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I think for Wednesdays in September I will (if I remember again next week) highlight some recent books. That might be fun. For example, I just finished a book so poems, "A Working Girl Can't Win" by Deborah Garrison. I still don't get poetry, but nevertheless this book reminded me of years ago, working downtown, with various women. Some were looking to get ahead, some were looking to get a husband, some were looking just to get by. I think she captures some of that with these poems. It was all from the woman's point of view, still I understood.
I get phone calls from people whose job it is to push small, unheard of stocks on to brokers and convince them to show the stocks to their clients. Most of these calls seem to come from New York and usually these guys are a little pushier than the average unsolicited phone call. I am always polite (enough) I will say something like, no thank you, but thank you for the opportunity. This guy today came back with, no thank you to what, I haven't told you anything yet, etc. I set the phone aside and let him go on.
The other day the guys and I stopped after lunch at this outfitter's and looking for various things, we bought flasks. No real reason, it seemed like a good idea at the time. They are made by Stanley and are kind of nice, I suppose, I don't know, I don't think i have ever owned or used a flask. Still, I know people bring these on some of the bike rides, especially overnight ones in early spring or late fall. So now then the quest is to find what I might like to drink. I five sample bottles to test.
On this morning's bicycle ride I went past places where I spent my youth. I rode through the neighborhoods where I once delivered newspapers, where I went to school, where I spent time with my friends, etc. I never imagined I would spend my life in Omaha. It is not a bad place, and leaving was never a specific goal of mine, but I just did not think I would always be here. I always assumed some opportunity would come along and I would move. But then; work, school, marriage, children, career, this, that, and the other. Here I stay.
These days I am riding a Trek 1100. I had a friend who owned a pawn shop in the mid 90's and he called one day to tell me he had just bought this (and paid way too little.) He said he owed it to his partners to make $100 on the deal, but what he paid, plus $100 was still a steal (I think I paid him $175.) I think it was made in '92 or '93 and I probably bought in '95. Eventually he lost the pawn shop. He drank and his partners all stole from the business.
Right this minute I am drinking a Lucky Bucket beer. Lucky Bucket Beer has, in my opinion, the best name in any locally brewed and bottled beer. It may be the only one, but still, Lucky Bucket - how cool is that name? The guy who owns Lucky Bucket has a locker in the same row as I do at the gym. He has a big piece of a successful micro-brew restaurant and bar here and maybe some of the same partners are involved in Lucky Bucket. The guy who invited me in years ago (but I declined) is not.
How dumb am I? I had planned to stop over lunch and buy a handful of landscape bricks to match the ones we have now. We are working on something new and over the weekend found ourselves wight bricks short. So I intended to take one to make sure whatever I bought matched. When I realized I forgot to do that this morning, I thought no big deal, I know the dimensions on the ones we have. Then, I get to the brick and stone place this morning, buy something that looks like it and completely forget to measure it.
My friend Jerry has really been suffering lately. One of his tumors at the base of his back has been causing him an incredible amount of pain. They are now treating it with radiation but that is not a quick solution. He has the option, but does not want to take it, of being hospitalized with excessive painkillers until (and if) they shrink the tumor. The worst of it is knowing that whatever they do right now for this specific problem is just a patch because the cancer will create more and more issues until nothing more can be done.
Library sale tonight. These are always fun. I will get there shortly after three and start the final set-up, all the books are already in place. The line will start forming by four and we will open the doors at six. A couple of years ago, on a Thursday night sale, I had to break up a fist fight, but nothing like that has ever happened again. Mostly, it is an orderly crowd far more interested in finding some treasures than in each other. We will close tonight at 8:30, but open again tomorrow morning through Sunday afternoon.
I have several friends who are wildly enthusiastic about books on CD. One of those friends came by the library sale last night and spent forty dollars on these - we sell them for $4 each, he bought ten. This time he bought mostly mystery or adventure kind of things, most of which were by authors he knew. He mentioned once that when he was checking them out at the library, and I believe he still does this albeit not as often as he once did, he started to care more about who the reader was, than the book or author.
