Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Night Live

I have to say that Depeche Mode is amazing in live concert. The sound quality is unreal, and the energy the band puts out should be bottled and used as jet fuel. I had a great time! I am going to post a few small items, but not too much hard economics tonight. It is the weekend and i will jump into the entertainment.

GDP Numbers
Friday brought news that GDP only fell 1% in the second quarter, better than the never wrong estimates of -1.5%. Naturally this was seen as just aces, and all was rosy and fine. Zero Hedge has the best take down on the whole thing, and I would point you there. Final summation excerpt:
"..It is a sorry state where the only thing that is propping the world's greatest economy are promises of improvement and confidence games via the traditional media, with hopes of propping up a stock market which has long since ceased to be an indication of economic reality. The convergence between the S&P and the underlying fundamentals is, unfortunately for the administration, inevitable, especially since the government has now single-handedly taken over a key portion of major GDP output industries. Numerous empirical studies, especially from communist block countries, demonstrate just how "effective" the government is, when it decides to get directly involved in running a substantial portion of the economy."

Right on!

Clunker Cash Really Annoys Me
I thought I was about as disgusted as possible when the whole "mortgage modification" process started up. That level of sickness may have been surpassed by the "Cash for Clunkers" program which for some reason has really irked me to no end. A few random thoughts on this program:
-How desperate is the US government to be seen as doing something to help the economy? I mean in an hour they pass a 2 page proposal to restock the program after funding was projected to run out.
-How many cars and buyers really qualify for this? The $4500 is only good if your car is worth less than that, as you get no additional trade in value?
-A side angle I have not seen covered is that seeing that the government is behind this program 100% it is quite probable that banks will rush to make these car loans. Why do you ask? Because when anywhere from 10-30% of these car loans go bad the banks that made them can get the US government to pay them full price because it was their idea in the first place! Think of it as a pre-existing backstop.

Further reading on this topic can be found;
The Automatic Earth
"Its a good idea, but it's wrong"

Mish Shedlock win the "headline of truth award" with:
Free Money Runs Out, Congress Authorizes More

Saturday Night Entertainment
Some items for your amusement for the weekend.

Writing Sample
Recently at a lunch meeting with a good friend of this blogger, I was asked what I would like to do with my life, career, etc. While I imagine I will work in biotech for some time, I was really unprepared for the question. Since then I have tried to think about that more.

I love science, but I have been doing it for some time. I am somewhat limited on the upside because i would need higher degrees to get much further in my field, and I have zero interest in going to school again.

I think being an analyst for stock and market research would be great fun. I would be perfectly suited for pharmaceutical/biotech analysis. My attachment and study of the precious metals may be a good area too. I would never want to manage other people's money however! I am quite good enough at losing my own, no need to help others lose theirs!

When I think about it being a writer would be great. A have a story I have wanted to write since I was in 4th or 5th grade after I drew a sketch of a design I had thought up. The sketch is long lost, but the idea behind it is very wild (to me) and over time I have thought up a whole story around it. It has always been called "the device" in my mind. Life is so busy, I never get to follow through.

Anyways, at the concert last night I was struck by how moved I was by live music. I have not seen a live show in over 8 years! While I was listening to the music, the following words just popped into my head and I wanted to get them down someplace before I forget them. Please bear with my as I submit for your critique a small writing sample:
The drums.
The detail that struck out to me was how very different the drums sound in an open air arena. The sound cannot be matched through the channels of vinyl, tape, CD, or ipod. With every beat the drums came to life, a life of their own. Pumped through mega watt amplifiers, the stretched skin percussion pieces called out a sharp and declarative tone. I closed my eyes and could almost hear an undertow of joy as the drums were set loose upon the air, no longer muted and silenced by a recording that was played back. I even could sense a twinge of anger, anger at being restrained and having their message filtered. No, the drums were awake tonight, and they had plenty to say.

