Saturday, September 30, 2006

When Cable Breaks

* Saturday night and cable went out around 8:40 pm. No TV or internet. I suppose Abe Lincoln would drag out a few candles and read a book. Fortunately, I have a Treo.

* Ever the geek, I have been mucking around with some voice recognition software called Naturally Speaking. Works quite well. I have also learned how to use my video editing software from Ulead and how to do chroma key stuff.

* Illinois beat Michigan State. LOL.

* Also got a long ride in today. Had to break out the windbreaker for the first time in a while.

* I think my fantasy line ups are set. I have a few probables. Hopefully the net is up manana.

* No links today...

* Black Box still thinks a market correction is nigh... I don't like the look of SMH or QQQQ.

Pigskin Picks!

  • Picks! Last week I went 8-5-1 in the NFL. Here we go for this week. (In edit throughout gameday... Finished 6-8 for the week. BLECH!)
  • Arizona +7.5:  Not a big believer in the Falcons.  Not that I'm a big believer in Arizona, but too many points this week. Final: Atlanta 32-10. Falcons dominated. Loser!
  • Tennessee + 9.5:  I think the Titans will get better as the season goes along, and this is too big of a spread.   Cowboys are fairly mediocre or maybe slightly better, but I don't like that spread on the road. Final: Dallas 45-14. Maybe the Cowboys used this as locker room material! Loser!
  • NY Jets +8:  Another big spread.  The Colts can put up some points, but I think the Jets can, too. Final: Colts 31-28. Great game. Winner!
  • Miami -3.5:  I've lost every week with the Dolphins.  Culpepper isn't making the reads but Ronnie Brown could run wild.  Carr might get some strikes against the Dolphin backs, but not enough. Final: Houston 17-15. Battle of mediocre teams. Loser!
  • Minnesota +1:  The game is at Buffalo, but I really like the Vikes. Final: Buffalo 17-12. Loser!
  • New Orleans +7:  Ain't nobody respecting the Saints.  Should be a high-scoring game with Steve Smith back with the Panthers. Final: Carolina 21-18. Winner!
  • Baltimore +2:  Home against the Chargers, and Tomlinson could run wild.  But I think the Ravens can control the ball and put up points to win. Final: Baltimore 16-13. Great comeback. Winner!
  • San Francisco +7:  On the road in KC with a big spread.  I think the 49ers will get better as the season goes along, and the Chiefs have issues. Final: Chiefs 41-0. No point spread big enough for 49ers. Awful. Loser!
  • Detroit +5.5:  In St. Louis, but the Rams don't have a high-flying offense anymore.  Could be a tight game. Final: Rams 41-34. Loser!
  • Cleveland -2.5:  Oakland sucks.  They're on the 2007 draft clock.  Cleveland is improving. Final: Browns 24-21. Winner!
  • Washington +3:  Redskins at home with Portis back over the tough Jaguars.  I think this one could come down to a field goal. Final: Redskins 36-30. Game of the week. Winner!
  • Patriots +6:  On the road in Cinci and this one might be a shoot-out.  The Patriots are underestimated with dual-running backs and Gabriel as the new #1 WR. Final: Patriots 38-13. Winner!
  • Seattle +3.5:  Chicago finaly struggles and Seahawks show a big passing game. Final: da Bears 37-6. They're for real. Loser!
  • Green Bay +11:  Too big of a point spread in Philadelphia. Final: Philly 31-9. Smoked! Loser!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Enough for this Week!

  • The market slid into the close, but nothing to be ashamed about after the nice ramp in September. Who woulda thunk it?  Fridays also tend to be profit taking days, and after looking like the market may never go down again some profits were booked.  Rocktober starts sunday, so we'll see if those awaiting a correction will be rewarded.  While I do have some market exposure, I also have some cash on the sidelines from the sales last week, so we shall see.  I'm a little wary of piling into large caps here.  Waiting for some better setups in sectors or even individual names. 
  • Football picks tomorrow.  Too busy this afternoon to even think about 'em.  Some big spreads out there.
  • Did you read that lack of sleep may make you fat?  I think that's obvious, especially if one is staying up late at the Hometown Buffet eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes.   Closin' it down instead of getting some sleep...
  • Adam added video blogging to his site recently.  Worth checking out.
  • Yes, I'll be doing video blogging soon.  As my mom used to ask me, "If Roger jumped off the pier, and Adam jumped off the pier, would you jump off the pier, too?"  Stay tuned for the answer!


  • The market is flat today, advance-decline is even. This is what a trend is like. On a day where profits should be taken, the market is flat.   There is still some pessimism in the air as folks expect a recession, and the market to react accordingly.  I don't expect that, but I was thinking we'd get a Sept-Oct swoon.  So we'll have to scratch the Sept part, and just go with the Oct swoon.  Will it materialize?  Are the institutions keeping this thing up into the end of the quarter?  Stay tuned to this Bat Channel next week, as October kicks into gear.
  • You know, whenever you take a few days off from work it seems like a million things have happened while you were away.  I've been playing catch up, and I only missed 2 days this week!  I guess that's what the "fun" in the Fun Factory is all about.  I think I've finaly caught up and am ready for the weekend.  Football picks later!  (Last night's didn't work out, but what a good game...)
  • Is anyone else having trouble with the new upgrades to Bloglines?  They upgraded their webpage, and all my subscriptions don't show up in the left margin.  I'm using the mobile webpage to see the subs.  I dunno.
  • From Barry Ritholz, the DOW vs. Money Market fund since January 2000.
  • Only a moron would buy YouTube!  (From Mark Cuban).

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Night Football Pick!

  • Thursday Night Football pick... Auburn travels to South Carolina to play the 'cocks.  Auburn is favored by 14 on the road.  Hmm.   I'll take Auburn.
  • Busy day...  Meetings!

Thursday Quick Hits

  • CNBC was just ridiculous this morning with the tick-by-tick watch of the DOW as it breached the 2000 record highs, if only briefly. Market now drifting a bit lower.  It'll be interesting to see how the market wraps up the month.  Month-end seasonality normally hits around now through the first few trading days of the following month with 401k adds.  Some of the quarter-end stuff may have already been done in the preceding days, though.  I do believe fund managers want to make sure the hot names appear on the books, while the cold names are off the books.
  • Still have some cash on the sidelines awaiting a dip that hasn't come.  Yet.  Not frustrated.  Just being patient.
  • The Oakland Raiders are on the clock (for the 2007 #1 college draft pick).  After two discouraging offensive performances, many observers are already calling the 0-2 Raiders the team most likely to finish with the worst record in the league and earn the top pick in that annual talent harvest.
  • The War on Trans Fats!  New York proposing banning trans fats from restaurants.  The proposal would give restaurants six months to switch to oils, margarines and shortening that have less than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving. After 18 months, all other food would also need to contain less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving.  The next thing you know, the only thing on the menu will be oat bran and broccoli.
  • So, Microsoft (MSFT) will release their 30-gig Zune for $249 on November 14th, and songs can be downloaded for 99-cents each.  For $14.99 a month, folks can subscribe and listen to any song on the Zune Marketplace.  Try to stifle the yawn.  Does anyone care?
  • Natural Gasprice really has no where to go but lower.  Does anyone believe that?  I don't.  When is a good time to go long on natural gas?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

DOW 40,000 Express!

