Wall Street Is Clueless

Back in the day – and by that I mean the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s – I was working at The Wall Street Journal, writing about investing for the paper’s “Money & Investing” and “Personal Journal” sections. In that moment, a paradigm shift was underway on Wall Street…

As Internet companies with no profits and nothing more significant than an idea racked up stock market valuations in the billions, the Street’s army of analysts contorted themselves to justify prices that made no sense to anyone with more than a couple brain cells. Traditional metrics no longer applied, they assured investors. Price-to-earnings ratios, cash-flow multiples, net-profit margins… those were all passé, old-school in a new-school world. What mattered was “customers per click,” time spent on a website, measuring “eyeballs” and not earnings.

The sad part is that Wall Street convinced Main Street that the new paradigm was legit. Technology was different than the manufacturing and industrial past, and it had created a “new normal” way of valuing stocks.

And then truth alighted to mock the merrymakers on Wall Street… and, sadly, to erase trillions of dollars of wealth from Main Street investors who had put their faith in the Street’s supposedly learned analysis.

Beware: Another paradigm shift is underway on Wall Street. And this time, like last time, Main Street will get screwed.

Just recently, Wall Street investment banking firm Barclays dispatched a note to investors that argued the laughable: That the stock market, at historically extreme valuations, is not overvalued one bit… that because of “animal spirits” – as economist John Maynard Keynes called the emotions that drive human behavior – that have welled up in the wake of the Trump victory, the current P/E ratio approaching 20 “is far from pricing [in] excessive optimism.”

Folks, that is the kind of analysis that comes back to haunt a Wall Street analyst. And it will come back to haunt the wallet of any investor gullible enough to buy into that nonsense.

What’s going on here is a concept similar to what was going on back in the dot-com bubble. Wall Street, knowing something is amiss but constitutionally incapable of conceding that reality, is creating a new paradigm to explain to us Main Street sheep why it is that “no, indeed – stocks aren’t expensive… if you look at this new way of valuing stocks.”

Some might call it an “alternative fact.”

When traditional valuation measures tell you one thing, and Wall Street analysts are telling you tradition no longer matters… well, my best advice is to tell you to pay attention to history. Because Wall Street has an exceedingly long and colorful history of putting its interests above yours.

Stocks Are Expensive

As I’ve pointed out in previous dispatches, stocks today are at extreme valuations.

Extreme!

I use the Shiller price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which uses inflation-adjusted earnings over a 10-year period in order to smooth out the business cycles and the vicissitudes of corporate earnings that can swing wildly from one year to the next.

The Shiller P/E today is approaching 30, putting the U.S. stock market as one of the single most expensive in the world. Usually, the Shiller P/E is in the midteens.

In the last century, it has been this high on only two other occasions: The paradigm-shifting dot-com bubble (which actually shifted no paradigms), and just before the global financial crisis, when the entire world of investors was mainlining pixie dust.

But even on the basis of the current P/E ratio (based on the current year’s earnings only), stocks are now at 20 times earnings. Again, that’s well above historical norms that are in the midteens.

See, the thing is, smart Wall Street analysts can rationalize anything. They can manipulate numbers any way they want by adjusting for this, that and the other thing all day long in explaining why this time it’s different… why this time it makes sense that 20 is the new 15… and why you should not be worried that stocks are expensive because, duh, they’re clearly not.

Only, the problem is that nothing is ever different.

Traditional valuation metrics are traditional for a reason: Because they make sense.

They’ve served investors well for many a generation because they work. New metrics rarely work, mainly because they’re usually engineered to fit a particular moment in time – and usually a moment in which markets are out of whack and Wall Street wants you to believe otherwise.

Don’t Trust Wall Street

I will point out one other fact before I sign off…

One of the rationales Barclays (and other analysts) use to justify higher P/E ratios as the new normal is the fact that interest rates are low. Yet interest rates are headed higher, if one believes the Fed… and if one believes Trump, they’re headed even higher than expected because the new administration will unleash inflation with the spending, tax and tariff plans built into Trumponomics.

Rising interest-rate regimes coincide tightly with shrinking market valuations… not a good omen for Barclays.

So, take it for what you will: We are either in a new paradigm, where the traditional measures of cheap and dear have been suspended… or we’re simply in another moment in which Wall Street must contort itself to rationalize irrational exuberance.

My bet is that Barclays will wish it hadn’t distributed this particular note.

Book Review – Richistan by Robert Frank

Robert Frank’s book titled Richistan is about the lives of the new rich and those who make up the wealth boom occurring in the United States. The book is 250 pages long and is fun to read. While we know there are millions of millionaires in the world, Frank exposes them in completely new ways, from how they hire butlers to the silly ways in which they make their fortunes. Frank gives us perspectives that we never think about when it comes to the self-made, rich population.

