Tin Futures (1): From Thereby Hangs A Tail

Lieutenant Stine went away. I polished off my steak tips, stretched out on those cool tiles, chilled out. What a life! The final chase through the warehouse ran pleasantly through my mind. And then again. After a while, I grew aware that the Hawaiian shirt guy had moved next to Bernie and struck up a conversation, at first about Hawaiian shirts, then about something else.

“What I run,” he was saying, “is what you might call a hedge fund for the little guy.”

“Little guy?” said Bernie.

“Not little in terms of intelligence or ability,” the Hawaiian shirt man added quickly. “But for one reason or another, men of distinction who don’t happen to be Wall Street insiders. I’ve had some nice play in commodities lately. You’re familiar with the basics of tin futures?”

Bernie motioned for another drink, overturning the salt and pepper. “Can’t be that complicated,” he said.

“Exactly,” replied the Hawaiian shirt man. And to the bartender when Bernie’s drink came: “I’ll get that.” Then came a lot of back and forth about tin, puts, calls, Bolivia and other mysteries. My eyelids got heavy, way too heavy to keep open. I let them close, drifted off. Harmless talk was all it was. As long as the check book didn’t come out of Bernie’s pocket we were in good shape.

Sometime later I awoke, feeling tip-top. I got up, gave myself a good shake, looked around. The bar was empty except for me, the bartender, the man in the Hawaiian shirt, and Bernie. The only completely sober one was me. Then came the bartender, the man in the Hawaiian shirt, and Bernie, dead last. Also, the check book was coming out.


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75 Responses to “Tin Futures (1): From Thereby Hangs A Tail”

  1. B. Stover
    4:00 am on May 6th, 2010

    In what way does tin have a future? And how are funds hedged?

  2. Sam
    4:18 am on May 6th, 2010

    This is similar to the Tower of Chew Strips. It's a bet on prices going up or down.

  3. Riö - The Evil
    4:56 am on May 6th, 2010

    Futures!… In Bernie’s case, if the price of tin goes up, say there is an earthquake and the need for tin skyrockets, he loses money… snort!… If the price of tin goes down, say someone finds a big tin deposit, the price plummets and Bernie makes a ‘shitload’. .. wheeze!

  4. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    5:10 am on May 6th, 2010

    I don't completely understand it either. I've heard of tin lizzies and tin men and tin roofs, but I can't for the life of me figure out what a tin future looks like. Maybe that's why the world's economy stinks; the financial foundation is built with smoke and mirrors. Let's face it, if those towers of chew strips could have been found, we (Chet's whatever it is we're called) would have found them. Darn tootin'!

    Today is Wolfie's happy day, la la la!!! My boy, Cody, is coming home for a visit! I'm wiggling, I'm wiggling, la la la.

    BStover – Congratulations for surving another school year! Just wondering…do you teach high school or college?

    Melanie – for a minute there I thought that tatoo artist son had tatooed Papi, so I was relieved to discover that Papi was wearing shorts. So, did your son tie tye those especially for Papi? Or were these some old shorts he happened to have lying around? At any rate, I hope your son didn't show the photo to Papi – he would have been mortified!

    Rio – just wondering, how is your diet coming along? Just remember, beer has empty calories.

    Cosmo – where are you???

    Mom told her best friend Theresa about our blog. Theresa has a wonderful hairy beastie of a dog named (what else? Harry.) They sent his dna to be tested because they couldn't figure out what kind of dog he is, and the scientic answer was basically: I dunno. T – if you're reading this, please post a photo so that everyone can see how wonderful Harry is!

  5. Melanie
    5:10 am on May 6th, 2010

    Cool, don't you feel listened to? Or read from? Something like that.

    Riö, do you ever sleep?

  6. Riö - The Evil
    5:14 am on May 6th, 2010

    Uh oh!… I just noticed a (1) in the title of the post…. Crap!… this means Col. Bob, Astrid, Ray and Foster are on hold for who knows how long….grunt!… I think there is more tin in our future…. Snort! ….A moment of prayer is needed…. Sniff!…. Please Lord, please stop Chet from posting about tin for the rest of the week… amen!

