This is an update post that includes four different topics concerning Kevin, Molly and myself.
Our son Kevin was accepted in the Carnegie Mellon University Graduate program and will start in the fall. Kevin will be working towards a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Kevin and I are planning a trip to Pittsburg at the end of April to visit the University and to try and find an apartment for Kevin. Kevin was recently featured on the front page of the local Watertown paper the Watertown Tab for his new play and his Theater Company called FlatEarth Theatre. Kevin wrote “On This Moon” which just opened at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.
One of our two Jack Russell terriers became very sick and almost died. Molly developed pancreatitis and diabetes and was in the hospital for a week. She could not hold down water and became extremely dehydrated and did not turn a corner until the vet realized that she was a diabetic. Once we put her on insulin and started watching her blood sugar, she really came back to life. Now she is back to normal, chasing her brother Rocky around the house.
I went on a reading/listening spree finishing 3 books in the last 4 weeks thanks to iTunes and Audible.com. The books that I read were The Big Short by Michael Lewis, 13 Bankers by Simon Johnson and James Kwak and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
- The Big Short explained how the Financial Securities Industry and bond traders created and sold unsecured bonds based on CDO’s and then started betting against those securities by taking a large position against the same securities. They were selling these securities to Municipal Offices and folks like you and me, while at the same time all the insiders were betting against those securities. Then when it all came tumbling down the a handful of individuals and companies made billions while many others when out of business.
- 13 Bankers was slow and dry and if I had to read and not listen to this book, I would have stopped half way thru. However, it was more about the history of banking and the politics and lack of regulation that led to the financial crisis. This book drew a line between the largest banks, their contributions to many high level government officials and their efforts to lobby for deregulation of their industry which enabled the securities industry to create questionable securities like CDO’s (collateralized debt obligations) and fed the bond market with unsecured bonds that eventually failed.
- The Lost Symbol was good but not Dan Browns best. After reading the book my impression was that he was trying to make up with the Catholic Church by writing a book about God. This book started slow, got really good throughout most of the book and then fizzled at the end.
After reading both The Big Short and 13 Bankers I was really glad to read about “Goldman Sachs Sued by SEC for Fraud Tied to CDO’s” because from my perspective the Obama Administration appeared to be favoring Goldman Sachs. Time will tell if something comes from this like people going to jail, however it may just be a warning shot for all securities firms to not cross the fraud line or risk prosecution.
Finally, I was recently accepted into the MBA program at the University of Phoenix where I will be taking classes online and hope to graduate with an MBA in 3 years. My motivation for this came from conversations with four different individuals all over the age of 50 who went back to school and got an advanced degree. I chose the University of Phoenix because their program waived the GMAT requirement and I wanted the flexibility of taking classes online. I also considered Babson and Northeastern but the flexibility and price really convinced me to apply to the University of Phoenix.
Kevin’s Photo Credits go to Kate Flock and the Wicked Local staff photo