The Best Way To Celebrate On New Year’s Eve

Get ready to un-subscribe to my blog.  Have you finger on the “unfollow” button on Twitter. Because what I am about to say will probably equate me in some of your minds with the most evil people in history.  People like Hitler, Stalin, and Kardashian.

But all I ask is the you keep an open, intellectually honest mind, and remember that I saved a litter of baby kittens from a house fire when I was eight.

I am suggesting that you try cigar smoking, because I think you will find it a very pleasurable, relaxing endeavor, that will provide you an occasional stress free “oasis” from this hectic world.

HEALTH CONCERNS

Yes, I hear what you are saying, “how can you recommend something so evil and dangerous?”  Well to all you “health Über Alles” types out there, let me clarify what I mean.

For context, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life and only learned to enjoy cigar smoking in the last few years.  I will never try to argue that hot smoke can be good for your body, but I will give you some facts that differentiate cigar smoking from cigarette smoking and which put it on the same level health wise (if not better), than other more politically correct habits.

A cigarette contains tobacco, like a cigar, but it also contains about fifteen different chemicals and additives.  It’s wrapper is made of paper, which is treated with chemicals to prolong burn time.  When lit, these chemicals produce various toxins and carcinogens which are inhaled into the lungs.  Most cigarette smokers will chain smoke, sometimes putting away a pack or more a day.

A cigar by contrast is 100% tobacco.  The filler, the binder, and the wrapper are all made of natural tobacco leaves, completely untreated by chemicals.  The smoke from a cigar is only inhaled into the mouth, not the lungs.  And most cigar smokers only occasionally smoke, usually for special occasions or events.

In terms of health, this puts a huge distinction between that of the average daily smoker, and the occasional cigar smoker.

In fact, you would be hard pressed to show that even smoking 2 to 4 cigars a month is as dangerous to ones health as regularly drinking alcohol, eating fast food, or having desert with your meals.

It’s all just politically correct perception. Remember that the next time you barbecue or grill something or eat in a restaurant where they do the same. Take a look at those grill marks on your food.  Remember that they are charred meat and fat, basically a pure carcinogen, that you are putting in your body.

PLEASURE PRINCIPAL

With the adverse health effects of occasionally smoking being minimal, the pleasure effects can be tremendous.

As a non-cigar smoker, you have to understand that smoking a cigar is a ritual.  It begins by walking into a humidor at your local cigar shop to find the right size and strength cigar to fit your tastes.  There are literally dozen of brands to choose from, from countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic, some of which have been in business for a hundred years or more.

Once chosen, you will have to carve out 30 minutes to an hour in which to enjoy your cigar.   There is an art to cutting and lighting it, and each person will acquire their own way of holding and smoking a cigar.

More importantly, that time that you carve out to smoke will be some of the most relaxing of your day.  When you are in the midst of the “ritual” and the smoking, the stress and worries of the world seem to melt away, even if for only a short time.

With the biggest killer (especially of men) out there being stress, I submit that the nominally adverse health effects an occasional cigar smoke brings are more than compensated for by the tremendous health benefits that the hour of “oasis time” will bring.

When coupled with a special occasion, or a group of friends, cigar smoking becomes a social event, one which will only add to your memories.

GREAT CIGAR SMOKERS

Let’s not forget that American Indians, those organically and shamanically pure indigenous casino owners basically invented the cigar.  My inner spirit animal says that is good.

But you don’t have to go that far back to find the good company you will be in if you decide to try a cigar.  Here are some famous people who enjoyed (or enjoy) cigar smoking

  • Groucho Marx
  • Mark Twain
  • Winston Churchill
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Bill Clinton
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Michael Jordan
  • Jack Nicholson
  • John F. Kennedy

…and the list goes on  More Famous Cigar Smokers

….and you can see even more pictures of those whom have graced the cover of Cigar Aficionado here.

Lastly, I will leave you with this famous exchange by then President John F. Kennedy and his chief of staff Pierre Salinger (as told by Salinger), that shows how much JFK valued a good cigar.

Shortly after I entered the White House in 1961, a series of dramatic events occurred. In April 1961, the United States went through the disastrous error of the Bay of Pigs, in which Cuban exiles with the help of the U. S. government tried to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Several months later, the president called me into his office in the early evening.

