What Earthquake

Farrah FawcettYou have to feel badly for Farrah Fawcett.

Not only did the one time sex goddess die of a very unsexy disease, anal cancer, but she had the misfortune to be overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson on the very same day that her life came to an end.

Maybe because we had tired of the drawn out and highly public nature of her past few weeks or maybe because the King of Pop’s death was so unexpected, but Farrah barely even received a nod on the day of her passing.

Sometimes going under the radar is a good strategy, but given the well orchestrated and documented events during the final phases of her life, it would have been reasonable to believe that Farrah and her family wanted the very spotlight that should have been her birth right.

The news that surrounds your news can have significant impact on your news. Announcing great earnings does your shareholders no good if the day happens to be one of bad macro-economic news. Nothing like the impending collapse of a large European economy to put the damper on the earnings reports of companies that have nothing to do with the retirement age in Greece.

Similarly bad earnings can sometimes get fortuitouly overlooked on days that already have a significant downtrend in the overall market. There’s nothing like letting your bad news just get mixed in with everyone else’s bad news.

Think about how many politicians in the throes of some ethical crisis have had the pressure taken off because some other story has popped up.

Remember Gary Condit, the one time Colorado congressman, who had been implicated in the disappearance of his intern, Chandra Levy?

On August 23, 2011 following an interview with Connie Chung and revelations that Condit had an extramarital affair with a flight attendant, as well as with Chandra Levy, suspicions deepened and the noose seemed to be tightening around the Congressman’s neck. The very same congressman who was one of Bill Clinton’s biggest detractors during the Lewinsky period.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, but by September 12, 2001 no one was really interested in talking about Gary Condit. Of our 535 Congressman and Senators, there’s at least one that owed thanks to terrorist attackers.

Let’s look at today’s headlines.

Libyan rebels storm Gaddafi compound, Dow Jones finishes up 322 points and 5.8 earthquake hits east coast of the United States.

That’s a big news day. So big, in fact, the poor Colorado, which suffered its largest earthquake in over a century, in at a 5.3 magnitude, went totally unnoticed.

The Condit Phenomenon.

I happened to be one of many along the east coast that felt the tremors and at first shrugging it off as vibrations from construction, soon realized that it was anything but normal as the tabletop upon which I was working, despite being attached on one end to the wall, started bouncing wildly.

With the Dow up about 190 points at that time and having finally pulled off a few trades was loathe to leave the computer screen. But at some point common sense kicjked in and the screen of green was left behind with open trades awaiting to be executed.

Hated to leave them behind, but ……..

For me, Tuesday was an even more rare event than Monday, in that it marked the second day in a row that I was working. But as opposed to Monday, I was able to pull off a few trades. I purchased more shares of Freeport McMoran and also sold weekly calls in JP Morgan and Freeport McMoran in addition to Deere monthly calls, all into strength.

There really wasn’t much reason to believe that the market would do anything differently than to follow the script of the past few weeks. Those scripts came in two varieties. The market either opened strongly to the downside and stayed there or opened strongly to the upside and quickly gave it back.

Over those weeks I missed more opportunities than I’d like to admit to sell call options into strength and then close out the positions as prices fell.

So Tuesday seemed to be just another of those days that optimism would quickly give way to pessimism.

But the script got sidetracked.

Sometimes earthquakes in major metroplitan areas of the US will do that sort of thing. With everyone talking about the Quake of Eleven, someone forgot to tell the market that it was scheduled to reverse course before the closing bell. Maybe some of the remaining generations of floor traders wanted to make one last  stab at a major bull session before the big one hit.

No matter what the reason, it was nice to see all eyes off the markets and focused on something else. Fortunately, there were no reported casualties and only minor damage, so instead of grief we all just got to talk about the experience of havcing just experienced an earthquake.

So left unchecked, like some at an all you can eat buffett, the market just kept piling it on.

By the time I finally got back into the building and to the monitor, the trades were made.

