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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Technology Investor. Auction Rate Securities. Auction Rate Preferreds.

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8:30 AM EST Monday, August 4, 2008:
For most of us, 2008 will be our worst year ever financially. There are two awful aspects -- the drop in asset prices and the uncertainty. Will my bank fail? (8 have so far.) Should I sell now? Are we now at bottom? Should I buy?

The news looks awful this morning. European and Asian stocks are falling and inflation is up and high most everywhere.

There is good news. With oil pricey, shipping stuff from China and India is getting real pricey. Hence some excellent U.S. companies which make stuff here should enjoy a rebirth. While banks have been plummeting, look at US Steel:

Last year I bid printing of my dictionary to China. The freight killed it. I printed the dictionary in Maryland.

Great hospital deal. If you don't have insurance, you pay your local hospital $50 on leaving. They send you a bill. If you pay it within 30 days, you can take 40% off the bill. If you take longer, you get a slightly lower discount.

Yahoo remains a great short. Friday's annual meeting produced no magical new strategies. But it did produce scathing articles in the New York Times and The Economist. The Times headed its article "Yahoo Is Still Searching for, Well, Yahoo" and pointed out Yahoo had failed to jump on recent Internet trends like online video and social networking.

The company is on the skids -- financially and intellectually. As I wrote on Friday, Yahoo's days in the sun are over. It reminds me of AOL. Time is passing it by. There's someone on the Internet that does what Yahoo does but only better -- starting with Google in search. I can see it hitting $15 soon.

Super funny ultra-clean video. This video is dedicated to my daughter, Claire, who visited on the weekend. The only thing she didn't forget was her head, and only because it was screwed on.

Ethanol is bad for your car. Or your boat, or your lawn mover or your motor scooter. If you have a choice, buy gas without ethanol.

Dumb title. Great book. This is a book about good nutrition and bad nutrition.

Good nutrition is plant-based diets. Bad nutrition is meat and dairy-based diets. Good nutrition will help you prevent and reverse heart disease, secondary diabetes , cancer and obesity. Bad nutrition causes that stuff.

The China Study is called that because it was done in China. The New York Times referred to it as the "Grand Prix of epidemiology." It's exhaustive, fascinating and damming, especially on popular diets, such as the Atkins diet. The book is not big on sugar or salt, either.

The mushroom strategy:
Sam: What you doing, Morris? I haven't seen you in three years.

Morris: Not much. In three years I have buried three wives.

Sam: Oh, God. What happened?

Morris: Three years ago I married a wealthy widow, but she ate poisoned mushrooms and died. Then two years ago I married an heiress and she ate poisoned mushrooms and died. Then last year I married a successful businesswoman and she died too.

Sam: Poisoned mushrooms again?

Morris: No. A fractured skull. She refused to eat the mushrooms.

Applying for social security
When I went to the social security office to apply for Social Security, the woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry but I seemed to have left my wallet at home!

"I'll have to go home and come back later."

The woman says, "Unbutton your shirt." So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.

She says, "That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me" and she processed my Social Security application.

When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the social security office.

She says, "You should have dropped your pants. We would have been on disability."

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.

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