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Our stocks are going up. Tax reform is in the air.

Tax reform would be easier in stages: bring in parked overseas corporate monies; cut the corporate tax rate…. Don’t try it all at once.

What do I know?

Meantime, I’m not complaining. Yesterday and today have been glorious for our stocks, especially Square, Amazon, Nvidia, Alibaba, Google and Facebook.

Stuff

+ Sunglasses are good. My eyes feel better wearing sunglasses.

+ Long grass is lethal. Ticks are out in force. You can ever cure Lyme’s Disease. You have it for life.

+ Swap your airline miles for tickets? Depends on timing. Some flights are blacked out. Some flights are cheap. Swapping miles for pricey business class international flights is a good idea.

+ ACH is free. Wiring money from your bank costs. Usually, just as fast. Go figure.

+ Brokers are, once again, calling me with their “best” ideas. If their ideas were really so good, why are they sharing them with me?

+ A friend asked which Vanguard index fund? Here’s a chart of three of my favorites — VUG, VTI and VFIAX — over the past five years. VUG is doing best.:

VUGFiveyears

Ten Airlines that actually existed in the 1980s

Courtesy Conde Nast Traveler:

Trump Shuttle
MGM Grand Air
People Express
The Hawaii Express
Challenge International Airlines
Highland Express
Presidential Airways
Pride Air
The Lord’s Airline
The Great American Smokers Club

Here’s the story of the Trump Shuttle:

In the late 1980s, a New York real estate heir named Donald Trump was on a roll, snapping up trophy properties like Manhattan’s Plaza hotel. So when a chance to join the exclusive airline club came his way, he jumped-apparently without looking too hard at the merchandise. What he got was a geriatric fleet of 727s operated by the Eastern Shuttle from New York City to Washington, D.C. and Boston, which parent Eastern Airlines had put on the block. Trump slapped his name on the planes and spent millions glitzing up the interiors with chrome and faux marble touches, but it never turned a profit, and the now-president was forced to divest the airline in 1990.

29trumpshuttle1
This is a real picture of a real crash landing in Boston.

Here’s the story of The Lord’s Airline:

This one could have used a little help from above. The idea, according to its initial business proposal in 1985, was to create a “warm spiritual atmosphere” aimed at born-again believers, on proposed DC-8 flights from Miami to Tel Aviv. The backers even pledged to donate a significant share of their hoped-for profits to “the Lord’s ministries.” But their dream-and their plane with its “spirit of faith” tail fin-was grounded permanently when the money ran out.

You can read Conde Nast’s story of these wonderful, failed airlines here.  

I remember a CNBC interview with Robert Crandall, ex-CEO of American Airlines. He said airlines made fun businesses, but lousy investments. I’ve never owned any airline shares.

Reader Pam Long received this Fraud Alert from her bank:

Heads-up!

Bad guys are exploiting the Hurricane Harvey disaster. There are fake Facebook pages, tweets are going out with fake charity websites, and phishing emails are sent out asking for donations to Hurricane Harvey Relief Funds that they keep for themselves.

Don’t fall for any scams. If you want to make a donation, go to the website of the charity of your choice and make a donation. Type the address in your browser or use a bookmark. Do not click on any links in emails or text you might get. Be cautious of whatever you see in the coming weeks about Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.

Always remember: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Think Before You Click!

If I build, will they come?

A rich New York hedgie spent $15 million plus on a pricey house he built in Columbia County, New York:

GhentCastle

The “castle” is just a few miles from where we have a vastly more modest endeavor.

The local scuttlebutt is that the rich hedgie built it to motivate his kids to come visit.

Apparently the kids took one look at the place and said, “No way.”

I find the house fascinating. (Susan doesn’t.) The house is long and thin, with mega-built-in furniture. There’s a basement that runs the entire length of the house. The day I was there, they had two golf carts in the basement to simplify getting around the basement.

You can see more photos here. 

The house makes you wonder what God could do if only He had the money, but not the taste.

When the kids wouldn’t visit, the house went on the market for $14.9 million. Today the broker called. It’s been reduced to $10 million. Such a bargain!

Here’s another bargain

A fifteen-year-old came home with a Porsche.

porscha

His parents screamed, “Where did you get that car?”

He calmly told them, “I bought it today.”

“With what money!?” demanded his parents. “We know what a Porsche costs.”

“Well,” said the boy, “This one cost me fifteen dollars.”

The parents began to yell even louder. “Who would sell a car like that for fifteen dollars?”

“It was the lady up the street,” said “Don’t know her name — they just moved in. She saw me ride past on my bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a Porsche for fifteen dollars.”

“Oh my goodness!” moaned the mother, “She must be a child abuser. Who knows what she will do next? John, you go right up there and see what’s going on.”

So the boy’s father walked up the street to the house where the lady lived and found her out in the yard calmly planting flowers. He introduced himself as the father of the boy to whom she had sold a Porsche to for fifteen dollars and wanted to know why she did it.

“Well,” she said, “this morning I got a phone call from my husband. I thought he was on a business trip, but I learned from a friend he has run off to Hawaii with his secretary. There she stole all his money and stranded him there!”

“He called me, without a dollar to his name, and asked me to please sell his new Porsche and send him the money. So that’s exactly what I did.”

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who read a study:

You and I  get far more pleasure out of outsourcing our chores, like lawn mowing, than we do buying stuff, like a new car.

  • Sam

    Brokers are sharing with you because they like you. What other reason could there be?

    • harrynewton

      They always tell me how much they love me.