Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

Taken about 0530 31Aug2012
Once in a Blue Moon is now!

A blue moon can refer to either the third full moon in a season with four full moons, or the second full moon in a month.[
Two full moons in one month:[
  • 2009: December 2, December 31 (partial lunar eclipse visible in some parts of the world), only in time zones west of UTC+05.
  • 2010: January 1 (partial lunar eclipse), January 30, only in time zones east of UTC+04:30.
  • 2010: March 1, March 30, only in time zones east of UTC+07.
  • 2012: August 2, August 31, only in time zones west of UTC+08.
  • 2015: July 2, July 31 

I'm not sure I ever knew what a Blue Moon was until I watched a "Pretender" TV episode a few years ago.  They used the 2 full moons in a month definition.

So this is the day to do all those things that you only do once in a Blue Moon!  Plus either now or wait funtil 2015.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tactical Error

This morning I made a tactical error.  Our dog was up and roaming around ( at 0400), so I got up and did morning stuff (went to the bathroom and since it was Thursday I gathered the garbage )  and got ready to take the dog out.  Since if he is up and about it is a good idea to get him outside before tragedy strikes.

But he tricked me!  He went back to sleep and was not about to get up for a walk.  So I fooled around for a while and tried again, failure yet again.

Eventually after being up for over a hour, he got up and we went on the walk .

********

I am ready to give up on the Tigers.  How can they lose to KC twice, with Verlander giving them 7 or so runs and then not scoring in the next game.  The White Sox were even losing 2 in a row, but won yesterday.

I had high hopes for them at the beginning of the season, but now I am looking forward to football, Go Lions ( I have trouble spelling "ion" words like Lions)!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dead Voting


Americans will fight and die for democracy, but when it comes to the actual business of elections, stuffed ballot boxes and cemetery voters are the subject of jokes more than outrage — though a democracy in which elections are decided by fraudulent votes created by corrupt politicians is no democracy at all.
That contradiction is the subject of “Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk,” by journalist John Fund and former Justice Department attorney Hans von Spakovsky.
For all the national outrage about “hanging chads” and the like back in 2000, very little has been done since to improve the reliability of our system for registering and identifying voters, and recording and counting votes. In some ways, in fact, we’ve moved backward.
An ideal voting system would:
* Make it easy for voters to register.
* Positively ensure that voters were who they said they were.
* Make certain that no one could vote more than once.
* And guarantee that votes properly cast would be properly recorded, while making the recording of fraudulent votes impossible.
Unfortunately, no such system exists — and the ones we have are far from the best available.
Current voter-registration systems are flawed, with huge numbers of dead or disqualified voters still on the rolls. And, since voter-ID enforcement is poor, in many places a person can simply claim to be one of those people and vote in their name with no one the wiser.
(Sometimes it’s worse than that — one voting-rights activist, a twentysomething white guy with a pony tail in Washington, DC, managed to get a ballot in Attorney General Eric Holder’s name.)
You might call our system “Third World,” but that would be an insult to the Third World. As Fund and von Spakovsky note, to register to vote in Mexico a voter must provide a photo, a signature and a thumbprint. The Mexican voter-registration card includes holographic security, a magnetic code and a serial number. Before voting, voters have to show the card and have the thumbprints matched by a scanner.
Similar safeguards apply in many other countries, along with simple precautions to prevent repeat voting (remember those Iraqis with purple thumbs?) that America lacks.
In the United States, meanwhile, only 17 states even require identification in order to vote. Holder & Co., claim that requiring photo ID would be racist, because getting a driver’s license, etc., costs money. This claim has consistently been rejected by courts, and with good reason: If requiring photo ID to vote is racist, then what about requiring photo ID to exercise other constitutional rights, like buying a gun?
Of course, the real objection to requiring voter ID isn’t based in civil rights, but in civil wrongs. With elections often decided by narrow margins, the ability to produce a few thousand more ballots can often swing the results. (In Minnesota’s 2008 disputed US Senate election, won by Al Franken — who proceeded to cast the deciding vote in favor of ObamaCare — the margin of victory was 312, but it turned out that 1,099 votes were cast by felons who were ineligible to vote. Many of them have gone to jail, but Franken has remained in the Senate).
Voter ID makes that kind of trickery harder, which is why political manipulators oppose it.
Voters understand this. According to a Washington Post poll taken earlier this month, 74 percent of Americans support laws requiring voters to show photo identification.
The irony is that it is precisely the people who Eric Holder et al. purport to speak for — poor, often black, inner-city residents — who suffer the most from voter fraud.
Many of America’s largest and worst-governed cities suffer from entrenched and corrupt political machines that maintain their position in no small part via voter fraud. Corrupt machines (like that of Detroit’s disgraced ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) siphon off money that should go to essential services and instead divert it to political fatcats and their supporters. Efforts at reform are often defeated with fraudulent votes.
As we approach a presidential election that may prove to be as close as 2000’s, Fund and von Spakovsky’s book is a wake-up call. If democracy in America is to survive, something must be done. Will we do it?
Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee; his new book is “The Higher Education Bubble.”
(http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/dead_voters_dying_democracy_mZiteqXrMHygrJhVFYOTxL)

