He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me think.

•August 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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All the way from Mork from Ork to his recent pictures, Robin Williams has been a part of my life. It is so sad that his depression finally took his life. Depression is a major issue for many people and maybe Robin’s death will force us to better understand the seriousness of this problem. The world will be a sadder place with out Robin. I will miss him….nano nano.

Checking in from Alaska and the Yukon

•August 13, 2014 • 5 Comments

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I only look drunk…
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Looking At the Rockies as we head West.

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Can you identify this plane?

 

Are tiny rental car in Seattle.
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Pikes place market in Seattle, a mass of people buying all kinds of stuff.

 

A fish salesman in Pike Place.

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Seattle is a great city to spend the day!

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Can you see the mountain the the clouds?
Will try and check in again this week.
Right now we are in Whitehorse Canada and the weather is good.
Talk soon.

The stock market, an American dream

•August 6, 2014 • 3 Comments

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We have all heard stories of the little old lady who bought Walmart stock over the years and now has millions of dollars. The truth of the matter is: in my brief existence I have seen very few real success stories in the market. Much like the lottery, the stock market is the financial equivalent to the American dream of success. People are elated over the fact that the market has done so well these last couple of years, but in truth, the massive increase in stock values is really nothing more than the decreased value of the world’s currency. The inflation created from vast amounts of money ‘the Fed’ is printing decreases the actual worth of each dollar, which is the problem.
So, when we middle-classers store up our dollars for retirement using some kind of stock fund and watch over the years as that money rises and falls at the whim of the stock exchange, we are in the end lucky to get out anywhere near in real dollars what we have stashed away. Yeah, we may get a tax break at the time but later on pay dearly because our income is now in a higher tax bracket due to a tax table that is only moderately adjusted for inflation! I love it when the financial planners tell us what our savings will mature to, with steady, moderate growth, fueled by our hard earned monthly contributions. Most of the time this is nothing more than a pipe-dream used to entice people to send their cash to financial planners who makes considerable profit on the movement of money by way of fees that at times hard to understand. One need not go back too far in time to our recent recession that destroyed many retirement plans. Make no mistake about this, many people became rich during the last fiasco on the backs of the middle class.

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I created this graph to show others that the idea of using gold as a hedge against inflation is only moderately successful. Using today’s price of gold and the inflation-adjusted price of gold in 1950, you may have increased your holdings by a factor of five. The problem with this is that inflation increased by a factor of 10. That means you lost 1/2 of your money’s value to inflation! That does not sound like a sound investment strategy to me.
I have taken the easy way out. I go to the Warren Buffet site and see what he is buying, buy it, and try to forget about it until Warren tells me to sell. His philosophy is quite simple: Buy good, strong companies that will be here for the foreseeable future and wait and hope you did enough homework to find success.
Oh My, I have to go out and get my mega-million-dollar lottery ticket before the drawing….Talk later.

Streisels at the beach, day 4 and 5

•July 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Day 4 was a little bit dreary but the 5th day was spectacular! Body surfed for hours in fantastically perfect waves! All week the temperature has been in the mid 80’s but it feels like 90 which is great beach weather.
Our daughter Betsy, did not make it to the family beach trip this year so with the help of Thomas, her husband and Scott, my son, we conjured up a group photo to include them in the trip. Ain’t technology great!
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Tomorrow we join the lemmings and head for home. Hopefully there sre no cliffs on the way.

The Streisels at the beach day 3

•July 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Another amazing day in Frisco, NC! We are all loving the water and the weather continues to be great. Yesterday during my bike ride the wind got a little rough but that made for a fast ride home. In the evening Sue introduced us to a game called Farkle, a dice game, which provided a couple of hours of entertainment for us adults. Amy’s (Scott’s wife) parents joined us to add to the fun. One of my old students called me and as we talked about family, the beach and and other things he interjected, “you live a charmed life,” I have to agree!
We have been watching about 8 young cats playing in view of one of our decks and to our surprise a man (cat man or in reality, Dan Felix) showed up to feed the wild cats! Sue, (cat women) while standing on the deck got into a conversation with the man and learned that he travels around the island feeding cats. He makes 8 stops every evening! He has built several house habitats for the cats to live in and he has not missed an evening of feeding in five years! Hats off to Dan.
Yesterday I saw a sign while riding my bike that I just had to show you this photo, so here it is.
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My only complaint.

The Streisel.s at the beach, day 2.

•July 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The weather has remained good for our second day but the weather man says that the weather may turn sour tomorrow and we all know how reliable he is. Had a great bike ride this afternoon but the first five miles was with the wind and the return trip was against the wind. Here are some great photos of our family.

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Repairing the family unit

•July 22, 2014 • 3 Comments

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While lying on the beach in the Carolina’s talking with my daughter-in-law, I came up with an idea of how our country might mend the American family.  So many young families are put in a position in which they both have to work to maintain the household. This results in an unfair reality of putting an infant as young as 7 weeks old in the hands of daycare, adding another large expense to the household. In addition to separating the child from his mom and dad, daycare can cost up to a $1000+ a month per child.  If you have two children you may get a break but its not much.  A typical house payment can be between $1000 and $2000, so between daycare and paying for a home, eating may be out of the question!  

   Being a parent also requires a large amount of time.  For the majority of couples that are both working to make ends meet, this requires both parents to be away from the home and their family for the majority of the week, making it very difficult to spend time with their children.  Between working, running a house, cooking meals, shopping, driving to various events, being a parent, being a spouse, cutting the grass, fixing things, occasional recreation/vacations, and sleeping, there is little time to sit down and relax or spend some quality time with the children.  So back to my solution, and the tea party folks may have an initial negative response to this idea, but with a little bit more thought, they may come to my way of thinking.

   Lets pay a parent to stay home for the first five years of the child’s life.  This could be in the form of a tax break or a stipend and would be based on the income average of the spouse who is staying home and decreases on a sliding scale as family income increases.  Part of the program could require the parent to attend some parenting classes to help improve their chances of success. Your first response may be: another government give away that we can not afford. But let us look a little deeper.

    Many of the problems we face as a society are from the fracturing of the American family.  One of the problems with a capitalist form of government is the stress placed on the family!  Many family decisions are based solely on economic issues rather than what is best for the child.  If a parent were allowed to stay home and raise the children, the positive impact on our society would be enormous.  Of course, there would be those who would abuse the program but some simple rules may help curb the misuse.  There should be a limit of 3 children per family which would help keep the population under control and help control the cost of the program.   

The benefits of a program like this would be immense! Children would be raised in their own home by their own parents, not sent out as 7 week old infants to daycare centers to be raised by strangers. Parents would not be penalized for staying home with their children during the formative years and the decision to send their children to daycare would be personal reasons and not rooted in family income. Crime rates should drop, social safety nets would be under less pressure, hopefully we would nurture better citizens and the human condition, in general, would improve. I believe that the cost of the program would be a paltry amount in comparison to the long term benefits.
This blog was written with the help of my daughter-in-law Amy VanderWijst Streisel.

 
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