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Monday, October 05, 2009

 

One More Song About Movin' Along the Highway

Sorry it was so long since my last post, but the traveling has continued, and surprisingly, some hotels haven't figured out that a business office with a computer can be a source of revenue from those of us poor deprived who don't carry laptops. So visiting Cortland, NY for parents' weekend, followed quickly by a return upstate (but much more upscale) to Cooperstown, NY yielded lots of fun but no posts. More travel is on tap too as I am headed for Chi-town on the 17th, and Florida in November. My advice to regular readers, if you haven't figured out how to do this already, is to set up your internet account to alert you when a post hits from this and your other favorite blogs. That reduces needless and disappointing visits (of course you can always review old posts in the archives if you're desperate).

The regular baseball season has ended, a long one for Mets fans, but the playoffs are always of interest, even for those whose remaining mission is merely to root against the Yanks or whoever. The AL is not set since Detroit and the Twins have a play-in game tomorrow, but in the NL, I like the Cardinals to beat the Dodgers and the Phils (narrowly) over Colorado. Keep in mind though that in a baseball short series, either team could always win with decent pitching and some breaks.

We're also a quarter of the way through football already and hockey has begun (did anyone notice?) with basketball to follow shortly. For sports fans, there are always games to watch (and bet); bread and circuses for America's golden age.

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Whether our golden age is in its waning days has been the subject for more than a few commentators, looking over their shoulders at China and India, watching the dollar's value dissipate, and our politics degenerate. I am really just not in the mood for another diatribe about the Administration tonight. Let's just stipulate for the record that this miserable bunch of charlatans is on track to do worse than the Carter bunch, the Nixon bunch, in short all of the worst in our history. If Iran wasn't such a serious problem, I just couldn't stop laughing at the ineptitude that has us begging for any concession (even non-concession concessions) in the "negotiations" just begun. Just read today's WSJ op eds and columnists if you want the full queasiness. I don't expect my liberal friends to really dig into John Bolton's accurate, if neo-conservative, portrayal of the negotiations, but maybe you could review Mary Anastasia O'Grady's column and see if you can find any justification for the State Department and the Administration siding with Chavez's and Iran's national/socialist, anti - semitic allies in Honduras.

Mark Levin really cracked me up last week talking about the Obama speech wherein he proclaimed that Americans have been waiting for nationalized health care since Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Levin literally screamed, "No, we have not been waiting, we don't want it now, how many ways do we have to say No, No, Hell No before you get it?" The country's frustration is palpable and the path is set for a rout by the Republicans in 2010 that will make 1994 look like a walk in the park. All that remains is for conservatives to find a Gingrich like leader and the swing districts will all flip.

So there you go, I did it anyway, even though I wasn't in the mood, I just can't help myself. Unlike some, I wasn't unhappy Obama went to Europe to beg for the Olympics, (the last thing we need, by the way) since at least it took him out of the country for the better part of the day. When Chicago was first one eliminated, it made me even happier.
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While in Cooperstown, I had the uniquely enjoyable experience of playing a round of golf with the delightful Hall of Fame knuckleballer, Phil Niekro, our Association's
guest speaker for the event. Phil is a spry 13 handicapper at age 70, which is a surprise until you remember he was still pitching in the majors into his mid to late 40's. Despite playing for a bunch of mediocre teams (and some worse) Phil won over 300 games, with just enough velocity to keep hitters honest while basically getting them out with the trick pitch. I am happy to report that he also has a Hall of Fame personality and heartily recommend him to other groups looking for a pro athlete oriented speaker. Have your meeting at the Otesaga in Cooperstown, where Phil is always happy to visit and always welcome.

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For September 21, knowing I would be in the DC area, I had set up some transactions that all executed while I was away. We bought 200 shares of Pfizer (PFE) at 16.53, a value buy at this miserably low price. We also sold 80 shares of PCP from the IRA at 101.41, all shares we had bought last year in four separate transactions, taking a small loss. We have a nice gain on our taxable shares and won't be rushing to take that. And finally, we got our money for the thousands of shares we owned in CardiDynamics (CDIC), the subject of a takeover I did not vote for since I think the price (1.35) was too low. We took a big loss on this one, the purchases occurring over many years at all kinds of prices. We had taken some profits on this stock years ago, but nothing like the losses we booked on the takeover - about $27,000, mostly taxable.

That leaves us with a small taxable gain year-to-date but a small loss on the taxable side, and that's OK.

On September 29, we added to our preferred stock position buying 50 shares of AES Preferred (AES.PR.C) at 43.67.

We've got a limit order in on the buy side, but nothing else has executed yet.

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