Friday, December 31, 2004

Video of two MLK's speeches

Let me preface this by saying that the fact that people can (and do) discriminate on color or religion or place of birth is so idiotic as to be laughable if it were not so serious.

So I have been working on my New Year's resolutions and made one of them to learn more about the US Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. I find in mind boggling that it was that recent.

In this attempt I stumbled upon this free video taken from Martin Luther King's Let Freedom Ring Speech and his "I've been to the Mountain Top Speech" in which he essentially predicts his assassination.

For more information and a brief bio of Martin Luther King, check out the King Center's Web Site or the Long Island University site devoted to him.

Just how big was the US Civil War?

From the Most Fearful Ordeal (Original Coverage of the Civial War by the writers and reporters of the NY Times with introduction and notes by James McPherson.

"At least 620,000 soldiers lost their lives from 1861 to 1865, constituting 2% of the American population. If the same percentage of Americans were to die in a war fought today, the number of American dead would be five and one half million." p.vii.

I got looking for WW II deaths and found this very interesting site. While the total number involved in WW II is staggering, as a percentage the death rate for the Civil War is a mind boggling 14.4%! Versus a still staggering 2.5% for WWII.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Walk in The Woods

Bill Bryson's Walk in the Woods is just great. I read it when I was at JMU and now it is every bit as good the second time.

If I ever win a large lottery jackpot (which will be tough given I almost never play the lottery), I will take a semester off and hike the trail.

I do have many hiking links to the AT trail on my hiking page. Here are a few that are specifically related to the AT:
  1. The official page:
  2. is an excellent persoanl page
  3. also has a good site
Happy trails :)

BTW I really like Bryson's books. I think I have ristened to four of them now (in order of preference):

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Very possibly my favorite book of 2004!! Grant Comes East Books: Grant Comes East

SO SO SO good! Great story, great history (well except that it is not true). The writing itself reminds me of another of my favorite books: Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy.

Yes, it is the second book in the series. Gettysburg is the first. And while top ten for the year, it is not as good as this one!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Yahoo! News - Mobile Phone Radiation Harms DNA, New Study Finds

Yahoo! News - Mobile Phone Radiation Harms DNA, New Study Finds: "Radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells and damage DNA in laboratory conditions, according to a new study majority-funded by the Euroean Union (news - web sites), researchers said on Monday"

Uh, oh!!!! A reason to hold on to the old landline!

"The radiation used in the study was at levels between a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of between 0.3 and 2 watts per kilogram. Most phones emit radio signals at SAR levels of between 0.5 and 1 W/kg. "

"Adlkofer advised against the use of a mobile phone when an alternative fixed line phone was available, and recommended the use of a headset connected to a cellphone whenever possible.

"We don't want to create a panic, but it is good to take precautions," he said, adding that additional research could take another four or five years"

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Quotes and ideas from The Other 90% By Robert K Cooper

Just finished The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life. It is by Robert K. Cooper. It was pretty good. Maybe a bit too "touchy feely" for me, and a quite a bit of it is common sense, but still it does offer quite a bit of good advice and is interesting enough to hold my attention to the finish.

It did have some really cool quotes/ideas:
  • "Deep within humans dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish them"--Orison Marden
  • Don't Compete, Excel (p 31)
  • In excelling you save time and energy that would have been spent comparing yourself to others and fighting others, and you apply that time to being your best. (p 33)
  • Take strategic pauses and Essential Breaks (p 73)
  • "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself"--Ralph Waldo Emerson (p 122)
  • Die young as late as possible (p 172)
  • Champion Lost Causes (Chapter 18, p 180)
  • "Nearly everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world. A few do not." Join them--Arthur Schopenhauer (p 187)
  • Don't take things personally; someone's always going to be mad at you, and that's ok. (p 235)
  • Care more than you have to (p 258)

Well after looking back over the book to make this entry, I guess I liked it better than I thought :) That said, I still maintain most of it is common sense, but just ask any good coach, it is always good to practice the basic fundamentals.

If I had to categorize it, it is sort of a cross between Anthony Roberts and Stephen Covey with some yoga breathing thrown in.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Text to audio!

One of my favorite things to do is to risten to a book. So when this website was pointed out to me, obviously I was thrilled!
href="">TTS Builder Kit

You can now listen to any thing that you have in a text format!!! How cool is that? Talk about multi-tasking!!!

BTW it is also useful for editing your own writing! Risten to it and you will be amazed at how it sounds!

