Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Priorities of the Human Species

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Amazing…looks like we humans spend our time drinking coffee while playing on our iPads, bailing out banks, buying art, taking over companies, avoiding paying taxes, building defenses, and exploring space…makes me wonder who's actually being productive, where all of this is getting us, and, really, what is the purpose of life…

Click on link for large picture:

Oh, Sure, NOW They Quote Me!!!

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Uber-Sloper Iggy emailed me a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal which – gasp – quoted my very bullish Slope post from this morning.


Now I know exactly what my detractors are going to say: that I top-ticked the market and went long at exactly the worst moment.

Well, smart guys, I sold my SPY block at 129.3 this morning (I bought it yesterday after the close at 128.11). Not the highest price of the day, but not bad. So I took a nice profit. And I've been totally short since then.

Not to say I'm balls-out short. I'm only 43% committed right now. But just in case the world is laughing at how poor old Permabear Tim finally threw in the towel and went long at the worst possible moment….it just ain't the case.

Inspiration from Admiral Stockdale

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If you're like most Americans, you hadn't heard of James Stockdale until he showed up for the 1992 Vice Presidential debates and made this famous line:

Afterwards, he became the butt of jokes and was basically portrayed as a dottering old man. He and Ross Perot captured nearly 20% of the vote, in spite of being a third party ticket, and the nation soon stopped talking about Admiral Stockdale.

0110-stockdaleI hadn't thought of him for years, but last night I happened to trip across an article about the man, and I was amazed. He suffered through unspeakable horrors as a prisoner of war and, in all that time, he showed strength, resolve, and character that I imagine 99.9999% of the population lack. The guy had brass balls, pure and simple, and he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage.

Read on:

Stockdale was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison for the next seven years. Locked in leg irons in a bath stall, he was routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, he beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. When Stockdale was discovered with information that could implicate his friends' "black activities", he slit his wrists so they could not torture him into confession.

One can only imagine fellow VP-debate-participant Dan Quayle's behavior in such a circumstance. Once they mussed his hair, it would probably be all over. To continue:

Stockdale was part of a group of about eleven prisoners known as the "Alcatraz Gang": George Thomas Coker, George McKnight, Jeremiah Denton, Harry Jenkins, Sam Johnson, James Mulligan, Howard Rutledge, Robert Shumaker, Ronald Storz and Nels Tanner; which was separated from other captives and placed in solitary confinement for their leadership in resisting their captors. "Alcatraz" was a special facility in a courtyard behind the North Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense, located about one mile away from Hoa Lo Prison. In Alcatraz, each of the eleven men were kept in solitary confinement in cells measuring 3 feet by 9 feet with a light bulb which was kept on around the clock. The men were locked in leg irons each night

What amazed me the most is what Stockdale said in reflection:

"I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."

Now here's the important part……when asked about who died during captivity, he replied:

"Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

And then, finally, the most important part of all, which you might want to read ten times to yourself:

"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

I hope the departed Admiral will forgive me for using his words as an inspiration for traders – – or anyone undergoing a challenge – – but these are some of the most inspiring words I've ever read.

Thank you, Admiral Stockdale, for everything you did. I promise that those old jokes tossed around in the 1990s about you are no longer funny anymore. You were a great man.

Oh, and just to add icing to the cake. His name was James Bond Stockdale.

What a bad-ass.

Breaking Up (by Springheel Jack)

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The NQ rising wedge I posted yesterday morning was a model example until after the close. The wedge broke down early in the day, retested near the close and then what should have happened is that NQ fell away from the retest. Obviously both NQ and ES broke up overnight and while NQ has not yet broken over the rising wedge resistance trendline, I'm inclined to write the wedge off:


Very Clean Breakout

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After the close yesterday, it occurred to me that a very clean breakout was forming, and that a break above 1283 on the ES would be awfully bullish. Based on that, as I mentioned in the comments section yesterday afternoon, I took on a very large SPY long position.

Well, it's the wee hours of the morning, and I decided to check the markets. Sure enough, even though the Euro isn't doing much of anything, the ES and NQ are up strong. I can't believe I'm typing this, but this could set the S&P up for a journey to 1424 or so.