Every year since 2002 I have closed out the year with my satirical look at the world through the eyes of a professional investor / writer poking fun at what has transpired in our global society during the year we are about to turn the page on. 2016 has brought forth its own unique series of unexpected news, celebration, joy, disappointment, tragedy, and political intrigue. I hope that 2017 will be a year of health, happiness, and prosperity to all the members of my family, friends, clientele, students, co-workers, and readers. So without further ado, here is my List of 10 Things I Won’t Miss About 2016 (and never want to see or hear about ever again), in no particular order:
- NEW CREDIT CARD TERMINALS – Credit card chips are now pretty much the standard. I understand the improvement in technology to prevent credit card fraud and protect banks, consumers, and vendors. However, why does it take so long to process? Before rolling out these machines they should have hired people with stopwatches to test the card transaction processing time with a swipe versus that with a chip. Splurge and pay them $15/hour. However, that’s not my only gripe. Why does the terminal ask, for example; is $84.92 is OK? What if I say no? Would that cause a ruckus? Frankly, it’s not OK. What if all I am only willing to pay is $74.32 for the bagged-up stuff in my cart? Can we negotiate? Let’s split the difference at $79.62 and call it a day.
- COLIN KAEPERNICK – I am all for the 1st amendment and free speech. However, do it on your own time. People pay good hard earned money for football tickets (I can tell you first hand) and want to watch a game, not a political protest. If you need some money – which I doubt in the case of professional athletes today – or, want to get some attention, as it appears modern athletes need to feed their egos like they are Audrey 2; take a page from Yogi Berra and film a witty commercial.
- POLLS – This election year was; overwhelming. If you lived in say New York or California, where the elections were for the most part a foregone conclusion, you had it easy. Here in Nevada, there were several highly competitive contests: President, Senate, and House of Representatives. We were inundated with pollsters calling our home. Sometimes the pollster asked for a resident of the house. All too often we received calls for someone named Brandon (I will omit his last name), even though we have had our land line phone number for three years. The pollster calls did not seem to end for Brandon. So, I got fed up one day and said that Brandon died in a fiery car crash. The calls for Brandon stopped. I did notice one other aspect of polling, at least in this cycle. Whenever a female voice answered our phone, the poll was taken immediately. When a male answered, the pollster hung up seemingly 8 or 9 out of 10 times. You can draw your own conclusion as to why.
- BAD SCIENTISTS – Is the earth’s temperature warming up? It certainly is. However, it has been getting warmer since the last ice age ended. Yes, there are glacial cycles, the current one peaked about 20-30 million years ago. So, the earth has been in a warming pattern ever since. The well-respected National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the US Federal Government, points this out. However, the climate lobby continues to use “pseudo-science” to help support their causes. These “scientists” data mine information. That is to say, they start with a conclusion and then cherry pick information to support their theory. That is not how theories should be tested. You start with a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis using many different variables. By the way, we are closer to beginning a new glacial period than you think. It is coming in just a few million years, so stick around and dress warm. One last thing, the receding glaciers provided me with the “The LakeView” over to the right.
- SRIRACHA – It seems that every year brings forth another food fad. There was quinoa and kale and pumpkin spice. For 2016, it was sriracha. I am partial to McIlhenny Tabasco sauce, my favorite being the mild green style. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) has both available for diners. Cholula is a close second to Tabasco, need be, and goes well on an omelet. There was no room on my palate for sriracha. I knew that the sriracha fad hit a peak when McDonald’s (MCD) introduced sriracha Big Macs.
- MAIL INSERTS – I just hate those inserts that come with my utility or bank or credit card statements. On top of that is the envelope they stick in as well, even though most people pay over the internet, by auto payment or bill pay. Before you say, if I went paperless, then there would be no insert problems, recall I talked about going paperless #5 just last year. One year I am going to save all junk mail, flyers and inserts and recycle them at the end of the year. I can only imagine how much that will weigh or the size of the mountain it creates.
