Blogs and "Memento"

This will be the last post on this blog. I started it exactly one year ago and this seems an appropriate time to end it. I’ve noticed that the posts at the back of the blog aren’t read and continuing to bury them even further is grating on my nerves.
The title is in reference to the movie “Memento”, a favorite (I enjoy difficult things): as I thought about how to close this blog, I realized why it was necessary, ultimately. Blogs are presented from the most recent to the most distant, as “Memento” was shot front to back. What makes that movie so difficult to understand is the context for the present scene occurs after its presentation making the watcher try to reconstruct the previous scene as he takes in the present one.
Just like a blog.
Those of you who would be interested in seeing the progression of thought in my writing should read it from the last post to the first as they are presented. My topics are typically non-perishable so reading the latest one to keep current isn’t really going to be a concern.
That last reason for ending this blog now is the implication that the older posts are not as good as the newer ones or they would be in the front of the blog. This is not true. Some of the older posts are some of the best, some less so, but all are worth reading or I would have pulled them down.
I will finish up the unattended business of this blog, most notably finishing up the Seven Sonnetts page, and then move on. I’ll post links at My Poetry Blog and Abstract Building, as well as Facebook, for directions to the new blog.
Thanks for reading!!!

All the Best
TVA is the new blog.

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"…the most useless thing there is."

I think I’ve come up with a new derivative to trade on Wall Street. I’ll call it the FOF index, the fear of fear. Similar to the volatility index, which is the fear index, the fear of fear would measure the size of the swings related to the rise in volatility giving an investor the scale, or magnitude, of a percent rise or fall in volatility and market activity. If nothing else, it would give an idea how much money is sloshing around in dark pools waiting for a trigger one way or another.
I’m obviously very bored.
So, the Dow drops 376 today. Sounds like a real rattlesnake round-up. Nice job, partners.
(The concept of a rattlesnake round-up is this: as opposed to dealing with them one at a time, as you would find them, you go out and hunt them down (just as dangerous) all at once so then you know where they all are. The theory ignores the fact that as you are gathering up the rattlesnakes, more rattlesnakes are entering the area. So, basically, you scare the crap out of yourself, accomplish nothing and still have the fear of stumbling across one.)
I’m assuming the rise in round-ups has led to the depletion of cowboys [inversely correlated (of course)] occurring naturally in the system and not as a result of a contrarian play in the Western market. Ironically, Cowboying up has led to Cowboying down.
Pity, I really liked those sequined shirts.
As fascinating as I’m sure that all was for you, it has nothing to do with the title, or little enough, just trying to be topical, you know, {{(which is topical in much the way that lotion is topical) [which makes this be a triple digression inside a digression (which is a new record)] and that is all my keyboard can support.}
It’s the technical limitations I find most frustrating.
Oh, the title, what you all came for, not really an interesting a story as all that: so, I’m talking to this woman about what I do (1) and I show her my blogs and all that and she’s all,”This is it? Poetry is the most useless thing there is…” She was so cute and animated, I didn’t care that she went on and on, never really settling on a particular point, just raling against the Arts in general.
So here’s the thing, Kitten. Everything is useless except for the importance we place on it. Poetry is just words on paper and so is money. Will I ever sell millions of my words on paper in exchange for other words on paper? Not really sure I care.
Money doesn’t make me think, doesn’t inspire me and doesn’t bring me faith in my fellow human beings the way that someone enjoying my writing does. If I have to actually eat either of them, they’ll taste the same and if I have to burn them to stay warm, they’ll burn the same. They’re printing money much faster than I can type so I like the odds of my paper being worth more in the future.
In the future, when we all have flying cars and a black president.
I don’t really keep up on current events, so I probably shouldn’t comment on them, but when I see the market struggling to find itself, I can’t help thinking about the third button of Erin Burnett’s blouse struggling to keep it’s secrets. Maybe Fin-Reg’s not going to so bad after all, that final thread that breaks exposing what we all know is there. Doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?
Really Erin, where’s your patriotism? (Obviously, I think it’s behind that third button.)
She looks good in a high collar, though… I’m conflicted about the whole thing really.
There are always going to be rattlesnakes, it comes with the territory.
(1)Additional superfluous digression
Usually when someone asks me what I do, I’ll respond with, “I do what I do. It’s not what I do when I do what I do, it’s how I do what I do when I do what I do that makes what I do what I do.” or a remarkably similar string of gibberish. Often, it’s the telling of the tale that resonates.

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The Mobius Strip

(Written on the occasion of my ex-wife’s 37th birthday. Happy Birthday, Honey.)

