Why Joe hates Ralph, and it's not because Ralph dated Agnetha Fältskog

2 brothers save same, end up $234K apart

Joe, who started saving for retirement at age 30 in 1975 and retired at age 65. Joe's younger brother, Ralph, also started saving at age 30, but does so four years later. You'll soon see why Joe hates Ralph, and it's not because Ralph briefly dated Abba's Agnetha Fältskog while visiting relatives in Sweden. Joe invested all his retirement money in the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index and reinvested his dividends. So did Ralph. Each of them earned the median family income — half is higher, half lower. For Joe, that started at $11,800 in 1975, or $46,453, adjusted for inflation. For Ralph, who starts saving in 1979, that's $16,461, or $49,225 adjusted for inflation. Wage growth was a real thing in the 1970s. Both Joe and Ralph saved 10% of their income each year for retirement. We use nominal dollars for our calculation — that is, not adjusted for inflation — because those are the kind of dollars you get deducted from your paycheck. Why does Joe hate Ralph? Because Joe retired with $672,000 in his retirement account, while Ralph left work with $906,000 — a difference of $234,000. As can only happen in Exampleland, both Joe and Ralph had identical savings plans, but they would end up with vastly different results. The reason was entirely due to accidents of birth. Joe retired at the end of 2009, shortly after the worst bear market since the Great Depression, while Ralph, who retired at the end of 2013, had time for his investments to recover and even grow larger.
Comments: Interesting to me because Ralph and I share our birthyear. Ralph is already retired and I am not. Ralph started retirement savings at 30. Me at 44 (a big mistake - although I did make some  half-hearted attempts earlier). I'm not giving my numbers ... but I'm better off than Ralph (I presume because of a higher income)


On Tim Cook's "I’m proud to be gay" announcement

Tim Cook Speaks Up

Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them. At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today. For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky. While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
  • I "came out" when Anderson Cooper did. I announced I was heterosexual! 
  • We live in a pluralistic society where people are able to freely make lifestyle choices. I'm cool with that
  • As a Christian I believe that choices have consequences because ultimately all of us will stand before God. I chose to get married and live in a monogamous committed relationship. 
  • Tim Cook's announcement won't impact my view of Apple or its products. I am both an investor and a consumer. 


Apple Pay - The Way Forward for Secure and Easy Payments

Apple Pay Review: Easy to Use, but Still Hard to Find


To set up Apple Pay on an iPhone 6, tap the plus sign in the included Passbook app. You only have to do this once: The app will prompt you to add one of your existing credit cards by typing in its digits or snapping a photo. Apple Pay works with most existing major credit and debit cards, which you can add to your phone in a matter of minutes. The exceptions are cards from some smaller banks, store-branded cards and corporate cards. At the store, look for an Apple Pay logo, or more likely the universal contactless payment logo—a sideways Wi-Fi symbol with a hand approaching it. Once you’re rung up, hold your iPhone near the credit-card terminal. You don’t have to tap or swipe—the connection happens over a wireless system called near-field communication, or NFC. When your iPhone gets close enough, an image of your credit cards appears on its screen, even if the phone is asleep or you’re playing “ Candy Crush Saga . ” If you’re ready to pay, lightly put your finger on the Touch ID sensor to approve it. If you want to pick a card other than your designated default card, just tap one, then do the finger scan. Nobody else’s finger will work unless you’ve registered that person’s print on your phone. (I tried.) At most stores, that’s it—you’re done. A few might ask you to sign a receipt or punch in your debit card’s PIN. In my tests, only one sales clerk got confused, and we figured it out together. Contrast that with an experience I had earlier this year with the competing PayPal app while heading to lunch with colleagues. PayPal had hired people to stand in front of the restaurant, telling people they’d get $5 off if they paid with its app. But doing that required downloading the app, remembering your PayPal password, finding the restaurant in the app then tapping to pay there. Most of my friends decided they’d rather forgo $5 than pay by phone. Google Wallet and Softcard, a joint effort of AT&T , T-Mobile and Verizon that work on some NFC-equipped Android phones, aren’t much better. Both require you to unlock your phone and type a code into an app. That¹s too many steps to be convenient.
How to Try Apple Pay Today—and Where to Use It 

Comments: I don't shop enough to need it. I'm sure that my next IPhone will be an Apple Pay enabled devices - but that is several years away.  

