Jun

5

Whenever knocking a hat off I feel, and want to tear the weekly paper to pieces, and lash out at all the nabobs,  I don't take me to Nantucket but read "The Surprise" by O'Brian. There I find a passage about how the hands like to pretend that the ship is about to go under with the non-mariner dignitaries, and how the water is going to sink it, if not the waves or the backlash. It makes me think about the reasons for all the negativism. Is it the insiders trying to scare the daylights out of the public like the mariners? Yes. What difference does it make if the economy is down 1/2% this quarter and goes up 4% a year the next several years? Or what difference does it make that there was a housing recession the worst in 25 years. Or that the financial institutions had much water on their balance sheets. Such has happened before in the last 100 years, and is it bullish or bearish when all this negativism is about. One needs a Jack Aubrey with his natural ebullience to see the sweet sailing ahead on the blue waters that beckon.

Tim Melvin replies:

It makes all the difference in the world for any of us who wish to bet on US stocks… unless we are capitalized to withstand a 20% or more drawdown in stock prices. it especially matter if you are using any leverage at all (and yes I counted it. The average peak to valley drawdown in stock prices in a recession is on the order of 30+%. we have not even come close to the 1000 SPY levels that would be normal. The last time we had stagflation, the market fell over 60% peak to valley) There will indeed be blue skies ahead someday… the question is when? The combination of a falling economy, falling real estate and higher food and energy prices is crushing the consumer. If consumers do not buy luxury items, go out to eat, to the movies or even replace wardrobes, household items and even wardrobes, the companies that make these items, the retailers that sell them, and the companies that supply raw materials have lower profits. They cant borrow to make it through bad times and the water on bank balance sheets has tightened credit.

Loathe as I am to ever be opposite to one of the men I most admire, I think that most stocks are a poor bet right now. yes we will cure cancer, technology will advance and the long term future will be bright indeed. But not right now and reality is still not priced in the stock market. The dollar gets it, and bonds are starting to. The storm must pass before the sailor can safely leave the harbor. One caught in the storm must batten down and hope to ride it out as safely as possible. many , if not most, of those who ignored the warnings of wind and tide may well perish. Not even Aubrey would sail into the typhoon unless he it was a matter of the greatest urgency. As investors and traders we have one supreme luxury. We do not have to leave the harbor, and can profit by betting on the typhoon once in a great while, or simply sail a different sea.

Vic illustrates:

Here is a passage from The Surprise: "The envoy, Stanhope, had been told that water was coming in through the sides, and a seaman had told him that this was the gravest sign of all. One of the young gentlemen added that being pooped was more likely than actual foundering, or breaking in two, though neither possibility was to be overlooked. " Stephen said "The water coming in was inconvenient and even disconcerting but it was a usual phenomenon in such circumstances, particularly in aged vessels: It was what the mariners termed "the working of the ship." And be cautioned against too literal a belief in the words of the sailors: "They take an obscure delight in practicing upon us landlubbers". Once relieved of the sensation of imminent death, Mr. Stanhope…. ". Yes, the delight the brokers take in downgrading one another, and spreading rumours of runs, and trying to run the nakeds up again as they did the last two Springs, is not too innocent, but calculated to gain increased emoluments from the government and their future colleagues at the Board, and increase their share of the prizes as the landlubbers abandon ship.

Russ Humbert writes:

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Lehman, Merrill and Morgan Stanley, having received a review from the rating agencies that downgraded but still maintained their excellent ship worthiness, that the shorts would be emboldened. After getting so much wrong on the mortgage backed front any affirmation from them is similar to an endorsement from Bush's foreign intelligence chief on Iran. And perhaps it is no coincidence that Merrill, was the first to come out stating the shorts are full of hot air on Lehman's because they see they are next in line.

It will be interesting to watch for confirmation that Ben's revival meeting with all the investment banks included thinly veiled threats to those Investment Bankers who don't support their competitive brothers and reminders that  any piling on by them would be remembered for a long time. Was there a reminder that Bear Stearns did not help LTCM in 1998? Will Ben rally the troops? Will he speak in code? And how will the other brethren react? And will the SEC this time understand that their turf is in jeopardy and launch a full assault on the rumormongers, as they did on the  hyperbole of the dot com analyst? It has been my experience that a regulator fearing a turf grab is a dangerous animal backed into his own den with the hunter thinking he is cornered. And finally, could it be that the switch in NY governors will be the wind turning against those who believe their job is to protect us from big business without regard to method because size is equal to guilty?

