A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Janett and I watched a double feature at home: Trans Siberia and Mama Mia

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The World

In case you didn't hear it in the news, the court in Thailand decreed that the PPP party is an illegal organization, sparing the army and the king the odious ask of overturning the election results. I'm not sure whether it was the Constitutional Court or the Supreme Court or why they have two highest courts in the first place. But in any event the city mice won.

Israel is bombing those Hamas folks in Gaza. A less subtle way of dealing with election results you're not happy about than the Thais concocted. I trust that Hamas has been as busy diging tunnels in Gaza as Hezbollah was in Southern Lebanon. Tragically, the "incidence of collateral damages" (ie dead Palestian civilians) will be very high, but acceptable to the Israeli proponents of collective punishment.

Darn market.

I thought TRAD was boring. CERN is equally so. I'm not giving up, but I'm placing a sell order contingent on the stock rising to 40, just over the current price (just in case this goofy market rallies this week). And while I'm at it I'm going to buy a call on Devon Energy. They own a lot of oil and natural gas resources and if there is a rally, energy stocks should benefit. The stock has been bouncing back and forth between 60 and 75 and is now at 64: another trade for which it's easy to figure where to place a stop loss order. I hate being long and short the same market, but I'm not being ambivalent, the market is.


We had a really nice Christmas

Janett and I went with Steffy and the boys to my sister Mary's house Christmas Eve, and Kim and Ross were there as well as several of my brothers, and my nephews and nieces. We were all happy to be together, and Janett's appetizers (pastrami and smoked provolone rolled up in flat bread with a little honey mustard) was a big hit.
John had drawn us in the gift lottery and came through with a generous gift certificate for Red Lobster/Olive Garden, which will insure that Janett gets her birthday lobster next month and provide another special night out as well. His labor of love was downloading the complete set of Rolling Stone Magazines 500 top rock and roll songs onto CD's for us.

Christmas morning Janett and I tidied up around here and she finished up a big crock pot of barbecued pork for sandwiches on buns. Oh yeah, the featured side dish was a potato casserole, one of three that John had brought to Mary's. This one didn't get to the buffet table and John offered it to anyone who would like to take it home. Janett stepped right up. It was excellent. Thin sliced potatoes boiled in half milk and half water before baking, Janett told me, but really well seasoned and tasty. I didn't get that part of the recipe.

Then Jason and Dee came with Joey, Lauren and Noah came from her parents home in Algonquin where they'd arrived the previous evening after an arduous drive from Champaign, Steffy and Mark and the boys with our friend Calvin rounded out the crowd. We ate and exchanged gifts and had fun.

Kimbo was not feeling well and she and Ross stayed home, so mid-afternoon Janett and Steffy took Owen to visit them in Lombard. Jason and Dee headed to her family party with Joey, and Lauren and Noah started their trek back to Champaign. Calvin and Mark took Malachy to a movie; the cartoon feature, I think, with the little mouse with big ears.

I laid down on the couch and watched a CD Steffie had given me, 3:10 to Yuma, and napped a little bit.

My religious observance of the day had been earlier, while taking garbage out.
The morning was beautifully cold and white, with clear blue sky, and very still. One could not help but pause to thank God for all his gifts to us and especially the gift of the precious Infant.

Everyone else smiled. Joey, Mally and I said "CHEESE!"

Janett and the girls with Owen.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trusting the Twigg

The market was mixed today, but downish overall. So I'm going to try to buy a put in the morning. My buy order is in a little below the asked price, but a little above today's closing price. If I don't get a fill, that's OK. Cerner Inc is the company. They provide lab services to hospitals and doctor's offices. But the chart is the thing. The stock has not been able to get over 40 in a couple of tries and should now back down a little. My secret weapon, the Twigg's Money Flow just slipped into the negative, so we'll give it a try. Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I closed my Trad out Friday with a small loss ($60)

I'll keep my eye on the stock, but last week it was like watching paint dry. That's OK, because I didn't go short and buy any of those expensive puts, on which I'd be down several hundred right now. I was prepared to try to make a little money on the upside, but the Christmas rally seems to lack conviction. There may be another little rally around inauguation time, but I now think the market will grind lower for a couple of weeks. Yeaterday I looked over some stocks to find candidates for shorting this week at less cost.

Sometimes you just can't be sure which way the market is going to move and one has to wait patiently for more compeliing indications in order to feel 60 to 70 percent confidence in a decision. Like Chuck Norris, I don't sleep, I wait.

When I was looking for Christmas art

I started with Raphael. I kmow he's great, but not vivid enough for me. I fear I lack sophistication or maturity. What do you all think? This is definitely one of his more animated compositions.

To lighten up a little and to help you understand

how I'm able to ponder all the depressing stuff without succumbing, I thought I'd post a few pictures from Steffies blog of two of my grandsons. Malachy and little brother Owen meeting with Santa, Owen with Uncles Jase and Noah, and Owen with proud papa Mark. I'll also post another shot of the adorable Malachy, so I don't seem to be favoring the baby. But I've already confessed that I'm struck by Owen's poise and equanimity. I find him amazing.

