Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year in 2011!

Hello out there!

I hope everyone had a great holiday week. I basically took the whole week off from doing much of anything and it was very nice. Slowing things down can be fun too. I wanted to share a few recent items as well as a few words.

First off, the big snowstorm that came early last week turned out to not be too bad here. Maybe 8 inches of snow, but it snowed for like 18 hours so it seemed like more. Luckily it was the super light stuff, easy to move. Here is the House after the storm looking very pretty all wintered up:

Don't bug me about the house color, it is atrocious and will be repainted next year I think.

For Christmas dinner I made a 7 pound Prime Rib on the Big Steel Keg. I had never cooked in the cold air before (it was about 20 degrees) and thus I had some temperature control issues as the cold air was like jet fuel for the lump charcoal! I had wanted to cook the roast for about 4-4.5 hours at 300 degrees, but it was more like 3 hours at 350-375! The meal tasted wonderful, but there was only medium done meat, no medium rare to rare was achieved. What can you do. Here is the roast before:

And after it was done:

Still looks great at least!

The last news item refers to the new addition to the family! A little kitten was adopted from our local Humane Society! Long time readers may know that I love cats very much. When my last cat died a while back I was seriously hurt and it had taken a LONG time to even think about another cat. After about 6 months of trips to the Humane Society (who do a great job!) I found a new companion, her name is Jessie and she is a torti mix who is as sweet as it gets:

Of course all tortoise coat cats have a wild streak and she set out right after the Christmas Tree ornaments as fair game:

Little monster!

Our Pug dog Norman was upset for the first couple of days with a new competitor, but he has settled in well now. It is fun to have a cat again.

I know I am supposed to say something memorable or uplifting going into the New Year. I guess I am going to come up short. 2010 was at times great, terrible, successful, a mess, fun, and sad. I would imagine most can say that about any year. All I know is I am committed to getting myself rolling in 2011 and that means some real work on my trading. I kept a bunch of models of various things I had wanted to work on and they would have done really well (what didn't in 2010?) but I was just not into it. In 2011, I want some money! I am looking forward to writing more as well. Who wants Friday Night Blogging back?

Most of all a fresh start is always the promise of New Years, and that is a good promise indeed. I wish everyone a wonderful 2011 and I would hope the promise of a fresh start will help you as well.

Have a good night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to extend a Merry Christmas to everyone today. For me the only thing bigger than Christmas is some one's birthday, but Christmas is my favorite holiday by far. It is almost enough to make me like winter just a little.

Our tradition here is to open all the presents between the wife and I on Christmas Eve after a Chinese food dinner and so it is again this year. We will have company on Christmas day and I have a nice 7 pound Prime Rib Roast going on the Big Steel Keg tomorrow. I will try and grab a few pictures.

I wanted to say thanks to all the great readers, visitors, and friends that stop by and make this site so much fun. Readers like Watchtower are one in a million and Gawains always can surprise you with his literary talents. I do plan on getting back into things in the New Years so we can all try and make a few bucks.

Merry Christmas again and thanks everyone.

Have a Great Christmas Weekend!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Love Wintertime

It was a classic day here in Massachusetts. Banner even, the kind of day that removes any doubt that this state has more idiots than any other two states put together (excluding Washington DC of course).

What happened? How about a quarter inch of snow that's what! While long time residents of the Bay State know snow, there must be a 95% population turnover here year in and year out because everyone goes all mega donkey stupid at the first hint of frozen water falling from the sky as a punishment from the weather gods.

I had a 3.5 hour commute home to move 29 miles! How's that for efficiency?

My only question for my beloved home state is this:
Why are you all so stupid? It's a simple question though the answers promise to be complicated.

Heard of Gaussian Distribution? I love that science fact when viewed through the prism of asking people questions. Ask 100 people if they are dumb, average intelligence, or very smart and 9 out of 10 will say they are very smart. Of course we know that is not the case, but whatever.

Anyways, one work day to go. I am hoping for no weather related issues tomorrow.

Have a good night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Night Football

Quick note for the night.

Sunday Night Football and Christmas Stuff
Quiet weekend and I guess that is good. Looking forward to some Sunday Night Football where the New England Patriots can put a strangle hold on the number one playoff seed with a win over the Packers. The Packers will not have their starting QB Aaron Rodgers playing, so a bit of the luster of this game is lost.

