by John Walters

Money Talks And Bullshit Walks

What happened was: Major corporations such as Airbnb, Amazon, American Express, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Comcast, Commerce Bank, Dow Chemical, Marriott, Mastercard and Verizon all announced that they were halting donations to the GOP (should major corporations be allowed to donate to either party, I wonder? Hmmm.)

Then what happened was: Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Liz Cheney suddenly found themselves to have a conscience, either saying they would vote to impeach Trump or at least, in Mitch’s case, not defending Trump.

The money spoke. Their consciences? Their consciences?!? The fuuuuuuck outta here.

Below, that’s Kenneth Langone, who has done some marvelous philanthropic work. But also a Trump backer. Amazing to me how people like this let their wallets be their conscience and fancifully ignored every last aspect of Donald Trump’s character and behavior until it was almost too late.

Randy Rainbow Coalition

Almost too easy, but still brilliantly done by our old friend.

Nobody Died In Watergate

On Sunday I tweeted that Trump would be out of a job by Friday and that Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan and Josh Hawley would be gone in a month. Those predictions may have been a little over-caffeinated, but Trump is going to be impeached today. The first president to be impeached twice. This nation had two impeachment in its first 242 years and now it’s had two in less than 13 months.

As for those senators and representatives, stay tuned. I truly believe we are at the incipient stages of a plot for treason. Congressmen and women who aided and abetted the rioters, particularly in the planning stages, should be hanged. Seriously. But at the very, very least they must be expelled from Congress and never be allowed to run for public office again.


All the events of the past two weeks caused us to neglect noting the death of one of our favorite Suns (favorite sons), Paul Westphal. He died of complications from cancer at age 70 last week.

I fell in love with the NBA during the 1972-73 season. The Knicks were my team and their nemesis was the Boston Celtics. Although Jo Jo White and John Havlicek were the men in green I feared most, I remembered this 6’4″ rookie who’d come in off the bench and just be a major pain in the ass for my guys Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe.

(Future NBA coaches who’d lose to Michael Jordan in the Bulls in the NBA Finals: Westphal and Jerry Sloan)

Westphal, a SoCal native who attended USC (when UCLA was THE PLACE to play hoops… would love to know why he didn’t team up with Bill Walton to play for John Wooden…. Wooden, Walton, Westphal, it just alliteratively fits), played in Boston for three seasons and won one ring there.

Then Boston traded him to Phoenix. I didn’t think much of it until the Suns made it all the way to the NBA Finals and there were all these dudes on their fun team with great tans: Westphal, the Van Arsdale twins, Alvan Adams. They were positively tanorexic. It was as if Westy had gone to Canyon Ranch and never returned.

Two years later, my family moved to Phoenix. A year after that, my parents got us two tickets to a Suns-Celtics game as a Christmas present. I went with my brother to the old Madhouse on McDowell, Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as Westphal and the Suns were playing a Boston team with a phenomenal rookie, Larry Bird.

It’s the best NBA game I’ve ever personally witnessed. Here, in the first season of the three-pointer, two future Hall of Famers dueled. Entering the fourth quarter the men in green led 107-96, which sounds like a final sore an sounded even more like one back in that era. This was just a high-scoring, exciting game with a Finals atmosphere (both teams were great that season, winning 61 and 55 games, respectively).

Larry Bird would finish with 45 points. But Westy, not to be too much outdone, paced the Suns with 34 and led them back from that 11-point deficit. The final score? Phoenix 135, Boston 134.

Yes, the Gar Heard game from three seasons earlier, these same two teams in the NBA Finals, lives in fans’ memories. But this midseason classic that I was fortunate enough to witness had a playoff fervor. Again, the best game I’ve ever attended. And Westy was the hero. He would become a terrific NBA coach and is in the Hall of Fame. And now he’s gone. He’ll always be that tanned zephyr with the flowing brown locks to me.

A female sportswriter (of great renown) once noted offhandedly that he was, in her mind, the best-looking NBA player ever. One person’s opinion. But I never forgot that she said that to me.

The other thing about Westphal? He was universally liked and loved. You have to watch this above. As “Chuck” says, “That’s a perfect example of who he was.”

