Inside binary options - Britain’s biggest investment con ...

Binary Options Recovery: Scammed Traders, Fake Brokers, and Funds Recovery

Binary Options Recovery: Scammed Traders, Fake Brokers, and Funds Recovery
Following the “permanent temporary” measures against binary options and CFDs (contract for difference), the body in charge implements its own set of limitations that simply forbids regulated houses to offer such product in the UK, hence increasing the risk of pushing retails traders towards illegal brokers and outright scams. Fortunately, a new solution is now available to UK traders via a new United Kingdom Financial regulatory ruling.
More scrutiny from UK banks about financial transactions, even to binary optionsIn short, banks will have to take more responsibility about the financial transactions they facilitate. This new ruling should lead to the creation of a new code of conduct that will help defrauded people to have their funds recovered by their bank, unless it is proven they acted recklessly.
As a popular Financial blog puts, it, “It is likely that should a bank or credit card company be either impersonated by a fraudster in order to gain money, or trick a client into depositing, and the bank allows the transfer, a client will be able to take recourse.
The broad protection should kick for many online scheme and scams, whether it is fake investment companies, fraudulent binary options brokers or those scammers who promise to help you recover your stolen funds…only to steal from you once again. On the other hands, it means the banks will be more likely to forbid transactions to legit businesses, such as reputable cryptocurrency exchanges or honest smart options platforms.
The regulating bodies and financial institutions are taking a number of measures to prevent financial fraud. Binary options trading, in particular, is being controlled with a greater degree of robustness to protect the unwary general public being drawn into a situation where they suffer financial losses. Many hundreds of people around the world are targeted each day.
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Frequently they are novice investors who are unfamiliar with the markets and do not recognize that the so-called trading platform and its way of working are actually bogus. The individual only realizes the extent of the fraud when eventually when the fraudsters finally decide that there is no more money to be had and shut down the account and promptly vanish without trace.
Spotting Fraudulent Binary Options Broker
Some lawyers in the financial fraud division are very familiar with the pattern of behaviour demonstrated by the fraudulent brokers and the distress caused by their dealings with inexperienced investors. There is a track of record of recovery in relation to financial fraud and has a number of strategies and tactics to compel the fraudulent broker or associated financial service providers to restore funds to those who have been deceived.
Needless to say, the fraudsters are accomplished at hiding their tracks and frequently there are myriad inter-connected limited liability companies, often some are registered in different countries, with some dormant and some active. It is hardly surprising if the complexity of the situation results in a failure to discover a single person who can be challenged and held accountable.
However, there are various channels financial fraud lawyers use when attempting to retrieve money for clients and each avenue is investigated. Whilst an individual may be alarmed and confused at the prospect of navigating through the complex structures that have been deliberately set up to confuse, Financial fraud lawyers are usually quite familiar with strategies fraudsters use, and frequently can steer a course to the recovery of some or all of the lost money.
https://preview.redd.it/daa505b3ecf51.jpg?width=600&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b27aa7697b0bf1afbd238964166ce40c693db2e3
The step of last resort, legal action, is understandably daunting for a person who often has lost significant amounts of money to the fraudulent brokers. It is fully understandable that such a situation will leave the victim decidedly risk-averse. There have been experiences with class actions against the fraudulent brokers and has developed links with litigation funding organizations in order to offset the risk in respect of class actions.
The lessons that can be drawn from the experiences of those individuals who have had the misfortune of losing their investments to fraudsters are to be extremely cautious. Always consider every offer or investment for at least 48 hours before making a decision, a genuine broker will understand the caution that a new investor will view a proposition.
All investments carry a risk and anything that promises a return on your initial investment seems to be significantly higher than normal it is almost certainly not to be trusted. Do not allow yourself to be hurried into a decision, it is highly unlikely that an authentic broker would try to rush you into an investment, especially if you demonstrated reluctance; their reputation would suffer by such behaviour.
You can now recover all money lost to bitcoin, binary options, cryptocurrency, investment, scam by hiring any one of these Verified Wealth Recovery Experts.
To recover money lost to binary options, forex, bitcoins, cryptocurrency, and investment, get all the information you need here; https://bitcoinbinaryoptionsreview.com/binary-options-uk-scammed-traders-fake-brokers-and-funds-recovery/
submitted by sinenyoku to u/sinenyoku [link] [comments]

Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning June 29th, 2020

Good Saturday afternoon to all of you here on StockMarket. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week ahead.
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning June 29th, 2020.

Fragile economic recovery faces first big test with June jobs report in the week ahead - (Source)

The second half of 2020 is nearly here, and now it’s up to the economy to prove that the stock market was right about a sharp comeback in growth.
The first big test will be the June jobs report, out on Thursday instead of its usual Friday release due to the July 4 holiday. According to Refinitiv, economists expect 3 million jobs were created, after May’s surprise gain of 2.5 million payrolls beat forecasts by a whopping 10 million jobs.
“If it’s stronger, it will suggest that the improvement is quicker, and that’s kind of what we saw in May with better retail sales, confidence was coming back a little and auto sales were better,” said Kevin Cummins, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets.
The second quarter winds down in the week ahead as investors are hopeful about the recovery but warily eyeing rising cases of Covid-19 in a number of states.
Stocks were lower for the week, as markets reacted to rising cases in Texas, Florida and other states. Investors worry about the threat to the economic rebound as those states move to curb some activities. The S&P 500 is up more than 16% so far for the second quarter, and it is down nearly 7% for the year. Friday’s losses wiped out the last of the index’s June gains.
“I think the stock market is looking beyond the valley. It is expecting a V-shaped economic recovery and a solid 2021 earnings picture,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. He expects large-cap company earnings to be up 30% next year, and small-cap profits to bounce back by 140%.
“I think the second half needs to be a ‘show me’ period, proving that our optimism was justified, and we’ll need to see continued improvement in the economic data, and I think we need to see upward revisions to earnings estimates,” Stovall said.
Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said she expects the recovery will not be as smooth as some expect, particularly considering the resurgence of virus outbreaks in sunbelt states and California.
“Now as I watch what’s happening I think it’s more likely to be rolling Ws,” rather than a V, she said. “It’s not just predicated on a second wave. I’m not sure we ever exited the first wave.”
Even without actual state shutdowns, the virus could slow economic activity. “That doesn’t mean businesses won’t shut themselves down, or consumers won’t back down more,” she said.

Election ahead

In the second half of the year, the market should turn its attention to the election, but Sonders does not expect much reaction to it until after Labor Day. RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 10 percentage points, and the odds of a Democratic sweep have been rising.
Biden has said he would raise corporate taxes, and some strategists say a sweep would be bad for business, due to increased regulation and higher taxes. Trump is expected to continue using tariffs, which unsettles the market, though both candidates are expected to take a tough stance on China.
“If it looks like the Senate stays Republican than there’s less to worry about in terms of policy changes,” Sonders said. “I don’t think it’s ever as binary as some people think.”
Stovall said a quick study shows that in the four presidential election years back to 1960, where the first quarter was negative, and the second quarter positive, stocks made gains in the second half.
Those were 1960 when John Kennedy took office, 1968, when Richard Nixon won; 1980 when Ronald Reagan’s was elected to his first term; and 1992, the first win by Bill Clinton. Coincidentally, in all of those years, the opposing party gained control of the White House.

Stimulus

The stocks market’s strong second-quarter showing came after the Fed and Congress moved quickly to inject the economy with trillions in stimulus. That unlocked credit markets and triggered a stampede by companies to restructure or issue debt. About $2 trillion in fiscal spending was aimed at consumers and businesses, who were in sudden need of cash after the abrupt shutdown of the economy.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both testify before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday on the response to the virus. That will be important as markets look ahead to another fiscal package from Congress this summer, which is expected to provide aid to states and local governments; extend some enhanced benefits for unemployment, and provide more support for businesses.
“So much of it is still so fluid. There are a bunch of fiscal items that are rolling off. There’s talk about another fiscal stimulus payment like they did last time with a $1,200 check,” said Cummins.
Strategists expect Congress to bicker about the size and content of the stimulus package but ultimately come to an agreement before enhanced unemployment benefits run out at the end of July. Cummins said state budgets begin a new year July 1, and states with a critical need for funds may have to start letting workers go, as they cut expenses.
The Trump administration has indicated the jobs report Thursday could help shape the fiscal package, depending on what it shows. The federal supplement to state unemployment benefits has been $600 a week, but there is opposition to extending that, and strategists expect it to be at least cut in half.
The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 12.2% from 13.3% in May. Cummins said he had expected 7.2 million jobs, well above the consensus, and an unemployment rate of 11.8%.
As of last week, nearly 20 million people were collecting state unemployment benefits, and millions more were collecting under a federal pandemic aid program.
“The magnitude here and whether it’s 3 million or 7 million is kind of hard to handicap to begin with,” Cummins said. Economists have preferred to look at unemployment claims as a better real time read of employment, but they now say those numbers could be impacted by slow reporting or double filing.
“There’s no clarity on how you define the unemployed in the Covid 19 environment,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. “If there’s 30 million people receiving insurance, unemployment should be above 20%.

This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL S&P TREE MAP FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Indices for this past week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR INDICES FOR THE PAST WEEK!)

Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE MAJOR FUTURES INDICES AS OF FRIDAY!)

Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ECONOMIC CALENDAR FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!)

Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

S&P Sectors for the Past Week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!

Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #1!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART LINK #2!)

When Will The Economy Recover?

The economy is moving in the right direction, as many economic data points are coming in substantially better than what the economists expected. From May job gains coming in more than 10 million higher than expected and retail sales soaring a record 18%, how quickly the economy is bouncing back has surprised nearly everyone.
“As good as the recent economic data has been, we want to make it clear, it could still take years for the economy to fully come back,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Think of it like building a house. You get all the big stuff done early, then some of the small things take so much longer to finish; I’m looking at you crown molding.”
Here’s the hard truth; it might take years for all of the jobs that were lost to fully recover. In fact, during the 10 recessions since 1950, it took an average of 30 months for lost jobs to finally come back. As the LPL Chart of the Day shows, recoveries have taken much longer lately. In fact, it took four years for the jobs lost during the tech bubble recession of the early 2000s to come back and more than six years for all the jobs lost to come back after the Great Recession. Given many more jobs were lost during this recession, it could takes many years before all of them indeed come back.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
The economy is going the right direction, and if there is no major second wave outbreak it could surprise to the upside. Importantly, this economic recovery will still be a long and bumpy road.

Nasdaq - Russell Spread Pulling the Rubber Band Tight

The Nasdaq has been outperforming every other US-based equity index over the last year, and nowhere has the disparity been wider than with small caps. The chart below compares the performance of the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 over the last 12 months. While the performance disparity is wide now, through last summer, the two indices were tracking each other nearly step for step. Then last fall, the Nasdaq started to steadily pull ahead before really separating itself in the bounce off the March lows. Just to illustrate how wide the gap between the two indices has become, over the last six months, the Nasdaq is up 11.9% compared to a decline of 15.8% for the Russell 2000. That's wide!
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
In order to put the recent performance disparity between the two indices into perspective, the chart below shows the rolling six-month performance spread between the two indices going back to 1980. With a current spread of 27.7 percentage points, the gap between the two indices hasn't been this wide since the days of the dot-com boom. Back in February 2000, the spread between the two indices widened out to more than 50 percentage points. Not only was that period extreme, but ten months before that extreme reading, the spread also widened out to more than 51 percentage points. The current spread is wide, but with two separate periods in 1999 and 2000 where the performance gap between the two indices was nearly double the current level, that was a period where the Nasdaq REALLY outperformed small caps.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
To illustrate the magnitude of the Nasdaq's outperformance over the Russell 2000 from late 1998 through early 2000, the chart below shows the performance of the two indices beginning in October 1998. From that point right on through March of 2000 when the Nasdaq peaked, the Nasdaq rallied more than 200% compared to the Russell 2000 which was up a relatively meager 64%. In any other environment, a 64% gain in less than a year and a half would be excellent, but when it was under the shadow of the surging Nasdaq, it seemed like a pittance.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Share Price Performance

The US equity market made its most recent peak on June 8th. From the March 23rd low through June 8th, the average stock in the large-cap Russell 1,000 was up more than 65%! Since June 8th, the average stock in the index is down more than 11%. Below we have broken the index into deciles (10 groups of 100 stocks each) based on simple share price as of June 8th. Decile 1 (marked "Highest" in the chart) contains the 10% of stocks with the highest share prices. Decile 10 (marked "Lowest" in the chart) contains the 10% of stocks with the lowest share prices. As shown, the highest priced decile of stocks are down an average of just 4.8% since June 8th, while the lowest priced decile of stocks are down an average of 21.5%. It's pretty remarkable how performance gets weaker and weaker the lower the share price gets.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Nasdaq 2% Pullbacks From Record Highs

It's hard to believe that sentiment can change so fast in the market that one day investors and traders are bidding up stocks to record highs, but then the next day sell them so much that it takes the market down over 2%. That's exactly what happened not only in the last two days but also two weeks ago. While the 5% pullback from a record high back on June 10th took the Nasdaq back below its February high, this time around, the Nasdaq has been able to hold above those February highs.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
In the entire history of the Nasdaq, there have only been 12 periods prior to this week where the Nasdaq closed at an all-time high on one day but dropped more than 2% the next day. Those occurrences are highlighted in the table below along with the index's performance over the following week, month, three months, six months, and one year. We have also highlighted each occurrence that followed a prior one by less than three months in gray. What immediately stands out in the table is how much gray shading there is. In other words, these types of events tend to happen in bunches, and if you count the original occurrence in each of the bunches, the only two occurrences that didn't come within three months of another occurrence (either before or after) were July 1986 and May 2017.
In terms of market performance following prior occurrences, the Nasdaq's average and median returns were generally below average, but there is a pretty big caveat. While the average one-year performance was a gain of 1.0% and a decline of 23.6% on a median basis, the six occurrences that came between December 1999 and March 2000 all essentially cover the same period (which was very bad) and skew the results. Likewise, the three occurrences in the two-month stretch from late November 1998 through January 1999 where the Nasdaq saw strong gains also involves a degree of double-counting. As a result of these performances at either end of the extreme, it's hard to draw any trends from the prior occurrences except to say that they are typically followed by big moves in either direction. The only time the Nasdaq wasn't either 20% higher or lower one year later was in 1986.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Christmas in July: NASDAQ’s Mid-Year Rally

In the mid-1980s the market began to evolve into a tech-driven market and the market’s focus in early summer shifted to the outlook for second quarter earnings of technology companies. Over the last three trading days of June and the first nine trading days in July, NASDAQ typically enjoys a rally. This 12-day run has been up 27 of the past 35 years with an average historical gain of 2.5%. This year the rally may have begun a day early, today and could last until on or around July 14.
After the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, NASDAQ’s mid-year rally had a spotty track record from 2002 until 2009 with three appearances and five no-shows in those years. However, it has been quite solid over the last ten years, up nine times with a single mild 0.1% loss in 2015. Last year, NASDAQ advanced a solid 4.6% during the 12-day span.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Tech Historically Leads Market Higher Until Q3 of Election Years

As of yesterday’s close DJIA was down 8.8% year-to-date. S&P 500 was down 3.5% and NASDAQ was up 12.1%. Compared to the typical election year, DJIA and S&P 500 are below historical average performance while NASDAQ is above average. However this year has not been a typical election year. Due to the covid-19, the market suffered the damage of the shortest bear market on record and a new bull market all before the first half of the year has come to an end.
In the surrounding Seasonal Patten Charts of DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ, we compare 2020 (as of yesterday’s close) to All Years and Election Years. This year’s performance has been plotted on the right vertical axis in each chart. This year certainly has been unlike any other however some notable observations can be made. For DJIA and S&P 500, January, February and approximately half of March have historically been weak, on average, in election years. This year the bear market ended on March 23. Following those past weak starts, DJIA and S&P 500 historically enjoyed strength lasting into September before experiencing any significant pullback followed by a nice yearend rally. NASDAQ’s election year pattern differs somewhat with six fewer years of data, but it does hint to a possible late Q3 peak.
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)
(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: Stock Market Analysis Video for Week Ending June 26th, 2020

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!