The guitar.
No longer just a sound on a track, the guitar is a muse that must be handled to produce magic. I could hear the hands of the player moving over the neck, I could hear the fingers tapping the frets. Touch a guitar just right, and it may respond with affection. And Respond it did. As each chord was played and sent aloft, it was as if the notes themselves wanted to stay and hear more. I looked skyward and for a moment I could see the aura of the chords as they floated up, but not out. The formed a sort of tapestry for the sounds played just moments before. It seemed as if they wanted an encore unto themselves. I clapped even harder to try and lend them some support.

Remember to be nice, I am very sensitive! And no I was not on any illegal substances!

Rock Blogging
An extended music section is now in order.

Here is the very song that inspired the written section above. Enjoy Depeche Mode and Personal Jesus:


Loyal reader Watchtower requested a song by Queen, Under Pressure, and even provided a link to a wonderful live performance of said song. Only truly great bands/performers can boast that their live shows are as good as or better than the studio albums. Queen, led by Freddie Mercury, clearly makes the cut. Makes my job easy, enjoy:


From the department of "I had no idea who sings this" I love the song Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot but I had no idea who the performer was:


I have featured Bett Midler's classic tune The Rose here before, but I did find a live performance of it that is no less moving and beautiful:


Another band I have seen live and can vouch for their great skill is Radiohead. Please enjoy a live version of Karma Police Super Sweet!:


You may have noticed the all live version theme, lets keep it up with L.A. Guns and Over the Edge, as song I have very recently begun to love:


Last Call!!!

I will close the show with one of the greatest live show bands ever, Iron Maiden. Few crowd energies can match a Maiden show. They will usually open with Aces High, and so we will close with their open:


Have a good night.

16 comments:

getyourselfconnected said...

Post is up!

Remember, be nice about my writing sample, but all feedback is welcomed.

watchtower said...

It sounds as if you had great time and better yet it looks to have inspired you, I'm envious.

The last live performance that I seen was a little over a year ago...Rick Springfield.
My wife was dying to go (me?, not so much at the time) and I relented finally and took her.
One of the best things I've done lately.
Seeing my 41 year old wife dance and scream like when we were teenagers would have been enough but Rick put on a super high energy show, felt like I was intoxicated when we left and not because of the beer or two that I had, but from the raw energy that was unleashed.

Thanks for post tonight and also for the Queen request.

getyourselfconnected said...

Watchtower,
Thanks for the kind words. My wife too was enlivened at the show, and I saw some things I had forgotten about her. Good times.

Please let me know what you think about the writing section, I can take it if its rough!

Lisa said...

"As each chord was played and sent aloft, it was as if the notes themselves wanted to stay and hear more. I looked skyward and for a moment I could see the aura of the chords as they floated up, but not out. The formed a sort of tapestry for the sounds played just moments before. It seemed as if they wanted an encore unto themselves. I clapped even harder to try and lend them some support."

Beautiful.

getyourselfconnected said...

Lisa,
I have communicated my thanks in other channels.

So glad you liked the section. I see words sometimes, and I thought I would share it this time. All the loyal readers I consider friends, but please tell me what you think no matter what. I am exposed here, but I want honest opinions.

getyourselfconnected said...

I am hoping for some more feedback, I would love to see what Kevin thinks! If you stop here Ilargi, I am humbled.

getyourselfconnected said...

Nite all.

Anonymous said...

Gysc,

I found your writing and style to be very good in trying to capture a moment which is fleeting and paint a visual description of the unseen by the sight, only heard by the ears and your interpretation, feeling, and reaction in response to the sounds and the attempt to capture the memory then place it in words for prosperity and other who were not there and never can be at that moment in time which is an impossible task.

Very nice,
Kevin

GawainsGhost said...

Well, as to this cash for clunkers scandal, which is a total scam, if you had an old car that was worth about $500, and the government offered you $4500 for it, wouldn't you take that deal?

I would, or maybe not. I figure my olde truck is worth about maybe $1500. 16 years old, 200,000+ miles. But it runs. Because I spent more money on repairs and maintenance last year than it's worth!

