Sunday, May 31, 2015

China's Scrabbling Export Economy Could Spell 'DISASTER'

May 31, 2015
China factories scrabble for growth in May, export demand shrinks

It's all fun and games for China's investors, until someone loses an 'I'.

How can I be expected to resist puns served up on a tray? ;)

And So It Begins

May 31, 2015
Enrique Iglesias injured in concert mishap with a drone

Spanish pop star Enrique Iglesias is seeking treatment after a drone cut his hand during a Saturday concert.

Not only have the drones acquired a taste for human blood, but they are now actively attempting to shut down public communications.

Larry Kudlow Has a Plan

May 29, 2015
The GOP needs a 5-percent growth target

So, how about some Republican leadership today, with all the candidates pushing for a 5 percent economic-growth target? It's exactly what we need to get back to America's long-term prosperity trend, which had long ensured our world leadership.

Why stop there? Why not a 10% economic growth target? It's just a target. It's not like it will be part of an actual campaign promise, which we know must always be kept.

Let's set some other "reasonable" targets to ensure our long-term prosperity! There's no reason to just have the one target. Let's shotgun this optimism with brain storming nirvana!

The Every Child Better than Average Target

Why settle for no child left behind? Think about it. If every child in a given classroom becomes smarter than every other child in that same classroom, then infinite paradoxical intelligence would be released! Circular logic for the win!

The World Peace Target

Think of the long-term prosperity that could be unleashed if we didn't "shock and awe" the planet so often, as we search for weapons of mass destruction that only the most prosperous countries must hoard.

The Free Energy Perpetual Motion Machine Target

If we could eliminate all friction from all mechanical systems and somehow also extract extra energy from said systems in sharp defiance of the second law of thermodynamics, then think how little foreign energy we would need! Enough said. This needs to be a priority. The American public deserves no less.

The Permanent End of Torture Target

Think how prosperous we all would be if we someday thought torture simply meant excessive tickling of loved ones, and not the waterboarding it is now associated with.

The Freedom for All Target

Let's be realistic here. We all love the Patriot Act. Please believe me. This communication may be monitored. It is therefore in your best interest to say what I say as I say it. Repeat after me without even the slightest hint of sarcasm (they'll know), "We all love the Patriot Act." There. Now don't you feel better? And more importantly, more prosperous? (Once again, this communication may be monitored. Be smart here. If you've got children, then don't take the risk of answering inappropriately.)

The Infinite Debt Target

If a little debt can lead to a little extra prosperity, then it stands to reason that an infinite debt must lead to an infinite amount of extra prosperity. And who wouldn't want that? Trickle that prosperity down, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Growing the economy at 10%, with infinitely smart children, world peace, free energy, the end of torture, absolute freedom, and infinite debt can't solve all our problems in 2016, but it's a good start. I therefore urge you to vote for the candidate who sets the best targets!

My Favorite Needs (Musical Tribute)

May 13, 2015
The most expensive things in the world that money can buy

Pablo Picasso and Peter Paul Rubens
Ferrari race cars and white truffle pizzas
Soups made from shark's fin with hints of ginseng
These are a few of my favorite needs

My life-sized sculpture of a man who is pointing
Yellow postage stamps and gloves of moon walking
Sushi wrapped in the purest gold leaf
These are a few of my favorite needs

Tiffany dresses of Hepburn, it's Audrey
Perfume in crystal delivered by Bentleys
The rarest of Rolls-Royce made with two seats
These are a few of my favorite needs

When there's looting
When there's tear gas
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite needs
And then I don't feel so bad

The Exclusive Forty and Hundred Club

In order to be a member, you first need to move to Baltimore.

May 30, 2015
City sees 40 homicides, more than 100 shootings this month

To put this somewhat in perspective, the slightly more populous city of Seattle had just 26 homicides in all of 2014, which is an average of 2.2 homicides per month.

May 19, 2015
Money Minute: 3 reasons money isn't making you happy

I explain three reasons you may be earning more but don't feel any happier.

Here are five more reasons.

4. You live in Baltimore.
5. It's 2:00am.
6. You've just withdrawn $300 from the ATM.
7. Your car is 20 yards away over open ground.
8. There's a burning police car just up the street.

It could be worse I suppose. I watched The Sum of All Fears last night. Spoiler alert. You know how thriller movies often have a nuclear bomb that is disarmed just in the nick of time? Well, in this fictional movie, Baltimore was not so lucky.

