Absolutely Right

Kyle nails it once again.

You know, to their face: they can keep their goddamned nutbar ideas to themselves. I aint interested.

Seems to me that's exactly what they're doing, so good for them and anyone else who feels inclined to join them.

Note to Commenters

I've recently deleted a couple of comments; on another entry. The details are unimportant. Both were by the same person, the second being an insult for deleting the first.

Here's my rule for deleting comments: there is no rule.

I delete them at my whim. It's my blog. I owe no explanations to anyone. In general, but not as a hard-and-fast rule, if the comment is of substantive interest to me--even if the implicit or explicit message is "Fuck You!"--you've got nothing to worry about.

To state it simpler: comment at your own risk.

That is all.

Red Meat

So I'm on the way back from the cabin earlier today and I hears on the radio that some huge international company in Dubai, U.A.E., is poised to purchase another huge international company in London, U.K., and bunches and hoards of morons just about everywhere--wall-to-wall and top-to-bottom--are carrying on as though it's not only their business, but as though they, indeed, own the companies in question.

I'm just swimming in stupids, morons, imbeciles, and jack-asses all day long and every day.

Oh, btw, the title refers to the political meal this just had to represent to those who first spun the story their way.

White Out

Bea & I arrived up at the cabin 'bout two hours ago. "White out" might be a bit of an overstatement, but it's really dumping. We're at 8 inches and counting. And it's cold. Surface temp is under 30 F and dropping. Luckily, it was only about 38 F inside, and now, two hours later, we're all the way to 55. It'll be cozy soon enough.

This is a nice change. Because of the warm weather patterns in December, we had pretty lousy weather for Christmas up here, and downright awful for the New Year. Rain and wind, non-stop, for days.

This snow is of a nice dry consistency, just how I like it, and it's calm as it could possibly be. Not so much as a whisper of a breeze.

February Report Card

Profit $9,602.40. A 50% return on risk for February.

If you've been around here lately, you recall I've tossed up a few entries about my trading activities in the market. Well, I've decided to hold myself accountable and post a report card each month at options expiration. February options expire today.

Sometimes I may spend some time explaining and describing the month's actions. Today, we'll see.

OK, my first trade of the month was to sell the 1285 Call and buy the 1295 Call for February on the SPX, which is the trading index for the S&P 500. The difference in price between the two was $5.50 per share. I traded 10 contracts and contracts have 100 shares each, so, I sold an option for $21,487.05 which gives the buyer of that option the right to force me to sell him 1000 shares of the SPX for $1,285.00 per share. Of course, so long as the actual price for the SPX remains below 1285, I'm sittin' pretty, just waiting for time to expire where I walk away with the 21k. One the downside, if the SPX goes above 1285, the owner of that option can still force me to sell to him at 1285. So, if it goes up to 1300, for instance, then I would have to buy at 1300, only to sell to him at a $15,000 loss at 1285. So, in order to limit my risk, I buy an option that gives me the right to acquire the same number of shares at a given price. In this case, 1295. There's a $10 per share difference, which means that the very worst I can do on the trade is to lose $10,000. To buy the 1295 cost $16,012.95, so my net credit on this transaction was $5,474.10.

Here's how it all shakes out. Note that I've separated out each option pair that constitutes a complete trade.


You'll notice that in each case except one, the black number is greater than the red number, meaning that each time I execute one of these trades, the difference between the two numbers is immediately deposited into my trading account as cash. This is called a "credit spread." You'll notice that the trade I talked about at the beginning, the 1285/1295 Bear Call Spread, is at the bottom of the list. At the top of the list is sorta the same trade, but in reverse. I bought back the 1285 option and sold the 1295. That was yesterday morning, 6 hours before close and expiration. Look at the difference in prices. I entered the trade on Jan 9, 2006. That's the value of time, laddies and gentlemen.

Why did I close down the trade? Because the SPX was knockin' at the door at about 1283. I got out of it for a debit of about $1,500. I then rolled right into a March position further away in price and time (1300/1310) for a credit of $3,000. NEVER LOSE MONEY. I turned a $1,500 loss into a $1,500 gain. More than that: since the SPX settlement price was 1288.99, had I not bailed on the trade at a $1,500 loss that I turned into a $1,500 gain, I'd be looking at a $8,899 loss. Making up for that would have required a lot more contracts a lot "closer to the money" than the position I sold at 1300 on the roll out to March with lots more time value.

