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Monday, January 30, 2006

Ive got a luxury sedan,acartons of cigarettes and a radr detector..Im not scared

Im not scared........

Through a series of unfortunate adventures that go beyond even those of the much maligned Lemony Snicket, a very close and long time friend found himself living in what had been intended to be a vacation home in Naples Florida with most of his personal property scattered between new jersey and naples, the most valuable being the car(bmw525I), the boat (Irwin 46 ketch) and the leftover bar inventory (mostly gone now having been left in my custody) were here in Maryland under the tender car of yours truly.As reestablishing himself in a gainful occupation until the notes from the sale of his bar in Annapolis begin later this year kept him unable to obtain sufficient time to get his car back down to florida and his live in girlfriend was threatening bodily harm to bodily parts he wished to remain in relatively good condition if he didn’t stop using her car, I volunteered to bring the car down this past weekend.

Now lest one think this is a totally chivalrous and kind act on my part, you should know that I LOVE to drive long distances especially in a good car. I drive to New York every time I go simply because the elapsed time of the drive is similar to going to the airport, clearing security and finding a cab into Manhattan and I prefer to drive. I ll pick an off hour and just go..marland to parked in midtown in under 3 1/2 hours. When I had more time on my hands back in the days of my misspent youth I drove cross country just for kicks on several occasions. When I have something on my mind, or just need to get away..I drive.This was not exactly an imposition is my point. Driving down to florida in Feb was the joining of two of my favorite ways to send a self manufactured long weekend.

So at noon Thursday I set south. Leaving earlier would have meant dealing with the vestiges of the Dc rush hour and having to find an appropriate detour to avoid the mess that is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. By delaying my departure, I avoided traffic hassles and was comfortably south of Dc in less than 35 minutes. I had all necessary supplies for the first part of the voyage, 3 packs of cigarettes, two large coffees, a diet coke a radar detector and some classic rock cds.Once through the mess that is Richmond, that fine southern collection of tobacco factories and gothic catholic churches( I assume they were catholic…your average protestant avoids worshiping in buildings that look like draculas weekend getaway) jammed right up next to the freeway, I settled into the I95 daytime rhythm, pacing myself to the fastest collection of trucks ,staying in the left lane and keeping an eye out for Virginias finest. I left the radio on news for the most part in the daylight hours so the rock and roll beat didn’t influence the gas petal and lead me to trouble too early in the voyage.The beamer rolled along at a leisurely 85 mph relaxed into the pace of traffic and I blew through Virginia in less than 2 and half hours into the comfortable confines of North Carolina.

for those of you have never done the drive through the fair tarheel state, it is a unique journey through the American mind. It is a toss up as to whether there are more Jesus loves you billboards or firecracker stands and all nude, all the time , open 24/7 combination diners and erotica boutiques. One assumes then that outside of time spent at basketball games worshiping either the heels, the wolfpack or the damn dukies, your average north Carolinian spend all his time either

In church

Blowing thing up

In nudie joints.

As tempting as the all nude, all the time open 24/7,breakfast served 24 hours place was, my only stop was at JRs discount cigarette outlet to replenish my supply at the lowest prices in the country.I loaded up on the nasty little things along with Tylenol…driving south in mid afternoon means the sun is ALWAYS in your eyes and can make for a killer headache…quick burger, gas and a large diet and back down the highway.

As the sun began to set I shifted into I95 night driving mode. This uses basic tools of deception and betrayal to wring the maximum speed out of the car. I settle into the pace of traffic and wait for the first “breakaway pack” to come by. It never takes along and here they come. A pack of 4 or 5 cars running together at a high rate of speed,usually with new york, new Jersey or Pennsylvania plates. I hit the pedal and drive the beamer right into the middle of the pack,theory being the cops will get the first or the last of the pack, but not all of us. Further I have a radar detector so at the first shrill warning that lasts more than 10 seconds, I drop out into the right lane and allow my fellow travers to take the tickets. Then its just a matter of settling in at pace..usually around 80..until the next breakaway comes along.
In this manner we raced along into south Carolina where speed limits are really more of a gentle suggestion anyway. The original plan called for taking a leisurely pace to the trip and stop halfway though the palmetto state breaking the drive into two even halves. Bu not now..I still had two cartons of cigarettes, plenty of gas, a radar detector and the greatest hits of Kiss rocking me down the road. I was set to rock and roll all night if need be. My only comment on south Carolina is that although I know it to be a beautiful state, by night on the highway it is as featureless as the surface of some far off planet that advertises new condos and gated communities every 7 and a half feet. They also have developed a way of hurling advertising at you without disturbing the local fauna. They simply build the billboards taller than the pines and palms and shine enough lights on them to shame a Hollywood premiere. Rather than stop I decided to keep going right on into florida before stopping for the night.

