Archive for June, 2009

CEO Greed

The Seattle Times published an article today on executive pay: still more evidence of the stunning extent of corporate greed in America. In 1980, CEO compensation was about 40 times the average employee’s wage. By 2007, CEOs raked in 370 times more than their typical worker. WAMU chief, Kerry Killinger, collected $32.5 million in 2006-07 while he orchestrated the largest bank failure in U.S. history. But that’s peanuts compared to the $270 million CEO Richard Fuld collected in the five years prior to Lehman Brothers’ demise. Executive incentives are totally screwed up: corporate boards structure packages so the CEOs collect big bucks no matter how the company performs. Maybe it would help if the government taxed these exorbitant salaries and bonuses at some ridiculously high rate: maybe 90%.


First Day of Summer–Brrrrrr!!!

As we headed out to the gym this morning the outdoor temperature read 48 degrees. What bizarre weather!

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In a Groove – 85 at Mt. Si

After Wednesday’s two-over par 38 I couldn’t wait, of course, to get back out on the links. In spite of the light drizzle and occasional showers I headed to Mt. Si for an early afternoon round. I didn’t strike the ball as well as Wednesday, especially off the tee, but my short game was very solid and I recorded a consistent 42-43 for an 85, one of my best rounds ever from the blue tees. A missed three-foot birdie putt and an eight on hole number 16 kept me from a potential best-ever round.

Those showers, btw, ended the record-tying twenty-nine consecutive rainless days. We got a real drenching in the early evening and the plants and trees are looking revived already.

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Still No Rain


It’s official: it’s the driest spring in Seattle history with 29 straight days without rain equaling the 1982 record. We don’t usually have this kind of parched stretch until July-August. It’s been nice but hard to keep all our plants happy.

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Whew! Two-Over Par

After work I stopped at Mt. Si to practice on the driving range but it was such a nice, mild day and there weren’t many folks on the course so I headed out for a quick nine holes. After an uneventful bogey on the first hole I went par-birdie-par over the next three. I got lucky on a few errant shots like the mishit 7-iron on number six that bounced off a tree back into the fairway instead of heading into the woods. From there, I hit a superb sand wedge from forty yards to within eighteen inches of the hole and a tap-in par. Then there was an impressive 290 yard drive on number 9 leading to an easy par there. So I finished with a 38, my second lowest nine-hole score ever.

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Guns and Burgers

I heard today (The News Hour, June 16th) that there are more retail guns stores in the U.S. than there are McDonald’s restaurants in the world. What a bizarre culture we live in where it’s easier to buy AK-47s than quarter pounders and fries.

And thanks to recent federal legislation it will be legal to carry all those munitions in national parks.


Gold Mountain Golf

I had one of my best golf days ever at the very challenging Gold Mountain Olympic course (124 slope rating). On a scrumptious late spring day, I started off poorly, going eight over par on the first three holes. After that, though, I carded a birdie and six pars (five in a row near the end of the round), finishing the second nine in five-over par 41 and a very satisfying 88 total.

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Health Care

We’re doomed! I just read Atul Gawande’s June 1 New Yorker article (“The Cost Conundrum“) on the huge regional variances in U.S. health care costs. Just as in the banking calamity the problem has its roots in simple greed. Doctors and hospitals make more money in a system that allows them to see selected patients on a piece-work basis, order multiple tests, prescribe numerous drugs and operate on as many of them as possible. The profit is in quantity not in quality of care; and certainly not in preventative medicine. Thus were a nation stuck with mediocre health care at the highest per capita cost in the world. I can’t imagine the lobbyists in DC will permit any real changes in this cash cow.


Class of ’69 Forty Years Later

Whew! Forty years ago today –on Friday the 13th no less– I waltzed out of the University of Toledo with a B.A. degree… and no more sense of what I was going to do than when I first registered. What a wondrous four years it was! I couldn’t get enough of any discipline; well, except calculus. There was botany, astronomy, logic, economics, social psychology, state and local government…, it was all fascinating. Oh and my official major, of course, Spanish and those countless hours memorizing dialogs in the language lab. I recall the delightful discovery of Baroque music as I spent many afternoons studying in the “music listening room.” Certainly, I spent way too many hours as well playing basketball, sometimes first thing in the morning and again until the gym closed at night.

It was a magical time in spite of the craziness going on in the outside world. A lot of stuff was happening out there. In 1969 alone:
  • Nixon sworn in as President
  • Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon
  • Beatles gives their last performance
  • first ARPANET (later the Internet) link established
  • Jets beat the Colts in Superbowl III
  • most powerful tropical storm in history, Hurricane Camille
  • Wendy’s sells its first hamburger
  • Mets win the World Series
  • Seseame Street debuts
  • martial law declared in Madrid
  • first Led Zeppelin album released
  • WalMart opens for business
  • Chicago Eight trial begins
  • the first artificial heart transplant
  • British troops deployed in Northern Ireland
  • initial flight of the Boeing 747
  • Manson/Sharon Tate murders
  • Woodstock
  • first ATM machines installed
  • draft lottery reconstituted
I’ll never forget other students blocking the way during one of our ROTC drills. How weird was that; kids I sat with in class were lying on the ground and shouting at me as if I supported the war in Vietnam. Then too there were girls, in the classroom, sitting right next to me. After four years in all boys St. Francis that was a new distraction especially with mini skirts still in fashion.
Those years got me hooked on academia and I didn’t exit the education world, really, until I left the University of Michigan Library for Xerox fifteen years later. The U. of T. gave me a wonderful, broad introduction to the world. I’m forever indebted to those scores of superb teachers who seemed always prepared and endlessly patient with my after-class questions.

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Front Yard Touch-Up

We finally finished our rock walls and new plantings in the front yard. It took three trips in the little Volvo to get the almost ton of rocks we needed. We like this new way to manage the slope from the east side of the yard and it gives us a new space to highlight some colorful bushes and flowers.

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