The other thing is how risk is calculated. You see calls and puts on the chart. The calls are above where the index is trading; the puts are below. Only one side is at risk. You don't know which, of course, until later, but whichever it is, the other side is essentially infinite return, as there's no risk.

Finally, this is not a typical month. I just started the "Report Card," but had I done one for January, it would have shown a loss of $4,244.40. Combined is a return of about 20% over both months, or 10% per month. What's key here is that I was able to take some losing positions in January and roll them into winners in February, except for the one I described above, which I rolled into March. Don't lose money. Just don't.

Next month I'll try to introduce some graphs.

By the way, anybody can do this. It may sound complicated. It's not. It's also not hard. I'm not doing this to brag, but to engage in some good will, in hopes that people who read my blog find something that improves their lives. Money may not buy happiness, but poverty doesn't buy a damned thing.

I am not an expert at this. A novice, at best. To learn it, get hold of my buddy Craig right over here. Get the trading guide. Have him coach you. Get the daily newsletter. Profit. I honestly don't know what size of trading account would be considered minimum because of the minimum commissions. I'd guess in the area of about $20,000.

Update: Oops. I made an error in reporting the potential loss on the 1285/1295 Feb Call had I let it go to expiration. It wouldn't have been $8,899, but $3,899. That's what would have been withdrawn from my account at settlement had I just let it go. Instead, I rolled to a trade that added about $1,500. Also, I took a peek at March, since all but one of my planned trades have been executed. I'm leaving 40% of my account equity out of play in order to defend a bad trade--if I need to--and/or to get in on April options prior to my March positions expiring and freeing up the maintenance dollars necessary to place more trades. Anyway, should all my March positions expire OTM (out of the money), I'll post profit of about $8,100 or 22% return on risk. If I can my order for 10 contracts of the 1190/1200 Mar Put at my desired $0.60 credit per share, it will add another $550 after commissions and boost my return on risk to 24% for the month.

Worth a Look

It's just the company I keep, but I see good photos and videos of hang-gliding activities from around the world on almost a daily basis. Every now and then, some photos come along, the quality and subject matter of which demand that I share.


This and about a dozen others right over here. These are taken in France; I believe during the recent 32nd Coupe Icare (Icarus Cup) at St. Hilaire du Touvet. The guy is soaring the ridge lift, of course, flying the latest version of A-I-R's ATOS, the VR. I had an older model of the ATOS, but sold it last fall.

Of course, never forget the best thing of all. These wings all fold up (this one weights in at about 95 lbs.) and pop right on the top of your car or truck for easy transport to almost anywhere, like this.

“Darwin” Indeed

"A 'Darwin' man" in more ways than one.

Home Improvement

The problem: nice teakwood furniture on an ugly deck.

(click each image for a clearer view)


The grand plan:


The materials, pre-cut according to plan:


Getting started:


Section one of eight done. Since the deck has a slight slope to the drain, sections should allow for that:


The finished solution. Can you say "better?"





Finally got a chance to begin watching some of the DVR content from the Olympics last night.

It's getting really simple, folks. If you aren't watching this on a wide-screen in HDTV format, you aren't watching the Olympics. You aren't even watching TV. The difference is as dramatic as comparing one of those 50's port-hole black & whites with a modern color TV. You really need to beg, borrow, perhaps even steal to get it. Hell, you're all stealin' from each other everyday anyway... Hey, maybe you can get the folks across the street to vote to have the people on your side of the street pay to get you set up with a good 40-incher or better, and all the trappings. Then, it won't really be stealing, would it? Someone voted on it.

That is all.

“Paradise Zimbabwe”

The U-turn is expected to be announced within days. The ruling Zanu-PF party's politburo has been informed and selected journalists in the state-controlled media have been briefed on how to spin the policy reversal.

I can pretty much guess how that "spin" is going to go: the inadequacies of the indigenous black population to grow enough to feed themselves will be blamed on "generations of white domination," or some other such rot.