“Pierre, I need some help,” he said solemnly.

“I’ll be glad to do anything I can, Mr. President,” I replied.

“I need a lot of cigars.”

“How many, Mr. President?”

“About 1,000 Petit Upmanns.”

I shuddered a bit, although I kept my reaction to myself. “And, when do you need them, Mr. President?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

I walked out of the office wondering if I would succeed. But since I was now a solid Cuban cigar smoker, I knew a lot of stores, and I worked on the problem late into the evening.

The next morning, I walked into my White House office at about 8 a.m., and the direct line from the president’s office was already ringing. He asked me to come in immediately.

“How did you do, Pierre?” he asked, as I walked through the door.

“Very well,” I answered. In fact, I’d gotten 1,200 cigars. Kennedy smiled, and opened up his desk. He took out a long paper which he immediately signed. It was the decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. Cuban cigars were now illegal in our country.

So tonight take my advice and ring in the New Year with some good friends, some goods drinks, and a fine cigar.

   Jordan-”Good” (Cigar).

  Kennedy-”Good” (Cigar)

Clinton-”Good” (Cigar)

hitler-no-cigar Hitler-”Bad” (No Cigar)

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Don’t Be A Bald Trader

I may have a lot of shortcomings, but if you ask my friends and family about me, one thing they will say is that I don’t complain.  And the truth is, what do I have to complain about anyway?

I am lucky enough to have been born into a demographic that is the most privileged in all of history; upper middle-class American males.  In addition, I belong to the ethnic group that is the least discriminated against in today’s world.

My background is a mixture of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish.  So basically anything that is white, dorky, and can’t dance.

I am also tall, thin, devastatingly handsome, and extremely humble, so all-in-all I’ve got nothing to complain about.

But just this once, I am going to complain.  I am going to complain about my Male Pattern Baldness.

When you are a young man and you start to see more hair going down the drain every day it can really freak you out.  I mean let’s face the facts, men want to be attractive for women and the guy with the full head of hair always has the advantage (I’m looking in your direction The_Analyst).

Today I am at peace with it since I am married (no need to look good anymore) and have more important things to worry about than my hair (read: kids).

Now it only annoys me from a logic standpoint. See, I have photos of my dad at his 40th birthday bending over and laughing, where I can see the very top of his head, and it is just a mass of thick hair.  No scalp in sight and not an inch of recess on his hairline, so technically I should still have all my hair.

Right now a mass of folliclly challenged men are yelling at their screens…

“….baldness comes from your mother’s side…YOUR MOTHER’S SIDE….OH THE HUMANITY..!!!”

Think again Lex Luthor, because when my grandfather on my mom’s side died at seventy-seven, he still had a full head of hair.

Sure I’m rocking the suit, but not the horseshoe hairline.

Fortunately I live in a time when this issue could be solved by a simple surgery that would leave me with a head of hair like I had in high school (or so the Bosley Institute infomercial has led me to believe).

The only problem is that I have a hard time throwing away five or ten grand on something I consider pretty narcissistic.  I am sure I would look pretty good but it would then be very hard to walk past a homeless woman and her kids no matter how much hair I had.

So if I ever win the lottery, first I will give a big chunk to charity and then immediately go get hair transplant and penis reduction surgery so that my look is finally balanced out.

But back when I was in the depths of my hair depression I began to acquire what is known as The Missing Tile Syndrome, something I first read about in Dennis Prager’s excellent book, “Happiness Is A Serious Problem”.

The Missing Tile Syndrome is based upon the concept that if you go into a room and look up at a ceiling that has a missing tile, that is what your eyes are immediately drawn to.  It doesn’t matter how nice and lined up the other tiles are, we instinctively focus on the one that is missing.  Sometimes we even obsess about it, wondering “why haven’t they replaced that tile” since we know “everybody must notice it”.

In life this syndrome manifests itself in the form of us focusing on everything that we are lacking.  If we are short, we focus on people’s height.  If we are fat, we focus on thin people. If poor, we focus on money.  The ultimate extension of this is the saying “when a bald man walks into a room the first thing he sees is hair”.

And believe me, I have been right in that same spot.

My best friend is a mixture of Italian and American-Indian and has so much hair it can only be described as “obscene”.

