Bizarro World Podcast
with Nick and Gerardo
May 16, 2022
Markets are getting smoked. Major indices are down 15-25% for the year as we head into late May. Cryptos have crashed. Bitcoin is down more than 50% from its highs and some altcoins are imploding. Even gold and related mining equities have now been sold down. It's time to be bearish and defensive if you aren't already. Inflation remains high, with oil still over $100. And congress thinks it can fix it with price controls. People are protesting outside the homes of Supreme Court justices. And, for a fee, your dog can be a "Best Lawyer" in a city of your choosing. This is Bizarro World episode 169.
1:53 Markets: Indexes, Crypto, Commodities, Gold All Down — What to do?
17:35 Navigating a Crypto Downturn: Remembering FOMO
23:57 Why Oil Price Controls Won’t Work
30:35 Supporting Freedom of Speech, Even Outside Justices’ Homes
35:45 How to Be a Best Lawyer
39:01 Naomi Judd and a Moment for Mental Health
Gerardo Del Real: Dotcom 2.0. Crypto's getting smoked. The Dow is getting smoked — again. The NASDAQ is getting smoked. The S&P is getting smoked. Some of my favorite positions are getting smoked. I had one that was down 35% this week and went up 8% today, and I felt like a winner. That should give you a clue and some insight as to how tough the markets are right now. A lot to talk about as always. I am Gerardo Del Real along with Mr. Nick Hodge. This is our therapy session otherwise known as Bizarro World number 169. Nick, it's a little cray-cray out there. How are you, man?
Nick Hodge: I used to smoke a lot, Gerardo, speaking of things getting smoked. A pack a day. It would probably be two packs at the rate the markets are going now. I'm glad I don't smoke anymore. It's been almost 10 years. I'm doing really good. How are you?
Gerardo Del Real: I am well. I am healthy. I am thankful. The kids are healthy. The sun is out. Got a great workout in today. Look, the markets aren't everything, right? On a personal note, we've had a pretty significant loss in our family recently. My mother-in-law passed suddenly a few weeks back, and so it's been a process. It's been tough. We just had Mother's Day. I hope everyone had a phenomenal Mother's Day out there. But that really brings perspective and context to what it is that we do here. A lot of what we do here, while it's one part venting and social commentary and our thoughts on everything from Madison Cawthorn to Nancy Pelosi to Biden to social commentary, the other part of it is markets.
Markets: Indexes, Crypto, Commodities, Gold All Down — What to do?
Gerardo Del Real: I think it gives some perspective as to what really matters, but for a lot of people, taking a 20% or 30% haircut on a 401(k) that you are counting on really matters. So I don't want to minimize the importance of financial stability for a lot of people out there because I think these past few weeks have really crystallized a lot of things. One, don't play with money you're not willing to lose. Two, don't speculate on margin if you don't have a phone call to make that allows you to cover that. Three, you better make sure that phone call is receptive to you before you go speculating on margin. I learned very early on when I thought I was smart in the rare earth craze and did phenomenally well and started trading options on margin. But that can get you in trouble really, really quick. I have never, ever, ever dabbled in margin again.
Man, this week has been one of those weeks, where last week I said, "Man, my portfolio's still doing great." A large part of that is because it's heavily weighted into lithium plays, but even those lithium plays this week and Patriot Battery Metals (CSE: OPMET)(OTC: PMETF), specifically, took a hit off of all-time highs. It was at a high of C$2.93, and after the 8% rebound today, sits just around the C$2.00 mark. Assays are pending. I'm confident it ends the year much higher than where it is now. I think this is a hell of an entry point, I said as much to subscribers this week, but I'd be lying to you if I didn't tell you that I’d much rather see it higher than see it lower. All of that is to say, please, please be careful out there when speculating in any part of the market right now — whether it's crypto, whether it's the Dow, the S&P. Everything but the dollar and a little bit of gold has proven to be extremely volatile.
Let's start with gold. It's closer to $1,800 now than it is 1,900. The dollar index (DXY) is firmly above 104. The 10-year looks like a yo-yo going from 2.85% to 3.10%, and then back and then back. Your thoughts, Nick? You've been spot on preparing people for the selloff, and frankly, you went to cash a whole lot more intelligently than I did because frankly, my plays tend to be higher risk, higher reward. I've always said that I'm willing to take the pain that comes with that. How are you seeing this market right now? What are you doing?