In my opinion, The Sum of All Fears was at least one fear shy of a full load. Sigh.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Crock of @#$% Report v.009

May 28, 2015
Cramer's #1 best way to make money right now

1. In the end, these deals are all driven by a simple fact: there are too many companies fighting for customers, and those customers are finicky, tough and demanding.

2. Cramer sees this as a golden opportunity for investors.

If a small rural town is filled with finicky, tough and demanding customers, and that town has too many grocery stores, then over the long-term would it really be a golden opportunity for that town's grocery store investors?

Speaking as one who grew up in a small rural town with too many grocery stores, good luck on that theory. Our town tended to have either one or two grocery stores. The second one would always struggle then fail. Golden opportunity though! Newcomers kept coming!

I can't imagine a worse investment than moving to a small rural town and opening a grocery store half the size of the town's existing grocery store, and located just a few blocks from it. Even as a kid, it wasn't hard to see how that would end. I felt really bad for every small business owner who made the attempt.

Dead store walking.

Frugal Leading Questions of the Day

Amazon sells a 12-count of 5-Hour Energy for $18.78.

That's 157 cents per dose to be kept awake for 5 hours.

Amazon sells a 600-count of diphenhydramine for $9.02.

That's 1.5 cents per dose to be kept asleep for 5 hours.

1. Is being kept awake really worth 100x what being kept asleep is worth?

2. Or do people just love the sensation of 2 ounces of sucralose sweetened liquid hitting the back of the throat?

Just leading questions, your honor!

A free 5-hour Energy Drink has been sitting on our kitchen counter for months. That's probably the closest I will ever come to drinking one. No joke.

And don't even get me started on paying the $2.99 they'd want for one dose displayed near the cash registers of local stores. Money must grow on trees for some people.

Top Bankers (Musical Tribute)

May 19, 2015
More bankers ok with breaking the law to get ahead

About a quarter of top bankers have been asked to sign agreements that would prevent them from reporting illegal or unethical activities to regulators.

If you are a top banker and witness your CEO murder one of his high-priced personal escorts, then for the love of all that's holy, you need to think smart and do the right thing. Repeat after me:

"I drove the Land Rover today. It has ample trunk space. I'd be more than happy to dispose of the body for you. It would be no trouble at all."

The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work. - Thomas A. Edison

Few understand that in addition to the overalls and hard work, opportunity can also include garbage bags and bone saws. Corner office here you come! Woohoo!

Corporate ethics, baby. That's what I'm talking about. Regulators? Who needs them?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cook the Burgers and Bury the Books!

May 27, 2015
McDonald’s Will Change How Its Burgers Are Cooked

He also said the company would, as many of its rivals have, stop reporting monthly sales.

Beats cooking the books and burying the burgers! Well, maybe.

In all seriousness, the management at McDonalds must not have much faith that their changes will work. One certainly wouldn't stop reporting monthly same store sales if sales were expected to rocket higher.

Note to self: Restaurant competition seems especially fierce these days. Probably best to not use my life savings in pursuit of the "owning my own restaurant" dream, not that I ever did have that dream.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Two Noteworthy Astrological Interest Rate Predictions of Fed Economists

May 26, 2015
Fed’s Fischer sees short-term rate at 3.25%-4% in three to four years

Mr. Fischer said observers focus too much on when the Fed will start raising its benchmark short-term rate from near zero, and instead should think more about where interest rates are headed over time.

I agree. I don't ask my astrologer how my first bet will do in the casino. I only want to know how much I will ultimately win! Who cares about all the ups and downs? A good astrologer should filter that out for me, much like Fischer has done here.

3.25% to 4.00% in 3 to 4 years! Count on it! I love this math. Stick in the three to fours for both magnitude and duration. Keep it simple enough for us all to understand! And if we extrapolate it out a decade, we might even make it to Greenspan's hilarious 10%!

September 17, 2007
Greenspan sees double-digit rates: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in an interview published on Monday the Fed would have to raise interest rates to double-digit levels in coming years to thwart inflation.

Patiently waiting to thwart that inflation! Just need to work our way through the backside of the popped deflationary credit bubble and 6+ years of ZIRP first, lol. Other than that, Greenspan was spot on!

Loyal readers can probably anticipate what comes next, in honor of both Fischer and Greenspan.

That's right. It's Clown Horn Tuesday! Woohoo!

