Coping: Fashion Kills and we “Skirt Profits”

[Reader Note: Yes, the ad at the top of this column on is gone.  Turned people off, so it goes away.  Yes, I do listen.  Now your part of the deal is to tell your friends it’s safe to come back now…]

If you happen to be up in the Toronto, Canada region, you might want to put a swing through the Bata Shoe Museum on your list of sightseeing adventures.

Not for the shoes alone, though that’s kinda kitchy.  No, I’m thinking more about their new display of “Fashion Victims:  The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century.”

It’s not like you’ll need to call in sick tomorrow so you can take it in right now:  The display will be open through next year (June 2016).  But it’s a reminder that we live in a world that has gone from “mad as a hatter” due to the mercury used in shrinking headbands and the like, to the laughingly labeled “modern era” which sweat shops and labor camps make today’s fashions, including the electronica sort.

Mind candy to a sick or crazy like me:  It gets me to thinking in design pattern terms. “Fashion Kills” is a concept that has “scaled” nicely.  We’ve taken the concept from articles of clothing to political decision-making on all manner of issues, ranging from war to immigration and whatever else you want to lump under that other most dangerous fashion:

Political correctness.

To be sure, you can still find George Kotsiopoulos of ‘Fashion Police’ talking about this season’s “must have” looks.  But I wonder if he might not be a good consultant on the socioeconomic/political side of things, too.

After all, we know that fashion and the stock market do have an immodest relationship:  Huge market peaks are often accompanied by rising hemlines.  And with the market set to do a mega-burst blow-off high, I’m  waiting for the return of the mini-skirt.

Oh, wait…here it comes:

Ferne McCann shows off her tanned legs in cream mini skirt….”  I’ll skip the snide remark about correlating anything “British” with fashion, only because I have a pile of long-term call options.

And here’s more bullish market sentiment to feast Ure eyes on:  “Sienna miller rocks a metallic detailed mini skirt…”

And even more?  “Fabulous at 50- why the mini skirt will live on forever!” headlines the Liverpool Echo.

This is my idea of “skirting profits.”

Renting Your Life: Data File Inputs

New Jersey has the dubious honor of having the highest Obamacare prices in the country.  Way to go go!

Just over the bridge, we see than Manhattan condo prices have fallen a bit since Q1 records were set.  Guess you might hold off for a while on tossing the offer in on the $50-million townhouse, huh?

But price manias are everywhere.  Housing prices are going up in Taipei at incredible rates, but while the story about what this is doing to one couple, reported over here puts a “human face” on the housing prices there, am I the only one with the brains God gave chickens?  Don’t people in Taipei remember who’s on the other side of the Straits and who has had eyes on their island since Mao’s time?

That would be like buying a border home in Arizona.  Might make sense sometime in the future, but not this week, thank you very much.

Oh, sugar prices have hit an 8-month high.  Sweet.


Good discussion over on Dr. Zorpix this morning (Wii-UJ)about the changes coming to Nintendo’s Zelda.

I’m stuck with our early Wii and Sports Resort, but with the controllers and balance board it still gets us off the coach once in a while.  I’ve often wondered why more senior care facilities don’t push virtual bowling and vid games, but maybe I’m just not exposed to the forward-thinkers of the elder-care community.

Living the last parts of first life, playing lots of Second Life, while getting queued up for third life (after) seems an interesting enough sleigh ride.  Especially with the right brownies and a smoke.  (wink-wink, nudge-budge).


Kendall Jenner is the face of Givenchy.

When I was 18, no one was throwing money at me, although it might have had something to do with being the wrong gender, ugly, (geeky before it was fashionable), and surly may have had something to do with it.  Yah think?

Fortunately, we live in a world where all that can be changed, ‘cept my surly part, o’ course.

Speaking of Dying

Say, here’s an interesting idea for a funeral:  Instead of an open casket, a 53 year old New Orleans woman who died of cancer was propped up at a table for two days of services, complete with a menthol ciggy in hand, disco lights, and a brewskie and bottle of Jack nearby.

Not sure is this’d be your kind of scene, but hey, in Naw’lins, anything goes. 

(I’m not a clever enough writer to make up this kind of shit.)