Passing through Jacksonville was a very nice surprise. I spent a lot of time there back in the late 70s and early 80 and recalled it a grubby, rundown north florida redneck kind of town. Viewed from the highway at least the town has revitalized nicely. They have outlined the bridges and building in muted colored lights, a mixture of blues,tropical greens and soft reds. The downtown waterfront area appeared to be alive with lights and activity I don’t recall from years gone by. I made a note to get back there at some point and spend a weekend to just to see how much it has changed.

I stopped for the night in st Augustine florida, a great little town of which I have many fond memories. I jumped off the road grabbed a room at country suites. Naturally, I selected the only exit containing only one open eatery, something called a huddle house, and no tavern where a thirsty traveler could seek respite from the road.For the less prepared this could be a problem. After a heary plate of steak and eggs at the aforementioned house of huddle..very similar to a waffle house the greatest chain of good eatin known to all mankind , except the signs are red instead of the traditional waffle house yellow, I returned to my room,cracked open the portable supply of potables, poured a famous grouse and spent a relaxing hour or two reading before drifting off to sleep.

The next days travel was uneventful for most of the first part of the trip, down to Daytona beach and then cutting over on interstate 4 through Orlando and into the greater tampa area. I did however provide some observations about the current state of the state of florida. The entire orange state economy rests on one of 5 pillars
The cocaine trade
The bodily functions and healing thereof of thin blooded aging northerners
A certain mouse

They are building on every possible surface in central Florida.The state bird is the construction crane and the official vehicle is a backhoe. Orland now begins a good 40 miles west of downtown and is possibly the ugliest suburban sprawl in the united states today. The western side consists of cut rate motels for those who have to get the rug rats to Disney or never sleep with both eyes open again until the little snots go off to community college, the military or prison and office parks full of insurance agents peddling long term care fraud, holistic healing universities, medical parks and virtually every type of faux shaman and peddler ones mind could conjure. The west side of course is the home of the almighty mouse. Luxury hotels line the interstate on the west side..they are painted in every possible garish colors known to man and some beg the question of the possibilities of adding one more color without the collapse of the very building itself. They are garish, tacky, expensive…and full to capacity.If the economy is danger of slowing, someone forgot to tell the mouse chasers. The parking lots were jammed to capacity. The Disney influence shows even from the highway as even the support structures on overpasses and exit signs are all done up in a space or castle motif and the signs for fantasy land, waterparks and other places of great fun abound.The mouse and his minions rule west Orlando and you are not allowed to forget this fact for a millisecond.

The rest of the drive west was uneventful but I will pass along one warning. Never speed through lakeland florida. In the span of 10 miles in and around this fair town I counted 11 people pulled over being given tickets. It is the worlds largest speed trap. Apparently unable to generate the revenues of mousetown, they settle for picking the pockets of mouse bound travelers and returnees.

Along the trip down south 75 I did managed to work a little spec related activity into the trip. I met with esteemed fred crossman for a coffee break in Sarasota where he was down from the windy city visiting relatives and chatted about the markets and various trades that were and were not working,ways of adjusting methodologies to capture movements, particularly to the downside in overblown issues with enduring the colon removing agony of fighting the tape and the dimsonian drift..a very nice discussion of credit spreads for bear moves and selling puts on value issues under the palms outside a scenic checkers burger stand.

