The Mad Hedge Fund Trader is taking a much-needed break for the next few days to take Turkey with the vast extended family in Incline Village, Nevada.
The weather is crystal clear, in the sixties during the day and down to the thirties at night. During my night hikes on the Tahoe Rim Trail, I am over awed by a pale waning moon setting into the lake.
The Trade Alerts went out so fast and furious in October that it was all starting to become a blur to me. The staff was worn out. Since then we have witnessed the S&P 500 posting an unbelievable 29 trading days above the five day moving average, an all time record, and the most since 1928. Uh Oh!
A 28-pound bird made the ultimate sacrifice and will be accompanied with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, potato salad and mince pie. Cooking a turkey here at 6,800 feet can be tricky.
You have to increase the cooking time by at least 15% to allow for the lower boiling point for water here, or you end up with medium rare meat, not so good with a turkey.
Topping it all was a fine Duckhorn Chardonnay, which the White House serves at state dinners.
I ate an entire pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream last night just to give my digestive system an early warning that some heavy lifting was on its way.
I am the oldest of seven of the most fractious and divided siblings on the planet, so attending these affairs is always a bit of an emotional and physical challenge. I bet many of my readers are faced with the same dilemma, with mixed red state/blue state families, and they all have my sympathy.
Suffice it to say, that we’ll be talking a lot about the only two safe subjects there are, sports and the weather. Go Niners! Hurray Giants!
I will learn that my brother who runs a trading desk at Goldman Sachs is swimming in money once again and is looking forward to a big New Year bonus.
He has even taken steps to remove his new Bentley Turbo R out of storage, although he has been casting covetous eyes on my black High Performance Tesla Model S-1. It looks like it’s OK to be rich again.
My born again Christian sister was thrilled with the big Republican win in the midterm elections, and is hoping for even better things in 2016. Will it be Jeb, Chris, Rand, Ted, Rick, or Mitt again? The possibilities boggle the mind. She sees it all as a vindication of here extreme right wing views.
A “Fine Jar” has been placed on the kitchen sink, and I have to pay $1 whenever I mention President Obama’s name in her presence.
My gay rights activist sister will be assertively arguing the case for same sex marriage and celebrating the recent victories in New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Colorado.
For me, that means conference facilities for my strategy lunches and seminars have suddenly become abundantly available in San Francisco, now that the gay wedding business has decamped for other states.
A third sister married to a very pleasant fellow in Big Oil will be making the long trip from Borneo, where he is involved in offshore exploration. No doubt I will get a big serving of “peak oil” theory with my salad, along with arguments on why we should deregulate our way to more offshore energy supplies here and in Alaska.
Hopefully, the local headhunters haven’t taken a trophy yet. And I mean real headhunters, not the recruiting kind.
There will no doubt be sob stories of bonuses cut, and maybe even early retirement, as the collapsing price of Texas tea is forcing the immediate closure of the most expensive sources of production.
Sister no. 4, who is made a killing in commodities in Australia and then got out at the top, will grace us with a rare visit.
She has been investing her profits in leveraged residential real estate holdings. Every year I tell her to dump everything because a crash is coming, and every year I am proven wrong.
Houses in the Land Down Under cost a stratospheric seven times earnings, compared to only three time here in the US. Go figure.
Past experience has taught me that the relatives who insist that real estate can never go down eventually end up moving into my basement with their pesky pets and borrowing my money.
My poor youngest sister, no. 5, took it on the nose in the subprime derivatives market during the crash. Fortunately, she followed my advice to hang on instead of dumping everything at the bottom for pennies.
The worst of the toxic waste from those days is now selling for big premiums to investors hungry for any kind of yield.
She is the only member of the family I was not able to convince to sell her house in 2005 to duck the coming real estate collapse because she thought the nirvana would last forever. At least that is what her broker told her.
Thanks to the three-year-old real estate boom, she is almost back up to her cost, while serial refi’s have taken her cost of carry down by half.
My Arabic speaking nephew in Army Intelligence cashed out of the service, and is now attending college on the newly revamped GI Bill. He is majoring in math on my recommendation. My dad immensely benefited from the program after WWII, a poor, battle scarred kid from Brooklyn attending USC.
My oldest son is now an English language professor at a government university in China. He spends his free time polishing up his Japanese, Russian, and Korean.
At night, he trades the markets for his own account. Where do these kids get their interest in foreign languages anyway? Beats me. It’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
My oldest daughter landed a middle school teaching job in Oakland, the murder capital of the US. The school has a 12-foot chain link fence around it, and the kids show up with fresh horror stories about their neighborhoods every day. If they get slain in the next gang war, at least they’ll go to their grave speaking proper grammar. I banned her from late night overtime, if such a thing is possible with a 28 year old.
Reading the riot act to this unruly crowd will be my sprite, but hardnosed mother, who gave up taking any crap from us a long time ago. At 85 can still prop herself up on a cane well enough to knock down 14 out of 15 skeet with a shotgun, although we have had to move her down from a 12 gauge to a 410 because the recoil threatened brittle bones.
I am looking forward to my annual Scrabble tournament with her, paging my way through old family photo albums between turns. And yes, “Jo” is a word (a 19th century term for a young girl).
My next new research pieces will appear in the Monday, December 1 letter.
That is, if I survive my relatives.