Posts Tagged ‘football’

From Black Friday to Derivatives Saturday

November 28, 2015

Back in the crash of ’08, clueless underlings such as myself suddenly were made aware of a mysterious component of our financial system called “derivatives.”

What is a derivative? you may ask. Funny you should ask. I didn’t know either, and I still don’t. Although I have been trying to figure it out for seven years now, every time I think I know what a derivative is, I encounter acronymic terminology such as MBS, CDO, or SEC.

These slimmed-down nomenclatures should simplify things, but they do, in fact simplify nothing. Although everybody knows SEC stands for Southeastern Conference, which is the football conference where the best American football is played, and where my alma mater LSU exercises its right to excel in athletics, except when teams like Alabama or Florida are on the field.

Tyger

But I digress. I was explaining to you what a derivative is and I mentioned some of the simplifying terminology.

For instance, as alluded to above: MBS.

Well some well-positioned bloggists of the worldwideweb identify an MBS as a Masters of Bullsh*t, which is attained through much blood sweat and tears and dedicated gamesmanship acquired at a venerable institution, such as Barnwell University or Cayman College. The MBS is attained through years and years of shoveling potentially useful data into HFT, which produces a yield from which its index is derived,  and lucrative assets which are then deposited into accounts on behalf of the bullish denizens of WallStreet. These rich deposits build up the notional value of our economy as a hole, thus enriching all of us, not only those who are forever horsing around on Wall Street, but also  you and me and all the folks on Main Street, Easy Street and Ventnor Avenue.

Somebody has to do it. I don’t mind doing my part, working with a shovel. Keeps me in shape.

Anyway, that’s not the MBS of which I spake. I’m talking about Mortgage Backed Securities. I think Uncle Freddie Mac and Aunt Fannie Mae gave these instruments as gifts back during the holidays of 2007, when life was oh simple then, before time had rewritten every line.

My understanding of a Mortgage Backed Security is that they’re something like an Arkansas RazorBack, which is probably why they didn’t work out so well for investors, although Arkansas is ranked third in the SEC west, behind Florida and–excuse my language–Ole Miss.

After that is my LSU Tigers, presently in fourth place of SEC west, but as always and forever will be, bound for greatness.

It’s quite complex to describe just how LSU could be in fourth place, because its position in the rankings is derived from the ratio of victories to losses, divided by the number of footballs passed beneath the legs of a center when he hikes the ball to the quarterback during any given play of the game.

Nevertheless, as I was saying before, a derivative is derived from the outcome, that is to say the, rear-end of a complex financial instrument.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering, as any serious investor is wondering, about the real question here, which is: how much is it worth?

One thing that my research has revealed, and one thing I can tell you with surety is this: The value of any particular derivative is derived from fluctuations in the value of the underlying asset.

Here’s an example: how much is my ticket to this season’s Sugar Bowl worth? Well, at this point it’s an open question, but let’s just say this: I’ll give you my ticket to the Sugar Bowl for your two tickets to the Orange Bowl.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (Texas Aggies be forewarned), the guys who are shoveling out in the barn are asking what’s the real value of these derivatives. And as I explained before, you remember that the value of any particular derivative is derived from fluctuations in the value of the underlying ass-set. That should come out plain enough.

As for the collective value of all the derivatives, this figure is derived from its notional value, which is calculated based on the notion, as defined by the US Treasury, the Fed, the NYSE, and the AP sportswriters, that whatever goes around comes around, so therefore if the value of the aforesaid derivatives passes through enough piles of assets then when it comes out the other end nobody really knows what its worth, so that it can be revalued at the going rate.

This is unpredictable, of course, as the LTCM affair had indicated  back in the Glass-Steagall days, but it is bound to be worth, somehow somewhere when you least expect it, more than it was in January of 2009. So that’s progress, although the Progressives may not agree with me. I don’t pay much attention to all those freaks on the fringe anyway.

And you understand, of course, that all this has taken place after Cronkite passed from the scene.  Before that, it was pretty much everybody working together in America toward the same values and goals. But that was then and this is now. Derivatives happens.

I’m glad I could clear this up for you. As for the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl,  may the best team win, as it frequently does, but sometimes not.

 

Glass Chimera

Advertisements

What about them Washington Fedskins!

July 26, 2014

Let’s hear a big yelp for the Washington Fedskins! The buzz this season is that their red-tape defense can stop any team in the country. And their offense is beyond figuring out.  If I were a betting man, I’d say them Fedskins will be a dark horse for the Super Poll this year.

Glass Chimera

The Money Bowl

December 8, 2013

I entered into the Money Bowl last night, and there I saw the great Florida State football lean, mean, passin’ machine shred Duke’s ACC hopes into scrap.

I say Money Bowl because it was the first time in many a year that I have entered into the great, gleaming gridiron realm of state-of-the-art stadium excellency that Bank of America/Panthers Stadium certainly is and will always be in the minds of Charlotteans, although they tell me that now Dallas is building one for the Cowboys that puts Charlotte’s colossal Collosseum to shame.

Yes, it hath been many a year since I saw such a bright sight as the inside of big stadium all lit up  like that, because you see, I grew up down on de Mississip at Baton Rouge, where Huey Long had, back in the 30s, mustered all the mud of south Louisiana politics and all the dust of north Louisiana hot air into a brand new Tiger Stadium at LSU, where Billy Cannon ran the 97-yard kickoff return to beat Ole Miss back in ’57, and where all my people and me studied and earned degrees and all along the way went on Sat’dy nights to what was, back in the day, the shrine of Tiger football, Tiger Stadium, where I sold concessions when I was in junior high  back in the 60s and then went on to actually live in that great edifice because they had made the north end of it into a dormitory that overlooked Mike the Tiger’s cage over which I would sit on the wide sill of that dorm room during freshman year, looking down at Mike’s little caged domain and listen to Abbey Road and dream about maybe leaving’ Louisiana in the broad daylight.

