My kids love making Jack O’ Lanterns.
2 comments October 28th, 2008
Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? by Orson Scott Card (The Ornrey American)
Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That’s what you claim you do, when you accept people’s money to buy or subscribe to your paper
How Capitalism Will Save Us by Steve Forbes (Forbes)
What started in August 2007 was not the failure of free markets but the outcome of bad government actions.
So Long Suckers by Andrew Clark (The Guardian)
Millionaire hedge fund boss thanks ‘idiot’ traders and retires at 37.
Add comment October 25th, 2008
The weather’s turned cold and as a result, I’ve started wearing long sleeve shirts to work.
When I first put on a long sleeve shirt last week I realized it didn’t fit right. I looked down at my wrists and realized that sleeves were about an inch or two shorter than normal. Thinking that the shirt has somehow shrunk last time it was washed, I set it aside and put on another long sleeve shirt. It also felt funny and I noticed that it too wasn’t quite long enough on the arms.
I put on a third shirt and noticed the same problem. I was about to tell Marathon Girl that something was wrong with our washing machine when I noticed that the shirt I was wearing felt tight around the chest and arms.
Apparently my summer exercise regimen along with swimming twice a week has increased the size of my chest, arms, and shoulders to the point where I need bigger shirts.
This is a good problem to have.
4 comments October 22nd, 2008
I’m deciding whether or not to buy one of those digital TV converter boxes. You know, the ones that people who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite will need once digital TV goes into effect on February 17 of next year.
If it wasn’t for LOST, I’d probably just let my TV reception turn to static in February and get rid of the set altogether considering how little I or anyone at our home watches it. The only time I really spend watching anything is one or two movies on the weekend that come in the mail from Netflix. And even then Marathon Girl and I are more inclined to watch them on a laptop or portable DVD player instead of the television since the two of us watch movies in bed after the kids are asleep.
I don’t think our kids would miss the TV much either. Yes, they watch the occasional kid TV show but would be just as happy watching one of their Thomas the Train DVDs or 20 minutes of an animated Pixar movie.
Besides, with shows being broadcast over the Internet the next day and (usually) being available on DVD before the next season begins, I’m seeing less and less of a need for regular broadcast television. Were I to ditch the TV altogether, the only thing I might miss is watching is the occasional professional football/baseball/basketball game or presidential conventions and debates though (thankfully!) the latter only comes around once every four years.
Which brings me back to the one reason I’m seriously leaning toward buying a digital converter box: LOST. Sure, I could watch it the next day on abc.com or wait until it comes out on DVD and go on a 2-day LOST bender, but there’s something about anticipating the next episodes twists and turns every week and being able to blog about it and talk about the latest LOST theories with Marathon Girl, friends, and co-workers that makes watching it every week fun.
So I’ll probably end up buying a digital TV converter box sometime this winter. But only because of LOST. However, there’s a good chance once that LOST comes to a conclusion next year, our TV will have outlived its usefulness and come to an end too.
7 comments October 20th, 2008
The Omen* by James B. Stewart (The New Yorker)
The trader who brought a bank to its knees.
How Washington Can Help Alaska Drill by Lisa Murkowski (The Wall Street Journal)
Three years in, Shell is still waiting to recover a single barrel of oil.
Hawaii ending universal child health care by Mark Niesse (Associated Press)
Program just seven months after it launched.
* No online version available
Add comment October 18th, 2008
The work on our basement is finally finished and I finally have an office to work out of.
Now I just need to find a spot for my books.
1 comment October 15th, 2008
However, there’s one specific part of Cuban’s post I want to comment on. Cuban writes:
The 2nd rule for getting rich is getting smart. Investing your time in yourself and becoming knowledgeable about the business of something you really love to do
It doesn’t matter what it is. Whatever your hobbies, interests, passions are. Find the one you love the best and GET A JOB in the business that supports it.
