Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Dream Of Christmas

They said there'll be snow at christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth
I remember one christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of christmas…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Heavenly Waltz




NASA's Juno Gives Starship-Like View of Earth Flyby
If Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise said, ‘Take us home, Scotty,’ this is what the crew would see," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio. “In the movie, you ride aboard Juno as it approaches Earth and then soars off into the blackness of space. No previous view of our world has ever captured the heavenly waltz of Earth and moon."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Where Were You On November 22, 1963?

"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.
"And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.
"For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Diamonds and Rust

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow

My first computer was an Apple Macintosh SE, purchased for about $2,500 in the fall of 1987. Although since that first Mac I have owned, a few, "Windows," PC's for business purposes, those Window's laced morasses of confusion were never used as my main computer. But for a couple stock trading platforms, they were never touched. Since that first Mac in 1987, I have been more loyal to Apple than I have been to any person, place or thing in my life. Who does that? Who creates an object that becomes your constant friend and companion for over three decades? I know there are detractors who will point to some obscure geek somewhere who was light years ahead of Steve Jobs and Apple. But no one person is more deserving of our awe than the one visionary of our lifetime who actually transformed his vision into our realities, into our pockets, on our screens and into just about every moment of our lives.

From a speech given by Steve Jobs at the 1983 International Design Conference in Aspen:

He mentions that computers are so fast they are like magic. I don’t think it is a coincidence that he called the iPad “magical”;

He states that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars;

He equates society’s level of technology familiarity to being on a “first date” with personal computers;

He confidently talks about the personal computer being a new medium of communication;

He matter-of-factly states that when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail. Again, this is 1983, at least 20 years before the era of mobile computing;

He says Apple’s strategy is to “put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you that you can learn how to use in 20 minutes”;

Steve Jobs died on October 11, 2011 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. No doubt, some other visionary will cure pancreatic cancer in the years ahead.

His family released a statement saying that he "died peacefully." His sister, Mona Simpson, described his passing thus: "Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times. Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW." He then lost consciousness and died several hours later.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

For A Dancer

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down

I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you'd always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found

I met Ellen in 1974 at a dance party at my house near Boston. Several friends and I were living there while in law school. She and I danced all night, dated for a few months and then lived together for about a year in Framingham. It all ended on a Sunday morning at Logan Airport. I was heading for a year of tax law at Emory in Atlanta. She was going to a wedding after dropping me off. We were supposed to be going to that wedding together, but stuff happens. I still see her in that dress, beautiful as I ever remember her, even with the tears flowing down her face. When the end comes, it just bludgeons. Three years ago I heard from a mutual friend that she lost a long battle with cancer. She died alone, never married, never had kids, never had that life she once dreamed about...probably with me. When the end comes, it just bludgeons.
I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening

And I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
'cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
No matter what fate chooses to play
there's nothing you can do about it anyway

Fast forward, August, 2013. I heard Jackson Browne's, For A Dancer, in the car yesterday and there she was again, all dressed up, looking beautiful, her eyes filled with all of those tears....the ones I had so heartlessly given to her. This time, I reciprocated.
Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around

That was one hell of a dance party. There were at least 150 people from three different law schools with assorted roommates and friends, all dancing in unison in that broken down house right next to a Catholic church in Newton Centre. The neighbors called the police to complain about being old, but with a house full of lawyer-wannabies, they never stood a chance. We had other problems, anyway. It was at the very beginning of the disco years and there was a contingent of the disco cult there who kept trying to sneak in this odd sounding disco crap instead of our rock and roll dancing drunk music. That's how Ellen and I met, guarding our Rolling Stones from the beautiful people.

Memories sneak up on me way too often these days.

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you'll never know


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Woodstock at 44

We were four, my college hockey teammate and good friend Bob, his younger brother Eric, my first love, Claudia and of course, me. We travelled from Detroit to upstate New York for a weekend concert that became an icon of our generation. It was free, wet, cold, but most of all, it was history. I'll never forget a miserable, muddy minute of it. We were up all weekend in an off and on again cold rain, our sleeping bags lost the first night to the mud and filth.