STOCK MARKET VIDEO: ShadowTrader Video Weekly 6.28.20

(CLICK HERE FOR THE YOUTUBE VIDEO!)
Here are the most notable companies (tickers) reporting earnings in this upcoming trading week ahead-
  • $MU
  • $GIS
  • $FDX
  • $CAG
  • $STZ
  • $CPRI
  • $XYF
  • $AYI
  • $MEI
  • $UNF
  • $CDMO
  • $SCHN
  • $LNN
  • $CULP
  • $XELA
  • $KFY
  • $RTIX
  • $JRSH
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR NEXT WEEK'S HIGHEST VOLATILITY EARNINGS RELEASES!)
(CLICK HERE FOR MOST NOTABLE EARNINGS RELEASES FOR THE NEXT 4 WEEKS!)
Below are some of the notable companies coming out with earnings releases this upcoming trading week ahead which includes the date/time of release & consensus estimates courtesy of Earnings Whispers:

Monday 6.29.20 Before Market Open:

([CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Monday 6.29.20 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Tuesday 6.30.20 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Tuesday 6.30.20 After Market Close:

(CLICK HERE FOR TUESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Wednesday 7.1.20 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Wednesday 7.1.20 After Market Close:

([CLICK HERE FOR WEDNESDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Thursday 7.2.20 Before Market Open:

(CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!)

Thursday 7.2.20 After Market Close:

([CLICK HERE FOR THURSDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Friday 7.3.20 Before Market Open:

([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Friday 7.3.20 After Market Close:

([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
NONE.

Micron Technology, Inc. $48.49

Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, June 29, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.71 per share on revenue of $5.27 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.70 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 71% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.40 to $0.70 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 29.00% with revenue increasing by 10.07%. Short interest has increased by 7.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 8.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 0.9% below its 200 day moving average of $48.94. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 11, 2020 there was some notable buying of 46,037 contracts of the $60.00 call expiring on Friday, July 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.4% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

General Mills, Inc. $59.21

General Mills, Inc. (GIS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.04 per share on revenue of $4.89 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 69% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 25.30% with revenue increasing by 17.50%. Short interest has decreased by 9.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.8% above its 200 day moving average of $54.91. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 there was some notable buying of 8,573 contracts of the $60.00 call expiring on Friday, July 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 6.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 3.0% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

FedEx Corp. $130.08

FedEx Corp. (FDX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.42 per share on revenue of $16.31 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.65 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 61% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 71.66% with revenue decreasing by 8.41%. Short interest has increased by 10.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 43.9% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.6% below its 200 day moving average of $140.75. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 25, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,768 contracts of the $145.00 call expiring on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.7% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Conagra Brands, Inc. $32.64

Conagra Brands, Inc. (CAG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.66 per share on revenue of $3.24 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.69 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 66% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 83.33% with revenue increasing by 23.99%. Short interest has decreased by 38.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 6.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 6.4% above its 200 day moving average of $30.68. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 11, 2020 there was some notable buying of 3,239 contracts of the $29.00 put expiring on Thursday, July 2, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 4.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.8% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Constellation Brands, Inc. $168.99

Constellation Brands, Inc. (STZ) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.91 per share on revenue of $1.97 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.12 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 53% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 13.57% with revenue decreasing by 13.69%. Short interest has increased by 20.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 25.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.2% below its 200 day moving average of $178.34. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, June 9, 2020 there was some notable buying of 888 contracts of the $195.00 call expiring on Friday, October 16, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 3.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.7% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Capri Holdings Limited $14.37

Capri Holdings Limited (CPRI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.32 per share on revenue of $1.18 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.34 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 39% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.68 to $0.73 per share. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 49.21% with revenue decreasing by 12.20%. Short interest has increased by 35.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 56.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 44.0% below its 200 day moving average of $25.67. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, June 4, 2020 there was some notable buying of 11,042 contracts of the $17.50 put expiring on Friday, August 21, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 10.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.7% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

X Financial $0.92

X Financial (XYF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 5:00 PM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 25% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 55.00% with revenue increasing by 763.52%. Short interest has increased by 1.0% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 37.7% below its 200 day moving average of $1.47. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 4.9% move on earnings in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Acuity Brands, Inc. $84.45

Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:40 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.14 per share on revenue of $809.25 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 42% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 51.90% with revenue decreasing by 14.60%. Short interest has increased by 48.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 2.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 23.4% below its 200 day moving average of $110.25. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.2% move in recent quarters.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE CHART!)

Methode Electronics, Inc. $30.02

Methode Electronics, Inc. (MEI) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.77 per share on revenue of $211.39 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 45% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 24.19% with revenue decreasing by 20.53%. Short interest has increased by 6.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 1.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.0% below its 200 day moving average of $32.97. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 18.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.

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UniFirst Corporation $170.54

UniFirst Corporation (UNF) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.17 per share on revenue of $378.28 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.25 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 44% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 52.44% with revenue decreasing by 16.63%. Short interest has decreased by 2.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 14.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 8.4% below its 200 day moving average of $186.14. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 7.0% move on earnings in recent quarters.

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DISCUSS!

What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a great trading week ahead StockMarket.
submitted by bigbear0083 to StockMarket [link] [comments]

From being PIP'd at a startup to leveling up into a FANG in four months.

When my manager sat me down in our 1:1 to deliver me the news that I was about to be put on a PIP the next week and to use the weekend to think what my next step should be, my initial reaction was to want to take it and save my job. I knew I've been in a bit of a slump, sleeping very poorly, and not outputting as much as I could have. But to be quite honest, this was a blessing in disguise.
The company I've been working at wasn't doing that well to begin with. We raised a series D in just under two years of existence and my options have quintupled in value since joining, but we've had regulational troubles and the hardware team has been slipping. Our CTO was fired four months after I joined, and our new CTO promised to double our engineering headcount by the end of last year. We've maybe only added 5 people to a team of 30 instead by that point. To that end, I've had multiple manager changes within that time period: a total of five managers and six manager changes all within 12 months. As this was my first job out of college, I thought this was all normal for a startup.
In addition, the pay was very low. For a new grad that didn't know better, like yours truly, that number was a lot for someone who was only ever paid hourly. But after discussing with friends that went onto working at FANGs and other, more established unicorn startups, it was abundantly clear that me and my fellow colleagues were severely underpaid. Like, over 50% lower in base salary alone underpaid for the same line of work and more stress.
The work itself wasn't that great either. It was a system that had to be supported globally with different rules in different countries and with physical hardware that we had little control over. Nobody left the office before dinner was served, and seldom did people start going home after dinner was finished (well, up until recently since people stopped giving fucks). We had almost no senior engineers either, most of the work was done by fresh grads or interns from top CS schools. We maybe had only four veteran IC's, but the rest of the "senior" staff were in management. Everyone else was a new grad or junior engineer. You wouldn't find anyone that had more than two years of experience in the rest of the crowd. It's fun to be around people my age, but the work was sloppy and stressful when shit broke because you're trying to build something with little guidance and your code reviewers are other new grads that are equally as experienced as yourself. Nobody (besides maybe three people) has ever coded in the framework we used, and everyone learned the language and framework right on the job. Our only training was a link to an official guide.
I'm not going to get into the company politics, but it's sufficient to say our Blind was so spicy to the point screenshots of several call-out threads were brought up in meetings and mentioned in all-hands. It was pretty bad.
But going back to me getting served a PIP. My manager gave me an ultimatum: either take the PIP, or take severance and interview for another company. Over that weekend, I thought really hard about all the things I've seen and done in the past year, and quite frankly, I found that I haven't been happy at that place for a while now. It doesn't make sense to try to save a job I wasn't going to be happy at, where I get paid peanuts, and where my contributions are invisible to upper management because the longest I've had the same manager for was two and a half months. I decided to take the severance and leave.
This gave me time to relax, exercise, enjoy hobbies I haven't done in months, and most importantly, spend time with family and friends I haven't been around with because of this job. Oh, I forgot to mention that the company moved headquarters halfway through my tenure and bumped my commute from 20 minutes to over an hour.
I haven't touched leetcode or interview prep materials in ages since joining, so I really only hit the books about two weeks after leaving. My daily routine would be to exercise in the day, eat a protein heavy meal, and study up leetcode into the night at a 24/7 cafe. I would usually do this with a buddy or two who are freelance developers. I also kept a spreadsheet of jobs I was interested in and updated their statuses in where I was at in the process, who the point of contact was, when the interview dates are, etc. I wanted to end up at a FANG company since their offices were much closer to where I lived and the culture there would help me grow more as an engineer. My process was that I started off with companies I didn't quite care about to practice interviewing, and then build up to places I did want to end up working at.
I slowly but steadily practiced coding problems, took my time to understand what the solutions were, and apply those skills onto other problems that came up. In reality, most programming problems you encounter are really just other problems in disguise, and you just need to know the fundamentals of CS to get through them. I'm sure everyone wants to know what my stats are, so here they are: 64 easy, 50 medium, 15 hard.
After a few months of practice and interviewing at companies I wasn't particularly interested in, I started applying for places that actually interested me. In the end, I got two offers and was able to negotiate with a FANG company that has an office 10 minutes away from my house. I not only nearly tripled my TC, but I also got leveled up to an L4. After being stuck in L3 for almost two years with shit pay, I am glad my patience and steady progress paid off.
My lessons learned in this whole experience:
As for my tips for the interview prep:
Most of my system design solutions came from experiences I've had and a lot were creative, open-ended questions. My advice is to be likeable to the interviewer and not BS your thought process. For some reason, system design is something that comes the most natural to me, so I sadly can't give much tips for studying on it besides seeing for yourself how current systems are built.
And in general, you should be likeable to the interviewer. Smile, ask them what they work on, what cool projects they've done at the company, what their work life balance is like, etc. You're interviewing for the company and you're interviewing the company for yourself. Your interviewer is judging on whether you'd be a good person to be around with for 8 hours and help contribute to solving their problems, and you're judging whether the company you're interviewing for will make you enjoy yourself being there.
Everyone's experience is unique and certainly not as relaxed as mine. I thankfully had enough savings to last me almost a whole year without a job, but I realize others might not be fortunate enough to have that luxury. It'll be hard, but worth it to study up in the evenings and then take days off to go to onsites. In the end, what matters most is your sanity and happiness.
Tl;dr: job sucked, I got PIP'd, quit, took time off, studied, interviewed, and accepted a FANG offer that tripled my pay in four months.
submitted by worried_about_pip to cscareerquestions [link] [comments]