Nick Hodge: Condolences to you and your family, Gerardo, for your mother-in-law. Thoughts continue to be with you.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you.
Nick Hodge: The markets, you put it in perspective nicely, they don't matter as much as things like that. My thoughts I had to write down because there was so much that you covered there. Not only is it bad if you were in a 401(k) that just took a 20% or 30% haircut, imagine having been sucked up into the FOMO of the past year in name your thing, right? Altcoins, or meme stocks, or high short interest stocks, or even just tech stocks. Mega cap ones, like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), even those are down significantly.
First, I want to talk a little bit about the madness of crowds because we talked about bubbles for so long and everyone was talking about when the punchbowl was going to get taken away. They fucking tell you they're going to take the punchbowl away, and so it was time to sell some stocks. I didn't get it 100%, right? No one does, like you say on paper, I've taken losses in the past week too, but I did move to a third cash. And you’ve got to separate that out too between 401(k) and IRAs and retirement… and speculative money. On the retirement side, firmly in a third cash, and in things like GLD, which as you said, gold has gone back down to the high $1800s, still positive for the year. And so yes, it was very smart to go to cash. I feel good about that.
On the other hand, I have been telling people it was time to get defensive for months now. And you wonder how much they listen because one thing I talk about as a publisher is I can see the things that people open and click and buy and sell. February and March and April, when the ads said, "Get your portfolio protection plan, crash coming, prepare now, stocks are going to go down," those were not the things that people were clicking on and selling.
Yes, I was telling them as much as I could, and you wonder if they listened. Then everyone wishes they sold more sooner, but we also know that sometimes the biggest wins go down 50%. Now, I'm talking about the speculative side of things and that at times like this, you have to hold through. I still have a lot more to say.
You've seen absolute meltdowns. We've talked about Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and the billions and billions just that company lost in market cap. Now, we're at collective trillions lost in stocks and in cryptos. You had a crypto the other day, Luna, go from over a billion dollars in market cap to zero. It crashed to $1.00. It was something like $80 a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s crashed to below a dollar.
This is one of the stories I wanted to tell. I was talking to somebody yesterday who was talking about buying it and I'm telling them, "Dude, it's a fucking falling knife.” This is not the environment to be speculating on things that have just crashed because first of all, they can crash further. I'm just talking about cryptos. I haven't even gotten to the market yet. Second of all, this is classic dead cat bounce / falling knife stuff. And it's not the time to be speculating on cryptos, and so I made him a bet. I said, "You buy Lunas, and I'll short the NASDAQ right now, and we'll see who comes out ahead." I couldn't even get my NASDAQ short filled because the bottom fell out of the market and I put in a limited order. He bought Luna at $1.13. This morning, Luna went to three cents. It went from $1.13 to three cents overnight, so you talk about-
Gerardo Del Real: From $80.
Nick Hodge: Yeah, and so I told him and I said there's going to be more. There's going to be more Lunas. Luna wasn't the only one right? The same is there's going to be more Rivians (NASDAQ: RIVN) and there's going to be more XYZ that just went to zero, all these SPACS that are de-SPACing that are now well below the $10 SPAC price. The thing you have to think about from there, then I'm going to tell another story, is it's not like these stocks are down trading for cash value yet. They could still go down further. First of all, earnings are still declining. Second of all, economic growth is still declining. The second quarter is going to come in slower than the first quarter. That's going to be the official beginning of a recession, two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. And so you've got stocks facing all those headwinds. We talked recently that they'd still have to be cut in half to get to their March 2020 of those. Guess what?
Gerardo Del Real: They're working hard.
Nick Hodge: It's less than half now! And you talk about trading on margin. Yeah, of course don't do that. I was reading through the Dinesisms the other day. There's a Dinesism for nearly everything. One of them is don't trade on margin and don't short. That's something else I wanted to talk about. Sorry for hogging the mic.
Gerardo Del Real: No. Have at it. It's usually me talking a lot. So have at it.
Nick Hodge: You can make money now. I just talked about having a short NASDAQ filled, but I typically don't do that in the letter. Shorting is not appropriate for most people as options aren’t. So, if you want to go in the options/shorting world, that's one thing, and you could be up but just with a caveat emptor that it’s dangerous, and you can get caught up doing that on leverage as well. With that, I think I made it through my entire list. I didn't answer anything about the market.
