I don’t say they are too common, but it would be hard for me match the last total eclipse I remember:  the one June 30, 1973.

I was news director of KOL AM/FM at the time and I had arranged with a friend, Captain Ed. Wolkowitz, who was a Texas ham and pilot for Continental Airlines, to hook up via ham radio as the DC-10 he was piloting flew through the zone of totality about over Pendleton, Oregon.

That day, you see, Wolkowtiz was left seat on the DC-10 flying the midday Saturday run from Seattle to Denver, Colorado.  While we probably broke every rule in the book (going ham radio from the Collins HF radio stack on the DC-10 to my home in Kirkland, Washington, where a Yaesu FT-101E was hooked up via a Yaesu Landliner phone patch to the radio station – which broadcast it live) it was just cool as hell.

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Especially the part where Ed described gently rolling and plane and making turns, so all the passengers on both sides could see the sunlight off in the distance in add directions.

Fast-forward to this morning.  Unlike the ’73 experience, this time the markets are open.

But we are expecting this to be something of a yawner session.  Here’s how 1973 looked on the S&P:

While the eclipse may be significant in terms of media hype (ah, something besides Trump-bashing at last!) there’s no particular economic aspect to it, except we still hold the market is in a likely peaking process, which may become apparent to the great unwashed (and non-subscribing) masses in the next week, or three.

Today?  “Bupkis mit kaduchas

Meantime, CFNAI

This is the Chicago Fed National Activity Report and it’s not nearly as important as the big Jackson Hole economic conference late this week that will run into the weekend – complete with Her Excellence Janet speaking Friday.

For now, we have to digest this:

(blah, blah, blah….then…) The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) moved down to –0.01 in July from +0.16 in June. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from June, and three of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in July. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, moved down to –0.05 in July from +0.09 in June….(then more blah, blah, blah…_

Other than a bunch of minor reports, there’s not terribly much on the docket this week.  Housing from S&P/Case-Shiller/CoreLogic (and the pizza guy) next Tuesday.

With that, the Dow futures are down 15, which is really down in the statistical (trading) noise floor.

Aw, Ship!

Yes, another ship collision.  Military affairs contributor “warhammer ” (a patriotic brother of the oak leaf cluster sort) figures it thisaway:

“We now officially have a trend – another U.S. Navy ship collided with a commercial shipping vessel in the Malacca straits.  No reports of casualties so far, but the Chief of Naval Operations and CINCPAC cannot be happy with the USS John McCain’s latest incident.

I’m not inclined to believe in coincidences.  Verging on being alarmist, it is now entirely within the realm of possibilities that American ships are being probed for potential weaknesses – procedural, technical or otherwise.  My bet is China could be pulling the strings if such a strategy was in fact a reality.

All eyes in the Pentagon should now be locked onto Indonesia.  A critical shipping lane to the Indian Ocean and West Africa is suddenly hazardous to American Navy war ships.

Are Navy navigators and other bridge command crew really this bad?   Something just doesn’t feel right. “

The good news, at least for the Captain and XO, is that this time the ship was struck on the left (port) side.  Which as we explained in the previous discussion is the preferred side because the vessel that struck the McCain was (under Admiralty Law) the give-way vessel.

The only time that the give-way vessel is not “in the wrong” is when the stand-on vessel, in this case the McCain, failed to hold course and speed.  Other than this requirement, the left-side ship should be prepared to write a sizeable check for damages.

But warhammer’s point is that this is likely foreplay to the Chinese preparing the chessboard for what will likely evolve into plenty of “Straits of Hormuz-like” games of chicken to be played this time with PLA/Navy of China, not the sea-faring mullahs of Iran.

Collapsing News Networks

We have bemoaned this many times, but here’s more proof of too much channel capacity and not enough real news content:  Fox doing top celebrity “beach bods.”  Ah…Ratings Quest, is it?

We sense a double-standard in media that calls for attention:  Why is it OK for what sometimes looks like the “nudeschannels” to seemingly promote  chauvinism/sexism while ranting about how the public needs to tear down historical monuments?  This seems to us a kind of monumental ethical disconnect.

Or, are we asking questions the corporate press doesn’t want to answer?  Eyeballs follow bikinis, after all, and ad money flows shortly thereafter…

Ditto the rash of pubic hair grooming stories, of late.  The lack of real news will shred it all…

Let Us Help!

You may have seen U.S. farmers confused by Monsanto weed killer’s complex instructions.

No, farmers aren’t dumb.  This is what happens with statisticians, lawyers, and ag majors try to agree on wording.

Allow us to simplify?  When in doubt, don’t use.

Vehicles ARE Weapons

Yet another potential vehicle terror story as “At Least One Person Has Died After a Vehicle Rams Into Two Bus Stops in Marseille.”

Do we need background checks to buy trucks yet?

Next it will be the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Delivery Trucks.

Google Targeting Conservative Sites?

See here for the possible answer.


Of course, this would be fiction, but since the me-too press is too damn dumb to connect the dots, let me do it for you:

Imagine a princess (Di) getting a divorce and having a series of phone chats (like for real we read here).

In this (fictional, lol) novel:  A princess who is well-loved is getting divorced.  Not wanting the publicity of a messy DIvorce, rogue elements of royalty “solve” the divorce problem for prince Whozzit.  Can’t be diluting the Crown jewels, now, can we?  Would a QM (queen mum) allow that?  No, says an article here.

But when word of the “confessor’s call” (toss in some tapes to spice it up) leak out, the rogue elements do in the confessor who is played by a famous pop star.

Spice it up with breakup details about prince Whozzit from sites like this

And then wrap up this “fiction” with the Wikipedia part that says:

On 29 December 2016, a post-mortem was undertaken to determine the exact cause of death but was inconclusive.

The “Afterward” of the novel would explain how rogue kneelists ensured that “Further tests were carried out,[205][206][207] and on 7 March 2017, a senior coroner in Oxfordshire attributed the death to natural causes as the result of a dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and a fatty liver.[“

Of course, this should be all over the mainstream media even now, but they are so damn busy making up fresh Trump stories, that they are blinded to the real news – or quite catchy fiction – that’s staring them in the face.

But then, as you might have surmised, our opinion of the U.S. Press lies somewhere between worthless and useless.  But that end of the dictionary, for sure.

Which, for a member of said foolternity, is a difficult confession to make.  But there you have it.

You go write the bloody novel and then watch Ure back.

I’ll tackle the Clintons and the Queen follow-up with another round of dots.

Or, I’ll go take a nap.