  7. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    5:14 am on May 6th, 2010

    Tattoo – squirting ink under a human's skin

    Tatoo – squiring ink under dog's fur

    Geez. I think our blog needs spellcheck. Admin? Can I place an order?

  8. Riö - The Evil
    5:20 am on May 6th, 2010

    Sleep!?… No.

    I go and go and go and then I crash…. Snort!…. Rockies went 12 innings last night….grunt!… They wonnit by one… heh! … Those Dirty Dodgers are next!

  9. Wolfie Wigglebutt
    5:21 am on May 6th, 2010

    Spence has gone to the chinese water torture school of posting.

    Drip, drip, drip

    Hey, you guys were the ones who kept talking about tin futures!

    Mayber we can discuss who Ethel is and why is Foster visiting (not not visiting) Bernie? Oh. That's right, we have been.

    Drip, drip…okay, Spence, we'll spill our guts! Please tell us what happened to Astrid???

  10. dawson
    5:33 am on May 6th, 2010


    Those Minnesota Twins swept my Tigers AND the Detroit Red Wings are down 0 – 3 against the Sharks.

    Wolfie: a tail wagging day for you – you enjoy it.

  11. dawson
    5:38 am on May 6th, 2010

    Chet: Forget about tin. You know Bernie has already lost any money he made because your finances are still a mess.

    Is Ethyl/Astrid alive? It could be the start of a new/old romance. Haven't heard from Suzie in ages.

  12. Riö - The Evil
    5:43 am on May 6th, 2010

    Hmmm… I just realized Chet may be punishing me because I got my Bolivia story mixed up… snort!… I’m sorry Chet!… grunt!… If I confused my facts, please don’t punish everyone else just so you can prove me wrong!…. yikes! … I’m never loaning my books out again!… crap!

    5:45 am on May 6th, 2010

    Bernie was selling short. That means he sold stock he didn't own, betting that price would go down, and then he would buy at a lower price, thus creating a profit. When you buy it, that is called "covering a short". If the price goes up, gasp! you could loose a shitload, pretty disgusting according to Chet.

  14. B. Stover
    5:48 am on May 6th, 2010

    It seems to me to defy logic to win when prices go down. However, I'm a word person and definitely not a number person. I agree with Chet that two is enough.

    Wolfie: I teach college.

    Dawson: I enjoyed your connection of "Ethyl" with Astrid.

    Rio: Your bling is an umlaut. "Bling" is interesting, other than its association with rap and the sound of lots of jewelry. I think it's derived from the German blinken–to glitter.

    Abbiecat: Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which we will not put. (Who said that?)

    Melanie: When you wrote of "PA's ability to write comprehensively for someone who is inarticulate" in Reality Check, were you referring to Cody?

  15. B. Stover
    5:55 am on May 6th, 2010

    Barb&Maggie: That sounds illegal to me…or it should be illegal if it isn't already.

    I think we're going to have a quiz somehow related to tin futures.

  16. Riö - The Evil
    5:56 am on May 6th, 2010

    Yeah!…. but by then we will know more than we really want to know about tin…. Sigh

  17. Riö - The Evil
    6:11 am on May 6th, 2010

    AbbieTheKat!… I hope she is okay…. Snort!… She was up late sewing last night…. Grunt!… That’s when all those nasty sewing accidents happen.

  18. dawson
    6:21 am on May 6th, 2010

    Abbie's staff: Pillowcases…pillowcases?

  19. Sam
    6:29 am on May 6th, 2010

    B., wasn't that Winston Churchill who said that?

    6:46 am on May 6th, 2010

    Bee, I think you have to establish a margin account with your brokerage firm to do that. Here is how it works (making money when price goes down) First you buy something you don't own, let's say for $10.00 share. Your option has to be exercized within a certain period of time. Now the price goes down to $7.00 a share and you "cover your short." You have now made $3.00 a share profit, even though you didn't have to actually spend the $10.00 to buy it in the first place and hope it will go up to $13.00 a share. Then there are "puts and calls" just to make matters more confusing. Maybe Bernie buys those, too.