Everything's in the toilet. I mean, even gold stocks broke down today. We've been talking about the GDXJ at like $46 and it's down to $35. When volatility is where it is, there's no safe haven. I guess the last thing I'd say is on the speculative side. We've seen some juniors that have large strategic shareholders, multi-billion dollar funds and companies who are exercising warrants that are nearly 50% above where the stock is trading because the stock was there just a couple of weeks ago. This is definitely lightning flashing and thunder clapping, and you just got to tread carefully, not try to get long, don't be a hero and catch knives, wait for the VIX to come back down and know that next quarter could potentially be worse. It's a complete change of mindset from buying the dip to selling the rally, man.
Gerardo Del Real: I'm going to talk my book, which is the junior resource space. Obviously, it was a massacre this week. There wasn't much that didn't get butchered, whether it was a 30% haircut, 40% haircut, or a 50% haircut. I touched on those positions of mine that are relatively large holdings in my portfolio — both in terms of how many shares I own in the cash value. It's important for everyone out there to understand where you are relative to your specific situation. I wrote last month — and the month before that — that if you needed any form of liquidity, some of those big outperformers, it would be wise to trim a little bit because you should expect volatility. If you're able to ride it out to the rest of the year, and you have other sources of income, other revenue streams, a way to make sure that your basics are taken care of, and you don't rely on that speculative part of your portfolio to outperform every month, I think this is a phenomenal opportunity to add, right?
I think there's names out there that were no brainers last week… they’re even more no brainers this week because they got chopped up. Kutcho Copper (TSX-V: KC)(OTC: KCCFF) seeing warrants exercised. Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE: WPM) just exercised a few months ago at C$0.91. It's a C$0.35 stock today. It's a billion-dollar project with like a $37 million market cap right now at the feasibility stage. Does anyone out there really believe that we're suddenly going to stop needing copper or that we have so many copper discoveries of significance that projects that are likely to get permitted and already are de-risked to the feasibility stage, like Kutcho's project, aren't going to get taken out, aren't going to see that value through a re-rating? No, I believe it absolutely will get taken out eventually at many, many multiples of today's price.
Do I like seeing it at C$0.35? Absolutely not. If I was someone who had cash and didn't care about the price now but did care about the price at the end of the year, I'd be adding to that. I'd be adding to Aldebaran Resources (TSX-V: ALDE)(OTC: ADBRF) which just had warrants exercised at I believe C$0.70 and it's sitting here trading something like C$0.60 cents. World class copper-gold resource, four rigs turning. I just interviewed the CEO earlier today. They had some assays. You would've thought they hit dusters. They're hitting a hundred meters of 1.15 grams per tonne gold from 12 meters depth. And they're trading as if they hit nothing and like they're out of cash which they're not.
I say all that to say, yes, there are some spectacular opportunities in the market. But not if you might need money next week from those opportunities and not if you might need money this summer from those opportunities because as cheap as some things are, they can absolutely get cheaper. I am champing at the bit to build a pretty substantial Hannan position at current levels. Hannan Metals (TSX-V: HAN)(OTC: HANNF) at these levels, let's have this conversation at the end of December. It's an absolute joke. Doesn't mean it can't get cheaper out there folks, but there is a part of every cycle where the fear part kicks in. We're there with a lot of these names. I love a good fight, Nick, as you know. And I think that this is the time if you're aggressive, if you have the cash, if you don't need liquidity for multiple quarters, you can make a killing at some of these price levels, but you're going to have to understand that just because you buy cheap doesn't mean it can't get cheaper.
Nick Hodge: Yeah. You got to make a list. Keith McCullough would say valuation’s not a catalyst. A couple of things I wanted to mention there, you sort of hit on it at the end. It could get cheaper throughout the summer because stocks started to go down because of inflation and then higher rates, but now I fear commodities are taking a hit because of slowing growth, and so there's multiple things going on there. I'm not going to tell you everything I write about because I try to keep some stuff close to the vest, but if you look at a chart of oil and copper, for example, you might be surprised to learn that they peaked back in March, or at least for the past three months, have peaked back in March. Did not go up in April, has not gone up in May.
That's not to say that a lot of projects don't work at $4 copper, even $3.50, but you say that it'd be taken out eventually. And I 100% agree with you. It's the question mark at the end of ‘eventually’ that I think people are starting to wonder about now considering the slowing growth. You should absolutely be making a list to see things that I want to buy that are cheap. We'll be heading to Vancouver. In fact, when this podcast comes out, I will be in Vancouver, and will talk to the management of some of the companies that you just mentioned. In fact, I have a couple lithium names I want to talk to. And I'm definitely making a short list because I have warrants in a couple of companies that I can now buy in the market cheaper than the warrants that I was planning on exercising.
