Comments on Craigslist Posts

I used to look at the Craigslist personals, back when they were around. I kept some notes and comments on a few that I thought were interesting. I think a lot of these would fit right in on the FatLogic subreddit.

Even though the URLs do not work, I will include them anyway.

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/4903406906.html

Im the kind of girl that u can take home to ur mom.
[She is looking for a man who] has a car…has a job…no assistance from the government unless u r a veteran. I work hard for what i have so should u.

Why don’t you work towards learning better English? If that is how you type and/or speak, actually, no, you are NOT the kind of woman I would take to meet my mother.

http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/w4m/5027278974.html

I am looking for someone who can also be active and be supportive with my choices in life. For me I am a single mom work my butt off to make a living.

If you are a single mom, maybe you need to face the fact that you make poor choices.

http://dallas.craigslist.org/sdf/w4m/5033640326.html

Hey there. Im an AA BBW 46 looking for something worth talking about. Funny witty and charming would be great with an abundance of common sense, taller than 5’10. Slim to athletic, as two fat people Don’t mix.

It’s interesting how many fat people want a fit person, yet so few fit people want a fat person.

http://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/w4m/5040931183.html

So here’s the problem. I’m attached to more fit and generally attractive men. I was raised around good looking people both male and female but I am a bit on the round side. It’s a huge challenge to find a guy who is into gals who are a bit thicker!

You could try exercising. And eating less. Or you could just wait for a unicorn to fall from the sky. Also, I think you meant “attracted” when you wrote “attached”. If you were attached to a fit guy, you wouldn’t need to place an ad.

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/w4m/5057406697.html

I’m a medium BBW/curvy and I love my fluff.
Now it’s your turn! Please be intelligent/witty/sarcastic! Employed (white collar? YESSSS)! Caucasian (just my personal preference). I love tall and thin to athletic men. Yes, fat girls are allowed to be picky too 😉

Yes, you’re allowed to be picky. But fit people are not obligated to find fat people attractive.And I am allowed to say you’re an idiot.

URL not recorded

I am a thick girl (size 16) and I wear it well.

Fit women never say they “wear it well” or “carry it well”, or they are “fit in the right places”. Or “goddess”. Fit women never seem to call themselves goddesses. Or call themselves a “real woman.” It seems like a woman only calls herself or another woman a “real woman” when they are fat. Women never seem to point to a women who runs marathons and says, “Now there is a real woman.”

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5085726824.html

I prefer rugged lumberjack type, tall muscular and bearded. Needs to have a good job and be faithful….I’m a cute Caucasian woman, early 30s, std free, blonde/blue, fair skin, thick & curvy but HWP. 34D and bubble butt.

“thick and curvy but HWP”. That’s like saying you are “smart but stupid”. It’s one or the other.

http://dallas.craigslist.org/mdf/w4m/5269884660.html

But I’ve played the waiting game and the dating game …. no good ones have come along. Maybe I’m too picking??

I assume you meant “picky”. No, you’re not too picky. Probably not too bright either. Maybe that is your problem.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/w4m/5269861714.html

Open to all races/heights/age
No men over 325 lbs
Have own private space (no little brothers sharing the room)

How many 325+ lb people are you going on dates with if you need to state that as a criteria?

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5875367438.html

I read a lot. Don’t watch to much tv. I am also currently going to school to get my bachelors in psychology then I will be getting my masters after that.

If you don’t watch “to much tv”, perhaps you read to littel.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/w4m/5878739290.html

Title: disabledbbwseizure patient seeks a true man

disabled seizure patient that is also a cancer patient and psych patient and diabetic.looking for a true gentleman. one that isn’t after sex on the first date.one that at least tries to go to church.i am in a wheelchair at times and use a walker other times.i am looking for a long term relationship

Is meeting guys who are only after sex a problem really an issue for this women? This woman sounds like nothing but problems.

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5890137707.html

I’m HPV positive. If you’re not already vaccinated, this is transmitted via skin cells. Do your research before contacting me.

You’ve got an STD. Don’t lecture me.

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5887344479.html

Your martial status is not of concern just be real and of good character.

A married man cheating on his wife does not have good character. But you do you.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/w4m/5230645242.html

I’m attracted to tall guys, thin (big and big don’t really go well together, so I like all the thin guys that can appreciate a bigger woman)

Where does this idea that thinner people should date fat people because big/fat “don’t go well together” come from? Try exercise instead of asking for a bailout.

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5039658470.html

I do request men only, non smokers, physically fit, and clean. I prefer taller dates, but it’s not a deal breaker. You must be accepting of my slightly older and attention-deprived BBW body, as you can see. If you aren’t attracted to a plus-sized gal, no worries…that’s what the other ads are for, right? Let’s see what Austin has to offer!

Again, if you are fat and do not want to date a fat person, do not get upset if other people do not want to date a fat person, or lecture other people that they have to accept your body.

http://salem.craigslist.org/w4m/5382626647.html

Yep that’s right…I’m a sassy fattie that tells it like it is!

