Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as 2023 market surprises so far, guide to blowing up Twitter, the Celsius CEO arrest, AI and work automation, running pain, Threads reached 100 million users in less than five days, rolling recessions do not exist, any news can be morphed into bad news by the same people, hanging out with a romance scammer in Nigeria, we attempt to answer the question whether Ukraine negotiates with Russia and the answer is no, amazing story of a murder mystery in the Oslo Plaza, Ozempic and another free soloist falling to his death, the best photography around and a LOT more, enjoy the weekend!
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Markets are dynamically fluid, absolutely no one has a crystal ball. Every time I am asked “where does the stock market go from here?” or other similar question, I always respond with “I don’t know”. And if they persist asking, I follow up with “It will fluctuate”. And this is why I am always right lol. Anyway, you need to have a disciplined process AND (this is important) be able to stick with it, which is easier said than done. The only constant other than market fluctuation is…surprises! 10 Surprises From the First Half of 2023. So, stop listening to gurus and focus on getting to know yourself and try hard to stop yourself from doing something stupid. Because doing stupid things with money is an essential human trait I guess. I think as a financial advisor for many years stopping people from doing harmful things to themselves is probably our biggest skill…Also, stocks usually go up if you let them.
Also, so many gurus predicted a recession. And these people would be the first ones who claim credit if we ever get one….while in the meantime the markets have gone on an (of course, surprising again!) amazing run up while they caused the people who listened to them to stay in the sidelines and miss it. And, never forget, There’s no such thing as a “rolling recession”.
Stop talking about “rolling recessions” and just admit that your 2022 recession call was wrong! And please, when we finally do get a recession, don’t claim, “See, I called it.” [You know they will lol]
This is so right on! 11 ways cynics argue any news is bad news. Just get away from negative people, you are welcome! I just picked three out of eleven to excerpt below:
Oil prices: When they’re rising, it’s bad because hit hurts consumer spending and it drives inflation higher. When they’re falling, it’s bad because they must be a sign of weakening demand, which means we could soon learn the economy went into recession.
Consumer spending: When it’s falling, it’s bad because consumer spending is the dominant driver of GDP so it must mean recession risks are rising. When it’s rising, it’s bad because it’s inflationary and may lead to unfriendly actions from policymakers.
Short-term interest rates: When they’re rising, it’s a bad because it reflects worries about higher inflation and tighter Fed monetary policy. When they’re falling, it’s bad because it suggests slowing economic activity.
TWITTER VS THREADS
This is the probably best read on the subject I read this past week: How to Blow Up a Timeline. It goes deep into the demise of Twitter. Clearly, for us who loved the platform, even with all its faults, we are clearly having a hard time to let go. But it is time as so much about it has gotten so much worse since Elon bought it. And this is a fact I think even his biggest fan boys will find it hard to argue with!
This past year, for the first time, I could see the end of the road for Twitter. Not in an abstract way; I felt its decline. Don’t misunderstand me; Twitter will persist in a deteriorated state, perhaps indefinitely. However, it’s already a pale shadow of what it was at its peak. The cool kids are no longer sitting over in bottle service knocking out banger tweets. Instead, the timeline is filled with more and more strangers the bouncer let in to shill their tweetstorms, many of them Twitter Verified accounts who paid the grand fee of $8 a month for the privilege. In the past year, so many random meetings I have with one-time Twitter junkies begin with a long sigh and then a question that is more lamentation than anything else: “How did Twitter get so bad?” [Wow, nails it!]
That golden era of Twitter will always be this collective hallucination we look back on with increasing nostalgia, like alumni of some cult. With the benefit of time, we’ll appreciate how unique it was while forgetting its most toxic dynamics. Twitter was the closest we’ve come to bottling oral culture in written form. [Say it again brother!]
One more on the subject: Does Threads Pose an Existential Threat to Twitter? Yes. Will it succeed? Time will tell…
Put bluntly, the new Twitter kind of sucks. [Yep…]
Let me be clear: Threads, as a platform, sucks right now. You can’t sort chronologically or by followers. You can’t direct message. You can’t search for tweets. But no one cares. Those features are coming, but in the meantime, users seem to be genuinely having fun. [ All true. Sometimes I wonder how many of us are now on Threads because we can’t stand Elon Musk…I bet a bigly chunk! The engineers at Meta must kick ass and roll out the improvements laid out before we, you know, lose interest…]
Social media isn’t rocket science, it’s something much harder. [So true, just like dieting and investing…so much harder in practice!]