Gerardo Del Real: Ta-da.
Nick Hodge: Exactly. I mean, you got to figure that out and what you're going to do. Are you going to buy in the market and exercise? Anyway, along with that list comes recommendations, but again, not with the VIX where it is here now. Then I'll talk about the big side for a second because you say things the juniors were getting thrown out. I mean, some of the seniors I could point to have been demolished. Sibanye (NYSE: SBSW) is one, for example, that was $14, $15 a couple of weeks ago and is below $11 this week. And there are other examples of that.
On the copper side, those big names like Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO) and Freeport (NYSE: FCX) have had their assayed into them as well over the past couple of weeks. Those are high yielders, so with the different strategy in mind, potentially locking in higher yield as these stocks are having lower prices might be smart because we're seeing some of them yield 7%, 8%, 9%. And they’ve said that they're committed to paying those dividends. Yeah, make a list, check it twice. Might not even be by Christmas that you get to execute fully on it, but at least you'll know what you want to buy.
Navigating a Crypto Downturn: Remembering FOMO
Gerardo Del Real: Crypto meltdown. You touched on it a bit. Is it the Dotcom 2.0, Nick? Are we going to see $15, $20,000 Bitcoin? I am not the Bitcoin expert. We have one. I know he thinks there's more pain to come. I read a piece he wrote brilliantly, by the way, by Mr. Chris Curl earlier this week. I thought it was very, very good guidance. He believes there's more pain to come. He also believes that by 2023, 2024, we'll be laughing at these prices the way that I believe is the case for the Hannan Metals and the Patriot Battery Metals of the world and a couple of other names that I already mentioned. Your thoughts there?
Nick Hodge: I told you Bitcoin was at least going to come back down to the low $30s. I've been talking about a little gap on the chart. It's down around $24,500. I mean, Bitcoin flash crashed to $25,000 today, so pretty much closed that gap. Is it going to stay there? I'm not sure. Is it going to shoot back up? I do not believe so. It's got such a tight correlation with the stock market that everything we just said about the stock market applies to crypto. Sort of not until you get this slowing growth, slowing earnings, I think, out of the way that you're going to get back into a positive environment for crypto. Chris Curl has done a great job. He's down, yes. Who's not? But he's not defaulting and getting margin-called. And by the way, he didn't deploy half of the portfolio partly because he saw some of this coming.
Him and I were talking privately this week. Being an editor of a newsletter is tough. In some cases, you feel obligated to make recommendations especially when you've got readers who are expecting it. The assets that he's purchased have been the quality ones, right? Largely, Bitcoin and Ethereum and the higher quality altcoins that haven't suffered as badly as some of the true Shitcoins that have gone to money heaven this week. And so kudos to him, for sure. What else on crypto? We're talking about how it might be several quarters before the stock market could make a turnaround. Well, you know what? The next halving in Bitcoin isn't all that far away.. And so if Bitcoin does truly put in some volume below $25,000, yours truly will be a buyer there. I've given you my long term thoughts on crypto, and I'm not calling for a bull market or turnaround as I just said, but I do think it provides long term value below $25,000.
Gerardo Del Real: Might have to get in there and get me a Bitcoin, Nick. I still haven't dabbled outside of the portfolio that Chris is managing. Again, I think he's done a brilliant job in allocating because half the war chest is still there to fire back with, right? The worst thing you want during a war is to run out of bullets. The best feeling in the world is to have extra ammunition because then you're still in the fight, right? Kudos to him. Great job on that front. We'll keep an eye on that.
Nick Hodge: Have to talk about herd mentality or mass psychology because everyone was sucked in so much that they’re still buying the bounces. I told you about the guy I was talking about that wanted to buy the Luna at $1.13 and crashed to three cents the next day. I think back to the Super Bowl, for example. That was not long ago. That was three months ago that we had the renaming of the Staple Center in LA and all the commercials in the Super Bowl where Matt Damon was encouraging you to be bold and don't get left out. And people were quitting their jobs in Silicon Valley to go work for crypto things. This was a whole mania thing, and so factions, in fact, started to emerge.
