29JAN2021 – American Greatness Post of the Day – Is GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy Already Going Soft?

Liz Shield at American Greatness gives us some details on how the House Republican Leader is already promoting left-leaning Republicans into leadership positions and demoting any actual conservatives to curry favor with Nancy Pelosi and friends.  After the impeachment theater is finished I think getting on with the business of primarying all the RINOs should be the first order of business for Donald Trump or whoever wants to take on the mantle of leader of the Free America.




Gameplay and Reddit and Melvin.  OH MY!

This morning the Fatman sent me this link to Glenn Greenwald trying to shed some light on the meltdown that some Reddit investors inflicted on Melvin Capital for their obviously obscenely extreme short positions against Gameplay.  And recently he had reminded me of a story I told him about the 1987 Black Monday Wall Street crash that I was involved in.  Back in the mid-eighties photog was a young struggling engineering student working all kinds of crazy jobs to feed his family and looking at an economy that didn’t particularly need engineers.  So, I got my Series 7 license and went to work at a number of different Wall Street firms, some more and some less reputable.  But by 1987 I had been employed at a discount broker taking orders on their options desk for a couple of years and was about to move over to a small specialty firm that handled institutional accounts.  In fact, the week before the crash I had accepted the offer and I would be leaving that next Friday.

Now back then if the Dow Jones Industrial Index dropped fifty points that was a really bad day.  So, as you can tell on Wall Street numbers have changed orders of magnitude in term of impact on the economy.  And the whole Black Monday drop was only 500 points but back then that was an earthquake.  But probably what very few people remember is that the Friday before Black Monday the market dropped a hundred points.  And that was a very big deal.  And for one small investor that first smaller drop was even more important.

Options are a way to bet on the market when you don’t have the wherewithal to buy stock and certainly don’t have the money in your account to be allowed to short a stock.  Back then the equity requirements to short stocks were a lot lower than they are now but still you needed at least 25% of the value in your account to short shares of a stock.  But options are a way to leverage changes in stock price by paying someone who does have stock to guarantee a buy or a sell at a particular price by a particular date.  And as a consequence, a market can then be made in those options.  But since these options expire at a certain date, on that last day if the option price is “out of the money” meaning that exercising the option by buying or selling the stock at that required price wouldn’t make the one exercising the option any money then it is worthless and the option itself has no trading value.  At that point the option trades for almost nothing.

So, every month when various options expired, we’d see the index options, the OEX options, that traded against a basket of blue-chip stocks reach down to the lowest levels they traded at like an eighth or a sixteenth before expiring worthless.  And every month like clockwork we would have a visit from the cabbie.  He was a Jamaican cabbie who would come in with his paycheck and put in a buy order for as many out of the money OEX put contracts as he could get for five hundred dollars.  Five hundred dollars was his paycheck that he would deposit in his account.  And every month he would call up just before the end of the trading day and ask what they were trading at.  And every month we would laughingly tell him that they were worth squat.

But on that Friday before the crash, he bought his options for pennies on the contract and then in the last hour the market went down a hundred points.  And the value of his puts went from virtually nothing to fifty thousand dollars.  And everyone on the trading floor was flabbergasted that the cabbie had pulled off a home run.  So, when he called up and asked for the quote on his OEX puts I respectfully told him.  He told me to sell them at the market price which I did.  But when I asked him if he wanted to have the proceeds sent to him, which I assumed he would, instead he said to buy as many contracts of out of the money OEX puts as I could get.  So, I bought him $50,000 of out of the money OEX puts.  And then the trading desk went wild laughing at this madman who had just flushed the biggest bonanza we had ever seen down the drain.  Because after a 100-point loss, the market would regain the value or at worst hold steady there for a month or two before it continued its way up.  Those puts would slowly erode before expiring worthless.

