Mr. Sensitive

August 31, 2012

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 16:48

In my thirteen years in and around the markets, this is the slowest I’ve ever seen it.  No volume, no chatter, no intraday swings—nothing.  The chief strategist for Morgan Keegan gave us this gem: “Everyone is in a wait and see mode. The market is extremely quiet and boring, and volumes are pretty much dead.”  Quiet, boring, and dead; I can’t put it any better.

The Republicans had a convention; the market cared even less than the rest of the country.  Matt Romney managed to say almost nothing of interest, once again echoing the approach taken in 2000 by the most notably- absent Republican icon, two-term former President and ongoing national disaster George W. Bush.  I do agree with the Republicans (!) about one thing: Obama needs to stop blaming Bush for the damage to the economy.  I’m not saying Bush isn’t to blame—he is.  I’m saying we know; we know whose fault it is, but he’s been back on his ranch in Texas for almost four years now.  It’s time to right the ship, or admit you can’t.  It frustrates me that Obama wants another four years in the White House, but he refuses to explain, clearly and specifically, how he will go about fixing the problems Bush created.  I know Bush was the worst; I also know that Romney will go back to Bush’s failed economic policies, and that’s why I’ll vote for Obama even if he doesn’t have a plan.  I just think we deserve a plan.

Matt did go out on a limb by declaring he’d fire Ben Bernanke.  Ha ha, Matt, said the market.  Why didn’t you just fire that pesky Hurricane Isaac, then?  Are you going to fire the drought?  Are you going to fire China’s trade surplus?  It’s not your decision.  The market wants Gentle Ben, Matt; you, of all people, know better than to try and take away things the market wants.  Fortunately, the market knows you know, so it paid you no mind and moved on to scrutinizing the Jackson Hole speech delivered Friday by…Ben Bernanke.

The Family Stock Index was up a little bit to close around where it was before.  The FSX chart looks like a dying man’s EKG.  Ugh.


  • Jenny (JNY) +6.2%.  I didn’t think middle school would bother Jenny much, but the JNY bulls really believed (+33% since June).  Well, one week down, and so far, so good.
  • Zero (ZIP) +3.5%.  Reagan took this one and ran with it: Zero’s up because of the guitar he’s going to get me for Christmas; it’ll be his main highlight of the year.  Maybe Reagan, Charlotte and Zero are going to start a band during the holidays; no wonder investors are building positions now.
  • Wilson (WILC +4.0%) and Zondro (ZQK +3.0%).  The dogs are being released from their crates bright and early now that school’s back in session.  Wilson outperforms because he’s into the extra time outdoors; Zondro not so much.
  • Mario the Younger (WMAR +3.5%) and Nicole the Elder (COLM +3.3%).  The NFL season kicks off next week; the Machis are doubtless hoping for a belated wedding present from the Steelers.  In fact, the more belated the present, the better; how about a delivery date of February 3?


  • Brinkley (BCO) -1.7%.  He’s going to have to go to the stupid-baby doctor if he doesn’t talk by 22 months.  The clock is ticking, boy.
  • Ruby (RJET) -3.5%.  One of these days Ruby’s going to come back from an extended business trip and Mario T.E. will have moved them to a new house without telling her.  Is there any other stock in the FSX facing surprise-house risk?
  • Jodi Ann (JOY) -4.0%.  You get used to the last name.  Katie’s almost there and it’s only been…13 years.  And Jenny still struggles.
Name Ticker 8/31/2012 Change
Brinkley BCO $22.26 -0.39
Charlotte ICE $136.70 -0.40
Dustin DST $50.88 -0.37
Icarus ICS $16.23 unch
Jenny JNY $12.67 +0.74
Jodi Ann JOY $53.38 -2.21
Justin SCI $13.04 +0.10
Katie CATY $16.37 +0.21
Lee MSTR $125.51 +0.93
Lisa LNCE $23.39 +0.02
Lucas LEI $1.67 -0.12
Lulu LULU $65.19 +1.32
Marcus MCS $12.91 +0.03
Mario T.E. MGEE $49.44 -0.69
Mario T.Y. WMAR $10.40 +0.35
Marisa MOLX $26.55 -0.59
Namilita NL $11.66 -0.52
Nicole E. NICE $31.28 +0.22
Nicole M. COLM $52.29 +1.68
Reagan REGN $148.05 +2.96
Ruby RJET $4.45 -0.16
Wilson WILC $4.17 +0.16
Winston ED $60.62 -0.80
Zero ZIP $7.90 +0.27
Zondro ZQK $3.13 +0.09