Primer on Binary Options Recovery

Primer on Binary Options Recovery
A binary option is a financial option wherein the payoff is particular fixed money or nothing at all. There are mainly two types of binary options cash-or-nothing and asset-or-nothing binary options. The cash-or-nothing binary option pays some fixed amount of cash if the option expires “in the money.”
The asset-or-nothing binary option, however, only pays the value of the underlying securities. This option makes many people quickly lose money trading binary options. So what happens when you have lost money trading binary options?
Recover from Binary Options How to Recover from Binary Options Lost or Scam with a Verified Recovery Expert.
Have you been enticed to get entangled in trading binary options? Have you had any bad experience with binary options? Are you a victim of the famous binary options scam?
“How do you recover from binary options scam?”
It happens to lots of people, even professional, educated people and the elite. If you get swindled, the first thing to do is not to beat yourself up over it but act fast. More importantly, suicide is not an option, and we can always heal and recover from our loses once there is life.
An unfortunate story of an Australian man who got himself entangled in binary options lost a lot of money and had the third mortgage on his house with a lot of other debts. And then he ended his life.
There are a lot of somber stories of people who have lost it all to binary options and have no clue how to recover from binary options schemes and fake brokers.
Firstly it goes without saying, it’s better to prevent, investigating the business and doing background checks is very necessary before any investment. Here are some tips to help you.
  1. When investing, do proper research and make sure the broker you are working with has an appropriate regulation and licenses like ASIC, FCA, CySEC, CFTC, BaFIN, or other government regulators.
  2. Always make sure you don’t invest all of your money.
  3. Get wealthy quick programs are bound to lose more money, don’t fall for investments of such.
  4. Learn and do more research about the financial option you are planning to invest.
  5. Listening to your broker is another mistake, as they have lost peoples money in many instances, the reverse of a brokers advice might be doing you better.
  6. Check out the platform and use all their demo till you are skilled and never agree to add funds in a rush.
A lot of people have their first experience with binary options through a scam. Binary options trading scams are widespread, and recovering from binary options schemes might be very hard but not impossible. The binary options industry is steadily misused, and many scammers and thieves get away with a lot due to slack regulatory laws, shallow knowledge and negligence of victims. There are fake review websites that support and endorse these scams, so for a person with no trading experience, it is almost impossible to find the right path.
A lot of people are getting duped and losing their money to these schemes. They have assured an income, but in actuality, they take their money and lose it deliberately.
https://preview.redd.it/y9y274olp2j51.png?width=601&format=png&auto=webp&s=7e2f7c4667ae31cc5011c6a88713b111e14575b0
What to do if Scammed by Binary Options? The web has a lot of fraudulent binary options brokers. So once you realize you have been a victim of the scam, don’t panic! You will most likely go through guilting yourself and emotional distress. Your first step is to file a complaint to the customer services team. Always remember the risks involves in the trades, you can lose money as well as gain as much too. If you lose money or get scammed, you will be reminded of the risks.
Documenting all that has happened is very important. The world would be better if we did not have thieves and people who create scams aiming to steal from us. The best move anyone can make is to educate themselves about possible scams and the way they work because they are everywhere and to be intelligent in the decisions made by them and the information they provide.
These Con artists have found binary options a simple system to use their system to strip the money of unsuspecting casualties. This write-up will focus on educating you, on binary options scams and binary options scammers. If you have ever lost money to binary options, check for links below to hire a recovery organization to help you get your money back. Binary options investing can be an excellent way to make more money without having to do much, but when you are dealing with the wrong people, it can be a quick way to lose a massive amount of money. We believe when you are done reading this article, you will be able to determine the differences between reliable binary options systems and the scam artists.
Don’t forget that you must file a complaint to customer services of the respective platform you used, and it is the first thing to do when you feel spooked. All regulatory bodies have their procedure and steps, and they will also ask if you have filed a complaint. In few countries, it is required legally that the company gives you a case number which you can then use to file a complaint to securities and exchange commission.
It is also essential contacting your credit card company and bank fast so they can provide solutions such as chargeback for you. If you find that you get stranded and need help then get it to contact with a recovery expert, and your best bet is Assured Recover. They will undoubtedly be able to help recover all lost funds.
Also, be very careful with recovery rooms as they can even scam you as an easy vulnerable target.
Recover Losses made to Binary Options with Verified Recovery Experts. A few recovery companies that focus on lost funds and wealth recovery internationally. Some legitimate companies also claim they can help, but since there isn’t much of a right side to this, they usually fall short of their promise and client’s expectations.
Some chargeback companies offer a service to help, and some may be able to help. A significant number of people who have lost money to fake binary options companies like IQ options, VIPBinary, 24option, and other fraudulent binary options trading platforms/companies that have bad reviews and been accused of scams. Assured Recover has successfully helped customers who were scammed and to get their money back.
Here is a testimony how Assured Recover helped someone who got scammed by Trade Toro.
One wouldn’t think much of this, all I wanted to do was invest and be part of it, but the brokers weren’t truthful. They collected money from all in the name of investment, and when it was time to withdraw, I realized I couldn’t. At the time was when it occurred to me, I had been duped.
I consider myself to be one of the very few privileged ones as I was able to get all recovered from this scam Binary options brokers. Assured Recover is simply the best, and in less than 30 days all my funds including bonuses had been recovered, If your broker lost your funds trading Binary options, one of these verified recovery experts will help you get your funds back without any traces.
I’m pleased to let people know how I was able to recover part the money that I got cheated by Trade Toro, and I’d like to write in favor of Assured Recover. Assured Recover is your best bet when it comes to binary options recovery.
Binary options trading scams will make you lose money and also make you blame yourself for not being more careful. These Verified Recovery Experts offer binary options loss recovery service to everyone in need of such services. Here is the link to the original article, and how to recover money lost to binary options, forex, cryptocurrency etc.
submitted by Msatikul54 to u/Msatikul54 [link] [comments]

