Saturday, April 30, 2016

The End of ZIRP! Woohoo!

...finally ended its ''zero interest rate policy'' (yes, ZIRP)? After all, it's only a quarter-point rise... - Paul Krugman

I should probably share the rest of the story. There's nothing worse than taking a quote out of context. I do apologize.

August 13, 2000
Reckonings; End Of The ZIRP

We interrupt America's political silly season to bring you a special bulletin: something important and disturbing just happened in Japan.

O.K., I admit that it doesn't look important, especially to Americans. So what if last Friday the Bank of Japan finally ended its ''zero interest rate policy'' (yes, ZIRP)? After all, it's only a quarter-point rise, in a faraway country that doesn't interest most Americans now that it no longer seems a dangerous competitor. And yet I would not be surprised if future economic historians look back at Friday's move as the beginning of the end for an era, and not just in Japan.

What? 2000? That's Japan's quarter-point increase, not our quarter-point increase? Oops! My bad.

My personal guess is that in the near future, whatever optimism people are now feeling about Japan's economy will evaporate, and the nation's malaise will be deeper than ever -- thanks in large part to Friday's action.

Can't happen here! We're on the path to higher rates and nothing can stop us! Not even 35+ years of falling rates! Heck, might even get another quarter-point interest rate hike this year. Maybe, if we're lucky. I mean, it is possible. Right? There is absolutely no way we'll ever slip back into ZIRP again and get semi-permanently trapped, just because Japan did! That's crazy talk!

Why on earth would I share that video here? It makes no sense. The girl does not represent someone trapped in ZIRP and never allowed to change, nor does the old guy represent some Fed Chairman who trapped her. You've got a sick and twisted imagination if you think that! Get your mind out of the gutter. I must have instead shared it because the tune is creepy and hypnotic, which very much appeals to my darker side. That's all. Try not to read too much into it. ;)

CNBC Has Seriously Underestimated the Sears Turnaround Story

April 30, 2016
Why many retirees will run out of money

For example, 9 percent thought it would be all right to withdraw 15 to 24 percent of their savings annually. Even with positive investment performance, that would almost certainly deplete a nest egg within a decade.

9 percent of these investors may have complete and utter faith in the Sears turnaround story.

Oh, sure. SHLD closed down 9% on Friday, is down 20% for the year, and is down 89% from its peak in 2007 (adjusted for dividends and splits). That's good news though! Why?

Return to the mean, baby. Return to the mean.

You'd feel downright silly only withdrawing 4% of your savings each year knowing that your heavily leveraged and undiversified Sears portfolio would shortly be returning to the mean! Sure thing! Can't lose!

Bad Mark. Bad. Bad. ;)

Quote of the Day

April 30, 2016
The Latest: Buffett says real estate less attractive

Buffett says all kinds of American companies are “loaded with people not doing anything or doing the wrong thing.”

There's never been a better time to invest in all kinds of American companies loaded with people not doing anything or doing the wrong thing.

Buy now or be priced out forever, lol. Sigh.

The Sarcasm Report v.252

April 30, 2016
Retirement savers get good news

Those folks saving for retirement are upping their game: A record 13.6 percent of 401(k) participants raised their savings rate during the first quarter this year. Overall, employee contributions, combined with employer matching funds and profit sharing, rose 12.7 percent to reach another record.

Over the past year (as of April 30th), adjusted for dividends and splits:

1. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) is up 1.1%.
2. The iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund (SHY) is up 0.7%.
3. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) is up 5.3%.

Retirement savers were repeatedly told:

1. Buy stocks as there is no alternative. If you absolutely need to earn 10% per year and you know that you cannot earn it in fixed income, then you must swing for the fences to have any hope at all.
2. Although past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, past performance shows stocks go up 10% per year, on average. You can therefore expect stocks to go up 10% per year.
3. If one must own fixed income, then stick to the shorter end of the curve due to the rising interest rate environment. Do not lock in long-term yields on the off chance that we get stuck in an ultra-low interest rate environment longer than expected.

In hindsight, in order to compensate for the lousy returns and the lousy advice, retirement savers have been forced to up their game in order for their retirement asset goals to be met.

This isn't just good news for retirement savers. It's fantastic news! Woohoo! Get out the party hats!

Why Congress Has Such a Low Approval Rating

What's considered normal in the United States, is actually considered humor in the United Kingdom. :)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Consumer Prize Inflation Hits Rock Bottom

April 29, 2016
Cracker Jack's Prize In The Box Will Now Be Digitized

"Wow. In all my nearly 56 years on this planet, I have never been so disappointed in a product," said one woman.

Ah, come on. It could be worse. The secret prize could have been listeria, lol. Sigh.

Breaking News: Indiana's Governor Mike Pence Is a Politician!

April 29, 2016
Indiana’s Governor Just Endorsed Ted Cruz. And Donald Trump.

“Either you’re in or you’re not, let’s not be half way. He sounds like a politician.” - Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele

That got me to thinking. If Indiana's governor sounds like a politician, then maybe he is a politician?

Merriam-Webster: politician

someone who is active in government usually as an elected official

Merriam-Webster: governor

an official elected or appointed to act as ruler, chief executive, or nominal head of a political unit

OMG! The governor of Indiana IS a politician! Will wonders never cease?

You heard it here first. Hard hitting investigative journalism, baby. That's what I'm talking about. ;)

CEO Minimum Wage Law Proposal: $18,000 per Hour

April 29, 2016
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s 2015 Total Pay Valued at $36 Million

Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer received nearly $36 million in total compensation for 2015, down 14.5% from the previous year.

Assuming 2,000 hours worked per year, plus unpaid overtime as a salaried worker, of course, that works out to just $18,000 per hour. If we don't do something to stop the decline soon, how how can she be expected to support all the children in a moderately sized rural community on just the one income?

Somebody needs to do something before the system completely takes advantage of this poor CEO! Can't they see how much value she has added? Yahoo only lost $4.4 billion in 2015! Performance like that should be more heavily rewarded!

The Rise and Fall of the Domino Empire

April 27, 2016
Zacks: Should You Sell Domino's Pizza (DPZ) Before Earnings?

Clearly, recent earnings estimate revisions suggest that good things are ahead for Domino's Pizza, and that a beat might be in the cards for the upcoming report.

April 28, 2016
Zacks: Domino's is getting demolished after a huge miss on earnings

Shares of Domino's are getting crushed on Thursday after the company reported terrible earnings for its first quarter.

Thanks Zacks! What would we do without you?

Wall Street vs. Sesame Street

April 22, 2016
As Ackman's Herbalife Saga Hits the Big Screen We Look at 4 Other Heavily Shorted Stocks

Here is the list of "Heavily Shorted" stocks from the article.

Short Interest

Apple: 1.0%
Micron: 6.8%
BlackBerry: 14.5%
Sirius: 8.5%
Herbalife: 26.7%

One if these things is not like the others. Which one is different? Do you know? Can you tell which thing is not like the others? I'll tell you if it is so.

Claiming that Apple was heavily shorted last week is a bit like claiming that billionaire Warren Buffett is heavily in debt if he he has a mortgage on his home.

Of course, it might be a different story now. It's not been a great week for Apple. First came the stock's iTank, then came the news of the iCon, lol. Sigh.