At his father’s 60th birthday party I stood over his dad as he sat at a table blowing out the candles on his cake, and searched in vain for any sight of scalp showing on the top of his head.  Screw the party, I wanted to know why he still had every strand of hair he was born with and mine was falling out.  Bastard..!!!!!

In trading the syndrome makes you focus on how others can trade successfully in ways you can’t.

I fall victim to this all the time as I watch the trading action on StockTwits.

I watch PeterLBrandt use daily and weekly charts to stay with long-term trades.

I obsess over how jfahmy and TodayTrader use their discipline to step aside as others chew their accounts up in this bi-polar market, waiting to trade only when the odds are in their favor.

I covet the skill with which gtotoy surgically extracts profits from the markets day after day.

I marvel at how mb_willoughby and kunal00 can identify small caps stocks that consistently go BOOM!

I envy the ability of upsidetrader to identify intermediate market turns and exploit the shit out of them.

They all have masses of long flowing hair and I want to have that hair on MY head.

But alas I am bald.  I can’t trade the way they do, and it is folly to try.

Screw Fabio and his lovely, long, flaxen hair that is in no way homoerotic.

Instead of agonizing over those missing tiles in my trading ceiling I have to focus on the tiles I do have.  I have to continue to develop my trading strengths and minimize my weaknesses. I have to remind myself that being a consistently profitable trader can be achieved in many different ways, and that focusing on the way that works best for you is all that matters.

And for perspective I have to remember that for every time I see somebody with a full head of hair and wish it was mine, there is a short guy who wished he had my height, or an unemployed guy who wished he had my job, or a terminally ill person who wished they had my health, or………..

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Break Time During The Holiday Markets

Ben Affleck being a likeable-asshole in Boiler Room.

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Using The i-Trade Philosophy In 2012

A number of years ago, when blogging about trading was almost non-existent, I happened to come across a site that fundamentally altered my idea of what trading was and what it could be.

It was the site of the now famous mystery man from the east: Maoxian

This is where I first was exposed to his “Trading For Dummies” series.  In this series “The Chairman” would analyse a trade using a set of six questions.

Although I had already been trading for a long time at that point, I was still working under the assumption that “more is better”, trying to cram as many studies and indicators as I could into my trading screen.

The beauty and simplicity of Maoxian’s style hit me like a ton of bricks and fundamentally altered how I looked at trading going forward.

One of the biggest stories this last year was the passing of Steve Jobs and there were countless articles, blog posts, and books about his life and his drive to make Apple one of the most iconic brands of all-time.

The key theme that Jobs championed was simplicity.  A minimalist concept that didn’t lessen the power of Apple’s products,  but actually made them more powerful and user-friendly.

I believe this simplification concept should be a part of every traders philosophy and traders like Sean McLaughlin have even quantified and expanded on this idea on his aptly named blog site: The Minimalist Trader.

As arbitrary as the start of a new year may seem, this lull in the markets is a great time to review and streamline your trading style. Removing the extraneous and unneeded clutter from your trading analysis and style will give you a clearer vision and help to make your trading more profitable in 2012.

Maoxian’s Trading For Dummies Series

The Minimalist Trader Framework

TBoBbanner

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

I’m The Jerk In The Car In Front Of Me.

It’s 11:00pm Christmas day eve as I write this post, and I have spent the last three hours in the emergency room with my 2-year old son.

As I go through my mental Rolodex of things I worry about happening to my children, getting hit by a car is usually number one.  Sometimes I worry about a fall of some sort, and even getting bitten by a dog is in the top ten.  A gravy boat is not even in the top 100.

It was literally two minutes before my whole family was going to sit down to eat. The food was all prepared and laid out on the kitchen counter.  Aunts and Uncles, grandparents and cousins were busy filling the house with a festive air.   I was putting the mashed potatoes in the microwave to heat them up when I heard my wife yell and immediately afterwards my son scream.

At first I thought is was just some everyday domestic trauma, but the increasing intensity of my son’s screams told me something was very, very wrong.

As we were all trying to put the finishing touches on the food, my son must have seen his reflection on the side of insulated gravy boat that was sitting on the counter.  As he reached up to grab it, he pulled it over, dumping the scalding hot liquid inside of it on top of him.

