Friday, August 4, 2023

Stay Hydrated

The choices are:

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Take an ambulance to the emergency room and learn first hand how painful a kidney stone can be.

I chose poorly. May you learn from my mistake.

The good news is that the 4.5mm kidney stone that was causing me so much pain passed within 10 hours of the first symptoms, the pain medication given in the ER was quite effective, and the stone was smooth so once it exited my kidney, the pain was gone. No jagged spikes, thankfully. Not everyone is so fortunate.

The bad news is that the other kidney has 3 similar ticking time bombs and one of them is 6mm. Yikes!

Why an ambulance you might ask? Seemed warranted given the extreme pain and the fact that I was throwing up like a machine gun. 2 bursts of 4! And with such force that my ribs hurt when laughing or coughing for 4 full days thereafter.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Wage Inflation Pressure

The following chart shows the natural log of U.S. wage and salary disbursements. When using natural logs, constant exponential growth is seen as a straight line.

The Fed does not need to deflate wages back into the long-term channel in green, but rather to return to the slope of that channel. What's done is done. Deflation to undo the high inflation is definitely not the goal.

Some progress is being made. We've noved from the steep slope of the red line to the more moderate slope of the yellow line.

I'm convinced that they can achieve their goal, one way or another. But at what cost? I can be a bit cynical, but there's a high risk here that we're still in the early stages of a no-win situation.

How high will the unemployment rate need to rise to get us back to the healthier wage inflation trend? I have no idea, but I can say with 100% certainty that 100% unemployment would do it. Can't have any wage and salary disbursements if nobody is working.

The bulk of my net worth sits in inflation-protected I-Bonds and TIPS. As of about a year ago, my IRA sits entirely in bonds without inflation protection (TLT). And here's where I sit until I see a reason to take on more risk. Near record unemployment expected to rise, falling house prices, and high interest rates are not things that make me excited about taking on riskier investments.

Not investment advice.

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Sarcasm Report v.291

February 8, 2023
lifehacker: The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying to Eat Healthy

Eating enough to stay healthy is important, and eating enough protein is a big part of that.

And if you continue to scroll down after reading that article...

February 10, 2023
lifehacker: Get Free Wendy's Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers Until Sunday

You can only get one per visit, but you can visit as many times as your stomach desires.

Bacon, cheese, and beef sure are great protein sources! Visit as many times as your stomach desires! You know, for your health! Woohoo! ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Converting Paper Savings Bonds

Dear Customer,

This is a system generated email to communicate we received your Savings Bonds/Treasury Marketable Securities materials.

Cases are worked in the order they are received in our office. Your request is important to us and will receive attention as soon as possible. Please allow up to 13 weeks for review and processing. If we require additional information, we will contact you. Thank you for your patience.

Up to 13 weeks? Ouch. The wheels on the governmental bureaucratic bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Elondriel’s Next Motivational Speech

In place of Twitter you would have a King! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the seven cent Doge! Treacherous as the SpaceX! Stronger than the foundations of Tesla! All shall love me and despair!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Cancel Cultured Redux

November 17, 2022
The Guardian: Twitter user gets account back after ban for ‘intimate’ image of meteor

“It was not offensive or pornographic at all,” said McIntyre. “It was just a meteor.”

Been there, done that. It was just a puppy! It was just a circle! Ignorance of the social media law is no defense.

The social media law could not be any more clear. Do not post content that could potentially offend any human, either real or imagined.

Here is a concrete example of what not to post:

Very offensive. Don't do that. ;)

Monday, November 14, 2022

Cancel Cultured

I bought a pretty fantastic magnetic tool on Amazon for drawing circles. Amazon pestered me to leave reviews, so I opted to comply. After submitting the following one sentence glowing review with this video demonstrating the product in all of its glory, Amazon deleted all of my reviews and has warned me to follow their guidelines. By the way, ignoring these guidelines can apparently lead to my account being suspended. Since I own Kindle books and am not much of a risk taker, no more Amazon reviews from me. Ever.

Welcome to social media dystopian crazy metropolis, which is a few steps up from crazy town. We've come a long way since the days I deleted my Twitter account for being shadow banned due to posting puppy pictures. A long, long way. You don't even need to incite an insurrection. Progress!

We are so headed down the doom scrolling dystopian path, and with it the illusion of prosperity will surely prosper. The illusion that is, not so much the prosperity. Sigh.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Gimme Shelter

The following chart shows the natural log of the CPI for shelter. When using natural logs, constant exponential growth is seen as a straight line. I have added long-term trend lines in red.

With lofty housing prices and lofty mortgage rates, it seems very unlikely that we're going to make it back to the top of the trend channel anytime soon. Which, if you think about it, is kind of odd. I could swear that the Fed really wanted that. Just not all at once, apparently. Too bad.

If I were a gambling man, I would wager that there is more risk leaving the channel to the downside than to the upside. And maybe I am a gambling man, because I continue to hold TLT. Very encouraged by today's CPI report. One battle doesn't win the war though, of course.