  21. Riö - The Evil
    6:53 am on May 6th, 2010

    Churchhill!…. He has some great quotes!…. snort!…. “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

  22. Riö - The Evil
    6:55 am on May 6th, 2010

    Oops! … Maybe I should have said he ‘had’ some great quotes….snort!

  23. Sam
    7:06 am on May 6th, 2010

    Churchill also said the U.S. and England are two countries separated by a common language. Ha ha laff.

  24. B. Stover
    7:16 am on May 6th, 2010

    Churchill was wonderful and the quotations that we have from him are wonderful!

  25. Riö - The Evil
    7:24 am on May 6th, 2010

    Who!… knew MagPie was a stock broker?… heh!… In your example money is not exchanged up front… snort!…How come Bernie had to actually pay that other guy to get into the tin game? … wheeze!… Then he had to hock his ukulele and give him even more money when the earthquake hit…cough!

  26. Riö - The Evil
    7:52 am on May 6th, 2010

    Avatar!… I wish Mike Baker would give us instructions on how to get our photo’s to show up in the little box to the left of our blog names…. Wheeze!… maybe Molly knows?… snort!… I imagine she would have done it already if she did… grunt!

  27. Siberian Husky
    7:54 am on May 6th, 2010

    I hope Bernie learned a lesson from his speculation in tin and won't do this again. Chet, try to keep Bernie out of bars from now on…easier said than done, I know.

  28. Siberian Husky
    8:00 am on May 6th, 2010

    Ah, the Rockies will still be on the West coast, Rio. The game went on so late last night that the final score didn't even appear in my morning paper. I had to wait till I got home from the dog park and to the computer to learn the outcome of the game. Mom needs to get me a cell phone with internet.

  29. Riö - The Evil
    8:28 am on May 6th, 2010

    Heh!… I thought all Huskies had cell phones with internet!…. snort!… At least the 2 late night games will be on Friday and Saturday…. grunt!… Manny Ramirez is going down!…. growl!

  30. ÄbbietheKitty
    8:31 am on May 6th, 2010

    Pillowcases? Dawson you must have been dreaming! There ain't no pillowcases. Pshaw..

    We can only blame ourselves for the switch to tin futures or puts or calls or whatever. We HAD to mention them yesterday and Spence is just responding to the blog, as usual. From now on we should stick to baseball, grammar, spelling and Astrid/Ethel/Ethyl and Ray. Hopefully that will keep him on track.

    Oh yes, we can talk about cats too. They are the best.


  31. Riö - The Evil
    8:38 am on May 6th, 2010

    Theory!… I think Chet is busy on a case with Bernie… snort!… So he lets Spencer take over the blog…. grunt!… and because Spencer can’t type very well he cuts and pastes from the THAT file….hmmmpf!

  32. ÄbbietheKitty
    8:39 am on May 6th, 2010

    Well, I have to go and mail something to my littlest sister whose Birthday is coming up. I seldom send her anything more than a card so this will surprise her.



  33. Tweets that mention Chet The Dog : Tin Futures (1): From Thereby Hangs A Tail -- Topsy.com
    9:49 am on May 6th, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ChetTheDog. ChetTheDog said: Tin Futures (1): From Thereby Hangs A Tail: Lieutenant Stine went away. I polished off my steak tips, stretched ou… http://bit.ly/cKHDQO […]

  34. Melanie
    8:50 am on May 6th, 2010

    B. Stover, yes, Cody. There were times I just wanted to talk for him. Something I never had to do for my children. After 2nd son was born, he talked non-stop. I'll never forget when he discovered he could "talk in his brain" and I couldn't hear him. He was amazed. I was relieved. 1st born son talked normally until 2nd started up. Then he shut up and 2nd son talked for him. Never a dull moment!

