The past week has been very busy for me, and I think it will continue that way at least until I've finalized the move. Unfortunately it has also been one of my worst weeks trading in a very long time. Volatility has certainly come into the markets with the VIX in the 40s again, but there's just something I'm struggling with that I need to work out.
One of the main bits of news related to the market has been the financial reform bill. I think that most of the time spent by these lawmakers is on coming up with cute names for these bills. I personally would like to see all the derivatives stuff (and even stock dark pools) moved onto exchanges with no grandfather clause. I also think that Fannie and Freddie need to be addressed, although it looks like that's not going to happen with the Democrat-led charge.
One of the questions raised about the financial reform bill is whether the lawmakers actually understand how the markets etc. work. Obviously they don't, and my question is why we can't change that? I propose that every politician (either before running or after winning) be forced to take and pass a test that is at least at the introductory college level on basic subjects such as economics. If the person gets reelected, he/she would just have to take a continuing education course like what the NASD does for registered reps. And if the elected official is to take part in a special committee/subcommittee such as banking and finance, environmental protection, or military spending, he/she must take an even more specialized course or test to show adequate understanding of the field. Is this so hard to implement?
Staying on the subject of serious matters, this sunday is the big Lost finale. My friend SM was nice enough to get tickets to a live interview with the co-creators of Lost. It was an entertaining evening moderated by a New York Times journalist and Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) and Jorge Garcia (Hurley) also showed up. We saw a scene from the finale and they took some audience Q&As. The biggest revelation to me was when they discussed the end with Jorge Garcia. Garcia is known not only to be an actor on the show, but a big fan as well. Lindelof and Cuse offered themselves to him to answer any questions he still had after they finished the finale. His response was along the lines of, "Well I have no questions really. I mean, I got it." To me, this means that the narrative will be wrapped up in a coherent way, even though some diehards might not get the answers to some small details.
Also on TV is the NBA and I've still been watching the NBA playoffs and they continue to be a treat. Boston has a good chance to win this series now that they won both in Orlando. For those who are even thinking sweep, you have to remember that this year the Celts have actually been a better road team than home team. One interesting note is that with a "healthy" (playing) Garnett, the Celtics have not lost a playoff series yet. A Boston-LA final would probably draw terrific ratings.
I was on the winning Harvard Club team for the 2009-2010 Interclub Bridge League, a casual league that includes many social clubs in NYC such as the Yale Club, NY Athletic Club, Harmonie Club, Regency Whist Club, among others. We won the regular season by a record margin, and won the playoff as well. The playoff was a 24 board 5 team board-a-match. At halftime, we had a score of 6.5 boards and were actually in the lead as the other teams scored three 6s and a 5.5. To celebrate, one of the team members will be taking us out to Daniel, which recently won a James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant. Looking foward to it and hopefully I'll post some nice pics.
Speaking of food, here are some more pics of recent good food I've had.
This is as close as it gets to food that I would miss once I move out of LIC. While most of the places around here are overpriced Italian, there is some pretty good pizza. This combination, from the Food Cellar market downstairs (like a Whole Foods), was one of my favorites. Cooked shrimp and sliced potato provided a terrific range of textures with the slightly chewy crust and the fresh mozzarella. There was no red sauce, but some EVOO and arugula added at the end provided the perfect flavor notes.
I should have included this one in the sandwich post but forgot. It is an oreja cemita from one of the taco trucks along the 7 line. I'll be looking forward to much more of this type of food once I move back closer to the heart of Queens. While eating pig's ear is not new, I find that most Chinese preparations I've had are chilled, and so the melty gelatinous feel of the heated ear was a nice surprise.
There's a reason classics are classics. This is the oyster pan roast from the Grand Central Oyster Bar. A deliciously creamy soup/stew that goes terrifically with the plump oysters. I had to get more of the lightly toasted white bread to soak up all the sauce.
Another one that should have made the sandwich post but was hiding in my food pics folder. This is the grilled and sliced tuna sandwich also from the Oyster Bar. Perfectly grilled, still rare inside and served with a simple tomato salsa, this is a terrific value at $9 for simple, fresh flavor. They make a lot of these sandwiches during the lunch rush, so if you get there late, the main problem is that they might run out of bread to make sandwiches with (I got the last one that time at around 4pm).