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Friday, November 16, 2007


Formal Musings

As I write this from Orlando (using a kiosk thoughtfully provided by one of the vendor exhibitor companies), I have my tux on and am ready for our formal evening, clearly the highlight of the week here at the big Trade Show. I have had a love/hate relationship with this tux since buying it many, many years ago, and getting dressed for such events is a real exercise in paranoia for me. However, I continue to learn new tricks that make the process a little less time consuming, thus allowing me to squeeze in this post.

I actually look forward to the few opportunities I get to wear this thing, and since I am a night owl anyway, I have generally a good feeling about formal events, unlike most people who seem to dread them (more than root canals in some cases). The worst part used to be putting on my shirt since the proceess of putting in those accoutrements (studs I guess) where any normal garment would have buttons was virtually impossible while WEARING THE SHIRT! Finally, I figured out that you could simply put them in first, THEN put the shirt on, and button them as if they were buttons. So there's about 10 minutes saved.

I have now figured out that the same principle applies to the cuff links, since I can squeeze my fist into the fully assembled sleeve, no problem. This saves time, and also reduces the chances of a severly sprained wrist or shoulder. Of ourse, I still worry about whether the link is inside out or upside down. But the paranoia is not debilitating. More concerning is whether my cumberbun and bow tie are upside down. Frankly, I have pretty much decided that there is no upside down for the bow tie, it looks the same either way, so I just put it on once now and forget it instead of trying it each way twice hoping to figure it out.

So the whole process of getting dressed now doesn't take much longer than putting on a suit and tie.

Of course there are still a couple of things to worry about. Should my wallet and cell phone go in the pants pockets or the coat pockets? That's a pretty deep question. Also, I have a pronounced red inside lining in my coat and I like to wear it open, which means I have to be careful when the photag comes by. A few years ago, our group's picture appeared in the industry trade journal and my freaking red lining was all too visible, though it's possible no one else noticed. Since then, I tend to close the coat when it's picture time.

Anyway, the evening promises to be fun, and it's almost post time as Frank Sinatra used to say (reference the movie, The Joker Is Wild).

A good rule of thumb I learned a long time ago is that the financial stocks and utilities lead the market trend. So, when the financials are whacked by a unique event, i.e. mortgage write downs, are they leading the market down, or will this be confined to that segment. My guess is that the financials' slump is part unique and part trend. I would be careful with this market, and even though economists have called 10 of the last 3 recessions, the possibility that we are beginning one should not be discounted.

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