"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Friday, November 26, 2010

What's Happening Today? And Why Am I Tired?

Lots, as long as you're not looking for economic measures.

We've got a short trading day today - the equity markets close at 1 PM, and the bond markets at 2 PM.

It's Black Friday, so the Street will probably be holding its collective breath over the weekend to see how retail sales performed (or didn't, if the U of M's projections from Wednesday are any indicator).

The international markets are down over fears that Ireland will destroy the euro, that Portugal will destroy the euro if Ireland doesn't (Portugal is saying they're just fine, really, thanks for asking; it's almost exactly the language that Ireland was using as late as November 15, so surely we have no reason to be alarmed whatsoever), and that Kim Jong-Il and the North Korean Crazy [1] - who is, in his inimitably barking-mad fashion insisting that it is South Korea and the United States pushing towards war, pay no attention to my random artillery fire thank you very much - will destroy the Asian marketplace and part of Asia in the process.

Oh, and that morning fatigue you're feeling? It's probably due to L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid that cannot be synthesized by humans but is found in moderately large quantities in turkey meat (0.24 grams/100 grams of turkey, equal to chicken and 0.01 gram higher than beef). Most likely, you ate a lot of carbohydrates (stuffing and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes) along with your turkey. All of those carbohydrates promote insulin secretion, which stimulates the uptake of many amino acids (l-tryptophan is not among them) into your muscles. This leaves you with more of the l-tryptophan in your blood. L-tryptophan converts into serotonin in your brain stem, which then turns into melatonin in your pineal gland. Melatonin promotes sleep, and now you have larger than normal quantities of melatonin in your brain.

Or, maybe, you just hit Black Friday this morning. Same end result, although the turkey made you less likely to have to kidney punch someone's grandmother over a toaster.

[1] With their latest release "Why Ya Gotta Make Me Hit Ya Baby?"

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