In all seriousness, it takes serious balls to predict 4% short-term interest rates in 4 years when the 30-year treasury bond yields just 3%. Even if he's somehow right, that's got major financial crisis written all over it. How the f%^k does he think our weakened overleveraged society can survive that? Need I remind him what the itty-bitty taper tantrum did?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Safe Way to Earn Ten Percent

A man asked me where he could find a safe way to earn ten percent. I said there was none. Would he settle for a 3% long-term treasury bond?

He became irate. Once again demanded a safe way to earn ten percent. I said there was none. Would he settle for some 6% junk bonds?

He went livid. Once again demanded a ten percent safe return. I said there was none. Would he settle for rolling the dice in the stock market?

I've never seen so much anger come out of a single person. There was steam coming out of his ears. It was at this point that I suggested that he think up his own infestment.

And do you know what he screamed next?

There is no f in investment!

Which is funny, because that's exactly what I had been trying to tell him for the past five minutes! No f'in investment indeed! ;)

Friday, May 22, 2015

TAPEWORM for President in 2016!

May 22, 2015
McDonald's ditches more sales for accuracy

From the comments:

You know, in many countries there isn't enough food to feed oneself or they have to get it by walking long distances. In the "developed" world, you get as much food as you want by driving to a drive up window where they hand it to you often with a smile. Yet people will complain over a little wait or the occasional screw up. Doesn't hurt to be a little thankful and a little pleasant to people who work pretty darn hard for pretty darn little and be thankful for what we do have. Many would die just to have one trip to a McD's just once a month if they could get it. - TAPEWORM

I am not joking. TAPEWORM would get my vote. I don't need to know if TAPEWORM is male, female, white, black, brown, gay, straight, religious, athiest, democrat, republican, independent, rich, or poor.

Some people might argue that we shouldn't vote for parasites. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Down with Immigration Reform!

May 5, 2015
CNBC: The billion-dollar unicorn trend is about to go global

Immigrants are hard workers by definition.

I had no idea that hard worker was the definition of immigrant, but it all makes sense now!

Although I was born in Washington State and have lived here all my life, it turns out that I was an immigrant for quite a few years. I then stopped being an immigrant and became a lazy bum. I have no desire to be reformed! I have no desire to work hard again! I like my new easy-going laid-back lifestyle! So down with immigration reform I say!

And whatever you do, don't even think of getting me started on the billion-dollar unicorn trend! You have no idea how close I am to going off on a mythical creature and Candy Mountain rant!

By Definition?

By definition, by definition means that the statement that is being made is a rewording or direct consequence of a definition of the thing being discussed.

However, in practice,
the phrase by definition is carelessly used to make sloppy connections between ideas, while conveying the impression that this connection is an inherent requirement of the rules of logic and language.

If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it is that CNBC would never carelessly make sloppy connections between ideas! That's just crazy talk!

I heckle therefore I am, by definition. Hahaha! ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

May 20, 2015
Here's how much money you should save based on your income

...the holiday shopping season, where savings go to die.

Have no fear. The savings are then reborn in the gated communities and penthouse suites of our billionaire overlords, like hundreds of millions of pheonixes rising from the ashes! These savings then clog the banking system and drive interest rates ever lower.

So we've got that going for us, which is nice, lol. Sigh.

Darwin Club

May 20, 2015
New 1,080-calorie burger comes topped with hot dogs, chips

Carl’s Jr. began selling a 1,080-calorie burger Wednesday that it hopes appeals to Americans’ patriotic spirit, along with their appetites.

The first rule of Darwin Club is: You do not talk about Darwin Club.

I'm Really Pushing My Luck!! (Musical Tribute)

May 20, 2015
The Onion: Toyota Recalls 1993 Camry Due To Fact That Owners Really Should Have Bought Something New By Now

While Toyota is reportedly confining its recall to the 1993 Camry, it also issued a warning to owners of 1994 to 1998 models alerting them to the fact that they were really starting to push it.

Hahaha! I'm starting to think that they can pry the 1996 Toyota Camry XLE V6 from my cold dead fingers. That's 19 years and I don't even have 100k miles on it yet!

Can you imagine what this service-based consumer economy would be doing if more people were as frugal as me? I may have bought a nice car, but I did it with expectations that it would be with me for a very, very long time. So far, so good. Based on how well it is holding up, it may be a close race between its remaining life expectancy and my own. No joke.

It's apparently not just long-term bonds that I buy with intent to hold to maturity. Come to think of it, I've also only bought one house in my life. Still living in it. One and done. Continually buying and selling houses isn't cheap, not that the heavily biased National Association of Realtors would like me to point this fact out. Commissions dry up if everyone buys and holds. Go figure.

