Black Friday: What Could Go Wrong?

This is the day a good part of America goes nuts.  Bonkers, bahzitsu, meshuga… We expect treatment stations for seasonal illnesses such as “click sprain” and “credit card burn” plus “package-induced back strains” will be full by mid-afternoon.

This being Black Friday, as always, odds are good that you’ll be hitting the major sites, too.

Sadly, we already are seeing reports like “Huge Black Friday brawl inside mall as ‘shopper throws shoe which hits baby’ and women wrestle on floor…” in a frenzy that started last night with “U.S. online sales surge, shoppers throng stores on Thanksgiving evening.”  Gotta love it…  Turkey and materialism overdoses at the same time.

(Continues below)

 

The wealth effect should be apparent to all:  It’s the economics analog to not just counting your chickens before they hatch, but actually trying to cook an omelet with ’em and make a bucket of chicken, too.  Like so many things in America these days, it doesn’t have to make sense…it’s just what we do.

Bitcoins this morning were still in the $8,250 range (we are half-looking for $9,500 before sobriety appears) but there’s no way of telling how splits and folks will work out.  Toss in the CME looking at crypto futures and a strange analogy comes to mind – which is our point-of-the-day.

Once upon a time there was a world when gold and silver ruled.  They were recognized as real “storehouses of value.”

But then, along about 1905 (or thereabouts) along came chartalism which redefined life as we know it.

You see, previously, governments salted away gold and silver.  But the key notion of chartalism is that governments can just “make up money on the fly” so long as they have taxing authority.

One thing leads to another, but the key question for you distills to this:

“What do you think “money” is?”

Back in 2001, or might have been 2002, we postulated (with the world on the brink of an economic meltdown in the wake of the Tech Wreck hitting the wall) that governments might be able to “muddle through” a then-pending Great Depression (which still hangs over the world like the sword of Damocles) by consciously out-printing deflation.

So far, it’s working.  The Fed has continued to print more money than is necessary – and making it up has fueled something called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).  Free Lunch theory come to life.  (For now…)

Money is being transitioned out of “representing a fixed amount of some physical good or commodity” and it’s becoming a “made up notion based on The Printer’s future ability to collect taxes.”

You wouldn’t ride in an airplane if it was based on the “Future sobriety of the pilot in time to land…” But, that’s not exactly how economics works.  As long as the passengers on the plane don’t panic, the plane can fly forever.  (Fuel and cockpit breathalyzer readings notwithstanding.)

The theory is that as long as you print just enough more than is necded, people will keep spending.

Those 59,974 people who filed for non-business bankruptcies in September alone?  Collateral damage.  Sorry.  Sh*t happens.

The good news – and there’s a fair bit of it – is that since the Housing Bubble, there has been a decline in things like- like credit card delinquency rates:

As you can see (credit where due):  Credit card delinquencies did recover surprisingly quickly following the Housing Bubble collapse.  Gold stars all around.  Yes, the Obama administration and the Fed can take some bows.  We calls ’em like we see’s ’em.

What makes for a Depression, understand, is when confidence fails and people’s faith in the future is shattered.  They pull in their horns and stop spending.  As the spending stops, what was once the virtuous cycles turns into it’s evil opposite: The Vicious Cycle.  So far, though, the confidence game has continued non-step.

The data above seems to suggest that we could have a better than expected retailing season this year.  Bankruptcies are down, there are more people working, and in generally the “Trump Bump” is moving along nicely.

True, stock valuations have completely unhinged from future earnings projections and yeah, we don’t need those connections in a bat-sh*t crazy world where everything is a floating craps game, but that’s today’s world.

So have a wonderful day of pick & click…we’ll update you Monday (or early next week) when the tallies start coming in.

For now, between hearing the clatter of hooves on roofs, we don’t expect the world to end, unless there’s an “out of left field” event – like a massive DDoS attack during shopping prime-time.

Meantime, though, I’m looking at “smart home” devices (Black Friday-Cyber Monday Clearance Sale Day 2017-Wireless Mini Smart Plug Outlet, Works with Alexa,WiFi Smart Socket Outlet Remote Control,No Hub Required) but it’s bothering me a bit:

I have to take care that our “double-wide in the woods” doesn’t end up smarter than its occupants…

Yes, Markets Are Open

But they will be closing at 1 PM eastern time today.  The Fed data not released yesterday will be released after the market close today.  If you were going to “hide bad news” in press releases, announcing when the market is closed would be ideal.

So we will look at all things federal after the close and see if there’s any grist for tomorrow’s Peoplenomics.com report for subscribers…

Dow futures are up another 65, or so.

