A cow-based economics lesson

I have to say, I cannot take credit for the following. It popped up on Google+ at my work account. But I laughed so hard reading it, I have to share.

*A Cow based Economics Lesson

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbor.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you
want three cows.

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

The 15-app hitlist for Kindle Fire

I’ve now had my Kindle Fire forever for enough days to figure out what’s great and what’s not. Here’s my run-down of the apps I consider must-have.

  1. WiFi Analyzer: Locate the strongest network connections around you, then you can go into your Settings panel to connect to an open network.
  2. HootSuite: Update Twitter and Facebook from the same place (even multiple profiles if you have em), and you can set it up to give you notifications of mentions!
  3. Wikidroid: Wikipedia, formatted perfectly for mobile. Help kids answer those tricky homework questions, like when was the First Sino-Japanese War, What was the Soyuz TMA-22, and why Demi Moore leave Ashton Kucher?
  4. SketchBook: Release your inner artist!
  5. Angry Birds: Need I say more?
  6. iStoryBooks: Full color picture books, with a rotating selection in both fiction and non-fiction, and it will read them to your kids. Out loud.
  7. Grocery iQ: Create and save grocery lists for different stores, it sorts your lists by section (produce, dry goods, dairy). Check things off as you find them so you can easily see what you missed. Email lists to hubbs, create lists online… It’s awesome.
  8. Evernote: I’ve been told that once I get used to it I won’t be able to live without it. Maybe I’m just not that sophisticated. It is handy for keeping track of notes, lists, and such. And you can sync it with an online account.
  9. ES File Explorer: Want to be able to see your files (documents, pictures, other downloads) in a PC-like folder format instead of the Fire’s bookshelf? Use this.
  10. Hulu+: You’ll need the subscription from Hulu+ to be able to use it, but the app itself is free. And it works. Watch streaming video of your favorite shows. They say you can watch movies on it too, but I double dare you to find a decent movie on the system.
  11. Netflix: Again, if you have the subscription, you’ll be able to use the free app. Now this does have good movies, but only the ones that are available to Watch Instantly (very limited selection). And you’ll need to be on a strong network, since the content is streaming.
  12. The Weather Channel: I think this comes already loaded. But, click on the hourly forecast and you’ll know exactly when the rains are coming.
  13. AllReciples.com Dinner Spinner: Tell it some basic info, and it’ll find suggestions for what to cook based on your input. Don’t be fooled – it isn’t just dinner. We’re talking beverages, desserts, breads – the whole shabang.
  14. ESV Bible: Who needs to lug around a giant Bible when you can have it instantly on your phone? For free. The app lets you highlight, bookmark, and make notes. If you’re looking for a different language, or different version than ESV, try YouVersion – most of the same functionality, and with tons of options. I’ve tried their Romanian, Russian, and English Bibles.
  15. Pulse: It’s one of the apps that comes on your Fire pre-loaded. But make sure you customize it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t use and add the things you’ll read. Great place to find all your news in one spot.

Kindle Fire review from a mom’s point of view

Birthday is next week, but hubbs couldn’t wait to give me my gift. As soon as he saw the box, he said I needed to open it. Which I did. And oh, is it beautiful! There were 2 boxes, to be fair. One was the Kindle Fire, and then other was the Marware pink case.

I spent much of the evening playing with it, and it distracted me a little today from other things, so I’ll tell you what I found!

Size: It’s perfect. It fits nicely in my purse, which something like an iPad wouldn’t. It’s big enough to read and type comfortably, but not so big that it’s inconvenient. However it does not fit in my pocket, and I was quite sad that I had to leave it at home today when I walked down to the kids’ bus stop. Didn’t have enough hands for coffee, Kindle, and helping little hands with heavy bags. Maybe I could engineer myself a pocket big enough…

Screen: I have to admit, I really like the regular Kindle’s paper-like screen. That makes reading on an e-reader really comfortable, but the Fire has a regular smart-phone type (LCD) screen, complete with glare. Can’t really expect anything else to get the quality color display though. It attracts fingerprints like a magnet, just like any smart phone (or tablet) screen would. It doesn’t really impede reading, unless you were going to try to read Anna Karenina in one sitting or with funky lighting. Setting the screen to sepia helps.

Reading: The touch screen controls are easy to use, but maybe too easy. I found myself accidentally tapping the screen while holding it, and then it would turn the page for me – when I wasn’t ready to turn. I suppose that will just take some getting used to. And from people with other e-readers, I’ve heard that many people really like the audible page turns. The Fire doesn’t seem to have that (unless it’s a setting I haven’t found yet). I love that when I’m reading I can double-click a word and it references the dictionary for me. Super handy. We already know that Amazon Kindles don’t let you use non-Kindle ebooks, and the Fire is no different. All in all, it’s comfortable, but if my primary goal was purely to read, I’d rather have a regular e-reader. But since I needed something for all the apps, the Fire is perfect for me.