Check Fraud Ring: Meat Salesman, Bank Manager, Recruiters, Runners, and Check Manufacturers

Bank manager, teller among 28 charged in massive check fraud, says U.S. attorney in Minneapolis Excerpt:

The conspirators included the branch manager of a TCF Bank in Crystal, a teller at another local bank, a door-to-door meat salesman, and three men who used portable machines to crank out about 1,500 counterfeit checks. Together, along with more than 20 others, they conducted a massive bank fraud operation, stealing or attempting to steal some $2 million from 48 banks and check-cashing offices in Minnesota, Georgia, Oregon, Florida and North Dakota. U.S. Attorney Andy Luger announced at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon the federal indictment of 25 people, and federal criminal charges against three others, in connection with the scheme that started in and continued until September of last year. Some of those arrested made first court appearances an hour before the news conference. About 75 federal, state and local law enforcement officers from 12 agencies were involved in the investigation under the auspices of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, which is coordinated out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis. The task forced traced what appeared to be individual unrelated counterfeit checks passed at an array of banks back to “a large network of individuals engaging in identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering,” according to a search warrant filed by Ryan Arnold, a special agent with the Secret Service who was assigned to the task force. The search warrant describes extensive surveillance of the criminal enterprise, including individuals going in and out of banks to cash fake checks. Authorities attached GPS devices to several vehicles to track the operatives. One of the people whose identity was stolen was a young woman who posted her photo on Instagram tagged #myfirstpaycheck, where people post pictures of themselves and their first paychecks. The criminal enterprise took information from the photo to create counterfeit checks. Another man, Timothy Tilmam, went door-to-door selling meat. When people wrote him checks for the meat, Tilman passed the identification information on the checks to individuals who the created phony checks that were cashed at banks. The enterprise was divided into three categories of criminals, which included three individuals who manufactured the checks, and 12 “recruiters” who found seven “runners” who went into bank offices to cash the checks, or deposit them into new accounts they created in their own names. In addition, there were two bank employees and the meat salesman.
Comment: Interesting to me because: I'm in banking, it's local, it's complex, and I can't believe they thought they could get away with it.

Baseball was a better game when the games were shorter - or why it's hard to watch anymore

Why no one cares about the World Series anymore

This year’s World Series has great characters and storylines. So why are so few Americans captivated by the drama? The dynamic, too-young-to-worry Royals that brought Kansas City its first pennant since 1985 and the colorful, resourceful San Francisco Giants back to their third Series in five years have split the first two games. Yet the ratings for Fox’s game one broadcast were the lowest for a Series opener since the Fall Classic was first televised in 1947, continuing a steady, decade-long slide in the television audience for postseason baseball. Have Americans, in their 21st century over-stimulated haste, at last lost their patience for the leisurely pace of the game? “It has now become widely acknowledged,” says Yahoo Finance contributor Henry Blodget in the attached video, “that even Major League Baseball is starting to recognize just the pace of the game takes forever.” While he notes that some game-hastening rules are being tested in the minor leagues, in the majors long breaks, tedious pitcher rituals and TV cutaways cause games to drag. This year the typical game in the majors this season exceeded three hours, the longest average duration ever. Three decades ago, games were almost a half-hour shorter. MLB, an otherwise thriving industry in terms of attendance and revenues, understands this problem and its newly elected Commissioner Rob Manfred has assigned a committee to figure out ways to quicken the pace of play.
Comment: Contrast the 1967 and 2013 World Series times.

My own family: My wife will watch a football game with me. We stayed up and watched Monday night football as it went into overtime last night.

Quantitative Easing - No Losers?

