Skip to content

Waiting for God’s retribution — 24 inches of white stuff from the sky

I’m sitting here waiting for God to dump 24 inches of snow on me. We’ve put both cars in the garage so they won’t get dinged when our overworked snowplow driver shows up. Our emergency generator maintenance guy has shown up and, as usual, told us we need a new battery for our Generac. That thing eats batteries like I eat Muenster cheese, my favorite, which everyone in the family hates. They think it’s low class cheese. Cheese for low class people, like me. And Rosie, our dog, who’ll eat any cheese, even Muenster.

I’ve shopped the supermarket out, as everybody else was doing. My 30 cans of Coke Mini should hold us through the storm.

It’s dark already. We’re five days away from the Winter Solstice.

Amazon has the solution — T-shirts for my daughter and me.


Meanwhile, the most nagging issue in the real world is readers asking two profound and unanswerable questions:

+ What do the companies on your list of stocks you like and and own do for a living? Like Hubspot.

+ Why are they climbing into heights no stock has ever gone before.

A good 45% of my stocks have no P/E. Which means they’re losing money. Then there are companies like Tesla — P/E 1,254 — and Peloton — P/E of 1,065. Why, on that scale, Shopify with only a P/E of 685 looks positively cheap. Dirt cheap, no less.

My latest “technique” is to buy a handful of overpriced shares and watch them. I listen to the buzz, read about them, watch their movement and then buy more or sell them. I also make up rules. Like don’t buy any of the hugely overpriced recent IPOs — like Uber, Airbnb, Doordash, etc. (Except maybe AI.) Like don’t buy any biotech or pharma companies now. They’ve had their runs. Except for VXRT, which is an interesting spec on an oral vaccine.

Real estate is variegated

Some of it is doing horribly — hotels and retail. Some of it is doing great — like residential real estate in the sunbelt.

Offices are empty. But rents are being paid. Sort of. Warehouses are doing great — viz. the continuing online boom.

Student housing is a mess. Surprise. Surprise.

If buying real estate, the key is the price you pay. That’s the major determinant of success in every real estate deal.

Diversification is key. Where have we heard that before?

Tips for a great Zoom meeting

  My big tip is use this lapel mike.

$32 on Amazon. Click here.

Experiment with lighting. Don’t have  lighting behind you. Have it in front of you.

Unclutter your background.

Adjust the angle of your camera so it’s in line, not looking up your nostrils. Move back a little.

USA Today as six tips. Click here.

The Pandemic is boom times

For everyone from dog makers (aka breeders) to  web cam makers, from home generator makers to laptop makers, from workout companies (like Peloton) to casual work gear companies (like Nike), from car companies (everyone now needs another car) to video conferencing companies (like Zoom and RingCentral), from streaming video companies (like Netflix to Disney+ to YouTubeTV), from home generator companies (like Generac) to charter airlines that will fly you to your grandchildren (and avoid the over-crowded, plague-ridden American, Delta, United, JetBlue, Spirit, etc.)

Exploding demand is helping drive our lofty stock prices. It’s not all froth and fantasy.

All about the vaccines from the NYU Langone Vaccine Center

NYU Langone is my hospital. Here’s their take:

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines we keep hearing about?

+ The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been tested in more than 75,000 people and are 95 percent effective. The US Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer vaccine-which has been studied at NYU Langone since its earliest phase-an emergency use authorization last week.
+ None of the participants in the Pfizer trial who received the active vaccine experienced severe cases of COVID-19.
+ The vaccines are equally effective in the elderly, in individuals with comorbidities like diabetes, and across different racial and ethnic groups.
+ One week after the final dose, study participants showed more than 90 percent protection.
+ We don’t know yet how long vaccine protection lasts. “A future booster may be needed, but if we get 75 percent of people vaccinated within a year, that could be enough to end the pandemic,” says Dr. Mulligan.

Are the vaccines safe?

+ Data shows that the vaccines are very safe. In the Pfizer trial, none of the volunteers had serious adverse or allergic reactions.
+ However, allergic reactions to vaccines are not uncommon in people with known allergies, so we should expect them to occur as the vaccines are used more broadly.
+ The Pfizer vaccine was tested in children as young as 16, but studies with younger children are beginning now. Pregnant women have not yet been involved in trials.
+ “No corners were cut on safety,” notes Dr. Mulligan. Pandemic preparedness following the original SARS and MERS viruses led to the development of vaccine technologies that were quickly adapted to COVID-19.

When will the vaccines be available to the public?

+ Healthcare workers and elderly residents in long-term care facilities will be among the first to receive the vaccine. Healthy, middle-aged adults will likely be eligible mid-2021.
+ We need more vaccine options to meet demand. AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and other manufacturers are testing extremely promising vaccines, and NYU Langone will be involved in those trials as well.
+ Visit the NYU Langone Vaccine Center website for more information on how to volunteer for a vaccine trial.

“Having a vaccine is not like flipping a light switch but moving a dimmer,” says Dr. Mulligan. “The more people who get vaccinated over time, the brighter things will get for all of us.” Meanwhile, wearing masks and distancing will continue to be critical until we can reach the level of nationwide immunity needed to turn the tide.

Hunting dog for sale

Looking forward to 2021

See you tomorrow. — Harry Newton