I’m on my way out the door. Lord willing, I’ll return on Saturday. If I get the chance and feel better (nasty cold), I’ll post something to my Palm while I’m gone and then upload it, when I get back.
See you on the 31st.
It is now T minus 42 hours and counting for mission launch. The weather is looking iffy so launch time may be moved up to allow more time to reach the remote firebase. The mission is scheduled to start at 0800 on January 29.
I have wondered for a long time, “Why are many schools, especially elementary, junior and high schools, government schools?” I understand that people may not be able to afford private schools, but does that mean the government must run the schools.
Some people cannot afford food. Does the government grow food on government farms and then give it to the poor? No. The give people food stamps and let them buy food where they want.
Why can’t we do the same thing with education? Give people Education Stamps and let me buy education where they want. The government should just be the quality inspector here. As long as the schools can show they teach readin’, ritin’, and rithmetic everything should be cool.
My niece in Vermont just got a job with a company called Infineon Technologies AG – stock symbol IFX. Infineon was spun off from Siemens AG in April of 1999. They design, develop, manufacture and market semiconductors and complete systems solutions used in a variety of microelectronic applications. They have operations, investments and customers located mainly in Europe, Asia and North America. For the last six months, their stock has traded between $13 and $16 a share. Their stock’s Relative Strength rating is 65.
Perhaps now that she is on board, their prospects will improve.
Way to go Cris!
This is a wonderful take on the missions to Mars. I highly recommend you read it.
I shoveled four to six inches of light fluffy snow off both driveways this morning. The temperature was 14° but with no wind. That was in lieu of jogging. Does 40 minutes of snow shoveling equate to a one mile run. I don’t know, but for today, it will have to do. The shoveling was like shoveling flour.
Friday I placed stop loss orders on many stocks and nearly all of them kicked in. In one day, I wound up selling ARDI, CMTL, FARO, NVDA, and OIIM. In some cases, I captured a small profit and in others, I took a small loss. My Daily Graphs Online gives me the ability to look at the last few days trading on any stock in 1, 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60-minute intervals. I’m starting to use that graph to see if a stock is trending down and where to place my stop loss sell order.
Tonight I placed buy orders on SMTI at $11.05 and ABAX at $20.85. Of the two, ABAX looks ripe for picking and I would be unsurprised to see my buy on that stock trigger tomorrow.
If you’ve looked at my World Famous Breakfast drink, you’ll notice that one of the ingredients is pears. I am partial to Bartlett Pears. We buy them at the local supermarket and they are available year round.
When I purchase them, they are green and hard. However, after a few days on the counter they turn a pale yellow and are ready to eat. One of my pleasures is to lean down over the ripe pears and deeply inhale.
Ripe Bartlett Pears smell wonderful!
New Army reforms will attempt to change the emphasis from efficiency to effectiveness. The objective of all army efforts is to create combat ready units. If this means some "efficiency" is sacrificed, so be it. Readiness for combat is what the army is all about, not saving a few bucks or making the paperwork look better. This won't be easy. Congress and the media understand bureaucratic efficiency better than they can comprehend combat readiness. However, on the battlefield, bureaucratic efficiency can get you killed, and defeated.
One reform the army doesn't want is an increase in personnel. Congress wants to increase the size of the army. Each additional trooper will cost the army $120,000 a year (pay, benefits, training, and housing). It will take two years to get new troops trained and organized into new units. And by then the army expects the Iraq operation to be demanding far fewer troops. However, the army will be stuck with the extra personnel and, knowing the way Congress works, no extra money to pay for them.
David Kay has resigned at his job of looking for WMD in Iraq. He has stated that he no longer expects to find any WMD in Iraq. He did, however, make the following observation in an interview with The Telegraph.
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Kay, who last week resigned as head of the Iraq Survey Group, said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before last year's war to overthrow Saddam.
"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."
So it appears that Dr. Kay’s failure at finding WMD in Iraq does not prove they never existed.
His interim report also indicated many programs in place that could be geared up to produce WMD in a very short time. We might call what Saddam had as “Just-in-time-WMD.”
In a previous rant, I took the education business to task for their barriers to customers as well as the industry’s lack of innovation to reduce cost and improve productivity. This post is an extension of that screed.
As I see it, part of education’s problems is that it is labor intensive. They need to improve productivity so that can educate more students with the same facilities as well has reducing costs so that education is accessible to more students.
I think of the court case of the University of Michigan in which it was argued whether or not the University could choose who would attend based on their race. In the end, the court said the school could use racial preferences. I presume they meant they could use them as long as these preferences went to racial minorities. However, that’s an argument for a different post.
In my world, every one would be admitted. The schools production capacity would be such that everyone that had the money could get educated. The racial argument ONLY occurred because the school’s production capacity is insufficient to meet demand.
The strange thing is I don’t see any effort on the part of the University to increase their production capacity. That is counter to any other industry I’ve seen. If any of my clients had to turn away customers, they would increase their production until that no longer happened. But then, my clients, unlike many Universities, are private citizens and not governmental agencies.
Back to how schools can increase their productivity. As a geek of sorts, I believe the computer is the tool to better education for all. First back to basics.
What is education?
I would define education as putting facts and techniques into people’s minds. What technique is best at doing that? My answer is Flash Cards – and computers can do flash cards very easily.
Pulling from my personal experience in training many computer users, I have developed what I call the “hole” technique of learning. If I give you, information that you have no current use for, it’s like pouring water on a tabletop. It just flows away. However, if you have a problem and I give you information on how to solve that problem, you will likely remember it.
Flash Cards play into that situation. By presenting the student with a problem, “What’s the answer to this?” the student is more likely to remember the answer. In addition, the computer can ask that same question over and over and over again, until the student remembers it. Repetition is the mother of learning.
Writing course software to this technique is pretty labor intensive. However, once it is done, then thousands, even millions of students can use and learn from the material. And you don’t have to commute to a school to learn it. You can do it entirely over the internet. Do you see how much this could lower the cost of education? It could be dramatic.
I feel creative minds can use this technique to teach 95% of all course material. The other 5% may require class interaction.