How well did the Fed's stimulus work? A look back at Fed's QE: Critics warned of disaster, but most economists say program worked


Soaring inflation. A collapsing dollar. Bubbles in financial markets that would soon pop. One presidential candidate even suggested that the Federal Reserve chairman should be roughed up. Over the past five years, as the Fed has pumped ever-more money into the financial system, critics have warned that it would lead to all kinds of disasters. Yet the central bank kept extending its bond-buying program, known by the wonky name of quantitative easing, or QE. It was an unprecedented effort aimed at lowering borrowing costs, encouraging spending and reviving a dormant economy before it could slip back into recession. Now, $4 trillion later, QE is drawing to a close, so the question is: Did it work? Economists have plenty of quibbles, but many agree that the Fed accomplished the bulk of its goals. ... Here's what has actually happened since Bernanke made the case for the Fed's expanded effort in August 2010:
  • The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 percent, the lowest level since July 2008. Back in August 2010, it was 9.6 percent.
  • The stock market has soared. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has returned 101 percent, powered by a stronger economy, higher spending and record corporate profits.
  • The dollar has held up against most major currencies. One widely used measure, the dollar index, is 3 percent higher.
  • Inflation has remained tame, despite all the warnings. Over the past year, overall prices have climbed a modest 1.7 percent, still below the 2 percent annual increase that the Fed targets.
Comment: For another article that addresses QE and the stock market see this link. Here's my take and the winners:
  • The investor and
  • Most of them are the wealthy
On the losers:
  • Frankly I was a naysayer on Quantitative Easying.
  • My hypothesis is that the middle class and the lower class are the QE losers. You cannot just pump that much $$ into the system without some negative consequences. Because it has not been observed yet does not mean it will not occur. 


Ebola, Quarantines, and Constitutional Rights

NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others

Alarmed by the case of an Ebola-infected New York doctor, the governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine of all medical workers and other arriving airline passengers who have had contact with victims of the deadly disease in West Africa. The first person to fall under the order was a health care worker returning Friday from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. By Friday evening, she had developed a fever and was being evaluated, New Jersey officials said.
Nurse Detained in New Jersey for Ebola Calls Conditions ‘Really Inhumane’ - Kaci Hickox to Challenge Quarantine; Still Shows No Ebola Symptoms Excerpt:

The nurse detained in New Jersey after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has retained lawyers to challenge a mandatory quarantine in a hospital where she said Sunday the conditions are “really inhumane.” Norman Siegel, a prominent civil rights attorney in New York City, said he planned to file a lawsuit to lift the order keeping Kaci Hickox, a 33-year-old Doctors Without Borders nurse, under quarantine.
Christie Defends Mandatory Ebola Quarantine for Health-Care Workers Excerpt:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday stood by a decision to impose a mandatory 21-day quarantine for health-care workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, while a top health-care official said the move wasn’t justified by science. New Jersey is one of four states that have instituted quarantines for travelers who have had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa—measures that go beyond enhanced protocols the federal government has endorsed. “I absolutely have no second thoughts about it,” Mr. Christie said on Fox News Sunday.
Comment: Interesting. I agree with the decision to quarantine. Image source


9 States that will Determine the next US Senate

Wall Street Journal graphic

Comments: Watch these 9 races. Sadly the MN Senate seat does not look close.

The Best Day to Buy Airline Tickets: Sunday .... 57 days before travel

The Best Day to Buy Airline Tickets


The lower Sunday and Saturday prices also result from the ability social media has given airlines to throw discounts in front of consumers at any time. That turns vacation shoppers surfing the Web on weekends into ticketed passengers without discounting tickets business travelers might buy while at work. And the findings reflect the lack of corporate sales over the weekend, since business travelers typically fly on more expensive tickets than vacation buyers.
Comment: Image source.  (Nice retro ticket)


Ebola: World "in the eye of a storm" ... "disaster of our generation"

Ebola is 'disaster of our generation' says aid agency


Aid agency Oxfam on Saturday said Ebola could become the "definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation", as US President Barack Obama urged against "hysteria" in the face of the growing crisis. Oxfam, which works in the two worst-hit countries -- Liberia and Sierra Leone -- called for more troops, funding and medical staff to be sent to tackle the west African epicentre of the epidemic. Chief executive Mark Goldring warned that the world was "in the eye of a storm". "We cannot allow Ebola to immobilise us in fear, but... countries that have failed to commit troops, doctors and enough funding are in danger of costing lives," he said. The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly virus has so far killed more than 4,500 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but isolated cases have now begun to appear in Europe and the United States. "The Ebola crisis could become the definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation," a spokesperson for the British-based charity said as it appealed for EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to do more.
Comment: Image source