We've mentioned Max Kaiser on this podcast. I've given you my thoughts on Shitcoins and how, in my personal account, I own Bitcoin and Ethereum. You get people caught up in these things. They get sucked into being true believers literally akin to a religion, a grand delusion, where it's just an asset class. It's just something you can buy and sell. Is it the future paradigm or the financial system? Maybe. Make sure you have some exposure, but don't go carrying around the Bitcoin bible, right? That's not the way to be about anything in the market, and that's why I remained a generalist and try to remain as agnostic as I am in my religious life. I guess that's what I wanted to say about the crypto things. I should mention Coinbase because I don't know if I'm going to get the numbers exactly right, but I think the revenues are down over 50% and the bankruptcy conversation came up on their conference call the other day, and so-
Gerardo Del Real: They're experiencing a major outage right now, by the way.
Nick Hodge: Incredible.
Gerardo Del Real: Coincidental.
Nick Hodge: Can you imagine what would happen if Coinbase defaulted or went bankrupt with all the people's coins that they're holding in their wallets? I mean, talk about butterfly effects and reverberations through the system. Last thing on crypto and we can move on is even the Stablecoins, and unfortunately, many of the things I wrote in that time period have been unpublished. They still exist in my email. But I had written some fantastic pieces about Stablecoins years ago. You see Stablecoins, like Tether that are supposed to stay at a dollar because they're tied to the US dollar here, ticking down, not stable, not at 1.0, but down to 0.97, 0.96. And people are wondering — and it gets above my pay grade which is why I'm not a crypto expert — what that means for the rest of the system. I'm sure there's people who can give you a really smart answer. I don't even need to know the answer. I'm just telling you to stay on the sidelines for a little bit, right?
Why Oil Price Controls Won’t Work
Gerardo Del Real: You know who doesn't have really smart answers? Nancy fucking Pelosi has zero smart answers. If you needed any further proof. If her wanting to tax unrealized gains wasn’t enough — imagine how well that would've gone during this draw down for you, right? You pay tax on unrealized capital gains and then your 401(k) falls 40%, and now you're stuck.
Nick Hodge: Can I write off my unrealized losses?
Gerardo Del Real: Right? The price of oil is still above $106 and everybody forgot about COVID, by the way, and oh, everybody forgot there's a war. We're so desensitized to things now that we don't even talk about the war anymore. We act as if kids aren't getting killed and journalists in the Middle East aren't getting shot, and like everything is just fine and everything is just awesome, or it's just normalized. We've all just internalized and normalized all this stuff. I say all that to say that Nancy Pelosi's new bright idea to maintain some order in the energy markets is to put a ban on excessive gas prices. They drafted a bill that's headed to the House for a vote where they'll make it illegal for high gasoline prices beyond a certain limit. Price controls is what this is. They did this in the late '70s, everybody. We know how this ends, right? This doesn't end well.
Meddling by central bankers in our policy is what has enabled the 40-year high in inflation, the subsequent 20-year high now in the dollar index, the fact that you can't find fucking baby formula, right? There's moms taking off from work early to go drive on $5 a gallon gas to find baby formula because of the supply shortage. All this stuff comes from a place where the government is intervening in policy, in monetary policy, and in fiscal policy that's been completely mismanaged. I don't have enough adjectives to describe how I feel about Nancy Pelosi. I got on here last week, and I'm sure I upset a lot of my friends on the right that go with that herd mentality that only the people on the right have good ideas and only the people on the right are good guys and gals, the people on the left are all evil. But now let me piss some people on the left off this week.
Nancy Pelosi is a fucking tool. This idea is a tool of an idea. A lot of her ideas recently have been absolutely just a symptom of a privileged person who has the luxury of voting and passing bills that have zero consequence to her and her colleagues and her immediate family. She's going to have the greatest healthcare, she's going to have security escorts, she's going to be able to have a fully paid pension by the taxpayers. None of this is consequential to her, so it's just beyond me why we keep getting this stupidity. Look at the Don't Say Gay Bill in Florida, and how that's being used to go ahead and not be able to even have teachers be allowed to talk about their partner if their partner happens to be of the same sex.
That's escalating now and it's all set up to take rights away from you, people. While the people on the right and the people on the left are out there fighting against each other, and beating each other up on the streets, and threatening each other, and swearing that it's just the other side that causes of all problems, I wish we could come together and put forward some real practical solutions, get some of these idiots on both sides out of office and recreate the system because boy, it's getting stupider out there.