  • OK, here is the part where those expecting a market correction can ridicule those who are riding the rally up as gunslinging idiots. Let me try.

The market has decided it wants to rally everyday forevermore.  The 40,000 DOW Express is rolling!  When economic numbers come out that show the economy may be slowing more than anticipated, the market is must be bought.  When companies reveal bleak forecasts, the stocks must be rated "overweight" in a portfolio.  Who cares if the semiconductor industry is slowing?  What does that have to do with the price of the stocks?  Who cares if job losses are growing and wages aren't keeping up with inflation?  Why does that matter?   The Federal Reserve is done, the soft landing is here, and the next move will be down, ushering in another era of cheap and easy money.  The Express is rolling, and the glory of unlimited profits is just at the next stop ahead:  DOW 40,000!

  • How's that?  Overall, I'm bullish but surprised we haven't seen more fear in the market.  Or maybe I just missed it...
  • So why doesn't President Bush just hire some of those Hewlett Packard board members to find out who leaked the National Intelligence Estimate?  (Uh, that's a joke!  Insert laugh track HERE!)
  • has "premium content."  $19.95 a year.  Huh?  So are words left out on the "free" site?  Are words misspelled on their "free" site?  Maybe some of the meanings are off a bit on the "free" site?  Perhaps there's a limit on the number of syllables on the "free" site? 

Ready. Set. Cheer!

  • The cheerleading for a new DOW high is getting quite loud. Revshark noticed this too and commented  I'm about ready to change the channel from CNBC to Jerry Springer, as I search for greater intellectual insight, useful information and less sensationalism. Seriously though, the focus on the new high in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on CNBC is beyond silly. It simply fans the flames of emotions. It is like a daylong infomercial, lacking the class, and far more dangerous than hair in a can or a ginzu knife.
  • Whether the action is window dressing or if the previous DOW high is acting like a huge gravitational force and sucking stocks upward, one has to respect the market action.  Now as I have raised cash the past couple weeks expecting the fall swoon, I'm content to let this wave pass and wait for the next set up.  Since I just came from the beach, imagine the comparison of a surfer trying to catch the wave that has gone by.  No amount of paddling will help. 
  • Alleged burglar in thong leaves video.  WHAT?
  • Did Terrell Owens try to commit suicide?
  • What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!  The 2006-2007 Las Vegas Gladiator Goddess Dance Team Audition Finals.   As long as we're forced to watch cheerleading for new DOW highs, can we at least invite the finalists from this one?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Back in the USSR

Yes! Back home after a nice trip to SoCal... 

The market is surprising me here, with a run late in September.  I suppose we can surmise that the month-end and quarter-end stuff is being front-runned a bit, but have to like this action.  We'll see what happens as the week plays out.

Man, I'm not sure what happened in football this week.  Lots to catch up on.

Back to the Fun Factory tomorrow...YEESH.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Night

* The market has surprised me. I've expected some weakness but the SP500 is at new bull market highs. I will be patient for now. There is always another setup on the way.

* Went to Huntington Beach today. Fun...

* I didn't watch a single down of football this weekend!

Crazy Man Fisher

* The Fed's Crazy Man Fisher was out this morning beating the inflation drums. That's just nuts.

* Morning Call with Liz and Becky! Woohoo! See the segment with the waffle cone scent?

* Market bouncing around... I still think it'll be weak this week.

* Heading to the beach...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

SoCal Blogging

* Back in SoCal visiting family. Also went and visited my Dad's Grave.

* Traffic down here sucks. I can't imagine wasting time trying to get around down here. How does Jack Bauer and CTU do it?

* Staying another day or so. I think the next positive market catalyst is end of quarter and month end stuff later this week.

* Love the Treo!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pigskin Picks (Week 3)!

I did horrible last week, but here are my best guesses this week. (In edit: 8 wins, 5 losses, 1 tie).

  • Redskins are -4 at Houston, and I think Brunell gets untracked.  Texans may never recover from not drafting Reggie Bush.   I'll take Washington -4. Final: Washington 31-15. Winner!
  • Jets are getting +5 at Buffalo.  I think Chad Pennington looks great, and the Jets cover the spread. Final: Jets 28-20. Winner!
  • Indianapolis -7 at home playing Jacksonville.  I'm going to press the Colts and Manning.  That's a big spread, but Jacksonville may have a  letdown after monday night. Final: Colts 21-14. Push.
  • Detroit -7 hosting the Packers.  OK, Packers defense is awful and maybe Kitna tears 'em apart.  I think it's too many points for the Lions to cover.  I'll take the Packers and the points. Final: Packers 31-24. Winner!
  • Pittsburgh -2 hosting the Bengals.  Cinci is playing well, and I'm not yet convinced about the Steelers after they beat a lackluster Miami team and didn't score against the Jags. I'll take Cinci +2. Final: Cinci 28-20. Winner!
  • Dolphins -11 hosting Titans.  Everything tells me that Tennessee is going to be the Dolphins punching bags this weekend.  Huge point spread for an indecisive Culpepper, but I'm going to try Miami again.  Give me the Fish and lay the points. Final: Miami 13-10. Loser!
  • The Bears -3.5 at Minnesota.  I think the Vikings go 3-0 with a win at home.  Should be a great game.  I'll take the Vikes and the points. Final: Chicago 19-16. Winner by the hook!
  • Tampa Bay at home +3.5 playing Carolina.  Bucs can't run.  Bucs can't pass.  I'll take the Panthers and give the Bucs 3.5. Final: Carolina 26-24. Loser!
  • Cleveland getting 6.5 at home playing the Ravens.  I think this one will be a close game, so I'll take the points and the home town Browns. Final: Ravens 15-14. Winner!
  • Giants on the road and getting 3.5 in Seattle.   Poor Giants, this will be 3 weeks in a row against great NFL teams.  This will be a great game, so I'll just take the dog and hope that a field goal at the end settles the victor.  Give me the Giants +3.5. Final: Seattle 42-30. Loser!
  • Eagles -6 at the SF 49ers.  I'm still not convinced about the 49ers.  Arizona isn't that good and the Rams can't score.  Eagles look good.  I'll take McNabb and give the 49ers 6. Final: Eagles 38-24. Winner!
  • Arizona -4.5 hosting the St Louis Rams.  Something is wrong with the Rams offense.  Nothing is wrong with the Cards offense.  I'll take Arizona and give the Rams 4.5. Final: Rams 16-14. Loser!
  • New England -6.5 hosting Denver sunday night.  Seems like a bunch of points, but I'm not impressed with Denver year-to-date.  I'll take the Pats and give -6.5. Final: Denver 17-7. Loser!
  • Monday Night has Atlanta at New Orleans and the Saints are the 3.5 underdog.  Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!  This one won't be a pitchers' duel.  I'll take the Saints and the points! Final: Saints 23-3. Winner!