To start the book, the author gives the reader an idea of just how many millionaires there are in the United States; about eight million as of 2003. This number has risen drastically between 2003 and 2009. He also goes on to define the term “Richistan,” and divides his new country into three different categories based on household net worth. Lower Richistan consists of households worth $1 million to $10 million dollars. Middle Richistan consists of households worth $10 million to $100 million dollars. The elite Upper Richistanis consist of households worth $100 million to $1 billion dollars. There are only several thousand households in the Upper Richistani category.

Chapter one is titled, “Butler Boot Camp: Housetraining the New Rich.” This chapter serves as a great introduction to the secret world of the new rich households. Frank talks of butler boot camps, especially the boot camp held at the prestigious Starkey International Institute for Household Management. Here, men and women train to simply run the households of millionaires and billionaires and get paid a ridiculous amount of money to answer to the wishes and needs of the super rich. These butlers get paid anywhere from $75,000 dollars to well into six-figure territory. They must know how to please the super rich, and tasks include washing high-end cars, rolling cigars, setting up home entertainment systems, and the usual services such as cooking and babysitting.

Chapter two is titled, “The Third Wave: The Era of the Instapreneur.” There are thousands of people who are becoming instant millionaires every year. In fact, in 2005 there were about 227,000 new financial millionaires in the United States alone. Robert Frank describes in this chapter the six ways that most people acquire their wealth and points out several individuals who have instantly made millions of dollars through development and sales of several large companies. Jared Polis, for example, has developed more than a dozen companies and sold them all for more than a total of $600 million dollars.

Chapter three is titled, “Making It: Ed Bazinet, King of the Ceramic Village.” This chapter is devoted to those who have made fortunes in an unlikely manner. One person mentioned in this chapter is Sydell Miller. Ms. Miller operated a hair salon and developed a shampoo line called Matrix Essentials, which she was fortunate enough to sell to Bristol-Myers Squibb for a mere $1 billion dollars. Then there is the chapter’s title man, Ed Bazinet, who created miniature ceramic houses and ended up mass producing them for department stores. By taking a chance and producing his line of mini houses, he is worth over $100 million dollars. This chapter gives you the feeling that anyone can be rich if you have the will and a good idea.

Chapter four is titled, “Living It: Tim Blixseth.” This chapter talks about those who love their work and make their work their life. Men and women like Tim Blixseth do not seem to have the capability to relax; they are always thinking about business. Tim may be on vacation or relaxing on his yacht, but he never stops working on his business. Blixseth started in business at a young age by buying and selling timber to various other companies, and eventually started the Yellowstone Club, which charges $250,000 dollars to join and millions of dollars for the right to build a house on his land. This ultra-exclusive club has members such as Bill Gates and Dan Quayle who want their own retreat where privacy is at a maximum.

Chapter six is titled, “Barbarians in the Ballroom: New Money vs. Old.” Formal celebrations and balls are popular in the world of the ultra-rich. People are invited and expected to attend, knowing that a large monetary donation to the charity of choice is mandatory. The rich must donate large amounts of money and when they fail to donate, controversy arises. Not only are people expected to donate up to millions of dollars at a time, but there is also controversy about who is allowed or nominated to be chairperson of these formal events. The chapter goes on to discuss homes owned by Donald Trump and Sean Combs and how much property in various parts of the country can sell for. This chapter is the least interesting of the book, but still gives good information on the world of the ultra-rich.

Chapter seven is titled, “Size Really Does Matter: My Boat is Bigger than Your Boat.” The seventh chapter is all about comparing the property and expenses of the rich versus the ultra-rich. Mega yachts seem like standard property for a rich person these days, and boats are coming in huge sizes with all kinds of crazy options. Some foreign leaders are having boats made that are about 500 feet long, costing over $200 million dollars to build. The boats come with smaller boats, helicopter pads, dozens of hot tubs, swimming pools, theaters, gold-plated bathrooms, etc. The author goes on to mention how millionaires compare cars, watches, and homes, and spend vast amounts of money just so they can have the biggest and the best.

Chapter eight is called, “Performance Philanthropy: Giving for Results.” This chapter is intriguing, and it discusses entrepreneurial charity. People like Philip Berber who made a vast amount of money with an online stock trading company which he sold for nearly a half billion dollars, are finding new ways to spend their money. Berber started Glimmer of Hope, a company which uses large amounts of money to help make the world a better place. Other millionaires and billionaires like Michael Dell have donated millions of dollars to help Berber build schools, health clinics, waters wells, and vet clinics in countries where poverty is a severe issue. Men and women like Berber and Dell have high hopes to heal the world and have taken the initiative to help fight poverty with the fortunes they have accumulated.

