Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sky Wins !!!

That is, Mrs. B & Sky win first place in a sheep herding trial in the "novice-novice" class (20 dogs). They brought home a blue ribbon, many compliments from the trial sponsor, and smiles all around. At last all the hard work & training by both came together. This also means they qualify for the regional championships this Fall. Congratulations again !


A big drop yesterday on Euro-fears. Fear still seems to be the dominant emotion in the market. Eventually barring a new surprise, this should wear off. The hopes that "stimulus" would save the day are now dashed. Companies continue to hoard cash. Leadership in government does not exist. Emerging market economies seems strong, though.

I continue to invest mechanically using the Krypto Fund asset allocation model. Its asset allocation tactics are greatly outperforming standard static investment theory. Year to date S&P 500 return is -5.71%; Krypto Fund return is -0.78%, almost 5% better. That's huge. Why pay a money manager when my dog, Krypto, can outperform like that for dog biscuits ?

Balanced, well-diversified investing with unemotional asset allocation works. One must keep the emotions out of allocation and use simple "buy low, sell high" & "sell high, buy low" rules with as little added thinking as reasonable.


I checked the model this AM and found no orders from Krypto. She waits for lower prices. I think a further drop to S&P 1000 will prompt her to open the purse and do some buying.

Word of the Day

"Aleatory" - adjective [$10] ( = "aleatoric")
Aleatory means 1. depending on the throw of a die or chance; 2. (Music & Art) involving random chance by a performer or artist.
Sentence: Why subject investing for retirement to aleatoric returns of mutual fund managers, or worse, your own ETF trading ? Use simple, asset allocation with low cost index funds and broad based index ETFs like Krypto.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hey, Timmy !

I'm calling to Timmy Geitner, the US Treasury Secretary. Take a look at the yields on the 10 year US Treasury Note - under 3% ! And the yield on the 30 year US Treasury Bond is under 4%. !!

That means the world wants US long term debt.

You, Timmy Geitner, should start selling it hand over fist. Refund all those T-bills and short term T-Notes with stable, long term debt. That will help the US long term solvency and lock in historically low rates. Act like a CFO - fund your needs when the market wants your debt. That means NOW !!!

The United States Treasury should sell hundreds of billions of 10 year notes and 30 year bonds.


Futures are down big early this morning. More turmoil in Europe. Krypto has cash to invest but wants lower prices. One thing she will not be buying: TIPs and long term taxable bonds. Those are now in the range of "Certificates of Confiscation" - very poor long term prospects.

Word of the Day

"Conduce" - verb [$10] (one of many words formed from -duce; I call them the 'duces')
Conduce means to lead or tend to a particular and usually desirable result: contribute.
Sentence: Selling hundreds of billions of long term debt at today's low rates to refinance short term T-bills will conduce great stability for US funding and increase the strength of the US dollar as a reserve currency and source of world stability and solvency.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A FACT from History

I'm listening to a CD course on the High Middle Ages, viz. the period from about A. D. 1000 to A. D. 1300. The Teaching Company produced the course which has a well-respected and excellent lecturer. See for it and other good courses. I had just finished the course about the preceding time period in Europe, called the Early Middle Ages which covered from about A. D. 300 until A. D. 1000. In that course I learned that the population in Europe (the Roman empire, that is) began declining in the mid 2nd century and continued to decline until around A. D. 700. The decline was substantial - around 50%. The decline seems to have been caused by the introduction of smallpox and measles; this likely was a principal factor in the fall of the western Roman Empire.

BUT around A. D. 7-800 the population stabilized and began to grow steadily until A. D. 1200. New farming technolgy for northern Europe was one factor. The falloff in Viking & other external raids towards A. D. 1000 was another. BUT one major fact stands out: the climate warmed, aiding farming and food production and helping human health in many ways.

This is an indisputable FACT. Why ? Pollen preserved in peat bogs proves that plants needing warmer climates grew in areas further north that even today. For example, grapes grew in more northerly areas of England. This warmer climate aided agricultural production hugely and the better food supplies fed more people well. Population doubled from A. D. 800 to A. D. 1200.

This period is called the Medieval Climatic Optimum, or the "Little Optimum" to contrast it to a remarkable cold period centered in the 17th century called the "Little Ice Age".

Here's an obvious question -> How could medieval man cause that warmer climate ? After all, well-funded modern "science" deems as a presumption that only Man can cause climate change. How did Charlemagne start this process ? How did those serfs cause the earth to warm ? Did the Vikings have secret gasoline engines in their long boats ? Did they have SUVs to move quickly over rough terrain and raid more monasteries ? Why hasn't the archaeological record uncovered signs of this remarkable technology ?

