Sunday, October 26, 2008

Financial Ups and Downs

Recently I was asked for my thoughts about a Warren Buffett article in the NYTimes. What follows is my reply to the email:

Buffett makes a sound historical argument. Being one who loves history and who continually works at understanding it, I then looked at my financial statements and they don't match Buffett's position. When I look at my stocks (nearly all mutual funds/bonds) performance since Jan. 1, 2008 I see a large loss. Now when I look at my CDs for the same time period, I see the principle intact with a small return perhaps just above inflation. But the key is I still have the principle! That's not so with the stocks/bonds investment at least for now.

To be sure I'm looking at the short term that Buffett is addressing. So what am I doing about this short term ups and downs that have made some people lose sleep and take Maalox? Hunker down and pray. Meaning keep paying my financial adviser to manage my stocks/bonds/mutual funds while reinvesting the CDs when they mature. In short it's called diversification.

With this strategy I'm hoping the American stocks will come back as Buffett thinks they will. But I'm also hoping the international stocks will come back too. Not just because I own some but world wide financial instability causes wide spread hardship and threatens world peace.

Perhaps buying stock in Maalox would be a good bet.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Open Letter to Barack Obama

"Change We Can Believe In" is the title of an open letter to Barack Obama by The Nation Magazine. Please click here to read this letter and if you agree with it then join me and sign it. The Nation Magazine will deliver it to the Obama campaign before the Democratic National Convention.

My concern is that he will weaken the movement that has made him the presumptive Democratic nominee as he continues to make changes on key positions.

Compromise is a mark of a skillful politician. But not compromising on core values or on issues that appear to be core values. It appears that presidential candidates want to move their positions to an ideological "center". George Lakoff, professor of linguistics, in his book "Thinking Points" argues that this "center" is a myth. He claims that progressive candidates weaken themselves by moving to the "Mythical Center" because people vote, "...on the basis of values, connection, authenticity, trust, and identity with issues used symbolically to reflect values." Click hereto read Lakoff's discussion on biconceptualism and the "Mythical Center".

Feel free to forward this post to our fellow Obama supporters or to those who are open to voting for Obama.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our Evolving English Language

I unabashedly love our English language. Tutoring ESL (English as a Second Language) adults from many lands challenges me to learn grammar, idioms, slang, profanity and most of all our American culture.

While growing up in the West side of Detroit during WWII the radio was my media. The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Captain Marvel were among my favorite radio programs. The radio announcers helped shape my English speaking skills that I learned from my native born parents. To be sure I have a mid west accent. Some how I never knew I had that accent until a retired Alberta Canada wheat farmer said "You sound 'nasalish' " when I was on an Elderhostel trip in Newfoundland, Canada in 1995.

In September the year before, I started my new 'career' -- tutoring adult ESL students. These adults are from Asia, South America, Mexico, and Europe. It is not only fun but a joy as well.

These students have made me aware of our American English and just how much it has changed since the days when I could ' see' and hear "Hi-Yo Silver" as The Lone Ranger rode off into the sun set as I sat in front of the little radio on the table.

The English language is changing so rapidly one can hardly keep up with the changes. A handy tool for checking the definition and the history of words is I use their little program that allows you to place the cursor on a word then press and hold the Alt key and then click. A small window opens with the definition along with other goodies.

What is in store for our fascinating English language? That's the topic of Michael Erard's essay "How English Is Evolving Into a Language We May Not Even Understand" in Wired Magazine. The related photo by Mauricio Alejo captures the theme of the article.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Beards and Moustaches

Several years ago I use to wax the hair above my upper lip. My sideburns were long and shaped like pork chops. At the time, Moustaches were the 'in' thing to have at least for men any way. My 'stach started to turn the color of the hair above my forehead. That is gray. Was I getting that old? I use to think as I shaved the hair on the rest of my face. (Who says men are not vain?)

I just found this web site that makes me long for my moustache. These guys are truly proud of there facial hair. I stand in awe. If you want to see some neat beards, check these out. Take a closer look at the German in the white and black stripped jacked. (Click on the photo)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who Are We?

Over the years I have heard many motivational speakers. Some were very good, others so so and some were well meaning with a misguided message. Lately I listen to Obama and become inspired by his message of hope that we together all of us Americans can make our government and our world a better place.

Just a few minutes ago I watched Jill Bolte Taylor and experienced one of the best speeches ever. Her method and delivery was top drawer. The twenty minutes of her message flew by.

She merged science with the spiritual. She informed without talking down to us. In the conclusion we were given choices.

If you, like me, need from time to time some motivation to keep you on track watch Jill Bolte Tayor's speech.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

2008 Presidential Hopefuls and Military Spending

In November we will have an opportunity to vote for president. These hopefuls have made statements regarding troop levels. Click here to see what they want to do.

Mitt Romney dropped out of the race this past week but his military spending comments remain on the link for reference.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Canadian Poll and USA

I heard some disturbing news about our wonderful neighbors to the north---Canada. There is a current Canadian poll that indicated:

U.S. cited as negative force in the world

While Canadians see the United States as important, when asked what countries stand out as being a negative force in the world, 52 per cent of respondents named the U.S.

The next most common answers were Iran (22 per cent), Iraq (19 per cent) and China (13 per cent).

"It's not necessarily a sign of anti-Americanism, but a concern about the direction the country is going," Neuman said.

He said the overall opinion of the United States was much higher in surveys done in the 1980s, but that opinion started to drop in 2001, hitting an all-time low in 2006.

Neuman said other studies have shown that people's opinions of the U.S. are negative because they are uncomfortable with the country's foreign policy, including the invasion of Iraq. They also cite discomfort with U.S. President George W. Bush, who took office in January 2001.

"I think the fact that Canadians pay so much attention to the U.S. election is a sign that they really care about the United States, a sign that they want it to get back to where it was before," Neuman said.

The big question is will our next president make significant changes to our foreign police? To read more about what Canadians think click here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Maya's First Photo

Click Here to see a little older photo of this wonderful little girl.Posted by Picasa