Economics

Quick! Don’t Tell. (A Study Break)

Hello blogolopolus,

Meet my friend, Procrastination. He likes to stop in unannounced and drink all my beer.

I’m attempting a super quick blog post. See, I’ve been studying and working and sleeping and (well) that’s about it. My ECON Final is tomorrow. Yeah, that Econ. Thank the Lord above and the ghosts below; I’m almost through it. And when I get through it, I’ll be able to claim the knowledge of why a Demand curve slopes downward. Totally worth it.

Some good news as of late. The University of Rochester approved my proposal to create an entrepreneurship degree. (From inside sources) the proposal was “one of the best the committee had ever seen.” Sweet.

In addition, my wife got a new job. It’s suppose to be a better job than the one she has, which means we won’t hate our lives nearly as much. Yay! I don’t blame her for disliking her job. I don’t care for mine very much either. Add on a foot of snow and life feels sludgy and terrible.  (more…)

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Media-Thon Monday (6)

Hey, remember these? Media-Thon Monday has returned! What is Media-Thon Monday? Good question! Now, next time, raise your hand. MTM (as the cool kids call it) is a compilation of pop-culture finds that I think are interesting and worth sharing. So, without further ado, here… we… go!

That is a picture of a Drive-In theatre screen, FYI.

That is a picture of a Drive-In theatre screen, FYI.

Boy & Bear

My friend, Travis, sent me a link the other day (he lives in Australia). He likes to share good music when he comes across it. The band is Boy & Bear (from down-undah), and they are really, really great, especially their album Moonfire. For three days I thought the band was called Moonfire and the album Boy & Bear. Moonfire is the coolest name ever, so it was a little hard to get over.

I digress. Here is the first song off of Moonfire, “Lordy May.”

The Battle of Blockbusters

No, this isn’t about Blockbuster closing all their stores (though that is worth noting). It’s an interesting article I came across about similar themed movies coming out at the same time (think Armageddon and Deep Impact).

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Failing: Not as Cool as It Used to Be

The weather changed today. More than temporal, it was a grotesque change. It’s cold now. Everything is cold. In response, I’m listening to depressing music and protesting the pile of dishes in the kitchen, taking pity to their grime.

Yes. This is a “I got a bad grade” and I’m going to whine blog. I suggest you leave now.

My economics professor handed back the class’ mid-terms today. When I took the test, I left with an “Uh-oh” queazy feeling; from the moment I first set my eyes on the paper I knew I was a goner. You win some, you lose some, I guess. But I expected some grace. After all, the only different between grace and grade is a “D.” Partial credit can save a semester, man.

I suppose economists don’t believe in partial credit.

Gung-No

My favorite person, so far, on campus at my new school is a chinaman named William. He chose the name “William” when he came to America. I can’t pronounce his real name. He didn’t tell me to stop trying; I just don’t care for the sick look of anguish on his face when I attempt the pronunciation. He also says “Bitchin'” quite a bit which endears him to me.

William is a smart kid. I don’t want to tote the line on stereotypes; I’m sure he’d be smart whether he was a chinaman or not. But he’s bitchin’ smart. In homework, I first refer to him for answers instead of checking the back of the book.

We sit next to each other in Econ. He received his mid-term and nearly jumped out of his skin. “One hundred percent!” He high-fived me and the kid behind him. “What did you get?” I looked down at my paper which was folded and hidden from his view.

Twenty-six percent. “Not a hundred,” I replied. He smiled and nodded. He’s so damn smart, he probably ran the odds ahead of time and guessed it. I felt like a buzz-kill, so instead of focusing on myself I smiled and said “Congrats!”

Picking Up Where I…

This sounds oddly trite, but I’ve never had an F before, not in college, at least. Straight As are what got me in to Rochester! What can I do? Pick myself up and move forward, I guess.

My gut tells me I need to take full-responsibility for the grade. It’s too tempting to compare myself to people like William and say, “It’s not fair.” But it is fair. I’ve received more than a fair share of advantages. Today I feel like shit, but tomorrow I’ll pick myself up.

Here’s what I can do: 

Drop the class and try again… Remove the class from my major and declare a Pass/Fail option… Forget GPA and squeak by with a passing grade… Dress sexy and try to seduce my professor…

Any suggestions?

In high-school I failed my courses quite often. It was “cool” then. You know, to not care? Failing is, definitely, not as cool as it used to be.

Anyway, thanks for staying with me. I know I told you to leave earlier, but I was just a little down and, truth be told, a little hangry.

I’m going to make some food now. Leave me alone. I love you.

My Top 5 Podcasts

I have one of those iPod Classics. Ancient and useless. Scratch on the screen. You know how it goes. In an attempt to make my Classic more relevant, I found an unused menu button. Enter podcasts.

