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The Kids Birthday Party Hustle
Issue #518A, April 18, 2018

A Pension Question: Part II of II
Issue #518, April 16, 2018

A Physician is an Executive
Issue #517A, April 11, 2018

A Pension Question: Part I of II
Issue #517, April 09, 2018

Is the Correction Over?
Issue #516A, April 05, 2018

Used Car Dealers, Student Loans, the Chinese, and Uncle George’s Rule
Issue #516, April 02, 2018

Starter Homes
Issue #515, March 26, 2018

Redecorating: Beware!
Issue #514, March 19, 2018

NASDAQ Closes at Record High
Issue #513, March 12, 2018

A 40% Chance
Issue #512, March 05, 2018

Several Things
Issue #511, February 27, 2018

Human Capital, Education and Wealth
Issue #510, February 19, 2018

Another Stock Market Update
Issue #509A, February 18, 2018

Some Thoughts on Savings
Issue #509, February 12, 2018

A Stock Market Upfate
Issue #508S, February 10, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part II of II
Issue #508, February 05, 2018

The Christmas Decoration Pre-worn Jeans Hustle
Issue #Interim Bulletin #507A, February 03, 2018

2018 Outlook for Financial Markets
Issue #507, January 29, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part I of II
Issue #506, January 22, 2018

Life Insurance Settlements
Issue #505, January 15, 2018

Commodities and Buying the Breakout
Issue #504, January 08, 2018

Buffett Wins His Bet
Issue #503A, January 04, 2018

Practice Real Estate and Free Agency
Issue #503, January 01, 2018

Outlook for 2018: Part III: Stocks and Bonds
Issue #502, December 25, 2017

My Outlook for 2018: Part Ii: Precious Metals
Issue #501A, December 21, 2017

Outlook for 2018: Hard Assets: Part I of III
Issue #501, December 18, 2017

More Thoughts on Bitcoin
Issue #500A, December 14, 2017

Fees and Good Relations with Bankers
Issue #500, December 11, 2017

Salvator Mundi
Issue #499A, December 07, 2017

Should You Rent or Own a Home?
Issue #499, December 04, 2017

A Gift Subscription
Issue #Interim Bulletin #498A, December 02, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation: Part II of II
Issue #498, November 27, 2017

When Good Enough is Fine
Issue #497A, November 22, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation. Part I of II
Issue #497, November 20, 2017

The Saudi Arrests and the Perils of Foreign Investing
Issue #496, November 13, 2017

Gambling and Las Vegas
Issue #495, November 06, 2017

Some Tips on Auto Insurance
Issue #494, October 31, 2017

Bitcoin and the Digital (Crypto) Currencies
Issue #493, October 23, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part II How to Prepare
Issue #492, October 16, 2017

Some Observations on Cemeteries
Issue #Interim Bulletin #491A, October 12, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part I: The Myth of Buy and Hold Forever
Issue #491, October 09, 2017

The Market makes New Highs
Issue #490, October 02, 2017

The Importance of a New High
Issue #489, September 25, 2017

A Little Insurance: Wealth, War and Wisdom
Issue #488, September 18, 2017

Some Observations
Issue #487, September 11, 2017

How to be Successful in Your Career
Issue #486A, September 07, 2017

How NOT to Buy a Home
Issue #486, September 04, 2017

This Week in the Market
Issue #485, August 28, 2017

Is the “Trump Bump” Running Out of Gas?
Issue #484, August 21, 2017

Gold is on the Move
Issue #483, August 14, 2017

The Importance of Estimation
Issue #482, August 07, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting: Part II of II
Issue #481, July 31, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting in General, Part I of II
Issue #480, July 24, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful: Follow-up
Issue #479, July 17, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful
Issue #478, July 10, 2017

Your First “Real” Investment
Issue #477, July 03, 2017

Leasing a Watch: Don’t
Issue #476, June 26, 2017

The Importance of Your Children having a Job
Issue #475, June 16, 2017

The Problem with Medical Student Debt is—the Med Schools
Issue #474, June 12, 2017

Critters and Varmints in your Home and Yard
Issue #473A, June 07, 2017

Leveraged ETFs
Issue #472, May 29, 2017

Leasing a Vehicle: Don’t!
Issue #471, May 22, 2017

Issue #470, May 15, 2017

More on Buying Jewelry
Issue #469, May 08, 2017

Buying Jewelry: Gold, Diamonds and Pearls
Issue #468, April 30, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part III of III
Issue #467, April 24, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Pat II of III
Issue #466, April 17, 2017

