Recently I gave up on Android phones and got myself an iPhone 5. And because I wanted to stop paying ridiculous prices for cellular contracts, I made sure to get an unlocked GSM phone...
Media I’ve been absorbing
After reading over the infographic below, I am SO glad that I live so close to my office that I can walk there everyday. After three years of commuting-by-foot I never want to give...
If you’ve heard any news or browsed the Internet at all today, chances are you’ve already heard plenty about Amazon.com’s newly-announced Kindle eReaders, especially their new 7-inch tablet, the Kindle Fire. CNET’s Molly Wood...
A couple months ago I switched my voicemail to using Google Voice. It was much easier than I expected, mostly because my cellular provider is Sprint, who have a partnership with Google Voice that...
Back in March, I was dismayed to learn that Continental Airlines was discontinuing the gluten-free menu options on all their flights. This was particularly disconcerting to me since I usually fly with them on my frequent trips to Panam
As most of you readers may already know, I have been working at a financial services company since last September—yes, just before “The Collapse”—and thus I have a renewed interest in understanding the investment markets. And now the swings of the market have a more direct impact on all of us than before, when we maybe only needed to find a place to keep our retirement funds. So here are a few things I’ve been reading lately that I felt were worth passing on to you./p>
If you haven’t already heard a reasonable explanation of what cause the U.S. economy’s implosion this past autumn (I would call it “fall”, but that would be too punny), there are several explanations I would recommend:
- This American Life and NPR teamed up for an excellent bit of radio reporting entitled “The Giant Pool of Money”
- For a more recent (and slightly sensationalist) write-up, check out Wired’s article entitled “Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street”.
So, in short, it seems that the primary cause of the current financial crisis is that Wall Street figured out how to bundle a bunch of not-so-great mortgage loans into a big investment package and still get them rated ‘AAA’-safe, and banks and others bought them up like Cabbage Patch Kids, thinking they were minting easy money.
So where do we go from here? Obviously George W. Bush’s tactic of ignoring the problem for 2 years didn’t work (and now Obama’s administration is saddled with the impossible task of recovery), and along with it the Republican ideal of reducing regulations placed on the market would similarly be a bad idea. But what could help prevent this kind of problem in the future, when Wall Street keeps inventing new convoluted and curious ways to invest faster than the SEC can investigate and rule on them?
Recently I have read two interesting proposals that I would pass on to you:
- An op-ed in today’s Times recommends fixing the ratings system.
- Wired Magazine recommends that the SEC require much more public company data be published and tagged with XBRL so any investor can dig into the accounting data to learn the truth.
Both of these sound like reasonable suggestions to me. So what do you think?
One of my favorite SNL skits from a couple years ago is actually good solid financial advice: Don’t Buy Stuff You Don’t Need.
You’ll get pretty much the same advice from the likes of Dave Ramsey, albeit with less tongue-in-cheek humor. (I said less, not none.) I would highly recommend taking one of his Financial Peace University courses if you can find a nearby showing; I know it made a huge difference for Ainsley & me so we’re more ready to ride out these economically unstable times.
If you read this blog, you probably are someone who would appreciate the online comic XKCD. Or you’re my Mom.
Example: if you think this is funny, then you should probably check out his site every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for more laughs.
And, of course, you should keep reading here too… on the off chance that I say something funny. That includes you, Mom.
This weekend a friend and I went to see the movie Doubt in the theater, and I’m so glad I did. While it’s not the kind of explosions-and-effects show that is typically better on the big screen, the acting is so captivating that it’s worth the extra cash simply to see the actors’ faces in such detail. (And y’know, for a script that’s mostly about internal action rather than external, the faces are where it’s at, as the camera has little else to focus on.)
Permit me to repeat myself: the acting is captivating, riveting, mermerizing… Of course, it’s no surprise: everyone knows that Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman are among the best, and Amy Adams is clearly a rising star that will shine on for a long time. But put the three of them in a room and POW! BIFF! KAZAAM! (Oh yeah, I should also say that Viola Davis also holds her own, as do the young actors playing the schoolkids. But it’s not so much about them now, is it?)
Anyway, it’s only the first week of January and I’ve seen what may be my favorite movie of the year. (I guess it’s all downhill from here!)
One of the Christmas presents I begged for was the DVD of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and I received it with much glee. Over Christmas we watched it as a family a couple times, and it was great on the “big screen” (rather than the laptop). The other night I watched the DVD extras, and I must say: while there’s the usual not-too-exciting filler like a “Making of…” mini-documentary, the piece “Commentary: The Musical” is really laugh-out-loud funny, full of the same somewhat irreverent humor from the show itself. I’m still chuckling to myself as I think about it. Recommended!