Those Damn Dardanelles

Readers should likely be thinking more about geopolitics than the markets this week. There have been some reports that Turkey either has, or will, impose restrictions on oceanic traffic transiting the Turkish Straits (the Dardanelles).  This would likely set off World War III, if true and prolonged,  since Turkey is in a key position as the “door to Europe” from the Middle East. Before getting into the specifics of war worries, we need to step back and look at how the War with ISIS has been a mainly “soft war” … Continue reading

Coping: Where to Live in a Hostile World

Now that we have been home, and with the flu symptoms and aches & pains declining, we have gotten back to the largest problem in Life. Which is:  Where to live to make “the most of it.” As you may remember, I wrote a book 10+years ago titled “How to Live on $10,000 a Year – or Less.”   It has been hopeless copied and ripped off – my welcome to digital publishing. It has always been a cornerstone in our thinking that living below our means makes sense for people … Continue reading

Sizing Up Christmas–In Advance

The news came out in a press release from ShopperTrak this weekend: CHICAGO – Nov. 28, 2015 – ShopperTrak, the leading global provider of consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics, today released its preliminary sales estimate for brick-and-mortar retail on Thanksgiving Day (11/26/15) and Black Friday (11/27/15). The two dates accumulated a projected $12.1 billion in combined sales, which is an estimated decrease versus 2014. Specifically, Thanksgiving Day, a notably controversial day for retail, grossed an estimated $1.8 billion in sales, while Black Friday garnered an estimated $10.4 billion in … Continue reading

Coping: The Myopic Idiocy of Climate Change Hype

I believe “Science” has gotten climate change stupendously wrong.  And I’d like to thank a Washington Post story for making it so easy to dispute climate change claims. I wasn’t planning to present a major discussion of the silly climate change meetings getting underway today, but time has come to lay out a much more precise (and scientific) point of view. The guts of this were laid out in Peoplenomics in “The Scariest Holiday – Ever” a month ago. The WaPo Ocean Boulders Story:  Academic Absurdity The Washington Post story … Continue reading

Functions of War: Iron Mountain II (pt. 1)

If you like conspiracy thinking, and you have not yet read the complete book “Report from Iron Mountain (on the accessibility and desirability of Peace)” you really need to Google it or pick up a copy from a bookseller. Although there has been much conversation in the public press about how this 1967 book published by Dial Press was likely a farce on the Vietnam War and the whole “war gaming mindset” we continue to extract huge swaths of meaning from the book in such diverse realms as computer programming … Continue reading

Little News, Boring Markets

This is a pathetic morning. The news flow generally sucks, and since we did a column on Thursday, not much has happened. Turkey is still trying to figure out how to be a rah-rah NATO member and shoot down Russian aircraft while secretly buying oil from ISIS.  That scored a “Who?  Us?” The president of Turkey wants to talk with Putin about things. Putin may meet with Turkey, but should you expect anything positive? I think there’s an old Western movie somewhere with a line like “I’ll answer with lead…”  … Continue reading

Coping: Notes from Ure Shopping Teacher

The combination of high-potency vitamins, elderberry pills, sleep, and what-have-you, has finally begun  to work its magic…we are starting to feel a bit better this morning. So much so that I will probably get around to doing my “Shopping Matrix” this afternoon and laying in a few goodies. The process begins with a cup of coffee (got i`t!) and a reflective moment such as the one we’re having now.  It’s sort of like a guided meditation except it applies to the outer, rather than inner, world. The first question to … Continue reading

Happy Turkey!

Markets in the US are closed until tomorrow – which is traditionally called National Call Your Broker Day. Of course, that was back before we were beggared and poor as a country. The usual headlines are about:  Retailers are hoping against rising bills at home that this will be a Big One The big mover in Asia was Japan, up half a percent – hardly notable.   In Europe, Germany and France are up over one percent each.  The Kneeler:Land (where Pilgrims escaped from to come to the US) is up … Continue reading

Coping: Dealing With Black Friday and NBoD MAGIC

Black Friday or January? That is the main driver to get out of bed at 4 AM on a holiday morning and take up the keyboard. Which date-range offers better deals? Today is when we can see the ultimate in monetization of a holiday… A quick Google search reveals an almost unlimited number of websites that have capitalized on the term “black Friday.”  A sample Google search is here. The way this works is very simple. 1.  You get as domain name which has the term blackfriday buried in it … Continue reading

Trouble: As in Turkey

(Amarillo, TX)  Still trying to get back to our ranch-stead in what we call the East Texas Outback, at least eight-hours of driving lies ahead with both of us suffering from the misery of a cold/flu that has dogged us since Las Vegas. On the way, we have been going back and forth as we travel about what the best personal financial strategies are for the period from now to 10-years out. And it all comes down to turkey. Not as the place to shoot-down a Russian jet, but of … Continue reading

Housing Up–Rate Hike Pressure?

(Albuquerque, NM)  Just out from S&P, Case-Shiller, et al. New York, November 24, 2015 – S&P Dow Jones Indices today released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for September 2015 show that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months. More than 27 years of history for these data series is available, and can be accessed in full by going to Additional content on the housing market can also be found … Continue reading

Coping: Engineering the AfterLife

(Albuquerque, NM)  We have two days left on out adventure and then we will be back to the relative safety of the ranch in the Outback of East Texas. Since we have been staying many places (and sleeping in many strange beds) the level of “dream activity” has been inconsistent but instructive. As you know, I have been tinkering with my dream states for a long time.  There seem to be “personal best” periods of the year for me – in the March/April period and again in the period just … Continue reading

Fed: Consumption Collapse, Negative Rates

(Payson, AZ)  The Fed is holding a special emergency session today. The notice on their website says (in part): It is anticipated that the closed meeting of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System at 11:30 AM on Monday, November 23, 2015, will be held under expedited procedures, as set forth in section 26lb.7 of the Board’s Rules Regarding Public Observation of Meetings, at the Board’s offices at 20th Street and C Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. The following items of official Board business are tentatively scheduled to be … Continue reading