April 29, 2016
Carl Icahn to Apple: I'm out

High-profile investor Carl Icahn sold all his Apple stock due to China’s attitude toward the Cupertino-based company. The activist investor noted he made roughly $2 billion on the shares.

If you bought Apple stock on margin and as a short-term "sure thing" trade last week, and were wondering who to thank for your epic losses (other than yourself), then now you know! But hey, it's all good. Somebody got $2 billion richer. Isn't that all that matters? I'm sure it will all trickle back down to you someday!

"Will End in Tears"

April 29, 2016
Former Goldman Sachs president says our economic situation 'will end in tears'

Which definition of tears is he using?

Will it end in the very fabric of economic spacetime being torn and ripped?

Will it end with the economy repeatedly moving very quickly in a potentially reckless and excited manner? Man, oh man, this economy is on a tear again! Woohoo!

Will it end with crying? And if so, tears of laughter and happiness? Or tears of pain and sadness?

Or will it simply end in a state of uncertainty? It's got a certain hedge fund trying to make money in a flat market feel about it. The end? Heck, we might already be there.

Torn between two lovers, feelin' like a fool
Lovin' both of you is breakin' all the rules
Torn between two lovers, feelin' like a fool
Lovin' you both is breakin' all the rules

She loves making money for her clients by advising them to be long, but she also loves making money off her clients by shorting what she's sold them. Yes, sir. She works at Goldman Sachs and she's breaking all the rules, lol. Sigh.

Oh, and she's doing "God's work" again. ;)

Fun and Games with Sensationalized Eurozone Statistics

April 29, 2016
USA Today: Eurozone growth rate unexpectedly doubles

The eurozone's economic growth rate doubled in the first three months of the year compared to the fourth quarter — to 0.6%, the Eurostat statistics agency said Friday.

As impressive as doubling to a whopping 0.6% growth rate must sound, there is a much more impressive statistic here that the article's headline completely ignores.

Eurostat said in a separate report that consumer prices in the year to April fell by 0.2%. That’s down from the previous month’s annual rate of zero.

If 0.3% to 0.6% is worth a double, then what is 0.0% to -0.2% worth?

0.6% / 0.3% = Double
-0.2% / 0.0% = Negative Infinity

To negative infinity and beyond! Woohoo!

I mean, really. If you want to use statistics to make a sensational headline, then I say go all out!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

This Bull Market May Be Permanent

April 28, 2016
CNBC: The bull market is about to set a major milestone

If we define a bull market as a period of time in which the S&P 500 rises 20 percent from its prior low and does not subsequently fall 20 percent from a high it has hit, the current bull market dates back to March 9, 2009, and has lasted 2,606 calendar days, through Wednesday's close.

Using that definition, the bull market can continue for thousands of years from here without the S&P 500 ever setting new highs, so long as it never falls 20% from its peak.

Fantastic. Glad to see that we're not lowering our bull market standards to potentially accommodate long-term stagnation much, lol. Sigh.

Somebody should make a movie about this worst-case bull market scenario.

Thank you for the nightmare.

As a side note, it's been nearly a year since the S&P 500 set a record high (May 2015). Bull market alive and well though apparently. Go figure.

Online Payday Lender Benevolence

April 27, 2016
Online Payday Loans Have 'Hidden Costs,' Federal Report Says

If there's not enough money in the account to cover the payment, the bank can either make the payment and charge an overdraft fee, or deny payment and charge a nonsufficient funds (NSF) fee. If that happens, the payday lender may tack on a late fee, returned payment fee, or both.

But it doesn't stop there.
If the initial request for payment fails, most lenders will try to collect again. Each attempt can result in even more fees. The CFPB found that in one extreme case a lender made 11 payment requests in a single day.

They're doing God's work, one payment request at a time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Warren Buffett Tells His Heirs How to Turn $67 Billion into $16,750 Trillion

April 26, 2016
Motley Fool: Warren Buffett tells you how to turn $40 into $10 million

If Warren Buffett really is telling you how to turn $40 into $10 million as the headline claims, then surely he is also telling his heirs how to turn his $67 billion dollar fortune into $16,750 trillion. Need to see the math? Sure, no problem.

$40 x 250,000 = $10 million
$67 billion x 250,000 = $16,750 trillion

Damn. I sure hope this plan doesn't involve hyperinflation, but if it does then I sure hope I am long since dead and buried.

For what it is worth, extrapolating exponential growth from the distant past well into the distant future makes me want to bash my forehead into my desk, repeatedly.

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

Never Accept Payment in Diamonds

You may end up losing the love of your life.

April 26, 2016
Dating disaster: Woman falls for man, loses $162K

The suspect told the complainant he needed to the money to pay the South African government due to a dispute in the roadwork project. He also claimed he was injured in a construction accident and needed money to fix some equipment. He then alleged he was flying back to the U.S. and was stuck in customs in the United Kingdom due to undeclared diamonds he was paid by the South African government.

Now that she's reported him to the FBI, all over a simple misunderstanding, how could he ever learn to trust her again?

4.5 Million Pounds of Pilgrim's Humility

April 26, 2016
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. Recalls Poultry Products Due To Possible Foreign Matter Contamination

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2016 – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a Waco, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 4,568,080 pounds of fully cooked chicken products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, including plastic, wood, rubber, and metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

If anyone finds Jimmy Hoffa's ring finger, please let me know. I'm always looking for any excuse to stop eating chicken nuggets.

Bad Mark. Bad! Bad!

Automated Journalists Are Years Away

April 27, 2016
Rieder: Lots of buyers for newspapers

And no one has figured out how to automate reporters yet. - David Chavern, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America

January 29, 2015
AP's 'robot journalists' are writing their own stories now

According to AI's public relations manager James Kotecki, the Wordsmith platform generates millions of articles per week; other partners include Allstate, Comcast, and Yahoo, whose fantasy football reports are automated. Kotecki estimates the company's system can produce 2,000 articles per second if need be.

When I say that automated journalists are years away, I actually mean moving backwards in time. See? The headline makes sense now.

Today's Confession

There was a time when I never clicked on ads, and I do mean never.

Times have changed. These days, I click on ads quite a bit.

So, what's changed? Is it because I'm generally interested in the ads and am looking to make a purchase? No, that's not it. Is it that I'm looking to support the website by actively clicking on their ads to help their revenue stream? No, that's not it either.

So, what exactly is it? Well, I'll tell you. My iPhone's screen is small in relation to the size of my finger. The close box of an ad is smaller still. Therefore, when I attempt to close an annoying popup ad, I often miss and accidentally click on the ad instead. At times, there may even be some mumbled swearing involved.

That is a f%^king awesome business model, if you ask me. If you are an advertiser, you are definitely getting your money's worth. Just be sure to factor in the amount of money I've actually spent on your products based on all that clicking that I am doing. It's a nice, round number per click. Works out to $0.00. Try not to spend it all in the same place, lol. Sigh.

Why am I bringing this up?

April 27, 2016
Facebook shares surge on strong mobile ad growth

As a side note, I play Real Racing 3 on my iPhone. I feel guilty receiving gold (in-game currency) for watching ads. Why? Well, I often mute the sound and my eyes often drift off the screen. Not sure how effective the ads actually are if I can neither hear nor see them. Hey Electronic Arts, let's just keep that a secret between you and me though. Oops. My bad.

