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Monthly Archives: October 2008

halloween-2008Bo, her friend Alyssa and Carolyn at the Treanor’s Halloween Party, 2008.

This year the adults went in pajamas and the kids went free style: These kids had a Rocky Horror thing going. The pajamas turned out to be such a great idea: Carolyn and I were both suffering with sore throats, we stayed toasty warm all night and then went straight home to bed in our jammies.

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paperwhitesLast year I confirmed that after a week-long foot bath in fresh water, bulbs grown in a mix of 7:1 water:alcohol (80 proof, 40% by volume) grow to maturity, shorter but stronger, bloom almost as big and are equally long lasting. This overcomes the problem of growing them indoors, in water, where they grow tall and lanky, eventually falling over. That was true for Amaryllis. At the office this year I’m experimenting with paperwhite narcissus — which usually need bracing in their pots, typically shored up with bamboo scaffolding or bound in a broad bow.

Caption: A bowl of paperwhites grown at home: Short and sweet. Read More »

An interesting opportunity presented itself at yesterday’s outing to the Long Island Fall Festival at Hecksher Park, Huntington. The Central Presbyterian Church of Huntington Village handed out sealed half-pint bottles of Poland Spring water with a packet of religious material hung off the neck. A rather savvy inducement to engage, I thought, when other vendors were selling drinks at a profitable premium. Read More »

Henry M. Paulson Jr., the US Treasury Secretary was recently head of Goldman Sachs — one of the embattled investment banks in the thick of the current financial crisis. Arguably he is one of the actionable architects of the mess we’re in — yet today he leads the way out of it? I’m not so comfortable nor sure about that!

Not only did Paulson head one of the gluttonous investment banks, together with four other banks he took the lead in getting the Securities and Exchange Commission to change the net capital rule which limited how much debt they could take on, thereby deforming the normal boundaries of risk management.

After Sachs Paulson became Treasury Secretary in May of 2006 and with the passage of H.R. 1424 Paulson becomes manager of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP)/United States Emergency Economic Stabilization Fund. There’s an idiom that describes this absurd situation which escapes me now but I can opine how risky this is — and isn’t taking bad risks what got us here in the first place?

Is anybody in Congress asking Paulson to give some of his reputed $700 millions back and I wonder if anybody is keeping an eye on his portfolio in relation to what gets rescued and what he buys into and sells out of now?

I wish I felt more comfortable with letting Paulson take charge of spending our bail out money, but I don’t. I have this uneasy feeling that he and his old cronies are shoring up their own retirement funds with more of our money and that as soon as nobody is looking they’ll switch to hard assets and discounted properties — and leave the stock market to implode.

Suggested reading: Wikipedia’s bio on Henry Paulson | A The New York Times story covering Paulson’s involvement is changing SEC’s rules
Agency’s ’04 Rule Let Banks Pile Up New Debt by Stephen Labaton | The Business Inside’s Clusterstock writes that Documents Reveal How Paulson Forced Banks To Take TARP Cash

Is this about showing off a nerdish use of a recycled Pentium heat sink — as a business card holder — or an opportunity to post an iPhone photo taken with CamerBag’s Helga effect? CameraBag’s Helga vignette is an obvious reference to what used to be an unfortunate side effect of the cheap Chinese Holga toy camera with a plastic lens. The effect’s name Helga is probably an attempt at side stepping Holga’s trademark. Read about CameraBag or find it at the App Store here.

I don’t hold the inside track here, but what Apple needs in the laptop department are much smaller and lighter portables — so I’m hoping for a “brick” sized mini laptop. The Air went in the right direction with weight but in the wrong direction by foregoing some essential ports and components as well as limping along on a slower processor.

Amazon’s list of best selling laptops put’s Apple’s first entry 8th on the list today. Not good enough! Put back the optical drive and the ethernet port in a smaller form factor and please give it a zippy processor Apple!

October 8th: Here’s speculation on the new Mac laptops from The New York Times — Apple’s “brick” manufacturing process to yield a $800 MacBook? which seem to give me hope for a smaller more powerful and fully featured laptop.