This economy demands trading and churning, for if it slows, so too GDP growth. Therefore, for the love of all that's holy, please keep up with the Joneses so I don't have to do it. That means buying a new car every time you buy a new house. Never be satisfied with what you have! Keep constantly on the move! Use your day trading profits to extract all that new prosperity! Or not. Your call. Life in the fast lane is not without its risks.

Volatility Does Not Equal Risk!

Why Volatility does not Equal Risk - Warren Buffett

Volatility does not measure risk. Past volatility is not a measure of risk. It's nice math, but it's wrong.

May 20, 2015
Are Long Maturity Bonds Worth the Risk?

So the losses in the BC Aggregate were roughly 70% lower, on average, with around half the volatility. But the returns were nearly 90% of the long-term treasury performance numbers. So to earn slightly better performance numbers, an investor would have had to deal with much higher volatility and much larger losses in long bonds.

As a holder of long-term inflation protected treasuries with intent to hold to maturity, I could give a rat's @$$ about volatility. I care only about risk. I have no desire to own the BC Aggregate filled with an assortment of low yielding medium-term treasury and corporate bonds. Need I point out that interest rate risk is not the only risk here?

1. There are no guarantees that corporate bonds will return the principal to you. Corporations cannot print money. They own no monetary printing presses.

2. Investing in an assortment of medium term bonds does not guarantee that one's nest egg can keep up with inflation over the long-term, especially with the yield curve so steep.

3. What if long-term interest rates don't rise from here and, as long-term savers, we are permanently stuck at the short end of the curve? You know, like the last half decade. Then what? Better have an eatin' cat food over the long-term backup plan. Sigh.

I am a retiree. I cannot afford to take many risks. I have no job to fall back on if I lose money in this economy's casino. Volatility does not keep me up at night. Risk does. They are not the same thing.

I don't lock in these low rates over the long-term out of greed. I lock them in because I know there is the potential for them to get worse. As they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. They also say not to count one's chickens before they hatch. Sitting in shorter-term investments to meet longer-term needs is chicken s%^t. That's right. I'm suggesting that the plan is filled with manure. Of course, manure can make things grow. It's just not something I am willing to count on.

This is not investment advice.


I see that the BC Aggregate Index does not hold municipal bonds. I guess it is not as aggregate as the name implies. It does, however, hold mortgage-backed bonds. This should come in handy for those eager to embrace housing bust risks again, in the name of safety. And as an added bonus, the index used to be called the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, for those still sentimental over the pillar of risk free strength that fine institution once was, lol. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Ownership Society's Hull Breach

The following chart shows annual owner-built one-family unit housing starts.

Click to enlarge.

Surely we can fill the hole with some more freshly printed money. Or better still, how about an interest rate hike or two? You know, for old times' sake.

Trickled down sea water in the economy's bilge tanks, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart

Monday, May 18, 2015

Job Creation Math

May 18, 2015
This is the largest private real estate project in U.S. history

Here’s how it works: Foreign individuals invest between $500,000 and $1 million in a project that will create at least 10 jobs per investor.

The kind of optimist who feels that $500k can generally create 10 sustainable jobs is probably also the kind of optimist who thinks that the Fed's $4 trillion balance sheet created 80 million sustainable jobs.

$500k / 10 jobs = $50k per job
$4t / 80m jobs = $50k per job

Good luck on that theory.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Our President Trusts Treasuries More than Stocks

May 15, 2015
The Obamas Are Still Rich, But Hold a Big Mortgage

The president’s largest investment in 2014 was between $1 million and $5 million in U.S. treasury notes. He also holds investments in U.S. treasury bills and has consumer accounts at Vanguard, Northern Trust, and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others.

It would seem that once you've been fully briefed on the many problems our country faces, it becomes harder to buy in on the rosy economic future theory.

You know, it's the theory that says stocks should rise 10% or more each year. Always have, always will.

It's also the theory that says when interest rates are this low, the vast majority of one's nest egg must be kept in high risk assets. There is simply no other alternative.

One wonders how much more bearish this permabear would be if he was fully briefed by those in power. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. In any event, my personal investments seem very presidential, so I've got that going for me, which is nice, lol. Sigh.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Price of Berkshire Cloth

March 3, 1980
Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter

However, our unwillingness to fix a price now for a pound of See’s candy or a yard of Berkshire cloth to be delivered in 2010 or 2020 makes us equally unwilling to buy bonds which set a price on money now for use in those years. Overall, we opt for Polonius (slightly restated): “Neither a short-term borrower nor a long-term lender be.”