The New York Jets played a rough, physical game against the Steelers today and won a huge road game. I told you those Jets were good!

I am hoping the Kansas City Chiefs win out as to keep the San Diego Chargers out of the playoffs!

The New Orleans Saints lost a tough game in Baltimore to the Ravens so any Superbowl defense will come all on the road. Too bad there will only be cold weather outdoor teams in the playoffs except the Falcons!

WTF happened to the Giants in 7 minutes?????? Wow that was bad.

Two work days to go then off until the New Year. I for one cannot wait to swing the calendar to a new start. I need one badly. So badly.

Have a good night.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Checking In Near Years End

Hello out there! The cold has really moved in here in New England. Luckily I have tomorrow at work, then Monday and Tuesday and then I am off until 2011. I need the time off that is for sure.

I hope all is well for the regular readers and occasional stoppers by. I wanted everyone to know I am fine I just have not been really thinking about things financial for a bit. When i do it seems things remain the same anyway! I am getting pretty excited for the NFL playoff season and the New England Patriots are really doing well. Who knows what can happen this year in the playoffs? It should be wild.

With the time off I will probably write a bit more. At this point I think I am moving away from trying to change things (that worked!) and just going with what is. 3 full years is a long time to hope for change, it ain't happening. As such, my sarcastic biting wit will remain, along with my endless complaints on things government intervention and banking. I think more science, movies, and tid bits will find their way in. I will also share any trades I make as I see plenty of ways to do some damage using my tested system of "using the script" provided by "the things that have to happen". Investing for dummies as it is.

On a macro level, here are the things I am thinking that will come into play. Will they in 2011? 2015? I don't know but they are what they are. Without too much writing about them, here are some central tenets of how I see things after 3 years of on the fly education in finance:

-The Notional Issue is a huge one. What is money, derivatives, options, central bank asset swaps, leverage, and debt guarantees? Heck if I know, but many want to know now. Whether we are talking notional bets on gold which dwarf the actual metal (all hedged of course so no worries!) or just something as simple as all banks being insolvent in 1 nanosecond with mark to market accounting in place this perpetual machine of credit/debt/promises has been shown as hollow as those Palmer fake chocolate figures (chocolate flavored chocolate, gotta love it!) I love so much. In case you had no idea, here is no perpetual motion machine. I feel this is the single biggest issue facing things economic. The Notional, as I have coined it, serves only those that benefit from it. Let's face it, a monster share of all trading that is done is of limited to zero value to anything except those making the trades. They serve no function other than to generate churn and small slivers (chop marks?) of return.

-The Script is another big one. I know bond yields are rising and this means either the economy is about to rocket off past Voyager 1 at light speed or the dollar is about to lose all it's value (notional?) but don't get excited and pass out just yet. A home mortgage at 6% or 7%? Good joke, but no worries. Welcome to QE just add numbers. This of course feeds back into The Notional. Can the FED swap out enough stuff with banks so yields stay low and banks finally deploy the goods (unlimited credit)? Who knows, but that is the script. Either way, it will be more than interesting to watch.

-The Big Lie will also come into play in between the two ideas above. Right now the ECB is peeing their pants in a dark suit over the idea that senior bond holders may have to take a hair cut (just a bit off the top please!). The Big Lie is that this will make raising money impossible in the debt markets. It will, for about 5 minutes. After a restructure and a more believable plan (I did not say really possible, but more believable!) money will rush in to fund a new "hot sector". This was always possible here as well and all the "credit markets would have frozen and the world would have ended" dumb asses would have been right...for about 24 hours. What if debt holders lost big? They would DOUBLE DOWN on the next play! What is so hard to understand here? Banking is older than prostitution for a reason, it makes money when done even kind of right. You have to really mess it up to lose.

I have to say to do miss writing here most nights. Maybe there will be a Friday Night post? Who can say. Until then, sound off and try not to savage me like poor Kid Dynamite got attacked after a few contentious articles! I wanted to make a Youtube video asking "LEAVE KID ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" after all the drama but I know he is good to go.

Have a good night.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quick Note

It has been a really busy weekend so just a couple notes.

