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Archive for June, 2017

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Trying to finish on mutual funds:

  • Pick funds that triple over the last 10 years, i.e., $10k to $30k.  I prefer really good actively-managed funds with reasonable fees because they “beat the market” (for example managers have a much better idea what to buy and when it has hit target prices; they are also less volatile than the market).
  • Choose a company or app that you are comfortable with, i.e., something you can track and learn from.  I find this is easier with (primarily) one no load fund family–you can see it all in front of you, movement and performance, and easily balance it for growth and peace of mind.  This is absolutely key:  start out and learn, then make more decisions that have worked well.  You don’t have to study it, just find something you can visualize and understand.
  • Make wise “trading” decisions in terms of fees, market timing, dollar cost averaging, etc.
  • Again, let it sit.  It is not about timing the market or making trades.  Who cares if it goes down temporarily if you are not going to sell it?

You could reach a stage where it is fun, IE! better than betting–how many people play poker or, how big is sports betting or Bovada?

Ever heard of Obamaphone?  It was a low-cost cellular program for people without a means of contact.  The application part notwithstanding, it was designed to be simple.

Sprint (normally not a good company to deal with) was a provider.  Now Tello is probably about as simple and inexpensive as you can get with create-your-own plans starting at $5/month.

It is too bad that somebody in government or the stodgy mutual fund industry didn’t create a similar plan.  It could be three simple boxes:

[stextbox id=’info’]Interest-bearing Savings[/stextbox]

[stextbox id=’grey’]Stock Fund[/stextbox]

[stextbox id=’warning’]Growth Stock Fund[/stextbox]

And make it simple.  It, a 401k or IRA, is a savings account–the best tax-free or employer-sponsored savings opportunity you will have.

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June 28th, 2017 at 9:10 am

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Montana Sky.

(ttb, tribute to trina; no, that’s not right.)

That one is really bad.  Still it held my attention longer than many of the others.

Randy Weaver is still king.  His is the best story.  Kirsten Dunst standing on a rock with a rifle can’t be beat.

There’s the guy who plowed into the Mosque in London who seemed even more normal than the others.  “We could see him cooking in his kitchen and he seemed happy,” someone from the Muslim family next door said.  It looked normal for the U.K. (Wales) but it was still scrunched-together like hell.

“In-bred,” he said half under his breath.  I’d never heard that before and I didn’t know what it meant.  Everyone in the large family knew it immediately.

The only smart thing Ammon Bundy did was take advantage of others’ dislike for the federal government–BLM, FBI, and others.  That I did not know, either, as the FBI or BLM man in charge also said.

The guy who drove away twice and was shot on camera in the snow was a lunatic.  And the rest who sat in the car…  They were on their way to a meeting.

The Canadian story, Into Thin Air, is a good one too.  Yes, a lot of dislike for the Feds even in Canada.

And the bios on James T. Hodgkinson seem to be over.  Man, that was close.  I’m not surprised that his stay in Washington (Alexandira, VA) was not easy.  What made him think that he could live in his car (van)  for close to two months, in a parking lot, at the Y?  He went inside to shower and to charge his laptop.  He was angry many people have said.  At 66, 5’6″ 200 pounds he wasn’t exactly a physical threat.

You could say he wasn’t a very effective terrorist.  Or he couldn’t even do that right.

It is hard to understand why he was so poor–I mean, why he didn’t have any money.  He was going to head back home to a life that was very unhappy because he was running out of money.  It seems he worked most of his life, had a nice house, and was married, and tried to raise three daughters.

He went into the BBQ place every day in Alexandria and had one or two Budweisers.  At least drink five or six, with onion rings and a slab of ribs.  You’re just going to crawl back to the van anyway.  Or, stay in a nice hotel and go out in style.

Edit, this one.

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June 23rd, 2017 at 3:06 pm

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OK, let’s do the math.  He didn’t have enough money to pay the taxes on a house in rural Idaho.

In Absence of Malice the whole point was to get Paul Newman to lead them elsewhere.  No, that was just a movie and maybe a novel too.

If you see enough of them a pattern emerges.  We want you to talk because we want the higher-ups.  We want to squash the whole thing.  So, talk please or we’ll charge you with this crime.  Then we’ll use prosecutorial power (e.g., plea) to get you to talk.  We still want the higher-ups.

