Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Sarcasm Report v.269

I have great news to share. You are immortal!

November 17, 2016
Yahoo Finance: RAOUL PAL: History shows there's a 100% chance of a recession for Trump

“I recently noted that since 1910, the US economy is either in recession or enters a recession within twelve months in every single instance at the end of a two-term presidency… effecting a 100% chance of recession for the new President,” he wrote in a copy of GMI posted below.

You are probably wondering how this relates to your own mortality. Please allow me to explain.

1. You are reading this.
2. Therefore, you are not dead.
3. If you are not dead now, then you were not dead last year or any previous year.
4. Therefore, you were not dead every single year of your life (not counting the potential for being mistakenly and temporarily declared dead).
5. Since you have never died, sound statistical analysis proves you have a 100% chance of not dying. Welcome to immortality!

Even if there is some tiny flaw in this statistical analysis, there is one thing we can say with even greater than 100% confidence. The longer you go without dying, the more resilient to death you will become!

Further, the only conceivable way you could possibly die would be the occurrence of a 25-sigma black swan event. To the best of my knowledge, no hedge fund manager has ever been burned by one of those though. They all use statistical models we can absolutely count on. That's why we can trust that if there is a 100% chance of a recession within a certain narrow time frame, then it is absolutely guaranteed to occur! It's a sure thing, exactly like your own immortality!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The One Flaw in My Thanksgiving Day Plan

How To Look Like Gerard Butler in the Movie 300

To build muscle, cut body fat, and have enough energy to train for six hours a day, he had to eat:

* Insane amounts of protein (which can be found in eggs, grilled chicken, tuna and other fish, steak, protein shakes, and protein bars),

I naturally assumed that eating insane amounts of protein would be the hardest part and that training for six hours a day would therefore be relatively easier.

Turns out, in hindsight, that eating insane amounts of turkey was a lot easier than it looked. The more I ate, the more confident in the plan I became!

Unfortunately, six hours of physical training became nearly impossible once the completely unexpected napping began. Blindsided by a 25-sigma event black swan!!

Live and learn! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don't Cook That Turkey!

I just got this email from Yelp. Seemed very important, what with the exclamation point and all. Thought I better pass it along ASAP!!

Don't Cook That Turkey!

Whew! Hopefully, Yelp and I saved many lives this holiday. It isn't all about us though. It's about giving back to our community on Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a very special day, free from gastrointestinal emergency room visits.

Not sure which part of the cooking process is bad. I deleted the email before I had a chance to gloss over any new scientific research related to their dire warning. I think it is safe to say that raw turkey is finally safe to eat again though. I suspect that there have been many advancements in food sterility in the aftermath of the Chipotle disaster, but who can really say for sure?

Shame on me. Bad Mark. Bad! Bad! ;)

Disclaimer: This is NOT lack of cooking advice. For the love of all that is holy, cook the bejesus out of the frickin' turkey!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Sarcasm Report v.268

November 22, 2016
Bloomberg: No Evidence of Aloe Vera Found in the Aloe Vera at Wal-Mart, CVS

The aloe vera gel many Americans buy to soothe damaged skin contains no evidence of aloe vera at all.

One needs faith to detect aloe vera! Shun the nonbelievers!

In all seriousness sarcasticness, this is America. Expect to see long prison sentences for those responsible for the corporate fraud! Woohoo!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dead Squirrel Beer

November 20, 2016
The $20,000 Rare Craft Beer That Comes Packaged in a Squirrel

“I absolutely love the beautiful, yet disturbing nature of taxidermy, so packaging our most evocative beer in such an unconventional, BrewDog way made sense,” says Watt. “Beer is art. Art is also art.”

I'm trying to figure out which turns my stomach more. Drinking this particular beer straight from the bottle? Or paying $20,000 for the privilege to do so?

The Sarcasm Report v.267

November 18, 2016
USA Today: 5 smart things to do with $100 right now

Imagine that a $100 online Web design course results in a $1,000 bump in salary. That's a 900% return on investment. Talk about money well spent.

Now imagine staying with that company for 30 years, which results in an extra $30,000 over the period. That's a 29,900% return on investment!

And finally, imagine using those proceeds to attend a seminar which will help you find the relationship of your dreams!

Warning: Following video not entirely safe for work.

Behold the power of $100, webinars, and an active imagination! Talk about money well spent! Dare to dream big! ;)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Abercrombie Is Ditch'd

November 18, 2016
USA Today: Shoppers snub Abercrombie as sales plunge

Down 15% as I type this.