ETF Mania!

Settle down, Muck.


Roger has his pulse on the latest and greatest of the ETFs from iShares, and starts off  This has been some week for new ETFs, howyadoin?

No kidding.  There are ETFs for everything now.  It's a race to see who can offer the most ETFs with the most indexes, the most backtested and data-mined investment strategies, and whatever else can justify grouping together a bunch of stocks in a themed portfolio.  I commented on his blog: 

I'm waiting for the "Global Companies with more than 2 consonants and 3 vowels" ETF. 

All kidding aside, I do like having the ability to focus on sectors.  I mostly use ETFs in my portfolio.  Of course, if we're going to be contrarians then you have to start wondering if we're entering an era where managed mutual funds will collectively outperform the boring no-brainer ETFs.

The concern I have with many ETFs centers around volume/liquidity and the spread between the bid-ask.  To paraphrase a line from Schwarzenegger's 2003 campaign, "some of those spreads are so wide I could drive my Hummer through it." 

Passing on the opportunity to quip about "tight spreads" and "Hummer."  Although it's tempting to cut loose.

Seasonal Swoon?

  • The market? Well, fridays tend to move the opposite direction of the weekly trend but this week has been interesting.  Where's the weekly trend in the SPY chart?
  • Having raised some cash last week and again this week, I'm anticipating a Sept-Oct seasonal swoon. I don't think it'll be that major, but I wanted to have some cash to reload on beta somewhere down the road.  I don't see a market catalyst until end of month and quarter next week.  Then there's the sell Rosh Hashana and buy Yom Kippur thing.  Not too anxious to be a dip buyer today.  Maybe towards the middle of next week, though.  Have to wait and see. 
  • Speaking of, Rosh Hashana starts today at sundown.  So, avoid the rush and leave work a little early to pick up the beer keg. Wooot!
  • Ooh, that football pick worked out barely.  Yea Yellow Jackets.  I needed the win after last week's drubbing!
  • The wind must be blowing around 60mph here today.  Hope the fence is up when I get home.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Night Football Pick!

  • The market sold off a bit today, but nothing major. Some blame being given to the thought that the US economy may be slowing down.  Although, I think we knew that already.  Energy prices have fallen, both oil and natural gas.   But decreasing energy prices are not only a function of demand, but of the fear of hurricanes which didn't happen.  Also because of the "calming down" in Israel-Lebanon and Iran.   In addition, some of the speculative money has come out of the sector, too.  Maybe that's also what is propelling other stock sectors.  Anyways, I'm expecting a market pullback which is why I raised some cash. 
  • College pick... I'll take Georgia Tech at home -16 against Virginia.
  • Not much time to blog today!  Which is a good thing.  Summer doldrums ending and work is picking up a bit.
  • Taking soy isoflavones to lower cholesterol?  Here's an article on their effectiveness.  I like the conclusion:  There's no good evidence, however, that soy isoflavone supplements help lower cholesterol, Reynolds said. It's better to save the money you'd spend on pills and use it on some tofu hot dogs, according to the researcher.  Those isoflavone pills might be cheaper than tofu hot dogs, though.  Might taste better, too.  Better buy some mustard...

Lazy Thursday

  • I can't think of anything to say about the stock market. I sold a bunch last week.  Sold some more yesterday "seconds" before the Fed announcement.  So I have some cash on the sidelines, but still have some holdings in the index.   Black box still on the sell signal.  Seasonality is a headwind, being in Sept-Oct and earnings warning season.  Month-end 401(k) buying is still a bit aways.
  • One idea gaining traction "out there" is that with quarter-end coming, the big money wants to have the big names that have performed the best in their portfolios and to exit the losers.  So is this what keeps the rally going?  Or, is this going to create a counter move as everyone tries to get out before everyone else?  Too fishy?
  • Thanks to A Dash of Insight for the mention!  Yes, my football picks have been "wide left."  Of course, looking for a better week this week!
  • Bill Cara on gas prices and President Bush's popularity.  Now, I don't believe the line where BC speculates that maybe this is sufficient reason for traders to believe the recent price decline in gasoline prices was manufactured for the times.  But in the end, I do think folks vote their pocket books more than anything else.
  • Cody Willard blasts ESPN's Monday Night Football.  Well, I agree that the broadcasting team is subpar, but I think it's hillarious in a "I'm laughing AT them" sort of way.  Know what I mean?  I just want to know when the broadcasting team brought up the term "pitchers duel" over and over, who wanted to hurl a fastball at the TV?  "I'll show you a pitchers duel!"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Strength and Weakness

  • Charts are a great way to predict the past. I know of none better.  Sometimes it looks so obvious, doesn't it?  Notice the double-top in oil.  There was a double-top in mid-summer, that's easier to spot on this chart than on the one to the right..  Notice the declining volume, MACD, and RSI on the second trip up.  Now there's a stutterin' double-top booyah for ya.
  • Two weeks into the NFL, so we should have a better idea of teams' strengths and weaknesses.  I've learned that the Oakland Raiders' weakness is called "the game of football."
  • Barry Ritholz goes over the Fed release with a fine tooth comb, and also has some insight on info in the FOMC minutes that aren't released to the public.
  • Funny search results... Somebody found The Learning curve by a Google search for "Erin Burnett dress size."  Kind of strange.
  • The market is like a hot craps table at the moment. The enthusiasm and excitement is building and extremely contagious. Everyone wants to get their cash in on the 6 and 8. Press it!  The Don't players are elbowed out of the way for the "serious" traders. Roll 'em, shooter.
  • Just when the party starts to gather a crowd, it's not very popular to be the guy who notices that there may be a leak in the beer keg.   David at The Shark Report on Smelly Socks.
  • Random Real Estate Thoughts from Larry at Millionaire Now.  In thought #4, Larry asks (paraphrasing) that if you're trying to time the housing market and sold too early while the housing market raced off without you, WHEN WOULD YOU GO BACK IN?  Easy answer for me, Larry...  When I got tired of sleeping on the streets! 
  • OK, that's not a serious answer.  My thoughts on real estate is that a home is a place to live.  I'd rather invest in something that has a better long-term investment return.  Yes, the stock market.  Plus, you never have to worry about destructive tenants or termites when you own the SP500.  (I think there's an Enron joke somewhere in that last sentence.)