Chapter nine is titled, “Move Over, Christian Coalition: The New Political Kingmakers.” The ninth chapter deals with the money that drives politics and campaigns. This chapter presents how policymakers ask for money to fuel their campaigns and the differences between the techniques Republicans and Democrats use to find their much-needed money. Four Democratic supporters in Colorado helped to elect their candidate to the House of Representatives. Not only did this happen in Colorado and the House of Representatives, but it happens all the time in the race for President of the United States. The Republican Party often gains large sums of money in a public manner while the Democratic Party often collects money from the ultra-rich in a more private manner. This chapter shows that people will stop at nothing to have their candidate nominated into office, even if it means donating millions of dollars every year.

Chapters ten and eleven are titled, “Worried Wealth: The Trouble With Money,” and, “Aristokids: We’ll Always Have Paris.” These two chapters talk about the troubles that come with large amounts of money. For example, more than half of America’s super-rich agree that money does not buy happiness. Money can dominate their lives and leave little time for personal time with kids and spouses. Money can cause such concern that millionaires have started meeting groups to discuss financial matters and meet with similar people in similar situations to get concerns out in the open. Who better to talk about your millions of dollars with than other millionaires? The final chapter of the book talks about the super rich children, or those who are in prime position to inherit fortunes. Kids today are attending classes to learn about manners and living the high-life. They also are being forced to learn about finances and what to do with millions of dollars so when they do inherit the money one day, they will not make unwise decisions and blow the money away like many of today’s celebrities and heirs/heiresses are doing.

Overall, Richistan is an engaging and enlightening book about today’s new rich. This book will keep you reading as you learn facts about the rich that you probably never knew. The chapters about prestigious butlers and how “bigger is better” are especially interesting and will give you a great idea how millionaires and billionaires really live and spend their fortunes. This book is rated 4.5 out of 5.

American Beauty Semiotic Analysis

American Beauty, through its use of symbols and the title of the film itself makes us examine the characters and their philosophies (American dream, their concepts of success, beauty, etc.) both as they are and as they are perceived. No one in the movie is actually as they seem. In the end the creepiest (Ricky) is the nicest, the successful wife is an unstable wreck, and the American beauty is rather plain.

The red rose pedals, which appear several times throughout American Beauty are a symbol for love, sensuality, and vitality. However it is important to note that throughout most of the movie the red roses are implicitly an illusion. The red roses in the context of an illusion come to stand for a sugar coated reality.

By sugar coating I mean that which covers up the natural stimulation (taste, sight, touch) by “sweetening” it. In all but one of the scenes, the red peddles are around Angela covering her naked body in a way which makes what ever lays beneath, that much more enticing, through the use of sensual reds and the sexiness of mystery. Not to mention extreme spectacles which often accompany Lester’s dream scenes.

However in the scene where Lester finally gets what he has been wishing for Angela has no red peddles around her. Unlike her breasts in the first scene which were covered up with vibrant pedals, this scene exposes her body for what it is, we like Lester start to feel like Angela may not have been all she was cracked up to be. It is not that Angela isn’t beautiful, it is that no one could live up to the god like expectations that Lester’s wild fantasies created.

After Lester finds out that Angela is a virgin and not at all what he thought she was he goes out to the kitchen and picks up a picture of his family. As Lester looks at a photo of his family saying “man oh man…” a bucay of red roses(exact to those shown earlier) are shown for about 5 seconds. These roses unlike all shown previously are real, not a dream. Also unlike the roses shown earlier they are associated with his family and not Angela. In this context the roses do not represent sugar coating but real love, sensuality, and vitality. Seconds latter we see a puddle of red blood. Shortly after we experience, by video montage which is Lester’s life flashing before his eyes, the love, sensuality, and vitality which the picture represented.

The theme of things not being what they seem is not isolated to Lester’s view of Angela. Several times throughout the movie Carolyn says You have to project success at all times to eventually become successful. Lester also comments to Ricky’s Dad that his marriage”…is just for show”.

Many of the characters seem to obsess over how people perceive them but show little care for the reality of things. Ricky’s Dad who hates homosexuality, and lets it be known several times throughout the movie, in the end turns out to be interested in men sexually. Carolyn and Buddy are obsessed with seeming “successful” and having others think they are part of a “normal” family, it is the struggle to seem this way for both of them which makes them emotionally unstable, and tears them apart from their families.