We Need to Start Building Trillion Dollar Mills Each Month

April 26, 2016
Chinese company to build $1 billion mill in south Arkansas

Joined by Sun Paper officials to announce the project at the state Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the project will create 250 jobs and is one of the largest private investments in Arkansas' history.

It stands to reason that if a billion dollar mill can create 250 jobs then a trillion dollar mill can create 250,000 jobs.

Let's make America great again before the Chinese beat us to it.

As an added bonus, think how cheap toilet paper will be once the markets are flooded with trillions upon trillions of tons of excess paper! Woohoo!

Quote of the Day

April 27, 2016
Reports: Cruz to announce Fiorina as running mate

“Well, I think it hurts him. I can’t imagine he does it. First of all, he shouldn't be naming anybody because he doesn't even have a chance." - Donald Trump

Those are three great points.

Secondly, I do agree that it hurts him. Seriously. That's a great point.

And lastly, I can't imagine it either. I really can't. That's another great point.

First of all, Trump's last point is great as well.

Broken sorting algorithms and making America great again, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

The Sarcasm Report v.251

April 26, 2016
Wall Street continues to view Fed as friend not foe

Says Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank: “Short-term rates will remain ‘lower for longer,’ as we’re expecting just a single rate increase in 2016.

Truly shocking. Never heard anything like it over the past decade. Must be paid the big bucks to be able to make such bold predictions with such confidence.

Well, you heard it here first. Short-term rates will apparently remain lower for longer. If so, might want to consider closing out that long-term treasury bond short position you established back in the winter of 1981. No point being continually beaten by the dead horse.

Oh, and don't forget to learn Japanese so that you can communicate effectively in their "I Thought Shorting Long-Term Government Bonds Was a Sure Thing over the Long-Term Because There's No Way We'd Ever Get Stuck in ZIRP over the Long-Term" support group. Misery loves company.

Invasion of the Turtle Cats

All your base are belong to us. You have no chance to survive make your time. - CATS

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Irony of Increasingly Sophisticated Financial Products

April 22, 2016
47 Percent Of Americans Can’t Afford An Unexpected $400 Expense

American consumer behaviors, financial literacy and saving habits have a lot to do with the rise in financial fragility. In many cases, people see debt as an alternative to saving. Banks have perpetuated the issue by pushing high-interest-rate credit cards on consumers and payday loan centers are popping up on every street corner. As Neal Gabler writes for The Atlantic, “It is ironic that as financial products have become increasingly sophisticated, theoretically giving individuals more options to smooth out the bumps in their lives, something like the opposite seems to have happened, at least for many.”

The irony is shocking. Right? Are you with me on this? No? Why so skeptical?

Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse

The Report cites investment banks as a major player in the lead up to the crisis, and uses a case study of two leading participants in the U.S. mortgage market, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. The case study found that from 2004 to 2008, banks focused their efforts heavily on RMBS and CDO securities, complex and high risk financial products that they could bundle and sell to investors who did not necessarily know the composition of the product.

Yeah, well, there is that. Not so shocking after all. My bad.

Quote of the Month

April 26, 2016
Jack Bogle: There's no stock picker's market

"We investors are funny people," he said. "We'd rather have a five percent return at eight percent inflation, than a two percent return with no inflation, although obviously the latter is the better investment."

I've seen it first hand, many years ago, on Yahoo's message board for TIP (an inflation protected bond fund holding TIPS).

I argued that TIP investors should not be rooting for more inflation even though they own inflation adjusted bonds.

It would be far better to earn 1% with 0% inflation than 11% with 10% inflation, due to the taxation of the inflationary gains. And unless you like the thought of being taxed to death, you really don't want to see hyperinflation while sitting in inflation protected treasuries.

My argument fell mostly on deaf ears. One person was especially giddy over the thought of hypothetical 11% pretax returns and nothing I said could convince him otherwise. In the end we managed to agree on something. Each of us thought the other was nuts, lol. Sigh.

As I've said before, I own treasuries with inflation protection for the same reason I have fire insurance for my home. I sleep better. It does not mean that I am rooting for inflation. It does not mean that I'm rooting for my house to burn. Go figure.

Apple's iTank

It's been a long day. I've been gathering intel on Apple's new technology. This is cutting edge stuff. Goes way beyond my earlier assumptions in my last post. I think Apple is getting into the lucrative defense subcontractor business. As we all know, that's unlimited profit potential.

Are those self-driving autonomous tanks? Look how deftly they traverse the battlefield, avoiding all obstacles in their way. Some call me a fanboy, but I think Apple has a serious winner here. This technology will strike fear in the hearts of the "evil doers" and end the war on terror for once and for all. Of that, I have no doubts.

Apple Tanks

I'm busy doing important stuff today, like washing my hair, like I do everyday, and playing video games, like I do everyday, so there won't be much to say. Very busy.

I do want to reiterate how optimistic I am about Nasdaq stocks though. I just saw a headline mentioning Apple Tanks (in after hours trading). I assume this is some sort of new technology that will allow our cars to have a greatly enhanced driving range. What will those innovative engineers think up next? Go Apple! To infinity and beyond!

I'm posting this from my iPhone 6. I love this phone! Might never need another! Still does everything I need it to do! Woohoo!

In all seriousness, for reasons I won't go into here, my phone is leased. I will need another at some point. I will probably buy the replacement though. Don't expect the purchases to continue at a rapid pace. I love my car. It's a 1996 Camry. I bought it new too, 20 years ago. Still does everything I need it to do! Very reliable. Might install an Apple Tank on it though, assuming I have properly inferred the new technology. ;)

China's Current Factory Workers Could Use Some Advice from America's Former Factory Workers

April 26, 2016
China is Building a Robot Army of Model Workers

The results of this effort will be felt globally. Almost a quarter of the world’s products are made in China today. If China can use robots and other advanced technologies to retool types of production never before automated, that might turn the country, now the world’s sweatshop, into a hub of high-tech innovation. Less clear, however, is how that would affect the millions of workers recruited to China’s booming factories.

Could we get some former American factory workers to chime in here?

How much better did your life become when your job was outsourced to China? What did you do with all that free time? Was there a lot of vacationing to the most exotic beaches around the world? Did you travel there on your own private yacht or did you jet set it in first class? Did the severance checks make you rich beyond all measure? Were there any special trophies or medals given to you on your last day for all of your hard work? Or did they just give you the customary gold watch and a golden parachute to match?

Do tell! Millions of Chinese factory workers need to know what will happen to them when their jobs are replaced by robots! Make it perfectly clear how much better their lives will be!

What? Too much sarcasm? Oh, I doubt that very much. It's Tuesday. That means it's double sarcasm day. Woohoo!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Are Gasoline Prices Unusually Low or Unusually High?

I guess it all depends on which economic bubble you wish to compare against.

April 25, 2016
Gas prices on the rise in Phoenix and nationwide - but still unusually low

Compared to the great (housing and) oil bubble, gasoline prices are indeed unusually low. Prices are roughly half of what they were at the peak in 2008.

Compared to the great dotcom bubble gaining steam in 1998, gasoline prices are unusually high. Prices are roughly double what they were then, representing a roughly 4% per year annual increase.

Perhaps "unusual" is the new normal?

The Homeless Are Dragging Down This Economy!