At 10:30pm Saturday night it was the Grateful Dead, at midnight, Credence Clearwater, at 2:00am Janis Joplin and at 3:30am a riveting get-up-and-dance party hosted by Sly & the Family Stone. Then came the first light of Sunday morning along with the The Who and the first of three times in my life I heard them perform live their masterpiece rock opera, Tommy.

About two hours after The Who finished their set, the sun finally came out, followed by Jefferson Airplane and around 8:00am Sunday morning, we all had breakfast. There were some really great performances that weekend and this one below maybe pales in comparison to Hendrix, The Who and The Grateful Dead...but it could have been the most poignant performance of them all.

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Moon's a Harsh Mistress


Life evolves. It twists, turns, then befuddles in ways that are and always have been a dark, overwhelming mystery to me.

Maybe there's an answer at the end of this journey. An explanation for all that passes.

Loss falls hollow on this quiet night. Emotionless, a remnant dangling from love's demise.

This music is hauntingly beautiful. It crosses my path, once again.



Monday, July 29, 2013

Black Day in July

"As a child during the 1960′s I would fall asleep listening to the Detroit Tigers on my transistor radio. Growing up less than an hour northwest of Detroit made it convenient to attend ballgames, go to the Detroit Zoo, and visit some of the other area attractions. Today, it is with sadness that I write about the financial crisis facing this city. Due to a variety of reasons, Detroit’s fiscal problems have led them to file the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Let It Rain

Faced with the truth
you don't want to believe
that a man never lived without dying
Remember the things that you wanted to be
has a man ever failed without trying

If an action speaks louder than words that you say
Well here's to a life without meaning
Tomorrow won't happen, there's only today
Can a man truly live without dreaming?

Let it rain, let it rain

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Magic Man

If you use an iPhone, push the Home button and ask Siri, "Where was the magic man born?" She will say:
"Pavel Datsyuk was born in Sverdlovsk, Russia."


Pavel Datsyuk on Red Wings’ future, Winter Classic and making opponents look silly (Puck Daddy Interview)
Yahoo Sports: Henrik Zetterberg was named team captain this season. How did he transition to being the captain?

Datsyuk: How? He cut out the letter “C” and stitched it on to his jersey, that’s how.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Days Like This


When no one steps on my dreams there'll be days like this
When people understand what I mean there'll be days like this
When you ring out the changes of how everything is
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fathers are Free

They come as standard equipment, with an unspecified manufacturer's warranty. Annual maintenance is mandatory, with a specified date each year for inspection, review and appreciation. This minimal service is necessary for optimal performance. Additional servicing throughout the year is optional and will vary from family to family.

Optional Packages

Daughters: The bond between fathers and daughters is especially exquisite: Delicate, yet powerful; vulnerable, yet invincible.

Memories: Years that are colored with the subtlest of pastels.
Unfurled, then revealed as smiles on a beach in May.


Happy Father's Day, Dad. Look at what you did: For me and the granddaughters you never knew.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Help Me, Help Me, Help Me

The tax man's taken all my dough,
And left me in my stately home,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
And I can't sail my yacht,
He's taken everything I've got,
All I've got's this sunny afternoon.

Maybe the most poignant song ever....at least on this annual anniversary of altruism, i.e. April 15th. Tax filings and our faces are probably the two biggest constants in our lives, they just don't change. One can argue that our faces change, but that is more erosion than change.

My girlfriend's run off with my car,
And gone back to her ma and pa,
Telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty.
Now I'm sitting here,
Sipping at my ice cold beer,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.

Why can't I be this guy? Drunk, cruel, a car worth stealing, a taste for beer? Ok, I have a relatively nice car, but I am not a drunk, I am the opposite of cruel and my drink of choice is a Manhattan, Jack, on the rocks. Nor have I ever done anything even remotely deserving my girlfriend running away from me to go back to her parents. (But how I have fantasized about it.)

