By Jesse Kornbluth
“GO OUT! GO OUT, AND BRING SOMETHING BACK, EVEN IF IT’S ONLY A COLD”
In the glory years of Vanity Fair, that was Tina Brown’s directive to her writers and editors. This week I had enough of the cold and went out to get one — I bought a ticket to a well-reviewed play that is, like many plays in New York, closing. I agonized about the decision, but practicality won — for the first time ever, I wore sweatpants “in public.” Fila Men’s Track Pants, to be precise. (My daughter, in wonder verging on horror: “Daddyio, those are skater pants!”) The play started with a literal slow-walk, had one of the stars speak in an accent that the real-life woman she played would never use, and… I left at intermission.
Still, good for me. Do one thing not in your routine, you might do another. It could be a kindness, a good moment in someone’s bad day, and in a country where the major drama is played out in Washington, leaving us with about as much agency as an Amazon driver, warming the world in the city or neighborhood where you live… that human gesture is not a small thing.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW…
Gerald Marzorati, in The New Yorker:
In Serbia, almost all children are routinely immunized. (The one exception are Roma children in impoverished Belgrade shantytowns.) More than eight million doses of the covid vaccine have been administered in Serbia, and the government has provided cash incentives and vouchers to encourage the wary
Belgrade, the city where Djokovic grew up, is home to a spirited alternative-medicine scene, a seventies-Big-Sur underground of biofeedback, radiesthesia, and healing. Djokovic has for some time vibed with its holistic Weltanschauung. There was his encounter with Dr. Igor Cetojevic, a Bosnian Serb, who, while watching Djokovic on TV during the 2010 Australian Open, became convinced that the player’s need for medical time-outs had nothing to do with asthma, as some thought, but with too much gluten in his diet. Not long after, Cetojevic met Djokovic in Croatia, during the Davis Cup, where he asked Djokovic to raise his right arm twice, once while holding, in his left hand, a slice of bread to his belly; the exercise convinced Djokovic that his muscles were weaker when proximate to wheat. There was also, in 2016, his hiring of Pepe Imaz, a Spanish coach who evangelized about the transformative power of long hugs. More recently, there was Djokovic’s friendship with the wellness entrepreneur Chervin Jafarieh, who talks of having lived in jungles and among shamans, sells supplements and elixirs, and, in May of 2020, listened approvingly during an Instagram Live conversation as Djokovic explained that polluted water can be purified by human consciousness, because water molecules “react to our emotions, to what is being said.”
BOB SAGET: BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Revelation awaits you in this self-interview.
THE TENDER BAR
Amazon reports that “The Tender Bar” and the Lucy-Ricky movie have been the most-watched-in-the-first-month films in its history. I’m delighted. It’s light years more credibly human than the wildly overpraised X and Y and Z. The adaptation is funny and poignant in equal measure, Ben Affleck gives the performance of his career, Tye Sheridan is flawless as J.R., Lily Rabe and Christopher Lloyd and the cream of New York character actors fill out the cast, and eight-year-old Daniel Ranieri comes close to stealing the movie. George Clooney directs with the lightest possible touch — you almost feel you’re watching a documentary, which is to say you’re watching real life as it happens, and isn’t that the highest praise you can give? [Here’s the preview. To rent the stream from Amazon, click here. To read about the book and buy it, click here.]
HOW DID CYBILL SHEPHERD GET CAST IN “TAKI DRIVER?”
from Joseph McBride: “A friend of mine was in agent Sue Mengers’ office when Cybill got the role in ‘Taxi Driver.’ Sue was upset that Scorsese had put out a call for “a Cybill Shepherd type.” Sue angrily called him in New York and demanded why he didn’t want the real Cybill. Marty said apologetically that he only had $25,000 to offer and didn’t think she’d take it. Sue asked him to wait a few minutes. She picked up the phone and called Cybill and ordered her to take the part. Then she called Scorsese back and said, “Marty? The [expletive deleted] will do it for nothing!”
