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Baron Partners Retail Message Board

the_nervous_resistor 1311 posts  |  Last Activity: May 20, 2010 8:16 PM Member since: Jun 25, 2002
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  • the_nervous_resistor by the_nervous_resistor May 20, 2010 8:16 PM Flag

    Lord, there have not been many posts on this board in forever!!!

    But, gotta ask this one.

    Deutsche Bank and other Euro Banks are likely loaded to the gills with cdo's and nearly valueless sovereign euro notes. Angela Merkel seems to be doing her best to save her bank.

    If restructuring comes, and the price of DB stock goes south, what is the position of holders of the ETF's that DB manages?


  • the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Apr 15, 2010 3:48 PM Flag


    Thanks. She does teach part of a class on pharma at UC Berkeley Extension. I taught pcr as a part of a local community college biotechnology instrumentation course, for awhile. Just got too busy.


    p.s. I wonder why folks take the time to rate clearly noted Off Topic (OT) postings. Too much time on their hands?

  • the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Apr 13, 2010 7:55 PM Flag

    Hey Rhaw,

    Heaven, man Heaven. Those beaches are wonderful.

    You know, just the other day, I told my son and daughter a story that you left on the message board about Hoagy Carmichael.

    We were channel surfing late at night and the wonderful black and white movie, "To Have and Have Not," based upon the Hemingway story was on. It stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bachall. My wife and I urged them both to watch the movie because of the great screen writing. This is the one where Lauren Bachall says from the doorway of the hotel room,

    "You know you don't have to act with me, Steve (Bogart). You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow."

    That slayed them, or so I think/hope. Anyway, Hoagy Carmichael is the piano player in the hotel bar downstairs. That weekend was also the weekend of the WCHA college hockey playoff's, so I guess the Colorado College - Hoagy Carmichael synapses fired, and I said, "Hey, there is an old hockey player on the Dow board that once spent an evening with Hoagy Carmichael in a bar ... "

    Boy, I do go on. Wow, we do remember the oddest things.

    It's been 17 years since leaving Dow. My wife and I are involved in various chemistry projects, and hoping to retire sometime in the not so distant future. (Bought a 28-foot Airstream trailer.) She develops ethical drugs for Alzheimers and prostate cancer. So, she is thinking of us old geezersguys, from one end to the other. Humorously, her corporate partner with prostate cancer is the same company that makes Flowmax. So, their commercials during NFL football games reassure us the financial support is still ... flowing. My scientific interests are mainly in atmospheric physics, charged dust, and cavitation.


  • the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Apr 13, 2010 7:23 PM Flag


    Yes. On a kayak outing to Secret Falls over near Wailua we saw irrigation canals as well, but we were told they were built by the Polynesians.


  • This is an operations note, not investment post, and maybe too much personal history.

    On vacation last Saturday in southwestern Kauai, we stopped by the old Gay Robinson cane sugar plant on Hwy 50. (Kaumakani, Kauai) We heard that Dow was there now, raising corn seeds. We rolled on by, down that weird red-dust plant road, and sure enough, a "Dow AgroSciends" sign. Ahh, the memories.

    Three years ago, our family took the Gay Robinson cane sugar refinery plant tour while refining operations were still underway. Our family is totally weird about plant tours. The two of us are ex-Dow chemists, and in the distant past I worked at a Sprekels beet sugar refinery, doing summer R&D while in college.

    You could tell then that operations were at the last stages of capital investment, and dust from the red dirt covered everything, making it look rusty. The tour guide said there were thoughts of putting in an ethanol plant adjacent to the refinery, using the bagasse for feed stock. Our kids were still impressionable, so seeing a real production facility was good for them.

    Now, the refinery is shutdown. It seems Dow Agrosciences has leased the site, and seems to good effect. The "boneyard" of old plantation equipment has been moved out. Demo of some structures seems to have opened up the place. (Google map photo shows old cane operations, it seems to me.) One of the buildings is being remodeled. It looks better. They could do something to improve all those old "company" homes on that very weird street, as the visual blight is not a good association for Dow.

    I guess Dow, and a couple other companies, are raising seed on Kauai. That's good, as their economy needs the operations. The cane fields looked like they had been re-leveled, as I think they were much rougher under cane. Surprises me that corn operations do well on those slopes. The corn in the fields looked good. And, they can grow year round.

    The other place I've lived where seed was raised is in Lompoc, Ca, where flower seeds are harvested. The Santa Ynez valley looks spectacular in the early summer there. (I think it was summer.) Flat land was what I noticed; very flat. They also had moisture off the ocean roll in every day.

    Another similarity between western Kauai and Lompoc is the presence of major missile test facilities. I was stationed at Vandenberg AFB, near Lompoc, working on Minuteman missiles (way back at the dawn of time). At the far western end of Kauai is the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility, run by the US Navy. It is from this test facility that ABM's are fired to shoot down Minuteman missiles on their way from Vandenberg to the Johnson Islands.

