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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, Monday, June 18: Michael, my son, and I are leaving today on a Backroads biking, boating and bonding trip. This is our second Backroads trip. We like Backroads because you get exercise, see lots of fun places, meet nice people and everything is organized for you.

Hence my next column will be Monday July 2.

Retire rich, again: If I see another magazine telling me I can retire young and rich, I'll puke. The latest in the pile:

Why the standard photo of gray-haired old man with woman young enough to be his granddaughter staring mindlessly out at boring ocean? Face it: retirement is basically boring. You have to force yourself to re-orient your life to something that is not half as satisfying as working with new ideas, new people and new companies and over which you often have control. Which is called "working for a living." And it's great -- even if you give all the rewards (i.e. the money) away. And -- if you hadn't already figured it out -- giving money away is a full-time job also. Charities are just as inefficient as companies, perhaps more so. Finding good ones is not easy. That's why the super-rich start their own.

I read Fortune to see if it actually had anything of interest. The answer was basically no -- lots of space-filling interviews with the usual suspects like Ben Stein and a Motley Fool co-founder, Tom Gardner. To its credit, the magazine begins with a warning:

There are more signs for caution than for full steam ahead. For one thing, investors have become extremely complacent. ... For another, while the markets are setting records, corporate profit growth is slowing and may be posed to slow further, in part because of rising labor and energy. For a third, valuations are rising. The P/E ratio on forecast S&P 500 earnings is now 16. ...

That doesn't mean you panic and dump everything. It means you avoid high-fliers, e.g. Apple. I do like Tom Gardner's idea: Pick trends. He has six:

1. Home entertainment. He likes Dolby Labs.

2. Rising oil prices. He likes Unit Corp. I like Dril-Quip and others I've mentioned.

3. Eating out. He likes Middleby Corp. I'm dubious.

4. Home building. He likes MDC Holdings. I like the idea of buying downtrodden stocks. Clearly, housing is not going away. Here's my entire list:

5. The digital doctor's office. He likes Quality Systems, a leading software package for electronic medical record keeping. I do see doctors using computers more.

6. Alternative sports. He likes Volcom, which sells apparel and shoes for outdoor enthusiasts. It's had a big run and is now pricey. I'm dubious.

I'd add two trends:

1. Money management. Check out all the leading investment bankers, including Goldman Sachs. Someone has to manage all the baby boomers' money. 1% to 2% of all that money keeps adding up and up and up.

2. Alternative energy and mining. I like Australia. My friend Phil Zera chips in with two interesting stocks -- Zoltek which makes the carbon fiber used in windmills. The bigger the blade, the more power the windmill can produce. And Zoltek is making bigger and bigger ones. Also Bucyrus International. They make the giant mining shovels and draglines Australian mines use.

S.E.C. Ends Decades-Old Price Limits on Short Selling
The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted to end price restrictions on short selling, meaning that investors seeking to sell a share that they do not own will no longer be barred from doing so because the price of the stock is falling. The 5-to-0 vote, ending a rule that had been in place since 1938, when short sellers were blamed by some critics for having caused the 1929 market crash and the Depression that followed, came as the commission also voted to make it harder to engage in naked shorting, the practice of selling shares that have not been purchased or borrowed.

Luggage tags that get attention: Everyone loves my luggage tags. They say Newton, not Any Name. But you get the message. They cost $29.99 for a set of three.

Buy them from

From Australia: Have you heard the one about the physicist, the engineer and the economist marooned on a desert island with only a tin of baked beans between them?

The problem was getting the beans out of the tin. The physicist found a bit of glass and tried to hold it so the sun's rays would burn around the top of the tin. It wasn't working. The engineer did a lot of mental calculations of the angle and velocity at which he'd have to throw the tin at a rock so its seams burst. It wasn't working. So the economist had to step in. "I don't know why you're making such heavy weather of it," he said. "The solution's obvious - assume a tin-opener."

The thing about economist jokes is not that they're wildly funny but that they point up some of the absurdities of real-life economics. Like trying to predict where the economy is going.

Why do I think this photo is funny? I shot it at the L.A. International Airport.

Blasphemy, Jewish-style
A hardworking Jew finally makes it in business, and he treats himself to a new Lamborghini.  After buying it, he feels guilty that he spent so much money on a car, so he goes to the Orthodox Rabbi in his neighborhood and asks for a mezuzah to put on the door of the Lamborghini to make himself feel better.
"You want a mezuzah for what?" the Rabbi asks.
"For my Lamborghini."
"What's a Lamborghini?" asks the Rabbi.
"A sports car,' he replies
"What?  That's blasphemy!" the Rabbi shouts.  "You want a mezuzah  for a sports car?   Go to a Conservative Rabbi!"
The fellow goes to the Conservative Rabbi and asks him for a mezuzah.
"You want a mezuzah for what?" the Rabbi asks.
"For my Lamborghini", the man replies.
"What's a Lamborghini?" asks the Rabbi.
"A car, a sports car."
"What kind of sports car?" asks the Rabbi.
What? That is ridiculous!" the Rabbi shouts. "You want a mezuzah for a Goyishe car? Go to a Reform Rabbi!"
Now the man feels even more guilty and more disappointed, but he goes to the Reform Rabbi in his neighborhood and asks him, "Can you give me a mezuzah for my Lamborghini?"
"You have a Lamborghini?" asks the Rabbi.
"You know what it is?" says the man.
"Of course! It's a fantastic Italian sports car. But, what's a mezuzah?"

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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