Wry & Dry

My quarantine is better than yours. Did a princess die? Fewer to celebrate Chinese NY.

My quarantine is better than yours

Chairman Dan had an Eddie McGuire moment on Tuesday.  He said that Victoria's hotel Covid quarantine arrangement was better than NSW's. 

Err, breaking news.  The entire state of the People's Republic of China, Victoria Province will go into a five-day lockdown from midnight, tonight.  The Holiday Inn quarantine Covid cluster has become a cluster [insert your noun here].  

Cartoon room service

Did a princess die?

Wry & Dry's eyesight is fading.  Did the size of the font tell a story?  But whilst the words were blurred, the size of the font on the newspaper billboard suggested that a princess had died.  Which one?  Perhaps former Double Bay real estate agent Princess Mary, now living in the home of Lego.  Or maybe Princess Princess, formerly daytime television briefcase girl (Deal or No Deal), now seeking a quiet and private life leading Netflix documentaries.

Upon closer inspection and with spectacles in place, Wry & Dry read that the big font news was, in fact, that Edward McGuire, daytime television quiz show host and President of the Collingwood Football Club had given himself the DCM from the latter.  The story led the media for two days, overshadowing all else.

Edward's sin?  Brand control rather than apologising for exaggerated sins. There were tears and gnashing of false teeth and gums.

WryDry 1044

Wry & Dry was not moved.  Edward is an emotional man, but also one who recognises the importance of publicity.  What greater martyrdom than to lay down his reputation for his Club? [1]

Edward will rise again, like a phoenix from the ashes.  so to speak.

[1] Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

Fewer to celebrate Chinese New Year

What's going on? China had nearly one-third fewer registered births in 2020 than in 2019: 10 million, down from 14.7 million.  This is the fourth consecutive year of declining births and the lowest since the early 1960s, when China was in the midst of a famine. 

Readers will know that this will turn into a demographic disaster for a country with net emigration. Every year since the 1949 revolution, China has had net emigration, with the trend increasing to now about 0.025% p.a.

But more importantly, going back to 4 million fewer babies, there will be 4 million less adults to stand in Tiananmen Square in 2042 to cheer Emperor Xi Jinping's auspicious 88th birthday.   

Sudden Intelligence Loss

Wry & Dry has identified a new viral strain: Sudden Intelligence Loss.  SIL is where seemingly normal people of seemingly normal intelligence suddenly lose their bottle.  And it's highly contagious.

Readers may have noticed recent comments by National Party MPs on the mooted 2050 zero net emissions target.  Supporting the concept idea of exempting mining and agriculture from the zero policy, Gnats Leader and Deputy PM Michael McCormack said: "I’m certainly not worried about what might happen in 30 years’ time."  Hold the phone!  This is a clear case of SIL.

Three of his colleagues have also caught SIL.  Each of his exiled former cabinet ministers, Barnaby Joyce (possibly ground zero of SIL), Matt Canavan and Bridget McKenzie also want agriculture exempt.

Cartoon Barnaby zero

Wry & Dry cannot work this out.  Significant rural lobby groups, such as National Farmers Federation, NSW Farmers, the Grains Council, Meat and Livestock Australia, the pork industry, and others across the agriculture sector, have already committed to the zero target.  The reason is that the significant benefits the rural sector would get from such a policy.

So what is going on with the Gnats?  Readers should be deeply concerned by this outbreak of SIL, and ask the question: from where is it sourced?  Perhaps the World Health Organisation might be able to assist...  

I know nothing

... Or perhaps not.  The World Health Organisation just concluded its initial report from China into the origins of Covid.  And has found that Covid didn't have an origin.  It just appeared.

This outcome was a Yes Emperor masterclass that followed the outcome of the Victorian Board of Inquiry into the quarantine fiasco that led to 801 deaths.  That report found that no-one was responsible.

Carton who dares wins

Consider the logic applied in each case.  If the only information you are allowed to assess is provided by people who have everything to lose by revealing such information then the investigation/ inquiry is a farce.

