The Utility of the Shallow

Photo by David Edwards In the 2nd Dirty Harry movie, Magnum Force, Clint Eastwood opines, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” They say that in martial arts, you should ask yourself if you are Bruce Lee before attempting to kick over your head. When investing, you should ask yourself if you are Benjamin Graham before attempting to pick individual stocks. Am I Warren Buffet? No? Then I’ll invest in a Vanguard index mutual fund instead of some rocking castle in the sky hot-shot stock play. »

Perfect Chai

My daughter shared with me the process of making the perfect cup of chai. It begins with heating milk on the stove to a simmer (or boil if you don’t mind removing the skim). Keep it on the heat for the next steps. Then dump in the loose tea and let it steep until the color is right (a pretty caramel color). Use two or three heaping teaspoons for about a cup and a half of milk. »

In Math We Trust

When the Savior was asked about taxes, he observed that a coin had Caesar’s image on it. When you look at US coinage, you will likely see a President’s profile, but you’ll also see “In God We Trust.” US currency is backed by the faith and credit of the US Federal Government. May it prove faithful in perpetuity and do nothing to make itself unworthy of our trust. Nevertheless, there are times when that trust wavers. »

Embrace Hunger

When my kids were small I got hold of Bill Bennet’s Book of Virtues a collection of essays and stories about virtue. Mr. Bennet named it “virtues” as opposed to “values” to distinguish traits found in nature from social constructs. The former hold true throughout nature whereas values do not apply outside your tribe. Thus every wingnut knows the moonbats who disagree with him are not merely wrong, but evil. And vice versa. »

Sounds Risky Bob

On the Newhart TV show there appeared two semi-regular characters who spoke in a thick New England accent. I clearly recall a scene where Newhart is describing a rather tame course of action in his deadpan voice which prompted one of the guys to say, “Idunno. Sounds Risky, Bob.” I’ve also heard a lot of personal finance guys bitterly complain about Dave Ramsey and how his advice does not make sense mathematically. »