Drinking It InThe Late Shoe
February 27, 2018
On the Late Show
last night in the Ed Sullivan Theater, Stephen Colbert opened a panel behind his
desk for a bottle of rum and two glasses and soon after he and Jennifer
Lawrence are kicking off their shoes.
They were great. They were both in rare form... not that they needed the rum.
Many so-so news outlets picked up the story the past few weeks claiming alcohol can help people live longer.
A study of 90+ year olds found them to be drinkers of alcohol, as much as two drinks a day, and coffee. Dr. Claudia Kawas
, a neurobiology professor at the University of California, Irvine, said, “I do firmly believe that modest drinking is associated with longevity.
” But she also said, “Keep in mind that I start studying people when they’re 90. It’s very likely that individuals who have very
excessive alcohol intake at younger ages don’t even make it to their
Yeah, it's that second part, the part about all the people that didn't
that the headlines miss. It doesn't really matter what people
in their 90s are doing, so much as how they got there when others
didn't. (And are they happy?!?)
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
says about 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related conditions every
year, making it the third-greatest preventable cause of death in the
United States after tobacco, and the combination of poor diet and inactivity. Nearly 24,000
of alcohol-related deaths were attributed to liver diseases, such as cirrhosis
and liver cancer. Drinking alcohol has been associated with an
increased risk of contracting seven types of cancers, according to the
American Society of Clinical Oncology, with greater alcohol intake
generally being associated with greater cancer risk. Binge drinking
— defined as downing at least four drinks for women or five
drinks for men within a few hours — is especially dangerous. One
2014 study found that adults in their 50s and 60s who reported binge
drinking once a week were twice as likely to die over the following 20
years as were adults of the same age who drank less. [from LiveScience
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers
of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast. [from the National Institute of Health
Drinking only one glass of wine per day increases the risk of getting breast cancer. [infographic sent to me from Ruth De Quincey
percent of Americans don't drink at all. Another thirty percent consume
on average less than one drink per week. Ten percent of Americans drink
so much they keep the industry afloat, averaging 74 drinks a week or a
little more than ten drinks a day.
Everyone knows today that pregnant women shouldn't drink. Just think what tomorrow will know.
Music Associations: Bob Marley - Jamaica Rum & Looking Glass - Brandy
plus Five For Fighting - 100 YearsPerseverance
February 23, 2018
We are heading to a better tomorrow. Perseverance will take us there. It will be a tomorrow transformed by climate change mitigation
efforts, the #MeToo
movement, and the efforts to end gun violence
at schools. Every step matters. Every voice matters. Do not accept the
way things have been. Work towards the way things should be.
Tomorrow will be better by the hard work of today.
After talking about investing, narrowing to impact investing (February 17th
post), the news is that even people with mutual funds or a pension fund
can make a difference through the big holding companies.
The largest asset holder, BlackRock
($5.7 trillion), will talk with gun manufacturers "to understand their response" to the shootings.
Last year, Vanguard said that it questions companies about climate change mitigation as part of risk management.
When voices become a community, the community must respond.Washington Post
: #BoycottNRA -- Three
major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha,
and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding
partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA
social media movement picks up steam.Safe School Initiative - Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks
, May 2002
Music Association: John Lennon - ImagineInvestment Values
February 17, 2018
see the recent turmoil in the stock market, like anything else, through
spiritual-philosophical-humorous eyes. They are also blue. Since about
2013, the stock market has been too positive, too predictable, and too
boring. The recent turmoil is as it should be. There is balance in the
Linen companies need to make balance sheets
so financially-oriented people can sleep well at night. Even down comforters have upsides.
up a philosophical chair. Money has value because we say it does.
Stocks have value because we say they do. When people believe more or
less in the value of money or stocks and act on those beliefs, the
values change. The value of stocks are no more tied to the value of a
company or venture than money is tied to the value of an item or a
Tides flow predictably, money and stocks flow with faith.
Nothing is as certain as numbers
lead people to believe. Nothing loses value like a new car driven off
the car dealer's lot. The value of XYZ stock is only fixed in the past.
The fine print will tell you that any individual stock can over and
under perform, and past returns do not predict future results. All
investing is subject to risk. I'm telling you this to empower you to
understand that your values have as much merit as anyone else's, you
know, within certain societal parameters.
