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  • Yurman’s First Law of Economics

    Posted on April 28th, 2009 schell 4 comments

    Okay, our topic today might more correctly be named ‘Yurman’s First Law of Nanoeconomics’ or ‘Yurman’s Proposition re Personal Finance’ or ‘Yurman’s Identity’, but none of those sing, and the last is just plain confusing. So with full deference to greater minds, I’m taking license and going with the original title.

    Yurman’s First Law exposes an underlying predictability in an otherwise unpredictable and unavoidable component of personal finance: cash flow.

    If you assimilate only one theorem, this one will serve you well. It was first proposed in the mid 70s by my dear friend, artist, artisan, ascetic, musician and thinker, Bruce Yurman. Through the years since, it’s proven itself to me often enough that I felt it deserved to be formalized, with credit to Bruce for his insight.

    Now more than ever, the last thing any of us needs is another financial surprise. Yurman’s First Law exposes an underlying predictability in an otherwise unpredictable and unavoidable component of personal finance: cash flow.

    Yurman’s First Law of Economics states simply that expenses equal income [-$ = +$].

    eulertv1

    Bruce’s example was his transportation — a VW bus which must surely have been the prototype for all those that followed. He observed that, for any given sum of cash which might find its way into his hands, a repair to his bus costing an exactly equal amount would become immediately necessary: Earn $60 for playing a wedding = brakes fail on the way home = brake job @ $60; Sell a piece of handmade jewelry @ $150 = second gear stops engaging = transmission work @ $150, and so on.

    This law is so reliable that, once familiar with it, one begins to see it occurs naturally in a wide range of scenarios. Here’s a more contemporary example: $100 for freelance coding = swine flu pandemic = antiviral meds @ $100.

    I hope you find Yurman’s First Law of Economics as useful in projecting personal cash flow as I have, and that you benefit in these challenging times from the heightened state of awareness.   §§§

  • Outsourcing an Arizona icon

    Posted on April 22nd, 2009 schell No comments

    There are any number of reasons for migrating to (that part of Mexico’s vast and mysterious Sonoran desert which we now call) Arizona.

    But if there was ever a single, compelling argument for staying, it used to be Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer — handcrafted at the wild edge of metro Phoenix by Crazy Ed Chileen since 1989.

    With the first taste, you’re immediately quenched and refreshed by the beer, then lit up by the chili infusion which leads to a glowing sensation accompanied by an intense desire to have another swig.

    If you’ve never tasted a chili beer, imagine a cold, crisp lager of Corona’s caliber, in which a fresh hot serrano pepper has been marinating since it was bottled. With the first taste, you’re immediately quenched and refreshed by the beer, then lit up by the chili infusion, leading to a glowing sensation accompanied by an intense desire to have another swig. Maybe it’s the desert heat or maybe it’s the chili but, in some of our tests, we have found that this cycle of consumption can continue for quite some time without a measurable reduction in the level of enjoyment.

    hot serranoAdding to the allure is its scarcity: Cave Creek Chili Beer has always been underdistributed. The connoisseur learns to snatch it up whenever it makes one of its rare appearances, as few retailers routinely stock it.

    Sadly, Crazy Ed’s Cave Creek Chili Beer has been outsourced. It’s now called simply Chili Beer and brewed in Tecate, Mexico. This might have been good news given the town’s reputation for producing Tecate beer, hugely popular in the southwest.

    Way back when, we used to buy Tecate at Gemco in North Hollywood and often remarked at the condition of the containers — speculating that each can must be individually imported by rolling it across the border. I mention this only because it appears that a similarly heavy hand is applied in Tecate to the making of Chili Beer: The lager seems less crisp, the chili doesn’t seem so bright on the tongue, and the glow fades quickly to Maybe-I’ll-have-another-in-awhile, instead of a craving for the next cold one.

    The upside may be a Chili Beer that finally gets the distribution it deserves. Unfortunately, it’s not Crazy Ed’s Chili Beer anymore.   §§§