American Beauty through its contrast of reality and perceived reality makes us examine what American beauty is, the American Dream, and how real the promises these narratives offer really are.

Table Tennis Rubbers – The Elusive DHS Hurricane National and Provincial Versions

There is no doubt that the DHS hurricane II and III rubbers are one of the most popular in the world, partially because it’s so commonly used in China. No doubt the marketing and sponsoring by DHS has a lot to do with this, but the fact the many of the top Chinese players use this rubber does indicate that they have some very good properties.

It is well known that the top Chinese players may not be using the same version as the commercial version that’s available to the public. DHS has special versions of the hurricane rubbers for their Provincial and National team players. Whether these rubbers are actually manufactured differently, or whether they are hand-picked as the best ones from the production of the standard version is unknown. However according to DHS they ARE hand picked from the normal production run.

The standard commercial versions have an orange sponge for both the red and black rubbers. It is well known that there is significant variation in sponge hardness between batch to batch, or possible within each batch. This is due to different cuts of the sponge mass being used to make the individual rubbers. Sponge hardness varies within the sponge mass before the individual sponges are cut off.

DHS also produce a special commercial version with a blue sponge. This one is only made in black, because the red topsheet is too translucent, so a dark sponge would darken the red significantly, most likely beyond what’s allowed under ITTF regulations. This blue sponge is known to be a little softer and more flexible, and also reacts better with speed glue. This version is not as commonly available as it’s not part of their normal production runs.

Among DHS fans there is always talk about the national and provincial version. According to those that have tried the ‘real thing’, the sheets appear of better quality, are more flexible and have a softer sponge. There are special markings on the sponge indicating that these are special version, but the markings don’t always seem the same. They also do not come in the standard packaging, which makes sense as these rubbers are not commercially sold, so fancy packaging is not required. However there are also a lot of fakes sheet around which try to mimic the characteristics and markings on the rubber.

DHS used to sell their topsheets separately. This made it easy for the less reputable companies to add their own cheap sponge and markings, and sell it for a lot more than the commercial version. After this had been going on for several years, DHS recently decided to stop selling the topsheets separately, in order to cut down on the number of fake sheet around. There are however still a lot of fake sheets around.

According to DHS, the provincial and national versions of the hurricane rubbers are not sold to the public at all. They are only GIVEN to the national and provincial teams for their personal use. Of course there is always a big temptation for these players to make a quick buck, and sell these rubbers to other players and retailers, so this is how these rubbers find their way to the public.

According to DHS most of the provincial and national rubbers out there for sale are indeed fakes. In the last year or so more and more of these rubbers are sold by some online retailers and even on Ebay, all of course claiming them to be genuine. According to DHS these rubbers were not supplied to them by DHS, and the number of provincial and national version are quite limited, so chances are that these rubbers are not genuine. As some of these sellers are known to be quite reputable, and sell many other genuine items, it is most likely that they themselves believe the rubbers are genuine. Whether they are genuine or not, we cannot be sure.

There are ways of making the commercial versions a lot more like the provincial/national versions;

One way is to speed glue them… with enough layers to really soften them up. After this has been done a number of times, the sheet become more flexible and the sponge softer permanently… making it play a lot closer to the provincial/national version.

Another way is to use the so-called ‘super priming’ method which is a treatment of many layers of VOC based glue, which certainly has a permanent effect and works very well. It works best on the blue sponge version, but still works very well on the orange sponged version too. This is certainly a much cheaper way of getting a hurricane rubber softer and more flexible, and a lot more like the provincial/national version… and best of all you don’t have to worry about whether is genuine or not!

So is it worth paying the extra money to get a provincial or national version, without being 100% sure that it’s genuine? You be the judge…

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – An Analysis of Pip’s First Encounter With Estella

A stylistic analysis is primarily concerned with the function of language itself, a factor that distinguishes it from the broader field of literary criticism. In order to assess the creativity or literariness of a text, a close examination of the language the author has employed is of paramount importance.

The novel as a literary genre doesn’t easily lend itself to stylistic analysis. This is mostly on account of its length. Great Expectations in particular is a somewhat lengthy and complex work, a narrative that would be monumentally time consuming and impractical to scrutinize page by page. Therefore a more focused approach is required, an exploration which concentrates on a small section or extract of the narrative, as opposed to the whole book.

One of the most pivotal events of Great Expectations occurs in Chapter 8 of the first volume, where Pip visits Satis House for the first time and encounters Miss Havisham and Estella. The following analysis examines the scene where the protagonist is left to explore the grounds of the house.

