Resources on the Economic “Situation”

Click this link for a great post you can use to educate yourself on the economic crisis.  It’s from a quality blog and has a lot of good links and information.  If you’re having trouble understanding what’s going on, or if you should do anything, or whatever else, check the link out.

The general message is “calm down, keep your money in the market, invest now if you can.”

Here’s a good quote:

9. Don’t Let Your Friends Be Morons
Don’t let your friends be idiots. If you read this site, chances are you understand that having 20, 30, or 40 years before you need your money gives you plenty of flexibility to invest for the long term, even with major or minor dips in the market. Yet with these terrifying headlines every day, it’s like people have become It’s not just focusing on the wrong things, it’s making poor financial decisions and then throwing up your hands and wondering why you don’t have enough money. If you own only one stock — especially if it’s your employer’s stock — then you are a fool. If you are going to buy a $1 million house with no research because you think it’s a good investment, you are a fool. If you don’t realize that your expensive, worthless mutual fund is costing you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, you are a fool. Worry about the things you can control, not the headlines.


Read The Road

image Last week I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  It’s a novel about a father and son trying to survive in some kind of post-apocalyptic world.  It’s not clear what the apocalypse was but it’s made the world miserable.  The writing style is pretty unusual, which from what I hear is the way McCarthy writes all his books.  I don’t want to spoil anything from the book for you but rather just share I thought it was an awesome book and I’m looking forward to the upcoming movie adaptation (Viggo Mortensen plays the main dude).  Even those of you who aren’t so big on reading (Dave) should check the book out because it’s a pretty gripping and touching narrative.  It’s pretty bleak though, so not for the faint of heart.  Somehow it ended up on Oprah’s Book List.  Don’t let that dissuade you, even if her reading club is often full of utter garbage and harmfully ignorant tripe.


The Library is useful…who knew?

image Did you know you can search through the library’s catalog and request certain books, then the library will hold the book for you?  And if the book has been checked out, or is at some other library, they’ll e-mail you when it arrives and you can come pick it up?  I’ve been hearing about this book called Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) through some interviews with the author.  I added it to my Amazon wish list and figured I’d have to wait a while to buy it.  Then I discovered how awesome the library is and requested it a few days ago.  I just got an e-mail letting me know the book is waiting for me and I’m going to go pick it up on my lunch break.

This bit of news is only useful if you like reading, of course.


Patellofemoral Syndrome

This morning my right knee gave out during a squat. Luckily I was in the squat cage so I didn't have the added embarrassment of asking someone to lift the bar off of me. This is the third workout I've squatted this weight so I don't think it was too much - it was challenging but doable for me. When my knee gave out I felt it pop a bit but there wasn't much pain. It felt a bit odd after that but I finished my workout, including running a mile at the end and I was able to do it.

I visited my doctor today to make sure I didn't do anything serious to the knee. She doesn't think I tore anything but after feeling around the knee thinks the issue is Patellofemoral Syndrome. Here's what it is:

PFS is caused by an abnormality in how the kneecap (patella) slides over the lower end of the thigh bone (the femur). Normally, the patella (kneecap) is pulled up over the end of the femur in a straight line by the quadriceps (thigh) muscle. In PFS, there is patellar "tracking" toward the lateral (outer) side of the femur. This off-kilter path permits the underside of the patella to grate along the femur leading to chronic inflammation and pain.
She ordered me to stop doing squats for a while until the knee feels normal again. When I resume squatting she wants me to use reduced weight. This sort of sucks because squatting is a major part of the workout I've been doing. It also sort of sucks because my knee feels funky. I'm going to have to find another workout regimen.

Upon reading more about Patellofemoral Syndrome I learned it is also called "housemaid's knee" or "secretary's knee." This discovery did not do much for my hope of it being a manly injury.


Thought for today

Too often in my life and heart God is an idea, a concept, a belief, an argument, a system of thought, a set of rules, a religion - too seldom is He God.  I would be nowhere without grace.


Julius Caesar and reading aloud in class

Today I’m subbing a 10th grade English class and am helping the kids read through Julius Caesar.  As you may remember from your high school days, the students are assigned roles to read and we’re to go through the first two scenes of Act I.  As I listened to 1st period stumble through the words I’d pause periodically to ask them if the knew what was going on.  At almost every turn the kids had no idea what was happening.  Shakespeare may as well be gibberish to them.  I’d even re-read a short quote and they’d have trouble figuring out what the sentence meant.  I’m not sure if it was like this when I was in school…I think it was, considering what I remember of some of my classes…but this makes me glad I’m not an English teacher.  I want to work through primary sources with my History students and those can be as difficult as Shakespeare – but I’m glad this isn’t my primary assignment.  Although it was nice being able to sort of translate for them and see some of them actually get what was happening.


Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) goes online today in Europe.  It’s a gigantic laboratory where they will smash protons together and do other awesome physics-related projects.  You can probably see a lot of articles about it on any news site so I won’t link to those.  But here’s a link you will find interesting if you are at all intrigued by the LHC.


It’s a thread in a forum posted by a guy who works there.  His first post is really informative, with good pictures and an explanation of what the LHC does.  It’s pretty awe-inspiring.


McCain and Fiscal Responsibility

Here’s an editorial discussing McCain’s talk about cutting pork and comparing it with his spending plans.  The author says McCain talks big about cutting spending, but if you look at his spending plans and compare it with his intended tax cuts (or even just a refusal to raise taxes) you are left with a growing deficit.  I’m not sure about this guy’s math (I have to look more into McCain’s specific proposals and compare them to Obama’s) but he raises the issue that I think may decide how I vote.  At the very least it will factor in to the decision.

I fully believe the Government already gets more than enough money, and it is incredibly wasteful.  If I had my druthers, Government spending would be cut and taxes would be lowered.  George Bush increased spending and cut taxes – hence our gigantic budget deficit and bloated national debt.  If McCain’s plans truly are cut-taxes-and-increase-spending then our debt will keep growing and our economy will not be the better for it.  As someone who desperately wants our Government to get smaller and for people’s attitudes to change re: Government’s role and responsibility, I don’t like having these two options:

1) Raise taxes and raise spending (Obama)

2) Lower taxes and raise spending (McCain)


I think both of the above approaches are bankrupt (hah) for different reasons, but neither are good.


Sarah Palin’s Speech

 image I'm watching the Sarah Palin’s RNC speech right now and figured I'd take some notes as I watched through it.

I hate it when people say "pundints."  The word is "pundits" people.

Her kids are named Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig.  Bristol's been the pregnant one and she's there with her boyfriend, who looks a bit nervous.

She's introducing her family right now...boring...but I guess it helps people feel more like they know who she is.

Describing people in small towns as those who "run our factories, fight our wars, and are always proud of America."  It's a good applause line, but it does strike me that our country has done things we shouldn't be proud of.

"What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?  Lipstick."  Lots of talk about the hockey mom demographic since Palin entered the race...not many of those around these parts.

"I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."  Funny line, but as someone who's worked in a non-profit I know there are actual responsibilities present there.

Reference to Obama's mention of people "clinging to religion and guns."  She's definitely not being shy about going after the Democrats.

"I'm not going to Washington to serve their good opinion, I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country."  This is her in response to some of the criticism of her lack of experience in politics.  She says the right reason to get involved in politics is to challenge the status quo and change things for the better.  She's clearly framing herself as the reformer coming in from the outside, trying to take advantage of her lack of experience rather than avoiding it.

Discussing some of the stuff she did as Alaska Governor.  Eliminated private jet and Governor's personal chef.  Didn't feel those things were necessary.  Running through some accomplishments in reforming the oil industry and its hold on Alaska.

Saying we need to produce more of our own oil and natural gas to reach energy independence - drill in ANWAR.  They want to build more pipelines, more nuclear plants, move for clean coal, and build more renewable energy sources.  Sounds like a good plan to me.

"This is a man who has authored two memoirs, but not even a single law." re: Obama.  Again, taking clear shots - she herself is taking shots at his experience.  Pretty bold.

Making lots of comments about Obama as a celebrity and full of hot air.

Obama wants to increase the tax burden on the U.S.  He does - but unless we stop spending so much money that's necessary.  The solution is to stop spending money - are McCain and Palin up to that?  They say they are, but I'm not sure how possible it is.

"There are some candidates who use change to further their careers.  There are others, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."  I'm pretty confident Obama isn't just trying to further his career - I think he really does want to effect positive change.

Haha - she said Harry Reid's quote "I can't stand John McCain" is the best proof they've chosen the right person.  Funny - but I think one of McCain's strengths is his experience in the Senate and ability to work with those on the other side.  They're trying to cast him as a total maverick, not something I think I buy.

The GOP is really hitting McCain's POW time hard tonight.  I respect him for it and think it's very admirable...but I think you can only reference it so much before it loses impact.

Overall she's coming across as a pretty good speaker.  She's not delivering the lines mechanistically and her voice isn't terribly grating.  She has the good "look of determination" thing going.  I'd say she did a good job overall and I enjoyed listening to her speak.  I'm sorting out the issues thing but she did a good job portraying herself as someone who is smart and capable.  There's more to see but I think she acquitted herself pretty well.