Working Hard, Playing Hard, Ponzi, and the Cosmos

Welcome to the wonderful world of homeownership. No… I’m not being sarcastic. This is pretty real. While there’s a lot of work going on and still to be done, it’s been a lot of fun so far–setting up house and such. And quite a learning experience. I, for one, have learned the importance of having a proper drill when installing something like venetian blinds. I’ve also experienced the joys of mowing a lawn–something I’ve not done in something like 20 years. Okay, maybe that part is a little sarcastic–the backyard has a vicious little dip to it that makes navigating a push mower a trifle challenging.

Each day we move more stuff. Throw out other stuff. Move more stuff. The stove delivery didn’t happen due to a busted stove being brought on the truck. After giving some people hell, we’re still not going to get a new stove until something Thursday or Friday. Saturday we get our washer and dryer delivered and installed. Sometime between all that we have a picnic going on, and unless I can successfully hide them, there are going to be water balloons involved.

Work hard. Play hard.

Speaking of water, we even have a garden hose now–one designed specifically so it’s safe to drink out of (because hose water is the best water).

Domestic, huh?

Speaking of playing hard–I had a good night at Ward’s last night. The tunes were flying. We had a couple of new people, fiddlers, sitting in with us, which is always fun. I hope they had a good time and decide to come back. The more the merrier, and the more fiddles there are, the more my poor banjo playing gets drowned out.

Good times.

But the weekdays are here again and it’s time to get cracking. I have some indexes to work on, some captions and photos to place. I’ve been working on a cover for an upcoming Barbara Payton book, and got some edits in for a movie book.

Good stuff. And I’m never going to turn down a job if I can help it. Not with a mortgage to pay for.

Now if I can just keep the cat from trying to walk all over the keyboard. (ha!)


I’ve been hearing a lot on the news later about Madoff and the whole Ponzi scheme thing. It made me wonder what the story was behind the poor slob whose name has become synonymous with ruinous financial scams. This is part of what Wikipedia had to say:

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned. The Ponzi scheme usually offers returns that other investments cannot guarantee in order to entice new investors, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. The perpetuation of the returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep the scheme going.

The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments. Usually, the scheme is interrupted by legal authorities before it collapses because a Ponzi scheme is suspected or because the promoter is selling unregistered securities. As more investors become involved, the likelihood of the scheme coming to the attention of authorities increases.

The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi,[1] who became notorious for using the technique after emigrating from Italy to the United States in 1903. Ponzi did not invent the scheme (Charles Dickens’ 1857 novel Little Dorrit described such a scheme decades before Ponzi was born, for example), but his operation took in so much money that it was the first to become known throughout the United States. His original scheme was in theory based on arbitraging international reply coupons for postage stamps, but soon diverted investors’ money to support payments to earlier investors and Ponzi’s personal wealth.

Knowingly entering a Ponzi scheme, even at the last round of the scheme, can be rational in the economic sense if a government will probably bail out those participating in the Ponzi scheme.[2]

Interesting, no?


Today’s link takes you to a special page at the Science Channel website devoted to the classic Carl Sagan documentary series: Cosmos. I’ve been watching the series again via Netflix (available as an instant on-demand) and am enjoying a strange mix of nostalgia and learning. Cosmos was what got me fascinated with the story of Johannes Kepler. After watching Sagan’s mini-bio of the founder of the Lawsd of Planetary Motion, I went and read two Kepler biographies (and another on Tycho Brahe) immediately after.

And you get to relish the odd thrill whenever Carl Sagan sez “Billyuns and billyuns of years agooooo…”


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