I good article (IMHO) about the dead stealing elections.  Many are against voter ID since it is sooo hard to get ID.  Must not be many drivers or people flying or buying things!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cutting the Grass

As I said one of the few advantages of the drought was that the grass did not need cutting.  Since we have had some rain in the last few weeks our grass is growing (or rather the weeds since they are tougher than what little grass we have).

Whenever I cut the grass, I fill the gas in the lawnmower to the top. Except when I am low on gas (like today) when I just put whatever is in the gas can.   When I cut the grass, I spend at least 2 days doing it.

With a full tank of gas the lawnmower will cut about 1/2 to 4/7  of the lawn.  Today since there was not much gas I figures I could start the back and be done in 30 minutes or so, but the gas kept lasting and lasting so I got most of the back, most of the side and started on the front.

I find that the gas outlives my ambition most times.  I feel that I have cut enough and want the gas to run out but it doesn't!  Today I got about an hour's worth of cutting, which is the amount I get with a full tank.

You might think that I could just stop cutting when I'm tired, but if I don't use the gas up it will evaporate in the lawnmower gas tank and the gas would be wasted.  And as I have mentioned once or twice, I am cheap and hate to waste anything that costs about $4 per gallon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Self than Others

At the beginning of our worship service we have a confession which reads in part:
"We have thought better of ourselves than others".

I'm not sure what it means.  If it said "treat" better, I would understand it better and I would definitely be guilty except for my LW and certain other family.

Does it mean that I think I am smarter than others?  If so I guess I am guilty except for my LW and kids and grandkids and certain other people.

Does it mean that I took care of myself better than I did others? Guilty except maybe my LW.

Does it mean that I respect my opinion better than others?  In general, I am guilty especially politically (with some exceptions).

In my opinion, it is difficult to act as a Christian as Jesus wants us to.  This is why at the beginning of the service we confess and ask for forgiveness.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Front Row

Luke 14  When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Then there was the famous Bob Uecker quote that he must be seated in the froonnt roow.

Usually we sit in one of the front rows at Church.  At Church, it seems that the most coveted seats are in the back.  I figure if we don't sit in the front, the congregation would be further and further back in the Church.  I was thinking that maybe they were following the Lord's advise in the above Bible passages or maybe they are trying to get further away from the Pastor so they can sleep easier!  Whereas, I think maybe we are taking the less popular seats.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

1995

I just thought this was a clever cartoon!

There are some very important years in my life.  1968, 1970, 1973, 1986, 2001.  But one year stands out (at least it did this morning on the dog walk- many of my blog ideas come from the dog walk) - 1995.

In 1995, both of my older children got married to some wonderful people and I "retired."

The kids got married 2 weeks apart (we almost got into a car accident on the way to my son/s rehearsal picnic but other then that it was actually great fun).  So if I remember one of the dates, I can figure out the other.  Since our marriage was in August, I tend to remember my daughter's date first (which is good since it comes first).