Depite the market continuing it’s climb, I was happy to finally get some trades made.

I don’t know if I can draw any parallels for Farrah Fawcett. I’m not sure what she and her publicists could have done to prevent her script from being rewritten.

From where I sit today, I was very happy to see the script get thrown out, just like I tossed that Frarrah poster 35 years ago.

Time to Moon Walk on.

 




Predicting is Tough Business





 


One thing that I don’t like about my internist is that he brings patients back to the examination rooms on time.


Normally, that would be the kind of criterion used when handing out high grades for healthcare providers, but I like sitting in the waiting room. So much so, that when I have appointments with him, I just show up extra early so that I can spend quality time in the waiting room.


No, it doesn’t have anything to do with a nurse or receptionist wearing unusually clingy or low cut blouses, it all has to do with the waiting room reading material.


I just love reading old issues of TIME magazine. Even though we have a subscription and I have the telephone app, there’s nothing like a badly dated issue to get my interest. Sometimes, if I  feel a need to have the issues on the end table all to myself, I’ll feign a real dry hacking cough so that others will keep their distance.


Nothing of a literary nature gets me as enthused as reading the bold predictions made by the world’s experts. Whether politics, the economy, social trends or technology, I just love seeing how often and consistently they’re wrong.


NostradamusReading the predictions of modern day futurists gives you a real respect and appreciation for Nostradamus.


It’s been more than 500 years since his death, yet nothing can come close to the gold standard, especially for the ability to choose just the right kick-ass hat for any occasion.


After all, predicting, whether the great financial wizards of our time really want to admit it, is what it’s all about. For all of their great insights and interpretations of propietary data, they’re just predicting and then hoping that our attention is diverted elsewhere when they end up missing the mark.


Take that gold standard, for instance.


Of those predicting that gold would go to $2000 per ounce see if you can come up with a single one that hasn’t been predicting that since 1980. No one in the last 30 years has developed any kind of following by predicting that gold would drop in price.


But who’s going to rain on the party. Right now, no one really wants to hear about all of the missed predictons, because we’re all in such awe of how they could have gotten it so right.


This time.


As any marketing genius will tell you, it’s not about the quality of your content, it’s all about making that content memorable. You’ll be much more likely to remember Reverend Camping for his recent prediction of the coming end to the world that you would be to remember the guy who predicted that it will be 74 and sunny in San Diego for the next eternity.


Obviously, being right is irrelevant in the long term, as long as you’re right, right now.


When I was younger, there was an obscure television show on Saturday evenings that would glue us to our sets. The clairvoyant was Maurice Woodruff and his show was entitled “Maurice Woodruff Predicts. Maybe it was his British accent, maybe it was the public acknowledgment of his homosexuality, long before it was fashionable, but everyone loved an entertaining predictor. This was also the era when Saturday evenings were filled with the likes of Vidal Sassoon and Alan Burke, so the pickings were pretty paltry.


But Woodruff was a good one, in that he would predict really outlandish things and often far ahead into the future that there was never going to be a likelihood of his predictions being remembered, much less proven wrong.


Somneone was bound to die before judgement day.


So just to be on the safe side and to protect himself from all of those who spitefully waited years to prove him wrong, Woodruff died, a relatively young man, from the heart attack he should have predicted, just a few short years after the demise of his US show.


I on the other hand, now older than Woodruff at the time of his demise, am ready to go on record and make a prediction about this Friday’s much anticipated speech by Ben Barnanke at the Kansas City Fed’s meeting in Jackson Hole.


A a reminder, last year, at the same venue, the market had just recently suffered a 16% drop, as we have just endured. It was at that time that Bernanke laid the framework for what came to be known as QE, or qualitative easing. Maybe it was quantiative easing. Does it matter? That set the market back on the right track.


Quantitative easing was much maligned, as was QE2 as the second round came to be called, but you could have predicted that one, as the cat calls came from the usual gang of reflex slingers.