Hmmmm ... a puzzle, no ?

Perhaps we should reject the presumption that global warmings arise from carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by man. Certainly that seems true for the Medieval Climatic Optimum. And if it didn't cause the warming then, WHY OH WHY are we to assume that it's happening now ? Why could not the SAME processes that caused the Medieval Climatic Optimum be causing the current century long warming trend ?

IF a scientist propounding theories for human causes of this global warming can't answer that, then he's likely a knave just after the grant money.

Word of the Day

"Indulcate" - verb, transitive [$1000] also spelled "indulciate"; obsolete, rare.
Indulcate means to sweeten (in the sense of make agreeable, less painful). related to "dulcify" meaning 1. make gentle; 2. sweeten.
Sentence: Compared to a cold, wet environment, a warmer, drier climate indulcates human life and increases happiness.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Double Dip ?

Why oh why are people talking about a "double dip" for the economy ? To have a "second" dip presumes a recovery is underway. Where is there any evidence for that ? Every week, week after week, over 450,000 NEW unemployment claims are filed, That's hard data - no major adjustments. real people go to the unemployment office and file claims for benefits - they lost their jobs. That pain is real. That whole family is directly impacted. And loss of that job has a major, major word of mouth secondary effect on neighbors, friends, relatives who hear about it.

Recovery ? Nonsense, at least nationally. [New England seems to be recovering well, anecdotally.]

The correct question is whether there will be a second leg down.

The US economy is still in the swamp, slogging along with huge drag. Correct metaphor is whether is, "Will it step into quicksand and drop more ?"

The stimulus was squandered. A proper stimulus would now be seeing major spending on internal improvements (bridges, ports, rail, high speed Internet, conservation, water projects, historic rehabilitation, etc.) Little was done and little is happening.

Homes values are stagnant or are still dropping in the hard hit areas. The only thing that prevents them from falling faster in those areas is the very slow rate of forced sales by banks as they ration supply to the market to prevent more declines. The big talk in DC of loan modifications is and was boob bait - nothing is or was being done that had a major impact. People are stuck in underwater homes - and when / if something bad happens to their income, a foreclosure or bankruptcy occurs. More pain.

Major taxes rises are scheduled for 2011. That will hurt the economy a lot. Obama is doing nothing to change that and he's even piling more on.

Savers aren't making any money as interest rates are very low. Retiree incomes are down and will likely stay down.

State and local governments have still not restructured their huge pension obligations nor significantly cut the future accrual of benefits.

Three things are fighting a second leg down: The Fed, the natural tendency of those Americans with jobs to spend, and the entrepreneurial nature of free Americans. If they can't find a job, they often scrap and scrimp and create one by starting a business of some kind.

We can only hope that Obama won't shoot off one of the three legs on that shaky stool. He has no leadership ability nor ideas. The "book" on Obama before the election was that he's simply a "speech". That is now proven true before our eyes. The public was fooled by his media sycophants and shills.

Have they learned their lesson ?

Word of the Day

"Duoliteral" - adjective [$100]
Duoliteral means consisting of two letters only.
Sentence: What's a duoliteral description of Obama's Presidential performance ? BS.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Amsterdam - Netherlands

Just returned from a 5 day visit to Amsterdam and some other parts of the Netherlands, I can strongly say that these are very pleasant and enjoyable and intellectually rewarding places to visit. I recommend them highly.

First, almost everyone seems to understand enough English so you don't have to struggle with a phrase book or stick with a guided tour all the time. The weather was very mild - about 65F and little heavy rain. We had some sporadic drizzle, but nothing that an umbrella could not deflect. Amsterdam is a great walking city - one can walk to all the main tourist sites with ease. It's flat and the streets have sidewalks and are safe.

The locals ride bicycles everywhere. There are more bicycles than people. That's one thing your do have to watch out for - the bicyclists. Bicyclists seems to peddle in a carefree manner, disregarding rules for cars and pedestrians, so look both ways in crossing. Why bicycles ? One of our drivers - a young man with a trip to NYC under his belt - said that parking permits have a five year waiting list. And parking costs 5 euros an hours IF you can find a space. Since spaces aren't available even at stores, etc., what's the point of having a car unless one lives in the suburbs. With flat terrain, bicycling is easy, too. We were told people bike in all weathers.