More on the Market

  • You know, this market has had an incredible move up since the lows of the summer correction. It's been grinding higher amid non-belief, while folks anticipated the September-October bottom and had their "list of stocks to buy" at the ready.  We're at the place now where it feels like all good news and all bad news are reasons to buy stocks.  This may be the function of money coming out of oil and housing, as well as underinvested bulls and bears who were wrong about their predictions of a bear market.  Remember those who were calling for a big bear when the yield curve was inverted?  Well, they've been wrong.
  • And maybe me selling some stocks last week and some more today was wrong.  Tops take a long time to form and the market can always extend the trend for far longer than anyone realizes.  By the way, when I'm wrong it's not the "end of the world."  The market will be open for trading tomorrow.  Buy and sell signals come and they go, over and over again. 
  • California sues automakers over global warming.  That'd be state Attorney General Bill Lockyer. 
  • The reason to get off of oil was extremely obvious this week.  There are crazy people running Venezuela and Iran.  Hugo Chavez called President Bush the Devil during a UN speech.  The faster we can get off oil and quit sending US dollars to these nutjobs, the better.
  • The nice thing about having cash on the sidelines is that money market interest accrues at very little risk.  It's not like having a sports bet on the Oakland Raiders and 4-quarters of ball to get the point spread lined up correctly!

Fed Status Quo

  • Sold a little more right ahead of the Fed announcement.  Just cuz.  Seemed like a probable catalyst for profit taking. 
  • Is Detroit on the brink?  Domestic auto makers having a rough go of it, churning out gas guzzlers when Americans were paying over $3 a gallon.  .  Another overlooked thing might be forward sales.  Remember when automakers were using 0% interest loans and other discounting to move cars?  Maybe that bit into future sales.
  • Freakies statement out, as expected.  Not much.  Market selling a smidge, but nothing dramatic.
  • Lunch.  WWJD:  What would Jarrod do?  Subway.

Resistance is Futile!

  • Suddenly, everyone is happy about the economy. The Nasdaq is going back to 5000 and oil is going back to $12 a barrel. Cancel that Prius order and get the Hummer. It's so funny how quickly the collective Borg mindset went from oil over $100 and the economy racing into a recession to happy times all in a few weeks time. Resistance is futile.
  • How much of this happiness is priced in before the Fed meeting?  That's the question of the day!
  • The Thai coup may be good for the economy, but may be bad for those with a suitcase full of Viagra planning a sabbatical.
  • The Atlanta Falcons bring back kicker Morten Anderson!  He's 46, btw...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday Quick Hits

  • The market actually staged a strong rally to close the day and came off the lows nicely. The bulls might've felt a bit queasy on the initial panic after Yahoo and Thailand, but have to feel better about things now.  I'm still a little cautious about going hog-wild with beta here, but the bulls do have the upper hand until proven wrong.
  • I hope nobody reading this went long the Thai Baht yesterday.
  • Microsoft to launch video service to rival YouTube.  "Hello, Mr. Late to the Party, glad you could make it.  YouTube, MySpace, and Google are already on their 3rd drinks and have cornered all the pretty girls."  Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.  Oh, the new service is called Soapbox.  Will MSFT make it a better experience?  We'll see.
  • The TV season has started, and the recordings on my XP Media Center are piling up.  Good grief.
  • In case you missed the Padres-Dodgers game last night, the Dodgers hit 4 consecutive home runs to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, and then a 2-run home-run to come from behind and win it in extra innings (10th).  Now THAT'S determination.
  • Funny... Nazi Pope Refuses to Convert to Islam.

Detox Mode!

  • Busy on the first day back to the Fun Factory, so just some quick notes.

  • The market was coasting along this week, and then one of two things happened. First, Yahoo comes out and says that nobody is clicking on those web ads after all. Didn't I wonder about that here at The Learning Curve awhile back? I just don't get the pay per click business model, since I don't think surfers click those ads. The other thing that may have happened is the Thailand coup. There may be no oil in Thailand, but this could be rocking the global hooker market.

  • Yes, I'm glad I lowered the beta and raised cash last week. Although, lets see how this plays out. We're still in Sept-Oct and post-options week, so weakness should rule. Also, Fed meeting tomorrow. Investors will be scrubbing Fed Text for knowledge.

  • Gee, what an offensive shoot-out last night. NOT!

  • More later. The whip is crackin' here at the Fun Factory! And I'm in detox mode after the long weekend in Reno!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Reno Blogging

* Okay, bad weekend for pigskin picks. Just horrible.

* The week after options week tends to be weak. And we are in September.

* Titans are bad. Raiders are bad. Dolphins are bad. Lions are bad.

* Michigan whooped Notre Dame.

* I think the Democrats win eight seats in the House and two in the Senate.

* Driving back to Sac tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pigskin Picks!

  • Pigskin picks! Not a recommendation to bet real money. 
  • The Oakland Raiders are heading to Baltimore where the Ravens are an 12.5 favorite.  The Raiders look like they're playing for 2007 draft position at this point.  I haven't seen team chemistry this bad since Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey.  But this is the NFL and strange things happen.  I don't believe Baltimore is a contender and Jamal Lewis may or may not be completely healthy.  When was the last time Baltimore was favored by 12.5?   This sounds crazy, but I think Brooks and Moss are going to hook up a couple times and Lamont Jordan will get some tough yards.  It'll be enough to cover a huge point spread.  I'll take the Road Raiders +12.5.
  • The New York Giants are 3-point underdogs visiting the Philadelphia Eagles.  I like McNabb having Stallworth.  I think Philly is going to win more than last year.  But the Giants are the real deal and have too many weapons.  I think the Giants pound out the yards on the ground and Eli finds an open guy whenever he needs one.  Scoring could go back and forth in this one.  But I think the Giants are going to win this one flat out, and it'll be the game of the week.  I'm taking the Giants +3.
  • Bills are 6-point underdogs at Miami.   I think the pressure is on Miami to win and they are at home.  Miami didn't look too bad against the Steelers on opening night, have had a long rest, and will be hungry at their home opener.  I think Ronnie Brown, Culpepper, and the Dolphins defense will star.  The Bills will be without Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Andre Reed.   I'll take the fish -6.
  • The Colts are a 13-point favorite, hosting the Houston Texans.  This match-up will feature... STOP.  Not even going to think about it.  Taking the Colts -13.
  • Saints are visiting the Packers, where the Saints are favored by 2.  I think it'll be a high-scoring game with lots of passing and not much defense.  Maybe a shoot-out.  You know, in this one I'm just going to root for Favre and take the Packers at home plus 2. 
  • The Rams are favored by 3 at the 49ers.  The Rams moved the ball well last week everywhere except in the Red Zone.  They'll score big this week against the 49ers defense.  The Rams are running more this year and trying to control the clock.  On the other side of the ball, the 49ers have improved from last year and Alex Smith is getting there, but not this weekend.  I'll take the Rams -3.
  • Broncos favored by 10.5 hosting the Chiefs.  Who is QB for KC?  Nothing to think about here.  Taking the Broncos and giving 10.5. 
  • College... I like Notre Dame to cover the 5.5 at home playing Michigan.

