Mission Accomplished

It’s pretty fascinating how a word or phrase can change its meaning from one generation to another.

For example, there was once a time that if you called someone a “two bit whore” that meant that you could procure their prostitution services for a mere 25 cents.

These days, if you call someone a “two bit whore” they likely can’t be had for less than 25 dollars.

Imagine how Rip Van Winkle would have been confused.

Well, that and the Dutch Guilder thing.

Mission AccomplishedThere was also a time that “mission accomplished” was an expression used with much pride. A smile, a thumbs up and a jaunty gate all spelled “mission accomplished”.

Today, “mission accomplished” is often said with much derision, almost like “Heckuva job, Brownie”. In fact, if I could find a universally recognized font for heavy sarcasm, I would have used it, but that too might be subject to generational interpretation.

I start each day with some objectives in mind. Some days those objectives are achieved and other days I just ignore the preceding 24 hours.

As you know, I always check the New York Times Obituaries to ensure that I’m not among the very recentlu honored.

Once that’s cleared out of the way, CNBC is turned on, coffee is poured and I look at my spreadsheets and portfolio screen to map out possible action for the day.

Today, there was a little extra, however.

Today was the day to drastically reduce the number of people that I was following on Twitter. The very same people that were my followers and that I had I just started following on Saturday to see whether there would be any impact on my overall numbers.

And was there. A 30% increase in followers. All for just selling my social media soul.

But as I thought, whatever potential guilt I might harbor about just using and then tossing them aside was short lived. As opposed to your brokerage and the SEC, there’s no penalty for “free riding”. Go ahead, game the system.

I cut about 190 Twitter accounts that I had been following over the course of the previous 24 hours and, so far, no ramifications. No loss within my ranks. In fact, I picked up even more followers today.

Mission accomplished. No sarcasm intended, although I’m also assuming that those people don’t read the blog. If they do, I may have to call in an outside conultant to deal with the bad publicity and the premature call to victory.

But wait, if you read on, there’s even more.

Knowing that some of my shares in AIG, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs were going to be assigned, I had already planned to pick up some new shares. It was all scripted out.

Funny thing, though.

I looked at my portfolio holdings and it still showed all of my shares in Goldman and JP Morgan. I had expected some to remain, as I wasn’t fully hedged, but there was no rationale for all of them being left in my account intact.

I called my E*Trade “Platinum Group” and on their end they didn’t see the shares. Problem was, though, neither did they see the cash the should have been available to allow me to make more trades from the assignment of my shares.

They were convinced that I needed to clear my cache for the cash to appear, or maybe it was the other way around.

We went through all of the little mechinations, but alas, “bupkis”.

So I was told that they would do a manual balance reconciliation.


That is until I tried to pick-up shares in Transocean and was told that there wasn’t sufficient cash in the account.

Just a little setback in the script.

Back on the horn to E*Trade, while I watched Transocean move from $62.85, where I had placed my ill-fated order to $63.40.

But no problem, because by the time they were finally able to resolve the issue, Transocean was back down to my price. The E*Trade guys offered me some commssion free trades, which I thanked them for, but declined, as they have always been excellent in every phase of execution.

Anyway, I finally picked up shares and promptly sold in the money $62.50 options. I did that because a “buy recommendation” had just come out on Transocean. I always use those things as contrary indicators.


While I was in the neighborhood, in a middle fingered salute to diversification, I also picked up shares in Halliburton. Sold options and then watched shares fall.

No worries, though. That’s what the options are for, and Halliburtion is volatile enough that the options premium is always especially nice.

Then, as planned, I also picked up shares in Home Depot, whch goes ex-dividend tomorrow. Double dipping. Dividend and options premium. Maybe even capital gains on the shares, all by this Friday.

What I hadn’t planned on was buying back shares of JP Morgan, which initially dipped belwo the assigned price and later in the day had a nice surge. I bought those in two pieces and sold options at $41 and $42, for this Friday’s expiration.

Those shares were a much better deal than picking up XLF shares. Besides, in the tax-deferred account that those shares were being held, the wash rule doesn’t apply. So no loss on the previous assignment, in fact, now a lowered cost basis and even more options premiums.



Now, what I really hadn’t planned on doing was picking up shares of Google. I haven’t owned shares in about 4 months or so, but found the price irresistable at $506.

Unfortunately, the market didn’t find it that way and Google just meandered lower.

If any company hasn’t earned the “mission accomplished” accolade, its been Google, unless you mean “mission accomplishedwhich is “mission accomplished” in the most sarcastic font that I could find.

But as the market went up, then down, then up again, only to end the day flat-lined, I felt that the day’s overall mission had been accomplished.

At the end of the day report and summary to the shareholderd, I had gotten down to a managable and respectable number of people I’m following on Twitter, made some spending money and even sold a few more books.

Then reality hit. Like Donald Rumsfeld’s worst nightmare.

No, not Baathists, “dead enders,” Al-Qaeda sympathizers or crazed Shiites being attacked by sedate Sunni’s.

No, nothing like that at all.

Sugar Momma returned from work and did a once around, taking note of the unfinished chores she had left for me.

Laundry room a mess, didn’t sweep in the kitchen and recycling not cleared.

Oh well, you can’t please everyone, right Brownie?

There’s always tomorrow.