Now everyone is waiting to see whether Bernanke will set the seeds for QE3.


Now the naysayers are saying that QE3 won’t be enough. In the past that didn’t want he fed buying American debt, now apparantly they want it, but more of it.


Who would have predicted?


Well what will it be?


So wait no more, because my bold prediction for that day is that Chairman Bernanke will stand by the podium dressed in a blue blazer, sporting a button down Oxford shirt and will be tieless. I am also getting a strong image that instead of a podium, the Chairman may deliver his message from the conference table.


I stake my predicting career on this one.


And I plan to put my money wehre my mouth is by stringing myself up with his unworn tie if something doesn’t give soon.


Too bad it didn’t occur to me to use my predictive talents for good during recent market sessins.


On this past Friday in the early trading I commented on Twitter that I had learned from Physics lab that even concrete bounced. That was an obtuse way of saying the market climb of the morning, as substantial as it was, wasn’t very meaningful.


But did I do anything about it? Did I sell into the strength in anticipation  of buying shares back at cheaper prices later in the session.


Of course not.


How about today. Same deal. 200 points up and then ending the day up just 37.


You could probably predict that the answer to that one is “No”.


And you’d be right, but granted, I had one of those rare days that I had to work, so I couldn’t avail myself of the trading screen without interruption. This time the call came early this morning. Since the person that I covered for reads this blog on occasion, I’ll not refer to him as a friend, but he suffered an unexpected back injury and I had to leave my perch for the day and tend the family business, since by comparison, I was able bodied.


By the way, I predicted that injury approximately 4 years ago.


As it turned out, the only trade I made all day was to sell August 26, ’11 calls on Mosaic into the early strength. I had planned on doing the same with others that had weekly options, but never got the chance, because by the time the ability to sit and trade arrived, the market had given it all away.


I could have predicted that would happen, but I couldn’t predict that it would happen so quickly, yet again.


But physics being what it is, hight predictable, each successive bounce of a piece of concrete should get smaller and smaller.


Who needs predictions when you have science?


For today, I’m searching our basement for just the right headgear to give me a leg up on this predictably unpredictable market.  Anything to bring me more into line with and perhaps channel my mentor Nostradamus.


I further predict that by tomorrow I’ll have absolutely no recollection of predicting anything for today and will just keep right on going in total ignoance of all of my past mis-steps.


Just like the experts.


 





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See a sneak preview of Chapter 1.  hoco blogs


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Rebirth





 


It’s hard to say whether my short term memory lapses are taking center stage or whether I truly had never heard of the story of the “West Memphis Three”.


The latter seems strange to me because I am a news junkie. I don’t particularly care for history, but eventually current events change their nature and become parts of the annals of our collective existence.


At that point I no longer care.


Either I completely overlooked their 18 year old story or have completely forgotten the story. Either way, I need to be questioning something.


I’m not even remotely going to try and pass judgment on the three men convicted of murderering three young boys. They were just released from prison in some obtuse kind of plea bargain and appeared before the press. I didn’t bother reading about the events surrounding the case because now it is in the realm of history.


I don’t do history.


But I did watch the press conference the other day with a totally clean slate. Here were three young men who had spent half of their lives in prison and now they were sitting in front of cameras and reporters, clean cut and well spoken.


ReincarnationThey were just beginning the process of being born again, except that they still have the burden of a lifetime of memories and possibly guilt and regrets.


It’s hard to run away from your mind even if you have some really deep seated pathology.


On the other hand, half a world away you can be reborn as often as you like for a mere $6. Buddhist priests in Thailand perform very popular rebirth ceremonies whereby an individual can shed their date of birth and start all over.


Why is that important? Because culturally the date of birth is tied to beliefs regarding luck and fortune. Don’t like your luck? Don’t like the way your life had been going, just pay your six bucks and lay down in a coffin . While you’re clutching some flowers and listening to priestly prayers a white silken cloth is draped and undraped over your uncovered casket. WIth each pass, a bit of the stench of your life is being removed.


