Friday, October 24, 2008

Our activities the last two weeks

This week we made a ghost. This was the first step

This was after we finished

G= Green Glitter

We got out of our half packed house one day and went to play at Chuck E Cheese

The boys racing around the house on cars

A trip to the zoo

F= Feathers

My Birthday Adventure!! (Last Week)

For my birthday Katie S. watched my kids so I could have a day in the city.
I started in Central Park.

I went and saw Belvedere Castle.

Looking out over Turtle Pond

This is looking north from the top tower.

Garment District

Interesting sign on 25th street

I met Mike for lunch and we went to a Greek restaurant named Karavas. It was yummy.
This is an awsome store. They have cool fabric.
I bought some Halloween fabric to make a little quilt.

After dinner that evening the girls came and surprised me with a Girls Night Out in the city.
We went to Magnolia Bakery and tried there Banana pudding
(sooooooooooo good) and split a key lime cheesecake with Susie

Then we went to Serendipity for some Frozen Hot Chocolates.
All things I wanted to do before I left NYC.

Susie and I split a mint Frozen Hot Chocolate

All the girls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Four Phased of Reaction

So I was listening to an economics podcast and heard the following which I found interesting. Bill Hamilton, a biologist explained every scientific theory goes through four phases of reaction: that's not true; that's an interesting if perverse way of looking at the world; I see the experimental evidence accounts for certain edge cases; I have always believed it. I think this is a great quote! The podcast is Econtalk and I would recommend it to nerds like me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


For FHE on Monday, Caleb made pear witches.

He enjoyed eating them!!

We also painted gords that we got on Saturday

My economic fears and what to do about it

I was reading this post, about what you can do to prepare for what may be ahead (Please take a couple of minutes and read it), and was presented with some numbers which triggered my worst economic fears. Allow me to do illustrate with some sloppy arithmetic:

$152 billion for the summer stimulus package + $123 billion bailout of AIG + $700 billion bailout bill + $250 billion into several large banks (I told you they didn't even consider the smaller option) = $1,225 billion or $1.225 trillion. (Not to mention the money the Federal Reserve has been funneling into the financial system)

Now add to that some sloppy history: I may have missed the news, but I don't remember hearing that GDP expanded by $1.225 trillion since last summer. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly I remember talk about a slowdown in the economy, bordering on recession.

Finally apply some sloppy thinking: Goods slowing down...Huge spending increase...Businesses hurting...Huge spending increase...No growth in tax base...Huge spending increase...It can't be funded by taxation...Huge spending increase funded by money that isn't there.

To come to my conclusion: Money Supply increasing + Goods are not = Inflation.

Inflation fears worry me more than the threat of a Great Depression because everyone becomes poorer simultaneously which is not a good thing. Did you know that Hitler came to power because Germany was in a period of hyperinflation after World War I. Yep.

I had an econ professor that taught me that my generation didn't know tough economic times. We had grown up in the late 80's and 90's and had it good. So I fear that my generation will get sideswiped by inflation and not be prepared to deal with its consequences. So once again I would encourage you to read this post, and get things in order. I know we will.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What happened to last week?

I made a special bag for Caleb to take on our nature walks. He was so excited for a small plastic bag of his own, I wanted to have something a little better.

I also made a really easy apron for him to wear when we cook together. (It's a dish towel and ribbon. So easy and he loves wearing it.)

Mason crawling around.

On Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Festival at Willowbrook Park.

We rode the carousel and picked out pumpkins and gourds to paint for FHE.

Mason's first ride on a carousel

Both of the boys enjoyed looking at the animals.

One day we played with goop. Caleb doesn't like his hands getting dirty so this was a challenge.

He enjoyed the things I gave him to play in it better than his hands.

On one of our walks this week we collected leaves and did leaf rubbings

Part of our interesting week was Caleb running into a pole at the playground. Ouch!

E= eggshells

Caleb coloring the eggs to make our letter of the week

For FHE on Monday Caleb made popsicles for us.

Babysitting Co-op: watching a movie and having a snack

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Moving on Up...Upstate that is

So in case you didn't know we will be moving up to the Rochester NY area. So we have been packing up, getting ready to go. We did pick up more than what we had when we moved in to our apartment. Now we just need to pack it up too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This will make you do a double take

A little while back I was reading an economics/finance book (yeah I know I'm a nerd) and came across this quote which I found very interesting:
When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction ... the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible
bank reserve shortage. The "Fed" succeeded; ... but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market-triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in breaking the boom. But it was too late: ... the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed.

It was reportedly written by a young economist by the name of Alan Greenspan and explains that it came from an article "Gold and Economic Freedom" from The Objectivist, 1996, reprinted in Ayn Rand's Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, New York: Penguin, 1987.

A spitball solution to the problem

So if you are up on current events you are probably aware that we are in the middle of a financial situation melting down (interesting side note - there is a good explanation about the why this happened here and here). Now the question becomes how to deal with the problem and how to prevent it from happening again.

I have a solution that I think should be considered. One of the factors that contributed to the problem is the disconnect in the system. Bad loans were originated, purchased by another party, sliced-and-diced into another product and sold ad nauseum. When the blame question is raised to pin responsibility for the action it becomes very messy. Couple this with the scale factor. The institutions involved are huge banks. These titans were considered "too big to fail" (lesson one: nothing is too big to fail) but as they are coming apart just due to their sheer size they are pulling the system down. With these two points in mind here is my solution and why I feel it will unfortunately be overlooked.

The long-term solution lies in smaller financial institutions. Small banks (or better yet credit unions) who know who they loan the money to (like the neighbor down the street), and hold their loans for the whole duration. Smaller businesses are quicker to respond to what is going on. Also realize that the United States is economically diverse. Smaller banks would be able to adapt to the specifics of the area they serve. One things that is nice is that if we had smaller institutions the risk would be spread out. If this disaster were to have occurred it might wipe out a few banks but it wouldn't threaten the whole system. Smaller banks would fix the disconnect and the scale issues.

I think this would be a better solution then the current consolidation and global actions. Central Banks around the world are coordinating their efforts. Globalizing the banking system is the path that policy makers are tending towards. I think they are convinced if they get bigger they will eventually become too big to fail. I just don't think they are considering the small option.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What I did tonight that I haven't done in a long time that I should do more often

Today was one of those days:
- A five min Rx pick up turned into a 50 min wait chasing the kids around
- Nap time turned into: How much trouble can Caleb get into? (He poured a whole bottle of baby oil on the rug in the boys room, woke Mason from his nap, and refused to sleep)
- I locked myself out of the house
- Mason wanted me to hold him all day (Even during my exercise)
- Because of no nap for Caleb and little nap for Mason the boys were very winy today
- The house is a mess and I did not clean one thing up
- No laundry got done
- I did not pack anything

So my day ended with a bubble bath, my favorite candle (Yankee Macintosh apple), a cake in a mug, and a relaxing movie. I should take more evenings off!

For those of you who want to make yourself a cake in a mug, here is the recipe (12 points if you want to know)
1 Mug
4 tablespoons flour(that's plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake
will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Why I Want to be Rich

When Danielle and I were married we lived in the University's married student housing. I remember one Friday we decided to splurge a little for date night and go down to Hire's Big H to have dinner. We didn't have much money at the time so we decided to get a pizza and split it.

We had a great dinner holding each other's hands while waiting for the food. Talking about our big dreams and what ever else we wanted to. We had our pizza and I was getting ready to pay the check. Then this guy in the restaurant that we had never met before nor after came to our table and insisted that he pick up our bill. After futile protest on our part and with much gratitude we accepted his offer. He just said promise that you do this for someone else.

I am currently reading "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey (and I highly recommend it to anyone). In one of his final chapters he shared similar stories. One story was of a man who handed out $100 bills to strangers during Christmas time. I would love to do this! This is why I want to be rich (and hope the government doesn't "help" me take care of "others").

Friday, October 03, 2008

Our week

Thursday we made prints with apples

Looking down on the maze (secret garden) at Snug Harbor

Caleb loved the maze. He went through 4 times all by himself.

Wed. was such a nice day we explored Snug Harbor. The healing garden was just reopened and Mason and Caleb loved the little stream that was next to the walk way. We collected "fall things" for a collage that we are making.

Mason figured out that if he blew while I was trying to feed him that the food would fly all over and he could get a reaction from Caleb. Now he won't stop. This picture is after blowing food all over.

D= dinosaur

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Who are we bailing out?

This infuriates me. The Senate Conservatives Fund reports who is getting bailout money:

Here are some of the special-interest provisions that are now part of the Wall Street bailout legislation. The bill started at 3 pages, grew to 106 pages, and is now 451 pages.
  • Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)

  • Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)

  • 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)

  • Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)

  • American Samoa (Sec. 309)

  • Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)

  • Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)

  • Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)

  • Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)

  • Railroads (Sec. 316)

  • Auto Racing Tracks (317)

  • District of Columbia (Sec. 322)

  • Wool Research (Sec. 325)

Furthermore this post to Econbrowser explains how money to Detroit is included in the continuing resolution (which allows the Federal Government to continue to operate without a budget being passed). I really hate the way they do things in Washington!

Why I am an Independent

So I was filling out a voter registration card the other day for Upstate New York so we can vote when we move up there. At the bottom of the card you declare party affiliation. I checked that I am unaffiliated (I won't tell you what my wife checked). I take pride in being an independent. I came across the following quote given by George Washington at his 1796 farewell speech:

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty."

Political parties are destroying this nation (along with overspending), pitting American against American. Why don't we focus more on what is right versus who is right?