Jake Berzon's blog

The time has come for me to admit that buying EWJ (an exchange traded index fund of large Japanese stocks) three years ago was a mistake. Much of the rise in EWJ over the past six months was the function of the appreciating Yen, which hit a 15 year high against the $US about a month ago. It was not, however, due to underlying stocks rallying in Yen terms.

Japanese flag

Knowing your every move has long been on big Brother's agenda. One step in this direction was the development of RFID technology and its voluntary use for identifying pets. (RFID is a little chip that can be embedded under the skin.) The next step is to require RFIDs in all the animals that enter our food supply. This is the purpose of Senate bill S.510, strongly supported by the Obama administration. It is hiding under the guise of FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, a piece of food chain protection legislation, but safety is not what this Senate bill is about.

Amal's RFID implant

Both Texas Instruments (TXN) and du Pont (DD) appear to have reached their fair values recently. I sold both this morning. DD was sold at $48.35/share and TXN at $31.17/share. Even though it is at fair value, it is possible that TXN has further to run up from here; it is much less likely for DD. I purchased DD on March 8, 2006 at $40.31/share and have held it through thick and thin until now for a total return including dividends and excluding commissions of 35.8%.

Currently $US is plumbing the lows of the up-trending channel it has carved out for itself over the past 3 years. vs. a basket of currencies (the Euro, Japanese Yen, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Swedish Krona and Swiss Franc) tracked by the Deutsche Bank Long US Dollar Futures Index. Cycles have been getting progressively shorter, so it looks like the next leg up should take three to six months, in which time the $US should appreciate as much as 20%.

A bag of US dollars

Yesterday, I called Fidelity Investments with what I thought was going to be a simple request: to sell a bond from my taxable portfolio and concurrently buy it back into my IRA account. You would think that such a transaction would be a nobrainer for the mighty giant that Fidelity is. The answer I got was simply mind boggling.

Fidelity Investments Logo

Many of you already know that for the past two and a half months I have been working tirelessly, though part-time on a very exciting project - a site that promises to expose US Government travel excesses, JunketSleuth.Com.

The new Intercontinental San Francisco Hotel - a favorite destination

Let me start this short note with a little theorem that I offer without a proof. For the most part and under steady state economic conditions: 1)Short-term commodity prices (within a span of a several months) are driven by expectations of supply and demand for that commodity. 2) Mid-term commodity prices are driven by the actual supply and demand for that commodity and to some extent inflationary expectations. 3) Long-term commodity prices (several years or more) are for the most part a function of inflation.

Diversified Agriculture Index and DBA ETN

Today's blog entry was going to be about soft commodities - that's the ones you can chew. Unfortunately, it will have to be about drunk driving, instead. But don't you worry, it's nothing really horrific, every human will live through the end of the story and, of course, I wasn't the one driving drunk.

Drunk driver's totaled black van

On Tuesday evening of this past week I had to go to a joint Farm Services Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) informational meeting on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Eads, CO. Lena and Sofae came with me. To make the trip a bit more enjoyable, we stopped to see several little-known roadside attractions on the way there and back.

Here are the most memorable of them, along with the photos, which I posted in my Facebook albums. (Make sure to read the captions, as this more or less narrates the story, making it that much more fun.)

Wonder Tower of Genoa, Colorado

I can't believe it is that time of the year again - garlic harvest time. That means summer is 2/3 over already. On the positive side, it means that we are probably done with 100+ degree days - we have had way too many of them this year already anyway. In any case, I took this picture of the last of this year's garlic harvest picked from my garden in Bennett, CO. It aint much, but it sure smells good and beats going all the way to Gilroy, CA!

Garlic Harvest

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