Vol 4 No 9 Tarrytown and Beyond

Tarrytown sits right on the Hudson and is a quaint town but also is home to Marymount College, and the Rockefellers who have clearly left their mark. Dobbs Ferry, established in 1698 is there and from it you can see the entire Manhattan skyline and to the north the Tappan Zee Bridge. There is also a non-denominational church there, the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, a tiny church funded by the Rockefellers and built of river stone. Originally it had no windows but then they attempted to commission Henri Matisse to come and do a glass window. Due to his age (82) and health, he declined however, he did create the forms for the window in his bedroom. Those were then made into glass and shipped to Tarrytown for assembly. It isn’t an impressive window, about a three-foot oval over the altar, but Matisse died two days after finishing it. Over time, seven windows were installed in memory of various members of the Rockefeller family. All were creations of Marc Chagall, and they are magnificent.

The wedding was fantastic and held at Tarrytown Estate, just down the road from Washington Irving’s home where he wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. All the streets have names that those who have read it are familiar with. As an aside, when we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, we lived in Orinda in a section called Sleepy Hollow and even lived on the Lane of that name, and again all the streets were from the book. Tarrytown Estate is on Sunnyside Lane, coincidentally the same street the bride’s parents live on in Orinda!

The wine for the wedding was from Vietti in Barolo, Italy. They had secured a Balthazar (2400ml) of their 2015 Nebbiolo (Perbacco) – that’s 16 bottles. It was the first to be shipped! The bottle was decanted and all the guests signed it. A nice touch! Vietti is especially meaningful to me because in 2004, my son-in-law (a chef at a Northern Italian restaurant, Prima, in Walnut Creek, CA) and I took a 10-day trip to Italy visiting wineries and fine restaurants. We called it two guys, ten days, twenty meals, fifty bottles of wine. The highlight was that when we arrived at Vietti, Alfredo Currado personally gave us the tour. Normally his wife did because Alfredo didn’t speak English well, but here sister had fallen ill so he had to do it. It was amazing but troubling as he kept apologizing for his English. Finally, we saw his son, the winemaker, and told him to please have his dad stop apologizing as it was an honor similar to having Robert Mondavi give us the tour. He stopped and said, “my English is not so good but when I drink wine it get’s better.” However, when we got to the tasting room he did something every host did that we visited. He poured a taste, then filled all three glasses but never touched his again. The significance of that was that we were his guests but this was business…a nice touch. That is why the wine, which was wonderful, meant so much to me personally.

One last thing at the Estate. Over the fireplace is a painting and I was curious. It turned out that it was a portrait of Major Andre, a Brit who was captured by the patriots and although he was in civilian clothes they noted his beautiful boots. They removed them and inside were the plans to West Point that he had just received from Benedict Arnold. Both men were later hanged., Why was it there? Because when the Estate was purchased it hung there so they decided it was only proper to leave it ‘hanging’.

From there we drove down to the Greenbrier in Lexington, West Virginia (not to be confused with the town of the same name in Kentucky). The Greenbrier is a beautiful southern mansion style hotel with a golf course, but is also famous for the bunker that was built there to house members of Congress if there was a nuclear war. It is now just a museum.

The next day we ‘found’ the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky and visited one of my favorites, Woodford Reserve (would also have like to visit Pappy Van Winkle but they weren’t open that day – drat!). From there it was a long but beautiful drive home that totalled 3,650 miles, almost all of it in good weather, thankfully!

Trader Bill

(c) 2018

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How did Trader Bill originate? It was conceived by me as a way of providing information summaries of global financial markets so that friends and associates could bring themselves up to speed on events and changing market conditions upon their arrival at work. In addition, it provides information on speakers and economic releases that day with consensus estimates and level of last release so that the reader is prepared to react, or knows how the market might react upon the release of information. Who is Trader Bill? Initially any reference to me was as ‘i’. This is to remove the aura of ego and to suggest that i am but a humble reporter, albeit with 35 years of investment experience. Investments are demanding of ego, however, or one would not feel that he was qualified to manage someone else’s money in the first instance. Therefore i needed an ‘alter-ego’. Like Winchell and Mahoney, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and especially Trader Vic and Mai Tai’s! Why Trader Vic? Because he was a likeable man who delivered pleasure to his customers and knew exactly what their desires were. The reason for the alter ego became obvious once I introduced Trader Bill into my commentaries: people started asking what Trader Bill thought. They had never asked me what I thought before, but suddenly they wanted to know what TB thought! Now mind you they KNEW that I was Trader Bill but for some reason he became bigger than life. Maybe it was the small ‘I’? What does Trader Bill try to do?His goal is to educate from his years of experience. Consider that most of the traders and people managing investments weren’t even around in 1987 for the crash! Consider that Graham and Dodd, and even Warren Buffet are not relevant to them, too old hat. Their historical perceptions of markets and fundamentals (earnings, price/earnings ratios, bonds, debt service coverage) are irrelevant in this fast moving world. This is the NEW ECONOMY, or is it? How did your style originate?Years ago i found that i had a knack and talent for writing. In addition, i developed an ability to analyze market news about 15 years ago. It took the Crash of ‘87. Prior to that i was just listening to what others said about the economy. But bond yields had been soaring in ‘87 yet the stock market just kept hitting new highs. That was when i began to learn about markets. i have both a dry and witty sense of humor (some call it inane!). Therefore i attempt to make even the worst news somewhat amusing: whether it is the absurdity of an economic release, or the comments of a CEO. This is trading desk humor (or gallows humor). It isn’t politically correct but it does ease tension. Ironically, it is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (in the Navy they say: it’s always darkest before it’s pitch black!), that allows you to be more objective in your analysis, as bad as a situation is there will still be a tomorrow! You will see that i practice three-dot journalism, a style made famous by San Francisco reporter Herb Caen, whom i idolized. At least to me it is effective. What is so special about your analysis?Frankly, i don’t know that it is special, but at least it beats “the market closed down today on profit taking.” What i do know is that most of what you read is spat out without considering whether or not it is rational, like the above statement. Is it right? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, and that is the key to what is different about my analysis: it is meant to make you think. Is Dan Rather right or is Trader Bill right? If it causes you to stop and think about it, regardless of whether you agree, i win! Because THAT is my goal…not to have you think i am a guru, got that? Bet you never heard that ANYWHERE before in my business! Instead they want you to think just how smart they are but remember in this business if you are right 60% of the time you ARE a genius! Another thing that is different is when i am wrong on an analysis i will tell you, not hope you forget what i said. So now you have the tools to do what the speculators and hedge funds do: challenge authority, and if you make money it is because YOU did it not me. i was just a tool, your flunky to do the grunt work and let you decide…course you could be wrong too but at least you looked at the big picture. But the goal is also to have fun! This shouldn’t be a business of hushed tones and grim faces. It is a living, breathing thing and nowhere else in the world do you have the odds as much in your favor as here. Just beware of the guy who wants to put his arm around you and tell you he is your friend. So there you have it. I hope you select me as one of your sources for market information. If you do I promise to work my best for your financial success. Trader Bill

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