Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

It's a peaceful Sunday afternoon in the Skagit Valley, nothing to worry about -- and only six hours until the stock markets open in Asia, and the madness begins again.

A mood assessment of folks around here shows a surprising lack of anger or panic -- more of a numb and shaken feeling that "things are not what they seemed to be." A friend left a phone message on my machine. She said, "Well, I've been fine. I lost a lot of money this week, and I'm going out with a cute guy Sunday evening." Now, this friend holds her money dearly, but I also know her to be determined about keeping a balance in her life.

The conversation about the financial crisis is going on everywhere and all the time. People, at least, are getting very educated about such words as "uptick" and "mark to market," which are understandable terms. But "credit swap derivative" defies common sense understanding -- it was dubious financial products like that which brought the market down.

In the future, we should demand a kind of regulation that goes like this, "If you can't explain it clearly to an intelligent person, then you can't DO it."

QUIETING THE MOB. "Crash" McCain makes a most unreliable leader -- He stirred up his own troops into a mob reaction, and had to publicly quell them by insisting that Obama was a decent man.

But he continues to play the association game. Obama, he says, has associated with Bill Ayers. True. And "Crash" McCain has associated with George Bush. Also true.

Now, who has done more damage to our country -- George Bush or Bill Ayers?

AFTER NOV. 4 WE WILL KNOW. I had a dark vision of John McCain taking the election, but it passed. Let us look at the likely outcome -- Obama wins. Things become more certain. Consider the global financial crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel maintains informal contacts with the Obama campaign to keep him in the loop, as do other world leaders.

But after Nov. 4, she will be speaking directly to President-elect Obama and making plans to resurrect the system (while formally acknowledging that Bush is still President until Jan.20).

AND DON'T FORGET ABOUT HOPE. Obama has downplayed the old charisma thing -- it's not really his job to brighten our days and he simply has too much work to do, but I will tell you a little story about hope and redemption.

I was with a patient at the hospital who was out of sorts and we talked and we watched TV for a while -- it was Larry King interviewing Michelle Obama.

Honoree, a young black nursing aide, came into the room for a minute and began to watch Michelle Obama on the tube. Honoree began to beam with intensity -- I couldn't help noticing. She was too busy to sit down and watch Michelle, but I know she wanted to.

Honoree had told me about her boyfriend the week before. "Oh, he's so cute, and he's so funny," she said. But in talking with her I found out that this "boyfriend" was without a job and living in her apartment for free. I disapproved, I said, I don't care how cute he is, he's taking advantage of you. But she got huffy and said "that's my life, not yours."

So, Honoree won't get the message from me, but she will get it from Michelle Obama -- I'll bet you that. I'll bet you that on or after Nov. 4, when Obama gets elected, Honoree goes home from work and throws that bum out with the trash -- because it's going to be a new day around here.

CORRECTIONS.

In a recent post, I claimed to have no debts. In fact, I have a rather large one, but it is being managed. I also have a significant real estate asset which is larger than the debt. It's not like I'm in great shape or anything, I am just not going into the hole.

Virginia Smith writes from Toronto that she does not care to be referred to as "Ginny" Smith. I went to college with Virginia years ago, at the University of Toronto. She was known as Ginny back then, but not now.

Virginia is about to embark on a flight to Capetown, South Africa -- I hope she has a wonderful time.

And, Simon Bell writes from England "Just letting you know that the 'all American girl' Dusty Springfield, was in fact British" --I had mentioned Dusty Springfield's version of Jacques Brel's classic "Ne Me Quitte Pas" in a recent post.

Thanks to the wonderful readers of Frog Hospital for pointing out these errors.

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