“Sassy”. Another word that only fat women use to describe themselves. Most people who brag that they “tell it like it is” generally do not want to hear it like it is from other people.

http://galveston.craigslist.org/w4m/5479210003.html

Headline: Young, thick and ready to go
Beautiful, curvy, Ebony young lady here hoping for the impossible. I’d love to find a great, tall, successful man who knows how to treat a lady for a long term relationship.

If you know it’s impossible, then why are you looking for it? “Thick” is another code for fat.

http://houston.craigslist.org/w4m/5486091196.html

I’m looking for an older man to hang with. Not only sex but yes I do want sex. I dont smoke or drink. I work and im well educated. I just want to have fun i’m pregnant and have hormones……….

Is this a troll? Or someone who is really messed up? Yet another person bragging about having and/or getting an education, yet they post an ad with a lot of spelling and/or grammar errors. In all seriousness, one of my big fears is misspelling “intelligent”.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/w4m/5485813991.html

Jesus is a big part of my life (the god, not the Mexican)

On one hand, I thought that was pretty funny. On the other: There seemed to be a LOT of ads from Christians. There are also a lot of Meetups about Christianity. Note to Christians: If someone does not go to church, it’s not an accident.

http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/w4m/5547320288.html

I am a big girl, I am 20 years old, I attend college, and I have a part time job. Lately ive been feeling a little lonely and i would like to share my time with someone who wants the same. Im like a dog lol. Easy to please with attention, and of course loyal. I just want someone to grow with, and to be there for me in the good and bad times. Someone that can be my best friend. Please don’t respond if your over 30.

Another person attending college, with an error-filled post. Also: If you are a “big girl”, you have probably done growing.

http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/w4m/5803925661.html

BBW looking for Friendship to turn into more

At least she’s not a fat woman looking for a tall guy, but she had this:

If you are replying please tell me a little bit about yourself, include a picture, and tell me
1. The last craziest thing you’ve done
2. A joke
3. The most embarrassing thing to happen to you.

What are you, an online bank?

http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/w4m/5940528606.html

I am looking for someone who is open to something more than just a casual encounter.

Her ad had a naked pic (presumably herself).

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5940960303.html

Title: Tired of my vibrator.
I need some stimulation. I’m very into articulate guys. Also very kinky minded. I like white and Latino guys under 45 and under 450lbs. Art and music interests a plus. Kik me: nowalice

She says she weighs 160, so maybe her upper limit of 450 is a typo. If she has dated guys over 450 lbs, I think a solution would be to just stick to guys under 200 or so. Or stop picking up guys at WalMart.

https://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/w4m/6021028252.html

32f seeks m for fwb/dating.
Unique situation; I need someone to talk to me, cuddle me, and make me feel human.
I am currently bouncing around between air bnb’s while I hide from my murderous ex-husbands. Plural, it’s a unique clusterfuck. Stalking orders get filed this week against both.
Hit me up to chat. I am easy going, a gamer, an avid reader, and no drama on my end.
Please send a photo to get a response.

No drama, but hiding from people trying to kill her. And asks for a picture. I really hope I have more self-awareness than these women.

https://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/6092749397.html

I am incredibly picky. I like confident, independent guys which are educated, sensible and can keep me grounded. I am very high maintenance. Send me pic and phone number, I can tex you back.

Demands education, has a spelling mistake on a word that is not that hard to spell. Also, it’s “guy WHO are educated”.

https://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/d/eclectic-interests/6262578860.html

Friendly, outgoing, playful, open minded and (some say) attractive. Nonsmoker. Nondrinker. ***I have controlled HSV (herpes). You have to be okay with that.***

I’ll decide what I am okay with, not you. And maybe you are a bit too friendly.

And then:

Prefer middle aged North Shore and southern coastal New Hampshire gentlemen.

So why are you in the Austin section?

https://austin.craigslist.org/stp/d/can-you-hold-conversation-m4w/6268984587.html

professional , well groomed , easy going guy looking for a girl friend to start with.

Want someone to hold a conversation many of craigslist loose patience.

Don’t complain about other people’s conversational skills when you type run-on sentences like a lolcat.

https://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/d/are-there-really-any-good/6395188252.html

Seeking God fearing/loving, Christian man who attends Shoreline Church, and is living the sober life.

Here is an idea: Why don’t you go to Shoreline and ask there, instead of on Craigslist at 9:30 on a Monday night.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/w4m/5269899184.html

Title: Quadriplegic wants more

Maybe it’s wrong, but I found that amusing. Almost as amusing as “BBW wants more”

http://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/5066637423.html

Me: Single, tall, soft and curvy, terribly evil, nerdy, educated, cheeky, impish sense of humor, mildly perverse, social drinker, non-smoker, bon vivant. Decent aim.
You: Same, except maybe the soft and curvy part. I’d rather you hard. Menacing tattoos and facial scars particularly encouraged.