Quick Hits

Gappin' Friday


  • Market gapped up on the economic numbers today, but has since eased back.  I think the likelihood of profit taking will increase as the day meanders along.  Next week we have the Fed meeting, and everyone is expecting them to hold off on rate hikes.  But what they do never seems to matter as much as what they say.  And this Fed has been all over the map regarding that.
  • West Virginia in a rout.  More pigskin picks in the waning afternoon hours today!
  • Sure the CPI headline number is down with the drop in energy, but notice how the core rate is consistant?
  • With energy prices lower and more money in consumer pockets, all the discretionary stuff folks spend money on gets a bump, eh?  Coffee.  Eating.  Shopping.  Gambling.
  • I'm already thinking about lunch here.  SIGH.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


  • It's Just Money gives some advice about Warnings from Mom.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) had a really good day today with the announcements related to Zune.  Am I going to buy one?  No.  Why would I?  I have a Treo that plays music, movies, and is a phone.  Oh, it takes pictures and movies, too.  Zune would be a step back as far as I'm concerned.  Yeah, I need more memory and better quality pics, but that's coming in future gens of these kinds of devices, IMHO.  I might get a Motorola Q next.  I can even stream TV from my home to the Q...
  • Ever read Jim Cramer's blog over at realmoney?  It's almost as nonsensical as the political boards between the left-wing moonbats and the right-wing neocons.  Folks are arguing about Jim.

Sold Some Stocks Today

  • Sold a bunch of beta near the close today. Raised cash levels.  The Black Box is still on the sell signal from Labor Day weekend, even as the market has consolidated and retested.  Combine the Black Box signal with the end of options week, and I think the scenario is set for the widely anticipated Sept-Oct pullback (The Swoon Prophecy).  Fridays are normally profit taking days, and since this week has been a good one I'd expect some profits to be booked.  Two weeks until the end of month strength, so there is time for doubt to sneak in.  I think that any pullback here would heighten alarm about The Swoon Prophecy.  We all know about self-fulfilling prophecies. 
  • Thorns in the theory.... It does look like money is rotating from wherever (real estate, commodities, etc) into big caps and tech.  The crowd does seem pessimistic and expecting the Sept-Oct swoon.  Oil prices are falling, too.  Volume is higher on this move up than on the previous high last week, but that was summer and Labor Day, so I'm ignoring volume for this one.  Even the President's approval ratings are rising, which normally means folks are more optimistic about their situation and the economy.  (Those ratings are still low, however!)  Also, despite The Swoon Prophecy, the market held up well during last week's consolidation and has done great this week so far.
  • Never a recommendation.  I did go under .500 on my sports picks last week after all!  Feel free to ridicule me whenever I'm wrong. 
  • Tucker Carlson is the first eliminated from this year's Dancing with the Stars.  Yes, Springer and Hamlin are still alive.  The show can only eliminate one at a time, so be patient.  Their time will come.
  • Yesterday it was near 100 degrees.  Got a bike ride and a swim in.  Today?  65 degrees.  WHAT A CHANGE!  Looks like a good night to watch Thursday Night Football on ESPN.  West Virginia is a 17.5 point favorite at home playing Maryland.  Looks like it opened around 13.5, so there is big bank moving the spread on this.  Who cares.  If I were at the book, I'd take WV.  So this will be my first pigskin pick of the week. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fish Oil Smoothies

  • Here is is! Increased dietary fish oil may prevent many deaths.  I know we're all looking for some supplement that will allow us to eat all the burgers, chips, and cookies we want without suffering from any ill health effects.   Maybe adding fish oil smoothies to the diet is the answer.
  • Mark Hulbert on contrarians and gold.  I never thought gold would get as high as it did.  Now it has plunged quite a bit.  As have the commodities.  (Things that would hurt your foot if you dropped them on it).
  • Who watched Emmit Smith bust a groove on Dancing with the Stars last night?  I had it on in the background as I was bidding on free agents for my Fantasy Football team.  Emmit may have missed his calling as a ballroom dancer!  (He didn't do bad, but I'm sure he has no regrets about his career choice..)
  • The Shark Report wonders if the market is "running out of steam."  Prolly.
  • Gunmen open fire in Montreal College
  • More on the rumored Air America radio bankruptcy chatter today.  (Hmm... Maybe this is all a publicity stunt?)
  • I'm not sure why we're looking for a government program to stop kids from getting obese.  1 out of 5 to be obese by 2010 they say.  I believe it.  You know me (pete and repeat), I think the answer is a healthy diet and exercise.  Which the parents should be doing as well, mind you.  Or maybe pitch the idea of a fish oil smoothie to your kids tonight...

How is the Consumer Doing?

But Muck, we're having such a nice run together...


I added a comment over at Barry Ritholz's The Big Picture on his entry Why I think Cramer is Wrong about the Consumer.  BR comments on Cramer's comment that the Best Buy (BBY) quarter is evidence of the health of the consumer. BR says, I beg to differ.  So go read it before continuing...

(tick, tock)

Before my comment, I just want to note that whenever we mention "Cramer" and "Wrong" in the same sentence, shouldn't WRONG! be capitalized and ended with an exclamation mark?  Also, as a preface, I'm still long this market despite some of the overtones in the comment.  Here's what some anon guy on the web who goes by Muckdog (that's ME!) said on the comment thread (plus a few docu-drama spelling/gramatical fixes):

Cramer always seems a bit late to the move, IMHO.

Retailers are rebounding because energy prices have come down.  Why?  Maybe the terror premium of Israeli bombs or Iranian nukes has eased, maybe the threat of hurricanes is waning, maybe the economy has slowed, or maybe summer driving season is over.

Some combination of that.

This results in "extra" cash in the consumer's wallets, that they are now spending on retail.  Expect SBUX and CAKE to do better now, too.  People love to spend money, and now they have more than they did when oil was near $80.

Oh by the way, before we all celebrate and buy stocks that have already been pricing this in, remember that falling energy prices act like a tax cut for the consumer, and will thus stimulate consumer spending and the economy.  You-know-who is always on the lookout for inflation, and if the economy is starting to roll again then Wall St might hit "speed bump Bernanke" soon...

Regarding comments that all this spending comes from maxing out credit cards, remember that a growing economy always sees expanding credit. People feel good about the economy, go out and spend cash, credit, and whatever it takes because they have an optimistic outlook for tomorrow.

Just thinking out loud.

Go drop Barry a comment and tell him if you think he's right on, if that Muckdog is full of beans, or whatever.

The Rationalizaton Game

The toughest thing about trying to time the markets is knowing when to buy and when to sell. Oh brother!  Sound too obvious and therefore ridiculous?  The easiest part is when one already has established a position.  At that time, it becomes easy to rationalize one's point of view.  There are charts, indicators, and many financial sites and blogs that have a multitude of opinions to reinforce the rationalization.  But what happens when one wants to change course?

Changing course means that one has to disregard the previous rationalization.  That's not so easy to do.  One could convince oneself that the DOW is going to surge in the coming months and have memorized a laundry list of reasons why.  But something changes.  The sell signal comes.  But how could a sell signal possibly come when there are a laundry list of reasons to support holding on?

That makes it tough to change course.  When the course is changed, one has to create a new list of rationalizations to support that point of view that contradicts the previous list of rationalizations.  On and on this goes.  Then, when one of the signals misfires, the easiest thing to do is to say "Darn, I knew it!" and kick oneself for changing course when the previous line of reasoning and rationalizing was the right course after all! 

