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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

investment and life wisdom of buffett

No, not that one. I have little use for the pithy phrases of the do as I say not as I do folksly little guru(anyone else find it interesting that the man who prweaches against speculation, against leverage and leaving your circle of competence, ignoring economies because they are now one of the largest dollar shorts?) The last 3 or 4 weeks around here have been very frustrating as I continue to load up on very cheap stocks to watch them become incredibly cheap stocks…I have little doubt that over time, as has always been so in the past the vadsy majority of my positons will turn out positvel..Im reasonably certain that the basic tenets of valuation and business that I ve used for 15 years did not disappear but none the less, negative marks can be frustrating … turns to the OTHER Buffet, the south florida troubadour of the lifestyle I wished I lived on days like this..the clown prince of beach rock and roll has much wisdom on life and markets slipped into his rum laden ditties and I share such discoveriesIt's a strange situation,a wild occupation,Living my life like a song.I have to sit still and remember sometimes that it very much has been like a song..theres been adventure, love stories,heartbreaks,tears in my beer and neon moon nights..but there been plenty of good old boys,barefooting,Navajo rugs and unchained melodies. There have been nights of quietly making noise,searching for a honkey tonk angel..Ive have whiled away many an hour sittin on the dock of the bay contemplating the secrets of the universe and staring at the change of the tide…have cried the tears of a clown on an occasion or two, but spent many more nights dancing in the streets at the midnight hour…got lots of friends in low places and I have traveled an interesting path in the company of good friends and there is much to be said and sung for that( of course it is best that I don’t sing in public..with my voice it would be a great way to make sure it’s a lonely highway).

The chair has often pointed out the connection between music life and markets..they share a rythym..the fade, the crescendo…not only with each other but with life itself. One entire chapter of education of a speculator is devoted to the subject. I venture I guess most of us have music playing in our offices throughout the day, rather it be Vics show tunes or the guns and roses tunes I heard a fellow spec play while trading is more than just a backdrop.. it provides the pace, the rhythm, the toe of our actions at times…when doing heavy research I load up the cd player with classical.vivaldi, handle, Mozart..when its time to play I go with buffett, jerry jeff walker,david allan coe or some house rocking blues like stevie ray vaughn or susan tedeschi…for the softer moments we have the collection of sinatra, nora jones and I ve found that miles davis’ kind of blue, some candles and champagne does have a magical sort of effect……music is one of the truly elemental natures of the life well defines and enhances the lives we live….With all of our running and all of our cunning,If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.\Laughter makes it all better..this has been said by philosophers, poets, clowns, drunks and pontificators over the years..(one of my favorites being the old irish proverb…A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. Of course this brings up another favorite cure for a bad day..the sacred afternoon nap..with cnbc or cnn droning n the background..or best of all an absolutely meaningless Saturday afternoon baseball game on a rainy day…one of life’s better cures)this does not however make it any less true.A good joke well told, a carl hiassan,Lawrence shames or christopher moore novel, a phone call from Hillman or crossman wirth their latest cockeyed adventure…chases away any monetary bad feelings or self pity jamborees…a half hour of jeff foxworthy or robin Williams works better upon the psyche than years of therapy and mountains of prozac….as it has been pointed out there no point taking life too one gets out of here alive….

Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks,
And I've learned much from both of their styles

.My sister and I have developed the habit of late of getting together with some mutual friends on Thursday evenings for dinner and drinks at some of the local dock joints….an evening of friends, food, music a few beers and just staying in touch with each other…last night I was the last to arrive and a s I grabbed my frosty adult malted beverage I told mary not to let me forget that I had a bag o books in the car for her…the gathering was a little taken aback by the concept of a bag of books changing hands and mary made the comment that if she couldn’t read, she didn’t think she want to live…the tv generation assembled with us was in a state of disbelief but I ll take the liberty of seconding that remark. Books are a ,if not the , central part of my life. Whatever else my mom did or didn’t do for me, she instilled a love of reading in us early. It has, I am convinced, get me alive and reasonably prosperous all my life.I was too big a screw up for college and am pretty much self taught in the ways of life and markets.Books have taught me, inspired me, consoled me,provoked me and given me access to worlds and dreams I never thought possible. To be able to share the thoughts and minds of the worlds greatest thinkers, to wrap my mind around the writings of a feynman, an Einstein and gain some limited knowledge of the world, to learn markets from niederhoffer,graham(sorry vic) Whitman, altman, and other giants of the experience the soaring words of Shakespeare, the melancholy sensuality of yeats, the depraved, satirical writings of wilde, the life affirming macho of hemingway…learn seduction from casanova, adventuring from l’amour, to say nothing of the escapism writings of john d macdonald, Robert Parker,carl hiaasen, charles bukowski’s alcohol and testosterone soaked tales of depravity and redemption..or lack thereof. Without books I would be nothing..another never was full of dusty dreams and empty of heart and
mind.Take my TV, my dvd player, take the videos and move theatres. Leave me the books, my mind and my imagination and I will take the words beyond anything Technicolor could have ever produced..I shudder to think of a life without books

I ate the last mango in Paris
Took the last plane out of Saigon
Took the first fast boat to China
And Jimmy there's still so much to be done