So, in case you haven't picked up on what this is about:

President Robert Mugabe has begun to reverse his "insane" land grab [i.e., 100% taxation] and offer some white farmers the chance to lease back their holdings in Zimbabwe.

With the fastest shrinking economy in the world, Mr Mugabe has had to backtrack on six years of chaos and his own determination to rid the country of all white farmers.

In an orgy of violence, Mr Mugabe seized [i.e., 100% taxation] the land, homes, equipment and infrastructure of about 4,000 white commercial farmers who produced almost half of Zimbabwe's foreign currency.

So, now they have an annual inflation rate of somewhere between 800 and 1000%. Of course, as the article points out, it's the fault of economic sanctions. That they stole--taxed 100%--everything owned by the most productive people in the country couldn't have anything to do with it.

This should be a lesson to all of you morons out there. There is no level of theft (taxes, etc.) that makes you the slightest bit better off, unless you're a leeching parasite to begin with. Taxes, by definition, are paid by the productive. There is nothing you can take away (steal) from a productive person that makes him more productive. Big duh.

It's all quite simple, which is why the most of you are such complete idiots..

(tips to Beck, who stole a funny subject line)

Ten BILLION Dollars

To be said with a Dr. Evil flair

That's what it looks like is at stake with the Virgin Galactic endeavor that's building five ships in the Mojave desert to take people into space, beginning in 2008. 50,000 people have put their names down for the $200,000 tickets. Do the math.

Well, that's more than a bit above my own current price point. But as my price point increases (which I'd peg at about $20,000 right this minute) with increasing net worth, the price should also come down. So, perhaps there is hope that we'll happily meet at some mutually agreeable point in the not-too-distant future.

Cartoons? I Live in a Goddamned Cartoon

I've been considering different angles on the Danish cartoon fiasco for a few days. Here they are, in no particular order of importance--and not necessarily exhaustively expounded upon. Food for thought.

+ Civility, manners, tolerance, and perhaps respect of the idiosyncrasies, traditions, beliefs, rituals, symbols, customs, etc. of others is reasonable behavior, but doesn't that sword cut both ways? Isn't it so, that the most outlandish, ridiculous, closed-off belief systems are the least respectful of others' beliefs and symbols?

+ Keep in mind that this does not rise to the level of moral issue until the "offended party" threatens or initiates violence. Only then is it a moral issue, and the "offended party" is in the wrong. If I want to be a jerk in word and attitude, it is my right as it is the right of others not to associate with me. If, instead, they vow to kill me, then, well, don't I have a sort of an ex-post facto justification for mocking them and their beliefs, symbols, and everything they're about in the first place--particularly if I have good reason to know what their reaction will be? Anyone with the capacity to use violence against mocking words or images ought to be relentlessly mocked until they get over such a juvenile capacity, or until someone rightfully blows their brains out in self-defense.

+ Can anyone make a case for a moral imperative to make fun of or mock beliefs and their symbolic representations--no matter their power to inspire--that do not possess any demonstrated factual basis in reality, but which guide people's behavior--often to the danger and detriment of others--nonetheless? Just for the sake of argument, assume that all religious beliefs are false. Given the history of civilization over the last 3 millennia, how do you suppose the "guiding hand" of such fantasies--having no essential correlation with reality--affected that history? How about the the general religious tendency of stifling and interdicting human knowledge and scientific advancement? For those individualists who lament that, "but for this (the state), we could be free," I say: but for this and that (the church), we could be free and living lives hundreds of years long, maybe longer. It is, after all, man's life that is what this is all about, and there is a distinct difference between the Catholic terror of the Dark Ages and its 20-year lifespans and the 70 years we get today, now that that particular institution has been relatively put in its place.

+ If Islamic terrorism were just the work of a few isolated crazies, then that is a different context from that in which you have institutional Islamic terrorism, i.e., sponsored, promoted, and morally sanctioned by states, mosques, multiple sects, and reasonably large groups of people. At the same time, there is very little outcry from the the practicing Muslim population. Back up a few hundred years. Is anyone trying to tell me that the Catholic Church should not have been mocked and ridiculed right straight into the ground for its persecution of "heretics," its treatment of women in general, and its dictatorial reign over virtually the entirety of Europe?