I immediately grabbed him, pulled off his shirt which was holding the burning liquid against his skin, and jumped into our garage shower fully clothed.  I was hoping the water would cool him down and that the burn was not so bad.

Unfortunately the blisters rising on his skin told me that this was not the case and I began to hope that he only had second degree burns instead of something worse.

My wife bundled him in a blanket and we jumped into the car and headed to our local hospital.

Strange things go through your mind in moments like this.  Suddenly feeling “stressed” out because you had to do last-minute holiday shopping seems kinda stupid.  Theorizing about who is going to win the GOP nomination doesn’t rate too high anymore.  And worrying if you should have taken a partial in $AAPL instead of swinging the whole position after it made an end of day run on Friday drops completely off the list.

All I could concentrate on was getting my burned son to the hospital, and relief, as soon as possible.  I knew that with burns time is of the essence and I was weaving in and out cars as fast as I could trying to shave every second off the trip I could.  It may seem stupid but I didn’t want him to look at himself in the mirror some day twenty years down the line and see scars what could have been avoided if I has just gotten him to the ER a few minutes sooner.

As we got within a half mile of the hospital, I began to try to pass the car ahead of me, but he moved over into my lane preventing me from passing.  I hit the brakes and tried to go back around him from the lane I just came from, but he cut back in front of me.  I slowed and he slowed.  I tried to speed up, and he did the same.  He was playing with me, not allowing me to pass.

I couldn’t believe what was happening.  My flesh and blood was in pain, pain I would have gladly taken times ten instead of him if I could, and some fucking idiot was playing a game with me.

I finally gunned the engine and moved around the car, and as I did I glimpsed two young twenty-somethings grinning and laughing at me, fully aware of what they had been doing.

My son is okay.  Right now he is sandwiched between my wife and myself on the “big bed”, drinking some chocolate milk, and watching Nick Jr.  I don’t know how the gravy missed his face or more importantly his eyes, but fortunately it only hit the top of his chest and his lower neck.  He does have 2nd degree burns on his chest, but despite the redness and blisters, as long as there is no infection (which is highly unlikely), he should have no lasting scars or marks.

But as I say a silent “thank you” that my son is okay, I can’t stop thinking about the two guys in that car.  I want to get angry at them, but I can’t, because numerous times in my life I have been those guys.

I used to think it was so cute and clever to prevent vehicles in a hurry from passing me.  In my younger and more arrogant days I rationalized that these drivers were reckless and that I was “teaching them a lesson” by making them slow down.

Chances are the majority them were in fact just jerks that drove with no regards for safety or the rules of the road, but I have to say that to myself because the alternative is too painful to face.

Is there somebody out there right now looking at a scar that they only have because their father could not get them around me, and to the hospital in enough time to prevent it?  Did the last words of a dying loved one get missed due to my ”road police” antics?  Was there a tragedy that could have been avoided if the calming personality who was stuck behind me had arrived just a bit earlier.

I don’t know.  I will never know.  I can only kiss my son and pray that it’s not so.

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

The Greatest Gift I Have Ever Received.

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you are probably expecting me to talk about some conceptual type of gift, like receiving the “gift” of enlightenment, or inner-peace, or herpes.  But I am actually talking about a real “if-you’ve-got-the-receipt-you-can-return-them” type of gift.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to play the drums.  And for as long as I can remember my mother was against it.  Even to this day I don’t really understand what her issue was with me playing.

Maybe she thought it would encourage me to be a musician and I would get hooked on some illicit drug like pot, Mary Jane, tea, weed, reefer, etc.  Maybe she thought it would make too much noise in the house.  Maybe she got jilted by Buddy Rich, I don’t know and I could never get a straight answer.

I suspect though that my father was secretly in favor of it.

My parents however had the philosophy (which now that I am a father I fully endorse), where one parent does not undermine the other, and they kept a united front against letting me have a drum set.

Years and years of using wooden spoons to “air drum” went by until I was about seventeen and had saved enough to buy a set.  My parents had always told me that I could spend the money I earned as I wanted, although I knew that buying a drum set would be the “exception” to that rule for my mom.

I had to come up with a plan and then wait for the perfect moment to execute it.

That moment came at my grandfather’s 65th birthday party when my whole family was seated around our large dining room table.