Nick Hodge: I can’t add a lot to that. It's exactly why I founded The Outsider Club about all those years ago, first of all. Second of all, you can't intervene in free markets and not expect them to show you who's boss, whether you are Congress or whether you are the Federal Reserve. And I think that's why people like you and me take such issue with the Federal Reserve. We talk about fighting the Fed and this and that. It's one, created without the authority of the people, a quasi government entity. But two, they have the audacity to think that they can, in their ivory tower, manage the monetary system. It seems just entirely hubristic. And so to be hanging on their every word is absurd, and yet that's the system that we find ourselves in. I think that's some of the animosity and some of the angst that people feel that they can't put a finger on.
You talk about $5 gas and problems with the supply chain, baby formula, and things like that. It's all tied together, folks. These people who are calling the shots and telling you they know what they're doing, they're the ones who are in charge for the past eight years. Jerome Powell was the Federal Reserve chairman under President Trump. I see things on Twitter trending. You talk about the left fighting the right. I saw “Bideninflation” trending the other day, and I'm pretty sure it was Mr. Trump who was vociferous about wanting his name to be on the checks that were sent out, which is the actual cause of inflation. Dabbling and wanting to put a price cap on oil isn't going to work.
Let me further tell you this, and I'll relate it back to buying oil stocks in December of 2020. Oil's already over a hundred bucks, Nancy. It's been over a hundred bucks for like four months. The inflation that reflects on the system is now working itself through. The farmers already got to pay for higher diesel and higher fertilizer costs. The food at the grocery store already costs more. The system is interconnected. It takes time for things to work through. We've talked about the Cantillon effect on this podcast and how the honey needs to go to the edge of the dish. Putting a cap on oil prices is like trying to put the cap on honey, Nancy. The honey's already in the Petri dish working its way around, honey.
Supporting Freedom of Speech, Even Outside Justices’ Homes
Gerardo Del Real: Don't go in front of her house and let her know that it's a stupid idea. Don't go protest Roe v. Wade decisions that allegedly, well, not allegedly, they weren't leaked alleged decisions, right? We don't know if it's going to be a final one, but it sure in the heck looked pretty legit and official, the overturning of Roe v. Wade. You're supposed to sit there, take it, be quiet, shut up, and stay at home. I recall a president not too long ago energizing his base to go and make sure that they hear you and feel you at the Capitol once upon a time on January the 6th. But now, that same side, man, they turn real delicate now that we're having protesters peacefully, by the way, mostly peacefully, go to the sidewalk of some of these justices and say, "Hey, your fucking decisions have consequence to us and we don't like it."
Whether you agree with the decision or not, I've said it before, if you want to go protest in front of my house and walk around and say, "I don't like Mexicans," or "I don't like gold miners," or "You lost me 50%," or "You made me money, but I still think you're an asshole," you have every right to do that as long as you don't threaten me, you don't threaten my family, or you don't put us in a situation where we feel that we have to defend ourselves because then that'll happen. You have every right to think what you want to think and say what you want to say. Doesn't mean it doesn't have consequences, but if it's non-violent, if it's non-threatening, you have the right to that opinion. We haven't talked about this, Nick. How do you feel about protestors showing up not at peoples’ homes like on their lawn, but on public sidewalks, on public property, with signs, being loud enough to where they can hear the voice of the people inside? That doesn’t seem crazy to me. It seems like America.
Nick Hodge: That's it. No, they have every right to do that. Yeah, no, they have every right to do that. We can talk about the COVID protests. I remember police departments firing rubber bullets on people when they were leaving their houses, telling them to get back inside. I'm sure you remember those videos. I've long wondered about your "right to protest," especially when cops are pushing people down on the sidewalks causing their skulls to be fractured. I've often wondered, do we truly still have that right? We've talked about that right in the context of Twitter even, and then Elon Musk's recent purchase of that and how people have been shadow-banned and kicked off the platform. This is the tried and true way of expressing that first amendment right, right? The freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly.
Look, on the right and the left. If you want to be a public servant, then you got to be accountable to the public. Their tax money paid for that sidewalk and they want to exercise their rights, then they're protected by the constitution to do so. You mentioned January 6th. This happens all the time. This isn't the first time that people have been outside Justice's house or proposed Justice's houses when there were previous confirmations going on trying to get Supreme Court Justices approved, the right had people protesting, et cetera. It's tit for tat and I'm quite tired of that. If these people want to get their feet on the street, I 100% support their right to do so no matter their beliefs, frankly.