While I don’t’ claim to have all the answers to improving the education industries economics, I feel it is critical for us as a nation to fix this problem. If the US is going to be competitive in this world, we need to teach our people effectively and in a cost effective manner.
There is too much at stake to fail.
From a Blogger serving in Iraq.
Yesterday I took a convoy out on an all-day mission to Al Asad and back. We had some trouble getting lined up for the return trip last night, and were running late. So we didn’t arrive at the outskirts of Ramadi until after sunset.
As you approach the city, you pass a lot of little roadside stands, where locals can buy cigarettes, sodas, produce, juices, or meats.
As we passed one of the roadside stands, the shopkeeper—just a regular Iraqi, a regular guy--stepped out in front of his wares and stood ramrod straight, at a textbook position of attention. He then and rendered a perfect, soldierly, salute.
I watched him from the back of the truck. He stood perfectly still, and held his salute until the last vehicle passed, then dropped it and turned back into his store. We continued on with our mission—delivering supplies, mail, and parts to Hurricane point. He continued on with his—supporting his family and getting on with life without Saddam Hussein.
Josh Marshall says, “We’re all alone.”
I know we’re not.
From Iraq Now Blog written by US Army Officer Jason Van Steenwyk
I have a three-day away mission coming up this Wednesday. Launch is scheduled for 1700 hours on January 28. Re-entry is scheduled for sometime January 31. This is to my wonderful client in North Jersey. Travel time each way is estimated at 2 ½ hours.
Most Americans fail to realize the high quality of U.S. troops these days. The American military, especially the army, has been raising personnel standards for over two decades. Troops are encouraged to use initiative and imagination to solve the military and non-military problems they encounter.
The entire chain of command, from top generals to new recruits is now of the same high capabilities. Hundreds of little innovations in dealing with occupied or hostile Iraqis were developed. For example, every American army unit has done some rebuilding for the local Iraqis, while collecting information on those people to find out who's naughty and who's nice.
There was some culture shock to US troops, but not as much as you might think. American troops have been training in Kuwait, and dealing with Kuwaitis for over a decade. When the Iraqi preference for outrageous rumors (that American troops wore air conditioned flak jackets and sunglasses that gave them X-ray vision, Etc.) got in the way of collecting information, many troops just agreed with the Iraqis and implied that there were even more fantastic devices being used, so resistance was useless.
To those Iraqis who admit that the crazy stories were just typical Iraqi mind games, the U.S. troops acknowledged that they would play the game to get the information needed to keep themselves alive.
I was chatting with a client the other day about her daughter applying for college. The kid had to write some kind of essay and jump through some other hoops.
Then it just struck me. The education business is a racket. Can you think of any other business that puts prospective customers through such a hassle?
Today, I happened to overhear Wesley Clark say that tuition costs had increased 28% over the last five years. Since it came out of the mouth of Wesley Clark, there is good reason to doubt its authenticity. But, lets for the moment accept his statement as fact.
Do you see the economic conclusion that can be drawn from my two data points? The first point was the rigmarole colleges put prospective students through. The second point is Clark’s assertion that tuition costs have gone up 28%.
The conclusion is, there are too few colleges and/or too many students going to college. The economic law of supply and demand is immutable.
If a business continues to raise it prices, make it difficult for customers to purchase its products that means that demand is exceeding supply. Prices will only increase if more customers are clamoring for goods than can be delivered. The first rule of business is, if you have to beat customers away with a stick, you’re not charging enough.
If the supply of colleges suddenly increased by 50%, you can bet, prices would decrease. But that’s unlikely to happen for a couple of reasons.
One is the barrier of entry into the market. It is not easy to start up a college or university. There are many fixed costs in getting a school up and running. In addition, the colleges have an accreditation board that can be used to restrict new suppliers into the market. They can help keep out the competition.
The second is what I would call predatory marketing. Some schools that could expand their operations don’t. By restricting their production capabilities, they ensure they will not dilute their market share.
My own frustration with education is how it is done. We put an instructor in front of a bunch of students and teach them. This method of instruction has been used for probably more than 6,000 years. Is it not possible, that technology could present us with a more cost effective method of instruction? Can you imagine if car production had never been improved, how much would a car cost today?
So what can be done? Personally, I think the internet has the potential to overhaul the existing educational structure. But I feel that old industries are the most resistant to new technologies.
Time will tell.
The IRS 2001 tax year report shows the following breakdown of how much people make and how much they contribute their “fair share” in taxes.
People who make more than $292,000 are 1% of all taxpayers and pay 34% of all income taxes.
People who make more than $128,000 are 5% of all taxpayers and pay 53% of all income taxes.
People who make more than $93,000 are 10% of all taxpayers and pay 65% of all income taxes.
People who make more than $56,000 are 25% of all taxpayers and pay 83% of all income taxes.
People who make more than $29,000 are 50% of all taxpayers and pay 96% of all income taxes.
I would ask which group is NOT paying their fair share in taxes?
Frodo Baggins: I can't do this Sam.
Sam Gamgee: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
It was a very cold jog this morning. The temperature was 13° with a 10 to 15 mph wind blowing. Today was my short run and I don’t think I sweated one bit.
I would like to know where all global warming that Algore keeping griping about is.
My portfolio was down about 2% yesterday. Today I started out on a magnificent high note and then watch my profits evaporate throughout the day. I wound up breaking even for the day – which appears to be a little better than the overall market.
I had one bright spot. My NFLX was up 18% today on five time’s normal volume.
But it’s been a tough week. Maybe Friday will save me.
I getting tired of the people “jumping on” Howard Dean. I would not vote for Dean in a New York minute, but the media is looking like a bunch of sharks. They smell blood and ALL of them seem to be coming in for the kill.
I think I know what happened to him in that little speech. He had suffered a defeat. Therefore, he got up in front of his troops to rally them and encourage them. It was an impromptu speech and not premeditated. As he went along, he built the tempo. He wanted to end it on a high note, but his brain ran out of words.
I’ve had that happen to me. The only thing his brain could come up with to finish the performance was a rebel yell.
