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Eric Best
Brooklyn, NY
Syzygeist : An alignment of ideas with particular significance in time on which one may or may not act appropriately
Recent Activity
Journal entry, Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 To Ray at his Memorial Today is Ray Joslin’s memorial service, to be held at 2 p.m. at Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, and I am to speak among four others who will give... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2013 at Syzygeist
With uncertainty and complexity abounding, too much information flooding over most of us and the Global Happiness Index (GHI) challenged by much in modern life, it's worth noting that the best advice is often wrapped in a children's story or... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2013 at Syzygeist
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Jan 7, 2013
Years ago I listened to noted columnist James Kilpatrick give a talk about writing. He said every good piece should follow the same formula: "Let me take you by the hand and show you a place I know, which for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2013 at Syzygeist
Syzygeist, the name for this blog, is a made-up word to suggest sudden convergences that you should think about and perhaps act upon. (Look up syzygy for the root idea and think also zeitgeist). Now after a hiatus from this... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2012 at Syzygeist
James Holding is a 37-year-old British marine biologist who, in his own words, “saw the race on the news and couldn’t believe it was possible.” I was unable to meet James personally under the circumstances to ask how he was... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2012 at Syzygeist
In our now traditional pre-Christmas convocation of former and present Morgan Stanley bankers held last Friday at the Asia Society, we applied scenario-thinking to the challenges of Europe and the world. The result wasn't pretty. The two most important uncertainties... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2011 at Syzygeist
"I never intended anyone at MF Global to misuse customer funds." The gist of MF Global CEO John Corzine's testimony is "deny, deny, deny" before the Senate Committee today. It bears watching for a lesson in elusive and dodgy answers... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2011 at Syzygeist
What do Joe Paterno's firing, the state of things in Greece and Occupy Wall Street have in common? Paterno (in whose name we find the Latin word for "father") failed to respond adequately to personal corruption in his immediate environment.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2011 at Syzygeist
Having conducted three recent scenario sessions (in Switzerland and Germany) in the last month to consider the current European debt crisis, I find most notable that the range of futures conceived by deeply experienced European and global business people all... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2011 at Syzygeist
In 1983 I took a fellowship year as the journalist I was then to address my own ignorance about economics, both the theory and the practice of the "dismal science." I thought I would understand capital allocation (what do you... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2011 at Syzygeist
Take this as a slice of New York Life, where just about everything interesting that happens is unexpected. I am in an East Side Hospital, waiting for my turn with the physical therapist to work over my recently operated-on arm.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2011 at Syzygeist
Despite the attention being paid to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the past may well be beside the point. What is in front of us is much more important than what is behind us. The Twin-Towers attack, notwithstanding its individual... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2011 at Syzygeist
In Israel a social movement aimed at income inequality and housing prices has sprung up from a youth Facebook protest. Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a trip hoping to nip the protest in the bud. Speculation arises that Israel's Left, long neutralized... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2011 at Syzygeist
Recent events including a ruptured bicep tendon and a large research effort put me temporarily underwater - in the non-blogosphere - but an item in the Sunday NY Times forced me to resurface. It appeared as an essay by John... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2011 at Syzygeist
The purported end of the world came and went last Saturday, and to the surprise of few, "the Rapture" did not come to pass. The world is not, however, out of the woods if you read Peter Nolan's superb "Crossroads - the End of Wild Capitalism and the Future of Humanity." Nolan's thesis is that unrestrained capitalism, its extremes and its contradictions have put China, the US and the world of Islam on a collision course that gives the world "the choice of no choice." Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2011 at Syzygeist
Hillary Clinton disappeared from one of the most historic scenes in recent American history and most people would not know it happened. (Perhaps more sadly, many might not care.) Please consider: Editors of the Hasidic weekly Der Tzitung's photoshopped the US Secretary of State and another woman out of the scene in which Mrs. Clinton, seated near President Obama, was watching the progress of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2011 at Syzygeist
The incoming, pre-attack helicopter above Bin Laden's compound was noticed and tweeted by a recluse who said he had come to Abbottabad, Pakistan to get away for a while. The meaning of the helicopter, which he reasoned at the time was probably not local (Pakistani or Taliban), would come clear later. But that solo tweet would give the world a precise time of the attack, whatever official story might be told and in case anyone wanted to question it. Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2011 at Syzygeist
I do not rejoice in anyone's death but I am glad Bin Laden has met his maker and grateful to those servicemen and women who put themselves in harm's way to carry out our country's military plans. In the case of Al Qaida, a non-state terrorist organization willing to target mostly civilians, a war played outside the rules has provoked responses that have been outside the rules as well. Victory may be sweet, but we need to be vigilant that provocation does not cause us to abandon the American principles of law and individual rights that we hold dear. That said, I find my mind filled with questions: Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2011 at Syzygeist
Go watch "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," by Morgan Spurlock, the man who brought you "Supersize Me" and who has evidently figured out how to supersize himself. This smart, tongue-in-cheek, manipulative movie about manipulation via product placement and brand campaigning will send you out of the theater wondering. At least it did me. Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2011 at Syzygeist
...Bonds was just convicted last week of obstruction of justice while being acquitted of perjury. So the jury concluded Barry did not lie to the Grand Jury about whether he knew he was taking steroids.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2011 at Syzygeist
Good question! In Europe, the ECB is funding "bailouts" and those are hard for anyone in the US to influence. in the US, a citizen has a few choices - write, call, speak out, lobby, demonstrate, contribute money to this effort or that. I am not a Tea Party aficionado but those people believe in mobilizing candidates, money and arguments, which may be foolish or unfounded or too ideologically driven, but there you are. To do nothing, someone said, is to choose.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2011 on "From Crowhurst to Madoff to - Us?" at Syzygeist
In the extraordinary book, "The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst," a pair of journalists reconstruct the mysterious end to a lone sailor's life at sea. It would appear that Crowhurst, facing terrible embarrassment and shame at having faked a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2011 at Syzygeist
If you are a casual or regular movie goer, at least in New York City, you have perhaps experienced the routine "super-sizing" of snacks that goes on there. At a recent movie I requested a "small" soda and was told I could get a discount on an additional food product if I purchased a medium or large. Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2011 at Syzygeist
MAVAW, an acronym to suggest Men Against Violence Against Women, came to me in one of those half-awake flashes in the middle of the night that make you feel you are onto something big. I had been troubled by the news of Eddy Coello, the former Bronx police officer indicted for murder in the disappearance of his wife and mother of their 5-year-old daughter. Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2011 at Syzygeist