Saturday, January 30, 2021


Up early talking to men in dark suits. Angus wears a blue shirt and suit jacket. Out of Zoom sight his ensemble consists of a pair of CC #3's discarded cargo pants and a pair of worn but comfortable tartan slippers. Also out of Zoom sight is a Polish Lowland Sheepdog lady asleep under my desk.

The Manhattanites have had a busy week. Something to do with Reddit and Robin hood that I don't completely understand. This morning we rattle through a quick check list of international hot spots . Will the Chinese seize Quemoy from Taiwan in an early test of the new administration ? What's going on in the Machiavellian Italian political crisis ? ( although you have to wonder when  Italy is not having a political crisis ) . We move onto the EU's failure to source enough vaccines. ' Good to know we Americans can do something right !' says a waggish guy from New Jersey. We finish off with some speculation on why Jim Jordan won't stand for the vacant Ohio Senate seat in 2022.

Sophie's silence  is rewarded with a trip to the river. It might not be the Mississippi but where the Tarn and the Garonne flow together it's probably as wide as any river north of the Pyrenees. Sophie eyes up a family of ducks that are paddling towards a yacht moored mid-stream. She weighs up the pleasure of giving chase against the downside of getting wet . Sophie opts not to give chase. I congratulate her on a wise decision. Back at The Rickety Old Farmhouse she practises her yodelling.

 Whoever knew pizza was such a thing in Tokyo ? Why is Prosciutto translated as 'Rowham'? :

Quarantining groceries is going too far :


  1. Thank you for the explanation of the river's width. Something this geography obsessive had often wondered about when looking at the photos on this blog!

  2. What a good girl Sophie was, when you were talking to the men in dark suits. She deserves to be allowed to yodel as much as she likes!
    Do you think that "Rowham" is a slight mispronunciation and should be "Raw Ham" - which is Proscuitto to us? The Marinara pizza is nothing like the one we have here, which is called Marinera, a great favourite of mine at one of our local restaurants. It's seafood - mussels, langostinos, fresh smoked salmon ("Row" salmon do you think?), tomato, on a thin crisp base - very tasty!

  3. Exactly, proscuitto is "namahamu" in Japanese, which translates as "raw ham". I always find that kind of disgusting, so maybe "row ham" is an improvement. Pizza is a huge thing in Japan. I don't know why, but I am grateful! The Reddit/Robinhood story has kept me completely captivated over the past few days. Whenever we visited the US when our son was younger, he could somehow sense if there was a Gamestop anywhere within twenty miles of us. We watched as the business kind of faded away as online games took over, so it is quite amazing to find it again at the center of this storm.

  4. Jim Jordan enjoys grandstanding and making a lot of noise in the House, but he doesn't seem to hold up too well when under scrutiny by the press. A few years ago there was a big flap about something involving his years as a wrestling coach at Ohio State. He weathered the storm and won his re-election. Now I think he feels quite comfortable that he can hold his district so why open himself up to more investigations by running statewide. That's my theory anyway. And he doesn't have someone in the White House who will Tweeet on his behalf.

  5. Great podcast explaining GameStop:
    Planet Money is wonderful.
    Also, Bloomberg's Money Stuff newsletter by Matt Levine has focused on GameStop for several days. His take:
    One reading would be: “Retail investors on Reddit might have started the GameStop rally, but they’re not piling into this stock now, and the price action this week is coming from professionals.” Or as one Twitter user put it, “past the retail ignition, the rocket ship was mostly intra-fast money warfare.” This story doesn’t exactly tell you who the professionals are, whether they’re traditional Wall Street (hedge funds, etc.) or algorithmic high-frequency traders or just semiprofessional crews of day-traders who don’t access the market through traditional retail brokers. Someone other than Robinhood traders, anyway.[2]

    You could tell a related story like: “Retail investors on Reddit started the rally to squeeze professional short sellers, and then this week the professional short sellers capitulated and started buying the stock at even higher prices from those redditors, who claimed victory and took profits.” This is probably true, at least in part. It also matches the popular story reasonably well, except that in the popular story the short squeeze is in the future, and the Reddit traders are supposed to be holding firm so that short sellers can’t cover even at recent high prices.

    Another reading would be: “Lots of retail investors are piling into this stock, and the price action is coming from them, but they’re mostly buying stock from other retail investors.”[3] Those other retail investors could be normal people who bought 100 shares of GameStop in 2005, forgot about them, and then remembered and sold them into this rally, or they could be Reddit posters who got in early, pumped the stock on WallStreetBets, and then happily got out as more people piled in to buy.

    Your Manhattan men in dark suits undoubtedly know every word written by Matt Levine.

  6. Well Angus, if you don't get the Robinhood and GameStop chaos, I certainly don't. I've heard it explained on the news and am still not sure I understand it. But I read a story on the Washington Post that a Mom bought her son $60 worth of stock a couple of years ago, and he cashed it in the other day for about $3000. Pretty good investment.

    Love that last photo of Sophie! I'm glad that she behaved while you were on a zoom meeting - We both know it can be hard for a girl named Sophie!