Git ‘Er Done

Looks as though Britishland has just become closer to Texas.

UK Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch welcomed Texas ­Governor Greg Abbott in Westminster to sign the Statement of Mutual Cooperation, hailing it a “landmark.”

The pact will address regulatory barriers to trade between Britain and Texas, helping to boost investment and commerce between the two ­economies and making it easier for companies to do business.

I’ll believe it when I can get Wadworth 6X from my local booze store, there’s a Greggs in the mall up the road, and a chippie in Plano West’s Legacy Hall.

And when I’m Over There visiting the usual crowd of maniacs and drunkards (a.k.a. my dear Brit friends), I expect to find decent salsa and Tex-Mex.  (Okay, I won’t actually eat the stuff, I just want to see it there.  In the battle for my belly between chimichangas and sausage rolls, there can only be one outcome.)

Go to it, Britishlanders.  I will accept no excuses.

Cute Name

The Daily Mail refers to them as “Rolex rippers” —  a cutesy name for thugs who attack and rob people in the streets for their watches:

A spate of luxury watch muggings in London is putting wealthy owners off flaunting their wrist candy — and may be contributing to collapsing demand for high-end timepieces.

The value of secondhand watches, as tracked by the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index, is down more than 40 per cent since its peak in April 2022.

Major UK retailer Watches of Switzerland has seen its share price drop by 53 per cent this year after announcing it expects revenue to be 10 per cent lower than forecast, while Richemont, owner of Cartier, has said half year sales are down by 17 per cent.

Typical Mail ignorance used as panic creation.  The “spate of robberies” cannot affect more than a tiny percentage of luxury watch owners, and while London certainly has a large share of sales of these overpriced geegaws, it’s not enough to account for the dip in Richemont’s sales.

Aside:  For those who aren’t aware of the Richemont empire, it includes luxury brands like Montblanc pens, Cartier, IWC, Dunhill and Purdey (!!!).  It’s controlled by a South African one-time tobacco tycoon, Johann Rupert, who founded Richemont as a way to get out of the tobacco business.

What the downturn in Richemont sales would appear to mean is that the demand for luxury items is dipping due to economic concerns (not street thuggery) — except that when it comes to individual wealth, sales are trendy within the various divisions within the luxury market.  Such divisions include real estate, cars, precious metals, clothing, yachts, watches and so on.  And of course, while “fashion” plays a lot in this market, the real motivator for such spending is driven by investment.

Note, by the way, that Richemont doesn’t own Ferrari or Aston Martin (yet), and if Sotheby’s recent auction of “desirable” cars is anything to go by, a larger chunk of disposable income has been channeled in that direction — one 1956 Mercedes 300 SC can buy a couple dozen  Vacheron Constantin watches, for example.  (I’m also told by sources within the collectible car market that sales are softening there too, but the sales of luxury yachts are still firm, even growing.)

We won’t even talk about real estate prices in the South of France or similar “must-have” destinations like the Gulf states.

Against serious high-ticket items like yachts and resorts in the Greek islands, for instance, Montblanc pens and Rolex watches are pretty small potatoes.  That said, however, I certainly wouldn’t risk wearing a luxury watch in London nowadays — although the discreet Patek Philippe is certainly not as noticeable as the chunky Rolexes and Breitlings.

The real story here is not the ups and downs of economic trends or the spending of rich people, but the ever-increasing rise in street thuggery (and not just in London), which law enforcement agencies seem unwilling to address let alone reduce because racism.

I also note that the luxury real estate market in Manhattan seems to be softening, and I’m pretty sure that it’s getting more difficult to sell those $50 million+ condos in an area where increased street thuggery makes London look like a kiddies’ playground.

Unsurprisingly, the Daily Mail  talks hysterically about the thuggery (because hysteria is their stock-in-trade), but not a great deal about lenient prosecutors and police inaction.  That discussion seems to be more acceptable to conservative outlets like Breitbart News.

“More” EU?

Well now, looks like that Zero Emissions or whatever is getting a little pushback in, of all places, Europe:

Farmers across Europe are rising up against the EU, with angry agricultural workers in Spain being the latest who are set to join the growing tractor protest movement.

By using their heavy machinery to block roads in and around major capitals on the continent, farmers in Germany, France and other EU nations have expressed their anger over rising costs, EU environmental policies and cheap food imports which they say are leading to a deterioration in working and living conditions.

…as Jeremy Clarkson discovered on the TV show about his farm in Britishland (which, by the way, has inspired his European counterparts).  Then this:

But as farmers in France, Belgium and Italy staged protests on Monday and Tuesday, and as Spain’s three main agriculture unions said they would soon join them, French president Emmanuel Macron risked inciting further fury by brazenly telling the disgruntled growers: ‘You need more Europe, not less.’

Just another globalist woke asshole who needs to be tossed out on his ear (cf. Fidel Trudeau, FJ Biden, etc.).

In the meantime, I’m watching the whole thing unfold…

Wrong Mindset

Ask me again why I hate accountants… here’s the latest meme on Teh Intarwebz, with my rejoinder below:

Frankly, I think that quite a few women — never mind just a Hollywood hooker — would jump at the chance, so to speak.

Quote Of The Day

From some guy in Florida:

“If you look back to the Great Depression, the house was only three times the average salary. Now, it is eight times the average salary.  The car was 46% of the salary [back then], the car today is 85% of the salary. And here’s the craziest part:  [residential] rent then was 16% of the average salary, it is now 42% of the average salary.”

I’d love to see the same stats for groceries and electricity.  On the other hand, maybe not.

Always Upwards

Upon reading this cheerful little note:

The economy sustained above-trend growth in the third quarter of 2023, with gross domestic product rising 5.2% year-over-year, greater than the 2.1% that was seen in the second quarter of this year. Analysts are mixed on recession predictions for 2024, with strong growth but persistent inflation leaving mixed signals of the U.S. economy’s strength.

Since Biden took office, costs have risen over 17%, while average hourly wages have only risen 13.6% as of November. The resulting price increases mean that families have to pay more than $11,000 in additional costs to maintain the same standard of living.

…I have only this to say:  with the exception of commodities-based products like gasoline where raw material costs are closely tied to the retail price, once prices go up, they never come down.

Seriously:  when last did you see the everyday retail price of grocery store products — to give the best example — get reduced?

Forget it.  Ain’t gonna happen.  And as for those products which keep prices stable simply by shrinking their size (e.g. chocolate), if you’re expecting the products to go back to their original size once inflation comes down, I have an Arizona rainforest to sell you.

And as for “average hourly wages have only risen 13.6% as of November“, people on fixed income (like me) haven’t seen anything close to that — 4.5% for us, and that was well over a year ago.

And then there’s this:

About two-thirds of households at the bottom 20 percent of the income bracket pay over half their income in rent and utilities.

In my case, without New Wife’s salary it would be 78%.

Ask me how I feel about all this.

Option A:

Option B:

Option C: