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Thread: Black Monday 2: Economic Boogaloo

  1. #541
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    And something coming out of North Field... Iceland is looking to adopt the Loonie.. Still just putting feelers out it seems, but instead of the Kroner or even the Euro, they're toying with the idea of using the Canadian Loonie as their currency.

  2. #542
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    From his last volume on the second World War,
    Churchill flew to Greece at Christmas 1944 to
    help settle a new government in. Worth taking
    trouble over this seat of democracy

  3. #543
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    Quote Originally Posted by boppa View Post
    In the last 2 years... rent has risen from 325 a week to 475 a week (and going up again if I renew my lease)
    The last year and a half of my life have mostly been a financial disaster, but one good part, which in fact has really saved me lately, has been the rent on my apartment. The landlord mentioned planning to increase it once but seems to have forgotten the idea. He never got around to saying how much more he would want from me, and I haven't asked and have just kept paying the same. It's been a couple of years since then. The apartment complex that I moved out of to live here instead now advertizes apartments like my old one for about 40%-60% more than my rent there was when I left.

    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    Since when has investing in stocks meant lower risk?
    One could plan to invest in particular stocks that one expects to do well in otherwise generally bad economy, but when it's from one country to another like that, it looks more like they're expecting the "fall/collapse" of some countries to be beneficial to others.

  4. #544
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    One of the things to appreciate is that normal rules do not apply to central banks. You shouldn't think of them as normal entities which are concerned with profit and loss. Think of it this way: Central banks can create their host currency at will. They can pull it out, destroying that currency at will as well if they want to (although usually they're just controlling the rate of growth of that monetary base when weekly fluctuations are averaged out). Now, for any entity that can create currency at will, whatever use is "profit" in the normal monetary sense we think of it? Indeed, profit for a central bank would represent money being pulled out of the system.

    That's why the Fed (and every other CB) must give its profit away. The Fed gives it straight back the US Treasury and all the others do something similiar. A loss for a central bank represents an excess of currency, unbacked against its asset side, in the system. And that's why losses are very bad and the ECB is going through hoops, law, ethics and deceny be damned, to avoid taking losses on the Greek bonds.

    So don't think about central banks in normal terms, as you do with regular real banks and other money making institutions. Their function is to control the monetary system (and increasingly to use monetary inputs to try to control the economy in general -- to think one can do this effectively is hubris of the highest order of course).

    They all seem to think that being mysterious helps them in their task, though and like to have an air of being some wizards of some forbidden secret knowledge or something. That is, they know what they're doing, yet they seem to like all the misconceptions about what they are and do to remain out there.

    So a central bank, as an institution, isn't concerned with profit. That doesn't mean those who run it aren't concerned with profit for themselves personally and their buddies, of course, but the central bank itself is not about that.

  5. #545
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    In the days when there were wild places with animals and no central banks the equivalent to economics was population dynamics which boom and crash.

  6. #546
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    Something I'm becomming increasingly of the belief of is that boom-bust cycle is necessary behavior of a normally functioning economy. The goal of many economists for around 100 years has been to smooth that cycle out and have steady growth, no muss, no fuss. I'm becomming convinced that's impossible, and attempts to smooth it out will fail and result in a spectacular crash.

    Heretic Aussie economist Steve Keen (whose work I highly recommend reading, although I don't agree with all of it) came up with something about this that was fascinating. He was trying to model what I like to call the "debt Ponzi", which is what we've all been doing for the past 2 - 3 decades, which is running up debt at an unsustainable rate relative to GDP growth. So he was fooling around with various differential equation models for all the variables.

    He discovered some interesting behavior. With no "debt Ponzi", he got the familiar boom-bust cycle. Over the long term, there is growth, but you've got significant boom/recession oscillations riding on top of it. Now add the debt Ponzi. That smooths and draws out the oscillation, with the final curve being one of long steady smooth growth. It ends in a spectacular crash.

    That's interesting because that's exactly what happened to all of us. The period of the 90s until now has been called the "Great Moderation", a period of steady growth and low inflation. Why it was wonderful. And then we crashed. Big time.

    So according to that model, the debt Ponzi lulls you into a false sense of perpetual prosperity, smoothing out the natural boom/bust behavior, but kills you in the end.

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    Did those simulations pertain to government debt, private debt, both, or some other or lower level of subdivision (such as applying to mortgages but not credit cards)?

  8. #548
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    I accept the boom bust is normal and to be expected but would the same happen if the long term average was shrinkage? A downsizing company tends to generate cash where a growing one generates debt. Economic growth may have been the historical trend but there is no law of nature to say the economy has to grow just as an oversized company shrinks not just to survive but to become competitive again.