It could be as a clerk, a salesperson, whatever you can find. You have to start learning the business somewhere. Instead of paying to go to school somewhere, you are getting paid to learn. It may not be the perfect job, but there is no perfect path to getting rich.
This is invaluable advice – and one that most people won’t tell you. Most people will tell you that the path to success lies in the form of a college degree. While it’s true that those with college degrees earn more money than those that don’t, it doesn’t mean that a college degree will make you rich.
A college degree (or any degree for that matter) is valuable but it only goes so far. What’s far more valuable – as Cuban states – is knowledge. A bachelor’s degree simply means you had four years worth of endurance to write enough papers and jumped through enough hoops. It doesn’t mean you know squat about the subject your degree is in or will become a success.
Think about it. How many people with bachelor’s degrees actually work in the field that they graduated in? How many more are underemployed despite having a college degree?
Let’s face it. A bachelor’s degree is quickly becoming equivalent of what a high school diploma was two generations ago – a security blanket that will open doors to a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle. It also makes it more likely you’ll be stuck in a boring 8-5 job for the rest of your life (or until you either save enough money or your 401k grows to the point where you don’t have to live off it).
The devaluation of college degrees is result of our public school system pushing to get more and more people into college – whether or not college is the right career path for them. As a result bachelor’s degrees have less valuable. And it shows. From 2000-2007 the median income for those with bachelor’s degree fell 3%. (So did the median income for people with Master’s degrees and Ph.Ds. Only those with professional degrees – doctors and lawyers – saw an increase.)
It may not be a bad life, but a college degree in and of itself isn’t going to make you rich.
The nature of our country’s business infrastructure is that it is destined to be boom and bust. Booms are when the smart people sell. Busts are when rich people started on their path to wealth.
The current economic climate is creating opportunities for those that are ready. Instead of looking for those opportunities, a lot of people are going back to school. While this choice might make sense for some people, it doesn’t make sense for everyone. Instead a couple of online or certification courses might make more sense and using that as leverage to get hired in an industry that will help you learn what you really need to know to be successful.
Depending on what you want to do with your life, college may or may not be a good first step. But college isn’t going to make you or anyone else rich. Instead working hard and dealing honestly with others is the first step. Then learn everything you can about the industry and field you want to succeed at and figure out how to get your foot in the door is the second. The third, as Cuban writes, is having the patience to wait for the right opportunity.
Then you’ll be rich.
3 comments October 13th, 2008
Dodd and Countrywide by The Wall Street Journal Editoral Page
The Senator Should Take the Witness Stand
How To Get Rich by Mark Cuban (Blog Maverick)
It doesn’t suck to be rich. It just takes a lot of work to get there.
Nobody’s dummy by Camille Paglia (Salon.com)
Liberals underestimate Sarah Palin’s vitality and — yes — smarts at their own peril. Plus: Obama’s presidential air, Biden’s condescending mugging, feminism’s lost sisters.
1 comment October 11th, 2008
It’s not what we say (or write), but how we say (or write) them that makes a difference.
Add comment October 9th, 2008
My latest post on the OpenToHope site is up. I answer the following question.
Ann from Michigan writes: My husband of 23 years and my dad died within a week of each other. It was awful. We had a large circle of close friends who were great to me, but when I met another man, they were not happy and were always looking for faults with him and trying to tell me not to be with him. They don’t understand that I am just trying to move forward with life. I will always love my husband, but I know I must move on. I can’t go back to the way it was before March 2006. Some people have even broken off their friendship with me. Why can’t they understand and support me?
You can read my answer here.
1 comment October 7th, 2008
My dad has some unexpected surgery last week, so I took the two boys on a quick two day trip to Casper, Wyoming over the weekend to see him. (He’s recovering quite nicely, for those who are curious.)
It was interesting returning to a town I haven’t lived in for over a decade and haven’t visited for over five years. For the most part, it appears the town has changed for the better. There’s a lot of growth on the east side and there’s plenty of jobs thanks to the energy boom Wyoming is experiencing. (More on that in a minute.)