The President of the Old Speculators Club, Mr. Tierney, issues a warning:

"Seems to me the greatest opportunities to make money going forward over the next 18 months to 24 months is to Short Gold, Short Oil, Dollar Cost into Equities as always, Long Dollar" - A reader of this web site

An interesting observation. In that it's been almost exactly 7 years since I announced the dumping my entire portfolio except for a couple of resource stocks, some retrospection is in order.

A recent post lauded the performance of IBM, hitting a multi-year high of ~$125. More recently, AXP was commended for its performance around $45. Those were among the equities I cast overboard, IBM @ $115.04 and AXP @ $39.43. As of today I would have been up 11.47% with Big Blue and 18.67% with AmEx - not exactly stunning performances over seven years (especially if one were to calculate the effects of inflation).

On the issue of shorting gold it has been an idea promoted by various List members at various times over that same time span - they have been incorrect. The concept of overpriced oil harkens back to the build-up to the second invasion of Iraq, when it was posited that the price would go back below $35; similar pullback predictions have been scattered over the past five years - once again, incorrectly.

The long dollar argument was made most forcefully by Yale Hirsch and his imported and highly regarded currency-expert henchwoman. That dates back about three years or so and, again, was incorrect.

Now the drunk who insists on looking under the street light for his lost keys because it's easier to see, may, once in a millenium, find them there. That's just luck. However, how do we judge the many sighted Street "names" who, over an extended period of time, have groped in the dark but come up empty?

More important, to whom do you listen for guidance in perilous times: the babbling and infrequently lucky drunk or to the sober and calculating historical record? The answer is obvious. Unfortunately, as has been documented and repeated innumerable times, the Market Mistress does not do the obvious.

Nor does she (nor anyone else so far) prepare meals of crow.

J. T. Holley asks:

Do you really think that we are in perilous times?

Jack Tierney replies:

Yes, I do. But in fairness, that's my nature. While many look on the markets with unflagging optimism (Vic and Laurel , L.V. Gave , Dimson et al. ), I tend to believe we have lived at a truly extraordinary time in an extraordinary country. So extraordinary, in fact, that not only those with the courage and capital, but also those who've stood and waited at the right place, have seen modest sums grow exponentially.

I am one of the latter, caught up by events and carried with the wave. Others, through risk-taking and foresight, have done substantially better, and deservedly so. However, the last 60-70 years doesn't, in my opinion, establish an immutable pattern. Historically, our past century is an anomaly. There has always existed a self-selected minority which achieved wealth through courage and daring.

But these last two (or three) generations have been unique in that wealth has "trickled down." Enough so, unfortunately, that it has become politically correct to view abundance, if not affluence, as a birthright - and one which can legislated for those who have missed out.

In itself, though, that's not enough to make me skeptical. My profit sharing account took some real whacks in '73-'75 and again in '79. I was fortunate enough to be in cash in '87, but got a minor haircut again in '91. I can live with oil crises, the slow motion crack-up of steel, autos, and aircraft. Technology, however it is defined at different times and different places, always ends up with more losers than winners.

But when major problems come out of the banking/finance sector, it's time to squeeze the pennies. Forget for the moment about those who have overspent and under saved. Instead, consider those financial institutions which have peddled gobs of their mortgage paper to pension funds, both public and private. By Greenspan's description, these are among those most able to undertake risk. In fact, they are not.

Much like myself, the memberships are made up of ordinary individuals who expect a modest sum to be available when they retire. If nothing is there, there exists no fallback positions. Already there are rumors of deficiency notices circulating… some involving major unions, others major metropolises. Jefferson County in Alabama is on the hook for over $3 billion in auction rate securities because JPMorgan and others sold them on interest rate swaps as a way to cut down on expenses.

In short, from the time of John Law, banking foul ups have had a much more severe effect on an unsuspecting public than any other business blunder. When bankers get it wrong, almost everybody gets hurt. So, yes, I'm concerned.
 