Although it partially draws on his childhood experiences, Dickens’s novel isn’t an autobiography, yet the choice of discourse architecture lends its narrative a distinctly autobiographical flavour. This is apparent throughout this section, such as with the line “I got rid of my injured feelings for the time, by kicking them into the brewery wall, and twisting them out of my hair” (p.62). The above description illustrates the complex and dualistic natures of Dickens’s narrative perspective, where we see the adult Pip retrospectively regarding the behaviour of his childhood self. Yet there’s an immediacy to the description of the boy Pip’s actions, created partially through the use of the present participles “kicking” and “twisting”.

The description is also foregrounded, through both linguistic deviation and parallelism. A person’s feelings are an abstract concept, yet here they are depicted as if they were a physical entity, something which can be kicked or twisted. Also the present participles are further connected through assonance, with the repeating of the ‘i’ sound in both “kicking” and “twisting”. This clever use of language demonstrates the dualistic nature of the narrative voice, by highlighting the discrepancy between the child and adult Pip. It is the boy who directly experiences each narrative episode yet the man who is able to employ a mature and sophisticated recollection of events, evinced here through his metaphoric use of language.

Foregrounding occurs throughout the scene, both by linguistic deviation and parallelism. The second paragraph boasts an abundance of repeated grammatical structures. The syntactical configuration of the clause “there were no pigeons in the dovecot” (p.62) is precisely reiterated three times with the grammatical subject “pigeons” and object “dovecot” altered each time within the one sentence. Therefore the word “no” occurs five times in total within this paragraph, lending the scene a negative aspect. This simplistic repetition is highly effective in foregrounding the child Pip’s dejected state. Through linguistic parallelism, it is possible to view the neglected garden as a concrete reflection of Pip’s feelings at this point.

These bleak thoughts of Pip’s have been brought about by Estella in the scene preceding this one, where her scornful behaviour towards him, openly expressed when she denounces him “for a stupid, clumsy, labouring-boy” (p.59) have suddenly made him acutely aware of his lowly status in society. Social class is a central theme in Great Expectations, illustrated in part with Pip’s newfound desire to rise above the level of a blacksmith, the profession of his older brother-in-law Joe Gargery.

By scaling the class system, Pip also supposes this will make him more appealing to Estella, who, even at this early stage, it is somewhat apparent he is in love with, evinced in the description “her pretty brown hair” (p.63). Yet she is portrayed as being coldly remote from Pip, evident in the line “Estella was walking away from me even then” (p.63). Considering this from a stylistic perspective, the linguistic concept of deixis draws the reader’s attention as to why it effectively confirms Estella’s remoteness from Pip. Deixis is a term linguists use to describe expressions that indicate distance between individuals, and it can operate on both a physical and social level, discernible in the line above. Estella is shown to be physically distant from Pip, conveyed in the word “away”, but also socially, in regards to the rigorous class system that separates the two of them.

The issue of social class is raised again later in the scene with the reappearance of Estella. She is portrayed here almost as if she was a jailer, and Pip her prisoner, evinced in the line “I saw Estella approaching with the keys, to let me out” (p.63) This serves to subtly lower the protagonist’s status even further, beyond that of “labouring-boy” and down to the same level as a convict like Magwitch.

The “triumphant glance” Estella gives Pip is somewhat ambiguous. It is clear however that she is not unreservedly repulsed by him, but instead seems to take an odd delight in his coarse hands and thick boots (tangible indicators of his lower class status) verified by the word “rejoiced”.

There then follows a segment of dialogue between Estella and Pip, the short exchange represented in the form of ‘direct speech’. This is where a character’s dialogue is portrayed directly as it is spoken, without the narrator’s intervention. The exact speech of a particular character is enclosed within quotation marks. Dickens’s use of direct speech creates a sense of immediacy in the narrative. Estella’s taunting of Pip, “Why don’t you cry?” (p.64) isn’t openly addressed to the protagonist on the page; therefore the reader is suddenly thrust into the story and shares in Pip’s discomfort.

One important point to make about the use of dialogue in Great Expectations however is that due to the novel’s discourse architecture, where the narrator is also a character in the novel, the reader is essentially reading Pip’s recollection of spoken exchanges. The veracity of these memories is therefore questionable, particularly in this instance when they occurred a considerably long time ago in the adult narrator’s past.

The final paragraph of the chapter is a critical point in the narrative in Dickens’s novel. It portrays Pip’s complete awareness and consequent distress regarding his lowly status in society, encapsulated in the final clause of the last sentence, when he states that he “was in a low-lived bad way” (p.64). The boy Pip’s experiences at Satis House have enlightened him to a world beyond the blacksmith’s forge. They constitute the beginnings of his great expectations, as well as his growing contempt of Joe, openly expressed later in the story but exemplified here by the comment “I had fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks” (p.64), which his kindly brother-in-law had taught him to do, and which Estella had mocked him for earlier.

