Where there’s mystery there’s margin

There is a lot of media attention of late around Elon Musk buying Twitter. And of course, crypto stuff is in the headlines a lot as always, with the ups and downs. I see the value of Twitter was not as high as I would have thought, considering all the hype. And then, out of curiosity I looked on Google a bit more and the value of all the Bitcoins out there was also not as high as I had imagined. Considering the move Elon just made, a few eccentric billionaires could pool together and buy all the Bitcoins. Makes no sense to do that though, but it is possible, in theory.

The thing about buying up all the shares in a company is that there is an underlying value in a profitable business. But Bitcoin is not a business. It is a virtual currency. So buying it all up makes no sense. But I just had this mad thought that it could be possible. Does make for an interesting debate. The reason I compare Bitcoin to shares in a company is that people talk about Bitcoin like it is equity in the stock market. It is traded like a public company share. And yet, there is no company. There is no governance. There is no rule of law. There is just this faith, and of course hype, and a massive bunch of electricity consuming computers.

Money is a religion to so many people and the goal of the greedy is to hoard as much of it as possible. So in US Dollar terms the aim is to get all the dollars, or as much as they can. Shouldn’t this be the same then with a virtual currency. People who have a lot of Bitcoins seem to enjoy having others know this, like they are in some very proud club. So then surely, with the same logic, the aim is to have as many Bitcoins as possible. But not all the Bitcoins, right? Because if you managed to buy up all the Bitcoins then would they have any value at all. I mean, if you were the only person that had them then doesn’t it mean that they become useless. This is confusing me. But there is something to this.

I am just having some fun here, thinking out loud. Yes, I know that no one would buy up all the Bitcoins, even though again it is theoretically possible. But if there are no Bitcoins being utilized, because only one person has them all, then don’t they becoming meaningless? So this is a very strange scenario. Get as many as you can, but not all of them.

Here is something else to think about: Let’s say you buy a home, say, 20 years ago, for a million dollars. And today the house is valued at 2 million dollars. So you get a mortgage on the house for a million dollars and you spend it on cars, travel, etc. You don’t pay tax on the million the bank gives you, at almost no interest, because, well you are privileged or rich or whatever the word is.

So the rich lending money, at almost no interest, rarely sell assets or equities, and keep on living large, and pay the minimum of tax. This is all legal and the way the system works. But the poor have no assets, no collateral and so pay a risk premium every time. And they often borrow from micro lenders and pay HUGE interest, simply to get groceries each month.

Something has to give.

Jane

We are in Fancourt and it is raining and raining. The busy Bunster wants to run outside on the never-ending manicured golf lawns but everything is wet and we got our hands full for sure. Jane had to leave us yesterday late afternoon to return to Johannesburg. We met Jane about 6 weeks ago through our friend David. Jane had worked with David’s family for 4 years as a night nurse and came highly recommended. When it was suggested that we try find a night nurse, when we arrived in Johannesburg, we weren’t sure how long it would take us to find someone we liked. But we got lucky – Jane was available pretty much right away, as she had just finished with David’s family, and we met her and voila.

Jane is very good at what she does and the Bunster took a big liking to her. We had a nanny in Kyiv called Tanya, and when the war started Tanya went to Western Ukraine, and we came to SA. Bunster liked Tanya too. She is also a very cool person, like Jane. Bunster has had quite a few people come and go in a short space of time and he does act a bit confused, but he is good. So when Jane left us yesterday we were all pretty sad.

Jane has been living in SA for over 23 years. She is from Malawi. She is married and she lives in Bryanston with her husband. When I met Jane I asked her for her bank details so I could pay her each month and she told me she did not have a bank account. She asked me if I can pay her part in cash and the rest to pay into her husband’s account. I was curious as to why she did not have a bank account and she told me it is impossible to open an account as a non-South African.

One day in JHB, Jane asked if I could get her an Uber early the next morning after a night with the Bunster, so she could go to Kempton Park to get her visa sorted out. Again, I was curious. I guessed Jane did this every 5 or 10 years or something like that. I was wrong. She has to go there every 30 days. WTF ?!

I have a very close friend Akin, a humble, high energy artist, who has been in SA for 30 years, and he sometimes shares his frustration about the nonsense that is taking place in SA. Akin pays taxes and is a wholesome member of the land, so what is the problem. Xenophobia is a real issue and listening to Jane’s stories since we met her has been very disturbing.

I paid Jane well, and we are kind and warm people. I could see Jane was very happy helping us with Bunster and we were all getting to know each other. She met a few of my friends when they came to visit us in JHB, at Alon’s house, when we first got settled in after arriving from Kyiv. And now she is gone. We are not sure what the challenge is exactly that she had to go back to JHB to deal with. We are concerned now and hope that she is going to be ok, and we wonder if she will be able to fly back to George soon to come be with the Bunster again. He already looked a bit confused this morning.

I love South Africa, and it has been good to me, and my family. But I am embarrassed about many things that go on. What is with the xenophobia. Why did Jane have such a struggle on her hands. She looked so stressed this week. While Bunster napped in the afternoons, she was on the phone, and she seemed so anxious all the time. She is smart, she has money, she had good people around her to to try and help. So what then is the problem. Why can’t she even open a bank account in SA, for example? And that is just the start of the rant …

Aussies

Three friends married women from different parts of the world.

The first man married an English girl. He told her she was to do the dishes and the entire house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to see a clean house and dishes all washed and put away.

The second man married an American girl. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, the laundry and the washing. It took a while, but on the third day he came home to a well-kept home.

The third man married an Aussie girl. He ordered her to keep the house clean, the dishes washed, the lawn mowed, the laundry done, and hot meals on the table for every meal. He didn’t see anything on the first day, he didn’t see anything on the second day either, but on the third day some of the swelling had gone down, and he could see out of his left eye, his arm had healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dish washer, but he still has some difficulty when he urinates.

Navalny

A must see documentary film – masterful storytelling !!!

This film was brilliant – I was blown away. It also illustrates the mafia state that is Russia. Ukraine is under threat because it has grown up and wants out, and the mafia boss Godfather says “no”.

The entire business and political system in Russia is criminal. And the greedy West just saw the money and ignored that they where dealing with criminals from politics to business. Now we face the consequences. It will take Russia decades to untangle a criminal system this is present at every level of society.

These insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words. 

 1. “He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

 2. “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

3. “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow

4. “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

5. “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” – Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

6. “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

7. “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

8. “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde

 9. “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

10. “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response

11. “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

12. “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

13. “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb

 14. “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

 15. “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

16. “He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

17.  “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

18. “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

19. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde 

20. “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

21. “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

22. “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I’m afraid this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

23. The exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.” He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

24. “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln

25. “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard

26. “They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed

27. “He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.” – James Reston (about Richard Nixon)