N. Korea Worries Rising

An hour-long “secret briefing” was held by the White House Wednesday for member of the U.S. Senate.  Grace concerns about Hawaii being in range of the NK weps.

Afterwards, per this coverage in the Washington Free Beacon, there were some very serious faces about.  Ah, set up for a photo op says CNN.  Like he wouldn’t brief on where the “line in the sand is?”  Never stops…

What will happen?  Nickel bet? Sure: We expect the logical escalation from here would be for the U.S. to use all that naval horsepower assembling in the Western Pacific to begin a total economic blockade of North Korea.  Nothing in or out. When that doesn’t work, or when a Chinese (or more likely Russian) ship is boarded, things will likely go “preemptive/first-use.”

(more after this)

In Syria…Say What?

Who just popped Syria?

Syria war: ‘Israeli strike’ hits military site near Damascus airport, which to our way of thinking seems to grease the escalation path a bit there, too.

Junior News Analyst School

If you’re a careful budding news analyst, the stories to panic-when-you-read-‘em would be any political mash-ups where the Russians meet with the North Koreans.

The NK’s already have a mutual defense deal with the Chinese…got that?  But since Trump and the Xi-whiz may have a work-out plan, the NKs might go “insurance shopping” and I imagine that a mutual defense pact with Russia could bring TH(Russia) EM in to any reactionary counter-attack on the West should be preemptively launch.

Eeee-gads!  See here where the Russians have already reached out to the North Koreans?  That’ sets us up to expect a Russian ship boarding in the future, does it not?

Looking for Market Movers

Sure, the discussions in DC about the NK’s is a major reason for the markets to back down for a while, perhaps into mid next week.

After a manic couple of days, the “chill” in the markets will depend on how latest economic indicators are interpreted. 

Let’s kick-off with Durable goods…

New Orders New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $1.6 billion or 0.7 percent to $238.7 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.  This increase, up three consecutive months, followed a 2.3 percent February increase.  Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2 percent.  Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.1 percent.  Transportation equipment, also up three consecutive months, drove the increase, $2.0 billion or 2.4 percent to $83.3 billion.

Shipments Shipments of manufactured durable goods in March, up four of the last five months, increased $0.6 billion or 0.2 percent to $239.8 billion.  This followed a 0.2 percent February increase.  Transportation equipment, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $0.4 billion or 0.5 percent to $81.7 billion.

Unfilled Orders Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in March, up two consecutive months, increased $2.5 billion or 0.2 percent to $1,119.0 billion.  This followed a 0.1 percent February increase. Transportation equipment, also up two consecutive months, led the increase, $1.6 billion or 0.2 percent to $755.5 billion.

February data was revised up, too. Then following this we get to…

Advance International Trade in Goods The international trade deficit was $64.8 billion in March, up $0.9 billion from $63.9 billion in February.  Exports of goods for March were $125.5 billion, $2.2 billion less than February exports. Imports of goods for March were $190.3 billion, $1.4 billion less than February imports.

And if that’s not enough, there is the ever popular preliminary Retail Inventory number.

Advance Retail Inventories Retail inventories for March, adjusted for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were estimated at an end-of-month level of $616.6 billion, up 0.4 percent (±0.2 percent) from February 2017, and were up 3.5 percent (±0.4 percent) from March 2016.  The January 2017 to February 2017 percentage change was unrevised at up 0.4 percent (±0.2 percent).

This last is useful because it gives some sense of “sell-through” in  the retail channels.  Since it is up a lot since year ago levels, are sales expected to grow, or are things slowing?  (Papers responsive to the question are due before class tomorrow.)

Not excited by all this yet?  Me either. Next?

Following the data, Dow futures were pointing up 30.

We also note the ECB Keeps Policy Settings Unchanged Awaiting Political Clarity.  Like is France going to remain in the EU maybe?

Leaning from the Clintons?

We couldn’t help but notice the price tag: Obama Balances Civic-Minded Side With the Lure of a $400000 Speech.

You know, for half the price ($200K) I could get all excited about civics, too. I notice my phone isn’t ringing off the hook, though.

The Coulter Shoulder

Fine summary in the Hollywood Reporter this morning about how one Ann Coulter has given up plans to speak at Berkeley, but only for now.

This  doesn’t mean Berkeley will forever remain peaceful, since the right-wing press is reporting that paid provocateurs of the far left-anarchists spectrum have already started traveling west expecting her to speak.

Hell hatch no further like a revolutionary scorned…especially when alt-lib historians glorify monsters like Che, right?  They sanitize statements like…

“Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …” ché Guevara

…blah, blah, blah…just another terrorist/mass murderer idolized by the lunatic fringe.

So we will go out on a limb here and expect violence this weekend in Berkeley.  Rebels without a Clue or, sans Coulter, a cause.

Nickel bet #2 is they will make up some anti-Trump deal and roll with violence over that.  It is, after all, the rad-left ‘Merican Way.  Does George S. pay for peace?

Giving Back Fed Lands to States?

Keep an eye on how president Trump is trying to review the acquisition by the FedGov of millions of acres of “national monuments” set up since 1996.

A l;ot of the lands involved are in places like Utah and Obama another others (Clinton, Bush) have used this to make a “mark” on history for setting up the areas.

I’ll have to check and see if these are really “public lands” at all.  Since it seems to me if you need to buy permission (permits) to be on “public land” it’s not really so “public” at all.

It’s more like a large, monopolistic rental business…and landlords with guns.  Epitome of a “free country” right?

You Know Markets Are Boring When…

MarketWatch offers pointers like “How to Instagram like a teen.”

Speaking of which, what’s Anthony Weiner up to, lately?

Yep, all more evidence of our contention that there’s not enough real news to justify all the bandwidth out there so infotainment is the now.

Me?  I’ll stick to watching United Airlines recovery efforts from its PR disaster:

CHICAGO, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines (UAL) today announced 10 substantial changes to how it flies, serves and respects its customers. The changes are the result of United’s thorough examination of its policies and procedures, and commitment to take action, in the wake of the forced removal of a customer aboard United Express Flight 3411 on April 9.