Mail will be delivered today and tomorrow and most parking meters will be working…

The Watch List

Trump diplomacy working?  China closing main road connection with North Korea.

Eight Men Found Washed Ashore in Japan Say They Are North Korean.  So much for the worker’s paradise pitch, eh?

But also be aware of this from CNN: Pilots train every day for 12-minute flight to battle in North Korea. Hmmm///

Indictments to Come?

Michael Flynn’s Lawyers Reportedly End Communications With President Trump’s Team.

If Mexico Can Do It….

Monsanto says Mexico revokes permit to market GMO soy in seven states.

Why is the (effectively bought-off) FDA still shoving GMO’s down American gullets?

OK, off to make (guess what kind) of sandwich…see you tomorrow (Peoplenomics) or here Monday…=

Coping: The Annual “Turkey Leftover’s” Column

We roll first with a second cup of extra strong coffee.Then we share the best turkey leftovers recipe  we’ve ever found.  Our Ode to 13 Coin’s SST Sandwich column from 2013.  I don’t remember if Gale, the daytime bartender at the ‘Coin’s place across from the Seattle Times had retired yet, or not…might have.  Great guy and always poured me a “editor-sized drink” back in the day…

Then (from 2014) a “gift that keeps on giving” from a reader named John.

First, my own contribution to “turkey science:”  I baked the bird in a bag (breast-up) as usual. But upon removing, I turned it breast down while the turkey rested (while I made gravy, etc..).  Fall-part moist – even Elaine said it was  one the best all-time best-ever turkeys she’s ever had..  Better than baked breast-down…Just 10-15 min, breast down while resting  in its juices before carving…amazing! (I adjusted steam holes accordingly to preserve juices!)  10-points for food science!

(Continues below)

 

(From 2013)

Ode to 13 Coins:  The SST Sandwich

The one best way to use up whatever is left in the way of turkey, based on a “sandwich” which used to be served by 13 Coins, a 24-hour restaurant in Seattle, catawampus from the Seattle Times building, which serves as a kind of mecca for the broadcasters, writers, and theatrical types who made Seattle a happin’ place in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Still is, come to think of it.

‘Coins is still one of the top 5 late night food joints in the country and with good reason:  If you sit at the counter, you can watch the flaming cooking of your meal on the big gas stoves (and gas-fired broiler ) of the sort most people can only dream of having at home.

It was here that the SST Sandwich was developed – at about the same time Boeing was building a mock-up of what might have been an American supersonic transport to complete with the Concorde. I always wondered if the selection of turkey as its main ingredient was so much a matter of taste or an aeronautical or economic assessment…

By far, the SST is the best use of turkey I’ve ever seen – and to my palate it is almost as good as fresh roasted turkey with all the fixin’s.  Maybe better, too, since if you can find precooked turkey in a deli, there’s little kitchen mess. Anyone can make good food in an unlimited kitchen with clean up staff.  When it’s me and/or Elaine and KitchenAid, it’s a different equation.

The inventor of the SST used a Béchamel sauce (white sauce) but for those of us who scored above average in the laziness department, I find a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup works almost as well as a lazy-man’s substitute.

Also, in the original SST, if memory serves, the toast points had the crust cut off, but again, this seemed like additional work that could be dispensed with.  I mention this to make sure you get the flavor of the original dish.

Buttering the toast points?  That’s up to you and your cardiologist.  The sandwich was on dry toast points.

Oh…and fresh Parmesan from the Pike Place Market is nice, too.  But over the years I’ve used everything from Kraft “sprinkle cheese” to hand shaved Parmesan and various mixes and I couldn’t tell much difference.

The Recipe (as I remember it)

You begin with a hot skillet.

Into this, you pour about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and fire (or  the electric hell equivalent) until just smoking a bit.

Then you add one cup (roughly) of freshly sliced mushrooms. Shake, toss, and worry it a bit.

Sauté and flame a bit for show, too if you care and are cooking over gas, but not so much as to set the room afire.

If you’ve got a range hood, like Coins, a splash of whatever burns good (from the bar) with the oil, adds nicely to the flavor.  I suppose brandy would be a good choice, as I could never get white cooking wine can flame, at least on an electric range.  Maybe with oxy-acetylene.

When the flames die down, (the alcohol burns off  if you use high heat on a range, too) you toss in a cup, or so, of turkey which has been sliced into 3/4-inch cubes.  This is all tossed around so the flavors get acquainted with one-another.  Flame again if using gas.  Mostly ‘cuz it’s fun.

Next comes the Béchamel sauce, or – if doing this at home – about a can (11 oz) of regular (condensed) Campbell’s cream of mushroom.