As Neil deGrasse Tyson would say, “Look out! We’ve got a badass here!” Another fat person wanting a fit person. If you’re asking for tattoos, you might as well ask for an arrest record as well.

http://killeen.craigslist.org/w4m/5939587988.html

Why is it so hard to find a great guy? Where are they hiding? All I’m asking for is a guy that knows how to talk to a woman properly. One that can take her on a date and show her that chivalry is not dead. One that is truly interested in getting to know just her! I mean, is that to much to ask? Anyway, if my ad has peeked your interest at all, and you’d like to make a new friend, please feel free to send me a message. Do NOT waste my time! If you have no pic, I will not respond, that simple

So you want a guy who knows how to talk to a woman, but you have a poor vocabulary. And you make a lot of demands, but can’t find a great guy.

When women say they want a guy who can talk to a woman, they don’t mean they want a guy who can hold a conversation. They want a guy who can hold a conversation, and looks like Brad Pitt. I guess there is nothing wrong with that. Just be honest about it.

https://austin.craigslist.org/w4m/6100385924.html

Being taller than me is a must! I love my heels. This really is a DEAL BREAKER! If you’re less than 5’11 don’t even reach out… Not trying to be mean, just being fair, and saving time for everybody!

You’re not mean, just really stupid.

https://houston.craigslist.org/w4m/6109149057.html

I need your honest opinion. Why do men perfer skinny women? Am I considered fat???? What’s wrong with a thicker woman? We cook better, and give it you wetter

Well tell me, what do you think of my body type.

When women stop filtering men based on height, then we’ll talk. People are free to do as they want. Besides, a woman can lose weight, but a man cannot gain height. Yet for some reason, women wanting tall men is a “preference”, yet men not wanting fat women is a bias.

I have realized that when women say something is a “preference”, it’s really a requirement.

I answered a few ads (none of the ones here). I think I placed a couple as well. The email conversations seemed pretty good. Then they would ask my for a face pic. Things always ended after that. I don’t pursue women at all anymore, so I guess I do have more self-awareness. Than just about any other person on this planet.

Lastly:

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/van/152468438.html

The guys grow up and mature, they learn to need women less, and they settle into a life of resigned solitude, which means that they cheer up because they’re no longer striving for something they can’t have.

Big Jim isn’t where he wants to be, but he doesn’t live in a fantasy world.

“Standing Nude” by Guy Rose (1867-1925), image from WikiArt, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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2018-06 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for June, 2018.

The monthly dividend income came out to $863.49. The yearly income total for 2018 through the end of the month was $2185.04.

The income for June, 2017 was $761.91, and the yearly income for 2017 through the end of June was $3108.53.

A few of the funds I own have payout dates in July instead of June. Looking at past payout dates on Vanguard’s site, they only pay out late for the second quarter.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each June from 2011 through 2018:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2018-06 $2185.04 $863.49 $319.68 $551.12
2017-06 $3108.53 $761.91 $539.42 $536.73
2016-06 $2744.28 $684.76 $464.00 $483.42
2015-06 $2415.32 $612.21 $411.83 $409.95
2014-06 $1933.90 $522.86 $333.10 $320.58
2013-06 $1492.72 $351.48 $257.79 $291.91
2012-06 $1574.81 $305.84 $260.85 $276.29
2011-06 $1351.34 $236.50 $235.38 $203.23

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for June, 2018:

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: $37.36
Vanguard Total International Bond ETF: $9.57
RLI Corp: $30.57
Vanguard REIT ETF: $150.00
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF: $191.42
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF: $253.93
Vanguard International High Dividend Yield ETF: $190.64

Big Jim likes the big payouts.

Letter from Arghun (1258-1291), leader of Ilkhanate to Philip IV of France (1268-1314), written1289; image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

 

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Getting Back Into A Routine

Over the past year and a half I have fallen off the wagon (for lack of a better phrase) with regards to fitness, meditation, discipline and general self-improvement.

I track workouts and meditation on a spreadsheet that I started back in September of 2009. Throughout 2017 there are a lot of red boxes in the column for exercise. For some reason I cut back, but not intentionally. Around late October 2017 I also cut back on meditation. I was working through Claudia’s book on becoming an idea machine, and I stopped that too.

I don’t know why I started exercising less, but for meditation I tried using sound as an anchor. It went okay, but for some reason I stopped.

I did not get much done in December because I moved to another apartment in the complex. There was a leaky pipe they could not fix in my old apartment; other than that I was happy with things, so I asked them if there were any alternatives. Now I am on the second floor.

I started to get back into working out by doing squat thrusts on my balcony. I could not do as many, and I think my balcony is crooked. I do not have the luxury of doing it late at night on my balcony. I had toyed with the idea of finding an unused section of the parking lot early in the morning and working out there. But that would involve waking up a lot earlier, so that is not practical for me. Plus it would probably be really hard on my joints. There is a small gym here; frankly it’s not very good, but there is enough room to do some squat thrusts. I used it a couple of times.

The final time I tried it, I go in and turn on the lights. I heard music, which is odd because there is no sound system in there. I walk towards one of the cardio machines, and I see a small radio. Then I turned around, and there was a guy who was sitting next to the door. He asked me if I needed the lights on. I said I did if he was going to be in there. I tried a couple of times to ask him how long he was going to be (thinking I could just come back when he was done). I rephrased it, but I could not get a straight answer either time. I decided it was time to look into a gym.