  35. Gus and BooBear
    9:22 am on May 6th, 2010

    Thanks, guys for the economics lesson but we still don't understand how it really works….just that speculating in the futures market can be very lucrative (or very costly). Mom didn't like economics when she took it in college and isn't any more fond of it now. Just wondering how much a ukalele would pawn for…can't imagin it would be enough to cover any losses.

    We wonder if Foster has Tiffany/Astrid in hiding somewhere to protect her from Albie.

  36. Mollypop
    9:24 am on May 6th, 2010

    Right now the avatar url just points to that stupid little gray silhouette thing. It seems our dear admin could set this up. We could each register with our pictures. That's probably more work than admin had in mind, but IMHO it would be very well worth it.

    Actually, all the blogs and tweets do it now, we're quite antediluvian (I threw that in for B.).

  37. Siberian Husky
    9:30 am on May 6th, 2010

    I think we have learned a lesson. We should all vow right now to never mention tin futures again. I tune this stuff out when it is on the news and do not read about it in the newspaper or internet. That's not very civic minded of me, I know, but dogs, animals, baseball, exciting adventures and missions, are sooo much more fun. ummm That is also why I know nothing about it.

  38. Jasper the Poodle
    9:37 am on May 6th, 2010

    There are three kinds of people…those that can count, and those who can't.

  39. Riö - The Evil
    9:39 am on May 6th, 2010

    Molly!… That’s what I was thinking too!… snort!… Mike Baker could surely get this working for Chet’s Blog…. (maybe not for free)… heh!…. And we all know how closely Admin watches the money…. cough!…but the Blog would be way more up to date and no longer antediluvian…. wheeze!

  40. Riö - The Evil
    9:41 am on May 6th, 2010

    Jasper!… HA!….oh, my….

    9:41 am on May 6th, 2010

    No Stock brokers here, just enough knowledge to be dangerous! Rio, you are right Bernie was buying tin futures, not stock, but concept is the same. Futures are traded on a commodity exchange and not a stock exchange, and not for the faint of heart. Most likely sernario–Bernie paid the broker some money to set up a margin acout. He didn't have to pay all the value of the futures, maybe 20%. Then when tin cost was going up, he had to make a margin call, or in other word the broker was telling him he had to put more into the accout to maintain the correct %. Bernie still owned the futures, as at the end of THAT, he was told he had made a shitload of money.

    9:43 am on May 6th, 2010

    Sorry, that should read margin account

  43. Riö - The Evil
    9:51 am on May 6th, 2010

    MagPie!… It all makes perfect sense to me!… snort!

    Chet! Spencer!, I don’t think any more lessons on tin commodities will be needed anytime soon….grunt!… and that goes for all of us… heh!

  44. Siberian Husky
    9:52 am on May 6th, 2010

    speaking of the stock market…YIKES!!!!

  45. Riö - The Evil
    10:07 am on May 6th, 2010

    Yikes!… The European market is causing a panic… grunt!

    10:14 am on May 6th, 2010

    Down 379 a few minutes ago!!!!!!

    10:27 am on May 6th, 2010

    Sorry, Rio, I didn't mean to BORE you!

  48. B. Stover
    10:32 am on May 6th, 2010

    None of it makes any sense to me and never will. However, thank you Barb&Maggie for trying. I'm with Jasper. I'm also feeling very antediluvian Mollypop……so tired. Melanie: I love that story. Second son is the actor, right?

    How many have finished Reality Check?

  49. Riö - The Evil
    10:37 am on May 6th, 2010

    MagPie!… you lost me?… snort!…. you never BORE me…. Sneeze!

  50. B. Stover
    10:40 am on May 6th, 2010

    Perhaps Foster is protecting Ethel/Tiffany….Astrid. Except that–Astrid being Ethel/Tiffany–has not yet been established. But why else would Bernie have gone to Albie other than to get info on Astrid, and why else would Foster have come to see Bernie alone. Foster has to know something, but he's taking a risk going to Bernie if Albie is as bad as he seems to be.

