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I visit the animal hospital and find some pet stocks

I visit the animal hospital

This is Rosie.
RoseinHospital
This is the machine she’s hooked up to.
RosieMachine
Here are some views of the hospital. This is more impressive than many people hospitals I’ve visited. It’s got oodles of machines and oodles of consumables and sweet friendly people making sure our precious pets don’t want for anything.
AnimalHospital4AnimalHospital3AnimalHospital2
Rosie is spending three nights at the animal hospital. She is sick with something called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). Her hospital visit will cost $5,000, maybe more, now the specialists are involved.
Rosie does not have insurance. No Medicare. No Medicaid. No AARP. No UNH. No nothing.
More than half of American households own a pet. There are at least one hundred million pets in the U.S. Most of us will spend whatever it takes to keep Rufus (or Rosie) alive. We are crazy about our pets. We spend mega-bucks on their health.
Health care for pets is a much simpler business than healthcare for humans. When you check Rosie into the hospital, you pay up front, in total their estimate for what Rosie’s care will cost.
Here are several pet stocks for our pets:
ZTSCENT
spbBUFF

I own ZTS and CENT.

Most of the big pet food makers are private, or mixed up with other products. Nestle, with Purina, is second largest. You can find a full list of pet makers here. 

Late Wednesday I posted:

 

panic
I recommended buying AMZN, GOOGL, AAPL and FB.
All bounced back yesterday. For once, I was right.

BABA also bounced back. BABA is doing good with everyone, except me. Their manufacturers are excruciatingly difficult to deal with. They don’t seem to understand my Google Chinese. or my Harry “English.” I’m trying to get them to make this. No luck, after days of trying.

cableextender (1)

A Japanese billionaire buys a little something for his wall

It cost him a mere $110.5 Million.

BasquiatUntilted

The New York Times wrote:

Joining the rarefied $100 million-plus club in a sales room punctuated by periodic gasps from the crowd, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s powerful 1982 painting of a skull brought $110.5 million at Sotheby’s, to become the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction. Only 10 other works have broken the $100 million mark.

This is the buyer.

Buyer

He is Yusaku Maezawa. He is the son-in-law your daughter didn’t marry. Wikipedia writes:

Yusaku Maezawa born 22 November 1975, is a Japanese entrepreneur and contemporary art collector. He founded the Start Today company in 1998 and the online fashion retail website, Zozotown in 2004.

I guess they did well. He’s only 41.

High contemporary art prices often mean the economy is doing ultra-well. Or there’s nothing else to buy. Or a handful of artists — like Picasso, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol — are a great place to store or launder your money. Like every investment arena, you need to know what you’re doing.

The wisdom of money

A New York Times reporter wrote a review of a new book called “The Wisdom of Money” by Pascal Bruckner. Some of his priceless quotes:

Money has a tendency to bring out the worst in almost everybody. We are rarely honest about it, even to ourselves; instead we bicker and hoard and envy and splurge. In Britain, one woman is talking about suing the European lottery because she bought a ticket at age 17, won £1 million, and found her life “10 times worse” as a result.

Money, then, is a subject where wisdom is in short supply. What we need is a short book, maybe 236 pages plus notes, called “The Wisdom of Money,” which could help us put this most fraught of subjects into perspective. And here comes Pascal Bruckner, the (very) French essayist and intellectual, with a book of exactly that title and exactly that length. …

Bruckner is happy to declare that “in the United States, economics is a branch of theology”; that “in the United States, the middle classes, which are being impoverished, have already lost their role as a demographic and economic pillar”; and that “Americans have replaced their suspicion of eroticism with an immoderate appetite for profit.”

… Bruckner really hates economists, financiers and anybody who has the basic numeracy to be able to deal with money professionally. He compares the Nobel laureate Gary Becker to Joseph Stalin and calls George Soros a “reckless speculator”; thinks that high-frequency trading is done by “fops in suspenders” with “unlimited power to do harm”; describes competition as being a “monster”; says that the rich have “chosen to make money precisely because they don’t know how to do anything else”; asserts that national deficits and economic crashes are “good examples of mathematics gone mad”; and worries that money “reduces the human condition to the sinister tonalities of calculation.”

