"Break the Book"
The following newsletter is sponsored by Grass Clippings. We highly recommend watching Fast and Furious 7 before reading. *As always, none of the below information has been fact checked or confirmed in anyway.
/ˌäpəˈrāSH(ə)n tôrCH/ - US Military
1. Operation Torch was the famous American led allied invasion of North Africa during World War II. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Britain had been living on the edge of collapse for over a year and pleaded with the Americans to join the conflict on European and African soil. Finally, the Americans lead the greatest seaborn invasion of North Africa refered to as Operation Torch. Touching down in Morocco and Algeria the Americans expected to be greeted with open arms by the French troops and colonized people. Instead the French, opened fire on their allies from across the pond. After 7 days of battle, the Americans finally pushed through the French resistance and the remaining soldiers flipped sides joining the Americans in their pursuit North towards Berlin.
Takeaway: people often confuse their allies for eniemies. Operation Torch is rarely talked about in WWII folk lore because the friendly fire was a tough pill to swallow.
Used in conversation:
Johnny: "Hey man when we go out tonight please don't play hero ball and operation torch our efforts. We're on the same team."
Lucas: "Roger that captain."
With that said, welcome to the Grass Clippings Monthly.
In this issue:
Billy's Monthly Insights: *observations from the month of September
- Fore The Journey. Fore The Cure. ForeBatten.
- The Road to the PGA Tour
- "Break the Book"
- Devastation - A Gunslinger Gone too Far
Updates from the Shop
- Shop Hours
- Bundle of New Products
- Dodgers Playoff Push
Investing 101 *a Hail Mary approach
- Hertz - Credit Default Swap
- A New Coffee Empire
- Divorce, Da Bomb, and Destiny
1. Fore The Journey. Fore The Cure. ForeBatten.
The Foundation is currenlty running a live auction to raise money for continued research. As a golf enthusiast and avid sports fan, this live auction has some of the coolest golf/sports opportunities I have ever seen. From the bottom of our hearts we ask that you condsider bidding on one of the items.
The Grass Clippings team recently traveled out to Sanford, North Carolina to partake in the first ForeBatten golf tournament at Tobacco Road Golf Course. It's truly amazing how the game of golf can bring people together in pursuit of a common goal. Below is a video link to the story of Amelia and Mackenzie. Every donation provides the most valuable asset.... Hope.
2. The Road to the PGA TOUR
Few people, even "golf fans", truly understand how hard it is to get to the PGA Tour. On the flipside, it's the one sport that provides a chance for anyone to play their way onto the main stage. Almost every PGA Tour event leaves a handful of spots that players have the opportunity to qualify for. It starts with a Thursday qualifier the week before the tournament with a full field of roughly 80 to 130 players. Anywhere from the top 4 to top 12 players get accepted into the Monday qualifier which is typically a full field of roughly 130 players and from there the top 4 players get into the main PGA Tour event. As you can imagine, the odds of a Thursday qualifier getting through both Thursday and Monday is astronomical. Grass Clippings fleet member, Gavin Cohen, almost pulled it off this past Monday to get into the Shriners Children's Open.
Gavin qualified through the Thursday qualifier shooting a 7 under 65 earning a spot in the Monday qualifer. On Monday Gavin made 10 birdies carding another -7 65 to finish tied 4th. Six players were tied 4th for the last spot and went into a sudden death playoff. The video below was Gavin's putt on the first hole of the playoff to win and get into this weekend's event. Heartbreaking to say the least.
Folks, Gavin graduated from LMU last spring and turned pro in July. To say we're bullish on Gavin and his pro career would be an understatment. Expect to see him on the big stage very soon. In the meantime, here's a link to his college golf resume - Gavin Cohen.
3. "Break the Book"
If you consider yourself a sports bettor, the following story will inspire you. We all know that sportsbooks and/or underground bookies have a clear advantage over their customers. It's why the industry has and continues to grow so rapidly now that it's legal. For seasoned sports gamblers, there is a rallying cry that many live by when fighting this good fight. "Break the Book" is a phrase that was famoulsy chanted throughout Las Vegas sportsbooks in the early 60's. Sportsbooks at that time were making so much money that the will of the everyday sports bettor was being tested. To them the system seemed rigged. A group of of the most sophisticated sports bettors came to the same realization as Ceasar in the Oscar winning film Planet of the Apes. Together they were strong. This group that became known as the "Barracudas" rallied behind the notion to not only make money, but to put the sportsbooks out of business. Collectively they would place large bets on the same games to the point where the Sportsbook would be in danger of heavy losses if their picks were right. The Barracudas grew in numbers throughout the 60's and were famous for their gatherings at a variety of sportsbooks where they would chant "Break the Book". .. Many in the industry look back on this period as the renaissance in sports gambling. In many ways, the Barracudas shaped the sports betting world that we see today. The text exchange above was something that was sent to me this past month and is reminiscent of Barracuda folk lore. The bettor was obviously fired by his bookie becasue in the bookie's words "he was too sharp and wouldn't lose". In my opinion, the Barracudas are alive and well. Don't be suprised if you start hearing chants of "break the book" the next time you enter a sportsbook.
