aftermath

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Archive for September 2008

Zen Tracks [25] Bruce Springsteen: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

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Zen Vision M4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)Bruce SpringsteenThe Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
[5:36] * * * *

Today my Zen Vision:M plays solid Bruce to celebrate the Boss’ 59th birthday.

Springsteen’s second album was my introduction to Bruce and the band, and it remains my favorite to this day, even over Born to Run, even over Darkness on the Edge of Town, even over The River, over any of the others, yes, even over Greetings from Asbury Park. Thirty-five years ago, no more than a few weeks after this album’s release, the reb and I were visiting Bret and Mickey, close Jersey friends back then. We were chatting away, good music in the background, and right in the middle of a sentence Bret says “Rosalita” and then just carries on with the rest of his sentence like that interjection belonged there, didn’t even blink, not a pause or a breath, just “[sentence fragment] Rosalita [rest of sentence].” The reb and I were like, what?!? Mickey laughed and explained that Bret was obsessed with this Jersey singer from his old neighborhood. Bret had simply inserted a piece of sing-along Bruce into his own conversation without even thinking about it; and it soon obvious that with Bruce playing in the background, Bret was singing along and injecting Asbury Park imagery into his entire conversation, even when he wasn’t doing so quite as obviously out loud. Before the week was out, I had both of Bruce’s albums myself, and have never looked back.

And I can’t ever hear Sandy without returning dancing to my own Jersey days, where everything here on this ferris wheel seat would stand still while all the other lights and sounds and all the whole world around us would rise up behind like a grand dream that would never end.

Sandy the aurora’s rising behind us
The pier lights our carnival life forever
Oh love me tonight and I promise I’ll love you forever

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - zen

Written by macheide

23 September 2008 at 7:32 pm

Posted in vision:m

September Smiley

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bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - smiley

Written by macheide

22 September 2008 at 7:24 pm

Posted in smiley

TX AWOL

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Perhaps the State of Texas is trying to make FEMA look good by excusing itself from doing much more than shrugging at the crisis still gripping its largest city? If anyone had any doubts, the state’s official website goes out of its way to make their lack of care obvious.

That “Hurricane Relief” thing at the northwest corner of the state’s home page? A curiously sick joke. It links nowhere, gives no information on how to contribute funds or efforts to any relief, points to nothing that the state itself might be daydreaming about doing for relief, gives absolutely no clue as to what it is even doing there. Just, “Hurricane Relief,” sitting there as impotent as the state’s own hurricane response has been.

But ok, at least that “Hurricane Ike Aftermath Information” links through to something, right? Well, yes, but don’t expect it to take you much of anywhere you could not have gotten to more quickly simply by bypassing the Texas state website entirely, as fitting a metaphor for the state’s Ike response as could be drawn. Must be intentional on the part of the website managers, one could easily think.

Ah, but we can always show that we side with our governor, showing that we empathize with Hurricane Ike victims who have lost their homes, their jobs, and their lives by contributing to the governor’s mansion restoration fund. We must remember to keep our priorities straight, must we not?

[Additional Ike-related aftermath content: Hurricane Ike Aftermath]

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - houstonian

Written by macheide

22 September 2008 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Houstonian

Blue on Red

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Yes, I once possessed one of the very first IBM XT machines off the assembly line, and yes, it’s difficult to find so much as an unplugged minute in my day-to-day life. But all things considered, I tend to drag way behind the curve when it comes to tech updates. I may never long for a Blackberry, I know I would rather get exiled back to the rock ages over having to appear with an iPhone, and I’m making a 5-year-old laptop live on life support as long as possible before I’ll replace it with the bare minimum model that will be around when this machine crashes its final crash.

But every now and then I do get pulled along after the crowd into new tech. Susan will pick me up an mp3 player or a laser pen that talks with my laptop for presentations. Or my job will bless me with a wireless card or a new laptop with software that isn’t a decade obsolete. Or some other bit of luck will add to my little tech toy collection.