As a seller of Berkshire cloth, hindsight shows that locking in that 2015 price in 1980 would have been a fantastic plan. The cloth did not continue to inflate as most expected. That might even be the understatement of the year.

The same goes for bonds. Warren Buffett couldn't embrace long-term bonds in 1980. He can't embrace them now. At least he's consistent.

Put another way, I don't think Warren Buffett really knows where inflation or bond yields will head from here, any more than he did in 1980. Without knowing both of these two things simultaneously, it makes it nearly impossible to make an informed decision about current bond value.

Not saying he's wrong to say that long-term bonds are overvalued. Not saying he's right either. Just saying that as a long-term holder of long-term inflation protected bonds, I take his long-term bond opinions with a very large grain of salt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Crock of @#$% Report v.008

May 13, 2015
Are Americans saving too much money?

They say there are no bad questions. If true, then how do you explain this crock of @#$% one? Are Americans saving too much money? Hilarious!

Savings spiked following the recession, reflecting Americans’ fear about their economic future, but most economists expected the savings rate to eventually fall back to the pre-bubble rates of 3% or 4%. At least for now, that’s not happening.

As seen here, the savings rate was 4% in 2000 and 3% in 2007. It's a crock of @#$% to say those rates were pre-bubble. 2000 and 2007 were the f%^king bubble years! Further, the savings rate was 10% to 12% in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when many Americans had actual pensions.

Standard economic theory says that we should see young people save more than older folks, who will, in turn, live off what they saved as youngsters in retirement. Today, we’re seeing the opposite...

There is a term for a theory that predicts the opposite of the actual result. I'm trying to think what it is. Oh, yeah. Now I remember. Crock of @#$%! Standard economic theory must therefore be a crock of @#$%!

Woohoo! We've hit the crock of @#$% trifecta! I wonder what we win? I sure hope it isn't student loan debt and underfunded retirement savings, because that would suck monkey balls. And monkey balls are the last thing one would expect to see in a crock of @#$% report!

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

The Everything Bubble Theory vs. The Too Much Money Theory

May 13, 2015
Welcome to the everything bubble

Everything is overvalued.

Which seems more likely?

1. Bonds are overpriced. Stocks are overpriced. Real estate is overpriced. Luxury art is overpriced. Gold is overpriced. Silver is overpriced. Oil is overpriced. Every single investment idea you can think up is overpriced simultaneously.

2. There's too much money in investor hands chasing too few investment ideas in a subpar economic growth world. It's causing the price of investment assets to inflate.

Think hard before you decide. Your answer will have a huge impact on where you put your money. If you are a long-term investor who truly believes that everything is overpriced simultaneously then you'll want to bury US dollars in your backyard for the long-term. Good luck on that.

This in spite of the fact that we've been exporting ungodly sums of US dollars to the rest of the world  for decades (through a massive trade deficit). Perhaps we can convince the rest of the world to bury their US dollars too? Wouldn't that be a hoot! And let's not forget the $10.6 trillion in deposits at commercial banks. Perhaps that should be buried as well.

This is not investment advice. I will say this though. I have no desire to put the bulk of my retirement nest egg in cash. Over the long run, that's not been the greatest of plans. Even those who buried cash in 2000 or 2007 are no doubt wishing they had dug it back up.

What We Can Expect When the Music Eventually Stops Again

Stay footloose and fancy-free my friends. ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Yellen's Top 10 Rate Hike Postponement Excuses

10. Grand Theft Auto monetary policy simulation experiments still inconclusive.
9. Even Jim Rogers actually likes the US Dollar now? WTF!
8. Waiting for tiny house fad to fade.
7. Shadow banking system still needs more solvent.
6. Two words: Radio Shack.
5. VCR still blinking 12:00. Patiently awaiting an uptick.
4. Borrowed time surest way to permanent prosperity.
3. Ben Bernanke broke the rate hike lever.
2. How about that weather? When it isn't sunny, it's cloudy.
1. The Dogs of the Dow ate my homework.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Listen to Leading Power Hungry Psychologists

November 13, 2013
Why You Shouldn't Say 'You're Welcome'

But according to one leading psychologist, this isn't the best choice of words. After four decades of studying persuasion, Influence author Robert Cialdini has come to see "you're welcome" as a missed opportunity. "There is a moment of power that we are all afforded as soon as someone has said 'thank you,'" Cialdini explains. To capitalize on this power, he recommends an unconventional reply:

"I know you'd do the same for me."

