Thursday, October 19, 2017

Kaijū (怪獣 kaijū)

I like that. I haven't had Japanese characters in my title before. (ha!)

"Frozen peas"

This is a Chuck Ramirez photo at the (excellent) McNay Museum in San Antonio.

Chuck's no longer with us.
At the time of his death in 2010 in a bicycling accident, the art of San Antonio’s Chuck Ramirez was making an international impact.
He died in a "bicycling accident". What is the deal with this bicycling? (Seinfeld voice) I've heard a bunch of stories now about severe injuries and death from "bicycling". It seems odd. Perhaps, slowing down is a piece of useful advice. Or maybe, try running instead?

And jeez - Chuck Ramirez was born in 1962: Too young! (ha)

Tech + Demo

The two most important investment trends in the US are technology and demographics.
  • tech - America is getting more and more tech each day, cheaper and faster, rinse and repeat
  • demographics - our population is getting older and older
Both of these trends are strongly deflationary. This means continued low interest rates and mostly higher stock prices.

Investment QOTD
Global profits are rising, unemployment is falling, growth is up, wages too.
Yet bond yields seem unable to jump. US 10yr bond yields are 2.27%, Germany 0.40%, Japan 0.05%. 
And the biggest structural surprise is that technology has rendered wage inflation a phenomenon for the history books. US unemployment is 4.2%, a 17yr low. Germany 3.6%, a 37yr low. Japan 2.8%, a 23yr low.
- some investment nabob,
It means that the Fed will be able to slowly unwind their multi-trillion dollar bond portfolio. It should mean that wage growth/inflation will continue to be slow. It means fewer children. With fewer young people, the slow growth cycle is aided by a strong feedback loop.

When will this mega-trend end... more tech and older oldies? I don't know. (shrug)
What will deflation over multiple decades (hello, Japan) do to our culture? (shrug shrug)

Project Nemesis

Book: Project Nemesis by Jeremy Robinson
Review: 3 bill-stars (out of 5)... fun

Every book isn't literature, and that's fine. The world needs a Godzilla book every now and then. (roar) OK, Nemesis isn't exactly Godzilla. I guess the author's preferred term is Kaiju.
Kaijū (怪獣 kaijū) (from Japanese "strange beast") is a Japanese film genre that features giant monsters, usually attacking major cities and engaging the military and other monsters in battle.
Whatev. It's pretty fun, and the action scenes are well-written. Like this quote...

The jaws closed over her just before she screamed. Then, as if she was stuck in a giant toilet, the water spun and flowed down. She shouted and grappled and reached for something to hold onto, but then the water pulled her down. Mercifully, she drowned before passing through the fifty-foot-long esophagus. Her body fell into the giant's acid filled stomach where the rest of the booze cruise's three hundred and forty-nine souls, and much of the ship, were already being turned into a slurry of human flesh, wood pulp and metal.
- Project Nemesis
"a slurry of human flesh, wood pulp and metal"... he he. A good read.

NBA, etc

The NBA season starts Tue Oct 17: yahoo nba schedule

Some NBA uniforms will have logos. They're pretty cool. And companies are willing to pay a pretty penny for that jersey space: "recently estimated NBA jersey ad deals to be worth between $2.5 and $6 million annually, depending on the team"
Photos And Details For Every NBA Jersey Patch Sponsorship Deal

I'm not a big NBA guy. (cough) I do like the young guys on The Starters:

In their season preview, The Starters had spirited debates on 82 different questions. But they we unanimous when it came to question 77: Will the Chicago Bull would be the worst team in the NBA this season. (dop!)

I'd like to sneak in a quick NBA prediction. I want to sort of pushback on all the failed NFL predictions that the Patties would go unchallenged and undefeated in 2017.
williamt Prediction: The NBA Finals matchup will not be Cav vs. Warrior

Twitter headlines and twitter as a source are often a source of FAKE NEWS... as Cub manager Joe Maddon points out.

