Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Black Box Buy Signal

  • The Black Box has a buy signal on the SMH and QQQQ tonight. A few other things as well.  I'm planning on rotating some cash and low-beta stuff back into the higher beta things tomorrow.  Yeah, taking me by a little surprise, too.  I didn't anticipate much for awhile. Of course, none of this is a recommendation. The Black Box isn't always right. And if not, feel free to make fun of me.
  • Hanging around the water cooler talking about reruns of The Unit just isn't the same as talking about the latest 24 or who should be voted off of American Idol.  Not that I've watched The Unit.  Yet.
  • The state of CA has tax revenues of $7 billion more than anticipated.  This state also has a structural budget deficit due to too much spending, and has covered this in past years by borrowing money.  So does the state want to use the $7 billion in "extra" tax revenues to cover some of that structrual deficit?  Nope.  They want to spend it on more stuff.  Gee, folks.  What happens if the economy goes into another bear market? 
  • Yeah. Buy signals.  Sheesh.  Feel kind of nervous about it, because I'm worried about the mid-term election year stuff, summer stuff, etc.  Eh, we'll try it.  I might close the oil trade at the same time.

Wednesday's Quick Hits

  • The markets bounced back a smidge today. Those Freakies from the Federal Reserve released their FOMC minutes and appeared more hawkish. Looks like the market is anticipating yet another rate hike from those in their Freakie Tree in June. I suppose the stock market bump may be due to end of month rebalancing and 401K monthly contributions hitting. Just thinking...

  • So the US and Iran may actually meet and discuss stuff, eh? As long as they quit their uranium enrichment process. Haven't other countries from the UN been asking them this already?

  • Supersizing your meal may only cost you pennies initially, but how much will it cost in terms of your health? Read here! When people put on weight, the study authors say, their grocery bills, healthcare costs and even gasoline expenses climb as well. Hey, it costs more fuel to lug around your big ol' booty!

  • My jaw is uber sore from the trip to the dentist yesterday. Holy buckets.

  • At some point, I expect the market to begin the sideways trend for the summer. This will frustrate both bulls and bears as they wait for something to happen. Not sure if we're there yet, but we may be close.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Black Tuesday

Well, it was off to the dentist this morning for me.  Felt like I was in the chair for hours as I had two teeth worked on.  The worst thing is sitting there with your mouth open and having what feels like fifteen fingers in there.  Oh, and then about a half-hour after you leave, the novacaine really kicks in and you're finally totally numb.  Just The numbness is finally starting to wear off.

  • The markets took a big dive today.  It wasn't pretty.  I'm still mostly in low-beta stuff which is going down but not as bad as the overall market and certainly nowhere as bad as the tech and semi stocks.  I have some cash on the sidelines.  And of course, I still have the oil.  Am I letting that trade turn into an investment?  Well, I'm still a little better than break-even in it, so no reason to panic out one way or another.
  • Watched The Apprentice last night.  Sean vs. Lee.  I don't know what the heck Lee was thinking when he picked that team.  Lenny?  Pepe?  The funniest part of the whole show was Trump asking George and Carolyn "Who was that guy?"  (I guess he was fired in week 2.)  Trump said "Did I really say 'Pepe, you're fired?'  I don't remember."  Lee is dropping the ball on the hockey charity.  He should've picked Charmaine at least.

  • So who did President Bush pick to replace Mr. Snow at the Treasury?  Why Mr. Heat of course!  Goldman Sachs chairman Henry "Heatmeiser" Paulson.  Global Warming activists immediately demonstrated against the nomination.
  • Some Netflix flicks over the weekend...  Walk the Line, the story of Johnny Cash. Hey, that was 5 stars IMHO.  Very good.   Memoirs of a Geisha was a little slow, but okay.  Kind of sad.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Da Vinci Code and the Cookie Monster

Well, talk about your revisionist history! Looks like we now know who was really seated at the right side of Jesus at the Last Supper... The Cookie Monster!

(Having some fun with Paint Shop Pro.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Can't Fight this 1985 Feeling Anymore!

I feel old.  Over on Adam's Daily Options blog, he mentions that Katharine McPhee is 21 years old.  That was 1985.  What else was going on in 1985?

  • Back to the Future was the top grossing film.  Still one of my all time favorites...  Rocky IV where Rocky beats up Russian Ivan Drago and we see the death of Apollo Creed... St Elmo's Fire featuring the brat pack....
  • In addition to McPheever, Michelle Trachtenberg and Keira Knightly  were born.  Hey, just saying, that's all.
  • Rock Hudson, Yul Brynner, and Orson Welles died.
  • In TV, Alice went off the air.  "Kiss my grits!" As did The Dukes of Hazzard. Oooh, Daisy Duke....

  • The Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.  Villanova beat Georgetown in NCAA hoops.  Patrick Ewing was drafted by the New York Knicks.  The Lakers beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals.  The 49ers beat the Dolphins in the Superbowl. Say, that was a beating.  MLB slugger Roger Maris died.
  • Duran Duran's A View to a Kill was #1 on the charts.  David Lee Roth leaves Van Halen. I think I liked 'em better with Sammy Hagar, to be honest. More pop-Rock I suppose. Madonna marries Sean Penn. The Clash and J. Geils Band disband. (Maybe somebody was sleeping with somebody else's Centerfold.) Ricky Nelson died.
  • Coca-Cola changed their Coke recipe and released "New Coke." (They later did a do-over on that one).

