If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, stay out of those crummy neighborhoods, where the street corners are crowded with high priced stocks of dubious moral character wearing stiletto heels, fishnet stockings, miniskirts, and shoulder handbags. Sure, I know you young traders have needs, think with your hormones, and believe you can live forever. But if you absolutely have to go slumming, at least use some cheap protection. I noticed today that the January 1030 S&P 500 puts were selling at a bargain $19 today. That means for a mere $950 you can buy some decent downside protection for a $55,000 portfolio that takes you all the way out to January 15, 2010. That is bang on the support level that held in the last sell off. If you double top here on the charts and go down for a retest, you double you money. If yearend profit taking causes us to sell off going into the holidays, and we break that support, you make more. If the market melts down the day after we flip the calendar page to 2010, a distinct possibility, then you hit a home run. If the lemmings keep driving this market up every day for two more months, then you lose $900, or 1.72% of your portfolio, pennies, really, against the huge returns you have booked so far this year. It’s a win, win, win, lose pennies trade. I know that the pros that have done for a long time put these trades on without even thinking about it. It’s all about risk control. Since I am a cheapskate, I only like strapping on trades that have a risk/reward ratio overwhelmingly in my favor, and with the volatility index today a bargain 23%, this fits the bill nicely. Buy your storm insurance when the sun is shining.