Worse than Expected

In the LA Times I read the following:

"Every Economics 1 textbook introduces the economy with the same simple equation. It reads: consumption + investment + net exports + government spending = gross domestic product or output."

I can follow this OK. Though I would think that something called "production" belongs in there too. Maybe it is covered under "net exports." But given this equation, the argument runs, the only factor that can pump up the economy is government.

People have not completely stopped consuming of course. But they are cutting back. Investment is slowing down because of the credit crunch. As for net exports, our balance of trade is way out of kilter in the wrong direction.

So that leaves government.

The problem here is clear enough. Where is the government going to dig up the money. The tax base is clearly eroding. If people are consuming less–there goes sale’s tax–down I mean. And with property values declining, there goes the property tax. The result in California? An estimated debt next year of 42 billion.

I suppose they can just print money–the risk there though is re-inflation.

Given the dimensions of the crisis, the people who are supposed to know things about the economy argue that things could easily be worse in four years, at the end of O’s first term.

In the meantime, how many futures may be ruined, and how much social unrest and upheaval may occur?

Beats me.

The new aircraft carrier named after the first Bush cost 6 billion dollars.

The total defense budget (there is argument about this) takes up 20 percent of the national budget or about 1000 billion dollars.

Hey, I think I see a way to get some money. We, not that long ago, were spending closer to 7 percent of the national budget on defense. If this 20 percent figure is correct, it’s a recipe for ruin. The Soviet economy collapsed because for a couple of decades they spent more than 20% on the military.

Sea of Love Tax Deduction

Tax season is closing in. I was happy to learn in that regard that I may be able to claim a deduction for the money I put into making my CD, "Sea of Love." Apparently, I am now an entrepreneur or business person, something I thought I would never be.

This arises simply from the fact that I have put the CD up for sale. For the tax break to work, I have to make a good faith and documented effort to sell product. And that I have done. "CD Baby" was a break through in the merchandising area. For a mere $35 they house hard copies of the CD and send them out for me. And they distribute the CD through the digital network. At present "Sea of Love" appears on the following sites:

Groupie Tunes

I have a page also on GarageBand and of course my own site at BandCamp, made by Sean McCue.

Because two old friends bought three copies of "Sea," I will not be able to claim a total loss on my investment (venture capital, as it were); still having sold something should serve to document my status as a true entrepreneur.

One person I spoke with said artist type people take this sort of deduction all the time and sometimes for years. As long as they get their stuff out there and try to sell at least, they can claim deductions for supplies even though they don’t sell anything.


Last Thursday was it—at the doctor’s—I told the medical person that sometimes when I flex my hand little popping noises (smaller versions of the ones that come out of my knee) come out of it and sometimes those noises are accompanied by twinges of pain and when during one of those times I squeezed one of my finger joints it was sore—and she said, arthritis, and if she didn’t shrug, she might as well have…

Because, well you, arthritis is just one of those things that comes along with the aging process and there isn’t a whole lot one can do about it except hope that it doesn’t get worse or so bad that you are in pain all the time and your movements become restricted.

Brother Steve and I compared notes on aches and pains over the phone recently.  He has bad things going on with his left knee and I didn’t know it but he also has some pretty serious stuff going on with his right shoulder probably from carrying that mail sack all those years (or maybe it was his left shoulder).  I too have some deep shoulder pain probably from too much basketball and possibly also from that time a number of years back when I swam a mile a day for something like a 100 days in a row.  That was stupid.

Earlier this week I carried some groceries from the car into the house and later that day both of my knees became swollen.  Perhaps I carried too much weight or maybe I twisted something while carrying the groceries.  This is strange new territory where you have to worry about carrying too many groceries or wondering if that pain in your fingers when you reach for the toothbrush is going to get worse.

I can’t find much consolation at the moment and probably I am letting these things get to me a bit too much.  But how exactly does one contemplate the prospect of inevitable decline with equanimity?