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    Here's a good Wired article on the perils of HFT (High Frequency Trading):

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...speed-trading/

    The computers, "the bots" as they're called, are creating their own world at the sub 650 ms level. They have no understanding of what they're creating there. Note the part about how patterns at this level, where the bots operate, bear no resemblence to the patterns on the human-aware timescales.

    At this level, as the article note, there have been a myriad of "flash crashes" and spikes at these time scales. There have been 18,000+ such events from 2006 to 2011. Most of them just don't show up at the human-aware time scales.

    They are now getting into *nanosecond* level trading.

    Anyway. this is emergent behavior, and behavior the creators do not understand in the least. It's just another cog in the giant Skynet we're creating.

  10. #550
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Did those simulations pertain to government debt, private debt, both, or some other or lower level of subdivision (such as applying to mortgages but not credit cards)?
    Nothing that sophisticated, I don't think. Think of this as some undergraduate projecticle motion vs the analysis of a say a real projectile or missle with all its detail and complexity.

  11. #551
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    It started with these collaterised debt
    obligations (CDOs) and I was reading articles
    warning about these two or three years
    before it all went pear shaped.

    Dont think there were such warnings in 1929.

  12. #552
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    It happens at a mundane level too. I use an online site with access to ETFS which are derivatives used for futures trading (or speculation) and there is for example one called HOGS which relates to hogs as a commodity. If you watch the ticker there are very big spikes like 30% or 50% change in the price. I tried to catch one but of course they are subsecond duration; but I guess a lot of money exchanges in that sub second and the deal is in effect manipulated trading that ordinary human buyers and sellers cannot access. Since the same can happen in every market not just finacial trading, the degree of phantom economy could be staggeringly large . ( The novel Fear Index deals with this as a baseline for the plot which involves the computer algorithm becoming self aware.)

  13. #553
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    It happens at a mundane level too. I use an online site with access to ETFS which are derivatives used for futures trading (or speculation) and there is for example one called HOGS which relates to hogs as a commodity. If you watch the ticker there are very big spikes like 30% or 50% change in the price. I tried to catch one but of course they are subsecond duration; but I guess a lot of money exchanges in that sub second and the deal is in effect manipulated trading that ordinary human buyers and sellers cannot access. Since the same can happen in every market not just finacial trading, the degree of phantom economy could be staggeringly large . ( The novel Fear Index deals with this as a baseline for the plot which involves the computer algorithm becoming self aware.)
    We discussed this back in the first Black Monday Thread, and I've forgotten some of the details, but after that big "Flash Crash" of last year (or was it even before that -- time is flying), there were some guys who really analzyed it and posted some fascinating articles about what they thought was going on. They were going over fine tooth detail of stuff at the microsecond level, and they discovered all sorts of mysterious looking patterns which the "bots" would repeat over and over again.

    I remember with one they decided the bots were intentionally flooding the system so as to introduce delay into the quote systems that most everyone else relies on. Some of the big boys have access to a very fast service, which they pay dearly for, which the little guys don't. That essentially gives them the ability to know the future relative to most everyone else. It's a very small time difference, but at this level, those milliseconds allow them to profit handsomely.

    What they're essentially trying to do is just skim off the flow, capturing a little piece of all the transactions by inserting themselves in the middle of all the flows.

    And they don't have the slightest clue of the emergent behavior of the system when everybody is running these bots with their own little secret programming techniques interacting and competing with each other. The big Flash Crash was one result of that unknown behavior.

  14. #554
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    All this reminds me of the book on sale from Amazon for $23,698,655.93.
    Which is really an example of what's going on here, boiled down to the bare minimum required to set up this type of situation.
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  15. #555
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    Quote Originally Posted by publius View Post
    Something I'm becomming increasingly of the belief of is that boom-bust cycle is necessary behavior of a normally functioning economy. The goal of many economists for around 100 years has been to smooth that cycle out and have steady growth, no muss, no fuss. I'm becomming convinced that's impossible, and attempts to smooth it out will fail and result in a spectacular crash.
    Yes and No, or so I suspect. Markets are inherently directed by human psychology, which often can't be modeled too closely because humans adapt to being modeled. I think that was one of the advantages of the post-Great Depression economic system rules: it reduced human access to the system in such a way as to reduce both amplitude and extent and therefore the probability of aberrant financial transactions (and also moderated by a psychology that rewarded moderation in both risk taking and risk aversion). One of the problems with economics these days is that many people plot charts with formulae that either ignore actual human psychology or model it too closely which can lead to false assumptions of accuracy and precision and also result in interference patterns with actual behavior. However, when the firewalls were in place, cumulative interference patterns were evened out. So, while the bots may be revealing emergent behavior due to expected market operations, it sounds to me like they are simply revealing the same patterns (and interference patterns) as humans, but faster.

