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8:30 AM Friday, May 20, 2005: A "Hope" Rally. That's what Cramer calls our four-day rally. He says it's based on optimism about GM, the hope that oil is going down in price and the hope is that the Fed is done. Cramer (and I) are dubious about this rally maintaining its legs. Todd Kingsley, my broker, tells me the charts for Nasdaq and Dow look great. Dow Jones, Nasdaq and the S&P averages have just moved above their 50 and 200-day. Says Todd, "The market had reached an inflexion point and has chosen to move higher through it. This is meaningful."

Todd continues, "Charts always look good until they look bad. Right now, Friday morning, we're opening lower. Go figure."

Real estate out west, especially in Phoenix, remains hot. Friends buying properties are now more cautious and tend to look for properties that have a "story" -- a divorce, a bulk purchase, a foreclosure, a property that needs serious work. The "story" is something that requires you, the buyer, to be creative and do a little more work than a lazy "fix and flip" buyer.

Yesterday was glorious. I beat young 25-year old tennis player who should have kicked my butt. I ran everything down and hung in. Old age and stealth won that day. He wants a re-match on Monday.

The evening was fun. I was invited to a dinner hosted by newsletter, Boardroom Reports. They get 15 experts in a room and have each talk about their present concerns, obsessions and lessons. Items:

+ Direct marketing still works and works magnificently. People do open and do respond to junk mail. People continue to look for tools to improve themselves.
+ "Secrets" is the most powerful word in English.
+ The American public lacks trust in public figures. According to a Harvard professor at the dinner, the three people it trusts most are Oprah, Alan Greenspan and -- wait for this -- John Stewart of Comedy Central's Comedy Central (11 PM each night).

What I really liked about the dinner: Everyone felt passionate about what they were doing. Many were working with kids, helping them develop leadership skills, set goals and build confidence.

Guaranteed folk remedies:
1. Arthritis: Soak a pound of golden raisins in gin. When the gin is absorbed into the raisins, put the raisins in a jar. Eat nine raisins each day.
2. Travel sickness:
+ Bandaid a copper penny to your bellybutton.
+ When feeling queasy, inhale deep whiffs of a black and white newspaper.
+ Drink 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder dissolved in eight ounces of warm water, 20 minutes before traveling.
3. Allergies: Chew honeycomb. Swallow the honey. Chew on the comb and spit it out. The honeycomb must come from your part of the country. Buy it at your local farmers' market.
For more, the book is Bottom Line's Healing Remedies by Joan Wilen & Lydia Wilen.
Click here.

Zimbabwe is a total mess: I've been there. The people are sweet, the country handsome. Robert Mugabe's government is a total disaster. Zimbabwe's currency, which traded on the black market at 120 to the dollar in April 2002, went for 6,200 to the dollar last December, 12,000 last April 1 and 17,000 in early May. Today a single American dollar buys 25,000 Zimbabwean dollars - and the rate continues to climb. Zimbabwe's government had steadfastly maintained an official exchange rate of about 6,100 Zimbabwe dollars per American dollar until yesterday when the nation's reserve bank announced a 45 percent devaluation. But the new exchange rate -- 9,000 per American dollar -- remains nearly two-thirds less than the black market rate. The country has 70% unemployment, several hundred percent inflation, no exports to speak of and no foreign currency. And no one will sell it anything because no one wants Zim dollars.

Germany's unemployed: More than 5 million Germans are unemployed -- the most since 1932. Unemployment in Germany is 10.2%. In France, it's also bad at 9.8%. Makes me happy to be living in the U.S.

Google now lets you personalize your Google home page: You can add news, movies, weather, stockmarket and driving directions. Yahoo's personalized page is 100% better. Don't waste your time personalizing your Google home page.

The story of four women from different states
Four women were driving across the country. Each one was from a different state: Idaho, Nebraska, Florida and New York.

Shortly after the trip began, the woman from Idaho started pulling potatoes from her bag and throwing them out of the window.

"What the heck are you doing?" demanded the Nebraskan.

We have so many of these darn things in Idaho, I am sick of looking at them!"

A moment later, the lady from Nebraska began pulling ears of corn from her bag and tossing them from the window.

"What are you doing that for?" asked the gal from Florida.

"We have so many of these things in Nebraska, I am sick of looking at them!"

Inspired, the lady from Florida opened the car door and pushed the New Yorker out.

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. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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