My grandfather asked about my job and how it was going…..this was my chance;

“It’s going great.  I really like it, and it’s nice to have some of my own money, that I can spend as I like, right mom?”, I said giving her a big smile.  She took the bait.

“Yes, we have always told Brian that the money he earns is his to spend, within reason.”

“Right” I said.  “So for example, if I wanted to get a really cool stereo, with big speakers, as long as I didn’t play it too loud and disturb anyone, that would be okay?”

“Yes, that would be perfectly fine, as long as you didn’t disturb anyone.”

“So….I guess if I was to buy a drum set, but didn’t play it when you were at home, it would pretty much be the same thing, right?”

“Ummmm…..???” she hesitated, “Sure….that would be fine!”

“Great, I am going to get one tomorrow!”

My plan had worked perfectly.  I knew faced with my logic, and with the whole family watching, there was no way she could say “no”.  I also knew that my mother assumed I didn’t have enough money saved to buy a set of drums, so she felt there was no risk to agreeing.

The next afternoon I went to Guitar Center and was greeted by the head of the drum department, Rockin’ Ray.  Back then they did not display the price on instruments and the salesmen would just size customers up as they came through the door and try to get the most cash they could out of each.

Rockin’ Ray spotted this goofy seventeen year old a mile away and I am pretty sure I got “Rockin’ reamed”.  But never the less, I left with a brand new 5-pc Pearl Export set which I brought home and set up in my room.

To say my mother was upset was an understatement, but what could she do?  She had said in front of everyone that I was free to buy the set; of course this did not mean I was free to play it.

She never once let me play when she was home, and I would jump on the kit whenever she left, even if it was just to run next door to borrow something from a neighbor.  It was excruciatingly painful to see that beautiful set everyday, but not be able to play it.

Then one day in December, our next door neighbors knocked on the door and informed us that they were going out-of-town for a full month.  We were close with them, and they asked if my parents could pick up the mail and water the plants while they were gone.  And then they did something so cool that even to this day I still can’t believe it.

They knew I had a drum set and that I was passionate about playing, so they told my parents that I was free to set my drums up in their living room and play anytime I wanted to while they were gone.  They even gave me an extra key so I could go in and out on my own.

I moved my drums next door and played as much as I could.  As Christmas got closer and my parents asked what I wanted, I answered that same way I had for every Christmas and birthday for the previous 10 years “anything related to drums.”

When Christmas morning came we opened our gifts and as always happened, I got a lot of nice presents, but none that I had asked for and none that were related to drums.  It was okay, I was used to it by now and knew this was part of mother’s way of not accepting my desire to be a drummer.

After the festivities were done I went next door to start bang out another session and that is when I saw them.

Sitting right in the middle of my snare drum were three pairs of Silver Fox 5B nylon tipped drum sticks, a black Zildjian Cymbal T-shirt, and a $25 gift certificate to West Coast Drums.

A hand written note sat next to them:

Brian,

I went down to West Coast Drums and talked to the manager Neil.  He said these are good sticks and that a lot of pros are starting to use them.  I thought you might want a T-shirt as well.  Since I didn’t know exactly what you wanted I also got you a gift certificate so you can pick out anything else you need.  I hope I did good.

Love, Dad

He hoped he did good.  That is what he hoped.

There was no way he could have done better.

Seventeen was a tough age for me.  I was trying to define myself in the world as I transformed from being someones child or someones sibling to being an independent person in my own right.

Drumming, though it might have seemed frivolous to my mother, was something that was important to me, and her refusal to acknowledge that was the same as not acknowledging me, “Brian”, the individual, which I deeply needed.

With this one set of gifts my father satisfied that need.  He had listened to me, to what I was saying, and to what my passion was.

There was no place he was probably more out of place in than a drum shop, but he didn’t care because he was doing something for his son, Brian.  And he knew it was important enough that he even violated the “united front” concept, and opened himself up to the crap he probably got from my mom for doing so.

I love my mother and I loved my father.  They were great parents growing up and I had a marvelous childhood.  But sometimes , in certain areas, one parent just “gets it” better then the other.  In this instance my dad just “got it” and with some simple, inexpensive, but thoughtful gifts he made an impact in my young life that I still can feel to this day.

Make sure to check out my new book  Trading:The Best Of The Best-Top Trading Tips For Our Times  (just click the banner below).

