## Crazy Christmas

We just got back from spending Christmas with my family. It was a good Christmas, but a crazy one, featuring:

• Eight members of my family, two of whom are named Nick
• Five friends making an appearance
• Five dogs
• One wedding proposal

Yes, you read that last one right; my little sister got engaged. Hilariously, it was in the parking lot of a local frozen custard place.

Anyway, it was a good vacation. I hope you, my readers, had wonderful Christmas celebrations as well.

## Slope of Hope – We’re on it

My favorite new (but not new favorite) blog is Evil Speculator (tagline, “bent on market domination, one nefarious trade at a time”). It posted a fantastic and disturbing chart from Gold-Eagle. The chart is one of the best demonstrations I’ve seen of a concept called the “slope of hope.” The idea is that (in significant declines) markets go down slopes of hope – long, bumpy slides in which optimism repeatedly kicks in early and causes dramatic, but short-lived and futile, rallies. In contrast, bull markets start by climbing a “wall of worry” – pessimism is so extreme near bottoms that most investors are late in realizing the worst is over.

## Another Great Review of The Shack

Scott Lindsey has a great review of The Shack.

For my earlier review, see here or this collection of information on The Shack.

EDIT: Don’t miss the scathing review of The Shack from James DeYoung, a good friend of the author (William P. “Paul” Young). Also check out Chuck Colson’s review, Al Mohler’s radio broadcast on the book, and Tim Challies’s booklet.

(h/t Tim Challies)

## Good-bye, asterisk

I finally have a bar number! I don’t have a printed law license, yet – it is apparently on its way. I do, however, have a bar number, a licensed date, and the glorious “Eligible To Practice In Texas” status on the website of the State Bar of Texas.

No more “attorney-to-be” and “not yet licensed in any state” stuff. Finally.

## $8,500,000,000,000 For reference: this is only 8 days after the$7.4 trillion estimate and only 14 days after the $4.284 trillion estimate. That’s$4,216,000,000,000 in two weeks.

If you really want a fright, keep reading. If we were to keep spending at this rate through the first 100 days of the Obama presidency (149 days from now), the tab for the crisis would hit a whopping $53,370,285,714,285. That’s about 4 times GDP, 4 times the national debt prior to the crisis, and 21 times what the federal government receives in taxes each year. That would only be, oh, about$177,901 for every man, woman, and child in the country. Chump change.