Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Going Back … Way Back

July 17, 2019

I sometimes wish that I could go back to that broken, crime-infested place my ancestors came from.  It’s a beautiful, endless green meadow sloping down to the beach-fringed sea.  Horses, cattle and sheep graze in the many pastures cleft by ancient roads that meander through the countryside.  There’s one big problem, though: the only jobs in town (and there aren’t many of ’em) are at a big golf course perched on a sandy bluff above the gnawing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.  My distant cousins earn their keep spraying alternate doses of pesticides and fertilizers on the greens and fairways.  Callaways and Titleists are now the only things grazing this carefully manicured grass.

Four hundred years ago or so, settler colonists and absentee landlords imposed their rule –and their religion– at the point of the sword and musket barrel.  The settlers defined their crimes as the law of the land, and ours as treason –punished by hanging or summary execution before the firing squad.  One hundred years ago, at rifle-point, they were driven back to a far corner of the island.  They remain there —por ahora— to this day.  These days, we have a new absentee landlord in our tiny western hamlet: a German immigrant whose ancestor founded his family’s fortune on the unholy trinity of horsemeat, whores and gambling.  Artful dealing ensured that the house always won the poker game.

Have you guessed where I came from?  Do you know where my ancestors were before that?  And before that?  Do you understand why I (probably) won’t go back?

 

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Два капитана II … + V

July 3, 2019

Just barely in under the wire at the very end of the Horse Month, and the news definitely counts as Yang Metal [gēng 庚] above Yang Fire [ 午] … under the Boar’s yin water branch [hài 亥]:

A fire aboard a Russian navy research submersible has killed 14 crew members, the Russian defense ministry has reported.  The crew was poisoned by toxic fumes as the vessel was “taking measurements in Russian territorial waters” on Monday.  President Putin said that of the 14 dead, seven held the rank of captain first class, and two were holders of the Hero of Russia award.  The ministry gave no details about the type of vessel, but Russian media reports say it was [the AS-12 Losharik,] a nuclear mini-submarine used for special operations.  The submarine is now at Severomorsk, the main base of the Russian Northern Fleet.

Here are the feng shui aspects of this tragedy, clearly revealed in the luminous glare of 20-20 hindsight:

  • the Horse month is characterized by a Yang Metal celestial stem and a Yang Fire earthly branch: (ferrous) metal over (blazing) fire.  Fire within/beneath steel structures can be expected (e.g., Philadelphia Energy Solutions).
  • 2019 is a yin earth [jǐ 己] year characterized by the Boar’s yin water [hài 亥] earthly branch.  Yin is cool/cold.  Yin upon yin, cold upon cold. The Arctic Ocean (even in June) is some of the coldest water on earth: the yin-est of yin water.
  • The Severomorsk littoral is located in the north-northwest sector of the Russian Federation.  Exactly the sort of place that Tai Sui is keeping a very close eye on during the Year of the Boar.  Perhaps something he saw from his celestial throne offended the Duke of Heaven’s sense of propriety.

AS-12 Losharik is designated for research, rescue and special military operations and is operated by the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, reporting to the military intelligence agency GRU.  The nickname “лошарик” “Losharik” comes from the vessel’s multi-spherical hull construction and was taken from a Russian cartoon character Losharik, a toy horse consisting of small spheres -–the name losharik is a [mashup] of “лошадь” (“loshad“) –horse and “шарик” (“sharik“) –small sphere.

 

You may have noticed that “Losharik” is also an anagram for the English term “shark oil.”  Just a coincidence, I’m sure.  Just as it’s surely a coincidence that the horse is the emblem of Russian tech giant Yandex, also recently in the news during the Horse Month.  Perhaps it’s worth noting that the Yandex name itself is a punning reference to the yang-yin dyad: the Russian word for “index” is … yindex.  How cool is that!?

Booby-trapped dummy cable tap as a honeypot lure? That would take some imaginatively devious thinking.

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?

SOS SSE

May 30, 2019

Earlier this year, in quite another context, Lunghu warned that:

“This year Tai Sui (the Grand Duke of Heaven) is presiding over terrestrial affairs from his seat in the Boar’s north-northwest home.  That means he’s looking directly at the south-southeast … with potentially unfortunate consequences for those mortals beneath his gaze.”