I still think the biggest Elon Musk accomplishment has been making Mark Zuckerberg look cool again, nothing tops that! Also, nothing tops how fast this happened! How Long it Took for Popular Apps to Reach 100 Million Users. It was actually 4.5 days, #mindblown!
One of the most ridiculous characters in the crypto world was finally arrested, hooray! SEC, CFTC, and FTC sue Celsius; CEO Alex Mashinsky arrested. He is the Celsius CEO who was out there pitching his company was going to pay 17% interest on client crypto deposits comparing it to what banks are paying out while all having the nerve to say “Your bank is lying. Or we are lying“. Knowing full well (when proven) that he was lying, just wow!
AI & SCAMS
Must read imho: AI and the Automation of Work. ChatGPT and generative AI will change how we work, but how different is this to all the other waves of automation of the last 200 years? What does it mean for employment? Disruption? Coal consumption?
This is a deep dive on how romance scammers work. Alert your older loved ones please! The Romance Scammer On My Sofa. A writer’s quest to find the con artist in Nigeria who duped his mother. Reading this made me ill to my stomach…
RUSSIA UKRAINE WAR/PUTIN/PRIGOZHIN
NATO was never going to accept Ukraine as a member during a war. I think Ukraine got enough security guarantees and commitments to carry on kicking the Russians out #developing.
Where is Prigozhin? And many generals in Russian have been taken out in several ways in the past few weeks. I am thinking maybe this was a “coup” for Putin to get rid of some undesirables he perceived as threats to him? Who knows, I am no foreign policy thought leader you guys lol.
I find it awful some in the West are screaming to negotiate. Like it is their own country being threatened with annihilation by some phucking psycho bent to revive the Soviet Union leading to sad hardship for all. My god, what a stupid war! Ukraine is no Georgia or Chechnya to roll over, how pathetic to think you can take it in 3 days or 2 weeks, it just boggles the mind of this miscalculation. I think it may be THE biggest blunder ever since 1900 rolled around or something. Anyway, responses to the dude wanting negotiations in this article: Should Ukraine Negotiate With Russia? The Debate Over How to End the War.
Putin continues to believe that he can outlast the West and win on the battlefield. The United States and its allies have learned from their past mistakes to take Putin’s words seriously when he repeats his commitment to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine as well reverse what he calls the “greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century,” the breakup of the Soviet Union. Putin will continue until Russia’s aggression is stopped on the battlefield, not the negotiating table. [Yep…]
ODDZ & ENDZ
WOW, what a story! Mystery at the Oslo Plaza. I had never heard of this! This story is captivating, must read. And it took place in a Radisson Blu property. And to this day no one knows who this woman was.
What a psycho cop this guy was! I had heard of this cop who drove across the country to meet a kid he groomed online. And then did the unthinkable. Captivating Murder in America podcast about The Catfish Pedophile Cop: Austin Lee Edwards. And here is a news story: Virginia State Trooper, 28, is shot dead by California cops after he murdered the mom and grandparents of a teenage girl he CATFISHED online: He drove cross-country to commit triple-homicide then burned down family’s home and drove away with young girl.
There is so much happening in the world of fighting obesity with drugs. Goodbye Ozempic. What, wait…already? It is getting confusing trying to keep up. I think I am going to ask my doctor about them at my next physical…
To me climbing without any safety equipment is asking to go upstairs, I don’t get it. The Free Soloist Who Fell to Earth.
Amazing shots at this year’s Big Picture Photography Contest.
With the Canadian fires affecting air quality lately, this is a website we should probably bookmark and check often: Air Pollution in World: Real-time Air Quality Index Visual Map.
Also, check these out: Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming Food and Drink Festivals To Know.
Amazing, anyone stayed here? Going underground for the world’s deepest sleep. Deep Sleep claims to be the deepest overnight accommodation in the world. Found at the foot of a 1,375ft (419m) slate mine in north Wales. The mine dates back to the 19th Century. The log cabins can only be reached by a two-hour hike through the mine.
If you love aquariums this is it! A Look at America’s Magnificent Aquariums. Been to several of these, I thought the one at Monterey is awesome.
Running interrupted again. Just when my training for the Chicago Marathon was going so great! I was diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma. I had never heard of it, it just came out of nowhere. I got a cortisone shot already and letting that work its way through. No running for a week and reevaluate. If pain is gone, another week to heal and then very slowly ramp up walking and running. Needless to say, the London Marathon in April 2024 is looking unlikely. I just want to line up in Chicago and finish at this point, running it under 4 hours is a fantasy. I think my body is sending me strong signals to slow down and maybe I turn into a social runner like my wife. But my competitive genes absolutely hate this! It is what it is, thanks for your support.
I thought I got better at this…I should have stopped when I first started feeling weird things at the bottom of my right foot. Running Pain: Should You Keep Running Through It?
A section where I go on and on about some stuff that happens in my life and anything else that just does not fit in another section above
I had never heard of this, do NOT click on the pic in the article to see it, you have been warned! Rare case of green hairy tongue is pure nightmare fuel.
If you come here for music recommendations, you know by now that this blogger will never dish out Maroon 5 or Taylor Swift songs, just not my vibe. I prefer non commercial acts, the more obscure the better. And this has been playing on YouTube for the past several days, it is SDH Semiotics Department of Heteronyms – Balance. “The words get stuck and I wanted to dance“.
The blog’s revenue is an absolute zero month to date. I am again seriously thinking to shut this baby down after more than ten years. And when this happens I am going to miss you! Anyway, I just had a really scary thought, imagine me without a blog and without running, what the hell am I going to do with so much time on my hands? Maybe I could get a few more clients, or book some complex (dream?) award trips, go see my mother more often and my kids too, get back on my bike and more hiking #developing.
Many years ago I had a dream I saved someone’s life. Doing CPR. He was choking, I think it was chicken wings lol. Anyway, I felt so good about it I promised myself I am going to learn CPR. Well, finally, I will be CPR certified next week. So, it is safe if you want to choke on chicken wings with me around, I got you!
The movie Joy Ride has many Ann Arbor connections with the main actors going to local high schools. Some friends know their mothers and we would never suspect they were so…naughty lol. You will realize what I am talking about if you see the movie. Prepare for very raunchy silly jokes, seeing they come from the Asian female perspective was indeed kind of shocking. But, you know, why not, down with stereotyping I say! I think of this movie the Asian female version of The Hangover.
Wait, is this a new Tom Cruise movie fighting…AI in the theaters already? Didn’t we watch the one with the fighter jet? Will this guy ever slow down, wow!
This blog started with a focus on miles and points and travel. It has evolved since then. Everything below deals with the hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles and points. If you are not interested, you can stop here, thank you.
MILES & POINTS NEWS/PROMOS/MY ACTION
These days every 100,000 points credit card Signup Bonus should always be in your radar. And here it is again: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 100,000 Bonus Points. It used to require a bigly $15,000 minimum spend in three months. But the new offer requires only $8,000 minimum spend, almost 50% lower. For a card with an annual fee of $95. It earns 3x on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, social media/search engine advertising. Probably not a keeper for the long term but that is just me, you can decide for yourself, we are all different. The card will allow you to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline/hotel partners in case you do not have the Chase Sapphire Preferred which I prefer and hold for the duration. You can apply for the card with my Credit Card Links or you use my REFERRAL LINK, thank you!
It appears Chase again is very liberal in approving apps, even if you are over the 5/24 restriction (five credit cards approved in the past 24 months). 3 Inks approved again. 420K points “in the bag”.
Is it just me or is the action in credit card Signup Bonus offers lately all on Business cards?
There was a giant cry of agony when this news hit.. You need to act TODAY if you never did this, something all the bloggers have screaming about it for years and yes, they finally succeeded in killing it. It is always so hypocritical when they get upset about killing another deal, I mean, what the hell did you expect these companies to do huh? Anyway, always remember, the miles and points industry is HUGE. And they are all aiming to make money which is fine. Faking enthusiasm several times a day for the same shitty card offers non stop should make you THINK. Anyway, obviously doing it my way does not bring ANY clicks, sad LOL!
I did it, I transferred my 309,000 Radisson in the Americas points to 154,000 Choice Privileges points. I just did not want to have them do it because they may screw it up. Yeah, I lost half of the points and it is okay, they work differently. Choice & Radisson loyalty programs being combined on July 18. Hopefully, I get to use these points I have been trying to burn for years!
There is a new flight award search engine, Pointsyeah. Frequent Miler did a review and it appears promising. I am trying to simplify my life with miles/points activities, the golden era is sure behind us. I am slowly burning them now and making efforts to reduce my mental bandwidth in this space. Ok, I think I may go for an Ink Business Preferred you guys because, you know, it is an addiction lol. So, back to Pointsyeah. I tried to give them a few pointers but I guess I did not come off right and commenters jumped on me and I probably deserved it. I hope they succeed and they listen to my feedback, you know, they could have taken it and thanked me. Oh, well. The point is with so many such search engines we have come kind of familiar with…make an effort in the home page to MAKE me take my time and create YET another freaking account (with more email coming at me from yet another vendor looking to upsell me, I ain’t got time for dat!). So, before you force me open an account, you know, and you do let me do a search at least give me results of airports in the SAME continent, is that too much to ask? Anyway, the vibe will get back to me if this is a game changer and I will be right there. Until then, good luck guys! Anyway, it is really strange having so many award search vendors out there, something totally unexpected. I hope they can all survive, it is a tough business! Is the tech industry layoffs responsible for this, many software engineers with free time to take a crack at it?