Apps: And speaking of apps, let’s get to those. It’s built on the Android platform, but Amazon directs you to their app store instead of the full Google Andoid app store – Amazon currently allows about 10,000 of the 200,000 android apps. My hope is that they’ll increase their offerings or open up regular Google apps to the Fire. Some of the apps I’ve downloaded and used are: HootSuite, Evernote, GroceryIQ, Angry Birds (essential, don’t you know?), Hulu plus, ESV Bible, and Netflix. There’s no geo-location so location based apps like FourSquare aren’t really an option. And there’s no camera, so forget about QR code readers, barcode scanners, or Instagram. That said, the only app I’ve looked for and not found is Pinterest. And how can a girl survive without Pinterest? Oh, yeah. They have a website I can access on the Safari browser. I suppose I’ll live (but Amazon peeps, hint hint: we want pinterest!) The touch screen is really responsive and makes everything work like ‘butta’. Hubbs synced my email, so I can pretty much do all my work on the Kindle (as long as I have Wi-Fi).

Kid stuff: As I mentioned, the touch screen is really easy to use, and there are plenty of game and learning apps available. My kids can’t wait to get their grimy fingers on Angry Birds. That said, the purpose of the Fire is for my work, and I don’t anticipate putting it in their hands. Call me scrooge, but that’s just the way it is. Now, were things different and I needed them to be entertained, I actually think this machine is way better than an iPad. It’s smaller for their little hands and little laps – easier for them to manage. The investment is smaller (i.e., it’s less painful when they scratch or otherwise maim it). They can watch movies or videos on it, and it has plenty of fun apps. Fewer buttons and moving parts than other tablets also means fewer things to break.

Other techie stuff: Hubbs tells me that the battery is “only” 8 hours. So far, I’ve had no issues with battery power, and I can’t imagine that I’d need it for 8 hours straight without a power outlet. As far as speed, downloads and operating speed have been mostly great. Every now and then there’s a little lag, but I don’t know if that’s my wireless network or the Fire. The seamless integration between the device and the cloud really is super-quick.  Speakers. It has them – two, to be exact. They work just fine, and you can get audio up to a decent level, but this machine wasn’t built for top of the line stereo listen-like-you’re-there sound. Finally, there’s one big drawback – only one, but it’s relatively big. There’s no 3G. That means I need to have WiFi to use most of the apps – at least the ones I use for work. Some tablets have a workaround where you can set up your phone as a WiFi hotspot, and the Fire doesn’t do that. So there’s really no 3G. Now, most of the places I would want to use it will have WiFi. But it looks like in the places that don’t I’ll have to pull out my teeny-tiny smartphone. Oh, what a rough life I live…

Summary: The controls are intuitive, it’s easy to use, and very comfortable. There’s no camera, geo-location, or 3G – so if that’s important look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a cross between an e-reader and a tablet minus the extras, this is a great little machine.  I’d have to say that it’s more tablet than e-reader, and probably for that reason exactly it suits my needs perfectly.

Update: Check out this post of my 15 favorite Kindle Fire apps.

Russian political campaign… wow.

I’m breaking my long blog hiatus just because. Well, because hubbs showed me this article (in Romanian), which I proceeded to search feverishly for in English, but it seems no one has really picked it up. Here’s the deal, the movie Captain America is about to come out in Russia, and leading up to the premier, these posters showed up in Moscow. They’re pictures of President Medvedev as “Captain Russia” – only, dressed as Captain America (and holding a MacBook?). The text says, “Captain Russia: The First Ruler” (a take-off on the movie’s tagline, The First Avenger).

I’m not sure what’s funnier – the superhero complex inherent in the ads, the fact that the head of state of Russia is in an American iconic costume, or that Captain America’s shield has been replaced by a MacBook. But no worries, it gets worse (or better?). Another ad portrays Putin, the head of the communist party, as James Bond. This is no joke – these are real posters up in Moscow today.

What’s really disturbing is Putin’s history with the KGB, in which he was a spy. And an assassin of sorts. Maybe not the 007-type of assassin, but he left a trail of corpses in defense of the Party. I’d have to call this really poor taste, but then, Russian politicians have never been known for having good taste.

As if that weren’t enough, Russian real estate firm Capital Group turns Obama into an icon for economic failure with this tongue-in-cheek ad, asking “So, who else is living at home?”:

One of these days I’ll let you know how we’re surviving the summer. Till then, hope this gave you a chuckle.


Bean can ride a bike! She saw a few kids riding their bikes without training wheels and asked us to remove them from her bike. The last time this happened she had a quick change of heart, so this time we didn’t waste any time. After a push from hubbs, she was on her way.

Go Bean!

Look at her, beaming with pride! She couldn’t wait to go to school and tell her friends about it!

And how can this be 4 years ago when it seems like just yesterday?