I wish I didn’t have to hear about homosexuality. I feel like every time I watch the news these days, the subject comes up and I just find it repugnant. I have decided that this is just the way I am genetically wired. If those who practice that weird same-sex stuff can claim they were born that way, then I can make the same claim about my revulsion to it.
Similarly, I do not advocate any restriction in their civil rights. Although what they do in private, and I don’t really want to know what that is, would likely repulse me, I keep these words from the Bible in my mind.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
The weather being this cold brings to mind this story about ice fishing.
An enthusiastic ice fisherman bundles up and takes all his equipment onto the ice. He drills a hole in the ice and flips in his line. Then he hears a voice, “There are no fish under the ice.”
The fisherman is a bit shaken up. So much so that he gets up, walks to another spot on the ice. He drills a hole in the ice and flips in his line. Again, he hears a voice, “There are no fish under the ice.”
Now the fisherman is really getting shaken up. Again he gets up, walks to another spot on the ice. He drills a hole in the ice and flips in his line. Again, he hears a voice, “There are no fish under the ice.”
The fisherman looks around and says, “God? Is that you?”
“No,” comes back the reply. “This is the manager of the rink.”
Do you remember the big sale I lost last November? It now turns out, that sale may not be totally dead. I spoke today with my contact at the client. The other vendor was scheduled to start implementation February 1. Now it appears that implementation will start no sooner than April 1.
The client is NOT pleased. It also now turns out the other vendor may not be able to provide all the features in the software he said he could.
This is no guarantee the dead will be resurrected, but do stay tuned.
I continue to be puzzled how the human brain works. Yesterday I worked with a client to assure that various print jobs would automatically select different input trays on the printer. I tested my setup and it seemed to work well.
This morning, as I was preparing to go jogging, it suddenly occurred to me that I had missed setting up the manual input tray. This thought surprised me, as I was not thinking about the client or their printers at all this morning. The thought seemed to come in out the blue.
I have had this happen before. The analogy I might make is it seems as if the subconscious is always working on things and when it comes across something that seems important, it suddenly presents this to the conscious part.
I guess my only question is why my subconscious is not figuring out a way to become wealthy. Although the thought this morning was certainly useful, an idea that could make me a million dollars would be a lot more useful.
Come on brain get with the program.
Perhaps I should ask my niece in California. She’s doing some kind of doctoral thesis on the brain. Maybe see could offer some advice.
I watched the President’s SOTUS last night. My criticisms are the speech was too long with too many points. When you put that many talking points into a speech, it means each one gets less attention. I’d rather the speech be broken into parts and each delivered over a period of six weeks.
The man’s speaking skills are improving. He was unafraid to confront Democrats when they verbally tried to go a different way. That shows resolve on his part and makes me think he will do well with whomever he winds up debating during the campaign this year.
Although I applaud his defense of marriage, I’m unconvinced the constitution is the right way to go.
Perhaps I’ll download a copy of his speech and then parse it out point-by-point.
I would give the President and his speech a B+.
I was wondering the other day. Many self-proclaimed homosexuals propose that homosexuality is genetic and that’s just the way they were born. However, if one accepts the naturalist view and man is an evolved beast not a God created one, then why wouldn’t the homosexual gene have been bred out of the species long ago. Homosexuals would not reproduce so that gene should be quickly extinguished.
If, however, homosexuality is a learned behavior, then one would expect there to be homosexuality. Parents get no parental training, they just wing as they go. It is conceivable that some unusual relationship between a child and a parent may predispose that child to preferring members of his own gender as opposed to those of the opposite one.
I have a very nice day in the market today. My portfolio was up over 2%.
My buy order on DIGE triggered today, but I’m not particularly pleased. Although the volume was OK, the stock sank back down below my buy point. I’ll let it ride for a bit longer and see what happens.
My ACO was up sharply and regained ALMOST as much as it lost on Friday.
ENWV was up again today after a picture perfect beakout on Friday.
CACS is down over 5% from when I bought it. It also closed at it low for the day. I may have to consider pulling this weed from my garden. I’m sorry, but I ONLY keep my winners.
I may cancel my buy order on SMTI. It was down over 6% today and seems too far away from a breakout. Better to commit funds to a stock more likely to move up.
If I can free up some cash, here’s some buys I’m looking at: WFII at $18.60, AMZN (Yes, Amazon.com) at $56.95 and MTEX at $13.80.
I saw Dean’s supposed “melt down” on Fox News tonight. I didn’t think he seem particularly crazy. I’m certainly no Dean fan; it struck me as a speech I could have made.
I stumbled across this and thought I’d post it. Are you considering writing a book? Here’s an account of someone who published their own book and made it big.
Karol has a distant cousin in Maryland that I think toys with the idea of writing a book. I know he sometimes reads this Blog.
So, Reb, this one’s for you.
Here a website you might want to investigate. Started by a mother and daughter team, they call it called Capitalistic Chicks. Here’s part of their beliefs:
"We believe that Capitalism is the only moral and practical economic system. Only Capitalism offers individuals the opportunity to create, produce and exchange freely with others. It is the only system that recognizes individualism and protects the freedom of independent minds. Capitalism bans the use of force in economic relationships and leaves people free to make transactions based solely on their own judgments and decisions."
I have wondered how to defend marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. I have always felt that marriage between a man and man or a woman and a woman is, well, weird. Proponents of “gay marriage” have asked why they can’t get married.
Well, they can. You can marry your dog too. The only caveat is, the government does not sanction or recognize this marriage. However, if two men truly want to get married, they can still hold the ceremony just as if, they were of the opposite sex instead of the same sex.
The reason we recognize heterosexual marriage and not same-sex marriage is to promote heterosexuality. Several studies have shown that homosexual behavior is dangerous to one’s health. One study found, on average, homosexual behavior shortened one’s life span by 20 years.
That’s more dangerous than smoking. I will contend that if one of society’s goals is increasing life span, then homosexuality should be strongly discouraged. Just as we strongly discourage smoking.
I subscribe to William O'Neil’s Daily Graphs Online. Every day I download this into a Microsoft Access database I have developed. I have created a stock scan that looks for stocks that could be basing. In the last few weeks, this scan has found many potential stock buys. Many of these stocks are tracing out cup-and-handle formations. I would pat myself on the back for my cleverness, but my arm is still recovering from the self-congratulations I gave myself on Monday.
