Anyone who shares my deep connection with music understands the emotional grip certain songs can have over us. Maybe it’s the song we first heard in college that always transports us back to our freshman dorm room, on the cusp of adulthood, reliving that emerging sense of escape and independence; or the song our friend cranked up at that party back in high school, the one that always reminds us of our first big crush, the one that got away.

It could be one of those go-to tracks we blast in the car whenever we need a pick-me-up, the giddy…

More hot air from the author… also, geysers.

[Did you miss Part 1? You can check it out here!]

When Julie and I started planning our post-vaccination road trip, we’d intended to drive from San Francisco to Chicago to celebrate my mother’s [censored] birthday. We’d converge there with our kids, who’d both moved to the East Coast last year and hadn’t been able to visit their grandparents during the pandemic. We used a nifty little app called Roadtrippers, mapping out points of interest along the way. Alas, once we looked beyond the Rockies, the app seemed to shrug, essentially dismissing us with a digital sorry, you’re on your…

Pausing for Gridlock

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

And by drugs, I mean the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

A few weeks after receiving our second shot, I headed out with my wife, Julie, for a three-week road trip through the western United States. Having been relatively cautious throughout the lockdown, we were more than ready to emerge from our constrained empty nest. …

Part Two: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Insider Trading

Trading activity by members of Congress early in the pandemic, as well as by executives whose companies are involved in vaccine development, has once again resulted in a lot of public chatter about insider trading. Plus, the recent imbroglio involving the skyrocketing (and later plummeting) GameStop stock price— something I addressed a few days back — often devolves into online arguments about insider trading (which, let’s be clear, is pretty much entirely unrelated).

Insider trading is one of those subjects everybody feels completely comfortable talking about, even though many have little idea what it means. Hell, I spent more than…

Part One: GameStop, Robinhood, and Sticking It To The Man

Over the course of a nearly 30-year career in securities law, I became accustomed to my chosen profession being a total snooze-fest for friends and family, intermittently broken up by brief intervals where it was all they wanted to talk about. Like topics ranging from politics to technology to religion, the world of securities and investing lurks quietly in the background, the scourge of cocktail party banter generally ignored by saner minds until some scandal elevates it back into the headlines, and suddenly everybody is an expert with an opinion to share.

In recent days, the stock market is once…

My wife and I were 5 or 6 weeks into pandemic lockdown when the compulsive need for some serious house-decluttering took hold. Maybe it was that boxed-in feeling, making us hyper-aware of every little piece of extraneous debris within our walls. Or maybe it was just the need to bring order to what you can control when the world outside feels like it’s on the verge of collapse.

As summer stretched well past fall, I systematically — that is to say, randomly, totally captive to whim — worked my way through the boxes that had accumulated in our crawl space…

The sun goes down over the Trump Tent.

As one of those San Francisco Liberals you may have heard about, I have no illusions about living in a bubble. If the shock I (like so many others) felt on November 8, 2016, didn’t convince me that there were large swaths of America well beyond my comprehension, certainly everything that’s transpired over the subsequent four years has more than adequately driven it home.

This time around, less content to rely on merely voting and writing a few checks (and with time on my hands since my recent retirement from legal practice), I decided to get more personally involved in…

Marc Fagel

Marc is a semi-retired securities lawyer and the author of the rock music love letter Jittery White Guy Music. Visit him at

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