Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday night after "the tasting"!

Debbie Holland, CLM / Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile / 314-726-6670

When $700B Is Chump Change

Newspapers like to scare us with figures -- like the $700B-Paulson-not-a-bailout-package -- that have no context. Yes, $700B is slightly more than I make as an unemployed writer, but the U.S. financial system held $62.7 trillion in assets at the beginning of this year. For comparison, that's like calling me, at 5'10", tall, amidst an NBA populated by players well over 550 feet in height.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mizzou is No. 4!

We jumped two spaces to our highest ranking of the year, securing the No. 4 spot in the AP poll. Thankfully we didn't have to play during last weekend's jinx, which saw No. 1 USC, No. 4 Florida, and No. 9 Wisconsin all lose to unranked teams. No.3 Georgia also fell to No. 8 Alabama. Give Pinkel props for knowing when to schedule an "off" week.

The real season starts this weekend when we take on Nebraska. If we win, it will be our first W in Lincoln since 1978. If that doesn't strike fear into your heart, Nebraska is 124-14 in Lincoln over the past 21 years -- wow!

Here's Where You're Staying for our Wedding in Chicago!

Does anyone object to changing the wedding location to this lovely establishment I found on my way home from work today?
Rooms are a steal!!!
And...the bum sitting on the stoop is like free entertainment!

These school supplies look good enough to eat...

...and they are!
Josh brought these cookies home a few weeks ago. They included a pencil and a crayon, too...I don't know what happened to those...yum!

Where's the Beef???

I know seeing Josh shoveling food into his gullet isn't the prettiest picture, but...

I used the Family Cookbook for the first time (I know that technically we're not supposed to use gifts until after the wedding, but we just couldn't wait) and made the Classic Beef Stroganoff! This was probably the first time I made something like this from scratch, too. It turned out GREAT! We made the full amount (4 servings) and had it the next night, too!
We are excited to see what other goodies grace the Family Cookbook! Thank you!!!

Republicans Hasten Economy Toward Recession & Obama Toward White House

The failure of House Republicans today to pass Paulson's $700B economic stimulus package -- which despite all talk to the contrary is not a bailout -- shows a lack of understanding and a lack of leadership. Republicans' abdication of responsibility places their personal interests above the good of the country and will ensure more Democrats win Congressional seats, and likely the presidency, in November. I am not sure I have ever been more disappointed in my party.

P.S. The media should be tarred and feathered for pitting Main Street against Wall Street. They are the same. Who among us has not sought a loan on our car, house, etc? Who among us does not own stock, if not in a personal portfolio, then as part of a 401k, 403b, IRA, pension, etc.? To try to separate the two is ridiculous; akin to lowering the water level on only one side of the tub.

A Hard Day at The Beach

We're still on The Beach. Cap'n is kicking sand in my face and I must be eating it because I'm stalled.
Cap'n 23.5 lbs
Mommy 17 lbs
....and No, I am NOT CHEATING!
Gotta keep going....

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Two Democrats on an Escalator

Flying Squirrel Man

Josh -- We're doing this from the Sears Tower the night before your wedding.


One of the girls brought a camera to practice Thursday and took some pics. I'm the one in the 4 girl boat with the hat on (3rd back from the coxwain). Some of the pics are blurry, but that just means we were going really fast ;)

The bigger they are...

This is a great pic. I imagine that this morning you can find most of them still there, stuck in exactly that same position.

Quizz show

I'm putting up this little guy because he deserves major midwest props today. And because he's so cute... last night he looked like a remote controlled car at a truckstop.

What happens when a Beaver meets a Trojan?

Missouri celebrates! (Did you think it was a dirty joke? Get your mind out of the gutter!) Here's the link.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Bit of Good News

Amidst the financial crisis, there is a bit of good news (over and above the fact that Buffett bought $5B worth of Goldman Sachs yesterday). Despite its many drawbacks, the $700B bailout bill should make taxpayers money over time. I've heard this now at least four times -- from Buffett, Paulson, Yale Economist Robert Schiller (who predicted the current meltdown), among others.