Financial news will try to explain the actions of the stock market: Good news about the XYZ Company sent the stock down due to missing expectations. Despite good news about XYZ exceeding analysts' expectations, shares of XYZ closed lower.
Shares of XYZ continued to tumble, despite merger
talks, increased profits, and FDA approval.
In front of me is a perfectly good, crystal ball
It's kind of a nag. Ask it what you should invest in. Go ahead. It has
already interrupted you to tell you that you're too late. It's not that
incredible investments aren't in the future. They are. It's about
timing to ride it out -- when to begin and when to end. The crystal
ball is still complaining, saying that people don't seem to know what
is important to them... they don't realize what they have... squandered
resources... holding onto property past the prime because that rust
bucket of a boat may have value in the future... We'll just put the
crystal ball back into its box. I don't know why I still keep it. Maybe
it'll be valuable in the future.
In fairness to the crystal
ball, the first step to investing is talking about your values... what
you want... what are your principles... what will make the world a better place. An investment
adviser would bring up risk and age too. People are living long
enough for their pasts to catch up with them.0. Money _$_ Money _$_ Money
don't actually mean that all you want is money?!? Be careful what you
wish for. Someone who only wants money does not understand the limits
to the value of money, as explained earlier. What do you want to do
with all that money? Love, happiness, humor, friendships, and
self-respect cannot be bought with money. If none of those things
matter to you and freedom does not matter to you, you probably want the
money right now. Consider a life of financial crime.* Nothing else will
provide money as fast. It involves lying, cheating, stealing, money
laundering, and jail. The morally bankrupt don't sleep well at night.
Greed never rests.
People who value only money should not read any further. I don't know how you found a website titled Hopes and Dreams
in the first place. 1. Align Your Money With Your Values
you even think of investing money, try to figure out if you should be
investing money. What do you own? Do you really need those things? Do
they reflect your values? Do they burden you?Shop around
the best prices on credit union accounts (usually better than banks),
insurance, phone service (phone bill cut
, no contracts
), prescriptions (GoodRx
, Blink Health
, & Health Warehouse
), and groceries. If you play the lottery, stop.
(Americans spent $80.5 billion on lottery tickets
in 2016.) Live below your means. Consumer credit is modern slavery.
Understand the value of compounding
how compounding interest works against you with credit cards and for
you with savings accounts and mutual funds through dividend
After dwindling your assets and your expenses to
maximize value, identify your values -- who and what are important to
you. Set a goal, and make a plan. A goal without a plan is a wish. Get
your loved ones to help.
If you have money in a credit union
account, and you can afford to lose that money, and you aren't prone to
panic when the investment takes a dive, and investing fits with the
rest of your values, then consider investing.2. Value Investing
in yourself and your loved ones first. That could mean eating healthy,
showing your love, paying for schooling, buying a home, or learning a
Invest in your friends, family, and community. Give.
If you have a retirement plan at work, and you trust them to not go
belly up and run away with your money, then contribute. Employee
retirement savings can be a good way of investing.
you are not ready to invest money, don't. The market will be around
when you are ready, despite what the crystal ball is grumbling. I turn
to the box and say, “I can hear you.
doesn't matter. It does, and it doesn't. People with money don't worry
any less about it than people without it. The strange thing is that
some people without much money (wink
can do a great deal with what they have, through decision making and a
history of decision making. It goes back to the shopping around and
living below your means. It's about prioritizing your values and
getting bang for your buck (not pinching pennies, pinching dollars).
When you are ready to invest, shop around. Just as you should shop around for insurance, phone plans, cars, and
plumbers, you should shop around for best brokers. Who has the lowest
fees and the services you need?3. Putting Money To Work
interest given and fees taken on savings at credit unions is generally
better than the interest given and fees taken at banks. These days it's
usually less than one or two percent.
The average annual return on the US stock market from January 1871 to December 2017 was 6.06%
. Including dividends, the average return was 10.78%.
The crystal ball is spinning within its box and screaming, “That's not how it works!
know. That average simply takes the broad market results for each year,
divided by the number of years, which is practically meaningless. First
it ignores the past results. If your money doubled one year (100% gain)
and was cut in half the next (50% loss), you wouldn't say you had an
average return of 25% = (100% - 50%)/2, because your principal is
back where it started. Your real annualized gain is zero.
people do not invest in the entire stock market. There are some stocks
you do not want to invest in today or tomorrow. Either you pick the
stocks or you let someone pick them through a mutual fund. Either way,
some decision making has been made.The marketplace has a great deal of
financial information. Usually by the time you hear it, it is old news,
and the market has already reacted to it. Listen but do not trust stock
advice. Many studies have found random stock picks have out-performed
expert financial advice and actively managed mutual funds.
investors should diversify to lessen the risk of one stock or sector,
investing instrument, or market. Consider bonds, international
investments, and money market accounts to some extent to lessen risk. A
generalization is that younger investors should accept more risk than
older investors. Maybe.
