Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Bionic Man.....

It's official. Yesterday at approximately 14:00 local time I got my second bionic part; another lens implant. As soon as I got the first it started being apparent that I really did need to have the other eye done. I could see reasonably well out of the new lens in my right eye but the left was going downhill fast. So let's spend another $2300 worth of the insurance company's money!

It's been 24 hours so I'm just hanging around getting eye drops every 4 hours. The new lens does make quite a difference though; in a couple of weeks it should be great. I have distance vision in both eyes so I'll be using glasses for the rest of my life but what the heck. I've been needing them anyway.

My doctor is kind of an interesting guy. He, his father and his sister own the "Ironman" franchise. Every time you see an Ironman race or watch or shoe; they are getting some tiny part of it. He is a competitor himself; very physically fit but taller than you might imagine. It's an interesting sideline for opthomologists (his father is one as well).

I see that The Grumpy Old Bookman is going to give up on his blog for a while. ( I'm going to miss reading it but to paraphrase him, life has more important things in it than blogging. I am very thankful for all the work that some people do to keep us lurkers happy. Thanks to you all.

As always, take care out there!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

It's OVER!

We've managed to get through another Thanksgiving without major injury. My wife managed to burn herself a bit on a hot pan but otherwise all is cool. A few years ago she did a really nice job that required ice for the rest of the day; today was a nothing. We had four different appetizers, turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, peas & onions, salad, rolls & two kinds of pie. Wine, of course, and coffee with the pie. Tough life!

Our extended family did not bring their extra person but our daughter did bring an unexpected friend so we were six for dinner. A nice number and no one was too objectionable at the table. We managed to decimate an 18 lb turkey; I doubt if we have a pound of leftover turkey; of course we sent a few pounds off with the visitors. They all had things to do & people to see so they were gone by 17:00. We were able to make our Thanksgiving family calls to the West Coast family members before they had eaten. That was nice.

The woman our daughter brought along is married but her husband went to spend the holiday with his family and she "opt'ed out". We aren't sure what that means but it doesn't sound like a very healthy relationship. Or perhaps it is the most healthy; I've just never experienced that kind of health. Wouldn't that be interesting. Anyway, she is one of those women who bath in scent. I guess it would help you find her if a smoke filled bar but it would seem a private home isn't her primary hunting ground. She was also wearing a pretty low cut top and knee high boots with a 3 or 4 inch heel. She certainly wasn't dressed for a family dinner.

After dinner our next door neighbors came over for a drink. We sat outside as dusk turned to dark and enjoyed talking with our friends and admiring the full moon. Altogether a wonderful day. No one was a complete jerk, nothing was spoiled, no one will have lost weight! We really enjoy Thanksgiving; and really do enjoy hosting it but it is over! Peace be with you all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Week Crazy

It is the week when we in the US celebrate Thanksgiving. It's a nice time. You don't have to buy gifts, you don't have to think about Christianity, all you have to do is enjoy. Well, unless you are hosting a party! Naturally, we like to have a few folks join us for Thanksgiving; only 5 or 6 though so it really isn't a big deal. We look forward to it. So for those in the US, Happy Thanksgiving! And for those outside the US, have a nice Thursday.

It never hurts one to consider his or her life and to think about how fortunate we are. My wife and I both know we are way beyond fortunate. We have each other. We have only minor ailments. We have enough money, good friends, even moderately good family! All we really wish for is "Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men".

Speaking of peace, when the hell are we going to get our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan? What a bunch of incompetent jerks we have running this country. I thought it was embarrassing when President Clinton had to get blow jobs from an intern in his office. NOW we are invading other sovereign nations, that's really embarrassing not to mention just plain wrong. I didn't mind Afghanistan at first. There was supposed to be someone there who was directing terrorist activities towards us and other countries. But if you can't find the guy in 6 years maybe you need to re-think things. The really frightening thing is: Who knows what the next jerk we elect as President will find to do!

Speaking of possible Presidents, I saw this the other day.

I think there are a lot of folks who feel this way about Mrs. Clinton. She is such a lying piece of @*#$ - unfortunately all the other politicians are pretty much the same. Like Diogenes, I am looking for an honest man or woman.

On a brighter note, here's a bit of advice concerning family planning. Take care out there!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bionic Man - Part 2

Hmmmm. blogger just did something to my post so I hope it isn't too screwed up. However.....

Yesterday I got the measurements done to have my second cataract operation. In two weeks I'll have my second bionic part. Don't it sound great. Jeez, next I'll be blogging about my kids & grandkids (none yet, thank you!). Anyway, I'll try to keep relatively quiet about the details.

Last night I went to a meeting of the local chapter of AAII - the American Assn. of Independent Investors. Basically it's just a company that offers a forum for discussing how people invest. They have a magazine, website ( amazingly enough) & local groups. This was the monthly meeting which consists exclusively of a guest speaker. This guy was a chartist. He looks at a chart of what is happening with a stock and thinks he can tell what will happen to the stock based on what has already occured. Do I buy it? Well, certainly he had interesting examples and he claims he is simply interpreting what the marked is doing. That may be so but it seems to me that the interpretation is pretty open to discussion. It was an interesting presentation and I'm probably going to email the guy a few questions. (There is no discussion period!)