After a few iterations of this, it can be very difficult to pull the trigger on a buy or sell signal.  I try to minimize the second-guessing of myself.  I accept that there will be times that I am completely wrong.  I also be patient with my decisions when the market is indecisive and in a range, knowing that this can lead to frustration and emotion after a while of little action.  I also limit my short-term trading calls and lean to intermediate-term calls which require patience.   At least that's the plan.


  • I'm happy the market is moving higher. The price and volume action yesterday looked better than the top from last tuesday, so TA folks had to mostly like it.  Meanwhile, sentiment still seems to be a little skeptical and worried about a Sept-Oct swoon. 
  • Check out Adam's column up on mad paper trading.  And follow the comment thread there, too.  It does strike me that Cramer is "the crowd."  If you want to know what the sheep are thinking...
  • Over on realmoney, Revshark says Technical Analysis is more than just charts.  I think charts are a great way to predict the past!  Seriously, Rev makes some good points and lightly chides fellow commentator Cody for dissin' the fine art of TA.  Rev concludes, If you want to be critical of TA, make sure you really understand how good technicians use charts.   And therein lies the rub:  Finding a good technician.
  • From Hot Air on the rumor of Air America Radio bankruptcy, They weren’t good enough, they weren’t smart enough, and gosh darn it, nobody liked them. 

IN EDIT 7:50pm...

I figured out how Air America Radio can stay on the air! Yes it will require some changes, but their mission and values can continue. I suggest the following schedule changes to boost listenership (all times Pacific):

6:00am-9:00am: Laura Ingraham
9:00am-12:00pm: Rush Limbaugh
12:00pm-3:00pm: The Sean Hannity Show
3:00pm-6:00pm: The Savage Nation with Michael Savage
6:00pm-9:00pm: The Michael Reagan Show
9:00pm-11:00pm: The Bill O'Reilly Show
11:00pm-6:00am: Paid Advertising

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quick Hits

  • I've eaten tons of peanuts today. So many, that I'm wondering if in a previous life I was an elephant. 
  • The Top 9 Real Complaints by Bill Clinton about ABC's The Path to 9/11.
  • Major kudos to Barry Ritholz for this excellent column, Exotic Mortgage Brokers: The new boiler roomsHow did we go from a nation of fixed-rate loving mortgage holders to this sudden spike in toxic mortgage products? It turns out that hard pitching telemarketers, in the best boiler room fashion, have been jamming these products down the throat of unwary consumers.  I agree 110%.  I hope wages are going up enough, interest rates stay low enough, and energy prices are falling fast enough so that when the option ARMs readjust, folks can afford to stay in their homes.
  • Elephants are supposed to have great memories, and I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday. 
  • Over on Revshark's board on realmoney, Newt had the comment of the day talking about CNBC's Erin Burnett with Jim Cramer:  Erin Burnett looked pretty uncomfortable there. I thought she was going to break out the mace and give JJC a stutterin' pepper-spray booyah.
  • From The Shark Report... Is the market toppy?  Could this be a retest of the previous rally highs?
  • I'm not afraid of mice. 
  • So, one of the biggest election year issues for the 2006 Democrats is Wal-mart?  Always seemed like a bizarre horse to flog.  People love Wal-mart.
  • Mark Hulbert reflects on the stock market since 9/11.   ...the investment lesson of those attacks is that they had relatively little lasting impact.
  • Maybe I wasn't an elephant in a previous life after all.

Number 9

  • The Raiders sure put the "0" in Offense. That was pathetic.  Were they even playing an offensive line?  Interesting stats... The Raiders had 9 first downs, were sacked 9 times, and punted the ball 9 times.  Is there a relationship between the Raiders, John Lennon and the number 9?
  • The market staged a nice move today.  Nice options week strength.   Yahoo Finance says it's falling oil prices that are easing inflation fears.  Maybe that's why the market is rallying, but that's wrong thinking.  Falling oil prices are putting more money in consumers pockets, and folks are spending it at the stores.  Which might be why retail sector is moving higher. 
  • Apple (AAPL) coming out with downloadable movies from iTunes.  Interesting.  So the iPod can play music and store movies.  Say, could this thing replace one's set-top box?  Or will they release some Mac version that would do that?
  • Hey, yesterday I mentioned calculators.  Check out this story at the WSJ on how math is being taught to students these days.  As the debate heated up, concern grew about U.S. students' math competence. In 2003, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, a test that compares student achievement in many countries, ranked U.S. students just 15th in eighth-grade math skills, behind both Australia and the Slovak Republic. Singapore ranked No. 1, followed by South Korea and Hong Kong. Fueling concern about the quality of elementary and high-school instruction: one in five U.S. college freshmen now need a remedial math course, according to the National Science Board.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Random Thoughts

  • Texas Instruments (TXN)narrows their targets after the bell.  Down over a percent as I type.
  • Oil in a freefall, maybe heading to $0.  Real estate in a freefall, maybe heading to $0.  But the silver lining is this is at least we'll be able to afford to live in our Hummers.
  • Rudy Giuliani remembers 9/11.  Very touching.
  • If you're looking for a side-by-side video comparison of The Path to 9/11 movie pre-edits and post-edits, check out Allahpundit here.
  • A double-header on MNF?  Amazing!  Too many TV choices between MNF, The Path to 9/11 and Vanished.
  • Remember when Texas Instruments used to make those cool calculators?  Do they still do that?
  • Miami Dolphins cheerleaders website updated.  So you know.
  • President Bush will interupt part 2 of The Path of 9/11 with a speech tonight, where he will say that the war on terror is the "struggle for civilization."
  • For the year that I've been a Netflix member, I have visited a Blockbuster video store only once.  Love NFLX.  The company not the stock.
  • Go say "Happy Birthday" to Kim.
  • If we're in a "struggle for civilization," then I want Arnold Schwarzenegger as my President.  Have they changed the law yet about a foreign born being President?
  • Do schools allow kids to bring calculators into math class?  That was a no-no back when those strict disciplinarians made me memorize the multiplication tables.
  • Just in case the second half of The Path to 9/11 or the late NFL game gets a little boring, amuse your party guests with this tidbit.  Devo bassist Gerry Casale has a band Jihad Jerry & the Evil-Doers.  Check out the video "Army Girls Gone Wild" and make sure to check out that new album in stores 9/12, "Mine Is Not A Holy War."  Kind of weird.  But in a Devo-weird kind of way.

Water Cooler Fantasy Chat

  • Here we are in options week, and the market pinged down and had a prettynice reversal to the upside before finishing mostly flat.  Most folks are expecting a September-October swoon.  September is trucking along and we're off the highs a bit, but not by much. 
  • NFL... Lots of Fantasy Football chatter at the water cooler today.  Some fun games out there.  I bet nobody had 49ers running back Frank Gore in their starting Fantasy line-up this week.  And you probably thought the top 3 running backs coming into the year were going to be Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson, and Ladanian Tomlinson?  FOOLS!   And folks probably passed on Chad Pennington, too.  (It's early...)  A double-header for MNF?  WTF?
  • Anti-obesity compound found in brown seaweedStudies in animals suggest that brown seaweed, also known as wakame -- commonly used to flavor Asian soups and salads, contains a compound that promotes weight loss. The compound, called fucoxanthin, also has anti-diabetes effects.  "Waiter, I'd like the brown seaweed soup."  So much for it being an "invasive weed" in New Zealand.  Looks like they may have a new cash crop!