The Dutch are taller than the average American. The average height of an American man is about 5' 10". A Dutch man averages 6' 0.5". I'm 6' tall and there were many Dutch men who were taller than me - far, far more than for US men. The same applies to women. Also, Dutch women are rather attractive in general - they are not too thin nor fat. The ultra-thin fad does not seem prevalent there; Dutch women seemed to mostly have nice figures. Maybe it's the bicycling.

Normal Dutch food seems a lot like normal American food. Lunches in cafes were mostly indistinguishable from a similar cafe in NYC. I had several excellent club sandwiches for lunch with a fine glass of Dutch beer (large, of course).

The art in the Netherlands is spectacular. we visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Franz Hals Museum in Haarlem to see the great masters of the 17th century. All were incredibly good collections and the audio tour guides were simply the best I've ever encountered anywhere on earth. Another must stop is the Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House) - the restored home of Rembrandt. It's a wonderful example of both 17th century life and how the artist lived.

Walking around Amsterdam, one can see fine old churches and many, many fine homes from the 17th and 18th centuries. A few gates from the old city walls exist, too. Amsterdam and The Netherlands are dream places for those interested in art and old architecture. The Dutch do a fine job preserving both.

For food, we mostly dined on Indonesian food. Indonesia was once a Dutch colony so many people with experience in Indonesian food brought it to The Netherlands. It's very tasty and nutritious - a bit like a combination of Indian food and Southeast Asian food. We had the "Rijsstaffel" every night - that's a "rice table". It's a combination meal of numerous small servings of all the styles and types offered by the restaurant. depending on the size, one gets 12-18 different meat or vegetable servings with different spices and cooking styles, and both yellow and white rice. All were delicious. Portions were very large. That meal goes well with either fine wine or Dutch beer.

Amsterdam and The Netherlands are fine, fine places for a vacation - very enjoyable.

Word of the Day

"Inanition" - noun [$10]
Inanition means 1. emptiness; 2. exhaustion from lack of nourishment.
Sentence: The American people's increasing sense of inanition in Obama's regime will likely bring major changes in November.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I returned from a fine trip to Amsterdam. I'll write a lot more later, but Amsterdam is very enjoyable city to visit - friendly people, wonderful sites, superb food and easy to get around. I recommend it for a vacation to anyone. We also saw Haarlem and The Hague on day trips - both were equally fine visits.


Mrs. B and I both enjoyed watching a number of soccer games in the evenings after a long day of touring and a fine dinner. I suppose I am now as much of a soccer fan as I am of other major sports. [That's not a high bar, btw.] Soccer is an exciting sport to watch once one gets familiar with the rules and how goals are set up. In excitement, I compare it to baseball or hockey - both often have low scoring and long set-ups for explosive moments. Rugby is a better game, but ...

And to commemorate this conversion, I composed a triad of poems that also might qualify for a record short collection of poems. They are below, with titles in bold italics.



Score 1st Half


Final Score


[I could not resist having a bit of fun at the expense of soccer :)))) ]


I checked the model this AM and Krypto might soon want to sell some emerging market stocks to put into cash. The model says do it, but I might wait another day or two to get a stronger signal.

Word of the Day

"Madstone" - noun [$1000]
Madstone means a stone supposed to have the power of allaying or curing the madness caused by the bite of a "mad" animal.
Sentence: Perhaps the next team Le Bleu of France should all wear charms containing a madstone to avoid the vicious infighting and dissension that seems to have been their downfall in this World Cup.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dutch Masters

I'm not talking about cigars.

Over the next few days, we plan to visit the major art museums in Amsterdam, Haarlem and The Hague which have collections of the great Dutch Masters of the 17th century. To get the most benefit from this vacation, I listened to a CD course on this subject in preparation from The Teaching Company [ ]

And I'm looking forward to some fine Dutch beer. I've also read that Indonesian cuisine is particularly fine in the Netherlands at it was once a Dutch colony. I expect we will have more than one meal of Indonesian food.


I'll check the numbers for Krypto this morning; if anything needs to be done, I will post a "PS".


I checked and the numbers say to buy some TIPs. Those are still overvalued by a lot, so that recommendation can wait.

Word of the Day

"Philippic" - noun [$10]
Philippic means a bitter verbal attack or denunciation [from the Greek name of Demosthenes' speeches against Philip II of Macedon, and Cicero's against Mark Antony].
Sentence: Obama's philippics against BP accomplish nothing for either combating the spill or to compensate people for losses; they are delivered simply to keep his political ratings up.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some Good Books

Reading books is one of two ways to learn significant amounts in both quantity and quality. The Internet is very thin gruel - a starvation diet for the brain. Books and lecture courses are the twin pillars of knowledge.

