The Mad Hedge Fund Trader is taking a much-needed break this week 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 this year, bringing in my biggest outperformance of the indexes since my service started eight years ago.
As Wilber Wright, whose biography I am now reading, once said, “Eagles can’t soar to greatness in calm skies.” His picture now adorns every American commercial pilot’s license.
This is a week when my mother’s seven children and 20 grandchildren suddenly remember that they have a wealthy uncle, cousin, or brother with a mansion at Lake Tahoe. So the house is packed. We even had to put a toddler to sleep in a bathtub on pillows.
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 6,120 feet can be tricky.
You have to increase the cooking time by at least 10% to allow for the lower boiling point of water here (200 degrees instead of $212), 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 learned from my brother who runs a trading desk at Goldman Sachs that bonuses are being cut on Wall Street this year because trading results have been so dire.
Especially hard hit were bond departments, where virtually no movement at all took place, except for junk (HYG) and emerging markets (ELD). Who did the best? Foreign exchange, which has some good solid trends for traders to sink their teeth into.
He finally traded in his Bentley Turbo R for a new black High Performance Tesla Model S-1, now that the self driving technology is imminently going to be released.
It looks like it’s OK to be rich again.
My born again Christian sister was appalled at the way the Republican primary was playing out. The party seems to be on a path of self-destruction. When I asked if she was going to vote for Donald Trump, the clear front-runner, she just looked at me glumly.
My gay rights activist sister was basking in the glow of the Supreme Court decision in favor of same sex marriage, and celebrating the recent victories in New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Colorado.
A third sister married to a very pleasant fellow in Big Oil (USO) will be making the long trip from Borneo, where he is involved in offshore exploration. This is the guy who escaped from Libya a few years ago by the skin of his teeth.
He bemoaned President Obama’s nixing of the Keystone Pipeline, but confided in me that it was unlikely to ever get built, since the economics no longer made sense with $40 a barrel oil. In the meantime, his industry has been beset by waves of cost cutting and forced early retirements.
So far, the local headhunters haven’t taken a trophy yet. And I mean real headhunters, not the recruiting kind.
Sister no. 4, who is made a killing in commodities in Australia and then got out at the top, thanks to a certain newsletter, graced us with a rare visit. Fortunately, she took my advice and converted all her winnings to greenbacks, thus avoiding the 30% hit the Aussie (FXA) has taken in the last year.
My poor youngest sister, no. 5, took it on the nose in the subprime derivatives market during the crash. Fortunately, she followed my counsel to hang on to the securities 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. This is why AIG has made such a big comeback.
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 four-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 in his 5th year as 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 second son is now the head of SEO (search engine optimization) at a major Bay Area online company. His tales of excess remind me of the most feverish days of the Dotcom boom.
His big score this year was winning a lottery to get a rent-controlled apartment in a prime San Francisco neighborhood. It’s all of 400 square feet, but has a great view.
My oldest daughter finally escaped a horrendous middle school teaching job in Oakland, the murder capital of the US. The school had 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.
She is now happily ensconced in the PhD program at the University of California. We are all looking forward to the first Dr. Thomas.
Reading the riot act to this unruly crowd will be my spritely, but hardnosed mother, who gave up taking any crap from us a long time ago.
At 87 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). So is “Qi”.
Before dinner, we engaged in an old family tradition of chopping down some Christmas trees in the nearby Toiyabe National Forest on the Eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. To keep it all legal I obtained the proper permits from the US Forest Service at $10 a pop.
There are only three more trading weeks left this year before we shut down for the Christmas holidays.
That is, if I survive my relatives.