The View From The Golden Dome

Views on the week's events plus some of mine.

Les Berman Weekly 1-5 Rudolph. Sushi. Blaer. Goodbye Penny !

Every now and then, we have to take a deep breath and reflect on some of the good stuff that is happening around us. So we’re going to sit back and enjoy some of the reality. I really don’t care if someone is pregnant by her boyfriend or if another celeb is going back to jail. Sometimes, we have to think about whether or not Joanie really loved Chachi. Or why the alphabet song and ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ have the same tune. And did you just try to sing those two songs??


You certainly missed this a couple of weeks ago. In the world of science, and you know I like scientific discoveries, they now know why Rudolph’s nose is red ! According to the Dutch scientists , “The exceptional physical burden of flying with a sleigh with Santa Claus as a heavy load could have caused cerebral and bodily hyperthermia, resulting in an overworked nasal cooling mechanism that resembles an overheated cooling radiator in a car: Rudolph suffered from hyperemia of the nasal mucosa (a red nose) under more extreme heat loads during flight with a sleigh.” The paper goes on to say that scientists don’t like to put all their scientific eggs into just one basket of science. The paper’s authors acknowledge other theories for the red nose, including the common cold, alcoholic intoxication, or a parasitic infection of the nostrils. I think the overheating explanation is the least likely to make little kids cry. Case closed !


Shortly after Rudolph’s job was finished for the year, thousands of birders went counting.  And that’s an understatement. The National Audubon Society had their 113th annual Christmas Bird Count. It is intended to provide scientists with an annual census of bird populations to help assess the relative health of different species and guide conservation efforts. One group in Mount Pleasant, MI, counted over 13,000 birds from 61 species. Friends of mine are serious birders, and whenever they travel, they are fortunate enough to be able to go bird hunting – with a camera. They have shared amazing photos. They admitted, however, that they never got a good shot of Rudolph, with or without a cold.


Meanwhile, in Iceland, a girl is suing the state so she can use her birth name. In Iceland, there are only a certain number of names that can be given to a person. The reasoning is that some names work grammatically and others don’t. The 15 year old girl was named Blaer. The committee that decides on names turned down her application to use the name because …. the name takes a masculine article in Icelandic grammar. The Icelandic phone book lists people by their first name. So if your name is Olafur, good luck. And their surnames are very logical. So if your dad’s name is Bjork, his daughter’s surname would be Bjorksdottir (approximately). So young Blaer is fighting the fight and we wish her luck. And, in case you were curious, one of the permitted male names is, yup, you guessed it, Rudolf !


Do you have jars of pennies? or nickels? Did you know that the penny, or one cent coin, is being retired in Canada next month. Merchants will be required to round up or down on every cash transaction. Around the world, the penny is being abandoned as a useless coin. Vending machines and parking meters dictate what are the best coins of the realm. So Sweden, Australia, New Zealand are among the countries that have discarded the one penny coin. In Canada, it costs 1.6 cents to manufacture a one cent coin. I would imagine that the same is true here in the US of A. The Canadian treasury estimates that six billion pennies will be turned in over the next six years. And now they are considering getting rid of the nickel. This will happen here, perhaps, in the near future. However, the American experience will be that “we discovered it first” becuase American government and many businesses can not accept the fact that other countries have already been the beta test.  What does that mean to us? Our kids or grandkids will look at us quizzically when we say “A penny for your thoughts”, or “penny wise and pound foolish”, or “a penny saved is a penny earned” . Will you be allowed to put your two cents in? And will the courts allow free name changes so all of those people named “Penny” can become “Nickels” or even “Quarters”? What about Rudolph?


I know there are a lot of people who eat sushi aka raw fish. I am generally not in that number and I don’t expect ever to be. I do have the occasional spicy tuna thing – I have to call it ‘thing’ because I don’t know if it has any other name. But there are people in Japan who take this to an extreme. A restaurant owner paid $1.76 million, yes that is the correct number, for $3603 per pound for a 489 pound bluefin tuna. OK, so what’s wrong with that you may ask. Actually – nothing if you don’t mind paying $24 or more for a piece of sushi or sashimi. And if you don’t mind eating a fish that has seen it’s numbers depleted by 60% between 1997 and 2007. But really, $1.76 million for a fish that has to be eaten within a day. Not on my menu ! Nor, I would guess, on Rudolph’s.


So in other news, mortgage rates are extremely volatile right now with crazy swings every day. There are several reasons for this, none of which really matter unless you are one of those who has refused, forgotten, or avoided the refinancing process. It’s really not that difficult if you don’t fight it. It’s a process – a process that can save you money. I’m refinancing a home right now where the owner will save a basic $700 per month and more if we get a decent appraisal. He wasn’t going to refinance for several months. He changed his mind. It costs you nothing to ask the question – Can I refinance? Call me. Today. 818.305.4695.

Have a better week.




Berman’s Factoids of the Week:

Why is “abbreviated” is such a long word?

Why is lemon juice is made with artificial flavor yet dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

And just what is Victoria’s secret?




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 Les Berman CMC
Real Estate Loan Specialist
NMLS ID 227675
Voice: 818.305.4695




January 5, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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