by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

We imagine this segment ending and, off-camera, Watters scolding the female panelist for this transgression.

Keep fighting, Trebek!

Uh, Rajon. You’re in coach, not First Class.

Starting Five

The Haines Bottom

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the famed Haines Bottom. We’re not sure if we’ll be able to post tomorrow, so we’re commemorating this morning.

By March 10, 2009, the stock market had been cratering for nearly six full months. The true detonation day was Monday, September 15, 2008, when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and it became clear that it could not be saved, a lesion indicative of a far greater disease with which the banking industry was riven. The market tanked 504 points that day, or 4.4%

Either way, if you’re like us and were dumb enough to have been in over your ski tips in the summer of 2008, you got crushed (owning tens of thousands of dollars of Lehman Bros. stock sure didn’t help). By March of 2009 millions of Americans (us included) had been pink-slipped from jobs and the economic landscape looked bleaker than an episode of Ozark (we’re just guessing on that; we still have yet to watch).

But on that morning of March 10, 2009, the late and great CNBC anchor Mark Haines told his morning partner Erin Brunette, “I’m going to step out on a limb here…I think we’ve hit a bottom, I really do.”

And he was right.

The day before, March 9, the Dow had closed at 6,547, more than 54% off its then all-time high of 14,000 in October of 2007. The thing about bottoms, and particularly having one so accurately called by an anchor on the most-watched financial network out there, is that if you DO have available cash and if you DO act on that call, there’s no legal way we know of to acquire wealth faster.

Consider: Apple (as in “Tim Apple”) shares were selling for about $13 per share when Haines made his call. Here we are, at the 10th anniversary (this Sunday) of the Haines Bottom and Apple is selling for $174. So that’s about a 12x jump.

Shares of Sirius Satellite (SIRI) were selling for as low as FIVE CENTS per share in February of 2009. Sure, the smart bet would have been to think SIRI was going out of business. But if you had just laid down $10,000 (for 200,000) shares in February of 2009, that $10,000 would now be worth… $1.2 MILLION.

(We bought 20,000 shares, or $1,000 worth, but foolishly sold when that doubled).

Ten thousand….to $1.2 million. On one stock. In one decade. Someone probably did that. And all they had to do was listen to Mark Haines.

Bull markets are great. But bottoms, and having cash available when they hit, is where the real money awaits. By the way, the Dow is now at 25,673, so just playing index funds alone you should be up four times from where we were when Haines called that bottom that day.

2. Au Re-VAR, PSG*

*The judges agree this may be un peu contrive

Finally, football fans on both sides of the Atlantic can loathe video replay. In yesterday’s Round of 16 Champions League match between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, the series was basically decided by VAR (Video Assistant Referee) on the play above.

The scenario: Manchester United had lost 2-0 two weeks ago at home in Old Trafford. In Champions League history, no squad had ever overcome a 2-0 home loss in the first leg to come back and win the leg (since you’d have to win on the road by at least two goals). But that’s what happened.

The play of the match…

Heading into stoppage time, a mere 3 to 4 minutes, PSG was trailing 2-1 in the game but in aggregate goals led 3-2. In other words, to hold Manchester scoreless would mean PSG advanced, but if Manchester scored the British side would advance (in event of a tie, i.e. 3-3 aggregate, the side with more away goals advances).

Diego Dalot of United sent a rocket toward goal, and PSG’s Presnel Kimbempe turned away out of self preservation. His arm involuntarily struck the ball. The referee on the field did not signal hand ball, but play was stopped and Manchester was awarded a free kick. Goaaaalllllll!

Mon dieu.

3. Hippo Happenstance

As if Colombia were not dangerous enough, it now has a herd of more than 4 dozen hippopotami (and we love it). During his Eighties hey days, when drug lord Pablo Escobar was the wealthiest and most feared drug lord on the planet, he had an ark’s worth of African wildlife imported for his private zoo located at Villa Napoles.

Among the rich pageantry were four hippos. Once Escobar was captured, most of the other animals were relocated to zoos, but the hippos were left to roam the waterways (who was going to catch them?). With no endemic predators such as crocs and lions to pick off the young, the hippo quartet has grown to a genuine herd.

How do you stop them? With guns, of course. Or cocaine overdoses. For now, though, the hippos are running and swimming wild. “We can’t just kill the hippos and the other solution is relocating hippos, sterilizing hippos,” says biologist David Echeverri , who tracks them locally. The hippos are popular.

And why not? In Africa, hippos kill more humans than any other large wild animal. But Pablo Escobar was reportedly responsible for the deaths of 7,000 or so people. As tradeoffs go, Colombia is winning in every way possible.

4. When You’d Rather Be Dead, Anyway

The worst happy ending involving a billionaire naked on a table since Robert Kraft’s

What’s worse than the world knowing that you’re undergoing penis enlargement surgery? Dying on the table during said surgery. And what’s even worse than that? Being a billionaire, which means that you could have paid for just about anything in the world your heart—or an organ located a little lower—desired.

A 65 year-old Belgian-Israeli diamond trader, Ehud Arye Laniardo, died in Paris during his penis-enlargement surgery Saturday. He suffered a heart attack as a substance was injected into his member. That substance, sources tell MH, was karma.

