Risk in our Doomsday Device Fund

by Johnny Debacle

Dead_Cat commented on the Screw You, Science piece thusly:

I hereby launch my new fund Doomsday Device Partners Fund I LLC. This is a private equity-style product specifically focused on the acquisition and exploitation of doomsday devices. The fund will develop a diversified portfolio of doomsday devices, which may include particle accelerators, nuclear research and generation facilities, underground virus research laboratories and key religious artifacts. Nicolas Cage will be Chief Investment Officer and Milla Jovovich will be Chief Risk Officer.

Unfortunately for you, and really for all of us, Long or Short Capital already has a Doomsday Device fund, one which is itself a doomsday device. We designed it with an automatic trigger system, a sophisticated system of arrays and failsafes such that, if any competing doomsday fund were ever to be launched, we would be able to retaliate no matter what happened to the value of our assets.

And unfortunately for you, and really all of us, we may not have been entirely sober when we designed this system. We called it The AYFKM system, but we generally referred to is as “No Whammy.” Kaiser conceptualized the structure. The first part of the design is an array which monitors an assortment of global communication channels. There is also a direct line of communication from No Whammy to the Long or Short Capital bunker, which is not a euphemism for our moms’ basements.

The device can be activated in one of three ways:

  1. If No Whammy’s array detects that any doomsday fund has started pitching investors, the No Whammy goes live.
  2. If the Long or Short Capital bunker signals for The AYFKM device to go live, it goes live. An instance where the line of communication between the LoS bunker and The AYFKM device is severed or otherwise goes down, The AYFKM device goes live. Just in case.
  3. If there is seismic activity in Manhattan greater than 0.7 on the Richter scale or an unusually large flock of Canadian geese, No Whammy goes live.

What does it mean for No Whammy to go live? It means that within 72 hours, thermonuclear missiles will be fired from silos we have across the globe, rendering the Earth uninhabitable. We did design a fail-safe in case of a mistaken triggering of No Whammy: we have a bunker with a single person in it who has access to a button that can stop the process, provided he first gives enters the correct password.

Unfortunately for you, and really for all of us, that bunker is staffed by Yuri, a drunk and a loudmouth. And Dmitri absolutely HATES Yuri. Dmitri, you see, was the first button-pusher we hired. We had a following out with Dmitri over a heated game of Risk in which one party did not honor his agreed upon alliance, and in fact, exploited the truce that the illusory alliance provided in order to build up forces and launch an invasion from said party’s (it’s Dmitri, duh) Kamchatka base. We immediately replaced Dmitri with Yuri, because we are a responsible firm, one who cares about things like not negligently letting our doomsday device render the Earth uninhabitable. But what we could not control was how many times Yuri had had sex with Dmitri’s wife Ludmilla. Or in how many different positions. Or on how many internet webcams. And when he learned of them, these numbers very much upset Dmitri and he refused to divulge the appropriate password to Yuri. Or to us. So if No Whammy goes live and at that time Yuri deems it appropriate to stop the launch of the missiles, it’s on Yuri to correctly guess the appropriate password.

And thus here we are. Not for long mind you, but here we are.

Recommendation: This is a clear demonstration of how important it is that when deploying an automatically triggered doomsday device, one must first SIGNAL that such a device is being deployed. That is really the whole value in the device in the first place. This is a mistake we won’t make again, we promise you. Amazingly, this has happened before.

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing 11-01-2009

by Mr Juggles

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then plagiarism is the sincerest form of imitation.
-Malcolm Gladwell plagiarizing from his friend Jacob

Past Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

This Week in Tweets for 2009-10-31

by Mr Juggles
  • We will be adopting trend posting, a posting schedule poised to deliver predictable and strong returns according to our new algorithm #
  • Today's trend following posting update: Yes, Post. #
  • Markets need to stay up or trend following posting is a failure #
  • not sure how to play the trend following posting today, as the open looks negative — but if we see momentum, we will post #
  • last tweet belied the fact that clearly we are sure how to play the trend following posting on a day like today, we are smarter than we know #
  • Twitter's definition box in the right sidebar is obnoxious; yes we get it, every little thing is a "fun way" to interact with twitter #
  • Screw this trend following abortion, let's try reverse trend following posting, markets about to launch up, buy now #
  • We got hacked! By spammers! On October 5th! Here is an example of the result — http://bit.ly/1OOqp0 #

Nanna, NO

by Johnny Debacle

The seniors want to steal $250 each from our kids. We should say No.

Rosanne Altshuler, co-director of the Tax Policy Center in Washington, says that the checks “seem to be pure pandering to seniors.”