Bruckner is deeply, irredeemably romantic. It’s a trait that can be almost endearing at times: When you read his report of “rip-off artists” who “have the decency to commit suicide by jumping out windows on Wall Street,” for example, I’d urge you to follow the footnote. (It turns out that he’s citing “Brightness Falls,” the novel by Jay McInerney.) And it’s quite fun to read his bonkers fantasia on the subject of the “orgasmic” Scrooge McDuck, “experiencing the ecstasy of saints imbued with transcendence.”

To read the full book review, click here.

Pure marketing

Is there anything you can’t sell in America today? Are these the world’s most uncomfortable “shoes” or what?

VTRAINShoe

Please buy these for me. Only $115. Click here. Just kidding.

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who doesn’t watch Fox News all day. He’d rather play tennis.

Roger Ailes, the driving force behind Fox, just died. He was a remarkable man, not one of my favorites and not one of Matt Taibbi’s either. Here’s Matt’s “obituary” on Ailes:

Roger Ailes Was One of the Worst Americans Ever
Fox News founder made this the hate-filled, moronic country it is today

On the Internet today you will find thousands, perhaps even millions, of people gloating about the death of elephantine Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The happy face emojis are getting a workout on Twitter, which is also bursting with biting one-liners.

AirlesTweets

When I mentioned to one of my relatives that I was writing about the death of Ailes, the response was, “Say that you hope he’s reborn as a woman in Saudi Arabia.”

Ailes has no one but his fast-stiffening self to blame for this treatment. He is on the short list of people most responsible for modern America’s vicious and bloodthirsty character.

We are a hate-filled, paranoid, untrusting, book-dumb and bilious people whose chief source of recreation is slinging insults and threats at each other online, and we’re that way in large part because of the hyper-divisive media environment he discovered.

Ailes was the Christopher Columbus of hate. When the former daytime TV executive and political strategist looked across the American continent, he saw money laying around in giant piles. He knew all that was needed to pick it up was a) the total abandonment of any sense of decency or civic duty in the news business, and b) the factory-like production of news stories that spoke to Americans’ worst fantasies about each other.

Like many con artists, he reflexively targeted the elderly – “I created a TV network for people from 55 to dead,” he told Joan Walsh – where he saw billions could be made mining terrifying storylines about the collapse of the simpler America such viewers remembered, correctly or (more often) incorrectly, from their childhoods.

In this sense, his Fox News broadcasts were just extended versions of the old “ring around the collar” ad – scare stories about contagion. Wisk was pitched as the cure for sweat stains creeping onto your crisp white collar; Fox was sold as the cure for atheists, feminists, terrorists and minorities crawling over your white picket fence.

Ailes launched Fox in 1996 with a confused, often amateurish slate of dumb programs cranked out by cut-rate and often very young staffers. The channel was initially most famous for its overt shallowness (“More News in Less Time” was one of its early slogans) and its Monty Python-style bloopers, like the time Kathleen Sullivan read a story about a boy coming home for Christmas after surgery: “So this year, the Joneses will be able to open up their Christmas gifts – instead of little Johnny.”

But the main formula was always the political scare story, and Fox quickly learned to mix traditional sensationalist tropes like tabloid crime reporting with demonization of liberal villains like the Clintons.

Hillary Clinton in particular was a godsend for Fox. The first lady’s mocking comments about refusing to stay home and bake cookies – to say nothing of the “I’m not sitting here, some little woman, saying ‘Stand By Her Man’ like Tammy Wynette” quote – were daggers to the hearts of graying middle Americans everywhere. What’s the matter, Ailes’ audiences wondered, with Tammy Wynette?

So they tuned into Fox, which made ripping Hillary and other such overeducated, cosmopolitan, family-values-hating Satans a core part of its programming.

But invective, like drugs or tobacco or any other addictive property, is a product of diminishing returns. You have to continually up the ante to get people coming back. So Ailes and Fox over the years graduated from simply hammering Democratic politicians to making increasingly outlandish claims about an ever-expanding list of enemies.

Soon the villains weren’t just in Washington, but under every rock, behind every corner. Immigrants were spilling over the borders. Grades were being denuded in schools by liberal teachers. Marriage was being expanded to gays today, perhaps animals tomorrow. ACORN was secretly rigging vote totals.

Hollywood, a lost paradise Middle America remembered as a place where smooth-talking guys and gals smoked cigarettes, gazed into each others’ eyes and glorified small-town life and the military, now became a sandbox for over-opinionated brats like Sean Penn, Matt Damon and Brangelina who used their fame to pal around with socialist dictators and lecture churchy old folks about their ignorance.