April 25, 2016
Americans don’t like to buy stuff anymore – and that’s a problem

As an American saver by nature, I still like to buy stuff. I just choose not to do it if I think it might jeopardize my future free time. You see, I love free time more than I like to buy stuff. Wow, I sound like a crazy homeless person.

So what's everyone else using as an excuse?

The weakest spending categories are food, clothing, footwear, recreation, and financial services.

Homeless people need to get with the program! We can't all value free time over stuff or this economy will collapse. Fine dining! See a few movies! Do some bowling! Buy a yacht! Dress nicer! Just borrow the money if you need to! And always remember...

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Financial Services!

Give a hoot. Only you can prevent FIRE economy disasters.

Transgender Bathroom Thoughts

I'm a 51-year old male.

Number of times I've been uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with a transgender person? Zero. Maybe I've shared a bathroom. Maybe I haven't. I have no idea. Nobody was ever advertising. Heck, I don't even make eye contact with the person next to me at a urinal, much less check out their equipment. I know. Shocking. And what goes on in an actual bathroom stall is none of my business either, nor do I ever want it to be.

Number of times I've been uncomfortable in a gym locker room due to an overweight naked man attempting to use the hand air dryer to dry his bottom while simultaneously sprawling over the sink's counter to position himself properly? One. There are just some things that once seen, cannot be unseen, lol. Sigh.

I'm dead serious. It happened a few months ago at my gym. I had just finished showering and was planning to exit my curtained stall when I spotted it in the corner of my eye. I decided to continue showering for a few more minutes instead. You know, until the "danger" passed.

In my opinion, the transgender bathroom issue is a solution in search of a problem. Aren't there enough problems in the world already? Must we really invent more?

As a side note, I did not report the naked man. As a generally shy and reserved person in everyday life (anonymous blog postings notwithstanding), I was uncomfortable but he was clearly not. You know, maybe that was my problem. And even then, I found it very amusing. It was the first thing I wanted to talk about when I got home. "You'll never guess what happened at the gym!" I couldn't share the story without laughing. So what actual harm was done? Hahaha! :)

Live and let live.

The Hole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

April 25, 2016
Can the Cruz-Kasich tag-team beat Trump?

Sorry, Aristotle. How could I possibly resist that pun? ;)

Quote of the Day

April 25, 2016
Xerox drops the most in a year after earnings miss estimates

"We're pulling all the levers within our control to successfully navigate in a challenging market environment and best position our businesses for the future."

Space Shuttle Xerox: Houston, we have a problem. We are no longer on the optimal glide path for safe reentry.

Houston: We need you to pull ALL the control levers and twist ALL the control knobs while simultaneously moving the yoke randomly in ALL directions.

Space Shuttle Xerox: Do you really think that will help?

Houston: It can't hurt. You're going to burn up anyway. Might as well go out in style.

Space Shuttle Xerox: ....

Houston: Do you copy?

Baffling Headline of the Day

April 24, 2016
Most Dangerous Bond Market in History Divides BlackRock, Allianz

Bond investors are taking bigger risks than ever before.

I read the headline but could not figure out how BlackRock and Allianz could be divided over Weimar Germany's bond market. Investors bought bonds, hyperinflation occurred from 1921 to 1924, and investors lost pretty much everything. That's what history says. It was pretty much the most dangerous bond market ever.

I started thinking some more. Maybe they are talking about the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe? No, that can't be it. Why would BlackRock and Allianz be divided? Doesn't take a German V-1 rocket scientist to understand that hyperinflation is bad for bond investors whenever and/or wherever it happens.

Then I started thinking even harder. Maybe we're hyperinflating right now? Are gasoline prices several hundred trillion dollars per gallon? No, that's just me being silly.

I put on my super thinking cap and opted to maximize the strain of my brain. Could it be that the headline has been sensationalized to maximize the fear factor and/or the click bait? No, I find that impossible to believe.

I'm stumped. Can't make sense of the headline at all. Afraid to read further lest my mind explode.

Guess I'll just continue to hold my long-term inflation protected treasuries to maturity and give a rat's @$$ over the opinions of those who feel differently. It's not like I'm ever looking to sell my bonds to them, so what should I really care what they think?

If I got a dollar every time I was told how dangerous my bonds were, I'd be retired now. As a side note, I'm retired now. Go figure.

Further, if this truly is the most dangerous bond market in all of recorded history, then my sympathies to the stock market investors. We bond investors will be taking you with us when we implode. In case you hadn't heard, the Fed had been buying bonds in the hopes of boosting risk assets. You know, wealth effect, supporting markets, and what not.

And lastly, it has been my long-term theory that long-term real yields have been dying over the long-term for good reason. Our long-term economy is/was deteriorating. I put my money where my mouth was by locking in real yields before they fell even further. The days of making easy money off of easy money are ending. It's just a theory. Your theory may differ. Feeling lucky? You know, in the most dangerous markets in history? Pick your poison.

Rest in Peace Prince (Musical Tribute)

Should You Hire an Insurance Salesman?

April 23, 2016
MADDOX: Let’s better protect our retirement accounts

To the average investor, there are so many confusing choices for investment advice. Should I hire an insurance salesman, a stockbroker, a financial planner or a retirement specialist? What’s the difference or overlap in these titles? How much can I trust the advertising and marketing materials I see that try to convince me these are all people I can trust and who will have my best interests at heart?

You should definitely consider hiring an insurance salesman to help you manage your retirement investments, but only after you've hired a few used car salesmen to help you manage your rusted-out pickup truck. I mean really, that's just common sense. It is very important that you hire all your salesmen in the right order.

Once you've set up all the cubicles for all of your new workers in your living room, don't forget about the telemarketers. You're going to need at least 20 of those to stay competitive, based on how often my home phone rings.

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

In all seriousness, if I ever "hire" any salesmen, advertisers, or marketers to help me with my retirement account, would someone please tell my doctor to prescribe some anti-dementia medication ASAP? Thanks!

I should also point out that this also applies to saleswomen. This is an equal lack of opportunity blog. When attempting to avoid salespeople, as I almost always do, I make every effort to treat both men and women equally. ;)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Question of the Day

April 18, 2016
How much could the return of factory jobs add up to?


A few years ago, Hiawatha Rubber, a small precision manufacturer outside Minneapolis, enjoyed some employment gains tied to reshoring. Howard Hauser, vice president of operations, said some of the firm’s customers suffered quality issues with Asian suppliers and handed the work to Hiawatha instead.

We did bring a couple jobs back, but that kind of stopped then. That trend has not continued,” he said. “So at this point I would look back at that and say that was a bit of a fluke.”

Two! Woohoo! I knew it! What do I win?

Hello? Damn. I think it was a rhetorical question. Sigh.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Today Only: Scandal Balloons, $18 Billion Each!

April 22, 2016
Cost of Volkswagen emissions scandal balloons to $18B

The estimated cost of Volkswagen Group's emissions scandal has escalated to more than $18 billion, more than double the amount the company had previously set aside, the company said Friday.

Get your scandal balloons now before the price goes up again! There's never been a better time to buy!!

These are premium scandal balloons guaranteed to never pop. Don't accept imitations! Ask our scandal balloon operators how you can get free shipping by buying the balloons in bulk. Call within the next 10 minutes and we'll automatically double your order. Just pay separate processing and handling.

Offer void where prohibited by law.

