You know how I feel about Barron’s, right? If you are in the business of investing, it’s a must read. I try to spend some quality time with Barron’s every week. I’m not always successful, but I try.
Monday’s online issue contained a great thought. In a piece about the SEC’s new rule that will permit advertising by hedge funds, Barron’s wondered why it’s okay for states to advertise lotteries then? This is, to my mind, far more important than the hedge-fund issue — which, after all, will allow advertising applicable to those who have more than $1 million in net assets, excluding residences and so forth.
Like tobacco, lotteries seem to be a virulent form of extremely regressive tax that falls mostly on poor people. We in the investment biz are regulated to the nines because federal, state and local governments care about their citizens, right? Well, if government cares about us citizens so damn much, why is it okay for state governments to advertise lotteries? Barron’s postulates it’s because governments earn revenue from lotteries. But, gee, that seems to say that morality should only apply to the geese subjects and not the government gander.
You don’t know how I feel about “The Lone Ranger,” and so I’ll share. If the concern is morality, one can’t do better than the masked rider of the plains. I can remember in the 1940s listening to announcer Fred Foy setting up each episode for Brace Beemer — radio’s version of the man with the silver bullets and, according to online sources, an excellent horseman — while my step-grandfather and I listened with rapt attention. (Foy later was the announcer for the “Dick Cavett Show,” a competitor for a time to Johnny Carson. If you Google him, you can hear one of the last renditions of the intro — it will still get your blood stirring. I met Foy a few times in New York, but that’s another story.)
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Decades later, in the mid-1980s, my wife and kids and I met Clayton Moore, the Lone Ranger’s TV version, who seemed to pretty much live the part on and off-screen too, at the Tulsa State Fair.
Two weeks ago, I saw the new Disney Lone Ranger film, and while this is an investment blog, not a movie review, I had to write and say that it was a horrible movie that brought nothing good to either the Lone Ranger franchise or to Disney. The opposite is true; I may never get the sour taste out of my mouth from watching this ugly movie.
This Disney effort played like a series of really bad borscht-belt comedies, with no string of logic holding the sequences together. The best actor in the movie by far was the horse who played Silver, even though he was a too-small version of the great stallion. The writing? Forget it. The doggone film — in which a near-Yiddish version of Tonto ran the show — didn’t need the man with the silver bullets. He really didn’t need to show up at all, nor did many of the other actors.