Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Best Summer Advice Ever!

June 30, 2015
Drinking too much water when exercising could pose serious health risks

The updated report states that people need to be careful about how much water they drink when exercising, especially in the summer months when the heat can drive people to drink even more.

We are currently experiencing a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. This is the advice I am given? Seriously?

This was the case with two high school football players who died of EAH last summer. Their deaths were a major force behind the Consensus Panel reconvening.

Well, I don't want to die because I drank too much water. How much did they drink? Hmmm. Doesn't say. Maybe I better investigate before I take my next drink. You know, just to be safe.

Preventing Deaths Due to Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia: The 2015 Consensus Guidelines

One of the high-school football players who died this year reportedly drank 16 L of fluid during practice to alleviate muscle cramps.

It won't be easy, but I'll try to limit myself to less than four gallons of water if I experience muscle cramps. To be on the safe side, I have developed a new plan of action that should protect me.

My Water Intake Plan

1:00pm: Begin rigorous exercise routine under hot glaring sun.
1:15pm: Drink thimble of water.
1:30pm: Eat a slice of week old cornbread.
1:45pm: Complain to girlfriend about headache.
2:00pm: Drink thimble of water.
2:15pm: Eat a rice cake.
2:30pm: Complain to girlfriend about dizziness.
2:45pm: Drink thimble of water.
3:00pm: Gnaw on some sawdust.
3:15pm: End exercise routine by fainting.
3:30pm: Wake up in emergency room disoriented.
3:45pm: Run for the exit!
4:00pm: Search for a dumpster.
4:15pm: Crawl inside and catch my breath.
4:30pm: Come to my senses.
4:45pm: Find girlfriend to take me home.
5:00pm: Begin to mow the yard.
5:15pm: Drink thimble of water.
5:30pm: Eat a cup of raw flour for dinner.

I don't think my plan will work for everyone. Feel free to modify it to suit your own tastes. For those willing to ingest more calories, dry graham crackers and/or chicken bouillon cubes can be a great alternative to sawdust. ;)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Crock of $#@% Report v.012

June 29, 2015
Gold misunderstood as an asset: Pro

The Most Misunderstood Assets

1. Oxygen. There's normally so much of it that we don't even give it a second thought. A guy once tried to sell me some once. I laughed right in his face! A few minutes later I ended up paying him $200 for some. I misunderstood both his conviction as a salesman and his previous convictions as a mugger. I have to tell you that the combination of that and a certain toilet in the men's restroom truly made a believer in me. Oxygen is a very valuable asset. And here's the crazy part. The longer you go without it, the more valuable it becomes!

2. Gold. I once bought a lot of this other element from the periodic table to protect me in case the price of jewelry skyrockets. The investment seemed so straightforward and simple. Buy the metal that goes in jewelry. Little paperwork. Few promises that could be broken. What could possibly go wrong? The guy who sold it to me warned me to be really careful on my way home though. I thought he meant that undesirable types would try to steal it from me. In hindsight, I simply misunderstood his warning. Turns out that gold is extremely heavy and the first speed bump cracked my car's axle. In hindsight, I was partially right about the warning. The undesirables eventually came to strip my car. The gold was just a bonus for them though. They originally just wanted the stereo and the tires.

3. Real estate. Funny story. My real estate agent warned me that the property would go to waste if I didn't buy all of it. Like a fool, I only bought half. A waste management company bought the other half later that year. I sure misunderstood both the warning and the consequences of that decision! Was the stinkiest investment ever!!

4. Bonds. I bought the very cheapest I could find. The guy who sold them to me was a junk dealer and I do love to salvage a good bargain. Hahaha! He told me to be careful. Said those high returns are also highly speculative. I misunderstood the risks. Turns out that junk bonds, unlike salvageable junk, can actually end up being worth next to nothing, especially when they start defaulting on the interest payments. Who knew?

5. Stocks. I bought a stock on the advice of a friend's friend who claimed to know something. After staring at the stock chart for a few minutes and seeing what looked to be the biggest sure thing since the invention of sliced bread, I invested the remainder of my life savings in it. In hindsight, I sure misunderstood that one. Oh, sure. Perhaps I could have read all the financial reports and noticed a few of the accounting irregularities, but it's all so complicated. This was a respectable power company. Who would suspect that there could be a problem at Enron?

6. Dollars. Since all of my other assets performed so poorly, I opted to bury the rest of my assets in a state park. They'll always be there when I need them. There is one thing that concerns me a bit though. It's more than a bit hot here in the Pacific Northwest this year. Everyone always like to talk about how their investments are on fire. That's a good thing. Right? I sure hope I didn't misunderstand the ultimate goal. I'm really not looking forward to getting burned again.

7. Myself. Some argue that an investment in yourself is the best investment you could ever make. That's why I bought a lifetime subscription to cheesecake of the month. I figure it will be the gift that just keeps on giving! Can't wait for that investment to pay off! I will definitely grow. I have no doubts about that. ;)

Pop Quiz: Fact vs. Opinion

June 29, 2015
CNBC: What's driving Detroit's manufacturing turnaround?

Detroit emerged from bankruptcy last year, and a resurgence in manufacturing—while never to reach heyday heights—is seen as a major pathway to continued recovery.

Fact or Opinion?

1. Emerged from bankruptcy last year.
2. Is seen as a major pathway to continued recovery.

#1 is a fact. It sees what happened in the past.

#2 is an opinion. Although the word "seen" might seem to be looking into the past as well, the overall statement is actually speculating about the future. Tricky thing our language can be.

"Seen" is such a great economic word. Love it. You can never go wrong when using it. In fact, in times of economic crisis, the word "seen" can become a CEO's best friend.

Nobody could have seen it coming! I've done everything I could do. You should have seen all of the employees that I laid off. You should have seen my blood pressure when our stock tanked. You should have seen all the work I did begging for government bailouts. Now where is my annual bonus? I see myself on a larger yacht. I see myself deserving it. It's been a very tough year!

