David Rathgeber's


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Updated versions of home selling articles that David wrote for The Washington Times

Smart-phone apps and Robocall Solution
Inverted yield curve: Recession coming?
Revisit the past
Help! Fight word extinction
Very punny VIII
See Captain Greg on the National Geographic Channel
Michael is again at the Smithsonian June 13
What newspaper do you read?
Signs, signs, everywhere signs...
Join the dumbbell investors club
Bubbles in the news
Very punny VII
Very punny VI
Michael is busy preserving mummies
Darwin Awards
Simply amazing!
Need to shed some pounds?
A simple game for anywhere
Are You Wireless?
Notable quotes from Yogi Berra
Michael talks at the Smithsonian
Very punny V
Michael sheds light on Dr. Livingstone
From real estate writer Lew Sichelman
Very punny IV
Uncovering Old Medicine
Save a life
The visit of Lafayette's frigate
Very punny III
Investment diversity
Have some real fun 
Michael continues to push the frontiers of antiquity
Ebola in Reston!
Interesting thoughts on Title Insurance
You're From Northern Virginia If...
Smart smart-phone apps
If Your Wallet Disappears
Very punny II
Important information when you go to the hospital
Statins: Can this help anyone you know?
Very punny I
Potpourri: A few things you might use or enjoy...
Reverse mortgage considerations
Interesting, and perhaps even true
Thoughts To Get You Through Any Crisis
Tips to help avoid identity theft
Especially Helpful Windows Shortcuts
Investors Glossary
On-line shopping
Thoughts for Today
How long to retain your financial records
The internet connection Speed Test
Michael works on ancient Sinai desert manuscripts
Interesting Quotes

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May 2019 — Smart-phone apps and Robocall Solution

Robocall Solution: Call Control for Android or iPhones. Try it free for a week, then get 3 months for $10. The beauty: It lets you use wild cards! I was getting up to 12 calls a day from 267-756-2XXX, in which the last three digits varied at random. This app works well, but it might take some trial and error to get it set up as you want.

Tip 1: To be sure your phone is connected to the strongest cell signal, turn airplane mode on, then off.
Tip 2: Listen to WTOP radio anywhere by calling 202-380-9977

The following are Android apps, but the same or similar ones are no doubt available for I-phones.

You likely received these useful apps with your phone.

Ask about specialized marine or real estate apps, and let me know if I missed one of your favorites.

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April 2019 — Inverted yield curve: Recession coming?

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Have you heard the news? The yield curve is inverting: Short-term bonds are yielding more than long-term bonds.

What the media forgot: The Fed is selling billions of Treasuries every month, which might be introducing perturbances. If it sells more short-term bonds, the extra supply would push the price down and the yield up, possibly higher than long-term bonds. Hhhmmmm.

Some of the recent media grousing referred to the 3-month note, whose yield has been rising for a year so. When the Fed raises overnight interest rates, as it has been doing for a year so, short-term notes like the 3-month are most affected. Duh!

The long-term bond yields are merely back to where they were a year ago. If a recession is really coming, this is not the harbinger. Remember where you heard it first.

(Editor's note: Janet Yellen sees it my way.)

Some still see a recession coming: The last time the yield curve inverted was 2007, and we all remember what happened then. But conditions then were much different. See my brief exposé of that debacle.

. . . and while we're celebrating the best first quarter since 1998, let's take a moment to reflect on where we started from: December 31.

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November 2018 — Have you ever heard someone say ...

Styles that are not returning soon ...

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October 2018 — Help! Fight word extinction
Please resolve to use at least one of these words every day ...

You have to be over 50 years old if you say "you're welcome," and when is the last time you exclaimed ...

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August 2018 — Very punny VIII

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July 2018 - See Captain Greg on the NatGeo Channel

The Wicked Tuna Outer Banks 2018 weekly series begins at 9pm Sunday July 1. I have been fishing on the Fishin' Frenzy since 1999. Click here for details.

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June 2018 - Michael is again at the Smithsonian June 13

Click here for details.

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May 2018 — What newspaper do you read?

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February 2018 — Signs, signs, everywhere signs...

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January 2018 — Join the dumbbell investors club

This is about dumbbell investing. If you buy and hold individual stocks or bonds, you do not need to read this. However, if you buy funds and plan to sell them someday, this idea is for you.

You should consider avoiding funds that are called "diversified," "balanced," "growth and income" etcetera. Instead, for example, invest in growth funds and income funds separately to accomplish the same objective. For similar reasons, you should also…

The reason is relatively simple. When it's time to sell you might want to maximize your gains or even maximize your losses. Your ability to do this will be enhanced greatly by investing in funds that are at the extreme ends of what you are trying to accomplish. Hence the term dumbbell. With funds that are a mix, an amalgamation, or are trying to accomplish two dissimilar goals, you will have a limited choice of what to sell to accomplish your goal.

For an entirely different slant on investment diversity, click here.

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December 2017 — Bubbles

What's this all about? 'They're forever blowing bubbles, ugly bubbles on the air ...' (Does anyone remember the song from 1918? As a kid I played it on my Grandmother's wind-up Victrola!)

