Archive for May, 2012

WoD – Hot and Spicy Mustard

So I was having a sandwich today with a lot of spicy honey mustard on it.  One or two bites had a whole lotta mustard, and the back of my nose started burning a bit.  Wow, hot, I thought. 

Then I thought, what is it about mustard that makes my nose itch and kinda burn?  I didn’t inhale the mustard, I ate it.  So why does my nose twitch and burn a bit, but not my mouth or throat or esophagus?  And then I thought, why do we even refer to this as “hot”?  The mustard or spice isn’t temperature-hot at all.  It’s like we don’t have a good word for the super-spicy food experience, so we refer to them all as “hot.”  In fact, it is really hard to disassociate the word “hot” from our entire spicy food experience – Mexican “hot” sauce, “spicy hot” mustard, “hots” on a hot dog.  Nope, nope, and nope – not actually definitionally hot.  

Maybe we need to invent another English word for a super-spicy food that kind of itches/burns (dang, there it is again!) the back of our nose and sometimes throat.  How about bsimedik?  (kidding.)

Thursday:

BSIMEDIK (sihMEHDik)

Spicy 

Oh man, that mustard was bsimedik!

WoD – The Filled-in Blanks, Part IV

I know the topic of the economy and financial system isn’t everyone’s bag, so I don’t bring up this topic too often.  But with JP Morgan’s announced $2 billion loss on one hedge bet Friday, I thought it worth revisiting this mini email stream from 2-3 years ago just once.  To me, this debacle is a strong example of “The financial system almost collapsed because… of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.”  (I wrote about this back in October, 2009 – thus the Part IV to this WoD).

Banks like JP Morgan should not be allowed to make large, principal bets using other people’s money, when as an entity they are too big to fail, i.e. the taxpayers have to bail them out if/when they get into trouble.  This was what the repeal of Glass-Steagall put in motion.  Full stop.

Banks house people’s money.  (Our deposits are their liabilities.)  They then take managed/measured credit risk lending this to others.  They collect a fee for the difference between what they pay us in interest and what they collect in interest from their loans.  I think we all understand this as a truism, and as what WAS their business model.  Now think of any of the big, money center banks today, and how vastly different they are from this model.

I heard a good quote Friday on this (from Senator Merkley) who said, “If you want to be the head of a hedge fund, be a hedge fund.  Terminate your access to the Fed’s discount window, terminate your access to deposits, and then we have no quarrel.”

Can we put the toothpaste back in the tube?  Probably not.  And it is “only” a $2 billion loss.  But, this is a big enough breakdown that we all should be a bit pissed off by this kind thing, this time around…

Monday:

COCKAMAMIE* (COCKamaymee)

Outrageous, ridiculous

In light of his recent disclosure, Jamie Dimon’s pleas against the Volcker Rule and rants on the ignorance of regulators look a bit cockamamie now.

* I have to be honest, I never realized this was a Yiddish word.  Although given how funny of a word it is, I should have figured it…

WoD – Low T

I heard an ad the other day which had to do with something called Low T.  What the hell is Low T?  Well, it is low testosterone.  It was making the point that low testosterone could lead to various symptoms like: sexual dysfunction, decreased energy, depressed mood, increase in body fat, decrease in bone strength, etc.  So the opposite is true too, i.e. testosterone levels are responsible for these things in a male’s body.  Which got me thinking.

Testosterone.  Prison.

I wonder if anyone has done a study of inmates, to see if they happen to have higher testosterone levels than the “average” man.  I bet they do!

So the next question is, if yes, what should we do about it?  Should we temper testosterone levels with some kind of anti-testosterone drug?  Or maybe only in those that get put in prison?  With this type of thinking, we’re half way to Eunuch-ville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunuch).  Perhaps “society” would be better off…?   But tinkering with testosterone levels might be the ultimate sign of how far we’ve come from neanderthal man (not necessarily good or better, just far…)

Friday:

PISHER (PISHer)

An insignificant person; small, young

What do you know?  You’re just a pisher!   [I heard that one a lot growing up…]

WoD – on Personal Branding

(I wrote this to a few friends, about 15 months ago in fact.  I happened across it, and I realized it is even more relevant today than it was back then.  Also, worth noting is that these questions are answered quite differently by different ages and demographics…)  

Full disclosure — had a big cup of coffee just now. 

Ok, with that out of the way, I was reading an article on online presences/branding and it had a link to this little video.  http://www.personalbranding.tv/personal-branding-make-the-real-virtual/

The vid itself is just ok (actually kind of annoying, but whatever) and likely not too germane for all of us.  But it got me thinking about all these ideas.  Just thinking about all of the *virtual* activity swirling around one offline activity (like a small speaking engagement, as he describes) gives me a massive freaking headache.  And I am sure it does for just about all of you, too.  

Is this really how we are all supposed to do things now in an online, web 2.0 social media world?  Do we really have to manage our “Personal Brand”?  I mean, I don’t want to do ANY of the stuff he talks about.  I don’t want to update Facebook if I do something, or tweet about a good article I read just so I can get others to re-tweet it and boost my online presence, or post comments all over other people’s blogs (and this is the easy stuff), or even try to figure out what Pinterest is all about.  In fact, all this activity seems like a massive waste of time, right?  But, as Tom Cruise says so wonderfully in The Color of Money, “the thing is, if everybody’s doing it… then everybody’s doing it.”

Why does this all matter?  Well, one way is that many of us are or will be in a career transition of sorts at some point in the near future.  Which means that recruiters or HR people or whomever you meet with are likely Googling and Facebooking us.  And everyone is certainly LinkedIn-ing all of us all the time.  On me personally, what they will discover is not a lot.  I am buried on some ancillary pages on Google because many people have my name, my Facebook site is family-oriented and very bare bones, and I don’t tweet.  (I smoked but never inhaled.)  This is all by design.  Even my most outward-facing idea thing — the WoD — I keep private and basically anonymous on the web.  

If we think back, just two or three short years ago there wasn’t even the concept of an online personal brand!  But now, maybe this lack of presence actually hurts?  I think we all now are probably feeling/sensing that on some level we are hurting ourselves by not taking control of and building our own our online personal brand.  So one question in all this is, what is the cost to us individually in NOT doing all this stuff?  

Unfortunately, there is no value placed on being private anymore.  What I mean is, if we decide to be ‘private’ and not post all this stuff, we quickly fade away into the dark, back pages of a Google search.  So a deeper question is, do we have to do all this stuff in order to be at all relevant in this day and age?  Do we have to worry about, establish, and maintain online personal brands (blog creative ideas, tweet about our area of expertise, post our travel online via TripIt, send photos to Instagram, and now Pinterest stuff), if only just to keep pace with the rest of the world?  And if we don’t, are we, or are we perceived to be, old fuddy duddy’s (in other words, irrelevant)…?  

While I understand the value of Facebook, and kinda like the ideas of other social media and inter-connected apps and services, I don’t want to be punished for choosing to be more private and opt out of them.  However, this seems to be the way the world is going.  And I, for one, think it kinda stinks.

So if anyone has good answers to these deep and unsettling questions, let me know.  But please, don’t tweet it.  Email me…

Wednesday:

MISHIGOS  (MISHihgoss)

Madness, insanity, craziness

As my bubbe would have said, “You young people, always posting online or checking your phones for tweets, texts, Facebook updates and Pinterests… it’s all a bunch of mishigos!”



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