United commits to: 

  • Limit use of law enforcement to safety and security issues only.
  • Not require customers seated on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety or security is at risk.
  • Increase customer compensation incentives for voluntary denied boarding up to $10,000. 
  • Establish a customer solutions team to provide agents with creative solutions such as using nearby airports, other airlines or ground transportations to get customers to their final destination.
  • Ensure crews are booked onto a flight at least 60 minutes prior to departure.
  • Provide employees with additional annual training.
  • Create an automated system for soliciting volunteers to change travel plans.
  • Reduce the amount of overbooking.
  • Empower employees to resolve customer service issues in the moment.
  • Eliminate the red tape on permanently lost bags by adopting a “no questions asked” policy on lost luggage.

While several of these policies are effective immediately, others will be rolled out through the remainder of the year. The facts of what happened aboard Flight 3411 and a full review of United’s changes can be found at hub.united.com.

Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines, said, “Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect. Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize. However, actions speak louder than words. Today, we are taking concrete, meaningful action to make things right and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.” 

“Our review shows that many things went wrong that day, but the headline is clear: our policies got in the way of our values and procedures interfered in doing what’s right.  This is a turning point for all of us at United and it signals a culture shift toward becoming a better, more customer-focused airline.  Our customers should be at the center of everything we do and these changes are just the beginning of how we will earn back their trust,” he added.

Wait….where did “Fly the Friendly Skies” go?  All the millions in ad money on a positioning statement and they still aren’t using it when it matters…  Shbeesh!

Coping: Bombing Around the Ranch

Lot’s of moving pieces around here this week.

With the reports this morning that North Korea is quickly moving toward first strike capability on Hawaii, we have been slowly moving our timetable to re-establish “nuclear survival” as one aspect of exurban survival here in the East Texas Outback.

The good news about reports of China making major purchases in Hollywood?  The way of figure it, they will keep a tight rein on North Korea in order to keep them from targeting some of their newest holdings.  But if those deals go south?

(more after ad)

Meantime, the “other” category is getting a work-over.

The collection of N100 dust masks has been somewhat depleted.  I found that wearing one while on the riding mower has about ended sniffles and hay fever-like symptoms from mowing.

We also have left the supplies of duct tape get dangerously low.  And the sheet plastic has been used for various non-nuclear tasks.

The main idea is that even if you life outside of the blast effects from the primary attack (should it ever come), you would still need a place in your home to set up filtered air (positive pressure ventilation) have some way to change the air, and seal up gaps and around windows with plastic and duct tape.\

We have something of an advantage with the big solar array here, but we don’t (presently) have a single 110VAC or 24VDC fan that we could trust our lives to, should it come to that.

The kind of fan that works best is likely the “squirrel cage” type.  We use those a lot in ham radio for pressurized cooling of the final amplifier tubes.  But those don’t more enough air.

And investigation of various bathroom fans is in order, but most of the models I’m familiar with all use blades, not the cage, so while they move air (good) they don’t deal with pressure well (bad).  Ideally, from what I’ve read, you want something that will produce about half a pound per square foot in your fallout room.

Next problem is that the room’s input air has to be filtered down to N100 levels, so now we’re talking about more than the average furnace filter.  Our research on this kind of detail may seem trivial now, but should things “light up” in either Syria or North Korea, then…who knows?

Food stocks are about to be updated here, too.

As long-term readers know, we moved to the Outback in 2003 expecting the world to go to hell in a handbasket.

We have not been disappointed, except that the resolution of unsustainable economics and forced-consumption marketing has taken longer than it did getting into the last Depression.

There are lots of markers, of course.  And it could be that the North Korea “problem” will indeed turn into an analog to the smaller wars of the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

It is, however, unlikely that the key players of WW II (like Mussolini’s Ethiopian campaign) will reveal who the New Axis powers till include, although my consigliere seems to think not.

From 2004  to present is a fair stretch, so it’s time to update a lot of MRE’s and stored dried goods.  The rice still takes great, as does the flour and oats.  Freeze-dried meals are fine, too, but it is time to look at rotation.

My buddy Gaye over at www.backdoorsurvival.com has a much less EotW (end of the world) way of prepping.  She (and survival hubby) are disciplined canned (and other) goods rotaters.  Fresh cans to the back…

Elaine’s that way, too, but we have mostly a lack of cupboard space in the house.  This, and the fact the kitchen cupboards are mostly higher-density MDF products.

This gets me on to the question of whether putting in new (talk to the cabinet shop our by Buffalo, TX) or build my own would be the best route.

The cabinet shop pluses?  Fast, on budget, great quality, no brainer.

The minuses?  Costs more than building my own and it’s almost a 30-mile drive out to pick them up.  Probably 4 to 6 trips worth in the pickup.

The do it yourself angle has some pluses:  It is the cheapest.  I could use ALL of my power tools (like the biscuit joiner, right?) and I could buy a few more Irwin “squeeze clamps” that I dearly love.

The downside of DIY is the time involved.  And to some degree, the pain. A week of chlorzoxazone for the back has cleared up 90% of my back pain, but tossing around sheets of plywood might…er…not be so bright.

Elaine did (finally!) find some tile she wants for the counters (4″ squares, gloss black) which will be good and it pencils out to $2.80 a square foot and I enjoy using the tile wet-saw.

Thing is, if we keep on dialing in this house (as we are getting ready to put it on the market) whether we would still want to move.

We sat out in the 180 (degree view) Room as the afternoon rains were watering the garden and lawn for us and the nature of this place was amazing.

As I got up this morning at 5, Elaine whispered “Tell me again…why are we moving?”

“Something less than a 30 minute medical emergency response time and getting Chinese or pizza delivered, for a change mostly….”

But otherwise, the City (whichever it is) becomes a trade-off.  The much higher property taxes, to the tune of $200 per month more, are mostly offset by not needing a second phone line for dedicated data searches with Nostracodeus, and a high speed satellite backup system, which comes to just about the same as the property tax delta.

Sheesh.