August 30, 2012

Stalin Endorses Ryan Following Convention Speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 13:20

Ha ha, no.  Stalin would endorse Stalin; he would have Paul Ryan shot; he would have everyone who ever said anything positive about Paul Ryan shot; and he would have everyone who might have considered saying anything positive about Paul Ryan shot.  Matt Romney, on the other hand, might have hung around in the Politburo for awhile.  Marshal Stalin preferred men with no opinions whatsoever to yes-men.

But these Republicans are really model Stalinists.

Not Communists–Stalinists.  Per former Soviet general and Stalin biographer Dimitri Volkoganov, Stalinism is the separation of thought from action, the cultivation of the ability to do one thing while saying another.  Ryan misled and lied, repeatedly, brazenly, throughout his speech, and the consensus this morning appears to be…eh.  Republicans don’t care about the facts.  I could imagine George Kennan sending his Long Telegram from the RNC last night rather than from the American Embassy in Moscow in 1946.

[Paraphrasing Kennan]: “[The Republican Party] is seemingly inaccessible to considerations of reality in its basic reactions. For it, the vast fund of objective fact about human society is not, as with us, the measure against which outlook is constantly being tested and re-formed, but a grab bag from which individual items are selected arbitrarily and tendenciously to bolster an outlook already preconceived. This is admittedly not a pleasant picture.”

Sounds about right.  Here’s some more:

“It should not be thought from above that [Republican] party line is necessarily disingenuous and insincere on part of all those who put it forward. Many of them are too ignorant of outside world and mentally too dependent to question self-hypnotism, and have no difficulty making themselves believe what they find it comforting and convenient to believe.”

Yikes.  And if you were wondering about the Republican Congressional strategy of the last two years, Kennan’s got that covered, too:

“In general, all [Republican] efforts will be negative and destructive in character, designed to tear down sources of strength beyond reach of [Republican] control. This is only in line with basic [Republican] instinct that there can be no compromise with rival power.”

Just replace ‘Republican’ with ‘Soviet’ and you’ve got it.

And here you thought we won the Cold War.



August 29, 2012

Where’s Matt?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 10:59

The Republicans are having a stealth convention.  A total stealth convention, and even that’s not off-the-radar enough for Matt Romney.  I get that the Republicans are still traumatized by “heckuva job, Brownie” and don’t want to seem insensitive about this maybe-hurricane, but that’s not the vibe I’m getting from Matt.  I think if he could skip the whole shindig, he would.  I see all these headline pictures of Matt and his brain at ‘rallies’ in their khakis and open-collar dress shirts, but they never seem to be anyplace in particular.  I don’t like this.  The last candidate I can remember running on a platform of running away was Bush in 2000, and that didn’t turn out so great.  It’s convention week, Matt–say something.

August 25, 2012

Brinky Cup 2012 Picks – You’re Welcome

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 14:35

I can’t give you specific game-by-game results–I need to keep something for myself–but I am willing to reveal the results of the upcoming NFL season by division.  That’s just the kind of swell guy I am.

NFC East

  1. New York Giants (12-4)
  2. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
  4. Washington Redskins (4-12)

NFC South

  1. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
  2. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
  4. Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers (12-4)
  2. Chicago Bears (11-5)
  3. Detroit Lions (9-7)
  4. Minnesota Vikings (4-12)

NFC West

  1. Seattle Seahawks (8-8)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (7-9)
  3. St. Louis Rams (4-12)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (3-13)

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots (15-1)
  2. New York Jets (13-3)
  3. Buffalo Bills (10-6)
  4. Miami Dolphins (3-13)

AFC South

  1. Houston Texans (9-7)
  2. Indianapolis Colts (8-8)
  3. Tennessee Titans (3-13)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (16-0)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
  3. Cleveland Browns (8-8)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)

AFC West

  1. Denver Broncos (13-3)
  2. Oakland Raiders (9-7)
  3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-9)
  4. San Diego Chargers (5-11)

NFC Division Winners: NY Giants, Carolina, Green Bay, Seattle

NFC Wild Cards: Dallas, Chicago

AFC Division Winners: New England, Houston, Pittsburgh, Denver

AFC Wild Cards: NY Jets, Buffalo

August 24, 2012

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 17:07

I’ve been saying that the market doesn’t care about the 2012 elections, because it doesn’t.  Yet perhaps you are wondering if that’s truly the case, if you’ve been reading about the aggressively Republican turn Wall Street fundraising has taken during this election cycle.  That’s not surprising; the banks made huge profits during the deregulated wild-west Bush years, then they got bailed out, now they want to do it all over again.  Obama hasn’t exactly cracked down on Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and the like, but he might.  Romney absolutely won’t.  So the big money cares; the big money wants to take big risk and get a tiny tax bill.  The desk runners care; the traders care; the hedgies care.  It’s the market that doesn’t care.  Do you think that any of the Wall Street folks who are pumping money into Romney’s Super PACs are willing to sit out a market rally to make a political statement?  They aren’t; that’s why they’re rich.  They don’t do things that are obviously contrary to their economic self-interest.  They don’t even care whether or not they care.

Neither major party will change the course of monetary, fiscal or trade policy significantly; most of their handlers don’t want them to, and the ones that do won’t find enough support to make a course correction.  On a macro level—what gets discounted back to, say, an S&P 500 index—this election doesn’t matter.  Period.

The market rallied on Friday, wiping out about half of the week’s earlier losses to preserve this Olympic summer’s spirit of lethargic irrelevancy (irrelevance?).  This was the takeaway from Reuters:

Stocks gained on Friday on news the European Central Bank is considering setting targets in a new bond-buying program that could help contain euro-zone borrowing costs and on hopes of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Did you stop reading after ‘European Central Bank’?  I bet you did.  Maybe you checked the end of the sentence, saw ‘Federal Reserve,’ and felt even better about your decision.  What if it said this instead?

Stocks gained on Friday on news the European Central Bank is considering substituting strawberry jam for the customary apple jam served with morning coffee and bagels, despite the fact that donuts are still preferred by the Federal Reserve.

Would anyone notice?  Probably not.

The broader market finished down half-a-percent or so,but the Family Stock Index was not so fortunate.  After threatening to break out last week, the FSX gave back 1.2% this week to settle at 12,465.  While the Dow was rallying by triple digits today, we were up…3 points.  Sigh.


  • Zondro (ZQK) +4.1%.  It may be that nothing in the world inclines me more toward violence than the ultra-high-pitched whine Zondro makes when he wants something.  The others hear it sometimes; I always hear it.  When I’m in my office working, I can hear that dog whining on the porch.  He really shouldn’t do that; it’s counterproductive.  His whining at the perfect matador’s-cape frequency doesn’t prompt me to let him in—I refuse to reward the whine.  It does make me want to buy a BB-gun to shoot him with, and in fact I would have probably already done so if I ever left the house.  Zondro is saying, I believe, ‘Hey man, it’s hot (or cold, or wet, or boring) out here, how’s about letting me in early?’  But look at Wilson, chilling down by the pond or asleep under the playset; he’s not suffering.  Hell, if I spent twenty minutes pacing around in the sun on the deck, whimpering and panting, I wouldn’t be happy either.  So today I put a gate up at the bottom of the stairs leading from the deck to the yard.  That means no more pacing around the deck and no more devil noises (that I can hear).  That’s positive for all involved.
  • Reagan (REGN) +5.1%.  Hooray for school!  I’ll even break out an exclamation point for it.  It’s about time, too; another week and Reagan would have been banished to the back yard with the dogs.


  • Katie (CATY) -3.0%.  Katie reports that mighty Brink is now too mighty to be lugged around in his Ergo carrier.   At Jenny’s open house this week she claims she broke her butt and her back.
  • Brinkley (BCO) -3.0%.  Now a convicted butt and back breaker.  That’s the kind of thing that can follow you around in life.
  • Marcus (MCS) -4.2%.  Italy’s nice to visit, I’m sure, but Marcus wouldn’t want to live there.  Or maybe he would.
  • Ruby (RJET) -7.4%.  Jenny insists that Boo-boo was down this week because she (Jenny) has a new favorite store to shop for clothes, and Boo-boo doesn’t know what it is.  That’s ridiculous, of course, but here I am typing it out nonetheless.  Jenny can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.


Name Ticker 8/24/2012 Change
Brinkley BCO $22.65 -0.71
Charlotte ICE $137.10 +1.76
Dustin DST $51.25 +0.01
Icarus ICS $16.23 -0.10
Jenny JNY $11.93 -0.22
Jodi Ann JOY $55.59 -0.31
Justin SCI $12.94 -0.06
Katie CATY $16.16 -0.51
Lee MSTR $124.58 -2.23
Lisa LNCE $23.37 +0.33
Lucas LEI $1.79 -0.07
Lulu LULU $63.87 +0.68
Marcus MCS $12.88 -0.56
Mario T.E. MGEE $50.13 -0.69
Mario T.Y. WMAR $10.05 -0.10
Marisa MOLX $27.14 -0.25
Namilita NL $12.18 -0.27
Nicole E. NICE $31.06 -0.47
Nicole M. COLM $50.61 -0.07
Reagan REGN $145.09 +7.03
Ruby RJET $4.61 -0.37
Wilson WILC $4.01 -0.17
Winston ED $61.42 -0.26
Zero ZIP $7.63 -0.37
Zondro ZQK $3.04 +0.12

August 23, 2012

At Least They’re Not Calling It ‘Fiscal Cliffgate’

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 12:18

I am sick of this hyperventilation in the financial press about the so-called fiscal cliff.  At the end of this year, hundreds of billions of dollars of automatic tax increases (reversions to prior rates, really) and federal spending reductions will hit the economy at once, potentially reducing 2013 GDP by as much as five percent…unless Congress and the President agree on a solution.  This has led to endless pontificating from Republicans and Democrats alike about putting electoral success ahead of constituents’ welfare (say it ain’t so!), and the generally contemptible refusal of all these elected officials to do the work they were elected to do until after the next election.  To which I say: shut your stupid mouths.  These folks came to Washington for a number of reasons, most of them dubious, but the number one objective each Congressman has—from the moment he or she wins an election—is to win the next election.  That’s it.  So if you think our august legislators will jeopardize their poll positions by actually doing anything between now and November, you’re kidding yourself.  They don’t absolutely have to act now, so they absolutely won’t.  We’re not going to fall off the fiscal cliff next year any more than we were going to default on our debt last year.  We’re not going to fall of the fiscal cliff next year any more than we’re going to actually reform Social Security or Medicare in any meaningful way, no matter who wins the White House.  Congress will kick the can when it has to be kicked.  If there’s anything they know how to do—besides run for re-election—that’s it.

August 21, 2012

Niall Ferguson is a Republican

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 13:14

We got this in the mail today.

Yes, I still read news magazines in magazine-form.  So I read the cover article.  This guy, Niall Ferguson, is a Republican; he doesn’t hide that fact.  Newsweek is all-but-hiding it, so credit goes to Ferguson for not pretending he doesn’t have a partisan rooting interest.  Evidently that’s all the credit he should get.  He’s off on key facts, especially about the ACA’s budget impact, but I’m not interested in talking about that.  What disappointed me about the article is the complete failure of the author to make a case for the Republican ticket, the task he sets himself in the second half of the piece.  Much of his criticism of Obama’s executive performance is fair; while I don’t blame Obama for the macroeconomic trends Ferguson tries to pin on him, his handling of the Democratic Congress during his first term was laughable, and he’s not a good manager.  What Ferguson fails to note–glaringly–is that his party has refused to work with Obama on anything since taking control of the House after the 2010 elections, making its one and only goal the President’s defeat in 2012.  Right-wingers like to call Obama a dictator, but of course he isn’t–maybe they skipped school for the Social Studies lesson on ‘how a bill becomes a law.’  If the Congress refuses to do anything but pass a symbolic repeal of the ACA three dozen times, the nothing of the last two years is what results.

The biggest problem I have with the Ferguson article is another failure of fact-checking, I guess.  Turns out, Niall, that Paul Ryan isn’t running for President–Mitt Romney is.  Ferguson has almost nothing to say about the man he wants his readers to put in charge of their country for four years.  ‘Mitt Romney is not the best candidate for the presidency I can imagine,’ he says.  ‘But he was clearly the best of the Republican contenders for the nomination.’  Then Romney gets two more sentences: one, a nod to his business experience, and the other, praise for his wisdom in choosing Ryan as his running mate.  The rest of Ferguson’s article is a love letter to Paul Ryan, who–fact-checking is a bitch–is still not running for President.  Where was the incisive critique of Joe Biden, Niall?  There wasn’t one?  Is that because Biden is running for Vice President, the office of which has no Constitutional powers other than voting to break a tie in the Senate?  If Romney does win in November, he better not get anywhere near Niall Ferguson.  With only Mitt between the love of his life and the Oval Office, I don’t know if Niall will be able to resist taking a shot.

As for the criticism of Ryan’s plan (Ryan, who isn’t running for President), including President Reagan’s budget director’s description of it as ‘a fairy tale,’ Ferguson’s rebuttal is, to paraphrase, ‘nuh-uh.’

August 20, 2012

Conservative Republicans Have No Principles

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 07:32

Principles are foundational beliefs; principles demand that the principled individual critically, consistently and constantly evaluate all aspects of his or her behavior for consistency.  Apart from the principle itself, all applications are contextual—that’s why principles have to be very broad.  An example of a principle is ‘life is the highest value and must be protected and nurtured.’  In contrast, ‘abortion is wrong’ is a narrow application of that principle.  Another principle is ‘freedom of action and consciences is the highest value and must be preserved.’  In contrast, ‘the right to bear arms’ is a narrow application of that principle.  Republicans have positions, not principles.  The Republican ‘social conservative’ caucus is a mash-up of positions (anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-gun control, anti-church/state separation) that are narrowly focused and often inconsistent with other central elements in the Republican Party program.  The highest principle in the Republican Party, if you were wondering, is ‘greed is good.’  So you can imagine this conversation with, say, a socially conservative Republican from the South.

Me:  So abortion is wrong and should be banned in all cases, including rape and incest?

Rep. Butternut:  That’s right.  All life is precious.

Me:  Interesting.  Well, children are beautiful, innocent expressions of God’s love, after all.

Rep. Butternut:  Absolutely!

Me:  You would never want children to suffer and starve.

Rep. Butternut:  Of course not.

Me:  So you would never vote to cut school lunch programs or food subsidies for impoverished children.

Rep. Butternut:  Um…

Me:  Even if the wealthiest one percent of Americans had to pay more in taxes to feed and nurture these precious, innocent children of God.

Rep. Butternut:  I’ll have to get back to you.  [Doesn’t get back to me.]

August 17, 2012

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 17:09

When I worked for the bank, I would try to avoid scheduling vacation for times I knew a lot of folks would be out of the office.  I found I could get a lot more done while the executives were at the beach instead of dreaming of new windmills for middle-managers (like me) to tilt at.  I had plenty of tilting to do as it was, and I could do more of it while everyone else was on vacation.  It’s different for traders.  A trader needs other traders, and lots of them, to take the other side of the hedges or prop positions he wants to open.  When everyone’s at the beach, there’s no liquidity—a trader can’t do his job (trading) because he’s got no one to trade with.  That’s why Wall Street goes on vacation en masse at certain times of the year.  This week was one of those times.  Earnings season is over, the market doesn’t care about politics nearly as much as the financial news pundits wish it did, and Europe—the #1 macro driver of the last two years—has vanished from the news cycle.  If Marcus and Jodi Ann weren’t taking pictures on their Italian honeymoon and posting them to Facebook, I might think the entire continent of Europe sank into the Atlantic last weekend.

Speaking of Facebook…the stock fell to $19 this week as the first lockup period (during which insiders were barred from selling their stock) expired, freeing more than 200 million more shares to potentially swamp the market.  Why is $19 significant?  Well, the IPO priced at $38, so FB at $19 means investors who bought at the price underwriters and FB executives set have now lost half their money in three months.  And there are compelling reasons to think the stock should keep dropping: it’s still expensive (P/E multiple is 66 versus 15 for the S&P 500); the company has no idea how to monetize its user base; there’s no strategy for mobile; the CEO has that wonderful combination of inexperience and arrogance you want at the helm of a high-profile, multi-billion-dollar public company.  If Zucky admits he needs to bring in an experienced manager to, um, manage (what the Google guys did by hiring Eric Schmidt), FB is worth a look at these levels.  If it trades in single digits, the stock is worth a look no matter what.  I wouldn’t short it here, but I’d definitely go short before I’d go long.

What I love is the breathless reporting on how much money Zuckerberg has lost since the IPO.  When Facebook went public, his shares were worth more than $19 billion; now they’re worth less than $10 billion.  So how that gets reported is that Mark Zuckerberg lost more than nine billion dollars.  Um, no he didn’t.  He didn’t have $19 billion three months ago and he doesn’t have $10 billion now.  He has a ton of Facebook stock, stock he didn’t buy and can’t sell.  He couldn’t have sold his stock three months ago, and he can’t sell it today.  He can start selling in a few months, but he won’t.  Apart from the standpoint of prestige, Zucky has no reason to care that he ‘lost’ $9 billion.  If you’re a retail investor and you spent $38,000 cash to buy 1,000 shares of FB in the IPO, if you decide or are forced to sell now, you will indeed lose half your money, and that’s a pinch a regular person’s liable to feel.  Do you think the Zuckerbergs are pinching pennies because he ‘lost’ $9 billion?  Of course not.  He even took out a mortgage to buy his $7 million house; does it sound like he has a $9 billion bank balance?

The Family Stock Index marched slowly higher this week, finish up 1.4% to 12,612.  Here’s how much trading has slowed over the last eight trading sessions:

  •  +0.6% cumulative, 60-point average daily move, one triple-digit move (today +109)

By way of comparison, over the prior eight sessions we traded thusly:

  • +2.2% cumulative, 154-point average daily move, triple-digit moves 6 out of 8 sessions

Come on back, volatility; I miss you.


  • Jenny (JNY) +8.1%. The pop this week brings Jenny’s six-week gain to 27%. Rallying into the beginning of the middle school years?  It’s unheard of.  And it makes me a little jealous.  I wore a bolo tie with a pineapple on it through all of sixth grade; do you think my stock was up 27% during summer 1988 in anticipation?
  • Lulu (LULU +7.6%) and Marisa (MOLX +4.3%).  Their cat brains got a little overcooked this summer, but they’re inching back away from feral derangement.  Probably that’s for the best, especially since Lulu’s started sleeping right by Katie’s face at night.
  • Icarus (ICS +3.9%).  Speaking of unheard of, a one-week move of this magnitude in a muni bond fund isn’t what I expected to see—ever.  Perhaps Icarus was able to spread his wings somewhat when Justin was in D.C.  I definitely get a vibe from Icarus like he wants to be free to do his own thing sometimes.  His own thing being eating cat poop.
  • Mario the Elder (MGEE) +2.9%.  Sold a house.  We’ve got another two coming up for sale in the cul-de-sac; will Grandpa be able to pass on both?
  • Brinkley (BCO) +2.3%.  He’ll be talking anytime now, right?  That’s what his mother thinks.  I think that two-out-of-three academically gifted kids isn’t exactly tragic, especially if he’s a big guy.  Brinky thinks jumping up and down is the coolest.
  • Marcus (MCS) +3.1%.  Jodi Ann got him into a pink shirt, evidently a significant milestone in the journey to relaxed goofiness.


  • Jodi Ann (JOY) -2.3%.  But what if he really likes the pink shirt?  What if he likes it too much?  What if he decides he wants to be That Guy Who Wears Pink Too Often?  What if he starts telling everyone to call him Mr. Pink?  I’ve seen that movie, and it doesn’t end well for poor Bob Geldof.  A two-percent haircut for JOY this week isn’t unreasonable if there’s even a slightly increased risk of Bob Geldof.

