September - 2021
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
1
 S&P +2.25
 USB +0.11
2
 S&P +14.00
 USB +0.06
3
 S&P -1.75
 USB -0.19
4
5
6
7
 S&P -15.25
 USB -1.00
8
 S&P -8.00
 USB +0.19
9
 S&P -20.25
 USB +0.29
10
 S&P -20.25
 USB -0.27
11
12
13
 S&P +10.50
 USB +0.14
14
 S&P -22.25
 USB +1.02
15
 S&P +37.25
 USB -0.15
16
 S&P -12.25
 USB -0.14
17
 S&P -56.00
 USB -0.22
18
19
20
 S&P -78.25
 USB +1.06
21
 S&P -5.00
 USB -0.05
22
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24
25
26
27
28
29
30

Sep

20

The Afghanistization of America

Victor Davis Hanson:

The United States should be at its pinnacle of strength. It still produces more goods and services than any other nation—China included, which has a population over four times as large. Its fuel and food industries are globally preeminent, as are its graduate science, computer, engineering, medical, and technology university programs. Its constitution is the oldest of current free nations. And the U.S. military is by far the best funded in the world. And yet something has gone terribly wrong within America, from the southern border to Afghanistan.

Sep

19

some comments on the big decline.

(1) it was a decline red in tooth and claw with bonds, stocks, and gold down.

(2) it was harbingered by the decline of 47 bucks in gold on thursday. a once in a decade decline. the main reason there was a status incongruence.

(3) everything bad for the US. the 70 billion of equipment left behind. and all the US could come up with was that the afghans and their allies aren't smart enuf to reverse engineer it.

(4) the foreigners have to decide on options expiration whether they should continue their US buying. with the US in decline from the withdrawal and everything related, why should they park in US.

(5) the status incongruence of the admission we killed 19 civilians in the drone strife. but this was clearly an attempt to come up with good talking points about our over the horizon capability. this was the only thing they coudn't blame on pele another incongruence.

(6) the incongruence of Milley worrying about sanity of Trump but not concerned about the montreal semantic test for other high officials. incongruence of no punishment for generals who worked for raytheon and g.d. but impeachment if pele did it.

(7) as the professor says, the market moves to every higher numbers with cataracts along the way.

Vic's twitter feed

Jeff Watson writes:

With many talking doom and gloom regarding the future, it is a noteworthy accomplishment for the S&P to only be 2.5% off it's ATH.

Mark Graham asks:

so what's next come monday?

Jeff Watson responds:

Who knows what the market is going to do on Monday. Who cares what I think? Who cares what anyone thinks should happen in the future? Why should one trust the "experts?" People might have an idea of what might happen, but that's about all it is. I can't count the times I've been perfectly convinced something would happen and it didn't. What happens tomorrow happens, and you will either be right or wrong. That's the case for every one of us. It doesn't matter what Chair, Bill, Sogi San, Larry, myself, or any other member of this list thinks the market is going to do. It only matters what you think and how you navigate the often treacherous currents, eddies and shoals of the markets. Opinions given for free, market tips, supposed insider info, etc are worth less than what you pay for them. LeFevre talked all about tips, and allowing others to do one's thinking for them, and his advice should be heeded.

Larry Williams joins in:

There are people I listen to intently; they have established they are worth listening to…some are on this list. An explanation of why a trader expects such and such to happen is not a “tip". Big difference.

Jeff Watson clarifies:

Since I obviously wiffed the ball in my previous reply, to clarify and make my point clear, the message was it's best to keep one's own counsel.

Larry Williams concurs:

Yup, listen to all but pull the trigger at the target you see.

Nils Poertner adds:

I think what is tricky for most people to understand that in many other parts of business life (in particular as an employee), one can do very well as long one is social enough, aggressive, disciplined enough, progressive etc… or went to the right school…

whereas maneuvering mkts (long-term - over decades) by oneself requires a different mindset altogether - and trading even more so than pure investing

Sep

19

Snitch Nation

September 19, 2021 | Leave a Comment

bill maher does Snitch Nation. of course we're all wondering what we can get from others and what the others are going to desire to take from us. a natural consequence of the road to socialism.

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

19

Time to buy S&P 500? Levels to watch. Tesla breakout? 09/18/2021

Sep

17

The two most recently completed calendar quarters were by far the most profitable quarters in the history of the S&P 500. 12-month earnings through Aug. 31 were $158.74, compared to a year-ago estimate of $129.15. Who says estimates are always too rosy? Source: Standard & Poors

Click to see S&P earnings table

Sep

17

‘Science,’ They Said

Victor Davis Hanson:

The scientific method used to govern much of popular American thinking.

In empirical fashion scientists advised us to examine evidence and data, and then by induction come to rational hypotheses. The enemies of “science” were politics, superstition, bias, and deduction.

Yet we are now returning to our version of medieval alchemy and astrology in rejecting a millennium of the scientific method.

Sep

16

As I have said a number of times, China demographically is where the US was in 2008, as the larger cohort born before the one-child policy ages out of its peak productivity and spending years.

Evergrande’s Woes Fuel Selloff in Chinese Property Shares

Conversely, the US now has a demographic tailwind as the large millennial generation forms households and advances in careers. The Fed should end QE now because the demographic drag that made the Obama-era economic recovery so painfully slow has reversed. QE is now inflationary.

Sep

15

Yankee analytics

September 15, 2021 | Leave a Comment

forget the regularities and statistics. the yankees lost 7 in a row while s&p moves to 14 day low but won 13 in a row while the market broke 4500. yesterday they finally won one while following insane analytics that are set before the game and don't take account of recency.

incredibly an analytics that says that after 100 pitches the other side does better trumps an ERA on current pitches of 2 or less et al. does someone know about ever changing cycles there or are the analytics designed for losses the way yankees use them?

the yankee games are good predictor of the sp? why is this not chance? but the ads on the radio game are so biased and woke that they ruin ones enjoyment of the predictions. worst of all the the attempts at humor of the insurance ads and the hope for cancer and the lottery ads.

the kars for kids and the lawyer ads that have received a 6 million settlement are reprehensible also

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

15

i found this interview extraordinarily educational and revealing. self-loathing virtue signaling military defense generals at general dynamics and raytheon.

In this Direct interview, John Anderson, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, is joined by Victor Davis Hanson. Dr. Hanson addresses Biden’s role in the Afghanistan crisis, increased tensions between China and the US, and the future of the US-Australia relationship.

Sep

14

Current odds for 2022

September 14, 2021 | 2 Comments

apparently 4 to 1 that house will be changed in 2022 and 55 to 45 that senate will be changed

Current PredictIt odds on the House and Senate 2022

Sep

13

Friday predicts next week?

September 13, 2021 | 1 Comment

friday was a most unusual day: down 50 big from the open and set an x-day low but not a 29-day low. all things considered should be a great bull week next week, regardless of the reduction of progressivism and the rise of pele in the odds.

Vic's twitter feed

Zubin al Genubi follows up:

Friday-Monday regularity kicked in nicely. Little bit of sogi coffee action this week?

Sep

13

S&P pullback, Apple lawsuit & Crypto selloff explained

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: S&P 500 2% pullback, what next? Crypto's sharp reversal this week, cause and levels, weekly close is important. Inflation and hawkish Fed is likely.

Sep

11

Laurel Kenner on Substack: Nobody Asked Me, But…

Sep

11

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

More H. L. Mencken quotes

Sep

11

Bookies and the vig

September 11, 2021 | Leave a Comment

remember that sports books are among the most profitable enterprises in the firmament and they let you choose a million interactions and/or splits, what used to be called the automatic interaction detector in my day. they dissect the data much more carefully than any technical analysts and they report statistics. they find that with all the expertise and all the advice that they can give, 1 in a million sports bettors can beat the 52% necessary to win.

the vig in trading is much more than the 5 1/2 % that the sports books take out.

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

10

From Lee Child in Without Fail:

The thing about baseball is that the regular season is one hundred sixty-two games long. Way, way longer than any other sport. Any other sport has about half as many games as baseball. Basketball, hockey, football, soccer, anything. Any other sport, the players can start out thinking they can win every single game all season long. It’s just about a realistic motivational goal. It’s even been achieved, here and there, now and then. But it’s impossible in baseball. The very best teams, the greatest champions, they all lose around a third of their games. They lose fifty or sixty times a year, at least. Imagine what that feels like, from a psychological perspective. You’re a superb athlete, you’re fanatically competitive, but you know for sure you’re going to lose repeatedly. You have to make mental adjustments, or you couldn’t cope with it.