I "retired" in 1995 because I had a 1 1/2 to 2 hour commute to my job and it was "killing" me.  Plus since the kids were married, we had fewer dependents and we could get along on our reduced income easier.

So 1995 was a great year which led to 5 grand children and less stress.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Saving

On Monday, we bicycled to Kohls in Kenosha (about 28 miles total).  This time, we actually went the way Google Maps told us to go (unlike the first time when I had 2 routes to different places and inadvertently combined them) .  I like bicycling in WI, Kenosha has bike lanes on many roads that we used plus the bike trail is blacktopped in WI (unlike IL where it is a fine dust).

But the next to last road was under construction and we used the sidewalk for a few blocks.  Another road crossing a busy highway does not recognize bikes so it doesn't change without a car at the light.

Kohls often sends me $10 off cards and often gives 15 or 20% off codes or a form that can be printed to use at the store.  We bought about $100 worth of stuff (a sport coat, a shirt, a tie, and some leggings & top for my LW).  I used the printed form and a $10 off card.  The total that we "saved" was $208.  The coat, tie & shirt were all on clearance , e.g.,so the coat was $180 originally but only about $50 on clearence.  They also gave us 3 instant game tickets and $10 Kohls cash.

This reminds me of the ads that say "spend more save more.".  Plus the cashier said if I spent another $3 I would one more instant game and another $10 Kohls cash.  Saving more is OK,but the best way is to not buy anything not MORE!

Another thing I was thinking about was that now a days it is cheaper to buy another item instead of repairing it.  That was not the way it was when I was younger!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Government Overreach



Sometimes I think government just makes rules to make rules.  I would think that a birthday party at a farm would be OK!  My LW grew up on a farm, I hope they don't come after her for enjoying parties!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beer and Women

“Honey, get me a beer,” might be said more by women than previously thought.
A study presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association on Saturday found that married women drink more than previously married women, but married men drink less than previously married men.
Additionally, several women in the study said they did not drink alcohol at all until they met or married their husbands.
(http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/08/20/marriage-means-more-drinking-for-women-less-for-men/)


Assuming people are honest about their drinking, America’s imbibing is holding steady, with the 66% who say they indulge averaging 4.2 drinks a week, according to the latest Gallup survey. A year ago, the same poll found 64% of Americans imbibed at an average of 4.1 drinks a week.
The Princeton, N.J.-based Gallup organization said beer was America’s favorite alcoholic beverage, with 39% of drinkers saying that was what they drank most often. Wine was next at 35% and liquor third at 22%.  ....
The polling organization said 12% reported having eight or more drinks in the past week and 22% of those who drink said they sometimes drink too much — up from 17% last year.
Gallup said the number of people admitting they sometimes drink too much peaked at 35% in the late 1980s.  ....
•Men drink more than women; male drinkers report downing an average 6.2 alcoholic beverages per week, compared to 2.2 for women. And nearly three in 10 males admit to sometimes drinking more than they should, compared to just 14% of women drinkers.
•Men aged 18-49 are the heaviest drinkers and any age or gender group. 70% of whites acknowledging drinking alcohol, compared to 57% of non-whites.
•55% of men prefer beer as their drink; 52% of women say they most often drink wine. Geographically, Midwest drinkers prefer beer, while wine is most popular on the East Coast.
(http://www.freep.com/article/20120820/FEATURES01/120820032/Gallup-poll-American-drinking-habits-men-women)

Since my son is into beer brewing and I heard a podcast from the Wall Street Journal that beer manufacturers are looking to get more women to drink beer so that the sales would increase, I googled women and beer and got the above articles.

It is intersting (to me) that women drink more when they get married or go out with men.  I guess we are difficult to live with without something to dull their senses.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Directionless

I am directionally challenged.  In general, whichever direction I am actually facing I think I am facing north.  This is not all that helpful when going places.

