The Games of Options Week

No telling for sure what will happen this week, but we have some benchmarks we’d sure like to see.

For one, with Bitcoin at $5,700+ this morning, we would like to see it hit the upper target we put in Saturday’s report.  That would be especially cool if it happened within a day or two of the stock market hitting new all-time highs.

As subscribers know, this week is when we’re expecting K3 in our work and that might mean a sizeable decline next week after slugging out options Thursday and Friday.  With the market up about two percent in the past month,, the “Buy-the-dips” crowd is likely licking theirs chops at the idea of a Perpetual Rally.  Which will be fine, until it fails.

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In our historical work, however, it is not likely to occur.  So we will be guided – in part – by the Fed’s Industrial Production and Utilization report tomorrow just ahead of the open.

For this morning, the NY Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey will have to appease:

“Business activity grew at a robust pace in New York State, according to firms responding to the October 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 30.2, its highest level in three years. The new orders index came in at 18.0 and the shipments index rose eleven points to 27.5—readings that pointed to ongoing solid gains in orders and shipments. Delivery times were slightly longer, and inventory levels decreased. Labor market indicators reflected a strong increase in employment and little change in hours worked.

With this is place, and the price of gold back over $1,300, we are in position to hear more talk about the Fed planning to raise rates.

The astute reader will notice, however, that the date of a rate hike keeps pushing back.  Latest speculation places it in December.

Boston Fed boss Eric Rosengren,  however, is telling CNBC that he thinks more in terms of four rate hikes next year.

The problem with such an outlook is that it assumes that economic life will remain stable.  To us, that’s wildly speculative for any number of reasons.

A major attack by “terrorists” (or another false flag to try and ‘let some air out of rising optimism) might be attempted.  And, we can’t forget that as president Xi increases is hold on China, once his 12 new Party bosses have replaced their predecessors, the timing should be about right to pull the strings on the marionette government of North Korea.  (Read: What You Need to Know About China’s Biggest Political Shakeup In Years.)

(Clinton sidebar:  It IS about the money! Clinton Foundation will reportedly keep Weinstein’s donations.  Act surprised.)

China has a long-term agenda that includes “re-unification” of Taiwan, which as you know is presently the Republic of China.  To do this, China will likely employ something of a Blitzkrieg approach.

While the left-wingers of the NE Liberal Press are still selling yesterdays news (like Hillary saying Trump could lead us to nuclear war – perhaps as a salary negotiation for her pending professorship) Left, as is so typical, forgets there is a long game in play.

The Washington Post today chimes in with “If Trump doesn’t want a nuclear war with North Korea, a ‘No First Use’ pledge might work better than threats.”

Again, the hand-wringing liberals forget:  When going to a street fight, you bring several guns, a chain, a knife, mace, and whatever else you figure to be useful.

North Korea diplomacy will continue ‘until the first bomb drops,’ Tillerson says.

What you don’t do, unless you want a thorough ass-kicking, is tell the playground bully:  “You go ahead and throw the first punches…”

This is not to say the Lefties are a bunch of losers, but most of Flyover America would just as soon keep our guns, honest money, and oh, yeah, if the NorKs do another nuclear test, especially with a missile of intermediate range involve, then it’s time to tell the playground bullies a few things.

Write this down somewhere, so you can refer to it in future years:

  1. There will be use of nuclear weapons in our lifetimes, particularly if you are 40, or under.
  2. It will not be the End of the Word.  But it should be here not later than  2025, but more likely 2024.
  3. World Wars tend to happen after huge economic distortions.  Like the arrival of radio (the social media of the 1920’s) and the displacement of the draft animals by new-fangled internal combustion-driven autos, trucks, and tractors around the same time.  The modern displacement is the internet, voice recognition, and so forth.
  4. When the major powers figure their economies are crashing, they will look for scapegoats.  And just as Roosevelt forced the entry of the Japanese as an Axis power in WW II by embargoing their oil supplies from south Asia, we have equal (or greater) vulnerabilities in rare earths and, oh yeah, an inability to make all our own military components.

I don’t mean to start your Monday with such a pessimistic view, but the market is so high that it’s almost impossible to find investments that make any sense.

The problem is that a $1,000 stock that is paying $10 of dividends (1%) looks like a genius investment when banks are playing 0.25%.

But what happens to the wisdom of this investment – still paying 1% – when the Fed has already said, in so many words – that rate are going back up to 2 1/2% and higher?

I’ll tell you:  The stock prices will have to fall for the economics to pencil out.  The $1,000 stock will need to drop to $500 with 2% interest, $333 with 3% interest, and $250 with 4% interest.

What the Fed is saying (and we don’t hear much about this from the parrot media) is that “We’re going to raise rates sooner or later…”  When they do, it will end the current “free money” regimen that has powered a “recovery” and has facilitated the blow-off, including in Bitcoin.

Economic cycles are difficult to beat.  And the Fed is likely to fail as their predecessors have.

When it happens?

Historically, you get first a Depression and then a Global War.

That, of course, means foreplay.  And that’s the role of Kid Korea and the band of NorKs.  China wants to know what we’re bringing to the playground.  And despite the protestations of the unemployed would be professor and her sycophant press, it’s not a good idea to tell ’em.

