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Archive for October 2008

In Play

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Play: Work that you enjoy doing for nothing.

Evan Esar

Herein otherwise known as my spreadsheet.

My spreadsheet is my borderless hook rug. My spreadsheet is my never-ending crossword puzzle. My spreadsheet is my endlessly moving painting, my poem without a final line. My spreadsheet is my mathematical jigsaw puzzle with an infinite supply of new pieces to fit into the emerging picture.

By saying “for nothing,” Esar no doubt refers to monetary compensation. I will work on my spreadsheet with no less the play even if it all comes to nothing. I used to make intricate sand castles that the tide washed away. I used to create snow sculptures that the wind and rain and sun melted down. Now I build a spreadsheet that someday may be lost to yet another computer crash. And I will smile at merely having had the time I’ve had with it.

bumper sticker [] - huckleberry

Written by macheide

28 October 2008 at 3:44 pm

Posted in huckleberry

Houston Autumn

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This is as much autumn as Houston will see. No leaves turning and falling and needing to get raked up. No frost on the grass and windows. No breath in the air. Just a little chill, enough to warrant bringing out my leather jacket for a few days.

Which is as long as this will last. Then we’ll go back to another of Houston’s many summers, until it’s time for a week of winter. Then we skip spring altogether and go back to summer.

bumper sticker [] - mother nature

Written by macheide

27 October 2008 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Civic Opportunities

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Susan and I voted early today. Within an hour of getting in line, we were trying to figure out how the voting booths worked . . . by which time the line had shrunk down to only about a half hour’s worth. Still, it was worth it, to avoid those intolerably long lines that are likely to be there on November 4.

As I’d decided, I cast mine for Obama. Thanks to McCain’s campaign. Quite convincing, he and his running mate and his organization have been.

The fortune is from the chinese buffet dinner we shared after voting. While watching some of the closing displays in the sky above the airshow we’d decided to skip this year. Just because one looks up to see an opportunity doesn’t mean one necessarily chooses to take it.

bumper sticker [] - adrien

Written by macheide

26 October 2008 at 4:14 pm

Posted in Adrien

Tagged with

Campaign Failure

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Sad to say, this waste of campaign contributions will probably be duplicated outside every polling site throughout the country. None of these signs “work,” neither to keep nor to convert any decided voter, nor to persuade an undecided one. Not a single vote will be influenced by this trash. Not one.

At least there exists strong evidence that robocalls, smear commercials, and other negative campaigning do have an effect – in the opposite direction intended, especially when there exists no strong, consistent positive message standing behind those low-road tactics.

As long as political parties persist in wasting campaign contributions on worthless or negative strategies, they need not come looking to me to donate to the “cause”! Nor can they hope me to be alone, nor even in the minority.

bumper sticker [] - jourbeau

Written by macheide

26 October 2008 at 3:06 pm

Posted in jourbeau

APM – Continuously Updated

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One of the metholodgies used for the Aftermath Pension Metric: Numbers are updated to reflect the most recently disclosed pension assets and projected benefit obligations on the date that each annual financial statement is made available on the SEC website.

So for example, today Monsanto Company, a constituent of the S&P 500, published its annual financial statement for the fiscal year ending 8/31/2008. That will mean that APM calculations for 10/24/2008 and later will incorporate the 8/31/2008 numbers for Monsanto, as then projected from 8/31/2008 to the date for each APM number.

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Written by macheide

24 October 2008 at 8:20 pm

Posted in άctuary

Pricing Economic Risk into Pension Funding

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While Treasury 30-year bond yields (red circles) were lower by September 30 than at the beginning of the year, corporate bond yields as represented by Moody’s Aaa (blue diamonds) were higher. A spread of about 1.00% at the beginning of the year had widened to 1.70% by the end of the year’s third quarter.

I don’t expect that wide spread to persist far into 2009, if even through the close of 2008. But although some of the contraction of the spread will come via easing of corporate bond yields, long-term government bond yields will likely rise somewhat as the economic crisis shakes itself out.

Several pension prognosticators seem to be expecting contraction of the yield spread, based on comments that have been made about estimated pension funded status levels as of September 30. Since measurement of pension obligations under generally accepted accounting principles is based on corporate bond yields rather than on government bond yields, is is quite correctly observed that declines during 2008 in the values of pension asset equity investments have been partially offset by decreases in the value of pension obligation, due to the higher corporate bond rates.

But at that point, those prognosticators and I part company, since they then proceed to imply or to directly compute how very deeply pension funded status would be further eroded if the yield spread were to return to the beginning-of-year levels entirely via a drop in corporate bond yields, without any corresponding change in the value of pension assets.

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Written by macheide

22 October 2008 at 7:23 pm

Posted in άctuary

Pet Me

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meme from susan


Not enough.

We need a few more cats. And another husband for Gertie to murder. And an aquarium of tropical fish. And some ducks.

And may I have an alpaca, please?

bumper sticker [] - not me

Written by macheide

22 October 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in not meme