Here's a crazy thought. Maybe I don't want to capitalize on this power that we are all afforded. Maybe I'm just thankful that I was thanked. Maybe I'm not looking to pressure this thankful person into thinking they now owe me or someone else. Maybe being thankful for being thanked is its own reward.

Perhaps a power example would be helpful.

Congressman A thanks Congressman B for voting yes on the Congressman A's new bill this coming afternoon. He does this with a smile and a "friendly" pat on the back.

Congressman B, not wanting to miss a power opportunity, says, "I know you'd do the same for me." He then applies all of his might to one of the strongest and "friendliest" handshakes to ever grace the halls of Congress.

A photographer, amazed by the bipartisan display of solidarity in an otherwise polarized society, is there to capture this "friendly" moment. As both congressmen walk away, both can nearly be heard muttering the term "a%^hole" under their breaths.

Power and friendships, baby. That's what I'm talking about. Get you some.

Euphoric Faith in the Fed

May 11, 2015
Calling the death of bonds (and missing) again

"If—when—we have another recession, those long-term Treasurys will be a very important part of your portfolio, zigging when your stocks zag," Calhoun said.

If we have another recession? If?  Seriously? We now need if/when disclaimers? There's a reasonable chance that the Fed has actually put an end to all future recessions? Is this what some people actually believe?

Okay. I'm game. Disclaimers are us!

It's the last game of the World Series. It's the 9th inning and the bases are loaded. I've just been asked by the person sitting next to me what I think will happen. Here is my heavily disclaimered response.

If/when the pitcher throws the ball then it will be up to the batter to swing. If  the batter swings, the ball may or may not be hit.

1. The ball may be missed entirely. If/when the catcher tries to catch it, things get interesting. Let's assume for the moment that he does try. Does he catch it? The odds say yes but many things could prevent it, not the least of which would be a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

2. The ball may be poorly hit in which case it could be a foul ball. If/when someone tries to catch it, then many of the cameras may zoom in on that person. Will it be caught? Your guess is as good as mine.

3. The ball may be hit solidly and in a direction the batter intends. Let's assume that it is hit up into the air. If/when it starts falling to earth again, someone may try to catch it. If/when somebody tries to catch the ball, expect the cameras to follow that person.

But what if the ball is hit so hard that nobody on the field can catch it? Then what? That is the most interesting thing about the sport!

Once the batter hits the ball he has a decision to make. If/when he decides to run towards first base, many in the crowd begin to cheer. If/when he reaches the base, he may opt to turn 90 degrees towards second base. If/when he chooses to do so, many in the crowd will cheer even harder. If/when he reaches second base, he may opt to turn another 90 degrees and head for third. Once again, it is entirely his choice. The crowd will reward him for choosing wisely. If/when he reaches third base, he may once again choose to make a 90 degree turn. One thing that could stop him is what the other runners have been doing up to this point though. If the third base coach opted to barbecue some chicken then there may be a problem. It's been a long game and all the runners may therefore be hungry. If/when they finish eating then perhaps the game can end. No hurry though. Victory is assured. Some spectators may wait around to see if/when any of the runners eventually saunter down to home plate. Or not. Like I said, it's been a long game. ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Crock of @#$% Report v.007

May 10, 2015
Yellen just disproved the biggest Fed conspiracy theory

The true goal of the Fed's policies, some suspected, has been to send stock prices higher as part of a surreptitious plot to create the "illusion" of economic growth.

In order for this CNBC headline to be true:

1. One must first prove what the biggest Fed conspiracy theory is. Would any reasonable person think that this is the biggest? It doesn't even involve evil Nazi babies! Or a new world order! Or the illuminati! How can such a tame conspiracy theory be anywhere near the biggest? Only a theory on a grand and epic scale could possibly hold the top honor!

2. Even if one could prove that sending stock prices higher, as a primary goal, was the biggest Fed conspiracy theory, then surely it would also include a grand cover up of Ben Bernanke's comments from 2010. That's where he describes the mechanism of his plan to raise stock prices to boost economic growth.

November 4, 2010
What the Fed did and why: supporting the recovery and sustaining price stability

And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.

So why would Yellen worry about high stock prices now when they bring so much apparent good to the world? Why is she offering up her version of Alan Greenspan's irrational exuberance speech from the late 1990s?

Perhaps we need to find the actual biggest Fed conspiracy theory and realize that she did not disprove it. Here's a potential candidate.

The Fed wants the credit when stock prices go up but does not want the blame when stock prices go back down.