Next Tuesday, the real estate expert will be by and tell us what the place would likely sell for if we do move.  It the “magic number” comes in around $200K then we won’t be going anywhere.  But if it comes in at or above the County’s “ag value” for the place ($325K) and we would net around $300K, then yeah, the move it on.

Meanwhile, the rains here in the spring result in a minimum of actual garden work.  That is, if you don’t count the U-hoe for weeds and the rake.  Oilman2 suggested we should mulch the hell out of everything – a fine idea.

But the downside is time.  Big time on the front-end, or the same (or slightly more) parceled out over a good spell.

Judging by the looks of things, we’re now about 5-weeks from the first “garden fresh” of the year, which we really look forward to.

I promise not to ramble on about life in the Outback all the time, but the summer is shaping up to be a not-so-nice period and while there are risks attendant to “living apart” we trust enemy target planners will not have been so offended as to send us a flashing ‘house warming” gift down the road.

Still, even it they don’t, there is always the matter of “how good it their aim?”  Not so good as an East Texas hunter, I’m sure of it.

Safest country and city I can think of?  Vancouver, B.C. which has a huge Chinese population.

There I go…tripping…  better slug down some more coffee and focus on where we can make money till the skies light up…

Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net

Here Comes “Responsive Video”

God, I love history.

Not only have we been able to use it to line our pockets with modest (-1 to +3% per week) gains  (or tiny losses)  in the stock market, but in addition, we even know where to look for “the next generation of tech.”

So if this really is the analog to the 1928-1929 period, what was the New Tech that showed up (predictably) right at the pinnacle of the Roaring Twenties?

Why television, of course! Heard of it?  See Philo Taylor Farnsworth and 1927 here.

So it’s hardly surprising that “Responsive Video” is creeping into the public mind around the edges now.

But before we futurize, let’s monetize.  With some trend-drivers in the news and of course, that marvelous system of looking at markets we call the Aggregate Approach.

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House Price Boom Continues

Just out:

NEW YORK, APRIL 25, 2017 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for February 2017 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. More than 27 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to www.homeprice.spdji.com. Additional content on the housing market can also be found on S&P Dow Jones Indices’ housing blog: www.housingviews.com.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR 
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.8% annual gain in February, up from 5.6% last month and setting a 32-month high. The 10-City Composite posted a 5.2% annual increase, up from 5.0% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.9%, up from 5.7% in January.
Seattle, Portland, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In February, Seattle led the way with a 12.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 9.7%. Dallas replaced Denver in the top three with an 8.8% increase. Fifteen cities reported greater price increases in the year ending February 2017 versus the year ending January 2017…

(more after this)

Continuing…

The following chart shows the index levels for the U.S. National, 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of February 2017, average home prices for the MSAs within the 10-City and 20-City Composites are back to their winter 2007 levels.

Spendy, huh?  But prices are not yet back to their 2007-2008 highs in some markets…

Let the Blow-Off Begin!!! (?)

We had a pretty good day in the market yesterday, what with net asset value up over 3%, I’m no fool and I sensed it was time to leave the party.  Market futures have continued up this morning, so we will see.  Cowardice sometimes pays better than bravery while actively trading.

In terms of where we are (very short term), I think it is possible that we are starting a wave V up, we had a little 1 up (we made some dough there), then a 2 down (where we re-entered), then we sold near yesterday’s high, and if we get a pullback later this week, we may re-enter long again.

Our usual way to play such events is a longer-term buy and hold approach, but I’ve been brushing up on my poker skills (*on the Kindle – where there are lots and lots of gambling apps) so it’s as much learning about money management as chance.  But wait until you see how closely we are replaying the early blow-off part of the 1929 period…

(after the ad, of course)

An explanatory note before I put this chart up:  I evolved (over the years) a unique way of looking at the markets as two large, loosely-linked financial “bubble-spheres.”

There is a Global Aggregate we track along with a U.S. Aggregate because the breadth of economic activity in America is hugely different today than it was in the 1920s (Roaring Twenties).

Back then, it was still a world of singular dominant industrialists like Rockefeller, the Steel Barons, the Rail Tycoons, and such.  30 Stocks mattered greatly.  Today?  Not so much.

The data (which we track on a daily basis) still useful from an analytical perspective, but the “slope of the curve” of this blow-off is evolving differently.

I won’t to into too much detail (we save that for the paying customers on the www.Peoplenomics.com side of the house), but this should give you an idea of how things are trending upward:

Where a large portion of judgment needs to be applied is intuiting the reason for the differences here recently in slope of the curve.  If you are into being a quant, you can see the divergences when you do slope-fitting.  If not (like you’re a normal person, right?) you can visually note that the read line (present day) is going up less steeply than it did in 1928-1929.

I have half a dozen leading contenders for this recent variance, although we are still going up and if yesterday is any indication, mania is lurking just behind the eyeballs of “investors” as they come out and reveal themselves as money-grubbing greedsters, which we make no apologies for.

  1. It is possible that the lack of a tax break has kept the blow-off from gathering steam.  Recall the Revenue Act of 1929 included a tax break and that may have contributed to the previous blow-off. Not that the Developer-in-Chief wasn’t pushing for it.  It’s that Congress has become (even more) adept at stewing, not doing.
  2. Second factor is real disposable Income.  As The Tax Foundation noted on Tax Freedom Day (April 23) the American public will pay $5.1- billion in federal, state, and local taxes this year.  In 1929 the bottom rate was 0.38% while the top rate was 24%.   This compares with 2016 bottom rates of 10% and top rates of 39.6% per The Tax Foundation. Notice how corporates can pay at a lower rate than humans and they can write-off the cost of (effectively) buying Congress?
  3. While I have to call to find out, despite Chief Justice Roberts hinting that Obamacare is a tax, whether it was included.  I doubt it, but it ain’t optional and penalties applied.  So seems like a tax to me.
  4. Another massive change that would reduce the slope of the curve is speed of communications.  When I am actively trading (guilty!) I am looking at a trading platform where the data comes in faster than I can cogently think it through.  My Monday sell order placed: 04/24/17 10:46:49 AM EDT was executed 04/24/17 10:46:50 AM EDT.  Compare this with trading in the Roaring Twenties when out in the American hinterlands, there was one quote per day and you had to wait for the evening or next morning paper to get the quote.  Then the quote went through a local broker and were consolidated and sent to the floor traders.  The speed of information is an interesting study:  Slower speeds can result in higher levels of information asymmetry and this causes extensions and exaggerations of (choir, please!) Bubbles!!!
  5. Because of growing volume, the exchange (NYSE) began opening Saturdays (I THINK it was 1928, but I’m too lazy to check the data files).  So this, too, would artificially increase the slope of the curve because there was 20% more trading time per week…so the modern analog would be (pencil?) 16.6% less steep on that (semi-irregular) calendar adjustment alone.

