Jun 30

Good Writing

Posted by Simon

“Most of us make an instinctive decision,

then build an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it. 

And call the result common sense.”

The above quote is from the book The Sense of an Ending a novel by Julian Barnes.  We read it in the Fingerhut Book Club this month.  It is a very well written short novel that makes you think a bit about life and aging.

A few more quotes:

“Some Englishman once observed that marriage is a long dull meal with the pudding served first.  I think that’s far too cynical.”

“May you be ordinary, as the poet once wished the new-born baby.”

Unfortunately I’m going to miss the book club meeting because we are going hiking in the Alps.

Life is good.


Jun 29

Aging One

Posted by Simon

The longer we live the less we understand.

From The Sense of an Ending

by Julian Barnes

Jun 28

June 28, 2012 Maxim

Posted by Simon

“Get in line would be a reasonable request

if there was a line.”

Angelica Salas

Director CHIRLA

Speaking about the US immigration system.

Jun 27

Facebook Value

Posted by Simon

Facebook went public with a valuation of about $100 billion and quickly lost about a third of that value to about $70 billion.  That is still a lot of money and it values each user at about $100.  The question now for Facebook is how do they get a revenue stream that justifies that $100/customer valuation or more?

Coaxing value from friends

Here is my Facebook value idea.  First buy or build a search engine like Google.  Then make one major improvement.  Build into the search algorithm a feature that uses the searches of the users friends and friends of friends to give much better targeted results.

Facebook is uniquely positioned to provide this service because of it’s size.  If the average person has 200 “friends” that means that at the second level there are 40,000 people who are more similar to the user than the common Google searcher.

while providing entertainment

And Facebook has an opening right now to fill this niche.  Both because of their critical mass which no one else has and because it appears to users that Google searches are being dominated by commercial enterprises.

The revenue will come from advertising on the search pages and developing a unique home page that has a customizable combination of search, friends, news, pet photos, clever sayings and other features.

Here is an example:  Last night we heard a speaker talk about “Mofuz” but didn’t know how to spell it.  A search through Google was at first useless.  Using the “friend tuned” Facebook Search Engine could have fixed the spelling error and found that Mofaz is the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel.

A few month ago I had a billion dollar idea for Starbucks.  Now I have a ten billion dollar idea for Facebook.  The Ideapreneur is on a roll.

Buy Facebook.  If they implement this idea it is a bargain.


Jun 26

Free postcard

With writing space!

“In youth we learn,

With age we understand!”

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

(nearing 65)

Jun 25

Aging Two

Posted by Simon

“I don’t ever need to go bungee jumping or sky diving.

Leaving a pizza in the oven while I make a quick run to Walgreens

is about all the adrenaline rush I can handle.”

Whale Shark

From Ruminations.com

by Aaron Karo

Jun 23

Plastic Bag Ban Update

Posted by Simon

The Environmental Agency of the United Kingdom studied bags and decided that plastic disposable bags were the most environmentally friendly.

But it is fashionable to ban them.  So we do.

Plastic Bags are a Good Thing

A well reasoned article

But the Nanny State doesn’t just react to facts.  It is fashion and feeling based.  Why don’t we go back to gourds for cups?  Ceramics are so man made and environmentally destructive.

My solution:

I went to the local Grocery wholesaler (Smart and Final) and bought a box of a thousand “tee shirt bags” just like the ones they used to give away at the market and I’m keeping them in my car.  I’ll supply my own bags when I shop and bring in a few to give to other shoppers.

Jun 22

So here is the math.  Romney will probably get roughly the same number of votes as John McCain did in 2008 but he will win.  And the reason is pretty simple.  Many of the “enthusiasm voters” who heard “Hope and Change” four years ago are going to stay at home this cycle.  About eight million people voted for the first time in 2008 for Obama.  They are the young and minorities but now they are disillusioned and busy looking for jobs.  Many of them won’t bother to vote in 2012 and Romney will win.

The sign I saw most in the rural northeast.

Now many of you still don’t want to believe me.  And I don’t blame you.  So try this test, privately if you want:

  • Try to think of anybody you know who is significantly more enthusiastic about President Obama than they were about Candidate Obama.
  • Now try to think of anyone you know who is significantly less enthusiastic.

Which number is higher.  Oh dear.

But you say it isn’t about raw votes its about the electoral college.  Right you are and the New York Times has a tool that you can use to figure out how the electoral college will turn out.  TRY IT HERE.  According to my calculation Romney doesn’t have to win Ohio to win the Presidency.  But try it yourself by clicking on the Make your own Scenario link

And finally read this weeks Peggy Noonan article from the WSJ.  This is Romney’s election to lose.

Jun 21

June 21, 2012 Maxim

Posted by Simon

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,

it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain

Jun 20

Olean NY

Posted by Simon

I went to Olean, New York last week to visit my best friend from high school. And had a nostalgia filled day. We went to dinner at the Beef and Barrel and the next morning I drove around my old haunts for a couple of hours. I was surprised how little things had changed. It was really great to see Dave and Kathy again after 45 or so years. We connected as if it had been weeks not decades.


They have put up squirrel art around town. This is the one in the park.
In 1940 Olean had about 40,000 people now it has about 13,000. Like so many of the small towns in the northeast there is a shabby, depressed feel to the downtown. But Houses are cheap and the infrastructure is paid for. Maybe as the baby boomers retire enough of them will move back to revitalize them. Dave and Kathy have and it is working well for them.
How lucky I was to move to California in the 1970’s when everything was growing.


This is the first house we lived in when we moved to Olean from England. It is now a lawyers office.