The Hype Index


Every time the financial markets go down, there is an unseen struggle to find the words to express what just happened.  When the markets go up… wait!  They go up?!  Yes, like they did Friday, shortly followed by going down again, much like a toy submarine in a bathtub.  Slumped, plunged, plummeted, tanked, cratered, you’ve heard them all.  No worries, though.  It seems like writers haven’t quite run out of metaphors.  Yet.

Yes, the markets are up and down, and there seems to be no shortage of Chicken Littles around telling us the sky is falling.  Maybe it is, but working ourselves into a panic isn’t likely to change that.  There are certainly enough reasons for anxiety without all these people telling us we need to be worried.  I think we’ve got it covered.

Besides, Brian is right.  Kittens are better.


What Problem?

president-bush-g20President Bush reminded G20 members today that free markets are good.  Well, thank goodness for that!  What with the collapse of global markets and financial systems, but for massive government infusions of cash – but wait! isn’t that inconsistent with a free market? – we might have forgotten.

I mean, okay, I think we’re… well, I was going to say “all” but I should amend it to “mostly” in favor of more regulation since President Bush also went on to say that “There is a clear lesson: Our aim should not be more government – it should be smarter government.”

Since part of the problem is that there has been an absence of government involvement in regulating some of the financial instruments central to this global financial debacle, “any” amount of government would be “more.”  Whether it will be “smarter,” well, we can only hope so.

Good Morning


A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

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A New Hope


No, this post is not about Star Wars.  It’s about the choice the majority of American voters made last Tuesday, a choice for hope over despair, for idealism over cynicism.  It’s the hope that springs from belief in the enduring ideals on which this nation was founded, that a small group of committed citizens can change the world.

Because it’s the only thing that ever has. (with apologies to Margaret Mead)

Sixteen years ago I could barely contain my excitement over the election of a young governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.  Four years later I was less excited; less and less so over the next two elections.  This time around I didn’t really get caught up in the Obama-nia, though others in my household did.  With this last Tuesday’s election, however, it seems as though we have turned a page, and that there is – more so than for the last several years – cause for hope.

From the Mac and Cheese Files, No. 3


On today’s menu, it’s Mac and Two Cheeses with Caramelized Shallots from the December issue of Bon Appetit.  Also, broiled New York strip steaks (free registration required for access).

The BA mac and cheese was pretty simple, but added a couple of twists with the addition of goat cheese and caramelized shallots as a topping.  For me, the cheese sauce was a real epiphany – simmering half and half (with added hot sauce – ooh!) into which was stirred shredded cheddar cheese and flour.  The quickest and easiest cheese sauce I have EVER made.  So I’m late to the party, so what?  The goat cheese wasn’t a fave with everyone at the table, but most of us liked it just fine.  A note, though – make more caramelized shallots next time.  Put up with the tears, and make more caramelized shallots.  Just do it.

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Done! (For Now.)


Did you?

There have been relatively few reports of voting problems, a refreshing change from the last two presidential elections.  However, the night is still young, and the election(s) far from over.  Regardless of the eventual results, I’ve earned my right to complain.  But, seriously, as New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert reminded us today, the election is only the first of many steps toward changing the direction of our country.