I am toying with adding some speech to my websites. On one hand it would be really cool. ON the other hand might get annoying. What do you think? Let me know!

Friday, December 10, 2004

How do you think?

A pretty cool quiz to see what type of thinker you are. It suggested I should be a teacher, writer, or journalist (so i guess it was eitehr lucky or good)...actually the questions sort of imply that. But hey, its fun and fast...

Monday, December 06, 2004

the next time you are feeling sorry for yourself

The next time you are feeling sorry for yourself!
wow...Kyle Maynard Official Website - Inspirational wrestler from Georgia Kyle MaynardThe next time you find yourself feeling down or sorry for yourself, check this site out...He was on CNN (Larry King Show). Absolutely amazing!

Yeah, I know it is also on my finance class page...if you are upset about it, it is obvious you have not clicked through... go through... ;)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Concentration camp of Birkenau - List

Concentration camp of Birkenau - List

I just got done watching Band of Brothers on the History Channel. Coupled with my recent visit to the D-Day museum in New Orleans, and I felt I had to write something on WWII and the concentration camps. I know I have said it before, but HOW HOW HOW could it happen???

WHen people say they do not like history, I think they are nuts. How can you not be moved when you see what people had to go through. As as is written all over the WW II museum in ELdred PA:

George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

BTW if you are near Olean, I highly recommend going to the WWII museum in Eldred PA. For being in the middle of "no where" it is excellent!! Indeed, plan on spending several hours there. It is seriously almost as good as the D-day Museum and virtually FREE!!!! (I say virtually as I am sure you will want to donate something!)

Gregg Easterbrook

If there is a better writer on football than Gregg Easterbrook, I sure do not know of him/her! You have to check out his Tuesday AM QB. For instance from the past two weeks articles:

From November 30:
  • And in other NFL news, this column is 7,665 words. Tuesday Morning Quarterback averages 7,500 words -- not only the longest column in sports but the longest column anywhere, period. And the longest column anywhere appears on, not in the New York Review of Books! Even, however, in a 7,665-word column, space constraints prohibit me from discussing all the scoring plays in the Cleveland-Cincinnati game. [actually, my old newsletter used to be longer]
  • Stats of the Week No. 4 Carolina has won three straight, Buffalo has won five of its last seven -- and both still have losing records
  • Stats of the Week No. 7 Priest Holmes has not played in three weeks, and still has more touchdowns than the entire Washington Redskins.
and on Brett Favre:

TMQ Proposes a Moratorium on Praising Brett Favre

Brett Favre is a fabulous player and a lot of fun to watch. Green Bay is a favorite team of yours truly: Not long ago I wrote in this space, "If TMQ were arriving on Earth aboard an alien starcruiser, after checking out the NFL, I'd pick the Packers as my team to love." But enough, already, with the media worship of Favre. First, he's not a "hero," nor is any professional athlete a hero for accepting millions of dollars to chase a ball. Heroism requires risk and sacrifice in a larger cause; heroism is, for example, volunteering to serve in Afghanistan. Second, while Favre performs very well, he's also benefiting himself in the process, through pay and by acquiring the prominence that brings his endorsement income. There's nothing wrong with earning high income or achieving celebrity, but the media suggestion that Favre is some kind of simple country boy motivated solely by love of sport actually sells him short: He's shown a sophisticated understanding of how to manipulate the modern media. Hagiography of Favre is now excessive, and may even backfire by making people sick of him. Favre is a charming guy who plays football really well. It is enough to say that, and save our hero-worship for those who act in service to others.

From November 23:

  • By endlessly repeating video footage of the juvenile-delinquent behavior of the Indiana Pacers, cable news is making it seem that violent pandemonium is a common occurrence at games. But actually, fighting at American sports events is quite rare.
  • In NFL news, Peyton Manning is on a pace to cure cancer, complete the "grand unification" equations of physics and bring peace to the Middle East.
  • <>Stats of the Week Tony Dorsett began Sunday ranked fifth on the NFL all-time rushing list and finished Sunday as seventh, passed by Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin on the same day.
  • Stats of the Week No. 10 Priest Holmes has not played in two weeks and still has more touchdowns than two entire teams, Washington and Miami.

He also has a book out, which I just got. I will let you know how it is. The basic premise is that times are good and people just do not have a longer range perspective AND like to complain.

Marv Levy's book

The Buffalo News has been publishing selections from Marv Levy's new Autobiography entitled Where Else Would You Rather Be? It seems pretty good and NOTHING like any other NFL coach I have ever read about!