Help me, help me, help me sail away,
Well give me two good reasons why I oughta stay.
'Cause I love to live so pleasantly,
Live this life of luxury,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
In the summertime
In the summertime
In the summertime

There is almost never a perfect time to do anything. But contemplate the idea, the possibilities, the dangers and the adventure, that shining moment of the, "sail away," daydream that we all have had, or maybe continue to have, or are haunted by having. Yes, there still may be an April 15th at the end of that rainbow, but so what?

A


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Why Everyone Should Take The Next Market Sell Signal


The story being told by these charts is not a signal to sell the market. It is suggestion that when the Intermediate (Daily) Trend Models reverse Short, that the trade will have significant downside potential.

More on this, along with trading ideas. if and when the models reverse down.




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Old Man

There are several videos of Neil Young performing, "Old Man," on YouTube. But this one is especially poignant, taken from his performance at the Grand Ole Opry in 2006. At the time, he was 61 years old. That makes him now 68 and makes this song 7 years more poignant. Many of us remember Neil at 24 and aged right along with him. I always think he is singing this song for me.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Important Weekend Update: March 9, 2013


What follows is my Weekend Update for March 9, 2013 which I sent out to AllanTrends subscribers earlier this morning. In the 3 1/2 years I've been sending out Updates, this is the first one I labeled, "Important." Not that the others weren't important, just that this one was very important. Not that the others weren't very important, this one was very, very, important. You get the idea. Note especially the paragraph where I address the so-called "average 13% annual returns of the stock market," that paragraph is even more important than the others.

Weekly Market Analysis


I’ve covered this topic many times before, but it is so vitally important for making money in the market and in particular, making the highest and best use of this service, that I am covering it again.

Trend Following

Trend following is an investment strategy based on the technical analysis of market prices, rather than on the fundamental strengths of the companies. It tries to take advantage of long, medium and short-term moves that seem to play out in various financial markets. The strategy aims to work on the market trend mechanism and is intended to be capable of making profits from both the ups and downs of the markets. Traders who use this approach can use current market price calculation…….and channel breakouts to determine the general direction of the market and to generate trade signals. Traders who employ this strategy do not aim to forecast or predict specific price levels; they simply jump on the trend and ride it.
At AllanTrends, we follow a proprietary trend line based on an Average True Range calculation that identifies dominant trends with a minimal (but necessary) amount of whipsaws. We take small losses as a price to pay for large, sometimes huge (GOOG, NFLX) gains. We use the trend line to exit or short stocks that are signaling the end of an uptrend and the beginning of at a minimum, an intermediate downtrend (AAPL). The same technique applies very effectively to intermediate and longer trends in market indices (DJIA, SPX and NASDAQ) as well as major commodity ETF’s (GLD, SLV, USO).

The stock market is now entering a period of frothy market sentiment. In his February monthly Elliott Wave Theorist, Robert Prechter identified 16 separate market sentiment indicators indicating extreme investor optimism (Market Vane’s Bullish Consensus, money market fund assets at record lows, insider selling, margin debt, volatility index at record lows, etc.). A top is almost certainly in the making.

But as trend followers, we continue to be Long the U.S. stock market. Until (and unless) the intermediate trend turns down and so long as the dominant trend is up, as the late (and great) Martin Zweig observed, “The trend is your friend.” In the 1st qtr of 2000, the market topped with the Nasdaq entering into an 80% decline over the next two years. During that same time, the S&P fell 50%. Yet, Buy & Hold advocates point to a 13% annual gain in the stock market over the past 20 years to herald the wisdom of just, Holding. Tell that to any of us who sat through 50% to 80% declines in 2000-2002 and again in 2007-2008. The likelihood of most investors holding through bear markets is slim to none, while the chances of selling out at or near the lows is extremely high.

By following the dominant trend, such personal financial calamities are impossible. The AllanTrends proprietary trend line doesn’t get out at the absolute top nor get you in at the absolute lows. But it does protect about 85% of the gains built up in bull markets and avoids about the same percentage of decline in the bear markets. For the more active investor, those 85% declines can be very profitable by shorting stocks and indexes and with the advent of inverse ETF’s make it easy to make money on the declines by simply owning an inverse ETF (DXD, SDS, TZA).

