Monday, November 30, 2015

Batman vs. Superman

Superman is a hero for bright eyed optimists and youngsters, but Batman is the real deal. He's far more human than Superman - well actually he is human, and Superman is really an alien from the planet Krypton. As a human Batman doesn't really have any powers, unlike Superman whose powers are so fantastic and unbelievable that they appear comical at best. Batman has to deal with his human limitations and fragile vigilante psyche in order to mete out vengeance on the bad guys, but Superman is never really at risk. He can crush criminals with trivial use of his powers, and not even break a sweat. The only trait they really share is that of extreme loneliness. One torn asunder from his native planet and fellow beings by a planetary cataclysm. The other driven into isolation and paranoia as a child by the tragic death of his parents at the hands of street thugs. What's the point here? Stick with Batman. He's complex and conflicted like the rest of us. He's estranged from others and alienated from society, but still wants to right wrongs and make a difference. Superman is just being righteous while cleaning up the bee hive.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Gambling and other Myths

There are many who ridicule casino gambling by saying, "I've got better things to do with my money".  Ironically, a few of those will lose their assets through unethical, and risky venture capital schemes. Another eschews the stock market as a glorified ponzi scheme, and invests heavily in Gold as the ultimate protector of wealth. Gold has had a sell off akin to a major stock market crash. The Stock Market has rebounded nicely in recent years thanks to aggressive Federal Reserve policies, but it still hasn't regained a decade of losses. At one time owning a house was as close to a sure bet investment as anything, but we all know what happened in the 2008 financial crisis, and the ensuing melt down in housing prices. All sorts of investment vehicles have been promoted over the years with varying degrees of success. It seems that markets reel from one bubble to the next, with each bubble usually exacerbated by leverage and debt. The famous economist John Galbraith in his book "A brief history of financial euphoria" readily describes the common features and circumstances that have given rise to some famous financial bubbles including the Tulip Mania of Holland back in the 17th Century. History it seems, has a bad habit of repeating itself. 

What then is the answer to creating and preserving wealth? Forgive the following sermon, but it still comes down to a vocation that pays, common sense, diversification, and a bit of luck or good fortune in life. You also have to avoid the scammers and get rich quick schemes along the way. Greed and ignorance will generally get you in trouble, although there are many "legitimate" ways to lose money too, as already mentioned.

Don't fool yourself, investing is still gambling, although some bets are better and more informed than others. Sometimes a casino bet has much better odds than more traditional investments.  At least in a casino you can generally calculate the odds against you. There are more than a few companies that have had their stock prices drop to zero - a few of them have been Dow Index companies. Thus investing, speculating and gambling are all part of the same spectrum. Perhaps a successful professional poker player isn't really a gambler, but a seasoned investor. Things are not always what they appear to be based upon their labels. Good Luck and Good Investing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Holiday Hangover Remedies

Here's the Holiday Hangover therapy list back by popular demand for the 2015 season, and hopefully in time for New Year's Eve.

James Bond can drink martinis ad nauseam, and vanquish the villains without slurring a word. After a few drinks, I'm more likely to make an embarrassing faux pas, but both of us would appreciate advice on Hangovers.

There's probably no such thing as a hangover "cure", but there are some methods to help you fight the toxic effects created by a bout of drinking.


There's sporadic scientific evidence for the remedies suggested here, but please consult any appropriate health experts before adhering to these methods. I will stake claim to a suggestion listed here. If you have a hangover, then do some mild exercise after hydrating yourself. For me this works as well as anything, but I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere.

In the spirit of the season here is a list of hangover remedies for your holiday party survival:
  1. Drink lots of water before and after sleep (unless you are on medically prescribed fluid restriction). Sports drinks (not energy drinks) may
    be a good alternative as well since they contain sugars, and
    needed electrolytes.
  2. Take a shower or bath after a drinking bout.
  3. Ingest sweet foods that contain fructose (helps the body metabolize alcohol).
  4. Do some mild exercise, or take a brisk walk (stimulates the
    circulation etc).
  5. Vitamin B complex tablet (within recommended daily dose).
  6. Cysteine (within recommended dose) as it counteracts
    acetaldehyde - a by-product of alcohol metabolism.
  7. Vitamin C for its antioxidant effects.
  8. Be wary of headache pills as some (tylenol/acetaminophen) can
    increase the risk of liver damage in conjunction with alcohol,
    and some (ibuprofen, aspirin) can cause gastric irritation.
  9. PRAY.

  10. Here are tips on preventing a hangover:

  11. Drink clear alcohol. Dark alcohol tends to contain a substance called cogeners, and these types of alcohols are more likely to cause hangover symptoms. White wine, vodkas, and light rum are examples of clear alcohols. Red wine, dark rum, sherry, and brandy are high in cogeners. Beer is somewhere in between.
  12. Drink slowly, and have some food in your stomach. If you are a small person the same amount of alcohol will affect you more than it would someone larger.
  13. Try to drink in moderation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that women have no more than one drink per day and men no more than two drinks per day. One drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer; a 4-ounce glass of wine; or a 1 1/2-ounce shot of liquor.
  14. Drink some water in between your alcohol containing drinks as that will decrease your alcohol consumption, and help prevent dehydration
  15. Of course, hangovers can be prevented altogether if you avoid alcohol completely, but that's not for everyone either.

  16. You can get more detailed information regarding all aspects of Hangovers at this Mayo Clinic site.

    Some promising new work on Hangovers indicates that the juice of Asian Pears can prevent or decrease the severity of hangovers!