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Saturday Morning Coffee

Bitcoin, firefighting and Lindy.

I have a Saturday off! Most of my Saturdays are devoted to Walker Fire and while I wouldn’t change that for the world, having the occasional Saturday to myself is a gift. I did do a quick errand very early for the FD though, getting fuel for one of the water tenders (big water trucks).

Driving water tenders is challenging. They are big, heavy, have manual transmissions that don’t shift quite like normal cars and require being able to downshift effectively going up a hill. You can always come to a complete stop and start over of course.

The nature of our responses to fires is that I am usually in the shotgun seat of the first engine to go. Water tenders will be the second or third vehicle to arrive to fill up the engines as they run low on water. All of this means I get very little drive time with the tenders and time away causes a can I still drive them correctly anxiety. In the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to drive Tender 82 a couple of times after maybe going ten years without driving it. It’s relatively easy to drive as tenders go but I had that doubt all the same. Sure enough, I can drive it just fine but taking it on and doing it was a challenge with just a bit of uncertainty. Whatever Tender 82s you have in your life, go drive them and overcome that doubt and uncertainty.

On Wednesday, Bitcoin crashed. I bought the panic, I added a little to my position, here is the timestamp on Twitter. A little while back I reduced my exposure to the woefully flawed GBTC but still have quite a bit and I started using the Cash App from Square to own some outside of tax qualified accounts. The next day it was up big, Friday it was down big but nothing like Wednesday’s decline. I believe the asymmetry still exists, that it could go to zero or a bazillion but as time goes on zero becomes less likely (this is the Lindy Effect) as opposed to some sort of catastrophic decline from here that is never recovered.

For now though, panicked declines like the one last week are part of the equation. Wednesday was not a problem for people who have sized their holdings appropriately.

The Barron’s cover story this week is about AT&T’s (T) recent spinoff and merger (sort of merger) and dividend cut. Included in the story was this quote: “As for the core telecom business, AT&T is still, well, AT&T.” Actually, it is the old SBC Corp which the original AT&T divested in 1984 which then bought back the almost failed AT&T in 2005 and then took the name of its original spinner outer. A good reminder that companies might not be Lindy.

Finally, I stumbled into a conversation in a wildland firefighter group on Facebook about the flaws of the packtest as a benchmark for fitness. The packtest is a three-mile hike in 45 minutes (or less) wearing a 45-pound pack. One commenter went to great lengths to opine on why 50-60 years old it too old to do the packtest. My reply: “55 and still in the no-doubter category thank you. Our VFD has always had guys well into their 60's as no doubters. 50-60 are numbers. Old is the result of bad habits--we've had guys in their 20's and 30's crap out.”

You can be 70 and young and you can be 30 and old. I’ve seen it. Volunteer fire departments are good for revealing these sorts of things. If you are chronologically old but biologically young, then not only will life be easier and better, but your retirement will be much cheaper. Lift weights to change your body composition and cut carb consumption to heal your metabolism.