institutions assess capital needs compared with any particular business.  Accounting possibilities is a science unto itself.  Read this this morning.  This is so different from my Econ classes from years ago.

"Businesses appear reluctant to step up spending on the basic building blocks of the economy, such as machines, computers and new buildings. A stronger dollar and falling commodity prices are prompting caution among some, while thousands have decided to bolster share prices by spending money on stock buybacks and dividends, rather than plow funds back into facilities and equipment, moves that would boost worker productivity and ultimately wages. Meanwhile, the average amount Americans spent in some key product categories declined on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as mobile shopping drove smaller orders, and aggressive discounts pushed down prices."

Add to this the IMF embracing China'a Yuan by adding it to its basket of reserve-lending currencies while Hong Kong (granted that's not Beijing) is distancing itself from that currency. It seems impossible to assess risk in a global economy.  

When in the Army serving in Germany in the early 70s, I played in the currency exchange market.  I had little to invest but came out on top more than I lost and I didn't have access to the system so my earnings had the cost of local exchanges to deal with.  It was scary fun.  Got a damn good stereo out of it too.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A Bleak But Necessary Conclusion

As Fall comes to an end, the land is littered with it's rotting decay.  The ingredients of life stain the ground and shadows of what once was remind us of how final the end is.  But this is nothing to be sad about.  It is a necessary part of life.  For if we did not die and our remains not filtered back into the ground for the next set of births, we would be awash in bleak expended environments and the joy of lush new life would become a thing of myths.