Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Musings on Economics

Despite the lack of eye surgery or a broken back, I find myself up at 2:00 a.m. with a glass of Rebel Yell thinking about Things and Stuff.

And this evenings Things and Stuff is savings. More particularly, savings for retirement. And what the heck it all means.

As a traditional right wing/Republican/libertarian/etc., the idea that the people should save for their retirement appeals to me. And as a corollary to that, when the Government, contrary to all good sense, decides to set its self up as our retirement guarantor, it ought to "save" as well. Which is one of the things about Social Security that I find particularly annoying. As anyone who knows anything knows, nothing is saved; the trust fund is nothing more than an accounting gimmick; and at best we have promises from us that we'll tax our children to support us in our old age.

But let's pretend that the Social Security Trust Fund wasn't a colossal fraud. What difference would it make? Suppose, for instance, that instead of "investing" in a fund that will have expended itself long before any of us "young" folks would ever receive benefits, we were allowed to invest in the stock market. How could it make any difference thirty or forty years down the line? There would still be the same amount of natural resources; the same amount of stuff to go around; the same amount of everything. The only difference would be who, on paper, owns what. And what difference does it make whether we shuffle those papers now or later?

Ultimately, we have a limited supply of resources--and that includes renewable resources--and all we can do with them is play with them on paper. There's only so much we can produce, no matter how efficient we get.

Unless, of course, we "invest" elsewhere. But that would require that we actually "invest" elsewhere, which is sort of hard to do when our economy is running off of foreign investment (or at least that portion of the economy that isn't running off the currently bursting housing bubble).

But, of course, that's just if we look at it from a macroeconomic point of view. We can still screw our kids macroeconomically, so long as we take personal responsibility for out own retirement. But to the extent government is involved, it's gonna be pretty damn messy.

If that didn't make any sense, I apologize. Blame it on the Rebel Yell. But just keep in mind that it makes sense to me, and I'm pretty darned smart. Trust me, there's something there. Perhaps I just need to flesh it out a bit more.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Eye Surgery Collection

The other night I was talking to someone who had a rare eye condition, and was looking at surgery. As it happened, that condition was keratoconus, and the surgery was a cornea transplant, which are things I have some experience with. So I said I'd do a post collecting my eye surgery posts, which is what this is, and which is what these are:

I guess it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. Looks like it's about time for another cornea transplant.

As sharp sticks in the eye go, that wasn't so bad. Not nearly as bad as what I remembered from the first time.

A word or two about "discomfort." It's uncomfortable.

It's 2:00 a.m..... Things are different when you don't have to go to work in the morning.

And now, a little blasphemy. And this is the judgment, that the light hath come to the world, and men did love the darkness rather than the light, for their eyes were photophobic.

More blasphemy. Still photophobic.

Nothing to see here. Move along now. No news is no news.

Now see here! And a good result is a really good thing.

Another visit to the eye doctor. And another surgery in the works.

A sharp stick in the other eye. We've got a date.

"I've never seen that happen before." What happened when it came time to do the other eye.

What I like best about being off work: Things are different when you don't have to go to work in the morning.


Friday, November 17, 2006

When I think back

On all the crap I learned in high school....

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

At least I learned enough to score well on some snotty Internet quiz.


Yup. That sounds about right.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The West
The Northeast
North Central
The South
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I knew it was gonna say that.

I looked over on Laurie's blog to see if she'd posted anything about the hootenanny at Courville's this evening. It looks like I beat her to the punch this time. But while I was there, I saw her "What Tarot Card are You?" post, which, for some reason, was also about hoodia.

I don't know why I even bothered.

I knew what it was going to say.

And, of course, I was right.

You are Death

Change, Transformation, Alteration.

People fear this card, but if you want to change your life, this is one of the best indicators for it. Whatever happens, life will be different. Yes, the Death card can signal a death in the right circumstances (a question about a very sick or old relative, for example), but unlike its dramatic presentation in the movies, the Death card is far more likely to signal transformation, passage, change. Scorpio, the sign of this card, has three forms: scorpion, serpent, eagle. The Death card indicates this transition from lower to higher to highest. This is a card of humility, and it may mean you have been brought low, but only so that you can then go higher than ever before. Death "humbles" all, but it also "exults." Always keep in mind that on this card of darkness there is featured a sunrise as well. You could be ready for a change.

I guess it's not so bad when you put it like that.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


It's a Hootenanny!

They called it a "Big Damn Acoustic Jam," but it was really a good old fashioned hootenanny. Hayes Carll, Jimmy Kaiser, David Lee Kaiser, Roger Marin, Mark Jungers, Ryan James, Josh Langston and Big John Mills all sharing a stage at Courville's. Of course, they weren't really sharing a stage because the stage wasn't big enough to hold them all, so they had to extend it a bit. As Yogi Berra might have said, if you didn't see this show, you really missed it.

Every one of these guys is more than capable of pulling off a whole show by himself, but tonight it was all eight of them, one after another, occasionally accompanying one another--especially the Kaiser brothers accompanying each other and Big John Mills playing along with pretty much everything. When Hayes Carll broke a string in the middle of his unique version of "I've Been Everywhere," Big John had him covered so well that they didn't miss a beat while Carll traded guitars with Roger Marin.

I like Hayes Carll better every time I see him play. I would wish him only the best in his career, but I'm sort of selfish, so I hope everyone else continues to ignore him. If he ever gets the recognition he deserves, I'm afraid he'll be too big for Beaumont, and certainly too big to play the small sort of places that I like to go to listen to live music.

The music was great, the food was good and the drinks were cheap. What more could you ask for on a Wednesday evening in Beaumont? Special thanks to Jimmy Kaiser, who was credited with putting it together, along with Big Rich Courville for bringing this sort of stuff to Beaumont (and although no one mentioned his name, I suspect Donnie Courville had a bit to do with it too) and RadioFreeTexas, who also had something to do with making all this happen.

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Edited to add: Read what Laurie Who Misses New Orleans had to say about it here.

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