Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Okay, before I move on to the usual suspects and subjects, and I will get to them all sports, markets, life its own self and such, I have some thoughts rambling around in the brain that need to be purged by spilling them onto paper. I have used several Hunter Thomson quotes as my Facebook status of late and it was only a matter of time before somebody reminded me that he had killed himself with his wife and kid in the next room. All right now lets be honest. Filling yourself with the better portion of a bottle of Wild Turkey and taking a huge fucking 45 and blowing your head off with family in the house is a pretty shitty thing to do. It is simply not nice, I will agree.
Now lets look at it from a slightly different point of view. He was getting older. He had lived a long interesting life and mow his health and probably his brain were starting to fade. If you read his Hey Rube columns on ESPN you knew he still had something left but the end was near anyway. He went out on his own terms in his own way with his family in attendance. Now look, that’s going to leave a mark on the wife and especially his son. His wife seems to have dealt with it okay. She probably expected it. The son perhaps not so well. For both of them there will be emotional and mental scars. It was selfish on his part I will grant.
But is it any more fucked up and selfish than things we seem to do to each other every damn day? More selfish than cheating on a spouse or lover? Trust me that shit leaves a mark as well. More selfish than fucking over a business partner for a bigger percentage of the pie? More so than taxing the living fuck out of productive people to give away to those who accomplish exactly jack shit in this world? More selfish than giving the wife and kid a smack because they won’t shut the fuck up while the TV is on? More selfish or harmful than the things people do every damn day to each other with no one blinking an eye? I do not really think so.
HST will go down as one of the last of those who lived his life as he wanted. He avoided the tepid conformity that seems to entrap so many. I didn’t always agree with his view points but admired that he was pretty equal opportunity about spilling his vile onto to the leeches and demagogues that have taken over inside the beltway. He was one of the best sportswriters I have ever read when he was on top of his game. He was equllay good at political wirting. Fear and Loathing on The Campaign Trail was classic. How can I not like a guy who loved women, whiskey and college basketball?
Enough on that. We are now into the what the hell is going to happen phase of the sports year. The Olympics are on and while some of it moderately entertaining I am just not enough of a winter sports enthusiast to work up a good interest level. I am more concerned about Maryland locking in a couple of more conference wins and securing an NCAA berth. If it wasn’t for the miserable fucks down at Duke I would like the Terps to take the ACC tournament this year but Coach K’s pack of rabid quick footed bastards are in the way this year. I am interested in seeing Kentucky go deeper into the tourney that Villanova so I can get within a thousand bucks of having an even ledger with that lecherous little munchkin Coleman.
The Orioles are another what the hell is next equation. I think they are better and if the young pitching staff steps up a year better and stronger they may actually be good. New York slipped a little but a little is not enough. Funny that a guy like Johnny Damon can sell his Red Sox soul to go to New York and they let him go. Those goddamn soul sucking rat fucking bastards in Boston actually improved and are going to be tough this year. Tampa has a good young team again as well. In the pit bull pit that is the AL East good just is not enough. Memo: I looked at single game ticket prices for the orioles and I have a question. Are you out of your scrambled motherfucking mind? How about we actually have a winning season before trying to charging me $60 for club level box seats?
Now to the big bitch mother mistress of them all, the stock market. More people out of work? Great news, buy them up. Fighting two shitty little wars that aren’t going well? Take the offer across the board. People walking away form their home because they cant sell if for half what they paid? Buy em boys. Revenues down double digits? Fire a couple thousand people and watch out stock double on cost cutting moves. Sovereign nations in danger of default? Best fucking news I have heard all year so I am going to buy some stocks.