Stefan Jovanovich adds:

It's even worse. You go up to the plate knowing you are going to swing and miss or, at best, hit a foul many more times than you are going to hit a ball square into fair territory. And, then, on the ones you hit right, half will be outs.

Total # of games played in MLB and Negro League history: 232,680
Total # of perfect games, i.e., 27 outs, no hits, no walks, by losing team, no errors by winning team: 22
Ratio: Perfect to Played: 1/9.455045556128589e-5
[That is, 0.00946% of games played were "perfect". -Ed.]

Sep

8

possibility of pittsburgh phil bet with trump leading presidential odds by 30 to 20 with 30 milllion bet and dems still 53-46 to win the election. but bets on a republican to win are 55 to 45 in favor of republicans.

Current odds for the 2024 Presidential race

Vic's twitter feed

Sep

8


In the years before 1894, when the Daily Racing Form first started publishing, there was only one way to handicap horse races with past performance charts - you had to make the charts yourself. The number of people who were compiling data on horse races and making their own charts prior to the 1890s was most likely very small, but nobody was as successful at using racing data to inform his bets than a young man from outside of Pittsburgh named George E. Smith.

The Legend of Pittsburg Phil

Sep

6

Blow off top or a small pullback? NFTs craze fuels Ethereum? 2021/09/03

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: S&P 500 statistics on all time highs bring up the ghosts of 1987 & 1929. Crypto Punk is worth more then Picasso as NFTs become the new status symbols.

Sep

3

his bio of the skateboard champion and entrepreneur in Americana is classic tom wolfe and makes life much better after a read:

The Birdman Drops In

“I don’t even think of Tony as an adult,” said Phil Jennings, a 12-year-old I met at the HuckJam. “He doesn’t act like the big man. He’s one of us.”

Sep

3

reading Hampton Sides meticulous and highly recommended military books Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground, one is struck by systemic attention to detail with which the us military destroys all of their own weapons in their evacuations.

what could explain their leaving behind 70 billions of US weapons in their evacuation of Afghanistan? one posits a quid pro quo. loki must be behind this.

Sep

3

Is Our Military Woke, Broke or Both?

The Pentagon needs to stop virtue signaling about diversity days, culturally sensitive food for Afghan refugees, and rooting out supposed white conspiracists.

Instead, can it just explain why the Bagram Air Base was abandoned by night? Why suddenly are the terrorist Taliban our supposed “partners” in organizing our surrender and escape?

Sep

2

Music and Math: The Genius of Beethoven

Laurence Glazier comments:

Very nice, I would add that Bach was the engineer who enabled Beethoven and everyone else to write in lots of different keys. 1.5^12 and 2^7, in music 12 fifths and 7 octaves, are almost but not quite the same. Bach fixed this with a tuning system which averages out the difference.

Peter Saint-Andre adds:

Indeed, there were a lot of tuning systems developed around then: Neidhardt (seemingly Bach's preferred system), Werckmeister (he developed several), etc. Just last night I read all about them in The Esoteric Keyboard Temperaments of J. S. Bach. These folks were the quants of their day!

Peter Grieve comments:

Yes, the problem with getting good fifths and good octaves in the same scale is find a power of 3 that is equal to a power of 2. This is because a fifth is a ratio of 3/2, and an octave is a ratio of two.

Of course, there is no power of 3 that is exactly equal to a power of 2. There is a fairly good match at 3^5=243, and 2^8=256. The power of 5 on the 3 means that this corresponds to a pentatonic scale. And 3^12=531,441 while 2^19=524,288, (proportionately a better match) which as Laurence says is the basis of a diatonic scale.

Because the matches aren't exact, something's gotta give, and this is what Bach's temperment ideas addressed (as Laurence said).

There are other near matches at larger powers, but a scale with dozens or hundreds of notes has limited appeal.

Laurence Glazier writes:

Excellent attachment on the tunings, esoteric is the right word. The fact that this is being rediscovered after hundreds of years, is of special interest to me.

Adam Grimes adds:

I have built and played harpsichords for many years. When you play harpsichords, you also tune them. A lesser-known fact is how quickly this instrument goes out of tune… you can have it in tune for a concert and then it will need a touch up at intermission.

So, harpsichord players quickly become very familiar with these tunings. Some are much more useful than others, but it also explains what composers meant when they talked about affects or emotions associated with certain keys. This was a very real thing, in some of the older tuning systems, but has been completely lost (for better or worse) with modern equal temperament.

Another interesting aside is that I find these historical tunings don't work that well on the modern piano. Completely aside from the temperament issues, there's also the issue of inharmonicity (the deviation of a physical string from the theoretical ideal). All strings have this, but the piano has A LOT because of the thickness of the strings. (Certain types of harpischords (Italian) have scalings that are much closer to the theoretical ideals.) A piano is tuned ever-sharper in higher octaves so that it is in tune with its own overtones rather than the actual pitches. It's subtle, but it's real and important… and it also obliterates the precision of these historical tunings. (Another interesting aside is that once your ear learns to hear in these historical tunings, moving back to ET is a kick in the gut. You'll sit down at a piano, play a chord, and think "wow. everything really IS out of tune." which is the compromise of ET. (For the record, ET is a beautiful and useful thing, as well.)

What I don't see much value in are the microtonal modern experiments, but I understand what drives that line of thought.

For any musicians, if you haven't had the experience of singing pure-tempered intervals against a drone I'd highly encourage it. You can spend hours or even weeks exploring the beauty and power of these resonances… and you'll know musical materials as an EXPERIENCE of resonance rather than a sound or a theoretical construct.

One might imagine that it was these experiences of resonance that encouraged early humans to sing, to seek sound, and maybe even to seek language… maybe in those caves where they left us paintings of mystery and power… somewhere a very long time ago.

But, seriously, go get a bass drone sound and sing some pure octaves, fifths, and thirds against it. You'll never hear the same way again.

A reader adds:

Each open tuning has a special resonance that is different than the same notes played in concert. Similarly chord inversions carry different overtones from base fingering.

Jeff Watson adds:

I love Fripp’s New Standard Tuning, CGDAEG. The mnemonic for recalling it is “California guitarists drop acid every gig.”

Adam Grimes responds:

yeah but slightly different. Fretted instruments are ET. You could potentially bend some notes, but you're still working in an ET world. (Scordatura certainly changes the timbre of instrument, and resonance of open strings, etc., but is a substantially different thing from temperaments.)

Laurence Glazier writes:

Thanks Adam, fascinating thoughts.

When transcribing from inspiration, I am sometimes unable to use the note I hear in my mind, which lies somewhere between a pair of adjacent semitones. As my software uses ET tuning, I have on occasion resorted to using MIDI control instructions to nudge the pitch into place, but in the light of your post, I now see that the issue may be with the tuning system. On one of the historical keyboard instruments, the note I require might simply be there.

I have enjoyed writing music in the past for clavichord, because of the pressure sensitivity, but am now writing mainly for orchestra.

As you say, experience trumps academic construct. I personally consider music to be an elemental force of nature, and species evolve to sense it along with every other aspect of reality. It's also interesting that lunar and planetary orbits often lock into similar ratios. The Pythagorean Comma has a counterpart in the slight divergence between the lunar and solar calendars. The term live music, in my opinion, is literally true.

Adam Grimes responds:

Clavichord is a beautiful and intensely problematic (at least in my experience!) instrument.

I own one. The intimacy of it is incredible… it puts the player's finger in almost direct, expressive contact with the vibrating string… but that brings up so many issues of control and it's such a different technique than any other keyboard instrument. To say nothing of the whisper-soft sound level (that defies amplification, which might seem to be the obvious answer.)

And you're right… all those "in between" notes exist as a possibility on that instrument. Not hard to imagine someone playing in a remote key and instinctively bending the out of tune notes into an acceptable range.

Zubin comments:

Guitar players always bend notes giving infinite micro tones. Squeezing the string to approach the note can give great feeling. Of course singers all do it too.

