Archive for June, 2019

Equine Meets Ovine

June 30, 2019

Pluperfect timing:

Morandi goes down while June’s metal-over-fire elements are still (just barely) in alignment.

#2 Illness Star Meets Boar’s Self-Penalty:

African swine fever kills half of China’s hogs.  The survivors aren’t Chinese pigs.

Looking Ahead, Earth creates Metal

July, the Sheep/Goat Month, is characterized in 2019 by the yin metal Celestial Stem [xīn 辛] above the yin earth Earthly Branch [wèi 未].  Here are some of the salient feng shui aspects that Daoist sages recommend you consider:

  • The Boar is a friend to the Sheep/Goat.  So far so good.
  • The Year of the Boar is a yin earth [ 己] year.  The yin earth [wèi 未] Sheep/Goat is not in direct conflict with the year’s yin earth Celestial Stem, but double yin earth during July suggests the possibility of increased weakness in the earth element.  A Yang-yin earth tandem would be more auspicious (wait until October).
  • In the original Chinese, July’s xīn [辛] Celestial Stem means ‘bitter’ or ‘miserable.’  Traditionally, in most cultures, that would be considered inauspicious.  But …
  • The Earthly Branch wèi [未] is an ancient and basic Chinese negation word: it means ‘not’ or ‘no.’  (Therefore, the American expression “no way!” translates perfectly into Chinese –or Chinglish– as a self-reinforcing double negation.)  So … this year’s July combination of 辛 and 未 can optimistically be interpreted as meaning ‘not bad.’  🙂
  • Yin earth is associated with the center.  Its color is yellow, like the friable loess hills of Shaanxi.

  • In the feng shui creative cycle, earth creates metal.  During this year’s Sheep/Goat month, yin earth (below) creates yin metal (above).  As previously noted, yin metals are malleable, ductile metals like gold, silver, copper, aluminum, zinc, etc.  They’re also the rare earth metals so avidly prized by manufacturers of semiconductors and other electronic devices: scandium, yttrium, and the fifteen lanthanides.

The Sheep/Goat Month begins on July 3rd.  It ends on the 31st.  You should probably expect to encounter wolves wearing sheep’s clothing, but no more so than usual.


Erewhon Two Three

June 21, 2019

For the record, Lunghu has been nowhere near the City of Brotherly Love for several months –in fact, as cell tower records will show, not since last year.  So when he remarked that the Horse Month (June) would be characterized by Fire under Metal, and mentioned that the Horse is associated with the South direction, Lunghu didn’t have anything particular or specific in mind.  Certainly nothing that could be considered targeting guidance.  And when he noted that June 21st and 28th are Metal days during the Horse Month, he was just stating facts known throughout the Sinosphere.

Morgan & Morgan are gonna get a lot of new clients out of this!

Therefore, your humble author can in no way accept responsibility for today’s solsticial butane bonfire at Philadelphia Energy Solutions.  Tort claims should be aimed in an entirely different direction, although where that might be is difficult to say.  Perhaps we should look for some non-ASCII characters (UTF+8?) embedded in the refinery’s process control code.  Or maybe the initial spark was something as innocuous as an unanticipated static discharge under conditions of unusually low atmospheric pressure.  We may never know for sure.

In bygone times, there were horse pastures here …

Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the largest and oldest refinery on the U.S. East Coast, emerged from bankruptcy last year but has continued to struggle under a heavy debt.  Sunoco formed a joint venture in 2012 with private-equity firm, the Carlyle Group.  The joint venture declared bankruptcy in January 2018, and completed a $635 million financial restructuring on August 7.  The two largest creditors, Credit Suisse Asset Management and Halcyon Capital Management, now hold about 70 percent of the shares in the new company.

The price of regular gasoline jumped one dollar per gallon (to $3.69) at some Sunoco gas stations today, but for the moment other brands seem to be holding their fire (so to speak).  The way things are going, Lunghu should probably be headin’ to the bunker for the Fourth of July –the Sheep/Goat Month will have begun.  Yin metal above yin earth, for what it’s worth.  Lunghu will reflect deeply on this.