The "Is Seen" Court of Law

You are a psychic. Is that correct?

Yes, sir. That is a fact.

On the night of this coming July 4th, please describe what you saw.

There is seen to be some fireworks and a murder.

Tell us about these fireworks. On the 4th you say? How sure are you?

100%. The finale is seen to be quite spectacular.

You've predicted fireworks in previous years. What is your success rate?

100%. I've been psychic all my life.

And do you see the murderer in this court room?

Yes. He is seen sitting next to his future victim, right there, in the plaid shirt. He is seen as plain as day.

Have you ever had any dealings with the murderer?

Yes. He is seen to owe me $100 for a psychic reading I did for him several weeks ago. I told him, and I quote, "Great pain is seen to come your way if you don't pay up." He did not believe me at the time, and yet here he is accused of murder.

Thank you for your expert eyewitness testimony. Members of the jury, you must convict based on what is seen. Don't let this brutal crime go unpunished.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Cunning Investment Plan of the Year

June 28, 2015
Should You Ever Pay Cash for a Home?

Also, real estate has a historically lower return on investment than stocks or bonds, meaning you could be losing out overall if other investments would have outperformed the interest on a mortgage.

Well, you certainly don't want to miss out on the returns that bonds could give you. That would be silly. But what kind of bonds? Treasuries? Heavens no. You'll want to take on more risk for more rewards, but ideally in a risk free way. That's why I suggest a special opportunity in mortgage backed securities.

The Cunning Plan

1. You'll want to talk to the bank about securing a home loan. It won't be just any loan though. Tell them you want your mortgage to go into a special mortgage pool for your house and your house alone.

2. Once that is in place, tell the bank manager that you are very interested in investing in mortgage backed securities. You don't just want any mortgage backed security though. You only want to invest in the pool that has your home mortgage in it and no others. If they ask what makes this particular pool so interesting to you, feel free to mention that you have insider information concerning the true quality of the loan. You know for a fact that it is AAA all the way, regardless of what the ratings agencies might say. Put another way, you trust yourself completely to make the mortgage payments.

3. Make your loan payments on time and under no circumstances ever consider walking away from your loan if you ever owe more than the house is worth. This is very important because as a deadbeat mortgage payer you will only be hurting yourself as a cunning investor in your own mortgage backed security. The less you pay, the less you'll earn.

4. Anxiously await investment income to appear in your bank account. The more mortgage payments you successfully make, the more investment income will appear. The income probably won't be quite as much as you pay in mortgage payments though, since Wall Street is in the business of making money. You are their customer for both the mortgage payments and the investment income. They'll need their fair share of the transactions, you know, for facilitating this unique opportunity for you to profit off of yourself.

Oh, sure. Some would argue that you'd be doing better by just cutting out the middleman and avoiding Wall Street entirely, by simply paying off the house. But where is the fun in that? Wall Street and you. You and Wall Street. Enjoy the perfect symbiotic/parasitic relationship where nearly everyone, on Wall Street, can benefit! Woohoo! ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Funny Thing Happened As I Drove Across the Lovely State of Washington Today

June 25, 2015
Inattention blamed for Vantage truck accident

Tingle was driving a 2008 Freightliner east on Interstate 90 around 5:40 a.m. when the truck left the road causing him to overcorrect, according to a news release from the State Patrol. The truck struck a guardrail causing it to roll and come to rest in both lanes.

I can say from personal experience that the underside of both the cab and the trailer seemed in pretty good condition.

What a cleanup nightmare that must have been. Keep in mind that I saw the truck at about 1:40pm, roughly 8 hours after the accident. Traffic was moving at about 1 mph for obvious reasons so there was ample time to rubberneck.

Hope the driver is okay!

It ranks as the second most interesting vehicle accident aftermath that I have personally seen. It's really hard to beat half a car in the road and the other half quite a few yards away in a ditch, as if something sliced it perfectly in half with a laser just behind the front seats.

Okay, maybe that's not quite true. It all depends on whether one considers the structured investment vehicles invented by Citigroup. It was damn interesting to see the major banks flailing like that during the Great Recession. Black swan accident. Nobody could have seen it coming. Massive carnage. Nobody to blame. A real risk management head-scratcher. That would definitely be number one when it comes to vehicular accident aftermaths. Still living the dream in 2015! Still wondering about ZIRP! Still wondering about new normals! Still wondering if we can reach escape velocity out of the Fed's intensive care unit! Yes, sir. Damn interesting!! ;)

The Wisdom of Dan Qualye

Bank failures are caused by depositors who don't deposit enough money to cover losses due to mismanagement. - Dan Quayle

We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world. - Dan Quayle

A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls. - Dan Quayle

I once thought that all three of those quotes were funny. But in hindsight, they all served as ominous warnings.

It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it. - Dan Quayle

Years from now, we may look back and find the hidden meaning in this quote as well. Fracking ridiculous. I'm probably just imagining things.


Anonymous has pointed out in the comments that several of these quotes are actually Quayleisms, quotes attributed to Quayle but were actually quotes by those trying to emulate his style for comedic purposes. Thanks Internet for leading me astray.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Meat" the #1 Superpower of the 21st Century

June 24, 2015
Stomachs turn by 40-year-old meat peddled by traders

The Chinese news media announced that the authorities had seized nearly half a billion dollars' worth of smuggled frozen meat this month across China, some of it dating to the 1970s.

Damn. I really thought this would be the year I'd be bribing the border guard and moving to China. Oh, well. There's always next year.

In all seriousness, I have no desire to visit China, move to China, or invest in China. Go figure.

The Crock of @#$% Report v.011

June 24, 2015
CNBC: Secret signal to buy stocks

Cash is piling up on the sidelines as Wall Street sentiment turns cautious. But could this be a signal to buy? CNBC's Deirdre Bosa investigates.