Vic is reminded of a Beethoven story:

During a performance of one of his piano concertos Beethoven was the soloist, and he got so carried away with conducting that at one point he forgot to play the piano. He flung his arms wide and knocked the candlesticks off each side of the piano. The audience burst out laughing, and Beethoven got so mad that he ordered the orchestra to start over again.

Two choirboys were enlisted to hold the candlesticks out of harm's way. One of them got increasingly intrigued by the piano score and came in closer and closer just as a loud passage broke forth. Out went Beethoven's arm, knocking the choirboy in the mouth so that he dropped his candlestick. The other choirboy, having followed Beethoven's motions more cautiously, ducked, to the complete delight of the audience.

Beethoven fell into such a rage that on the first chord of his solo he pounded the piano so forcefully that he broke half a dozen strings. Die-hard music lovers in the audience tried to restore order, but failed. After that debacle Beethoven became increasingly reluctant to give concerts.

From Wisconsin Public Radio: The Catastrophic Conductor

Aug

31

I don't believe in psychology, I believe in good moves!
- Bobby Fischer

Met top player in chess (IM level), who started trading in 2014 and has done very well for himself. Loved his attitude re learning.

Chess is wonderful training ground as ppl tend to look at things more objectively.
Think about it - to be good at chess player- one has to become very honest with regards to oneself. Self-deception is not going to work for long.

And empathy means real empathy (understanding moves of others, not projecting own fantasies which modern world is all about). Kids got to learn chess more.

Michael Cook agrees:

Couldn’t agree more!

I think there are a good few other parallels. If we take a game in a series as a trade, eg sometimes you can see your position degrading over time and sometimes something you never saw coming, in a move or two, completely destroys you. If it’s obvious to you, it is highly likely it is obvious to your opponent (the lack of value of first order thinking) etc etc.

Nils Poertner seconds:

agree. modern psychology is overrated and chess (and other board games) under-rated for the human mind.

so many ppl have strong views about this and that (eg academic world). and that is fine for me, but in chess one is getting more or less direct feedback within a few minutes or hours.

An enjoyable few minutes with one of the best:

Magnus Carlsen's Mind-Blowing Memory! World Chess Champion tested

Aug

29

advice of Tom Wiswell to all (especially teenagers): "look and listen and learn — the secret of success lies in using your eyes and ears."

Wiswell's favorite and most important proverb for games and markets and life: "moves that disturb your position the least, disturb your opponent the most."

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

28

Is this market as good as it gets? Cardano vs Ethereum? 2021/08/27

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: The less freedom, the more the market rallies, but it can continue longer than anybody expects, like during the great financial crisis in 2007. ADA Cardano Coin outperformance.

Aug

28

recommended article of the month "self cancellation, deplatforming, and censorship", nick gilespie Reason Magazine current issue (calls for a reality and extremism expert)

(Ed. note: Currently available only to digital subscribers of Reason Magazine.)
Self-cancellation, Deplatforming, and Censorship: A taxonomy of cancel culture.

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

27

Ghost Soldiers

August 27, 2021 | Leave a Comment

what a difference between the planning and the courage and the direction and the execution and the bravery of this mission in 1944 with world war 2 technology and ww2 spirit and direction. how these rescuers would look at the current situation. well worth reading, listen.

Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides

Aug

24

one notes the use of the word progressive in many advertisements. what other hidden persuaders do you see in marketing?

The Hidden Persuaders, by Vance Packard

free associations of the day: loss of identity, masks, kamala harris proximity, changing of guard around holidays, infrastructure.

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

24

One of the things that make me a poor manager but perhaps a leader mindset is to me pointing out problems with out a proper solution seems, well, silly.

At the trading desk here in Weston with Mr Vic, the one thing that caught my eye quickly was the FTSE and it's low prices. I have no clue so google landed the link below. any ideas?

Has the FTSE 100 really performed as badly this century as it appears?

Nils Poertner muses:

good spot - many other indices are rich (and firms, too, eg. Apple)?

long FTSE is probably the next big thing for Cathy Woods - am mentioning her name since she gets a lot of bad press in Europe but her calls have been quite good in last few yrs.

Paul O'Leary is skeptical:

FTSE an unlikely place for Cathie Wood to find the hyper growth she looks for.

A reader offers a critique:

The author shoots himself in the foot when he says if you bought all the companies in FTSE 100 in 2001 this is what you would have got…the constituents have changed. I skimmed the rest because it was clear the author didn't really know what was going on.

James Lackey clarifies:

Thank you paul, my apologies to all. My better question is what is wrong with English stocks or is that a bad question, i.e., nothing is wrong? I've lost so much money buying laggards and value, specs forgive me.

Big Al theorizes:

Here's a theory: The Digital Revolution has been one of the greatest expansions of human activity/productivity/wealth in history and it has been centered in the US, as have the stocks of the companies surviving the competition for doing the revolutionizing. The winners have been added to indices, and the losers dropped. This equity/index mechanism has far outperformed all others.

James Lackey responds:

Big, that is what I needed! I was lost (did not get the joke) and as usual was the last to know.

Stefan Jovanovich provides an historical perspective:

Big Al nails it, once again. The British invention of industrial production achieved the same startling results; within a third of a century, the center of the world's low-cost production of fabrics shifted from the hand-looms of India to the "infernal machinery" of the Midlands.

Aug

21

While 4500 is still a possibility, large correction is likely. 2020/08/20

Yelena Sennett and Andy Aiken: Odds of a 10-15% correction in S&P 500 & Nasdaq are increasing with the continued loss of confidence in the US military and government.

Aug

21

Uptown:

My favorite art museum in NYC is The Frick Collection. Large enough to get overwhelmed with the beauty of both the art and the building, not so big you get exhausted and feel small like in The Metropolitan Museum, not so crowded you get jostled in the crowds and can’t see anything, like at MOMA or The Guggenheim. For the Frick at 70th St. and 5th Ave, take the 6 Train to 68th St.-Hunter College. (Editor's note: As of this posting the Frick Collection at 70th St. and 5th Ave is closed for renovations, but the Frick Madison is open at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street. Take the 6 Train to 77th St.)

Don’t forget The Cloisters (A train to 190th Street, then a 5 minute walk through an amazing garden). It is a building built partly from parts of cathedrals and monasteries wrecked during WW1, and saved from being re-used to build stone walls, instead reassembled and made into a museum on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. It houses one of the world’s best tapestry collections.

The largest church in the US (as per floor area) is The Cathedral of St. John The Divine at 112th Street and Amsterdam Ave. A few blocks North, at Amsterdam Avenue and 116th Street, is the Columbia University campus, which is interesting to walk through. Riverside Church, also breathtaking, is a few blocks away at 120th Street and Riverside Drive. Across the street at 121st Street and Riverside Drive is Grant’s Tomb, which was the most popular tourist attraction in the country in 1900. #1 train to 110th or 116th Street, or B or C train to 110th Street.

Midtown:

But the real cathedral, the Cathedral of Commerce, is B & H Photo on 9th Avenue at 34th Street. Don’t walk in and get overwhelmed and neglect to go upstairs, where the real action is. I find it inspiring to see so much success, so many people adding value through consenting exchange, something no government could ever hope to create, such prosperity enjoyed by all, that I never cease to be inspired no matter how many times I go there. They are religious, thus they are closed on Saturdays, and close early on Friday. Open Sunday through Friday.

The most beautiful room in (I think) the world is the Rose Reading Room in the library that is on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street. From there you can walk two blocks east to Grand Central Terminal, the largest and (I think) most beautiful train station in the world at Park Avenue and 42nd Street. If you want to see some of the natural beauty of the NorthEast take a Hudson Line train from Grand Central Terminal to Cold Spring – trains leave at least one per hour and take 70 minutes. You can see the antique stores or eat lunch or dinner in Cold Spring, then get another train back. Do not bring anything to read on the train – the river and The Hudson Valley are too beautiful for you to get any reading done.

Much of midtown is too touristy to easily find good eats, but in Hell’s Kitchen there are many good restaurants, especially all along 9th Avenue between 45th Street and about 54th Streets.

