Sunday, November 17, 2013

Random - Trying to find a painting

I purchased this painting from a small art gallery in Orta San Guilio, Italy, about 6 years ago:
The signature in the lower left corner says "Bertocchi".  The scene is Orta, there is a large park and this is one view of it, the lake is off to the left of the painting.  

If you know where I can get other pieces by this artist, please let me know!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Studying for CFA Level 2

Time to start studying for the Level 2 exam of the CFA.  I did so poorly the first time I'm convinced I must have spelled my name wrong.  At the beginning of the course I took to help pass the test, an instructor said "Don't get married, switch jobs, or sell your house while you're trying to study..."  Fortunately I only did one of the three (sold my house), but that process was both extraordinarily stressful and overwhelmingly time consuming that I'm pretty sure it negatively impacted my test results.

So, instead of studying for just 6 months for the test, I'm going to start now (well, a few weeks ago), and try to review everything at least once before January, 2012.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let me just say, for the record, the my father in law was correct - the market's taken off since he and I had our little bet, and he won. This just illustrates that I'm too bearish on the market in general, and I'm not taking broader impacts into consideration when analyzing the market.

Let me also say, for the record, that I think we're in for a few more years of essentially zero growth - there's no meaningful job growth in the private sector and there is only going to be job losses on the government side.

One thing I don't quite understand is how someone could think that firing government employees is going to lead to increased job growth - firing people makes jobs? Is this like pro-lifers killing people?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Bet with the Father-In-Law

My F.I.L. thinks the midterm elections will resolve the current uncertainty in the market and therefore by December will have broken out of our current trend. His theory is that the R's pick up enough seats to cause gridlock and that gridlock will resolve the uncertainty. No uncertainty will give businesses enough faith to start investing, hiring, etc., etc. And therefore things will get better.

I agree that gridlock is the most likely outcome at this point on the midterms, but that the gridlock will cause the economy to stall. So I'm betting we're below trend come December. The kicker for me is Christmas hiring and sales - I think they're both going to be off and that this is going to drive things down. I'm in the camp that we need about another $500B in non-military stimulus to get things going again, but we won't get that with any sign of gridlock in Congress.

Between now and the end of the year, hiring, consumer confidence, housing, etc. aren't going to improve in any meaningful way, and I think that's going to create negative feedback throughout the economy. Obama's already too late to turn the midterms around significantly (I think), however I don't think the R's are going to pick up as many seats as they thought 3-4 months again.

We didn't put any money on this, but simply being right and being able to rub it in for the next 20 years is where the real action is.

Friday, July 30, 2010

And now I'm a Candidate for Level 2

I passed Level 1 of the CFA exam. Apparently hard work does pay off, at least in this instance. Or luck, its hard to separate the two sometimes methinks.

Of course, all passing Level 1 gets me is the opportunity to study for Level 2 for the next 10 months. My informal survey of my prep course classmates revealed a 50% pass rate (5 out of 10), which is only slightly better than the 43% pass rate overall. Did the class help? It certainly was nice to have software to do problems as well as being "forced" to go to class once a week.

And I need to double check my Ethics & Standards to ensure I'm referring to my status as a Level 2 Candidate correctly.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Too Many Lawyers

There have been quite a few stories lately about how recent law school grads can't find a job - isn't this just (over) supply and (lack of) demand? Shouldn't that mean the price for a lawyer should drop? We'll see how that works out.

One of the more interesting solutions has been grade inflation at law schools. At what point do you admit defeat? What kind of world would we live if people said,"You know, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my life, so I'm going to get a master's in engineering." I'm pretty sure a bunch of inexperienced, arrogant 26 year-olds with engineering degrees is going to make for at least a marginally better world than the same group with law degrees. The engineers could just make a bunch of pointlessly over-designed products that no one would ever purchase instead of filing frivolous lawsuits.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Dunning–Kruger effect

I really should have gone into cognitive psychology. Sadly 20 years ago I didn't think there'd be much of a future for someone who wanted to put people into mazes like rats. I was a fan of Stanley Milgram's in high school. If only I'd know the Dunning-Kruger effect could have been named after me. However in retrospect that might not be the best idea...

Wikipedia on D-K

NY Times/Errol Morris

This effect explains many former managers and at least two entire organizations that I've worked for.