Did I Not Get that Memo?



With Eddie Murphy being back in the news following the announcement that he will be hosting the next Academy Awards, I was reminded of a vintage sketch he did on Saturday Night Live many years ago. (Regular readers will note this is the second time this week I’ve reached for an ancient SNL citation)

Going undercover as a “white person” he discovered the secret society, along with all of its perks, that was hidden from people of color.

The bottom line was that even with “white people problems,” life’s not that bad, I want in.

As I listen to the daily description of the over-riding trading strategy manifesting itself as either being “Safety trade off”, “Risk on” or “Risk off”, I wonder where those decisions are being made.

The various “talking heads” say it with such a cavalier attitude that I get the impression that there is some secret cabal meeting where the Stock Market Direction of the Day Committee gets together and decides where things will be headed.


Eddie Murphy does RedI’d like to be on that committee, despite the fact that I generally agree with Groucho Marx’s observation that he wouldn’t want to join any club that would have him as a member. I’m perfectly willing to use any leftover white pancake powder that Eddie Murphy doesn’t need. I’d even wear one of those powdered wigs, but will not wear one of his skin tight red leather suits.

You have to draw the line somewhere, even though I don’t do charts.

As I look through my resume, which is chock full of worthless committee assignments, this one I would gladly be part of, not that Radiation Safety isn’t vitally important to vital organs.

At least a memo. Send me a memo, preferably a day or two in advance. That way I could instead look through my portfolio and not see a list of worthless or non-performing holdings. Besides, I’ve made my position on Insider Trading pretty clear.

No one gets hurt.

The existence of such a committee is clearly patterned after the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. committee which meets twice daily in London to set the morning and afternoon price of gold.

The difference is that we all know about that committee. Membership is tightly controlled, but it’s proceedings are publicly divulged.

Interestingly, as the London Gold Market Fixing Ltd. Committee meets twice daily, physically present members may pause proceedings by placing a Union Flag atop their desk, whereas telephone members simply say the word “Flag” to pause the proceedings.

Very typically civilized and orderly as is the rest of the days’ precious metals trading.

In the case of Carol Bartz, who was fired via a telephone call from the Yahoo! Board on Tuesday, I don’t know if she had a flag to use. My guess is that if there was a transcript of that phone call, some flags would be raised if I tried to reprint what would likley have been a salty conversation, given her past penchant for profanity.

Whereas many feel that such a firing over the telephone is quite distasteful, I look at it as being symbolic.

Maybe its actually “emblematic”, but I’m certainly not going to use what little remains of Yahoo! Search to figure out which word is best suited for use.

Oh. Nothing remains?

The manner of Bartz’s firing is actually very much similar to the way the CEO of Borders informed employees of the demise of the bookstore chain.

He did it my e-mail. Maybe if he would have used paper and the printed word and convinced more people to do the same, Borders would still be selling books.

You would think that Yahoo! could have come up with a much more technologically savvy way to inform Bartz.

Personally, knowing that every person of stature “Googles” themselves, that would have been a good way to deliver the news.

The fact that “Google” is a verb, while “Yahoo!” not so much, tells the tale. Instead, Yahoo is a noun and not a very flattering one, unless you take pride in being rude, noisy or violent. Maybe profane, too.

In the meantime, the other big news of the day happened at the beleagured Bank of America.

Despite great performance at its Wealth Managment division headed by Sally Krawcheck, she’s now ex-BofA, as she is ex-Citi.

Here too, though, it’s clear that a memo hasn’t been received.

In this case, its for all of those who are showing their support for CEO Moynihan.

Those supporters should know that it’s no longer acceptable to use the excuse “he inherited this mess” in defense of someone who assumed leadership in January 2009. If you buy that line of thinking, either Angelo Mozilo has been elevated to George W. Bush status or the other way around.

Seems that you can’t decry that defense when applied to President Obama and then turn around and use it for Moynihan. But then, those silly Wall STreet types never think that anyone is listening and taking notes.

I keep the memos.

That memo might have been best delivered in the foreclosure notice that was actually filed against a Bank of America branch in Florida.

Today’s secret memo clearly set a signal to put the risk back on, despite the fact that it’s hard to understand how you can refer to prices now being of “value”, yet refer to the actions taken to secure value as being “risk on”.


Today as we just picked up from the last hour of Tuesday’s trading the climb in prices never looked back.

I took the opportunity to sell weekly call options on Halliburton, Freeport McMoran and Sunoco. I also had the opportunity to sell a September Bank of New York call option on the shares I picked up this past Friday.

With still a week to go for this month’s options cycle I find my performance to be well below last month, which was the second best I’d ever had with regard to premiums collected.

Not too surprisingly, when stock prices go down, as they did in the past month, I’m not as aggressivie in selling those calls, as I do like to  recoup unrealized capital losses. Luckily, that’s been the case.There’s a trime for income and ther’s a time for trading profits.

I think that was a song by The Byrds.

As the day came to an end with the Dow up 275 points and gold down nearly $60 the view on “The Street” was summed up by the exchanges “Streetwalker”.

According to CBC’s Bob Pisani, we should stop using the phrases “risk on” and “risk off”.

Ah, finally a man who is against the secretive mechanics of the markets. A man who believes that we should all drink from the same deep cup of wine.

His reasoning was so crysta clear and to the point.

“Risk on and risk off are QE2 phrases”.

Huh? What? What does that even mean? Why do they keep changing the code every day?

I’m sure that won’t be the last memo I’ll miss.






Hop SIng and Paw Blaze a New PathAmerican Tower ChartMake you Portfolio Work for You!

Invest like TheAcsMan

Option to Profit is available as either an eBook or 300+ paperback. Take a humorous look at a serious topic and learn how to make your portfolio finally go to work for you in bull and bear market environments.

See a sneak preview of Chapter 1.  hoco blogs

More about the book and purchase options. Scroll down and read the Szelhamos Rules blog, updated every weekday.

Find  OTP Book at Amazon, B&N or now you can also Order direct  from publisher. Use 10% Discount Code P4S2ZD8H