Friday, December 15, 2017
Sunday, November 26, 2017
I’m pretty happy with my investment choices - and if you’ve been following along, you would be, too. [Ooops]
The options at this point are: What to do with Pfizer and Key. Pfizer pays a dividend in a week, so I’m content to stick with it until then. For some odd reason, I’ve stuck with it longer than I had anticipated. Only my investment in Ford was more agonizing. Key is a great bank, but they are a ... bank, and as such tend to waffle with this goofball that is in the White House and his so-called tax cut - but I digress.
I continue to be long DelTaco (TACO) and would advise you to be, too. They will struggle with costs and the eternal problems of bringing people into their restaurants, but ... people have to eat somewhere, and the stock is priced right, and if you aren’t in already, at the $12 area, you should be. The management team knows what they’re doing. Ride along.
It says here, I’m 60 and I’m supposed to be risk averse, but I enjoy the risk. Hence, my investments in Square, Limelight Networks, and Extreme Networks. Otherwise, I’d be in stable investments like bonds (yuck) and income stocks, which are only appealing to me if they are growth stocks - which Pfizer doesn’t seem to be at this point. I’m struggling to hang onto this thing. The part of me that wants to sell it combats the part of me that thinks that their management team will find some way to make this thing a growth vehicle. But that growth vehicle seems to be a pipe dream, and there is growth to be found elsewhere - which is where Square, Limelight, and Extreme Networks come in.
ACCO Brands is a value stock. I lose patience with value stocks because the market doesn’t appreciate them, and I can’t wait for “the market” to appreciate something that I already appreciated. They trade at a lower valuation because they ... well, aren’t valued highly. That’s the way it goes. At some point, it will come around for them, but you have to have patience, and patience is something that is growing short for me now.
Square continues to grow at an alarming rate, partially because of their embracing of Bitcoin. I don’t have time to explain it, and I also don’t have the knowledge of the so-called cryptocurrency to know what the fuck is going on, but suffice it to say that I’m along for the ride. And, it’s quite a ride. Get on board. The ticker symbol is SQ.
I’m in a good place, investment-wise - which balances the horrible place I’m in career-wise. My job is stagnant, and my pension sucks compared with other co-workers who have been with the company a similar amount of time. It’s the reason I have to make the best of my investments. My salary stinks compared with people who have been with the company as long as I, and I have to make the best of the time I have left to resuscitate my retirement savings. It’s pathetic, but true. I earned so little for so long that I have to make the best of it now.
I try to balance the risk with the reward, and I advise you to, too. I’ve resisted big-money investments in Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Netflix - although I have found an ETF that contains them and others, so it’s less of a risk. Ticker symbol FDN. Find it. It’s a struggle, finding stuff and keeping up with it all. It’s a huge stress on my life, and I’d rather not deal with it, but I have to - if I’m going to be able to retire in some sort of comfort. In my darkest hours, I don’t think I’ll be able to retire at all. In the long run, I have failed at it, and only now do I realize that my time has been spent in worthless anxiety. I will struggle to make the best of it.
If it seems that I’ve got the world on a string, it’s not a string so much as it is a yo-yo. I’m playing catch-up in a world where most of you have already caught up.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Will these companies and brands go away, or merely re-invent themselves and keep up with the changing times? I'm guessing that, as you read this, there is a meeting going on somewhere with the management of these companies deciding how they are going to deal with this "new millennium" of consumers and how they will adapt to their changing habits.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
The third album was a pure masterpiece, and the kid was dumbfounded.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
I’ll keep you in the loop.
Thursday, November 2, 2017
I listen to stuff on CD and mp3 that I heard originally on vinyl and WISH that I could have had this format in the 1970s. Egad, no maintenance, no care. What a life.
I love my Apple Music and my mp3s. Quality loss? I don't think so. Not compared to the scratch-scratch-skip of those fucking vinyl albums. I'll keep my entire music collection on an SD card, thank you.
I'm on my 4th incarnation: Vinyl, CD, cassette, (8-track - if you count that disaster) and now, mp3. I'm done, and it gets better because it gets ... well, better.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Apparently, my struggles are nothing compared to people who have supposedly found their soul mate, and I'm supposed to belive that my loneliness is nothing compared to theirs. Go figure.
