Showing posts from 2005

In defense of the Hold

Some of my stocks aren't doing so well today, and that got me thinking...

We have heard before that a decision to hold a stock on any given day is the same as a decision to buy at the current price. I think that you can take that statement too literally and forget both the frictional costs of investing and the opportunity cost of selling.

Two questions surround the decision to hold, and you need to answer both, not just one before you decide to change your position:
Would I be comfortable buying the stock at this price?Would I be comfortable selling the stock at this price?Note: "comfortable" not "happy." Sometimes, selling makes you extremely unhappy (as I have witnessed on a couple of my own stocks over the past few weeks) but significantly increases your comfort level.

Holding a stock is not the same as buying, nor is selling the same as not buying. Buying increases your risk and your potential reward. Selling decreases your risk, but eliminates your potential r…

The French are Sittin' Mad!

French Stage Sit-In to Protest Violence

PARIS - Angry residents of riot-torn suburbs staged a sit-in Friday near the Eiffel Tower, calling for an end to more than two weeks of arson and vandalism across France. While the protesters were sitting at the Eiffel Tower, rioters burned and vandalized their now empty houses in the Paris suburbs.

Asked about their future plans now that this attempt had failed, one protester shouted, "We're so mad, we'll sit anywhere! We'll sit on the Champs Elysees, if that's what it takes. And if that doesn't get our message across, then we will sit in the Louvre and drink wine in the 'No Beverages Allowed' area. We want the world to know that we mean business!"

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Should Google be reined in?

Reining in Google - Commentary - The Washington Times

There seems to be a lot of misattribution of intent going on right now, not just in the media, but in the publishing community as well, around Google's Print Library Project. Yes, in an ideal world Google would only scan public domain books and let authors opt in to their larger program of making the text searchable, much as Amazon does with its "Look Inside" program. However, that would be extremely unwieldy and error-prone, resulting in both lower quality and poorer selection in their digital library. Imagine your public library having to go ask each author or publisher for permission before stocking their books, rather than just buying a copy, then expand that to a global scale, and you get an idea of the problem.

The real question here seems to center on what Google means by a "snippet." Those with a more sinister bent assume that a snippet will be somewhere between a chapter and the entire text of a b…

I'm officially guilty of fraud...

... or satire, whichever carries the lighter sentence.


I can only assume one of three things happened:
The college's alumni notes are handled by an intern who doesn't know how to read English and only clicks the Copy and Paste buttons repeatedly as part of his work-study job.The Alumni Notes editor is so jaded by self-congratulatory "announcements" from alumni trying to one-up the people they were forced to live with for four years and haven't seen since that he didn't see anything wrong with my message.Someone at my alma mater has a sense of humor.Based upon the constant requests for money -- from a university with an endowment of more than a billion dollars -- I think that I can safely rule out any humorous self-awareness within the Hallowed Halls of old Shiz. I'm going with Option 2 until I hear otherwise.

Now the fun part: seeing if I get any emails from people congratulating me on my "success."

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Lose weight, feel sexier; touch water, feel wet

From the Your Tax Dollars at Work file:

Lose weight, enjoy a better sex life: study

Obese men and women who start to lose weight will also see an improvement in the quality of their sex lives, according to a U.S. study released Monday. Even a moderate weight loss reduced complaints of feeling sexually unattractive and led to improved desire, according to the study. After announcing their results, the scientists added that their next government-funded study will seek to determine whether people who touch water feel a "wet" sensation, and whether people who touch a hot stove feel a "burning" sensation.

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Something Tiny in the Air

Ford, Boeing, Northwestern Join In Nanotechnology Research

Ford Motor Co., Boeing Co. and Northwestern University have formed a research alliance to develop commercial applications for nanotechnology, a science that develops materials at the molecular level. Asked about the goals of the alliance, a Boeing spokesman said, "Our airline partners have already shrunk seats, meal portions, and customer service about as far they can go. We're hoping that nanotechnology can help them squeeze another few picograms out of each customer."

Added a representative from Ford, "We're just hoping to find a technology that will make it possible for us to measure our profits again."

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"Passionate" vs. "Professional"

Creating Passionate Users: "Dignity is deadly." - Paul Graham

Kathy Sierra has started an interesting conversation about what happens when startups try to "grow up." I wrote about this a while ago (OK, "ranted" is probably a more accurate term). To save my reader the trouble of looking, here's what I had to say before:

I Won't Grow Up!

