MarketBOB ebook on Personal Finance

Hi, I’ve just written a new ebook on personal finance based on the lessons learned from the WWII story, The Great Escape.

Learn  how watching The Great Escape can set you on your way to Financial Freedom!

Check out my book on personal financial freedom: Dig Three Tunnels: Your Great Escape to Personal Financial Freedom. It’s only $2.99, available as an ebook at Amazon. Learn from these brave WWII soldiers how to break out of your own situation and head for the trees and freedom!

The Great Escape had three tunnels: Tom, Dick and Harry.  Experience had taught the officers that tunnels are risky and once discovered, hard to start over.  You have to think the same.  If your escape plan relies on one tunnel, you could be in danger of exposure.  You have to diversify, manage risk and keep several options open for your escape.

So, if you’re a POW (Prisoner Of Whatever holds you back), don’t keep bouncing the ball against the wall.  Decide to escape and get planning to dig those three tunnels. //

Dig Three Tunnels book cover

Escape to a happier life, with the greatest escape artists of WW II.

My ebook on escaping to personal financial freedom

Golden Globes proves Golden Age Rules

Last night’s Golden Globes award show was dominated by golden age stars like George Clooney and Meryl Streep (bleep, I’ve forgot my bleeping glasses!).  Add in golden girls Madonna and Elton John feuding like street cats over who deserves to win a golden globe for a mediocre songs and you’ve got proof positive that we are in the golden age of entertainment.  Gold is the only investment and also the currency of our amusement tastes as well.

There is a whole school of demographic data that proves the baby boomer dominance of our economy and our future decline, as they consume less and save more.  They also dominate our taste in movies and media, as we saw again last night.  Golden Globes were handed out for vintage stars in all categories, truly marking our final sunset into the golden age of our lives.

Even Ricky Gervais, who rocked the awards last year by skewering the stars in the audience (Bruce Willis et all) mellowed out and took the easy road by heaping ridicule where it belongs, on Kim Kardasian and other fake “reality” stars of our fifteen minutes of infamy.  Now as we move into the turmoil of Europe 2012, the failure of central banks around the world to manipulate the economy and deficit gaps between northern and southern countries and 1% mega-wealthy and the 99% impoverished majority gives us less and less hope about the future.  We are nostalgic for the good old golden age, when stars were stars and golden globes were awards, instead of excuses for cat fights.

There is little we can do now, except invest in our own survival and preserve whatever we can from our own golden age of savings and investments, and give ourselves a golden globe for perseverance in the face of irrelevance.

2011 Year in Review: Dow up 5%, Box Office down 4%

2011 will go down as the year nothing really happened but everyone was scared the worst was just around the next political speech or bond auction.  The Dow Jones was the only average to make it into the plus column, up 5.5% while the S&P was break-even and the Nasdaq ended down 1.8%.

As noted yesterday, the Hollywood domestic box office was the worst attendance in 16 years.  So, what have we learned in 2011, looking back?

1. The markets broke the bull trend and basically traded sideways for the year.  As you can see with the MarketBOB Long Wave, the trend broke with Unknown, tried to recover but Fast Five hammered it again and Captain America made it stay down.  So much for superheroes saving the day.  In general, the Long Wave Truth Rally which started with Watchmen has entered a correction and probably bear market, but it will take some time to confirm the topping action we’ve seen since March.

MarketBOB Long Wave 2011

MarketBOB Long Wave 2011

2. The MarketBOB Short Wave showed two main themes: the disconnect between the small investor and the market, as we’ve moved towards computerized trading and trends made by politics instead of fundamentals and the dismal performance of the DOW during the summer, matched by the terrible summer of sequels put out by Hollywood.  This summer session essentially corrected the Short Wave from being disconnected from this crazy market.  Nine straight weeks of Bear market movies in the summer avoided the worst of the summer correction.  Since then, the movies and the markets have been treading water except for the tumultuous three weekend run of the latest Twilight movie which was not the best sequel, a bear movie but the market was euro-twitchy and scored -3%, +7% and +1.3% for those three weeks.

MarketBOB Short Wave 2011

MarketBOB Short Wave 2011

With the dominance of bear movies since the summer, the MarketBOB Short Wave avoided the two volatile periods in weeks 31-39 and weeks 44-47, ending the year positive, like the DOW but ahead by almost 4%.

For more details of the MarketBOB short and long waves, please refer to my book, Movies We Love in Times of Depression, available for $2.99 as an Amazon Kindle ebook.

As always, you can keep coming back to for updates on movies and the mood of audiences in 2012.  It will be another crazy year of superheroes, vampires and fairy tales.  See this Yahoo preview of the most anticipated movies in 2012!

Happy New Year.


2011 Box Office Down 4.4% from Last Year

According to the Hollywood Reporter, this year’s box office attendance was the worst since 1995.  This is a 16 year low, partially soothed by higher ticket prices (3D and IMAX) showings and a big increase in worldwide attendance.

Hollywood is feeling the competition domestically from all the choices available to audiences and the lack of new, original movies that find large audiences.  The steady stream of sequels, remakes and pre-quels of existing stories may have hit the proverbial wall, finally.

Here is the full article.

We end the year with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in first place again and reaching $200 million domestically.  In the fourth version, they got it right but we had to sit through two dreary sequels and a ton of Tom Cruise ho-hum movies and off-screen antics to get here.

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol IMAX Movie Review

This mission is impossible, to make Tom Cruise into our favorite action movie star again but damn if this isn’t the greatest action thriller of the year!  You don’t have to choose to accept this mission, but if you do, you’ll love it (and if you IMAX it, it will blow you away).   