It's too bad, really, that some sane people didn't mock and ridicule the holly hell out of that medieval evil insanity, the Roman Catholic Church (for instance; there are many other examples). Of course, they couldn't, could they? They'd have been burned at the stake, right? Please, tell me what's not to mock. Tell me what's to respect and cherish.

It's really simple: All religions, every single one, are completely and totally full of shit. What's more, they all take themselves far too seriously, which is at the root of two millennia of "holy wars" that amount to nothing, NOTHING more than "my tooth fairy is better than your tooth fairy."

I live in a world full of children who believe in Santa Clause, all the while admonishing me how very important it is to help them in keeping this illusion propped up, because it's so comfy and cute. Well, I ain't buyin' it, and I will ridicule, mock, and curse everything about it unto my very last breath.


Because for what could have been, but isn't, and probably won't be in my lifetime, which is the lifetime that happens to matter the most to me. And it's all because of the church-state stranglehold throughout human history. They are two sides of the exact same coin. Individualists who aren't equally condemning the church, along with the state, are only fighting half the battle.

It is principally through the epistemologic destruction rendered by the church and its parental agents and institutional allies that we live in a world that can't really think.

Pop Quiz

OK, there's two children, aged 12 and 15 years. They don't go to public school. They don't go to private school. Their parents don't formally home school them. They are, in fact, unschooled in the sense we think about schooling. Their father earned a PhD in physics from Harvard, has authored an economics text book on price theory and several other books covering economics and the law, and he's an academic economist who teaches at a law school and has never taken a course for credit in either field. Their grandfather, also well-schooled, won a Nobel Prize.

All this academia, and yet they don't send their kids off to school. Not even to the elite ones. Surely, if anyone sees the necessity of rigorous schooling, it would be their father and grandfather, eh? The father writes in a bog:

There are a number of alternatives to the conventional model. The one we have chosen is unschooling–leaving our children free to control their own time, learn whatever they find of interest. I sometimes describe it as throwing books at them and seeing which ones stick. In our case the sticky ones included The Selfish Gene (my daughter at about 12), How to Lie With Statistics (both kids), How to Take A Chance (a popular book on probability theory, of especial interest to my son, at about ten, because of his interest in role playing games), and lots of fiction, much of it intended for adults.

No doubt they will end up not knowing several of the things on the standard curriculum–as will many of those subject to it. But my son has learned more history and geography from books and computer games than he would have in elementary school history classes–and avoided the fatal lesson that learning things is boring work, to be avoided whenever possible. My daughter has some catching up to do in math before she is ready for college–but both kids regard solving two equations with two unknowns (and integer solutions) as an entertaining puzzle.

In the background, as I write this, my daughter is practicing on her harp. Without anyone telling her to.

I get it. I pretty much loathed school, although I did pretty well academically in high school. In college, I did well in the courses I found interesting and poorly in the required courses I found boring, or of no use. Most courses were of no use.

It was eight years after I graduated college that I really began learning. I learned more in two years of self-motivated study from 1990 to 1992 than in had in total in the previous 30 years of my life.

OK, so who is the grandfather? Go ahead and answer in comments. Here's a clue, and there are a lot of comments worth reading at that link.

Propping Up the Illusion

Well I'd wanted to jot something down about "Ugly and Uglier" (Jagger & Richards), but I see plenty out there already. Yea, they probably ought to call it quits; but I sure as hell wouldn't. Good for them, I say.

So I found something else to blog. Stories right here, and here. Let's not conflate everything, K? We're not talking here about a bunch of mindless yokels coming out to get in the way of professionals doing a professional job that calls for the expertise of only trained professionals.

What we're talking about, it seems clear to me, is trained and competent people able to produce results that the "authorities" either could not or would not produce.

[Capt. Jerry Smith] said the nighttime toe-in maneuver was too risky. "I would not have allowed our pilots to do that mission," he said.

Obviously, since other people with their own lives to risk--not to mention that fact that the helicopter was owned by one of the rescuers and not "we the people"--pulled off the rescue.