Indeed, the politics are attractive. People over 65 vote in large numbers. Saying no to them is never easy.

This is demonstrably false. After reading this article, I immediately set out to the street. There I spotted a female senior citizen. Although I didn’t cut her in half and count the rings, which we all know is the only way to accurately tell a woman’s age (and much more polite than asking her), she was definitely over 45. I could tell because I had no manly desire for her. I snatched her purse from the clutches of her arthritic claws.

“Give it back!” she said.

I said NO. And boy was it easy. Her arms didn’t hold the strength to dissuade me, being as scrawny and infirm as they were.

I trotted at a medium gait towards the river. She followed me on her senior scooter device. By the way, she had a senior scooter device.

“Do not even think about throwing my purse into the river, you [handsome] young man,” she chided from her saddle.

My feet stopped, my cobalt eyes locked onto her gaze, and my lips let lose NO. And again, it was easy to say “NO” to not even thinking about throwing her purse into the river. What could she do? Her aged brain clearly lacked the telepathic abilities that could have forcibly compelled me.

She kills kittens and hates the environment

As I cocked my arm and gazed upon the horizon, I thought about her life, who she was, and how much she had given this world. What wonders she must have experienced growing up in the 60’s or 70’s! All those changes and stuff!

“Sonny, don’t throw my purse into the river. I beg you, I’m just a poor old woman on social security and we only got a 5.9% cost of living adjustment last year.”

That old bat’s mutterings gave me pause. Was I wrong? Were the old “not so bad?” Did these leeching frauds who are destroying the young deserve a second chance? A scan of the contents of her purse caused me to unpause. Raising the bag over my head, I turned it on its end, disgorging it of its contents. First things to fly out were wads and wads of counterfeit $100 bills. Then a leather carrying case for a syringe and rubber hose, a baggy full of heroin, 106,328 metric tons of CO2 emissions, a gun with the serial filed off, Polaroids of various women in open-toed shoes, gold bullion cubes, a well-worn copy of Eat, Pray, Love and innumerable kitten heads.

“Listen you old broad, and listen good. No. NO, I will not not toss your bag into the river. NO, I will not consent to you mortgaging America’s future. NO, I will not be ok with giving you a check for $250 so you can proceed to either not spend it, or worse, use it to subsidize Steve the Senior Stud’s cialis purchases at the nursing home, or whatever frivolous way you will deploy this cash, cash which you clearly don’t need based on 1) the way you have pilfered from America’s future your whole life and 2) the contents of your purse. No no no NO. Learn what that means because I am going to saying it to you a lot.”

And with that, her purse shot through the air, entering the fray of the choppy waters, scored only by a screechy dying old-ladyish “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

Full disclosure: Long or Short is Long Age Warfare.

HT to the love of my life, crampell.

Science, Screw You

by Johnny Debacle

What the science.

In December, if all goes well, protons will start smashing together in an underground racetrack outside Geneva in a search for forces and particles that reigned during the first trillionth of a second of the Big Bang.

Obviously, Science has a different definition of “all goes well” than I do. Things not on my “all goes well” list:

  1. Dying in a fire
  2. Getting punched in my mini-ballers by a midget (think of the devastating angle they have on you)
  3. Being melted by toxic waste like that guy in Robocop

Don't worry this doesn't look scary at all

But that’s not even the part that really frustrates me. Previously there was a notion that Science had some measure of prudence and competency. But Science has evacuated its collective gourd. From the above linked article:

Then it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. I’m not talking about extra dimensions of space-time, dark matter or even black holes that eat the Earth. No, I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.

Which is worse:

  1. Science is speculating there are time-traveling protective fairy particles to save us from ourselves.
  2. Science is willing to admit that there is a chance that a “Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature” that time-traveling protective fairy particles would come back to save us from ourselves.

Recommendation: Isn’t this the kind of thing that would give a reasonable person pause? Not Science dude, no Science just plans to plow through it and hope it all works out. Awesome. Science, before we get sucked into the vortex of unexistence, I’d like you to step into the ring with me, mano-a-scienco, I’m done with your shit man.

Math, you’re up next.

As an aside, we are still selling July 2008 End of the World Puts and September 2008 End of the World Puts. Although not technically in the money under conventional physics, with time-travel on the table they could still pay off.

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing 10-25-2009

by Mr Juggles

A camel is a horse designed by committee.