What went down in Iraq was blitzkrieg on methamphetamines. The combat commanders were ready for it, but the warriors and logisticians had never sorted out what all this high-speed combat would do to the supply system. While the supplies did get through, there were local shortages. Things got lose and, when it was all over, more than a billion dollars worth of stuff was missing.
My ACO was down as much 17% today on monstrous volume. Although it recovered slightly before the close, it still finished down over 16%. There was no news, but they will announce their 4th quarter earnings on January 20. It’s a little suspicious for a stock roll off the table four days before they announce their earnings. I wonder if someone knows something.
My portfolio was up over 1% in spite of ACO’s action. Two of my buys kicked in today: ENWV and AMKR. Of the two, ENWV was the best. It was a beautiful breakout from a cup-and-handle formation on three and a half times normal volume. Even so, many breakouts fail.
While Kerry and Edwards surge in Iowa, the smart money still backs Dean. That said, Dean contracts have slipped from just over $0.70 to just over $0.51. Here are the current prices at the Iowa Electronic Market.
|Rest of Field||$0.083|
"Experience proves that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is engaged, no matter whether right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or history. Better for him, individually, to advocate "war, pestilence, and famine," than to act as obstructionist to a war already begun. The history of the defeated rebel will be honorable hereafter, compared with that of the Northern man who aided him by conspiring against his government while protected by it. The most favorable posthumous history the stay-at-home traitor can hope for is--oblivion."
- Ulysses S. Grant
It was 7° at 0515, when I went jogging this morning. I wore all the jogging clothes I had. I did not sweat.
Various government reports find that...
● 46 percent of poor households own their homes
● 76 percent have air conditioning
● The typical poor American has more living space than the average non-poor individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities in Europe
● Nearly 75 percent own one car, and 30 percent own two or more cars
● 97 percent have at least one color television
● 62 percent have cable or satellite reception
● 25 percent have cell phones.
I listened to Sean Hannity on the way home tonight. He was debating some anti-war protestors. They were saying the war was wrong and he was defending the war. It made for some very good radio. Sean is a pretty quick-witted. However, he missed a big one.
He asked the people if they believed in God. Several said no. When they said that, it blew their argument completely out of the water. An atheist claim to right or wrong is logically indefensible. Only theists can make a claim for right and wrong, good and evil.
For people complaining about how long the war is taking consider this…
It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation.
It took less time to find Saddam's sons in Iraq than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.
It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Teddy Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sunk at Chappaquiddick.
It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida.
The next time you hear a politician use the words "billion" casually, think about whether you want that politician spending your tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases:
A billion seconds ago, it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago, Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago, our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate Washington spends it.
Perhaps what the Democrats really need is for the Republicans to completely blow them out of the water come November 2nd. If the Democrats lose by a very slim margin as they did in 2000, the Angry Left (AL) will continue to dominate the party. However, if the AL gets their man (Dean) nominated and he winds up doing worse than McGovern, the AL will be completely discredited. Now the Democratic Party can rebuild and become healthy again.
They may have long painful years wandering in the wilderness, the Republicans certainly had theirs. But when you start over, you get new blood and new ideas and then you can build a strong party.
I conclude the long-term healthiest thing for the Democrats is to be completely blown out of the water this fall. Then they can make their comeback.
I am a very partisan Republican and would love to see the Democratic Party annihilated. However, my better judgment realizes that one of the things that have made this country great is the two party system. Two strong parties battling in the marketplace of ideas is healthy for a representative democracy like ours. If the Republicans rule, they’ll just become sterile and anti-competitive.
The new McCain-Feingold bill stupidly reduces how much money parties can raise. The result is to weaken the political parties – the strength of our government. Moreover, this year the Democrats are being hammered by it. McCain-Feingold is helping George Bush and making it harder for the Democrats.
Political parties cannot raise and spend all the money they want. While multi-billionaire George Soros, as long as he acts independently, can spend as much as he wants to defeat Bush. How much will he spend? He as said he will spend as much as it takes to make sure Bush is not re-elected – and Soros is not even an American.
Does that sound like a good idea to you?
This is a scary story. Fox News broke a story last night about 30 warheads entering Iraq from Iran. It seems that at least some of these warheads may contain some sort of WMD. Look at the story here. It is scary stuff.
This is starting to get a little annoying. When I run my nightly stock scans, I’m finding many more potential stock buys than I have money. Since selling LINK I was able to place two more buys; ENWV at $9.85 and SCON at $7.40. I’m also sitting with four other pending orders.
I get the feeling this market is just too good. The correction will come.
I just sold my LINK at market for $7.13. It was down over 6% and didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Why hang on to a stock that doesn’t perform, when I have so many others to choose from.
I often refer to this process of selling my losers as weeding my garden. I pull the weeds to make room for the good plants to grow and bear fruit.
The Democrats are eating their young. It’s beginning to look like the nominee will stagger into the convention only to have to take on Bush. Rush has some interesting comments about the Democrats and what they are facing. He says that if the Democrats do poorly in 2004, they could be out of power for a generation. It looks like the left wing wacko’s have taken over the party.
Here are the current contract prices at the Iowa Electronic Markets.
|Rest of Field||$0.060|
My portfolio suffered about a 1% decline today. I had enough cash to place one more buy order – BRKT at $16.80. It can be disconcerting to see all that red ink on ones holdings. However, if psychologically you can’t take some loses, then you shouldn’t be in the market. I remember my earlier days, when I reviewed my trading success. I found that 65% of my trades lost money. However, the 35% that MADE money, more that made up for the losses.
Since that time, I’ve refined my strategy. I always wager a percent of my total equity on each trade. As my equity grows, my wagers get bigger. If I suffer a series of reversals, then my bets get smaller.
I checked my total holdings and found that I’m about 78% invested. The rest of my money is committed to various trades that have yet to trigger. I always place trades that kick in, when the stock moves ABOVE my buy point.