Reduce heat a simmer while you get:

* Toast points to cover a shallow baking/serving dish,

* Two or three…OK…FOUR  (long and lean) strips of crispy bacon, and

*  1/3 cup (or so) of  fresh-grated Parmesan (or you could use an Italian three-cheese mix with little difference) and you fire up your broiler.

With the toast points (2 to 2-1/2 slices of bread worth, depending on planned piggishness) on the bottom of the shallow baking dish, you pour the hot turkey/mushroom sauce (which should be reasonably thick and not runny or you’ve used too much liquid somewhere) over the toast points.

If you’re using two pieces of bacon, they are placed in an “X” or, if three pieces, as parallels with a 3/’4” inch between them.  Four pieces?  Ure on Ure own…

Sprinkle with the grated cheese all over it and then pop it under the broiler long enough for the cheese to melt and just browned to a nice crust-color in places.

Serve with 13-Coins fries and a glass of whatever suites you, but to me, this is one of those dishes that does exceptionally well with a white zin, or iced tea.  Here lately, I seem to be doing cranberry juice more, which works just dandy, too and is better for the liver and the FAA.

A word bout the fries (and why a 13-Coins visit is always on our Seattle agenda although we haven’t had time the past couple of visits):  the Fries are to die for.

They use good potatoes, which is a given, but they are not those wimpy little things like the “arches” folks turn out from mashed potatoes and a pastry nozzle.

Instead, a potato is whacked into coarse slices about the size of your thumb (bigger if you’re dainty, I hold my thumb up when Elaine is slicing, but stay out of range).  About 3/4’s of an inch to a full inch.

Cold rinse a couple of times then pat dry.  Water and deep fryers…well, figure it out.  The taters get deep-fried in the usual way (which takes longer because of their large size).  You want them golden brown.

The real fun is they  are served at Coins: 13 of them, stacked=up in Lincoln Logs-fashion and then sprinkled with salt.

It’s a sacrilege to do so, but I will ask for ketchup and the staff doesn’t (usually) seem offended by this epicurean infringement.

No, I don’t get any spiffs or deals for my semi-annual review of the SST.  In fact, I don’t know if it’s even on the menu anymore.  It wasn’t there last time I went.  But the kitchen was able to make one but I don’t know if they still can.  (Reports welcome on this point.)  Ask for the SST off the ‘secret menu.’

Weather at this time of the year in the Northwest is usually crappy:  Gray, cold, and rainy more often than not.  Which may have something to do with why Seattle has some really great places to eat.

Other cities do, as well, but even San Francisco (last time we were there) seems to have gone “touristy” and “institutional/commercial” even at Ghirardelli and the wharf, last time through.  I keep thinking about going back to see if anything’s at good as the food at Bertolucci’s in South San Francisco.  Color me skeptical.  Bertolucci’s was fab.

The main thing about great restaurants is they were usually started (or perfected) by great restaurateurs.  Families who somehow got the balance between hospitality, beverage, taste, performance, and consistency.  For me, the Ward family’s (13 Coins and el Gaucho back in the day), (Victor) Rossellini’s, and Ivar Haglund’s seafood joint -Ivar’s – were the names in Seattle.  Lemonsakis and Gasparetti, were top-flight too…there were lots of good hangouts.

Every city has them…it takes a little looking around to find them. Most people don’t focus on the search…too much hurry, too little time, yada, yada.  But like investing in in a great partner, or stocks, finding a great restaurateur’s prize is the GI tract equivalent of finding Apple or Microsoft stock before the IPO..

Along the way, be sure and ask questions and steal cooking ideas you can bring home, too.  You never know when you’ll have some leftovers that can be turned into real treats.

Or have to write a column about turkey leftovers that not plain stupid.

Award-winning chef daughter says it’s called a “Hot Brown” and is popular ‘back east.’ (Remember, even Spokane is ‘back eat’ from Seattle.)

Sure enough, looks like you can find a damn-fine Hot Brown at (where else?) the Brown Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky.

Looks almost like the SST, but with fewer aircraft fasteners and a cheese-change.  I think White Zin will fuel either nicely.

A Thanksgiving (2014) Gift from Reader John K

Want some money?  Free?  The real deal here.  I didn’t have time yesterday to ask his permission to use his name, but a reader of ours, John, the wealth manager up in Nashville who sent me a dandy email that could be worth your time to read:

Hello George,

To assist you in helping others and so you and your family may also find new wealth, enter your last name and or company name in the following Search engine to see unclaimed property. I conduct searches in support of Estate settlements, but you do not have to be dead to have unclaimed property. I have helped others find property of deceased relatives and forgotten security deposits from college. If you can provide proof of your name connected to the address (if it shows one), wa la, you’re in the money/property.