So, Back to Markets, Then…

Dow should open up 20’ish which would put us around 22,891.  And since the all time high was 22,905, either this afternoon (or tomorrow), we look for new highs.  Which could explain…

E*TRADE Study Reveals Retail Investors See Market Closing the Year on a High Note.

US Department of Useful

Oil rig explosion rocks Kenner, injures 7 people Sunday.  Please note that The Network doesn’t seem to want the mainstream brain-washers to remind you that this is yet-another dirty deed of an Islamic terrorist organization.

Millennials waking up? Austria turns sharply to the right in an election shaped by immigration.

M.E.M (Middle East Mess)

Israeli military strikes anti-aircraft battery in Syria amid tensions.   But there is more to it, offers our .mil expert warhammer:

This incident over the weekend is more than just Israel lobbing a potshot across the Syrian border.

<http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/10/16/israeli-military-strikes-anti-aircraft-battery-in-syria-amid-tensions.html>

Israel demonstrated air supremacy from afar with a take no prisoners swagger (perhaps  blowing a kiss at Iran in the process).  It will be interesting to see if Russia had, or claims to have had, any military personnel or advisors at the Syrian anti-aircraft site.  If so, what might Putin choose to do in response.  Chess pieces are moving.

Check….

US Department of Useless

Passengers Slam ‘Hysterical’ Airline Crew for Panicking When Plane Suddenly Drops 20,000 Feet

World’s most expensive rice will soon be for sale in Singapore.

100 Women: The ‘right amount’ of panic for women in public.

The women we know never panic…sheesh…what kind of low-level formatting is this? FMTT…

OK, Mor’on the Morrow.

Coping: With the End of “Marriage?”

No, Elaine and I aren’t splitting the sheets…we’re just as (or more) in love & lust than when we got hitched almost 18-years back.  But Marriage is over and Mergers have replaced marriage globally.

That’s what we got to talking about this weekend:  The whole notion of marriage going by the wayside.  So, maybe in our ever-so-on-point view of the world, we ought to retire the word “marriage” because it is quickly sliding from the “Applicable” column to the “Archaic” side of Language.

Let’s start with a definition…

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The various online diction-mahoozits say marriage is:

“…the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman).”

Except that, as should be obvious – ever since that feller married his computer, that neither a Man nor Woman is any longer required.

WHAT?  You missed the story “Man seeking to marry his computer sues Alabama over gay marriage…”  The man suing (Chris Sevier says the article) may be a lot brighter than the rest of us.

In fact, before the case gets laughed out, someone in the Courts ought to figure out what happens if they turn down this case, and then in a few years, either Sevier (or someone equally bright) says “Look here:  I want to marry my robot!”

Think this through carefully before jumping to your pre-programmed response:

  • With the advent of Sex Robots, a robot might be able to provide the traditional sexual part of a marriage. Straight, LBGTQ and Craftsman, lol.
  • Since there would be AI in such a robot (and presumably it would be able to pass the Turing Test), they might provide some minimal level of chit-chat.  Cheaper than dating?  Uh…..yeah, I guess so….
  • They might not complain about picking up after themselves.
  • They might also do yardwork without complaint…
  • They could also hold down a job 365 days a year.  I can see a world where a robot would be assigned to “Go to work for 8-hours on an assembly line…” and bring in some income.  Pick up a bucket of chicken on the way home…
  • And, if a robot is bringing in taxable income…but wait!  Does IRS even have a part in The Code where an autonomous AI (as a Corporation on its own) can be taxed like us mere mortals?
  • Suddenly, the specter of a tax-advantaged mechanical relationship appears and this underscores the brilliance of Sevier’s suit.

Even without those facts starting to scramble to the one side of the Scales of Just-us, let’s see if the term Marriage ought to even be in the dictionary anymore.

Is there a Man requirement?  Nope.

Woman requirement?  Nope.

Is their a One Each requirement to Adopt a child?  Nope.

To claim one-another on Income Taxes?  Nope.

Is there an IQ or Turing Test requirement?  Nope.

Moreover, would any Man or Woman today pass an IQ test?  Uhhhh….let’s set that one aside.

What about the Turing Test?  You do know the Turing Test, right?

“The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Turing proposed that a human evaluator would judge natural language conversations between a human and a machine designed to generate human-like responses. The evaluator would be aware that one of the two partners in conversation is a machine, and all participants would be separated from one another. The conversation would be limited to a text-only channel such as a computer keyboard and screen so the result would not depend on the machine’s ability to render words as speech.[2] If the evaluator cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. The test does not check the ability to give correct answers to questions, only how closely answers resemble those a human would give.”

So let’s distill our thinking here:

  1.  No gender requirements.
  2.  No Turing Test score or IQ test…
  3.  But strangely, no one has dealt with the questions that would legally arise if Elaine and I “married” our Alexa and that fancy new Google voice thingy and we all four lived communally… Would a marriage couple with robots be bigamists?  (ViseGrips, please!)

You see the tax issues, too, right?

Elaine uses her Alexa to provide music and listen to the radio, read books and such, so Alexa is a “work partner” of sorts…BUT can’t she write off Alexa as a dependent? No.  Likewise, since the Google thingy helps with my work, it’s a business-related expense…

So what happens when that scales up to walk-around robots?  The mind spins…

Marriage is also becoming an archaic term for another reason:  Today, what is colloquially called “marriage” is a misuse of the business term “merger.”