Wry & Dry wouldn't be surprised if Chairman Dan sent a congratulatory note to Emperor Xi on the WHO's report. 

I don't like Tuesdays

Chairman Dan's Tuesday worsened after he failed Comparative State Quarantine Analysis 101.

He then restated his support for Edward McGuire, saying that Edward shouldn't give himself the DCM.  Hours later Edward did just that, thereby tossing the question back to Chairman Dan as to why he (Dan) hadn't resigned.  After all, no-one had died at the Collingwood Football Club. 

Then a NSW gaming enquiry (the Bergin Report) found that Crown Resorts was not 'suitable' to hold a casino licence (at Barangaroo, Sydney).  Almost all of the damning evidence for the outcome arose from the actions of Crown's Melbourne casino [2].  Despite multiple allegations and reviews, the Victorian Gambling Commission thought it was just fine for Crown to hold a licence, turning a blind eye to the problems.  After all, as Chairman Dan repeatedly said, the casino employed a lot of people, is an important tourist attraction and contributes to the state's revenue.

Wry & Dry guesses that the findings that Crown had been infiltrated by international criminal organisations, had allowed money laundering on a significant scale and had risked the liberty of its employees are not an ideal exemplar of good governance for the Victorian government.  Readers will know that Chairman Dan's former senior adviser left that role to become Crown's general manager in 2018.

Chairman Dan's comment on Wednesday of the effectiveness of Victoria's regulator was that changes would be made" "if there's need for improvement."  Perhaps even reading the Executive Summary of the 800-page Bergin Report might suggest to Chairman Dan that there was room for just a little bit of improvement.  Just a little.

[2] The enquiry found there was “no doubt” money laundering involving an international drug trafficking syndicate occurred at the company’s Melbourne casino.

Fred Flintstone Musk

Blend an eccentric and dominant company shareholder (Elon Musk) and the controlled company (Tesla) the share price chart of which reflects that of Dutch tulip bulb prices in the 17th century and one has the makings of a scam.  Or so Wry & Dry believes.

And so it came to pass.  Musk invested US$1.5 billion in Bitcoin earlier this year.  After the announcement on Monday, the price of Bitcoin rose by 20%.  Err, stewards' enquiry?  There are two issues here:

Firstly, Musk has invested $1.5 billion of shareholders' money in, well, a bundle of electrons bouncing around the world.  Sure, cash these days is just that.  But consider Wry & Dry's thoughts:

  • The fundamental value of Bitcoin is zero (and would be negative if a carbon tax were applied on its production)
  • Bitcoin is not a currency: it is not a scalable means of payment (a mere 5 transactions per second)
  • Bitcoin is not a stable store of value - the volatile price can wipe out a merchant's profit margin in hours
  • Bitcoin is not an asset: it has no stream of income or other utility, such as a fiat currency
  • Bitcoin is not safe: you lose your investment if your account is hacked or you forget your password, unlike a credit card

Secondly, has Musk breached securities' laws by making other announcements since the transaction but before it was disclosed? Some Readers who are familiar with Rule 100 of the SEC's Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure).   

Readers will be familiar with Musk's encouraging tweets about Dogecoin (also a crypto currency) earlier this month.  Dogecoin is up 900% since late January 2021.

Fred Flintstone had a more sophisticated monetary system than Bitcoin.  And a car that also ran on renewable energy. 

But whether Readers like Bitcoin or not may not be the point.  Musk is a brilliant marketer.  If either Tesla shareholders or future Tesla car buyers see excitement in the Bitcoin investment, then he's on a winner.  If both, he's won twice.

Brexit loser

Readers will have seen that share trading volume on the London Stock Exchange has been superseded by that on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.  

Cartoon dunkirk

The shift was prompted by a ban on EU-based financial institutions trading in London because Brussels has not recognised UK exchanges and trading venues as having the same supervisory status as its own.