Remembering 9/11

Five years ago on 9/11, I was watching CNBC in the morning as I was getting ready for work. By the time I tuned in the first plane had hit the World Trade Center.  Folks were pretty confused at what was happening.  CNBC was showing the the first plane in the tower as the second one came in.  I think then everyone realized we were under attack.  When I arrived at my office, the whole place was in shock.  Everyone had the news websites up and the radios on.  I think we all felt vulnerable.

I recorded and watched The Path to 9/11 last night.  ABC seems to have removed the political content that had partisans in an uproar.  The movie does a good job at showing the uprise in terrorism through the 90's and increasingly bold attacks.   The reason I wanted to watch is because I know there will be lots of debate this week about the movie, and I wanted to know what it was all about. 

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's the Weekend!

  • It's the weekend! Lace up those tennis shoes and... surf the web!
  • The Black Box is still on the sell signal.  After running some scans, I can't see much to like.  It'll be interesting if the market gets an options week bounce and how the scans look then.  I don't think it'll be promising, but we'll have to wait and see.
  • This is an interesting view of my local housing market.   Sacramento Area Flippers in Trouble.  It lists what homes are asking for now versus what they sold for last.  Quite a drop!
  • Roberto seems to think everyone is bullish out there.  I dunno.  All I read and hear about is the bursting of the real estate bubble, that the Fed has gone too far and the economy is in a recession, Sept-Oct is going to see a big monster stock sell off, etc.
  • Have you caught up with the lonelygirl15 "controversy?"  The whole video blogging thing has taken off, and this appears to be some sort of scripted storytelling.  Staged?  Looks like it to me.  I caught up this morning, and now I'm hooked.  Kind of creepy.  But I can see why TV ratings are taking a hit with folks watching stuff online.  It's addicting!
  • Jason still on a sell signal and wonders about seasonal stuff and pre-earnings announcements.
  • Uh oh, the Steelers signed Najeh Davenport.  And I have Willie Parker as one of my fantasy RBs.  I just hate the "designated" goal-line and 3rd down running back.
  • Why watch The Path to 9/11 on ABC when you can click to YouTube and watch the top rated videos for the last week?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pigskin Picks!

  • OK, down 0-1 for believing the Dolphins hype on thursday night. Lets move on.  Nothing to see here.
  • The Bengals are a +1.5 underdog at Kansas City.  It could be a high-scoring game if the KC recievers and Old Man Green can keep up with Cinci.  I don't think so, though.  I like the Bengals plus 1.5. 
  • The St. Louis Rams are a 4-point underdog at home against the visiting Denver Broncos.  Which Bell will be running for Denver:  Tatum, Mike or Taco?  Denver is a quality team, but I think the Rams will be good enough with their offense to cover the 4.  I like the Rams +4.
  • Tennessee Titans are at home favored by 2.5 over the NY Jets.  Just on principle, I will go against the Jets every weekend until proven wrong.  I like the Titans -2.5.
  • The San Francisco 49ers are on the road and a 7.5 underdog against the Arizona Cardinals.  Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Antonio Bryant and Arnaz Battle are up against Warner, Edge, and two of the best fantasy football receivers in Boldin and Fitzgerald.  Are the oddsmakers sure they have the decimal point in the right place on this one?  Give me the Cardinals, I'll lay the 7.5.
  • SNF (sunday night football) has the Colts at the Giants in the Brother vs. Brother match-up.  The Colts are a 3.5-point favorite on the road.  The Colts lost Edge, but I think he mainly benefitted from having an awesome offensive line and passing game.  I think whoever steps in will have good success.  The Giants are an emerging team and have skilled players all around, but I'm not going to fall for the hype after taking one on the chin thursday night, so I'll take the Colts and lay the 3.5
  • For MNF (duh) there is a double-header.  Give me Minnesota +4 on the road and Oakland -3 at home.  The Vikings might surprise some folks this year.  The Chargers have put a ton of faith in their new QB, and I'm not quite ready to do that yet.
  • I'll stay away from the college tune-up games, but Notre Dame was an 8.5 favorite on the road last weekend at Georgia Tech and didn't cover, but looked like they could.  Now they're a 7.5 favorite at home against Penn St.  I'll take Notre Dame -7.5.  I think the Irish are a darn good team.  Cal is a 7.5 favorate at home against visiting Minnesota.  The Bears didn't show me anything last weekend.  Give me the Gophers and the 7.5.  I don't know about Texas -2 hosting Ohio St.  If I were at the casino, I'd probably take the home team in this one, so I'll take Texas -2.
  • I am not recommending gambling.  This will showcase how futile it is.  As a matter of fact, by the end of the season I'll probably be very close to 50%.  At the casino, I'd just lose to the house.  Which is what they're aiming for. 

More TGIF Stuff

  • Yahoo Finance mentions the August rally and how much was given back in just a couple days. To wit, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 1.7%, 2.1% and 4.4%, respectively, last month but heading into today's open had already relinquished 1.2%, 1.5%, and 2.3% since Tuesday. It's easy to get whipped around on a 2-day 2% swing!   Here's a 5-day of the SMH, QQQQ, and SPY.
  • Does your neck of the woods have a housing bubble blog yet?  Sacramento has one.  This has been the most advertised and anticipated bubble of all times.  Folks have been predicting the demise of housing since the 2001 recession.  Inventory levels are sure climbing now, though.  I've heard some rumblings that not-so-serious sellers may be taking their homes off the market and that new home construction may be slowing down.  That'll help reduce supply.  But is it too late?
  • More Path to 9/11 fun from Seixon  (hat tip to Michelle Malkin), suggesting that ABC could simply insert a slate over scenes in The Path to 9/11 that the Democrats find objectionable.  People are funny.  Does everyone make up their minds before seeing the movie based on talking points from the DNC or RNC?  I mean, c'mon.

  • Those looking for a reason for the swoon in the markets this week are (partly) blaming the stronger labor wage numbers.  Barry Ritholz asks Are labor costs really rising?  My thoughts?  I'm a software developer, so in my industry wages fell off a cliff after the dot-com bubble burst.  The combination of Y2K being over and the Fed slowing down the economy created quite a supply of programmers.  At the same time offshore labor became educated and extremely cheap, keeping downward pressure on.  But I've noticed lately that demand has picked up and wages are rising.   Just one view from the technical trenches.
  • Why Water Could Become More Valuable Than Oil.  This is probably true, but have you noticed how water stocks get hyped and un-hyped over and over again?  A one-year chart of PHO, an ETF for water.  Maybe I'll have to add it to my scans.
  • Mark Hulbert has an interesting one on the desperation of investment ads...the distinct impression I get from reading the various ads I receive is that advisers are finding it harder and harder to attract new subscribers, and as a result are resorting to increasingly outrageous claims.
  • TGIF!