Our Strong and Resilient Economy

April 22, 2016
The New York Times: U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High

Dr. Alex Crosby, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he had studied the association between economic downturns and suicide going back to the 1920s and found that suicide was highest when the economy was weak.

I know what you must be thinking. If suicide rates are highest when the economy is weakest, and suicide rates are currently surging to a 30-year high, then the title of my post must be either sarcastic or just plain wrong.

Well, there's more to the story.

But other experts pointed out that the unemployment rate had been declining in the latter period of the study, and questioned how important the economy was to suicide.

Yeah, I'm siding with these nameless other experts. The unemployment rate is proof that the economy is strong. Nothing else matters. Somebody needs to send Janet Yellen a memo letting her know just how strong it is. She needs to know that it is safe to raise the fed funds rate to no less than 4%. And while she is at it, she should feel confident in unwinding all those trillions in treasury bond purchases. Our strong and resilient heavily outsourced debt-ridden service economy can certainly handle it.

And while we are on this "other experts" topic, there is something on my mind that really bothers me. Many experts believe that the earth is spherical. There are other experts who believe that the earth is flat though. It is unfortunate that we may never truly know who is actually right. I gotta tell you. My property seems pretty flat. Just sayin'.

Don't even get me started on those experts who believe the earth is more than 6,000 years old. That's just crazy talk. I have lived a long time. I can't imagine anything lasting billions of years. Granted, I may be a bit biased. Much of my stuff is made in China.

Who am I kidding? You caught me spewing sarcasm again. Guilty as charged.

First World Problems of the Day

April 22, 2016
USA Today: 5 reasons why a nearly perfect credit score's not enough

It's never enough. I mean, really.

You move from the tiny apartment to a larger apartment. You're feeling pretty good about yourself until you realize that your new neighbor's apartment is just as big! How are you supposed to get and stay ahead when the goalposts keep moving?

So, you buy that dream house. You've finally made it! Hurray! All is going well, right? So why is your neighbor spending so much time caring for his yard? Holy crap! I swear there isn't even one dandelion in it. And that white picket fence? He's out there every single day washing off the dust! Life is so unfair!

You finally get that monster truck that's at least 10% nicer than your neighbor's car, and what does he do? He buys a frickin' used scooter off craigslist. That's what. What an @$$hole!! He's clearly mocking you!

That's when you devise a plan. Three purebred Dobermans. Best in show. Perfectly trained. Might have cost you an arm and a leg, and although you don't really like pets, it is so going to be worth it. This will prove to the world that your life is so much better than his!!

But what's this? He adopted a cat from a local shelter? And all the neighbors seem to love it? WTF! It's missing a frickin' leg! It's more than 10 years old! Oh, it gets worse. It sometimes strays into your yard! How can this be? The entire universe is conspiring against you!! The hatred consumes you!

April 20, 2016
Blotter: Neighbors argument about cat turns destructive; infant left alone in car

Dispute: At 4:26 p.m., police were called to Orchard Avenue N.E., North Bend, to settle a dispute over a cat in a neighbor's yard. The neighbor damaged the front yard of the cat-owner's house by spinning his truck tires on the lawn. The cat owner did not want to press charges.

First world problems, baby. That's what I'm talking about. Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

Hey, just trying to come up with a theoretical scenario that could partially explain it! North Bend? Really? That's where cougars and bears tend to hang out. Seriously.

June 15, 2014
‘You need to go now!’ North Bend woman’s message to curious bear (VIDEO)

As the bear stands at the window, the woman can be heard in the video saying, “Stop it. don’t!”

Fortunately, our Pacific Northwest bears apparently speak perfect English, so everything worked out for the best. ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sears: A Shocking Case Study in Sarcasmoptimism

April 21, 2016
Sears to close 78 stores this summer

Shocking? No.

The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears Holdings to profitability," said Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings in a statement.

Shocking? No. If we've heard it once, we've heard it a thousand times. Blah, blah, blah.

Sears Holdings has struggled for years with weakening sales, unable to keep up...

Shocking? No. Well, unless you think it is a race to the bottom.

In the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season, revenue at stores opened at least a year fell 6.9 percent at Sears, and 7.2 percent at Kmart.

Shocking? No. Never got my Sears Wish Book last year! Loved that thing as a kid!

Sears declined to say how many workers will be affected from the store closures, but it said that an overwhelming majority of the jobs are part-time positions.

Shocking? Yes! There could be tens of thousands of part-time workers left at Sears even after the store closings, all making the big bucks! Wow! This strong and resilient part-time service economy never ceases to amaze!

What? You know me. I'm just trying to be a sarcasmoptimist. Haven't heard the word before? Well, I'm telling you right now that it means exactly what you think it means. Just be sure to fully pronounce the "mop" part of it. Sar-cas-mop-ti-mist!

As a side note, is it better to "axe" two part-time workers instead of one full-time worker? Seems like a bloody mess to me. You know, because of the extra paperwork. Oh, and because twice as many people get brutally chopped. Sigh.

Honeywell CEO Will Be Disappointed

April 21, 2016
Honeywell CEO: Here Are the Three Things I Most Want to Be Remembered For

"Dave is the best there is -- he has created a tremendous amount of wealth, what a record," said Jim Cramer, TheStreet's founder and portfolio manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.

Unfortunately for Dave, this is now how I will always remember him. He's one of the great ones. You know, just like Cramer's Lenny Dykstra.

June 20, 2010
The Sarcasm Report v.52

I think that people don't think of Lenny as sophisticated, but I am telling you Bernie, that not only is he sophisticated but he's one of the great ones in this business. He's one of the great ones. - Jim Cramer

If I didn't know any better, I would tell you that everything you hear from Lenny is an act, because there is just no way that you would ever feel like he's as smart as he really is. - Jim Cramer

Where is Lenny now you might ask? Well, that's a good question and it deserves a good answer.

December 20, 2015
Lenny Dykstra Plays Bad Santa At Strip Club

“This sure beats a six-by-ten prison cell,” the 52-year-old former centerfielder told reporters on Vivid’s rooftop lounge.

It's good to see Lenny finally back on his feet after pleading guilty in 2012 to money laundering, bankruptcy fraud and concealment of assets.

Dave and Lenny. Lenny and Dave. Two of Jim Cramer's great ones. That's how I will always remember them now. ;)

Jeremy Siegel's Five Attempts to Make You Laugh!

December 17, 2007
Jeremy Siegel’s Outlook for 2008

1. Overall I expect 1.5% to 2.5% GDP growth in 2008 and I believe the economy will avoid a recession.

In hindsight, we were already in a recession. It began in December of 2007. Hahaha!

2. I think the stock market will have another winning year in 2008.

Oh, yes. Winning! Hahaha!

3. And I believe that financial stocks, which have plummeted 18% so far this year, will outperform the S&P 500 Index next year as the credit crisis fades.

Back up the truck on those financial stocks! Hahaha!

4. I believe that the Fed will get rates down to 3.5%, before ratcheting them upward in the second half of next year.

Hey, the Fed actually did get rates down to 3.5%. In fact, got them below 0.25%. Not only that, but the Fed recently ratcheted them back up again, all the way to today's 0.37%. Hahaha!

5. I recommend investors cash in governments and top rated corporate bonds now – you got a nice ride that you won’t get next year.