An hour or so down the road, I stopped in Cape coral for an hour or so to visit the lackey clan . I got a chance to sit canal side with james Lackey, the kerouac and Odysseus of the list. He talked of his plans to embrace his inner redneck and leave his little slice of heaven in Florida to relocate to Nashville in the future. Not sure I see it but to each his own. Talking to lack is best described as a hopeful experience. He posses an enthusiasm and excitement about life, and a happy determination to make his way through life on his own terms surrounded by the people he loves. One leaves lighthearted and aware of lifes possibilities.

Into Naples for a great weekend of fine dining and great drinking with an old friend. Long talks of days past and future plans, a little fishing off the pier and all too soon time to fly home from a great weekend..olots of driving, eating smoking, drinking and seeing some of my oldest, newest and greatest friends on the planet in deep florida in febuary.

Some observations from the road

I95 south of Virginia exists for only two purposes. To get the snowbirds to florida and turn as much of that Yankee money into the property of former members of the confederacy as possible Virtually every exit has an attraction, mini park, historic district or shopping outlet that I the worlds finest, states largest, lowest priced, grandest and greatest something or another that the weary traveler simply must see. Billboards for restaurants of dubious distinction, buffets of undefined quality and safety, strip joints, fireworks, cheap smokes, new condos, resort living, tumbledown motels..all are advertised and available virtually every mile along the way.

Naples Florida is one of the pretiesest towns in the united states. Beautiful beaches, wonderful dining establishments, interesting architecture and just a great atmosphere. All of this has combined to cause what will surely be serious issues in the future. The infrastructure simply cant handle the number of people in season. I would love to be a roads and highway contractor in southwest florida right now as they are feverishly trying to widen and improve roads.
However, building continues at a torrid pace.Every spare piece of ground in and around naples in under construction.I wont call for a burst in the bubble but the activity level reminds very much of the mid to late 80s in San Francisco

Property prices have gone from the absurd to the the point that attracting service workers..bartenders, waitress, retail shop clerks and the like is becoming very difficult as they simply cannot afford to live within commuting distance of naples.

They are serious about the cigarette lighter thing on airlines. I had my zippo given to me by my son and threw it in my bag on the bottom without another thought. Naturally I ended up being drug out of line and subject to a bag search. I offered to retrieve it for them..but nope…all my dirty laundry was scattered on the tables so they could retrieve it.The little girl working the place treated as osama bin Melvin, calling the airline to make sure I did not check it through, although Im pretty sure that’s legal. My only alternative was to leave the secure area and go to the fed ex stand. envelopes. The guy working there was nice enough to offer to send it when he got to work tonight so hopefully hes hones. I have a tracking number so it will be interesting to time I am wearing a turban, carrying a copy of the Koran and shout racial profiling the first time someone looks at me funny.Having ones unmentionables and dirty socks spreads in front of god and everybody is not a happy experience.

There is nothing like a long drive and good friends to clear ones mind and return the sense of optimism and love of life.Further, should you ever have a chance to sit and visit with crossman or lackey I advise you not to miss the chance. These two gentleman posses a wealth of knowledge and experience that has been of great benefit to many.

current spec list land speed record, annapolis to Naples
12.5 hours total elapsed driving time
average speed 90.34 mph

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

trip report

It started as these things with the simplest of statements, pure of intention and seemingly a wonderful idea.The current incantation of the one true love of my life ( for those of you following along at home, yes she’s back. Each time we split for a period, I patiently and resolutely stand my ground explaining all the logical, rational reasons we should not be together. Half an hour later I am drunk and naked and we are reunited once again Somewhere there is an explanation for this but I ll be damned if I have one) suggested we trip on down to the beach this past weekend to spend a little time hanging out enjoying a relaxing weekend. She wanted to visit some old friends who now lived down there, one of whom had heart surgery a few weeks and she promised the guys wife we d stop by to see them. Ok ay, I can go with this. I love the beach in the winter. Ocean City is fairly deserted, but the better eating and drinking establishments stay open. A couple of nice nights on the town, drinks by the fireplace at one of the beachfront establishment watching the eternal dance of sand and foam as the ocean crashes to shore, perhaps a little romance and hanky-panky. Perfect. Just what the doctor ordered for a cold winters weekend. Then. After I agreed that this indeed sounded like a wonderful idea she produced the hook, the buzz killer, the killjoy, the downer. By the way, she smiled sweetly, I found a place where we can take the dog with us.

