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She is Winter      by William Hecht Deep December night and she is spent. She is consumed–like the fields after a greedy harvest. She slumbers—as does the world. Only her essence is sentient, aware. It is a spell: cast in the light of the great moon, it will break with the first rays of the equinox sun. Her hair is black. It is a wave of boreal night that flowed through the glass, swept down her  cheek, and spilled on a pale shoulder.  Things made of night are smooth–and softer by far than anything made from day. She dreams—as does the world–of light and warmth, of aromas and twitching roots, the vibration of launching sprouts: calls to life. If I could dream with her, I would

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STOCK MARKET CHARTS  tell a story. Of course on the surface, most chart styles show a continuous map of prices over a period of time. But what a chart actually depicts is a series of collective (investor) responses to the flow of new information about the earnings potential for the companies involved (e.g. DOW or S&P 500). OK, so what? Well during the evolution of a mania or bubble, there comes a point when prices are driven not by the potential for earnings but by the price action itself. In other words, more emphasis is placed on the rising prices than on the reasoning behind them. Perhaps my favorite definition of a bubble is purely psychological – as it should be: a bubble happens when

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About 30 months ago, I left Arizona after having lived there more than half my life. I had grown up in Racine, Wisconsin, and when I left for Arizona to go to graduate school, I had just turned 26.  A marriage, a divorce, and a couple careers later I was 55; my work-life was changing and my father’s health was failing. The decision to move back to Racine was made easier through a series of ever-longer visits back “home,” to the same house I grew up in, the nearby Great Lake, the change of seasons, the mix of industry and farming, and the community that somehow still knew me. Twenty years ago, in conversation with  Karen P______, an AA friend, I heard some words that

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Markets

[Note: This content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Consult a professional before making or changing investments.] Did the Coal-Mine Canary Just Byte the Dust?  NOTHING EXEMPLIFIES today’s progressive abstraction of reality and value  better than bitcoin–or say better than cryptocurrencies (bitcoin is the largest of many).   Over the last few hundred years, systems for a medium of exchange (and store of value, etc.) went from physical gold and silver coins to paper currency (notes) that did represent some quantity of a valued commodity (e.g. pound sterling or gold standard US dollar) to a completely confidence-based currency (“fiat” currency e.g. most world currencies today) to bitcoin (a unique algorithm among a finite supply of them). As I looked back on the economics class I

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Movies

Trial of the Chicago Seven A riveting film considering the events are part of history. Heavyweight actors abound in the cast of a film worthy of its many awards.  Mark Rylance, a favorite actor (Dunkirk, Bridge of Spies, Ready Player One), plays the attorney for the defense. Michael Keaton shows up in a special role to name only two. This film brought to light the confrontations up to and after the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago when a group of activists planned anti-war and counterculture protests at a nearby park.   Justice itself goes on trial here and it’s only before the credits roll that you learn what happened afterward. A number of people put years of  their own freedom on the line for the

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  IN MY MOTHER’S kitchen, and taped to the door of a cabinet where cups and plates are kept, is a laminated Catholic Diocese card. The card is divided into two distinct sections. The top part is titled The Corporal Works of Mercy. The “works” are ministrations to be made and observations to be kept in caring for –to name some of them–the poor, the sick, and the dead. The lower part describes The Spiritual Works of Mercy. This section addresses, among other items, forgiveness toward the wretched and prayers for the dead.  The Diocese card made it clear that Mercy took the form of both Thought and Deed. Earlier this week, after a spate of cool, damp weather had broken and given way to a

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Markets

[Authors Note: This material is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Consult an investment professional about your personal investment needs and preferences for risk] I HAVE BEEN AN AVID OBSERVER  for thirty years as markets have made their seemingly inexorable rise despite manias and crashes and soaring national debt. I read about historical markets and the concomitant calamities and mostly booming recoveries therefrom.  I wish I had a dollar for every conspiracy theory and every method of prediction or forecasting I have come across. I even had a financial radio show in 2005-6. All of my guests–many of them prestigious–predicted the crash to come, though two years early.  The current market condition–like much of what else has happened in the last five years–continues to have