CSPAN has Lou Cannon's son on this morning. He

works for the Reader's Digest. He has a lot of nice things to say about Ronald Reagan. I think I saw a list that featured Reagan as one of the three best presidents. Reagan was facile and spoke like Jimmy Stewart if Congressman Smith had made it to the White House. But he was the friend of the rich and the powerful and therefore the enemy of the working class. Today's economic malaise results from Reagan's tax polices. If chief executives and investment bankers only got to keep 10% of their income in excess of 250,000, the heartless export of American jobs and financial chicanery on Wall Street would not have occurred. The financial incentive wouldn't have been sufficient to over-ride traditional moral and social principles. Remember the euphimism "down-sizing" was coined during the Reagan years.

Internationally, he was a criminal. His administration broke domestic and international law by selling weapons to the Iranians to fight Iraq. He allowed Israel to transfer US provided weaponry to Iran and make a nice profit and receive more up to date replacements. Reagan and Bush used the net proceeds to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, a disgraceful act of war on a struggling democracy. The brutal and indiscriminate killing of poor peasants in Latin America has been one of the most shameful episodes in modern American history. And the administration supplemented the Iran funds with profits on cocaine the CIA flew out on the same aircraft they used to fly weapons in. While George Bush, the former CIA chief, was more hands on these policies, that circumstance was designed to allow President Papa Noel to cloak himself in culpable deniabilty. Reagan knew exactly what he was doing when he selected Bush as his running mate. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were all involved in these programs, and also in programs providing Iraq in the early eighties the chemical-biological technologies which they all were so worried about 10years later. Here's a more informed write-up (starting around p 302)

Oh, and the one great success attributed to Reagan was winning the cold war. We didn't win it. Russia lost it, by bankrupting thmselves in their ten year campaign in Afghanistan. (Sound familiar?) The USSR was broke and demoralized when Lech Walesa, a union leader, with the support of a Polish pope rejected Soviet hegemony.

Sorry to have to issue so strident a denunciation at time of good will and grace. I simply have to set the record straight in so far as I am able. Now CSpan is carrying the current President's address to the American Enterprise Institue on the "Universality of Freedom." God help the American people.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is the full moon still here?

It's been weird and not all good around here.

Driving home last night my '94 Nissan broke, with finality. All of a sudden the engine started clattering and stopped running. I coasted down an off ramp from 290 West to 83 south and pulled over, and started calling for help. Janett would have tried to come, but I was afraid she'd have trouble. (She's not real good with expressway driving) So she reached our oldest boy Jason and he started out from his home in near Mount Prospect. Meanwhile I was unhappy about my car and getting cold. After 40 minutes help started arriving at ten minute intervals, an IDOT truck, a state police trooper, the tow truck and Jason. Jason gave me a lift home and the car went to Nissan heaven.

This morning Janett and I went to the bank and cashed out a CD early and she brought me a 2001 Park Avenue for $4,000. I'll drive it until it gives up the ghost, but I'll try to remember to get regular oil changes to postpone that inevitable.

Then I spoke with the Nissan's funeral director and he said the remains couldn't be disposed of without a signed over title. Well, as you may know, we've moved three times in the past 5 years, and if the title isn't in the glove compartment, which it wasn't, I wouldn't know where it was. So now I have to get a duplicate title and try to appeal to the undertaker's sense of professional courtesy when I inform him it might take a couple weeks to get a new title.

At least the running around today kept me from going to work, and enduring a monstrous commute home. But I'm a day further behind at work and we're running out of year.

So Deck and Trad were down Monday and up today. Given the market's reaction to the fed's announcement today, I think going long with a cheapie was an OK approach,

Now I'm going to watch Hercule Poirot on WYSE. I like all the art deco accoutrements.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I'm not going to enter into a trade tonight. Maybe Wednesday after Janett's Dr's appointment my mind will be clear enough to act with confidence. Tonight I would be in doubt as to whether to go long Trade Station, an online broker with growing volume and profits, down to $5.75 from $14.50 a year ago. They're sitting on $7 a share in cash. Or to short Decker Outdoors, a shoe company with popular brands (Teva, Simple and UGG). Currently at $66 up from $50 last week, but still I think in a downtrend (from $165 a year ago). Similar range to that other short candidate, Chipotle.

Thing, is a call on Trade Station at $5 would cost me less than a hundred bucks, and the stok price would only have to go up $0.25 for me to be profitable, and if the stock goes up a dollar per share, I'd make over $200 on a $300 speculation. But a put on Decker cost $950. The stock would have to drop $9 per share for me to be ahead on the trade. So what's more likely, Trad to go up $1 (20%) or Deck to drop $12 (20%), or both, or neither? I just don't know, so I'd probably go with the cheaper trade, but that could be doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. So we'll just watch how it plays out for a few days and maybe have a better idea which way to go next time.