  • Winston (ED) -3.1%.  I think Ed dropped a dividend this week.  He does that from time to time, and you don’t even need a scooper to take care of it.
  • Nicole M. (COLM) -5.0%.  This analysis is all Katie; I can’t take any credit.  Nicole will be competing for the Brinky Cup for the first time this year, and in fact I already have her picks in hand.  At first, Katie thought the drop in COLM this week was a harbinger of picks failure.  Almost immediately, though, she realized the much greater risk lies in picks success.  If Nicole were to finish ahead of Mario in the Brinky Cup standings, how would it go?  I’ve seen that movie, too.

Name Ticker 8/17/2012 Change
Brinkley BCO $23.36 +0.53
Charlotte ICE $135.34 +2.08
Dustin DST $51.24 +0.08
Icarus ICS $16.33 +0.61
Jenny JNY $12.15 +0.91
Jodi Ann JOY $55.90 -1.34
Justin SCI $13.00 unch
Katie CATY $16.67 +0.22
Lee MSTR $126.81 -0.83
Lisa LNCE $23.04 +0.17
Lucas LEI $1.86 +0.08
Lulu LULU $63.19 +4.47
Marcus MCS $13.44 +0.41
Mario T.E. MGEE $50.82 +1.45
Mario T.Y. WMAR $10.15 +0.02
Marisa MOLX $27.39 +1.13
Namilita NL $12.45 +0.56
Nicole E. NICE $31.53 -0.28
Nicole M. COLM $50.68 -2.22
Reagan REGN $138.06 +1.22
Ruby RJET $4.98 -0.14
Wilson WILC $4.18 +0.07
Winston ED $61.68 -2.19
Zero ZIP $8.00 -0.08
Zondro ZQK $2.92 +0.12

Book War II Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 07:57

The read-through/markup phase of the campaign is complete.  I’ve also reviewed the summaries and created a definitive timeline of events; the latter gives me a degree of command and control I haven’t thus far had.  I want to say I didn’t create this master timeline (there are three, actually–one macro and two micro) because I didn’t have enough information, but…really I was just dragging my feet.  Making sure every character is the age I want with the past experience their present behaviors imply and shoehorning all of that into real time isn’t easy, and I didn’t really need to do it with the prior books I’ve written.  Verisimilitude is hard, y’all.

So that means I read the whole thing.  How is it?

Overall, not terrible.

Breaking it down, I’d say about 60% is serviceable-to-good.  Honestly, I think it’s a bad idea to go virtuoso on every line of every page of a 150,000-word novel–it’s overkill, and people don’t like being overkilled.  There’s a reason nobody actually reads Ulysses, and it’s called ‘maybe take your foot off the gas every now and then, Jimmy.’  Serviceable is as low as it should go, though; ugly prose is never necessary (except when ugliness itself is in order, but I digress).  20% of the draft is pretty darn good.  By ‘good,’ I mean to say only that it does what I meant it to do and sounds like I meant it to sound, not that it’s great writing by any objective standard.  I don’t know–or care–about objective standards, on account of they aren’t objective.  I really like the last chapter, so everyone else should get ready to be bored and/or confused!  60% decent plus 20% good leaves the 20% that is various flavors of crap.  Chapter 18 is a special mess unto itself; it hurts my feelings trying to read that one, because I’m just not making the point I’m trying to make.  Ugh.

Now, on to the rewrites.

I still plan to have the second draft complete by Halloween.  If I manage that, it will mean I took one full year to write the book, beginning to end.  If 10/31 begins to look unrealistic, I could push back as far as Stalin’s birthday, December 21.  The rewrites look daunting.  Many changes will be straightforward: I didn’t like how something sounded when I read it, I knew then and there how it should sound, and I re-wrote the passage longhand on my draft copy.  Nothing left to do there but make the change to the Word doc.  At the other extreme, there are passages I knew I hated–crossed out or NO-ed on my draft copy–but I didn’t have a better idea.  For those sections, I still have to get the better ideas I didn’t have before, and that will take however long it takes.  Separate from the rewrites to the draft, I have to compose five new vignette chapters.  Taken together, there’s still a lot left to do.  If Brinky wasn’t such an amenable baby, I’d be up against it for real.

Ha ha, I’m kidding.  He’s a terrible baby.  But he’ll never beat me–never.

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