As nephew Brian correctly noted it shouldn’t take a scientist to figure out that people getting the same rash at the same time does not mean the rash is contagious, for certainly, and of course—as Carol also pointed out to me—the persons so affected may have been exposed simultaneously to some toxic element in the environment.  Who knows but perhaps some noxious material was released from the walls when the plumbing people knocked holes in them to put in the new pipe.  That’s a possibility. 

And I was wrong too about the rash being pityriasis rosea.  I went in for my yearly physical, and when my medical person looked at the rash she said it was dermatitis.  As a diagnosis, this was not very helpful since dermatitis means “inflammation of the skin (rashes).”  Well, yea, I knew that: that I had a rash I mean.

The medical person checked me out pretty thoroughly; and was happy to be reminded that I had recently received an anal probe from the urologist so she didn’t have to do it.  I was relieved too actually.  I don’t much enjoy that business.  Or the yearly physical, for that matter.  I still have to go in to have blood drawn for the blood panel work up.  Damn! I don’t want to do that either.

Then after the physical, we had to split to go back to the title company that drew up the papers for the refinancing of the condo.  We had gone there before the doctor and we had spent a good half an hour or more going through an endless stream of documents, initialing and signing them, and then Carol noticed that the address they had for us on all the documents said Santa Barbara.  But we don’t live there; we live in Goleta.  So the person we were talking to phoned the people who drew up the paper and they said—damn it!—that the paper would have to be redrawn and we would have to resign everything.

I just sat there.  Resolved, I guess; because I have become used to casual incompetence from banks and money people.  So then we went to the doctor and then we went back to sign the documents.  By then it was dark and the placed was closed, and when we tried to get out of the building we found out we were locked in.

I just stood there.  Resolved to incompetence.

But we got the papers signed and I learned that I don’t have pityriasis rosea.  Just dermatitis.  I have made an appointment with the dermatologist about that and to have him look at something that is growing behind my left ear—by which I mean the portion of my left ear nearest the skull.

pityriasis rosea

I mentioned a while back having mistakenly brushed my teeth with a topical cream I had on hand to treat my off and on again out breaks of psoriasis.  At the time I had an unsightly scaling thing going on along the folds of my nose on both sides.  That has since cleared up, but I developed some sort of itchy rash in the last three weeks or so on my back and especially at first—it felt as if—down on the belt line.

I thought perhaps that too was a form of psoriasis, so because I couldn’t reach back there Carol applied the topical cream for me.

Then a week or so Carol developed the rash.  From that I concluded that what I had on my back wasn’t psoriasis since it is not supposed to be contagious.

Looking into the matter I have concluded that we may both have some variant of pityriasis rosea.  This several sources described as a “common skin complaint” that occurs frequently in the spring or fall.  So apparently changes in the weather have something to do with it.  Sometimes, the skin outbreak is preceded by an upper respiratory complaint, including sore throat (which, come to think of it, must be an upper respiratory complaint).

The problem with this diagnosis is that pityriasis rosea—though they don’t know the cause of it (perhaps a virus)—is not supposed to be contagious ALTHOUGH people living together in the same family have been known to develop the complaint at the same time.  I am not a scientist, but the fact that many people in a family may develop the same complaint at roughly the same time suggests to me that it is contagious.  I guess scientists must have a more exacting standard of contagion than the one I have.

This stuff is pretty itchy.  I am pretty sure I have had this itch before back in 1972.  I got these red spots in the fall all over the torso area and went to a dermatologist.  He told me I had pityriasis rosea.  He gave me treatments of UV light, some shots of some kind, and some topical cream and I gave him 300! 1972 dollars.  When the stuff finally went away, I thanked the doctor for his good work, and he said, oh he hadn’t done anything.  The stuff goes away of its own accord in a few weeks or a couple of months.

I wish he had told me that in the first place.  I would have lived with the itch since 300! 1972 dollars were hard to come by.