Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Explaining Trump's Refusal Ever to Criticize, and Always to Praise, Putin

As our loyal readers know, we don't do politics. But we have great faith in the beauty of logic in general and Occam's Razor in particular, which as formulated by Franciscan friar in the 14th century states: "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem." We assume most of our loyal readers, being educated, know Latin, but for those who don't, this says: Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily. Put in modern English, this means: Where there is a simple explanation for observable behavior, it usually is the correct one. Re Trump's obsequious slobbering over Putin--most recently Trump's congratulating Putin on "winning" re-election--and Trump's unwillingness to do anything to counter Putin's aggressive behavior viz us (including: attacking U.S. troops in Syria; nerve gas attacks in the UK; attacking our elections and power grid; and on and on), the simplest explanation is: Putin has something on Trump. It might be financial. It might be personal. It might be electoral collusion. It might be two or all three. But it's something.

Proof That There Is a Santa Clause

In 1897, Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the New York Sun as follows:

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


The Sun Wrote Back:

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Proof That the Sun Was Correct: 

Season 4 is NOT the end. Season 5 of Rake is being filmed right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Panera Bread Catering: Fuhgetta About It

Panera Bread has a pretty website and what appear might be some very nice catering options for groups up to 50 or more--way more--for 100s of people. Unfortunately, the website, at least in Phoenix/Scottsdale, does not work. When you click on Submit, it has you sign in to Google and then nothing happens. There is no link on the website to contact them to report a problem or get help. If you phone the number to place the order by phone, you are told to use the website and that phoning won't work. Fortunately, as Matthew 4:4 teaches us, and as is engraved on the entrance wall of the Hershey Museum as a quote as a quote of John Hershey (and I am NOT kidding), "Man does live by [Panera] bread alone." Accord Luke 4:4 ("man shall not live by [Pandera] bread alone"). 

[PS: Link to Panera Website Omitted as Useless]

Gmelius: Excellent and Keeps Getting Better

If you use Gmail, then you're nuts and living in the dark ages if you don't use Gmelius with it. Gmelius, which is free, adds a tremendous amount of functionality and allows customization beyond your wildest dreams. It takes just a few minutes to master. Just by way of example, it's latest feature, called "Email Assignment," allows one to avoid ever again doing an erroneous "reply all" by mistake. With Email assignment, an email can  be delegated or transferred to someone just by selecting his or her name on your email assignment drop-down list and the conversation will automatically sync into the assigned person's inbox. Once an email is assigned, your teammates will receive an alert to let them know that you assigned them that particular conversation. Hence, Email Assignment allows you to put an end to any email collaboration issues and conversation mishaps. 

Link to Gmelius Download


[Prefatory Note: This post does NOT explain annuities as such and has no opinion on them. Rather, our Wealth Team Finance (WTF) group has just started looking at them and is intrigued. Here is what has sparked their interest]

Many people, especially older people and retirees, are stuck between being averse on the one hand to equity market risk and interest rate and default risks higher yielding investments and on the other hand an exceedingly low interest rate environment on safe fixed income investments. While annuities are not risk free (e.g., if the issuer were to go bust), they can eliminate equity market risk (i.e., the amount invested will be returned in full at a set term) while producing a good yield (4.5% or higher) with favorable tax treatment if one's health is such that the cost of life insurance on oneself or one's spouse can be bought at a reasonable cost. With the life insurance equal to the amount of the principal you put it, your estate if the annuity runs until you die or you if the annuity is for a shorter term, buys back the principal, so you get back the totality of your investment principal. If you don’t care about return of the principal, then pick a charity or school to do the annuity with so that it, rather than some fat cat or ungrateful heir, gets the principal. 

Your financial advisor should be able to steer you through this. If not, check with a different financial advisor.