Don’t care for you new date of birth? Hey, what’s another six?


Depending on your ability to sustain a sense of denial you may be able to run away from your past and memories.


I had my own sense of re-birth this past Friday, but it was unlike either of the two previous rebirths described. Instead, it was almost more like a Hindu vision of going back to a previous life. The kind of retrograde rebirth in recognition of a life poorly lived.


It all started as I became resigned to the fact that I would likely have no trading opportunities this past Friday. My Sugar Momma and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and went out for a rare weekday afternoon movie.


We went to see “The Help”. Of course, I didn’t read the book and SM did.


Regardless of knowing the outcome or not, we both loved the movie, not just for the message and story of hope and determination, but also because we both enjoy period movies.


Here’s the problem. While the movie took place during 1963, one of the maids in the film was clearly using an Electrolux vacuum canister model that wasn’t available in the early sixtes.


I saw the flashback to my time as a door to door Electrolux salesman and immediately recognized the disticnctive blue color, but more importantly, the rectangular shape. If anything, a well healed southern family in 1963 would have their domestic help using a gray Model S. You know, the cylindrical canister.


Then I remembered. I didn’t really like that life. I didn’t want to be reborn as a vacuum cleaner salesman.


Imagine being a 50 year old career vacuum man and starting off each morning in a team meeting where you could always count on someone saying “Our vacuums really suck”. Even more sadly, laughing at those words day in and day out.


West Memphis Three judicial rebirth? Good.


Buddhist rebirth with profit motive? Doubly good.


Hindu rebirth, especially if leading to a lower form of life? Not so good.


Which now brings us to the Monday following the third Friday of every month.


From a purely option premiums perspective last month was one of the very best I’d ever had. I would love to live and relive that month over. That would be a great rebirth. To top it off, to have the memories remain intact would truly be something very special.


But those great premiums came at a price. I wasn’t assigned any shares, so I won’t have any funds in the portfolio to pick up any meaningful new shares at what I think are bargain prices.


That’s the part that I’d like to forget. The fact that all of my holdings closed under their strike prices.


Well under.


The nice thing about selling options, whether the monthly or weekly variety, is that at least they offer the chance for a new beginning. Granted, it costs more than $6 to exercise that right, especially since each stock has its own life, but I can certainly agree with the Thai believers in that the latter part of July and the first three weeks of August 2011 were very bad times to begin an investment’s life.


I have no clue what the future will hold, but I don’t think it’s as bad as a morning vacuum pep talk or even as bad as last month’s market.


I’m not likely to forget last month anytime soon, but it will become ancient history, just like 2008.


No matter what this new cycle will bring, it too will be over, maybe as early as this Friday for some holdings and no more than 4 weeks from now for the rest. That’s the kind of life cycle I can deal with. Maybe that’s why the last cycle was so insufferable. It was one of those damn 5 week options periods.


In the meantime with this month and rebirth to look forward to, I just need to make some room in my brain to deal with all of the new information.


Time for my monthly spring cleaning between the ears.


I think I’ll be tossing vacuums, justly or unjustly freed prisoners and last month aside. I’ll also be tossing every episode of every evening show on Comedy Central aside so I can just watch them again and find them funny all over again.


No memories and no regrets.


 




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You Can Never Go Back Home (Archives)





 


The original Szelhamos Rules ran for precisely 1 year, from February 2007 – February 2008. This article originally appeared March 29, 2007. For Michael Dell update, read “How Much Bad News Can we Handle? (August 19, 2011)





Recent data seems to refute this old adage. After spending 5 or 6 years in college, many newly minted, diploma holding graduates are returning home. “Failure to Launch” was a reflection of a growing phenomenon around the country. For me however, the sight of Terry Bradshaw’s butt, has made that both a memorable and disturbing film. But the reality is that you can go back home. It’s cozy, it’s safe and it’s cheap. And everyone is doing it.


