Sunday, June 28, 2015

[SFX]: Woodwards' Dollar-Forty-Nine Day Jingle

CJB:  CJB here.  I don't usually give market tips.  But if you were interested in acquiring some marked-down stock, and have a medium to long term investment horizon & good tolerance for risk, tomorrow, Monday June 29th, 2015, might be a good day to get yourself some.

[SFX]: Dollar-Forty-Nine Day, up and out.
Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015
"They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on Earth."
Kennedy, J.:

"The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed."
Thursday, June 25, 2015
"An outsize energy and determination drove him on to recover and rebuild after every self-created disaster that he faced...."
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"We spoke in code and told tall tales of fragmentation that were full of lacunae we could fall into to hide from uncomfortable things like dental braces, math tests, and semi formals.

It Follows is David Robert Mitchell’s mixtape, or assemblage project, if you will, that collects many of the best shards and slivers from the refuse heap of the ‘80s, and recombines them into something of great gloss. If you’ve seen A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween or Phantasm, It Follows' cut-and-paste touchstones will not be a surprise to you. In fact, they’ll be something better: subterranean homesick postcards from yourself from an erased time that have arrived 30 years late. Remember that scene from Back to the Future II when Marty is handed Doc’s 70-year-old letter by Western Union on that rain swept road? We are nostalgic pop culture travellers lost in time, stranded by our reminiscences.

Mitchell has put together a mixtape that has it all: the ennui of suburban space and hounding menace from Halloween, the band-of-brothers-and-sisters surreality of A Nightmare on Elm Street, the night time cavalcades of Phantasm, a soundtrack by Disasterpeace that is a composition for the ages, up there with the best synth scores by John Carpenter. The ramshackle residences of Detroit that sweep by the glass of the passenger side, as the teen protagonists drive around the city as only teens can, filled with such hope of going somewhere quick but going nowhere fast, serve to heighten the suburban dread."
Tuesday, June 23, 2015


[A] foregiveness I have held
from myself--

(George Bowering)
Monday, June 22, 2015

Back in the saddle. Summit of the Copilot, 1881m, yesterday afternoon. Photo courtesy Mr. Patrick Morrison.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Tonight's reading: Burton G. Malkiel, The Persistence and Predictability of Closed-End Fund Discounts
Canadian Closed-End Funds Monitor, June 2015

(aka rummaging through the Thunderbird Marina dumpster, c. 1983)


"As they are exchange-traded, the price of CEFs will be different from the NAV - an effect known as the closed-end fund puzzle. In particular, fund shares often trade at what look to be irrational prices because secondary market prices are often very much out of line with underlying portfolio values. A CEF can trade at a premium at some times, and a discount at other times. For example, Morgan Stanley Eastern Europe Fund (RNE) on the NYSE was trading at a premium of 39% in May 2006 and at a discount of 6% in October 2006. These huge swings are difficult to explain.

US and other closed-end stock funds often have share prices that are 5% or more below the NAV. That is, if a fund has 10 million shares outstanding and its portfolio is worth $200 million, then each share represents a claim on assets worth $20 and you might expect that the market price of the fund's shares on the secondary market would be around $20 but that is typically not the case. The shares may trade for only $19 or even only $17, i.e., a 5% or 15% discount to NAV.

The existence of discounts is puzzling since if a fund is trading at a discount, and if permitted by the rules or constitution of the fund, theoretically a well-capitalized investor could come along and buy up enough of the fund's shares at the discounted price to gain control of the company and force the fund managers to liquidate the portfolio at its (higher) market value (although in reality, liquidity issues may make this difficult since the bid–offer spread will drastically widen as fewer and fewer shares are available in the market). Benjamin Graham claimed that an investor can hardly go wrong by buying such a fund with a 15% discount. However, the opposing view is that the fund may not liquidate in your timeframe and you may be forced to sell at an even worse discount; in any case, in the meantime the fund will have incurred costs and charges imposed by the managers. But like any investment, these discounts could simply represent the assessment of the marketplace that the investments in the fund may lose value.

Even stranger, funds very often trade at a substantial premium to NAV. Some of these premiums are extreme, with premiums of several hundred percent having been seen on occasion. Why anyone would pay $30 per share for a fund whose portfolio value per share is only $10 is not well understood, although irrational exuberance has been mentioned. One theory is that if the fund has a strong track record of performance, investors may speculate that the outperformance is due to good investment choices by the fund managers and that the fund managers will continue to make good choices in the future. Thus the premium represents the ability to instantly participate in the fruits of the fund manager's decisions."

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): this beautiful album, on this morning at the cafe
Friday, June 19, 2015
This album contains photos of Vice President Cheney with David Addington in meetings at the White House, United States Naval Observatory, aboard Marine Two and Air Force Two, and on official foreign visits to Tokyo, Japan and Sydney, Australia. This album also contains photos of Vice President Cheney and/or David Addington meeting with other White House staff members. There are a few photos of David Addington by himself.