  • Nintendo releases the NES and the game Super Mario Bros.  Hey, that was fun.  Recently heard the theme music from that being keyed out on a piano at a bar.
  • Lake Wobegon Days from Garrison Keillor hits the shelves. Where all the kids are above average.
  • A joint American-French expedition locates the wreck of the Titanic. Without the Celine Dion theme music.

Just a few things.  Doesn't seem that long ago!


  • Holy beta, Batman!  How about some leveraged ETFs?  Our friends at Profunds are going to kick it up a notch and offer leveraged long and short funds.  Hey, if you don't have time to make it to the local Indian casino, why not?  Spicey!
  • Memorial Day Weekend!  Well, this is a sentimental weekend for me.  My dad normally was in town this week for the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.  I usually hung out with him a few days.  It's going to be different this year. 
  • The markets?  Well, ol' Norm Fosback's pre-holiday seasonality "system" seems to be working here, eh?  It seems to have a pretty interesting track record.  I think we're just bouncing here and working off some of the oversoldness.  I think folks still have a bullish bent on the market from reading around.  Maybe because they got stuck trying to time the bounce and are hoping to break even.  Not sure.
  • TGI-frickin'-F, eh?
  • Doesn't it seem like it's been forever since Battlestar Galactica has been on?  And no new episodes until October.  Sure, it'll be here before we know it.  I think Halloween candy might already be on sale at the grocery stores.  In the meantime, the Sci-Fi channel is fillin' up friday with Doctor Who episodes.  Okay, but not the same.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

American Idol and Lost...

  • First, kudos to ABC for placing a commercial during Lost right at 9:57pm last night.  This allowed me to flip over to Fox's American Idol for 2 minutes to watch the last 60 seconds of a horrible duet between Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee, and then see the winner announced. 
  • Congrats to Taylor Hicks.  Soul Patrol over McPheever.  I'd like to know what the final vote tallies were.  I have no idea what the entire 2 hour finale was like, but I did flip over a few times during Lost commercials.  What I saw wasn't pretty.  Pretty boring.
  • Lost was great.  We learned what happens when the button isn't pushed.  We learned why the plane crashed.  We learned what happened to Desmond.   Interesting cliffhanger.
  • Looks like we're getting our market bounce.  So we may officially have an official low in the correction to watch for potential retests down the road.  I wonder if folks who were anxious to short any bounce yesterday, are now back in bull mode?  I think the sentiment bias is still fairly bullish overall, and that will change by the time we're done with this correcting process. I'm not trading with a short-term horizon, more of an intermediate term.  So I'll miss bounces in this or that.  I still have some cash on the sidelines, a little in oil, and the rest in low-beta stock stuff.  The low-beta stuff has been going down with the market, but nowhere near as bad as tech/semis.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

American Idol or Lost?

  • Is the low in?  Was that it?  Reading around the web, folks were so anxious to get in so that they could participate in the "snapback" rally.  Many got hurt trying to guess "the bottom," as the market became more and more oversold.  After today's respectable bounce, it sounds like these same folks are now ready to "short the bounce."  Will they be any more successful trying to guess "the top" than the were "the bottom?"  We'll have to wait and see...
  • Oh, Taylor Hicks in a landslide last night over Katharine McPhee on American Idol.  Performance wise, anyways.  We'll have to see how folks voted. I'd be happy either way.  But Soul Patrol was far better than McPheever. 
  • The dilemna tonight is "which show to record" and which to watch real-time.  (American Idol vs. Lost?)  American Idol has so many commercials during results night, that I usually just skip it and check the results on the web the next day.  But tonight might be kind of fun.  On the otherhand, Lost is a great show, and this week's trailer looks great.  What are you going to do?  I'm leaning towards Lost and recording American Idol, then fast forwarding through AI after Lost.

Sleep and Weight Gain

Not enough sleep associated with weight gainIn a long-term study of middle-aged women, those who slept 5 hours or less each night were 32 percent more likely to gain a significant amount of weight (adding 33 pounds or more) and 15 percent more likely to become obese during 16 years of follow-up than women who slept 7 hours each night.

"Don't wake me up, boss. I'm dieting."

I'm looking around the Fun Factory this morning, trying to identify those who probably don't get enough sleep at night. I'm not sure if it's that or the donuts and grande Starbucks drinks...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rally Snapped Back!

Snapback rally? Suckers!

  • So many folks were expecting the "snapback" rally that'd last for a few days and give them a chance to sell their longs and go short.  Didn't work out that way today.  Today was just bizarre.  It had all the looks of a sharp rally, but then went down hard during the waning minutes of the trading day. 
  • The 10-day put-call is at some bizarre level.  I expect articles coming out to say "the put-call doesn't matter anymore."  (That's when it will.)  Indicators aren't ever gospel, IMHO.  Just something to note the current condition and relate it to how things looked historically.  Never means that it'll happen again the same way twice.
  • Back from Vegas.  Tried to blog yesterday but my Treo kept crashing.  It'd reset on me as I was typing.  So, that got too frustrating using the thumb board.  I had bad luck at the casinos.  Lost the Cavs +8 in game 7.  But got the Dodgers on the run line versus the Angels' Santana.  Santana is on my fantasy squad bench.  He gives up lots of early runs, and sunday was no exception!
  • 24 wrapped up last night...  Interesting cliffhanger.  As <a href="Adam's Daily Options Report says, in the world is Chloe going to get Jack off that slow boat I've suspended belief on how CTU can get anywhere in the LA area within a 10-15 minute drive.  I've suspended belief on how folks (like the Chinese, terrorists, CTU agents, whoever) can sneak into a highly-guarded perimeter area with ease.  So, I suppose however Jack gets out of this mess, I'll just go along for the ride.
  • I need another day off to recover from my day off.
  • Talked it up at the dentist office this morning with some of the office folk.  Topic?  American Idol?  Consensus is that Taylor Hicks should win over Katharine McPhee.  Sounds like those who want McPheever to win, better hope Diebold is keeping tabs of the votes tonight!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What Happens in Vegas...

  • What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?

  • Some great columns in Barrons. Micheal Santoli leads it off with a pretty good and witty column. He's right about Martha Stewart's market timing skills. The Yahoo column was a bit fluffy. Thomas Donlan has a good one on tax cuts and tax increases. And I enjoyed the interview with Joe Rosenberg. I think he is right about bonds.

  • Speaking of Bonds, Barry Bonds smacked out 714. Did you catch the interview with the 19 year old kid who caught it? Hillarious.

  • Taking the Cavs plus 8.

Airport Bloggin'

  • I'm heading to Las Vegas. I need to get away for a few days.

  • Got my Barrons for the flight. Big cover on how Yahoo could zoom 40%. How's that for a big weekend booyah?

  • Blogging from the Treo and got my thumbs tapping out the letters.

  • Hey how about that Amazing Race finale? I would've been happy with any of the final three winning, but glad it was the... hippies!

Friday, May 19, 2006

That 1994 Feeling

  • Heard this morning that the Nasdaq slide is the longest consecutive duration since 1994. I was trying to think about 1994, and what was going on...  It was also a mid-term election year.  Clinton had put some tax hikes through in 1993 that were slowing the economy (and probably cost the Democrats the Congress in the 1994 elections).  Greenspan had been raising interest rates, which was slowing the economy and hitting the housing markets.  As were Clinton's military base closures (which actually happened in 1995 I believe).
  • Of course, Greenspan was successful at engineering a "soft landing" in 1994, and the panic lows that year turned out to be a great entry point for the zoom of the late 1990's tech bubble in the stock market.
  • Forrest Gump came out in 1994.
  • Danielle wins America's Next Top Model!  You know, I was thinking Joanie would win, but was happy either way.  As long as it wasn't Jade!  I think all three took great pictures.  Joanie was probably my favorite, but maybe that's because of the whole stripper thing.

  • Another big movie in 1994, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla.  OK, you might've missed that one.  I know I did.  But I was alway a big monster movie fan as a kid.  Even though Godzilla died in the original Godzilla movie.  I think he also died in the King Kong vs. Godzilla movie.  Although, monsters never die and are always easily resucitated due to the folly of mankind.  (Nuclear weapons tests and such).  Maybe I'll have to Netflix this one and see how it turns out.  My guess would be that Godzilla ends up the hero against a sinister Space Godzilla.  Just a guess.
  • Well, the Senate has decided to make English the official language of the US.  It passed in a 63-34 vote.  English was easily the top choice, but rumor has it that Tagalog was a close #2 and might've won had there been a filibuster on English.  I think the Senate should've added a twist to it.  Such as, "English will be the official language, but everyone has to speak it in an Australian accent."  Then, closed out the session with Men at Work singing the national anthem.  (Just a thought, mate!)
  • The market was down when I started this, suddenly it's up.  I think when the market's been trending for a week, fridays tend to see profit taking.   This time the bears are ringing the cash register.   And probably flying in those Ukranian hookers for the weekend...

  • OJ fled from police in his white Bronco in 1994.  Kurt Cobain went suicide.  Weezer released their debut album.  Cowboys beat the Bills in the Super Bowl.  Arkansas beat Duke in NCAA hoops.  Miguel Indurain won the Tour de France.  Major League baseball went on strike in 1994.  Nancy Kerrigan gets whacked on the leg by Tonya Harding's ex-husband. 
  • More from 1994?  Read Wiki!
  • My oil trade isn't working out and getting close to my mental stops.  Even though I think oil is heading higher, I won't let a trade turn into an investment.  No holding and hoping here!  Still have it as I type, though.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cold Pitcher of Booyah

When life hands you lemons, make a big ice-cold pitcher of booyah! - Jim Cramer on realmoney radio.

  • On yesterday's realmoney radio show, Cramer started off that he likes to buy low and sell high.  Did you ever get that impression from watching, listening or reading him?  I suppose everyone would like to, but seems like most folks are momentum-based.  The excitement or fear builds up, and it's hard not to make emotional decisions.
  • Cold Hearted Truth on the American Idol final 3 last night...
  • Another American Idol prediction by Wizbang...
  • The market has been a House of Pain for the bulls.  SMH is roughly 14% off the 52-wk high.  QQQQ is roughly 9% off the 52-wk high.  SPY is roughly 4.5% off the 52-wk high.  And DVY is roughly 3.5% off the 52-wk high.  Beta works in both directions.
  • Uh oh, this just in:  Americans May Take Too Many Vitamins!   But no studies show strongly that people prosper from popping multivitamin and mineral supplements and some suggest that eating healthily and exercising provide more benefit, the panel said.  Yeah, I stopped taking them a long time ago.  I figure they just make your pee more expensive.  But there is a whole cottage industry telling you that you need 5000mg of this or that, because "you couldn't possibly eat 500 tomatoes a day."  (Why would I want to?)
  • More on the Da Vinci Code later.  But whenever the subject is religion, there is going to be some angst.  Churches are gearing up for an education crusade at theaters.  So this should be in the news headlines in the weeks ahead.
  • Of course the stock market is going to bounce.  I think it's really hard to find the first bounce.  It's guessing really.   Many folks jumped in early this week, and got smoked.  Sure, we could get the bounce starting sometime thurs-fri, as the bears book profits and spend it on booze and flying in Ukranian hookers for the weekend.  That'd be one scenario.  Check out the ramping put-call ratio, and short-term a bounce can happen at any minute.  It is options week, too.