DEMOLITION DAYS, PART 95

Continuing
He still came around making trouble, but oddly enough, our little cul-de-sac corner was more-or-less Batshit Crazy-free for the next 34 months.
After that, things sort of calmed down. Well, one of his older boys thought it would be fun to attack Khris, push her off her bike, and try and steal the Uzbek sapphire amulet I had gotten her years earlier.
Khris is not a small girl; she is a corn-fed daughter of the vast cow-pocked hills and rolling pastures of Baja Canada. She didn’t take lightly to some weasely little Arab probably future pole-smokers trying to steal from and assaulting her.
It took more than one punch, but Khris coldcocked the elder of the Guano Insano clan and laid him out so an undertaker could have taken easy measurements. Oh, he was still breathing, but I nevertheless think he was shammin’, playin’ possum until Daddy Dearest could come and rescue him from the rage of wrathful Wisconsinians.
Liam and I were sitting in the porch area of his villa, smoking cigars, drinking our sunrisers, watching the tableau unfold. We both thought Khris handled the situation well, particularly the outcome. The miscreant was out cold’n a foundered mackerel and Khris didn’t heel-stamp him in the chuckle-bits nor curb-stomp his head even though he had initially, and without provocation, punched Khris in the head.
Major stylistic points, Khris.
After 6 or 7 of his offspring rant to alert him, Señor Srībaśita Inasēna came over to shovel his insensible frogspawn up off the tarmac. He was ranting and raving, screaming and splitting the air with threats, dark oaths and other forms of bad noise.
He headed straight for Khris to administer a smackdown, as Khris resolutely held her ground.
I merely stood up and asked Khris if she needed some help.
She replied in the negative, stating that this fool wasn’t going to be much more of a challenge than ‘his idiot kid’
I swear, he went, even more, batshit crazy. However, something clicked and Señor Srībaśita Inasēna looked over his shoulder to see not one, but two near-identical way-more-crazy than he extra-large people standing there, both with cigars and icy cold drinks. He suddenly seemed to experience a spate of total recall how one of the large apparitions said he’d begin him on his journey toward room temperature if he so much as sneered in our direction.
He scooped up his unconscious spawn, muttered something none of us could make out, and scurried back to his loathsome piece of home real estate.
That was more or less the end of our run-ins with Señor Srībaśita Inasēna and his extended tribe.
Swing forward to the late summer. The weather calmed a bit and one’s skin didn’t immediately bubble every time one went out to collect the local morning news-rag. Things were going well for the cul-de-sac; jobs were advancing apace, children were doing well in their various studies, people were, oh what was that word? Ah, yes, happy.
Happy people do fun things.
So, it was decided it was time we have a block party.
Of course, Liam came up with the brilliant idea that we should have a pig roast.
“Umm, Liam”, I ahemed, “In case you forgot, we live in an Arabic Muslim country in the Middle East. Pigs and pork and porcine parts are sort of verboten around here. “
“Ok, Rock”, Liam laughed, “I know that, you know that, my hat knows that. But we Brits must have our bacon, sausage, and chops. It’s in our DNA. Besides, I can get one flown in through my company; under the wire. I could sneak him over here easily. We’d just have to keep him under wraps until bar-be-que time rolls around. You’re from Texas, so…”
“Adopted native son” I corrected.
“Right”, Liam continued, “But you were from Baja Canada first, so you must know how to cook a whole pig…”
“That right, I do, but…, I said, “…you want to bring a live pig in here, and keep him for a while until we can sort out the cooking necessities. We can’t use the industrial-sized stoves in the rec center at the pool. That’d raise a few eyebrows…”
Es and Cassandra wander over, listen for a bit and exclaim “Are you both out of your tiny, little minds?”
I had to admit, as I poured Liam and myself a refill, that the idea did have a certain ‘Up Yours!’ mouthwatering bacon-scented charm.
So, all four of us sat outside and over beer, vodka, and white wine for the ladies, we brewed up a perhaps passable project for our pig party.
The thing was, I’d be gone offshore for a couple of weeks and the pig would have to live at someone’s villa, under wraps, for that time; which actually escalated to 3 months.
Esme, surprising as always, volunteered to take on the task.
Might have been the white wine talking, but she admitted to missing bacon as well.
“OK, but we’re going to need a bar-be-cue pit. Where and when?” Liam asked.
“I’ll talk to Shiehk Gungan and secure permission for a Hawaiian-style pit bar-be-cue for someone or other’s fake birthday. If we can get Vonn and Honey Bee on board, their villa’s backyard backs up to a tall brick wall bordering the alley behind the City Centre. I could put in a pit there easily, and it would be out of the purview of prying eyes.” I said.
“Good”, Casandra said, “Let me get the gin and tonic makin’s and get Vonn and Honey over here as well as Dane and Dyad. Gonna have a block party, make sure you invite the entire block.”
Over the term of the afternoon, we had our plans.
Liam would secure a pig for us; approximately 200-300 pounds, on the hoof. It’d stay in our backyard under both our sun tarp and Esme Srs.’ care until Pig Killin’ Time. Liam, Vonn, and I would handle that little chore. I’d get permission to ‘dig’ a pit and install the bar-be-cue pit in Honey and Vonn’s back yard. Liam and I would handle the actual roast, and we’d all chip in for charcoal and wood smokin’ chunks, and whatever else we could find.
Dyad said she knew many, many farmers it the area and many had fruit trees, in various stages of repair. Certainly, some of that would smoke up a treat. Persimmon, pomegranate, fig, mango, durian, banana…all the earmarks of a weird pig roast.
So we had a date, a plan and the ingredients for a complete fiasco. Since Sr. Guano Insano was no longer part of the picture, and as we had few interlopers, this might actually work without all of us being tossed into the hoosegow.
I’d liberate a bit of pit diggin’ materials from work, just a small amount of dynamite, C-4, and Primacord; I already had the blasting machines. Vonn and Liam would lay in the charcoal and wood for the actual pig roast and well, Bob’s your uncle.
I went offshore to complete the 12th well on the platform and had to deal with all the logistics, bureaucracy and other sanctioned horseshit that comes with the territory. It took almost exactly 3 weeks, and at that time, Esme’s initial negative reaction to pig-sitting had changed considerably.
She had named the critter and found it to be a rather clever, and even sociable, beast. She even allowed it free reign of our house.
The name she chose was one from an old, endearing structural professor: Prof Pinkus (Prof. Pink-ass).
Ahem.
This was an unforeseen complication.
“Es, remember, “ I said over the phone, “That pig is not a pet. It’s not your buddy. It’s not going shopping with you. It’s going to be the guest of honor at a block party. Perspective, please.”
“Oh, Rock”, Es gushed, “I know that. It just makes it easier to keep up with Prof. Pinkus if you treat him like a pet rather than livestock.”
“Es!”, I yell, “He IS livestock. Soon to be deadstock. Soon to be crisply pit barbequed to a crackly crunch. He’s not your friend, he’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”
“OK, love you too.” Es says, ignoring me, “See you soon. Safe flights. Keep the shiny side up.”
I hang up. “Oh, shit. This does not bode well.” I mused on the flight shoreward.
I have to admit, pigs can be personable animals. Canny, inquisitive, seemingly intelligent. But even so, that does not trump them being delicious, appetizing, and delectable generators of bacon. Prof. Pinkus is going to be ham, bacon, and sausage soon. Not a boon companion.
The next day I ‘dig’ the pit for the barbeque. I used a shovel for exactly 2 minutes and dynamite, C-4, and primacord for a few more. Vonn was astonished that I not only dug a 6’x6’x4’ wide hole in less than an afternoon, but that I did it while smoking a cigar, drinking an, ok, several icy adult beverages, and never even breaking a sweat in the hellish late summer heat.
The Bobcat with the mounted backhoe, which I had ‘borrowed’ from work, helped a little.
Liam wandered over after the pyrotechnics were done. He didn’t care for them as the noise ‘offended his ears’. Truth be told, he had seen enough pyro jobs go south in his line of work and wanted nothing to do with them. I assured him I was a licensed Master Blaster as well as the one and only Motherfucking Pro from Dover, but it took some time to get him up to speed on the use of explosives for fun and profit.
We let the pit settle, as it was in mostly in desert sand held together with a bit of aeolian clay, or loess. We kept it wet and covered with sheets of canvas. It’d be fine for our pit barbeque in the days hence.
Vonn, Liam and I fabricobbled a cover for the pit which was made of thatched palm fronds supported by ½” pine furring-strips frame along the outer surface. Dane found a hunk of tin stove pipe and we fashioned a nicely workable chimney for the cover. Once the fire was going, and the pig in its new home, we could set the cover over the pit, shovel earth over it to seal it off and use the iris-valve in the chimney to regulate airflow.
One looks at it now, it would almost appear that we knew what we were doing.
Probably nothing was further from the truth.
We needed to ‘season’ the pit, but first, we needed to line the pit with rocks. This serves to hold the heat, and will even out its distribution. But, all we have to use is limestone around here and if limestone ever gets wet, there might be water in the fractures of the rocks. Heat that up to over 1000C and you’ve got yourself a nifty little bomb.
Of course, this will not do…
So, I get on the phone with several ‘exotic’ marble companies in the big city of Duhu. I call around asking if they might have some scrap sheets of granite, quartzite, granodiorite or marble.
Sure, for a price.
However, there was this one place where I knew this guy…
He took in huge, and I mean 4m x 5m x 5m blocks of exotic rock from the subcontinent; black granite, “Reaping Equinox’ black and white ‘granite’; most all these ‘granites’ were granodiorites, Inferno Granite, Black Sunset granite sliced thin into façade facing dimension stone, it was absolutely gorgeous in cross-section. However, the best stuff was igneous-metamorphic, tougher than a $2 steak, and just laughed at diamond carbide saw blades.
“Oh, sure now Mr., Dr. Rock”, Mr. Prakash Dongerkerry, the owneoperator of one particular lot I scavenge for Esme’s continuing lapidary hobby, “I’ve got some beauty stuff here for you. But I need some help with these couple of blocks I received from Kerala. Great rock, very pretty, but too tough. Burn out many saws, boss. You can help maybe?”
“Sure, Prak”, I replied, “I can help, no sweat.”
So, next Friday Liam and me, we eased over to the granite factory, C-4, blasting caps and Primacord in hand. Prak was a little apprehensive about using high explosives in a densely populated area, but after Vonn reminded him that he was working with the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, he relaxed some.
I crawled all over those blocks, marking with orange spray paint the nature fractures, flaws, and features of each block. Asked Prak how he’d like them split, and he indicated parallel to the major axis.
It couldn’t be easier. There was a main body-fracture system normal to the σ1 stress direction. The one’s parallel to the σ2 and σ3 were minor and nowhere near as clearly developed.
I smooshed some C-4 into a test fracture, primed it and shot it without much ado. It was surprisingly quiet for a detonation. A cute little C-4 POP.
A large slab of rock fell off the main block, severed as nicely as a hunk of cold butter from a hot knife.
Prak was thrilled. I only had another 12 or so shots to go.
They all more or less came off as planned. One or two busted when they bounced, even after the addition of old car tires below where I was blasting.
Prak, good to his word, showed us a huge pile of 1.25” thick sawn quartzite slabs that were rejected for mostly cosmetic reasons. It takes a bit of math, a bit of doing, and a lot of C-4 to extract slabs enough to line our fire pit from stem to stern, top to bottom.
Once installed, the pit was a tad less wide, a bit less deep, and a smidge less long, but it was the only Precambrian-quartzite lined bar-be-que pit in this or any other known galaxy.
We celebrated the initial fire up with whiskey and hors-d'oeuvres. I stuck with vodka, ice, lime, citrus stuff, and a Jamaican cigar.
The pit flared from the amount of dry wood we initially used. It burned very quickly into a pile of glowing embers. Now, we added some local lump charcoal and popped on the top, now sporting an exhaust chimney with a rather large, intrinsically-safe, unusually commercial-looking dual-temperature thermometer that somehow just appeared out of the ether.
We took it all the way up to 1,000C. Although it was designed for ‘low and slow’, we wanted to see how it would perform under alternative conditions.
We let it simmer for a few hours, then decided to kill the fire by closing the iris valve. Thus deprived of oxygen, given a few hours, the pit would be cold to the touch.
The next day, we opened the pit and shoveled out the dead embers. The pit was well and truly cold. Upon examination, it seems that the quartzite had fused to the sand on the outside of the pit. Also, sand had filtered down into the cracks around the pit, like in the corners, along joints, and been fused there as well.
The damn thing would now hold water if we wanted. We had a natural glass-lined fire pit now. We decided to try out some racked & stacked chickens first before we slowly made our way pig-ward.
We staked split chickens out on various levels in the pit. We had worked up a series of adjustable metal frames where we could lay the staked-out poultry. The racks popped right in place and after a couple of hours, hey presto bar-be-qued peri-peri chicken. And hot-butter roasted chicken. And for the uninitiated, roast chicken with smoked Hungarian paprika and Indian ghee. A real Iron Chef fusion-style mixture.
Liam and I took his Grady White out on the Persian Gulf and managed a couple of dorados, or Mahi, a largish shark, and a couple of kingfish off the deeper shipping banks. Fileted up and tacked in place, we played around with the smoking woods. Mango was just weird. Fig was weirder, almost vinegary; but not terrible. Pomegranate/tangerine tree smoked Mahi, seasoned shark steak, and Kingfish was the hit of the week. So easy, yet so tasty. It went well with Es’ famous Navajo Fry Bread.
We were gaining confidence. Prof. Pinkus’ days were numbered. We decided that the Eid al Fitr would be the time that we’d been preparing our porky pit pig production.
How’s that for cultural sensitivity? Break the Ramadan fast with a pig roast.
We’re all about cultural sensitivity.
Anyways, we hemmed and hawed over the methods of dispatching our soon-to-be-delicious 325 pounds of Professor Pinkus.
One wag suggested we have it OD on tranquilizers, trip him out a la Heath Ledger. Use loads of Nytol®, Dramamine™, oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine."
It was straight out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers©.
We all agreed it was funny as hell, but that it probably wouldn’t work.
Then we thought we might go all Halal, just slit the pig’s throat with a very sharp knife, and let it bleed out.
Rejected as to being too thrashing, too noisy, too Arabic, and just plain uncivilized.
I thought I could get hold of a 12 gauge shotgun and some Foster Deer slugs. But again, noisy and messy. Besides, I’d have to borrow a shotgun, and that might raise some eyebrows.
We’ve managed to keep Prof. Pinkus under wraps now for almost 3 months. Hate to blow it right before the feasting was to begin.
In the end, all it took was an 18-pound maul and a solid whack to the right side of the head.
More sensitive viewers might want to skip a dozen or so paragraphs ahead. Just fair warning™.
I was elected to deliver the coup de grâce.
After walloping a bound and gagged Prof. Pinkus upside the head and basically caving in the skull, severing the skull-spinal cord connection at the atlas/axis connection, it was instant lights-out, he felt nothing.
We had already apologized to Prof. Pinkus, and thanked him for his contribution.
Seldom before has lunch ever been so noble.
Prof. Pinkus freezes and collapse, the legs give way, and the neck goes rigid. We picked up the extraordinarily sharp butcher’s knife sitting there, one hand under the chin and pull the head back. The other hand takes the sharp, stout knife under the neck and slices across the neck back to the bone of the vertebrae.
The knife hand loops around to the poll of the head, pushes down and forward while the hand under the chin pulls back and rearwards, so the neck vertebrae connecting tissue cracks. Knife hand back down under the neck, chin hand slides up and a finger hooks into the trachea and slice between the separated vertebrae.
With our previous practice and experience, 10 to 15 seconds from hammer strike to the semi-decapitated head.
Grisly but necessary.
Hanging the beast by its back hocks, well out of sight of any casual interlopers, we bleed the animal out into 5-gallon buckets, saving the precious juice. Vonn and I have visions of homemade blütwurst, blood-n-tongue sausage, and zultze or schwartamaga; lovely, lovely headcheese.
But that’s for later. Vonn gathers the blood in gallon-size freezer zip bags.
Now to scalding the corpse, scraping off the hair and external epidermal debris. We had a tub of boiling water into which Prof. Pinkus went. It was a boring, tedious, annoying repeated dunk-soak-raise-scrape-return until the carcass was clean and smooth and removed of all nasty gunk on the outside.
