Wednesday, November 19, 2008

By Popular Demand...Halloween Pictures

I know its a little late, but there has been a lot to talk about since Halloween...the election, financial crisis, dance shows...and I never got to post some Halloween pics. This is me above and you can click on the pic to see some shots from the party. A friend of mine is David Bowie from the Aladdin Sane album, another friend is Onch from Paris Hilton's cancer of a show, and I think you should be able to pick out the rest.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Meltdown in English

For those of you that would like to understand, think you understand, or really do understand the sup-prime mortgage meltdown, I highly recommend reading this piece by Michael Lewis:

He wrote Liars Poker back at the end of the 80's, the bible of the excesses and failures of Wall Street that tore it to pieces in the late 80's, and he captures some truly poignant stories about how the great castle of mortgages, bonds, CDO's and CDS's all fell in a climactic mushroom cloud.

The article is only about 9 web pages, but it reads like a fictional account, plain english and good storytelling.

Check it out.

-Marco Mascioli

Techno-Groove Ballet in Houston

Lay down a track with some water sounds, waves and movements.

Throw a track of beads rolling down a steel table.

Add some cuts of skateboards.

Then every once in a while throw in a grooved out bass beat or a rhythmic tick.

Play the track in a large room with a ceiling of about 200 red, green and blue lights.

Add the talents of 4 beautiful dancers with skills ranging from classical and jazz to modern, techno and hip-hop.

Choreograph it for a 60 minute sensory overloading brain cramping performance...

And there you have it, Impulvium - a performance show put on by the Houston dance troupe Suchu Dance. My brain was hurting at the end, and its not done. That show will be running through my head for some time.

Suchu Dance

If you buy tickets in advance you can get them for $10 - outrageously worth it.

They are playing at the Barnevelder Theater in Houston (right by Minute Maid Park).

Buy Tickets

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ean's Nessie

Inspired by his most recent trip to Scotland, Ean constructed this Cake Ness Monster out of a few layers of homemade marble cake and some crazy high-tech sugar/plastic material called fondant. Julie worked with him to slave over this monsterosity for the first two hours of the wedding party, which I think went off as a huge success.

Click on the picture for a slide show from the party.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New President and a New Day

As I was listening to the acceptance speech on my ride home last night, every minute or two I got this eerie feeling that something terrible might happen. I specifically remember hearing a helicopter over the NPR audio I was listening to, and creeping out a bit when I thought the worst might happen. I thought of JFK, and John Lennon, I thought of Lincoln and even Reagan. The wackos are out there and I am not sure that we could really stop them if they really know what they are doing.

Later in the evening, my lovely lady had the keen eye to make out a layer of glass on each side of Obama while on stage, thereby connecting the dots and remarking that there was definitely bulletproof glass surrounding his podium. Even people (I spoke to a couple personally) who were at the event did not notice the 4 inches of glass used as a bulletproof wall to protect the nation's future. That proposes some interesting thought exercises that I am not sure I feel comfortable entertaining at this juncture.

I don't really have much else to say since I am kind of sleepy and a little tipsy on some red wine, but I want to put some words down from a friend of mine named Charlie. He put these words to me last night after the acceptance speech and I think they fit the moment just right.

"Tomorrow I can go back to being a cynical prick, but tonight...tonight I have hope"

God bless America...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Polls and odds and numbers

Polls, Polls, Polls!!!

Do they mean anything?

Are they accurate?

Who cares?

You might use the words "number jockey" or "queen calculator" or "slide-rule Sally" but prognosticating, predicting, and understanding trends and movements is something I enjoy.

Something I would be willing to bet on would be that voter turnout will be higher in toss-up states than it will be in giveaway states. Which leads to the sad truth that polls have their own effects on the outcomes of elections. Like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you can't really measure without affecting the outcome. Do I even need to vote in the state of Louisiana? The polls are as red as a Commie Apple in this state, but if everyone thinks that then where is the impetus to cast your dissenting vote? Maybe this election will be a little different, there has been so much time and money spent "getting out the vote" by both candidates that we may actually see some record turnouts. Which is great, but the dollar totals adding up for this election are astounding. On one of my links below there is still a McCain campaign donation ad, "Don't worry, with even less than 24 hours to go we can still find fantastically creative ways to spend your money!"

But, lets not digress, the topic is polls...

In 2004, the average poll was only off by 1% by the day before the election. Follow this link to the Wall-Street Journal website and you will find a very cool graph that displays the trends in a myriad of polls throughout the election season. You can see Obama's bump after his DNC speech, and McCain's bump (and subsequent fall) after picking Palin.

Lately, I have also been hearing a lot about the so-called "Bradley Effect," which is named after a California gubernatorial candidate that lost the election after leading by a wide margin going into the polls. That election took place 26 years ago. If we haven't come any further since 1982, then I guess I could have just stayed in the womb till now. It would have been warmer.

Here are a couple of good links to follow the odds as they develop tomorrow:

Poll analysis and trending - they give Obama a 98% chance of winning at this point.

Futures trading and contracts based on all the elections. If you are a betting man (or woman), this site is for you.

We can even run our own poll - check out to the right --->