Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

I think just about everyone is glad to see 2008 go. Ironic that one of the greatest events of our lifetime, the election of an intelligent, non dogmatic person as President, happened during this miserable year.

They say that the worst of times can bring out the best or the worse in people. I have seen both this year. I have seen strangers get closer because of the common bond of uncertainty, and I have seen people take advantage of the dire situation. As for myself, I have changed a lot in 2008. By seeing the worst and the best of people I have also expanded my own personality and behavior. This year I have seen many surprising successes while enduring some painful failures. No year before has had such dramatic ups and down. I end this year battered and bruised but still alive and still enthusiastic for the future.

In 2009 I hope to blend the best of the "new" Mark - focused, driven and aggressive while bringing back some of the "old" Mark - thoughtful, compassionate and true to myself. If I can accomplish that in any significant way over the next twelve months then 2009 looks to be a much better year. I wish that for myself and for all of you!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Home for the Holidays

The flights yesterday were crowded but on time. After many years, I have finally mastered the art of sleeping on airplane. The secret? Don't get enough sleep for weeks on end prior to boarding a plane. Quite simple really. I have been in South Florida about 12 hours and have already ate a ton and slept a ton. Now to step out in the 75 degree sunshine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homeward Bound

I couldn't pick a better time to head back to Florida for a break. The weather here is beyond freezing and exhaustion and fatigue have taken their toll. I need to get out of here for a while. A week in the comforts of family is just what the doctored ordered. I get to Miami about 6pm via Washington D.C. I'm looking forward to good company, good food, good weather and some good sleep.I'm going to the exact right place for that.
View Larger Map

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

I found a list of the The Top Dozen Insights of Conservatives for 2008. Below is my favorite because it clearly illustrates the folly of the (economic) Conservative movement. For a generation they told us to rely on the "miracle" of capitalism and the all knowing good of "the invisible hand". For years we were scolded that capitalism must be allowed to operate freely and without restrictions. For years, evidence to the contrary has been very visible. Sadly, most Americans ignored the truth and were convinced to not believe their lying eyes. Alan Greenspan's' comment after the economic collapse shows that even smart people fell into this stupid, stupid trap.
"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms".

Happy Friday!

I got a full night's sleep last night for the first time in what seems like a very long while. That alone will make this a Happy Friday. Add to that, I have tomorrow off, got a Christmas event to go to tonight and it's expected to snow like crazy all day long. So I start this day with a smile.

If I have time later at work I may do some more posting. There are a lot of great news stories I could comment on. For example, the New York Senate seat. Caroline Kennedy is getting most of the press and is the subject of a lot of speculation. I'm not crazy about the pick but could live with it. Andrew Cuomo is the other name but I'm only lukewarm on him too. Let's get someone who is not political royalty.

I think New York needs someone representing them in the Senate who pulls himself up by the bootstraps everyday. Someone who lives, works, breathes New York. Someone who knows what it's like to work more and more for less and less. Someone who can relate to the millions of people in this state that have to get up, go to work and make the sacrifices to pay the bills just to have the privilege of getting up and doing it again the next day. Therefore I would like to throw my hat into the ring. I nominate myself for the U.S. Senate. I have a famous last name - which seems to be a requirement - yet I am not part of the political elite.

Yes, I am the perfect choice! Governor Patterson - how can you not see this?!?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Snow

No doubt about it this time - it's snowing. Huge flakes too. Biggest I've ever seen. Some of it is sticking too. Will it accumulate? Check back and I'll tell you.

UPDATE 6 PM: It did not stick and it's now freezing rain. The weather people say expect an inch of "snow" tonight which means it will probably not snow at all.

UPDATE 8PM: It's snowing and it's sticking.

