ON BOARD THE WB YEATS – Something odd happened on Saturday. It’s not every day that we see naked young women frolicking in our field.
But let’s back up and explain how this began.
In the late afternoon, we heard a loud and unfamiliar sound – music. Awful music. Dreadful music, with the boom… boom… boom beat that makes you think there must be something wrong in the engine room.
“What in the world…?” we asked each other.
Back in the Hood
We have become accustomed to the absolute calm and tranquility of rural Ireland. We hear the birds sing in the morning and the pheasants cluck in the afternoon. We hear the rustling of the leaves as the wind passes and tractors in the fields.
But suddenly, we were back in the “hood” of Baltimore… with the kind of noise delinquents listen to when they are trying to imitate a good time.
At first, we assumed it must be coming from a neighboring farm. Maybe the young folks were having a party, and blasting their music so loud, it crossed the river.
“Hope the parents get back soon,” we thought.
Later, we realized that the party was taking place in our own field. This became apparent when we saw three women… in the distance… barely visible through the trees.
We saw the flesh… and from such a distance… only the flesh. One, with her back to us, appeared to be completely sans clothes.
But what were they doing on our property?
We needed to investigate!
Maybe it was a nudist gathering… or just some kids having an illicit shindig. Ireland is still under COVID-19 restrictions.
Then, we heard shouting – joyful… drunken… dumb shouting.
We set out across the field to where we had seen the young women. There was a group of nearly 20 young people… the men stripped down to the waist in the 75-degree heat… the women in tiny bikinis.
Some were sitting around a campfire. Others were putting up a huge tent… situated on the side of a hill. Still others stood in a circle… drinking, talking, and laughing.
The partiers had come in unnoticed from an old boreen and through a gap in the stone wall.
We approached, wearing our work clothes. When they saw us, they stopped talking. We were an unwelcome guest.
“What do you think you’re doing here?” we asked… not smiling at the trespassers.
“Oh… Is this private property? We didn’t know,” said a young man with an earnest look.
One of the others approached menacingly, lurching, as if drunk.
“Settle down, Adam,” the first interceded.
“Honestly,” said a blond girl with a blue tattoo and a nose ring, “we didn’t know. We thought it was okay to camp here.”
A dark-haired woman stared.
“Well, it is private land. You have to go,” we said firmly.
What followed was a spell of explaining, negotiating, and pleading, in which your editor – never very good at that sort of thing – ended up agreeing to let them keep their camp… on two conditions.
“You turn down that music… If I hear the music from the house, I will call the Gardaí (the Irish police),” he warned them.
“And make sure you clean up when you leave in the morning.”
The rules in place, we went back to the house… and were quickly informed about the bad deal we had made.
We’ll come back to our little story later…
First, let us check in with Wall Street…
Bad Day on Wall Street
Yesterday started badly. Stocks dropped, with the Dow down more than 900 points, before rising to end the day down 725.
Commentators were quick to blame the “Delta” variant of the coronavirus, anticipating more lockdowns and face masks.
It’s hard to imagine that people will put up with more COVID-19 restrictions. Those who are afraid of the virus are already vaccinated. Others have had the disease already… or don’t care about getting it.
And all can see that there is little apparent connection between these public health measures and their risk of dying.
A better explanation for the price drop is that investors are beginning to realize that the economic recovery may not be as strong as they had hoped.
Stocks are priced for a very prosperous world. But that world may not be what’s coming.
Smarter Than Stocks
For weeks now, while inflation has surprised to the upside, the bond market has surprised to the downside. That is, while inflation rose, bond yields fell.
Yesterday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped below 1.2%… its lowest yield in five months.
“Bonds are smarter than stocks,” say the old-timers.
And it looks like they are right.
Bonds are telling us that a period of slow growth… or a recession… is headed our way – even as consumer prices continue to rise.
Stagflation is what they called it in the 1970s. Get ready for it.
Back at home on Saturday…
“You’re letting 20 young people you don’t know… some of whom are already drunk… camp on your land, in violation of the COVID-19 restrictions? Don’t you think something might go wrong?”
“What could go wrong?”
“One of the neighbors could complain… or call the Gardaí. They’d want to know why you allowed this illegal party.
“Or who knows what they might get up to… half-naked women… drunk men? A fight? An accident?”
This was the “bond” side of the household speaking, if you know what we mean.
“They seemed like decent people,” we replied lamely. “I didn’t want to ruin their party.”
“Decent people do not trespass on other people’s property.”
As it turned out, they were decent enough. They turned down the music. And by 11 a.m. on Sunday… they were gone.
The campfire was still smoking, but otherwise, they left little trace.
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