Archive for September, 2008


Monday, September 15th, 2008

Yesterday, we went to Los Angeles to visit Marv, my old business buddy from my publishing days, and Cousin Alex in her new digs at Occidental College. The photo above was taken by Dan-dan (!). No, I did not crop or change any of it. This is the raw photo as he took it.

Alex took us to the top of a hill in the middle of campus to see the surrounding area. She’s just been here for two weeks now, so she’s still getting everything together here.

Marv is looking much better today than he did when we left for Hungary eight months ago. We saw him and Brenda, shared some pizza with them and caught up with the events of the last few months.

On returning home, I found that DirecTV had refused to record my football games due to an un-advertised package that will add $100 to their total bill. I’m very unhappy with their service so far. It has taken lots of my time on the phone to try and get the service they offered to me in the first place, and it is turning out to be quite a bit more expensive than advertised.

Another Wall Street Meltdown

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Wall Street is clearly realigning itself, with lots of creative destruction in its wake. I feel pretty certain that some vast fortunes are being made from this. This was brought home by some of the Economist’s reporting from New York this weekend: “Not only has (Merrill Lynch CEO) Mr Thain managed to shelter his firm from the storm (by selling to Bank of America), but he has also secured a price well above its closing price last Friday, $29 per share compared with $17. How he managed that in such an ugly market is not yet clear.”

Original story here.

Aaron’s First Birthday

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

It’s time for Aaron’s First Birthday Party! September 27 (his real birthday, no less!) at the Steussy Ranch. Food, drinks (fruit juices and adult beverages), kids, games, toys. Drop a note if you want to join in …

Aaron's First Birthday

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

It’s time for Aaron’s First Birthday Party! September 27 (his real birthday, no less!) at the Steussy Ranch. Food, drinks (fruit juices and adult beverages), kids, games, toys. Drop a note if you want to join in …

NFL Football Pool Week One

Monday, September 8th, 2008

It looks like a tie between Rich and Gabi. Go Gabi! (You, too, Rich!). Click on the chart to get a bigger picture.

Please let me know if I missed anything here.

Looking at New Houses in Temecula

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

We’ve been looking at houses in Temecula, both foreclosures and new contruction. These are photos of a new house that we really like just north of the city.


The War in Georgia

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

On July 24, the Economist published an article that China and Russia had finally concluded the last of their border disputes. In particular, in order to conclude this treaty, Russia gave up it’s territorial claims with nothing in apparent return from the Chinese. It’s one of those small items that makes you wonder, “What was behind this? What if it really has global significance?”

I read the article with interest since Khabarovsk was one of the main cities for Vladivostok Computers, my entrepreneurial attempt to sell computers in the Russian Far East that succeeded for three years before dying out in a series of financial and political problems. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Khabarovsk.

It seems clear in retrospect that that Russia concluded these talks to ensure that China would have no reason to complain about Russia’s treatement of Georgia in the upcoming two weeks.

While I am not generally a fan of Dick Cheney, his current mission in Georgia and Ukraine seems to strike the proper response to Russian adventurism. This adventure was pushed soley for domestic political approval of Putin’s non-democratic regime, much as China’s over-the-top Olympics was done to ensure continued approval of that population for their non-elected government.

With regard to Presidential politics, the Georgian War points up the differences in the candidates. Obama wanted all parties to stop, talk and work things out diplomatically in a European-style fashion, much as the EU did and the Wall Street Journal appropriately derided (see the article, “Stop! Or We’ll Say Stop Again!” here). McCain pushed for immediate, significant outreach to Ukraine and the Baltic States as the most appropriate response. Point for McCain, and a serious one at that.

First Day of School

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

And they’re off! Camilla is in pre-school, Dan-dan is in kindergarten.

Eagleton Vice Presidency Revisited on the Republicans

Monday, September 1st, 2008

From Wikipedia:

In 1972, Richard Nixon appeared unbeatable. When Senator George McGovern won the Democratic nomination for President, virtually all of the high-profile Democrats, including Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Edmund Muskie and Birch Bayh turned down offers to run on the ticket. Having been declined by the “name” Senators, McGovern turned to lesser-known candidates, and Thomas Eagleton, who had opposed the Vietnam War, was selected on July 14 with only a minimal background check.

(Unknown to McGovern) between 1960 and 1966, Eagleton checked himself into the hospital three times for physical and nervous exhaustion, receiving electric shock treatments twice. Eagleton made no mention of his earlier hospitalizations. Newspapers soon revealed them.

McGovern said he would back Eagleton “1000%”, but on August 1, Eagleton withdrew at McGovern’s request and, after new search by McGovern, was replaced by Kennedy in-law Sargent Shriver.

Given the news of the last several days, it appears that the ghost of the late Senator Eagleton has been visiting the Republicans in the form of Alaska Governor Palin and has inflicted his vengeance. May he rest in peace.

I am still undecided. Personally, after a brief period considering voting for Obama, largely as a negative vote against the Bush administration’s cynical embrace of big government, I am leaning toward McCain. I am sure that the results of the electorial college will be a complete landslide for Obama, whatever my vote (see here). And I’m not sure that an Obama presidency would be a bad thing, though he appears to be against any meaningful education reform and may set the dial back on economic development for years. (Shrugs shoulders) It could be worse.

Rocket Launch!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Yesterday, we took the kids to launch rockets again. We haven’t done this for a long time, and it was a big hit.