The New York Times ran an article a couple of weeks ago entitled “How E-Commerce Sites Manipulate You Into Buying Things You May Not Want,” which was full of the sort of depressing and sometimes disturbing data privacy-related information that you may have grown accustomed to of late. Modern capitalism is many things, and one of those things is an incredibly efficient if not altogether wise machine to get us to buy a bunch of junk we don’t need and then turn around and buy some more tomorrow. At any rate, I had two immediate, visceral reactions to the article.
“The greatest show on television is Survivor,” is an opinion I hold dearly and would be happy to share with you, but anyway here’s an interesting tidbit about the game: Since the year 2000 when the show debuted in the U.S., the prize for the winner has not budged from it’s original amount of $1 million. For nineteen years and thirty-eight seasons it’s held steady, and I’d be shocked if it changed any time soon. (Just for reference, if you assume inflation of 2.5% over the last 19 years, the prize today would need to be about $1.6 million dollars to
Now that the 2018 tax season is over (unless you extended, but you know what I mean), we’ve gotten through our first official tax year of higher standard deductions, which, among other things, means for most people the relative value of each dollar given to charity has gone down for tax purposes. It remains to be seen whether or not the law change will negatively affect the generosity of Americans, but I would imagine it’s at least given some folks pause as they consider where charitable giving fits in with their financial situation. We wrote early in 2018 about a
In 1992, during the Barcelona Olympics (where the greatest basketball team of all time was assembled), Seinfeld began its fourth season with a two-part opening called “The Trip.” Like almost all Seinfeld episodes, there’s no point in me trying to recap what happens in those two parts–it’s a show about nothing!–but basically Jerry and George go out to Hollywood so Jerry can be on The Tonight Show, and so George can tag along for no reason. While there, they look for their friend Kramer, who somehow becomes implicated in a string of serial killings by someone nicknamed the Smog Strangler.
I mean this in the best possible way: You do not keep yourself alive. The breathing, the movement of blood, the functioning of the kidneys and liver and all the rest–you and I have no role whatsoever in making it all work. The most we can do is keep ourselves from getting in the way of the amazing ways our bodies stay alive, and perhaps even slightly improve the current performance of some of our organs and systems through exercise and healthy eating. Don’t get me wrong! Please do not get in the way of your body by what you
My son Miles and I went to breakfast this morning before I dropped him off at preschool. We got a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit for each of us and a donut to share, plus milk for him and coffee for me. I don’t know of a better way to start a Friday. At any rate, we were at a place near my in-laws’ old house in Raleigh, and I suggested to Miles that we drive by and see where they used to live. He sat there for a second and then asked, “Dad, why did they tear down their
We have talked a lot–generally, and in the specific context of the last few months of market volatility–about the importance of an investment process that isn’t based on words like “hope” or “proprietary model” or even “I just have a good feeling about this.” This is so because we believe that markets are pretty darn efficient, and while that doesn’t always mean the price of any given stock or any basket of stocks is “right”–there’s no such thing–it does mean that markets are good at including available information of a staggering scale into the pricing of assets. That’s not to
Jesse Livermore was a stock trader who made his fortune during the 1929 stock market crash, in which he heavily shorted U.S. stocks and then began to buy them up near market lows. On the worst day of the crash, October 29, 1929, Livermore is said to have made the equivalent of $3 billion in one day of trading. Since then (since time immemorial, really), this notion of trading stocks based on the ever cyclical nature of the economy at large and the stock market in particular–commonly referred to as “timing the market”–has long since captured the imaginations–and fortunes!–of many an
We will celebrate Thanksgiving in less than a week, on the 22nd of November (which is, incidentally, the earliest possible date we could celebrate Thanksgiving). You know how it goes when these early ones come around–we are all getting “snuck up on” and “caught off guard” by the suddenness of Thanksgiving. And this year, perhaps, in the midst of a vicious socio-political atmosphere, faced with dystopian landscapes of a burning California, dealing with our first dose of hard markets in years–maybe we find it difficult to engage the idea of thankfulness in any meaningful way. Indeed, the front-page headlines of
When my son Charlie came home from the NICU in February and was going to doctors appointments with some frequency, one of the things that came up was that he, like many newborns, had a case of torticollis. Torticollis is basically the tendency for a baby’s head to lean one way and an associated difficulty for them to lean it the other way on their own. It’s not serious if you do some pretty straightforward physical therapy, which simply involves stretching the baby’s neck muscles and retraining them to work in a more symmetrical way. On the other hand, if