Saturday, December 31, 2011

Predictions for 2012

Here are my predictions for 2012.
Dow $13000
S and P $1400
NASDAQ $3000
Unemployment 7.5%
President Obama will be embarrassed by the OWS demonstrations at the convention, but he will be  re-elected.
Congress The House will remain in Republican hands, the Senate in Democratic hands.
China There will be a Chinese spring with widespread protests and rioting.
Middle East will stabilize but no major changes except the Muslim Brotherhood will take power in Egypt.
Europe will offer travel bargains for Americans.

My predictions are probably overly optimistic. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Homemade Christmas CD's

One of the ways people economise this time of year is to make homemade Christmas "mix" CD's. They take their favorite Christmas songs and make a CD using Windows Media Player, Roxio, or one of many other software packages. They are easy to do, and with a cute cover, can make a nice gift for friends and relatives. My friend Clarence and myself have been making them for years. We, however, go back to the days when the medium was the cassette tape and the source material was records (those black things with holes in them) and tape recordings of TV or radio shows.

Back in the seventies we started this hobby, and now  annoy friends with these things  almost every year. Over time we migrated to CD's and now use computers instead of  tape recorders. Clarence's stuff is more sophisticated than mine in terms of music used. He likes to blend sound effects and one or two music tracks together to create montages of sound. Mine are simpler, but have the advantage that I tell heart warming little stories on mine, between the songs.  This year I got more sophisticated, adding echo to my essays, mixing in background music and tweaking them a bit with Roxio Creator 10. I noticed it sounded like I was in a windstorm at first, then I found that if I taped a Kleenex over the microphone I could eliminate that nasty wind noise. I redid a couple but left the rest. It's hard for amateurs to keep the lilt in one's voice the second or third reading.

People who have children with musical inclinations may have gotten singing versions of these things. Hearing your son play the electric guitar while yodeling is a special treat for parents.

The recipients of these treasures is not always appreciative, however. Many a homemade CD in a car's player gets half played then removed and thrown into the gutter while the car is moving.   Art is not always appreciated by provincial audiences.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Miracle on 34th Street

Just saw Miracle on 34th Street. Great movie. Interesting to see that it was a real Thanksgiving Day Parade that was filmed at the beginning. I was just thinking that this film and its real life equivalent could never take place today. I checked them off as I was watching.
Doris Walker had never met Fred Gailey at the beginning of the film. Yet he, an unattached male,  was allowed to entertain her young daughter in his apartment. They finally met but then after one meeting he was permitted to take young Susan all over New York. Kris Kringle, who was mentally unstable (he did hit the psychologist with his cane) is allowed to be alone with Susan with no other adults around. 

To protect Susan from two potential predators, these things could never happen today. Plus smoking would never have been permitted in a court room. And what was Susan's wish? To move to the suburbs. Altough a common desire, it could be perceived as being an anti New York sentiment. Plus an environmentally unsound one, since presumably the couple would still be working in the city, probably getting there with Fred Gailey's car. 

And today, a house would never be left open. There would be real estate agent's lock box barring  the entrance.  My how times have changed. 

Happy Kringle, 
Mr. Mustache. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The European Crisis

The European crisis reminds us of another instance of Aesop's tale of the ant and the grasshopper. The ants work hard and save. They generally have only one wife or two in their lives and their children go to college. But they are dull. The want to have fun in life so they hang out with grasshoppers. The grasshoppers are fun. They drink til 2am and then call in sick the next day. They drive nice cars and go from wife to wife. The ants create an association with the grasshoppers. They will be one economic unit. When ants have a labor shortage, grasshoppers will come to their countries to work. Ants can buy the grasshoppers' wine and olives and listen to their musicians. The arrangement works out fine. 

Then one day the grasshoppers have a debt crisis. They bought things on credit and now have no way of paying off their loans. "Oh please, you ants have so much money! Help out your dear friends." The ants say "why don't you just lower the price of your currency like you did in the past?"  The grasshoppers can't because now they share currency called euros. And that is the dilemma they are in. 

Editor's note: A recent article in Slate disputes the theory that Germans work harder than Greeks. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I am a luddite

I am a Luddite. I hate to admit it but today I went to a meeting and found out I am no longer the hip with-it librarian I thought I was. Today I found out that the modern day librarians communicate with patrons by sending text and images to I-Phones, androids, and I-Pads. I don't even own or use one of these things. I don't even own an HD TV. Yes I play Cd's but I have found out that those will soon be relegated to the scrap heap. I even play 45 rpm records. It happens to all of it as we get older I guess. And to think I used to make fun of those people who missed the card catalog.