1. Everyone loves a secret. And when I say that I really mean that all the people over at CNBC looking to provide a never ending stream of daily click bait love it.

2. Cash has been piling up on the sidelines for more than a century. It's almost like the Federal Reserve has a monetary printing press that can print an infinite number of dollars at essentially no cost.

3. How does one stop the cash from piling up? Put another way, how does me buying a stock do anything to affect the cash piling up on the sidelines? I have cash sitting on the sidelines. If I use my cash to buy a stock from someone else, then I have less cash and more stock and they have more cash and less stock. Between us, nothing has changed. There's still just as much cash sitting on the sidelines.

4. Investigates? I'm pretty sure this won't rank up there with the Watergate investigations. At best, it's more of a finding Jimmy Hoffa level of investigation and at worst it's more of a Tom Cruise has ties to the Church of Scientology level of investigation. Just sayin'.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Sarcasm Report v.214

June 21, 2015
CNBC: Make in India: Lessons from China

A rapidly growing manufacturing sector is the only way India can create highly productive jobs for the 10 million-plus youngsters who join the country's labor force each year and the much larger number of farmers who need to move from working the soil to the working on the factory floor.

Looks like I am going to need to knock down a few walls and expand the McMansion. My kitchen barely has room for all the Made in China appliances! Now I'm told I must do my part to buy Made in India appliances too?

Not only that, but I am also feeling enormous pressure to eat at restaurants more often to keep our own American economy stumbling along. WTF am I going to do with all of this cookware!!

Thank the heavens that there is no global excess manufacturing and/or restaurant glut forming though! Well, assuming I do my part as a forward thinking responsible citizen of the world, of course. The key is consumption and I'm not obese yet! There is plenty of room for me to grow, and the global economy with me.

Oh, and just one more thing. The growing manufacturing sector in India better not be thinking about highly automated assembly lines or 10 million-plus youngsters are going to be terribly disappointed.

But what are the odds of that happening? Everyone knows that increasing manual labor at the expense of advanced technologies is the only way to stay competitive in the global marketplace. In fact, the more labor the better. Corporations don't care about the bottom line. Never have, never will. Shareholders realize that a happy workforce is its own reward. Down with automation they say! Power to the people!

This concludes yet another sarcasm report. I apologize for the lack of sarcasm. It's just that CNBC gave me so little to work with this time. That said, perceptive readers can probably spot what little there is. *eyes rolling*

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Give Me a Kiss"

"Thank you." :)

The Fed's Rate Hike Model Is Based on Monty Python

The Fed has been in the Endlessly Running in Place phase since late 2008. It is hoped that the next phase will go nice and slow, nice and gradual... but....

June 21, 2015
CNBC: Fed won't hike rates because they're too scared: Economist

"The Fed's trying to reassure everybody that they're going to do things nice and slow, nice and gradual...but one of the things that I'm worried about is what's happened to the bond market since the crisis," said Lee.

Build the Perfect Emergency Fund by Dropping Netflix for Ten Millennium

June 20, 2015
How to build the perfect emergency fund

Think of all the extra money you could save just by cutting back on dining out or going without Netflix for a couple months.

The $7.99 per month Netflix plan allows non-HD streaming on one television. How many years would one need to go without this Netflix plan to build the perfect emergency fund? You know, one that could cover the perfect number of financial emergencies?

December 18, 2014
Family of Boy Injured by 'Grenade' Has $1M in Medical Bills

“They messed up,” Alecia Phonesavanh told ABC News' "20/20." “They had a faulty search warrant. They raided the wrong house.”


Habersham County officials will not pay the medical bills, citing a "gratuity" law in Georgia that prohibits them from compensating the family.

$1,000,000 / $7.99 / 12 = 10,430

You may need to drop Netflix for 10,430 years to cover the emergency expense of just one rogue SWAT team. The sooner you start saving, the sooner you will be done! Keep in mind that if you live in a neighborhood with multiple rogue SWAT teams, then you should adjust the math accordingly. 10 millennium per team should suffice.

Friday, June 19, 2015

FAQ: Federal Reserve vs. Crack Dealer

Relationship with Government?

The former works for it. The latter is hunted by it.

Drug of Choice?

The former deals debt while looking for a crack in the system. The latter deals crack while looking for debt in the system.

Policy Response to an Addiction?

The former prescribes more of the same. The latter sells more of the same.

Free Samples?

The former will offer many years of free samples, but only after an overdose. The latter may offer up to one free sample, but only before an overdose.


The former is a monopoly. The latter must compete with rival gangs.

Shootings in Response to a Crisis?

The former may be shot by magazines for their person of the year covers. The latter may be shot each year by officers using full magazines who are working undercover.


The former will want a bailout. The latter will want bail to get out.

That Blows?

The former will think bank. The latter will think pipe.

End of the Party?

The former waits for the fat lady to sing. "Damn. Retailers too flush with merchandise! Nobody could have seen it coming!!" The latter waits for the fat lady to ring. "Damn. Better flush the merchandise! She says the police are coming!!"

He Is Not the Problem, But He Is a Symptom

June 18, 2015
Billionaire sees opportunities in asset bubbles

Greene—who became a billionaire betting against the housing market during the financial crisis...

It is not his fault that some entity generates financial asset bubbles by dwelling on consumer price inflation.

"People like me have been just able to accumulate wealth at a pace that's unprecedented in history," he said.

It is not his fault that he accumulated wealth at an unprecedented pace. It would be fair to say that nearly everyone makes the attempt.

"Not only do you have zero interest rates and central banks printing money everywhere, but on top of that we have historically low tax rates."

It is not his fault that we have zero interest rates. It is not his fault that we have historically low tax rates, especially for the wealthy.

And lastly, it is not his fault that the long-term trend in the unemployment rate looks like an exercise in tank slapping, as opposed to a flat line of unemployment stability.

