Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sports Uber Alles

There is no bigger example of how sports rules American life than the NFL draft going on this week in Philadelphia.
For several weeks, traffic has been diverted around the site near the iconic Art Museum, and it will be diverted for several more weeks while they set-up and clean-up the massive structures that are being erected to commemorate the religion that is professional football.

So, what's going on?  Well - a professional football league (the National Football League) is drawing names in a progressive order, to declare which college players will be eligible to play for them in the upcoming season.  Sounds important, right?  Oh - no?  Well, it's pretty important, if you stop to look at what's going on in the city.

Streets around the Art Museum have been blocked off for a couple of weeks, and more are being blocked every day.  We didn't do this much when the Pope came here.  These are young adults playing football, fer-Christ-sakes. Supposedly, the largest stage ever built in North America is being built for ... what?  22-year-old's running up to hear their name called to become part of the National Football League.  That sounds important, right?

Meanwhile, other 22-year-old's are graduating with high honors at colleges across America, and they are fortunate to have a cake and a dinner with their family.  I know, some of them are getting expensive cars and gifts ... from their families ... but there is no national league of (oh, I don't know) accountants or scientists giving them a big stage to come up and get a hug from the head of the Big Accountants of America or the National Scientific American Association (assuming either of those exist) upon their successful graduation with something close to a 4.0 grade-point-average.

Well, wait ... these kids on Thursday ... what? Ran really fast and jumped higher than their fellow student --- um, student athletes -- so it's only fitting that we shut-down an entire city for a month to reward them with a hug from the head of their employer and a two-hour stint on national television.

That seems fair, right?

After all, who will contribute more to society?  A guy who spends four years running an oblong object up and down a grass field for our entertainment or an honor student who discovers a cure for some disease or declaring some new scientific principle?  It's a no-brainer, right?

Yes, the term no-brainer is a particular problem with me, but I digress.

The glorification of sports in society is the problem.  It is fed by the saturation of media and their obsession with people who can jump high or run fast over those who can think or react.  It's not that it isn't important, it's that it isn't that important - or as important as we make it.  
Think about it -  three days, and countless hours of network television time over a professional sports league picking players to work for them.

Get a grip, America.




Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Big Week Ahead

There is a big week ahead in your portfolio-thingy.  Over in France, they are having an election on Sunday.  Yes, Sunday.  The French are goofy.  I suppose they expect everyone to vote, or something? One wonders what would have happened if we had a full turnout last November, instead of electing someone with 49% of the vote with barely 60% turnout.  But, I digress.

Our stock market will react - however it will - to the results on Sunday night.  Sadly, there is nothing you or I can do about it, so we are forced to grimace and bear it.  But, these are the facts:
  • Like the Brexit vote several months ago, the markets may tank, and you will have an opportunity to jump in and buy quality stocks at a discount. Or ...
  • Like last November, the market will react positively, and you will have an opportunity to hold onto whatever you own and watch it increase in value over ... nothing, really.  That's the beauty of the stock market.
Meanwhile, many big companies are reporting earnings on Tuesday.  Among them, Caterpillar, DuPont, CocaCola, Eli Lilly, McDonald's, 3M, and Chipotle.  They are all big market movers, and one suspects that any or all of them will have the power to move the general market one way or another.
McDonald's has had a big run.  Whether or not you support their ideals, the stock is up about 20% year-to-date, so it doesn't matter if you do not care for burgers and fries, because somebody does.  It's difficult to bet against this behemoth, and I'd say that you shouldn't either.

Coca-Cola has been floundering, and they are struggling to re-discover themselves in the face of increased taxes on sugary soft drinks and the backlash on that.  I'd guess that they will have found a way around that, and the stock will continue its upward trend.

Chipotle has been struggling to find its footing after their health scares almost two years ago.  The public's memory is short, and this quarter should be the one that says whether or not they have forgotten.  As for me, I've never eaten at one, so I don't know what you expect.

On Wednesday, Twitter reports.  Stockholders are anxious, and waiting for management to figure out a way to monetize something that almost everybody uses but does not pay for. Something tells me that our long, free ride is coming to an end.  They have to find some way to monetize the content, and it's a matter of time before it starts costing us money to stay in.

