Just Another Blog
Monday, September 29, 2008
More on Tim

I've been getting lots (relatively - lots here only means 10+ in a couple of days) of hits over the past two days from people looking for information about Tim. The following if from an email that was sent around at work.
The Celebration of Tim's life will be held on Tuesday, September 30th at 4:00pm at the Chapel at Cherry Hills Community Church, 3900 Grace Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126. A reception will follow from 5:00 to 7:00 in the church Atrium.

In honor of Tim, a memorial fund has been set up. Donations can be mailed to the address below or taken directly to any First Bank.

First Bank
Attn: "The Tim Erzinger Memorial Fund"
9205 S. Broadway
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129
That's all I know.

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Who Makes the Monkeys Dance?

FTA: "Treasury has raised concerns, but much will depend on how the markets react to this phased-in approach to the funding."

(This was the second article I saw today that referred to Paulson's bumbling.)

Bush Speech

Atypically, I watched the speech from the President last night. I was unimpressed. I didn't hear anything new. While I thought the synopsis of how the problem came to be wasn't bad, I thought it was very poorly delivered. The speech had been written such that the problem was explained in very basic terms and very broadly. Still, the President seemed to have a very hard time reading the speech as it flowed across the teleprompter. Doesn't this guy have an MBA? Shouldn't dumbed-down financial topics roll off his tongue more smoothly than that? I feel quite certain that the overview of the crisis was written by someone other than GWB, but I'm not quite sure he understood what he was talking about.

The talk from the President and similarly from Paulson / Bernanke always cites in the very broadest of terms the dire consequences of inaction: harder to borrow money for cars (who gets car loans from investment banks?), harder for parents to borrow for kids college (student loans are ultimately based on the student's ability to pay), decreasing 401k balances (how do they know how I've chosen to invest my 401k funds?), increased unemployment (but not clear that this would be true anywhere other than Wall St.), and rising interest rates (which is to be expected any way after several years of historic and generational low rates). All these terrible things are implied to be inevitable, and yet there is never a chain of causation presented that shows how not removing convoluted derivative assets from the books of a handful of financial services firms will cause this vast catastrophe.

I am still not buying it. I don't think the banks deserve a bailout. I don't believe that a recession or a depression would be the worst thing in the world. I don't think the Japanese are so terribly poor-off today after their stagnant 90s; I don't think we'd be so terribly poor-off in a decade if we faced 10 years of depression. The special interests of Wall St managers, hedge fund employees, and baby boomers seem to be demanding that we ensure their current financial domination at the sure cost of future stability. I'll take ten years of recession starting last year over fifty years of 50%+ taxes and decreased government ability to support its citizenry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Do You Get It Yet?

That's good stuff!


If any Merrill folks still read this, I have some sad news to share. Tim Erzinger died this morning.

Tim came to work here about two years ago when he moved back to Denver. I happened to run into him on the morning of his interview and was able to encourage HR to bring him aboard -- though another former Merrill person had recommended him here and probably had a lot more to do with him getting the job than I.

Tim had just gotten married a couple of weeks ago. He also recently had knee surgery. He - according only to rumors - complained of his knee bothering him one night, took something for the pain, and never woke up the next morning. He was in a coma for a few days, and they removed life support just yesterday or the day before. The story being told this morning is that Tim suffered from sleep apnea and that the combination of pain killers and the apnea resulted in him being too sedated to breathe properly and essentially suffocating in his sleep.

I was never close with Tim, but he was sure a good guy. I worked more closely with him at Merrill than I did here, but I know that he was very well liked at both companies. I'm sorry to hear that he's dead, and wish his friends and family strength and fortitude in the days and weeks to come.

Friday, September 19, 2008
I Don't Like It

So, we can spend a trillion dollars to remove a dictator we didn't like in Iraq. And we can spend a trillion dollars to bail out our financial system after a handful of greedy financial innovators make bad bets. But we can't agree to even work on health care provision? For a trillion dollars, I'm thinking we could have full and free coverage for every resident in the country or at least for every citizen. I don't like the bailout. No one bails me out when I make a mistake - say slipping off a rock. One little mistake and my financial situation is ruined for years and years, but Wall Street gets richer and richer year after year and when things start to get the slightest bit shaky in comes Uncle Sam with free money for the already rich. I don't like it. Not one bit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Watch Out for Falling

I'd be lying if I said I knew much about resistance, floors, and technical indicators, but it seems to me that with the Dow having fallen through 11,000 and the NASDAQ through 2,200 there isn't much support until maybe 10,500 and more likely 10,000 for the big board and then around 2,000 and 1,800 on the OTC side. We might well be falling for a while longer. My, how it warms the heart of a pessimist.

Monday, September 15, 2008
Financial Meltdown

The NY Times explains how it all came to this.

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Here's Hoping

Douglas Adams knew this. "There is a theory which states that if ever for any reason anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened."


Playing with digital cameras and digital images and digital manipulation (photo-style, not Dr Buschmeyer-style) is plenty fun and a fine way to pass the time - lots and lots of time. It's nice now and again to actually print some of those photos out to move them from the realm of the digital to the realm of the real. I printed these 5 8x10s at Target yesterday via Kodak. They came out nicely in real life - until I sat on them and crinkled two of them just a bit.

This Is Colorado
Sand Dunes National Park, May 25, 2008

Bridal Veil Beauty
Cave of the Winds, August 22, 2008

Ithaca is Gorgeous
Treman Gorge, Treman State Park, near Ithaca, NY, August 21,2008

Speckled Moon Rise
Lake Tahoe, September 15, 2005

Kauai, Hawaii
Site of the very best breakfast brunch that I ever ate. March 5, 2006

Who hates Palin? I do; I do!

So does SNL. This opening scene from last night was brutally spot on.

The NYT editorial board doesn't like her either:
If he [McCain] seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment.
The interviews made clear why Americans should worry about Ms. Palin’s thin résumé and lack of experience.
Her answers about why she had told her church that President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq was “God’s plan” did nothing to dispel our concerns about her confusion between faith and policy. Her claim that she was quoting a completely unrelated comment by Lincoln was absurd.
The NYT Op-Ed, the conservative Herbert, doesn't like her either:
While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail.
For those who haven’t noticed, we’re electing a president and vice president, not selecting a winner on “American Idol.”
Ms. Palin’s problem is not that she was mayor of a small town or has only been in the Alaska governor’s office a short while. Her problem (and now ours) is that she is not well versed on the critical matters confronting the country at one of the most crucial turning points in its history.
John McCain, who is shameless about promoting himself as America’s ultimate patriot, put the best interests of the nation aside in making his incredibly reckless choice of a running mate.
The NYT blogger, Dick Cavett, doesn't like her either:
I’d love to have the chance to ask her how being able to see Russia from parts of her state apparently qualifies her to deal with that vastly complex country more effectively than those scholars and diplomats who find themselves less proximate to its shores.
Every time I nostalgically try to regain my liking of John McCain, he reaches into his sleaze bag and pulls out something malodorous.
But enough of this carping. There is one good thing you can say about Sarah. She seems to have hit upon something that might bring relief to the hordes of suffering souls with the wolf at the door and their homes in jeopardy: Collect per diem for nights spent in your own house.
Three hits from three different sections of the paper of record essentially on the same day can't be good. I hope not. I hope she is on the Thomas Eagleton fast track to former vice presidential candidate.