    I don't think boom-bust cycles are mandatory. They're predicated on market expansion, which reveals the susceptible conditions: expandability of the market environment. A market environment may be virgin because it's either been untapped and recently opened, or a new innovation makes a new one. So, as we saw manufacturing being outsourced to new labor markets, we experienced the first type of boom. But even if and when that stabilizes and developing countries begin to reach either parity or equilibrium with outsourcing costs, we may still experience booms on fads, such as the famous tulip bulb bubble.

    I know that there is some thought on generational cycles based the concept of “The first generation builds the business, the second makes it a success, and the third wrecks it”. However, there that need not apply to markets as a whole and may only do so now because of relatively recent human migrations or collations of fortune due to war and imperialism over the last couple centuries. If we can manage to stabilized both the markets and social order around the world, I suspect the boom-bust cycles will even out on their own. While there may be more frequent cycles, the low amplitude and overlapping nature of their higher frequency would make it into more of a constant background noise.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  16. #556
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    Sorry all, just got discharged out of the hospital for surgery (yes, I knew it was coming, but the way I cope with nervousness is not to dwell on it). Believe or not, I had to have my right hip replaced. Went damn well, but I'm not a happy camper now and won't be for a few days. Hillbilly heroin is the only thin keeping things half way bearble. But it has some other unpleasant digestive side effects we won't dwell on.

    So continue to discuss amongst yourselves.

    -Richard

  17. #557
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    I wish you a quick recovery Publius, much quicker than the economic one that is allegedly in progress. And be careful with the "Hillbilly heroin."

    BTW the other day I saw a TV commercial for a medical research study for people who are taking opiates for pain control, and are experiencing constipation as a side effect. There are some strange commercials on daytime cable TV.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  18. #558
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I wish you a quick recovery Publius, much quicker than the economic one that is allegedly in progress. And be careful with the "Hillbilly heroin."

    BTW the other day I saw a TV commercial for a medical research study for people who are taking opiates for pain control, and are experiencing constipation as a side effect. There are some strange commercials on daytime cable TV.
    Thanks. And from my experience today with that side effect, the hilllbillies can keep their heroin, that's for sure. It was the worst I'd ever experienced. I don't know really. I've had other opiates, such as hydrocodone, and some others, but never oxycodone before. They tend to make me a little naseous and slow things down, but nothing this bad before. I wonder if was more cummulative effects of the anethesia, etc, etc, and direct morphine in the IV the first day. However, things didn't seem to come to a dead stop until yesterday. I've had general anesthesia before as adult (couple times as a child, but that was so long ago I don't remember anything about it), but this time the main pain was regional/spinal block, and I wonder if that perhaps had something to do with it. But that crap, or lack of it, is not the subject of this thread, and we'll leave that alone (I say to much fanfare, I'm sure)

    About those strange daytime and late night commericials. They say that you know you're getting old when those commercials start on you, and you think, "Hmmm, that's sounds pretty good...." I'm not there yet, but it's only a matter of time.

    I thought my right knee would the first to go, but it turned out my right hip decided it was going to "win" and be first across the finish line. It deteriorated rapidly over the past few months, and when I got to the point I could no longer get my sock on, or cut my toenails, properly, it was time. The cartilage had been shot for some time, but it went completely, went bone on bone, and bone loss started accelerating. I think the Doc measured my right leg nearly 1.25" shorter than the left.

    I went to a fairly new facility they had just constructed over the past few years. There's a high demand for orthopedics in this area and this group went into together and built their own little hospital in which they almost exclusively do orthropedic surgery. This enabled impressive cost savings. I just couldn't believe it, and doing it through the regular hospital system had become just ridiculously cost prohibitive. They did have to put in a emergency unit, and can handle overflow in a pinch for the larger hospital system region in which they're a part of it, but most of the time, they've got it to themselves.

    It and the personnel were most impressive. My surgeon was young, but not too young, just right really. Enough experience to smoothly handle the odd rare little glitch that might pop up, but young enough to be freshly up on the latest state of the art. He gave meticulous attention to all the risk factors and minimized every one he had control of, etc. He didn't cherry coat anything, telling me that by about the second or third day, I'd be regretting go through it, but that in a few weeks, (with standard caveats) I be thinking it was the decision I'd ever made. He was right about the second day thing, and let's hope he's right about the long term part.

