That’s What Exponents Do

Much of my life has been devoted to advice giving. Though I think most of it was pretty good, I know that not all of it was followed. That can be a little disappointing, so I try at least to be respectful when I receive suggestions.

Not too many days ago, I was in Winnemucca, NV on the way from a week of skiing in Sun Valley to the prospect of four feet of powder snow in Squaw Valley. I got a call from my techy son asking if I had stayed current on the news while I had been in remote locations.

I thought I had, but I listened nonetheless then wisely followed his counsel to skip the rest of the trip and go home. The mortality rate from COVID-19 in the 70+ demographic was the most persuasive, but the power of compounding was close behind. “That’s what exponents do!”

Since Saturday, my wife and I have been social distancing at home, and we expect that to continue until a public health official not a politician suggests otherwise.

What to do now?

My calendar is entirely blank for the next two weeks. The few entries in early April are sure to disappear.

Fortunately, blogging is a source of much social interaction. Even more fortunately, the audience for is high on the intelligence curve.

People send me interesting things, recently about pandemics and the power of compounding.

I plan to ramp up the frequency of these stories toward two a day rather than two a week.

The Pundificator will not become coronavirus central but if there are useful items, you’ll hear about them. If you have insights, please pass them along.

There is still a contest for the Democratic nomination (though no longer much of a one) and an election in November. Both are worth following.

Sadly, the economy and the markets have taken sharp turns to the south and those stories are also worthy of note.

And there are the other stories that might be welcome diversions from the substantial and sudden changes in all of our lives.

As we get older, we are fortunate to be able to listen to our children and find joy in the fact that their advice is pretty damn good.

12 Responses to “That’s What Exponents Do”

amanda, March 17, 2020 at 12:00 pm said:

very exciting… thank you, Haven


Haven Pell, March 17, 2020 at 4:44 pm said:

I hope to make social distancing more tolerable.


Cliffe Cheston, March 17, 2020 at 12:06 pm said:

I’ve enjoyed your posts and look forward to more of these diversions from our “social distancing.”
I too have observed that the older I get, the more impressed I am with the advice I get from my children.


Haven Pell, March 17, 2020 at 4:43 pm said:

Cliffe, I hope these efforts are helpful. Please keep commenting.


John Austin Murphy, March 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm said:

For the hardhearted and hard-headed, what is going on is nothing more than a thinning of the herd.

The fact that this process is facilitated by a corrupt and inept administration is just another factor in the inexorable progress of Darwinian selection.

I submit that there is also present an application of a corollary of Murphy’s Law: at the time when honest and capable national leadership is desperately needed, the Electoral College has given us Individual-1. The worst possible result at the worst possible time.


Haven Pell, March 17, 2020 at 4:42 pm said:

to the extent possible, I have been focused on what public health professionals rather than politicians have to say


Livingston Miller, March 17, 2020 at 12:17 pm said:

Dear Pundificator, if you’re going to ramp up activity, please wash your hands before hitting “Send”.


Haven Pell, March 17, 2020 at 4:39 pm said:

Some of the stories are dictated which means the microphone needs attention too.


Terry Vogt, March 17, 2020 at 12:31 pm said:

I am to host book club tonight — normally this means booking a back room in a San Francisco restaurant so the ten septuagenarians and octogenarians can eat, drink, and expound. Our book is “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, a book arguably with the best opening and closing lines in history.

A week ago I suggested we do a Zoom meeting, and dutifully upgraded my account to allow for a meeting longer than half an hour. There was a lot of pushback from my fellow septus and octos.

Then we talked about changing the dinner to a lunch outside a Marin restaurant, figuring that what with the effect of sunlight and sitting far enough apart (but close enough not to shout) we’d be politically correct.

The picnic idea was obviated entirely by yesterday afternoon’s lockdown order. Restaurants are limited now to takeout or delivery.

About half of my book loving cohort now wants to cancel the Zoom and do two books next month. Here’s my response:

“I will be on Zoom tonight at 7 pm. Please join me!

“This will be an occasion to test your teleconferencing skills, as well as a chance to actually socialize during this time of enforced social distancing.

“My wife Mary and I now schedule a Zoom or FaceTime call each day with our daughter Lisa, who lives a full 2.6 miles away in the Castro District of Our Fair City. It’s much better than a call (besides, as a millennial, she doesn’t answer her phone, only responds to texts) and Mary and I have been learning how to both initiate and join a call.

“If you wish, you can join minus the video. Also, the etiquette is that when there are more than three parties involved, you need to learn how to MUTE YOURSELF when you’re not talking!

“Hope someone joins me tonight — try it, you’ll like it.”

As you can see, I took the soft sell approach. Besides, I learned early on in this new digital world that neither sarcasm nor irony are easily understood or transmitted (unlike the novel coronavirus).


Haven Pell, March 17, 2020 at 4:38 pm said:

watch for the next story on the take up rate for new ideas.


Temple Grassi, March 17, 2020 at 1:12 pm said:

Even though our court tennis court is still open here in DC, my family has persuaded me to cancel out of playing- ‘Dad, if you go play, I will not bring your grandchildren to your house!’ ‘Nuff said


Haven Pell, March 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm said:

I too benefitted from the advice of my children. It ain’t all bad.


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