If only [monetary policy] we [Fed] knew [fiscal policy] who [Congress] to blame?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Another Sign of Bats%^t Craziness

The Flat Earth Society

Becoming an associate member of the Society is free and is as simple as sending a postcard.

1. Thinking of sending a postcard? You may be crazy.

2. Actually sending a postcard? You may be bats%^t crazy.

See Also:
One Sign of Bats%^t Craziness

Low Interest Rates vs. Alcohol: Which Is More Dangerous?

June 12, 2015
Here’s what CEOs said about the economy this week

Low interest rates make everything look attractive

in today’s low interest rate environment, you could make any acquisition look attractive and that’s dangerous. You have got to use more of a cost of funds over a longer period of time to really look at what returns you might get from an acquisition” —Wells Fargo (Bank)

Urban Dictionary: Beer Goggles

phenomenon in which one's consumption of alcohol makes physically unattractive persons appear beautiful, summed up by the phrase, "there are no ugly women at closing time"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quote of the Day

June 17, 2015
A Greek paradox: many elderly are broke despite costly pensions

Civil servants have no pencils to write with...

Want another Greek paradox? Without pencils, how do the civil servants record the results of their one working computer?

A Greek shipwreck holds the remains of an intricate bronze machine that turns out to be the world's first computer.

Greek shipwreck indeed. It's not all bad though. Their computer only crashes when the ship does. It's also not filled with the hackable personal information of every citizen. So hey, kudos to Greece for thinking long-term.

Pencil and papyrus technology, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

I hope you realize that I'm joking. Mostly.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

First World Problem of the Day


They say a picture's worth a thousand words. What they don't tell you is that one tiny little word can generate thousands of pictures. For starters, I'm picturing how your blood pressure may have risen just reading it.

Don't worry. I'm not going to leave you in this state of mind. Enjoy the dreaming puppy. Feel free to return to your happy place. :)

Ordinary People Might Get Paid to Deliver Stuff!

June 16, 2015
Amazon considering paying people to deliver packages - WSJ

(Reuters) - Amazon Inc is developing a mobile application that would pay ordinary people, rather than courier companies, to deliver packages en route to other destinations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

What's next? Ordinary people delivering pizzas? That's just crazy talk!!

These are just the ordinarily sarcastic opinions of an ordinary anonymous unpaid blogger on the Internet. Life is good. Hahaha! :)

Donald Trump's Presidential Self-Love Buzz (Musical Tribute)

June 16, 2015
Donald Trump Enters the Presidential Race

"I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," he said.


Trump has worked assiduously to formulate and catapult his personal brand, putting his name on products from pageants to restaurants to books to vodka to steaks to menswear. In 2004, he filed a trademark application for the phrase “You're fired,” the line with which he flashily closed each episode of his TV show.

What's the worst that could happen if he won? USTA?

Okay, I admit it. That could be pretty bad. I'm not looking forward to living in the United States of Trump's America.

Would you believe thee
If he tells you
He's job king of your dreams?

Would he deceive thee
When "you're fired" too
Or is it your turn to bleed?

Can't you hear self-love buzz?
Can't you hear self-love buzz!
Can't you hear self-love buzz!!

Narcissistic Advice of the Day

If you are looking to fall in love with a material possession and that material possession is not meeting your emotional and physical needs, then do not make your breakup public.

Hell hath no fury like a material possession scorned, especially if that product is made by Apple, and its many other narcissistic lovers have anything to say about it.

June 10, 2015
Why I’m Breaking Up With the Apple Watch

I wanted it to work. I wanted to fall in love, like so many of my friends. "It takes a while," they said. "Don't expect a coup de foudre. Let it build over time."


But here's the thing: The watch isn't actually a fashion accessory for the tech-happy. It's a tech accessory pretending to be a fashion accessory. I just couldn't fall for it.

From the comments:

Misleading title. Very bullish for Apple in that you get noticed in an impressed way if you wear an Apple Watch. Most people want that. - New Tech Investor

The gold $14,000 Apple Watch is currently the hottest luxury item in the world, esp in CHina. It does get you attentionj, admiration and shows you are not only successful but on the cutting edge of tech savvy. A gold Rolex just says "I'm old school and have money". - New Tech Investor

Of course, it's possible that New Tech Investor has fallen far deeper in love with the stock than the watch. Does the stock count as a material possession? Hard to say. Does he have the stock certificates in hand? Is one framed on his wall? In any event, one thing is clear. He's absolutely smitten.

Disclosure: I am typing this on an iPhone. I like the phone but our relationship is, at best, purely platonic. Neither of us seems willing to raise it to the next level. Why risk ruining a perfectly good friendship? ;)

The #1 Way to Impress Your Starbucks Barista Today

June 16, 2015
Five Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today

Hello! May I take your order?

Absolutely, but first how about that Greece situation? Really something, right?

It is. What would you like to order?

That's a good question. I was thinking about it as I was pondering the rise in Spanish bond yields this morning.

And what did you decide?

Well, there are no easy answers now that the confidence of German investors has fallen.

That's very interesting. Is there something you would like to drink?

It's funny you should say that because I've been drinking up the headlines over at Bloomberg Business. Were you aware that Draghi now gets legal backing?

I had no idea. Our Frappuccinos are very popular. Might I get you one so that you can be on your way?

This is why I love coming to Starbucks. You people are always so friendly and helpful. I do find it interesting that Kuroda is pulling a U-turn though, just like I will be doing in this Acura Legend convertible once I order a drink. The irony is not lost on me.

Sir. I don't mean to be rude but the drive-thru line is starting to backup.

I hear you. It's just like the Japanese currency backing up. It never fails to amaze me just how much information is out there on the Internet. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day though. Speaking of which, I'm reminded of a story from my college years. It started one day when I was just a freshman at Harvard. I was heading over to my economics class when I ran into the son of a former president. He and I ended up becoming good friends. To make a very long story somewhat shorter, let's just say that...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

June 15, 2015
Gap to close 175 stores and lay off 250 HQ workers

Last month, the company, which has seen seen more than a year of monthly same-store sales declines, said it was placing its bets on more compelling merchandise hitting stores this spring.