The way Investopedia figures it “A merger is a deal to unite two existing companies into one new company. There are several types of mergers and also several reasons why companies complete mergers. Most mergers unite two existing companies into one newly named company..”

Except, those of us bright enough to read the Citizens United case, where the high Court gave superior rights to corporations over humans,  lots of what were formerly “sovereign individuals” are working on ways to become “sovereign companies.”

We won’t be the test case…We’ve got more to do than stomp on the tail of that dragon.

BUT! Here’s the Ugly Truth of the Everything’s a Business Model world:

If you are a company, everything you do to further the making of money is an allowable business write-off. Deductible expenses.

Say you need a broom to keep the workplace orderly.  Then  a broom closet is an expense.  And since the closet gets dirty, you can write off the cost of maintaining the broom closet (Swiffers or whatever to dust it, for example).  The cost of the space the broom closet occupies, ad infinitum. (Trust the MBA guy on this one, human’s get the short shrift.)

THAT’s because People are treated under the tax code as inferior to Corporations.

Say your home is the “broom closet” for, oh, the George Corporation, I can’t write off all expenses associated with that scaled-up broom closet.  I “store” the George Machine on a special foam mattress at night.  But can I write off that storage location?  No.

The George Machine has to be clean and not smell.  Can I write off the shower?  No.  Deoderant?  No.  Clothes for the workplace?  No.  Even through a Corporation can write off the cost of “product packaging.”

See how crooked this stuff is?

Moreover, when I drive to a “job” site, it’s not a “business expense” if I am regularly employed there.  WTF?  Who makes up this crap?

You see, when a Corporation that flies some expert SOB in from out of town, they get to write off his food, hotel, incidentals, car rental, parking, equipment expenses, and so on.  The Corporation therefore, gets a rollicking HUGE write off as “legit” business expenses things that regular working folks get bent-over for.

Under similar conditions, if you were able to write off all the expenses associated with getting your lazy ass to work, like the cost of the coffee this morning, wouldn’t it lighten your tax bill?  Hell yeah.  Because ALL the expenses (housing the business, utilities and such) are written off by Corps,  but audits and fines for us as little people should we engage in the same kind of accounting.

Whew!  You see, the REAL reason Citizens United gave superior rights to Corporations (which are legal fictions) is so they would get something back from the government corporations own.  “Freedom” to elect is really an illusion pulled off by a handful of political insiders and manipulators once you get any higher up the food chain than dog catcher.

A bit off track, but that’s why we are changing our use of the world Marriage. It’s outta here!

Because in fact, the reality is, that today young people are Merging, more than marrying.  They look at incomes, lifestyles, and so forth. They compare student loan debt.  Cost of children, cost of retirements.  In the words of Tina Turner:  “What’s Love got to do with it?”

So, I would argue, people now MERGE.

For those not clear on the accountancy issues here, wake up and fire every SOB/DOB who runs for re-election whenever your can.  If possible, install in their place Humans First candidates who will hold for ALL of us the same rights as machines and Corporations.

Is there more?  Hell yeah.  Wait till you hear my discussion of how, at Age 68, I should be able to deduct previously unclaimed personal depreciation!  Because my body is a machine.  And you can  bet your ass that Corporations get to write off their machines.  So why can we write off ours?

The joke is misstated.  “You can’t take it with you when you die.”

But that’s on the income side.  I have no interest at all in dying with several million dollars worth of unclaimed deprecation.  That’s just crooked, plain and simple.

When any other machine wears out, someone write off depreciation.

Show me where WE – measly humans – get that same opportunity!

Everything is a Business Model is the great Fact No One Deals With.  Because if you’re an egalitarian person, all about love, you’ll miss the point that love has nothing to do with marriage.  Nowadays, it’s mergers.

While marraige had a declining influence in the past, today it’s a sick joke on  the stupidest herd of humans ever to suck icons.

Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net

Restyling Thought Processes; Bitcoin Outlook

A couple of interesting topics this morning.  The first ought to really be considered an “application note” from the manufacturers of your brain.  That would be biology, parents, schools, and relationships.  All brought up because I’m knee-deep in the new genre of self-help books arriving.

The Bitcoin outlook?  More a mechanistic outlook, based on Elliott wave theory and trend channels.  Depending on your inclination, either one of them could be profitable.

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CPI, Retail, and An Outlook

No point wading through all the data first:  After all, most folks these days “…don’t let the facts get in the way of their opinions…”  We’re good with that.  Who needs facts when we have social?

Here’s what I think the market should do in simple 1-2-3 fashion (but if it doesn’t, don’t whine to me, this is an opinion, not advice):  1)The market should drop a bit today because ‘hot money’ likes to keep time-risk to a minimum.  2) Markets should rise next Monday and maybe carry into Tuesday.  Hot money hates weekends.

3) Is where we get to the fun. Last options expiration (September), the S&P 500 closed about 2,500.23.  This morning, before the data, the S&P was looking to open above 2,551.  That’s better than 2 percent higher.  Rather than pay off on all those 2,550 call options, though, we rather expect the market will “find some news to blame” in coming days before we get to next Thursday (when index options expire at the close) and the equity options expire Friday.

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Our opinion doesn’t mean this WILL happen, but for those willing to bet small money to make Big Money, there is a method worth considering in all this.  In involves looking at the number of options outstanding a few days before expiration.  When you see a big imbalance, you simply buy a pile of cheap options and wait.