I liked Lifetime Fitness, and I really liked the saleswoman from Sweden. She did not have much of an accent at all, but she pronounced the “R” sound in “Saturday” oddly, so I asked her where she was from. That club was $90/month. Planet Fitness did not have much to offer. 24 Hour Fitness was a decent price. The one closest to me has a pool, and when you walk in you get hit with a nasty chlorine smell. Other than that it is not too bad.

I got a free session with a trainer. At first I was not intending to buy the package, but towards the end he had me do some HIIT/functional fitness stuff. I thought to myself, “Why not see what he has to offer?” I can get myself back into a routine if I am not interested in what he shows me, and maybe he will show me something that I want to continue.

Well, it turns out, the only thing that interested me really is HIIT. Lifting is a bit boring to me (which I know sounds odd since I think nothing of doing sets of squat thrusts for 30 minutes). For a lot of the lifts, he wanted me to do a fast concentric contraction and a slow eccentric contraction.

Looking into HIIT brought me to the Jump Rope Dudes. My favorite video is the one with the woman from Australia, yeah. Frankly I wish all women spoke with Australian accents. In all seriousness, if a genie gave me three wishes, that would be one of them. It is taking longer than I thought for my body to adjust. I have found I can actually last longer when I count jumps than when I just try to last a set amount of time (generally 30 seconds; usually me feet need a rest at 20 when I go for time). I am also looking at squat jumps, or jump squats. I did some jumping lunges. They seems to exacerbate my inner thigh issues.

I have also used some kettlebells. Tim Ferriss put the kettlebell swing on the map  According to this page, “most women should start with a 35lb (16kg) or 44lb (20kg) kettlebell and most men should start with 44lb (20kg) or 53lb (24kg) kettlebell.” The gym I go to has some with standard freedom measurements, and some with communist metric measurements. Make up your mind kettlebell makers! Are you with us, or against us?

The gym closest to me has a track. I was thinking of trying sprinting. My last six months in Chicago, I lived in a house with a driveway out back. I did some sets of shuttle sprints up and down the driveway, and I liked how it affected me. I did not like doing it. Getting up to my top speed was harder than I thought. I have done shuttle runs a few times in the studio at the gym. I was hoping to do some sprinting on the indoor track, but just jogging on the track is hard on my knees. I thought the cushioning would help, but it does not. The odd thing is that shuttle runs in the studio are not a problem. Someone at work suggested I try Dr. Scholl’s inserts. He said they helped him.

Anyway, I have gotten pretty fat. Hopefully I will be able to do longer, more intense sets on the jump rope and become a stud that women desire. I will be in Florida in a few weeks for my nephew’s birthday, so unfortunately the next round of family pictures will feture me as a landwhale.

Why I stopped with the Idea Machine I am not too clear. Claudia Azula (James’ second ex-wife) did not handle their divorce as well as he did. She blogged that she was diagnosed as bi-polar and at least once thought of killing herself. Can a stressful life event like divorce trigger an underlying problem? Or is it all genetic? Anyway, lately she has been tweeting about ping-pong in New York City. What could be a clearer sign of contentment than making jokes about smacking people’s balls? I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was terrible.

I cannot articulate exactly why, but for some reason the fact that she had a hard time getting on with her life makes me doubt James’ methods. She followed the advice in his article. And he seems to have a lot of wack jobs on his podcast, like Dr Oz and Jordan Peterson, and he sends a lot of shady emails about getting rich trading penny stocks and Bitcoin. Now it seems like he is on a cannabis kick.

Still, I think there is something to the idea machine. In my other idea machine posts I linked to testimonials. I keep reading that mindset is more important than technical skills. Some people even push learning the humanities and Great Books to stay ahead of the curve. I like the idea of my mind being more agile. Plus, I realized I do not have to agree with everything he says or does. I don’t agree with my own family all the time. Take what you want and leave the rest.

If I try, I might start with making lists of 5 ideas. I know James says to go for ten, but since this is a new habit I would be trying to do two things at once. Developing consistency is important.

Back in January, I was a new meetup group, and the whole time was brainstorming about topics. I realized it might be a good idea to due “field reports” on idea lists in the wild. I could make idea lists about problems or issues, either in my life or in society in general. For the general problems, I could make two lists: Things I can do (if any), and things society can do. I think James sent an idea list to Amazon, and they flew him out there to speak. I could make lists about my ideal job, ideal house, ideal mate. Perhaps the ideal lists could be periodically repeated to see if there are any changes.

At one point, James suggested that you could list chapters in a potential book, or lists of things about or that have happened to a character in a possible novel. I have thought about a potential “Star Trek” show (not that I think it would ever get made). That could give some ideas.

Getting back into meditation has been a bit more difficult.

I started using sound as an anchor by listening to some videos on YouTube on a channel called Meditative Mind and a few other channels. Some worked out better than others, but the general result is that for some reason things got derailed. I kept having trouble staying awake and then my frequency dropped.

I started getting back into it after I was done moving. I tried going back to sitting on the floor, but I think it hurt my knees. At first I thought that increasing my exercise frequency was hurting my knees, so I rotating different exercises out, but nothing seemed to help. Then I realized that it might be my meditation posture, so I went back to the chair. Since then, my knees have been fine. I am still stretching so hopefully one day I can go back to sitting on the floor again.

