A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That
Introducing Sunday Scaries: a weekly roundup of shit-I-found-interesting-so-maybe-you-might-too
I haven’t done a great job of providing content on anything resembling a consistent schedule. This no doubt leaves my hardcore fans in a constant state of want. From now on, I will be in your inbox, predictably, every Sunday morning with a weekly roundup of shit-I-found-interesting-so-maybe-you-might-too aka the Sunday Scaries.
Infrequent blogs will continue as scheduled, which doesn’t make sense, but you get it.
→ Pope Francis & Elon Musk read Contemporary Idiot, are also in favor of more babies. Also, the latest scissor statement. Several weeks ago I wrote about the woke resistance to procreation for climate-related reasons. Like you all reading this now, the supreme pontiff and the richest man alive are avid readers of my humble newsletter, or so I tell myself. Earlier this month the Pope raised some hell by calling people who choose pets over children selfish:
"Today we see a form of selfishness. We see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more. And many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one -- but they have two dogs, two cats ... Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children … This denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity.”
I’m not here to echo his message, which admittedly could have been delivered with a
little lot more tact, but I generally agree with the big man that population growth is not the issue. At the very least we agree that not having kids is not the solution. A couple of weeks later, after finally getting around to reading my blog, Elon Musk expressed his agreement/concern:
Musk has 71M followers on Twitter so I thought this would be a good thing for Team More Babies as it would shine a spotlight on the issue. Unfortunately, the conversation was quickly hijacked by this guy:
Disregard the fact that this dude wants to see if we can do anything to make having kids faster (aka cutting down the 9-month gestation period), it’s the synthetic wombs that’s got everyone all hot and bothered. Why? Because it’s the perfect scissor statement. These 2 words, together, manage to invoke a number of sensitive issues all rolled into 4 syllables: abortion, climate change, feminism, sexism, religion, morality, ethics, the fact that it just seems, I don’t know…wrong? I’ve got too many gripes with the idea of not just outsourcing but dehumanizing childbirth to list, so I won’t—that would distract us from the original issue again anyway.
“If families are not the priority of the present, there will be no future.”
- Pope Francis
→ Today’s elite yutes1 are slightly out of touch with reality (and by slightly I mean incredibly). One of my closest friends (Luke) from college is from Miami like me. Shortly after graduating and coming back home, another college buddy (Chris) of ours came down to visit the both of us for a weekend. Luke and I were still living with our parents at the time, as know-it-all recent college graduates often do, but Luke said Chris could stay at his (parent’s) place. At one point over the weekend, while Chris and I were alone, he leaned in and asked, almost whispered, “Did you know Luke’s parents live in an…apartment?” The word was accompanied by the second-hand shame of someone who couldn’t imagine a life in which they didn’t grow up a member of the local private golf club. His face then surrendered to the first-hand embarrassment of someone who just realized how entitled they sounded. Chris is an excellent human being and I don’t hold it against him at all, I was just reminded of that moment years ago when I saw this tweet:
The kid who thinks the average American worker makes $800K a year will probably be POTUS someday.
→ Speaking of POTUS, the White House has no comment on Hamsterdam, NY. Recently, I wrote harshly about Manhattan’s new DA, Alvin Bragg, and his decision to copy San Francisco’s playbook on crime. This week, former WH Press Secretary Dana Perino asked current WH Press Secretary Jenn Psaki if the president was cool with a completely plausible hypothetical, to which she responded with a verbal interpretation of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
→ A peek at the markets. If you’ve got money in stocks or crypto then you’re probably doing your best to avoid thinking about your portfolio at all right now, so I’ll keep it brief. I also won’t be offended if you skip this section, but I will say if you’re going to remember anything from this part, make it the last image.
The major benchmarks are down to start the year.
The Federal Reserve meeting on January 25-26 will give us a better idea of what’s to come, but the market is already pricing in the possibility of more than 4 interest rate hikes in 2022.
A higher interest rate means a lower value on a company’s future cash flows. That means valuations for growth and tech stocks have compressed the most.
And there’s a clear rotation to value underway.
The crypto market is getting hit even worse unless you include the NFT market, which has somehow turned into a safe haven of sorts with trading volume on OpenSea surpassing $4B this month for the first time ever. Go figure.
At the end of the day, as long as you’ve got a long time horizon, there’s no reason to panic. If anything this should be viewed as a buying opportunity for long-term investors; just don’t rush into it, wait for confirmation. There’s no sense in trying to catch falling knives when you’ve got a long-term mindset. Also, it helps to zoom out.
→ While most retailers are trying to figure out the metaverse, Amazon keeps hammering away at brick-and-mortar. Back in April 2021 the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos—a bald man—announced that the online retail giant was opening a hair salon. The move didn’t make a lot of sense on the surface, but as I wrote then:
“Amazon is using its own brick-and-mortar locations to slowly test out a bunch of cool shit that it thinks will be the future of the in-store shopping experience. Then I presume the plan is to scale up by making these innovations the industry standard. Must-haves for all physical retail. Amazon already dominates the online shopping space, this is their way of extending their reach into the real world. With augmented reality, ironically.”