This is getting stupid. The economy sucks like a hooker with a hoover and the geopolitical situation is unstable at best. I am watching companies get back to pre bubble levels and just wondering what the hell these people are thinking. Paying up 30 and 40 times earnings for mediocre companies and 60 to 70 times for the really good ones is not a recipe for success. I am finding very little stuff that trades below book value and I am not adding to a lot of positions right now. I did buy two banks for the first time in years. I bought Shore Bancshares here on the eastern shore last month and this month I scooped up a little Abingdon Bancshares. ABBC has struggled a bit and has a much higher percentage of troubled loans that I usually accept but they have outrageous capital ratios.The equity to asset ratio is 17 so I am confident that at 70% of tangible book I am okay buying it. My net cash stocks are working well and my portfolio is up almost double digits in spite of being under invested on the year. I will take it but I am being pretty damn careful.
I find myself agreeing with Doctor Doom that every living American should be short treasury bonds, especially the long term issues. Since no crack addled hobo would lend money to a broke ass for 4% a year how can we expect the world to keep doing so for the US. Our deficits are out of control. We are printing money like Tom Clancy novels and the people in charge of this shit show appear ever more clueless. China has cut way back on purchases. I suppose the Japanese could keep buying them but how many more newly printed yen do we want? At some point this will have one bitch ugly ending and I am willing to tolerate time decay to hold my puts on the TLT until it does. I made 40% on this trade last year so I only have house money left in the game at this point anyway.
I am also looking at some ideas on the net cash front. Solitron Devices (SODI) is a tiny little company that makes solid state semiconductors primarily for the military and aerospace markets. The company is squeezing out a profit right now and the book to bill is still above 1. They have $2.57 a share in cash with no debt against a current price of $2.51. Peerless Systems is also still profitable and trading for less than cash and securities balances. The current market cap is $41 million and they have cash and securities of $49 million. They sold all their operating business and just have royalty stream form OEM licenses at this point.
As long as I can find little dinky crap like this to buy I can continue my long standing policy of ignoring the absolute fucking mess we have made of our markets. We have turned our capital markets into short term casinos filled with algorithmic betting systems dominating the scene. Thank god for microcap value or none of this shit would make sense to me at all.
It is winter here on the island and we have been hammered by snow and I hear there may be more on the way. We have already had an epic snow party here on at Chez Melvin and I suspect we will get the chance for more before it is all over. Just fucking great. I hate snow with a passion usually reserved for ex wives, the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eventually it will be spring they tell me. I sure as fuck hope so. I need some sunshine and open water. We have seen an outbreak of break up fever here on the island so at least there are a lot of depressed motherfuckers for me to drink with so far. Some one had to take Tic-tac and Tire Guys place since they became nannies and got married respectively.
On the personal front there are no changes to report. It figures that about the time I decide I really want to settle down there are no takers on the horizon that would match up well with my personality. I am at that point where I really would like to settle into a long term relationship. Now although I have slowed down a bit I am not ready to say my skirt chasing days are over forever. Until I find that one person there are still nights when a look of languorous sensuality in a woman’s eyes, a swirl of skirt, a flash of thigh, a twirl of flesh can raise those demons for a return visit. Hell I am a guy. But in all truth I would trade a million of those nights for ones of partnership, with a friend, a bonding of the emotional, mental and physical. I get glimpses from time to time. Hell I thought I found it forever less than a year ago. The again I though I had it with the little Southern Maryland firecracker and the Soft Kentucky Drawl in the last decade. There have been a couple more that I thought might be contenders but for some reason they just do not see how fucking wonderful I actually am! Truthfully hope may spring eternal but I can be a difficult motherfucker to put up with it so she will have to be a pretty damn special person. Until then I have good scotch, good books and incredible friends. I will get by.
So it goes on. I never thought I would have this life. Shit where I grew up staying out of jail was considered a major accomplishment and more weekends than not I failed miserably at that. Thank God for books and Ken Morrow. Ken died in the last month or so and it hurt to hear it. Although I have spent the last twenty years waiting for my old friend and mentor to step out of the shadows and shoot the shit out of me for past transgressions (okay so the friendship didn’t end well) that man taught me to grow up, he taught me business and how to be a man. I have not seen him in 20 years but he will be missed. I have friends, incredible children and memories that most will never have. It has been fun. With any luck someday in the next bar I ll run into Hunter and he will tip his hat at a life lived almost as well.