And pump that money into the "cheap" financial stocks? 18% off! Bargains at any price! With great risk comes great rewards! So what if Citigroup lost an additional 80% or so? And to this day, still has? Hahaha!

The hilarity continues! Is it too funny? Or is it too depressingly amusing? You make the call!

In all seriousness, I'm laughing nervously. I still own those long-term government bonds he so despises. He can try prying them from my cold dead fingers. I gotta die sometime. After all, it's already been more than 8 years since he told me to sell them.

Welcome to the era of permanent economic emergency life support. And that's no joke. Sigh.

The Race Past the Bottom

April 21, 2016
UPDATE 1-Swedish central bank extends money printing, keeps rates below zero

While the economy has surged - growth was 4.1 percent in 2015 - the Riksbank has found itself in a race to the bottom on interest rates with its regional peers, notably the European Central Bank, which is expected to hold policy unchanged at a rate meeting later on Thursday.

When your benchmark rate is -0.50%, as is the case in Sweden, you are no longer racing to the logical bottom. You are racing well past it. The only other bottom is the illogical one, and that one can't be hit until negative infinity. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quote of the Day

April 20, 2016
CNBC: Young homebuyers cringe on credit scores

"With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates well below 4 percent, qualified first-time buyers should be more active participants than what they are right now," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

If you can't trust the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors to give you an accurate scoop on the housing market and tell you what you should be actively doing, then who can you trust?

I mean, really. There's never been a better time to own your own home.

1. Lock in that home equity before the next earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, and/or termite invasion strikes. What's the worst that could happen?

2. They just aren't making any more land (other than by building high-rise condominiums, doubling the land with each doubled floor).

3. Buy now or be priced out forever. In other words, buy now before the next economic downturn hits and the layoffs begin again. Do you know how hard it is to borrow money to buy a house while unemployed? I mean now, of course. I'm not talking 2005, when fogging a mirror was the only qualification needed.

Some might argue that many qualified first-time buyers should rent. Not me. Oh, sure. I did. I thought it would be better to concentrate on my career rather than the mowing and the weeding. That was just a crazy period in my life though. I moved from job to job as the layoffs appeared. Didn't want to be anchored to a house.

Today's younger workers don't have to concern themselves with that. When you are hired on by a large multinational corporation, you are their employee for life. I'm talking the ultimate in job security. No moving will ever be necessary. Just kick back, do the minimum necessary, and then enjoy that fat pension later in life. Plant yourself I say.

Uh, oh. Broke the sarcasm meter. I should have bought one made in the USA using hard-working American factory robots instead of buying a cheaper Chinese model using hard-working Chinese factory robots. My bad.

"25 Basis Points Doesn't Means Almost Nothing to Anyone"

April 13, 2016
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon tells Yahoo Finance what he's seeing in the economy

"25 basis points doesn't means almost nothing to anyone," he said. "I'm hoping you see another rate raise or two because the economy is going strong."

You tell 'em Jamie. Obfuscate that lipstick on the pig!

April 19, 2016
Wall Street bankers facing pay cuts as profits fall

JPMorgan Chase, which announced earnings last week, reported a 5 percent reduction in overall pay and 14 percent cuts to compensation at its corporate and investment bank.

Strong economy. Best ever!

Kudos to Yahoo Finance for Uniting the United States

April 20, 2016
Yahoo Finance: A 12-year-old girl once stumped Warren Buffett with a rough question about Berkshire

She stood up and she said, ‘My dad told me that when he bought the Berkshire stock, it was going to go to my college education, and now it looks like I’m going to have to go to correspondence school,” said Buffett.

The trick to stumping Warren Buffett with a rough question is to not provide a question mark. Make it more of a statement. Works every time!

From the comments:

Good thing the title of this article is entirely screwed up. "A 12-year-old girl once stumped Warren Buffett with a rough question..." Where is the question? All we have is a statement about the performance of Berkshire stock. There is nothing challenging in the statement, and how is Buffet stumped by the comment? Seriously, who writes these articles? - Sugar

77 likes, 0 dislikes.

Apparently, this story stumped the writer. What kind of 'writer' has trouble distinguishing between a statement and a question? - Ben

45 likes, 0 dislikes.

Appears the writer went to correspondence school. - tater

40 likes, 0 dislikes.

And Yahoo can't figure out why they are heading down the toilet. - Reasonman

15 likes, 0 dislikes.

Have you ever seen such solidarity in an election year? How can so many Americans all agree on the same thing simultaneously? It brings tears to my eyes.

You won't see me mentioning Ammon Bundy, domestic terrorism, Donald Trump, racism, Hillary Clinton, or Goldman Sachs to spoil the mood. No, sir. Not going there.

Oops. ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Easiest Way to Safely Earn 10.55% in Your Lifetime!

April 18, 2016
Treasuries Fall as BlackRock Expects Losses for Long-Dated Debt

Japanese debt rallied after an auction of five-year notes, with the yield on the nation’s 30-year securities dropping to an unprecedented 0.335 percent.

1.00335^30 = 1.1055

Assuming you will live another 30 years, I can't think of an easier way to guarantee a 10.55% return.

What? You wanted to earn it in just one year? Hahaha! Do I look like a miracle worker?

Strong global economy pushing yields into the stratosphere, baby. That's what I'm talking about, lol. Sigh.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Two Things Corporations Can Do with Eternally-Cheap Dollars!

April 15, 2016
Fed is Bluffing on Rate Hikes

So the market could still pull off that feat of new highs right into economic and earnings weakness -- especially since the giant corporate “BuyBack Machine” can still vacuum up shares with eternally-cheap dollars.

Vacuum up those shares with eternally-cheap dollars! Woohoo!

Hey! Do you know what else corporations can do with eternally-cheap dollars? Pay decent wages, of course! Hurray! Everybody wins!

April 12, 2016
American Apparel lays off hundreds of workers and considers outsourcing some manufacturing

The main problem is that it’s difficult to pay workers decent wages...

What? If dollars are as eternally-cheap as is claimed, then why aren't they being given out like candy to the workers of America? Makes no sense! Other than American Apparel's recent bankruptcy caused by excessive debt and lack of eternally-cheap dollars, what am I missing?

Eternally-cheap dollars my @$$. That's the kind of thing a used car dealer tells you to make a sale. Trade those eternally-cheap dollars for this eternally-cheap car! Can't lose!

No, seriously. This cheap car runs fine, on the level. And when I say on the level, I really mean don't take it on any hills. The brakes are shot and the engine can't take the strain, lol. Sigh.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Crock of @#$% Report v.034

April 9, 2016
We are now witnessing Elon Musk’s slow-motion disruption of the global auto industry

If traditional automakers fear obsolescence, they aren’t showing it. “While we applaud and welcome any new competitors to market, BMW remains focused on delivering the most innovative, efficient and technologically advanced vehicles to our customers,” BMW spokeswoman Rebecca Kiehne told Quartz.

Yeah, I bet they applaud. Hahaha!!

The Grass Is Always Greener

April 9, 2016
Fortune: What You Can Do Every Day to Be More Successful

I want to expand my creative and my rational powers with the ability to mine the waves of data that will increasingly surround us — and only that can be done with an extra day in the week.

10,000 years from now, the universe will not care how successful you were. It will not care how much money you acquired or how many financial problems you solved. It will not care how many hours you worked in a cubicle, then an office, then a larger corner office with windows. Of this, I am quite certain.