But in the world of business it’s not quite so clear that you can go back home. Steve Jobs and Charles Schwab did, and their company’s shareholders were elated to welcome them back. Apple Computer may just have well been named Jobs Computer, because there was only a rotten Apple during his absence. Even the threat of his departure, whether due to personal health or options related scandal, had depressed the stock price, and his returns to grace and health saw upward moves in Apple’s price.


In Charles Schwab’s case, the company was already called Charles Schwab. No need for renaming. But when he left, it lost focus. When he came back, Schwab, the company came back, better than ever. Among the discounters it is still able to command a premium for its services.


So they could go home. And everyone lived happily after after, that is, until they leave again. And someday Steve Jobs and Charles Schwab will pack up and go. Planned succession? Who could fill their shoes? John Scully?


But it’s not always that way. Remember Gateway Computer? It’s still around. It’s a $2 stock that every now and then gets speculative play because people think that it will return to its former glory. And why not? A couple of years ago it’s iconoclastic founder, the pony-tailed Ted Waites returned, to help rescue the company, that littered the landscape with its ubiquitous cow boxes in the mid-90’s. Gateway once had cachet, now it has some shelf space at Best Buy.


Well, you know what happened. I already told you it was a $2 stock. Buying out low quality maker eMachines didn’t do much for Gateway. Bringing the cow boxes out of pasture didn’t help much either. And so Ted Waites left again. He couldn’t go home. He never did learn to avoid the pastures while in sandals. That was his real downfall.


Why bring this up? Who really cares about Gateway? Although I still have my first PC, a Gateway P70, with a kicking 1 Gig hard drive, I really don’t think about Gateway. In fact, the only reason I still have the unit is that it is too heavy to take to the dump. There is nothing compelling about their machines, other than to bring back memories of the early post-IBM days when Gateway and Dell slugged it out for the hearts of the computer newbies.


No DellBut I do care about Dell. A few days ago I wrote that I was planning to make a sale of my Dell stock if it reached 25, which I was expecting, since the bad news was certainly behind us.


In my own mind, I may think that I’m pretty important, but I’m pretty sure that my disclosing my intentions didn’t send panic waves through the market for Dell stock. O, as it turned out, it was more bad news.


A couple of months ago, the famous founder, Michael Dell himself, stepped back up to the plate. Out was his hand picked CEO successor, whom he had wholeheartedly endorsed just weeks before. That’s always the kiss of death. The stock rallied on that news. The prodigal father was returning to rescue his child. Dell would go up, would go down, would show some brief upside trends on news. But Michael was back. He came back.


Now it’s never good news when you start the morning with an announcement that trading in Dell stock is halted. That was this morning’s news. It followed yesterday’s announcement that there may be a need to restate prior year’s’ earnings. Irregularities. How I hate that word, at least if it refers to a stock that I own. At my age, it’s very important to be regular.


Dell is a good example of how not to buy a stock. A while ago, after quarter after quarter of great earnings and guidance, Dell announced a disappointing quarter. The stock fell about 10% on that news. I though that was a great opportunity to buy into a great company, at a great price. Not !


Who knew that the house of cards was beginning to crumble. Those disappointing results may have been the first indication that you can’t hide irregularities forever. Manipulate as much as you want, but sooner or later the truth comes out. And so for the past 18 months or so, its been one delayed filing after another. That’s never good news. Yet Michael Dell stood by his man. After all, they did share an office.


In hindsight, with the continued delays, and the continued support of Michael Dell, there should have been alarms going off for me. But I kept confident. Secure in the fact that even while no longer running the company, Michael Dell would get this thing back on track.


He didn’t and he hasn’t. It’s hard too imagine that he didn’t know the depths of the problems at Dell. They still make a great product, albeit not price competitive, but a great product. In a household full of computers and laptops, our Dell is our top dog. But as a company, it’s broken, and Michael Dell should never have gone back home. Only time will tell what whether there was criminal activity or securities violations and now Michael Dell is back. If he knew the depths of the problems, his arrogance is mind boggling. The market wants results, not camouflage and not a soft shoe shuffle.


