Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Conversation

FLG's coworker:  That was a good meeting.

FLG:  Sure, great guy.

Coworker:  I really liked the part where he explained why his group was being formed.

FLG:  He did?

Coworker:  Yes, at the very beginning.

FLG:  Oh, I must have missed that part.  I was trying to reconcile myself with his suit jacket being two sizes too big.

Coworker:  That distracted you?

FLG:  Yeah, I kept thinking of David Byrne.  He wore those huge suits.  Made his head look shrunken.  You know, Cary Grant used the same principle, although far less exaggerated, to balance out his rather large head.

Coworker:  I never knew he had a large head.

FLG:  Exactly.  But if you look closely at his jackets, his head is a bit large and the shoulders are a little extended.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Quote of the Day

Democracy in America (Matt Steinglass?):
A credible threat to carry out any unacceptable action—to put LSD in the water supply, to bring back "Lost" for an eighth season—would work just as well.
Look, FLG normally objects to everything Matt Steinglass writes on general principle, but damn is he right about an eight season of Lost.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Courses

FLG is doing Coursera again.

He likes watching the videos, but isn't too keen on the quiz and work aspect.  Since he's not getting a grade or credit, he's not really into having to do assignments.  Obviously, if he'd done more of the assigned work in his financial engineering course, then he'd probably have an even better grasp.  But, again, since he's not going for grade or to be a financial engineer, no big deal.  He picked up a goodly amount.

That said, when FLG heard in the first lecture (in a pre-course preparatory week, mind you), that he, apparently, already should know how to do all sorts of stochastic algebra in discrete time, and so the professor's goal was merely to shift to continuous time, he figures he might want to put a bit more effort in to this Asset Pricing course.

He is thinking that he might be better off dropping that one and focus more on Mathematical Methods for Quantitative Finance.  And then tackle Asset Pricing.  Although, it probably wouldn't help a ton.

FLG has also signed up for The Role of the Renminbi in the International Monetary System, which looks way less intense but is still a fascinating topic.

He's also signed up for Was Alexander Great?, which starts in January.  Seriously, how could he not sign up for that one? 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Apologies And A Quick Round-Up

FLG apologizes for not mentioning international talk like a pirate day yesterday.

To be honest, he's been a bit busy with his new job and the Misses FLGs, and blogging (and reading blogs for that matter) have taken a bit of a back seat.  Nevertheless, here are a few things:

1) FLG has noticed that he doesn't really need background info or footnotes as much as he did before when reading about ancient history.  For example, while rereading Cicero recently, when he refers to the philosopher, FLG knew from context it was Plato.  Didn't need the footnote.  Likewise, at a couple of points in Gibbon, FLG knew he was referring to Phillip II of Macedon and Alexander as clear as day.   He thinks this means that he's finally getting to the point where he'd always wanted to be, at least vis-a-vis knowledge of the ancients.

2) Look, FLG knows the people over at Wonkblog have some serious Obama love on, but holy fucking shit this was too much:
The more positive spin [for Obama's massive fucking mistakes on Syria and also letting Larry Summer twist in the wind] is that Obama is avoiding a common second-term trap. One problem with the rules around the presidency is that two-term presidents can quickly lose touch with the voters, as they don't have the threat of reelection forcing them to consider public opinion. Obama, however, is choosing, unusually, to create space for public opinion (as channeled through Congress) to enter the process, and he's actually redirecting policy because of it. That's not a lack of leadership. It's change we can believe in.

3) FLG was talking with a former customs agent the other day.  In response to the question, "what was the weirdest thing you caught somebody smuggling into the country?" the former agent said, completely unprompted by FLG mind you, "Hands down...a bunch of pictures a guy had of people having sex with inanimate objects."    "Really?" FLG asked.  "Seems like there'd be way weirder things than that. And is that even ilegal?"   "Oh, there were more disgusting images, videos, etc.  At some level, you just can't help but be revolted by people with tons of images of people shitting on each other.  They're sick fucks and you try to unsee it.  The inanimate objects stuff wasn't revolting, really, more like -- that's fucking weird --what the fuck is wrong with you?    I don't think we charged him with anything, just shook our heads in disbelief."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

American Exceptionalism

Peggy Noonan:
[America is exceptional because it].. is a nation formed not by brute, grunting tribes come together over the fire to consolidate their power and expand their land base, but by people who came from many places. They coalesced around not blood lines but ideals, and they defined, delineated and won their political rights in accordance with ground-breaking Western and Enlightenment thought. That was something new in history, and quite exceptional. We fought a war to win our freedom, won it against the early odds, understood we owed much to God, and moved forward as a people attempting to be worthy of what he'd given us. We had been obliged, and had obligations

Quote of the day

Mark Steyn:

In the Obama era, to modify Teddy Roosevelt, America chatters unceasingly and carries an unbelievably small stick.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Made FLG Chuckle

Friday, September 6, 2013

Protesting

Something people who don't live in Washington might not know is that pretty much every day there is a protest in front of the White House.  They have loud speakers and address there grievances to President Obama, even if everybody knows he's out of the country at the time.  Not to mention that, even if he was there, the Oval Office is on the other side of the building entirely.

If these people got press coverage, then FLG'd understand.  But they never do.  It's not news if it happens every single day.  Instead, it's a therapeutic activity for the participants.  To be completely honest, FLG pretty much feels that way about almost all protesting, but it is especially clear when the person to whom one is trying to address their grievances has no chance of hearing.

If FLG were a dictator he'd keep this in mind.  Let people protest.  If it happens everyday, then the news doesn't cover it, so no real political harm done.  And as far as FLG can tell from the endless stream protesters in front of the White House (or the incessant protests in Paris for that matter) for a lot of people getting outside with a placard and yelling for a few hours about whatever it is that they are upset about is sufficient.  They said their piece and go home.  No subversive plotting.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jawdroppingly Incompetent

FLG is shocked by the President's incompetence and ham-handed handling of the Syria situation.  Look, FLG gets that this is a tricky situation, what with many of the rebels being the worst of two evils, but that's what happen in foreign affairs.  So, not really an excuse.   

It just looks so bad when the POTUS draws a red line and then when one institution after another backs away from supporting him, he goes to the institution that he himself as called dysfunctional for approval.  As a supporter of checks and balances in the Constitution, FLG is happy about this, but you engage Congress way earlier if you want to engage them in foreign policy.  Moreover, it should be part of the overall foreign policy strategy, not some one-off where, after all the prettier girls have said they don't want to dance you ask the homely girl in the corner.

As far as FLG is concerned, Obama is now a lame duck.  Certainly in foreign policy, but perhaps even in domestic affairs as well.
 
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