THE DOG. The damn dog

Dog is too simplistic a term for this beast. How does one refer to a 130 pound spoiled rotten rottweiler with a temperament somewhat reminiscent of the offspring of a chance encounter between Attila the Hun and bozo the clown? She thought he was so cute when we adopted him from the pond fours years ago. I recall looking at this fur ball with paws the size of Amazonian snowshoes and thinking this dam dog is going to be big enough to eat a small village. And indeed he has. But in lieu of villages he has over the years developed a taste for steak, medium rare, seafood Norfolk, as well as turkey and dressing, hold the cranberry and eggs (scrambled) with bacon. I confess heartily and mightily to you, gentle reader,this is entirely my fault. She feeds him, at home, good old Alpo and pedigree and doggie treats.. Albeit by the forklift full. I have discovered however that a well fed dog will tend to sleep leaving me free to indulge my taste for non canine involved activities.I am not now ,nor ever have been, a pet person. Walking a dog first thing in the morning regardless of weather or hangover level does not make Tim’s list of really great things to do. The one and only time I ever had a dog I found myself in the air over the Midwest on a spur of the moment Vegas trip before I remembered that I forgot the dog.$125 of air phone minutes later I found someone to walk and feed him for the weekend. Upon return home I found him a more normal home where canines and their lack of opposable thumbs that leave them unable to operate a can opener or doorknob are more appreciated than in my humble abode. She,on the other hand, thinks that no home is complete without a dog and a cat in attendance. What in the hell it is about dog hair everywhere and a littler box that completes her sense of home escapes me, but nonetheless where she goes the rottenwilder goes. The dog is her protector and in the grand tradition of rotties loyal to her and her alone. If I want to argue with her while the rottenwilder is in a attendance I must go in the other room and close the door lest he be tempted to take her side and forcefully make the point that I am an idiot. She does so quietly. He does so in the manner and character of a 130 pound rottie. Much safer on the other side of the door. Lest I paint too bad a picture of the beast I confess that some 61.3% of the time I am fond of the slathering slack jawed terror and take amusement at his antics. He’s a good dog. I am not however a dog person but have learned to adjust…sort of.

So off we go on our grand adventure, piling into her expedition for the hour and a half trip to the beach. An uneventful journey on a late Saturday afternoon, a pleasant journey through the eastern ashore of Maryland arriving just about dinnertime. I am looking forward to checking in getting the dog settled and a nice steak and adult libation or two. We were staying at the Clarion resort and I really liked the place when I stayed there some years back for a convention. As a bonus, the Ocean Club with a nice bar and grand views of the rolling surf is in the hotel I am looking forward to a nice evening in spite of the winds that had started to gust and howl down the beach at rather impressive levels. I note as we cruise up Coastal highway that most of the hotels are virtually empty this colds winters night so it should be fairly easy to check into the hotel with our rottenwilder. This would of course be another time when such sunny optimism would be bitten squarely in the buttocks by the fickle jaws of fate. As we pulled into the clarion, the place was packed. The only place to even park was in the overflow lot on the other side of coastal highway. Two..count them folks, two conventions were in attendance at the only hotel in Ocean City that allows dogs over 25 pounds. To make it more interesting one was a gathering of faux bikers, a Honda gold wing club with little leather vests stretched tight over middle aged paunches, complete with various patches and pins like the real Harley riding well as a gathering of sales reps for a well known cable company. True to form I felt fates teeth sink in deeper as virtually everyone in the hotel s was in the lobby for some fool reason. Now, the rottenwilder is not really mean but he does scare easily in crowds and he looks menacing as hell. The crowd parted in form that recalled a fellow named Moses and the red sea as I dragged the beast..and I must say that watching me at 155 pounds try to drag and cajole this mountainous animal anywhere is a scene funny enough to be worthy of a Jim Carrey movie.. but we did make it to the elevator without too much effort. A crowd of ladies in full evening apparel stepped off the elevator and stopped in a frozen second of shock and awe at the grand sight that greeted them. On their way to an elegant evening out they step to find themselves confronted by the hellhound of the youthful dreams. They tippytoe around our fair rocky the rottenilder and with a heave and ho worthy of a pyramid laborer of ancient Egypt I drag my current incantations faithful companion into the elevator while praying no one else gets on. Up to the sixth floor, into the room and sigh with great relief. Mission (temporarily) accomplished.