Live Close to Where You Work
Issue #465, April 10, 2017

Medtronic in Hospital Management
Issue #Interim Bulletin #464A, April 07, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part I of II
Issue #464, April 03, 2017

A Political Contribution a an Investment: Part II of II
Issue #463, March 27, 2017

A Political Contribution as an Investment: Part I of II
Issue #462, March 20, 2017

Buffett Selling Vacation Home
Issue #461, March 13, 2017

Advanced Placement (AP) ourses
Issue #460, March 06, 2017

The Importance of a Credit History
Issue #459A, March 02, 2017

A Credit Card Scam
Issue #459, February 27, 2017

The Electronic Health Reord
Issue #458, February 20, 2017

Issue #457, February 13, 2017

Platinum and Palladium
Issue #456, February 06, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part II of II
Issue #455A, February 02, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part I of II
Issue #455, January 30, 2017

A Story From Vegas
Issue #454A, January 25, 2017

Land Donation Deals and the IRS
Issue #454, January 23, 2017

The Theory of Gambler’s Ruin
Issue #453, January 16, 2017

Student Loans: But Wait, There’s More!
Issue #452, January 13, 2017

A Second Home
Issue #Interim Bulletin #451A, January 04, 2017

The Consumer Confidence Index
Issue #451, January 02, 2017

Social Security
Issue #450, December 26, 2016

My Outlook for 2017: Part II of II
Issue #449, December 19, 2016

My Outlook for 2017: The Market
Issue #448, December 12, 2016

Medicine in 20 Years
Issue #447, December 05, 2016

Higher Interest Rates
Issue #446, November 28, 2016

Trump and the Markets: The Bad and Ugly
Issue #445A, November 23, 2016

Trump and the Markets: The Good
Issue #445, November 21, 2016

Negative Trends: The Suits aren’t Makin’ Steel
Issue #444, November 16, 2016

The New DOJ Fiduciary Rule
Issue #443, November 07, 2016

Barron’s Conference, Part IV of IV
Issue #442, October 31, 2016

Barron’s Conference, Part III of IV
Issue #Interim Bulletin #441A, October 26, 2016

Barron’s Conference, Part II of IV
Issue #441, October 24, 2016

Barron’s Conference, Part I of IV
Issue #440, October 20, 2016


By Robert M. Doroghazi, M.D., F.A.C.C.