One Word Movie Review: Kaboom-apalooza

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the best action thriller of the year. It is Bond without the silly fantasy, Bourne without the jerky camera work and Tom Cruise without the smirk and pretty boy looks.  .

Add in the IMAX theater projection of big picture and big sound and you have the greatest movie experience of 2011.  Forget 3D, forget everything you hate about sequels, forget all the Tom Cruise star baggage  and, most of all, forget all your stereotypical spy genre plot twists and go see this movie.

Movie/Market Analysis

The Movie Mood for audiences is PositiveMission Impossible: Ghost Protocol had my mixed audience (male, female, old and young) thrilled from start to end.  Even with the premium ticket prices for IMAX, the theater was crowded and enjoying themselves.

MarketBOB’s Movie Review Sentiment Indicators, the GQS (Genre, Quality, Story) rate Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol an emotional BULL.  Somehow it seems fitting to end 2011 with a great movie about the most difficult thing to do, yet you suck it up and take on the challenge of getting it done.  We live in a world where the solutions seem to be impossible indeed, but perhaps a franchise re-boot like this will help change the mind-set of many who think we’re destined to fail.  A mission is only impossible if we accept that it is.

Nobody Wants to Go to the Movies

This weekend was a complete non-event, with the box office recording the lowest take since September, 2008, and we know the significance of that month for the markets.  The box office was down 15% from the same weekend last year.

Of course, the movies were dismal and completely forgettable as well.  New Years Eve and The Sitter?  Why bother?  These films scream for home viewing only.  Why shell out the cash for this derivative fare?  Been there, seen these flicks before.

So, we have no direction or emotion from the box office.  We’re at  the mercy of politicians in the markets and a vacuum of creativity in Hollywood.  It’s like the whole world is desperately trying to play it safe in a  dangerous time.

We have the Christmas holiday season coming and Hollywood hopes the big films draw in crowds or there will be lumps of coal in a lot of executive stockings come December 25th.

It's Customers, Stupid! The 1% Do Not Create Jobs!

Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist from Seattle and billionaire many times over has just written an editorial on Bloomberg that sums up the consumer-driven economy from the point of view of the 1%:

“That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.”

It is the same with the Hollywood system and our infatuation with star power.  The box office rules, as CUSTOMERS choose what movie to watch and spend their own money.  The result is the creation of “hits” and “movie stars”, but these are impossible to predict in advance and quickly fall out of favor if people become turned off by a bad performance or a rip-off sequel.  And the money we channel to the rich and famous never gets circulated back to us from the top with the same economic drive to our economy if it remained in our pockets to spend.

Buy a Ticket, Buy a Star

Again, from Hanauer’s editorial:

“The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, I go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.”

So the great concentration of wealth in the top 1% is a sad fact of life today, but the more we lose to them the less we have to spend on their enterprises and Wall Street’s collective “Giant Vampire Squid” clamped onto the face of consumer America.

Consider the power you have when you but a ticket to watch a movie.  You are the real star-maker and thus, choose wisely.

Top ten Box Office Bombs from the Hollywood Reporter

Read the full Bloomberg editorial by Nick Hanauer Here. 



Twilight Breaking Dawn makes #1 three weekends in a row!

Ho hum, no action at the box office, just the same old, same old.  Twilight Breaking Dawn Part I topped a weak box office, after a huge week in the markets as traders interpreted news of a coordinated Central Bank move to supply dollars to Europe’s banking system as a big plus to debt stability.

In reality, it solves nothing, like all the other moves before it.  But hey, who can figure out the weekly gyrations?  This week is full of high-powered Europe leaders meeting to set a new direction for the future of the Euro.  We have no real box office trend to help us gauge the mood out there.  Expect another interesting and unpredictable week ahead!

Dow Drops as Undead Rise

The DOW Jones dropped almost 5% last week as the latest Twilight sequel dominated the box office.  It remains the top movie over Thanksgiving, beating out three highly-rated family movies, taking in $62.3 million and beating The Muppets by $20 million.

Meanwhile, the state of Europe’s sovereign debt problems remain the real horror show around the world as markets hate uncertainty and when the economic future is in the hands of politicians, we have a very uncertain future.

We can expect more of the same this week until we either fall off the cliff as confidence evaporates (and this can happen faster than you think) or another rumour of a miracle solution spreads across the news wires and traders take advantage of these false hopes (especially if they’re the ones starting the rumours…)

The undead live forever in vampire movies and right now, this debt that will never die is sucking the lifeblood out of our future hopes and dreams.

The MarketBOB Long Wave has turned decidedly negative as the correction takes hold:

Long wave for end of november

Correction Continues with possible Bear Market Ahead

Box Office a Bizarre Market Indicator?


Could she be an indicator of the future prosperity of your wallet?

In the Business Insider today, there is a list of “bizarre” stock market indicators, including the movie box office.  Now, I like BI for their fantastic headlines and quirky takes on practically everything, but to lump in a perfectly good emotional indicator of the social mood of a large number of people with crazy indicators like Latvian hookers and baked beans strikes me as absurd. Their box office indicator is labelled a “popcorn” index, but basically it ties in peaks in movie attendance with down markets. MarketBOB fans know there is much more to movies than just attendance, as in the types of movies and stars we pay money to see in times of hope and fear. However, the more we keep labeling emotional indicators as bizarre, we will have the edge over the traditional mindset that thinks the future can be predicted by statistics and charts. In fact, no one can predict the future but if you want to try, at least have fun.