SO MANY GOOD MOVIES!

If you love movies, here‘s an enjoyable site to help handicap the Oscars – and decide which films to see.

ILA, CTON, CSPLF

Doug Gary: ‘I wonder if you might update us on holdings I don’t recall you mentioning for a while: ILA, CTON, CSPLF.’

☞ I still hold these, though without a great deal of conviction. CTON is just the stub from what you may recall was a nice little pay-off, so I haven’t paid attention to it. Given that they are in the home building business, I should probably sell. Then again, the family that runs this teeny tiny company strikes me as smart and resourceful, so I just hang on. The other two, ILA and CSPLF, are somewhat more substantial speculations, but no one should have money in them they cannot afford to lose. I’m disappointed neither has paid off; not sure if either will.

A TIME FOR CAUTION?

If I remember right, Warren Buffett is sitting on something like $43 billion in cash. If he can’t find good things to invest in at today’s prices, it gives me pause to think we can. This is one reason that I have about a quarter of my tax-sheltered retirement plan in 20- and 27-year TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) that guarantee 2% above inflation . . . why I have something less than $43 billion but more than $43 hundred in cash . . . why I like my shares in PCL (I figure that, whatever happens to the stock short-term, the trees will keep growing) . . . and why I sleep okay with wildly speculative things like BOREF and the NTMD puts. Both could go to zero (really!), but certainly not because of any financial meltdown, in case we were to have one someday. In a financial meltdown, our NTMD puts would do brilliantly (if they had not already expired); and while BOREF shares might fall by 90% or 95% (on volume of 1200 shares, no doubt), it wouldn’t affect the value of the company’s underlying technology (whatever that value may or may not ultimately prove to be).

James Karn: ‘Why am I bearish? Mr. Crabbe pretty much sums it up: ‘The only U.S.-produced items that I can think of that exist in large quantities in China are dollar bills,’ said Matthew Crabbe, the managing director of Access Asia Ltd., a market research firm.”

I’m bearish because I think both consumers and the government have gotten too heavily in debt, and that a decline in home prices could get ugly. (And because we have three years, one month, and fifteen days to wait to get a better CEO, even though a majority of the shareholders would like to fire him now.) Then again, it is notoriously difficult to time the market. So if especially if you’re young, with a steady program of investing – keep it up!

MEANWHILE, DOWN AT THE CIA

This from the Washington Post last month gives one the sense of how we’re fighting terrorists – and in a much smarter way than by attacking Iraq. George Tenet seems to have had his good points.

 

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