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.

One Chart and One Thought

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Well, the whole FOMC thing turned out to be pretty anti-climatic. There’s still an hour left in the trading day as I’m typing this, so who knows how we’ll end up, but so far, the tug-of-war seems pretty even between bulls and bears.

For myself, I covered my GLD short early today, but I left most other shorts intact. I am 75% committed; I intended to get aggressive if things really started breaking down, but they haven’t, so I’m standing still for now.  (more…)

A Killer Smile

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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.

A Hypothetical Canary Portfolio

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Just for fun, I thought I’d look at a few instruments to see their comparative growth during a one-year period as a broad measure of where “value” vs. “growth” sentiment currently is in a so-called “balanced portfolio.” There are 10 in total, since that’s the number I’m limited to showing on one graph.

Then, if one were so inclined, one could track the performance of this group for the rest of 2013 year to get an idea of general market trend, risk appetite, and the momentum of both. (more…)

A New Payment Method

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Since I introduced Slope+ about a month ago, the only complaint – – if you can call it that – – I’ve received is that it requires Paypal for payment. Some people really dislike Paypal, and although they wanted to subscribe, they wouldn’t do so until I offered a different way to pay.

I am delighted to let you know that our “not Paypal” payment method is in place and ready to use.

Now when you go to the subscription page (which is you’ll see this new choice:


This way, you don’t need a Paypal account. All you need is a credit card, and voila, you’re done.

If you’d like a refresher as to what Slope+ is all about, the page is

As an additional incentive to sign up, I’ve created a coupon code – notpaypal – which you can enter to get $19.95 off either the monthly subscription (which is like getting a month free) or the annual subscription (which is like getting three months free, since the annual is already discounted).

(As an extra-extra incentive, there’s no way I’m dumb enough to keep charging this cheap price forever; I’m already planning to crank up the price in a couple of months; so you can lock in the Tim-is-dumb price now, if you want).

I hope to see you on Slope+