Chart LSE

The news caused London brokers to have luncheon indigestion in the clubs in and around St James.  Wry & Dry's correspondent in the Bring Back The Shilling Club [3] saw no fewer than five members choke on their bangers and mash on reading the news.  Each were thankfully were revived by application of copious quantities of Horlicks.

[3]  Shilling: A former British (and Australian) coin and monetary unit equal to 12 pence or one twentieth of a pound. The Brits lost the shilling in 1971, Australians in 1964.

Unclear on the concept

"Midwives at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (in the UK) have been told to stop using terms including “breastfeeding” and “breastmilk” as part of a new trans-friendly policy.. and to use "chest-feeding" instead." 

 - UK Telegraph.

As Diana Thomas, a transgender journalist, succinctly put it: "This has nothing to do with us.  For one thing, we will never get pregnant." 

And there is now a new Olympic sport: The 100m chest-stroke.

Changing the name

Readers may not have been aware of the Super Bowl happening earlier this week.  Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the American Football League.  It is also the second largest day for food consumption in the Yoo-Ess-Ay, after Thanksgiving Day.

Each Super Bowl is designated with a Roman numeral, this week's being Super Bowl LV.  Next year will be Super Bowl LVI.  Wry & Dry is concerned that some Trump supporters might wonder why the name of the Super Bowl changes each year.  

Snippets from all over 

1.  Dating app booms

Bumble, the online dating business, received a warm welcome from Wall Street, beginning trading well above its initial public offering price in a surge that valued the company at $13 billion.

Wry & Dry comments:   Bumble is unique among dating apps, inasmuch as only women can initiate the conversation.       

2.  Shortage

General Motors became the latest automaker yesterday to warn about a chip shortage, saying the semiconductor crunch could cut its earnings by $1.5 billion-$2 billion in 2021.  

Wry & Dry comments:  Covid triggered a surge in demand for PCs and other electronics as remote work and online learning became the new normal.  It's why Readers are having troubling buying their PS5.  

3.  MBA rankings - Australia advanced where?

The prestigious Financial Times ranking of global business schools was released.  INSEAD, based in France and Singapore, and the UK’s London Business School were first and second overall, ahead of Chicago: Booth Business School in third place.  

Wry & Dry comments:  AGSM at UNSW was Australia's highest at 79th.  Melbourne Business School ranked 87th.  Data gathering was disrupted last year by the pandemic, which led a number of US schools including Harvard, Stanford and Wharton to suspend participation.

4.  Mercedes goes electric

Mercedes-Benz will earn as much from electric cars as its luxury combustion engine models by the end of this decade, its chief executive said, becoming the first premium German automaker to provide a precise target for the turning point in profits.

Wry & Dry comments:  Mercedes sold fewer than 50,000 purely electric cars and vans in 2020, while Tesla sold almost 500,000.  Uphill going?

5.  Oil boom 

The price of oil rose to its highest level in a year, with Brent crude rising to $61 a barrel.

Wry & Dry comments:  This is all about hopes for a global economic recovery based on massive fiscal stimulus and effective Covid vaccination rollout.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Last words ...

“Uncanny similarities between these men (James Packer and Eddie McGuire).  A lifetime of wealth and privilege.  For decades, too powerful to be challenged.  Finally brought low by their own actions." 

 -  Sally Neighbour, ABC's Four Corners executive producer. 

Sigh, more ABC egg-on-face.  Sure, Packer suckled on the teat of privilege (son and grandson of zillionaires), but Eddie was a Broady Boy, raised in the dodgy and very poor Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows.  Eddie won a scholarship (for talking?) to a Melbourne private school.  He is totally self-made.

A lightly salted absurdity ...

An Australian reptile park is calling for Sydney residents to catch funnel web spiders to be milked for their precious antivenom. No mention that you need to be careful out there when you catch them, there's an antivenom shortage if you get bitten.

 

Cheers

Anthony