Category Archives: Anecdotes

Woof

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Every morning of the year, 365 times in a row, my first thought when I wake up is: what should I write about? Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes I’ve got plenty of posts in the hopper and I don’t even need to bother. But this morning, facing the ninety-second day in a row of everything up a tenth of percent, I seriously can’t squeeze anything out to say about this confounded boring market we’re in. So, screw it, I’ll talk about something that happened yesterday that has nothing to do with this idiotic “market” we’ve been given.

Here’s the topic:

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So Why Bother?

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I got a well-meaning email from a well-known Sloper who was intrigued at my creation of SlopeCharts. Since web-based charting has been around for many years, and quite a few companies (with lots of money and lots of employees) have already done it……..why bother doing it again? Why re-invent the wheel?

My initial motivation, as I’ve explained in earlier posts, was to give myself a charting platform that I liked. I never intended to re-create charting. As the saying goes, “been there, done that”, and it’s a lot of work. However, I tried – – I really, really tried – – to find something out there that I liked, and I hated all the offerings. Some were better than others, but I didn’t really like any of them. So I set about on my task. (more…)

God is Dead

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0929-different

That’s something I’ve got in common with Private Pyle: he wants to be different. For whatever reason, I’m a contrarian to the core. Indeed, one of the appeals of messing around with personal computers back in 1980 was that practically nobody else was doing it (in case you hadn’t noticed, the unusualness of microcomputers vanishes decades ago, so that aspect of the appeal is likewise gone).

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Pension Alto, California

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The city where I live, Palo Alto, is not very big. The population is about 50,000 people. I was therefore more than a little surprised to see this on the front page of our little daily newspaper:

0924-pension

So let me get this straight………in a town with 50,000 people, there is approaching half a billion dollars in unfunded pension liabilities? That comes to over $8,000 for every man, woman, child, and blogger in this town. (more…)

Nine Years Past

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I remember it like it was yesterday. But it was yesterday……..plus nine years. That is, September 19, 2008. I was at Prophet’s office, and the CEO of thinkorswim, Lee Barba, was visiting. I had sold Prophet to Investools (its prior name) in early 2005, and Lee would come visit us from time to time to check in, share ideas, and catch up.

The market had been roiled off and on in the first nine months of 2008, and the team of Bernanke and Paulson had enough. During the trading day, several gargantuan initiatives were announced, including TARP and the banning of short-selling in about 800 stocks.  (You may notice during the multi-hundred percent gain of the past eight years, no one has suggested banning BUYING stocks. But I digress).

Anyway, the reaction was immediate and ferocious. In the span of just two days, the Dow Industirals exploded 780 points higher, and with the big, bad bears banned, it seemed that Wall Street’s eleven-month dip in stocks was at an end.

It wasn’t:

0920-rut

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Not on the Same Page

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Just about the only time I see a large number of magazines at once is when I’m going through an airport, such as last night. I often find the strangest part of the magazine section to be the women’s magazines, since they seem a peculiar combination of righteous indignation and breast-display. These two magazines were next to one another, and the juxtaposition of message was particularly striking:

0917-aging

It seems that Allure featured a self-congratulatory “call to the industry” to stop obsessing over youth. Don’t hold your breath, people. Nothing’s going to change.