Downtown:

In Greenwich Village, at 53 Christopher Street, which is between 6th and 7th Avenues at about 8th Street, is The Stonewall Inn, which is famous for the start of the gay liberation movement. When King, Malcom, and Kennedy were already dead, the pill had been invented, and women could vote, homosexuality was still a crime, even in NYC. The law defined things rather broadly: it was a crime for two men to stand facing each other in any bar, and lots of people were arrested for doing just that. There was no gay rights movement, no newspaper, no organization, no nothing until The Stonewall Rebellion, in the summer of 1969.

Then walk East on West 4th Street, cross 6th Avenue, then another block into Washington Square Park, and see the arch. The French built a similar one in Paris.

Go two blocks South to Mamoon’s Falafel at 119 MacDougal Street. Best falafels in town for $4.50, or with Hummus for another $0.50. It is normally easy to tell if someone is not from New York – you don’t see New Yorkers waiting on line. But even New Yorkers wait on the line at Mamoon’s if it is busy. Down the block at 99 McDougal Street, upstairs on the right, is The Kati Roll company. Get a chicken kati roll, or an alu (potatoe) kati roll. Very good eats, but not worth the wait if there is a line, as the line moves very slowly.

Then walk South on Wooster Street to Canal Street, then down West Broadway to the World Trade Center. Then go West to the river and down along the water (clears your head after the WTC) to South Ferry, and take the Staten Island Ferry (clears your head more, except the sniffing dogs “protecting” the ferry terminal since 9/11). Ferry is “free,” runs at least every half hour, runs 24 hours, 20 minutes across the harbor, they kick you off and you get another ferry back 5 minutes later, and see The Statue of Liberty the way my grandparents saw it, which is much better than waiting on line for 4 hours, getting searched, and then taking a boat to the statue itself, where you are too close to it to see anything but the feet.

Then walk up to Wall Street and then over The Brooklyn Bridge, then eat in Junior’s at 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension (corner of Dekalb Ave). Up the block from Junior’s are almost all the subway lines to wherever you want to go.

And, if you don’t go to Central Park on a nice day I’ll never speak to you again.

Aug

21

I may have been born in Chicago. I may live in the NC mountains. However I belong in Manhatten. I can't understand how people do not understand NYC. The people are amazing and beautiful. There is every color size smell and that's absolutely wonderful.

Henry Gifford suggests:

Please do an experiment while you are in Manhattan. Go to the booth in the subway with the person sitting inside (some entrances do not have them). Ask for a subway map. They are free. Then stand on a corner and unfold the map and make believe you are trying to find out which way to go (it includes all the major streets, and is the best map of the city I’ve ever seen).

See how many people come over to offer help without being asked, and let us know.

Yesterday a neighbor asked me “If you could live anyplace, where would you live?” I told him “I can live anyplace, and I choose to stay here in Manhattan."

James Lackey runs the experiment:

Henry!

I had 6 people help just by over hearing I needed a route stop from a stop 135th street Harlem. That's absolutely amazing and wonderful.

The joke was the older the person the more complicated the answer. A young man said here, stop, grab that bus, 2nd stop hit subway the 2 or 3 train. The express gets off 30th street it's only six blocks dude.

Hahaha. Absolutely fantastic. People run over each other to be helpful! Post covid NYC is dynamite. People act as if they were locked up and forgot why they live in NYC and now absolutely love to share.

Bo Keely adds:

As usual, Henry Gifford is thorough, and takes you places no others will or can. I will never forget our boiler room tour of Manhattan.

The Manhattan map trick works not only in NY but around the world. I've used it in many cities in many countries. Holding a guidebook with a puzzled look works almost as well as long as there's a pic of the country on the front. The best method in no-English nations is to shout in a bus or restaurant, 'Does anyone speak English?' you will meet professionals and students. Another style is to wander a tourist spot with a backpack (travelers use backpacks while tourists carry luggage) that has your country's little flag sewn on it. Many travelers sew on the flags of all the nations they visit, immediately identifying them as an interesting person to approach for conversaation and invitation to dinner.

Aug

20

1. banks take about 1000 billion out of market.
2.the algos run in front of you at all times. see the recent enforcement actions against white shoe firm.
3. after worst decline in us prestige in decades, the us dollar is only down to 116.80 from 20 day high of 118.20.

why do new traders trade foreign exchange when they could trade stocks and why do results show the futility of same?

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

19

Checkers wisdom

August 19, 2021 | Leave a Comment

in these perilous times and in honor of allen millhone's recent visit here,   it seemms appropriate to turn to some of tom wiswell's proverbs.

- position in checkers as in life is everything.
- on some days the dark clouds gather and you have to expect a storm.

i can hear tom looking over games i played with master and saying "red is strong". rite now the afghans are strong. we are begging them for mercy.

in addition to the afghans…afghans are strong — and the dax is strong. presumably the professor is contemplating the broach of a constructal number.

the us abandons bagram airport. "we dont have the forces to protect the airport." another of tom's proverbs and mine also: "the mouse with one hole is quickly cornered."

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

18

S&P 500 pullback probabilities. Afghanistan effect. 2021/08/17

Aug

17


The American Institute for Economic Research: The Gold Standard: Retrospect and Prospect

“In general, the gold standard effectively managed the money supply to stabilize the purchasing power of money over time. This was no accident.” ~Peter C. Earle and William J. Luther

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon closed the gold window, thereby preventing foreign governments from converting United States (U.S.) dollars into gold.

The Nixon shock created a clear dividing line in American monetary history. Prior to August 15, 1971, the U.S. dollar had been tied to gold in one way or another since the nation’s founding.

Fifty years after the Nixon shock, it is difficult for many to imagine a dollar connected to gold. Most Americans have never used a gold-backed dollar. They do not understand how the gold standard worked. They have not considered the merits of returning to the gold standard. The gold standard, in their minds, is a relic of a bygone era.

The contributions in this volume help to bridge the knowledge gap created by fifty years of fiat money.

Aug

16

The Limits to Growth, Meadows et al (1972), used the systematic model technique promoted by Jay Forrester at MIT. “All models are wrong. Some are useful.”

Reading the book started me looking at demographic trends. In 2010, I developed a very simple model for world population growth. The peak population occurs in 2047 at 8.54 billion, which is only 11 percent more than the current population.

Each year, I compare the model results to the actual numbers published by the CIA in The World Factbook. In 2021, the CIA reports a world population of 7.772 billion and a growth rate of 1.03 percent. The numbers from the model are 7.708 billion and 0.80 percent. Because the differences are small, I will not change the model.

I also calculate the impact of the 10 largest countries. (Note that I retain Japan as the 10th largest country even though Mexico now has a larger population. Including Mexico in the top ten in place of Japan would introduce “drift” such as that encountered by the Dow 30 and Fortune 500.)

The 10 largest countries have 57 % of the world’s population. The combined fertility rate of these countries has declined from 2.17 in 2014 to 2.09 in 2021. The current rate of fertility is about the level needed for replacement. Two of the countries, Russia and Japan, have declining annual growth rates of -0.20 % and -0.37% respectively. Of the ten largest countries, only India, Pakistan, and Nigeria have fertility rates above the replacement level. The fertility rates in all ten large countries either continue to fall or remain below replacement levels.

Examining the age and gender cohorts of the populations reveals some interesting facts. The 25 to 54 age brackets of males plus females are 652 million in China compared to 551 million in India. The 15 to 24 age bracket of females are 74 million in China compared to 108 million in India. Given the respective fertility rates of 1.6 and 2.23, the annual birth rate in India will soon be twice that in China. Within ten years, the 25 to 54 age cohort in India will exceed that of China. Soon thereafter, India will be larger and the difference will be material. This change in relative levels will impact geo-political calculations and perhaps investment decisions.

In other notes, I have pointed out that peak farmland is in the past. Improved agriculture practices (productivity is much greater than population growth) will continue to improve diets. Technology advances in manufactured foods (Quorn, Heme) will compete with protein from animal husbandry and perhaps with protein from agriculture. Urban farming will reduce the need for farmland. In ten to fifteen years, electric vehicles will reduce materially the need for corn to ethanol in the United States. Marginal farmland in remote areas may not be a good investment.

The models used in The Limits to Growth were based on continuous exponential growth. The rates assumed in the models have changed. Therefore, many of the conclusions in the book are no longer valid.