MY INVESTMENT ADVISER’S START OF THE YEAR LETTER TO HIS CLIENTS
I have the good fortune – literally and emotionally — to invest with Sumit Kumar, of Stone Lake Wealth Management. Here’s his 2022 preview….
Transition is the process by which a system moves from the current familiar state to a new and unfamiliar one. Transitions are rarely smooth because the new end state is never truly known a priori. It is a process that is characterized by volatility and instability as the system lurches back and forth trying to absorb the impulse forcing change. The year 2021 was clearly A Year of Transition.
Many of the dominant influences in our lives experienced transition in 2021. COVID-19 transitioned from a novel, fearsome disease to one that can be managed. A quick glance at a chart of daily COVID infections during 2021 clearly shows how volatile this transition has been. US democracy experienced a massive seizure from the riot at the Capitol on Jan 6. This was politics trying, and momentarily failing, to absorb the deterioration of faith in institutions combined with a bias confirming, micro-targeted media ecosystem whose business model is dependent on inflaming rather than informing audiences. Finally, as the economy transitioned from shutdown to reopening it tried to assimilate several massive changes to its underlying structure, any one of which would be significant, at the same time. The relationship of workers to work, where and how we work, movement of goods, the composition of energy production and understanding the dynamics of wealth inequality are just a few that come to mind. The single metric encompassing all of these issues and the many more not listed is inflation. For the first time in 40 years, beyond the living memory of most Millennials and all of Gen Z, prices of goods and services are rising significantly. However, it is my view that as the global economy trends back towards a new equilibrium inflation will diminish. Innovation and digitization, the two major forces that drive the economy, are inherently deflationary and remain as powerful as ever.
It is a testament to the resilience of the US and global economy that despite all this upheaval most equity markets continued to move higher. The SP500 returned approximately 27% in 2021 and completed its 3rd straight year of double digit returns. While I never make predictions about market returns I do identify what is going to be the major impulse they will have to absorb. For 2021 it was how COVID-19 would evolve. For 2022 it is how the Federal Reserve’s transition away from highly supportive monetary policy combined with a more restrained fiscal policy will impact the economy. The economy will continue to grow at a slower but healthy rate, inflation will trend downwards as supply chain snarls untangle and corporate earnings will continue to grow. In a rising interest rate environment I expect valuations of risk assets will come down. Speculative assets such as meme stocks, Ark Investments ETFs, and cryptocurrencies (not to be confused with blockchain technology), all struggled as 2021 came to a close. Textbook behavior for transitioning from easy to tight monetary and fiscal policy. Counterbalancing rising interest rates will be the fact that they will continue to be low, probably below both inflation and the rate of GDP/earnings growth, and so still supportive of equity prices. Overall I expect rotation from high valuation to low valuation assets rather than a dramatic repricing of risk assets overall. If you are wondering why I continue to have bond exposure in your portfolios given my outlook it’s because I might be wrong!
YOU WANT TO WORK AT JP MORGAN?
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon: “To go to the office, you have to be vaxxed. And if you aren’t going to get vaxxed, you won’t be able to work in that office. And we’re not going to pay you NOT to work in the office.”
WEEKEND POEM: KENNETH KOCH: “to my heart at the close of day”
At dusk light you come to bat
As George Trakl might put it. How are you doing
Aside from that, aside from the fact
That you are at bat? What balls are you going to hit
Into the outfield, what runs will you score,
And do you think you ever will, eventually,
Bat one out of the park? That would be a thrill
To you and your contemporaries! Your mighty posture
Takes its stand in my chest and swing swing swing
You warm up, then you take a great step
Forward as the ball comes smashing toward you, home
Plate. And suddenly it is evening.
This post was previously published on headbutler.com.
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The post Novak Djokovic, Bob Saget, 4-Star Weekend Movie, Want to Work at JP Morgan? And More appeared first on The Good Men Project.