In the comments, Progressive Political Views, if indeed that is his/her real name says:

I'm glad to see that there are significant numbers of people beginning to recognize the materialistic ideology that is at the center of our culture. We value 'stuff' and throw away people, when it should be the other way around.

Baby steps. First we need to value people as stuff and not needlessly throw them away.

I did NOT just go there!!

Shame on me. Bad Mark. Bad! Bad!

The Gap Gaps

The Gap is gapping down 13% today as I type this.

Many would search the news to find out why. I just wanted an amusing headline. Sorry.

Well, since you are here anyway I might just as well offer an opinion, the opinion of Karen S. reviewing their Redmond, Washington location.

Don't recommend this gap location mainly because of the negative customer service I've received here. One of the managers, a lady with shorter hair, spoke to me with an extremely condescending tone and was almost rude when I asked her a question. Ruined my experience there. Definitely do not appreciate this type of service, won't be returning to this gap location.

One person found it funny. I did too! I don't know who you are Karen, but I admire your style. If the extremely condescending tone didn't qualify as almost rude, then our imaginations run wild with the thoughts of what is! Hahaha! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How to Stop Facebook from Ruining Your Retirement

November 16, 2016
USA Today: Why Facebook could ruin your retirement

Fellow retirees and pre-retirees will post pictures of their travels and adventures to exotic places — the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in Iceland, Nature’s Valley in South Africa, Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands, and you — not wanting to miss out on all the fun — might want to do the very same and then some.

What say experts about keeping up the with Joneses?

The sooner you decide to stop keeping up with the Joneses, the sooner you can escape cubicle hell. And if you have successfully escaped, then why risk going back?

My sister has been to Machu Picchu. My brother has been to Machu Picchu. I have been to Poo Poo Point (trailhead's 8 miles from my house). It's all good.

Envy? No. Thankful? Yes, that's exactly what I feel.

Sergeant Apone gets it. Every meal is a banquet.

If you laugh/scoff at the banquet, just keep in mind that there are 795 million people in the world who do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life.

Thanksgiving's nearly here. Looking forward to eating cheap freshly cooked turkey (69 cents per pound on sale). Being envious makes one sad. Being thankful makes one happy. I will be very thankful. Not a hard choice, in my opinion. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Career Idea: Anthropology Barista?

November 14, 2016
Kiplinger: 10 Worst College Majors for Your Career

5. Anthropology

Annual online job postings: 923

...more than 12,000 people who recently studied anthropology in college and grad school.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Trading Update

Bought 175 shares of Pimco's 15+ Year US TIPS ETF (LTPZ) @ $66.405 within my traditional IRA using accumulated interest from prior long-term TIPS purchases, with the intent to hold 15+ years.

I normally buy TIPS directly from the government and cutout the middleman, but I can't inside my IRA.

So ends today's trading fireworks!

In all seriousness, watching me trade isn't like watching water boil. It's more like watching glaciers melt. I'm not exactly what you would call a high frequency trader.

The Sarcasm Report v.266

November 14, 2016
Bloomberg: Can $300 Billion Make Companies Behave?

Actually, the right question might be why, despite the advent of multi-billion-dollar penalties, companies keep breaking the law.

It continues to remain a great mystery.

If caught breaking the law, then the fines are evenly distributed to all owners of the company. Who are the owners? You know, they are the pension funds and index funds of honest, hardworking Americans.

If not caught breaking the law, then the biggest winners are those who hold leveraged stock options. Small changes in stock prices can offer enormous gains to these lucky holders. Who owns stock options? You know, they are the dishonest top executives of fraud-embracing corporations.

Why doesn't this system stop criminal activity? Who knows! There is something that could be tried though, with a very modest change to the existing system. What if jail time was imposed? Sounds pretty crazy, right? Hear me out.

I propose that if a top executive is caught breaking the law, then the jail time could be evenly distributed to all owners of the company. Let's all do our part to end the criminal activity! Rather than a top executive doing time for 20 years, simply have each honest, hardworking American stock owner do a few minutes of jail time!

If that won't stop the crime dead in its tracks, then nothing will. Certainly worth a shot!

It has been a while since I felt the need to ask the following question. Too much sarcasm? Seems excessive, almost criminal.

Friday, November 11, 2016

J.C. Penney's "Surprising Decline"

November 11, 2016
J.C. Penney reports worse-than-expected sales

J.C. Penney Co. posted a surprising decline in sales, citing softness in apparel, and lowered a key sales metric.

What they don't tell you as a bargain hunting retail investor, is that the department store industry's 16-year-old falling knife is rusty. Got steel glove and/or tetanus shot?