Aug

15

why does big corp, big sports, big unions, big centrals, big media love progressives, and why does the market go up as the trend continues? some hypotheses:

1. the progressives and those who favor centralized versus individual action are in control. better to be with them than against them.

2. they appoint all the regulatory officials, and these officials constantly make decisions that favor their supporters.

3. the big tend to be educated at the iveys and stanford where the dangers of socialism are not taught and centralized planning is lionized.

what are your explanations for while the market keeps going up as woke increases?

for big players - especially formerly investment banks, now banks - can directly make profits by becoming more woke, and having their executives make the rules that profit them especially meshing with the Fed and fellow travelers in all branches of government.

the mass person always prefers a system of handout to working, and the pickadees that nock mentions and galton talks about who are born to herd and not lead. as the handwriting becomes clearer, that is a stampede of surrender as in afghanistan now. better to live than be executed.

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

14

Will the market pullback next week after disappointing consumer sentiment data? 2021/08/13

Aug

13

Christopher Tucker recommends:

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art of War, by Robert Coram

John Boyd, or "Forty Second Boyd", had a standing bet against any and all comers at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB in the fifties that, beginning from a position of disadvantage, he could out maneuver and defeat any opposing pilot in air combat in less than forty seconds. He was never beaten.

Boyd knew in his gut that he had stumbled upon a very deep principle of combat and it took him years to finally articulate it, one of the results of which is the OODA loop. (Which is much more complicated in practice than simply Observe Orient Decide and Act.)

His theories led to a complete rewrite of the curriculum at the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School and the development of the Marine Corps Maneuver Warfare tactics.

He was also the originator of the energy- maneuverability theory which revolutionized combat aircraft design and the way pilots think about controlling their aircraft.

Great book, not particularly well written, but tons of practical ideas.

Stefan Jovanovich points out:

A recent paper on Boyd's OODA Loop

Abstract: The concepts of the late US Air Force Colonel John R. Boyd have influenced military thought in profound ways, from the design of modern fighter aircraft to the tactics used by the US Marine Corps in both Gulf Wars. This paper describes the best known aspect of his strategic thought, the OODA “loop,” and how practitioners in war and business can use the loop to implement a framework that has proven successful since the time of Sun Tzu.

A reader adds:

The article briefly mentions Japanese samurai defense concepts. The part of Musashi Miyamoto's Rin Go No Sho I like for trading is the part about attacking while running away.

It seems as contrarians, a lot of the time you are running away, but attacking at the same time. In a combat situation, the pursuer's mind is set on attack and his attitude is forward, then has a hard time adjusting when the escapee turns suddenly and attacks, creating confusion and hesitation.

Aug

13

Trouble ahead?

August 13, 2021 | Leave a Comment

Jeff Watson writes:
The market weathermen, self described sage like realists, always see trouble on the horizon and are compelled to give all knowing, logical reasons the market will get hit. Sometimes even invoking "science." To them the pressure is dropping hard, the seas are building, and we're about to get hit with sustained gale force winds. It's always doom and gloom to them. They want the little guy to get scared, pitch his position and make the broker money, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, Steve provides some perspective and his chart lists 49 reasons for the market to get hit…while the S&P went up 35X during that time. Unfortunately the brokers don't want their clients looking at charts like this or reading Dimson.

James Lackey agrees:

Jeff says what we all learned the hard way. The market in stocks is an engine designed to go up. Any business decisions based otherwise are in between risk-based conservative - which in most cases is a good thing - and ruinous, as the vigorish will grind you to a long-term guaranteed loser.

Michael Cook responds:

I broadly agree with this but let’s not take it as written on tablets of stone.

One of the nastiest human failings in my opinion is recency bias and for investors in US stocks, an entire career (unless a very seasoned investor indeed) has been a basic bull market tempered by the bear markets of 1997, 2002 and 2008 and whatever the hell March last year qualifies as. Recency bias on steroids.

But it doesn’t mean it must always be like that. Just ask eg the investors in the Japanese stock market 40 years ago who pretty much are still waiting to be making money now…

Leo Jia adds:

Even if there is a sharp drop, it will only be shallow and short term. This is not a big bubble and there is no euphoria yet. If one suspects big money are selling, the question is what is the alternative to the US market. Perhaps the worry will be legitimate when Turkey and China become out of any concerns.

Nils Poertner writes:

what makes the difference between folks who are in the market - and trade successfully in the long-term and those who don't is often the acquisition of implicit knowledge. Things we know are true on some level, and that we need to experience personally many times to know that they are true - not in the absolute sense but more intuitively - and percentage-wise.

we live in a very explicit world now everything needs to be spelled out. but the "absense" of something is a better guide than the appearance of an event.

an example would be that SPX drops by 3pc one one day (after months of overheating) - AND the financial press is somwheat quiet aout the drop. as long as they are loud…one can normally relax a bit more.

not to be confused with long-term investing. eg, some of my English friends who bought prime real estate in the 90s in London, and levered up every year with new flats, are all fabulously rich now. was it being lucky or smart? who knows? implicit knowledge is underrated - was my point to say.

Leo Jia comments:

Even if there is a sharp drop, it will only be shallow and short term. This is not a big bubble and there is no euphoria yet. If one suspects big money are selling, the question is what is the alternative to the US market. Perhaps the worry will be legitimate when Turkey and China become out of any concerns.

Duncan Coker writes:

Agreed, it's worth noting that the 00's were the worst decade since the 30's for stocks. I'd propose there was a bearish recency bias going on during the 2010s.

I liked the video about carnival scams. I recall "winning" an album at age 13 from a darts game on the boardwalk at Asbury Park, NJ. No doubt I overpaid. It was a vinyl from a band I had never heard of at the time called the The Allman Brothers which forever changed my life in music.

Aug

13

Oh dear, oh dear. Gladwell's book is bad military history and even worse moralizing. The Norden bombsight, etc. were the Army's attempt to do even better than the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance. For more than half of WW 2 the U.S. Navy had torpedoes that not only didn't explode but were a positive danger to our own submarines. See:

USS Tang (SS-306)

The "precision bombing" of the US Army Air Force consisted of having the bombers fly a straight course and a constant speed and altitude over the target. The Germans - being clever people - quickly figured out that they did not have to aim at the bombers; they could simply aim at the airspace that the bombers were going to fly into. The result was that the U.S. Army Air Force bomber crews were the only Allied warriors whose casualty rates matched those of the German's U-boat crews. The odds of survival were 1 out of 10 if you served 2 years or longer.

There are a dozen more howlers from the 30 pages of Gladwell's book before I gave up on it - this Amazon reviewer was strong-minded enough to keep reading all the way to the end.

Aug

12

ridiculous and naive editorials in the wsj talk about how the other side has an inflation problem. but bonds went up today on the inflation numbers and it's forcasting a 1% or so inflation rate in the next 10 years and about 1.5% in next 30 years. problem is socialism.

stocks refuse to go down and bonds after many a yellow and red day refuses to go down more than its 20 day rather harmonious low.

everythings progressive today stocks should harmonize with capture of profits by master 1000.

gold finaly not being displaced entirely by crypto, makes a comeback down 75$ in a week.

as usual stocks go down on inflation numbers but bonds go up. who is rite and who is topsy turvy?

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

12

Will S&P 500 pullback this week? Buy Coinbase? 2021/08/10

Aug

12

Spec Party Highlights, from Jim Sogi - August, 2007

Scott brooks recalls:

I remember the 2007 spec party. I believe I still have my 2007 spec party t-shirt somewhere hidden so my wife can't throw it out (she hates it when I keep ratty old clothes ;-)

That was such a great gathering. 

What I recall most about those parties was the kindness that Vic showed to me and my family, specifically, my son David. 

David has great memories of running around Vic's house, playing with Austin Lackey. He still tells me stories about how he and Austin played in Vic's squash court trying to blast each other with the balls.  He had some welts on him that I had to explain to my wife (she was none too happy about it) but I just shrugged and said, "boys will be boys" (BTW, that was not the answer she was looking for ;-)

What fantastic experiences for a young man to have…to hang around so many learned and successful people, all of whom treated him with such kindness and were so welcoming. 

David still talks about that to this day!