How Pip arrives at this extremely negative conclusion of himself can be revealed through the application of stylistic analysis. By approaching the opening sentence of the final paragraph from a grammatical perspective, it is clear that Estella is the subject of the sentence and Pip is the object. This is because a reference to her, “she” occurs before the reference to the protagonist, “me”. She is shown to laugh “contemptuously” as she pushes him out into the street. This is one of many sequences in the first volume of Great Expectations which depict Pip as a character whom actions are performed on, as opposed to an individual who performs actions on others.

Great writing isn’t achieved by chance but instead slowly emerges through a meticulous attention to detail. A stylistic analysis of a text can reveal the many ways in which an author manipulates language to achieve their desired effect. From this short analysis it is evident how Dickens has utilized a variety of linguistic strategies to enrich the language of Great Expectations. All these strategies demonstrate an inventiveness or creativity in his novel.

Technical Analysis Strengths and Weaknesses

Technical analysis has many strengths and weaknesses. Each strength gives it a sense of reliability, while each weakness puts you one step closer to making a fatal mistake. By becoming adept at knowing the weaknesses, you are able to shore them up with the proper money management and risk management techniques.

Strengths

Minimal Reliance on Fundamental Info

Practically every day there is some report coming out in the United States or overseas, whether it’s regarding job numbers, import numbers, or interest rate increases or decreases. Each bit of news has already been factored into the market’s activity in some form or fashion.

At one time, the concept of seasonal trading was “hot.” Every TV and radio guru talked about gasoline prices increasing in the summer, heating oil going through the roof in the winter, or oranges being wiped out by hurricanes. While these seasonal opportunities may have been tradable in the past, because they are so well known now, the level of impact that the seasons have on the markets has changed. Often times the actual movement in the market occurs far in advance of the actual seasonal problems themselves.

So instead of waiting for these seasonal trades to occur, it is far simpler to watch these markets and see the technical analysis movement now. If it’s heating up, get into the market; if it’s cooling down, get into the market; if nothing is happening, keep waiting and watching-don’t just follow fundamental analysis blindly.

Quick Snapshot of Data

Price, volume, and open interest all on one chart. With the right set of technical analysis tools and asking the right questions, you are capable of looking at a chart and within a few minutes being able to determine if a trade is worthwhile or not. You should also be able to determine your profit targets, loss risk, and risk management parameters as well. There is no comparable way to glean this much information from one piece of fundamental news.

A Sense of Immediate Control and Understanding

“What we don’t understand, we fear.”

As traders, we strive to be in control of the situation. The market itself is a beast. It moves up and down, left and right, for however long it wants and however violently it wants. There is little we can do with our finite amount of capital to truly move it. Therefore, the goal is to put the market in a context you can understand.

Since the mind enjoys creating patterns, we give ourselves the opportunity to look at daily, monthly, and weekly charts. We analyze minute-to-minute charts and focus on giving ourselves the best opportunity possible. Technical analysis does just that for us. It gives us the window to take a mass of information and to place it on the screen and feel like we can ride the wave as opposed to being crushed by it.

Weaknesses

Lagging Indicators Aren’t Always Appropriate

Don’t misplace your faith. Technical analysis is a wonderful tool to be used; at the same time, you have to be careful when attempting to use it for predictive features. Elliot Wave, Gann, and Fibonacci can tell you only what happened and what is happening, but they cannot reliably tell the future.

Once you begin to rely on the predictions to the point of where you believe they are absolute and you fail to prepare for contingencies, you give yourself few outs. This goes back to the difference between gambling and speculating. Predictions cause us to make assumptions about what will happen that leaves little room for what is happening.

Since the information for technical indicators revolves around price and time movements that have already occurred, it is best to temper your reliance with common sense, which means that you will use technical analysis, not let it use you.

Tools Are Available to Everyone

Bollinger bands, candlesticks, and William’s %R, are on all charting software. From the newbie just opening an account to the professional trader working for a hedge fund, the information is readily available. The calculations are known, the setups are known, as well as common market wisdom, and gaps are filled.

Using off-the-shelf information gives you little to no competitive advantage over fellow traders. In fact, how you operate plays into the hands of self-fulfilling prophecies, which leads to predictable stop placements and whipsawing in the market.

Putting your own custom spin on the tools will be to your advantage as well as immunizing your predictability in following conventional forms of money management and risk management. At every turn, customize either your reactions or your interpretation of the information in order to refine your opportunities for a competitive advantage.