Hedge Fund Manager Andy Kessler, writing in today's Wall Street Journal sums it up this way, "My calculations, which assume 50% impairment on subprime loans, suggest it is possible, all in, for this [the government's] portfolio to generate between $1 trillion and $2.2 trillion -- the greatest trade ever."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My faith in the medical community is shaken

I had my first class today and it was totally awesome. I was a little intimidated to be in there with a bunch of med students, so I studied quite a bit ahead of time. I was astounded at how many of them hadn't read the book, weren't prepared for class, and had this crazy dazed look on their face after class was over. It was a lot like undergrad (including everyone being 23). Now I'm excited to see how many of them fail after I break that curve... I should put notches in my laptop casing...

... not that I'm competitive or anything.

Denise's latest glass/fabric fusion creation

Greenspan Explains The Economy

Melissa and I were watching the September 14 edition of ABC's "This Week" (we're a bit behind on our political shows), and were blown away by Greenspan's ability to clearly explain a very complex subject -- the U.S. economy -- without fearmongering, hyperbole, or partisanship. What's interesting is that so much of what the media tries to depict as evil or simply based on greed, provides real value to our economy and is necessary. Greenspan's discussion of short selling is a particularly good example. Here's the link (ABC doesn't allow you to embed videos).

The Picnic BasketCafe : Sandwich on The Beach

Here's a great sandwich for South Beach Phase 2.
2 slices Healthy Choice Bread (40 cals/slice)
spray margarine
garlic powder
provolone cheese - low fat if possible
roast beef - 98% fat free
Parmesan cheese
Spray the bread with margarine and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. Lay the bread in a non-stick skillet margarine side down. Place one slice of cheese and roast beef, and then cover roast beef with another slice of cheese and the second slice of bread. Grill slowly until cheese begins to melt and bread becomes golden brown. Flip and grill the second side. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the grilled side of the bread covering the whole slice. Flip the sandwich when the second slice of bread is golden so the parmesan can melt, meanwhile sprinkle more parmesan on the second slice. Flip again to warm the parmesan on the second side. Remove from grill, slice on diagonal. Serve with creamy horseradish sauce.


Going from a campus of 5000 to a campus of 50,000 in one day is quite the experience.

Quote of the Week, September 24, 2008

Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don't turn up at all.
-- Sam Ewing, writer

Monday, September 22, 2008

Perils on the Beach

Life on the beach isn't always easy!

We've officially made it 5 full weeks. This is where we fell off the plan last time, and I remember why now -- the progress slows down so much! Let's see what happens for week # 6.

Cap'n - 19 lbs
Mommy - 17 lbs

(I'm thinking of placing some Twinkies in Cap'ns lunchbox so I can gain the lead again. :-0)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

St. Roofus

The sky may not be falling, but the roof is leaking.

We're getting a new roof today while we are at work. They are doing the top part and the garage. I wonder how long Cutter will bark when he hears them hammering up there. He'll probably have laryngitis when we get home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wow, you really ARE stressed!

Someone just sent me this picture of Rachel... or is it Josh?

In honor of the financial meltdown...

It's Business Time!

(Note: Unless you live in the great Los Angeles area, it's advised to watch this at home.)

We're #1!!!! Ooohhh ... it's not a good list

Forbes ranks Chicago most stressful city

Chicago's rising unemployment rate, expensive gas, high population density and relatively poor air quality create a perfect storm of stress, according to Forbes magazine, which has ranked the city the most stressful in the United States. New York is No.2.

The financial sector is not the economy

We all know banks are in a terrible bind. In fact, 2,747 banks and savings and loans failed. Oh, sorry, that was during the economic boom 0f 1983-1994.

As Forbes points out (via MSNBC), "The key thing to remember here is that the emphasis belongs on the word financial. The economy is not the problem..."

Here's a succinct explanation (that you won't see among the screaming "meltdown" headlines):

The good news is that this financial hurricane is unlikely to change the economic climate. The bad loans made earlier this decade did not create a widespread economic boom, and the realization of how bad some of these loans are will not create an economic bust.