Who Should be Voted Off?

  • We're down to the final 3 in American Idol, so there aren't any "bad" singers left.  After last night's songs, I think "The Hobbit" Elliott Yamin needs to be voted off the island.  He continues to bore my socks off.  I can't imagine buying his CD.  I think McPheever (Katharine McPhee) and Soul Patrol (Taylor Hicks) would both make great CDs if somebody was writing songs for them.  McPhee's rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow was fantastic last night.  Taylor's songs all went well; the interaction with Paula was fun. He's a good entertainer.
  • The market?  Well, fears of inflation are roaring as the CPI was released early today.  Everyone is blaming this on fuel, but I doubt this is the case since we've had high energy prices for quite awhile without any impact to the core rate.  This may actually be the result of a tightening labor market and rising wages.  Just a thought!  But I'm sure this will drive President Bush's approval numbers into the negative.
  • The Black Box was status quo on the market last night, and continues to think we're in a downtrend.  It keeps telling me MSFT is a buy, but with the intermediate trend down, I think I'll pass on it for now.  So I remain in low-beta holdings, with a little in oil and some cash on the sidelines.  And I just checked my oil, and it's getting whooped to the downside now as apparantly we have too much of the stuff.  Perhaps the market is reacting to the Al Gore speech on the recent Saturday Night Live...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Render unto Caesar

  • Remeber Richard Hatch?  He was the first Survivor winner, back on the island.  Sentenced to over 4 years for tax evasion.  I suppose this should be filed under "Render unto Caesar..."
  • Not much to say about the market.  I remain in low-beta holdings, a small position in oil, and some cash.  I think the seasonality or election year correction stuff is here and taking the market down.  I don't think the market will move in a straight line down, but I'm not that eager to try and catch the little bounces.  I think a better and more obvious buying point will come along sometime, and I'd rather save the beta-playing for then.  My Black Box gave a wink to MSFT last night, but I'm not taking any flyers on it at this point.  Of course, it was right about AMGN last week...
  • For more cereal box covers, keep an eye on Adam's Daily Options Report.  I forgot about Quisp.  I think the nastiest thing about those cereals is what they do to the color of the milk.  Looks like something straight out of Monty Burns' "nukular" power plant!
  • What did you think of the Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page band "The Firm?"  Kind of a flop, no?  (I've got "Satisfaction Guaranteed" playing on my MP3 player as I type.  That one wasn't too bad.)
  • More Michelle Malkin up at Vent, with a video of her having a phone call with Karl Rove.  She's pretty witty.  Well, pretty and witty.
  • (Uh oh, this is when the liberal readers of my blog send me angry emails for "shilling" for Malkin.  For you, I'll ask if you've had a chance to read Larry Kudlow's take on "Rove on the Bush Economy."  Check it out, friends!  And update your blog subscriptions with KLo's new URL!)
  • Did you know the SMH (semiconductors ETF) was down 10% from its 52-week high?  Holy mackeral.  When it moves, it moves fast!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Quick Hits!

  • The market turned around a bit today as if somebody gave it a jolt of sugar, which was enough to send the DOW and SP500 in the green.
  • Bush talking tonight. I'm sure whatever he says will immediately poll negatively.  At least that's what we'll be told.  He is going to talk about illegal immigration, which is a no-win situation.  Kind of like  his talk on Social Security last year.  I think this will meet the same fate.  It'll go nowhere.
  • Speaking of illegals, I heard that 50% of all kids under 5 here are not US citizens.  Talk about a demographic change!
  • Cold-hearted Truth talks about American Idol and the judges' song picks for this week.
  • Oil took a beating today.  Just like that, I'm in the red on that trade!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Al Gore on SNL

  • The opening to Saturday Night Live featured a great bit by Al Gore.
  • Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there, and to all the folks who have a mom.
  • Searching for pics of Dad the other night, I found tons of loose photos all over the place. Note to self: Buy a photo album.
  • So, CA looks like it's throwing out the High School Exit Exam. I guess the translation there is "Dumb kids get to graduate, too."  The big losers here are the ~10% of CA kids who can't pass the test, but get socially moved on through the system.  Many of these kids will end up in the penal system, because they won't be employable.