Pete Cunha, a local California Highway Patrol pilot contacted by the newspaper, also said rescuers should have left the task to experts. "It's not a game for amateurs," said Cunha. CHP has a couple of night-capable Eurocopter 305s but won't fly them in rough terrain at night. He said the authorities have to keep control of these types of operations.

AVweb is a bit more restrained than I in their parenthetical remark to this "(even if they can't or won't participate in them)". Hey, Peter "Cunt-ha," you miserable little pussy: It is you who ought to either, go do the job yourself, you fucking sissy, or at least have the manhood to pay proper respect and homage to those who do.

Wanted Dead or Alive

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was sometime in the mid-to-late 80s, sitting in some bar outside the naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, having a beer or two before making my way home about 10 clicks to Hayama, on the other side of the peninsula. They were playing some music videos on the TV, and suddenly, there's this appealing ballad-sounding sort of song backed by a back & white video.

It's Bon Jovi doing a song called Wanted Dead or Alive. I sat there mesmerized for the next three minutes or so. Rather than a set-production video, it's simply B & W clips from the band on the road and performing. In essence, it turns out to be a 3-minute mini-anthology of what a tough, tough life they live on the road.

That was to become my favorite music video of all time and nothing I've seen since has ever come even slightly close. Funny thing is, I'm not even a Bon Jovi fan, particularly. On the other hand, I love it when metal bands do songs that start off as sort of a slow-moving ballad that at some point bashes you against the head with full-on screaming metal guitar.

So, what brought this up? Kind of a long story, but my TV situation has sucked since we moved in November. At the house, I was rigged to the hilt with satellite and off-air antenna, TiVo, HDTV, etc. But these new construction lofts, though they have a satellite dish on the roof, can only accommodate some of the services, not all. After giving up on trying to get the builder to add the necessary muti-switch, pull two more cables, and split in an off-air digital antenna, I just called Comcast and got their setup.

Turns out it's not as bad as I thought it would be, and in fact, is quite good. I've got two-tuner DVRs with HDTV in both locations. And, we now have On-Demand. If you don't know what that is, it's like when you're in a hotel and you can watch whatever is on the menu whenever you want. Only with this, they've got hundreds of things to choose from: movies, TV series, sports, special events, and... music. Turns out they're running a Bon Jovi special, and I wasted no time in going to see if they had that video. They did. I guess they redid the video in 2001, which they had also. It's OK, but, you know; when you get something perfect, there's just no improving on it.

I walk these streets, a loaded six string on my back
I play for keeps, ’cause I might not make it back
I been everywhere, still I’m standing tall
I’ve seen a million faces an
I’ve rocked them all

Brokeback to the Future

Perhaps the only thing funnier than the way the echo-chamber of Hollywood and its media sycophants are promoting Brokeback Mountain--reminiscent of an overly-defensive white guy exclaiming, "I like black people"--is this trailer for the upcoming release of Brokeback to the Future. (via Hit & Run)

I guess the other message is that you can make a movie trailer to be anything you want it to be. Don't believe me? Remember the film The Shining? Yea? Well check out the trailer for this new release.

Capitalism in One Lesson

Perhaps you've heard of the announcement by BB&T not to take part in commercial lending on projects that involve eminent domain. Good for them. Better late than never, in this case.

One of the links in that article linked to above is to BB&T's vision, mission and purpose page. Go read that and tell me it's not just one great concise package on what capitalism is all about. Every essential and implication is right there.

Update: OK, I just did a bit more digging. Go read BB&T's values page. Keep in mind that we're not talking about some mom & pop, here. BB&T is the nation's 9th largest holding bank with $109 billion in assets. I would venture that there in no company in the world of this import that has anything even remotely like this on their website. It is at once sad and encouraging. Well, that does it. I am contacting them to begin both a personal banking relationship and a business one as well.

“No Respect”

After a long day of utter outrage, the other day (watch the video, if you haven't already), I posted a clarification of what this is all about. And; because I had quoted Billy, I went ahead and emailed him, asking for his opinion.

Go read his response, then come on back.

