Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lona, the State of the Economy, Soft Seats

I was trying to figure out if I should comment all over the place, or just post. In the end, I had enough comments that it seemed like a post was called for.

First, I noticed that this comment the other day by Lona

"I don't think Gordon understand that the danger is the unwinding of the derivatives market which has hugely leveraged the mortgages. Today the size of derivatives markets is estimated by the Bank of International Settlements to exceed $109 trillion."

was echoed on the top of the front page of the New York Times today. The difference was that they were saying that perhaps Allan Greenspan, in addition to Gordon, did not correctly understand the dangers; also that perhaps his lack of understanding of the derivatives market may be a big part of the problem now. As I was reading that article I just kept thinking that it was too bad that Lona wasn't talking more to the bankers in high places.

Second, I thought I should interject that while we have recently lost a whole lot of money in the market, I am not planning on eating pigs feet any time soon. That thought brings to mind another good New York times article that I read a while back by Mark Bittman about cutting back on meat where he points out that vegetables actually have more protein by calorie than meat: In the article, he actually does not advocate vegetarianism, but something more like the meat eating that most of the rest of the world does with just as a small amount of meat. I'm pretty sure that most of the readers of this blog don't eat meat. For those that do, I think this might be a better alternative in the lean times than those less choice cuts of meat.
On an unconnected and lighter note: as a follow-up to my recent blog post about two wheel transportation, I highly recommend cruiser bikes. I have a lovely Electra bike (with 7 very useful speeds) that has a seat that is about 1/2 as wide as my bottom and has fabulous springs. I was passed on my way to preschool pickup today by a bunch of people who were riding really fancy uncomfortable looking bikes that had very narrow seats that required expensive looking padded bike pants to ride them. I was thinking about how high on the hog my lifestyle was with the WIDE and SOFT seat. And to reply to Piri's question about what baby bike accessories I recommend, I have a Topeak bike seat for Sofi that I really like Amazon. Matt did a bunch of safety research to determine which option would be the best with my somewhat challenged balancing skills, and determined it is the best choice. Sam still seems happy riding her old Burley trailer, and it is great having all of the storage in there for side trips to the grocery store and elsewhere.


Gordon said...

I'm glad to see you using bikes. I wish I could. The old ticker just isn't up to it for more than a short distance on flat ground.

Gordon said...

Actually, I understand very well the extraordinary condition of the derivatives market and the implications thereof. My blog comments were an attempt to draw a box around it all and predict the net result. Only the judicial system will sort out the financial accounts and who loses.

Emily said...

Hi Gordon,
I'm sure you understand the derivatives market better than I do, I was mainly impressed by the Times story following so closely on the heels of the Lona comment. Hopefully it all turns out OK.

Lona said...

I'll say that everything I learned about the mortgage crisis and derivatives I learned from the blog I like, CalculatedRisk. Both the posts and the comments are great. Everything happening today was totally predicted by commenters on the blog -- except for this one optimist, Sebastian, who seems to have disappeared.

Annie said...

ooh! Emily told me about this blog today and I LOVE it. the only 2 cents I could think of at the moment is this: I started eating a vegan diet at the beginning of the summer, after a shockingly disappointing return to American dairy. it's been a lot cheaper and more satisfying than I had expected, and I feel great. yes, I had to invest in some supplements and I do spend quite a lot more time reading nutrition facts and doing calculations in my head, but I can make a really satisfying, ethically balanced meal for me and my roommates for under $10. the trick is re-thinking your diet to avoid trying to simply replace meat. take cues from cultures that don't have the resources to raise animals and you get a much cheaper veganism. I just make sure I'm not relying too much on (esp. nonorganic) soy, which is just as gross an industry.