Minyans In the Mountains III Memories
Thanks to everyone who made our attendance so memorable.
I want to share a few thoughts and observations from my perspective of Minyans in the Mountains 3. It is always good to revisit something like that a few weeks down the track. My perspective may differ from other accounts due to my comparatively unique "cultural background" and more so, "acceptable social etiquette" is occasionally markedly different to other societies. So if anyone has any different perspective or wants to debate any point made in the summary, hit the keyboard and let me know.
- Todd. Thanks mate. A great gig again. Whistler-Blackcomb next year?
- Greg Weldon's macro view presented at our Precious Metals breakout was compelling stuff. I fully concur with his in depth analysis and, combined with what's going on in the gold and silver markets as I see it, I couldn't get more bullish Precious Metals these days. More so at these 580 levels! It is understood "Big Slick" is considering a switch to professional poker should self proclaimed Media Trollop Macke get any further airtime on CNBC.
- The MVHQ girls and guys did a super job knocking the whole shebang together and should be congratulated on their efforts and the results. It all appeared to run very seamlessly and the venues were pretty bloody good too. The "frat-house kids" performed admirably under some testing conditions at times, most notably early morning following visits to the nightclubs/bars of Vail Village. Todd and Kevin have surrounded themselves with a super team of remarkably unique individuals at MVHQ. That they work so well as a team is awesome.
- The Thomson internet café was a super facility that kept anyone up to speed outside Vail Cascade. Interestingly, one afternoon I asked a few people at a terminal where the gold price was as I headed to the river to catch a few trout. No one could find it unless they knew the system, which I have not used before. Fair enough. I did note that the gold price wasn't on any of the home pages that were set up. Hmmm.
- We lost a few starters due to the London Shampoo affair which was unfortunate. Nonetheless, one Minyan made it all the way from Sweden. He said "g'day" at the opening night cocktail party. I had no idea who the bloke was but we got chatting. He dropped a few references to a coin that sounded remarkably like one I own (or used to). He strung me along for a while and pulled from his wallet an Italian Gold sovereign that I knew I had bought from a Sydney dealer by the written notations on its protective casing. I started wondering if maybe I had misplaced a coin at last year's Ojai gathering. After maybe 5 more minutes thinking "where the bloody hell did he get that from?" he told me that it was the coin I donated to the Ruby Peck Hurricane Appeal and that "I could have it back if I wanted it" as he thought it may have had special significance to me. I was gob-smacked. I had completely forgotten donating it. I told him that the coin was definitely his and that I appreciated his generous offer to give it back to me. It was truly an unexpected surprise to meet the person who now owns it. Wow.
- "There's Air, then there's Water, and then there's Silver" – overheard at the Cocktail party on day one.
- The Precious Metals breakout sessions were very well attended and required additional sessions to cover everyone's questions or further relevant discussions. Is this interest in Precious Metals the real deal or just a fad? We'll know next year, I guess.
- Gore Creek was the little stream out back of the resort. Classic trout water. Bagging 4 rainbows and a brown (all on the same dry fly) kicked the event off perfectly for me. The Kakahi Queen from New Zealand proved to me once again that it is the best dry fly pattern in the world! A couple even generated an audience. Meehan, you may refer to me in future as "Bass Master McGuirk."
- Dingers and I stayed up late each night solely to ensure that the "kids" didn't misbehave. Honest. Commodities people are cut from similar cloth.
- My pre-dinner unscheduled Precious Metals discussion on the veranda was fun. Did anyone take note of the stock I flagged as my "stock" for the next 12 months? Good one if you bought them.
- Someone asked me if I had any handouts or material to take away. I don't produce stuff like that, sorry. What I know and present is all in my head and attendees decide what we talk about at the time. I dunno what I'm gonna be talking about until the minute we kick off.