On the trip to CO, twice (even with the GPS on) I made wrongs turns. The first time, I was trying to get to an interstate.  My GPS was upset,but sent me thru Rockford and routed us past the Clock Tower and down a couple other streets and eventually got us to the appropriate interstate.

The second time was my not believing my GPS, when it told me to exit onto I~55 I for some reason didn't believe it, for some reason I thought I was supposed to stay on I-80.  Of course, this allowed me go on some streets that timed their lights to allow us to stop at everyone just as we got to it.  Eventually we got to I-55 and exited where we wanted.

Next we wanted to get on I-290 so we could pickup our dog.  The GPS told us to enter on Lake Street, even though I usually got on from another road.  I decided to believe the GPS.  Of course, this was a mistake.  The road between my route and LS was down to one lane and we got to wait and  the rest of the road was that grooved road prior to paving ( I was lucky they hadn't put down the oil).

The rest of the trip went well and we got home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

More intersting Videos




 Too white choir not welcome at Atlanta Symphony. (http://bcove.me/8vf4ifub)


A government report released August 2nd says that thousands of people earning a million dollars in income have also received unemployment benefits within the same year.
CNSNews revealed the Congressional Research Services report which was based on IRS data. A summary page in the report states "a small percentage (approximately 0.02%) of tax filers receiving unemployment benefit income had AGI of $1 million or more in tax year 2009 based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data." A chart translates that percentage into 2,362 individuals.

Even more striking is the total of money paid out to millionaires: $20.8 million in 2009 alone. For those making between half a million and one million, UI paid out an additional $74.9 million in 2009.

I guess everyone wants those government "benefits."


DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Has it come to this? Yes it has, according to Joan McKenna, whose son Tim McKenna, 19, was shot while delivering pizza in Detroit.
In the wake of the shooting, a Jets Pizza franchise in Dearborn ruled it will no longer deliver to Detroit after dark. Before the shooting, they sent two drivers to every nighttime Detroit delivery, one of whom was armed, Joan McKenna said.
“They usually send somebody with a guy … who carries a gun,” she said. “Usually they have two go into Detroit after dark, if they have a delivery … One guy has a legal, he can carry a gun.  That night, Timmy was the only one left, they had this one run to do, he said ‘yeah, I’ll do it.’ He’s a kid, he doesn’t think anything’s going to happen to him.”
Tim McKenna was shot in the ribs, and the bullet hit a lung, but he survived and plans to return in the fall to Adrian College, where he plays football. Pizza delivery was his summer job.
Her son had about $35 on him, which is what the drivers carry, McKenna said.

I used to live near Detroit and am glad I don't anymore.

Mishmash >= 5

Hot weather and me do not work well together.  Most of July was extremely hot (IMO) and it was horrible.  But this month, so far, it has been wonderful.  The highs are in the 70's and the lows in the 50's.  This weather is great for biking or even walking the poor (fur covered) dog.

When we were in CO, the temperatures were in the high 80's or low 90's, but I didn't notice being extremely hot.  I guess low humidity really helps!  Plus the A/C helped too!

*****

It is getting close to starting to sing again.  The Swedish Glee Club starts on 5Sep and choir practice starts pretty soon too.  I like singing in both groups.  Plus when the choir sings we wear robes and I don't have to worry about what I wear to Church.

I am not a great singer, but I try.  It seems that choirs and Glee Clubs are getting smaller.  As Nancy Borkman says less singing in schools and Churches just singing in unison means less people to sing in organized groups.

****

It looks like Facebook has converted my Facebook page to the timeline format.  With most people I know and most critical review, I don't like it.  Why must organizations change things for change sake?

My Swedish Glee Club page has been changed for a while, but not my personal page until today.

*****

It is hard to believe that my little girl has been married 17 years.  It was just yesterday or the day before that she was born?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Parenting

Every time I visit my kids, I am pleased to see what good parents they are.

They have different styles but their kids are getting excellent parenting from them (my kids include my in-law son & daughter).

We have not been to visit the CO kids for what seems like a long time.  We have seen them at visits with my WI kids, but not alone for a while.