PS It's 2 hours later, and I've placed an order to buy a couple Trad calls. It's only couple hundred dollars. What the heck.

The Little King

'The Little King has been enthroned as the Great King of the world to assist His subjects in their trials, difficulties, and crosses. He Who Himself has suffered so much desires to assist those who come to Him. He wishes to attract all hearts to His own through the attractiveness and simplicity of His Divine Infancy.'

Auto Industry

Hi Kim,

I think the problems are too big for a fifty billion or maybe even a hundred billion loan to get them through the next year and a half, and the bailout won't prevent massive layoffs in that period. Production and sales will be so curtailed that a lot of the suppliers and dealers are going to go out of business. So what good would it do?

I don't blame the unions for saying that they only contribute 10% of the car's cost. If they took a 50% cut and cars were 5% cheaper, would prople be buying? I think bankruptcies will happen and I guess I'd rether see them happen sooner rather than later, because we'll need the bailout money to help the unemployed and the needy. Things are going to get worse. The autmobile companies are getting all the attention, but in these economic circumstances, a lot of businesses will be going bankrupt, and I think the government knows they can't keep bailing out business (including the bankers). They just don't know how or where to draw the line. I also don't know who owns all the bonds and who will suffer from defaults. But, at least, that way the workers wll have the comfort of knowing that the execs, lenders, and vendors will share their pain. 2 of the car companies, with their debt diminished, and new exes making better plans can emerge viable if smaller and potentially grow from there.

What will happen to the unions? I think they'll still represent the workers and have to negotiate and accept lower wages and benefits, but they can't accept big cuts before the negotiatons. The workers would feel they'd been sold out - and still face the layoff of half the workers and eventually, all of them anyway.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not a statement of opinion,

I just thought it was funny:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I entered a sales order for my Dryship calls at 575 tonight for tomorrow morning vs a cost of 150. I'm very happy with the trade for a number of reasons, mostly because I made money. I talked about Fibonacci retracenent levels recently and mentioned retracement levels at 23.6%. 38.2% 50.0% 61.8%. Many stocks I look at periodically seem to have retraced 23.6% of their losses since November and appear uncertain about going higher.

I'd like to short (buy a call or two) on an upscale retailler or pricey eatery. I'm thinking about Coach or Chipotles. I know Chipotle's isn't really pricey, but for a tortilla wrapped around beans and rice I think they're pricey. They got the beer and wine thing going for them, but there are nicer places to drink. I was going to short them last winter at $150, but talked to Noah and he said they weren't in Champaign Urbana yet, so I though they could still grow a lot. They grew all the way down to $40, but they're up $20 in the last couple weeks. That might be the end of their rally. Coach looks like a better short to me, though. I'd post the chart but you might not be that interested.

I'm going to take a couple days off trading anyway. Janett's not feeling well, and the last time she didn't feel well I was trading with half a brain and lost some money.

Just two weeks till Christmas. I got my brother Bill in the family gift drawing, and emailed him to inquire if there was anything he really wanted for Christmas. He answered "Someone to buy this house"...If winter is looking a little long to you right now, just be grateful you're not in Whitehall Mi.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How often do I start a post with something to the

effect of "I'm tired?" Seem like a lot lately. I stopped at a gas station on the way home for the specific purpose of buying a lottery ticket so maybe I can retire tomorrow.

Has anyone noticed any realy strange typo's in my recent posts? Maybe I've caught them all, but I couldn't figure out why it was happening. Last night I was helping Skip C with his resume and he said it was because the heel of my hand was brushing the mouse pad while I typed on the lap-top computer I'm using. Boy, did I feel unsophisticated! Sheesh1

But, I'm not unsophisticated. I'm worldly and wise, and Dryships went from around 5 to around 10 share price and the puts that cost me 150 are now at 450. I'll put a stop-loss (contingent order, actually) in at the share price of 8.25. If I get stopped out I'll still have a nice profit and maybe it'll go higher. The stock was pretty much unfazed by the market declines today and with volume that's off the hook. I always wanted to say that. Was the usage appropriate?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday night

I worked a little today, not enough, so I'm going to bed early to get up early and get to the office early when (I hope) I'll feel more productive.
I know it's time for me to post the infant of Prague with the little prayer I like. In order that you don't dismiss it, wishing for something more artful, I've been browsing the 15th century Florence and Venice. Here's the best I could do.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's a little late, and I've been getting to bed by ten

this week because work is demanding (I'm going to have to work both days this weekend)

I'm just dropping in to say hi and love to all, and to make a confession. After making fun of Dryships last week I brought a couple calls this week - so I'm a bull again. When a stock goes from 110 to 3.50, even allowing that it was over-priced at 110, it looks pretty cheap at 4. Naybe it'll go to 2 and I'll lose a couple hundred. I just felt dishonest not confessing to being long something, after warning about the divergence last week. I guess Monday took care of that little problem

Janett has made things nicely Christmasy here and if you'd like to know what Christmas is really all about, go here.