Accidental Relics

Paula was sitting at her computer desk today when she realized that a plastic card sitting on it for the past two months was a room key from our stay at the Marriott World Trade Center. Among the sorrow surrounding 9-11, I got some small amount of relief to hear that everyone who worked at the hotel, as well as the guests still in the building, were evacuated safely before the first tower collapse.


Oh, by the way, once again I'm coaching CYO soccer–8 and under instructional league, St Pius X “Red” team. And with some key play by my star goalie and halfback, we bettered our record to 2-1-1, defeating Shrine of the Little Flower by a score of 4-1.
Shouts go out also to leading scorer Peter S., and his brother Jack, and Riley H. as well for their unstoppable offensive machine–not to mention Brendan, who came out of the goal after the first half to be a real offensive threat. And for Katya, who came back and played tough after getting run over by a kid three times her body mass. And to Gretchen and Annie, who hung tough and kept on top of the game.
And to the kids from Little Flower, who played tough all the way–you've come a long way, guys, and it could have gone the other way easily.
My older son's team also won today. I don't coach him, but you wouldn't know it from the amount of off-field direction I offered today (and the volume of it). They are now 2-1-1 as well, and looking pretty good for 5th graders.


Weekend Warriors at the baggage scanner

Nothing personal, all you folks who serve in the reserves and
guard. I'm a former active duty officer and former reservist myself.
But I'm finding Dubya's plan to put
National Guard troops on guard
in airports a little, well,

The units being deployed here in Maryland are infantry units,
with little or no training in policing or security operations.
The Maryland Guard's military police units are all currently deployed
— either at the crash site at the Pentagon, or overseas–so they're
activating the 3rd Infantry Brigade and giving them a crash course
in airport security.

And this is supposed to make us feel safer.

Somehow, the idea of a young kid with essentially just basic
training behind him plus some slapdash security training, carrying
a loaded M-16, manning the metal detector does not give me the
warm-and-fuzzies about air travel.


From the Washington

"The day after the bombing, three Saudis in their early
twenties traveled to Boston to visit their father, who was being
treated at a hospital there. Their bill at the Westin Hotel was
being paid by the fiancee of one of them — a man whose name is
similar to that of Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers. After a
hotel clerk tipped the FBI, agents swarmed the hotel.

"An agent saw one of the women outside her room and pointed
a gun at her, according to the family's attorney, Jonathan Shapiro.
She tried to run away but he grabbed her and hit her across the
mouth, he said.

"The three were released after five hours, and the Saudi
Embassy called it a 'humiliation.'"


All we have to lose is our (tire)chains

Last night, Baltimore's Channel 11 News was reporting on new security at highway weigh stations. Reporter Kimberly Flood, reading from her teleprompter, told how truckers faced “random checks of their trailer manifestoes,” with not a trace of recognition of the malapropism as she continued. Apparently, she was reading the same script as fellow BAL'r Rob Roblin did that morning, when he made exactly the same gaffe.
Trailers of the world, unite!

General Chaos

How deep a hole?

The market closed down today. The winds say that it'll go lower still, with many companies due to report (lowered) profit (or increased loss) expectations for the current quarter.
Just by doing a little mathematical analysis and Kentucky windage, my guess is that it will go much lower.
How much lower? Look at the curve of the Dow Jones over the past 30 years (that link I gave for mathematical analysis above). Note the rate of change prior to 1995, the beginning of the Internet bubble. Now, project the curve out from that point. You can use calculus if you want.
My eyeball says the DJIA would be around 7000 if it were not for the bubble. It's around 8600 now, off its peak of over 11,000 from last year. So figure another 13% off today, or about a 26% drop from the top of the bubble overall.
Now, if you invested in 1971 (when the DJIA was around 1000), you're still ahead 700%–that's not too bad. Of course, I was 7 years old in 1971, so that bit of good news doesn't do me a whole lot of good.
Mind you, this is all conjecture, based on some simple mathematical rules of thumb. And I hope I'm wrong. But what's happened in the last month could be enough to pop what's left of the bubble.