“Bonds are sort of like dams,” he tuts. “In a way, they both suck and blow.”
“Um hum. Bonds, really?” I check my watch–“at zero-dark-Jesus?”
“There’s nothing you can do about it–except stay out of the way. That’s how these things work. Everything must run it’s course. That includes interest rates and inflation–quite tame–core, 1.5%.”
We hump it down the stairwell and straight into the subterranean parking garage.
“Vents on the reservoir side suck while their counterparts blow. Simple enough. But,” he wags. “a discharge is a discharge, regardless of content. Stay clear of all discharges.”
I stare as though at a volcano sucking ash and lava back.
“People will put anything down the pipe, particularly when no one’s looking. Cat litter, motor oil, bacon grease, hygiene solids, alligators. Just ask the Lebanese.” He winces. “Who knows what’s on the far end of any pipe. It could be flat panels. You never know. Unchecked curiosity kills, and it can be unprofessional.”
“A discharge is a discharge? Curiosity can be unprofessional?” I wonder.
“Well, right,” I say. “who needs confusion, on top of cyclic delusion?”
“You know it’s true.” He bumps the starter over. “Risk holds scared cash out of stocks just like locked discharge vents on a dam. As yields rise, more money builds in the bond reservoir. Stocks suffer.” The motor roars as he shouts–“while there’s an attractive yield,” and we hit the street in a chirping screech.
Near 4:00am my phone bleeds. Our accountant “feels” it’s past time to get “detailed.” And he has a lead.
“What about when the money’s already in stocks?”
“That’s when bonds suck. When rates rise, they suck cash, growth fuel, away from equities. That sucks right?”
History. Open 24 hours, and weekends, even before they had weekends. Unlimited time offers.
S o m e think history’s over and there’s nothing left to rubber-neck. Nonsense. How old is history anyway? HBO covered it. Nobody really knows time, and that’s a problem. Who cares? History was just last week, and so last week. Hooking contemporary events to their historic antecedents creates what we like to call perspective. Use liberally. Habit forming. History’s like your mother. But I already saw history. Is there a History 2? Listen, if I didn’t see it on my phone it didn’t happen.
Nonsense. As usual, they forever leave out tons of stuff. In fact, did they say that human history is an on-going full-speed traffic accident, with a host of business ventures attached, kind of like apps? Did they tell you that all electric power simply falls from the sky and into your phone? Or did they say that your long-dead landline might suddenly start responding to voice commands? Figures–and there’s more.
Nevada as a state looks like a funky wedge of pie. If toured on foot one can still see the fluorescent orange where founding fathers were spraying out original state lines. “That’s all Arizona.” “How do you know?” “You just watched me spray the Nevada/Arizona state line. See the safety cone orange Krylon? Let Arizona deal with all that.” State history isn’t always what one would think.
All that came before real and abiding power turned a mirage-ridden southern Nevada sandbox into a pulsing Earth-bound satellite. Money, sex, risk, and greed, are all extraordinarily profitable because people like them and others outlaw same. Who knew? It’s called supply/demand. And sin? Everyone knows that this city time/space warps moral perceptions. “The Meadows” form their own zone of license, exactly like Amsterdam. It’s not customs-illicit when done here, or there, or anywhere really.
While inspecting historical boundary lines visitors may spot an extension chord snaking southeast out of town. Back in 1939 city fathers stood goofy with glee and chord in hand ready to plug directly into Hoover Dam. It took mere moments to hook up the city to a future unlike any worldwide. Regardless of opinions, Las Vegas has indeed done it “Their way.”(My Way–Sinatra) This sun plugged straight into their own sun. And it still shines today, but less brightly.
Vegas is an authentic American experiment proved, much like capitalism. Base and brute audacity are its’ names. Now many mega-watt hours later one can kick-off the evening with say, a manicure, move on to the shows, and ignite the night with a private glitter-dome helicopter tour. Or you can simply listen to any housing report. They always include Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Thirty-three miles southeast of Vegas you’ll find Hoover Dam. The dam was built for many reasons including water storage and electric power generation. It was built in part as a work project during the depression. Once known as “Boulder Dam” this galactic-scale wonder qualifies by any standard as “infrastructure.” One hundred people disappeared during this monumental construction. We now witness their sacrifice incandescently.
Vegas glistens at all hours and rolls round the clock. McCarran International Airport sits five miles south and serves the Las Vegas Valley. This city truly is a phototropic jumble of dreams. Artificial illumination lords over what is fundamentally a concrete skillet set within a ring of mountains on the high Mojave Desert. Yet it shines less brightly than before. Will that become the way of our new equity market?
“Right.” We squeal left. “Think about it,” I say. We speed along a somnolent Sahara Avenue. “When your gig is answers, showing up without any looks bad.” Red and blue lights revolve on the shoulder. “When the wheels come off the market no one wants to see answer-free explanations delivered by stark-faced experts. And that’s why you can discount half of what you hear. They were forced to explain, something.” We swerve left. He holds a single finger aloft.