- The softball game was something else. Another 1 run game was so appropriate. Too many highlights to name them all but Mike Santoli at 3rd base was a revelation, there were some classic missed/attempted catches including a shocker by yours truly out in center field, some great hitting and occasional witty sledging from the crowd. Sal kept The Lisa and Mrs. Succo, the official scorers and resident loudmouths, in fine voice with a steady supply of Vin Rouge. The kegs and pizza kept everyone in the game. The one play that stands out was of Dr J rounding third at full speed after his blast over left field with a likely play at the plate with the scores close to even. He is a pretty big sort of bloke and can run pretty quick for an old fella. There was gonna be one big collision if the catcher got in the way. The throw was wide, 3 runs scored and the ambulance was recalled to the station.
- "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." I was very happy at the final ranch party when the shotguns were put away. Shotguns and alcohol shouldn't be in the same playground.
- "Crikey" – R.I.P the Crocodile Hunter. My kids love his shows and I was always kept informed about what he was up to. One time a few years back, my then 5-year-old daughter came running from the TV room to "update" me on the particular show. I got in first and asked, "What killer is that silly bloody Queenslander playing with this time?" I had to immediately get out the maps and show her where Queensland was and explain myself. Hmmm. Kids. Anyway, from all accounts he was a fair dinkum good bloke. Nonetheless, a stingray would've been quite low on my list of what animal was gonna be the end of him. Unlucky.
- My one ounce Aussie Kangaroo Gold coin circulated throughout the event whereby many attendees and spouses got to hold/study/feel a gold bar or gold coin for the first time in their lives. It got to a point where I didn't know where it was or who it was with at any given time. "No worries, it ALWAYS comes back," I would say to Lisa whenever she asked where it was. Interestingly, late each night someone would find me and hand it back.
- On the last night at the Frat-House, it ended up in Minyan Eric's hand. We talked about the "magic" of gold over a Bundaberg Rum or two and I left it with him while I dished up some more Bundies for the partygoers. The Lisa and I left the party just after the coppers visited and I didn't give the coin a second thought as we straggled back to base. When I woke up to get the bus home, I immediately wondered where the coin was. I made a few phone calls but it wasn't to be found. I knew it would turn up somewhere with someone from the party, but it was getting time for the bus to leave and I didn't want to have to chase it up from Sydney. Anyways, we were standing around having a lung-buster when I see Eric flicking my gold coin on his thumb while walking along towards us to catch the bus. I was relieved and happy to see it. Eric blessed it and it hasn't left my pocket since. It was knocked around somewhat over the course of the 3 days but the dings and scratches just give it some personality.
- Everyone who played with it felt "the power" of real gold and the comments and reactions from people were incredibly enlightening. Some spoke of the luster and color, others remarked about the weight. One described how it warmed in her hands just holding it for an hour. Combining what they "felt" with discussions in breakout sessions and more-so socially that gold/silver is an element, tangible, limited in supply, historic monetary usage, physical supply/demand imbalances, peak gold, derivatives, hmmm, my guess is there's a few new gold "converts" in the world after Vail. The downside is very limited, IMO.
- The Circle of Trust dinner at Beaver Creek is always an experience which results in a deal whereby Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Saut are hosting the McGuirk fishing party on their boat down in Florida when the gold price is 4 figures. I'm booking my flights for sometime in 2008 and expect the bonefish to do the right thing. Will we be able to afford the fuel to run the boat?
- I had a good chat with Steve Shobin, Sal Morreale, The Countessa, Mike Gat and another whose name escapes me after lunch one afternoon. Lots of robust discussion on a number of issues and topics. I learned a lot just listening and enjoying a great Aussie Shiraz that Sal found in the Village. A great part of the interaction with the Minyanship is that as a "professor" you get asked questions about what you really think, questions that if I haven't already asked them of myself, then all the better. It puts to trial what I think and why, from any number of different disciplines. As yet no one has been able to sway me, let alone go close to convincing me, that I'm barking up the wrong tree about what I believe to be a multi-year Precious Metal Bull market, a bull market of which we are in the early stages of.
- History books are always full of great information, yet are ignored by so many. Many are still surprised (and sometimes quite disbelieving) when informed of the Gold Confiscation Act of 1933 or The London Gold Pool.
