Sunday, February 4, 2018

I can't follow the story

The Hope Hicks story. The Nunes memo. I am confused. I can't follow the story. Apparently our president is as innocent as the new fallen snow. This whole Russian business was started by Hillary Clinton and the real story is her e-mails.
Either that are we are at the half-way mark of an interesting but short lived period in American history. We'll be nostalgic for these days the way we reminisce about the twist and hula hoops.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Phillip's head screwdriver

It's funny. The Phillip's head screwdriver keeps popping up in my life. I got a new tv. I quickly found out that the tv stands (yes there were two) had to be assembled using those four Phillip's head screws in the plastic bag. Later in the same week my Hoover floor cleaner wasn't putting any waste water in the refuse receptacle. Eventually I noticed the filter looked dirty. To get at the filter I needed to unscrew the thingamajig  attached with Philip's head screws.

I remember working in the basement with my father and he showed my a plyer and a Phillip's head screwdriver. It was a thrill to be allowed into the dark world of men and men's tools. Mother didn't know what a Phillip's head screwdriver was and neither did the girls up the street. Just like boys didn't know the dark arts of cooking and why you need self-rising flour for some desserts.

Today we are being told that it's time that men stop making more money than women. Yet when a woman needs to assemble a monitor to put on a presentation those damn Phililps' head screws show their faces. She has to find a man now. One who knows the dark arts of using Phillip's head screwdrivers and the difference between an awl and a  monkey wrench.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Cold weather and kids

The other day I was driving to work and I passed a few schools on the way. I saw half mile lines of parents dropping off their kids. I saw cars parked with parents waiting for the school bus to pick up their kids.

Why in my day kids walked to school or to the bus. Mom gave them another sweater and off the kids went.

In cold weather did my mother ever drive me to school? No
Did my mother ever drive me to the school bus? No
I can't imagine dear old Dad doing such a thing.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It's a snow day



Last night I had the disheartening news that we would have a delayed opening. These are always crappy situations. You still have to get up, have to shovel, and your reward is coming to work and finding out the parking lot has not been cleared. Last night I went to bed with my pajamas on backwards. I didn't set an alarm since I figured, surely I'd wake up on time.

This morning the phone rang at 920, waking me up. It was a retired employee telling me that I could go to work two hours late. Then I went to my email and lo and behold there was an update. Offices were closed all day. It was a snow day.
Hooray! A snow day!

It must be fun being retired and calling friends with news about delayed openings. It is even more fun hearing about snow in New Jersey from your hotel television set in Hawaii.

Editor's note: When I was in junior high school I wrote an article for Junior High Lights about listening to the radio to hear whether we had school on a snow day. I'll have to look for it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I don't have an Echo



Just looking at the things someone of my social status should own. Last year I got a smart phone. I now have the other accoutrements of having a smart phone. I can now text, catch up on Facebook and my email. I've also learned that the cutesy things like taking and sending pictures cost extra money. Next time I'll be the wiser when looking for a cell phone provider.

I was so happy to think that I was finally a middle class baby boomer. Except for cruise reservations, I had the basic things I was supposed to have. Until I started reading Slate and found out I was behind again. This year, I was supposed to buy (or get as a present), the Echo. I think the idea is that you'll have this sweet female voiced personal assistant who will buy you things and play your favorite songs. Apparently you can plug lights in (or for legacy appliances buy a plug that is part of the network).

I don't know. This one I'm going to really have to think about.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Financial predictions 2018



Here's a summary I found from the The Economic Forecast Agency. For the sake of accuracy, here is a  link to last years prediction if you want to double-check any of my facts and previous predictions. Here 's an oldie but goodie from 2010. Below are the numbers from last years blog.

In red are the numbers at the close of today, the last business day of 2016. In black are my predictions from last year and  this time next year.

Entity      12/31/16     My prediction a year ago                                                   
                                                Prediction a year from now.
S and P     2239             2100                                      2400
Dow         19763          18500                                    20100
NAS          5383            5000                                      5500
MSFT        63.55           60                                         60
Oil             53.89           60                                          60
Unemployed  4.4%       5%                                         4.3%

 I also said, "So it looks like I under priced the market. This year I think things will get better too, at least for those of us who dabble in such things."
[Snippet from 2017 predictions blog] I also under priced the market in 2017.

Here are the numbers at the end of 2017 with my predictions from a year ago and for this time in 2018.

Entity      12/30/17     My prediction a year ago     Prediction a year from now.
S and P     2680              2400                                    2450
Dow         24719            20100                                   23000 
NAS          6738                5500                                  6800
MSFT        85.48 *           60                                      70
Oil             64.5                 60                                     80
Unemployed  4.1%       4.3%                                      4.5%
*after hours price 12/30/17 afternoon

 Yes I'm afraid that although the tax cuts will help the market a bit, the instability in the Mideast will result in higher energy prices, plus we can anticipate higher interest rates. Europe, our own "mad king" and an unpredictable scene overall will  make for some downwinds. Yes for the first time in the history of this blog I am predicting a retreat for the market. A big downsing in October and a moderate recovery in full swing by the end. Still, however, a negative year.

On other points, the Eagles will look better in the playoff games than predicted, but lose the last one and ultimately not go to the Superbowl.

Editor's note: I can't believe I used the term "downwinds" in an article. Need to cut down on my intake of CNBC.  I also notice that this blog demonstrates an excellent example of burying the lead. My that cheeseboard looks tempting. Happy New Years to my many blogger readers. We almost have a table!





Monday, December 25, 2017

Cruel Christmas gifts

By now we've looked at our stash from the holidays and started to evaluate them. Every year people get the greatest pleasure of the holiday, giving cruel Christmas gifts. These are the gifts that are the most fun to give and the least fun to receive.

We all know inactive people who's main exercise is walking from the car to the bar. For them, an exercise bicycle is the solution. They'll use it a few times, then it will perch, collecting dust in the basement making our friends feel guilty every time they walk by it to do the laundry.

For the cousin who always complains she never learned to paint, a beginner's paint set. She'll try it once or twice, give up, and feel annoyed with herself every time she passes it in the sewing room. Ditto for clarinets for the would be musicians. Clarinets are incredibly difficult to play for the beginner.

Items that are difficult to set up are also a great cruel Christmas gift. Electronic toys that have to be configured with blue tooth to a computer are a good example. Many a Christmas dinner has been ruined because all the men refused to leave the game room until the Fitbit or Xbox was configured, leaving cold turkey and stuffing on the dining room table.

Many of us are watching our cholesterol these days. For us, a box from Hickory Farms will do the trick. My brother loved giving these to my mother after she went on a low salt diet. Have an uncle who is cutting down on his drinking? A bottle of Jack Daniels will do the trick.

By the time most of you see this blog Christmas will be past and the travails of the new year, another Trumpian year, will be upon us.  Don't trip over those shoes that don't fit, return them!