The two boys are very well behaved (in general as no one is perfect) and they play well together.  The parents show that they love them and care for them.

I wish I could take more credit for their parenting abilities, but my LW is a great parent and raised them well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

GM losing?


President Obama is proud of his bailout of General Motors.  That’s good, because, if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again.  The company is once again losing market share, and it seems unable to develop products that are truly competitive in the U.S. market.
Right now, the federal government owns 500,000,000 shares of GM, or about 26% of the company.  It would need to get about $53.00/share for these to break even on the bailout, but the stock closed at only $20.21/share on Tuesday.  This left the government holding $10.1 billion worth of stock, and sitting on an unrealized loss of $16.4 billion.
Right now, the government’s GM stock is worth about 39% less than it was on November 17, 2010, when the company went public at $33.00/share.  However, during the intervening time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen by almost 20%, so GM shares have lost 49% of their value relative to the Dow.
It’s doubtful that the Obama administration would attempt to sell off the government’s massive position in GM while the stock price is falling.  It would be too embarrassing politically.  Accordingly, if GM shares continue to decline, it is likely that Obama would ride the stock down to zero.
GM is unlikely to hit the wall before the election, but, given current trends, the company could easily do so again before the end of a second Obama term.
In the 1960s, GM averaged a 48.3% share of the U.S. car and truck market.  For the first 7 months of 2012, their market share was 18.0%, down from 20.0% for the same period in 2011.  With a loss of market share comes a loss of relative cost-competitiveness.  There is only so much market share that GM can lose before it would no longer have the resources to attempt to recover.
(http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiswoodhill/2012/08/15/general-motors-is-headed-for-bankruptcy-again/ )

I knew that the Obama mandated Chevy Volt was a disaster (too expensive, some battery problems leading to fire, etc.), but I thought that they were doing OK with others of their cars.  Since they screwed the stockholders (which we were) and bond holders (fortunately we were not)  of the old GM, we will not buy any GM products until they are no longer ObamaMotors.

Friday, August 17, 2012

44 years!



Last Friday my LW and I celebrated our 44th anniversary.  We were in CO to visit the kids and grandkids, and our celebration was eating at Chick-Fil-A for the first time.

You can see why I LOVE her, she puts up with me!

PA voter ID law


In a ruling with implications for the presidential race, a judge on Wednesday rejected an effort by civil rights groups to block Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law, legislation that Republicans say is needed to prevent fraud at the polls this fall.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson, a Republican, rejected the complaint that sought an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect. The measure, approved by the Republican-controlled legislature this spring, requires voters to show a state-approved photo ID such as a driver’s license in order to vote.
While not ruling on the merits, the judge said in a 70-page decision that the law’s provisions “are neutral and nondiscriminatory and apply uniformly to all voters.”
“The statute simply gives poll workers another tool to verify that the person voting is who they claim to be,” the court said. ....

The Pennsylvania court relied in part on a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a similar photo-ID law in Indiana. Judge Simpson said the Pennsylvania law’s photo-ID requirement is “reasonable … when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life.”
“The Commonwealth’s asserted interest in protecting public confidence in elections is a relevant and legitimate state interest sufficiently weighty to justify the burden,” the judge wrote.
(http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/aug/15/judge-upholds-tough-pa-voter-id-law/)

A friend on Facebook was very upset with this decision. She said that it would suppress the vote and those rat (my word) Republicans.

Well it will suppress the illegal alien, dead people, and multiple voting population at least.  I personally do not know anyone who does not have a photo ID.  I had to show one to confirm I was the person who made a motel reservation.  When flying you need ID, to buy certain drugs, to buy liquor, etc..

I hope now that certain elections (WA governor and MN senate races) will not be stolen and that my 1 vote is not a fractional vote anymore.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

CO visit


The first expedition was to Eldorado Canyon where we hiked a little, here are all of the others climbing to the road.


The next day we went to the Golden CO Railroad museum.  A great place for kids and adults alike.