Suprising Shoe Story

I'm sure all of you have seen the video of the Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at President Bush. I call this story "surprising" for these reasons.
1. When I saw the tape I felt real anger toward the reporter, real sympathy toward Bush and real pride that Bush handled it as smoothly as he did. Give him credit, he ducked away perfectly without looking wimpy and his comments afterwards put the best face possible on the incident. This is surprising because, as you know, I think Bush is the worst president ever and has caused more widespread suffering than anyone in American history. Still, my initial instinct was that he is our President and I don't appreciate people throwing stuff at him. I know it was only shoes, but if they had hit him, they would have broken his nose, knocked him out or worse. I guess I simply don't like violence - even towards George W. Bush.
2. I was surprised at the good aim of the reporter. Seriously, that guy knows how to throw shoes! He had perfect aim.
3. I was surprised at the US Secret Service. Where the hell were they? How in the world was that guy allowed to throw not one but two shoes at the President? They better be more on the ball than that for Obama.
4.I am surprised at the world reaction. I expected a mix of my type of disdain with maybe a little joking around about it. Nope. The middle east, and much of the rest of the world is celebrating this! The level of hatred for George W. Bush is much deeper than I realized. When millions celebrate and revere a person who throws shoes at Bush, it says something about his standing in the world. Also, it reminds us that the Iraqi people, for the most part, resent the war and do not feel grateful for their "liberation".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mark at Work

I really don't talk about work in any great detail here but I figured that I would share a couple of photos taken last week of me at my at my place of employment.

Here I am at my desk

This is what happens when I act up - which is pretty frequent really

Friday, December 12, 2008

Yayyy! I was wrong

One minute before the stock market closes and thankfully no crash. (Been very cloudy and gloomy today in NYC so I was sort of right - it was a "dark day on Wall Street"). While I'm on a roll, let me add my voice to those speculating on where the stock market will eventually "bottom out" before it rebounds. Obviously, this is just a hunch - I'm not an economist, but I predict the Dow will bottom out in the mid to upper 5000's somewhere between 5,380 and 5,830.
CHART: Dow Jones performance over the past 12 months.

If you Twitter me I'll Twitter you back

I have changed my twitter name to Mark the Blogger. If you have the Internet and/or unlimited text messages there is no way you should not go to now - set up your free account and sign up for my mini blog posts or "twitters". Do it. Now. Hurry.

Quote of the Day

"Can we continue to listen to Rush Limbaugh? Is this really the kind of party that we want to be when these kinds of spokespersons seem to appeal to our lesser instincts rather than our better instincts?"

- Colin Powell, 12/11/08, lamenting the current state of the Republican party

Hope I'm Wrong

The stock market opens in 1 minute and I have a sinking feeling that the market will crash hard today. Was listening to Bloomberg (financial) radio while taking a shower and I have never heard them sound so frantic. I hope I'm wrong, but this could be a real bad day on Wall Street. Again.

Happy Friday!

Christmas is just a couple weeks away now and I fly down to Miami in just 11 days. I can't wait. New York is looking very Christmassy with lights everywhere. No snow on the ground though. I've got a Christmas party tomorrow and it's probably good that I have to work the next day. Somehow, with all the financial turmoil and widespread uneasiness, the real spirit of Christmas shines through. Getting together with loved ones and spending time together is the greatest gift of all. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Song of the Day

In my quest to discover new music I have been reading up on things in some music magazines which fortunately are available free of charge where I work. I remember back in the day I could not get enough of that stuff. Especially when I lived in London, I would always know everything about the music scene. Anyway, I read about a band called "Mumford and Sons" in one of the mags and found this charming video of these young lads from Ireland. I hope you enjoy it. (Not sure if I have the title of the song right)

Mumford and Sons
"Banjalin Song" (?)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

"That's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush Administration was a national disaster."
-Bill Schnider, political analyst, commenting on Barack Obama's approval/disapproval rating numbers of 79/18

Song of the Day: "Peace Love & Understanding"

This is my new favorite Christmas song. It’s not really a Christmas song at all, but it was featured on the incredibly funny “A Corbert Christmas” (look for reruns or the DVD - it’s a must see). This is a remake of the Elvis Costello classic “Peace, Love and Understanding”. This version, straight from the TV special, features Corbert, Costello, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, John Legend, and Feist. It’s a beautiful rendition of a powerful song and perfect for this troubled Holiday season. (This “video” is really just “audio”- those pesky copywrite laws you know)

Various Artists
From “A Corbert Christmas”
“Peace, Love & Understanding”