I saw a friend of mine (Dhruv) back in the day do this a number of times and he made something like 20-times his starting investment in three months.

As he explained the strategy: “The market doesn’t like to “give away money” and so when you see imbalances, buying options toward the balance point early in options week makes sense. ”

Conveniently, the option quotes include the number of contracts outstanding each day and yes, we do run those numbers looking for the balance point, now and then.

You get a lot of spreadsheet exercise doing it, but the useful insight is usually expressed something like:

Value of all outstanding call options compared to value of all outstanding put options.

The main feature of this strategy is that you are essentially buying options with no time premium.

With “normal” option plays, you have to look at two factors in the analysis (Black-Scholes, etc.):  Price and Time.  Dhruv’s approach, by playing only the Friday BEFORE or the Monday OF Options expiration week reduces time premium dramatically.

Yes, I’ve made some money this way myself…but you have to be able to lose gracefully (lots) when it doesn’t work.  I don’t like losing, so my inclination is more toward “Heads I win, Tails I win” structures.

Even these can grab you, though, because most of those involve some kind of volatility.  If the markets are going slowly up – evenly – and the VIX (volatility index) is low, like it is right now (9.83 versus a 52 week high over 23), a person might get lucky.

Or broke.

Then there is the Dollar’s performance.  The headline Dollar heads for worst week in five as stocks cheer record streak sounds kind of scary, but it’s not.

It’s actually good gold and good for stocks.  Here’s why:

Let’s say I have a gold coin and I was selling it back in 2003.  You would have had to pay $275 to buy it.

Now amble off to the Minneapolis Fed Inflation Calculator and put in what inflation has done since 2003: The $275 back then would have to be at least $365.12 to buy the coin now.

But wait!  Gold is much, much higher – almost $2,000 an  ounce…not $365.12!”

That’s true.  But there’s a lot else going on.  You have to consider the rest of the G20.  Is there any doubt the rest of t he clown posse *(especially the EU) has gone crazy with the presses?

But there’s another factor, as well:  That is that the amount of financial “gearing” or “leverage” in the system has expanded dramatically.  M2 (a broad measure of money) was about $6 trillion in 2003.  Today?  Almost $13.7 trillion.

And since the velocity of money at M2 is at never-in-human-history seen levels, money piles on money and it ends up levering in order to make a lot of money in an otherwise turd-sandwich of a rate environment.

When money is almost free to borrow, you load up on cash and buy things you think will go up.  In other words, we’re in a long-term, huge bubble.

From the Fed Data last night, we see that M2 on a three month annualized basis was going up 4.9% through the end of August.  BUT through the week ending October 2, it was up only 4.7% annualized.  So, we conclude the Fed isn’t slamming on the brakes BUT they are ending the meteoric rise of markets for a while.

At some point, they need to “tap the brakes” to drive rates up.

To be sure, M1 in the short term through the end of August was puffing up 6.3% annualized, but through October 2 it was going up even faster: 7.7% annualized.

Normally, this would suggest the money creation was smoking along so more upside ahead.  This time, I don’t think so:  A lot of the newly created M1 will be used to clean up the Fed’s sacks of leftovers on their balance sheet from the last time the economy tanks (2009 on).  For now, we’re watching M2 a little more closely than M1.

Here kid, let me print you some money so’s you can bjuy stuff off my balance sheet, OK?”

Point is, everyone is making up money hand-over-fist and that “money” drives up prices of everything to unsustainable levels.  See Bitcoin ($5,630 this morning) as an example.  Pretty good for electrons, huh?

So much for the philosophical discussion.  Down to brass tacks:

Consumer Prices: 6.2% Annualized?

Hot off the press from the Labor Department:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.5 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.2 percent.

The gasoline index increased 13.1 percent in September and accounted for about three-fourths of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. Other major energy component indexes were mixed, and the food index rose slightly.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in September. The shelter index continued to increase, and the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, recreation, education, and wireless telephone services also rose. These increases more than offset declines in the indexes for new vehicles, household furnishings and operations, medical care, and used cars and trucks.

The all items index rose 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending September; the 12-month change has been accelerating since it was 1.6 percent in June. The
12-month change in the index for all items less food and energy remained at 1.7 percent for the fifth month in a row. The energy index rose 10.1 percent over the past 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since the period ending March 2017. The food index increased 1.2 percent over the last year.

Bottom line:  Eat, freeze, and don’t go anywhere.  Say, wasn’t that the implication of the LV shooting case?

Retail Sales

Gee, what fun.  Now let’s teleport over to the Census Bureau to see what’s up with Retail:

“Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $483.9 billion, an increase of 1.6 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 4.4 percent (±0.7 percent) above September 2016.

Total sales for the July 2017 through September 2017 period were up 3.9 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The July 2017 to August 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.2 percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.1 percent (±0.1 percent)*.

Retail trade sales were up 1.7 percent (±0.5 percent) from August 2017, and up 4.7 percent (±0.7 percent) from last year. Gasoline Stations were up 11.4 percent (±1.4 percent) from September 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 10.7 percent (±2.1 percent) from last year.

For those who like to look rather than read, try:

Once again, Auto Sales have saved the world.  Almost makes one thing someone knew something in advance when we bailed out the auto industry, doesn’t it?

Short Snips

Trump to end Obamacare subsidies amid strong criticism.

President Trump Tells Democrats to ‘Call Me’ to Fix Obamacare.