    One added note. I think the family or entity that owned Gay Robinson refinery also owns a big piece of the island to the west, Nihau, a place that is off limits to the general public. Interesting.

    Anyway, if you are on a vacation in Kauai and headed out to Waimea Canyon, keep a look out on the ocean side of highway 50.


    p.s. Other items of interest out that way: One is the Sky Dive Kauai operation at Port Allen; $229 to be pushed out of a plane at 10,000 feet. Another is Ocean Taco in Waimea, home of good fish tacos. The Waimea Canyon is interesting, but just a 1-visit place (to me). Hanapepe has a fun swinging bridge for bored kids. The Kauai Coffee plantation also offers tours of its operations and hybrid development trees. The beaches out by the air base are pristine and visually breath taking, as is much of Kauai, especially the north shore beaches (Ke'e, for example).

  • the_nervous_resistor by the_nervous_resistor Jun 18, 2009 10:18 PM Flag

    Just to say I bumped into Wes Westover (Midland and Western Analytical) yesterday, and he and his bride appear to be doing well.

    Yes, Wes has to be older than dirt.

    So, was it the tonic effects of those Sunday evening ketone releases in the Midland air, or the restorative powers of that elixir of chloropyridines from the Pittsburg Symtet plant that adds the long years for Wes? Hmmm... (in fun, of course. More seriously, follow the mitochondria chemistry.)

    Anyway, Wes is still with us.


  • the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Jun 13, 2009 2:36 PM Flag

    The trick to skipping the Covey classes back then was to pick up a copy of the Franklin planner in advance at the plant stockroom and raising it into the air when the training doofus came by to sign you up for the class. I never got caught.

    This saved the company one-week of my time, or 40-hours. The deliverable time for a tech staff employee at our plant was around 1600-hours, so the savings potential was 2.5% per year (40/1600).

    Today, with around 50,000 employees, and FTE's probably around $150K to $200K, the doofus-dodge technique translates to a savings of 2.5% of $7 to 10 Billion per year. On a per share basis, doofus evasion is worth upwards of $0.25/share/year, or 10% of the current dividend.

    So, this stockholder proposes that each employee on their own initiative start doofus dodge training this week. .... Doofus-dodging 101 will begin at 8AM this Monday in the local time of the facility. Taking a moment, all employees will do a 7-second telepathic mind-meld in which we focus upon dodging doofus' in the upcoming week. Together, great things can be done.


    p.s. Anyway and elsewhere, ..., my boys graduated from high school last night! Ain't that a hoot!

  • Reply to

    Dear Rohm & Haas Employees

    by dipper229 Mar 26, 2009 8:05 PM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 28, 2009 10:53 PM Flag


    Hey, that's funny.

    I think both posts and positions are strong.

    Dipper makes observations about Dow that were partially true even in the good times: >1986 through early 1990's, etc. Corporate life is a drag, and in a company so out-of-position to develop new products, Dow was and I guess is depressing to work at.

    Doug's strength is in both how you have to suck it up and try to make it better. Some of his assumptions are a bit over the top - e.g., that you can change the rules once you are captain - and are signs of drinking too much cool aid.

    What I loved about Doug's message was he can apologize. That should become contagious on message boards.

    As for a room, well... yuck yuck.

    Hey, have a decent weekend. Hope everyone is dodging the weather back home.


    (Kailua-Kona, on holiday with the rug rats.)

  • Reply to

    Dear Rohm & Haas Employees

    by dipper229 Mar 26, 2009 8:05 PM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 27, 2009 2:38 AM Flag


    Congratulations, as you make powerful and motivating points. And I cannot be the only one on the board who is impressed with your contrition toward 229. Thank you for raising the board's level. I will follow your lead by apologizing for the children reference, which was not called for.


  • Reply to

    Dear Rohm & Haas Employees

    by dipper229 Mar 26, 2009 8:05 PM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 26, 2009 9:04 PM Flag


    He gave his reasons for staying. Your shot is out of left field.

    Do your children know you speak that way to others? You owe him an apology.


  • the_nervous_resistor by the_nervous_resistor Mar 25, 2009 10:54 AM Flag

    This is off topic, as far as Dow goes, but it is an accessible arbitrage for board members.

    State tax-free municipal bonds are offering higher than usual rates, because their budgets are in trouble. Add to this the fact that the federal government is trying to alleviate the banking debacle from toxic collateralized mortgage obligations by lowering mortgage rates. Together, there is an arbitrage: you refinance your home for as much money as you can and invest in the general obligation municipal bond funds.

    For example, a 5% 30-year loan has an after tax cost of 3 to 4%. (=5%*(1 - marginal tax rate) = 5% * (1 - state_rate)*(1 - fed_rate)). In the past, this was about the return on state general obligations, so it was a wash.