A Simple Plan to Unite This Country

Let's get the discussion going by talking more about politics, religion, money, race, and sex. Simultaneously!

These topics are all fresh in our minds! Thanksgiving dinner is just a few weeks away! The timing is perfect! What's the worst that could happen?

Hey, I never claimed it was a good plan, just a simple one. ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Sarcasm Report v.265

The following pictures were taken from my iPhone on Election Day. Thought that maybe, just maybe, they might lead to a sarcasm report. Mission accomplished! Woohoo!

6:22pm PST:

Seven minutes later:

Oh, yes. Definitely 50/50. Just flip a coin.

Polling statistics and complex predictive algorithms, baby. That's what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Trump Is Winning: ‘We Couldn’t Remotely Envision This Outcome’

The New York Times shows Trump currently has a 95% chance of winning. S&P 500 futures are currently down more than 4%. Treasury yields have fallen. Pollsters are in shock. The mainstream media is in shock. The world is in shock.

See? It really is the Headline of the Day! My fear really has been realized. Hey, but what's new? I'm a long-term saver during perpetual ZIRP. I'm not a believer in the resilience of our long-term economy. Very little shocks me these days. May we live in interesting times.

The "futures" are so bright that I gotta keep the shades closed.

Headline of the Day

November 8, 2016
Hertz: ‘We Couldn’t Remotely Envision This Outcome’

Shares of Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) have lost half their value after announcing earnings that fell well below the Street consensus and offering guidance that was a fraction of analyst expectations.

I fear this headline may be reused once the election results are final.

I will never vote for Donald Trump.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Take Pity on America's Most Hated CEO!

November 6, 2016
Sears’ Edward Lampert Is the Most Hated CEO in America

Lampert has received a base salary of $1.00 in each of the past three years.

Assuming at least 2,000 hours worked per year, the most hated CEO in America is earning at most just 1/20th of a penny per hour to drive the company and its employees into the ground. What a sweatshop!

Still, his total annual compensation, which comes mostly from stock awards, has been at least $4 million since 2013, peaking at $5.7 million in fiscal 2014.

Enough to live on? Oh, please. That's barely enough to pay for one engagement ring!

From the comments:

Retail stores are dead anyway. Lampert is positioning the holding company for long-term success similar to what Warren Buffett did with Berkshire Hathaway, a failing textile mill back east. Lampert doesn't care what people think, nor should he. The shareholders are benefiting in spite of the negative news. In the long run, the owners will be very wealthy indeed. Retail is going the way of the buffalo. Wise up and get on with your life instead of crying and demonizing this man. Americans quit burning witches at the stake a couple hundred years ago. Quit crying in your soup and grow a pair. Survival of the fittest. If you don't like it, move to China or Russia and live with the socialists and communists. We'll see how that works for ya. - GoodWalkSpoilt

Demonizing this man? Burning witches at the stake? Crying in my soup? Heavens no! We need to take pity on him! Let's start a GoFundMe "Save the Lampert" campaign!! ;)

Government Records Indicate Little Risk

November 4, 2016
The Guardian: Diver may have found 'lost nuke' missing since cold war off Canada coast

Government records indicate that the lost bomb was a dummy and poses little risk of nuclear detonation, said a spokesperson.

I was under the impression that a dummy bomb poses zero risk of nuclear detonation. Oh, wait. I get it. Perhaps the Canadian spokesperson doesn't fully trust our government records?

Let me set the record straight for any Canadians who don't quite understand how things work in my country.

When my government says that there are weapons of mass destruction to be found or not found, you can trust that we will either find them or not.

In fact, you can always trust my government. Remember when Ben Bernanke's government records indicated that there was no housing bubble to go bust back in 2005?

Well, the Cubs just busted their record by winning the World Series! Housing had absolutely nothing to do with it! Yes! Bernanke, you're the man!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Election 2016: I Am Very Optimistic!

November 5, 2016
NBC News: Election Chaos Fears Have Preppers Stockpiling Survival Food

Reddie predicts a Trump win that has the urban poor revolting across the nation and the imposition of martial law to quell riots and the burning of businesses.

But he's also getting ready for the possibility of a Clinton victory that he says could lead to conflict with Russia and "World War 3 in 2017."

Either way, Freddy's ready - with both supplies and a word of advice.

Wow! On a relative basis, I am very optimistic. My plans involve sharing a bowl of popcorn on election night and playing with our dog (to help ease the traumatic election pain).

He has to use a pseudonym to protect his supply from any future hungry neighbors, he told NBC News.