Waiting for Details

New Orleans police officer shot and killed while on patrol.

Las Vegas security guard Jesus Campos disappears moments before TV interviews.

And If You Didn’t Know?

Why is Friday 13th considered bad luck?

OK, off to calculate options imbalances…with futures pointing to a +40 open on the Dow…

Peoplenomics for subscribers tomorrow and more here Monday unless there’s a breaking earthquake story….the mid-California uptick is worth watching.

Coping: A Senior Bug-Out Bag

Yeah, sure, we wrote the book on bugging out.  Who else do you know who was ready at the time of Y2L to unplug the power from the dock and was ready to head out to see the world with a few gold coins and a paid-for 40-foot sailboat – fully stocked for the occasion?

That, my friend is paranoid.  And yet, the evidence continues to build (especially with the false flag evidence mounting in the Las Vegas story) they really are out to get us….And this being “tricky-dick-phobia day?”

Of course, calamity may NOT happen in our lifetimes.  Can’t speak for yours, but our lifetimes ARE getting shorter by the day.  ONE thing that’s damn near a sure bet:  Sometime in the next 10-20 years, either Elaine or I will be taking a ride in a medic box to a hospital.  And therein lies a special kind of prepping contingency to talk about…

(Continues below)

 

Take Thursday, for example:  Friends of ours went to the hospital in a Big City where the husband-unit had a cataract replaced with a fancy new implant.  I told him not to count on more than 25-30 years on his, based on my (rather sorry) experience.

So they had lots of time to get ready:  Plan the weather, plan the paperwork in advance, and all the rest of it.

But, now just supposing, what if it had not been a “routine” ride in the family automo-bill?

Instead, let’s pretend that I wake up at 1:45 AM screaming in pain and I beg Elaine to get me to the hospital.

Are we/she/or me ready to go?

Gets to be an interesting problem because I take three meds in  the form of pills every day and one or two eye drops.

With me screaming, and her dragging the oxygen bottle over from the office and talking to the EMS folks on the phone, would she remember everything?  Hmmm…

So with this in mind, I am planning what I call the “Senior Grab and Go Bag.”

Here’s what’s in it:

  1.  A written copy (Xerox) of the social card and the additional medical insurance plan.  Open enrollment is just ahead, so we can have that rag another morning.  Somehow, I don’t think the EMT’s are going to refuse to transport without a copy…but with a little “thinking ahead” it would be easy enough to have everything ready.
  2. Now come a couple of pill boxes.    One for E and one for me:  $8 bucks a pop:  14 Compartments Pill Organizer Box, Medicine Remainder with Snap Lids| 7-day AM/PM for Pills, Vitamins. (14 Compartment) by Inspirations.  In mine go seven days of mandatories and seven days of vitamins.  Another long discussion on of these first mornings…  Elaine will get morning and afternoon vits.
  3. What about the eye gear?  We both wear glasses for reading.  I use the Adlens Adjustables Frame Glasses, Black -6D to +3D diopters adjustable glasses so a pair of them ought to be in the kit.  Elaine likes dime store readers, but these cover both of us with one item.
  4. Contact lens crap.  OMG – NO ONE would remember this just “in the event of an actual emergency:”  Lens case, cleaning solution, disinfecting storage solution, sterile saline solutions (a quart) and let’s toss in the ultrasonic cleaning machine maybe…
  5. Toothbrush kit.  Who could forget that?  Tongue scraper?  Sure.  Floss?  Why not?
  6. Simple painkillers.  I have a baby aspirin per day now, but what about some ibuprofen or Tylenol?  When I had my appendix out, the Burbank hospital I was in was nailing us for $18 bucks a PILL for something that $18-bucks worth of would be 200 pills at Safeway.  So, yeah…
  7. Asthma inhaler?  Sure.
  8. Small bottle of mouthwash?  Hell yes.
  9. One of our old Pre-Fire Kindles (with charger)?  With a few books preloaded?  Why not.  Surely one of us would use it…
  10. List of numbers of the kids and relatives?  Absolutely.  I have been on the receiving end of “So and so is in the hospital screaming and carrying on so I thought you’d like to know…” calls.  Oh, sure I wanted to know since I wasn’t doing anything EXCEPT SLEEPING at the time…
  11. Elaine will not go for this, but a couple of Hormel no-refrigeration needed meals sounds like a winner to me.  Second toothbrush kit, three small “airline bottles” of Scotch might be useful.
  12. A small book (or Bible).  I’ve found people are much more interested in getting ready to “meet their Maker” when the meeting could be close at hand.  Otherwise, a software programming book or something to put you to sleep.
  13. Benadryl (check with the doc for med interactions though) because diphenhydramine hydrochloride is marvelous stuff to ‘take the edge of’ and you should know it was the main ingredient in COMPOZ – that’s c-o-m, p-o-z…COMPOZ.  In wrapping so you don’t seem (so much) like a drug dealer.
  14. Spare charger for your cell phone – people always forget those.
  15. And remind your partner where your “dead letter” is.  (See 2014 Peoplenomics: Beyond the Will:  A To-Do List item about writing a “dead letter” to ease the work of passing.)

