What’s in the Szelhamos Portfolio?








 


When I was younger, as kids, we were amazed by advances in technology.


OperationI can still remember when games like Hungry Hungry Hippo and Mousetrap came out. Those were just amazing. Who ever would have believed that a board game could have moving parts?


Easy Money, Careers, even Chutes and Ladders were consigned to the dust bin of gaming history.


Of course, then Operation hit the market. That blew us all away. Flashing lights and a buzzer, all hand controlled.


I can just picture a young Steve Jobs trying to figure out an even better hand held device to use in playing Operation.


Things were, I guess, a bit different back then.


Today came a much awaited new product introduction.


After it was all said and done, there really wasn’t any new technology unveiled. Just a new product line and lots of talk of synergistic markets.


And the cloud. There has to be discussion of cloud strategy.


But as he was making the product presentation, there was the faint thought that Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, was channeling just a little bit of Steve Jobs.


And that’s where the entire day was focused. Not just on the new Kindle line of products, the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire, but just who gets impacted by the New Kid on the Block, whose CD’s coincidentally enough are avaiable both through Amazon and the iTunes store.


Who knew that I could so subtly do product placement?


The comparisons to the iPad were obligatory and obvious, but as I watched, it reminded me of the prevailing arguments back in my day.


Back then, in New York, stickball was a popular game. But stickball, as practiced in Brooklyn, was very different from that game which we played in The Bronx.


All they really had in common was the stickball bat, usually a broom handle. The playing fields were different, but most importantly, the ball of choice was different.


You were either a “Spalding” Stalwart or a “Pensy Pinky” Proponent.


Obviously, no one was actually called either of those. Poetic license didn’t translate well onto the stickball field, unless you liked getting the crap beat out of you.


You could never get the Brooklyn Pinkies to agree with the Spalding Bronx fans.


Once, I went to visit my friend, Sidney, whose family had moved from The Bronx to Brooklyn. I couldn’t believe that he had turned on his stickball roots, insisting that we play with that mushy Pensy Pinky. It had no bounce. None, at all. To this day, I can still feel it in my hand, like a rotting cantelope.


And we now know how dangerous cantelopes can be, but at least they bounce better than bean sprouts.


You couldn’t even find a Brooklyn store that carried the Spalding, as distribution of the balls must have been under mob control.


Not tht the mob is involved here, but good luck trying to get one of the new Kindles. Talk about control. You’ll have to wait until November.


Or you could get one of those fine RIM Playbooks or H&P Tablets that are helping their companies achieve no lows, without a bounce anywhere on the horizon.


Although, to put a positive spin on things, I do plan to put together a new “Yesterday’s Technolgy ETF” and that should have some positive impact on RIMM and Hewlett Packard.


Of course, it’s still not clear to me how we’ll create the Yesterday’s Technology UltraShort ETF and what effect that may have on share price. We’re still deciding whether to use the Palo Alto Morning FIx or some byzantine algorithm.


Back when I was even younger and not quite up to the task of stickball, I can still remember playing with a Spalding and bouncing it on the sidewalk, while singing the nursery rhyme:


Bouncy, bouncy, bally.


I don’t remember the other lines, but I do remember that ball routinely bouncing over my head.


I used to love bouncing that ball, especially watching it soar so high, always recovering from its fall.


Maybe that explains why I enjoy the bounces in the markets and am always optimistic that if I can catch it after the bounce, the fun can start all over again.


Some bounces are better than others, though.


The bounce that I liked was one that let me resell those ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF’s that I bought back yesterday. I was able to do that because silver fell big today, just as it had gone up big yesterday, just after a series of big falls the days before.


Bouncy, bouncy. Buying the contracts back was just like catching it and selling it again was just like starting that whole bouncy process over again.


Then there’s the kind of bounce that if you’re not careful takes you right into oncoming traffic.


That was the bounce I didn’t like. The bounce took an up 100 market into one that closed down almost 200. All of the call contract sales I had been hoping to make just disappeared from view. Once the high of 100 points was hit, that ball may as well have been used for bowling, because there was no going up after that drop.


The news that ptresumably sent the market into a tailspin had nothing to do with an Apple – Amazon war, which may actually be much ado about nothing. The real losersare likely to be the usual suspects. See if you can guess.


Instead the suddenmarket drop was related to more fears that the EU may not be able to come to an agreement as quickly as we’d all like to help resolve the European banking crisis.


The rumors of good news and the rumors of bad news just keep alternating and playing our emotions. Just think of a crazed bouncing ball that somehow keeps escaping your grasp.


No matter. The joy is still there.


I don’t know if I’ll ever buy a new Kindle iPad Killer wannabe device. But somedays I’d like to take all of those  miracles of modern engineering and technology and see if they bounce. I hve just the concrete pad to try it on.


That would bring the fun right back equally in Brooklyn and The Bronx.


 


 


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