Billions and Billions

Can Finance Ever Be Truly Fascinating?

I’ve been binge-watching Showtime’s in house series, Billions. with Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. For my money it’s the best thing on TV. Of course I’m an accounting and finance geek, so there is probably a lot of stuff in it that appeals to me but leaves people who are easily bored with such matters cold.

I know they’re out there. Econophobics. The kind of people who get a headache when conversation turns to interest rate swaps or in-substance defeasance of advance refunding bond issues. In fact, I’m pretty sure our president is one, but he has people for that stuff. (Not that he would ever listen to them.) I can’t say it’s their fault. I mean, really, that’s pretty arcane territory for anyone but a financial savant. Continue reading

Death and the Law of Attraction

Deathbed Regrets?

 

I wonder if my mother blames herself for using the last seconds of her life to shoot a skunk-eye at a hapless volunteer because he interrupted us. I also wonder if she blames me for attracting the interruption.

I’ve been interrupted so many times in my life that I’ve begun to believe that it must somehow be my fault. I don’t know if Mom shared my view on this, but she never in her life hesitated to take me to task for whatever she thought I had done wrong. It was not in her nature to allow flawed behavior to go unmentioned or uncorrected. Continue reading

Depth of Character

When Characters Write Themselves

If you’ve read any of my fiction, you know I have a soft spot for quirky characters–the kind we used to call half a bubble off plum or a couple of bricks shy of a load. These are the most fun to write and perhaps the most instructive, not that anyone is reading my stuff to achieve enlightenment.

I Speedster I have two favorites, Dwayne and T-Ball, a couple of neon-haired slackers who spend their days complaining about the fundamental unfairness of their lives and trying at the same time to achieve fairly lofty goals without putting in any effort. Much like real life, the smarter one, T-Ball, is continually over-ridden by the loud one, Dwayne, whose loutish ignorance is exceeded only by his abiding self-confidence. I imagine that T-Ball’s daily trials are very similar to those of the current crop of staffers and hanger’s on in the White House. I can sympathize. Continue reading

Five Signs You’re Probably Wrong

fireworks displayPost Truth Society

We live in a post truth America. Virtually all the information we get these days is suspect in some way. This blog post is no exception. I write fiction after all, so if I ever get to the truth of something, it is usually through the side door and often by accident. At least I am honest in this regard. You won’t get that accommodation from anyone else, certainly not from your president or your legislators. Continue reading

The Ice Pick Is Killing It!

ice pickWeapons of Choice

I just switched cable companies, and am saving enough money on my monthly bill to subscribe to HBO again. I haven’t had HBO for several years and was woefully behind on Game of Thrones. Now I’m bingeing on season four, which as you may know, contains a lot of defining moments. My favorite by far is the death of King Joffrey at his wedding.

As TV deaths go, it was pretty satisfying. Not perfect, mind you. I would have made it bloodier, more painful, and longer. Let’s face it, the little shit had it coming. Still, it was good enough to get me thinking about how I kill characters in my books. Continue reading

Stood Up! Shot Down!

pretty blond with nose ringNavigating a Tragic Love Life

I’ve been stood up more than my fair share of times. I don’t know why this should be, but my stats are undeniable.

This all started when I was in high school more than half a century ago. I arranged a date with a cute little slip of a blond from the neighboring village of St. Henry, Ohio. I had in common with the girl, whose name is long lost to history, that we both played saxophone in our respective high-school marching bands.

It was my first bona fide date in the sense that I’d manned up through my own force of will, asked her out in a straightforward manner without the usual teenage machinations and guile, and she had accepted in spite of already knowing what I looked like, an obvious fact to me since I was standing in front of her when she said yes. It was a pretty satisfying experience up to this point. Continue reading

6 Pretty Good Reasons to Abandon Your Lists

The Trouble with Lists

To Do ListI know a lot of people who make lists. They make lists for everything. I used to do it myself, but I have given it up. Now I just make signs. Signs are like lists, but signs are confined to one idea, one notion, one specific thing to keep in mind. Signs are useful. For instance I have a sign on the inside of my front door that I see whenever I decide to venture out into public. It is just one word: PANTS. Lists on the other hand, create as many problems as they solve. Continue reading