For fine lecture courses in either CD or DVD, see - I've listened to dozens of their courses on many, many subjects and almost all are excellent.

For books, read good nonfiction. If you prefer fiction (novels, etc.) try to stick to good fiction that has survived the test of time OR good historical fiction.

I find much rather good current nonfiction in reviews in the Financial Times, the London Review of Books, and TLS - The Times Literary Supplement. I suppose the New York Review of Books has good insight into good books, too, but it's a gloppy blob of big truck and double truck ads (1 and 2 page ads) and has an excessive political bent.

Here are two books that I've just finished which are both highly informative and well-researched accounts of important subjects in history.

Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History, by Nick Bunker. This book does an excellent job describing all aspects of the Pilgrims' settlement at Plymouth in 1620. The author, an Englishman, did a huge amount of research in England, and in the US, and puts the Pilgrim migration in economic, historical and religious context in both sides and connect the Pilgrims to the later much larger migration to settle Boston by the mainstream Puritans. There's so much more to that story than the near mythology we all learned as young people. The huge importance of that settlement and why it succeeded are described in this book with much backup material. The one drawback is that it's a bit too generous with the landscape descriptions.

The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999, by Timothy Snyder. Look on a map of Europe. The region covered by those nations is a huge part of Europe. Yet knowledge of the history of those peoples and nations and how they came about is almost a void in the "west" (aka US, UK and western Europe). This book explains the crucial historical facts and forces which led to the current nation states. And it explains the current trends and some of their problems and policies. I have read many histories of the nations and peoples of central and eastern Europe and I will unequivocally say this book is a crucial part of achieving some kind of unified understanding of that area and peoples - by unified I mean one that is NOT dependent on "western" myths and patterns of thought which do not necessarily apply. If you are interested in understanding ALL of Europe, this book helps immeasurably.

Word of the Day

"Homologue" - noun [$10]; "Homologous" - adjective [$10]
Homologue means a homologous thing.
Homologous means 1.a. having the same relation, relative position, etc.; 1.b. corresponding; 2. (Biology) (of organs, etc.) similar in position, structure, and evolutionary origin but not necessarily in function (opposite of Analogous); 3. (Biology) (of chromosomes) pairing at meiosis and having the same structural features and patterns of genes; 4. (Chemistry) (of a series of chemical compounds) having the same functional groups but differing in composition by a fixed groups of atoms.
Sentence: (WSJ 6/14/2010) "There are no national parties in Belgium - even the Greens, who focus their energy on saving the environment, are split into French and Dutch homologues."

Monday, June 14, 2010


Yes, I'm cheering for the USA soccer team in the World Cup. I DID watch the game and it was very exciting once the USA team got into gear. But I confess that I had dozed off when the tying goal was scored. I woke up right away and saw the replay over & over. How reminiscent of Bill Buckner's misplay of a routine ground ball to cost the Red Sox the World Series ! I suppose England's goalie was thinking about where to play the ball "after" he caught it. After that blunder, the suspense in the game was huge. England obviously had better players, but the US team and its goalie were a strong fighting unit. Teamwork pays off in soccer. Yeaaaaaaa USA !


Now I'll turn to another product of the USA - a fine rum made in FLORIDA. An friend gave me a bottle of Siesta Key rum - the light, clear variety. Siesta Key rum is made in Sarasota, Florida in small batches; it's a premium rum made from the finest ingredients and in a fine copper still. That is, so the label says. Being a natural skeptic, I did my own scientific taste test.

Many rum cocktails have sugar and other flavorings. How should one drink rum to assess its own quality ?

Here's what I did - it's my own style for drinking rum. I fill a small "Old Fashioned" glass with ice, squeeze a wedge of lime into it, then wipe the lime around the lip of the glass, and then fill the glass to about 1/2 full with rum. The result is a simple, pure rum drink - very cold. I let the ice melt a bit before sipping; this brings out the flavor better and cuts the bite of the alcohol just enough.

The Data Sample Set:

Siesta Key light rum from batch #2 - cost unknown (a gift).
Rhum J. M. - a rhum vieux agricole distilled in 1997 and aged over 10 years - over $50/bottle.
Mount Gay Eclipse golden rum from Barbados - about $18/bottle.
Pusser's Rum (original British Navy formula for grog) - about $23/bottle.

I lined up the bottles and glasses and made the cocktails. First, however, I sniffed each bottle over & over to compare the pure aroma. After that, I did many, many sipping tests comparing one to another over & over. Of ourse I had to be certain, so took even more sips.