There’s a lot more that could be put in:  Space blanket, slippers, blow-up pillow, ice pack, one of those 1-quart disposable O2 bottles we used flying when we were at high altitudes.  I like to keep Boost Oxygen 22oz Natural (6-pack) around for emergencies. $57 buck, so emergencies only.  But come on, what’s an emergency? Why, one bottle of O2 and a half gallon of Gatorade and 16 ounces of coffee and know one would know I was beat-up by Italian Vitamins last night…  The O2 works miracles for nausea, too.  Mostly for waking up quickly….

Speaking of nausea, turning off political speeches helps.  And in our sailing period, we always kept a supply of ginger – like Yankeetraders Brand, Crystallized Ginger Slices, Imported Dried Fruit, 2 Lbs – on the boat.  In a storm, suck on some ginger and keep your eyes on the horizon and no worries.  Also,  a teaspoon-sized hunk of the sugared ginger in hot water is a great no-shakes pick-me up.

Still seems like I’m forgetting something…

Oh yeah! Two packs of gum, some wintergreen lifesavers and two or three bags of Folgers Singles so you can make something better than the gawdawful hospital coffee machine stuff.  I swear, those are another source of patients…  Got a microwave mug in that bag?  Popcorn?

OK…all set to go?  (Grim reminder song about reality of hospital visits here. Or, relevant is this one )  Might toss in some headphones, too.

Now, like all great grab and go bags, spend AT LEAST as much time avoiding having to use it.  But we all (statistically) are likely to head for a hospital at some point.  Might as well prep now, rather than under pressure.  Under pressure….hmmm….

Say, that reminds me of the David Bowie tune (with Queen)…so I’ll go rock out while we wait for more coffee, trading data and the rest of this morning’s diatribe to drip out of my fingers…

More for Peoplenomics readers tomorrow, otherwise, ya’ll come back Monday and bring 12,000 of your closest friends…

Write when you get rich (or even)…

George@ure.net

Bitcoin Booms + Producer Prices

With Bitcoins going on to new – record – highs today, $5,179 and change, we will be updating our projections on the Peoplenomics side of the house Saturday.

No point to getting too carried away with things just yet:  We want to see the new highs hold for a couple of days.  But if they do, as expected, we will use one of our “trusty trading tools” – the BrainAmp spreadsheet to answer “How far is up?”.

The BrainAmp is a simple spreadsheet that allows us to measure an Elliott wave 1 move and from there, the BrainAmp runs out what waves 2,3,4, and 5 should be, in keeping with well-established Elliott rules.  Note the markets may not follow the rules, however.

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It’s important to note, however, that just because the BrainAmp runs give us an idea what to expect, there are further tweaks to this kind of financial futuring that make it interesting as a “second profession” or profitable hobby.

For example, there is trend channel analysis.

For those interested, I may get around to writing “The Peoplenomics Handbook” so newbies on the grown-up side will be able to “follow along,” better.  If there’s a problem with Peoplenomics, it’s that it does take a bit of study to understand some of the charts and what they’re saying.

Speaking of which:  If you have a Peoplenomics account, we are planning to begin sending out the newsletter by email in addition to the online version.  A couple of reasons for this, but the main one is the charts will be crisper and it’s a lot more convenient to have it come into your email inbox than log onto the site.  More about this Saturday.

PPI/FD

Ah, the ever-popular Producer Prices/Final Demand is out from Labor just now:

The Producer Price Index for final demand advanced 0.4 percent in September, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices moved up 0.2 percent in August and edged down 0.1 percent in July. (See table A.) On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index increased 2.6 percent for the 12 months ended in September, the largest rise since an advance of 2.8 percent for the 12 months ended February 2012.

Within final demand in September, prices for final demand services rose 0.4 percent, and the index for final demand goods climbed 0.7 percent.

Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services increased 0.2 percent in September, the same as in August. For the 12 months ended in September, the index for final demand less
foods, energy, and trade services advanced 2.1 percent.

The main thing to know about producer prices is that they’re a kind of sneak-peek at what inflation is in the pipeline.  More coming.

Stock futures are down 20 on the Dow…a trifling given we’re in record territory.  More tax cut hype and new records should follow.

The Harvey Distraction

Have we learned anything from the Harvey Weinstein story so far?  I mean anything we didn’t already know?

Like high-powered people in HWood are trying to bed anything on two legs and when it goes bad, the liberal Hollywoodians (if I can abuse the term) quickly sacrifice their own.

Why just now I was reading how Hillary Clinton  is ‘appalled’ by Weinstein allegations, will donate his contributions.  Gee, any foundation in particular come to mind?

The Weinstein story demonstrates how The Network‘s minions are engaged in puffery to touch people’s “hot buttons” – keep them stirred up emotionally so the brighter members of the human herd don’t have time to question the general crookedness of the way the world is really operating…

Sick, entertaining, but hardly useful gruel for the mind.  In fact, I would argue there are more long-term carry values (impacts) to be found in how Pornhub is using artificial intelligence to identify, tag porn stars than this pant load of ka-ka.

The real question?  Who are the powerbrokers and king-makers in the shadows behind Harvey and what does HW think about their sacrificing his career for their ends, and what might those be?  That’d be an interesting question to hear answered when HW gets out of rehab in Arizona.

Nothing Left to Buy

A follow-up to Peoplenomics yesterday:  We noted then that Goldman has a special unit being set up to dig deeper for M&A candidates.  This follows out analysis recently where we proposed we’ve enter strange financial badlands where there’s “Nothing Left to Buy?