“With Amazon Salon, it’s about having a brick-and-mortar location to experiment with new products and technology (i.e. augmented reality [AR]). This gives them the chance to see what works, what doesn’t, and ultimately, how best to scale what does work.”
Then in August, Amazon announced plans to open department-store-like retail locations (or “Amazon is building a Walmart” as I put it at the time) which seemed to confirm my theory. This week,
Bezos Amazon moved another piece on the chessboard with plans to open its first physical clothing store in California. “Amazon Style” will be kind of like Nordstrom, if Nordstrom was 2-3 times bigger and rigged with a bunch of technology created by Silicon Valley nerds meant to put everything the algorithm says you desire right in front of you. Or, kind of like that scene in Minority Report:
Ok, it’s nothing like that, but it is incorporating a bunch of those innovations I talked about last year. Customers will be able to use the Amazon Shopping app to sent items to pickup counters or fitting rooms where new tech will provide additional styles and recommendations that would arrive in “minutes” at the shopper’s request. Scannable QR codes will allow users to check sizes, colors, and customer reviews2. Customers will also get real-time recommendations as they shop based on their physical browsing behavior and preferences on the app. So actually, maybe it is a little like Minority Report.
P.S. Unrelated, but this photo of Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend has been making the Internet rounds lately.
Bezos is getting a lot of shit for his outfit, but people don’t seem to understand that extra tight everything is just standard operating procedure for Cubans in Miami.
→ Hialeah, FL is a lot of things. Hialeah is a city outside of Miami where you’ll find most of the male residents sporting a similar style to the dog above. Its original slogan was “All Ways Lead to Hialeah” and in a sense, that’s true for a large number of Cubans who fled the island for South Florida, and who now make up roughly 75% of the city’s population (good for the most Cuban city in the U.S.). At some point, those Cubans gave the city a new nickname, “La Ciudad que Progresa” or, “The City of Progress”, which is a local inside joke of sorts because Hialeah isn’t necessarily a bad neighborhood, per se, but it’s definitely not great.
But gringos don’t have to know that! Especially not when there’s a migration of tech and finance talent moving to Miami, where low inventory and rising real estate values are pricing people out. At least that seems to be billionaire developer Masoud Shojaee’s plan for Shoma Village, a new “luxury” apartment building in East Hialeah.
Trying to paint an apartment building as “luxury” in Hialeah? Fine. Talk about how it’s not just a city, it’s “feeling”? Sure, if that feeling is being in a foreign country (even if you speak some Spanish). But saying that “Many call Hialeah the Brooklyn of Miami”? You can’t tell, but I’m actually LOL’ing right now. Brooklyn is known for being very diverse and for hipsters, mostly (according to me). Hialeah, as I noted, is known for being made up of 75% Cubans (a number that seems very low to me) and hating communism. There is a stark contrast in culture. If a Brooklyn hipster walked up to a ventanita3 in Hialeah and tried to order whatever it is Brooklyn hipsters order at coffee shops in Brooklyn, Marisleysis behind the counter would look at he/him/them like them was just beamed down from a UFO. This is to say, if you’re a gringo considering moving to South Florida, do not be misled, Hialeah =/= Brooklyn.
→ Kanye West, job creator. I guess Kanye is upset that his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, is dating Pete Davidson? On a new song, he raps “God saved me from that crash / Just so I can beat Pete Davidson’s ass”. I think he’s referring to the car crash years like 15 years that led to Through The Wire (still fire btw), but I don’t see how that really makes any sense here. Maybe he just couldn’t think of anything to rhyme with ‘ass’ so he forced ‘crash’ in there lazily? In any case, hate him or love him, Kanye is creating jobs.
→ Don’t forget to tip your waiter! On New Year’s Eve, a couple of drunk douchebags down in Key West, FL thought it would be hiLaRioUs to set the Southernmost Buoy, which marks the southernmost point in the continental U.S., on fire via Christmas tree. I’ve seen what happens when you take a lighter to a Christmas tree. They are highly inflammable. Anyway, these 2 losers were seemingly going to get away with it until an Irish Kevin’s bartender was able to identify them from security camera footage that was making the Internet rounds. How was he able to pick them out on a night like NYE where Duvall Street was crawling with bar hoppers? They didn’t leave a tip. The police were soon able to locate and arrest the morons. To add insult to injury, the bar’s manager told the Miami Herald, “We could see them getting rejected from all the girls they were trying to hit on”. Better luck next time, ya dopes!
→ Louisiana Senate candidate rolls FAT blunts. “Every 37 seconds, someone is arrested for possession of marijuana. Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3M Americans for violating marijuana laws, over half of all drug arrests. Black people are 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. State waste $3.7B enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most people police are arresting aren’t dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me. I’m Gary Chambers and I’m running for the U.S. Senate, and I approve this message.”
I too approve this message.
Thanks for reading!