Now, to feed the monster who has settled in on the bed watching his favorite football team (for reason I cannot explain the dog favors the accounting for taste), a quick change and down to the ocean club for dinner and drinks. I look forward to a pleasant evening. In doing so I have, naturally, again exposed my bare backside to the snarling jaws of the fates and furies.As we leave the room from the hallway we can hear it begin..the whimpering whine of our faithful rottenwilder upset at being left alone in unfamiliar circumstances building in tone and tempo until yes, there it is the culmination the full throated bark of a scared rottenwilder. Loud enough to equal the sound of intense artillery barrage, intense and consistent in nature. Loud enough surely to get us kicked out of a crowded hotel with thin walls. We will have to take him with us. So we replay the lobby scene of hustling the beast through a crowd of cable salesman and middle aged rice burning pretenders who view rocky as one might view the lost city of Atlantis or perhaps bigfoot showing up to sip martinis at a park avenue cocktail party.No wonder the dog has issues. Out to the truck dashing through temperatures dropping faster than Dorothy parkers knickers after the 4th martini and winds beginning to howl off the ocean with gusts of force equivalent to one of my ex wives tirades about what a worthless ne'r do well I am, we jumped into the truck and headed off to find an open dining establishment with the dogbeast settled comfortably in the back head on the center consol, a big old happy dog, where we going grin on his canine face. We both want a steak so we head to the Bonfire, park near the back. For his part Rocky settles happily in the back snuggled in his blanket and awaits our return. While we never leave him alone in the truck during warm weather, it’s nowhere near warm and the interior of the truck is fairly comfortable for him so it’s off to dinner. A decent steak and an Irish martini or two I’m feeling a little better about the evening.
Back to the truck, two satisfied diners and a happy rottenwilder. Now however comes the sweet smile and new idea. Lets take the dog down to the inlet for a quick walk on the beach. We ll just bundle up and it will be fine. He loves the beach, the cold and the exercise will wear him out. I’m a little dubious on this one, but you will note that this gentle suggestion contains no option to refuse. It has, in other words the force of one General Patton’s orders to advance upon Bastogne. No choice but into the breach for my little skinny Irish Butt.
We arrive at the pretty much deserted inlet and I bundle up to hop out and walk the beast. I note that she is fiddling with the heat and putting her Bon Jovi cd in the player. I ask her if she wants her coat and she gives me that look that women give their men when we say something incredibly stupid. I ll just wait here in the truck while you walk him..It looks like the wind might have picked up again. And indeed it has complete with sleet being blown sideways by gale force winds giving it the velocity and feel of charging a machine gun nest. But, ours is not to reason why. Ours is to walk the damn dog.
Out we go across the sand and the dog initially is overjoyed. He does love the beach and is impervious to cold. I move along behind him, taking furious fire from the blowing sleet and sand wondering if I ll least get a silver boyfriend star of perhaps even the coveted congressional medal of really good guy out of this when the dog takes off for the truck at light speed. My arm rips from the socket with a pop that is audible over the howling wind and I have to run full speed to keep up with him. He caught a wind driven burst of sand full in the face and does not wish to play any longer. So back to the hotel and play the lobby game again. At least now he doesn’t fear the elevator and it’s an uneventful trip.

Back to the room, feed the dog his leftover steak. Mix drinks. She turns on a movie and settles in. I sigh knowing this means I m going to miss the late game. She cashes in my medal earned in the fierce beach encounter and sends me off with her blessing to watch the football game down in the Ocean Club.FREEEEEDOM.