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Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

Back Away From The Ipad Punko.

Over the last week I have gotten a number of these emails.  I suspect my 2 year old has found the iPad while daddy is at work….

Either that or Charles Manson somehow got my email address.

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

When You Catch Somebody Faking It.

Has it ever happened to you?  You put time and effort into making a relationship work.  You give them your trust and your confidence, and then it happens…

You find out they are faking their trades.

After you get over the pain, the anger, and the “hurt”, what do you?

Do what I do….nothing.

In 2006 I came across a trading blog that I really liked.  The author was illustrating a style of trading that I had never used before but that immediately spoke to me.  I followed the blog religiously, examined the analysis, and started incorporating some of the techniques into my own trading.

Then one of the readers that regularly commented on the site reached out to me and informed me that he thought the blog’s author was in fact not really trading at all. He accused him of “faking it.”

At first I admit that I was shocked and perhaps a bit mad.  But then I realized something.  The techniques I had learned from following the blog were working in my trading.  I was making money using them.

It dawned on me that analysis from this blog was 100% spot on and it was irrelevant as to if the blog’s author was really trading these set ups or not.  My goal was to learn and to improve my trading skills, and this blog had helped me do it.

And I get it.  Isn’t the person being deceptive?  Shouldn’t you try to expose the truth?  Blah, blah, blah.

In poker we use term “table police” for someone that feels they need to make everyone toe the line and act accordingly.  You’re not the trading police.  Trust me, you don’t want to be, it’s a waste of valuable time and energy.

So the next time you hear that someone might be “faking it”, first look at the information, and content, and more importantly the tone that comes from the accused.  If it is competent and brings value then use it and pass it on.

And if it doesn’t, then go ahead and rip them a “new one” the size of Florida.


I posted this video on my blog a few days ago. Is the analysis dependent on if I took the trade?

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

The “Second Mistake” Theory In Trading And In Life.

We are all human and we all make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are big and sometimes they are small.  Calling the deceased the wrong name at a graveside eulogy leans more toward the “big” end of the scale.

I witnessed this awkward event at the service for my best friend’s mother.

The Priest stood at the head of the casket and started…..

“We are all here to celebrate the life of Mary Ann Anderson.  Mrs. Anderson was a lovely woman who cared deeply about her family, her friends, and her faith.  Often I would see Mrs. Anderson working long hours at one of our church functions……”

As he continued to speak I watched the priest begin a transformation.  He was slowly morphing into a gazelle, like the ones you see on a Mutual of Omaha special, just peacefully standing in the high grass of some majestic African plain.  Like that gazelle he had no idea that lions were about to jump up and rip his larynx out.

“….and I would always joke with her when I saw her at the Sunday service.  Mrs. Anderson always had the best sense of humor….”

Suddenly all four of her grown daughters leapt up out of their seats and screamed almost in unison;

“HER NAME WAS SANDERS,  NOT ANDERSON….MARY….ANN…..SANDERS….SAN-DERS…!!!!!”

The Priest was stunned and went into a moment of shocked silence that seemed to last a lifetime.  I studied his face and watched his eyes and I am pretty sure his first thought was “is there room for me to jump in under that coffin”.

Then I saw it.  I knew where he was going to go next. And I knew it was going to be bad. Real bad. Vanilla Ice bad.

A sense of empathetic panic gripped me and like a catcher attempting to brush off a bad signal from his pitcher, I tried to telepathically send him the message “don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it…you’re going to get taken downtown…!!!” But he did it.

He started to backtrack and explain how of course he knew her name was Sanders, and that he had just mentioned to someone before the service how he liked “Mrs. Sanders” so much, and that it had been a long week for him, etc., etc.

Not unlike the gazelle, having been mortally wounded and flailing about in its death throes, his reaction just brought more attacks.

Her sons and then grandsons got into the mix, loudly shouting their justified outrage. I think the only reason things did not get completely out of hand is the fact that beating up a priest pretty much takes you right to front of the line for admission to Hell.

The priest made a mistake to be sure in using the wrong name, but the fatal mistake was how he reacted when he realized his misstep.  A deft and perhaps humorous comment acknowledging his mistake, while reaffirming his intimate relationship with Mrs. Sanders, could have saved the day and negated any ill effects his gaffe produced.

