Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wait 'til Next Year (Cubs 101:1-165)

2009 is upon us, and I have to ask myself, "Is this really a new beginning?" We like to be neat about our life histories, and it always makes us feel good to have a fresh start. Why? Because if you start over fresh, you can stop worrying about the problems and difficulties you've had up to this point. Do it tomorrow; you've made enough mistakes today. The truth is that calendar years are convenient fictions. On New Year's Day, a forty-eight year old person born on January 1st could just as easily say, "Here I am at the 17532nd day of my life. What would be good to do today?"

The truth is that we are who and what we are because of all of our past learning and experiences, and that is what gives today its potential for being something special for us. When we feel pleased that we are starting fresh, we are really trying to sweep the past under the rug, and that is a mistake. Each person's life builds on the experiences and values of those who have gone before him or her. What you should do with 2009 is to live it in a way that adds to your values in order to further grow your personal, family, and religious traditions. If you really started over anew, you would be like a tree that had no roots.

The Cubs are who they are in the Friendly Confines because they have learned to cherish their roots. Maybe this year they'll learn how to make those roots sprout.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Star Power Economy

Barack Obama has not yet been sworn in as President, but he has already had a positive impact on the economy. Right after he won the election, newspapers issued commemorative sections, and those sections plus the banner headline editions as Obama declared victory sold out quickly. The newspapers printed additional commemorative runs of the special papers and sold more copies than they had in years. Newspapers qualify as collectible pieces of history, but Internet printouts don't. Commemorative coins, newspaper headline collages, Obama plates and pottery are all big sellers and future eBay features. All of the money being spent on trips to Washington for the inauguration plus housing, meals, and purchases while there are going to be just as significant for the economy as Christmas shopping. I doubt that people will be as enthusiastic about saving souvenirs of the new cabinet appointees, but if they at least think that these people have the qualifications to make a difference, they also will have fan clubs that will help us to turn the psychology of the markets around. Negative thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but get enough positive "vibes" going, and the economic outlook can be self-fulfilling in a positive direction - at least until the new administration is actually installed and starts to be judged by its accomplishments and not by its star power.