Of Bears and Bulls

I just got a notification in my newsfeed that American stocks are officially in a “bear market.” If you haven’t heard the terms “bear market” and “bull market,” they are used as context to what’s happening in the stock market. A bear market is when stock prices fall and a bull market is when prices go up.

More specifically, a bear market describes any stock index or individual stock that drops 20% or more from its recent highs. A bull market, on the other hand, typically rises 20% from recent bear market lows and reaches record benchmark highs.

The fact that stocks are in a bear market is not good news for me. About three-quarters of my retirement nest egg is invested in the stock market via 401(k) accounts and IRAs, which are essentially retirement vehicles.

During your working (income producing) years, you can put aside money, tax-free (i.e., before payroll taxes are withheld) and invest that money into these retirement accounts, most of which is invested in stocks and bonds. And, if the stock and bond markets go up, the value of your retirement nest egg goes up, too. Yay!

But when it’s a bear market, your retirement funds shrink considerably, potentially putting into jeopardy, the comfortable retirement lifestyle you works so hard to achieve.

I just checked my specific accounts and the news is not great. I’m not quite ready to panic, cash out all of my retirement funds, and stuff it all in a mattress. But if this bear market doesn’t go bull soon, I may have to give that some serious consideration.

Fibbing Friday — The Numbers Game

Frank (aka PCGuy) and Di (aka Pensitivity101) alternate as hosts for Fibbing Friday, a silly little exercise where we are to write a post with our answers to the ten questions below. But as the title suggests, truth is not an option. The idea is to fib a little, a lot, tell whoppers, be inventive, silly, or even outrageous, in our responses. This week Melanie is once again sitting in for Frank, who is on an indefinite blogging hiatus. Melanie wants to know…

1. What’s behind the 8 ball?

The 9 through the 13 balls and the cue ball.

2. What’s up the creek?

A paddle.

3. What is hanging when one says, “Hang ten”?

Your toes when you’re wearing flip flops on your feet that are too small so that your toes are hanging over the edge.

4. What size pole is it that you wouldn’t touch someone with?

It’s 6 feet and is used for measuring the proper social distancing space during a pandemic.

5. How do you feel when you’re on cloud nine?

Like you’re behind the 8 ball because you’re hanging ten and just hit a four bagger.

6. What does “at sixes and sevens” mean?

Depending upon which ball park you’re at, it means you’ve reached either the middle of the sixth inning or the middle of the seventh inning and it’s time to stand up and stretch.

7. Do you take five?

No. Union rules require that I take fifteen, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

8. Which sport is referenced when the term “four bagger” is used?

It’s when you’re playing corn hole and you get four bags in a row in the hole.

9. How many rings in the circus?

One for each ringmaster.

10. What is the loneliest number?

Thirteen, because it’s the first of your teenage years and you’ve six more years of teenage acne and angst to live through and nobody wants to be with you.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — May 20th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 20th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on May 20, 2018

Sunday Photo Fiction — The New Earth


They did everything they could to make it seem natural. Artificial light shining through the windows along the long hallway provided the illusion of sunlight. The opening at the end of the corridor led into a vast open area with high ceilings, green plants and trees, and a large pond fed by a waterfall. All artificial, but very realistic. It helped to make us all feel as if we were still living on the surface.

It was difficult to remember that people once lived on the surface. I was born here in the catacombs and all I knew of the old world I learned from my parents, who learned from their parents. And from books that had been salvaged, although it was hard to distinguish anymore between fiction and non-fiction.

Fortunately, those with foresight saw what was coming and began to construct these elaborate catacombs deep beneath the surface of the planet. But they could accommodate only about 100,000 of the planet’s nine billion inhabitants. A lottery was devised and my grandfather was one of the lucky winners.

Severe storms and catastrophic floods destroyed those left behind. But we are the lucky ones who must carry on.

Or are we?

(199 words)

Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: Susan Spaulding.

FOWC with Fandango — Per Se


It’s May 20, 2022. Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “per se.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. Show them some love.