I've been keeping extra supplies on hand as well, but mainly because I think they've been out performing treasury bills on an inflation adjusted basis. I also tend to stock up when things are cheap. Take this week for instance. Del Monte tomatoes are just 49 cents per can at QFC when bought in multiples of 10. Um, yes please!!

I really don't think an "I'm sorry, but we're fresh out of food." will cut it if mobs of angry disenfranchised starving masses show up at our door in his vision of the election apocalypse. I say this because about 200 scary looking children begging for food showed up on the last day of October this year. We managed to appease them with mini chocolate candy bars and Dum Dums. So yes, there is a precedence. ;)

Retired Air Force Colonel Lloyd Menninger for President

Straight shooter. Calls it like he sees it. Not afraid to speak his mind. ;)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Quote of the Day

We think everyone here is a risk manager. Whether it’s your official title or not, everything we do is a part of that.

- Former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, November 6, 2015

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Pretty Scary Picture!

November 2, 2016
USA Today: Here's how much the average American spends on child care

In fact, the cost of child care is so astounding that over 20% of those surveyed say it drove them to hold off on having kids. Meanwhile, 25% of parents have gone into debt in order to pay for child care. But while these numbers might paint a pretty scary picture, there are things you can do to ease the financial burden.

I had to stop reading. Started to feel like another cat story. We already know how the last one ended!

The Sarcasm Report v.264

November 2, 2016
My Cat Is Sick, Expensive, and Keeping Me in Debt. Is It Time to … You Know?

Here’s the major issue: I have an elderly cat whom I love very, very much. She’s quite happy, but her medical care for a number of chronic illnesses runs about $600 to $700 a month for specialized food, prescription medicines, quarterly vet visits, and other needs. This is quite a burden. And if it wasn’t for this expense, which has been going on for four years now, I could—at least mathematically—not only be out of debt but have a cool $10,000 in savings.

You and your husband earn a combined $160,000 per year (a mere three times the median household income). Your gross income is only $13,333 per month. At $650 per month, your cat's current expenses add up to 5% of your combined gross income. Oh, yes. It is definitely your beloved cat that is keeping you in debt. Shame on her!

You have my permission to kill your happy cat that you love very, very much. Once that burden is removed, think how much happier you all will be. And remember, you are never obliged to pay for those you love, no matter how much they might depend on you or how much you might love them. It's all purely discretionary. Further, she is not actually your child. You did not give birth to her! You aren't even the stepmother. You should have opted for the "cool $10,000 in savings" years ago! Think how many younger and cuter kittens you could have had with that!

But pets are not children. We may refer to ourselves as pet mommies, but we aren’t obliged to pay for their medical care. While being an animal-lover feels necessary to you and me, it is all but the definition of discretionary spending.

See? I am not alone in my thinking. We animal-lovers need to stick together.

In all seriousness, our pets are our kids. We do feel obliged to pay for their medical care. If you cannot afford to pay 5% of your annual gross income to keep beloved happy pets alive in their elderly years, then perhaps you should not have pets in the first place.

Live and let live.

Seriously, if you really love your cat and your cat is indeed happy, then let her live.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I-Bond Fixed Rate Falls Back to 0.0%

I got greedy. Thought that maybe, just maybe, all this talk of rising interest rate environments would bleed into I-Bond fixed rates. No such luck.

As of November 1st, the fixed rate for new purchases is back down to 0.0%, yet again. Should have locked in 0.1% in October when I had the chance.

Meanwhile, the MZM Own Rate seems to have peaked at a whopping 0.101% and has also been heading back down. I guess nobody bothered to burn cash to relieve the growing $14.5 trillion money of zero maturity (bank deposit) glut. It's a shame. Would have been quite a bonfire.

All this talk of bond bubbles has convinced many long-term savers to dump bonds (that still pay at least some interest over the long-term) and move to the safety of cash (which pays no interest over the long-term). For what it's worth, it has not convinced me. Still holding to maturity. Still earning the same interest. Still no desire to bury cash in my backyard.

Maybe I'm just stubborn or maybe I actually root for higher interest rates so that I can reinvest with more desirable terms when my bonds mature? I think it's the latter, for I, as a long-term saver and as a holder of long-term inflation-protected bonds, have never rooted for lower real interest rates. Not even once. And yet, lower real yields is all we seem to get.

Hey, do you suppose real yields will rise after the next recession? Will it become even easier to make money off of money? I only ask because I also have bets on hell breaching the 32 degree resistance level and a controversial patent on improving the aerodynamics of pigs. You gotta love long shots. Right? Sigh.