Saturday, November 12, 2005

From the Pages of the WSJ. An aging yuppie who reads the print version of the Wall Street Journal: how predictable. Well, what can I say? For me, at least, the problem is that I can't read the newspaper thoroughly every day, so I have to find time on the weekend to catch up. Hhhmm. Where shall I jot down my amazing discoveries and insights? How can I get this blog, now stuck in Spurrier, rolling again? Can we really say that talking about subjects raised in this week's WSJ is "rolling again"?

In the "Smartmoney" section on Wednesday, James B. Stewart writes that the energy sector "provides bargains". I think this guy is smoking something. He recommends Apache. Morningstar tends to agree. Maybe that's why Stewart is writing and I am reading.

Those of you who are old enough to rent cars have probably noticed all the local taxes imposed on the rental. Sure enough, the WSJ reports that "added fees can double the price of an economy car". Since out-of-towners bear these burdens, its sort of taxation-without-representation.

There is yet another investment book to consider. "The Little Book That Beats the Market", by Joel Greenblatt. "Mr. Greenblatt, 47 years old, says his goal was to provide advice that, while sophisticated, could be understood and followed by his five children, ages 6 to 15." I'm getting the book and will be looking for a group of five children in that age range.

Maybe we're not too late to slide on the real estate bubble. Another Wednesday article talks about state land being sold to developers in Arizona. My friend Joe thinks Arizona is the place to move, so it may be time to invest heavily out there. Developers mentioned in the article include Toll Brothers, Pulte Home, and Gray Development Group.

Yesterday's Weekend Journal has a "Houses of Worship" column that describes a new development to go up near Naples, FL, to be called "Ave Maria Town". This is the brainchild of Tom Monaghan, who is the Domino's Pizza guy. "We'll own all commercial real estate . . . That means we will be able to control what goes on there. You won't be able to buy Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or the condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town." Does this guy know about the internet? (I can't wait to read the comments on this one.)

The Catalog Critic lists places on the 'net from which you can order your turkey dinner. Pfaelzer Brothers looked the most interesting.

There were at least two articles on Microsoft. One reports that as "growth" investors have abandoned the stock, "value" investors are moving into big positions. Another article describes the "big bet" Bill Gates says he is taking on internet connected software. That article says its not such a big bet, because Microsoft has money to burn. However, the article admires the thinking that is going on at Microsoft as it seeks to reinvent itself, sort-of.

We saw the interview of Ahmed Chalabi on the Journal's weekly show on PBS last night. Impressive. He is now the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, despite the Bush administration's outrageous attempt to bring him down last year. WSJ had this editorial about him on Wednesday. He was received graciously by the administration on a visit this week.

Boring, right? Oh, well. I think its fun.

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