I think you're going to see more of that as we talked about in the recent podcast about how it's going be a hot summer, how people are getting pressured socially, obviously politically, tribally, now definitely economically both in facing the prospects of slowing growth and higher interests to fund that growth, whether that's on their credit card or loans, and then the higher prices, as you just mentioned, with the gas and the baby food shortage, which is very serious, by the way. It's like a third of products aren’t on the shelf. That story is going completely below the radar, but you can bet that it's real.
Gerardo Del Real: We're already not paying people enough to make a decent living — a livable wage — for teachers, for so many professions that deserve it, right? Two working teachers in today's America would have a really hard time living in most major American cities the way that teachers are paid and compensated right now. On top of that, prices are escalating due to inflationary pressures caused by central bankers and government policy. On top of that, we have supply chain issues because of mismanagement from the very same people that now have all the bright ideas on how to fix that, and you can't even find baby milk within an hour of your home, man. It's absolutely insane to me. If some of those good patriots protesting outside of the justices homes were to need a lawyer, Mr. Nick Hodge, what's the best way to find a good lawyer?
How to Be a Best Lawyer
Nick Hodge: I almost forgot about this story and I don't have the article up in front of me. I don't know if you've ever Googled a lawyer or tried to find a lawyer.
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah, I have many times.
Nick Hodge: You'll find whatever, bestlawyer.com or best lawyers, or you know what? The best example is when you're flipping through those airline magazines on the plane and they have the pages like the best plastic surgeons in Miami and the best lawyers in LA. You know the pages I'm talking about?
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah.
Nick Hodge: Well, there's companies that manage and make and own those lists. Doctors and lawyers are keen to get on them, obviously, because of the publicity and customers and clients, and ultimately, revenue and profit it gets them. If you're on a page that's the ‘top lawyer in Atlanta,’ you're going to get more clients in Atlanta than other lawyers who aren't the ‘top lawyer in Atlanta.’ This story caught my eye the other day. Let me set it up for a second. I think somebody was publishing a best lawyers list or was calling themselves a best lawyer, and the company who owns that best lawyers list sued them saying, "You can't publish a Best Lawyers list because the Best Lawyers list is ours."
In the discovery process of this lawsuit, we learned all sorts of wonderful facts. Basically, that you could just pay, surprise, surprise, to get on the best lawyers lists. It is not hard to do so to the extent that several lawyers got their dogs to be on best lawyers lists in various states. I just thought that was interesting. First of all, a word of warning for the public, a little peek behind the curtain there that you may or may not have suspected. But I also started thinking about financial advice and the advertising budgets behind that and where you get that from. Just always know where you're getting advertising from, where you're getting advice from, why they're giving you that advice, who is potentially paying them to give that advice, and what their potential conflicts are.
We try to be transparent here and we talk about the fact that we own the stocks that we write about much of the time, or at least are employing the same strategies in our accounts. We talk about the fact that we own a business where companies pay us to help tell their stories and we disclose what those companies are, and we disclose when we own stocks and if we finance them. Some people may view that as a conflict, and I understand that side of the coin. The other side of the coin is why would you want to take advice from someone who's not doing what they're telling you to do, right? Didn't you always hate it when someone told you, "Do as I say, not as I do," or haven't you ever heard of leading by example, for example? That's what we try to do is lead by example and eat our own cooking and point out things that are bizarre in the bizarre world like being able to pay to get your dog on the best lawyers list.
Gerardo Del Real: It's a bizarre world out there. Bizarre world. Did you see they just found the largest black hole in the galaxy? They were able to photograph it.
Nick Hodge: Is that where all the losses go? That's where all the money goes?
Naomi Judd and a Moment for Mental Health
Gerardo Del Real: That might be money heaven. Yeah, apparently because aliens aren't a big deal, they're deciding to tell us all the things now. We're just able to photograph the largest black hole in the galaxy, which if you watched Interstellar where you should get all of your factual science from, it's a great movie, by the way, there's a lot there that becomes possible now if we're able to tap into these black holes. To answer your question, I don't know if that's money heaven, I don't know if that's where all the money goes, but I thought that was an interesting story and one that's a little lighter than the one I'm about to get into.