Maybe more disturbing is that if he didn’t know what was going on, what is he doing coming back? Stay away. How could he have been so removed? That’s very different from the departure of Jobs from Apple. If he was so removed and distanced from operations at Dell, how in the world could he be prepared to rescue them from this morass?


I hate selling on bad news. That’s why I didn’t panic last month. The difference is that ultimately, with a broad enough time frame, the market always recovers. Remember 1929?


You can’t say the same for companies. Remember Enron? Maybe Dell makes up a few cents, but it’s hard to see a return to its glory days. There’s lots of competition. Computers are commodities and are priced as such. Dell products are no bargains and you have to wait a few days to get yours. Americans want instant gratification, not a visit from the UPS guy.


Oh, and the SEC problems don’t help, either.


I have two solutions. Think private equity, if you can’t comply with the SEC.


So, Michael. Come. Visit. Have a nosh. But seriously, what were you thinking?


And my other solution?


It’s time to go before you end up on Best Buy’s shelves, next to your old friend, Ted.


 


NOTE:  The graphic appearing in this blog article did not appear in the original version


 


 


Hop SIng and Paw Blaze a New PathAmerican Tower ChartMake you Portfolio Work for You!


Invest like TheAcsMan


Option to Profit is available as either an eBook or 300+ paperback. Take a humorous look at a serious topic and learn how to make your portfolio finally go to work for you in bull and bear market environments.


See a sneak preview of Chapter 1.  hoco blogs


More about the book and purchase options. Scroll down and read the Szelhamos Rules blog, updated every weekday.


Find  OTP Book at Amazon, B&N or now you can also Order direct  from publisher. Use 10% Discount Code P4S2ZD8H


 


  








How Much Bad News can we Handle?





 


 


Today started off with terrible news, so it should have come as now surprise that the markets would react negatively, drastically and with unbridled violence.


Jackie ChanThe news that the beloved screen actor and martial arts expert, Jackie Chan, had died of a heart attack swept numerous social media sites, spreading across the globe, saddening fans and traders alike.


On the heels of Thursday’s U.S. market close, Friday should witness a bloodbath in the Asian markets once those markets open, as Chan was held to near diety status. Very fortuitously, the Arab markets are closed on Fridays, in respect of their Sabbath day. Chan is so revered there, in recognition of his early role in a little known Saudi backed film where he decapitated a young Moses, thereby causing the Exodus to never occur.


He is, in fact, held to such high regard within that demographic, that his image is not allowed to be shown in his movies.


Today’s report came several months after the most recent unsubstantiated rumor of Chan’s death, but the market, in its wisdom is never backward looking and ignored the news that the silver screen star was very much alive.


It’s not about accuracy. It’s about the moment. Revisions are routine and routinely ignored.


You could tell that there was obvious tension in the air as CNBC security was called in to separate Jim Cramer and Simon Hobbs from one another. It appeared as if Hobbs was trying to establish mutual consent on the adoption of Queensbury Rules, but the kid from Philadelphia was having none of that.


Although calmer heads eventually prevailed, it wasn’t so for the markets. They needed to vent.


Following the early sell-off came more bad news from Europe. Finland, a economic powerhouse of a country best known for having been usurped by the Soviet Union, joining Hungary as one of only two members of a dead language family and the home of the ubiquitous Nokia telephone, threw a wrench into the Greek bailout.


I would have also mentioned walrus blubber, but the previous sentence was already well past run-on status.


Just as they were getting ready to cross their T’s and dot their umlauts, Finland decided that they wanted collateral on the loans to Greece. On the surface, that wasn’t a problem. but then the FInnish Finance Minister was concerned that the Feta Greece was putting up had a expiration date that was unacceptable to the olfactory enhanced and sensitive Finns.