The leg bone’s connected to the hip bone…

Unfortunately that isn’t enough for me to pass anatomy and physiology. I’m taking A&P, Statistics, and a couple easy classes. But the A&P on its own should be a 12 credit hour class. The amount of studying required to learn all the itsy bitsy parts of all our itsy bitsy parts is incredible. Impossible. I never thought I’d meet a subject that was un-learnable. I mean, really. I’m the girl who learned Russian so I could read Dostoevsky in the original language. I’m the girl who dropped out of her first college because it was too easy, and kept searching to find one of the toughest liberal arts colleges around. I’m the girl who wrote a thesis on the political implications of Shostakovich’s 5th symphony. Why? Because no other scholar had taken that angle on research yet.

I thought statistics was hard. Well, I still think it’s hard. But at least it’s learnable. Anatomy & physiology? Not so much. Especially not while learning statistics and working and packing for a move and parenting 3 kids. I’m drowning here. Life vest? Anyone?

Book review: Don’t call it a comeback

Have you ever stumbled when someone asked you to define what “The Gospel” really means? Have you ever wondered what the difference is between sanctification and justification? Or why evangelicals seems to get stuck on some topics (like homosexuality) and virtually ignore others (like global warming)?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, this is the book for you. Kevin DeYoung put together a stellar cast of writers to tackle the topics that make evangelical faith different from other brands of faith. What’s really cool is that the first part of the book builds the theological and doctrinal foundation, and the second half of the book tells you what to do with that knowledge – in essence, it sends you out to be an evangelist in word and deed.

Greg Gilbert’s chapter on The Gospel is alone worth the cost of the book. Chapters on sanctification, the scriptures, and worship are pretty awesome too. And what else would you expect from a book made up of a handful of today’s thought leaders?

I really wanted to love this book. The editor is one of my old pals from seminary, and it’s packed full of influential folks like Tim Challies, Russel Moore, and Tullian Tchividjian (I know, I can’t pronounce that one either). It’s supposed to be a basic overview of the evangelical faith useful for new believers, undiscipled believers, and young believers to the basic tenets of the evangelical faith.

And yet the intro and the first chapter left me confused. Written for pastors, they didn’t seem to gel with the goal of the book. and the next chapter after that goes into a overview of the history of evangelicalism. Not really your hook and sinker chapters to grab readers’ attention. But once I got past those (and it took me a while, since they weren’t really ‘page turners’) I found that the remainder of the book didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend it.

’11 Resolutions

In true blogger fashion, I’m going to post my goals for the year, in hopes that peer pressure will really be the motivator it probably shouldn’t be. But if I write about it and share it with the whole internet, surely I’ll be more prone to follow through, right? Here goes nothin’.

1. Become financially stable. No, I don’t mean that I plan on getting rich and retiring in my 30s, but be stable enough to move my brood out of my parents’ house. Yes, they’ve been wonderfully hospitable, but this was never meant to be a long-term solution.

2. Run a 5K. (stop snickering! I mean it this time!)

3. Finish all my pre-requisites so that I can start on my BSN (nursing degree) next spring. And do it with a 3.8 GPA. And get full scholarship for next year.

4. Read the Bible daily. I used to do that, and I miss it.

5. Give focused attention to my kids.

Ok. that about does it. How about you? Ready to share your goals with the whole, unforgiving internet?

Book Review: Ethics for a Brave New World

Did I mention that I’m doing some book reviews for Crossway? They let me pick a book or 2 a month and they send me a reviewer’s copy. Given my love of reading, and my love of Crossway’s authors, it’s a great little agreement.

This month (or last month?) one of the books I picked out was Ethics for a Brave New World (2nd edition), by the Feinbergs – John and Paul. It’s a new edition of the book originally published in 1993. I wanted to review it because I’ve always loved ethics, but I have to say that when the 800+ page treatise arrived in the mail I seriously considered returning it to sender. I’m long past my academic days of wrestling with lofty topics for the mere purpose of debate and discourse.

But I steeled myself and sat down with the massive text and a cup of tea. What I found was pleasantly surprising. The book tackles a number of hot-button issues, including:

  • Abortion
  • Homosexuality
  • Stem cell research
  • Capital punishment
  • Euthanasia
  • Divorce
  • War/Pacifism
  • Birth control

It isn’t the type of reading I’d plow through for the fun of it, but each chapter (or set of chapters) gives systematic, full-range coverage of the topic at hand, all with a solid theological and biblical backing. It’s a comprehensive reference for those rough topics, and I think what I like best is how the Feinberg brothers give fair hearing to each side of the equation.

They do so well enough that certain questions that have plagued me for years have now been answered. Each topic has sides presented from the Bible, history, statistics, logic, philosophy… Different sides are heard, and what I like (though some people might not), is that each chapter concludes with a definitive answer. I’m the type who wants to know, is it right or wrong? And while the authors give clear evidence and backing for each side, they give the reader strong guidance as to the final reckoning.

I’ve turned the tide from wanting to distance myself from this giant ‘paperweight’ to giving it a prized position on my bookshelf as a top reference for my family as we track through major issues. You can check it out (and purchase the paperback or e-book) at Crossway’s website.