If the person is deceased, letters Testamentary, would also be required. Be aware the states often misspell names, so be on the lookout for property under similar spellings. If you can see the address, that usually helps verify the connection. If a person is deceased or you can’t remember all your past addresses, run a free credit report which shows all prior addresses (living and deceased people).

The first site seems more effective and the second site is quicker, but less accurate.

http://www.unclaimed.org/

http://www.missingmoney.com/Main/Index.cfm

Best of luck!

Happy thanksgiving!

John

I ran it on all our relatives, which I do every so often.  Might have found something for Panama (*my BIL) but we shall see.

Meantime, prospecting is interesting…if you find a million, a finders fee is always appreciated…

Write when you run out of leftovers,

George@ure.net

Everyone’s Happy! (Except the Turkey)

But then again, nothing really good using happens without some sacrifice….

Here’s the Thanksgiving video we did back in 2001 when we were still living on the boat and sailing SF Bay.  Land behind us was SF Airport area.  Hunter’s point is off to port somewhere…

 

Have a blessed and marvelous day.  Don’t lay down after eating…

Write when you get full…

Elaine, George, and Zeus-the-Cat

Trump’s Tumbler

With a year from the election of Donald Trump, it’s time to begin work on our economics (and therefore market) outlooks for 2018.

As a starting point for this seasonal review I wanted to begin this morning with a look at two years of data in order to assess whether economic  progress has been “real” or “perceptual.” 

After coffee, headlines and those damn bullish charts that as of last week had been calling this bull market run spot-on for over a year..

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Markets are the Turkey; Pass the Paint

While we’ve been yammering on about how there would likely be a “turkey rally” ahead of the holiday, this is getting downright stupid.

Monday’s trading session saw a liberal dose of tape-painting – which is what you call it when one index soars while the rest are left in the dust.

Monday it was the Dow, up 0.36% while the S&P and the NASDAQ Composite were stuck in the lower fractional teens.

Today, looks like Hype-fest 2.0 with Dow futures up another 86 points.  What’s interesting is how much of the present rally is based on reality and how much is based on specious claims.  Let me explain:

(Continues below)

 

One of our readers, who pushed an 18-wheel dump truck around Seattle for zillions of dollars, has been eyeing some of the claims about what’s being called the “Trump Tax Cut” and how it would impact him.

I can’t emphasize enough how sub-par the reporting on this is.

First, it’s no longer a Trump tax plan. See this article?  Makes it sound like whatever’s coming will be Trump’s plan.  This is pin-the-tail-on-the-Donald. Trump-bashing is the media’s way of punishing The Donald for going around their slanted coverage by going with direct emails daily (1600 Daily is one big list) and going Base-Direct with Twitter.

Like the stupid talking-children on television who came on after we heard the debates and insisted on  “telling us what we heard” (and getting even that spectacularly wrong) the media’s liberal and pissed and independently owned and reasonably run, low monetization sites (like Urban) give people too many input choices for the owners of monopolies to support.  Ego: bash Trump.  But I digress.

Budget Reality: It’s as republican (*RINO) plan to give big corporations a tax break.  The theory is, that if corporations get enough of a “spiff” in the Tax Code, they will come running back to the (remnants of) America, We will reindustrialize and start making our own chips again and be ready to take on China if need be to keep the corporates happy.

BUT!  The reality is that while an economic argument could be made to give away tax money to fat corporate interests (and it’s a weak argument dispensed with on the subscriber side:  See the Oct. 18 report on the subscriber side “Why Reagan Tax Cuts Won’t Work Now“), the REALITY is that corporations will lay out oodles of money and campaign contributions and junkets and post-office-holding gigs, to buy-off the sitting collection of buffoons pretending to “lead.”

(Wait!  Did that sound bitter?  Wonder why…hmmm…)

Having a do-nothing Congress, they STILL don’t read bills before voting on them (or if they do, they can’t really comprehend them because they are so gawd-awful convoluted and full of tax treats for the rich).  It’s therefore no wonder why Andy is so pessimistic.

What he may fail to incorporate into his thinking is the admonishment from another reader (Bruce in Ecuador) who (paraphrasing here) says America is nuts.

Oh!  Right!

You mean:

  • Monetizing gender?  Subsidizes the plumbing industry, lol.
  • Monetizing Healthcare insurance? Give those poor healthcorps some tax money!
  • Monetizing social media?  Ads galore…anyone who posts dick on social is supporting the corporate model!
  • Monetizing government?  Hire more private contractors.
  • Monetizing children? Shove through ESL for all, seize parental controls, force immunizations, no parent rights…
  • Monetizing Education…(the list continues some way)  Get a degree and a lifetime debt!  Yippe!  What a fine effing plan that is…and back it up with the power of IRS to impound payments for the bankster class!  Yay!  Obama’s dream world is here.

