Every year since 2002 I have closed out the year with my satirical look at the world through the eyes of a professional investor poking fun at what has transpired in our global society during the year we are about to turn the page on. 2014 has brought forth its own unique series of unexpected news, celebration, joy, disappointment, tragedy and political intrigue. I hope that 2015 will be a year of health, happiness and prosperity to all of the members of my family, clientele, students, co-workers and readers. So without further ado, here is my List of 10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2014 (and never want to hear about ever again), in no particular order:
- KIM KARDAHISAN’S BUM – Last year #4 on my list were the Cherry Healey flushable bum wipes commercials. This year we have another derrière topic which was thrust upon us – Kim Kardashian’s gluteus maximus. Kayne West can keep her from head to toe.
- EBOLA – The Ebola scare knocked the stock market down about 10%, something that even the bears could not do alone on fundamentals. As it turned out, just like SARS, Avian Flu, AIDs and Swine Flu, Ebola was not a pandemic resulting in a Malthusian event. By the time November ended, Ebola was no longer a daily headline.
- MICROSOFT SURFACE 3 COMMERCIAL– Every year there is one commercial that is so bad and annoying that you would rather stick your head in the ground to avoid watching or hearing it. This year’s award goes to Microsoft (MSFT) for the company’s Surface 3 commercial comparing its features to that of an Apple (AAPL) MacBook Air as 2NE1, a K-Pop (Korean Pop) band sings “I Am the Best”, in Korean I suppose. The cure for this commercial was listening to anything else on your iPhone with a Beats headset.
- JOHNNY “FOOTBALL” MANZIEL – Another Heisman Trophy winner certain to be an NFL bust. He was supposed to be a top 5 draft pick but instead went number 22 in the first round. His first start as a pro resulted in a 30-0 loss. I hope he has Tim Tebow and Ryan Leaf’s cell phone numbers.
- KALE – Before 2014, did you ever hear of kale? Did you even care? Now it is the must eat green vegetable. I never thought that we could have a leafy green vegetable fad but, never say never as 2014 was the Year of Kale. As for me, I will stick to spinach or broccoli or string beans.
- RED LIGHT CAMERAS – Red light cameras were installed in many cities and towns across the nation. In practice, these cameras were imperfect and were known to misfire. The stated reason to install these cameras was to increase traffic safety. The real motivation was to generate more revenues for cash strapped municipalities who are having problems meeting budgets and pension liabilities. Fortunately, the libertarians might have won out as New Jersey did not extend its law which established the state’s pilot program.
- AIRLINE SURCHARGES – In the good old days you paid one price for an airline ticket for which you received your choice of seats, free baggage check, snacks and drinks and even free movies. I hate getting nickelled and dimed whenever I spend my money. I also hate restaurants that charge you extra for potatoes or beans or corn or whatever side dish when you are spending $50 for a steak. Now booking a flight is like buying a car from a car dealer. There are all sorts of additional fees for extra legroom, express boarding, baggage checking, food, blankets, WiFi, entertainment, etc. Don’t think because oil prices have fallen dramatically that you will see the airlines eliminate those surcharges and fees. My plan is to pack my personal items carryon with sandwiches and sell them to passengers, undercutting the airline in the process. It will be like GrubHub (GRUB) for air travel. Then I will put my Eastern Airlines pack of cards up for sale on EBay (EBAY),
- BILL COSBY – Here’s the good news: Bill Cosby is no OJ. Here is the bad news: Bill Cosby has destroyed not only his reputation but the lives of his victims. If the allegations are true, he is a creep. Furthermore, his positive position as a role model in the African American community is now all for naught. How can anyone watch his classic shows anymore?
- THE WORLD CUP – I tried like heck to watch a World Cup match but with the Rangers playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, it was an easy choice – hockey. I get it that Soccer, I mean (not American) Football is the world’s most popular game. Hey, over 1 billion people use tobacco on the planet, so does that make it a better plant than say corn or wheat? I prefer a 1-0 pitchers’ duel in baseball than a 1-nill soccer match. As for the World Cup itself, it is an overhyped and corrupt enterprise which adds no long term value, socially or economically to the host nation. It is sort of like a mini-Olympics.
- CELEBRITY WEDDINGS – Let me start by saying that I think that expensive and gaudy weddings are total wastes of money. I have yet to find a study which equates the cost of a wedding with the success of a marriage. When it comes to celebrity weddings, we go from expensive and gaudy to the absurd. The aforementioned Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding was ornate. Then the George Clooney – what’s-her-name wedding was over the top in Venice. Celebrities, in general, who try to be politically correct and charitable, should be writing a check for a few million dollars to a worthy cause and get married in a simple rent-a-tux and off the rack wedding gown at a local catering hall. Why not save a few million bucks and cut a nice big check to a charity or charities? Furthermore, if they are going to spend big bucks on a wedding, why not patronize American vendors and labor? I tell you why – celebrities are the most hypocritical bunch of rich people out there.
PRIOR YEARS’ 10 THINGS I WON’T MISS ABOUT….
10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2002 (no link available)
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long AAPL & BABA — although positions can change at any time.
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