Yesterday’s was the 2500th column in this space, and as those of you know who’ve been with me from the beginning, several of them have been quite good. I just got forgot to note which ones. (There was one about clickles early on I rather liked.)

The genesis of all these was recounted in #751, the day my pay for writing them went from big bucks to bupkes; and the interesting thing about human nature (I doubt this is unique to me) is that I’ve worked harder at it, and enjoyed it more, ever since. It’s more fun to do things we’re not obligated to do.

And there’s this: Where else could I get my poetry published? The New Yorker? No, not The New Yorker.

Roses are reddish [I wrote Valentine’s Day, 2000],
Violets are bluish,
Today is no day
For your spouse to act shrewish.
Give her some stock
Or give him some shares;
They may go to zero
But who the heck cares?
Love is in the air.Daisies are yellow,
Pine cones are brown,
Today is no day
For your spouse to feel down.
Flip her some Intel
Or cadge him some Ford.
At the sight of the confirm
Your spouse will be floored.
Love is in the air.Peonies are purple
Carnations are white.
Today make ’em feel like
A princess or knight.
Transfer some Cisco
Or even a bond.
Whether bald or brunette
It will make ’em feel blond/e.
Love is in the air.

Later that year, after 109 minutes on the phone with tech support, I wrote my second roses are red (and in that same column, the perfect poem to accompany a gift of jam).

I don’t quote those here because they were not my best work. Nor, let’s face it, was this one in August of 2001:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
Yesterday’s column
Counted as two.

Or its slothful variant the following August:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Yesterday’s column
Will just have to do.

In truth – using advanced Google tools to scan the past 2,500 columns for meter and rhyme – I find but one column that was worth half a dime: my March 30, 2001 column with its kick-ass financial haikus and the little poem that I once, so long ago, submitted to The New Yorker. (Yes, The New Yorker.)


I still think Nitromed is a poor value, given the severe challenges it faces. I am keeping some of my puts and especially (because no tax is due on the profit unless I cover it) some of my short position. But the market doesn’t work on value alone – hopes, dreams, rumors and fashion all play their roles – so with the stock down two-thirds (to $7.32 last night from more than $22 a share when we started betting against it in July), it could be wise to take a chunk of your profit. You’ll be happy you did in case some unexpected announcement leads to irrational buying (hope springs eternal – not that I can readily imagine what such an announcement might be) and to short-covering (shorts like to get out of the way of irrational buying). And if the stock just keeps on with its more or less steady march to oblivion, you’ll be glad you made even more profit on that portion of your position you held to expiration (theirs or its, whichever comes first). (Okay, that was irresistible but unfair – the furthest-out puts expire in September, and Nitromed certainly has the cash to last past September.)

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