SELL LEA

I just sold most of my LEA at a slight profit on the shares we bought at $28, and a nice profit on the shares later bought when it dipped to $18. I still have some LEA LEAPs, just in case Carl Icahn (who recently took a big position) pulls this off. My LEA guru is no longer as enthusiastic.

HANG ON TO YOUR AXP

First suggested here at $52.50 a year and a half ago, it is now $61 and change – but that’s after spinning off 1 share of AMP for each 5 of AXP, which adds nearly $11 more, for a gain, with dividends, approaching 40%. Oink, oink; I’m hanging on for more.

A LA MEL TORMÉ

Jim Busek: ‘Loved the Mel Torme item. I have had very few celebrity sightings myself (even counting Henny Youngman on a jetway as one of them), but I thought this had something in common with the fortunate Mr. Evanier: I was changing planes in Nashville and walked to the main lobby to get an ice cream cone. There were a couple of guys in that lobby sponsored by a group called ‘Arts In The Airport’ and playing country music They were pretty good so I watched them play for a while as I leaned against a pillar, eating my cone. They were about halfway through the Johnny Cash standard ‘Ring of Fire’ when it happened: Johnny Cash himself came walking into the airport, carrying a garment bag. As you might imagine, he recognized the song. And the guys singing it recognized him. Here’s the cool part: Johnny Cash walked over – maybe six feet away from me, mind you – stepped behind the microphone, and sang the last verse with the little two-man band. There were only about six of us watching, but we gave a rousing ovation when they finished. And then, with a smile and simple wave, Johnny Cash picked up his garment bag and went through security like everybody else. It was one of my all-time favorite travel moments.’

Joel Grow: ‘What an utterly charming story! When I was 19, I worked my way to Europe for the summer on an oil tanker. While in London with Susan, a young woman I met along the way on my travels, we splurged on a fancy restaurant. I was then a freshman in college and a Voice major. Somehow my being a singer was passed on to the waiter, who asked if I knew Richard Tucker, the great operatic tenor. Thinking he meant merely did I know who Tucker was, I said of course. A minute later, around the corner came the waiter with Richard Tucker in tow. I stood up fearfully, realizing the misunderstanding would make me seem a fool. Tucker walked up, embraced me and quietly whispered ‘What’s this all about?’ ‘Mr. Tucker,’ I said, ‘I meant I know who you are, not that I know you. I’m a singing student.’ ‘What’s your name?’ he asked, still embracing me. ‘Joel Grow,’ I said. He then held me out at arms length and asked loudly, ‘Joel, how are you? How’s the singing?’ and on and on like we were old pals, or mentor and student. I saved face, and even rose quite dramatically in the view of the waiter and my traveling companion. What a gracious, kind gesture from Mr. Tucker, who certainly didn’t have to go to that trouble.’

Larry Taylor: ‘Reminds me of a story that I heard Chet Atkins once tell. He had quietly slipped into a gathering of young pickers and just began jamming with them. After an hour or so that had little or no conversation, he thanked them for letting him barge in. As he walked away, one of the youngsters yelled out to him, ‘You ain’t no Chet Atkins, but you’re pretty damn good.’ Chet said that he just smiled and kept walking.’

HE SPEAKS FRENCH, BUT HE’S A MIME, SO YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HE’S SAYING

Several of you sent me this one. In case you haven’t seen it, an elegant bit of puppetry.

CHOCOLATE DIET COKE

Where but this web page would you get my Cooking Like a Guy™ recipe for Chocolate Diet Coke? (Squeeze some chocolate syrup I into the bottom of a glass, add ice, fill with Diet Coke, stir.) It’s kinda fun, gives your Diet Coke a little more body, and need not bring it up to more than maybe 50 calories, compared to the 145 in a real Coke. Hey, it’s the holidays – go nuts.

Thanks for sticking with me again this year. Here’s wishing all of us a terrific 2007.

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