Plus again, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
I bring up annual rates of return, I'm making the assumption that the
people who only value money left after reading section zero above.
Active traders obsess over the market and continually sift through the
market for the next sure thing. If they “
a stock will drop, they'll do a short sale, which is selling something
not owned to later buy it. They invest their money and themselves in
the market. They also are inclined to panic.
I knew a business
owner whose business barely needed his attention, and he would talk to
me about mutual funds. I would listen. One day I made a mistake. I
explained to him that mutual fund managers do not have superpowers to
discern good stocks from bad stocks. I mentioned what I said above
(plus 2) that random stock picks, sometimes with a dart board, can
out-perform the expert advice. I encouraged him to do his own research
and make his own picks. I unleashed a monster. If he was obsessed
before, he became laser focused on the market. Over several years, his
health deteriorated. He moved away. And during the lowest valley of the
2009 recession, he died.
Around that time, I was listening to
another man who said he had lost two million dollars in the market.
When I asked if it was a paper loss (loss of value) or an actual loss
(sale), he said he had to sell to save the roughly million dollars he
had left. I could only offer, “You have to do what's right for you.
term investors make their money work for them by investing and then
(sort of) ignoring the market. During the 2009 recession, Warren Buffett
was asked in an interview what he was selling, after he had just listed
off what he was buying. He said, “Nothing. I never sell.
Since then I have heard of Berkshire Hathaway
selling assets, so I take
what he said as a generalization of long term investing.
Buy low and sell high, or buy low and never sell. Focusing on the stock market, worrying about what is going on, isn't healthy.
of the problems of investing and then ignoring the market is that
change happens. To manage and diversify stocks, mutual funds can
be an easier way to invest. The problem with mutual funds is the fees
paid throughout your ownership of the fund. You can make money and
still lose money. There are low-fee mutual funds, some are offered byVanguard. 4. Making a Difference
Here's where this gets complicated -- using money to engineer change. Does it make a difference?
you buy XYZ stock, you are buying a share in the public ownership of
the XYZ Company. Unless the purchase is an IPO (initial public
offering), you are not buying from the company. You are buying from
someone else who is selling. So the XYZ Company never sees your money.
In a way, it doesn't matter what XYZ does or who they are. You don't
make a difference to them, and they don't make a difference to you,
except for the perceived value of shares of their stock, which may or
may not have anything to do with the actual company.
traded companies have annual meetings. Stockholders receive invitations
to the meeting and proxy voting information. Stockholders may also
request questions put to a vote. Votes are based on number of shares.
In this way, stockholders have a (limited) say.
majority stockholders have a say in the running of a company. Some
investors use their stock purchases to effect change in a company,
sometimes for purely monetary gain and sometimes for social change.
mutual funds pick stocks based on social change. One could argue that
just as an investor buying shares of XYZ really doesn't effect XYZ,
buying shares of a socially conscious mutual fund does not effect
change at those companies or the market overall. Yet, the trend to
socially responsible investing, impact investing
, has skyrocketed to at least $114 billion in 2017
, which might be enough for companies and the market to notice.
can put together a portfolio of stocks to purchase and potentially
effect change. Again, it takes management and attention as companies
and markets change. Some companies will, for a price, pick stocks based
on your values, and some mutual funds are already established to
reflect certain values.Swell
offers six portfolios focused on social and environmental
challenges: green technology, renewable energy, zero waste, clean
water, healthy living, and disease eradication. Using data from MSCI
, the portfolios combined
returned almost 19% from their inception in September 2016 through
August 2017. The Swell minimum investment is $50, and the Swell annual fee is 0.75%.Motif
stock portfolios in sustainability, fair labor, or corporate
governance, using data from MSCI
. Motif requires a minimum investment
of $1,000 and charges a flat, monthly subscription of $9.95. The
companies that Motif says “practice sustainability to reduce their carbon footprint
” include Boeing and Apple. Right. Sustainable planes and cell phones.OpenInvest
an online adviser that builds personalized investment portfolios
designed to fight climate change, drive gender equality, battle
deforestation, support LGBTQ rights, dump weapons, or help refugees.