A great, if wholly unintentional, work of political conceptual art.
Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jack Shadbolt, Creature (Beast 1), 1987
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Given their backgrounds as investors in hundreds of public companies, they set out to build a company that could be a template for all businesses in terms of corporate governance and transparency. The Company was listed in February of 2011 and has grown to own some of the most desirable property in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia."

Lewis on Michael Burry: "His mind had no temperate zone: He was either obsessed by a subject or not interested in it at all. There was an obvious downside to this quality -- he had more trouble than most faking interest in other people's concerns and hobbies, for instance -- but an upside too. Even as a small child he had a fantastic ability to focus and learn, with or without teachers."

This excellent book -- which I'm rereading for the sixth or seventh time, as inoculation against the likelihood of being more wrong than right in an investment operation not under discussion here -- describes my personality more accurately than anything else I know.
Monday, June 15, 2015

"Some of what we learned was pretty weird: Men who look away and don’t smile do better than those who do; women holding animals don’t do well, but men holding animals do. Men did better when shown engaging in an interesting activity."

"Chihiro also stands outside societal boundaries in the supernatural setting. The use of the word kamikakushi (literally 'hidden by gods') within the Japanese title, and its associated folklore, reinforces this liminal passage: "'Kamikakushi' is a verdict of 'social death' in this world, and coming back to this world from Kamikakushi meant 'social resurrection.'""
Thursday, June 11, 2015

An occasional correspondent wants to know if the crashed flying saucer is "a Jeff Wall Production [sic]."

Much as I might wish otherwise, the saucer is an X-Files set near Ashcroft. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I won't end this high, not this time again
So long, so long, so long
You cannot survive
And I'm not dying
And I can't lose
I can't lose
No, I can't lose
Cause I can't leave it to you
So let's get too high, get too high again


Friday, June 05, 2015
Trimming up the little clematis in the front room that I nursed back from the grave last year.  (Ancient black man on bus last summer: "Boy, that plant is dead.")

New shoots up and down the central stalk, and tons of tiny new green leaves.
Thursday, June 04, 2015
"Here is the story of Nedko Nedev, a Bulgarian living in Sofia, as told in Thursday's Securities and Exchange Commission complaint against him.  In 2012, Nedev decided to buy some stock in the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory...."
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
"ein Zaungast, 'a fence guest,' semi-excluded by a mix of luck, tardiness, unsuitability--" (Michael Hofmann)

"I shall lay up authentic materials...and if I survive him, I shall be one who shall most faithfully do honour to his memory" (James Boswell)

(accompanied by Shasta,
brindle catahoula,
'Best of' Used Nanaimo
by a country mile)

'Homeless,' two syllables
always connoting judgment.
In Hammertown's end,
the city's upscaling
& 'abandonment of its poor.' 
Like you wouldn't treat a dog.
I do remember one thing
It took hours and hours but
By the time I was done with it
I was so involved, I didn't know what to think
I carried it around with me for days and days
Playing little games
Like not looking at it for a whole day
And then, looking at it to see if I still liked it
I did

I repeat myself when under stress
I repeat myself when under stress
I repeat myself when under stress
I repeat myself when under stress

I repeat

The more I look at it, the more I like it
I do think it's good
The fact is
No matter how closely I study it
No matter how I take it apart
No matter how I break it down
It remains consistent
I wish you were here to see it
I like it

(Adrian Belew)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

where a human in distress
in a public place
could receive at least as much
attention as an off-leash
dog, or a tiny, sad,
furious African man
playing a trumpet
low & slow
in mourning
in a public park
beside a statue
of Frank Ney, developer
mayor, in pirate drag.
A chance for change
really only ever visible
afterwards, as loss.

Columbia Studio B,
19 June 1974, where no
orchestra played, & yet
is clearly heard
in the recording,
in the echoing space
above Miles' trumpet
& Harmon mute, as if
love for absent Duke
could coax him back,
or some semblance
of him back, like Spicer's
spook radio voices--

Buttertubs Drive
Dingle Bingle Hill
Twiggly Wiggly Road

My pal Mad Owl Woman on the South Needle, site of an epic Team Cat adventure many years ago and a totally underrated North Shore bushwacking destination.
Monday, June 01, 2015

Difficulty level: about 8/10. Cracked with Satellite View & first-hand knowledge of LA's peculiarly sloping streets.  That said, the little tree in my first attempt at a solution seems more amiable to having its portrait made than anything in this scene, whose wide-angled field of view and wacky foreground perspectives don't lend themselves to reproduction with a 35mm camera, however hi-res.

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