On Thursday, Southwest Airlines reports.  They might have something to say about the debacle at United, but there is probably enough positive stuff to talk about without talking about that nonsense.  More importantly, Under Armor, Amazon, Microsoft, Domino's, and Google (Alphabet) report.  Hey - can somebody get together and separate this stuff into different days? My attention span is suffering.

Amazon is a giant force in retail, but I think they might miss earnings. It's about time, don't you think?  This may present a buying opportunity for those of you who are looking for one.
As much as I love Baltimore-based Under Armor and its products, the stock is over-valued, and I think there may still be a better opportunity to own it.  Listen to what they say, because I think it may be a soft quarter and push the stock price back closer to the low-teens where it will be buyable.
Domino's is technology disguised as pizza.  Yeah, they sell pizza, but its an emoji away from your home. other firms are struggling to catch up.  I'd guess that their market dominance will continue for a while.  It's just pizza, but there is little competition.  Your local shop cannot keep up.

On Friday, General Motors reports.  This is the first of the big auto-makers.  Ford's earnings will come on the following Friday.  The best guess is that the auto stocks have about ten percent left to drop, which is odd, since Ford already trades at an obscenely low multiple.  Go figure.  It just proves that it doesn't mean that making a great product translates into stock appreciation.
Exxon-Mobil and Chevron also report on Friday.  Oil is in trouble, in spite of President Trump [cough] and his pro-drill stance.  It's still a supply and demand market, and oil prices may remain low until the summer.  You can buy these, but make sure to pick your spots.

Overall, this is a big week coming up.  If you have money put aside, several big names might go on sale either because of the French election or some misstep on earnings or ... some big brokerage house wanting to drive the price down by reading something into the earnings report.  It's up to you.

As for me, I'm sticking with the buy-buy-buy mantra.  It all evens-out in the end.  If you stick with good companies, your patience will be rewarded.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

So, What Now?

OK, so I'm no Warren Buffett.  I'm not even Jimmy Buffett, but I do like Chinese buffets - so, I have that going for me - which is nice.  However, I do keep up with things, and I have opinions, which is why I do this.  But I digress.

It's earnings season - again. Seems like it comes around every three months - because it does.  It's junk food for market geeks like me, and I enjoy hearing the reports, especially when they don't involve stocks that I own or markets that I follow.  So, what's going on?

Today, Goldman Sachs (a.k.a. Golden Slacks or ticker symbol GS) reported a less than stellar quarter, and predictably the stock got hammered, to the tune of a 4.7% loss. Since the Dow Jones is a weighted average, their loss was the market's loss, and the DJ Index took a 113-point hit.  The pessimist could look at it as a clobbering.  The optimist can look at it as a buying opportunity.  I say, wait three days and allow the big institutions to sell-out of the stock before you jump in, if you're inclined to jump in.  As for me, I'm inclined to stay on the sidelines, because the banks are going to struggle, and the banks like GS who depend on market conditions to thrive will struggle even more.  Keep your money in your pocket.  Why?

Because Trump hasn't gotten anything done that he promised.  The bank stocks jumped after November 8, 2016 in the anticipation of some reform or other that he had promised.  Meanwhile, all we have so far are a lot of Executive Orders, and no real laws or changes in the tax code, which is what the banks were counting on.  And, the Federal Reserve has merely promised two or three more rate hikes, but until we see it, we have yet to believe it.

Visa (V) reports on April 19, and Bank of America (BAC) reported so-so earnings last week. MasterCard (MA) reports on the 26th - so watch the skies.

If a bank that collects 22% interest and pays out 1% can't make money, what hope is there?  Exactly.  These next two weeks will tell us a lot about what the economy will give investors over the rest of the year.  The meager quarter of a percent interest hikes that will (or may) come will do something, but I wonder if the excitement over "the bank stocks" has played itself out?

I suspect that the rest of the banks' earnings for this quarter will be less than stellar, and it appears that "the market" is looking for any excuse to drive it down.  Perhaps the best strategy at this stage is to keep money on the sidelines, and wait for what I anticipate, which is a big correction - a.k.a. DUMP to the downside, which should provide long-term investors with that great buying opportunity.  You can switch-on the big time machine and go back to November 2016 to grab some of these great companies that will be on sale.