4. Devastation - Gunslinging Gone too Far
I think we can all agree that a large portion of the American population grew up on Brett Favre. He was an American icon. A quarterback for the Green Bay Packers who defined the term gunslinger. He was a 3 time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl Champion, and someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. Hell, he was well on his way to make Copper Fit a fortune 500 company. In the minds of America, he could do no wrong. But as we know all good things come to an end. Brett was too much of a gunslinger that he had to play for two other teams after the Packers including a longtime rival in the Minnesota Vikings. Then it came out that Brett either didn't know how to use a cellphone or he was a little loose with the send button to New York Jets Staff. Somehow collective America and even myself were able to look past all transgressions. I personally continued to buy Copper Fit but folks I believe the original gunslinger took things too far. Again it was his texting that did him in. He spent the better half of the last five years funneling federal funds meant for low income families into either his own interests or his own pocket. As quickly as Brett Favre burst onto the scene in 1992 he's exiting the stage twice as fast. RIP Brett Lorenzo Favre. The future of gunslinging now rests on the shoulders of one person. The man below wearing a Grass Clippings "Throw the Ball Hat" Jameis Winston.
*A throw the ball investment strategy. Imaginary $10,000 is invested each month and we track the performance. "Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever." - Shane Falco. In other words, this is not financial advice.
Folks if you rode with me on the Panthers opening week last month, I want to apologize. Maybe it is the beginning of the end for Baker Mayfield. On the flipside, we stayed above water with our airline investments. Delta Airlines stayed relatively flat whereas Southwest Airlines began it's inevitable decent. We're going to move on from the airline industry this month, but know that in other portfolios I am doubling down on my Delta investment, adding to my Southwest short, and will begin shorting American Airlines as well.
Folks, I harp on it every month. It helps to invest in things you expierence for yourself. If you picked up a computer in the 90's, you probably would have thought they were on to something with the whole internet thing. Well I had two such expeirences this past month. To start Mr. and Mrs. Dobson have been looking for a new coffee joint for years now. Starbucks and Dutch Bros to some degree have ruined the coffee industry. Well folks, look up the company Black Rifle Coffee. There is something brewing there to say the least. I'd say it's the first time I walked out of an establishment holding a vanilla latte chanting "Hoorah". Expierence it for yourself, but this could become a long term hold in our portfolio.
Back to the travel industry... Like I said we are letting commercial airlines be this month, but we've acquired a new target... The rental car industry. Folks, I flew across the country recently and after a delayed flight I got into my destination much later than expected. I was excited to get in my rented mini van and get to my hotel. When I arrived, Hertz had closed for the night. Trying to get a human being from Hertz on the phone would be equivalent to getting my yellow lab to speak Japanese. We all like automation until we're stuck at the Raleigh Airport eating expired lunchables from the vending machine. Folks we're shorting Hertz this month and we're doing so with a chip on our shoulder.
Message from Killer the CFO:
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, again, but Billys portolio in September was nearly cut in half (-48.47%). The lone bright spot in Billys selections from September came from his short of Southwest airlines after a poor travel experience he had with them in August. In the midst of rising inflation and oil costs, Billy made a bold decision to go long Delta and took a hit of -9.42%. The real stinger (-$5k) was Baker Mayfields spoiled homecoming when the Panthers couldn't cover against the Browns. If you take a step back and look at the whole body of work here, there were some serious mistakes made.
The most important trait of any high risk portfolio manager, is knowing the importance of taking your losses on the chin and trusting the process going forward. Similar to September, Billy is making some bets based on recent experiences. With a calculated short of Hertz, long on black rifle coffee & a healthy spread for Tom Brady to cover after a recent divorce. Its an interesting strategy, and safe to assume Billy is the only portfolio manager in the world with this allocation in October.
Investment tracker doc can be accessed here.
1. Short Position on Hertz Stock - ($2,500)
The first thing I did after my Hertz experience was watch the movie The Big Short. If I had friends in the investment banking world, I'd look to create some kind of credit default swap for the entire rental car market, but sadly all the exposure I can get is shorting individual stocks. Hertz is the leader in the clubhouse therefore we load up on a sizable short on the Hertz stock.
2. Purchase of Black Rifle Coffee Stock (BRCC) ($5,000)
Folks, as Warren Buffett always says "be greedy when others are fearful". It doesn't seem like things could get much worse in the markets right now and it might be worth taking a swing with hopes of a "Fed Pivot". If you follow the Russell 2000 you might see opportunity as I do. Small Cap stocks could benefit the most from a shift in policy. Regardless of a pivot, I think Black Rifle Coffee is 10 to 15 year hold.
3.Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover (-8.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons ($2,500)
We all know Tom Brady is a fiery, passionate competitor. It doesn't take much to fire him up. Well a looming divorce and all the media exposure is enough locker room material to make Tom feel like a teenager again. I think the Buccs take out their frustrations on a lowly Falcons team. Look for Brady to throw 3+ TD's as the Buccs cover easily.
Let's have ourselves a hell of a month SG Fam!