I really hope that you all understand that social media doesn’t count at all. Twitter doesn’t count at all. And, really, as sportswriters you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly
- Cub manager, Joe Maddon, trib post
How's that, pardner?
giddy... yow, bill

Sunday, October 15, 2017

williamt blog10

"Art Institute Money Shot"

This pic is from this weekend's visit to the Chicago Art Institute. Never disappoints. This painting is the Art Institute's most famous piece (I think): George Seurat's Sunday in the blah blah. (ha)

williamt blog10

I like this blogger guy, the Abnormal Returns guy. It's an investment blog. I like his slogan (I need a slogan): Forecast-free since 2005. His post this morning celebrates 12 years of blogging.
Twelfth blogiversary

That got me thinking about the old williamt blog here. So, I found my first post. It was Sep 23, 2007.
My first post... my quest

So, I've been blogging for a little more than 10 years. Obviously, there's a BIG difference: Mr. Abnormal is a professional blogger, and I'm not. This is just for fun. And it has been lots of fun.
  • Pull - I like the pull nature of blogging; I dislike the push nature of Facebook. The williamt blog might stink (might?), but hey you came here... it wasn't forced down your throat. (ha)
  • Me - This is a pretty selfish endeavor, or maybe self-centered is a better word. It's fun for me. I'm not interested in "likes", comments, or increasing my audience at all. It would be nice to make people think or make you scratch your head, but I doubt that happens very often either. 
  • Themes - Some themes have lasted for most of my 10 years: my photos, book/movie reviews, extreme rightie hate politics (ha), and maybe hot chick pic here and there. 
  • Positivity - Every now and then, I'll look back at the last 10 posts or so, and make sure that I've still got my positivity going. I'll never fall to the level of leftie anger or language or approach. Whatever the heck is going on... Positivity is key!

Mildred Pierce, the movie

Movie: Mildred Pierce
Review: 2 bill-stars (out of 5)... not good

The book is fantastic, 5 bill stars:

The movie is not fantastic. It's barely 2 starts and is a mere shadow of the book's brilliance. Nearly everything interesting about the book has been drained from the movie script. I wonder what James Cain thought when he saw this script. Ay carumba! (ha)

Joan Crawford is OK as Mildred Pierce. And that's about it. Not a good movie.

I like... the end

I like Michael Jordan. He's a billionaire now.

His biggest single investment is his 90% stake in the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. When he bought a majority stake in 2010, the team was valued at $175 million. It is now worth $780 million.

I like Denise Young Smith. She's the Apple VP of Inclusion and Diversity (smirk). Ms. Smith dared to step up and speak the obvious truth. Diversity isn't about your color or gender or sexual preference. It's about your mind and your values.

Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT. There can be 12 white blue-eyed blonde men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation.
- Denise Young Smith, apple insider post
A few decades back, a guy named Martin Luther King expressed this idea a little more elegantly: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." (brainyquote link)

Well, DYS was attacked by the leftie hate machine, and she has faux apologized. That Apple Insider blog has an interesting way to deal with leftie ugliness: "Due to its political nature, comments for this article have been disabled."

I like Nirvana. I guess I should have known this already - the Smells Like Teen Spirit riff is very similar to Boston's More Than a Feeling.

It was July 4th of 1991. He’d just come back from California, we were watching fireworks or something as the sun came down, and he said, ‘Do you want to hear the new Nirvana album?’ 
I was like, ‘Sure.’ So he had a boombox, and he presses play, and you hear the ‘Teen Spirit’ [riff]. I thought, Wait, that’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ by Boston.
- Bill Corgan, some music blog post
Very funny - in this one minute video... "Nirvana pokes fun at how "Smells Like Teen Spirit" sounds a lot like Boston's "More than a Feeling". At the Reading Festival 1992."

