Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Warren Buffett

In honor of Warren Buffett's 81st birthday, here are some of his best quotes:

"In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497."

"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price."

"Over the years, Charlie and I have observed many accounting-based frauds of staggering size. Few of the perpetrators have been punished; many have not even been censured. It has been far safer to steal large sums with pen than small sums with a gun."

"Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."

"I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will. "

"Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken."

"A girl in a convertible is worth five in the phonebook. "

"Beware of geeks bearing formulas."

"Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction."

"Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway."

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting

Today I listened to the most recent Freakonomics podcast titled: The Economist’s Guide to Parenting.  It was pretty interesting, and more importantly, revived a question I've had for a long time - why do people choose to have kids?  Children are a financial drain, having children takes away free time and privacy, studies have shown that parents are less happy than comparable people without children.  No matter what angle I look at, children are a detriment rather than a compliment.  Is it simply a biological imperative - that some people have an overwhelming urge to procreate?  Is there a disillusion that children will bring happiness?  Are people lonely and think kids will relieve the loneliness?  Is it just because you need someone to mow the lawn and do the dishes but can't afford a landscaper or maid?  I've read that some people have a psychological compulsion to have offspring - feeling that it gives them a sense of purpose in life, a legacy if you will, and as such the closest thing to immortality.  But that can't be the only reason.  And of course, there are the idiots like these two creeps who are so stupid that they think that the extra $65 a month that an extra child will bring on their welfare check makes the statutory rape of a 12 year old girl a good idea.  Idiocracy doesn't seem so far fetched after a story like that. 

Long story short, despite the fact that I can't think of a good reason to produce offspring, people do it every day and I know quite a few people who have children.  Even my parents thought it was a good idea at some point.  So I welcome all feedback on what might compel you to reproduce.  I'm sure the parents I know have good reasons, but I'm sure the childless have some even more entertaining reasons for or against as well.  As for me it remains something I can't logically reason out for myself. 

On a personal note, despite the fact that I've considered this dilemma before, I've never taken the logical step of asking my parents what their reasons were.  I always assumed it was because they needed someone to do housework.  They may have a different story though.  And I'm not making any judgments about my dad, but I've never seen him laugh harder at the Simpsons as when Grandpa said, "It was your mother's job to name you, and love you and such. I was mainly in it for the spanking."  I'm just saying ...

Finally, in an effort to prevent or at the very least postpone an Idiocracy scenario, I feel it is in the nation's and the taxpayers' best interest to offer free vasectomies and tubal ligations at the government's expense.  The majority of the nation's poverty, drug, and crime problems can be linked to irresponsible parents who don't want and are incapable of raising kids but have them anyway because they are too lazy and/or stupid to use birth control.  I think the one time expense will pay for itself many times over in a reduction in future long term crime prevention, litigation, and incarceration costs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


... That elusive 500th Starbucks downtown location that we've all been waiting for. There are still places where I have to cross the street to get coffee though so they still have some expanding to do.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fortune Favors The Bold

...or so conventional wisdom teaches us.  Equally true, albeit less frequently if ever mentioned, is that disaster also favors the bold.  Taking risks without understanding or recognizing the potential downside should not be misconstrued as courage when it is, in fact, ignorance.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't be bold, but rather that judicious analysis of the risks involved is wise. 

Friday, August 05, 2011


I was made aware that yesterday, allegedly, a man perched himself upon the ledge above the Bartell's across the street from my office and threatened to jump. Police arrived on the scene and the man got some attention, which I suppose is the point. Anyway, I can't help thinking, if you truly plan on jumping to your death, shouldn't you get atop a building taller than 25 feet or so? At that height all you'll do is break your legs. I'm told that the drama came to an end when a police officer offered him a cigarette, so I suppose he was just jonesing for a smoke all along.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Quote of the Day

 Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.  - Charles Darwin

I'm in the middle of a book that, the portion I was reading this morning, discusses confidence, and more specifically misplaced confidence.  The book mentioned this quote while noting that studies have shown that the least talented people are often the most confident.  So file this little gem away until the next time you come across someone who knows everything and will never admit to being wrong or unsure about anything.