Past Midway Ramblings on Business & Life

AuthorAndy Jones

Why Inflation Feels Like It’s More Than Reported

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) came out for May 2022, showing 8.6% inflation over May 2021. “Experts” claimed this was higher than expected. For the rest of us, inflation feels higher than 8.6%, when we visit the grocery store, go to lunch, or fill up at the pump. In fact, it’s difficult to name a product we regularly purchase that’s ONLY up 8.6%. So, where’s the disconnect between what leaves...

Playing to Win

The kids and I used to wrestle on the living room floor when they were younger – when I was younger. All three were afforded the same wrestling opportunities, but Soren (my son) seemed to enjoy it more than his sisters. Boys sometimes have extra physical energy demanding an outlet. Because Soren was smaller than me, I wrestled with him down on my hands and knees. This enabled Soren to develop his...

Social Security Status

Although Covid, money printing, inflation, and geopolitical complexities dominate the media and our collective conversation, we seem to have lost focus on the Social Security Program. Why? Because it’s boring, in comparison. Nevertheless, a Social Security implosion looms on the near horizon. Consequently, I thought we should resurface this conversation, between panics. The main problem, Social...

Precious Time

Years ago, I was on the phone with a customer. During the conversation, we spoke briefly about our families, as sometimes happens, especially with long-term customers. “Do you have kids?” he asked. “I do. Three,” I replied. “How old are they?” “10, 7 & 4… girl, girl, boy.” “I remember when my son was four…,” his sentence trailed off as he began to reminisce of things that once were. Nostalgic...

Mistletoe

In November 2004, my wife (Sofie) and I were driving back to Austin after visiting family for the Thanksgiving holidays in Oklahoma. “You can really see all the mistletoe, now the leaves have fallen,” Sofie commented from the passenger seat, looking around and basically chilling out because, well, she wasn’t driving. “Maybe we should sell it online,” she continued, knowing the tradition of being...

More Than a Book

When we say an object is in the same place it was before, we mean, it hasn’t moved relative to some other things, but it is definitely not in the same exact place. In fact, nothing is ever in the same place it once was, including you. For Example, Let’s Find My Book Suppose I ask my lovely wife (Sofie), “Have you seen my book?” A seemingly simple question, to which she might reply, “It’s on the...

Dislocated Jaw

I play a pick-up soccer game with the neighborhood guys a few days per week. It’s one of my favorite activities and helps keep me in shape. A few months back, I kicked the ball to make a pass, but the ball ricocheted off another player’s knee and smacked me square on the chin. You might say I kicked the soccer ball into my own face. After a few seconds of brain fog, I recovered and continued to...

The Expanding Federal Reserve – Part 3

This is Part 3, the final part, in my series on the Fed. Review In Part 1, we discussed the Fed’s massive financial intervention into the mortgage-backed security market during the 2008+ recession. During this time, the Fed pumped ~22% of a single-year’s GDP into the market, spread across six years. Keep this figure in the back of your mind because we’ll revisit this enormous, unprecedented slug...

The Expanding Federal Reserve – Part 2

This is Part 2 of my three-part series on the Federal Reserve. Review In Part 1, I discussed the Fed’s massive financial intervention into the mortgage-backed security market during the last recession (2008+). This event provides a good benchmark to compare subsequent Fed interventions, notably 2020. I also analyzed the outcomes of the Fed’s mortgage-backed security purchases. Although I expected...

The Expanding Federal Reserve – Part 1

The Federal Reserve plays an ever-increasing, complex role in the U.S. economy. By significantly expanding its scope, the Fed is now the single most important economic factor influencing the financial markets. The Federal Reserve is, no doubt, a complex topic, perhaps one of the most challenging areas within finance. Few people know the Fed’s mandates. Fewer still understand how the Fed executes...

Refugees & Kindness to Strangers in Our Land

In the mid-1970’s, my mom helped care for a Cambodian refugee family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The family had narrowly escaped the genocide of the communist Khmer Rouge regime, fleeing to the United States with the assistance of a Tulsa-based missionary couple returning from Cambodia. Almost 158,000 Cambodians entered the United States between 1975 and 1994. This family was part of the first wave...

Steps to Setup a Blog

I originally thought I was writing a book but found my topics too disparate and unrelated to collapse into a sequence of chapters within a single bound, cohesive structure. Consequently, a blog seemed the better format for my musings. The problem – I had no idea how to setup a blog from scratch with a unique domain and host it on a server. So, I learned the hard way… by figuring it out myself. As...

A Children’s Story for Adults

Imagine a world where money is nearly free. In this make-believe world, the citizens planted a magical tree whose fruit is money. Sure, the citizens needed to water the money tree, prune it and generally care for it. They also, of course, had to pick the money from the tree as it bloomed. So, it required some work, but generally, the tree produced money proportional to the care provided, with...

COVID-19 and Sweden – an Inside Look

If we are to believe the media, Sweden’s response to the Coronavirus differs from the rest of the world. Certainly, there are no shortages of articles and opinions about Sweden’s approach, spawning much discussion and speculation on its merits or ultimate demise. Time magazine published an eye-catching title: Sweden’s Relaxed Approach to the Coronavirus Could Already Be Backfiring Euronews...

CARES Act – a Comprehensive Summary

When possible, I prefer to read original source documents for my research, rather than summarizing secondary or tertiary sources. Consequently, I read the entire 880-page Senate amendments to the CARES Act yesterday and today. I made summary bullet points as I read. Accidentally, this became a 7-page condensed version with 175 succinct points, a line-by-line accounting of where the money is...

Lost in Ukraine

For the past three Summers, I have traveled to Ukraine to visit my web developers. The first trip, my wife and oldest daughter traveled with me. The next Summer (2018), I went solo, and missed my wife’s keen sense of direction. Okay, I got lost. But for me, that’s not so unusual. I frequently misplace myself, even in familiar places. But this time, I was walking the streets of Kiev after...

Tariffs, Debt, Social Security & the Fed – an Economic Theory

A footnote at the end of my last blog post suggested now may not be an ideal time to invest in the stock market. 50% of my readers asked for further elaboration on this point. What follows is undoubtedly more than requested. Although the market is currently at an all-time high, that’s an insufficient rationale to avoid it. It is possible the economy will continue to expand, thus warranting higher...

Detained by the Police

I attended my 30-year high school reunion this past weekend in Tulsa, OK. After the reunion gathering concluded Saturday evening, I was walking to the parking garage where I parked my car (on the grounds of the Casino where the reunion was held). It was late… 2:45am to be exact. I had said my goodbyes to my classmates and had a final conversation with Brad Kallenberger before starting my walk...

Why You Probably Won’t Make Money Trading

In the late 1990’s, a work colleague of mine in the engineering department at GE occupied much of his time trading financial instruments. In particular, he liked trading call options on the technology company 3COM. Although manufacturing engineering was his day job, he apparently thought day trading was more interesting. Understandable. It also seemed he had prescient timing with his trades...

Fun – Part 4 – The Importance of Memories & Imagined Futures

This is the fourth part in a four-part series. A brief recap… Post 1 – I discussed the three components of fun: Part 1 – Anticipating the fun (expecting the Future)Part 2 – Doing the fun (in the Present)Part 3 – Remembering the fun (looking back at our Past). Posts 2 & 3 – I developed and discussed the Totality of Fun, a framework of how we perceive Fun, and described how...

Past Midway Ramblings on Business & Life

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