Interpretation Is More Art than Science

No one can guarantee that every time you see a “cup and saucer” the market will behave with 100% predictability. No one will claim that every time the price of a market hits the upper Bollinger, it will collapse in price. Technical analysis is an art masquerading as science.

While the numbers themselves may accurately calculate deviation, accumulation, and distribution, as well as relative strength, the interpretation of this data is the key. What does it mean this time, and how will I react to it? Everyone has their own spin on the function of their technical analysis tools. There is no wrong way.

This is the reason why many commodity trading advisers (CTAs) may have a mechanical trading program, but they still leave the final decisions up to discretion. They know full well that there are patterns and various activities that cannot be left to chance and solely for a robot to determine. This is the tailspin that too many traders take when they believe that technical tools are the gospel.

Juic Table Tennis Manufacturer – A Review of Their Most Unique Products

JUIC is one of the major Japanese table tennis equipment manufacturers, producing a wide range of high end products of the highest quality, to suit the needs of players at all skill levels, including some of the world top players.

The JUIC brand may not be as well known as some of the other major manufacturers, but they have been operating since 1970, and their quality of goods is among the best in the world. JUIC have also shown some true innovation over the years in the design and manufacturing of new products, some of which were true breakthroughs in technology. This article describes some of the JUIC important innovations and unique products…

JUIC Blades:

Starting at the offensive range of blades, the Air Series balsa blades are high speed, light weight blades, offering outstanding control and touch. JUIC carry the widest range of balsa wood blades, and use only high grade materials for the production of their blades. Probably the two most famous and highly in this series are the:

JUIC Air Texa, an OFF+ rated blade, weighing an impressive 72g, and consisting of a thick center layer of balsa combined with two layers of texalium and two layers Japanese Abachi wood.

JUIC Air-Large, a blade which is basically the new and improved version of the JUIC Air Carbon blade (which has been discontinued). This too is an OFF+ rated blade, weighing in at 75g, and consisting of a thick center layer of balsa combined with two layers carbon fibre and two layers Japanese Abachi wood. Both these blades have exceptionally soft feel due to the thick and soft inner balsa layer.

Then there is of course the JUIC KISO Hinoki blade, consisting of a single ply of high grade Japanese Kiso Hinoki wood. JUIC is one of the few companies that offer this type of blade with a shakehand handle. The power and feel of a single ply hinoki has be felt to be believed… it offers a soft touch and slow speed in the short part of the game, but can generate great power from mid- to far distance, and can still generate good spin for added control.

JUIC also have the unique and innovative JUIC Shot series of blades. The JUIC Bamboo Shot blade and JUIC Maple Shot blade are unique among all the table tennis blade manufacturers (at the time of writing), and offer a unique feel of the ball not found in any other blades.

For a more allround style game, both the offensive and defensive players, it’s hard go past the JUIC Texalium blade. This blade offers great touch and feel, and is a truly versatile blade. It offer enough power for an offensive style game, but still enough control and feel for a defensive or chopper’s game. With the right choice of rubber this blade can be used for any style of play.

JUIC also offer blades for the modern defensive styles, the JUIC Euro Chopper and Euro Cut blades. These are oversize blades with a great soft feel, offering chopper that extra reach and feel, but with plenty of power for a power loop or to put the ball away…

JUIC Rubbers:

Although JUIC offers a wide range of rubbers, suitable for all levels and style, they have some unique and innovative products that sets them apart from other manufacturers.

The JUIC Couga rubber is almost certainly their most famous rubber. This rubber is without a doubt one of the fastest rubbers in the world, faster than many offensive rubbers even when they are speed glued! JUIC was one of the first (if not the very first) to introduce Nano-Tech technology in both the topsheet and sponge of the rubber. This technology offers much better grip, and a big boost in speed but also in durability. More recently JUIC also introduces the JUIC Nano-Cannon, which also uses the same technology, but is designed and optimised to produce a sharp arch on loops, at high speeds.

JUIC also offer a range of rubbers with high tension sponges, most notably the JUIC Varites and the Driva Smash Ultima rubber. The highly elastic sheet and high tension sponge provides a boost in both spin and speed, ideal for the highly offensive style players.

Another great JUIC innovation was to combine a tacky Chinese-style topsheet with a soft but powerful Japanese style sponge, like the JUIC Ultima sponges. The most highly regarded of these rubbers would be the JUIC 999 Elite Ultima, which uses a thin tacky topsheet ( based on the Globe 999 topsheet design) with the soft and powerful Ultima sponge. This high tension ultima sponge also comes on a range of their short pimple rubbers, most notable the JUIC Offensive Ultima.