I placed three more buy order with the money I raised today. I placed orders to buy AMKR at $20.65, CACS at 16.10 and DIGE at 44.40. Then I ran out of cash. That left me with five more orders I would like to have placed. Like I said before, I wish they would let me use margin in my IRA account.
I have downsized my position sizing to allow me to make more trades. Previously I was putting about 4.7% of my total equity into each trade. Now I’m putting only 3.3% of my total equity into each trade. As long as I have more trades to make than I have money, this would seem to be a good strategy.
I sell any stock that drops 7% to 8% below my buy point. When I was putting 4.7% of my equity into a trade, it meant I was risking 0.35% of my equity. With my new numbers, I’m down to risking 0.25% of my total stash on each trade.
The buy order on CMTL triggered today. The stock was up 13.23% on over three time’s normal volume. That’s the kind of breakout I like to see. Unfortunately, when a stock moves that quickly, I rarely get a good fill. My buy order was at $33.85. I was filled at $34.64. Still with a move like this, it is better to buy a smidgeon high than to not buy at all.
My portfolio was up about 4% today! I've been patting myself on the back so much my arm needs physical therapy.
If I could do this just on a weekly basis, I'd quit my job and trade full time. Unfortunately, I've been in the valley of the shadow of death the last couple of years and I know that's not going to happen.
I think I'll keep my day job.
I just sold my ESMC. It was down almost 8%, which is my bailout point. Why hang on to a stock that isn't performing, when there are so many others I could buy. I also sold my one mutual fund holding.
I seem to be finding more stocks to buy than I have money. In that case, it would make sense to hold only the most profitable ones. I need to capitalize on this market, as these good times won’t last forever.
This month, the U.S. Army is installing new software in Iraq that allows troops to search over two dozen databases containing information on hostile Iraqis. Many units have developed databases to assist in finding Iraqis who are attacking, or planning to attack, coalition forces.
The new "Horizontal Fusion" software can search through all the databases for relevant information, and show duplicate and conflicting information as well. The individual databases have been a big help in figuring out who the enemy is, where he is and what he's likely to do next.
Many of the databases were built using software designed for American police departments. Each army division, and many brigades and other large units, went off and created their own databases, using over a dozen different software products.
The Horizontal Fusion software will make all the databases more useful, without requiring everyone to rebuild their systems using common software. The Horizontal Fusion system is expected to produce a lot more information on who the bad guys are and where they can be found. There should also be fewer arrests of Iraqis who are not involved in the attacks.
It’s frustrating when you run out of money. Here I was placing buy orders in Fidelity when I get the rude message, “The value of your order exceeds your funds available.”
That’s one of the limitations of trading in your IRA account. Your friend and mine, Uncle Sam, doesn’t let you use margin.
I just checked and I’m about 84% invested right now. I was able to place three out of seven orders I had planned on, when I ran out of cash. I was able to place buy orders on CCRD at $21.15, CMTL at $33.85, and MATR at $22.80.
I guess I should start downsizing my orders so I can trade more stocks. In theory, if I have a good trading system, the more stocks I trade, the more it spreads my risk.
Here’s how my current portfolio is doing.
You don’t see PLCE, which I currently own. That’s because I put a sell order at market on it tonight. It’s down 6.46% from my buy and it’s also below its 50DMA. I also place stop loss orders on ESMC and LINK. Perhaps I should have just sold them outright to raise some cash for other buys.
This church has what they call a “Contemporary” service. I’m not enthusiastic with so-called praise and worship music. We went through three songs – I think. The songs are pretty simple and we sing each one about three times.
The pastor made an interesting comment. He said that Christians helping victims of an earthquake that happened in Turkey a few years ago so impressed the local Muslims that they now are asking for Bibles to learn more about this Christianity.
To my knowledge, the Christian faith is unique in its command to help those less fortunate than us. The Muslims certainly don’t have that in their Koran. Unlike the Christian, the Muslim never has any guarantee of making it into heaven. You can be good your whole life and Allah might still decide to send you to Hell. As they say, it’s all in the will of Allah.
The Hindus are actually precluded from helping people. In the Hindu faith, they believe that if you were bad in this life, you come back and suffer in the next life as a way of making penance. If someone is suffering, to a Hindu it means the are doing penance for wrongs in a previous life. If you help that person, you prevent them from finishing out their suffering and thus prevent them from advancing in the next life.
In the service this morning, someone read this passage from Romans 10:14
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
R C Sproul uses this passage in his piece on predestination. Then he makes the point that only 10% of people calling themselves evangelical actually tithe to finance sending out the word of God to the whole world.
I think all church services have a small section where they ask members to meet and greet with each other. It is my recommendation that they do this at the END of the service. When it is done sometime DURING the service, it really disrupts the service and then the pastor has to gavel the congregation back to order. If it were done at the end, then it wouldn’t matter.
I have observed that his church as a lot shorter prayers than the church we used to attend. They would go on and on and on and on. I didn’t dare shut my eyes or I’d go to sleep.
I observe this pastor is a pretty good speaker. He uses notes, but not overly so. Since he uses notes, that gives me some assurance that he has prepared his sermon ahead of time and is not just winging it. He does have a small mannerism I’ve noticed. He adjusts his materials on the lectern from time to time. Since his adjustments are very tiny, I conclude it is just a mannerism and he not really accomplishing anything by it.
The pastor had a logical inconsistency in his sermon. He said we are saved by grace alone and not by works. Then he went on to say, that Jesus has done 99.9% of the work in saving people and we do 0.1% of the work.
Whoa. If we do even 0.1% of the work, doesn’t that make his theology a works theology and not one of grace?
Yet, when I read Romans 10:9 it says…
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Wouldn’t that make Paul’s theology a works based one?
It was a cold jog this morning. It was about 8º when I left the house and about 14º when I got home. The challenge in the weather is how much to wear. If I am comfortable for the first mile, then I really sweat profusely after that. If I dress so I’m comfortable after the first mile and a half, it is a very chilly first mile.
This morning I was about maxed out in my clothes. I figure the extra clothes increased the workout a little. The first mile was rather chilly, but after two miles, I didn’t feel too badly.
