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Archive for March 19th, 2008


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morbidentalOK, so maybe this explains why I’ve been so tired lately: I have some infection going on in the old chompers. And they thought at first that one of my remaining top front one teeth was loose, but an xray suggests instead that the crown might be broken. They tell me that might mean taking the whole thing out and redoing my partial to add another, which is coming close to an entire denture for the top. How about we just get th ß back to knock the rest out that she didn’t get the first time around? I’m rather tired of trying to hang onto what she left me.
I text gVent to schedule my next dental cleaning appointment 3 months hence. Since my main dentist is not in the office this week, I’ll need to wait until next week to consult with her about this loose/broken tooth. It could be worse: I could be attempting to do this text-scheduling on the predictably unreliable AT&T Wireless network, where as one of their managers felt completely free and pleased to repeat for the record, “You don’t pay to get good service.” Yes, sir, some services are worse than going the dentist.

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Written by macheide

19 March 2008 at 4:43 pm

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Must Not Be Mine

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must not be mineDamn, not as high as last time I came here to the dentist – three months ago, my BP reading was too high for them to feel comfortable going into my mouth with those nasty torture devices they work with here. This time, I doubled up on my meds this morning like my doc told me to when my numbers inch up too much, so I guess I don’t get me a get-out-of-dentist-free card today.

But wait a minute, them’s can’t be my numbers anyway. My cell phone and camera both say it’s 3:29pm, one minute before I’m scheduled to be here (as opposed to the dentist incorrectly thinking me late, supposedly due to be here half an hour ago). Click on this image as you would for any aftermath graphics you want the larger image for, and you’ll see that their equipment has this reading as being taken at 8:21am. Must be numbers left over from one of their morning patients.

Numbers will do that if you don’t watch them closely, you know: become leftovers.

//] - specimen

Written by macheide

19 March 2008 at 3:29 pm

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Isolated Ice Age

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From year-end 2006 to year-end 2007, the aggregate pension plan funded ratio for the S&P 500 rose by about 6.8 percentage points, aided in large measure by the fact that during that period, the projected benefit obligation was virtually flat. We know, of course, that much of the credit for flat PBO goes to the second straight year of increases in the discount rate used to measure the obligations. But has not the PBO trend also been flattened out by the rash of benefit freezes seen during the recent pension ice age?

The following graph shows the projected benefit obligation (purple with squares) and accumulated benefit obligation (blue with diamonds) at the close of fiscal years 2003-2007 for pension plans maintained by 19 of the approximately 350 companies among the S&P 500 that maintain defined benefit pension plans, as of the close of 2007 representing about 22% of the pension assets held by the entire S&P 500. The subset used for this graph was selected on the basis of companies for which the benefits under one or more pension plan have recently been frozen.

isolated ice age

Doesn’t look as obvious as we might have expected? Yes, the PBO here is flatter during the past several years than for the overall S&P 500. But why only flat? Since the PBO adds the effect of future compensation increases to the ABO, why hasn’t the PBO dropped down to equal the ABO, that being one of the usual byproducts of a total freeze? Are most of these refrigerators only doing a partial freeze, eliminating future accruals but continuing to provide previously accured benefits on the basis of final compensation that will be earned up to retirement?

No, although some companies are not doing a total freeze, the main reason for the PBO-ABO margin on this chart goes back to something I’ve pointed out repeatedly: financial results for multinational companies include both domestic pensions and foreign pensions. And although some companies have taken steps to freeze foreign plans, most of the pension ice age glaciers cover U.S. plans. Next post along these lines, I’ll emphasize the point by splitting out U.S. pension numbers from the foreign numbers for this chart: there, the charts will quite clearly show that PBO funded status for companies that have frozen one or more U.S. pension plans has quite definitely seen the effects of the freeze. I’ll then still point back to this chart by way of comparison, as yet another way to emphasize that foreign plans are in the overall mix, modulating or in some instances even reversing the trends one would have seen with a more restricted local perspective. I’ve just seen way too many studies of these numbers that too easily forget that fact.

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Written by macheide

19 March 2008 at 12:11 pm

Posted in άctuary

Flash Tangle

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flash tangle

I should know better than to just throw my flash drive in my computer case on top of my laptop power adapter. Yeah, I was rushed, but such negligence always costs more time on the other end, untangling the inevitable coupling the two were doing in there during their brief commute.

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Written by macheide

19 March 2008 at 8:26 am

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Seeing Jen Off Again

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where's jen?

Jen’s brief spring break is over already. (At least she got to stick around until today, thanks to Jen’s own responsible behavior, versus that last-minute come-back-a-day-early surprise her irresponsible supervisor tried to pull on her.)

I saw little of her myself these past few days. First she was off to Galveston for a day with her dad. Most of the rest of the time, either I was off at the office or she was out shopping. Even so, it was good to see her again.

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Written by macheide

19 March 2008 at 7:04 am

Posted in paterfamilias

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