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New rules. What the September jobs report means. Should I choose enlightenment?

It’s OK to do nothing, except read and think.

That insight from this wonderful book (which I’m still reading):

I have friends in real estate who bought nothing for three years because they believed prices were too high. They were right. The prices later fell and then they bought and then the properties came roaring back.

There’s an exception. Every time I write this blog, I do something. This morning I bought a little more PayPal, Nvidia and Square. (One is up, two are down! I’m a marginal idiot.)

It’s OK to feel irritation every time bitcoin, ethereum or other cryptos go up, without me. I am learning to say the hardest word in the English language — NO.

I don’t own gold. It hasn’t gone anywhere in the last ten years, except up and down. It doesn’t even pay a dividend.

+ Oil and gas are rising. I now own a little CVX (Chevron) and ENB (Enbridge). They’re up a little.

+ Don’t ever buy an IPO. Wait until it settles down. IPOs are pumped (on BubbleVision and elsewhere) and, then often, dumped on suckers like us. Wait.

+ Last year’s winners are often this year’s losers, viz:


What about Facebook?

I’ve read, listened to podcast, watched TV and mulled. There’s no question Facebook harms teenage girls. There’s no question it feeds disinformation  on vaccines and politics. There’s no question that it does a modicum of self-policing, if only to curry pubic favor. It clearly ought to do more. For example, the Myanmar military used Facebook to unleash a hate campaign against the Rohingyas. Facebook should have stopped it.

But how Congress (or anyone) regulates this monster — it has 2.85 billion monthly active users worldwide in zillions of languages — I have no idea. If you’ve been harmed by Facebook, you can’t even sue them. Section 230 i of the United States Communications Decency Act, that provides immunity for website platforms with respect to third-party content. Wikipedia explains, “At its core, Section 230(c)(1) provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by third-party users.”

My friend who’s owned Facebook shares since the flood, emailed me today, “Zuck will transform the company yet again.  In two years you won’t recognize it.  Congress will do nothing and if there are new government regs, they will only strengthen FB’s competitive advantage.  If the company is ever broken up, the sum of the parts will be worth much more – but I don’t see that ever happening.”

Facebook is up a little today — in contrast to much of the rest of the tech market which is down. Go figure.

How to understand this morning’s jobs report 

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 194,000 in September, much lower than the expected 500,000.

How does poor hiring jibe with the “Help Wanted” signs everywhere?

Simple: Covid and the Delta variant. People are scared. Nearly ten million of them:


How long will it take to get ten million back to work? Mandatory vaccinations — viz United, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Google, McDonald’s — will help.

I’m figuring another year before this economy gets back to “normal” and the shortages are solved.

For more on shortages, read this week’s Economist.

Meantime, interest rates will stay low and asset prices will stay high.

Opportunities to make a quick bundle will be limited.

Advise and stuff

+ The last step is still there and as dangerous as ever. Please hold the handrail. I repeat this warning because every time I do, someone emails me with another dumb “Last Step” accident/busted ankle story.

+ You need to visit your dermatologist asap. Watch for moles that develop and change quickly. Bad signs. They just cut a melanoma out of Rachel Maddow. A friend of mine ignored a mole on his back. Six months later he was dead. True story. Send me an email and I’ll send you his name.

+ Too many of my friends have given up because of a magic age they’ve reached — 70, 75 or 80. Keep moving. Keep moving aggressively. And, for God’s sake, eat less. And stop thinking of how freaking old you are.

+ Maureen caught covid in March 2020. Now, 18 months later, her balance is still off. Long covid is a huge reason to continue to be ultra careful, and scared.

+ Look both ways twice. Cars come out of nowhere. Caution is good. A friend just got hit by a car. She had buds in her ear and was listening to inspiration and advice — probably to watch for cars.

+ Podcasts eat up memory on your iPhone — much more than anything else. Listen to them. Then delete them. My take: No one needs more than 256 GB on their new iPhone.

+ Telsa’s car models spell out S-E-X-Y. Elon is endearingly quirky.

+ Starlink will roll out nationwide later this month. Starlink is Elon’s low-altitude satellite operation to bring high-speed Internet to everybody everywhere. If your country house has lousy Internet, sign up for Starlink.

+ The latest Bond movie “No Time To Die” is in your local movie house this weekend. It’s had good reviews.

+ if you ever register a website with Network Solutions, make sure you remember your userID and password. If you forget, they’ll put you through a litany of notarized papers, weeks of nonsense and other hoops you don’t want to jump through. Trust me on this one. I’m still battling them.

+ It’s time to be disciplined about your overflowing inbox. Sign up for Use this email address for buying things now. In six months, close the account and open

+ Make sure you pay your school and real estate taxes now — otherwise you’ll be hit with a gigantic penalty in January. Trust me on this one.

View from the tennis court at 8:00 this morning. Columbia County, NY.

The leaves are changing. Soon the trees will look like this:

Favorite New Yorker cartoons this week

Surprise. Surprise

UPS just delivered my new iPhone 13 Pro Max. My UPS driver is young and ambitious. On weekends he does roofing. At nights he’s setting up a studio in his basement. He’s aiming to be king of the podcasts. I hope he makes it. He’s very sweet. Only in America.

I ended tennis with a magnificent down-the-line backhand this morning.

This is granddaughter Eleanor saying goodbye to the setting sun last weekend in Oregon. That’s the Pacific Ocean. Look closely and you can see Australia.

Tech stocks are dropping today. My biggest dollar losses are GNRC, NVDA, PYPL and CRWD. I don’t now why. I will now turn on CNBC (BubbleVision). They will tell me.

Right now, it’s either enlightenment or a nap.

Guess which one I’m opting for?

— See you soon. — Harry Newton