Stefan Jovanovich dissents:

I don't think the facts of American history support John's pessimism or his assumption that the years since the Great Depression have been uniquely profitable. The increase in wealth in the British colonies of North America from the end of King Phillip's War to the start of the Revolution was far greater per-capita than anything we have seen in the last 90 years; that is why there was an immigration boom that dwarfed anything the country has experienced since then. The period from the end of the Civil War to the passage of Smoot Hawley was equally spectacular as far as individual wealth in the North, Middle and Far West (but not the South) are concerned; and, once again, people literally flocked to the United States. Both periods depended on changes in technology that were - at least from the point of view of their effects on the rest of the world - far more dramatic than anything we have seen in our lifetimes. The improvement and broad use of Jethro Tull's seed drill was an agricultural revolution that equaled the effects of artificial fertilizer in our time, and the mating of steam power with Jacquard's loom turned India from a textile exporter to importer (with help, it must be admitted, from Britain's discriminatory trade rules).

John is right that, initially, "technology …. always ends up with more losers than winners" in the sense that machines replace people. But without that displacement no increases in wealth are possible. Socialism's real curse is that it kills all invention and change; in the name of fairness and equality Lavoisier's head is always the first to go.

The genuinely new and different improvement of our time has not been in wealth but in health. What the world has never seen before are the mortality statistics. Even with the devastations of the two World Wars and the results of Marxist national self-improvements in Europe, Asia and Africa, the change in the ability of people to be born safely, survive childhood and live long enough to suffer the diseases of old age and indulgence over the last hundred years has been breathtaking.

I wish I could share the assumption that the "public" - that anonymous sociological beast - has been duped by the evil bankers. Perhaps that has been true elsewhere in the country. But, from the point of view of California, the people who have borrowed money to buy dirt and houses and condos have been a great deal less unsuspecting than the folks who bought the securities that allowed the pyramid party to keep going. The borrowers knew they were signing for far more money than they could pay back out just the way anyone who could read knew during the Internet bubble that very few people were actually making any money from the brave new virtual world. In both cases the buyers thought it didn't matter; and, for a great deal longer than we supposedly rational business people considered possible, they were right.

My real quarrel is not with John's assumptions but with the premise that seems almost universal - namely, that bankers are still the source of enterprise capital that they were even a generation ago. Nothing that I know from direct experience or from studying the numbers for profitable non-financial public companies bears that out. We own common stock in 147 companies that do business in everything from shoes to lasers, and not one of them has relied on commercial borrowing or public financing as a significant source of cash since 2000. Of the over 100 independent business people I know here in California, the only ones people who have been able to rely on commercial credit from banks have been the folks dealing in real estate. Everyone else has been told no. Even SBA loans became dependent on the entrepreneur's having real estate that could be pledged as security.

Ironically, now that residential real estate out here is finally getting cheap enough to compete with rental prices and people with jobs and savings want to buy houses, the same bankers who issued ARM liar loans are largely unwilling to issue straight mortgages when the numbers pencil out. Having watched the Sandlers convert everyone to their cultist belief in appraisal values as the standard for credit-worthiness, most California lenders are now refusing loans because of their fears of what REO sales will do to future housing prices. The prospective buyers, who are offering to put real money down, are willing to take the risks; but the bankers still think they know the market better than people willing to put up most of their savings because they can buy a house for what it now costs them to rent an apartment.

The old bankers are always getting it wrong. That is why we end up having to find new ones.
 


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21 Comments so far

  1. Lon Evans on June 5, 2008 3:58 am

    Dear Victor,

    No one with any sense can deny the basic premise that is the worth of this site. Yes, the optimist will always prevail, and only because he, or she, is willing to man any and all positions necessary to avoid a foundering. And at all cost.

    I am among those willing to support even an impossible hope for survival so long as those alongside me are endeavoring equally. I’ve no care for he, or she, who would have me carry their parasitic genome into a future generation.

    lon

  2. Craig Bowles on June 5, 2008 6:22 am

    http://www.insidernewswire.com/companybyofficers.php (Insiders should be buying the weakness but still having a lot of 10 to 1 selling days.)

  3. gabe on June 5, 2008 9:05 am

    the world is a much safer place now than in the last 100 years. there are much more casinos where capital can be parked, like it or not thanks to globalization et all. and ben’s answer is that of a socialist masquerading as capitalist. good luck with that.

    also the 10% miracle might as well be a fluke. I came across this diatribe and the author makes some good points (I can post the whole thing albeit is all about praising alpha generators):

    “From 1900-1949 the Dow rose from 66 to 200 for a 2.25% annual return from price appreciation. Dividends added a lot in those days. From 1950-1999 the rise from 200-11,497 equated to a much higher 8.45% annually. Index appreciation over even very long periods is not stable and very temporally dependent. This century the Dow has “grown” a little from 11,497 but dividends are much lower nowadays. If there were some inherent “expected” price appreciation in stock markets WOULD NOT THE TWO FIFTY YEAR PERIODS’ PRICE APPRECIATION BE MORE SIMILAR? Shouldn’t we have already seen more sustained gains this century by now? With such long term variability and derisory dividends beta does not look good going forward. Seek absolute alpha because beta might not be there for us. Performance is what you keep NOT what you make and then give back.”

    also one can look at the S&P results from 2003-2008 and expect higher than long-term average results due to the 2001 impact on expectations and see a 7% annual.

    so yes, I would say there are reasons to be worried regarding the future path of S&P, and I would like to counter your favorite question to the permabears to yourself:

    what would it take to make YOU change your mind?