It’s surprising to me how simply I fall back into speech patterns. I hadn’t spent more than 15 minutes alone with my ex-wife since we separated more than 8 years ago. A couple of weeks ago she called me, out of the blue, saying her car was in the shop and she needed a ride home from work and would I mind? Of course not; we are remarkably civil to each other given what we put the other through. That past became the distant past very quickly after the break-up. We had our children to raise (they are the loves of our lives) and that became the bond that supplanted our personal bond.
So, I picked her up from work and about 10 minutes into the half hour ride, in the midst of our conversation, I started a sentence with,”Well, you know, Honey…” The rest of the sentence I don’t remember because as I said “…Honey…” I turned, looked at her, and saw the surprise on her face. I can’t tell you if I even finished the sentence. She quickly stepped in and continued the conversation as if we had both just seen a ghost that neither was willing to admit to the other they had seen.
I don’t think either one of us had realized, until that moment, that we had mutually reached a place where we could actually relax and enjoy the other person’s company. While we were together I called her “Honey” from very early on in our relationship until it started to fall apart, at which time it stopped, and I went back to calling her by her name. I so rarely call my loved ones by their names, I had a long-time girlfriend who accused me either not knowing her name or not liking it. I constantly referred to her as “Sweetheart” because the first time I used that term to her was at a dinner with her mother and her mother smiled when I said it. I remembered that but the girlfriend didn’t.
I always use the same diminutive for the same person: the girlfriend is “Sweetheart” and my ex is “Honey”. It’s not like I’m indiscriminate with the usage.
Honey and I lived together for 7 years before we married and it was great. We married (it was a disaster), had 2 daughters (which is wonderful) and it was over 5 years later. We exchanged claddaghs which we both still wear occasionally, turned appropriately for our status. Rings are such common objects that the true meaning of them is, most often, not considered. A divine circle that never ends, made most precious in metals and the love associated with the giving; beginning as a sacred moment in the lives of two people, rings become a part of the ritual of dressing to meet the world and, once put on, are forgotten as the hand learns to accept their presence.
What would have worked better for my ex and me would have been a Mobius strip to represent our marriage. For those not familiar with the term, a Mobius strip is a band with one 180 twist in the middle and then joined to become continuous. What is unique about the Mobius strip is that as it is pulled between your fingers, in two revolutions both the outside and the inside are seamlessly revealed with no interruption in the movement. First one side, then the other, continuously moving but not going anywhere. Joined, yet separate and distinctly different.
And that would still be appropriate.

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Looking at Lucky

Here’s what appeared to happen on Wall Street today:
A trader “miskeys” an order in billions of shares instead of millions of shares. The Exchange has a circuit breaker that kicks in under heavy trading slowing the ticks to 30 seconds instead of the .5 second normal tick. During that slowdown someone sells a small volume of stock (in the thousands) at, or near, $0, which, due to the fact that it is not processed in real time, has a disproportionate effect on the stock price, driving the value down (in the case of Proctor and Gamble, 25 percent) at which time other players (or perhaps the same player) come in to buy millions of shares of the stock at a greatly reduced price. Who are those players? No one knows at this moment but I’m willing to speculate that it’s the pigs at the front of the trough, the large trading houses that have the fastest access to the Exchange.
What a fortuitous chain of events for them, wouldn’t you say?
I also found it curious that, during that time, Jim Cramer appeared on CNBC saying ignore the man behind the curtain. I wonder how Goldman-Sachs did on those trades?

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Note: I would never hit a woman.

After seeing Lloyd Blankfein before the Senate Special Investigations Committee, I was reminded of that scene, that infamous scene, with Jack Nicholson slapping Faye Dunaway, trying to get the truth out of her and her, in her shame, resisting.
That scene, ala, “Chinatown”:
Lloyd Blankfein: “We were principles in those transactions.”
Carl Levin: “You put clients together in those deals.” (slap)
LB: “We were fiduciaries.”
CL: “You took the opposite side in those transactions.” (slap)
LB: “We were principles.”
CL: “Those clients relied on your reputation.” (slap)
LB: “We were fiduciaries.”
CL: “Isn’t it true, since the repeal of Glass-Steagle, that G-S can move between fiduciary responsibility and principle self-interest without the client knowing in which capacity you are acting?” (slap)
LB: (sobbing) “We were fiduciaries and principles, yes, yes, it’s true. I’ve deceived you but it was only from my shame…. and some very healthy bonuses.”
(scene closes)

I’ve watched “Chinatown” many times and I’ve never had a problem with that scene. I guess it’s because he’s slapping Faye Dunaway and, somehow, that’s okay, because she slept with her father (Jason Robards) which is morally repugnant, like derivative trading (which is apparently incestuous but at a different, yet equal, level.) Plus, it was just a movie, not real life.
“Forget about it, It’s Wall Street.”