One Sign of Bats%^t Craziness

June 14, 2015
How the Dallas police attack suspect got an armored van

The Ford van was sold on eBay for $8,250. At one point — even when there were no competing offers — that bidder increased the offer from $6,000 to $7,000, and then to $8,000.

If you ever find yourself in a bidding war with yourself, then please seek immediate professional help. There's a nontrivial risk that you've become bats%^t crazy.

Efficient-Market Theory vs. Momentum Herd Mentality

June 15, 2015
Wingstop flies on IPO—latest sign of fast food bubble?

"From a trading perspective, I'm going to put simple 10-day moving averages and 50-day moving averages underneath these names and I'm going to continue to play these things to the long side until I see some sort of trend break," Craig Johnson, technical analyst at Piper Jaffray, said Friday on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "Until then, I'm going to let it ride."

Efficient-market my @$$. His trigger finger is on the sell button. The only real question is the timing. Yippee ki yay.

Greed based chaotic market instability dies hard, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Reverse Mundell-Tobin Effect Epiphany!

Four years ago I wrote about the Mundell-Tobin effect. Time to revisit it.

January 20, 2011
Mundell-Tobin Effect Epiphany!

From Wikipedia:

The Mundell–Tobin effect suggests that nominal interest rates would rise less than one-for-one with inflation because in response to inflation the public would hold less in money balances and more in other assets, which would drive interest rates down.

This is what its reverse would look like.

A reverse Mundell–Tobin effect would suggest that nominal interest rates would fall less than one-for-one with inflation because in response to less inflation the public would hold more in money balances and less in other assets, which would drive interest rates up (relative to the low level one might expect).

That was certainly true of the hard asset known as silver. As seen below, I was definitely not bullish on the metal in 2011. This is just one more reason that silver investors couldn't keep the parabolic move to the upside going.

And as for interest rates being driven up, well, the Fed wasn't going to let that happen if they could plug the hole, which they did. They were in no mood to come to silver's defense though. Go figure.

Silver. Rug. Pulled. Out from under.

February 24, 2011
Silver Bubble Construction Set

If these charts have any merit, then silver is either in a bubble or silver has priced in a great deal of future pain for savers. Perhaps hindsight will show that it was a bit of both? It's just one more reason I've been willing to buy 30-year TIPS.

In hindsight, it was more than a bit of both. Silver investors were crushed, short-term savers got more of the same (ZIRP), but investors in the 30-year TIPS have been well rewarded.

Being a permabear is never easy. One must always try to figure out just what kind of bear to be. I am not even close to being a "Shadowstats Hyperinflationary" bear, but rather a "Slowly Declining Roman Empire" bear. There's a huge difference, to say the least.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Advice for Recent MBA Graduates Looking for Fancy Offices, Large Teams, and Simple Problems to Solve


June 13, 2015
What this CEO learned by taking her company virtual

Our first step toward evolution was research. Our findings reinforced our hypothesis: Clients today are no longer willing to pay for fancy offices, overeducated and underexperienced MBAs, or large teams to solve relatively simple issues.

Two Equally Important Quotes for 2015

June 12, 2015
Avi Gilburt doubles down: Gold is going to $25,000

First, I would like to point out that Elliott Wave analysis is used to track market sentiment. We use it in conjunction with Fibonacci mathematics to identify turning points and targets with our analysis.

Cancer 2015 Horoscope

With Jupiter influencing Saturn in the first half of the year, there may be some major changes taking place in your life.

Keep in mind that I am not claiming that either quote is important. I am merely claiming that they are equally important. Elliott Wave with Fibonacci and Jupiter influencing Saturn, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Oh, and the $25,000 gold prediction has a 50 year time frame. This is horrible news for two reasons.

1. I'm 50. It seems unlikely that I will live to see if he really is the next Nostradamus.

2. In 50 years, we apparently still won't be mining the asteroid belt for jewelry. Major bummer. I expected better from us.

It's not all bad though. At least we'll know that paper dollars are still useful. He's only predicting an average gold price gain of 6.3% per year. That does not imply any hyperinflation. Sweet. I won't *need* to buy gold again then.

And lastly, if he really does want to be the next Nostradamus, then I suggest that he uses his mastery of Elliott Wave analysis with Fibonacci mathematics to predict how Game of Thrones will end. Now that would be impressive! ;)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Have We No Shame?

June 10, 2015
Why are people with jobs going hungry?

Right now, working poor are making decisions about whether to eat or pay rent; whether to feed their children or buy their own medicine; whether to eat breakfast before work, or keep the heat on later that night.

June 12, 2015
Just top it with a hot dog? One surprising new trend

On Thursday, Pizza Hut plans to debut a new spin on the summer staple—a pizza with 28 bite-sized hot dogs baked into the crust and served with a side of mustard.

CNBC: Is This the Craziest Takeoff Ever?

June 12, 2015
CNBC: Is this the craziest takeoff ever?

Boeing released this footage of a 787 during a practice flight ahead of its involvement at the Paris Air Show.

The answer is no. It is definitely not the craziest takeoff ever. It's just click bait.

Have no fear though. I have searched the vast resources of the Internet and offer a suitably crazy alternative. Be sure to listen to the commentary at the end. It's not just crazy, it's bats^*t crazy! Enjoy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Human's Best Friend

June 12, 2015
Your enemy's enemy is your dog, scientists find

Japanese researchers have discovered dogs do not like those who are mean to their owners.

Yay! More research confirming what dog owners already know!

The year was 1998. My soon to be ex-wife dropped by the house to pick up some of her stuff. She approached my dog with intent to pet, like she had done very successfully many hundreds of times before. My dog would have nothing of it. She bared teeth and took several steps backward, much to the surprise of both of us.