  4. steve leslie on June 5, 2008 9:26 am

    Perhaps a sports analogy would work well here.

    Lets take a look at the American League for some perspective. Before the beginning of the season, the teams who were at the top of the list as those who would contend for the pennant were Boston, The Evil Empire, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles/Anaheim/Calofornia Angels. Some pundits put Cleveland as having the best chance to get to the World Series as they were within one game of getting there last year. Only a furious rally by the Beantown Boys prevented that from happening much to the chagrin of the die-hard tribesmen.

    We are now 2/5ths through the season. In the East, Boston leads Tampa Bay by 1/2 a game. The Empire is 7 games behind and playing .500 ball. In the Central, Chicago leads with Cleveland 5 games under .500 and 5 games back and Detroit 11 games under .500. Out west, Los Angeles seems to be in command.

    Clearly something is amiss. Both Cleveland and especially Detroit started out very slowly and have yet to put together any cohesive units and synergy of pitching and hitting. Tampa Bay is truly the enigma. They just were not on anyone’s radar screen notably in light of the division they play in and yet they are playing with excitement and passion like boys of spring.

    This is like the market. We always say that the psychology of the markets is the great intangible. So I submit, what needs to change in the market in order for it to rebalance itself, get its land legs if you will and return to the progression we saw in the 03-07 time frame.

    In baseball, you can’t fire the team and the general manager won’t fire himself, so you fire the manager. Who do you fire in the markets to renew the vim and the vigor, to fill the sails once again.

    Steve L.

  5. Bob Johnson on June 5, 2008 9:53 am

    William Gray has issued his tropical storms forecast for the ’08 season; 15 total named storms, 8 of the storms hurricanes with 4 becoming major. Gray’s past predictions have been less than accurate, and as far as I can determine have been equivalent to a random a selection between the high and mid historic numbers, resulting in a bearish bent. Now he has “devised” a new statistical model, probably over-fitting to past data. It’s surprising how this weather guru continues to get press, similar to the weekly chronic bear.

  6. James Schroeder on June 5, 2008 2:47 pm

    At any rate you have to be impressed with the market’s rally today. Somehow it is shaking off MBI and ABK downgrades, a $5 rally in oil, all sorts of negativity out of the fed, the ECB threatening/promising to raise rates, all the grains up nearly limit (although bacon is cheaper), the dollar getting hammered etc. To answer your question apparently it (reality) doesn’t make any difference.

    It seems that even if a giant meteor takes the planet out; the SPU will still go to 2k by the end of the year.

  7. David Tyree on June 5, 2008 3:01 pm

    I think a large portion of the institutional money managers navigate between the long-term valuation methodology that they market to their investors and the short-term returns that they actually seek. That is why they will sell the recsssion now hoping that they will be able to buy the growth in 6 months…with more assets.

    Oh, and Steve Leslie: that was on big waste of words- GO YANKS!

  8. AllenM on June 5, 2008 3:28 pm

    I am reminded of how the Admiral father of a current Presidential Candidate underestimated the change in the weather caused by an approaching typhoon.

    The tales of the heroic skills demonstrated, and of the foolish insistence of by-the-book led Captains of smaller, older, destroyers to make horrific decisions should be instructive. The battleships all survived, but the task force still never arrived in good enough shape to do battle.

    Remember, just because you don’t think a significant storm is coming doesn’t change the weather.

    The sea change since 2001 should be instructive, as is pointed out in another comment. I no longer think that we can count on the eternal rise of *productivity*, when today we have stiff headwinds.

  9. George Parkanyi on June 5, 2008 7:13 pm

    Ships are safe in harbour. But that’s not what ships were built for. Same for investment capital.