So that’s where we are this morning.  We have gotten past the recent “congestion” of the wave IV and now into a V to finish and then we can worry.

Herbert Hoover took office March 4, 1929 and the blow-off top was 183 calendar days later.  (Crap, I have to look at the data now…) 148 trading days from the Oath to Peak.  Since Trump was sworn on January 20th, you can work it all out.  By the way, Charles Curtis, a republican from Kansas wave Hoover VP – and the first Native American Vice President.  (Cut us in for a slice of your trivia wins.

Will the FedGov Close Friday?

Not entirely moot as the “White House budget chief floats trade on ObamaCare, border wall funding.”

Meantime, look for lumber prices to move up.  This as the NY Times reports “In New Trade Front, Trump Slaps Tariff on Canadian Lumber

Like They Just Showed Up?

Who’s kidding who?  From the Washington Post today: ‘In Chicago, Obama tells young leaders that ‘special interests dominate the debates in Washington.’

Fresh from David Geffen’s super yacht….ahem….  Like the special interests haven’t always been there even during….oh don’t get me started.

The Case for Internet Use Licensing

I have been repeating over and overs that too much communications can be worse than too little.  Here’s my latest proof:

40-60 hooligans swarmed a BART train in East Oakland this week.  Help people up, robbed and beat them and we gone by the time cops arrived in 5-minutes.

Read my lips:  Social (and other internet content) will have to be subjected to licensure or any old flash mob organizer in the world can come along, radicalize and rubberize not to mention victimize the innocent peeps.

Thing about the Communications Act of 1934.  When D2 sets in (there’s still some time to go) we can rest assured the “wild west” days of social will have the clamp put on…along with “unlicensed” mob-organizing messaging s/w.

You just have to see things from the Big Picture perspective.  No, anarchists and disrupters won’t be around for too many more years.  Toss in predictive web behaviors and….

(Advances in video are the focus in Peoplenomics tomorrow, BTW – neat new tech is in view…)

Coping: Notes from My “Other Life” (woo-woo)

It’s not often that I will have to think about writing-up an adventure in my personal life, but this is one of those almost unbelievable stories that it took me a good part of Monday morning wrapping my own head around.

The dream was like many others I’ve had.  I think of them almost as my “Other Life.”  That’s where the inspiration for my first David Shannon novel “DreamOver: Action-Adventure on the Frontiers of Reality” came from. My adventures.

Those will be featured in the second novel when I get time to write it:  CoDreamers and it’s based on the Light Crown Project I told you about a while back.  Other books to write first, though.

Point is, I am the prototype for the DreamOver novel…not perfectly, of course, but close enough.  The dreams, including the one Sunday night into Monday morning, are not the “usual” slap-dash collection of daily leftover bits of this and that being rationalized, but instead are full-on immersive with IMAX-like enveloping/surround video and a cast of characters that mainly seem to feature people I’ve known over the course of my lifetime who are (incidentally) dead.

(More after this)

I realize this is not particularly remarkable in itself, but this dream in particular had a McGuffin to the plot that blew my socks off.

If you’re not a writer, a McGuffin is a British writing terms that describes “an object or device in a movie or a book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot.”

Since you probably have a fair idea that I live a (more or less) normal life on “this side” of the waking state, let me run your through the dream step-by-step and both the McGuffin and the Woo-Woo will slap you upside the head.

I had wakened about midnight, had a sip of water and a time-check (11:58) and decided I needed more sleep…With nothing particular on my mind, I went back to sleep.

Suddenly, there I was in the presence of a white-haired, but fit man who I knew “ran the company” I worked for.  He was talking to me sternly about “sales reports” for the region (in the dream) that I was managing.

In my “other world” I apparently do several different things very similar to what I’ve done on this side of sleep.  I’ve managed sales forces, been a broadcaster, and done lots of other damn interesting things…which show up as contexts for my adventures in the Sleep Realms.

I was aware that Elaine and I were “together” on this other side of things.  We had a large, comfortable home in an area similar to Bellevue, Washington.  Big sprawling totally remodeled 1960’s type Northwest brick rambler.  I didn’t have to work but I enjoyed it.

The specific problem was that this man in the dream, who looked and sounded like the program director (P.D.) from a radio station I worked at in the 1970’s, was pointing out how I was being “too soft” of the people reporting to me from the “Seattle Branch.”

Tacoma, and my other “locations” were fine, no problem.

The setting was we were in a very nice restaurant where we had a few drinks, talked, and came up with some ideas.

A couple of other businessmen were sitting at the table to my right and we chit-chatted for a few minutes with them.  At that moment the food showed up.  Jay, the P.D. was having a steak.  I had something lighter, but I don’t remember what.

Then he looks at me with a twinkle in his eye and hands me a distorted looking Kindle. (McGuffin!).

It wasn’t just a normal Kindle, however: It was about twice as fall.  Picture a taller Kindle Fire about 18” in length and you’ve got it.

As he handed it to me he said “I’m also instructing you to read the poem The Penitent Man.

Glancing at the Kindle, I could make out it was a poem.  But he stopped me and said “When you get back, when you get back…”

WTF?

Naturally, right then I woke up.  It was 4:38 AM so I went through my morning routine:  Stack of vitamins, fresh perked coffee, feed the cat, reheat a slice of leftover shrimp pizza…

At 4:59:08 I sat down in front of the b ig UHD screen in the music studio thinking “Well, let’s just see about the Penitent Man poem crap…”

I wasn’t expecting a thing.

