Category Archives: Best-of-Slope

Pity the Sub-Genius

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They say be careful what you wish for. And, as is often the case, “they” are right.

As a kid, I wished the world favored the smart. I was a smart kid, and it seemed like the world – at least my world – was dominated by bullies and airheads. Might made right, just like in the times of old. My high IQ and love of learning were no match for popular dolts, so a portion of my childhood was wasted just trying to disappear into the background.

Unknown to me at the time, much of the adult world operated the same way. It didn’t take a 1123-sublot of intellect to have a respectable, enjoyable middle class existence in the world of the 1970s. The willingness to put in a full day’s work (or, if protected by a union, a portion of a day’s work) was enough to trump the potential impediment of a double-digit IQ. As I’ve mentioned before, my own uncle had a nice house, an even larger vacation home, and plenty of leisure time, and he worked inside the stink of a Louisiana paper mill.

The world did change, however, exactly as I hoped. My first indication was a cover story of California magazine titled “Revenge of the Nerds” with Steve Wozniak’s smiling face and Apple-logo eyeglasses. It turns out the grey matter languishing in my head started to have value. At 15 years of age, I began writing articles for nationally-distributed computer magazines. At 16 years old, I wrote my first published book, which was followed by a couple dozen others. I was earning enough money to buy a Porsche in high school. It was suddenly cool – and profitable – to be smart. (more…)

Zachary

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A handwritten letter arrived in my mailbox last week from a reader. In it was a note from whom I would guess is an elderly gentleman, thanking me for my work both on Slope and on Tastytrade, but politely asking me to use the phrase “God damn it” less frequently, since he found it upsetting.

The handwriting on the paper trembled like leaves in an autumn breeze, and it was obvious it took time and effort to send me this two-page missive. It meant something to him.

It never occurred to me that I ever used this phrase in a video, let alone often enough to cause concern. All the same, the letter, as with the many other letters I have received over the years, made an impression. For one thing, it made me wonder how angry I must be in order for this kind of sentiment to seep through, since I wasn’t even aware I was saying it.

Which leads me to the topic at hand. Specifically, a man. A terribly deformed man whom I think about almost daily. For now, I’ll call him Sup. (more…)

In Perpetuity

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I am not a stranger to disappointment. There have been plenty of times in my life when reality did not meet expectations. This probably gives me plenty in common with other fellow humans. It’s certainly not like things always go my way. Far from it.

Being a trader, this is a phenomenon that is almost universal. People anticipate what they think is going to happen, they position themselves for it, and reality dictates whether or not they profit or not. It’s the nature of the beast.

October was an extraordinary month. It was tremendously exhilarating for the first half, and it was soul-crushingly difficult during the second (this is from a bear’s perspective; flip the descriptors for bulls). As deeply oversold as we were on October 15th (and with the VIX in excess of 30), I certainly expected some kind of bounce – and I made no secret of it – but I absolutely did not expect a bounce of this size and vigor. (more…)

Pushed to the Brink

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October is turning out to be far more “trick” than “treat” for equity bears.

At the midpoint of the month, things looked sensational. Stocks were breaking down left and right, and it seemed that we had finally encountered a sea-change in the market.

Since then, however, stocks have exploded higher with a gusto that I underestimated. I certainly expected a bounce, but nothing of this degree. Much worse, it seems that the cessation of QE (announced yesterday) has done nothing to slow the equity bulls down.

This kind of environment can really mess with one’s head. Let’s take a look at the past couple of days on the ES: (more…)

Revisiting Truth’s Moment

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Way back on August 30, I did a post called Past Fear, Present Fear, which offered up an analog of the VIX (please read it if you don’t remember; it’s a pretty good post). I would daresay it was one of the best posts I did in 2014, and things certainly unfolded as I hoped they would (although today was no fun for me). I followed up on October 9th with my Moment of Truth post, which was just before the markets started really falling hard. Thus – so far, so good. (more…)

Twenty-Two

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You’ll pardon me if I pin the Gold Medal for Technical Analysis on my bare chest for my VIX prediction. As I said virtually every single day on TastyTrade for weeks, and as I said here countless times as well, I intended to stay aggressively short until the VIX reached “between 22 and 23″. Well, it peaked at 22.46 today, and that’s when I got out of any big shorts and – gasp – actually bought a bunch of stocks. The graph is fantastically glorious in its clarity. Thank you; thank you; yes, it is a beautiful thing. (more…)