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Joseph P. Porter
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I am a retired college faculty in Philosophy, with specializations in Ethics, Socio-political Theory and Rational Choice/Decision Theory. My teaching focus was on Business Ethics, Medical Ethics and Logic. After retirement I freelanced as a Grant Writer/Fund Raising Consultant. I have taught at... More
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Joseph P. Porter's Instablog
  • Dogging The Turkeys: Week 47 10 comments
    Nov 24, 2013 1:10 PM

    This has been something of an odd week, market-wise. In general, however, the omniscient prognosticators and analysts all seem to agree that the market is not overpriced, so we can expect to see very little by way of a general correction.

    The Dow:

    (click to enlarge)

    IBM (NYSE:IBM) continues to have its problems. This could be something of a concern, as Barron's is projecting a move from small-cap companies to large caps, but who's going to buy into a loser? AT&T (NYSE:T) seems to be suppressed, but if they pick up Vodaphone (NASDAQ:VOD) next year, look for them to jump big time.

    The S&P 500:

    (click to enlarge)

    Can you say "stagnation"? I knew you could. The Dogs seem to be having some major problems, with Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) the only company that seems to be holding its own, as it clings to its two-bagger status. R.R. Donnelley & Sons (NASDAQ:RRD) is trying to get back in the running - other than that, both portfolios look miserable.

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  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
     
    "both portfolios look miserable"

     

    Maybe they're both just hungry and will perk up after a good meal on Thursday. ;>

     

    Miz
    24 Nov 2013, 02:17 PM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I dunno - may take them out back, use an axe and a chopping block, and roast folios for Thanksgiving. Actually, I could just roast the Dogs, but people would think I'm a Korean stock broker or something (Oh, I know. Terrible sense of humor, but that's what you get when you walk into a store two weeks before Thanksgiving and hear Christmas music, or when you turn on your favorite radio station at 2:00 AM and they're playing Christmas music).

     

    On the other hand, my own portfolio is up > 8 % for the past 6 weeks, mostly driven by DDM, which is up nearly 11%. This leaves me in a quandary. I had planned on actually investing according to the PIC S&P 500, which is really streak (including a version I set up in 3Q which is up > 11% not counting divs); although DDM is risky, 2014 seems to be shaping up as a good year, which means it would be good for the PowerShares Ultra portfolios.

     

    I should always have these problems.

     

    By the way, I notice you were raised USAF - I was AF from 1969-1976. Spent 18 months in Panama and 3 years in Spain. The real joke: I never bothered to learn Spanish.

     

    joe
    24 Nov 2013, 03:46 PM Reply Like
  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I totally agree about the Christmas music. It started on November 1st around here. I'm not even close to ready to hear that on the day after Halloween, and on the whole, I like Christmas music (just not until December)!

     

    Well, you know when you're in a quandary, you can always do half & half. No rule says you have to do one or the other when you can do both!

     

    It was an interesting life growing up in different places. I learned a smattering of Turkish when we were in Ankara for 3.5 years, but don't remember much now (I was 12 yrs old when we left). My older sister and I recently looked back through my parents' old photo albums. Man, that was fascinating! Dad was a General's Aide, and there were lots of Embassy Balls and pictures with ambassadors and various other notables back in the early 1960's.

     

    Miz
    24 Nov 2013, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Must have been totally cool if your Dad was a General's Aide. I had a chance to do embassy duty in Sofia, Bulgaria (with Uncle Sugar picking up the tab for learning the language), but my wife was very reluctant to go with me, and I wasn't going to take a 3-year tour of duty without her, so . . .

     

    Ended up discharging from Spain and going back to college.

     

    Had a friend stationed at Ankara. He got shot 6 months into his tour, ended up on disability. Some guys get all the luck (being facetious, but only half so).
    24 Nov 2013, 05:17 PM Reply Like
  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
     
    It was totally cool for my older sister, she was 16 and old enough to go places with Mom & Dad. I was too young, so it didn't mean much then. As I got older, it was more interesting to look back on it as all the pieces fell into place about what was going on and why we were there.

     

    There was a revolution every year in May, and the cavalry and tanks rolled up the hill towards the palace. We lived just a half-block off the main drag, so we could feel the cavalry and tanks coming. We were told not to look out the windows for fear of being shot at, but I could never resist a quick peek. Terrifying for a kid!
    24 Nov 2013, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » We were in Spain when Generalissimo Francisco Franco died. There were some skirmishes between the government and the Basque separatists, but that was mostly up north, in the Pyrenees. I was stationed outside of Madrid, where there was very little activity, other than large protests. It was generally risky to go into Madrid for a while, but Spaniards were not unfriendly to Americans, so it was pretty cool.

     

    The closest I came to having trouble was when they increased security on the dirt road that separated the American side of the base from the Spanish side - unfortunately I worked on the Spanish side. One night I was stopped by a guard in the road, and when I looked to my right, there was another guard about 10 meters away with a rifle pointed at me.

     

    Turned out they had run out of cigarettes, and wanted to know if I could give them some. I gave them a pack, and tried to barter with the one who stopped me for his military poncho - a very nice, woolen garment, very dressy. He ultimately said no, since it was cold and he had to be out in the field all night. A Spanish Air Force poncho remains one of my wishes for Christmas.
    24 Nov 2013, 07:37 PM Reply Like
  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
     
    Oh, wow! Glad it was nothing more than a want for cigarettes. But still, having a rifle pointed at you must have been heart-stopping. Great tale to pass along, though.

     

    Could you even buy a Spanish AF poncho on the open market? Seems that might be a little hard to come by!
    24 Nov 2013, 08:25 PM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It is. I've been trying for a long time - even with the internet it's been impossible. The uniforms of the mid-to-late 1900's have given way to more modern attire.

     

    As for the rifle - I think the guys were more afraid of me than I of them. The first word out of the guy's mouth was "Am-am-am-americano?" "Si." "Donde trabaja?" "Trabajo a estathion transmisora." "Vale. Thigarillos Americanos?"

     

    Castillian Spanish is odd in that "C's" before "i's" are pronounced "th," as are "Z's" and some "S's." It takes a long time to get used to it, but now that I learned it, it's about the only way I can utter the little Spanish I know. "Vale" appears to be Castillian for "okey-dokey."
    24 Nov 2013, 09:54 PM Reply Like
  • Miz Magic DiviDogs
    , contributor
    Comments (5151) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I'm familiar with Castillian Spanish. One of our Court interpreters spoke Castillian Spanish, which was very unusual for an area with a high number of Mexican Hispanics. It does take some getting used to, it always sounds like they're speaking with a lisp.

     

    Good thing you had the right answer to where you worked AND had some American cigs on you!
    25 Nov 2013, 04:38 AM Reply Like
  • Joseph P. Porter
    , contributor
    Comments (918) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » It was pretty much the extent of my (appropriate) Spanish.
    Anything else I could have said would have gotten me either shot or laughed at, depending upon how the guards had felt about their mothers.

     

    Cigarettes were a great bribe - we got them for about 20 cents/pack at the commissary, but they cost more than a dollar on the Spanish economy. They were rationed, because many American non-smoking soldiers would buy them on base and then sell them to Spaniards at just under the Spanish cost. Marlboros were the biggest sellers.
    25 Nov 2013, 01:59 PM Reply Like
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