While sitting happily at the bar, Irish and water in hand, a nice bowl of peanuts and the Patriots losing to the Broncos ending the wearisome dynasty talk everytime they step on the field, I fell into conversation with a near retired high school technology teacher from central Maryland. As we talked, one he found out I’m involved in the markets he told me the typical tale of gruesome losses in 2001. He has since reinvested in and pyramided ocean city condos,. He proudly told me he now owns 4 of them. Rather than pay a property manager for seasonal rentals he rents year round. I figure this little move has saved him about 3 grand a year in fees and cost him about 10,000 annually in rentals. He confesses it is a negative cash flow situation. The words make me flinch internally as I cannot conceive of owning a rental property that didn’t cover the basic costs of ownership.He is not, in other words, a math teacher. More the kind of guy who cashes in his successful fund to do it himself at ameritrade and is thrilled by the low fees he is paying to lose all that money.We have a nice conversation but I cannot help but think that with the forest of for sale signs I saw along coastal highway earlier in the day and the 6 or 7 new condo projects in town that Ocean City was on the verge on a serious supply demand which happens here every decade or so…counting on appreciation to bail one out a negative cash flow condo empire is very,very close to owning The Internet Fund in 2001.Counting on the unlikely to continue forever seems to me to be a precarious retirement plan. He asks for no advice however and I offer none, content to enjoy the game and cocktail before me. I wont predict a dire real estate crash, but at least in ocean City , Maryland I think the basic laws of supply and demand will very soon spell the end of the bull market in vacation homes. Simply put the market is glutted with for sale and new offerings.

Back to the room. Guess who wants to go outside? Well..its not me, lets just put in that way. She of course is asleep. Off we go. Through the lobby out into the howling ocean winds. At least, the sleet has stopped. Replaced of course by snow. Down to the beach, run in frantic happy circle, do the necessaries, back to the room. At last sleep. Of course not. The hotel has run down in recent years and the sliding glass door is shaking and pounding in its frame due to the high wind it sounds like a small town theatre group doing the third act of rent. At long last however, sleep does indeed come. Until the 7am dog nose in ear that means its potty time again. I have never understood how the dog has always made the choice to wake me for his morning constitutional. IT”S HER DOG. she sleeps blissfully unaware while I take the beast out into the cold morning. By now however, we re pros at this. Zip down to the beach back to the hotel. The rottenwilder does everything but push the elevator buttons . He has this down to a doggy science. He knows where the elevators are and which room is his.

The rest of the day is uneventful. We go to visit her friends, with the beast of course. He hangs out in the truck while I sit in a doublewide vacation palace that these folks sold a huge house in southern Maryland to move into , preferring to simplify and be near their kids. Who are over visiting. With all the grandchildren There are 17 people in the doublewide this day happily munching, chomping and chomping on everything in sight. I sit with the husband watching the colts game with a smoke and doggy walk break every hour or so. I am grateful I have to walk the dog. The noise level in the doublewide is akin to the Old Cole field house during a Maryland duke game. I start to get the feeling that there is perhaps too much blood in my alcohol system to withstand too much more of this. Happily after a brief 5-hour visit she is ready to go.
Repeat hotel and beach walk. Get dressed. Repeat lobby. Load dog , off to dinner. Not much open on a Sunday night in the resort down but happy surprise we trip across Fresco a very good Italian place still open. The food is top rate, the service first class. A very nice surprise. Even rocky gave his leftover penne with crab two paws up. Down to Duffy’s tavern to watch the bears game and then home again to out hotel.Monday was uneventful except for a nice stroll down the boardwalk in the now warmish winter sun with a surprisingly well behaved rottenwilder before departing for home.

Some weekend observations:

The Indianapolis Colts once again proved that the avoidance of risk is often not the right solution. By resting their starter for the last few games, they basically went a month without experiencing the fierce competition that is NFL football, They lost an edge that cannot only be obtained in games, not practice. They were flat, they made mistakes they had not made all season. By sidestepping injury, they instead gained rust.And as Neil young pointed out rust never sleeps especially in the playoffs.

