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Sic transit gloria mundi. Latin for what’s happening today.

The biggest lesson I ever learned in life and business was that I was my own worst enemy.

My competitors couldn’t hurt me as much as I could myself.

The Iowa app mess made me sad for the Democrats.

You can only imagine the ads, “How can you trust these people to run the country? Strong words to follow.”

Meanwhile Trump is talking about a tax cut for the middle class — his voters.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Not too difficult. Ignore it and you shoot yourself in the foot.

While the economy chugs happily along, I keep eyeing new stocks to buy. My list is on the right. Heh, GNRC is up big today. Click here.

Cross your fingers

My friend Ed has bought puts on the S&P 500 and the QQQs, figuring the coronavirus is much worse and will crash the stock market, big-time.

Today it’s up.

I can’t play this short-term game. Ed can. He’s good at it.

Gilead has an antiviral drug which may cure coronavirus. They’re testing the drug in Wuhan.

The Motley Fool suggests investors keep a close eye on biotech stocks: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX), Gilead Sciences (GILD), Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO), Moderna, Inc. (MRNA), and Novavax (NVAX).

You can read Motley Fool’s piece here.

I’m not smart enough to gamble on biotech. I’ve lost my shirt far too often in biotech. None of my investments ever did cure cancer.

Verizon is charging $10 extra for 5G

I walked into a Verizon store on Lexington Ave and tried to get a demo of 5G.

No luck. It wasn’t working.

I did find out that 5G is $10 a month extra.

Ransomware is booming.

The bad guys lock you out of your computers.

They want money — typically bitcoin – to let you back in.

Most people pay the money and get back in. But the whole experience is frightening beyond anything you can imagine. You can lose your entire business. People who get hacked don’t like to talk about what happened.

My personal “prevention” is regular off-site backups — I put all my data on several flashdrives and on several identical backup computers. This blog is backed up somewhere in the cloud. I believe it’s in Atlanta.

If you feel uncomfortable, employ someone to help.

That’s pretty flimsy advice. Here are two articles that will freak you.

From the New York Times today:

Ransomware Attacks Grow, Crippling Cities and Businesses
Hackers are locking people out of their networks and demanding big payments to get back in. New data shows just how common and damaging the attacks have become. Click here.

From ProPublica:

The Trade Secret
Firms That Promised High-Tech Ransomware Solutions Almost Always Just Pay the Hackers
Click here.

Never sign up for “trial” subscriptions

You pay $1 for a nanosecond.

Suddenly your credit card is being hit for zillions. And you can’t find anyway to close it down.

I’m trying to close down my $35 a month subscription to Bloomberg.com.

But, it drags on and on.

In Search of the Perfect Suit

Michael was married in 2010. That was the last time I wore a suit.

I’m being “honored” in April. I need a new suit because my 20-year old wedding suit has shrunk.

I try Nordstrom. They have pricey Italian suits, from Canali on up. $2,000+.

I try Zegna down the road. They start at $3,250, scale up to $5,400 and more. Much more.

Zegna has a cellist and a violinist playing, and a 7 foot German model handing out free water — “sparkling or still?”

I’m not in love with anything I see at Zegna. I hear lots of “our tailor can fix that.” Which translates into “Harry, get yourself a decent personal trainer.”

But wait, there’s a store up the road called Century 21. It’s a madhouse with racks and racks of discount clothing, and millions and milions of handbags.

I find a Ted Baker wool suit that fits well and costs $399.  Even Susan is impressed.

I bet the suit will last another 20 years. But will I?

Somewhere in all this, there’s a lesson.

I have a story: A very well-known and very wealthy litigation lawyer, buys his suits at Lands End. He buys 100 at a time. His secretary Fedexes the suits to his hotel. The next day he goes to court dresses slumpy and wearing shoes like these:

When he leaves town, he leaves the suit at the hotel….

Why I’m tired today

I spent most of the weekend reading this:

It’s a 40-year history of the misery that has been the Middle East.

Various crazies have used Islam to win supporters and fire up hatred for Sunnis, Shias, Israelis, Americans, Lebanese, Palestinians, etc.

A couple of quotes:

+ The Islamic Republic of Iran (1979) was born in a bath of blood, cruelty, and darkness.

+ Under Khomeini, Evin Prison in Tehran, built by the shah to house three hundred prisoners, was home to fifteen thousand by 1983. “More than 7,900 Iranian political prisoners would be executed between 1981 and 1985, at least seventy-nine times the number killed between 1971 and 1979” under the shah. In 1988, in a paroxysm of state depravity, at least three thousand political prisoners would be executed over the course of five months. Some reports put the number much higher, up to thirty thousand. The mass executions required forklifts to transport the prisoners and cranes to hang them at half-hour intervals.

And wait till you read about Saudi Arabia’s role in spreading its own vile form of radical Islam.

+ The Saudis were helping to create an environment in which ideas and actions could be taken to the extreme, and they were blinded to the consequences of their creation because they could not recognize the intolerance of their own ideology.

15 of the 19 hijackers responsible for 9/11 were Saudi citizens.

America is now far less dependent on Saudi oil. We are now the world’s largest producer.

Elizabeth Warren, however, has pledged to ban fracking on her first day in office!

Sic transit gloria mundi.

A great way to end today’s blog

See you tomorrow. — Harry Newton

 

 

  • jsdaly

    2 other options for the inexpensive trial auto renewal issue:
    1. Only buy the trial with a gift Visa or AMX card with preset limit. it is often fully spent by the time renewal hits. No auto renewal to worry about.
    2. look for the option to mail a check.. they are NOT auto-renewable. That is how I get the WSJ for much less. after it expires each year, they always send better offers a month or so later and I send another check saving a lot over the auto-renewal. this only works if you don’t mind missing a month of your subscription before renewing….

  • Omer Acikel

    I also stay away bio-tech and cryptocurrencies, way too much speculation around them. Just want to mention, as a diversification, I opened a Fundrise account. They do broad REIT. It is long term…like months to years. You get daily dividend updates -it is too early for me see other gains yet-. I have couple of rentals and from my reading about real estate (RE) this is used by many RE investors. Their average return is between 8 to 12% annually since their inception in 2010. If you bought a suit to last 20 years, why not invest too 🙂 BTW I have not read Black Wave but my 5 cent on it is this: If a book on Middle East starts from 40 years ago, it cannot be that good. Middle East mess goes back to WW-I and starts with Brits.

  • Dman

    Did “Black Wave” by any chance mention President Jimmy “death to America” Carter?

    …..now Trump will fix it.

  • Lucky

    PayPal and my CITIbank card will block Green River payments that automatically renew…i use Virtual Account numbers from CITI when subscribing to anything with auto renewals such as SiriusXM etc.

  • Gary S

    So what is the ending to the lawyer story?