Retail?  No.  There is a paradigm shift going on that is driving big retail either (a) out the door or (b) scrambling to try to figure out how to compete with Amazon and other online retailers who are kicking their butts now. Walmart might be able to beat them, but only by sheer size, and the idea that consumers want to touch stuff and get it at a lower price. The Home Depot is another good choice, since they sell things that Amazon cannot, which is where the safety is. CarMax, McDonald's, and stand-alone stores that can't touch Amazon's giant market share.  Make your own choices.

Technology?  Maybe.  You have to pick your spots.  Facebook appears to be fully valued, and even with their competitive edge on Snapchat and Twitter, they are trading so far above their fair value that they are "priced for perfection," which is difficult to execute.  Be careful. And at that, are they even "Technology," or are they just media plays?  To me, technology is Micron (MU) Intel (INTC) and Nvidia (NVDA) which is where the money is - microchips and the stuff that runs them.  Amazon? It's retail, and you may think it's expensive until it continues to go up, in which case you'd wish you bought it a year ago. Such is life.

Utilities? Maybe.  Rising interest rates will put pressure on utility stocks, whose saving grace is their dividend yield.  Once rates rise to the 2% range, utilities will be seen as too risky when investors can get a guaranteed 2% without breathing hard.

Gold?  It goes up and down (no kidding) but inevitably, rises with the threat of inflation.  As I have said here, the president's "Hire American, Buy American" theme will drive prices up, and those who support this mantra will be forced to pay for it.  The safe haven is gold, and maybe Municipal Bonds. Those areas of the investing spectrum appreciate when there is spending on infrastructure and inflation.  Those things, you can depend on - it says here.

Everywhere else?  It's a gamble, and you don't like to gamble, do you?  OK if you do - here are a few that I have found ON MY OWN - so, as they say, buyer beware.  Go get 'em:

Rocket Fuel (symbol FUEL) They provide data to marketers to anticipate where users are going to shop.  It's called "predictive marketing," and they just entered into a partnership with IBM to provide information to their users.  They are already working with BirdsEye, Bridgestone, Toshiba, and Buick.  It's invasive, but it's the future.

Sirius Satellite Radio (symbol SIRI) If you know anyone who has a new car, they have Sirius XM satellite radio.  The stock rose 20% when they announced the renewal of Howard Stern's contract, but there is so much more to it than that. Net income has risen 20% over the past year, and the stock has more room to run from here, as users realize the value of the services Sirius offers.

Del Taco Restaurants (symbol TACO) The second-largest Mexican restaurant chain in the United States has been under pressure lately, as a few independent law firms have accused management of inflating earnings.  That's usually bad news, but the stock has rebounded from it, which tells me that the claims are specious.  Do your own research, but for me, I continue to hold this stock.  They have announced expansion plans into Georgia, and it's a matter of time before the company gets out of the Southwest and becomes as common a name as Taco Bell. I remember when Best Buy was a limited retailer, too.

Two pure Speculative Stocks:  Limelight Networks (LLNW) and Highpower International (HPJ):
Limelight provides cloud services and content delivery services to companies worldwide. It is looking to report its first break-even quarter on April 24.  If that happens, and they have something positive to say about their future, it's the place you want to be.
Highpower is a Chinese company that manufactures batteries.  The stock is up over 100% since February, and they just signed an agreement with DJI, which manufactures drones.  So, I suspect something other than pure battery power is going on here.  If you're like me, every f**king thing you own runs on batteries, and companies that make the things should be able to make money. Go figure.

Anyway - be fruitful and multiply.  Do your homework.




Friday, April 14, 2017

Where We Wind Up

I don't have enough time or space to opine on why we are who we are or why we are born where we are.  Let's just accept that as a quirk of fate and move on.  After all, who among us knows why we were born of our parents and why we were not born somewhere or someplace else?  How did I wind up here and not in Botswana or Japan?  Why am I a caucasian American and not a slave in 1820s America? If you have a clue, let me know.  There is a comments section at the bottom.

For now though, let's say that none of us knows why we are here or what we are supposed to be doing. That's fair enough, eh?  If this is too deep for you, then just move on to the next Dilbert cartoon in your feed and allow me to work on this by myself.

Many of us work long and hard trying to figure out where we are going in "the next life," without trying to figure out why we are in this life.  I guess we accept it as a matter of fact and move on.  Well, I for one cannot do that.  I ask questions and for the most part, I get no answers.

