Call it potpourri day. Or, my getting-back-up-to-speed column. Whatever you call it, though, I have a variety of items to discuss.

Item 1:

Herb has his

React-O-Meter, I have my Smart Guy alert. That is, I can pretty much peg a market top by how many emails I get from a reader who is

    or

Bragging about how he has this trading thing knocked ("Gary, I was up 125% last year, and am fairly confident I can do at least 200% this year, and every year beyond!");

Offering to "teach me a thing or two about trading."

Funny though, the Smart Guy alert has been eerily silent lately. I wonder if that nasty dip in the

Nasdaq

had anything to do with it...

Item 2:

Totally unrelated, but interesting nonetheless: What is it with people and "free" food? If you've ever taken a cruise, you know what I mean. We were up late one night, and ventured over to the midnight buffet for some dessert. Surprise! There was a 10-minute wait just to get into the dining room. And when I got there, just about everyone I saw was loading up their plates with about 14 pounds of rolls, prime rib, chicken, etc.

And many of these people were the same people I saw in the dining room for the late dinner seating at 8:30 p.m. I mean, these people just finished a big meal only two hours earlier! Did they know something I didn't know? Where we going to hit an iceberg off the coast of St. Thomas and they wanted to ensure starvation wasn't an issue? Were they kicking everyone off the boat who didn't weigh at least 425 pounds? Or was it that they just couldn't last the six hours until breakfast was served?

Item 3:

And speaking of heavy ... you often hear the phrase, "the market feels heavy" but what exactly does that mean? Well, here's my definition: When my historic win/loss rate on the long side starts to slide almost daily, that, to me, is a heavy market. As an example, I normally have about 70% long winners. If I go through a stretch where the best I can muster is about 50%, I know something is wrong. Of course, I always question my stock picking, but what it invariably means is that it's not me, it's the market. Why is this important? Because heavy markets usually lead to severe markets. Severe negative markets. Kind of like we just went through with the Nasdaq.

My point? When your trading reflects a heavy market, be especially prudent on the long side. Small losses are a lot easier to stomach than big ones.

Item 4:

Did I see that the

(symbol)

Janus Twenty fund is now

negative

for the year? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Of course, the

(symbol)

Nicholas-Applegate Global Technology Fund is still humming along at about 45%+ year to date.

Item 5:

TheStreet Recommends

I make my share of bad calls, no question. And many of you have no qualms about calling me on it. I don't have a problem with that. But, every once in a while, a reader will slam me so hard, my head hurts. I received one of those recently, in which some kind fellow (or woman -- who knows? as these folks NEVER sign their name!), blasted me for dissing

Metricom

(MCOM)

. "You're a moron to say MCOM is finished based on an idiotic chart! This stock will keep going up you idiot." Or something to that effect.

So, you know what I do? I say nothing. I allow him or her to vent. But, I keep an eye on that stock. Oh, you bet I do. But, I never ever come back and say, "I told you so." Well, OK, almost never...

Here's the original MCOM...

And here was MCOM as of Thursday morning...

Now, is it big of me to point this out? No, of course not. But, every once in a while it feels so good.

Item 6:

Of course, I have no problem taking myself to task. Here's one with a perfect setup, one I spotted early, one I looked long and hard at, and one I just couldn't pull the trigger on. Next time, I won't make the same mistake.

Item 7:

So, how are those

Prom Queens holding up? Not too badly. As of noon yesterday, they were still up 6.5% since inception, including the loss for

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

. Still, I thought we'd be doing better than our benchmark

QQQ

(QQQ) - Get Report

. That proxy is up 6.3%. This should get interesting.

Item Last:

I still keep in touch with my friend Wesson on a regular basis. Thursday morning we came to the same conclusion: Never have we seen a market where there are so many long AND short candidates at the same time. Basically, buy anything with three or fewer letters; short anything with four letters or more!

And that is how it is done folks! More tomorrow, or catch me on the

TheStreet.com

on the

Fox News Channel

, where I'll be my normal, charming, incredibly good-looking self!

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. At time of publication, he held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith writes five technical analysis columns for TheStreet.com each week, including Technician's Take, Charted Territory and TSC Technical Forum. While he cannot provide Investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback at

gbsmith@attglobal.net.