Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Travelogue - Disneyworld

We love traditions in our family, and one is that each one of our kids gets a solo trip to Disney World with Kelley and me on graduation from pre-school. This year is Brady’s turn, our youngest, and I am writing this from our hotel room where we have taken shelter from a violent electrical storm. Naturally, we chose this day to go to one of Disney’s water parks. The storm closed in out of nowhere as we were reaching the top of an interminable line atop Blizzard Mountain. The sky turned black and lightening was striking close by. We ran like hell since, as a golfer, I appreciate the dangers of lightening. On top of this, we were soaking wet and standing near the top of a faux 130 foot mountain in the otherwise flat topography of central Florida. Interestingly, most other people didn’t seem to be in any hurry. Perhaps they thought lightening would not possess the temerity to strike in the Magic Kingdom.

The interesting part of Disney, for me, is the people watching. The sheer girth of the average American is not to be believed. What the heck is everyone eating? I’m the first to admit I should lose 20 pounds, but I’m talking about people who are 100 pounds overweight, and they are everywhere. Which leads to the other interesting phenomenon, which is the sight of hundreds of otherwise ambulatory people riding around in little scooter chairs. Some had medical reasons, to be sure, but many appeared to just prefer spending $60 a day to avoid the nuisance of walking from the Haunted Mansion to Pirates of the Caribbean. Some were as young as their 20s. It was kind of nauseating, really. Kelley got mad at me for pointing it out over and over.

The good news is that there doesn’t appear to be any recession here. Disney is a sea of people who also appear to be spending money in the stores. That edge-of-the precipice feeling we all had last fall has clearly been forgotten by most. Last December, looking at data from past recessions, I ventured a guess that we’d be done with this recession by July with unemployment peaking at 10%. I just might hit the nail it on the head, which goes to show you we shouldn’t actually pay anyone to be an economist.

The recovery, though, will be anemic, largely due to the ghastly developments in Washington. I know many of my readers have been wondering why I haven’t leveled both barrels in this direction. Truthfully, it has been too painful to contemplate. The act of writing it down would somehow make it real, and I’m still holding out slight hope that, like JR Ewing, I will wake up in a cold sweat saying, “thank God, it was only a dream. Kelley, I thought they’d taken America and turned it into Belarus. It was so real.”

Perhaps next month. In the meantime, it has been interesting to note that the inflation/deflation debate seems to have been settled in the last few weeks, which is to say few are worried about deflation any more. Which is good news, sort of. More like less terrible news. As a country, it’s like we just went on Let’s Make a Deal and passed on door #1, which had a canon behind it that would have shot us dead, and won what’s behind door #2, which is man with a rifle who shot us in the spleen, a wound which will require a long and painful recovery.

As a firm, we have been harping on this for months, that something wicked this way comes…

(see next post)

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