In other financial news here's what one of my advisory newsletters has to say about how Wall Street does business. This is in regard to all the major investment houses BUT ONE losing money on the sub-prime lending fiasco. Skip it if it's boring but do take care.


one of Wall Street's "paper mills" has remained
strangely untouched by the mortgage crisis – Goldman
Sachs. By now, you must be familiar with our argument:
Like a rubber ducky floating in a toilet, Goldman's
stock must soon spiral down into the cesspool of the
mortgage debacle.

What might explain Goldman's curious immunity from a
big mortgage-related charge against its book value?
We've learned the firm is setting aside more than $16
billion for this year's bonus pool. But... how big
would the bonus pool be if Goldman were to take a big
($5 billion to $10 billion) write-off before the end
of the year? We don't know exactly, but we would
venture to guess: several billion dollars less.

Reuters reports that if Goldman doesn't take a big
loss on its mortgages, Blankfein will get a $75
million bonus this year, up $20 million from last
year. Goldman's co-presidents, Gary Cohn and Jon
Winkelried, will get $70 million each. It's hard to
believe shareholders would agree to pay one president
$70 million... and Goldman's got two of 'em!
Shareholders are about to get what they deserve...

Now that we've identified Goldman's motive for
masking the size of its mortgage losses, we've been
searching for the weapon. How has Goldman hidden its
losses, we wonder? We've been playing a game of Wall
Street Clue. "It was Colonel Mustard... in the
library... with the wrench..." No, it was CEO Lloyd
Blankfein, in the boardroom, with illiquid bonds that
can't be priced.

An entire category of financial assets (called "Level
3 assets") are so illiquid they can't be accurately
priced. To make up for the lack of a true market for
these assets – which include certain kinds of
securitized mortgages – Wall Street uses computer
models. (Reminder: When your broker starts talking
about a computer model, grab your wallet.) Or, in
other words, these big banks are allowed to "pick a
number" for the value of these Level 3 assets. Guess
which big Wall Street bank has the largest pile of
Level 3 assets as a percentage of its equity? That's
right, Goldman Sachs.

Monday, November 05, 2007

More Halloween and...

More news about our Halloween. We don't get a lot of kids in our neighborhood. For one thing we are on a busy street & unless supervised I doubt if people want their kids walking around here. At any rate, the adults from several houses all got together in our driveway and created a little food line for the kids. We all had a glass of wine or a beer and had a great time. The kids would come up & get 4 houses at one stop. We could all admire the outfits, etc. and got to talk about other stuff where there were no kids. It was really fun. I'm hoping we can make it an annual event.

Florida is finally becoming livable. Today it's mid-70's (23 or 24 I suppose to the rest of the world) and the humidity is down to under 40%. It's great. We have the house open finally.

Here's a meme I found over on Lee's blog "A Curates Egg" aka He didn't send it to my; he's much too respectful of other people's time but I like doing them ocassionally. Sometimes they help me think about things. Take care!


1. Name one person who made you laugh last night?
Watched MXC - a crazy Japanese show where people try a sort of obstacle course and a often get dunked in water. In this country, they do a voice-over with 2 American guys who are really rude sometimes.

2. What were you doing at 0800?

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

4. What happened to you in 2006?
My mother-in-law died. We cleaned up and sold the duplex we bought for her 23 years ago - becoming liable for a huge tax bill. Trip to the midwest to a family reunion with my cousins, many of whom I had never met. Moved away from waterbeds for the first time in many, many years.

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?
“Thank you.”

6. How many beverages did you have today?
Coffee, decaf, water, orange juice, soup (does that count?).

7. What colour is your hairbrush?
Don't have one. Don't need it, bald is beautiful! LOL

8. What was the last thing you paid for?
Beef to make chili yesterday.

9.Where were you last night?

10. What colour is your front door?
Dark gray.

11. Where do you keep your change?
Top of the dresser.

12. What’s the weather like today?
Sunny, cooler (mid-70's F or maybe 23 C).

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavour?
Some chocolate-coffee mix.

14. What excites you?
I'm easily excited - liars, stupid people, almost anything political, the economy, the dollar - I could keep on for a long while. Erotically excited? I'm dull - boobs, legs, hair; the usual guy stuff.

15. Do you want to cut your hair?
No. Don't want anyone else to either.

16. Are you over the age of 25?
Way! I'm 59.

17. Do you talk a lot?

18. Do you watch the O.C.?
I have no idea what the O.C. is.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?
Yes but no one I CALL Steven.

20. Do you make up your own words?
Can't spell for s*it but otherwise, no.

21. Are you a jealous person?
I can be but you've gotta be pushing my buttons.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’.
Don't have one.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?

25. What does the last text message you received say?
Don't text message.

26. Do you chew on your straw?
No. Don’t use straws and don't have a farm.

7. Do you have curly hair?
Some places.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?
No idea. It's under discussion. Perhaps the Intracoastal Waterway; perhaps Texas, Nevada & the west in general.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?
Our daughter.

30. What was the last thing you ate?
Soup - see above.

31. Will you get married in the future?
Well, my wife would be really surprised! If she were to die, probably not.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?
Don't know that I've seen one. Saw parts of "How to Marry a Millionaire" on tv the other day.

33. Is there anyone you like right now?
Yes. (Of course, but no extra-marital entanglements if that is what you mean.)

34. When was the last time you did the dishes?

35. Are you currently depressed?

36. Did you cry today?

37. Why did you answer and post this?
I'm a Nitwit!

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey…