Mr. Sensitive

June 30, 2011

Yogurt Face

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 11:04

Brinkley likes yogurt.  He discovered it on vacation two weeks ago and it has stuck with him.  The advent of blueberry yogurt is the first real evidence that he has a discerning palate:

This is because the first taste causes unmistakable Yogurt Face.  We feed the Yogurt Face as fast as we can:

But it only gets bigger.

So the theory of the universe is complete: it begins with the Big Bang, and it ends when we run out of blueberry yogurt.

I look forward to receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics next year, and Brinkley is the first person/phenomenon I will thank in my acceptance speech.  Alas, the Committee will have to mail my prize, as I don’t believe I can make it to Stockholm in person.  Yogurt Face has quite the gravitational pull.

June 29, 2011

Feng Shui a la Ray Gun

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:29

Reagan has set up an office in her bedroom.

The future of the world is being charted in that corner.  And to think that I was going to throw out that briefcase at the same time I defeated success and stopped wearing pants.

There’s a note taped to the back of the briefcase.  It’s all crumpled because Reagan tried to tape it on Jenny’s back and Jenny reacted as you might expect.

I’d be a little scared to go into Reagan’s office without permission myself, except that I figure I’m the one she’s planning on telling.

Disciplined Devil

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:15

Brinkley’s a charming fellow, but he’s also a tough customer when things don’t go his way.  Fortunately for both of us, I understand exactly what his way is.

It’s not the hard way.

I appreciate that Brinkley gets fussy and ornery for about three minutes if he’s hungry or tired, and then he goes right for furious.  I never wanted a little angel; those are the ones you really have to keep an eye on later.

If You Were The Worst Dog III

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 09:46

Just finished disinfecting my office, Wilson.

What would you do if the girls failed to secure the latch on your crate last night?  Would you be a good dog, or something other than a good dog?  It could go either way, unless…they also failed to close the door to their room.  Then it would be unavoidable that you would go downstairs and crap in the master’s office.  I was downstairs having some midnight almonds when I discovered Wilson milling around in the dining room, unaccompanied.  I looked around at the time and found nothing untoward, so I didn’t kill him as I obviously should have done.  It was dark and I was tired (not so tired that I didn’t need a handful of delicious salted almonds) and I want want want to believe that Wilson is not the worst dog in the world.  But he is the worst dog.  I knew it before, I knew it during my late-night almond time, and now my office will never forget it.  There are some comic boxes on the floor in there, too, and I don’t see that he peed on any of them.  I need to check again, and check the rest of the house, for that matter, before I decide how he should die.  It’s the fault of Jenny and Reagan, and I know it, and that’s the real reason I haven’t killed Wilson yet.  He needs the crate.  He’s busted and he has to be cordoned off from his own evil.  I also refuse to kill him because that’s what he wants me to do.  A long life trapped in the fear-cuisinart that is his brain is a torture more monstrous than any I could devise.  If Dick Cheney knew about Wilson’s brain we would have won the war on terror a long time ago.

June 27, 2011

FSX Third Quarter Changes

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 15:31

Zondro, the doggier of my two dogs, is having his company bought out from under him by some British suckers who obviously did their due diligence remotely.  The original price, $680 million or so, was indefensible from the outset, and the market never believed that the transaction would go through on those terms.  Surprise! the market was right, but the 30% discount to the original offer still implies a final price tag of $480 million.  If I were putting together a deal sheet on Zondro, it would read something like:

  • Reasonably fast;
  • Sits on command almost half the time;
  • Can lick his own butthole.

Does that add up to $480 million?  I was thinking more like $48, but what do I know?–I quit my high-paying management gig to change poopy diapers and analyze imaginary stock indices.  At any rate, the revised buyout of ZRAN is scheduled to close sometime in the third quarter, so it’s time to make a move.  This was one of the ticker searches I turned over to Katie, and she came up with so many options that it made me feel like she ought to have been doing this in the first place.  Of course, she has an actual job that would preclude her wasting time in such a regimented way, so I’ll hold on to the reigns for now.  After reviewing Katie’s suggestions, I’ve decided on Quiksilver, Inc., a sporting apparel and accessories manufacturer focusing on boardsports, something that I’m certain is not a word despite being a market segment.  The ticker is ZQK (leaving the focus on speed—quick instead of ran) and it trades at $4.50, in the middle of its 52-week range of $3.77 – $5.70.  With 165 million shares outstanding, this yields a market cap of about $750 million, which fits in nicely with the small- and mid-cap style of the FSX.  In addition, I like that Zondro will be competing in the same industry as Lulu—athletic apparel—albeit in different niche markets.  He hates that cat.

Now we come to me.  It was interesting to me how differently Katie and I went about looking for a substitute for the much-maligned Lee Enterprises.  We went through the same exercise independently, and Katie searched for tickers based on words like awesome, great and perfect, whereas I went for concepts such as stupid, fat, and loser.  It makes me think I have been sitting on my angry chair a little more frequently than is healthy.  Katie did make a suggestion I really liked, though: Microstrategy, ticker symbol MSTR.  It resonates with me on a number of levels.  First, MSTR could symbolize Mr. Sensitive, which is what I am in addition to being the title of this blog.  Second, it could symbolize mastery, which is what I am trying to achieve with respect to my stupid, fat self.  Or it could symbolize mastermind, not in the sense of a James Bond villain or that loser from the Hellfire Club, but the sort of fellow that Dr. Dre cautions stupid punks not to f*** with, the guy who disposes of whatever he can’t abide or control.  Even if I’m not that guy, I wouldn’t mind having him in my repertoire, and I swear that it feels like I don’t.  I also like that MicroStrategy describes itself as providing ‘business intelligence software and related services,’ because I don’t really know what that means, and I could say much the same thing about myself at this moment.  MSTR trades near its 52-week and all-time high of $160, but sports a very manageable market capitalization of $1.7 billion owing to a miniscule float of eight million shares.

So that means goodbye to LEE, right?  Not so fast, my friend.  I’m adding MSTR and keeping LEE, assigning half my standard weighting to each.   A dual listing?  How irresolute, you say—just pick one, you pansy.  But I say I need both.  If I truly seek mastery of myself, can I abandon the very past I intend to master?  Is there any way to frame that sentiment so that it doesn’t sound like the origin story from a kung fu movie?  MSTR and LEE.  I won’t jettison LEE, but I’m not willing to be limited by it, either.  Am I hedging my bets?  Absolutely.  But as I came to my fascination with financial markets by way of my former occupation as a risk manager, hedging comes naturally to me.  You cap potential gains in order to limit probable losses—otherwise you’re just gambling.  And I hate gambling.

The Family Stock Index will be rebalanced as of the close this Thursday, with ZRAN being dropped and ZQK and MSTR being added.  Unless I change my mind.

June 25, 2011

I Hate Brown-Nosing Desserts

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 18:22

Got this fortune in the second cookie:

You are kind-hearted and hospitable, cheerful and well-liked.

What a kiss-ass confection.  It should have stopped with kind-hearted and hospitable; the last two are so unbelievable that I’m a little bit insulted.  It might as well have said

You are kind-hearted and hospitable, invulnerable and capable of running at supersonic speed.

But It’s Still Not Not A Holiday, Right?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 18:16

Got this pearl of wisdom in a fortune cookie just now:

Idleness is the holiday of fools.

Sounds like a bank holiday to me.  If you replaced Columbus Day with Idleness Day, would anyone notice?

FSX Q3 Changes And Flip-Flopping Related Thereto

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 18:11

The second quarter of 2011 comes to an end Thursday, and I’m finding myself uncharacteristically uninspired.  Perhaps others would not credit me with having made any inspired selections heretofore, but such people should see if they can do any better.  Seriously, they should.  I am drafting Katie and my hussars/interns to pitch in this time, and you can be assured of one thing: any selections made for the third quarter that are inappropriate or offensive to anyone will, preemptively, be Katie’s fault.

I have done a great deal of thinking about the karmic feasibility of dropping LEE as my FSX representative, and I am working my way around to a solution that I hope will be as dissatisfying and infuriating as I am.  In addition, ZRAN is fixing to be acquired in the third quarter and I have to find a new stock for Zondro one way or the other, probably the other.  I am appending to this post a list of current FSX members and their Q2 stocks, along with a percentage representing the extent to which I am inclined, at this moment, to make a change for Q3.  Katie is heading the FSX selection committee that I just made up; whether she elicits help from the girls, Brinky, or anyone else is entirely up to her, unless and until the process runs afoul of me somehow and I have a big snit about it.  I have the last word, but not the first word, not this time.  Katie has until Wednesday to make her final recommendations, I’ll decide on Thursday, and the changes will go into effect Friday.  What could possibly go wrong?

Member Ticker Company Change
Lulu LULU Lululemon Athletica 0%
Brinkley BCO Brink’s Company 0%
Marisa MOLX Molex 0%
Justin WOLF Great Wolf Resorts 0%
Katie CATY Cathay General Bancorp 0%
Reagan REGN Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 0%
Marcus MCS Marcus Corporation 0%
Icarus FLOW Flow International 0%
Charlotte ICE IntercontinentalExchange 5%
Wilson WILC G. Willi-Food International 5%
Lucas LEI Lucas Energy 10%
Dustin DST DST Systems 10%
Nicole L. COL Rockwell Collins 10%
Zero FRZ Reddy Ice 10%
Nicole B. NI NiSource 15%
Jenny LEN Lennar 20%
Lisa LSI LSI Logic 20%
Mario T.Y. SUP Superior Industries 25%
Ruby RBY Rubicon Minerals 30%
Mario T.E. PBY Pep Boys 30%
Winston HWD Harry Winston 40%
Lee LEE Lee Enterprises 50%
Zondro ZRAN Zoran Corp 100%

June 24, 2011

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:42

Did Greece default yet?  Will we even be able to tell by the market’s reaction when it does?  My guess is: over a one- to five-day time horizon, yes; after a month or so, no.  Greece is priced in.  A U.S. default will be the real end of this ephemeral bull market.  A German default will be the end of the world.

The Family Stock Index traded as high as 1245 and as low as 1205, but it managed to stay positive throughout, even as the broader market averages moved back and forth from red to green.  We finished near the middle of our range, up 1.4% to 1222.68, giving us an easy win over the S&P 500 (+0.2%).  Last week was a dangerous one for the FSX: the market was betting that not only would I go to pieces when I was separated from Katie for six days, but I would take down all but the most distantly removed members of the index in my swoon, like Ancalagon the Black crashing down onto the towers of Thangorodrim.  I was a mess, yes, but I was a tidy, delimited mess, like a well-executed stadium demolition.  Katie was inside the blast radius—what else is new?—but for the rest of the FSX, it was just a show, and either you had seats to it or you didn’t.  Even while I went to some really crazy places in my head, the week was a peripatetic one for many of us, as eight FSX members found themselves driving up and down the road between Chicago and Hilton Head.  It will take weeks for the implications of all these travels and travails to be fully described—meaning that I will be shamelessly drawing on last week’s events to explain every price increase or decline for which I don’t have a better explanation, and that I will be doing so for the foreseeable future.  What?—I don’t get to trot a canned response sometimes?  Abby Joseph Cohen has done nothing but that for twenty years and she’s gotten millions of dollars and the three-name treatment out of it.

Advancers

  • Ruby (RBY) +14.1%.  Perhaps no member of the FSX faced greater physical jeopardy last week, including Justin and me.  Swimming and beach walking are excellent for the constitution, but neither of those things could be construed as strength training, and Brinkley could be construed as fat.  Yet Ruby survived, and not only that, but she seems neither physically broken nor emotionally scarred.  I was both by Tuesday.  Unsurprising, then, that a huge relief rally in RBY shares took place this week.
  • LULU +11.8%.  I asked my summer interns about Lulu’s outperformance this week, not because I couldn’t handle the assignment myself, but because it’s really bad for my blood pressure to think about this subject.  Jenny said, “There was a dead mole outside earlier; maybe Lulu got one finally.”  I was dubious.  “Do you really think so?” I pressed.  “No, but it’s something,” was the answer.  “Something the other cat almost certainly did?” I said.  “Yep.”  Did I mention that they’re unpaid interns?
  • Mario the Younger (SUP) +4.7%.  Another relief rally here.  The market got wind of an unspecified little brother being trapped here with me for a week and sold Mario and Justin indiscriminately.  Sometimes you have to sell before you have all the information: better safe than sorry, and better sorry than murdered by yard spiders.  Still, the market was clearly relieved that my little brother, not Katie’s, was the true target of the rampant spider-bait rumors.
  • Brinkley (BCO) +3.9%.  I’m going to say that my son is relieved to be home with his beloved father, and that explains his surge this week.  But he also tacked on an easy three percent in leg diameter alone during the week he was at the beach, so I’m probably being unrealistic in addition to self-serving.  What are you gonna do about it?
  • Marisa (MOLX) +3.8%. Probably really did kill that mole out front.
  • Jenny (LEN) +3.3%.  Jenny says that she feels good about her AG testing this week, and that her stock is obviously up because she did well.  I sure hope she’s right, not because her mother and I are concerned about the results, but because I have reason to believe Jenny is a bit worked up about it.  I found this note, written by Jenny to Jenny, as I was sorting her school papers today:

Decliners

  • Reagan (REGN) -2.1%.  I like to explore the nuances of market sentiment as much as the next guy, but sometimes the situation is exactly and only what it appears. Reagan says she misses her teacher, Jenny confirms, separately, that Reagan really misses school, and I have observed that Reagan is more than halfway through all her optional summer work—two weeks in.  It seems that Reagan is simply not designed to relax.  I wonder how she came by such a trait?
  • Marcus (MCS) -2.6%.  Artis vel martis.  We were so close.
  • LEE -9.3%.  This is an unfortunate result, but nonetheless consistent with the metrics that I’m compiling on how I’m such a nutcase.  I made it through last week without suffering any lasting injury, let alone the spidery immersion the market had priced into my stock.  And I made some powerful, if painful, progress in cataloging the damage from the long darkness than ended two years ago.  But somehow, the week after so many bad things that could have happened didn’t happen, I’m constantly feeling the shortness of breath, erratic heart rate, and twitchiness that I recognize immediately as signs of panic.  Ah, the mysteries of the human psyche.  The stupid, stupid mysteries.
  • Icarus (FLOW) -11%.  The market was clearly counting on Icarus being able to knock Justin and/or me into the pond at least once last week, and the disappointment is palpable.
Name Ticker 6/24/2011 Change
Brinkley BCO $28.07 +1.05
Charlotte ICE $118.56 +0.45
Dustin DST $51.12 +0.02
Icarus FLOW $3.24 -0.40
Jenny LEN $18.04 +0.58
Justin WOLF $2.93 +0.05
Katie CATY $15.77 +0.09
Lee LEE $0.82 -0.08
Lisa LSI $6.83 +0.08
Lucas LEI $2.79 +0.18
Lulu LULU $104.38 +11.00
Marcus MCS $9.63 -0.26
Mario T.E. PBY $10.78 +0.13
Mario T.Y. SUP $21.20 +0.95
Marisa MOLX $25.91 +0.96
Nicole B. NI $19.48 -0.02
Nicole L. COL $60.19 -0.06
Reagan REGN $52.89 -1.13
Ruby RBY $4.54 +0.56
Wilson WILC $6.94 -0.17
Winston HWD $15.55 +0.24
Zero FRZ $2.82 -0.03
Zondro ZRAN $8.49 +0.20

 

June 23, 2011

Abby And Larry

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:24

As much as I think that Abby Cohen is a clown, I really want to watch Larry Kudlow interview her for a solid half-hour.  Here’s how it would go:

Abby:  Even though the economy is garbage, interest rates are ridiculously low, and stocks are fantastically overpriced, I’m confident that the S&P 500 is going to end the year 12% above the current level, whatever that level is.

Larry:  I think that’s an unpatriotically low estimate, Abby.  My guess is that the S&P 500 is going to be a bajillion percent higher than it is right now, probably by the end of the week.

Abby:  I don’t know about that, Larry, because a bajillion is outside of the range of 10-15% that the S&P 500 is going to rise this year.

Larry:  Hypothetically, if the S&P 500 doesn’t rise by a hundred kajillion percent in the next five minutes, would you say that it’s President Obama’s fault for being such a communist and hating America?

Abby:  I don’t know anything about President Obama or America, but I am confident in my forecast of a 12% rise in the S&P 500, based on sound and thorough research done by my servants.

Larry:  What does your research have to say about how rich people will create a utopian fairyland for all of us if we just stop making them pay taxes?

Abby:  I didn’t read the research, Larry.  I just know what it means, which is that the S&P 500 will rise by 12% this year.

Larry:  Wouldn’t you agree that all the times you have been wrong in your forecast it has been because of President Obama’s meddling?  Even when George Bush was President, wouldn’t you say that everything bad that happened was Obama’s fault?  I ate some bad oysters last night, and I know the President was behind it.

Abby:  I think we can safely say that the S&P 500 will rise by 10-15% this year, irrespective of oysters and presidents.

Larry:  But could you say that President Obama definitely eats babies?

Abby:  I would say that 12 is definitely a number that is between 10 and 15.

Larry:  Thank you, Abby.  I think we are in total agreement.

 

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