Now comes another one of those “Push George Over with a Feather” moments.

The first was the discovery that it (The Penitent Man) was a movie that I didn’t even know existed.  Came out in 2010.

Then came the real shocker:  Available for Kindle, a book of poems titled  The Penitent Man: A Collection Of Christian Poetry.

The Penitent Man

The day starts off in agony

And only gets worse from there.

I grapple lines of poetry

Grasp straw’s that aren’t there

I walk the wire over sin

The path is straight, the thread is think

At once I feel I’m falling in

Till I’m drowning in despair

The afternoon is an endless fight

It’s a careful balancing act

The phone and mail and heaps to write

Are enough to make me crack

The devil tugs upon my sleeve

Reminding me he will not leave

Until his message I believe

And won’t get off my back…

There is more, of course.  But if you want it, there’s the link.

The point of this morning’s little epistle is perhaps summed up by the Buffalo Springfield song, “For What It’s Worth.”

We’ll let you know when it gets clearer and doesn’t come in a flash.

Ahead for Peoplenomics Subscribers

Ure has a new book pouring out of his fingers.  Non-fiction.  It’s working title is “What’s After the Fire Department” and it’s a long-time scale survey of what’s changing at the fire house. New tech roles are in the wings.  I’ll post Chapter 1 for subscribers this weekend.

Elaine’s about finished with proofing the Millennial’s Missing Manual, so maybe that will land on Amazon next week.

Wednesday’s Peoplenomics rolls out a really cool evolution on the technology front.  I call it “Responsive Video” to pin a label on it.  Huge trend-changer that the tech press hasn’t focused much on.

Whew…Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net

Monday: The 3% Solution

The world is on the verge of getting its mojo back.

The election in France saw Marine Le Pen make it into a runoff election May 7th for the presidency.  And globally, it was an extremely good session for markets in our aggregate view of things.

I see it’s almost nap time. Because if you play triple-levered long ETFs, you can expect at least part of the market session today to  rock your net worth by +3% – which ain’t bad for a single day’s work in a world where the bankster class is still shearing sheep for less than a half a percent returns for an entire year.

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This is not to count our chickens before they lay a few golden eggs for us.  But is is to underscore the problem so many people in America have, yet don’t realize.

V as in Victim

You can almost see it on their foreheads.  People don’t connect the dots enough.  So here’s another in our “continued ed” efforts.

Take the headline in the WaPo this morning:  “After French vote, European leaders come out against Le Pen. But what if she wins?”

“Gee, who cares?” or “Why would they do that?”And still, who cares?”

Well, my little lambs, what’s at play in the whole future of Europe and that abomination of pseudo-democracy called the European Union.

Which, if you haven’t noticed, is a collection of countries that have abandoned their borders (see the Schengen passport free area) and who are allowing themselves to arrogantly be sold the notion that democracy is alive in Europe.

Which it still is:  In England and now France.

I told you in Friday’s column that Marine Le Pen’s victory this weekend would come largely because the Islamic extremists don’t understand c4i (command, control, communications, computers & intelligence) worth a crap.

By allowing one of theirs to go A.K. right before the election, they might as well have come out and endorsed Le Pen’s opponents.

For the second round of voting, we don’t need to watch for the radicalized re-invaders of Europe to go off the rails to get her elected.  We can, rather, leave that to the empty-headed talking head of the E.U. who will predict the End of Life on Earth if Le Pen wins.

Oh, really?  The U.S. and England are re-exerting national prerogatives and guess who’s still around?

Even more amazing?  The idea of “borders” still means something:  A line of demarcation between differing thoughts on laws, property rights, language, culture, and corruption.

How about that?

Guns of August (Or So)

Another story which we hold as possibly HUGELY important is The Hill’s report that the “Chinese president calls for restraint on N. Korea.”

What this means is simple:  China’s eyes on *and in) the U.S. have noticed that president Trump is moving assets in a major way into the Western Pacific.

Xi-whiz, China has a tactical problem in that an attack on North Korea would – by treaty – bring in China.

The U.S. has told the Chinese “Then you fix it.”  We explained this on April 6th as the “Kill with borrowed sword move in the Trump-Xi meetings a while back.

The U.S. will not wait forever, but moving resource around takes a bit of doing so when one of our colleagues headed an email this weekend “Guns of August” I thought it worth mentioning so you can read the book.

This is not Tuchman’s world, however.  More like Germany of the 1930’s as the German’s think they can hold Europe together which if Le Pen wins, they will not be able to do following (pun alert!) following false liberal profits (sic) resulting from the reconquest.

We having fun yet, bubba?

 Sizing Up the Week

Our www.peoplenomics.com subscribers have a pretty good idea what’s coming and I won’t spoil it by telling you the whole outline.  Let’s just say when our net worth swells three percent today, we would expect another load of Quarter Pounders tomorrow, as well.

The CFNAI (Chicago Fed National Activity Index) is out and no, the world is NOT ending in the Midwest just yet:

“Led by slower growth in employment-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) moved down to +0.08 in March from +0.27 in February. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from February, and one category made a negative contribution to the index in March. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to +0.03 in March from +0.16 in February, but remained positive for the fourth consecutive month.

For those with eyes to see:

Later on in the day, the Dallas Fed Manufacturing number is due.

Tomorrow, though is where we see how the rubber meets the road with the Case-Shiller, Corelogic, S&P, (and the kid delivering pizza) Housing data is revealed.  Look for a two part column Tuesday.

Durable goods Thursday, GDP Friday…oh, what a fun week, huh?

Just tossing darts about, looks to me like Big Rally today, follow-through rally tomorrow, but that will depend on Housing.

Wednesday, Thursday look for D.C.’s budget and healthcare circus to be pumped (which may slow the market or flip it back a bit.  Durable Goods Thursday and GDP Friday need to be factored in, as well.

Eyes on the Left

The spoiler may be former president Obama who NBC notes “Obama Returning to Public Stage for First Time in University of Chicago Forum.”