A word to our billionaire friends: next time just buy a yacht or an island. A

Also, we apologize because it feels as if there must be a half dozen puns we left hanging (like that) and just didn’t try hard enough to locate.

5. McSally Ride*

*The judges apologize profusely

Arizona junior Republican senator Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel who was the first American female to fly in combat (assuming there were no transgender males flying…that was for my Twitter mentions), reveals that while serving she was raped by a superior officer. Kind of a big revelation, MM.

McSally’s testimony came at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about preventing sexual assault in the military. Even though she’s no longer flying, she’s still dropping bombs. So now what?

McSally said that she did not report the rape at the time “because I did not trust the system.” She obviously still does not. While the statute of limitations may have passed, it would be a bold act and a courageous one for McSally to name her rapist. Maybe he is still in the Air Force and maybe that would embolden a more recent victim to come forward. Either way, she has enough gravitas behind her name that people would hopefully take her accusation seriously.

Music 101

Sky High

So many one-hit wonders, just one decade: The Seventies. How can you be sure it’s the Seventies, Jdub? The lead vocalist is the drummer wearing a powder-blue polyester sports jacket, that’s how I can be sure. Here’s Jigsaw, from 1975, with a song written for a martial arts film that surprisingly rose to No. 3 on the charts.

Remote Patrol

All The President’s Men

8 p.m. TCM


The most accurate film about print journalism ever made (until someone makes one about this administration, which we have already tentatively titled Blood Is Thicker Than Watergate). Nominated for eight Oscars, it won four, including a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor for Jason Robards. It lost to Rocky for Best Picture, which is both fair and indicative of a period in American history where as a nation we just wanted to feel positive again. If inclined, read this companion piece by an author you already know.

5 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Strangely enough, Alex Trebek’s predecessor as the host of “Jeopardy” was Art Fleming, who died of pancreatic cancer.

  2. Actually, the markets bottomed TWICE (or 4 times) : on Nov 19/20, 2008 & then AGAIN on Mar 6/9, 2009. (The market went up in Dec 2008 but started going down again in Jan 2009). I had just started buying individual stocks (very 1st purchase was actually ON Nov 19, 2008, luvvvvvv you AMZN!) but I had a 401K, Roth, & a taxable account all in growth-type mutual funds & depending on the fund & stock, they pretty much all bottomed on ONE of the those 4 days, not all on 3/9.

    Also, apparently FEW AT CNBC believed Haines because for SEVERAL MONTHS into 2009, the same question was asked over & over & over (etc) on every show I watched at the time (Squawk Box in the AM, & then Fast Money, Cramer, & Kudlow in the evenings plus various others when I got the chance) : “HAVE WE HIT BOTTOM YET?” or “WHEN WILL WE HIT BOTTOM?” I would then repeatedly yell back at the TV – “YES!, WE bottomed already! Wake up!” It drove me CRAZY! It also taught me a valuable lesson – the financial media is ALWAYS behind recognizing tops & bottoms.

    Also, AAPL did NOT go down to $13/share at the time, I know as I kept WAITING for it to get to $69 (my Limit order price) & it did not so I delayed purchasing until it unfortunately had more than doubled into the $200s. Argh. (This is PRE-split prices).

    Just FYI – If someone had invested $10,000 into AMZN on 11/19/08, they’d have almost $460k today (& almost $600k back in Sept-Oct of last year). And speaking of AMZN, almost EVERY SINGLE CNBC talking head REPEATEDLY said Amazon was “OVERPRICED” &/or they “wouldn’t waste their money” from Nov 2008 thru at least 2015! NOW they all talk about it like THEY knew it was a great investment! HA!

    Finally, hippos have always been one of my fave wild animals since I was a kid (partly because of the cartoon versions, ahem) because I thought they looked “so sweet”. Well, when I got older I found out they are NASTY & kill more people in Africa than lions! In other words, don’t underestimate the “big-bottomed” among us! 😉

    • Susie B,

      Love you. Don’t need to be “Well, actually” guy regarding AAPL. The 7 for 1 split is why the prices don’t line up but that would have taken two more sentences to needlessly explain. I kinda think I already spend enough time on this blog already and you’ve already said you’d never pay for it. So zip it, please.

        • Wait, *I* didn’t invest $10k! Wish I had but my purchase was very MUCH smaller!

          And gosh jdubs, I only wanted to point out to the others that AAPL did not really sell for just $13 in 2009. If they don’t own AAPL, do you think they know about the 7-1 split a few years ago?

          And I’ve told you – IF I HAD THE MONEY, I’D PAY TO READ THIS BLOG! Heck, I’d even become a patron!

          FTR, I do not & have never owned : a home PC, laptop, ipad or smartphone. I have never even had home internet! WHY? Because for the last 14 years, I’ve been feverishly (emphasis on the FEVER) 1st paying off stoopid, stoopid credit card debt & then saving (literally) my retirement. So that ONE day I will NOT be forced into living on the street in a box. Plus, if someone like, ahem, YOU gets into political power, I’ll need even a ton more money to pay for healthcare after the new “Logun’s Run” age of 85!

          Just FYI – I AM planning to win the Powerball this Saturday & right after I call the Geek Squad to set me up with internet & all the tech I can handle, I’ll have “my people” call yours. Or I’ll just comment here as usual. 🙂

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