The last day we went to the Denver Nature and Science museum.

A short but fun visit, we were even able to see the WI grandkids for a short period before they had to leave for a funeral.

The car drive to and fro took about 17-18 hours each and we stayed in motels both ways, probably we won't do it in only one day any more.

All the iPad pictures are on my Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/douglas.shepard.92?sk=wall.

Het Girl




I found these cute cartoons on http://heygirlitspaulryan.tumblr.com/ . It is an intersting contrast to VP Biden who seems at times like a buffoon.  I like the humor which is a much different image then the  dems are trying to slander him with,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pol Ad


Isn't it intersting how the truth doesn't get into anyone's political ads?  This , of course, is about a dishonest Obama ad (since I am far right, I chose an Obama ad to demonstrate this).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Obama app


Curious how many Democrats live on your block? Just download the Obama campaign's new mobile app.
The app, released last week, includes a Google map for canvassers that recognizes your current location and marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags.
Interactive Features
For each targeted address, the app displays the first name, age and gender of the voter or voters who live there: "Lori C., 58 F, Democrat."
All this is public information, which campaigns have long given to volunteers. But you no longer have to schedule a visit to a field office and wait for a staffer to hand you a clipboard and a printed-out list of addresses.
With the Obama app, getting a glimpse of your neighbor's political affiliation can take seconds.
While The New York Times dubbed the app "the science-fiction dream of political operatives," some of the voters who appear in the app are less enthusiastic about it.
"I do think it's something useful for them, but it's also creepy," said Lori Carena, 58, a long-time Brooklyn resident, when she was shown the app. "My neighbors across the street can know that I'm a Democrat. I'm not sure I like that." ....

 Shaun Dakin, a voter privacy advocate and longtime critic of political robocalling, flagged the Obama app last week as a "total privacy fail."
Dakin, who criticized the Obama campaign's 2008 Neighbor to Neighbor program on similar grounds, said voters should have the right to opt out of being contacted by political campaigns.

He also questioned why the Obama app included the ages of nearby voters, another piece of information that people might not want to have made public.  (
http://www.propublica.org/article/is-your-neighbor-a-democrat-obama-has-an-app-for-that
 )




I didn't realize that that information was available anywhere let alone on a mobile app, glad I'm not a registered democrat!




Friday, August 3, 2012

Pols





How kind of PO to tell us how to donate to his campaign.  Please don't do it!   

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big Mac

I don'r eat Big Macs since I don't like the "Special Sauce."  In one of my newsletters (email type) I ran across the Big Mac index!


For the 26th year running, The Economist magazine has just published its famed Big Mac Index -- a tongue-and-cheek way of measuring purchasing power parity (PPP) -- that is, the relative over and undervaluation of the world's currencies.
According to the theory of purchasing power parity, a dollar should buy the same amount of the same good across all countries. As a result, in the long run, the exchange rate between two countries should move towards the rate that equalizes the prices of an identical basket of goods and services in each country.
By comparing the cost of Big Macs -- a fast-food hamburger sold in about 120 
countries -- the Big Mac Index calculates the exchange rate (the Big Mac PPP) that would result in hamburgers costing the same in the United States as they do abroad. Compare the Big Mac PPP to the market exchange rates, and voilĂ !... you see which currencies are under or overvalued.
For an indicator that was as much a product of English humor as it was serious economic design, it's surprising how seriously some academics and governments now take the Big Mac Index. In Argentina, the Secretary of Commerce actually regulates the price of Big Macs -- just so Argentina looks better in the annual index. But the Big Mac Index also provides a snapshot of U.S. inflation versus official government statistics. The price of a Big Mac in the United States today is 16% higher than it was in 2010. Yet the official increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was a fraction of that.    ....
As a group, the Scandinavian currencies have always been the most overvalued currencies in the world. A Big Mac in Oslo, Norway, last year cost you twice as much as in the United States. Today, it's only 63% more expensive. Four years ago, the euro was overvalued by a massive 50%, compared to the U.S. dollar. Today, the euro is trading right at PPP. Last July, the Swiss franc was overvalued against the U.S. dollar by 98%. Today, the Swiss franc is only about 50% overvalued against the dollar.
Moving to Asia, you'll find that the Chinese yuan remains 42% below its PPP rate. A Big Mac costs $2.45 in China at current exchange rates versus $4.33 at your local mall in Ohio. This seems to confirm that China's cheap currency acts as a massive subsidy to Chinese exports. And despite threats of being labeled a currency manipulator, recent actions of the Chinese government suggest that it will be pushing down the exchange rate even further, as a way to make Chinese exports more competitive abroad.
As a result of collapsing commodities prices, commodities-based currencies in Australia and Canada have been pummeled. The Australian and Canadian dollars went from being 20% overvalued last year to 8% overvalued and 10% undervalued, respectively. The most surprising drop may have come from Brazil. Last year, the Brazilian real was 52% overvalued on the Mac Index. Today, it is overvalued by just 17%.(from  The Global Guru newsletter)


