Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leverage Is A Tool & It Can Be Abused

Recently, I have taken a break from writing almost every day about the political-economy. Perhaps, after the summer passes, I will feel like writing about the markets and what I think needs to be done. Although the Congress passed the new financial regulation legislation, the conflict of interest, between the investment bankers that underwrite the new bond issues and the credit rating agencies that rate the new bond issues, was not dealt with at all. This, in my opinion, is a serious omission, and I believe will lead us back to the problems that caused the bond market meltdown in the first place. I have suggested that the Federal Reserve Bank should take upon itself some role in the establishment of criteria for the triple-A rating because credit ratings and notes that qualify as reserves are tied together. When I was in Indianapolis a few weeks ago at an investment conference, another gentlemen suggested to me that the Federal Reserve Bank might monitor both the triple-A and double-A ratings. I have no problem with that. In fact, I think those two high grade bond ratings should have a "second signature" behind them. Without the Fed keeping a closer eye on the passing out of high grade bond ratings, the capital markets will find themselves in the same liquidity crisis that brought it to its knees and required the Federal Government to give it an influx of liquidity. Once more, this is not rocket science, these problems are man made and they are the direct result of greed. Leverage in the world of finance is a tool much like leverage is a tool in mechanical engineering, but leverage abused will bring down a financial system just as swiftly as leverage abused anywhere else.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Is For Art: Fiddler by Si Zigler

Who was Si Zigler? Simeon S. Zigler, 1911-1969, was my father. He came to the United States from the Ukraine with his family at around the age of 12 in 1922-23. He wanted to be an artist and attended night classes at the Cincinnati Art Academy in the late 1920s. He worked after leaving school at the age of 16 in a Catholic publishing house in Cincinnati where he learned his English setting type. The Great Depression caused him like many of his generation to change plans and he gave up his art for many years after marrying my mother, Rose, and then having three sons. But, in the mid 1950s, Si decided he would like to paint again and he took up watercolor. Over the next several years, he worked at this and developed some very nice paintings. Some of these were encouraged by my mother's desire to have some "Jewish Art" hanging on the walls of her living and dining rooms. The Fiddler is one such piece. It was inspired by the play Fiddler on The Roof, and the fact that Si grew up in his early years in that part of the world where this story took place - the Ukraine. I hope you enjoy this piece and feel free to leave your comments. Si always liked to hear comments about his paintings.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Love The Summer Months

The fastest three months in the year for me are June, July and August. These three months, for me, go by in a flash. I love warm weather and when I was much younger the hot hot weather did not bother me a bit. And, I still love hot weather, I just wish I could be more active in the hot weather, but taking a break now and then is a must.

The Cincy T-shirt Fest was fun, but not as profitable as last year. Two of my helpers thought that the heat had something to do with the number on people that came out on Fountain Square. All in all, I enjoyed selling my t-shirts and talking with t-shirt buyers. One nice surprise was the popularity of a new t-shirt design by my fellow artist friend Sam Hollingsworth. I was really happy to see people snap up these t-shirts. Perhaps next year, I will be able to offer another new idea.

With August just being around the corner, I must get busy soon on Christmas. There are a few new ideas for products and I would like to see if they will fly. At the same time, I am working on a new painting. I have a local juried art show coming up in August - the Clifton Art Center is having a show to enter. Not that my political satire does well in Clifton, I, nevertheless, will give the judge of this exhibit the opportunity to pass on my work.

I am also very excited about reproducing a stamp painting from 1991 as hand-pulled silk screen prints. I have been doing a little reading on the historical background of the silk screen process recently. The idea of producing a quality piece of art work, done by hand, at a reasonable price, seems to embrace all those elements an artist would want. This particular piece of my art work, I have long believed, should be widely distributed because it speaks to the need for our energy independence. As a nation, in 1973, we should have come together politically and had a comprehensive energy plan to move towards energy independence. Expending American lives to keep oil flowing is an expensive endeavor as the conflicts we have been drawn in to can a test.

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today Is The Cincy T-shirt Fest

Today is the Cincy T-shirt Fest on Fountain Square from 11 to 11 pm. If you are downtown, stop by my booth and say hello. It will be the booth selling the best Cincinnati t-shirts. Look for the blue and white banner.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back Home

The Indiana Finance Conference was a fun time. I got to meet some new people and see some old friends. The Honorable Gregory Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis did not show Tuesday morning to welcome us, but the city sure did. My welcome came the day before with my visit to the Indianapolis Art Museum. I just took in the paintings as I did not have time to take in the whole museum. The art is housed in a beautiful contemporary building on some very beautiful grounds. If you love to see good art, and you live near, or, you are driving through, you will not be disappointed if you stop for a few hours to visit this art museum, and it is free too, even the parking. Those who have never seen the self portrait of the young Rembrandt, will enjoy this treasure of the Indy Art Museum.