  • What does the latest tax cut really mean to you?  Read here.   Lots of folks on TV and in print lambasting the tax cut extension.  But if the tax cuts expired, it would result in a pretty big tax hike for investors.  Other than Phil Angelides, does anybody else like tax hikes?
  • White House dismisses call for talks with Iran.  You know, I think Iran is hell-bent on getting nukes, and whether we sit down and yak with them over chips and salsa won't make much of a difference.  They're trying to stall and drag this out.  But I don't know about you, I'm not that excited by the prospects of another front in the Middle East.
  • Look, I liked Chris Daughtry.   But he just wasn't mainstream pop enough for the TV show.  He'll be fine.  Honest. 
  • A hot mover on the search engines is the USA National Bikini Team.  Hey, maybe we can send them over to negotiate with Iran!  They'll think they've died and gone to heaven!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cramer the Great

  • Lots of angst on financial blogs about Jim Cramer. I heard someone say that if one bought all his recommendations, the portfolio would look like a mutual fund.  Would it outperform the market index after commissions and taxes?  I have no idea, but it certainly would seem easier to just buy VTI.  But I guess that'd be less "fun."  I think Cramer is a great entertainer.  I listen to the radio show while out cycling or walking.
  • A few stocks that have my attention here are GILD and MSFT.  Seriously.  And check out AMGN, too.  The Black Box gave a buy on AMGN yesterday, and I wasn't looking at it.  Something to think about over the weekend for me.  I'm still thinking of the seasonal/election year cycles, so I might just sit it out for now.  I'll think about it.
  • Attending Dad's memorial service tomorrow.  Flying down to SoCal again.  I'm a little weekend weary from the last month of back-and-forths.  I was searching in vain for a pic of the guy.  I have one from when I was a kid and received a Polaroid camera for XMAS.  He was in the kitchen late at night in his PJs, making a snack of (probably) crackers and jam.  I snuck up on him and snapped a pic of him. 
  • I actually watched the Dodgers-Giants game tonight (while looking through old photos). Barry did squat.  To me, his records aren't that significant.  I'm just not that excited by the alleged juiced numbers.  Just makes them seem fake/artificial.

TGIF Quick Hits

  • The market continues to swoon. Hey, weren't we just at new highs for the market a few days ago?  Meltage happen quickly in either direction, then a trading range sets in.  Notice that?   You have to think a bounce is coming, because the market doesn't go in a straight line either way for too long.  I'd think options week is going to set the stage for a bounce, but wonder if the intermediate trend is now down for the seasonal/election year stuff.  We shall see.  Put call ratio is showing a ton of bearishness, so that could set up the stage for a short term bounce.  I have the low-beta stuff and some cash parked in money market funds.  Have to watch out for the emotional play here.
  • My oil thesis was that oil would be higher by Memorial Day weekend.  Then the bump happened in a couple days with whatever whas happening in Nigeria, and I wondered if I should book 'em or let 'em run.  We've pulled back today on (maybe) some profit taking.  I still own oil.
  • Caught up on ... The Apprentice?  Michael got fired.  He was kind of flying under the radar for most of the season.  It's getting interesting now.  America's Next Top Model?  Joanie is my recent fav, but I kind of liked Sara.   I don't like Jade much, but she does take good pics.  And on the Amazing Race, MoJo was my least favorite.  I like all 3 of the final teams, but have to think the Frat Boys have the edge.  Probably pulling for the hippies in the finale.  They had to wolf down a bowl of fried crickets and grasshoppers to get the Fast Forward this week!
  • Market fading into the close here.  Then I'm going to lunch!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


  • The markets are swooning today.  I wonder if this is just a set-up for an options week run or if this is the seasonal or election year cycle stuff?  Tempting to add some beta ahead of options week.  On the otherhand, the market is still near the rally highs.  I'm still in low-beta stuff and the oil from yesterday.  Oils are up for whatever reason du jour.  I think the trend will be up until Memorial Day weekend, but this move has been pretty quick so I might not be a hog here.
  • On Lost last night (spoiler...), Mr. Eko and John head into the island looking for "the question mark" as told to Eko in a dream from Anna Lucia and his brother.  Finds it under the crashed plane (where Boone died), and it's another hatch.  Turns out the whole hatch thing is just a psychological exercise.  With the food drop that happened a few weeks ago, looks like the experiment is still on though, huh?  Lots of other mysterious things on that island, though.
  • How about a wild Lost prediction?  Michael came back to kill "the bad ones."  The good ones will end up joining "the others."  The last episode will be another plane crashing with survivors to repeat the process.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bubblin' Crude

  • I jumped into the bubblin' crude this morning.  Oil that is.  Black gold.  Texas tea.  Why?  Well, nothing from the Black Box on it.  This is more of a "I bet they move 'em higher before Memorial Day weekend" play.  I'm still mostly in the low-beta market index kinds of stuff, and have some cash on the sidelines.  Funny how the Nasdaq and tech really aren't moving along much in this rally.  Normally, I'd be looking for market weakness ahead of options week to add some beta  But not doing that here.
  • Elvis night on American Idol. Almost as if they're intentionally trying to eliminate McPheever.  That's a tough gig for a woman to sing.  Personally, I like her.  The only one of the final four that I wouldn't buy a CD from is Elliot.  I don't think I'd even download his music.  He pretty much bores my socks off.
  • Veronica Mars wrapped up the season with the "who dunnit" being the Beaver.   Not as good as finale as last season's.  The kids are graduating high school, which is a good thing since they're all looking a bit too old for those rolls.  On to college, where most high school series begin to wane.

