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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

View My Blog at Open Salon

As of early December 2010, I have moved blogging operations from this location to Open Salon.

The complete address (thats URL for you propellerheads out there) is http://open.salon.com/blog/another_steve_s.

When I first began posting on Open Salon, I thought I might continue posting here. That really didn't make sense. There's a couple of reasons.

First, it's all about the readership. After about ten postsin Open Salon, it's apparent I am getting from five to twenty times the readership I had at Blogger. Every one of my posts on Open Salon has had more readers in its first twenty minutes than I get in a week on Blogger. You can't fight numbers like that.

Second, Open Salon's writers comment frequently on each opther's posts. This helps temper the feeling that blogging is really about shouting into a vacuum (although it probably is close to that).

Like everything else in life, there is a downside. Salon's finances are tentative at best. A day may come when I log on and see "454 error". That would be the day when Salon Media or its purchaser drop Open Salon. I keep copies of my posts,and I will keep this blog "live but inactive" (kinda like me). That way,there will always be a blog somewhere, or at leastuntil I find something more interesting to do.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Why Many Irish People Don't Want a Bailout, in Plain English

I think it's hard to understand why so many Irish are opposed to their government accepting a bailout mostly funded by other European Governments.

I posted this on a forum. It got pretty good reviews soI thought I would repost here.

Reasoning Underlying the Popular Irish Aversion to a Bailout, in Plain English:

The bailout initiates a process in the "beneficiary's" economy, starting with a "triggering situation":

1) The Bond market demands yields that someone thinks are "too high" for the affected nation's debt. In this case, the German Government was the loudest complainer.

Now comes the bailout. Note who gets the support and who does not get it.

2) Bondholders receive some king of assurance (note - the bond markets as of yesterday do not appear to have attributed material value to the assurance given)

3) Given assurance, the cost of borrowing short term declines (maybe)

4) Bailout recipient nation cuts Government spending per conditions attached to bailout. Note, I haven't seen any publicly disclosed conditions. But this is inevitable.

5) Cut in Government spending = immediate shrinkage in economy=recession and dimmed prospects for future economic growth. This is where the trouble begins anew.

6) Growth stagnates (maybe, but likely (see Greece for example))

7) Cost of borrowing increases because the market determines the price of bonds to be a function of the capacity for a nation's future growth. Low or negative growth means bond purchaser sees little "organic" capacity to repay future debts. Therefore, the market demands higher yields. This adds to the original problem, which was that the bond markets were demanding high yields.

8) Now we are back to the first step,

9) Another bailout, or default.

Many Irish look to their north and see Iceland, where default was the chosen way out of a debt crisis. Iceland is showing signs of recovery. The Irish also look south to Greece, where the bailout has been executed and there is no improvement.

I am not sure I can make a clear comparison between Ireland, Greece and Iceland, since Iceland has its own currency, and it has been devalued.

The Euro makes everything more interesting.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, or,
Sin é mo scéal agus tá mé ag cloí leis.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Short Career as a Clarinet Soloist

Last spring I played a clarinet solo piece with a The American Recorder Orchestra of the West. Since this probably the only time I Will get to play a really long clarinet solo with a large group, I invite you to have a listen.

This is a modern 20th century classical piece. I think it is pretty accessible for its time. You will hear some dissonance around 40 or50 seconds into the video. Do not fear,everything calms down and the tone becomes melodic and stays that way for the rest of the piece.

The featured work is "Prayer of St Gregory" by Alan Hovhaness. You might be likely to hear this played as a trumpet solo accompanied by a church pipe organ. I have heard parts of this used as filler on the various NPR news shows.

I took this from an unengineered mp3 file, so what you hear is what you get.




This was fun to play, and I'm OK with how it came out, but I don't see a future as a concert soloist.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.
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