What’s in the Szelhamos Portfolio?








 


I’m old enough that I should be able to exercise some kind of self-restraint.


I’ve already confessed to my need to “Feed the Beast” and nothing seems to be able to tame that desire other than the lack of available cash. Unlike others that have to commit felonies to feed their beast, that’s a place I’m not willing to go.


Yet.


In terms of falling prey to consumption, fads and bodily desires, I’ve been pretty good at resisting those temptations, especially if you have a lax definition of “pretty good”.


Sort of like the floating definitions of “short term” and “long term” in investing circles.


Convicted?


One of my favorite Twitter people, is a guy who goes by the nom de plume of Dasan. I’ve looked at his website, Dasan Stock Digest, and he’s a very credible guy, as far as investment professionals go. Also, a West Point graduate, therefore, if there are indeed any morals charges outstanding, they’re probably sheer folly. Not too shabby a pedigree. My guess is that his subscription service is far more worthy than my Option to Profit service had been. I base that solely on knowing what my service was like. And that’s enough.


Among a universe of people using social media to do nothing but self-promote (see @TheAcsMan ) or to hide behind a veil of anonymity to hurl Molotovs, he’s self-effacing, humble, funny and has a keen sense of observation. Any of the preceding sets him apart from much of the universe. That and his penchant for changing his Avatar on at least a weekly basis, although I haven’t entirely ruled out Witness Protection as being a the root cause of that behavior.


Oh, and before I forget, he marches to a different drummer. Much like the classic line in “Back to School” when Rodney Dangerfield says after Sam Kinison finishes his tirade about US policy in Vietnam: “Good teacher. He really seems to care. About what? I have no idea”, Dasan uses the “%” symbol, rather than the StockTwits standard “$” to designate a stock by its ticker symbol.


Why? No idea. Do I ask? No, I fear for my children’s safety.


Can you say “Rebel”?


Pot PartyFor the past two days, his Tweets have inspired my choice of blog topic. On Monday he Tweeted something about crystal meth. Maybe it was just meth. Maybe it was about pearls or some other gems. I don’t really recall. I was too busy trying to figure out how to scratch my way out of my skin to be paying too much attention.


The Tweet that got my attention on Wednesday was this one:


“The only CNBC I’ve watched in the last decade is ‘the Business of Porn’ and that Pot special they run all the time at night.”


Clearly, this guy is not a good influence, but he certainly got me thinking about how I’m spending my life.


Mostly, I’m spending my life glued to two monitors.


One sits silently, just flashing reds and greens. Today, lots of greens. Mixed with the predominant reds of just a few days ago, it’s been mostly a nice shade of ash.


For any wise guy readers, no, the other one monitor is not chained to my ankle.


The other sits not so silently and is tuned to CNBC from about 6:30 AM to 6 PM, at which point is time to watch the local news.  If you want to know why I no longer watch Jim Cramer, I’m not telling


I almost stopped my habit earlier today to protest Simon Hobbs’ pronunciation of Moshe Orentuch’s name as “Mushy”, but then I realized that I actually liked Simon Hobbs. He seems to have greater insights into the psychology behind European actions than anyone else on air and his accent doesn’t overly confound me., unless he ventures into a Yiddish neighborhood.


Since Europe and rumors of Europe seem to be important for us these days, he probably has as much to offer as the next guy, assuming that the next guy is Charlie Sheen.


Which coincidentally brings me to pot and porn.


Szelhamos taught me to never talk about sex, poltics, religion or money. As I’ve noted many times, he would quickly disavow that policy and was as good as anyone at introducing inappropriate conversation into the mix. Policy itself, was off the table as well, since it was a derivative of politics.


All politicians were “crooks and bloodsuckers”.


Luckily, with his undecipherable Hungarian accent most people had no clue what he was saying, but he did use the word “sucker” often enough as to render it intelligible, regardless of the context.


He didn’t include drugs and rock and roll into his admonitions, because they really didn’t exist in his world, as addictions themselves, of any kind, were just moments of temporary weakness.


His definition of temporary may have been derived from Wall Street, though.


But I clearly need to break my dependence on CNBC, although I do enjoy most of the on-air personalities and just love hearing many of the guests spin whatever it is that they want to spin, as if everyone has a Never Never Land zip code.


What better place to begin my weaning process than with special episodes on porn and pot? Admittedly, I’ve not seen either of those in their entirety, as I have a harder and harder time focusing my attention long enough to sit through a one or two hour structured or scripted show. And of course, there’s that little problem that they too are on CNBC.


Both of those topics, besides the obvious economic story, are issues of public policy.


I’m not a libertarian, but I do believe that so much of what we consider to be off limits would just lose its mystique and special aura if only we stopped paying so much attention. Why we exercise selective approval of vices is beyond me, its clearly not done for public health reasons.


Did I become an alocholic because I grew up in an era when the legal drinking age was 18?.


No. I grew up to be a jerk.


Coherent policy would be nice. Ben Bernanke didn’t beat around the bush at yesterday’s congressional hearings on that issue. In fact, he even ventured that the lack of discernible policy or even meaningful attempts to create policy was in part responsible for the growing “Occupy Wall Street” phenomenon.


In the meantime, any kind of policy coming out of DC, or Europe, for that matter would be delightful.


I often used to think that in the last years of Szelhamos’ life he would have done well with some pot.


Maybe porn, too. Policy would have been superfluous.


Since there’s really not a solution that’s palatable to the entire EU, especially to those most on the line, I think those finance ministers who the Financial Times reported are seriously looking at the Greek situation, should probably seriously look at some porn, instead.


Maybe passing a little joystick around the conference table and before you know it, there’s a solution.


Probably a funny one, too.


Too bad someone ate the notepad that it was written on would be the likely outcome, but still, policy makers need to light a little bit of a fire under themselves, or at least adopt a Rodney King attitude.


While wrestling with heady issues as these, I watched the monitor continue flashing green today.


Again, there was no real news, but why ask why?


I sold some more calls on Freeport McMoRan, as well as some new ones of Halliburton and QQQ. All of those expire on Friday. Deep down, my contrarian self tells me that we will get some truly significant news by Friday and the market will continue its thus far unwarranted climb.


I guess that China must have decided to change their mind and quietly go about unbridled infrastructure expansion and feeding its people since our best and brightest proclaimed otherwise on Monday.


Thanks to big jumps in Mosaic, Rio Tinto, Halliburton and Freeport McMoRan, I had a really good day today, at least on paper. Still doesn’t make up for the very bad days those shares have had the past couple of weeks, but I’m trying to scratch back Renminbi by Renminbi.


At some point, my big fear is that if we don’t come up with some coherent economic policy, the Chinese will swoop in and take control


Bad enough they own so much of our debt and dump IPO shares of dubious companies on our shores, but do we really want them taking over our Pot and Porn industries?


For me, that alone is reason enough to come together and hammer out economic policy.


Now pass that Doobie and don’t turn the channel.


 


Correction: In an earlier version of this posting, I may have lead some readers to believe that I condoned breaking into your neighbor’s home and stealing copper piping. To be clear, my intent was to bring attention to Hank Williams, Jr.


 


  





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