I ran a fat four miles this morning. That’s the longest run I’ve had in a very long time. I am increasing my mileage at the rate of one mile every two week. Last week I ran 11 miles. This week and next, my goal is 12 miles. I think I’ll stop my progression at 15 miles.
I checked my pulse rate last night as I was tripping off to dream world, and it was 56 beats per minutes. My goal is to get down to a resting heart rate of 49 beats per minute or lower. Many years ago, my resting heart rate was just under 40. I don’t think I’ll see that again.
I have returned.
I left the client site about 1700 today. It was COLD up there. However, when I returned home, I discovered its COLD here too. Karol said it was 5º this morning. I don’t know how cold it was for me this morning. I only know that Dasher-1 was slow to fire. It cranked two or three slow revolutions before the mains ignited. I glided into home base just after 1900 this evening.
The night in the hotel room was not the best. Those heaters have no temperature marks so you have to guess where to set them. I woke about 0200 this morning and it felt like 90º in the room. I shut down the heater. I figured I had enough heat in the room to last until my wake up call at 0600.
At 0300, I woke up freezing and turned the heater back on. From then on, I woke up about every hour to adjust the temperature control up or down. I think I had it just about right, then the phone range for my wake up call.
Tonight I’m looking forward to a bed softer than a tabletop and a room temperature conducive to sleeping.
I don't have much to blog about tonight. Just work related stuff and that’s likely pretty boring to talk about. I got 10 ½ hours of billable time in today. My Palm makes it a lot easier to keep track of my time. For example, travel time between the hotel and the client’s site is 16 to 18 minutes. When we had lunch, it was 1:04 and we spent 1:10 at dinner. The best part of the Palm time keeping system is that I can print a report of just how I spent my time today. I’m thinking about printing reports for all clients at the end of each month and then sending the report to them.
The time keeping program is not perfect, but it’s not bad either. They use an Access database. Perhaps I can use Crystal Reports to create my own reports out of it. That could be very cool!
The trip up was not bad. Traffic wasn't too bad and I made good time. I even had a brief flirt with 3,300 rpm power setting.
Since I was traveling between 1700 and 2000, I listened to Sean Hannity on the radio.
Today has been a little frustrating. I went to a client site to do an install on a new station. It was a half hour drive to get there. I arrived in the morning and asked for their CD. They didn't have it. I had to drive half an hour back to the office to get the CD and then half an hour back again.
I inserted the CD and it came up asking me to install eEnterprise, not Dynamics. Didn't I grab the wrong CD at my office.? I should have read the label very closely. The graphics on the two CD are identical. I just sat there for about 60 seconds. I will admit to an urge to become violent for a brief moment. But logic won out. I thought for a moment and then realized that I would be going virtually right past this client on my way to north Jersey.
I left early tonight and stopped by on the way to do the install. The install only took a few minutes.
I was just feeling rather stressed as this is typically a very busy time of the year. Clients need a little extra support for their year-end procedures. I'm not giving people the kind of service I like to give and tend to feel like I'm screwing up.
At times like this, my brain goes into what I describe as “Combat Mode.” I feel like an NCO in a combat situation. I loose my veneer of human social graces. I tend to talk in abbreviated sentences and bark orders. I get a little frustrated by other people that seem to be in a light-hearted mood. My brain can’t figure out why people would be in such a mood when the enemy is threatening to destroy us. It is not the time for chitchat. It is the time to aim your weapon and return fire.
Well, now that I’m at the hotel and there is nothing more I can do. I'm now getting ready to sleep on a hotel room bed that I swear the floor is softer.
Tomorrow will likely be a busy but profitable day.
Dasher-1 is ready for launch. The count down has been a little erratic, but everything now is go for launch. This mission’s goal will be to acquire as many billable hours as the client can stand. Since it will take place on both Friday and Saturday that will give this week a good bump in billable hours.
The countdown is almost complete. The main engines have come on. I can hear the roar and the whole vehicle is shaking. They are near to full power. The gyros have been set and the clock in running. It’s time to release this bird and let it fly.
I’ll post some during the mission, but won’t be able to upload the post until my return.
See you on Saturday.
Most of my buy orders triggered yesterday, leaving only XICO waiting to buy. In going through my nightly scans, I found one more and place an order to buy ESMC at $7.35 a share.
I’ve had too many good results of late. I expect to see a lot of red ink very soon.
The Time cover that didn’t appear
It isn’t often that someone turns down an offer to be Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” especially when that someone is as important as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
But that’s what Rumsfeld did when he learned that Time was planning to honor him in its year-end issue last month.
Rumsfeld told guests at a holiday party that in this year of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military deserved the honor more than he did, which is why Army Sgts. Marquette Whiteside and Ronald Buxton and Spc. Billie Grimes turned up on Time’s Dec. 29 cover.
It was a cold jog this morning. The temperature was 18 degrees with about a 15 mph wind. I run around a very large city block and that is one mile. I did two laps this morning. When I was running directly into the wind, it was brutal. I didn’t sweat much this morning.
The following is an email message sent to all First Marine Air Wing and Marine Wing, Support Squadron 171, from Lt. Col. Scot S. Seitz, Commanding Officer, on Monday, December 1, 2003.
Marines and Sailors,
As we approach the end of the year, I think it is important to share a few thoughts about what you've accomplished directly, in some cases, and indirectly in many others. I am speaking about what the Bush Administration and what each of you has contributed by wearing the uniform. Because the fact that you wear the uniform contributes 100% to the capability of the nation to send a few onto the field to execute national policy. As you read about these achievements you are a part of, I would call your attention to two things:
1. This is good news that hasn't been fit to print or report on TV.
2. It is much easier to point out the errors a man makes when he makes the tough decisions, rarely is the positive as aggressively pursued.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty. Over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens. Nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning. The Iraqi judiciary is fully independent. On Monday, October 6, power generation hit 4,518 megawatts; exceeding the prewar average.
All 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools. By October 1, Coalition forces had rehab-ed over1,500 schools-500 more than scheduled. Teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries. All 240 hospitals and more than 1,200 clinics are open. Doctor's salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam. Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons. The Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccinations to Iraq's children.
A Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women. We have restored over three-quarters of prewar telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production. There are 4,900 full-service telephone connections. We expect 50,000 connections by years-end.
The wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns. 95 percent of all prewar bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily. Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses. The central bank is fully independent. Iraq has one of the world's most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.
Iraq has a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years. Satellite TV dishes are legal. Foreign journalists aren't on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for "minders" and other government spies.
There is no Ministry of Information.
There are more than 170 newspapers. You can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner. Foreign journalists (and everyone else) are free to come and go.
A nation that had not one single element-legislative, judicial or executive-of a representative government, now does. In Baghdad alone, residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad's first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.
Today in Iraq, chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country. 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq's history, run the day-to-day business of government.
The Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July, the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world. Shia religious festivals that were all but banned, aren't.
For the first time in 35 years, in Karbala, thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam. The Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. Uday and Qusay are dead-and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.
Children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.
Political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or are forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam. Millions of longsuffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror. Saudis will hold municipal elections. Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents. Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian, a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.
Saddam is gone. Iraq is free. President Bush has not faltered or failed. Yet, little or none of this information has been published by the Press Corps that prides itself on bringing you all the news that's important.
Iraq under U.S. led control has come further in six months than Germany did in seven years or Japan did in nine years following WWII. Military deaths from fanatic Nazi's and Japanese numbered in the thousands and continued for over three years after WWII victory was declared. It took the US over four months to clear away the twin tower debris, let alone attempt to build something else in its place.
Taking everything into consideration, even the unfortunate loss of our brothers and sisters in this conflict, do you think anyone else in the world could have accomplished as much as the United States and the Bush administration in so short a period of time?
These are things worth writing about. Get the word out. Write to someone you think may be able to influence our Congress or the press to tell the story.
Above all, be proud that you are a part of this historical precedent.
God bless you all and have a great Holiday.
Lt. Col. Scot S. Seitz
All but my XXIA trade triggered today. I’m worried about ARDI, LINK, MSTR, and OIIM. All triggered through my buy point, but at a volume well below their 50DMA. I’ll watch them closely.
That said, I found three more stocks to gamble on. Here are the buy orders I entered tonight.
I’ve figured out how to upload and download Excel Spreadsheets and Word documents to and from my Palm. I use an Excel Spreadsheet to keep track of my mileage. Now instead of writing this in a logbook and then keying it into Excel each month, I can just enter it into the Palm and the download the spreadsheet to my PC at the end of the month.
The scary thing is, one could be very dependent on this little gizmo. It’s only about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It could be an easy thing to loose. Should that happen, I would be a VERY unhappy camper.
I’ve decided the 1GB memory upgrade on my PC was GOOD thing. After using it for several days, it is definitely faster. Programs load in about half to one third of the time they did before and they seem to run faster. The real test will come when I edit an audio file. THAT should be interesting.
After that little surgery, I’m tempted to see what replacing the Celeron processor with a P4 would do. That would up the processor L2 cache from 128K to 512K memory. More importantly, the bus speed on the processor would go from 400M Hz to 800M Hz AND my memory speed would go from 266 MHz to 400 MHz. Tempting, very tempting.
I have a two-day away mission starting about 1700 January 8. I expect to return to home base late in the day on January 10. It is a return trip to one of my favorite clients. Although the hours are a bit long, he is nice to work with.
It looks like the wheels on Howard Dean’s wagon are starting to wobble. For a guy that claims to be tough, when his fellow Democrats started to whoop on him, he went crying to the DNC say, “Please make them stop saying nasty things about me.”
I’m disappointed. I had always thought that Dean would eventually self-destruct, but I wanted it to happed in October. It looks like it might happen a lot sooner.
It seems people are happy these days. According to Gallup, people are happier today than any time in his polling career.
It also shows that Republicans are happier than Democrats. That one’s very easy to understand. Since Clinton’s first midterm election, the Democrats have been losing ground. Now there are preparing for a presidential campaign with the potentially the weakest field in recorded history.
If I was a Democrat, I wouldn’t be happy either. In fact, if I was a Democrat, I’d be down right depressed.
Four of my buy orders triggered today. Since I already owned two other stocks, here’s how I stand as of tonight.
I'm selling my MSTR since I consider the volume number too low for a good breakout. I am, however, placing another buy back on MSTR. Here are my buy orders for tomorrow morning - plus the buy order still outstanding on NFLX.
I placed the following buy orders tonight. These trades will trigger if the stock price rises ABOVE my buy point. Wish me luck!
Some of the coverage of the Mars Lander frustrates me a little. I’m a space exploration junky and I love all the high tech hardware zooming around our solar system. However, the emphasis on finding life on Mars strikes me as dreaming. I’m a strong skeptic of life outside of Earth.
Pictures of the red planet show, what look like dry riverbeds. This would imply that at some point in Mars’ history, some sort of liquid flowed through these river valleys. The most popular hypothesis is that is liquid was water.
Since, life as we know it, requires water to exist, everyone is suddenly excited with the thought that maybe life also once existed on Mars.
I would remind those wishful thinkers, that although water is necessary for life, it is not sufficient. There are thousands of other conditions required for life. Let me make an analogy.
Let’s pretend there is lottery in which winner gets $1 billion. I announce the first number “25.” You look at your ticket and see a 25 on it. Are you excited?
That depends. Suppose I tell you that you also have to match another 999 numbers to win the $1 billion? I don’t think you’d be that excited any more.
Well, that’s what the life seekers on Mars are up against. First, they don’t even know if water was there. However, even if it was, they need to match at least another 1,000 factors, just to make life possible.
I don’t think I’d put a lot of money on this bet.
Karol and I went to one of the two churches we attend. We still have not made up our minds, which church to join.
I rather like this one, even though it is very small. They usually have between 60 and 90 people in attendance.
They always start their service singing the hymn, ''This is the day the Lord hath made.'' I think that is rather nice. It starts the service off with giving thanks. That’s not a bad way to start a service.
I’d like to see them make a processional out of it. I’d like to see the choir and the pastor march to the front of the church as everyone sings. This hymn has sort of a march cadence to it and I think it would work well – even if they had to sing it twice.
