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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

 

2011 - Off and Running

The Knicks had their little let down period and are lately back to serious point accumulation, tonight piling up a cool 128 in an entertaining dispatch of the San Antonio Spurs who have the best record this side of Duke. They now head west for a few games, and when they return on the 14th, my daughter and I will be at the Garden, courtesy of Stubhub (don't even ask how much). We are stoked!

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The Jets played it like an exhibition Sunday, starting the special team players and dressing the practice squad, and still thrashed their in state rivals (actually the only team that plays its home games in New York state), the Bills. So we come in at 11-5, definitely acceptable given the schedule and if you set aside some of the serendipitous adventures along the way. The wild card game will be indoors at Indy, Peyton Manning's personal echo chamber, where the Colts ended our playoff run last year.

It's hard to play Peyton anywhere, but particularly in the dome, where the fans lower the decibel level when the Colts are on "O" and there are no ill winds to disrupt the passing game. By rarely huddling, and calling his play only after looking over the defense, Peyton can tire defenses out since they have to be ready for the snap for virtually the entire time between plays. Defensive substitution windows are also narrower.

However, injuries have depleted Manning's supporting cast so even with the Colts improved defense, it took them until the final week to nail down their division. Since many of the Jets starters had last week off and had a chance to heal up, the possibility that Gang Green can move on to the second round is real. I actually give the Jets a slight edge in this one.

As for the other games, Kansas City is another home team that is going to have its hands full. Believe me, no one wanted to play the Ravens in the first round. In the NFC, New Orleans will rightly be favored on the road against a Seattle team that was 7-9 even though they had two games each against the Niners, Cards, and Rams. I am one who believes a division championship should mean something and don't begrudge the Seahawks their playoff appearance, but this game should be a "Brees" for the visitors.

Normally I would pick Green Bay over Philly given the way the two teams ended. The Eagles were thoroughly routed by the Giants until those last amazing 7 minutes, then lost to the Vikings. The Pack won thanks to two maximum defensive efforts at home against the G-Men and the Bears. Can they put together a third huge effort, this time on the road? I doubt it. So I think the "Igles" will be the only home team that advances this week.

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New York's two wretched tabloids, the Post and the Daily News, have a lot of fun one - upping each other every day to create the cutest headline. So imagine the chagrin the headline writers felt yesterday. Both papers' front page stories concerned an unfortunate suicide attempt in the form of a jumper from a ninth floor apartment, who survived when he landed in a pile of garbage bags left on the street (since the sanitation department hadn't picked up any garbage since before Christmas due to the snow removal efforts). And so we had the rare event where the headlines from both papers were identical - "Trash Landing." We'll call that day a standoff.

Of course, the clear winner today went to the headline writer referencing the lawsuit filed by a female masseuse against Brett Favre and the Jets for his offensive sexual advances toward her - "No Happy Ending."
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New Year's Eve was very pleasant. First, a very nice house party - local so that pedestrians and other drivers were basically safe - complete with a 7 piece rock band. Later a quick stop at the Sea Cliff bonfire, which came up small this year. One wag described it as more of a camp fire. Then a brief, and fairly dull stop at the local Irish Pub for a nightcap, then home to watch marathon Marx Brothers movies on TMC until the wee hours. It really is amazing that 75 year old movies that you practically know by heart can still be so funny, but they are.

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The January NYC jazz lineup is just super and if you have any affinity at all for America's only true original art form, you really should get off your duff and join us at one or more of these great venues. My recommendations (which barely scratch the surface) include Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart at Smalls this weekend, Tenor Sax Joe Lovano at the Village Vanguard Jan 11-16, Chantale Gagne with Lew Nash and Peter Washington at Kitano Jan 14-15, "Tain" Watts quartet with pianist Dave Kikoski at Jazz Standard (great barbecue too) Jan 21-23, the Lew Nash quintet at the Vanguard Jan 18-23, Hub Art featuring Nicholas Payton and Donald Harrison at Birdland Jan 25-29, the Helen Sung Trio at Kitano Jan 28-29, and the Eric Alexander quartet at Smoke Jan 28-29.

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Next week, I go road warrior again, this time to the DC area, from where I might have time to post. In view of our irregular posting schedule, it has been suggested that I e-mail regular readers after posting to let them know some new musing is up. If you want to be on that list, and if you suspect I might not already have your e-mail (or don't know that you are a closet visitor to this site), simply send your e-mail address to me at redwave72@yahoo.com.

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Our year end transaction was on 12/30 and we sold 200 shares of our Australian aluminum company AWC at 10.12. These shares were purchased for 5.99 on 1/22/10.
We began 2011 with a purchase of a new name, Graham Corp (GHM) suggested by my full service Stiefel broker. The price for 200 shares was 20.16. This week was a good illustration of something I learned from my very first broker about Mondays that start off with lurching gap openings in either direction. They are almost always head fakes. Tuesday ("Pivotal Tuesday" he called it) much more often sets the accurate tone for the remainder of the week. And despite the small gain for the Dow today, the market was actually really cruddy, another bad sign when the generals are out in front of the soldiers. Nothing to panic about, but we are guarding against irrational exuberance.

Time for the periodic disclaimer. Neither redwavemusings nor its author is an investment advisor and the securities mentioned here should not be considered recommendations. They are likely to be unsuitable investments for all of us.

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