He makes two undeniably good points. Can you really say that there are any good cops at all, when the stuff that I've been reporting on (a small percentage of the rotten crap taking place) exists and there is absolutely no detectable movement anywhere amongst police officers themselves to root out this contemptible evil at any cost--even, and perhaps especially, turning in their own badges? And yep, they still all wear the same uniform. I know for a fact that there are lions that have been trained and domesticated to the point of being pussycats. But they still look exactly like the ones that can and will tear your head off your shoulders in under a second.

I guess that wanting to have good cops and wanting to like and respect them is just about as close as we're going to get.

That’s Entertainment

I just have to wonder. You know, government has essentially become a TV show. What, with real-time cable news and commentary--not forgetting the whores on both sides of the congressional isle, ready 24/7 to sit for an interview--to entertain us, local news, and of course, the broadcast extravaganzas like last night's State of the Union, the political conventions, the debates, etc...

Now, I've always loved the detective shows, where responsible and deliberate people use their minds and ability to sort out reality: to nab real doers of harm. But then you have shows like Cops, and you get a mix. Some of the subjects are dangerous, and indeed, need to be taken down (don't think for a second I care who takes them down: any 90-year-old grandmother has every bit the moral authority of any cop--cops are just professionals to a task). Others are just annoyances and the cops only make everything more annoying. Other times, often even, they stick their noses into things that simply aren't their business. I guess they missed that lesson from mom.

And then you have SWAT, the very acronym of which has come to represent, for me, something perverse, when it used to represent a boisterous lust for righteous justice.

But that's all superseded, now. SWAT is a TV show. That pretty much guarantees that the entertainment value will far outstrip any call to actual serious deliberation, thought, or introspection on the part of viewers as to what is actually taking place, to real live people with real lives. I mean, after all, youse all vote every two years to steal from your neighbors in order to pay for something you want. You're entertained and delighted by the whole process. Why should I expect any of you miserable reprobates to act any differently when it comes to the real lives of real human beings?

Huh? Tell me why. So, I'm left with essentially nothing but to be thoroughly disgusted by almost everybody.


There's an aspect of this earlier post today that bears clarification. Billy Beck says, in the post I referenced:

There is something terribly wrong with cops, now. I can directly recall a time in my life when something like this would not have happened because cops still retained at least vestiges of two things: 1) something of a capacity for reason, being able to sort out the dangers involved in this sort of thing, and 2) an element of courage requisite to facing those dangers with the responsibility that necessarily complimented their authority to wield deadly force.

So I created a The Hate File, and let me just tell you, just like I had to tell a neighbor, the other day, who happened onto my blog. That section is reserved for actions, not thoughts and beliefs. Anyone is perfectly free to spew forth whatever flaming nonsense they want without a fear in the world of ending up there. No, that is reserved for actions that do harm to harmless people, either intentionally or through error, but always under the assertion of authority.

I want to like and respect cops. It's not like I can't acknowledge a basic societal need for police work. There is a fundamental moral authority, and indeed, responsibility, that accrues to all rational adults--and I would single out men, owing to their general physical attributes. Valid police work is nothing more than a professionalization of that moral authority and responsibility, which I have no problem with--done rationally and honestly.

I frequent a cafe where I have breakfast regularly and which is frequented by uniformed cops on the weekdays. I hear them talk. For the most part, they're regular guys, and when they talk shop, I hear and get where they're coming from. I know that I'm never going to have a problem with most of them. I admire those younger, idealistic ones. Clean cut. Meticulously pressed uniforms. Military creases. Reminds me of my own days in uniform as a young Naval officer. If they understand and take seriously and rationally their professional role, not only should no one ever have fear of them, we ought to be able to cherish and respect them. I really want to be able to do that.

One of my dad's younger brothers in a retired Reno cop and he's one of my favorite people in the world. He never hurt a single harmless person in his life, and in fact, "took" a bullet as a young cop from someone not so harmless. His lucky stars were out that night. The bullet went through his windshield, ricocheted off his badge (no bullet proof vests in those days), bounced off the inside of his arm (creating a massive bruise), and lodged in his shirt pocket. No shit. Yea, I digress.

So, The Hate File is only half hate. The rest is sorrow and remorse for what ought to be a source of deep admiration.