Past Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

This Week in Tweets for 2009-10-24

by Mr Juggles
  • @Crampell is crushing us as is @lcdnews. Damnations. #
  • @Anal_yst as long as u don't find out he bases his actions on Mad Money, that happened to me…I got emancipated and no longer have a dad #
  • RT @TheStalwart RT @lvlewitinn: Considering naming my site's admin account "Idi Admin". Too soon? #
  • @TheStalwart re" 79% APR, the CEO of that co's name is Dana Dykhouse, not sure on the pronunciation, but either way bad in reply to TheStalwart #

Someone was finally, actually Bamboozled

by Johnny Debacle

From this FTC report concerning an apparrel maker whose marketing was not consistent with the actual makeup of their products:

According to the Commission’s complaint, issued in August 2009, The M Group, Inc., d/b/a Bamboosa, and its principals falsely claimed that the company’s products are “100% bamboo fiber,” when they are composed of rayon. Rayon is a man-made fiber created from the cellulose found in plants and trees and dissolved with a harsh chemical that releases hazardous air pollution. Any plant or tree could be used as the cellulose source – including bamboo – but the fiber that is created is rayon.

The complaint also charged Bamboosa with making a number of other deceptive “green” claims. Bamboosa claimed that its products retain bamboo’s antimicrobial properties. However, even if the rayon used in Bamboosa’s clothing and textile products is manufactured using bamboo as the cellulose source, the FTC contends, rayon does not retain any natural antimicrobial properties of the bamboo plant. The rayon manufacturing process eliminates any of these natural bamboo properties.

Recommendation: You may have read our initial diligence on Bamboosa called “Why I Do, and Why You SHOULD, Have a Bambooner” in which we erected a strong case for buying Bamboosa. The thrust of that piece lay in this quote: “There are two O’s and a BAM up in this piece, time to get long (I think I just did).” We were bamboozled, legitimately bamboozled, and we deserve a pass on this one, because really, that’s a cool way to lose millions for investors who depend on the legitimacy of our recommendations. I know you’d agree.

HT to Felix Salmon

More Notes from China: Lost in Collusion

by Mr Juggles

Held a meeting with the CFO of one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in China. Their main business is wheel loaders.

Me: You and your competitors have very high margins, some are even higher than Catepillar (NYSE: CAT) which is the global leader. Is there any risk that as you all add capacity those margins decline?

Chinese CFO (through tanslator): Uh so he says that there is no risk of a pricing war.

Me: Ok can you tell me why that is?

Chinese CFO: Uh so he says China has 5 main wheel loader companies. And all are good companies and will not start a price war. Also he says the 5 CEOs of the companies meet every month for a dinner and they all agree not to make a price war against each other.

Me (to the translator): Did he really say that?

Translator: Yes.

Me: OK, moving right along.

Let’s Talk About Health, baby

by Kaiser Edamame

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Recently, everytime I’m at Blockbuster video (NYSE: BBI) or waiting in line for a payphone or getting my chest hair lasered (ask your depillitator for “the Kaiser”, your lady will be grateful) I’ve been getting dragged into the healthcare debate. Usually I just pretend I’m on Total Request Live:

Carson! I think Obamacare {QUICK DEEP BREATH} by Barrack Obama {QUICK DEEP BREATH}) should be the number 1 video because Barrack is soooooo hotttt and everyone should have should have rad healthcare and it should cost way less and Obama rocks my world!!!! WOOOOO!!!!!

If however you actually want to waste your time arguing about healthcare we thought we’d take a few things we commonly hear and give you some IN YOUR FACE FACTS to drop on your friends and make them hate you more than if you just make outrageous claims that you can’t back-up. Mostly what’s below is true, mostly, and if that standard is good enough for science and math, it’s good enough for us.

People say: For-profit health insurance companies are the devil and the reason we spend so much more on healthcare than other countries (Note: this is a recurring theme of the hot selling book “Healing of Amercia” by T.R. Reid, now available at your local grocery store).

IN YOUR FACE FACT: Healthcare insurance companies make between 5 and 10% profit margins (p.5). So even if you usurped all these profits (assuming you could run the companies just as efficiently) the most you could save is 5-10% of the cost. And by the way many states already have not-for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. If not making profits made insurance companies give you the same care at lower costs then these BCBS plans would be blowing up like a totally sweet Jenna Haze automatic blow-up doll. But they’re not, they’re slowly deflating like blow-up dolls tend to when you make them wear a spiked choker against their will. Mostly.

Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing 10-18-2009

by Mr Juggles

In a truly free market, the Invisble Hand has to give the Dollar a reach-around.
-Jon Stewart

Past Quotes Entirely Relevant to Investing

This Week in Tweets for 2009-10-17

by Mr Juggles
  • @jodiecongirl Because the political incentive system is broken and because only assclowns with law degrees go into politics in reply to jodiecongirl #
  • The Audacity of Extortion http://bit.ly/47UQtl #
  • Our policy makers have bailed out poorly run financials by creating massive federal deficits, and think they've solved the problem… #
  • ..as one who runs over a weed with a lawnmower. The roots have simply grown deeper, because the seeds are still there. http://bit.ly/16s0ma #
  • "The…absolute number of U.S. residents who die from…cancer each year is now falling, year-on-year" — is this true? anyone? #
  • From the comments on this McArdle post, http://bit.ly/2YGGV3 #
  • @Anal_yst We know guy who specializes in knowing guy who deals in color markets. Been trying to sell us mezz tranche of a Teal CDO for mnths in reply to Anal_yst #
  • http://imgur.com/Ci4e5.png We've all been there. #
  • One day, God summoned forth the best musicians from Earth to present their craft for Him. Earth produced Dream Theater and U2. #
  • One day, God summoned forth the best musicians from Earth to present their craft for Him. Earth produced Dream Theater and U2. -bit.ly/4JMXg #
  • First, U2 played. God was gently amused. He thought Bono had bitching shades. Angels swayed to the upbeat pitter-patter of Bono’s songs. #
  • Second, Dream Theater plays. Halfway through Dream Theater's first song, God smashes Bono's balls into his mouth until he vomits. #
  • New young automaton wife + billions + dbag + dow 10,000 = dead Wasserstein $LAZ #
  • Not a commandment, but an important investing rule nonetheless: http://bit.ly/r1mh #
  • @crampell That post didn't answer the proposed question of how much it costs at Princeton vs TCNJ! False twitvertising. in reply to crampell #
  • @kyle_s Wasserstein not TOTALLY dead, only mostly dead, but figured the best way to make money was to die. He's making a market call. in reply to kyle_s #

Sell Out Saturday: Why We Fight

by Johnny Debacle

This is a sponsored post

In the mini-series Band of Brothers, the 101st Airborne’s Easy Company encounters concentration camps and the horrors contained within. After that point, the Nazis were no longer just conquerors who these Americans thought should be pushed back into the bowels of Bavaria. The Nazis were the pure evil and Easy company knew that it was their moral imperative to defeat Hitler’s men, lest the forces of darkness swallow the Earth whole. The title of this episode was “Why We Fight.”

To Gary Barzell, business loans are Nazis. If you need financing, the idea that you would be forced into making secured loans impugns his sense of right and wrong. That is why he will offer you up to $250,000 in unsecured business loans. No questions asked.

How do we know this? Let’s just say that Long or Short Capital is richer by approximately $250,000 at each of our possible levels: parent, opco, several subs and a series of shell entities we created solely to be able to exploit Gary’s generosity.

The best part is that because these loans are unsecured, there is no collateral he can seize from you when things go awry or you fly to Tahiti.

Now you might be saying, isn’t this the kind of reckless no doc no strings financing extended to uncreditworthy entities (like Long or Short, for example) that built the bubble that got us into the current economic mess? The answer is YES. But it’s also this kind of reckless no doc no strings financing extended to unsavory uncreditworthy entities (like Long or Short, for example) that let us know our long economic nightmare is over, that the target for the DOW should be reset to 36,000 from our previous target of 8, and that we will be mini-balling again in no time.

Returning back to Easy company, they realized in “Why We Fight” why they fought. To defeat evil. Like those brave American soldiers, Long or Short has learned Why We Write. We write to get paid and to defeat evil. And to kill Nazis.

Thanks you and God Bless.

Hurricane Hugo loves Margarita

by Johnny Debacle

Reader The Paleofish sent in a link to Hugo Chavez in action, sticking it to uppity hotels.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he seized the landmark Hilton hotel on Margarita Island because its owners dared to impose conditions on its use by his government to host a summit there last month.

“To hold the conference we had to ask for permission… and the owners tried to impose conditions on the revolutionary government. No way,” said Chavez.

“So I said, ‘Let’s expropriate it.’ And now it’s been expropriate

The hotel was a Hilton, the second Hilton to be seized by Hugo Chavez. How does this affect your portfolio? Quoting myself, something I love to do, this was our first piece on Piratery:

But setting up a lair in a place like Isla Margarita, located off the northern coast of Venenzuela, would be an environment with relatively low piratery penetration but proximity to major cruiseline and OPEC oil routes. An added bonus, Isla Margarita is where non-pirate berserker Lope de Aguirre reached his crescendo.

Revisiting this recommendation, we would downgrade Isla Margarita to “Not a good place to set up a pirate lair” due to the Venezuelan government’s growing presence in the quasi-legal seizure business.

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