That night Camera Girl and I joined a friend from the office and his wife at an off-off-Broadway play about, of all things, a stock investor who loses his shirt and kills himself and finds himself in hell.  It was a pretty terrible play.  My friend and his wife were struggling actors who worked other careers to enable their avocation.  And after the play we laughed and talked about the cabbie and how foolish he was but I remember saying to my friend, “Yeah, but what if the market crashed on Monday and went down two hundred points, then he’d have the last laugh.”  And we all laughed at how unlikely that would be.

So, the market tanked Monday and went down five hundred points and the cabbie made some millions.  I didn’t get to speak to him because I was too busy with the fallout of the crash to care about anything but getting through the day.  First, I called my new employer and made sure I still had a new job to go to next week.  Then I slogged through thousands of calls to former investors who would have to liquidate their accounts to meet their margin calls.  It was a crap storm of mammoth proportions that taught me many valuable lessons about the cyclical nature of human endeavors.

But the story of the Jamaican cabbie was an object lesson that combining intelligence and a little luck can accomplish some remarkable results.  I hope that guy took that pot of gold and lived a very happy and useful life.  That kind of luck and courage deserves to be rewarded.

Now back to the Reddit boys.  Regardless of anything else this Gameplay “play” means, it has highlighted just how horrible Wall Street has become.  To relentlessly short a company out of existence is so emblematic of the bloodless inhuman nature of our financial system.  And now that the governmental and industrial powers-that-be are rushing to the defense of one of their fellow vultures it’s plain for all to see that there are two different systems available.  One for the corporate titans that are too big to fail and one for the rest of us who are meant to fail whenever it is necessary to squeeze a little more blood for the vampires to suck.  Maybe it’s a case of the vampires deciding Melvin Capital is just one more victim for their feeding frenzy.  I’m sure honor among thieves is pretty thin.  Or maybe it really is David vs Goliath.  Who knows?  But what is clear is that America is broken.  To the Masters of the Universe in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street we are cattle and slaughtering us is just part of the business cycle.  After all you can always get more cattle.

29JAN2021 – photog’s Friday Finds

Powered by Whatfinger News, the nervous system of Free America

This is the first installment of a weekly feature that I hope the readers will find useful.  Instead of putting up links as I find them I will group them into categories.


Texas Lawmakers Consider Secession Over Life Under Democrat Marxism — More States Interested (Gateway Pundit)

(I love this first one.  It’s a YouTube video with the Representative going over the proposal that will be presented to the texas legislature.  And during the interview he mentions that there are other states intersted and that Texas might be able to act as the Big Brother for these smaller states in their journey down this road.  Fascinating.)


Clarity in Trump’s Wake (Angelo Codevilla on American Greatness)

(Codevilla is a brilliant guy who has been raising the alarm since 2015 that the Left is finishing the transition from free republic to corporate oligarchy in Washington.  He can be long-winded but his words are worth reading.


NYT Begs Court to Dismiss Veritas Defamation Lawsuit; Admits Article Inaccuracies Under Oath! (Project Veritas)

(James O’Keefe at his investigative journalism company Project Veritas is one of the most effective people working for our side.  He has uncovered Leftist malfeasance everywhere his undercover cameras go.  From Acorn to Planned Parenthood to Google to CNN to Facebook to CBS to NPR his investigators have recorded the Left speaking openly of their real intentions and in many cases their illegal actions.  O’Keefe here is suing the NY Times for openly lying about the documented evidence he had of voter fraud during the 2020 elections.  These guys are great.)


The Culture


Act Like a Lady  (Abby Roth at American Mind)

(Never let it be said that just because I’m the leader of the He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, that I ignore what women have to say.  How could I?  They never stop talking! I hope Camera Girl doesn’t see this.  Abby Roth defines her desire to reclaim the term lady for the culture on the right.