    I agree with Victor. Why all the angst - at least from an investment perspective - over this headline or that headline? There are plenty of excellent financial instruments out there now that you can position your portfolio to have something going for it no matter WHAT the market is doing. Short ETFs case in point - you can have a long term investment positions now with not only non-correlation, but perfectly opposite correlation if you want it.

    You don’t have to be all long or all short and betting the farm. For example you could simply dollar-cost-average (not terribly efficient mind you - there are better algorithms) and a long/short ETF pair and BOTH will go up in value over time.

    These are GREAT times - the more volatility the better.

    Cheers,
    George

  10. Lon Evans on June 6, 2008 4:22 am

    Dear Mr. Tierney,

    Should your commentary be the light by which I, dissipated, stumble and stutter for my lost keys, well, I’m well rewarded. So much more articulate than I, and with a better grasp of grace, you whisper what I’ve attempted to bellow for the last nine months. And you are heard, while I’m a joke.

    Teachers are a rare breed. Vic is one, though I’ve known the urge to swing at him. You are, obviously, another.

    Keep your counsel less reserved, please. I’ve no recollection of having heard you before. I would appreciate to hear much more as this clock unwinds.

    Sincerely,

    lon

  11. steve leslie on June 6, 2008 9:40 am

    I assume that Mr. Tyree is making an attempt at humor. I was using an analogy to illustrate the importance of psychology and perception in other venues notably sports. I realize that many who frequent this site reside in the tri state liberal east however there is much more to the fabric of this nation than what transpires at 11 Wall Street and Times Square. There is a Main St. and there is a Wall Street mentality differential. This may explain why a Junior Senator from New York with a political machine on the level of a Death Star and a seemingly insurmountable lead in every single poll as recently as five months ago has retreated to the protective confines of Chappaqua N.Y. to admit the ignominous defeat of a failed candidacy and asses the financial and political damage that her career as a politician may have suffered.

  12. David Tyree on June 6, 2008 2:39 pm

    Leslie- I’d contend that Trichet needs to be the “manager” fired, although I still think yours was a long-winded analogy.

    Oh, and I proudly live in teh Tri-State Liberal East but surely do not walk among the Liberals. Do you preside in the subsidized Midwest?

  13. Brian on June 6, 2008 4:09 pm

    People still have disposable income for luxuries:

    Running Totals for the top ten movies last week in the US:

    1. Sex and the City - $56,848,056
    2. Indiana Jones - $215,635,899
    3. The Strangers - $20,997,985
    4. Iron Man - $276,166,336
    5. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - $115,362,725
    6. What Happens in Vegas - $65,904,971
    7. Speed Racer - $40,677,371
    8. Baby Mama - $56,117,805
    9. Made of Honor - $42,878,354
    10. Forgetting Sarah Marshall - $60,485,980

    Iron man has been out for 5 weeks and Indy for 2, together in just US total half a billion, world wide its a lot more.

    I live in Ohio, restraunts are still busy, Fast food places have wrapped drive thrus, stores seem to be doing pretty well from the looks of the parking lots. Sporting events nationwide are well attended. These are things people stop doing when they are in trouble financially, but yet everyone is still doing them. No more than usual for sale signs were I live. I can certainly drive to streets were there are tons of houses for sale in my town, but so what. All these people will be paying someone to live somewhere. If they are in trouble due to a “bad” loan maybe they will actually learn something about how risky loans work.

    Right now I am not seeing this massive slow down that, if left to the media, will destroy us all. Slow down sure, recession ehh, depression not even close. I would really hate to see people in this day and age have to deal with a REAL slow down. We may yet, but not right now.

    Brian

  14. steve leslie on June 6, 2008 5:29 pm

    Mr Tyree: thank you for your editorial commentary. I regret to inform you that I did not write my comments with you in mind. Sorry. For your irritated hubris all I can say is if you don’t appreciate what I write then don’t read it.
    Out of curiosity what is subsidized in the midwest, Jobs, travel, entertainment, food, shelter, utilities,fuel,Obama?

    disclosure: it takes less than 20 seconds to read this post.

    sl.

    P.S. I live in the real estate depressed state of Fla. 4th highest population in the country.

  15. Lon Evans on June 7, 2008 12:45 am

    Dear Brian,

    Of the ten movies you listed, how many have you seen, in Ohio?

    lon

    P.S., a perfect “W” moment, when a commentator equates fantasy with reality.

    Double P.S. Mr. Brian, the film industry did quite well during the ‘Depression.’

    Your evaluation is interesting, and funny.