We expect the usual softball questions for the ultra-lib media today.  But no one will ask “What are you hogging the media for?  Country has moved on.  You fomenting revolution?”

The real answer may be found in the corporate left and the over-built news industry needing filler and a rousing Left sells papers and eyeballs to advertisers.  Look what it has done for the Kardashians, after all,

So the rabble are still rousing and it seems to us that a good deal about the true character of former presidents is learned by their “after presidency” life- works.

In the case of Jimmy Carter, he’s been a mainstay and anchor of Habitat for Humanity for more than 30 years… Here’s a grteat concept:  Giving.

And here recently, come to find out former president George W. Bush has been doing paintings of wounded war veterans. “I was just so honored to be their Commander-in-Chief.”

Same concept:  Giving.

My opinion is that if Obama really wants to “give something to America” how about something real simple?

A longer break.

Check back in, oh, a decade or so.

But of course he won’t…so we trust you’ll be by tomorrow as we count profits than come from working 13-hours a day 7-days a week and fact check guess who…

Coping: With Monday When We’re Busy

More a collection of random notes than anything this morning.

Funny:  As in Finance

One of my colleagues is kind enough to include me on a private market (and end of the financial world as we know it) letter that goes out to a few select.

From his note this weekend, the best description of the FedGov Yet:

It’s like a big Insurance company – with an Army.

Which,  when you look at social spending…

Why Ham Radio, Again?

With cool temps and determined to play with the ham radio gear (and that wonderful 746-foot off-center-fed antenna of unique design, I decided to answer a fellow in Chile who was calling CQ (meaning, looking for someone to send code back and forth with).

Ended up being incredibly short exchange:  After I gave him a quick signal report on the 17-meter band, he said “OK< thanks George…:”  End of conversation.

Once we had my call sign and my signal report to him, everything else was available to us via internet databases.  Like QRZ.com.

Same thing with a fellow (a 6Y5) in Jamaica on the Morse end of 20 meters a few minutes before that.

Even the disruptive technology of the last Depression (radio) is being disrupted by the next Depression’s tech, huh?

The good news??  When the EoTW actually arrives, we will be able to brush up on our Morse conversation skills which is (you’ll love it) a set of Q-codes that make as much sense as FB abbrv’s.

EWTitW

Elaine’s abbreviation for “Every Tool in the World” which I stand before you, guilty as charged.

Not always a bad thing, though.

The extension handle on the battery-powered 20V Black and Decker weed eating machine came loose last week and it was on the bench for fixin’.

After trying to loosen the pressure clamp sleeve with a Phillips and then slotted screwdriver, I got out the eyes and dialed in the adjustable glasses under the big electronics magnifier on the electronics bench.

Well, I’ll be a sonovabitch!:”

Turns out, the B&D designers had intended the upper portion of the clamp to be permanently affixed by the factory.  Fine so far.

The other end of the clamp was set up with a Phillips and a cam-lock…that’s what the consumer is supposed to adjust.

Except after a year of Piney Woods abuse, the “factory end” was loosened up and sliding around.  Something I noted when the tool fell apart while I was operating it.

Turned out the reason B&D has used a Torx-type wrench fitting so the home fiddlers wouldn’t fiddle with the wrong screw.

The ETitW part that caused Elaine to remark?

Oh, I happen to have not one, but TWO such odd-sized Torx-like screwdrivery thignies.

Want the red handled one of yellow?  Got two odd ones in each.

Next thing you know, she’ll want me to use the damn thing…

Adventures in Recycling

As long as we’re covering the shop:  Our old $69 pressure washer from harbor Fright finally bit the dust.  This was after 9-years of irregular service. One of those tools that’s a PITA to get out, set up, drain for winter, store again.

But when you need it, there’s no substitute.  (Except hard work maybe and we all know what a pissser that sh*t is…)

So rather than wait for a new shipment which from experience could talk a week, I picked up a work-alike $100 pressure washer at Lowes.

Fine, but it left me with this dead pressure washer.  Have zero applications for 2000 pound test 10-year old hose, that part was easy to recycle to the garbage.  Ditto the cheap plastic labels.

But my, what’s this?  A 25-foot power cord in good shape that might be just the ticket for a gfi-protected extension.  Yes sir, I believe, next trip to the hardware emporium, that’s what it will become.

Knew a very nice young lady (back in my single days) who had lost her husband to a pin-hole extension cord fault, hot day in St. Louis, sweating, bad ground…. never forgotten her story about that (or her loss) and it came to mind which I  saw the left over pressure washer cord.

Got cords?  Try…

Tower Manufacturing 30438024 Inline GFCI Cord Set with Triple Tap Connector, 2′, Yellow.

$25-bucks and worth if to reduce risk of death from outdoor shock.

Weed Burning, II

Price of propane for 80-pounds worth filled was $60 bucks.  But in fairness, I still think burning the drive way, around the garden, around the fence line and under the solar panels is safer than applying carcinogen-linked vegetation-killers.

I figure it a spray will kill plants, I should keep my distance.

People’ve referred to me as a vegetable for years, you know…

Meds Working

I don’t know what it is, but following up on my blood pressure report of last week:  By the middle of Saturday afternoon, not only wasn’t my back hurting (due to half a back pain pill, but the blood pressure was a respectable 112 over 71.

A reader not added a bit more to our thinking on NAD+ combined with pterostilbene.  “Don’t forget it all needs to PQQ to work optimally,”  he advised.

Not medical advise. We’ll just be adding it when the order arrives.

That said, you may want to read further on the “Effects of Antioxidant Supplements (BioPQQ™) on Cerebral Blood Flow and Oxygen Metabolism in the Prefrontal Cortex.”  May help if you have relative who’ve experienced Alzheimer’s.  (I do.)  Not saying it will, but ModMed hints that one of the machines in the vitamin casino might pay off…they just won’t tell us precisely which one yet.