And then add insult to injury by doing things like stealing public roads and turning them into toll roads and screwing We the People out of our investments?

OK, let’s toss in markets, too:

Most of the stock prices you’ll find these days cannot be justified on the basis of paying you fair rent on your money!  They depend solely on finding some damn greater fool who will give more than you did for a stock.

What should the world look like?  (Sure you want to know?)

We know prices are going up based on the Consumer Price Index.  From the last cost bend-over: “…Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.0 percent….”

Now some economic distortion readings to think about.

In the last 12 months, the M1 money supply is up a whopping 7.4%.

Where do you think that money is going?

UGLY ANSWER:  Speculative bubbles.  Yep, that “excess” has to go somewhere so it goes to hedge funds, banks, and the ultra-rich.  And this explains:

  • Why Bitcoin just hit $8,200.
  • Why the Dow Jones went from 18,868 a year ago this time to 23,487 this morning.

Let me help ya’ll with the math:  That’s a Dow gain of 24.48%!

And Bitcoin a year-ago was around $800 bucks, so a 10-times return.

Friends (and Andy) the world has taken leave of it’s senses.

There is no way stocks could pay a return overall of 2 percent – which would keep up with inflation.

There’s no way they could pay 1.5% – which would be dividend plus some prospects for growth.

Know how much Amazon pays as a dividend?  I looked on the Yahoo Finance stock screener:

Maybe I should have picked Facebook?  Oh-oh…

Don’t get me wrong:  These companies have a franchise and sure, they have gobs of earnings.  But those earnings just make the franchise wealthier.

I always look at stocks like railroads.  Pretend it’s the 1800’s and we are railroad builders.

Would you invest in a railroad that didn’t pay you any money, but it made the owners fabulously wealthy and it became the greatest railroad profit story of all-time?

Yes, the stock prices of the railroad would go up – make no mistake.  But AT THE TOP who would buy?  What would be their rationale?  They aren’t going to make a penny of dividends.

Maybe they could have twice as many shares to unload AT THE TOP WITH A SPLITBut, where’s the beef?  Where’s the interest paid to shareholders for running up the stock price and for taking a flyer?

No in this world.

So, no, we’re not quite at the economic long wave bottom.  In fact, this is looking, once again, like another replay of 1928 – the loudest roar of the Roaring Twenties.

In place of flappers we have the LBGT and in place of Prohibition we have marijuana reform, and in place of Hoover we have Trump (both rich guys), and no one is looking down the road.

Sure is tempting to jump right it…but realize if you do that no one is going to take out a flag and wave it at the top and collapse the swindle.  Everyone has skin in the game to keep it going, the government in particular.

So paint the tape and pass the gravy.

This turkey is still flying and I’ll be damned.

Meantime, in Real News

Just out from the Chicago Fed:

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) rose to +0.65 in October from +0.36 in September. One of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from September, but three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in October. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to +0.28 in October from +0.01 in September….

Red capes before the bulls!  Run ’em up some more!

Up a hundred for the open!  Bitcoin’s up to $8,250!

Where is Dorothy Provine when we need her?  (Starred in the TV series The Roaring Twenties!” (and looked a bit like Elaine…hmmm…)

Some day we’ll all be in rehab with Harvey and Kevin, but not today.

Well, unless you’re John Conyers, or Charlie Rose, maybe.

Gawd, this is entertaining.  Popcorn?

Run  ’em up at the open anyway – Short Turkey!

Paint and gravy, brothers and sisters.  Gimme an Amen!

Big Pharma Loves You

Which is why they don’t like stories like this one: Hormonal Birth Control Is Linked to a Higher Risk of Suicide, Study Says.

Yeowch!

Fast Talkers But Slow Doers?

Wait:  How long we been seeing tweets about the NorK’s?  And just now we read Trump administration announces sanctions against North Korea?

LV Shooting Case

Las Vegas shooting: Attorneys file lawsuits on behalf of more than 450 victims.

You know, if this ever (as some claim) had something to do with an assassination attempt involving one of the Saudi princes who was in LV at the time of the shooting, could there be a cause of action upstream and we could own the Middle East at the end of the litigation?  (Lots of discussion and vids on YT) Just wondering…

Off to work on Peoplenomics for tomorrow…Back Turkey Morning… see you them.

Coping: The Magic of a “Better Future”

Time for a discussion about personal magic.  The kind that really pays off, is honest, and ethical. Odd topic?  Maybe, but let me explain:  The other day, I was talking to a friend and the subject of unlimited personal energy came up.