  • The big deal in CA is whether the state will scrap the high school exit exam.  About 10% of haven't passed the exam, and attornies are arguing that the exam discriminates against minorities and the poor.  Of course, I'd argue that every test given discriminates against those who can't pass.  But seriously, if these kids can't pass the exit exam, what makes them think they're ready for life after high school?  Will they then need remedial classes in college?  Will employees even consider them for job openings?  Seems like the real discrimination would happen if the school system graduated this kids when they're not truly prepared for life after high school.
  • Cold Hearted Truth on American Idol.  He likes Taylor.
  • Captain's Quarters on the $70 billion deal in Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains.  It would also spare about 15 million folks from the dreaded AMT.

Monday, May 08, 2006

More Quick Hits

  • The market tried to act like it was open today, like American Idol contestant Bobby Bennett tried to sing Barry Manilow on the first elimination round.  It wasn't even close in either case.  Of course, American Idol made Bobby sing just "one more time" on his way out the door.  Thankfully, the stock exchange won't give a replay.
  • Maybe folks made a long weekend of it.  Oil prices are "falling off a cliff" and tick at under $70 a barrel.  Maybe folks are out on the highways in their SUVs celebrating a new era of cheap crude!  OK, just teasing a bit here.  Summer driving season is coming up fast here, so any lull will probably turnaround before Memorial Day.
  • A made for TV movie about the bird flu has some "experts" predicting a potential panic.  Who watches made for TV movies?  It's on a tuesday night, so I'd imagine folks are either watching American Idol or on their phones for the 2-hours following voting for their favorite singers.  My guess is that the audience for the bird flu movie will be weak.
  • The number of online gamblers doubled in 2005.  Doubled or doubled-down?  You know, it makes sense.  I can see folks making that transition.  Here in CA, we used to have to drive to Nevada.  Then the Indian casinos were built, so the long trip to the silver state was changed to a shorter drive to the local Indian casino.  Heck, now folks can gamble in their PJs while watching American Idol in the background.
  • Oh, 24 is on tonight.  No brainer.

  • Uneasy Rhetoric comments on the American River Bike Trail here in Sacramento.  Absolutely correct.  I think it's the crown jewel of Sacramento.  I've been out 3 days in a row, and tonight will be number 4.  Saddle sore and proud of it, baby.  Anything for an endorphin rush!  The weather here has been wet and cool, so I'm off to a late start and hoping to get in a 15-20 mile ride daily for the duration of the warm months.
  • More politics?  All Things Conservative notes Israel's response to Iran's "wipe Israel off the map" comment.   Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Monday in an interview to Reuters that "the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map," Army Radio reported.  Let me add that I hope NOONE (sic) is wiped off the map.  But I do remain alarmed at Iran's nuclear ambitions in light of their fundamentalist desire to kill infidels.
  • More politics?  Wuzzadem has a do-it yourself Cindy Sheehan post.  C'mon, we all should play along!
  • Dell reported afterhours, and I guess it wasn't that great.  Is anyone surprised?  Dell has continued to disappoint.  I'm not sure this will have much effect on the market as a whole, as Dell seems like a stock from the last bull market and not this one.

Monday Digest

  • The market?  Ever notice how bulls explain a down or flat day as the market "digesting" or "consolidating" its gains?  It gives good rational for staying long, but I'm not sure it means anything.  Makes folks sound smart, so maybe I'll start saying stuff like that more often than I already do!
  • I keep forgetting to change my fantasy baseball lineup.  Mondays and thursdays tend to be off-days for some teams, so it's important to rotate players around to maximize number of starts.  It hasn't cost me yet.  (I think that cartoon frog is one of my starting pitchers today!)
  • I finaly noticed that Paris was eliminated from last week's American Idol.  She was my early favorite, but poor song choices doomed her.  As did great performances by Chris and McPheever.  I think it'll eventually get down to those two.  It's just who gets voted off next, Taylor or Elliot?
  • Also caught up with The Amazing Race (non-elimination round saved the hippies)...  And The Apprentice (hot babe Charmaine and MENSA Tarek get fired by Trump.)   On America's Next Top Model, Furonda has to pack her bags and leave immediately.  I'm pulling for Joanie.  Don't like Jade.
  • Politics?  Another Vent from Michelle Malkin, this time on "hookergate."  Libertarian Republican reflects on Bush's greatest Presidential accomplishment, catching a 7.5lb perch.  And Captain's Quarters notes that Iran to send a letter to US, in "Dear Satan, how are you?"  Who writes letters these days?  Use email!  I don't know if the staff at the White House bother going through all the Pennysavers, pre-approved credit card invitations, mortgage refinance and home equity loan offers.  They may not find the letter from Iran in the pile.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Quick Hits (and a Conservation Idea!)

  • Finaly saw King Kong today. It was watchable, but quite the long movie. It was a little too Jurassic Park for me while on Skull Island. I'm not sure how Kong didn't hurt Ann Darrow while fighting three T-Rex or swinging from vines. I did like a less goofy and more sinister Jack Black as the director. 
  • With small cap stocks having a much better run than the large cap, especially in tech, not surprising to see the new equal-weighted Nasdaq 100 ETF.  I wonder if this is a little late to the ballgame, though.  These products seem to come to market after the major move.
  • Have you had a Fresca lately?  I like 'em.

