Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Last Night

For the record, last night, I sold one-third of my NLY and two-tenths of my GOOG.

There's nothing funny about that.

I did what I said I wouldn't do.

I hope it makes me happy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Google Musing

I recognize three verities, right now. Google, Annaly and cash. I haven't done a stupid investing thing in the last six months, that is, if you don't count Google, Annaly and cash for the last six months as a stupid investing thing.

Selling anything right now would be a stupid investing thing. So would buying anything.

Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to go, and still have the feeling that you wanted to stay?

Cotton is down to a quarter a pound and the living is easy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Six Degree Man

What's a mojo

When I was trying to visualize the Great Mandala, the best I could come up with was a wheel. Nothing too very scientific.

It doesn't have to be complicated. Facebook asks for your real name and then lets you hook up with your friends. Just like real life, except in Facebook all your relatives are your friends, too. And every acquaintance you ever had, even though you've only seen them one time or two. They're all your friends.

This is where Pirandello comes in. His six degrees hypothesis can be tested now. Except that Facebook has only opened up one degree. But some day, all degrees will be free.

Then you could become a six degree man. You could systematically trace anybody back to a friend of yours, and then use the connection to inveigle yourself into their lives. Or you could use the connection to put them in your will.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Girl with Four Names in The Great Mandala

I was in Facebook, today. I was looking at somebody's comment about something and somebody else made a comment about the comment that was a little above average, so I clicked on her face.

She didn't share her information with strangers, but I was still allowed to see pictures of her friends and their names. There were six of them and their thumbnails were displayed in a single line across the screen. There were 5 women and one man. Two of them had three names. Three of them had two names. And one was a girl with four names.

I was drawn to the picture of the girl with four names. She seemed young, with black-rimmed glasses, maybe a co-ed, and her face looked down at the camera from a clear blue-green sky behind and the hint of a bowline suggesting she may be on a yacht. The other pictures were just as small, some more dimly exposed, all showing faces looking out. I wondered if they were all still alive.

I kept looking at the girl with four names and the picture seemed to change on me. It seemed to recede into the page and the blue-green sky began to fade with age. This girl could be my grandmother.

And then I got a visual: Google gets all these pictures from everywhere and displays them on a great wheel forever. A zillion to a line, wheeling down so slowly it seems stopped. You can click anywhere and find out everything you need to know about anybody. Very little is private. Hey, you have to eat. Everybody has to eat. Most of the people looking out, as the wheel goes by, have passed into the public domain.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Where the Wild Goose Goes

wild goose
brother goose

When we moved into this house we have, it was the only house on this side of the neighborhood. Vacant lots surrounded us, and we soon discovered that the lot across the street was a meeting ground for large gatherings of Canada Geese, on their way to somewhere else.

We became bird watchers from our windows. But, eventually, construction came in and put houses down on the Geese's meeting ground, all the way down to the end of the street. After that, we never saw large numbers of Canada Geese again. Occasionally, two or three would come down and walk around, looking for the party. But after that, they were gone.

Until this year. In late May, we were visited by a Canada Goose family. Father, mother, and four goslings. Twice a day, they came through our little backyard, in single file, the goslings in between, with parents fore and aft. Virtually soundless, they took their time, grazing. They would continue on through everybody's backyard and then we would see them again on the way back. Over several weeks, we watched the babies grow up. And then we didn't see them any more.

. . . .

At work, I usually take my lunches alone. An old man's prerogative. For the past year or so, my habit has been to grab a fast sandwich somewhere and then go to the nearby Kroger, where I can purchase a cold bottle of Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, in the large size.

In the front of the store, several tables had been set up for weary shoppers and most of the time I had no problem finding a place to eat my sandwich and drink my coffee milk. Wednesday, however, was the day designated by Kroger for giving a 5% discount to senior citizens. Accordingly, as if by plan, a bus from a nearby home would haul a bunch of them to the store every Wednesday to buy their week's provisions and also return a few pennies to their mite.

On Wednesdays, I had to take my chances. When I arrived, the senior citizens, mostly female, had completed their shopping and were all gathered in the table area, socializing. But it was not a problem. In a few minutes, the bus would come and word would spread through the group until everyone was informed, and they'd start lining up to go out.

Then a few months ago, the store undertook a major renovation. It stayed open for business, but no part of the store was unaffected. Whole departments were displaced by construction crews. Outside, the entire facade of the store was destroyed and then rebuilt to look different. Heavy equipment was brought in. The managers stood outside and apologized to everyone for the inconvenience, short of offering an indemnity against mishap.

In this renovation, it happened that the table area was removed. All the furniture was packed up and hauled away. The senior citizens found that they had no place to gather. Their meeting ground had fallen prey to a modern kind of life that none of them had any use for. But they kept coming, on schedule, every Wednesday. Someone at the store put up a few folding chairs in a line along the wall across from the checkout counters. The senior citizens sat there, unhappy, waiting for the bus to come. They didn't talk, they didn't socialize. The bus would come, they would go out, and then they were gone.

. . . .

Last week, a good soaking rain came in, just before bedtime. We went out on the patio and listened to the sound of rain at night. My wife said, "I wonder where they go, when they're not here. I wonder where they are tonight."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let Me Count The Ways: A Dylan Ramble

I don't get jazz. I like a lot of it. Louis Armstrong, Brubeck, The Four Freshmen, Chick Corea, Marsalis. But they're accessible. The other side, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonius, I don't get them at all. I don't like them.

Jazz at that level is too mathematical for me. You need something in your brain that I haven't got to like that kind of music. Trying to explain to me what's so good about jazz so I could really get it, would be like me, trying to explain to somebody who doesn't like Bob Dylan, what's so good about him, so they'd really get it.

The first thing we'd have to get past is, "He's not a singer, he's a poet." That's right, he's a poet. Primitive, but major. But what major poet, except maybe Yeats, sings? Like distance and time coming together, Dylan's words and ancient melodies combine, intertwine, always on the brink of being out of synch, but always in perfect counterpoint. A new kind of rhythm. Listen to "Brownsville Girls", half spoken, half sung, totally extemporaneous. You might lock onto it after you've heard it 8 or 9 times. Dylan is a river you'll never step into at the same place again. Dylan is the next time you hear him.

"He's got a lousy voice."

Bob Dylan's voice, young or old, is the most extraordinary jazz instrument ever loosed on the world. I don't have the strength right now to even think about explaining that to you.

I have two heroes in this world - Einstein and Dylan. To me, they're both heroic in the same way. In the way they burst on the scene, young and unknown, but already in their full maturity, sweeping everything before them with absolute authority, and remaking the world in their own awful visions. Shout hero, hero, all day long.

Somebody told me once that Jim Nabors had a good singing voice. I don't even know what to think about that.

A lot of singers close their eyes when they sing, like they're singing alone. Dylan looks clearly out, at a place in the middle of the air. Connecting with something we can't see.

And there ain't no one can sing the blues, like him. I don't care what you've heard to the contrary.

He's unarranged, like this post.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A woman once said to me

A woman once said to me, "I don't know what I think, until I say something."

I've thought about that a lot, since then.

I do a lot of thinking. But not so much speaking.

But, every now and then, a thought comes to me that I'm pretty sure I didn't think.

That really gets me thinking.

It must be Sunday.