Where are the answers? I don't know, and none of us know.  All I'm doing here is trying to get you to ask the questions.  The answers are mostly opinions, or acceptance of some reality that you have bought into.  Why am I here? Because I am.  That's not an answer.  If like me, you cannot accept "because it's there" as an answer, you are left with the larger question.  I don't have the space here to expound on it.

"Why am I here?" is the biggest question we can ask.  I don't know why I came across this.  It's probably along the same lines as the "Big Bang Theory" folks who envision the Universe being created some sort of instantaneous event. OK then, who created the creation? How did the creator become the creator?  These are the kinds of things that keep me awake at night.

We are consumed with "Who Made That?" because we can develop an idea about who invented the electric guitar, the telephone, or the microwave oven.  Those are all people who were already here.  OK then, how did we get here, and what force created us and WHO CREATED THAT FORCE?

I'm going to sleep now. Talk amongst yourselves.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Mighty Thor

He is strong.  Stronger than you or I.  Certainly stronger than I.

He has battled gingivitis, which prompted all of his teeth (save one lower) to be removed, and restrict him to a life of canned food.
He battled high cholesterol, which caused him to have pancreatitis, which put him in the hospital for three days.  After which, he struggled to eat for two weeks, forcing me to find something that he could stomach until he returned to his version of normal.

The ultrasounds that were done during his illness told us that he had smaller than normal kidneys, and the prognosis was negative.  Cats like him didn't survive much past the age of seven.  So, we knew - for whatever good that did us.  Good for him, I guess.

The deterioration was slow.  The numbers decreased as he started eating special kidney diet food and I gave him IV fluids.  Inevitably, the disease would catch up with him, and by his mortality he would succumb.  It was so slow that I didn't realize it myself until a couple of weeks ago, when he stopped eating the special kidney food.  I blamed myself for not being more devoted to giving him his IV fluids, but I wondered if that was the cause or merely my guilt? He's my boy.

And then, he started vomiting.  Last week.  Vomiting up ... nothing ... just a white bubbly fluid.  The kind of thing that makes one realize, "Wait ... what?"

A quick call to the vet, and Thor was on the table.  His weight had dropped a pound (something else I had noticed) and his bloodwork numbers were off the charts - in a bad way.  What was within Stage 3 of kidney failure was now well outside of Stage 4 in less than eight months.  And yes, there are only four stages.  The kind of numbers that, if you had a lottery ticket, would make you a millionaire for life.  Only this lottery, you don't want to win.

I got the call on Tuesday.  The call I suspected but didn't want.  That Thor's behavior was excusable due to his extreme sickness.  His smaller-than-normal kidneys were failing, and it was just a matter of time (a short time) before he had to give-in to an illness that affects 4 out of 5 cats.  There are some extreme measures that could be taken, but none that could extend his life beyond the next 4 to 6 months. The end is inevitable.

Which leads me to think:  Couldn't a big pharmaceutical company like Eli Lilly, Merck, or Pfizer come up with a cure for a disease that affect 4 out of 5 cats?  It seems like a BAZILLION dollar idea, right?  I suppose not.  At least not in time for my Thor. But I digress.

Here we have my Thor, lying on the carpet in his version of agony, with me scrambling to find something for him to eat.  The verdict that came was Meow Mix which, while not on his diet, I figured was within tolerance of a cat about to become ashes.  After all, he has less than a month, so why not make it as happy as possible?  Take the kids to McDonald's.

As it is, he is sitting in the living room (you call that living?) apart from me, while he usually sits with me, wherever I am.  It's a "cat thing" that they don't seem to want to disappoint us by being  less than their best around us.  It translates to us, as I do not want to be less than myself among you.  Thor and I are kindred spirits.  I am struggling to live without him. Nuts, right?

He is on a path.  It's a short path, and I do not know how long it is - but I will live it with him - because he as lived so much with me.  He has been my best friend through some of my worst days.  His nose has been at my front door every day.  His body has lied next to mine every night, and he will be next to me on the day when I finally have to say 'goodbye' to my friend and companion.


Your Next Move

Thursday marks the unofficial (official?) beginning of "Earnings Season."  My second favorite other than the start of baseball season.  Only in this case, you have to be wary of where your money is.  With baseball season, all you have to worry about is where your car is parked.