  • Patrick Kennedy... Do you believe it was the Ambien?  Me neither.  Even if it was, somebody like Kennedy should know not to get behind the wheel of a car after taking a mind-altering substance.  I'm just sad that the officer at the scene didn't get a blood test on the guy so we could stop the speculation on whether it was Ambien or something else.  But that didn't happen, so we're going to have the big question mark forever on what really happened that night.
  • Peak driving season coming up.  I think the swoon in energy prices is temporary.  I was reading in the Sacramento Bee's Forum section about the terrible things that would happen as gasoline went to $4 or $5 a gallon.  I think folks would keep buying fuel, conserve a little, and spend less on dining out.  As you know, all this nonsense about higher energy prices being "inflationary" is a bunch of gas itself.  How can sending more money to OPEC instead of the malls be inflationary?  It's not.  In addition, if Bernanke keeps raising rates and fuel prices keep going up, we're going to be staring down a recession.  Recessions aren't inflationary, either.

  • The Los Angeles Lakers had a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series in round 1 of the NBA playoffs.  And then the wheels came off.  Phoenix went on to win 3 in a row to beat Kobe and Krew.  I think Phoenix is the better team, but defense wins championships and the Suns are lacking a little there.  LAL had a good shot in game 6, though.  I missed the series with all of my personal stuff going on the past couple weeks.
  • I just wish the TNT crew was around for the next round.  They're far better than the others.  I think Earnie, Kenny and Chuck are the best.  Sometimes I don't even watch the games, but flip it over at halftime or postgame to catch their comments.
  • I think the President should lead a national conservation effort along the lines of the Blue Diamond almonds campaign.  Blue Diamond asks us to consume "a can a week."  What if Bush asked Americans to "not drive" to work one day a week?  Bush could get up and ask folks to make an effort one day (or more) per week to carpool, take alternative transportation, or telecommute.  It'd conserve fuel, ease traffic congestion, and improve air quality.   Win, win, and win.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturday's Quick Hits

  • Michelle Malkin has an interesting video Vent up at Hotair (hat tip to Expose the Left).  I'm not a member of any political party, but I am fiscally conservative.  I like some Dems, I like some GOPers.  Depends on where they stand on fiscal issues.  I think Michelle Malkin is clever and funny, so I keep track of her blog and enjoyed this Vent. 
  • I normally wake up fairly early on the weekends, but I'm feeling so worn down that I didn't crawl out of the sack until 10am! Dreams are strange.  Too much personal and emotional stress the past few weeks plays some amazing tricks on the body.
  • So it is saturday, and after wiping out a bowl (and a half) of Optimum Slim cereal, I'm ready to start my day.  What's on tap?  My coworkers bought me a tree rose to remember Dad, so I'm trying to figure out where to plant that.  I also plan on an hour bike ride here shortly.
  • I dowloaded the podcast from Gary Kaltbaum's friday show to listen to on the bike ride.  My guess is that he's pretty excited about the market as it makes new highs.  I'll follow-up on this and let you know. 
  • I missed the Fox Business Block, and didn't have my PC on to record it.  Doh!  Mostly folks rippin' each others stock picks for 30 minute blocks, but it's fairly enjoyable.  I never get any trading ideas out of it, but I like to see folks give their perspectives.  We do learn from others.
  • It's May 6th, make the most of it!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

  • Cinco de Mayo already? I like it when May 5th comes on a friday. Did you have Mexican food for lunch?  I did, but then I do most everyday anyways...
  • Watched Kudlow's interview with President Bush.  Nothing new here.  I thought it was interesting towards the tail end when KLo asked Bush about the Flight 93 movie.  Bush agreed with KLo that the passengers aboard that flight fought the first battle of World War III (the war on terror).  I haven't seen it yet, but I bet it's a pretty powerful reminder of 9/11.
  • I keep thinking that eventually we'll (the free world) go to war against Iran.  It's really a question if we want to do it before they have nuclear weapons or after they have nuclear weapons.  Their leaders are completely insane, denying the holocaust and favoring "wiping Israel from the map."   I think tensions will increase as the days and weeks go on.

  • The market roared into the close today.  On CNBC, the talking heads immediately started their projections of where the the market is headed.  The DOW is closing in on the 2000 highs, and the "gurus" are now saying 13,000 here we come!  Looking at the Investor's Intelligence survey earlier this week, the number of bulls has decreased while the number of bears  has increased; but, I wonder how that'll look in the next survey?  Again, I'm not chasing beta here.  No thanks.  If we keep going higher, I will indeed underperform.
  • I have Jim Cramer on.  I don't see how he does all he does.  Radio show.  TV show.  Write columns for Realmoney.  Oh, and keep close tabs on pretty much every company in the Wilshire 5000.  He's standing atop his desk, sleeves rolled up, and yelling at the camera...