The pastor runs a tight ship from a scheduling standpoint. We start and end on time. I like that. I’m a bit of a stickler for good scheduling.
Today he read a passage of scripture without comment. I thought that was rather non sequitur. However, later, when he gave his sermon, he related back to the passage. He talked about how we should not waste our time. We need to concentrate on the truly important stuff. He challenged congregation to put God at the top of their priority list. He had a good anecdote about enjoying the present.
They had communion today, which is not a bad way to start the year. I rather like the way they do it. It’s more formal, but I think it gives it more meaning.
In spite of the time to do the communion, the pastor was still done about the same time. As I say, he’s a good scheduler.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: "I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you - the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you - every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."
So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."
After reading this, the next time I see a rainbow, it will have a new meaning to me. By the way, I saw one on the way to work last Friday.
Karol and I went to the Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders today. They are in Egg Harbor Township and only about 40 minutes away. They have an awesome model railroad set up. I went through over 40 shots and could easily have shot over 100 on my digital camera. I’m not going to put them all on the web site. I’m already up to 30MB of space. That said, I have put up four. Take a look.
With over a hundred thousand Iraqis armed and performing security duties, the crime rate has rapidly come down. Most American troops are now concentrating on operations against terrorist and pro-Saddam Iraqis who are still fighting.
A recently installed data collection system for crimes showed that Baghdad's murder rate in October was lower than New York City's (which has the lowest rate of any major city in the United States). Baghdad had six murders per 100,000 people, while New York had seven.
However, this does not count the deaths from American military operations, or terrorist acts. That would increase the Baghdad "murder rate" by at least fifty percent.
But it would still be below many large American cities. The murder rate in Los Angeles is 17, Philadelphia is 19, Chicago is 22 and Washington, D.C. is 46
American journalists hear many Baghdad residents complain bitterly about "high crime rates." This is because many of these victims are Sunni Arabs who grew rich working for Saddam. These people still occupy nice homes in fancy neighborhoods. The criminals go where the money is, obtaining an additional satisfaction in sticking it to someone who worked for Saddam.
My Palm Pilot could prove to be one of the best trades I’ve made in some time. I estimate that, since it makes it easier for me to track my time, I could easily bill $100 more a week. This adds up to slightly over $5,000 a year. That’s a pretty good return on $300 investment.
Silly people – and there were many, not only in enemy countries – might discount the force of the United States. Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united. They would fool around at a distance. They would never come to grips. They would never stand blood-letting. Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyze their war effort. They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe. Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people. But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before – that the United States is like "a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate."
We have a 20 gallon aquarium in our office. In that tank we have two fish. A blue Betta and an Algae Eater. I decided to take their pictures today, but it proved more challenging than I thought. The fish don't always sit still, I have to contend with reflections off the glass and the aquarium seems to confuse the auto focus in my digital camera. Anyway, here are the two fish.
This is the Algae eater. We call him (or her?) Flash. As he is almost constantly zipping around the tank. He is about two inches long. We bought him, when the tank got overrun with Algae. We really bought two, him and a smaller one, which we called "Little Guy." Unfortunately Little Guy died a few days after we put him in the tank. But Flash survived and in the next few weeks cleaned every speck of Algae from the tank. Now we have to buy food for him or we're afraid he might starve. He is the hardest working fish I have ever seen. He has grown about half an inch since we first put him in the tank.
Here is Big Blue. We acquired him and then someone gave us the tank. Where Flash occasionally stops and rests on the bottom, Blue, when he rests, hides in the plastic plants and makes it very difficult to get a picture of him. This one is poor, but it was the best I could do. He is about three inches long, not including his tail. This fish is the pickiest eater I have ever seen. We have tried several fish foods on him, but he will ONLY eat Betta Bites. If you feed him something else, he takes it in, and then spits it back out. I always thought fish would eat almost anything.
My computer has always been slow. In a discussion with an associate, he recommended I put in more memory. I already had 256MB. I decided to really bite the bullet, so I order two sticks of RAM, each one 512MB. I now have over 1GB of RAM.
After performing brain surgery on my PC, I plugged everything back in, pushed the power button, and waited. It booted! This is in spite of having my fingers in its innards.
As for the speed increase, I’ll monitor it over a few days to see if it has really made a difference. However, my initial reaction is, I’d say it has helped, but I still wouldn’t call it snappy.
My current processor is a 2.4GHz Celeron. In checking how well my memory is performing, I see it’s only running at 266MHz. The memory sticks are capable of 400MHz – but that appears to happen only if I drop a full-fledged P4 into the machine.
We got a good whack at some of the month-end/year-end closing. I closed the Inventory module. Tomorrow I’ll close Accounts Recoverable and sales taxes. In a couple of days, I’ll close Accounts Payable and then Payroll. We’ll print W-2’s and we should be good for 2004.
In going through our General Ledger for 2003, I had a brief scare. I found some good-sized numbers that looked like I was going to have to restate our earning sharply downward. However, I went through the two inventory accounts, tracked down each entry, and found the error and a few others. I even wound up restating our earnings upward – always a good thing.
I don’t know how anyone runs a small business without knowledge of bookkeeping. Knowing bookkeeping in running a business is like knowing algebra to do engineering.
My hat is off to that 15th century Franciscan monk Luca Pacioli, for creating double entry bookkeeping. It now runs the whole world.
Here is it January 1, 2004 and Karol and I in the office closing the year. This seems to have become tradition. Karol is working for Manpower tomorrow, so she won’t be able to close the year, so we’re doing it today.
Fiscally Dodecahedron’s year wasn’t terrible. As one client likes to say, “We’re still here.” That said, we’re a long ways from where we really want to be. I guess I need to embrace the saying, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
One mindset I’ve read is, one has about 2,000 hours to work in a year. That’s about 120,000 minutes. If you want to earn $100,000 a year, they you need to think that each minute of your time as worth $0.83. Or just round it off to $1.00 a minute.
Hours are hard to keep track of, but we can all think about how we steal a few minutes here or there and we don’t consider the cost.