More on Chase Ink Preferred approvals from MEAB:
– Ink Preferred mailers sent via USPS with a promotion code bypass 5/24 consistently
– Ink Preferred online applications with offers of 90,000 points or more bypass 5/24 if you’ve got a good relationship with Chase but aren’t above 8/24
– Ink Preferred in-branch applications bypass 5/24 if you’ve got a good relationship with Chase
This post captures what has been going in this space. The Elusive Dream of Double Gold Status. The eliminations of angles/loopholes/hacks are continuing at a pace that is not sustainable for most of us who have been at it for a while. Of course, the bloggers will NEVER say that to you and they will keep faking their enthusiasm for every credit card that pays them a commission. And target the newbies of course!
I am going to keep my blog positive. For bloggers stuff, look at the blog comments by TBBBuzzing. And there is a doozy below! This blog will continue to Educate. Entertain. And Inspire. Until it stops one day…
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 75k CAPITAL ONE Venture X, 75k CAPITAL ONE Venture Rewards, 75k CHASE Ink Business Cash, 75k CHASE Ink Business Unlimited, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, 60K CITI Premier, 40k CAPITAL ONE VentureOne Rewards, $1,000 Cash Back CHASE Ink Business Premier, 140K CHASE IHG Rewards Premier (with $100 Statement Credit), 60k CHASE Sapphire, 60k US BANK Business Altitude and many more including many AmericanExpress cards such as Delta Airlines, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors cards! Please check out my Affiliate links. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. If you do not see a credit card with my affiliate links, perhaps I could refer you?
This section is about my
hobby addiction of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points since the early 1990’s! SKIP if you are not into it!
As of today, I have burned 741,000 miles/points year to date in 2023 and have 4,137,522 miles/points in the bank. Some do drugs, I do miles lol!
Thanks to US banks, very lucrative travel rewards credit card offers come and go all the time. This section will act as a reference point on the best CURRENT offers. I will designate new material preceded by NEW.
BASICS: This travel hacking hobby is mostly about getting the fat Signup Bonus of travel rewards credit cards while of course NEVER EVER carrying a balance. Banks have a marketing budget and are willing to give us many THOUSANDS of miles/points to travel mostly for free hoping to hook us to then charge confiscatory 20%+ interest rates on our balances. The poor souls who fall for their marketing paying these ludicrous interest rates end up subsidizing us responsible consumers who enjoy taking advantage of, cough, such bank marketing budgets! Some of us have been doing this for thirty years creating amazing travel memories…Feel free to ask me questions or post them in the comments, we were all newbies once!
BASICS: Prefer credit cards from the proprietary points programs of banks, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Network, Capital One Rewards Miles because they are a lot more flexible and are not devalued as frequently. Over pure airline and hotel travel rewards credit cards. Pure cash back credit cards may work for you best and they are getting more valuable as airline and hotel loyalty programs keep getting devalued. Sometimes, a pure no annual fee 2% cash back card works best for simplicity!
TOP TRAVEL REWARDS SIGNUP BONUS CARDS
The Capital One Venture X card offers a 75,000 point Signup Bonus after a minimum spend of $4k in the first three months. If you like simplicity and looking for one (premium) card, I highly recommend this card (and yes, I have it myself!). It has an annual fee of $395 but it comes with a VERY easy $300 statement credit for travel booked on its excellent travel portal, essentially turning it into a $95 annual fee card. But wait…there is more! On each card anniversary you earn 10,000 points essentially making it FREE! Every dollar of spend earns 2 points and flights booked on the travel portal earn 5 points per dollar. You get access to Capital One and Plaza Premium airport lounges and a Priority Pass Select lounge membership and, this is important, you can add FOUR authorized users FOR FREE who can also have their own Priority Pass Select airline lounge membership. You can transfer your Capital One points to up to 18 Transfer Partners. No foreign transaction fees. Free Hertz President’s Circle rental car top elite status. Cell phone protection and PRIMARY rental car coverage. Awesome seats at baseball stadiums for just 5k points each. And lots more. Available with my Credit Card Links, thank you for your support!
Other worthy credit card deals going on currently:
Remember, you are NOT allowed to ever carry a credit card balance if you ever get a credit card here!
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Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.