In the morning, things coalesce.

April 25th, 2010

I was going to attend the Trenton Computer Festival today mostly to harass Donn Fishbein from Neuroquant to ask him for any stock or analyst that could be considered a “leading indicator”.  But I changed my mind.

I looked into the volatility index (VIX) and the mathematics underlying that only to realize it is a lagging indicator.  Actually, since it’s constructed from the sum of option puts and calls, it would be closer to the truth to consider it a “Wisdom of Crowds” indicator.

Last night on Bloomberg Television during a program called Buffett and Beyond: The Future of Value Investing, four stock professionals (teachers or traders) were talking about Warren Buffett’s latest purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. They wrapped up the evening wondering how to tell if a company is faking their accounting to look better for investors.  The panel suggested looking carefully at balance sheets and talking about the numbers with management.

Needless to say, this is impossible for the average Joe (or Ceneviva).

Considering the ephemeral nature of money, the lack of skin in the game with the largest firms, the incentive structure of the investment banks and the lack of leading indicators, value investing could be considered difficult if not impossible.

What is WRONG with people?

April 3rd, 2010

My wife and  I went to MOMA (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in New York City today, the day before Easter.  To be honest, she did gently remind me that it would be busy but I thought, “ok.  Busy I can take.”  But I wasn’t prepared for this. woman taking picture People, seemingly reasonable people are taking pictures of huge murals of Monet’s “Waterlilys” with their digital cameras then walking around to the next picture. I’m sure he’s spinning in his grave considering that he spent months to paint this and years in training before it only to have people take crappy pictures of it and not enjoy the art.
another idiot
another idiot I can only wonder how many pictures of this great masterwork are actually going to be viewed?
another idiot

Our Father who art in heaven, stay there.

April 2nd, 2010

Our Father who art in heaven
Stay there
And we’ll stay here on earth
Which is sometimes so pretty
With its mysteries of New York
And its mysteries of Paris
At least as good as that of the Trinity
With its little canal at Ourcq
Its great wall of China
Its river at Morlaix
Its candy canes
With its Pacific Ocean
And its two basins in the Tuileries
With its good children and bad people
With all the wonders of the world
Which are here
Simply on the earth
Offered to everyone
Strewn about
Wondering at the wonder of themselves
And daring not avow it
As a naked pretty girl dares not show herself
With the world’s outrageous misfortunes
Which are legion
With legionaries
With torturers
With the masters of this world
The masters with their priests their traitors and their troops
With the seasons
With the years
With the pretty girls and with the old bastards
With the straw of misery rotting in the steel of cannons.

–Jacques Prévert

State of Denial (from October 2006 diary entry)

March 8th, 2010

If President Bush can be in a state of denial about the war in Iraq, so can I.

Indeed, I don’t want to know there’s a war going on. I don’t want to know about torture and abuse of prisoners. I don’t need to know when we’ve broken international laws which we find antiquated and optional.

I don’t want the news to show returning flag-draped caskets, dead body counts, dollars spent, lives ruined or any other knowledge of this war except for the fact that we are winning.

Most of all, I want to forget that I’m a Quaker which was a pacifist organization but now is so liberal that we tolerate every response to war including vengeance, blood in the streets without end, without oversight, amen.

Thank you Jesus
soldiers with flag-draped coffins

Are You Listening Microsoft?

February 28th, 2010

When they finally get the Windows spoken interface packaged for general distribution, I think I’m going to get the Jamaican Male voice.  There’s something calming and easy-going about the voice – the perfect antidote to our faster, faster, in-demand world.

Me: Hey, Mon.

Computer: Yea.  Wat a gwan my yuut?

Me: Look, I just sliced into my finger with a knife cutting a bagel.  I need directions to the nearest open emergency room.

Computer: Lawd, mi gad.  Let me get it fe yuh.  It da 10 minutes away.  I’m sending the directions to my bredda GPS in your car. Arright?

Me: Good, look I’ll need you to…

Computer: Hold on.  Webmd sa keep yu finger elevated and tie-it-up wit a piece of clath?

Me: Yea, I’m ok.  I’m going to need you to send …

Computer: Mak mi tell ya sumtin, 65 percen people cut their finger off while aeat breakfast.  Look here now, Williams-Sonoma has a bagel cutter fe $25.99.  How bout I arder it fer yu?.

Me: Yeah… No… Maybe… I don’t know, can this wait Mon?

Computer: Hold Tight, Mon.  Everyting copasetic an mats.  I just found another one on e-bay, can I put a bid in…

Me: Mon! Stop with the bagel cutters, I’m outta here.  Send my wife a text message telling her where I’m going.  Where’s my phone?

Computer: Bredda Phone saying its dark where he is.  Maybe he’s in your other pants, Mon?  Mek mi take picture.

Me: No!  No more pocket pictures.  I got it, thanks.  Send the hospital notice that I’m on my way and a copy my insurance info.  I hate waiting.

Computer: Aright.  Mi tak care of that a’ready.  Gwaan man.  By the way, can the Computer Shopping News?

Me: Yeah, yeah, whatever.  Don’t buy anything; you remember what happened last …

Computer: Ya Mon.  Mi member. Mi member. Zeen.

Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

February 26th, 2010

You already know that my cat has died.  If you wanted to.  You already know that my wife just purchased a new Toyota because she has a high degree of brand loyalty and they were offering 60 month financing with no interest.  If that was of any interest to you, gentle readers.

But what is of increasing interest to me is our communications in this Web 2.0 world.  There are some very smart people warning that our children’s laissez-faire attitude towards posting inappropriate (for the adult world) content will catch up to them.  I’m dubious.

It’s a shelf-life issue.  It’s a consciousness issue.  It’s just a time issue.  People are spending more time “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that they really don’t have time for research.  I wonder if the college admission staff have enough time to go through every person’s Facebook, MySpace and YouTube entries, let alone find comments on other people’s pages, blogs, newspaper sites.

But my true disagreement comes from the impossibility or impracticality of keeping every byte of the web ever.  Where’s the interest?  Does anyone care what anyone said last year?  Two years ago?

Will anyone ever care what was tweeted at the local high school prom a week after the event?  No.

Will anyone at Twitter consider this information worth keeping a year from now?  No.

Will anyone bother reading this?  I doubt it.  So when I pull it down because I’m bored yet again will these words remain?   No.

Scott McNealy was wrong.  Privacy isn’t dead.  But, it isn’t completely hidden either.  Ask the Hollywood star who can’t even get arrested.  Right out in plain view, no one pays attention.

Privacy is exposed and then soon lost.  After I bring down the Facebook post about the death of my cat, it – like she – becomes a part of history; tiny, insignificant, beautiful, loving and gone.

Annie's Tongue

Hello world!

February 25th, 2010

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!