Friday File: Buying a Beaten-Down SPAC, Lock-Boxing a Changed Story

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, July 16, 2021

The Gumshoe family had a fun adventure over the past couple weeks, covering about 4,000 miles on our first big road trip since 2019… and every town and state we saw was a little different.  Hotels are full, but wildly understaffed in a lot of places — we stopped at a beautiful historic hotel in Columbus, Ohio with a vast atrium that echoed with emptiness, and seemingly had no other guests and a single, lonely person working in the entire property… but we also spent a couple days in New Orleans, and Bourbon Street seems to have ramped up the wild excesses to make up for a quiet 2020.  Some places are still wary and masked and asking lots of screening questions, or worried about further outbreaks from the new COVID variants, particularly because so many of the states we visited have frighteningly low vaccination levels… while some are celebrating the “roaring 20s” already and seemingly inclined to avoid even mentioning COVID-19 or masks in fear that it will bring bad luck.

Emotions and sentiment and fear impulses take time to change, particularly when they’re being amplified by social media and “get a response no matter what” traditional media.  It’s a big country, with lots of leaders and pundits fighting to try to direct the narrative for their own ends (attention is money, after all, and we’ve incentivized the ability to get attention to an obscene degree), but there’s a lot of joy and activity emerging from our 18 months of lockdowns and fear, and that’s really nice to see.  We didn’t go much west of the Mississippi, but I assume the same dynamic applies… though from those same “get a response, no matter what” headlines, it appears that everything west of the Rockies is at imminent risk of spontaneous combustion.

Travel is an important way to get us all used to each other again, and an important reminder that social media and headlines don’t do us much good or present an honest picture of the world — if we had gone by what Facebook and Buzzfeed and TripAdvisor tell us, for example, we would have panicked and avoided Memphis because so many headlines scream about it being a crime-ridden hellhole (I’ve had great experiences in Washington, DC and Detroit during the times when those were the “murder capital of the US,” too)… but we had a great ...

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