An Inconvenient Truth has opened ‘in select cities.’ Run, don’t walk.


Thomas McDonagh: ‘Per, ‘the banana plant is not a tree. It is actually the world’s largest herb.”

☞ According to that site, you can sooth mosquito bite itches by rubbing them with the inside of a banana peel . . . not to mention the benefits if you are suffering from P.M.S., the effects of nicotine withdrawal, depression, stress, constipation, warts, hangovers, heartburn, high blood pressure or intellectual lassitude.


Google will now let you see who’s interested in what, when, where. Click here to see the relative importance – to Finns – of ‘god’ and ‘food.’ Now click here to see the graph when you add ‘sex.’ Note that worldwide, people seem to be a lot more curious about death than taxes. Not sure how one might put this new Google capability to useful use – but how useful is online Boggle?


M.I.T. Howard: ‘Without wanting to show any sympathy for the President of Iran – who truly appears to be a dangerous leader – a question: why isn’t a transcript of the letter easily available? (I had seen a translation from a French newspaper, but cannot find it on the web.) All we hear from the administration is that it does not address the nuclear issue. The transcript I read actually asks many good questions. The basic theme was how can you call yourself a Christian, Mr. President, while pursuing such destructive policies? For example, how could you make the choice to spend 100s of billions of dollars on the war in Iraq while poverty and oil dependency grip your country. The letter seemed rational and respectful (e.g., referring to Christ and Moses as honored people). The letter was tolerant, professing a common set of values shared by monotheistic religions. The only really objectionable part I found was the requisite bashing of Israel and the Jewish people. [But let’s pause a minute to note that that is really objectionable and should not, of course, be requisite. – A.T.] So while I wouldn’t want our diplomats to fall for this seeming reasonableness as a negotiating feint and delaying tactic, it seems our press has an obligation to present this information. Maybe the Iranian president is not a complete lunatic. Maybe we cannot dispense with him out of hand as an evil person – as we prepare the next military attack. Maybe, once again, diplomacy backed by resolute will to use force is the answer. Nah, too much nuance, may as well bomb Iran into the Stone Age.’


Dan Flikkema: ‘I’m 4 months into the ‘Magic Formula’ investing. It’s a pretty wild ride. One of my companies (Mannetech MTEX) is inexplicably down 21% in one day. The same day they reported increased earnings of 29% over the prior year. Go figure. Overall I’m still up 7% on the first 10 picks. I’ll buy 5 more stocks next week and I’m committed to this program for at least 5 years no matter what. But Greenblat is correct to say you really have to believe the system works or these strange one-day drops would be too discouraging. Incidentally, Oakview Select (OAKLX) is a fund that has a very similar philosophy to Greenblat’s. It would be a better choice than individual stocks for people with less than $75,000 or so to invest.’

☞ Gad zooks, man! You’re not supposed to know anything about the companies you invest in, or follow their earnings . . . this is magic. (And yes, I still owe everyone a longer discussion.)


Steve Rodriguez: ‘Never mind the shtick. The guy singing (was it lip synching?) is awesome. He nailed all of those high notes that even Sting strained to reach.’


An Inconvenient Truth? This being the only planet we’ve got, you will find it riveting. (If they made a movie about your home, would you not go see it? Well: they have.)


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