I've been "away" from the blog for a while... caught up "in the thick of thin things," as the old saying goes. I'm not even sure anybody still checks in on my ruminations, but I have been chastised--my buddy Steve says I need to post so he'll have something to read while goofing off. (Lori, Becky--he reads yours, too, so consider yourselves on notice, as well.)
I really haven't had that many original thoughts of late. I feel somewhat obligated to hold forth on things historical, political, or economic, just to keep up my nerd "cred." However, there's not much to say... the economy is still in the toilet, W. is a lame duck (lamer than most), and, despite my best efforts over the past campaign season to take the high road politically, team Obama has yet to call and solicit my input on anything of merit. (Although once Matthew gets firmly established in the upper rungs of the administration, I hope that will change!)
One quick thought about the economy, though: yes, it's bad. But when all these pundits pop off with the "worst economy since the Great Depression" stuff, I just sigh. Is there nobody who remembers the late 1970's? Back then, there was a number we called the "misery index." It's the sum of inflation plus unemployment. So "full" (5%) unemployment plus low (3%) inflation would be a good, low number, like 8. That's a descriptor of the boom years of the 1990's. Currently it's more like 10-11 (6.5% unemployment plus 4% inflation). That's worse, but it's not fatal. In 1979 the index was near 20--double-digits in both, plus gas lines, a terrible recession, home interest rates in the teens. Today you can get a mortgage (IF you've got good credit) for less than 6%. You can buy a gallon of gas for $1.61 on the corner nearest my house. You can get a Euro for about $1.25. And although we are now (finally) in a genuine recession (consecutive quarters of negative economic growth), we've seen MUCH worse. Admittedly, the banking industry is a mess, as are the auto makers (maybe I'll blog about their woes later). And my 401-K is more like a 201-K, just like everybody else's. But it's not as bad as 1979, much less 1932.
On another, more personal topic, will all my praying friends please pray for me to get out of the rut I'm in? I have neither been running, praying, nor reading my Bible (or, for that matter, reading anything) at anything like the levels that satisfy me lately. I think I really fell off the wagon around election time--despite my protestations that I wasn't taking politics too seriously, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the internet reading about it. This corresponded with the end of my cross-country season and the accompanying guaranteed daily time of exercise. Stir in a really busy time at work, and I've been just surviving from day to day. That's no way to run a railroad. Worse, I feel like a hypocrite. I feel like as a coach and a very public Christian, I should be more of a role model. Thanks!
OK. That wasn't too hard. Maybe this is the start of a new trend.