- ROSLAND CAPITAL GOLD COMMERCIALS – I do not need a commercial to tell me what to invest in. In fact, you are better off being a contrarian and taking the other side of these “investomercials”. Furthermore, I don’t see how I should take investment advice from a star, even one like William Devane, who pitches gold and silver for Rosland Capital; no matter how much I might like him as an actor. By the way, gold and silver have done poorly for years. Remember that wonderful currency advice we got from Gisele Bundchen? She wanted to be paid in Euros rather than US Dollars. How’s that trade working for her? So, while I don’t want to see the Rosland Capital commercials anymore, I cannot get enough of the “Lemonade Not Ice T” GEICO commercial with actor / rapper Ice-T. GEICO is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/A; BRK/B). Some years GEICO releases fun commercials and some years it produces a dud. This year, “Lemonade Not Ice T” was splendid.
- ZIKA – Add Zika to the list of diseases that were supposed to wipe humans off the face of the planet. That list included Ebola, SARS, Avian Flu, AIDs and Swine Flu. Next year we will say that Zika was so 2016.
- CUPCKES AND SNOWFLAKES – I am not talking about baked goods or white precipitation that falls from the sky. I am talking about those students that needed to be coddled, consoled, and showered with cupcakes, hot chocolate, and puppies to soothe the psychological effect of the loss of Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Wake up and smell the coffee. Life is about winning and losing. In life there are disappointments and hardships that you need to confront. Some of life’s lessons are hard to swallow but you learn to cope. Safe zones? You have to be kidding me. There were no safe zones in Brooklyn, at least the good old Brooklyn where I grew up; not today’s Lena Dunham version of Brooklyn. That’s a shande. My father died when I was almost 16. I have been mugged and beaten. I was across the street from the World Trade Center on 9/11 where I witnessed horrific acts of terrorism and then had to flee for my life. I learned to cope with those traumatic life events (as well as others) and am no worse off having done so without getting pampered with baked goods, hot beverages, and puppies. My exams were not postponed (beyond maybe the Shiva period for my father). There is a major difference between the death of a parent and the death of a political career. I earned my trophies by winning on the field of play. However, when your political candidate loses an election, you don’t deserve special treatment. When a student comes to me and requires special accommodations due to a death in the family, I always oblige. However, if a student wanted to miss a class or postpone an exam because of the result of an election, I would reject that request immediately. When our eldest son was in elementary school, my wife called to say that he got into a fight. My first reaction was that I hoped he was fine. My second reaction was that I hoped he had the crap knocked out of him. More often you learn by losing or having the crap knocked out of you. So, stop the madness and make these cupcakes and snowflakes deal with reality. They can start by tossing away their participation trophies.
- BICYCLE LANES – I managed to bike all around Brooklyn in the 1960s and 1970s with no need for a special bicycle lane. Now hundreds of millions (maybe billions) of dollars of taxpayer money is being spent on converting automobile lanes to bicycling lanes. We could put that money toward better needs for our citizens. This is happening even though motor vehicles on the road have grown far more on a percentage basis than have bicyclists over the past few decades. In fact, bicycles sales peaked years ago, and many are getting dusty as they permanently reside in parents’ garages. How often do you see a group of kids biking on the street? Nowadays they take Uber or just stay and home and do whatever it is they do on the internet. If you want to prepare for an ironman contest, do it somewhere other than my roads. Finally, no offense to those cycling Rabbis out there.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s “10 Things” and thank you for reading My Gut Feeling. Please forward this year’s “10 Things” around to friends and family and invite them to sign up for My Gut Feeling. LakeView Asset Management is always available to help you with your investment needs, so don’t be shy to reach out to me.
PRIOR YEARS’ 10 THINGS I WON’T MISS ABOUT….
Disclosure: At the time of this commentary Scott Rothbort, his family and/or clients of LakeView AssetManagement, LLC was long MCD — although positions can change at any time.
Scott Rothbort is the President & Founder of LakeView Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment advisor specializing in high net worth private wealth management. For more information on investing with LakeView Asset Management, LLC call us at 888-9LAKEVIEW or request more information by clicking on the contact button on the top right hand corner of the website. LakeView Management, LLC is a Nevada LLC, with its principal office located in Henderson, NV and branch office located in Millburn, NJ
Scott Rothbort is also the publisher of the LakeView Restaurant & Food Chain Report, a newsletter focusing in on food, restaurant, beverage, and agricultural stocks. An individual subscription to the newsletter can be ordered at www.restaurantstox.com Furthermore; Scott is also a professor at the Seton Hall Stillman School of Business in South Orange, NJ.
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