My mid-life rebuild

The body is a system, I’ve always heard. I’ve been learning it the empirical way lately.

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For a number of months, my right shoulder had been keeping me awake at night and away from any form of exercise. I went in for an x-ray, learning that I had a big clot of calcium lying on my rotator cuff. After a cortisone shot failed to resolve it, I had a surgery on my shoulder (the shots often dissolve the calcium, but it is something you don’t want to do a lot, because cortisone breaks down tendons, too). My shoulder feels great.

In fact, you can see how good my shoulder looks, which is, according to my doctor, as healthy as a much younger man’s. That big white lump glowing in the foreground of the picture at the right is the gob of calcium, which was described to me as having the consistency of Gruyére cheese. The doc scooped it out and I felt great for a few days. On the left, you can see my smooth and healthy rotator cuff and the tendon that connects my tricep, I believe.

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I think of the good tendons as a foundation for rebuilding.

Then, as I adjusted to my revitalized shoulder—I’d been holding it oddly for some time—my back went into spasm. And, it hurt. It hurt really, really bad. That led to a pinched nerve in my neck, which hurt even worse and led to the loss of feeling in my middle and index fingers, as well as the back of my left hand. After several weeks of pain, I ended up lying in an MRI machine today.

I’ve had a bad back and neck for years, something I always tried to avoid having surgery to resolve. Looks like I won’t be able to avoid it much longer.

Once I get this taken care of, I’m looking forward to getting back on a bike, exercising generally and getting some time in on the slopes with my kids. I might have to wait another year to rehab. But I figure this is my mid-life rebuild, so that I can enjoy wandering around the world with Kiera. I suppose that, once I’m healed, I’ll be doing some erg blogging.

On Wednesday morning I see the spine surgeon and find out the course of treatment. Stay tuned for pictures of my spine, if I’m headed for surgery.

Bernanke on microfinance in the United States

FRB: Speech–Bernanke, Microfinance in the United States–November 6, 2007:

Although the United States came relatively late to the microfinance movement, experimentation in the 1980s and 1990s laid the groundwork for the lively network of programs we see today. Acción has been at the forefront of the development of microfinance in the United States. Acción International began its microlending activities in Latin America in 1961 and established an affiliate organization in the United States, Acción USA, in 1991. Over the years, the U.S. Acción network has grown to become one of the country’s largest microfinance providers. Since its founding, the U.S. Acción network has loaned $180 million to nearly 20,000 borrowers in thirty-five states.2

What I find especially interesting about Bernanke’s comments are the notion that, in addition to loans, U.S. microfinance comes in the form of education and information that lowers the risk of failure by a business. This may be a matter of the U.S. economy being more advanced, though I see no shortage of need for capital among entrepreneurs, but I suspect that it is actually a requirement implicit in the information infrastructure that makes the U.S. economy so dynamic. Money without knowledge is a waste when so much depends on rapid learning and experienced judgment.

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Come play Jambaz with me….

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Last week, I shared my secrets of playing the Jambaz investing game (see that widget to the right, the one with my goofy face?). This week, you should come try to out-pick me. I’m second in the game as of this afternoon, though I think I’ll take the lead when today’s scores are tabulated.

Just for shits and giggles, I’ll post the graphic above, which charts my “fantasy” mutual fund’s performance on Marketocracy. I’m up 39.41 percent over the past year — represented by the orange line.

Come on, folks, just try to beat me at picking stocks. I dare you.

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Huzzah, Socialtext!

Socialtext Raises $9.5 Million, Announces New CEO :

Socialtext, a provider of wiki software, has announced a $9.5 million Series C round as well as the appointment of a new CEO. Eugene Lee, co-founder of Beyond.com, will be replacing Ross Mayfield in the CEO slot, while Mayfield will move to Chairman and President.

Congratulations all round to the good folks at Socialtext, where I have served as an advisory board member since way, way back, before wikis were cool. Ross has done a great job as founder and CEO, it is great to see Eugene Lee coming in to lead the next phase of business growth. It is a small world, as I remember covering Eugene’s products at Beyond Inc. back in my MacWEEK days.

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Apparently, lifespans are radically shorter than when I was a kid

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Comet surprise makes it visible to naked eye – CNN.com:

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event to witness, along the lines of when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter back in 1994,” said [Paul] Lewis, [director of astronomy outreach at the University of Tennessee, who reached a bit too far with his hyperbole].

In other words, it would be really cool to look up and to the Northeast tonight if the sky is clear.

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