- Why is it "different this time?"
- Saying that something has never happened before is not a reason that it won't or can't happen in the future. This is a fallacy that provides false comfort to many.
- I got asked directly in one of the breakout sessions, "Do you believe that the gold price is manipulated?" I said Yes. Why, who, when, how is irrelevant. It happens in all markets but not so clandestinely. Intervention versus manipulation is only a matter of communication as Toddo has often reminded us.
- I had never seen or heard of "beer pong," which was played at the Frat-House party. Apparently it's a college drinking game. Hmmm. I thought the old rugby tour days would have exposed me to just about every drinking game known to mankind but I guess we missed one. Do you know how old that makes me feel?
- For a cricketer I don't hit 'em that bad. 2-2 in the softball this year following a 3-4 …. Is there going to be a MV Softball Hall of Fame in 2015???
- One of the first Minyans I ran into said "McGuirk, you're not buying one beer this weekend after the profits my clients and I have made in Precious Metals the past 12 months." It is nice that someone is listening and making some good wedge. Free Beer?!! Now that's how to kick off a conference in style!
- Monica, the bird who ran the ranch party venue on the last night, grew up in Sydney about 5 beaches away from where I spent my first 21 years. Small world.
- Dingers gave me some chewing tobacco late one night. I hadn't ever had it before. I don't get it.
- It was good to see a "Miss Professor" up on the Macro panel. One of the disappointing things for me as a speaker is that I don't get to go to the other breakout sessions and hear the other professors. Maybe we could have a "professor session" next year?
- Anyone for a foot rub?
- The jewelry shops in Vail were incredible. Some of the stuff was nice but the prices were ridiculous. Highway robbery comes to mind quickly when I think back. The Lisa knows gemstones and we had done some homework on prices on a few different gems. She openly laughed at some prices. I thought they must've had a problem with their decimal point placement on some items. An item that could be purchased here for US$2800 was for sale at US$28,000 ("but we're having a sale so we'll discount the price if you're interested" said the sales person). Seriously.
- How cool is Charlie Mangano? The man can play the guitar for sure. What a huge surprise for me at the Red Lion down in Soho. It was great fun and I look forward to seeing the photos! I might sound bad but at least I knew the words! AC-DC "You shook me all night long" was possibly the best song you could've nominated me to sing as your "Aussie National Anthem." I grew up on AC-DC at high volume. Your band has gotta get a gig at Minyans in the Mountains 4!!
- I was very impressed by the MV group as a whole and the way everyone conducted themselves. Courteous, friendly, respectful and honest. It has been my experience that within a large group "on tour" there is usually a few "incidents" late at night after a few convivial beverages. As I was in attendance at most late night gatherings, I can categorically state that late night behavior was exemplary. Oh, except Depew walking through a screen door at the frat-house, but in the scheme of things that's a mere flesh wound.
- Some asked me "How do you do it?" running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day while at the conference. That's usual sleep for me. The late night carousing isn't and I think 4 nights in a row is my limit these days. Gone are the "old days" of handling a 31 day international rugby tour with 25 mates. Those tours were unlike most anything you could imagine for all sorts of different reasons. Youth is a wonderful thing!
- Minyan Raoul from Mexico certainly enjoyed the Bundy Rum at the frat-house. It's not as nasty as some of those high octane tequila's they have down there. The Lisa sends her best wishes too. Tall dark and handsome does it for her every time. Just look at me.
- Bill Meehan, Farley and Nick are officially "Deputised" to Dingers and I for all late night crowd control issues at future MV functions. At least we know they'll be there at the death. Good men for sure.
- Did a young female (Loring Randolph) really put it over the lads on the basketball court? She was also pretty wicked at Beer Pong at 2am from what I observed. An impressive all 'round performance for sure.
- How long will it take for someone to steal my silver market strategy that I quietly shared with some at Vail? I only need a quiet billion bucks and 6 months later we'll have a $100 silver price – 100% legally and transparently. Anyone??
