[Good deals . . . ]


How about $35 from New York to Washington? How about $30 from Boston to New York How about $35 from L.A. to Las Vegas? Falling out of your chair? Well, these fares are readily available . . . and they are round trip.


(That was the sound of you falling out of your chair.)

Yes, there is a catch, but not such a bad one, really. They are bus fares. I heard about them from a friend who owns a $3 million apartment.

‘Where are you,’ I asked. I had reached him on his cell phone.

‘On the Chinatown Bus from New York to Washington,’ he said.

‘The what?’

‘The Chinatown Bus from New York to Washington. Twenty bucks.’ (And this was the day before Thanksgiving, the heaviest travel day of the year.)

OK, so it’s not the lap of luxury, and if you’re traveling solo who knows whose lap you’ll be sitting next to. (Probably the lap of someone smart enough not to blow $275 on one-way plane/cab fare to DC, or $158 on one-way train fare, or even whatever Greyhound charges.)

And, no, if you are an investment banker, you probably can’t afford the extra hour and a half or two versus the train or plane. But the departures are frequent, the seats are guaranteed, and if you have an MP3 player and audible.com, just take your seat, close your eyes, and listen to a good book. You’ll be there even before the butler did it.

Click here for cities, schedules and fares. Or pass this on to your kids or grandkids or junior staff.

FREE 411

Robert: ‘Try 1-800-FREE-411 . . . great for cell phones and when you run out of your ten free at home.’

Click here and win $100,000 – or not, but this one is useful. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a call for great ideas. If yours is selected, not only do you win the hundred large – the SEIU will start pushing your idea. (Thanks, Move-On.)

[Stocks . . . ]


Down from $13.50 to $11.50 on 160 shares – the cab driver apparently sold half his position to buy a fancy washer-dryer. Seriously: Boeing says this company’s little electric motor drove a fully loaded jumbo jet around the tarmac like a golf cart. My theory is that if it can move a jumbo jet, it may be able to power a real golf cart – and elevators, fork lifts, cars. If you have money you can truly afford to lose, this is quite a lottery ticket: Heads, you lose your money; tails, it puts your kids through college. Hang in there if you own some.


Prescriptions up a little after being down a little – averaging 133 a day. At 133 a day times 365 days times 90 pills per prescription times $1.80 per pill, sales are annualizing at about $8 million; last I saw, Nitromed was projecting expenses of $120 million next year. Don’t sell your puts.


Suggested six months ago at $52.50, American Express closed last night at $52.84. Ah, but in the meantime, for each 5 shares of AXP we got 1 of AMP, which closed at $43.90, so we’re up 17% . . . unless we bought the LEAPS, in which case we’re up a good deal more. I’m worried about the economy, but I’m holding on. (Oink, oink.)


Up about 10% each, give or take, since suggested September 30. I’m holding them.


Oil stocks – suggested here early last year – have pulled back some in recent weeks, and who knows what could happen; but I’m holding mine. APC, suggested here last year at $56.50, closed at $95, up 68%. It had gotten as high as $117. Yes, if we’re smart we’ll wean ourselves off oil in a decade or two or three. But in the meantime, there’s an awful lot of demand coming from populations much larger than our own – and just when it appears world oil production may finally have peaked. It makes me crazy to buy things that have risen so high, so I’m not buying more oil stocks. But for the most part, I’m holding on.


Suggested early last year just under $8, it closed yesterday at $14. I hold on in stoic hope that the company’s real estate value will one day be realized. Not that the company touts its real estate value – it touts its suits. But I have this friend who thinks that someday . . .


This one has been a dog, and you might consider selling for a tax loss – except I figure others are doing that, which may be one reason for its low price (the company’s awful performance would be another), so I haven’t sold the balance of my shares. But I’ve lost my guru on this one, so have no informed opinion.


If you are looking for downtrodden, contrarian stocks that might be a good bit higher a couple years from now, you might add a few shares of LEA. I have.

[Thanksgiving loose ends . . .]


Suzanne Cole: ‘That quote about ‘pass the gravy to a homosexual’ is from comedian Bob Smith [the first openly gay comedian ever to play the Tonight Show], interviewed here.’


Bob Neinast: ‘It was Billy Crystal. But it’s from ‘The Princess Bride‘ where he played ‘Miracle Max’ with Carol Kane as his wife.’

☞ A screen gem right up there with ‘Moonstruck.’


e uprichard: ‘One time when I was going on about winning the lottery, my partner said ‘you’ve already WON the lottery.’ It’s true.’


Andy Frank: ‘Regarding your Thanksgiving column, I can’t tell you anything about the Erik Sten who wrote to you back in 1996, but I can tell you that his son, also Erik Sten, is still on the Portland, Oregon City Council and is generally considered to be doing an excellent job.’

☞ Like son, like father, apparently. I’m truly sorry to have lost his readership.


Comments are closed.