    The only glitch that did show up was I tested positive for "MRSA" colonization, the antibiotic resistant staph bacteria. They test for that regularly, right on site, and this caused them to have to go into "Contagion" mode, wearing gloves and suits. I couldn't believe it, but they said it is is getting more and more common, which is why they test and go into "level 4 mode" or whatever.

  19. #559
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    I'll just say, for anecdotal cheer, that I have a colleague who's had both hips replaced and run about 20km/week.

    Done right you'll definitely be happy you got it done.
    __________________________________________________
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    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  20. #560
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    Ugh, I know how you feel. I had surgery 2 1/2 years ago. No oxycodone for me, they only sent me home with hydrocodone (Vicodin) and ibuprofen and recommended Colace for the... ahem, side effects. Luckily, I had been on a liquid diet for a week and was in no hurry to start eating lots of fiber, so it wasn't that bad. Actually, I had to eat a low residue diet because it was an intestinal resection and any BM was excruciating. So, you might want to try a low residue diet while on the opiates. Also, I had MRSA too, probably got it from there the first time I was in a few months earlier. Hope you feel better soon.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Thanks. I'm doing a lot better now. Still hobbling around, but am definitely on the uparc and feeling all the little shooting pains and crap indicating damaged soft tissue is in the process of healing and complaining about it. The surgeon did explain how much damage he was going to have to do to cut out the old hip and put it in the implant.

    And no more oxycodone for me. I would have to be out of my mind with pain to take that stuff again. Turns out they've got a new opiate out, brand name "Nucynta" (in the US), generic name tapentadol, and they gave me some of that. It's new and ridiculously expensive of course but it works without the "side effect" for me and no nausea either. With me, oxycodone apparently just shuts my colon down. I don't want to get any lurkers' hopes up with this new stuff, because it varies greatly with individual, but this Nucynta stuff works pretty good for me with the least nausea and colon slowing down of any I've tried. I now know the hillbilly heroin is the absolute worst for me.

    And I'm not going to need a pain killer much more I don't think, probably just at night to get a good night's sleep for another week or two.

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    And speaking of new drugs, they're using a new blood "thinner" (anticoagulant) now, brand name "Xarelto", which was approved just last year. That stuff is indeed expensive, price for 30 pills was about $170. Blood clots, the dreaded deep vein thrombosis leading to pulmonary embolism is a big risk with hip and knee replacements, with hip being about the worst. They've got me wearing these annoying compression stockings which I'll have to do for weeks, and stay on the blood "thinner" for 30 days. With knees, it's only 15 days.

    This Xarelto stuff is supposed to cut the DVT incidence rate in half, but with a slightly higher "bleeding event" risk, but the main thing is the maintainece is no problem. One pill a day for everybody, unlike the careful dose adjustement required with the previous stuff.

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    Well get well soon publius and because I feel
    a little queasy lets talk about economies. Does
    capitalism need periodic boosts from new fads to
    get everyone cheerful again. Lets see, it started
    with mechanised fibre spinning then weaving did
    it not? Then canal building was the thing. Got
    lots of stuff around easily, coal, corn, heavy
    stuff. Then railways were popular. Last century
    brought wireless sets. Television. Ahh yes,
    micro-computers. And lots of stuff for smaller
    markets. Point is when there is something new
    it seems to affect much more than just that
    area. Then each fad settles down to replacement
    activiy.

    What did I not mention? Cars, Airplanes. One
    big fly in the ointmnt...Armaments!

  24. #564
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteshimmon View Post
    I feel a little queasy lets talk about economies.
    Publius is currently taking opiates. I think that qualifies him as a professional economist.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

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    Quote Originally Posted by peteshimmon View Post
    Well get well soon publius and because I feel
    a little queasy lets talk about economies.
    Sorry, Pete. If I feel the need to ramble on any more about my little experiences I'll start another thread where only those interestes and not queasy can read if they want. I just to wanted to mention where I'd been and why I might not be participating as much as usual for a while.

    I should have posted something before I went in, but I was trying not to think about it. Doesn't matter how much reason I can apply to the situation, how much information and knowledge, the fight or flight is going to ramp up and I was a nervous wreck about 36 hours beforehand.