Orwell’s 1984 and Today (  Larry P. Arnn, President, Hillsdale College on Imprimis )

Larry Arnn is the president of one of the only colleges in the United States that isn’t run by and dedicated to the Left.  President Trump put him in charge of the 1776 Commission and he has a lot to say about how education must be reformed if we are to save the next generation.  Here are some of his thoughts on that)


Faith, Family, and Work (Tyler Cook at the Portly Politico)

(Tyler Cook writes at the Portly Politico and even though he keeps up with the latest news on the blogosphere he can talk about more than just the latest political outrage of the day.  Education, music, religion and literature turn up at his site.  And seeing as he’s the next generation we better find out what they’re thinking about because they’ll be taking over pretty soon.  If there is anything left to take over.)


Working on Our Skills (The Disturbed Deputy)

(The Deputy writes about life from the law enforcement side of things and about life in these United States)





Eric Church – A Country Music Review

A couple of years ago I bought all five of Eric Church’s albums (see playlists at end).  I had seen him perform a couple of time on one or the other of the Country Music Awards shows and I thought he was head and shoulders above the stuff that was getting played on the radio stations.  When all that Bro Country stuff started up ten years ago it sounded so awful and contrived and just plain stupid that I was glad whenever I found someone who could write meaningful lyrics and talk about something resembling real life.

Church portrays himself as a working-class kid who grew up in a small town filled with work that got his hands dirty and Friday nights filled with booze and girls.  And that’s what he writes about.  But he also sings about some less simplistic goings on.  His first album “Sinners Like Me” has a song called “Lightning” that is the execution day recollection of a man who killed a liquor store clerk while attempting to rob the store.  We get his thoughts seeing the mother of the boy he killed and his own daughter sitting in the viewing area.  It’s a powerful and skillfully done song.  And that album is full of good songs.

In his later albums he starts singing about his life as a grown man and we hear about his wife and kids and what it means to be a wild kid who has to become a grown up.  And to other grown ups this might resonate a lot more than another song about Jack Daniels kicking Eric’s butt on Sunday morning.

On the five albums I’ve got he has about sixty songs and I’d say I only truly dislike three songs.  And one of those is his tribute to pot which I guess is one of his vices.

There are twenty songs that I like a whole lot.  And the rest are regular good, meaning I can listen to them in the rotation without getting tired of them.  I think that’s actually very good.  Church has an interesting voice and I’d describe his music as country rock.

If you want a song writer that can write both the Saturday Night honky-tonk songs and also more thoughtful and realistic stories then Eric Church is worth a listen to see if he clicks with you.  I can say I highly recommend him based on my standards. I’ve bolded the songs I especially like.

Sinners Like Me (2006)

  1. “Before She Does”
  2. “Sinners Like Me”
  3. “How ‘Bout You”
  4. “These Boots”
  5. “What I Almost Was”
  6. “The Hard Way”
  7. “Guys Like Me”
  8. “Lightning”
  9. “Can’t Take It with You”
  10. “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” (featuring Merle Haggard)
  11. “Two Pink Lines”
  12. “Livin’ Part of Life”

Carolina (2009)

  1. “Ain’t Killed Me Yet”
  2. “Lotta Boot Left to Fill”
  3. “Young and Wild”
  4. “Where She Told Me to Go”
  5. “Longer Gone”
  6. “Love Your Love the Most”
  7. “Smoke a Little Smoke”
  8. “Without You Here”
  9. “You Make It Look So Easy”
  10. “Carolina”
  11. “Hell on the Heart”
  12. “Those I’ve Loved”

Chief (2011)

  1. “Creepin'”
  2. “Drink in My Hand”
  3. “Keep On”
  4. “Like Jesus Does”
  5. “Hungover & Hard Up”
  6. “Homeboy”
  7. “Country Music Jesus”
  8. “Jack Daniels”
  9. “Springsteen”
  10. “I’m Gettin’ Stoned”
  11. “Over When It’s Over”
  12. “Lovin’ Me Anyway”

The Outsiders (2014)