“A freshly informed no-holds-barred look at portfolio now will prove brilliant.”
We pass our tenth car in 14, 15 seconds.
“Are you still fully comfortable with our portfolio–after yesterday?” he stares.
“Humm…? Define comfort. And a bike you say is from the Goggleplex in Mountain View is now in Las Vegas?”
“That’s what expert networks do,” he explains. We’re now on foot, speed walking toward the light.
“They ride bikes?” I double-check the black sky. “Do they ride at night?”
“Expert networks count things,” he says. “At least that’s what they’re supposed to be doing. Stuff like cars, or bikes, in company parking lots. They buy digital exhaust, sometimes in any way necessary. Think about what you can do with time-stamped RFID tagging data?”
I stare fixedly. We hump it over the 4:00am lot.
“He’s an oracle, kind of–like I said,from the expert network.”
“Doesn’t that tell you something?” I ask. We fast-step it toward the doors on to the casino floor. Yet it remains quiet.
“Why’s an expert network guy working casino security at night?”
“Casino Security does not mean neighborhood rentals with a swivel-lamp and a referee whistle.” He shakes his head.
“It’s not a G Bike”
Big magical doors part and outside air becomes inside air.
“There.” Perfunctory chatter inaudible beneath casino din. Clatter. Walking. More walking. Pointing.
Time ceases once within the casino. No clocks. Try the “Midnight Madness” Bus Tour. It launches from Oakland.
Google maintains a fleet of what it’s dubbed as G Bikes. Right. The powder-yellow comfort cruisers are for employees. Right. The only people who ever lock them up are the people who stole them. The one soon to be in our trunk wasn’t locked up, not as far as we saw. It did however seem outside of “normal biking distance.”
“If you’re who I think you are, come with me.” He wears a tailored suit and takes us down a broad hall. He talks over one shoulder.
“This entire town is an exaggerated concentrated version of the self-made individual. It’s the American dream, everything in one place. And for us, we get paid because people hope and bet against the odds.”
“Investors do that everyday,” I say, “and without leaving home.”
“It’s all the same,” he waves.
“Except investors line up information, history, experience, and often the odds.”
Stockjaw had been called out on pressing matters. A call from an “expert network.” No, a call from a guy who’s in an expert network. No, a call…
“It’s not a G Bike,” I say. I see a head nodding from the cornier of one eye. Beside stands some kid.
“It’s not a G-Bike,” he shakes his head. We shake in unison.
“It’s a G Bike.”
“Is that either true, false, or good?”
That’s Las Vegas–really. But that’s not a commercial flight, and it isn’t from McCarran International. That came from Lockheed. You can still get those, with huge up-grades on top, like sprinkles. The F-16 we mean. LMT/PRE-OWNED/his./FAQ.com.
Now AT&T is researching broadband delivery over common telephone lines. Is that true, false, or good? It’s true and perhaps very good. How convenient would that be? 5G is gathering just beyond the fire light and many options will emerge. One challenge will be the coming use of bandwidths that do not penetrate common solids.
The National Security Council just floated a paper suggesting a publicly-funded nationwide wholesale system. Immediate jeering was the response. Industry is inefficient at creating national infrastructure, or protecting said. A public wholesale system would provide infrastructure and bandwidth to service providers. The main argument for this notion is improved security. Like the feds demonstrate exemplary system security.
Other proposed benefits would be efficiency, increased competition, and preservation of net neutrality through said spurred competition–creating consumer choice. And what about T, and dividends? Do income lovers still believe in T as a dividend play, or in telecoms as a haven? We still do, in part because we know of nothing better. But for how much longer?
Could you? Would you? For how long? Here it’s hydro-anything.
Anyone visiting Vegas has a built-in rip-chord response if pinned down about it. Your visit has the Bugsy Siegel stamp of approval. “Bugsy did it” you can claim. You can follow up any such explanation with the fact that he was never convicted. But then, didn’t he take one in the eye? Right. That was California, much closer to the moon.
“Darwin knew it,” he says, in full self-agreement. We zoom right back down Sahara Avenue. “People love to put stuff down pipes. They really don’t care what it is, as long as there’s a pipe to put it in.”
“They’ll stand in line to do it. Makes them giddy with happiness.”
“It’s the sole form of closure in a crazy world.”
“Of course. But it doesn’t last. They hate it when it comes back, and it always does. That’s karma, and business.”
Something I can agree with.
“So,” he says conclusively “the opportunity is a simple service model. Provide the pipe. It never comes back, ever. No retrievals,no refunds. Permanence as the perfect value. I’ll call Waste Management.”
Thanks for reading. Keep looking.