You know, for the sake of the evil Nazi babies, new world order, and the illuminati. Crazy theory. Get out the tin foil hats.

Here's another crazy Fed conspiracy theory. This one is way out there on the fringe.

In 2005, Ben Bernanke had a dream. How could he become Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2009? If the economy remains stable then he has no chance. But what if he ignores the housing bubble and then lets it crash hard? He could then ride in on a white horse in shining armor and bail out the banking system at the taxpayers' expense! Everyone loves a hero! He wouldn't even need evil Nazi babies, a new world order, or the illuminati! Mwuhahaha!

I don't actually believe in this theory. By allowing the housing bubble to grow to epic proportions, I think he was rather incompetent. However, I could be wrong. He may be an evil genius instead. Your opinion may therefore vary.

Happy Mother's Day! And that's no crock of @#$%! ;)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Quote of the Day

January 28, 2014

But I feel we’ve become a parasite on this planet. That’s like saying you don’t believe in God, but yes, if this population keeps growing, we’ll just keep devouring the planet, and I don’t think it’s going to stand for that very long.

I have often thought that humans and locusts treat the planet similarly and that both will share the same ultimate fate. In other words, "be fruitful and multiply" is a seriously f%^ked up long-term strategy. Of course, some free range thinkers may disagree.

May 9, 2015
Couple raising TEN children in 'dirty' tents on a garbage dump, ban them from school and threaten concerned neighbors with guns. Their defense? It's all part of the trendy 'free range' parenting fad

'Free range' children have absolute independence from infancy

Counting the current pregnancy, that's 11 more people who will someday help fund my Social Security. Right? Hey, I'm entitled to my crazy misguided hopes and dreams just as much as the next person, lol. Sigh.

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

Friday, May 8, 2015

That Crazy Hissing Wage Pressure

The following chart shows the annual percent change in hourly earnings for private production and nonsupervisory employees.

Click to enlarge.

As seen in the chart, the only wage pressure building up right now is coming from the dead cat and its bounce.

Hey Yellen! Not only do I dare you to hike rates, but the cat does too! It's a double dare!

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Quote of the Day

May 3, 2000
The Onion: American People To Live Happily Ever After

And everyone will have the enchanted carriage of their dreams, and an enchanted 401K plan for retirement, and there will be a great, delicious feast every day, and everyone will be pretty and happy. And above them, the great winged Dow-Bird will soar ever higher, and the power of his magical flight will make these things happen.

Oh, sure. There were a few bumps along the way. That's all behind us now though. We can finally look forward to living happily ever after. Praise be to the great winged Dow-Bird!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Time to Order Your Dow Million Hat!

Dow 100,000: Fact or Fiction

A seasoned investment strategist, Charles W. Kadlec has a startling answer: we are at an historic moment: the beginning of a Great Prosperity - a decade or more of above average economic growth. What lies ahead is a period of unparalleled opportunities for investors with a strategic outlook. In this provocative book, Kadlec reveals the forces driving this monumental boom and examines its potential impact. DOW 100,000 supports its supremely bullish premise: the DJIA is headed for a record 100,000 by the year 2020.

Great Prosperity!! You read it here first!!

"We know that it's possible because we have just lived through an equivalent tenfold increase in just the last 17 years." -- WIRED, 9/99

1982: 1,000
1999: 10,000
2016: 100,000
2033: 1,000,000

Don't be the last to order your Dow Million hat! There's only 18 years left to go!

Long-term strategic prosperity planning, baby. That's what I'm talking about. Short-term non-strategic investors will be hatless. Do not be one of them!

My Advice for Janet Yellen

May 6, 2015
The Onion: Prescription Label Recommends Just Taking More And More Until Something Kicks In

“Take two tablets by mouth and then just keep on throwing them back until you can really feel something,” reads the label adhered to the pill bottle, which further suggests that users might as well dump out as many 2 mg caplets as can fit into their palm and “pop ’em all in there” if nothing really hits them after the first dose.

This same prescription also works for an ailing economy. My advice is therefore to keep doing more of the same. Keep prescribing those ZIRP pills! Never stop!

Look, even if we do manage to temporarily stop taking the pills, we all know what will happen when the next recession hits. Every addict understands what withdrawal can do. Relapses are common. So why even go there?

Just say no to taper tantrums and rate hike tantrums! It's all good. Give the markets what they crave most! A steady and predictable overdose of monetary policy medication can do no harm! It's common knowledge!

