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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM EST Tuesday, April 4, 2006: So, Harry, what's the investment implications of oil going to $100 a barrel (as you wrote yesterday)? Not easy. Still mulling on this. Initial thoughts:

+ Many travel stocks die.
+ City real estate will boom. Who can afford to live in the suburbs?
+ Industries that use lots of energy in their manufacturing will suffer. I'm guessing that includes steel, plastics, etc.
+ Specialty manufacturers making stuff like insulation material should boom. We're buying a lot of blow-in, foam insulation for our new house. It will be "super-tight," says our builder.
+ Car companies deriving revenue from gas guzzlers will suffer. Bye, bye, GM and Ford.
+ Compact fluorescent bulbs will sell like crazy.
+ There'll be a lot more "stay-at-home/work anywhere and everywhere" work. All that broadband telecom stuff -- like Verizon's Broadband Access service -- should boom.
+ There will be "big money" in energy consulting and energy systems specification and installation. Being an energy guru will be more cool than being a computer guru. Tell your kid.
+ The Alternative Energy companies should continue to boom. This is the portfolio I put together several weeks ago of every alternative energy and coal company I could find. Some have risen spectacularly in the past 20 days. You need to read about each of these companies and pick the ones which sound the neatest. I haven't done that yet. I will. For now, here's the entire list:

Skip the entities. It's so easy to start companies. It's difficult to stop them. I'm still dealing with government entities on corporations I sold or closed more than five years ago. Government entities want sales taxes, income taxes, filing fees, worker's compensation payments, maintenance fees to keep the corporation. The list goes on and on. They're relentless. I'm convinced that every time California is short of money they simply mail a demand for an arbitrary amount of money to their "list." It's the same logic that Eddie Bauers uses, except they send catalogs, which you can junk. California and New York send demands endlessly. Once you've argued your way out of one demand, they send you another one -- perhaps a penalty for something you didn't do four years ago. Answering them, finding the records, calling their voice mail, etc. It's endless.

The moral of this story is "Don't form a corporation." Unless you're in the asbestos business, you don't need to insulate yourself from liability. If you're scared about being sued, buy protection like directors and officers insurance. Much of the above is the reason for the new popularity of something called an LLC or even a DBA. You don't have to file separate returns on these things. When I asked Brendan, my super accountant, last night about LLCs, he replied "
An LLC is an entity that could be taxed as a Partnership (95% of the time) or a corporation (5% of the time). It's called the check the box rule." An accountant with a sense of humor. I'm blessed.

In case, I'm not clear, a single member LLC. (i.e. one owner) does not file a federal tax return. It goes on your 1040 individual return (schedule C).

Buying a new computer? Think seriously before you do. The cost in time to set it up the way you like it is horrendous. Better, load your present one with more memory, a second hard drive (for more storage), a new keyboard, a new monitor, etc. Anything but having to install all that software the way you like it.

Item: I've had my new Toshiba Tecra M5 for a week and I still can't get it running as well as my old one. For one, the new one has come bloated with fancy, new software that loads up and slows the machine down to a crawl. Even after removing much of Toshiba's new stuff -- put there for marketing purposes not for real usefulness -- and stopping much of the startup software (using MSCONFIG), the damn thing still takes nearly two minutes to start and won't do a few, simple standard Windows things -- like show the icon for "Safely Remove Hardware." The way I'm feeling right now, spending over $3,000 to buy the world's fastest, most sooper-dooper laptop was not one of my better ideas. In short, don't.

More extreme redneck criteria: If you didn't read yesterday's collection, you must. I find these thing hysterical. Click here. Here, now, is Part 2:

You know you're a redneck when...

+ You take your dog for a walk and both use the same tree.
+ You can entertain yourself for more than 15 minutes with a fly swatter.
+ Your boat has not left your driveway in 15 years.
+ You burn your yard rather than mow it.
+ The Salvation Army declines your old mattress.
+ You have the local taxidermist on speed dial.
+ You come back from the dump with more than you took.
+ You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.
+ Your grandmother has "ammo" on her Christmas wish list.
+ You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.
+ Your house doesn't have curtains but your truck does.
+ You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.
+ You can spit without opening your mouth.
+ You consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.
+ You have a complete set of salad bowls. They all say "Cool Whip" on the side.
+ The biggest city you've ever been to is Wal-Mart.
+ Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.
+ You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.
+ You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65 mph.

And last, but not least...

+ Somebody tells you that you have something in your teeth, so you take them out to see what it is!

Harry Newton

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. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty 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 Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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