Did you ever see a bubble? Did you ever see a bubble burst? What was left? Absolutely nothing! (Say it again?)

A recent blurb on national media cited four cities including the Washington DC area where home prices are so high that they are unsustainable. The word bubble was used. Without great detail, home prices represent the wisdom of the crowds. The only ones who get to decide if prices are too high are you and me, and only when we're buying a home. The opinion of some "doo-dah expert" might be news, but it is worthless as information.

Also in the media recently, a bubble in bonds was cited. Bonds are a bit different from homes in that there is a national bond market. Its existence distinguishes bond prices from home prices, for which there is no national market, even though national averages can be calculated and reported for both.

Fast-backward 15 years: The media was finally correct about problems in the real estate market, but only after 5 years of grousing about a bubble. Meanwhile they cited a variety reasons, none of which proved correct. If they cared, or had more than half a brain, the story would have detailed mortgage fraud, a factor that was never mentioned. (But don't get me started. OK, click here for more info.)

The media could be right or wrong about where home prices and bond prices are headed. But one thing is for sure: If and when their "bubble" bursts, there will be a lot more left than nothing.

What's the point? This is not about home prices or bond prices, this is about the spin the media puts on everything. Bubble is a lot more attention-getting than "downturn," "decline," or "adjustment." As we get our news, we must always remember that their number one job is to get attention and ratings. A mundane word will never do if a more sensational one is available.

If you're using the news media for information with which you can generate an informed opinion, take action, or make a reasonable judgement, good luck! Most of it is just entertainment.

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February 2017

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January 2017

Editor's note: When I was Chemicals Division Manager for Mobil Oil in London, my folks shipped hundreds of tons of canned brake fluid to Nigeria annually. I once calculated that it was enough to supply 12 times the number of cars and trucks in the country.

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December 2016 - Michael is busy preserving mummies

Click here for the full story.

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October 2016 - Darwin Awards

The Darwin Award is an annual honor given to the person who provided the human gene pool the biggest service by getting killed in the most extraordinarily stupid way. The folks below are semi-finalists.

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September 2016 - The amazing Turbo-Encabulator

Work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a transmission that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such an instrument is the turbo-encabulator.

The novel principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the modial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive diractance.

The original machine had a base plate of pre-famulated amulite surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with the panametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marzlevanes, fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft so that side fumbling was effectively eliminated.

The main winding was of the normal lotus-o-delta type placed in panendermic semi-boloid slots of the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a non-reversible tremie pipe, to the differential girdle spring on the "up" end of the grammeters.

The turbo-encabulator has now attained a high level of development, and has being successfully used in the operation of novertrunnions. Moreover, whenever a forescent skor motion is required, it may also be employed in conjunction with a deep-drawn reciprocating dingle arm, to reduce sinusoidal repleneration.

I am taking questions.
David Rathgeber, BSME (aka YFiRE)
25 year member: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

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August 2016 - Need to shed some pounds?

Don't try this at home!

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July 2016 - A simple game

If you find this game infectious, there is no anecdote!
Start with rows of 3, 5, and 7 matchsticks (or any other objects) as shown below. Two players take any number of matchsticks from only one row alternately. The player who takes the last matchstick loses.


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June 2016 - Are You Wireless?

If you can read this, itz working fine.
All I had to do was cut the cord off: Wireless!

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April 2016 - from Yogi Berra

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February 2016 - Friend Michael talks at the Smithsonian

Click here for information and tickets for February 23rd. Mike will discuss his luminary work to uncover 2nd-century Greek physician Galen's text "On the Mixtures and Powers of Simple Drugs."

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January 2016

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December 2015 - Michael sheds light on Dr. Livingstone
From the November 2014 Smithsonian Magazine article Decoding the Lost Diary of David Livingstone

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October 2015 - From real estate writer Lew Sichelman

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September 2015

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August 2015

Some of the miscellanea below have featured selected articles published by my attorney friend, Bill Fralin. Here is a link to all of his articles. While many are geared to older folks (and I know you're out there) if you check the list, there will be at least a half dozen you will want to review. Happy reading.

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July 2015

Friend Michael helps to uncover the secrets of early medicine according to this recent New York Times article. Let me know if you'd like to attend his next talk at the Smithsonian.

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June 2015

Learn this easy CPR and you will be ready to save a life.

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April 2015

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February 2015 - Investment diversity
We have all heard of Enron and Bernie Madoff, who made off with the money. And there are hundreds more examples out there. No doubt we have also heard: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Incredibly, folks lose everything because they do not heed that advice. Why do they continue down such a path? Simply because it seems to work. Do you recognize the name Ponzi? The end comes quickly, so now is the time to examine our own situation.

Every market has its ups and downs: Stocks, bonds, commodities (there's gold in them-thar bags), and even real estate. Only insured deposits and CDs seem fairly safe. We should have at least 3 types of investments; and yes, we can count our homes as investments. Mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), et cetera provide diversity in many companies and countries.