Now, he's in his third year of dental school and hoping to get an oral surgery residency and on his way to a bigger and better life….and some of the credit for that goes to the eye opening experience of hanging around such smart people at the spec party!

What a wonderful blessing to have been a part of this group for the last for 16+ years (or is it 17+ years…time flies when you're having fun).

Anyway, thank you to Mr. Sogi for the trip down memory lane and thank you especially  to Vic for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful group!

It was by sheer coincidence that I got invited to be a part of the Spec List (I think it's a fairly interesting story how Vic and I became acquainted….and to this day I'm not completely sure that Vic doesn't have 6 toes on one of his feet…but that's another story for a different day ;-) , but suffice it to say,  it's been one of the great blessings of my life! 

Aug

10

with bonds forecasting inflation of 1/2% or so, one would hope that the other side mite concentrate on the dangers of socialism not inflation.

gold in uncharted territory never been down as much. swamp now aims at desantis. aggregated weekly figures to make him look bad. but he's gaining on pele.

the chronic bear says bonds stop forecasting inflation. but if market participants felt that bonds were not consistent with no inflation, they would sell bonds and make a sure profit. markets are very smart and don't allow an oppportunity like that to pass.

Vic's twitter feed

Aug

10

Leo Jia asks:

Any thoughts on the prospect of Turkish economy? Is Turkey a good buying opportunity now for holding 5 years?

Larry Williams clarifies:

Is the Turkish economy about the same as the Turkish stock market?

Some references:

The CIA World Factbook: Turkey/economy

iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (symbol: TUR)

Nils Poertner responds:

as we know from other EM countries, listed equity can be really a good play - even with fx tanking. see Latam and many Asian countries. a vast "play" on the USD (as lots of banks are financed in USD - and EUR) and a bet on the faith in the current regime. cap controls an issue.

understanding EM requires study of previous bull-and bear mtks for EM mkts itself- doing the tedious work - building implicit knowledge over time, cycles, mass psychology, whateever it takes - it is worth it, Jia  and a lot of fun - as one learns from it and can share with others.

John Floyd writes:

Larry has somewhat taken the words out of my mouth on the economy and stocks in Turkey.  I would expand on that somewhat given the unorthodox nature of the current Turkish administration and the expanding Taliban presence and thus likely growing chance of further friction with the US, following recent and historical comments by the head of Turkey on the topic.

As economy and FX it does sure have the potential to get things right and turn for the better.  But, the odds of that happening and the headwinds against it seem rather large at the moment.  The current path is one of further unorthodoxy in policy and leadership combined with expanding debt that will likely lead to a default or restructuring and FX going from 8.6 north of 10.

Reserves are tenuous at best, local capital outflows a perennial risk, and the need to continue to pump up the economy through credit, tourism headwinds given COVID, current account deficit of 5%, etc…

Given the circa near -20% returns for the Turkish indices there may be some gems within the them with careful selection, as is needed in China given the P-like oligarch crackdown there as the aim by X is to stay in power for life and control data and tech to do so.

James Lackey suggests:

As John clearly said the news risk..what about the derivative of the big Mac index and or the hot dog stand.

If I'm forced to value a stock on foreign exchange correctly, I'd go to Turkey, rent a flat, and open a food stand and sell Harley Davidson T Shirts. The McDs index of brands is HOG. I can sell merchandise like a roadie at a show and let's use the most recognized brands in the world.

Mercedes
Toyota
Harley 

Sell shirts for 6 weeks and my guess is you're going to learn exactly what's going on.

Larry Williams adds:

Bring lots of NIKE stuff to sell.

Jayson Pifer provides local insight:

Fwiw, I can offer some boots on the ground perspective.  I spend a few weeks a year in Turkey and have done so for the past 15 years, missing last summer due to covid however please take the below comments with an appropriate amount of salt.  Each time the conversations come up on investing in real estate there.  And each year, I come away boggled at the lack of progress and steadfast in keeping money away.

If I were to hazard why the Turkish economy isn't more than it could be, I would suggest that it is the general absence of faith in any of the government constructs.  Without commenting much on their current 'populist' leadership, I mean to say that the average person has little faith in the police, courts, and laws and work around or without them.  (plied with a bit of scotch and I could relate some Keeleyesque tales of my encounters there with these systems :) )

Absent true legal financial recourse, trust stays in small personal circles that are difficult and slow to grow and this has various and deep side effects.  As an example, if one were to meet a VP of a bank in the US or UK, you might assume they had interviewed for the role from a range of candidates and/or had been in the role for a while and knew the business and their area. One would likely be correct in those assumptions.  In Turkey, you do not have that assurance as they will probably have gotten their role through a circle of acquaintances.  They may be qualified or not, but they are almost certainly in somebody's inner circle.

The low trust and inner circle workings are seen in both the political and business environments.  When new leadership comes in, it is typical and considered normal to bring in their trusted group, reward them for their loyalty and displace anyone they do not trust.  Partisanship there compounds the issue, similar to the partisan wars in Google but with more serious consequences if one supports an out of favor party (eg. non-AKP). 

Wrt the stock market, my impression is that it's a lottery.  There is money to be made, for sure, by smarter and luckier people than me.  But the risks are real.

I don't have numbers, but my anecdata shows a worsening brain drain with talented turks leaving the country and those that have returned are struggling.

Taking a further step back for the five year horizon posed originally, my impression like Mr. Floyd's is that Turkey has headwinds and not much to stop it from falling.  My questions are what could change to reverse this trend?  A change in leadership is often cited, but it would not create an overnight increase in trust.  I could barely speculate how long it might take, but would guess decades if all went well.  While it's not exactly fair and I'm out of my historical depth, I compare it with Iran when it went down the path of Islamic leadership in '79.  How will Turkey not fall into the same trap?

Theodosis Athanasiadis comments:

Historically real exchange rates have been a good predictor of emerging market economies and equities through the mechanism of cheap exports, labor, external investments etc. they are a form of valuation for the whole economy. I see them currently at multi-year lows which has been bullish for equities in Turkish lira for the long term.

John Floyd responds

Yes, on real rates in Turkey that is true and can be seen in the standard OECD PPP, but that has been like that for ages and you need the positive catalyst for change…..move to orthodoxy one way or another….monetary, fiscal, and geopolitics…should gradually grow confidence in varying degrees and speeds and drive capital flows in a positive fashion if it occurs and given valuations you can find some gems I am sure…perhaps on well capitalized companies that can benefit from the inflows and cheaper FX…plenty of meals for a lifetime if you look at Argy, Venny, Russia, SA, Zimbabwe, etc…

If anyone is bored, I did an interview on Turkey last August - it somehow has gotten just under 20k views that highlights both contemporaneous points at the time and some of these longer term issues.

Alex Forshaw writes:

Erdogan is in bed with the asset heavy industrial elite of Turkey… this is China but with very ineffective capital controls (mainland Chinese stock performance has been terrible for 12+ years btw, altho indices don't include juicy dividend yields). They're all massively overleveraged, and basically long and wrong The only way is devaluation / financial repression (forcing inflation >> cost of capital) until they deleverage… but Erdogan can't really let them deleverage because the economy would implode, Turkey is poor, the opposition is highly organized with high recourse to violence (Kurds), so Erdogan would be dead. So they just keep building and building, but who's going to come?

Seems to me that Turkey is uninvestable until Erdogan is gone…but he's a de facto dictator…so he can't go.

Leo Jia offers more data:

Turkey housing index

New home sales are down lately, which may be caused by the pandemic:
Turkey: new home sales

But existing home sales shot up sharply in recent years:
Turkey: existing home sales

Aug

8

Paolo Pezzutti suggests:

I think this article may be interesting to those into markets microstructure:

Goldman, State Street Face Antitrust Claims Over Currenex

Goldman Sachs & Co. and State Street Bank & Trust Co. were hit with federal antitrust claims in Manhattan over an alleged scheme to rig foreign currency transactions through Currenex Inc., a State Street affiliate that operates a leading exchange platform.

The proposed class action accuses Currenex of fraudulently telling traders its software relied on the industry-standard “first in, first out” system for matching “bids” and “asks,” when in fact it gave State Street and Goldman the ability to “jump in line” and cancel transactions at the last second.

