Michael Koltak: ‘My wife and I just returned from a vacation in Europe and it occurred to me that if Mr. Ashcroft were the equivalent of the Attorney General for the European Union – if there is such a post – he would have spent the entire GDP of the E.U. covering breasts.’


Thanks to Dan Cusimano for sharing this link. (I sometimes miss the Chicago Sun-Times sports page.)


I don’t know if you’ve tried yet – I use it now to e-mail myself reminders, and also, when appropriate, to e-mail them to Charles. (It takes just a few keystrokes to designate who should get the reminder and when and with what frequency.) I also use it to store some stuff I want available no matter where I am, as well as some password-protected stuff I want accessible to others.

But the thing that would be really neat is if it could also call my cell phone with reminders.

Marc Fest: ‘It can already do that. For instance, say that my Nextel cell phone number is 305-234-5678. By sending an email to, it arrives as a text message on my cell phone. 1q11 is sending my cell phone messages all the time and it works great. You may want to check out how your cell phone provider does this. I know AT&T offers the same kind of service.’


Item 12: Investment Versus Speculation

The basic difference between a quality, seasoned stock and a speculative stock is this: with few exceptions, a blue-chipper will recover from a major downtrend; a speculation may or may not. That’s a big difference in risk and comfort level. In other words, if you hang around long enough, you can depend on the quality stock coming back. It took 10 years for IBM to get back to its 1987 high of 175 but it subsequently moved to new highs. One caveat: There are some quality stocks that gradually lose their luster and fail to regain former heights – witness a U.S. Steel or Xerox, or K-Mart, but these are exceptions. Nothing is forever – although GE fans may argue otherwise.

Item 13: Oldtimers Out Of Step

It’s my observation that older people with long memories and conservative natures have been penalized in the stock market. They have been taught that the market punishes the greedy and that when stocks with no or little earnings sell at very high prices, its time to sell, not buy. But in the late 90’s, stocks that were unreasonably high went higher, and then higher still, and the disbelieving old-timers watched as the soaring market passed them by. Younger investors with short memories had no such restraints. It’s true that when the bubble burst, many gave back their winnings, and then some. But there were fortunes made and kept by others who had little idea they were violating any long standing rule of valuation. They simply didn’t know any better; ignorance was bliss and greed paid off – at least until the bubble burst. Those who made quick profits justified them by saying they were in harmony with the new paradigm and that the cautious veterans simply failed to adjust. Of course, the conservative approach was fully vindicated when the market collapsed, but not before a lot of easy money was made. Extreme valuations based on unrealistic optimism are eventually corrected but until they are the stock market can be unfair, frustrating and even cruel as it rewards greed rather than restraint.

Item 14: It’ll Always Go Lower

Forget about buying a stock at the bottom or selling it at the top. Yes, somebody does, but that elusive somebody will not be you. The truth is that after you buy a stock, it will go lower, not sometimes, but always. It is unrealistic to think that you’re smart or lucky enough to buy at the very bottom tick or sell at the very top.

More tomorrow.


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