Today, your dog will care about the success of taking a walk though. To each his own.

Click to enlarge.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Perfect Stock for My Portfolio

April 7, 2016
4 Growth Stocks to Buy Near Their 52-Week Lows

Discovery Laboratories Inc. DSCO is a development-stage pharmaceutical company that focuses on developing compounds to treat respiratory diseases. The loss estimate of the company for the current year has narrowed by 50.3% on the back of a positive estimate revision, in the last 30 days. This signals healthy recovery going ahead. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 and a growth score of B. The stock currently trades at 1.7% of its 52-week high minus low range.

They left out the best part.

According to Yahoo Finance, adjusted for dividends and splits, the stock trades at just 0.024% of its first closing price on August 7, 1995. Rarely will you find such an impressive entry point for a growth stock that's been around for more than 20 years.

Oops. I did not mean to imply that was the best part. No, sir. The best part was when I searched for "Discovery Laboratories"  in Google to find out more about the company. You'll never guess what I found. Just below the link to their website, Google offers a bit of additional information.

This site may be hacked.

I clicked on Google's warning link to find out more.

You'll see the message "This site may be hacked" when we believe a hacker might have changed some of the existing pages on the site or added new spam pages. If you visit the site, you could be redirected to spam or malware.

The message was there yesterday and it is still there today. This is exactly what I am looking for in an investment. It inspires such confidence! Pick up some malware, invest in a $2.50 stock that's had more reverse splits than a gymnast overdosing on cocaine, then sit back and watch the profits roll in. What could possibly go wrong? Hahaha! Genius!

This may prove to be a fantastic investment for extreme risk takers, but this cautious retiree will opt out. No big shocker there, of course. Go figure.

First World Problem of the Day

April 8, 2016
Calculated Risk: WSJ: "Housing Bust Lingers for Generation X"

A decade ago I was arguing one of the tragedies of the housing bubble was that many first time buyers would sour on homeownership for a long time, if not forever. Unfortunately that has happened.

One of the tragedies? Really?

I shall openly ponder my personal "tragedy" for the amusement of others.

The year was 1989. I rented a small cheap apartment. I had to carry my laundry to another building and use coins to power the machines. Woe is me. Right? Not so fast. I loved living there. They had a pool which I used daily in the summer. Bliss!!

The year was 1991. I rented an even smaller apartment. I mean, it was tiny. And cheap! My heating bills were next to nothing. I paid no property taxes, at least directly. I could do my own laundry inside the unit (no coins required). Woe is me? Hardly. This place had an indoor basketball court, multiple pools (one indoor that I used year round), and plenty of workout equipment. Loved it!!

The year was 1995. While still driving a cheap Hyundai, I opted to live in downtown Seattle in a small apartment. It was a bit more expensive, but had a view of the waterfront. The best part was that I found myself walking around that waterfront every single day. Just took the elevator down a few floors, and tada, there it was! It's almost impossible to have a bad day with that much salt air filling one's lungs.

The year is 2016. I live in a house that I "first" bought in 1997, at the age of 33. There are currently two big holes in the backyard. I used a shovel. I'm planning to replace two septic tank lids. Just need to get properly motivated. Yay. Oh, joyous day when that task is done, lol. Sigh.

I'm not even going to bring up the roof replacement, the upcoming window replacements, the kitchen remodeling I'm pretty much forced to do since the built-in microwave no longer works and the built-in stove on the countertop only has one working burner left. I won't mention the endless mowing or the weed pulling. I won't bring up the heating costs or the property taxes. Under no circumstances will I ever mention hypothetical rats that may or may not have existed in the crawlspace. No, sir. Not going there.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy owning a house on most days. It would not be a tragedy if I went back to renting though. Not even close. In fact, if you can't be happy renting, then you simply can't be happy. Owning stuff is definitely not the path to paradise, and if you think it is then you will be sadly disappointed. That's especially true when it comes to housing. Ownership? Can you truly own a house if it has a mortgage? Or is it the bank that owns it? And even if it is paid off, you are still kind of renting it (in the form of property taxes).

Tragedy, my @$$. If you want a real tragedy, consider the plight of Syrian refugees. I can't even imagine what that must be like.

All's Not Well with Wells Fargo's Depositors

April 7, 2016
Warren Buffett's Biggest Dividend Stock Is on Sale

Importantly, Wells Fargo paid a minuscule interest rate of 0.08% on its deposits during the fourth quarter of 2015, and its total funding cost including all sources was just 0.25% in 2015.

Psst... Wells Fargo depositors. As a group, you are getting *%^# #%^*ed by your bank, pardon my language.

The government will sell you an I-Bond right now that yields 0.1% AND grows with inflation (as seen in the consumer price index) for up to 30 years. You can buy it online from the comfort of your couch.

Speaking of couch banking, my online savings account at Capital One currently yields 0.75%. It's trivial to transfer money in and out of it using my phone.

If you don't wish to be *%^# #%^*ed, then you might want to look into these options.

That said, I must apologize to Wells Fargo investors. I'm really not trying to *%^# #%^* you. Um, much. ;)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quote of the Day

April 7, 2016
Billionaire casino king: 'Nobody likes being around poor people'

"Rich people only like being around rich people," he said. "Nobody likes being around poor people, especially poor people."

Each day I try to think up at least one thing I am thankful for. It is so easy today!

I am truly thankful that billionaire casino kings and their rich person entourages do not frequent the hiking trails I enjoy most! Woohoo!

It's 84 degrees here in the Seattle area right now! In April! The sun is out! Not one billionaire casino king in sight! Woohoo!

I took a wonderful walk around my neighborhood. Didn't spot even one billionaire casino king! Hurray!

I'll be taking a hike down to the river by my house shortly. It is very unlikely that there will be any billionaire casino kings on the trail! Glorious day!

What an absolutely fantastic day to be alive! Um, like best ever! Hahaha!

Seriously. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Sarcasm Report v.250

April 6, 2016
Labor Department rule sets new standards for retirement advice

Some companies facing higher administrative costs may feel pressure to drop clients with low account balances, say below $50,000, which may no longer be as profitable with fewer commissions.

What? The tapeworm cannot thrive if it cannot continue to draw the necessary nutrients from its host!

Okay, I admit it. Bad analogy. The tapeworm thing is spot-on but the video is way over the top. It's actually going to make me cry, again. Apologies for sending the sarcasm to the darkest place. I have absolutely ruined a perfectly good joke.

Magic Trick: How to Make the 1% Disappear!

People are always asking me how we can eliminate the 1%. I've never really had a good answer until now.

April 6, 2016
TheStreet: Why Costco's Migration from Amex to Visa Is a Big Blow to Wal-Mart

They will receive 4% cash back for up to $7,000 in gas purchases, 3% cash back on travel purchases and restaurants even outside the U.S., and 2% cash back on all other purchases, leading to significant savings.

See that 2% cash back on all other purchases? I'm about to perform a magic trick. Let's read the next paragraph!

The only cash back that stays the same is the 1% eligible for all other purchases, irrespective of whether or not they are made at Costco.

Tada! See? It's now only 1%. The other 1% just vanished right before your eyes. Thank you. You've been a wonderful audience. Hope you enjoyed the show! Hahaha!