OK, we've got it! But wait there's more. Did you ever hear of Lehman Brothers? AIG? 911? We should distribute our investments across various companies located in different cities. For example: Fidelity in Boston; Schwab in San Francisco; Vanguard in Valley Forge. And let's not forget to have at least a few CDs at the local branch of our favorite bank, which might be headquartered in Charlotte. If something terrible happens to one company or at one location, your money will be better positioned.

And last, Madoff revisited: If we have a financial advisor with signature authority over our investments, we need to ensure that the advisor is affiliated with a name-brand outfit and has a legal agreement that makes him or her a fiduciary. But your advisor being a fiduciary will not obviate all problems, so we should never let one advisor manage more than we can afford to lose.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But a little thought and effort now, when everything seems fine, could be a lifesaver (aka PFD) some day. Alternatively, if you want to avoid all the anxiety, just take your money and dump it into a big hole in the water (translation: boat). Problem solved!

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January 2015 - Have some real fun

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December 2014

Friend Michael continues to push the frontiers of antiquity. This work on Dr. Livingston's hidden writing follows his work at Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sanai desert and his work helping to uncover the secrets of the Archimedes Palimpsest. His next talk at the Smithsonian is not yet scheduled.

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November 2014

Ebola in Reston! Check out the Hot Zone!

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October 2014

Interesting thoughts on Title Insurance.

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September 2014 - You're From Northern Virginia If...

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August 2014 - Smart smart-phone apps

The following are Android apps, but same or similar ones no doubt are available for I-phones.

Ask about specialized Marine or Real Estate apps.

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July 2014 - If Your Wallet Disappears

NOW, before your wallet disappears, photocopy everything. Remember that the backs of your credit cards contain valuable information such as security codes and contact information. Note that you should not carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

If your wallet is lost or stolen:

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June 2014

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May 2014

Important information for when you go to the hospital.

Uncanny? May 1, the day this was sent, I later found myself using it to check Dorothy into a hospital! (Yes, she's fine.)

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April 2014 - Statins: Can this help anyone you know?

UPDATE: November 2014 - Apparently all statins (like real estate agents) are not created equal: Recent data seem to suggest that Lipitor is the statin most likely to increase the risk of diabetes while others, notably Pravachol, actually decrease the risk. Meanwhile, the lawyers on TV have started soliciting folks who might have acquired diabetes as a result of Lipitor. So stay tuned!

In May of 2010 I was concerned with my blood A1C (a diabetes indicator), which had increased significantly since I started a small dose of Lipitor. (Lipitor is one of several similar drugs generally called statins which control cholesterol.) But a correlation does not automatically imply a causal relationship, so I put the idea in the back of my mind. A few months later I read a Consumer Reports Health article on a different topic that offhandedly made reference to the statins/diabetes link. In February 2011, I was declared diabetic. I felt as though I was starting to descend a slippery slope: Not a good feeling.

Rather than take diabetes pills, I decided to change my life! Never big on real soda, rice, bread, pasta, and potatoes; cutting out something I rarely ate was not a solution. I gradually decreased my Lipitor dose, increased my level and regularity of exercise, and dropped 5% of my body weight. By July 2011, my A1C was back to non-diabetic levels. In 2012, the FDA got on board, warning of the statin/diabetes risk. Statins can be valuable in controlling cholesterol, but users must be vigilant. My guess is that 15% of statin takers will have an A1C problem. So if you are taking statins, monitor your A1C; you might not have to surrender to diabetes.

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March 2014

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February 2014 - Potpourri

Sharing a few things that you might use or enjoy...

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January 2014

Wondering about reverse mortgages?

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December 2013 - Interesting, and perhaps even true

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November 2013 - Thoughts To Get You Through Any Crisis

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October 2013

Tips to help avoid identity theft.

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September 2013 - Especially Helpful Windows Shortcuts

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August 2013 - Investors Glossary

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July 2013

If you have not tried on-line shopping, it's about time. You can find a wider selection of products at competitive prices without wasting your time visiting multiple stores. Be careful about shipping charges as well as clothing that might not fit. The following sites are very user-friendly with search functions that work well. I have been using them for years. Try...

Staples for office supplies. Their normal delivery is lightning fast. I have ordered one afternoon and had delivery the next morning, but normal is a day or 2.

McMaster-Carr for hardware supplies, especially hard to find or specialty items like weird-size furnace filters. They normally deliver in 2 or 3 days from New Jersey. These folks have been in business for at least 50 years.

For the widest variety imaginable, way more than just books, try Amazon. Give preference to items that are in-stock and ship from Amazon departments (fulfilled by Amazon) over items from smaller, loosely affiliated, third parties who might also appear on the site.

I have also had good experiences with Walmart.

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June 2013 - Thoughts for Today

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May 2013

How long to retain your financial records.

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April 2013

The internet connection Speed Test.

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March 2013

Link to the Washington Post article about my friend Michael. His work at Saint Catherine's Monastery follows his work helping to uncover the secrets of the Archimedes Palimpsest.

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February 2013 - Interesting Quotes

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Your Friend in Real Estate, LLC
Arlington, Virginia, USA


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