I Literally Can't Even

Gen Z is helpless, Crypto arbitrage, Manfred sucks, 1904 Olympics, ??????????

Welcome to the first “official” edition of the Contemporary Idiot newsletter!

Each edition will bring you 5 stories on random topics that have piqued my interest.

My aim is to:

✔️ Make you laugh

✔️ Make you a little bit smarter

✔️ Make it quick (5 minish)

If you haven’t done so already make sure to subscribe!


  1. AYFKM1: Gen Z Remains Helpless

  2. FINANCE: Crazy Crypto Arbitrage

  3. BASEBALL: I Miss Bud Selig

  4. HISTORY: The 1904 Summer Olympics’ Men’s Marathon Was…Awesome!

  5. ??????????: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


AYFKM

Gen Z Remains Helpless

I’ve written about Gen Z before. To say I have mixed feelings about the generation would be a fair assessment. I expect many feel the same way, especially the older crowd.

They can develop an iPhone app by the age of 8. But they can’t figure out how to apply for a credit card.

They can gain thousands of followers on social media overnight. But they don’t know how to make a doctor’s appointment.

They’re quick as a whip on Tik Tok. But utterly helpless when it comes to staying alive.

It’s bananas.

One Gen Z’er, though, plans to cash in on her comrades’ Darwinistic impotence:

Realworld raises $3.4M to help Gen Z navigate adulthood - TechCrunch

Young Genevieve Ryan Bellaire has taken it upon herself to create “The Realworld Starter Pack” which includes a playbook on how to grow up.

It covers all the “biggies” like understanding taxes, finding an apartment, and finding a job.

It also has a “mental health check-in” feature in case the stress of trying to grow up with the assistance of a playbook is too much for you.

I presume it also tells you to look both ways before crossing the street, flush after using the potty, and that you’re special.

I literally can’t.

Jokes aside - love the hustle out of young Bellaire here! While her peers are trying to figure out how to put their pants on, she’s secured millions in seed funding! Props where props are due!


FINANCE

Crazy Crypto Arbitrage

If you live in Miami, you might know that the AmericanAirlines Arena (home of the Heat) is changing its name to FTX Arena.

Wtf is FTX? It’s a cryptocurrency exchange that processes $10.7B in trades per day that was started by a young MIT grad, Sam Bankman-Fried (29, now), in 2017.

What’s interesting is how Bankman-Fried made the money to start FTX.

Before it became mainstream, it was very difficult to buy cryptocurrencies in many countries. In Korea, for example, crypto traded at a ~30% premium compared to the prices here in the U.S.

ar·bi·trage
/ˈärbəˌträZH/
the simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset.

Tons of investors saw this for what it was: a massive opportunity. Bankman-Fried included.

He went as far as quitting his presumably cushy finance job to pursue it. It was that potentially lucrative.

The problem with this arbitrage setup was that you would need to exchange USD and Korean won’s so frequently and at such high volumes, that it would cause too many red flags. What the banks would see would look a lot like money laundering.

That’s a significant problem.

Rather than continue dicking around trying to solve an unsolvable problem in Korea, Bankman-Fried looked east to neighboring Japan. There the premium was only ~10%, so less profit to be made, but the regulatory barriers were much lower. Still very difficult, but doable.

After about a year of absolutely hammering away at this one metaphorical nail by himself like a psychopath, he broke through and created his “research” firm: Alameda Research.

Alameda Research took millions of dollars and compounded them at 10%…DAILY. All by buying some crypto here, and immediately flipping it over there at a premium. A gazillion times per day…

…then he used that money to create the FTX exchange…

…and that’s how you buy a professional sports arena.


BASEBALL

I Miss Bud Selig

The geniuses over at Major League Baseball (MLB) just can’t stop pulling nonsense out of their awful ideas hat.

Last month MLB announced some rule changes they would be testing throughout the minor leagues this season. I wrote about those here. TL;DR2: they mostly stink.

But those ideas smell like goddamn roses compared to the new monstrosity that Commissioner Rob Manfred is implementing in the independent Atlantic League: moving the mound back by 1 foot.

AYFKM!?

I’m offended by this proposal.

Their reasoning: pitchers are striking out too many batters, this would “level” the playing field.

My rebuttal: be better, hitters.


HISTORY

The 1904 Summer Olympics’ Men’s Marathon Was…Awesome!

Unless you either a) have no life, or b) are a historian (same thing?), you’ve probably never heard about the men’s marathon at the 1904 Summer Olympic games held in St. Louis.

I’m here to change that.

Fred Lorz brought home the gold for the US, but just as the medal was being placed around his neck someone in the crowd accused him of cheating.

“But Dunning, can you even cheat in running?”

Yes, you can. Intentionally, or not. Or both.

Around mile 9 Lorz came to the rational conclusion that running long distances is for peasants and said “f**k this, I’m out.”

He ordered an Uber (hitchhiked) back to the stadium, but when the car broke down with just 6 miles to go, he decided maybe running was for him again and got back in the race.

Naturally, he finished in first place.

He was perfectly happy to play along and bask in the glory…until he was called out…

He was banned for a year.

The actual winner, Thomas Hicks, was a horse of a different color:

The American had to be kept in the race by actual rat poison mixed with brandy to stimulate his nervous system. His team literally had to carry “him in the air while he shuffled his feet as if still running” across the finish line.

That’s the true mark of a champion.

Of the 32 that started the race, only 14 finished, and a few of them damn near died.

The whole story from Smithsonian Mag is worth the read.

Hard to believe that those peak humans and Gen Z are members of the same species…


FINANCE

Dogecoin WTF?

Dogecoin was created by a couple of software engineers as a joke in 2013. It’s a pointless cryptocurrency inspired by a dog meme that for one reason or another picked up steam last year.

Then celebrities like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and Snoop Dogg started tweeting about it.

Now it’s literally creating millionaires after surging over 6,000% so far this year.

As of this writing, it has a market cap of $52B. For reference, that’s bigger than the following companies:

Ford, Marriot, Dow, Roku, Crowdstrike, DoorDash, Kimberly-Clark, Las Vegas Sands, Walgreens, Barclays…the list goes on.

Here’s what a 100% stimulus check-funded, Dogecoin-only portfolio would look like today (hint, it’s over $300K):

I feel bad for the poor schmuck who’s going to be left holding the bag when this bubble inevitably pops.

*I do not “invest” in Dogecoin


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AYFKM = are you f****** kidding me? 🙊

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TL;DR = too long; didn’t read