First, my sincere apologies to my readers (honk, if you’re still here!), for my lack of writing. A lot has been going on and I have been focusing on my book project, Wine and Passion. The book is not so much a wine book as a look at the passion of the winemakers I have met over the past five centuries…oops, decades! I would hope that people consider them rather than the critics ratings but that is up to you, dear reader.
I also must admit to writer’s block and the evil: procrastination. But there was one more event that sidetracked me from mid-July to late August: our 50th anniversary (yes, it coincides with my serious interest in wine!), which consisted of a 5,000 mile driving trip to Portland (mostly along Hwy 12: the Lewis and Clark Trail; then down to Southern Oregon where, along the way we drove right through a forest fire on I-5, halfway to Jacksonville; then down to Reno where we lived for five years in the late 70’s and early ’80’s. Hot August Nights, the largest street car show in the country was going on! From there we drove to Lake Tahoe and stayed at a friends place at Fallen Leaf Lake, at the southern end of Tahoe. There we celebrated our 50th along with most of our relatives.
Driving back we drove across Nevada on I-80 stopping at Wells. We had planned on staying in Wendover on the Utah border but room rates were $200-300 a night! In Wendover? You have to be kidding, right? Wrong, it was the beginning of Bonneville Speed Week, so we stayed in a very nice ’50’s style motel in beautiful downtown Wells.
The next day we stopped at Bonneville then drove across the beautiful mountains of Utah and finally stopped in Gillette, Wyoming, and after a long 700 mile drive home to Excelsior, MN, on beautiful Lake Minnetonka, the next day. Four days and three nights out and three days and two nights home.
Our drive on scenic Hwy 12, the only road maintained by several states that is funded by the federal government, reminded us of how we have lost something in an era of 70-80 mile speed limits on the interstate where the goal is simply to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. Think about that the next time you take a trip and take at least a few side roads.
Finally, what wine did we have for our 50th? First, I brought over a case of wine with us but the gem was a magnum of Bonny Doon 2012 Le Cigare Volante by my friend and one who will be featured in the book, Randall Grahm, one of the great California winemakers! It was fantastic and enjoyed by all.
Well, tomorrow is 9/11 and I will have a different kind of column for it.
Until then, go drink some wine!
Copyright, September 10, 2019
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.
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