The banks will lead off.  Among others, JP Morgan and Citibank.  The biggies.  During the last big rally - after Trump was elected (you remember) - the banks led the way because investors thought that they would be the force once his administration got healthcare reform and lowered corporate income taxes - and the Fed raised interest rates.  Well ...

We see how that has gone.  Trump is nearly into his first 100 days and ... nothing. has. happened.  Oh,  unless you count launching missiles at North Korea.  Now, you have something.

Once the banks start reporting, it's either "run for the hills" or "hold the line," since bank stocks control a large portion of the S&P 500 - which is probably where most of your retirement fund is invested.

You will know by noontime on Thursday.  Know now that the "Trump Market" is over.  He couldn't get health care reform passed, and that means that tax reform is on delay, too.  That's something that he failed to tell us during his campaign.

He was only interested in winning. He wasn't interested in telling us the truth.  For instance...

Gold prices would continue to go up as inflation risk increased and Trump himself said that the dollar was overvalued. You could read it here, if you scroll back.

Since he couldn't get anywhere with his domestic agenda, he has leaned on having meetings with corporate executives at the White House.  What that proves, I have no idea - other than making Americans think that his agenda has more to do with making America great than it does with making him and his ancestors wealthy.

Launching rockets against Libya has more to do with his decreasing public opinion ratings than actually supporting an agenda other than making himself popular.  That's the kind of thing that presidents do when they have no other recourse.

So --- bottom line --- watch the bank earnings this week. If they don't keep up with expectations (which is the viewpoint here) then you need to find alternative investments.  May I suggest....

Municipal bonds.
High-yield corporate bonds.
Emerging market funds.
Gold and precious metals.

That's it.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mining the Depths

Ryan Howard is still out of work.  If President Trump (just threw up in my mouth) wants to create jobs, why can't he make a new baseball team for Ryan to join?  He has quietly settled into obscurity.

In other news, President Trump (drying out now) has signed another one of his quaint Executive Orders that loosens the restrictions on coal that President Obama instituted.  He (that will not be named) claims that it will "save jobs." That's always his excuse for junk like this -  saving jobs.  Meanwhile, we are not in rampant unemployment, and the jobs he is "saving" are low-income, black lung sorts of things that somehow he supports.
I fail to see how being a Republican makes one opposed to clean energy and preserving our home for the millions of children they are producing.  "Dying industries will come roaring back to life," he says.  How does he explain why they are "dying industries?"  Sometimes, it's best to let dying things die - like he wants to do to The Affordable Care Act.

I suppose it's OK to let some dying things die, but not OK for others?  Perhaps Donald can get Howard a job in one of his resurrected coal mines? 

Hey - it's honest work - even though it eventually kills our planet.  But, that's a problem for a different generation.

Whenever our government runs out of ways to tax us, they turn to previously shunned ideas.  Casino gambling, legalized marijuana, dirty energy, lotteries - find one.  Fifty years ago, nobody wanted to support it. Now that we have eliminated even higher taxes ...

SIDE NOTE:  New Jersey officially has the highest property taxes and auto insurance in the nation. Is it no wonder I want to get out of here as soon as possible?  Are you listening, Maryland and Alabama?

But I digress.  His Trumpness says we need jobs.  That's his Mantra for any stupid idea he comes up with -- "Save American Jobs." It's the same Mantra that local governments come up with when they pass legislation that they would have opposed before they ran out of ways to come up with money.

The answer is never "let's find a new path" or "can we cut something."  Invariably, they regress to some previously horrible idea that they can lean on to either (a) curry favor with an out-of-favor voting bloc or (b) appease a small but vocal group of voters.
Hey - who doesn't like to throw money at lotteries or keep Uncle Bobby alive in the coal mine for another ten years?  It doesn't matter, because they won't be alive to see the end anyway.  It's all about their term of office and what bullshit they leave their successors trying to fix.  Then, it becomes their fault.
Politics.

Meanwhile, the Earth spins (however wobbly) on its axis, and they deny that people have not affected the climate or the fact (FACT) that the Earth is warming and places that were once Glacier National Park are now becoming something besides a Glacier at a National Park.  But, that's just science, and we have to say that it's not really like that because there is politics involved.