Ebola's "super-spreader" event infected 14 women at a funeral

Outbreak in Sierra Leone Is Tied to Single Funeral Where 14 Women Were Infected


Sierra Leone’s explosion of Ebola cases in early summer appears to stem from one traditional healer’s funeral at which 14 women were infected, according to scientists studying the blood of victims. The funeral, which took place in mid-May, constitutes a “super-spreader” event comparable to one in 2003 in a Hong Kong hotel in which one doctor from China dying of SARS infected nine other guests who spread the virus throughout the city and to Vietnam and Canada. The funeral was in Koindu, a diamond-mining town across the border from Guéckédou in Guinea, where the outbreak is thought to have begun in December, and the healer was known for treating victims of a mysterious illness that turned out to be Ebola. The funeral’s central role, which local doctors had anecdotally suspected, was confirmed by geneticists at the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard who sequenced the virus found in 78 patients treated at Kenema Government Hospital in northeastern Sierra Leone, near the borders with Liberia and Guinea, two countries that are also at the heart of the outbreak.  ... “It’s frightening that a single event could catalyze a whole outbreak, but that’s what it looks like happened,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a renowned virus hunter at Columbia University, who called the study “a really nice piece of work.” The scientists not only found that all 78 had virus traceable to funeral guests, but also showed that the West African Ebola strain was quite different from a strain that has been circulating thousands of miles away in Central Africa since 1976, and that the two probably diverged as far back as 2004.
Comment: Image source. Information on Koindu Sierra Leone


Imagine the Ebola-as-weapon scenario

Six Reasons to Panic


Do you really want to be scared? What’s to stop a jihadist from going to Liberia, getting himself infected, and then flying to New York and riding the subway until he keels over? This is just the biological warfare version of a suicide bomb. Can you imagine the consequences if someone with Ebola vomited in a New York City subway car? A flight from Roberts International in Monrovia to JFK in New York is less than $2,000, meaning that the planning and infrastructure needed for such an attack is relatively trivial. This scenario may be highly unlikely. But so were the September 11 attacks and the Richard Reid attempted shoe bombing, both of which resulted in the creation of a permanent security apparatus around airports. We take drastic precautions all the time, if the potential losses are serious enough, so long as officials are paying attention to the threat.
Comment: Image source. We should shut down all travel from West Africa.
See Boehner: Ban Flights From West Africa to Stop Ebola Spread


"If you have $3,650, you’re among the wealthiest half of people in the world"

Are you among the world's wealthiest?


  • The average person is worth $56,000.
  • If you have $3,650, including the value of your home, you’re among the wealthiest half of people in the world. (This is net wealth - so, once debts have been subtracted.) The other half own less than 1pc of global wealth, while 77pc of adults - that’s 3.3bn people - have less than $10,000.
  • The top 10pc of people - membership requirement is $77,000 - hold 87pc of the world’s wealth.
  • You need $798,000 to make it into the top percentile of the world’s wealthiest. This select group accounts for almost half - 48.2pc - of global assets.
Comment: Image source - Scrooge McDuck. Scriptural perspective:

  • Luke 12:15-21, "And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”"
  • I Timothy 6:6-10, "But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.