Minimum investment is $3,000. No signup is required to see an example
portfolio based on your social values, so if your social value is
climate change, you will see companies like Coca-Cola, Comcast, Ford,
General Electric, General Motors, Halliburton, Hewlett Packard, and
Verizon. Are these the climate changers or the fighters of climate
, through a minimum investment of $1,000 by certain investors
provides loans to US businesses switching to solar energy. It is not
clear if the Wunder Capital 5 fund and other funds are mutual funds or
investment notes like those offered by the Calvert Foundation
community investment notes allow users to invest as little as $20
online or $1,000 definitive notes or $1,000 book-entry notes to finance
small loans (microfinance), renewable energy, health, women investing
in women, affordable housing, or sustainable farming.
More information about impact investing can be found through the GIIN 2017 report
(pdf). And here's some information about investing in solar power (February 2018
& December 2017
).5. The Key
of this boils down to what you want. The key is not to ignore the
betterment of the outer world when looking inward at your values.
Music Associations: The Beatles - Money, The Flying Lizards - Money, & Pink Floyd - Moneyoh, and Eddie Money - Two Tickets To Paradise* Please don't consider a life of financial crime. Or insurance. Or the presidency.“That was when he turned to a life of insurance.”Winter Olympics
February 12, 2018
The Winter Olympics is 40 ways to slide down a hill and figure skating.
Team figure skating was on last night, according to the schedule. Team figure skating... isn't that hockey?!?
Should anything in the Winter Olympics be called Heat 1?
Music Associations: The Spinners - Games People Play & Alan Parsons Project - Games People PlayParade Cancelled Due To Bone SpursFebruary 11, 2018
Trump's requested a big parade... big enough to fill the absense of
affection from his father... big enough to put a real smile (not the
sarcastic triple-chinned smile, but a real smile) on his face... has
been cancelled. The parade, which might momentarily fight the
depression of a very angry President and increase the depression of
millions of Americans, has been cancelled due to a wide-spread epidemic
of bone spurs. Pain from the bone spur epidemic
would prevent military personnel from participating in a parade.
Music Association: Aerosmith - Walk This WayNarcissism on Parade
February 7, 2018
A slow, whiny voice says, “I want a parade... like the one in France!”
what President Trump said to Pentagon officials in a meeting on January
18th of this year. And the Pentagon is going along with the unwritten orders
for a big military parade
The Pentagon will begin shooting at a moving target.
it's a military parade. Then it's a larger parade than the one Trump
saw in France last year. Trump told President Macron “We’re going to have to try to top it.”
As commander in chief, Trump will want to drive a tank.
Then he will want to fire the gun.
Then he will want to fire the gun over a specific target.
Then the mad president will want to fire the gun at a specific target.
When will someone tell him, no?!?
Music Association: Stevie Nicks - Stop Dragging My Heart AroundTourist Guide To Minnesota Nice
February 4, 2018
Welcome to Minnesota, visitors and viewers, we hope you have a nice time.
Wouldn't it be great if both teams could win, for the sake of the Eagles and the Patriots teams and fans?
For the sake of the rest of the country, wouldn't it be great if both teams could lose? That would be nice.
+ + +Super Bowl update:
The spectacle was full of concussive hits, bodies slamming into
the US Bank field, and coaches unwilling to provide injury reports. The
sponsors, the NFL, and pharmacists should be proud of engineering a close game and
motivating the athleticism of its players, putting life and limb on the
yard lines. Yes, both teams lost. The human head is not designed with
the skull shock-absorbers of a woodpecker. The human head can't take
the whiplashing hits.
Our country should have its head examined.
Music Association: The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be NiceCommercial Association: “Doritos - Crunch all you want. We'll make more.”Tourist Guide To Minnesota
February 2, 2018
Turn on your TV and find the local PBS weather channel, TPT Now, for local weather humor.
7 am, it's between minus 12 and minus 5 degrees around the Twin Cities
(-12º - -5º). Any guesses what that's like for running?
Bicycling? Dog walking? Pollen? UV?
Last year, TPT Now
(KTCA 2.5) decided to provide charts -- year around
-- to answer those questions and more.