One issue is that I kept trying to control my breathing. I think that I might have this preconception that I should do “Taoist” breathing while meditating (in through the nose, expanding the abdomen, long deep breaths, ideally 15 seconds or more). Now I do some deep, qigong breaths for a few minutes before I start and it seems to be helping.

Big Jim still likes the Swedish ladies.

 “Mount Sinai” by El Greco (1541 – 7 April 1614), housed at The Historical Museum of Crete, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Thoughts On The North Korea Summit

So Trump is in Singapore to talk to Kim Jong Un. He acted like a jerk at the G7 meeting, and left the leaders of countries that have been our allies for decades so he can get his photo-op with a fellow dictator.

(Hasn’t it occurred to Trump’s supporters that there would have been less bad blood at G7 if he had showed up on time and not left early? All the people who claim to hate “snowflakes” and “political correctness” would probably get upset if someone overturned THEIR apple cart.)

Trump seems to display a “fixed” mindset. He says he is good with people, yet he made a bad impression at the G7 and acts like a toddler. He thinks he only hires the best people and is good at sizing people up, yet there has been a LOT of turnover on his staff. Why does a guy who loves to brag about how he knows so much about business and hiring the right people need a SECOND chief of staff to put his house in order? He thinks he is great at business, yet his casinos went bankrupt. How can you lose in an industry that inspired the phrase, “Never bet against the house”?

I don’t think the Kim Il Sung dynasty is stupid. And I think they might be more stable than people think. We have been hearing for years that the people are starving and the KIS dynasty was going to collapse any day now. We are starting the second decade of “any day now”. Perhaps the welfare of the average North Korean and the viability of the KIS regime are not as strongly correlated as people think. This is a government with few friends and little money, yet for decades they have been making progress on developing rockets and nuclear warheads, some of the most advanced technology known to man. These are not people to be underestimated. Or sized up by “feelings” in less than a minute.

I don’t think NK will give up their nukes. They have put a lot of time and effort into them. Their nukes are all they really have going for them. Saddam had no nukes, Gaddafi agreed to stop making them. Both of them are no longer with us. If I were Kim Jong Un, I would go for a third option: Keep the nukes. Nuclear weapons give a country prestige and respect. And they make you less vulnerable to invasion.

Agreeing to stop testing is not much of a concession, since the mountain that they use to test their weapons has collapsed (see here and here).

KJU has already stated he will not give up his nukes. I think he just wants a photo-op; to be seen as an equal and a peer to a US President. This is just speculation on my part, but I think he might not want or need anything else. Or honestly expect anything else. Trump just took a dump on the G7, he has complained about NAFTA, he did not pledge support for NATO, he backed out of the Paris climate accord, he is trying to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal and he has flip-flopped on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I think KJU knows any promise out of Trump’s mouth will be null and void the minute the wind blowing through Trump’s empty head changes direction.

Even if something substantive between Trump and KJU comes out of this, so what? South Korea, Japan and China will have to deal with any literal or metaphorical fallout from NK more than the USA. What if they do not like any agreement Trump and KJU come to (assuming they do)? Plus, this is a guy who has ruined relations with Japan and the countries of NATO, countries the USA has gotten along with for decades. If Trump were such a great dealmaker, a skilled genius and as good with people as he thinks, he should be able to make new friends while keeping the old ones. I will be impressed at Trump’s finesse with dictators when he can talk to the Prime Minister of Australia for longer than 30 minutes without hanging up.

There was an article in Politico recenly about how the reality of Trump’s dealmaking skills is worse than his professed image. I am leery of guys who go on and on about how great they are at negotiating or sales or making deals. They are usually obtuse jerks. I knew a guy in Chicago like that who asked me to do something for him. About 30 times. For at least two dozen, he repeated the question verbatim less than a second after I said no. I really hate it when people disregard what I say. Being persistent is not the same as being obtuse. There is a certain type of moron who thinks that being a jerk makes them look tough. Do they think they are impressing people? That they inspire fear?

If someone thinks you are a jerk, then you are just a jerk. Not a jerk who is tough, not a jerk who is clever, not a jerk who is a wise master teaching life lessons. Just a jerk.

Trump has been doing some of this with NK. It’s on. It’s off. It’s on and let’s pretend I never said it’s off. I know some MBA jerks love that stuff, but to most people it makes you look insane and out of control. Would you take a job from someone who was on-again off-again like that? Would you date or marry someone like that? They think people will be intimidated or impressed by these antics, but they are too obtuse to see that they just turn people off.

I think a lot of countries will avoid dealing with Trump and the USA. Not because they are afraid of him, but just because they are tired of his stupid games.

There was an interesting article in the Washington Post with a quote from The Art of the Deal about not wanting to seem too desperate to make a deal. I think Trump is pretty desperate for a deal. He does not have his border wall, he could not get Obamacare repealed, and as Richard N. Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations pointed out, Trump cannot mess up the second summit in a row, lest he make it obvious that he is the problem.