In other words, enjoy the party while it lasts, but let’s keep one eye on the door for accounting purposes, i.e. first in, first out. Taking that a step further, be prepared to use our trend models and the inverse ETF’s to extract exit tolls from those running out the door behind us. To everything, there is a season.












Saturday, February 23, 2013

Voice From The Past, Part II

In the Spring of 2009 an anonymous voice from my past,let's call him "Z," contacted me about buying Plantinum. With his permission, I shared his recommendation with my AllAllan readers, along with a suggestion to buy Plantinum futures and/or Stillwater Mining (SWC), the sole U.S. producer of Platinum and Palladium. Later in the year, I started my subscription service, AllanTrends.com, which despite being a commercial and personal success, Z made it clear that his future comments on the markets would no longer be allowed to be made public. It was a trade-off I was willing to make.



As you can see from the SWC chart, Stillwater rose from about $6 to just above $25 in the ensuing two years. This was the first and only trade that I posted from “Z”, although other private recommendations over the course of the three decades of our acquaintance were similarly successful. Had I acted upon what he described at the time as a, "Christmas gift," in early December, 1999 to, "Exit Stage Left," in reference to the tech bubble, I would be absolutely retired from this business, or any other business well before I turned 50. Some of his more dire predictions have yet to come to pass, as the equity markets continued to rise from the March, 2009 lows.

But that was then and this is now. “Z” called me, unexpectedly as always, this past week in what started as a philosophical-laced nostalgia of our times. The course of our conversation brought us to the subject of change and how no matter how prepared we think we are for the future, we are only truly living when the future takes us by surprise. In Z’s words, "Its the only way to live.....and the only satisfying, fulfilling way to die." I have no idea what that last caveat means, but of everyone I have ever known, this guy gets it.

This post isn't about whimsical reunions with intriguing characters from our past. It is about the second time Z has allowed me to make public one of his financial observations. It came only after I lamented that had I cashed out of my technology portfolio in December of 1999, how different my past 12 years would have been. Z, now very advanced in age in life, said he had a purpose for this call that might dovetail into that particular theme of regret.

Getting to the point of this blog and to paraphrase my friend, "Z", Europe, Asia and all global emerging markets are toast. When asked about North America, there was silence, followed by his observation that money that would normally be flowing into hard assets or other economies is disappearing. The billions being printed by the central banks around the globe is simply vanishing. Chaos is spreading across the very top echelon of the world's financial order. The central banks and their puppet masters are not squirreling away money in secret Swiss bank accounts, nor are they funneling these funds into safe havens, there are none. There is no secretive grand "New World Order" scheme, but a burgeoning, temporarily veiled, panic. This will not end well, says Z, if it ends at all.

Still paraphrasing, Z surmised that the slew of bearish global equity etf's will explode not unlike the tech bubble of 1998-1999. But he emphasized that while these bearish bets will likely rise commensurate with the declines world's economies, these gains will be short-lived. Paper assets of all kinds are destined to become worthless; stocks, bonds, currencies, anything paper. There is a window of opportunity to profit from shorting currencies and going long bearish etf's, especially those of the European Union and developing markets, but don't overstay your welcome, paper is going to zero in the next 18-24 months, as well as whatever the value of what is supposedly backing it all up.

Have a nice weekend.

A

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Every Absurdity Has A Champion To Defend It

Oliver Goldsmith, (born Nov. 10, 1730, Kilkenny West, County Westmeath, Ire.—died April 4, 1774, London), Anglo-Irish essayist, poet, novelist, dramatist, and eccentric, made famous by such works as the series of essays The Citizen of the World, or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher (1762), the poem The Deserted Village (1770), the novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), and the play She Stoops to Conquer (1773).

A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.

Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.

The hours that we pass with happy prospects in view are more pleasing than those crowned with success.

A man who leaves home to mend himself and others is a philosopher; but he who goes from country to country, guided by the blind impulse of curiosity, is a vagabond.

They may talk of a comet, or a burning mountain, or some such bagatelle; but to me a modest woman, dressed out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation.

Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.