What the heck: I'll just paste the whole thing here (who says padding your posts can't be fun?) Put on your satirical hat, gentle reader:

I have to say, I am so grateful for the grownups in the business world. They have taught me so much and helped me to mend my foolish, childish ways. You see, I used to actually think that people were supposed to enjoy their work: imagine that! What did I think this was, college? As it turns out, to be a successful, mature company, you must put such silly notions out of your head and realize what business is really all about: obligations, responsibility, and the burden of respe…

Save gas, save money, or make a statement: pick two

CNN Money has several articles on saving gas and/or money, starting with another article on the questionable savings on some hybrid vehicles. Could hybrids be the Macs of the car world: a more expensive way to do the same job, but with style? Is it a car or a lifestyle choice? I have a vision of the Earth Day 2007 buyback event, when all of the liberal/progressive people in America turn in their Subaru Outbacks for the new Toyota Prius wagon, complete with mudflaps so that you can pretend that you like to go hiking on the weekends.

Hybrids: Don't buy the hype

Gas Savings Tips Put to the Test

Fuel-Saving Tech is All Around Us

Or should we just go back to diesel?

I remember driving a VW Vanagon from Oregon all the way to central California when I was 18. It started throwing oil if you got above 60 mph, so we just put it in neutral all the way down the mountain passes. Oh, and it smelled like the inside of a used oil filter. I understand that they have found a way to make diesel e…

Dear Fellow Alums, I'm Awesome!!!

Have you ever actually read the Alumni Notes that people post in their college allumni magazines? I haven't seen such puffery and blatant self-promotion outside of Senate press conferences. Well, I decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Putting my recently honed satirical skills to work, I wrote an alumni note of my own. Let's see if they publish it.

(All names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Hi Fellow Alums!

Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but it’s been a busy few years. Let’s see: where to begin?

Let’s start with the kids. Both Buffy and Johann are in school full-time now and seem to love it. We’re committed to the public school system, but we do supplement their normal curricula just to keep them sharp. You know, the usual: dictionary memorization or biology before breakfast, number theory in the evenings. They can’t get enough of irrational numbers! We expect Buffy to finish college by age 13 (14 if she double majors) but we plan to …

Katrina: Still more ways to help in Boston

Saint Katrina Event
"Sounds like a tea dance at the neighborhood Catholic church. Unfortunately for the plight of our Southern countrymen these days, life is anything but. While heading down to the Gulf Coast may not be a realistic option for many, heading out to one of Boston’s hottest nightspots and raising money while having a good time, well, there’s really just no good excuse to stay home."

$25 minimum ticket donation.
$20 gets you an arm's length of raffle tickets, for the chance to win a grand prize trip for two to Cancun or Aruba, generously donated by GWV Travel, along with many other items.

100% of proceeds benefits the American Red Cross

Monday, September 12, 2005
6-10 PM
90 Exeter Street
Click here to make a secure reservation today

Bake Sale Benefit at UpStairs on the Square
September 11, 1-3 p.m.
Winthrop Park, at the corner of JFK and Winthrop Streets, Cambridge, 617-864-1933.

Jazz fundraiser for the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund

Donate your vacation days

Treasury, IRS Announce Special Relief to Encourage Leave-Donation Programs for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

Come on, you know that you're not really going to take 3 weeks off between now and the end of the year. Do some good with those days, especially if you're on a use-it-or-lose-it plan!

Talk to your employer about putting this plan into action in your company.

Another way for Boston residents to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Greater Boston Food Bank is gathering food and shipping it to wherever it is needed most. Of course, they will also need to replenish their supplies to help the needy in Boston this fall, so the more donations they receive, the better.

Hurricane Katrina: It's Put Up or Shut Up Time

I realized something yesterday after a week of watching news coverage and reading the anymore list: it’s very comfortable to look for someone to blame when a catastrophe of this magnitude occurs. We feel powerless in the face of this much destruction and misery, but we feel that someone should have the power to make it better or, better yet, should have kept it from happening in the first place. So we blame the government, we blame the people who stayed in harm’s way, we blame God. It doesn’t change what happened, but we feel better because now we know whose fault it is. More importantly, we know it isn’t our fault, so we can look at those sad faces on TV and safely get mad about the whole thing. It’s a natural response, and we’ve all seen it happen several times in the past four years.