Trump brags that he does not need to prepare (even though he does). I bet that the NK delegation has been studying Trump intently. I always got the impression that a godo strategy in negotiation is to keep your cards close to your vest. KJU is a lot better at that than Trump. NK is a black box, and maybe the sanctions are hurting a lot, but KJU seems like a methodical guy. Trump is like a toddler in a china shop (no pun intended).

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

A guy who brags that he never prepares and is oblivious to the effects he has on other people is going to sit across a table from a guy who has accomplished a task that the world has tried to prevent him from doing. Who do you think will come out ahead in this?

Big Jim does not like people who have no curiosity about themselves or the world.

Passage from The Art of War by Sun Tzu translated by Lionel Giles.

“Carnival of Mexican Life. Dictatorship” by Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez (08 December 1886 -24 November 1957); image from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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2018-05 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for May, 2018.

The monthly dividend income came out to $44.66. The yearly income total for 2018 through the end of the month was $1321.55.

The income for April, 2017 was $531.68, and the yearly income for 2017 through the end of May was $2346.62.

Once again, the only income came from bond funds. The stock ETFs only pay on “C” months. So far the twelve-month moving average is still doing okay. Still, I have moments where I wonder if I did the right thing.

Looking at the past payouts on Vanguard’s site, some of the international funds should have some big payouts soon. They might not pay out until July. I might also buy more shares in VYM in my rollover. I might go up to 1000 shares. That might work out to about 25 shares a year.

My employment situation is up in the air. I might be leaving my company in a few months. Obviously this has a downside of no more income. But I will have a lot of money to put into my rollover. And more time for meditation.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each May from 2011 through 2018:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2018-05 $1321.55 $44.66 $398.51 $542.66
2017-05 $2346.62 $531.68 $553.90 $530.30
2016-05 $2059.52 $436.85 $479.79 $477.37
2015-05 $1803.11 $361.99 $411.92 $402.51
2014-05 $1411.19 $280.01 $304.77 $306.30
2013-05 $1141.24 $242.65 $260.91 $288.11
2012-05 $1268.97 $258.15 $257.13 $270.51
2011-05 $1114.84 $266.55 $233.03 $194.61

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for May, 2018:

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: $36.01
Vanguard Total International Bond: $8.65

Big Jim likes bond funds.

“The Valley of the Nervia” by Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926); image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Revisiting Bad Dividend Advice

A little over two years ago I commented on an article recommending people buy Frontier Communications because it had a high dividend yield of 9.6%. I explained that choosing a stock simply because it has a high yield is a bad idea. I wrote that “dividend growth investing”  (or DGI) is a subset of “dividend investing”, and why it was better than simply chasing yield. I also outlined the general criteria that DGI investors use to select stocks. Even though I put most of my money into dividend ETFs, I still think DGI is the way to go and is a good method for selecting stocks. I think that what has happened to Frontier Communications over the past two years shows that.

First off: They are no longer paying their dividend on their common stock. Their last dividend was announced on October 17, 2017, and paid on December 15, 2017. According to their press release page, the only dividend since then was on their preferred stock. I think we can ignore this for a few reasons:

  1. The October 17, 2017 announcement was for both common and preferred stock.
  2. Most people (and institutional investors) buy more common stock than preferred stock.
  3. The article I was responding to in 2016 did not mention preferred stock, so I assume they were talking about common stock.

They started paying dividends in 1972 to 1998, with a few cuts along the way. Then, a telecommunications company stopped paying dividends during the dot-com boom. They resumed in 2004. There were a few dividend raises, but not enough to meet even a DGI threshold of 5 years, which is the lowest I have seen from any DGI investor. But there were more freezes and cuts than raises. They also had a reverse split in 2017, which is never a good sign. If you look waaaaaay at the bottom, there is a row for 2018 that says “Dividend omitted.” I admit, I did not see the row for 2018 at first. Probably because they put it at the bottom out of order.

Here is their dividend data from their web site:

Year Div In Cents
Total dividends in 2017 3.441667
Total dividends in 2016: 6.30
Total dividends in 2015: 6.30
Total dividends in 2014: 6.00
Total dividends in 2013: 6.00
Total dividends in 2012: 6.00
Total dividends in 2011: 11.25
Total dividends in 2010: 13.125
Total dividends in 2009: 15.00
Total dividends in 2008: 15.00
Total dividends in 2007: 15.00
Total dividends in 2006: 15.00
Total dividends in 2005: 15.00
Total dividends in 2004: 37.50

If you were hoping to get bailed out by capital gains (never a good idea), you were disappointed there too. On February 1, 2016, the stock was around $70. It peaked at $84 in April, 2016. It hit $70 in August, 2016, and just kept dropping. Now it is at about $7.69. Granted, I always say that price alone is not important, but a drop from $84 to $7 is bad. But I think the DGI criteria are a good signal of the health of a company. A lot of people invest based on price, and they think that a fall in price is a problem. The reality is that a fall in price is the result of underlying problems.

