Saturday Morning

Aug 21

In: Fly fishing, Personal

I was up at 2.30 am to be on the river before dawn. I wanted to catch a crazy and difficult hatch of Tricos, which are very small bugs about three to five millimeters long.

The hatch is called the “White Winged Curse.” When trout focus on this bug, they will ignore everything else. Fish will be rising and splashing everywhere–and, completely ignoring your fly.

This happened to me last time on this river. A few years ago, as a newbie fishing in Montana, the same thing happened. Fish everywhere, except at the end of my line.

So, I did some online research and tied up some Trico flies. I was determined to crack the code on this thing.

It was strange to walk to the river in the dark. I wanted to get there just as the sun started to peak out. That’s when the bugs start to emerge, mate, and then fall onto the water to lay eggs and die.

Thankfully, it all worked out. I landed 21 brown trout in one morning. Headed home at lunchtime. Other than fishing trips with my children, this was the most gratifying fly fishing outing of my life.

Clean air, the calming sound of moving water, and a pile of trout. A day to remember.

Pure joy.

France

Aug 16

In: Food, Personal

(DavidLebovitz.com)

I love to read and follow all sorts of blogs. I use Feedly, which is a very efficient way, with one glance, to see what new posts have come.

One of my favorites is David Lebovitz’s blog. He is an American expatriate living in Paris. He’s also a chef and writes about all sorts of things. I like to cook, and he has some interesting observations.

To be honest, I track his blog for the pictures. They’re really stunning. For example, click here for his most recent post about a farmers’ market.

So, with a few clicks, I can be back in France and remember a wonderful family bike trip there from a few years ago.

America’s Greatness

Aug 15

In: Books, Economics, Politics

You’re going to be fine, America, regardless of who will be President.

______________________

How did the U.S. become such a strong source of power? What has caused recent economic tepidity? What are our prospects?

Mike Gaiss recommended a book to me, Peter Zeihan’s The Accidental Superpower. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Here are the sources of U.S. wealth and power. It’s based on that real estate adage of “location, location, location”:

  • Has the biggest chunk of the most fertile soil in the world, which leads to tremendous capital wealth
  • A tremendous network of waterways that makes for extremely efficient commerce
  • Safe borders in the form of two oceans and two weaker neighbors
  • The largest consumer market in the world

So, those factors will not change going forward.

Sure, economic growth has been flattening, but that’s a function of demographics. Baby boomers are retiring and opting out of the job force, taking with them their capital-generation capabilities. The younger generation below them, Gen X, isn’t as plentiful; in fact, Gen X is the smallest generation in the country’s history. As a result, the U.S. consumer market, which drives about 70% of GDP, is shrinking.

There are two sources of good news, though. First, Gen Y will come online, and that cohort is larger than Gen X. So, in about 15 years, there will be a “repair” to the demographic problem.

Here is the U.S.’s demographics in 2030, with a more “filled out” demographic distribution:

U.S.

Second, if you’re into “America First,” then you’ll want to know that many of the other nations do not have favorable demographics. Japan is already there: a shrinking population that is comprised mostly of the elderly.

Soon, countries like Russia, China, Germany, France, Italy and Spain will get here, too. Their demographic situations are worsening. For example, here is China in 2040:

China 2040

Russia is particularly screwed:

Russia

Those societies will increasingly face emptying government coffers. Consumers and workers will be outnumbered by retirees, who will draw pensions and have expensive health costs. So, on the world stage, China, Russia, and the E.U. countries will increasingly become weaker.

Zeihan believes that, in a few decades, there will be only one country that will be the leading provider of capital to the world and will be the only major consumer market anywhere: the U.S.A.

If you’d like to see one of his talks, which is a summary of his book, click here.

Fascinating stuff.

Summer Sunday Dinner

Aug 14

In: Family life, Food, Personal


It is hot, but that’s okay. It is extremely sunny, but I can handle it.

Am grilling steaks and red snapper for Sunday Dinner and enjoying the view. 

I cannot believe that there are only two weeks left until Labor Day. Our oldest child goes off to college then. 

I am squeezing what I can from what’s left of summer. 

Self-Sabotage

Aug 9

In: Brain hacking, Politics

I’ve seen people do some crazy things.

When stressed, sometimes, people do things that are entirely not in their best interests. Or, so it seems.

With Donald Trump, there’s a great deal of consternation and/or glee as to why he keeps shooting himself in the foot. My theory: deep down, he doesn’t want to win.

My reasons:

If he wins, he will have to hand over his business to his children to run. To avoid any conflicts of interest, he will have to set up a blind trust structure. He is a control freak and will not like that.

This is a personality that loves attention, but it’s different when you’re campaigning. He must thrive on the adrenaline of being in the press and being adored by crowds. Campaigning is one very long business trip, jet setting from one venue to another, with the Secret Service in tow. I suspect you can feel very affirmed and validated from all of the attention.

Once an election ends, a candidate then has to shift from campaigning to something more complicated: governing. I’ve long believed that campaigning and governing are two different skill sets. I wonder if Trump will enjoy working with Congress, which will not jump at his every command. I wonder if he can deal with department bureaucracies that are known for undermining a politician, whom they know will be here today but gone tomorrow.

Just a theory. But, I think this candidate’s self-sabotage has a purpose. It may be his sub-conscious doing the driving, but the array of gaffes we’re seeing right now is too weird to explain.

And, he will save face after a loss by asserting that the election is rigged. Classic.