An Apple fell on Finland - Steve Jobs took their jobs

Finland Blames Apple for Economic Problems


On CNBC this morning, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb pointed to Apple as a major reason for the decline of the country’s largest export industries – paper and IT/mobile, and in particular, Apple’s effect on the outlook for cell phone maker Nokia. A former leader in the space, the company’s device and services business was officially acquired by Microsoft last spring. “Paradoxically, one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the paper industry, but we’ll make a comeback,” said Stubb. .. It’s not often that you see a single company blamed for the economic struggles of an entire country. But Stubb, who was installed as prime minister at the end of June, has put Apple in the scapegoat position before. In July, he remarked at a press conference in Stockholm, “Steve Jobs took our jobs, but this is beginning to change.” Last week, financial rating service Standard and Poor's downgraded Finland's sovereign debt rating to AA+ from AAA, bringing Stubbs opinions of Apple’s impact on the Finnish economic state once again to the fore.
Comment: And Henry Ford killed the buggy whip industry! (And the Internet (and email) killed the Post Office)

Mark Cuban: Student Loan "easy money" creating a bubble

Limit student loans to improve economy

The best way to fix the student loan bubble is to limit the allotted amount of loans each student is allowed to receive each year to no more than $10,000, Cuban said, adding that a cap on student debt would force universities to lower tuition and curb spending. Rising tuition costs don't help the economy as much as increasing students' purchasing power-a college may just use the extra cash to "build a better fitness center at your school." Tuition revenue is "just easy money and easy money goes to a college administrators' head just as much as anybody else, Cuban said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Monday. Anytime you create easy money, you're gonna create a bubble or inflation and that's what's happening with college tuition, Cuban said.
Comment: Image source. EZ student loans inflates tuition, makes slaves out of students, hurts the housing market and the economy.A related article - Major Debt Shift for Millenials


Cash Balance Plan: The Annuity Option

Cash balance retirement plans: Annuity options

If you're retiring from a company with a cash balance retirement plan, take the time to analyze your payout options. While many people take a lump sum payout, the annuity option might be best for you. ... So when you retire, should you take your account and roll it over to another type of account that could generate a monthly income for you, such as an IRA or annuity, or should you elect to have the plan pay you the monthly annuity? One way to come up with the best answer to this question is to compare the monthly income you would get from your employer's cash balance plan to the annuity income you'd get if you took the lump sum payout and bought an annuity from an insurance company. IRS rules specify the minimum requirements for converting cash balance accounts to an annuity; these minimum conversion rates are usually more favorable to you than the annuity purchase rates you could get if you buy the annuity on your own. And some employers go beyond the minimum requirements and offer even better deals on the annuity. ... Note that a cash balance plan pays the same amount for a man or a woman, due to federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in employer-sponsored plans. On the other hand, an insurance company is allowed to pay a smaller retirement income to a woman because they expect a woman to live longer than a man
Comment: Website with a quick annuity quote: www.immediateannuities.com.  The annuity quotes from our work cash balance plan system beat the quotes from this site. We may take the annuity option because it is guaranteed money vs the risks of the stock market (rolling into an IRA and investing it). If we live a long time the annuity is a better option .. if we die shortly after retirement it is not. And of course as this article reminds, one never knows. Or as the Scriptures say: "you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14)

Tyrel Oates' email to the whole company

Wells Fargo employee e-mails pay complaint to CEO, co-workers

It’s a move that many employees frustrated about their pay probably have dreamed about doing but wouldn’t dare attempt — send a complaint letter to the CEO and copy thousands of co-workers on the e-mail. One brazen Wells Fargo employee in Oregon did exactly that this week. In his letter, 30-year-old Tyrel Oates tells CEO John Stumpf that Wells Fargo can be a leader in reducing income inequality in the U.S. by distributing more profits to employees.
Wells Fargo Employee Calls Out CEO's Pay, Requests Company-Wide Raise In Brave Email Excerpt:

When most employees want a raise, they schedule a meeting with their supervisor or reach out to human resources. A Wells Fargo employee took a markedly different approach: He emailed the CEO -- along with 200,000 co-workers -- asking for a $10,000 raise for everyone in the company.
The Email

Comments: I don't think it went to the entire company. I didn't get it .. Kathee didn't get it. My understanding (and I work closely enough with the process to have some knowledge of it) is that there is a limit to the number of people that can be on an email. In my job function I have to periodically send an email to 500-600 people: and this has to be in a distribution list that has its access secured and only a group with access to the list can add or delete from the list or send to the list. I emailed the CEO once thanking him for a stock bonus that went out to every employee.