The Steelers also came very close to proving that abandoning a steady aggressive approach that works in order to play not to lose is also a bad idea. After punishing manning the first 3 qtrs with a powerful pass rush from 4 down lineman, they went to a nickel back and 3 down lineman. Manning almost beat them because of it. One shoestring tackle missed and the Colts would have come back from down 21-3 to win the game. On the last drive Cowher wised up and went back to 4 down lineman and played not to win rather than not to lose forcing Indy to try a long field goal to tie.

Bringing us to the point..Sometimes it just not going to go your way. Indoors there was no way Vanderjagt misses the field goal 99.7% of the time. But the .03 does have a way of biting you sometimes.Indoors,at home the best kicker in the NFL missed it. Nothing you can do about it except be aware it happens, pick up and move on. They are a great team and next year awaits.Bad trade? It happens. Move on or you will surely suffer more of the same in rapid fashion.

When its crunch time the great ones step up. The Carolina Panthers did not beat the bears. Steve Smith did. He was unstoppable and the bear defense, the best in the league all year simply had no answer for him. After losing the NVL mvp and top runner in Shawn Alexander, matt hasselback stepped in the void and simply outplayed the redskin defense.

If like the bears you intend to win by great defense and low risk offense, falling behind means having to alter your game plan in such a way that defeat is inevitable. Once again playing not to lose may get you to the playoffs. It will not however win championships. To lift the Lombardi trophy on the field, in the market or in life one must be prepared to risk it all occasionally. In upsetting the colts, the steelers went for several 4th down attempts..something the conservative cowhers never does. But this was the playoffs.

Don’t bother with the Clarion resort in Ocean city unless traveling with a large canine forces you to do so. They seem to have the attitude that since they have a conference center they will attract business regardless of amenities or upkeep. The rooms are not kept up, the beds are undersized and horrendously uncomfortable. There are several other conference centers in town and a new one being built by Hilton. I suspect they begin to lose business rather rapidly with a resulting overhaul of property and managers. Having a near monopoly does not mean you will always hold the market if you don’t satisfy the customers.

Do go to Fresco if you re ever in OC. In the midst of all the all you can eat buffets and hamburger joints this place is a delightful surprise. So if you re a t the beach take one night and treat yourself.

Those who do understand the basic concepts of their investments and merely chase the current fashion are doomed to failure. My school teacher friend from thre ocean club would be cashflow positive and better able to withstand a slowdown had he been willing to pay a property manager to handle his rentals. Likewise owning all tech funds in your retirement plan in 2000 indicates that one follows the herd and expects ths lion to never show. Lions like to eat. They always show up

Lastly…Never let your girlfriend go to a pound where they have cute rottenwilder puppies unless you like 6 am walks on a snowy beach.

Friday, January 13, 2006

from a list sent out suggesting purchase on nov 21 I suggested the following stocks for the yr end rally..they were slected using the criteria laid out in greenblatts book and then rerun through my valuation and insider/institutional activity screens
return so far is 10.05 on a dollar wieghted purchase..triple the nasdaq 3.02 since then,4 times the sp 500.Using the concept of selling options on these type value situation, they are ll still above the next strike down I would have sold at.....
naturally the market was in a much better spot for buying in late novemebr than we have here after the mini rally of december so a tad more caution is called for but I do have an interest in selling the following to establish longs
kfy..sell the march 17.50 puts for .4
ceco sel the feb 30 for 1.3
ftd feb 10 for .5(take some patience for this to happen)
chk feb 30 for .6
stocks from the value line 1-2 under 10 that I think we should write on as well( another highly volatile stellar year for this strategy last year with +22% with puke inducing drawdowns along the way....I think makes perfect for put selling strategy...get put the stocks in vomitus period,sell ensuing rally
sell the io feb 7.5 for .6
would like to open positions in skil,scmr and arba off this list but need pullback to do so..picking my spots carefully here as i think the straight up rally since first of yr leaves us vulnerable.
would be a buyer of remc liquidation below 1.25 as I think there is at least 1.50 in the deal