Ashwini and I were lounging on the couch the other day. I was reading “Sky and Telescope” and she was finishing off her last book of sudoku puzzles.
Ash: Daady, did you know that my friend x*** doesn’t have any boys at her home?
Me: How come?
Ash: x*** has two mommies and two grandmas; no daddy or brother.
Me: Does she like that?
Ash: Oh yes! She loves her mommies and I think it would be fun with no boys in the house.
I knew about this girl who joined Ashwini’s class a few months ago, but I didn’t want to ask her any questions. I was waiting for her to talk about her new friend. It is very nice that children at Ashwini’s age are getting exposed to these concepts of different family structures, before they form prejudices just from hearing things from others. It is also very commendable how her teachers have handled this issue in the classroom. I have a few gay and lesbian friends at work and outside. If and when we meet them socially with their significant others, I am glad that Ashwini surely won’t be surprised.
Adit has decided to address me as ‘Father’ over the last few days. Whenever he does that, I start to think my name is…. धोंडो भिकाजी कडमडेकर and my mind slips into these memories of…
शंकरया, शरी, आप्पा भिन्गार्डे, केशर मडगावकर, नानू सरंजामे, मद्रासी राम, मुख्याध्यापिका सरोज खरे (आपली), जीवनाचं आरसपानी दर्शन, इत्यादी इत्यादी
Last year, we had a lawn service cutting our grass, but this year I decided to do it on my own. On Sunday, I took out the lawn tractor for the season’s first cut. I put the fuel in and started to turn the key, but nothing happened. I realised that the battery was dead. Opened up the hood to take it out and saw some movement under a grille over the big fan on top of the engine. There was a bunch of cotton stuffed in there and a small furry face with big black eye looking at me. As I rattled the grille, that mouse scurried around inside and she had 4 babies suckling on her. Mom ran away while I unscrewed the grille leaving all those little babies behind. I couldn’t just kill them, so left them out on the driveway and went inside the house. When I came back after 10 minutes, the babies were gone. Either their mom carried them away or some birds had a yummy snack.
I was so glad that the battery had died. Can’t imagine how messy it would have been if the engine had turned over and started. And cleaning up all those mashed mice… urgh! Read more…
Lately, the mortgage and credit crisis that brought down several financial companies to their knees has been in the news. The negative impact of this crisis on the stock market and economy in general was enormous. With all the talk of mortgage-backed securities, CDOs and some other acronyms that were flying around, the whole issue was quite nebulous to me. Guess who came to rescue me from all this confusion… My favorite radio show: This American Life. The recent episode that was broadcast last week, “The Giant Pool of Money“, explains the whole situation very clearly. It is a must listen if you were confused like me and want to know more. They basically took an individual on every rung of the chain from the mortgage borrower to banker to broker to wall street guys and used their personal stories to illustrate how things worked and how they went down. It is almost funny to hear how the requirements for mortgage approvals became more and more relaxed. It is very nicely done.
Some interesting points:
Creators of CDOs, the very instruments that caused all this trouble, received an award for creating a novel financial vehicle for investment.
There is US$70trillion (that is right with a ‘t’) in fixed income savings worldwide. That is more than all the transactions that happen all around the world in an year. Fixed income savings means money for investing in very low-risk investments such as US treasury bonds. They don’t want to lose even a penny of that principal. This crisis made a huge chunk of that money disappear.
The financial companies and bond rating agencies calculated the risk for these investments using wrong data.
‘Raising Sand’ is the best album that I have listened to and bought in the last couple of years. I like Robert Plant and Alison Krauss as musicians by themselves, but together they have made a really great sounding album. Their voices compliment each other and it is just wonderful. It also helps to have T Bone Burnett as the producer to add to the magic. It is worth a listen.
Long long time ago, I don’t recall if it was before we got married or after, V promised me that she’ll buy me a pipe as a gift on my 40th birthday. Today, I get closer to that day by one more year. If she keeps her promise, I’ll get my first pipe in just 2 more years. Below is just an example of what I’d like. They are called Meerschaum pipes made from a rare mineral called meerschaum. She is free to choose a design of her liking.
Over the two weeks, I didn’t get a chance to update on the progress of our caterpillars. They turned into these exotic-looking cocoons and after a week or so beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies emerged. Read more…