This put my soon to be ex-wife in "holy crap, what did I do to deserve that" mode, and myself in "holy crap, dogs can be even more loyal than I thought they could be" mode.

My ex-wife was always sweet to that dog, and until that moment, the dog had always been sweet to her. Never saw it coming.

From the comments of the article:

Great line from Gore Vidal: "he had every trait of a dog, except loyalty."

There's a reason that some people can find humor in the following bumper sticker.


The Sarcasm Report v.213

June 12, 2015
The number that makes us bullish on America: $99 trillion

Household net worth is now more than six times as large as annual disposable income, near a record.

I am almost as bullish on America now as I was when the record was actually set in the 4th quarter of 2006! I kid you not.

Of course, that's not saying much. I owned no overpriced stocks at the time and just three quarters later I started this Illusion of Prosperity blog (3rd quarter of 2007).

But hey, if a near record net worth to disposable income ratio gives you a warm and fuzzy bullish feeling about the future, then who am I to pop your bubble?

I always say, buy high and sell higher. - Suze Orman, April 2000

What could possibly go wrong again, again?

Can we also assume that "they" were bearish on America when household net worth was in the toilet back in 2009? Or is this just another one of those optimistic articles based on magical unicorns and pixie dust (as opposed to hard science and logic)?

And lastly, do you want to know what makes me bullish on America? 7 years of ZIRP! As a saver, what is it about the number seven that makes me feel so lucky?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Explaining Today's Retail Sales Report

It all comes down to the rising popularity of 'Asian-American Doll'.

Need proof? SHLD lost another 3.3% today. Do they stock the doll? I think not.

You won't find this level of actionable hard-hitting analytical investigative business journalism elsewhere. Okay, maybe you will. Journalism has generally been going down the toilet for years, lol. Sigh.

I rest my case.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Understatement of the Week

May 19, 2015
Sears Earnings Preview: Can SHLD Shock Wall Street?

The Sears stock opportunity is by no means a perfect investment.

For SHLD investors who have not been following its share price drama over the past week, do yourself a favor. Pretend I did not say a word. Retreat instead to your happy place. Chant Lampert is a retailer whiz kid. Rationalize that dwelling on daily price movements is not your style.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Satire Stealth Technology Is Finally Here

One and only one of the following two articles is intended to be satire. Can you tell which one without clicking on the links? I'll give you a hint. One is from CNBC and the other is from America's finest news source.

June 9, 2015
Experts Say Best Option Now Is Keeping Nation As Comfortable As Possible Till End

Residents say that letting the U.S. pass peacefully is better than having to watch it linger on in agony like the United Kingdom.

June 9, 2015
Jack Ma thinks World War III will be a good thing

It will not, however, pit countries against each other, but instead will see the likes of China and the U.S. teaming up to defeat societal ills.

What Is Creating the Worst Addiction Crisis America Has Ever Seen?

1. Cigarettes.
2. Alcohol.
3. Debt.
4. Powerful painkillers.

As I've said in an earlier post today, this week's cover of Time Magazine states the answer is powerful painkillers. Ain't that a hoot.

They're the most powerful painkillers ever invented.

And they're creating the worst addiction crisis America has ever seen.

There you have it. If it is in print, then it must be true. Here is a quote from the article to support the claim.

By 2011, 17,000 Anericans were dying every year from prescription-opioid prescriptions.

This would probably be a good time to point out that Time Magazine once declared snowboarding to be a fad. As an avid snowboarder in the 1980s, I never forgot that. I wondered, at the time, how many drugs they must have taken to state such a thing. Fad my @$$, lol. Sigh.

17,000 deaths may seem like a lot, and it is. However, in the real world we tend to take all the numbers and sort them before deciding upon the worst.

1. Cigarette smoking: 480,000 deaths per year.
2. Alcohol use: 88,000 deaths per year.
3. Total credit market debt: $58.7 trillion.
4. Prescription-opioids: 17,000 deaths per year.

Cigarettes, alcohol, and debt can be purchased over the counter, but prescription drugs are where the worst addiction crisis is? Yeah, right. Good luck on that theory.

This must be Pile on Time Magazine Tuesday! All the cool kids are doing it. I know I can't help myself. Sensationalized covers like this hurt us all. It certainly doesn't do my chronically in pain girlfriend any good. Not one bit.

First World Problems Strike Again!

The following is an actual screen shot from my phone.


I find the iPhone Reminders app quite useful but could use a bit less of a perpendicular experience, if you know what I mean. First world software problems, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

October 15, 2012
'SNL' mocks iPhone 5 gripes

This "First World problem" sarcasm, spoken in over-the-top fake Chinese accents, continues after another blogger mentions apps loading slowly on the new phone.

"Oh, Twitter real slow? You can't read Kardashian tweet about handbag?" says another worker. "My brother have handbag, too. He lose hand, keep in bag until he can afford to reattach."

Mind Blowing Epiphany of the Day

May 22, 2015
Migraine, Chronic Back Pain Tied to Suicide Risk

"There might be something about someone with significant pain that puts them at increased risk.

Might be? Something? Someone? What will those crazy researchers think up next!

I bring this up because Time Magazine is demonizing powerful painkillers on its cover this week. There's a picture of pain pill on a fish hook, as if chronic pain sufferers are like fish waiting to be caught. Shameful.

Based on the heavily sensationalized cover, I'm guessing the author has never experienced chronic pain.

My girlfriend does. She gets 24 "powerful painkillers" a month to help her deal with her chronic dystonia pain. Picture a serious muscle cramp in her neck that never goes away. The funny thing is that there are actually more than 24 days in a month, the relief only lasts 4-6 hours, and in order to be effective the painkillers need to be taken 2 at a time. Do the math.