Well, yeah - so, go fuck yourself "go figure." In plain English.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Friday, September 29, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
The more desperate we are, the more we tend to lean on hope. When sentences start with "I hope ..." rational thought takes a back seat to chance and irrational ideals. It's a suckers game, and rarely does hope work for the betterment of those who hope. Hope goes hand in hand with faith. It relies too heavily upon someone or something else, and that has no place in the needs and desires that we all have. If you have hope and faith, you will almost certainly be disappointed. As it turned out, I cannot depend on hope, because hope relies on someone or something else. I read that somewhere. I will leave that between me and the one on whom my hope rested.
Would this be the eventual home in my retirement years? While it's true that the cost of living is lower there than anywhere - OK, second lowest - ANYWHERE - I began to find fault with my goals as they related to money.
Is it worth the lower expense to live in a place where the only major shopping outlet is Walmart, and the only entertainment is your television? Perhaps not.
And, as a subtext to you Walmart haters out there: Realize that, here in the northeast, Walmart is just one of many outlets for groceries and essentials. In the Deep South, it is the only place. They are not displacing "mom and pop," they ARE mom and pop. I would suggest that the protesters take a trip now and then to see how the other three-quarters lives. We are truly spoiled.
I could live in Tuscaloosa, Athens, or Huntsville; given their metropolitan style and the mere idea that there is something to do that doesn't involve driving an hour to another town. That said, I'd still be an hour away from another place, which is certainly not the case here in southern New Jersey.
You have no idea of the expanse. If you ever start to complain about how crowded America is, and how you'd like to do away with the constant expansion and population explosion - spend 11 days driving around Alabama. You'll wonder, "Where are the people?" Make sure you have reliable transportation and a full tank of gas, because you might not have cell service, know where you are, or where the next gasoline station is.
Roads go on for miles, undulating, with trees on either side, and the occasional dwelling. Even the interstate highways are vast wastelands. The exit cloverleafs have maybe one filling station, and if you're lucky, you'll find a Huddle House or a Love's truck stop somewhere between the three-hour drive from Birmingham to Tupelo, Mississippi.
The off-ramps are regularly populated with tractor-trailers parked on the shoulder because they have nowhere else to sleep. Just sitting there - nobody in the driver's seat - sleeping in the cab.
I should also mention (for my fellow alcoholics) that in the parts of Alabama that I visited, alcohol sales are prohibited on Sunday, and furthermore, I did not see one - ONE - bar other than a chain like Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, or Buffalo Wild Wings in my entire 1,400 miles of driving around the northwest part of the state. Here in New Jersey, you can't go ten minutes without passing a bar and/or a liquor store. In retrospect, it might be good for my internal organs, but I digress.
I may be biased in my opinion of the people. The only people I met were service people - wait staff, bartenders, and hotel employees whose job it is to say "yes, sir" to whatever stupid thing I bring up. Perhaps, if I lived there, I would encounter as many jackasses as I encounter on a daily basis here in New Jersey? That is a question that I could only answer later.
I travel (and spend significant time) alone, so the attitude I get from people differs from what I would get if I lived in a place or had a companion. I'm still not sure if outsiders think I'm a shill for corporate or just a poor schmuck traveling alone. Either way, I win. I leave big tips because I feel responsible for having them wait on me. It's a curse.
Central Time. That's nice. Big-time athletic events start at 7:30pm. Late-night TV starts at 10:30pm, and while I realize that's a specious argument for living somewhere, it's a big deal if you like that stuff and have a problem staying up until after midnight. Of course, one could make the same argument for Mountain time, but who wants to live in Nebraska? People in Nebraska probably say the same thing about living in Alabama, so ...
Is it worth uprooting to save an hour? Probably not, but it's nice not to have to fake "set the alarm" for an hour later and not feel guilty about it. I maintained Eastern Time for the duration, and felt like I was in some sort of clock heaven. Still, it was hot as Hell.
The fucking heat. The temperature was 80, and the "real feel" was 104. What the fuck? I didn't get to experience a tornado, but they have them regularly. There are signs for shelters along the highways everywhere. Perhaps I could adapt, but I couldn't say for sure. I'd have an easier time adapting to the no alcohol sales on Sunday thing than the constant heat.
