Past Midway

Ramblings on Business & Life

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Refugees & Kindness to Strangers in Our Land

In the mid-1970’s, my mom helped care for a Cambodian refugee family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The family had narrowly escaped the genocide of the communist Khmer Rouge regime, fleeing to the United States with the assistance of a Tulsa-based missionary couple returning from Cambodia. Almost 158,000 Cambodians entered the United States between 1975 and 1994. This family was part of the first wave...

Steps to Setup a Blog

I originally thought I was writing a book but found my topics too disparate and unrelated to collapse into a sequence of chapters within a single bound, cohesive structure. Consequently, a blog seemed the better format for my musings. The problem – I had no idea how to setup a blog from scratch with a unique domain and host it on a server. So, I learned the hard way… by figuring it out myself. As...

A Children’s Story for Adults

Imagine a world where money is nearly free. In this make-believe world, the citizens planted a magical tree whose fruit is money. Sure, the citizens needed to water the money tree, prune it and generally care for it. They also, of course, had to pick the money from the tree as it bloomed. So, it required some work, but generally, the tree produced money proportional to the care provided, with...

COVID-19 and Sweden – an Inside Look

If we are to believe the media, Sweden’s response to the Coronavirus differs from the rest of the world. Certainly, there are no shortages of articles and opinions about Sweden’s approach, spawning much discussion and speculation on its merits or ultimate demise. Time magazine published an eye-catching title: Sweden’s Relaxed Approach to the Coronavirus Could Already Be Backfiring Euronews...

CARES Act – a Comprehensive Summary

When possible, I prefer to read original source documents for my research, rather than summarizing secondary or tertiary sources. Consequently, I read the entire 880-page Senate amendments to the CARES Act yesterday and today. I made summary bullet points as I read. Accidentally, this became a 7-page condensed version with 175 succinct points, a line-by-line accounting of where the money is...

Lost in Ukraine

For the past three Summers, I have traveled to Ukraine to visit my web developers. The first trip, my wife and oldest daughter traveled with me. The next Summer (2018), I went solo, and missed my wife’s keen sense of direction. Okay, I got lost. But for me, that’s not so unusual. I frequently misplace myself, even in familiar places. But this time, I was walking the streets of Kiev after...

Tariffs, Debt, Social Security & the Fed – an Economic Theory

A footnote at the end of my last blog post suggested now may not be an ideal time to invest in the stock market. 50% of my readers asked for further elaboration on this point. What follows is undoubtedly more than requested. Although the market is currently at an all-time high, that’s an insufficient rationale to avoid it. It is possible the economy will continue to expand, thus warranting higher...

Detained by the Police

I attended my 30-year high school reunion this past weekend in Tulsa, OK. After the reunion gathering concluded Saturday evening, I was walking to the parking garage where I parked my car (on the grounds of the Casino where the reunion was held). It was late… 2:45am to be exact. I had said my goodbyes to my classmates and had a final conversation with Brad Kallenberger before starting my walk...

Why You Probably Won’t Make Money Trading

In the late 1990’s, a work colleague of mine in the engineering department at GE occupied much of his time trading financial instruments. In particular, he liked trading call options on the technology company 3COM. Although manufacturing engineering was his day job, he apparently thought day trading was more interesting. Understandable. It also seemed he had prescient timing with his trades...

Fun – Part 4 – The Importance of Memories & Imagined Futures

This is the fourth part in a four-part series. A brief recap… Post 1 – I discussed the three components of fun: Part 1 – Anticipating the fun (expecting the Future)Part 2 – Doing the fun (in the Present)Part 3 – Remembering the fun (looking back at our Past). Posts 2 & 3 – I developed and discussed the Totality of Fun, a framework of how we perceive Fun, and described how...

The Totality of Fun – Continued

This is the third part in a four-part series. My first post on this topic introduced the three component parts of fun. The second post in this series introduced the Totality of Fun and discussed Part 2 Fun in more detail. Today, I finish my thoughts on the Totality of Fun by elaborating on Part 1 and Part 3 Fun. I also highlight how all this leads into a particular dilemma with Alzheimer’s, a...

The Totality of Fun

This is the second installment in a four-post series. In my last post, I introduced the three component parts of fun: Part 1 – Anticipating the fun Part 2 – Doing the fun Part 3 – Remembering & Reminiscing about the fun …and promised next a discussion about The Totality of Fun, which follows, with numerous digressions (and regressions) along the way. In other words, this one...

Components of Fun

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s, including my own father’s, led me to think more about what it means to have fun and to enjoy life, topics I have pondered for decades. Outline Writing about this topic became considerably more involved than I had first anticipated, so I have divided it into three separate posts: Post 1 (today) introduces the component parts of fun and how we perceive them...

Equality at Work

Sometime around 2005 – 2006, I was on a flight from Stockholm to New York. The flight attendant took my ticket at the gate and asked me to step aside and wait without explanation. Seemed odd, but OK. She then took boarding passes from everyone in line while I stood waiting further instructions. When the last person in line passed, the flight attendant turned to me and said the flight was...

Incentives (Gone Wrong)

When I worked at General Electric in the engineering Product Cost Takeout role, management got an idea to incentivize us to save the company as much money as possible. As it was initially presented to us (verbally), the company would pay engineers 10% of the annual savings from our cost-reduction projects as a one-time, year-end bonus. It was early in the year, but I was already lining up about...

Flying Through Space on A Rock

The big picture is that we are flying through space on a large rock. And while here, as a species, we come and go, generation after generation like fruit flies in a biology lab. Individually, we are each completely unique, yet we have at least one thing in common. We all pass, having a total duration typically less than 100 summers, as defined by how our rock circles a much bigger rock that...

Making Good Decisions – Advice for My Younger Self

Adults frequently inform students there are no multiple-choice exams in real life. They are wrong. Life is in fact a series of multiple choices. It just requires creativity to ask the right questions and understand the available choices, analytical thinking to reason through potential outcomes and intuition to select the best answer (because in some cases, intuition outperforms logic). You’ll...

Middle School Boys

When I attended Central Middle School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, our principal, Mr. Stockstill, called all the boys from all three grades (6th, 7th, 8th) into the gymnasium for a special assembly. An unprecedented move. Once there, we learned, in a bit of a circuitous way, that after-hours the previous day, two boys had urinated on the side of the red brick school building outside of the shop...

Integrity in M&A

This update points to a story I wrote on my professional blog. It would have been better on this forum, which didn’t exist at the time. Years ago, a defining interaction happened around a large conference room table as we were negotiating the final points on an M&A deal. This is a story of unusual integrity and transparency in business. It was a beautiful moment and I learned from it. I...

Efficient Markets, Pricing Anomalies – Chicken Little & Donkeys

When I was completing my MBA in Finance at the Stockholm School of Economics in the late 1990’s, the rumor was that one of our professors had discovered a pricing anomaly in the Stockholm Stock Exchange and had made a sizable amount of money in a pure arbitrage play. Because the details were scarce, I wondered if this was true. And, more importantly, why can’t this happen to me? It did. Read on…...

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