This is because some of the neighborhoods I have to go to are not the places you want to drive a new car around.

A couple of years ago I had to do a price opinion on this house that had been seized by the US Marshals. It was a drug dealer's house about 2 miles north of the Rio Grande. And the US Marshals had stripped it bare, down to exterior walls. If there was any money or drugs in that house, they found it.

So I was out there in the street, taking pictures, and these guys came out of the house behind me with guns! I turned around and they asked in Spanish what I was doing. I told them, "El banko saca lo, y yo vendo lo" (The bank took it, and I sell it). They nodded and went back inside. I finished what I was doing, then went home and changed my underwear.

So I'm not about to sell or trade in the olde truck. If I had been in a new car, those guys would have shot me, stolen it and driven it to Mexico. This I know.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the Depech Mode concert, GYC. I never really got much into them, but they are a good band. One of the bands I really got into in the 80s was Gang of Four. You should look them up. They only put out one LP, titled Entertainment, which is really good, and one EP, but they put on a hell of a show when I saw them in Austin.

As far as writing goes, yeah, it's a romantic pursuit. But the publishing industry sucks. So you're better off blogging, which I think you do a very good job at.

The thing about writing is this. You have to have vision. You have to be able to see things that other people don't see, and then communicate those things with clarity. It's not about fancy words and complex sentence construction. It's about clarity and simplicity. Anything that can be written well can be written clearly and simply. That is what is known as 'finding your voice'.

But it's a struggle. I defer to Hemmingway. "Writing's easy. All you have to do is sit in front of a typewriter and bleed."

getyourselfconnected said...

Kevin,
Thanks, you captured exactly what I was trying to put into words, the "moment in time" when thouse thoughts hit me.

Gawains,
I imagine publishing is as complicated as everything else!

Thanks to all for the feedback. All honest opinions, i would expect nothing less.

Have a great Sunday!

Anonymous said...

GYSC

While the moment was fleeting and time never stops the memory can be with you the rest of your life.

You've nurtured that moment and it will be with you always.

Kevin

CT-Hilltopper said...

Get,

You have captured the moments impeccably.

Depeche has a gift for banging hot live performances. I have dragged friends to their shows kicking and screaming, only to have to drag them out at the end.

I've been to many other shows (Bruce Springsteen, U2...many others) but nothing moves me lime a Depeche Mode concert. Nothing.

I loved your writing sample. I've seen much worse in Rolling Stone, and I'm being serious about that.

Most of anything else I would write would be a repeat of what GawainsGhost wrote above. Especially about what Hemingway said.

You have to put so much of yourself into your writing, that for right now, I find myself editing more out of what I'm trying to blog that I do actual writing, mainly for employment reasons that we have already discussed. You have found a way to remove work from your blogging. I envy you that.

Keep up the good work.

getyourselfconnected said...

Kevin,
That is a fine sentiment, thanks.

CT,
glad you stopped by! It is amazing that my work never comes up here, though I did used to feature DNA base coded puzzles for solutions. Those were fun.

getyourselfconnected said...

OK,
weird story for the day. Why would a crew have scuttled a ship carrying gold and silver when the ship was not really that bad off? Why was a "trawler" carrying such cargo? Why the secret move to Argentina? Plenty od questions, and something tells me there is much more to this tale:

http://tinyurl.com/mc5pev

GawainsGhost said...

Can a country that regularly lies to itself, believes those lies, acts on those lies, ever achieve a sustainable recovery? Good question.

http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/gdp-report-just-plain-wrong/23394

watchtower said...

AP ENTERPRISE: Biggest revenue drop since 1932

"The numbers could hardly be more stark: Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion."

"The last time the government's revenues were this bleak, the year was 1932 in the midst of the Depression."

http://tinyurl.com/kt3bzs

Seemed interesting to me, plus they also have a graph from the 80's to the present.