For instance from the first installment:

"The ball rose, twirling end over end into the balmy Florida night sky. Forty-seven yards away from where it had been launched, the goal posts beckoned. An eerie silence descended on the packed stadium as the eyes of more than 70,000
people followed the solitary missile on its lonely journey. Elsewhere, in front of television sets throughout the world, millions of enthralled viewers joined in the vigil.

Standing just outside the perimeter of the playing field, I too, mouth agape, gazed transfixed as the ball's flight reached its apex and then continued hurtling toward the uprights' outstretched arms."

Of course he is talking about the infamous "Wide Right" kick. A kick that had it gone through "the upright's outstreched arms" would have won the Bills a Super Bowl.

(Interesting trivia: Scott Norwood, the unlucky kicker who will be forever mentioned in conjunction with the kick, is a JMU grad!)

Levy really is one of the more interesting people you will ever hear speak.
Some of his quotes are great!

He is an out spoken opponet of hunting. His famous line on why he dislikes hunting is:
"When I was twelve, I went hunting with my father and we shot a bird. He was laying there and something struck me. Why do we call this fun to kill this creature who was as happy as I was when I woke up this morning."

When looking for the quote, I stumbled upon this old article by Vic Carucci on Levy.

I can not wait to read his book. I wish it were out on CD (unabridged). Actually I really wish he would read it himself on CD!

Quotes of the week

One thing that I have missed sharing in the absence of recent newsletters, is quotes that I like. So this is the perfect place to do that!
  • "Dripping water hollows out rocks"--Ovid
  • "I do the very best I know how--the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing it until the end"--Abraham Lincoln
  • "If you want to be good, make your teammates the best they can be"--Wally Szerbiak's father
  • "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."--Margaret Mead as quoted in When Fish Fly
  • "Do you listen to make a difference, or do you listen to defend yourself?"--John Yokoyama in When Fish Fly
  • "It's a simple formula; do your best and somebody might like it"--Dorthy Baker as quoted in The Book of Positive Quotations.

FTR I liked When Fish Fly so much I purchased 10 copies for people at our store!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Wisdom of Crowds

The Wisdom of Crowds

I am ristening to the Wisdom of Crowds. Great book. Very interesting and full of very cool examples. The basic idea is that when allowed to work, markets do an excellent job of "getting it right." The "it" can be anything from the weight of a pig to the value of a stock, to who will win an election. I really like it! The review from Amazon sums it up nicely:
"If four basic conditions are met, a crowd's "collective intelligence" will produce better outcomes than a small group of experts, Surowiecki says, even if members of the crowd don't know all the facts or choose, individually, to act irrationally. "Wise crowds" need (1) diversity of opinion; (2) independence of members from one another; (3) decentralization; and (4) a good method for aggregating opinions. The diversity brings in different information;independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader; people'serrors balance each other out; and including all opinions guarantees that the results are "smarter" than if a single expert had been in charge. Surowiecki's style is pleasantly informal, a tactical disguise for what might otherwise be rather dense material. He offers a great introduction to applied behavioral economics and game theory."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

As a personal note, if you teach economics or finance, you probably do want the book for the cool examples if nothing else!


Also for the new readers: Risten is my word for listing to audio books. I do it all the time!

Why another blog?

"Why another blog? You already have three!"

Good question! Two answers:

1. Because I have had a few (ok, so 2) people tell me that since the FinanceProfessor blog has largely replaced the newsletter format, they have missed seeing what I was reading. So for some time I have planned on doing a "what I am reading/ristening blog.
2. Because the other blogs (FinanceProfessorblog, FinanceClass, and ParkandShop) are all work related. And while I allow myself some flexibilty on all of them, I do feel somewhat guilty as many people do not want to read about things other than the stated purpose of the blog.

So this is that opportunity for me to showcase things outside of academia and grocery stores. It is not finance-oriented per se, but obviously will have much finance content. Moreover, it will give me (and by extension you) more flexibility to just "hang-out".

Any topic of interest is fair game. Some of which you might find fascinating, and some things you may find boring.

If I were to do it on the financeprofessorblog, I would feel bad. However, on here, that is what you should expect. So it is really just a way that I can keep in touch with many of you. And BY all means, feel free/obligated to post comments or send me things you want to include.

So this desire to stay in contact, coupled with the fact that I like to write (helps me to organize my thoughts), and is good for archival purposes, I decided to start yet another blog.

Hang on, here we go