Saturday Has Arrived! [DOT 30/1/21]

It’s been A Week.

Working on a Powerpoint til like 10 every night is super fun! [Narrator Voice: it was not fun.]

Haven’t seen a lot of what is going on in the world today, so if I missed anything feel free to let me know. Here we go…

More tools for the toolbox.

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, how it works and why it matters


Inside the Reddit army that’s crushing Wall Street

Black Lives Matter movement nominated for Nobel peace prize

Cori Bush says she’s moving office away from GOP extremist over safety concerns

Get on it.

Biden says Congress needs to ‘act now’ on $1.9tn Covid relief proposal

You love to see it.

Have a great Saturday!



  1. a sleep in would have been nice….but i still woke up at 7 am…stupid internal clock
    currently laughing at a bunch of grunts in texas who seem to have gotten ehtylene glycol confused with ethanol
    ill assume the thought process was something like uhhhh…fuckit started with eth right?
    dont raid the motorpool cabinets without a mechanic present kids…
    (least thats where im assuming they got their hands on antifreeze)

  2. I pity you your PowerPoint labors. Have you ever heard of a graphic designer named Edward Tufte? He is revered. In a previous life I attended one of his sold-out, hugely expensive all-day courses. I learned more that day than I did in 20+ years of working in and around infographics, although granted I’m self-taught out of necessity and do not hold a graphic design degree. Anyway, he loathes PowerPoint and devoted a few minutes to telling us why. I, too, loathe PowerPoint, although it’s easy enough to learn, so I wanted to stand up and cheer. I still work on them in my role as Better Half’s shadowy personal assistant (I am compensated with a lavish food and wine budget, and a de facto clothing allowance, because even pre-pandemic I hated clothes shopping, especially in stores.) 

      • The Bush White House’s planning and analysis for the Iraq War was all PowerPoints.
        People in the military would ask what the plan was for the occupation, hoping to get details on budgets, chains of command, timelines, lists of objectives, and all of that detail.
        What they got was a single page pulled out of a deck with circles and arrows and labels like “Maximize Potentials of Synergies With Local Networks” or “Expand Influence of Emerging Markets” and nothing else.
        Which explains a lot about the Bush White House and why the war was such a disaster.

  3. My own painful personal rules for investing (paid for with my own damn money.)
    Lesson 1:  if you don’t get/grasp the financial device like options don’t fucking do it.
    Lesson 2: Pigs get eaten (a small amount of greed is good, too much is deadly)
    Lesson 3: Always have an exit strategy
    Lesson 4: Emotions get you killed (see Lesson 2)
    Lesson 5: Research the damn stock (doesn’t have to be a deep dive) but enough to grasp what it is.
    Lesson 6: Don’t trust the main stream stock analysts on TV or news because they’re either trying to sell you garbage or fuck you over.
    Lesson 7: Until you sell, it’s not cash/real.  Cash is real.
    As for the CNN article…
    I’m pretty sure that CNN deliberately picked two of the less savy guys to interview to make these guys look foolish, but goddamn.  I’d rather read interviews from the ringleaders because it seems like they got their shit together.
    It’s like having financial conversations with coworkers who don’t get markets (financial or real estate.)  I don’t pretend to be savy or know what the fuck I’m doing, but at least I understand enough to know I don’t know much.  In the last nine months I’ve seen:
    1) a guy plow his entire family savings into a stock that went from 14 to 2 in a week.
    2) another guy who bought a garbage house for big money and now stuck working 80 hours a week (for the next 40 years) to pay for it and the needed renos (despite everyone telling him he’s wasting his money so he’s going to prove us all wrong.)  I know he’s a big fucking idiot as I had the “honor” of training him and he was the only trainee I ever wanted to punch in the face (and on multiple times.)
    3) another coworker get all emotional and bitterly clung to a stock beyond reason which cost him big money.
    4) Then there’s me who lost some $85k in his pension (not including lost gains) when his employer went belly up in a very public financial explosion and ended up in $30k in debt till he got a job (a year and a half being unemployed sucked) AND is kind of desperate to make it back. 

    • Those are good rules. 
      re: 2 I’ve always espoused “be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy”. I think it’s a Warren Buffet-ism. Hasn’t failed me yet. 

      • Not when it wasn’t vested.  At the time the company had up to 3 years to vest pension payroll deductions into the pension fund.  That changed in 2011 because of what Nortel and others did.
        I lost about 33k there.
        The remaining 52k in losses were the 20k I used from RRSPs (similar to 401k) to survive and 32k was lost when the company value tanked (a portion of my pension was tied to company stock.)

        • …that sounds like the definition of a hard pill to swallow & you have my sympathies

          …I know more than one person who got totally screwed (not through any fault of their own, I should stress) back in the 80s when what was called “black monday” happened & honestly I’m a little in awe of people who managed to clear debts & liabilities that I’m pretty sure exceed my lifetime earnings to date while still keeping a roof over the heads of kids sitting at a table with food on it

          …so I take my hat off to you…you can’t see that obviously…but I’m just some rando from the internet so I guess it counts as much as anything else I can offer?

  4. See, that’s the difference between rich and (counting as anyone who will have their lives upended if they miss 2 payvhecks) poor people:
    Poor = cash in hand or it doesn’t mean shit and might as well be my Candy Crush score.
    Rich = everything can be used as leverage or collateral, just get Grayson over at the private bank on the phone, honey.
    The fact is a lot of people’s biggest assets are the equity in their cars or homes, and they’re two missed payments from having them taken away entirely. Taking money out of homes via refinancing means you’re still paying extra interests and fees to access value you’ve already accrued in the home.
    This lack of access to ways to extract usable money out of equity on hand is an extra squeeze on your day-to-day life and leaves people unprepared for any emergencies at all.

    • Reverse mortgages and home equity loans are good examples of this. I don’t know anyone who has ever taken out a reverse mortgage but we have a few friends who are remortgaged to the hilt through home equity loans. What’s really sad is they’re not doing it out of economic necessity (they’re much better than payday loans or extremely high credit card debt at 29% interest or whatever banks can get away with now, even though 30-year Treasuries yields are at historic lows.) No, they do it to jumpstart a more affluent lifestyle they foresee coming, with that raise just around the corner, that promotion on the horizon, the new, much better-paying job that must be out there somewhere…
      We have a friend who is a tax accountant at one of the world’s largest accounting firms. He should know better. But he bought an apartment during one of Manhattan’s periodic real estate crashes and it’s worth far, far more than he paid for it whenever (I’m guessing about 30 years ago; prices got awfully low at the tail-end of the 80s and stayed relatively sane for a few years.) He makes a fair amount, more than enough to live on, but he never made partner, so he’s not part of the profit-sharing scheme. He decided to live like one anyway. Though he has no cause to drive anywhere he buys a new top-of-the-line car every three years or so (at least he always gets a good trade-in value because the car just sits in an $800 a month parking garage for most of its life, but still.) Vacations are not relaxing, they’re performative. One year he decided he would like to take another cruise and thought it would be fun if a group went. If ten of us signed up we’d get a 10% discount and earn points on the cruise line. With the discount it would have been $8,000 for a week per person, plus airfare. “But all the meals are included! You have to consider that.”
      I could go on, I don’t know why I got on this tangent. What do I care, it’s not my money, but his company has a mandatory retirement age at 65 (unless you’re a partner, in which case you can linger until death, and some of the partners are very long-lived indeed) and he’s bumping up against it. I think going from a budget of $15,000 a month (or whatever) to whatever Social Security will give him is going to be a very harsh adjustment indeed. And again, he is a tax accountant at a very prestigious firm.

      • I’ve never understood the thinking of taking out equity just to live the bigger lifestyle, but that’s also probably why I am not constantly ducking and dodging like certain family members.  We did take out a HELOC a few years ago because we needed to fix a retaining wall that was rapidly going to shit–but we went though all of the options with our financial advisor first.  Of course, now that the wall is fixed (but not yet paid off) the cesspool has…gone to shit.  That’s going to cost a fuckton more money, which means the HELOC balance is going to go way up, which means the payments are likewise going to have to increase.  So, I’m not wild about that–but I also didn’t take out the loan to go on fucking vacations and buy cars and other shit, so at least I know the debt is for the actual betterment of our home (which we also plan to live in until they carry our desiccated corpses out).  Maybe, one day, we’ll actually have a long enough break in the sudden crises to actually remodel the kitchen and bathroom…

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