The best speaker came after lunch on Wednesday when the Honorable Richard E. Mourdock, Treasure State of Indiana spoke to the conference. I will not go into the law suit that the State of Indiana brought with regards to the Chrylser forced bankruptcy, but just let me say it was a real eye opener and most interesting. If anyone wants to know more about this, I am sure the Internet will give them the full scoop.

Now, I have one day left to get myself and my t-shirts ready for the Cincinnati T-shirt Festival. I will be ready and looking forward to peddling my t-shirts.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On The Road Again

I am off to Indianapolis for an investment conference for couple of days. I am putting on my investment head for 2 days. Should be fun to use it after several years in the closet. I also plan to visit the Indianapolis Art Museum before the conference. Indy has a very nice art museum and it has been several years since I was there. I am also looking forward to seeing people I haven't seen in a while.

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cincinnati T-shirt Festival: Friday July 16th Fountain Square

Next Friday, July 16th, is the Cincy T-shirt Fest on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. I participated in the Fest last year and I am looking forward to having another fun day on Fountain Square. The Fest is from 11 am to 11 pm, or until I sell all my t-shirts. I have prepared a nice inventory of several Cincinnati themed t-shirts. All are my own designs and creations. I call myself the Creative Director of my little enterprise Ski Cincinnati. Ski Cincinnati is my oldest t-shirt design and has been around since the early 1980s. Yes, almost 30 years. All of my t-shirt designs are G-rated and for everyone in the family. One of the purposes of the Cincy T-shirt Fest is to promote Cincinnati, and that is what my t-shirts try to do. I will have one t-shirt design that my artist friend, Sam Hollingsworth, has given me permission to use on a t-shirt and those t-shirts will be available at the Fest. This year we will also have the new Ski Cincinnati ball cap for sale. This is a cotton unstructured cap with the Ski Cincinnati logo, all 7 Mounts, embroidered on the front of the cap.

So, if you have the time, come down to Fountain Square and say hello. My booth will have my blue and white Ski Cincinnati banner hanging up.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Silk Screen Print Coming Soon: Energy Policy

I am taking a break from writing about the economy. Politics on the other hand still interest me. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a man-made disaster, and while many many people agree that BP should clean up the oil and make people in the gulf whole who have lost their ability to earn a living through BP's negligence, the political reality is that the enormous political power of the oil industry is difficult for me, and I am sure others, to fully comprehend. The oil industry gets tax break after tax break in the United States, and they move as if they owned the world. They, in my opinion, own our Congress. The jobs that the oil industry creates is big business and jobs right now is something that no politician wants to be against. I think it will be interesting to see how much BP actually pays and how much crap they dish out to those in need. Large global corporations with BP's kind of money are afraid of no one. They carry a big economic stick and will use against any government that thinks they can make them toe the line.

In the next several weeks, I am planning to have for sale, hand-pulled silk screen prints from one of my stamp paintings. This is certainly a timely opportunity to offer this print for sale. A picture of the original is above, and is titled: UNITED STATES HOSTAGE 1973 - 1991 ENERGY POLICY. I will put up more information about how you can buy a hand-pulled silk screen print in the future.

Stay Tuned.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Northside 4th of July Parade 2010 is July 3rd

If you live in or near Cincinnati and you want to see a very unpretentious 4th of July parade, then come to Northside and stand on Hamilton Avenue at noon today and see a different kind of parade. Art comes in many forms and if you have an open mind to the many possibilities that art can take, then the Northside 4th of July parade today at noon will be worth your while. If you want more info, check out this link:

Everyone have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Stay tuned.

Painting and collage from The Envelope Collection: 4th Of July, acrylic on paper envelope, by FD Zigler.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July.

There are many things in the United States that needs to be improved. There are serious failings all around us, but like most things in life there are no simple or easy answers. As I have written many times in the past, economics is easy, politics is hard. People that think there are simple solutions to complex problems scare me. Hitler offered simple solutions to complex problems and one of them was kill all the Jews. Well, the people that were around then are gone now, and a new generation of people and simple answers are being looked to. That prospect does not bode well for some. Scape goats have been pointed to throughout the ages as the solution to peoples' problems. History does repeat itself, it always has. Whether there are enough serious minded people to stand up to those people with the simple solutions that usually involve hate, fear and oppression, then we may not have a society that builds a better life for all. Think about it.

Stay tuned.