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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, Thursday, May 21, 2009. Every muscle in my body hurts. I have been chained to this desk for days rushing to complete the 25th Anniversary edition of my dictionary. This is the 24th edition, all 1056 pages and still selling. Thank you God.

The dictionary is the only remnant remaining of the huge publishing business I sold in September 1997 to large, dumb English publishing company. I bought the dictionary back for a song a few years ago. I'll have the 25th done today. It is my legacy to mankind. Meantime, you, my dear reader, are being fed a meager diet this morning. Among issues yesterday:

No diversification: A friend retired from Wall Street to California. He stuck all his money into local real estate syndications and loans, and has lost it all. I asked him yesterday, "What are you living on?" His sad answer, "We don't go there."

To repeat the boring mantra: Diversification is the only free lunch. Or as my father used to say, "Take a little home for a rainy day."

This rainy day is gong to last a while.

Emergency Insanity. When the history of the early 21st century is written, it will consist of a whole series of very dumb decisions made under the gun of perceived (and heavily exploited) emergencies.

Such decisions include (and updated yesterday by Clay Henley):

1. Eliminating the Glass Steagall requirement to permit commercial banks to enter investment banking and go from staid to insane,

2. Relaxing the net capital rule for investment banks (which led to heavy over-leveraging),

3. Invading Afghanistan and Iraq, (bogging us down in two wars we can't afford and can't win),

4. Encouraging ethanol (which led to gigantic capital losses),

5. Bailing out the banks with virtually no strings attached and no changes in the rules,

6. Dropping the mark to market rule in favor of fantasy accounting,

7. Encouraging loans to deadbeats and forcing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to take on crazily-risky loans,

8. Promoting outsourcing (and killing U.S.. manufacturing in the process),

9. The Feds intervening in the Chrysler bankruptcy, losing billions for the secured bondholders (many of which are pension funds),

10. And most recently, running government deficits into the ionosphere in the guise of stimulating the economy,

We have made a mess of things. But we're not stupid. We typically learn, and move on.

This morning there is good news. Things are getting better. Unemployment is not up as some economists thought. Libor is down, making borrowing theoretically easier and cheaper. And, as Bloomberg reports, "The decline coincides with growing signs the worst of the financial turmoil has passed."

How to get fast treatment in your hospital's emergency room: Wear your white shirt with the patch reading "Immigration and Naturalization service." Friends swear this works.

Don't buy batteries retail. All batteries die. All batteries only last for a specific number of charges -- 300 is typical. Cordless phone batteries die regularly. I shopped for a battery for my Canon G10. It ranged in price from $16.69 to $54.99. The former was for a private label one; the latter for a real Canon battery. My experience is that they're not worth the difference. I bought the cheap one from

The bandaged hand.
When the store manager returned from lunch, he noticed his clerk's hand was bandaged, but before he could ask about the bandage, Morris, the clerk said he had some very good news for him.

"Guess what, sir?" Morris said. "I finally sold that terrible, ugly suit we've had so long!"

"Do you mean that repulsive pink-and-blue double-breasted thing?" the manager asked."

"That's the one!" said the clerk.

"That's great!" the manager cried, "I thought we'd never get rid of that monstrosity! That had to be the ugliest suit we've ever had! But tell me, why is your hand bandaged?"

"Oh," Morris replied, "after I sold the guy that suit, his seeing-eye dog bit me."

The swallowed nickel.
A father walks into a bookstore with his young son, who is holding a quarter. Suddenly, the boy starts choking, going blue in the face. The father realizes the boy has swallowed the nickel and starts panicking, shouting for help.

A well dressed, attractive and serious looking woman, in a blue business suit is sitting at a coffee bar reading a newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down, neatly folds the newspaper, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the store.

Reaching the boy, the woman carefully drops his pants; takes hold of the boy's testicles and starts to squeeze and twist, gently at first and then ever so firmly. After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the quarter, which the woman deftly catches in her free hand.

Releasing the boy's testicles, the woman hands the quarter to the father and walks back to her seat without saying a word.

As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, "I've never seen anybody do anything like that before. It was fantastic! Are you a doctor?"

"No," the woman replies, "divorce attorney."

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.