Odd Pairings


How many times do you find yourself doing a double take when you see or hear something that appears incongruous?

For example, when a really stupid question comes out of the mouth of someone who is supposed to be smart, presumably by virtue of their status in life, during congressional committee questioning of Ben Bernanke.

Chaffetz said what? I still have a hard time understanding how Bernanke doesn’t at least roll his eyeballs, although there is evidence that suggests he dons ocular prostheses during testimony. He probably has to think of dying puppies to keep from laughing.

For the rest of us the real world offers some very tangible examples of opposites and how we react to them.

Jane Wells, of CNBC fame, Tweeted about the guy in Starbucks who was munching on an Arby’s meal, while glomming the free Wi-Fi. She didn’t describe her response, but I don’t think she would mind being spotted rolling her eyeballs.If I were to guess, I would let the entire portfolio ride on her spitting out iced mocha in spasms of laughter.

Guaranteed that you’ll never see Starbucks blend being served in an Arby’s. I’m still afraid to find out what actually constitutes their Horsie Sauce. Although if Jane Wells was actually spitting out iced mocha, you may never find her in a Starbucks again, either.

Odd PairingsIf you’re a male you’ve probably asked the question “What does she see in him?” on more than one occasion.

In this regard, men and women aren’t really from different parts of the solar system, as women are equally likely to ask “What does he see in her?”

Szelhamos’ usual answer to this kind of oddity was typically “He/She must be good in (the) bed”. Szelhamos always interposed the word “the” before every noun. Attempting to train dictation software to comprehend his reading of passages and understand his accent caused several CPUs to fry in their attempts.

But keen observers of human behavior will probably venture to answer “money” and “sex”, respectively.

If you’re Ron Paul, the correct answers of course would be “gold” and “sex for gold”, respectively.

If you’re Jason Cheffetz the answers provided would likely be “tuna fish and “Jumbalaya”.

While the saying “opposites attract” has near universal appeal and seemingly offers the potential to level the playing field, opposites still elicit the double take. Most studies seem to agree that marriages that begin with the “opposites attract” foundation don’t do terribly well in the longterm.

My brother-in-law who is now visiting us from California for one of his semi-annual visits is very similar to me in some regards and very different in others. He is developmentally disabled and functions on a 4-5 year old level, greatly enjoying cartoons and movies.

In that regard, we are very similar.

My wife, who is his guardian suggested that on his first day with us, which was today, he and I go to see a movie. She suggested “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, as she recalled that he had enjoyed the series in his younger years.

Against my best judgment, I agreed.

I wanted to see The Smurfs” movie. I recall having enjoyed them during my early adulthood.

In regard to today’s movie choices we were very different.

Usually, when he and I go to the movies no one sits near us, as it’s somewhat unusual to see two grown men, one of whom qualifies for a senior’s discount, at “Yogi Bear” or “Marmaduke” in the middle of the day. Not only should mothers not let their children grow up to be cowboys, but they shouldn’t let them sit anywhere near adult men at children’s movies, especially if they carry velvet painting supplies.

I suppose that’s he and I are already an odd pairing, but at least it’s legal and not really Date Line worthy, unless Chris Hansen is really getting deperate.

Despite generally good critic and consumer reviews, I thought the movie was horrendous. I know that much of the action was computer generated, but I would have felt better if there was a disclaimer that “No humans were harmed in the making of this film”, as the movie, based on the true story of when apes conquered San Francisco did have some edgy moments.

Naming the protagonist Harvey Banana was a bit heavy handed, though.

For me the oddity of this movie was James Franco. The pairing was the near romantic and deeply caring relationship he had with a monkey (for purists, it was an ape). That’s what I call an odd pairing, although they may have been of the same religion.

I’m certainly not opposed to inter-species marriage, but I still have strong feelings about inter-faith relationships.

My God is a confused and vengeful God.

Stoner? Yes, by all means, get Franco for that role. Amorous monkey man slash research scientist, I don’t know, maybe Jim Carrey, if Olivier is still dead.

What made suffering through this movie even worse was that we saw it at the height of the day’s trading. I hate missing the last hour of trading, because as you must know if you watch enough CNBC, “It’s the most important hour of the trading day”, along with a good breakfast.

I did manage, however, to get a couple of trades through earlier in the day and they were their own odd pairing.

A few months ago I had sold puts on Spreadtrum Communications. I did so after Muddy Waters came out with a report that cast some significant aspersions on their accounting and may have referred to the Spreadtrum CEO as having been the bastard child of a kimono dragon and capitalist lackey.

On that day Spreadtrum got pummeled and I sold puts in a rare display of speculative play.

The shares quickly reversed course and I kept selling even more puts at higher and higher prices, just taking in all of those nice premiums associated with its volatile trading.

One of those lots, at $17 got assigned, whereas the $8, $12 and $15 just lined my pocket with their premiums

In the 6 weeks that I’d held the position I did sell some calls, eking out about another $1 of premium, but nothing compared to the glory of unassigned puts after panic had set in and then subsided.

But for some inexplicable reason, maybe related to a Motley Fool posting a couple of days ago, shares shot up 10%, past $19 today.

I decided to just take profits, not thinking that it was worth selling calls any longer. Besides, this little speculative play had done quite nicely and for me had now run its full course.

Knowing that I can’t keep cash in my pocket very long, I just had to get some nice hot and exciting stock to take its place in my speculative corner of the portfolio.

Since I like the word “inexplicable”, I’ll use it again to describe my purchase of Dow Chemical with the proceeds.

Inexplicable is certainly a good way to describe that odd pairing. Spreadtrum Communications and Dow Chemical. Whereas Spreadtrum is hardly the steward of responsible investing, Dow Chemical doesn’t exactly have a frivolous entry in its balance sheet. It would never even consider the possibility of sneaking Arby’s into the Boardroom  even if there was a chance of sitting in one of those comfy chairs and getting free herbicide samples.

Spreadtrum and Dow are probably as infrequently mentioned in a pairing as “Jason Cheffetz” and “highly intelligent steward of the public good” are uttered together.

In the meantime, I need to get to the ATM and flash that wad around at the mall for our next theatrical outing

This time, I took out enough money for both of us to look pretty good.

I’d do anything for my brother-in-law, as long as it never involves monkeys again.





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