Hi, we’re gazelles. We like grass. We have no idea what’s about to hit us!

Sometimes our reaction to a mistake can’t negate it’s bad effects, but can at least contain them.

High up on the list of “cliché’ things to do when you turn 30″ is going to Europe for one last attempt at being a free spirit.  I took that trip with my best friend (the same from above), and being the vandals that we were, we decided to spend fourteen carefree days backpacking through various countries, staying at whatever hotel or B&B’s were available.

Our first night on the continent was in Paris, where we found a charming chateau-like hotel to use as our home base.  As we settled in and begun to unpack our stuff, I pulled out a bottle of red wind that the Delta attendant gave us on our flight over. What a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of our Eurotrip I reasoned.

There was one hitch though, no corkscrew. Begin intro clip for “Ideas Gone Bad” right about here.

My brilliant idea was to take the all-purpose tool I had in my pack, unfold the 3-inch blade, hold the bottle by the neck with one hand, thrust the blade into the cork with the other, and in one quick twisting motion, pull it out.

I did mention we were in Paris right?  Where infants have wine in their baby bottles. I could have gone down to the front desk for a corkscrew right?  I probably could have just yelled out the window “I need help opening a bottle of wine” and a shower of corkscrews, bread, cheese, and “Best of Jerry Lewis” DVD’s would have come my way.  But alas, I was the gazelle.

A split second before the blade drew up from the cork I realized this was a bad idea, but it was too late, and it sliced through the flesh of my palm.  I dropped the bottle and immediately clasped my hands together.  “Maybe it wasn’t too deep” I thought.  I slowly uncovered my palm and was greeted with a gusher of blood which ran all over the floor.

I instinctively grabbed a wash towel from the bathroom and padded the wound. Then my mind began to race….

This was the first of fourteen days that I had been looking forward to for over a year; had I ruined the trip?  In a country where I knew nobody and didn’t understand the language how could I find medical care? Would this mean I would have to stay in France for the whole trip til the wound healed? Was medical care in my trip budget?

I contemplated just padding it up, finding a pharmacy, and doing some makeshift bandaging, but finally I realized;

Don’t make your first mistake worse by reacting to it with an even bigger mistake.

I went down to the front desk and managed to convey to them my problem.  Ten minutes later a cab had deposited me at the emergency room of a local hospital.

Two absolutely gorgeous French interns put fourteen stitches in my hand and bandaged me up.  They were so sweet and beautiful, and I would have asked one of them out except for the fact that I was already with my future wife, and that I think I heard them use the term “Le Dork” when referring to me.

On the train after the incident and close up of my hair which I decided to dye blond for the trip.  It was supposed to look like Billy Idol.  It didn’t. Don’t ask.

Just like in life, mistakes in trading are an inevitability.  I don’t know anyone who has been trading for any significant amount of time that hasn’t “fat fingered” a trade, perhaps adding an extra zero in position size to an order they submitted.  Or maybe they analyzed and stalked a trade, waiting for just the right entry point to get long…..only to realize after the fact that they put an order in to go “short”.  I myself have even accidentally put in an order to buy the wrong security like $AAPL when I meant to buy $GOOG.

These mistakes happen and “yes” they hurt when you realize what you have done, but it is at this crucial moment that your true skill as a trader will be tested.  Do you hold on and hope that the trade goes your way or do you instinctively act and cut the trade immediately?

You have to cut the trade immediately.  In the case of the fat-finger trade, this may be a survival issue since an outsized order going against you may not have to move very much in order to inflict severe damage or even blow out your account.

Messing up on a trade’s direction or using the wrong instrument might be more manageable, but if you have done the analysis correctly and followed you methodology properly, you would be carrying a position that goes exactly against what your anticipated outcome is.

There are very few mistakes in life or in the markets you can’t survive (and learn) from, but the key is to react swiftly, decisively, and in a way that contains the damage, not that makes it worse.

(Note: If you are new to my blog, I post about all sorts of things.  Sometimes it involves something extremely personal, like creating a 30K baby or a trading blow up.  Other times it deals with hot ex-porn stars who trade stocks.  And sometimes it’s about how to avoid “suicide”.  But a good place to start is The Best of bclund.  If you like what you read, please tell a friend.  If you don’t, please tell two friends.)

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.