You could say it started here, with Robert Mathews.  By the time Ruby Ridge started around the Summer of 1990 (the siege was 2 years later) Richard Girnt Butler was pretty much history.  The movement, at least from a criminal perspective, had been squashed.

Sometime long before the time they dished out $3.1 million to the Weaver family Louis Freeh admitted it was a new low for the FBI.  Ruby Ridge is well worth learning about.  The Ammon Bundy attention is another one, and it is on Frontline too.

I think it is something people in Idaho, and elsewhere in the West, still fight against.

Ruby Ridge seems to be about 4,500 feet elevation.  The property was about 8 acres (one site said 15).  I really want to go to Spokane because I have never been, but I suspect the cabin is virtually unreachable for months at a time during Winter.  People do carry guns around bears and mountain lions.


Randy Quiad was appropriate for the role and the TV movies, usually based on a book or with input from people right on the front lines, are pretty accurate.  The Siege at Ruby Ridge (1996) provides background on the relatives and local friends and neighbors and every characterization can’t be wrong.  The cast and probably the budget are big time.  “Birthing shack” (put politely) and lots of turned heads to the religious fervor, you can’t make all that stuff up, including Randy himself with something of a boisterous side.

Put another way,

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June 21st, 2017 at 9:29 am

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“She didn’t want to and she didn’t know what to do.”

Are you sure.

“She wanted to and she didn’t know what to do.”

Do something?

“She didn’t want to.  For some reason she couldn’t.  At least anything productive, or meaningful.”

“And eventually neither did I because every time I got near I got hurt.”

Good things, good times?

“I was always visiting and usually made to feel uncomfortable.  No.”

So you’re not one to worship the dead.

“I’d rather do it when someone is alive.”

Alive meaning…



Mean.  No conscience.  Rare.




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June 21st, 2017 at 7:33 am

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part 3

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What do you do if you are fifty and don’t have a pension or any money saved for retirement?

Continue to work.

Maybe you’re doing what you really want to do and are happy.  Great.  But you could be disabled, or just old.

It is really hard to tell from the numbers.  A third of Americans don’t have anything (i.e., something growing) for retirement (when you can’t work).  That is understandable if you are young and working, but still you want something for a rainy day.  Two-thirds of Americans, especially older ones, do have something put away or a plan of some sort, which could include a pension, inheritance, etc.  Again, information is not complete and may come from something commercial like Fidelity Investments internal database.  Also, people don’t or can’t always answer such questions.  It is a shame that there are not more definitive government statistics.

There are people age 50 who have literally nothing.    For people 50-60 who have something MOST, or so the data say, do not have enough.  That’s where financial literacy comes in.  Approximately a third of older Americans do have “enough” in terms of something put away and/or a plan.

Is there or will there be a financial retirement crisis?

To repeat, there are people who have nothing, are on government assistance, or for whom it is bleak.  Opioid addiction probably isn’t the answer.  That is another problem.

I agree that people want immediate gratification.  It is way more fun to spend than save.  But immediate gratification can also take the form of watching and enjoying it grow.  That is what we will tackle here in Part 3–how to invest your savings.

Lawsuit-preventing disclaimer not necessary.


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June 19th, 2017 at 9:56 am

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Part 2

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Charles Thomas

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June 18th, 2017 at 6:33 pm

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Political gunman

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Yesterday was a sad day.  It still is.

Our word for that day is “misanthrope.”

Alexandria is a lot like Littleton (pop. 150,000).  There are some nice places, but most of it is about commerce or business.  Actually, old town Alexandria is much nicer than Littleton, and there the commerce is more upscale than that of Denver because it is based on politics.  Alexandria is home to just about every major association.

It is a tough and expensive place.  I’m surprised you could live in a van there for over six weeks.  The baseball complex and YMCA area really look nice.

Yes, they are kind of odious, at least that’s the way they appeared once again during the Comey testimony.  There were long, selfish speeches and one public stance by the Republican Senator–it would not hold up in a court of law–remains the most visible.  They’re almost all white businessmen or lawyers and they are different because they don’t represent a company, country, cause, or family.  They represent only themselves.