  51. Riö - The Evil
    10:43 am on May 6th, 2010

    Stover!… You are just tired because you stayed up too last night!… snort!… You will feel better tomorrow…. grunt!… We don’t think of you as being antediluvian.

  52. dawson
    10:46 am on May 6th, 2010

    B. Stover: Yes Foster is taking a big risk. That's why he says he's not really there. I like Foster a little bit. I think he's trying to help the Tiffanys because he doesn't really like the way Albie treats them. And also, maybe he has a soft spot for one of the Tiffanys.

  53. B. Stover
    10:56 am on May 6th, 2010

    In DOI, I sort of liked Albie as well as Foster, just because of the banter between the two. And Albie did help Bernie find the Russian guy. I suppose Albie could be developed into a more grusome character though…given his line of work.

    Thank you Rio. Actually, I'm tired because I had to take an allergy pill.

  54. Riö - The Evil
    11:01 am on May 6th, 2010

    Allergies!…. My nasal passages are killing me….wheeze!….I can’t BREATH!…. gasp!

  55. B. Stover
    11:21 am on May 6th, 2010

    Rio: Sometimes steam helps.

  56. Riö - The Evil
    11:28 am on May 6th, 2010

    Steam!… I’m steaming all day and I still can’t breath…. Cough!

    Foster!… Why would Foster mention to Bernie “… the point being, that at the time I thought her name really was Ethyl.” ?… snort!… How strange….sneeze!

  57. Riö - The Evil
    12:38 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Hmmm…. Well the 100-ton contraption they are going to use to cover up the oil spill has arrived!… snort!… I sure hope to hell this works….sniff!

  58. B. Stover
    12:42 pm on May 6th, 2010

    I suppose we have to conclude that Foster later finds out that her name isn't really Ethel. Then what? Is he making excuses for something?

    I just watched the pilot of Breaking Bad and I like it. It's very well acted and written.

    12:51 pm on May 6th, 2010

    My Mom (Barb) is a numbers person–she actually thinks all that investment stuff is really exciting. Me, the MagPie, I think 1 or 2 are enough numbers. By the way, tomorrow, Friday, will officially end my puppyhood. I will be 1! Yea! Only bad thing is that Mom says I can no longer use the "Puppy Card" as an excuse. Whatever that means!

  60. Riö - The Evil
    12:56 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Stover!…. I’ve been holding my breath waiting to hear if you like Breaking Bad or not!…. sigh!… Now I can breathe easier!…. heh!… I’m hoping the third disc of season one arrives tonight!….grunt!…. I need a BB fix… snort!… Season 3 is really heating up – it started out slower than the first two seasons did. .. wheeze!… but all good just the same.

  61. Siberian Husky
    1:01 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Maggie, You get to graduate from the puppy card to the teenage canine card, which means that you can still be excused at times from acting like a mature adult dog. Happy Birthday tomorrow!!!

    Me too, Rio, I hope it works.

  62. Melanie
    1:10 pm on May 6th, 2010

    First: Maggie, just want you to know that Newfoundlands are considered to be puppies until they are between 18 to 24 months. They are still growing until then. (don't tell Barb)

    Second: Sorry about the allergies everyone. Our pollen has gone in abeyance considering we are now cold and windy again.

    Third: The micro burst that missed our Pack's house has turned out to have ruined 8 trees on the block. The tree crews have been busy with "widow makers" today. The Pack has told the tree crews how to do "it" right.

    Fourth: Struggling actor son is having a premier tonight in a series (called Faith) of short plays in NYC. He's in two of the plays. He's a conspiracy theory dude trying to impress a girl for a date in one play and a "good old" Southern boy in another. Wish I could be there! Staying up late to hear the news. (In bed with a good book)

  63. Barb & Maggie
    1:36 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Melanie, I'll keep that little secret, but actually we know Newfies pretty well. Two of my best play buddies are Joe and Gus, who come to visit. Joe is almost 9 years and Gus-Gus is just over 1 year. Joe is getting white eyelashes and funny little white hairs that stick straight out above his eyes. Gus is quite the monster puppy, and he likes to stand up and put his paws on Mom's shoulders.