    And that behaved just like I figured it would as well. I get scared out of my mind *anticipating* something, but once I get started, I'm cool as a cucumber. Started that way as a kid. I'd worry myself sick over something I feared, such a public speaking, go over and over it in my mind beforehand to the point of mental exhaustion, then "zone out" with blind fear right before, then get up there and give a crackerjack performance. Then I'd go home and collapse. Anxiety is good, up to a point. I even looked that up. Works the same way for presurgical anxiety. The worst outcomes (and this is how the patient perceives the experience mostly) are for those on the extremes of the anxiety scale beforehand. The dummies who aren't scared *don't get themselves prepared*. That's what anxiety does, it makes you prepare yourself. And then on the other extreme are those who lose control and just run amok with blind fear and make it worse.

    That was exactly the way this was. Fear peaked right before it was time to go. Sitting in the waiting room (only about one minute), I had a fight or flight burst when I heard the nurse coming down the hall to get me. "Run!", my inner voice said, "Head for the tall grass!". But then I got up and it was all gone and I was calm and cool as could be. I think it's an internal decision process. Only at the final instant does one truly commit and once I did, no more worry.

  26. #566
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Publius is currently taking opiates. I think that qualifies him as a professional economist.
    Rimshot! That does explain a lot, and now you mention it, a lot of professional economists do have a sort of constipated air about them, don't they?

  27. #567
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteshimmon View Post
    Well get well soon publius and because I feel
    a little queasy lets talk about economies. Does
    capitalism need periodic boosts from new fads to
    get everyone cheerful again. Lets see, it started
    with mechanised fibre spinning then weaving did
    it not? Then canal building was the thing. Got
    lots of stuff around easily, coal, corn, heavy
    stuff. Then railways were popular. Last century
    brought wireless sets. Television. Ahh yes,
    micro-computers. And lots of stuff for smaller
    markets. Point is when there is something new
    it seems to affect much more than just that
    area. Then each fad settles down to replacement
    activiy.

    What did I not mention? Cars, Airplanes. One
    big fly in the ointmnt...Armaments!
    Well, something new often has far reaching implications for all sectors, even if minor, which allow adopters to experience a new risk-reward cycle. Personally, I think there are several potential initiatives/endeavors that could serve that function, one of which is space exploitation.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  28. #568
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    Quote Originally Posted by publius View Post
    Sorry, Pete. If I feel the need to ramble on any more about my little experiences I'll start another thread where only those interestes and not queasy can read if they want. I just to wanted to mention where I'd been and why I might not be participating as much as usual for a while.

    I should have posted something before I went in, but I was trying not to think about it. Doesn't matter how much reason I can apply to the situation, how much information and knowledge, the fight or flight is going to ramp up and I was a nervous wreck about 36 hours beforehand.

    And that behaved just like I figured it would as well. I get scared out of my mind *anticipating* something, but once I get started, I'm cool as a cucumber. Started that way as a kid. I'd worry myself sick over something I feared, such a public speaking, go over and over it in my mind beforehand to the point of mental exhaustion, then "zone out" with blind fear right before, then get up there and give a crackerjack performance. Then I'd go home and collapse. Anxiety is good, up to a point. I even looked that up. Works the same way for presurgical anxiety. The worst outcomes (and this is how the patient perceives the experience mostly) are for those on the extremes of the anxiety scale beforehand. The dummies who aren't scared *don't get themselves prepared*. That's what anxiety does, it makes you prepare yourself. And then on the other extreme are those who lose control and just run amok with blind fear and make it worse.

    That was exactly the way this was. Fear peaked right before it was time to go. Sitting in the waiting room (only about one minute), I had a fight or flight burst when I heard the nurse coming down the hall to get me. "Run!", my inner voice said, "Head for the tall grass!". But then I got up and it was all gone and I was calm and cool as could be. I think it's an internal decision process. Only at the final instant does one truly commit and once I did, no more worry.
    So, true. I worried myself beforehand too, then when they had me lay down on the cold operating room table I got the shivers for several reasons, but once they started the anesthesia I felt it coming, told them where it was (arm, shoulder, chest, neck) relaxed, smiled, and then said goodnight, closed my eyes and was out like a light.

    Incidentally, the anxiety self-preparation thing reminds me of the "Doomsday Preppers" thread in Small Media at Large, in case you want to take a look. It would be an appropriate adjunct to this thread since possible financial/societal collapse is one of the themes here.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    I'm not too sure how reliable zillow.com is at estimating housing prices, but they show a 41% increase in the value of my house over this month last year.
    It is still nowhere near the peak, but I'm still quite surprised...and skeptical.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

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