Interesting art at the Met

From Around NY

We went to the Met today and saw some interesting exhibits. One was of art that passed through the art dealership of Vollard. Another interesting work in the exhibit of Chinese calligraphy was this piece. Can you read it? Hint: the plaque at the bottom of the photo tells you what it says.

Larry Swedroe

What Wall Street Doesn't Want You to Know,
Rational Investing in Irrational Times,
The Successful Investor Today.

Interesting books that I've been reading over the last few weeks, although they all effectively say the same thing.
A few points of note:
1. Swedroe indicates that one should not use bond funds. It is not clear if means that investors should avoid actively managed bond funds, or whether they should avoid all bond funds. One of the arguments that Swedroe makes is that you may lose principal value in a bond fund, but the academic literature indicates that principal doesn't matter: it is the income stream that it generates. In addition, rebalancing while holding individual bonds can be difficult while maintaining the desired maturity. Vanguard article on these issues.

2. Swedroe indicates that one should invest in short-term bonds (duration about 1 year). This may conflict with what David Swensen says about bonds, which is that one holds treasury bonds to protect against deflation/economic disasters. Short-term bonds do not provide as much protection against deflation as intermediate-term bonds.


We ate the Hampton Chutney Company and Room 4 Dessert tonight. The Chutney Company has some interesting non-traditional dosas. We had one spiced potato dosa, which seemed authentic (at least to my palate), and one portobello mushroom dosa, which is certainly an interesting take. We enjoyed it a great deal.

Room 4 Dessert is a fascinating little dessert bar. Each dessert is over 10 dollars, and the one we had was a tiny little glass with coconut juice, black sesame gelato, and a raspberry mousse. Interesting, but a little too expensive to go frequently.

Mutual fund costs

Mutual fund real cost calculator

This calculator gives investors a great way of evaluating how efficient their mutual funds are. Most are not!

Climate change

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore's book is frightening: in particular, the pictures that show how much glaciers have receded in the last quarter-century. I remember going to Glacier National Park 10 years ago, and there seemed to be lots of snow; but certainly less than was shown in the pictures from the 1970's.


Outsiders, directed by Francis Ford Coppola

We watched this film over the weekend. Interesting movie, especially given all of the big-name movie stars that appeared in the film. Ming liked the movie better than I did, I think; I found it a little overly sentimental/melodramatic. Still, it was entertaining.

Tales of the City

Tales of the City

Since Ming likes San Francisco so much, I thought she would enjoy watching this series. We've been watching bits and pieces of the first DVD and finally finished it today. I read these books many years ago, and I have to admit that I don't remember any of the story.


What Shamu taught me about a happy marriage

I read this article a while ago, and just heard an interview with the author on WNYC this morning on the Brian Lehrer show. Apparently this article is the most emailed article in the NY Times.


ETF guide

This web site is pretty informative about how to use ETFs for investing. One problem I have with a lot of web sites that talk about ETFs is how it talks about tax loss harvesting every year. If I read these sites correctly, they suggest various ways to get around wash sale rules: it seems to me that anything that tries to maintain the same level of risk and still get around the tax code verges on being declared illegal by the IRS.

Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride

This film was short and entertaining, if a little predictable at the end. I was amused by all of the cinema references. I can only remember two:

  • Remains of the Day

  • Victor, Victoria

Bogle on capitalism

The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism

Interesting book about how corrupt corporations and the financial services industry have become. Bogle's thesis is that both corporations in general and the financial services industry in particular have stopped doing their fiduciary duty, and instead are exploiting their control (as managers) over money. Given the excesses of the last few years, it is hard to argue with him.