Oh, and more cowbell! This economy can never have too much cowbell. Pretty much goes without saying, of course.

Monday, May 4, 2015

New Research Finds Shocking Link Between Debt, Overdue Bills, and Depression!

May 4, 2015
Is your credit card debt bumming you out?

Now researchers have found a statistically significant link between short-term household debt, such as credit card debt and overdue bills, and increases in symptoms of depression.

Quote of the Day

April 29, 2015
Call 'Food Delivery Startups' By Their Real Name: Restaurants

Just make your existing restaurant staff look younger, hire some data scientists, and call yourself a tech company. It’ll do wonders for your valuation.

Welcome to the new and improved free lunch investment tech economy. What could possibly go wrong again?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Housing Nirvana

May 1, 2015
Anemic U.S. factory data points to moderate growth bounce

There was also an increase in consumers saying it was a good time to buy and sell a house, which should support home sales.

There has never been a better time to buy and sell a house! With interest rates so low, you'd be a fool not to buy! With interest rates on the rise, you'd be a fool not to sell! They just aren't making any more land! Time to buy! They aren't making any less land either! Sell! Sell! Sell!

Buy and sell now or forever be priced out and in!!

Congratulations to the Fed and the National Association of Realtors for making this all so clear to us. We've reached brainwashing nirvana! Woohoo!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Sure-Fire Cure for Boredom

I am very rarely bored, so I thought I'd offer some advice for those who are.

The Slave Ship A Miserable Dungeon

Crammed onto slave ships, more than a million of them died en route, their bodies cast overboard to feed a flotilla of sharks. The rest - the lucky ones - descended into a living hell. A "floating dungeon," the slave ship was their first "home" in captivity. "So much misery condensed in so little room," exclaimed the British abolitionist William Wilberforce, "is more than the human imagination had ever before conceived."

If society has seen fit to allow you enough free time to think about wallowing in self pity for not being able to think of anything interesting to think about, then why not instead think about how you are not currently a slave on a slave ship? Boredom problem solved!!

No offense intended, but c'mon. Boredom is one of the last things in life that deserves sympathy!

I will say this though. I strongly suspect that the more resistant to boredom one becomes, the harder it is to sleep. Insomnia becomes a byproduct. There never seems to be enough time in the day for those not easily bored. I never want each day to end. I never want to stop actively thinking, even if it leads to dreaming. This is not a complaint, for I would not want it any other way. It's simply an observation.

The Onion: Handmade Wicker Car Seat

Who says you have to sacrifice style for safety? Hahaha!!

Interesting Theory of the Day

May 1, 2015
How to retire in your 30s: Save most of your money, rethink core values

I refer you to the words of wisdom by Milton Galfas in the comment section:

Why would you want to "retire" ever? People who retire die.

Working for "the man" is the path to immortality? Sounds like hell on earth to me! Perhaps there is a cause and effect problem here. Since most accidents happen near the home, one wonders if it wouldn't be a whole lot safer just staying the f%^k away from home! That's why I intend to fly to the Middle East. You know, for my safety, lol. Sigh.

It is so stupid to waste your physically healthy years chasing money and have no life.

Some believe, as I do, that it is better to work harder during the physically healthy years so one is not forced to work hard during their physically unhealthy years. Further, I don't think anyone who is aggressively saving for early retirement is forced to have no life. I don't recall being in hell as I took my dog to the local park (a free activity). In fact, it made me want more of it. Unless I'm missing something, saving money and retiring early can provide more free time over one's life.

Most of those people who follow the plans laid out commit suicide before they turn 40 and then their children get to retire early.

I had no idea I was taking such a risk. Most early retirees commit suicide? It is good that I use an electric razor so as not to be tempted to cut my wrists. It is also good that I have no children (unless one counts two dogs, a bird, and two horses). Perhaps that is what protects me.

And that can only make the world better.

Utopia will be found when good people can never stop working? And evil people retire early and commit suicide? Now we know! Be good citizens! Stay productive!

Bow down before the one you serve, you're going to get what you deserve. - Trent Reznor

Corporations Flush Da Cash (Musical Tribute)

April 22, 2015
Firms Raising Debt for Dividends, Burdening Corporate Bond ETFs

Corporate balance sheets are not as robust as they use to be. According to Moody’s, U.S. investment grade companies at the end of last year held cash equal to 35% of adjusted annual earnings, compared to an average of 43% in 2013 and 51% in 2009. Additionally, the ratio of cash-to-debt has dipped to 14% in the third quarter of 2014, the lowest since 2007.