I remember watching this play as it happened. It was hilarious. The Suns had already clinched top spot in the West, had already won 60 games. This was the third-to-last game of the regular season. And they still pulled this one out, in Portland, 115-114. I remember sitting on my futon couch and howling with laughter.

We Nearly Overlooked This, Too

There’s still 1:20 to play in the quarter when this young man loses track of time and tosses a full-court shot. That goes in. This is hilarious. How many kids that age can even toss the ball that far? I know I couldn’t.

Don’t you love how he turns to his coach with that “My bad, I know” reaction? Man, as someone else on Twitter noted, he should’ve flashed the double-guns, gunslinger reaction, then put them back in his holsters. But that might be too much to ask from one defining moment.

And He’s Not Even A St. Bernard

You Hate To See It

In yesterday’s New York Times, an amusing story titled “Lost Passwords Lock Millionaires Out Of Their Bitcoin Futures”

Here is the lede, by Nathaniel Popper, and it’s fabulous:

Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer living in San Francisco, has two guesses left to figure out a password that is worth, as of this week, about $220 million.

The password will let him unlock a small hard drive, known as an IronKey, which contains the private keys to a digital wallet that holds 7,002 Bitcoin. While the price of Bitcoin dropped sharply on Monday, it is still up more than 50 percent from just a month ago, when it passed its previous all-time high of around $20,000.

The problem is that Mr. Thomas years ago lost the paper where he wrote down the password for his IronKey, which gives users 10 guesses before it seizes up and encrypts its contents forever. He has since tried eight of his most commonly used password formulations — to no avail.

“I would just lay in bed and think about it,” Mr. Thomas said. “Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.”

True story: A few years ago I bought two of these Bitcoin-related currencies. Also about that time I began, at long last, to keep a small notebook that had all of my passwords (but what if someone steals that notebook, you ask? I guess you just have to take that chance. It’s better than constantly having to create new passwords).

Just last Saturday, after not having taken a peek at either currency’s status in at least two years, I decided to check them out. One of them, Coinbase, had improved more than 700% since I bought it. The other, Bitstamp, has a new level of verification in which it asks for my social security number. Sorry, guy, no go. You can keep the money.

8 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. “As for those senators and representatives, stay tuned. I truly believe we are at the incipient stages of a plot for treason. Congressmen and women who aided and abetted the rioters, particularly in the planning stages, should be hanged. Seriously. But at the very, very least they must be expelled from Congress and never be allowed to run for public office again.” ABSO-F*CKIN-LUTELY! TRUTH TO POWER!

    Langone & his fellow corporate Trump asskissers make me almost as sick as the actual perpeTRAITORS. For the last 4 years, I’ve listened/watched him on CNBC excuse/defend/support Trump no matter what vile/despicable thing the “human garbage” sociopath said or did. But, NOW he tells us he didn’t see THIS coming. Just how dumb is Langone? Or how dumb does he think WE are?

  2. For the past year, pretty much the only place I read about Bitcoin is here. I do occasionally notice the numbers that CNBC displays now along with the DOW & NASDAQ, etc & maybe I imagined it last week since my attention was scattered flipping back & forth mostly between MSNBC & CNN but did not Bitcoin top $41,000? And did it not go UNDER $32,000 yesterday? I hope whatever you’re in, you can hop out quick. And BTW, what kind of “asset” or financial unit can be LOST FOREVER BECAUSE YOU FORGOT/MISPLACED YOUR FREAKIN PASSWORD?! Whoops, so soorrrry, but we lost the “key” to Ft Knox, gold is now worthless! 🙂

    I truly hope you’ve made a fortune (& have cashed out most already) but “Bitcoin” & its brethren are a load of crap.

    And speaking of stuff I don’t understand – TESLA. Not just the INSANE rise on the stock but the cars themselves. The price of gas would have to top $30/gallon & I’d still have to drive 10 times the amount I do (disregarding this past pandemic year) to even get close to justifying the price of their cheapest car. And unless the quality has vastly improved, these vehicles aren’t exactly problem-free. I believe the stock price will crater at least 40% over the next year. And if the entire market “corrects”? Ooh boy, look out below. Honestly, if you planned to live somewhere the next 10 years in a place with a garage (where you can install the special charging outlet), would you actually buy one of these cars? Even if you put 200 miles (!) a DAY on your car commuting between all your jobs, would it justify spending $50-90k? Of course, some folks spend that much on high-priced gas guzzlers, which I think is equally crazy, but at least they can take a road trip & not worry about where to “plug in”.