First, let me say that ALL were very good rums. Second, they formed a sequence of flavor and aroma strength. The US entry - Siesta Key rum - had a fine, delicate flavor and an intriguing mouthfeel. My rum cocktail with it was exceptionally smooth and easy to drink and had that cool, clean taste of a fine rum with no harshness or aftertaste. The color is crystal clear, indicating that it's been charcoal filtered to remove impurities and congeries. A very pleasant rum.

Next up the sequence was Rhum J. M. from Martinique. The Siesta Key rum and it shared the pleasant aroma of fine rum. Rhum J. M., being aged and not subsequently cut with water, comes in at 104 proof, so you'll want to let the ice melt a bit more. The color is light gold. It's very, very good - a bit more taste than Siesta Key, and again with no harshness or unpleasant aftertaste.

Third in the aroma-flavor sequence was the Mount Gay Eclipse from Barbados. In the bottle, it's a goldish brown color, but in the glass with ice, it become a pure gold color. The aroma is a bit stronger as is the flavor. ALL these rums have similar flavors, it's just the strength that varies. I did notice the aroma was a wee bit harsher and the flavor had a bit less depth. Only a simultaneous taste test with many, many sample sips can pick this out. Mount Gay makes a fine golden rum.

Strongest flavor came from the Pusser's Rum, which is a blend of four Caribbean rums mixed in the British Virgin Islands. This rum has superb flavor and aroma - not too strong - and its color in the glass is a golden brown. A very, very good rum - a staple in my bar.

So what do I conclude from this very enjoyable scientific test ? All these rums were excellent and they fall neatly onto a sequence of strength of flavor and aroma. That's intentional, of course. The makers are striving to hit certain intensity levels and they succeed. BUT the US entry, Siesta Key rum, proves that a US maker can produce a rum of the finest quality. If you can get it, try it.

Next, I'm trying to obtain a bottle of the Siesta Key dark rum. I'll then be able to do a cross-sectional scientific study, comparing four dark rums for the depth and qualities of their flavor.

Word of the Day

"Provenience" - noun [$10]
Provenience means origin, source.
Sentence: The provenience of rum is not longer controlling for determining whether a rum is fine; fine rum IS made in the USA in Florida as Siesta Key rum proves.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Attention CFOs !!!

Today I giving orders to corporate CFOs (Chief Financial Officers).

I know you may be sitting on top of a mountain of cash per today's WSJ article: "U.S. companies are holding more cash in the bank than at any point on record, underscoring persistent worries about financial markets and about the sustainability of the economic recovery. The Federal Reserve reported Thursday that non financial companies had socked away $1.84 trillion in cash and other liquid assets as of the end of March, up 26% from a year earlier and the largest-ever increase in records going back to 1952. Cash made up about 7% of all company assets, including factories and financial investments, the highest level since 1963."

And some of you have sold notes & bonds to raise cheap money. BUT most are making a fundamental error. When long term money is cheap, GET IT AND GET AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

Sell long term bonds - lock in low rates for 30 year bonds. Fund all your foreseeable and unforeseeable funding needs for the next ten years with fixed rate debt with terms at maturities of at least 10 years, preferably 30 years. Prefund any maturities coming with the next five years. DO IT !!!

Stay away from floating rate debt and short and intermediate term maturities. If you want lower floating rates for awhile, do a short term interest rate swap against the long term bonds.

Give the CEO a war chest to use to build and grow the company NOW as record low fixed rates. This will increase the value of your company immeasurably over time.

Now for investors ... wait, don't buy that long term debt. Let the pension funds and insurance companies and mutual funds who have to buy do the buying. Wait. Soon the US economy will start to perk up - maybe late this year, and then rates will start to rise. If you buy now, you can easily lose one or two year's of interest in price declines. Wait.


I'm tempted to buy some BP, but will wait. IF the oil spill hits the beaches on the west coast of Florida, I think BP will go to zero as the damages will be incalculable.

Word of the Day

"Homeostasis" - noun [$10]
Homeostasis means a tendency towards relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, esp. as maintained by physiological processes.
Sentence: I doubt the markets will achieve homeostasis until hedge funds are regulated heavily and have much less money. Until then, asset allocation trades will rule: buy low, sell high AND sell high, buy low. You must do BOTH.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Key Number

To assess the strength or weakness of the US economy, you need only look at one number every week: the new unemployment claims. This is a rather hard number as it is based on real people filing real claims from layoffs. If does not capture failures of small sole proprietorships, but not much else does that.

IF-WHEN that number falls under 300,000, then one can say the US economy is growing well - fast enough to absorb new graduates and labor force re-entrants. Until then, it's a muddle.

Don't waste time on the forest of other data - just watch that one big tree.