Which of course I did, later on, leave Louisiana after matriculation in ’73, and went to Florida where I got humiliated  for driving on revoked license and then doin five days jail time, sentenced by a Judge Rasmussen, and then leaving that state, home of those crazy Seminoles and their Gator cousins and I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the whole dam state now anyway.

‘Specially after last night, and what the Seminoles did to Duke, where my son did university, and there we sat last night in the cold in the Money Bowl, with Duke Energy Tower flashing big diagonal neon stripes throught the mist in the background and Bank of America Center over there with its spiky litttle shafts of light on top and Wells Fargo-used-to-be-Wachovia-back in the day somewhere in that sparkly skyline  still doin their thing out in the Golden West.

You see Charlotte is new money, not old money like New Orleans was with its Superdome, or Houston, which was old-new money and its state-of-the-art AstroDome back in the day, down where I come from,  and because Charlotte is such new money,  not old money like New Yawk or Boston, and so Charlotte had to erect the Panthers pantheon-home state-of-the-art or so they say in order to show the world what new money is really all about because you see the queen city has always been a wannabe and always will be, ever since the gold diggers out in California eclipsed the Carolina gold find back in 1848, when the California discovery made Carolina’s little gleaming vein look like a flash in the pan, which it actually was comparatively speaking, as it all turned out. So Charlotte had finally made it, and there we were last night sitting in the cold and watching all those Seminole fans in their maroon and gold doing their obnoxious chop chop thing and rubbin’ it in after they had absconded that chant from the native Americans and still got away with it, and it really is a case of the new money down there in Tallahassee shredding the old-new money of Duke, chopping it into smithereens, and there we were having to watch all this as the third quarter ended and Florida State waltzed into the end zone again for the umpteenth time, but then we went to Denny’s somewhere out there in the vast suburban money land and it wasn’t so bad after all, although there was no joy of course over in Durham because might the Blue Devils had struck out.

I mean Panthers Stadium is a lot like Tiger Stadium  used to be back in the day, except you know, better, and also excluding  what happened there last night.

Glass half-Full

The Nature of the Beast

December 12, 2011

Since I am a 1973 grad of Louisiana State University, which has a football team presently destined to, once again, soon earn the title of National Champion, I’m thinking about the LSU Tigers.

That legendary squad of coonass athletes, for as long as my sixty years will allow me to remember, has been a hallowed institution in my original hometown, Baton Rouge. The great gridiron squad, and the venerable institution of higher learning from which it had sprung, represented for my daddy, my mama, me, my brother, neices, nephews and sisters (all alumni), and every other crawfish-chompin citoyen  in the bayou state, the paragon of football excellence. And the team carried that elevated status even before the rest of football nation ever acknowledged our unique mastery of the game by bowing to  tigerly domination that had manifested in ages past, such as  in 1958, along with contemporary victories as exhibited in this  present season and, and no doubt, the striped future.

And since I was thinking about them thar tigers (as we say in the Appalachian mountains where I now live), I decided to open up your awareness to  a plotly development  from my second novel, Glass Chimera, because the scene involves a Tiger, which is the mascot at LSU.

Remembering that I spent freshman year in North Stadium dormitory, right there in the Death Valley stadium of old, and across an oak-lined street from Mike the Tiger’s cage, I post herewith this uncommon incident from chapter 6 of Glass Chimera. It depicts, long story short, a tiger who is hanging out in the untigerly environment of a New Orleans boulevard (don’t ask), and feeling a little bit out of place:…

“Ha.  She’s having second thoughts about the escape, wondering if it was the right decision.” They chuckled.

“She’s definitely out of her comfort zone,” said Nao.

“And yet she seems so utterly comfortable,” Robby observed. “What’s  strange is. . .she could make one hell of a ruckus if she wanted to.  She could turn this place upside down with confusion if she chose to.” He thought for a moment.  “I wonder what her genetic inclinations are. I wonder if the years of captivity have conditioned her beyond her wild, natural response to what could be a dangerous setting.”

“The human world, a dangerous setting,” said Rosa, with a hint of irony.

“Definitely dangerous for her, if she’s not in a cage.”

Case in point.

The sedated, somewhat surreal stillness of Napolean Avenue at that moment was  interrupted by the sudden, though stealthy, approach of a  stalker, skilled in this sort of thing.  Gray/white/black camouflage occluded his  purposed arrival upon the scene.  He had a rifle in his arms, and it was poised in the ready position.  Not yet aiming, but ready.  The hunter, whoever he was, was looking steadily at the cat.  He was speaking to her in his mind.  He knew her mind.  He had hunted her in the far reaches of the savannah, in Africa. Not her, however. But one like her.  He knew about wild animals. He knew what they were capable of.

He knew about wild animals.

Calcutta took notice of her stalker’s arrival by rising from the position of rest that she had assumed,  rousing from her uninvited survey of the boulevard below, with its manufactured menagerie of  streetlight-streaked mechanical beasts having paws of rubber and snouts of chrome.

She growled. She is, after all, a tiger. And she didn’t like this one bit. Her instinct was demanding a response. She howled.  She’s  savage, not tech-savvy, not aware of the power of projectiles and triggers.

She leaped.

If this encounter bites into your curiosity at all, you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens before and after it.  Otherwise, I’ll leave you with this declaration:

Go Tigers!