So our markets reacted accordingly as there was fear that the stink would spread across the European continent.


Oh yeah, and then there was that abysmal report from the Philadelphia Fed. The report showed contraction of factory activity to its lowest level since 2009. Anyone who has waited in line for a Philly Cheesesteak can attest to how long it now takes to shred the Cheese Whiz


But wait, isn’t that when we hit our last stock market bottom?


How great of a sign is that? Good enough to take the Dow from down 200 to down 500.


That good.


For those that remember The Haines Bottom, RIck Santelli reportedly called the bottom today. Somehow I missed that, but I did hear him call for $2200 gold, albeit, he warned of a precipitous correction. That would be bad news to come, but probably good news for others.


Today, all of the talk was about “risk-off” and the shift of money into gold. Given gold’s meteoric rise these past few hundred dollars, I still have a hard time seeing how that qualifies as a “risk-off” investment. I still can’t get James Altucher’s remark out of my mind. “It’s only a rock. It’s a rock”.


Real value resided in tulip bulbs. We all know that.


Those may be the most sane words I’ve ever heard uttered. The former. Not the latter.


Later in the day, with about an hour to go until the closing bell, trading was halted in Hewlett Packard.


More bad news.


HP had been another rumor source all day, as word leaked out that it was looking to spin off its PC business and then acquire an Enterprise company named “Autonomy”


Seriously, Autonomy is going to be acquired. Anything incongruous about that?


Well, HP pre-announced its earnings and the stock nose-dived. The fact that they pre-announced should not have come as a surprise to anyone, as HP has a habit of doing that regardless of the CEO du Jour.


What struck me as funny was a comment by Michael Dell.


Yes, that Michael Dell, who suggested that the name of the new HP PC spin-off might be “Compaq”.


Yeah, pretty funny, but Michael Dell is probably not in much of a position to fling stones. In fact, during the first iteration of Szelhamos Rules, he was the subject of “You Can Never Go Back Home“. Read it, especially in light of the warning in the very last line of that blog article.


Of course, if you owned Dell shares yesterday, you weren’t very happy, as Dell just reinvents their own personal bear market. Although after 16 quarters of earnings’ disappointments since Dell’s return, they must surely be approaching  Michael Dell’s objectives.


Truth be told, cutting off the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” guy was like cutting Samson’s hair.


As I watch more erosion of my portfolio at least I was able to come up with a new strategy to make my funds last me through retirement.


Out of necessity comes invention. So I’ve decided to stop taking my hypertension medication. Not only does it soilve the primary problem, but it’s also a very cost-effective way to solve it.


The last bit of bad news still has me puzzled.


For some reason, much ado was made today about the President taking vacation. In fact Yesterday Donald Trump said that he “was told” that President Obama has now taken more vacation than any other President.


How convenient that he could spread that “news” but not take the blame, when its proven to be false. My guess is that he was probably the one who started the Jackie Chan rumor as a way of taking heat off of himself for publicly announcing his beautifully timed purchases of Citibank and Bank America.


Forget that President Obama has taken one third of the vacation time that his predecessor did during the same time period.


It was no accident that Will Ferrel, in a Saturday Night Live spoof, had George W. Bush referring to himself as “your President, 24/7. That’s 24 weeks a year. 7 hours a day.” Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.


But, you would think that the President’s opponents would greet his vacation as good news.


After all, if he is to be blamed for the economy and the rapid degradation of Feta cheese, it should be of great benefit to have him take his hands off that steering wheel.


As a fitting end to the trading day and as a unintentional salute to the new norm,  Maria Bartiromo said “The Dow Jones Index is off by over 500 points. Its worst loss in a week”.


In a week. Not 2 years, or whatever the previous standard was for time between disasters. Now 5 days seems like an eternity.


Using that new norm, my retirement funds should last at least another 2 weeks.


Now, finally, some good news.