Today we get another data point. I expect another poor number - around 450,000. Ugh.

Word of the Day

"Churl" - noun [$10]
Churl means 1, a medieval peasant; 2. rustic, countryman; 3. a rude, ill-bred person; a stingy, morose person.
Sentence: Has not Barry become quite a churl by his slang comments about BP and what he would do to them ?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Longest Day

Almost every year around June 6 we watch the great movie, The Longest Day, which covers the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, in World War II. There is no doubt that this battle is one of the most critical, and decisive battles in determining the path of the world that led to the present. Failure would have prolonged the war in Europe for at least a year, and can we imagine what the world would be if Stalin had occupied most of continental Europe.

The screenplay is astonishingly accurate in many, many details. Cornelius Ryan wrote it, and it's a faithful depiction of the people and events in his book, The Longest Day, which I have and have read. The movie was made in 1962; many, many important participants in the battle were still alive then. Many figures portrayed in the movie were still alive then, too, and are listed as advisers to the movie. You can watch this movie and obtain a fine understanding of the overall battle and many individual heroic actions.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was awarded a Medal of Honor for his decisive actions in effectively saving the Utah beachhead. Gen. Norman Cota did what the movie shows - saving the Normandy beachhead and the entire operation. The British units preformed magnificently as did the Free French units (both uniformed and underground). And when you see the actor, Eddie Arnold, playing as a key figure on the Normandy beach as Cota's assistant, you should know that he fought on Tarawa in the Pacific, which was one of the most difficult beach landings in that theatre.

When you watch the movie, one should be aware that it presents many Germans rather favorably and the word, Nazi, is not used in my memory. Germany was being rehabilitated at that time and was a integral part of NATO. The movie chose not to put attention on the dark side of WW II Germany, but it does present Hitler's decisions as contributing to loss of the battle. That is true.

British Gen. Montgomery gets criticized much for some of his actions in WW II, but he did prepare the battle plan for the Normandy invasion - his changes were crucial for its successes.

Why Normandy ? Germany was surprised by its choice, and the reason might surprise you, too. Normandy was the only place in northern France where the Allies could land five divisions abreast. And Montgomery had required that increase in the landings size to give it much more punch and staying power.

Was Rommel right in fighting at the beaches ? Yes, because he knew that Allied air power would prevent major reinforcements. From his experience in Africa, Rommel understood the power of Allied air forces, which generals (and Hitler) with only experience in Russia did not.

I could go on and on, having read so many books on this battle. But if you watch the movie, you'll get an accurate overview in both broad and specific details.

Word of the Day

"Beetling" - from "Beetle" (3rd meaning) adjective & verb [$10]
Beetle (this usage) means (of brows, cliffs, etc.) projecting, overhanging threateningly.
Sentence: If you ever visit Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, you can see how difficult the Ranger assault up the beetling cliffs was. I visited about 15 years ago and one can still see huge shell holes, and signs advise sticking to marked paths due to risk on mines.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Day Off

Today will be a day off from writing. I closed a transaction yesterday which was in process for two years, and I'm a bit tired mentally.

The famous quote by Winston Churchill comes to mind:

"We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. "

Perseverance pays off, as yesterday's closing proves again.

Word of the Day

"Moechian" - adjective [$10,000] this word is not in the OED; it's from a Greek word used to describe a Byzantine religious controversy.
Moechian means of or relating to adultery.
Sentence: This writer has a difficult time believing that the split up of Al Gore and Tipper does not have moechian roots in Al Gore, but I suppose Tipper could have just gotten sick of his supercilious attitude and pontification.

Monday, June 7, 2010

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

"Ye" is an archaic, obsolete form for the nominative 2nd person plural of "you".

On Friday we saw an instantiation of this proverb in the monthly jobs report. The report showed the private sector created merely 41,000 jobs in May, of which 31,000 were thought to be temporary, making a net private sector job creation of 10,000. Abysmal ! That is the jobs harvest of the Pelosi-Obama "Stimulus" bill [aka the "POS" bill ] passed about 15 months ago, which had a price tag of about $800 billion. All the time lags one could expect have passed. So much for the "jump-starting" metaphor and the "shovel-ready" projects. The rhetoric was all there was in the POS.

Did POS fund any permanent improvements for the US ? Did it fund needed rail transport improvements to provide long term alternatives to gasoline/diesel cars & trucks ? Nope. Did it fund a national high-speed Internet improvements ? Nope. Did it fund port improvements and improve rail connections to help US companies export ? Nope. Did it fund nuclear power construction to provide domestic sources of energy ? Nope. Did it fund better cell phone access for remote (and not so remote) areas of the US ? Nope. Did it fund urban high speed wireless Internet access ? Nope. Did it fund improvements in tourist sites or wilderness areas or historical rehabilitation to increase tourism and domestic demand ? Nope.