  1. “The Outsiders”
  2. “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young”
  3. “Cold One”
  4. “Roller Coaster Ride”
  5. “Talladega”
  6. “Broke Record”
  7. “Like a Wrecking Ball”
  8. “That’s Damn Rock & Roll”
  9. “Dark Side”
  10. “Devil, Devil (Prelude: Princess of Darkness)”
  11. “Give Me Back My Hometown”
  12. “The Joint”

Mr. Misunderstood

  1. “Mr. Misunderstood”
  2. “Mistress Named Music”
  3. “Chattanooga Lucy”
  4. “Mixed Drinks about Feelings”
  5. “Knives of New Orleans”
  6. “Round Here Buzz”
  7. “Kill a Word”
  8. “Holdin’ My Own”
  9. “Record Year”
  10. “Three Year Old”

A Bonfire of COVID Masks

We are a week into the middle of winter and with the recent cold snap and with the snow that will be falling today and tomorrow I’m falling back into the New England mid-winter trance.  Luckily without my typical commute a lot of the wear and tear on my body and mind are reduced to a reasonable level.  In the past I would have to get up at 5 am and clear the snow for two hours before commuting to work and then drive home and still having to clear the rest of it in the dark before collapsing into bed.  Now with my new and improved lifestyle I get up at 7 am, eat breakfast, play blocks with my granddaughter for a little while then leisurely and efficiently go out and clear the snow once it stops falling.  I’ll probably break it up into two sessions with a meal in between to relieve the monotony and warm my old bones.  Camera Girl has made a really excellent Chicken Butter Nut Squash Soup so I’ll be properly fortified for the second half of the operation.

In my less demanding routine I have the chance to reflect on the unfortunate aspects of this new world that we live in.  Here we are almost a year into this absurd lockdown and most people in New England really believe that we are in the midst of the bubonic plague.  I half expect to see the cartman leading his pony around with the pile of cadavers shouting, “bring out your dead.”  The local tv coverage and the attitude of the people you meet when you do go out is that we are all struggling against unbelievable odds to survive the ravages of the Andromeda Strain.  Apparently, we’re all heroes now.  It sounds like the nonsense the Soviets used to spout every time the tractor factory came close to meeting the quota.  “All hail the revolutionary fervor of Assembly Line B Night Shift!”    When a country that did nothing about the virus like Sweden has, after a year, a slightly lower per capita death rate than a country like America, that threw all its small businesses off a cliff, you have to wonder just how detached from reality people are.

Based on the fact that California and New York are beginning to loosen the restrictions on such dangerous activities as opening your front door and breathing in the shower I am hopeful that by the end of winter we will at least be allowed to visit friends and relatives without the neighbors calling in a SWAT Team on us.  And that will be big.  I found that not seeing my various family members was the worst part of this travesty.  And not just family.  I have friends that I am dying to see face to face and share a burger and shoot the breeze with.  This lockdown is harming us physically.  It’s harming us mentally and it’s harming us spiritually.  As I’ve mentioned I’m reading Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago.  And compared to the atrocities the Soviets perpetrated on their people even the lockdown is minor.  But it is related to what they did.  It is psychological warfare aimed at damaging people’s self-respect.  We’re caged animals and they ratchet the punishment up and down just to torture us.

So the cold weather is a perfect symbol of the Gulag that has been built for all of us living in the blue states.  Maybe now that Dementia Joe has been nailed up on his scarecrow pole in front of the White House they’ll let us free.  Or maybe they won’t.

I have one exceptionally cynical old friend who claims that we right wing folk are just sheep and no matter how much abuse is heaped on us we’ll just continue to take it without doing anything more forceful than complain.  He thinks that anything that’s going to happen will have to happen in a red state and even that will be in the nature of orderly and peaceable action.  I’m of a different opinion.  Even in the bluest of blue states, I think a point will be reached where people will revolt against this abuse.  Somewhere a spark will ignite the tinder and a crowd will start a bonfire of these stupid masks and put an end to this idiocy.  And I hope I happen to be nearby to join in.