The column that ran Friday was an error. What I had meant to run, and had posted the night before, is the column below.
The first I realized anything was wrong was Friday morning, when I started getting e-mails about princes of Egypt. Huh? So I went and looked at the site myself and saw that — oops! — the machinery that underpins the postings had taken it into its own head to rerun the column from May 18, 1999.
Though quite a few of you wrote in to tell me why things are, or are not, not that much better now than in days of old (David Smith: “I can make a flawless one-word argument: ANESTHESIA”), practically no one seemed to notice or care that the column had run before. So I may just keep running it.
The problem arose, I learned, because I had apparently run out of rented disk space at my web hosting service. A couple of e-mails later (and another few dollars a month), and I can now write four million more words before you have to read this again.
Anyway, here was what you were supposed to be reading Friday:
THOSE CANDLE STOCKS
Chris Kueffner: “Would you please also refer me to your column with the several specific stock/company selections you mentioned some time back (maybe as much as two months ago). There were something like 4 or 6 of them and I believe one of them was BTH. You presented them more or less as choices by people who know how to choose and do well with their money.”
It was March 14. But please note that, having risen 38% in two months, while much of the rest of the market was not doing as well, this basket of stock picks is less enticing than it was. Contrary to what momentum investors believe, when a stock has quickly become more expensive, it is not more of a bargain. (Please note also that, as you say, these were not stock picks based on my great judgment or research. My judgment is generally suspect and my research, generally spotty. Rather, as I explained in March, they came from a friend whose judgment and research are much better.)
MANAGING YOUR MONEY
Robert Doucette: “Whenever you (or another faithful reader) talks about MYM, I can almost hear a heavenly choir and see the celestial lights. Could you tell us what you do with MYM that is so compelling? I’ve used Quicken for years, but only to balance my checkbook and allow me to look up past spending. What am I missing?”
I’d tell you, but because MYM-DOS12 is completely unavailable and orphaned, and so impractical for someone starting out now even if he could find a copy, this would only serve to taunt you and make you feel rotten. Suffice it to say that, among its other features, MYM told you jokes, regularly doubled your net worth with no risk, delivered breakfast in bed when you were feeling flu-ish, and even filled in at water volleyball when you were a man short.
Mike: “Is there an inexpensive means of purchasing single shares of a stock to be given as presents (e.g., a relative collects Coke memorabilia)?”
Buying a single share is more of a nuisance than anything else. It has no real investment value. (Even if the share zooms, it still won’t amount to Real Money, and they’ll hate you — or themselves — for not having bought more.) And you force the company to waste money sending out annual reports, etc.
Why not buy 1000 shares! Old, canceled ones, that is. Nice to frame, and less of a hassle for everyone. See, for example, Scripophily.com. They’re having a sale on EuroDisney Certificates even as we speak.
JUST THE KINDA GUY WE’RE LOOKING FOR*
John Lemon: “I enjoyed reading the contribution from the CISCO executive a few days ago. You published that piece one day after a young friend of mine, an executive with an S&P 500 company, purchased a ticket for a business trip from a Midwestern U.S. city to London. This company’s policy is to pay for Business Class on such flights unless Business is booked, in which case they will pay for First. My resourceful friend conducted an extensive Internet search for a flight that was already sold out in Business Class and purchased a First Class ticket for that flight. Price: $9,300.”
*And when we find him, it won’t be pretty.