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Falling not Sticking

Well last night's snow didn't last long or stick anywhere. I woke up and looked out the window expecting an inch or two on the ground but the weathermen were wrong yet again. It has started to snow a little bit now so that's cool. It's looks real nice but I'm not sure if it going to last or stick this time. Nonetheless, snow has fallen, winter is here and I like it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Fonzies' back. You may recall that when I first moved to New York just over 3 years ago, I was constantly misidentified as "Fonzie" from Happy Days. You'll recall that people would point, stare and quite frequently ask me if I was "the Fonz". That stopped about a year and a half ago as mysteriously as it first appeared. Well it's back. On the ride into work today I saw the whispering and pointing but, as again I'm sure you know, I think that I am always being stared at and whispered about. Anyway, sure enough as I was leaving the train I overheard the husband say to the wife" See it is Fonzie!". Ayyyyye.

Still waiting for the first snow. The weather is mostly cool and often cold. I love it. But still no snow.

Tomorrow I have my first real day off in 2 1/2 weeks. Yes, I even had to work Thanksgiving. Yayyyyy for tomorrow.

There is a cool series of illustration about coffee (made mostly by coffee) here. Drawn by a coffee lover, it is the history of his experiences with the beverage. In this one below, he reminisces about his disappointment and disgust when give a COFFEE Ice cream cone as a child.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Now this is a tough job!

More Music

After years of not really listening to music I am getting back into it. But I am starting out with very limited knowledge of the modern music scene. So, if anyone out there has any suggestion of new bands or recent albums please let me know. I like stuff that is imaginative and unique. I like a good beat and interesting if not smart lyrics. I'm more into a soothing sound these days but some good rock or pop will work too. I like alternative but not so much experimental. That means I like new music but it does have to be music and not just a collection of random noises. Any suggestions?

Tuesday Roundup

I really don't have much of anything to blog about but I hate to go too long without posting something. Basically, I have been working more than ever, even as the economy melts away. Seems that more work for less pay is the legacy of this past generation of economic policies. It's been heading there for some time, but at least where I am at, more is expected of us while less is given. The Republican economic dream come to fruition.

Sports wise, my FSU Seminole stunk up the joint this weekend against the Gators. With half our players suspended or in jail and the other half limited in their talent, it's another year of decline under the stewardship of Bobby Bowden.

The Dolphins on the other hand are starting ... starting, to get their act together. They still could make a push for a wild card slot this year, but the most encouraging sign is that they are winning. They are ugly wins, but this year is different because they are actually notching the victories. I'll take ugly wins over ugly losses anytime.

I think the Obama cabinet picks are very strong. I am a strong believer in pragmatism and it seems my support is being vindicated because Obama is too. It's so funny - all these years I was called a radical liberal and all these years I was saying I was pragmatic and manic only in my desire to rid the nation of self proclaimed (and misnamed) "Conservatives". Most people had no idea what I was talking about. They bought into the "us vs. them", "liberal vs conservative" game and chose a side. As I have said many times, I am not a political "movement" kind of guy. Movements don't work - it's forcing an organized belief system on the inevitability disorganized human condition. I say: find out what works and do it. Be pragmatic and don't try to change the world to fit your beliefs. Thank God Obama understands that.

I have been playing around with a long post but I don't think it's ever going to get finished. So, let me sum it up from the 12 paragraphs my rough draft is currently in, to a few choppy sentences (Editing - so hard to do). You'll get the drift.

- Went to a bar after a particularly bad day on Wall Street.
- Had to sit next to some wealthy Republican. Neither one of us looked pleased.
- I broke the uncomfortable silence and forced a start to a conversation.
- He said (of the current economy) "We are all in this together"
- I thought he was full of bull -- how could HE relate to ME? Gimme a break!
- We actually talked for hours learning about our different lives and economic situation.
- I came to understood what he meant by "We are all in this together"
- While we all may be in different places, we are all together in our UNCERTAINTY
- Rich & poor Americans are in the same boat, not knowing if we will keep our job or pay our bills
- No matter where we are now - we are indeed all in this mess together.
- In a way, this is a good thing, in that it reminds us of our similarities and mutual vulnerabilities.

That's all for today, Have a good one!!

Monday, December 1, 2008