The same politics that created controversy over out health care (HEALTH CARE) and makes people believe that the two-party system is to blame for their lot in life.  In fact, it's the politics that is the problem.  Should our health be a political issue?  (I'll answer that) No.

The reality (if I can reduce it to that) is that our health care and our ecological future have become subjects of political struggle.  Sadly.  We deserve better from our elected representatives.

Perhaps it's our fault for electing them - or their fault for forgetting that they are our representatives?

There is still time to decide.



Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oh, SNAP!

For the record (if there is one) I don't have a lot of money.  What I do have is working as hard as possible so that I can have money later. That's called "putting your money to work for you."  Besides paying bills and doing what I refer to as "living," I invest as much as I can, to the extent of what I call "Saving Myself Broke." I don't take vacations or buy a lot of extravagant things.  The most expensive thing I do is buy prescription food for Thor.  He seems to appreciate it.

Anyway ... Our stock market made a major thrust forward yesterday, and it seemed that the time was ripe to sell a stock that I had held for a while but seemed stalled in its own growth - Activision/Blizzard ATVI.  I profited from the sale, and like all my sales, I immediately began to think, "What's next?"  Even at my advanced age, I'm still in growth-stock mode.

I figure on living at least another 30 years, and if you think about how much the landscape has changed in the last 30 years, there is no reason to be in bonds (boring) or cash (no interest) so my focus is still on growth stocks, and nothing is growing faster than any Internet-based business (Amazon, Facebook, Netflix & Google) or companies that provide services for them or the companies that make the chips that power the stuff.

One such company came public today - commonly known as Snapchat - the parent company SNAP began trading today.  Coincidentally, I had some cash on hand. Normally, I don't invest in things like this.  However, I channeled my inner George Costanza and decided to go with "The Opposite," and take a shot.

The problem came with the offering and how I was to go about getting any. From all accounts, the offering was twelve-times over-subscribed, which meant that the shares that were offered had 12 times as many buyers as they had shares available.  I had heard that only institutional (Mutual Funds and banks) buyers would have a shot at it.  Nevertheless, I proceeded.  Analysts on CNBC said that the stock would begin trading about 2 hours after the opening bell, and that the range would be between $23.50 and $24.00 a share - well above the IPO pricing of $17.

It's common for IPOs to begin trading above their offering price.  Once the institutional buyers get their $17 shares, they need to go back to the market to fill the rest of their orders.  That drives up the price to what I am, which is a "retail investor."  I am the smallest of the small, so I thought that my chances to get in were slim and none.  Nevertheless ... I placed an order in my IRA for 100 shares at $24.  For IPOs, one has to make a "Limit Order," specifying a price.

Going by what CNBC had said, I placed my order at $24.  I felt like I had purchased a lottery ticket - and felt like I had the same chance as winning.  After all, what shot does a small-timer like me have to get in on the biggest IPO since Alibaba went public in 2014? A good chance, as it turns out.  I got my shares about a half hour after the order.  It was a big rush, and since I don't have sex, I can say that the feeling was better than sex.  At the end of the day, the stock finished the day at $24.48, which is a small victory for small investors.  It held onto its initial offering price.

Now, onto the risk. It trades at 35-times sales (almost twice what Facebook did in its IPO) which is expensive, and to say the company hasn't made any money yet is an understatement.  When Facebook went public, it was a more mature company.  The hope here is that the money that SNAP raised from their IPO will be put toward building a user base and making it into what they say it is - a "Camera Company."  Time will tell, of course.

Most analysts have placed "Sell" ratings on SNAP and assigned price targets between $10 and $17.  There's no revenue growth, users are declining, and it's an overpriced stock.  Fuck them, I say.  They probably said the same things about Facebook and I know they said the same things about Netflix. I don't know what the future holds for SNAP.

If I did, I wouldn't be working for a living.  What I can say is that nobody ever succeeded without taking a chance.  This seems to be the ultimate chance.  The question I asked myself was, "If you could risk $2,400 and potentially make twice that, or lose it all, what would you do?"

The answer I gave myself was, "I'd risk it."  I felt like the confluence of available cash and the prospect of investing in a true growth company don't come along often, and I needed to take this chance. Either it works out, and my retirement is easier or - it doesn't work out and my retirement is as difficult as I envision it to be.

Either way, I win.