Sometimes it Pays to Wait


Patience paysToday was the kind of day that it paid to be patient.

Sometimes it’s worth hanging around to see how the story will end.

As it turned out there were so many twists and turns that had I fallen for the first one and gone with that as inspiration for this blog entry, I’d have missed the real story.

As it turned out, the downgrade of Societe Generale was just an irrelevant way station.

Same with the next series of twists and turns. It was just that kind of day. One with no unifying hypothesis, just a series of crumbling European economies and maybe a reluctant German savior.

So I patiently watched and waited for some message that might signal the opportunity to take action. Buy something, sell something. Anything. After all, I’m not making any money by blogging. I need to trade something now that I’m out of Beanie Babies.

I tend to be a fairly patient person with most things, although Sugar Momma has just come to the realization that I’m much more nervous than I let on. Those two may be connected.

If that’s true, she’s really patient, because it took her more than a quarter of a century to say anything.

Although the words “uber” and “cool” have never been used in juxtaposition with my name, the only possible explanations for taking such a long time to make that diagnosis is that she was blinded by love.

Or maybe she just never paid attention.

I guess she was just waiting for the right time and it somehow popped up when I found myself watching a football game that I had absolutely no interest in, but nonetheless, must have been exuding some pretty obvious stress.

What stressed me out was how the place kicker, who was the son of a past professor of mine, might get cut once again, this time because it didn’t appear as if he made any real effort to tackle the kick off return guy enroute to the end zone.

Steve Hauschka, late of the Baltimore Ravens, in fact, the guy that made Matt Stover expendable, is the son of Peter Hauschka Ph.D who was a giant of a man and one time placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys. He was also one of my favorite professors and was every bit as nice as he was big.

But still, I like to think of myself as being patient and above the stress that makes most people have moist underarms.

This weekend, even before the meaningless football game, my patience was tested.

Each year the past 10 years or so we have belonged to the Columbia Film Society and have dutifully gone to the newly renovated Howard County Community College auditorium, for what may be one of the best entertainment bargains around.

They are obviously doing something right as this season is their 43rd.

With each year comes the wonderment of how the campus has changed during an impressive expansion. Beyond that, there’s also the wonderment that they just keep adding more and more showings each season as more and more people want to see films with sub-titles.

Now, even the English speakig films will have sub-titles, although admittedly, some of the Briitish films have been nearly unintelligible.

Somehow, despite the consistent increase in membership, we still seem to be the youngest in the crowd, although that may be a skewed observation as we now go to the early bird Friday showing.

This years’ premiere movie was “Of Gods and Men”, a French film set in Algeria, following the conflicted lives of a small group of monks who grappled with the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism invading their peaceful village and cloister.

The movie was terrible, unless of course you’re a fan of Gregorian like chanting and multiple crescendoing scenes that have no crescendo.

I’m guessing that the $3.9 M in box office receipts wasn’t matched by CD or bobble-head sales and almost definitely was the least favorite Happy Meal Toy of 2010.

But patient as Sugar Momma usually is, she just couldn’t stand sitting and watching any longer. She actually walked out after a bit more than an hour.

I stayed.

Until the bitter end.

But I didn’t stay because I was patient. Nor did I stay because I had an unjustifiable sense of optimism.

I certainly didn’t stay for the singing or the consistent disappointments as various scenes seemed to be approaching a signifcant turn and twist.

I stayed because I don’t understand the principle of “sunk costs”.

For some reason I have a difficult time admitting that I’m wrong and moving onto something else.

Maybe even something better.

Otherwise I would have written this blog after the first 100 point drop in trading, moaning about how the European banking system was dragging us down with them.

Or maybe I would have written about how that drop was erased for about 30 seconds about an hour into the trading session.

But I stayed and lingered, watching the ticker descend further into the territory that we’ve known all too well lately.

But then it changed. The crescendo came and it didn’t disappoint.

All it took was a rumor to turn things around, and we really didn’t see this one coming. Almost like an M. Night Shymalan kind of twist, at least back when he knew how to twist.

The rumor was that China was seeking to purchase Italian debt. Despite the fact that it seems that Greece is going to be the nation to default on its debt, the Italian economy is so much bigger. Additionally, the fear of contagion is lessened if an intermediary block is fortified.

The problem is that while the market made up about 200 points, as it did a number of times last week, this time it was based on a rumor. That’s even more stressful than when moves are based on nothing at all.

I’m preparing myself for the “Breaking News” announcement that Chinese officials were actually meeting with Italians not to purchase debt, but rather to discuss 1300 years of back royalty payments owed for the Chinese patent on pasta.

But no matter. It was worth waiting to see how this day would play out.

I’d thought of selling some call options on Halliburton, JP Morgan and some others as the market was recovering, but as I kept watching the market build on the rumor I decided that this story may go into the next trading day.

Unlike “Of Gods and Men”, which never did get any better, I’ve got high hopes for Tuesday’s market.

I have no stress about the outcome, nor do I lack in patience. I know that sooner or later things will get better. I’m not walking out on this one.

At the very least, maybe gold and silver will take their rightful paces with the other bottom dwellers that I currently own. Since I’m on the short side of those precious darlings, days like today, with another $40 drop in gold and $1.40 in silver helped to ease the day, even when the rest of the market was decidedly down.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about “of Gods and Men”. It’s never going to get any better. It’s not very likely that there’ll be any pre-quels or sequels in my lifetime. By the time the next Columbia FIlm Society film rolls around, the South Korean “Poetry”, I will not have learned anything.

I’ll still sit through the entire showing and will still wait for an ending that will justify the time investment.

When it doesn’t work out that way, I’ll just shake my head and tell myself that next time it will be different.

It won’t be.

But at least I pulled it off today. I waited and it paid off.

Oh, and see you at the 44th season.





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