At the book sale this weekend, I picked up another ten or twelve old high school and college yearbooks. I love these, I do not know why. Surely there are better, more complete pictures of life in 1969 or 1945, etc. but still I am drawn to these. I must have over a hundred by now. I think I have one as recent as 2008 and I know I have one from 1903. I have 03, 04, and 05 from Knox College. The college ones are better, thicker, more colorful than those from high schools, but they are all fun.
I am kind of thinking right this minute that I might work again tomorrow night. I would skip the library meeting if I could, but I can not. I hope I can at least keep it short, but that has always been something of a struggle. Too many of our participants just go on and on. This past couple of weeks have been filled with so much other stuff, I keep needing some solid time to tie up loose ends and that just never comes about. Another night, four or five unstructured hours, no phone etc. will be just fine.
Every now and then, if the market is doing nothing and I get bored, I will wander through the cable television stations. It seems like some variation of reality television is on at least half the time. Whether it is the court shows, the competitions shows, or the slice of life shows, it is everywhere. It amazes me, between seeing some of this and reading facebook and various other things on the internet, how people complicate their lives. Often, this appears to be not much more than making a decision for the minute that will echo for your whole life.
Will we all end up with a smart phone device permanently attached to our hands? One of the young people I read believes this to be true, and she is probably right. I think it is pretty clear that the devices they use and the way they use them become the norm for all of us. Right this minute, I cannot imagine I would ever need constant access to the internet, but then I never thought I would carry a cell phone either. Still I'm not convinced that I need to carry a phone, but I suppose I always will.
I had a conversation with a friend today about the economy going forward. I am of the mind that sooner or later the obligation we all have to pay future retirement benefits will bankrupt us as a nation. I think this last crash we saw, where the market fell from 14,000 to 6,500 is just a hint of what is to come. The solution has two parts, but neither will be in place in time to prevent the next collapse. We have outlaw defined benefits for the future and tax current income from those plans very aggressively now.
Last night, in the middle of the never ending yard project, storm clouds rolled in out of the blue. All of a sudden, we were in the middle of a raging downpour and the wind was gusting up to fifty-six miles an hour. The wind picked up the glider on the front porch and slammed it into the railing, pushing up a couple of the spindles out. Nothing I was unable to easily repair, but still I cannot recall every having a wind storm pick up a piece of furniture on the porch before. It was over in minutes.
We have an inactive fee here where if somebody has not made a trade over the past year, we charge a fee for maintaining the account. Every firm does it, and most started long before we got on board. Initially I saw this as another way to tag the clients with a fee and was, accordingly, dismissive and reluctant to participate. But I have come to see that it does make sense to use this as a tool to clean up little accounts that have been forgotten. A fee, no matter how small, tends to spur action like nothing else.
Last night we went out to Olive Garden. It was both my boys, one of their girlfriends, my wife and I. My wife had chicken but the rest of us had the never ending pasta bowl. It was kind of fun, before we ordered I suggested we all had to get a different pasta and a different sauce. I ended up with third choice in pasta and third choice in sauce. The boys each had a second and fourth choice and Colleen had first and first. We were going to switch it up for round two, but we were full.
I found this book over the weekend at a garage sale about Marine boot camp. It looks like something they put together for every group going through. The first ninety-six pages are in color and seemingly the same for every group. The last 20 or 30 pages are in black and white and specific to one individual group. I find this kind of book fascinating and would have bought it no matter what, but I especially appreciate it right now with my friend's son having just left for this same boot camp. I know he will enjoy this too.
The guy I work out with is still sick. He missed the gym this morning and now has said again he will not be back until some further date. He is going back to the doctor tomorrow. He is especially freaked out right now because he just learned his twin brother has throat cancer. Never smoked a day in his life. It, the cancer, is in stage one so they are all hopeful. My buddy knows, of course, that it is highly unlikely that he too would suddenly have something very serious as well. But, he is not getting better.
