Yes, it’s that time of year again, my friends. Join me as we celebrate the birth of our savior in an honored Slope of Hope tradition, Bask in the awfulness that is Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, with running commentary by Joel and the bots. Shield your eyes, Frank.
I’ve been noticing posters around town for a new movie coming out June 7th called The Internship. It is described thusly: “Two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment.”
As a proud contrarian, I look for signs like this, which don’t happen that often, of any concept or company that has so deeply saturated itself into the public mind that they start making freaking movies about it. Can you imagine someone doing a film about a guy starting a gig as a salesman down at the local Foot Locker?
I wouldn’t be surprised to see GOOG at a much lower price by the end of the year. This isn’t technical analysis, I realize – - – more like cultural analysis.
The last time I remember a big tech company getting a starring role in a movie was that iJob film, or whatever they called it, starring Ashton Kutcher. Apparently the movie itself was a completely embarassing bomb, but I find it more interesting that all the excitement about it and the filming of the movie itself took place when AAPL was, oh, about $700 per share. And, once the movie was actually released, well……….
Until the FOMC announcement, it’s a bit of a waiting game, so allow me to introduce you to something that has nothing to do with charts or trading: The Dating Game.
The man in question is Rodney Alcala, who has been in prison for decades for the murder of an unknown number of people (some say as many as 130). Even though he was already a convicted felon (and, unknown at the time, had killed four women) he, incredibly, was included as a participant on The Dating Game. I’ll let Wikipedia tell you the story:
In 1978, despite his status as a convicted rapist and registered sex offender, Alcala was accepted as a contestant on The Dating Game. By then he had already killed at least two women in California and two others in New York.Host Jim Lange introduced him as a “successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed. Between takes you might find him skydiving or motorcycling”.
Actor Jed Mills, who competed against Alcala as “Bachelor #2″, later described him as a “very strange guy” with “bizarre opinions”. He added that Alcala did not wear earrings on the show, as he claimed during his 2010 trial; earrings were not yet a socially acceptable accouterment for men in 1978. “I had never seen a man with an earring in his ear”, he said. “I would have noticed them on him”. The third contestant, Armand Chiami, has not made any public comments.
Alcala won a date with “bachelorette” Cheryl Bradshaw, who subsequently refused to go out with him, according to published reports, because she found him “creepy”. Criminal profiler Pat Brown, noting that Alcala killed Robin Samsoe and at least two other women after his Dating Game appearance, speculated that Bradshaw’s rejection might have been an exacerbating factor. “One wonders what that did in his mind”, Brown said. “That is something he would not take too well. [Serial killers] don’t understand the rejection. They think that something is wrong with that girl: ‘She played me. She played hard to get.’
So three cheers for women’s intuition; the woman who thought he was creepy almost certainly saved her life by not going out with him. Check out the brief video, though. It’s unnerving watching the behavior of a man we now know was a serial murderer.
“What’s the deal with social networking stocks?”
Mike’s frantic email read like an investor who risked far too much.
“I risked $25,000 — my savings account — on the Facebook IPO, and it’s down by nearly half.”
What could I tell him?
My affection for George Carlin is well-known. He is, after all, the Patron Saint of Slope of Hope.
I hadn’t seen this interview before, but I tripped across it by chance. It is a wonderful interview for a couple of reasons. First, George basically talks about himself for an hour. There’s no interviewer jumping in; it’s just him and the camera. It’s the closest I’ve ever felt to knowing what it would like to have actually met him and listened to him as a real person, instead of as a performer on the stage.
Second, his values really shine through. He is obviously a very moral and thoughtful man, and he is someone who tried to be wise about the decisions he made in his life. And he had a truly amazing life. This is something I would like to be able to say of myself in the end. I’ll never be a Carlin, or anything close, but I’d at least like to look back and think I didn’t screw up too badly.
Some of you recall that hearing about Carlin’s death was a “JFK moment” for me. He was a comedic genius, and he helped me understand how frustration and anger can be crafted into creative forms of expression. If you even a passing interest in Carlin, please do watch the interview.
Here are some snippets from an interview from New Yorker magazine with the queen of trading on the cusp, 16-year-old Rachel Fox (as in Stocks; it rhymes, get it?), the shoeshine girl of the modern age. Emphasis added by me.
How did you even get involved in stock-trading?
So, like, what's your strategy? Do you have a Bloomberg terminal?
Well, I don’t like trading stocks that are very news-dependent. I trade on the technical analyis of stocks. (Lord in heaven, give me strength – Ed.)
Do you trade penny stocks?
OH GOD, OF COURSE NOT. No, I go to Yahoo Finance every morning, that's my thing. And then I go to my trading platform [Scottrade] and do the technical stuff in there. (Because, like, ScotTrade is, like, so awesome. It has, like, the best charts, y'know? – Ed.)
And this is fun?
Definitely. There are certain things making it easier for common people who work and have a day job to do this as well. I'm not just a typical guy who has a suit and goes to Wall Street. My point in writing this blog is not trying to compete with the finance professionals. It’s more just to inspire people to trade.
Who do you go to for investing advice?
Well, um, really … nobody? I mean, I'd have to think about that.
Any people you really look up to? Who's your investing idol?
I heard a story about Warren Buffett, that he has none of his college degrees hanging on his wall. He only has his certificate for public speaking, which is so awesome and inspiring. (Buffett. Naturally. Although I'm not quite clear on why hanging this particular certificate on the wall would give anyone an emotional boner. But, then again, I'm Tim on a Whim, not Fox on Stocks – Ed.) If you can learn public speaking, you don't have to have a ton of education to do well.
You couldn't let go, huh?
It’s hard to master the psychology. You’ve got to know when to step out of things. (Not true, Ms. Fox. You simply have to wait for people who have absolutely no business engaging in a particular vocation professing to be an expert. It's a cinch. – Ed.)
I bet you got a lot of calls after your CNBC appearance.
I'm going to keep those confidential, but there may or may not have been some requests. (Very shrewd, Ms. Fox, very shrewd! Keep those cards close to that chest that the men of America are scrutinizing – Ed.)
So when do you start managing other people's money?
[Laughs.] Maybe I’ll start a hedge fund.
So – - look – - I've got nothing against sixteen year olds. I was one once myself, and at the time, I wrote my first book - the first of a couple dozen, actually (and that first book, incidentally, argued for the importance of computer-to-computer communications and how it would transform the world, way back in 1982 – so thank you very much). But, having done charting for a quarter-century now, I'd rather not be told by a doe-eyed girl how to draw a trendline……..or what stocks to buy (errr, short) for my own hedge fund.
This week was a strange week for anyone that just started opening
their 401K statements again. For those that are new or been trading for a
few years, this week certainly holds up to what must seem as a “once in
a blue moon” event.
Imagine what this week must be like when seen through the eyes of a
16-year-old day trader that’s accustomed to racking up over 30%
annualized returns. Obviously something must be wrong. If not how else
can the markets go down 2 days in a row? I mean – “OMG!”
Of course I’m being sarcastic yet – not by much.