You see, this person has known me for a long time, and still didn’t understand how I always seem to have unlimited energy and I’m also remarkably “mood-free.”

As we talked, it became clear that I’d never really explained myself well on this point so perhaps sharing some ideas publicly might be useful.  Especially if you’re under 40 because most parents don’t understand the process.  So you’re forgiven for not “getting it” if no one told you…

(Continues below)

 

The person I was speaking with said I was guilty of always being at a high energy-state and always having an attitude of “in charge” of everything around me.

This wasn’t judged to be bad, but it’s pretty novel.  Definitely not part of modern herd-think.  It’s not an app.

The starting point for everything is the future.

The reason’s apparent with just a moment’s thought:  The past has come and gone.  And the present is already rolling past you.  Change has to happen upstream.

It stands to reason, therefore, that if you’re going to change the way it arrives in the present FROM the future, that you need to assert control in the future because everything you do in the present is already cast.

“You always seem to live 10-minutes to 10-years in the future….

Guilty as charged.  But that’s where all change comes from!

I’m a pretty simple person:  I don’t want to be the richest person in the world, the smartest, or anything like that.  But what I do want (and have successfully created for the most part) is a world where Elaine and I have enough money to get by in great comfort, no stress, and great health.

And we have it.  How did it happen?

Making the future is perhaps best-explained to younger people by using the analogy to designing and casting something of metal.

Since I was focused on creating a golden future, I first has to draw a rough outline of what that future ought to look like.  Simple enough. Bare sketch.

The second step to making it real was filling out the sketch.  After enough effort, it becomes a mold into which I would pour my metal.

The mold is more than whims and wishes.  It’s the container wherein ideas begin to solidify.

Say you have a future with a certain income figure in mind and you want to get there.

Because you have an idea of what you want, that idea is your sketch.  Contributor Bryce is always repeating  “Thoughts are things.”  Which they truly are, but there is an art condensing them from bare sketch (way out in the future) into something that rolls past us in a highly useable and enjoyable form in the present.

The process by which a thought “hardens” – and goes allegorically from a light pencil sketch to a hardened mold ready for the pouring of metal – is  mental work.  Imagine first.  Then? Focus, visualization, desire, and yes, will power.  You can learn it, but it’s the energizing of thought to thing.

Once your mold is nice and solid, the metal shows up – undifferentiated, though.  This is where you must figure out whether to pour  this particular meal it into your mold.

I know a lot of people who get just this far.  But then, they grab at the first metal that shows up.  When it later turns out to have been lead, and a real weight in their life, they become confused.  “Process doesn’t work!”

But it does…go with me on this:

I had the rough concept, I distilled, clarified and make a mold…but somehow I got LEAD for an outcome, not GOLD….What happened?”

To this point, we’ve been having an ethereal discussion.  Now, let’s make it real.

The sketch you wanted to materialize was, oh, a much higher-paying job, for example.

You wanted to be at the top of whatever your skills support in the way of income – and to move beyond that.

So, you take this outline or sketch and you began to harden your mold.

You think:  If I want this mold, what do I need to do here – in the present – to firm up that future mold?

Those activities might include scanning Craigslist or the local paper every single day looking for that chance to move up.  There’s a start.

Sending out resumes, going to business meetings like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, or a technical group (IT group, or whatever) all those actions begin to firm up the mold.

You can think of this as seeding the future.  Sow in the future to reap in the present.  Time seeds.

Discernment becomes critical.

You might mistakenly think the first new job opportunity that comes along from your efforts is the one you should take.  Often, it’s not.

When you look at the new job offer – and compare it with the original sketch and then the mold, you might discover you’re tempted to cut corners.

“My sketch and then mold didn’t include working Saturdays,” for example.

There is an art with recognizing when there’s real gold to be poured into your mold, but it can be lead.

Judiciousness is required.

For you are the Chief Negotiator.  If you want a day job and you settle for Saturday’s and occasional night work, then you just negotiated pouring of lead instead of gold for yourself.

Yes, there is an alchemy – and when you’ve studied the Hermetic, Golden Dawn, and other “magical traditions” it all comes clear as a bell.  No woo-woo, no pentagrams or hexes…just the way a higher plane works as it condenses around us in the shared nominal world.

There are only two poems that have ever meant something to me, as a poor practical magician wandering the Earth. I’m moved, for a special reason, to share them now – ahead of the holidays.

The Holidays are when a disproportionate number of people commit suicide…but perhaps this discussion of “demanding and getting of the gold” in life – and some discussion of the process – might help some folks.