Recently, we realized that Ms. Naomi Judd passed away, right? This was a couple of weeks ago. At the time, the family said they wanted to respect Naomi Judd's family's privacy and the family wanted to be able to grieve as they should. Just this week, we find out that Naomi Judd died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ashley Judd, her daughter and one of my favorite actresses for a long time, talked about the mental illness aspect of Mrs. Judd's passing and just how despite the fame and the money and the acclaim, she had just been inducted into the Hall of Fame, they hadn't had the ceremony. She said she was in so much pain internally that that wasn't even worth hanging around for.
That's a long way of me saying, look, life can be tough sometimes,. Things happen and life happens. Man, there's still a lot of beautiful in it. There's still a lot of things to go get, a lot of things to do, and a lot of things to become, and a lot of ways to grow. But if you're having one of those days, weeks, months, years, lives that's just tough, reach out. Reach out. Maybe your neighbor doesn't give a fuck, maybe your neighborhood doesn't care, maybe your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse, or significant other, or mistress, or side piece doesn't care, but somebody cares. And there's always somebody out there that I guarantee you will have some good advice for you. I truly do believe there's more good people in the world than the other option, the alternative, but just reach out and talk to somebody.
I thought that was an opportunity to take something that's very, very sad and obviously tragic for the family and hopefully deliver just the message of you got to have some will to fight, you got to fight the good fight, and you got to get out there and then reach out to some people. That's it. I don't know if you have anything to say on that front, Nick. I just thought it was incredibly sad and I thought it was a good opportunity just to talk about mental illness and how tough that can be and I'm sure how lonely that can be if you don't have a good support system there, but how important it is to reach out to people. There's other ways to go about things.
Nick Hodge: I saw the story as it was happening the other week because I listen to country music and I was in my truck and the DJ started talking about it. You're right. It was the day before she was set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. You mentioned Ashley. I'm a fan of Wynonna. I remember watching a country music award show back in the day when they were still good and Wynonna was singing with her mom. It was sad to see that. Of course, reach out if you're having those feelings or thoughts.
As you say, Gerardo, we make a donation every month. One of those donations, in fact, I'm sure more than one, but one of those donations specifically was to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It's a cause that we've specifically tried to help support. One that we're aware of, one that I'm sure if not all of us at Digest Publishing, some of us know people that it’s affected. Yes, there's always people out there even if it's a professional hotline or a medical professional, so by all means, reach out and talk to somebody. It’s always good to shed some light on that.
Gerardo Del Real: Well said, Sir. Well said. Nick, you'll be in Vancouver this following week. I'm staying close to home for obvious reasons. I'll miss the conference. I'm delegating you to drink the drinks that I would have, and so you're going to have to pull double duty on my behalf. But on a more serious note, you're going to be giving a presentation as well as following up with a lot of our favorite names in the space. Remind me again what the title of the presentation is because I love it.
Nick Hodge: Yeah. Also, this will come out on Monday. I'll be there Tuesday and Wednesday, so if you see this, come on out. My talk is Tuesday afternoon at 1:40pm Pacific Time. It is ‘Macro Bear Hungry for Golden Lollipop with Uranium Center.’ Then a couple hours later, I'll be on a uranium panel Mr. Rule. And I think it's GoviEx who's putting that on, so we'll talk about uranium for 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Then yeah, cocktail events and dinners. And of course, I told you about my shortlist earlier so I have some people I need to ask some questions to see what I want to buy amid all this carnage. By all means, come on out to the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, and if you see me, say hello.
Gerardo Del Real: I like it. Yeah, I'll leave it there. I was going to leave with a Ricky Gervais joke. I don't know if I should say it or not. Well, it made me laugh and we just talked about how there's a lot of funny stuff in the world despite the sadness and the tough times and all of that. If you're easily offended, this is the part where I say goodbye to you and you guys have a great week and be kind to each other and all that. You should probably tune off.
Ricky Gervais has got a special that's streaming on Netflix now called Humanity. Him along with Dave Chappelle and a couple of others are some of my favorite comedians. I think Ricky Gervais is an absolutely brilliant comedian, writer, actor, you name it. I absolutely love the man's craft. His tweet for promoting his Humanity special says, "People who hate the c-word would hear it a lot less if they didn't go around acting like such cunts." I leave you with that, everybody. I am Gerardo Del Real along with Mr. Nick Hodge. This was Episode 169 of Bizarro World. Nick, leave us with some better words of wisdom.
Nick Hodge: Love the shake of the tambourine, Gerardo. Have a good week, everybody.
This transcript is unedited. Please excuse grammatical errors and run-on sentences.