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Randoms: A Wake-Up Call of a Different Breed


Inspection and reflection as we look back and glance ahead.


What was first thing that went through my mind this morning? HOLY COW THAT MUSIC IS LOUD as my alarm sprung to life at 5:30 AM. As a creature of comfort, I like what I like and stick to my knitting. That manifested many ways through the years, including my keeping the Sanyo alarm clock I got when I went to college.

As it no longer played music--I hit it against my bed-stand each night to make sure the static would be loud enough to wake me--I recently bit the bullet and bought a snazzy iPod alarm clock. It works--but man, I really need to figure out how to set the sound. I love Zeppelin but Black Dog has been carved deep into the back of my brain!

The second thing that went through my mind after I returned from the NASDAQ, where I filmed three segments for TechTicker? "Hmm, Durable Goods blew away expectations and pre-market futures are flat." As discussed yesterday in my excellent conversation with Minyan Andy, the reaction to news is entirely more important than the news itself.

One data point does not make a market, we know, but that, coupled with the still in play five year chart of the NASDAQ and yesterday's downside reversal in crude (OIL) should make for some interesting action today. You know how I'm leaning--I layered into further short-side exposure in tech yesterday with a 2% stop--and you know what I'm wanting (to head to Colorado Saturday with a flat book and a fresh head).

Life rarely sets the perfect table--and when it does, we sometimes need corks on our forks--so we'll do what we always do, take our journey one step at a time and attempt to make each stride solid.

Some top-line thoughts as we edge into the Hump:

  • We pride ourselves on seeing both sides in the 'Ville and through that lens, I'll note that S&P 1120 is both the downtrend from the 2007 top and a precise 50% retracement of the entire decline since that time.

  • In other words, that level is to the old school what NASDAQ 2000ish is to tech and should we push through this zone, it becomes a viable technical target.

  • Out of the gate eyes? The semis trade with a relative bid, as does select beta (Research in Motion (RIMM) and Apple (AAPL)), the homies and a handful of retail (Lowe's (LOW), Wal-Mart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Target (TGT)). The dollar is also firmer and while that's a big picture dynamic, it warrants attention for obvious reasons.

  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers rock.

  • 1010 Wins? Not sure why this just popped into my crowded keppe but S&P 1010 seems like an intuitive place for a first pullback, particularly if S&P 1022 gives way.

  • While on Techticker in March, I communicated that I was operating from the long side and bullish for a trade. I told Aaron Task this morning that I regret not being more aggressive, particularly given 1) I was grizzly for a mighty long time and 2) his audience invests with broader strokes than I do.

  • I kept that in mind this morning as I spoke from the heart. The profitable message isn't always the populous one--nor does it mean it's right--but I figure that as long as I communicate with truth and trust, I'll have no regrets no matter how the chips choose to fall.

  • The thing about Memoirs is that I relive each chapter as I write them. This week's submission was particularly painful but, at the same time, somewhat cathartic. I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to tip a Bud to the sky in memory of my pal Bill Meehan. You're missed, friend, more than you know.

  • The week after Labor Day should be circled on ye radar for that's when the starting line-ups will be back on the field. Until then, understand that skeletal ranks will lend to volatility, both ways, as clerks say o'le to the order flow.

  • Good luck Minyans--let's do this.
And finally, this discussion took place on The Exchange following the most recent chapter of Memoirs.

I lived downtown and was standing near the modernist metal statue of a globe in the pavilion at the World Trade Center the morning of September 11th. I used to get coffee at Krispy Kreme on my way to work at Sullivan and Cromwell, and that morning I was loafing around because it was so, so nice outside and I was feeling lazy and happy.

These days, I live my life and go about my business and rarely think of what I saw and smelled and felt that day, or the endless days that followed. Once in a while, I come across something unexpected, like this article, which makes it almost like I am again walking towards Krispy Kreme wondering how long the line will be. When that happens, I can't remember where I am, what year it is; I start to feel like I will throw up.

Since that day, I've done well, lived a good life, made a family, and traveled the world. I've lived in Paris, Puerto Rico; I've sipped coffee in Rome, rode horses in Provence. I'm happy, and that makes me think I have gotten over September 11th.

Then I stumble into something I wasn't expecting, like this article. And I am back there again, and it feels like it is all happening again. I feel my heart rate picking up and like I am not getting enough air. I haven't "gotten over" anything. I've just gotten really adept at putting it into a box, locking it, and shoving it into a dark corner.

I sense Todd has been able to grapple with and make sense of these memories better than I have, or at least in a very different way. I'm happy I read this article, and will read whatever comes next. I always wonder if I need another way, and this article - and I suspect the ones that might follow - are about another way.

Thanks, Todd.

Minyan Alex

Minyan Alex,

If it's any consolation, it's not as 'easy' as it appears. I know many people-those who were there--that buried their emotions and went on with their life. The experience didn't quietly fade away, it laid dormant, ticking like a time bomb. For my part, I delved into a deep depression, unbeknownst at the time but obvious with the benefit of hindsight. As I wrote in this chapter, we all did what we could; we all did what we had to.

The energy that 'transformed' was the genesis of Minyanville. It saved my life. It was a parallel universe devoid of the pain in the real world, a metaphorical existence without acrimony; a community committed to doing business the right way.

I wish to God I didn't see what I saw or feel what I felt but I did and nothing will ever change that. That is why the 'Ville and the Ruby Peck Foundation are my passion and purpose-it's more than a media company, it's the "other side" of 9/11.

The reaction to news, as we often say, is more important to the news itself. For me, going forward, obstacles are rubber bullets. Nothing-and I mean nothing-will overwhelm me for I now know my capacity to absorb pain and the resolve that resides within my soul and spirit.

In that way, I'm blessed, and I hope to one day look back on September 11th with a knowing wisdom. I would be lying if I said that I, too, don't have dark places, that I don't flinch when I hear loud sounds, that I don't cringe when I see an airplane in the distance duck behind a building while standing in the streets of New York.

But that's OK-If I've learned anything over the last eight years, it's that time is precious and the greatest wisdom is bred as a function of pain. In many ways, the ability to spend my days with our community is an ongoing catharsis. For if there wasn't a 9/11, there would never have been a Minyanville.

Thank you, and may peace be with you.


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