Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment
Technology Investor. Harry Newton
AM EST, Thursday, May 21, 2009. Every muscle
in my body hurts. I have been chained to this desk for days rushing to complete
the 25th Anniversary edition of my dictionary. This is the 24th edition,
all 1056 pages and still selling. Thank you God.
The dictionary is the only remnant remaining of the huge publishing business
I sold in September 1997 to large, dumb English publishing company. I bought
the dictionary back for a song a few years ago. I'll have the 25th done today.
It is my legacy to mankind. Meantime, you, my dear reader, are being fed a
meager diet this morning. Among issues yesterday:
diversification: A friend retired from Wall
Street to California. He stuck all his money into local real estate syndications
and loans, and has lost it all. I asked him yesterday, "What are you
living on?" His sad answer, "We don't go there."
repeat the boring mantra: Diversification is the only free lunch. Or
as my father used to say, "Take a little home for a rainy day."
rainy day is gong to last a while.
Insanity. When the history of the early 21st century is written,
it will consist of a whole series of very dumb decisions made under the gun
of perceived (and heavily exploited) emergencies.
include (and updated yesterday by Clay Henley):
the Glass Steagall requirement to permit commercial banks to enter investment
banking and go from staid to insane,
the net capital rule for investment banks (which led to heavy over-leveraging),
Afghanistan and Iraq, (bogging us down in two wars we can't afford and can't
ethanol (which led to gigantic capital losses),
5. Bailing out
the banks with virtually no strings attached and no changes in the rules,
the mark to market rule in favor of fantasy accounting,
loans to deadbeats and forcing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to take on crazily-risky
outsourcing (and killing U.S.. manufacturing in the process),
9. The Feds
intervening in the Chrysler bankruptcy, losing billions for the secured bondholders
(many of which are pension funds),
10. And most
recently, running government deficits into the ionosphere in the guise of
stimulating the economy,
We have made
a mess of things. But we're not stupid. We typically learn, and move on.
there is good news. Things are getting better. Unemployment is not up as some
economists thought. Libor is down, making borrowing theoretically easier and
cheaper. And, as Bloomberg reports, "The decline coincides with growing
signs the worst of the financial turmoil has passed."
to get fast treatment in your hospital's emergency room: Wear your
white shirt with the patch reading "Immigration and Naturalization
service." Friends swear this works.
buy batteries retail. All batteries die.
All batteries only last for a specific number of charges -- 300 is typical.
Cordless phone batteries die regularly. I shopped for a battery for my Canon
G10. It ranged in price from $16.69 to $54.99. The former was for a private
label one; the latter for a real Canon battery. My experience is that they're
not worth the difference. I bought the cheap one from
When the store manager returned from lunch, he noticed his clerk's hand was
bandaged, but before he could ask about the bandage, Morris, the clerk said
he had some very good news for him.
"Guess what, sir?" Morris said. "I finally sold that terrible,
ugly suit we've had so long!"
"Do you mean that repulsive pink-and-blue double-breasted thing?"
the manager asked."
"That's the one!" said the clerk.
"That's great!" the manager cried, "I thought we'd never get
rid of that monstrosity! That had to be the ugliest suit we've ever had! But
tell me, why is your hand bandaged?"
"Oh," Morris replied, "after I sold the guy that suit, his
seeing-eye dog bit me."
A father walks into a bookstore with his young son, who is holding
a quarter. Suddenly, the boy starts choking, going blue in the face. The father
realizes the boy has swallowed the nickel and starts panicking, shouting for
A well dressed,
attractive and serious looking woman, in a blue business suit is sitting at
a coffee bar reading a newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound
of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down, neatly folds the
newspaper, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the
boy, the woman carefully drops his pants; takes hold of the boy's testicles
and starts to squeeze and twist, gently at first and then ever so firmly.
After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the quarter,
which the woman deftly catches in her free hand.
boy's testicles, the woman hands the quarter to the father and walks back
to her seat without saying a word.
As soon as he
is sure that his son has suffered no ill effects, the father rushes over to
the woman and starts thanking her saying, "I've never seen anybody do
anything like that before. It was fantastic! Are you a doctor?"
the woman replies, "divorce attorney."
This column is about my personal search for the perfect
investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered
with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor.
I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three
reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column
is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect
Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas,
concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address
is . You can't
click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from
software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role
in choosing the Google ads on this site. Thus I cannot endorse, though some
look interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please
note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay
Michael's business school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense,
here and here.