June 18, 2008

My Thought on the flooding in the Midwest

It is a terrible time for the poor people in the Midwest with all of the flooding. I can't help but think of Hurricane Katrina and the ridiculousness of that situation again. Here the Government has a chance to redeem itself a bit. With the cost of oil at such high levels and those costs putting pressure on food, it seems like it would be a great idea for our government to mobilize the troops and get the grain that is sitting on the Mississippi on barges off of the river and to market. Just a thought to help advert a massive food and inflation problem for next year.

June 10, 2008

Kaden's First Fencing Tournament

Kaden had a fencing tournament this Saturday, his first.  I was a little nervous because he is pretty young in his class and I had no idea what the tournament would be like.  Once we got there and got registered, I realized that he would be fencing all of the fencers who fence with a foil.  Yes, that is correct, all age groups.  He was a little nervous about this, but ended doing great and having a good time.  

I really appreciate the camaraderie of the fencing club.  There is one boy named Dillion who assists during Kaden's class.  He seems very good, but I really have no idea.  Anyway, once Kaden learned that he would be fencing Dillion, he was a little nervous.  From his perspective that is the same as fencing your teacher, a little intimidating.  Dillion, was great and helpful and helped Kaden score some points and encouraged him.  I was tremendously grateful and thankful that there are still genuinely good people in this world that help others out of the goodness of their heart.

Click here to view a gallery of Kaden's match with Dillion.  

Daddy Daughter Camp Out

This last weekend I took the girls on our new annual "Daddy Daughter" camp out. I was looking forward to cooking over the fire, hiking, playing capture the flag, catching things on fire by playing in the fire, you know general "camp out" things. We Got to the camp unloaded and my girls began to explore for about 10 minutes. They then came and asked if they could get all "snugly" in the tent in their sleeping bags and play house and cards. Needless to say this is not what I envisioned. I told them if that is what they wanted to do that would be great.

I was a little shocked, playing a card game in a tent seemed like the last thing that would be fun, but then again I'm not a little girl.  They ended up having a great time and played for hours together in the tent.  The overall trip was a success and was a lot of fun and I look forward to future years of Daddy daughter camp outs.  For a few more pics go to the gallery.

Concerning World Issues

Recently I read a book called "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. The gist of the book is that you have to let markets work, companies be profitable and everyone functions best when actively pursuing their own self interest. I recommend the book it was great, albeit extraordinarily long.

As I'm watching the news this evening I flashed back to the book. So many things on the news seem to be taken right from the book, by the way the things are bad. For instance, levying an extraordinary profit tax on oil companies in the name of public service. I hate to break it to people, oil companies aren't a public service, they are in it to make money and they should make money, that is how a free robust economy works. Those "extraordinary profits" are the thing that helps catapult experimentation and development of new technologies that then take us to the next level. An example would be oil sands.

Another thing from the book are problems with food supply and transportation. This video from NBC hosted by Ann Curry (great anchor and great on the today show), brings into stark reality what a food shortage would look like in our modern world.
Pretty shocking and not far from a possibility in our country. Glad we have prophets who have warned us to prepare.

The Fed continued Jawboning of the Economy

It has often been said that monetary policy's real effectiveness is in creating expectations. During Greenspan's era, for all the criticism he receives, he was generally calm and methodical about monetary policy. He was not prone to over react as evidenced by consistently moving down 1/4 point and up 1/4 point. What he really did was create confidence in the system and "broadcast" consistent expectations.

Currently one of the large problems I see with the economy are the "surprises". The unexpected rate cuts, the larger than expected rate cuts. This inefficient "broadcasting" of expectations causes investors and the market to be quite a bit more jumpy than usual. It turns investing into gambling and has massive ripple effects, just look at the loss of jobs and increase in the unemployment rate, food prices jumping, commodities increasing rapidly, and the wild daily swings in oil prices. None of these things lead to a stable economy or a growing economy. When there is uncertainty, businesses and investors go to the sidelines to wait and see.

That has been the problem with Bernanke's stewardship. Instead of business, investors, and shareholders moving the market and increasing growth with the Fed acting to compensate for the peaks and valleys, we have a Fed that is leading the market not assisting the market. They are becoming market makers instead of stewards. This is going to be a real big problem in both the near and long term time horizons. One has to assume that with the article out today and last week, the Fed has definite ideas to raise interest rates going into the end of this year. Let's hope they start being more measured and reacting with a more disciplined pace. They need to once again establish a prudent "boring" Fed that, though may seem mystical about their announcements, broadcast consistent expectations.