Now comes the really icky part™, gutting and scraping out the carcass. Before opening the abdominal cavity, it was required to de-bung the animal. Cut around the anus, go in deep but not too, pull the bunghole out, seal with zip ties, and cut and discard. Now the lower GI tract is sealed from leaking when the rest is removed. We also have to remove the male dangly bits in a similar manner as Prof. Pinkus was a boy hog.
Still hanging, we open the hog from sternum to groin, letting gravity aid us in helping Prof. Pinkus literally spill his guts. Right down into a waiting gut-bucket, or galvanized 50-liter steel tub. The chest region is split open further and the lovely and delicious major organs are singly removed by hand. Heart, liver, kidneys, etc., lungs, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, and a few other organs are discarded.
With that, we open the hog to where it will lay flat on the roasting rack. It is then hosed off and generally cleaned up before we give a good going over.
After it dries, the whole gutted critter is washed in wine. Evidently, it’s a French thing according to Honey Bee.
We wrap the hog in burlap, soak it down in cheap-ass wine and let it sleep 24 hours or so in Liam and Cassandra’s freezer chest.
The next day, the fire is started in the fire pit. We have lump charcoal, bucket after bucket of fruit tree chunks soaking in water and probably half a rick of firewood to keep the party going the next 24-36 hours.
We retrieve Prof. Pinkus from his cool, not frozen state, say hello and proceed to arrange him staked to the cooking frame in a belly-down, butterflied posture. Internally, he was well seasoned with dry rub after the obligatory internal rubdown with Napoleon brandy. We placed 40 garlic bulbs, kosher sea salt, olive oil, black pepper, and liberal amounts of Old Bay, to taste beneath him.
So, it was up to me to get the external goo ready for the pig. Kansas City-Style Sauce? Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce? South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce? Piedmont or Lexington-Style Dip? South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce? Texas-Style Mop or Basting Sauce? Alabama White Sauce? Wisconsin Drunken Religious Experience Sauce?
“Ah, the hell with it!”, I venture, “Sauces come much later. Too early; they caramelize, crystallize, and burn. We’ll go for a good rub instead.”
I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good rub now and again?
Anyways, which fucking rub? Kansas City Rib Rub? Mustard Rub? Spare Rib Rub? Memphis-Style Rib Rub? Porker's Rib Seasoning? Best Odds Rib Rub? Carolina Dry Rub? Texas Dry Rub? Jamaican Jerk Dry Rub? Classic Pork Dry Rub?
Too much choice! Seasoning overload!
I call over everyone involved in this little soiree and instruct them to come up with a rub we can all enjoy. I had to kill and gut the critter, it’s about time I go all Subsurface Manager, and delegate out some parts of this project.
So, over beer, G&T’s, vodka and lime soda and various Froggy wines, ‘my’ crew came up with a rub that was simple, tasty and ironically reflects some of the culinary aspects of the region we’re currently defiling.
Ingredients:
• Smoked Hungarian Red paprika
• Brown sugar
• Caster sugar
• Black pepper
• Kosher salt
• Cayenne pepper
• White pepper
• Chili pepper
• Dehydrated garlic
• Dehydrated onion
• Fenugreek
• Red Cardamom
• Turmeric
• Ginger
• Garam masala (Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Fennel, Mace, and dried Chilies.)
They went to the co-op, bought buckets of the individual spices and played the rest of the day at getting to that one perfect combination for our resting porker.
I don’t remember the exact breakdown of the proportion of the spices, but whatever it was, it tasted brilliant. Now we had about 8 or 9 pounds of the stuff. We were ready to go.
Prof. Pinkus was set on the cooking rack, belly open and down. He was doused internally once again liberally with cheap Indian Napoleon brandy and secured to the rack atop all the garlic, celeriac root, boudin, and small new potatoes.
He was tied in place with heavy organic hemp twine and had his mouth propped open to facilitate circulation of the pit’s heat and convection. He looked very Pink Floydian. One almost expected him to take flight.
The exterior of the porker was treated to a nice rubdown. I swear I saw him smile once or twice when Honey Bee insisted on a sensual massage to make the resultant meat that much more tender. Olive oil infused with lime oil and garlic after a thorough wash with more brandy. Followed by a liberal rubbing of dry rub.
Finally, ready to go, we tented the porker loosely with industrial-strength silver aluminum foil. The frame with its cargo was lowered and locked into place for at least 24 hours. Probably closer to 36, as we’re going ‘low and slow’.
We take turns, between hands of poker, cribbage, and Schafskopf, as well as numerous G&Ts, Yorshs, and vodka and lime drink cocktails, to check on our prized porker. We kept the temperature right at 2050 F as best we could.
The voluminous smoke coming off the barbeque pit was our one concern. It packed an amazing aroma and filtered around the whole compound, dragging in expectant pikers, leeches, and other forms of human ectoparasites.
We told them we were smoking a whole camel, Texas-style, a la filét de hump, and wouldn’t be ready for another couple of days; so piss off. That seemed to get rid of all but the most insistent. We finally got rid of him by using a leaf blower and directing a stream of high-velocity roast-pork laden smoke his direction each time we had to add more fuel to the fire.
Time marched on and the time finally came: the deep internal ham’s temperature hit 180 degrees F.
Prof. Pinkus was ready to make his debut. But first, we needed to get him out of the barbeque pit and over to Vonn’s garage to rest a while.
More futzing, more aluminum foil, and more beers later, Prof. Pinkus, in all his delectable roasted glory was cooling out from atop a pair of sawhorses. Of course, he had to rest after his ordeal, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t manage a few samples.
He was done to a turn. It was incredible. Crispy-crunchy-crackly over lean, moist and insanely flavorful meat. Not bad for a bunch of bumbling international mugs on their first Middle Eastern pig-roast pit-roast endeavor.
Everyone made up their own version of sauce for sandwiches and dipping. We decided that we’d never all agree on one sauce, and 4 or 5 on one porker would be just too damn many.
So, please yourself. Just do it, yourself.
Behind closed doors, Liam and I were once again elected to reduce Prof. Pinkus to primary parts. We were hopefully disguising the fact that here sits 185 pounds of delectable roast pork in a very Muslim country on one of their highest holy days.
So it was a bit unnerving when Sheik Gungan showed up and asked: “What was that wonderful aroma?”
We said smoked beef…lamb…camel…turducken…Tyrannosaur… anything other than what it really was.
He asked for a sample.
What could we do? We couldn’t well refuse now, could we?
We gave him some of the best bits to try.
“Lovely, gents, just lovely. Next time, for reference, more garam masala, and a little more rosemary. I find it really brings out the subtle flavors of pork.” He smiled, wiping his pork-sticky fingers on my HGGTG towel.
“You old fraud”, we all smiled at once.
“What?”, he shied, raising his eyebrows, “It’s for scientific evaluation purposes. It’s therefore allowed. Now, do you have any cold beer, gin-n-tonics, or vodka and lime, which I’m hearing is very nice together, that I might also scientifically sample?” he smiled toothily through his long white beard.
We had made another powerful friend. Although it cost us one smoked Boston Butt, actually off the shoulder, that’s butcher’s for you, and a half a liter of homemade Texas-style barbeque sauce and another of Esme’s homemade fennel and caraway-infused coleslaw.
Everyone on the cul-de-sac now had a freezer full of pit-roasted pork. The Brits got their sausage once Vonn and Liam figured out how to use the Osterizer® Stuffing Horn. That was almost as much fun as doing the pit-barbeque. Never leave to Brits what Baja Canadians can better do.
We distributed the bacon and hams, and the rest divided whatever was left. Which was a lot of pit-roasted pig pieces and parts.
The bones made their way into gaily wrapped gifts and were posted anonymously to Mr. Guano Insano. We hoped he appreciated all our effort.
I used Esme’s great-grandmother’s old German recipe for Headcheese. Basically, boiled smoked pork head meat in aspic jelly. With dill pickles. And pickled eggs. With special spices.
Well, I don’t give a shit. We like it.
Anyways, summer slowly slid south and the temperatures during the day got slightly more tolerable. Liam and I decided to forego his boat for a while, as launching and recollecting required us to put Liam’s boat in the water HERE and recover the boat THERE. It was trucked, via road, from the recovery place to the launch place.
Why? Damnifweknow.
It only cost something like US$5 to ship the boat back to the launch area and they actually did a good job hosing and steam cleaning the boat before parking it back in its rental dry dock. These were still the early days before gas was king in Qutur, so things were still ridiculously cheap. There were exactly 3 high rise hotels back then, as compared to the insane silhouette presented by Duhu’s current evening sun.
I had flown over some likely looking flats that might hold snook, grouper, and tarpon on my last flight back from the rig. I translated that onto whatever road maps we could find here, as most everything was a state secret, ground verification was a must.
Liam and I tossed a couple of surf rods, a cooler full of beer and some bait into the back of his new diesel Mitsobitchy Prago™, and we were off to the north of town, the least developed chunk of Duhu real estate to date.
We drove down a rip-rap road that was more just a pile of random rocks trucked into the bay area and dumped into something that resembled a straight line.
I was less than confident that we weren’t going swimming today, but Liam relished every bounce, bolt and jolt. He confided in me that one of the big reasons he took the job here in the Middle East was that he’d never in a million years be able to afford a truck like this back in bonny Scotland™. He confided that he couldn’t have even afforded the fuel for this diesel-slurper back in the UK, it was that dear.
So, down the path we rebound. I was watching the water on both sides of the narrow groin, and saw it was getting deeper, but very slowly. I looked at my GPS and saw that we’d driven some 3.5 km out to sea at this point.
“Liam”, I said, “That’s a fuck of a long way to reverse.”
“Ah, Rock”, Liam assured me, “ No worries, Doctor. It’s all a loop. We can just drive our way out of any trouble.”
I remained unconvinced.
We came to a breach in the ‘jetty’. There was some heavy marine equipment mounted on barges. They were working a large cut, ostensibly for cargo ships to pass through. There was to be a swing-bridge built after they cleared the channel, but with all these loose rocks, it was putting paid to their scheme.
We parked and wandered over to who appeared to be the head guy.
“G’Day”, “Liam says, “What’ the big fucking holdup? We’ve got fish to catch, mate.”
Liam had previously spent a few years down in Australia as if it didn’t show.
“Oh, hello”, the natty clad black man said, “We’re having a bit of a time with loose rocks here. Supposed to be angular to lock in place, but by the time they get here from the quarry, they’re a sharp as bowling balls.”
I introduced myself and Liam as he was back in the boot snaking a beer. The black feller introduced himself as Zafir Djaballah, a civil engineer late from Algeria.
“So”, I said to Zafir, “If I’ve got this straight, you cut a channel and want to line it with rip rap. But the rocks won’t stay put. How deep are you cutting and what’s the size of the channel?”
“Oh, 35’ east-west, 15’ north-south. About 15 meters deep.” He relates.
“And the road metal? Where’s that from?” I ask.
“Arabia”, he tells us, “They quarry it there and transport it here. It’s costly, but that’s about the only option we have.”
Liam looks to Zafir. “Hey, Zafir?”, Liam asks, “Y’ken who this guy is?” as he points to me.
Zafir shakes his head “I just met Dr. Rock.”
“That’s not all who he is”, Liam smiles widely, “That, my friend, is the Motherfucking Pro from Dover! If he can’t fix your little problem, he can damn sure make it go away…”
Zafir looks to me as if to ask: “What the fuck, sir?”
“Well, Zafir, “ I say, “I’m a bit of a dab hand with explosives. This sounds like a really simple problem. Drill a grid of 2 meter centered holes, and prime them with a waterproof explosive. Detonate together electrically and there you go. Channel dug and already filled with angular limestone blocks. Easy-peasy.”
Zafir looks over the water and puzzles and puzzles.
“But sir’, he says, “Where would I find such explosives and such expertise?”
“Well…for starters”, I said, “You could ask me.”
He leads us over to a company trailer, where Liam and I drank beers, smoked cigars and told the superintendent of our plans. The Egyptian superintendent, Qaaid al-Zahra, later ‘Randy’ (Quaid?…never mind) scrutinized all our identification. He was actually very impressed when he came across my Blaster’s credentials.
“Doctor”, Qaaid said, “I do like your plan. The drilling is no problem, the problem is obtaining the explosives.”
“Look, Qaaid”, I said, “Leave that to me. You’re working for a government company, I’m working for a government company. What difference does it make? How long to drill the grid of holes Liam and I laid out?”
“Oh, probably about a week”, Qaaid said.
“OK, how about this?”, I said, “Liam and I will be back out here unless the weather’s being stupid and we’ll set and prime the charges? After which, we’ll make certain everything’s green and blow this little project for you?”
“If you can, Inshallah.”, Qaaid said.
“Even if we’re out of shallah”, I said back to Randy.
That Sunday, after Liam backed us down the 3.6 km or bouncy un-turn-around-able path he drove us out on, I ordered some Kinepax liquid binaries, as it came in easy-to-use 1-meter threaded lengths in various diameters. Qaaid was drilling 3.5” diameter holes, so the 3.00” nominal OD threaded length would be a breeze. I ordered a couple of spools of shock tube, comb connectors, deflectors, and tie-ins, and a 25 kilo box of ‘Elephant Shit’.
We make sure each hole was blown clean with a high-pressure water hose. Since the water here was only 8 meters deep, we could get by with regular lightweight skin diving gear. I could leave my wetsuit, diver’s helmet and all that heavy-duty ice-diving gear at home for this trip.
Liam and I would pre-form the charges, each exactly 6 meters in length, to match the depth of the drilled holes. Individual 1-meter units just screwed together, pin and box style, it was the utmost in simplicity. Rather like Seismogel™, but packed a considerably higher wallop. All told, we would be setting off some 36 nodal points, each 6 meters deep with 6 meters of binary which weighed 5.3 kg/meter.
Turn the crank and we’d be planting approximately 1,145 kilograms or 2,524 pounds of high-energy binary explosive.
Hmph. A new personal record.
Like Guinness even cared.
So, once we got the high sign from Randy that the shot holes had been drilled and cleaned, the next part of the project was up to us.
We were both PADI-certified. Liam had done some oilfield related diving in the North Sea some years ago. I was a veteran of the Ice Wars from the days of Future Passed back in Baja Canada.
The waters here were calm, gin-clear, and warm.
The dives here weren’t work, this was a paid vacation.
I had liberated a trailer for all our pyrotechnics and Liam was elected to use his Prago as the tow vehicle. We bounded our way out to the Liam’s Pass, as we had dubbed it, with a work trailer containing some 2,750 pounds of high powered, binary explosives bouncing behind. I also had all my explosives paraphernalia there as well: new waterproof galvanometer, which in and of itself, is rather the achievement. Pliers, spare batteries, couple pair of blaster’s tools, the usual.
Lia and I had our dive gear in the back of his Prago.
A couple of single tanks, backpacks, regulators, hoses, and a few belts full of divers weights.
These must have been of Islamic origin as they are specifically prohibited by the Bible. Deuteronomy 25:13, “Thou shalt not have on thy belt divers weights, a great and a small.” And Proverbs 20:23, “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
Why there should be proscriptions against SCUBA gear in ancient, desert-dwelling, shepherding Iron Age writings is what keeps Biblical Scholars up at night.
Although I agree, a false balance underwater keeps your Swimmer’s Ear from healing up.
At the pass, we park and call over for a half-dozen ‘helpers’. They were nominal employees of the company, but more indentured servants. Today, they were going to earn their water wings. We had a couple of large pneumatic rafts that we’d use to transport he charges to their final water resting site but damned if Liam and I are going to swim laps every time we needed to set a new charge.
So, indoctrination and Explosives For Dummies.
Safety first, second and last.
Who here can swim?
You guys can stay. OK, the rest of you blokes, bugger off.
Here’s the deal, Sparky. There are 36 lengths of Kinestix with primers already set. Those go last, as that’s where I tie in to detonate. The rest of the 1-meter long tubes are identical. Pin on one end, box on the other. Thread them together and use a single ‘O-ring’ between each. Snug them up good and tight, but don’t go too crazy. Those are binary liquids, and I’ll give them a good smack with a hammer before they go into the hole. I really only have to do the last one as once initiated, these liquids can mix in milliseconds, but I’m all for safety and doing things right the first time.
OK, so, one raft will carry the 36 initiators, that is, the last bits to go. The other rafts will carry the 5-meter long strings of connected explosives. Liam and I will be down on bottom and you guys just stay up on surface, dog paddling or treading water, but slowly feeding the lengths of tubing down to us. When you reach an end, pop on one of the other lengths, the one with the primer.
To be continued.
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Dear British friends,... (a rant from the continent)