Don't Fish in the Toilet and other Toilet Issues

Why Many Indians Can’t Stand to Use the Toilet

“Many people regard open defecation as part of a wholesome, healthy, virtuous life,” a recent study conducted in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh found. Researchers at the New Delhi-based Research Institute for Compassionate Economics added that the practice is “not widely recognized among rural north Indians as a threat to health.” Those five northern Indian states account for 45% of the country’s households without a toilet, according to data from the 2011 census. But even in homes where toilets were installed, many people still prefer to go outside. The RICE study found that out of 3,235 rural homes, 43% had a working toilet. Of those, over 40% had at least one member of the household who nevertheless opted to defecate in the open. When asked why, almost 75% said they did so because it was pleasurable, comfortable and convenient.

Chinese hotel puts up hilarious posters telling guests how to use a Western-style toilet (handstands are a no-no and FISHING is strictly prohibited)


The unnamed hotel responded to the guest's comment, saying: 'There are certainly people that would use the toilet by putting their feet on the toilet seat. 'So, while laughing to your heart's content, be sure to follow the rules on how to use the toilet.' Toilets in the Far East are usually suitable for squatting, so it's not surprising that instructions were required to show users the right way to use a seated loo
Comment: We have a cat who plays in the toilet


Carl Icahn: Apple the "modern day [technology] Secretariat"

Sale: Apple Shares at Half Price


Apple’s ecosystem has come to play an important role in the daily life of Apple users, and while Apple continues to make impressive strides to improve it, the competition falls behind in what is arguably the most important race of this technological era. Analogizing Apple to a modern day Secretariat, as this race continues, the further the distance grows between Apple and Google (and Google’s hardware partners) in the premium device category. Its leading ecosystem of products and services, added to peerless hardware design and quality, differentiates Apple from a simple hardware company. And, with its users consistently upgrading to the newest version of iOS (92% of iOS devices, iPhones and iPads, on iOS 7 prior to the launch of iOS 8), Apple is able to offer its users the most up to date software and service experience, while Android can’t because it’s hindered by relatively high fragmentation among its operating system versions. App developers appreciate the difference, which is why they often choose to make an App for iOS prior to (or instead of) Android. During a recent interview, you referred to Google and only Google as your competition, as no other operating system can gain enough scale in Apps to be relevant. Furthermore, you also described how, in contrast to Apple, Google’s business model relies on advertising, which will increasingly expose products that run Android to serious privacy concerns. Considering all of this, combined with their inability to merge a superior brand, hardware, software, services, fashion and retail stores, Google and its hardware partners will remain disadvantaged in the premium device market. As this is realized, we expect that Apple will gain market share, that those gains will translate into earnings growth in line with our forecasts, and in turn translate into multiple expansion.
Comment: Agreed. We are long on Apple. Icahn image source from Amazon.  Secretariat image source. I imagine in the image above that Secretariat is looking back at Microsoft, Google, IBM, and others!


Retirement Checklist

8 Things You Must Do Before You Retire


  1. Dial back on stocks now
  2. Raise cash
  3. Set a realistic retirement budget
  4. Play out Social Security scenarios
  5. Figure out how you’ll pay for health care
  6. Begin the rollover process
  7. Sign up for Medicare
  8. Get a running start
Comment: Link above is to a helpful article in Money magazine this month. As for us we are approximately 18 months out (one never knows - James 4:15, "instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."). But one has to plan and then commit oneself to the Lord.

What we are doing:
  • This past month I completed a thorough insurance review and changed insurance carriers to a lower cost option with higher benefits (eg the house coverage goes up $ 33,000 and the umbrella coverage goes up another $ 1M)
  • Later this month we will be having the wills redone. The last wills (one is needed for both husband and wife) were done with an CD based product about 15 years ago. And we have never had health care directives or powers of attorney set up.
  • I've investigated our cash balance plan options and we made a decision about how to handle those (the options are either take annuities with guaranteed payouts or roll over the monies into IRAs)
  • Also I have been researching Medicare. (this is complex)
  • We have decided to postpone the planned move into a condominium for at least two years. Our house is in good shape. We agreed that if the snow plowing becomes onerous that we will hire that out. I am planning on plowing this winter and the plow will be put on the last Friday of this month
  • We have older siblings who have tread this path before and they are resources for us with regard to medicare and investment options.


