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Summer is kids visiting. The squirrely market presents a few opportunities. Putin’s Forever War

Summer is kids visiting.

Here’s me bonding with grandson Peter. He’s watching soccer on YouTubeTV on my laptop. I’m reading “Heat” on my new iPad, which is comfortable because it’s vertical, like a book.

This is son Michael with his family dog Frisbee on a stunning lake somewhere in New England. Frisbee prefers to ride than swim. I would too.

This is Eleanor and Peter displaying their summer camp art. Peter went to Art Omi, Columbia County, NY. It’s a great camp.

Here’s Eleanor showing the ugliest thing we found at the local Price Chopper. It’s a rechargeable bouncy flashlight. It’s grotesque. Grandpas have fun trolling the local supermarket with their grandkids looking for fun, ugly things.

This is Zoe with an Art Omi camp counselor showing off Zoe’s latest art. (Better than I could do.)

Useful (?) stuff

+ I get emails: “Last Day to Grab Your 2 Complimentary Tickets and $5OO.” Millions of them for great giveaways. Best Buy. Walgreens. CVS. Delta, United Airlines, UPS. None are valid. You can tell from the sender’s email address, which looks fishy.

+ The new Subarus have a battery problem. They’ll replace your battery for free, if you figure out that the battery is the problem, not your own idiocy.

+ Verizon has just bumped its monthly wireless charges by $3 a month. DirecTV has bumped my monthly bill by $50 in the past few months. I’m about to cancel them. What idiots.

+ Amazon’s delivery times are getting longer and longer. I sometimes wait ten days.

+ Amazon’s prices are sometimes much higher than elsewhere on the web. Check. Check. Check.

+ Subscription prices for all sorts of investment “services” are plummeting. CNBC Pro. The Motley Fool, etc. But… I haven’t found one that’s useful. At least mine has “jokes.” See below.

+ You can safely ignore all the billing and begging emails from Norton and LifeLock.

+ I bought a new washing machine and dryer from New York’s PC Richard. I paid for installation. The workers refused to install the machines until they had been tipped. And then they didn’t finish the installation. They hadn’t brought the right water pipes (for the washer) and the right 240 volt electrical plug for the dryer. Idiots. Check. Check. Check.

Putin’s Forever War

That’s the headline of today’s huge six-page article in today’s The New York Times. The reporter just returned from a long trip where he tried to scope the country’s mood. It is depressing how much support Putin has for his Ukraine war. The article contained these three paragraphs:

   Mr. Putin almost certainly has enough of his country, and enough cash, behind him to pursue the war for at least another 18 months to two years, three Western ambassadors to Russia told me in Moscow.

   I asked Mr. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, if Russia sought more Ukrainian territory beyond the four provinces annexed.

   “No,” he said. “We just want to control all the land we have now written into our Constitution as ours.”

You can read the full article and enjoy the weird photos. Click here. 

My own view is that Ukraine is not fighting for itself. They are fighting for us. If it were not for the fight Ukraine is putting up, Putin’s army would be well on its way to Berlin — as the Soviet Army had done once before in World War II. Putin is increasingly anti-West, anti-American.

Back to the office

More and more companies are telling their workers to spend more time in the office.

New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows productivity has slumped since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personally I hate dealing with companies whose people are working from home. The service I receive is just plain awful.

Our investments

Apple has taken it hard after its recent soft earnings report. It’s come back from $196 to $176. I’m not selling any. In fact, I bought a few more. The company is debuting the iPhone 15 next month. That should give sales a boost. Growth in services will add something. It’s a pity Apple doesn’t have more of a cloud business — e.g. Amazon’s AWS.

The last ten days have been squirrely. Strong ups and strong downs. No rhyme or reason for the moves — except stories after the event.

If a stock you like falls, buy a little more. This is Harry’s version of dollar cost averaging — when you don’t have a regular job and a regular salary.

Some of my treasuries have come due. I renewed some today for six months at around 5.43%. That’s better than a slap in the belly with a cold fish.

The yield is not brilliant, but not not bad. And actually good considering I’m off on a Backroads bike trip with Michael beginning this Saturday. This is not me, but will be in a few days time:

This will be our eighth Backroads bike trip — our first time to Switzerland. You can see the brochure for our trip. Click here.

Questions and Answers

Q: Will glass coffins be a success?
A: Remains to be seen.

Q: What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo?
A: One is really heavy and the other is a little lighter.

+ I went to buy some camouflage trousers yesterday but couldn’t find any.

+ I tried to sue the airline for losing my luggage. I lost my case.

Q: Is it ignorance or apathy that’s destroying the world today?
A: I don’t know and don’t really care.

I saw an ad for burial plots, and I thought: “That’s the last thing I need!”

That’s it for today.

See you — Harry Newton