This is an overly long opinion piece and a kinda vicious rant. But I have to get this off my chest because at this point in time I am lost for words to describe the incredible thing that is Brexit, therefore I'm interested in the opinion of British and other non-British people. For a couple of months now I've been watching in awe several times a month how the House of Commons, your parliament, the elected representatives of the British people, have taken up the shovel and started digging. It is a strange and surreal experience, like standing next to burning orphanage: It is horrible but I can't stop watching. Mere days ago HoC voted down every single proposal to at least mitigate some of the damage and there has not been any outburst of common sense, a thing the British always were famous for, since. To be blunt, for me it was the straw that broke the camels back.

I am a German and I don't know whether my views reflect a majority or minority. I'm an engineer in the chemical industry and I have travelled to Britain often during the last 15 years. I strolled trough the countryside, I visited the big cities, I have been surprised about the excellent restaurants even in places I'd never have expected (namely the "Old School Restaurant" on the Isle of Skye. If you are there, have yourself a treat and pay it a visit!). I have met a lot of wonderful people during my visits to Britain, both on holiday and on business travels. I like Britain. A lot.

And therefore it is hard to see her leave EU. To me Brexit came not so much as a shock but as a situation forcing a decision on my part too. It is sad to be left by and have to abandon you as an EU member, but it won't break my heart and in their current state neither the government nor parliament, nor the people of the UK look as if they could contribute to the EU in any meaningful way.

Every single person I know thinks and most newspapers state about the offical stance of your government that it relfects a situation in which both the people as a whole and the government of the UK either don't know what can realistically be achieved or don't know what they really want at all. All polls show significant support for either side with still only relatively narrow majorities. HoC sessions during the last weeks embody this problem. It is the most undesireable state of affairs in the current situation. Regardless of your future relationship with the EU, roughly half your population will be deeply unhappy. There is no unequivocal Will Of The People.

The blame game has already begun and since a huge part of your population has been swallowing untrue or at least grossly exaggerated anti-EU-crap for decades I have no hope that a significant portion of those will see through the lies. I fully expect roughly half the British to blame EU for the shitshow Brexit their government put together. If fully expect HoC to reflect that blame. And therefore in my opinion in the long run it is best for EU if UK is out as quickly as possible (but prefarble when EU is ready and europhile British have set their plans for movement to EU in motion).

After the first vote in the House of Commons I watched it became clear to me that the majority of MP's don't give two single fucks about a workable solution. I don't know whether it is mostly party politics, personal animosities, cognitive dissonance, sheer incompetence or a mélange of everything. At this point in time UK is not governed well and her people are not represented by men and women capable of managing a task like withdrawing from EU. I feel sad but finally a thought that has lurked around somewhere in the background all the time has now come to the forefront: I don't want a second referndum. I don't want UK revoking A50 at the eleventh hour.

I don't want UK inside EU. I want her out. I want her out for good.

This is neither funny nor amusing. It will affect me negatively personally because I like travelling to Britain and therefore I've given it a lot of thought. It's a hard decission. It comes with a lot of problems for everyone involved. It will make us all poorer, it will make UK prone to falling prey to American and Chinese interests. It will weaken EU politically. But still I want UK out of EU. This situation is forcing a decission as binary as the initial referendum was: In or Out. As we say in Germany: Halbschwanger gibt's nicht (you can't be half-pregnant).

Two years ago I would have been happy had HMG decided that it were in their best interest to abandon the exit and HoC had supported that decision. But two years ago the world was vastly different. Only few companies had set their plans for relocation out of UK in motion, the war rethoric wasn't as widespread and a working cross-party solution seemed at least not impossible.

In my view the most crucial mistake your government made was thinking of the negotiation as a game of poker or a haggle at the bazar. I would call that the layman's approach to negotiation because I often meet it. Laymen tend to think negatiation means being secretive, playing tough and who blinks first loses - but that is not how it's done in the real world. In the real world negotiators are well prepared with data and know the strengths and weaknesses of their counterparts and their own. They use their leverage to assert compromise, not dominance. Instead of consulting actual business negotiators or senior civil servants HMG and many influential people like the ERG thought playing tough and not blinking first were viable strategies. They never really tried to assess what possibillities were on the table and what could realistically be achieved. That's why to this day, not two weaks away from the cliff-edge, no open debate about what kind of Brexit HMG should persue was held in Britain. And that's why they so fundamentally misunderstood how the EU operates and do so to this very day.

They have failed to grasp that EU is first and formost an entity driven by procedure. This is a neccessity to ensure that two dozon chicks waddle at least roughly in the same direction. Therefore EUs insistance on a clear structuring of the leave process. Even in 2019 HMG have tried to negotiate with individual countries or shift the goal posts and even today they are still baffled that this approach didn't turn out well.
This goes much deeper than just the Brexit negotiatons: One of the frequent criticisms of EU is that the members could never agree on anything or constantly veto each other for parochial reasons. But in practice they do agree and don't veto each other most of the time and a lot of things get done. The stance of EU during the entire Brexit process has been consistent, clear and unanimous. EU won't blink. EU will do what her representatives say. EU has one of the most efficient bureaucracies in the world - 60.000 civil servants in Brussels and Strassbourg may be a lot of people in absolute terms but the city of München alone has roughly 40.000 civil servants and the city of Hamburg has 100.000 so in relative terms it is not even that large.

They have failed to realise that on a world scale the EU practically is Europe. Even without UK she contains about 60 % of the citizens, 80 % of GDP and practically all the political weight on the continent. Every single country not being a member is extremely closely aligned. Norway and Switzerland for that matter are all but members without voting rights. Even Belarus and Russia have lots of treaties and despite all the sabre rattling of the past two decades get along with each other pretty well in the long run. Unless Britain can be towed across the atlantic to the Americas there is no way in the world that the continent will not be her most important political and economic partner. Sheer geographic proximity is still and for the foreseable future will probably continue to be the most important factor when it comes to trade and alliences.

