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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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9:00 AM Thursday, November 17, 2005: I hate being lied to. Dr. Paul Sohmer, president and CEO of TriPath Imaging (TPTH) promised he would send a PowerPoint of his company's presentation on November 10 -- the one I attended. Yesterday his senior VP and CFO, Stephen Hall responded to my reminder emails to Dr. Sohmer. Hall said "we are not providing an electronic version of the presentation." When I emailed back saying Dr. Sohmer had promised me a copy, Hall didn't reply. And Sohmer doesn't return phone calls.

I could accept this bad behavior IF the stock were strong. But it's in the toilet. The management clearly doesn't give a damn. The word is out and large stockholders are bailing right, left and center.

I would be less annoyed if I hadn't violated my inviolate 15% stop loss rule with this stock. I've held it as it has plunged through 15%. I did this complete idiocy because I believed the company was making serious progress (which it is -- though there are issues of slowing growth) and that the progress and the improvement in finances would drive the stock higher.

I was wrong. Dead wrong. Management's arrogant and disdainful attitude to its poor suffering shareholders is mind-blowing.

The ONLY good news is that on the two previous occasions TriPath has fallen to this level, it's bounced. And at least one institution I spoke with yesterday believes it will bounce back again. It bought some shares yesterday. However, if one looks closely at the chart, you'll this that it has just broken through and it's now lower than the two previous times. This bodes bad.

There's a strange irony to this entire TriPath story. Management, after being badgered by its large institutional holders, finally just hired an investor relations person. She's called Kathy Waller. She works at the Financial Relations Board. Her phone number is 312-640-6696. If you call that number you'll find that she's on vacation and won't return until November 30. I guess she's on a two-week vacation to celebrate winning the TriPath Imaging contract. Great timing. Just when they need her.

I cannot tell you how annoyed I am with myself.

Once in a while I'm right: On October 11, I wrote "Where is GM headed? Kirk Kerkorian, the raider pushing for changes at GM, bought about 22 million shares between $25 and $27, nearly 19 million shares at $31, 8 million shares at $35, and a little over 5 million shares at $35.71. Last night GM closed at $25.48. Personally I think it's going lower." Last night it closed at $21.29. Heh, my loss on TriPath is piddling compared with Kirk Kerkorian's $360 million loss on GM. Maybe they'll give him a discount on his new GM car?

I Bonds for your IRA. My friend Dan Good points out that if you put I Bonds into your IRA, you're getting an effective after tax return of close to 10%. Nice. And guaranteed by the Federal Government and your tax dollars.

There should be a law. People who work for taxing authorities should read, write and speak English. I repeat my previous advice: The more entities you create, the more aggravation you will have with taxing authorities. No one has ever succeeded in closing down an entity and having the taxing authorities cease dunning them for money and forms. Of course, I'm exaggerating. But filling forms in which say you owe them no money costs time and frustration. And then, to cap it all, they lose your paperwork and you have to fax them the paperwork again and again. State taxing authorities are the worse.

Cold reset works: My BlackBerry was iffy. It would dial some numbers, but not others. Simple solution: Take the battery out. Count to ten. Put it back in. Bingo, it works like a charm. Today everything is a "computer." Everything needs rebooting regularly to clear out the gunk -- and that includes your phone system, your car, your washing machine, your PC, etc.

Don't write emails in anger: You'll say things you regret. Better: Write the email. Then discard it. Then mull for a day. Then pick up the phone. If the matter is serious, go visit the person.

Repeat their last sentence: The technique is called "active listening." It teaches you to repeat what they just said to you, but to turn it into a question. They'll then explain what they want, or why they're annoyed. Too many of us hear what we want to hear, not what they're saying.

So stop. Before you reply, take a deep breath and repeat their last sentence as a question. The book is called "Parent Effectiveness Training." It was written to teach parents how to speak with their kids. Change kids to prospects and it becomes a great sales tool.

The home we chose
After the christening of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong.

Finally, the boy replied, "That priest said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, and I want to stay with you guys!"

Time to say your prayers
The Sunday School teacher asks, "Now, Johnny, do you say prayers before eating?"

"No sir," little Johnny replies, "I don't have to. My mom is a good cook."

God is improving
A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story.

From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.

Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?"

"Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."

"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did God make me too?"

"Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."

Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, "God's getting better at it, isn't he?"

The Technique of Towel Waving
An elderly Jewish gentleman marries a much younger woman. No matter what the husband does sexually, the woman never achieves orgasm. Since a Jewish wife is entitled to sexual pleasure, they decide to ask the rabbi.

The rabbi listens to their story, strokes his beard, and makes the following suggestion: "Hire a strapping young man. While the two of you are making love, have the young man wave a towel over you. That will help the wife fantasize and should bring on the desired event."

They go home and follow the rabbi's advice. They hire a handsome young man and he waves a towel over them as they make love. It doesn't help and she is still unsatisfied. Perplexed, they go back to the rabbi.

"Okay", he says to the husband, "let's try it reversed."

Have the young man make love to your wife and you wave the towel over them."

Once again, they follow the rabbi's advice. The young man gets into bed with the wife and the husband waves the towel. The young man gets working with great enthusiasm and the wife soon has an enormous, room-shaking, ear splitting, screaming orgasm.

The husband smiles, looks at the young man and says to him triumphantly, "You see, you young schmuck? THAT'S how you wave a towel!"

The Tennis Masters in Shanghai: ESPN has it every morning. It ends on Sunday. Federer is playing and winning, as usual.

Recent column highlights:
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+ Blackstone private equity funds. Click here.
+ Manhattan Pharmaceuticals: Click here.
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+ Hana Biosciences appeals. Click here.
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+ Steve Jobs Commencement Address. The text is available: Click here. The full audio is available. Click here.
+ The March of the Penguins, an exquisite movie. Click here.
+ When to sell stocks. Click here.

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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