Category Archives: display

Who Drives a Used Car?



Everyone drives a used car!

Some  people buy a new car.  Some people buy a used car.  If you buy a new car you pay more than if you buy the same car used.  But when you buy it, it becomes a used car the instant that paperwork is signed.

That new car smell is just the volatile plasticizers from the interior polymers hitting your nose.  Yes, that nice smell (probably poisonous) – is only an impurity from the manufacturing process.

Oh, wait.  I looked it up for you.  That smell is indeed toxic: .  The research found that more than 275 chemicals were airborne in a new car.  The health risks were linked to problems with the liver, thyroid, testes, ovaries, kidneys, and blood.

Honestly, new cars should be sold at a discount since they are swimming in a toxic cloud for any unlucky passengers or driver.  Ironically, people are willing to pay extra to have the opportunity to deeply inhale this cloud.

Luckily, the Independent Penguin always seeks a good used car value if he needs a car.

Why a Diamond Ain’t a Gem …

carbon symbol


an investment gem, that is.

1.  They have unbelievably high front end load fees.  Consider yourself lucky to find a diamond at 100% markup.  Compared to metals (nearer to 10%) or stocks they are in a different ballpark.

2.  They are not liquid.  In order to find a commercial buyer you will have to be lower priced than their WHOLESALE cost.  Meeting their wholesale cost won’t cut it, since their inventory is on consignment and it will take something extra to entice them to part with cash.  Good luck finding a sucker buyer in the private market.

3.  They are not fungible.  SInce each one is unique, exchanging them is closer to bartering or horse trading than a financial transaction.  You can exchange dollars for euros for stocks for bonds to your hearts content.  You want to exchange that diamond?  Better get a collection of opinions about the 4 C’s (carats, clarity, cut, and color), I’ll get my own expert’s opinion.  Then we can start to haggle about a trade.

4.  The supply is manipulated.  Diamonds aren’t rare.   But the supply has to go through the De Beers cartel that artificially places a bottleneck on availability.

For a great summary of diamonds (including the advertising brainwashing that introduced and popularized the idea of the diamond engagement ring) see:

For the purposes of the Independent Penguin, a diamond clearly is categorized in the visible portion of his iceberg.



robinson with cigar and fedora

This weekend I was watching an old move, “Key Largo”.  Good movie, great actors, and some timeless dialogue.


Johnny Rocco: There’s only one Johnny Rocco.
James Temple: How do you account for it?
Frank McCloud: He knows what he wants. Don’t you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Sure.
James Temple: What’s that?
Frank McCloud: Tell him, Rocco.
Johnny Rocco: Well, I want uh …
Frank McCloud: He wants more, don’t you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Yeah. That’s it. More. That’s right! I want more!
James Temple: Will you ever get enough?
Frank McCloud: Will you, Rocco?
Johnny Rocco: Well, I never have. No, I guess I won’t. You, do you know what you want?
Frank McCloud: Yes, I had hopes once, but I gave them up.
Johnny Rocco: Hopes for what?
Frank McCloud: A world in which there’s no place for Johnny Rocco.

YouTube clip:  Rocco wants more


What an emotionally powerful word.  Wanting more.  Needing more.   It can cause wars.  Create institutions.  Bring couples together … and  drive them apart.  Get students to pull all-nighters and employees to work at night and weekends.   Make children dream.  Cause depression.  Create hoarders.  Create debtors.  Create moguls and magnates.

As in the case of Rocco, it can even become a goal in itself.

But MORE  can never be achieved.  Because there is always MORE.  And then a little MORE.  Oh, and then there is some MORE over there too.  There is no contentment or peace with MORE.

The Independent Penguin has contentment and peace.  That patch of ice provides a solid comfort in the ocean.  The Independent Penguin focuses on an emotionally powerful word too.  ENOUGH.

Do you have enough?  Can you ever have enough?  How much is enough for you? Tough questions, and each person has to answer for themselves. I am working on my answers & challenge you to answer too.  The Independent Penguin knows his answers.