The Ebola Virus: How it was discovered and how it was named

'In 1976 I discovered Ebola - now I fear an unimaginable tragedy'

We had no idea how dangerous the virus was. And there were no high-security labs in Belgium. We just wore our white lab coats and protective gloves. When we opened the Thermos, the ice inside had largely melted and one of the vials had broken. Blood and glass shards were floating in the ice water. We fished the other, intact, test tube out of the slop and began examining the blood for pathogens, using the methods that were standard at the time.

... Why Ebola? On that day our team sat together late into the night – we had also had a couple of drinks – discussing the question. We definitely didn't want to name the new pathogen "Yambuku virus", because that would have stigmatised the place forever. There was a map hanging on the wall and our American team leader suggested looking for the nearest river and giving the virus its name. It was the Ebola river. So by around three or four in the morning we had found a name. But the map was small and inexact. We only learned later that the nearest river was actually a different one. But Ebola is a nice name, isn't it?
Comment: Image source: Captured from the article via a screen shot. Wiki on the Ebola river.


5408 Alomar Dr, Delhi OH, 45328

Zillow: 5408 Alomar Dr, Delhi OH, 45328 | Map

Comment: Sister was back to Cincinnati for her 50th H.S. reunion. See early picture and blog post here. We moved here in the Spring of 1960. I lived here until I graduated from college in 1971. My parents sold this in 1989 for $ 76,000. It was, for us, a much larger house then from whence we came - but was only 1,200 square feet. Dad finished the basement and part of it became my bedroom.


The world needs more George Shubas

George Shuba, 89, Dies; Handshake Heralded Racial Tolerance in Baseball


[George Shuba's ] career was most pointedly defined in Jersey City, by an image at home plate at Roosevelt Stadium two years before Shuba made his major league debut. On the afternoon of April 18, 1946, Robinson became the first black player in modern organized baseball when he made his debut with the Dodgers’ Montreal Royals farm team in their International League opener against the Jersey City Giants. In the third inning, Robinson hit a three-run homer over the left-field fence. When he completed his trip around the bases, Shuba, the Royals’ left fielder and their next batter, shook his hand. Congratulating a home-run hitter was a commonplace ritual, but Shuba’s welcome to a smiling Robinson was captured in an Associated Press photograph that has endured as a portrait of racial tolerance. “I couldn’t care less if Jackie was Technicolor,” Shuba told The Montreal Gazette on the 60th anniversary of that handshake. “We’d spent 30 days at spring training, and we all knew that Jackie had been a great athlete at U.C.L.A. As far as I was concerned, he was a great ballplayer — our best. I had no problem going to the plate to shake his hand instead of waiting for him to come by me in the on-deck circle.”

Comment: Wiki article on Shuba. Photo from another angle


Watermelon toothpaste as racially insensitive

Herald cartoonist apologizes for Obama cartoon


Boston Herald cartoonist Jerry Holbert took to the airwaves this morning to apologize for a political cartoon that set off a social media firestorm after appearing on the paper's editorial page. “I want to apologize to anyone I offended who was hurt by the cartoon,” Holbert said this morning on Boston Herald Radio. “It was certainly, absolutely, not my intention.” The cartoon, a satire on recent Secret Service failures to protect the White House, depicts President Obama being surprised by an intruder in his bathtub, who asks “Have you tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste?” A caption reads: “White House Invader Got Farther Than Originally Thought.” Critics of the cartoon are slamming it as racist. Holbert claimed he came up with the idea to use watermelon flavor after finding “kids Colgate watermelon flavor” toothpaste in his bathroom at home. “I was completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations,” Holbert said. “I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.” Although the cartoon appeared as he drew it in the Herald, Holbert said he was “confused” when he received a call from his national syndicate last night asking that he change the flavor to “raspberry.” When asked if he thinks he should have called the Herald after that discussion, Holbert admitted he “should have done that.”
Comment: Image sources. Toothpaste = Google image search / cartoon = screen snapshot from GoComics