A reader reacts:

Omg that's hilarious…GS traders would benefit if that suit became case law. However I'd need a good lawyer to tell us about law.

The joke is HFT must have the ability to cancel and front the que.

I'm very good at visualizing all of this as "The Watcher" was a program we bought circa 1996 and that was my career as a "day trader" 96 to Feb 2002 when Vic bailed me out the first time of 4 times. 

The NASD was computer Market making system.

The nasd sec said mm must be on both bid and offer electronic and be if= fx % away from inside bid ask spread. By 2002 the nasd worked much better than nyse or a pit.

My first button was a 20% price riser. We called it the monster buy button. 

Bid 995 ask 1000 my buy would be 1200! I'd take offer go straight to que.

This worked for 2 months.

I got an instinet machine and was so arrogant they called 1000 share does orders dumb pikers and they didn't care. A year later they tried to ban us.

Get the joke trading is like all racing you invent an edge and wait for everyone to copy or steal it. Or you lose all the times as those with unlimited funds. Or friends in DC have the inside starting position the fastest car best engineering and if you drive for them and do not win constantly I'd try a new sport like catfishing.

A reader comments:

I am of no help with any question of securities law.  The farthest I ever got in the test-taking you all have endured was getting the license for being an investment adviser, and after a very short time (I think it was a year and a half) I realized that I had put my head in the noose of a second bureaucracy whose mission statement was "enjoy playing gotcha with the small mammals and be ultra nice to all reptiles large enough to be able to hire you for a 'private sector' job with porn benefits."

Aug

8

Is Nasdaq pullback coming? Crypto regulation? 08/06/2021

Aug

5

those who know about music: it is well known and accepted that beethoven couldn't multiply and couldn't dance. yet he wrote many pieces with complicated rhythms like 13/12 in the Appassionata. and many other unusual rhythmic pieces - how could this be? wouldn't he have had to notate such pieces? and wouldn't that require a very high degree of mathematics?

Laurel Kenner responds:

No, musical rhythm is not like, say, linear algebra. It’s even different from multiplication. Beethoven was a master of syncopation. He probably didn’t get dancing lessons. 

Christopher Tucker comments:

A lot of mathematics can be done without the use of numbers and their operators.  A lot of it can be done visually without ever mentioning numbers and I think it is safe to assume that the same applies for auditory - tempos, rhythms, scales, finding notes that are all in the same key without having to think about it in a way that is normally associated with doing math. 

Peter Krupp adds:

We all have an innate sense of rhythm, to a higher or lesser degree, which can be developed. I was fortunate to have studied for a few years with a professional pianist who was a student of Artur Schnabel, one of the great Beethoven pianists of the 20th century. She played and demonstrated many of the Beethoven sonatas and had me listen to many of Schnabel's recorded performances. Not once did she count out the rhythms or do any sort of mathematical analysis. She demanded "feeling & sensing" the rhythm. I never developed the pianistic skill that she had. I played for my own pleasure. My first love was science and mathematics but prior to her tutelage I lacked awareness of music as a sensory-based art. My experience with her completely changed that outlook.

An historical note:

Statistics of Mental Imagery
Francis Galton (1880)
First published in Mind, 5, 301-318.

Laurence Glazier writes:

The inspiration comes ready made. The composer has to write it out. A steady rhythm is a social construct. The blackbird and nightingale know nothing of it.

I am just now orchestrating Andaluza by Falla, and have been removing a beat from some of the bars which sounds more natural to me.

Had Beethoven actually used the time signatures which came, maybe, to his mind, there would have been resistance from the players. He had enough trouble anyway getting people to play well.

A corollary - the not dancing is helpful, as that would have predisposed the mind to a steady rhythm. However you can be sure of his math prowess.

Nils Poertner writes:

the use of the trampoline (the mini-rebounder) can be a very useful tool on the aspect of re-learning rhythm.

it is probably the case the vast majority of the population these days has got some aspect of blockage or a lack of sense of rhythm - and also learning disabilities - except they don't perceive it that way.

here is good old Ray Gottlieb (former eye doctor from Rochester, New York- who inspired me with his work):

Attention and Memory: A Stress-Point Learning Approach

James Lackey adds:

Army marching singing cadence they are very good at every task as the US Army tells you what to do, how to do it and even explains why.

Anyhow it was 1% that CAN'T dance. It's a heck of a lot lower than all think.

Aug

5

We try to never look at a new generator. This AM we noticed more masks. My brother mentioned they are trying to make covid a deal again to hold onto their corner. The brilliance of X traders is they look at everything as a hustle. "How are we getting it today and for sure we are the last to know."

The covid hustle is a two team teaser on the old meme, "we can not find qualified candidates." That was the 50's race bait turned into an econ pay class war keeping the man down. I turned many a biz owner red faced when they couldn't find qualified help by saying either let the moths out of your wallet or train them yourself. A day trader with a Union BA pops and all athletes we become difficult to convince it was about "they" and not You.

The covid hustle keeps them masked and the dining rooms closed. If you have x sales and you lose zero sales and can reduce labor costs by running the drive thru only, who blames them? Not me I don't like your food anyways. However when it comes to the DMV OMG you sucked at your job before allowing me to do all this online, cool! I hope this lockdown will close your store and keep the Churches open.

Okay I will not go that far as I do not want a new enemy, the brother in law of the law.

I found out that APPL is the most profitable company in the world. Here is how they do it! They win on skill. After all these years, 08 to 21 I have fought the good Android fight. I don't even know why except I despise closed systems. The libertarian in me lost to the artist in me. I bought an APPL 11 phone and a new carrier today. I called uncle to my uncle as he said, He Jimmie if you're so damn smart why are you trying youtube video production when all you need to do is buy an APPL and pay for their cloud. Done deal as uncle is 7 years my senior and actually taught my cousin and brother how to ride dirt bikes at 5-7-11 years old respectively as we went up in racing classes. At 16 he said I am done, turn pro. We did and today we turned on the Apple pro video.

Aug

5

S&P is range bound, as vaccine stocks run up. Novavax NVAX? 08/03/2021

Aug

1

Is crypto pullback coming? S&P 4450 next? 07/30/2021

Jul

29

Branch Rickey

July 29, 2021 | Leave a Comment

nobody asked me but the professor is in the catbird seat and branch rickey is the founder of sabermetrics. tom wiswell had a weekly checker game with branch rickey.

Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman

Jul

29

at the B&N on Market Street in Philadelphia which i visited over the weekend, i explored the business section to augment my recap of chapter 6 of Quixote.  i found all the finance books to be about panic or the decline of capitalism or the need for regulation to reign enterprise in, except for a book by ellis which, like all the other finance books, espoused the out-of-place-and-time methods of the Sage and his philandering  mentor.

i bought a big selection of them but the fire department picked me up for unsteady walking. (i wasn't wearing shoes and had my sneakers in my book bag so i fell.) and i left my books on a bike and they were stolen within 5 minutes which made my story seem not valid.

thus i can't relate to all the titles that espoused the graham & dodd, sage line, or the hoped for destruction of capitalism.

Vic's twitter feed

Jul

29

subscribe to Laurel Kenner on Substack

Jul

28

Market pullback, Covid and Fed. BTFD? BABA buy? 07/27/2021

Jul

28

i recommend Brett Steenbarger's book The Psychology of Trading. it contains all sorts of fixes for emotional trading and reads like a mystery novel.

Brett's book is like a Paul Harvey story. it starts with a life or death situation from his counseling. then it shows how he solved the problem by applying trading wisdom.

i like his technique of talking out all your trades — and moving away from the market when it's going in your favor. also, all the wise words about the function of markets

Dr. Steenbarger's other works

Jul

28

good article on what is ruining baseball and why the Yankees lose so much when ahead and turn to analytics. they don't take account of ever-changing cycles and rely on one metric rather than the panoply.

State Of Analytics: How The Movement Has Forever Changed Baseball – For Better Or Worse

Jul

28

If I had 300mm in used cars and I wanted to protect the losses of a sudden drop in prices or book values banks use….
 
My solution is to not use options as learned by listening to Mr Vic on the vigorish.
 
If a stock's price was tracking current tick data of aggregate mean car prices, wouldn't it be best to sell a line of that stock against the inventory?
 