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Movies

TOM HANKS doesn’t make bad movies, though he has been part of so many great ones that many, like this one, are merely “good” or “worthwhile.” News of the World takes place not long after the Civil War-where a  lot of things had been disrupted, of course, and not yet returned to their proper place [Over 150 years later this remains true]. There aren’t many jobs that allow you to earn a living to avoid going home, but Hank’s character, Captain Kidd, found one. Part  performer, part civil servant, and former soldier, Kidd travels about the Middle West to read to townspeople from a collection of domestic newspapers. He has to be part diplomat, too because in every audience he is sure to have sensitive

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  LITERATURE AND SOCIETY dance a duet and take turns leading.  It isn’t always apparent that changes in Art are a response to changes in society and culture  or whether the order is reversed. Yet the very “ominous” poem, The Second Coming by Yeats was written just after WWI, the “war to end all wars” (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/twilight-in-the-land-of-more/). And Orwell’s dystopian 1984 (published 1949) was a response to totalitarianism before, during, and after WWII (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/orwells-1984-is-the-book-of-our-time-a-canticle-for-eric-blair/ ). In the Roaring Twenties, the male and privileged romanticism of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were the rage. By the end of the Depression, the mantle of social authority was transferred to the destitute masses in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath or the more haunted existences of the Deep South revealed in

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[Author’s Note: this year marks my 27th anniversary] Until I saw the date, February 2, it hadn’t occurred to me that it was my “birthday” again. This birthday–which is more of an anniversary–marks for me the first day of uninterrupted sobriety 22 years ago. It hadn’t seemed like a very important day at the time; in fact, if anyone had asked then, I would have said it was the worst day of my life.  I was bloated and quaking. My eyes were yellow like a cat’s–from jaundice. And my store of courage was so low I had to be led around like a child. There’s no question that on that day, my second life began. It would help to note here that I am not

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Movies

            SADLY, FOR THE LAST YEAR, my established ritual of “experiencing” films at the theatre was reduced to merely “watching” them on a laptop or waiting to view the next episode on the TV. Still, I managed to watch Fargo (4) and Snowpiercer (1) on TV, and then watched Midnight Sky and Mank on premium channels. Both Midnight Sky and Mank are worthy films. Mank has a shot at a Best Actor Oscar for Gary Oldman’s role as screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. David Fincher’s black-and-white story behind the creation of Citizen Kane reveals how one of the greatest films ever made was the result of determination (Orson Welles) and perseverance (Mankiewicz) as it suggested the often unflattering experiences of a very

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  ONLY TWO WEEKS AGO, when I posted The Sun, the Moon, and the Truth (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/1838-2/), it hadn’t occurred to me that the financial sector might slip in at the back of the alternate reality parade and march into make-believe with other swarms of society.  In hindsight, there was already a “mania for the ages” in progress (https://www.moviesmarketsandmore.com/a-mania-to-rule-them-all/), and what is a mania if not an alternate reality and a distortion of truth–in this case truth as value?  One source I trust cited a pandemic-induced surge in day-trading as a source of fuel for the markets (most day-traders play the “long” side only–they are buyers who follow an uptrend or  “momentum traders.”).  This surely helps to explain the near vertical rise in the S&P500 index

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IN THE COLLEGES where I learned and taught, students were required to write papers and reports to demonstrate their understanding of topics or concepts. The emphasis was always to support a premise or an argument using credible sources: facts and authorities, proven theories or accepted logic, studies, and experiments. The strength of a paper or report relied upon the foundation of existing knowledge–of Truth.  Almost all we  can point to as human progress is a result of the process of establishing what is True and then building on it. The structure of human advancement is a citadel atop a mountain of Truth. Certainly the leaps in sciences could not have occurred if we had designed our cars and boats and planes  based on how we

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