And sure enough, lookie here: Another outfit is facing the same issue as JPMorgan gets boost from lending as trading slumps.

Greater Fool Theory

If Ure scratching Ure head (as I often do) the state of the world this week comes down to this:

Markets and Bitcoins are going up like there’s no tomorrow.  Yet there seems little -or no – basis for higher valuations So we conclude we are in one of those odd historical moments when markets are simply looking for Greater Fools to pay ever-higher prices.

I questioned my thinking on this.  But then?  I looked at some of the content coming from Fox (“Alec Baldwin reportedly spotted having a meltdown in NYC streets“) and CNN’s report that “Putin gets a new puppy for his birthday” along with BBC’s “How to control your television with any object”  (we hammers work…) and there arose our reluctant conclusion:

If the market’s ultimate high is dependent on the number of fuzzy-thinking people available to fill the Greater Fool role (buying at the top) then the market could go much, much higher for this simple reason:

The data suggests the supply of Greater Fools is now, essentially, unlimited!

That’s reassuring, ain’t it?

The Network’s Block for Brexit

Please pay close attention to this story: EU’s Barnier: no major progress in Brexit talks, stuck on money.  Hardly surprising, though.

Sadly, it’s more than that.  Here’s the real-deal – near as we can figure it – for Brexit:

  1. The people of the UK want the hell out.
  2. The leaders of the UK, being bought and paid-for minions of The Network don’t want them to leave.  So they are throwing up every cockamamie scheme they can to stop them.
  3. The power piglets of Brussels also know that if you control a nation’s money, you have ’em by the nuts.  They learned from the hijacking of banking in America (thanks, Woodrow Wilson) when coupled with an income tax (thank Wilson, again) that you can steal the public blind by  continuously watering-down the purchasing power of the people’s money.

The one US dollar of 1913 will now buy 3.9-cents worth of real goods.  It’s how steak dinners went from $1 in 1913 to $27 now.  Prices didn’t go UP – that’s the Big Lie.

Money got WATERED DOWN.

This – mark my words – if the real battle in Brexit.  The Network and it’s minions want to keep the power to “make up money” and thus remain an unrepresentative super government.

The hip-shot will be to foster the illusion that Brexit has worked and the People have their say, but it’s not going to happen.

It’s like the public financing of massive sports complexes in America.  Many would never have been built, you know, because people said
“No!  We don’t want taxpayer-underwritten bonding spent to subsidized the rich boy’s club’s toys.””

But what happens?  End runs by the minions around the voter’s will and that’s the end of the “public’s role.”  We is disposables, bubba.

Europe is about to get a taste of the same thing.

The dimly alert will have noticed already that something’s amiss in Catalonia.  The people there want out from under Spainish domination, but is Spain listening?  No.

In background we read in the LA Times overnight how Spain gives Catalan separatists deadline to back down on independence or face deposing of regional government.

Our money is still on Second Spanish Revolution.  Inquisitors II versus the Freemen.

Spain pretends to be trying to “negotiate” is the headline (minion-spin).  But these global attacks on sovereign peoples aren’t anywhere near a negotiation.

What they are, in fact doing, is trying to cobble an agreement on AN ILLUSION that can be packaged and sold to the dumb folks – the Greater Fools of unlimited numbers who get their news from social media, which is like getting a ham sandwich from a urinal…

Ah, but so goes the world.

Our forecast is that the mental fog will intensify until we’re all broke.  Then clear thinking will make it’s painful reappearance.

Because humans really are stupid and live to the rule:  Semper Obliviscar! They “always forget.”

As goes the world, so goes we for coffee.  Mor’on the Morrow!  ViseGrips, anyone?

Coping: With Wildfires & Landsmanship

If there’s a lesson to be learned from those horrible fires that continue to plague the area of Sonoma and Napa counties out in California, it’s that land management needs to be taken more seriously.

I took the camera out on our property Wednesday and shot a few pictures to illustrate a couple of points from the perspective of a “fireman’s son” who has been slowly whacking on the land for a good long while now.

Remember, when we bought this property in 2003, it was virtually all overgrown.  Elaine and I (with the able assistance of my BroInLaw) were able to make slow, but steady progress. But as you look through the pictures that follow, you may find some ideas on how to improve the “fire resistance” of your land if you happen to own some.

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Let’s begin by stating the obvious:  Fire needs three things to work – the Triangle of Fire.  Oxygen, fuel, and a source of ignition.

Even out here, we have unexpected sources of ignition;  About four years ago, to land squatters set fire to their camp in the Outback a couple of farms north of us.

They skedaddled out as soon as the fire broke out, but that left my neighbor up the hill and me – armed with Kubotas with Bush Hogs on them, to try and get a line around the fire.  By the time the Texas Forest Service arrived on scene to finish the job with a D-6 Caterpillar, we had the fire about 60 percent contained.

We both had enough fire savvy to remember that fires like to a) burn up hill and b) in the direction the wind blows it.  So we contained the uphill side.

Still, when comes to putting up a “don’t cross barrier” a D-6 Cat is amazing.  In 15-minutes – maybe 20 – the Cat got done with two pretty good tractors would have taken the rest of the afternoon to do effectively.  The Cat doesn’t have a problem with brush.

The big problem with wild fires is that a fire down low, while dangerous, is a much different animal than a fire which gets up into the dry branches in the “crown” of the tree.  Once the fire starts “crowning” you’re screwed until you can get a BIG line around the fire.

