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OK. It’s hell in a handbasket. But I was right. It was hell for a day — that was yesterday. Where now?

This morning. A favorable, but not brilliant jobs report. What can we expect? We’re down to 3.7% “unemployment” — the lowest since December 1969. There’s no one left to employ. Everyone who wants a job has one. Hence you can’t have HUGE numbers of new jobs — like they report the first Friday of each month (today).

Meantime these numbers confuse us. This morning tech stocks were up. Then they were down. By the time you read this, they’ll probably be up. Up and down like a wh*re’s drawers as they say in Australia. The * is an o. Changed to avoid the many corporate censors who have nothing better to do. Yesterday one of them actually found the word “porn” and wouldn’t let my blog through.

Netflix is my big loser today. I’m sure there’s a reason, somewhere. Neflix is a phenomenal company, dong all the right things. Here’s the last three months. I’ll buy more if it drops more:

Who wants to own a car, any longer?

Apparently young millennials don’t. What with depreciation, maintenance, and garaging… the costs are egregious. (I pay $550 a month to park our car in Manhattan.)

The young’uns are flocking to towns like Denver which is investing heavily in public transportation.

Then there’s car rentals like Think of Turo as Airbnb for cars. Michael, my son, loves Turo. He gets a better and cheaper car/van than from Budget/Hertz/Avis.

Then there’s Uber, Lyft and a million others in your local town. Not to mention bike and scooter share services exploding everywhere — and which all my friends are using.

I hate cars.

Here’s Ford and GM over the past ten years. Desultory:

Australia is on sale.

The Australian dollar dropped to a 20-month low, touching just over 70 US. cents. Go there. It’s cheap and safe. And they sort-of  speak English.

Click here.

Useful stuff

Don’t give Kickstarter any of your precious money. You’ll never get anything. I never have. Kickstarter is seriously annoying.

Kletocracy, Washington style

Two U.S. Senators — Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — are applying for federal money under a $12 billion bailout program set up by the White House to help farmers hurt by trade hostilities.

Grassley will vote for Kavanaugh.

They say “Go to Washington and Get Rich.”  Washington is our new kleptocracy.

For more, click here.

How tennis is meant to be played. 

Notice how Federer keeps head down as he hits his backhand. Too many of us lift our head too early to check where our ball went.

Ann Wroe writes the Economist obituaries.

She outdid herself this week with an obit on Alan Abel, hoaxer-in-chief.

She writes:

SINCE there are few folk more gullible than editors and reporters desperate to fill the front page, an invitation covertly devised by Alan Abel was sure to pull them in.

… In 1964 and 1968 he ran the campaigns of Yetta Bronstein, a cab driver’s wife from the Bronx (aka his own wife, Jeanne), for the presidency. Yetta offered bagels for votes, the chicken-soup comfort of a Jewish mother in the White House, and a cabinet staffed with people who had failed in life but learned to live with it. She also proposed putting truth serum in the Senate drinking fountain.

… There was certainly no money in it. His elaborate planning-official press releases, bookings of hotel suites, dedicated phone lines-was expensive. Cheques sent to SINA, one for $40,000, were fondled but returned. A few angels helped, as did his band of merry pranksters, actor friends. Several were filmed attending Omar’s School for Beggars, founded during the recession of the 1970s to teach the art of creative panhandling with good clothes and nice manners. It made Omar rich; he appeared on TV, hooded, with an enormous cigar. Strangely it brought nothing to the rusty railroad caboose in the woods where Mr Abel plotted, with pencil and plain pad, what he might do next.

And then in 1980 he died. His skis were found in the shape of a cross at Robert Redford’s resort in Sundance, Utah. An undertaker gathered up his few belongings, his wake was announced, and an actress playing his wife called the New York Times. The Times ran an eight-inch obituary, two inches longer than for the guy who invented the six-pack. It then had to retract it when, miraculously, he rose again.

If he had waited another decade or two he could have enjoyed one of his Euthanasia Cruises, which offered the chance to expire in luxury. He could have boarded a three-masted sloop, The Last Supper, at Fort Lauderdale, enjoying dancing, gambling and one-on-one therapy from beautiful social workers, until the ship listed gently to one side in international waters. He had already made the voyage, as a reporter with a rare round-trip ticket. And some reporters would believe anything.

Harry Newton, who’s thrilled. We’re getting to that glorious time of year:

Grandchildren Sophie and Zoe:

The best grandchildren in the world (two of my four) — unless you have some. In which case yours are better.


  • J. Browser

    Harry, what’s the best time of year to visit Australia? Do you recommend Melbourne or…? What’s the one thing you’d recommend for a first time traveler to Australia? How long is the flight? Are wild dingos a major concern?

  • Greg

    I heard Australia is expensive even with 30% cost savings? Must depend on who you ask. Speaking of rental cars – you would be the best person to answer this: do you need collision insurance when renting cars in Europe? They always push it and threaten that any damage is out of pocket so I never know what to do. I think some credit cards may cover insurance abroad but not sure.