Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Herd

Herd mentality rules during a financial crisis because people are wired to follow the crowd when times are uncertain, experts say.

Brain and behavior studies clearly show that when information is scarce and threats seem imminent, people stop listening to their own logic and look to see what others are doing.

In this case, running with the herd may not make good sense, said Paul Zak of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. "The group changes how you see the world in some way," he said. "Our brains are wired to accept the group opinion of the world."

Excerpts from article

Cow remembers the market "crash" of 1987 and how pessimistic people were then. And how the market rebounded to historic highs.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eagle Eye

Somebody needs to let Hollywood know there is more to making a good moovie than car chases and explosions.

As for the plot, does anybody remember Hal, the all-seeing, all-knowing computer who couldn't be turned off? Yep. Same old plot, dusted off and polished up with new technology.

Ho hum.



Topiary watched the Presidential candidates debate and it was really something. Cow admits to not having made up her mind which to support. She thought both candidates presented themselves well.

Assume that John McCain will be told to look into the camera next time. Obama was generous in praising McCain for his work against torture, and made McCain look small in his constant refrain that Obama "just doesn't understand."

It will be interesting to watch as these debates continue.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Late Night TV

Whew. Cow tuned into Letterman, Leno and Craig Ferguson last night to hear their take of McCain pulling out of the debate and the billion-dollar bailout.

These guys pull no punches. "Robbery" it was called. "Coward"was implied.

Things really got nasty after McCain cancelled his appearance on Letterman to "rush to the airport" then was seen to be getting makeup to go on Katie Couric's show.

Now, see, that's against the Man Code. Even this female Topiary knows that! You don't cancel one date just because you got a better offer from a cuter guy.

It just isn't done. Cow bets Letterman will be sharpening his pencil on McCain for a long time to come.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Bill had this thing about germs.

He was on a mission to expose himself to as many as possible to increase the power of his immune system in preparation for the epidemic he knew was coming. This was Bill's version of a health-insurance plan.

He preferred seedier places where homeless people went to clean up. Restaurants where he knew the employees didn't wash their hands. Rest stops just across state lines were his favorite, those germs were well traveled. He embraced the germs, taunted them, dared them to make him stronger, more equipped for the day when scientists would pay him handsomely just to observe him."

From: Confessions of a Contractor. Richard Murphy, Putnam and Sons. 2008.

This is a very good read. Quick, fun, funny and unexpected. Haven't finished it yet but as of now it gets three Topiary hooves up!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


"We might not think we judge people according to their income or outward signs of success, but even when we know that a person's salary is completely random, people cannot avoid making the intuitive judgment that salary is correlated with worth."


"What I've learned, above all, is to keep marching forward because the best news is that since chance does play a role, one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized. For even a coin weighted toward failure will sometimes land on success. "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate."

Selections from "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives" by Leonard Mlodinow. Pantheon Books, 2008.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Best Friend's Girl

Dane Cook is hot.

That being said, this is possibly the WORST movie ever. People were walking out continuously. How did this get the $20 million to get produced? Why on earth did Kate Hudson do this movie?

Cow regrets the belief of movie-makers that running the F*-word continuously, having everybody smoke, be vulgar, offensive, cynical, and horrible to others makes a good movie. Okay there were a few funny bits. But oh so many which weren't.

Perhaps this movie was entirely funded by the tobacco companies in a new advertising bid to showcase their product. Otherwise, Cow is just left shaking her head in dismay.


Friday, September 19, 2008

zzzzzzz....Friends of Topiary....zzzzzzz

Cow must apologize for having gotten herself stuck in a Topiary Space-Time Continuum which has prevented her blogging.

Nah. It was just one thing after another. Hurricane Ike. Hurricane Gustav. A big assignment at work. Demoralized to hear of the imminent demise of Sandi and Doghouse blogs. All combined to take the wind out of the fabled Topiary Sails.

Topiary is struggling through the ending statistics for a Big Report on the Effect of Watering on Topiary Habitat. After that she will gather her carefully trimmed branches to assault all blog followers with the greatest and newest Topiary Observations.