  64. Sam
    2:05 pm on May 6th, 2010

    MagPie! Happy birthday tomorrow. What a big day you will have. I was able to milk the 'puppy card' for an extra year. Go for it – we won't tell your Mom.

  65. Barb & Maggie
    2:14 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Thank you for the good birthday wishes. Wish all of life could be so plain and simple. Oil spills, all that wildlife loss, flooding, horrific weather everywhere, humans hating humans, it is all so sad. It's nice to have a little escape from time to time, with the help of this blog, all the contributors, and of course, the wonderful fiction supplied by Spence and Mr. Peter Abrahams. And Chet and Bernie, too.

  66. Riö - The Evil
    3:49 pm on May 6th, 2010

    MagPie!…. Very well said indeed!…snort!… Why do you think I park myself here day in and day out?… gruff!… It is a good place to be, while doing a lot of other things…heh! … Hail To Our Chiefs)! … heh!… Lord, please look after them for us. And all Gods creatures said Amen! … It’s the National Day of Prayer, I have to get a few in! … sneeze!

  67. Riö - The Evil
    3:55 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Amazing Melanie!… Can you tell me who wrote the play your son is in??? … snort!… Premier night is usually a very big thing… sniff!… Not a ‘stay in bed with a book’ kind of night…grunt!…But I know you are looking out for your parents, and that is a very big deal too!… sniff!

  68. Melanie
    4:13 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Two different playwrights, Riö.

    Kate McCamy and Brian Dykstra.

    Waiting impatiently. Also just found out it will be Saturday or Monday before I get Bullet Point, I hate waiting.

  69. Riö - The Evil
    4:17 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Well!… Your son must be very good!… snort! … He always seems to be working and that is ‘something’ amongst new actors…. Grunt!… How old is he anyway, if you don’t mind me asking?…. sniff!

  70. Melanie
    4:28 pm on May 6th, 2010

    He's twenty five!!! And my YOUNGEST! YIKES!

    Well, off to bed for reading and a phone call.

  71. dawson
    4:40 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Melanie: all your family is so creative – I think it's great – do you have any daughters?

    Maggie: Happy Birthday tomorrow. My mother Margaret (Maggie) has her birthday on the 17th of this month and she will be 90 years older than you. Her great grand-daughter (almost 7 months old)whose middle name is Margaret will be coming into town Saturday night to meet great grandmother for the first time.

  72. Riö - The Evil
    4:41 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Good Night! Melanie!… Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite… heh! … And please give a big hug and kiss to Big Bess!… ahhhh!

  73. Barb & Maggie
    6:10 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Happy 91st Birthday to Dawson's mom, Margaret, and have a wonderful visit, on Mother's Day weekend.

  74. Riö - The Evil
    6:11 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Hmmm!… I am ‘crashing’… heh!… I need to go to bed early and there is no baseball to lure me to stay awake… snort!… But I do want to say one prayer for us before I go ‘lights out' for the night…grunt!

    Lord of All Creation, lately everyday seems to bring bad news. We have so many things to worry or fret about. You know what each of us dwell upon and what breaks our hearts day in and day out. Please Lord take these worries away and let us rely only on you for the strength to continue and care for our families and live life to the fullest. Lord, give our President the moral guidance and knowledge he needs in these very intense and trying times to lead our country. Give him the courage to make the right decisions that will always lead this Nation towards Freedom, Truth, Justice and Honor. Lord, help us grow in the knowledge of You, and the truth of your deep love for all of your creatures. Amen.

  75. ÄbbietheKitty
    6:19 pm on May 6th, 2010

    Hi and goodnight too. Just had to let people know that I got Reality Check today and will start reading it tomorrow. I snuck in the first couple of pages but had to run around and do stuff. I probably should be able to do a lot of reading on the road trip tomorrow.

    See y'all later.


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