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Natalie Hays makes it to the U.S. Air Force Academy to become a fighter pilot. The prevailing stock market wisdom is the market is “too hard”

I’ll start with the best news. My dearest friend’s granddaughter is off to the United States Air Force Academy to become a fighter pilot. Here’s the postcard the family jubilantly sent out.

She graduated High School on May 20.

She walked into the USAFA, by herself on June 23.

Write Gerry, my partner and grandfather,

We, Paula and I,  mother Cheri, were all crying this morning. Our little girl. Mean ass drill sergeants will be yelling at her all day. 4AM tomorrow morning they’ll wake her and the yelling will start. Boot camp is physically and mentally rigorous. 18 hours a day.

“She’s strong, She’s determined. She’s top of her class smart, which is why they accepted her. We know she can do it. But… still hurts to think of our little girl in that situation.

“They take her phone and computer. They do not allow letters, or postcards, or emails, or any communication as she goes thru boot camp. We will not hear from her for couple of months. That’s her from way back.”

Did you know what you wanted to be when you were 18 and graduated from high school? Did you work hard enough in school so you’d become top of your class so they’d accept you in a place as hard to get into as the Air Force Academy?

Nope, me neither.

Pretty amazing! And totally wonderful. I’m crying, too. Go Natalie.

The new feeling is “Suddenly, it’s too hard.”

Al Goldman, market guru, writes, “According to the Hartford Funds there have been 22 bear markets since 1928 and only 15 recessions. The recent sharp market pullback is already discounting the upcoming recession.”

Goldman says “invest with patience.”

Clearly his conclusion about “discounting” the upcoming recession starting this year or next must suggest that a bottom is at hand?

I own the grand sum of three stocks with only tiny positions — AAPL, ENB and OXY. My biggest positions are in two Vanguard ETFs — VGT and VTI. Over five years I’m sitting on hefty gains in these two ETFs.  VGT is technology. VTI is the entire market.

But over one year — the last year — I’m looking at hefty losses:

I looked at Vanguard’s ten ETFs and asked myself, “Which had done the best in the past two years?

That’s easy: It’s VDE (the purple one). It’s the Vanguard Energy Index Fund. It started weak, then bounced up and then dropped alarmingly… Would you have had the stomach for the ride? Is it a good buy now? It’s hard. See what I mean.

Writing this blog for 20+ years, I focused on what I knew best — technology. Suddenly, technology is not performing — even the tech stocks I love, like Nvidia (which I don’t own any longer).

The good news of my investing “strategy” of the last 20 years has been my diversification into real estate — commercial and residential. As real estate properties have performed well in the last year, they’ve saved my tushy. There’s still a shortage of rental real estate in the U.S. That means there’s plenty of opportunities — outside my love for the cloud, for AI, for EV, for the Internet, and all the other delicious tech acronyms.

While I mull, I think it’s time to buy another one-year treasury. Heck I can earn 2.89%. Which is better than Amazon which lost — wait for this — 2.78% — just yesterday.

The best ever tips on airline travel

My readers chimed in with “Amen” to the awfulness of travel.

That’s it, many said. “We’re not traveling this summer.”

No one had any tips additional to the ones I’d already published. Click here.

My favorite was the story of “The Cruise From Hell.” The bad weather killed the sights. They missed half the scheduled “exotic” ports. The cabin was designed for midgets. There was no quiet space on the boat to read a book. The food was designed for obesity and accomplished that goal with gusto.

From which side should you peel a banana?

Have we been doing it all wrong all these years?

This pretty well sums it up

When you get one these

You know you credit card is about to be hit with a whopping big charge. Someone sneaky is testing your credit card to see if it works.

You’d think that two of these — each for three cents — would ring a gigantic bell at Citigroup?

No way. Not a single peep. They happily went ahead and processed the ensuing big charge…

I’m off bank fraud control.  I suspect that most banks couldn’t organize a queue for an outhouse — Australian expression.

Another bank “caught” a three hundred dollar charge on my credit card. It instantly emailed me “Did I recognize the charge?”

I said “I did.”

I thought that meant they’d process the charge. Stupid me.

Nope, they denied the charge, causing my vendor to think I was an idiot, or what.

It gets better. Citi finally decided that the only solution to their own idiocy was to cancel my many-year MasterCard (the one with all the old, useless airline miles and the old auto-pays) and send me three new credit cards — each one in a different (I kid you not) FedEx shipment. Overnight. As if I couldn’t wait to put more three cent charges on the card.

PayPal is down 75% in the last year. But who cares? This wondrous piece is from Seeking Alpha. Savor the “logic.”

Life is wonderful.

All hope is not lost. Here’s a recommendation I just received in a George Gilder mailing. (You may remember him as the guru of technology from way back.)

My “big accomplishment” yesterday was changing our water filter and cleaning our country water system. Now the water in our toilets is sparkling clean, not the rusty brown color that was messing up my white tennis shirts.

Wimbledon has started. It’s all white clothes. It’s on ESPN and the Tennis Channel. Some of the usual suspects are playing.

See you soon. — Harry Newton