So, Is there or is There Not a JP Morgan Short Silver Position?
Kid Dynamite makes a cogent, solid case that the JPM silver short is not all that:
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Persuasive, but of course if anything going on was easily seen what sense does that make? What next? Mark to market accounting, HAHAHAHAHAH!?

New England Patriots - All Weather Foes
Not much to say. First place Chicago Bears, in their stadium, in weather that was horrid, and the Pats deliver a blow out. Scary stuff. One win or maybe 2 in the last 3 games and ALL AFC playoff games come through New England. Good luck with that. Did Branch have 160 yards receiving? Really?

Have a good night.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Patriots win and More Robots

Well that was a long night of watching football!

New England Patriots Win
A stunning 45-3 win last night by the New England Patriots over the rival New York Jets! Tom Brady was in full command of the game, and as I have written before, when he is on like that it is good night.

It was a huge win but no one should get crazy here. The Patriots have a defense with tons of holes and they are much better at home than on the road. The Patriots are a very good team playing good football. The Jets seemed overwhelmed and all the hype before the game may have spooked them. I do not think the Jets are anywhere near as bad as they looked last night.

I want to eat crow about the Randy Moss trade a while back. I thought that move would hurt the Pats, but they have been more dynamic on offense ever since. Moss just goes straight down the field, Deion Branch is able to run all kind of routes to drive cornerbacks crazy. Branch burnt Antonio Cromartie repeatedly last night, while Cromartie usually shuts down Moss. I was wrong.

Real Steel Film
Seems I am not the only one who thinks robots will take over the Earth! In a new film that I am very interested in seeing the future boxers are high tech robots! Sounds interesting indeed:
Real Steel
Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.

io9 has a nice round up of news as well:
We were already excited for Real Steel, Hugh Jackman's movie about robot boxers pounding each other to scrap — but now we've read the script, and we're twice as stoked. This is the robo-rumble you've been waiting for. Spoilers below.
Click on over for more details.

Have a good night.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New York Jets at New England Patriots 12-6-2010

It does not get much bigger than tonight:


It is very rare to have two fine teams playing a divisional game late in the year with so much riding on it. The winner tonight has the inside track to home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the loser will have to grab a wild card spot and go travelling in the playoffs. When looking at the NFC, the winner here would look mighty fine indeed.

So who is going to win? I cannot pick the Jets even if I wanted to! I think the Patriots hold on late for a 27-24 squeaker win. I would not be surprised to see the Jets win, they are playing very well and their defense is a real edge. My man Jake at EconomPic is a huge Jets fan so I wish him luck but not really.

In any case, a special Monday Night Football game is upon us.

Have a good night.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Battle: Los Angeles Film

Um, yes this looks cool:

Battle: Los Angeles

Based upon this strange incident in 1942:
Battle of Los Angeles

Alternate creepy trailer here.

Of course I love this kind of stuff.

Have a good night.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The End of the Week 12/3/2010

The cold air has really moved in now and it feels very much like winter. This is not great, but it is unavoidable of course. Still, A Friday night post is sure to keep things warm, yes?

Views on Things
Maybe my last post was spot on with timing. The jobs number today was a mess, and I think it says reams about how things are that the headlines about 5 minutes after the release were that this report was an "outlier" or "not true, sure to revised way higher". Of course we have had two years of strange job loss numbers but those were all just outliers as well. The trend will change at some point, may as well price it in 12 months in advance, right? Exactly.

With the economy roaring as hard as the 2007 highs (well not quite) the stock market thinks it's time to get parabolic. Why not indeed. Even this Sunday on the show "60 Minutes" Boom Boom Bernanke will make it clear the spice, I mean the liquidity will flow! Here is the relevant headline:
Bernanke Tells Nation This Sunday: More QE Coming
Because I am blinded by my bearishness and refuse to see the stellar data in front of me I would ask why we need any more QE if the recovery is pouring forth like a tsunami of prosperity? I could ask, but I am an idiot after all. The plan has been clear for a while now, but as another reminder, here is Sir Alan Greenspan in case any hotshot stock pickers need a reminder that a rising tide makes everyone look brilliant:
Addressing a gamut of issues, from the European debt crisis to the floundering US housing industry, the former central bank chief said the rising stock market—up more than 80 percent from its March 2009 financial crisis lows—has been pivotal.
“There’s a real upward momentum here,” he said. “I think we are underestimating and continuing to underestimate how important asset prices, very specifically equity prices, are not only to shareholders but the economy as a whole.”
The point is important in that it as at the center of current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s efforts. The Fed has dramatically expanded its balance sheet in hopes that more liquidity in the economy will help drive up the prices of riskier assets, particularly stocks.
Such movement helps create psychological momentum that in turns lifts everything else, advocates of the policy say.
Got it?

