I spent all weekend raising money when I was supposed to be writing my column. Sorry! The one I planned to do for today will probably be tomorrow.

In the meantime:


Mark: “Listen to radio stations from around the world! Fun site!

☞ I got to the site with no trouble and found lots of Portuguese, Russian and Malay stations to listen to. Simply select one, click PLAY, and — if you’re old and stupid, like me — you get silence and: PAGE CANNOT BE DISPLAYED. But I have no time to listen anyway, so I’m OK with this.


Bad Timing: “I recently started building my own portfolio of stocks. This is purely a long-term investment strategy. Unfortunately for me I acquired most of the stocks (including Intel, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft) before the recent tech thrashing. I am tempted to sell these stocks and take the (significant) capital losses and then buy them back in thirty days under the theory that it seems extremely doubtful that they will be able to make up those losses over that 30 day time period. Is this a good idea?”

☞ If the commissions are low, and you wait 31 days to avoid the IRS “wash sale” rule, that would disallow the losses otherwise, it’s a good idea. There is a real chance the stocks will have rallied and you’ll regret it. But I’d say there is an equal chance they will have slumped further, with more tax selling. So from the standpoint of logic this could work.

Or do this: Sell some of your issues now and use the proceeds to double up on the others. Wait 31 days. Buy back the ones you sold; sell the original shares you doubled up on. That way, unless you’re really unlucky, you’ll likely net out much of the effect of market movements. (If the market jumps, you’ll do well enough on the ones you doubled up on to make up for the ones you sold and now have to buy back at higher prices.)

Long-time readers know I have plugged Honest Tea from time to time, not least because I am one of this itty-bitty firm’s itty-bitty backers. (Expect a spider to emerge in this imagery at any moment.) Honest Tea is not for the corn syrup or high-octane-caffeine crowd, but it continues to win awards (yes! there are awards for iced tea!) and to make itty-bitty progress. Most recently, Barnes & Noble has begun stocking it in all 400 of its cafes. I’m told it has already shown up in New York and will be arriving nationwide in the next couple of weeks. If you like cinnamon, try the Gold Rush. (“An herbal cinnamon infusion with rooibush, rosehips, chamomile, cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, orange peel and natural flavors. Brewed in spring water with a touch of raw cane sugar and malic acid, caffeine-free.”) Like ginger? Well, naturally, the Jakarta Ginger. I’m a fool for the Moroccan, Kashmiri Chai and First Nation. Not crazy about the Black Forest Berry, but that’s just me.



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