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Caseythoughts I found a quote this week to justify my occasional usage of multiple abbreviated thoughts (in otherwords, jumbles... instead of allegedly coherent thought per column). It was Bertrand Russel who opined: 'I think the universe is all spots and jumps, without unity, without continuity, without coherence or orderliness or any of the other properties that governesses love... it consists of events, short, small and haphazard. Order and unity and continuity are human inventions...' If I had been writing then, some of these 'Thoughts' columns might have been his inspiration for that rather coherent quote. Yeah, right.

I've mentioned Second Wind Cottages previously, and would like to do so again, with a suggestion that dear reader take a look for yourself at this marvelous expression of love for fellow human beings in action. I was out there a couple of Saturdays ago with a few friends, bringing lunch to the volunteer crew who are building another three 'cabins'. A total of eighteen in all are allowed/planned, and all are on the property on Route 13 South, near Newfield. The final three will be completed by the end of the summer.

Carmen Guidi's intent and dream has been to provide a roof and decent housing to men who have recently become sober and need a place to call home, a 'home of their own'. Miniature cottages form a semi-circle around the common area, each with a tiny kitchen with appliances, a bathroom, bed/living room. A small porch, and a million dollar view down the valley. The sober residents can call it home as long as they desire, getting their lives back in order and in a safe and sober environment. Their families can visit, they can furnish it as they like, and there are miniature gardens, flags, flowers, a few dogs and on Saturdays a few visiting children playing.

Second Wind Cottages are what we call 'faith based', but no requirement for any allegiance to a faith, or even belief. The requirement is to commit to sobriety, and hopefully also volunteer for various projects in the 'village', along with a food bank, extra bedding, quilts, donated furniture, etc, as well as Friday night movies and opportunity to be a part of nearby Sunday services at various churches, if desired. It's Carmen's way of answering the Biblical question: 'When did we see you, Lord?' and his answer, along with many volunteers, is providing his heart, fortune and soul to those less fortunate. An expression of gratitude, for blessings received, a hand up, indeed. You can find a wonderful video of the village, the build, and the philosophy of his handiwork by Googling 'Second Wind Cottages' and you'll be brought to their website. You won't regret learning about this plan and hope in action.

Couldn't help but notice last week that the Dow Jones 30 Industrial index has dropped General Electric from its index. GE has been on The Dow continuously since 1907 (was actually first included in 1896.) There are many interesting arguments about the usefulness (or not) of the Dow 30 number (the S&P 500 is much more indicative of the state of the economy on a daily, weekly, quarterly basis) but that discussion isn't nearly as interesting to you as a couple of factoids might be: GE has been replaced by Walgreen's, which is now worth about 67 billion dollars, versus GE's paltry 11 billion.

Walgreen stock is about $70 a share, while GE has shrunk to a mere $13 a share. The Dow Jones 30 has not one (not one) of the current high flying tech stocks (the 'FANG' stocks: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Google/Alphabet) in its index. The Dow only put American Express and McDonald's in it's calculations in the 80's. Microsoft and WalMart broke into its hallowed aerie in the 90's, Cisco, Pfizer and Verizon were indexed in this century, along with Apple and Goldman Sachs. These names and their more recent inclusions may indicate to you how quickly world and US finance is changing.

What companies were on the Dow 30 when GE became America's largest industrial giant in 1906? Would you believe such behemoths as Standard Rope and Twine, Pacific Mail Steamship and the North American Company. I'm sure you have heard of them, right? Not to put too fine a point on it, but our country now boasts that 80 per cent (yes, 80%) of America's GDP is now in services, not manufactured goods per se. The Trump White House may trumpet the necessity of an industrial base but it seems that this industrial 'ship' left port a long time ago. Our angst about the future may be well placed, but the past, our industrial past, for good or ill (another 'too soon to tell' moment) is long passed.

Oh, another thought on the stock market. I may be watching it way too closely, like tea leaves, and just as murky). An academic paper written by Nadya Malenko and Joseph Grundfest, has now found its way to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is now investigating ten unnamed companies for a strange anomaly; there seems to be a dearth of '4s' in their quarterly reporting, especially in the income and earnings sections, mostly in the 'tenths' place (column).

This '4' in the tenth's column would require a 'rounding down' in accounting argot, thus reducing reported earnings, etc., whereas a '5' in the tenth's column would allow a 'rounding up', thus possibly inflating income and profits. It has been referred as 'quadrophobia' (no reference to the Who, I imagine) and was the basis in 2006 of an inquiry nd subsequent fine for Dell, Inc., for playing around with '4s' in its quarterly reports. If it seems that a company would get caught easily in this little bit of shenanigans, it's not that clearcut to the casual observer. The additional amount of earnings required to nudge an extra large company's numbers from a '4' in the tenths column to a '5', thus enabling it to 'round up' (and inflate numbers) was about $220,000, a mere needle in the haystack for an accountant to find, but could drastically affect stock prices and supposed earnings/income. Thus, stock price. Interesting.

One more thought, watching over a week's reporting (almost ad nauseum) on the situation of separation of children from parents when illegally crossing the southern border. Both sides have been guilty of untrue and wildly exaggerated statements, but I would propose one thought about the 24/7 coverage of this for over a week, thus supplanting almost all other news: Suppose we concentrated to this extent on the civil wars being fought in our nation's cities, with all the attendant misery, poverty, sickness, mental health issues and economic disasters which accompany any war in any third world country? Why are we intent on focusing on the disasters of other country's citizens (which are legitimate, don't mistake my intent) while our own citizens of our rapidly disintegrating cities are being patently ignored in their own misery, due to so many causes, chief among those causes is our ignorance (purposeful or otherwise) of the slow moving rot of our metropolises right in our midst, but we never see it in our media. I don't think Daniel Patrick Moynihan meant quite this 'looking the other way' when he opined about 'benign neglect' as a potential cure for racism and poverty of people of color in America. What a pity.

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