Laszlo the DachsundWe have a 15 month old long haired miniature Dachshund, named Laszlo.


When we got him, my Sugar Momma very specifically told me that I couldn’t refer to him as a “replacement” for our dearly departed Golden Retriever, Murray. We had to love him for his own self and respect his own identity.


Well, Laszlo has this bad habit and he certainly has an identity all his own


He howls incessantly. Perched on an easy chair top and peering out the window of our cul-de-sac, whenever he sees a jogger or any casual stroller, he goes beserk. If you don’t immediately let him out, he starts a pitiful whining noise.


MurrayMurray, bless his soul. was as dumb as a door knob, but he was incredibly sweet. Don’t let the mortarboard on his head fool you. He wasn’t even GED material. But the personality more than offset the lack of intellect. Sure, he barked as well, but only because he wanted to play with people.


Laszlo just wants to bark.


When he gets near people, he just does more of the same.


There’s another important difference. Murray only breached the electric fence once in 12 years. He may have been stupid, but he wasn’t dumb. We’d let him out into our substantially sized yard and never have to worry whether he would chase some innocent passerby.


Laszlo seems to care less if he gets zapped. He spits in the eye of the invisible enemy. He never seems to get tired of barking sheerly for barking’s sake.But he’ll also then lunge past the boundaries when someone passes by. Occasionally, he’ll do that with a car, as well.


I have long thought Laszlo to be very smart, but still he is the Spawn of Satan.


He’s also seemed to learn how to communicate. We can tell the difference between his barks for people, other dogs and birds.


A lot of good that does us.


But, the really annoying habit is that at about 3:30 or so each morning, and the time has gotten consistently earlier as we approach the summer solstice, Laszlo has been catapaulting out of our bed and howling, while he runs downstairs to the front door.


Laszlo is smarter than we are. He knows that we won’t be consistent with him in our approach to his behaviors. Our kids had us figured out like that, as well. When she was just my wife and not my Sugar Momma we would argue over issues like that with the kids. Now that we are empty nesters and she is, in fact, my Sugar Momma, I defer to her on all issues of behavior management.


We’ve tried just letting him bark, figuring that he would poop out, but that has yet to be the case. He goes on and on, howling over some unseen critter in the yard. Since we’re surrounded by sheep, cows, horses, deer and Lord know what else, I assume he hears soem rustling and wants to fetch us a varmint.


Although we still haven’t figured out at what point Laszlo will give up, even a brief moment of silence would be incredibly welcome .


That was precisley the atmosphere in the markets today.


Six straight losing days. It just went on and on and on. There really wasn’t any end in sight. Despite the typical onslaught of economic data and political events, there really was nothing out of the ordinary.


At this point, how are we going to be surprised by disappointing jobs numbers? But dispite the release of the ADP numbers last Wednesday and the absolute conviction with which the official government numbers would be dreadful as well the following Friday, the market dumped yet again.


How long have we known about the Greek crisis? Did it take a genius to realize that the Japanese disaster would also wreak havoc on the earnings of a number of American companies?


Even more maddening, almost like a momentary stop in the spine tingling barking, there were a few days in the past couple of weeks that it appeared as if the markets were going to eke out a gain.


I’ve lost track of how many days in that time period I saw five digit gains turn into losses. I was actually ecstatic for the one day that a five digit gain remained that way, just as long as you counted the decimal points at he the end of the trading day.


Even when all of those nice kind hearted buyers just wanted to pick up some shares, the market just barked at them.


But you just don’t know what to do. Just like with Laszlo, I know that yelling won’t help anything. Giving in, selling shares at a loss only reinforces bad behavior.


Sometimes all you can hope for is that the evil beast poops out and just has to take a breather.


That’s what happened today.


By 3 PM, the market had reached a gain of about 130 points. I squeezed out a few trades to capture a couple of more pennies from those weekly call options.


I bought back some $42 JP Morgan options and quickly resold them at $41. I also sold some AIG calls on my remaining shares. Both closed the day in the money.


I also sold some weekly $135 Goldman Sachs, which briefy went over the mark, but settled the day below $134.


I’m not sure what statment I was sending with those trades, other than my desperation to bring in a few more dollars of income, which is how I treat the options premiums.


In reality, I was saying that I didn’t believe that there would be follow through on the upward climb on Friday, the expiration date of many of my call options.


I was betting that the barking would start all over again.


Playing to script, by the time the final bell rang, the market closed up a respectable 76 points, but still, that was a sizeable drop from its intra-day high.


Was today just a Satan like breather or are we going somewhere far better?


It felt so good to see that everyone of my holdings stayed in the green. In all, only 4 of the 60 or so stocks that I follow lost money today.


Even RIMM and Goldman Sachs closed higher today. When was the last time that happened?


Even though I’m usually an optimist, I don’t think Laszlo will mellow out in the near future. I think that he’s going to continue getting up at ungodly hours until the frost comes. I think that whatever sounds of silence that we hear will just be momentary spells of silence, when he’s just a bit too tired and needs to actually breathe.


As far as the market goes, even though I made a few  bearish kind of trades today, I’m still hopeful. Hopeful that todays gain, despite the breather at the end of the day, is part of the market returning to a more acceptible behavior.


What really bothers me about this bearish beast of a dog is that he is also very hard to catch. Good old Murray would walk right up to you and never tried to run away. Laszlo plays this game and scampers away whenever you get close. Tantalizingly close, but not close enough. Just like market profits these days, he’s very elusive.


But at least I went to bed last night a little less nervous and at the very least, I can still dream about Murray while Satan is at my back.


As I do so, I think what we need is just a big capitulation. I think I need to let the dog out, just get it out of his system.


Maybe that’s what all of the barking is about. Once he realizes that he can’t catch the critters grabbing his attention, maybe Laszlo will throw it in and exorcise his demons.


Hmm. Maybe the market needs to do the same.


 

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