If so, how do we quickly calculate how much in stock in total vs the 300mm of inventory. 
 
Yes I'm aware of the joke.
 

Someone said there is no way to hedge this, and I said why not sell some used car companies stocks just in case and….

A reader writes:

Yes, the difficult question is to find the correlation between the used car inventory and hence their aggregate values with the used car sellers' stock prices. I don't know which publicly trade companies only sell used cars. Once one knows the equivalent delta value of the inventory, then one can hedge the delta risk using various strategies as you have suggested.

James Lackey writes:

After a day, I think of ways I could as a day trader blow this trade up. The risk is car prices crash as they should and the used car big box store's stock goes up big on a squeeze. Therefore the way to protect that is to buy call options. Buying options is not businesslike as the vigorish is unbusinesslike. I do believe others must be in this trade as I'm always the last to know. I'm sure I'm not the only guy that thought of this trade. Yet so far the dealers and the vampire squid isn't pitching this trade.

Someone said to me there is no way to hedge this book. I laughed and called bs and said there is.always a way. Problem is the cost.

Duncan Coker writes:

The only part of Dalio's book I found readable was the first section where he
talked about his early consulting work prior to Bridgewater. One of his first
major accounts, McDonalds, needed to hedge chickens. Dalio came up with an
elegant solution with ratios of feed, energy and land. Futures were not a
ubiquitous as they are today and his ideas were quite good.

A reader adds:

Jake Powell also commented on the recent high prices of used cars shall come to pass in his congressional testimony this morning. Similar to the Dalio methodology, then perhaps auto parts stores like ORLY an/or AAP could be affected then.

Jul

28

I’ve been reading up about Charles E. Sorenson as someone who I missed on his contribution to Ford.  There’s a lot of lessons in/on his life.  One is, the #2 defines the #1 man much more than is commonly assumed.

As you would expect, I discovered him through his boat.

Bud Conrad writes:

Fantastic photography, especially obviously surreptitiously boarding the Helene and the waterways around.

I have often been captured by the faded grandeur of some of Detroit, and this is magnificent. I am also shocked by the abject destruction of many areas and buildings that show an ugly turn for humanity.

I wonder how this happens in America, as I live in ever-changing Silicon Valley; where for example Robert Noyce's house (Inventor of integrated circuits and founder of Intel) with 4 acres, two lakes and vineyard sold for $11.4 million last month. My worry is that Detroit may be the model of future USA. San Fran ain't what it was to the flower children of the 60's. 

Silicon Valley pioneer’s former home expected to sell for $14 million. Take a look

Jul

28

it is one thing to lament how much rigidity we see from the progressiveness - and it is another thing how much un-necessary rigidity we are subject to.    eg. self-sabotage is another way of saying it - in particular in trading. see also Brett Steenbarger on it.

Jul

25

Risk of another market pullback is high. 2021/07/23

Jul

25

the duckworth-tukey test for differences between medians is useful and interesting and novel. i will give an example later. test 93 from 100 Statistical Tests by Gopal K. Kanji is unusual, useful for testing diffs between medians. consider the smallest observation from one distribution and the largest observation from the other. then take the overlaps

Jul

25

Deep Blue plays Jim Sogi's original songs, Puuo and Waiilikahi

Jul

25

lawyers have been effusive in cross examining the niceties of witnesses in political testimony but I wonder what the appropriate cross examining questions are when a witness says he doesn't know if laptop with dates and places and pictures are his own
 
one of dr. brett's techniques for better trading is to laugh at yourself.  ridicule. i am ridiculing myself for not racking up for new highs
 
anti-capitalism, anti-private-property, capture by the atlanta 100.  attempts at divisiveness and lockdown, pro marxism, agreed what could be worse?
 
let us not forget list of marxism that will lift the S&P to new constructal. the handling of the cuban revolt. they are not allowed to come to us (250000 fine for helping them) but the red carpet is laid out for those who likely vote blue for handouts
 
now while we're at it, the virtue signaling - no more cleveland indians and the general destruction and decryinig of our history

Jul

22

Bitcoin breaks 30k, what's next? Markets rebound. 2021/07/20

Jul

20

Vic's twitter feed

hopefully one side will have a better defense against marxism than that it creates  inflation
 
mentioned marxism in a bad way and lost subscribers.  the loss of subscribers had been much allayed since various suits and complaints
 
it's ironic to see masters 1000 and big tech rooting for marxism as in cuba or venezuala or russia — or are these just anomalies? presumably this idea is captured
 
keys to game. will sp make a dive before breaking the round, will crude turn around after 50-day low.  will compromise on infrastructure show complete nothingness of one side's agenda. how will big tech profit from the red herring of cancel and suppression
 
with all the anxiety and bearishness of the reacent declines, nasdaq is 1.5 from all time high after 3 down days in row
 
yesterday's move from 3:30 to 4:15 was 14th largest in history and the sixth largest from 3:30 to 5:00 pm. will it repeat or disappoint?
 
dare i say wihtout being canceled that news of pandemic increasing revals news of infrastructure as the fastest and most assured way of losing money to the bigs
 
one thing for sure is that the prodigal son is the perfect liar and is a model for the perfect lie

Jul

18

Is stock market pullback over? Crypto? 2021/07/16

Jul

17

Vic's twitter feed

weak longs are margined out or scared out i think
 
why did not sogi have his day today after the 930 open? there was too much non-anti-government. the visceral reaction of every thinking person has to equate the suppression of views as a negative. the crime situation was non-anti also: a NYC attempted kidnapping
 
as the market refused to cross the sogi level after the open, one was reading bill browder's Red Notice and the situation is so similar
 
i have been inspired by chapter 6 of don quixote and wish to find the books that wanted to bring back the good old days of chivalry with don's critique of the bad old days. any suggestions as to which should be burned or saved would be appreciated
 
here's a pretty kettle of fish: bonds at a 5-month high, but stocks 4 days and 50  points from an all-time high. 1 day away from a non-quarterly expiration. becoming  clearer every day that suppression reigns supreme, and things are not what they seem in potomac
 
just a question of time until bonds pull stocks to new high. a guess: within 5 days

Jul

17

101-year-old Maine woman may be the oldest person in the world still lobstering

Jul

15

Vic's twitter feed

bonds continue their response to buying of bonds by Fed and pronouns of Treasury. still  some groups-not getting handouts. buying of votes reigns supreme
 
miss sarah, one notes that crude is at a sane or almost a 29-day minimum at 7250 with the only lower price having occurred on wed june 7 at 7213.  would you say that crude is due for a rise?  the numbers and distance are fairly bullish
 
note to self: if you wish not to lose all followers, don't refer to atlanta 1000, don't refer to family grifters, don't talk about suppression, don't mention the unmentionable founder of multivariate statistics, especially vis a vis diversity and crime
 
burning of books here. bill gross on investing, back files of alan abelson's column, one book falls out: Justin Mamis The Nature of Risk: Stock Market Survival & the Meaning of Life. "life is like stock market, the fear of death causes you to exit too early the mid life crisis causes excessive trading". a keeper
 
don't throw out Justin Mamis books i exhort susan as she throws out all my books and says if we just waited for the all time highs as we did in the childrens' 559 trusts, we'd be much better. but then i read in the nature of risk: venturing is just a beginning 
 
venturing can be cut short by fear and worse by the settling for the ego satisfaction of having tried - "getting out too early us as if to avoid death by tiptoeing  away". another book refuses to burn and I find it life sustaining 

Jul

14

Has the market run up too high on optimism? 07/13/2021

Jul

13

Vic's twitter feed

an archetypical day so far we stand for assembly and rite for familys to profit and a series of all-time highs with a strong opening on Monday.
 
an archetypical day. inflation looks bad so stocks go down 1000 but bonds go up 10 ticks
 
but everything's infrastructure. nw it will be harder to promote unionization
 
which of these words will lead to greatest suppression, anti-americanism, the artistic son, the american flag raised in south, unionization
 
a certain economist from chicago noted that comerce creates freedom. no better example of this than the grey lady displaying a 1st page ad for patrick o brian works which are heroic and support the great contirbution of the English Navy to civilizatn in 19th century
 
finally the anti-americanism reaches a maximorum and by comparison its a maximum

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