Aug 022016
 

Late on Saturday, July 30, I got back to Washington after a four week vacation. Cerise and I had been planning it for quite some time, and she had been nagging me to take a vacation for even longer. One important thing I learned from the experience was that it’s actually a good thing to have a girlfriend who knows how to nag you into doing stuff like taking a four week vacation. Turns out I needed it. In fact, we both did. It cost me a lot of money, of course. Not for the summer house on the island off the coast of northern Maine – that was free, actually, a token of appreciation from one of Cerise’s many […]

Apr 142016
 

This afternoon, I had a consultation scheduled with Dr. Jose Baboso Verga Pendejo y Grandmaricón PhD, Principal Economic Attaché for International Banking and Finance at the Embassy of Panama here in Washington DC. We were supposed to discuss the effects of depressed petroleum prices on the exchange rates of reserve currencies with particular emphasis on the Chinese Yuan in light of its recent designation as such by the IMF. But the long face he pulled when he plunked down wearily on the couch in my office told me otherwise. This gentleman had something else on his mind, and it wasn’t at all pleasant. “Tom,” he wailed, staring up at the ceiling in despair, “thank your lucky stars you aren’t a […]

Mar 272016
 

Today, during lunch at Muze, my iPhone started to vibrate. I checked out the number calling me – it was Morton, who regular readers of this Web log will remember as an inveterate, peripatetic minion of Big Software. We go back a long way, and he’s a friend, of sorts. Tom: Holy smokes, Morton, where have you been? Morton: Since we last spoke? All over Silicon Valley. Tom: So you’re not with Yahoo anymore? Morton: Yahoo’s doomed. Tom: Glad to hear you finally figured that out. So where are you working now? Morton: Microsoft. Tom: No kidding? They took you back? Morton: No doubt about it, I did learn some… useful things while I was away; and they realized that. […]

Feb 012016
 

Last Tuesday morning, I was visited by Dr. Singe Saleté, Federal Policy Consultant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “I’ve been waiting nearly a week for an opening in your schedule,” she complained as she seated herself in the chair immediately in front of my desk. “It appears you are a very difficult person reach. Is it always this hard to see you?” “The last ten days have been especially tough,” I explained. “Because of the snow storm, everyone with an appointment on Friday the twenty-second wanted to move it to one of the days earlier in the week, and everyone with a Monday appointment this week wanted to move it to today or tomorrow. The inherent chaos created […]

Nov 192015
 

This morning, my ten-thirty AM consultation was with an economist from the USDA. We spent about an hour and ten minutes discussing the ramifications of the Renewable Fuel Standard and its impacts on the corn market. Manufacturing fuel ethanol from corn was a stupid idea when it got started during the Carter administration, of course, and it’s a still a stupid idea today, but stupidity never kept the US government from doing anything the farm lobby and agribusiness happen to want. There was still plenty of analysis remaining, but my guest cut things off twenty minutes early. “Thanks, Tom,” she said with a smile as a gentleman whom I had never met opened the door to the reception area and […]