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

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9:00 AM EST, Wednesday, February 11, 2009. Tim Geithner is heavy on rhetoric, but light on specifics. Mr. Market didn't like that and fell a whopping 4.6% yesterday, mostly in financials. This is not surprising , given that the shares of the major banks are -- as I've written endlessly -- worthless.

Think global: Is the recession the cure or the problem? You can't do controlled experiments in economics. Whatever you do is a gamble. This administration's plan is the most expensive gamble of them all.

We have another leg down to go. This will get a lot worse -- in the stockmarket and in the economy -- before it begins to get better. The stockmarket will get better before the economy. Neither are getting better any time soon.

You need to harbor your few remaining shekels close to your mattress, and cut your expenses. See below.

Where will your Stimulus money be spent? We don't know yet. The stimulus package is a blank check. The administration will spend the money whichever way it chooses. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has released a list of "shovel-ready" projects in cities around the country that the mayors would like to see funded. President Obama has promised to spend stimulus dollars only on critical projects. Whatever that means.

Some volunteers got together and coded The Mayors' list of projects for publication on the Internet. It's now at You can sort the list in many creative ways, including, my favorite, "most expensive." And the prize is from the city of Cidra, Puerto Rico, which wants $17.5 billion to fix 100 acres for "New Energy Efficiency Industrial Zones."

The city of Laurel, MS wants $99,600 for door bells. Chula Vista, CA wants $500,000 for a dog park. Lewiston, ME wants $50,000 for two dog parks. Arlington, TX wants $6 million for golf course renovations. And Hempstead, NY wants $1 million for an indoor soccer field.

A new FDIC-insurance wrinkle. The $250,000 FDIC insurance on bank deposits and CDs expires at the end of this year and reverts back to $100,000 -- unless Congress acts. This screws up buying CDs that are longer than nine months.

Will Congress act? I'm guessing yes. But guessing what Congress will do is right up there with astrology and reading tea leaves.

How long will the recession last? Another couple of years, at least. Check out this Bloomberg video interview with Nouriel Roubini. Click here.

The best investment is at your local post office. Come May, first class mail prices will rise -- but not if you own the "forever" stamp. Buy it today, you're guaranteed a 9.52% return. Think of the stamp as a credit default swap on mailing a letter.

Rupert Murdoch must think I'm totally stupid. My Wall Street Journal subscription expires soon. He sent me a one-year renewal for $349. Yet he promotes a one-year "limited time introductory offer" for $99, which includes the online version. My dog Winnie Newton is about to enjoy her very own Wall Street Journal. Click here for the cheap sub.

News Corporation, the media empire controlled by Mr. Murdoch, reported recently that it lost $6.4 billion in its second quarter as profit fell sharply at its television and movie units. The company also took a large writedown of $8.4 billion, about $3 billion of which reflected a decline in the value of the company’s newspaper unit, which includes Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. bought Dow Jones just over a year ago for about $5 billion. The writedown indicates that it has lost significant value -- perhaps as much as 60%. Wow!

Bargain with your suppliers or find new ones. Call each of your suppliers. Tell them they have to help you out and drop their prices. If they don't, call them back in two days and try again. If that doesn't work, call their competitors. Three phone calls in the past week yielded savings of 66%, 25% and 36%. I don't want to name names for fear of embarrassing them. Some companies (like hotels) don't want to drop their prices, but will include useful goodies for free. That's another way of skinning the beast.

Technology of interest:
+ Video-phone calls.
Great for grandkids and distant relatives. Get the latest version for free. You'll need a web camera and microphone. But many laptops now come with them built in. Skype for Windows download. and Skype for the Mac.

+ Cell phone for the hard-of-hearing. Today's Wall Street Journal features a positive review on Plantronics' ClarityLife C900.

+ Most handsome notebook sleeve. It's made by Shoreline and fits three sizes of laptops -- 12", 14" and 17". Click here.

+ Garmin nüvi 350 GPS. I love this in my car.

But I just discovered I can carry it with me and use it when I'm walking or in a rented car. It has a huge battery, chargeable with a BlackBerry adapter. $249 from Amazon.

+ Show your photos and your videos on your big flat-screen TV. Transfer your photos and videos to your laptop. Fix them. Then show the family your brilliance. You'll need two cables. The left one transmits the sound. You connect it to incoming sound. The right one transmits the video. You connect to an input, typically labeled PC. You get the cables at Radio Shack.

It's all posture. My arm still hurts from mopping and tennis last weekend. Yesterday I visited a sports therapist, who deals with dumb, hurting tennis players. Lessons from yesterday's visit:

1. It's all posture. Stand straight, neck erect. Your body will work for you. Stand crooked with one shoulder higher than the other and your head hunched forward, you'll put pressure on your body, which will eventually (and predictably) rebel. That was my problem. My posture sucks.

2. It's all common sense. Don't mess with logic. 3 1/2 hours of tennis and one hour of aggressive mopping is idiotic. Get sufficient rest. Don't lift or carry heavy things. Use a backpack, not a briefcase. Don't shovel snow. Don't push yourself to do things you didn't do 25 years ago. The obvious stuff.

3. Your neck is the center of the universe. My arm problems are caused by a "crick" in my neck, also called a muscle spasm, or a knot. When my therapist worked on my neck, my arm felt better.

4. Stress and anger worsen things. Being stupid doesn't help. Get up from your desk. Your computer is not your body's best friend.

5. Rest cures everything eventually -- especially if you fix the posture with some simple exercises and walk like your mother taught you to.

6. Don't get on the tennis court before you're fixed. You'll make things worse. Give yourself time. When in doubt, stay out. (Heh, that works for stocks, also.) I did some biking yesterday. It wasn't aggressive exercise. But it solved cabin fever.

Great News. Hope for us all. The oldest dog ever won Best in Show on Tuesday at the 133rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club show. Stump is 10 and doesn't have any posture problems. Not as pretty as our Winnie, however.

Four lessons from a US Airways Hudson River survivor:
1. Cherish your families as never before and go to great lengths to keep your promises.

2. Be thankful and grateful for everything you have and don't worry about the things you don't have.

3. Keep in shape. You never know when you'll be called upon to save your own life, or help someone else save theirs.

4. When you fly, wear practical clothing. You never know when you'll end up in an emergency or on an icy wing in flip flops and pajamas and of absolutely no use to yourself or anyone else.

Starting a bank? Please follow Harry's three Lending Rules:

1. Don’t lend money to those who don’t have any.

2. Don’t lend money to those who need it.

3. Don’t lend your own money.

The deal.
“I want to share my joy with you. I have just won $1000 in the lottery.”

“OK, give me $500 and I will share your joy.”

The imponderable.
Q: Why did God create sell-side analysts ?

A: Clearly, to make weather forecasters look good.

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.