You may already be on the podcast train, maybe not. I tend to be late on trends. Either way, here are my top 5 favorite podcasts:

This American Life 

I know I’m not alone on this. This American Life is one of the most (if not the most) beloved radio program in the country. If you’re like me, then you probably never gave it a fair shot. This podcast version is a great way to keep updated with the show, and gives you the ability to listen whenever you want.

Like a modern NPR Mr. Rogers, host Ira Glass welcomes you in and takes you on a journey. Some stories fiction; most are not. The segments will make you laugh, others cry, others squeal. What’s most amazing is This American Life’s ability to churn out high level-original storytelling week-after-week, year-after-year.

Planet Money (NPR)

Plant Money is great for any business minded, economically charged person. But if you’re not, it’s still great. My wife could care less about politics and economics but still loves this program. They do a wonderful job of picking interesting stories and tying them to relevant economic themes.

It’s a great tool for someone, like myself, trying to stay informed on the economy, though gets sick of the bias heavy, sensational media coverage. Even if you hate economics, give it a shot!

Thrilling Adventure Hour

You may or may not know about this program. I had no idea it existed till a few months ago. Most of my friends did. Thrilling Adventure Hour is a comedy sketch podcast, filmed live in front of a studio audience and created by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. Their tag line is: “New time podcasts in the style of old-time radio.”

It can be hit or miss, but stick with it for a couple weeks. You’ll soon be introduced to all of the hilarious, reoccurring characters. Sparks Nevada: Marshall on Mars, Captain Laserbeam, and my favorite: Frank and Sadie Doyle (starring Paul F. Thompkins).

Relevant Podcast

There’s not much to say about this one. It’s just freakin’ hilarious. It’s from the makers of Relevant Magazine, and regularly has four people you will grow to love. If you’re a twenty to thirty year-old something, slightly spiritual and love to “goof”, then this is probably right up your alley.

Relevant is a religious magazine, but they do a great job at not being lame about it. It’s simply addictive. There’s great music, movie suggestions, and hilarious weekly “slices.” Also a plus are the featured guests, ranging from authors to musicians to Junglebird himself.

Freakonomics Radio

From the people who brought you the book and that awesome documentary, comes Freakonomics Radio. Though it revolves around economics and business markets, I would never define it as a business podcast.

Rather, I would say it’s a thought-engaging conversational starting piece of radio. They “reveal the hidden side of everything.” If you enjoyed the book or the documentary (currently on Netflix), then you will definitely love the podcast.

You may not agree with everything stated or proposed, but that’s not the point. Instead, apply the theories, test them, and come to your own conclusion. After all, that’s what critical thinking is?

Just a note: Usually they rotate their programming. Every other week is a full episode (usually 30 minutes) and in between weeks are five minute segments released originally on NPR’s Marketplace.

Other Notables:

  • The /filmcast-Movies
  • Radiolab-Science, stories
  • Entreleadership-Business, leadership, Dave Ramsey
  • This Is Your Life-Intentional Leadership, Life Advice, Blogging
  • NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour-Exactly what it sounds like
  • Entrepreneurial Though Leaders-Speeches, Business

 

Any suggestions? Let me know your favorites!

Wishing Wells: The Bastard Child of American Economy

On the way to class I walked by a wishing well fountain. You know, people throw in change, make a wish, maybe say a quick prayer to Fountainess: The Goddess of Outdoor Décor. Anyways, it was being drained in preparation for winter. I guess they do that here.

In California the fountains run all year, so this was a weird sight. I didn’t realize these things get drained. California is something of an ideal state for wishing wells. Year round coinage.

As I watched the water drain and the naive coins surface, I considered grabbing a few and heading to Taco Bell. I was hungry after all. After pondering the sin value of stealing wish money, I exercised some will power and decided against it. Probably best.

Musing over the economic impact of a wishing well. 

When you spend money, it goes to someone else who eventually spends that money. Through some portal, interest is ultimately added and more money is created. Walla! It’s the big cycle that in essence is our economy. Every time you eat, go to the movies, or buy kitten calendars, you participate in growing the financial system. The more we spend, theoretically, the more our economy grows.

There’s theories and stuff.

Let’s assume we go to a wishing well that is never drained. We stand at the edge and throw in our coin. It hits bottom and falls out of reach, theoretically for all eternity. In another words, it’s spent. What’s most interesting is that the transaction (a wish for a coin) effectively takes money out of the economy. This never happens! Head explode? Anyone? (Is this thing on?)

I think it’s safe to assume I just defied all modern economic theory.

It may at least explain why California can’t balance the budget or seem to tax enough to pay for anything. I mean, their wishing wells are in full swing year round! That’s money taken out of the economy every day! At least Idaho recoups in the winter.

So this brings me to the close. I’ll leave you with some conundrums to query.

What income level makes it socially acceptable to steal from a wishing fountain?

Are there any other ways we spend and kill money at the same time?

Who throws change into a wishing well during a recession anyways?  

Is Kevin’s Theory of Wishing Well Economics worthy of a Nobel Prize?