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A "Clean Sheet"

I heard an interesting question posed on “Squawk on the Street” the other day:”If you didn’t have to sacrifice performance or power, would you buy an electric car?” The answer to the poll came back, overwhelmingly, in favor of the electric. That made me think, what is the hold up in making an equivalent electric car?
The most discussed area is in storage, that battery technology has not advanced to the point that it is comparable to petrochemicals in energy storage. Probably true, I’m not even sure what metric one could use to compare the two.
What I began to tumble around in my head was what I’ve noticed in the construction of electric motors, a possible misapplication of concept or misunderstanding between alternating and direct current flow.
Alternating current, house current, flows through the entirety of wire, conducted by the copper electrons. Direct current, most often used in automobiles, flows only atop the skin of each strand of wire. Most home wire is single strand of various gauges and is functional and appropriate to the purpose. Most automotive wire is multi-strand and is applied in gauge to support the expected current demand.
In extremely high current demand applications, “oxygen-free” wire is used. Oxygen-free wire is boiled at a higher temperature during the refining of the ore and, because it is free of most contaminants, can be extruded in very fine gauge and then wound into cables that can carry more current than a same gauge wire that has fewer strands. In DC applications, strand count equals current and current equals power.
Where this all breaks down is in the actual armatures, the electrical windings of motors. The ones I’ve seen are all wound with house-grade single strand wire that cannot flow as much current in a DC application as a similar gauge multi-strand wire. I don’t get it. Why aren’t they using oxygen-free multi-strand which will give more power and lessen the voltage drop across the length of the armature’s circuit path, making it more efficient?
While I’m asking questions, why isn’t the micro-circuitry used in chips applied to motor windings? The reason chips and the like were invented was that paths of similar complexity made from wires would have been as big as a house, and were. If current, in DC, flows on the surface of wires, using micro-wiring on the armatures would lessen their weight, rotating mass, and, again, increase power and decrease voltage drop.
For God’s sake, quit using greased plain bearings. If you can electo-magnetically float a train, you can float an armature. Quit being lazy.
Lastly, all electric cars use a single motor which would be comparable in efficiency to a single cylinder gas motor, not efficient or powerful. Many small motors would work better and could be made lighter if an intermediary was used between the motors output and the actual drive system of the vehicle. Perhaps a fluid drive?
I suspect the utility of an electric vehicle could be increased greatly if a “clean sheet” approach was used in the design. At this point, I would have to challenge, prove me wrong.

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Another Arizona First

Arizona was first to:
Stand against the lunacy of MLK Day out of fear of an outbreak of African-American pride in the recognition of that American hero.
First to offer a Panama-born presidential candidate.
In their greatest coup, they have now chosen to legalize profiling (not illegalize like most people. They’re mavericky.) In proof that all Arizona governors named Jan are not created equal, APPOINTED Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a “immigration” bill that allows the police to stop suspiciously brown people and ask for their identification, probable cause being skin tone, one assumes.
A couple of years ago, while on the south-side of Tucson (heavily Hispanic) I stopped in a restaurant for a burger. The young lady behind the counter asked what I wanted in Spanish. I said, in English, “I don’t understand you.” She took a second look at me and said, “If you’re going to look like us, you should learn the language.” We both burst out laughing.
I tan therefore I am.
I can’t wait to get stopped, more for the lawsuit I’ll press than anything. I worry for my children, though, very fair-skinned but with their dark eyes and hair they have been mistaken for Hispanic. They’re Irish, Scott-Polish on my wife’s side but that little bit of Cherokee from her comes through loud and clear. It’s going to be interesting to see where the police draw the line.
Having lived in Tucson for 30 years I’ve become used to the stupidity that is Phoenix’s greatest export. DON’T JUDGE TUCSON BY WHAT PHOENIX DOES and we’ll be cool with each other.
The people that I’ve met that are the most ravingly anti-illegal immigration are the naturalized Mexican-Americans who say, rightfully, if I had to go through the naturalization process, so should the illegals. So now they’re going to be stopped and asked for papers; think they’re going to vote Republican?
Arizona seems to have a problem with people of color having any dignity. What’s that you say? It’s a right to work state? Well, I guess the problem with dignity isn’t racist then. It’s fascist. (Nobody knows what that means, so it’s okay.)

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