Here’s the deal, though: no matter whose fault it is, the reality is that we are facing the biggest human catastrophe in our nation’s history, and our fellow Americans need our help. The scope of the de…

Up Next on the WB: The Freakish Life

Jackson family shops TV series

The Jackson family has reportedly been shopping around an idea for a reality television series to various networks, according to sources within the networks. This activity comes on the heels of Paris Hilton's recent statement that she plans to "give up public life" after she marries fiance Paris Latsis. Program executives from several networks stated that, in Paris' absence, a Jackson family series could fill a crucial gap in the "celebrities so stupid that it's surprising they remember to breathe" programming lineup for next fall's season.

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You'll go blind....

FDA Looking Into Blindness-ED Drug Link

WASHINGTON - Federal health officials are probing reports of blindness among dozens of men who used Viagra and other impotence drugs — but at the same time cautioning that the vision loss can be linked to the same illnesses that lead to impotence. They reported that they are also investigating unconfirmed reports of hairy palms among younger users.

Thousands of mothers across the US were quoted as saying, "Ha! We told you what would happen if you kept doing that!"

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Riding with my Buddies to the Kennedy Compound

Last weekend, I did the Best Buddies Volvo Hyannisport Challenge, a 90-mile ride from Boston to Hyannisport (look here for more details). Here's the ride report that I sent to my supporters.

If you want, you can also read about my last century, The Climb to the Clouds.

To those of you who were planning to call Visa and cancel your donations if I didn’t complete the Best Buddies ride: you can put the phone down. I did it! Sure, I suffered near-hypothermic shock, and maybe I threatened the life of the person who scheduled a ride in New England in May (more than once), but that’s not important now. The important thing is that I – and my whole team of ten riders – completed the Best Buddies ride last Saturday. No one dropped out, no one got hurt, no one complained (much), and we all proved up to the challenge (the Hyannisport Challenge).

To give you a feel for the ride, I now present my mile-by-mile commentary:

5:30 AM, Mile (-10)
We meet at Danny’s house and load our bikes into a rented t…

Darth Greenspan?

Fed Chief Says 'Forces' Keep Inflation Low

CHICAGO - In comments after a speech to the Chicago Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan said that a revival of the 30-year Treasury bond would be unlikely to raise long-term bond yields because "forces worldwide are keeping inflation low." When asked to elaborate upon these "forces," Greenspan refused to answer directly. He did, however, lean back into the shadows and mutter that "my young Padawan will soon see the power of the Dark Side of inflation. He will bring them to heel."

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Fingering a suspect in the latest food crime - Customer finds employee's finger in frozen custard:

WILMINGTON, North Carolina (AP) -- A man who ordered a pint of frozen chocolate custard in a dessert shop got a nasty surprise inside -- a piece of severed finger. This incident bore morbid similarity to recent events at a Wendy's fast food restaurant, and police are seeking a connection.

"We suspect that this might be a serial crime," said a police spokesman. "The good news is, unless this guy is extremely creative we're looking at no more than six more incidents, eight tops. Unless he moves on to his toes. In that case, all bets are off."

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Deja vu all over again

Iraq Parliament in Uproar Over Stalemate

BAGHDAD - Two months after more than 8 million Iraqis braved suicide bombers and death threats to vote for their new government, elected officials in Iraq are still unable to agree on who will lead the new government. Asked for comment on the situation, President Bush stated, "I don't know what's so hard about it. Just tell them to have their brother recount the votes until they get the result they want."

In related news, former presidential candidate Al Gore emerged from the cave in which he has been hiding to offer himself as a viable compromise candidate for Iraqi president.

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Stop the madness!

I can't take it anymore! The English language is suffering such abuse in the business world that we can barely understand each other anymore. Words that used to mean something completely different have now been shanghaied by otherwise intelligent businesspeople, forced to do tasks for which they were never intended, and then so overworked that they have become utterly useless.

Here are some more victims of jargon enslavement:

This should not be used as a verb. I know that we do, and that it started with financial terminology, but come on: it has become a synonym for "use." ere's an actual excerpt from a recent email I received:

Given the other large implementation, overall resource issues, and combined with other items, the "usual" process has not been leveraged.

