Kicking the Can Down the Road


The other night, the NFL record for longest field goal was tied for the second time.

I still remember when Tom Dempsey, the otherwise unheralded kicker for the 1970 New Orleans Saints, beat the Detroit Lions with his 63 yard field goal.

What I remember most about that is Alex Karras, the Detroit Lion defensive tackle, who was a oretty funny guy, appeared on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and put a great comedic touch on describing the tragedy of that kick in his team’s eyes. Mind you, his team’s eyes were also seeing the fact that Dempsey, who had a congenitally malformed foot and wore a special kicking shoe, had less than an athletic physique.

Tom Dempsy’s professional life span didn’t last much longer following that kick, but it’s been an inviolate part of football lore for more than 40 years.

The nice thing about have a finite lifespan is that kicking things down the road is a great strategy.

It works for people and governments, too.

Kicking the CanMy guess is that people that can kick the can down the road without any real guilt probably extend their lifespan by greatly reducing stress. At the point that they realize that the “jig is up” and the end of the road is figuratively approaching, its time to literally approach the end of the road and kick the can.

People that are protected from the overhang of stress usually make better decisions, as well.

Maybe not better decisions when assessed with regard to the longterm, but at least better decisions for them, which in turn leads to even less stress.

Talk about a real win – win situation.

There have been lots of movies made about people returning to earth from the after-life to make amends for the lives they’ve lived.

Although I’m not a cinematic expert by any means, I don’t think that any of those movies have ever examined the guilt associated with taking advantage of passing your financial responsibilities to your unseen great-grandchildren’s grandchildren.

My personal hero is the father of a friend of mine who actually took out school loans in his son’s name, used the money for himself, and then saddled his son with the debt.

How is that not a great strategy?

It’s so good, in fact, that governments and leaders, whether elected or otherwise do exactly the same thing, finding great inspiration from the alternative life form band, Devo.

Dependence on foreign oil? Kick it.

Social Security Trust Fund problems? Kick it good.

Rising deficits and debt? You must kick it.

Chinese own too much of our debt? Issue more, preferably a long Sebastian Janikowski kick on that one.

So when I heard Treasury Secretary Geithner this morning at the Seeking Alpha Conference sponsored by CNBC, emphatically say that the European Union would not see a repeat of Lehman Brothers, it gave me great cause for concern.

He seemed to be saying that the problem wouldn’t get kicked down the road and that tough, but responsible actions would be taken by the world banking community to ensure that  the Lehman debacle wouldn’t repeat itself.

As you look around the European Union that can has been kicked around alot, but it always seemed to end up in Germany’s backyard. But then again, we’ve had some bad experiences when Germany’s ventured out of its backyard in the past, so maybe it’s for the best.

Yet, just when it seems that there will be some way to quench the flames without a great deal of hardship, you get Finland, flexing its influence and introducing such responsible banking concepts as “collateral”.

Actually, if Finland really had any influence, you’d see Nokia phones being used by others than just unemployed elves. As Finland realized it really didn’t have quite the bandwidth it thought, they acquiesced, besides how much feta per capita did they really need, anyway? Given Finland’s location, just about anything can qualify as a much needed chill pill.

The market then tanked earlier today when word came out that the other EU powerhouse, Austria, was against the Greek bailout. It’s no coincidence that chill pill and buzz kill rhyme.

Funny thing about those Austrians and their language. Apparently, it’s hard to understand those Germanic languages, as somehow Austria’s intentions were not reported properly and when clarification was made the market started a voracious climb.

My own experience with that group of languages is that it’s much easier to comprehend when it’s being yelled at you in very close proximity to your face. Even if you don’t quite understand the words, the tone gives the real message.

Austria needs to scream more. Maybe even some hand gestures.How do you say “Nein” in Austrian?

When everyone eventually realized that Austria, in fact, didn’t come out against a bailout, only delaying until Friday some sort of vote, the market did a 400 point turnaround.

With options expiration on Friday I looked for more opportunities to pick up some crumbs and there were plenty as the price trend was going higher.

So I took the opportunity to sell call options in DuPont, British Petroleum and Riverbed Technology.

On top of that, I sold some more January 2012 Sirius-XM Satellite Radio Puts.

Although I’m not likely to get all of my remaining positions hedged, I’m reasonably happy, as my shares have been handily outperforming the S&P 500 during this recent 3 day climb.

I was especially happy to see that my troika of environmentally disasterous stocks, British Petrolueum, Transocean and Halliburton have also fared nicely, especially in the wake of today’s report which scolded all three for last summer’s rig disaster.

As the afternoon started wearing on I began having some doubts about foraging for crumbs, because the market had climbed 270 points and suddenly every talking head was exuberant about the market’s future.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, just as the unbridled enthusiasm got on the air, the market cut its gains in half during the last 30 minutes of trading.

I didn’t mind. For me, the ideal end of an options cycle is having my positions close out right near their exercise prices. For my part, I wish this had been Friday.

I love kicking the same stocks right over into the next options cycle and then selling at the money options on them.

For me, kicking them down the road is a strategy that can never go wrong, regardless of life expectancy.

On the other hand, things may start getting serious in Europe. They may actually address the issues instead of kicking them down the road. That raises the questions as to whether our markets have already discounted that and will drop upon the reality occuring and whether precious metals will reverse their climbs, as fiscal responsibility enters our vocabularly.

Nah, that’s not going to happen. No one ever  got re-elected by making the responsible decision.

The EU should just follow the lead of Americans everywhere in dealing with financial crises.

They need to get a new credit card and take those 0% Cash transfer offers




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