The Fox response was to hire an endless succession of blow-dried, shrieking dingbats like Laura Ingraham, author of Shut Up and Sing, who filled the daytime hours with rants about every conceivable cultural change being the product of an ongoing anti-American conspiracy. Ingraham even derided muffin tops as evidence of America’s decaying values.

Ailes picked at all these scabs, and then when he ran out of real storylines to mine he invented some that didn’t even exist. His Fox was instrumental in helping Donald Trump push the birther phenomenon into being, and elevated the practically nonexistent New Black Panthers to ISIS status, warning Republicans that these would-be multitudinous urban troublemakers were planning on bringing guns to the GOP convention.

The presidency of Donald Trump wouldn’t have been possible had not Ailes raised a generation of viewers on these paranoid storylines. But the damage Ailes did wasn’t limited to hardening and radicalizing conservative audiences.

Ailes grew out of the entertainment world – his first experience was in daytime variety TV via The Mike Douglas Show – but he later advised a series of Republican campaigns, from Ronald Reagan to George H.W. Bush to Trump.

So when he created Fox, he merged his expertise from those two worlds, mixing entertainment and political stagecraft.

The effect was to politicize the media, a characteristic of banana republics everywhere. When Ailes decided to cordon off Republican audiences and craft news programming targeted specifically to them, he began the process of atomizing the entire media landscape into political fiefdoms – Fox for the right, MSNBC for the left, etc.

Ailes trained Americans to shop for the news as a commodity. Not just on the right but across the political spectrum now, Americans have learned to view the news as a consumer product.

What most of us are buying when we tune in to this or that channel or read this or that newspaper is a reassuring take on the changes in the world that most frighten us. We buy the version of the world that pleases us and live in little bubbles where we get to nurse resentments all day long and no one ever tells us we’re wrong about anything. Ailes invented those bubbles.

Moreover, Ailes built a financial empire waving images of the Clintons and the Obamas in front of scared conservatives. It’s no surprise that a range of media companies are now raking in fortunes waving images of Donald Trump in front of terrified Democrats.

It’s not that Trump isn’t or shouldn’t be frightening. But it’s conspicuous that our media landscape is now a perfect Ailes-ian dystopia, cleaved into camps of captive audiences geeked up on terror and disgust. The more scared and hate-filled we are, the more advertising dollars come pouring in, on both sides.

Trump in many ways was a perfect Ailes product, merging as he did the properties of entertainment and news in a sociopathic programming package that, as CBS chief Les Moonves pointed out, was terrible for the country, but great for the bottom line.

And when Ailes died this morning, he left behind an America perfectly in his image, frightened out of its mind and pouring its money hand over fist into television companies, who are gleefully selling the unraveling of our political system as an entertainment product.

The extent to which we hate and fear each other now – that’s not any one person’s fault. But no one person was more at fault than Roger Ailes. He never had a soul to sell, so he sold ours. It may take 50 years or a century for us to recover. Even dictators rarely have that kind of impact. Enjoy the next life, you monster.

You can find Taibbi’s story, replete with photos of Ailes, here.

 

  • Jeff Barber

    That “painting” is complete and utter shite! There are so many talented artists out there creating beautiful things. How this guy became a name is beyond me. I don’t care about his story, I care about his talent.

  • Dennis

    Re: the painting:

    Initially, I thought the price was only $110.50. But after realizing
    its extraordinary price, I can only hope that the police find the
    taggers who defaced it with such disgusting graffiti.
    Dennis

  • Norman Gin

    Those Vibrams are the most comfortable workout shoes I’ve ever worn. I’ve been wearing them for years, for activities ranging from jogging, speed/power walking, weightlifting, everything athletic. I wear them exclusively for heavy kettlebell work, which I do for 45-60 minutes, 3-4 times a week. I wish they’d apply the concept to dress shoes!!
    Norman Gin

  • Shelly R.

    Wow. So a man dies and you go out of your way to spread hate about him? Is that becoming of a man of stature such as yourself? Is that what they taught you in private school when you were a little boy? You’re an old bag yourself and it’s only a matter of time before you kick the bucket. Do you want people to say hateful things about you after you croak? I think not. So don’t be such a sanctimonious hypocrite.