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Richard Kain's Writings Posts

2013 Books Highlighted & 2014 Reading Resolutions

New Year’s eve is here and the Kain family is very sick; a poor coda on an otherwise excellent year.  I am a holdout against the viruses but the only thing anyone is going to drink tonight is Pedialyte.  I’m likely going to take comfort in Alan Furst’s Dark Star whose opening pages are well crafted or continue chugging through the Beatles history Tune In (mixed.)  Somehow it winnowed into my consciousness I didn’t do the blogging I’ve wanted to do this year.  Herewith, my reading highlights this year.

1. The book more people are buying than reading: The Goldfinch.

(Abstract Expressions about) Diebenkorn at the de Young

Monday the 30th is the final day of the de Young’s museum’s Diebenkorn in Berkeley retrospective. In the past I have not much cared for abstract expressionism.  The color field work just seems labored and pious.  Figurative work like William de Kooning overblown to the point of painful, and without much emotional connection.   Jackson Pollack or Sam Francis is fun to look at but not worth too much contemplation (though the latter has a retrospective in Sacramento next year which I’ll probably go to.)

Something about Seawall 1957 – the featured painting on the sides of many buses in San Francisco caught me – this was recognizably the California coast – I’d guess the view from the Great Highway in San Francisco – but beautifully abstract, and expressionist. OK I’m in.

Where’s the Cliff House?

August 10 Trading: Trading ZW, ZC on my First Crop Report; & ZN at end of day

I had a remarkable run last summer in the futures markets, mostly from shorting the metals save for gold last August.  The trading has been infrequent since then save for spates of shorting the 10 Year Treasury which on balance has been a disaster.

Last week I shorted both Corn and Wheat, even holding them short over the weekend.  Frankly was planning to reduce the position but forgot the ag futures markets close at noon pacific and was left holding my breath a bit for the weekend.  The basis of this trade effectively was a belief in mean reversion and the Corn trade worked out well with mild rains over Iowa leading to a drop Monday morning.   I did not however want to be short going into the crop report, and even went long, but intending to get short again in all but the most dire reports should the price action after the crop report appear safe to do so.