Here's something even funnier. I bought her two large bottles of Vodka last year. We still have more than a bottle and a half. I'm not a drinker and she doesn't want to get hooked, not that we'll ever see a story about that. There isn't nearly enough drama to sell magazines.

Do people abuse drugs? Of course they do. There will always be people who will become addicted to addicting things. Take debt for instance. We sure love a good debt addiction! Can't ever seem to get enough! And the funniest thing is, excessive debt doesn't offer any pain relief at all. It's just pure pain, the kind of pain that real painkillers can barely dent.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Promised Change Is Finally Here

June 8, 2015
McDonald's Sales Top Estimates After Europe Outperforms U.S.

Global same-store sales fell 0.3 percent in the period, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said in a statement Monday.

What can we attribute to this improvement?

Easterbrook, who took over the CEO job in March, has vowed to transform the world’s largest restaurant chain into a “modern, progressive burger company.” He announced a turnaround plan last month that includes reorganizing management, cutting costs and returning cash to shareholders.

Nothing drives same store sales higher than happy customers. And what customer can't love management reorganizations, cost cutting, and returning cash to shareholders? Oh, sure. Some might prefer higher quality food and lower prices, but let's get real here. That would not be a modern and progressive way to do things. Most happy customers realize this.

This reminds me of a joke that my dad picked up in World War 2. I'll paraphrase from memory.

Men, you've been fighting in the jungle. It has not been easy going. Morale is low. You know it. I know it. I have good news though. You were promised a change of underwear months ago. I am pleased to announce that day is finally here. Tom, you swap with Jeff. Frank, you swap with Ted. Glen, you swap with Brad....

Behold the power of reorganization! ;)

The Happiness Plan

I should start off by warning you that the following article is definitely not it. The plan comes later in this post.

June 8, 2015
How I'm Digging Out of $222K of Divorce Debt Without Filing for Bankruptcy

$17,000 to a flooring company

There is a lesson to be learned here. Never do business with Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe's Divorce Attorney and Flooring Specialists. They offer some of the most expensive divorce packages this side of the Mississippi.

You don't suppose some of that divorce debt was actually marital debt do you? I'm picturing two people in love... with debt and all the things it can temporarily provide. Each trying to outspend the other, in an effort to get ahead. The American dream, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Nah, that's just crazy talk. This is divorce debt. Says so right in the title. Don't let it happen to you. Buy the flooring *before* the divorce! Borrow the money if need be!

In all seriousness, flooring is definitely something that can wait. I have. My house was built about 25 years ago. Still has the original carpeting. If a person needs new flooring in order to be happy, then I say that person is living in denial. It's not going to be enough. It will never be enough. It is not possible to fill a bottomless pit.

Put another way, our two dogs are very happy. They most certainly do not dwell on the quality of the flooring. In some ways, dogs are smarter than people. They enjoy the simple pleasures, whereas humans in this country have apparently been trained to always want more. Once again, once you go down the "always wanting more" path there will never be enough to satisfy. It can't. You will always want more!

The Happiness Plan

1. Dog (can be found at local animal shelters).
2. Dog toy (can be just a stick).
3. Yard (can be the grass of a local park).
4. Bliss.
5. Repeat as necessary.

I swear to you that if you do it right, have your basic necessities covered, and are reasonably healthy, then nothing more is ever needed. If this can't allow you to be happy, then nothing can. Unfortunately, there are way too many people who have not figured this out. In any event, I think most can agree that it is vastly superior to the $222k in debt plan. Go figure.

The Happiness Plan is not approved by the National Bankers Association. I could really use their endorsement if I want to take this mainstream. I may need to add some borrowing fees in there between bliss and repeat. Or maybe some happiness advisory fees or happiness overdraft protection charges. Or perhaps even some late fees if the happiness is too slow to appear. Still working through the details. Not. ;)

Quote of the Day

June 8, 2015
Experts worry that 'phony numbers' are misleading investors

In a brief talk to analysts in April, the chief financial officer at Boston Scientific used the word "adjusted" in referring to results 34 times, twice every minute, on average. The word is also littered throughout the company's presentations and financial reports.

Emphasis added.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pop Quiz: Which Is Most Depressing?

June 6, 2015
Is King Dollar saving the economy? - Larry Kudlow

1. Kudlow capitalizes "King Dollar" as if it is a religious icon worthy of our worship in the title but does not capitalize "saving the economy". Awesome priorities. Not. Damn.

2. JGrumby (in the comments of the article, see below) somehow believes aggregate hours worked are the same as average hours worked and therefore demands that Kudlow write a retraction. Damn.

3. Nobody has yet corrected JGrumby's confusion, but instead have opted to add to it. Damn.

4. In order for me to correct JGrumby's confusion, I would both have to share my email address with CNBC *and* come to Kudlow's defense. Damn.

Those are four very depressing things, but which is the most depressing? Think hard before answering this quiz. The solution is not an easy one, lol. Sigh.

Ah, who am I kidding? There is no wrong answer here. My quiz is based on a theoretical new and improved no child left behind policy. Everyone is a winner if every answer of every multiple choice test is correct! Woohoo!

And just so you don't need to search for it, here is JGrumby's comment:

Don't you have editors who fact-check your statements?

"If you're going to use hourly earnings, you have to add hours worked, which in the aggregate are up more than 2.6 percent over the past year."

That statement is simply false. Average hours worked is unchanged since a year ago (34.5 per week), and has fluctuated between 34.4 and 34.6 for the last 18 months.

Just go to www.bls.gov and look up series CES0500000002

Then write a retraction and apologize to those foolish enough to take your word for anything.

Just because aggregate and average both start with the letter "a", they do not mean the same thing. Aggregate is actually a total and average is just an average, as one might expect. Go figure.

Why do I keep reading the comments of financial articles? Why? Maybe I'm the idiot. Seriously. I tend to believe there are no stupid questions, but there seems to be a hell of a lot of stupid statements. So what makes me want to read them? Is this the equivalent of freeway accident rubbernecking?