You know what? You don't sound any smarter when you use three syllables in place of one. In fact, you just make it harder for anyone else to "parse" what you're saying. Whic…

Now you can pick your liver

Australian Scientists Grow Stem Cells from Nose

SYDNEY (Reuters) - With the help of the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have successfully grown adult stem cells harvested from the human nose, avoiding the ethical and legal problems associated with embryonic stem cells. The scientists cautioned that there are some kinks in the process, however, since organs grown from the stem cells "could tend to be a bit boogery and might unexpectedly sprout tufts of hair as patients get older."

You Want Fingers with That?

Diner Finds Finger in Wendy's Chili

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A diner at a Wendy's fast food restaurant in San Jose, California, found a human finger in a bowl of chili prepared by the chain, local officials said on Wednesday. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Wendy's insisted that this was not an accident but part of the chain's new marketing campaign honoring their late founder: "There's a little bit of Dave in everything we make."

But seriously, folks

Just a tip: if you ever read something I wrote and wonder, "Is he serious?" Chances are, I'm not.

Irony is dead

Bomber Hits Shi'ite Mosque in Iraq, 46 Dead

A suicide bomber attacked a funeral in the northern city of Mosul on Thursday, killing at least 46 people and wounding dozens more. Among the casualties were a high-ranking cleric, several security troops, and the Iraqi sense of irony.

Live Life to the Fullest

Deep Thought for the Day:

If you want to live life to the fullest, your experience should outpace your understanding.

Last Chance for Tsunami Donations Deductible in 2004

If you've been procrastinating, knock it off:

January Tsunami Donations Deductible for 2004

After midnight, you'll have to wait until next year to get the tax benefits of a tsunami relief donation. It's nice to see that the government can do some things quickly when it counts, isn't it?

Too lazy to find an organization? Here:

World Vision donation page

Feed the Children donation page

Unicef donation page

The Red Cross doesn't appear to be accepting any more donations specifically for Tsunami Relief. They're all full up.

Now, go do something useful with your money!

Charity sex

Brothel Donates Money for Tsunami Relief

BERLIN - A German brothel owner has been so moved by the plight of survivors from Asia's tsunami disaster that she is donating part of her profits to the relief efforts.

"It's so terrible what happened there and I wanted to do something," said Mercedes Mueller, who owns the Happy FKK Club in the western city of Dortmund.

Members of the Class Action Attorneys' Charitable League (CAACL) have protested the publicity the brothel has received, noting that they have been screwing their clients and donating part of the proceeds to charity for years, and no one thanked them.

Gov't to America: You're Fat AND Stupid

Government Urges Most Americans to Cut Calories

WASHINGTON - The government on Wednesday urged most Americans to eat fewer calories and exercise 30 to 90 minutes a day, updating guidelines that advised people to lose weight but gave few specifics on how to do it.

Federal officials acknowledged that much of the advice will not be new to Americans, who spent millions on diet books trying to lose weight.

"It's really common sense. Do you want to look better? Do you want to feel better?" Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said. "You lower your calorie intake, you lower your carbs, your fats. You eat more fruits and vegetables, and you exercise. That's as simple as it can be. That is not too hard."

"You people are really stupid, aren't you?" he added. "What, did you think that Super Size Me was an instructional video?"

When asked for comment, Americans tried to voice their outrage, but their mouths were full.

BlogStreet : Take Ownership

Taking ownership on Blogstreet

A personal year in review

Having a birthday just before the end of the year can create a veritable maelstrom of self-evaluation. Fortunately, I'm just self-aware enough to benefit from this confluence without being so self-absorbed that I'm destroyed by it. This year, I asked myself and my friends the following questions, just to get people thinking and make sure that the year doesn't pass without a little bit of reflection.I really believe that this is important, by the way. It's easy to become overwhelmed by world events -- wars, famines, tsunamis -- and decide that there's no point in looking at your own life when such terrible things are happening everywhere else. You can even decide that it's narcissistic to think about your life when the lives of others are being turned upside down and inside out somewhere else. If all you ever do is think and don't act, then you're probably right. If your self-evaluation precedes change, though, and improves the way that you deal with the…


I got no writing done this weekend, but I made up for it by getting very little sleep, either.

I think the bloodshot-red really brings out the blue in my eyes.