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    NOW THAT MERYL STREEP and Nicole Kidman are both starring in the second season of the TV series Big Little Lies, it’s probably safe to say that the bell is  ringing furiously to signal the end of an important socio-cultural era: the great period of feature films that began almost a century ago.  While there are still feature films and movie theaters, it seems as if most of the films are superhero fantasy or animated films. The energy, the talent, and the money is pouring out of “movies” into these TV-based series. We might have a net maintenance of creativity–perhaps even more. Maintenance of quality? Not as easy to say; the productions are very good and getting better as the market heats up. But

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Markets

[NOTE: This material does not represent investment advice in any way. It is for educational purposes only. Investing is personal. See your personal guru before making decisions.] Bulls can live 20 years, but they aren’t much good to the herd after ten. Bull markets are probably the same. This one is ten years’ long in the tooth, but it’s weathered a number of “storms” along the way, so many investors could need to get quite scared before they sell. The scariest thing for me is the global trend toward authoritarianism; you can check a lot of boxes to compare the first part of the last century with today. I could probably list six or seven parallels. Protectionism is a big one. Wealth inequality is another. That

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Markets

[NOTE: The following does NOT constitute investment advice of any kind. It is for education or entertainment only]  ‘There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld 2002                  That the stock market fell does not surprise me: I have wondered how the rally could continue before the long list of threats to the global economy would reduce share prices. But I was surprised that it happened so abruptly.  I should not be surprised at that, however, because markets generally fall much faster than they rise: investors often “get in” in increments and “get out” in a cataclysm.  And while stocks only

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  WHAT HAVE YOU done for me lately? I find tremendous irony in the fact that the US president was the star of a reality show where he was surrounded by less-than-brilliant sycophants and presented as the epitome of  business success in charge of a thriving empire (though it turns out his decision-making often led to bankruptcy). The  climax of each episode was when he got to pronounce to a hapless contestant “You’re fired!”  The irony makes an entrance in that he is now at a point in his tenure where the party that embraced him (only after they realized that he could get them power) may soon make a similar pronouncement to him.   Almost two years ago on this blogsite, I posted that

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Markets

[Disclaimer: The chart and the following content do not constitute investment advice of any kind. This material  is for educational or entertainment purposes only. ]   (SPX Chart from www.bigcharts.com retrieved Nov.20, 2018)   THE OCTOBER WIND BLEW all the leaves off the Wisconsin trees last month and did it over the course of only a few very windy days. Stock prices drifted ten percent lower, too, in recent weeks and everyone wants to know what chill wind sent them lower. I can explain the “why” because there are only two  reasons stocks fall. The details are harder to derive. I have never been able to talk about the investing environment without providing some background. No forecasters (I do not act as a forecaster here) worth

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Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil” in the early ‘sixties when she covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann for The New Yorker.  The phrase was in response to how Eichmann had matter-of-factly claimed to have only been “doing his duty.” The phrase applies  in many countries today, but each in a unique context.  As for the United States, with the 2016 election, our country managed to elect as president an individual who personifies much of our culture–its superficiality and the worship of wealth, power, and privilege. During the first two years of his tenure, the former reality TV star and red-toothed capitalist has shown us ourselves (not all of us, but enough of us) and the result is so lacking in virtue

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Movies

There can be no question that the quality of summer films has deteriorated. It is understandable when you consider the money and talent (the talent goes where the money and the work is) has migrated in a big way toward the mini-series model. The switch-over names are getting bigger (e.g. Julia Roberts, Sean Penn, Emma Stone) every season and the theater productions are increasingly less appealing.  I did manage to see a few films and so will do a quick review for each. The best movies of the year will probably be released over the next several weeks. Hunter Killer–This  Hunt for Red October ripoff has a very few moments’ worth of good action, but the idea that team of special forces could penetrate a

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Markets

[Author’s Note: This is not investment advice but merely educational content. Consult a professional for investment policy recommendations] DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. . . Perhaps the eye of a scrutinising observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.                                                                                    

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Movies

With his newest film Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson creates what has become for him a routine effect; he delivers a refreshingly unique and unpredictable story experience in film. And this time he adds a couple more items: he makes a pun out of the title while probably promoting stop-motion animation to a new level of legitimacy. That he chose a near-future Japan as his setting can only make me curious. Did anime’ influence him? Old Godzilla films? In a day and age of horror and zombie films, and movies that rely so heavily on CGI, it was a great relief to experience lower tech and  more organic storytelling— which is not to suggest that the film was simple. Perhaps it was a canine version of

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          Two of these books will guide you for change that will occur.  The other one is to inspire you to action and help prevent events that could occur. All three books were written in the middle of the last century. The world war was over, but the Cold War had begun. One could argue that the events of the first half of the twentieth century made it clear that human race faced two formidable enemies: the innate human lust for power, and the curse of the tree of knowledge in the form of quantum leaps in technology. The first two books explore the conflicts with these enemies. The last book faces the prospect of defeat – by both. I have

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