It's rather hard to see any highway improvements, either, beyond what seems like ordinary repairs & maintenance.

All the POS did was throw money at wasteful state & local governments and fritter away that $800 billion on innumerable pet projects of the ruling classes in DC. In other words, it was spent like the earmarks that Congress loves to feed on in their trough - payoffs for their supporters.

The POS sowed nothing and now the US reaps only scattered weeds. And more ... in the interim, did Obama use any fertilizer ? Nope. He did NOTHING to help the private sector - and in fact has harmed it with his health care monstrosity, which will impose huge new burdens and costs on the private sector.

Meanwhile, every week we see over 400,000 new layoffs. Who in their right mind can think this "recovery" has legs ? Just imagine the effect of those layoffs on the 400,000 families affected. And the Obama propaganda machine rolls on, spreading happy-talk and outright lies. His economic "plan" is now in tatters - but was there ever a plan ? I think not. He did nothing and even cooperated while the Pelosi crowd of ruling class hogs slurped up the money for their friends.

The people need to act and kick that passel of hogs out of office at every level of government. And get the government off the backs of the private sector. And take charge of this recovery themselves.

Btw, I see no "double-dip", just stagnation for awhile while the people act.


None planned or foreseen. Krypto seems content.

Word of the Day

"Cautelous" - adjective [$1000] from "Cautel" - noun, verb (substantive) [$1000] Obsolete, archaic.
Cautel means (noun) 1. a crafty device, artifice, stratagem, trick, sleight, deceit; 2. cunning, craftiness, wiliness, trickery; 3. caution, wariness, heedfulness; 4. a precaution: in Law, an exception, restriction, or reservation made for precaution's sake; (verb) to deceive, beguile, to devise cunningly or craftily.
Cautelous means 1. full of cautels, deceitful, crafty, artful, wiliy; cautious, wary, heedful, circumspect.
Sentence: (A) [from Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene 1] "Swear priests and cowards and men cautelous" - spoken by Brutus disclaiming any need for the "noble" conspirators to swear to murder Caesar. (B) The people need leaders, true leaders who will lead with DEEDS, not words, and who are not mere cautelous knaves.

Friday, June 4, 2010

TGIF and a Useful Term

Tiring week.

I've always liked the clever use of abbreviations or alternate terms to avoid using that most vulgar obscenity in public. I admit to using it (among others) in anger, but when that word becomes a part of practically every sentence or phrase in causal speech, or is simply too frequent , it just shows the user is, as Samuel Johnson might have said, a low cur, a rake, or a rascal. Hence, here are a few suggestions to make one's speech a bit cleaner.

Phooey ! That an easy substitute for expletive F-bomb.

"Bleep" and "Bleeping" - those are onomatopoetic alternatives based on what that word sounds like on the radio, TV.

Nfw - that's a simple acronym for No F---ing way..

Snafu - a WW II term for s situation messed up.

Fubar - a WW II term for a situation messed up beyond all recognition.

Cluster Fubar - My coined term for a multiple Fubar.

Bleepster - This is a good alternative to that horribly vulgar term involving the mother. Those mother-oaths are considered so vulgar in Russian that Russian even disavows them as pure Russian, instead being an import from the Mongol invaders in the early 13th century.

I think these cover most uses. Try them, they really work well and can make anyone - even the lowest cur - sound a bit more cultured.

Word of the Day

"Venial" - adjective (of a sin or fault) [$10]
Venial means pardonable, excusable; not mortal.
Sentence: Using the F-word in much company is no mere venial fault. Use "phooey" or one of the other terms above.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Socialism's Downside Exemplified

I've written plenty of good things about socialism recently, hence it's time to be "balanced" and bash it. With "bad" people running a socialist nation, it will tend to become more and more centralized and the bureaucrats will become more and more inefficient and corrupt. Promotion will depend on who one knows, not how well one does a jobs. That's been the path for Venezuela as the thug and Fidel wannabe, Hugo Chavez, has grabbed more and more power.

Today's WSJ has a story that exemplifies such socialist regimes.

WSJ: "CARACAS—Venezuelan authorities discovered nearly 1,200 shipping containers full of rotten food at a state-run warehouse and have arrested a former top official in the government's food distribution network.