Like, Kelly got his bluetooth cellphone earpiece wet, whereupon it ceased working, whereupon he seemed to have lost interest in replacing it when he recently upgraded to a Blackberry. The dead piece of equipment sat around on the kitchen counter for a few weeks waiting for me to give it a random moment’s notice. Absent instructions, and me not really having so much as a spark of a knack with such things, it still came very very close to finding the trash can once I did finally play around with it last night, especially after Kelly himself couldn’t get any signs of life out of it. Then suddenly, pop, there it was, picking up an invite from my cell phone, then wending its way through my bumbling explorations of how to make and receive calls with the device.

And so far, I do like it! I’ve been using a hands-free cell phone earpiece that connects with a cord that is barely long enough to reach to a pocket, too frequently inconvenient, not at all relaxed. This bluetooth earpiece gives me far more freedom, far more flexibility.

Another little lucky step forward along the technology highway.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - golem

Written by macheide

22 September 2008 at 7:17 am

Posted in golem

Birthday Bobbing

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Kelly just came home from work and walked in handing me a belated birthday gift, Early Dylan, an excellent collection of black-and-white photographs of young Bob. Thank you very much, Kelly!!

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - adrien

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Adrien

Drain Still Draining

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So while Ike cost us our power and Internet access and everything in between down here in Houston, the federal goverment was preoccupied with bailing out Wall Street.

And still, each and every day, on average $400 million lines up at the door to leave equities via pension plan investment reallocation strategies.

The government’s emergency fantastic departure from free market capital market does demonstrate in rather rash terms that yes, it is possible to temporarily encourage new money to come into the market at volumes sufficiently in excess of that $400 million daily drain, such that we have seen wild triple-digit jumps in the Dow, might even expect to see more of that to come for the next few days, maybe even ever so briefly longer. But the dramatic market jolt – almost more dramatic a destruction of sound economic principles as the terrorist acts of 9/11 were to true market value – likewise rather starkly demonstrates an important aspect of pension plans’ reallocation: how independent that strategy is on external events or factors. Let the market drop to historically undervalued levels, and the pension plans don’t switch to a buy-low strategy. Let some major financial firms go bankrupt, and the pension plans don’t accelerate their long-term reallocation moves. And likewise, push the federal government into a corner where it fights blindly with everything it has, and those pension plans don’t even blink. Tomorrow, if it’s an average day, pension plans will again be lined up to cash out about $400 million from the stock market, no matter how the federal government has tweaked its bailout plan over yet another wild roller coaster weekend, no matter what the stock market futures indicate, no matter how much money lines up for or against where pension plans are headed.

It’s an open drain that will remain open for at least another year, perhaps longer, before pension plans have reached the lower equity allocation levels they now target. The federal government might open a faucet with a flood of funny money every weekend or so, at least to try to save a little face until Election Day; but that pension plan drain still remains open throughout and beyond, uninfluenced, unstopped, persistent as ever.

And as long as it does, even a change in environment as disruptive as the federal government’s bailout plan will not alter the underlying weakness in a market predisposed to selling. And I still count on seeing a 4-digit Dow before the end of this year, perhaps as soon as we start feeling that hangover from this past week’s government-subsidized beerfest.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - calls & puts

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 8:05 pm

Posted in calls & puts

Most Precious Commodity

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Upwards of 1% of the country’s population is heading into their second week after Ike without electrical power; those who miss living in their mansions may not completely understand how far away from home that can make one feel. And although one can go for days, maybe even weeks after the storm, without so much as an MRE, clean water is more urgently and immediately needed for survival.

But if Ike has taught us anything about emergency supplies and distribution, it is that the most precious commodity, the commondity that is most in demand, the commodity least available, and the commodity for which distribution systems remain desperately inadequate is simply: information. Reliable, up-to-date information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 6:41 pm

Posted in whatev