Now how many shares of AAPL or AMZN the long term unemployed have or how much is left of many 401k's after all this time probably is not important, someone is making out. As Gordon Gekko said in "Wall Street" though, stock trading is a zero sum game; for all the multigenerational winners of the last big run somebody has to lose. Care to take a guess who that is? Go on, try it.

As always, Ilargi of The Automatic Earth tends to say what I want to better than I do, so I will add this quote to last night's post on how I see things:
As uncertainty has increased, there has been more and more emphasis on gaming the system in order to wring a quick profit out of it and less and less emphasis on productive investment, as productive investments have too long a time horizon to deliver gains in a world proceeding at a frenetic pace. This has been going on for years, and has led to our current milieu of casino capitalism, or ponzi finance.

This system of money chasing its own tail in ever tighter circles is clearly unstable, and I would argue is about to self-destruct under the increasing pressure of its own internal contradictions and the catabolic (self-consuming) process taken past real limits. As it does so, the pace of change will becomes even more rapid for a period of time, and coupled to that will be increasing hardship for a critical mass of people.

Friday Night Entertainment
Some lighter stuff to get you ready for the weekend. Monday Night Football cannot come soon enough.

Visual Cues
Because seeing is so much easier.

Well, it is Friday:
Funny Pictures - Friday I'm In Love Cats
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
I know you all feel this way.

We do need social security reform because all those oldies have had plenty of time to buy and hold enough stocks to make them rich a few times over, yes?:
epic fail photos - Oddly Specific: Pay Up Gramps!
see more funny videos

Some items worth a ponder.

-What is the purpose of the X-37B and why was it in orbit for 7 months?
-How unimaginable is 6,000,000 megatons of TNT (600 times the world's nuclear arsenal) which was the power of the punch comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 delivered to the planet Jupiter in 1994? Wow.
-The master puzzle Kryptos is still unsolved, so maybe section 4 was made wrong?
-The Anasazi of very early America had awesome houses, how did they do it?:

Rock Blogging
A few tunes for the weekend.

A couple of oldies that I have always loved.

The Everly Brothers and "All I Have to do is Dream":

What vocals!

Look I know the Beatles (LMAO) and Elvis are the true kings of rock and roll, or so the story goes. So what about Bo Diddley? Oh, you don't know? Well try this out:

Yeah, that's good.

No I have not been lying that I am 34, just like old stuff too! One more that I have had one before, Sha Na Na and "Those Magic Changes":

Just like that one!

Ok, I will get somewhat modern!

Let's get a little nasty with Rage Against the Machine and "Guerrilla Radio" LIVE on the Letterman show:

If you want to laugh your ass off at a funny cover, here is Alanis Morissette trying and failing BIG TIME! Just stop.

Maybe a top 10 song for me is Black Sabbath's melodic, dark, and moody "Planet Caravan":


Two left.

Ok, I am not religious at all (though I love religion tales and stories!) so I am submitting the kick ass tune "Calling on You" by the 80's band Stryper because it rocks:

Last call!

Evanescence closes the show with "Breathe No More", and a sad tune it is:


Have a good night.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Optimism is a Blind Spot Too

Well I had wanted to stay off posting for a bit but I saw a few things over the past few days that either hit me or bothered me and then some nifty science stuff came out today that was wild so a quick post.

Optimism is a Blind Spot Too
I have been reading so many victory lap stories and many "it was all so clear what where you thinking?" type posts as of late and it is starting to get me annoyed. There are two sides to my annoyance, one philosophical and one scientific, which have simmered for a few days now. I will present them even though I had wanted to stay off this stuff for a while for holiday spirit reasons.