More recently JUIC have added the JUIC 999 Elite Nano – the world’s first tacky rubber with nano-technology sponge!

For the defensive styles of play, JUIC offer the JUIC Neo Anti, and the JUIC Leggy Defense. The Neo Anti kills the spin and absorbs the power of any incoming attack, but unlike most other anti-spin rubbers, the elastic surface of the topsheet, and soft sponge still allows you to generate significant spin when you hit the ball harder…The JUIC Leggy defense is very dangerous and deceptive long pimple rubber. The soft and grippy pimple combines with a soft sponge are great for chopping away from the table, providing great spin reversal and allowing highly deceptive manipulation of spin. The soft and grippy pimple also allow you to attack serves and provide good offensive potential close to the table.

JUIC Accessories:

Although JUIC provide a wide range of table tennis accessories, by far their most famous would have to be the JUIC Ecolo Expander II. This is a rubber treatment liquid, that provides a boost in speed and power to virtually any rubber sheet with sponge. Not only is it totally toxic free, and will not be affected by up and coming VOC-based speed glue ban Treatment has to be done only once, the effect lasting for many months, which at higher levels is usually for the lifetime of the rubber. Now in it’s 2nd generation, the much improved JUIC Ecolo Expander II is a true innovation in table tennis technology, and there is nothing else like it currently in the market. The JUIC Shenron rubber was specifically designed and optimised to be used the Ecolo Expander for maximum speed glue effect. JUIC also provide the full range of cleaners and such which contain no volatile contents and can safely be sent via air.

This was a general overview of the JUIC most notable products. They have a much wider range of products than those covered, and are sure to have something to suit every style and requirement, and likely at lower prices than their Japanese competitors.

Sports Comparison – Tennis and Basketball

Can we describe the differences and the similarities between such different sports like tennis and basketball? This question seems a little unbelievably but I will try to make such comparison and we will see what will be the result.

In my opinion the similarities between these two sports are easier to point out – and there is much lesser number of them. Every sport is injuring – and these two popular sports are injuring too. Breaking legs or wrists happens as often as other serious injuries. Bruises and scratches are so common that I should not even mention about it.

Basketball is much more contact sport than tennis. Basketball players are fighting with each other to make a rebound or steal the ball often pushing themselves and staying on the opponent’s way. On the other way – tennis players have got no direct contact with each other. They are touching themselves only on the beginning and the ending of the match by shaking theirs hands or even giving themselves a hug.

A tennis match is taking place in the open air mostly while the basketball matches happen only in sport halls. The time of the basketball match is limited and fixed while the time of the tennis match may be different. The result of the tennis match is determined after two out of three won sets by one of the player (sometimes these values looks like three out of five).

As you can see (and for sure know) – tennis is a different sport than a basketball but it has some similarities too.

The Good Morrow by John Donne – Critical Summary

The poem “The Good Morrow” is amongst the best of metaphysical love poetry produced by John Donne. The poem begins with a question asked to the two lovers, the poet and his beloved; Donne asks “what thou and I did till we love?” The question is meaningful and needs no answer because the clearly indicates that the life before falling into love was no more than “country pleasures” like that of a child sucking his mother’s breast for survival. The child in sucking the mother’s breast is never aware of the world around him.

The poet goes on to compare himself and his beloved with the use of a conceit, far-fetched metaphor, of “Seven Sleepers’ Den” to express that their entire life was nothing more than unconscious life. Had they enjoyed any sort of pleasures and experienced joys, those were nothing but imagination. The poet opens up his heart in the praise of his beloved as:

“If ever any beauty I did see;

Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.”

The poet says good morrow to the “waking souls” of himself and his beloved because their past life, before they met, was all shadow and darkness of sleep. It is now, after meeting his beloved, that the poet feels his waking soul. The poet believes that a little love can convert even a small room into an entire world.

The poet wishes to ignore the world around him because he wants to be focused on his beloved alone. Therefore the sea discoverers may discover new worlds, maps be spread, but the poet must “possess one world” of the unity of lovers union. Donne creates a lovely equation here i.e. a lover is equal to beloved and the beloved is equal to lover. In other words, Donne’s mathematics would display the result of:

1 lover + 1 beloved = 1 love

Or

1+1= 1

This is the equation which leads to the merger of lovers’ being into oneness:

“My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears”.

The poet even goes on to declare the two lovers as “two better hemispheres”.

John Donne has convinced us of the magical charms of love and the deeds of lovers which have the power to transform normal beings and casual acts into the evergreen stories; here the story is of a lover and beloved that has formed oneness of being through the pure love which is beyond physical.

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