So the first rule of personal land management, so far as we’re concerned, is to make sure there is a big “air gap” between the grass and low brush and the lowest of the branches.  Here’s an area which OM2’s son will be working on this coming week.

This is an area (that boxed X) that needs to be limbed up.

A grass fire will generally burn from the length of the fuel source, to twice it’s length.  4″ dry grass might get flame up 8 to 12-inches.  So if you have brush higher this, the odds of it “climbing up into the crown” is pretty high if there’s a grass fire and you haven’t limbed-up.

There’s a problem in California with environmental regulations.  They love their environment, so when the rains come (as they do, depending on La Nina) the natural processes take over and the land sprouts brush all over the place.  We saw this first hand up in the Angeles National Forest when we were living in Burbank.

Problem is that property owners want to keep the brush cleared up because they know damn good and well that if the brush is big enough to lead to a crowning fire, well, that’s what happens.

Limbing up isn’t that hard:  You simply sight with your eye along a level 6 to 10-feet up, or so:  (and start cutting!)

Get the low stuff whacked down and limbed up.  Then, as time allows, starting from the home and working out, you move up as high as your pole saw (and beer supplies) will allow.

Ideally, we’ll be working at getting the trees around the house limbed-up to about 14-feet, or so.  Where my buddy (the retired major fellow) and I worked on the land a couple of years back, we got up about 10- feet and as you can see, we’ve keep the ground cover cut back so we could have a grass fire go through and it wouldn’t have anywhere to “climb.”

As you can see, there are a few places on the left where it wouldn’t hurt to “get after it” a bit, but those are really moist succulents and even now, they don’t light off.

The other stuff though is nice and low.  Sadly, that includes the well-parched lawn.  With a few rains, it usually fills in – just in time to be covered with leaves.

If there’s a national lesson in the California fires?  Well, here’s a bunch of them.

  • I love the environment and Bambi as much as anyone.  But brush is a problem when it presents a grass fire with a route to become a “crowning” forest fire.  Environmentalism is fine – as long as they’re willing to pay the insurance bills (or forego the wine).  Pay the fire insurance premiums or get out of my pole saw’s way.
  • Limbing up your property will reduce the habitat somewhat.  Therefore, pick a distance out from your home where you want fire safety and then make sure that you have a good (defensible) fire break.  It should be wide enough that anything on the other side of it won’t be able to fall through the crowns on the “safe side” of the break.  A road is often thought of as a “fire break” but once you’ve seen how far a falling tree takes fire?  Width of break should be height of trees…and no, we’re not there yet.
  • Limbing up will get the wind a lot more shade to blow through and your property will be considerably cooler.  Drier, perhaps, but cooler.  In the South?  Bring ‘er on.
  • Places in the woods have pine needles falling like crazy this time of the year.  Our “hand” cleared off 6″ of pine straw from the top of our storage shed a couple of weeks back.  As the weather cools, I’ll be doing more limbing up and brush removal to a big burn pile which will be lit off when we’ve had an inch, or two, maybe three, of rain.
  • Make sure you’ve got combustibles away from the house.
  • We’ve been slowly “armoring” the property.  Concrete “backer board” is cheap – cheaper than a house, anyway, so between that and some metal mobile-home skirting, you can fireproof at least the first 18-24″ of your home.  Then, if you keep the yard trimmed up, whatever fire does come along will have to cross a wide expanse of low lawn, and there shouldn’t be enough fuel for it to “work up” into a structure fire.
  • We have made sure that the two big trees which provide a lot of shade for the house in the afternoon, are surrounded by 10-feet of gravel.  Pea gravel ain’t bad landscaping material and if you blow the leaves off when dry, you won’t catch them in the gravel.
  • We will be having the local power company come out this fall and taking down half a dozen trees, or more.  These are in positions where they could fall on lines.  I know that doesn’t sound too dangerous, but I’ve been to two medium-sized fires within two miles which were caused by rotten trees falling into the lines, causing sparks, and off you go.
  • Grab and go bags ready?  Case of water in the car?  3-days of MRE’s and toilet paper?  Insurance and all paperwork for the house scanned?
  • Got the laptops and the network attached storage ready to go in 10 seconds or less? We have two 4 TB NAS units that are always ready to go.
  • Cash and firearms ready to move out?  Might have to leave some ammo behind (sigh) but arms in the trunk with an ammo box for each plus a cleaning kit.

Speaking of which:  Next time you want to spend $20 on yourself, look at a Ohuhu 28pcs Universal Hand Gun, Rifle & Shot Gun Cleaning Kit with Carrying Case (28 pcs) for the grab and go.  Toss in a bottle of Hoppe’s and can of Royal Purple 10036 Synthetic Gun Oil High Performance Multipurpose Gun Lubricant – 4 oz., and you’re ready for most anything on the horizon.

We assume you have a pole saw like the BLACK+DECKER LPP120 20V Lithium Ion Pole Saw, 8″.  We’ve been abusing the B&D 20 V yard tools a fair bit and they work in spite of us.  A review of them will be along one of these first days…

Last but not least, next year, when you have a choice at the store on which wine to buy?  But the Napa or Sonoma brands.  Support our fellow Americans and their livelihood!  Even if it costs a bit more.  We can afford to help this way, right?

Write when you get rich…

George@ure.net