The new television season starts this week on the networks. I remember being a kid, television was black and white and there were only the three networks. The new shows all came at once, were built up for weeks in advance. For whatever reason, I especially remember being five or six and excited to catch the first ever episode of F-Troop. I have no memory of watching it a second time, but I imagine I did. I am sure I will catch the new episode of a show or two this week. Still, it will not be the same.
Today, at lunch, we were speaking of next year's five day bicycle trip. As I understand it, this next ride will take place in the far northwest part of the state. It is sparse, dry, and hilly out there. The communities are small and considerable distance from each other. I believe there are still places out there where the children come into town Sunday evening and stay all week to go to school, going home on Friday afternoon. We were at the edge of the sandhills two years ago and this time, we will be in the thick of things.
I have some work I need to do for a a client, but I keep putting it off. I don't know why. I guess maybe in part because it will not pay much, but it will pay something. More than that, I should do it because I promised I would. Also, I should do it because it is the kind of work that could easily generate more business from other clients with deeper pockets. What I need to do is look into the world of exchange traded funds and find a couple of aggressive ones the client should invest in.
I am, of course, a little curious about this new Wall St. movie, but I don't know yet if I will go see it. The problem is that I so dislike Oliver Stone movies. I just think he is a hack. He is the only director I know whose movies I will try to avoid. So often they start with great promise, but someone along the line, they just tick me off. There have been times where I have been watching a movie, not knowing he was the director, and so hate it, I just know it is his movie.
Last night we were watching some old episodes of NCIS. As the one ended and the next one started we debated whether or not to watch this new one or go out for a bite to eat. As it happened, the new episode was from a Christmas season a year or so ago. So it started with Jingle Bells in the background and an opening scene leading to two dead bodies being discovered. Watching then, my wife asked (to see if we were going to stay) "Do you recognize this episode? I said, "No, but the music rings a bell."
Yesterday I worked for a time in the office. The attorney next door was also in, as was the insurance guy from down the hall. I saw the car of the CPA from the other side of the entrance so he, too, was obviously in. And then,also, I noticed the office light on from the software guy across the hall so clearly he was in. Later, my wife mentioned that after I had left this morning, she went into work too. Then I realized, it is the All American Work Day, 9 to 5, nine two five, 9/25.
Last week I happened by a garage sale where they were selling a whole batch of books by Jimmy Carter. There must have been a dozen, far more than I was aware he had written. I bought three, none too political, but about his memories of growing up. I always enjoy memoirs, although in the past most of those I read were by people who did not go on to great fame. I suspect books written by people who later achieve great success or fame would not be as straightforward, but who knows. Maybe these will be good after all.
I happened across a book the other day that covered the history of Cincinnati television. This is part of some series of books, Images of America. What I find so interesting about this series of books is that they appear to have produced a great many of these for specific markets. I love that. Locally we have one for the history of the university, the history of a landmark local amusement park, one having to do with the role of railroads in Omaha, etc. From this, you have to assume they must have watched a lot of television in Cincinnati.
I finally found a map of the bicycle trails in Lincoln, but they will not print out in an usable form. Not a problem, I went yesterday and bought a fold out map of Lincoln. Next I will pull up each of the trail maps and outline them on this paper one. This way I will be able to see where they intersect and map out a trip of thirty-five or forty miles. Ideally I can set this up where we do not end up backtracking ever and see a lot of the city. This will be really good.
A very quiet night at our house, we watched television. I think maybe this was the first time all week we both sat down together to do this. We had run around a little earlier shopping for this or that but we came home empty-handed. Then I ran out and picked up some dinner to go and that was it, we were done for the night. We like The Office and she likes 30 Rock, and maybe there was something else too, I cannot remember. All and all a night every bit as completely boring as this entry is.
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