I found this intersting.  Big Macs are a universal commodity!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cadence

When I bicycle my cadence is usually around 60 rpm, when I was in the navy a1st. Class ET told me that you should have between 80-100 rpm.


Cadence - If you're relatively new to cycling, you are probably riding at a cadence that is below your optimum. Most new riders think they are getting a better workout if every pedal stoke is a strain and the quads are burning. Although there's a place for low-cadence workouts, during a normal ride, aim for a smooth spin at between 85-100 rpm (pedal revolutions per minute) which is much more efficient -- and easier on the legs, especially the knees.


Lance Armstrong has popularized high-cadence pedaling. He spins at about 90 rpm on even the steepest climbs, and he's regularly over 100 rpm in time trials. Does this mean you should be pedaling at a high cadence as well? Although your cadence can be increased through training, it may not fit with your personal physiology and biomechanics.


The make-up of your leg muscles (the ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibers), combined with your fitness, will self-select your cadence. For most experienced riders, ideal cadence is in the range of 80-100 rpm - and most tend to automatically pedal at around 90 rpm in normal condition . Non-cyclists tend to spin a bit lower at around 60-70 rpm.


Try this to see what cadence may be the best target for you.


Locate a protected 2-mile stretch of road (without significant cross streets or traffic). Ideally slightly rolling.
After you warm up for 15 minutes, ride the route hard in your biggest gear. Note your finish time and your heart rate if you have a monitor.
Recover for 15 to 20 minutes with easy spinning.
Ride the course again at the same heart rate (or perceived exertion if you don't have a monitor). But this time choose a rear cog that's one or two steps larger and allows you to keep your cadence about 100 rpm. Note your time for the same course.
After a day or two of rest, do the test in reverse - larger rear cog (lower gear ratio) first.
Compare your times. For most riders, the lower gear and higher cadence will produce faster times for less perceived effort.


Here are two drills that may be helpful in increasing your cadence and maintaining the smooth spin of a veteran.
Use a down hill to practice. Spin in a small gear on a slight descent, then gradually increase your cadence until your pelvis begins bouncing on the saddle. Back off about 5 rpm so (the bouncing stops). Hold that cadence and concentrate on a smooth pedal stroke for one minute. Cruise back up the hill and do it again. Relaxation is the key to pedaling at a high cadence without bouncing. Keep your elbows, shoulders and hips loose.
Use a that tailwind that you have stumbled across. Shift into a moderate gear and gradually increase your cadence until you're at 100-110 rpm. Hold it there for 30 seconds, then gradually ease back to 80 rpm. Repeat several times.
How do you estimate your cadence if you don't have a cadence fundtion on your computer? Set your computer display oto show seconds show. Using your right foot, count how many times it is at the bottom of the stroke during a 15 (or 30) second interval. Then then multiply by 4 (or 2). That will help you develop a sense of what 90-100 rpm feels like.<http://www.cptips.com/tech.htm >

I guess he was right, I guess I have to increase my cadence, but I am not a new cyclist!