As a side note, here is a far less obfuscated way to word it, directly from the article this article cites as a source.

Additionally, it will give 2 percent back on Costco purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases. The Costco American Express paid 1 percent back on all other purchases, whether or not they were at Costco.

I'm glad they didn't quote it directly though. It would have ruined my act! Yes, sir. Better to obfuscate and bewilder rather than quoting something that easy to understand. How else can you justify getting paid the big bucks?

Hold on. Why are you booing me? This was a great trick! What? You wanted me to eliminate the richest one percent? What? You think I'm some sort of miracle worker just because I'm a Bernie Sanders sympathizer? A man's got to know his limitations!! I am but a simple anonymous heckler on the vast internets and interwebs! I cannot bend space and fold time!!

Oh, what a tangled web we weave: When first we practise to deceive! - Sir Walter Scott

We Are Doomed

April 5, 2016
How Do You Know When You’ve Made It Financially?

Millennials are also the most competitive about reaching those milestones, with 45 percent saying that it’s important to them to feel like they’ve “made it” before their friends.

With friends like that, who needs enemies? Seriously.

Hurray! One of my friends just had a heart attack! Thanks to our expensive health care system, that should set him back decades!

Yay! Another friend just died in a horrible car accident! He's totally out of the running now!

Unfortunately, one of my friends is doing quite well. That's why I'm setting him up on a blind date with a very attractive "gifted" astrologer with an expensive gambling addiction and a s%^tload of debt! Welcome to the pain train, friend! Woohoo!!

In all seriousness, very few people will ever truly know that they've "made it" financially, unless we assume that our future American economy can be extrapolated from the distant past American economy. Some, like Jeremy Siegel, seem to think it can. I'm not nearly so confident.

Further, if you have to ask how you know you've made it, then you haven't made it. That's just an opinion, of course.

My Nomination for Ironic Recall of the Year

March 25, 2016
Revised Press Release For: "Reliable Drug" Recall of all Compounded Medications Due to a Potential for Mislabeling and Lack of Quality Assurance

Reliable Drug Pharmacy is voluntarily recalling all unexpired lots of compounded products due to concern of lack of quality assurance and potential mislabeling.

It's early in the year but I think we have a winner! ;)

The Safest Way to Make Nearly 20 Times Your Money in Just 2 Years

May 8, 2008
Illusion of Prosperity: Our Pillars of Retail Strength

From the comments:

Either you guys are joking or you like to buy high and sell low. Not my style. Lampert and Sears will prove to be fantastic investments over the next 10 years. Over the next 10 minutes? who knows and who cares? - Anonymous, May 9, 2008

On May 9, 2008, SHLD closed at $70.34 (according to Yahoo, adjusted for dividends and splits). In order for it to be a fantastic investment over 10 years, it should quadruple in price (a roughly 15% per year return).

SHLD currently trades at $14.49.

Don't you see what this means? It is a table pounding screaming bargain right now!

$70.34 x 4 / $14.49 = 19.4

Just look at that upside! Nearly 20 times your money and there's only 2 years left! Woohoo!

If you cannot trust an anonymous heckler of an anonymous sarcastic blogger on the internet to provide you with fantastic investment returns then who can you trust? Cramer? Booyah!

So what are the downside risks? There's gotta be a catch, right? Well, I assure you there are none. This is a sure thing. Can't lose! Don't let the fact that I just made a purchase at from the comfort of my own couch dissuade you, nor should you concern yourself over my Sears store purchase history as seen in a very downwardly spiraling chart. To the best of my knowledge, no such chart even exists! At best, I simply imagine what it must look like! Imagination serves no purpose in the investment world!!

I once imagined what a popping housing bubble would do to our economy. It was nothing like what I expected, other than the sheer panic of financial system instability, of course.

Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack. For what it is worth, THAT'S MY STYLE. It's full of dark sarcasm. ;)

Beat that dead pillar of retail strength horse I say! What can no longer kill it makes it stronger!

Apologies to any Sears employees who are reading this. Deep down, you know you are only here because you fear the worst though, right? Dead chain walking. Sigh.

Monday, April 4, 2016

4 Truly Shocking Sources of Emergency Money!

May 2016
Kiplinger: Best Places to Get Money in an Emergency When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund

1. Home equity.
2. Investments.
3. Credit card.
4. Retirement accounts.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, could have guessed all four. Genius! ;)

How to Ensure You Don't Lose Money This Month

April 4, 2016
MarketWatch: How 8% of investors lost money last month

Well, you just knew I'd have to click on that link. So curious!

What did the losers all have in common? Cash — twice as much allocated to cash (11% vs. 22%) than the winners.

They lost money because they had money? What?

People, you need to take better care of your cash! I highly recommend investing in a large rubber band. You'll thank me later!

wikiHow: How to Create a Gangster Bankroll

Wrap your thick rubber band around your folded money. You may need to twist the rubber band around your bankroll a few times to make sure it's held together tightly. You don't want any loose money to fall out when you take out your bankroll.

In other news, I just heard that a man down the street lost a cheeseburger because, you guessed it, he had three cheeseburgers but only two hands. Why, oh why, didn't he invest in a paper bag? Some people never learn!

Speaking of never learning, why can't I resist click bait? Lost money by having money? And I'm expected to have an epiphany over this? Forehead. Desk. Whack. Whack. Whack.

In all seriousness, the investors who lost money last month didn't lose it because their cash positions were too high. They lost it because their non-cash investments did poorly. They should be thankful that they didn't invest even more of their cash in them. Duh!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Crock of @#$% Report v.033

April 2, 2016
Trump predicts 'very massive recession' in U.S.

Trump vowed in the interview to wipe out the more than $19 trillion national debt "over a period of eight years," helped by a renegotiation of trade deals.

Hahaha! OMG! Hahaha! Stop it! Hahaha! You're killing me! Hahaha! My sides! Hahaha! Splitting! Hahaha! Liquids out my nose! Hahaha! Should not have drunk the Kool-Aid! Hahaha! OMG! Hahaha! The laughter pain! Hahaha! Rolling on hardwood floor! Hahaha! Should have picked room with plush carpeting! Hahaha! Make it stop! Hahaha! Can't catch my breath! Hahaha! Snake oil! Hahaha! OMG! Hahaha!

In all seriousness, it is not possible for the government to eliminate the debt of a 30-year treasury bond in just 8 years without defaulting on the obligation. Bankruptcy? Making America great again? Well, Trump ought to know. Sigh.

No, really. I own long-term treasuries and would love to discuss with Mr. Trump how he plans to magically turn them into short-term treasuries without violating the full faith and credit of the United States government. Last I heard we were not actually running a casino, at least not publicly.

And as for the claim that he could actually eliminate the whopping $19 trillion debt in just 8 years even as we're apparently on the verge of a massive recession, well, oh crap, here it comes again.

Hahaha! OMG! Hahaha! Stop it! Hahaha! You're killing me! Hahaha! Hard to balance a budget during a massive recession much less pay the debt down! Hahaha! OMG! Hahaha! Who would believe this? Hahaha! Damn these hardwood floors! Hahaha! My knees! Hahaha! Can't stop rolling! Hahaha! I should sue! Hahaha! Snake oil! Hahaha!

Forehead! Desk! Whack! Whack! Whack! Hahaha! Ouch! Hahaha!