The Over-Priced Food Presentation Hustle

Issue #409, March 14, 2016

The Over-priced Food Presentational Hustle
    The goal of this newsletter is that at one time or another I will discuss everything that affects your pocket book, to either make or save you money. Part of my strategy, and what makes this newsletter unique, is to discuss topics you’ll never see in the Wall Street Journal or Barron’s, such as “A Wedding as an Investment (Issue #241, 12/24/12), “Should a Graduating Med Student Buy a House?” (#197, 2/20/12), and “What is Your Spare Time Worth?” (#152, 4/11/11).
    I was recently at a French restaurant in Las Vegas where I quickly came to appreciate that a very significant percentage of the price of a dish was due to the “presentation”—and the perceived snob appeal.
    I sat at the bar and watched one of the worker bees make my appetizer. The slices of octopus, each smaller—and thinner—than a postage stamp (I’m not kidding, they were transparent), were neatly arranged in a small circle at the center of a huge plate. The man then spent 2 or 3 minutes arranging—with tweezer/pickups that appeared to be of operating room quality—the garnish of white and green sprouts. He paused, examined his creation, and v-e-r-y m-e-t-i-c-u-l-o-u-s-l-y rearranged the tiny pieces of vegetation with the deftness of a hand accustomed to dentist-quality detail work. The sauce was added from a clear plastic squeeze bottle with a pointy top (like they used for ketchup and mustard at a 1950s diner), and the margins of the plate were wiped multiple times with a perfectly folded, clean white towel. The boss came over and OK’d the oeuvre d’art (French for work of art). It was then presented to me with appropriate fanfare. I’m sure each tiny slice weighed less than a gram: the whole dish was less than one ounce of octopus. I admit: it was excellent: but at a cost of $28, I paid about $400 per pound for a cephalopod mollusk slimy critter that can be purchased by the gross at any fish market.
    It made me think of the 80s Wendy’s commercial, when Clara Peller yells; “Where’s the beef”!! 
    I then ordered the Japanese oysters. They were smaller than Cherrystone clams, barely the size of a CHEEZ-IT ©. 5 for $35 = $7 each. I had spent $63 (plus tax plus tip) and I was still very hungry. I paid the bill, including 2 Coca Colas at $5 each. Try to imagine if you can: food more expensive than at the ball park!!
    I went down the way to the Italian restaurant and had 10 times the seafood—shrimp, big, meaty oysters, tuna tartar, lobster salad and king crab—for about half of what I had just spent at the French restaurant.
    I have what I call my Dad/Grandpa Nagy Rule. The only people I’ve ever seen work so hard they had sweat dripping off the tip of their nose are my Dad, Grandpa Nagy and Michael Jordan. Grandpa Nagy was in a Russian POW camp for 6 years in WW I and once ate a cat to stay alive. My Dad’s family was very poor during the Great Depression. If you put food in front of him, he ate it. When he was done with a bone, if you threw it to a dog, the dog would throw it back. So, whenever I get in a situation like this involving snob appeal, I ask myself “Would this impress my Dad or Grandpa Nagy”? No.
    When you go out to a nice restaurant, enjoy the meal and have a good time, but remember: no matter how good it tastes, how good the service, how nice the setting, how fancy the “presentation”, whether you’re in Manhattan, New York or Manhattan, Kansas, Paris, Missouri, Paris, Illinois, or Paris, France, a steak or a pork chop or a potato or piece of asparagus is worth only so much. Anything more is a hustle.
    The only thing that can be said for these tiny, over-priced portions is that they might discourage someone from over-eating. Personally, I prefer “good food, and plenty of it”.
    My Commentary “Negative Secular Trends in Medicine: The American Board of Internal Medicine Maintenance of Certification and Over-reaching Bureaucracy” is in this month’s American Journal of Medicine (129(3):238-239).
    This article is the 3rd of a 5-part series on “Negative Secular Trends in Medicine”. #1 was “Student Debt” (Amer. J. Med., January, 2016. 129(1):8-10). #2 was High CEO Salaries (Amer. J. Med., Feb, 2016. 129(2):e1). #4, “Prolonged Training Periods” will be in the April issue of the Amer. J. Med., and #5, “Summary”, will be in the May issue. Your hospital or med school librarian should be able to download them for you. I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
    The basic point of the series is that a variety of trends have occurred which I believe make it less likely that the smartest kids in the class will pursue a career in Medicine.   
    Jeff Gundlach was a panelist at the Barron’s Art of Successful Investing Conference last fall in Manhattan, and is now a regular Roundtable member. Wednesday on CNBC he thought the market had 2% upside and 20% downside: a 10:1 risk/reward ratio.
    RMD comment: Gundlach is a smart guy. Over the last 2-3 years he has been as right as anybody on the markets. His opinion carries a lot of weight with me. Basically, the market could tick a little higher, but I believe the vast majority of the risk is to the downside. Please be careful. Take this final pop in the market to 17,000+ as a chance to lighten up.
    On Thursday, the European Central Bank announced there were going further into negative territory on interest rates, lowering the rate on deposits from -0.3% to -0.4%. They also announced the increased purchase of securities (more QE), that these securities would also include corporate bonds (of lower credit quality than sovereign debt), and that the period of such policies would persist for longer.
    RMD comment: this is uncharted territory, and it won’t end well. Negative interest rates make no sense: you work hard and scrimp to save your money, deposit it into the bank, and have less a year later. It’s bizarre. From a practical viewpoint, the current central bank policies aren’t working, yet they double down. 
    Last week’s newsletter was “The War on Cash”. In the Forbes I received on Wednesday (Issue of 3/21/16), Steve Forbes commentary was “The War Against Cash”. He notes that in the New York Post, Steve Lipsky says “When criminals use guns, the Democrats want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens. When terrorists use hundreds, the liberals want to deny the rest of us the Benjamins”.
    RMD comment: I cannot imagine a greater threat to our freedom than to do away with cash.
    Remember the “Chinese finger traps”. You put your index fingers into each end of a cylindrical tube woven from brightly colored strips of bamboo. The initial reaction to remove your fingers is to pull, which only tightens the hold. The trap is a metaphor for a problem that can only be solved by relaxing.
    I’ve read several books recently on economic behavioral psychology. This will be the topic of the next several newsletters. 

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