Or is this simply my way of of preparing for the 2016 elections? You know, build up those defenses lest any campaign promises actually start to sound believable, lol. Sigh.

Yellen's Interest Rate Risk (Musical Tribute)

A goddess who liked to be on top
Debt burning with no one to blame
A bubble of junk bonds and stocks
And Yellen was her name

She popped it
Like Greenspan, she popped it

Well, she's your Yellen
And you're fired
At her desire

Well, she's your Yellen
And you're fired
At her desire

Her weapon was her rising rates
Making employees mad
Black as a dark knight she was
Same horse Bernanke had


She popped it
Like Greenspan, she popped it

Well, she's your Yellen
And you're fired
At her desire

Well, she's your Yellen
And you're fired
At her desire


She popped it
Like Greenspan, she popped it

Well, she's your Yellen
And you're fired
At her desire

Well, she's your Yellen
And you're fired
At her desire

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Fed's Game Plan

1. Travel the long road to Valencia.
2. Enter the rectum of Magic Mountain.
3. Find the 7th flag.
4. Earn the 10th victory point, and thus, the game.

What could possibly go wrong? ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Crock of @#$% Report v.010

Please consider putting on the hip waders. The excrement is flowing again.

June 2, 2015
Why GE's CEO shops at Walmart

Talk about click bait! I must know why! This will, of course, end very badly now that my expectations of being shocked are running so high. Oops. I just spoiled some of the fun for you. Sorry about that.

What is the most un-CEO task that you do at GE? “I like to go to Walmart and check to see where our light bulbs are placed,” Immelt replied.

1. That is not what he replied. His actual quote was:

“I like to go to Walmart and store check to see where our light bulbs are placed."

If you are going to directly quote someone, then make sure you actually do. Otherwise, someone else might come along and call the quote a crock of @#$%.

2. Why was store check changed to just check? Could it be that most people realize that store checking is not shopping and it would therefore ruin the premise of the article's headline? Sounds like a crock of @#$% thing to do!

3. The definition of "shop" requires one to actually buy something at a store or a website. He did not claim to "shop" at Walmart. As the CEO of GE, he only claimed to find joy in seeing his GE bulbs displayed on Walmart shelves. No proof of shopping with a headline that claims he does shop means, you guessed it, another crock of @#$%.

4. Is store checking an un-CEO task? Keep in mind that a part of each bulb sold eventually finds its way to his paycheck. Perhaps it would depend on what he does if he witnesses a customer placing a bulb in their cart. Does he instantly dance a jig while laughing hysterically? Very unprofessional. Very un-CEO. Or does he do the professional thing and wait to celebrate until he can find some privacy? Very professional. Very CEO. I strongly suspect the latter. That would therefore heavily imply yet another crock of @#$%. It was most likely not the un-CEO task that it was claimed to be.

5. Or perhaps he thinks that he is the only CEO on the planet curious enough to do store checks? If that's the case, then he's clearly deluding himself with a crock of @#$% theory.

Five crocks of @#$%? Hope you had the hip waders handy. Could be a personal best, lol. Sigh.

We Owe Jamie Dimon a Great Debt of Magnitude

June 3, 2015
Jamie Dimon Is Officially a Billionaire

Dimon’s fortune derives from a $485 million stake in New York-based JPMorgan, where he’s been chief executive officer since the end of 2005, and an investment portfolio seeded by proceeds from Citigroup stock sales.

That's $3.43 for every man, woman, and child in this country. Let's give the debt man a hearty round of applause!

The #1 First World Problem


I'm basing it on how often we're told that boredom is a serious problem. Of course, your opinion may vary.

June 2, 2015
5 ways to improve your retirement savings

And do you really think you can sit in that easy chair and watch movies for 30 years? Even those who thought they would love to play golf every day for the rest of their lives are in for a rude awakening. Most get bored within six months.

Don't let it happen to you! The horror of early retirement ranks right up there with being a Holocaust survivor. I think we can all agree on that. Some paths we go down cannot be undone, just like some things we see cannot be unseen.

Need proof? The year was 1982. I saw Megaforce in its entirety. So yeah, I know all about the horrors of the first world life. I've seen things that no third worlder should ever see. It is my curse and I have learned to live with it as best I can, night terrors notwithstanding.

There clearly is no cure for boredom. Once you catch the disease, all hope is lost. Sure, we can try to mask the symptoms by bombing the heck out of third world countries as we look for weapons of mass destruction that may or may not exist. Shock and awe certainly helps keep us all on the edges of our easy chairs. But alas, even that can't keep our attention forever. The boredom disease eventually manifests itself yet again.

If only the world could understand our pain. The great mystery of our era truly must be the lack of boredom research by major pharmaceutical companies. None seem to be making this a priority, in spite of the vast profits they could achieve if their research paid off. Why are there no pills we can take that will instantly amuse us? Would not an amused consumer be the perfect solution to many of our other first world problems?

Why is this not a basic right of all first world Americans? We should be entitled to amusement and stimulation at all times! Boredom must be eradicated by any means necessary! The long-term alternative is just too horrifying to contemplate!

Mind Blowing Numerical Facts of the Day

Fact: The soft places we love could be home to thousands of bacteria.

Thousands? Could be? I don't know. Seems pretty far-fetched. I mean really, if I was shot thousands of times then I could be in mortal danger. I therefore better buy some Lysol ASAP!!

November 16, 2014
Up to 80 million bacteria sealed with a kiss

As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10 second kiss, according to new research.

Holy s%^t! I better buy more than one can!!

What will the experts think up next?

Could be thousands of atoms on the head of a pin?
Could be thousands of stars in the known universe?
Could be thousands of dollars of national debt?

Really f%^king big numbers dumbed down for the masses, baby. That's what I'm talking about, lol. Sigh.