The farmer and the cowman should be friends

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My take: Territory men should stick together.


When I first started covering Apple, back in the Dark Ages, I occasionally dropped in on Yahoo Finance’s Apple chat rooms to watch the longs and shorts do battle for control of the stock’s narrative—much as they do now on StockTwits. The world of AAPL, I thought, was divided into two camps: Bulls going long and bears going short.

Since then I’ve learned that the world is more complicated. Oh, there are still bulls and bears. But there are also buy-siders and sell-siders, big firms and boutiques, pros and indies, hedge funds and mutuals, activists like Carl Icahn and big-foots like Warren Buffett. And then there’s the biggest foot of all—Luca Maestri orchestrating Apple buybacks in annual tranches of $100 billion.

Most folks here are bullish one way or the other. Not many bears subscribe to Apple 3.0.

But there is something that divides us—or should I say, divides you, since I don’t own any Apple and never have.

It’s a rift that has been growing with the advent of Apple weekly options trading and which bubbled to the surface over the weekend in the comment stream attached to a piece posted Friday titled Apple is a salad of technicals and fundamentals.

It’s a divide I think of in terms borrowed from Oklahoma territory days, when farmers, who fenced land and planted seeds, found themselves at loggerheads with cattlemen, who wanted to use the same land to fatten steer on the way to slaughter.

In our parable, the farmer is Joe Bland, whose seeds were planted long ago and have grown to trees so valuable he can live off the fruit. The cowman is vincent (tradervic) castroll, a risk-seeking options trader from way back (he was a participant in the first Earnings Smackdowns).

The two nearly came to verbal blows when Bland accused Castroll, the author of Friday’s piece, of trying to impose his trader’s short-term perspective on buy-and-hold investors like Bland. Castroll, a gambler who has won and lost millions trading Apple, hit back:

Joseph, it’s clear you have no worry in the world about $AAPL. I’d be interested in your dividend-adjusted cost basis. I’m pretty sure you’re in single digits. And thus, company rah-rah brazen. Unfortunately, you are the exception, not the rule. I’m happy for you. but few here have a single digit cost basis and thus your disregard of both technical and fundamental points aren’t as easily acceptable to someone with a cost basis of $150 or, god forbid, $200.

Bland, never one to miss a chance to come to Apple’s defense, retorted. At length.

As this was unfolding, a lyric from the sound track of my childhood planted itself in my brain and is still stuck there, two days later:

The farmer and the cowman should be friends.
Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
One man likes to push a plow.
The other likes to chase a cow.
But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

Territory men should stick together…

I mean it. We should all get along here. And as moderator, I’m going to make sure we do.

Meanwhile, for those who may only be familiar with the Simpsons’ rendition of the song (pictured above), I leave you with the Oklahoma original cast recording I grew up with, now with video courtesy of YouTube.