Weekend Reading – Shared Experience

I’m not a holiday spirit kinda person, I find a lot of it to be way over the top.  Frankly I blame the consumerist nature of our society for putting the kibosh on my holiday spirit, it’s all about spending money on stuff people don’t need just so that they don’t say, why didn’t you get me anything.  There’s nothing better than the look in someone’s eyes when you truly do something meaningful for them, but I feel this is so often an afterthought, replaced by quantities and monetary values.  I’m glad in a sense that this country has gotten a smack upside the head, a little taste of what it’s like not to “get” or “have”.  Americans are saving money at a rate not seen in generations, unfortunately their saving is not being rewarded with interest rates being kept so low by the government.  Excuse my language, but banks are raping Americans by paying .5% interest on savings accounts and lending money out at 4-5%, taking home that ridiculous spread.  Not only is the government allowing this to take place, they are sponsoring it, in order to repair the bank’s balance sheets.  In a perfect world, the newfound thriftiness of the American consumer would be rewarded with the incentive to save and build wealth, unfortunately we don’t live in that world.

I do love the holiday season for another reason, it forces us to enjoy the people around us, get away from the glowing light boxes for a few days, and be able to see the forest despite the trees.  At the end of the day I hope you all realize that it’s about the people in your life, not what you do, have, or own.  People give meaning to everything, without them life is bland and meaningless.  I came to this realization at a very early age.  I was down in Costa Rica surfing in my early teenage years, on a boat trip with a bunch of strangers.  I was surfing some of the best waves of my life, but something was sorely missing.  I had no one to share those moments with, no one to slap high five.  At that moment I felt like a tree falling in the forest with no one around, the amazing time I had only existed for me, I wasn’t able to share it with others I loved.  This hit me like a ton of bricks, at once I understood what life was about, shared experience.

Speaking of experiences, I saw Avatar yesterday.  Wow, Cameron did a great job spending 300 million bucks, he’s got a pretty good history at doing such.  I recommend you see it.  Although by blood and culture I am Jewish, I would place myself in the atheist bucket when it comes to religion.  Avatar takes an interesting view on religion though, one that I connected with on a high level.  The story fuses science and nature into a religious experience, similar to “the force” in Star Wars, but a little more down to earth, it’s called pantheism.  As corny as it may sound, I’ve never read a text in my life I agreed with more than this.  I highly suggest you see this movie without attempting to add your own spin to the message.  Put aside for a few hours your hard held religious beliefs, what you have been taught, and just see it for what it is, pure and simple, without searching for a metaphorical spin.  I’m interested to hear what you think.

Here is your weekend reading:

I’ve linked to articles about rare earth metal mining in the past, this is becoming a real issue, one way to play it is Avalon Rare Metals (AVL.TO) (NYT)

Momentum strategies are gaining traction, buy and hold is dead, it’s about friggin time (CXO Advisory Group)

Assets in motion tend to stay in motion until acted on by….. something (Kid Dynamite)

Are you prepared for a Japan type lost decade, you better be (World Beta)

It’s time to take our head out of the sand regarding Iran’s nuclear program, unless we’re resigned to give them the Pakistan route (Thomas Barnett)

Turkey is on an all out blitz now to create political and economic ties (NYT)

“It’s very hard to transfer protocols of one society onto those of another” (David Brooks NYT) I would also add to some extent, different generations with the same society

Broadband was the first step in connecting the world, a new form of wireless information transmission will be the next (GigaOm)

20 unpredictions for 2010, LOL (Reformed Broker)

Global shipping is still DEAD! (Pragmatic Capitalist)

If you want to know why healthcare costs so much, understand the supply demand imbalance of doctors (Business Week)

Good science should be boring (New Scientist)

Avatar through the eyes of pantheism (NYT)

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