This will allow business and investors and consumers the ability to stop hedging and guessing what the Fed is going to do and work on providing goods and services the economy can use and pay for them. It seems wonderful to many I talk to, that the Fed bailed out Bear Stearns, but again it simply created more trepidation from the market. Sometimes it is good psychologically to let the market take one right on the chin and allow it to pick itself up and move on. The Fed trying to deflect every blow is causing us to have a weak ineffective market system.

The Government and the Fed would do well if they observed the lesson taught in the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, "slow and steady wins the race."

June 09, 2008

Making Bread with a natural starter

It is finally done. I have been working on this for about 5 days. People ask me, all the time, about making bread and using natural starters. I have gone ahead and made a video about it. I will be uploading the video to youtube, and here on my blog I will have the slides you can go through at your own pace here. I recommend viewing the slides in a slide show or on the carousel so you can follow while you bake. In addition you can down load the slides, printing them off and following through.

This recipe is based on a natural starter that I created with the help of a great book "The Bread Builders" which I highly recommend to anyone that loves bread.

If you would like some of my starter let me know. If I know you, I will drop some by, if I don't you can buy a jar of it from me for $10 and the shipping cost if I have to ship it. I hope you enjoy the Bread.

Making Bread from William Bayne on Vimeo.

June 03, 2008

Italian Gravy (bolognese sauce)

My family always called a meat pasta sauce, "Gravy", not sure why but it was always a major treat at my Grandmother's house. As I got older I would help Nona, my grandmother, make her gravy and when I got older I played around with my own recipes. So here is my recipe:

4 Small onions, or 1 large onion
1-2 lbs of carrots (if you are poor use some more carrots for a filler) (this also helps sweeten the sauce without having to add sugar
3 celery stalks
4 portabella Mushroom caps, dried mushrooms, white mushrooms or anything you have
1/2 bunch Parsley
2 tablespoons chopped Garlic
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 lbs ground beef (whatever fat content you prefer)
1 lb Italian sausage (see my sausage recipe for cheap sausage)
Dried Basil
Dried Italian Seasoning
Wine (any kind, I've used everything from zinfandel, Chianti, to plum wine)
Water (Beef Broth is better but more expensive)
3 small cans tomato Paste or 1 large can
Granulated Garlic

Ok, this is an easy sauce with a lot of ingredients, but how I handle the ingredients is straightforward and uneventful. Clean your vegetables cut them into large pieces put them in a blender or food processor and puree all of them. Put them in a heavy pot with 4 Tablespoons of olive oil and let them cook up for about 10 minutes. Put in your Meat all at the same time, stir it up with the vegetables and let that cook for about 20 minutes. Next, add about 1 cup of wine and 2 cups of broth or water and your tomato paste. Throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt, several shakes of pepper, about 2 tsp's of dried basil and 2 tsp's of italian seasoning stir it all up and let it cook for about 2 hours on low with a lid on, mixing it up well about every 30 minutes.

At this point you need to check your salt, pepper and Garlic and add accordingly. If your sauce starts to get too thick add more liquid, water if you prefer, beef stock if you have extra disposable income, wine if you like that heavy wine flavor. By the way, if you are opposed to cooking with wine substitute some balsamic vinegar and you will get about the same taste. You may need to add a little less. Every time you add salt or pepper let it cook for about 30 minutes and check it again.

I like to let mine sit overnight on low and simmer down. At this stage you can boil some pasta and spoon some gravy over it and enjoy a wonderful meal. Likely you will have enough for several meals about 3 or 4 depending on how many children you have. This sauce costs me about $22-$25 dollars and will feed my family of 5, 4 times. So that works out to about $2 per person per meal including spaghetti pasta. Plus, it tastes really fantastic.

Book Review, "The Great Divorce".

Here is a quick book review for the Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I loved it!! What a great book. Often you hear General authorities quote from Lewis, but until I read the entire Narnia series, and The Great Divorce, I never appreciated why.

The book begins at a bus station, which you later learn is a bus station in Hell, and people board the bus bound for heaven. However, once arriving in Heaven you come to find out that people are still people, that in fact, the nature which they left this earth with, whether good or bad, is the nature they take with them after death. The main character takes you on a journey watching other spirits come to grips with this reality and whether they choose to remain in Heaven, become resurrected and further their progression, or chose to not relinquish their natural man and willingly return to Hell.

The insight and parallels to our religion are simply amazing. I shy away from calling the book doctrinal but definitely feel Lewis was inspired with insights far beyond the grasps of the layman christian.

I highly recommend the book as well as all of the Narnia Books. Taken as a whole, they have great insights into eternal progression and to a large degree helped me understand the potential realistic workings of God.

Former Google CEO Issues Dire Warning About China

Concerning article. The double edge of globalization. Guns and butter can be so complicated.  Former Google CEO Issues Dire Warning About Ch...