    And before you say “it’s for the environment”, child puhleaze. The same folks forking over the big bucks for these cars are the same ones flying either on private jets or just on multiple regular flights. How much does aviation fuel “hurt the environment”? I spent exactly $412 on gas in 2019 & $436 in 2018. Who “hurt the environment” more?

    Sure, I want to “help the environment” & if Hybrids didn’t cost $5000 MORE than my car, I’d buy one the next time I buy a new car (scheduled for 2028 or 2029 🙂 ) . Otherwise, I’ll probably wait till the price of gas tops $10.

    • As always, Susie B., thank you for commmenting. It bolsters the quality of the site. And I agree with you on Kenneth Langone and all the other Capt. Renault types who are “shocked to learn that there is gambling taking place in this establishment.” May they rot in hell. Soon.

      As for your investment takes, allow me to quote Victor Laszlo: “You sound like a man who is trying to convince himself of something he doesn’t really believe.”

      Why are you so chapped that people have made a killing on Tesla and Bitcoin? You should know as well as anyone that there’s no finish line in the stock market. Buy low, sell high. That’s what I hear.

      So if someone (not me) is up 900% on Tesla or 500% on Bitcoin in the past 12 months, what do you care? Because some day either of these stocks/currencies will implode? Were you sounding the same warnings on Exxon or General Electric? Why not?

      The trajectory of Tesla or Bitcoin may not be any different than those blue chips, it’s simply more accelerated. And just because you don’t understand why those stocks are working doesn’t mean that they’re not working. Go ahead and be smart; those investors are rich. Scoreboard, Susie B. Scoreboard.

      And if they get out before these stocks plummet while also having made their lives appreciably better in the meantime, good for them. There are a lot of people who stuck around owning GE too long. Or Kodak. Preach to them, too.

      To quote someone who is not a Casablanca character…allow me to quote David Bowie: “And these children that you spit on/As they try to change their world/Are immune to your consultations/They’re quite aware what they’re going through.”

      Ahhhhh. That felt good. Have a nice day!

      • I’m surprised & disappointed with your reply. You chose to misconstrue or just ignore what I actually wrote. “Chapped” at people who have “made a killing” in those 2 stocks? LOL, do I grunt in anger at lottery winners? I could care less at the good fortune so far bestowed on the ‘winners’, despite the fact that many of the biggest fanboys of these stocks (& cars) are unbearably arrogant & obnoxious jerks. (As for you, I’ve NEVER stated anything here but wild happiness for any & all your financial gains. REPEATEDLY).

        I’m concerned about the masses that have bought into the hype & the stocks the past few months after seeing nothing but “BITCOIN-BITCOIN-BITCOIN-TESLA-TESLA-TESLA” on every financial TV channel & website the last 7 or so months. They mistakenly believe these ‘stocks’ are “sure things” & they too can be the guy who put in $40K & became a millionaire in mere months. Thus they’ve “invested” half or all of their & their family’s life savings. These are the folks who ALWAYS are left holding the bag when the bubbles burst. They get in too late & stay too long. Some are so sucked in that they bought on the margin, putting themselves & families at huge risk of financial ruin. Some have never bought stocks before & think they are now “set for life”. When the inevitable correction/collapse comes, it will be brutal.

        Sure, the stock market “game” is a “eat what you kill”/”if you can’t stand the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen” environment but I detest seeing people taken advantaged of.

        Except for a few ‘Bitcoin/schmitcoin” throwaway remarks & my utter disdain of Elon Musk, I have not written here about either stock or company the past year until yesterday. I do believe most cryptocurrency “stocks” & TSLA are wildly overvalued at the moment & was trying to impart a warning.