The first thing I noticed driving in was a Popeyes. Popeyes! I would have fallen over if I wasn’t already sitting down. Marathon Girl and I first had Popeyes back in Houston and loved it. When we find ourselves out of state, we always hope we see a Popeyes so we can eat there.
Of course my first thought was: How on earth did Wyoming get a Popeyes before Utah?
Then I thought: I get to take the boys to Popeyes! Marathon Girl’s going to be jealous!
Then I noticed the giant For Sale sign in front of the building. My hopes were crushed. There wasn’t going to be any Popeyes for me or the boys. How can the people of Casper not support a Popeyes? Don’t they know there’s not a chicken place in the entire state that’s better than this?
We arrived at the hospital a short time later. After taking to my dad for a bit, he asked if Casper had changed much. I mentioned the Popeyes I had seen on the drive in and said something about the people of Wyoming not being ready for such tasty food.
“It was getting plenty of business,” my dad said. “The reason it closed was because they couldn’t find enough people to staff it.”
I asked my dad what he meant and he explained that a lot of people were now working for the oil companies and making a lot of money doing it. As a result there was a shortage of workers in Casper. And despite paying about $10 an hour, the local fast food establishments can’t find enough people to work there.
Admittedly, I was a little skeptical. An abundance of jobs wasn’t something the Casper I lived in for two years had. Any job that could be found didn’t pay much higher than minimum wage.
An hour later, I took the boys out for dinner so my dad could rest. As I drove around town, it did seem that just about every fast food place I passed had a sign in the window or words on their marquee saying they were hiring – always a sign of a strong economy IMHO. Still, I remained skeptical.
Then on the way out of town the next day, I stopped at McDonalds (instead of Popeyes) to feed the boys before the long drive home. Since it was a Sunday afternoon about two, I was surprised to find a long line at the McDonalds. Had I been traveling alone, I would have skipped McDonalds entirely and eaten elsewhere. But the kids love McDonalds and since I actually wanted them to eat something before driving home, I opted to stand in line.
The McDonalds was understaffed. A total of four employees ran store. And though they were working hard and fast, there simply wasn’t enough of them to get the orders out fast enough. As a result, I stood in line for nearly 30 minutes before ordering. (Boys, know I must really love you to do that.)
Behind me in line stood a husband and wife dressed in camouflage. They had spent the morning in the mountains hunting and come to town to eat and got a kick out of watching my boys trying to behave while we waited in line. We started talking and I started asking them about the job market. They confirmed my dad’s observations about the shortage of labor and a lot of people going to work in the oil fields. When I brought up Popeyes, they too said that it had been a popular place to eat but the owner couldn’t find people to work there. The guy mentioned that there was no reason to be unemployed in Casper and, if you were, it was your own damn fault.
After feeding the kids, we headed back on the seven hour drive home. I was a little more observant on the way home and noticed a plethora of new oil wells and exits raps that dotted the sagebrush along I-80 as well as a huge open pit coal mine East of Rock Springs and two giant windmill farms East of Evanston. Apparently the Wyoming economy is doing quite well despite the economic problems the rest of the country is experiencing.
Observations aside, the trip was a great bonding experience for the three guys in the family. Despite 14 total hours of driving, the boys really enjoyed having time alone with dad in the car talking, singing along with whatever CDs dad put in the stereo, and learning the difference between cows, antelope, deer, and horses.
Though the circumstances of our unplanned trip weren’t optimal, I’d be up for another long drive with the boys anytime.
5 comments October 2nd, 2008
The Last Tour by William Finnegan
A decorated marine’s war within. (The New Yorker)
Bailout Politics by Thomas Sowell.
Nothing could more painfully demonstrate what is wrong with Congress than the current financial crisis. (Real Clear Politics)
1 comment October 1st, 2008
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