“American Vegetables”

Maybe 6-months back I was suggest that it would be a fine year to get involved in gardening, or even hydroponics.  I think the phrase was “grow food or die” and I cited a lot of reasons that ought to be coming along, not the least of which was the looming drought in California.

Now, six months later, the stories are beginning to roll out from hinterland and Cali media like this one saying “Food prices rise during severe drought.”

Gee, who would have thought – except our long-term readers who’ve been with us for a while.

Meantime, there was more “good” news on the weather front for this part of Texas, hard hit by drought:  We put another 0.2” in the rain gauge overnight as more storms moved through the area.  And my East Bay area client got his water well completed and is now in the “development” phase.

And the National Drought Monitor overview has improved some this week, but not out in the San Joaquin or the Central valley’s of California.

Not all the news is bullish, mind you:  Wheat prices are down on a bumper crop.

Still “Urban farms one solution for ailing food system, Colorado agricultural activist says.”

Depending on how next year’s weather works out, the next thing we might want to have our thinking caps on about would be seeds.  Once the food prices begin their trip toward the moon in earnest, and remember a good bit of that is driven by oil and gas prices (diesel and fertilizers), things could begin inflating in many quarters without the Fed having to raise a policy finger.

You can see a dynamic there, if you look:  The Fed has been pimping ultra-low rates and has been worried about the economy getting too much inflation in it.  With all the “made up money” around, that could turn into a total disaster of the Weimar Republic sort.

There’s always a relationship between money supply and inflation, but the larger problem is to impute an actual monetary inflation rate because as rates come down, the fixed income crowd tends to pile money into banks.

But when “exogenous inflation” comes along (perhaps like soaring food prices), we get a much different work-out of our economic models, compared with runs covering the 1930’s.  Reason?  Back then, food prices were plummeting whil this time it could go the other way.

It’s too early to tell, but aside from our dabbling in long-term options, as we’ve explained to our subscribers in more detail, since 2005 our long-term strategy has been to hold the majority of our net worth in paid for land, precious metals, and fixed inflation-adjusted  US Treasury products.

We can discuss this part more meaningfully tomorrow when we’ll have the weekly H.6 money numbers from the Fed but for now a reasonable economic concern will be about those “American Vegetables.”

I’ll leave it to you to discern whether I’m referring to the upright mammals or the cruciferous kind.

I don’t suppose I need to mention that Bacon prices are up 18.8% and people are still chowing down like crazy on it?   Me?  More of an apple wood smoked ham, fellow, thanks.

India:  Driven to Drink?

One of the major sources of H1b workers for America’s “replace the local high tech workers” program, implicit in jobjack and corpgov programs, is making it even more desirable to come to ‘Merica.

India is raising liquor excise taxes by 12%.

Around the Ranch: Plane or Drive?

Speaking of states where we have a, oh, you know…useful prescriptions…we still haven’t made up our minds on flying to driving to Seattle.  The plane would be $800 more, overall, most because of the car rent at the other end.

The bonus of the plane:  We can hop over to see relatives in Spokane in a third of the time of driving, go to the Beechcraft fly-in down in the Portland area in mid-September and go see Gaye over at a lot easier.

She and SurvHubby live on an island north of Seattle that has an air strip.  From Tacoma it’s a 43-minute flight, and that’s taking the scenic route up over LaConner, Wa, and then over Anacortes.  Direct from Tacoma (KTIW) it’s about 35 minutes, depending on ATC traffic.

Driving?  You’ve got to be kidding:  It’s about 2 1/2 hours of driving and then you toss in an hour or longer sorting through the ferry traffic out into the San Juans, and because of tourism this time of year, planning such a trip on a Friday or Saturday westbound into the San Juans means a terrible wait if you don’t get on the usually full boats.

The car, on the other hand, is a long ride, more hotel-nights on the way, better scenery in some respects (north Cascade lakes from the plane are a tough one to match, though). 

And there’s the matter of $800 bucks difference.  Money/fun, money/fun.  Hate these kinds of decisions… 

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival on the way back sounds fun…tickets go on sale tomorrow.  NOT in the plane, though… Altitude density issue…or smoke…you make the call. 

N’other reason to drive?  I’m just thinking about some cancer prevention treatments under US Patent 6,630507.  Of course we don’t think about it in Texas…don’t want to be left at a bus station in Phoenix, don’tcha know.

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