Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enough Winter


Traveling inconvenience is a bit overhyped for the most part. The biggest issue is getting through secvurity... especially the way my wife packs. Of course, I have to admit that putting 2 dozen golf balls into the carry on makes the guy scanning the bag a bit surprised. He wanted to know if we could verify that the bag had golf balls, food, and dominos. Dominos? No, not the last one. So they had to take the bag aside for a special check. No dominos and a wipedown showed no traces of explosives residue. So we cleared security and headed to the gate... more than 2 hours early as usual. My wife is a "professional worrier" so we always have to arrive at our airport prior to our plane leaving the other airport.

The first order of business is to check out the restrooms and then the sundries shop for water and then the restaurants for the food menu. Low carb only, of course. Good luck with that.

We always overpack. I take my golf clubs if the destination is warm. Otherwise, my laptop is an essential and then about 1-1/2" of clothes in our shared suitcase. My wife gets the other 10-12" of space. We try to stay under the 50-lbs. limit. 5 lbs. for me and 45 lbs. for her. That includes about 25 lbs. of books. I often wonder if my wife actually sees anything on our trips. She is either reading blogs on Google Reader or reading her romance paperbacks. I fit my blog posts inbetween rounds of golf and anything else we do. By writing to Notepad first, I write whatever I want offline and then transfer it to Blogger later. There's probably a more efficient way, but I haven't found it yet. I could use Word, by I don't like all of the extra code that goes along with it.

It's good to get away from Michigan in the winter, but this winter seems to be cold all over the U.S. except for the West Coast. My elderly mother in Florida is complaining about the extended cold period they are experiencing. Highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s is not what she bargained for in Florida. It's still better than highs in the 30s and lows in the teens... and a driveway full of snow. But I've learned to take my lightweight fleece jacket with me anyway.

While I prefer driving, being on the road in the middle of winter... especially this winter... seems fraught with potential problems. So, we get on the plane with dozens of our closest friends and spend several hours trying not to move too much. 4 0z. of soft drink and an ounce of peanuts and we are magically transported to our destination. It pretty much shoots the day, but a day is saved going and returning. A friendly house and an available car makes the whole adventure inexpensive... except for the massive amount of food my wife will buy at Costco.

Most importantly, my golf bag and clubs made it through.



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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)