So, will I be blogging 10 years from now, in 2027? Maybe a better question: will blogging even exist in 10 years? At this point, it's hard to see anything slowing down the social media train as Facebook, et al gobble up the planet. (ha!)
peace... yow, bill

PS - Bonus coverage! The intro to this article is perfect: title, subtitle, picture... Go Illini! (snort)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Beyond the Grave

From the excellent, eclectic McNay museum in San Antonio, TX! (
This pic is from a cool exhibit called "Beyond the Grave".

"Beyond the Grave"

Two wins

Two wins and some positivity in unexpected places: Chicago, Twitter.

Chicago - Hey hey! Some positivity out of Chicago. It looks like the soda tax is dead.
Cook County pop tax one step away from repeal after 15-1 test vote
We've suffered through a deluge of ridiculous and obnoxious TV ads last month, promoting the soda tax and comparing soda makers to tobacco companies or drug dealers. Idiotic!

At Preckwinkle’s request, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire public health advocate, weighed in, spending more than $10 million on radio and TV ads touting the health benefits of reduced sugar consumption.
- trib story
It's nearly axiomatic - When nabob Michael Bloomberg loses, America wins.

Twitter - Twitter killed a repub anti-abortion ad as "inflammatory". But now, they've reversed this decision. Let's dig a little deeper.
  • The inflammatory line in the ad: “I’m 100% pro-life. I fought Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts — thank God.”

There's still work to do. Leftie tech companies like Google are still using their bias to censor rightie content.
PragerU “Celebrates” One Year YouTube BANniverary; YouTube Is Restricting 10 Percent of PragerU’s Entire Video Library

Impressive Trinity

I visited Trinity University for Family Weekend. So impressive! The student newspaper (is that what it's still called?) is a good example. It's called The Trinitonian,

Trinity may be a Goldilocks situation. Like most colleges, Trinity is definitely left-leaning. But the school resides in right-leaning Texas, and this provides a balance. Maybe this environment is the catalyst for the more reasoned approach that seems to prevail at Trinity. Huzzah!

What's changed in 20-something years?

What's changed? Love that question.
Polls suck. Unless...
  • The poll happens over many years in an effort to compare this time to previous times.
  • They confirm my world view. (snort)

Obesity poll
Obesity is way up over the last 20 years.
There has been a 30% increase in adult obesity and 33% increase in youth obesity from 1999-2000 data to 2015-16.
Obesity among all US adults reaches all-time high
The race and gender breakdown is pretty interesting, actually (latimes post):
  • White males and white females = 38% obesity 
  • Black males = 37% obese, but black females = 55% obese!
  • Latino males = 43%, but Latina females = 51% obese!
  • Asian obesity = 13%
There's a lot of ways to interpret this data. My take: obesity isn't an economic issue, it's cultural! Black males have about the same rate as white males/females. But the obesity rate among black females is 55%!!!

Political values poll
This poll meets my criteria: 1) it compares today to 1994, almost 25 years ago, and 2) it shows that lefties are much more left on the issues than 25 years ago and righties are about the same.
It's Official: Democrats Are The Extremists Today
You can read it, but the bottom line: repubs are pretty much the same politically as 23 years ago, but dems are far more leftie. This isn't a biggie; it's just a reality check of two things: 1) it shows the source of all this anger and friction we're experiencing in America, and 2) it is another example of how the left and right are not equivalent or symmetric.

Speaking of politics... President Trump is on a fantastic, amazing roll!
  • The national anthem? Trump has won this battle in the culture war. All the pressure is squarely on the NFL and its players: Stop protesting the anthem and the flag. Stop disrespecting the country and our armed services. Do something else. Chop chop.
The future?
The key will be Trump's tax package. If it passes Congress, then the impact could be very Reagan-esque: 1) a pop in GDP to 4% or more, and 2) a landslide repub win (Trump or Pence) in 2020.

The most powerful truism in politics: It's the economy, stupid.,_stupid

thanks... yow, bill