The drop in price would not be a surprise if you looked at their cash flow statements. According to Morningstar, here is their net income from their cash flow statements for the past 10 quarters:

Quarter Profit or (Loss) in Millions
2015-12 (103)
2016-03 (186)
2016-06 (27)
2016-09 (80)
2016-12 (80)
2017-03 (75)
2017-06 (662)
2017-09 (38)
2017-12 (1029)
2018-03 20

So in 2018, they made $20 million, after spending two years losing $2.2 billion. Good times.

A lot of indexers might look at this company and point to it as an example of why dividend investing is a bad idea. People need to realize that DGI investors do not simply chase yield. DGI investors look at the cash flow, the payout ratio and the dividend history. Using the DGI criteria is not a guarantee, but it increases the odds of success. You cannot just point to an individual stock and say to someone, “If you put money in that stock, you would have lost all of it! Therefore, your style does not work!” That objection assumes that a DGI investor would have put money into a bad stock, like Frontier Communications. I think for Frontier, using DGI criteria would have saved an investor from disaster.

Big Jim likes sustainable cash flow.

“DGI” can refer to “dividend growth investing” or “dividend growth investor”, and yes, sometimes I write “DGI investor”, which could be redundant.

Image from Memgenerator, assumed allowed under Fair Use. I have no idea if the misspelling of “advice” is intentional.

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Thoughts On Assange

Recently, some on the internet were upset that the Ecuadorian embassy in London cut off Assange’s internet access. A lot of “freedom crusaders” went nuts. We would all live in tyranny if Assange was cut off from the internet.

First off, why do some people think that being a jerk makes them a freedom fighter? Or that “freedom” means that the rest of the world should roll over and give them what they want?

Ecuador made him a citizen in December, 2017. Even still, that does not give him carte blanche. He has a history of trying to get into parts of the embassy that are off-limits to him, yet he thinks that he can just go where he wants. Do any American citizens think they can just walk into an American embassy and start making demands?

He is a guest of Ecuador. He is there as long as they tolerate him. When you are accused of crimes by multiple countries and still wanted by the country that you are in (the UK wants to talk to him about skipping bail) and you have a reputation for sticking your nose in other countries’ elections and claiming objectivity while only telling one side of the story, maybe you should avoid angering your hosts. Shut up and do not make waves. Why should they put up with any shenanigans?

I do not think he is too bright. He said he did not want to go to trial in Sweden because he was afraid the US would extradite him. Why couldn’t the US just extradite him from the UK? He was in prison for about a week and had to wear an electronic bracelet. I do not understand why he was not afraid of the US trying to start extradition procedures while he was in the UK. I think the US is a closer ally to the UK than Sweden. And if he was so afraid of the US getting him by illegal means, again I do not understand why they could not just grab him any time they wanted.

And if he is such a brave fighter for freedom, then why not face the music in the US? Either you are willing to fight for your beliefs or you are not.

He did a Reddit AMA, but posted answers on Twitter. And dodged a lot of questions.

I think one reason that Assange got asylum is because former President Rafael Correa wanted to stick it to the West. At least a bit. It doesn’t matter whether the people in charge are right or left; a lot of small countries do not like the big countries pushing them around. So while Assange thinks he is sticking it to the man, another government is using him as their pawn. 0wned.

A few weeks ago I looked at some of Wikileaks’ tweets over the past year. There were not too many about Russia. I suppose that it is possible that nobody in Russia sends them documents, but I find it hard to believe that nobody in a country with a president-for-life is unhappy with the status quo. Like the XX Committee, I think he is working for Russia (also see here).

They did have a few tweets about Saudi Arabia. A few about Europe. A lot about the US. A lot about elections being fixed, yet nothing about Putin, who seems to run with no opposition. They cannot seem to decide if Trump is dismantling the “deep state” or continuing it. They do not seem to be eager to see Trump’s tax returns.

A lot of glibertarian dudebros have had internet drives to pay for Assange’s defense. Are any of them willing to pay some of the extra costs that Ecuador has incurred because of Assange? One estimate is that he is costing Ecuador $60,000/month. The per capita GDP of the US is about $60,000/year. In the UK it is $30,000/year. In Ecuador it is $11,000/year. People in rich countries like the USA ask questions like, “Why are we letting people starve when we have money to build all these weapons?” I wonder what questions people ask about Assange in a country that has one-sixth the money. Assange isn’t really willing to pay the price for his beliefs, but he has no problem letting a third-world country foot his bills. Let’s find someone else to stick up for freedom.

Big Jim does not like self-centered glibertarian dudebros. Or dudbros.

La Virgen alada del Apocalípsis (“Winged Virgin of the Apocalypse“) by Miguel de Santiago (17th century), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Thoughts On Saudi Arabia

Recently, Saudi “reformer” Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman began remaking the country in his image. Recently he detained some members of the royal family, government workers and businessmen in an “anti-corruption” purge.

First off, if the guy fighting corruption is the same guy who is running the country because his dad gave it to him, then you have to explain how you define “corruption”.

Many of the detained were close to the previous king, Abdullah. So one effect of this “anti-corruption” purge is to make MBS stronger. It looks like MBS got help from Jared Kushner in identifying political enemies (see links here, here and here). Perhaps “corrupt” means “not doing what Pretty Boy wants.” Two powerful families cracking down on enemies sounds like corruption to me.

