Skip to content

Gold is breaking out all over. So is lithium, real estate and technology, maybe everything… Maybe

Here’s the latest magnificent month. Blind Freddie and his merry band of dart-throwing monkeys made money in the stockmarket:

SPXLastMonth

Half my friends are 100% in cash.The other half are praying.

The logic is: we’ll have tax cuts, de-regulation (especially in banking), more jobs (coal and manufacturing, etc.), less burdensome health costs. In short, Nirvana.

None of this has happened, yet. The market has risen on hope, euphoria and a little reality — the economy and profits continue to improve.

Half the gurus — the market analysts — say the stockmarket boom will continue. The other half say “No Way. It’s over-bought.”

But then the over-bought gurus have been saying this for months. And the market has continued to rise. God bless optimism,euphoria, or insanity, or whatever it’s called these days.

The old standbys are doing well. Here’s Berkshire Hathaway over the past year:

BRKAOneYear

My personal approach is cautious. I’m sticking with the stocks in the right hand column — go to the web site. Click here. 

I’m also aggressively looking at alternative investments, e.g. companies that lend to growing businesses. And I’m broadening my real estate syndications into student housing.

This column is about the search for the perfect investment. My sojourn in California (as I escape the eastern winter) has concluded “there’s only one answer: It’s your own business.” I run across wonderful services out — from roofs to solar, from flooring to carpentry, from big TV installations to custom furniture. Everyone and their uncle is booming.

And then there are the product companies.

A favorite is Nite Ize. They make these gear ties.

GearTie

They come in a million sizes. I think I have several of each. They also make these carabiners, again in all sizes.

slidelock

I have them, too. Get their stuff on Amazon. Click here.

Wonderful quotes

+ Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said we have it all wrong about Amazon’s Alexa. It’s not just a cash register in people’s homes.

+ Refugees Pose Less of a Threat Than Trump. And They Pay More Taxes, an email I received.

+ Trump says the White House is running “like a fine-tuned machine.” He said that today at his 77 minute press conference.

+ TV commercials for Andrew Puzder’s burger chains feature young women in bikinis lasciviously eating, washing expensive cars, or riding a mechanical bull. In 2011, the company issued a press release explaining its marketing strategy: “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.” (I don’t make this stuff up.)

Stuff

+ Don’t buy a matte black iPhone 7. It chips easily.

+ Don’t over-exercise. Everyone I know has a back ache. The Wall Street Journal just wrote:

Newguidelines

For the piece, click here.

Quora explains Donald Trump’s language.

I like Quora. Submitted questions gets answered, often by experts. This man is an expert, and for real. I checked. It’s the best explanation of Trump’s language I’ve read. It is not negative or positive on Trump. It’s simply an explanation of how our President uses language.

by Andrew Gumperz, LMS Administrator at John Muir Medical Center

Trump uses language in a different way from most people. Most people use language to communicate. Distinguishing truth from untruth is important when your goal is to exchange information since untruth threatens the effectiveness of communication.

Trump uses language to get what he wants. For his purpose, the distinction between truth and untruth is meaningless. If he got what he wanted, the communication was terrific and if he didn’t it was terrible. This is why he sometimes seems baffled when people question his veracity. To Trump, only a fool would expect his words to be true; that is not what words are for.

This utilitarian approach to rhetoric also explains why Trump is so prone to reversing his positions. If he thinks his audience wants him to call Mexicans rapists and criminals, he does it. While if he holds a press conference with President Pena Nieto, he says Mexicans are beyond reproach and describes his respect for Mexican-Americans. For most of us, the contradictory statements are confusing and enraging, but Trump sees no contradiction. In his utilitarian calculation, it only makes good sense to show respect to Mexicans in front of President Pena Nieto, while a different message resonates for a xenophobic audience, so the rhetoric changes.

His primary communication tactic is to build emotional resonance. He speaks in metaphor to elicit a feeling response from his audience. The truth of his statements do not matter when evoking an emotional response-That is why he will claim he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after the Twin Towers came down. If you read the statement literally, it is a blatant lie because the events described simply did not happen. But to his audience the statement feels true because it accurately reflects how they feel about Muslim-American immigrants.

Some Muslims really do resent how they have been treated by this country and his audience has seen them on TV so even if his statement isn’t literally true, it does reflect his audience’s belief that Muslims hate and despise the United States.

His audience adopts a simplified world view where “Muslims” is a thing, not a group of diverse individuals with billions of different opinions. His audience acts as if a feeling held by one Muslim is held by all Muslims.

Much of his audience fears and despises Muslims, which isn’t surprising for a person thinking all Muslims are as hateful as the tiny minority of nut jobs.

His audience has a profound anti-immigrant bias. By claiming American Muslims celebrated the fall of the towers, he sends a message that immigrants are dangerous which matches their pre-existing anti-immigrant feelings.

For that reason, they go nuts when he makes such statements. They have felt repressed by liberals who call them racists for giving voice to what to them seems an obvious truth: immigrants are dangerous. So they love him for “telling the truth” by giving voice to their feelings without judgment.

Whether you think he speaks the truth or lies depends on how you personally process communication. If your internal truth function is based on literal meanings, almost everything he says is a lie. You can prove it to yourself. Go find any Trump speech online and pick the first fact he asserts. Then google that fact. It won’t take long to find evidence disproving it. But if your truth function is emotional, you’ll hear his statement another way. You’ll ask if his statement describes feelings similar to your own. If you are in his audience, you’ll resonate to his words like a tuning fork. And if you are not, you will feel visceral disgust.

++++++++++++

Several commenters have misinterpreted this answer as supportive towards Mr. Trump. It isn’t. I am as disgusted as anyone else by Mr. Trump’s dishonesty and I disagree with every public policy position he stands for.

You may have noticed how Trump and his proxies have frequently flummoxed interviewers with their use of “alternative facts” and faux-outraged denials when confronted with real facts contradicting their statements. When that happens, they win. Their audience has heard their message loud and clear while their opponent wasted his time arguing over “facts”-something their audience does not care about-and missed the opportunity to counter the emotional resonance they achieved. And that is exactly why I want everyone to see his methods exposed. So all of us can confront his supporters with words that resonate and have impact, not just factual arguments they tune out.

Favorite slogans

shreddedcheese

claearconscience

HokeyPokey

Favorite cartoons

Alternativeheaven

LifeisShort

Whenindoubt

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who apologizes for not posting for several days. In today’s confusing world, it takes time to get one’s brain into writing-gear. Meantime, my top spin backhand is much improved, courtesy Dima Drozdov, my young coach from Kazakhstan. I have a free slidelock carabiner for any reader who can email me the capital of Kazakhstan — without checking Google.