Thursday, August 26, 2010


Sometimes I think about the open outcry system. I've no idea if it was a visit many years ago to the Chicago Merc or seeing the movie "Trading Places" or what, but it's a good show. For non-spectators, for traders, well: I suppose you'd have to ask them.

"Trading Places" is probably the easiest way people can receive an impression of the theatricality of the open outcry system. It does seem that it could be the basis of a hyper-geeky Wii game, complete with bonus tracks of interviews with researchers discussing the temporal expressivity parameter of some gestures and the speed expressivity parameter of others (and just bypassing motion vectors altogether).

The CME has a little illustrated guide to hand signals, via PBS's site. Here's the page with the expiration months.

Some signals remind me of letters of the ASL Manual Alphabet.

Back to the y.

Recently, after the subject of hand signals came up in conversation, I revisited a site I'd discovered in July,, created by an independent trader at the CME named Ryan Carlson. Carlson's site has photographs of him wearing his red trading jacket and using the various signals. This time, after noticing his badge acronym


I sent him an e-mail. Carlson e-said he chose PNOY because it's "short for pinoy which just means Filipino because my mom is from the Philippines."

I hadn't heard or read the word Pinoy until yesterday, but apparently it is one of those controversial words that some consider a pejorative and others affectionate or ironic or neutral--a rather connotative word.

:: Update :: A Filipino friend writes: "Pinoy is not really controversial. It’s the word for “Filipino-American” or even “Filipino” in Tagalog, the national language. I can’t say that there’s a situation where I’d ever call myself pinay, but I also don’t speak the language. I’m sure it can be used in a derogatory way, but that would really depend on the tone. For example, if someone said to me, “Hoy, pinoy!”, meaning “Hey, Filipino!” in Tagalog, then yes, I’d take offense."

Carlson e-said that "most people would read it as PONY and jokingly call me that."

When I finally noticed it, I thought, What is that? Now I look at it and think, It would really be something if it were spelled PNIN.

Carlson e-said that he wears the jacket only when he goes down to the trading floor, adding, "If I wanted to, I could still trade in the pit as a member, but once the market started to go electronic I've preferred to trade via computer."

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