The deeper I have gotten into the readings, the more is looks like hyper oxygenation and trace mineral depletion of the soils world wide may get us all in the end.    See this patent, and let us know what you think: “…… treatment of diabetes, the reduction of body fat, improvement of insulin sensitivity, reduction of hyperglycemia, and reduction of hypercholesterolemia with chromium

I do LifeExtension optimized chromium a couple of days a week now, too.  (Soon, I won’t have time left to eat…just one pill after another with a protein shake between, lol…)

I’ve decided a petty good test of what to take is to find a doc who is about your age and sex.  Then ask them what they’re taking.

Since “first do no harm” applied first and foremost to self, I figure cling what a well=-schooled person with specific expertise and a requirement to get real C.E. credits on an ongoing basis just might make a better decision on some of these things than I would be able to on my own.

But my doc is only 61, so let’s see how he’s doing when he hits 68 and I’m rolling past 75.

The close you get to seeing the end of the tracks the more serious the research tends to get…

There…another weekend at the ranch.  Now let’s see how the markets open…

Write when you get rich, (or find a tool I don’t have that’s useful…)

George@ure.net

Business Model Threat Analysis

What is a business model?

What constitutes a threat to a business model?

And why would you give a rip?

Seems a reasonable set of questions – the answers just ahead as soon as a few headline, the ChartPack, and the coffee is done.

The good news?

Business model (threats) are more than just an investment tool.  They can also save your career from long-term disaster.

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France: ISIS’ Epic c4i Fail

Sure, markets are important – and yeah, we had a really good day yesterday.  But this morning we need to look around the “theater of battle” a bit and see what the larger playing field looks like.

One reason our “global aggregated view” of markets seems to work is that we focus at multiple levels. Close-in, far-out, the middle-ground plus we look on temporal grids both ahead and behind for instruction.

Today the markets have little to drive them but we did have another Islamic terror strike in Paris overnight and, on top of that Korea is on a fast simmer.

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“c3i” was the name in the old days.  “Command, Control, Communications (the 3-C part) and intelligence.

More recently, tacticians have added “computers” to make it “c4i” which is ‘exploding’ the definition if you are having a blast with my plastic puns.

The events overnight suggest to us one of the key weaknesses of militant Islamic movements operating in a tech-savvy world.

The militant’s side of things requires a constant brainwashing effort in order to radicalize “converts.”  Doesn’t leave much bandwidth for “other.”

Because the West is doing a passable job on the ECM (electronic countermeasures) side, ISIS doesn’t have free rein on the internet to tell its members when to put things on “the low beam.”  So along comes a shoot-em up in France at precisely the wrong moment.  Huge help for conservatives in the elections.

We believe ISIS also doesn’t make converts learn chess or theory of tactics.

The result is that one of their own goes off with an AK-47 a-blazing on the Champs Elysees overnight just ahead of French Elections.  Can you spell blow-back?

Now to say “told you so” too loudly, but we told subscribers a couple of weeks back that Marine Le Pen could be driven to a conservative presidency in France in the May 7 run-off elections.  Odds on that just got better. That is shaping up as more likely – thanks to the c4i failure of ISIS.

They are literally driving the moderates in France to vote conservative, close the borders, and oh yeah “…deliver us from Europe…”

Much like early experiments in explosives with nitro glycerin, there’s a learning curve when trying to blow up whole cultures, like France.  ISIS’ ability to radicalize is real, but command and control sure look weak…or not working at all.

They may for all practical purposes have just sealed a French border closure and exit from the E.U., much as the Brits are likely to confirm with the BREXIT –driven elections in June.

Once the French leave, all the pressure will remain building in the Schengen border-free area.

Since ISIS c4i problems are a likely weakness, we expect that in the longer span of history, ISIS may be doing a democratic service to free people of Europe.

They’re not only making their movement hated, but their timing and lack of tactics could be a lever driving eventual collapse of the remainder of the European Union.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of megalomaniacs.

Tactics and Syria

The potential for a U.S. –Russian nuclear escalation continues in Syria.   A note from our military affairs whiz “warhammer” lays out some important background:

“We often hear or read about ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ Most folks instantly associate the term with nuclear weapons. Many others also know that weaponized biological agents also fit into this morose category of weaponry. Fewer realize that the very first WMDs, deployed by both sides in WWI, are more commonly known as chemical weapons. Together, this unholy trio is colloquially known as NBCs (nuke, chem and bio). See: <https://www.britannica.com/technology/weapon-of-mass-destruction>

Chemical weapons work by suffocating the victim by inhibit oxygen uptake by hemoglobin or filling the lungs with mucus, blistering the skin or short-circuiting the nervous system. They, like bio weaponry, do not destroy military equipment or capital structures. Chem weapons simply incapacitate or eliminate the opposition. Now the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has officially confirmed that it has found “incontrovertible” proof of Syria using chemical weapons on its own people.

<http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/middleeast/syria-chemical-attack-sarin-opcw/index.html>

Recall that in August, 2012, the former POTUS Barack Obama famously stated: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.” A year later, when pressed about inaction against the Assad regime, Obama back peddled by saying “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.”

This is a prime example of what happens when a world leader violates the Teddy Roosevelt policy to “speak softly and carry a big stick,” which Roosevelt explained as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis.”

Intelligent forethought! Decisive action! These key phrases carry a lot of baggage. Many leaders talk the talk, but the cannot or will not walk the walk. As a result of Obama ‘talking but not walking’ against Assad, more than 80 people were killed in early April and dozens more disabled by the use of sarin gas by the Syrian army.

Why is the ‘red line’ important? Two reasons: (1) rogue nations, such as Iran and N. Korea, are watching the global community’s response to Syria’s aggression very closely, and (2) turning one’s head away from this inconvenient WMD truth literally lets loose the hounds of hell, encouraging psychopathic despots to ruthlessly eliminate their opposition (internal and external) using any and all means available.

Obama, perhaps in part due to his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize only months into his presidency, adopted a policy of inaction. The wild card confronting Trump is that Putin has already publicly stated the chem attack was staged as a set up to incriminate the Assad regime. Will ‘the Donald’ cross verbal swords (or perhaps ‘real’ ones) with Putin in order to uphold the ‘no WMD use’ policy? Will the media question any legitimate action by Trump, should he decide to act, simply because 89% of them MSM despises the guy and want him to look bad?