Koku-Doodle-Doo To You Too

June 13, 2019

Hey, whadda ya know!?  It’s almost one-third of the way through the Horse Month!  You know what that means: Yang Metal [ gēng 庚 ] above Yang Fire [ 午 ] … with an emphasis on the Horse’s South direction.

In the feng shui cosmic scheme of things, Fire melts Metal, which means that the two elements are in a destructive relationship with each other.  As I have mentioned in earlier posts, Yang Metal generally denotes the harder metals such as iron/steel and its various alloy materials –such as nickel, chromium, vanadium, manganese, etc.  Ductile metals like gold, silver, copper, zinc and aluminum would be considered yin (weak) metals.  Similarly, Yang Fire is BIG FIRE: volcanic eruptions, forest fires, foundry furnaces, towering infernos … and chemical conflagrations.

It’s probably worth pointing out that at least one of the flaming tankers in the Persian Gulf –Kokuka Courageous– is owned by a Japanese company … and that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently visiting Iran on a sham ‘diplomatic’ mission.  In Persian culture, courtesy toward a guest and his absolute, inviolable safety while in your home are paramount principles of moral conduct, so it seems rather unlikely that attackers of this particular Japanese vessel would be Iranians.  More likely suspects are the Saudis and their Israeli allies.  These miscreants see three benefits in conducting terrorist operations for which their enemy will be blamed:

  • They’re warning Japan to stop buying Iranian petrochemical products, while at the same time trying to frame up a causus belli to justify military intervention by those trigger-happy cowboy Americans.
  • Trump wants to sell $8 billion of weaponry to the Saudis (so that they can attack Iran).  The U.S. Senate –even Republicans– is opposed to the sale, ostensibly because of the Khashoggi assassination, but also because some of them have read those 23 redacted pages from the 9/11 Report.  So now they know the M.O.
  • Finally, this is an excellent way to (temporarily) prop up oil prices in an over-supplied market environment.  Which is great if you’re holding options or futures contracts pegged to the Brent or WTI spot market price.

I’m guessing that the U.S. Navy ain’t that foolish and already knows whodunit.  They’re just not allowed to say.

The remaining Metal days during June are the 14th, 21st and 28th.  Horse Fire days are the 18th, 25th … and July 2nd.  For whatever that’s worth.

Fun Fact:

The koku [石] is a Japanese unit of volume, equal to ten cubic shaku.  The koku was originally defined as a quantity of rice, enough to feed one person for one year: a koku of rice weighs about 150 kilograms (330 pounds).  Koku was also used to measure how much a ship could carry (in the days when all its cargo was rice).  The biggest ships of the Edo period carried more than 1,000 koku (150 long tons/170 short tons).

Ka [カ] is a Japanese suffix-like particle which denotes /more/to add/to increase.

Hence, Kokuka can be crudely translated into English as “more cargo.”  Or, since the koku of rice was used by merchants during the Shogunate as a measure of wealth as well as a medium of exchange, Kokuka could also be translated as “mo’ money“.  The universal language.


Implicated Volatility

June 2, 2019

These days, conventional thinkers among the Beltway blitherati frequently express bafflement at the bilious blend of bluster, bullying, braggadocio and brigandry that Donald Trump deploys in his meticulously-timed international trade tirades.  How, they ask, can America’s corporate planners manage myriad risks and opportunities when they’re continually slammed from pillar to post by a never-ending succession of newly-minted tariffs and economic sanctions?  Where, they ask, is the foreign trade strategy behind all this??

These guys miss the point. They’re looking for the wrong kind of strategy.  What appears on its snarling face to be a precipitously sub-optimal foreign trade strategy is actually quite likely to be something else altogether.  To Lunghu, it looks a lot more like a pretty darned effective options trading strategy that leverages POTUS’ unique ability to manipulate –at will– the implied volatility component of options pricing.

Every graduate of Wharton Business School knows that options prices have two components: time value and implied volatility.  Time value is a ticking countdown clock inexorably headed toward the option’s expiration date.  It forms a relatively minor –and known– proportion of options price.  Implied volatility is everything else that might affect the value of the underlying asset.  It’s a YUGE chunk of options price, and (because things can change at any time) implied volatility is what can –and does– cause rapid, dramatic fluctuations in the value of an options contract.

How many more dots do you need to see connected before the picture emerges right under your nose?