The non-housing economy, which is roughly 95 percent of total U.S. economic activity, has been remarkably stable. In fact, non-housing real GDP growth has accelerated, growing 3.2 percent at an annual rate in the past three years, versus a 2.7 percent annualized growth rate in the three years since March 2005.

Is it the point of the mainstream media to make things look worse than they are? In a way, yes. That's what we ask the media to do. Think of it this way. If there's a house fire in St. Louis, they cover the fire, making it look as catastrophic as possible. They don't, however, cover the tens of thousands of peaceful, blaze-free homes.

The financial crisis is where the current fire is. The rest of the economy is doing pretty well.

Beach Talk

Were you wondering if we are still hanging out at The Beach? Well, we are -- although the weather has been a little stormy this week. We're hanging in there though.

Cap'n - 17 or 18 lbs down (I can't remember for sure, but he needs to go eat some Oreos or something since he passed me up).
Mommy - 16.75 lbs down.
Currently hanging out in Phase 2, Week 3.
This coming Monday we will have completed 5 weeks, which is as far as we got earlier this year. We have our sites set on week 6!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Re: Quote of the Week

Not that I disagree with my mother-in-law frequently, nor do I take it lightly, but this once, I must beg to differ. As for monuments erected to pessimists, what about Stalin, Mao, Pinochet, Pol Pot, just to name a few?

Oh, sorry. Perhaps you meant American pessimists. That does make it tougher. Give me a minute...

Jimmy Carter!

Quote of the Week, September 16, 2008

I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.
-- Paul Harvey, Radio Commentator

The sky isn't falling, but if it were...

As Curt pointed out, despite the sackcloth-and-ash sentiments of the media, yesterday's 500-point market decline does not mean the end is nigh. While yesterday's 500 point decline sounds scary, it represents only 4.4% of the market's value. On 1987's "Black Monday" the market fell 22.6%, or some five times yesterday's decline.

The decline in 1987 was an indicator of a coming recession, but the late 80s recession was more mild than that of the early 80s, and the recession of the late 90s was more mild than its predecessor. Because the economy's underlying weakness stems from one sector -- the housing crisis and bad loans associated with it -- most economists believe this economic slowdown may not even result in recession.

As the Wall Street Journal points out:

Despite the recent turmoil, there is good evidence that the worst is over, especially for the commercial banks with access to Federal Reserve credit. Despite yesterday's severe sell-off, most are significantly higher than their July 15 low, and some such as Wells Fargo and UBS are up over 50%.

And later...

It is easy to be pessimistic about the future of financial services in the current climate. But objective facts indicate that the future demand for these services will be high. Looking beyond past losses, the demand for financial services, especially internationally, has been strong. The growth of the developing countries, combined with the aging in the developed countries, will lead to huge international capital flows that will be facilitated by new and existing financial intermediaries.

It's not all good news. Unemployment will rise. Banks will fail. We'll see a belt-tightening. It's good to be cognizant of these things when making financial decisions.

But, in a strange way, that's a good thing. Our economy continues to grow, year-over-year, decade-after-decade, because we (on the whole) don't prop up bad businesses or keep people employed who wouldn't have a job minus our tax dollars That discipline, that creative-destruction, allows the rest of the economy to get healthy without being dragged down by poor businesses.

There's another good point to the volatility, it creates a tremendous opportunity for wealth. Even during the Great Depression, when it took 25 years for the Dow to return to its Sept. 3, 1929 peak, those who continued to invest regularly, had positive returns after only five years. Or consider the aforementioned drop in 1987. If you had invested every nickel you had at the market's peak of 2,722 in August of that year, watched your portfolio plummet during the October sell-off, but held onto your stocks, even after the dotcom implosion and even after yesterday, you'd be up roughly 5 times your original investment. And, let's be clear, the aforementioned scenario represents a ridiculous and ignorant investing strategy.

The point is, no one can call a bottom, but there are amazing companies out there right now, largely or wholly insulated from the credit crisis, which are selling at a steep discount. They may go lower, but make no mistake, most will go significantly higher.

Let me flog this dead horse a bit longer. If you have $3,000 to invest, and you put $1,000 into three different companies. If you lose 50% on company No. 1, and 50% on company No. 2, and triple company No. 3, despite your losses, you're still up 25%. One last example. If you had invested $10,000 in Apple in 2001 -- with no additional investment -- today it would be worth roughly $180,000 (if you had sold it a few months ago, your investment would be worth roughly $232,000.) If you had continued to invest, say $100 every month, it would be worth exponentially more. For reference, Apple didn't break $15 until 2004.

There are two other bright spots that have been lost amidst the doom and gloom. Gas prices are lower today than they have been since March, inflation declined last month for the first time in a long time, and interest rates remain low. That means, while we are largely unaffected by the market turmoil, we have more money in our pocket today than a month ago.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, Despite the media's penchant for drama, there's nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The doctor is in

Looks like I'm going to be able to get into my Immunology class... YEA!! I have to wait to see if it fills up with paying students and then duke it out among the non-paying ones for a spot. But surprisingly, there isn't that much competition among the non-paying students. Huh. No idea why that is.

Great way to begin a week....

One of my best legal secretaries turned in her notice today. I hope this isn't foreshadowing of my week to come.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MU Gets 'Dizzy' With It

MU moved up to No. 5 in the polls this week after its 69-17 win against Nevada -- That's 173 points in three games for those of you keeping track.

On Chases's race for the Heisman, here's what ESPN had to say, "The numbers have been so consistently dizzying we've come to expect them from Daniel, and he has certainly delivered. He became Mizzou's all-time leading passer with an 80-yard TD to his partner in crime, Jeremy Maclin. Daniel finished the day with 405 yards passing and four TDs."

Saturday fun at the coffee bar...

Saturday morning at Kaldi's while on the way to do errands. We had oatmeal -- yeah, South Beach compliant! When I told Dad they had an oatmeal bar at Kaldi's, he thought I meant a granola-type oatmeal bar. Boy! was he surprised when he saw this!

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am for sure, the weakest link...

... but I guess I've been doing ok because they want to put me in a race in October. Yikes! Good thing I've been doing it for the last 8... weeks - eeek!!

It's called the Tri-City Regatta. I'm just praying there's a gala.

Even Fredbird couldn't help us out last night!

Sad, sad, sad. How does one recover from the humiliation of losing to the Cubs?
However -- beach bunnies -- I packed a great lunch that kept us on track and saved us $$$.
93/7 lean ground beef burgers on Healthy Choice whole grain buns. Strawberries sliced with a touch of Splenda, and a tiny pouch of peanuts for a snack. We were all set!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Da suit.......told ya so.

Here is the tux that rivals the photo from Chicago you just posted. The only pity is that you cannot see the shoes.

Joe Biden: 'Hillary Better Pick Than Me'

You can't make this stuff up.

Democratic Senator Mike Gravel Defends Palin

This may be the most fascinating interview I've heard in a long time. Democratic Senator Mike Gravel, who ran for, but obviously did not receive, the Democratic nomination for president, vigorously defends Sarah Palin against her attackers, in this case, a far-left radio show. I don't want to give away how great it is, but (Wow!) here are two examples:

(On Palin's inexperience...) "That's the same old political garbage... She doesn't put up with that much partisan silly rhetoric... The longer people stay in politics the more likely they have getting corrupted."

(On troopergate...) "Troopergate is going to come out in her favor... This trooper should have been fired. And the unions didn't want to step up to the plate... But I'll tell you what, she should have had the ability to fire him... Do they have to wait until he kills somebody before they get rid of him?"

Ice cream man! Ice cream man!

The ice cream man just drove by my office and my French officemate was SO excited. She had only seen it in movies and seriously I think it was the highlight of her day. She asked me all kinds of questions about how it works and I promised her if we hear him again, we'll go flag him down. Very cute :)

One to Add

Go crazy folks, go crazy....

Humiliation, as promised.