  • Was down in SoCal yesterday for Dad's burial ceremony. I'd never been to a military service before, but it was quite moving.  Very dignified and respectful.  I broke down while kissing the casket and setting a rose on top. 
  • The market?  What more can I say?  It's on fire.  I'm in low-beta stuff here with a little cash on the sidelines,  and am not planning on getting aggressive at 6-year highs.  The time to get agressive is on pullbacks, IMHO.  I'm still thinking that we have seasonality and election year cycle stuff staring us down.  If' I'm wrong, I continue to ride up this market in low-beta stuff.  If I'm right and we get a 5-10% correction in the SP500, I'll rotate into higher beta later.  No worries.  I think the danger here would be trying to guess the top and short.  That's why I like to just rotate into high-beta on weakness, and rotate into low-beta on strength.  My goal is to do whatever the market is doing, but make more on the upswings and lose less on the downswings.  The Nasdaq isn't that far away from where I sold on April 6th.  Meanwhile, the low-beta stuff has done pretty well since then.  I suppose I could've went into the Nasdaq when it dipped under support at 2300 this week, especially considering monthly strength.  But that latter thing is over today...
  • I missed who was eliminated on American Idol.  I'll find out next tuesday night I 'spose.
  • I did record Lost, and that was a dandy.  Sad to see Michelle Rodriguez (Anna Lucia) booted off the cast, though.  And poor Hurley.  I kind of wanted to see more background on Libby, but I guess that ain't gonna happen now.
  • Had to reboot my router when I got home. I have no idea what happened.  The internet was off and on, and acting funky.  I usually just reboot the modem and that didn't help.  So tried the router, and that seems to have fixed the issue.  Who knows.
  • The new Casio Exilim 8mp camera takes pretty good pictures.  I snapped a bunch at the burial ceremony yesterday, and also tried the movie mode. I'm quite impressed by it.  Of course, to my eyes I can't really tell any difference between this camera and my buddy's 5mp Nikkon.  I can tell a big difference between this 8mp Casio and my old boat anchor 2mp Kodak, though.  The only thing is that because the Casio is such a small camera, it's easy to move the camera while pressing the shutter button.  Not hard to compensate.  But have to take a few pictures of every scene to make sure I get a good one.  I also bought a 4gig SD card, so I can take about 40 minutes worth of film or 1100 pictures.  And since I did both, somewhere in the middle.  The film quality wasn't the best, though.  That's a common complaint with this camera, but if folks want a movie camera, buy a movie camera.  This works good enough for me.
  • Netflix flicks...  I've had a few sitting on my counter the past few weeks, but I'm going to sit through King Kong and Lord of War this weekend.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


  • The Black Box thinks biotechs and the Cheesecake Factory look interesting as of yesterday's close.  Doesn't like tech, energy or oil.  But who knows about that silly lil' Black Box.  Monthly strength period could end tomorrow, and then it gets interesting.  Usually, fridays move opposite the weekly trend as folks book 'em before the weekend.  The DOW and SP500 have been decent while the Naz has been wobbly.  I dunno what that means for friday. 
  • Maria B from CNBC getting lotsa blog press for her Bernanke comments the last hour on monday.  Pretty hillarious.  Shocked the market and definitely has Maria in the headlines.  Maybe she'll be the 2006 Comeback Player of the Year for CNBC.
  • American Idol...  We're at the point where there are no "bad" singers.  It's just who you like compared to others.  I'd never buy a CD from Elliot (The Hobbit).  He bores my socks off.  I like Chris and McPheever.  McPheever singing sultry on her knees last night worked for me...  I think Paris would do great with a good songwriter behind her; she has a great voice.  And Taylor is a great entertainer, but I'm not sure I'd get the CD unless a songwriter figured out a way to get something more from him.
  • Played with the new camera for a few hours last night.  Very cool.
  • My dad told me a great way to get out of eating peas or corn is to just put a few on your plate and spread 'em around.  Makes it look like you had a bunch and just missed a few that didn't land on your fork.

She moves like she don't care
Smooth as silk cool as air
Ooh it makes you wanna cry
She doesn't know your name
And your heart beats like a subway train
Ooh it makes you wanna die

Maria - Blondie

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Market Snapshot

What's wrong with the Naz, Muckie?

  • The market?  Well...  The DOW and SP500 are at new highs while the Nasdaq languishes.  Tech and semis acting sluggish.  I checked with the Black Box last night, and it still doesn't like tech.  All of this is happening in the first week of the month, which is normally bullish as money hits 401(k) accounts.  So what does this mean starting thurs/fri?  Uh, well...  I think seasonality and the election cycle are something to keep an eye on.   I remain out of tech centric beta and am mostly in total market and low beta stuff, with some cash on the sidelines.
  • I bought a new digital camera today.  A Casio Exilim 8mp.  It replaces my Kodak "Boat Anchor" 2mp camera from around 1998.  It took good pictures, but it was time for an upgrade.  I just want a small pocket-size point and shoot with enough extras to play around with.  I've been looking at cameras for awhile, but with Dad's funeral et al coming up, I decided to get something new-fangled.
  • On 24...  Well, I missed most of last week's so I had to patch in the holes of the Homeland security chief helping out Jack and Chloe.  Chloe on the run, Jack at 20,000 feet, and Mrs. President Logan back on her meds.  It's such a crazy outlandish show, but so darn entertaining.  Only 4 hours left, so they're going to have to wrap it up.  Only time for a few more death-defying escapes and such...

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Little Drafty

  • The NFL draft? I don't know what the Texans were thinking by passing on Michael Jordan and picking Sam Bowie.  Er, passing on Bush and picking Williams. (You can learn a lot from history.)  I think Tennessee had a great NFL draft.   Young and White will be good NFL players.   I suppose it's always "wait and see" because we have no idea on how the hype translates to reality. 
  • The protest, National Illegal Alien Day, Si Se Puede, or whatever you want to call it,  is well underway.  I guess that means Chinese for lunch today.  I was trying to figure out exactly what this protest is about, and it's difficult to summarize.  All I know for sure is that my favorite taqueria is closed today.
  • Andy Cohen says the Dolphins drafted Daunte Culpepper with their 2nd round pick. (That's what they traded to Minnesota for Daunte).  Andy dares you to find a better player taken in the 2nd round.  Good point... Maybe.