They have failed to realise that Devide And Conquer won't work. It should have been clear at the very beginning of negotiations when PM May travelled to half a dozen EU countries she hoped to negotiate with sperately only to be told that the negotiations had to be conducted with the EU, not Austria, France, Germany, etc. Many people say that this was going to show first and foremost, that the British government after 40 years of membership still have no clue about the meaning and the inner workings of the EU despite being a highly influential member. I have heard people opine that at some point in time HMG started to believe their own spin about EU being hopelessly devided all the time. Sadly I too think this assessment is acurate.

They have failed to realise that the four freedoms are the single market and for nearly all practical purposes the single market is the EU. They are are not negotiable because abandoning one of them would be the end of the single market and consequently the EU. And regardless to your opinion on whether the EU is overall positive or negative, no one in their right mind can realistically expect the EU to tear up herself.

They have grossly overestimated their importance for the continental industry. I'm an engineer in the chemical industry and our approach to brexit can be summed up like this: It's a shame but if you must, please leave in an orderly fashion. You will be missed but ultimately the EU is of more importance to us because it's the bigger market to sell to and buy from, the bigger economic area and the vastly more powerful political entity. If you leave in an orderly fashion there will be some disturbances but ultimately your industry will still be valuable. If you crash out there will be a period of trouble and disorder after which a lot of business will be gone. So please avoid that on all cost. Again keep in mind: Losing you will be expensive but losing the EU will be desastrous. So be in no doubt as to the seriousness of your position.

They have failed to understand continental and particularly French and German foreign policy after world war II. By far the most important topic for our foreign policy is keeping peace with our neighbours and deepen our economic and cultural interactions in order to cement this peace. This is in fact where the whole project of a united Europe started from in the early 1950's, when French foreign minister Schuman and German chancellor Adenauer signed a treaty about Franco-German coal and steel production that quickly morphed into the ECSC, than the EEC and ultimately the EU. With the very first paragraph of the Treaty of Rome stating exactly that. A lot of British people still think EU started as a pure trade community but that is wrong. As early as 1951 the ECSC contained the seeds of all the departments, bodies and organs of todays EU.

They have failed to grasp that while we don't want you to leave we won't fight to keep you in. We have no obligation to help you beyond what is in our best interest. We don't want to punish you but we won't let you keep your benefits when leaving. The responsibility of the EU is first and foremost to the members of the EU - which you aren't going to be anymore soon. We will do our best to make the EU a success - it is your own responsibility to make Britain a success. We will do everything we can to ensure that EU comes out of this mess in the best possible way. If along that way Uk also comes out in the best possible way, we will all be pleased. If UK sinks into chaos we won't be pleased at all but again: Being successful out of EU is UK's responsibility. Please keep that in mind: We are not against you. We are for us.

They don't understand why the members of the EU stand firm in the current situation. There's an expression so German there isn't a proper english idiom: "Pack schlägt sich, Pack verträgt sich" which means that, whereas members of a group are prone to fight with each other, they are equally prone to make peace again quickly, especially when confronted with a sitatuation concerning the group as a whole. A situation, for instance, like Brexit. Many people in Brtain grossly overestimate the problems of member states, particularly their problems with the EU.

They have overestimated the anti-EU sentiment on the continent. While it is true that a lot of people are openly critical or even against EU there is no mainstream party openly campaigning for their country to leave anymore. Even in France, Germany and Italy the tone of that parties has considerably mellowed. In Britain anti-EU fringe is mainstream politics and has been for as long as I can remember. Goverments of France, Germany, etc. are dealing with their political extremists but in blaming the EU for every decission of British politics (No ID cards, low taxes, low regulation, lack of industrial policy, privatising vital assets, crushing workers rights, etc.) successive British governments have actively persued anti-EU populsim and in effect executed anti-EU agendas by chosing to leave the EU. You don't have to be affraid of a rise of a new fringe party or a rebirth of UKIP, because you have the Conservative Party and the anti-EU wing of Labour. Even without UKIP and the like anit-EU sentiment is a strong force in your political environment.

Successive British governments have loudly blamed the EU for politics completely within their realm of responsibility. Even further: They have loudly embraced the anti-immigrant and anti-EU crowd while at the same time doing exactly the opposite: You are governed by the same PM who sent Vans saying "Go Home!" through high-immigration boroughs and oversaw the windrush scandal while doing bugger all to excersise any meaningful form of control over immigration (COMPLETE for non-EU- and VAST for EU-immigration). You are governed by the very party that kept blaming the EU for any interior British problems despite the fact that they were home grown. Examples: EU regulation on immigration has been written largly by British lawmakers in the 1990. Immigration doesn't need to be unrestricted under EU regulation. It is your government that chose for 25 years not to excersise their options. The large disparity in income has nothing to do with EU regulation - in fact Britain always has been a pain in the ass when it comes to further regulation and strengthening workers rights (Remember how Thatcher crushed the Unions?).

Going full turbo-capitalism and trying to pull off a Singapore most likely is also no realistic option because an area state like UK is significantly different to a city state. Dropping all tariffs would probably either destroy the remaining manufacturing or forcing much harsher conditions on British workers. In addition the national distribution of wealth would be even more shifted towards the large cities, because the one top-tier world class industry UK has is financial services which are overwhelmingly provided by firms in those large cities.

Your government tried to negotiate with individual EU countries dozens of times during the last 2,5 years and was denied every single time. Of course politicians clad the message in fine talking along the lines of "Of course we are looking forward to mutally attractive trade aggreements after Britain leaves the EU" or "We are prepared to basically copy the agreements that be" but I am quite certain that the very moment after Britains departure has been in force, she will be swarmed by cohorts of negotiators from basically every conutry in the world saying things along the lines of "Of course we would like to have the basically same deal. Juuuuuust some minor adjustments here and there and here too and, oh, also over there. And that point we surely can drop at all but this one we'd like to discuss a little further...".

Please keep in mind that for close to three years now UK has been loudly announcing to the world that after four decades of discussion she was unable to agree on a clear idea of what her position in the world should look like after Brexit. The referendum was almost three years ago. And still the question has not been answered by UK. Surely many individual opinions float around but HMG haven't managed to form a coherent strategy by taking them into due account. Instead you got soundbites like "Brexit Means Brexit" and "Will Of The People" and "We voted to leave" without defining what options to persue. The rest of the world know this. They can see it with their very eyes and hear it with their very ears. They've been watching! They've been taking notes! I am absolutely certain that whole branches of the civil services of all the major and emerging nations are working overtime to review all the treaties they now have with EU in order to find items they could renegotiate to their advantage with UK. For the last three years private and public executives have taken notice of the negotiation process and how UK conducted herself in contrast to EU. Be in no doubt which entity is regarded as the more professional, better prepared, reasonable, stable and united one. Especially after the latest parliamentary sessions.

In my opinion Britain at this point in time has a MASSIVE problem with herself, exemplified through the division amongst MP of either party, parliament as a whole, subgroups in HMG and a public that is roughly split in half over the question of Brexit. In my humble opinion the damage UK in her current state could inflict on EU as a whole in the immediate future is far greater than she could as a third country, even after a hard Brexit. Surely, A50 could be revoked tomorrow but there is no way in the world to undo the effects of Brexit. In her current state Britain as an EU member would likely sent outright EU enemies to the European Parliament. She would be a pain int the ass in any future decission and discussion - even if HMG would want to stay in EU in the goodest of faiths the rift running through the public and the HoC would still be there and continue to be a ball and chain to anything the EU27 would want to get done. Im totally absolutely positively certain that not five years after a possible revokation of A50 the PM would arrive in Brussels for renegotiation of UKs terms of membership. I am equally certain British politicians of either party would continue to shift the blame for their unpopular decissions on EU (that British press will do so is a given regardless of the outcome of Brexit). There is deep disparity between the city and the countryside, the poor people and the rich, the well educated and the not well educated. As far as I can see far deeper than for instance in France, Germany or Italy. If UK government won't be able to fix this they (I'm pretty sure they won't) will look for a scapegoat and this will most likely be EU. Therefore I don't want British MEP. I don't want people of a country leaving EU in the near future to have seats and influence or even sabotage decisions in the European Parliament. I particularly don't want the likes of Farage there. I don't want EU hampared by pointless obstruction of MEP who won't have to live with the consequences.

It is, in my humble opinion, positively bat-shit crazy to consider the party that is now in government, the party that went full steam austerity, the party that is home to the most vicious desaster capitalists currently influencing British politics, the party that it is even deeper rooted by private networks than my garden is by the blackberry on the adjacent meadow, the very party that has achieved next to nothing in almost three years time will champion a new soically sound domestic policy improving the lives of the poor and precarious after having left EU.
It is, again in my humble opinion, at least very naive to assume that the current opposition, lead by a life-long anti-EU campaigner and with a strong anti-EU wing of her own, having not taken a clear stance on whether to be in favour or against Brexit, under the constraints the loss of all those international treaties will pose, can implement even a small portion of their proposed legislation with success.

And thusly, as a German and EU citizen who wants as little fallout from your internal problems as possible to go down over the rest of Europe, I want you out of EU. Obviously neither HMG nor HoC nor a sizable part of the public can be trusted to rely on EU for anything but her being a whipping girl for her internal struggles and unpopular decissions. I don't suspect this to stop, change or even gain significant backlash in the next years.

This is not only recognized by little old me, but certainly by decission makers all around the globe. UK, once upon a time the mightiest and most adored nation in the world, home to the finest scientists, industries and ruler over a quarter of the earths surface not hundred years ago, will soon have cut herself off one of the biggest, richest and most powerful blocs in the world. UK will than govern roughly 1/100 of world population, less than 1/100 of military personnel, 2 % of wealth without any meaningful treaty, besides her NATO membership, to anyone anymore. She will be on her own. A ship on the high seas with a crew that can't even set a course after years of discussion. Please keep in mind that on the world scale UK, when anything besides financial services is considered, is a high-wage-low-productivity country. Practically all your industries are heavily dependend on, and heavily aligned to frictionless trade. Domestic farming for instance provides UK people with locally produced food (People everywhere love to eat "homegrown"), manufacturing often provides well paid work outside the big cities and in rural areas. Without the political power of EU and the hundreds of treaties with other countries she provides, UK is sigificantly weakening the prospects of her remaining industries.

This is not news. A lot of people in UK know this. A lot of people all around the globe know this. I still hope that there can be an agreement found in the next week, but with each day going by it looks less likely to me. Still a lot of people can't imagine what sort fo havoc a No-Deal Brexit is bound to wreak but I fear they are going to be in for a serious reality check very soon. It is a cold world after all.

Take care.
submitted by OrciEMT to brexit [link] [comments]