    Today, California is offering General Obligation 15 to 25 year term bonds with rates estimated to come out in the upper 5's, and one (the 2036 bond) above 6%. So the spread is 2 to 3%, and you can collect it over the life of your mortgage.

    Everyone will be refinancing in the next 12 months, as rates get lower. That is good. Also, the prevailing ethic is to lower your debt, and the arbitrage is to do just the opposite. Any time you can do the opposite of what everyone else is doing, that is good too.

    When muni rates eventually fall back to their normal values, the bond values will soar. With durations in the 10 to 20 area, a 1% drop in rates will increase the value of the bond by 10 to 20%. A 2% return can double this. Want to pay off your mortgage fast? Think about it.

    And an added observation. A local municipal bond dealer, Alamo Capital, is running cable tv employment advertisements seeking out bond traders. Can you believe that? Well, it tells me the money to be made in the next five years is clearly in the credit markets.

    Hope this is of interest to the long time board members.


  • Reply to


    by tim_russert_dirt_nap Mar 22, 2009 4:53 AM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 22, 2009 11:31 AM Flag

    Obama's opponent was old and personally too reactive to hold an important office. An added burden for McCain's was his party put the economy in the tank, undermined the simple rule-of-law, and got to "empty" on the tank of hate fuel it had burned for 16-years. They were done.

    We need a new Republican Party, something more akin to what we had with Eisenhower. The religion crutch, the corruption, and the dumbness just have to go.


  • Reply to

    OT: Bowling with Barack

    by shaniqapie Mar 20, 2009 5:48 PM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 21, 2009 9:06 AM Flag

    You are right about deserving a response. One was given before the show aired.

    "Recognizing his blunder, Obama apologized to the chairman of the Special Olympics before the show aired."


  • Reply to


    by johndawus Mar 11, 2009 1:17 PM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 12, 2009 2:25 AM Flag

    Absolutely good news.

    My guess is the bottom will come with reinstatement. If it comes in the period of March 15 to April 15, then either the options expiration in March or the end of quarter window dressing dates may be big days.

    Lots of damage has been done. The earnings season in, I guess, April, will likely be rocky, because the economy is in the tank. But still, we may have a bottom.

    Just my feeling, that is all.


  • the_nervous_resistor by the_nervous_resistor Mar 11, 2009 11:06 AM Flag

    Completely OT;

    Obama and Geitner are on TV, talking about the upcoming G7 meeting, right now.


    What is that? Haven't they started to pull the White House out of the technological black hole yet?


  • Reply to

    Why prices of good companies are being driven down

    by dwb360 Mar 7, 2009 11:18 AM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Mar 7, 2009 3:51 PM Flag

    Thank you. This article is thought provoking.
    Not sure why the author said the up tick rule would not have helped. He did not support his claim.


  • the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Feb 25, 2009 2:56 PM Flag

    لا الوقحة العملاقة مثل اليونانية والشهرة ،

    منفرج الساقين مع قهر أطرافهم من الأرض إلى الأرض ؛

    ونحن هنا في البحر غسلها ، الغروب يكره ساريا

    وقال عظيم امرأة مع الشعلة ، التي الشعلة

    هو في السجن والإضاءة ، واسمها

    أم المنفيين. من جهة لها منارة

    يضيء والترحيب في جميع أنحاء العالم ؛ خفيفة لها عيون القيادة

    الهواء سد هذا الميناء المدينتين التوأم الإطار.

    "حافظوا ، عريقة ، بالمهابة الطوابق الخاصة بك!" انها صرخات

    مع الشفاه الصامتة. "أعطوني المكدودين والفقراء لديكم ،

    الخاصة بك في العاصمة الصومالية محذرا من الجماهير إلى التنفس بحرية

    رفض البائسة المكتظة بالسكان الشاطئ الخاص بك ،

    ارسال هذه ، لا مأوى لهم ، وبين العاصفة tost لي ،

    وها أنا ذا أرفع مصباحي بجانب البوابة الذهبية!

    by Emma Lazarus

  • Reply to

    Off Topic...the Oscars

    by frednerk10 Feb 23, 2009 12:38 AM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Feb 23, 2009 9:57 AM Flag

    Guess I disagree.

    Slum Dog is an entertaining movie with a good plot line, excellent direction, and engaging acting. It deserved consideration for Best Picture.

    The other two I saw, Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon were also good. Frost/Nixon had outstanding acting, and it may have been my choice. Benjamin Button was enjoyable for all the New Orleans settings. I missed Milk and the Reader.


  • Reply to

    OT: I will sit out a week

    by shaniqapie Feb 22, 2009 9:06 AM
    the_nervous_resistor the_nervous_resistor Feb 22, 2009 1:11 PM Flag


    Just a quick sense here about ... not sure. But does Kinsey Milhone ring a bell with you? And maybe that other detective in Chicago with the Polish last name.

    If yes, then .... well yes.

    If no, then Sue Grafton may write books you may enjoy. Let me know.


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