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Freaky Friday Potpourri: Homage to Simpler Times


We could all learn a lot from The Fat Man.


"Since it cost a lot to win and even more to lose, you and me better spend some time wondering what to choose."
(Grateful Dead)

Happy Birthday Jerry Garcia!

The Fat Man, as he was affectionately called by legions of fans-present company included-would have turned 66 today.

For Minyans unfamiliar with his vibe, Jerry and the Dead were hippies during the drug culture rebellion.

For those of us who listened to the music play, they were an opportunity to shed societal labels, kick off our shoes and dance like nobody was watching.

The color of your skin never mattered.

Nobody cared how much money you made.

You were hard pressed to find anyone unkind-in the show or surrounding the stadium-as people peacefully explored their own, personal miracle.

Heartless powers try to tell us what to think
If the spirit's sleepin' then the flesh is ink
History's page will thus be carved in stone
And we are here, and we are on our own

Their music-and, we must give snaps to the lyrical genius Robert Hunter-was an oasis of peace during a troubled times of U.S Blues. You may not have subscribed to their political views or, for that matter, agree with how all the fans acted.

But the message was pure and the love was abundant.

I don't know what Jerry would say if he were alive today but I would venture to guess he would express himself with rhythmic reason, as was his way. If asked to vibe on particular topics, he could break it down like this:

Playing in the Band

  • After the "higher low" S&P 1235, the bulls are trying to capture the "higher high' (S&P 1280). Until then, we're just playing in the band.

U.S Blues

When Push Comes to Shove

  • Iran remains the single biggest wildcard into the election. My sense continues to be that we see crude trade par ($100) absent an uptick in geopolitical tension in Iran.

Dire Wolf

  • What goes on with Alan Greenspan? He planted the seeds of the structural imbalances during the 1998 Asian contagion, tilled them anew after the tech bubble, squeezed homeowners into ARMS and rides off into the sunset whispering recession, nationalization and economic hardship?


  • The Fed and Treasury are in an unenviable position: continue to socialize risk and bury future generations or take our medicine, which has ominous implications for our current one. There are no easy answers but profound implications.

Next week, we'll sadly mourn the day he passed 13 years ago. He would likely offer some sage guidance that sounded a little something like this:

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Random Thoughts

  • S&P 1280, on a closing basis, would represent a nice "higher high" to bookend the aforementioned "higher low" we've been monitoring at S&P 1235.

  • Technicals are a better context than catalyst, we know, but it's a piece of the puzzle.

  • I pared much of my upside exposure into the upside rip yesterday (many of my vehicles, including (MBIA (MBI), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wachovia (WB) and Citigroup (C)) did indeed enjoy some snappage).

  • Discipline over conviction, particularly when unforeseen overnight catalysts may be looming.

  • This morning, I added back some Mother Morgan calls (MS)---note the potential acne above $40--and continue to trade around Wachovia with a long bias and short leash. I have, so you know, taken the MBIA trade although that, too, continues to trade dry.

  • Where you stand-and how you stand--is a function of where you sit. While I was "layering into exposure" on July 16th, I've been trading with the mindset of hit it to quit it this week.

  • Adapt, don't conform, as trades are made to be taken.

  • I would have to list cashew, almond, pistachio as my gold-silver-bronze of nuts

  • The rotation out of the cyclicals isn't a shocker. In fact, it wouldn't have been a shocker seven months ago!

  • If you're digging the real-time commentary on the Buzz, please tell a friend! And they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends and so on and so on and so on! We'll be the Faberge of Finance!

  • While I'm no longer in the name (grr), keep Boots & Coots (WEL) on your radar as an Iran "angst" indicator. The company, which specializes in oil and gas emergencies, was quietly up 14% yesterday (45% since July 8th).

  • The ad-libbing is great. The runny nose not so much.

  • The higher low in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, for those wondering, is DJIA 11,135.

  • Not to be confused with S&P 1235 and BKX 60, of course.

  • Is it possible to be bullish and bearish without being Boofy the cross-dressing bull-bear? ABSOLUTELY!

  • Is anyone else excited to see Pudge behind the plate in pinstripes?

  • Are you being mindful of "fat, outsized" premiums when trading options (particularly in the financials)?

  • Is that a "bearish flag pattern" in Google (GOOG) that "works" to the bottom of the gap ($450)?

  • Kansas and Arkansas?

  • Have a fantastic, Freaky Friday Minyans!


Position in MS, WB

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at

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