"The discovery of the 30,000 tons of out-of-date milk, rice and wheat flour at the warehouse in the port city of Puerto Cabello is seen as an embarrassment for President Hugo Chávez, who has been blaming opposition forces and private industry for a recent rise in food shortages.

"President Chávez, addressing the issue late Tuesday, said the food was left to go bad due to "mistakes, inefficiency" and "bureaucracy" within the government, but also said corruption was likely involved. He promised his administration would prosecute those responsible. "

Food shortages exist, yet what does thug Hugo do ? He just wants more victims for his police and kangaroo courts. The more power Chavez grabs, the more injustice, hardship and waste occurs. He's destroying that once prosperous nation. Rather than perform real reform to help the common man, all Hugo does is grab more power. He exemplifies a major downside risk to socialism, that the gangster types tend to take power.


Machine extreme stock sports continued - aka "MESS". Why bother to delve for rational reasons. It's all machines running technical algorithms. Krypto is waiting for a solid more up, then will sell more s-l-o-w-l-y.

Word of the Day

"Rebarbative" - adjective [$10] literary
Rebarbative means repellent, unattractive.
Sentence: The rebarbative Chavez regime simply reeks of gangsterism.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Another Blank Wednesday

Nothing is happening. The market - if one can use that word anymore for the playground of hedge funds and computers - continues to take wild swings on no notice or news. The SEC has let the Street destroy itself and drive away in the common man investor. Why bother to look for reason when quant computer funds drive the wild swings ? Humans aren't in charge anymore. The giant hedge funds battle each other to grab some food (aka fees); human beings enter at their own risk of a stomping by the elephants.


After a month off to build a good starting base in ancient Greek, I've returned to my original sexalingual studies of French, German, Spanish (a bit), Italian, Polish and Latin. Ancient Greek continues, of course. This summer I intend to review thoroughly the original six and make sure I've learned all the vocabulary and inflection endings to date. That will create a good base for the next foray to seek a higher level of all.

Word of the Day

"Anent" - preposition [$10] archaic or Scottish or North American
Anent means concerning.
Sentence: Anent market reforms, let's just put all stocks on the New York Stock Exchange under the old rules. The great benefit of that is all order flow goes through the same exposure AND the regulators just have to watch one person for each stock - its specialist. Simple, easy reform. Do it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Not good

"We had the experience, but missed the meaning" - T. S. Eliot in "The Dry Salvages".

That applies to the US ruling classes. The Panic of 2008 should have led to real change in how people invest and how the financial system is structured. But almost nothing has changed.

Too much money is in trading hedge funds ... in hedge funds, period. All that money is unproductive for economic growth. Of all those funds of the rich man, only venture capital helps the world get better. The rest are simply parasitical creatures seeking to suck a bit of the vig from markets.

Short selling has not been forced to be "real" - namely, selling only what one has borrowed and applying to all, including market makers.

Computer trading is uncontrolled. Trading pauses and "circuit breakers" are set so wide that they become irrelevant.

The public had become afraid of investing in stocks. That's a colossal change from the 1980s and 1990s.

All the Street seems to want to do is trade. Where is their primary function as financial intermediaries being done ? The same for the big banks. The big banks suck deposits from America and use the money to ... trade securities. They don't try to make loans anymore. Why bother ? They can make more money trading.

Derivatives still interconnect the major financial intermediaries, thus making them wired for another blow-up. Credit default swaps are still permitted as weapons for financial vikings to raid & pillage.

Every week we see another 400,000+ people laid off from work. Unemployment is close to 10%. Underemployment probably is over 15%.

And what does the ruling class do ? Nothing. They fight with each other seeking more power.

Thus, that quote from T. S. Eliot might be the epigram for the old order.

Let's hope the people start to act. The people must stop waiting for government to act, and take action themselves - the people need to restore their own communities, their own economic lives and their own human capital. The tools ? The mind and what exists now. The people need to focus their minds on what they can do now to help themselves with what they have.

This writer is taking actions to help motivate and aid the people to strive to help themselves.

As for the ruling classes ... just push them aside.


Krypto wants to sell some real estate fund and gold. The proceeds are to go into cash and/or bonds. I'll post actions in the comments, IF I do it.

Word of the Day

"Supervention" - noun [$10]; from "Supervene" - verb, intransitive [$10]
Supervene means to occur as an interruption in or a change from some states.
Supervention means an action or occurrence of supervening.
Sentence: (A) [from The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot, pg 46.] "The individual parts of any collection [of poems, etc.] are affected by the supervention of a wholly novel element ..." (B) Will history see the actions of the people in 2010 as a critical supervention in history and in the path of the US economy?