Are Republicans like New Coke?

Back on April 23rd, 1985, Coke introduced New Coke and discontinued the original recipe. Peter Jennings of ABC News interrupted General Hospital to break the story on national TV.  Although taste tests (ie, "polls") showed that folks preferred the taste of New Coke over the original recipe, when New Coke was released Americans were outraged.  On July 11th, 1985 Coke re-introduced the original recipe as Classic Coke.

We're we promised that if the Republicans ran the government, that they'd be fiscal conservatives, reign in taxes, reduce the size of government, and cut government spending.  That didn't exactly happen as Bush won and both the House and Senate went GOP.  Yes, they did reign in taxes.  But fiscal conservatives?  Cut government spending?  Hardly.  They created a huge new entitlement program to give prescription drugs for seniors.  Plenty of pork spending flies through Congress like the "bridge to nowhere," and Bush didn't veto a thing.  The size of government expanded greatly after 9/11 with the addition of Homeland Security. 

Somebody fiddled with the recipe.  Are these New Republicans?  Are American conservatives and folks in the middle outraged enough to demand the GOP return to Classic Republicans? 


  • First off, the Dolphins lost and I'm 0-1 with the pigskin picks. Pittsburgh's defense shut down the run, and Culpepper wasn't able to execute in the clutch.  Although he did have Steelers rushing at him all night.  Dolphins offensive line and defensive backs are big question marks.  Steelers' Willie Parker sure looked good.
  • The market?  Fridays tend to move the opposite of the weekly trend as traders book their gains ahead of the weekend.  Is the market setting up for an options week run?  It'll be interesting to see what happens if we do move up and retest.  Nothing much to add other than that.  I remain long for now.
  • I look at the top news feeds on Yahoo, and it's nothing but bombs, bombs, and more bombs.   Good grief.
  • One of the best ways to remember 9/11 is to make a donation to the Salvation Army.  Just saying.
  • So, is Culpepper picking up right where he left off with Minnesota in 2005?  He was rather ineffective before his injury.  Franchise quarterback?  Will the Dolphins wish they had never gotten rid of Gus Frerotte (In Gus we trust)?  Will the fans start calling out for Joey Harrington or Cleo Lemon?
  • Kim Snider asks Are you relying on a pensionTime and time again, I talk to people who are not saving money for retirement because they believe they work for a company with a healthy pension plan. In my view, you just can't count on that.  I agree with Kim.  Hopefully, as employers shift away from the traditional defined benefit pensions to defined contributions, they will match contributions to employees 401(k) plans and offer low-cost diversified investments.
  • After listening to Madden last night, I felt the strange urge to buy Madden NFL '07.  Were there any subliminal ads in there?  Somebody run the tape in slow motion!
  • More weekend pigskin picks ahead!  Oh, how futile sports betting is.  But NOW it iss oh-so-obvious that the overhyped Dolphins would run into the unrespected Steelers buzzsaw last night, eh? 

Thursday, September 07, 2006

ABC's Crazy Path to 9/11 Movie

  • So the market close today is exactly the kind of thing I don't like to see. Selling into the close shows me that money is sliding out of this market.  Lets say it all together now (gulp!):  Distribution.  Feels like the buzzards are circling.
  • Democrats are urging ABC to pull their 9/11 movie this weekend.  Chronicling events leading to the September 11 attacks, the movie suggests the Clinton administration was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to deal properly with the gathering threat posed by Islamic militants.  Well, the Republicans were the ones making a big deal out of the sex scandal.  Hindsight is so 20/20.  I'm sure plenty of mistakes were made by all.  Both sides of the political aisle are too busy attacking each other instead of working together to find solutions for bigger issues.  IMHO, of course.
  • Gravatar Not too many folks have even seen the 9/11 movie, yet the critics have weighed in! I have zero plans on watching it, because LETS BE HONEST, the NFL season kicks off this weekend and no way in "H-E- double hockey sticks" am I going to watch a made for TV movie. I don't own an HDTV big screen television for THAT.  Sorry. Nope.  Not gonna do it.
  • More on the ABC 9/11 movie?  Lets get down to tass bracks. The sunday night game is between Indianapolis Colts and NY Giants. Monday night has Minnesota at Washington and San Diego at Oakland. So scratch out the Minnesota, DC, and California audience. And anyone else in this country with fantasy football match-ups involving players for those teams.  The ratings will be pathetic. It's not like you'd be missing Desperate Housewives or anything that serious. Folks will be watching John Madden (hat tip to Adam for the YouTube funny).
  • Barry Ritholz wonders Where are the Trolls? after a couple rough days on the market.  Its astonishing (but not surprising):  Let the Dow rise 30 points on sub par volume, and they are out in full voice. Today, not a peep out of them.
  • What's (not) the matter with the middle classWhat's the matter with the middle class? Democrats like to pin their defeats on national security and culture issues alone, but the progressive economic message is also to blame. What progressives generally say about the economy is unrelentingly pessimistic -- stagnant wages, rising costs, overwhelming burdens of debt. It's a message that doesn't resonate with the middle class -- not only because it's overly negative (by itself political poison), but because it's simply flat out wrong.     Interesting.
  • Say it ain't so!  Paris Hilton drunk driving"I had one margarita (and) was starving because I had not eaten all day," she said. "Maybe I was speeding a little bit and I got pulled over. I was just really hungry and I wanted to have an In-N-Out Burger."  Wasn't she in a racey Carl's Jr ad?  I think she was.  I remember "a friend telling me that he" went to the website to watch the extended Carl's Jr ads.  Just saying, that's all. 

UPDATE! ABC has caved in! ABC will edit The Path to 9/11 movie.

Are Ya Yellow?

  • Stock market? We're going to find out if the bulls have enough courage to buy the dip or if they're nothing but yellow-bellied cowards like Marty McFly.  The week before options expiration tends to be a little weak, and maybe this is the pause that refreshes.  Of course, maybe this is the pause that takes us back down to the lows of the summer trading range, too.  Everyone does seem convinced that we're now getting the Sept-Oct swoon.  It's up to the bulls to prove 'em wrong.
  • The final hour of trading could tell the tale.  As a bull, I like to see the market moving up in the final hour.  OK, moving up all day long is nice, too.  But I think the big money makes their move at the end of the day and if we see them come in and buy I think it's a good sign for the market.
  • Notre Dame introduces its fans to inflationary spiral.  Look at how much it costs to say there for the weekend plus ticket prices!  Whoa Nellie!  I used to travel out of town to go see one big college game every year.  It's pretty fun.
  • Tony Blair is going to retire within the year.  I've really respected the way he's led England and stood fast with America against terrorism. 
  • Who scheduled a meeting?  Good grief.  I hope it's to go over week one fantasy match-ups, but I bet it's work related.