Well, Lunghu was –until recently– blissfully unaware of the existence of an entertainment industry personality who has rashly appended three particularly significant letters as a suffix to his hiphop persona/moniker.  Talkin’ ’bout a guy whose baptismal/official name is Tyriq Kimbrough … but who styles hisseff ‘Fatboy SSE.’  Tai Sui, however, seems to have noticed.  Truly, the ways of the Tao are indeed wondrous and mysterious:

pretty sure Tai Sui would reprove the brand of leisurewear our hero is sportin’ here

New Jersey rapper and social media star Fatboy SSE had marijuana in his car and was driving while his license was suspended, according to Jersey City police, who arrested him Monday night.  Fatboy SSE, whose real name is Tyriq Kimbrough, has more than 5.5 million followers on Instagram and has a role in the forthcoming film “I Got the Hook Up 2.”  He was charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and bail jumping after he was pulled over for a traffic violation at 8:51 p.m. Monday evening.  Kimbrough was also issued summonses for failure to observe a traffic signal, driving while suspended, and having controlled dangerous substances in a vehicle.

Never mind that marijuana will probably be legal in the Garden State by the time the Year of the Rat rolls around.  As long as it’s still the Year of the Boar, don’t be callin’ yourself ‘Fatboy’ and don’t be flyin’ the South-southeast banner all up on the internet.  That’s askin’ for double trouble: the Boar’s self-penalty on top of the SSE Snake’s elemental clash with the Boar Year.

Furthermore, Lunghu believes he scarcely need remind y’all which pejorative colloquial term would be used to characterize the Jersey City po-leece down around Ocean Avenue and points South-southeast.  Sheesh!!  Looks like Mr. Kimbrough would benefit from having some custom-made feng shui remedies installed in his personal vehicle.  And maybe a chauffeur with a clean MVC sheet.

Well, I Swan

May 29, 2019

Back on Armed Forces Day, under the Full Flower Moon, four U.S. defense/intelligence contractors –including the company’s ‘VP for Business Development’– died in a Honduras plane crash along with their Canadian pilot, and even the Cuban news media declined to comment.  American and Caribbean news outlets briefly mentioned the initial (deliberately garbled) official accounts of the incident and then swiftly dropped the subject.  Canadian media ran a couple of human-interest stories about how great a guy the pilot was … and turned to other matters.

ASRC Federal

Nobody’s eulogizing the other four dead guys, not even on Memorial Day.  You’d be hard-pressed to find their obituaries, even if you knew their real names.  And the defense contractor now has a new ‘VP for Business Development’ listed on its webpage.  Suddenly, coup attempts in Venezuela are back on the back burner, and bad-faith ‘negotiations’ are underway in Oslo.  Helluva way to run a foreign policy (if that’s what you want to call it).  Seems more like a CCE to me.

not Roatan

 

Bulava Watch

May 21, 2019

Hey, is this thing really a bulava?

 

Yep, it’s a bulava alright.

Obviously, this situation calls for the immediate election of Femen activists to the Ukrainian parliament.  So that they can serve as cabinet ministers, of course.  Just a suggestion … not a demand.

Gratuitous partial nudity.

Snakes on a Plain

May 7, 2019

As of Cinco de Mayo, the Snake Month has begun.  Let’s review:

  • Snake is in clash with the Boar: generally speaking, May will be a tumultuous month.
  • Snake is associated with the South-southeast direction.
  • People, places and things in the South-southeast direction are confronting Tai Sui (in the NNW).

In 2019, the Snake Month is characterized by yin earth above yin fire.

  • Fire creates Earth in the feng shui creative cycle: increased geothermal activity should be expected.
  • Fire beneath Earth: underground/mine shaft fires are possible in addition to the aforementioned volcanic eruptions and lava flows .
  • May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th are Fire days.

In four weeks, the Yang-Metal-above-Yang-Fire Horse Month will begin.  Last week’s North Korean missile tests (metal over fire) are thus a trifle premature.  So is last Sunday’s Aeroflot aviation disaster (metal over fire) at Sheremetyevo airport.  Perhaps that’s because both incidents actually involve yin metal (aircraft-grade aluminum, etc.) above Yang Fire.