I don't even want to spend much time on the philosophical objection I have to the shaking with excitement of a bull run folks who endlessly parade "the stock market is up and jobless claims are down 3%, it's a nirvana!" type stuff. Great. Wonderful. Glad you rode it up, you are the greatest investor/trader/gambler/crystal ball watcher/dart thrower perhaps of all time to have ridden a "generational move up in markets" and thus we should all commit all our capital now or whatever. I fully understand many have a profession that requires them to trade and make money for clients. That is your choice. Just know you are part of the structural problem with the big banks and an overweight financial sector. It's the truth. Again, no problem and I respect the talent and the balls you got BIGTIME! But don't complain and write books about how bad the behavior out there is then do it as well, that's pretty lame. Weak even. We all have choices. I work in biotech, but I will not test stuff by jamming it in animal eyes to make a buck, I draw the line. Enough said.

My second annoyance is more practical. Take out your graphical tools and punch up all the "hard data" you want. Match it up with the stock market. The markets have bet on improvement with not much to back it up until very recently. Either markets are priced right now to perfection, a monster explosion of mythic proportions is at hand for the economy, or wishful thinking and dependence on liquidity without end is priced in. Corporate profits are wonderful but most of that is based on:
-employment cuts
-low input costs (until recently)
-ultra cheapo money rates (thanks FED for some disclosure!)

All of these are sure long term dependable strategies. They all back up my point about structural low rates being market guarantees, not short term props. Thanks, it's hard being right.

Finally, I submit my fianl evidence, Krispy Kreme Donuts. Can a market be driven by excess easy cash (liquidity that needs a home?), algos, technical bots, and momentum players looking to "sell to you sucka!" to borrow a phrase from Kid Dynamite? Via FINVIZ:

Well the latest rating on this stock had a price target of $5! Blew up past that by a mite, yes? Up 20% in one day? Is the donut business recovery better than the rail traffic recovery? WTF?

Oh, don't bother leaving a comment about the double top on the chart breaking the double over the shoulder boulder holder pattern or other crap, 20% moves in 5 minutes are not normal nor reasonable unless market players are either:
-Retarded and got super surprised
-Playing games
Occam's Razor argues for the latter reason.

I can imagine this post is coming off a bit nasty, and I would ask anyone offended to maybe re-read it later and think about it before ripping me (all 6 of you that read it, LOL). In any case I welcome all input.

Arsenic as a Phosphate Substitute
I was super excited when I read a week ago about NASA's press conference to come today concerning a "find" in the astrobiology field. Of course I was dreaming of weird bacteria, water bears, or other strange life that maybe hitched a ride here on a Mars meteorite (hint to you rich guys; chicks will dig holding a rock that came all the way from the planet Mars and enjoy the tale more than a ride in Porsche!) or other pathway. Most scientists accept that the Earth's water came here via comet impact, why not life as well that adapted?

I was a little let down to find out that a new bacterium was fully studied (it was known before) and had unusual abilities. After I read about those abilities, I was excited again!

It seems the GFAJ-1 strain of the Halomonadaceae can fully utilize arsenic to form DNA backbones (hence RNA as well) and use arsenic as an ATP coupler too! Ok, I know that sounds like a big who cares but it's huge! Here is a DNA molecule and I trust readers here know what DNA is:

Ok, in the diagram, every P with the O's attached is a phosphate backbone of DNA, the helical secret of life. Arsenic is of course very toxic as it is reactive with proteins in the bad way! But this bacteria can affix As as the DNA/RNA/ATP backbone! This is bigger news than you may think.

One of the basic tenets of science is that for life to exist elsewhere, the basic molecules we use must be in place. I always have found this to be both limited and Earth centric. Today we see a species on Earth that can use an alternate to phosphate for the building blocks of life! HUGE CAVEAT: This bacteria lives at a pH of 10! This is super basic (think TUMS antacid times 10!) so this may remediate the charges on arsenic in some way, but lets have fun!.

Arsenic is Phosphorous' next neighbor, as Silicon is Carbon's! This news is big, much bigger and more important than ECB stealth bond buying (which everyone knows, but pretends they don't to make a buck, it's all about who's richer right?) and it is bigger than the FED laying out trillions on bad collateral because in the long run we are all dead and that stuff will make par value.

Have a good night.