More Poetry

My family’s poet laureate, Harris Gardner, presented the following at the 2020 birthday party held in honor of my sister, Elizabeth Tan.

To Elizabeth on Her
61st Birthday

When you were four
That bump on your head
At the bottom of basement steps
Must have been the kiss that unlocked
The old soul stirring within.
They found you giggling and grinning,
According to family lore.

Your serenity and smile have illuminated
The lives of those that share
 Your eventful timeline
And the wider world, as well.

Your singular calling began in early youth
As you evolved into a seeker of wisdom’s truth.
You have continued your course in life,
Exploring worlds, both internal
And beyond normal horizons.

In the realm of academe, student multitudes
Entered your classes as tabula rasas
And departed marveling at your awesome acumen
And the power of their own reflections.

You are a partner at home and in health,
A nurturer, researching a wealth of healing;
Apostle of wellness in home and community.
Aficionado of the arts, you have performed
Many roles on the largest stage of many curtain calls.
For all this and more, it is my notion
That you fully deserve a standing ovation.

Harris Gardner

73 is best number

Nonsense numerology.
This is birthday 73 for me.
According to the internet, and Sheldon Cooper, 73 is the best number.
73 is the 21st prime number.
Its mirror, 37, is the 12th.
The mirror of 12 is 21.
21 is the product of multiplying 7 and 3
In binary 73 is a palindrome, 1001001.


My family’s poet laureate, Harris Gardner, presented the following at the 50th birthday party held in honor of my nephew, Jason Scolnick.

Sword of a Troubadour

To Jason Scolnick on his 50th Birthday

From your realm of Self,
Your mystical music beguiles
Murmured harmonies of the spheres.

May your desires and dreams
Exceed those of Don Quixote;
May your songs soar to the frontier
Of the firmament and stun

A chorus of angels into mute wonder.
May your lyrics purify the ocean
To sustain the life that flows below.
Ranks of waves will render thanks.

May your strain be your weapon’s
Honed edge to lead the advance
Against any qualms that may
Rein in resolve, Raise your guidon!

Lift your music’s sabre;
Let its vibrant voice be heard.
As you set sail to further explore
Your mind’s hope-filled horizon,
Know that inspired labor will prevail.

Harris Gardner

Thought for the day

Is it foolish to think that anyone, especially Congress using a political process, can wisely determine where and how much economic aid should be provided to businesses or individuals?

The intended and unintended consequences may be worse than if Congress does nothing.

Stock Buybacks

Reading just headlines some have pointed out that there is an HBR article that says stock buybacks are dangerous for the economy/

But it is the swapping of equity for debt that is the warning from the HBR article. We have this moral hazard for corporation management because the Federal Reserve is manipulating interest rates. The cost of equity capital for a company is approximately the reciprocal of the P/E ratio. So for a stock with a P/E of 15, the cost of equity capital is 1/15 = 6.6%. With debt capital only costing 3% or less, management is enticed to take on the risk. The problem is that taking on debt requires them to make regular interest payments, while equity capital can suspend dividends whenever they want. Taking on debt to buy back stock is bad. Distributing cash also reduces the a company’s chances to weather a downturn so management needs to consider that before a buyback. But investing the money into growth activities for the company that don’t work out also reduce the safety of the company.