The world is watching Trump, America and NATO. The ‘free press’ is an active catalyst in this volatile situation. This could get real ugly, real soon.

Very importantly, I hope you read the report by M.I.T. professor emeritus Theodore Postol of April 11th, which may be found here.

He reviewed the data on the (alleged) Syrian nerve as explosions and found that (and this is wild, so pay attention here…) that…

“…Analysis of the debris as shown in the photographs cited by the White House clearly indicates that the munition was almost certainly placed on the ground with an external detonating explosive on top of it that crushed the container so as to disperse the alleged load of sarin….”

Wait!  Catch that?  Not dropped from a plane, at all.  But, more likely, a container of sarin gas.

Since this is “Tactical Friday” we have to ask “Hmmm…Where would containers of sarin gas come from?

No one knows (for sure) since samples are above our pay grades, but we have some interesting candidates:

  • Could it have come from the Saudis?  Not fans of Syria for damn-sure.
  • Or…Israel?  Syria will no doubt be eyeing Lebanon and the Leviathan gas field…
  • Or…(the wildest of all) Remember during the Iraq war when no WMD’s were found in Iraq that there was a passing quote (might have been from Rumsfeld) that the “…WMD’s could have been buried in Syria..”?

On this last, the NY Sun reported in 2006 along the same lines:

“The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein’s air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, “Saddam’s Secrets,” released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.”

Who got ‘em?  And with that professor emeritus saying external explosives?  Hmmm…loose gas is always a dangerous thing.  (*I get a gold star for not linking the loose gas concept to upcoming Cinco de Mayo…)

Any of these (‘cept Cinco) would explain the recent “hot trip” of SecState Rex Tillerson to Moscow, and especially that third possibility because chemistries of such agents are unique.  Like fingerprints.

Off in the background, it appears to us as though the world’s super powers, US, China, and Russia at minimum though likely others as well, have a tacit agreement to go into a “hands off mode” when some of their WMDs are lost.

If you didn’t catch it, or don’t know it, one of the likely reasons that the U.S. let the Russians have a relatively free hand in their Afghanistan War may be found in the Cockburn & Cockburn book “One Point Safe” which dealt with the dribbling-out of former Soviet-owned nuclear materials during the collapse and reorganization of Russia.

Think I’m wrong?

“Yes, we are tight with money. There is not enough for the army, and Minatom must solve practical problems jointly. And they do solve them. They remove the weapons from Ukraine. Almost everything has been brought out of Kazakhstan. It has been brought out of Belarus. We can’t beat ourselves on the breast and scratch our heads with ashes — there is a lot of work going on. …”

Yes, right there in a 1995 FrontLine transcript (“Readings” section) from 1995 talks about weapons outside his country.  It’s a piece from an interview with “General Gennady Mikhailovich Yevstafiev heads the Division on Arms Control and Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons of the Foreign Counter-intelligence Service (SVR), the successor to the KGB.”

We can also (thanks to his candor) trace back to where we think the agreement between super powers to (pardon my directness) “clean up their own shit” came from:

“The problem itself requires further discussion between the interested sides, especially the “G-8,” nuclear states. A higher level of defense of nuclear materials is needed. But it is not necessary to over-dramatize it and make it into a tragedy. We need to work together. Practically. We have experience in such work. The Czech case, although they tried to turn it against us, demonstrated this. We helped to capture the criminal on the territory of Russia because we warned them in advance.

Undoubtedly, the question of NOYaM will be one of the serious questions at the meeting of the “G-8” on nuclear safety that will take place in Moscow in the spring of 1996. It is one of the elements of the global problem of nuclear safety. We consider that the IAEA should play a very big role both in accounting and in synthesizing and use of positive experience.”

The Russian general also bemoaned the lack of WMD inspection technology in Europe.

More importantly, we see the present focus on sarin (or variants) as more interesting because there are multiple possible sources and detection is more problematic with no neutrons to chase after.

As becomes clear with some digging, there is the “public face of the news” and then there are background and deep briefings.

I’m reminded of the old days of the corporate nuclear trade in the 1980’s when Russia mined yellowcake, it was refined in the US, and kept the nuke power plants going in West Germany.  There’s the public cold war and then there’s how the corporations really run the world.

Oh,  and big frameworks of thought like this one that most people are too busy posting crap on Facebook to worry about.

Still, in the spirit of our Directorate 163 modeling concept, an international agreement to let countries clean up their own messes coupled with an “external explosion” and the Iraq War WMD rumors…well…all makes for interesting speculations, indeed.

But you can’t trade on it, so why bother ?– except as a distraction when the market is slow…trying to figure out where the long knives are going.. and that is tradable.

A Trump Deal

A couple of Americans held for three years in Egypt have been freed.  I won’t point out Obamaites tried and failed to get them out.

But I might mention “Art of the Deal” again…

Influencing the Media Dept.

There’s a marvelous story in the NY Post today about how MSM journos are pissed about CBS’Gayle King spending a week on that super yacht in Tahiti with the Obamas

We note co-host Charlie Rose didn’t seem to get invited.  (Friendship?  Payback?  Or…discrimination? We’ll let you take that watch apart.)

New Lands Rising

Story in  the NY Times about how Singapore is dredging up more land is of interest.

They taking a page from the Chinese “New Islands” playbook, or what?

Daily Data

We don’t expect much out of the market today.  There are too many moving pieces in motion right now to really rocket upward, but in fairness, our Peoplenomics indicators have broken above the trend channel we showed subscribers Wednesday.

Since the weekly close is most meaningful, the daily reading chart tomorrow should give us some confidence.

Meantime, in Europe, the French CAC 40 was only down 7 points.  Germany and England were a smidgeon higher while Japan was up more than 1 percent overnight.

Purchasing Manager’s flash report comes out 15 minutes into the session.  We don’t expect much movement, just a pulse – maybe.

If you’re not a subscriber, see you Monday, otherwise we will pick up tomorrow with “Business Models In Trouble” as we look at how tech an d finance are an unusual investment screen (not to mention career choice filter).

In  the meantime, I’m going to go play with my flame thrower…er…weed burner