In spite of the idea that I thought I was going to spend time with the future Mrs. Me (no story there, as it turns out) in my fishing around for potential retirement locations, I'm putting Alabama on my list, but mostly because it's not cold and the time zone is cool. Otherwise, be careful where you settle down, because it's a long way to civilization from most of those places, and I'm a city boy at heart, and I need to be able to walk to the drug store, not drive an hour.
It's a deeply red state, and that I cannot change. My so-called liberal viewpoints would go in the hate box, and I'd probably be known as "that Yankee" in short order, if I moved there. I saw a few Confederate flags, and wondered how the President did not Tweet about that, and instead, chose to occupy his time with some football players making a peaceful demonstration ... but I digress.
I will continue my quest to Escape from New Jersey, and may re-center my priority on the Fells Point area of Baltimore, where it began.
Sometimes, experience is the best teacher.
Love ya, Alabama - but it may be just a great place to visit. Unless she comes calling - but I suspect that is a pipe dream, and I don't own a pipe.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
At least for now, and the past 5 days.
The problem with people from the north (like me) is that they tend to stereotype people from other areas by whatever we think they are, based on ... accent, body type, or some other pre-conceived notion that lends itself to whatever style we assumed.
What generally happens is, we get there, and realize that, other than some accent (it turns out, I have one, too) or some other oddity, they are ... people. Go figure. People with jobs, lives, wants, needs, and desires. No different than the rest of us. What a culture shock!
While I realize two things: (1) Travelers face different types of people than residents. I have mainly dealt with service people and wait staff, and (2) I have only been here for 5 days, I still can tell the things that make us the same as people - God forbid. It's the other things that make me wonder how much better life would be here than in New Jersey.
For one thing, the lack of traffic. If someone complains about how over-crowded America is, tell them to visit northern Alabama. In five days, I have been in traffic twice. Both times, it was because of an accident.
Another thing is the pace of life. It doesn't seem as though everything has to happen in an instant. People apologize for making me wait a normal amount of time. I really don't care. And, the accent. I find it charming, especially in women. There is a poetic nature about it that is at once romantic and pleasing to my ear. I have yet to be yelled at or corrected, so perhaps my perspective is warped, but so be it.
I hesitate to talk politics. I know I'm in a deeply RED state. So red that, if I lived here and voted, I'd have to recognize the fact that my liberal Democrat vote would be so diluted as to make it meaningless. I don't know yet if that would bother me. I'll get back to you on that - maybe.
I'm always looking for potential retirement areas. Northern Alabama has placed itself at the top of my short list.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
Monday, August 14, 2017
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned Extreme Networks (EXTR) before. I've been holding this stock for a while, and wondering why it has been down over the past 3 months. Sometimes, the market doesn't know what's going on, and investors have to trust their instincts a hold onto stocks that they bought because they believed in the company when they made the purchase.
In the case of EXTR, I fell in love (bad to do, I know) with the company when I figured out what they did and how if worked-into the way companies are doing business today. It's a growth industry, and as such, one has to endure a certain amount of doubt from the so-called "investors" when something happens that they find a reason to sell.
The stock went from the $11 range down to the $9 range in the relatively short time period of three months, on almost no news - other than the fact that the company was signing-up new businesses and otherwise moving their business forward. I had to tune-out the noise and trust my instincts - which were rewarded today. To those who sold into earning, I say, "I'll see you in 10 years."
Next up is Cisco Systems (CSCO) who reports on the 16th. I've held that for a while, waiting for the big news. My faith will be rewarded, I think.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Those are the short hairs they want to have you hang from. Rest assured, in some way, they will find a way to get you to pay something close to the money you're paying now. It's in their next meeting. They don't like to lose.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Young girl, get out of my mind
Well, she was just 17,
Lips like strawberry wineYou're sixteen, you're beautifulAnd you're mine. (mine, all mine)You're all ribbons and curls
Eyes that sparkle and shine
You're sixteen, you're beautiful and you're mine
(mine, all mine, mine, mine)
You're my baby, you're my pet
You walked out of my dreams, into my arms
Ooh, what a girl
We fell in love on the night we met
You touched my hand, my heart went pop
Ooh, when we kissed, i could not stop
Now you're my angel divine
You're sixteen, you're beautiful, and you're mine