- If the commodity boom is over, how come no one said it began? Currency debasement will underpin Precious Metals and they will outperform the commodity indexes over the next decade, IMO. Many forget that gold and silver aren't just metals, they're the ultimate financial asset. Even Sir Alan said so.
- I had never played "Foosball" before the pub in Vail. Being the goalkeeper sucks almost as much as getting beaten by a couple of girls. Yes, Jenna and Dingers beat Adam and I. 9-8 was the score. Sorry Adam.
- To Forrest, Kane, Mark, Dingers and Eric… I really didn't need that shot of mint flavored vodka sludge you all conspired to produce after the welcome dinner. Mint doesn't belong in anything other than tea as far as I'm concerned.
- Professor Sedacca and his lovely wife Nancy are hard core fly fishers. New Zealand beckons I reckon. I'll send you a Kakahi Queen one day Bennet, it's just not fair you fishing without one.
- 10 hours at JFK waiting on a delayed flight taught me a lot. Did you know that a gold bar or coin doesn't go off when you walk through the metal detectors at an airport? Nor does pure silver. They are non-ferrous. Sterling silver jewelry tripped the alarm due to the 7.5% non-silver alloy content. I tested the system differently each time I went out for a death-stick. The results were remarkable. More to come on this stuff later.
- My gold and silver bars were inspected and tested for explosives at Denver airport but not JFK in the same circumstances. Consistency of security? You're kidding.
- Did Farley really call "traveler" on the bus trip home from the last ranch party?
- Meeting and chatting with Tom Hanson was fantastic. A real nice bloke with some great insights and views. The fact that he played serious rugby speaks volumes. Professionally, he probably thinks I'm crazy after a late night chat at the bar covering many topics. Que sera sera…
- "Sorry Kevin. Your kids are gonna learn those words soon enough. You can't protect them till they're 21." – L.M. to Kevin Wassong after just launching an expletive laden tirade at young Farley (after he dropped someone's luggage on my foot). The young Wassong boys were apparently well within earshot. Oops.
- On the subject of the young Wassong men, they are great kids and so well behaved. They had heaps of fishing questions for me, as I tried to jag a trout just outside the Internet café. They didn't quite understand that noise and movement scare fish away. Do you know how hard it is to catch a trout when rocks are being thrown at the fish you are casting to? Classic kids in action and I would've done the same given a few rocks and a nice target.
- My phone and computer didn't work at Vail. That is the best holiday one can have.
- I got to read a good book on the plane coming home – 3 nights in August by Buzz Bissinger. It is a baseball book about Tony La Russa and managing. Some great analogies/similarities for financial market players when it comes to risk management, options, analysis, preparation and finally, performance. Interesting for sure.
- Carol Peck Harrison might like to contact The Lisa about her recent gemstone score. Tanzanite is a cool rock. Hmmm.
- Professor Succo crashed our final breakout session and added much to the discussion. What doesn't the bloke know?
- My good filly, Maitrise, broke down while we were away and has been retired. Off to the breeding barn for her. Bugger, she was a nice young racehorse making rapid improvements and headed to the big races in the Spring. She was retired a winner who collected a prize money check in each of her seven race starts. Why don't my slow ones break down? Someone once said that "only good horses break down because they push themselves." Hmmm. Is that the same as someone who has had 37 different fractures, the first at three years of age, suggesting to someone who has never broken a bone in their life that "they obviously didn't play hard enough as a kid?"
- Dave Miller wasn't really asleep while standing up at the frat-house party. It's really just trick photography- all smoke and mirrors.
- "Take it easy, it'll all happen in time. This is the job. Don't wait for it to happen, don't even want it to happen. Just watch what does happen" – Sean Connery in The Untouchables as seen on the 90 hour journey home to Sydney. He could easily have been talking about Gold and the dollar these days.
- "I'm not like everybody else" by The Kinks was the first song I heard when I got home to the apartment after nearly 3 weeks offshore. How fitting.
The Lisa and I had a great time meeting many new and friendly people who we expect to see again next year. Thanks to everyone who made our attendance so memorable.
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