Vlad And The Magical Disappearing Currency

Russian RublesWhile Russian troops advance into Ukraine, the Russian economy looks to be slipping further and further into inflation, recession, and dare I say even depression. The New York Times has a good article that articulates in non-Economics Professor terms just what the West is doing financially to try and curtail the Mad Dog of Moscow.

Last week I advocated for severe economic punishment for Russia’s blatant disregard for Ukraine’s national sovereignty and amazingly (because who thought the Western Allies could ever agree on doing something) that punishment has been meted out.

Somewhat.

I’m hoping that the somewhat is only to give Vlad the Impersonator a taste of what could happen if full measures were in fact instituted. Hoping, but something tells me that somewhere along the line some country somewhere will do the “but we need their natural gas” and begin to fray the alliance. But as for now the sanctions currently in place are definitely worrying to Russia. Russians are lining up at ATM’s trying to get cash out. The Bank of Russia even went so far as to promise that

“The volume of bank notes ready for loading into A.T.M.s is more than sufficient. All customer funds on bank accounts are fully preserved and available for any transactions.”

Um, sure. But something tells me many Russians are getting ready to make a run on the bank which is never a good thing. Would that panic spread to the rest of the world? My college economics professor would have said yes, but the world has changed in the *cough cough* years since I took his class. As the sequel to Wall Street (the movie) said, “money never sleeps”.  Besides with a government fiat against doing business with Russian banks in place, a default letter from any Russian bank will be laughed at by any foreign borrower.

Damn that let’s Trump off the hook for a while. No wonder he thought Putin’s Penetration was a smart move.

There’s more to the story, click the link below

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A Postcard From the Safest Place In The World

I am currently aboard the cruise ship Azamara Quest and it is the safest place in the world. It is the safest place in the world because of the 220 passengers and 400 crew members aboard the ship, every one of them (us) has to be fully vaccinated against COVID and be able to show proof of status. You want to call my little California state issued vaccine card a vaccine passport go ahead because it fits neatly inside my federal government issued actual passport. It is the safest place in the world because all 220 passengers and 400 crew … Continue reading A Postcard From the Safest Place In The World

Let’s Hear It For The Immigrants

The wife (Cruella) and I are travelling for the next two weeks. Actually we’ll be on a cruise ship. More about that next time. This time I’d like to say a good word for the newest Americans working the crappiest jobs who frankly saved our bacon over the last 24 hours. Our flight from San Francisco to Atlanta was delayed two and a half hours because of the winter weather on the East Coast. Just quickly, really Delta? Are you not aware that in late January, early February it can get really snowy on the East coast? And if so … Continue reading Let’s Hear It For The Immigrants

Door Dash Dis

 

Door Dasher on Motor Bike

 

Last Friday the wife (Cruella) and I wanted to go out to dinner. We have a favorite Chinese restaurant we frequent and the desire for their Barbeque Pork Chow Fun combined with our desire to get out of the house neatly.

We have been to this restaurant numerous times, in point of fact we discovered it during the pandemic, both to dine in and to get take out (or take away if you are reading this in the UK). Never a hassle, good food, and most importantly a chance to get out of the house and eat at a different table and gaze at something other than, well, each other.

As has become custom during the pandemic I went to their website to make sure of their operating hours and if they were continuing to offer dine in service. Nothing had changed, so off we went.

Much to our surprise their doorway was blocked and a small sign taped to the glass window announced that since the previous Tuesday they had gone to “Take Out and Door Dash Only”.

While we probably should have gone in search of other eating arraignments, our appetites were craving that Chow Fun, so we scrapped our plans to dine in and ordered to go. While waiting for our order to be completed I counted four people coming to pick up orders they had placed online or via the phone and a stunning seven Door Dashers. That’s eleven total orders in the span of ten minutes.

The other thing I noticed is that the prices had gone up. The chow fun, an order of garlic shrimp, and an order of potstickers came to $36, about 30% higher than we would have been charged prior to the pandemic. Now there is inflation to factor in, plus trying to make back some of what was lost when the restaurant was closed early in the pandemic, but 30% higher? That’s when it hit me. Actually it was the woman from Door Dash who hit me because she was staring down at her phone and not looking where she was going.

I’m being asked to subsidize all of their Door Dash sales. And so are my fellow diners.

You can dash on to more by clicking the link

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Excess and Access

National Baseball Hall Of Fame, Cooperstown New York
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, NY

.A warning before we start. This is going to be a sports essay. If you are not into sports, hang on till the end, I promise I’ll bring this around to current affairs.

You may have heard the gnashing of teeth and grinding of axes over the non-induction of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to the baseball Hall of Fame. This was their tenth year of eligibility and I don’t have the time or desire to explain the ins and outs of HOF voting but suffice it to say the two most dominant players of their era were told by the voters “so sad, too bad, you juice you lose”.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) are the folks who vote for or against induction into the Hall. Enough of them have taken the stand that anyone who used performance enhancing drugs is a cheater and should thus be banned from induction. So far major names from the steroid era, Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, A-Rod, et al have failed to win election and either have or will soon fall from the ballot without induction.

Except for the guys they really liked and who, in the voters minds, might have used PEDs, might not, we’re not sure so we’re gonna just take a pass and pass them into the Hall or in other words, give them a hall pass. Like the one player who did get elected this year, David Ortiz. He was only tangentially mentioned in the Mitchell Report, MLB’s investigation into PED use that was released in 2007.

There are two things I think that are important to remember about the Steroid Era ™. The first is that it indeed was an era. It lasted from the late 1980’s or thereabouts until 2003 or thereabouts. In 1991 Major League Baseball banned the use of any PEDs, but they had no testing for it until 2003. Think about that for a moment. For twelve years players could use PEDs pretty much without fear of retribution because without testing there was no way to prove players were using. It was during that period that the record for most home runs in a season was broken twice and the Mark McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa “Long Gone Summer” took place.

While I think it’s absurd to think every major leaguer was using, I don’t think it’s absurd to think most major leaguers were using. In fact I think there were so many who were using that the level playing field moralists are always arguing steroids upended was actually level. If enough players were using then they were all back on even ground. Should they have been using? It’s easy now to say they shouldn’t have, but back in an age when there was no mechanism to see who was and who wasn’t, the pressure to use must have been acute. I’m not talking about pressure from teammates alone. I think the pressure to use came in subtle forms from managers, coaches, and even owners.

“Gee, we’re really looking for a shortstop who can give us 25-30 dingers a year and you’re only popping 10-15. What do you think you can do to get those numbers up? If you can’t, we’re gonna have to look elsewhere and we don’t want to do that since we’re gonna offer you a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract”.

Money talks, the “pure” ballplayer walks on four pitches to first, down the foul line,  and out the bullpen gate.

Bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded, click below for more

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