Blog Archives

Lessons from King Lear with a Little Kurt Vonnegut Thrown In

King Lear

“I am a man more sinned against than sinning”

William Shakespeare, King Lear 

Last week’s events made me think about how important it is to understand people’s personality profiles if you are going to be relying on them.

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Feliz Covidad - My End of 2020 Rant!

“Oh what a tangled web we weave.”

-Sir Walter Scott

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, we would all love to put Covid behind us. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t work on a calendar.

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Learning from 9/11 to Speculate on the Future of Offices

Office air quality

Before action is taken it first must manifest as a thought, however fleeting. And, if actions are part of a more strategic thought process seeking to produce longer-term results, then thoughts are almost always translated into speech and/or writing in order to communicate the thinking and desired outcomes to others who may be necessary or valuable to help bring the desired outcome(s) about.

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Many Pictures Tell a Story - The Fed

This week will be another one focused on charts and graphs that caught my attention. The emphasis will be on the story of the Fed remaining very dovish in spite of what appears to be some pockets of economic strength (e.g. housing, commodities, semiconductors),

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Let's Get Real

COVID19 Vaccine Stimulus Jobs Numbers

The jobs report released on Friday was disappointing. 

Job growth has seriously slowed - economists react to 'disappointing' November employment report December 4, 2020

Disappointing Job Growth

Perhaps the report shouldn’t have been such a surprise on the downside based on this chart.

Meager Bounce for Job Hunting Searches in November 2020 Oct 1, 2019 - Feb 1, 2021

It would appear that job seekers are less confident about their prospects as they have significantly reduced their searches.

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Maximum Flexibility - Work from Anywhere

Maximum Flexiblity Work from Anywhere

The following chart shows that people are the most comfortable returning to work within a month or less as compared to other activities. The percentage is 65% so there is still a substantial minority who are still concerned about returning to their previous work environment. 

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A Brutal Dichotomy: Time For Another Meaningful Stimulus?

Brutal Dichotomy: Tightening Fed Stimulus

Fiscal stimulus has now started to contract while the Fed’s monetary support for the economy has tightened quite significantly over the last three months. See what the following charts show:

U.S. Fiscal Thrust Policy Expansionary Policy Contractionary Stimulus

Fed Balance Sheet Impulse 10-2020 Stimulus

The following is from The Washington Post and shows how significant the support for the unemployed has been and how it will drop materially if no stimulus package is passed.

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Blast to the Future

Beirut Blast @michaeltanchum

World's Top 5 Most Powerful Explosions

What happened in Beirut was absolutely horrific. As the graphic above shows, it is considered to be the most powerful non-nuclear explosion in history. To put the power of the blast in context, the Oklahoma City bombers used two tons of ammonium nitrate while Beirut’s ignited approximately 2,750 tons! 

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O(y) IL VEY

oil vey

Yet again we have witnessed something unprecedented. As the following two charts show, we have never had negative oil prices until last week. Oil has never been cheaper on an inflation-adjusted basis than it is today.

Cost of a barrel of oil in nominal terms 1870 - 2020

Cost of a barrel of oil in real USD terms 1870 - 2020

Source: Marketwatch

And while under “normal” circumstances this would be great for the consumer,

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Revisiting the Spanish Flu: What Can a Dire Pandemic Look Like?

Pandemics

I’m admittedly obsessed by pandemics. I’ve been listening to the course on the Black Death via the Great Courses, I was in China at the tail end of SARS in 2003 and was intensely focused on what life was like during that time there, and of course,

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