Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Brave New World

I agree with most of what this column says about our economy, except that the Democrats are alone in wanting to prop up a failed economic model by throwing money at it. The Republicans also have pushed bailing out the banking industry, the auto industry, and "stimulus" checks for the rest of us.

I would like to add Ogden Nash's ode to bankers, the success of the modern banking industry may depend on finance majors memorizing it before leaving college.

Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else, Except Richer

This is a song to celebrate banks,
Because they are full of money and you go into them and all
you hear is clinks and clanks,
Or maybe a sound like the wind in the trees on the hills,
Which is the rustling of the thousand dollar bills.
Most bankers dwell in marble halls,
Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits
and discourage withdrawals,
And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe
betides the banker who fails to heed it,
Which is you must never lend any money to anybody unless
they don't need it.

I know you, you cautious conservative banks!
If people are worried about their rent it is your duty to deny
them the loan of one nickel, yes, even one copper engraving
of the martyred son of the late Nancy Hanks;
Yes, if they request fifty dollars to pay for a baby you must
look at them like Tarzan looking at an uppity ape in the jungle,
And tell them what do they think a bank is, anyhow, they had
better go get the money from their wife's aunt or ungle.
But suppose people come in and they have a million and they
want another million to pile on top of it,
Why, you brim with the milk of human kindness and you
urge them to accept every drop of it,
And you lend them the million so then they have two million
and this gives them the idea that they would be better off with four,
So they already have two million as security so you have no
hesitation in lending them two more,
And all the vice-presidents nod their heads in rhythm,
And the only question asked is do the borrowers want the
money sent or do they want to take it withm.
Because I think they deserve our appreciation and thanks,
the jackasses who go around saying that health and happi-
ness are everything and money isn't essential,
Because as soon as they have to borrow some unimportant
money to maintain their health and happiness they starve
to death so they can't go around any more sneering at good
old money, which is nothing short of providential.

Monday, December 15, 2008


This last week I went to the American Seed Trade Association meetings in Chicago and I thought it funny to see this "American Gothic" statue. I don't think it was there because of the meetings, but I certainly felt like a hick in the big city. I have been three times, but the last two times spent most of my time in the hotel because it was freezing colds with strong winds. This year the temperatures were mild, for Chicago, with no winds and so I spent quite a bit of time wandering downtown.

Unfortunately most of the meeting entertainment consists of drinking as much free and overpriced booze as possible. Since I don't drink, the last two years I went and made small talk while stirring my coke and looking at my watch. This year, I was determined to escape the conference and hotel functions and see the city.

We went to Billy Goat's - the source of the Cub's curse and inspiration for a classic SNL skit, and wined and dined customers at a swanky steak/seafood place.

I couldn't talk anyone into coming with me to Wicked though. So I went alone. It was a toss up between Wicked and the symphony orchestra, but Wicked was easier to find and something out of the ordinary. It has a huge sign and a crowd of people milling about buying tickets. I was told it had been running for a couple of years but still sold out most weekends. I got the cheapest tickets I could find - 2nd to the last row upper balcony for the Thursday night show. My seat wasn't too bad though. The theater is taller than it is long and so the balcony seats, although high above the stage weren't that far away and the view was unobstructed. After talking to the 80+ year old usher during intermission about growing up as a sharecropper in Alabama and the election of Obama, she let me move to first row balcony - the best seats in the house.

The show was good. (Way, way better than being the sober guy in a cocktail lounge) The music was very lyrical, but not as melodic as I was expecting. I hadn't heard any of it before and knew next to nothing about the plot. The white witch was hilarious as a self centered blond seeking attention. She stole the show. The costumes were amazing and the lighting and sets were as good as special effects in the movies. The wizard was disturbingly orwellian in his persecution of the talking animals as a means to maintaining his power.

I felt a little lonely when I stood in line to get my ticket and ate dinner alone, but it was well worth it. It made a great end to the trip. Next time I will have to talk someone into coming with me to some other show. Or I will go by myself. I didn't realize till after I had my ticket in hand that there were like 6 other theaters on that street. One had "The Christmas Carol", another had a Shakespeare play, some lesser known musicals, and two concerts. "Wicked" just had the biggest sign.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Alice cooper

We were driving to Lowes tonight and the world cafe music show was playing on the radio. They had some pretty hard rock songs (aka not "they might be giants") and the girls asked for to turn it off. As the car got quiet, Aleah began to sing, "Welcome to my nightmare." By Alice Cooper!

Turns out he was a guest on the muppet show dvd she had watched.

A little scary how much they absorb.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Time Machine

I have decided a time machine to see the future is not necessary. Apparently I will get there before I expected to anyway. This last year has flown by so fast.

When I was 19 I went to Nicaragua for my mission. I was there two years. When I held the papers from Church headquarters in my hands and opened them in the basement of Heritage Halls it seemed like it would last forever. When I stepped off the plane and into the heat and noise of Managua I felt like I had left time altogether.

Then I was on the plane, in my over-sized suit that I hadn't worn for two years, and in an instant I was married and graduating. We moved a few times, I went to a lot of powerpoint lectures and slept through them all while the little girl I carried on my shoulders clicked off the days until she is eight. No, now eight and a half. Do I hear 9. Crazy. Not to mention that we have had three other children. Insane.

Christmas is coming again and that means I will have had this blog for 4 years. I started it on a whim and to procrastinate working on homework. I planned to write about:

"Personal grumblings about work and school,

Questions about genetics and statistics,

Descriptions of my family life,

Itsy-Bitsy Emily Stories."

I didn't know if I would keep at this or if anyone would read it. I am grateful that I have written and that at least some people have read it.

Hello Future.