The first poem is by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse:

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.”

It’s not a terribly complicated little poem – and if you remember only the first line, it will make a lot of major decisions much more clear:  I bargained with Life for a Penny…

The second poem really has to do more with faith in the future and your ability to triumph if you work on gumption more than anything else.  Robert W. Service wrote “The Quitter.”

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.

But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now that’s a shame.
You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.

It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit.
It’s the keeping-your chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight 

Why that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and battered and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

“Must be present to win,” comers to mind.

This stuff is familiar if you remember my book the Millennials Missing Manual Back in March, I explained the real life magic of thoughts this way:

It was H.P. Blavatsky’s “A Treatise on Cosmic Fire” in which things like the role of the Solar Logos – nuts and bolts of how Creation worked – and much of the early 1900’s Theosophical Society beliefs were laid out.

It was a fascinating book because it attempted directly explain this problem of how “thoughts” become “things.” It’s a non-trivial pursuit; it’s a quest that has taken a life-time of ultra slow-motion research to pursue. Habits like eating and living get in the way of our spiritual interests, regrettably.

Even today, the question is still very much on the minds of Theosophical Society members. In a February 2010 page (The Mystery of the “Ring-Pass-Not”) it is said that ““The full Initiate knows that the Ring ‘Pass-Not’ is neither a locality nor can it be measured by distance, but that it exists in the absoluteness of infinity.”

“Ring-Pass-Not?” you’re thinking…

Imagine a thought in your head. It is a beautiful thing – and quite perfect therein. But how does it become energized sufficiently in your Mind to smoothly transitioned to outer Reality?

Going back to alchemical times, it was to alchemists as though there was this “ring-pass-not” – a kind of spiritual speed-bump system – that prevents what we think casually from becoming what we have in the physical realm.

Some application of brakes seems reasonable when you think about it.

Not that Blavatsky (and other Theosophists) were entirely correct. Creation – or more properly co-creation with Universe –  is an equation with an assortment of solutions. “

Holidays can be a particularly tough time for people who don’t yet realize they are Magicians of the Highest Order.

So, if there’s room at your table Thursday, and you know someone who doesn’t have a place to go or people to be with, set the extra place and invite them in.

We’re all Magicians, all lost, and just as sure as there is a magic we use to create our lives, there is magic in fellowship and wherever two, or more, are gathered in His name.

Write when you get rich, but you already are, right?

George@ure.net

Turkey Week: Toms or Stocks?

The market (an hour before the open) was set to open right about even with last week’s close.  We would normally expect a bit of a pullback after options week, but it’s not a regular-enough pattern to make any dough with. Not that I haven’t tried.

For now, a one-half percent decline in Japan overnight rippled into Europe early, but was shaken-off leaving this 3 /12-day workweek for investors as a probable small rally to flat one here.

While we could do a half-hour of “stand-up” on what a joke the market is (especially the recent Hindenburg Omen and another technical indicator crossing that last happened in 2008) for now the hype is about what a great year is coming in 2018.  Leading the cheering section is Goldman.

(Continues below)

 

While a little eggnog and holiday cheer are fine, if Goldman is really forecasting four rate hikes in 2018, I’d offer they might want to step away from the punch bowl for a while.  Strong coffee seems in order.

There’s hype – and then there’s reality.  Let’s run through some of the latter to balance our outlook:

  • While the House has squeaked out a tax plan, its fate in the Senate is “iffy.”
  • The problems of raising interest rates have remained unchanged:  Not only did the 10-year Treasury note (symbol: ^TNX) close last week at 2.35%, when we look at the accumulated national debt there is a serious problem.  Since the Fed doesn’t usually raise less than a quarter percent, let’s think through the math problem:  Assuming a $21-trillion federal debt, the touted series of rate hikes would bump federal debt payments up $210-billion on top of existing promises.
  • A recovery in Housing is nice to hypothecate, but it’s not likely to get too much traction for a number of sociological reasons.  One of which is Millennials moving in with parents while the other is the growth in the LBGT sector which tends to have lower offspring rates. (duh)  Who needs a house stuffed with kids when you can have a life?
  • Even IF the planned reduction in federal taxes on corporations survives the Senate, the process of reindustrializing America is not something that will take place in a year.  This is long-term trend stuff.
  • The Oil Glut is being eaten down.  Again, we look at depletion and we have to ask where’s the replacement drilling?  Nada and Bupkis.
  • Then there are the problems of Korea.  The NorK’s are out of control and China has not resolved anything yet.  Sure, nice to release a few sports figures after a dinner-request: The biggie is still the crazy kid with nukes – and that problem hasn’t gone away.

Related to this, we need to be very circumspect about the mess repositioning itself in the Middle East.  As military affairs advisor Warhammer notes, the sabre rattling by the newly reorganized Saudis – who will be led by the promoter of the Yemen conflict should worry everyone:

“Here’s one good financial reason why the rest of the world should be paying attention to the rise of MBS, the monarch-in-waiting and force behind the Saudi/Yemen war, and a looming Saudi armed conflict with Iran.

Oil price CRISIS? How war between Saudi Arabia and Iran could see costs SOAR by 500%.”

And, unless the Goldman outlook for four hikes is based on a quadrupling of oil prices (and not organic economic growth) we see a terrible problem ahead in the oil patch:  It’s hard to gin-up capital to field necessary additional E&P (exploration & production) work when rates are rising, especially when there’s no gas lines and the glut is still fresh in investor mindsets.

Regardless, a less ebullient forecast seems to make more sense to us, especially once the blow-off in Bitcoins is complete.

To be sure,  Bitcoins are up to $8,070 at press time and we still see a case for Bitcoin to go as high as $9,500 in Q1.  This is based on bubble comparisons but until they move decidedly higher, we will also point out the odds of a classic head & shoulders topping process can’t be discarded, yet.

Bitcoin True Believers might want to head over to Investopedia and read up on this technical pattern which really can spoil Ure day, if you get it wrong.

Is there some good news?

Oh sure:  No sign of nukes flying today. Charles Manson is dead. And sure, the plague outbreak in Madagascar seems to have been contained in time to prevent it from “going global.”  Unless you read the bombshell report which reveals how serious the threat remains, even now.

I don’t want to sound like a sourpuss on the Goldman outlook because we do understand how the future is made. (*More on this in tomorrow’s Coping column.)

But for now, allow me to dress it up in some Federal Reserve-like language:

Our judgement is that on balance, while the first few months of 2018 may see another upside run much as is shown in our Peoplenomics.com charts for subscribers (where we’re ending a macro-level Elliott third wave, going into a fourth and eyeing a final fifth wave), there is an increasing chance of systemic instability from multiple causes.

Pension funds are in trouble due to extended low returns, there’s war-talk in the Middle East, plague is still lurking in East Africa, and the attacks on Trump are bound to bear some kind of fruit as the Mueller fishing expedition has reportedly asked for a whole slew of documents from the US Department of Justice.

You may safely bet-your-ass they are not asking for documents about how the Teflon prez meeting with Loretta Lynch on the jets at Phoenix went.

Still, hope springs that Mueller will at least attempt a charade of honesty and bipartisanship about the general crookedness on both sides of the political aisle.  You can sense change in the wind when the NY Times roles with a story wondering is long-ago special prosecutor Ken Starr was right about Teflon Bill.

Like a sorry game of golf, investors are set to tee-off the week with little new information to consider.

  • Leading Economic Indicators are due this morning; we look at that as an anagram for LIE.
  • Tomorrow the Chicago Fed’s National Activity report arrives.  Then Wednesday, there’s the Durable Goods orders.
  • Thursday promises to be a real turkey, though, with no mail, no banks, and the perpetuation of the folks from Europe, in effect, showing up to steal the country out from under the indigenous peoples.
  • Friday. the markets have a half-day for what’s traditionally “national call your broker day” but since the advent of online account access, who needs ’em?
  • The Fed money supply and balance sheet will come out long after everyone’s headed out the Long Island Expressway and the bars in the Hamptons are down to standing room only (SRO).

So, suspect as we are, instead of partying down Friday at the early close, we’ll probably hang around just out of morbid curiosity.

In the Old Reporter’s World, if you’re going to fart in church, best do it when the parishioners have left for other places.  Early closes are grand opportunities to pass…er…reports.

Not that there are many big Truth Leaks to come, but the best time to leak is when the markets have a vacation mindset and no one’s around to rant.

We’ll have leftovers Friday after we scan the data due out during Friday’s 1 PM to 5 PM information/trading gap.

Reader Notes:

We have completed some of our server work.  There are a few projects still to go including some structural design issues that will happen over Christmas.

We should be turning-up simplified design AMP pages shortly, which should speed phone and droid displays.

Peoplenomics Wednesday will be a mid-quarter economic review (upon which our 2018 outlook will be based).  Note that our long-term indicator hasn’t wavered and has been long since last November 16th, though, so it hasn’t been a bad year here in the Ure household.

And in light of this morning’s Coping on the lack of adventure anymore, we should have a real treat for subscribers Saturday:  An article about a River of Gold that runs underground in the western U.S.

Off to more book-editing.  Moron the ‘morrow…