Okay I ve never been to Paris and not really a big fan of china or slow boats. But there have already been many adventures and there are still many more to look forward to experiencing. There is much left to do, to see, to experience, whether Im 43 or 84, there will be friends to meet, wine to drink, hills to climb, sunsets to watch, places I haven’t been and places I want to go to again.Sometimes after a bad day at the trading desk we tend to forget that most of the world would love to live like we do. The poorest among us earns more than 95% of the population. We can but the books, the music we want, take trips to visit fellow specs, exchange thoughts and ideas with one of the greatest collection of minds I ve ever come across. No matter how bad the day, or nerve grinding the draw down, there still going to be checkers games with vic(if I can handle the embarrassment..he kills me quickly every time),beers with fred at some little Chicago dive( as well as the memories of somehow ending up in a skin head bar at midnight in louisville when we were supposed to be meeting the voodoo prof),horse racing with Depew,chasing bbq dreams with the prof…theres beaches I haven’t lied on,oceans I have not swum in and at the same time there are memories of all the places Ive been and things I ve already done…there has been much adventure and there will be more…in the meantime there have been bad days before..I ve had worse drawdowns and as long as I ve tested it, counted it and trust my research and instincts, the market will rally again at some point, the sun will shine again..until then it behooves one to keep in mind that there is , in fact, still so much to be done.

I'm looking for a smart woman in a real short skirt

Oops…the tricky one.for me anyway. WOMEN.Very much a love hate relationship here..I hate to love them but as yet have not figured out a way too stop. As my goof friend mike ott is fond of quoting me as saying, if I could take my mind of them for more than a minute or two I d be rich as god and bored as hell.Man, I ve got ex wives, ex girlfriends, current girlfriend and contenders for next…its enough to drive a man crazy.A pretty girl walking by can stop conversations and drive all rational thought out of my mind. I don’t understand them at all, and they don’t seem to understand me. Forget mars and venus, some days I don’t think we re even playing in the same galaxy.It bothers me no end that my beautiful, wonderful daughter has grown up to be one of THEM. Women and romance will drive you to the highest highs and the lowest lows.They can make the stars brighter in the heavens and the pillow wet with tears. I ve foresworn the romantic side of least once a week in fact .But showed me well turned ankle and a shy little smile and I’m right back in the game. Infuriating unreasonable creatures, bane of my very existence but Oh god what a dreary world without them. The explosion of love and passion between a man and a woman is perhaps the greatest gift heaven has given us(Goethe described it a poem thus: When the calm enfolds the love nights/a feeling from the unknown steals over you/while the tranquil candle burns/you remain no longer caught/in the prenumbral gloom/you are stirred and new, you desire/to soar to heights creativity) and I would like to find all of that at some point in this lifetime…until then of course, the search, the frustration and the alimony payments continue

In one ear and out the other
Don't you get criss-crossed
I recommend you try a little
Mental floss

Necessary part of life that, as wrapped up in researching,counting trading we all get from time to time, we forget about. In times of stress and duress it is even more critical that our brains are given a chance to relax, to clear, to chase away the clutter and n one has accumulated. Play tennis as the chair is so fond of doing when the markets get too noisy and fitful. Go to a baseball game and lose yourself in the green grass blue skies and poetic precision of the game( unless you re a mets fan and then hopefully you suffer teeth gnashing agony as you game is rained out by a violent thunderstorm with your team trailing by 1 and the bases loaded with no outs…hopes dashed as cruelly as you dashed those of we good,honest and pure Baltimorons in 1969),go to a blues bar and listen to the crashing guitars and gravelly voices chase yours away, read a few travis mcgee books and get lost in south florida ,Plymouth gin,well built broads and a life speculator of the finest kind.Take your kids fishing and delight in the sounds of their laughter.Sit in on a symphony performance and let the music roll over you. Whatever you particular relaxation and escape vice..a walk on the beach, a glass of wine with your partner/spouse as the sunsets, a great book, a trashy novel, a good game of tennis or an afternoon in the stadium, indulge in it from time to time. Clear the mind, relax the spirit and the ideas flow anew, with renewed concentration and resolve.Maybe it's all too simpleFor our brains to figure it outWhat if the hokey pokeyIs all it really is aboutI don’t know what its all about. Neither I suspect do any of us. It’s a question that can only be answered at the very end and you re not allowed enough time in the brief flash to share the answer. So be it. That’s part of the joy of living for each of us, to discover the meaning of it al as we go along. Perhaps there is no meaning and there is just now, just us, our friends, our families, our books, our music, our passions and desires,…that’s not really so bad if that’s how it turns

I don’t have all the answers but I know a few things
1. next to our children and our spouses(okay..your spouses..mine don’t exactly fit the friend mold), our friends are the source of much that is right about life.Shared knowledge. Experiences, companionship. Adventures enjoyed with great friends are all the more meaningful, I have been blessed with more than my fair share and I guard them jealously..interstingly many of my closest friends come from this list.
2. markets fluctuate. I trade from a different perspective than most here, with a much longer time horizon.There will be drawdowns, bad days, bad beats, busted flushes, broken deals and assorted heartaches in this business. However, the ownership of stocks at low prices relative to valuation has always worked out over time in the past..time , while an ally, can be frustrating..Im pretty sure time is female.
3. Its an adventure. There is great music, great books and great trades still to come for all of us..especially I think the majority of those on the spec list who by their presence are engaged in the chase for profits, books music and of course great bbq.On our worst of days we need to keep in mind that we live better than most in the world will ever be able to, and even if we should by some unfortunate occurrence tap out, we can get up, go to work and have a good shot at getting it all back.
4. Life was just a tire swing.
Jambalaya's still the best song that I can sing.
Blackberry pickin', eatin' fried chicken,
And I finally learned a lot about pain,
'cause life is just a tire swing

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