        As for TESLA, my comment was mostly about the business itself & the product (the cars). Granted, I am NOT a “car person” & the idea of spending such a chunk of money on a depreciating asset is just NOT my can of Diet Pepsi (I don’t like “tea”). But I just can’t see the overvaluation in a company whose customer base is severely limited due to the price of their product. This was your chance to say I was “all wrong & that the cars are dream vehicles that endow upon the drivers mystical powers & the ability to eat whatever you want & never gain weight” etc, etc. 😉

        You & I have always differed in our approach to “investing” in the stock market – I’m a long term investor & you are more of a trader. Nothing “wrong” with either & with both, one can experience massive gains AND massive losses.

        I do have one final question – has Bitcoin (or the various “currencies”) or TSLA ever DOUBLED in ONE DAY? The fact that I own such a stock makes me smile. That it’s one of my WORST stock picks of the last 5 freakin years make me double over in guffaws.

        Live long and PROSPER, jdubs.

        • Now Susie B.,

          At the risk of sending you into hibernation for an extended period of time (it is winter, though), is there anyone on this site, myself or a commenter, who reports his/her great-moments-in-investing more than you do? I didn’t even know the term “-bagger” until you came around.

          So what makes those fanboys “unbearably arrogant & obnoxious jerks?” The fact that they’re gleeful that their stock picks did so well?

          • Ah, now I see. I take it you don’t frequent FIRE blogs/websites? For the past 9 years or so, I’ve visited many & some on a regular basis. BTW, I’ve commented on one of these sites just once, my “loyalty” is to MH ( 🙂 ). Anyhoo, many of the most loquacious of the commenters on these sites are males with a lust for all things TESLA. Despite the DEMAND that everything else in one’s life should be guided by utmost frugality. And it’s NOT that these guys are gleeful about the stock increase, it’s that they proclaim everybody who did NOT invest is a “loser”/idiot”. And they crow as if they (& they alone) knew it would skyrocket & that they aren’t just fortunate (for the time being) from a bubble but that they are somehow investing GENIUSES. Would I enjoy seeing these fools get their asses handed to them? You betcha.

            My investing “prowess” is based on an ability to read, analyze a bit & most of all, not just take but handle the risks & possibilities of seeing one’s account balance plummet by a third in a month (Feb-Mar 2020) or by more than 50% in 8 months (Apr-Nov 2008). Other than that, I’ve been LUCKY to ride the historic bull market of the past decade. Do I shout with glee & occasionally do the “dance of joy”? Again, you betcha. Because I’ve experienced the “other side” & know how fortunate I am.

            BTW, DDD is up another 19% today! I haven’t laughed as much about anything the past 10 months except Rainbow Randy’s musical offerings & some of your topic headlines. In fact, I’ve been thinking that if ever do buy the bassett I’ve wanted for decades, instead of naming him “Snookums” or “Sweet Cheeks”, I might name the DOG “3-D”. 🙂

          • I don’t even know what a FIRE website is. But if there’s a constantly annoying website, besides this one, why would I ever visit it more than once?

  3. It’s not most of the FIRE websites themselves that are awful, it’s some in their “commenter communities”. Unfortunately, from time to time, they dominate. I did drop one of the biggest FIRE sites years ago because I just couldn’t take the blogger & many of his cult-like “follower-commenters”. But when I like the lead writer(s) & usually enjoy reading most of the comments, why would I stop? Plus, the arrogant jerks keep me informed of the direction some are thinking & information is good to know!

    FIRE stands for the “Financial Independence/Retire Early” movement. I 1st started reading them in 2012 when looking for sites that discussed saving & investing. I find many of the core ideas on the extreme & unrealistic side for most people but reading how others handle their finances kept me even more determined on my own path. My fave site prints interviews of “millionaires” where they answer the blogger’s list of set questions. Very Enlightening! And fascinating to see how various people of different ages compiled their 7-figure (or more) networth. Different jobs, different incomes, different areas of the country (& world), different forms of investing – largely index funds for this crowd, but also stocks, mutual funds, direct real estate & real estate syndication. Reading of others’ struggles & victories helped keep me motivated the past 10 years. Sort of like a weight loss support group. Except I just lurk there. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *