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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Harry Newton Previous Columns
9:00 AM EST, Friday, July 31, 2009. Everyone is marveling at 2009 versus 1929-30. First, here's the chart.

Here's the parallel:

+ The 1929-1930 equity rally coming out of The Great Depression lasted 147 days and was up 46%.

+ From the 'generational low' in early March, it has been 145 days, and the advance is the same 46%.

+ After the 1930 rally of 46%, the U.S. stock market experienced a 700-day drop of 85%.

I don't think this will happen this time. But I'm not taking bets against Mr. Market. I have three concerns:

+ It's been too fast.

+ Too many learned people are suddenly saying this market rally is for real. So, Buy. Buy. Buy.

+ The economy, employment and corporate earnings still suck.

A vCard makes huge customer happiness. I spent yesterday teaching firms about customer service. Conclusion: teach them how to be nice to customers. Essence:

1. Answer your office phone or your cellphone or have someone who will.

2. Answer your emails promptly.

3. Attach your vCard to all your emails. This way your customer will be able to quickly add your information to his Outlook.

4. Check. Check. Check. Don't type the customer's information wrongly. Like transposing numbers, screwing up addresses, etc. etc.

5. Apologize if you do screw up. Apologize quickly and sincerely.

Reason why land is cheap: Reader Allen Gee writes:

Hi Harry 99.999% of the time when land is cheap there is a reason!. Usually its not dividable. You can't build on it and if you can, it will cost a lot more than one thought. It really is the story you get what you pay for. The latest I'm getting in feedback is investment in strip malls with good vacancy %. It's the least amount of maintenance.

My favorite poignant cartoon.

Health-care, social security, the world's largest national debt....Who should be in jail? Madoff or our congressmen? See below for solution.

Foods that prevent cancer: According to Dr. Mark Stengler of Bottom Line Natural Healing:

1. Broccoli

2. Tomatoes.

3. Cold water fish, like salmon, sardines and trout.

4. Garlic.

5. Spinach and other "greens" like chard and collard greens. Stick with the spinach. Chard and collard greens taste yuchy..

Please don't buy a Cisco phone system. They know a lot about data networking (and pushy salesmanship), but nothing (or very little) about voice. Most everyone who's bought a Cisco phone system has lived to regret it.

Get out of Iraq -- NOW. From today's New York Times.

July 31, 2009
U.S. Adviser’s Blunt Memo on Iraq: Time ‘to Go Home’
WASHINGTON — A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that the Iraqi forces suffer from deeply entrenched deficiencies but are now capable of protecting the Iraqi government, and that it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.”

Prepared by Col. Timothy R. Reese, an adviser to the Iraqi military’s Baghdad command, the memorandum asserts that the Iraqi forces have an array of problems, including corruption, poor management and the inability to resist political pressure from Shiite political parties.

For all of these problems, however, Colonel Reese argues that Iraqi forces are competent enough to hold off Sunni insurgents, Shiite militias and other internal threats to the Iraqi government. Extending the American military presence in Iraq beyond 2010, he argues, will do little to improve the Iraqis’ military performance while fueling a growing resentment.

“As the old saying goes, ‘Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.’ ” Colonel Reese wrote. “Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose.”

The memo continued, referring to the Iraq Security Forces: “The massive partnering efforts of U.S. combat forces with I.S.F. isn’t yielding benefits commensurate with the effort and is now generating its own opposition. ...

The full story is here.

Arlo Guthrie's NYTimes interview. Arlo wrote one of my favorite songs, Alice's Restaurant.

Arlo then

Arlo now

Have you ever seen “American Idol”? the Times asked.

No, I have never watched it. But I’m thankful we’re living in a world where we can actually afford to waste your time. What a great thing that is.

For the full interview, click here.

The Perfect Solution to Senior Health Care
While discussing the upcoming Universal Health Care Program with my friend the other day, I think we have found the solution. I am sure you have heard the ideas that if you're a senior you need to suck it up and give up the idea that you need any health care.

A new hip? Unheard of. We simply can't afford to take care of you anymore. You don't need any medications for your high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etc. Let's take care of the young people. After all,they will be ruling the world very soon.

So here is the solution. When you turn 70, the government gives you a gun and four bullets. You are encouraged to shoot two senators and two representatives. Of course, you will be sent to prison where you will get three meals a day, a roof over your head and all the health care you need!. New teeth, great!!! Need glasses, no problem. New hip, knee, kidney, lung, heart? Well bring it on. And who will be paying for all of this....the same government that just told you that you are too old for health care.

And, since you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income tax.

We have the perfect solution to health-care.

A charming 10 Year Old's Love Story

Little Bruce and Jenny are only 10 years old, but they know they are in love.

One day they decide that they want to get married, so Bruce goes to Jenny's father to ask him for her hand.

Bruce bravely walks up to him and says, "Mr. Smith, me and Jenny are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage."

Thinking that this was just the cutest thing, Mr. Smith replies, "Well Bruce, you are only 10. Where will you two live?"

Without even taking a moment to think about it, Bruce replies, "In Jenny's room. It's bigger than mine and we can both fit there nicely."

Still thinking this is just adorable, Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, "Okay then how will you live? You're not old enough to get a job. You'll need to support Jenny."

Again, Bruce instantly replies, "Our allowance, Jenny makes five bucks a week and I make 10 bucks a week. That's about 60 bucks a month and that should do us just fine."

Mr. Smith is impressed Bruce has put so much thought into this. 'Well Bruce, it seems like you have everything figured out. I just have one more question. What will you do if the two of you should have little children of your own?"

Bruce just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, we've been lucky so far."

Mr. Smith no longer thinks the little shit is adorable.

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, click here and here.