Now we know not to run on the ice or bother with sunscreen. Thanks TPT Now!
Music Association: Foreigner - Cold As IceTourist Guide To Minnesota
January 31, 2018Taking a Knee
-- sounds like a football term, but in Minnesota, it means slipping on the ice
Taking a knee is perfectly normal in Minnesota. We respect and sympathize with people who take a knee.
Music Association: Spinners - Games People PlayThe Super Bowl is Here... kind-of
January 29, 2018
The Twin Cities Calendar
lists many of the current Super Bowl LII events. It's not just about
the football game on Sunday, February 4th at the US Bank Stadium in
Going on right now is the Super Bowl Experience
, which by its name might sound like it's watching the same teams as usual playing the top football game. That's a LII.
Going on right now is Super Bowl Live
, which might sound like the football game has already started, but it hasn't. That's a LII.
And tonight is the Super Bowl Opening Night
, which might sound like it is the Super Bowl, but it's not. That's a LII.
The game has started. It just isn't the game people think it is.
Music Associations: The Beatles - Here, There, and Everywhere
& The Eagles - Lyin' EyesEveryone Knows It's Tuesday
January 23, 2018
Everything is great. It's Tuesday... meaning it isn't either Sunday or Monday.
Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings lost the NFC Championship. On Monday,
about a foot of snow fell, and then the winds couldn't decide on
of this snow needs to be swept over here. There's too many sharp lines.
All of that snow is going to be more roundy, like frozen Lake Superior
waves in white. That's good. Now to shuffle up and re-deal the snow.
With assuredness, the wind pulls snow to the edge of rooftops and twists it around, like a teetering DQ swirl.
Meanwhile, Mister Positive was getting vehicles unstuck.
Nothing is more Herculeanly Minnesota than shoveling snow and getting vehicles unstuck. It screams out, “I am alive!”
Except it sounds like, “Murrf mi wuluff,”
due to hoods and scarves and such.
Music Association: The Association - Windy
January 15, 2018
Last night was a snowy night in Minneapolis... But enough about the weather, how 'bout that game!
Minnesota Vikings dominated the New Orleans Saints during the first
half of last night's game at US Bank Stadium. The Saints recovered
during the second half.
In the last three minutes of the game, the lead changed three times, causing cardiac arrests across the state.
With ten seconds left, Keenum sailed the ball to Diggs, who ran it in to the endzone with zero seconds left.
The Vikings beat the Saints and head to the NFC championship in Philadelphia, next Sunday.
Music Association: Skol VikingsEquality & DiversityWonderful World
January 12, 2018
recognize the full human equality of all of our people before God,
before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this, not
because it is economically advantageous, although it is; not because of
the laws of God command it, although they do; not because people in
other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental
reason that it is the right thing to do.”
- Robert F. Kennedy, June 6, 1966
Music Association: Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful WorldPutin His Nose In Our BusinessMeddling
January 10, 2018
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations released a report today, Putin's Asymetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security
The report identifies Russian efforts to manipulate elections in 19
countries. The report makes 30 recommendations to address the Russian
threat to NATO and the United States.
[Edit.] During the week of January 22nd, Russia’s SVR spy chief, Sergey Naryshkin
, who is under U.S. sanctions, met with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and others, outside Washington DC.
Meddling is becoming a more commonplace word outside of Scooby-Doo.
The real mystery is: did everyone
call the front seat? Because there's a whole van back here.
Music Association: Austin Roberts - Scooby Doo, Where Are You?Freudian Slippers
January 8, 2018
The problem with the Freudian slippers is they have no skid resistant tread.
You could ask me, “What did you expect? They aren't Freudian Will-Not-Slippers.
I had no expectations. I need greater expectations.
We all need greater expectations.
This morning the Wall Street Journal
reported on a fire on top of the “
68-floor” Trump Tower in Manhattan. Trump Tower has 58 stories. It has a 68th floor but no floors 6 through 13.
The 25th through 27th floors were on fire while Trump Tower was being built in 1982.
Music Association: Alanis Morissette - Head Over Feet“What's Happy About It?!?”
January 1, 2018
There is still good in the world. There is still happiness in the world.
There is still nature.
And people still dream and hope for a better, happier world.
Happy new year.
Please help me to make it good for you and for the Earth.
Music Association: U2 - New Years Day
Gifs of Cats and Kittens Part 1