  16. Brian Drumar on June 13, 2008 10:33 pm

    Mr Lon,I mentioned lots of other things in my comments, not just films. I started with that. I have seen five of the movies in the top ten I listed, I rather wish I had seen only three of them.I am not quite sure what you mean by fantasy vs reality; nothing I posted was a fantasy. Just real observations on what I am seeing in Columbus, Ohio. Sorry if my observations disturbed you somehow.Your idea that the movie industry did well during the Great Depression is false, took two seconds to find this:http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/hollywood_great_depression.cfmJust a small portion:"Although the movie industry considered itself Depression-proof, Hollywood was no more immune from the Depression's effects than any other industry. To finance the purchase of movie theaters and the conversion to sound, the studios had tripled their debts during the mid- and late-'20s to $410 million. As a result, the industry's very viability seemed in question. By 1933, movie attendance and industry revenues had fallen by forty percent. To survive, the industry trimmed salaries and production costs, and closed the doors of a third of the nation's theaters. To boost attendance, theaters resorted to such gimmicks as lower admission prices (cut by as much as 25 cents), double bills, giveaways of free dishes, and Bank Night–in which customer who received a lucky number won a cash prize."

  17. Lon Evans on June 15, 2008 3:07 am

    Dear Mr. Durmar,

    I acknowledge that you mentioned things other than that which I commented on. The point is irrelevant. I questioned your assumption that a vibrant economy can be ascertained by quoting movie house receipts. Be very careful, Mr. Durmar, before you tread near the quicksand that is major studio accounting. I won’t go into detail, it’s far too involving, but I will offer you this simple link. It is one that, perhaps, refutes your opinion.

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117987471.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

    As I mentioned, studio accounting is a murky world, one you are far too ignorant to begin quoting. I spent 20 years in that business, and know it well. You did nothing other than read a ‘report,’ and suddenly you’ve the right to justify the unjustifiable. Such a position is that which gives weight to the word hubris.

    Research your assumptions, sir.

    lon

  18. Brian Drumar on June 15, 2008 8:02 pm

    I love folks like you Lon. Your article has nothing to do with my point that people are still spending money the press would have you believe they do not have. The article I left a link to, directly refutes your opinion that movie studios did well during the Great Depression. All you have to say back to that is I should dare not question your "20 years in the industry". Give me a break. Show me some facts on the Great Depression and the movie industry and we can talk. I showed you just one resource, all you have is supposition.I look around my city and I do see a vibrant economy. Sorry if you do not see that where you live, maybe you should consider a move. I love the personal attacks too, quite school-yardish for someone that has had such a long and successful carrer. I am suprised in all those years you learned nothing more than fancy writing and calling others ignorant. You are truely the comical one here.

  19. Lon Evans on June 16, 2008 6:14 pm

    Dear Brian,

    “Fancy writing?” Why, thank you.

    In regards to you statement:

    “I love the personal attacks too, quite school-yardish for someone that has had such a long and successful carrer.”

    Why do you DS guys always get so hot under the collar, specifically regarding assumptions demanding another the braggart? Nowhere in my comment did I so much as allude to a successful career. As anyone with any knowledge of the ‘business’ knows, success is relative in that industry.

    Yes, a long career. Successful? On occasion, but as is the reality of that mad world, it is feast or famine. There are good years, and bad ones. Today’s ‘tenpercenter’ is tomorrow’s pauper. Take Ed McMahon for example.

    But such is hardly relevant. What a bitter crew are the acolytes.

    In regards to the learned content of your ‘article,’ the question of film industry profitability during the Depression is as contested as is the event, itself. For example, Victor seems to suggest that there never was such an event, neither that one, nor any of the ‘recessions’ that are purported to have occurred since.

    All of which is interesting, but hardly important.

    Yes, Brian, your superficial understanding of an industry I spent two decades in does suggest ignorance. Your taunt demanding as irrelevent my having done so proves it.

    And finally, so you get it? Yes, I’m the comic relief, the court jester, the Quasimodo at which the room can fling its dung. So take little notice of my foolish spew. It’s the best a feeble mind can manage.

    Sincerely,

    lon

  20. Brian Drumar on June 16, 2008 9:05 pm

    Like I said Lon, long on words short on analysis and facts. Glad to see you understand your position as court jester. Now I know you are one to just ignore. No heart for a true discussion, just self delusion that you are the one that is always right.

  21. Lon Evans on June 16, 2008 11:45 pm

    Fling your dung, Brian.

    lon

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