I think it’s kind of ironic that a lot of the detainees got out by paying fines. Granted, people pay fines instead of going to trial in a lot of countries, but paying money to get out of a corruption charges sounds kind of like corruption.

One of the detained was Al-Waleed bin Talal, who just coincidentally has been critical of Donald Trump. To be honest, I always thought AWbT was a bit odd. He always claimed he made his fortune without his family giving him any favors. That may be true, but I think “on my own” for a member of royalty doesn’t mean the same thing it does for me.

Another thing that was weird was his obsession with being listed on Forbes’ list of billionaires. If you want people to invest in you, show them financial statements for Kingdom Holding Company.

That said, detaining AWbT seemed like an odd thing to do. MbS says he wants Saudi Arabia to be more open and equal, and give women more rights. AWbT has pushed for gender equality for a long time and hired the first female pilot. MbS says he wants Saudi Arabia to be less dependent on oil. Kingdom Holding Company’s “Investments” page lists the following categories:

  • Finance Services & Investments
  • Real Estate
  • Hotels
  • Aviation
  • Petrochemicals
  • Entertainment
  • Private Equity & International Investments
  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Consumer and Retail
  • Social Media and Technology.

Granted, “Petrochemicals” is in there, but it looks like AWbT knows about diversification. Isn’t that what MbS says he wants?

A lot of Westerners who worked with AWbT were afraid to come to his defense because they did not want to anger the Saudi government. Well played, MbS.

I want stability in the world, but is MbS the man for the job? Is anyone in the Saudi royal family up to the task? An article in The Intercept goes over the differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Depsite having fewer resources and allies, Iran is more successful at accomplishing its goals than Saudi Arabia, which is odd given that SA has more money, more oil, and the cachet of having Mecca and Medina. The article points out that maybe the Iranians are just smarter than the Saudis.

Let’s not forget that it is not Iran that is funding the radicalization of Sunnis the world over; it is Saudi Arabia. It is not Shiites bombing Sufi tombs in Pakistan; it is extremists being fed Wahabbi doctrine. The Iranians might not be wack jobs if the West had left their elected prime minister in place.

Big Jim doesn’t like religious extremists.

Section from a Qur’an, Iraq or Turkey, second half of 13th century, available at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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2018-05-16 Blog Title

Today’s title is: Emotional Support Goat.

Someone at work said that a few airlines are no longer allowing people to bring bugs, spiders, snakes or birds onto planes as “emotional support animals”. I know there are people with actual disabilities, but I think a lot people out there are taking advantage of the rules. If your dog barks, or your animal goes wandering around, then you are just a jerk trying to take advantage of the rules. And ruining things for people who really do need animals.

I once saw a guy bring a dog into the grocery store. What is wrong with people that they think everybody has to roll over for them? (See what I did there?)

Plus, my mom is allergic to most dogs. Why should she have to put up with a dog because you are too weak-minded to travel without Fee-fee? Some people have very bad allergic reactions. Don’t they have rights too? Amazingly, ten or so years ago people were able to fly without needing Mr Fluffygums to keep them safe.

I think I need to bring along Helga, my emotional support Swedish contortionist and supermodel. She helps me feel good.

Someone at work thought that “Emotional Support Goat” would be a good band name. Someone else thought it would be a good DJ name, but I think “DJ Goat” is enough.

Big Jim likes the Swedish ladies.

“A Pastoral Idyll” by Louis Léopold Robert  (13 May 1794 – 20 March 1835), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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2018-04 Dividend Income Report

Here is the dividend income report for April, 2018.

The monthly dividend income came out to $50.88. The yearly income total for 2018 through the end of the month was $1276.89.

The income for April, 2017 was $324.66, and the yearly income for 2017 through the end of April was $1814.94.

Once again, the only income came from bond funds. The stock ETFs only pay on “C” months. So far the twelve-month moving average is still doing okay.

Note: January, April, July and October are the “A” months. February, May, August and November are “B” months. March, June, September and December are the “C” months. I got this terminology from David Fish, maker of the great monthly Dividend Champion spreadsheet. If you want to invest directly in dividend growth companies, you should get his spreadsheet every month.

Here is a table with the year-to-date amounts, the monthly amounts, and the three- and twelve-month moving averages for each April from 2011 through 2018:

Month YTD Amount 3MMA 12MMA
2018-04 $1276.89 $50.88 $405.77 $583.24
2017-04 $1814.94 $324.66 $532.02 $522.40
2016-04 $1622.67 $270.38 $461.86 $471.14
2015-04 $1441.12 $261.30 $409.21 $395.68
2014-04 $1130.58 $196.43 $323.64 $303.18
2013-04 $898.59 $179.23 $262.82 $289.40
2012-04 $1010.82 $218.56 $274.05 $271.21
2011-04 $848.29 $203.10 $216.30 $179.46

Here are the stocks and the income amounts for April, 2018:

  • Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: $36.45
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: $3.86 (Capital Gains)
  • Vanguard Total International Bond: $10.57

Capri mit Blick auf Santa Serafina, by Johann Wilhelm Schirmer (5 September 1807 – 11 September 1863), assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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