They’re not like most of us.  Or are they?

They were practicing–working–before 7 AM probably so they wouldn’t look awful during the game and in front of a lot of people.  Then it is off to a quick shower and back into a suit and tie.

Boy I hate that phrase, “they don’t get to live in Colorado.”  This was a little bit of outdoor exercise.  It is their home, albeit temporarily.  It is not easy.  And each and every one of them has earned everything he or she has achieved.

Is there anything to be learned from Tad Cummins other than he is going to be old, and out of jail, before we hear a whole lot again?

The shooter is from a small city about the size of Columbia, TN (Belleville, IL) near St. Louis.  His house looks nice and 3 acres for $150,000, with cornfields, looks quite comfortable.  He went to a local college and his family was there.  When first revealed, he looks to be very, very normal.

Normal in a small-town harmless sort of way.

But James Hodgkinson had a huge sign near the rural road for TJH Home Inspections.  He shot guns in his yard, toward neighbors.  “His” stepdaughter doused herself with gasoline and committed suicide in a car fire; earlier, she was forcibly removed from a car in a hair-pulling assault incident.  Much earlier, he was wrestler–5′ 6″ and 200 lbs.

He lived there his whole life and at 66 he didn’t want to do it anymore.

He was known to be angry, really angry.

You can talk all you want about twenty-something Syrians who have nothing, want nothing, and are nothing, but what about this guy?  Blaming it on politics?  Ugh.



Things have come out.  THREE foster daughters, two of whom killed themselves (one an overdose that may not have been intentional).   There was a drinking problem that may or may not have been more than one or two Buds a day.  Something somewhere pointed to a potential divorce.

Adopting foster children in need is is close to heroic.  Working for Sanders and going to Washington to do something–if only peacefully–is pretty cool too.

Could there have been an awareness of I’m doing more harm than good?  OMG, Tad Cummins, again, with violence.


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June 15th, 2017 at 11:26 am

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The one woman said “financial literacy” and I would like to try.

I retired when I was quite young and this return, over a 20-year period, has provided enough to continue retirement.  Basically, over a twenty year period my home has gone up 5% a year and my IRA (it began as 401(k)s) has risen 10% a year.

At 10% a year $25,000 at age forty would probably be enough for a single person or couple to retire on.  Or, to put the amount you need to save a little differently, if you had a few good years of high earnings, company matching, or really great investment choices, it still would probably be enough.

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June 14th, 2017 at 10:53 am

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Better than ploughing the driveway.

“In fact a pretty boring predictable performance.”  That doesn’t have a verb.  Or a subject.

“I don’t think she’s pretty or attractive as much as she does.”  You can kind of tell what he or she (guil) means but…

Yes, if he had just continued to wear the handcuffs everything would have been fine.  Watch out for spoilers!

I watched it.  I wasn’t exactly paying attention, but I don’t remember this part:

As were soon to find out Suzanne has it in for Michael in what he did to her baby sister Ariel, Allison Busner, some five years ago in San Francisco by in walking out on her that drove Ariel to kill herself.

Friends at work wonder how Rozon can “keep it at half mast.”  What?

Spoiler:  now I know that she shoots herself in the end.  I missed that part too.


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June 12th, 2017 at 7:46 pm

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Consumer this, consumer that

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I am a prophet sent by Jesus and yes I can see angels and devils.  Just kidding.

The other day I was at the DMV–there’s still a nice, really small office here in Evergreen.  When they wanted to charge me $109 for a 10-day temporary tag, just so I could then proceed to a diesel emissions test and VIN verification, I balked.  It was sustained enough to take about fifteen minutes, involve the manager, and stop most of the office’s functioning.

“I am a consumer and I have choices!” I declared.  Besides, South Carolina only requires one license plate, and it is better looking.  There’s no diesel test either.

Evergreen really is a cool place!  I can still live in Evergreen but at the same time rid myself of Jefferson County.  The slam of the door on the way out will be loud.

Images, recordings, video, email, texts.  Chat rooms, Facebook, online courts, and the list goes on and on.  It is the best time ever to be a consumer or just an individual.


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June 12th, 2017 at 11:00 am

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