DEMOLITION DAYS, Part 47

continuing
As I was picking myself up off the shooter’s shack floor, I glanced over to the TV.
The ballplayers were all wandering around the field, looking skyward. Evidently, there was this hellacious explosion…even the television sports commentators were speculating as to what happened.
Whoops.
I looked out into the quarry. The wall that I had charged had receded some 75 feet.
There was rather a large amount of shattered, blasted dolomitic limestone now in the quarry. Enough, I found out later, for a full month’s worth of orders.
We never did find the blasting mats. I think they sort of evaporated.
Luckily, the quarry is essentially an open amphitheater in plan view; basically a big hole in the ground with vertical limestone walls. The shockwave of the blast that didn’t spend itself shattering the limestone into which it was housed, blew out laterally, hit the opposite quarry wall, rebounded, and then dispersed, rather energetically, vertically upward.
I set off car alarms for a 20 block radius.
There were no broken home windows, as the lion’s share of the shock wave was redirected upward.
Good thing there were no low flying zeppelins or dirigibles in the area...
I waited the requisite time to allow for any loafers. There were none, so I jumped into the nearest wheel loader and began clearing the quarry floor. Hell, I had to so I could open the front gate.
As I was clearing the floor, making pile number eight of the loose rock I had liberated, I heard the characteristic whoop-whoop of emergency vehicles.
I parked the wheel loader, opened the front gate, and raised the green flag. That was enough blasting for one day.
A few minutes later, three police cars zoom into the site. Two were local city cops, and one was a state trooper.
“Hi, guys!” I waved, “Nice day, innit?”
“Doctor Rock! We should have known.” One of the local boys groaned.
“Hey, I did call you beforehand, as per procedure,” I said.
Polack the cop walks up, just knowing I was responsible. “Yeah, but we didn’t figure on you terrorizing the entire city.”
“Polack! How goes it?” I asked.
The other local cop and the state trooper look to Polack, “You know this maniac?”
“Oh, hell yeah. For years. Don’t worry, the good doctor is mostly harmless.” He chuckles.
“Damn. OK. I guess everything’s OK. Just no more shooting today, please, Doctor. It’s going to take hours to calm everyone down.” He laments.
“Yes, sir. I’m done for the day.” I reply, snickering slightly.
The one local and state trooper depart, shaking their heads in amazement. This left Polack to follow me over to the shooter’s shack to mooch a cigar and whatever else he can find.
“Jesus Hula-Dancing Christ, Rock. What the hell was that? I was all the way out in Whitewatosa and heard you.” He asks as he sneakily snakes a smoke out of my case.
“Just some common chemicals in the proper proportions.” I snicker.
“Which were?” he asks.
I go in the back of the shed and toss him an empty container of one of the parts of the binaries I used. He catches it, reads the label, and drops it like a live grenade.
“Binaries? Fuck! Like what you used at the tower?” he asks.
“Yep. I used just a little more.” I reply.
“Little more? Damn, as I said, we’ve been briefed on the stuff. This shit’s nasty.” He shakes his head.
“Yeah. Fun, too.” I reply.
Polack grabs a Sprechler’s Cream Soda out of the fridge as I opt for a cold Cream Ale and shot of potato juice. Hell, I was done for the day, so…
We sit around and have a chat, just shooting the shit, as it were. Manly topics, so the conversation eventually steered over to guns.
“Hey!” Polack remembers, “That’s right! You fucking owe me. Let me borrow that fucking cannon you carry. I want to show the chief a thing or two.”
“Yeah, that’s right”, I agree, “When do you need it?”
“This Friday, after shift. It’s the monthly qualifiers for us.” He notes.
“Are pyromaniacs allowed in?” I ask.
“To observe? Sure. To shoot? Nope. Insurance regulations.” He says.
“What time?” I continue.
“1800 hours.” He tells me.
“I’ll be there. I’ll bring my gun and an assortment of loads. Hey, this could be fun!” I evilly smile.
“Doctor. You’re doing that thing again. You’re grinnin’ like a shithouse rat. You know how much that scares me. Stop it.” He pleads.
“No worries. Friday at 1800 hours.” I reply, grinning.
Polack slurps down his Sprechlers, snitches another stogie, and squeals out of the quarry in a cloud of dense dolomitic dust.
I arrive back at our flat, after stopping for two frozen custard Turtle Sundaes, to go. I give one to an appreciative wife and I ask her about her day.
“Oh, went shopping with Oma. Got the cutest shoes, and a new purse, and…oh well, never mind. You’ll see.”
Between bites of Turtle Sundae, she asks how my day went.
“Oh, my dear. I had a real blast.” I replied, not lying in the least.
Monday, after my first classes, I’m back in the faculty lounge, savoring a Greenland Coffee.
There was the usual instructor chatter when Dean Vermiculari walks in.
“Good morning, Dean!” I say. “Care for a sit-down and a coffee?”
“Good morning, Doctor Rock. Yes, please to both.” He replies.
I fix us both a fresh Greenland Coffee and return to our table. I hand him one and sit down to savor my soupçon.
“How was your weekend?” I ask the Dean of the College.
“Oh, very nice. Had a fine time catching some perch and crappie out on Lake Genever. I see you had a victorious weekend as well. Twice.” He smiles.
“Twice?” I asked.
“Well, your handling of the tower demolition made all the papers. Very, very well done, Doctor. I congratulate you.” He smiles.
“Thank you, Dean. That means a lot. Just doing what I can with what I’ve got. But twice?” I replied.
“It wasn’t front-page news, but I saw there was some, well, let us just say, ‘energetic activity’ out at the Silurian reef limestone quarry yesterday.” He grinned.
“Oh, yes. I had a job to do and well, as I always say: ‘Nothing succeeds like excess.” I smile back.
“Quite. This beverage you’ve created is really rather extraordinary, Doctor. Again, I thank you.” He tips his mug my direction in the age-old Midwestern salute.
“It’s a little recipe I picked up on my last expedition to the northlands. I grew rather fond of the concoction.” I replied.
“Ah, I see. Marvelous.” He smiles.
“Thank you, Dean. High praise indeed.” I reply.
“Which leads me to…ah, Doctor Rock. I have another favor to impose upon you.” He says, all serious.
“Yes, Dean? How can I be of service?” I ask.
“We, as you no doubt know, have many, many fine extractive mineral company connections. We actually receive quite a large amount of funding and endowments from them. They recruit here extensively for our young geoscientists. Now, since Dr. Pataariki has left for industry himself, I would like to appoint you as the College of Natural Sciences corporate liaison.” He explains.
“Indeed?” I replied, too stunned for words for once.
“Yes, indeed.” He continues, “It will require travel, mostly domestic, and delivering symposia at various companies on differing extractive geological subjects. You will also serve as host and university coordinator when they are present on recruiting tours. There will, of course, be additional remuneration to accompany the added responsibilities.”
I slurped my coffee, thinking furiously.
“Could I please first discuss it with my wife before I answer?” I ask.
“Oh, Doctor. Of course, of course. Take your time. I will not require a reply until… tomorrow.” He smiles, finishes his coffee, thanks me again, and toddles out.
“Yow, Es!” I exclaim, “This is one hell of an opportunity. It’s never before been offered to a junior professor. This will cement my tenure-track. It’s going to be a bitch with time, though. What do you think I should do?”
“Well, Rock, honey, I think you should do…” Es begins.
“No! None of that ‘do what you think is best’ stuff. I want your own thoughts, just like when I decided to go after my doctorate.” I explained.
“OK, then.” Esme looks all serious like she’s going to deliver a bipartisan political speech.
“Yes.” She says, firmly
“That’s it?” I ask.
“Yep. You asked I answered. We’ll make it work. We always do. You can’t let the Dean down. You will accept tomorrow without fear or qualms of your wife’s hesitations, of which I harbor none.” Esme proclaims.
“Did I ever tell you of the myriad reasons I love you so?” I ask.
The next morning I meet with Dean Vermiculari. He’s pleased that I accept and hands over to me the charter. Then the lists of company representatives, their contact information, and some other secret stuff that I can’t divulge right yet.
A raft of oil companies will be coming in the late spring semester, so I need to contact each and every one to solidify dates, times and positions for which they’re recruiting. But that’s for then, I have something more proximal for now.
I have a Friday appointment with Polack the cop at the town police shooting range.
I arrive spot on time with my Casull .454 Magnum pistol, in its carry bag, along with a small duffel crammed with Pyrodex, Tannerite, and selection of specialty loads I had Herman the German, the inveterate gunsmith, create.
Herman the German, his actual sobriquet, was this incredible gunsmith, craftsman, and all-around artillery specialist. Have any sort of problem with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol? See Herman. Gun holding too high? See Herman. Barrel warped? See Herman. Need solid gold projectiles for a certain one-off job? See Herman.
Herman the German can sort it out.
Just never ask him: “How?”
“Ach! I’ve lived so long to learn, and you want it free? I’ll fix it, you pay, but I am only one knowing how!”
Herman was a cranky old Kraut, and has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. Even my Grandfather had deferred to Herman when he had some particularly delicate machining operation that need special attention and was unique.
As far as anyone knew, Herman had no family, but was never at a loss for friends. He was one of the most popular, and well known, but still oddly really unknown, kind of mysterious, old bastards in the entire community.
Herman the German liked me because I could obtain for him certain high-energy things he couldn’t. All were entirely legal, but some were sort of out there in the gray zone.
He also liked that I was educated, as he held education in the highest esteem. He also liked that I was of German extraction myself.
I often made it a point to drop by with odd and unusual high-octane potables while never expecting anything in return other than a story or a shared cigar.
Herman created some special loads for my .454 Magnum, which he prized.
“I like your gun, Doctor Rock, it is so big! I can still see well enough to build things for it.” He told me one day over cheroots and Schnapps.
Herman was a character to be certain. It must have been the pixie in him to dream up some of the specialty rounds he created for me to share with the local constabulary.
He lived out in the county by himself in an old farmhouse. He had a full machine shop in his basement, complete with forge, metal handling equipment, and a firing test range.
He handed back my .454, rather solemnly.
“Doctor, I am afraid to say I couldn’t test all the special rounds I’ve created for you. I need to patch the hole in the cinder blocks in the downstairs range. Your gun punched right through the back…” he apologized.
Now, Herman does all sorts of work on the local’s deer rifles, the police’s ordinance and has even worked some with the Baja Canada National Guard. Some of the little novelties he’s dreamed up for me are the first to escape his homemade basement test range.
I felt oddly honored.
After proving who I was to the nice range officer, I looked around trying to find Polack.
“It’s 1550. Where the hell is Polack? I wondered.
“Rock! Over here.” Polack calls to me.
He motions me outside to the police department’s tactical outdoor range. I had thought all along he was referring to the indoors police target range. This might pose some problems.
The tactical range was a series of clapboard shacks, all setup and designed to represent some downtrodden urban inter-city landscape. There were a couple of junked cars, broken sidewalks, storefronts, houses, bus stops…in short, all things necessary to replicate the seediest sections of a settlement where malefactors live and breed.
The cops all run around this range, shooting at bad guy pop-up cut-outs and avoid the not-bad-guy pop-up cut-outs. They’ve got music blaring, firecrackers going off, all trying to re-create a shady deeply urban environment. Points are awarded by the accuracy of fire on the run, time to maneuver the course, and the ability of not gunning down innocent bystanders.
It is not the best place to test a .454 Cusall. This hand cannon recoils like a fundamentalist Christian being solicited for donations to Anton LaVey, shoots flames and incandescent gasses like Smaug after a hard night of drinking and a stop at the Taco Bell buffet, is louder than a dime-store Karen demanding to see a Manager, and more powerful than a Ghost Pepper suppository.
To quote Joe Piscopo: “It shoots through schools.” Especially faux-schools made of plywood.
A .32 or .38 cop special is the correct weapon here; even a 9mm is a little heavy. Enough power to make a serious dent, easy on control, light on the recoil…a good tactical weapon.
But, nothing succeeds like excess.
Polack’s Chief is running around, capping off his ‘big ol’ .44 Magnum, and making the valley echo. He punches considerable holes in the pop-up cut-outs, but has such a hard time handling the recoil, his score is barely passable.
Polack runs his test with his standard 9mm sidearm and qualifies easily. However, he’s nowhere near done with his Chief yet.
I suggest to Polack we have a shoot-off. And since a .44 Magnum bullet ‘is so close to a .454 Magnum’, which it isn’t…the .454 Casull generates nearly 85% more recoil energy than the .44 Magnum; that we’d need something other than holes punched in plywood to judge the efficacy of each.
We are literally just down the road from Max Yazzer’s farm and market. They’re the place you go for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. However, now, he has a surplus of melons.
I think you can see where this is headed…
I borrow Polack’s personal conveyance and run down to Max’s farm. I return with a trunk-load of elderly, overripe, cheap as chips, melons. Watermelons, Honeydews, Musks, and Casabas.
We place them in strategic areas on the course, five for the Chief to find, and five for Polack.
A .44 vs. a .454 melon-wise results in pretty much the same sort of mess: high-velocity fruit spatter. Although, the Chief was very impressed by the report of the .454. So, after running the tactical-melon course, clear demarcation of a winner was elusive.
OK, OK, clever dicks. How about this? A standing shoot-off? We’ll set up 3 melons each at 30, 20, and 10 yards. Beginning at 30 yards, your time will be until you take out all three melons. But, they’re not going to be in a straight line, we’re going to make them somewhat camouflaged. You will stand in one small demarcated area, hunt those miscreant melons, and bring them to justice. Fastest time and greatest display wins, as determined by the Police Peanut Gallery.
Polack and the Chief agree.
The Chief goes first and dispatches the melons, with a fair amount of spatter, in 15.3 seconds.
Not bad.
Polack is next. He wipes out all the melons and creates some thoroughly impressive displays with Herman’s ‘special’ rounds. Normal ballistics for the .454 are, for a 250 grain (16 g) bullet, a muzzle velocity of over 2,400 feet per second, developing up to 2,800 ft-lb of energy.
Herman’s hot loads are double that.
Polack wins the day on impressive high-velocity melon distribution, but misses, so close, with a time of 17.0 seconds.
Recoil’s a bitch.
Then there are Herman’s ‘specialties’.
The Chief is duly impressed and even comments that his ears are ringing even with the ear protectors. He asks to inspect the weapon. He is even more than duly impressed.
Polack knows what’s up and asks the Chief if he’d like to give a whirl.
Of course, the Chief can’t back down.
Polack loads the .454 with 5 of Herman’s specialties: hollow-point rounds loaded hot, compressed, and tipped with alkaline earth metals, like metallic sodium and metallic potassium…
We set up the nastiest, glorpiest, just barely-holding-together, overripe, laced with Tannerite (an impact-actuated low-explosive) watermelon at the ‘Concealed Carry’ distance of 5 meters.
We slowly fade back into the distance to avoid the inevitable ‘Gallagher reaction’.
The Chief fires one, and just nicks the top of the melon. Don’t laugh, with the type of recoil and heft of the sidearm, and tensing up in anticipation, it’s easy to be off the mark initially.
The second round impacts dead-center. Now, alkaline earth metals and water don’t get along really well. In fact, their relationship is explosive. Especially explosive when delivered at 2,900 feet per second.
The Chief catches a huge smattering of vitamin-packed watermelony back blast goo.
He’s not entirely happy. He looks positively grisly with all that blown-up melon schmoo on his nice, neat uniform.
He returns my gun and bans me from ever showing up at the police range again.
Polack is on traffic duty for the next month.
He figures it was well worth it.
Back at the flat, Esme is shaking her head and wondering if I’ll ever grow up.
“I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up.” I reply.
I see I have several missed phone calls. Ah, me; no rest for the weary. Back to company-university liaison duties.
After I had contacted these companies, I receive no less than 12 requests for symposia, talks, and seminars to be given to various level of industrial scientific employees in their respective companies.
I am now slated to give academic conferences on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and seismic structural geology to different companies in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Casper, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In the next 12 weeks, I’ll be giving no less than 8 talks in seven cities.
I speak with Dean Vermiculari on how best to handle the situation. He understands and appoints two graduate student teaching assistants to handle my classes while I’m on the road. That relieves me of being physically there, but I still have to grade papers, compose lesson plans, and keep things running smoothly until finals.
Besides giving the talks, there’s travel to oil fields, production facilitates, manufacturing plants, hotels, restaurants while I’m in town…the pace is excruciating. I’m gone more than I am at university. Plus in my time back home, I’m still the ad hoc master blaster for the limestone quarry.
Then, there’s the companies arriving on campus, and the roles are reversed. Now I’m the welcome wagon and have to sort out the logistics of receiving the company representatives. I need to set up the colloquia to introduce the companies to the prospective students, arrange lodging, arrange passes for the university, transportation, “Meet-and-Greet’s, ad infinitum.
I knew this was having a bit of effect on me when I came back to the flat after one particularly grueling ordeal of canceled flights, full hotels, missed connections and lukewarm reception by the company workers.
“Hello”, I said, as I walked in the flat, “I believe you have a reservation for…”
Esme just stood there, wondering if I was having a laugh.
No, I wasn’t. I was completely hallucinating from road weariness, lack of sleep, jet lag, and total disorientation. This continued on for the next approximately 18 months.
Esme was beginning to have second thoughts about all this.
My teaching load was diminished by one whole introductory course. However, I was still flying hither and yon, delivering symposia, meeting with young geoscientists and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the Oil Industry.
I found it particularly fascinating.
Time marched on and it was once again it was the recruiting season. We had no less than eight oil companies visiting the university in their quest to swell the roster of their junior scientists.
I’m still busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a windstorm, but have settled into a groove of sorts. I know the company recruiters and they now know me. I’ve actually struck up friendships with several. Particularly since I take them to the best local restaurants and bars after their recruiting duties are finished.
I’ve met with recruiting representatives of Shrill Petrol, Mexxon, Nobil, Nocono Oil, Flug, Geddy, Brutish Petroleum, and Qexaco.
The recruiting season is winding down and I find myself with Red (not Adair), of Nocono Oil.
“Well, Doctor Rock”, Red states, “Another fine recruiting run. We’ve snagged two of your young geologists and one geophysicist. I’d say it was almost a perfect score.”
We’re sitting in the Norton’s Steakhouse. After a couple of prime pink porterhouses, we’re working on the post-dinner double vodka and bitter lemon for me, and Lagavulin for Red.
“Almost perfect?” I ask.
“Yeah. There’s been this one small nagging concern from our company higher-ups.” Red continues.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“We need some more senior people. For one thing, we’ve recently opened a new petroleum laboratory down in our Houston office. Going to need some serious talent to run that show.” Red says.
“I see”, I reply, “And…?”
“We need mentors. Those with varied and far-flung knowledge. They must be well educated, global in experience and stature, with an [ahem] diverse set of skills.” Red notes.
“Whew”, I agree, “That’s a tall order. You want my help with names of possible candidates? Is that it?”
“Not as such, Doctor.” Red drains his drink, motions for me to do the same, and orders another round.
Our drinks arrive and Red downs half his in one gulp.
“Well, then”, I continue, “How can I help?”
Red chuckles, “For someone so educated, you can really be thick as two short planks at times.”
I sit back, and sip my Old Thought Provoker.
The mercury-vapors light off.
“No!” I say, incredulously.
“Oh, yes.” Red smiles.
“No?” I ask, slowly taking in the possible effects of what he’s hinting at…
“OK, Doctor Rocknocker”, Red gets all serious and corporate, “We’d like to offer you a position at Nocono Oil as Senior Laboratory Manager and Head of Corporate Continuing Education.”
You could have knocked me over with a grenade. I was stunned. I fumbled with my drink.
“Red, you old con artist” I reply, “Is this a set-up?”
Red, serious as a heart attack, looks directly at me and replies, “Doctor Rock, absolutely not, it’s a genuine offer.”
He slides over a folder with some papers inside. “Here are the particulars.”
Reeling, I accept the folder. I open it and right after the corporate logos and legal bullshit, I see a tall figure with a whole raft of zeros trailing behind it.
I read furiously. The job would be both interesting and challenging. It would be in Houston, with travel and teaching at all other company outposts on a regular basis. I reexamine that figure from before and verify that I’m not now hallucinating.
The job comes with furnished, corporate-paid housing, incredible benefits, loads of opportunity for advancement, more opportunity to travel, really generous vacation time…
“Right. On the level?” I ask again.
“Yep.” Red bluntly says.
“Well”, I gulp, “you know I have to discuss this with Esme”, whom he’s met several times previous.
“Of course, and you probably want to finish out the semester, correct?” red asks.
“Oh, yes.” I reply. There would be a monsoon of paperwork and other grunt work I’d need to conclude or hand over if I were to accept this offer.
“OK, then”, Red finishes his drink, motions for me to do the same, a real rarity; but I was in another dimension at this point. He orders another round and sits back, waiting on a refill.
“You have two weeks to reply” Red states.
“I know that’s not a terribly long time, but we need to fill this position ASAP. Can I ask for that? Your answer, yea, or nay, within a fortnight?” Red demands.
“Yes”, I reply. “I at least owe you that.”
And that was the end of the discussion for the night about me joining the private sector. We stayed a few more hours, chatting, smoking my cigars, and discussing everything but the lumbering elephant in the room.
We part outside as I need to head back to our flat. Red wants to go downtown to one of those “Gentleman’s Clubs” he’s heard were so famous at the time.
I was flummoxed the whole cab ride home.
It was late when I returned, but I simply had to wake Es with the news.
“Rock, for pity’s sake, its 2 o’clock in the morning!” Es protests. “Can’t this wait until later?”
“Sorry, my dear” I reply, probably as serious as I ever had with Esme. “This is a potential game-changer.”
“What is it? Are you OK?” Esme trembles.
“Oh, I’m fine. Better than fine.” I reply.
She’s relieved.
“Then what’s so important?” she asks.
“Um…how would you like to move to Houston?” I ask.
“You going to teach at Cougar High (University of Houston)?” she inquires.
“Nope. Brace yourself. I’ve been offered a job with Nocono Oil.” I finally spill the beans.
Esme is slightly stunned and sits down.
I go to the wet bar, fix me a bracing potato juice and citrus and Esme a stiff white Zinfandel.
I hand her the wine and she is still semi-dazed and digesting the information.
I slurp a good portion of my drink, retrieve her Sobranjes and me a cigar from my Turkmenistan humidor.
I sit on the couch next to her and hug her soundly.
“Esme? Es? Earth to Es? You in there?” I joke.
“Oh, Yeah. Rock. Really? Hang on”, she leaves, returning with her housecoat as this might take a little time.
“So?” I ask, “Your thoughts. Now! Immediately! Initial reaction!” I try to jar her back into reality.
“Well, what do you want?” she asks.
“C’mon, my dearest. You know I hate that. No, what do you think? What do you honestly think?” I reply.
We both fire up our smokes, and I refresh our drinks. We return to the dinner table where Red’s folder lies.
“Es, here. Look at this.” I say, sliding the portfolio over to her.
She reads like a hungry man at a Vegas casino buffet. I can tell where she was stopped by something extraordinary.
“This is for real?” she asks, “Red’s not pulling a fast one?”
“Nope. It’s the genuine article”, I tell her, “He needs my reply within two weeks.”
“Rock, Rock…I just don’t know. It’s a lot to process at 0230 in the morning. Let’s go to bed and have a think in the morning. You have the luxury of at least that amount of time.” She notes.
“Right again, as usual”, I say, “Stuff it. It can wait.” We toddle off to bed.
The next morning, over Cuban omelets and Greenland Coffees, we sort through the particulars.
“Rock, it’s an extraordinary offer. But, do you want to leave teaching? I remember how you got all animated by Dean Vermiculari giving you the corporate liaison job and how that would improve your shot at tenure.” She notes.
“I just don’t know. I’m still shell-shocked.” I tell her. “Let me go to school and we’ll pick this up tonight. We both have work to do no matter what. Oh, bloody hell. I hadn’t considered your job. Another wrinkle in the mess.”
“Don’t you worry about that”, Esme smiles. “One catastrophe at a time.”
“I do so love you.” I hug her soundly. “Think I should mention this offer to anyone at school?”
“No. Definitely not.” Esme shakes her head. “Let’s figure this out on our own.”
“I agree”, I say, kiss her and depart for school once again.
The next week was a blur. Recruiting duties were dragging and I was being preoccupied.
Even my students noted the lack of in-room explosions lately.
I spend the next Saturday at the quarry, doing some small amount of blasting. I quiz the quarry owners about their progress in acquiring a new master for the quarry’s operation.
“Oh, Doctor Rock” they gush, “You’re doing such a fine job, we haven’t really looked. Why do you ask?”
“No particular reason at this time, I reply, “But perhaps you might want to begin looking”
The chinks in my armor were finally starting to show.
Sunday was spent out on Sliver Lake, with Esme and me chasing the elusive crappie, perch, and bucketmouth bass. It also gave us a chance to clear our heads from work, school and other such intrusions. We both needed a bit of downtime.
Later that night, after a meal of beer-battered fillet of crappie and perch on the barbie, we sit down at the dinner table.
The portfolio sits there, taunting us.
I get up, makes us both our drinks, sit down and declare that this is it.
“Es, darling” I say, “its nut-cuttin’ time. We need to make our decision.”
“You’re right.” Es agrees, “Time for risk-reward analysis. Get some paper and some pencils.”
We spend the next few hours listing the pros and cons of accepting the Houston position or staying here and pursuing my tenured professorship.
After several hours, I stretch, stand, and go to the fridge. I retrieve the bottle of Bollinger Les Vieilles Vignes Francaises I had purchased the other day.
I return to the table with the wine and the glasses, pop the cork and pour us both a glass of high-brow bubble water.
I hug and kiss Esme like I had just returned from a long, solo expedition.
“Esme, my darling. I’d like to propose a toast. First to us. Hа здоровый!”
“Cheers!” Esme replies.
“Secondly to Red, Dean Vermiculari, the quarry guys, Polack the Cop, and all the others that makes our life weird around here.”
“Seconded”, Es echoes.
“Finally: to Houston, Texas. Our new home!” I finally add.
The next morning, Dean Vermiculari peers over the top of his pince-nez glasses. He’s not looking overly happy with me right now.
“Why is it, Doctor, that everyone that receives the job of corporate liaison ends up going with corporate?” he asks.
“Perhaps it’s just the exposure to another world that exists beyond academia.” I reply, truthfully.
“Doctor Rocknocker,” the Dean gravely states, “I am not at all happy about your decision. We had great hopes for you here and you were riding right up the tenure track. Another five years and it would have been assured.”
“Five years is a long time, Dean”, I state the obvious.
“Yes, indeed.” The Dean replies frostily. “However, you are young. Perhaps you need to get this private sector nonsense out of your system, then you can return to academia where you belong.”
“Perhaps, perhaps”, I reply.
“Please, do consider this option down the road. You and your antics will be missed here, by students and faculty alike.” He says.
“I will, Dean, I promise.” I reply “However, for now, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.”
“Doctor, I will miss your strange and unique way of looking at life. I reluctantly accept your resignation at the end of the current semester and wish you all the best in your newest endeavors. Please remember us when corporate support for academia is mentioned in your new company.” he says.
“I promise you, Dean, I will not forget what I’ve learned here and what you’ve taught. It’s the least I can do,” I reply. “I will never forget my roots.”
“All I can ask”, he concludes. He stands to shake my hand. We shake and my audience is over.
I resign from the quarry a week later. They haven’t found a new blaster but wish me well on my new journey. I tell them I’m here until the end of the semester, so I won’t leave them high and dry.
I tell Polack the Cop about all the goings-on.
“Who the hell can I roust for beer and cigars now?” He whines. “Let me know when you get to Texas if they need any cops. I wouldn’t mind trying’ that. Hell, maybe a Texas Ranger!”
“A Cheesehead Ranger…?” I assure him I will and pass a box of cigars to him as a parting gift. He gives me a mayoral-signed get-out-of-jail-free card.
“Now you can drive that old Harley just as crazy as you want.” He chuckles.
“Thanks, Polack.” I say, shaking his hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I sold my bike a week earlier.
Red was very chuffed with the news.
“Snagged me a big one this time!’ He laughed, over the phone.
There was enough paperwork, considerations and decisions to be made to last the remaining time Esme and I had in-state until our move. Already, a moving company had arrived, done inventory, and was preparing for our move to Houston.
Esme resigned her position and decided she wanted to take some time off. She wanted to be a housewife, a colleague, and not have to work for once at an outside job. My new position allowed for that in spades. Besides with her credentials, anytime when she wants to re-join the workforce, there are myriad opportunities in the Bayou City.
We made the choice of housing out west of town, in Katy, Texas. We could have chosen Sugarland, Addicks, Greenspoint, Greenway, or the Memorial area. However, these west Houston company properties were closest to the job and largest in square footage.
My students got wind of my resignation and relocation. They threw me an unexpected farewell party at the Gast Haus. It was nickel-beer night and since they were footing the bill, it all worked out just fine.
I would miss the old place. The camaraderie, the seasons, the university; hell my home these last many years. I’ve been on many, many expeditions, but I always returned home.
Now, home was moving and was awaiting our arrival.
Esme and I said our farewells to our families as well. We were the first through college, the first ones to travel international, the first Doctor in the family, and the first to leave the state.
That’s a lot of familial firsts.
I had to keep reminding everyone it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, we’re just moving to Texas, it’s not like we’re off to Greenland or Mongolia…
[Gasp]
We saddled up Es’s old Chevy Nova, took one last, lingering look in the rearview mirror, and said fare thee well to our previous lives.
“We’ll be back. Someday. I promise” I told the city of our youth and young married adulthood.
We decided to drive to Houston because we had the luxury of a bit of time. We needed the stretch to chew over some interpersonal and private things on the way to the next chapter in our lives. Besides, the weather was good, the roads ahead open and clear, and Texas had no ‘Open Container’ law, yet.
We pointed the old Nova south and hit the gas.
A week later, we’re wandering around our new house in Katy, Texas. Our belongings, scant though they may be, arrived the day after we did. Esme and I spent the next couple of day rearranging the house, buying necessary domestic bits and pieces, and getting to know our new neighborhood.
First thing, though, Esme wanted to replace the old Nova. I concurred, but insisted we keep it as a second car and went out to purchase our first new car as a couple.
I wanted a Land Rover. We ended up with a glossy black Toyota 4-Runner. Close enough.
I was scheduled to show up at my new job the next Monday.
I had my own parking spot, complete with “Reserved for Dr. Rock” painted on the bumper block. I was shown my new lab and was introduced to my seven laboratory assistants. I was shown the catalogs I could use to order what I needed and went over the requisition procedures.
I was trotted around to meet the company CEO, CFO, CIO, VPs and many, many more company executives and managers. I’ve met with presidents and heads of state, I was impressed but not overly. They seemed like a more or less nice bunch of chaps.
Almost exactly five weeks to the day from our arrival in Houston, I come home, yelling “Darling, I’m home!”
Esme comes to greet me with a rib-rearranging hug. She tells me to sit at the dinner table, where my long hard day at the office drink, cigar, ashtray, and lighter are already set.
“How was work, dear?” she asks, sitting down with her Perrier water.
“Oh, it’s going great. The knotheads let me have an open-ended budget until I get the labs sorted just the way I want it. These guys pay their bills on time and I have carte blanche at Wards Scientific, and other supply houses. My crew is great, no interpersonal crapola, and hard workers. I can smoke in my office and no one dares give me shit about my cigars. I’m getting to know the exploration department quite well. They’re really interested in our expeditions and are more interested in my opinions of their new exploration directives.”
Esme just smiles and sips her water.
“Odd”, I thought.
“That’s great, dear.” She says. “I am so glad to hear it.”
“Me too”, I say, “How are you holding up after all these weeks alone?”
“Oh, I’m getting used to it.” She smiles.
And smiles. Beatifically. Glowing.
“What?” I ask.
“Remember what we talked about in the car on the way down here?” She asks.
“We talked about a lot of things…” I say, suddenly my eyes grew very, very wide indeed.
“Yes. You’re going to be a father. I’m pregnant, Rock.” Esme smiles.
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