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Cry, laugh, punt or watch tennis. Whatever turns you on.

Today’s punts – Australia: Since Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, announced the RSPT (resources super profits tax), Australia’s currency and its shares have plummeted. After an uproar from the mining industry and threats to cut investment in Australia, there is now is now some discussion that the tax is close to dead, or at least close to something approaching sanity. Hence Australia, as a punt, becomes interesting again.

There are two easy ways to play this. EWA is the EFT that covers Australia’s stockmarket.  Think of  it as Australia’s S&P 500.

BHP is the world’s largest mining company.

I think EWA might be the better deal.

Modest return on short-term money. Leave your money anywhere — especially in a money market fund — you’re lucky to get 20 basis points a year. That’s an interest rate of 0.20% a year. Some banks are now offering “high yield” savings accounts. One is Virginia Commerce Bank. It’s about to pay me a grand 1.6% a year.

A different search engine. Virtually search engines return results like Google. None are comprehensive. All miss much. None are to be trusted. Google does a horrible job of indexing this column — which we’re trying to fix. WolframAlfha is a new mathematical search engine. You can use it as a complex calculator, or something your engineering student might like or even something as simple as “How much is $100 worth in Euro?” Get a tour, click here.

“Your account has been selected for verification.” I’m instructed to click on the attached file. If I do, my PC will be instantly infected or I’ll be asked to reveal my social security number. The typical scam comes from “PayPal” or “Bank of America,” often replete with logos. Please don’t fall for this nonsense. Delete the email instantly.

My friend Jay gets an iPad. Jay is 73. I email him. Why do you like it?

Easy to learn, despite lack of manual or Help pulldown menus. Terrific graphics, easy to read. Compact, relatively light weight. 12 hour+ battery life. Reader for books is terrific – makes Kindle look like Model-T. I like to use it to skim NYT, WSJ, etc at breakfast. Has good Internet search function. Has a million apps, iTunes downloads, etc.

Only things that aren’t so great: downloads can be slow; takes pretty delicate touch to get cursor in the right place when editing text. I’m told it isn’t easy to use as a word processor.

Not a substitute for a laptop – which I don’t have or really need, or iPhone, which I won’t buy until Apple connects via Verizon – AT&T sucks. Only have WiFi version – cheaper and no need to mess with AT&T.

I’ve only had it about 3 weeks. Love it.

P/s It’ a great conversation piece – probably good for picking up girls, if one is minded to do so. However, I’m very well cared for in that department, thank you.

Sent from my iPad

Apple is now worth more than Microsoft.

It’s worth more, despite spending much less on R&D.

Of course, Microsoft is a giant bureaucracy run by an arrogant loud mouth who doesn’t listen and has no vision. Apple is run by a secretive genius, who understands that customers want computers,  phones and music players that are easy to use and don’t attract nasty viruses.

I talked to 120 high-schoolers yesterday. I talked about my career. Main question: How did I handle failure? Answer: By moving on fast. What skills did they need in the business world? Answer:

1. Technology. Engineering. Computers. Programming, if possible.
2. Selling.
3. Public speaking.
4. Accounting. Understanding financial statement is key.
5. Marketing. Everything to promote your ideas and your product that doesn’t include face-to-face selling.
6. Design.Your products and services need to be appealing to sell.
7. Writing. The key way to communicate your ideas.
8. Communications. Staying in touch often and regularly with your customers.

The French Open is on. Federer is playing spectacularly. It’s a pleasure to watch him move. It’s ballet dancing on the tennis court.

Here’s the TV “schedule.” It’s semi-accurate. When in doubt, tune to The Tennis Channel or ESPN.

More tasteless humor on the Gulf oil spill. This clip is from Saturday Night Live. It features representatives from the three key players:

BP is in the center. Halliburton on the right and Transocean on the left.

To watch the video, go to this site and scroll down.

Tinker Bell.

Twelve priests were about to be ordained. The final test was for them to line up in a straight row, totally nude, in a garden while a sexy, beautiful, big breasted, nude model danced before them. Each priest had a small bell attached to his weenie and they were told that anyone whose bell rang when she danced in front of them would not be ordained because he had not reached a state of spiritual purity. The beautiful model danced before the first candidate, with no reaction.

She proceeded down the line with the same response from all the priests until she got to the final priest, Carlos. Poor Carlos………..

As she danced, his bell began to ring so loudly that it flew off, clattering across the ground. Carlos, extremely embarrassed bent over to pick it up.

…. And that’s when all the other bells started to ring.

Nothing going right?

A little guy is sitting at the bar staring at his drink when a large, trouble-making biker steps up next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig.

“Well, whatcha gonna do about it?” he says, menacingly, as the little guy bursts into tears.

“Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d CRY. I can`t stand to see a man crying.”

“This is the worst day of my life,” says the little guy.

“I`m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting, and my Boss fired me. When I went to the car park, I found my car stolen and I don’t have any insurance, I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the milk man and then my dog bit me.

“So I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, drop the capsule in it and while I sit here watching the poison dissolve; someone like you shows up and drinks it all. I can’t even commit suicide. It’s not my day.”

Harry Newton, who’s feeling the pressure of his bucket list. Too many of his friends are getting cancer.

  • Jonathan

    Would you mind expanding on what you mean by “moving on fast?”

    Thanks

    • harrynewton

      Close down the failed venture as fast as possible. Cut out the cancer of the ongoing expenses. Get the failure out of your brain. Move onto the next, hopefully more successful, venture as fast as possible.

  • Tim

    I find the Australian tax to be the worst idea ever. With all the resources being mined in the country, thats one of the reasons the country is holding up during such tought times. If your going to punish your #1 customer, they will look for alternatives, and I have heard they have begun too.

    • harrynewton

      BHP and EWA were strongly up today. Maybe the message is getting through.

  • Steve

    Same question Harry — what is on your bucket list?

    • harrynewton

      Finish my book “in Search of the Perfect Investment,” visit a few neat places like Bhutan. Not a huge list.

  • Pete

    Couldn't get the snl clip to work. Here is another.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/149644/saturday-night

    • harrynewton

      Excellent. I forgot about Hulu.

  • Victor

    So, Harry, what's on your bucket list?

  • Day 2 with my iPad…. LOVING it! Problem is, I demonstrated it to my wife. Now, she wants her own! It is very difficult to share your iPad.

    • harrynewton

      Everyone is falling in love with and buying an iPad. Really good for Apple's earnings. When Microsoft sells Windows, it may sell you Office and then nothing else. When Apple sells you an iPad, it will continue selling you neat software, neat movies and neat music. It's an endless money machine.